Chapter TwoEdit

Situation Room, Royal Palace
Government District, Heaven, Kingdom Of Man
2276.1906.838 AR

"Get them back!" General Asa Lord Spinks, the Director of National Security for the last two hundred years, shouted to the techs in the Situation Room the instant they'd lost all telemetry on Norm and the thousand fleets' worth of JMOBs under His command.

"NOW, goddamnit!" he added, shaking his head, eyes on the holoprojections now showing nothing but snow, memories of a day like this two centuries ago running through his head.

We just barely came out of that scheme of His with our hides intact, he thought bitterly to himself, his CyberLink displaying reports from all the Genesis facilities throughout Kingdom least the ones which weren't on full-scale lockdown, like #227 had been for almost a half hour now.

He didn't want to know why the facility was on lockdown, even though he already knew, just as he and his fellow Immortals all already knew why the Genesis facility was a year and a half behind on orders, why P.J. Springer had yet to make an appearance following his scheduled resurrection earlier today.

Why he never would.

The Director Of National Security snorted in bitter contempt, as he contemplated the use of the word "immortal," as applied to the members of what had been the ruling class of the former United States of America—forced to make do with reigning in Hell these past two centuries—knowing it only meant half-misunderstood cloning techniques and vodoo conocctions keeping them alive only seventy-five to a hundred years longer than the average Citizen.

Given an average Citizen's lifespan was twenty-five years from the age he'd first been cloned—fifty if he'd been younger than the age of thirteen during the Tricentennial War—that wasn't much of an advantage.

It would shortly be no advantage at all, and the treasonous bitches who'd stolen everything from their masters would survive them.

Unless Norm's plan to win the war against them succeeded.

And, Spinks had a bad feeling it—

The klaxon pierced the gloom of the Situation Room, a tech reporting,"my lord, Lord Admiral Trawick reporting multiple craft emerging from jump in high planetary orbit."

"Show me," Spinks commanded, a hologram of the throneworld appearing instantly before him, detonations of white-hot energy blinding the planet as the hostile jumpships made contact with the network of self-replicating energy-liberation mines sheathing the planet, acting as a deterrent against all-out enemy assault for the last two hundred years.

But, not for much longer, the mines disappearing faster than they could replicate, the Second Fleet's jump fighters, destroyers and JMOBs executing successive microjumps in an attempt to counter the enemy's next move.

The enemy not staying put, emerging from jump just long enough to fire off a volley before immediately ducking back into jump.

"My lord," a tech shouted," small craft detected in atmosphere, three meters from the surface."

"Telemetry," another tech reported,"identifies it as a StarForces Mark III Bulldog drop ship, carrying a company of Lighthorse troops.'

"They're landing," a third tech cried out. "Government District, Sector 18, Block 31, Area 15."

"Golgatha?!" Spinks asked, hard pressed to explain just why the enemy would land a force there, of all places.

Not that anything zeds ever did make sense, or that it even mattered.

"Order the Fifth Marine Legion to dispatch troops to that area immediately," the Director Of National Security ordered.

"Well, whattya know," he then remarked, mostly to himself.

"They saved themselves a trip."

Aboard the RES Shooting Star
15,100 kilometers from Heaven
March 21, 2276, 1254.00 MCT

"Lighthorse troops to the drop ship, on the double!" Captain Fallon's voice said over the CyberLink, Ensign Christina Geddes wasting no time scrambling out of her chair in the Lighthorse company's galley, her heavy assault suit's nanocolony sealing her up, as she ascended the ladder leading up to the hangar deck, running the umpteenth check on her Heavy Lighthorse Rifle since the war cruiser had set out from Muskogee Spacedock just a few moments ago.

The CO of the ship's Lighthorse company briefly frozen in time, resuming her run the instant the ship emerged from jump, and her feet touched deck, Christina the first to clamber up the Chihuaua III's waiting ramp, securing herself in her assigned drop capsule just as the ramp raised itself up, shutting with a clank of metal against metal, the ship firing her grav thrusters, as she cleared the Shooting Star, time freezing again, as the 66-ton Mark III Bulldog drop ship executed a microjump of its own, Christina buffeted violenly inside her capsule upon emergence, not having time to brace herself, as the capsule fell through the floor of the ship, unpeeling itself like a banana all too quickly after that.

The stench of death assaulting her nose, even through the suit's filters, the veteran Lighthorseman's stomach flip-flopping queasily at the sight of thousands upon thousands of crucified, defiled bodies nailed to crosses planted in possibly the only patch of ground on Roanoke which had not been blacktopped.

"Incoming!" one of her people shouted over the tacnet, Christina moving the hell out of the way, as fast as her reflexes—augmented by the suit—and the grav thrusters could move her, while at the same time she used her suit's lidar to zero in on the location of the Rimmers who'd just opened fire on her people.

Most of the burst of forty-millimeter displacement projectiles meant for her brought the cross immediately behind her crashing to the ground instead, the rest of those projectiles immediately jumping, Christina cursing, as she moved again, snapping off a burst of 76-millimeter displacement projectiles and 254-millimeter RAW—all set to home in on Ream Job suit energy signatures—in the general direction of the enemy, following that with a couple volleys from the multi-tube displacement mortar on the back of her suit which raised the dust and rattled the planet underneath her, as things quieted down.

For a few seconds at least, her first sergeant, Holly Burnquist, shouting out,"We've got hoppers inbound, look alive, people!" over the tacnet, Christina seeing the Ream Jobs' hoppers buzzing about at the foot of the hill, using their grav thrusters to push against the planet and rise higher.

"Heavy weaps," Christina shouted, her rifle's lidar acquiring one of the lumbering beasts,"paint those ugly sons of bitches for the drop ship!"

A few moments passed between her giving those orders, and the drop ship hovering above them to let loose with artillery rockets, interceptor missiles and displacement projectile cannon, some of the hoppers returning the Chihuaua III's fusillade, explosions blossoming into being against its gravalloy at the same time the drop ship's own firepower obliterated scores of hoppers in massive, rattling gouts of white-hot light.

Scores more taking their place, gathering like black clouds of gnats on a hot, summer day.

"Fan out!" she shouted. "Find her body! Do it now!"

...she screamed, diving her jumpfighter full power towards the destroyer pouncing on the transport as it attempt to clear Tom Dooley's atmosphere, displacement missiles arrowing towards it, as Melinda jumped out of the path of any return fire.

Interceptors by the tens of thousands homing in on her position when she emerged closer to the planet, forcing her to jump, before she had any chance to open fire.

The Lightning Bolt was now a few meters above Vernon, Mannie Ream Jobs running amok through the streets, armed citizens dying by the score, taking as many of the sons of bitches down with them as they could, the enemy advancing on Gramma Thorne and the Shooting Star's Lighthorse company just barely holding onto the starport, hoppers clearing the way ahead of Rimmer infantry and heavy assault troops, the Lightning Bolt's displacement projectile cannon and displacement missile launchers scouring the skies of as many hoppers as they could, the hoppers locking on to Melinda's jump fighter instead, vectoring a stormcloud of artillery missiles and displacement projectiles at her, Melinda ...

Aboard the RES Shooting Star
13,380 kilometers from Heaven
March 21, 2276, 1256.18 MCT

"...jump!" Melinda snapped at Jodie, the Shooting Star shaking, her gravalloy pelted by debris, as she flew through where a Bull Run-class JMOB had been only an instant before, alert klaxons and her defensive systems officer, Chief Warrant Officer Amberlin Chase, both warning of orbital and planetary defense cannons locking on to the war cruiser.

The Shooting Star jumped, the displacement projectiles which had been homing in on her emerging from jump an instant after she did, the cruiser's point defenses launching a cloud of interceptors, Amberlin following that with another cloud of jump decoys from the defensive countermeasure launchers, Jada loosing a barrage from the DPCs into a destroyer emerging from jump directly in front of the cruiser, ripping it apart from the inside out as the five-inch projectiles emerged from jump inside the enemy vessel, the Shooting Star jumping again, just as her passive EM sensors picked up the heat and radiation pulse of wormholes forming at point-blank range on either side of the ship.

All thirty quad-turreted displacement cannon on board the enemy JMOB cut loose the instant the war cruiser emerged from jump less than a meter over the forward part of its long, rectangular hull, Jodie dropping the ship down, directly in front of the open hangar bay door, Jada not missing the opportunity to let loose with all guns and torps, the JMOB snapping in half from multiple, simoultaneous explosions.

The bridge lights and holoprojections dimming almost to darkness, as the Shooting Star stagged from the impacts of several hits, Geri holding on to the command chair's left arm, Melinda feeling the gravity fade out for just a second, the first mate reporting,"gravalloy reduced by 87%, forwards hold, aft gun and third habitat decks opened to space, four holds have been ruptured with secondary detonations, nanocolony attempting to effect repairs."

"Casaulties?" Melinda asked, hesitation in her voice.

"Sickbay reports five dead, twelve wounded," Geri replied.

"Goddamnit," Melinda whispered, the Shooting Star jumping again.

Aboard the HDMS Iraqi Freedom
9,540 kilometers from Earth
2276.1907.001 AR

Men screamed and burned all around Him, the battle management center's lights and holoprojections winking out as the result of more displacement missiles tearing through the ten-million ton leviathan, rupturing even more of its insides, the planative, whiny voice of the ship's commander once again begging his Master for permission to run from this fight with their tails between their legs, the voice of the anointed King Of Man booming,"Ask me one more time, and you will be sent down and chained to the foot of My Throne to be used by your Lord and Master however I see fit! Is that clear?!"

"If this ship is taking damage," He further proclaimed,"then it is solelly the incompetence of its crew and officers which is at fault. Now stop your goddamn whining like one of them, and concentrate your efforts on beating them all down into sub—"

The JMOB trembled again, staggering from hits barely stopped by its gravalloy, Joshua demanding,"why haven't we jumped yet?! Does your pilot not know—"

"We've sustained further damage to the jump engine, Master," the Iraqi Freedom's executive officer replied, his image shimmering slightly, as it stood in front of his anointed King. "We are concentrating the nanocolony's efforts on repairing it, but, as we sustain further damage, the network's auto-repair programming keeps overriding our—"

"I asked for an explanation, not even more excuses for your goddamn, fucking incompetence!" roared the Lord of all Mankind.

"I see," He then decided,"examples are needed if this situation is to be arrested. Tiggers!"

"Yes, Master?" His lead guard growled in question.

"What the fuck do you think?!" the King of Man snapped, gesturing at the holo of the zed to be floating before Him. "Go to the ops deck, and take this ship's so-called command staff to Reassignment at once! Afterwards, bring them to Me and to these men here, so their replacements may watch what happens to those who make excuses rather than serve their Lord!"

"Are you waiting for something?!" He then asked, the ship falling apart all round Him, the tiggers all genuflecting at the feet of their anointed Lord and Master, before moving to carry out His Perfect Will.

Aboard the RES Kip Morgan
6,220 kilometers from Earth
March 21, 2276, 1303.06 MCT

"Flight Control," Flavia snapped,as the Kip Morgan skimmed the surface of an enemy JMOB, "vector some more jump fighters ahead to clear those destroyers out of the way."

The point defense and countermeasure launchers spitting out interceptors and decoys to counter incoming fire and jump fighters, two or three dozen more of the Terran flagship's Sparrows emerging from jump ahead of it, driving displacement projectiles and missiles into Connally-class destroyers battling with the war cruiser above the JMOB, inside the gun turrets stabbing out towards the orbital defenses and spacedocks, the jump fighters of the Civil Aerospace Patrol's planetary defense regiments rising from the starports of the terrestrial States to attack the enemy JMOB's starboard flank, at the same time the Kip Morgan ripped into it with his displacement projectile cannon and torpedos, the Mannie warship crumpling underneath the assault, the Terran flagship jumping, emerging inside a formation of enemy destroyers, the ship's weapons officer, Ensign Marnie Callahan, loosing a volley from the weapons at the same time the pilot, Lieutenant Michele Cramer, initated jump sequence.

"Madame President," the Kip Morgan's radioman, Corporal Lana MacDermott, reported,"Vice President Rundgren reports that we've fully mobilized."

"Warships emerging from jump," the ship's radarman, Corporal Alicia Hiatt, then said," 10,000 klicks from Earth and closing."

"Confirmed," Lana said,"IFF signals ID them as 401st through 407th Fleets, from the Martian States and Titan, respectively."

Flavia nodded, telling Lana,"signal the Governors of those States, tell them to make sure they had adequate forces on hand to defend themselves, in case the Mannies try to hit them."

"Understood, Madame President," Lana replied, as the Kip Morgan's guns ripped through another brace of enemy destroyers.

Aboard the RES Deirdre McCallum
5,850 kilometers from Earth
March 21, 2276, 1305.19 MCT

Stephanie O' Connell made her way to her Sparrow jump fighter amidst the chaos of the McCallum's kilometer-long hangar bay, the deck shaking underneath her feet more than once, the twenty-year veteran of StarForces Intelligence's Field Ops Branch realizing how much she'd forgotten about being on a warship in the heat of combat.

She'd forgotten a great deal of things, having been stationed on Roanoke—she adamantly refused to call it Heaven—for fifteen of the years she'd spent in the service of her people, the only two good things to come out of being assigned to that frickin' hellhole having been ...

She sighed, as she stood at the foot of the gangway leading up into the back of her ship...yeah, she could still count Sarah as one of the good things, even if she was no longer with her in for Bunny, God only knew if she'd still be alive when she got back ...

Another sigh, Stephanie climbed up into her fighter, the gangway raising itself up into the belly of the ship, as she sat down in the cockpit's acceleration couch, grav restraints switching on and the couch adjusting itself to fit her body, Stephanie gripping the yoke on the left-hand armrest which served as a focal point for the interface between her nanocolony and the ship's, requesting and instantly receiving clearance from the flight controllers for launch.

She was juking and weaving her way through enemy warships and jump fighters the instant she'd left the McCallum, initiating jump sequence almost instantly, getting in one last look at the painfully-blue planet below, instantly homesick and wanting to go back down the well.

Knowing she couldn't.

She wiped tears from her face with the sleeve of her jump suit, smiling.

Sarah again.

Never, in the fifteen years they'd been married, had she had any doubts where her duty lay.

Or the sacrifices it often required.

You're always gonna be with me, aren't you, love? she thought sadly, as the Sparrow entered jump.

In the cockpit of the RES Vespa Woman
13,318 kilometers from Heaven
March 21, 2276, 1305.59 MCT

Jump fighter piloting was a merge between ancient martial arts and modern technology.

Every martial art since the beginning of human civilization emphasized the need to "stick and move."

Modern technology provided and refined the nanocolony interface necessary for the application of that need to jump fighter combat.

Lieutenant Amanda Tallgeese made use of that application every day of the career she'd chosen for herself.

More so now than before.

She jumped again, not even thinking about it, firing the displacement projectile cannon, launching a volley of displacement missiles reflexively upon emerging from jump, already initiating jump sequence without seeing what she'd hit, or even if she'd hit anything...that might have been a luxury for her ancestor, flying jump fighters during a time when they'd still been a novel concept in aerospace combat, but, for Amanda and her contemporaries, standing around in one spot for too long(say a picosecond or two after emerging from jump)was an advertisment for certain death from a variety of sources.

Least of which were the interceptor missiles which had followed her through jump, emerging hot on her heels, Amanda releasing a pair of jump decoys before executing a multijump, stringing together a trio of consecutive jumps which threw off the remaining interceptors at the same time it had her emerging from jump this freakin' close to the paintjob of a Connally-class destroyer, ninety-millimeter DPCs firing at the same time the collision warning screamed in her head.

Amanda jumped again, lobbing a brace of displacement missiles at whatever the lidar had locked on to, as she emerged from jump, skimming the twin tapered cylinders of the Shooting Star, the grav thrusters mounted at the intersection of the cylinders firing to adjust her orbital vector and bring her nose-mounted armament to bear on a JMOB trying to slide underneath her.

Amanda sighed, her thoughts frozen in mid-stream, as the Vespa Woman entered jump...sometimes she was scared for Melinda, that the guilt and anger she'd been carrying around for the last twenty years would get the better of her, destroying the woman Amanda kept falling in love with, even after all this time.

It wasn't her fault, it wasn't Flavia's, it was those Mannie cocksuckers who were to blame, they'd both ... she thought angrily, trailing off, snapping off shots and jumping before a pair of destroyers could smear her with the swarm of interceptors they'd just lobbed at her, several of them emerging from jump in pursuit, Amanda executing another jump almost immediately, launching interceptors of her own, before the wormhole swallowed the Vespa Woman whole.

Government District, Heaven, Kingdom Of Man
March 21, 2276, 1306.20 MCT

"Sunnuva—" Christina swore, ducking out of the way just barely in time, the heat shimmer of the tail coming down this close to tearing her armor open and infecting her with Mutagen Alfa.

"GATOR MEN!" she shouted over tacnet, hundreds of gators emerging from behind the crucifixes, their chamelon skin making them difficult to see, their other "natural" abilities making them invisible to lidar and most EM sensors.

It also made them resistant to displacement projectiles and RAW, which the Lighthorse company commander was hosing this son of a bitch down with, the holes she'd succeeded in blasting into him quickly mending themselves, the gator continuing to advance on her, smile on his scaly face, a paw stroking his strap-on dildo, speakers seeded throughout this place rebroadcasting millions of male voices cheering this damn thing on via the frickin' IW, the song "(Fuck Like A Gator)Gator Man" by Eddie And the Garbagemen booming across the field, the fucking thing humping the air, as it kept moving towards her, chuckling to itself as Christina pumped displacement projectiles and missiles into him.

The gator whipped out its tail again, Christina sidestepping it just barely in time to avoid being turned into a gator herself, lobbing an RAW into a hole she'd blasted into him, the gator's nanocolony sealing up the wound just as the spheroid missile emerged from jump inside him, showering her with gator man guts, as more of his friends came at her from all directions, all of the bastards licking their chops, as they converged on her position.

On where she had been, rather, Christina jumping, the heavy assault armor's grav thrusters doing the rest, catapulting over the gators wildly slashing out with their tails, grabbing at her legs with their scaly paws, the Lighthorse company commander tucking her knees underneath her, tuck-rolling, landing on her feet thirty meters away, loosing a salvo from the MTDM before the gators had a chance to react, the eight-inch displacement cluster rounds making the ground go out underneath her feet as they wiped out everything within a one-click radius.

Mostly everything, a gator defying all belief by emerging from the carnage, ripped to shit, tail half gone, the nanites inside him slowly rebuilding him, as he levelled his M130HCR at Christina, his gold and diamond-encrusted teeth a ragged smirk splitting his even more fucked-up face.

"Guess what sho'ty," he said in his race's pidgin English. "I baacc—"

"Not for long, bitch," some skinny freakin' blonde kid said, an instant or two after emerging from the white-hot explosion the M65ACR in her entirely too-steady hands had made of the gator.

"...goddamnit, Melinda, get the fuck out of there!" that bitch screamed at her, Melinda ignoring her, continuing her descent into Tom Dooley's atmosphere, displacement projectiles bursting all round her, displacement missiles and torps seeking her out, Melinda jumping twice to escape certain destruction, the Lightning Bolt's point defenses unleashing a barrage of interceptors to counter the missiles, torps and projectiles emerging from jump directly on her tail.

"Fuck," she interjected, her eyes on the colony's starport, now less than five meters below her...Rimmers were swarming all over it like black-armored cockroaches, the ragged remains of the Shooting Star's Lighthorse company visible in between explosions, the survivors standing their ground, desperately returning the fire of easily a hundred times their number, plus hoppers sweeping uncontested across the compound, the company's own dropship blazing wreckage strewn all over the map.

She scanned the bio-readings and the transponder frequencies...her Gramma's transponder wasn't transmitting, nor was the area where the Lightning Bolt had detected her DNA registering any life signs...Sarah, on the other ha—

"Bitch, what the fuck are you doing?!" she screamed into her CyberLink, the Lightning Bolt abruptly snatched upward, the Shooting Star's twin cylinders—rent with ragged, slowly-mending holes along her spaceframe—closer to her with each passing instant.

"Fuck that!" Melinda snapped angrily, starting to initiate jump sequence.

The Shooting Star getting there first, Melinda's cursing and tears both frozen in time ...

Aboard the RES Shooting Star
9,419 kilometers from Heaven
March 21, 2276, 1308.11 MCT

"..son of a bitch!" the captain of the Shooting Star swore, the grav restraints holding her firmly in place, as the bridge shook itself apart, Geri reporting,"direct hit to the port grav thruster, Captain, thruster is offline and under repair, gravalloy restored to 90%, hull breaches in aft gun deck and forward hold deck completely repaired, breach in aft third habitat deck 84% repaired."

"Concentrate the nanocolony's efforts on that thruster," Melinda ordered, at the same time the Shooting Star's guns obliterated the destroyer which had gotten the drop on her, the war cruiser jumping almost immediately after that, emerging from jump with a brace of displacement torps on her tail, the point-defense and decoy launchers deploying immediately.

"Piloting," Melinda then remarked,"we'll use the grav beam to compensate for the lost thruster; Radioman, anything from the Lighthorse company?"

"They've made contact with members of the underground, Captain," Corporal Harlee McKenna reported. "That was all Ensign Geddes had time to report before being subjected to further engagement by—"

The Shooting Star jumped, just as the missile warning howled out across the bridge.

"—enemy forces," the youngest member of the ship's company continued her report as the ship emerged from jump closer to the planet, a Rintin JMOB crossing her orbital path, Jada letting fly with everything the ship had in her arsenal, the missile warning resuming its caterwauling, Amberlin loosing interceptors and decoys at the same time Jodie executed a microjump which had them emerging nearly a half klick above the endless vista of glass, steel, neon and asphalt rising through poisoned clouds, descending into bottomless shadows, lidar, radar and passive sensors lighting off on planetary defense batteries lobbing displacement projectiles and torps on the war crusier now skipping across Heaven's sky like a stone.

...the Supreme Court chambers exploded inward, as Roy Connally made what had turned out to be the last incorrect prophecy of his life, alarm klaxons cutting through the white fire incinerating the halls of WARCOM itself, Spinks cursing, going for his Colt ACP, his vision returning in a monochormatic haze, Norm screaming for someone to fucking take out the treasonous right-wing liberal activist judges who dared defy the will of their people and their President's by declaring their support for that scurrilous Constitution and their concurrent opposition to the fucking law of the land.

At the same time, the doors fell down with a crash, a good dozen or two Overseers and Marines cut down by a firestorm of liquid-metal plasma projectiles hissing out of the SOCOM-III electromag battle rifles in the hands of Mountaineer sons of bitches, that cocksucker Johnathan Black, leading the charge, Spinks ...

Situation Room, Royal Palace
Government District, Heaven, Kingdom Of Man
2276.1907.155 AR

...cursing, as the Situation Room fell down around him, some of the techs screaming like bitches as their stations exploded and the ceiling dropped down to crush them into jelly, the holoprojections shaking, wavering, flickering out, before fitfully flickering back on, the Director of National Security finding himself staring into the eyes of Archdeacon J.D. McGraw, handling the interview with the BEM's Elisabeth O'Donnell that his superior was supposed to have been doing, only ...

Spinks sighed explosively, the Situation Room shaking again, the Terran war cruiser pounding the crap out of the Government District with her displacement projectile cannon and torp launchers, battering it with the heat and radiation pulse accompanying the change in spatial volume and density resulting from a ship entering time to dwell on what he fucking couldn't do a thing about, not with that StarForces' ship and its troops and jump fighters raising Hell on the throneworld and Norm and the task force sent to secure Earth still out of communication...even their agents on Earth were silent, the traitors cutting off all access to their InterWeb the instant Norm had jumped, instantly reestablishing standard wartime security protocols, almost as if...

He stopped that train of thought right there and then, looking into Dobson's eyes, as he told the zed calling itself a BEM anchor,"the very instant the zeds made the choice to abandon the civilized values their anointed lords and masters had tried so hard to teach them, the result was inevitable."

In the background, Lita, from the InterWeb reality series Terran Sorority Sluts Gone Wild, had slammed Maryann up against the wall, hiking up her skirt, calling her bitch, whore, cunt in rapidfire succession, as she shoved her dildo as far as she could up into that pert, tanned little ass to the cheering and catcalling of everyone online and watching this, McGraw continuing to speak in the foreground:

"Without the civilized restraint their anointed lords and masters imposed upon them, the zeds, unable to govern themselves, regressed back into their innate perversity and depravity, preying on each other and on those of us they imprisoned in their parody of social order, making one another and those who should have been their natural overlords do the most egregious acts of perversion to one another, ultimately lowering those of us they'd trapped—through our own, unquenchable desire to protect and care for those less fortunate—into zeds like them, and, quite frankly, all the Conspiracy—"

"My lord," one of the techs spoke up,"we have defeated Genesis #227's lockdown protocols and have access to their Webcams."

"Port it to my link," the Director of National Security ordered instantly, the view from #227's cams appearing instantly before him, Spinks using the protocols hardcoded into his nanocolony to encode, encipher and encrypt the holoprojection so that only he could see it.

The facility's corridors were deserted, shrilling klaxons echoing through the emptiness, along with the reports of displacement projectiles and...inhuman in the distance, Spinks going from cam to cam, trying to figure out what the—

Jesus Holy Christ!

The Director of National Security reflexively stepped back, the hairy, hunchbacked, knuckle-dragging subhuman thing hurling a tigger outside the holoprojection field, bashing in the skull of another, the sumbitch howling in rage, two more tiggers with M195HCRs pumping the bastard full of displacement missiles and 2.5-inch displacement projectiles, splattering it all over the place.

More subhuman howling echoing down the corridors.

Spinks reestablished lockdown protocols instantly, barking out orders for a brigade of MDUs and a team of OPP erasers to sanitize #227 for good and all.

Even knowing that wouldn't so much as delay the inevitable.

Genesis Facility #227
Seventh District, Heaven, Kingdom Of Man
2276.1907.163 AR

With an inhuman growl of rage, the door to the conference room splintered, everyone in the room scattering chairs about as they tried desperately to escape whatever was coming.

Abbot shitting his pants as he just tried to shrink away from the trio of subhuman monstrostities coming for him like some atavistic nightmare made manifest.

Beacuse, of course, it was, however forbidden it was for him to know that.

With trembling fingers, the manager of Genesis #227 fumbled with the grav-holster for his Colt ACP III, finally managing to get it free just as the troglodytes moved in a flash, wading into the sea of trapped humanity, using bits and pieces of broken equipment as clubs to bash in skulls with wet, sick sounds showering the room and everyone still alive with grey matter.

Johnson had his Colt ACP III out, firing a sextet of .502 displacement projectiles which found one of their targets, exploding it all over the other two, now both highly pissed off that their packmate had been killed, one of the trogs reaching out in a flash, grabbing and instantly crushing Johnson with its meaty, hairy paws, the zed screaming like the thing it had allowed itself to become, Abbot sliding along the back wall, snapping off six shots as he headed for the doorway, the trog crushing Johnson exploding, dropping the broken body of the filthy zed to the floor, the other subhuman turning, sizing Abbot up, letting out a long, slow, "gurrrrrrllll" in between evil chuckling.

Abott shitting his pants again, just barely managing to make it to the door, as the trog smacked the wall with an impact which shook evetything in the room.

Before it came out into the hallway in pursuit of its intended prey, howling out,"gurrrrrllllll, gurrrlllllll, gurrrrrrllllll!" at the top of its lungs, as it closed in on Abbot, its hot, stinking breath on the back of the facility manager's neck.

Its evil chuckling ringing in his ears.

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