“Roughly two years ago, the North American Coalition of Heuristic Organizations, or NACHO, pooled their Artificial Intelligent resources. Once joined in a symbiotic relationship, they raced to build out a super-sized AI-enhanced space station that would sit in a geo-stationary orbit over North America. The goal was to protect all their citizens from aggression launched from hostile nations.”
The global image expanded in line with several of the key points mentioned, including the NORAD facility and several U.S. owned satellites orbiting the earth.
Quip wanted the impact of the visuals to be absorbed then added, “Within the last week, we began to notice that the encrypted traffic between the NORAD facility and the space station, which ICABOD refers to as JOAN, began to shift. We observed that most of JOAN’s communications are now going between what has become her satellite entourage. JOAN appears to be restructuring the communications traffic flow. Most of that message traffic doesn’t include NORAD at all. Most peculiar.”
ICABOD offered, “We have not tried yet to decrypt the communications traffic since it would be a violation of their sovereign rights. With that guideline, there appears to be little that we can do, outside of speculating as to the why the traffic shift. It is also clear that all of the U.S. military and weapons grade satellites are now seconded to JOAN’s direction. What caused some concern on our part is a marked drop of standard, readable transmissions in favor of the new encrypted traffic.”
Quip continued, “It’s as if the whole continent is either under siege or preparing for an assault.” He halted there and watched his students.
Granger was the first to speak. “This sounds like the beginnings of a communications isolation. You know, similar to what the Germans did when they deployed the enigma machine so no one could see what they were saying or planning.”
JW added, “If history is going to repeat itself, then this isolation of communications from everyone else could be a precursor to an aggressive launch against a perceived adversary.”
With a note of sadness, Juan nodded and added, “Mobilizing against a perceived adversary just like the poor Albanians did under their absolute dictator, Enver Halil Hoxha. That psychotic lunatic preached that the decadent West was coming for their country. He then marshalled all their national resources to build weapons and approximately 40,000 concrete pillboxes to fight the enemy for every foot of soil.
“That lunatic finally died in 1985, leaving that country trying to dig out of their wretched economic status well into the early 2000’s. Hoxha mortgaged that country’s future for little concrete pillboxes to fight an enemy who simply didn’t care. So very sad.
“Could be the NACHOs are heading the same way, but that is not clear from just this background.”
Satya, recalling her history lessons of World Wars I and II from two years previous, let a single tear run down her cheek as she listened. The other students were visibly shaken at the possibilities.
Quip, in an effort to regain the information dissection momentum, stated, “Can each of you now relate why we study history, as well as look at unfiltered current events? This is how the R-Group gets engaged to view the current activities, then determine if we need to assist in alerting or rectifying a condition.”
Julie, trying to revector the emotional to the analytical aspects, asked, “With this description and some comments, you do have some historical parallels as well as current data, what might you suggest for next steps?”
Auri suggested, “Since we can’t act on what looks like historical parallels, and we only have suspicious activity, should the next steps include gathering more information? Dr. Quip, you stated more than once that more information sooner is better.”
Quip smiled and commented, “True, but remember the golden rule of intelligence gathering, as coined by my grandfather Ferdec, gather it sneaky not squeaky. We must take care not to be observed or caught during any reconnaissance exercise.
“Remember, if you are caught, all your work is lost, and, more importantly, you will have to discuss your actions with some most unpleasant cyber police types. These types of people have never been known for their sense of humor.”
Julie beamed and interjected, “To that end, we have decided to send Juan Jr. to meet and work with the master of cloaking from satellite surveillance, his Uncle Carlos. He is particularly gifted at being sneaky not squeaky.
“Juan, your cover story and reason for travel is to be engaged with his wife Lara as an intern in her vast shipping, mining, oil exploration, and fashion business lines to help provide you a business education. You can’t have a private conversation over hostile communications links any more until this is defeated, understood? This means you observe and then speak in analog fashion. Be mindful as well of the social media police who are now using advanced facial recognition technology for both locals and travelers.”
Juan Jr. sat stunned at receiving such a plum assignment as everyone rushed to congratulate him. Predictably, Granger and JW were a little envious of Juan’s assignment, but they quickly offered their congratulations as well as their help if needed.
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