NOTE: Yes, I know it’s Saturday, but unforeseen delays led to “Flash Fiction Friday” being posted just now. If you wish to contribute, please contact me at my website, http://www.getinjohnshead.com.
Jonell glared at Pixel. “What business of yours is it that Spellbinder commands the Tallahassee?”
Gulping, Pixel made her best case. “The fact is, Jonell,” she began, “You can’t possibly do this mission without me. I bring valuable skills and allies to this fight, and your fledging group is little more than a ragtag bunch of old farts who are basing their ability to wage a new war on the glories of the past.”
He stepped back, realizing that, above all, Pixel had a point. It galled him, to his core. The notion that an outsider, who barely understood anything about cyberwarfare, let alone how the hardcore, no-holds-barred nature of the first battles nearly spun the internet apart. Pixel was the epitome of an outsider; brash, foolish, and entirely too idealistic. She reminded Jonell of the days when Spellbinder clashed with the Freenet Consortium over strategy. Tallahassee, Big Sky, South Florida, Cleveland; they all had the same opinion about how to fight the war – piecemeal, with minimal losses. Spellbinder wanted to come in with guns blazing. Jonell took a deep breath and sighed, realizing that he and Antimony was one of the original “Oldbies,” or longtime internet users dating back to the days when email and chat were the only real lines of communication, and old fashioned hacker attacks were the worst that anyone had to worry about.
Then came the International Internet Authority, the United Nations Internet Administration, and the World Cyberspace Alliance. All had one focus; ending the freedom which the internet offered. All were surrogates for other more malevolent forces. The I.I.A. was a front group for a variety of Islamic terrorism, U.N.I.A.’s charge was obvious, and the World Cyberspace Alliance was a loosely confederated group of anti-Western nations whose sole goal was to undermine American dominance online.
Then there was Onix, and the pitched battle he engaged the Consortium in. It was he who forced the creation of the Special Protectors Of Domains, or SPODs. He who was the one who eviscerated the cyberspace lives of five of the internet’s best warriors, to the point where there was barely any sort of coding left to recreate the avatars for Spellbinder or Johanna. But even he wasn’t the most frightening.
Years went by afterwards without a peep from any bogeys on the cyberspace map. Just when things seemed to be settling down, the Rogue Movement reared its ugly head. Had it not been for Admiral Arthur and the United States Cyberspace Fleet reconstituting the bones of the old Freenet fleet, Freak and his vile band would had dominant the internet for years to come. Thankfully, Spellbinder and a few others were recruited back into service. But even the Rogues weren’t all that frightening. It was this new, invisible enemy, which was transnational, beyond the bounds of any government, which terrified him the most.
Jonell then realized just how long he had been online; how long he had been a cybersoldier, and just how much was now at stake now that the new, invisible enemy was afoot. He pulled a Micro-SD card from his pocket, holding it up in front of Pixel. His voice was as grave as he could muster, considering the situation.
“This,” he stated, “is the only surviving record of every single member of the Freenet Consortium. This…this chip, is what may very well be the difference between victory and defeat. I can’t trust it to you, to Johanna, to Spellbinder…to anyone.”
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