Excellent. Excellent. Boot sequence is go. System is yellow.
Oh, bother. That door is not going to last. No… nope, nope. Thought Golden Age Earth made things to last. Estimate… what, twelve minutes?
Seven minutes. Well, we've done more with less, right, Hernandez?
Please, I really need you to sit up now. Nod? Josep, I need you to not die, not after Leung and Chabra and Hadayati. Cloud Striders are supposed to die, not everyone else. Not part of the arrangement.
Yes… okay. We will get back to this.
Ah, Malahayati! I'm afraid your timing is awful. What to do now, what to do?
//AMBIENT: THUMPING, YELLING
I just need quiet, please.
Malahayati, access Information Strategic Operations, Global Scale. Permission IC-33922605-beta-beta-episilon. Standby for new operational parameters.
A little absurd, isn't it, Hernandez? These Earth survivors will kill each other over access to clean water, and we're going to teach them Chaucer? They'll debate Du Fu while dying of sepsis, I suppose?
//AMBIENT: THUMPING, YELLING, GUNFIRE
Whatever they can absorb in… five minutes, at least. Before Carnunta's inheritors break down that door. Shouldn't have shot him, I suppose.
Ooooooh, no no no. Nope. It is just dawning now that perhaps we don't want our vindictive little crowd of sycophants pushing all the red buttons in this bunker after avenging their fallen Lightwielder, hm? No, Hernandez, I don't think we do.
I SAID I NEED QUIET!
Quiet? Yes. Malahayati, access warsat network. What's overhead? Gamma projector. Quick. Clean. Neurons will be dead before they register any pain. Merciful. A good deal more merciful than this warband has been with their neighbors.
Not just one army, though, eh, Hernandez? No, no. So many people saw us come down here. Entire camp. Three… maybe four hundred. People talk. Warlords listen. Wide dispersal could clean them out. Painless.
//AMBIENT: THUMPING, GUNFIRE
No. No. You're right, Hernandez. Inappropriate. We didn't come to be judge and executioner, did we? No, we came to teach.
No, not teach. We came to preach. Bring the gospel of civilization, as only we knew it.
So then… how to keep the child from playing with the gun? Can't move the gun. Can't break the child's hand. So… destroy the gun?
Malahayati. Sunset Protocol: Initiate full system burn—
Malahayati. Access global archive. Access Rasputin root IC-3392260695. Find-replace. Neptune equals null. Exodus Indigo equals null.
Engage Sunset Protocol.
//AMBIENT: EXPLOSION, UNIDENTIFIED SHOUTING
Hm. Well, Hernandez, now we find our own way home.
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