So it’s the holiday season, and in the dual spirits of sharing and shameless self-promotion, here’s an exclusive excerpt from Chapter 4 of Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure!
Perhaps one of the most unpredictable changes resulting from the Olympian Return was the sudden rise of ninja training camps run by far-right Christian groups. Once the Pious Reactionist movement was forced underground, operating in secrecy grew paramount to survival. Furthermore, leaders of fanatical groups such as the NCMA swiftly realized that they had something of a public relations problem. The youth of America (and indeed the world) had been seduced by the utter coolness of actual beings purporting to be mythological “gods”. Cults sprang up overnight. A person couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing news such as the new Las Vegas casino Dionysus had opened or the latest lucky mortal to be seen with Aphrodite. Hermes even had a regular show on MTV.
The NCMA urgently needed to become more competitive, or it faced a coolness gap. The necessity for both coolness and secrecy led them to the inevitable and obvious concept of ninjas. Kids loved ninjas! (Kids loved dinosaurs, too, but the NCMA’s efforts at cloning a few proved disastrous when they accidentally funded some Texas A&M fraternity brothers posing as scientists. The “scientists” bought a used Godzilla costume and spent the rest of the NCMA’s money on the biggest keg party the Aggies had ever seen.)
And so the first Christian ninja squads were trained.
On a reduced budget.
No one was really sure just what to do with these squads at first, but the program proceeded, based on the philosophy that it was better to have ninjas and not need them than to need ninjas and not have them. Even so, the first groups completed training before the ninja squads even had a suitable name, as a few dissenters who considered the training a waste of resources and refused to dignify the effort.
It was then that the monsters began to appear: harpies off the coast of North Carolina; poisonous, winged kittens terrorizing America’s heartland; there was even talk of a hydra dwelling in Lake Michigan. Such new horrors silenced the bickering over the value of ninja training. God in His wisdom had clearly chosen to demonstrate his approval of the ninja program by causing to appear something for which they would need ninjas!
This is not to say that the ninjas were then put to work, roaming the country to slay monsters. The NCMA astutely noticed that the Olympian “gods” regarded monster slaying as a good and glorious thing, and clearly the Ninjas Templar (as they eventually came to be called) could in no way support an Olympian agenda! Nor was the NCMA particularly worried about the monsters. They were, after all, a sign of God’s approval of the ninja program. He would undoubtedly take the monsters away once the NCMA had trained enough ninjas to please Him, and the problem would, therefore, take care of itself.
And they would have ninjas.
In the event that they needed them.
On a reduced budget.
There were a few heretical souls in the NCMA who lay awake at night, harried by a feeling that something was not quite right about the whole thing. But for this reason, they often overslept and missed key policy meetings. This in turn led the others to vote them out of the policy committees on grounds of truancy, and so no one had to be bothered.
It wasn’t long after that the NCMA decided the Ninjas Templar might possibly be used to strike against “cells” of Olympian insurgency…