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NAA: The house was too cramped to properly show hyz father what hy had come up with so Ithuriel led hym to the top of the little knoll which was still adorned with Dory's treehouse. Dory harself had gone on ahead to Franklin along with most of the Red Wing of the defunct Church.

NAB: Ithuriel could not hide hyz pleasure at the rare presence of hyz father, the seraph Michael, who was the absolute lord of Earth and arguably at least half of Heaven. And Ithuriel had no doubt that when hy demonstrated hyz breakthrough hyz father would be all smiles as well.

NAC: To the north they could see where the Squaw River forked to form an island, but it was just a trickle now. Ithuriel brought that to Michael's attention and said, "The town is dying a little bit every day, father. I've come up here many times and I've watched it shrivel."

NAD: "There is no wisdom in completely stopping the flow of water," Michael said, knowing that Ithuriel was well aware the source of the Squaw River was actually in Nyduly Wood more than four years away as the photon flies. "But as you have seen I am reducing it by degrees.

NAE: I keep it just below the level it needs to be to fully support the declining population of the town as it is from day to day. That serves to keep them moving out. Eventually DECON will own the whole town, but by then they'll need to bring all their water in by truck."

NAF: "One consequence I've noticed, father, intended or not, is that the White Wingers who thought it was a bargain buying up Red Wing homes at seventy cents on the dollar are now grateful to sell their own homes to the United States government for thirty cents on the dollar."

NAG: Michael allowed hymself a sly smile. "Over the centuries many have attributed to me the virtue of justice."

To the north and west they saw the island that formed the center of Greendome, anchored at one end by the courthouse and on the other end by the sheriff's station.

NAH: But half of the business were closed so hard they weren't even boarded up. They were simply abandoned by their former owners and left for Clyde Tolson of DECON to remake them in whatever image he had in mind. But Tolson himself had not been around for several months.

NAI: The War in Europe had entered its final year and J. Edgar Hoover had given Tolson's leash a tug, made him put whatever side project he had going on in Greendome on hold to hunt down actual domestic enemies, not phantoms, infiltrators who were Third Reich saboteurs and spies.

NAJ: To the east over the roof of his home Ithuriel could see the bulk of the town platted out south of the river. Dory's friends Robyn and Sofie used to live there but they had moved with her to Franklin. It was eerily quiet, with little traffic. Half of the homes lay vacant.

NAK: South and east was the little bump informally called Mt. Motorcycle. It was perhaps fifty feet taller than Treehouse Hill. The railroad from the east wrapped completely around it and merged with itself, the absolute end of the line. Passenger service had ended years ago.

NAL: Behind them the uppermost vale of the Squaw bent south, then turned west again to wrap nearly halfway around the small mountain called Green Dome that dominated the skyline. On its summit lay the charred ruins of the temple, more or less untouched since the Desecration.

NAM: Ithuriel took hyz copy of the Golden Gift into hyz hand and allowed the deadly hissing shaft of absolute darkness to come into existence and reach a meter in length. Hy said, "My lord and father need have no introduction to this artifact, which was made by hyz own hand."

NAN: "Indeed," said Michael, "and all the more so when its operation relies entirely on dark light provided by myself, which I can withdraw at will." And to punctuate hyz words, the weapon abruptly ceased to operate. Ithuriel put the relic away and withdrew a silver version.

NAO: "Ah, yes, father, but the one I have made works entirely on its own, without your willing participation from instant to instant." Hy brought the noisy dark shaft into existence and waved the new weapon around. But there was a subtle difference in the appearance of the shaft.

NAP: The angle of the shaft emerging from the Golden Gift always matched that of the muzzle. But however Ithuriel rocked hyz new weapon the dark shaft seemed to rebuild itself at the new position, and the process, though swift, was just slow enough that the eye could catch it.

NAQ: Ithuriel allowed the shaft to disappear, then handed the weapon to hyz father with the muzzle pointed away from both. Michael was stunned to silence, but hy tried the weapon for hymself, carving a deep trench in the ground as easily as it could be done with the Golden Gift.

NAR: Michael, too, allowed the shaft to disappear. When at last hy found hyz voice hy said, "Nothing in all of the lore of the Elohim, spanning more than nine hundred thousand years, suggests that dark energy can be synthesized artificially, outside of the body of a living sun."

NAS: "The effect you see with my imitation, father, is identical in most ways to what is produced by your device, yet it is not brought about by dark energy." Ithuriel, who was Michael's best student, was also a remarkably effective teacher. Hy undertook to instruct hyz father.

NAT: "By way of explanation, consider a magnet, which always has a north and south pole. Now if you break it in half, you will have two smaller magnets, and each one has its own north and south pole. Even the elementary particles that comprise them are just tiny magnets.

NAU: "So we see if a magnetic field line enters a magnet of any size whatsoever, it also must continue through and leave the magnet. The field lines are closed loops. But what if there existed fundamental particles that could be either a source or a sink of a magnetic field?"

NAV: "Ithuriel, you are speaking of a theoretical particle which is called a magnetic monopole, but again, with my access to all of the knowledge accumulated by Ein Sof, the City of Stars, I can tell you the Elohim have never once observed a particle such as you describe."

NAW: "And yet, father, years ago you told me the Elohim have developed models describing the primordial universe, and some of these models posit an era when the universe was richly flooded with magnetic monopoles. That was, in fact, when I first learned of the concept."

NAX: "I remember telling that to you, son," said Michael, "but I also remember telling you that the most elegant model, one with the most beautiful simplicity combined with the greatest explanatory power, remains merely conjecture if the most obvious details remain unobserved."

NAY: "Then, father, please allow me to mention an article in the May 1940 journal Physical Review announcing the synthesis of element 93. It has a half-life of only two million years, so any large amounts that were present at the formation of the Earth have long since decayed.

NAZ: It was not until a sample of element 93 was prepared by neutron irradiation that anyone on Earth actually observed it. So if magnetic monopoles are similarly unstable, it would come as no surprise the Elohim have not found one, if they never attempted to synthesize them."

NBA: Michael was beginning to enjoy this unexpected battle of wits with hyz beloved son. Hy said, "On the contrary, the Elohim have examined collisions from the ejecta of collapsed stars, which are quite a bit more powerful than anything mankind can assemble here, to no avail."

NBB: "I suspected as much, father, and I have abandoned searching for magnetic monopoles as exotic particles. But there are lanthanide crystals with interesting properties, made from molecules which have a tetrahedral geometry. They have four dipoles with two spin states each.

NBC: Under normal conditions, in a crystal, each unit has two dipoles with their magnetic moment directed in, towards the tetrahedron, and two dipoles directed out. This is the lowest energy state, and the crystal forms a kind of committee of the whole which enforces this.

NBD: But if you heat the crystal, thermal agitation can flip the dipoles to a random orientation. Increase the heat until the molecule sublimates off the surface of the crystal as a metal vapor, and the state of the dipoles are baked in. That's when things get interesting.

NBE: On the scale of the molecule itself, all is well. The magnetic field lines pass through the dipoles as loops, as they should. But scale things up a bit, and look at the molecule from the outside. You might have three magnetic moments pointing in, and one pointing out.

NBF: So you have a net sink of the magnetic field. Alternatively, you might have three magnetic moments facing out and one in, giving you a net source. As a result, the molecule can be treated, mathematically, exactly like a magnetic monopole. And it's part of an ionized gas.

NBG: So it's easy enough to make monopoles, the real trick is to keep them separated long enough to put them to work. Monopoles are unstable in the same sense that antimatter is unstable, because they're immersed in an environment that is hostile to their continued existence.

NBH: As hyz son continued to explain hyz device Michael was reduced to staring at Ithuriel in open-mouthed awe. Hyz thoughts raced ahead to glimpse how magnetic monopoles, the real ones, might have reduced the prevalence of normal matter to the present four percent of reality.

NBI: Ithuriel went on to say, "At some distance from the monopole the electric and magnetic fields operate under an extension of Maxwell's equations that include a parameter for magnetic charge. But the two kinds of fields are not compatible. It'd be like mixing oil and water.

NBJ: Since lines of magnetic and electric flux can never cross there develops something like a skin between the two different fields, and that's where a wonderful and unexpected thing happens. If quanta of light energy cross that surface, they become carriers of dark energy.

NBK: If matter crosses that surface all the mass remains, and it's still subject to the gravitational field, but it no longer interacts with the electromagnetic field, so it goes 'dark'. Electrons fly free of their attraction to protons. Perhaps they recombine with dark protons.

NBL: But from our frame of reference the matter is just gone. This is exactly what happens when we use your macro, father, I just get there by a slightly different route. So there you have it, the best I can do describing how it works without resorting to a mass of equations."

NBM: "But certainly the run time of your device must be very limited in comparison to that of the macro."

"That is true, father, and yet your macro has a severe run time limitation of its own. What if Keter or Daat knew of all the rat tunnels under this town and in yonder hill?

NBN: Would they not begin to wonder where you found so much dark energy, and thus unravel the first knot of your ancient operational deception?"

"You make a good point, son, but now your Silver Gift can explain the most extravagant use of the macro. I consider it a gift indeed.

NBO: But you have taught me something much more important than the secret of your Silver Gift. You may not yet see the full import of your deed, but I would proudly rank it among any of the works of the Elohim. Perhaps one day men will have a fold-door network of your own.

NBP: So I have learned that every teacher must be ready for the day when hy has nothing more to pass along, simply because hy has been surpassed by hyz own student. I tell you that day has now come, and I should be melancholy, yet I am exceedingly proud, for you are my own son.

NBQ: "I don't understand, father. Why should you feel sad when you have fulfilled your role as teacher?"

"Perhaps it has to do with being a living star by nature, and a world- dweller only by choice. When I saw your achievement, I also saw the beginning of sunset for the Elohim."

NBR: "Then with your leave, father, grant your student another lesson for hyz teacher. Ever you have seen the Elohim as the ones who teach, and humanity as the ones who are taught. Yet what is the goal of such a relationship if not that both should grow into a full partnership?

NBS: Have you never considered what the B'nei Elohim will do after we aid in your victory over Keter and Daat? Do you think their corruption is unique among the Elohim? Are there no other living stars who are held aloof from Ein Sof? We will find and ally with them as well."

NBT: Michael bowed hyz head in acceptance of Ithuriel's gentle rebuke, but at once a new stream of thought came into hyz mind. Hy said, "Are you fully assured that you can communicate with your daughter Doriel at once, at any time, no matter the physical distance between you?"

NBU: "Of course I am, father, but I also happen to know that Dory prefers to keep such communications to a bare minimum. I don't blame har." "Then are you also assured that no matter where you are, if you are in immediate danger I can summon a fold door and whisk you away?"

NBV: "There are the tales in the Green Book, but I was too young to remember my mother before sha died. I have only known this place and time. But Dory told me that you once 'whisked' har and Gabriel to the top of Green Dome in such a manner, and I have no reason to doubt har."

NBW: "Then I have one more question, Ithuriel. Do you think you can stand before seraphim, either Keter or Daat, and lie to their face?"

"Now that, father, might need to be put to the test, and failing it, I would certainly be glad of a lifeline to Dory. But why do you ask?"

NBX: "Your Silver Gift suggests an entirely new course of action to me, and I would have you and your family leave this place, but I wanted you to be entirely certain I would never put you nor Anael nor Remiel in any sort of danger with no promise of instantly retrieving you."

NBY: "What danger, father? Are we now to join Doriel and the others who have already moved to the west coast?"

"Oh no, I had a place in mind that is somewhat farther away than just the state of Washington. Something on the order of five hundred million miles away."

NCA: From antiquity Keter knew Chokhmah contemplated teaching humans to cross the awesome gulf between the stars and do what Chokhmah himself was bound never to do, make two-way contact with Ein Sof. To forestall this Keter forced upon Chokhmah a number of further accomodations.

NCB: These bargains compelled Chokhmah to turn the inner Solar System into a vast prison, and even to build what was essentially a guard tower at Jupiter. Keter selected a moon that remained undetected by humans until they sent their first Jupiter probes in the 20th Century.

NCC: This moon, which humans would name Thebe when they spotted it, resembled nothing so much as a giant potato with a crater so large it looked like someone with a thirty mile wide mouth took a big bite out of it. The name Keter chose for it, Palato, even sounded potatoish.

NCD: The moon was a loose pile of ice and rock with a coating of red dust. It was left to Chokhmah to burn tunnels through it, in payment for every "agent" he brought from Earth to Heaven. This, he explained, required the steam generated in the tunnels to vent to open space.

NCE: The work took many centuries and to Chokhmah it began to feel like a home remodel that was never quite finished. When Keter was happy with the extent of the tunnel network Chokhmah left it for Keter to send his own people to seal the tunnels before air could be brought in.

NCF: The work required pressure suits and power tools, which in turn required the bare bones of an industrial society. That did not yet exist in Heaven, so for centuries construction at Palato ground to a complete stop. During that time Chokhmah brought no B'nei Elohim to Heaven.

NCG: Compared to the fits and starts of human civilization on Earth, Keter's colony of world dwellers in Heaven moved forward at a more stately and leisurely pace, like courtiers on promenade. And Heaven never experienced the massive setbacks of Earth-style dark ages.

NCH: The bottom line was that the inhabitants of Heaven harnessed coal and steam about five hundred years before the inhabitants of the Earth did. It began in Haaretz, perhaps influenced by traces left behind, unintentionally, by the B'nei Elohim during their many visits.

NCI: The new techno culture spread rapidly to the other lands of Heaven. At first it was strongly resisted by Keter and Daat, but the military implications finally sold them. Scarcely a decade after the techno revolution took root in Haaretz all of Heaven was industrialized.

NCJ: The so-called Techno War broke out within the following decade, abruptly ending centuries of the Long Peace. Armies rapidly mobilized and moved to the front lines by rail as self-propelled steamships contended for advantage on the various rivers and lakes of Heaven.

NCK: Mass production using standardized parts equipped both sides with vast quantities of war materiel, but by circumstance the earliest advances in industrialized warfare tended to favor the defense over offense. This soon brought all troop movement to a near standstill.

NCL: As the Techno War dragged on the introduction of poisonous gas and projectile weapons with a high rate of fire made the battle lines intolerable. Analog computers were developed to guide the direction of artillery. The telephone brought more effective command and control.

NCM: But the art of rocketry was forbidden by Keter, strictly enforced by destroying launch facilities with stellar fire from his own body. He would not have the inhabitants of Heaven flinging themselves into the void as Chokhmah desired the inhabitants of Earth to do.

NCN: Another line of inquiry that was stifled by Keter was wireless communications. Keter knew it was inevitable that the Earth would one day become as noisy as a star in the radio band, alerting the aggregate of Elohim to mankind's existence, but he didn't want to rush things.

NCO: Ultimately the great Techno War sputtered to a halt, twenty years after it began, when Heaven could no longer provide sufficient soldiery as fodder to be crushed into oblivion by the war machines of either side. The war itself became a deterrent against any future conflict.

NCP: Further advances in science slowed to a crawl. There was little by way of civilian applications driving new technology in Heaven. By design of Keter they never experienced a golden age of radio and television, nor did they ever construct a global computer network.

NCQ: In the aftermath of the war Keter realized it had become possible to restart the construction at Palato. He also realized that Palato offered an elegant solution to the ancient problem of apostasy. In a theocracy any violation of civil law is also a sin against God.

NCR: Keter sent the worst of his apostates to Palato to prepare it for use. But at first the work was slow. Conditions were so miserable and dangerous the inmates preferred quick suicide to a slow death in a prison where they were told in no uncertain terms there was no return.

NCS: When Chokhmah heard of this he suggested breaking the workforce into several groups, and dangling the promise of parole for those individuals who led their own work party to become the most productive one. Keter took this advice, and let matters take their natural course.

NCT: Soon afterwards the tunnels were sealed and Chokhmah supplied them with air and other supplies. Eventually Keter realized the whole point of his glorified guard shack at Palato was to chase down and destroy escape attempts from the inner system, so he allowed rocket science.

NCU: Keter dimly realized he was racing against an invisible clock. Except for one time when Chokhmah revealed that humans had seen the four largest moons of Jupiter and had even named them, he refused to offer Keter or Daat any information on the state of technology on Earth.

NCV: With the transfers between Heaven and Palato no more frequent than biweekly, even Keter understood that he would never be able to staff Palato quickly enough to get the base fully operational before humans attained the scientific knowledge they needed to leave the Earth.

NCW: When Keter lamented this Chokhmah mentioned, quite casually, that the world-dwellers transplated to Heaven were living beingss fully capable of reproduction. But later, after mixing sexes in a prison environment, Keter lamented that the experiment was an unmitigated disaster.

NCX: Chokhmah reminded Keter once more that even the humans of Earth had observed there was more than one moon orbiting Jupiter, and that the planet was a kind of "failed star" with a miniature solar system all of its own. And that made Keter's next move entirely obvious.

NCY: Keter wasn't sure why Chokhmah was so full of helpful advice recently but he rolled the dice and allowed one couple to leave Palato in a small ship. They were dead before the day was out. Just beyond Palato is the inner edge of a permanent magnetic storm that rings Jupiter.

NCZ: Electrons spiral around the planet, accelerating to a fair fraction of the speed of light. The metal exterior of the ship shielded the couple from this direct beta radiation, but when the electrons slammed into the hull all that kinetic energy had to go somewhere.

NDA: That energy emerged as x-rays continuously bathing the interior of the ship. It was a silent and invisible death, and no one at Palato understood what happened to the crew until the ship was remotely piloted back to the departure point and doctors could examine the bodies.

NDB: After that, active shielding was used. These devices built a magnetic field around the ship in imitation of the belt around Jupiter, but they required power, as high temperature superconductors were yet many decades in the future. Spacesuits used electrostatic shields.

NDC: These shields blocked electrons but not other particles, and they operated for only a few hours. Later, as the ships built at Palato became larger, passive shielding was used in the form of liquid water propellant stored within the outer layers of a spinning metal sphere.

NDD: In these ships the crew lived and worked in a central core. As the water was expended in transfer burns, the liquid oxygen used to supply air to breathe was allowed to expand as a gas to fill the void vacated by the water and press the rest of the water "down" (or out).

NDE: Since the water used for propellant had to be heated to remain liquid, this offered recreational opportunities for the crew, provided they did not dive too deeply and defeat the purpose of the shielding. Certainly it made the ship seem larger, which was good for morale.

NDF: The earliest colonists made a mad dash through Jupiter's radiation belt to the most distant of the big moons, Callisto, which was fairly safe with "only" ten times the flux of ambient radiation found on the surface of Heaven. Seismic studies revealed an underground ocean.

NDG: But the liquid water under the surface of Callisto was too deep to reach. The surface ice had to be melted using nuclear reactors from the transport ships to provide water to drink and (with electrolysis) air to breathe. But plants could live in greenhouses on the surface.

NDH: To be sure, the dim light of the faraway sun had to be multiplied with strategically-placed mirrors, but this worked well, and Callisto soon became the breadbasket of the entire Jovian system. The workforce at Palato rapidly expanded to match the new supply of food.

NDI: Looking closer to Jupiter, the next large moon is Ganymede, which is, in fact, the largest moon in the system, even larger than the planet Mercury. But it lay within the outer reaches of Jupiter's radiation zone. Colonists were forced to live aboard their ships.

NDJ: Fortunately, the sub-Ganymedan ocean of water could be reached by digging deep wells and used to replenish the shipboard tanks that doubled as radiation shields. From their vessels they ventured out to mine what metal ores could be had nearby, which could be traded for food.

NDK: Periodically the colonists returned to Palato to off-load their cargo, then ventured to Ganymede again to land in a different place. Over time, they learned which areas of the moon were rich in ore and they tended to cluster there, but the overall population remained small.

NDL: The moon Europa lay deeper still within the radiation belt. Nothing could live on its surface for more than a day or two. But the layer of ice coating the interior ocean was so thin that sometimes it would crack open and seawater would ooze out like blood from a wound.

NDM: This water quickly froze to form long criss-crossing ridges of ice. Europa's underground ocean was actually quite warm, heated by tidal motion. The colonists could leave their ships and burrow a few meters down into the ice, letting it protect them from the radiation.

NDN: The difference between the bathwater-warm subsurface ocean and the near-cryogenic cold of the surface set up a thermal gradient that could be tapped to provide an endless source of electrical power. The colonists didn't need to rely on their ship's reactors to stay alive.

NDO: Europa was close enough to Palato that for the required velocity change, ships powered by chemical rockets alone could reach there and land. As a result, Europa naturally became the Jovian moon with the largest population, essentially a huge water and people farm.

NDP: But Io, the nearest Galilean moon to Jupiter, was a complete bust. There was not a drop of water there, and it was at the very epicenter of the radiation belt. Indeed, Io acted like a kind of rotor stirring up the field to a much greater intensity than would exist otherwise.

NDQ: Pressure suits with their partial active shielding could not deflect enough of the radioactive maelstrom to keep the wearer safe outside of their ship for more than an hour. Not even automated equipment could function for very long before ionization caused them to fail.

NDR: On top of all that, Io was constantly about the business of literally turning itself inside-out, with volcanoes covering the whole surface of the moon with a meter of fresh brimstone every 10,000 years. Throw in the brutal quakes, and the colonists gave Io a complete miss.

NDS: About two centuries after they were founded Heaven's colonies on the Jovian moons advanced from being a state-subsidized bridgehead through a level of bare subsistence until something of a self-sustaining economy wobbled to its feet and stood up. Then came the Great Revolt.

NDT: There remains some debate over the root cause of the insurrection. Many lay all the blame at the feet of a true apostasy that took hold among the Jovian colonists, not merely that simple criminal behavior conveniently labeled and punished as apostasy by the Eyes of Keter.

NDU: Certainly when the colonists found they were no longer under the constant gaze of Keter's priests the hated Cupel testing system of the state religion was the first thing to be cast aside, with its institutionalized incest, polygamy, and glorification of violence.

NDV: Others said the revolt could be attributed to three things: location, location, and location. Even Keter could only reach Palato with the willing cooperation of the two elohim who absolutely ruled this ancestral home star system of all world-dwellers, Chokhmah and Binah.

NDW: Or perhaps the humans who were transplanted to Heaven, and the angels and nephilim many of their descendants later became, were so engrained with a reverence for the elohim they instinctively shifted their loyalty to Chokhmah and Binah once they were returned home.

NDX: There were stories among the rebels of discovering unexplained caches of food just when they needed it. Fresh fruit when vitamin deficiencies were rampant aboard their ship. Rolls of bread so fresh it tasted like it had just been baked, impossible as that must have seemed.

NDY: But no rebellion could have been successful so long as Palato remained the only source of new ships and the sole depot to overhaul existing ships. It did not escape notice that the Great Revolt happened only after the colonists at Callisto started building their own ships.

NDZ: Beginning at roughly three times the distance of Callisto from Jupiter is a swarm of at least one hundred much smaller moons, ranging in size from 90 miles across down to less than a single mile in diameter. Some were just debris left over from the formation of Jupiter.

NEA: Other moons were asteroids captured from the main belt, or even the cores of comets grabbed in passing by the enormous gravity of Jupiter. These tiny satellites varied widely in composition from simple monoliths, to loose piles of gravel, to balls of water and ammonia ice.

NEB: The orbits of the moons varied as greatly as their makeup, with many of them spinning around Jupiter in a retrograde direction like cars going the wrong way on a freeway. The first colonists to escape from the Eyes of Keter called this swarm of satellites the Eggbeater.

NEC: Keter's colony, set up to watch the inner system as though it were a vast prison camp, now bore watching itself. It was as though some of the guards climbed down from their tower to join the inmates in general population. "You knew it would happen," Keter accused Chokhmah.

NED: Chokhmah replied, "How could I know 'it' would happen, father, if I do not even know what event you are--"

"The moons of the fifth planet! In the very beginning you seemed so helpful. But all along you knew my colony in your outer system would escape from my control."

NEE: "Father, unless you have grown stupid to the point of becoming totally blind, millennia of conflict in Heaven must have shown you that world-dwellers possess an indomitable spirit. The only thing that would surprise me is if you truly never did anticipate a revolt.

NEF: You must have discerned by now that humans, nephilim, and angels alike will endure any oppression and absolutely will not cease to struggle until they are free. That is why, ultimately, you and Daat cannot prevail. I am humbled to have them as my students. And I pity you."

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Strangers In Paradise