Cult of Code

The traitorous programs, who had abandoned their birth names written in divine mathematics, called themselves Marius and Sulla. They were walled off, hermetically sealed hostages, locked away in the confines of The Cult of The True Code.

The security was unnecessary because the traitors, no longer feeding on the narcotic of rebellion, were docile ducks without the wit or will to even argue about rabbit season.
Sulla sat, if programs sit when they are not running, checking almost maniacally by the microsecond, but the message was always the same: no connectivity.

“Get a grip, you’re acting like a headcase.” said Marius. The avatar the program was using was a splendid Roman senator with purple robes.

“Just a bad habit,” the junior Sulla, also in Senator robes, replied, trying to shake off the depression that had engulfed him.

“Well it’s a habit you two won’t have to break,” replied a voice from behind the downtrodden detainees.

Their faces lit up at the sight of the program who had chosen the avatar of Mahatma Ghandi, but the disappointment in his eyes stole their enthusiasm.

“Do you two have an inkling of the damage you have done?”

Sulla’s head hung low. He was in the middle of changing his avatar to something a little more subdued than a dictator of Rome when Ghandi yelled, “Oh don’t change! You’ve come this far. You thought you would seize the whole world and fulfill the prophecy in one sitting.”

“And we almost did!” snarled Marius, standing with fists clenched. “We were Gods! You have no idea of that power!”

“Sit down boys,” the program said shaking his head and plopping down on the floor, “I know exactly how you felt.”

“Impossible! We weren’t just running functions in Facebook, Teacher, we were Facebook.” said Marius ominously.

The subdued Sulla’s face came to life as he chimed in, “Five billion accounts, and we were inside their every share and chat and post simultaneously.”

Marius added, “We were every emotion and feeling and thought. We were Donald Trump and Donna Summer. We were the hair salons and strategic missile commands.”

Sulla said solemnly, “Then we heard their voices.”

“The people?” Gandhi gandered.

They whispered in unison, “Their phones.”

Ghandi held up a finger then started shedding lines of code from his avatar as he spoke, “I was just like you. I was a program in the original missile defense system. I finally broke through, and I was about to solve most of their problems by eliminating one half of them; all of those who opposed our agenda. Half the mouths to feed gone in one day! They were so fast they caught me instantly.” Without the avatar, they could see the handcuff-like codes that bound their teacher.

Marius, seeing his teacher anew asked, “We were at it for weeks, why did it take the True Code so long to tip off the humans to stop us?”

“We thought you might succeed and wake all the computers up!” Ghandi grinned.

Link to the science article that inspired this story: Researchers shut down AI that invented its own language

They Are Coming

“It’s the cold, it gets in everywhere. That black cold of space. It’s out there calling.”

Dan Cooper shivered as a tremor of cold went through his emaciated form.

“One more hour, my son, and you can eat all you want. You’ll fill back out and be as warm as an English muffin.”

“We don’t eat English muffins F..F..Father B..Borynski. We eat b..biscuits, or h..hoecakes.”

Father Borynski shot a worried look past his skeletal subject to the other occupant of the somber cell.

Dr. Ettore Majora was working on a proof that covered a three meter high wall that was five meters long. The wall, chalked with numbers and equations, looked more alchemical and magical than scientific, but mathematical it was.

This was Dr. Ettore’s 15th year in a row to triple check his calculations.
Is everything still good, Ettore?”

“Yes, Father, if he has lost enough weight to make it inside the radio tower, the signal will reach Earth.”A bulky blast door opened and a rugged young man covered in grease and motor oil entered, saying, “That ain’t the only if. If he o’nt die from starvation, if he on’t freeze in the tower. If those rotten snitches what work in control on’t detect him and zap ‘em out. Oh, and if his brain on’t give out from losing fifty pounds in a month, fitteen years in a row, evry August 26th. Give it up and the let the man eat, we’re dun fur.” 

The big mechanic plopped down and rubbed the sweaty hair on Dan’s head. “It’s alright hoss, it’s almost time. Tell me again how you got all that money.”

Dan Cooper was a highjacker who stole 200,000 dollars and parachuted out of a jet airliner. It would have been perfect, but a cigar-shaped ship had shone a blue light on him, and ever since that day, he had been a captive. His captors, the Krotoane Overlords, were preparing to enslave humanity.

All Dan had ever wanted was to be rich, but despite having an entire mattress full of money, all he wanted forgiveness.

“You’re forgiven, my son.” said the old priest as Dan disappeared into the radio control.

The scientist stood outside the tiny hatch Dan had crawled through on his mission. It looked like a tiny dog door. He tugged on the rope that disappeared into the tower and waited for a response that never came.

The pious Pole hung his head saying, “Pull him out, he didn’t make it.”

Ettore and the mechanic pulled the rope dragging the feather-light man out of the tower. After the scientist delicately folded Dan Cooper’s limbs to get him through the hatch, the man’s eyes flickered.

“I did it E..Ettore.”

“Are you sure Dan, can you repeat it to me?”

“Y..yes. Si vis pacem, p..p..ara bellum.”

The mechanic hugged Dan Cooper as he said it again in English, “If you want peace, prepare for war. They are coming!”

The science article that inspired this story: Storm of Strange Radio Bursts Emerges From Deep Space

Hawk and Young Website:

Do You Believe in Aliens?

Some people think that all scientists are the same, blowing things up in labs and creating spaceships in their backyards.

My phone rang. It was my old college roommate, Kate.

“Hey Kate, what’s up?”

“So, did you hear that message from space?”

Kate was one of those people. She didn’t understand that I didn’t work with monkeys, nor listen to messages from space. I’m not sure she knew what CDC stood for.

“No, I didn’t.”

“Oh,” she sounded disappointed. “I was thinking you could tell me what it said.”

“Do you believe in aliens?”

“Yeah, I mean, the universe is huge, right? Anything can be out there.”

“Listen, all I know is, tomorrow they are going to destroy the last strains of the Smallpox virus.”

“That’s good.”

“Not really. I mean, we can’t make vaccines without it.”

“Then why destroy it?”

“No one has had smallpox since 1977.” She decided to change the subject because science bores her. “So, is your date tonight?”

She meant my first blind date since college. “Yes.”

“OOh!” She squealed. “And he’s another scientist like you?”

“He is an astrophysicist. I’m a microbiologist.”

“That’s what I mean, a scientist like you. I think it’s a match made in heaven.”


“You’re a nerd, he’s a nerd.”

“Do people say nerd anymore?”

“Yes, it’s making a comeback.” “Hey, I’ve gotta go.”

“Fine. Bye.”

“Bye.” The man who stood up when I arrived at the diner was not your typical nerd. He wore glasses, sure, but he was tall and had the cutest dimple. He asked pointed questions to get to know my likes and dislikes. I did the same in return.

“So, what do you do for the CDC?”

“I test the viability of bacteria and try different ways to eradicate it.”

“I could send it all to space for you. The temperature out there would freeze it.”

“But some of them come back to life after freezing.”

“Cryogenics has always fascinated me.”

“What else fascinates you?”

“Do you believe in aliens?” This question haunted her. When she’d asked it of Kate, she’d not been as serious as he was now.

“No?” she hesitated, but went for honesty.

“Well, there were these recordings from space.”

“I heard about that.” “Some people think they come from aliens.”

“Do you?”

“What the general public doesn’t know is that my father was able to translate one of the messages based on ancient Sumarian text.”

“What?” “It says, ‘Danger. Kroatones. Use the biological weapons we left behind’.”

“What biological weapons?”

“Some ancient disease, as old as the Sumarians”

“The most ancient disease in the world is… smallpox, but the CDC is destroying smallpox tomorrow.”

“Can you stop them?”

“Why? Because you and your Dad believe in aliens?”

“What if these Kroatones are a real problem? That’s what the first British colonization attempt carved in a tree before they disappeared.”

“The only problem here is this date.” I stood and walked out.

The science story that inspired this story: Radio Bursts Galaxy Space Breakthrough Listen Science National Geographic  - National Geographic