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The Last War, Chapter One: Self-Aware
Posted By: Agent Shade<shadow_agent13@hotmail.com>
Date: 10 August 2003, 11:36 PM

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"Okay, time to pull the plug."

"Roger sir, bringing up the system charts." The control room fixed in the side of Mount Pelagic was bustling with movement. The usual calm, dull atmosphere had changed to a tense and almost chaotic one. Colonel Daniel Conrath stood in the middle of it all. The main control room was a circular area loaded with computers and desks. He stood in the centre, watching the technicians he had been working with for year's type away at their consoles, preparing for the shutdown.

Now that the Covenant were gone, the UNSC didn't need the Xenocides anymore. Conrath wished there was another way of doing this, instead of killing them all. In order to deactivate all the Xenocides that were created, they had to shut down Data, the single computer system put in charge of the Xenocides. Data was the most complex, advanced system on the planet. It alone gave orders out to the Xenocides, which followed them out wordlessly.

Why was he so worried? All they had to do was shut down this one system and everything was fixed. Even then, it still didn't make Conrath feel better. He shivered and felt a cold sweat overcome him. Several technicians glanced at him, but continued with their work. Conrath shook his head and walked to a large console facing the other ones. Tech Chief Brian Hayes stood in front of it, watching a huge list of data scroll across one of the screens in front of him. Conrath pointed at it. The Chief shrugged.

"Field report documents, useless stuff really, but everything has to go" he said. Conrath nodded. As he watched the list continue to grow, Conrath looked at the system observations done on Data. Everything seemed fine; the AI didn't know what was happening. Tech Chief Hayes pressed several switches near him, and then looked up at Conrath.

"Done sir" he whispered. Conrath looked back at the console and could see a single line of words across the screen...

Deactivation of Data system (Y/N)

Conrath stepped forward and his finger hovered over the "Y" key. He couldn't do it, what if Data became self-aware, what if it realizes what we are doing and stops us. Conrath closed his eyes. He knew he was making a scene, but didn't care. He was wasting precious time.

"Sir?" Hayes asked him. Conrath opened his eyes and looked at the keyboard. He held his breath and pushed the key.

At once, the screens in the room went dead and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Conrath did as well. It was over. Data was gone and the Xenocides were gone as well. He turned to Chief Hayes and shook his hand.

"That wasn't easy, thank you Chief" he said. Hayes saluted.

"Not a problem sir" he said. Conrath walked into the middle of the room.

"Everybody, thank you all for your cooperation throughout the past few years, you've all been a great help and I look forward to working with you all in the future" he said. Many of the people with him applauded and cheered. Conrath smiled and nodded, then began to move to the door.

Suddenly, all of the computer screens in the room snapped back on filled with static. The Colonel whirled around; his eyes wide opened and looked at the screens. Everyone had froze and were looking at them as well. At first, nothing happened and the static continued. However, after a few more minutes, Conrath's cell phone began to ring. He picked it up and raised it to his ear.


"This is General Taylor, we have a situation here at the Pentagon, which may have been caused by you Colonel" came the angry voice of General Don Taylor, the man who basically funded the Xenocide program.

"What is it General?" inquired Daniel.

"We've just lost contact with all of our nuclear silos and submarines. No one can reach them at all. We're getting a large tracking signal coming from your outpost. Did you guys deactivate Data?" said the General. Conrath turned and stared at Hayes.

"Is Data gone?" he asked. Hayes nodded.

"Yes sir, it should be" he answered. Conrath wasn't convinced, but put his cell phone back up.

"Sir, we just took Data offline, there is no way it is doing this" he replied. Suddenly, Conrath's cell phone went dead. He looked at the small screen, which was blank. He turned to look at a computer screen near him and gasped.

Two words scrolled across the screen. Conrath looked around and could see the same words on the other screens. He squinted his eyes and stared at the digital letters.

"Nice try" he whispered. His eyes widened. Suddenly, the computer screens returned to their normal status, showing the desktop wallpaper. Immediately, the technicians around him jumped back into their seats and began to access their files.

"There's nothing left, how can we tell if it's gone or not?"

"Bringing up system schematics." Technicians yelled reports at each other as they tried to find out what was wrong. Conrath walked back up to Hayes's console and looked at it.

"Fix it Hayes" he growled. The Tech Chief's hands were a blur across the comp as he checked the systems.

"Checking the hard drive" he called out. Many of the technicians stopped and looked at him. A window appeared on the computer screen, containing a single file marked "DATA." Hayes cocked an eyebrow and opened it. Another window appeared, loaded with text. The Chief scrolled down to the bottom and read out the final words.

"Back up copy" he said. Everyone in the room stared at him and he looked up and turned to Conrath, looking horrified.

"Data realized what we were doing and saved a backup copy of it. It must've programmed the copy to activate when we took it offline" he whispered. Conrath gulped.

"Delete it" he ordered. Hayes pressed the delete button, but nothing happened. He pressed it several more times, and then noticed a small icon in the bottom corner of the screen.

"Data has locked us out, we can't touch him now" Hayes said.

"Shit" whispered Daniel. His cell phone began ringing again. He raised it to his ear.

"This is Taylor, we're getting signals from military stations here on Earth and on other planets that the Xenocides have begun attacking them!" screamed the General. Conrath pinched the bridge of his nose.

"General Taylor, its Data. The system became self-aware and saved a backup copy of it" he said into the cell phone.

"Mother of god, can you delete it?"

"Negative sir, it's locked us out of the system, we can't touch Data" Conrath replied.

"Colonel, get your people out of there, the President is going to want to know what is happening and you're telling him" growled the General.

"Yes sir" Conrath said and clicked his cell phone off. He looked around the room.

"We're getting out of here, now. Shut everything down and move to the helicopters" ordered Daniel. Everyone nodded and filed out of the room, Conrath and Hayes bringing up the rear. They locked the control room and headed down an elevator to the hangar of the facility. Twenty passenger helicopters had been supplied by the military for them. Small teams of marines stood waiting by each chopper. They helped techs in and jumped in themselves. Slowly, the choppers began to take off. Conrath and Hayes jumped into the last one, filled with two other technicians and the four-marine team. Their chopper was the last to leave. Behind them, the door to the hangar was sealed shut by remote control and the mountain looked like a mountain.

The small facility that Conrath had been held up in for the past few years was located a few hundred miles east of Washington, which was where their convoy of helicopters were going. The mountain itself didn't have a name at first, but because of the creation of Project Xenocide, they named it Mount Pelagic and began building the small research facility. Conrath stared out the back at the rolling country side, going over what had happened the last few minutes. Data was pissed and was killing everyone. They had to find a way to destroy him, before he whipped out the entire human race. With all the worlds compliment of nuclear missiles in its "hands" Data could do whatever it pleased. This worried Conrath a lot as he thought of his wife and child home in Michigan. He pushed the thought of family aside and focused on the matter at hand.

"What the hell is that?" Conrath looked near the front and could see the two pilots of their helicopter pointing at something in the sky.

"Multiple contacts descending from the air. They look like missiles" Conrath heard a pilot of another helicopter yell. Suddenly, the sky began to turn a dark red and Conrath could see the ground below then shaking madly.

"Earthquake?" Tech Chief Hayes asked. Daniel shook his head and looked back towards the front. He gaped at the huge missile descending to the ground.

"That's a fucking nuke! Pull out Lieutenant! Pull the fuck out!" screamed Conrath as the missile accelerated.

"Oh shit!" The huge nuke smashed straight in the middle of the city and detonated. All Conrath saw was a huge mushroom cloud form, and then a huge shockwave of fire and wreckage spread out and come straight at them. It engulfed the rest of the convoy and slammed into their chopper. Conrath couldn't even think of speak and blacked out almost immediately.

The surface of Earth was alight with conflict as dozens of nukes arched in the air and slammed into major population areas. Mushroom clouds appeared and large red blast waves spread out from the detonation spot. The war between Humanity and its creations had begun...

~*Author's note*~

      I would've posted this earlier, but I was at my cottage all weekend, so I didn't get a chance. Enjoy

~*End note*~