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The Unwilling God Michael Doyle

The Unwilling God

Michael Doyle

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Is magic science undiscovered?Prologue E=mc^2Captain Erickson strapped himself into the chair of his military cruiser, the H.M.S. Glory. Looking at the aft viewscreen, he saw the blue-green sphere of Orion II from a distant orbit. Orion II: EricksonMoreIs magic science undiscovered?Prologue E=mc^2Captain Erickson strapped himself into the chair of his military cruiser, the H.M.S. Glory. Looking at the aft viewscreen, he saw the blue-green sphere of Orion II from a distant orbit. Orion II: Erickson cursed the day that he had first heard that name. It should be a lifeless ball of rock, orbiting peacefully and slowly around its young star just beyond the edge of the Orion Nebula. Archaic records listed this second colonial expedition to the Orion Nebula as a temporary, wildcat mining dome colony. The H.M.S. Glorys mission should have been routine and archeological in nature, a view into the grave of an ancient mining colony. It wasnt. The planet was green, alive with a stubborn human populace.Nine other colonies had been successfully reclaimed under his command. Most colonies had been glad to rejoin the Union. Those few who had resisted had been easily cowed with a minimal display of superior firepower. With the reclamation of this newly discovered colony, his crew would receive their first rest cycle on Earth in seven years. He could visit his wife and son. Yet this planet that should not sustain life, this population who should not be thriving, confounded Erickson. These people thwarted him at every turn, as if they knew Margaret and Jeremy were waiting for him.Erickson watched the satellite transmission aimed at the city named Jezric. Observing his troops in front of the main gate, he foresaw no problems. He had issued the forty-eight hour standard ultimatum after the leader of the city had refused entrance to his powered armor troops. Erickson meticulously followed Union procedure during a hostile reclamation.The leaders name was Tarkel, the self proclaimed Wizard King Tarkel. Intelligence reports had informed Erickson that Tarkel was a petty, theocratic dictator. The people of the city should be happy to be rid of him. In earlier satellite transmissions Erickson had seen pagan sacrifices, being performed atop the central tower of the city. The Union was justified in putting an end to such barbarism and reclaiming its ancient colonies. Erickson would shed no tears for this mans death. The forty-eight hour deadline was approaching. Erickson studied the viewscreen for any signs of activity.The dictator appeared on the Jezric transmission. He was atop the stone tower and surrounded by men and women with naked chests and dresses of bright orange that covered their waists and legs. Erickson watched in shock as the madman stabbed each victim with a cruelly pronged, metallic glove. The sacrifices were as young as his son had been when he had left to command the Glory. They did not resist when the madman, putting his other hand behind his victims back for leverage, buried the metal claws into their flesh, and each smiled horribly as Tarkel murdered them. Tarkel pulled out his victims heart and showed it to the remaining sacrifices. He threw the organ over the edge of the tower and moved to the next sacrifice. The ritual was completed with remarkable speed, and a bloody pile of bodies lay at the center of the tower.Erickson, in a strangled voice, ordered the transmission to be cut off. Regulations were clear on this matter: He must wait until the deadline had been breached.Everyone on the command deck was silent, coping with the sheer brutality of what they had just seen. Lieutenant Peters, the officer on watch, broke the tension, Captain, I have a target in the planets stratosphere about the size of a shuttle. Its bearing is in line with Jezric.Erickson immediately thought of pirate vessels. He dismissed that possibility. The H.M.S. Glorys satellites would have detected a pirate vessel during its entry from space. No, the only technology for flight on this planet was under his authority.