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Darkness In America Lore

 
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The Cabal

The Cabal is a militant religious order based on two complementary principles. The first is Christian Dominionism, which is the belief that Christians are commissioned by God to take dominion over every aspect of civil society and overthrow all secular institutions. The second is Theonomy, which is the belief that society must be governed by divine law, or what theonomists would call God’s Law-Word. These are the judicial texts found in the Old Testament, such as Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Examples would be Leviticus 20: 13: kill all the gays, and Deuteronomy 13: 12-16:  wipe out a town should most of its citizens be apostates or nonbelievers. Psalm 137:9 orders you to smash babies against rocks.


The Cabal started off as premillennialists (meaning they believed that Jesus had to return before the thousand years of peace could begin), but after the apocalyptic events of the War of the Sands, they took a postmillennial position. Jesus Christ would only return once they had completely subdued the world. Others took the view this means they must push the world towards a state of total war to satisfy the conditions for Jesus’ second coming. Of course, with Jerusalem now a radioactive wasteland, they would have to find a way to make it habitable again.


As an organization, the Cabal has existed for almost nine hundred years. However, it didn’t always go by its current name. It has taken several throughout the ages, all to hide its secret past, for few will forget its original name: The Knights Templar. The family tree below is designed to show you how this dangerous religious sect has evolved over the last nine centuries.


For most of its history, the Cabal operated in Europe. However, in 1804, the order split in two, and the faction that would later become known as the Cabal moved to North America. They would play a critical role in starting both American Civil Wars. They also formed several organizations designed to subvert and divide American society, including the Ku Klux Klan, the Fellowship, the National Rifle Association, the Alt-Right, and Christian Zionists to name just a few.  Lastly, they infiltrated government agencies like the CIA, the FBI and FEMA. They became what conspiracy theorists call the deep state and used these agencies to build Black Sites to train Inquisitors and one day hold political prisoners.


In 2028, a member of the order, Grand Inquisitor Gregory di Conti, won the presidency. He and his fellow Cabalists engineered a coup, after which they rewrote the U.S. Constitution and took control over the government. Over 27 million Americans died during the second civil war that led to di Conti’s rise to power, and another 700,000 when they detonated a nuke in the harbour of Miami. While these acts might seem unchristian to most, the Cabal view them as moral because they see Jesus Christ as a Stalin or Hitler-like character, a mass murdering psychopath who will slaughter billions during the prophesied End Times.


By 2052, the Cabal runs America from the shadows. Their public face is the Department of Understanding, a government agency whose task is to police morality in the United States. Few suspect the Department of Understanding is the federal government, and that Congress and the Presidency are little more than window dressing. The Cabal relies on High Inquisitors and telepathic Inquisitors to enforce its will.

It should be noted that the Illuminati are the exact opposite of the Cabal and their earlier incarnations. They represent a failed attempt to reform the order, and are based on Enlightenment principles like equality, freedom and reason. They were pivotal in defeating the European chapter of the Cabal, the Black Hand, during World War One. By 2052, the Illuminati are but a shadow of their former selves and have little or no presence in North America where the Cabal operates. They have only recently become aware that the Cabal has survived into the 21st century and that it controls the United States government. They are considering allying themselves with the Second Underground Railroad.


Finally, the Vijics, better known as the Lizard People, are believed to have infiltrated the Cabal sometime in the last thousand years. Some have even conjectured that the Vijics help create the order. If this is true, then the Cabal is little more than a puppet to the malevolent Elder Race. It is unknown what role the Cabal plays in the Vijics’ plans for humanity, only that the Cabal believes the Vijics are angels sent by God, his Heavenly Benefactors. Given the Cabal’s anti-alien views, one must wonder how they would react if they ever discovered that their angelic masters were, in fact, giant space lizards.





The Knights Templar

(1120 -1317)

V

V

The Order of The Eternal Flame

(1317-1614)

V

                                                               V >>>> The Sword of the Ross-cross

                                         V                     (1378-1699)

V

The Rosicrucian Order

(1614-1778)

V

V

The Great Schism

V<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>V

V                                                                                                           V

               The Illuminati                                                                 The Second Rosicrucian Order

(1778-Present)                                                                              (1778-1911)

                                                                                                   V

                                                                                                   V

                                                                                                   V

                                                                                                   V

                                                                                                   V

              V <<The Second Rosicrucians Order broke up.<<V

              V<<<<Most stayed in Europe, while the rest<<<<V

              V<<<<moved to the United States in 1804.<<<<<V

              V<<<<<Those who left for North America<<<<<V

               V<<<<<<<<later became the Cabal.<<<<<<<<<V

               V                                                                                  V

               V                                                                                  V

                  The Knights of the Golden Circle                                                       V

        (1804-1864)                                                                        V

               V                                                                                  V

               V                                                                                  V

               V                                                                                  V

                   Majestic XII                                                             The Black Hand

                (1864-1963)                                                                (1911-1917)

              V                                                                                  X

              V                                                                                  X

              V >>>>>>>The Original Ku Klux Klan                     X

              V                          (1865-1871)                                    X

             V                                                                                  X

              V                                                                                  X

              V >>>>>>>The Fellowship (aka The Family)           X

              V                                    (1935)                                   X

             V                                                                                  X

              V                                                                                  X

       The Cabal                                                                           X

   (1963-Present)                                                                       X

 

The Department of Understanding

The Department of Understanding is the federal agency tasked with protecting “religious liberties in the United States and its territories, as well as preserving the moral conscience of the nation.” These flowery words were designed to convey the image that its mandate is to defend free thought, yet the opposite is true. They are an example of doublespeak, and they were crafted to mislead, just like the agency’s name. The Department of Understanding doesn’t defend the religious liberties of all, only those who ascribe to a form of ultra-conservative Christianity. Those who practice a more liberal interpretation are labeled as heretics and are burned at the stake, while people of other faiths are forced to fight each other to the death. While many blame its existence on President Gregory di Conti’s rise to power, truth be told, America has been heading down this road for some time. All di Conti did was codify what many had long advocated.


The road leading up to the Department of Understanding’s formation began with the founding of America. No, not the War of Independence, but the arrival of the Puritans. The Puritans are often described as religious refugees, fleeing to the New World to escape persecution by the Church of England. This is more fiction than fact. The Puritans were a group of English Reformed Protestants dedicated to purifying the Church of England of its “Catholic taint” and partook in the First English Civil War (1642-46) to make their vision a reality. While they were partly successful, they were still dissatisfied with the direction the Church was headed, so they decided to leave England and settle in North America to create a new Christian civilization.


In the colonies, the Puritans were not the defenders of religious liberties as we are led to believe. The society they created was like the U.S. that came into existence after the Department of Understanding’s formation. Most of their laws were derived from the Bible. Twelve crimes demanded the death penalty, including blasphemy, counterfeiting, and witchcraft. Those found guilty of lesser crimes were punished not through incarceration, but through some form of torture. Non-Protestant denominations of Christianity were outlawed. (Author’s Note: They even went so far as to ban Christmas because they saw it as a pagan ritual. Take that Bill O’Reilly!)


It was during the Enlightenment (1715-89) that religious freedom began to be championed, and it was in response to the kind of tyranny practiced by the Puritans. Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the two men most responsible for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, were deists, whose beliefs differed significantly from the orthodox views held by the Puritans. This was why Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli of 1796 made it clear that “as the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Mohammedan) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”


The next attempt to create a religious society in the United States was during the First American Civil War (1861-65). The justification for the South seceding from the U.S. was predicated on the belief that slavery was ordained by God. Leviticus 25: 44-46 says “Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shall have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you, of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which bey begat in your land, and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession, they shall be your bondmen for ever, but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor.” A literal reading of Leviticus outlines the bases for which chattel slavery is justified. Blacks were the sojourns (i.e., foreigners from another land), which is true since they or their ancestors were brought to North America from Africa. The South fought to preserve not just slavery, but a biblical worldview.


Many in the North felt they were the true defenders of Christianity, even as they did battle against their southern counterparts to free the slaves. One could debate whether their interpretation of the Bible is sound. Both the Old and New Testament codified slavery. Ephesians 6: 5 says “servants, be obedient to them that are your master according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.” No, the Bible never condemns slavery, but that doesn’t mean the religious convictions of the Northerners weren’t sincere. 


Religions change over time as cultures evolve, and the people of the North, resenting being called heretics by the South for condemning slavery, saw themselves upholding their own biblical worldview. In this respect, we could call the First American Civil War a religious war, one being fought over slavery’s place in Christianity. It was during this time that the motto “In God We Trust” was not only coined but stamped on some U.S. coinage. This was the North’s way of telling the South that they would not dictate religiosity in America. They would go on to win the war, and slavery was outlawed throughout the U.S., righting a terrible wrong. Yet it also sowed the seeds of discontent that would lead to America’s downfall centuries later.


During the winter of 1863, as the civil war was raging, eleven Christian denominations converged at Xenia, Ohio. There they declared that the civil war was the Lord’s way of punishing a godless nation. They decried the U.S. Constitution as a form of blasphemy for trying to usurp divine governance with its adherence to democratic principles. They proposed an amendment that would state unequivocally that “Almighty God [is] the Author of National Existence and the source of all power and authority in Civil Government, Jesus Christ [is] the Ruler of the Nations, and the Bible [is] the formation of law and supreme rule for the conduct of nations.”


Support for the amendment continued even after the civil war ended. The post-civil war years was a time of growing anxiety for American Protestants. It saw an influx of atheists and Catholics into the United States. In Cincinnati, Ohio, Catholics forced one school board to ban Bible reading because the books used Protestant translations of scripture. The amendments most prominent backer was U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Strong, who felt that if Christianity – particularly evangelical Protestantism – wasn’t protected then it would be “obliterated.”


Fortunately for the nation, other Protestants disagreed with Strong and his supporters. One was Washington Gladden, a minister and the religious editor of the New York Independent. Gladden used his platform, which was one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the U.S. at the time, to decry the proposed amendment. He once wrote “if our Christianity is of such a flimsy texture that nothing but a constitutional amendment will save it, the sooner it is obliterated, the better for the land.”  His editorials convinced many of the dangers the amendment possessed 


Another notable critic to the bill was Francis Abbot, the founder of the National Liberal League. He penned the Nine Demands of Liberalism, which called for defending America’s secular republic from the Christian Amendment. He worked with U.S. Senator Charles Summer to craft the Religious Freedom Amendment. It would modify the First Amendment, which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” by adding the line “or favoring any particular form of religion.” This would make it clear that no religion, be it Christianity, Judaism or Islam, held dominion in the U.S. Though the Religious Freedom Amendment wouldn’t become law, Abbot and Gladden stopped Strong from passing the Christian Amendment. Sadly, their ancestors would lose the war when di Conti became president and ratified a version of the Christian Amendment in 2033. Today, American children are taught that Gladden and Abbot were traitors.


During the Cold War era, new attempts would be made to remake America into a Christian nation, though this time, the threat of godless Communism would be used. Joseph McCarthy would rise to the position of U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin in 1947. He proclaimed that America was being attacked by “enemies within.” He didn’t just go after communists, but homosexuals. Anyone who didn’t fit his idea of Christian morality. Unlike Strong, McCarthy wasn’t anti-Catholic. Some of his strongest supporters came from the Catholic community, and he even developed ties with the Kennedy family. His crusade to root out the Red Menace not only led to the formation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, where hundreds of Americans would be accused of being communists or communist sympathizers but also saw “In God We Trust” become the official motto of the United States. In later years, this motto would be used to justify passing the Miami Amendments, which nullified the First Amendment and transformed America into a theocratic republic.


Decades later, Ronald Reagan forged an uneasy alliance with the Christian Right to win the presidency. He would become a proponent for accommodationism, which stated that the federal government should provide financial aid to sectarian schools. This blurred the line between church and state, favoring some institutions, particularly evangelical ones, while disadvantaging others. Many would argue that was the whole point. But Reagan did it, not because he wanted to destroy America’s secular republic, but because he needed their support. His actions would open the door for a new generation of theologians who sought its destruction.


In 1973, seven years before Reagan would become president, theologian Rousas John Rushdoony published part one of a three-volume work titled The Institute of Biblical Law. This book outlined Rushdoony’s vision for America: a terrifying society where slavery has been reinstated, homosexuals, adulterers, and apostates face the prospect of death by stoning, and women are treated as second-class citizens. His movement would be called Christian Reconstructionism, and it demanded the total deconstruction of the secular state to build a theocracy. Reagan, though he didn’t realize it, had made it possible for many of Rushdoony’s ideas to become mainstream when he began providing funding to sectarian schools.


Gary North, the son-in-law of Rushdoony, explained it best about how they planned to destroy America. “Everyone talks about religious liberty, but no one believes it. So, let us be blunt: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Biblical-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.” Empowered by the ideas put forth by Christian Reconstructionists, the Christian Right would begin to use the phrase “religious liberty,” a form of doublespeak if there ever was, not to promote religious tolerance, but to justify and codify religious tyranny.


Getting the federal government to fund Christian schools was just the beginning. Not only did it enable them to brainwash more American children, but it diverted funds from public schools, ensuring that those students performed worse on tests. Slowly, their concept of religious liberty seeped into the national lexicon, gaining credibility both in the media and in Washington. Few realized that what they were advocating for was the end of religious neutrality. All they saw were theologians arguing that Christianity needed to be protected, particularly against LGBTQ rights, which they viewed as a threat to Christians across America.


During the Bush Jr. presidency, despite Bush being a born-again Christian, his administration avoided issues related to LGBTQ rights for the first four years. He didn’t reverse Clinton’s executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. He was also the first Republican president to hire an openly gay man, Scott Evertz, who went on to head the Office of National AIDS Policy. His second openly gay appointee was Michael E. Guest. Guest became the U.S. Ambassador to Romania. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), his administration remained quiet, though, in 2004, Bush went on the record saying, “What they do in the privacy of their house, consenting adults should be able to do.” However, like Reagan before him, Bush needed to court the Christian Right if he and his party would remain competitive in future elections. Sooner or later, they would have to cave.


That day came when the Massachusetts Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in that state during the Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (2004) case. Shortly after, Bush declared his support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Religious liberty would be used in the debate, with opponents of same-sex marriage claiming that priests and county clerks would be forced to go against their sincerely held religious convictions by marrying homosexual couples. Of course, a counter-argument could be made that by outlawing it, you were trampling over the religious freedoms of churches that do support same-sex marriage by barring them from marrying off their parishioners. However, as is always the case with the concept of religious liberty, it only applies to conservative views. Again, as Gary North stated, the term was a Trojan horse designed to win the debates, so they could achieve enough political power that they could realize their dream of a Biblical society, one that denied religious freedoms to all.


After same-sex marriage became legal throughout the land via the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the Christian Right shifted gears and began championing legislation that didn’t ban homosexuality but made it easier for Christians to discriminate against them. Again, religious liberty would be used to justify this. On March 26, 2015, then Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. The business community opposed it, with companies like Salesforce.com and Angie’s List declaring that they would halt expansion in that state. Pence defended the law, who saw it as part of a larger battle being waged, one being fought over the soul of the nation. 


Rushdoony’s Reconstructionists weren’t the only ones who sought to remake America into the Kingdom of God. In fact, until 2022, Reconstructionists were considered a fringe group within the Christian Right. More moderate groups with similar goals fell under the label Christian Dominionists. However, whereas the Reconstructionists thought America needed to be remade in God’s image, these Dominionists believed the United States had always been a Christian nation. It was just that liberals had deceived the public into thinking that the U.S. Constitution was a secular document. An army of pseudo-historians would back them.


Leading this charge were people like David Barton and Bryan Fischer. Barton, a self-proclaimed historian of questionable credentials, made a name for himself talking about why the First Amendment only applies to conservative Christians. His book about Thomas Jefferson being a born-again evangelical was pulled off bookshelves because real historians proved his evidence was outright lies and fabrications. As for Fischer, he argued that Muslims should be barred from serving in Congress because the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on religious tests only applies to members of a specific Christian denomination. He also made the case that immigrants should be forced to convert to Christianity before being granted citizenship, and once blamed homosexuals for the Holocaust. In truth, homosexuals were one of the groups killed by the Nazis.


Backing these “moderate” leaders on the Christian Right were conspiracy theorists and televangelists like Alex Jones and Jim Bakker. Jones gained notoriety for calling the Sandy Hook shooting a black flag operation, accusing Obama of ordering it to justify confiscating people’s guns. Bakker, on the other hand, was best known for being a felon guilty of 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy. He was given a jail sentence of 45 years, but because of a letter-writing campaign by his parishioners to the parole board, he spent only five of them behind bars. Both would use their platforms to rile up the base, convincing them that liberals wanted to kill Christians. Like Barton and Fisher, they argued that America was indeed a Christian nation and that it was up to evangelicals to retake the country from the godless liberals who had befoul it.        


When Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, we began to see the first signs of the coming new order. Trump was no man of God. Still, he won his election with 80% of the evangelical vote, more than both Bushes or even Reagan. They were a significant voting block, the base of his base, and so, being a man who lacked any scruples or convictions, Trump was more than happy to fulfill their every whim, no matter how absurd or ridiculous they might be. That was why the Trump administration created the Religious Liberty Taskforce, a subgroup within the Department of Justice whose job was to defend “religious freedoms.”


Let me be clear. The Religious Liberty Taskforce was not the Department of Understanding. It did not burn homosexuals at the stake, nor did it force Muslims to fight each other to the death. Yet when you listen to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce the task force in July of 2018, you can be forgiven for hearing di Conti’s voice when Sessions said, “A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated.”


The people Sessions was referring to were secularists, individuals who believe church and state must remain separate, so everyone is treated equally under the law. If you too heard di Conti’s voice, it might be because he said something eerily similar when he called for the Miami Amendments. “Today, we find ourselves besieged by a dangerous movement, an enemy few knew about, whose hatred for America and the religious liberties we take for granted is almost incomprehensible. We will not let this great betrayal deter us. We will not let the hundreds of thousands who died in Miami perish for nothing. We will avenge them. We will hunt down this enemy. Crush it beneath our feet. Today, we reaffirm an old truth: America is a Christian nation, and all who refuse to bend a knee to Christ must die. Death to the non-believers!”


The Religious Liberty Taskforce empowered conservatives to discriminate people based on their sexual orientation. Members of the LGBTQ community found themselves being fired or denied housing. In the military, attempts were made to ban transsexuals from serving, while encouraging evangelicals to use their positions to proselytize, the most famous example being Air Force Brigadier General E. John Teichert. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group, represented 41 servicepersons, both Christians and non-Christians, in a case claiming that the general used his rank to impose his religion on others. In 2019, the watchdog group brought forth another lawsuit, this time accusing the Pentagon of only promoting evangelicals to higher positions. Their lawyer said, “makes me wonder if they are engaging in a coup.” Given General Matt Ditmore’s role in starting the Second American Civil War and getting di Conti elected president, that lawyer didn’t realize it then, but he was being prophetic.


After the 2018 mid-terms, where the Democrats managed to win back the House, Trump’s presidency began to go downhill and quickly. The Democrats subpoenaed all information about two servers owned by Alfa Bank, a bank located in Russia with ties to its oligarchs, and a Trump Organization website. It showed that not only were high ranking Trump officials coordinating with the Kremlin during the 2016 election, but they were receiving financial aid to fund Trump’s campaign. Despite finding a smoking gun, the Democrats couldn’t get him impeached. They had enough in the House but lacked the sixty senators needed to drive him from the White House. Still, as the heat ratcheted up, Trump grew desperate. Democrats enjoyed the bad press he got, yet soon would regret it because it drove Trump to make the biggest mistake of his presidency.


Determined to change the narrative, Trump declared war with Iran, claiming that they were only months away from building a bomb. There was no proof of this. Still, it had the desired effect. For the coming months, all the press talked about was the war. Trump’s polls, particularly with evangelicals, shot up. The national debt also skyrocketed, but nobody cared. The stock markets were breaking records, and the war had produced a sense of national solidarity not felt in ages. The only thing that could put a damper on things was Trump’s trade war with China and the rise of oil prices because of the conflict. Later, historians would look back at this as the calm before the storm. The War of the Sands (2019-2021), the worst war in human history, would soon begin.


Saudi Arabia had always had a tentative alliance with Israel. It needed Israel to act as a counter to Iran, but with Iran out of the picture, that alliance was no longer necessary. More importantly, the Saudis had made a technological breakthrough a decade ago, a discovery that they had kept secret all this time out of fear it might cause oil prices to collapse. They had learned how to produce and store antimatter cheaply. Under Prince al-Wadi, a weapons program had been initiated in secret to turn this revolutionary technology into futuristic weapon systems.


After orchestrating the death of the old king and his successor, MBS, Prince al-Wadi became king in 2019. In September of that year, he renamed Saudi Arabia the Islamic Caliphate. The Caliphate and the other Gulf States went to war with Israel. With antimatter weapons, the Israelis found themselves driven back to the Mediterranean. King al-Wadi expected Trump to remain neutral in the conflict. After all, Trump had supported the Saudis when they killed a Washington Post journalist in 2018 and kidnapped the Prime Minister of Lebanon in 2017. He looked the other way when they were bombing civilians in Yemen and funding a civil war in Iraq and Syria. He had strong financial ties with them. However, Trump also required the evangelical vote in 2020. Between a rock and a hard place, he decided to join the war on Israel’s side.


With troops in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan, the Trump administration required a draft to muster a force large enough to repel the invaders. Even then, it caused the defense budget to skyrocket. The stock markets, which months earlier had been breaking records, started to falter. Inflation was soaring, driving the U.S. economy towards a recession. In October of 2020, just a month before the election, Democratic House Speaker Tom Walton did the unthinkable: for the first time in American history, he forced the federal government to default on the national debt. It was quickly discovered that Walton did it to profit off the chaos. He would be forced to flee the country, but the damage was done. The Collapse had begun.


Thanks to the Democrat’s role in causing the default, Trump easily defeated Joe Biden in 2020. Things didn’t get better for Trump, even with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate again. His trade wars came home to roost. The Chinese were infuriated not only with the war in the Middle East, but with the U.S. triggering a worldwide depression. They began selling off U.S. Treasury Bonds. Other nations did the same. This forced the Fed to raise interest rates to fight back inflation. It didn’t work. With Trump sticking more tariffs on imports from China, the price of electronics and oil became so high that one in every seven Americans went bankrupt. This cause the derivative market – worth half a quintillion dollars, or seven times the world’s GDP – to implode. All of America’s major banks folded. The price of the dollar skyrocketed, as did unemployment.


Trump, unable to handle the crisis, reverted to what he did best: demagoguing. He blamed the Democrats and the media for tanking the economy and for starting the war with Iran and Saudi Arabia. He claimed that they were preventing him from making a peace deal with the Saudis. Frustration led to hate, hate led to rage, and rage led to violence. Mobs assassinated three dozen Democratic congresspersons and senators. A massive fertilizer bomb destroyed the CNN Building in Manhattan. Republican leaders called for civility, but their base wouldn’t have any of that. They were angry and wanted someone to vent their frustration on. Soon, the violence swept into the streets. Clashes between Democrats and Republicans resulted in hundreds of deaths. Martial law had to be declared in several states.


Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the war escalated. Jorden fell to U.S. led forces in 2020. Attempts were made to end the fighting, but the Christian Right sabotaged the peace talks. They believed that God had given Israel to the Jews and that Jesus wouldn’t return unless the land remained in their hands. They rejected any peace deal that required Israel forfeiting control of the West Bank and West Jerusalem. Eleven months after the Collapse began, Riyadh fell to allied forces, and the Saudis launched a few dozen cobalt missiles. The U.S. retaliated, the Middle East became the Dead Lands, and 253.6 million people lost their lives that day.


A month after the war’s conclusion, the Toronto Daily Bugle published an explosive exposé. In the fall of 2018, as Saudi Arabia was in trouble for murdering a Washington Post’s reporter, Trump claimed that the U.S. had sold $110 billion worth of arms to the Saudis. Arms sales at the time showed that it was only $14.5 billion. Everyone assumed Trump was exaggerating. However, a secret deal had been made, worth $95.5 billion, where the Trump administration gave the Saudis 46 cobalt bombs. They were the same bombs they used to end the war.


Throughout his presidency, Trump had survived one crisis after the next. He seemed untouchable, yet this scandal proved to be the needle that broke the camel’s back. Republican donors turned on him, as did those in the House and Senate. The 25th amendment was implemented, and Trump was dragged out in handcuffs. His supporters went nuts. Several Republicans were shot, and three were killed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for civility, though he narrowly missed an assassin’s bullet himself during a mass shooting that left twelve dead. When things began to quiet down, many predicted that things would improve. They were wrong.


Vice President Mike Pence being sworn in as the 36th President didn’t save America. The knowledge that the U.S. had supplied the Saudis with nukes turned the world against it. They slapped crippling sanctions. This marked the end of the American dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Many products Americans had become accustomed to disappeared from shelves (i.e., coffee, bananas, and chocolates), while other tripled or quadrupled in price (i.e., gas, electronics, and rare Earth metals.) Liberals and the world blamed the Christian Right for sabotaging the peace process, while conservatives accused the Left of not supporting the war.


Trump escaped jail time and outraged for being kicked out of office, spent the remainder of his years stoking fear and resentment. Not that he was needed. The divide between left and right had never been greater, and it would only get worse as America’s troubles multiplied. The election of President Philip Wellman in 2024 didn’t improve matters. When General Matt Ditmore ordered Delta Force to assassinate California Governor Philip Brownback without knowledge or consent of the President in 2027, the incident caused California to secede. 


The Second American Civil War (2027-29) was fought initially between California and the United States, but other states (Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana, and Illinois) would join later. They became either part of the West Coast Coalition or broke off to form the Great Lakes Compact. The southern states made up the bulk of America’s armed forces during the war and comprised primarily of evangelicals, as high as 87% in the case of the Texas National Guard. Like the evangelicals who converged in Xenia, Ohio during the winter of 1863, they saw this war as divine judgment against a godless nation, only this time God was punishing America for failing to save Israel during the War of the Sands. The southern states would avenge them in a holy crusade.


The savagery the southern states displayed horrified the world. Entire cities burned. Civilians were deliberately targeted. President Wellman seemed powerless to prevent the massacres. He did fire several of his top generals, yet because he placed control of much of America’s armed forces onto the states – done at the time to get the world to lift their sanctions – he could not discipline the southern generals who were ordering the killings. While President Wellman was viewed as weak and ineffective, another politician saw his star being elevated by the conflict. He would run against Wellman in the 2028 election. His name: Gregory di Conti.


The governor of South Carolina, di Conti rallied the southern states under his banner. His forces, while ruthless, were undeniably effective, scoring one victory after another, whereas the troops directly under Wellman’s command were mired by defeat. Wellman believed that his military plans were being leaked to the enemy yet all attempts to root out the mole failed. His popularity plummeted to an all-time low of 21% when his forces were routed in the Battle of Los Vegas. Di Conti’s armies would arrive three days later and take back the city, but the ensuing combat resulted in 17,000 civilian deaths. They were among the highest suffered by the Federalists.


In 2028, di Conti ran against Wellman and billionaire Francis Downey. Downey, a democratic socialist, was the CEO of Downey Futuristic, the world’s leader in green energy. His platform, calling for restoring America’s welfare state while ending the civil war through negotiations, appealed to many, even the part about him allowing the two separatist states to remain independent if they were willing to shoulder a part of America’s national debt. Despite di Conti’s popularity, Downey rose in the polls and was projected to win the general election. Then tragedy struck. Downey’s jet went missing over Canada’s northernmost province, Nunavut. Why his aircraft would be traveling to that remote region would remain a mystery until 2033. Wellman’s son, Billy, testified before the Canadian Parliament that di Conti had Downey murdered.


With Downey out of the picture, di Conti rose in the polls and defeated Wellman by seven million votes. A third of his votes came from white Democrats. When asked why they sided with di Conti, most answered that they thought he could bring an end to the war. He did, though few would have imagined the extremes he would go. Before 2029, three million Americans had perished, or six times as many people in the first civil war. When di Conti turned the Apotheosis Orbital Weapons Platform on the separatist states, another twenty-four million died.


With the war over, di Conti quickly went about consolidating his power. He had five of the six living ex-presidents (Clinton, Wellman, Obama, Bush, and Pence) murdered in a bombing that he blamed on Californian terrorists. That gave him the support he needed to pass the Forfeited Territories Act, which declared that the separatist states would remain in political limbo indefinitely. Next, Di Conti pardoned Ditmore and made him his Secretary of Defense. Non-evangelicals in the military with ranks above major were fired. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation disputed the firings, but by then, di Conti and previous Republican administrations had stacked the courts with so many conservative judges that their protests fell on deaf ears.


On February 27th, 2032 at 9:36 a.m., di Conti performed his coup d’état. He detonated a 10.4 megaton hydrogen bomb in the harbor of Miami. Another went off the coast of Florida. It was meant for Palm Beach, but thanks to the heroic actions of Billy Wellman and his resistance fighters, they were able to trigger it fifty miles from the mainland. (Author’s Note: Trump had supported di Conti during the 2028 Republican Primary. Ironically, it was not di Conti – in fact, the second nuke was meant for Trump – but the son of a political rival who saved Trump. Unaware that di Conti tried to have him killed, Trump supported di Conti for the remainder of his life.) Still, the first detonation resulted in an estimated 436,960 casualties and an additional 646,201 injuries. Di Conti would blame his political opponents for the attack, as well as the military officers he had fired. Billy and his wife Mellissa would be painted as the terrorists behind it. They would be the focus of the largest manhunt in American history and barely escaped into Canada.


Once in Canada, the two were given sanctuary by the federal government. Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and France were already aware of di Conti’s role in ordering Ditmore to assassinate Governor Brownback. They also knew that he was behind Downey’s disappearance, and they suspected, but couldn’t prove, that he greenlighted the bombing that claimed the lives of Presidents Obama, Wellman, Clinton, Bush, and Pence. The rest was uncovered when the two spoke before the Canadian Parliament. In response, di Conti threatened to invade Canada, but the five nations warned him that they would go to war with the U.S. if he did. 


Knowing that America’s military was in no shape to fight such a war, di Conti relented and instead, closed the United States’ borders with the rest of the world. For the last nineteen years, they have remained closed. Our knowledge of what transpires within is limited; mainly bits and pieces gleaned from refugees who’ve managed to escape. Such exoduses are deemed highly dangerous since America’s borders are lined by minefields, electric fences, guard posts, and laser cannons. The number of refugees has increased since the Second Underground Railroad began digging tunnels. It is the only human rights organization left in the country.


From their testimony, this is what we know. Shortly after the Miami bombing, referred to in the United States as the Great Betrayal, di Conti proposed twenty-four amendments called collectively as the Miami Amendments (2033), as well as the Safer Society Act (2035). They would drastically alter the U.S. Constitution, nullifying the courts, stripping Congress of much of its power, placing much of it in the executive or a new government body called the Council of Academics and Biblically Astute Leaders. This C.A.B.A.L. would function similarly to the Guardian Council in Iran, though very few Americans are even aware of its existence.


The C.A.B.A.L.’s will is felt through the Department of Understanding (DOU). Technically, the DOU answers to the president, but the C.A.B.A.L. appoints the department's secretary and deputy secretaries. They are considered the supreme law enforcement agency in the United States, having replaced the DOJ, the FBI, and FEMA, and their principal duty is to police morality in America. They have two known ranks: Inquisitors and High Inquisitors. High Inquisitors are men, while all Inquisitors are female. These females are reported to be no older than twenty-five, and all have been described as beautiful. It is also claimed that they have superhuman powers, including enhanced reflexes, agility, intelligence, and strength, as well as telepathy. While these are likely exaggerations – particularly the part about them being telepaths – designed to scare the populace into submission, there can be little doubt that these women are formidable warriors.


The Department of Understanding’s rise is a sad, but logical outcome of decades of effort by the Christian Right to undermine America’s democratic and secular norms. While conspiracy theorists would have you believe that di Conti is part of the Knights Templar and that they had been working for centuries to bring down the U.S., the truth is likely not as fantastical. No, di Conti, Ditmore, and their co-conspirators were more like Hitler and the Nazis: opportunists who took advantage of the events after the War of the Sands to make their dreams of a Biblical-society a reality. Thankfully, the United States is now a shadow of its former self. It does not have the means to conquer the world. Even Canada, given that it has become a member of the Federated Union, would be beyond its reach. Still, we should not underestimate fanatics like di Conti or Ditmore. The American public misjudged them and paid a horrible price for it. 

 

The Forgotten

During the climactic battle of the Second American Civil War, the Arroyo Pescadero Nuclear Facility was damaged, resulting in Los Angeles being consumed in a deadly radioactive cloud. This forced its inhabitants to hide within massive underground fallout shelters. Many expected to be rescued by the di Conti administration, but what they failed to realize was that the meltdown was intentional. The entire war was part of a malevolent plot to take over the U.S. government. Di Conti had no interest in helping them, so they were forced to fend for themselves.


The first few months were arduous. While they had plenty of food – the fallout shelters were well stocked – they were separated by one another and had no means to communicate. Smart communities engaged in rationing and crop production, extending their supplies, while others ultimately died out.. Later, they began digging holes, eventually breaching the metro system that laid beneath Los Angeles. These tunnels would connect the various fallout shelters together, allowing for the exchanging of resources and much needed expansion.


Those with access to Hazmat suits dared to venture to the surface. What they found was a barren landscape, soaked in radiation and roamed by mutated beasts. Care must be taken when on the surface. A night lion, a thrasher eagle, a quill wolf  or a mulbear can easily make a snack out of you. Still, it was these earlier explores who mapped out the boundaries of the radiation field and made contact with communities residing beyond it. In time, they began trading with those communities, exchanging scavenged parts for food and clothing.


When that failed to produce enough to survive on, they began resorting to raiding Federalist convoys. Many of these convoys shipped food from the territories to the State. Raiding became not only routine but part of their way of life. Those who went on raids were treated like celebrities and were more likely to find a mate.



By 2050, they are known as the Forgotten and number in half a million, making them the largest community in the Forfeited Territories. They have an alliance with the Second Underground Railroad and are one of the few factions that opposes the Department of Understanding. Their militiamen are renowned for being excellent marksmen. They prefer attacking from the shadows, engaging in guerrilla tactics and ambushes.    

 

The Federated Union

The Federated Union is a super state, formed when Russia merged with Europe, though as it grew, it allowed member states beyond Europe to join, including Canada. Three factors led to its birth, all of which were interconnected: the collapse of the United States, the failure of the European Union, and the downfall of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It all started when America’s empire came crumbling down during the War of the Sands.


From 2019 to 2021, the Middle East was consumed by a regional war when Saudi Arabia invaded Israel. The Saudis claimed that they were liberating the Palestinians. In truth, it was in a response to the U.S.’s war with Iran. With Iran out of the picture and believing that the Trump Administration – Trump had close financial ties with the Saudis – would not take sides, they set out to claim Jerusalem for themselves. The Saudis were mistaken. Evangelicals were strong supporters of Israel, and Trump needed them if he was going to win in 2020. The United States joined the war on the side of Israel. The Saudis employed powerful new technologies fueled by antimatter. Conspiracy theorists believe that the Lizard People gave them these weapons, though others think it was the Russians. During the war, Russia did form a pack with the Saudis. However, most experts assumed it was done to acquire the secret of creating antimatter.


On September 11, 2021, the unthinkable happened. The Saudis had launched their nukes, the same nukes the Americans had given them in 2018, against Israel, Iran, and American bases in the region. Washington retaliated with its own nuclear arsenal. Over 95 nukes went off, many cobalt bombs, transforming the Middle East into the Dead Lands, and killing 253.6 million people. It also unleashed a radioactive death cloud that would kill millions more in Eastern Europe. Bankrupted by the war, America’s economy collapsed, and it withdrew from the world.


After the War of the Sands, things deteriorated rapidly. Right-wing nationalist movements, which had already been gaining traction in the years prior – you can thank the machinations of Vladimir Putin – swept into power throughout Europe. Their rise was in response to the arrival of tens of millions of Muslim refugees. Greece and Italy were the first to fall, but like dominos, a dozen more quickly joined. NATO was disbanded, and the European Union shrunk until it comprised solely of Germany, France, and Belgium. By 2023, there were five separate wars raging in Europe, and millions of Muslims were being killed in ethnic cleansings.


The worst took place in Hungary, where the Orban family began rounding up and placing Gypsies, Jews, Armenians, and Muslims in death camps. In total, seven million people perished. As was the case in World War II, not all of those who died where native to Hungary. As the Hungarian military conquered territory, they captured whoever them deemed as “impure” and sent them to the gas chambers. The Gypsies suffered the worst. Before the wars, there had been 700,000 Hungarian Gypsies living in the country. Only two hundred survived the holocaust.


As for Russia, it initially saw a renaissance. Its monopoly on antimatter had supercharged its economy. China remained a concern, but with NATO out of the picture, it had room to expand. Its militaries had invaded and conquered Ukraine, as well as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. Yes, it seemed like everything was going Putin’s way. Sadly, for him, Russia had one fatal flaw that ultimately proved to be his undoing: Vladimir Putin.


Since being elected president in 2001, Putin had been consolidating power. Everyone has heard the expression: all roads lead to Rome. Well, in Russia, all roads led to Putin. Nothing could get done without his say so, and there was no one who could take up the rains should he become ill or die. In 2024, Putin was diagnosed with vascular dementia, brought on by a series of strokes he’d suffered earlier that year. Conspiracy theorists believe that he was poisoned and blamed the Lizard People for it. This would be ironic since many of these same conspiracy theorists have long claimed the Lizard People had helped Putin into power. One can only guess what Putin had done to anger his reptilian masters.


As his dementia worsened, Putin became more eccentric and confused. In one case, he was seen undressing himself during a press conference. The oligarchs took this opportunity to fight one another for control of the nation. Others pilfered Russia’s riches and moved billions of dollars overseas. In the span of two years, the country’s roaring economy slid back into a recession, and the people grew restless. A revolution was inevitable.


The head of this political firestorm was Alexandra Volkov, the daughter of Russian oligarch Andrew Volkov and Dianna Wilton. Being of Russian/British citizenship, Volkov received her education in the West. She had attended some of its most prestigious institutions, including Princeton, Oxford, and Cambridge. It was during this time that she adopted the liberal views that formed the foundation of her movement. Yet before she got into politics, she had returned to work for her father, who owned the largest antimatter assemblers in the country.


By the summer of 2027, Volkov had decided she could no longer standby and watch her fellow oligarchs fleece her homeland. She began buying up television, online, and print media. She took her voice to the airwaves, careful not to paint herself disloyal to Putin, but rather to the corrupt oligarchs and bureaucrats that now ran Russia. At the same time, she advocated for her “Made in Russia” brand of liberal democracy. Millions embraced her message. 


Many of the oligarchs hated Volkov, but lacking Putin’s political acumen, were unsure of how to counter this liberal upstart. A few attempted to assassinate her, but they were met with failure, and in the end, they only helped to strengthen her message: that Russia’s current leadership was made up of inept and incompetent sycophants. She used her family’s ties with Putin to get close to the ailing despot and convince him that she would protect him and his family if he stepped down. A new election was held in the summer of 2027. Volkov and her party won a landslide victory, and with the people’s backing, began a purge of the oligarchs.


Volkov was methodical in setting up her new Russian state. In the beginning, she ran things similar to Putin. Though as she cleansed the bureaucracy of corruption, she began relinquishing more power. Many oligarch-owned corporations were broken up and sold off. Anti-trust laws were passed to ensure that never again would Russia’s wealth be concentrated in the hands of such a few. In 2031, a new constitution was passed. It included a Bill of Rights that placed strict limits on the government’s powers.


Even as Volkov was making these reforms, her eyes remained focus on the greatest threat to Russian supremacy: China. China had taken advantage of the vacuum created by the U.S.’s exit. It had formed trade deals with nations across the globe, greatly expanding its reach. In 2030, it had announced that it had made a breakthrough in reverse-engineering antimatter assemblers, apparently by studying those buried in the Dead Lands (i.e., the Middle East). It was the first nation to land a man on Mars in 2029, and by 2032, had already built a small Martian colony.


Volkov understood that the future of humanity resided in our solar system. She concluded that Russia’s only hope of catching up with China was not by colonizing Mars, but the moon. For the remainder of the 2030s, Russia constructed lunar cities, as well as the infrastructure needed to support asteroid mining and the building of the colony ships that would send people to Mars, Venus, and beyond. Asteroid mining proved highly lucrative, as well as opening Russia to investment, and by 2035, Russia saw economic growth as high as 7.3%.


In 2035, Volkov stepped down after finishing her second term, and Igor Alexeev was elected president. While he shared Volkov’s belief in liberal democracy, he differed in that he felt Russia had a duty to aid its European neighbors. Europe had been suffering through sixteen years of war. Millions were dead, and world-renowned cities like Rome, Budapest, Vienna, and Madrid had been left in ruins. Alexeev knew that Putin had played a role in starting several of these conflicts. Things would only improve if Europe became unified again.


During the 2036 Horizon Conference, Alexeev had befriended British Prime Minister Edward J. Blair, French President Antoine Collignon, and German Chancellor Felix Weber. England, France, and Germany had fared the best in the last sixteen years, their borders having changed only slightly. They did have forces fighting battles throughout Europe, and they very much wanted to find a way out yet lacked the political and economic means to do so. With Russia’s aid, they decided on a carrot and stick approach to get the other nations to stop fighting. Russian antimatter was sold at a discount to those willing to sit down and talk, while they threatened invasion to those that refused. Most did, the notable exceptions being Bosnia, Spain, and Hungary. During the Reunification Wars, the four nations invaded Hungary, overthrowing the corrupt Orban family in 2037, then Bosnia the following year. Spain, seeing what awaited them, capitulated.


The first talks were held in 2040 in the city of Geneva. They went slowly, even with the lure of cheap antimatter, and might have gone nowhere if not for the Blackout of 2046. For two weeks, much of Europe went dark when a computer virus infiltrated the power grid. There was rioting in major cities and thousands died. Forensic evidence suggested that the Chinese were to blame, though many hackers and conspiracy theorists argued that the computer code was beyond the Chinese or anyone else. Some blamed the Lizard People.


Alexeev used the blackout as proof for the need of a united Europe, and a year later, the Treaty of Prishtina was signed. A final draft of the Federated Union’s constitution was voted on May 4th, 2050. That date is now a holiday called Federation Day. The constitution mandated a new governmental body, one that would be headquartered in Geneva, and would control both the economies and the militaries of the member states. However, each state would be allowed to retain a small number for self-defence. They would function like the U.S.’s national guard.


The federal government would have three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The head of the executive, the High Chancellor, would be picked from the legislative as the head of the ruling party in the Parliament. The Parliament was but one of the two legislative chambers. The second was the Senate. Each country provided three Senators, though how they picked them was up to them. The number of Parliamentarians was determined by the member nation’s population count and was selected by elections. Senators had less power than their American counterparts. The senate thus acted more like the Senate in Canada. This gave smaller nations a larger voice than they normally would have, while still making sure majority rule prevailed.


By 2052, the Federated Union is still a work-in-progress. The Grand Rotunda, the parliament building, remains under construction and is not expected to be completed until 2053. Many laws regarding how their economies are going to be integrated have yet to be finalized. The militaries of the original states have already been organized into a single command structure, but the same cannot be said about the newer members (Canada, South Africa, Madagascar, Costa Rico, Panama, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, the Falkland Islands, and New Zeeland). Some political and economic experts have questioned the wisdom in the Federated Union’s aggressive stance towards expanding membership. Yet the leadership views it as necessary if they hope to restore Western hegemony and counter the growing threat of China.


The Federated Union offers protection only to those willing to join and live under its rule. The decision to do this was made to avoid the mistake that ultimately brought down the United States. The Americans built their empire through coalitions. Nations allowed them to establish foreign bases in their territories in exchange for protection. This worked so long as the two parties’ goals remained the same, but as the Saudis proved, that could change, and then you would find yourself at war with an enemy you helped arm. It also worked in the reverse. Donald Trump had thrown South Korea under the bus when he made a peace deal with North Korea and removed U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula during the Iranian War (2019-2021). North Korea would conquer the south a few years later, with the United States having done nothing to stop it. But in the case of the Federated Union, it would always be obligated to defend its member states because they were part of its territory, just as the U.S. was obligated to defend New York or Texas.


The Federated Union flag merges the European Union flag with the NATO flag. The black background represents the dark period in Europe’s history when the continent was divided, a reminder of what happens when nation states try to go it alone. The gold stars encircling the NATO star symbolizes the European states coming together and growing stronger. The NATO star is white because the Federated Union’s principles are believed to be pure and just. An individual soldier will have both the Federated Union flag and their member state flag stitched on their shoulder, though the Federation flag is always on top and must be twice as large. 

 

The Imperium Wars

China is one of humanity’s earliest civilizations, and today, arguably the most powerful nation on Earth, though its dominance is being challenged by the newly minted Federated Union. Its borders have nearly doubled in the last twenty years, having annexed Mongolia, parts of Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bruma, and Taiwan. It holds dominion over the South China Sea and has navel bases in the Caribbean and in parts of South America. It was the first nation to colonize Mars, and Chinese Martians make up about 45% of all inhabitants on the Red Planet. It also has colonies on Venus, Europa, and an outpost on Titan. While many economists forecasted that China would become the world’s largest economy by 2050, few would have imagined that it would become as powerful as it has. In truth, China wouldn’t if not for a few key events that began in 2016.


In November 8th, 2016, Donald J. Trump would beat Hilary Clinton to become the 35th President of the United States. Having won on a platform of isolationism, protectionism, racism, and xenophobia, Trump’s America First policies would see the rapid decline of the United States as the world’s only superpower. He started this by getting out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP had been designed to halt inroads China was making in Asia by integrating the economies in the region with the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia. While the free trade agreement was far from perfect, having been written in secrecy, America’s departure created a vacuum, one that China’s President, Xi Jinping, was happy to take advantage of.


Three years earlier, Xi Jinping had unveiled his One Belt One Road Initiative, a development strategy that would link China to Europe, Africa and Asia via a series of high-speed rails and sea ports. In total, sixty countries would be included in this network, and Xi Jinping was willing to pony up $8 trillion to see it built. This would make it the largest construction project in modern times, with only the Great Wall of China being comparable in scope. U.S. President Barack Obama had hoped to counter it with the TPP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but Trump scuttled both deals after coming to power.   


During the 2000s, China had been making inroads in the Western Hemisphere. In 2000, trade between it and Latin America amounted to $10 billion. By 2012, it had risen to $270 billion. America’s power in the region, however, had been declining long before Trump came into office, though as was the case with everything about Trump, his policies made matters worse. His intervention in Venezuela saw the fall of Nicolas Maduro, resulting in twenty years of political instability and civil strife. China took advantage of the political vacuum created by the turmoil. They supplied both sides with arms – the series of right-wing governments and the left-wing militias – while extracting the country’s oil wealth.


On March 1st, 2018, Trump had turned the world against America when he announced plans to place tariffs on steel and aluminum. At first, these tariffs were targeted at China. Trump used America’s $376 billion trade deficit with China, along with China’s practice of dumping cheap steel on the global market and its disregard for intellectual property rights, to justify this. However, on June 1st, Trump imposed similar tariffs on imports coming from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. This marked the beginning of a global trade war, with the U.S. slapping additional tariffs on China. This by itself did not cause a recession, but what it did do was weaken America’s soft power, making it harder for Trump to get the other nations to work against China. It would also play a role in why the world turn against the U.S. in 2021.


Trump, at the bewilderment of the United States’ allies, was also disrupting institutions long considered critical to America maintaining global hegemony, whether it be by threatening to end NAFTA or getting out of NATO and the WTO. While this benefited Russia more than China, particularly the part about the U.S. exiting NATO, again, it created opportunities that China was more than happy to exploit. For example, Mexico and China were long competitors, yet when NAFTA talks began to break down, Mexico began floating the possibility of a free trade agreement with China. The same happened with Australia when the TPP fell through. 


Trump was also driving the world towards war when he exited the Iran Deal. That deal had been struck between Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. It limited how much uranium Iran could enrich. After ending the deal, Iran resumed enrichment, and by March of 2019, Trump declared war. This ignited a series of conflicts around the globe, including between North and South Korea, which ultimately cumulated in the War of the Sands, the most destructive and impactful war in human history.


The War of the Sands erupted in the fall of 2019 and ended in 2021, with the Middle East being consumed in nuclear fire. Not only did it transform the region into the Dead Lands, it triggered the collapse of Western civilization. Europe became swamped with refugees fleeing the Middle East, which in turn, led to the rise of nationalist movements that set the continent ablaze. These wars went on for twenty bloody years. Europe would eventually be rescued by the most unlikely of saviours: Russia, which had become a liberal democracy.


Things were even worse across the Atlantic. While Canada and Mexico would weather the storm, though their economies suffered greatly for a time from reduced trade, the United States had fallen into a dark age. The War of the Sands had decimated its mighty military. Its economy was in ruins, and its governments were bankrupt. Barbarism and superstition swept the land, leading to a civil war that brought a theocratic government into power. Technological innovation stopped, and the U.S. closed its borders from the rest of the world.


Near the end of the conflict, North Korea’s leadership decided to annexe South Korea, believing that the United States was too preoccupied fighting in the Middle East to intervene. They were correct. However, Australia, Canada, Japan and Europe sent forces to South Korea’s aid. They managed to slay North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, but he was replaced by General Kang Rak-gyom. Rak-gyom drove back the Europeans and managed to overthrow the South Korean government. He unified North and South Korea and called the new nation the Unified Republics of Korea. He would give himself the title of Supreme Leader.   


China, having suffered the least from these changes, set out to fill the void, using its One Belt One Road Initiative as the launchpad to kickstart this project. Its control of Venezuela enabled it to expand into both Latin America and the Caribbean. Beijing offered to help the URK and Cuba to rebuild. It would lease Guantanamo Bay from the Cubans and it would become a major Chinese navel base. Beijing took in millions of refugees from the Middle East. To the world, it looked like China had finally become concerned for human rights, but it was resettling these newcomers in areas traditionally populated by minorities, like Tibet and Venezuela. The plan was to pit the refugees against the natives, keeping the two groups off balanced, while China went about building the infrastructure needed to complete its One Belt One Road Initiative. Its only competitor during this period was Russia, which used its monopoly on antimatter to expand. Antimatter had been developed during the war and would revolutionize the 21st century economy.


With a population projected to reach 1.4 billion by 2050, China’s leadership felt it needed to start colonizing the solar system. Its engineers began studying the damaged antimatter assemblers in the Dead Lands in the hopes to reverse-engineer the technology. It would be several years before it was successful. In the meantime, its scientists, working with engineers at SpaceX – SpaceX had moved to South Africa by this point – used the antimatter it was importing from Russia to develop the first antimatter rocket. While the Saudis had utilized antimatter to power their aircrafts during the war, the design was a type of scramjet, and it was not meant for deep space missions. This new design was built for interplanetary travel and could reach velocities of 5% lightspeed. It would reduce travel times to Mars or Venus from months to days.


The first manned mission reached the Red Planet in 2029, and by 2032, China had a long-term colony established. As this was going on, it built space stations in orbit. They were later expanded into construction yards as metals and other raw materials began coming in from the asteroid built. These yards could construct much larger colony ships, some rivalling cruise ships in size, and with advances made in 3D printing, could be fabricated in a short period of time. They greatly accelerated China’s timetable for colonizing the Red Planet. But as it reached for the stars, China would confront the greatest threat to its rule: the Han Plague.


In 2032, reports emerged of people displaying bubonic plague-like symptoms in Hong Kong: abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, extreme weakness, bleeding, shock, and gangrene. This perplexed scientists because Hong Kong was a modern city, with advanced medical facilities and state-of-the-art plumbing. Historically, the plague became a concern in places with poor sanitation. China tried to contain the emerging epidemic, but all attempts proved futile, and the disease quickly spread to neighboring cities.


Research on the plague led to a startling revelation: they were dealing with an airborne virus, not a bacterial infection. Soon plague cases were being documented in Europe, Japan, the Unified Republics of Korea, Canada, and other parts of the world. As more reports came in, the researchers were noticing a pattern: all the infected were of Han descent. Further studies showed that other people were being infected by the virus, but the virus only became active if the infected was predominantly Han. Some wondered if this virus was artificial.   


Han Chinese made up 90.21% of China’s overall population, with the other 55 ethnic groups comprised of a meager 9.79%. China’s government declared martial law and quarantined non-Han citizens, who were viewed as viral carriers. The other nations did the reverse, placing their Han citizens in concentration camps, which in time became to be called plague cities. Five weeks after the first cases were reported, half of Hong Kong’s population had been wiped out. If Xen Chang Medical hadn’t developed a cure, China might have been destroyed.


Over 140 million people died world-wide before a cure was found and distributed. Most greeted it with relief, though some were skeptical. The virus’ genome was unlike anything confronted before. How did Xen Chang Medical develop a cure in under three months? Conspiracy theorists speculated that the Lizard People were behind both the virus and the cure, but the Chinese government blamed Taiwan and Japan. They denied all wrongdoing.


The earliest cases of the disease were of employees of Yuncheng Inc., a Taiwanese/Japanese medical firm that had a few clinics in Hong Kong. A raid on one clinic produced documents implicating the two governments of being behind it. China declared war on October 7th, 2033, in what would later be known as the First Imperium War. The conflict lasted two years, being fought mainly in Taiwan, on the East Chinese Sea, and the Sea of Japan. The Taiwanese were the first to capitulate. The Japanese held on for twelve more months, thanks in part to the events of the Battle of Hibiki-nada, where an antimatter mine destroyed a Chinese flotilla.


Taiwan had been devastated by the war, its cities leveled, and its population decimated. Japan, on the other hand, had survived relatively intact. This was a deliberate choice on Beijing’s part. It saw Japan’s tech and robotics centers as the catalyst to reignite its own waning economy, which had contracted in response to the Han Plague. The two nations were annexed, and Japanese corporations were bought by state-run companies in China. In the years to come, China became a hub of technological innovation, particularly in lasers and robotics.


China rechristened itself the Chinese Imperium, seeing curing the Han Plague and defeating those who had unleashed it as a watershed moment. What would have brought down a lesser nation had only made the Chinese people stronger. It had also taught its leaders the folly of allowing others to steer world events. For the longest time, they had allowed the Americans to rule the world, yet where had that gotten them? The North Korean War, the War of the Sands, and now, near ruin at the hands of two former U.S.’s protectorates. If China was to prosper, it needed to ruthlessly impose its interests on others, by force if necessary.


China forged a military pack with the Unified Republics of Korea and the Philippines known as the East Asia Triumvirate. They went to war with Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, and Brunel over control of the South China Sea. The Second Imperium War went from 2034 to 2037. It ended with China annexing Vietnam and the parts of Malaysia that occupied the Malay Peninsula. As it was battling in the South China Sea, China fought the third and forth Imperium Wars in Mongolia and Kazakhstan.


In 2031, Mongolia had descended into civil war. Again, conspiracy theorists blamed the Lizard People. China had remained neutral until 2034 when one of the factions ambushed the limousine of the Chinese Party Secretary of Yunnan. Beijing sent in ground forces and five months later, had complete control over the country. The surviving opposition fled into Kazakhstan, and became the Mongold Neelee, a terrorist group that operated in the region. China demanded Kazakhstan destroy them, but when they didn’t, they invaded the nation. The Fourth Imperium War ended in 2036, seventeen months before the Second Imperium War concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Sydney, thus beginning the Decade of Peace.


This period was marked by the death of Xi Jinping, who died in his sleep in 2037, and the rise of his successor, Zhang He. Zhang He had a more optimistic outlook of the world, believing that China had finally achieved its destiny as the world’s remaining superpower. His goal was to build on this to create a new world order that centered around Beijing. The centerpiece of his vision was the New Horizon Project.


The New Horizon Project called for the construction of two massive interstellar vessels, the Horizon and the Constitution. They would be equipped with the new Jupiter-class antimatter rockets, capable of reaching 83% lightspeed, and would transport 1,600 colonists, plus tens of thousands of embryos, to Alpha Centari. Zhang He imagined it being a joint mission, with all the nations of Earth working together to build them. This, along with new trade deals that would make China the epicenter of world commerce, would solidified its position as the global hegemony, as well as allow it to direct future colonization ventures. The African and Latin American countries were the first to join, followed by the Russians and the Europeans, though the latter were mostly preoccupied with fighting wars in Europe. The Asian countries, having just recently fought the Second Imperium War, took more convincing. Even the Americans got onboard, though some wondered if their true goal was to sabotage it.


Zhang He never got to see his vision realized. He died of a heart attack in 2044. Many felt it was for the best because the New Horizon Project ended in tragedy. In 2045, the Horizon made its maiden voyage, stopping at Titan to survey the moon for a year before continuing to Alpha Centari. It blew up over the moon, and Titan’s atmosphere had vanished, just hours after the crew sent a transmission saying that they had discovered alien life.


The official report stated that Commander Me Chang, China’s highest-ranking officer onboard, had activated the ship’s self-destruct and detonated some unknown device on the moon’s surface. China denied all wrongdoing, and construction on the Constitution stopped. Conspiracy theorists debate to this day over who was really at fault, with some blaming the Americans – Catherine Hemmingway was caught on video confronting Commander Chen before the Horizon self-destructed –, while others blame the Lizard People.


Relations between China and many of the other world powers quickly deteriorated. Piracy was being reported on trade routes between Earth and the asteroid belt. Russia and Britain accused China because Chinese transports were not being targeted. Then in October of 2046, a Chinese colony vessel headed for the Red Planet was boarded by pirates. Beijing claimed that the pirates had Russian accents and demanded that the Russians owe them an apology. Russia accused China of orchestrating the attack to divert attention from their involvement in piracy. Conspiracy theorists conjectured that the Lizard People were behind the raids, while others believed it was megacorporations engaging in corporate sabotage,


Three months later, Bio-Dome 5, one of the massive greenhouses that provided the Martian colonies with food, decompressed. This resulted in food shortages, and in Russian colonies, marshal law had to be implemented. China had built the dome, so blame fell on it. Around this time, the Sons of Ares, an anti-Chinese and anti-Arab terrorist organization, made up mostly of Russian expats, though they did allow Europeans to join, emerged. They began attacking aqueducts linking the Chinese and Arab colonies to the polar aquafers.   


In response to these developments, China began arming its spaceships. The other spacefaring nations did the same. By 2048, the Zheng He-class space dreadnaught, named after a devout pacifist, began trial runs. The retrofitted colony vessel had been outfitted with three experimental electromagnetic acceleration cannons, as well as other weapons systems, including autocannons, lasers, and missile launchers. The Russians and the Indians would build their own dreadnaughts shortly after, with each nation rolling out two dreadnaughts every year.


In 2047, the Decade of Peace officially came to an end with the start of the Fifth Imperium War. Tibet had declared its independence after signing a mutual defense treaty with Nepal, Bhutan, and Bruma. China responded by sending its troops. Thousands of miles away, Russia and Europe were merging to form a new nation, the Federated Union. It was created, in part, to act as a foil to Chinese imperialism. They sent supplies and arms to aid the Tibetans and their allies. Suddenly, China found itself at war with nations fielding weapons systems on par with its own. This prolonged the war considerably, which didn’t conclude until 2050.


Now in 2052, we find ourselves on the brink of a new Cold War. With the help of Russia, Europe has risen from its two decades of endless conflict stronger and more united than ever before. The Federated Union has the potential of becoming everything the European Union promised to be, transforming Europe into an economic and military superpower. Still, China has spent decades establishing its dominion over the world and the solar system. It still has the largest military on the planet, as well as the largest economy and population. Only time will tell which juggernaut will be standing when all is said and done.

 

The United Republics of Korea

Other than the United States, there is no nation where human rights are as devalued than in the Unified Republics of Korea or the URK. The Kang dynasty might be more benign than the Kim dynasty, which ruled its successor state, North Korea, from 1945 to 2021, but most would argue that is only because the URK doesn’t live under crippling sanctions. Its economy is thriving, though it is nowhere near where South Korea was post-2021.


The Unified Republics of Korea is the result of the failed policies of U.S. President Donald J. Trump. After months of escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, Trump agreed to meet Kim Jong-Un in person. This was hardly historic. Previous U.S. presidents had been offered to have a summit with the leader of North Korea, but opted against it, believing that such a meeting would legitimize a regime known for starving its people. Trump, who cared little for human rights, agreed, and on June 12, 2018, the two leaders met.


Trump hailed the summit as a victory for diplomacy. However, the document Kim Jong-Un signed only declared that his country would work towards denuclearization. It didn’t specify how such a process would go about or the mechanism the would be used to verify it. It also called for the entire Korean Peninsula to denuclearize. This would be a problem because it would require that the United States give up its nukes or lift its protection of South Korea. That is why it came as no surprise when two weeks later it was revealed that North Korea was still making upgrades to the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center – an installation used in the refinement of weapons-grade fissile material. Trump, however, rewarded Kim by ending war games the U.S. was conducting with South Korea. It looked like Trump would kick the problem to his successor, and that might have been the case if other global events hadn’t intervened to push the two Koreas, as well as the world, towards a global depression and all-out war.


During the U.S. mid-terms, “a blue wave” propelled the Democrats to retake the House. Trump dismissed the elections as a shame, and the Republicans went along, creating what under any other presidency would be considered a constitutional crisis. Too the rest of the world, particularly to Kim Jong-Un, America looked weak, and he began hashing plans for the conquest of South Korea. This included the digging of new invasion tunnels and focusing on short range missiles over long. It would be a while before he would be ready to strike, but the groundwork was being laid, and in the mean time, he engaged in diplomacy with his South Korean counterpart.


War broke out first in the Middle East. As the constitutional crisis in the U.S. worsened, Trump decided to invade Iran, claiming that it was on the verge of building a bomb, to distract the media from his troubles. Democrats in the House was finding all kinds of shady deals, but the media couldn’t care. Rating whores, they focused on the action in Iran as the U.S. military pounded Iranian cities. Yet the fighting proved more difficult than Trump expected. Iran had a modern military and a population four times the size of Iraq. While defeat against the American juggernaut was inevitable, the Iranians made the Americans pay for every inch they took.


In June of 2019, Trump met again with Kim Jong-Un. This time, the two signed a peace treaty. According to the treaty, North Korea had given up its nukes, and in exchange, the United States would remove its troops from the Korean Peninsula. North Korea had never gotten rid of its nukes, but Trump needed those soldiers to fight the war raging in Iran, so he pretended that Kim had, declared victory, and went home. The infusion of U.S. forces helped accelerate the collapse of the Iranian regime, but in doing so, Trump had set himself up for more troubles.


Kim wasn’t the only dictator who noticed that Trump was distracted. Saudi Arabia had spent decades preparing for war with both Iran and Israel. It had even developed technologies the world didn’t know about; technologies conspiracy theorists are convinced the Saudis got from the Lizard People. They also believe King al-Wadi, who became king after assassinating his predecessor, was one of these shape-shifting lizards, but that’s a story for another time. With the Iranians out of the picture and Trump distracted, al-Wadi began an invasion of Israel. Armed with super advanced antimatter weapons, Israel was forced to fight a defensive war. Al-Wadi assumed that Trump would stay neutral, but in the end, he joined, thus beginning the War of the Sands (2019-2021.)   


During the war, Saudi Arabia, now called the Islamic Caliphate, rallied the Gulf States against the U.S., Israel and its allies, the UN Taskforce. Even the mighty United States struggled to counter the terrifying new weapons the Saudis had brought to bear. Adding to Trump’s woes, the U.S. defaulted on its debt in October of 2020. China sold off American Treasury Bonds. America, being unable to pay the interest of its debt, couldn’t pay the principle, so it defaulted on those as well, thus further destroying all confidence in its dollar. Beijing’s plan was to force the U.S. to exit the war by making it impossible for Washington to finance it.  


Kim Jong-Un watched from the sidelines. In 2021, he became convinced that the United States was too weak to stop his dreams of expansion. Kim declared war with South Korea and Japan. He dropped two nukes on Seoul, and a third over Tokyo. Millions died, while hundreds of thousands more would perish in the coming weeks. The United States, still struggling to beat back Iran and the Islamic Caliphate, did not intervene. However, Canada, Australia, Germany, England and France came to the rescue, thus beginning the North Korean War.


Britain detonated a nuke in Pyongyang, payback for the three nukes North Korea used against South Korea and Japan. Kim retaliated by dropping a bomb on Sydney, Australia. However, the allies had air superiority, and European bombers hammered at North Korea’s remaining missiles sites. They destroyed the rest of his nukes before he could use them. What followed next was a ground/sea invasion, one of the largest since World War Two.


Four months into the war, European forces reached Kim’s fortified retreat in the mountains of Kilju County. The bulk of the compound was buried so deep that not even bunker bombs could touch it. Several military divisions, backed up by jets and armor, were sent in to take it. The siege lasted a week, ending when the North Korean guns suddenly went silent. Upon entering, they discovered someone else had beaten them to their prize.


The bunker had been the site of a massacre. Body parts decorated its floors, and blood draped its walls. Ammo cases cluttered about, suggesting a firefight. Claw marks were found dug in solid rock. Fissures divided the rooms, as if a great earthquake had gone off, and indeed, several had been recorded, with the fortress being the epicenter. Kim’s body was never recovered, but his wife and sister were captured. They kept mumbling, “The lizard ate him.”


Even with Kim’s defeat, the conflict continued, though it turned into a guerrilla war, with the Europeans finding themselves fighting the North Korean population and troops loyal to General Kang Rak-gyom. Rak-gyom got shipments from the Caliphate and his forces began deploying antimatter weapons. North Korean special forces unleashed biological plagues in South Korean cities, killing hundreds of thousands at a time. This caused the Europeans to retreat, though they might have pushed back if the unthinkable hadn’t happened.


In the Middle East, the War of the Sands ended in nuclear fire. The Islamic Caliphate, on the verge of defeat, unleashed its nuclear arsenal, and the U.S. responded in kind. Over ninety-four nukes went off, and the Middle East became a radioactive wasteland. European battalions fighting in the region were instantly incinerated. Survivors, which numbered in the tens of millions, headed for Europe to escape the radioactive death clouds. Conflicts around the world came to a stop as everyone tried to come to terms with what just happened. Was the world about to end? Only in the Korean Peninsula did fighting continue.


Rak-gyom took this opportunity to claim South Korea. The South Koreans fought on, but their Western allies, their wills having been stripped by years of heavy combat, withdrew. Besides, they had bigger fish to fry, like accommodating the millions of refugees pouring through their borders. Canada, Japan and Australia remained, but they were ill-equipped to handle Rak-gyom’s forces, who still had access to Caliphate’ antimatter weapons, and who were getting shipments of antimatter from Russia, which they shared a border with.


On March 18th, 2022, after losing the Battle of Busan, the South Koreans surrendered. The following years were brutal and strenuous. The Koreans living in the south were pressed into slavery and forced to rebuild the north. They were made to know the harsh existence the North Koreans had been enduring for decades. Rape by North Korean soldiers was common, and the most attractive South Korean women were sold as sex slaves. Disease was another concern since the sanitary conditions at many concentration camps were subpar.


Rak-gyom declared himself the Supreme Leader of the Unified Republic of Korea. Like his predecessors, he would portray himself as a godlike messiah, having saved the Koreans from Western imperialism. Anti-European propaganda has since replaced anti-American propaganda. Only among the South Korean populations are the Americans still reviled. Many are convinced that if Trump hadn’t made peace with Kim, they would still be free.


In the three decades since the North Korean War concluded, the URK has made many notable advances. Junche, the belief that Korea must be self-sufficient, is still the official ideology of the state, but the lifting of sanctions has granted the URK access to other markets, making luxury goods like cars a more common sight. A middle class has emerged, though this is only true for those of North Korean heritage. The brutal class system that defined North Korean life no longer exists, but again, that is only because the South Koreans remain enslaved.


The URK has rebuilt its military. It is nowhere near as formidable as the two Korean armies that existed before the war, but then again, the URK doesn’t have the Americans or the South Koreans to worry about. These days, its purpose is mainly to prevent a slave uprising, which is a real fear. There have been several documented cases were the military has been brought in to quell a revolt, the most infamous being the Inchon Massacre. After the slaves overran the local garrison there, the URK blanketed the port city with sarin gas.


Under the shadow of China, the URK has little room to expand. It formed a military alliance with it and the Philippines called the East Asia Triumvirate. In exchange for a few Japanese islands in the East China Sea, the URK sided with China in the First Imperium War. It gained some additional territory, the Bangka Belitung Islands, during the Second Imperium War. Like the South Koreans, the populations of these islands have been pressed into slavery. The URK’s leaders dream of conquering Hawaii, but know its military isn’t strong enough. For now, they are content with managing their latest acquisitions.


Rak-gyom passed away in 2041 and was succeeded by his oldest son, Kang Baek Hyeon. Baek Hyeon was a playboy and a man of below level intelligence, often called Korea’s Donald Trump by URK officers. His younger brother, Kang Dae-Jung, however, was a strew and manipulative statesman, much like his father. He had Baek Hyeon assassinated and implicated the South Koreans in the murder. Ten thousand South Koreans were beheaded as collective punishment. By 2052, Dae-Jung remains the URK’s Supreme Leader, though he is seventy-seven and is said to be in poor health. He has tapped his fourth oldest son, Kang Hyun Ki, as his successor. It is believed that he did this to avoid the political intrigues that saw his own rise to power. Still, while Hyun Ki’s brothers are considered of lower intelligence, it is unsure if they will not vie for the throne. Whether they will be successful is another matter.

 

The Safer Society Act of 2035

On the morning of February 27, 2032, the city of Miami was consumed by nuclear fire. Billy Wellman and his wife, Mellissa, were blamed for the attack, though the federal government also accused members of Congress and generals in the military of helping them acquire the nukes. In truth, President Gregory di Conti ordered the bombings, all so he could jail and execute his political rivals, win the 2032 election, and get the Safer Society Act passed.


The Safer Society Act of 2035 marked the beginning of the Third American Republic. It was actually multiple bills: the Safer Society Act and the Miami Amendments. The latter was a series of amendments, passed through two dozen constitutional conventions set up in the months after the bombings, that eliminated, modified, and created new branches inside the federal government, as well as eliminated or modified several existing amendments. Nothing on this scale had been attempted since the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and in previous decades, it would not have succeeded, but Miami changed everything.


With the public in a frenzy, having been deceived into believing that their elected representatives played a role in the murder of hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens, any opposition or unwillingness to follow President di Conti’s lead was viewed with treasonous intent. When the legislators in Vermont refused to ratify the Miami Amendments, a mob circled the statehouse and burned the building to the ground. The other statehouses, those who hadn’t been stacked with politicians loyal to di Conti, passed the bills without debate. There were celebrations in the streets, few aware that they had signed their freedoms away.



The Miami Amendments got rid of the judicial branch, while also placing more power into the office of the presidency. Congress still held the power of the purse but could no longer impeach the president, and only the president could table future bills, though Congress could attach amendments to existing bills when they went to committee. Typically, Congress just acted as a rubber stamp for the executive, though creative senators and congressmen, particularly in the case of senators, could use the archaic rules of Congress to prevent laws from getting passed. Of course, they risked much, since those that did had a nasty habit of going missing.


The power to impeach the president now fell to a new federal branch created to replace the judiciary called the Council of Academics and Biblically Astute Leaders, or the C.A.B.A.L., a secretive group whose members were kept hidden to the public and even to Congress. The C.A.B.A.L. got to decide if a law was constitutional. Few outside the government, and even within, knew of the C.A.B.A.L.’s existence. The C.A.B.A.L. also decided who could run for president, and in states, governor, and after they won, veto their cabinet picks.


Many existing amendments were either modified or outright repealed. The first, thirteenth and fourteenth amendments were nullified, while others were modified to accommodate an new agency that existed under the jurisdiction of the C.A.B.A.L.: The Department of Understanding or DOU. The DOU would have a secretary, which would be picked by the C.A.B.A.L., as well as two under secretary, and only they would be allowed to employ Inquisitors.


The Safer Society Act, the only bill not passed by convention, outlined the duties and responsibilities of the Department of Understanding, as well as listed a new host of statutes and laws that they would be charged with enforcing. They have two officers: High Inquisitors and Inquisitors. The High Inquisitors were human, while the Inquisitors were females who were reported to have superhuman abilities. Their authority superseded all state and local jurisdictions.


Together, the Miami Amendments and the Safer Society Act radically transformed the United States. The Third American Republic functioned more like the Islamic republic in Iran after coming to power in 1979. Most of the power now fell onto the C.A.B.A.L., which got to decide who could become president and could even remove the president if they didn’t like what he was doing. The only truly independent branch was Congress, but even then, it could no longer be called co-equal. It had the power to stall legislation, but not enact its own.

 

Longinus Stones

Called the Spear of Destiny by those who are ignorant of their true purpose, the Longinus Stones started as tools designed to help people with PTSD. The dark magic of the Sh’qua has since twisted them. Like the One Ring in the Lord of the Rings series, they have a will of their own. Some are obsessed with finding the fabled City of Babel, while others wish to sow chaos or engage in genocide and needless slaughter. All have the power to corrupt the minds and bodies of anyone within proximity of them, giving them enhanced strength and stamina, but also driving them quite mad. Those who stay too long in their presence will become enthralled, a fate worse than death because their servitude continues even after their lives end.


The Longinus Stones appeared in the twilight years of the First Civilization. Back then, mankind lived under the guidance of the Zelturians, the Lords of Time. They inhabited cities orbiting the Earth, called Gardens of Eden, or on the colony worlds (Mars, Venus and the moons of Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.) Technologically, they were superior to humans of the 21st century, with the ability to create artificial gravity and ships powered by antimatter. However, despite knowing a standard of living better than what we experience today, many were discontent. Chiefly, they resented the fact that they could not leave Earth’s solar system. The Zelturians had erected a spacetime distortion field around Sol, preventing anyone from leaving.


It was during this time that Lucifer Morningstar, better known today as Satan, rose to power on Mars. As the seventh in line of the throne, he was expected to join the Priesthood of Rema and spend his life healing the sick. It was there that he first heard the voice of Uma’ja’a’a, the dark god of the Sh’qua. He promised Lucifer unlimited power if only he swore allegiance to him. Lucifer agreed and thus began plotting the death of his father, King Gilgamesh.


Key to his plans was the Longinus Stones. With the power granted to him by Uma’ja’a’a, Lucifer began twisting Kardarii Crystals, a tool long used by the priesthood to heal the sick. The Kardarii Crystals went from blue orbs to spearhead-shaped rubies. With them, Lucifer took over the Martian chapter of the ministry and renamed them the Brotherhood of Uma’ja’a’a. They began worshiping Uma’ja’a’a as a god and the Sh’qua as angels. At first, they performed their rituals in secret. While people on Mars could worship any god they pleased, practices like human sacrifice were outlawed, and the taking of human life was central to the Uma’ja’a’a faith. It would be decades before this would come to light and by then, one in five Martians was a member of the church.


The speed at which the faith spread can be attributed to the Longinus Stones. As more were created, it became easier for Lucifer to indoctrinate the masses. They were even affecting King Gilgamesh’s mind. He grew paranoid, convinced that one of his sons was plotting against him. True, but he suspected all but Lucifer. Lucifer preyed on his father’s deteriorating mental state. He persuaded the king to banish his older brothers and sisters, leaving Lucifer first in line. Then he poisoned his father’s drink, triggering a massive heart attack. With his father dead and his siblings in exile, Lucifer crowned himself king and made Uma’ja’a’a worship the official religion. Longinus Stones were now being manufactured in mass, and every Martian citizen was required to spend a few hours a day in their presence. In a matter of weeks, Lucifer succeeded in placing the entire population under his spell. Those who managed to resist the Longinus Stone’s power, and there were few, were offered up to Uma’ja’a’a as human sacrifices.


Now the undisputed ruler of Mars, Lucifer turned his eyes to the other colonies. He sent Longinus Stones to the moons of Uranus. There, they sparked civil wars, giving Lucifer an excuse to send his armies to act as peacekeepers. Of course, that was just a pretext to prop up the factions loyal to him. The Zelturians chose not to intervene. Much speculation has gone into why. The official answer is that this was a strictly human affair and man needed to resolve it themselves, but others theorized that the Zelturians were in denial about what was going on. They had faced the Sh’qua before. Defeated them even. They knew what they were capable of yet ignored the fact that they were interfering in man’s development. Why is unknown, but what isn’t is that Lucifer would soon spark a war that would drive humanity back to the Stone Age.


The Fall of Man began when the other colonies saw what Lucifer was doing on the moons of Jupiter and ended all trade with Mars. Uma’ja’a’a worship was banned in much of human space. Any Longinus Stones confiscated were destroyed. Then in October of 4037 BC, the Pharaoh of Earth began sending military aid to the governments of Uranus’s moons. This act drove Lucifer to declare war with Earth and the colonies of Jupiter and Saturn. The war lasted two decades and was fought mainly in the asteroid belt or on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Despite being outnumbered five to one, Lucifer’s forces possessed superior technology and through a war of attrition, slowly dwindled the opposition. The Longinus Stones helped, granting his ground forces increased strength and stamina, as well as putting them in a berserker-like state.  Common it was to see a Martian fight even after suffering a debilitating wound.


Venus had remained neutral for much of the conflict, having allowed trade with Mars, but banning the worship of Uma’ja’a’a. However, during the second decade of the war, Lucifer’s forces besieged the planet and unleashed a terrible weapon that triggered a runaway greenhouse effect, turning Venus into the hellscape that it is today. By then, the moons of Jupiter, Uranus, and Saturn had been decimated, their cities in ruins. Those who survived fled to Earth. Lucifer’s forces followed. The Battle of Earth lasted one whole year and ended when Lucifer activated the Noah Array. It transformed Mars into a giant e-bomb, one powerful enough to short-circuit every electronic device in the Sol system. It also turned Mars into a barren rock and killed everyone living on it. Lacking power, the Gardens of Eden plummeted into Earth’s oceans, triggering tsunamis that flooded its continents and destroyed all cities save the City of Babel.  In the years to come, this event would be recorded in the Bible story, Noah and the Ark.


Those who survived had been scattered to the four corners of the Earth and without access to advanced technology, reverted to a primitive state. The Zelturians were said to have finally intervened at this time. King Brumah, the King of the Zelturians, did battle with Lucifer in the City of Babel, though their fight eventually took them to the peak of Mount Hejaz. There, Brumah struck Lucifer down, a blow so powerful that it split the mountain in two, creating Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse. Afterward, the Zelturians disabled the spacetime distortion field surrounding Sol and departed the Earth, never to be seen again. Sadly, the story of the Longinus Stones didn’t end with the death of Lucifer. Several had been deposited across the Earth.


The first Longinus Stone uncovered was found in Greece by Cronus in 3517 BC. The power granted to him changed him, causing his skin to turn red, and the people of his village began worshiping him as a god. Cronus started conflicts throughout Greece and Italy. Eventually, a triumvirate of tribal leaders rose to face him: Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. They each possessed a Zelturian artifact. Zeus held the Thunderbolt, a staff that could summon lightning. Hades possessed the Bident, a two-prong staff that could create blizzards, and Poseidon carried the Trident, a three-prong staff that unleashed tidal waves. Together, the three battled Cronus beside the steps of Mount Olympus. The battle was fierce, and thousands died as the four titans clashed. And while Cronus perished that day, the three also suffered mortal wounds. It is unknown what became of their Zelturian artifacts, or the Longinus Stone for that matter, but their battle would be remembered long after their deaths. In time, it would be woven into Greek and Roman mythology, with the three tribesmen becoming the chief deities of the religion.


In India, around 2400 BC, Karna acquired the Zelturian artifact, the Arrows of Surya, as well as the Breastplate of Immortality, and it was a good thing that he did. His half brother, Arjuna, had uncovered a Longinus Stone and was amassing a vast army to take over India. The two brothers fought, a battle that caused the earth to heave and the heavens to split in two. In the final moments of the fight, Karna shot an Arrow of Surya at the Longinus Stone, causing it to shatter. The resulting explosion killed everyone within ten miles, including Karna and Arjuna. Their story would be recorded in the Hindu epic Mahābhārata.


In Mexico, around 470 BC, Itzamná was an orphan who lived on the streets of Becan. He and his best friend Ah Puch found a Longinus Stone behind a waterfall, about six miles from the village. Both were transformed from being exposed to it, giving them red skin and extra muscle mass. However, only Ah Puch turned cruel and wicked. He would amass an army and attack the neighboring villages.  Itzamná, horrified by what his friend was doing, pleaded with him to stop the madness. Ah Puch refused, and the two fought. Itzamná killed Ah Puch, then took the Longinus Stone and threw it into the sea. Afterward, he grew frail and died. Itzamná would become the chief deity of the Mayan civilization, whereas Ah Puch would be known as the god of death and destruction, as well as the bringer of disease.


In 342 BC, while on a walk with Aristotle, a young Alexander the Great came across a cave. Inside, he found three Longinus Stones, the largest number of stones discovered after the Fall of Man. He took them home and studied them. Like those before him, his mind was twisted by the stones. He overthrew his father at the age of twenty and started a series of campaigns that saw him conquer the known world. He was obsessed with finding the City of Babel, believing that it was the key to total victory. However, after conquest after conquest, he was no closer to finding it. His men grew weary of battle and feared he was sending them on a fool’s errand. His best friend, Cleitus the Black, who was immune to the stone’s spell, snatched the stones away while Alexander slept and buried them in some unknown location. No longer in proximity to the stones, Alexander grew frail and sick. He had to call off his campaigns. When his and Cleitus’s paths crossed again, he killed his best friend in a drunken rage.  He would die shortly after from a fever.


The next Longinus Stone appeared in 613 AD in England. King Arthur, yes, the King Arthur of legend, would uncover Excalibur, a Zelturian sword that is said to have the power to turn someone into a god. That’s the legend anyway. Most historians dispute this since Arthur never ascended to godhood. Around the time Arthur found Excalibur, his sister, Morgan le Fey, got her hands on a Longinus Stone. To save his sister from madness, Arthur went on a quest for the Holy Grail, another Zelturian artifact that could restore one’s mind. He never found the Grail, and when he returned, he discovered his sister had despoiled his kingdom. With the help of Merlin, an Emissary of the Zelturians, Arthur and his knights did battle with Fey’s forces. Fey died at Merlin’s hands, while his nephew Mordred killed Arthur.


In June of 1098 AD, another Longinus Stone was found beneath the Church of St. Peter in Antioch. The First Crusade was still in its infancy, and the Crusaders had barely entered the Middle East when a massive Muslim army beset them. It looked like they were doomed, but then Peter Bartholomew had a vision that the Longinus Stone was, in fact, the Spear of Destiny, the lance that had pierced Jesus Christ on the cross. Recovering it not just boosted morale, but gave the starving Crusaders superhuman strength and stamina, enough that they were able to drive back their attackers. Afterward, they marched onto Jerusalem and killed everyone within. Many Crusaders noted that their brethren had grown more bloodthirsty after Antioch. They attributed this to mental fatigue or a loss of military discipline, but the truth was that the Longinus Stone was bringing out the worst in people. After Jerusalem, the Longinus Stone would fall into the possession of the Knights Templar and remain in their care until 1914 AD.  


Temujin, better known today as Genghis Khan, came into possession of a Longinus Stone in 1187 AD, and it gave him the strength to unite the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. He would go on to conquer much of Eurasia. Like others who had acquired a Longinus Stone, Temujin grew increasingly ruthless. After capturing a city, he would begin large-scale massacres of the civilian population. Like Alexander the Great before him, Temujin was obsessed with finding the lost City of Babel, where he believed a great power resided. He would fail in his quest, and the stone would fall into the hands of his son, Ogedel Khan, upon death. Ogedel would go on to conquer all of China in 1279 A.D., as well as push into Russia and Eastern Europe. What became of the Longinus Stone is unknown, only that Ogedel was the last person to have it.


In 1485 AD, Christopher Columbus purchased a Longinus Stone. It gave him visions of a new continent where the City of Babel might be found.  His every thought consumed with finding it, Columbus convinced the Queen of Spain that he could uncover a new trade route to India. A lie, but it got him the three ships he needed, including the Saria Maria. On August 3rd, 1492, Columbus departed on his first voyage. On October 12th of that same year, he reached the New World. He would partake in four trips in search of the City of Babel but never found it. However, he did make first contact with several indigenous tribes, much to their dismay. Columbus was a documented sadist, a cruel tyrant even by the standards of his time. Millions died at his hands, and Columbus and his men were renowned for raping women and feeding prisoners to dogs. 


In 1571 AD, Emperor Ivan IV inherited the Antioch Longinus Stone as Grand Inquisitor of the Rosicrucian Order, formally known as the Knights Templar. As the first Tsar of Russia, Ivan would conquer Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia. His expansionist wars were driven by his desire to spread the tenets of Rosicrucian Christianity. Thanks to the Longinus Stone, he was extremely successful, though he did ruin Russia’s economy in the process. After his death, this resulted in the end of his own Rurik Dynasty and the coming of the “Time of Troubles.” Ivan was known for being quite mad, often befalling fits of rage that ended with him murdering someone. It is believed that he killed his oldest son and heir Ivan Ivanovich in such an outburst. It has long been debated if his madness was inherited or the result of prolonged exposer to the Longinus Stone.     


In 1595 AD, Tokugawa leyasu acquired a Longinus Stone on the black market.  Five years later, the young noble would seize power and become the first shogun of Japan’s Tokugawa shogunate, a military government that ruled Japan until 1867. While always intelligent and ambitious, even in his youth, the Longinus Stone instilled in leyasu a bloodthirstiness that few men in history could compete with. He slew anyone who got in his way. Still, despite his cruelty, history looks favorably on him because he unified Japan under one central government. What has become of his Longinus Stone remains a mystery. Some speculate that it was buried to rest with leyasu. Others believe that it was lost in sea during one of his expeditions.


In 1867 AD, Leopold II of Belgium purchased a Longinus Stone during one of his travels. Some researchers theorized that this was the one Genghis Khan owned. Leopold was best known for the killing of between two to seventeen million people. Like Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, he was obsessed with finding the City of Babel and plundering its riches. He founded the International African Society. Its job was to search for the fabled city, which Leopold believed was hidden somewhere in Africa, possibly in the Free State of Congo. To further this aim, he placed the indigenous population into forced labor camps. Many died in those camps.


During World War I, the Antioch Longinus Stone resurfaced, this time in the hands of the Black Hand. The successors of both the Rosicrucian Order and the Knights Templar, they desired nothing less than conquering all of Europe. They were convinced that they could use modern science to expand the Longinus Stone’s reach. They constructed a radio tower atop their main fortress, Volkn Fastugn. However, before they could carry out their dastardly plan, the Triple Entente besieged Volkn Fastugn and destroyed the tower. The Longinus Stone was damaged beyond repair, whereas the Black Hand’s leadership had been captured.


Mao Zedong, better known as Chairmen Mao, was bequeathed a Longinus Stone on his 15th birthday by a mysterious traveler. The stone filled his mind with delusions of grandeur. He would grow up to become a communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People’s Republic of China. Under the stone’s influence, Moa engaged in an ambitious social, and economic campaign called the Great Leap Forward, which was designed to turn China’s agrarian economy into a socialist society. This would be achieved through rapid industrialization and collectivization. However, the cost was steep. From 1958 to 1962, 45 million Chinese are believed to have perished from famine, disease, and state-sanctioned violence.  


Not all are held captive by the Longinus Stone. Kamru Mazdah, the Vijic commander stationed on Earth, is seemingly immune to their power.  He has several in his collection and will “lend” them out from time to time. It is known that the Genghis Khan stone was one of his. He deliberately gave the stone to Genghis to trigger the Mongol Invasion. Leopold’s and Mao’s stones might have also come from Kamru Mazdah. It is possible that the crafty Vijic seeks the location of the City of Babel, and the stones are just a means to achieve that goal.


There are likely more Longinus Stones out there. As the examples above show, each one has its own agenda. Some are obsessed with finding the City of Babel, while others want to create chaos or undermine social norms. Regardless of what drives them, they are all a threat to humanity and should be avoided at all cost. Sadly, long as there are those with a lust for power, there will be those who will damn their souls in the pursuit of them

 

A Dying Earth: The World's Climate in 2050

In 2012, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, known merely as OECD, sounded the alarm that the Earth would become inhospitable by 2050. The report they published forecasted a planet with 9.2 billion inhabitants, a global GDP four times as large, and requiring 85% more energy to meet demands. Thirty-eight years later, we can now look back and see what they got right and what they got wrong. In some cases, things are worse. In others, things are better, though there is no doubt that life is very different today than in 2012.


When I was a boy, I remember going whale watching with my parents. The blue whale was my favorite, followed by the humpback. There were few blues back then, so I never got to see one and never will. The last blue whale died in 2031. The humpback followed a few years later as rising ocean temperatures and acidity killed off the plankton that they fed on. Today, the oceans are mostly barren of life, where once they had been brimming with it.


This was one of the areas the OECD got wrong. They predicted global biodiversity would diminish by only 10%. In the oceans, it went down by 83%. The death of the coral reefs during the 2040s devastated ecologies throughout the oceans. Life on land faired better. It dropped by 37%. Many would like to blame President Jair Bolsonaro, the leader of Brazil until his death in 2037. Yes, he opened the Amazon Rainforest to widespread logging, which not only killed a large percentage of the world’s wildlife but also devastated the planet’s greatest carbon sink. Yet it was the droughts and heatwaves, not over logging, that sparked the Great Blaze of 2036, a forest fire that transformed the lush rainforest into a dry savannah. The carbon dioxide released by its destruction pushed the global temperature up by 1.5 degrees Celsius.


For many, the Great Blaze was a sign that mankind’s time on Earth was at an end. In March of that year, the Horizon Project was announced. Two ships would be constructed. Each would transport eight hundred people, plus thousands of embryos, to Proxima Centauri to settle any world that might be found there. In the meantime, the colonization of Mars and Venus would be accelerated, as well as the development of space infrastructure. Engineers began plans for new space stations that could be home for thousands of residents. There was even talk of moving agricultural production into near Earth orbit to protect it from a similar fire.


One nation that ignored these signs was the United States. While most had made the transition to antimatter, the U.S. refused, instead doubling down on fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, and natural gas. This was all part of the America First policy; originally conceived by Donald Trump but expanded upon by Gregory di Conti when he became president. It outlawed the use of renewables like solar, geothermal, and wind. Nuclear power was permitted, though it was capped at 15%. Most energies had to be generated through fossil fuels, and all environmental regulations placed on them by previous administrations were scrapped. The result was that the U.S. would become the primary contributor of CO2, with it responsible for 57% of global production.


The effect this had on America’s ecosystem was profound. Its rivers became highly contaminated with toxic chemicals. Cancer rates skyrocketed throughout the nation. The use of lead in paint and aerosols affected the development of America’s children, resulting in lower IQs and greater antisocial behavior. Violent crime shot up. Not everyone was affected equally. The very rich sealed themselves off in self-sustaining habitats called enclaves. Their transparent domes prevented acid rain from destroying the homes nestled within. Reminiscent of the walls of medieval times, barriers were created around their coastal cities to protect them from rising oceans.


The other nations have taken more decisive actions. Fossil fuels were outlawed in most countries, and many transferred to synthetic meats. Carbon-sinks were constructed in the world’s deserts to capture the CO2 in the atmosphere and store it underground. Others, like China and India, began building light-reflecting dishes in orbit. They blocked sunlight, lowering the temperature in many parts of the globe. Despite this, the world failed to keep temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius  and have since risen to 3.2 degrees.


The result has been catastrophic. Carbon dioxide levels have reached 500 ppm. Large swaths of the world have been transformed into deserts, leading to mass migration. Europe, Russia, and other northern nations have constructed fortifications to prevent refugees from entering their territories. The U.S. have devised similar barriers, though they are as much about keeping people in as they are about keeping refugees out. Remarkably, there are still those willing to enter to reach Canada. The fact that people would traverse territory controlled by either genocidal religious zealots or man-eating bikers conveys just how dire the situation is.  


Adding to this worsening problem is that sea levels have risen by 15 meters. Developed nations have responded by building barriers similar to those around American cities, though these lack the automated laser cannons that have decimated North America’s migrating bird populations. Developing countries have been forced to move further inland. The nations of South America and Africa are considering colonizing Antarctica. So far, settlements have been constructed by the Pan-African Republic, Australia, India, China, and Brazil. It is unknown at this time if they will be successful, but for some, Antarctica might be man’s best chance of maintaining life on Earth.


The Earth is heading towards a tipping point. Some believe we have already reached it, and that global warming is irreversible at this point. It is already a certainty that we cannot save the blue whale or the other creatures that we once shared this world with. We could blame the past generations for their recklessness, but most of them are dead. They had their fun, and now we must pay for their indiscretions. Perhaps not all is lost though, but if there is something we can do, it is hard to see. Maybe we will all be forced to move to Mars or Venus.   

 

The Ethical Science Act of 2029

The conclusion of the Second American Civil War had fundamentally transformed the political map of the United States. While some of the separatist states were Republican strongholds, the majority were considered Democrat, and California was the largest blue state in the union. It was also the hardest hit, with one-third of its population wiped out during the war. Furthermore, while the first civil war had been fought on a single issue: slavery, the second civil war was battled over a wide range of deeply partisan issues, mainly economics and immigration, but also over who was to blame for the United States losing the War of the Sands. The result of this was that when the dust settled, the political map had swung heavily to the right.


This shift explains why Gregory di Conti was able to pass what in previous years would have been considered unthinkable. His first legislative win was the Allegiance Act, which required atheists and non-Christian theists to pledge themselves to the Christin god when saying the Pledge of Allegiance or spend a year in prison. It paled to the Ethical Science Act. It outlawed several scientific terms, and all related technologies, if they undermined biblical teaching.


Evolution, and even evolutionary algorithms, which was a discipline of computer science based on an understanding of evolutionary biology, was among the terms outlawed, as was the big bang theory, general relativity, abiogenesis and the heliocentric model. Those who violated the law could face a two-year prison sentence. Many scientists went to jail, while more fled the country, bringing an end to technological progress within the United States.   


Several scientists took their case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Ethical Science Act violated the Establishment Clause in the Bill of Rights, but the conservative Supreme Court ruled against them. The judges based their ruling not on past cases, but on a relatively unknown legal argument once made by conservative thinker Bill O’Reilly, which simply states that Christianity isn’t a religion, but a philosophy of peace and love, and thus the Establishment Clause doesn’t apply to it. After the Safer Society Act is passed in 2035, the punishment for violating the Ethical Science Act goes from two years in prison to death by being boiled alive. Hundreds of thousands would be killed in the years to come for violating the act. So much for peace and love.

 

The Forfeited Territories Act of 2030

In the summer of 2030, the Twin Summits Hotel in Huston, Texas was destroyed when a group of terrorists detonated a powerful explosive. Some of the wealthiest people in show business and media were attending a fundraiser set up to help rebuild Los Angeles after the Second American Civil War. Five of the six ex-presidents, Bill Clinton, Barak Obama, Mike Pence, George Bush, and Philip Wellman, were among those who perished. President Gregory di Conti was also in attendance but claimed that the Secret Service were able to whisk him away to safety before the bomb went off. He also claimed that the bomb was meant for him.


From testimony given by Billy Wellman and his wife, Melissa, to the Canadian Parliament, it was discovered that di Conti was behind the attack. The five ex-presidents were there to discuss steps on how to impeach him for the assassination of Francis Downey. Di Conti pinned their murders on the Californians and used the incident to get The Forfeited Territory Act passed, a draconian bill that transformed the former states into an open prison.


The Forfeited Territory Act downgraded Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan from state to territory status, though unlike traditional territories, they would not be allowed to elect governors and there would be limits placed on migration for those within them. Many argued the legality of the act in court, but the courts, stuffed with judges loyal to di Conti, determined that since the former states had left the union, they had forfeited their right to fair treatment.


The act also called for money set aside by Congress to rebuild the states to be reallocated to the construction of a wall that would run along the new border. This wall, which would be made of reinforced concrete, would be ninety feet tall and defended by electric fencing and laser turrets. The lasers would kill anyone who got within a mile of the wall. They proved so effective that they drove several species of migratory birds to extinction.


Most people living within the Forfeited Territories were employed to build The Wall, and even using the most advanced 3D printers, it took fifteen years to complete it. During that time, the former states were under martial law and ruled over by private militias. Other private contractors were employed to strip mine the land’s resources. All the trees were cut down, and rivers became heavily polluted with mercury and other deadly toxins from the fracking and mining. Most farmland was set aside for feeding the states, and entire communities starved.


When The Wall was finished, the private militias packed up and left, except those that defended the various mining and farming ventures. Even they eventually departed as advancements in automation made it, so these tasks could be done by harvesters, massive robots equipped with machine guns and missiles to protect themselves from looters as they raped the land. With all semblance of law and order gone, the former states descended into anarchy.


By 2052, the Forfeited Territories were ruled over by biker gangs that have set themselves up as feudal lords. Each gang had ‘a kingdom’ or an area that encompasses several smaller communities that were required to pay them tribute for protection. Tribute typically took the form of food, fuel or raw metals, but it could also be slaves. The Heaven’s Devils gang were known for demanding females as their tribute, which they raped before eating them.

 

The Untold History of Mars

For centuries, Mars has captured our imagination. It is named after the Roman god of war. Its symbol, a circle with an arrow protruding from its upper right, symbolize the male gender, and Mars has long been associated with masculinity and youth. While it could be seen in the night’s sky with the naked eye, it wasn’t until the 19th century that we could observe details with telescopes. In those early days, many thought that people lived on the Red Planet. This was soon debunked, at least until we colonized Mars in 2029 and found evidence of an ancient civilization buried beneath Olympus Mons. 


On January 9th, 2051, a team of archeologists led by Professor Jacopo Schiaparelli uncovered the Tablet of Babylon while on an excavation in Iraq. Dated to be over 6000 years old and written in ancient Sumerian, the tablet provided detail maps of Mars, suggesting that the ancient Sumerians were more advanced than originally assumed. The tablet also held the coordinates of several settlements on the Red Planet. Expeditions were sent to the sites, but all came back empty, all except one. Using ground radar, the team at Olympus Muns reported detecting a massive pyramid buried 36,900 feet below the shield volcano.   


On February 8th, 2052, Schiaparelli assembled a new team, and they began exploring the site. This required digging a hole from the summit. A fusion drill was used, and it took two days to reach that depth. An analysis of the pyramid revealed that it was made of an unknown alloy, had a slope of 50 degrees, and a height of 48,100 feet. More impressive was the city they found beneath it. Called the Necropolis, its surface area was about three times that of Manhattan. Skyscrapers and smaller pyramids dotted its core, and below them resided a vast underground labyrinth we call the Works. It housed all the machines needed to keep the city running.


Exploration of the site suggests that these ancient Martians were more advanced than us. Still, they relied on many of the technologies that we do. Their cities ran off antimatter, just as ours do, though their reactors had a higher output. Their ships also utilized the stuff for space travel. According to the texts, their vessels could reach 97% light speed, while our fastest ship, the U.E.S.S. Horizon, was limited to 85%. Their ships also came equipped with gravity generators and deflector shields, the latter a form of force field that protected the vessel from solar radiation, micro meteorites and even weapons fire. Our scientists are already working on reverse engineering them, though because of the complexity, it will take time.


As astonishing as these findings were, they were eclipsed when the archeologists recovered human remains and performed DNA tests. These ancient Martians were us. The lack of an extensive fossil record on Mars, like that seen on Earth, implies that our ancestors colonized Mars, and not the other way around. Still, this poses several questions. If our ancestors were more advanced, what caused them to regress and why is Mars barren today? Some scholars are convinced that the answers can be found by looking at our own history.


The Martian written language is an early form of Sumerian. Furthermore, we know that they worshiped Nergal, the Sumerian god of war, plague, disease, and death, though in the Martian texts, Nergal is more commonly referred to as Uma’ja’a. It is not unheard of for gods to have multiple names. Nergal worshipers had lived throughout ancient Mesopotamia, now modern-day Syria and Iraq, which at the time, was divided into Akkad, Assyria, and Babylonia. Other names for Nergal are Nirgal, Nirgali, Erra, and Irra. The name Uma’ja’a has not been found in texts outside of the Martian libraries, suggesting it is exclusive to Mars.


Another deviation of the Martian Uma’ja’a to his Sumerian and Mesopotamian counterparts is his place in the religion’s pantheon. Nergal was always viewed as a lesser god, but in the Martian texts, Uma’ja’a is presented as the chief deity, with the other gods being little more than footnotes. His origin story is also different. Instead of being the son of Enlil and Ninlil, Uma’ja’a is described as a warlord who rose to dominance and enslaved the other gods. He then created our universe, and countless others, so he could feed off our pain, misery, and death to sustain his powers. Finally, the texts say that every fourteen billion years, Uma’ja’a returns to destroy our universe as part of a cosmic banquet. This last bit has led some scholars to conclude that this older story inspired the Sumerian tale of how Nergal married Ereshkigal.


In the tale of Nergal and Ereshkigal, the Sumerian gods decide to have a banquet. All the gods come, all but Ereshkigal, who must remain in the underworld. She sends her son Namtar instead. The gods rise out of respect, except for Nergal. Offended, Namtar leaves, and the other gods demand that Nergal descend to the underworld and apologize to Ereshkigal and Namtar. He does but brings fourteen demons with him. They stand guard as Nergal attacks Ereshkigal and drags her to the floor. Before he can kill her with his ax, Ereshkigal promises to marry Nergal and grant him her powers. He agrees, and every six months, he returns to the underworld to renew their covenant. Historians long thought this tale was meant to demonstrate the seasonal nature of warfare, but now wonder if it was merely to justify Martian norms.


Murals lining the Olympus Muns Pyramid’s walls attest to the practice of human sacrifice in Martian culture. Like Ereshkigal, all the victims are depicted as female, and the weapon of execution is a ceremonial axe. Demonic beings, called the Sh’qua in their texts, are seen standing guard as priests murder these virgin women. Why they killed them instead of marrying them off is a mystery. Perhaps they were slain to consummate the marriage between Uma’ja’a and Ereshkigal, or Mo’quaza as Ereshkigal is known in the Martian texts.


The fact that the other gods are barely mentioned is frustrating. Even Mo’quaza, the Blood Bride, is mentioned only in her relationship to Uma’ja’a, a relationship defined by rape and spousal abuse, demonstrating yet again Uma’ja’a’s need to engage in acts of sadism and self-gratification. Could this be a sign that the Martians were moving away from polytheism to monotheism? A connection has been found between Martian culture and man’s earliest monotheistic religion: Judaism.


In the Martian texts, Mars is referred to as Sodom. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is told in Genesis 18-19. In it, God informs Abraham that he plans to destroy the two cities because their people are wicked. Knowing that he has a nephew living in Sodom, Abraham pleads to God to spare the city if he can find ten righteous souls. God agrees and sends two angels to Sodom. They meet Lot, Abraham’s nephew. The townsfolks come and try to rape the angels, but Lot offers his daughters for them to rape instead. The angels help Lot and his family escape, and God destroys the city.


If this story is retelling the fall of Mars, does this mean that the Martians came to Earth as refugees. Yet the Israelites called the Sodmites (aka the Martians) immoral. While it is true that the Martians engaged in ritualistic murder and that is wrong, it was a common practice back in ancient times. Even the Israelites engaged in it (Leviticus 27:28-29). What practices did these Martians partake in that made them so reviled? 


Other murals found at the pyramid show that Martians lived lifestyles that could only be called depraved. They depict orgies where women are raped and feasts where guests are served children, some boiled in stew, while others roasted over a pit. Portraits show off hideously scarred faces, including those with missing noses, ears, lips, and eyelids. In the most extreme cases, it looked like they had been skinned alive. Finally, many of the rooms excavated contained torture devices, some meant to be used on others, though others looked like they were designed to be self-operated. From this, it can be conferred that the Martians tortured themselves for self-gratification, though it could be for another reason.


According to the Martian religion, Uma’ja’a’s power comes from harnessing something called negative psionic energy or NPE from lesser beings. Similar to the Chinese concept of qi, all life generates psionic energy, though in the case of NPE, it is created when an individual is in pain, emotional anguish or is dying. It could be hypothesized that the followers of Uma’ja’a tortured themselves, as well as engaging in human sacrifices, to strengthen their good. Many ancient religions demanded that their followers worship or give offering to their gods. The Martians simply took this practice to an extreme no one else had.  .  


Given all this, it’s understandable why the ancient Israelites would describe the Martians as wicked and sinful. Few cultures, if any, would tolerate Martian norms. No, the bigger question is why the Israelites thought Sodom was a city. The likeliest explanation is that they didn’t know better. The Israelites’ understanding of the natural world was almost non-existent. After all, these were the guys who thought the sky was a dome and the stars were light shinning through holes in it. They could not imagine that other planets like Earth existed, so conceptualized Mars in terms relatable to them. Yet, what was this divine wrath that destroyed Sodom? Could Mars have been at war with Earth? And if so, why did the Israelites forget it and instead used a story about angels and rapists to explain Sodom’s destruction? Also, is the Sodom of Genesis the Sodom of Mars?


Again, from the Martian texts, we know that the King of Mars was a man named Lucifer Morningstar. Note that Morningstar is often a reference to Satan in the Bible. For example, in Isaiah 14:12, the Devil is addressed: “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” (NIV) Now, in the Bible, Satan and a third of Heaven’s angel rebelled against God, then were cast down in Hell as punishment. So, could Lucifer Morningstar have rebelled against the authority of Earth? The answer to this can be found in a single word: Elam. 


Elam is the Martian word for Earth, and in Genesis 3, Sodom (Mars) declares its independence from the kingdom of Elam. The event was called the War of Nine Kings. We know that the Martians resented Earth’s policy of outlawing Uma’ja’a worship. Could this have been what drove them to declare independence? And what about Mars? Why is it a barren rock today? An investigation into the purpose of the Olympus Muns Pyramid will shed answers.


From the Martian texts, we know that the Olympus Muns Pyramid was called Nosoi. In Greek mythology, Nosoi is the spirt of pestilence and disease, and one of the spirits that was released when Pandora opened Pandora’s Box. Now, the story of Pandora’s Box goes as followed: Prometheus stole fire from the heavens and handed it over to man. This angered Zeus, so he gives Pandora a jar. Upon opening it, the evil spirits escaped, and man experienced disease for the first time. A similar story can be found in the Bible. In Genesis 2-3, Eve is tricked by the Serpent (Satan) to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. God, angered by what Eve had done, curses her and all her descendants with mortality. It appears that both stories are a retelling of how Mars became uninhabitable, though that doesn’t tell exactly what transpired.


The key can be found inside the Olympus Muns Pyramid: the Noah Array. The Noah Array is a nano-assembler capable of manipulating objects on an atomic level. Now, 8.5% of the human body is made up of carbon, and carbon is what graphene is comprised of. Graphene is a known superconductor, meaning it can conduct electricity without resistance. From the studying technical readouts, researchers have concluded that the Noah Array converted Mars’ biomatter into graphene. Then it applied an electrical current through it. This generated a electromagnetic field, one so powerful that it engulfed the entire solar system. This would have short-circuited every electronic device, thus plunging man into a dark age. The bigger question is: why would anyone want to do such a thing?


Sadly, we have no conclusive answer to this. It is possible that Lucifer Morningstar was losing the war and activated the array in a last act of spite. We just don’t know. What we do know and what’s interesting is the name of the weapon: the Noah Array. Now, Noah is a character in the Bible. He’s the guy who created the large boat that saved the animals from the flood. From the Martian database, we know that Earth had space stations orbiting it called Gardens of Edan. Some of these were the size of cities. The largest was called the Ark of Edan. Noah’s Ark. We believe that when the Noah Array activated, it disabled whatever system was keeping the Gardens in a geostationary orbit. Most would have crashed into Earth’s oceans, generating massive tidal waves that would have flooded much of the inland. Given that we are here, there were survivors, and without access to modern technology, they would have reverted to a more primitive state.


From there, history progressed as recorded, and man would begin climbing the technological ladder. As time passed, the feats of our ancestors would become myths. Stories of space battles morphed into tales of angels and demons. Uma’ja’a worship turned to the worship of Nergal and found itself in competition with the other religions, including Judaism.


Today, we have a glimpse into a past we couldn’t have imagined. We have only begun to explore the Olympus Muns Pyramid. No doubt more evidence exists, either in Earth’s oceans or in the other planets in our solar system. What other things about our history will we learn? These are exciting times. We might not have met aliens, but we have uncovered a past just as extraordinary.     

 

Ruins on Venus

With the discovery of an ancient human civilization on Mars, archeologist teams began exploring our solar system for other signs of them. On November 3rd, 2053, a team located a large structure on the surface of Venus. Nowhere near as big as the pyramid found on Mars, the building was nevertheless three kilometres tall. A remarkable sight, particularly when you consider that it had survived for thousands of years in an atmosphere with a pressure that was 900 times greater than Earth’s and a temperature that hovered around 462 degrees Celsius.


Probes were sent to take samples. The metal that made up the structure was identical to the one found on Mars, though the calligraphy engraved on it was Archaic Chinese, the oldest form of Chinese writing known to man. This suggests that the First Civilization wasn’t monolithic. It had tribes or ethnic groups, just like us. Those probes didn’t last long on Venus’ surface. The solution was to use metal scavenged from the Martian pyramid to build several highly advanced and mobile drones capable of withstanding extreme environments.


Roughly the size of a man, these hybrid drones had multiple limbs that ended in dexterous hands capable of manipulating their surroundings and were kept afloat by antimatter thrusters. Archeologists operated them remotely via virtual reality headsets. Martian-inspired transceivers ensured that not even Venus’ atmosphere could disrupt their link, allowing archeologists to explore the site as if they were present.


What the archeologists found exceeded our expectations. The building was likely a royal palace of some kind, meant for the ruler of Venus, a man known only as Emperor Tian. In various Chinese religions, Tian, also referred to as Shangdi, Tadi, Yudi, and Taiyi, is the God of Heaven, a universal principle that gives order to creation, the stars, and all between. It is likely that Tian is the source of these myths and legends.


According to Venusian texts, Tian was an elderly man of wisdom and generosity. He allowed for all forms of religious expression, except for Uma’ja’a worship. This is noteworthy. It tells us that the Uma’ja’a cult was not as widely accepted as we originally theorized. It was mainly situated around Mars, and it was likely the source of the tension that would later erupt into the Earth/Mars War, thereby bringing about the downfall of the First Civilization.


In the texts and murals that line the palace’s walls, we get a glimpse of what Venus looked like in ancient times. Called Gomorrah by its people, it was a lush tropical world made up of countless island chains. The largest island was about the size of Australia, and this building was located on its southern most tip. It was known as Kunlun. The global temperature was only slightly hotter than Earth’s today, about roughly what it was during the time of the dinosaurs, and most people’s diet consisted of rice, seaweed, and fish.


Along with Earth and Mars, Venus made up the Core Worlds. Tian stood beneath only Thutmose, the Pharaoh of Earth, in status and was often seen as a rival to Lucifer Morningstar, the King of Mars, and Moshe Rabbenu, the leader of the Hebrews. The latter were described as a nomadic tribe of warriors who maintained peace in the solar system. It is likely that these Hebrews were the Israelites of old and that Rabbenu was the Moses of the Bible. If this proves to be the case, then this discovery will change how we view our history.


We now have a complete picture of the make up of our solar system during this period. The ancient Egyptians were the dominant culture, ruling over Earth and the Moon, while those who later became the Mesopotamians and the Sumerians inhabited Mars, and the Chinese controlled Venus. The Galilean moons of Jupiter were colonized by the Ashanti, Berber and Afar People (Ganymede), the Mesoamericans (Europa), the Greeks (Callisto), and the Norte Chico Civilization (Io). The moons of Saturn were home to the Indians (Titan), the San People (Enceladus and Rhea), the Native Americans (Tethys), the Germanic Tribes (Mimas), and the Gojoseon Kingdom (Dione). The moons of Uranus were inhabited by the Donghu People (Miranda), the Nordic Tribes (Ariel), the Persians (Umbriel and Titania), and the Austrialoids (Oberon). The Hebrews were the one group that didn’t have a fix location, with the exception of a few habitats located in the asteroid belts and an outpost on Mercury.


At this point, it seems the Hebrews hadn’t yet been enslaved by the Egyptians. Rabbenu is described as Thutmose’s most trusted confidant. Rabbenu’s elite warriors, the fearsome Levities, are said to be Thutmose’s honor guard. It is possible that Thutmose is the pharaoh spoken of in Exodus, the one who refused to free Moses and his people from bondage. The texts don’t speak of his or Rabbenu’s fate, so it is possible that they later had a falling out. Perhaps Thutmose did something Rabbenu considered to be a betrayal. That might explain why he would later be made into a villain. A bigger question, though, is why Venus became uninhabitable.


An examination of the texts provides few answers to this. We know the Venusians didn’t use fossil fuels or other hydrocarbons, which on Earth, is the cause of man-made climate change. Nor are there records of a mass evacuation. In fact, the presence of ash statues, human remains encased within several layers of hardened ash, suggests that whatever transpired here happened quickly and without warning. That doesn’t mean we don’t have theories.


The last records made before this cataclysm talk about the war between Earth and Mars, which was more widespread than we originally suspected. Indeed, the King of Mars, Lucifer Morningstar, was likely the inspiration for the devil in Christian theology. Though he is spoken favorably in the earlier texts, later passages note a change in his personality. He went from being calm, charming, and analytical to petty and quick tempered. His facial features also changed, his skin going from a light bronze to “as red as the surface of [Mars].”


The conflict seemed to have been a response to the spread of the Uma’ja’a faith. Lucifer had sent artifacts called Longinus Stones to the moons of Uranus as gifts. More like Trojan horses. According to the Venusian texts, these artifacts affected a person’s mind. The Venusians didn’t fully understand the science behind them, though they conjectured that they altered pathways in the human brain. Whatever the case, they changed the personalities of those who stayed within proximity of them. Large segments of the population revolted, sparking civil wars, and Lucifer used them as an excuse to send “peacekeepers” to occupy the planets. Thutmose was horrified by this development and ended all trade with Mars. With the exception of Venus, the other colonies did the same. When Lucifer formally annexed the moon of Umbriel, Thutmose sent military aid to the Uranus moons. Lucifer responded by declaring war with Earth.


The moons of Jupiter and Saturn, along with Oberon, Ariel, and the Hebrews, sided with Earth, yet Venus remained neutral. The other Uranus moons allied with Mars, having by that point become puppet states. Refugees fled them in the weeks before the war. As for Venus, its stance garnered ill will from the other worlds, which might be why Venus (aka Gomorrah) is vilified in the Bible (Genesis 14:1-17 and 18-19, Deuteronomy 20:22-23 and Isaiah 1: 9-10, 3:9, and 13:19-22), not because its people were particularly wicked, but because they were viewed as cowards. Tian wrote in his journal that he feared that if he got involved, Lucifer would turn his fleets against Venus, and he didn’t trust Thutmose, who had the largest space fleet at the time, to protect him.


After reading reports on the capabilities of Martian ships, Tian’s fears seem warranted. The Martians had vessels that were superior to anything the other worlds possessed, minus the Lords of Time. They utilized psi antimatter projectors, an energy weapon capable of spitting out a bolt of antimatter encased within a field of “negative psionic energy.” This terrifying weapon was supposedly powered by “the souls of captured slaves.” It could bypass any known energy shield, except for the aura fields that protected the vessels of the Lords of Time. Only the Hebrews could hold Martian fleets back, but always at a great cost.


The Lords of Time are another mystery. On murals found in both Martian and Venusian ruins, they are depicted as centaur-like beings who had elevated mankind and helped them colonize the solar system. Some scholars theorize that they were aliens from a distant star system. However, no remains of such beings have ever been found, leading others to believe that they were not real and likely part of First Civilization mythology.


We know that Callisto and Ganymede were the first worlds to fall to the Martians and their allies in the Uranus moons. Refugees fled to Earth, which was where the bulk of Thutmose’s forces resided. This action might be where the alliance between the Hebrews and the Egyptians began to fall apart. Thutmose, or at least according to the Venusians records, seemed preoccupied with defending Earth, to the point that he left most of the heavy fighting to the Hebrews and the other worlds, while still expecting them to contribute to Earth’s defense. Could this be what the Bible means when it states that the Israelis were enslaved by the Egyptians, not in that they were made to do manual labour, but to die for a pharaoh indifferent to their fate?


Even though their ships were superior, the Martians were at a disadvantage numerically. For much of the war, they compensated by engaging in asymmetrical warfare (i.e. guerrilla tactics). They attacked at random. Martian terrorists were known to blow themselves up in civilian centers. They hijacked commercial transports and flew them into space elevators. They would infiltrate refugee convoys and infect the passengers with lethal pathogens. When they did attack in force, they engaged in orbital bombardment. Many of the craters dotting the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus were caused by antimatter weapons.  


Slowly, with each success, the Martian fleets grew. Intelligence reports hint to the enemy developing weapons of mass destruction, not nukes, but devices capable of leaving entire worlds uninhabitable. There are no documented cases of them being used, but then again, Venus is now a dead planet with an atmosphere so toxic and hot that it is hard to believe that anything once called it home. We can only guess as to why the Martians decided to target Venus.


With this new data, including Venusian maps, we will begin searching the moons for more clues. It is difficult to believe that so little of the First Civilization remains, particularly considering how resilient their structures are. It almost feels like someone had erased their existence, but that begs the question: by who? The Lords of Times mentioned in the texts earlier perhaps. All we know is that their ships were more powerful than anything the other worlds used. How much more is anyone’s guess. But if they were so superior, why did they not help the others fight back the Martians?


The knowledge we’ve gained from Venus far outweighs even what we uncovered on Mars. We have technical diagrams for advanced antimatter reactors and antimatter projector cannons. It will likely be years before you will be able to go hunting using an antimatter rifle. Though we now know the composition of the alloy used in their ships and structures, even had some success creating it, we have yet to figure out how to manufacture it on an industrial scale. When we do, we will be able to build the large structures they could. For now, Earth and the colonies will continue to work together to illuminate the lost history of our species.

 

Excalibur

Excalibur is the fabled sword of King Arthur. Also known as Caledfwich, Calesvol, Kaledvoulc’h, and Caliburnus, it is a Zelturian artifact of immense power. Legend holds that its blade contains a soul fragment of Mo’quaza, the Goddess of Love. While it is mainly associated with the Arthurian myth, the sword has played an important role in human history, particularly in the time of the First Civilization.


Crafted in the Great Forge of Helus on the Zelturian homeworld around 9,500 B.C., Excalibur was gifted to the first Pharaoh of Man by King Brumah himself. It bestowed the Pharaoh godlike power, including superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and agility, mastery over the elements (wind, air, fire, and water), command over time, and the ability to inspire others and heal the sick. However, only a descendant of the Pharaoh could hold it. Anyone else would burst into flames. It would become a symbol of the Celestial Throne.


In the millennia that followed, Excalibur would be passed down from one pharaoh to the next until the rule of Thutmose The Third. He saw his authority challenged by Lucifer Morningstar, the King of Mars. The war that ensued engulfed the Sol System. Billions died. The moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus were left in ruin, while Venus became a hellscape. During the final battle, Lucifer boarded the Ark of Edan and confronted Thutmose in his throne room. Armed with the Sh’qua sword, Bloodfang, Lucifer was nearly Thutmose’s match. The two fought beneath the Celestial Throne; an apocalyptic battle that ended with Lucifer disarmed. However, before Thutmose could deliver the killing blow, Lucifer activated the Noah Array. It detonated the EMP pulse that consumed the entire solar system. Without power, the Ark of Edan crashed into the Pacific Ocean, creating a tidal wave so big that it flooded the Earth. Thutmose perished, while Excalibur was lost.


In 613 A.D., Arthur Pendragon, the sole descendant of Thutmose, found Excalibur lodged in a stone. He succeeded in releasing the blade and lead the English in victory against Saxon invaders. For his efforts, he was crowned King of Britannia. He and his knights created a castle in the town of Camelot, at the center of which stood a round table. Meanwhile, his half-sister Morgan le Fey stumbled upon Bloodfang and a Longinus Stone, the latter a powerful Sh’qua artifact. Corrupted by the Longinus Stone, she raised an army of undead and assaulted Camelot. Heading her army was her son, Mordred, armed with Bloodfang. He and Arthur battled, and Excalibur shattered during the duel, but Arthur’s knights managed to carry him to safety.


Without Excalibur, Arthur knew he could not challenge Mordred or Morgan directly. Instead, at the direction of the wizard Merlin, he went on a quest to find the Holy Grail, a powerful artifact that also contained a shard of the Goddess Mo’quaza. He and his knights traveled far, faced many challenges and ultimately reached the site where the Grail resided, only to learn that Morgan had gotten there first and destroyed it. Still, with the help of the Lady of the Lake, they took the fragments and used them to remake Excalibur. Then Arthur and his knights returned to Camelot and did battle with Morgan’s forces. Arthur once more confronted Mordred. This time, Arthur managed to best his nephew but died shortly after from his wounds.


Afterward, Excalibur was whisked away by the Lady of the Lake, while Arthur’s body was laid to rest on the island of Avalon. The son he had with his wife Guinevere was placed under the care of Merlin and sent east. What became of him is unknown. However, prophecy holds that at the end of time, a descendant of King Arthur will recover Excalibur to confront ultimate evil.

 

Psionic Energy: String Theory And The True Nature Of The Elder Races

Most people equate the things Elder Races can do like the stuff of magic. There is even a debate about which is more outlandish: the fact that a Retikkee can levitate an aircraft carrier in the air with his mind or that a Vijic can bench press it. Both acts seem to defy our understanding of physics, but that’s only because we still don’t fully understand the nature of psionic energy, and how it allows Elder Races to perform such amazing feats.


Many assume that telepaths like the Retikkees and the Nephilim generate psionic energy with their brains. This is a preposterous notion. The average human body produces around 100 watts of power, and the brain uses about 20% of that to function. While Retikkees utilize about 34% of their total daily intake to maintain brain functions, that still adds up to no more than 34 watts of energy. That’s not enough to power a 60-watt lightbulb, let alone the 195,000,000 watts needed to get a Nimtz class America aircraft carrier up to 30 knots.


Others presume it works like the Force in Star Wars. This is a more reasonable assumption. While the human body could never generate an energy field powerful enough to move anything heavier than a paper clip, it could if it gained access to an external power source. Of course, this is only true depending on the nature of the power being utilized. The Force is described as an energy field that binds all things together. That suggests that it’s the four forces that make up the universe: gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. The problem is that not since the beginning of time have these four forces been a single cohesive one. However, what if we could derive power from the wellspring of creation? What if we could tap into the same energy that gave birth to the Big Bang and every atom that make us, well, us?


Gabriele Veneziano was an Italian theoretical physicist born in 1942. In 1968, he formulated the foundations of string theory. String theory postulates that our universe is filled with one-dimensional mathematical objects best conceptualized as strings. Think of these strings like those you find on a guitar. Depending on what part of the string you pluck, you get a different sound. The same is true with string theory. The vibration of these strings will produce a graviton at one frequency, and a gluon at another. These vibrations determine the mass, charge, and other properties we associate with subatomic particles, as well as govern the four foundational forces that dictate how our universe functions. If you could manipulate these strings, then you could bend reality to your will. Suddenly, a mouse can lift an object as heavy as a mountain. Suddenly, the mountain weighs nothing at all. If you haven’t guessed already, psionic energy is these cosmic strings. In other words, it is reality itself.


String theory has advanced since Veneziano’s time. Wermer Nahm, a German physicist, devised M-theory in 1979, which definitively showed that the maximum number of spacetime dimensions was eleven. He called the eleventh-dimension supergravity, but we now refer to it as Hell. Named after the Christian underworld were sinners go to suffer, Hell is an ethereal plane. Here, psionic energy exists in its purest form: chaotic and raw. It is both uncontrollable and unmeasurable while it remains in Hell. It can only be made malleable by descending the lower dimensions, becoming more orderly with each level it drops.


Think about the most orderly shape imaginable: the horizontal line, or y-axis. It can only go forward and backward and can never deviate from its path. Add a second dimension, the x-axis, and you have a shape that can go up and down, along with forwards and backwards. If you wanted, you could now turn it into a square, or a circle, or a rectangle. Add a third dimension, the z-axis, and you get a cube, or a sphere, or a pyramid. Each dimension adds more complexity, that is until you reach Hell. At this point, the shape has achieved infinite complexity. It cannot be pin down. It cannot be made into an eleventh-dimensional sphere because it is always changing. It is chaos personified, an energy that can never be tamed. Yet as it descends the ten lower dimensions, becoming less energetic, it can take on form and substance.


This was how our universe was created. Almost fourteen billion years ago, a flood of psionic energy rushed out of Hell to create a single point in spacetime. Not able to maintain its form – Hell it seems doesn’t like to be confined to one state – it broke up to make the four laws, as well as all the matter in our universe. This event we call the Big Bang and spacetime began to stretch, starting from the size of an atom to 45.6 billion light years in diameter. Our universe is now heading towards entropy, which appears to play a role in Hell’s ecosystem.


This conforms, for the most part, with our understanding of thermodynamics. The Big Bang represented a sudden and massive infusion of matter and energy from Hell. This matter and energy are in a state of entropy, meaning that it is going from an energetic and chaotic state to a more uniform and stable one, just as psionic energy becomes more orderly as it descends the ten dimensions. However, our universe isn’t as closed a system as we once believed.


Dark energy, the substance that is causing our universe to expand, is a variant of psionic energy that’s seeping down from the higher dimensions. It quickly reaches a state of thermal equilibrium, at which point it defuses back into Hell. That’s why we have a hard time detecting it. It doesn’t last long enough to be observed with ease, just long enough to effect expansion. Still, by doing so, it forms a loop that not only causes the universe to grow but replenishes Hell with vital nutrients. In this sense, we can look at our universe as part of the Hell ecosystem.


Being the highest dimension, Hell obeys different laws then our universe does, so this analogy is far from perfect, but it would help if we conceptualize it as a tree. Hell is the trunk, while the psionic strings are its roots. The ten lower dimensions are layers of dirt. Each dimension provides nutrients to Hell by altering the frequency of the psionic energy as it travels the length of the roots. Eventually, it descends to the lowest dimension, the first dimension, at which point it is reabsorbed and replenishes Hell. The same is true of our universe. Trillions of years from now, our universe will reach a state of thermal equilibrium. Orderly psionic energy will then mix with chaotic psionic energy, like matter colliding with antimatter, creating a massive explosion that not only revitalizes Hell but triggers another Big Bang and restarts the cycle.


There are multiple ways psionic energy makes this journey. So far, I have mentioned two: dark energy and the cosmic cycle of the universe. There is a third method. Organic organisms also filter psionic energy through their bodies. We call this living psionic energy. The reason this differs from the Force in Star Wars is that we don’t create living psionic energy, we just summon it from Hell and change it as it courses through our bodies. This again comports with the Law of Conservation, which states energy cannot be created or destroyed. 


In none-Elder Races, such as we humans, the amount of living psionic energy being filtered is small and unperceivable, though it can be detected on a cosmic scale. Along with living psionic energy, we are summoning dark energy, but like gravity, the effect is determined by our mass. Humans generate gravity, but because we are so small, it isn’t noticeable. It takes a planet the size of Earth to generate just a g of gravity. The same is true with dark energy and psionic energy. Still, as life becomes more abundant, the rate of cosmic expansion will increase. An Elder Race might decide one day to kill off all other life forms to buy themselves more time. Hopefully that day never comes; otherwise, we humans might go the way of the dodo.


Speaking of Elder Races, they summon more living psionic energy than we do, a lot more, and this is the source of their powers. For example, a Vijic can lift an aircraft carrier over his head. However, while his muscles are denser and more powerful than ours, they don’t generate the kinetic energy needed to pick up an object as heavy as an aircraft carrier, or a mountain for that matter. But what if he could convert psionic energy into kinetic force? What if he could apply the destructive power of a nuke into a single punch? Since psionic energy is infinite, the only limit placed on a Vijic is the strong nuclear force keeping his atoms together.


Now, Vijics can channel psionic energy to amplify the strong nuclear force and electromagnetic force that enable their atoms to remain stable. That’s why bullets bounce off their skin. It’s not that their bodies are denser than lead. Instead, the psionic field holding their atoms together is greater than the kinetic energy being delivered by the bullet. It is even greater than the kinetic energy needed to lift an aircraft carrier or generate a nuclear explosion. That’s why they can punch with the force of an earthquake without destroying themselves.


Vijics can even project this structural integrity field around objects they’re holding. This means that when a Vijic picks up an aircraft carrier, it does not crumble under its own weight. While it varies for each Vijic, the maximum kinetic energy a Vijic male can handle would equal to 209,200,000,000 joules of energy or a force that is 6.25 times greater than a magnitude 8.0 earthquake. Put it another way, it would take a 50 gigaton nuke to kill your average Vijic. If that seems insane, know that the average Vijic female can absorb twelve times as much energy, and deliver just shy of that in each punch. Truly, they are not to be crossed.

Retikkees utilize psionic energy differently. Instead of channeling it through their bodies, they manipulate the energy around them. For example, they can lessen the number of gravitons in an area. Gravitons, it should be remembered, affect how gravity operates. Lesson them enough, and an object will float off the ground. However, increase their number, and the object will weigh more. How Retikkees interact with gravitons is different than other Elder Races. Time manipulators have finer control over gravitons than Retikkees. They use gravitons to disrupt or alter the flow of time, allowing them to accelerate its passage. On the other hand, Retikkees can produce a flame; something time manipulators cannot do.


Other Elder Races can manipulate the four universal forces in different ways. For example, the Gultians, now extinct, had mastery over electromagnetism. This gave them the power of the X-Man villain known as Magneto. They could generate magnetic fields powerful enough to rip the iron out of people’s blood and levitate themselves in the air. To put this in perspective, to extract the 5 grams of iron that the average human body contains would require a magnetic field in the order of 10,000,000 Tesla. This would not only rip the iron out of their blood but overcome the strong nuclear force keeping them together.


The Zelturians, the Lords of Time, are more like the X-Man hero Storm or the Avenger Thor. Using electromagnetism and gravitons, they can summon lightning, hurricanes, tornados, tidal waves, and cause the temperature to drop suddenly. They can manipulate time, though their temporal powers are limited. The most powerful among them can see a few seconds into the future and even deduce the likely course of events. Like the Vijics, they can channel psionic energy to make them more durable and stronger.


It is known that living psionic energy can be divided further into positive and negative. Positive psionic energy is generated by feelings like joy, love, and compassion. When applied to living matter, it will promote healing and longevity. Negative psionic energy or NPE is created through emotions like pain, anguish, and misery. Death also produces negative psionic energy. This energy is destructive, causing damage to living tissue, as well as disrupt spacetime. Many races have sought to weaponize NPE, but so far, without success. That’s not to say that none can utilize it, just that none have learned how to make it compatible with technology.


The Zampryz, an Elder Race that existed nineteen million years ago, could channel negative psionic energy through their bodies. Like the vampires of myth, they fed off the life force of others to overcome the wear and tear NPE had on them. After driving several sentient species to extinction, they found themselves at war with the Zelturians. The conflict lasted twenty-five thousand years before the Zelturians ended their threat, or so it is believed. Some suspect a handful have survived and that a few may have taken refuge on Earth.


The Az’jer, a group of necromancers, have also learned how to harness it, even use it to raise the dead. Because of NPE’s destructive nature, such automatons have a short lifespan before decomposing. Because they have more tissue, zombies are easier to construct than skeletons or liches (dead necromancers). A skeleton must have some connective tissues to work and have the shortest lifespans of all but need fewer resources to make. Of course, only skilled necromancers can summon an army of skeleton warriors. More powerful Az’jer, called warlocks, can conjure demons that have superior strength and intelligence. 


No race has complete control over psionic energy. That would require mastery over causality itself, meaning that the being in question would have to be aware of both the location and momentum of every particle in the known universe. However, this goes against Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. It states that you can only measure one property at a time. So, if you knew of a particle’s location, then it is impossible to know its momentum. Elder Races, like the Zelturians and the Vijics, can guess the other with a high level of accuracy. This allows them to build reliable subatomic machines, but that’s not the same as knowing both properties. That being said, it has long been theorized that a Type V Civilization would have this ability.


To a Type V Civilization, better known as a God Race, the universe would appear to them like the inner workings of a clock. All would be knowable. Every possible and impossible action would be mapped out. They could change the spin of galaxies, reverse the direction of time – not just for themselves like the Zelturians, but for all, so that we live in a universe where time moved backwards instead of forwards – and set events into motion that won’t take place for billions of years with perfect precision. Indeed, nothing would be beyond them. They could create and destroy universes with but a thought.


The Az’jer claim that such a race exists and that a high-ranking member of that species is Uma’ja’a, the Dark God of Pain, Misery, and Death. According to them, he created our universe to feed off the NPE generated by living beings. Whether he is real is a matter of debate, though the Az’jer believe that he will return and destroy our universe. Why he would undo the wellspring he drinks from is unknown. Just as important, if Uma’ja’a is a member of a Type V Civilization, where are the other gods and what role do they play in creation? 

 

Space Warfare

For humanity, space warfare is a relatively new concept, one that until the 2040s was only the stuff of science fiction, and even so, is still greatly limited by our technology. However, for the civilized galaxy, it has been a fact of life long before our ancestors fashioned the first spear. As someone who has been rescued by aliens and who has come to learn their ways, I write this in the hopes that it will be read by my fellow humans when the Retikkees finally decide to make first contact, which I am told is very soon, though not soon enough.


The races that make up the civilized galaxy are diverse and too numerous to name. The Retikkees are among the oldest and wisest of them, one of the three Elder Races. The Saranians, the people who rescued me from my crashed spacecraft, are much younger, only a few thousand years older than mankind. Most spacefaring aliens are in between, though the technologies they employ are relatively the same. You have the Retikkees to thank for that. Much of the more advanced tech utilized by the Mid Races, like the Saranians, came from them. I look forward to the day when they come to Earth and do the same for humanity.


In the civilized galaxy, space battles center around the heavy capital ships. Think of them as miniature Death Stars, with all of their planet-destroying power, just in a smaller package. They range between ten miles to forty miles in length. Anything bigger is classified as a super heavy capital ship, but only the Elder Races, like the Retikkees or the Vijics, employ them. For example, the Vijics are said to have a warship the size of Mars.


Traditional heavy capital ships are defined by two pieces of tech: quantum phase cannons and space-time distortion fields. The former is their version of the Death Star’s super laser. Legend holds that these weapons of mass destruction were built millions of years ago to combat a monster that could eat stars. Now they are used to destroy other heavy capital ships and take out planetary defense shields. Safe guards built into them prevent them from annihilating inhabited worlds. Again, you have the Retikkees to thank for that.


(Author’s Notes: Did you think the Retikkees would be stupid enough to give the Mid Races the ability to destroy planets without first installing certain safe guards? As for why they would hand out such weapons, it’s simple really: to fight the Vijics.)


Mid Races can only fit one or two quantum phase cannons onto their ships. The Elder Races, whose vessels are equipped with reactors capable of power outputs many magnitudes greater than the Mid Races, can outfit theirs with several rapid-fire quantum phase cannons, as well as arm them with other weapons like neutron beamers and static missiles. Think of Elder Race warships as masters of all, near unstoppable titans of war, whereas Mid Race ships are design to specialize in a particular task. For heavy capital ships, they act as siege weapons. They take down the planetary shields that prevent armies from landing.


This brings us to the subject of space-time distortion fields. While all advanced spaceships come with particle shields, space-time distortion fields differ in that they use space itself to protect a vessel and that they are powerful enough to withstand multiple hits from a quantum phase cannon. Planetary shields are supercharged versions of this same technology, and prolong bombardments are required to take them down.


So far, I have talked exclusively about heavy capital ships, and while they are the most important vessels in any fleet, they are but one of the ships employed in battle. They are supported by fighters, bombers, scout ships, troop transports, frigates, corvettes, carriers, cruisers, interdictors, destroyers, and warpships. Each has a specialized function.


Let’s start with bombers. You might think that bombers would be no threat to heavy capital ships, but you would be wrong. They carry static bombs, a weapon designed to prevent another ship from firing their guns while their shields are up. Quantum phase cannons might have the power to destroy a planet, but what use are they if you cannot deploy them without blowing yourself up? Yes, you could lower your shields, but then you would be defenseless.


Of course, there are limits to this technology. The effect only lasts a minute for a static bomb and five for a static torpedo. Also, it won’t affect the entire shield. If your bomb hits the heavy capital ship’s rear, it is still going to be able to fire its quantum phase cannon. Still, when used properly, bombers can delay a heavy capital ship from attacking their allies, as well as giving friendly warships time to bring their own quantum phase cannons to bare.


Bombers serve other functions. Like their Earth counterparts, they can be armed with explosives. Nukes, antimatter, and plasma missiles are effective against most types of particle shields, even those that protect light capital ships, though multiple nukes will be required to breach their defenses. Ion bombs are useful if you want to disable a target. Long range bombers are used by pirates and privateers to harass trade conveys and attack remote outposts. Most bombers have crews of two, though the larger ones can support six.


Given how much of a nuisance bombers can be, you need something to rid yourself of them. Fighters are the first line of defense. There are several subtypes, but all fighters act as interceptors. Their primary job is to hunt down enemy bombers and defend friendly ones. Like bombers, heavy fighters can also be mounted with plasma missiles.


Then there are scout ships. Heavy capital ships are slow. This is because of the space-time distortion field that they are equipped with. They act as anchors in hyperspace, preventing them from going faster than 100 FTLs, and few heavy capital ships can even manage that. Nor can you just shut them off. It takes a week to cold start a space-time distortion field. No, you need scout ships to go ahead of the fleet to scan for threats. They have both the best sensors, as well as the most powerful hyperdrives, but they are lightly armed and armored.


While most capital ships are capable of atmospheric flight, it’s not wise to use them to bring ground forces down to a planet. That’s where troop transports come in. They range from ten yards to a few hundred in size and are lightly armed. They typically rely on fighters for air support and are brought into star systems by carriers.


Carriers are like their aircraft counterparts that sail Earth’s oceans. Fighters and troop transports have powerful hyperdrives. Even a low-tech fighter can go 1,000 FTLs. Still, it can take you hours, maybe even days or weeks, in hyperspace to reach your destination. Who wants to spend weeks in a cramp cockpit? That’s why carriers exist. They also act as refuelling and rearming stations for fighters and bombers. Bombers can only take a dozen static bombs into battle. Carriers range between seven hundred yards to four miles in size.


Frigates are the most common of the light capital ships. They range between one mile to three miles in length. They are armed with either disrupters, plasma cannons or particle lasers. Larger frigates will have heavy plasma cannons and heavy particle lasers to defend themselves against other capital ships. Their role is to provide anti-bomber, anti-missile, and anti-torpedo defense for the heavy capital ships. They have decent hyperdrives, though few had engines powerful enough to go beyond 1,000 FTLs.


Next are the corvettes. They range between five hundred yards to two miles in length and have the fastest hyperdrives of all capital ships, some capable of reaching 2,000 FTLs. They need such powerful cores to keep up with commercial ships. While they are armed with anti-bomber defenses, their main weapons are static missiles, a more powerful version of the static bomb that can fly faster and farther. Their job is to escort commercial convoys through unfriendly space. If a convoy is jumped by pirates, the corvettes will fire their static missiles to buy the convoy time to escape. In larger fleet battles, corvettes act as artillery units and fire their static missiles from long range.


Destroyers are light capital ship killers. They are dwarfed only by heavy capital ships. They range between four miles and nine miles in length and are armed with either heavy plasma cannons or heavy particle lasers. They are the only ships capable of mounting static torpedoes. They are slow in hyperspace but have powerful thrusters that allow them to quickly engage their targets in battle. Lastly, their energy shields are second to none.


Cruisers are a Jack of all trades, master of none class. Few races employ them. They merge the anti-fighter capabilities of a frigate with the anti-light capital ship firepower of a destroyer. They cannot mount static torpedoes, but they do have static missiles. Their energy shields are weaker than destroyers and are not as fast in normal space, though they do have superior hyperdrives. They range between five miles and eight miles in length.


Interdictors are a highly modified variant of the frigate. Most of their weapons have been removed to create space for gravity well generators. These devices produce a powerful interdictor field that prevents a starship from entering hyperspace and can even pull a ship out of it, though this doesn’t work on heavy capital ships. The largest interdictors can also prevent worm holes. Elder Race heavy capital ships also come equipped with gravity well generators, though they lack the ability to prevent worm holes from forming.


Warpships are the second rarest of the classes, and few besides the Elder Races employ them. Most interstellar travel is done via warpgates, large structures anchored at the edge of a solar system that create artificial worm holes. They allow ships to travel instantly to any other linked warpgate in the galaxy. These things are huge, as in 1,000 kilometers in diameter. The problem is that the Retikkees have only built 300,000 warpgates and there are 400 billion stars in the galaxy. This is where warpships come in.


Warpships function as mobile warpgates. Basically, a dozen warpships fly to a star system and form a circle. They then link to the interstellar power grid the Retikkees have set up throughout the galaxy. It’s the only thing with enough juice to power an artificial worm hole, but its very difficult, even for the Retikkees, to build a transceiver small enough to fit onto a spaceship. There’s a reason why warpgates are 1,000 kilometers in diameter. Once plugged in, they generate an artificial worm hole between them, allowing heavy capital ships to quickly arrive to defend remote star systems. Given that they are so hard to build, the Retikkees have only a few fleets of them, and they are only deployed to repel a Vijic incursion.


The Vijics have modified drone fighters called warpdarts. Think of them as disposable warpships. They are fired from a Vijic dreadnaught’s bow like bullets and can reach 7,000 FTLs. Once in range, they detonate, creating a tare in space that lasts long enough for a single dreadnaught to pass through. The gravity waves at the edge of the worm hole will damage nearby ships. Retikkees mine their systems with powerful gravity well generators to prevent the Vijics from deploying them in battle, but the Mid Races lack this defense.


There is one last ship to mention, though it could be debated whether this drone should be classified as one: the nova missile. Only the Elder Races possess this terrifying weapon. It can force any star, even a main sequence star like our sun, to go supernova. Yes, this weapon can destroy an entire solar system. Because both the Vijics and the Retikkees have reasons to keep stars intact, they deploy it only in the direst of circumstances. Furthermore, they have developed a method to protect stars from it, though this requires them building a metal band around the sun, a feat of planetary engineering that takes centuries to complete. Like the quantum phase cannon, legend holds it was developed long ago to defeat a monster that could eat stars.

 

A Galaxy Full of Doomsday Weapons

In science fiction, super weapons are typically used as plot devices. Examples include the Death Star in Star Wars, the genesis device, the trilithium solar probe and red matter in Star Trek, the Drej mothership in Titan AE, and the nova bomb in Starship Troopers. Some super weapons destroy a world or star, while in the case of others, they transform dead planets into livable ones, which is great until the villain decides to use one on a world that is already inhabited, as was the case in Man of Steel. I don’t know about you, but there is something titillating about seeing so much raw power being unleashed, like when a star explodes and takes out its planets,


The most potent super weapons in my universe were created to combat the Sh’qua, a demonic extradimensional horde that invaded the Milky Way Galaxy five million years ago and nearly destroyed it. Their threat has been ended (or has it?), but the weapons created to defeat them remain, just as America’s and Russia’s nuclear arsenals still exist despite the Cold War having ended. In fact, like in the real world, these weapons have since found their way into the hands of lesser powers, increasing the danger that someone might use their destructive force.


The first and most primitive of them is the nuclear bomb. We have had these weapons since the end of World War II. The earliest models were a fission-based device, but later models worked via fusion. In the future, we will have nukes that use antimatter as the detonator. They are not as powerful as antimatter bombs, but they can have yields of 1.4 gigatons. Today, American nukes are typically of the 4.5 megatons variety, though they are beginning to build less powerful nukes that can be used as tactical weapons like bunker bombs.


Next is the neutron bomb. This is a type of low yield nuclear bomb. It’s designed to kill organic targets. It achieves this by converting most of its energy into deadly neutrons. Normal nukes also release neutrons, but the bomb’s outer shell, made either of uranium, lead or steel, absorbs most of them. With neutron bombs, the neutrons are uninhibited and quickly outpace the explosion, effecting a large area while doing minimal damage to nearby structures. The United States started building them in the 1960s. The Cabal is currently in the process of converting its aging nuclear arsenal into neutron bombs, though why is not known.


The third weapon on this list is the Kinetic Round, also known as the Rod of God. This is also the most realistic of the theoretical weapons because the U.S. government is already considering it. The idea is to place a satellite in orbit armed with tungsten rods. It would drop the rods over a target, using gravity to give them momentum. Such a weapon could reach velocities of Mach 10. An example of a Kinetic Round is Project Zeus in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. In my universe, the United States government has built several over its territory and used them in the late 2020s to win the Second American Civil War, a war that saw 27 million American deaths.


The fourth weapon is the cobalt bomb. Like Kinetic Rounds, this theoretical weapon is something that could be created with current technologies. The Soviet Union even boasted once of having built it, though there is no evidence to support this. They likely said it to scare the bejesus out of the Americans. That should give you an idea of just how terrifying this weapon is. A cobalt bomb is a thermonuclear bomb, but one with a cobalt shell encased around it. The radioactive cobalt would contaminate a large area, far greater than that of conventual nukes. And unlike neutron bombs, this weapon is less about killing organics than about salting the soil. For the first five years, anyone living in the affected area would die within one hour of exposer to fallout. Forty years after that, within one to four days. It would take a hundred and thirty years before it would be safe again to live there. And while the fallout range is not known for such a device, it would likely cover a large area. A cobalt version of the nuke that destroyed Hiroshima could have easily killed everyone in Japan. In my universe, cobalt bombs were built during the Trump administration and a few were sold to the Saudis to pay for Trump’s border wall. A few years later, the Saudis used them in the War of the Sands, killing 250 million and making the Middle East uninhabited.


The fifth is the hellobeam. Do you remember that cruel kid who used a magnifying glass to burn an ant? Well, the concept is the same. By employing concave mirrors, a satellite could focus the light from the sun onto a small area on Earth’s surface, leveling a building or just burning a hole in someone’s forehead. A variation of this is to power a laser using solar energy, which in my universe, is what the Chinese have done with their 18-terawatt satellite. Theoretically, if you could build enough mirrors, you could focus enough solar energy to destroy a planet. In Die Another Day, the villain Gustav Graves made a sun gun code-named Icarus.


The last of the primitive super weapons is the electromagnetic acceleration cannon. This weapon uses magnetic coils to accelerate an object to velocities as high as Mach 470. Because space is a vacuum, such an object will continue indefinitely. As such, gunners are required to confirm a target lock before firing. Examples of this in science fiction is the MACs in the Halo video games. In my universe, they are found on Chinese, Indian, and European space dreadnaughts.


The antimatter bomb is considered a Type I Civilization weapon. It comprises of a containment unit holding several tons of antimatter in an electromagnetic field. One gram of antimatter will produce about 1.8x10^14 joules of energy. That’s the equivalent to 42.96 kilotons of TNT. For reference, the first nuclear bomb ever tested only generated a 15-kiloton explosion. Some warheads have yields as high as 500 gigatons. In my universe, humanity has begun to replace their nuclear arsenal with these more powerful weapons. In Dan Brown’s novel Angels and Demons, a secret brotherhood tried to destroy the Vatican with such an explosive.


A Type II super weapon is the solar torch. Like the hellobeam, it uses the power of the sun to heat up an object, but instead of focusing sunlight, it deploys electromagnetic pylons to direct and accelerate a solar filament towards a planetoid. The plasma hits the world at about 50% the speed of light. It will not destroy it but will cause oceans to boil and forests to burn. Anyone standing on the planet’s surface will be instantly incinerated. 


From this point on, all super weapons are made by Type III Civilizations or above. The first is the quantum phase cannon. Known also as a white hole gun, it is the most common, but that’s only because the Retikkees have shown the Mid Races how to build them. And like the nova bomb and the rainbow lance, it was created to combat the Sh’qua. It is what we call a Relativistic Kinetic Kill Vehicle (or RKKV). In the most recent Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, we saw an example of this when the Radis hits the Supremacy while jumping to lightspeed, though the effects of such a maneuver would be far more energetic than shown there.


As Kyle Hill explains in the YouTube video The Physics Behind the Last Jedi’s Coolest Scene, when an object of sufficient mass (even a paper clip!) reaches velocities nearing lightspeed, or 299,792,458m/s, things turn apocalyptic. That paper clip, for example, going at just .9999 lightspeed would hit with sixty-seven times the destructive power of the nuke that totaled Hiroshima. The Radis, estimated by Kyle to be 10^8 tons, would deliver 10^29 joules of energy. The Radis’ atoms would crack open, like we see in a particle accelerator, and release a sphere of particles and gamma radiation that would be expanding at the speed of light. It would heat the surrounding materials to billions of degrees Celsius. If the Radis collided with a planet like the Earth, the energy released would vaporize our world’s surface to its mantle.


The destructive power of a quantum phase cannon surpasses the devastation the Radis could inflict, or even the second Death Star. For starters, the gun itself is bigger than the Radis, with a length of five miles and a barrel diameter of one mile. The RKKV is forged within a micro white hole in the primary chamber. The white hole’s lifespan is brief, just long enough to eject the neutronium that forms the RKKV. Quantum tunneling and a latticework of spacetime fields are used to direct the RKKV along relativistic acceleration coils. These coils, along with the help of a plasma beam that melts the projectile into a liquid, bring it to .99999974 of lightspeed. To the human eye, the RKKV looks like an energy beam, but that is because what we are seeing is the plasma accompanying it. At near relativistic speeds, RKKVs are moving too fast for us to detect, not unless they were far away, like the distance between Earth and Jupiter, and even then, we would only get a two-second warning.


Quantum phase cannons can modulate the amount of matter and the speed at which it accelerates them, as well as the duration. Instead of firing a single massive RKKV, it could hurl a steady stream of paper clip-size projectiles that drill a hole into the planet’s crust. At mid-range levels, it could slowly heat up a planetoid until nuclear fusion occurs, at which point the world becomes a short-lived star. This is ideal if you want to create heavier elements, which could be used in the construction of megastructures like warpgates. At full-power, it can deliver a destructive yield of seventeen sextillion megatons of TNT.  Naturally, the more matter you siphon from the white hole, the longer the cool time is. For Mid Race quantum phase cannons, there is a three-minute delay between shots at maximum power, though this time is cut in half on Elder Race models. It seems the big boys still get the coolest toys to play with.


Governments have passed laws governing the use of quantum phase cannons. At full power, they are only to be deployed against heavy capital ships, planetary defense shields, and dead planetoids. Most races get their cannons from the Retikkees, who have installed safeguards that prevent them from targeting an inhabited world. Few races are smart enough to bypass these safeguards and those that are know better than to cross the Retikkees. Only the Vijics don’t suffer this restriction, but their ideology prevents them from destroying a world that can spawn sentient life. That’s not to say they wouldn’t under any circumstance, but they would need a good reason. That or Queen Shevah is in a bad mood, and she decides to blow up the Earth to make herself feel better. There’s a reason why she’s called the Demented One.


Most worlds are defended by a spacetime distortion field, which unlike those found on heavy capital ships, can tap into the Retikkee energy grid that spans our galaxy. This means they can take tens of thousands of hits from quantum phase cannons before collapsing. The safeguards installed by the Retikkees mean these weapons can only hit planetary shields on an angle, thereby ensuring that the KRRVs will miss if the planetary shield suddenly fails.  However, this is not the case if they are set to low power. In that scenario, they would only take out a large city, similar to what we saw happen to Jedha in Star Wars: Rogue One.


The next superweapon is the nova bomb. The trilithium solar probe seen in Star Trek: Generations is an example of such a device. In a star, there are two forces at work. Gravity is pulling all the matter towards the core, while the fusing of lighter elements to form heavier ones is generating heat and producing outward pressure that is pushing everything away from it. What a nova bomb does is end all fusion within a star. This means there is no outward pressure to prevent gravity from drawing everything towards the core. This sudden and rapid implosion creates a shock wave of neutrons and radiation that flings the outer layers of the star at speeds nearing 10% lightspeed. This eruption would be 5.8x10^26 times more destructive than the Tsar Bomb, the most powerful nuke ever built, with a yield of 50 megatons.


While these weapons pose a grave threat to any star system, it is possible to protect them by building a megastructure called an anti-polarity shield. These structures can take decades to make, even for a race as advanced as the Retikkees, but once they are built, an attacker would have to bring down the installation before the weapon can be deployed. This is no easy task. Powerful spacetime distortion fields shield these megastructures.


The rainbow lance is a more sophisticated version of the hyperspeed laser used by Starkiller Base in Star Wars: The Force Awakening. While it can be used to destroy a solar system as we saw in that film, instead, it fires an incredibly focused, continuous beam that cuts through matter. Zelturian capital ships can swivel the emitter so to change the beam’s trajectory to hit multiple targets. In other words, the rainbow lance is a lightsaber that can slice a planet in two. Its accuracy is so exact that it can target people. And because the beam is directed at an incredibly small area, it deals far more damage than Starkiller Base ever could, enough to instantly burrow through a spacetime distortion field, though only those found on heavy capital ships. It will still take time to bypass a planetary shield.


While some might question the utility of a weapon of mass destruction that is designed to strike with maximum precision, remember that this beam travels at speeds faster than light. It can even hit ships that are moving through hyperspace. Imagine having a sniper rifle that can take out someone standing on a planet on the opposite side of the galaxy. Now imagine one that can kill everyone on that world without destroying the planet itself, but should the sniper change his mind, can also annihilate every planetoid in that star system. Such power would make you God, or damn close. Thankfully, only the Zelturians have access to this weapon, and that they know how to control how far they want the beam to travel, otherwise every battle could result in collateral damage, even on planets hundreds of light years away. 


The last known Type III superweapon is the singularity bomb. This megastructure is a type of Dyson sphere made up of mirrors and built around a ringularity, a black hole that is spinning so fast that instead of becoming a single point in spacetime, it forms a ring-shaped two-dimensional construct. It is then bombarded by electromagnetic waves. They fly through the black hole’s ergosphere, engaging in what is called super radiance scattering. This process syphons a percentage of the black hole’s rotational energy, the waves becoming exponentially more energetic as a result and applying outward pressure to the Dyson’s shell. Eventually, the pressure becomes so great that the Dyson shatters, and its destructive energy is released. This explosion is equal to a supernova, devastating but no worse than a nova missile. It is possible to miniaturize this technology, creating what is effectively a singularity grenade. It would be more powerful than any nuke, though not capable of destroying planets or star systems.


There is another type of singularity bomb: the psi catalyst. The glass mirrors are replaced by seven-dimensional reflectors and uses something called negative psionic energy instead of electromagnetic waves. The explosion from the psi catalyst tares a void in spacetime, one that prevents reliable faster-than-light travel as far as twelve light years from the singularity, but more importantly, pulls all psi entities within a million light-years in. Only beings made of higher-dimensional psionic energy are affected. Legend holds that an Elder Race once turned their home star into a black hole, then sacrificed their entire population to power the psi catalyst, all part of a last-ditch effort to stop an enemy hellbent on destroying our universe. Examples in science fiction include Star Trek, Contact, Star Gate, and StarCraft. Also, check out Kurzgesagt’s YouTube video: The Black Hole Bomb and Black Hole Civilizations to get a more detailed explanation of how a normal black hole bomb would work.


The Plank Cannon is the sole Type IV super weapon known to exist. Sh’qua Leviathans alone possess this terrifying weapon. It heats up objects to slightly above absolute hot, or 1.416833(85) x 10^32 Kelvin. Beyond this maximum temperature, the laws of physics cease to exist, similar to what we might expect to see in a black hole. Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku believes we could get close to this by building an atom smasher half a billion miles long. Directing such intense heat to a single point in space would cause a rupture in spacetime.


We typically call such ruptures wormholes, but this would connect two universes together rather than two distant points in space. Also, unlike a traditional wormhole, such as those created by the thousands of warpgates in our galaxy, this bridge wouldn’t be traversable, at least not unless you don’t mind exiting the other side as paste. Of course, at such temperatures, you would be sizzled into gluons and quarks long before the gravitational eddies of the gateway ripped your atoms apart. The Sh’qua, on the other hand, being beings of energy, can transverse these bridges without harm and this is how they entered our universe.


There is no known defense against this weapon. However, the beam travels at only half the speed of light. A ship eight light minutes away, or the distance between the Earth and the Sun, would be able to detect the beam’s approach four minutes before it arrived and could maneuver out of the way. For this reason, it is best to attack a Leviathan from a distance. Just remember the creature can redirect the beam while in flight, so you should time your maneuver carefully. Otherwise, the Leviathan will have time to adjust its heading and hit you.


The last entry on the list is the Terraformation Array satellite. It is more a tool than a weapon, but when misused, it can have devastating effects on a world. Like the genesis device seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, it has the power to terraform a planetoid within 24 hours. It does this by manipulating the planet on the subatomic level. For example, a world with an atmosphere rich in carbon dioxides will have its atoms altered to become oxygen molecules. If an ecosystem already exists, the lifeforms on it will be mutated to become animals suited for the new biosphere. Protocols forbid the device being employed on worlds with life, but it is not unheard of, and the pain of having one’s body mutated is indescribable.  


There are other super weapons out there, some lost or forgotten, while others are just waiting to be invented. One makes the destructive power of the nova bomb or the Plank beam seem trivial, as if they were toy guns in the hands of a child. The Zelturians, the Retikkees, and the Vijics are continuing their research in this area. They fear that there are other races just as advanced as the Sh’qua. They need to be ready should they show up and turn out to be hostile.

 

The Rise of Space Warfare

Most people assume that space warfare is a relatively new phenomena. While it is true that until 2047 warships like the Zheng He class or the Daedalus class space dreadnaught didn’t exist, the militarization of space has been happening since the earliest days of space flight. In fact, the first functioning rockets, the German V2s, were little more than transports for high-explosives. And while the space race of the Cold War was often sold as peaceful exploration, in truth, its purpose was the development of intercontinental missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload to any location on Earth. When looked from this context, and keep in mind that we humans have never been good at keeping the peace, conflict in space was a forgone conclusion.


In June 20, 1944, the German V-2 was the first manmade object to go into space. The Treaty of Versailles banned Germany from using solid fuel, so they used liquid fuel instead when developing their rockets. They would progress farther than anyone in this area, and after Germany fell to the Allies, scientists and engineers like Wemher von Braun defected to either the United States or the U.S.S.R. They took their knowledge of liquid fuel rockets with them, and that was why they would dominate earlier space exploration.


While the V-2 was considered highly inaccurate – more people died building the missiles (12,000) than died from their use (9,000)– there terrifying range (320km or 200 miles) convinced leaders in Washington and Moscow that rockets were the future of warfare.  During the Cold War, both superpowers spend large sums of their GDP in developing them. In October 4, 1957, the U.S.S.R. launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1. Three months and 1440 orbits later, it would burn up in orbit, but by that point, the Space Race had begun.


In the decades to come, both sides would develop and deploy increasingly more powerful rockets. Their ranges went from 320 km to 16,000 km. These new long-range missiles would be called Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles or ICBMs and were outfitted with nuclear warheads. Other rockets would lift spy or communication satellites into orbit. While they lacked offensive weapons, they boosted the capabilities of their armies. The Global Positioning System, or GPS, for example, allowed the U.S. military to direct their rockets with uncanny accuracy. GPS would later find its way into civilian products, allowing, among other things, cars to self-navigate or parents to monitor their children, even if they were in another city.   


On May 25, 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy proposed in an address to Congress the goal of “landing a man of the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” This would become Project Apollo. Kennedy intended it to be a joint U.S.-Soviet mission, going so far to pitch the idea during the U.N. General Assembly on September 20, 1963. U.S.S.R. Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev was opened to the idea, but Kennedy was assassinated shortly after. Conspiracy theorists believe that the CIA was behind it, and that Kennedy was killed to prevent this, fearing that this might lead to a peace treaty between the two feuding powers.


Khrushchev continued Kennedy’s quest for peace, having already signed the Test Band Treaty, and would set the groundwork for what would later become the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. This treaty outlawed the placement of nukes in space, as well as building military installations on the moon. However, just as was the case with Kennedy, there were forces in his own government who viewed the idea of peaceful coexistence as a form of blasphemy. On October 12, 1964, they ousted Khrushchev in a bloodless coup. The Soviet Union then began ramping up military production, becoming the first nation to place a gun in space in 1974 when they armed three Almaz spy satellites with a 23mm Rikhter rapid-fire cannon.


In 1969, with the fear that nuclear war would lead to the end of all life on Earth, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. began the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in Helsinki, Finland. Called SALT 1, it lead to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It was followed a few decades later with START or the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties in 1991 and 1993. These treaties were designed to limit the number nuclear weapons each side could possess, but they also placed restrictions on what kinds of weapon systems could be outfitted on space satellites.


When Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1981, he went about modernizing America’s space arsenal. On March 23rd, 1983, he announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, also called Star Wars. It called for the development of space satellites that could shoot down ICBMs. This wouldn’t violate the Outer Space Treaty because these satellites would not be armed with nukes, but high-powered lasers. At the time, given the state of laser technology, these designs proved unfeasible. The U.S. also performed anti-satellite missile tests, succeeding in 1985 when an ASM-135 ASAT destroyed a P78-1 satellite. These tests scared the Soviets enough that they spent themselves into debt trying to catch up, which lead to their collapse.


With the Cold War having ended, the development of space-based weapon systems slowed, though that changed when the Chinese founded the China Aerospace Industry Corporation. In October 15th, 2003, China became the third nation to send a man into space. In October 24th, 2007, it became the fifth nation to send a spacecraft to the moon. A few months earlier, it had shot down one of their own satellites like the U.S. had done in 1985. This startled the Americans, and its leaders called the move reckless. While reckless the move might be, it was nothing compared to what Donald Trump would do when he became president.   


On June 18, 2018, Trump proposed the creation of the United States Space Force, which would be counted as the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Historically, military missions in space, i.e. the operation of spy satellites, were done under the Air Force. This made many of the military’s brass uneasy, hence why some tried to rebrand it as the Space Guard, suggesting that it would act more like the Coast Guard, since a military branch like the Air Force in space would violate Article IV of the Outer Space Treaty. The generals were right to be concern. A year later, Trump walked America out of the Outer Space Treaty. Russia and China would do likewise a few months later, bringing an end to peaceful coexistence in space.


During the 2019 State of the Union address, Trump proposed the Star Wars Initiative. The SWI called for the development of space platforms that could house nuclear missiles, lasers and kinetic rounds, the latter tungsten poles dropped from orbit. These projectiles could reach speeds of Mach 10 and hit with the destructive force of 15 tons of TNT, or 64.0375 x 10^9 joules of energy. The military objected to placing nukes in space, fearing what of might happen should one deorbit and explode. Ultimately, the Star Wars Defense Platforms incorporated lasers for missile defense and kinetic rounds for quick strike capabilities. Initially, only a few hundred million dollars was allocated to the project, but when the War of the Sands began in September of that year, and now finding itself facing a superior enemy, Congress allocated $771 billion, making it the second most expensive military project after the F35 jet fighter.


Despite the infusion of so much money, the Star Wars Defence Platforms weren’t completed until after the conclusion of that conflict, which saw the destruction of the Middle East. Many wondered if it had become operational sooner, could it have shot down the ICBMs that destroyed Israel before they had reached their targets. The Star Wars Defence Platforms would not see action until the Second American Civil War. All three sides in that conflict had access to parts of the Star Wars Defence Platforms, though only the Federalist controlled those capable of orbital bombardment. Under U.S. President Gregory di Conti, they were used to bomb the West Coast Alliance and the Great Lakes Compact into submission.


The end of the War of the Sands saw a new age of spaceflight, and with it, cane the prospect of a conflict in space. We can thank the Saudis for this golden age. Before the war, they had developed a method of producing large quantities of antimatter using modified particle accelerators. This brought the price down to tenth the cost of rocket fuel. Why they kept this breakthrough a secret for so long is anyone’s guess, but because of them, it was now possible to send large payloads into orbit and into the very depts of space.


The reason for this is simple. The rule of thumb for rockets is that 90% of the spacecraft’s total mass must go towards propellent, be it sold fuel or liquid fuel. For example, the Saturn V rocket that brought Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon required 2,725,600 kilograms of rocket fuel to reach orbit. That’s about 20.92 x 10^12 joules of energy. However, a single gram of antimatter produces about 1.8x10^14 joules of energy, meaning that an antimatter rocket needs less than a fraction of a percent of its mass to reach orbit  


Major American firms, like SpaceX, Blue Origin and Made in Space, left the United States to get pass the sanctions placed on the U.S. after the War of the Sands, specifically, those that banned the selling of antimatter to American companies. SpaceX moved to South Africa, while Blue Origin set up shop in Europe and Made in Space in India. The second space race started by these firms continued, even as the U.S. plunged into depression and civil war.


During the War of the Sands, Saudi Shabh jetfighters utilized a hybrid thermal antimatter rocket. In this system, antiprotons heat up a solid, high-atomic weight, refractory metal core. The waste heat produced by this process is then shunted through a nozzle to create thrust. This design had a specific impulse of 100,000 seconds and was capable of millions of tons of thrust. It had airbreathing scramjets to conserve fuel while flying in atmosphere, and it could easily achieve escape velocities, making it comparable to the most efficient nuclear rockets. After the war, the other nation states would slowly improve on the design. It would be used to shuttle cargo and people into orbit, though it would not bring us to Mars or Venus. An even more powerful rocket, one that could one day send man to nearby stars, would do that.


Seven years later, the Beijing-based company FarSpace, in partnership with Watson Industries, unveiled their pion rocket. This rocket used a beam core configuration, whereby an antiproton annihilation created charged and uncharged pions. A magnetic nozzle was employed to eject the charged pions out of the craft’s rear, providing fifty times per kilogram the amount of fuel as the most efficient fusion rocket. Theoretically, it could propel a craft to eight-tenths the speed of light, though currently, the most advance model can barely reach half that. The need of massive radiators, along with powerful inertial dampers needed to protect the crew from the extreme g forces, limited this design to rockets no smaller than seven hundred feet tall. Still, it dropped a journey to Mars from six months to eight days and all colony ships utilize this design.


As fast as the pion rocket was, it was deemed not good enough for interstellar travel based on the Wait Calculation. The Wait Calculation determines when the ideal time to travel is. For example, the New Horizon probe could go as fast as 150 kilometers per second. It would take it 12,000 years to reach Barnard’s Star. The fear of sending a crew using this propulsion system – other than how do we keep them alive throughout the long journey – is that by the time they reach it, they might find the system populated by humans descended from people who had left Earth a century later using more powerful rockets. Ideally, the best time to launch is when you believe you could reach a star within an individual’s life time. In this way, you can be confident that you can get there before advances in science make your current rockets obsolete. This meant we needed to get as close to lightspeed as possible.   


For the Horizon Project, man’s first attempt at interstellar travel, which took place during the 2040s, we developed the Jupiter Engine. The Jupiter Engine was a form of a GeV gamma ray laser photon rocket. Here, the recoil from the laser beam transferred to the spacecraft via the Mossbauer effect. A matter-antimatter explosion would generate the energy needed to power the laser. In theory, it could send a spacecraft to near relativistic speeds, thereby negating the fear that future generations could get there before the crew. The UESS Horizon employed this engine, though it was destroyed before it could test its full capabilities. The incident halted the construction of its sister ship, the UESS Constitution, and brought an end to interstellar travel. Still, Jupiter Engines would help us colonize the outer planets.   


In the mid 2020s, companies like Made in Space began developing and testing 3D printers that could operate in outer space. The Indians were the first to build multi-thousand crewed space stations, though the Chinese, the Russians and the Europeans quickly followed. The Chinese were the first to arm their stations with a megawatt laser, though their justification was that these lasers were purely defensive, i.e. defend a station from space junk.


China would become the first nation to land a man on Mars on June 8th, 2029. SpaceX and Blue Origin followed a few months later. They would likely have beaten China if not for the collapse of the United States. Moving their facilities overseas proved costly, delaying the deployment of SpaceX’s BFR and Blue Origin’s New Glenn. However, the delay allowed them to outfit their rockets with thermal antimatter engines. Later models utilized pion rockets and could transport tens of thousands to Mars. They were also larger, some being almost two thousand meters in length, and were constructed in outer space using 3D printers.


With the colonization of the solar system now underway, it was inevitable that man would take his proclivity for violence to the stars. Governments tried to outlaw fire arms in space, but 3D printers were readily available, and it was not too difficult for colonists to fabricate their own. Most of these weapons were small arms, typically slugthrowers. They posed a threat, but only because they could cause decompression in a starship or a space colony. As the colonies on Mars or Venus grew, the sophistication of these weapons systems increased. In the case of Mars, it wasn’t unheard of to see buggies outfitted with 25mm autocannons. Security firms responded by arming their men with powered armor and heavy weapons.


In the 2040s, pirates, most likely backed by megacorporations, began hijacking cargo haulers travelling from the asteroid belt to Earth. Most piloted modified shuttles and orbiters, though the more well financed groups employed old Saudi Shabh jetfighters. Those were acquired on the black market or from the Unified Republic of Korea. They proved effective however, and the major spacefaring nations responded by designing a new generation of space superiority fighter, each equipped with either second or third generation thermal antimatter rockets. The pirates reacted by placing weapons on larger crafts like ore haulers. The Chinese and the Europeans retaliated by building patrol frigates. A new arms race had begun.


The Chinese would build the first space dreadnaught: the Zheng He. This twelve-hundred-meter-long spaceship represented a radical departure from space warfare. Rather than being a primarily defensive platform like space frigates or destroyers, the Zheng He and those that came after it were outfitted with two dozen nuclear missiles and three electromagnetic acceleration cannons, the latter of which were each capable of accelerating a fifteen-ton projectile to four hundred and seventy times the speed of sound or deliver 1.76824 x 10^14 joules of energy. This is 7.4 times the destructive yield of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.


Both the Europeans and the Indians protested the move, declaring that China was pushing humanity towards “a solar system war.” However, they were also designing space dreadnaughts and the introduction of the Zheng He simply forced them to accelerate their timelines. Their versions, the Dedalus and the Bappa Rawal, were smaller than the Zhang He, with the Dedalus fielding two electromagnetic acceleration cannons and the Bappa Rawal only fielding one, though in the case of the Bappa Rawal, it had superior defensive capabilities.


The main feature of these space dreadnaughts were their electromagnetic accelerator cannons. While the nukes they carried delivered more bang for their size, they could be shot down by point laser defenses. However, the forty-ton projectiles fired from electromagnetic accelerator cannons were too bulky to be shot down with lasers and too fast to be intercepted by rockets. Only heavy armor proved any deterrence, which was why space dreadnaughts were also encased in seven meters of ceramic-titanium. In 2054, the Zhang He would have its ceramic-titanium plates replaced with an alloy based on the Martian ruins found beneath Olympus Mons. With it, it could withstand a direct hit from a 1.5 megaton warhead. 


China pushed the goal post further in 2052 when it introduced its eighteen-terawatt orbital laser. This massive gun, about the size of a small office building, hung over Beijing. It could deliver 5.0327 x 10^12 joules of energy per second to a target from two hundred miles away. They argued that it was designed to protect Beijing from electromagnetic cannons or asteroids, though many feared that it could incinerate a city from orbit. Both Europe and India are working on developing their own, but it might be five years before they come online.


The discovery of the First Civilization ruins on Mars and Venus promise to further accelerate the arms race. While Europe, India and China have agreed to explore the ruins together, they will no doubt use the technologies uncovered to augment their space fleet. The First Civilization surpassed us in numerous fields, including metallurgy, energy production and energy manipulation. The Europeans are hard at work reengineering the antimatter projector cannons they utilized on their ships, while the Chinese have already shown some success outfitting their ships with Martian-inspired armor. As we learn more about our ancestors and their superior understanding of science, we will make more breakthroughs.


Man’s need to wage war has always been linked to the exploration of space, from the first V2 rocket to reach orbit to the mighty space dreadnaughts that now patrol the space lanes between Earth and Mars. Our reason for being in space might no longer be as single minded. We might now be driven by a desire to mine the asteroid belt’s riches or build new homes on Mars or Venus or rediscover our lost heritage by delving deeper into First Civilization ruins. Still, as we move deeper into space, don’t expect our need to wage war will lesson. If the First Civilization, who are unarguably technologically superior to us modern humans in every measurable way, can teach us, it is that we humans are very bad at keeping the peace.   

 

Venezuela: Latin America's Longest Running Civil War

Today, Venezuela is caught in the grips of a civil war that has lasted decades, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, and created the worst humanitarian crisis in South America’s history. The conflict is between the right-wing government and the left-leaning Bolivarian militias and fought mainly in the nation’s interior. Many factors had led to the conflict, including the interference of major powers. Ultimately, over-reliance on oil, corrupt leadership and climate change brought it to this point.


The nation’s history began when the land that became Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522. The colonists faced stiff resistance by the indigenous people, yet despite their efforts, prospered and conquered. The land would remain the property of Spain until 1811, when it achieved independence, becoming a full nation-state in 1830. During the 19th century, it was ruled by a series of military strongmen called caudillos, but by the mid-20th century, Venezuela had become a democratic republic.


Things were peaceful until 1983 when the Bolivar (the Venezuelan dollar) was devalued. This sent a shock to regional markets and produced several political crises, including the infamous Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and the impeachment of President Carlos Andres Perez, who was found guilty of embezzling public funds in 1993. In 1998, Hugo Chavez, a military officer who had participated in one of the failed coups, won the election and kickstarted what would be known as the Bolivarian Revolution.


The Bolivarian Revolution began with the 1999 Constituent Assembly. Here, a new constitution was drafted, with the nation official name being changed to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and new rights awarded to indigenous people. Chavez also passed a series of social welfare policies that improved the lives of Venezuela’s poor. This was all paid with profits made off oil. Venezuela has the world’s largest known reserves of the stuff, though it is harder than anywhere else to extract. When the price of oil was high, Chavez could easily pay for his policies, but when oil prices were low, the nation suffered severe economic hardship, as had been the case during the 1980s and 1990s.


In 2014, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in coordination with the United States and Israel, began flooding the global market with cheap oil, causing the price to go from $110 per barrel to $28. It did this despite the move putting them into debt. The goal was to weaken the enemies of Washington and Tel Aviv, whose economics were heavily dependent on oil and natural gas exports. It worked. Russia, Iran and Venezuela all saw drastic reductions to their state’ budgets. As this was going on, private food processing and importing corporations in Venezuela, run by right-wing millionaires aligned with Wall Street, instituted a coordinated campaign of sabotage designed to cause inflation and food shortages.


This is not to say that Chavez, and later Nicolas Maduro, didn’t contribute to the crisis. In many ways, it was because of their mismanagement. They instituted a series of misguided interventionist measures, including expropriation of key industries, exchange controls, and price controls that magnified the shortages. They tried to solve this by printing more money, causing the value of the Bolivar to plummet, so much so that shop owners began weighing money rather counting it. However, the economic depression that began in 2014 was, in part, engineered by the Obama administration to bring the country to its knees. That’s why Obama, through declaring a state of emergency, slapped crippling sanctions. By 2016, during Obama’s last year in office, Venezuela’s unemployment rate was at 18.1%, a rate that would not be surpassed until the United States’ economy collapsed in 2021.


In Washington, right-wing think tanks worked alongside the CIA to set up covert operations against Chavez’s and later Maduro’s regime, funding Astroturf groups in the nation, and creating the illusion that there was widespread opposition to their policies. That’s not to say that there was no real opposition to their rule, or that the Maduro regime wasn’t abusing its powers. Only one in five Venezuelans supported it. Furthermore, it could no longer be called democratic. In 2018, Maduro banned the leading opposition parties from participating in the presidential election. He created a second parliament that allowed him to sidestep the legitimate one and outlawed all newspapers not owned by the government or friends of the regime. Political opponents were jailed as conspirators. No, the Maduro regime could be called a dictatorship. However, the CIA’s actions weren’t designed to promote democracy, but to cripple Venezuela’s economy in preparation for the coming invasion.


In January of 2019, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, claiming that the 2018 election was a fraud and that new elections should be held. He was backed by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. The Trump administration stationed 5,000 Special Forces and 25,000 regular troops in Columbia. Back up by the U.S.S. Gerald Ford, they invaded Venezuela in March of that year with the goal of removing Maduro from power, as well as acquiring the nation’s oil.


Maduro died in a firefight a few days later, and Guaido was installed as interim president. As his first act, he privatized PDVSA, the state-own company that had been responsible for running all the oil fields in Venezuela. American companies like Exxon and Standard Oil bought up the partitioned parts. Russia and China protested the move, particularly China. It had loaned PDVSA $60 billion, which PDVSA was to paid back in the form of oil shipments. Those shipments ended once Exxon, and Standard Oil took ownership. In retaliation, China terminated all business deals with the two corporations. 


With their puppet in power, America lifted all sanctions, allowing the nation to once more export and restructure its existing debt. Inflation began to stabilize, and shortages became a thing of the past. Left-wing publications, those that still existed after several were banned for having ties with the former Maduro regime, noted how quickly things went back to normal after Washington lifted the sanctions. To the left, this vindicated Maduro’s claim that the U.S. had engineered the crisis. Again, while this is true, part of Venezuela’s speedy recovery could be attributed to fiscal policies that encouraged capital to flow back into the country, bringing with it new revenue streams and job opportunities.


National elections were held in June of that year, and Guadio won the election with 49% of the vote. With what he considered a mandate, he began implementing a set of sweeping reforms, much to Washington’s approval. This included ending most of the social programs enacted under Chavez and continued by Maduro. The poor came out to protest in record numbers, but these protests were rarely televised. As far as the West was concerned, Venezuela’s problems ended when Maduro was removed from power. In truth, poverty had risen again after Guadio implements these reforms, and while shortages were no longer an issue, many Venezuelans couldn’t afford anything but the essential amenities.  


Then the War of the Sands erupted in September of 2019. The United States, along with a coalition that included Venezuela, was in conflict with the Gulf States. In the beginning, the war was a boom for the nation. The price of oil skyrocketed to $150 a barrel, and the royalties gained from it went into building up the nation’s military. However, this was short lived. When the United States defaulted on its debt in 2020, Venezuela was caught up in a global depression that brought oil production to a screeching halt.


As had been the case in the 1980s and 1990s, Venezuela experienced a period of political instability. Guadio was voted out of office and what happened next was a series of one term governments until Antonio Capriles came to power in 2031. The owner of Venezuela Oil, the largest company in the country, he was extraordinarily wealthy and used his wealth to bribe Venezuela’s top generals. This ensured their loyalty should anything happen. During the 2020s, the nation was rocked by several coup attempts.


With his power base established, Capriles went about rewriting the constitution and transforming that nation into his version of a libertarian utopia. Massive domed cities, rivaling the enclaves being built in the United States, were constructed and offered up to the world’s richest as tropical getaways. This was done at the expense of the poor and middle class, some of whom were forcibly removed to the nation’s interior. There was resistance at this point, but it was disorganized and was quickly crushed by the military.


More organized resistance didn’t pop up until after the Great Blaze of 2036. The Amazon Rainforest, which Venezuela shared a border with, caught on fire during the summer months and hundreds of thousands of square miles were destroyed. Many of the shanty towns located in the nation’s interior were caught in the blaze, displacing millions and resulting in thousands of deaths. Many moved to the coast, crowding what cities remained since many of the old cities had become flooded as the result of rising sea levels. These cities, simply called Shanties, were plagued with crime, and the government used heavy tactics to maintain order. This had the opposite effect, fueling an insurgency that would consume the nation.


On October 5, 2037, the populous had grown tired of the government’s repression, and mass protests erupted throughout the nation, some in the tens of thousands. The Capriles administration cracked down again. Several demonstrations turned into riots. As this was going on, China began supplying weapons to local militias. They hadn’t forgotten the $60 billion they’d loaned to Venezuela in the 2010s and how the Capriles had stiffened them. Besides, they had plans for Venezuela, plans that didn’t include the Capriles. The influx of advanced weapon systems transformed the country into a powder cake.


In November, the fuse was lit when a left-wing militia attacked an oil refinery. The hit was a success, and it inspired other groups to perform similar operations. Now the people of Venezuela found themselves caught in a civil war, with the tyrannical government on one side and the Chinese-backed militias on the other. For six months, oil production all but stopped in the country as it was no longer safe to operate them. Then in June of the next year, mercenaries from the U.S. showed up, backed up by powerful drones like Gabriel Destroyers. They provided around-the-clock security to the oil rigs and refineries.


The civil war consumed much of the country while turning the Shanties into fire zones. Millions fled into Columbia, swamping that nation with refugees. Sprawling refugee camps were set up overnight. Little work could be found there, and many headed further north to Mexico, hoping to cross the U.S. to reach Canada. Those who made the perilous journey faced being arrested and executed by American authorities. Most stayed in Mexico, though that too was dangerous because Mexico was caught in the grip of a drug war. 


In the third year of the war, just weeks before elections could be held, Capriles declared a state of emergency, giving himself sweeping powers and the authority to postpone the vote. Nations around the world condemned the move, chief of which was the European states, but Capriles had the military and American mercenaries backing him up. Capriles would stay in power until 2044 when he died at the age of 83.


He was succeeded by his son, Santiago Capriles. He quickly proved himself to be far more brutal than his father, taking such extreme actions as setting up concentration camps. He worked with the Department of Understanding, an American agency responsible for policing morality in the U.S., to perform experiments on the prisoners. Why is a mystery, with wild claims that some of the test subjects demonstrated psionic abilities, including telepathy. However, all the test subjects were reported to expire shortly after the procedure. This suggested that the operations were a failure.


As of today, the war continues with no end in sight. The Chinese are providing weapons to the resistance, while American corporations like Adams Corps. International continues to stand behind Capriles regime. Regular Venezuelans are caught in the middle. Not even the rich are safe, with several enclaves having been hit over the years and more than half have left the country. Ceasefire attempts have been met with failure. The militias demand nothing less than Capriles’ resignation, but he has no interest of stepping down. Given the situation, there is no reason to think the civil war won’t last for another decade or two. 

 

The Illuminati

Ordo Ab Chao, or Out of Chaos Comes Order in English, is the motto of the Illuminati. This motto symbolizes their belief that humanity started off ignorant. Through the application of rational thought and introspection, man can step out of the darkness and achieve enlightenment. Only by doing this can man bring order to a world governed by hate and superstition. This is what their general statue means when it states: “The order of the day is to put an end to the machinations of the purveyors of injustice, to control them without dominating them.”


This belief that man has the potential to uplift himself is what separates the Illuminati from their Cabalist’s brethren, who believe we humans are inherently wicked and can only be redeemed by submitting to Jesus Christ. This difference of opinion, one that embraces free will, while the other rejects it, is also the source of conflict between the two.


The Illuminati’s history began in the Middle East shortly after the end of the First Crusade. Back then, they were an army of warrior priests known as the Knight’s Templar. They saw the First Crusade as the beginning of a global war, one that would end with Jesus’ return and the enslavement of humanity to his divine rule. They had attained great riches and prestige fighting the Crusades but fell out of favor after they attempted to overthrow the French government in 1307. Now outlaws, those who escaped capture went into hiding.


In the centuries to come, they would change their name, first calling themselves the Order of the Eternal Flame, though later, they took on the name the Rosicrucian Order. Back then, they were still dedicated to global domination and worked tirelessly to halt human progress, believing that rationalism distances oneself from God. One of their Supreme Masters, Tomas de Torquemada, headed the Spanish Inquisition and was the reason why members of the Cabal now carry the rank of Inquisitor. However, in May 1st, 1776, the order would face a crisis of faith when Adam Weishaupt attained the rank of Supreme Inquisitor.


Born in Bavaria, Germany during the Enlightenment, Weishaupt had been schooled both in the dogma of his order and liberal thought. He hid his liberal views from his masters until he rose to the rank of Supreme Inquisitor. Afterward, he went about reforming the order, feeling the Rosicrucians should use their wealth and influence to free humanity from dogma and superstition. He was an early backer of the American Revolution and the republic they were trying to create in the former British colonies. The only disagreement he had with the Founding Fathers was their embrace of slavery. He believed in both the equality of the races and the sexes. It was this belief that ultimately turned the more conservative members against him.


In 1780, Weishaupt recruited Emilia Fischer into the order. Never in the history of the Rosicrucian Order had a woman been allowed to join, especially one who was of African descent. Yes, there had been cases of non-whites being brought in, though these examples took place in the order’s earlier years, when it was still known as the Knights Templar and had garrisons in the Middle East. Back then, white supremacy was not part of the order’s dogma, but misogyny was. During Fischer’s initiation ceremony, Grand Inquisitor Johann Christoph von Wollner accused Weishaupt of heresy and renounced his allegiance. Two-thirds of the order left with von Wollner, and they became the Second Rosicrucian Order. This event was called the Great Schism and began a war that would last centuries.


The Second Rosicrucian Order initiated this war, sending assassins to kill Illuminati in the back alleyways of cities throughout Europe, while also waging an effective propaganda campaign. They not only ousted their existence but accused the Illuminati of believing in Socinianism (a sect of Christianity that denied the existence of the Holy Trinity), undermining Christianity and the monarchy. By March of 1785, states throughout Germany and beyond had banned the Illuminati. Weishaupt was forced to flee and most of the order’s riches had been confiscated. The Second Rosicrucian Order managed to track him down by November of 1830. 


After Weishaupt’s death, Fischer and her husband, Remold Winchester, re-established the order in England. They courted famous scientists of that era, including Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Antonio Meucci, Michael Faraday, and Louis Pasteur. They funded their future operations through patents filed by members of the order. Such discoveries included the telephone, the spark-gap transmitter, the hydraulic press, stainless steel, the Smallpox vaccine, the flip-flop circuit, the microchip, the Maxim gun, the electromagnet, the portable MRI, the mass spectrometer, time crystals, the compact disk, the isotope breeding cycle, and countless others. The Illuminati are responsible for so many technological discoveries that an argument could be made that they played a decisive role in creating the modern age.  


Many of their most significant discoveries came from studying Ancient Alien artifacts. The Ancient Aliens, better known as the Zelturians, had visited Earth ten thousand years ago and uplifted the First Civilization. They left sometime around 4,000 B.C, shortly after the First Civilization destroyed itself. These events were record, if inaccurately, in man’s oldest myths and legends, including stories found in the Bible like Noah’s flood, the Garden of Eden and Babel. A handful of their artifacts remained however, and the Rosicrucian Order had acquired a few over the ages. While most stayed in their hands after the Great Schism, several objects were secreted away by the Illuminati. Having embraced the scientific method, they had greater success in reverse engineering them, with the biggest breakthrough being the creation of time crystals in October of 2016. Time crystals would spark a revolution in quantum computing.


Though the Illuminati have a better understanding of the Zelturians, going so far as to embrace the truth that the Ancient Aliens were, well, aliens, that was not to say that their Rosicrucian siblings didn’t dabble in their tech. Many of their conflicts revolved around these powerful artifacts, with the Illuminati trying to prevent the European chapter of the Rosicrucian Order, the Black Hand, from unleashing their destructive power on humanity. The most famous example was during World War One when an Illuminati noviciate stopped the Black Hand from acquiring a Longinus Stone and using it to turn the people of Europe into mindless slaves.


It was also during World War One when the Illuminati thought they had defeated their enemy once and for all. The Black Hand had started the conflict when they assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th, 1914. Their enemy had done it in the hopes of using the conflict to take over Europe, instead the war spiraled out of control. The Illuminati sided with the Triple Entente, which included Britain, France, Ireland and Russia, while the Black Hand, against their better judgment, aligned itself with the Central Powers. The Black Hand and their Central Power allies were driven back to the Black Hand’s main fortress, the complex that had sheltered their Knights Templar ancestors in ancient times, Volkn Festugn. The ensuing battle resulted in the Volkn Festugn’s destruction, along with the leaders of the Black Hand.


What the Illuminati didn’t know was that in 1804 a group of Rosicrucians set up a chapter in North American with the hope of bringing down the United States. They originally called themselves the Knights of the Golden Circle, and in 1861, started a civil war when their master, Supreme Inquisitor Jefferson Davis, declared that the southern states had separated from the union. Their first attempt failed, but in 2028, they succeeded when they started a second civil war that brought Gregory di Conti to power. By then, they called themselves the Cabal, and it would be long after that the Illuminati realized the Cabal controlled America.


In the decades after World War One, the Illuminati devoted themselves to recovering and keeping safe the remaining Ancient Alien artifacts. One of their own, Professor Jacopo Schiaparelli, would lead the excavation of the First Civilization ruins. He never revealed why he thought they would find an underground city beneath Mars’ largest mountain: Olympus Mons. They whisked the most dangerous artifacts to their sanctuary, convinced that humanity was not ready to learn about the Ancient Aliens and fearful of what might happen if their technology ever fell in the wrong hands. Still, it was time that humanity learn about its true heritage, so in August of 2052, Professor Schiaparelli, made the existence of the ruins known to the public.


To this day, the Illuminati operate in secret. This is in part habit, one that they inherited from their Templar forefathers, but also because they believe that man is not ready. Because of this, and because of Cabalist propaganda, they have become associated with several conspiracy theories, including the New World Order, the Bilderberg Group, the Ancient Aliens (aka the Zelturians), the Nordic Aliens/Wizards (aka the Emissaries of the Zelturians), the Lizard People (aka the Vijics) and the Inter-dimensional Psychic Demons/Vampires (aka the Sh’qua). Alex Jones – who though it cannot be verified, is likely a Cabalist – is the greatest promoter of these lies. They ignore him. Despite what Jones or his followers might think, the Illuminati believe he should be allowed to spew his hate. Besides, does it matter? Everyone thinks the Illuminati don’t exist.

 

U.E.S.S. Horizon: The Great Experiment

The brainchild of Chinese President Zhang He, the Deep Horizon Project was one of the most ambitious undertakings in human history. It would have sent human colonists to Sol’s closest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, with the hopes of finding a world to inhabit. However, doing so would require radical advances in space technologies, technologies that would speed up colonization not only beyond our solar system, but within.


The development of antimatter assemblers in the 2020s kickstart this renewed interest in interstellar travel. Hybrid thermal antimatter rockets, like those found in the Saudi Shabh fighter during the apocalyptic War of the Sands, had a specific impulse of 100,000 seconds and millions of tons of thrust. They were vastly more powerful than the chemical rockets, which had a specific impulse of 445 seconds. However, they were not powerful enough to achieve relativistic speeds, the kind of velocities needed to reach nearby stars within a lifetime.


Still, by 2029, a Chinese manned mission reached Mars utilizing a modified version of the thermal antimatter rocket, developed in partnership with SpaceX. This model could max out at 15% lightspeed. The success of the mission convinced many that interplanetary colonization was now possible and if it was possible, what’s to stop man from colonizing other solar systems. With global warming threatening to make Earth uninhabitable, at least for humans, in a few centuries, there was tremendous pressure to make such a trip.


Research was already underway to build an even more powerful rocket: the pion engine. It used a beam core configuration, whereby an antiproton annihilation created charged and uncharged pions. A magnetic nozzle was employed to eject the charged pions out of the craft’s rear, providing fifty times per kilogram the amount of fuel as the most efficient fusion rocket. Theoretically, such a design could propel a craft to eight-tenths the speed of light. The early designs were only capable of half that speed, but that was enough to convince many that the time had come to begin construction of an interstellar ark.


Zhang He spearheaded this effort. He tabled the Deep Horizon conference in 2031. Here, designs for such a ship were planned. It was decided early on that two ships would be created. Everyone understood that an interstellar journey would be risky, likely the riskiest undertaking humanity would ever undergo. The likelihood of a single ship suffering a catastrophic failure was high, so building two would double their chances of success.


Originally, the design incorporated twelve pion rockets: eight in the rear and four in the front. Some had their reservations about this configuration, believing that it was still not fast enough according to the Wait Calculation. The Wait Calculation determines the ideal time to travel. For example, the New Horizon probe, traveling at 150 kilometers per second, would take 12,000 years to reach Barnard’s Star. A pion-equipped probe could make that same journey within a century. While that is a more realistic timetable, it is possible that a more powerful rocket could reach Barnard’s Star in twenty years or less. In that scenario, a spacecraft launched seventy-years later would arrive at the same time as the starship launched today.


Research was already underway on such a rocket: a GeV gamma-ray laser photon rocket. Here, the recoil from the laser beam is transferred to the spacecraft via the Mossbauer effect. A matter-antimatter explosion would generate the energy needed to power the laser. In theory, such an engine could propel a spacecraft to near relativistic speeds, eliminating the fear that future generations would reach the solar system before the crew. In 2041, the scale-downed version of the engine was tested on the Dawnbreaker. The craft only reached 17% light speed, though that was because the crew didn’t want to leave the solar system. Had they continued accelerating, they would likely have achieved 91% lightspeed.


With the demonstration having been a resounding success, the engine would be incorporated in the design. The twelve pion rockets would remain, though they were now situated in nacelles that could be extended and retracted. However, in the rear would be the laser rockets, called Jupiter Engines. They would only be activated when the starship had escaped the solar system, whereas the pion rockets would be used for interplanetary travel and breaking. To accommodate for the larger mass of the Jupiter Engines, the position of the pion rockets was switched, with eight rockets now facing forward and four rear. This allowed for greater breaking speed.


The layout of the ship was dictated by the demands of space travel. Many wanted to base the design on the Star Trek vessel, the U.S.S. Enterprise, but that ship had several technological innovations that didn’t exist, mainly artificial gravity and deflector shields. Instead, a tubular design was settled upon. The vessel would basically be a long rod, with the bow section made up of fifty-nine rotating disks. With a diameter of 2,900 feet, each had seven decks, giving the habitat section the height of a 413-story apartment building. Some disks contained gardens, even forests, while others housed laboratories, workshops and apartments. In front of the bow was a large solid metal plate, 177 feet thick and with a diameter of 4,2000 feet. It would protect the ship from space dust, which while traveling at near relativistic speeds, could do serious damage.


That, of course, was just the bow. The midsection, about 17,900 feet long, was a skeletal frame that comprised of detachable compartments, as well as airlock rings and irradiator panels. It housed all the building materials needed to establish a colony. Nine dozen atmosphere-rated shuttles could be found here, ranging from two-seater crafts to airliner-size passenger ships. The stern of the vessel contained the massive Jupiter Engines, main engineering, life support, and computer core. It has twelve matter-antimatter reactors, which in total supplied the ship with 1.4 terawatts of power. Its computer core comprised of 51,000 CPUs (37 classical CPUs and 14 quantum CPUs) and had the ability to perform 2.7 zettabytes of calculations. The rear of the craft was approximately 5,100 feet long, giving the ship an exact length of 27,407 feet.


Despite their gargantuan size – indeed, the vessels would be by far the largest objects ever built by man – they could only accommodate 5,000 people. The journey to Proxima Centauri was expected to take 20 years. The crew would spend much of that time in cryo-sleep. Still, they had no idea what they would find once they reach Proxima Centauri. They might discover a habitable world to call home or barren rocks. Either way, they would need plenty of provisions. Limited the number of people they took with them would ensure that things last.


Construction of the first ship, the U.E.S.S. Horizon, began on August 8th, 2036 and was completed by June 13th, 2045. Most of the work took place at the space dock in orbit around the Earth, about two hundred miles west of Spain. Ninety-eight nations contributed over a trillion dollars into the project, and 20,000 workers were employed. Part of the reason it took so long was the sheer size of the vessel, but there were also delays and refits, most notable redesigning the ship to accommodate the much bigger Jupiter Engines. On June 3rd, 2041, construction of the second ship, the U.E.S.S. Constitution, began and was scheduled to be finished by 2050.


Captain Benjamin Bernstein was given command of the Horizon, with Commander Me Chang as his second in command. The Horizon made its maiden voyage on December 12th, 2045. The ship traveled to the moon of Titan before leaving our solar system. Not long after arriving, the crew sent a transmission indicating that they found evidence of alien life. A few hours later, Earth Command received an S.O.S., indicating that the Horizon suffered a reactor breached. Two weeks later, high-speed probes reached Titan to find the remains of the Horizon drifting in orbit. More concerning, the moon of Titan appeared to have undergone a metamorphous. It had lost its atmosphere, as well as its methane seas, along with any signs of life.


An examination of the flight records indicated that Commander Chang had activated the self-destruct. There was no explanation for why she gave the order. The last video footage of Chang showed her training a gun at Lieutenant Catherine Hemmingway, the sole American crew member. The Chinese government disputed the findings, claiming that Commander Chang would never allow harm to befall the Horizon or its crew. In protest, they left the Deep Horizon Project and without their support, construction of the Constitution stalled. Some conspiracy theorists believe that Miss Hemmingway played a role in the incident. She was with Commander Chang in those final moments, and the United States did join the mission late. Others suspect the Lizard People were involved and that they had Commander Chang framed.


Chairman Zhang He never lived to see the Horizon leave space dock and given its fate, that was probably for the best. The Deep Horizon Project was an ambitious endeavor, one that would have been man’s crowning achievement if it had been successful. With its demise, cooperation between the participating nations broke down, and the Constitution was left incomplete. With the discovery of the First Civilization ruins on Mars in 2052, there is renewed interest in finishing it. The technologies uncovered there would significantly increase the chances of success. Sadly, right now, no one is willing to pony up the funds needed to see Zhang He’s dream become a reality. Perhaps in the future, once people’s memories of the Horizon fades, work on the Constitution will resume. Until then, all we can do is look up and wonder what awaits us among the stars.

 

The Second Underground

The Second Underground Railroad, more commonly referred to as the Second Underground, was the last civil rights group active in the United States by 2052. Because of the repressive nature of the Cabal, the shadow government that has been ruling American since Gregory di Conti won the presidency in 2029, there are those who advocate overthrowing the government. However, the main group is devoted to removing the Cabal by peaceful and democratic means. This hasn’t always been the case and reflects more the current leadership.


The precursor of the Second Underground was the Resistance. It formed in a motel on the outskirts of Monroe, Texas in the fall of 2030 between Billy Wellman, his wife Mellissa and a few former members of the Navy SEALs. It was a purely militant organization, designed to overthrow the di Conti administration. It lacked the funding and organization that its successor enjoyed, comprising of only two hundred individuals at its height. It would score a few minor victories before being nearly wiped out during the Great Betrayal.


In February of 2033, the Resistance learned that the di Conti administration was planning a false flag operation in Miami. After contacting the Visitor, a high-level bureaucrat in the government, it became clear to them that the Cabal attended to detonate two nukes. The Resistance went to action, intercepting the freighter transporting the first nuke while besieging the port that was holding the second. Their attempts to disarm them activated both. Billy and Mellissa were able to escape the blast zone of the first, but the second destroyed Miami and most of their men. More would likely have died if the first bomb reached its destination, but that was not how the de Conti administration spun it. It blamed the two for the bombing.


Now the target of the greatest manhunt in American history, Billy and Mellissa were forced to flee the United States. They smuggled themselves into Canada and requested asylum. The Canadian government granted it. Di Conti threatened to invade Canada, but the British government intervened, reminding di Conti that Canada was part of the British Commonwealth. Britain, Pakistan, India, Australia, and New Zeeland would go to war with the United States if necessary. Realizing that the U.S. was a shadow of its former self and that he could not win such a fight, di Conti’s response was to close America’s borders to the world.


In the coming years, the Wellmans would build a life for themselves in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. Mellissa founded and ran Stellar Stream, a software firm that in less than a decade rose to heights not seen since Microsoft and Apple, while Billy became a writer. He did book tours around the world warning that America was under the control of an evil religious cult. He was careful not to reveal that his wife was a Nephilim or that she once worked for di Conti, believing that the world was not yet ready to learn about the existence of telepaths.


Later, Billy Wellman would run for Member of Parliament for the Ottawa-Vanier riding and win. As an MP, he focused his energy advocating on behalf of American Canadians. Since the start of the Second American Civil War in 2027 and long after it concluded in 2029, Americans had fled the United States to seek asylum in Canada. The number dropped to almost zero after the di Conti administration closed America’s borders in 2035, but by then, an estimated 7.4 million Americans had already moved to Canada. Most of those who fled were far more liberal than the average American, the result being that Canada drastically shifted to the left.


Anti-Americanism was also on the rise in Canada. It differed greatly from the anti-Americanism of the past. The Canadian population felt great sympathy for the American people, not shocking considering that out of Canada’s population of 50 million, American Canadians made up 14.7%. Yet, Canadians saw America’s leadership as imperialistic and barbaric and were turned off by the destructive capitalism embraced by the enclavers. The NDP, which historically was reduced to a minor party, rose to become the premier party of Canada since they best articulated the socialist values that this new wave of immigrates espoused. The Liberals were marginalized, whereas the Conservative Party, not wanting to be associated with the religious fundamentalists in the U.S., moved to the center. Billy would exploit this anti-American sentiment years later when pushing for funding for the Second Underground.    


During the summer of 1942, Billy Wellman and his wife encountered a young couple that would change their lives forever. Brent Adams, the son of Edward Adams, CEO of Adams Corp. International, was attending Oxford, England and working towards his master’s in economics. He was dating a run-away Nephilim, Katy E. Forrest. Billy had enrolled in Oxford two decades earlier and had come to visit. He and Melissa were taking a stroll through a park one night when they chanced upon Brent and Katy. Mellissa instantly recognized Katy. Not surprising given that Katy was a clone of Catherina Pavlovich, Mellissa’s dead aunt.


The four would have a conversation, one which led to the formation of the Second Underground. Brent and Katy agreed to go back to the United States and with the Visitor’s help, the bureaucrat who warned about the Cabal’s plot to destroy Miami, run the organization. Billy and Mellissa would fund it through the enormous wealth they had made through Stellar Stream. Brent saw the Second Underground as a platform to reawaken the democratic ideals in his American brethren, while Billy had different designs for the organization.


Billy had fought long and hard to liberate America from the Cabal. He had lost his parents when di Conti killed them in 2030. He lost more friends during the Great Betrayal and had been wrongly blamed for that attack, which he tried to prevent. Part of him didn’t think America could be saved, but Billy still believed that the Second Underground could get those Americans that hadn’t been brainwashed out. He also hoped that the Second Underground could sow chaos in the U.S., ensuring that it never got strong enough to threaten Canada. To him, Canada was the best hope of preserving the principles America was founded on. 


When Brent returned to the United States the following year, he went to work for his father and used his position in Adams Corp. International to set up the clandestine organization. Having learned from the Resistance’s mistakes, the Second Underground avoided confrontation with the federal government and operated mainly in the Forfeited Territories or just the Territories as they were known. The Territories were the U.S. states that had rebelled against the federal government during the Second American Civil War and lost. While briefly placed under martial law, that changed when the Wall, a structure surpassing the Great Wall of China in size, transformed the Territories into the world’s largest open-air prison.


The Second Underground built their first base underneath the ruins of Detroit and began recruiting like-minded people to their cause. The citizens of the Territories, having known nothing but hardship since the war’s conclusion, eagerly embraced the humanitarian group. They started constructing tunnels beneath both the walls separating the Territories from the United States, as well as those bordering Canada and Mexico. The Wall had seismic sensors to prevent this, but the Second Underground learned how to hack them and send them false data.  With a means to travel across America undetected, the number of Americans seeking asylum in Canada and Mexico began to rise for the first time in almost fourteen years.


The Second Underground didn’t just help American flee the repressive regime, but actively worked to free enslaved Inquisitors. The newly released Inquisitors called themselves Nephilim. They started with a handful at first, but by 2052, their number surpassed three hundred. They would later form their own cell within the organization called Katy’s Raiders. This splinter cell was far more militant and would engage in hit and run operations. They were careful not to link their activities with the Second Underground, and the Cabal, not eager to let it become known that Inquisitors were rebelling, downplayed their successes.


Billy and Katy pressed Brent to go further and have the Second Underground adopt Katy’s Raider’s tactics, but Brent made only minor concessions. The Second Underground began arming its people, even procuring heavy armaments like M1A3 Abram tanks and AH-64 Apache helicopters, salvaged from boneyards and made to work again. However, Brent forbid them from engaging the federal government directly. They were only to be used for self-defense. Neither Billy or Katy were thrilled by this, but they relented, confident that, sooner or later, the Cabal would force Brent to take more radical steps to keep his movement alive.  


What the Second Underground did under Brent’s leadership was hack billboards and government broadcasts to counter the Cabal’s lies. They smuggled cameras into the enclaves, showing people how the rich were living lives of luxury before unimaginable while the rest of America suffered from record high unemployment and starvation. They also documented the dangerous and unsanitary living conditions found in child labor factories. Sadly, the populace was either too weakened by malnourishment or too brainwashed by the enclavers’ neo-liberal propaganda to rise up. The few that did were put down by the enclavers or the federal government. Brent forced himself to watch the massacres, still unable to embrace this inescapable truth: only an organized and armed insurrection had any hope of bringing down the Cabal.


In 2045, Billy Wellman won the leadership race for the NDP and in 2046, became Prime Minister of Canada. He began redirecting Canadian funds to prop up the Second Underground, as well as continued to pressure Brent to take a more aggressive stance. Marcel Trudeau, the great-grandson of Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, acted as the bureaucratic go-between between the Second Underground and the Canadian government. Brent made more concessions, having formally adopted his wife’s Katy’s Raiders into the Second Underground’s command structure, but still refused to authorize military operations. 


By 2052, the Second Underground continues to act more like a humanitarian and civil rights group rather than an armed rebellion. Canada has recently gained admission into the Federated Union, the European superstate created to supplant the European Union and NATO. This will likely drive the Cabal to crack down even harder. It is aware that Canada now supports the Second Underground and likely fears that the Second Underground is part of some prelude to an invasion of the United States. That is only true in that Billy would like nothing more than to overthrow the Cabal, but the Europeans admitted Canada primarily to solidify their control over the Arctic Ocean, which because of global warming, was now navigable throughout much of the year. Regardless, these developments might force Brent’s hand.

 

The Armored Knights of the Twenty-First Century

When I was a kid, mom would take me to see Ironman, a movie about a billionaire who invented a suit of armor. It could do everything. Fly like a jet, lift a car over its head and shoot laser beams. I dreamed of building myself such a suit and fighting the bad guys. More than forty years later, such machines are a common sight among the world’s military. True, they cannot do all the things the Ironman suit could, yet few would have thought when the movie came out that anything remotely like it would ever exist. When you look at the long history of powered armor, previous generations can be forgiven for being so skeptical.


The fact of the matter is that it was an uphill battle to design such suits. Several technological hurdles existed that made them for the longest time impractical. Power was a major factor. Batteries didn’t generate enough juice to run the motors needed for movement, while nobody wanted to lug around a combustion engine on their back. Also, what would the muscles be made of? Hydraulics? Electric motors? Pistons? Hydraulics had long been used to power artificial limbs, like those utilized by construction excavators, but they are slow and not exactly ideal for delicate work. This might not be an issue for we humans, but that changes when you give someone superhuman strength. Imagine if you’re in a 1,000-pound suit of armor with the might of a rhino. You try to climb a flight of stairs but apply too much pressure to your steps. Instead of supporting your weight, the stair panel snaps and you fall through it. 


Believe it or not, the earliest attempts to build such a suit didn’t use any of the methods mentioned above. It relied purely on human power. It was designed by a Russian who went by the name of Nicholas Yagn. In the 1890s, he developed a contraption that employed compressed gas bags to assist people while they were going about their day. The device didn’t give people superhuman strength. Just made walking less taxing.


Man’s next attempt came in 1917. Called the pedomotor, it was invented by Leslie C. Kelley. It used a steam engine to power ligaments that acted in parallel with the wearer’s movement. Now, if you think hauling a combustion engine is bad, imagine one powered by burning coal. Still, the pedomotor showed it was possible to use an external power source to augment one’s strength, though it would be a while before another attempt was made.


General Electric, in partnership with the United States Armed Forces, built the first true powered armor in the 1960s. Called the Hardman, it amplified the wearer’s strength by a factor of 25. In other words, picking up 25 pounds with the suit would feel the same as lifting one pound without it. It relied on hydraulics and electricity for movement. It never got beyond the development stage due to significant shortcomings, primarily that the suit was slow and cumbersome. It weighed 1,500 pounds and could only move 2.5 feet per second. 


Other attempts would be made in the coming decades including Project Pitman and the Lifesuit. These too proved to be failures, not just because of the issues mentioned earlier, but because it was challenging to build a suit that responded naturally to a human’s movement. For example, you don’t want mechanical legs to force you into a run when you intend to walk, nor do you want the exoskeleton to interfere with how your pelvis twists. These issues limited what kind of motors could be used. Progress wouldn’t be made until computer science had advanced to the point that these technical problems could be addressed.


During the War of the Sands, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, South Korea, Germany, Australia, France, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Japan and Israel partnered in Project Hephaestus. Project Hephaestus was a research endeavor to come up with technologies that could win the war. Several avenues were explored, including attempts to reverse engineer the energy weapons the Saudis used. New quantum computers, augmented by advanced AIs, were deployed to accelerate the development and testing phase of these emerging technologies. Sometimes, shortcuts were taken to meet deadlines, but thanks to the new computers few proved fatal, and most defects were weeded out during the design phase. This enabled the U.S. and its allies to field new equipment in a relatively short period of time.  


One of these collaborative efforts was Project Spartan. It called for encasing a soldier in a suit of armor that both amplified his strength and made him immune to small arms fire. The team initially considered using hydrogen cells as the power source. However, after progress was made with Project Ankhlale, they replaced the hydrogen cells with a small thorium reactor that could provide 483 kW of energy for seven days of continues use.


The next issue they tackled was finding the right kind of motors to power the limbs. Several types were proposed including hydraulics, servomotors, pneumatic air muscles, and electroactive polymers. Electroactive polymers, which can change their shape and size when exposed to an electric field, would be used in future suits because they can be set up to mimic the natural way our muscles work, but the team decided to play it safe with Project Spartan. They went with a hybrid system. Hydraulics were attached to the major joints, where raw power was often needed, whereas servomotors offered speed and precision. The latter could be built small enough that they didn’t interfere with how our joints moved. Both were controlled by an onboard computer, which determined how much pressure was needed for each step.


To make the suit more responsive, the wearer had to undergo surgery. Electros were implanted in the brain. They relayed information from the user to the suit and vise versa, allowing for the delicate movements needed to open a door or operate a keyboard. The fingers and toes of the suit were equipped with sensors that simulated the sensation of touch. Not only did they tell the operator that he was holding something, but coupled with spectrometers in the fingers, the onboard computer could determine what the object was made of.  This gave the machine an idea of the density and tensile strength of the object it was interacting with. That way it didn’t squeeze with so much force that it accidentally crushed it.


The last challenge was figuring out what the suit would be composed of. Steel was dismissed because it was too heavy, while aluminum was considered too fragile. Carbon-nanotubes would have been every designer’s dream material, but at that point, manufacturing techniques made it impractical to build an entire suit out of it. Ultimately, the team settled with a titanium frame, over which several layers of ceramic, titanium, uranium, and carbon-fibers would be laid. To provide further protection, the operator would wear a bodysuit comprised of Kevlar and smart gel, the latter a liquid that hardened when subjected to kinetic force.


The finished product was called the Hercules Mark I, a seven-foot-nine-tall suit that weighed just over 1,000 pounds and made the user as strong as a rhino. Foot pads in the lower legs could be adjusted so multiple users could employ it. A layer of EMP-resistant armor shielded it from Saudi energy weapons, while a powered cooling vest sustained the operator in hot climates, like those found in Saudi Arabia. It granted full nuclear, biological and chemical protection. Its visor’s HUD was capable of night vision and targeting assistance. The suit’s onboard computer could link with the weapons used exclusively with the armor.


The T-7 Avenger was the Mark I’s primary weapon. This recoil-operated heavy machine gun utilized .50 BMG (12.7x99mm NATO) and had a rate of fire of 1,500 rounds per minute. It had an effective range of 2,000 yards and a maximum range of 2,700. It was made of ultra-light titanium. Even so, it weighed more than 250 pounds, though much of this was due to the five large magazines it carried. The T-7 had a hydraulic system that spat out a spent magazine and moved a new one down the under barrel of the gun. It was capable of being fitted with several attachments, including a missile launcher and a flamethrower.


Other weapons included the T-8 Accuser (a .75 caliber battle rifle), the T-9 Windowmaker (a 30mm sniper rifle) and the T-10 Merlin (a multi-chamber rocket launcher). Each of these weapons was designed for aircrafts and light armored vehicles, but because of the strength enhancing capabilities of the suit, could be handled with ease, even when the user was holding a battle shield in their other hand. The battle shield could repel all but tank weapons and allowed a single combatant to hold his own against several squads.


The Mark I would only appear near the end of the war, though it would see widespread use in the coming decade. However, by 2030, it was supplanted by the Mark II. The Mark II offered several notable improvements, including a more simplistic designed that made it easier and cheaper to produce. Its armored plates were replaced with a hyper-alloy that was less bulky and which provided a greater range of mobility. More powerful hydraulics increased the armor’s strength by 23%. A new onboard computer further improved a soldier’s accuracy, which along with facial recognition software, could help him distinguish between friendlies and enemy combatants. Because of the larger thorium reactor, the suit weighed the same as the Mark I, but it could now operate for longer periods of time and take greater punishment.


In 2034, the patents for both the Mark I and Mark II were bought by an English tech firm called Watson Industries. It would introduce the Mark III seven years later. The Mark III was considered a quantum leap to the Mark II. The hydraulics and electric motors were scrapped in favor of an electroactive polymer musculature. These artificial muscles offered superior strength over hydraulics, as well as faster response times. The thorium reactor was smaller but more efficient. The suit weighed 17% less than the Mark II yet offered superior protection. It would be sold around the world, except in the United States and China.


In 2047, Watson Industries began selling the Mark IV. This suit was slimmer than the Mark III and weighed half that of the Mark II. It was the first model were the wearer didn’t require surgery to operate. Instead, the helmet came with sensors that could read the user’s brainwaves and send signals via small pads attached to the skin. The thorium reactor was swapped for a miniature antimatter core. It delivered several megawatts of power, enough to run not only the suit but external weapon systems, including the T-13 Devastator Railgun. The frame was made of carbon nanotubes, while its armor plates were made of a metal that could “heal,” as well as provide twice the level of protection as the Mark III. This reduced the weight of the suit while improving structural integrity and longevity. The Mark IV had a hafnium, tantalum and carbon coating that enabled it to resist temperatures as high as 7,460 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, it had a built-in retractable battle shield in both wrists, as well as a thigh compartment where it could carry a pistol. The Mark IV is sold only to member states of the Federated Union.  


While the Hercules series is the premier suit of powered armor on the market, it is by no means the only one. The most famous of them is the Cherubim. Introduce in 2043; the Cherubim was a heavily modified Hercules Mark II produced by Adams Corps. International and was met to compete with the Mark III. The servomotors had been replaced with electroactive polymers, though the qualities of these muscles were considered inferior to those utilized in the Mark III, so it still relied on hydraulics when true feats of strength were required. Its onboard targeting computer was both inferior to the Mark I and Mark II, with some wearers complaining that it hindered accuracy. To be fair to Adams Corps., current U.S. regulations outlaw most targeting computers on “theological grounds.” The Cherubim also came equipped with the Mark III’s more efficient thorium reactor. The only thing it did better than the Mark III was in armor, which was good enough that most soldiers felt they didn’t need to rely on a battle shield. That and the lack of a proper targeting computer meant they required their other arm to help them aim. Still, the Cherubim was an inferior design. That Adams Corps. has never bothered to role out a Cherubim Mark II is a testament not only to the monopoly it has in the U.S. but how far America has fallen. Only third world nations purchase their suits, and that is mainly due to the American dollar has been so devalued that they can be bought for next to nothing. Still, those that do will immediately swap out the targeting computer for something better.


The Chinese, with their fondness for autonomous robots, have mostly neglected to develop a powered armor that would be on par with what’s found in the West. But when officers must lead bots into battle or a team of special forces need to infiltrate an enemy facility, they will endow themselves in the C-35 Battle Hazard Suit. This stripped-down exoskeleton was designed to be worn over regular armor. Sold with a helmet that looked like something you might see a motorcyclist wear, it could be attached to the suit and pressurized, meaning that the soldier could survive in hazardous environments thanks to an air filter built into the helmet. It augmented the wearer’s strength by a factor of 45, though its armor plates wouldn’t stop anything beyond an assault rifle. What it lacked in protection it made up with greater mobility, as well as a wide suite of electronic warfare capabilities. The C-35 came equipped with a sensor package that enabled Chinese soldiers to see through walls. They could also jam enemy transmissions and listen into enemy chatter. Its antimatter backpack made it possible for them to operate hand-held lasers, and these were slowly phasing out traditional firearms.


Having brought up the C-35, I might as well talk about China’s response to the powered armor:  the C-47 Jiangshi Battle Bot. Named after a type of vampire found in Chinese mythology, this humanoid autonomous drone towered over the Hercules Mark IV at eight-foot-one. It had two shoulder-mounted laser cannons, both of which were of the 250-kW range. It held a double-handed sword in each of its upper arms, while its thinner lower arms were designed to miniplate keyboards or turn door knobs. It had an advanced brain that enabled it to navigate obstacles, interact with tools, drive cars, obey verbal commands and distinguish between enemy combatants and civilians. Its targeting computers were on par with those utilized in the Hercules Mark IV, and they had an antimatter core to run everything.


Now, there are plenty of drones or bots out there that I could name. Both the Chinese and the Americans utilize them extensively in their armies, most of which have taken the place of tanks and aircrafts. Many can’t be called humanoid. They might be bipedal, though the six-legged Tianlong Destroyer certainly isn’t. No one would mistake them as powered armor and not just because they aren’t piloted by humans. However, there is a weapon system that often is, one that could be considered the logical progression of power armor: the mecha.


Many consider the mecha the ultimate weapon of war. Basically, it’s a giant robot (19 feet tall) piloted by a human, with its ability to mimic bipedal motion making it more agile and maneuverable than any tank or car. And while there are some wheeled vehicles with a greater top speed, none handle rough terrain quite like a mecha. It can even climb walls. The only downside is that it is more complex, and thus more difficult to repair. That being said, mechas can remain operational after losing a limb or two. If needed, a mecha can crawl through the mud, using only its arms to pull itself along. Let’s see how far a car can get with only three wheels.


The mecha’s development mirrored that of the powered armor’s, mainly because many of the same challenges confronted existed when designing giant robots. In fact, mechas had even more. While you didn’t have to worry about making a mecha fit the dimensions of the human body, there is the dreaded square-cube law to consider, i.e., when you increase a robot’s mass, this doesn’t translate into a relative increase in bone density and muscle strength.

Their extreme weight would also mean that they would slowly sink into the soil because of ground pressure. Drones like the Tianlong and the Seraphim overcame this by employing four to six legs, as well as being outfitted with thrusters and helium tanks to reduce weight and push back against the downward pull of gravity. Shenlongs, Gabriels and Patersons, on the other hand, addressed this by having wider feet to reduce ground pressure and a lower center of mass. They were also nowhere near as big as the Tianlongs and Seraphims. Humanoid mechs couldn’t take advantage of these techniques, since they had to walk upright.


The earliest attempt at building a mech took place before the War of the Sands. In 2012, the Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industry unveiled the Kuratas. This mech stood 4 meters tall and weighed 4,500 kg. It had four legs, yet it was incapable of walking. Instead, it used four wheels to propel the mech to a top speed of 10km/h. The pilot road inside the mech’s chest. The Kuratas was designed for entertainment, having a range of ‘weapons’ that included a water bottle launcher and a twin BB rotary cannon. Its most notable feature was its iron claw, a robotic hand controlled by a bio-sensor glove worn by the pilot and could pick up objects.


In South Korea, Hankook Mirae Technology developed the Method-2, the first functioning humanoid mech. This mech stood at 13-feet-tall and weighed 1.6-tons. It could walk, but your 93-year-old grandma could beat it in a race. This was frustrating because for years, engineers had been building bipedal robots like the Honda’s ASIMO or Boston Dynamic’s Atlas. They could even make them backflip. Why couldn’t Hankook Mirae Technology get their Method-2 to walk properly? Again, it all had to do with the square-cube law. ASIMO was the size of a child, while Atlas was as big as a man. Material science and servomotors had advanced enough back then that you could design such robots, but not something as big as the Method-2.


Its creators would never get a chance to address these flaws. North Korea conquered South Korea in 2021. Other companies would continue their work, including Watson Industries. In 2035, the British firm unveiled the Titan Mark I. By this point, science had progressed that it could address the technical issues that hindered the Method-2. The frame was made of light-weight carbon nanotubes, while instead of servomotors, it utilized military-grade electroactive polymers. It towered over the Method-2 at nineteen feet. It was heavier at ten tons, but much of this extra weight was because of armor. A megawatt thorium reactor supplied it with all the power it would ever need and was lighter than previous designs.


Another feature that set the Titan Mark I apart from other vehicles was its modular design. Because it was humanoid, it could carry external armaments like a real soldier. The 30mm Reaper Rifle was the Titan Mark I’s primary weapon. This seven-barrel beast was capable of 3,200 rounds per minute and could hit targets as far away as 5,000 yards with pinpoint accuracy. Other armaments included the Riot Gun (a shotgun-like weapon), the Tone Rifle (a 50mm semi-auto cannon), the Northstar Sniper Rifle (a 120mm semi-auto cannon designed), and the Siege Cannon (250 self-propelled artillery rifle) and the Scorcher (a grenade launcher).

  

The base model of the Titan I also included two shoulder-mounted missile racks, and a 50. Caliber machine gun on its left arm. Some base models switched the machine gun out for an electro-laser, so it could instead handle an eleven-foot-long diamond-tipped sword. They did add to its overall weight, but its muscles were strong enough that it could easily carry a second Titan. It would perform a support role in European armies, and become an iconic symbol of the Federated Union, featuring prominently in promotional materials, including TV ads and posters.


In 2051, the Titan Mark II went into production. It lost the Reaper Rifle as its standard in favor for a 75mm Avalanche Railgun. It needed an antimatter core to power the rifle, since a thorium reactor didn’t produce enough juice. Other enhancements included a jetpack, which allowed the mech to jump as high as two hundred feet into the air. A double barrel electro-laser cannon replaced one of the shoulder-mounted missile racks, while the other one was made larger to fit additional rockets. The and a heavy ballistic shield were now standard, and the ballistic shield could retract into the forearm. The latter resulted in the mech being called the Iron Knight, named after the famous mecha rider Han Szlovák, the Hero of Budapest.


Watson Industries was already in the works of developing an even more advanced model: the Mark III. It was going to be capable of sustained flight. However, in 2052, the test pilot of the only working prototype killed the lead designer and stole the mech. A few months later, he reappeared on American television. The Federated Union lodged a protest with the United States government, demanding that they surrender the traitor and return the suit. America’s ambassador denied any knowledge of their lost mech, and the incident has sparked tensions between the two nations, with the Federated Union threating possible sanctions.


The Pan-African Republic has its own mech: the Kokou Battle Mech. Like the Titan, it was based on the South Korean Method-2. However, whereas the Titan was built from the ground up to create something distinct, the Kokou was basically a Method-2 with weapons slapped onto its thirteen-foot-tall frame. It came equipped with two shoulder-mounted 50. Cal machine guns, back up by rocket pods. In its hands, it typically held a 110mm belt-fed grenade launcher, while others carried an American-made 30mm GAU-8 Avenger. Though it was based on the Method-2, its legs had been reworked to give it greater mobility and speed. It could sprint as fast as 50 miles per hour, and its thorium core meant it could operate for several weeks without refueling. Earlier models had poor armor, but later generations were considered comparable to Titan Mark Is. The Kokou would become a source of pride for the Pan-African Republic. 


When I was a kid, Ironman and Gundam were the stuff of science fiction. Now we live in a world full of robots, mechs, and suits that make people superhuman. That was only forty years ago. Forty years ago, we couldn’t imagine we would have robotic knights, just like we couldn’t believe we would have colonized Mars and Venus. What can we expect forty years from now? I don’t know, but hopefully, I will be flying like Ironman.     `

 

The Coming of the Robot

There was a time when robots were purely the stuff of science fiction. Stories like Robocop and I, Robot painted a world where they worked alongside their human creators, while the Terminator movies warned of a coming AI apocalypse. Machines haven’t taken over, not yet, but by 2052, they have become a common sight in our daily lives. Rescue bots have replaced firefighters in search and rescue missions, not only increasing the likelihood of saving lives but reducing risk to those attempting the rescue. And while killer robots have been outlawed in most European countries, they can be found among the armies of Asia and the United States.


Robots have been around since ancient times, if only as figments of our imagination. The Greek god Hephaestus was said to have mechanical servants. The clay golem of Jewish legend could also be considered a robot. They might not have been built with circuits, but remember, a robot is just a machine that can perform complex tasks automatically. That is why industrial arms seen in modern factories are called robots. Still, humanoid robots like the golem were just myths, and that would remain the case for hundreds, if not thousands of years.


In 1495, Leonardo da Vinci designed one of the earliest humanoid robots. Called the automaton knight, it used pulleys and cables to move its limbs. It could sit, stand and maneuver its arms. It wore medieval armor – did da Vinci foresee the coming of killer robots? –  and was first unveiled to the court of Milan. In the 1950s, the designs for the robot were rediscovered, and a version of it was built, proving once and for all that the robot functioned as reported.


In 1774, Pierre Jacquet-Droz and his son created several automata. The most famous was the Draughtsman, the Writer, and the Musician. These mechanical boys and girls were made of wood, and each had a special talent. The Draughtsman could draw four pictures: Louis XV, a couple, a dog and Cupid riding a chariot being pulled along by a butterfly. The Musician played the organ, while the Writer could draft messages that were up to 40 characters long. They were considered remote ancestors to the modern computer and were built to entertain nobility.


In 1921, Czech writer Karel Capek coined the word robot. It was derived from the word robota, which in Czech and Polish mean “labor, drudgery.” Seven years later, William Richards and Alan Reffell made the first modern attempt to build a humanoid robot called Eric. Like da Vinci’s medieval automaton, Eric could stand and sit, though it couldn’t move its arms. It could also bow and communicate via a built-in speaker and radio. On its chest, the letters “R.U.R” had been engraved, which was a reference to the robot manufacturer in Karel Capek’s 1920 play R.U.R. In 1930, Eric would go missing, never to be seen again.


In the coming decades, research in humanoid robots would be slow. Most of the work went into designing the legs, since this was long seen as the most difficult challenge. In 1970, Miomir Vukobratovic came up with a theoretical model to explain bipedal locomotion called Zero Moment Point. Two years later, he would design the first active anthropomorphic exoskeleton. MIT and the United States Military would also research this area during the 1980s.


Progress in bipedal locomotion would begin to pick up speed in the 2000s. The Japanese car company Honda introduced its 11th humanoid robot, ASIMO, to the world in 2000. This revolutionary robot could run and was long seen as the pinnacle of bipedal robotics. It would be showcased around the world and receive numerous upgrades along the way. It wouldn’t face real competition until Boston Dynamic unveiled the Atlas in 2013. This robot could maintain an upright stance even when being pushed around by humans and could also perform a backflip. Progress would continue at this pace until the outbreak of the War of the Sands.


In the fall of 2019, Saudi Arabia, now going by the name the Islamic Caliphate, invaded Israel. Its forces were armed with futuristic weapons powered by antimatter. This development caught the world by surprise, and for the first time in many decades, the United States and its allies found themselves up against a technologically superior enemy. To rectify this, they initiated Project Hephaestus. Project Hephaestus called for the collaboration of over a dozen countries to develop technologies that could win the war. It relied on quantum supercomputers to speed up development. One of the projects that were given the green light was Project Talos.


Much of the work for Project Talos took place in Japan. The Japanese had long been building robots and already had some of the most advanced designs out on the market. They teamed up with American companies like Boston Dynamics to create a robot that could go toe-to-toe with the Saudi Al-‘Uzzá. super tank. Very early on in the development phase, they faced several design challenges, many of which related to the square-cube law. Basically, it was easy to make a robot the size of a man, but things got complicated when you went bigger.


The first problem was finding a material that could handle the weight of the robot. A team of researchers at MIT provided them with a solution. Using graphene, they managed to create a 3D mesh-like structure that was ten times stronger than steel but had only five percent of its density. The structure, while light, was particularly bulky, making it less than ideal for the powered exoskeleton being developed for Project Spartan, but perfect for Project Talos. It made up the legs of the robot, which would be based on the autonomy of a bird. This design offered a lower center of mass, improving stability, while the wide feet reduced ground pressure.


The next hurdle the engineers had to overcome was powering the muscles needed to propel the robot forward. A combustion engine was considered both too loud and not powerful enough, but batteries hadn’t advanced to the point that they were a practical alternative. Project Ankhlale, which was trying to create a portable reactor that could compete with the antimatter cores the Saudis were using, offered an answer. The thorium reactor they had developed, once scaled proportionally, could supply the megawatts needed to power the robot.


The last and final challenge was developing both the software and hardware that enabled the robot to navigate the battlefield and pick its targets without input from a human operator. This was critical because the Saudis had the means to disable communication satellites over a combat zone, thus making conventual drones unreliable in many circumstances. This required teaching the robot not only how to distinguish between civilians and armed combatants, but to know when to open fire. This proved so complicated that it wasn’t solved until after the war had ended. By then, the Middle East was a nuclear wasteland, and the United States had gone bankrupt.


Project Talos continued in Japan by Shitsuyona Industries. Their solution to the AI problem employed a combination of facial recognition software, evolutionary algorithms, behavioral subroutines, ethical protocols, and a neural network to create a system that was able to not only tell people apart but know when an approaching individual posed a threat. It would be tested in millions of simulated combat scenarios, scoring a 99.997% success rate before being introduced to the world in 2025 as the WD-1 Nobunaga Walking Destroyer.


The Nobunaga, known in the United States as the Paterson, weighed just under seventy-five tons. The robot stood taller than an Abram tank at 14 feet, with a width of 17 feet and a length of 21 feet, though that extended to 32 feet if you included the barrel of the main gun. The primary weapon was a back-mounted 140mm artillery autocannon, backed up by a double-barrel 33mm rotary cannon in each arm pod. Those pods also housed four surface-to-air missiles for anti-air defense. Lastly, a machine gun hung from the underbelly. The Nobunaga could reach speeds of 32 mph. While this made it slower than an Abram, it was more heavily armored and armed.


Governments around the world began making orders. Even the United States purchased a few, but only after Japan lifted sanctions. With Uncle Sam being strapped for cash, the procurement was highly controversial, but it was necessary because the company that had produced the Abram had gone out of business. The U.S. Military no longer had the means to maintain the tank, so a replacement had to be found. The only “made in America” alternative was Adams Corps International, but their tank, the M-101 Leviathan, was still undergoing testing.


The Nobunaga would go without a rival until 2029 when China introduced the C-29 Jiaolong. Some considered it as little more than a cheap knockoff, though truth be told, the Jiaolong was a very different beast, with a lighter chassis and a faster top speed: 52 miles per hour. This superior speed came with a trade-off: lighter armor and less powerful weapons. Its right arm housed a double-barrel 70mm autocannon, while a missile rack made up the left arm. It could be equipped with multiple types of missiles, including surface-to-air and anti-tank rockets. Its chin-mounted machine guns gave it effective anti-infantry capabilities.


After unveiling the WD-1 Nobunaga, Shitsuyona Industries began miniaturizing its neural network. That component alone weighed 3.2 tons and required a megawatt of energy, not to mention that it was the most expensive part of the robot, costing a mind-boggling 2 million dollars. Much of the juice was used to bring the quantum computer’s core to near absolute zero. This is necessary because quantum computers function on the atomic level. Atoms vibrate when excited, as is the case when they are at room temperature, and these vibrations produce false readings. Overcoming this limitation proved challenging, but the rewards were multiple.


Shitsuyona Industries looked at work being conducted by a team from Switzerland, Australia, and Germany on carbon nanospheres. Nanospheres are balls of carbon a few billionths of a metres wide. They are created by burning naphthalene in oxygen, resulting in a sphere packed with disordered carbon atoms. Their disordered interiors allowed for electrons to flow freely through them. When exposed to a magnetic field in temperatures of 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit, they spun. To become a quantum logic gate, they needed to turn for at least 100 nanoseconds. These carbon nanospheres could maintain a spin for almost double that: 175 nanoseconds.


Their second-generation neural network weighed 8.40oz, a drastic reduction when compared to the 3.2 tons original and ran on 150 watts of power. This revolutionary CPU opened whole new avenues for the company. It didn’t just mean they could build a lighter Nobunaga and not just because it had a smaller CPU. It could use a lighter engine because the older model was no longer needed to keep the CPU cool. It also meant it could be fitted into airplanes, portable computers and even be used as the brain for a new generation of human-size androids.


The first application of this technology was the H-1 Hideyoshi. This battle bot stood six-foot-seven tall and weighed roughly 370 pounds. It could perform numerous tasks: driving cars, operating hand tools, moving rubble and navigating difficult terrain. Civilian models were used for search and rescue, while military units could employ existing weapons including pistols, machine guns, rifles, and shotguns. Its joints utilized a combination of hydraulics and servomotors. It was only forty times stronger than a human, not nearly as impressive as powered armor, but on the other hand, when it died on the battlefield, no one was weeping over its loss. The Hideyoshi would be introduced in 2031 and become a common sight in many militaries.


While the Nobunaga would be upgraded to include the new CPU, shedding ten tons in the process, Shitsuyona Industries was already working on an entirely new robot: the WD-2 Tsuchigumo Walking Destroyer. This killer robot was lighter, weighing at 55.7 tons, yet offered a more adaptive weapon package including two 110mm rapid-fire autocannons, two heavy machine guns, two shoulder-mounted ground-to-air missile racks and a chin-mounted grenade launcher. An autocannon and machine gun were paired and housed in each of the robot’s two arms, and it walked on two bird-like legs. Its “fighter-jet” like body gave it a sleek, aerodynamic look, creating the impression that it was moving even as it was standing still. It could achieve speeds of 67 mph. It would see brief combat near the end of the First Imperium War, and when Japan fell to China, it would be incorporated into the Chinese army and renamed the Shenlong.


In 2042, Adams Corps International, an arms manufacturer based in the United States, stole the plans for the Shenlong, and twelve months later, unveiled a variant of the design called the Gabriel Walking Destroyer. This drone lacked many key features found in the Shenlong. Its more primitive targeting computer meant it couldn’t be equipped with the Shenlong’s ground-to-air missile racks. Much of its frame was made of titanium rather than graphene mesh. This was likely done to save money, though it resulted in the drone being significantly more cumbersome and slower. Its greatest defect wasn’t made as a cost-saving measure, but to placate the theocratic government that had come to power in America in 2029 and which ruled with an iron fist. 


The Ethical Science Act of 2029 states that no technology can be utilized if it violates biblical teachings. This includes the Shenlong’s operating system because it’s based on evolutionary algorithms. This meant the Gabriel’s reworked operating system couldn’t make full use of the Shenlong’s neural network. Unlike it, or even the older Nobunaga, the Gabriel would be incapable of telling the difference between civilians and enemy combatants. It would open fire after informing the target to lower his weapon and did so regardless if the person complied. The Gabriel was so stupid that it was even known to attack woodland creatures. Soldiers working alongside it had to wear friend-and-foe tags, or the machine would turn on them.


Another design Adams Corps stole was blueprints for a drone that had partaken in Beijing’s Next Gen Competition. This contest had been set up to pick China’s first heavy assault robot. The design Adams Corps took wasn’t the winner. That was the Tianlong. However, the model was still a formidable one. It stood at 114 feet tall and weighed just shy of 300 tons. It was held up by four spider-like legs. The drone had a bulbous top, causing some to mistake it for a metal octopus or a Kraken. Much of this was taken up by an armored helium-filled bag that helped the robot stand upright. Assisting it were six turbofans built into the main body.


The drone, called a Seraphim Walking Destroyer, had an impressive amount of armaments. Its main guns were four 240mm rotary-style autocannons. Fifty missiles were housed within the chest cavity of the drone. Lastly, it had a pair of heavy machine guns located on either side of its torso. They offered anti-missile and anti-infantry defense. The Seraphim was only capable of 17 mph. The Chinese version had two of its 240mm cannons replaced with ten-megawatt laser cannons and was to be powered by an antimatter core. It would also be built using carbon nanotubes, making it eighty-nine tons lighter than the model that Adams Corps ultimately marketed. Like the Gabriel, the Seraphim’s AI was subpar to those utilized by China, and soldiers fighting alongside it must always wear a friend-and-foe tag or risk being shot at. Even with a card, there is the possibility that the Seraphim will step on you as it makes its way to its destination.


In 2047, the WD-3 Tianlong Walking Destroyer would be introduced alongside an updated Shenlong. Both would abandon ballistics for energy-based weapons. The Tianlong, which strutted around on six massive legs, weighed less than a Seraphim, yet dwarfed it in size. It was the result of a new lighter-than-air material called carbon-steel-areo-gel. It was meshed with carbon nanotubes that incorporated a micro-lattice design to offer unparallel buoyancy and strength. Enhancing its lightness were bags in the upper body that held tranium gas. Like helium and hydrogen in that, it was lighter than air, tranium wouldn’t combust when exposed to heat.


The Tianlong featured four ten-megawatt laser cannons backed up by six megawatt pulse cannons, the latter located on the knee of each leg. Its only ballistic weapons were a pair of rail guns. Each capable of toppling a skyscraper with a single shot, they required twenty-five megawatts to function. The antimatter core that supplied power was housed deep within the drone’s chest, making it difficult to reach. The Tianlong’s composite armor offered it unbeatable protection. It could take hits from artillery pieces without showing signs of damage.


The updated Shenlong, on the other hand, traded in its autocannons for two-megawatt lasers and its heavy machine guns for 500-kilowatt pulse lasers. It still had the shoulder-mounted missile racks and the chin-mounted grenade launcher but attached to the grenade launcher was an electro-laser capable of stunning organic targets. Powered by an antimatter core, the Shenlong could use the waste heat to fuel jetpacks built into its back. The explosive force propelled it as high as 350 feet into the air, allowing the robot to ‘leapfrog’ across the battlefield. 


A few months later, China would introduce a new human-size killer robot: the C-47 Jiangshi Battle Bot. Named after a type of vampire found in Chinese mythology, it towered over powered armor at eight-foot-one. It had two shoulder-mounted laser cannons, both of which were of the 250-kW range. It held a double-handed sword in each of its upper arms, while its thinner lower arms were designed to miniplate keyboards or turn door knobs. Its targeting computers were on par with those utilized in the Hercules Mark IV, and they had an antimatter core to run everything.


Rumour has it that the Chinese were working on a replacement for the Jiangshi, which by the time this article is published, will have celebrated its fifth birthday. This new model would be smaller and feature a revolutionary biochip. It is believed that the biochip was created using monkey brains. It would make the robot capable of creative thinking, generalized learning, and independent initiative. While all robots are autonomous, that means they can decide for themselves whether to engage an opponent, a robot capable of independent initiative could determine which missions it wanted to go on. Some experts worried that this would be a sign of self-awareness and cautioned against developing such a robot. It might not matter. There are reports that the facility had been hit and that the scientists there were massacred. No one has taken responsibility for the attack, nor is it known what became of the prototypes being developed.


Besides the military, robots can be found in every industry imaginable. The neural network initially built for the Hideyoshi battle bot allows servant bots to help old people live in their homes. Janitor robots keep our offices clean. Massive 3D printers produce our buildings in a tenth of the time. Sex robots are clothed in synthetic skin and have come to dominate that industry, offering safe sex at affordable prices. This tech revolution has led to large-scale layoffs, but most countries have adapted, often by adopting a form of universal basic income. People are given enough to survive, though not enough that they might decide not to look for work. Access to affordable, if not free, higher education ensures that most people find gainful employment.


This is not true everywhere. People who flee the United States speak of large sections of the population starving while robots man factories that once offered middle-class wages. However, they also tell stories about child labor and how much of America’s wilderness has been devastated by deforestation, fracking, and pollution. The U.S. is the only nation that burns coal to generate power, and there are few, if any, regulations placed on them. America is not an example of the dangers of technology, but a warning of what happens when an ideology, in this case, laissez-faire capitalism, is taken to an extreme. Its rich have allowed things to get this bad.


There is another ideology that has come to dominance in the United States, Christian Dominionism, and it explains why their robots are mindless killing machines. As stated earlier, modern robotics use evolutionary algorithms in both their operating systems and in the development of the neural network. However, the Ethical Science Act outlaws evolutionary algorithms because they promote the theory of evolution, which is considered heresy under the act. Gates Industries servant robots seem to function fine regardless. Its CEO claims his company has found a workaround. More likely, they have been good at hiding the outlawed code and have paid off enough officials to look the other way. Why Adams Corps International, the company that manufactures America’s killer robots, don’t do the same is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they don’t know how, or more likely, they have bought into the propaganda.


Robotics has come a long way in the last few decades. They are almost as advanced as those seen in the Terminator or Robocop series. Who knows where the technology is headed. Could we humans one day shed our mortal forms for one made of steel? The synthetic skin found on sex robots is very lifelike, and we are starting to build artificial limbs using it. We can even program it to mimic the sensation of touch.  Still, their metal brains are no match for the one found in our skulls. Perhaps the Chinese can resurrect the biochip they were designing. 

 

I, Inquisitor

I, Inquisitor is the long-running television series produced by Biblical Studios. It tells the story of Natasha Veselovsky, an Inquisitor who is called upon to defend morality in America. A propaganda piece, the series falsely portrays Inquisitors as orphans taken in by the Department of Understanding (DOU). In truth, they are genetically modified humans created by the DOU to be expendable foot soldiers. It is explained that Natasha’s superhuman powers come from divine intervention rather than genetic modification. For the first seventeen seasons, Natasha was pitted against the Brotherhood of Sin, CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations), the Southern Poverty Law Center, Amnesty International, and the Council of Zion, as well as spies from various world governments. However, with the start of the Third American Civil War in 2052, Natasha finds herself facing off against the Second Underground Railroad.


Rachel Renaldas originally played Natasha. She was fired after season fifteen because she was considered too old to continue the role and was replaced by Melissa Feldman. Natasha’s backstory is almost non-existent. It is suggested that her parents were drug addicts who died from AIDs and that she spent her early years on the street. This could be interesting if the writers had bothered to explore this period of her life, but other than mentioning it once in the second episode, this facet of her life is never addressed again. Because the series tries to promote the conservative ideal of a woman, Natasha demonstrates several negative stereotypes. She can be emotional, even irrational and hotheaded, at times, with her male counterparts often joking that it must be that time of the month. She will act submissive when in the presence of a male superiors and needs a man’s help doing simple tasks, like screwing in a lightbulb. She constantly talks about wanting kids, but because Inquisitors take an oath of celibacy, that’s out of the question. Frankly, Natasha’s personality is shallow and underdeveloped. If she was meant to humanize Inquisitors in the eyes of the public, the series’ writers failed miserably. 


The other main cast members are High Inquisitor Joseph Donald, played by Hendrick Kasparian, Secretary of Understanding Steve Municide, played by Victor Buttigieg, and Richard McConnell, played by George Barr. Donald is the most important of the three, acting as mentor and father figure for Natasha. Truth be told, he and the others are as uninteresting as Natasha, with Donald being little more than an empty suit, a strict authoritarian who always follows the rules. If Natasha was more rebellious, more assertive, there might be potential for some drama, but no, Natasha does whatever Donald tells her, no questions asked. 


In seasons one to three, Natasha finds herself up against the Brotherhood of Sin. A pro-LGBT organization, the Brotherhood’s goals are as follow: one, destroy the institution of traditional marriage, two, spread the deadly HIV virus and three, turn impressionable children gay. It is led by Davion Hendrick, a flamboyant, but deeply disturbed gay man. In season one, we learn that the Brotherhood created the HIV virus a hundred years ago with the help of Satan. Season two ends with Natasha joining the organization, though in season three, it is revealed that she is a double agent working to bring the brotherhood down from within. 


Seasons four, five, six and seven feature CAIR (the Counsel of Islamic-American Relations) as the primary agonist. Unlike its real-life counterpart, the CAIR of the I, Inquisitor series isn’t interested in improving relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, but rather bringing Sharia law to the United States. Ironically, this fictional CAIR behaves and holds beliefs identical to the DOU, and there is no attempt to explain how the two are different, except to say that Allah is the Devil in disguise and that Mohamad was a false prophet. Of the four seasons, season six is considered the best, with Natasha trying to stop CAIR from detonating a nuke in New York. Season seven ends in a cliff-hanger, with the audience believing Natasha is dead.


In the start of season eight, Natasha awakes up in a landfill after having a vision of Jesus Christ. No attempt is made to explain how she got there or why she is still alive, though fans of the series hold that she was healed by the power of Jesus. The Southern Poverty Law Center is the chief antagonist of the next four seasons. Like CAIR, they are based on a real-life organization that existed before the rise of the DOU. They claim to be against hatred and bigotry, but throughout the four seasons, it is revealed that their true goal is to bring down the white race. Natasha works with the KKK and other white supremist groups to combat the Southern Poverty Law Center. In season ten, she befriends Carl Smith, the charismatic leader of the KKK. Though they are just friends, it is heavily implied that Natasha is attracted to him.


The next four seasons (thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen) feature Amnesty International as the main villain. They are foreigners who have come to America’s shore to protest the human rights abuses of the Department of Understanding. (The real Amnesty International does list the U.S. as one of the worst violators of human rights.)  During the four seasons, it is slowly revealed that Amenity International’s true agenda is flooding America with illegal migrants. An absurd idea since these days, people are trying to escape the U.S., not get in. Again, Natasha works with the KKK to prevent America from being swamped with non-whites.


Season seventeen featured the Council of Zion, a pro-Jewish lobby that secretly controls many American corporations and uses its money to influence U.S. politicians. It was supposed to reappear in season eighteen, but with the onset of the Third American Civil War, it was decided that the Second Underground should take its place. Actors were casted to play known members of the resistance, including Amanda, Katy and Catherina Adams and Matt Berkeley. Since it is the policy of the DOU that Inquisitor don’t defect, the truth about Katy and Catherina being former Inquisitors is kept hidden. The Second Underground is portrayed as a group dedicated to overthrowing the U.S. government and putting women in charge.


Despite being poorly written and lacking much in the way of character development, I, Inquisitor has been nominated and won countless awards over the years. Critics of the series, and they are legion, believe that the Department of Understanding has played a hand in this, using their influence to see that judges rule in their favor. If not for their intervention, it is very likely that I, Inquisitor would have been shelved long ago.

 

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