In the not-too-distant future, tech-savvy criminals put national security on high alert with technology that allows the perception of reality to be altered.
Four agents stood on a ridge overlooking red, rugged terrain in Arizona. Clad in technological gadgetry from head-to-toe, they stood for a while embracing the suns last rays. Their mission prevailed mostly at night. The year is 2060, and while technological advancement brought many new benefits to society, it brought some pitfalls through those who had criminal intent. What these agents hunted had required several nationally-syndicated departments, and the discretion of their covert team. The operation was officially dubbed “Project Nightshine”. These were well-trained agents from the Central Intelligence Agency, set in to apprehend a “nanite swarm”. Three of them were ex-army. The situation would have been evaded if they were able to locate those in control of the sophisticated digitalized swarm. But the creators were not new to “the game”. They had acquired blueprints for their ingenious creation, and then unleashed it into “the wild”. But they falsified the IP used to control the Ninite swarm. They had kept the Feds perfectly mystified with their location, and thus had assigned mission “to apprehend the ninite swarm by any means necessary” to the elite four-man infiltration team. Joe, Carmec, Harran, and Ray composed the infiltration team. They had known the potential outcome of this mission could mean certain death. They considered it a privilege to serve their nation and protect the citizens.
“When the sun goes down, remember that our shift beast will still be energized from the solar reserves it has been collecting. Unlike most batteries, this swarm takes in UV rays with astonishing efficiency, and then stores them in a liquid lithium core inside each of the ninite spheres. They will be able to last about seven hours after the sun goes down. It will be losing power as the dark remains, but once the first light hits, they will be energizing again.” Joe informed the team. “How long do you think this hunt will last Joe? We have the equipment to take it quickly” Carmec asked. “Well remember, these spheres are linked together with a powerful electromagnetic force. They can take any form factor, and hit harder than any bayonet. If they get close enough, the controllers won’t hesitate to run the swarm through one of us like a skewer through kabobs”. Harran and Ray looked at each other with horror. They were informed that this mission would prove difficult, but they hadn’t considered it would be a fight with a semi-intelligent enemy.
Joe pulled his propriety smart device from his Velcro breast pocket. It had the GPS-sensitive signature of the nano-technology clearly defined in the GPS software, so if cellular reception were ever to be lost, the last location would still be traceable based on pre-installed maps of the area. Each agent carried such a device. They provided for several innovative features enhanced Bluetooth frequency to link up to 5 devices, which included a headset for communication, linking the team together through a 512-bit encrypted Wireless N LAN, augmented reality contacts for optical tactics that could be used to instruct the agents from Project Nightshine’s control room. The agents also wore fabric that enabled micro-LED display, with atmosphere-sensitive sensors, which allowed for two settings: atmospheric camouflage, and an emergency solid-light emission. In order to power all of the gear, each agent had several inches of highly-sensitive solar material woven into their upper-body armor. Ultra-lightweight Lithium Ion batteries lined the backs of their lower legs, as to remain out of the way. Their armor itself was an elaborate four-layer system of protection. The first was a gel-layer synthetic chemical formula that semi-liquefies upon contact of human skin, and then augments up to the second layer. The second layer is a Kevlar-based material protecting from penetration. The third and fourth layers were for enhanced mobility and the Micro-LED display. “Let’s move” Joe said. They had parachuted in from the air to avoid premature encounters, with digital camouflage enabled. The night would reveal the benefit of their augmented reality optical lenses.
The weapons needed to apprehend the swarm would of course have an absence of light. They released cymatic-based vibrations that would force a collectable state of the swarm. Once caught, the swarm would be placed in a perpetually-powered cymatic form keeper, using decibels high enough to render the ninites powerless. The cymatic “sound cannons” were ultra-light, and kept at the ready in the event that the swarm would show aggressive tendencies. As a backup, they had a liquid nitrogen grenade that could detonate on the slightest contact once the timer-activation was enabled.
The controllers had released the swarm just that afternoon, and remotely traversing the Arizona desert. It was a trial run, but the swarm had been presented as ready for long stints of activity in the mission briefing. The night was calm, but these agents were ever alert, despite the effort required for an actual fatality to them exerted from the swarm.
“Joe, your location indicates that you are approaching the swarm, it is still moving at 400mph. Please enable your motion-detecting framerate display reduction, so you will be able see the swarm” Jill, the team’s coordinator from the project headquarters sounded over Joe’s headset. “Very encouraging reminder Jill, thanks”. Joe informed the team of the display setting on their digital overlay. “Hey, your suit training should have prepared you to move at the same speed, what’s the issue?” “Mental I suppose. I am used to moving at natural human speeds using natural vision. It’s just a head trip to know what we are fighting is actually moving that fast, that’s all.” “You will all do fine Joe. I will keep you up to date as new information presents itself.” “Hey, any news on the swarm controllers yet?” “You’d think we would have them by now, huh? Actually, we are tracking several IP addresses that are authenticated, but then end up being dead ends, since we have to send teams out to physically check them out. The controllers are actually linking us to IP’s of other potential criminals. And they aren’t easy to catch either.” “Right, well keep us updated”. “Ten-Four” Jill went quiet. Once the digital overlay enhanced each agent’s vision, and slow motion had slowed their display, time seemed to stop. They enabled their assisted movement, which allowed them to move at speeds up to 761mph (or the speed of sound) at a full sprint. They had genuinely become superhuman. Their perception of reality had been altered, despite anything actually changing. The digital overlay had a 1milisecond pixilated lag, which made the world seem alien.
Despite the extensive training as Federal operatives, as well as soldiers, there was some room permitted to “familiarize themselves” with the mobility and display. Harran and Jay did a short circling as they eyed each other, switching their cymatic cannons to a low-level sonic boom. Then Harran, like a showdown at high noon, pulled a quick draw on Jay, and pushed him back ten feet with his blast. “Alright, we have tested this, that’s enough”. “Every instance could offer different performance, and we are dealing with some very technological dependencies here, Carmec.” Carmec just stared at Harran and smiled. Jay got up with a playful grin visible through his shock-absorbent helmet. “Look sharp team! Swarm is approaching!” Just as Harran and Carmec turned their heads, the swarm came into view. It appeared as a swarm of bees, each sphere surprisingly small. At the center of the swarm was several smaller spheres that hovered in place giving off discreet light for the other spheres to dispute light out as mini light sources themselves. It looked like a giant levitating chemistry project controlled as an organized bio-organism. “Surround it!” Joe exclaimed over the shared head-set. Jay and Harran took the right, while Carmec took the left as Joe fell in behind him, forming a square. When the swarm discovered the intent of the agents, it made an attempt at penetrating the heart of Harran, who saw it and dodged out of the way in time. For a split second, his vision was filled with different sizes of small dots.
From the distance, the encounter would appear alien, with two opposing factions moving at speeds of 180mph and decelerating as fast as they accelerate. There was a good reason sophisticated camouflage was used. Even though the Sonaran desert of Arizona has a sparse population, such a sight by a civilian could produce some unneeded social media exposure.
Joe raised his cymatic weapon and fired a capturing sound burst at the swarm. The swarm evaded it and rushed at Joe’s gun circling around to force it from his hands. Joe strafed to the left, and the swarm flashed by and gently collided with a rocky hill wall. The Swarm compressed and advanced in reversed right by Joe and towards Carmec’s legs. Carmec jumped barely in time to miss the impact to his right leg, but still pushed enough in the air to outset his balance and he fell face first on the way down. Jay stepped closer and launched a blast at the swarm, but didn’t have the restrictive setting high enough on his weapon, and the blast merely slowed the rear ninites of the swarm slightly, and the front ninites whipped around and pushed itself off to the right around a distant hill. Joe motioned for Harran to follow him as they advanced toward the hill, making hand gestures to stay alert, and watching for distance reading in the digital overlay. Carmec and Jay followed after Jay helped Carmec up. They assumed a half triangle formation, with Carmec and Jay at wide positions behind Joe and Harran. They rounded the steep hill and no swarm, but then the swarm swooped in from the top. Carmec fired a now correctly-set blast directly at the swarm. The swarm slowly lost independent control, became still, while remaining in a tightly-bundled structure. Joe fired another blast to reinforce the capture, and Jay inflated the synthetic cymatic container to contain the swarm. Harran and Joe switched to sonic blast and blast the violet swarm into the container, as collapsed the container in on the swarm and engaged the cymatic captive vibration. “Excellent job men”. Joe eyed his comrades with admiration and gratitude. “Jill, we have apprehended the swarm. Requesting immediate pickup” “We witnessed the entire engagement from the hear Joe, marvelous job. Pickup dispatched, hang tight”. As they disengaged their slow motion enhancement on their digitized optical enhancement, and disengaged their enhanced mobility, their reentry to natural reality was heartily welcomed. As this simple awareness settled, the dropship appeared in the distance.