The Feed

INTERLUDES: Dear Mother

OFFICIAL US DOCUMENT

Do Your Part! – If you think your loved one has revealed a state secret in this document, report it immediately to local authorities. Don’t let your love for your family member cause the death of someone else’s!

April 21, 2031

Dear Mother,

How are things back home? I hope you and the old man are doing all right. I got a letter from Uncle Jerry saying that Jenna got accepted into the state college. Well, that’s just all right, isn’t it? Send her my love.

Things could be better here. War is war, of course. It was hard flying into London and seeing the devastation those damn Chinese fools wreaked there.

The hard part is England wasn’t even with us when this whole war broke out. Can’t say that I blame them, after how we did them wrong. I suppose the Chinese didn’t want them changing their mind. Still…

Heathrow airport is still a shambles, but is beginning to be rebuilt by our boys. The locals still looked at us like filth. I understand that many of them blame US for the attack.

A couple of flights on and we landed in Iraq in the middle of the night. I imagine the folks there would be a might more comfortable with us, if they’d been up. I heard Congress might bring up a vote on making it the 52nd state. Wouldn’t that be a thing?

I don’t know how much longer they’d be happy, though. Sounds like Russia is looking to get into the fight. They’re just about close enough to spit on them, thanks to Turkey and Iran.

The main battle’s in India now, I guess. China took Japan easy last year of course, so it’s slim pickings coming in from that side. The higher-ups said they’re worried about the Chinese having our bot technology now.

That’s what we’re in Iraq for, I guess: bot training. Well, it’s bot-suit training if I’m being accurate. Not sure how much I’m supposed to be talking about it.

It’s something else to see, mama! The old man would love every moment of it, being an old bot fighter and all. These are a bit larger than what he got to play with, and you get to wear them.

I’d say they’re about fifteen feet tall and look meaner than all hell. The trainers put it best, saying it’s not unlike wearing a tank. I don’t know why we don’t just use tanks instead, but I ain’t in charge of the military, so…

I’m getting pretty good at it, though. They have us run simulations through this Chinese town they pieced together. We have to gun down everyone, including the kids. I know they’re just bots under that skin, but it just feels wrong.

I guess we had to come up with something to show up the boys in blue. The air force has been bringing in these ultra-sonic jet bombers. They look kinda like what I suppose a UFO would look like.

They’ve flown overhead a couple times since I’ve been here. It’ll be all quiet at first, then you hear this low rumble. That builds up to this loud warbling sound.

The planes fly so fast that you can only kinda half-see them. They’ll be there for a minute, pause, then suddenly be halfway across the damn sky. It’s supposed to be something to do with quantum pockets in subspace or something.

It sounds like the government is trying all sorts of things just now. China has us dead to rights and they know it. Now I know that it’s just rumors they have nuclear bombs, but just look at the situation.

They’re real friendly with Russia, now ain’t they? Got real close ever since the US dropped the ball on trade relations. I bet they got enough to cause us some real headaches.

That’s the real reason both sides are getting so fancy with the ground fight. We could blow each other away any time we wanted. Nobody wants that.

We still have to demonstrate our power without pushing them too far, I guess. They see what we’re doing and push back. Then we build bigger bots and faster jets… You get it.

Something feels different lately, though. Seems like both sides have been turning up the heat with their spying activities. I’ve heard some crazy rumors about the Chinese, lately.

You ever seen that classic science fiction movie with the jungle alien? He could make himself invisible to the army guys and all that? Dad has a copy of it if you haven’t.

That’s the rumor, right there. They have some sort of cloaking device that makes it so you can’t see them. They just turn it on and sneak into a troop transport and whatnot.

Then they can do whatever they need to. They take pictures, copy papers, things like that. Then they leave the same way they came in, the army none the wiser. They’re supposed to be nearly undetectable.

It’s got everyone plenty paranoid. Seems like wherever I go, I feel like I’m being watched. Then again, we got our own thing going, now.

You see, we got our own spy program here. They’re being super-secretive about it, of course. In fact, you have to be specially selected to participate. You know, selected like me.

It’s a hell of a deal, mama. They said that being a part of the program doubles my pay, halves my tour commitment, and promises early retirement with full benefits. It’s hard to believe, I know.

I looked it over real careful though, just like Daddy taught me to. I didn’t see anything that sent up alarm bells, other than the offer itself, naturally. It’d be a damn felony not to do it, as Grandpa used to say.

Now, naturally I had some concern about the risks involved, being how generous the offer was. They set to reassuring me almost immediately. I still think I got reason to worry, all the same.

With the program having a name like [REDACTED], I feel I have all the reason in the world to worry. They reassure me it’s just a name, though. It’s just meant to scare the Chinese, they tell me. Seems to work both ways, though.

They were a little light on details of course, but it sounds like more quantum mumbo-jumbo. They put you in this magnetic resonance chamber and flood it with antineutrinos. This causes some sort of phase shift in your atomic structure, I guess.

Long story short, you end up just as invisible as those Chinese spies, but there’s no known way to detect you. The most they’ve been able to pick up on is a slight change in something called EMF. They said it’s about the same energy given off as an incoming text message.

As if that isn’t good enough, supposedly you can go through solid walls! There was more talk about quantum states and so on. It was hard to follow. I just can’t imagine it!

Now obviously it’s a little scary, thinking I’m going to be reduced to the equivalent of a text message. The scary part is they kind of agreed with me. They admitted they’ve had “problems” reversing the process at the end of the soldier’s mission.

So right there is your reason why I’m being so richly rewarded for volunteering. That’s why I’m writing, too. They said it’s best to write a letter home while I still had the fingers to do it. Haha, right?

I’m sure I’ll be right as rain, though. I go through the process tomorrow. I have to admit I’m as excited as I am scared. It’s almost like having superpowers, isn’t it?

Regardless, I’m ready to get on with it. Sometimes when I’m alone, I swear I can hear screaming. It’s real quiet though, like through a wall or a great distance.

I heard the Chinese are using psychological warfare, too. Maybe this is that, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s all the folks going through that machine.

I sure hope not, though. They don’t sound very happy wherever they are. I guess I’ll find out soon enough, won’t I?

I love you, Mama. Send Daddy my love, too. Try not to worry too much about me. I’m sure I’ll see you in time for Christmas.

Love, Dennis

FILED: 22 – 4 – 2031

SENT: 31 – 5 – 2031

DELIVERY ON DEATH ONLY.

Refer to Subsection 8, article iii for more info.

NOTE: This section to be REDACTED for the sake of the recipient.