The sun rose above the horizon. Its light crashed against a set of curtains of a suburban house trying to get into the darkened bedroom. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were both curled up together in the bedroom. Mr. Thompson’s face was only inches from his wife’s their hands intertwined as they slept peacefully. Next to the bed was a small nightstand with an alarm clock that read 5:59am. The hour changed and alarm went off Mr. Thompson woke first. He reached over and slammed the snooze button he looked down at his wife and kissed her forehead. Mrs. Thompson groaned and rolled over, “Five more minutes,” she said softly.
Mr. Thompson smiled, “Don’t sleep to long,” he said, kissing the back of her head. Mr. Thompson rolled out of bed and walked towards a door that led to a bathroom.
An hour later, both Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were down stairs. Mr. Thompson was dressed in a button down shirt and navy blue tie and jacket. Mrs. Thompson had on a pair of black heels, and a long black dress that extended just below the knee. Both sat at the kitchen table Mr. Thompson read a newspaper while Mrs. Thompson was eating breakfast.
Mr. Thompson read the top headline, “President Declares War on China.” He breathed deep and read the article. His wife asked him something, but he didn’t hear.
“John,” she shouted.
Mr. Thompson looked up from the paper, “I’m sorry. Did you say something?” Mr. Thompson folded up the paper and put it on the table.
“I asked if you wanted breakfast.”
“Oh, sorry, I’ll pick up something at the office.”
“Everything Ok,” she asked.
“The president just declared war on China. China invested a couple hundred thousand dollars into my company. I’m going to have to pay them back. It means I’ll have to lay off a few of my engineers.”
“I’m sure they will understand.”
John breathed deep; he stood and kissed his wife on the cheek. “I wouldn’t wait up. I’ll be home late.”
John walked out of the house and towards a small silver car. He entered the car and started it. The engine hummed as John started to input coordinates for the car to take him to work. The car started to pull out of the drive. The car drove slowly through the neighborhood on its way to the nearest highway.
He pressed a button on his steering wheel, “Call Alex,” he yelled. His phone was hooked up to the car through its Bluetooth. A display in the dashboard kicked on and said, “Calling Alex.”
A ringing noise was played through the car’s speakers. “Hello,” a voice called out.
“Alex, you read the news?”
“Yeah, we always knew it was a possibility. You want me to be the one to tell them?”
“No, anyone that we need to layoff has earned an explanation.”
“You can’t blame him for declaring war. China has been hacking into companies left and right. He wasn’t being left much of a choice.”
“Yeah, yeah, doesn’t mean we have to like it.”
The car pulled up onto the ramp and entered the highway. The call to Alex suddenly disconnected. The display screen went black as John looked around. He pressed the button to get the phone back. The car didn’t respond only kept driving changing into the middle lane. The car slowly started to speed up. John started to get a little nervous. John tried to turn the car back to manual control, but couldn’t get the car to respond. He picked up his phone and dialed 911.
The phone rang once, “We are sorry the call can’t be completed as dialed.” John hung up and called again, but got the same message.
Suddenly the car’s touch display turned on. A text message started to appear on the screen. The message was read aloud through the car, “You declare war, we declare war.” The words made John’s blood run cold as the car started to accelerate faster. Suddenly, the car turned. John’s car slammed into the lane next to him and into a SUV. Both vehicles rolled and caused other cars to hit them.
John wasn’t awake for the entire crash he only saw the turn, felt the impact into the first car, and then as the car rolled John was thrown into the window knocking him out. He woke several minutes later, the car was stopped the display was destroyed along with the rest of the car.
John looked around he wanted to find a way out, but he only saw metal around him. His vision went in and out of focus. He tried to move, one of his arms was pinned between his car and another. The rest of him was hanging upside down. He started to feel woozy he could feel something like water on his head. He used his only free hand to feel. He looked and saw that his head was bleeding from the top of his forehead.
He could hear the sound of people around the crash, the sirens in the distance and he could hear the soft moans of the crash victims around him. He looked out what was left of his windshield to see the SUV he hit. The SUV was easily totaled, John could see into their windshield. He saw a middle-aged man and woman. There was nothing special about them, only that they were holding each other’s hand. John noticed that both of them weren’t moving, both had blood on their heads, John knew they were both dead. John kept looking at the SUV hoping to see something. He saw something in the back. He couldn’t make it out, but it was moving, barely but moving.
John tried to look around more. He wanted to find a way out of his car. He slowly started to give up searching when his eyes started to get heavy. John’s eyes shut a few seconds later. Someone found him thirty minutes later; John was ruled dead on the scene.
The news learned of it almost as it happened. John’s story wasn’t unique. That day all over the United States, thousands of cars were hacked into and made to crash and all got the same messages, “You declare war, we declare war.” In total ten thousand Americans died. The politicians made statements about keeping the American people safe from cyberterrorism. Many groups took credit for the attack, but the malware used was Chinese. That day was known as the first shot of the Chinese American War, the first cyberwar.