TC2K

TC2K-SUMMIT

For many centuries a peace of sorts reigned in the land of Haaretz, protected as it was by House Sala to the west and the Wall of God to the east. But Thaumiel never forgot the Ark of the Covenant, the sacred golden chest that he took to be the last extant avatar of Chokhmah, and he believed the words of Joy to the effect that since Chokhmah and Binah shared a single stellar body they could never produce a new avatar again without killing one or the other.

And now that nephilim and humans are beginning to live and work in space, the Ark begisn to weigh in Thaumiel’s mind all the more. He is convinced the Ark is necessary for humans to communicate with a sun outside of his or Milcom’s harem, should any of them contrive to make the awesome crossing to one of them. So Thaumiel, sending supplies down the Catwalk over a period of many years, equips and funds a human warlord in the Saiph League to make a strong bid to conquer much of of Haaretz, with the primary goal of raiding the temple of Chokhmah in Nath.

Telan Blackseed personally leads the Army of the Republic in many boats across the lower reaches of the River Sabik, taking the town of Sadl Ferry in Menkal by surprise. Such is the strength of the invasion that Blackseed is able to divide his forces in twain, sending half of his men north to cut across Alodra and invade Menkal, while sending another half east toward the temple. High Lord Patriarch Asmodeus hymself goes with this second wing in a truck, having descended from the rim of the God Wall in a glider.

The famed Wall of Menkal which once enclosed that entire kingdom is breached in many places and no longer actively defended, offering little in the way of a barrier to Blackseed. Eliath Wood in Menkal, however, remained undigested. Saiph League troops completely encircle the forest and are beginning to fight their way in, but a fair fraction of Blackseed’s forces camp on a wide prairie between the forest and the roads to Shedal to prevent aid from reaching the refugees hiding among the trees, as well as to prevent the refugees themselves from fleeing south to Alodra.

The balance of Blackseed’s forces come to grips with infantry in the wide vale of the River Armak along a broad front. Both sides dig in and erect earthworks with elaborate trenches to protect themselves from gunshot, for soldiers on both sides realize that on the flat battleground there is absolutely no cover. Thus the unfolding war threatens to grind to a standstill and become a contest of attrition. That it did not do so can be attributed to new weapons technology held in reserve by House Gerash and applied against the older weaponry of Haaretz, which had always been something of a backwater on Barbelo.

Yeshua punishes the invaders from the Saiph League with a series of plagues. The first plague is a heavy spill of rock oil which covers the Armak River with a brown syrupy layer, and many of the soldiers of Blackseed whisper that Binah turned the river to blood. It is as bitter as blood at any rate, and the invading army is forced to dig new wells far from the river to drink.

The second plague is a grass fungus that exterminates all the horses and food animals who forage on the west side of the River Nanki (which means all the animals owned or captured by Lord Telan Blackseed) while the animals on the west side remain healthy. And this fungus also causes a loathsome and incurable skin disease in many of the invading forces from the Republic.

The third plague seems more like a miracle at first. Yeshua contrives the first tides on Barbelo, such that there is exposed seabottom from the mainland to the isle of Sukai in Menkal. A great multitude from Suhair flee on foot over this new land bridge with their children, goods, and all of their animals. Blackseed thinks to use the new land bridge as a way to conquer both Sukai and the larger island of Elendal beyond, and orders his forces to pursue the people with many horseless chariots. But while the mud flats are dry enough for those who go about on two or four feet, those who travel in wheeled vehicles have more trouble. The Saiph League motorized cavalry became stuck in the mud, and they cannot escape before Yeshua allows the sea tide to flood the area once more.

In retaliation for this plague Blackseed leaves no man or woman alive in Akamar. He puts the people of that city under saws and harrows and axes of iron, makes their dead bodies pass through a brick kiln, and salts the earth nigh to the city.

Following the massacre of the people in Akamar, Yeshua sends upon the armies of Blackseed a great destruction of wind and fire, such a one as never had been known anywhere upon the face of Barbelo. But Telan Blackseed attributes these disasters to a chance confluence of those natural misfortunes which are prone to happen everywhere from time to time. He says Binah is a figment, and Yeshua a mere jen styling hezself a goddez who deceives the people by playing to their ancient superstitions. For Thaumiel and Chokhmah are the sole living elohim, says he.

Thus it came to pass that the Saiph League occupies all of mainland Menkal, despite the plagues of Yeshua, leaving only a rump state on the islands of Elendal and Sukai. Blackseed deports all the surviving people to the worst lands in the Saiph Republic, while assigning the most choice lands in Menkal to the officers of his army. And after much bloodshed Rynet falls, and the way is clear to assail the Temple of Chokhmah.

But Telan Blackseed is not willing to actually smite the Temple of Chokhmah, and in the guise of Emperor Asmodeus, Thaumiel is angered by his reluctance to do so. Asmodeus himself rallies the army to loot the gold of the Temple of Chokhmah, and set the roof on fire, and tear the walls down stone by stone. And the forces draw near, but Yeshua and Lilith come to witness the desecration of the temple, and these elohim the soldiers touch not.

A death squad of five powerful men chosen by Asmodeus and armed with the latest weapons of House Gerash stand forth. Thrand Pikebreaker causes stones to move and fill the moat, which gives the death squad access to the wall of the temple.

Magar Hardlash cuts a hole in the thick stone wall with a stolen copy of the Golden Gift to allow the death squad to enter.

Atol Ratrunner causes dark storm clouds to pile up over the temple, to hurl lightning bolts at the riflemen in the highest parapets.

Derian Elderwood causes strong whirlwinds to rage about the death squad, protecting them from other riflemen and horsemen.

Torr Stonespear causes the temple doors to splinter before the death squad, one by one, until they reach the chambers of the High Priest and slay him unarmed.

Their task complete, they stand at attention as Emperor Asmodeus and two nephilim guards of House Gerash proceed into the heart of the Temple in the wake of the death squad. Asmodeus is eager to take possession of the Ark of the Covenant, the only remaining artifact associated with Chokhmah. She uses the Ark to communicate with her high priest. It sits in the center of the room suspended above the floor by two staves on four pillars.

But something is amiss. Asmodeus only feels 17% of his own weight. The passage back to Alodra transforms into a blank wall in Taurus City, and Asmodeus knows hy has been duped.

ASMODEUS
Wormhole. Clever.

Asmodeus and his guards are disarmed by the simple expedient of having Jerry set their weapons glowing orange-hot. They drop them to the deck.

ROBYN
Emperor Asmodeus, you are under arrest for war crimes, and, uh…trespassing.

Lilith comes to Taurus City only a few seconds after Asmodeus is arrested. She strides a few steps directly toward Asmodeus and slaps his face, hard. It is so unexpected hy did absolutely nothing to fend her off.

LILITH
That is for killing Khondiel, accursed one.

Asmodeus turns his face back to Lilith.

ASMODEUS
You had better kill this body, Chohkmah, because whatever deal you’re putting together here is now impossible.

LILITH
Oh, no, you mustn’t take that attitude, Thaumiel. You are bargaining for passage of your colonists to and from Jupiter.

ASMODEUS
We already made that agreement just days before Binah came into existences.

LILITH
This agreement has to do with moving them in ships rather than on foot. I’m putting together a summit. The first and perhaps the only time the elohim will meet with the leaders of the nephilim and human. It would be in your best interest to attend. You won’t have far to go, we’re holding the conclave here in Taurus City.

For the Summit the People’s Republic of China is represented by Special Minister Liu Chou-Lai, who has been appointed and trained by the Communist Party solely for the event on the Moon. He and his aides had been transported to Taurus by Soviet cosmonauts a number of days before Glenn and his team arrived.

Robyn tells Liu Chou-Lai that in addition to representing China he was considered by her to also speak for the entire so-called Third World of nonaligned nations. Alexsey Leonov is to speak for the Soviet Union and those nations that are part of her sphere of influence, such as Cuba, Egypt, and Vietnam, also known as the Second World.

Lilith is present and represents the ultimate authority over what happens pertaining to the Sol system, while Thaumiel is present in the flesh of the ruling Family Gerash Patriarch, Asmodeus.

ROBYN
Colonel John Glenn, I am Robyn. It really is an honor to meet you.

GLENN
Hello Robyn. I’m not sure it’s such an honor to meet me anymore. It seems I wasn’t the first American to orbit the Earth after all. And I suppose you are, or once were, Kimberly Lokken, who met Gene Cernan during Apollo 17?

ROBYN
Yes, I am she, but if you have read the information packet that gave Gene you know that I go by just Robyn now. Welcome to what I’m calling a Summit. I realize you haven’t even had time to get yourself fully dry again after your dip in my pool, but I’m thinking of the limited time your people have for life support out there on the plain and in the sky overhead, so we will get started very soon.

GLENN
This city you name Taurus is a truly amazing accomplishment, Robyn, but what puzzles me is how you dug this big hole. I don’t even see removed soil piled up nearby. There should be mountains of it.

ROBYN
We have discovered a way to temporarily turn normal matter into what we call dark matter. We call it dark because it doesn’t interact with light. So chemistry doesn’t apply to it anymore. It just goes away, sinks to the center of the moon or flies away into space. The process works great for trash too.

GLENN
That is a very important discovery. You must share.

ROBYN
Actually, no, Colonel Glenn, we must not. We are a group of very disgruntled American citizens, I’ve had to dodge federal bullets myself, for one thing. And by that I do mean actual, literal bullets, not metaphorical ones.

GLENN
But think of the possibilities! Roads, tunnels, we could save taxpayers billions of dollars. I’m afraid I must insist on this one point, Robyn. Astrodyne must share this discovery with the American people.

ROBYN
Well, you must also remember, Colonel, that although most of us up here were born in the United States, we consider ourselves stewards of the entire Earth, and when we share what we call the macro effect, we intend to share it with all of humanity, not merely the American people. In fact, we have already begun to share it, and Lilith will show you what I mean.

Lilith presents documents to Glenn as well as Leonov and the Chinese Special Minister.

LILITH
This is my first action item, and it is for you as well as Commander Leonov and Minister Liu Chou-Lai. It consists of a warning to all mariners to stay at least a hundred nautical miles away from a new, large whirlpool that has formed about halfway between Tasmania and New Zealand’s South Island. I have chosen to call this whirlpool Charybdis, just like the one in Homer’s epic. The precise coordinates for the whirlpool is given in this document. Please propagate this warning to all the people of Earth.

GLENN
Whirlpool? What are you doing?

Lilith make a small wave of her hand. Haziel’s daughter Del brings out a tripod stand and unveils for the participants of the Summit a large map of the Earth, showing the contours of the continents as they are in the present day of the fall of 1974, and also showing contours of the land beneath the waves at the 2,000 fathom line.

LILITH
Venus, the second planet in the Solar system, is wrapped by a thick blanket of greenhouse gases that retain the sun’s heat, making that planet far hotter than the Earth would be at the same distance. The planet lacks the tectonics that we have on our world, which takes carbon out of the air in the form of dead organic material and moves it under the surface. So that’s the first problem. Venus has too much air, and not a drop of water.

Then Lilith gets up out of her chair and points at the map.

ROBYN
The Earth will have five billion people within the next decade, yet only twenty-nine percent of its surface is dry land, and much of that is desert or frozen tundra unable to support human life. So the Earth has too much water, and too many people for the land that we do have. That’s the second problem. We have already begun to solve these problems, gentlemen, but we estimate it will take more than two centuries to reach full completion. The first problem, with Venus having too much air, we have already started to address by the wholesale conversion of the atmosphere to dark matter in the same way we removed the lunar regolith to dig out this city. This will have the same effect as introducing plate tectonics to Venus. The carbon dioxide will be buried under the surface and we will reduce the atmospheric pressure by nearly a hundred-fold.

GLENN
What do you hope to achieve by doing that, Miss Lilith?

LILITH
Colonel Glenn, we hope to achieve nothing less than a second Earth. But for that we need to introduce water. A lot of water.

Lilith points to a section of the map in the South Pacific.

ROBYN
We have positioned the mouth of a fold-gate far under the sea, near New Zealand, right here. It will constantly be maintained at the level of the sea where the water pressure is just sufficient to overcome the air pressure on Venus, currently about ninety standard atmospheres.

GLENN
What is a fold-gate?

ROBYN
Yeshua is my boss, Colonel Glenn. He’s a Jewish carpenter. And a fold-gate is an artificial Einstein-Rosen bridge that lets us link any two points in space together as one point. Lilith has positioned the other end of the fold-gate on the north pole of Venus. This will create a flow of seawater to Venus where it will immediately turn to steam, and the sea salt will be precipitated out. Now, unfortunately, temperatures will remain too high for humans to live in the open on Venus for perhaps another century. We will have to live in enclosed structures that require the constant conversion of air to dark matter to sustain air conditioning, and it will be another century after that before terraforming of the north and south polar regions will raise the level of oxygen to a life-sustaining level. After that, humanity will have a new planet that is quite comfortable in both of the polar regions, but there will be a large desert between them. I propose to place this new world entirely under the control of the People’s Republic of China.

LIU CHOU-LAI
Why did you choose that remote spot for the.. what did you say? Fold-gate? Why not the South China Sea?

ROBYN
That is too shallow, Minister Chou-Lai. When the Earth’s sea level drops about twelve thousand feet, in about two hundred years, the world ocean, which is currently seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface, will be divided into precisely two halves. South America will have two land bridges connecting it to Antarctica, as you can see here. At that time, the only water connection between the Pacific and Atlantic ocean water lobes will be right here, between New Zealand and Tasmania. This undersea basin will be the location of the greatest city on Earth in the 23th Century. It will be the crossroads for all sea transport, which is now and will always remain the most cost-effective way to move goods from point-to-point on the surface of the Earth.

LEONOV
If you remove so much water I think will follow disruption. I see your map. No more Black Sea, no more Baltic Sea.

ROBYN
That’s true, Commander Leonov, but the change will occur at a very gradual pace, and the result will be that the land area of the Earth, as a percentage of its total surface, will be raised from twenty-nine percent to fifty percent. The people of Earth would begin to reap the benefits of that uncovering process almost immediately. New land would be exposed off the coasts, and much of this contains oil deposits which will become newly economical to tap. Florida would grow to more than double its width. The ancient land bridge between Siberia and Alaska that the ancestors of the original inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere used to cross over from Asia to North America would be permanently reestablished.

ASMODEUS
I don’t believe it. Such a volume of transportation would be possible only if you have access to an unlimited flow of dark light.

LILITH
Nevertheless we are already doing it, so obviously it is not impossible.

ASMODEUS
You will outline this process to me.

LILITH
I will not. I am a disgruntled eloah, even as Robyn is a disgruntled nephil and will not share with Colonel Glenn. But be of good cheer, Asmodeus. I do now at this time offer to move large ships between Barbelo and Jupiter in the same way individuals now move between temples.

ASMODEUS
I refuse to accept that such a thing is possible! And even if you can do it, I would demand some measure of control, even as the small wormhole tubes we use today are anchored in the heart of our guarded temples.

LILITH Then I propose two structures, one in each star system, and each one called an Identification Lattice. One end of a fold-gate will always be associated with the location of this lattice. Ships moving between the systems will pass through the lattice for identification before we permit the actual link to come into existence.

Anyway, Colonel Glenn, that’s pretty much what we here at Astrodyne have been up to, but enough about our petty issues, let us now go on to your next agenda item. What is President Ford’s biggest concern right now?

GLENN
Robyn, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 says non-governmental activities, such as your corporation, obviously, must operate under the approval and authority of a state which is signatory to the Treaty. I can tell you now, speaking for the Ford Administration, that the United States would only extend such recognition quid pro quo.

ROBYN
Colonel Glenn, every employee of the Astrodynamics Corporation carries citizenship of the new nation of Barbuda in the Caribbean.

GLENN
Barbuda’s statehood is not recognized by the United States and they are not signatory to the 1967 treaty.

ROBYN
Commander Leonov, do you think Astrodyne could be placed under the legal penumbra of the Soviet Union to satisfy this treaty?

LEONOV
I think this request not impossible. Give us photos and names of people here, birthdays, I take home to Star City, then Kremlin. Who knows? Maybe next Korabl bring forty Soviet passports.

ROBYN
Thank you, Commander Leonov. And so, Colonel Glenn, shall we proceed to your next item?

GLENN
We want to know why you are contracting with the Soviet Union to bring your people up here.

ROBYN
Well, Colonel Glenn, probably because the Soyuz vehicle is an astonishingly reliable spacecraft. I think the role of the Soviet Union now and in the future be to provide ships linking together the worlds of the Sol System in a great transportation network. Most of the lesser bodies of the inner system would be theirs, solely, as well as a constellation of habitats and space stations they proposed to build.

GLENN
But they are communists! I thought Astrodyne was all about profit.

LILITH
Colonel Glenn, I can’t think of anything more boring that what economic theory is practiced by the government represented by Alexsei Leonov and Oleg Makarov. The truth is, now that we’ve committed the fold-gate to the transformation of Venus, we no longer have the means to move ourselves around. We now must rely on a third party for transportation. The Soviet Union has been the first to respond to our request, but I’ve brought you and Minister Chou-Lai here to make the same offer. We already have a great demand for space transportation and it only goes up from here. Let me ask you something. I understand you were preparing for a Senate run before President Ford tapped you for this mission. Where would you say your politics fits on a spectrum between left and right?

GLENN
It’s no secret that I’m a registered Democrat, but my politics I think would be somewhere in the middle. Maybe a little left of center.

LILITH
I think it’s safe to say that with the Watergate stuff, and with Ford giving Nixon a blanket pardon, that’s a foregone conclusion the next President will be a Democrat, wouldn’t you agree, Colonel Glenn?

GLENN
I would indeed agree with that assessment, Miss Lilith. I think right now the country just wants to do a healthy flush in ’76 and move away from that whole terrible episode.

ROBYN
We have discovered that what we do up here on the Moon has a profound effect on US presidential politics. I think that the binder I gave to Gene Cernan back in ’72 might have influenced President Ford to pick Earl Roland to be his vice-president instead of the more liberal Nelson Rockefeller, and we think that tossing some work to the Russians and Chinese up here will lead to more hawkish candidates in the Democratic Party winning the next election rather than the left-leaning peanut farmer we think you’d get otherwise.

GLENN
And why is American presidential politics important to Astrodyne, Robyn? Didn’t you say you were citizens of Barbuda? And didn’t you just now make arrangements for Soviet passports?

ROBYN
Checks and balances are always a good thing, Colonel Glenn. As long as the Cold War never goes hot, which we must all be vigilant never to allow to happen, I think the rivalry between the U.S. and the S.U. is good for both. What’s why we’re rooting for the hawks of your political party. Competition spurs innovation. And a three-way competition is even better, hence the presence of the Chinese delegation. I think if the Cold War were to end with one country slipping into decline and the other becoming a fat, complacent world hegemon, that would be a tragedy for both.

As a matter of fact, Robyn knew it would be a tragedy because she had already seen how a single-superpower world played out.

At the very end of the Summit Emperor Asmodeus stood up and said, Many gifts and agreements have been passed back and forth, but we have failed to reward the American people of Earth and this strikes me as very rude.

Silence fell over the Summit as people tried to guess what Asmodeus meant.

Asmodeus walked over to an inert silver robot with the size and shape of a little child. I call this a Bot. It is designed to work on the termi- nator of an airless world, at the very transition between day and night.

Lilith knew that Belial had gotten the plans for his Bot from the Lore of the Elohim, and che was mildly surprised, for che had grown used to being the sole user of that store of knowledge. Binah probed that store now and was even more surprised to find nothing on Bots. Belial had given access to a redacted set. If Lil could prove it, the ancient bargain was off.

Asmodeus said, If El Shaddai permits, I propose to give the First World of Sol system to the Americans. They will be aided by many of these Bots. The terminator line moves at walking speed, so the Bots will never cease moving, but they will also gather together resources for export and to make more Bots. So close to the sun, this world is rich in energy, which the Americans will be able to transmit to the Soviets to power their ships. The Iranians also stand to benefit, since the main port for moving the American’s products to their final destination will be the Second World.

Lilith moved close to Lilith to whisper.

LILITH
What is Thaumiel doing?

ROBYN
I don’t know, but hy’s playing it beautifully, saving it for the end of the Summit. Hy’s thinking of cooking up something with Glenn, and I can’t see what it is. Remember what I told you about blackjack?

Jill used to watch Robyn play blackjack in Vegas and wondered why she didn’t take the House for everything they had. Robyn’s open-mouthed astonishment was followed by the answer that consistently winning too much money would get Robyn on somebody’s shit list and no casino in town would so much as let her walk through the door. Besides, that’s not how precognition works, Robyn said, taking this as a good opportunity to try to explain.

The first thing Jill needed to realize, Robyn told her at the time, was that the free will of herself and others was paramount, and it constantly obscured her talent for precognition. The other players could hit or stand and there was no way for Robyn to predict what they would do, and each choice affected what cards would be dealt to the players down the line, which in turn would affect their decision to hit or stand, and so on. The variables multiplied beyond Robyn’s ability to sort them out. That’s why she always waited until the seat was open at Third Base before sitting at a table. And by Third Base, Jill understood that to mean the seat that was serviced by the dealer last, just before he turned over his own cards. That way all the variables were reduced to just those affected by Robyn’s own choices.

The only thing Robyn could see without fail, sha told Jill, is whether the dealer is going to get a blackjack, and if that happens Robyn sat out the hand with no bet but if she did that every single time they would catch on and toss her out on her ass. So sometimes Robyn lost a hand, but it was always just the minimum bet. Sometimes the cards were no help and there was no way to beat the dealer no matter what sha did. But Robyn never busted by going over twenty-one unless sha wanted to throw the watchers off her tail, the ones snooping on closed-circuit TV through cameras mounted over the table. And if sha could see sha was going to beat the dealer sha doubled down. The result after a few hours of relaxation and exercising har talent was a mild buzz from her drinks and a few hundred dollars. Every night. Before sha moved into space Robyn considered gambling to be har primary occupation.

One thing had still puzzled Jill, however. Robyn had no problem predicting stock market crashes or recessions, and they had infinitely more variables than a simple blackjack game. The big stuff is actually easier, Robyn had told her. It’s not about a single person telling a dealer hit or stand, it’s about groups acting together, buying and selling things.

LILITH (after pondering)
Perhaps your talent does not extend to predicting the future choices of an eloah.

ROBYN
But we have no choice but to give Mercury to the Americans, or we ruin the spirit of the whole Summit.

LILITH (in a loud voice)
Emperor Asmodeus is wise, for we were on the brink of being unforgiving hosts and snubbing the Americans. Therefore I grant title of Mercury to the American people, solely and permanently, and my gifts are without repentance. Let it be as Asmodeus has proposed.

And so, with the Summit concluded, Glenn and Gordon return to Earth with the rest of the crew of Apollo 18, while Leonov and Makarov take the Chinese representatives back home in two vehicles.

After arriving safely, the Soviet and Chinese delegations put the word out to the rest of the world to stay far away from Robyn was calling Charybdis, but the Americans say nothing. The Ford Administration is developing the narrative that only NASA is operating on the Moon, certainly not a private corporation such as Astrodyne, and any claims by the Soviets and the Chinese that they were present on the Moon as well was officially dismissed as communist propaganda to antagonize the West.

Despite this, the western nations with blue water navies such as the United Kingdom and France do heed the warning from Liu Chou-Lai to stay away from the whirlpool. But the United States seems to be like a stubborn child who insists on touching a hot stove precisely because his mother told him not to do it. The US Navy rushes directly to the vicinity with a submarine and promptly loses contact with it. This tragic disregard by the American government for the warnings of the B’nei Elohim is to become a persistent pattern in the years to follow.

The destroyer Buchanan, a twenty year old Adams can, is ordered to cut short a port visit in New Zealand to investigate Charybdis. Perhaps if the Navy had flown aircraft to the location first, one hundred ten submariners and three hundred fifty destroyer sailors would have avoided death.

The submariners of the USS Bluefish suffer much more than the crew of Buchanan. Their boat is airtight and able to resist the 90 atmospheres of pressure on Venus without being crushed. So she just lays on her side next to a blackened Buchanan and bakes the crew like so much salmon. Distress calls go out from Radio Central for an hour or two, and are intercepted, but the Navy refuses to believe the weak signals are crossing interplanetary space. From what they could make out from the frantic calls, the Navy guessed the submarine had gotten pinned in the fumarole of a new underwater volcano.

President Ford, who had the Glenn Report in hand and knows better than to think it was a volcano, orders a cruiser action group and one oiler dispatched to the area to keep lookie-loos out, whether by sea or air, lest they unmask his narrative.

The motivation for this ran far deeper than politics and was rooted in Protestant theology. Although he started as a Midwest checked pants Republican, as President his cabinet was overrepresented by Southern fundamentalist Moral Majority types. John Glenn’s reports from the Moon put them in a constant state of future shock. Holding the Bible to be the inerrant, literal word of God, they didn’t know what to do with the knowledge that their God was really a vast female alien made of dense nuclei in the heart of the sun, and that Jesus was really the daughter of her and the devil.

There were anthropological considerations to take into account as well. From the long, sad history of the collision of colonizing European cultures with the more primitive aboriginal cultures in the lands they invaded, one could easily imagine Earth itself, in the aftermath of the arrival of an advanced alien civilization, becoming a sort of galactic “Human Reservation” utterly dependent on handouts and perhaps becoming a seedy haven for gambling or other pleasures that might be forbidden elsewhere in the universe. A cover-up could buy time to prepare the world for the shock and perhaps prevent such a post-contact malaise from taking hold. This would be a legitimate reason for the cover-up, but it was not the real reason.

There have always been those who seek to cling to safe and familiar things in a world that appears to grow more and more dangerous and complex every day. These relentless changes represented a quantum leap in the world’s danger and complexity. To those who sought to steer America’s schools away from teaching evolution and “old earth geology” and towards a curriculum of a special creation of the Earth by God 6,000 years ago, the changes raised questions that their closed, self-contained, strictly Biblical theology could never answer.

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