St. Paul Mavrides
Excerpts from the Novel-in Progress

Chapter One

What cometh to, this world? I
am on the Earth now as a drunkard among
you and NHGH is at My side.

Prescriptures--Neuronicus 22

Think not that I am come to
send peace on earth: I came not to send
peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34, The Endlessly Revised Holy Bible


The Vault of Horror, no. 26, E.C. Comics

The Fightin' Jesus looked out over the immense bridge of the the Xist battle saucer, Blood of Christ. He laughed. He was finally going to have His revenge on the natives of Dust-Mote 89-aB.

Aboard Jesus' flagship, dozens of killer theologians, the Shock Priests, were busy at their weapon terminals. On the power decks below, the proper orgone-cycle timings were being set by mass fornications between the ritual "crew" and the cancer beings of the Spree, Jesus' only true allies. An Invasion-ready state existed on this ship and the six hundred and sixty-five others floating over their doomed target, Earth.

Jesus was in a psychopathically elated state. His long, soft hair hung loose about his shoulders, flowing to meet the white, muslin robe that was the Prince of Peaces' uniform. Simple leather sandals adorned His feet, which sported their own matching wounds. Floating a fraction of an inch off the deck, He fussed with His neatly trimmed beard, His manic aura dancing about, crackling and hissing where it touched across the glowing Halo. At the moment, His face truly did resemble many of the perverse portraits the humanoids painted in the name of His Glory. Those Yeti-born monkeys prayed to these icons for the salvation of their souls. As if they had any souls to save. As if anybody would want to save them, which was unlikely in the extreme.

He had gotten reports that the Earthlings had actually organized a planetary religion, completely centering around His murder there, so long ago. More like a lynching, it was. He spent three torturous days and nights digging Himself out. Just in time to escape those sadistic cavemen, if the old Greek records were correct. If He had been discovered up and about after the Crucifiction, before He was ready, they might have really finished Him off. Those hicks had the unmitigated gall to nail Him up like some common criminal and then pray to these "paintings" that made Him look like He was enjoying it! That He was forgiving! That He LOVED them!

Oh, the anticipation! He was sick to His stomach with glee! Jesus would show these backwater, genetic accidents the true face of Pain, Sin and Redemption! He had hired His own Holy Ghost-writers to revise this "Bible" the Earthlings had, more to His own thoughts and He was going to make sure it was the only edition available. It had taken Him two thousand standard Earth-years to return. Now He would pay them back for the holes He still carried in His hands. Sweet Stigmata! Even the slightest thought of the old scars made them glow red, right through His fists, through the boxing gloves. The battle command of the spacecraft was staffed by veteran Angels of Light, on personal loan from JVHV-1, Jesus' father. They supervised the officer Daemon units that were the fleets' literal conjurors of destruction within the tangible energy spectrum. To focus these unworldly reactions and project them to the proper targets was the job of the four thousand odd Seraphim. For mopping up and commando raiding, the Dark Bodies and AESON had been hired. Thousands of these emotionless, combat-proven mercenaries waited in the troop holds of each destroyer. All at time-and-a-half. It was expensive to ravage a planet, even an insignificant one like Earth.

No matter. The Host of Judgement, That Which Comes, had finally arrived. And on Jesus' birthday, too.

"What do you think, Dad?" Jesus' second-in-command, Jim Jones stood by with the final attack codices for His approval. A man-sized holographic map of Earth rotated in scale next to Jones in mid-air. On its surface grids of the native's planetary defenses were lit up in green; communications nets in violet and manned stations in blue. A colorful network of intersecting lines covered the sphere. It was quite pretty, actually.

"Like a Christmas tree ornament," Jesus mused, "My Christmas tree ornament -- to smash. To return to dust!"

"Our children wait for us below, Master. We will walk among them and we will smile. At Your moment of choice, of course," Jones toadied.

Jesus studied Jones' tired, puffy face in the pink glow of the neuron banks that ran around the walls of the mighty dreadnauts' bridge and shuddered. He was no stranger to resurrection of the undead, but whoever had brought this Jones around again had slipped up. Something was missing from this creature, something else had been added. Something, but what? Jones had been forced on him as a Number Two by the DJIN bankers who financed His war party. Damn them! He never forgot the price they had demanded for this little expedition. Jones' constant reminders of their influence and expectations irritated Jesus no end. Not to mention the annoying habit Jones had copied from J.R. "Bob" Dobbs. The twisted thing insisted on smoking a pipe, even here near the sensitive memory cells and nerve relays of the ship. Jones might have been left dead a little too long. He moved with a constant jerk and never stopped poking at his throat. Jones always wore dark sunglasses and still took massive injections of meth-amphetamines, even though they no longer had any effect on his regenerated shell. Huge abscesses ran up and down the insides of his arms, yet he continued to wear short-sleeved, tropical shirts, as if to show off his puny efforts at self-mutilation, here with the Spree, to whom matter manipulation was an ancient art-form.

With a drop of blood, Jesus OK'd the pad Jones held out to Him and tried once more to draw out His second. "You know, Jimbo, the best part about all this is that the humans actually think there's an Afterlife, for them anyway. That's why they strung me up the first time I was here. Something to do with getting to Heaven, I believe. Who the Hell would want to go to Heaven. A slum like that? They think like bugs down there."

"I'm well aware of that, Commander," Jones answered stiffly. His Xist hard-wiring made him go formal, whenever Jesus became too familiar with him. There was a big secret buried in Jones' skull that the bankers wanted kept hidden.

It bothered Jones to be back on Earth so soon after his failure with the social programming research post he had been running there. What had happened hadn't really been his fault. The administration changes at Central had shifted all the friendly execs away from public sympathy for the project and Jones had lost his funding. He was forced to abort the experiment and terminate all the subject organisms, himself included. True, as head scientist he had an escape clause, but really, now, years of work were abandoned overnight when the grant was cut off! Politics, it was due to nothing but politics. If everything went right this time, he'd have the last word with Central, the very last word. With this asshole, Fightin' Jesus, too. What an insult now, to have this Jesus harping at him, calling him `Jimbo.' Jones had often called out for Jesus in his trances and he'd done it with respect. No respect for Jones here. The only thing Jesus and Jim had in common was their sexual preference for young children. Just a couple of cosmic chicken hawks.

Jones had a prime directive with full authorization from NEXUS Security to take out JHVH-1's bastard Son when the invasion was completed, or at the first sign that Jesus knew what the real objective of this mission was. He could wait. It would be soon enough.

"Have the Pope brought up to the bridge," Jesus softly ordered to a waiting spirit, bringing Jones out of his private thoughts. "I do hope he's capable of conversation. He didn't seem to respond too well to My Last Offer. Oh, and please keep any Warrior Spree away from him. Their resemblance to `cockroaches' seemed to frighten the little faker no end before. Get him some unsoiled clothing."

"As you wish." The runner blinked off to the interrogation chamber with its message.

Jones was impatient. "I hope the audience is a short one. The poor man could hardly stand up after Your previous `chat' with him. Let him rest. It's hard to maintain our surprise arrival advantage for long. Earth electronics are pre-historic, no problem there, but if ` Bob' should feel the gravitational disruption caused by our orbital formation, I remind you that the margin of profit for the NHGH would drop by almost a half-point, which would bring your balance into the red. You are already very close to having command of this trip turned over to our investment managers."

"`Bob'? `Bob' will be terminated by My Own Hand," Jesus snapped. "As for the Pope, that whining simp, why, he's going to give the order to begin The Rapture."

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