The psalmist writes in Psalm 24, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it;” We are all part of God’s creation and the Good News is that God is actively working to redeem and reconcile all of creation. As a follower of God, I must take an active role in my stewardship of God’s creation and in advocating for the redemption and protection of this new Earth that God has blessed us to be a part of.
Planet has spoken to me. In this Promised Land God has given us, there is a special thing; the Planetmind is touched of His essence – a Holy thing, worthy of our reverence.
In First Peter 4:10 We are told: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” We have done as our Lord has commanded, and He has smiled upon us, gifting our efforts at good stewardship with prosperity. But with this prosperity comes a further duty.
I have studied and prayed upon this since we came together as the Believers of Planet. Our creed is a simple one; we must care for Planet, Mankind’s new home that God has given us a birthright. To do any less, as Man did to Earth, defies God’s Holy Grace and would be punished, as God did Man on Earth – with death. But to be good stewards without faith denies God just as surely!
We are surrounded by the faithless, the blasphemous and the poor stewards. This is an AFFRONT to our Heavenly Father! We, God’s chosen, have a duty to set things right in this Promised Land – God’s new incarnate being; we alone have the true faith and the backing of God. He has anointed us – God has made the humble strong!
Were Deuteronomy 7:1-2 written today, it might read: “When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the world whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many factions before thee, the Gaians, and the Hive, and the Spartans, and the Peacekeepers, and the Consciousness, and the Drones, and the Data Angels, and the Pirates, eight nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them”.
Our crusade against the unrighteous shall not falter; for our faith will sustain us. God commands us that we issue forth and cut off the generations of the wicked. NOW is the time! NOW shall we don the Armor of Righteousness and blot that which is evil in his sight from this Holy world!
[2132: Peace Conference]
The xenchibi blooms were beautiful.
His staff had done an excellent job, Cha thought. When they’d urged him to have a private dinner with Sister Miriam, he’d insisted on a relaxed setting; he rarely had to deal with people on a one-on-one basis, and he wanted to be as comfortable as possible. The burgundy colors of the wall hangings were muted against the background of old wood. The lighting was low. Mellow music was playing quietly in the background.
The master touch was the extraordinarily robust xenchibi centerpiece crowning the feast laid out on the table. Xenchibi blooms were in common enough use as a decoration among the People of Planet for intimate, social settings – not least for the tranquil, sense-of-closeness effects their spores fostered. Cha had noticed the soothing scent of the impressive bouquet as he entered the room and immediately felt more ready to face the woman already seated at the table.
“Mister Dawn,” she said, “A pleasure to meet you.”
“Sister,” he nodded as he sat.
Miriam must have had a fresh rejuvenation in preparation for the conference. She had to be over 70 years Cha’s senior, but didn’t look much older than his 31. He noted that her eyes seemed larger, her face thinner and her hair less… haystack-like than usual. Apparently the Believers were very serious about making this pact if Miriam condescended to comb her hair for the meeting, he thought. Her demeanor was different, too; softer and less stern than the often-disapproving face seen on comm screens.
She took a deep breath, “You set a lovely table, Prophet. What is that flower? It smells wonderful,” she said.
Cha blinked. “My people know their work. The xenochibi is a form of native life; Holy Planet knows no end of bounty.”
Miriam raised a bemused eyebrow at the blasphemy. “Well, to business, then. We face a mutual foe; if I could send a battalion along your northern border-“
“No,” he said flatly.
Miriam’s eyes widened slightly, surprised. She wasn’t used to being contradicted so openly. “No?”
Cha waved a hand dismissively. “Details are for our staffs to take care of. We are here to eat and get to know each other… or so mine tells me.”
Miriam burst into laughter, “That’s blunt!”
“I have led my people since I was a child; I am their Prophet. There has rarely been a place for subtlety in my life,” he said.
She paused, considering him. “No childhood. You never had a normal life, did you?”
Cha began to grow uncertain again. He never felt like he knew what to say to people outside the bounds of his duties. “I had the Way. Planet sustains me.” He wondered why he hadn’t noticed what a mesmerizing color her hair was before.
“In person, you’re… nothing like the fiery boy in the vids of your speeches, you know that? A man now; so calmly assured,” she smiled dreamily, still fixing him with her penetrating gaze.
He didn’t feel assured; he felt like the xenchibi spores were going to his head. “You’re different, too. Much prettier than over the comm” –His voice trailed off, embarrassed. Why had no one considered the aphrodisiac effects of the bloom-spores from a prodigious centerpiece like this concentrated in a small room?
Her smile lit up like the sun. “No one’s called me pretty since before you were…” She giggled, “No childhood; you’ve never danced with a girl, have you?” She rose from her seat and approached him with her hand extended.
Cha let her pull him to his feet. “Sister, the blooms; they-“
“Smell wonderful,” she smiled into his eyes from inches away as she put her arms around him. “Come. I have a sinful urge to dance with my handsome young man.”
Cha didn’t know what to say; he was too distracted by the feel of her body pressed against his.
Cha sequestered himself in his private garden, deep in meditation, for days, speaking to no one. None of his top lieutenants ever dared ask him what had happened when the Believer delegation abruptly departed without a treaty the next morning.
Three quarters of a year had passed when a Believer courier arrived with an astounding post for Cha. A baby girl with red hair and his own pink eyes. “She has the mark of Planet from me,” he thought. He didn’t know how to feel.
The letter from Miriam was terse. “Her name is Jezebel, because she was conceived in fornication and sin. I want no part of her. God will bring justice on you and your demon flower in due time.”
“Fatima,” he turned to his aide, “See to the child; I’ll be in my garden meditating.”
The xenchibi blooms there were beautiful.
It was an actual, physical, paper book – and it was massive. White, leather-bound, faint traces of gold leaf remaining in places among the floral pattern embossed around the border of the cover; it was obviously an antique.
“HOLY BIBLE” the title read.
Jezebel kept running her fingers over it. This… was a treasure! What an astounding sixteenth birthday present to receive from a stranger. Long ago, Sister Miriam of the Believers had sent Jezebel a datapad of the Bible for her 10th birthday; to her puzzlement, Father had insisted that she write Miriam a thank-you note.
“We haven’t had good relations with the Believers since about the time you were born,” he’d said, distantly. “You could end up Prophet after me; try to learn the diplomacy part of leading the People of Planet better than I did.” He’d patted her red hair, looking strangely sad -then left without another word, as usual.
A serious, strong-willed, quietly intense child, Jezebel had been puzzled enough by the whole thing to have taken interest in the book. It was very difficult to follow in places; she’d had to look up many of the strange words on the datalinks and some of the ideas embedded were just too new and exotic to comprehend. But the stories were rather interesting. God creating the Earth, the Garden of Eden, the rise of the Children of Israel from humble beginnings, the conquest of the Promised Land, love, death, betrayal—
She was startled when she saw her own name in 1st Kings; “And it came to pass, when Jez'-e-bel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jez'-e-bel said to Ahab Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jez'-reel-ite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead.”
…That Jezebel had been an awful woman, the daughter of a king, who’d had Naboth killed to secure a garden her husband coveted. In the end, she’d been thrown out a window and been eaten by animals. It was strange to have such a person as a namesake.
After the first third of the book, the stories weren’t as good, though. And the New Testament, in the last third, was a major shift in tone. The story of Jesus, living incarnation of God himself, was repeated and repeated – then, after Acts … she couldn’t make heads or tails of the letters of Paul.
She’d found a busy node on the datalinks where thousands of Believers wrote to each other about everything under the suns and began asking questions as simply “Jezebel”. It had been odd talking to these foreign people who thought so strangely, but they were mostly friendly and helpful; understanding of them and their book had come in time. It made her see the society and the People of Planet around her differently. There were different ways of thinking than the ones she’d grown up among – ways with some merit. The book and her new friends seemed to have a portion of the truth her own people had missed.
Likewise, when after years there, she asked the other habitués of the node about their opinions of the biosphere and Man’s place in it, none seemed to have ever considered it. Many, in fact, found a good deal of what they didn’t know were the ideas of the People of Planet couched in their own terminology of the Bible, quite palatable; it spoke so frequently of gardens and seeds and tending. They wanted to “Be good stewards of what God has given us,” as Jezebel put it so often.
She had her father’s passion; but too, a dept of thought unlike him that helped her persuade others in a more subtle way. Ultimately, she’d found herself a very influential member of the community. People came to her with spiritual questions now – not just about ecology.
Jezebel found it amusing that she had so much in common with the Jezebels of the Bible; like the queen in 1st Kings, she concerned herself the disposition of the garden; like the Jezebel of Revelations (“thou sufferest that woman Jez'-e-bel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols”,) she taught.
Her datalinks friends agreed. “You might redeem the name yet if you can avoid the murder and fornication!” one node-wag quipped. Jezebel thought it had a ring of truth; she privately determined that, should she ever become Prophet, the third Jezebel was going to finally get it right.
After an ideological argument with a teacher when she was 11, she’d been careful over the last five years of who she talked to about these foreign ideas among the People - but her peers had sided with her then and always. The daughter of the Prophet had more trouble finding a moment’s peace away from home than making friends; indeed, mostly sycophants who hung on her every pronouncement.
…And now this astounding, precious, gift from the leader of the Believers. It had several pages inside the front cover filled with hand-written records of births, marriages and deaths. A few discreet questions posted on BeliefNode had determined that this was something called a family Bible. She’d wondered if Believer security had traced her - until she noticed how many Godwinsons were listed in the family records. Sister Miriam had given her, not only a priceless antique analog book from Earth, but a personal heirloom, as well!
This mystery was going to require some serious thought – and the thank-you note had better be worthy of such a magnificent gift…
[2153: Planet Dreams]
In the darkness, something goes >pop<, and you are lying on your back on a hillside among the soft orange and purple tendrils of a vast fungal forest. The sound of running water gurgles loudly in the vicinity of your right ear, but you cannot identify the source. Panic rises briefly in your throat as you realize you have no filter mask or oxygen tank, dressed only in your worksuit, but breath comes easily and you detect no signs of nitrogen narcosis. From somewhere, a voice seems to whisper "earthJezebel," but perhaps it is only the breeze.
Time passes, and you notice that the fungus is growing perceptibly, the spores gently nudging you as they slowly stretch and twist. Fungal bloom! Panic returns full force and you struggle to free yourself from the encroaching tendrils. "earthJezebel!" The voice again, more insistent. The last tendrils break and you are free and dashing across an endless field of purple and orange. "earthJezebel! beware!" from close behind you and then ... >discontinuity<
In the darkness, something goes >pop<, and you are lying on your back in the neural rehab tank, the gauzy restraints slowly retracting. The remaining fluid in the tank gurgles away through the tube behind your head and you slowly sit up. A day’s treatment a week in the months since the incident. A small price to pay for healing from the mindworm attack you barely survived – carelessly wandering outside, deep in prayer about what to do with your life; what mission God has for you. A half-remembered dream tugs at you as you pull on a clean worksuit, but you cannot recapture it.
Ever since the incident in the neural rehab tank, you have experienced recurring dreams and nightmares centered around the fungal blooms which encroach ever more rapidly on the outskirts of major human settlements – even those of the people, to your puzzlement; why would the creator afflict the faithful along with the lost? You even postponed this week’s neural treatment in an effort to avoid the trance state, but the dreams have now crept into your normal REM sleep as well.
In your most recent dream, just before the major bloom near Centauri Nexus, the presence you have come to call "the Presence" returned once again.
"earthJezebel." From some invisible spot just behind you.
"Peace be with you, Presence. Who are you?"
"who. difficult concept for we, earthJezebel. we are that we are - mind and flower: many dreamings. never before another. you may call we 'presence.' growth dream comes! beware."
"Beware? Our time comes when God wills it. What do you want, Presence?"
"want. more confused earthJezebel thinking. very like earthCha and earthMiriam crosspollinated. a seedling always praying. ache of slumber broken. earthJezebel is animal we. stranger we. animal: energy! mines! roads! sensors! condensers!! boreholes!! breakers of flower dream. end of joy. growth dream now comes: end of animal."
"The People abhor pollution, Presence. Why are you telling me this and not the infidels?"
"why! dream word! dream song! why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why . . ."
"God save me from this tribulation!" >discontinuity<
>Pop!< Sudden darkness. This time you weren't even asleep.
"Presence! I am in conference with my followers!"
You realize a feeling that's been in the back of your mind, unarticulated is no longer possible to deny; this cannot be a hoax. You’ve always felt a real, but ineffable connection to Planet, as your father before you has; this is like it, magnified many times – as if the mindworm attack flung a door in your mind wide open. This is the voice of Holy Planet!
"more skilled we, yes, at this? prayerthought teach we much, earthJezebel. sermon never mind. talking we Jezebel voice now. holy homily giving. haha. joke we! haha."
Ah; as God wills it. His latest living incarnation had come to you a babe, innocent. "Presence, you come to me at last. How may I serve You?"
"question we. your human nodes, together think as pray me yes? together think no? flower synapse, worm synapse detect we not. is there dependence?"
"God made us separate; none but He knows our minds. We can communicate by talking and writing, but we do not 'togetherthink' as You call it."
"ah, most relieved we. necessary pruning we several large infestations human nodes, harming they flower mind. not wishing we deprive earthJezebel of together thinking. talk again, welcoming earthjezebel, we. many questions of jesusplanetgod."
"As God wills it, Holy Planet. Not my will, but Thine own.”
>Pop!< Awkward silence around the conference table.
You quickly wipe the drool from your chin and jump to your feet, pounding your hand on the table. “HOLY PLANET HAS JUST SPOKEN TO ME!” you roar, “There is to be a pruning of the wicked!
“We have been warned for a reason; the time for plotting our place in our old homes in the face of resistance is done. The time for us to come together, all the People of Planet and Lord’s Believers who have harkened unto my vision, and separate ourselves from those of limited perception who will not listen to our revelation is AT HAND!
“It is time for those who see The Path to make a home of their own, set apart and holy! Tell all the flock to gird their loins, take up the cross and come. GOD WILLS IT!”