Rough Draft: “God Machine”

God Machine

OP: Rock version of “Phantom of the Opera” theme music with dark, elegant images of Helena and Alexander in the place of the Phantom and his mistress, recreating scenes from the famous play, along with a scene of Helena, dressed in her black, pagan, rune-covered EGA dress punching a Japanese girl wearing a Lolita dress clean in the head, the Japanese girl doesn’t know that “Lolita” was originally a term used by Julius Caesar, in a message called “Death from the Forest: The Lolita Brides of Germania” to General Pompey to describe the horrid Gothic war brides with blonde hair, pigtails, long, frilled black dresses that brandished massive sickle-blades, war hatchets and swords, and wore huge, bronze horned helmets; to cover their pigtails, that followed lost travelers and Roman soldiers that fell behind the rest of the troop in the vast, dark, eerie Black Forests of Magna Germania like vultures following a wounded animal and waited for the travelers to collapse from exhaustion before moving in for the kill, chanting in a horrid guttural screaming voice as they approached, but Helena does and dresses like an actual Lolita warrior bride in Caesar’s definition, and punches the 22-year old “gutterslut Japanese whore” in the head for her ignorance…then the episode begins.

Background Omnibus:

  1. Baron Anteon Tiberius Alexander, Master of the Midnight Sun, and later overthrown by his 30 Tier-1 Gestalt, EGA-style hacker-assassin girls

“Black Baron…” “Moonlight Prince…” “Haunter-of-dreams…” “Illusory Chivalry…” There were many names that Baron Anteon Tiberius Alexander, Master of the Midnight Sun and owner of the largest hotel in the world, the Pleiades Solation Resort, went by, but these four were the most common. He was the epitome of what the Germans called “Mannertugend,” or chivalric virtue, or what most Anglo-Americans called a “womanizer,” he was an ace pilot, who had flown in the last 5 years of the Great Ilex War, a second Thirty Years War that destroyed the old Westphalia Model of politics, defining the national system as huge blocs of nations, rather than individual countries, such as the Franco-German Entente, the New British Commonwealth, the Mediterranean Union, centered around Israel, the Anglo-American Federation, consisting of the New British Commonwealth (Britain, Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) and the United States, and the Slavic Union, a revived, capitalist, modern Russian Empire, as the major superpowers. The Slavic Union and the Anglo-American Federation were the two largest superpowers, with their respective national wealth measured in the hundreds of trillions of dollars; the Slavic Union was formed out of the Eurasian Economic Community, formed in 2010, and had formed a close alliance with the Anglo-American Federation in an economic and military pact, similar to NATO or the Warsaw Pact; the Northern Hemispheric Union, the most colossal political and military alliance in history, though both nations remained sovereign, the NHU was treated as a single economy with a single currency and banking system with a single massive military, and Baron Anteon, the Squadron Commander for the 181st Airborne Cavalry, known colloquially as “The Symphony of Lightning,” had shot down more than 1,300 enemy planes and 2,400 robot drone fighters of the now-defunct Shanghai Co-Op, and did so with the true sisu of valor, having won more than 25 medals. He was also extremely charismatic; he carried a sword, Falchion, at his side, wrote classical music and more than 38 novels, including the ideologies of Jung, Nietzsche, Fidus, Freud, the Platonic-Aristotelian dichotomy of good and evil, Newton, Einstein, Darwin, Huxley, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Luther, Marx, Communism, Capitalism, Fascism, race theory, racism and equality, Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr, Kant, Goethe, Voltaire, Rousseau, Machiavellian politics, and Enlightenment in all of his books. He was quick and an expert swordsman, much like one of the Three Musketeers; he was like something out of an Alexander Dumas novel. His handsome black hair, black, blue and silver uniform with fractal designs on it, huge eyespots and runic eyeballs on it, and black cape, medals, black Fedora hat and soft brown eyes, as well as his wit and keen sense of intuition made him the quintessential mysterious, stoic type; his hotel building was 25 times the size of the Syndey Opera House, but in Hawaii, with huge hot spring pools, beaches and bathhouses being the main amenities. He had the inspiration to build his own hot spring resort on Hawaii after attending the Summer’s Beginning Festival in a hot-spring town in Japan called Ura-O-Shima, to celebrate the end of the war the summer after peace was finally declared, the town that he had fought valiantly to liberate in his 9th-generation, Mach-4 SR-97 “Thunderbird” stealth fighter during the last 5 years of the Great Ilex War, where he received the Federal Cross and his sword, Falchion, for unfathomable bravery in combat and shooting down 615 of the 620 manned enemy planes at the battle over the town. The town held a huge parade every year to celebrate the beginning of the summer, with costumed dancers and a swimsuit contest, and Baron Anteon was considered a celebrity guest, as he did almost single-handedly save Japan from falling under Chinese control during the war. The sound of a crowd cheering and saluting him was something he never forgot…He was also awarded with $4 million, which he invested and made billions off of. Anteon was famous for his hotel’s grandiose interior, there really wasn’t anything quite like it anywhere on Earth; each hotel room was completely unique, and there were so many secret passages, pathways and tricks to the hotel that there was no way to list them all in a 300-page book, a bookshelf that actually concealed a secret passageway to the bathhouse locker room, a window that was actually a door, on top of beautiful art to rival the Sistine Chapel and chandeliers, rugs and paintings on the walls everywhere. The most famous aspect of his hotel was the ballroom, a huge room that looked like the Winter Palace in Russia, where Anastasia Romanov had her last dance. Everything from modern concerts to the Grand Party of the Palms, the most star-studded gathering in the world, was held in this room. The gardens rivaled Versailles, and the fountains rivaled the Taj Mahal. The hotel had become known as the Eighth Wonder of the World by travel agencies like Conde Nast, and Baron Alexander often displayed ancient artifacts from Asian culture in his hotel, including ones that were only known from his personal collection. He was only 24 years old, and an astounding, if not intimidating individual. There was evidence; however, that Baron Anteon was far more than he appeared to be, as if that were even possible. He exhibited many aspects of complexity found only in psychotic individuals. The first domain of insanity, artistic insanity, was seen in the artwork that Anteon had hanging in the hotel, which he lived in as his house, there was a private wing of the hotel where he lived, that no guests were allowed to enter. There were sharp contrasts in the artwork that varied from room to room, such as a fresco of the vastness of space on the cathedral-like ceilings of the Ballroom, with each star being in the exact sky position as they would appear in real life on June 21, the Summer Solstice, hence the title, Solstice Ballroom, and the coat rooms before walking into the ballroom were decorated with demonic paintings and drawings “from the pit of Hell” with no real reason or explanation for the detail or graphic nature of the painting. Some paintings in the rooms made no sense at all or depicted some kind of liberation, catharsis or tormented scene, such as a woman reading a book, and all the words falling off the page and turning into ticks and lice, burrowing into her skin and causing her to bleed and scream, a person walking along a railroad track in the heart of autumn with leaves falling and dying all around him, wearing a black cape and Fedora hat, standing in front of an oncoming train, a woman lying in agony on the street surrounded by shattered CDs and being stared at by hundreds of faceless strangers in black suits and red ties, a headless chicken being chased by a tailless rat, and a picture of Auschwitz decorated like a children’s playroom, each inmate barrack house was a bouncy house with a honking clown face on it, the gas chambers were a line of circus tents with smokestacks emitting balloons, and teeter-totters stood where the factories were, with plastic toy slides, like those found in preschools, scattered haphazardly around the grounds. There were images of women with tattoos on their foreheads that read “NO HOPE, NO REASON TO LIVE,” and birds flying out of a cage. These were just some of the paintings on the walls in the hotel rooms, along with a few, hotel-exclusive, strange T.V. channels that were found nowhere else, like the one where the only programming entailed banana peels that were walking along and slipping on sleeping men on the ground, and just showing that over and over again, all day, all night, or the hotel’s children’s programming channel for guests 5-year old or younger, which just showed some of the most disturbingly odd T.V. shows for children, such as “Dr. Seuss’s Halloween Is Grinch Night” “Cool World” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s Toontown,” as well as the most bizarre of the late 1960s and early 1970s hallucinogenic-influenced cartoon shows by Dr. Seuss and the movie about dancing rag dolls that laughed like little children, not to mention the infamous “Koko the Clown Snow White” ghost dance scene. The artwork in the hotel often disturbed many younger guests, to say the least. The second domain of insanity that Baron Anteon often exhibited, intellectual insanity, manifested itself in his writing and the depth of his mind and mental capacity. He often debated about extremely heavy topics, such as assisted suicide, death panels, and the death penalty, spoke mesmerizingly well, wrote huge manifestos explaining everything in the universe that he could think of, using a bizarre combination of science and ancient, pagan esotericism, he had read the one-volume 3,000 page World Encyclopedia more than 12 times in one week after he returned from the war at age 23, and decided to write what he had planned as a 5-million word interpretation of humanity’s knowledge and what he thought it meant…the result turned into a 25-volume set of 2,000 page volumes, everything that humanity knew about anything, Baron Anteon wrote about it and explained it in his own esoteric ideology, which focused around an ancient mystery known as “The Black Sun Cult.” Baron Anteon’s interpretation of the Black Sun myth is that thousands of years ago, during the Upper Neolithic, to be exact, there were two camps of humans on Earth, the followers of the White Sun, that is, the Sun at the center of our Solar System, and the Mithras Priests, ancient mystics that worshipped the Black Suns, Mithras and Eta Carinae. 6000 years ago, Mithras went supernova, creating the Crab Nebula, know to science as Supernova Remnant M1. This had a deep effect on the Mithras Priests, who believed that the explosion of Mithras indicated a “new Creation,” a time of rebirth. Eta Carinae became the new Black Sun, and believed that the Black Sun was calling the Mithras Priests to war against the White Sun and its followers, that is, the primordial Semites, Indo-Aryans and Arabic peoples, who later became Jews, Christians and Muslims. The Black Sun War began in 7,546 B.C.E., between the Mithras Priests and the White Sun followers…eventually, the Mithras Sun Priests lost the war and went into hiding, their two great Empires, the Old Minoan and the Old Ryukyu Empires, which both used the “Wewelsburg Roundel,” the symbol representing the explosion of Mithras and the New Creation, so-named because it was uncovered in WWII by Heinrich Himmler in Wewelsburg Fortress, used as an observatory in medieval Germany, when the explosion of Mithras was first visible to citizens of Earth with the naked eye thanks to the space-time-distance lag in 1054 A.D., as their flags, crumbled away. The Black Sun War was forgotten, but the folk memory of the global war was deeply embedded into the minds of those who survived it. These survivors, the ancient Black Sun War victors, went on to build every great empire known to man, and formed every dynasty of European, Asian and Mesoamerican rulers from then on, but the Mithras Priests gradually slipped away into extinction, leaving curious, puzzling ruins, such as those of the New Minoan Empire, which was destroyed in the late Bronze Age by the volcanic eruption of Thera in the Mediterranean and invaded by Mycenaean Greeks from the mainland. Unlike the Old Minoan and Old Ryukyu Empires, however, these Minoans were completely White Sun, there was no Black Sun symbolism at all, except that the Minoans did use the Mithraic alphabet, used by the earlier and far, far grander Old Minoan and Old Ryukyu Empires, capable of bypassing the space-time-distance lag, as implied by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, with technology that Baron Anteon claimed to have recreated in his private home in the hotel complex. This Black Sun War, Anteon claimed, was the reason why Christianity, Judaism and Islam developed the way they did, the creation story in Genesis taking place 6,000 years ago, which resulted from an amalgamation of ancient White Sun Hebrew beliefs, Asiatic pagan religions and the folk memory of the Mithras Priests and their empire, and their attempts to force Black Sun teachings on the ancient Hebrews; the teachings of Jesus, Mohammed and Abraham are based off Mithraic beliefs and Asian paganism, as are the faiths of Zoroastrianism, Shinto, Ra, Odin, Greek gods, Roman gods, Buddha, Taoism and Hinduism, even Scientology, and the Book of Revelations is a folk memory of the global, cataclysmic, Black Sun War, with the Battle of Armageddon probably taking place somewhere near the modern city of Baghdad at the conclusion of the war in 7450 B.C.E., according to Baron Anteon’s research and his findings from combat missions that he flew over the Middle East during the Great Ilex War. Science, history and religion…It was all explained by the Black Sun Rune. This level of intellect, plus his incredible complexity to his novels and original pictures, made people extremely uncomfortable, they were simply overwhelmed and too intimidated. He was so smart that despite how handsome, gentlemanly and successful he was; he had never had a girlfriend. One girl even suspected that he was a wizard or some kind of sage, but that was, of course, a mere rumor. He was also a master computer hacker, and was the leader of a small computer hacker group called “Evil/Nice,” made up of a few of his piloting wingmen from the war, who claimed he was fighting for truth, and would “expose all the lies of this world, religious and political,” in his own words. He was a citizen of the Anglo-American Federation, and a citizen of the State of Hawaii, to be exact. As such, the Anglo-American superpower government had taken notice of Baron Anteon’s brilliance, so even they could not ignore him, not to mention, he was one of their most decorated veterans. His sense of justice was extraordinarily harsh, and believed that the only place criminals had was “in hell.” He never told anyone how he defined “criminality” though. This level of intellect worried everyone even more than his artistic tastes. The third domain of insanity, religious insanity, was obvious. His ideology, belief in an ancient religion that he largely invented by himself based off of his insanely-powerful brain’s perceptions of historical myths and legends and that those who did not believe in his interpretation of the universe ought to be severely punished, at least according to rumor, spoke volumes about the way his mind worked. He appeared to have trouble distinguishing reality from fiction and became so engrossed in his own ideology that he actually became part of his own universe, which he called “Pantheon.” Pantheon was, according to him, “the medicine which cured the pox of reality; it is my answer to those who say, ‘accept society because that’s just the way it is.’ I steadfastly refuse to accept society, because I see it an inferior entity to myself. They are not worth my time, because they cannot see Pantheon philosophy. For this reason, I build my own reality. In no God I trust, only the human race and the Black Sun. Come with me, and leave this world behind…” He claimed that this was part of his esoteric research as well. The main catch was that none of this alleged “religious delusion” affected his interactions with the world, because he knew how to control it and regulate it. He could put on the face of a mild-mannered Baron or a fiery orator and idealist, depending on the situation. Therefore, he was always seen as an eccentric, rather than a psychopath. His belief in his own Black Sun Cult and Pantheon, which focused on four core pillars, the Serpent Paradox, the Know-Nothing Complex, the Seven Doctrines of Absurdity and the Gestalt Fields, aimed to explain everything in the universe, and he did as best he could, spoke with the force of a god and was seen as a pariah at least, a Messiah at best. The Serpent Paradox, represented by a snake eating its own tail, stated that everything in the universe was created by something that destroys, and something that destroys is created by something that creates. It is a cycle, one that continues ad infinitum, in an infinite number of infinitely-expanding and contracting universes, where all constants are represented. For example, a supernova is the death of a star, but the energy released consists of the very building blocks of the universe itself. These energies are recycled over billions of years, as per the laws of thermodynamics. Time had no beginning, as the universes were infinite. There was no order in the universe, as per the principles of chaos and probability, things just happened because mathematics and the laws of physics have proven them, which in itself proved the Serpent Paradox correct. However, this begged a question as to how something could be true without us having a concept of “truth,” but this was explained by Baron Anteon as “The Know-Nothing Complex.” In a completely random, chaotic universal continuum with many dimensions and all possible variables and constants represented somewhere, it was impossible to really “know” anything. What is true in this universe might not be true in another, but there is no way of “knowing” that, because the only proof comes from numbers and equations that, because they are correct, object X must exist. It is up to the scholar to determine the burden of “proof,” and this was explained by the Seven Doctrines of Absurdity, which explored seven aspects of the human mind, perception, personality, emotion, reason, sanity, insanity and conscience. Every person possessed them, they are what defined humanity as “human.” These forces are what defined a person, without all seven, we were chimpanzees or monkeys, less-sophisticated on a mental scale. The doctrines of absurdity, when combined, all coalesced into a person’s judgment, and the judgments of society were truly, truly absurd and were to be completely ignored by a truly enlightened individual. It stunned Baron Anteon as to how little society really knew; the truth was so massive, yet so simple, that people couldn’t wrap their brain around it. The very nature of things like “safety” and “security” “race” and “religion” were complete fabrications, products of the Seven Doctrines of Absurdity. No one was truly “safe,” as death was inevitable. No one was truly “secure,” as even in your own home, you could be killed. “Race” was just an unjust cultural imposition to classify members of society by gross overgeneralizations, and “religion” was just a misnomer for “human social culture,” a completely natural, earthly evolution over millions of years. The last Pillar of Pantheon Doctrine was best explained in this speech Baron Anteon gave to Times Square on New Year’s Eve once:

“So simple, yet so complicated, so everlasting, yet so fragile, so easily broken, but so easily built, and so easy to speak, yet so easy to misrepresent…anyone who has lived on this planet, young or old, whether they know it or not, is aware, however subconsciously, of the four properties of which I speak. The first of which, life, in the Earthly definition, consists of amino acids, deoxyribonucleic acid and counts the cell as its basic unit of organization. Therefore, in the purest, biological sense, life is a simple affair, as soon as an organism is born, it is alone, it is small, it is feeble, unless it can adapt, it will die out. Darwin’s theorem of evolution, the first word “theorem” intentionally changed to state that Darwinian logic is proven, it is only because the individuals who are told by the Gestalt that their outdated traditional Christian dogmas are the only, absolute truth. Life is simple, yes, but it is not that simple. What if I were to tell you people that everything you know is wrong? Everything, right down to the very Platonic and Aristotelian logic that the Gestalt has been drilling into your heads from the first breath you take when you slither from your mother’s gaping cervix, is distorted by the Gestalt Field, the displaced, churned, distorted, chaotic and tormented storm of ideologies created by the development of society over the millennia of human existence, displaced by the same methodology as Einstein’s theory of relativity or a ship at sea, is a cyclical, self-destructive byproduct of societal advancement. Every society in history, from the Mayans, to the Romans, to the Soviet Union and the United States, creates its own Gestalt Field, directly proportionate to the weight the society occupies on the global stage. As the society grows, so does the Gestalt Field around it, until the society begins to corrode from prolonged exposure to the ideology that created it, much analogous to the way a ship will rust and rot away in water, even though ships are built for open sea. This eventual corrosion is what the layman would call death and me likewise. Death is nothing supernatural. There is no holy paradise for the good, and dark, hellish underworld for the evil. ‘Good’ and ‘evil’ are points of view, there is no set definition. The same goes with ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ That is the Gestalt. The Gestalt is society and all the contagion that develops around it, the distortions of truth and space, time and lies, science and metaphysics. There is no God, there is no Devil, there is only Man, and Man, if you haven’t realized already, is capable of far more evil and judgment than any God or Devil, and it happens on a regular basis. Society rots from a plague that will never truly be cured; society seeks salvation when it will never be saved from itself. It is this never-ending Universal Cycle of Existence, a cycle of birth, suffering, death, and the temporary happiness and liberation that result, and repeating the process ad infinitum until the human extinction eventually, inevitably comes, that defines the human race. Humanity is destroyed by the very forces that create it; hence the symbol of my Order, a dragon consuming its own tail, circling the sun. That is life, simple, yet complicated. That other force, love, so everlasting, yet so temporary, has often been described as like magic, but, like any true magic, it is just as often simply an illusion of desire, and the root of that is suffering, the desire to find some kernel of happiness in this horrid, decrepit world before the calm of leaden, everlasting sleep. Love may feel as if it lasts forever, but in reality, when the brain is distorted by the Gestalt Field, time and lies become synonymous. Love feels longer and more meaningful that it actually is when reality sets in; it hurts more than anything else, so love is not an exception to suffering, and it is the epitome of human suffering and misery. There is no love; there is only malice and hate. Human beings cannot love; they cannot feel compassion or care for anyone, because of the Gestalt. The reason love cannot stand is that the foundation of which it stands consists of pillars of sand: trust. Trust is so easy to build, yet is also so easy to destroy. One day you can be best friends with someone, and the next day, you can find out that your best friend was a murderer, and you were on his or her next hit list…a fickle species, humanity is, that is why a dog or cat is more trustworthy than a person. Human beings lie, they cheat, they steal and they have no redeeming qualities. Even the kindest person could commit a triple homicide if they were convinced enough of the benefits of doing so. The truth is kindness is not a human trait. It is the superego, the Freudian depiction of societal conditioning versus the id and the ego that is created by the Gestalt Field. Kindness is a perspective, an ideal that the Gestalt uses to keep its constituent parts together, like a machine, and like any machine, the Gestalt only functions if all of its parts are working the way they should. Thus, the final property, truth, is the most difficult to find. The powers that be, namely the mass media, are so powerful that no government on Earth has any power over them; even the unfortunately deceased Attorney General stated that these companies are breaking laws, but are so powerful and so rich that to prosecute them would be economic suicide. The truth is that there is no ‘truth’ anymore. ‘Truth’ consists of whatever the multinational ultra-rich mega-conglomerates proclaim to be true, and in the words of a certain Serb nationalist and political scientist, have turned the West into an inverted totalitarian state, a form of illiberal democracy where the 0.01% control everyone else, even the elected officials are puppets. The Republican and Democratic Parties are both the right and left arm of the Gestalt, and the corporations, mass-media; popular culture, celebrities, Hollywood, social-injustice engine is the head, brain, eyes, ears, nose and mouth of this horrid entity. The legs, the ones that prop the system up and unknowingly support this murder machine, are people like you. The 99.9%, the doctors, farmers, workers, clerks, chefs, anything that is not one of the 0.01% of society is immobilized, with no way of escaping the Gestalt corpse. You don’t have to be. I am the virus, the pox that infects the Gestalt’s body and amplifies within its cells, its police and bureaucracy, the minds of its concentration camps and indoctrination centers that pass as schools, and eventually place the Gestalt at a day of reckoning. Either it wakes up and sees the magnitude of its crimes, or it faces the wrath of those it oppresses for so long. Stand by me and reject your own government and you will achieve a power greater than any University degree or Gestalt-imposed merit badge could ever grant you, one that would assure you a place in my new vision, the Pantheon. There is no God. There is no Devil. There is only Man, and I am His bane. Good day to you all, Carpe Diem.”

This, Anteon’s famous Gestalt Fields Speech, claims that ideologies, as well as mass, take up space and form a shape, or ‘gestalt,’ and that the greatest Gestalt is society itself. Any new ideology added to the Gestalt Fields will change the shape of the mass, and eventually, the mass will collapse, triggering war and hate, and all the negativity that clashing ideologies create. This type of religion, the Black Sun Cult, isn’t really insanity; and, in this context, how is it even defined, other than one of the Seven Doctrines?

The fourth symptom of insanity, verbal and obsessive insanity, is very prominent in Baron Anteon as well. His interactions with any given person are seen through the lens of Pantheon Doctrine and the Black Sun Cult, and his opinions and emotions reflect this, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. His opinions of women are based on a ten-tier scale; each individual woman is placed in her own category or, as Anteon calls it, “Gestalt cage.” When he meets a woman on “Tier 1,” that is, someone that he truly finds attractive; someone who is stunningly gorgeous and intelligent, he becomes rather obsessed with her, but in an artistic, rather than creepy way. He paints stunning frescoes on the scale of Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci with the woman as a saintly or angelic figure with hundreds of cherubim and seraphim surrounding her. She becomes his muse, and much of his artwork, hanging in the hotel, reflects all those women he had loved…the paintings are admired by people the world over, but some of the women that see themselves painted in a modern-day Michelangelo’s frescoes, he paints them without them knowing about it, they just don’t know what to think. It’s not creepy, so they never pursue restraining orders or legal action, the paintings are beautiful, but…it’s just, well…odd. “I barely know the guy, and he does this after just seeing me once…wow…just, wow…” women usually say upon realizing the extent of Anteon’s talents. The young women really aren’t interested in pursuing the relationship any further after that, simply because he is too intimidating, they feel unworthy in Anteon’s presence. However, he takes it in stride, saying that it was “never meant to be.” He could be a little more successful, however, if he just toned it down a bit. His obsession with details also indicated some sort of mental condition, such as his obsession with symmetrical objects and agreement, correcting everyone’s horrible grammar and constant hypochondria; he was terrified of getting sick. His dialogue, verbal insanity, was also indicative of a medical problem, everything that meant something to him rhymed with his name, “Pantheon,” and his sword’s name, “Falchion,” for example, rhymed with “Anteon,” and he used many extremely verbose words when he could have simply used typical, standard, normal dialogue. Ernest Hemingway would have hated him for this. The fifth symptom of insanity, emotional insanity, is present in the way that he expressed humor. To him, life was one huge experiment in humor, but his “jokes” were always extremely sophisticated and went over everyone’s head. He had one of the quickest wits and cleverest senses of humor of anyone that knew him, and many had told him to write for comedy shows, and he had, it was just that 95% of his jokes went over everyone’s head. He saw humor in irony and British, Japanese and other European comedy, not “ha-ha” jokes, like those found in most Anglo-American Union comedy skits, that was too low-class. He often wrote his own jokes, but nobody understood them, because there weren’t enough smart people who were interested in hearing jokes. However, his humor could take a very demented tune as well, where he started speaking about his own sophisticated ideology and the Black Sun Cult, with all the seriousness of a demented clown. “Meaning shcmeaning! This whole world’s going bye-bye eventually, but our big yellow friend the Sun will blow up and come back as a baby Sun…HAHAHA!!! Did you find that funny?” A quote like this would easily pepper any conversation about humor you would have with Baron Anteon. These outbursts of humor were random and unpredictable, as well. He also enjoyed scaring people by appearing near onsen spas in Japan, where the mighty Anglo-American Federation had an embassy in the late 21st century, following the Great Ilex War, the Battle of Unzen, the greatest air battle in the history of mankind, with more than 5,000 planes, both manned and unmanned, dogfighting over the hundreds of miles of tropical onsen country, rice paddies and resort towns, the Anglo-American Union and its Slavic Union ally destroyed the bulk of the Shanghai Co-Op’s Air Force and ground army, with Baron Anteon truly distinguishing himself as “The Black Baron of the Skies” here. Flying his $3 billion 9th-generation SR-97 stealth-fighter plane, he led the charge with his squadron behind him like an unholy bird of war; he shot down more than 600 of the 625 Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean manned planes, the three powers that comprised the Shanghai Co-Op, as well as 450 unmanned combat aircraft. He fought viciously to defend the hot spring town of Ura-o-Shima, which would have granted the SCO access to the sea and was hailed as the single reason why the city did not fall. He often vacationed in the hot springs after the war as a 24-year old, highly-decorated Anglo-American Federation war hero, he tried to keep a low profile, but that was impossible, given the fact that everyone bowed to him as if he were the Messiah in the flesh. He would often dress in his black uniform and Fedora hat that he always wore while piloting and draw his sword suddenly as young couples went into the springs for a midnight dip, startling them, but then reassuring them that it was just him. As a gesture of respect, no pilot in either the Anglo-American Federation or the Japanese Air Force was allowed to wear a hat the resembled Anteon’s while in the service. The Japanese called him and his squadron, the 181st Airborne Cavalry, “The Symphony of Lightning.” Still, his startling sense of humor made many people feel uneasy.

The seventh and final aspect of Baron’s alleged insanity is his sense of vigilante justice and extreme hatred for crime. His hacker group, Evil/Nice, has a project called “Pantheon Adventism,” a replacement for the Catholic Church, which Baron Anteon calls “the last global institution of Fascism and intolerance on Earth.” He had developed a program that would allow him to hack into the Vatican’s closely-guarded records and electronic databases, and revealing the name of every priest, pope and deacon ever convicted of a crime, but never punished, since 1500. This includes the names of every clergyman who abused an altar boy, every corrupt priest that ever stole money from the Church and had not been caught or punished, under the Sanctuary Law of 1305, which stated that any crime committed by a Priest of the Church while inside the Church itself is nullified in the eyes of God and Man. Once he had the names of these clergy, he would broadcast them on the Internet and on every public broadcast screen in the Anglo-American Federation. Given his status as a war veteran and his amount of prestige, as well as his thunderous manner of speaking, writing and broadcasting, plus his unfathomable intellect, people would definitely take him seriously if he presented the names for the millions and millions of Anglo-Americans to see. The Church, long-since stripped of its power, would be unable to lay a finger on Anteon, who would be speaking under a false name and a false voice over the public broadcast systems in every late-21st century Anglo-American city. All the Church would be able to do would be to cower, flop and sputter as the hammer of justice dropped squarely on the Vatican and the Pope’s little, bald head. He served the secular Anglo-American Federation. Not a corrupt, dishonest pack of criminals. It wasn’t spying. It was crime-busting. In his planned speech, he would call for all living clergy and Popes, former or acting, on that list, to be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity in the Anglo-American courts, the U.N. was now controlled as an apparatus of the Anglo-American Federation, with representatives from every country and bloc as a peacekeeping body, though the World Bank and IMF still operated independently. Given the evidence presented, the AAF Supreme Court would have little choice not to bring them to trial, therefore dealing the death blow to institutionalized religion. He would replace the ruins of the Old Order’s ideology with Pantheon Doctrine, and create one faith for one human race. The name “Pantheon” itself came from “all religions.” Of course, the Catholic Church would be quick to label him as the Anti-Christ, citing that Baron Anteon fit the Biblical depiction of the Beast just about perfectly, handsome, mysterious, charismatic, suspected by none and admired by all, supremely intelligent, a wondrous speaker, artist and writer, considered a near-demigod by some, including the Anglo-American Federation and the Slavic Union, the two dominant superpowers, and a vigilante peacekeeper with a focus on global unity, under a “One World Religion…” Pantheon Doctrine to the letter. Baron Anteon knew that this would be the Church’s reaction, but he already had so many followers and people that hailed him as a hero, that no one except the most hard-nosed Catholics would believe the Church after their lies were exposed. The Church and the followers of Pantheon Doctrine would begin a deep, global, ideological Cold War, one side claiming that Christ was the only and absolute truth, the other claiming that every faith was derived from the ancient customs of two Lower Neolithic Empires that were very real and worshipped two red supergiant stars; therefore proving every religion right because they were all variants of the same thing, the original beliefs of the two Empires being grounded in solid, scientific observations and technology, as well as folk stories based around this ancient Old Minoan and Old Ryukyu research, hence “Pantheon Doctrine.” Anteon may have retired from the Anglo-American Federation Air Service at 24 as one of its greatest heroes…he might yet be remembered ultimately for something very different… the first inkling that there might be something amiss was when young women in Hawaii were approached by Baron Anteon for a “personal matter.” Claiming that he was a scout for a talent agency, which he was not, he was encouraging the tallest, prettiest young women he could find to come stay in his hotel, the Pleiades Solation Resort. There, they were shown around the vast hotel and the splendid art and decorations, but trained as what he began calling “Tier-1 Gestalts.” These women started becoming devoted to his ideology and dressing in extremely odd, almost Euclidean geometry-defying outfits, so complicated that they seemed impossible in real life, with headdresses, jewelry and crowns, for example, seemingly defying physics. They all recited what they called the “Pantheon Code,” “There is no God, there is no Devil, there is only Man…and we are His bane.” They were all trained with swords and guns too, turning themselves into badass devotees of Anteon and his New Pantheon Order, trained with any weapon they could find. They began to speak publicly on his behalf, referring to him as “Evil/Nice,” while Anteon maintained his façade as the mild-mannered eccentric war hero. One of his lead “Tier-1 Gestalts,” a stunning black haired woman he called “Stereo Love,” became his main spokesperson, dressed in the most elaborate costume ever seen. Her green eyes became the face of the New Order, which was rapidly gaining followers, and “Evil/Nice” was the Enlightenment. Her real name was Cassandra Wallenspeer, the daughter of a massive computer corporation CEO and an amazing singer and dancer, and she was the leader of all 30 Tier-1 Gestalts. Cassandra, however, had a boyfriend whom she had loved very much before she fell in with Anteon and his revolution, and he was deeply disturbed at what had happened to his 23-year old girlfriend, what Baron Anteon was doing to her…he knew that Baron Anteon was “Evil/Nice,” it was the only person that it could possibly be…but what could he possibly do to protect her in this scenario? Baron Anteon, his 4 allies from the war and his 30 Tier-1 Gestalts comprise his Pantheon Hacker Cult of The Black Sun. Stereo Love’s dress and outfit is blue with a map of the stars superimposed on it, her dress actually shines like stars at night, her long black hair is often arranged in a six pigtails, each one covered by a bronze clip, she looked a bit like a Qing Empress, just with a night-sky themed, elegant Gothic aristocrat (EGA) ensemble, like her 29 other comrades, so elaborate that the dress seemed mathematically impossible, yet there it was, trains, veils, sunburst headdress and all manner of patterns, right down to every individual fabric, not to mention her black and blue striped stockings and tall, stiletto platform shoes, as well as her sword and sniper rifle. The billowing dress increased her height to more than 7 feet tall, and she had contact lenses that made her eyes change color with her mood. She had taken the name “Stereo Love” as a hacker to call attention to her habit of going to EDM rave parties, she was a DJ in the summer break season at various dance clubs in Hawaii, calling herself “DJ NightWitch” when she wasn’t at her huge beachfront house, as the CEO’s daughter, she enjoyed plenty of perks as she got her graduate school education at Harvard during the year, to eventually take over her father’s company. She liked to party and dance, and often dressed in wild costumes as it was. She was away at school for most of the year, but in the summer, she was with the Pantheon Cult and in Hawaii and partied, but hacked and sliced computers all year from her studious Harvard life to her leisure time in Hawaii…only dressing in her EGA outfit in Baron’s company or his presence. She often gave Internet broadcasts on public communications channels, occasionally hacking a public broadcast screen, speaking through a computerized voice through a white Kabuki mask on screen, always beginning the speech with the greeting: “Hello citizens of the world…We are Pantheon,” and ending with “We are Pantheon, the Unknown Legion, united as one, invisible in plain sight. We do not forgive liars, and we do not forget crimes. Vatican City, expect us!” The 30 Tier-1 Gestalts, however, have even greater plans in mind, far more than even Baron Anteon, the Master of the Midnight Sun, can expect or even imagine. “Stereo Love” and her 29 comrades in arms only appear to be loyal hacker/assassins, but a Master should never underestimate his most talented apprentices. They are simply biding their time, and waiting from Master Anteon, the brilliant but short-sighted womanizer that he is, to blindly build his New Pantheon Order, and then “Stereo Love” plans to kill him by putting puffer fish toxin in his sushi, making it look like he died of accidental contamination. Once that happens, the 30 Tier-1 Gestalts will create their own matriarchal New Pantheon Order, using all of their former Master’s ideology, but adding women’s rights as equals and the Tier-1 Gestalts as superior to all to Pantheon as well. He always said that judgment would come…for him, it will, much sooner than later. The Black Sun Cult and the Pantheon Roundel will rise like a new dawn over the world, and it will be led by the true Masters, the Tier-1 Gestalts. Their Empire, a united Slavic Union, Western Europe and Anglo-American Federation, called the Northern Union, has a 12-million man Army equipped with the latest in 22nd-century weaponry, including LMGs, huge HMGs, assault rifles, sniper rifles, marksman rifles, SMGs, grenades, rocket launchers, and 15 prototype Spec-Ops weapons, using ionized, burning plasma, gravity effects and quantum-pulses, as well as computerized UCAV strikes and recon drones on the battlefield, more than 95 weapons and 300 attachments in all, so many that no soldier’s weapon was the same as another’s, though the Spec-Ops weapons couldn’t be customized, as they were only prototypes. The four factions were the Northern Union, the Mediterranean Union, the Franco-German Entente, and the rebuilt Shanghai Co-op, with more than 400 personal, computerized weapons types being used by all 4 factions, as well as gear such as energy shields, active camouflage devices, EMP power drainers, regenerator fields and trip mines. A huge array of vehicles was present as well for infantry to drive or fly. Occasionally, a Tier-1 Gestalt would lead a platoon on the battlefield as well; using supreme technology to be virtually invincible with her sword and gun, the sword was an instant-kill weapon. They become the New World Aristocracy, the Elegant Gothic style-nobility of the Northern Union, with their national anthem, Raise High the Flag of Gothika, as well as their vast army’s ominous, yet deeply inspiring military marches, the most famous being “On Night Raids,” “Battles in Teutoburg Forest,” “Nordmannerlied,” “Sturben fur das Schwarze Sonne,” and “Red Rose Erwache!” All four of these were modern, black-metal military marches, played on rock instruments as often as they were on orchestral music; they were based off of Nazi esoteric ideology and Pantheon doctrine, to celebrate the acceptance of all ideals that fit “Stereo Love’s” ideology. The societal customs of the colossal Northern Union mimics that of medieval Anglo-Saxon-Nordic-Germanic culture, with a focus on aristocratic heroism in worship of the elegant Gothic aristocracy and the warrior and kinship values of Germanic-Nordic society, just adapted to the cultures and peoples that live within the vast Union; as per Pantheon, all ideologies are tolerated, so long as the final say rests with “Stereo Love,” now calling herself by her real name, Cassandra. The Northern Union shares many constants with the heroic worlds of Homer and Beowulf, the definition of “nation” has been further cemented by the Pantheon Revolution as a group of people related by kinship, heritage, scientific advancement, warrior allegiance and national pride, rather than the old Westphalia Model of borders and sovereignty. Cassandra surrounds herself with loyal super-soldier guards and the other 29 Tier-1 Gestalts, they are members of her household, and she now lives in the Pleiades Solation Resort, she provides her loyal followers with rewards and benefits without fail, as to the Gothic aristocracy, Imperial generosity to service by loyal retainers is mandatory for any ruler, and the retainers, soldiers and other aristocracy are expected to fight without care for their own lives for their rulers, and, failing that, die trying to avenge them. Blood vengeance is an integral part of Northern Union warfare and military culture, and eternal shame and ridicule come to those who do not fulfill their duty. The Union’s people see themselves as one unit, and an attack on any Union territory is an attack against all Union citizens. The Elegant Gothic aristocracy took to building massive new 22nd-century structures Union-wide; the most notable were the gigantic Pantheon Cathedrals and the Arenas, as well as the unfathomable infrastructure projects and the colonization of Mars and the Moon. The most noteworthy were the Pantheon of Nimes, constructed in Washington, D.C., the Novgorod Pantheon, constructed in Moscow, and the Cosmodrome, the largest arena ever built in the history of mankind. These Pantheons were the equivalent of churches and places of Unitarian worship, but there was no central clergy, no “Pantheon Pope.” The final interpreter of any Pantheon philosophy was Empress Cassandra. 25-lane highways, vacuum-tube trains that zipped along at nearly Mach 2 in underground tunnels shielded from earthquakes, space-planes and space-liners that flew commercially to Mars and the Moon and the Northern Union colonies there. The Pantheon Deacons were not ordained ministers, but scientists awarded the Inheritor degree rank, the highest in the entire Union; education was paramount in a secular society, and those who completed the grueling 12-year coursework to become an Inheritor were second only to the Elegant Gothic nobility in societal praise and rank. If you were not born with a Gothic noble title or boast, an Inheritor was the highest you could go. They were called “inheritors,” because in the event that the Elegant Gothic aristocracy could not rule, the Inheritors would take over for however long that interregnum lasted. The Inheritors used their knowledge of science and the Pantheon esotericism to explain the rationale behind everyone’s problems, and offered suggestions on how to solve them. Knowledge was not restricted at all, aside from classified government documents, there was no pointless censorship, as in, censoring information just because Empress Cassandra felt like it. Anyone could publish any information that furthered the good of society, but censorship did exist, in the case of anti-government libel or slander. This was not a democracy. Still, as far as dictatorships went, the Northern Union appeared to be the pinnacle of human achievement and culture in the early 22nd century, within 3 years, the Union was grander than any nation in the history of the known world in every respect. The glory of the Old Ryukyu and Old Minoans had returned in the form of a new, Hemisphere-wide Roman Empire-type state, plus Australia and New Zealand. The most common method of expressing oneself, as per Pantheon philosophy, was through the written word, either through computerized literature or old-fashioned pen and paper. Again, keeping with the themes of the medieval heroism and Roman, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon traditions, most popular literature from the Northern Union was written in the classic romantic style, about love, adventure, heroism, knowledge and valiance in the face of adversity, as was most music, in all genres. The presence of thousands of individual cultures and languages, dialects and beliefs within the Union with the presence of the Elegant Gothic Aristocracy as the ruling class, who came from a predominantly Germanic or Anglo-Saxon background, led to an astounding mixing of cultures and arts. English, as it had been even before the rise of the Union, remained the official Union language for learning and writing, used solely for Pantheon theology and esotericism, science, and history, it was not by any means just a written language, but also a lingua franca in which all the great Union universities communicated and shared knowledge. English as a language, as the Northern Union poet Arditi wrote in 2107, was now just beginning its Golden Age. French was still spoken in a majority of the Northern Union’s territory, as was German, the latter being the language reserved for casual conversation amongst the Elegant Gothic Aristocracy. Scandinavian languages and Russian were also spoken not only in the Union’s Scandinavian and vast Slavic territories, but also in the German and British Union Provinces. Latin and Greek were used as they always were; the universal Western languages. The Australian and New Zealand Provinces spoke, as usual, mostly English. Such a blend of languages led to a full flowering of human culture, another Union poet, Lucian Moonraiser, wrote that a “New Enlightenment” had begun. With so much mixing of languages and cultures, there was going to be intercourse between different cultures’ literary and musical traditions as well. The Elegant Gothic Aristocracy’s focus on the ancient Germanic heroism with a matriarchal twist, as all 30 of the EGA nobility were female led to much adjustment and adaptation in French and English epic literature, which typically focused on male virtues and overthrowing of matriarchies. The revival of Beowulf-type poetry and novels and the 22nd-century progressivism in technology and computers led to many epic poems with modern twists, such as Arditi’s Toon World, an epic poem about a handsome young man, possibly a metaphoric depiction of Arditi himself, being thrust into a distorted, utterly chaotic animated computer game where he must fight his way out, or Antonio Marduk’s extremely dark short animation The Backwater Minds, depicting some extremely disturbing scenes for 9 minutes, showing that the biggest flaw with humanity is that it exists at all, and showing a young woman navigating through 9 worlds, each one depicting a series of unspeakable horrors that occur in everyday life. These two Northern Union writers, Alexander Arditi and animation genius Antonio Marduk are world-renowned for their work in the esoteric Pantheon philosophy as well; they are political idealists and Inheritor degree holders, having met Empress Cassandra and the rest of the EGA many times, and had even been invited to the Grand Oktoberfest in Munich, attended by all 30 EGA nobility and their special guests. Antonio Marduk’s poetry and prose in The Backwater Minds is legendary: “blood drips down the walls, curtling screams fill the halls…the innocent are torn asunder, a tragedy caused by those seeking justices blunder…devils grin with crimson teeth, a severed arm twitches fresh at their feet beneath…and soon you two will join their feast, sacrificing greatest with the least…ripping rending beyond mending, your soul to another land they be sending…and so with empty eyes you stare forever more, as your corpse joins those resting on the floor…………….” is one of the most famous lines from World 9 near the end of the animation, where the girl, a typical Southern peach named Joanna Lynn Logsdon, meets a soul named Samantha Van Pelt, a vengeful, hunting, malicious-shape shifting entity, attracted to streetlights like a huge moth at night, that is very beautiful, but generated out of pure hatred and vengeance from a pimply, overweight girl killing herself from perceived unattractiveness, she was made fun of and eventually tortured by three young men from her school, after the hideous damage to her body, she killed herself, and all that anger and hate coalesced into a stunning, 6’ 3” tall brunette with haunting blue eyes dressed in Elegant Gothic Aristocracy style, forever seeking vengeance upon the forces that created it, as per Pantheon’s Serpent Paradox and the Gestalt Fields. The scene where Samantha Van Pelt explains what she is and why she does what she does is one of the greatest examples of Deus Es Machina in any film or movie, ever, and is just one of the many truly disturbing scenes and concepts throughout The Backwater Minds, all topped off with one of the most disturbingly creepy original soundtracks ever. A second concept of The Backwater Minds is World Eight: Manheim, where Joanna, the tall, thin, smart and extremely attractive young woman gets locked in a dystopian concentration camp and used as a dancer and slave girl, as well as a breeder for passing on those favorable genes for the Manheim Fascists’ extreme Social Darwinist ideology. She escapes, but not before seeing some extremely hideous and disturbing, degenerate scenes. The use of insects, for example, the Black Witch Moth to symbolize the macabre and horrid truths of human existence, only adds to the despair and gloomy atmosphere created by the 9-minute animation. Marduk is a mad genius, through and through, and Arditi is a 22nd-century Renaissance man. At the other end of the Northern Union literary canon were the romantic and adventure stories, but also with a 22nd-century, Pantheon-influenced twist. Authors were focused on such topics as war and love, loss and love and adventures into space, such as colonizing Mars and the Moon, triggering a revival of the science-fiction epic. The two star-crossed lovers, Tristan and White Rose, the former being a Northern Union Army Special Forces trooper, and his lover being a singular-AI, as in, a computerized woman that looks, acts and behaves exactly like a human being, but is not one, are the central figures of “Sunset over the Eaves of Time,” and the exceedingly ironic and tragic animated love story about a handsome young scientist named Rayne and the object of his affection, a young woman named Eve, called Confessio Amantis: Hymn of a Summer Rain; the animation and accompanying book describes one of the most heartbreaking of plots, Rayne, a scientist who is trying to develop a medicine that will cheat death, learns that the woman he loves, Eve, is dying of an illness and has just three months left before she dies. Knowing that the medicine will not be finished in time to stop her from dying, Rayne must accept death for what it is. The whole film, which has no dialogue, only a wonderfully sad soundtrack that plays at critical parts of the story, shows Rayne trying to make Eve’s last three months the happiest of her life…Eve’s death scene, and the soundtrack for the entire 5-minute death and funeral sequence, which ends with Rayne sobbing over Eve’s headstone to the music, is considered to be one of the most heartbreaking scenes in any cartoon, ever. Both the novel and the animation are written by one of the EGA nobility named Helena Morgendorfer, who, as one of the 30 Tier-1 Gestalts, has equal importance at governing the Union as the other 29, but is also a romantic author and has been rumored to be in a relationship with 22nd-century Renaissance man Alexander Arditi, only 28 years old. Helena is a true Renaissance artist as well, her quotes speak volumes about her personality, such as “There is no point in living if I cannot be beautiful, but there is no point in beauty if I cannot live.” Her collection of waltzes, namely the Waltz of the Forlorn Sorcerer, are beautiful compositions for a night of elegant dancing. Her paintings and sculpture focus on sadness and love, but there is an extremely unique aspect of her paintings. She paints with the detail of Van Gogh or Vermeer, but always in the style of Japanese cartoons. With the evolution of culture to be far more globalized, that art style is no longer confined to avant-garde enthusiasts and Japanese cartoonists, but is now a form of fine art throughout the Northern Union, and nobody painted that type of character better, had more creative outfits and personalities for their characters than Baroness Morgendorfer did. She had long blonde hair with pigtails, a red, white-frilled bonnet, big, pretty blue eyes with a monocle on her left one, and a billowing EGA burgundy and white-frilled ballroom dress with matching white gloves and black high-heeled shoes. Space adventure-romance was the domain of titles like Century Trilogy, which depicts the previous century, the 21st, as a steampunk-style world viewed from the lens of the 22nd-century Pantheon ideology, written by science fiction heavyweight Adrian Peterson in 2108. The final words of the book quote Empress Cassandra about her former Master, Baron Anteon:

“It seems to me that society walks blind, as if it has its eyes wide shut. Every so often, however, an individual comes along that expresses an alternative, and society’s eyes start to open to the light of the truth, and the hope for a better world. Just as society’s mind begins to change, however, that prophet, the immortal light of truth, is snuffed out by the powers that be, and gradually, his messages are forgotten, as society once again conducts its blind vigil, stumbling through the dark at the calls of its controllers, like a sheep with blinders being led to the slaughterhouse. The world is this way because of a few rotten, sick individuals in power, namely the Pope and his clergy, as is all institutionalized religion. Religion as an institution is in itself an oxymoron. Religion is about the interpretation of knowledge and the belief that no knowledge is superior to any other, in its most basic guise, and whatever shape it takes, this guise and form remain constant. It is because of religion as an institution that a hierarchy of knowledge has developed, and therefore society as it stood during the previous age, when my former Master Baron Anteon Alexander was first becoming powerful. If an institution founded on a belief stating that all knowledge is good decides to classify knowledge as “good” and “bad” for its own lying, selfish purposes, and then the organization is a logical fallacy. It is the classic straw-man argument; it builds a case on false or non-existent information and then knocks it down with an equally baseless argument. In that case, all of the pre-Pantheon society was based on this same straw-man fallacy, that there is “good knowledge” and “bad knowledge” and that the only way to make sure “good knowledge” prevails is to censor and brutally repress what is considered “bad.” There is something to be said for the Church outlining morality for those who cannot follow a moral compass, but the Church is in no position to dictate morality to others when it has none by itself. We are different. We are the light that has opened the eyes of society to the truth, that there is something greater waiting for us if we unite our minds and cultures, something greater than any Pope or Church could possibly hope to suppress. It is the simple strength of numbers, the simple weight of all ideologies combined, under the umbrella of the Serpent Paradox, the Know-Nothing Complex, the Seven Doctrines of Absurdity and the Gestalt Fields. It is Pantheon. If we stand as one, with me as your leader, we will do more than move mountains. We will spark a new Enlightenment, out of the Dark Ages that masqueraded as the 21st Century. The Pope’s empire lies at our feet in ruins, and the manacles of fallacy and institutionalized religion have been shattered. There is no God…There is no Devil…there is only Man, and we are God’s creators and His destroyers. I leave you with this, my people. Just because a reality is there, doesn’t mean you have to acknowledge it as unchanging…or even agree to follow it. Raise High the Flag!! Raise High the flag!! RAISE HIGH THE FLAG!!!”

Given the fact that the heroism and magic of old plays such a critical role in Northern Union society, it is not surprising that the military is considered the long-arm of Pantheon Order. The soldiers are the most disciplined and ferocious fighting force since Ancient Rome, and use the full range of global infantry and war-fighting tactics from every culture to dominate their enemies with their full range of weapons, armor, vehicles, ships, planes and most importantly, sense of brotherhood. They lived and died by the words of the Pantheon Doctrine, operating such vehicles as the F-5 Haidnur-class VTOL gunship, a massive, six-engine, twin-tailed monstrosity, this was the largest heavier-than-air aircraft ever built, and the plane could fly at 500 miles per hour and maneuver as easily as a helicopter and fly in all directions, even hover. It was the most heavily armed aircraft ever, with missiles, bombs, machine guns and four huge howitzer guns, each with a 6-inch barrel, and was essentially a flying battleship. Their uniforms were simple armor that could be customized with gear and equipment, so that eventually no two soldier’s armor sets looked the same. The biggest military showcase in history took place in the Italian Province of the Northern Union, through the streets of Rome, every year on Pantheon Day, September 21. More than 3.5 million soldiers, tanks, and other vehicles from units all over the Union marched in a thundering column that shook the earth beneath them. The soldiers were trained the believe that there was no such thing as freedom unless it was defended with the might of 1,000 suns, and that liberty was the result of the sacrifices of more honorable, valiant men who answered to a higher calling than any poet, politician or idealist. Pantheon meant nothing without the vast military to protect it. With the absorption of the Franco-German Union as the final pieces of the Northern Union in 2103, the iron bulwark of Pantheon Doctrine was truly invincible. Their brotherhood honor code, Macto Imperia, was similar to the Japanese bushido, operated by Alexander Arditi’s famous quote: “The right to use a friend as a companion and a weapon…that is the sinful crown I adorn for eternity.” The Legions, as they were known, took the names of famous Germanic-Gothic figures, such as the Arminius Legion or the Haidnur Legion, and fought with the ferocity of the Germans with the cunning of the Romans and the Japanese infantry.

Prologue: The Stars are My Witnesses

When all your fantasies are laid before you, you always knew, I will haunt your dreams forever. Your path and mine collide at this one point, and now there is no return. Only one of us can rule this new world, and it’s either you or I, not the Literati, not the Empress or the Tier-1 Gestalts…to the one I love, prepare for one last waltz.”

Baroness Helena Morgendorfer

Surely, the world is mad! No, you say, there must be a mistake, for there are flaws everywhere. Yet at once, there is finally peace and serenity in this world gone mad and humanity is in the midst of the true Renaissance, not that brief lull in the medieval drama that teased us with the false hope of enlightenment in the 16th century. The question, however, is how this world came into being. ‘This world,’ in my own words, is not referring to the Earth itself, but this particular reality that has swept the Northern Union realm during the first decade of the 22nd century. The answer to all madness lays in something so simple yet so profound, that only the most brilliant or the simplest of individuals can see the truth. The root of our New Enlightenment lies in words and words alone. ‘Words’ are an arbitrary concept, just a sequence of letters, symbols or characters implied to mean something because someone says it does. Where, however, does this meaning’s origin lie? My contemporaries, such as my colleague Antonio Marduk and my fiancée, Helena Morgendorfer, both extraordinarily talented writers and animators, like to argue about which takes precedent in written and visual forms of media: style or content. In this argument, I side with Antonio; even though Helena gets annoyed when I correct her, she cannot be right all the time. To see why Antonio’s emphasis on style is of far greater importance than the content of any work, one must simply look in the dictionary at the definitions of “style” and “content.” To “style” a piece is to arrange the words or images into a form understandable and enjoyable by an audience, but “content” is, by definition, something contained by something else, like a person getting into their robotic maglev car, the person becomes the car’s content. This, in actuality, means that content is just a by-product of style, content is contained within the vessel of style in any form of literature, which is in turn a by-product of words, derived from arbitrary meanings associated with symbols and characters used to form sounds. Words by themselves, of course, have no meaning. Suppose I write this word: “cat.” Three letters, c-a-t. By itself, the word means nothing because there is no additional content to give the word meaning, no adjectives to describe the noun. If I wrote “furry cat,” or “sleepy cat” or “meowing cat,” the cat is now being placed within the context of another word, another sequence of symbols. The first two cats are being described by adjectives, telling us something about the cat in question, and the third cat is being described by an adverb, a verb that describes the cat’s actions. Also, the arrangement of words and phrases matters too, these three cats are THREE cats; as far as we know, we do not know if this is one cat being described twice and then meowing, or three separate cats doing three separate things. To express the idea through a crystal-clear lens, we would write: “The furry, sleepy cat meowed loudly when the dog stepped on its tail.” This is a perfectly good sentence. It places the cat and an additional subject, a dog, into context, there is one cat being described twice and doing something once, with an adjective describing the adverb, “meowed loudly.” The tense of the adverb has changed, but the meaning is still understood as to be the sound that a cat makes when its tail is stepped on by a clumsy dog. The meow is the same, just in a different temporal alignment with the rest of the sentence. This basis, the idea that all language and all aspects of it are pure perception of human minds and consciousness is the basis for all order and communication, and the very central part of what makes us human. Human…indeed, but, of course, one knows that humanity is capable of much darker, stronger, more irrational things than simply writing about some clumsy mutt tripping over a fat, lazy housecat’s tail. This is the root of all madness. This is where the human zeitgeist, every ideology that has ever been postulated by mankind, originates, and from there, we get every aspect of society we see in the 22nd century. I, an Inheritor degree holder and one of the youngest men ever to hold such an honor, have embraced not one, but all ideologies, as has the government of the Northern Union. This is Pantheon. Pantheon’s most basic teachings can be seen if I revisit the meowing cat and the clumsy dog again. The sentence about the cat and dog is perceived by readers with a sense of “normalcy.” The image of a housecat and a dog in clumsy, awkward interaction is something anyone who has spent time around cats and dogs has seen and can remember. However, this is the way of the Old Society, before the Real Renaissance that began with the ascension of Cassandra I to the position of Gothic Empress. Pantheon would state that a sentence like “The seafaring sled-dog tripped over the cat’s tail, thinking it was a banana peel” is just as acceptable as “The furry, sleepy cat meowed loudly when the dog stepped on its tail,” because it just operates on a different logic, it doesn’t make the typical sentence ‘better’ or ‘righter’ than the atypical one, even though the sled-dog mistaking a cat’s tail for a banana peel is something that goes far beyond the acceptable boundaries set by society on that sentence, because it is not “normal.” Pantheon DOES NOT CARE FOR THE OLD SOCIETY’S CONCEPTS OF NORMALCY IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE. The Northern Union has built a New Order, one on which the crucible of normalcy has been snapped and torn asunder. Those pretentious, narrow-minded fools tell us to ‘blend’ with society. Pathetic. We have chosen to ignore societal concepts of normalcy, and not just ignore them, tear them down and build a new Zeitgeist in its place, a society where there is no delineation between “normal” and “abnormal,” no societal judgment on “insane” or “sane.” The word “Pantheon” comes from the Greek phrase “all knowledge,” and that is what I preach. All knowledge is equal; there is no “good” and “bad” knowledge, only inferior and superior people. Empress Cassandra gave this speech once, and she is right in every sense of the word. There is no good and evil. There is no God, there is no Devil; there is only Mankind and the ideologies he portrays through 4 philosophies, central to Pantheon thought: The Serpent Paradox of Self, the Know-Nothing Complex, the Seven Doctrines of Absurdity, and the Gestalt Fields. Each one of these encompasses the entire human knowledge base. We are Pantheon, the Immortal Legion, Divided by Zero, God’s creators and His destroyers, and together, we stand on guard for a New Order, an era of order and peace…”

Lord Alexander Arditi, 28-years old, 2107 A.D.

  1. So Splendid an Evening Walk

In the summertime, near the Mediterranean coasts of Greece, the sun, a blazing orange ball in the sky, hangs over the Mediterranean, casting a long, peaceful shadow over what most Northern Union residents would Heaven on Earth. In a villa on the Mediterranean Sea, overlooking the ancient caldera of Thera, usually sat a handsome young man, looking out over the ocean and writing, drawing, painting or observing his surroundings. He usually wore a burgundy suit and black tie, with a black cape, in keeping with the popular elegant Gothic style, emulating the nobility that had built the vast Union, which included all of Europe, Eurasia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, and sat in his bedroom listening to operas such as Hajimari ga Yue, or Mozart’s Dies Irae, the former a Japanese orchestra piece, the latter the famous opening from Mozart’s Requiem Mass. He was 6’ 2” tall, an ectomorph build with brown hair and blue eyes, and a very handsome, stoic face. He didn’t show much emotion, only when he spoke about things that mattered to him, one of those things was in the other room, working on her latest title, a book called Summer’s End, about a young man who meets the woman of his dreams at an Illuminations festival, and the tragic bloody, elegiac romance that followed. Helena Morgendorfer, Baroness of Ansbach, author and black-metal rock baroness and one of the 30 Elegant Gothic Aristocrats that collectively governed the vast Northern Union, had been seeing Alexander Arditi, the 22nd-century Renaissance man, for about 3 months now, and every day they appeared to grow closer and closer, they were both pretentious literary connoisseurs, and they had every right to be. They were two of the most well-known artists and scholars in the world, with millions of followers in every country. Alexander was the youngest man ever to hold the prestigious Inheritor degree, and Helena was a member of the dominant superpower on Earth’s ruling class, the high nobility of the Elegant Gothic culture. As the strains of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake began to play on the computerized music system in the house, Alexander was hard at work composing one of his most elegant theories, something he called “Cataclysmic Succession.” In his research of the natural world, he had observed many fossils and took a very keen interest in the late Pleistocene-Early Holocene wildlife extinctions, and had been formulating a theory that would potentially allow the Northern Union to discover the identity of all life on Earth, living or extinct. Alexander had noticed that after the five major mass extinctions in Earth’s history, the rate of evolution accelerated to fill in the open niches, without any known catalyst, aside from the very driving force behind all evolution, the changing environment. What was missing was the exact reason why the gene mutated; science had long tried to justify that with chaos and the laws of probability, but Pantheon, the government philosophy of all existence and knowledge having a purpose and a genesis point from some natural, rather than supernatural force, human or otherwise, stated that all occurrences in the universe, or any other universes in the infinite multiverse, happen because of energy variations. Alexander’s theory stated that after a cataclysm, be it a natural one such as a plague, bolide impact, atmospheric composition change, Ice Age, super-eruption, radical climate shift, cosmic gamma ray burst, or a man-made one, such as a nuclear war or habitat destruction, vast amounts of species go extinct. The definition of “cataclysm” was open to interpretation, as well; the Cambrian Explosion probably destroyed entire phyla of primitive life, paving the way for complex life about 500 million years ago. For about a million years after the cataclysm, the rate of genetic mutations increases dramatically, and an explosion of new life arises to take the place of the previous age. Eventually, the rate of evolution slowed down to normal levels, but eventually, the biosphere became too crowded and too specialized, and another cataclysm wiped the slate clean, beginning the cycle again, because the biosphere’s evolutionary flaws became too uniform and too broad, the level of diversity petered out to where the biosphere was ripe for extinction. The mechanism behind this rapid change was the cataclysm itself; disasters were mutagens, in the same way that radiation and gene errors were, and the disasters, through physiological and psychological effects on the survivors, caused mutations and gene errors that allowed for evolution to happen, therefore, species never actually go extinct, they just are modified by the environment, which would allow Alexander to trace the DNA of any organism that has ever existed…and even clone it, destroy it or enhance it, even create an entirely new organism, fitting right into the Pantheon Doctrine. In the case of humans, the last Ice Age, a global climate catastrophe, triggered humans to evolve intelligence and consciousness, allowing them to band together and increase their chances of survival. Likewise, all species had an evolutionary flaw, even humans, with their constant destruction of the environment, and their vast war-making abilities, were not immune. The very same forces of natural selection that created human bodies and minds would eventually destroy them, the Serpent Paradox of Self explained to the letter. Just as the Swan Lake piece ended, however, Helena walked into the room, wearing her long, black, white-frilled dress and her long blonde hair flowing down her back. “Still working on that theory, I see…” Helena cooed, softly. “Yes, it’s almost done, and I’m about to finish the final sketches of the technology-environment cycle and the projected tree of human evolution. If everything works out, because genes mutate and are never destroyed by any natural cataclysm, save a gamma-ray burst, we would be able to trace and re-create the DNA of any and every living thing ever.” “And, with the technology that I, the Empress and the other Baronesses are helping to invent, the two of us will be able to create an explosion of life to match the Cambrian Age, not just animals that have already gone extinct, but entirely new forms of life. I understand what you’re trying to do, and it’s crazy…fortunately, I like crazy. Pantheon denies the existence of insanity, claiming that the Old Society placed too much emphasis on normalcy…we are an evolved state.” “Indeed. How has the novel been coming along?” Alexander asked, placing his black hat on his head. “Which one? Summer’s End?” “Yes.” “It’s been going well, my main character has just confessed his love for the object of his affection, and she’s currently pondering what she’s going to say, given her past, all in the shadow of the pagoda, decorated in paper lanterns.” “It sounds a lot like a classic manga story, just with a much more elegiac undertone.” “I’ve written more than 50 elegiac, “phantom romance” stories and 25 short anime comics; creating a sad yet beautiful universe exploring the darker, macabre, and more painful side of love, for there is beauty in pain…it is the way of the Gothic Aristocracy.” “That’s Empress Cassandra talking.” “Indeed it is, we try to live vicariously through our Empress, you, being the Inheritor, cannot understand the sense of serenity that she radiates.” “I guess it is in my nature to think, otherwise I would not be an Inheritor.” Alexander said, placing his black surcoat over his outfit, and in addition to his hat, he looked an awful lot like the Phantom of the Opera. The sun was beginning to sink lower in the sky, and the shadows began to stretch over the whitewashed walls of Santorini, as the full moon rose like an ominous orange eye in the sky. “What do you say we go for a walk to clear our minds, along the streets and the cliffs?” “That sounds great, Alexander. I’ll get my shoes; I don’t want to get my new black-striped socks dirty, do I?” Helena quickly put on her tall, black high-heeled platform boots, topcoat and Fedora hat, keeping with her odd theme, increasing her height to over six feet. “Let’s go, Alex.” “I’m coming right up.” Alexander donned his black shoes and placed his Inheritor medal on his lapel and followed Helena out the door, two strange shadows in the setting sun, but immediately recognizable, the moment Helena and Alexander stepped onto the sidewalk, they received admiring looks from groups of people walking past, and some whispered that “they looked amazing together.” A robotic, hovering maglev car zipped by as the moon rose high over the town, causing Helena to give pause as the car moved past at a hazardous speed. “Reprogram your car’s GPS, you lazy bum!!” “Calm down, Helena, he was probably sleeping, he certainly looked it. Let’s keep going, there’s a place where we can eat dinner on the other end of town.” Walking past more people and small shops, Helena took some time to look in the windows at the artwork for sale, namely the oil paintings, after asking Alexander if it was ok for them to go in one of the galleries, they both walked through the automatic sliding door into the white, stark lights illuminating the store. “Oh! Hello there, Baroness Morgendorfer and Lord Arditi! What can I do for you both?” “Can you show us your special collection? I recall seeing something on the news about some ancient artwork here.” Alexander said to the Greek shopkeeper, very politely. “Oh…yes, in the back room, sir, it’s not for sale, I must tell you.” “I do not need to buy it.” Baroness Morgendorfer said. “If the Northern Union wants it for analysis, I could require the shopkeeper to give it to me, though.” Helena whispered to Alexander, both of them drawing awed looks from their outfits, the two elegant Gothic aristocrats. Arditi in particular looked like the Phantom of the Opera, and Helena was his sinister-yet-elegant counterpart. Both of them walked into the back room, down a hallway, following the shopkeeper. “Here is the specialty room…I normally do not let anyone back here, this painting is beyond the grasp of most people in its scope and meaning, but for the likes of you, I think you will appreciate its majesty. Open your eyes, Pantheon prophets.” The black curtain covering the painting parted, revealing a massive fresco, and Alexander was astonished by what he saw. The paintings showed a majestic mountain range, with snow-capped peaks shrouded in mist and wispy, icy clouds, with two elegantly-clad, beautiful women standing and facing each other. One was tall, blonde and willowy with what looked like a cross between a Japanese Imperial robe and Chinese Qing Empress dress, the other was even taller with long, silky black hair and looked like a cross between an Italian supermodel, a Qing Empress and a Japanese bride, with a huge dress that resembled an Oriental rug in its patterning, along with fractal designs that only a modern supercomputer could create. The mountains were in the background, with a huge temple atop one of the peaks and 3 huge condor-like birds circling the steeple. In the sky, however, above the entire scene, was what grabbed Alexander and Helena’s immediate attention: The sun was drawn as a darkly-shining Black Sun Rune, with two swastikas, one facing left, the other right, above each of the women’s heads. It was a perfect example of volkisch art, or ancient European folk art depicting pre-Christian times. “Where was this found?” Alexander asked. “This was found near Helice, a city buried under more than 15 feet of pumice and volcanic ash not too far from here. We believe that this painting is Minoan, the ancient competitors with the Mycenaeans, the latter gave rise to the Athenian and the Spartan city-states.” “Those symbols…those are the Eurocentric, Indo-European pagan signs, they’ve only been seen in the Nordic areas and Germany…this is incredible. This indicates that the symbols were Minoan in origin and that the Minoans were originally a Persian, Aryan people…Heinrich Himmler was right…” “So, this is the source of my powers…I knew that already, but to be in the presence of the Black Sun is just…liberating and cleansing for my energies…I would perform one of my chants, but I think the shopkeeper’s too old, he might have a heart attack if he heard the passion and dark serenity spouting from betwixt my lips…” Helena said, closing her eyes and humming a melody to herself. She was a Black European Paganism enthusiast, and in addition to writing dark, elegiac, phantom/folk-romance novels, she was a singer in a pagan Goth band, called Light the Behexen Flame, and wrote songs about German paganism and Odin’s Cult, along with power, war and mysticism, she dressed in a black ballroom gown with blond pigtails and sang like a dark Rhine Maiden on stage, but her outfit for the night was a black Fedora hat with her hair straightened and combed nicely, a black topcoat with epaulets on it and a checkered scarf, black-leather gloves, high-heeled leather boots and a bronze brooch on the scarf. Her blonde hair accentuated her sinister blue eyes. Standing there, slightly befuddled by Helena’s unnerving hobbies, the shopkeeper spoke after a short pause. “We believe this is the painting that Himmler said he found here during the Second World War. In 1945, as the Soviet Union was pushing into Berlin, Himmler ordered his occult research and descriptions of what he had found to be destroyed, so that the Allies would not learn their secrets. Himmler later killed himself with a cyanide pill. In the 2090s, during the later stages of the Thirty-Years’ Ilex War in Asia the founder of our Pantheon philosophy, Baron Anteon Tiberius, while flying over Greece and landing here for a time, stumbled upon the painting again, and, realizing the significance of the painting, called the Greek Historical Society. He later became fascinated with European pagan beliefs, even though he was American, and, as you are well aware of, Miss Morgendorfer, founded the Pantheon Cult, which now rules this vast Northern Union.” “Yes, I was fortunate enough to be trained by him directly. He was an astonishing person, albeit quite the womanizer.” “Regardless, if this painting is really tying Minoan art with pagan symbols found all over Europe, than it may indicate that the Roman Empire was not the only Empire ever to rule all of Europe and the Mediterranean…which would further cement my theories of Cataclysmic Succession, as that would put the society on the same time scale as the early Holocene boundary, just after the Laurentian Ice Sheet retreated. The cataclysm caused humanity to evolve societal bonds, band together and survive the Ice Age as a huge Empire in Europe, long before anyone gave them credit for building one. Such elegance, yet such simplicity, the majesty of the ancient world has always fascinated me…how our ancestors lived and interacted with the Pleistocene and early Holocene megafauna, like the giant Short-Faced Bear, the enormous lizard Varanus priscus, the giant snapping turtle Meiolania, which was the size of a car and lived all over the Western Pacific, the ferocious Smilodon, giant lion and Scimitar Cats, the massive, murderous “ox-bird” Bullockornis, the terrifying killer of Maori children, the Haast’s Eagle, and the largest predators of all time, the Giant Raptorial Sperm Whale and the Megalodon Shark. These and thousands of other giant species perished with the coming of humans…all our fantasies of monsters and nightmarish creatures are based in these encounters between early man and the terrifying animals that once shared the earth with us…it’s ironic, we plunder and pillage the Earth, yet we called these spectacular predators, evolved over millions of years, “mindless monsters…” such is the way of the Gestalt Fields and the Seven Doctrines of Absurdity, perception and ideology. The Minoan Civilization was the pinnacle of these early peoples’ development, after arriving in Europe from what is now Persia and Asia Minor 30,000 years ago; they evolved and eventually built their society, under King Minos. In this way, the Minoan Empire was the most spectacular of all, because the Minoans triumphed over the hordes of megafaunal monsters and Neanderthals that had occupied these lands for millions of years, a far greater challenge than any other human society had ever faced. ” Alexander lectured, with a sinister grin on his face. “The volcano here, Thera, however, snuffed out the last flames of the Minoan civilization in a magnitude-8 steam blast…the Serpent Paradox of Self by example.” “Thank you for the lecture, Lord Arditi. It is always a pleasure to have you and Baroness Helena in attendance.” “You are quite welcome, now, if you’ll excuse us, we must be going to dinner, the café down the street has our favorite things on the menu. Fare thee well, storekeeper, and thank you for showing me this painting…I have learned much from seeing it…” Both Alexander and Helena walked out of the gallery’s back room and past the onlookers, and turned towards the café, which was just down the street, more robotic, hovering cars were pulling into the parking lot, underneath a canvas awning. The two of them walked into the restaurant, and were immediately greeted by a familiar face. Sitting at a table across from the entrance was another young man and his girlfriend; he had handsome, shoulder-length black hair and piercing green eyes, as well as a pale, handsome face. He wore a black suit, red tie and had a black elegant aristocratic cape, as well as black shoes, and across from him sat a gorgeous young woman, she looked about 25 years old, and had long, silky red hair, wore a long, navy-blue and black dress, and had seductive blue eyes. She had beautiful blue-diamond earrings and a sapphire necklace, and wore extremely bright-red lipstick. She had black high heels. “Antonio Marduk…How have you been?!” “Oh, hey Alex! Wow!! It’s been a very long time, hasn’t it!? Inheritor! Wow!!” “Yes, I passed the final examinations with 100% in every subject, it took about 4 days, but it was actually rather straightforward.” “Is that Antonio Marduk?” Helena walked over upon seeing him as well, recognizing him for his accomplishments. “Antonio, my name is Baroness Helena Morgendorfer, I am one of the 30 Tier-1 Gestalts, and I am a big fan of your work, to say the least. Alexander, I didn’t know you knew him!” “Heck, we were roommates at University together, I stayed to pursue the Union Inheritor degree, and he graduated with his doctorate in evolutionary genetics.” “Yes, but I’m more known for my distinctly macabre, avant-garde style animations, comics and plays, not my research on resurrecting extinct species, which is something I see as more of a profession than writing, but still, The Backwater Minds is…perhaps one of the most disturbing 9 minutes in media history. The biggest flaw of humanity is that it exists…Alex, you’re an Inheritor, a true Renaissance man and you’re dating one of the government baronesses, what can’t you do?!” “Well, I still can’t play sports.” “That’s irrelevant anyway, unless you’re an over-muscled meathead and a follower of the ideology that being a jock automatically means you know everything and have a petty superiority complex. They are the weakest, most intellectually-inferior forms of life, I remember when I used to publish all the embarrassing fraternity and sorority stories I could find on my blog, and mention each individual who told them by name, because I thought that having a flock mentality and joining these types of organizations was societal suicide. If they are that stupid, they deserved to be shamed on the campus and on the Internet.” “Oh my God, I love that!” Helena said, in her usual, quiet elegance, rather excited because one of her favorite authors was sitting in front of her. “Yes, you were the extremely weird, extremely-intelligent guy who slandered the frat-boys, athletes and sorority girls over the Internet by hacking their social pages and stealing their journal secrets, while publishing them on a blog called ‘The Drone Culture of Our Campus, Exposed.’ Remember when you found the list of athletes who were using steroids and published it on the Internet even before the athletic managers could inform the players that they had tested positive?” “Ha! Yes, I ruined a LOT of promising athletic careers, but no one knew who I was, because I blogged under a false name. I was writing my stories and comics even then, but nobody knew, and I’m pretty sure those dumb jocks still don’t know, but they forever curse the name of ‘Apostate V.’ That was 3 years ago, and it’s great to see you again. By the way, this is Tsuruko Toujou; we just got together about 3 weeks ago.” “It’s an honor to meet both of you, Baroness Helena and Lord Arditi.” “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?” Alexander asked Tsuruko. “You might have seen me around, yes. Hee hee.” Tsuruko giggled and smiled. “Tsuruko has appeared on multiple fashion magazine covers and model magazines. She’s also working on her medical degree.” “Yes, I’m 25 years old and am about a year from graduation. I can’t wait!” “How’d you meet?” “I think Tsuruko explains it better, go ahead.” “Well, I was at one of my photo shoots and the types of people that Antonio despises started acting like, well, drunken idiots, I think they were drinking too much and they started harassing me, my security guards were busy, and didn’t seem to notice, but Antonio did. He also recognized one of the guys that he revealed was doing steroids at the University three years ago and calmly approached, telling the three of them to stop, they got angry, and that’s when Antonio revealed that he was Apostate V. The one guy whose athletic career he ruined flew into a truly horrifying drunken rage-fit, screaming about “how he should have fucking known that it was you all along, you crazy psychotic weird-ass,” and that “you don’t know how many of my buddies’ lives and reputations you trashed in the name of some psychotic, extraordinarily creepy ideology and level of freakish intellect that makes sense only to you and your demented followers.” He proceeded to do a very good impression of a raging King Kong and attacked Antonio instead of me, but Antonio sucker-punched him in the solar plexus, knocking the wind out of him and crumpling him to the ground, gagging. Then, my security guards came running over, I explained the situation, and they congratulated Antonio for ‘one hell of a gut-punch.’ And, just like that, we got together pretty quickly.” Tsuruko explained through a very rapid, frankly-stated rant. “Well, there you have it. Anyway, I’ve been working on a new idea for a short animation film, what do you think of this?” Antonio showed Alexander an original drawing of a very large, graceful sea creature, it was milky-pink and red in color with blue and red diamond scales on the rear third of its body, with a peacock-patterned, Japanese fan-like caudal fin, long, silky red filaments coming out of the top of its head that looked like long, graceful red hair, and two very long, fish-like barbels positioned in the same way a catfish’s whiskers were. The creature had big, beautiful, shining blue eyes and a very soothing gaze. “That’s beautiful, what is that?” “This is Myralia, an extremely rare species of reptile from the South Pacific, from the new film “The Silent Sentinel.” She is an adult female, but her species is so rare and so incredible that most people believe they aren’t real when they see one. She is on a higher level of intellect than humans by far, and is attracted to feelings of strong emotion. Her species, the Pelagic Sea Python, is not endangered, just very shy and difficult to observe. She speaks telepathically, and has a very dignified, soothing female voice when someone hears her talk. The main plot here, though, is that there is a fisherman who wants to kill her and mount her on the wall of his tavern, because he sees her as a lower form of life, just because he’s human and she’s a snake; even though she is smarter than any human being. It reveals a fatal flaw in humans, we see ourselves as superior to nature, when in fact we are a part of nature. Look at this drawing as well.” Antonio showed Alexander another drawing, a picture of a beautiful young woman with long, silky black hair, and a long, tight-fitting black dress that hugged every curve of her 6’ 3” frame. She had green eyes and a very sinister, seductive look on her face, along with black high-heels. “This is Miss Aika, she’s a fictional Inheritor degree-holder and a dean of a major university at age 25, but she has a rather interesting trait…she’s a lingerie-wearing, whip-carrying dominatrix who has an army of short-skirt-clad minions enforcing her will over the school, and bring any misbehaving students to her to be “punished.” Both the film and this book, titled “Iron Maiden,” are strange and bizarre, but I care not for anyone’s judgment. Society makes these judgments, and by saying that these works have no right to exist, society dooms itself to extinction and therefore society does not deserve to exist. I rejected societal normalcy a long time ago. If you are offended or made uncomfortable by my weirdness, tough shit. Deal with it, because I won’t stop, I refuse to compromise, and I do what I think is right, even if someone else thinks it’s wrong. If they are not in charge, I don’t listen to them. I have a PHD in Evolutionary Genetics and have written more than 25 short animation films, five of which have made international award books. Therefore, I am automatically superior to them and don’t have to listen to them. It looks as if the Pantheon Revolution and the Northern Union government agree with my philosophy, as well. That is the message I’m sending with this film. These are my original sketches of Myralia, and Miss Aika, it took me about 5 hours to finish them both. Pretty awesome, huh?” “Your genius with the macabre speaks volumes about your creativity. I must admit, there is much to be said for your rejection of society, we were the most intelligent people on campus, and that is all that mattered. We needed no friends, for we had our wits and our intellect, and that is what made us stronger than anyone else. I was the only Inheritor to pass the final exam that year because I was better than anyone else in the class. The Pantheon doctrine’s core values are based in self-sufficiency. Anyone who is weak is weak because they are not self-sufficient, and that means anyone who is a drone of popular culture. Culture is societal perceptions, nothing more.” “I could not have said it better myself, and by the way, Alexander, your book Toon World seems to be doing well, to say the least.” “Yes, better than I had hoped, actually.” The host seated Alexander and Helena right next to Anthony and Tsuruko. “Miss Tsuruko, I assume you’re Japanese by your name, what part of Japan are you from?” “I’m from the southern part, the island of Kyushu, on the southwest coast of the island, near the tropical port city of Fukosa.” “Interesting, Fukosa was a battle zone during the Great Ilex Conflict, Baron Anteon himself flew combat missions there before he started the Pantheon Revolution.” “Yes, my father remembers the battles there when he was a boy. Peace prevails now, because of Anteon and the 181st Airborne Cavalry, the Symphony of Lightning.” “That’s still the most legendary air squadron in the entire Northern Union; made famous by Pantheon Cult Founder Baron Anteon Tiberius, they are known for their supernaturally-adept flying ability and also the Japanese anime pin-up pictures they draw on the side of their huge gunship aircraft, paying tribute to Anteon’s interest in Asian culture. I’ve seen some of the new planes they have, namely hull numbers 00112-EB and 00113-EC, or the massive gunships they call “Iron Maiden” and “Wet and Wild,” with a painting of a bikini-clad, brunette anime woman covered in human blood and smiling devilishly, sitting on top of a bomb on the port side just behind the cockpit windows for Iron Maiden and a black-haired pin-up girl sitting in a Japanese hot spring with a gun in her hand, as well as a silhouette of a Wulfhund gunship flying in front of the setting sun for Wet and Wild; the squadron’s just been outfitted with the new Fokker F-6 Wulfhund VTOL gunship, the largest combat aircraft ever built and a vast improvement over the workhorse Fokker F-5 Haidnur-I, they added two more howitzers, so now there are two on each side of the six-engine monstrosity, as well as a cannon under the plane’s nose, and its other weapons are better, its power, speed and maneuverability are far greater, and it can carry nuclear as well as conventional missiles, as well as GPS-guided hypersonic Viper cruise missiles for sinking aircraft carriers, as well as all the other weapons the F-5 could carry. This plane replaced the aging F-5 fleet last week, and joined the Avro Vesuvius-class delta-wing strategic bomber, the largest, most powerful bomber ever built, and the Lockheed SR-100 Slamhound stealth fighter as the three most lethal aircraft in the Northern Union’s arsenal. Forgive me for my rant, I am fascinated by machines.” Alexander said. “Interesting; Japan, though not part of the Northern Union, is developing a new technology that will allow humans to flash-clone any organism, I’m very interested in animals, especially insects.” Alexander’s eyes widened at that news. “Are you familiar with the Pleistocene-Holocene mass extinction?” “Yes; and the extinction that humanity has caused to this day, indeed.” “What if I told you that I had a theory that could reverse the effects of this mass extinction, and all mass extinctions before it? Have you ever dreamed of seeing an extinct animal? The beautiful Madagascar Sunset Moth? The incredible Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing, wiped out during the Napalm Holocaust in Papua New Guinea, during the Great Ilex War, or the Orangutan, destroyed when Borneo was napalmed?” “Yes, I have, and the Ilex War killed off so many Indonesian wildlife species…it’s very sad.” “Well then…I have discovered a theory that will allow me to trace the DNA and genetic code of every species that has ever existed, if proven correct…Cataclysmic Succession. With this knowledge, I could cure any pathogenic illness, trace and target the origin of any genetic or autoimmune disorder, clone any organ or cell in the body from the target’s own cells, eliminating the need for antirejection drugs, and clone any organism, alive or extinct…even create entirely new forms of life from just amino acids, water and carbon…with this theory and my Inheritor degree, the world would know the name of Lord Alexander Arditi as the Architect of a New Cambrian Explosion…how does that sound?” Tsuruko, utterly stunned and a bit unnerved and intimidated by Alexander’s vast intellect, just stared, confused. “That goes far beyond my knowledge of that subject, but I must ask, how long is the paper on which this theory is written?” “Only 2 typed pages, double-spaced. Thirteen years of research, summed up in two pages.” “Wow…just, wow…so this is what it means to be an Inheritor…it is true, you few just sound different, like someone who has seen more than their fair share of academic labor, wow…” “Yes, I have the pin to prove it.” Alexander wore his Inheritor pin, which looked like a golden spider with a Lamp of Knowledge emblazoned on its abdomen. “Ok, Dr. Frankenstein, calm down…the waiter is here to take our order.” Baroness Morgendorfer said, sarcastically, as the waiter walked over and asked them what they wanted. “I’d like some calamari with cheese, please.” Alexander asked. “I just want some shish talak, thank you.” Baroness Morgendorfer annunciated, calmly. The waiter took their orders as both Marduk and Tsuruko ordered as well, and walked away. Just then, the 3-D television turned on over the bar, and the news reporters were showing the Northern Union capital cities of London and Washington D.C., with an eye-grabbing headline on the bottom of the screen: “MINOAN PAINTING MAY CONFIRM PRESENCE OF PANTHEON SOCIETY IN LATE NEOLITHIC ERA.” Empress Cassandra I was about to speak about the discovery, and some of the other elegant Gothic aristocrats stood in Westminster, the political capital of the Northern Union, Washington D.C. was the Literati capital, run by the Inheritors, like Alexander. Everyone started to get curious when Empress Cassandra I stepped onto the screen, it was always a rare occasion that the 6’ 2” Empress with a pale face, long, silky black hair and strong, peaceful blue eyes, pigtails and perhaps the most elaborate, elegant and irreducibly complex Elegant Gothic dress ever, as well as a shining silver sword, Falchion, that belonged to Founder Baron Anteon in her hand whenever she appeared on T.V. to address her realm. Few people knew her background, only the Baronesses and the Literati Inheritors knew, but they had sworn an oath of secrecy about her and where she came from. Alexander and Helena could not and would not say anything. The Empress stepped gracefully in front of the podium, her dress mesmerizing viewers as she walked in front of the cameras, as the entire 2.3 billion-strong Northern Union population watched. “My people, I address you tonight, not as the Empress of the Northern Union in London, not as the leader of an Empire, but as a citizen of Mankind. Ten years ago, my mentor had a dream, a dream for a better world, one without the oppressive hand of the Catholic Church, one without the failures of the Old Society that sapped our will to achieve and shackled our minds to a societal standard of normalcy and conformity, coercing our obedience and soliciting our submission. Baron Anteon, my mentor and teacher, refused to blend with this society for the simple reason that he did not agree with it, and knew better than everyone else. He knew the truth, society did not, and, given his remarkable intellect and talents in academic fields and arts, knew that he could change the world…he wrote his ideologies down in a massive, 25-volume set of books, 2,000 pages each, describing three critical ideals: The destruction of the Catholic Church as an institution and preservation of all ideologies as equal, the breaking down of national borders and unification of like-minded societies, and replacing the old, backward, outdated society that had prevailed since the 17th century and the Thirty Years’ War with Pantheon Society, a new society that followed his ideology and his alone. Then, in his grandest hour, did just that. He founded the Literati Order and the Pantheon Cult, and then he hacked the Vatican City, revealing the names of all the criminals being sheltered by the Church, alive or dead, and brought them to trial, forever destroying the Church’s reputation, and soon, the last Pope was forced to step down, and a new one was never re-elected from the scandal, effectively ending the Church’s reign. He then began speaking in public all over the world, and his Pantheon ideology of tolerance of knowledge, rejection of normalcy and sole emphasis on individuality, and simply thinking about and questioning everything before performing any task swept the world by storm, eventually, Anteon, a Great Ilex War veteran and a war hero in the skies over Japan, was elected President of the Anglo-American Federation, the precursor state to our Northern Union. His final act before his tragic death in office was to unify the AAF with the Slavic Union and all of Europe, creating our massive Empire, which I inherited from him. And now, we may know where Pantheon comes from. Thanks to a message from Baroness Helena Morgendorfer, currently vacationing in Greece with Literati Inheritor Alexander Arditi, I have seen this remarkable painting, discovered by a Greek shopkeeper in Santorini. Look at the painting for a few seconds, my people and what do you see?” The picture of the painting that Helena and Alexander had just seen in the shop appeared as a 3-D computer projection in true color behind Empress Cassandra. “The two women in this painting are believed to be the Minoan Empress Hélène Thassilakos III and Ryukyu Empress Sayu Yamada I, according the runic language written on the mural, translated by the Literati Inheritors on-duty in Washington D.C. They are meeting to discuss something known as the “Egoist Crown,” not an actual crown, but a sad paradox of society, and that society, since humans are egocentric and care only for themselves in the end, all societies doom themselves to extinction, and therefore do not deserve to exist, even though they must for people to have an acceptable quality of life. The paradox states that sin is a natural side effect of society, and that sin is the Crown-of-Thorns that society wears everlasting, and sooner or later, that sin destroys every society with the toxicity of its own blood…except for those that reject tradition and normalcy, and focus solely on progress and the march Excelsior. These two ancient Empresses saw the Egoist Crown above their societies’ heads, and worked together to build an ancient Pantheon Union, but failed, as their societies collapsed, just like all others, until ours. We will NOT fail, and we HAVE NOT failed! We can now say with pride and confidence, that the two ancient Empresses’ shared vision has become our reality!!” The entire restaurant applauded for their Empress, including Marduk, Arditi, Morgendorfer and Tsuruko. “That shopkeeper is not going to be happy that you disregarded his ‘No Photography’ sign.” “Too bad. I’m a Baroness, he’s a shopkeeper. My authority and my intelligence are my rights!” “I could not have said it better myself, Miss Morgendorfer.” Helena smiled devilishly. The news reports continued to pour out about the painting, that the ancient pagan runes inscribed all over the painting tell the story of the meeting between the two Empresses, from the perspective of the mountain looming in the background, it was an elegiac poem, indicating that the two Empresses had died before it was painted, and this was a posthumous tribute to two of the greatest rulers of the ancient world. Of all the ancient Empires, the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Hittites, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Sumerians, Persians, China, Classical Japan, Alexander’s Empire, the Classical Greeks and Romans, these two, the Old Minoan and the Old Ryukyu, were probably the greatest societies ever seen, before the rise of the Northern Union just 10 years prior. Whether they knew it or not, every Empire, nation and state since then was based off of Minoan or Ryukyu culture, every religion, every pagan folk belief, everything, was influenced by these two ancient Empires, and their two greatest rulers, Empress Thassilakos of Minos and Empress Yamada of Ryukyu. The “Vision of the Mountain,” as the poem was now being called, was translated as follows:

Listen, peoples of the world, young and old, for I bear news of a glorious encounter. Standing on one side of the valley stood an entourage of gilded, draped chariots and armored columns, at the front stood Empress Hélène, of the mighty Minoan people, on the other side stood a company of Eastern warriors, clad in the stylized battle armor of their kind, and the elegant, destructive, commanding presence of Empress Yamada at their point. Striding inexorably towards the foot of my peak, they cheered slogans and prayed to their sacred idols, singing to the soaring teratorn birds flying majestically over my snow-capped pinnacles. Everything I saw, from the Empresses’ majestic robes and outfits to every gleam and glint of their soldiers’ armor and weapons. As the two sides reached their meeting place, under a massive, ancient oak grove, the symbols of Everlasting Peace and Power appeared over their heads, and the Black Sun shone high overhead. The two Empresses began their discussion under the ancient oak, their soldiers conducted their rituals, and the Sages, their beards long and white, led their chants. Was their message bloody, like the side from which a lion gores its prey? Was it peaceful, like a summer rain pattering the leaves in the deep woods? I cannot know, nor will I ever, but the Egoist Crown does not hang from my lofty heights, as it does, like a curse, over every man, woman and child. Like and unmoving sentinel, I stand forever…not so the Empires of the glorious Empresses before me…I weep for their majestic souls. In the name of Love, I bless thee with eternal life.”

The poem was just displayed on the screen for 5 minutes, so that the whole world could read these words, written more than 7,500 years ago. The newscaster went on to say of another story about Empress Yamada, written on the same fresco about a trip her fleet took to meet the Minoan Empress on what was thought to be Martha’s Vineyard, describing “clay cliffs, a great pond and a desolate, sandy, rolling beach, with the sea so crowded with fish that we could scarcely push a boat from our ship to shore through them, Empress Yamada had a bit of a problem with some of the local wildlife forms, picking up a large crab with bright blue, jagged claws, the crab acted accordingly.” As Helena stared at the painting on the screen in wonder, Alexander was busy writing in his notebook for his theory of Cataclysmic Succession, and his ultimate project, to build a “God Machine,” allowing him to apply this theory and combine it with the latest in 22nd-century cloning technology to re-build the biosphere, reversing the effects of the sixth mass extinction and every other one before it. He was writing in his notebook about his ideas on not just the theory itself, the idea that all species have a collective life cycle over a period of ten million years or so, that environment and technology are related via a cycle, and that every species has an evolutionary flaw that is exploited by a cataclysm, therefore completing the succession cycle; and “scientific nationalism,” or his ideas that the Northern Union should continue to allow all ideologies, but focus more on the scientific aspects of Pantheon Doctrine and less on the pagan esotericism that Helena worshipped as part of her Germanic witchcraft faith, but on the actual mechanics of the God Machine itself, it would operate by harnessing Feynman’s Laws of Thermodynamics as applied to evolution and life itself. The First Law, Conservation of Energy, explained how life was able to replicate and get started in the first place, the same law that produced water on space-liners to Mars and the Moon via fuel cells. Energy is conserved, never created or destroyed, so there is fixed amount of protons, electrons and neutrons in the universe such that, no matter what happens, the total quantity of available energy to convert into work does not change. This fuel-cell base reaction also produces, along with water, organic compounds and proteins such as adenosine triphosphate, carbon and nitrogen, all of these substances comprise deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid, (RNA) the building blocks of all life on Earth. The First Thermodynamic Law is how Alexander planned the God Machine to create DNA based off of computer algorithms and programs telling it how to assemble the carbon, nitrogen and H2O atoms, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Entropy and Schrödinger’s Paradox, explained how the God Machine was able to turn inert chemicals and elements into living organisms. The machine used an algorithm programmed according to Ludwig Boltzmann’s equation: S= K times (log) W. This equation, as Alexander was explaining in words as he wrote them down during a raucous bar argument over a football match from the pub at the far end of the restaurant explained that entropy, S, is proportional to the number of ways that something can be arranged (W) and not change, in the concept of Darwinian logic, that is, evolve. K is a constant that represents the Moll Number, or Boltzmann’s Constant, or 1.3806505 x 10-23. This was extremely complicated biophysics and biochemistry, but it explained and encapsulated the sheer diversity of life on Earth and anywhere else in the universe that it doubtlessly existed. Schrödinger’s Paradox stated that things can exist in a superfluous state, that is, in multiple forms at once, as explained by his famous “cat in a box” experiment, and are all tied together by the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the entropy of an enclosed vessel always stays the same or increases, and NEVER decreases, as it was physically and mathematically impossible to have negative distance from zero on a number line in the real realm. These ideas allowed the machine to accurately re-create the primordial Earth’s environment, and essentially build life from the ground up. These principles, when applied to a machine using the basics of evolution by natural selection and Cataclysmic Succession as its programming modus operandi, would be able to generate any life in any form whatsoever, whatever Alexander could think of, he could create with his almighty, artificial Creator, The God Machine…all that he needed was the other Inheritor Literati and Empress Cassandra’s appropriation of Northern Union funds. The machine would be constructed in Alexander’s laboratory in his home, Moonlight Sunder Estate…the implications of this machine were profound. He had already designed a second machine, called a “Replicator,” which was to be about the size of a washing machine and used trillions of microscopic nanobots to build a perfectly-functioning anything, from elemental matter, just scaled down to the size of a watermelon. Once this technology was perfected, it would be possible to build massive replicator factories in space, capable of constructing entire fleets of starships or anything else within days, almost from nothing. With his two machines, the Replicator and the God Machine, Alexander would become somewhat of a god himself, as if he wasn’t a supremely talented Renaissance man already. He would be able to create anything that he could think of, and with the position of power in government that his Inheritor position offered him, he was also in a position to pass judgment on criminals, as well as take over for the Empress if she could not fulfill her duties for whatever reason. The Literati also served as judges and juries in any criminal or civil court case, the judge in any case was chosen by simple majority vote amongst the Literati, and Alexander had already served as Judge about 5 times for high-profile cases. Alexander was a very unforgiving, hard-nosed justice that saw criminals much in the same way that Baron Anteon, the Pantheon Cult Founder, did: they were all filth, and that justice should only punish criminals severely, not rehabilitate them, because criminals had proved that they cannot be members of society just by the very nature of their existence. Criminals contradicted themselves by simply existing, and according to Alexander, the only way to properly deal with criminals was to dispose of them permanently. If it were up to him, even a minor infraction would warrant the death penalty. However, Empress Cassandra still believed that the punishment must fit the crime, but Alexander often raised the question of how “crime” is even defined in the Washington and London Forums, the two Congress buildings for the Northern Union. For example, Alexander often defended his stance that vigilante justice should be allowed, even though it was illegal under Northern Union law. Empress Cassandra and her 30 Tier-I Gestalts sometimes refused to even acknowledge Alexander’s ideas, even when he had the floor to speak; they were just so radical and non-traditional. However, obtaining funds to build his new machines should be a lot easier that convincing the 29-year old Empress that she needed to allow vigilante justice to run rampant in the Northern Union. Even though Alexander had a very strong sense of “eye for an eye” justice, he liked to gamble in the Monte Carlo casinos near his native Italy, and he was so smart that he could count cards without even trying and always beat the odds with huge jackpot wins, simply because he had figured out the computer algorithm that generated the winning numbers on the digital slot machines, so he won the jackpot every time he played…casino owners hated him for that, but as a Inheritor Literati, he could only be disciplined by a person with an equal degree or a government official, he was, in all other cases, above any laws or rules, and Alexander used and often abused that immunity to the point where typical people, especially in the casinos, hated him with such a loathing passion that they would throw broken beer bottles and large, heavy blunt objects at him as he walked past, as did most women, despite how handsome he was. Baroness Morgendorfer was probably the only woman that would ever date him, for she had the same personality, they were two of the rarefied intelligentsia class, of the largely meritocratic Northern Union, and there was nothing that anyone could do legally to stop them, outside of their societal class. Just then, however, a second news story, one that seemed rather inconsequential, was present on the T.V. It had the rather eye-grabbing headline “WAS ARTHUR C. CLARKE A PROPHET?” Alexander’s eyes became just as fixed on this story as Helena’s was on the Ancient Greek painting. According to the news, a group of Northern Union seleneologists working for one of the vast lunar mining companies on the Moon, had stumbled upon a curious object, a lone pyramid made of lunar rock. The company’s massive “Buggernaut” lunar tractors, nearly the size of a city block and the largest tracked vehicles ever built, these lunar tanks were used by scientists and prospectors to haul vast cargo supplies across the lifeless lunar desert. Mars was far more exciting, said any seleneologist, because not only was it larger and more interesting, there were more resources and huge subterranean hot springs, which had been drilled and turned into vast resorts, where 7 month “Space Cruises” would take wealthy passengers to Mars for a month, aboard luxurious space-liners. The Moon only mattered to the Northern Union economically because of the vast amounts of minerals and rocks that could be used for industry on Earth and on the Northern Union Mars colonies. One of the lunar tractors, while thundering across the lunar surface at nearly 40 miles per hour, had spotted a large, almost artificial-looking pyramid near the Mare Iribrium’s rim, an ancient crater that had been filled by an ancient lava flow more than 3 billion years ago. Sure enough, when the scientists examined the pyramid, they identified it as something not of this earth, or even from the Moon. The pyramid was made of moon rock, yes, but it was not a natural formation, and it uttered a low, rhythmic hum. According to the news articles, the scientists attempted to touch the pyramid, but then were met with a loud beep from their Geiger counters, the pyramid was emitting radiation and would be fatal to touch. Then, the reason for this find being on the nightly news became evident. There was writing, yes, writing, on the pyramid. It was written in some form of runic language, but these runes did not resemble any form of runes on Earth. Their message was unknown as of yet, but appeared to definitely have the tenants of a written language. What was even more astounding was the age of the pyramid…2.9 billion years! This pyramid was constructed out of the still-cooling lunar lava, and whatever its purpose was, it was still working, as evidenced by the hum and the radiation core. One thing was blatantly obvious…the question of whether or not humanity had been the only civilization ever to evolve in the universal continuum had now been definitively answered. Sometime, in the vastly-distant past, when the Earth and the Solar System was still in its formative years and the Moon was just solidifying, this nameless society, probably long-extinct, swept into the outer solar system in their great ships from the farthest corners of the universe, probably scouting out the new Solar System in search of intelligent life. Finding none yet, as the only life on Earth at that point was bacterial or viral in nature, the civilization built this pyramid on the newly-formed Moon, perhaps just to prove where they had been, in much the same way that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the American flag on the Moon when they landed, way back in 1969. Still, that did not explain the nuclear power source within the pyramid, and the radiation shield around it. More clues would likely be found when, or if, the message on the pyramid was ever translated. Given the fact that Mars and Venus were a lot like Earth at that time, they likely had beacons on them too, but those on Venus were probably long-destroyed, because around 500 million years ago, vast lava flows completely resurfaced Venus, destroying whatever had been placed on it beforehand and creating the hellish conditions seen there in the 22nd-century. Before that, Venus was probably a lot like Earth during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras, as was Mars, but something happened to both Mars and Venus that snuffed all life out, just as it was entering full flower. One could only imagine what Venus or Mars looked like before the events of 500 million years ago, the beginning of complex life on Earth was the death of all life for Mars and Venus, and the fact that these ancient societies knew what the “Paradise Mars” and “Paradise Venus” looked like made Alexander deeply envious. Hopefully, one day, his God Machine and Replicator would rebuild not just the Earth’s biosphere, but Mars and Venus’ as well, by warming the Martian atmosphere and thickening it, and reversing the effects of the flood basalts on Venus by clearing up the acid in the atmosphere, but that was not going to be possible for millennia. Still, the thought of Mars looking like Austria, Germany and Switzerland, just with even more majestic, 140,000-foot tall mountains, even taller and larger trees in its forests, and the greatest river in the Solar System, the Valles Marineris, more than 5,000 miles long, 10 miles wide and 12 miles deep, being awash with water and emptying into a deep, blue, ancient ocean, and Venus being a tropical paradise world of immense biodiversity and teeming with exotic species 600 million years ago, alongside Earth, was just too mesmerizing not to think about. If that monument existed on the lifeless Moon, then chances were very probable that another monument existed on Mars somewhere, by Alexander’s best guess, a logical place for a monument would be the highest peak or the deepest valley on the planet; however, it was likely that if such a monument existed, it might not be in the “logical” place in a human mind’s eye, because this ancient society probably thought in ways that humans could never understand. Who knew? Still, it would probably be worth a look at the top of Olympus Mons or at the bottom of the Valles Marineris for some kind of similar pyramid, though the bottom of the valley would have been 12 miles beneath the surface of a mighty river at the time. Still, they probably had some kind of submersible, or maybe even their ships could go underwater, as well as in the air and in space. The possibilities were endless. “Wow, Alex, you’re just transfixed by this…just as I was by the ancient Minoan painting.” “This society, it must be very old, if it still exists, it has existed for at least 3 billion years if it is still extant…we are very young, and the old are often very envious of the young.” “Well, if they are as powerful and ancient as they would appear to be, in the worlds of Fermi’s famous paradox, where is everyone? They might very well be extinct.” Helena said, rather frankly. “However, perhaps Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote a very famous story about a lunar monument being found, was wrong about his assumption that they would arrive in starships first, perhaps, like Michio Kaku once said, we are looking for the wrong thing, they find us with small nano-dust probes, no bigger than a grain of sand, and then, when the time is right, they arrive in their ships.” “Well then, in that case, they are extinct, or they probably don’t know we exist…or they’re biding their time, waiting for the right moment to return…” Helena said, with her typical sinister tone. “ When you put it that way, my theory is that just by finding the monument, they somehow know that we exist, I believe that they are not extinct given the evidence you just presented, plutonium has a half-life of 500 million years, so someone had to have been coming by and replenishing the radiation shield around the monument, meaning that they had to have been back every 500 million years to replenish the shield batteries, meaning that the last time they appeared was just after complex life evolved, after the Cambrian Explosion…they will soon return in that case, if only to perform maintenance…though they might stick around a little while longer, now that there’s another thinking organism on Earth. We have activated the alarm by tampering with the pyramid, and it is only a matter of time before the Emissaries come to see what happened to their pyramid.” “Helena, you have been reading too much science-fiction.” “What is fiction that is not based in reality?” “Fantasy, actually.” Alexander replied, sarcastically. “That’s not the point! The concept of reality is a very frail thing, Alexander, Pantheon makes that very clear…the same goes with fiction based in reality.” “But what is fiction that has no basis?” “It does not exist.” Helena and Alexander both agreed to disagree on the subject, because their food had just arrived. Antonio was writing in his notebook, completely detached from Helena and Alexander’s conversation, with Tsuruko busy preparing her plate. As they ate, they, nor did anyone else know that they were living on the last day before the greatest upheaval of their generation, much like the Poles on August 31, 1939, or the passengers on the Titanic on April 13, 1912. A more proper analogy would be the Native Americans living in Haiti on October 13, 1492, the day before Columbus reached the New World…and what was about to happen would be just as dramatic for the human race…entire orders would be changed, and the destiny of an 2 entire species would be forever altered…in just 24 hours, humanity’s proverbial childhood and barbarism would end. Pantheon Doctrine was just the beginning. The best…and worst, was yet to come.

                    1. Rise of the Supreme Pontifex

It had long been said that the moment of first contact with extraterrestrials would be dramatic, but aside from the first few minutes, it was rather anticlimactic. In the early morning hours of June 21, 2107 A.D., the Northern Union Martian communications outposts on Phobos and Deimos, the farthest permanently-settled positions in the Solar System, reported an anomaly just beyond the orbit of Europa, one the Jovian Moons. It appeared only on quantum-spectrometers, indicating the anomaly was not traveling within the real realm, and it was traveling at practically the speed of thought. The anomaly consisted of seven enormous infrared, horizontal teardrop-shaped blobs with a flattened underside, their sterns tapering into thread-like filaments with odd, bulbous, pear-shaped pods at the end of each filament, giving the objects the appearance of inverted sea anemones lying on their sides…and they were headed straight for Earth. At the rate that they were traveling, it would take less than 2 minutes for the anomalies to enter the Earth-Moon system. As such, no warning was given to Empress Cassandra on Earth, as there was nothing to warn about, except for some massive pulses of energy in quantum space. The tunnel opened just beyond the Moon’s orbit minutes later, and then, humanity got its first glimpse of exactly what First Contact was like. Gliding like a school of bulbous, silver, shimmering sharks, silently slipping back into real space, these inverted sea-anemone craft flew in formation, like geese flying south for the winter. They were covered in glimmering, shimmering flakes that flew off the gleaming silver hull, leaving an artificial comet trail in their wake, and the 8 “tentacles” on the tapered stern of the ships were made of super-thin, horsehair-like nanotube fibers that extended for more than 300 miles behind the ship, with big, pear-shaped, flesh-colored pods that looked almost organic flailing around behind the seven ships, which were about a quarter of the Moon’s mass! The massive ships made a truly awe-inspiring fly-by over the Moon, causing the lunar dirt to shift for the first time in millions of years. They passed over the Northern Union lunar research stations, and frantic calls of “Massive, Zeppelin-like UFOs headed straight for Earth!!! Be Advised!!” echoed from the SATCOM stations on the Moon, interrupted by static as the craft thundered overhead. They flew towards Earth, and broke formation just before hitting the atmosphere, spreading out over 7 locations over the Northern Union. One headed for Washington D.C., another London, another Ottawa, another Moscow, another Canberra, another Wellington, and the final one parked over a small town in the Catskills called Pine Bush, now a suburb of Manhattan in the 22nd-century. As the ships entered the atmosphere, the Northern Union watched in awe as the gigantic, Zeppelin-like ships triggered their own weather systems on entry into the atmosphere, causing massive, drenching thunderstorms to form out in front of the ships’ bows. Rain fell as the ships oriented themselves over the respective cities, their lights pulsing and flashing like an artificial starry sky…and just like that, nothing happened. There was no invasion, no swarm of starfighters zooming out of the capital ships’ massive hulls to bombard Earth to dust, no alien emperor landing on Earth telling anyone to “take me to your leader.” There was no interaction at all, no effort to even communicate with humanity. These things just appeared in the sky and parked themselves over 7 critical points within the Northern Union, the Union’s Administrative Centers, as well as one town that had become famous for UFO sightings in the 20th and 21st centuries. That morning, the shock and awe of seeing these things flying high overhead, their faint outlines being seen from the ground as they orbited overhead was immense. Perhaps they were delaying their interaction? Perhaps the invasion would come tomorrow? Tomorrow came and went, then the 23rd of June, then the 24th. Still, the ships did nothing. For many people, this “First Contact” was a huge anticlimax, even a disappointment. Technically, First Contact would not occur until the extraterrestrials spoke to humanity, so, even though they were hovering around in Earth’s upper atmosphere, they had yet to establish communication with humanity. People were less shocked and more disappointed, even annoyed at the extraterrestrials’ lack of interest in humans. Comedians were making jokes about how “out of all the intelligent races in the universe that could pay us a visit, we get the society of elitist snobs. ‘Oh, you’ve only visited TWO planets? Pathetic!’ We’re not even worth the time to communicate with, let alone vaporize! What a bunch of jackholes!” One comedian joked on a late-night television show as Alexander and Helena watched. They were in Washington after their trip to Greece, back near the Capitol Building, which had been transformed into the Inheritor Council Hall, where the Inheritor intelligentsia met to discuss policy and government, as well as ways to advance the Northern Union’s agenda. With the arrival of the Emissaries, as the ships had been called, both Alexander, Helena and the entire Northern Union government and Inheritor Council had been working around the clock to try and communicate with the visitors in the case of the Empress and her Tier-1 Gestalts, and grappling to understand the baffling circumstances of the Emissaries’ visit in the case of the Inheritors. Their logic seemed to defy all theories on why an extraterrestrial civilization would visit Earth, so unless this was some kind of intergalactic safari and they were only here to observe humanity in the same way that humans went to Africa to observe lions and zebras, it was safe to say that these Emissaries did not think in a way even remotely close to humanity. Alexander had wondered and put forth the notion that these Emissaries were the society that built the ancient pyramid on the Moon, found just 24 hours before their arrival,and had suggested to the Inheritors that they contact the Emissaries and specifically mention the monument on the Moon, but Empress Cassandra gave strict instructions to the Inheritors that contacting the Emissaries was the job of the Empress and the actual government apparatus alone. Therefore, they would not be able to test their theory, even though the Emissaries showed no interest in communicating with the non-Euclidean Empress Cassandra and her EGA-EGL baronesses. Alexander, however, had not been entirely obedient to the Empress’ request…though no one could know, he had, using his intellect and his technological research, had actually cracked the Emissaries’ code encryption, and was listening in on the Empress’ attempts to contact the Emissaries…the only reason that the Empress was not getting a response was because she was using the wrong channel. “The Emissaries are probably just as curious as to why we haven’t contacted them as we are with them not contacting us. It’s a simple language barrier.” Alexander thought, entering a few text strings into his hand-held computer, and broadcasting them on a public channel over the frequency that the Emissaries would pick up…that way, Alexander would not be technically breaking any laws. Being a “wise guy” was something he had always excelled at. The message read: “Who are the Emissaries, and what are their purposes? I am an enlightened individual looking for answers, and I understand the meaning behind the Lunar Pyramid. It was a test, a test for any sentient life to find it…and I believe we passed.” Alexander pressed “Send” on his keypad, and awaited the response from the Emissaries. He did not have to wait long.

About an hour later, every T.V., public broadcast screen, live feed, radio station and news channel in the entire Northern Union, the voice of one of the Emissaries, began its first message to humanity. Bizarrely, it was not reported in any other country than the Northern Union. “Noble and Holy Northern Union, fear not! We bring a shining beacon of peace, justice and security to the huddled, unenlightened masses of your kind, those not living within your borders. For your entire history, your planet has existed in isolation, protected from the ravages of politics in the Universe, too small, too insignificant and too isolated to be of any use to either our Seras Imperium or the Lordly Empire of the Old Sinh. That time has passed. You were hitherto too primitive to expand beyond your cradle, beyond the constraints of your Earth, but that time too, has passed. Your infancy is over, and you have reached adolescence as a society, now that you have established settlements on the now-lifeless world of Mars and your Moon. The Seras Imperium occupies a billion light-years of territory in the Universe, challenged only by our eternal, militaristic rivals, the Lordly Empire, who control a similar amount of the Universe. Your planet and its local group of galaxies lie directly in the crossroads of our two Empires, but we see you as not a rival, but a valuable observation subject, a window into societal evolution. You do not understand how valuable it is to see the moment of societal genesis, when a society makes the transition from childhood to adolescence. We watched as you landed on the Moon more than a hundred-and-fifty years ago. We watched when you colonized Mars…we watched the human race as it progressed out of its original birthplace millions of years ago. Everything you have accomplished, every species you encountered, we have seen, like patient scientists, and recorded, as well as safeguarded by placing your planet under colonial reservation law, even the Lordly Empire could not transform your planet into a colonial holding in the face of our protection. It is a treaty signed between our Empires that has stood for millions of years…you never knew any of this, because you were too primitive to notice, but that time has passed. Now, we stand before you not as masters, but as scientists, comrades in arms, and allies. We formally extend our aid to the Northern Union and the Northern Union alone, thanks to the one they call Alexander Arditi. This message sent by his encrypted channel, meant to disguise its intentions no doubt, was detected on our channels. I hope this answers your question, Lord Arditi. I offer a formal invitation to this individual to meet me on my ship, stationed directly over your city of Washington, D.C.” The message ended, without the Emissary ever showing its face…it spoke through a robotic, computerized voice, and in perfect English, they must have been studying humanity for as long as they said they had been. So everything was true…these extraterrestrials were just as advanced as everyone rumored they were; suddenly, all of Mankind’s accomplishments seemed rather insignificant, compared to the Emissaries of the Seras Imperium and their rivals, the Lordly Empire of the Old Sinh, whoever they were. One thing was certain, though, it appeared that the Seras did come in peace, and wanted to enlighten specifically the Northern Union, but did not seem to care for the other nations of Earth. Alexander gasped at the invitation. Suddenly, he felt as if the Empress’ orders not to contact the Emissaries were as weightless and empty as the vacuum of space, in the face of the Seras Imperium’s almighty technology and starships. Suddenly, Helena walked into the room with a stunned look on her face. “I just saw the broadcast…what are the consequences of what you have just done?!” “We will soon find out…” Alexander walked calmly past Helena to his maglev car, stepping out the door to the garage in his Loudon County neighborhood, still one of the most affluent counties in the world, and told the car’s GPS to take him to the Capitol Building, now the Presidium of the Inheritors. Helena followed him out the door, still wearing her usual black topcoat, scarf and Fedora hat. “If you go to the Presidium…I’m coming with you. I wish to meet them as well…” “Very well…we’re in this together. We were before the arrival of the Emissaries, and we are now.” Both of them got into the car and zipped off in the direction of the Presidium. The building had been expanded on and transformed into a vast, 900,000 square-foot complex with a huge tower, more than 5 times the height of the Washington Monument, in the center courtyard, surrounded by fountains. Atop the tower was a gigantic orb representing the Sun, with the Earth and Moon orbiting it, within a huge crescent moon emblem. As the car zipped along the 25-lane maglev road tracks along with hundreds of other cars, all evenly spaced by the GPS governors to prevent traffic jams and car wrecks, the massive hull of the Emissaries’ ship hung high in the sky overhead, directly over the Presidium. The car, traveling at 250 miles per hour, was at the Presidium within 10 minutes. In that time, neither Helena nor Alexander said a word, not as the car passed the security checkpoints, not as it stopped in front of the main gate, and not when Helena and Alexander walked up the famous Capitol Hill stairs into the Presidium…not a word. Helena drew a few glances from people who knew her for her books and her music, but now that the Seras Imperium had arrived, nothing really mattered much anymore. Everything had changed. As Alexander arrived on the Presidium, the 45 other Inheritor Councilors on duty were there to greet him and Helena. Alexander saluted by crossing his arms to Chief Councilor George Forster, who looked at Alexander with a very mixed expression. “I hope you know what you are doing, Alexander. The Seras Imperium is an unknown society, and given what’s been theorized about them, they may have ill intentions. I do not wish you jeopardizing all of humanity in the name of curiosity…that is the risk of being an Inheritor and knowing too much…that is why Empress Cassandra requested that we not contact the Seras directly…but I should have known you would solve this problem…ever since the Inheritor Degree Order was created following the Pantheon Cult’s creation, we have taken on the most pressing questions of humanity, as well as kept the peace through negotiations and diplomacy, everything from settling the religious differences between Shiite Muslims and Jews in Iran and Israel, respectively, to investigating that business on Hawaii with the Rainkiss Lily Cult, near the Pleiades Solation Resort, Baron Anteon’s old home.” “Yes, I have to admit, for a cult of 40 murderers, they were some of the most beautiful women I had ever seen…sorry Helena.” Alexander laughed, recalling a mission he was once sent on to negotiate peace with a group of tropical beauties on Hawaii; they were all more than six feet tall and as skinny as supermodels, dressing in tropical, exotic, often very revealing outfits and wearing all manner of jewelry, but the issue was that they were attempting to seize control of Hawaii and break it free from the Northern Union, creating their own cult-island kingdom where their Cult, the Rainkiss Lilies, would sacrifice all they saw unfit to survive through blood ritual. The cult was disbanded with the not-so-subtle persuasion of the 181st Airborne Cavalry, a supercarrier and an invasion force of 30,000 Northern Union Marines at the direct command of Alexander himself, after three days of brutal fighting in Honolulu, Hilo and the mountainous rainforests of Oahu, and the appearance of a squadron of massive Avro Vesuvius-class bombers, the islands were back under Northern Union control. None of the 40 girls had been seen since, even though they were not listed as KIA, they had surrendered. Were they only a mirage, an illusion created by the island breeze? Perhaps, but they were definitely real enough to the Hawaiians and the Northern Union government to send in the Air Force. That was a year ago, before Contact…before everything changed. “You solved that crisis by yourself, Alex.” Helena added. “Indeed, she is right. You inspire us all, and even Empress Cassandra said that she doesn’t mind that you contacted the Seras, because you are the one person she truly trusts, outside of her inner circle. It is upon you and Helena to meet with these Emissaries…for they only wish to speak with you.” Alexander looked up as the massive hull of the Emissaries’ ship, high overhead, blending in with the gentle blue of the sky, with the gigantic pinnacle in the courtyard behind the Presidium reaching up into the sky, as if to meet the intergalactic Emissaries, just as Helena and Alexander were about to as well. “I have already sent a message to the Emissaries’ ship on that same channel you sent your message, indicating that Alexander is here, and he has brought a worthy visitor as well. They should land to take you up to their ship soon.” “By the way, about that mission you went on last year to stop those cult girls, what was that leader’s name?” “Does it really matter?!” Alexander replied to Helena’s question in a very protesting fashion. “Well, it still seems like it matters to you, because you still keep a picture of her in your science journal as your bookmark, and sometimes I hear you sleep-talking a night about a girl named ‘Claire.’ “She was…very pretty, I admit it, and I wish I didn’t have to threaten her into disbanding with the Air Force.” “I think you just like tall, slender brunettes with blue diamond-eyes, like you described her as having in your journal.” “Well, I have to admit, being around a 6 foot 3 brunette bombshell with a 200 IQ and a very beautiful, cooing, well-spoken, articulate voice and a very strong, independent outlook on life and the world is quite intoxicating…Claire was a work of art, not to mention a piece of work in general, and she looked stunning in her swimsuit. I may have had to stop her, but I still enjoy the time I spent with her…even though she probably would have sacrificed me to the moon or something.”

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