Tweet, tweet, tweet…

Alberto Benitez
14 min readFeb 13, 2020

A century after the US invasion of Russia, the new nuclear reactor in Pevek in the Arctic Circle, was going to explode.

Pevek, Chukotka province, Russia, in the Arctic circle.

0700 hours.

The four thousand souls in the city of Pevek turned on the screens, lights and monitors at it hands. The Arctic presented a single sky for all. Networks and platforms, too.

God gave us the earth.

We won these lands with all the blood shed in our wars.

We are the first men on this earth.

Russian sailors! You are winning it now and forever with your work.

I like it. Share.

For the tenth time, the specialist sailor Pavel clicked on “Like” and “Share.” Although he created those messages he also participated in any series of message chains transmitted from official social networks. Like any other member of the Russian Armed Forces.

Pavel and Boltun (“parrot” in russian) designed the messages. From 0800 hours when he looked at his screen for the first time in the day, Boltun showed Pavel the number of people who had looked at or commented on the messages.

In the first report in the morning Boltun separated civilians from the military. It was important to know the differences between the two populations. Boltun indicated the trends of the comments: which had been shared more, or if a significant number of citizens had read it, or if they had posted it on their own networks. In a second analysis, he pointed out the words on the “List” that had been used. Boltun was especially good at pointing out how and when the words on the “List” had been used. Pavel felt that thanks to Boltun, he personally knew all four thousand souls in Pevek. All were very similar. And he loved them all. Already in his office, at 0900 hours, Boltun suggested keywords or messages to send before lunchtime. Social networks, like any show, should take into account the stomach of the public: whether or not he was sleepy, whether or not he was satisfied. Of course, all that information Boltun shared with government officials in Moscow. He was really very, very efficient.

He? Or she? The Intelligence team joked about the sex of the IAB, Artificial Intelligence Boltun. And even in this the great AI helped them. Without giving anyone an advantage, Boltun remembered jokes, articles, references in the hackers forum. This “parrot” was really very, very good with words.

Hackers crossed bets, invented challenges … They talked. And Boltun listened. Registered. Classified. And he remembered all the words spoken at the base, and in the city, and at the port, on every computer and smartphone in Pevek. That is what parrots do: they repeat everything they hear.

At 0944, Pevek’s naval base operated normally.

From his office, the specialist sailor Pavel could see the rector Akademik Lomonosov. For him, as for all Pevek neighbors, it was contemplating a promise fulfilled. Few religions kept their promises. For the souls of Pevek, Russia had complied.

Today 104 years ago, British and North American forces, supported by Poles and Czechoslovakians, took the city of Obozerskaya, south of Archangel.

They tried to create a government of white Russians, and thus destroy the Soviet Revolution.

The British provided air support. More than a hundred Russians died.

I like it. Share.

Boltun promptly counted every “like” and every “share” He count men, women, teenagers… He could show which families, which neighborhoods, which barracks, which ships reacted in each way to each image, to each text. He created and showed in graphic seconds how the engineers, or the female doctors, or the male mechanics between 40 and 46 years old had reacted … Or any other category that the managers wanted.

- Marine specialist …

- Sir!

- Rest. In 10 minutes in the auditorium, meeting of specialists.

- Sir. Do specialists from Akademik Lomonosov attend?

- I… Wait … Yes they will attend. Annotated, Boltun. Sailors, prepare your report. Good morning specialists.

The captain came out.

- Yurik, what for today?

- Give me some tea and I’ll tell you. You haven’t paid your bet yet.

- Here’s your tea, big cow. But we will play again.

- Cow! Look who you talk … you, fat seal.

- Ha, ha, ha…

- Hahaha! Yes … Now this … a lot about pollution. In Arcángel they want someone to manufacture videos to place on environmental sites and accounts. It seems that it will be the task of the season.

- Da…

- Boltun, search: related words “Greenpeace-argument”…

- Sure, Yurik: Albedo effect. The white surfaces reflect up to 80% of the heat, thus conserving the cold, by decreasing these areas the sea can heat up faster. Black surfaces, on the other hand, can absorb up to 90% of heat.

- Da. Just make a video of Pevek covered with clean snow. The flag will look better.

- We need new images. You have to take someone to the snow to record.

- For sure…

- So it will be for the port, but we have to think what to do for the sea …

- Look for the second word, Boltun.

- Jet stream effect, Pavel: the difference in air temperatures is the cause of its movement, so it travels in the globe; when the northern hemisphere is warmer, air displacements are more violent, so that the weather becomes more extreme and some areas experience much colder. Trump mention.

- Boltun, “Trump mention” …

- Tweet 28 january 2019:

Donald J. Trump


In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!


9:28 PM — Jan 28, 2019

- Super. Super… We will use that string of tweets. Well done Boltun.

- But isn’t Trump right? Winter is colder.

- Boltun …

- With pleasure. Yurik: The Arctic air is colder. When air currents are normal, the Arctic cold air is contained there, but if the temperature changes, as with global warming then the Arctic cold air escapes and affects neighboring areas, such as North America. People come to believe that there is no climate change because in winter in their area it is not hotter but colder.

- I understand … That’s very good material …

- Very good. If Trump cannot see beyond his neighborhood, we will make his panorama even smaller. Good job Boltun.

- Thanks Boltun. Now move fat seal. It’s time to talk to the bosses! Make the graphs and send them to us, Boltun.

The Arctic is a desert very different from the other two great deserts that Earth has for man. It is a huge new desert. A whole new terra ignota to be discovered in the 21st century.

There are sand deserts in Africa and in America. Those burning deserts have been colonized from the beginning. They have roads that began to be walked centuries ago. First drawn by animals. Then by merchants, by fugitives, by migrants … created before history began. They fight and have been fought wars in those deserts. Many wars. Great world wars and small and bloody fights between gangs and families. That always creates paths. The same would happen here in the Arctic desert. Wars will open roads here too.

The other desert is the sea. The huge, the galactic ocean. To conquer it, you had to launch probes. One at a time. Each time further, deeper and deeper. Many would be lost. Then, launch a witness that will mark the territory with the flag of the homeland.

The small town of Pevek in the ice desert was that witness. The voice in the desert. But now, with its nuclear rector, it was more than just a brand. Much more. Pevek was already a town … No: a city in History. Without animals that opened roads only ships could do that task. Very soon robots of all sizes and at many speeds would draw roads in this desert to make it totally Russian. With the reactor began a new era for Pevek. What came in the future for the city and port and naval base of Pevek was even more important than its foundation.

The reactor was three years old. He had arrived aboard a huge ship, crossing the cold but no longer frozen sea from Murmansk, on the other side of the Russian galaxy. The trip itself was something to be proud of. It had been like crossing the space between Earth and the Moon. “I felt like a cosmonaut,” said the sailors who brought the reactor. A decade ago that trip was impossible. But global warming had thinned the Arctic ice, slowly, but without stopping. Russia had the largest, most modern and efficient icebreaker fleet. Now, adding the new opportunity to these new weapons, the Russian sailors had displaced a nuclear reactor throughout the Arctic, from end to end. A great feat. A great boldness. Even China wanted to copy the Russian feat.

The Akademik Lomonosov reactor had touched port in September 2019. The date coincided with the anniversary of the American invasion. Boltun had stressed it. He knew more about history than all souls in Russia. If it wasn’t for him, the date would have gone unnoticed. When he did it was like casting a spell against the foreign invasion of the homeland. One had to live life celebrating the past. That way they could defend themselves against the usual enemies.

A group of historians could sit down to imagine new national holidays. But that would take a long time. Boltun instead did it in minutes. In government offices there was talk of creating a contest among all citizens in Pevek. In a few weeks it could spread to all of Russia. Boltun could do all the work, in Pevek or throughout the Arctic or throughout Russia. It would only take four or five people who read the cards and did the driving of the show would be missing. It would be very good for the community.

So, Boltun had created a new patriotic holiday, first for Pevek, but really for all of Russia.

No one had anticipated that an Artificial Intelligence could do that.

How will you celebrate the 104th anniversary of the victory over the British and North American invaders?

a) I will attend the party in the Pevek auditorium

b) I will attend the conference at M. Gorki School.

c) Both

I like it. Share.

1510. Alaska.

- The Arctic is a broken mirror. The ships move without difficulty between huge pieces of ice.

- It’s not frozen anymore.

- What evidence did you gather on the trip?

- Many hours of video. Temperature measurements, some we share online when making them. And we didn’t see any animals.

- Were there many? Is there or has there been any record of observations? The trip was not so wide, was it?

- Well, to tell you the truth, we could see walruses. But not polar bears.

- The last “polar bears” were the soldiers sent in 1918, in World War I, to fight in Russian, Soviet territory at that time …

- What are you talking about Sophie?

- Oh, my grandfather told me. This is what they called the US expeditionary force that fought there: “the polar bears.”

- In the First War?

- So there was already a war with the Russians? Wow. I didn’t know … And what happened?

- They were defeated. In the end they had to return and the white Russians were abandoned.

- Wow. So there will be no polar bears, huh?

- People, let’s return to the subject. It does not matter anymore. The Arctic is not a national sea. It is a sea for everyone.

- What belongs to everyone, does not belong to anyone …

- Will they repeat the trip?

- We have to do it. Now it is easier. We don’t need an icebreaker, so we won’t need more resources. The ease of travel is itself a sign of the crisis.

- What experiments will they perform? They must return with blunt evidence!

1515 hours Pevek.

In the offices, classrooms, workshops and in all government spaces the ordinary meetings were over. All civil and military personnel had received their instructions. The agendas had been updated. The workers worked hard on their tasks. Everything was in the order and in the concert that the authorities had sought.

- Is Boltun’s task only to monitor the networks?

- Yes. It was designed for that.

- Is there no sensor network for the port, or for the reactor? And the radar system?

- The only operating radars are those of the destroyer Kiev. For the rest, we depend on Moscow. There are no other sensors. Patrols, sea and air are made. That’s why I insisted on the safety of diesel tanks, sir.

- And the rector?

- Permanently monitored by all military personnel. There is no danger of sabotage.

- Ships?

- All military personnel can be transported. The ships we have are enough for them.

- Do you still have a budget?

- No. Any. Bringing the Akademik Lomonosov consumed the entire budget until 2030. There is not even for emergencies. At this moment we depend entirely on Moscow for everything. However, Boltun meets all the political goals that were set for the transfer of the reactor. He is creating the population databases in Pevek, which is his primary task. The experiment is unprecedented, we believe it is superior to Chinese because the volume of population allows us to create different categorizations, pursue different hypotheses … in Moscow they pay us a lot of attention. And it is not all.

The strategic part of their tasks is to create materials for dissemination, education, propaganda and counter intelligence to support our actions in the Arctic. The results are optimal. Pevek is now our beachhead in the Arctic. Two years ago nobody knew about this port. Now, it is a sample of Russian technological capacity. It is our 21st century Sputnik. It was very expensive. But even if the reactor had an accident, its location means we can mitigate the damage in many ways.

- The information that is disseminated about Pevek in all networks is almost completely what we created, right here. There is no environmental tourism in Pevek.

- We even have the zombie option …

- … send chain messages …

- It’s more than that. Boltun is able to imitate all life in Pevek networks. Send and respond to emails, act on social networks, access bank accounts, hold conversations on WhatsApp … Know all the agendas of everyone here (except classified ones). It can act like every user of the networks. If an accident occurs, no other country would find out. For the rest of the world Pevek would continue to exist normally.

- As if we were on the moon …

- And the selenitas are happy? The most important thing is the people.

- Look at the data: all the metrics indicate that, since the arrival of the reactor, the population is more optimistic. Moscow cares a lot about demonstrating that hypothesis.

- And the alcohol …

- No, about that there are no changes. The alcohol problem will not be cured with words. But the health of the population is optimal …

- Really? You are doubting … Housing conditions, sanitary …?

- Optimal …

- Sir, can I speak?

- Go ahead.

- Captain, living here is difficult. Pevek produces nothing. Until the plant is really operational there will be people who earn money with their work here. That you feel that your work is real. We are not settlers. We do not work the land or the sea. We produce nothing. The production of the mines has never been significant, and we have never had enough manpower. Pevek has always been a political argument. That is why the sooner the reactor is really operational, the better for everyone.

- Although we could trade, the only close contact is American territory …

- That is ruled out. Nor will contact with the Chinese be allowed.

- Now people are optimistic. The reactor is a true hope. There was nothing here. Now we have the reactor.

- But when will it be really, really operational? It’s been three years since he arrived.

The admiral slowly rose from his seat.

- That’s why we’re here, gentlemen. That’s what we’re here for. Today we will connect the reactor to the power grid.

In the auditorium A-05 of the intelligence services in Pevek it was heard as a brief storm. The twenty-seven men roared and clapped. They launched the “urra!” that all the enemies of Russia know to fear.

Officers fired subordinates. All bosses moved to the control room. They exchanged greetings and asked to open secure telephone lines. The calls were made. It was true. The Moscow chiefs ordered to connect the reactor to the Chukotka distribution network. The orders were given and the keys were confirmed. The rector was connected. The energy began to flow. The lines, the wires began to heat up. The quality of the materials began to be tested. The design of energy flows began to be tested. Not by bosses or administrators but by the physical nature of energy and matter.

Hours later, reports of fires and explosions began to arrive from different places in the province.

1723. Alaska.

- More tests? What else tests? We no longer have money for more trips or experiments.

- Calm…

- … you have to move more information. We have to move!

- We don’t stop doing it. Show the grill, Ahmed.

- Look…

- … God. So many followers?

- … and many, really many more every day.

- … and we have dozens of videos, and many more in production.

- But nothing happens! The most important thing is the people!

- As? What do you think is the important thing about “the people”?

- Move them, make them do what they should do.

- Really?

- Nobody has a magic button for that. If someone had ever had it, who knows if “people” would still exist. People are, dear Phil, a lot of people disagree. Do you remember, in Brazil, how the song of birds struck you? There were so many that it sounded like pure noise. Thousands of different voices in disorder, without concert. That is the people.

- Like us when we discuss Ha!

- Like anyone when having a real conversation.

- But we here agree. And we do well to be, or else who will do what should be done?

- Patience Philip. Even if it is unclear, birds are organized. You never saw Hitchcock’s “The Birds”?

- Hey everyone: something is coming … from Pevek.

- What happens? Pevek, here …?

- Yes. One thousand two hundred miles. Like NY from Miami.

- Silence. They are going to connect the reactor.

- But no Russian authority warned of that!

- That’s why we have birds where we can. You have to pass this fast, fast. Confirm and send them what they can: photos, videos, recordings … Sophia, prepare everything to make a conference. If we have material we will take it out in a few hours.

- What can happen?

- The reactor … the Akademik Lomonosov is small. Therefore, it has no retaining walls …

- Got damn…

- There are no technical details. The Russians insist that you can’t sink …

- … like the Titanic …

- … but they don’t say anything about the retaining walls.

- Shit. Weak walls. As in Chernobyl.

- Yes. As in Chernobyl. They designed it for their icebreakers. They rely on rapid cooling systems, like those on their ships … And they trust that if they explode, they will kill only the crew.

- How many…

- Almost five thousand people.

- Technician, engineers …?

- We do not know. When he arrived in Pevek there was only one team. We have no idea what staff there is or isn’t.

- Will they connect it to a network?

- The idea of ​​the entire project is to energize the area. But there is no information about the facilities of that network.

- So, for now it would only affect people …

- Yes, if all these people explode they will be the victims.

- How will they take it out in case of an accident?

- I hope they planned it.

- Pollution…

- The entire North Pole would be contaminated. You have to check what would happen with the air. If it stays cold it would contain the contamination, but if not …

- … escapes and goes down to everyone.

- Polluting …?

- Canada completely, North America up to DC, the Dakotas, Oregon …

- Shit, shit …

- Yes, shit. This interests the military.

- Do you think they don’t know it already?

- We must publish this. Right now.

2046. Pevek.

Physical feats take time. Long time. And they demand labor. Thousands, tens of thousands of hands. This is unavoidable. Only physical strength builds. Thousands of ants or thousands of men are needed to create a real fortress, a fortress that changes the tides.

The network to carry the energy of Akademik Lomonosov should be like that. A complex, huge work. Built by thousands of workers. The ice desert is empty. So far only animals have conquered it.

2106. Alaska.

- What is said in Pevek? Nobody talks about the reactor?

- No. Everything is normal.

- Normal? Isn’t there talk about the reactor?

- Apparently all the people are partying, celebrating having defeated the British and Americans a hundred years ago.

- A hundred year party? Mmm … It must be important.

- But what else?

- Nothing else.

- Wow … Do we know if they started the reactor?

- The bird in Pevek assured us. Now just retweet and share the victory of a hundred years ago.

- Maybe he can’t move to a safe place …

- He is a soldier. It’s party cares …

- We don’t know anything else?

- Everything seems normal.

- The military?

- Who knows. There is nothing else. Only normal news.

- So, false alarm?

- Or they turned it on, but nothing happened.

- Yes … Yes. If something had happened, surely the networks would be flooded with the information.