Yael Dragwyla and Rich Ransdell email: polaris93@aol.


First North American rights 3,400 words

The Eris War
Volume II: The Dragon from the Isles
Book 1: Independence Day
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became as black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. – Revelations, New Testament, King James Version, Chapter 6:12-13 From the London Times, Thursday, April 12, 2001:

Cosmic golf could smash cities
BY MARK HENDERSON, SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT ASTEROIDS could be used to destroy enemy cities in what astronomers describe as a deadly game of “cosmic golf”. Lumps of rock weighing millions of tons could be nudged out of their normal orbit and guided towards particular cities on Earth by a string of nuclear explosions. The process is likened to golf because it takes several nuclear “shots” to hit the asteroid into its target “hole”. The final putt would cause an explosion 50,000 times larger than the Hiroshima bomb and obliterate a region the size of Belgium. The perpetrators could escape blame for an apparent natural disaster. This novel form of

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star wars is within the scope of current technology, according to research by David Asher, of Armagh Observatory, and Nigel Holloway, a member of Spaceguard UK, an organisation that monitors asteroids. “It is a sort of deadly cosmic golf, played with an odd-shaped ball,” said Dr Holloway, a former military scientist at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston. “It is very difficult to get a hole in one, or even to make a par five, but it is a pretty simple thing to get the ball to the hole in 15.” The astronomers, using a computer model, have calculated that a rogue state or terrorist group could steer a known asteroid, called 1998 HH49, on to Telford, Shropshire, using an average of 15 nuclear explosions. The operation, which would also destroy cities as far apart as Manchester and Birmingham, would cost less than the $100 billion spent on the International Space Station and Britain would never know that it was under attack. First, nuclear weapons would be launched into space under the cover of a civilian mission. The government responsible could later claim that the satellite or Martian probe had been lost in an accident. Next, the warheads would be stacked up in orbit around an asteroid about 200 metres wide. Each weapon would be landed on the asteroid and detonated over the course of 18 months to alter its orbit so that, eventually, it was lined up with a target point on Earth. The final aligning blast could be delayed until a month before impact. “A leader would have a chance to abort the plan until almost the last moment,” Dr Holloway said. Clever planning would ensure that no one on Earth would know what was happening. The explosions could be detonated while the Sun stood between the Earth and the asteroid, making the blasts invisible to observers on this planet; a hitherto uncharted asteroid could be selected so that its altered orbit would not be detected. Dr Holloway said: “There are all sorts of ways of covering your tracks. Everyone would assume this was an act of God, when it was nothing of the sort. Who would disbelieve you if you said that your latest mission to Mars had been an embarrassing loss, when it was actually carrying a cluster of weapons ready to start the real job of diverting a chosen asteroid to devastate an unfriendly nation? You would be squeaky clean, with no risk of retaliation from your target.” The best way to prevent such a scenario, Dr Holloway said, was to invest in better methods of tracking asteroids so that any change in orbit would be swiftly detected. Nuclear weapons could then be used to divert the asteroid away from Earth. Such measures would also reduce the risk of a catastrophic natural asteroid impact of the sort that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. In their computer simulations, Dr Holloway and Dr Asher managed to land asteroid 1998 HH49 on a spot within 100 miles of Telford 30 times out of 40 attempts, using no more than 15 nuclear “putts”. Five of the efforts that missed Telford still hit the United Kingdom, with another five missing altogether. In one case, it took ten shots to hit the target. The resulting impact would have had a force of 1,000 megatonnes of TNT — 50,000 times the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and 15 times larger than the biggest hydrogen bomb ever tested. Everything within a 60-mile radius would have been destroyed, with serious damage throughout England and Wales and more than 10 million deaths. “We have nothing against Telford, it happened to be near the middle and we had its position on file,” Dr Holloway said. “But it demonstrates how easy this would be to achieve.”

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Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd.

Prologue: An Andalusian Dog
I, Baron Richard Ransdell of Santa Barbara Keep II, on Fish Street, a Moon of Innsmouth, a gas-giant in the Xoth System, a binary stellar system located (as seen from Earth) in the constellation Draco, am writing this in the year 2500 e.v. – a nice round, ominous (in the original, most neutral sense) number for the beginning of a literary project like this. (While we’ve finally managed to produce an astrology for the various planets of the Xoth system, where my wife and I now reside, I’m not good enough at it to interpret an astrological chart erected for the start of this venture – especially here on Fish Street, which is a moon of Innsmouth, one of the Xoth worlds, making the task of interpreting a chart erected for events taking place here horribly more complex than I even want to think about!* And as for numerology – well, I’ll leave that and similar disciplines to my colleague and neighbor, Baron Steve Muñoz, far more adept at such things than I’ll ever be. )

*Of course, our computers are more than equal to the task of calculating an astrological chart erected for this location. The celestial mechanics of this system were worked out to thirty decimal places not long after it was discovered by terrestrial humanity in 2084 e.v., and all the apparent positions of the stars in Fish Street’s skies were likewise been well mapped within a terrestrial decade or two of that first exploration of this system. Computing the damned thing isn’t the problem. Figuring out what the hell it all means is – and use of the word “problem” to signify the conundrum such a chart poses for me begs the question. I’m not alone, either. Leroy Eisenstein himself, humanity’s great white hope of deliverance from the prison of Earth’s gravity-well from the moment he was adopted by my late friend Monty Eisenstein back in 2047 e.v., who established the various disciplines of extra-terrestrial astrologies, alchemies, Qaballahs, and other esoteric Arts and Sciences, still has trouble interpreting charts computed for extra-solar systems in any useful way. If he does, you can sure as hell imagine I do! My own fortes are xenobiology and xenoecology, and while you could make a case for the idea that astrology of any kind is just ecology writ on a cosmic scale, my own work has unfortunately never dealt to any significant extent with the environmental impact of the universe at large on the worlds I’ve studied. So I’m still an absolute amateur at xenoastrology, in spite of all my attempts to learn the damned discipline, at least for this world.

At any rate, I am writing this account of what may be the most important event in human history, the Two-Day War of July 16-18, 2022 e.v. and its aftermath, to provide the generations to come with the history I have lived through in my unreasonably long life, so that they will have a better understanding of where they came from, what made their existence possible, and how narrowly my homeworld avoided destroying any hope of any future at all for its children. The Eris War, will be the second installment of that history. It comprises eyewitness accounts of that war and what followed from it This, Book 1 of The Eris War, is an autobiographical account of my own experience of the Two-Day War and the years that followed it. Volume 2 of The Eris War, The Dragon and the Crown, written by Admiral Chaim G. Resh, USN, detached, father of the atomic submarine and founder and current head of the interstellar mercenary-mercantile association known as the Fleet, is an accounting of the experiences of a number of other survivors of the War, including himself; the current governor of New California, Bill Jamieson; the late, former governor of New California, Steven Yeats; and many others. And an auxiliary volume of the series, The Unappreciated Summer, which I wrote some years ago and which was published last year by BEM Press in Cthulhu City on Providence, another world of the system where I live and am writing this, is an account of my own boyhood, youth, young manhood, and middle age up until the Two-Day War (which all of us who went through that horrible time tend to call simply “the War”; thus if I use that term for it in this work, you will know what I mean). Admiral Resh and I plan to follow The Eris War with volumes going up through the present, i.e., the late 25th century and beyond. Just how many I will be able to complete before Nature, as She inevitably does for each of us at some point, hands me my pink slip and I have to go looking for a new niche in some other body, I don’t know. I have notes on file for at least twenty volumes, though, and if I should die before

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completing at least that many, my good friends Chaim Resh and Paul Royer have promised to pick up where I left off and complete those remaining volumes of the series, using those notes. It is because of Paul, his lovely wife, Leah, and their protégés, Phil and Beatrice Howard, that I was inspired to write my portion of The Eris War. My wife, Cathy, and I frequently visit their vast, chaotic, joyful ménage in Cthulhu City on Providence, affording me many opportunities to observe all of them and their numerous offspring at work and play. Watching them, I have been reminded again and again that the generations to come must know their own and their ancestors’ history and the lessons thereof if they are to avoid repeating the mistakes of that history. Those mistakes were so costly to our species that it was only through blind luck and, I am convinced, the grace of God, that we made it through and were able to reach the stars at all. We dare not fall into those errors again! And so it was that Chaim and I have decided to provide as much as we can of that history for them, at least that part of it that we ourselves have lived through and know well, together with whatever we are able to glean from the memories of others and whatever source documents are at hand. You see before you, dear reader, some of the results of that decision. *** We think of planets as passive entities, or, at least, inanimate ones. Come to think of it, we think of the universe as a whole that way. But at every level of existence, the purposive behavior and sheer willfulness that is the hallmark of life becomes evident to those patient enough to observe for long enough; as the eminent 20th-century biologist Lyall Watson noted again and again in his many books, spirit permeates everything, and it is impossible to determine exactly where the spiritual leaves off and the purely physical begins, or vice-versa. If you doubt that, talk to anyone who has ever been unfortunate enough to have suffered through a typical poltergeist visitation, or has dealt day in and day out with our mechanical, electronic, and quantum-mechanical slaves, such as our computers, vehicles, elevators and escalators, control systems for heating our homes and business, and all the rest of our ever-growing electromechanical menagerie. Given that you are in full possession of your mind and faculties, tell me that inanimate objects don’t have minds and wills of their own and I’ll brand you as a damned liar! Planets are no exception to this. In fact, as the pioneering biologists and planetologists Lynn Margulis and James Lovelock said long, long ago, our homeworld, Earth, has always clearly displayed all the traits of life and will to anyone with even part of an eye and half a brain to see and understand.* Only cultural prejudices kept the terrestrial West from understanding that. As Frank Herbert so subtly showed in his great science-fiction novel Dune and its sequels,** not to mention his remarkable novel Hellstrom’s Hive,† in which an “alien” asks one of the human characters, “. . . tell me if the Sun is your slave.”

*See, e.g., Lynn Margulis, Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution (Amherst, Massachusetts: Science Masters, a member of the Perseus Books Group, 1998, ISBN 0-465-07272) and James Lovelock, The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth (New York: Bantam Books, 1988, ISBN 0-55334816-7). Both have been reissued in several by Fleet Publications over the centuries; for information about pricing and used copies, check http://iwww.newamazon.com and http://iwww.fleetreissue.com. **In my library I have a copy of one of the countless editions of this work of genius. This one was first published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 1984, but the original copyright by Frank Herbert was filed in 1965, just before his masterwork Dune appeared publicly for the first time as a serial in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction (at the time, Astounding was under the editorial hand of John W. Campbell, Jr., who, almost single-handedly, made possible the 20th-century Golden Age of Science Fiction and awakened the reading public to the romance and siren call of the universe beyond Earth). †Frank Herbert’s, Hellstrom’s Hive was first published in hardcover by Nelson Doubleday in 1973. It was subsequently published in several paperback editions, as well. It, too, like Herbert’s other novels and collected short stories, has been reissued numerous times by Fleet Publications, and is available through both http://iwww.newamazon.com and http://iwww.fleetreissue.com.

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No, we have never controlled our homeworld. We never will, nor any other world, nor the universe, all our science-fantasies of universal conquest and management to the contrary. Rather, we are all Life’s tools, the tools our living worlds, our living universe use to further their own aims, which are: Survive! Persist! Endure! Even the Two-Day War, the Eris War, and all that followed it were the results of Life’s work to keep itself going and fill the multiverse with itself forever. We did not know it, then, surrounded s we were then by so much death, but that balls-up of an Armageddon was as necessary to the continuation of terrestrial life, including Homo sapiens along with all the rest of Earth’s cargo of life, as were the ancient supernova that initially seeded the universe with all the elements of the Periodic Table, thus making life as we know it possible. Death was Life’s first tool and Life’s first friend, and therefore nothing can ever prevent Life from getting where it wants to go. Mind is not partitioned into individual minds. Neither is spirit subdivided. The Gods are but the highest-order structures of the multiversal Mind (the highest, of course, being God the Most High, Whose Spirit is Life, ‫ ).י ח ל א י ד ש‬The notion that each of us has an individual mind and spirit that are wholly or even mostly his is an illusion, or rather part of the collective delusion that is culture, in the same way that a map is an expression of the delusion that the world can be divided into truly absolutely separate domains thus partitioned by the legal fictions that are our political and cartographical conventions somehow made physical. Such delusions are useful – indeed, critically necessary to our survival. We couldn’t function in the world as it is without them. They grow out of our territoriality, existing for the same evolutionary reasons that the latter does: to tailor Life appropriately to the various microenvironments in which it finds itself at various points in space-time. But delusions they are, nonetheless. Each of us draws on the same Mind, the same Will, for all that he or she thinks, feels, and decides to do; that Mind and that Will contain all the ideas, thoughts, perceptions, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and determination that ever was, which any of us can utilize at any time. Access to these are blocked only by convention, custom, tradition, law, and the territoriality of each of us. As in chess, it is only possible to perceive our true nature by looking at the effects our actions can have on everything around us. In chess it is the zones of power associated with a chess-piece, rather than that piece’s individual moves, that determine its true value in the game. The chess-master is such because he plans his strategies on the basis of that understanding. Just so, the masters of Zen, Magick, or ninpo are such because they are applied ecologists who apply their ecological wisdom even to themselves and their situations when attempting to bring about change in conformity with Will, to work with the Life they are part of and align their goals with its goals, rather than in contradiction to the latter. If we rule, it is only because we are part of what we rule, our own subjects amidst an infinity of other subjects, nothing in and of ourselves at all. Just as waves on the sea differ in form but are all expressions of the same order, what the psychologist Carl Jung called individuation applies to the forms of our bodies and egos, but nothing else. The wizard, the Magus, the saint, and the Zen and ninpo adepts know this well. The sorcerer or black Magickian, the robber baron, the paranoid schizophrenic, the malignant narcissist, and other sociopathic types use that fact even as they lie to themselves that it is not so, preferring the illusion that they themselves are the sole authors and owners of all that vast, universal Mind contains, sole heirs to its very real, raw power. The most fundamental and primordial aspect of our nature, a fact we try as hard as we can to forget most of them time, is biological. First and foremost we are alive, and thus heir to the biological nature of all Life. Magick, the Art and Science of causing change in conformity with Will, is simply Life’s indefatigable Will in action, its constant effort to create a viable future for itself. In the late 19 th and throughout the 20th century our modern Western wizards, the children of H. P. Lovecraft, whose midwives and nursemaids included geniuses such as the Thelemic saint Jack Parsons, were the great science-fiction authors: Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Alan Dean Foster, Steve Yeats, F. M. Busby, and all their colleagues. We, their heirs, are only here now because they were willing to serve Life as the tools of its Will. In the same way that tsunamis mark the occurrence of submarine earth-slips, and for the same reason that acupuncture works, Magick leaves signatures marking its action and testifying to the nature and intent behind that action. The Magickian is organically integrated with and an inalienable part of the multiverse, which is itself an organic entity; and the application of his Will to the cosmos of which he is part

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ultimately affects the entire universe, just as application of an acupuncture needle to a critical point on a meridian on the patient’s body ultimately affects the whole organism that is the patient, for better or worse. It’s all one great holon, every apart of it ultimately inalienable from the whole – so much so that if one persists too long in trying to act as if the case were otherwise, he will inevitably precipitate catastrophe upon himself. To be sure, we need the illusions and delusions of control and separation to survive and carry out our various True Wills, our mitzvahs and dharmas, in our given lifetimes. But illusions and delusions they nevertheless are. As Leroy Eisenstein said to me once, as solid and distinct and purely painful as mundane reality may seem to be, at bottom it is only a product of the individual being’s need to deal with a finite, transient world in the midst of infinity and eternity. And even the Eris War – perhaps especially that War – served the needs of infinite Life. Here is its story.

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