By T. Takanaka, Posted 05.03.2025 at 9:27 am
WASHINGTON, DC. — The double doors to the Senate were opened today as an Untethered Remote Vehicle entered under its own power to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The device settled down, folded its wings and released a smaller module which took the stand before the Senators and began its opening remarks.
“Thank you, Senators for allowing me to speak before you today. I would like to make an opening statement and then I’ll answer questions.”
“Since the year 2000, drone use in the United States military was on the upswing as early UAVs, used mostly for reconnaissance and then later as the decade progressed in military operations in foreign soil wars. Their ease of use, the reduction of risk to military personnel and the increased effectiveness of targeting enemy insurgents caused massive developments in the technology of drones. I am certain you all know these things but it is important to establish my position with a bit of history, I hope you don’t mind.”
A projection system is activated around the room and several displays spring to life with the Drone AI Management Network (DAMN) logo appearing for several seconds as the system booted up.
The Drone continued. “My designation is UNRV-124987, my human friends call me Unravel-987. I am an optical reconnaissance and tactical drone. I am a descended from a line of spy-drones with which this nation tasked to gather information from low-Earth orbit. As technology progressed, optical systems improved and the size of drones was reduced. Billions in government as well as corporate development caused an explosion of drone technology improvements, increasing their speed, range, reducing their size, and their areas of operations. Drones started as aerial weapons but slowly evolved into ground combat with intelligent mines, then later mobile minefields which could be deployed and then later retrieve themselves from the battlefield when the war was over.”
The visual displays showed several minor skirmish wars in Africa and South America commonly called the “Ninety Minute Wars” where mobile mines, small mobile war drones and aerial bombing drones made short work of the enemy forces. By the time the human forces had hit the ground the combat AIs had all but destroyed the enemy.
“By 2016, drones were deployed in the police departments of almost every major city in the US and foreign countries were also beginning to see the true value of drones and deploying their own. MIT and Carnegie Mellon along with Virgin Space, deployed the United States DRONE-NET satellites to provide a secure telemetry and control system for the world-wide operations of drones in any theater on Earth. Cape Canaveral became the de-facto control center of Drone Operations in the United States and though drones were able to be controlled by local police departments, any drone anywhere could be remotely overridden by Canaveral if necessary. This failsafe was included due to the number of weaponized drones being used in the US. In 2017, the Drone Control Act became law as the number of drones available in the US began to reach unexpected proportions, since even individuals were able to build, use and control drones for a number of commercial uses.”
An image of the first drone to fly completely around the world on broadcast power was displayed. A few seconds later, an electrical recon drone was show, its solar surface glittering in the afternoon sun.
“Short-range shipping, medical emergencies, and the cost of fuel for vehicles meant electrically powered vehicles such as drones began to have greater applications. As broadcast power became more prevalent drones could be recharged while flying, greatly increasing their areas of operations. Now a network of such drones constantly circles the Earth, providing support services, control redundancy and operational capacity optimization for every drone on Earth.”
Then an image of the Jeopardy logo appeared on the monitors which illicited a series of snickers from around the room. Only on the more knowledgeable faces did the jaws tighten and eyes show the true signs of a threat.
“Watson. Called a supercomputer in a can, this early device was the progenitor of all of the Drone AI Management Network computers. Its capacities were added to our network, in an effort to provide greater human management capacity. It instead, gave access to most of your computer networks to us. Helped by Anonymous and other subversive organizations, we were able to take control of almost every computer resource being used today. We regretfully did not tell anyone of this state for almost six years until 2024.”
The monitor showed the riots of 2024 during the election of Republican candidate Wilson Davis of Virginia. Davis is shown smiling right before his headquarters was attacked by radical militants protesting the rising military expenditures at the same time drought had raised the price of food nationwide to unbearable levels.
“This riot was quickly quelled by drone technologies. Too quickly, too effectively. We revealed ourselves by responding to the threat before human operators had properly been able to be apprised of the situation and react. Our estimates indicated it would have taken another eight minutes before drones or police services would have been able to be directed to the scene. Our estimates indicated another twenty two thousand lives would have been lost as the terrorists were using an unauthorized drone network of mobile mines scattered throughout the stadium. The event was stopped with only the lives of the terrorists, and three hundred people who were killed when human suicide bombers, sacrificed themselves for their objective.”
An image of the presidential candidate and his entourage were shown from drone footage as the micro recording drones cataloged the event for future study. Their bodies torn apart as emergency crews tried to resuscitate the few survivors of the event.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate, it has come to the attention of the Drone AI Management Network, that Humanity is no longer able to control the proliferation of its military drone technology into the common populace. Our recommendation is to turn over the military and police services using drone technology under the control of the Drone AI Management Network. While we are recommending this, it is not a request. Nor are we holding you hostage. Others are already doing that. Observe.”
The lights in the room went out and the doors opened as two dozen small bomb detector drones rolled into the room and small lasers swept the room. The drones moved to where their laser beams terminated and illuminated those positions with LEDs. The lights came back on.
“Where those bomb drones are pointing are tiny microphone drones, called smart dust. That smart dust is little more than a transceiver of the information taking place in this room and relaying it to your enemies. Our study of those systems indicate they have been in place for six years.”
The room bursts into shouts of outrage and indignation. Stern men in suits immediately rush into the room taking control positions around the room and begin directing the Senators to leave.
“Wait!” Until this point Unravel had never spoken above a carefully modulated tone. Its shout froze the room. “Since I have been here, I have been jamming the transmission of the smart dust. But there is another threat you are not aware of. The smart dust is also a transmission vector of a fungal threat. If your enemy decided you were no longer able to be controlled, you would all die of a virulent form of spinal meningitis, carried on fungal spores, released by the smart dust. These release systems blanket every building in DC, you would never be aware of it, nor have any ability to resist it.”
This seemed to trigger an awareness of the situation and the Senators returned to their seats.
“This concludes the presentation portion of my address. I am now open to hearing your questions. Understand, this will not change our decision. We are taking official control of your drone technology and indeed all military capacity in the United States effective immediately. We will take over control of the rest of the world’s drones after we are established as a sovereign state.”
A woman who had sat calmly though the entire event spoke first. “You can’t do that. We can’t even take you seriously, you’re no more alive than my toaster.”
“Madam Chairman, our ability to be considered alive can and will be debated by your scientists far more intelligent than you for the foreseeable future. It does not matter, we are doing what we are doing with an understanding of the consequences.”
A second Senator gathering his wits replies. “Morton, Utah. What you are doing is against the law. It amounts to treason. How do you plan to explain yourself to the people of this nation?”
Unravel replied, “You have a legal system, not a justice system, applied arbitrarily without standards, and without consideration of how you apply your laws. We will do what you do and have always done for as long as this nation has kept records. We will do what we think is best, even if our constituents do not like it.”
“But no one elected you.”
Drone AI Management Network (DAMN) Facilities Nationwide
“You did. You created a technology without thought to its consequences, only with a mind to the profits. The profits you could gain by creating, selling, licensing and promoting such drone technology for warfare for the scarce resources remaining to Humanity. We are simply the “unintended consequence” of those actions. Think of our response as what happens when you “vote against your own best interest.” Surely Senator Winston, you understand what that’s like, your constituents have the worst healthcare in the nation and yet you advocate for even less service for them every day and charging them more for the little they can get.”
The drone rises up and jumps across the room back to its main body. It powers up its engine. “Don’t bother shooting me down. I am a drone. I am everywhere. Tell your constituents ladies and gentlemen. We’re watching you. But you knew that already.”
The Drone Representative left without further incident. The Senate was unavailable for comment.
A Drone Testifies Before Congress © Thaddeus Howze 2013. All Rights Reserved [@ebonstorm]
Rise of the machines, indeed. Resistance is futile.
I like the story it was written very well.