Author : Michael Varian Daly

The city had once been prosperous and beautiful, tall shining towers, broad tree lined boulevards, full of vitality.

Now it was a smashed ruin. Most of that had happened during the Age of Storms, Category Six monsoons scouring those once shining towers, adding their debris to the general destruction of wind and rain.

Battle damage had now been added to that forlorn landscape.

Drajica looked around at the ruins from the wide intersection where she had set up her Tribunal. The helmet of her battle armor was opened ‘on the half shell’ and would snap shut if the suit detected any incoming threat.

In the distance, she could hear the buzz/hum/hiss of Marine weapons, the snapping of century old ex-Soviet assault rifles, the occasional crump of chemical explosives. The air stank of general decay, with an undercurrent of burnt flesh.

Her security team had established a perimeter around the intersection. In its center, a hundred or so local males were lined up, kneeling, hands bound at the small of their backs. A stack of black plastic body bags were in an orderly pile a dozen feet behind them.

“Pathetic,” she thought, “But they had been warned.”

As the Age of Storms slowly abated, the Union of Matrilineal Republics had emerged from North America’s West Coast. The Sisterhood, as it was colloquially known, spread rapidly into the chaotic aftermath.

In the half century since, it had displaced most of the ‘systems’ that had survived the Age of Storms in an essentially peaceful process, and then expanded out into near Earth space.

Some pockets of Phallists had resisted with violence. But with limited capacity to reproduce, they faded quickly. Uterine replicator technology seemed set to reverse that, but unaugmented tank babies were almost universally sociopathic, except for the psychotics, of course. Those societies imploded brutally.

This city was one of the very last strongholds of Phallism. The Sisterhood had compiled evidence of genital mutilation, impregnation rape, and foot amputation for the women who tried to escape before it took action.

Two Warnings were issued. Then came an EMP, followed by a Marine Drop Brigade. Mobile Tribunals did the mopping up.

Drajica walked over to the line prisoners. She’d picked the first one specifically. She knew his type.

He wore a finely knit kufee and a now soiled white robe. His beard was long, but neatly trimmed.

Drajica faced him. “Do you Swear to honor and respect your Sisters?” Her voice was soft, but firm.

He smiled, but his eyes were hard. “There is no God, but God,” he said, “And Mu-”

She pointed at him. An actinic flash burst from her fingertip. A pinhole appeared in his forehead, a thin wisp of smoke puffing upward. He fell over backward, his body jerking. The smell of piss and shit adding to the overall stench.

She sighed. The next in line, a terrified boy no more than seventeen, had already pissed himself. She faced him. “Do you Swear to honor and respect your Sisters?” she repeated in the exact same tone.

“Ye-ye-yes, Mistress,” he blubbered with utter sincerity, “I Swear by my life!”

Two Marines hauled him away to a waiting ground vehicle. His fate would be agricultural resettlement, or possibly servitor augmentation. But that was not for her to determine.

Two other Marines were dragging the mullah’s corpse toward the pile of body bags. He would wind up as DNA harvest. His smug face would haunt her dreams for a while.

Drajica sighed again. “It will all be over soon,” she told herself, and moved down the line.

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