Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 100

a dust storm; the computers rebooted and sent themselves home. Supposedly. Obviously, they’d been hacked shitless. We never did catch the bastards, although a few fishy financial transactions surfaced, it turned out that they’d all been executed by trading algorithms and it was impossible for any human being to have programmed them with advance knowledge of what was going to happen and nobody benefited from them anyway, apart from a very obscure, almost microscopic hedge fund that turned out to be owned and operated by, and out of the bedroom of, one extremely embarrassed and utterly innocent child prodigy day trader. We were going to take him for everything he had, but then it turned out that his algorithm-driven hedge fund had sunk all the cash into yet another weird backstreet operator, and so on, and on, and on, and on down the line until the money had been lost track of as completely as the molecules constituting the last breath of Julius Caesar. Who benefited, then? Cui Bono? as the conspiracy theorists say. Everybody and nobody. The system benefited. The money propped up the financial sector for another few years, kept our gimcrack global economy from utterly disintegrating just that little bit longer, till we came up with some more permanent answers. The shock and horror of the deaths caused by the Attacks galvanized the international community into a sort of solidarity, who knows, maybe even averted World War III. And of course everyone’s favourite douchebag politicians got themselves elected and re-elected, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering some of the alternatives on offer. It’s on nights like this, when I can’t sleep and I don’t want to think about my personal life, that I find myself wondering: Just who the fuck are these dickholes we’re fighting, anyway? Not the brainwashed zombies driving bombtrucks into embassies and shooting up newspapers. Those mothers are so gone they couldn’t organize a Christmas party, let alone a Jihad. Mohammed Atta was so out of it that he wouldn’t shake the hand of a woman, and Timothy McVeigh actually thought there was a microchip in his head. This isn’t self-directed - someone’s strategising for these fuckers. So who’s giving the orders? Their leaders? They don’t really have any - but the closest thing they have to a leadership are the self-appointed sheikhs and caliphs immortalized in thousands of hours of grainy videotape - but those old geezers are living in the tenth century; they probably think the TV’s got a little guy in it that makes it work. So it’s not the leaders and it’s certainly not the followers - funny-farm candidates to a man - who’s running the show? Who’s minding the shop? The standard conspiracy theory has it that they’re secretly controlled by sinister politicians with elections to win, high on arms deals, geostrategic dominance and general war fever, but that doesn’t make any sense either, because the result of the terrorists activities is that America is now in “partnership” with some of its worst enemies. First it was Iran, then it was Russia, now even North Korea’s talking about ‘joining forces in a spirit of forward-loo