Editor’s note: The Army Mad Scientist team executed its 2019 Science Fiction Writing Contest to glean insights about the future fight with a near-peer competitor in 2030. The team received seventy-seven submissions from both within and outside of the Department of Defense. The following story was one of four finalists. You can also read the winning entry here.We've visited the Army's Mad Scientist team a few times. For non-fiction that reads like SciFi here's
January 10, 2030
It was a slow day at the Sunnyside Diner so they turned on the news, which was far from sunny. Eve Arnold slouched as she listened, and when she did, the thin edges of her exoskeletal support brace pressed against her ribs. The AI embedded in the brace sent an auto-nag to her phone. “Stop slouching.” She ignored it and finished the dregs of her coffee as Oklahoma Today discussed America’s slow march towards war.
“Masked men with M-124 laser-targeting guns and stolen X4 military drones got past Otso’s security forces on Thursday,” the somber news anchor said. “They seized government buildings in the capital of Otso’s Moldarian region, then barricaded themselves inside and raised the Donovian flag. Police have sealed off access to the buildings. They say the rebellion was led by discontented students.”
“Bullshit,” Eve said to the TV. “If they’ve got M-124s, they’re Donovian military.”
Sharon looked up from the receipts she’d been counting, put a strand of curly cauliflower blue hair behind her ear and said “Eve, hon, you promised to ignore this stuff.”
“That was when the BS was just on the internet,” Eve said “Now it’s everywhere.”
A big guy sitting three seats down with a tractor cap on said, “That Donovian thing? I’m telling you right now, it’s a false flag operation.”
“See what I mean?” Eve said to Sharon.
Tractor Cap snorted. “Skinny little farm girl—what do you know?”
Girl? Eve didn’t know if she should be angry or take it as a compliment. She was pushing forty, but with her pixie haircut, t-shirt and ragged jeans, she was often mistaken for a kid. She was mulling over an appropriate response when Sharon grabbed a rag, scrubbed the already-clean counter so fiercely she nearly knocked Tractor Cap’s coffee over, and told him, “You’re talking to Eve Arnold, the engineer who built those M1-whatever guns. And the drones they flew in on!”...MORE
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