Shadows in the Forest
In 2025, a weakened NATO stands by as a resurgent Russia launches a devastating invasion of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.
This short story is an experiment in ChatGPT generated short fiction. In a series of prompts I asked the model to envision scenes from the opening week of a Russian invasion of Estonia. I told it to set the event in the near future and informed it that in this scenario the NATO alliance, which would normally shield the Baltic states, has been hobbled by radical political change in the United States and EU. This is not a completely unrealistic scenario.
This piece required a fair number of prompts to produce, working one section at a time, but my edits are confined to a very few words here and there to improve the flow or remove unecessary detail. The model named the story and created each section heading.
I created the photo for this post with Midjourney.
The summer of 2025 brought with it a sense of unease to the Baltic region. The Estonian government had warned of the possibility of a Russian invasion at this moment, but few had taken the threat seriously. As tensions between Russia and EU states continued to mount, however, the sound of military exercises in the distance served as a grim reminder of what might be coming.
And then, on a warm July morning, it happened. Russian troops rolled across the border, crushing any resistance they encountered. The Estonian military, which had been carefully built with NATO support, fought bravely but was quickly overwhelmed. Within hours, the Russians had seized several key towns and were advancing on the capital, Tallinn.
The Estonian people watched in horror as their country was invaded, but they were not surprised. Some soldiers fled into the forests, preparing to take up the fight as the "forest brothers" had during World War II. Some parts of the insurgency were small and relatively poorly equipped, but others were made up of military units that had planned for this event for years. All of them were determined to take back their country from the invaders.
As the Russian army pushed deeper into Estonia, the insurgency would launch brutal surprise attacks on supply convoys and communication lines. The forests of Estonia would become a battleground, with the insurgents striking from the shadows and then disappearing back into the trees.
But while the Estonians fought for their freedom, NATO was unraveling. The United States, which had long been the driving force behind the alliance, had recently undergone a change in leadership. The new administration was openly critical of NATO and entirely focused on domestic issues, leaving Estonia and its Baltic neighbors abandoned.
The other members of NATO, too, were beginning to question their commitment to the alliance. Some worried that a conflict with Russia could spiral out of control, while others felt that the cost of defending the Baltic states was simply too high. As a result, NATO's response to the invasion was confined to empty promises and expressions of concern.
The people of Estonia were thrust into a battle they knew they couldn't win alone. With their country invaded and their fellow citizens slaughtered or taken captive, they fought with a desperation born of desperation, willing to die for their homeland.
Their only hope lay in the world coming to their aid, but it was a hope that would dwindle with each passing day. They braced themselves for a long and bloody conflict with no end in sight. They clung to the hope that their insurgency would be enough to resist the Russian invaders, but they feared that their fate lay in the hands of a fractured NATO alliance and the unpredictable world around them.
Whispers in the Woods
Karl lay in the undergrowth, listening to the sounds of the forest. He was hungry, cold, and exhausted, but he dared not move. The Russian patrol had come too close for comfort, and he could still hear their voices echoing through the trees.
He thought back to the day the Russians had invaded, the day the world had turned upside down. He had been on the front lines, fighting with the other Estonian soldiers. But it had been a hopeless battle, and they had been forced to retreat. That was when he had made the decision to flee into the forest, to join the other soldiers who had scattered into the woods.
Now he was part of an insurgency, a band of fighters who were determined to take back their country from the invaders. But it was a daunting task. The Russians were well-equipped, well-trained, and vastly outnumbered them. And worse, NATO, their supposed ally, had failed to come to their aid. It was as if they had been abandoned to their fate.
Karl knew the odds were against them, but he refused to give up hope. He was fighting for his country, for his people, for the land he loved. And he knew that as long as there were people like him, willing to fight for what was right, there was a chance that they could survive.
So he lay there in the undergrowth, silent and still, waiting for the moment when he could emerge and strike back against the invaders. And he knew that every day he survived, every step he took, was a small victory in this shadowed struggle for Estonia's survival.
The Burden of Resolve
The Estonian Prime Minister, a woman of unwavering determination, stepped up to the podium, her face a mask of grim determination. She surveyed the crowd before her, the faces of her people etched with exhaustion and despair.
"My fellow Estonians," she began, her voice low and solemn. "We are living through a time of great darkness, a time when our very existence is threatened. Our supposed allies have abandoned us, and we stand alone in the face of our enemies."
The crowd murmured in agreement, their eyes never leaving the Prime Minister.
"But we are not defeated," she continued, her voice rising. "We are fighters, and we will defend our country with every last breath we have. We will not give up, we will not surrender. We will fight until the bitter end."
The Prime Minister's words hung heavy in the air, a somber reminder of the harsh reality they faced.
"Our future is uncertain, our lives are at stake," she continued, her voice unwavering. "But we will not be broken. We will stand together, united in our fight for survival, and we will emerge from this struggle with our heads held high."
She paused, her eyes scanning the crowd, taking in the faces of her people, their hope and their determination.
"We will not go quietly into the night," she said, her voice fierce. "We will fight, with every last breath we have. We will defend our country, our people, our way of life, until the end."
As the Prime Minister stepped away from the podium, she could feel the weight of her people's hopes and dreams on her shoulders. It was a heavy burden, but she was a woman of resolve, a leader who refused to surrender to the darkness of war.
She knew that the future was uncertain, that the road ahead would be fraught with danger and sacrifice. But she also knew that they had no choice but to fight, to defend their country until the bitter end.
For Estonia, for their people, for their freedom, they would take up the struggle, no matter what the cost. It was a daunting task, a task that might lead them down a path of destruction. But the Prime Minister refused to be defeated, to bow down before the forces of darkness that threatened her country.
She stood tall, her gaze unflinching, her heart resolute. For in that moment, in that silent hall filled with the whispers of despair, she was the voice of a people, the voice of a nation that refused to be silenced.
The news of the Russian invasion of Estonia sent a chill down the spines of the Lithuanian and Latvian leaders. They knew that they were next in line for the Russian juggernaut, and they had little time to prepare.
With the Russian army on the move, they knew that they could not simply rely on their armies to defend their borders; they needed to act decisively and swiftly to halt Russian aggression in Estonia as well.
With great urgency, the leaders ordered their armies to deploy to the Russian border and other key locations in their war plan, hoping to deter any further incursions by the Russian war machine. At the same time, they dispatched their special operations troops to Estonia, in the hopes of confronting the Russian invaders before they could inflict further damage.
The decision was a difficult one, as it meant dividing their already meager resources and facing an enemy that vastly outnumbered them. But the leaders knew that they had no other choice if they were to protect their people and their way of life from the Russian threat.
As they made their way towards the front lines, the Lithuanian and Latvian soldiers could hear the sounds of war in the distance. They knew that they were facing a formidable foe, but they were resolute in their determination to defend their homelands.
As the first day of the war drew to a close, the Lithuanian and Latvian leaders watched nervously as the Russian army continued to advance. They knew that they had made a difficult decision, but they were resolute in their determination to defend their countries with all their might. The summer of 2025 would be remembered as a time of great sacrifice and hardship for the people of the Baltic states, but also as a time when they stood tall against the forces of oppression and tyranny.
The call to arms came in the dead of night, like a bolt of lightning out of a clear sky. It was a message that only a select few could decipher, a message that would send them on a perilous journey to an underground bunker that few knew existed.
"Code black. Get to the bunker. Now."
In cities and towns across the Baltic states, members of the secret unit of cyber warriors rose from their beds, their eyes heavy with exhaustion. They knew that their country was under attack, that their way of life was threatened by the Russian war machine.
Their mission was simple, yet daunting. They were the only hope for their people, the only line of defense against the invaders. They had spent years preparing for this moment, honing their skills and testing their code. But nothing could have prepared them for what was to come.
As they made their way to the classified base, the cyber warriors were filled with a sense of purpose. Their mission was so secret that their existence was not even known to their NATO partners. But they were resolute in their determination to defend their homeland, no matter the cost.
Once inside the bunker, they gathered around the monitors, their eyes fixed on the screens as they watched the attack unfold. Lines of code streamed across the displays like a digital tide, a relentless barrage of cyber warfare that sought to cripple the Russian network and disrupt their communication lines.
The cyber warriors knew that the fate of their countries hung in the balance, that their mission was both audacious and essential. They were brothers in the shadows, united in their determination to defend their homeland until the bitter end. But as the night wore on, and the sounds of war grew louder in the distance, they knew that the stakes had never been higher. The future of the Baltic states hung in the balance, and they were the only ones who could tip the scales in their favor.
“Blogs of War generated this text in part with GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model. Upon generating draft language, the author reviewed, edited, and revised the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.”