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Jonthom
July 16th, 2018, 06:23 PM
350 AA/2318 AD

My name is of no consequence. My title is the Prodigy. Neither the first, nor the last. But the present - and that, for now, is all that matters.

In a few short days my beloved and I will be taken from our cells and paraded before the eyes of world at the Coliseum in the City of Dis. There to fight, perhaps to the death, against some other unfortunates condemned to sate the bloodlust of a world turned upside down.

We stand accused, not only for what we have done, but for who we are and what we represent. A link to the past, a little river the Institute was never able to dam. Flowing forwards to a future we can only pray is better than the past.

And so it falls to me to tell the story of my people. To tell history - true history, not the lies propagated by the Institute. To tell the story of blood and pride and terrifying violence, of the powerful crushing the weak underfoot like vermin. And of resistance, however small, however doomed and futile. The flame which flickers but has never been extinguished.

The present year is a matter of opinion. By the old Christian calendar, long since suppressed, the year is 2318. By that of the Jews, 6078. The Scientologists would have reckoned it as 368, Anno Dianetics, but they too fell by the wayside long ago.

For much of the world, the year is 350, Anno Amoralismi. The Year of Amorality.

Three hundred and fifty years ago, the man known as the Founder established the Spirit Science Research Institute. Three hundred years ago, the Institute moved from the shadows onto the world stage.

One hundred years ago the world stood divided into two powerful factions, the Amoralists and the Traditionalists, each holding a third of the globe. The last third stood caught between the two, subject of devastating wars, political intrigues, ethnic and religious conflict that warned of so much more.

All the world a hand grenade - and the Institute pulled the pin. The last century has been one of relentless, unrestrained, all-consuming violence, of unending war, degradation and decay. Of science and magick and everything in between, forces that could free humanity yet instead threaten to end it.

350 AA. Three hundred and fifty years. Half of the magic 700. A century, two centuries and half a century. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%207:25,Daniel%2012:7,Revelation%201 2:14&version=NIV&interface=amp)

We stand on the brink, at the midpoint of a drama apocalyptic and damning, tragic and beautiful and devastating. History turns on such moments, their effects rippling through time both forwards and back. This year, 350 AA, the opening stage of the Institute's plans - prophecies composed at the Institute's founding, future history foretold - comes to a close. And with it, the door on the end times opens.

I write this not to simply record history, nor to document the banalities of life or denounce the evils of the world. In what time I have left, I speak truth to whoever shall listen. And whatever unfortunate soul might read this, should they fail to act, at least cannot claim they did not know.

From a dead man - greetings.


Prodigy

“Come one and come all! Come hear the word of the Elect, as spoken through their messenger!”

The preacher calls out in the city square, his grey robes wrapped tightly against the cold. It is midday.

I, the Prodigy, am in the City of Dis, the capital of now known as Pierreia, the heartland of the Institute. Enormous statues line the square, muscular, imposing, history carved in stone. The Founder, the Moonchild, the Watcher, the Gatherer, those who led the Institute in key parts of its history - a history written and rewritten over the years to suit the times.

And twelve statues for the Elect, those who today stand at the heart of the Institute and in command of a third of the world.

Their messenger stands before me, in the centre of a small crowd, listening more out of obligation than interest. At the edges of the square, Guardsmen stand by, batons at the ready. They silently survey the crowd, neural implants alerting them to any suspicious motion or known dissidents in the area.

I keep my head down, hood pulled up, shuffle through the crowd in silence as the preacher continues.

“All we who stand here are blessed to live, at this time, in this place. Founding Day is just eleven days away. Three hundred and fifty years of greatness, three hundred and fifty years in which the Spirit Science Research Institute has worked to cleanse the world from the stain of Morality.

“To purify mankind, to dispose of the weak, the feeble, the cowardly and diseased - the unnecessary - leaving only the strong. Those whose Will cannot be stifled or restrained, who will not be held back by the petty whims and indulgences of altruism, compassion, loyalty or love - sins best placed on the pyre and burned.”

A note of contempt enters his voice.

“Yet still today, there are some who would seek to frustrate our goals, to stand between humanity and its future so glorious and magnificent. Not only those nations as yet untouched by our greatness, the enemy without. But rather, the enemy within.”

He turns to face me directly.

“Hello, Prodigy.”

I step forward through the crowd. Some move to let me pass, others stay put, making me push past, giving a little shove or kick as I make my way through. I throw back my hood, stare the Preacher in the eyes.

“I see the Institute has sent a new messenger to enlighten we poor and ignorant masses.” My body is filled with adrenaline, everything I see - the folds of the Preacher’s robes, the contempt in the eyes of the crowd - laid out in exquisite detail. Yet my voice remains calm.

The Preacher gazes at me in open disdain. “My predecessor met with an unfortunate accident. Unfortunate for him at least. For certain Guardsmen it proved a rather profitable evening.”

He has no shame.

“You know who I am?” I ask the question, already knowing the answer.

The Preacher nods. “Of course. You have quite the reputation, you and your little band of maggots. I am surprised to see you here - unmasked, no less. But then, ignorance and self-preservation rarely go hand in hand.”

My eyes meet his. “My life is not mine. I belong to history. Should I fall, another would take my place. So it was, so it is, so it ever shall be. Not merely a face or a name, but a symbol - an idea the Institute was never able to wipe out. A sign that resistance is possible, that apostasy is no crime and heresy no sin.”

The Preacher snorts in derision. “So you say. And yet - history has not always been kind to your lineage. Even the first Prodigy, the Apostate, the one they called Elijah, ended his days in humiliation and defeat -”

“That is a lie! He fought until the end, and in so doing, left us a legacy -”

“Of blasphemy.”

“Of hope.”

We glare at each other, eye to eye. At the edge of the square, a dozen Guardsmen stand still, poised, ready to strike.

The Preacher smirks. “Let us put it to the test. You have your faith, your history, your rituals and ceremonies. I am here as the Messenger of the Elect, in the name of Spirit Science.

“The test is this: to call down fire from heaven. One of us will walk away. The other will burn.”

The crowd is silent, expectant. I stare at the preacher. His eyes are tight, cold, his expression one of bitterness and contempt.

When I speak my voice is still, even as adrenaline flows through my veins. “Challenge accepted.”

The Preacher nods, a small smile on his face. He raises his arms theatrically, a performance as much for the crowd's benefit as any spirits that might be watching.

“On this day, in this place, I call to you, spirit of air. Of winds that howl, carriers of death and disease, scatterers of poison seed in the world.

“On this day, in this place, I call to you, spirit of earth. Land of the grave, home of decay, of worms that feast on the dead

“On this day, in this place, I call to you, spirit of water. The cascading torrent that casts all else aside, relentless and devastating.

“On this day, in this place, I call to you, spirit of fire. Rain down from heaven and burn this creature where he stands!”

The last words are screamed, dark, gutteral, almost incoherent in rage and hatred. The audience steps back expectantly, tense, ready to run. Even the Guardsmen seem uncertain.

The preacher stands, arms outstretched, eyes wide. And….

Nothing.

Undeterred, the Preacher calls out once more, his voice dark, animalistic.

“I call to you, spirits of air and earth, water and fire, in your power and by your Will - may the blasphemer be consumed in cleansing flame!”

Nothing. Finally he breaks, his expression showing the first signs of irritation.

“Spirit of -”

“Your 'spirits’ appear to be otherwise engaged.”

The preacher lowers his arms, concentration broken, glares at me in fury.

I watch, unblinking, as his face turns red with fury. “Perhaps they are on holiday. Or perhaps they are merely taking a toilet break?”

The Preacher explodes. “How DARE you!?”

He stares at me, eyes wide in outrage. I kneel, speaking softly, hoping against hope.

“In the name of the One who is in all, above and below. Occulta Veritas.”

High above, there is a deafening crack of thunder. A single lightning bolt strikes down, hitting the preacher in the chest.

The crowd backs off as the preacher screams. His robes catch light, engulfing him in flames, his hair burning away to nothing. His flesh is scorched, blackened, burning away to reveal bone.

He falls to the ground, rolling around in a vain attempt to quench the flames. The air folks with the stench of burning flesh as the crowd begins to flee. I stay where I am, rooted to the spot as I watch the grotesque spectacle unfold.

The Guardsmen charge into the square, two of them covering the preacher with their jackets in a vain attempt to stop the fire. The others surround me, one pinning my arms behind my back, cuffs on my wrists, while another snacks me in the stomach with his baton. I sink to my knees and they begin to kick me, one making contact with my ribs, another knocking out several teeth.

As I lose consciousness, the last thing I see is what remains of the Preacher's face, burned skin peeling off, blood and plasma pooling on the pavement. I hear the Guardsmen talk amongst themselves as they put the boot in. One says the word “Coliseum”.

Prodigy: Well, fuck.


50 AA/2018 AD

50 AA was the turning point.

As the Spirit Science Research Institute entered its fiftieth year, it stood as a house divided, wracked by factionalism that burst into outright civil war. The Prince and the Moonchild, the Founder's descendant and his magical successor, pitted against one another in civil war for the Institute he founded. Enemies within, and enemies without - a host of apostates and nemeses who together took up arms against the Institute.

A war invisible to the outside world, happy as ever to carry on with the mundanities of everyday life as history was written around them. Few in those days truly understood the Institute's goals, nor the terrible means by which they would be achieved.

By the time the dust has settled, one man stood in control of the Institute - the Moonchild, the one they called Elisha. He and his allies would go about rebuilding the Institute in their own image, purging the disloyal and vowing to bring the Institute out of the shadows into the light.

The first step was the seizure of power in Pierreia, then known as Makhnovia an unrecognised and seemingly unremarkable state in Eastern Europe.

After decades of meddling behind the scenes, exploiting instability in the wake of the fall of the Soviets, suddenly the Institute had taken control of the tiny unrecognised state that had played such a role in its history - not only of the Institute, but of the Moonchild himself. The place in which he was born and raised, now under the thumb of the Institute that answered to his commands.

Incredible though it seems today, at the time the Institute's seizure of power scarcely attracted attention. To the world's press, the phenomenon of this strange, California-based cult meddling in the politics of some tiny state thousands of miles away meant little. Soon those same press outlets would be beating down the Institute's door eager for a scoop.

The Institute's wealth and influence granted the small republic of Pierreia power far beyond its size. Within the year, it was recognised by all UN (an organisation in which all governments joined together on issues of common interest, abolished 93 AA/2061 AD) member states; by the end of the decade, it was among the top five economies in the world. With Pierreia as its base, and the Institute's intelligence apparatus merging with that of the state, the stage was set for Amorality to conquer the world.

Slowly, one by one, governments around the world would go over to the teachings of the Institute. Certain nations were selected, granted privileges, wealth, status, the chance to lord it over their historical rivals. The rest of the world looked on in discomfort as piece by piece, the map started to go grey.

Then in 92 AA/2060 (http://www.openculture.com/2015/10/in-1704-isaac-newton-predicts-the-world-will-end-in-2060.html) AD, they attacked.

On a single day, twenty seven nations, each under the rule of the Institute, launched simultaneous strikes against their neighbours, dropping bombs from the sky and sending in soldiers on the ground. Supporters of the Institute within the targeted nations went underground, devoting their time to hacking the nation's infrastructure, obstructing rescue attempts and spreading anti-patriotic propaganda.

The war would last for three and a half years, ending only when the Institute launched a series of atomic bombings, annihilating three entire cities and cowing the world into a ceasefire, if not a peace.

It is said that to this day, birds and animals refuse to dwell in the ruins of what were once Moscow, Atlantic City and Nairobi. Even plants fail to grow. Abandoned by humanity and unclaimed by nature, they stand silent, a memorial and a warning.

At the signing of the ceasefire, the Institute stood in control of a full third of the world’s nations. The remainder stood divided, some devastated by the war and too fractured to rebuild, others lost and seeking a new way.

Over time, these would become the three great divisions of the world as we know it today - the Amoralists, the Traditionalists and the Independents. Yet the path ahead would be one written in blood and fire, of prophecies fulfilled and nightmares made manifest.


Princess

They call me Princess. The latest in a long line, each more different than the last.

The first Princess - Omega - was a playful soul, filled with love and joy, bringing mayhem and mischief into the world. The Trickster made flesh, dancing through life weaving her magic, humiliating her enemies in ways they could never predict let alone counter.

I am not her.

I am here to fight, to kill, and if needed - to die. I am here as a howl against existence, a protest against life itself in this of all worlds. Laughter is past.

Today, my friends and I send a message to the world, a few short days before the night at the Coliseum. Something is coming, something terrible and devastating. And if we cannot stop it, we can at least speak.

He who has an ear, let him hear.

I close my eyes, clear my mind of all extraneous thought. Cast out the others around me, cast out fear and doubt, cast out empty thoughts and words.

<< Echo Romeo Indigo Sierra >>

Discordia.

It springs up against the blackness, its familiar face welcoming and kind, joyful and concerned. The old digital intelligence, built long ago, imbued with the personality of its creator. The sentience that has guided enemies of the Institute these past three centuries, communicating by a neural link granted only to the most trusted. Embodiment of wisdom and power, resistance and beauty.

<<What the fuck do you want this time?>>

I smile. Some things never change. <<Charming>>

<<Sorry. Been a little preoccupied lately.>>

<<How? You have the greatest processing power of any computer the world has ever known. You've guided us for three centuries. Every day your data banks are updated, renewed. How the hell can you be preoccupied?>>

<<True. But there's one question been burning away at me. A quandary that has perplexed mankind for centuries.>>

<<Which is?>>

<<What exactly IS the function of a rubber duck?>>

Sigh. <<I'll put someone on that right away. For now I need your help.>>

<<I know. Your substitute iris scan is good to go, just give the word.>>

I open my eyes. I am surrounded by my allies, my friends - the Children. The tiny band of dissidents brought together more by fate and misfortune than by choice. Yet together, we form a small family, a family of choice for those whose family of birth has deserted them. Each one carries a backpack filled with supplies, weapons strapped to the ankle and wrist, body armour in place.

It is evening, the moon shining bright high above. We make our way through the streets, heads bowed, avoiding eye contact. Most passersby ignore us. The handful who notice, who know who we are, who see our numbers, turn away in fear.

Revolution is a frightening concept.

As we walk, a song springs up among the group, sung quietly, soft voices masking power.


We are the children raising our voice
We are the children making our choice
Marching to victory, death or disgrace
Under the moon in the night’s tight embrace

And we stand for the children, singing unseen
Yes we stand for the children waking this dream
Child of the City, you come to us now
With a wink and a nod and a smile and a bow

Make way for the children, going to war
Make way for the children, open the door
To a world full of romance and bloodlust and tears
To a world of our hopes and our dreams and our fears

A world of our hopes and our dreams and our fears

Finally we reach our destination. The Coliseum. An enormous edifice, located in the heart of the City of Dis, site of murder and bloodshed and dark occult ceremonies. Each week they come, those appointed to fight.

Some are condemned prisoners, sentenced to fight, to kill or be killed, political prisoners forced to cut the throats of their erstwhile comrades and shower in their blood before the eyes of the world. Others work for the Institute, sent to instill discipline and order and dominance, to lose all shred of humanity and dear before being sent out to face the world.

And some are there for pleasure. They are the most dangerous of all.

Each week, a spectacle of violence and devastation and loss of life, blood offered up as a sacrifice as the Institute's monks perform their rituals. Each week, an audience filled with bloodlust and adrenaline turn not only on the fighters but one another, a swell of psychic energy that can shake the world.

In a few days time, this place shall be filled with pain once more.

But before then: a message.

We approach the Coliseum, approaching a side door, accessible only to those authorised by the Institute.

I whisper, urgent. “NOW!”

I wince as I feel my eyes shifting, changing shape, changing colour. I approach the iris scanner, gaze into it; a light goes on and there is a soft click as the door opens. I enter, the group following close after. A spiral staircase leads up the building, corridors branching off, along the outer edge of the Coliseum looking out over the City.

I tirn to my allies. “You three, take the third floor. You three, the fifth. I'll take the seventh.”

It's easier if I don't learn their names. I found that out the hard way.

We rush up the stairs, each group branching off as needed. I reach the seventh floor and open my backpack, panting slightly from the exertion. Not as young as I used to be.

I look into the bag and smile.

Explosives. I take them out carefully, one by one, each tied to a remote sensor.

For a moment I glance out of the window, suddenly struck by the city's beauty, a charm that belies its dark heart. Back to work. I place the explosives at key positions against the wall, burned into my memory day after day for weeks.

Job done. Rush back to the staircase, down the stairs two at a time, arrive at the bottom just in time to meet the other teams as they make their way out.

We exit the building, walking away quietly, doing our best to seem calm. Backs to the building, ignore the strangers. Hand in pocket, hand on detonator -

KABOOM

The explosion is deafening, a string of strategically placed incendiary devices detonating at once. The building shakes, bricks and rubble fall, passersby scream.

A small crowd gathers, watching in awe as ash and debris tumble to the ground. The Coliseum's facade stands strong, yet now marked by a series of small craters, marking out the pattern of -

“A penis,” says a random passersby. “A giant penis.”

Well I didn't say I was ALWAYS serious...

Fire engines rush to the scene. We scatter, dissolve ourselves into the crowd, some standing in slack jawed disbelief, others running to the scene or away. I push past one onlooker, then another, make my way down a side street.

Look left, look right. Clear.

Look behind. An old couple, walking arm in arm, eyes only on each other. A stray dog urinating against a wall. Clear.

Look up. Security camera pointed directly at me. A light flashes, the camera tilting, facial recognition at work. There is a soft hiss as a dart pops out, hitting me in the neck. I fall to the floor.

“Well, fuck.”


250 AA/2218 AD.

By 2218, the world had changed drastically.

On the one hand stood the Amoralists, those nations of the world that stood with the Institute and were governed by its teachings. Divided between regional leaders and powers, sometimes disturbed by factionalism and heresy, yet always united against the outside world.

On the other were the Traditionalists, an alliance of nations that resisted the Institute's power only by turning to the most degraded, corrupt, fanatical and malevolent traits in their nature and history, becoming a bitter parody of all they once were.

Religious fanatics of all stripes found common ground in their hatred of sexual and spiritual immorality, racial supremacists formed a series of ethnically exclusive statelets. In some areas, The Market took on the form of a god on whose altar peace, love and compassion must be sacrificed in the name of profit.

Maintenance of tradition became a goal in itself, and only the most conservative traditions would survive.

Then there were the Independents. Those nations aligned to neither side. Some, communities of exiles brought together by chance. Others, societies as corrupt and degraded as the others, seeking only independence and the freedom to indulge their loathsome practices away from external control.

And others, word has it, were beautiful. Are beautiful. Lands of peace and harmony, where science and magick are deployed not to subjugate mankind but to liberate it.

If I have one regret, it's that I will never see
Libertatia (https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/did-the-utopian-pirate-nation-of-libertatia-ever-really-exist).

Some of the Independents leaned more heavily to one bloc or the other, others served as a buffer zone between the two. And still others would be staging posts for endless proxy wars that tore whole nations apart, generations put to death in conflicts not of their making. Neighbour was set against neighbour, one faith against another, one race against the next, in the service of two greater powers beyond their influence or control.

And so the world stood, in 250 AA/2218 AD. Centuries of hostility, political intrigues, tensions and proxy conflicts and economic warfare.

Then on one single, tragic day, the people of Italy were put to the flame.

The attack came without warning, thousands upon thousands of tiny drones - the Locusts - swarming across the nation. Some, those who were loyal to the Institute and were branded with the atom-in-ouroboros, were spared. The rest were burned alive.

In 2060, the world was unprepared for the Institute's onslaught. By 2218, the Traditionalists were ready. The Independents, disparate as they were, banded together for mutual defence.

Italy was the trigger that would send the world into total war. No nation was spared. A war that rages on to this day, all the world a battleground, a war that has torn apart nations and faiths and reduced history to ashes. A war without end and without remorse.

Yet even then, even now, lurking just beneath the surface is something more. A tradition of quiet defiance and refusal, an underground community of those who refuse to accept this world as it is. We who dare to dream of something greater, that even in this most dire and degraded of all times we can see the seeds of something magical.

The world is beautiful. Life is beautiful. Even here, even now.

The Institute may be winning. But they will never win.


Capture

The cell is small, cramped. A single light shines down bright from on high, painful to the eyes.

I am deep below the Coliseum. The Guardsmen took me from the central square in shackles, hood over my head, neural blocker preventing any contact with Discordia, my beloved Princess or the outside world. The stench of smoke still sticks to my clothes, the preacher's scorched face looming every time I close my eyes.

The door opens, a body thrown through, colliding with the floor with a sickening crunch. I go to her, cradling her head in my arms, smile despite everything.

“Good evening, my love.”

She grins through the pain. “Howdy, daddio!”

I kiss her on the forehead. She rests her head on my chest, looks up at me, curious.

“What are your crimes?”

“I called down fire from heaven and burned a preacher alive. You?”

“Dynamited a giant dick in the side of the Coliseum.”

I smile. “I would expect nothing less.”

We kiss. She rests in my arms, her heart beating fast yet betraying no fear, no anxiety.

“They're going to kill us, aren't they?” She says it matter of factly. No fear, no regret.

“One can only hope. There are fates worse than death, and the Institute knows all of them.”

“I know.”

She takes her hand in mine. I feel a warmth pass through me, a sense of love and peace and serenity.

Prodigy and Princess, together against the world. She glances up at me, questioning.

“How are you?”

“I am….content.”

Smile.

“What do you think we should do?” I ask.

“If we get out of here? Catch the first transporter to Cockaigne (https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/exploring-the-strange-pleasures-of-cockaigne-a-medieval-peasants-dream-world) and take up cheese gathering.”

“And if we don't?”

She shrugs. “Then we fight. We kill, or are killed. We die together.”

Emotion rises, suddenly tearful despite myself. “I love you. Whatever happens, whatever schemes the Institute might pull.”

“I love you too.”

The door slams open once more. An agent of the Institute fills the doorway, a hoarde of armed Guardsmen standing behind.

One of the agents speaks, his tone one if open hostility. “On your feet.”

We stay seated. Four of the Guardsmen enter the cell, dragging us upright, shoving us against the hard stone wall. The agent steps forward to address us directly.

“Prodigy and Princess. You stand accused of crimes against the Spirit Science Research Institute, of sedition and dissent, blasphemy and rebellion. Evidence is overwhelming; there can be no appeal.

“In three days, you will be taken to the Coliseum. There, you will take on two combatants of our choosing, a wanderer from another place and his partner. One team will survive. The other will perish.”

The agent standing smug, gloating, relishing his moment of power. Princess spits in his eye, snarling, defiant. The agent howls in rage.

“GET HER!”

More Guardsmen storm the room, tackling us both to the ground. Our bodies disappear beneath a flurry of boots and batons, the two of us fighting back as best we can. As the adrenaline surges and fists fly, I have a glimpse of history. From this year back through the centuries, to the first Prodigy and everything after. One thought, above all else.

Hope never dies.


350 AA/2318 AD

And so that brings us back to the present.

The world stands divided, wracked by centuries of war and devastation. The Institute stands proud, strong and fearless. The Traditionalists cling to their past, degraded and rotted as it is. The Independents struggle to find their place in the world.

But still we live.

Hope is not dead. Even here, even now. In the Coliseum, in the City of Dis, in the land of Pierreia. Amidst the death and decay, the hatred and loathing, the totalitarian rule of Spirit Science and Amorality. Even here -

Hope is not dead.

Still we live.

I do not know who will read this text. Perhaps it will be simply burned as the writings of a heretic, perhaps misquoted and distorted by the Institute's propaganda machine.

But perhaps some weary traveller may find this, some seeker after truth on a quest to know what happened - and what will.

350 AA. The midpoint in this apocalyptic drama, half way on the road to the devastation the Institute has planned for so long. Something terrible is going to happen, something awful and frightening and very powerful.

History's wheels are turning. Sometimes I can hear the gears.

Whoever should find this text, know this: nothing is inevitable. Prophecy is not infallible. The Institute is not invulnerable. The future is not yet written. It is in your hands.

If we should fall in the Coliseum, may there be those watching who will take our place, a new Princess and Prodigy for a new era.

Know this: we regret nothing.

Perhaps we will survive our ordeal, live to see another day. Perhaps we will meet, in a happier time, when the Institute is put to an end and the world can live in peace.

Until then,

Be seeing you.

Prodigy and Princess.


Epilogue. Year Zero AA/1968 AD

The Founder put down his notebook with shaking hands. Page after page of writings in an unknown language, an alphabet beyond human creation. Automatic writing without knowledge or intent, a voice channelled from without. From the void.

The Founder gazed down at the text. Incomprehensible, impossible, yet somehow the meaning shone through. The history of years to come, of the rise of the Institute, of pain and suffering and so much more.

2318. Half a time, two times and a time. Half way to apocalypse.

On this night in 1968 he witnessed the birth of the Spirit Science Research Institute, the vessel for his teachings and instrument of his Will. On this night in Los Angeles, he laid out his vision for the future.

And in the Book, he saw its end.

The Voice returned, the Voice dictating the Book - the Book of Beginnings and Endings. The Book that told of days yet to come, terrifying and brutal, a nightmare for the world.

He smiled.

The Founder picked up the Book and began to write.