The End

The small automated probe landed on the asteroid designated as H-12. To the miners who operated the probe, this asteroid was just like the countless others that they ground apart, breaking down into component elements to build colonies and space stations for Earth. The probe took samples, did analysis, and relayed this information back to the miners in the service module.

What these miners did not know, could not know, was what was at the center of that large rock. At the time of creation, the universe spawned many horrific forces, only a few of which ever touched humanity. Dark stories, told in dark times, in an effort to confront the fear humanity naturally has of these forces.  The probe couldn’t even begin to sense the trace element in the asteroid. No scientific instrument had ever been developed to detect evil. The probe burrowed a hole deep into the orbiting rock. It pulled out the solid column of asteroid which had floated in the black of space since the beginning. And in cutting the substance of creation, the probe unleashed the captured force, freeing it from its prison.

When the probe stopped working the miners ran their backup programs, tried to reinitialize the operating systems, and finally, realizing that for some inexplicable reason, the probe not only shut down, but was completely destroyed. Another probe was launched, the analysis continued and the asteroid was ground away like countless others before it. Its role as prison

In this way, all evil is brought into this world, through the simple actions of average people, unleashing hellish forces.  As the shadow of evil left the asteroid, it sped quickly, with purpose. The infinite time trapped in solid stone did not temper its drive, its urges. Across the system, passed moons and planets, the stygian evil navigated, straight to Earth.

The first to feel the effects of the evil were the inhabitants of the lunar colony. Fifteen hundred scientists, astronomers, looking through their telescopes, monitoring the edges of the galaxy, testing hypothesis of black holes and dark matter. Not once suspecting the shadow of evil which came upon them with direct and malevolent purpose. Telescopes designed to see the intricacies of pulsars and nebulae, designed to allow humanity to peer across space and time, cannot see the essence of evil, even when it was less then a half mile away.

The scientific colony’s fusion generator failed. The loss of electricity was immediately felt. The solar turbines, the back up power system, failed to kick in. The community wasn’t in immediate danger. Space has always been known as a very dangerous place, and precautions were always taken. The mild panic that these very logical thorough people felt wasn’t fear of death or anything from the dark part of the soul. It was fear that their experiments would fail, fear of lost time, fear of inconvenience. A modern society, so far separated from primordial sins, couldn’t conceive of something like the shadow.

Even as the first people choked on the evil, the doctors searched for rational answers. The bodies ripped open, examined, pieced back together, in hopes of finding some reasonable answer.  When no answer came forth through intense scientific research, the scientists started feeling that sensation. The feeling of true fear. The unknown wasn’t something to be examined, explored, and conquered, it was something to be feared, something to hide from, something that was better left alone. These people of reason were just beginning to realize that. Some prepared shuttles to flee, but it was far too late. The air became poison. Death came very slowly to the rest of the colony. No oxygen, no water. People of reason destroying each other over the small remaining resources.

The satellites and communication arrays that tied the lunar colony to Earth fell silent when the power on the colony failed. Earth was quick to react. Observation platforms were focused on the domes of the lunar community. The sight of the dead was appalling. Again, reason took hold and hypotheses were generated to explain that which cannot be explained. Earth sent out ships to explore. Once again, the modern society tried to investigate the unknown, instead of fleeing from it.

The first teams to land on the lunar colony were well armed, expecting to face a practical obstacle. Luckily for them, the shadow had passed, moving on to its other target. As the bodies of the scientists were lined up and the power systems were reactivated, the shadow settled onto Earth, to work its horrific thaumaturgy. Across the globe, evil worked its way. People turned on each other.

New atrocities rose from the megapolises. Murder, rape, fraud are not as evil when compared to cannibalism, evisceration, mass murder, and complete destruction of entire societies. The best minds tried to uncover the cause of the problem. Earth governments came together and developed rehabilitative programs, centers of detainment, procedures to handle the newly insane, and new police forces to tackle the new terrors.

Meanwhile, in a dark forest of Northern Europe, where the gods are hideous and cruel, where the desert religions didn’t penetrate and corrupt the reverence of these pagan forces, a cabal of sorcerers gathered. In their normal lives, they programmed the computers that guided the transportation systems, designed the starships which carried the colonists far from Earth, or monitored the financial markets turning small investments into mighty fortunes. But in this house, buried in the forest, these commoners became powerful sorcerers.

In the circles and geometric patterns carefully laid out on the stone floor, etched by lasers. The carved stone provided powerful protection against the unknown. One of the magicians pulled out a small computer and inserted the small shiny disk. Soon, the display lit up with a menu of options. The magician selected the line which read ‘protection’. New items popped up on the screen. The magician then selected again. In seconds a detailed recipe, a spell, appeared on the screen. Carefully and silently, the sorcerers followed the directions from the computer. After all has been prepared, the cabal of sorcerers gathered in assigned places. The computer was brought into the center of the circle and several options were selected from the program. The small speaker squelched out careful pronunciation of ancient words.

The desert religions worship interactive gods, the Northern religions simply try to go unnoticed by the gods. The gods of the North are dangerous, even if they don’t intend harm. In rituals, sorcerers were taking on a terrible risk, calling upon gods who may not look kindly upon being disturbed from their personal tasks. But these people of reason, these common folk, knew that the shadow of evil had fallen over the land. The religions of the modern society had been coopted by technology. Only the believers in more ancient gods, those forces that had been passed over, had the power and knowledge to handle the evil.

For nine hours a day and nine days, these mystics stood vigil, repeating their ritual over and over. The cities were falling apart. The madness caused by the indescribable horror was more than a practical society could handle. Society was built by conquering frontiers, building, and trying to understand everything. People spend their lives searching for the Truth, trying to explain the whole of the universe in laws and postulates. Disease isn’t caused by demon possession, it is caused by microorganisms. Slowly, society was able to banish superstition to the darkest reaches of space, and now they were cleaning out those corners also. When society came face to face with something that could not be examined, classified, and dissected all the rules fell apart. When the rules no longer applied to the world, then the laws created by society no longer applied to the people.

Through the vigil, the sorcerers grew weak. On the ninth day, at the ninth hour, the ritual was completed. The computer uttered the last syllable. The incense burned out, and the sun dipped over the horizon. One of the magicians collapsed from the strain of the visions in his mind. Now they all rested, clearing their minds of the last nine days, not speaking of what they have done out of fear of corrupting it. They knew that if they were successful, no one would know it was they who saved humanity from the shadow of evil. And if they failed, then a new age of darkness would descend on humanity and not even the gods of the desert religions will be able to save them. It would be the apocalypse, gehenna, ragnarok. The end of time.