Part 4: Chapter 14: Propaganda

Drone after drone flew over the vast mountain range. They flew in from all directions on set paths. But this was no bombing run. This was a propaganda mission. The drones fired down communications to the ground below and reprogrammed the minds of those that were caught up in the beams. It was telling the people here that we were the enemy. That we had lied to them all along and that they should rise up against us and fight our oppression.

The damage had already been done before we could get out code to block this. Rather than fight their way through the mountains, they had installed an insurgent army right here in the territory that was under our control. It was a stroke of genius and not something that I had even contemplated.

There was no way to know how many people had been affected and unless all commands were the same as the one that we had managed to intercept, no way to know what the standing orders were for those that had been affected. A hidden enemy.

I had to act fast. Based on the beam that we had intercepted and decoded, we quickly designed a fuzzy pattern recognition sensor gate that would look for a match in the residual reprogramming of a person or something that was based on a similar coding pattern.

The only people that we could truly trust now were those based inside of Blue. The barrier had blocked out the beams when the drones flew directly over. I had to assume that the resistance was partially under the influence of the enemy. I had to assume that I had lost Michael, Emile and the Farm Crew and any forces under their command. I also had to assume that any new recruits could be under the control of the enemy.

The army that I had here was the army that I would have to work with. We numbered approximately 25,000. The number of troops and resistance fighters that I was assuming as lost totalled over 30,000.

I had to rely on any resistance fighters that had not been affected to carry out their standing orders as per their zonal commanders from the previous day. I could not risk a communication to pass this command on to them. They were on their own now. As far as I was concerned, I was now working without a resistance. I was working with an army that I commanded inside Blue and a headless and unpredictable resistance force on the other side of the barrier that I now had no control of.

To have an advantage ripped out of your hands was particularly galling. To have it ripped out in such a fashion was even more so. I ordered small groups of forces to install the sensor gates at strategic locations on the outskirts of Blue in neighbouring zones. They were designed to first recognise the reprogramming patch and then attempt to strip it out and override it with a new command. A benign command. Stand down. For the general populace, this would mean nothing. Even if the reprogramming worked on any resistance or soldiers, I still could not take the risk that the enemy had built in a contingency to an override.

I was becoming even more paranoid with every error of oversight that I was making. I feared for my judgement as the war was reaching a critical period. I feared this ending badly. I was beginning to sense a fear for losing my own existence.



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