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Posted on Aug 31, 2007 in Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 33] – The Terminal Phase

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno


"My Lord, we should definitely head further down into the base. Logic tells me it will actually get easier the lower we go, the bombs can only have penetrated so far and every level is built from reinforced concrete, not to mention the mass of the mountain itself – lets go down the stairs".

"Makes sense to me, lead on!" orders Doctor Sinister and you withdraw your pistol from its holster as the door hinges open to reveal…

…an ordinary staircase, and remarkably undamaged.

Cautiously, you descend the concrete steps, your every footstep echoing in the emptiness. Behind you, Doctor Sinister covers the rear, but despite the occasional rumble as secondary explosions occur throughout the base, your journey is uneventful. Until…



It is the voice of the H.A.T.E. Supercomputer – guiding US troops elsewhere in the base to your position.

"Getting a bit scared are we H.A.T.E.?" yells Doctor Sinister triumphantly. Both of you know that it will be some time before any enemy soldiers can reach you this deep through the rubble caused by the bombing, and having studied his plans, you know that deactivating H.A.T.E. will be a piece of cake.

After some time, you reach the bottom of the deep stairwell and emerge into a vast underground chamber, the size of a cathedral. It is cold down here in the depths of the mountain, and darker than the last time you were here. Pipes and ducts line the walls and floor, you know that those ducts are threaded throughout the mountain, with H.A.T.E.’s circuits regulating most of the automatic functions of the base as well as tapping into all the local computers for miles around. But despite all this raw power and technology, the chamber is almost silent, save for strange skittering sounds and a gentle hum.

Wary of booby-traps, you enter the chamber and scan the area around you. As your eyes get used to the darkness, the image of the H.A.T.E. machine itself swims into view ahead of you – a large skeletal structure, it is essentially a series of CPU modules mounted together in an enormous open framework to keep it cool and operating at maximum efficiency. Whoever designed H.A.T.E. also wanted it to be easy to service, and you know where to head to unplug the whole piece of kit…except…

"Your Excellency, we have a problem".

"Oh, don’t say that, I hate it when you say that – why can’t things go smoothly for once?"

"My apologies my Lord, I really should have anticipated this. It looks like H.A.T.E. has been upgrading himself recently – where there used to be a bank of switches and plug sockets, there are now two panels covering his vital controls. I’m afraid we can’t just turn him off like we thought we could."

"Pity. Can we shoot him?"

"I’m afraid not my Lord, the equipment here might look open to that kind of attack, but it wouldn’t take him long to re-route his systems and stay online. No, I’m afraid the only way to do this is to basically unplug him."

"Things are never easy you know…"

"It could be worse your Majesty, I was half-expecting H.A.T.E. to mount some kind of attack on us as we headed down here, instead he seems to have put rather too much faith in the US Army to dig us out."

"Hmmm. Looks like there are two panels. I wonder who he got to install this stuff – have you agreed to any upgrades recently?"

"No my Lord. I think H.A.T.E. has found a new use for our little metallic spider friends, it looks like they’ve been doing a spot of welding".

"One red panel, one blue panel."

"We should only need to deactivate the controls under one panel, not even H.A.T.E. could operate on half-power with half of his CPUs shut down.

"So…which one do we go for General?"

To open the Red Panel, go to page 6.

To open the Blue Panel, go to page 7.

[continued on next page]

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