The Near Now

The invasion took a number of years to prepare. The High Lords sent agents to infiltrate Earth, to scout and report on the forms and strength of resistance. Most cosms, but particularly the False Papacy, sent agents to help prepare the people of Earth to accept the new realities which were about to establish bridgeheads. A few weird events were reported, but only the tabloids carried the news. Then, as the cycle of events quickened, respectable news agencies carried the news. Reuters, the BBC, Gemini News Service, Asiaweek, Le Monde, IRNA, all began to carry stories as too much physical evidence was gathered to be ignored.

The Gaunt Man was the first to invade, dropping a maelstrom bridge in Indonesia. He brought with him a formidable army of horrors. Most of the army then splintered into small groups, more herded than led by the agents who had been previously sent to Indonesia. Sabotage and reality storms did their work; for a short period of time Indonesia was completely cut off from the rest of the world. The incidents of terror increased a hundredfold.

The second invasion came from the Living Land. Baruk Kaah dropped three bridges down onto North America, one in Canada and two in the United States. Whole tribes of edeinos swarmed down the bridges. Extremely violent reality storms wracked North America as two hugely disparate realities struggled against one another. Canadian and United States military forces were devastatingly effective outside of the stelae bounds, but virtually useless within the reality of the Living Land. Official doctrine is not changing as fast as the battlefield conditions, and a few field-brewed solutions are being attempted. Security forces currently have their hands full trying to maintain order in the areas they still hold, as there are millions of refugees streaming away from the Living Land.

The fantasy cosm of Aysle invaded next with several bridges, but the High Lord Uthorion declined to personally partake in the invasion, holding back until the situation became a little more stable for his tastes. Transformation of the Scottish countryside, and many of its people, posed the most immediate danger to the United Kingdom. As the realm of Aysle spread, the deterioration of technology became a far greater problem than the occasional pixie or ghost. London remained a hardpoint for the British, and Ireland and parts of Wales seemed to be less affected. Norway fell completely to the invaders. Resistance continues, but Viking raiders have taken over many of the smaller cities and cyclically loot the larger ones. Sweden fell as the Stockholm bridge converted a large number of Swedes and allowed the Viking fleets access to the Norwegian Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia. As the Vikings roamed, the areas fell to the fantasy axioms. But the town of Mora, Sweden remained a Core Earth hardpoint. Storm Knights were drawn there, and there a plan for liberation formed. Small adventures were soon followed by heroic deeds. As tales of the heroes spread, the people in the Stockholm triangle began to reconnect to the Core Earth axioms. The possibility storms raged for hours, but in the end a mixed area supporting both magic and technology emerged. When the Viking fleets returned they were swiftly eliminated by Swedish airpower.

The False Papacy arrived next, reverting France to its medieval mindset and theocratic dominion.

The horror-tech realm belonging to another former lieutenant of the Gaunt Man invaded next. When the bridge dropped into the Soviet Union, that country’s psychics had already located one of the stelae and Soviet forces had disposed of it. When the maelstrom bridge appeared, Core Earth quickly built a tremendous surge of possibility energy, culminating in a storm severe enough to completely eliminate the competing horror reality and remove the bridge.

The next few days produced the greatest amount of tension of the early invasion. Only four cosms had successfully invaded. The possibility storms were growing more severe, threatening all four, so the High Lords could afford to pay less attention to increasing the progress of the invasion, and had to focus on retaining what they had gained so far. For a brief time it looked as though Core Earth was about to free herself from the invaders.

Then the Nile Empire arrived.

Dr. Mobius quickly established himself as Pharaoh of a new Egyptian empire. With him came an army equipped with reality bombs, weird science constructs which allowed them to temporarily overrun a battlefield with their own reality, denying Core Earth troops the use of most of their best weapons. The Pharaoh’s armies made two lightning strikes. The first against Israel, the second (and far longer) strike south through Sudan into Ethiopia and beyond. Dr. Mobius was extravagant in his expansion, covering vast tracts of desert with precious stelae. This act alone was enough to convince most of the High Lords that Mobius, if perhaps brilliant, was completely insane.

Dr. Mobius and his Nile Empire represented the fifth cosm, distributing Earth’s retaliatory energy five ways..


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