Welcome, Papal Aspirant. We at the International Papal Selection Commission are pleased that you have decided to submit your name for consideration. We are currently seeking to fill one position as a Pope. If you are rejected during this process please be aware that we will keep your applicatory précis on file for up to six months. If we require a secondary Pope we may contact you.
If you have made it this far into the selection process that means you have passed your mandatory drug test and have advanced to the final levels of background and aptitude screening. In a moment an Adjudicator Cardinal will enter your testing chamber and attach a variety of biorhythm probes. These are all non-invasive and perfectly harmless; although they might be cold so do not be alarmed. These will allow the team of Adjudicator Cardinals assigned to you to carefully monitor various signs of stress and discomfort during the questioning process. This data will be used to help determine your ability to function in the demanding role of Pope.
Take three deep breaths, close your eyes, and prepare to begin Testing Level One.
Excellent work, Papal Aspirant! You have completed the first level of testing and you are cleared to move onto the next. Before doing so please quench your thirst with a glass of ice cold lemonade and a handful of soda crackers. These will help you keep your focus for level two of testing.
Good. You seem to be well rested so we will now move on to Testing Level Two. You will be asked a series of aptitude questions to judge your behavior as a potential Pope. You may read the questions as they are projected onto your Heads Up Display but they will also be read aloud by Vatican One or, as you may know it, the Mechanical Bride of Christ. When Vatican One finishes reading the question you will have five seconds to select your answer. Testing begins…now.
1) You have just been named the Pontiff and there are many rivals who would seek to see you undone. While lounging in the Papal Datadrome you notice a team of assassins have infiltrated the perimeter. Since you are new to the papacy you are not sure you can trust your security retinue to properly deal with the intruders. Should you…a) …activate full lockdown mode and retreat to one of the nearby panic cloisters.2) You have caught one of the Cardinals using Vatican One to simulate a wife and family and using one of the neural interface rigs for conjugal visits. You decide to discipline him by…
b) …unleash the Scourges from their restraints and allow them to set upon the intruders with their electro-flails aware of the damage they may cause to priceless artifacts during their 777-second convulsion of divine violence.
c) …don a rebreather, instruct Vatican One to seal off all air circulators in the building, and wait for the intruders to asphyxiate.
d) …instruct the Swiss Guard to begin a weapons-free perimeter sweep and arm yourself just in case their loyalties have slipped.a) …restricting his Vatican One access level to terminal-only for one year.3) You are flying over the tomb city of New York when your dirge cruiser experiences engine difficulties and it is forced to land amidst the towering sepulchers of a bygone age. As your thrice-damned crew of engine slaves work to repair the engines you spy a crowd of starving mutant scavengers. They seem curious and perhaps awed by the majesty of the dirge ship. You decide to…
b) …burning out his frontal lobe with your mind-knife and converting his body to a consecrated war golem.
c) …throw him from your balcony to feed the crowds that gather outside, their sanity lost to the droning of Vatican One's Hypnohailers.
d) …forcing him to live out the remainder of his life in a pain amplification scrivener.a) …drop a pallet of sacramental wafers and wine for them to accept the blood and flesh of Christ.4) Word reaches you from your chameleon agents that nomads in the barrens of Old Europe have defied the glory of the Lord and have turned to idolatry. They are worshipping a craven image of the sun as their god. You handle the situation by…
b) …purge the area with your magnesium burners.
c) …issue a Papal Edict that the tomb city be cleansed with nuclear fire following your departure.
d) …dispatch your Swiss Guard to collect the scavengers using neural stunners and place them in shock collars for transfer to the medical testing facility in the Vatican.a) …instructing Vatican One to use the weather control satellites to obstruct Old Europe's view of the sun for a period of 1000 years.5) Geneticiphers are questioning your reversal of church doctrine on cannibal disbursement. They believe that feeding the corpses of men and women to the population may spread neurological diseases. You respond by…
b) …shedding your flesh and using the Great Mechano Reliquary to embody the infinite Wrath of God. A pack of sacrilegious dirt eaters are sure to be no match for the towering might of the war goliath Gaziel.
c) …conscripting the population of the Warsaw Arcology and declaring a Holy Crusade into Old Europe. Millions will die in the chemical wastes without protection but their sacrifice will only bring greater glory to the Lord.
d) …destroying the sun.a) …feeding the entrails of the Geneticiphers to your wraith hounds while they are kept alive with their own blasphemous science.
b) …explaining that the laborers are merely chattel who live and die by God's Mercy alone.
c) …hosting a dinner gala during which you and the invited Geneticiphers dine on the raw flesh of their presumptuous ring-leader.
d) …loudly acquiescing to their demands and then secretly cutting off nutrient shipments to an entire lesser arcology. Tens of millions inside will ultimately descend into violence and cannibalism anyway and you will look all the better when you show their opposition to be folly.
Phase Two completed! Good work, Papal Aspirant. Vatican One will now tabulate your results and determine whether or not you may proceed to the third and final phase of testing.
Please wait. While you are waiting you may listen to this continuous high-frequency tone that certain animals find relaxing. You may also look upon this skull which was recovered yesterday by saniteams in the Level H non-potable bilge. It is curious.
Processing complete! Congratulations, Papal Aspirant. Your responses to the questions place you in the 99th percentile and permit you to advance to Phase Three of the testing. In this final test you will be matched against one of your fellow Papal Aspirants in combat to the death. If your opponent yields and you do not kill him then you will both be placed into pain amplification scriveners.
Your opponent is Bishop Michael Graves.
He has selected a Plasma Lancet as his weapon and a Type VI Refractor as his shield.
You have selected a Symbiote Whip as your weapon and a Molecular Entangler as your shield.
Your projected chances of winning are 12.7%.
Good luck, Papal Aspirant. Please exit through the aperture to your left. You may pick up your weapon and shield just through the arena doorway.
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
It's just a little confusing, is all.
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