April 2009 Archives

Year 2525

Part 1

By Dwayne MacInnes

The men gathered around their leader in the center of the "Glorious Life" cathedral located inside the domed city of New Jerusalem. The men were anxious and looked towards their leader, a man in his mid-fifties with a gray beard. He was wearing a shimmering gold suit, the one reserved for the most holy person and supreme leader. The man in the gold suit looked at the gathering congregation.

"Grand Pastor Brendon, we beseech you to call upon God!" cried a desperate man his eyes wide with fear.

"Calm brothers, calm," Grand Pastor Brendon held up his hands to gather everyone's attention.

"Grand Pastor, the events are in place for the prophecy. We are ready. How much longer must we wait?" called another frightened man.

"All things come when ready. The Lord God will certainly be preparing to take us up to his arms," Grand Pastor Brendon said. "We have nothing to fear. Did we not rebuild the temple on its original site after the dirty bomb devastated Jerusalem over two hundred years ago?"

"Yea!" the gathered men called out.

"Have not the four horsemen been released in the form of 'Conquest', 'War', 'Famine', and 'Death'?"

"Yea!" the men cried.

"Are there not earthquakes and martyrs?"

"Yea!" the men cried.

"Have we not seen an antichrist spreading his power over the world and people being marked by the beast?"

"Yea!" the men cried.

"Have we not helped the events to happen as they were told in the book of Revelations?" Grand Pastor Brendon screamed in a fever pitch.

"Yea! Yea!" the men returned just as heartily.

"Then allay your fears and take comfort in the glory of God. Are we all not wealthy, do we not all have enough food to eat? Is there any among you who lack any comfort in life?"

"It is as you say Pastor," another man cried out. "But we have been fighting against the infidels in a holy crusade now for over four hundred years. Certainly, God is pleased by now."

"I have no doubt the Lord God is pleased. However, you must remember we are not to test the Lord. No brothers, we are to continue his work here on earth," Grand Pastor Brendon said. "We must continue to spread the word by gun and sword. We must show our enemies how futile it is to try and defeat us for God is on our side."

The men looked upon the Grand Pastor with awe for surely he spoke with the spirit within him. His words were true and the men were content to live their life in relative comfort and ease inside the domed cities of North America. All one had to do was look outside the domes to see the devastated wasteland that now covered the entire planet.

Life outside the domes were harsh. The ozone long depleted could not protect any living thing from the harmful rays of the sun. Life was short and painful without the proper protection. Few animals were able to adapt to the great polluted deserts that covered continents. The vegetation was sparse as well. The foul water was full of toxins that did little to slake the thirst of the dried-cracked terrain.

The air full of radiation, disease, and pollutants covered the earth in a brown haze that even the acid rain could not disperse. It made the sun once bright and yellow look like a festering orange wound.

Domed cities were the answer to survival. All the remaining nations of the world housed their remaining populace inside the huge structures. The better ones were reserved for the wealthy, and the lesser maintained domes housed the poor and criminal. All the domes filtered the air, cleansed the water, maintained the temperature and grew the food that the people needed to survive.

However, after centuries of living in the domed cities people were becoming restless. There was little beauty to be seen naturally. Only pictures from ancient times. Livestock that were raised in sterile barns offered the only animal life the residents could see. The people were ready to move on.

* * * * *

Grand Pastor Brendon slept fitfully that night in his penthouse apartment. He did not know how much longer he could keep his flock together. Some were even considering in engaging in the forbidden science of space exploration. Such blasphemies could make people reconsider such horrific thoughts such as evolution.

"No, no" Grand Pastor Brendon moaned in his sweat soaked sheets. He tossed and turned until finally a deeper sleep calmed him.

"Brendon," a voice said from the darkness.

"Yes?" Grand Pastor Brendon said to the faceless voice from the blackness of his dream.

"Do you know who I am?"

"Y-yes," stammered Grand Pastor Brendon. "You are the Lord."

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Here is a lifestyle I can support, but how could he not make it?

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Extortionist Incident - Part III (The Conclusion)

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Gaius's wanderings around town were not for naught. He used the time to scout various locations. Therefore, in the darkness and stillness of the night, he walked directly to where his tunic hung. He used a nearby jar of water to clean off Magistrate Spurius's blood. The location was clearly a spot where nearby house slaves could clean up. It was perfect.

After cleaning himself up, Gaius needed to find the man that had hired him to kill Gaius Cornelius Carrarius. While in most instances this would be a daunting task, Gaius believed he knew where his quarry would be at this time. Again, his wanderings served a purpose, as he snuck up on his quarry.

"Magistrate Spurius is upset with you," Gaius whispered in his ear.

With a start the magistrate's minion returned, "Where have you been?"

"Is Gaius Cornelius Carrarius not there in his bed?"

"Well -- yes -- but I have been waiting here most of the night. Wait -- why is Spurius angry with me?"

"You did not inform him of your -- er -- cart repair business."

"He did not need to know. How did he find out?"

"He wondered why you were so anxious to see Carrarius out of the way and did some investigation of his own."

"I guess he was bound to find out. Wait! why were you discussing this with him?"

"He too is an admirer of my work. We had a nice conversation over the evening meal."

Gaius was worried about this particular lie. He did not know if anyone was watching them have their evening meal. Anyone watching would know that they had not spoken. However, he had to take the chance. If he could get past this lie, then his story would hold more weight.

"What else did you discuss?"

"Oh this and that."

"Such as?"

"We talked about the value of this special list of his."

"What of it?"

"He was concerned that it was not safe in -- uh..."

"With me? He does not think it is safe at my house?"

"He did not really come out and say that as much."

"What did he say?"

"Quiet down," Gaius hissed. "You will give us away."

"Sorry," the man whispered. "What did he actually say?"

"He was just remarking about your new found untrustworthiness, and how he might look for someone he could trust."

"Like you?"

"There were no names brought up."

"But he was thinking that it would be safer with you!"

"I said he was appreciative of my skills...."

"I would be glad to be rid of the thing."

"Nothing formal has been discussed."

"No! If you want it, you can have it."

"Calm down," Gaius said attempted to settle the man down. "This can be discussed when I come back through town."

"No! let us go now and get it."

"But..."

"You said yourself that Carrarius is there in bed. He is not going anywhere."

"I know, but...."

"Let's go!"

Gaius's plan had worked. The magistrate's associate was sitting on a valuable item, and he was tired of guarding it. He was also upset about the apparent lack of trust with the magistrate. With his cart repair business about to lose a formidable competitor, he would not need the extra income.

The pair went to a secluded spot behind the man's house. There was a few loose blocks in the building's foundation. The man removed a block and pulled out a wooden box.

"This is it," the man declared.

"I do not...."

"No! You will take it."

"Very well," sighed Gaius. "Now, after my next job, I'll need someplace to clean up. I will also need a nearby place to hang my tunic. Do you know of someplace I could do that?"

"My servants wash up over there. There are some water jars you could use."

"Where?" asked Gaius.

The man walked to where a few water jars sat. Gaius removed his tunic and set it aside before following. At this point, the man wondered what was happening. The spot was quiet and dark, so he had not noticed that Gaius had removed his scimitar from its sheath.

"What are you doing?"

"I am preparing to remove a cartier from business."

"Why are you doing that here?"

"I do not wish to soil my clothes."

"Oh! I cannot tell you how happy I will be rid of that list."

"You have no idea."

"What?"

"The fates have finally caught up to you."

"What?"

"Do you have any last words?"

"What?"

Gaius swung his scimitar and it opened the magistrate's minion up from his left to his right side. He stood there in stunned silence as his intestines spilled from his belly. A rush of pain filled the man's entire being. However, before he could utter a sound, Gaius's second swing opened up the man's throat. He let out a gurgling cough, but was unable to do any more than that. He fell over in a heap.

"I would have said something more substantial, but that will have to do," Gaius said with a grin.

Gaius used one of the available water jars to clean himself up. He grabbed his tunic and the box and headed back to his room at the mansiones. He made sure that no one saw him enter his room. He knew he did not have much time before dawn, but he would have a bit of a rest.

Gaius had planned to leave at dawn to give him plenty of time to get to the next way station. However, he awoke just after dawn. Despite the somewhat late start, he had a long conversation with the proprietor of the mansiones. Also, he had a small meal with the proprietor. The man gave Gaius some provisions for the road. The two men said their farewells as Giaus went on his way.

As he left town, he heard a blood-curdling scream come from the mansiones. His handywork had been discovered, but no one came to question him. Perhaps on his return he would speak with his old friend Mettius Aedinius Primulus, and find out what had happened.

In the early afternoon, he stopped and built a small fire to prepare his lunch. The small box and the list made excellent kindling for the fire. It had been a good day for the fates.

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Year 2525

Part 2

By Dwayne MacInnes

"That is correct," the faceless voice replied.

"We have waited long for your return Lord," Grand Pastor Brendon said reverently.

"Yes, you have waited and in that time what have you done to my world?" the voice said forcefully.

"Lord, according to Genesis 1:28 you made us stewards of the earth," the Grand Pastor replied meekly.

"Yes, I left you in charge as one would leave a gardener in charge while the master is away. When the master returns he would hope the gardener had improved the land not destroyed it."

"Lord, we thought you were going to return quickly. The signs were all there and one does not repair a vehicle if it is not going to be used any more," Brendon, no longer feeling much like the supreme and divine earthly ruler with the title of Grand Pastor.

"The signs you speak of were always there. You believed that if there was grief and war upon the earth my time to return was at hand. Yet, I point out to you that the world is a broken world and it will always be filled with war and grief.

"However," continued the voice. "You also tried to force the prophecy along as if you could force my hand."

Grand Pastor Brendon felt shameful for the pride of his predecessors did indeed allow them all to believe they could force certain events to happen by manipulating certain factors.

"Do you not remember my teachings?" the voice asked.

"Yes, we tried to follow them faithfully. Like in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. We knew you were a hard master so we went forth and tried to double your wealth. We converted many a soul for you and in return we were rewarded with prosperity and wealth," Grand Pastor Brendon replied.

"Hypocrite!" spat the voice. "You converted people by the sword when I taught peace and love. You also claim your riches were my reward to you for a job well done. You fool you have been deceived by Satan. I stated in Matthew 6:24 and in Luke 16:13 that you cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and riches!

"My anger burns with your words of twisting my teachings into condoning bloodshed and storing up earthly treasures. What did you do with your wealth then?

"For it was John the Baptist who proceeded me who said in Luke 3:11 'the man who has two coats to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.' Yet you passed tax laws benefiting the wealthy and hurting the middle class. Therefore, you are taking the coat even from the man with one leaving him without. Did I not state in Luke 20:25, Matthew 22:21, and Mark 12:17 'Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's?' You are privileged and therefore a greater burden is upon you to help your fellow man.

"You also seem to have forgotten my words in Mark 10:25, Matthew 19:24 and Luke 18:25, 'it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'

"Furthermore, did I not tell the rich man in Luke 18:25, Mark 10:25 and Matthew 19:21 'to sell all that he had and give it to the poor and then he could follow me?"

Grand Pastor Brendon was silent for a while before he lamely added, "Lord in Mark 14:7 and in John 12:8 you said we shall always have the poor."

"Fool, again you have twisted my words and meanings. What I said was, 'because you will always have the poor with you and can help them whenever you want, but you will not always have me.'

"I was reminding my disciples to celebrate that I was with them while they could. After I was gone they would have all the time they needed to help the poor.

"You have also forgotten Matthew 22:36-40 where I state that you shall love the Lord God first and to also love your neighbor as yourself. This you have failed to do.

"You have taught that you should hate those you do not agree with in thought and in deed. You have forgotten to turn the other cheek and to love thy enemy. You have even gone so far as to teach intolerance for other Christians. Our Father cares not whether one is called Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or even Evangelical. He cares about how you have treated one another.

"When you use me to justify your wars you anger me the most. Do you forget that he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword? Or what I said in Matthew 5:44, 'But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;'

"You fear advances in science as if learning itself was a sin. Seeking knowledge is God's plan for you as long as you remember to honor Him and to love one another."

"Certainly Lord you do not expect us to believe such blasphemous teachings as evolution?"

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I would totally watch this.

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Blog Against Theocracy Logo Freedom First and others have initiated the Third annual "Blog Against Theocracy" event. I am interupting The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius this week to participate in this blogswarm. I hope the story I wrote is very fitting for this weekend's event. For more information on other blogs participating click on the logo to the right. Thanks and enjoy! (As always, comments welcome!)






The Trespassers Are No More

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Neocleveland, NO - USA.
By Sami deQuocson
10 Quad, 1666 

After centuries of fighting, the enemies of the Theocratic States have finally been defeated. According to government officials the last of the "Trespassers" have been caught. The official cleansing should occur as part of the Easter celebration activities planned. The theocratic government will now concentrate on other internal enemies of the state.

Before the Theocratic government overthrew the democratically elected government, the Trespassers supported the efforts of the theocrats. In fact, they were a powerful force that helped push a change in the former constitution which mandated prayer in the public school system.

After this victory, the two groups continued their alliance as they increased their pressure in other educational areas. However, tensions arose in the teaching of biological sciences. A compromise was reached, but the rift had begun.

When the theocrats eventually overthrew the government, the disagreements widened. Further, the party in power refused to compromise on anything. They believed that God had placed them in a position of power to spread his word. There were to be no doubts about what His words were. Thus, there would be no compromises on anything.

Hence, shortly after the theocrats established their government, the number of disagreements continued to develop. Tensions grew. Eventually these differences erupted into outright hostilities. The internal war had begun.

The Trespassers allied themselves with diverse groups inside and outside the country. The external alliances led to the establishment of great restrictions in travel and communication outside of the country. This had the natural side-effect of the building of the 50 foot border walls. The theocrats did not want any interference from outside forces.

The theocracy completely isolated itself from the remainder of the world. Further, the internal rift over the teaching of biological sciences had a disastrous effect. The teaching of what the theocrats called "Darwinism" was strictly forbidden. In this way, evolution -- the underlying principle of all of the biological sciences -- was off limits.

This restriction devastated all of the biological related fields, which included medicine. Doctors were unable to get the training required to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. The theocrats told the medical community to trust in God's will.

Naturally, when a "plague" swept through the country killing more than a third of the population, they called it the will of God. However, this event breathed light into the Trespassers as they allied themselves with the Cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The theocrats had several laws relating to religious practice. Thus, the non-believers that wished to remain in the country where they were born were forced to establish a religion. Thus, they established The Cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was a relatively small gathering of scientifically minded residents of the Theocratic States.

Since the cult retained its scientific heritage, they managed to remain completely untouched by the disease that killed vast numbers of the theocrats. The Trespassers noticed this fact, and sought aid from them. With help of the cult, the Trespasser's numbers stabilized. They had a brief resurgence. However, it was a short lived reprieve from their eventual destruction.

The theocrats saw the alliance of their two greatest foes as the work of Satan. Furthermore, they asserted that the plague was created by the cult. Hence, they increased their pressure for the destruction of the two groups. While the Cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was small, they were quite powerful. They continued to advance in many areas while the rest of the country was caught in stagnation. Thus, they have been decidedly difficult to destroy.

However, the Trespassers shared many of the theocratic tendencies. They continued to educate their children in the backwards theocratic schools. Thus, many of the sciences were completely ignored, or greatly hampered. The reason for this is because these religious groups believed that reason was the greatest enemy that faith has. Therefore, the Trespassers were easier targets for the theocrats and their vast numbers.

After all of the battles and conflicts, the Trespasser's numbers dwindled. While it is not truly known if Western Chever, Jr. is actually the last of the Trespassers, it is the claim of the government officials of the Theocratic States. Thus, we will allow them their celebration. In their traditional Easter celebration, Mr. Chever will be crucified on Good Friday.

With his elimination there will no longer be anyone who says, "...and forgive our trespassers as we forgive those who trespass against us." The passage that gave the group its name. There has been much rejoicing over the end of this dangerous splinter group.

The battle with the "Cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" will continue. However, this cult has shown little interest in battling the numerically superior theocrats. Perhaps this will change with the government now being able to concentrate on the scientifically minded cult.

In fact, there has not been a reported death of a cult member at the hands of the government in decades. With a greater concentrated effort, perhaps we shall see if religion can defeat science.

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Year 2525

Part 3

By Dwayne MacInnes

"You do not need to believe any such things. However, to persecute those who do, is against my teachings. For God works in mysterious ways and His ways may not be what you believe they should be," the voice said.

"That is good because it is stated in Genesis 1:26 we were made in God's image," Grand Pastor Brendon stated.

"This is an example of which I speak. God in making man in His image is referring to man's ability to reason and think unlike the other animals. It is unfortunate that over time man has made God into his image. Furthermore, why is evolution beyond the ability of God the Father? Would He not like a carpenter continue to refine His creations to perfection over time?

"Does not the Bible in Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Psalm 104:5, I Chronicle 16:30 and Ecclesiastes 1:5 state that the earth does not move? Yet, even to this day you have no problem accepting that the earth moves around the sun. Does this take away from the power of God?"

"Lord what you say means that the Bible is not 100% accurate. Why would God put such inaccurate information in the Bible?" the Grand Pastor asked.

"You forget that men still wrote the Bible. Even if God ordained that every word be written as He stated, some men would take the time and effort to change it. Have you not done so to serve your purposes?"

Grand Pastor Brendon became troubled in his mind. What he was hearing was not what he had been taught to believe. If what the voice he believed to be from Jesus was correct, then that means he and his followers were damned.

"But Lord the Book of Revelation states clearly the signs that signal your arrival. Certainly this cannot be inaccurate," Grand Pastor Brendon said.

"Again you read from the wrong book. I did not write the Book of Revelation; in fact, it is not clear to many men if the Book is telling of things to happen or of things that had happened or even if it is divinely written. I am not here to tell you this one way or the other.

"I will tell you that in Luke 17:22-37 and in Matthew 24:4-14 and 41-44 I laid out clearly that you will not know when I arrive. I will arrive like a thief in the night and that there would be those who would in fact wrongly say there would be certain signs to look for. These were my words and I would hope that you would give them greater weight than those belonging to others."

"What of the two great commandments that I mentioned in Matthew 22:36-40? Have you loved God the Father with all your heart, soul, and mind? Or have you focused on earning treasures here on earth that will do you no good in heaven?

"Have you loved your neighbor as yourself? Or have you spread hatred? Did not your forbears' centuries ago say the former nation of the United States was cursed by God because of 'liberals, homosexuals, feminists, and abortions?' This resulting in the terrorist attacks that destroyed to great towers?

"I say unto you that 'the sins of the father shall not pass onto the children.' I will also point out that I mentioned in Luke 13:4 that when the tower of Siloam fell on eighteen people killing them that they were no greater sinners than the holiest in Jerusalem.

"You and your predecessors have corrupted my message of love and peace over the centuries until it became about hating homosexuals and people who want abortions, to prosperity for the righteous and war on the nonbelievers. If you want to win people over to your side you must use love and understanding. You have to realize that not everything is black and white, right or wrong.

"You are always stating that God is with you. The more important question is are you with God?"

Grand Pastor Brendon's head swam. This must be some terrible dream. All the plans and efforts over centuries to prepare the way for the Lord's return he was told were wrong. Maybe this was not Jesus but instead the Deceiver, Satan himself trying to lead him and his flock astray. It would be most cunning for the Devil to use the Bible itself against him, to use it to sow the seeds of mistrust and doubt.

"If you are truly the Lord I will need some proof," Grand Pastor Brendon stated bravely though he did not feel brave.

"You doubting Thomas!" the voice exclaimed. "You yourself this very day reminded your followers that you shall not test the Lord.

"However, if it is proof you need then I shall give you something to prove that this was not just a simple dream or that I am Satan. Yes, I can read your sinful heart.

"Therefore, when you awaken I will have gathered all those worthy. Those that remain will be doomed to live out their existence on the world you have destroyed over the centuries.

"If you so choose you can change your ways and repair the damage done to the earth then those who remain can join those who have been chosen," the voice said.

Before Grand Pastor Brendon could ask anything further the voice disappeared. The Grand Pastor continued his slumber in unease. For his mind was deeply troubled. Everything he believed in could very well be false -- or worse. Still, he could be facing a test against the Prince of Lies. It was not so easy to just say, "Get thee behind me Satan."

* * * * *

The buzzing alarm awakened Grand Pastor Brendon. He liked to get up early in order to get a head start on the day. After showering and eating, Grand Pastor Brendon then turned on the teleview News Service. The big news that blazed across the 3-D screen proclaimed, "Several Domes have reported a sudden disappearance of citizens. In fact some of the Domes where the poor resided are completely empty. Was this a terrorist plot?"

Grand Pastor Brendon watched in horror as news anchor after anchor repeated the strange and bizarre story. Not one of them considered that the Rapture had just happened and that those who remained on earth were not going to be taken up to Heaven as they believed. If this got, out there would be pandemonium. Grand Pastor Brendon decided then and there to keep his exchange with Jesus to himself.

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I don't think I'll be purchasing this.

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Highwaymen Incident

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Gaius continued his journey southwards on the Appian Way towards Campania. He expected to be away from Rome for nearly two months, so his journey had just begun. The paved roads made the walking fairly easy, but there were other dangers lurking for travelers.

"The Fates have been kind to us," stated a man as he stepped onto the road.

"Aye that is true," said his companion.

The men walked up to Gaius and stood in front of him. They glared at him. Gaius stood there silently as the men blocked his path.

"What is the matter friend? Do you not speak?" continued the first man.

"Yeah, you do not seem too talkative," added his companion.

"All right friend," Gaius finally replied. "I believe you have misinterpreted what the Fates had in mind."

"What is that supposed to mean?" asked the first man.

"Yeah what?" added the second man.

Again, Gaius stood there silently.

"Apparently, he has had enough friendly conversation," the first man said to his companion.

"Friendly conversations make the time go swiftly," answered the second man.

"Okay talkative one," the first man said to Gaius "strip and give us your pack,"

"Be quick about it," added the second man.

Gaius removed his tunic, folded it neatly, and put it into his pack. He held his pack at arms length in front of him.

"You are a smart one then," stated the first man as he took the pack.

Before his companion could add anything to that, Gaius's dagger was in his eye. As he placed his tunic in the pack, he had removed the dagger. He had concealed it under the pack as he held it out. Thus, he caught them off guard.

The first man saw this action, dropped the pack, and began to run. Like a lion, Gaius pounced on the fleeing man. From over the running man's shoulder, Gaius plunged his dagger into the man's heart. He removed it as the pair tumbled to the ground.

The second man remained where he was screaming in agony. Gaius pushed him towards the side of the road. The man remained on his feet, so Gaius walked up to him from behind and slit his throat. He cleaned his dagger off the man's tunic, and walked over to his pack.

He looked himself over, and did not find a drop of blood. So, he removed his tunic from the pack and put it on.

"I do not think I would call that kind," Gaius stated as he walked away from the two highwaymen.

Gaius continued walking for a while before he came to a man on horseback. The rider was wearing a bronze Roman legion breast plate which had seen better days. He was not wearing any other legionary equipment such as a helmet.

"Apollodoros!" the man on horseback called to Gaius as he neared. "I should have recognized your handiwork."

Four men walked out onto the road behind Gaius as he approached the horse and rider. Gaius looked over his right shoulder and then his left to size up the men. He returned his stare to the rider.

"You are a bandit now Horatius," Gaius returned. "You are really moving up in the world. It is you Horatius -- isn't it? I have not seen you since you deserted. In any case, if you begin to run away, I will know for sure it is you."

"You and your slave friends took everything from me!" replied Horatius angrily.

"Like being enslaved was a ewer of joy for us."

"You deserted your comrades," responded Horatius to change the subject. "just like I did."

"Spartacus asked me to guide 10,000 former slaves safely out of Rome. When I returned, it was over. What is your excuse coward?"

"Be careful what you say Apollodoros," Horatius threatened as he lowered his spear towards Gaius. "We have you surrounded."

Gaius laughed at this, stripped off his tunic, and placed it in his pack. The men did not rush him as he unsheathed his scimitar and dagger.

"You have changed your weapon," Horatius remarked.

"This is shamshir. It is the sword of my people," replied Gaius. "I left your sword in the body of one of your comrades."

Horatius was enraged by this comment and thrust his spear at Gaius. The clumsy strike was easily dodged by Gaius. However, he dropped his dagger, grabbed the spear, and yanked it out of Horatius's hands. Calmly, with the spear in his hands, Gaius returned his scimitar to its sheath and retrieved his dagger.

With the dagger safely in his pack and the scimitar sitting on top, Gaius twirled the spear above his head and made a few flourishes with it. He placed the butt of the spear on the ground, and tested to point for sharpness. He just shook his head when he discovered how dull it was.

The four men who had been doing nothing during this exchange decided to draw their short swords. Cautiously, they closed in towards Gaius and Horatius. Gaius stood there unconcerned leaning on the spear.

"Give us your pack," Horatius eventually stated "and we will let you live."

Gaius laughed heartily at this suggestion, and Horatius's men closed in some more.

"I will not ask again," Horatius threatened.

With that, Gaius stopped leaning on the spear, swung it around, and smacked the closest man on the side of the head. That man fell to the ground hard. With another spin, he took the legs out from another man. He pushed the butt of the spear into the face of another man -- knocking him back.

He stuck the spear's point just below the sternum on the fourth man. The third man got another shot to the face with the spear's butt just before the tripped man got a blow to the head. With another sweep of the spear, all four men were on the ground.

"You would not harm an unarmed man?" begged Horatius.

"If you say so," replied Gaius as he thrust the spear into Horatius's throat.

Horatius tumbled backwards from his horse and struck the ground with a clanging thud. With that, Gaius went around and finished off Horatius's men. Once he was sure they were all dead, he checked himself for blood. Once again, he managed to avoid getting any upon him. Thus, he retrieved his tunic and put it on. He slung his scimitar over his shoulder and looked around.

While the two fights had not taken a great deal of time, they did have somewhat of a tiring effect on Gaius. Thus, he decided to take Horatius's horse to the next way point -- perhaps farther. After all, he was just two days from Rome, and he had killed nine people. It was going to be a long journey.

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The God Wars

Chapter One:

Atlantic Lost

By Dwayne MacInnes

North Atlantic: July 23, 1944 0105 Hours
Cruiser USS Pima

General Gregory Crist stood on the deck of the Baltimore class heavy cruiser the USS Pima. He took in the night air, the stars twinkling in the clear sky. It was just the day before when the convoy had left New York Harbor on their way towards England. He had never been on the ocean before. However, he was relieved to find that unlike many of the recruits on the RMS Olympus, a converted British luxury liner, he did not experience the displeasure of seasickness.

Crist looked off the deck into the inky black ocean wondering if there was a U-boat out there waiting for them. The German's wolf pack strategies had not been doing them much good lately. However, there was no telling when they might take a shot at the fat convoy anyway.

The baby flattop, the escort carrier USS Kiska, was riding along with the Pima. Any u-boats patrolling the area had to stay low during the daytime so that the aircrew on the Kiska would not spot them. However, airplanes could not fly off carrier decks during the night. Therefore, the convoy could still face some brave German captain trying to halt some of the reinforcements destined for the European invasion.

"General Christ," a young seaman said behind the general, interrupting the army soldier's line of thinking.

"Crist, son. The 'I' is short. I am not the Lord," General Crist replied in his usual dry humor.

The sailor thinking the general had rebuked him quickly saluted. "Sorry, sir, I meant no offense."

"Relax," Crist said smiling to put the boy at ease before he returned the salute. "I assume you have a message for me."

"Yes sir, Captain Arnold wants to know if you would like to join him on the bridge."

General Crist followed the young seaman to the ship's bridge. He had not yet met the captain. He had spent most of his time in his quarters reading various reports about the Normandy invasion. It was either that or walking on the deck taking the salty sea air, or enjoying a cigarette. Sometimes he did all three.

A dim red light bathed the bridge in an eerie light which allowing the crew to work in the darkness and limited the light that any prospective underwater predator could see. All the sailors wore a lifejacket and a standard issued steel helmet, both painted blue. The captain was talking to a sailor wearing headphones. From the snatches of the low conversation, Crist reasoned that this was the sonar man.

Captain Arnold looked up from the sonar station towards General Crist as the general approached the helm. The helmsman kept his eyes forward in the dark night guiding the cruiser, and therefore the entire convoy, towards their destination.

"General," Captain Arnold said extending his hand. "I've been anxious to meet with you all day. I'm sorry my duties have kept from any pleasantries."

"Think nothing of it captain," Crist said returning the handshake. "I'm sure being in charge of a convoy can be challenging."

"Yes sir, it can," Arnold replied. "Would you like some coffee?"

"Yes, if it is no problem."

"None at all," Captain Arnold nodded towards the sailor who escorted Crist to the bridge. "Two cups please, ensign."

"Aye, captain," the ensign saluted and exited the bridge.

"Well, general would you be interested in knowing about the make-up of this little convoy?"

The general smiled and nodded his head.

Carrier USS Kiska

"You have our flagship, the Pima, which you are on. We also have two destroyer escorts the Blake and the Phillips. There is also a new Fletcher class destroyer John Reynolds and the escort carrier Kiska. That is the teeth of our little armada.

"Now we are riding herd on one LST, the hospital ship Respite, the British troop ship RMS Olympus, four cargo ships and one fat tanker. All bound for merry ol' England, where they will be divided up and sent on various missions.

"Our job is to get them there in one piece. The German's job is to sink as many as possible. We have all our sonar crew listening for any baddies that may be trying to stop us. They are on passive sonar, which is just fancy lingo for microphones in the water. If we need we have active sonar. It makes a lot of noise but it let us know where everything is underwater. The draw back is that it also lets anything that may be hunting us know exactly where we are as well." "That is pretty impressive captain," General Crist replied looking around the interior of the bridge. He noticed the usual array of equipment, like the compass and radio as well as the sonar station. He also noticed a large mechanical device that seemed shoehorned onto the deck. It normally would not have gathered his attention because he did not know what belonged on a bridge and what did not. However, several men in white lab-coats were operating this one.

"If I may ask captain, what is that?" Crist said pointing to the large machine.

"That my dear general is Washington's newest little toy. I don't even know what it exactly is supposed to do. But I am assured it is supposed to protect the entire convoy from u-boats."

The ensign soon arrived with the two tin cups of hot coffee. As the two senior officers drank the java, the captain continued to give the general a tour of the ship's bridge. Suddenly the sonar operator held up his hand and motioned for the captain.

"Sir, I have multiple contacts to the southeast," the sonar man stated.

"Alert the fleet," the captain replied. "Son, you have a count on the contacts."

"I am not sure, but it sound like three maybe four U-boats, sir."

Before Captain Arnold could issue any further orders, one of the men in a lab coat approached the ship's captain.

"Captain, let me use the device. I assure you it will work," said the man.

"Very well, Dr. Reno," Arnold said. "But we'll still prepare for battle."

Dr. Reno walked over to the machine. He started instructing his men and they in turn began flipping switches, turning knobs, and pulling levers. An ominous whirring noise began to emanate from the interior of the Pima. Soon a green fog started to envelop not only the cruiser but the other ships in the convoy as well. In an instant, the outside world disappeared.

Every person on the ship began to get weak as a strong sense of nausea hit them all. Crist knew it could not be seasickness for some of the seasoned crew were even grabbing their bellies. He somehow knew that every person in the convoy was experiencing the same sickening effect.

As suddenly as it began, the machine causing the ominous whirring and nausea began to spark. Smoke billowed out from behind its panels. Dr. Reno ran to the main shutoff switch. However, before he could activate it, a blue-white bolt of electricity shot from the machine and struck the doctor. The doctor fell forward and managed to land on the red lever of the shutoff switch. The whirring and nausea instantly ended.

The green fog also disappeared revealing the convoy in a blue sea bathed in the bright rays of the morning sun.

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It isn't perfect, but it is still pretty good.

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The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Slave Woman Incident

By Douglas E. Gogerty

With a horse, Gaius could travel much faster than he could on foot. The down side of traveling with a horse was that it was expensive to stable overnight. However, if he could travel twice as far in a day, it would balance the expense at the end of the journey. However, with the way things were going, that would be a big if. After all the trouble he had run into so far, it was not unreasonable to assume that it would continue.

After Gaius obtained the horse, he made it to the first way station by late afternoon. He had made good time, but he did not want to risk going farther that day. Thus, he made arrangements to spend the night. Surprisingly, he did not run into any trouble at this location. By morning, his former nemesis's horse was well rested to continue the journey.

Just before midday, Gaius reached the next way point on his journey to Campania. There was plenty of time to make it to the next stop before nightfall. Thus, he decided to have a leisurely midday meal at the inn there before moving on. After eating a nice meal, he left the inn to continue his journey.

"Aslan?" a woman asked Gaius. "Aslan is that you? You have not changed a bit."

"Aslan?" replied Gaius. "I have not heard that name since I was a wellid, but I am not Aslan."

"Oh silly me," replied the old woman. "Aslan would have grown old too. However, you are the spitting image of an Aslan I used to know."

"Well, I am not from around here, so I doubt there is a relation," replied Gaius.

"Of course not, neither am I. I knew Aslan a lifetime ago, perhaps I confused you with your father."

"Well, perhaps that is true, but I never knew my father."

"What is your real name?"

"That I do not know either."

"Where are you from?"

"My mother used to speak of an area north of the Black Sea -- but -- I do not think such a place exists any longer."

"Do you know that for sure?"

"I had an opportunity to look for it, but I did not have much to go on."

"What was your mother's name?"

"I only knew her by her Roman name, and I do not even know if she was my real mother."

"So, how did you hear the name Aslan?"

"My mother -- the woman who raised me, used to cry that name out in the night..."

"Can we sit and talk awhile?" asked the old woman.

"Certainly," replied Gaius.

"I do not want to be a bother. If you are going somewhere..."

"Please. It is my pleasure."

While she was only perhaps twenty years older than Gaius, the woman was frail from many years of hard service and ill treatment. The short walk seemed to use up all of her energy. Eventually, the two found a shady spot to protect themselves from the midday sun. The woman seemed relieved to be off her feat even for a short while.

Gaius offered her some wine and some of his travel provisions. At first she refused, but then accepted them graciously. She ate as if she had not eaten in days. Gaius waited patiently as she ate her fill.

When her appetite was satisfied, she said "I am on my way home."

"How are you getting there? Perhaps I could help?"

"I am going the same way I got here -- by walking."

"I hope it is not far."

"Do not you worry yourself. I will make it."

"If I can help in any way."

"When I was a young girl," the woman began ignoring everything Gaius said. "my family raised livestock. We moved around looking for fresh pasture land. My father was quite the horseman. Our livestock would then be traded for other goods. At the time, some of our people prospered in the slave trade with Greece. This brought in wealth which meant there was money to be spent on our stock. We became somewhat prosperous for nomads. My father was satisfied with the way things were. He was not going to get involved in slaving. However, the land was fertile and our animals did well, so there was no need to change."

"That sounds like happy times."

"It was. I was quite happy."

"And then you met Aslan?"

"More importantly, that is where I met Aslan's brother Emre."

"Your love?"

"My father started us off with a handsome dowry. Our stocks did quite well. More importantly, no one bothered us. With war and strife all around, we left them alone and they left us alone. We did not have trouble from the Romans, the Seleucids or any of the groups that seemed to cause trouble in the area. However, some people capitalized on these troubles by trading the captives to willing buyers."

"There are always those that wish to make money on the misery of others."

"There was lots of money to be made, but Emre and I stayed out of the troubles. I was going to give Emre a second child when our troubles began. Aslan had just gotten married to Bolour, but his wife's family refused to pay the promised dowry. He cared deeply for her, so he was reluctant to divorce her. Emre and I decided to take them on to help us. We were having a slight problem with bandits, and Aslan's help would be welcome."

"Bolour...?"

"She was a beautiful young thing. With their help, we hoped to double our stocks and give them a good start. With Emre's help Aslan quickly discovered who was stealing our stock. It was a young man from a slaver family -- Bolour's family. The thief's father was enraged over the accusation. The two men showed the man their proof, but his Scythian pride would not believe it. A feud between the families erupted."

"Over some stolen animals?"

"Some people just enjoy conflict no matter how small and no matter what the consequences turn out to be. Late one night, these slavers came into camp and took Bolour and me away. She kept screaming, 'Aslan! Aslan!' Aslan came after us, and they slit his throat right in front of us."

"Did Emre come after you?"

"They had already killed him," she sobbed. "These slavers sold us, and we ended up in Rome as agricultural slaves. I am now on my way back home."

"Scythia is a long way from here," replied Gaius. "Let me help you."

"You already have," replied the woman. "I am home now."

The woman died on the spot. Gaius spent the woman's last moments with her, and they were happy moments.

Ancient Scytia Map

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The God Wars

Chapter Two:

Polar Opposite

By Dwayne MacInnes

Captain Arnold was the first to react after the device ceased to function. "Get that man to sickbay!" the captain ordered two of the sailors on the bridge. A black cloud filled the bridge and the doors were thrown open to help dissipate the smoke and acrid smell that accompanied it.

"Sir!" the sonar operator shouted. "The contacts are no longer there. I only hear the screws from our fleet."

Before the captain could acknowledge the helmsman broke in. "Captain, the instruments are wrong. According to my compass we are heading west!"

"Maybe that damn machine turned us around," the captain griped. "No, the sun is still rising and we are headed towards it so we must be going east."

"It's a little early for sunrise don't you think," General Crist offered.

"Machine must have ruined the compass as well as blacked us out or something to boot," the captain reasoned. He turned towards one of the lab-coated men.

"You, ah, Dr. Berger," the captain said a little loudly. "What in hell just happened?"

"We had tried to make the convoy invisible," Dr. Berger replied staring at the still smoldering machine in disappointment. "It worked last year on the Eldridge in Philadelphia."

"Stop your stammering man!" shouted the annoyed captain. "What happened?"

Dr. Berger cleared his voice. "Well, captain, sir, uh -- I don't suppose you are familiar with Project Rainbow?"

The stern look from the captain alerted the scientist that he was not. "Ah, well by applying the Unified Field Theory using electromagnetic radiation and gravity we were attempting to bend light. This would have made our fleet invisible to the enemy."

Dr. Berger noticed that instead of calming the captain he was actually agitating him further. "Sir, it is possible that we could have transported the fleet."

"What do you mean 'transported' the fleet? Through time? To a new location? What?"

"It is possible that both occurred." Dr. Berger replied.

"Sir, the fleet wants to know what is going on," the radioman said. "It sounds like everyone is okay, but every compass seems to be pointing in the wrong direction."

"Can you reach Liverpool, or New York?" the captain asked.

"No sir, the only signals I am receiving are coming from our own fleet."

"Dr. Berger," Captain Arnold said sternly. "I have about ten thousand soldiers and a few hundred military engineers on the Olympus as well as valuable replacement parts, ammunition and other stores on those cargo ships that are direly needed for our efforts in Europe. That is not to mention the oil on that tanker and that hospital ship and the vehicles on the LST....

"I will not have it on my record that we lost the war because your little toy did not work correctly.

"I will put this bluntly. Fix it!"

* * * * *

Because Dr. Reno's injuries were serious, the Pima sent him over to the Respite for care. The medical care needed was beyond that which the sick bay of the Pima could offer. Captain Arnold determined to keep the fleet moving east despite what the compass said. A compass could be wrong; the direction in which the sun rose would always be the same.

Arnold figured the time to be about 1000 hours. They could not be certain of the exact day. If they could move forward in time a few hours, it was also possible that they had moved forward a few days, weeks, months, or even years.

The sailors in the fleet also came to the realization that they were no longer in the North Atlantic. The temperature was too warm and the sea did not feel right. After years of crossing oceans, a seasoned seaman came to know the temperament of the various oceans.

Nonetheless, Captain Arnold figured that if they continued east eventually they would find land. So far, not even the radar picked up anything. The Kiska launched a few scout planes but the TBF Avenger torpedo bombers acting as scouts could not find anything within their flight range.

* * * * *

General Crist was feeling useless with the looming crisis facing the fleet. It was not his way to be inactive when something was going down. One only rose to the rank of general if he could quickly come to decisions and implement them into action.

Therefore, General Crist transported himself over to the hospital ship Respite. Crist figured that keeping the fleet together and calm occupied all of Captain Arnold's attention so he could not head over himself. So, Crist took it upon himself to be transported over to the Respite where he would, depending on the Reno's condition, interview the doctor.

General Crist was amazed once he stepped aboard the Respite. The large hospital ship reminded him a lot of a modern hospital. The ship boasted two operating rooms, had x-ray machines, dental care, plastic surgery, and psychiatric care. She could care for over 400 patients and had a crew of 516. Some were ship's crew and others were medical personnel. Doctors roamed the corridors, as did a number of nurses.

Crist had forgotten that there were women in the convoy. All were the nurses aboard Respite. They were all over the age of 20 and held the rank of lieutenant. Crist also noticed that most were chaperoned by a soldier. This was ship of mercy not of ill repute.

Finally, Crist found the doctor attending to Dr. Reno. The medical doctor assured Crist that Reno, though gravely injured, could answer a few questions. General Crist entered the sterile room and saw the scientist lying in a bed with bandages wrapping his upper torso. There was an IV-drip hanging from a metal stand that connected to Reno's arm.

Dr. Reno groggily looked over at the general as he entered the room. "You must have something important to ask if you came all the way over here to see me," Reno said in a tired voice.

"As a matter of fact I do. Please, let me know when you are too tired and we can pick it up later," Crist said as he pulled a chair up next to the bed.

"Just a little sore. Go ahead and ask your questions," Reno said.

General Crist explained all that happened since the machine shut down. He told the scientist about the compasses, the sun rising early, and the change in the ocean. When he finished Reno laid back and digested all this for a while before he addressed Crist.

"Do all the compasses point in the same direction?" Reno queried.

"As a matter of fact they all point directly south with about a 13 degree declination," Crist offered.

"I'm afraid that you may not like my answer," Reno strained the exhaustion finally overtaking him.

"Maybe you should rest," Crist stated. "I could come back in a few hours."

"No, you should let Captain Arnold know," Reno replied.

"Know what?"

"The compasses are working correctly. The magnetic pole on this world is to the south," Reno said fighting to stay conscious.

"What do you mean?" Crist asked hoping he did not hear correctly.

"Simply, that we are no longer on Earth. We have been transported to another world," with that final word Reno collapsed back into his pillow and lost consciousness.

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