Out From Ireland

*Beginning of Red Channel Recording*

“Hello, hello, is this working?”

“It is indeed, doctor.”

“So all the leaders can hear me?  Oh, you just heard that then.  Uh…I’m sorry, Um, Hello.  I’m sorry to take up your valuable time, I just, I know that you are doing important things but this is very important and we were told at school that if something like this ever came up to use the red box so I did that.”

“Thank you doctor, we are always delighted to hear from the scientific community.  In fact, the war effort is at a bit of a critical period right now, so it is difficult to properly express how glad we were to receive a red channel request from a leading weapons researcher.”

“Oh, yes.  Um, I’m not actually that.  Or, rather, I am her, I mean, I’m Dr. Sarah Fitzpatrick, but this isn’t a weapons breakthrough I want to talk about.  I don’t actually like to work on weapons.”


“Oh, I mean, I do.  At work.  But when I go home I don’t do more weapons work.  I don’t think that what we are trying to do can really succeed?  I mean, Ultrahuman powers defy physics, it doesn’t seem like devices that do not do so can be of any, well, I mean, I’m sure that you have your reasons for pressuring us so hard, but my curiosity has always gone in a different direction.”


“Um, sorry.  I mean, I.  I definitely disobeyed the rule that I am supposed to work on war stuff on my own.  I am the only one at fault.”

“Dr. Fitzpatrick, what area of research is this red channel call regarding?”

“Oh, in my spare time I researched the Process.  I know it is supposed to be a dead end, but I’ve never believ-”

“Please hold”


“Dr. Fitzpatrick, are you still here?”

“Oh, yes sir.  I am right here.  Am I in trouble?  You sound more serious than the last voice.”

“A zipper is on its way to bring you and your loved ones into state security.  Please explain as much as possible of your discovery into this channel immediately, in case the enemy strikes before security arrives.”

“Oh, oh.  Um.  Oh.  Ok.  Well, how much do you know about cargo cults, and the CC/P hypothesis?  Sorry.  I’ll explain like you don’t know.  Ok, so people that undergo the Process, the successes, we are able to record them.  Those ghastly Company Men try to stop it, but they don’t know about how clever we are about hiding sensing apparatus.”


“I’ve hidden myself in the bathroom.  That ought to be harder to find me in.  If anyone is looking for me, which I don’t think they are.  Anyway, the point is that we can do the Process just as well as the Company, but it never works unless they do it.  There are a lot of explanations for this, but CC/P is the most widely believed.”

(muffled) “Mom, I need to go number 2!”

“The idea of CC/P, basically, is that we are like the natives with the cargo cult, merely aping a signal.  But no matter how well we make our runways, nobody has sent a plane.  You see?  No matter how well we prepare our subjects to receive an Ultrahuman ability, the problem is that no one has sent any.  The Company is somehow sending the abilities, and the Process merely guides them in.”

(muffled) “Go downstairs honey, Mommy is busy!”

“This has all been gone over for decades.  No one can detect this signal, or gift, in transit.  One working theory is that it propagates along the same physics defying continuum as the gifts themselves.  A subproblem of this space, the one that my team came up with the discovery in, was the Timing Problem.”

*flushing noise*

“I came up with the measurement that led to the Timing Problem, must have been a decade ago.  Or less, or maybe more.  You can look it up.  Anyway, I basically put a pin in people who were being Processed.  It was more complicated than that, but not much more.  The ones that got enhanced durability ejected the pin.  So I could tell the exact moment that they became Ultrahuman.”

*running water over the following*

“The Company Men perform the procedure in exactly the same manner, every time.  It follows, then that the effect would show up after exactly the same duration, ever time.  But it didn’t.  It followed a seemingly random timing, and I became obsessed with trying to work out what was causing this delay, and why it varied between subjects.”

*comband notification beeping*

“I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but I finally stole some time on SPARTACUS, and it came up with the connection right away.  I hope you can forg-, sorry, I know I am supposed to just say this right out.”

*throat clearing*

“The time from the completion of the Process to the onset of Ultrahuman durability varies in exact and direct proportion to the distance between the subject and a point in the center of the fissure on the moon.  It is highly likely that the ‘transmitter’, of Ultrahuman gifts, is a machine located on the moon.”

*indeterminate thumping noise, child shouting*

“It sounds like your security personnel are here.  I guess we don’t need to use this silly dramatic box anymore.  I’ll be filing a full report very soon.”

*End of Red Channel Recording*

9 thoughts on “Out From Ireland

  1. I did think about the moon being important. They even talk about somethink called the “Ey of Heaven”. But it makes little sense. Prevailer cracked the moon during the 3rd defiance. There were Ultras before the 3rd defiance and there have been Ultras afer that. Cucially, the inner circle predates the 3rd defiance and the decay in the Process’s strength must predate it too. So I don’t think the cracks on the moon should be relevant for that. One possibility is that Prevailer tried (and failed) to destroy whatever is on the Moon after the 3rd defiance in order to stop Ultra production, but she could just have dismantled the Company…

    They talk about opening the Eye of Heaven again, so there must be a better way of modulating the signal than cracking and uncracking the Moon.

    The scientist’s theory suggests that there is a machine there. The machine is presumably the one that Dr. Chen developped, and for some reason Prevailer has moved it to the Moon. I have no idea why… Maybe to increase the distance from the test subject to the machine? Again, surely there must be a better way of modulating the signal…

    Maybe She didn’t break the moon and someone else did? I’ve also thought of that, but I can’t find a reason for why cracking the Moon would work, even within the twisted logic of how the Process works.

  2. Also related: this suggests that the Chens can channel the gift into a specific human (if the gift was merely broadcast, the Union’s Process should have worked, even if by coincidence). I wonder how they do it in a way that the Union can’t spy on.

      1. Indeed, there might be a grain of truth to that theory. The problem is that at this point we already have alternative explanations to the enigmas that motivate the theory:

        1. Prevailer seems to be extremely lucky because she has the 6th sense no one knows about. That allows her to detect any ambush at a distance. She also has an infallible oracle to advise her.

        2. Prevailer is the most powerful Ultra because (1) she was created using the original Process, instead of the present day wattered down version and (2) during the first years of the Process she probably killed every Ultra who could pose a threat to her, as quickly as they were Processed. Just look at who’s in he inner circle: normal squishy humans with powers totally unsuitable for combat (except Adder… Adder is deadly as long as he’s willing to commit suicide by antimatter blast, taking his foe with him. With Her Ultra strength 4 she can kill basically everything. Now that there are too many new Ultras for Her to screen personally, she trusts that the wattered down Process won’t create anyone strong enough to pose a threat.

        On the other hand, we don’t have an explanation for her hatred or fear of shapeshifters. I can’t see how a shapeshifter can be a threat to Her. She can probably detect that She is talking to a shapeshifter using her Gift. The only danger is that the Shapeshifter may have some kind of proximity one-hit kill move.

  3. Another theory of mine is that Prevailer cracked the Moon not to inpress humans (they don’t need to be impressed, they already know how powerful She is), but to impress aliens. Aliens who might or might not have built the gift-giving machine and who might or might not have kidnapped a socially awkward scientist and implanted some subconscious hints on how to channel the Process.

  4. Explanation for having the machine on the moon: Prevailer used to store the machine in Shington (somewhere “safe”, doesn’t matter where). During the 3rd defiance, Slasher must have found out about the machine. Prevailer managed to get rid of him somehow, of course, otherwise there wouldn’t be a 5th defiance. But it made her aware that someone might steal the machine from Her, or disabling it or seomething like that. There are few places where a machine can be safely stored away from someone with Ultra speed. One of those places is the moon. No one goes to the moon anymore. There are no rockets ready to take people there, and if there are they can be intercepted. But there are telescopes looking at the moon in the civilized parts of the world. She can’t just dump the machine on the moon’s surface. So She has some options:

    1. Dig a deep whole and put the machine there. Convenient and discreet, BUT it takes a long time to dig the hole, and she probably doesn’t survive long without oxygen. Warping in and out of the moon’s surface is ok, but spending a long time there might be dangerous.

    2. Put it io the dark side of the moon. Maybe she’s afraid of the Union launching a probe orbiting the moon. She can’t intercept such probes, or else the Union would know the machine was there. Maybe the Company can’t control a machine on the dark side of the moon (they need line of sight, for example)

    3. Pretend to have a temper tantrum, open some huge cracks on the moon and quietly dump the machine there. Then, laugh at the world’s stupidity for believing She doesn’t know what She’s doing. If there is anything that Prevailer’s chapters tell us is that she is not brave. She doesn’t like a fight she might lose. She clearly makes sure no ultra capable of defeating her appears. With this setting, the Company has “line of sight” into the machine, but it«s hidden from telescopes located on Earth.

    Still, cracking the moon sounds a little overkill. I’m not completely satisfied with this.

    1. This theory also explains the three kinds of Ultra that Prevailer fears: teleporter, electrical and shapeshifter.

      An Ultra with electric powers is probably dangerous to her because an electric shock (of suitable power) might paralyze her and forbid her from teleporting away or something like that.

      A teleporter can get to the moon on a spacesuit and investigate the machine.

      A shapeshifter might be able to sidestep the biometric security system that guards the machine that Prevailer or her goons use control the proces

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