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Can We Kill Him Now?
It had been a short few days filled with planning and Martin still hated that they hadn't tested this so-called weapon. It irked him to no end but he never mentioned it again. This was on the Regus' head if it went south - all on him.

Martin was sitting at his desk when a notice flickered across his screen. Unusual activity. It wasn't something he had expected until he opened it up and saw the who on the files accessed. Dorian! What the fuck was he doing accessing the god files?

But Martin didn't get a chance to call him. He had picked up his phone. He was dialing Dorian's number by memory but there was a commotion outside his office. He rolled his eyes and stood up and stepped outside into the hall and followed the few stragglers still rushing towards the common areas of the building. A large TV was on displaying a news cast.

In the middle was a melting building... the captions said something to the affect that Ascendancy was melting a building. Every Atharim in the building was staring at the display of power. Martin turned on his heal and headed towards the Regus' office. He didn't bother knocking. He blurted out. "Are you watching this?"
Martin left, pulling disappointment like a cloak around his shoulders. Armande shook his head sadly at his departure. His blue eyes gazed through the carved patters on the door after it closed. He gave up so easily. Armande had not been insensitive to his concerns and fears. Hadn't he said he could have a little time? It was not impossible that they should find a god they could test the tablet on in that time. Time to hunt and capture. There were gods out there with families, siblings, who had not yet been killed. It could be done, looking into records for the indicators, hints of the sickness, as they had always done.

For a moment, his eyes tried to focus on the carvings in an odd way. He could almost imagine the swirls and grain taking form, a shape a deeper dark against dark wood, barely visible if not for his staring. An oddly nebulous cloud and yet...there was a cast to it, malicious seeming, as it appeared to hide among the patterns of grain.

And he realized he wanted to see it in action, an Ijiraq, the assassin of the gods. He wanted to see it hunt and kill a god. Apollyon was the ultimate target. The best one. But Barovsky was partly right. To see it work would be a joy. Martin would be busy, though, as would he himself. They had to prepare for the battle. He needed someone else.

He messaged the new High Inquisitor, Mordekai Botha. The man was small and thin, voice soft. He was unassuming and did not demand attention when he was in the room. Which made him all the more effective, as he was overlooked and ignored. People did not consider him a threat. A High Inquisitor absolutely nothing like Barovsky, and yet equally as effective at ferreting out the truth. Equally as deadly. This was important, important enough that he would give him the task despite his other duties. Find me a god as quickly as possible.

And in the meantime, he and Barovsky had work to do. The Ijiraq was to be only one of many tools they would be using. At the very least, it would be a distraction to Apollyon. Their new weapons would be the arsenal he’d never see coming.

The next few days flew by, between their practicing with the weapons and planning their strategy. So much of it depended on the girl and she was maddeningly vague on some of the details. Thankfully, their weapons did not require a line of sight. The Active Denial System was an EM based weapon that heated water in the subject’s body much as a microwave oven did. The Ratheon ADS Pacifier was used, in its milder form, for crowd control- incapacitating pain with little damage. The models he had gotten- the ones Theis had worked on- were amped up to do far worse. Their range had been extended and the energy levels increased so that rupturing of internal organs can and did occur, at prolonged exposure.

They had tested it through various barriers- the need for surprise was critical- and while the effects were diminished greatly, they still caused pain and disorientation, particularly in the liquid rich eyeballs and brain. Vision was blurred, distorted, leading to nausea, loss of balance, inhibition of thought, and in some cases, the rupturing of the eyeball despite a barrier 2 meters thick. The focus was the key, there. The wider the spectrum, the weaker the energy at any specific place and thus weaker- though still there- the effect. But as a first contact weapon, it was ideal. It traveled at the speed of light and was invisible so evasion was impossible. It did not give away ones position because there was no cone to follow. They were almost impossible to defend against. Their other weapons used similar technologies with varying effects, from roasting skin to rupturing of ear drums. All of them would have their use.

So it was that he was sitting in his office going over weapons specs when his wallet chimed. Another alert had gone off. He checked it and the corners of his mouth drew down. He was aware of his pulse, the pounding of his heart. He switched on the display in his office. It was on every channel. The gathering in Red Square- how he’d hoped it would turn into a riot. He had some of his people there trying to foment one. The outpouring of support for the Atharim had surprised him. He had already started work on their PR campaign with Carlo Esposito, to harness this support and cement rebellion.

And he watched, watched through hooded eyes, as Apollyon revealed himself, uncovered himself to the world. The analytical part of his mind tried to hold control. Uncovered. Such a fitting word. In Greek, apocalypsis. The book called Apocalypse, or Revelation. One of many eschatological prophecies around the world. But in this case, it felt fitting.

But the greater part of him bristled with horror at what he was watching. Rage threatened to film his eyes red with blood. This was it! This was everything that the Atharim stood against, naked and revealed in all its malevolent glory. And it is here now. And he found that the disgust and naked revulsion he’d felt before for Apollyon was as a grain of sand next to a mountain. The same rage that had taken over him when Lissandra was stolen from him, that same rage coursed through him now. But now, it was not overladen with sorrow and loss. No, it was the pure and righteous fury of the Atharim, of mankind’s last hope. The refusal to ever be in chains again. Never again. Not while he drew breath.

He stood, adjusting the black robes of his cassock, righteous death made flesh, blue fire blazing in his eyes. He felt alive, the rage coursing through his veins. It was time. He would not wait to see the end of the spectacle. Apollyon proclaimed himself a god? Then he would do what gods do. He would die.

Suddenly the door burst open and Barovsky was there. Armande understood the interruption, but still spoke harshly, his voice a whip. ”Of course I am watching this! But we will watch no longer. Get the girl. I will meet you in the armory. We are going tonight.” He reached for the tablet on his desk. The demonstration was….memorable, distaste at the word on his tongue. He hoped that meant the man himself was weaker. Because the Atharim were coming for him.

It begins now.

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