Something jumped off in the distance. I quickly looked but saw only trees.
The man spoke with soft, labored words. "My wife. I- I can't remember her name. I- I can't remember my wife's name, or my kids!"
"It's the stress," one of the privates responded, "we've got a lot on our plates right now, that's all. You were telling me about the missus last week, said her name was..." He couldn't remember the woman's name either. The woman didn't exist, the kids didn't exist. They were personal information randomly assigned to game characters. They weren't supposed to be remembered.
All of the characters in the group were suddenly discovering huge memory gaps of their own, using their AI minds to try to connect people, places, and events that simply didn't.
I saw the strange movement again. Immediately, the sound of rifle fire ripped through the eerie calm, followed by more gunfire and distant shouting. The radio in the jeep crackled and panicked voices streamed onto the frequency. The sky rumbled behind me. I spun around just in time to see a MiG-15 roar meters above my head. I fell to the ground. The noise intensified and the smoke thickened all around me.
"Please! Please!" I pressed the red button repeatedly.
No one can hear me! No one can save me! Nothing is working! Something is very wrong! The simulation is tearing itself apart with me inside it! I'm going to be torn apart!
Countless MiGs passed over the base, their bullets coming faster with each passing second. My finger was down on the button, holding it down. Buildings were catching fire and confused men were shouting in every direction, not sure where the enemy was, acting against anyone and everyone. The word "nuclear" came from the static of the radio. Someone said ICBMs had been fired from both sides.