This short story was written for a film that never came to production because of strange circumstances. It is a story of what might ultimately eventuate in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It depicts –taking literary license–the description of a bizarre, horrendous military force prophesied by Joel the Old Testament prophet to one day descend upon Jerusalem.
Joel’s Army – a short story
By Terry James
Dr. Gerschwin Beilah glanced at the large monitors whose images were fed by satellite-relayed cameras on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem. He directed his eyes again to the old Bible, the passages of his attention underlined in red ballpoint.
The scientist read in a quick whisper.
“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for
it is nigh at hand;
A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there
hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.”
There would be no booming of artillery. No streaking of rocketry. No grenades. No screaming jets strafing or dropping ordinance from the skies over the ancient city. Those horrors of war wouldn’t be needed. Other, more horrific terrors marched in unbroken lines toward this most focal city on the planet.
The sky continued to have a greenish cast, the result of –whatever happened three days earlier. Bodies lay everywhere, even in the path of the marching force, whose troops tromped over the corpses that lay in the army’s path.
Many said that God, Himself, obliterated the great horde from the north. The masses of dead soldiers that fed the millions of ravenous birds that again awaited their opportunity to return, once the military force passed by.
Gerschwin squinted to see the details presented by the grisly scene. The sky grew darker, and seemed to boil with rolling clouds that gathered above the hills and swept downward to join the march. The troop movement didn’t slow in the onslaught, the vapor-like fog-cloud giving the juggernaut force a chloros, apparition-like appearance.
Many had fled Jerusalem after having seen the great assault from the north devastated by fire and hail from the sky. They believed the prophecy. The scientist rapidly turned the pages to the New Testament, found the passage in red text and again whispered the words.
“Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Those who believed the preaching of the two old Jews dressed like ancient prophets had followed their instructions. Half the city fled into the Judean hills, when they heard the loudspeakers declaring that the great leader was God, Himself, and now sat on Moriah in the temple, whose construction was completed less than 3 months previous.
The great leader had declared himself to be Deity. The famous religious man that accompanied the leader everywhere he went demanded that all worship the leader whose army now approached the ancient city. –Jerusalem, very near which the man who spoke the words of the prophecy died on a Roman cross.
Gerschwin Beilah looked again at the words.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
The scientist ‘s forehead beaded with pirsperation, although the temperature in the underground laboratory communications complex was less than 65 degrees. The truth sank in, while he alternately scanned the many monitors in the wall. It was true. It was all true.
He had debated the ones who said delving into genetic experimentation was wrong. More than that, some who opposed the experimentation said the transgenig exploration was an affront to the Creator.
But, there was no Creator, he had argued incessantly, and with the backing of his colleagues, reinforced by the vast body of evolutionary empericism. Science was required to go forward –to make man a disease-free –a more viable being. –A creature that could live not 100 years, but 1000, and beyond.
The cameras, ordered to be focused upon the advancing army by the great leader himself, drew the forward most soldiers to the monitor screens in close up. Gerschwin Beilah leaned forward on his elbows, his eyes drawing the frightful sight into his tortured, reeling brain.
He didn’t have to divert his glance from the images invading his head , to the scriptures between his elbows on the console table. The words of Joel the Biblical prophet caromed within his mind.
“A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.”
The ancient prophet was right…Beilah’s spine felt as if it had been touched by the icy finger of death. Joel the prophet had doubtless been given the same vision as he, himself, now saw in real time while the ghostly-appearing troops marched in lock-step less than 5 miles from Jerusalem.
The words again grated at him; the words of the one called Jesus, proclaimed to be the savior of the world.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
The troops were immense, their uniform bulk and height magnified by the armor of greenish tint. The ominous masks protruded in the shape of horses’ heads 9 feet above the terrain upon which their huge boots tramped.
Gerschwin Beilah felt the cold flush upon his emotions. What price must he pay for his part? His culpability in the affront to…a Creator who forewarned the world of just this moment in history?
The black operations chieftans had not spelled out from where the sudden advances in genome experimentation had come. Even at the clearance level that was above that required in working for the most clandestine laboratories of the U.S. Defense Department, the scientists –including him—were not privy to the ultimate information about the matter. Suddenly, the breakthrough was there, and he, along with his peers, were told to make application as directed.
At first, while taking time out from their intensive work, they laughed at the rumor that the breakthrough came from reverse engineering from strange technologies involving visitors from other worlds. The laughter had stopped when they first laid eyes on the hybrid giant that was the finished product of their joint work.
Gerschwin Beilah had been in on working to develop the many other interim creations that were combinations of human and animal DNA experimentation. The monstrous results had to be quickly destroyed, except for the giants that came forth once a mysterious element was introduced by a strange scientist who one day showed up at the lab. The Black ops heads said the tall,almost too-thin man was a scientist from Tibet, who had escaped a Chinese laboratory/prison.
It still gnawed away at his soul. Now he was beginning to understand why. The day they came to remove his best friend from the lab. There was no further word from Brad Jorgenson, following them forcibly taking him away.
Brad had proclaimed to the point of disturbance that the new scientist was not human, but a supernatural entity, possessed of a demon. Jorgenson ranted that the Tibetan was there to do the Devil’s work. The strange, visiting scientist was there as part of a revisitation of the Genesis chapter 6 account. The revisitation that Jesus, himself, had prophesied in Luke chapter 17: “As it was in the days of Noah, so shal it be in the day of the Son of man”…the end of days, when Christ would return to Planet Earth.
Brad screamed that it was the fallen angels, determined to reintroduce the Nephilim to the human realm to the extent Lucifer had done so in the antidelluvian time –the days before the great flood. They took him away, telling his colleagues next day that it was simply a nervous breakdown from overwork.
It was also the next day that things began abruptly to change. Breakthroughs in the transgenics problems began to proliferate.
Gerschwin went over in his convoluting mind thoughts of the time he first was introduced to the term. “Transgenics is the science of altering the genetic structure of one species by introducing the DNA of a different species into its genome.”
The scientist recalled those early days that seemed only yesterday, so swift was progress toward raising the army now marching on Jerusalem.
Under the Tibetan’s watchful eye, transgenics at the underground complex developed in the form of male human embryos having their molecular biology altered through inserting animal and what was described as extrahuman DNA into their genome.
“Just where does one get extrahuman DNA?” Gerschwin had asked. “I assume you don’t run to the corner market for it.”
The Tibetan had smiled tightly in irritation at Gerschwin’s caustic attempt at levity. “What difference? The DNA combination produce results, do they not?”
Gerschwin recalled the unexplained group of young women who was said to have “volunteered” for earth-saving experiments. He remembered how the mutated embryos were aggressive inside their mother’s wombs. They soon proved highly intelligent, brutish creatures after birth, babies with phenomenal growth rates, an unequivocal thirst to rule, conquer, and dominate.
He had kept his questions to himself for the most part. But, the mind-searing cogitations wouldn’t relent. They came at him during his evry waking hour, while he helped Project Titan move forward at the pace demanded by the leaders of the 10 world trade bloc divisions.
The dreams haunted him, the faces of the hybrid giants, their eyes seeming to never blink, while they underwent test after test to check them outfor cerebral and physical strength that would be demanded of them in future plans for conquest.
The chief question that held his thoughts captive: was the great world leader who had stepped forward to bring Israel and its enemy neighbors together in an unprecedented covenant of peace, himself a hybrid? A product of the end of days effort to bring back the Nephilim? Was he the ultimate hybrid that would cause all to receive the 666 mark of the 13th chapter of the Revelation?
Gerschwin Beilah’s ruminations were jerked to attention by sights and sounds now displayed on all monitor screens.
A synchronous shout that sounded of many lions roaring assaulted his ears, while he watched the legions of armored giants break into a trot, then accelerate, in perfect step one with another to full gallop.
Words from Joel’s prophecy echoed in his mind: “The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.
Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people
set in battle array.”
Dust from the arid soil boiled in a massive cloud, obscuring all but the foremost of the troops. Gerschwin’s monitor screens changed to scenes inside the city streets of Jerusalem. Terrified humans ran toward buildings that could provide shelter, their screams overpowered by the titanic creatures that trampled the people without breaking stride. The giants stormed through every street, some leaping from street level to the tops of small buildings. They easily sprang to window ledges and crashed through them, pulling their massive forms into the openings.
The words kept coming to the scientist’s terrified brain.
“Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.
They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war…They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.”
He didn’t hear the pressurized hatch that was the door to the communications center open. His brain disengaged from the violence on the screens only when the black-uniformed men grasped him on eather arm and jerked him from the console chair.
The Tibetan stepped to the console table, his pasty-white face displaying the familiar tight-lipped smile. Gerschwin looked into the almond shaped black eyes that seemed to pierce his own with knowledge of all of his thoughts that had traversed the scientist’s brain for the past half hour.
The almost skeletal Tibetan picked up the old Bible from the table. He glanced at its words, closed its covers and, with a smirk and guttural chuckle, dropped it on the table.
“We owe you, for all your help, Dr. Beilah, he said. And, we will pay you, I assure.”