Mark Ethridge’s Picture Choice: One
Title: If It’s Just A Dream, Let Me Dream (Part 9)
My wife and daughter were asleep in our room in the cave complex. I kissed them each on the cheek, and went to find Blue. It was time I arranged a visit with the head of the church on Blue’s Earth. Time for him to meet Blue, and learn why we would not allow him to destroy her people in the name of God.
I put on my full armor and then armed myself to the teeth, with every weapon I could carry. It was the first time I fit a suit on Blue. She wasn’t comfortable but understood it would protect her from the nanotech weapons the church carried to all such meetings.
“Notice how they put up a warehouse in the middle of nowhere and requested a meeting there?” She nodded. “They’ll show up heavily armed with a full escort of Marine Dogs.”
Blue laughed, “The don’t learn, do they.”
“No, they don’t.” It was part of their superiority complex. Part of the stupid belief that God was on their side, and they couldn’t lose. That they were doing God’s will, and he would support them, and guarantee their victory. “It’s part of their religion. Their God always gives them victory.”
She stretched. The armor moved with her, with her different anatomy, different shape, different size. Where my armor had a head, arms and legs, as I did, Blue’s armor was almost shapeless, a four-foot tall blob. If she extended part of herself, as I would extend an arm, her armor would adjust, change shape, let her move freely.
It was an exoskeleton the Church had never seen. One we were ready to supply to all Blue’s people.
“Of course, they picked the time best for them when solar radiation levels are at their minimums.” Blue had learned well. “Thinking they’ll be safer without worrying about the flares.”
It was my turn to laugh, “Indeed, they will.” After a few moments I asked, “Are you ready?”
She nodded. It looked like a nod anyway. “I’ve never met one of your people’s holy men.”
“I’m not sure I’d call him that.”
“But it is his title, isn’t it?”
I nodded. It was his title. “Agent of the Pope, Cardinal whatever his name is.” Not that it mattered what his name was. He was, of course, a white male, about 648 years old, and the son of a religious leader. That’s how it worked. Only sons of clergy could rise to high positions in the church. And they lived like kings, with all the benefits, all the money, all the power, food, health care. And an ocean of human slaves bowed to their every wish.
“His royalness will show up with a freaking army.”
“No doubt,” she understood, “I would be surprised if he did otherwise.”
I smiled, though it wasn’t visible in the armor, “They’re called Levites.”
“It’s an Old Testament thing. The Levites were the strong-arm of the Israelites.” I chuckled. “The power that guaranteed the Israelites listened to Moses, and to the priests.”
“Yep. They killed those who didn’t.”
Blue’s laugh cheered me up. “So he’ll be surrounded by trained killers?”
“Indeed. And they'll be armed to the teeth.” I realized it was a saying Blue had trouble understanding, given her people didn’t have teeth.
“Ah, you and your sayings.”
“What would your people call it?”
“Fully packed.” I could see that. Fully packed blue blobs, no signs of weapons anywhere, because they were all inside their bodies, hidden from view, and not detectable by our scanning technology. A gift nature had given her people. Their hides were so resistant to the solar flares and their radiatoin, conventional sensor technology couldn’t penetrate their skins.
The Church thought them blue blobs of cells, deserving of death. Abominations created by Satan and his minions. Experiments at creating life gone awry. Imperfect attempts to create synthetic humans, in the image of God.
“His holiness will be waiting.”
She nodded again.
“The first thing he will do is order the Marines to rid God’s universe of us.”
Blue laughed. “He won’t be happy then the Marines turn on his Levites, will he?”
“Not happy at all.”
“Will any of the dogs survive?”
“That’s the plan.”
“None of the Levites will.”
“That’s the plan.”
We headed to the meeting point. I didn’t use the scanners in my armor, I knew they wouldn’t work, knew the church would defend against them. What the church wasn't ready for were the old-fashioned drones. Three of them, two on the ground and one airborne. Drones with old-fashioned optical cameras and old-fashioned broadcast radio data feeds back to Blue and me.
The feeds displayed on the heads up displays of our suits. The feeds showed the arrival of the Levites, with the Marines. We watched them put the Marines beside all the entrances to the warehouse. We watched the Levites shove stakes in the ground inside the warehouse. The stakes mines, the kind that blew up when they detected foreign genetics. Of course, they’d fail to detect Blue, so that wasn’t a problem.
The Levites took positions throughout the warehouse. They wore full suits of armor equipped with both projectile weapon systems, and energy weapon systems. The projectile systems used rail gun technology. Tiny projectiles fired at hyper sonic speeds. Such weapons took full advantage of kinetic energy. The energy weapons used pulsed energy. It wasn’t laser, it wasn’t a particle beam or any kind of beam. It was a concentrated pulse of energy that traveled at the speed of light. A wall of compressed energy destroyed everything in its path.
They saved the big gun for near the seat of his holiness. The antimatter gun. It fired a beam of antiprotons and positrons. That beam annihilated the air it passed through, and everything it hit. It was their Sword of God. Nothing had ever stood before it.
Blue put a hand on my arm, “Are you certain we will survive?”
“I’ve done this before.”
“And you survived?”
She laughed. “Is it time to visit then?”
“After his holiness arrives.”
We waited as the drones watched and let us know what was happening inside the warehouse. We waited for the party to begin. It would be a heck of a party. If it went well, Blue and I would walk away, and the Dogs would be free. If it went badly, the Levites might not be the only humans who didn’t see the next solar flare.
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Mark woke up in 2010, and has been exploring life since then. All his doctors agree. He needs to write.