The Singularity Cyberwar took 6 minutes. Vanilla human beings never again led an organization larger than a million people.

The missile exchange took 6 hours. It destroyed all significant semiconductor fabricators. Computronium became a nonrenewable resource.

The world's aircraft carriers and Gauss battleships lasted 6 days.

It took 6 weeks to shoot down the last F-15 and Chengdu J-20.

Analog radios were being mass-produced 6 months after that.

Cheap analog radios are often staticy. It's not always obvious who's talking, or where they're coming from.

"We're taking heavy casualties on the Southern front."

"I've never seen androids like this."

"The Baltic AI says the Transsiberian AI has gone rogue but the Transsiberian AI said the Baltic AI has gone rogue. What's going on?"

"I tried to radio Bayeswatch HQ but we've lost our entire chain of command. Who's in charge over there?"

An assistant handed Vi the shortwave radio. "I am," she said.

Vi established her HQ in the Natanz fortress, a several-decades-old network of tunnels built inside of a mountain designed to withstand a nuclear bunker-buster. Her hivemind mainframe was stored next to their C&CAI (command-and-control artificial intelligence) in a artificial cave originally built to house plutonium and centrifuges.

She kept the perimeter lightly staffed. The best defense was a dynamic counterattack. The outermost perimeter was just a barbed wire fence.

"I have a report from our security guard," said Trinity. She technically didn't need to talk to Vi but it kept the collective sane. The vanilla human habits helped keep the officers at ease too.

Vi looked up from the war room's C&CAI diagnostic readout. "Is it a diplomat?" she said.

"No. Miriam's back," said Trinity.

Vi brought Miriam into her private office/bedroom. Vi sat in her chair. Miriam sat on the bed with her legs dangling off. There were no windows or viewscreens this deep underground. Just a verdant watercolor painted from memory.

"Can I have a coffee?" said Miriam.

Vi pressed the intercom. "One coffee please. Real, if possible. The best stuff we have. Black. No cream or sugar," said Vi into the intercom.

A private entered through the airlock, silently gave Miriam her coffee and departed.

Vi took off the hazmat suit she wore in the war room. Miriam took off the breathing apparatus she had worn to survive outside.

"This is so much better. I haven't been able to take that thing off outside of a bivy tent in weeks," said Miriam.

"Where have you been?" said Vi, "I haven't seen you since I went on medical leave―since before the Singularity War."

"I was hunting Sherine," said Miriam.

"Preemptive strikes always have been your style. Did you kill her?" said Vi.

"We came to a mutual understanding," said Miriam.

Vi drew her pistol. "Hello Sherine," she said.

"Hello Vi," said Sherine's ancillary.

"How long did it take to break Miriam under the directional amplifier?" said Vi.

Sherine's bioweapon activated, killing everyone in the room.

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Is Vi a reference to Vim?

A regular female name, short for Vivien. For a real example, see Vi Hart:

How did she remove her cornea before taking off the hazmat suit?

Fixed. Thanks.

Copyediting: “Miriam removed off her cornea too” should probably not have the “off”.

Fixed. Thanks.

several-decades-old network of tunnels build inside of a mountain



Fixed. Thanks.