First Internet Message

In the late 1960’s, scientists face a fundamental question regarding computing. In what direction will the future go? The big corporations, IBM and others, want to build centralized, large computers that people must go to. Others want computers to be smaller and not centralized and be linked together remotely. The link? A thing that will become known as the Internet.

ARPANET: Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. There are two versions why ARPANET was started: 1. To exploit new computer technologies to meet the needs of military command and control against nuclear threats, achieve survivable control of US nuclear forces, and improve military tactical and management decision making. 2. Out of the frustration that there were only a limited number of large, powerful research computers in the country, and that many research investigators, who should have access to them, were geographically separated from them.

Regardless. What we call the Internet would never have happened if ARPANET had failed.

The first message ever sent was from a computer in a lab at UCLA to a computer in a lab at Stanford, on 29 October 1969. The image above is the entire extent of the Internet at the end of 1969 via landline.

The first message consisted of: L O and then the system crashed before the LOGIN could be completed. This also foreshadowed the future of the Internet.

What if none of that first message ever made it? What if ARPANET was destroyed? How would that change history?

Los Angeles, California. 29 October 1969. Scout is in the middle of free love, drugs, and the counter- culture. At UCLA, it is the day the first internet message is sent. And someone doesn’t want that message to be transmitted. Of course, as with many Time Patrol missions, it isn’t that clear cut. Is the birth of the Internet the target? Or is the real target, Scout herself?

What will Scout decide? Will she survive? This mission along with 29 Oct 1929: Black Tuesday 29 Oct 1980: Last test flight of Operation Credible Sport. 29 Oct 999: A Viking raid on an English Monastery 29 Oct 1618: Sir Walter Raleigh heads for the chopping block 29 Oct 1972: Survivors of a plane crash in the Andes struggle to live.

A free slideshow on this topic and many others about interesting history, survival, writing and other topics is on my web site at