Microfiction Draft: Just the Prank He would Play

A terrorist genius has developed a remarkable autonomous AI, powered by an ever-growing bot-net, to develop and execute strategies for terrorist ends, using purely what is available through the internet and other networks of computers. The AI assembles a team based on terrorist website postings, brokers arms deals using dummy email accounts and the like, and sets into motion plots, one of which is to kill journalists at a newspaper.

Ten journalists are killed at a German magazine famous for boldness against the terrorist cause. The AI via email tells the terrorist genius to go to a coffee shop across the street from the German magazine and sit at the big front window. The terrorist genius then sees terrorists in paramilitary outfits and masks go in to the magazine office with assault rifles. The terrorists kill ten journalists.

Weeks later, the terrorist genius is thrown a surprise birthday party. His small circle of friends don't know who specifically sent the invites. They joke that the terrorist genius sent the invites. A surprise party thrown by the birthday boy himself would be just the prank he would play. One for the birthday cards he gets is made of black paper and has on it the famous photo of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who immolated himself in political protest. On the back, the terrorist genius' own handwriting appears scribbled--a forgery--saying, "I will not tolerate injustice." None of his friends say they gave this to him. Later they will recall the note and speculate what it meant, given what they would come to know.

In the news over the next few weeks, the police make several high-profile errors due to acting on incorrect information in their computer database systems, which causes the police to raid several incorrect addresses, terrorizing well-loved, high-profile and innocent people of the Minority Group, the people the terrorist genius wishes to mobilize against the Oppressor Population.

The terrorist genius has a hobby of long distance running. He goes for a run through the countryside and sees a micro-drone following him. Feeling threatened, he runs to dangerous exhaustion, collapses, and is brought to a hospital by an ambulance that was prompted by an anonymous call. He leaves the hospital with medication. There is confusion and delay at the pharmacy, due to a computer system problems, but he gets his pills. He takes one immediately, as his pain is strong and he's been without medication for longer than expected due to the pharmacy delay.

He hails a cab and starts to feel like he's on fire. He starts screaming for water to cool him. The cab stops. The terrorist genius leaps out of the cab in front of a government building, one that would not have been on his natural route from hospital to home, and screams for water. Several people walking by, with uncanny readiness, throw cups of liquid on him in response, then disappear into the crowd. He sees banners being held in the crowd--it's a protest of the recent bungled police raids on innocent Minority Group members. He smells gasoline. 

His cell phone goes off with a ring that he's never heard before--it's a blaring voice, "We terrorists are with you! We will die for you! Here's proof!" It's a simulation of his own voice. The phone feels searingly hot in his pocket. He then bursts into flames. His screams escalate. He can't see them, but many people with smart phones around him, with uncanny readiness, record the event on video. He also would not know it, but historians would later say this was the moment when the terrorist movement began to gain a considerable following, and considerable power, in its unusually effective fight with the Oppressors.