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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    Colonel Lucas Buffet looked up. The dusty slopes stretched thirstily for the clouds.
    He looked down. The surf roared at the shingle, hungry, always hungry.
    He looked around, waiting, and ignoring the breeze for the Appalachian bluff was surrounded by foul seas. Liberty Pilgrims, the last to land, waddled out of the dark green waves, faces tilted against the wind. They cursed their ritual shackles, and then crossed themselves as they looked up, passed him and his men, to the peak.
    To the Temple of Deliverance, dedicated to the great Libby's birth, where it was said that the waters broke.
    The Colonel was a tall man in a dress uniform. He glanced at his second in command. Major Warmington had told him that such places were so rare once, that they had their own geographical term.
    " 'Islands' they were called," said Warmington.
    Well, the Colonel thought, I will keep an eye on you, Major. True, they had often discussed their interest in old words over a dram or two, as they called it, but... really.
    Turning his attention back to the carved stones at his feet, the Jaguars, scientists and other monsters stared back at him, open mouthed, fanged but credulous. A gong was struck, sounding thin in the dull booms coming up from the shore. The yelping had stopped sometime earlier, and the irons had cooled by now. The Preachers did not seem to be rushing. The Colonel could hear under Warmington's breathing an almost silent prayer.
    Colonel Lucas Buffet had come south a hundred leagues along the Appalachian Archipelago with his Three Hundred Battalion, though there were nearly seven hundred Marines under his command. The whole trip he had wondered about the battalion's name. Major Warmington had no idea either but said that having seven hundred did not shame the Battalion. Only God knew.
    He waited, thoughts idling without prayer. A thousand northern hills in the Archipelago had formed a Boston Free Party and 'withdrawn' from the United Hills. The reasons why they seceded escaped the Colonel. Though, no doubt, like most important matters of men at the edge, this was likely to be minor. A corrupt official, a new tax, or a new Melungeon-Jakatar Chronicle. However, it was too much like the way One China declared war on the odd hill in the Asian watery plain that claimed it wasn't One with China. No, not at all, never. And instead was the ancient Kingdom of Tibet. Or Nepal. Or Greece, or something.
    But then again, why not go to war, for at least as a warrior, however heretical, one could avoid being a slave, or a Preacher's bastard son.
    Was that not his own path?
    The Colonel was about to eye Warmington again when the cloud horn blew. The Colonel kept his head bowed, for here at Deliverance even a Colonel had to wait until the third boom. Instead, the Colonel reflected on the hunt, skirmish, and capture. A scouting boat appeared on the horizon. A day later five of the heretics had been killed, but one had usefully survived. Warmington had been almost too good in pulling him out of the water. Lucky man.
    "Not only should torture be done," Libby had preached, "it should be seen to be done. For its purpose is not mere pain, nor just the uncovering of Truth. In touching it does not just reach for information. That data is but driftwood on the shore. Torture's real purpose is the righteous society that only fear and the hammering of souls can bring. Oh yes, they will all become one with us, just as all hills are united, connected as they are under the foul oceans of disbelief and heresy. For by hearing of the pain unbelievers will come into the fold, or fold into the waves."
    Thus the first Temple was built, and the first mass sacrificed.
    But heresy is a warm flood, and these rainbows of rendition were not enough. Weeks later a groundswell of disbelief had caused the first gushing flood of sea level rises. So now, far to the south, an orange buoy marks the drowned Tower of Holy Gitmo under Sea.
    The second blast was short, the Colonel looked back over the bowed heads of his troops. Good men, every one. He was proud of them, they had recaptured eighty Heretic Hills already, some almost ten acres in size.
    "Peace will come, all we must do is drink their blood, and eat their flesh. For where scripture orders us to share it in common, then all sins are forgiven in communion."
    A smell of the sewer wafted passed. Thrice now the horn had blasted, the Colonel and his men looked up as one to watch a bowie knife descend into the bared chest of the infidel. Water poured out of the lungs. The High Preacher held up the heart, blood dripped, his men shrieked in joy, while the Liberty Pilgrims swayed in their fetters.
    The High Preacher threw the heart as far as he could, perhaps hoping to hit a pilgrim on the head.
    Before the squabble over the heart was over, the Preachers retired to begin the roast. Altar boys dragged the corpse behind them.
    The Colonel stepped down to his officers. There was a couple of hours to wait before communion. He watched his men lose their strict lines, and mingle.
    "Well, Major Warmington."
    "So much for the global warming heretics," the Colonel licked his lips.
    "Yes, sir! The stone must be stained! Sir!"
    "At ease, Warmington." And anyway, if they hadn't happened on that boat of fishermen, the Colonel mused, he would have been forced to choose the least lucky of his Three Hundred, as tradition demanded at waters breaking. "Relax."
    Eyes wide, Warmington volunteered, "You know, sir, this summit was once called Mt. Mitchell after a—," the Major mumbled, "—scientist."
    The Colonel raised his eyebrows. "The stone must be stained, Major."
    Major Rastus Warmington did not know how lucky he was.

    written 2008, imaged 2010
    Mon, Sep 20, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: epiphany in a bad way
    Sent to project: Start your own revolution
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