ProloguePart 1Part 2, Part 3

FSA Origins Project

from the Diary of “El Unico”

Vol. 1, Recovered 2037.05.23

pp. 43-45

In basic comms training they teach frequency and wavelength, amplitude modulation and frequency modulation, analog and digital comms, then encryption, and then… off to the races you go! You’re into the gear: encrypted VHF, frequency-hopping, SATComm, KY fills, and how badly your career will go if you lose a piece of crypto gear. The basics are treated almost as an afterthought.

Signal. And Noise.

That’s where the money is really made. It’s all that matters in communications. They don’t delve into it too much because the instructors don’t want to get sidetracked into radar, but all modern comms are electromagnetic radiation, which means you’re dealing with the same subject…

Any communications system has a sender, a channel, and a receiver. A signal is created by the sender, then propagated through the medium – or channel – and then received at its intended destination. The signal might – but doesn’t have to – be the message itself. Usually there’s an additional catch, whether it’s pulsed electromagnetic energy or smoke signals, semaphore flags, blinking lights, or the Beacons of Fucking Gondor, signals have to be interpreted. That is, signals are almost always encoded and/or encrypted. Morse code’s dots and dashes only mean SOS to someone who knows both the underlying code and what an “SOS” means. The same is true of over-the-wire electrical signals and bursts of electromagnetic energy, be it radio waves, microwaves, or all of the other variations that have followed. i.e. wireless comms.

To communicate, you have to send a clear Signal. To be heard, your Signal has to rise above the Noise. Our government specializes in noise-generation: it’s really nothing more than one giant, broad-spectrum jamming operation. And, oh, how the masses love the Noise! Especially if it’s got talkies.

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The reason for the shift to wireless is simply one of superior technology: you can pack so much information in those little bundles of energy, including images…moving images. You can also encode those packets so that only someone with the proper receiver can decode that packet – and that’s completely separate from encryption, which can make even a non-encoded signal indecipherable unless one knows the decryption algorithm. And all of those discrete frequencies! Oo, la-la.

Man explored land, then went to the seas. Low frequency and very low frequency devices were used as maritime navigational aids, like buoys and markers; AM and shortwave radio came next in the medium and HF range. As we climbed the frequency spectrum we got Very High Frequency… and television! Which was soon followed by the gift of Ultra-High Frequency channels, for those old enough to remember the spread beyond the big three: the American and National Broadcasting Companies (ABC/NBC) and Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Man’s ascension of the EM spectrum only hastened, to Satellite Comms, out of which came cell phones. And then finally, at the far end of the frequency spectrum, Man reaching out, grasping for some other voice, another Receiver, at the far reaches of space… radio astronomy.

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Why the government hates me is because I sent pure signal – clear of anything non-essential – and loud as hell. I rose above their noise. Just as the signal fires of Gondor had one and only one purpose and meaning, I made sure that my signal would be unmistakable, undeniable, and impossible to obfuscate.

So, yes, of course I got started on the Naughty Web. Where the fuck else could I go? The government owns .com and all the rest. I’ve watched knucklehead militia after militia get snatched and smashed as soon as they started gaining momentum online. That’s how it works, but the rubes still don’t understand. You can be telling The Whole Truth about your government, screaming it at the top of your lungs on state-owned platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and go on forever as long as you don’t have an audience large enough to matteras long as your signal is drowned out by the government’s noise. There have always been dissidents; hell, they’re necessary for the brownshirts to have something to point to in order to justify their existence. But once your signal gains sufficient strength – once it begins to rise above the noise – you can bet it will be squelched as fast as you can say Rumplestiltskin. So, yes, posterity should note that I started and grew on the Dark Web.

You gotta fish where the fish are, son! My father loved that phrase.

The bridge too far was when I suggested that some enterprising hacker could and should use AI and Machine Learning to predict certain government officials’ bribes before they happened and blockchain the predictions. Er, by bribe, I mean “completely legal re-election campaign donations by giant corporations and unions that just happened to coincide with certain legislators votes on certain pieces of legislation favorable to said corporations and unions.” It was bait that even Anonymous and other Hacktivist groups couldn’t resist. Much like the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), you beam a signal as free of noise and static as you can and hope that it reaches intelligent life. I hit a grand slam on that one.

It worked a little too well. Cost some nobody hacker who took up my challenge her family and her life… turned out to be a working mom. Who knew there were women hackers?! And Big G plays for keeps.

After that, well… after that I beamed it even further and louder. I used that system to predict and predict and predict; the computer was so eerily accurate that we were catching politicians in flagrante delicto, with their dick in their hand – sometimes literally. Oh, yes – I convinced my hacktavist friends to program for…proclivities. Then the donors started going underground – but the AI/ML had predicted that, too, and we were ready.

All of those corruption exposes, the ones with the video and the names of the launderers? The ones with screenshots of offshore bank accounts? Yeah, that was us… well, to be honest, that was the AI and Machine Learning with some really good inputs. Everyone was looking for SkyNet, but that was always BS. But it turns out that computers do not have a hard time following predictable patterns of shitty human behavior – and politicians are nothing if not predictably shitty. Eventually, the donations started drying up and that meant serious crackdowns by the Uni-Party.

I was ready – waiting, really – for that, too.