The Daily Immersion began, as it always had, at 11:47. The hour of His coming. The Solisphere began its ancient hum as it channelled the song of the sun into Alecto’s kitchen. Every home and every public space was polluted with this oppressive mechanism; an object of divinity and as always, an object of control. The daily immersion provided all the Sun that the general population needed to fuel their zealotry and force their complete submission to their God. At 11:47 every morning, the hour of His coming, rooms across the land lit up in the brilliance of His light and each orb bathed the masses in the gorgeous emanations of His being. Sighing, moaning, weeping utterances of joy sprang forth from every mouth and quivered off every lip. No more complete a dominance had there ever been than through this smooth, black orb and its light.
Its unyielding brilliance had been present throughout Alecto’s life and she had always despised it. She felt that something was different about her, that something dangerous lived in her ability to see through the light to the darkness, seemingly hidden, just out of sight, from the rest of the swarming hordes of humanity with whom she shared this scorched planet. She had never acquired the immediate faith of the rest of her species through the Immersion. Her first experiences had indeed been blissful and overwhelmingly powerful. The light was so beautiful, its incandescence so complete, its effect so profound. All one could see at that moment was the beauty of His light and the potential of His power. He had come from the sky at the head of a great host, riding on beams of light. Our sun had been dying and He had proved our salvation. The sun was reborn in His image, rekindled by His hand to live again for His glory. He was our Lord and Saviour and the planet rejoiced in His beauty and bathed in the warm light of His being. Alecto, however, saw something else, something hidden in a single aspect of the unnumbered colours of the emanations. A single shade of colour in the spectrum of His glory spoke to her of a lie, a weakness and a truth. It was simple but profound. It spoke to her of biology in place of divinity. Of flesh and blood and bone. With each Immersion, that doubt that had seeded itself at His first coming had lived on in her mind and flourished as anger and hatred at Her Lord that he had lied and that His power was not the eternal power of a God but the greedy, sordid power of a man.
Before the Infrastructure of His love had been implemented, a challenge arose from the old masters of the Citadel. Their magic and prayer had not succeeded and the old gods had not answered their calls for salvation from the sun. There was no saviour come forth from their bible and they feared and resented he who they called usurper, in place of saviour. Their power was diminished with every sunrise and they called on the people to see this miracle for what it truly was: a manifestation of the old gods’ power to answer with a prophet from the stars. Here was no new god, merely a vessel, sent to exult the citadel and implement the will of their faith.
The Sun Lord sent out His armies to crush the uprising. His fury at their challenge was only matched by the ferocity of His vengeance. But old gods are not so easily subdued. A decade of war ensued. A decade of purges. A decade of sacrifice and of death. A thousand a day were bled before His altars to replenish the power of His sun. The red of their blood mingled with the tears of a planet engulfed by fear and light and were consumed by the earth. By His very hand were they sacrificed and fed to His dogs, their life force flowing in great crimson gullies down the sides of His Temple sustaining, feeding, nourishing. He called for sacrifice and thousands came, gladly, immersed as they were in His light and swayed by that malignant, deep, black orb. No end of willing victims came to enter the sun through Him and a decade passed in the red and yellow palette of each death.
So, the old gods died and with them the old order. The world was His and the people were glad of it. No matter that this once verdant planet had been reduced to a fetid wasteland. That its seas were dead and its sky scorched, its cities ravaged by war. The Solispheres hummed their dread tune of inevitability and the people blamed the old order for the crimes of the new. An object of religion and, as always, an object of control.