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The CATS Academy in one of the commonwealths holds a genuine, non-liminal alien codenamed John Smith, who has become stuck within the Solar System at some point after the Snare.

The Remnant have their own liminality, Flipside, in which the Snare did not work. It may even be getting bigger.

The real reason why no one commonwealth has regained orbital capabilities is that an organization called MAJESTIC is actively sabotaging their effort. MAJESTIC is known to be the previous name of CATS, and their minutes are on file, and CATS is actively lobbying for space capability reconstruction, but this has done little to dispel the rumor.

There are multiple Grids, including one that only spans what used to be southern France, northeastern Italy, and the island of Corsica. They are much harder to access, and are used by drug traffickers and the like. Another one is starting to coalesce around the few data centers built outside of blue zones.

The reason why Jesus has not been executed or moved from Ground Minus One is that doing so would alter zone boundaries, or even collapse them, with unknown effects -- current civilization has grown too dependent on them.

The Martian Empire liminality has a second exit -- on actual Mars.

The yellow Zone of Dessiccation that has eaten up a portion of Los Angeles is the result of a partially successful Pauline attempt at NC warfare.

Heavens, Piercing the Drill

Professor Anita LeVay grimaced at the shrill wailing piercing through the air. "alright, alright, everyone calm down." She looked over her class, at least few had any reaction to the incursion warning other than to cover their ears until it stopped. It's likely just a drill, don't panic. Everyone who isn't certified class four or above in Combat Theology or another NC discipline, make your way calmly towards the Blue Vault. Those who are, await further instructions, and we'll see what's been arranged for the exercise."

One of her students spoke up while they packed up their things. "Ma'am, how do you know it's a drill? There wasn't one on the schedule for today."

"If they put them on the schedule, it wouldn't be an effective drill. Oh, and I'll need a volunteer to carry me to the Vault, since my usual assistant is elsewhere. And relax. If it wasn't a drill, someone from the Integratory Physics Department would have teleported up here by now-" her eyes went wide at the sudden sizzling sound in the air behind her, accompanied by the strong smell of ozone, and continued in a much less calm tone, "-with a harness and combat limbs for me."

The young man in a rune-covered labcoat grinned. "Good to see you too, Professor."

She ignored him as he picked her up and began to fit her into the harness, instead talking to her class. "Alright, not a drill, so instead of heading to the Blue Vault, get inside! Uncertified NC-sensitives have priority! Anyone with significant NC integration into the prio-map is likely to experience severe mood swings once the vault closes, look for the volunteers and staff wearing green helmets! They are your cuddlepile wardens and they are there for a reason! Make use of them! Get moving! Jameson, how bad is it?"

"I'm here aren't I, Anita? We can't be certain but it shouldn't be a big incursion, wherever it's coming from. Something went wrong in the Quantum Foam labs again. Well understood physics is fine in green zones, but the stuff that's experimental is still messy."

She nodded, flexing slowly, taking a few deep breaths as she connected to her temporary limbs. These ones were new, very spiky. Most of her class was well away, the few that remained she knew had been training and practicing as part of the campus's militia in case of something like this. She raised one gleaming fist in salute, "Then let's do this! If you need to punch a god, what's the one question you ask?"

The few students remaining responded with the same gesture in kind, and the fervent outcry, "Shinto or Abrahamic?!"

(As written by Kite Winters)

The Goliath personal battle armour was an impressive feat of engineering, this being the soul and centre of why it didn't see much use. One of the fundamental truths of Loki's Maximum was that if you needed to do something with significant military force, it better work outside of the Blue Zones. This particular unit had a red 'star of david' crudely stencilled in red (with deliberate overspray so it looked drippy) on the helmet over the right temple. Eight feet of gleaming (because Ground Minus One sees a lot of drills and little action, thankfully) metal malevolence, equipped with a lethal assortment of man's inhumanity not just to man, but to anything else that might be interested in terminating the species' sojourn within the mortal coil.

The pilot approached the first of many they would address today. The speaker clicked on, speaking in the voice of Goliath, modulated, masked, what emerged from it far different from what entered the microphone inside. "Citizen. You kneel accused of attempted omnicide by breach of extraexistential containment. How do you plead?"

"Our Father who art in heaven, thy kingdom come, thy will be done-" the voice was silenced by a pale green beam puncturing the person's face, a much larger exit wound created not by any solid projectile, but by the laser's heat flash boiling the cerebral and spinal fluids, splattering the sand with ex-neural viscera.

"Plea recorded." Goliath stepped forward. "Citizen. You kneel accused of attempted omnicide by breach of extraexistential containment. How do you plead?"

"Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts-" The beam's discharge did not in fact make any sound, in and of itself. The summary detonation of a skull by vapour pressure, however, more than contributes an auditory vector to the spectacle.

"Plea recorded." Goliath stepped forward. "Citizen. You kneel accused of attempted omnicide by breach of extraexistential containment. How do you plead?"

"Look, this has got to be some kind of mistake! I was told that I was signing up to a sociology project to help analyze the diatribe of the so-called saviour and look for underlying patterns that might aid in developing greater understanding of the 'heavenly' mind! I had no idea they were planning to piggyback on my credentials to sneak in and try to-" Lasers of any kind could be pretty, if you had the right kind of eye for it. The original spec had the laser more tightly focussed, more penetrating power, less waste heat. The execution suit had been modified specifically because it was better if any gushing blood got burnt black almost instantly. Red and green was a bit too christmassy.

"Plea recorded." Goliath stepped forward. "Citizen. You kneel accused of attempted omnicide by breach of extraexistential containment. How do you plead?"

"Dara! I'm over here!" Over here, over there, and waving were somewhat vague abstractions in the Grid, but this part of things was high rez enough to support consistent spatial axes.

"Sona! Good to see you, I didn't recognize you!"

"You didn't recognize me? Don't you care about me anymore?"

"Don't you dare give me that. You could've put on a face I've actually seen before. You've changed imago at least once a day since you went full-cloud." She did come over and sit down, regardless.

"You could keep up just fine if you went full-cloud, too, you know."

"Or you could log out from time to time. I still keep the old clubhouse's exit booth maintained."

"But it's safer in here. The Grid is barely even connected to computers anymore, nobody is going to be able to shut it down or break it. But one Remnant idiot with a Revelation up his ass and boom goes the drinking water out there."

"I like my meat. Both in the body sense, and in the food sense. The coffee at netcafes is great at keeping you awake, hon, but it's got no flavour, no body. It's distilled 'essence of vacpac'. I need a reason to get up in the morning for breakfast more than help in doing so."

Sona nodded and fell silent, it was an argument they always had, but at least now it was out of the way. "But you'll keep coming to see me, right?"

"Always, love."

"Then let's go play."

They started building it in the yellow zone a few hundred kilometres east of Ground Minus One. It was called the Far East of Eden project, not because anyone liked the biblical connotation, but because the project's director was almost as obsessed with obscure jRPGs as she was with the idea of greeting any potential Third Coming with a bang, not a whimper.

From far enough away to see the whole thing (what was above the surface, anyway) the facility was mostly a simple dome, supporting a single long cylinder, and longer rails extending from its tip. At the main entrance hung a plaque which read "How do I stop a big mean angelic mother hubbard from tearing me a spiritually superfluous new paradigm? Answer: Use a gun. If that don't work, use more gun." Twice now, the skies had opened above Jerusalem and the Heavenly Host spilled forth to spread their brand of order and harmony to the masses of posthumanity. Which mostly involved converting humanity and posthumanity into exhumanity.

Many believed that having the last carpenter of Nazareth in hopefully perpetual captivity ensured that there would never be a Third Coming. Maybe the strange rules of the new way of the universe meant there was enough belief to make that true. But just in case, having the biggest damn gun ever conceived by mortal minds pointed at the spot where immortal minds liked to make their presence known...well, it's only prudent.

The core principles were well understood. Get a projectile moving at a significant fraction of C while in atmo, and you have a very bad day. Start things with enough of an electrical kick, you can clear a path by ionic repulsion. Not usually feasible, since actually moving or aiming such a system was problematic, to say nothing of trying to have a second shot at all, let alone in a useful timeframe. But with one target, and one shot? Not so much of a problem. So the Very Bad Day of copious plasma starts well beyond the end of the barrel, and if the numbers are right, directly in the insufferable face of the Big Skybeard himself.

The payload itself started with every still functioning nuke that could be unearthed from the silos and bases of pre-Revelation nations, with more coming in every few weeks as excavations continued. Add in the various ways that the emergent scattered disciplines of Narrative Control allowed for inflicting violence upon someone through power of will or want of belief... ordinarily it would feel wrong to have the back end of a ballistic cannon to be covered in 'runes' in a hundred different languages, whether dead, living, or imaginary, but anything that adds just a few more decibels to the loudest ever "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on," was welcome. Even if some of the NC 'practitioners' had to be reminded that if their runes HAD to be blood, it was strictly their own, volunteers, or Remnant captured in attempts to attack the facility ONLY.

Every last scrap. Of anger, of hate, of will to survive. Of the desire of posthumanity to live on its own terms, and give any self-proclaimed Authority that wanted to prevent that from happening just long enough to realize what a very bad idea that was before facing utmost obliteration. Study of the bodies of defeated 'angels' gave some insight into how physics worked in 'heaven'. The tip of the missile carried enough computational electronics to attempt to enforce, for the few picoseconds necessary, the sort of physics under which atomic warheads ruin the rest of someone's life. If all went according to plan, a Third Coming would become a Third Going, as the vault of the heavens would tear open just long enough to receive a few exatons of explosive and eschatological yield, thus closing the vault of the heavens in the annihilation of the opening force before the blast wave turns the entire mesopotamian subcontinent into atomic glass. If not, well, the volunteers and staff at Ground Minus One were well aware of the risks, and nobody else WANTED to live near there, anyway.

It was only one shot. It might never mean anything. But if it had to, well, to hear them tell it, there was only one God to kill with it.

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Page last modified on May 03, 2016, at 01:16 PM