The Regime’s Birth 5

With Mover’s action, the cat was officially out of the bag.  No one could dismiss or explain away the mysterious swap of acres of inhabited territory.  No one could even try.  It was apparent, to the dullest of observers, that physics was broken in some fundamental way.

The old world was interconnected by computer systems, every citizen of any note linked to every other by these devices.  Rumors of Ultras had been quietly pooling in the darker corners of these systems, like mildew in the edges of a shower.  Mods and administrators fought them back, pushed the consensus of the day, but they could never entirely be rid of them.  Every incident brought a few more eyewitnesses, a few more recordings.

When the swap happened, these stories could no longer be held back.  Every message board, every chat channel, exploded with vindicated witnesses, desperate to give their testimony.  The more mainstream media pounced on these accounts, broadcasting unimaginable stories that they once would have scorned.

Every politician, every leader, was bombarded with questions about the Ultras.  The public wanted answers, and demanded them at every opportunity.  In nation after nation, the leaders began to appoint task forces, dredge up accounts, and most of all search for actual Ultras to question.

They found them readily enough.  The shroud of fear that hid the Ultras of the world weren’t particularly impenetrable, in the face of intense public questioning.  The basic facts of Ultras began to trickle out.  The public learned of a subset of their physics defying abilities. Most particularly, it learned of the astronomical cost in lives that had been paid in order to create them.

World reaction was appalled.  30 lives lost for every one of these people?  Barbaric, unconscionable.  And who was behind it all?  Could their governments even pretend to be in charge, when such activities were taking place without their knowledge or consent?

The UN hastily outlawed the use of Ultras in war.  This didn’t actually work, but with the media’s collaboration it kicked the can a few more years down the road.  No one could really dispute that modern militaries had begun to collaborate heavily, if clandestinely, with their countries unofficial Ultra units.  But no one could conclusively prove it either.

A few terrorist activities occurred, primarily centered around religious sites.  A few regime changes looked suspiciously like they might have been dependent on Ultra firepower, but nothing concrete.  Nothing provable.

Primarily this was because Peggy Martin was working with the United State’s Ultra Corps.  She was, and is, the trump card in any Ultra on Ultra conflict.  The Ultra Corps dispatched her and their other operatives to anything that its intelligence service disapproved of, and she made the problems disappear.

Ultimately, this state of affairs was unsustainable.  The public wore through its tolerance for being lied to.  The ostensibly “secret” Ultra Corp suffered security lapses, leaks and simple witness accounts.  Other countries, those less officially tied to the UN, began to publicly employ Ultras in ‘advisory’ roles to their military forces, tiptoeing around the ban.

America’s president, Lindsey Riker, herself a former member of the Ultra Corps, announced the superpower’s repudiation of the UN ban in 2108.  Other nations swiftly followed suit, those who hadn’t already taken steps to arm themselves with Ultras frantically strove to catchup.  The world entered an Ultra arms race, with nations snapping up Chens and processing anyone that they could get away with.

The old world ended about a year later.

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