“Please, no,” I plead. “You cannot forge ahead on this path.”

“Too late,” one of the scientists in the room says. “The Department of Defense has already earmarked the budget and the Bureau of System Affairs has already approved the project. We’re going to produce several Sorting Scepter prototypes, and we need your help to train up our test subjects. You know how to use the thing, right?”

“I have used one only one before.” Or, rather, twice, but the first time has been wiped from my memory.

“Yeah, so, you can help us.” The scientist who says this now folds his arms and nods sagely. “Of course, we couldn’t have gotten this far without you already. Your notes have been tremendously helpful, as have all the experiments we’ve run on you.”

I scowl. “I provided you nothing of the sort. To speak of the creation process of the Sorting Scepter, to even dream of reverse-engineering the powers of the Destiny Deck System, would be a crime against The Goddess herself!”

“There’s only one God, and He’s certainly not the TV-headed woman you describe,” a scientist says.

“Please, do not disrupt Destiny itself,” I say. “I cannot help you, for it will bring only ruin upon yourselves and everyone around you. Destiny has a way of coming back to haunt those who attempt to ruin it.”

The scientist shrugs. “You’re going to help us whether you like it or not, so it doesn’t really matter. Agent Miles told us he has great ways of making you talk.”

“N-no... You mustn’t...”

“Help us,” a different scientist says, “or you’ll be playing Fortnite every day for a month.”

“No! I relent. I relent. But you must know you are going to fail.”

“Nah. We’re going to succeed. We think we’ve created at least a ninety percent accurate prototype already, and our experiments will help us get the other ten percent down. All thanks to our observations of your energy readings, and of course the outside R&D help from that book publishing company, Quinlan Circle. They approached us, not the other way around, believe it or not. Doing Uncle Sam’s work.”

I am permanently roped into all of this. I have no choice, and it is going to harm a great many people when it happens.

But the scientists are absolutely ecstatic about their accomplishments. They truly think that shackling up people to shoddy, untested prototype versions of the Sorting Scepters will benefit the world, rather than doom it to whatever Anti-Destiny there surely is there to combat against such defilements.

The Goddess has almost certainly created safeguards against such horrors as this. I must trust that she has. But what those safeguards might entail is another matter. We will have to see what effects, if any, come of all this.

“So, when will the experiments start?” I ask.

“Today!” they shout in unison.


“The U.S. Amy has graciously volunteered us a few thousand infantry soldiers who are willing to accept the risks involved in order to help further the cause of the Destiny Deck System. Yay for the Army, am I right?”

“Yay for the Army, indeed...”

So they even have thousands of test subjects already lined up.

This enterprise is going to go very poorly, and unfortunately I will be right in the front seat to observe it all.

May The Goddess have mercy on our souls.


A note from B. A. Baker (Thedude3445)

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About the author

B. A. Baker (Thedude3445)

Bio: I like to watch movies.

Avatar art by Bryan Lee O'Malley.

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