Prologue: A Breaking Of SeasonsEdit
Genesis Facility #227
Seventh District, Heaven, Kingdom Of Man
2276.1906.523 Anno Rex
John Abbot always thought he had it all,a high Social Contribution Score, an unblemished record of Citizenship, an excellent job, more than enough income—after taxes—to satisfy his indulgences to the fullest, and the influence which came with being the manager of one of his Kingdom's most elite Genesis facilities, enough influence to maybe achieve the Immortality he had coveted for so long.
The alarm klaxon echoing throughout the corridors and in his office only served as a further reminder that he would be lucky to finish the day without being sent down, or simply shot dead out of hand if he were exceptionally lucky.
Abbot cursing his department managers and resurrection team leaders for feeding him the lies he'd repeated to his superiors, the lies his superiors had, in turn, repeated to their Immortal superior.
That Immortal now demanding explanations as to why Citizens and Immortals this facility had supposedly resurrected successfully had failed to return to their lives and duties.
He would not be interested in Abbot's answer...the report of the Buerau of Electronic Media forensic data agent his immediate superior, Chad Graham, called in to investigate floated over his terminal, along with his detailed analysis of all the past, present and future data states in the quantum isotope memories of all the facility's computers...biological anomalies such as the one which had triggered the alert were a more common occurrence than he'd been led to believe...more common were the "biologic malfunctions," a polite term for either stillborn resurrections, or those so badly unstable at the genetic level as to fall apart into a puddle of protoplasmic goo mere seconds after stepping out of the resurrection unit.
His people had tried forcing that data into a permanent delete state, and, for the last six months, it had worked entirely too well, Abott knowing nothing of the true situation until that call from Chad just yesterday, and the concurrent upload of the BEM investigation data showing how quantum time traces had been pieced together from the deleted data states to form a coherent and depressing picture of what had happened.
General Spinks would not accept Abbot's ignorance of his subordinate's actions as an explanation, he was the manager of Facility #227, he was supposed to be aware of the activities of his people at all times, and any excuses for his incompetence in that matter were just that, excuses.
And, only zeds made excuses.
"Sir," the holoimage of his co-manager reported, as it floated in front of his right eye," One-ten reports a biological anomaly has escaped containment from the resurrection chamber normally assigned to Archdeacon Lord Springer, terminating the entire resurrection team and four 110s. They've locked down the facility and confined all non-security and non-management personnel to their work areas, as per procedure."
Abbot couldn't help but to say the f-word out loud, not caring about how much like a filthy zed he sounded right now—shaking his head before asking,"Where is it now?"
"Still in the resurrection wing, Sir," the co-manager replied, screams, cursing and the reports of displacement projectiles echoing in the background. "One-ten's bringing in the tiggers to try and contain it before—holy shit! Son of a bitch!"
Abott reflexively jumping out of his seat, his co-manager's head popping like a zit, as two hairy, meaty, hand-like slabs of flesh clapped the unfortunate man's skull between them, the holo zapping and winking out at that point.
"Fuck!" said Abbot over and over, his breathing sweaty, labored gasps.
Situation Room, Royal Palace
Government District, Heaven, Kingdom Of Man
Seated on His Throne, He watched the filthy zed scream in the wild animal passion innate to all its subhuman kind, as voices screamed from the speakers all around Him, ordering it to grab its tits, finger its twot, press that stinking ass up against the gravalloy glass of the enclosed swimming pool.
A tech seated at His right strained hard, sweat pouring down his face, veins popping out, a trickle of blood at the corner of his mouth, as he laid his hands on the interface surfaces of his workstation, sending a signal from his brain through his nanocolony to the nanocolony implanted in the body of the zed, the collar then relaying his control impulses into its pathetic brain, directing it to take responsibility for making all those men watch it do disgusting things to itself and others live on the freakin' InterWeb, the zed's hands jerkily moving towards its tits and twot, the animal insisting on fighting the collar and its controller the entire time, its mouth desperately trying to form the word "no," as if it didn't want to be a grotesque freakshow luring Citizens and Immortals alike down into the very depths of subhumanity.
Nearly twenty-three centuries' of expirience had taught Joshua, anointed King Of Man, better than to believe that of any zed; if it had been true, His Word would not have directed His Children to keep them beaten down and in subjection, and, He knew, for certain, His Word was not in error.
"Another shot of pain," Larry Addams, head of the Buerau of Electronic Media, ordered the struggling tech, as he walked up behind him, merely glancing at one of a veritable infinity of holoprojections in the Palace's cavernous Situation Room, thirty miles below the surface of the Eternal City, before joining his Master at the center of the room.
"The Terran President has agreed to the cease fire," he said, wasting no words,"and, over the objections of their Senate, it will shortly announce its issuance of an executive order standing down its military and granting You safe passage to Earth orbit in a live Webcast."
"Is their so-called military standing down?" He asked another of His most trusted Immortals.
"According to our agents inside Terran space," General Asa Spinks, His Director Of National Security, replied, as he stood at His left hand,"yes, Master."
Joshua nodded His head.
"Good," He remarked, eyes still on the zed screaming its head off again, its body twtiching and grinding itself into the glass, His mind remembering His last zed, how Ruth had insisted on denying what it was, denying that it hated the depravity which was its own kind, throughly unrepentant to the end of its miserable existence, no matter how many times it had made Him sic other zeds on it, no matter how many times it had forced Him to use the collar on it, no matter how many times it had forced Him to treat it like the brute beast that it was.
Their entire so-called Republic was equally as proud, as equally lost in their sin and innate perversity, they and the Conspiracy who ruled them and threatened the Kingdom of Man with eternal damnation so twisted and hopelessly deluded as to believe the penal colony they called their home world was the cradle of humanity, even in the face of legitimate scholarship proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that Heaven had always been the one true birthplace of His people.
The threat would end today.
They would all be reminded of what they were, just as the animal pressing itself against the glass was being reminded now.
It was the Perfect Will of their anointed King.
And, He was never wrong.
"...son of a bitch!" Melinda swore through gritted teeth, displacement torps screaming towards her an instant before the jump engine and point-defense network both engaged simoultaneously, her Sparrow III jump fighter swallowed up by its own wormhole, emerging less than ten meters above the deck of one of the Mannie JMOBs, the twenty-year old jump fighter squadron commander directing a thought through her nanocolony to her ship via its nanocolony, a salvo of Smashmouth anti-ship displacement missiles streaking from the Lightning Bolt's twin missile launchers as fast as their replicators could make them, the jump fighter too close to the enemy ship's gravalloy skin for it to prevent the missiles from exiting jump inside the vessel, the sun-hot flashes of detonating energy-liberation warheads erupting in front of her, momentarily blinding her and the fighter's lidar and passive EM sensors.
Displacement projectiles detonating like hail against the Lightning Bolt's own gravalloy, the cockpit echoing with alarms, Melinda jumping again, emerging from jump between a pair of Mannie destroyers, Melinda opening up with the missile launchers and the Lightning Bolt's four ninety-millimeter rotary-barrel displacement projectile cannon, the destroyers' point-defense network lobbing interceptor missiles at her, Melinda jumping before they had the chance to hit, a warning tone in her head telling her she hadn't escaped all of them, her own interceptors and countermeasures deploying against them, as she skimmed the atmosphere of Tom Dooley, Melinda glancing sideways, Vernon, the colony's only city, burning brightly below her, the flashes of displacement projectiles and missiles jumping and emerging from jump like pinpricks in the flames.
She thought of Gramma Thorne, and Sarah, her little sister, both down there risking their lives....
68972 S. 320 Road
Wagoner, Free State Of Oklahoma, Earth, Republic Of Earth
March 21, 2276,1232.56 Master Clock Time
...Melinda Fallon screaming, fighting the bed covers, her body shaking and sweating, as she emerged from the recurring nightmare of the last twenty frickin years of her life.
"Babe?" a voice asked, holding her close, cradling her against her breasts, the captain of the Republic Of Earth Ship Shooting Star forcing her eyes to focus, as she turned up and looked into her wife's warm, brown eyes.
"I'm okay, baby," Melinda whispered. "What time...shit," she remarked, her nanocolony's internal clock syncing up with the MASTERCLOCK satellite over Earth's North Pole,"I slept in, didn't I?"
"You were up late, hun," Amanda Tallgeese whispered,"all night, as a matter of fact."
"Yeah," Melinda whispered, reaching up to stroke Amanda's hair, as Amanada was stroking hers.
"You're worrying about me again," she remarked.
"What do you expect me to do, baby?" Amanda asked. "Ever since the cease-fire went into effect—"
Melinda angrily sprang to her feet, walking to the open door of the bedroom she'd grown up in, looking down the hall at the closed door of Sarah's old room, the picture of the horse she'd drawn, when she'd been six still pinned to it.
She could only look at it for so long, before wheeling about on her heel and smashing her fist into the doorjamb, tears running down her face.
"Bitch," she spat angrily....
"...not a conversation, Chief," Ensign Parker's holo replied, Melinda's jumpfighter screaming alarms, shaking from successive detonatons against the gravalloy." Commander Brandt's ordered us to bug out, and now, god damn it. The last of the transports have jumped, and—"
"Damnit, my sister's still—" Melinda started to snap in reply, the angry buzz of the missile warning....
...interrupting what she'd been about to say, Melinda hearing her mom letting in whoever had been at the door, Mom and their visitor talking, but only for a couple of seconds, before all conversation just stopped.
Mom was at her side, before she'd even heard her feet padding along the carpet, telling her," Lindy, hun, you...um...have a visitor."
Just the way she said that meant Melinda knew she wasn't going to like this.
She turned to face the woman with her mom...slight build, long blonde hair all rumpled, lines in her face making her look older than her voice sounded, a jagged scar along the left side of her cheek running almost all the way down to the corner of her mouth.
"Captain Fallon?" she said, extending her hand. "Lieutenant Stephanie O'Connell, Field Ops, StarForces Intel."
Melinda now knew for sure she wasn't going to like whatever this Stephanie O'Connell had to tell her.
It felt like she'd left her body, watching from the ceiling, as the field operative from StarForces Intel tell someone else,"ma'am, it's about your sister."
Just before Melinda's body took the other woman's hand....
...that bastard so-called anointed fucking King Of Man screaming at the broken, brutalized body of her little sister, still twitching, pissing and shitting all over herself, Sarah's mouth fighting to get out the word "no" just one more time, before that son of a bitch just....
...fucking beat her to death and had her body crucified with her legs wide open, frickin'—
"Get out," she said tautly, turning back towards the doorjamb, O'Connell replying,"ma'am?"
"Fucking, get out!" Melinda screamed, pounding the doorjamb again.