When the government learned an invasion was imminent, they mobilized quickly.
The NSA put the pieces together first, noting a drastic uptick in frustrated Facebook comments about files not found and blue screens of death across the Eastern Seaboard.
Soon it was spreading nationwide. Verizon customers in Nebraska were pissed that they could only get cell reception while standing in a strawberry field with one hand patting their heads and the other rubbing their bellies. Amazon Prime subscribers in Silicon Valley were incensed that their Echoes had only played honky tonk music for five hours straight on a Saturday when they had a cocktail party for 80 members of the Chamber of Commerce. Social media was the perfect monitoring system for just these kinds of attacks.
Soon, digital demons were spawning across the globe and someone had to take action, lest these vicious wraiths, spawned from two decades of broken code and faulty hyperlinks take over the world.
In a small war room, 200 feet below the surface of an undisturbed desert, in an undisclosed location in an indeterminate state *cough* New Mexico *cough* an elite group was assembled to come up with a plan to combat the demons.
Mr. President- (Obama of course, because we all know Trump wouldn't give a shit.) What the hell are we going to do about this? The kids just got out of school for the summer! There's going to be mass panic if parents can't access their DVR'd episodes of Peppa Pig, can't use their devices as babysitters for the next two months!
His voice rose in fear.
There will be rioting in the streets! Mayhem! What will our cities look like if people can't binge their Netflix series or, god forbid, play Candy Crush? CANDY CRUSH, MAN! IT COULD GO DOWN! I'M AT LEVEL 248! 248! All that work for nothing! Do you know how many times I had to play level 237? Do you even know?!?
The president dissolved into tears.
Major General General Major- Sir! Pull yourself together, sir! We have a plan, and it hinges on just what you are suggesting. In order to fight these things, we are going to need a massive army on the ground - global, passionate and highly mobile, ready to fight at a moments notice. We need to get as many men, women and especiallychildren involved as quickly as possible.
Mr. President- Children? You're mad! No one is going to agree to let children fight a war!
Major General General Major- Oh, but we think they will, sir. Not only will they let them fight, their parents will drive them to the battlefront! Noreen, would you like to tell the president what we have in mind?
The general turned to a petite Asian woman sitting quietly in the shadows. She nodded briskly.
Noreen: Certainly. Mr. President, it's a little thing we like to call Pokémon GO.
Noreen explained the particulars to the president. How digital demons could be fought and captured from the safety of cell phones across the world. How they could use a well known and well loved game to lure soldiers to the battlefront and how there was already a framework in place based on an earlier app game called Ingress. They could be ready to go live in weeks.
The organization responsible for Ingress, Niantic, was quickly brought into the need-to-know loop. Apple was quickly drawn in as well, but this was nothing new. They'd been on the NSA's speed dial for years and loved a good government conspiracy. Google was next in the mix. They were thrilled to get the call - they always wanted to be in the know.
Niantic agreed, for a sizeable fee of course, to switch gears and turn their original augmented reality game into something marketable to adults andkids in order to draw the greatest numbers of soldiers to the battlefield. Soldiers who would be given the much more marketable title of "trainers." And the digital demons were given the beloved faces of Pokémon characters, darling pocket monsters that families could capture and train and evolve together, and even battle them against one another in gyms!
Rumors were "leaked" to the Interwebs about the coming of an awesome game that would premier just in the nick of time, just when parents across the U.S., desperate to find ways to survive the "I'm Booooooooorrrrred!" doldrums of late July would need it most. It would even feature, drumroll here, augmented reality!
Pokémon Go dropped and parents pounced. It quickly became the most downloaded game of the year and no one suspected a thing. People left their homes in enthusiastic droves to join the fray.
The digital demons congregated where cell phone signals were most numerous- large public venues, historical sites. The DD's had been efficient, seeking out locations with the most numerous pathways into our world. Trainers quickly got their number.
They gathered in squadrons in shopping malls and baseball stadiums, turning museums and national parks and church parking lots into battlefields. They hunted the buggers mercilessly, grinning all the while, trapping them in their Poké balls as quickly as they spawned and cheering when it was done.
Not to be underestimated, their enemy became wiley. The early days of the "game" were plagued by buggy features. Trainers were getting booted from the app and finding themselves unable to log back in for hours as they poked fruitlessly at their touch screens. Pokémon would spawn but intense lag would leave trainers hopelessly swinging their balls around, unable to catch the creatures taunting them just within reach.
Although Niantic took the fall as the public cried out for updates and answers and better ways to track the monsters in-game, it was the damn demons causing all the issues. They were striking out at the xenocidal soldiers in a desperate attempt to save their race!
As summer waned, the initial issues caused many trainers to leave the game for more stable entertainment, but the truly dedicated, the terribly talented and those trainers with haunted eyes, driven by the need to get a complete set of the little monsters just redoubled their efforts when the going got tough. In no time, the rabid public, hunting demons across the globe, made short work of the demon population and the threat was practically annihilated.
To the government, it was a shining success. The trainers had decimated the DD's to the point developers began filling the app with placebo Pokémon - a "Second Generation" - just to keep the trainers playing daily and their skills fresh.
Back in the undisclosed desert bunker, tucked away in an unknown locale, *cough* Roswell *cough*, Major General General Major tented his fingers and smiled with pride. He'd never waged war so efficiently, with so little collateral damage and so many goddamned smiling faces in the process.
It was beautiful! A veritable work of art. Now there were hardly any digital demons left, but he knew the trainers wouldn't rest until they had every one. His only regret was that his cell reception wasn't strong enough thirty stories below the sand to actually catch some of the Pokémon himself. He really wanted to evolve of those Pidgeottos - they reminded him of a gorgeous golden eagle! He placed his hand, cell phone in his palm, over his heart.
Behind him, Noreen sat, nursing a Starbucks and staring intently at a wall of screens. Her eyes widened.
Noreen: Major General General Major?! We have just intercepted com on the dark web that a massive attack is coming to Chicago this summer, sir! It looks like this is the DD's greatest push yet and they are bringing down some serious firepower! What are we going to do?
Major General General Major- Get Niantic on the phone, Noreen. I think it's time to mobilize the troops to the city. We need get our best and boldest trainers from all over the world to gather for this end-all motherfucker of a battle.
Noreen: And how do you plan to do that, sir?
Major General General Major- We'll make it a party. Call it something snappy like...like...Pokémon GO Fest and offer them something they can't refuse - something LEGENDARY.
His eyes were sparkling.
Noreen: And you really think they'll come, sir?
Major General General Major- Oh yes, Noreen. I know they'll come. You've seen them out there. They won't be able to stay away. As long as there is a gap in their Pokédex, you know they've gotta catch 'em all!