Cut to the Hudsoni capital, where First Knife is returning with a war party to a deserted harbor (aside from a few gosherds and their flocks of giant future geese) . Surprised at the cold welcome, First Knife finds out from the gosherd that the whole town is at the matriarch’s longhouse. A herald of the devas is there!
First knife pushes his way through the crowded townsfolk into the matriarch’s longhouse. Inside, all the elders of the town are huddled around the edges of the walls, quietly talking amongst themselves, with the herald silently floating in the middle of the room above the fire pit, rain falling on it through the smoke-hole. First Knife goes to his sister, the matriarch, worried about what he’ll hear. The last time the devas spoke, it preceded the annihilation of an entire island’s population to contain an outbreak of disease. And sure enough, as the matriarch tells him, the herald’s warning is of the Hudsoni’s new holdings to the south – the devas are preparing to cleanse the Detroit river valley to contain a potentially lethal threat that destroyed a Deva. The elders and the matriarch are in a panic about this for a wide variety of reasons – capturing the lands between the Hudson Sea and the great lakes cost the Hudsoni a lot of effort and life, and to have the jewel of the region – the great middens of trans-Detroit – burned by the gods would bode ill for all. Not mentioning the horror that such an occurrence would hold just as an omen, the potential for it to inspire foreign invasion and insurrection amongst the conquered is terrifying enough for the Hudsoni.
You could have First Knife talk to his fellow warriors as their coming home, saying happy things about how great life is since they conquered that particular piece of land. All of the soldiers have received their back pay, there’s strong support for the Matriarch, older men are planning to retire and set up homesteads in the new land, “good thing we silenced those dissenters” etc. etc. (there’s also a chance here to have some flashback pictures of cool fighting and First Knife’s men kicking ass. That’s important since it establishes that he and his men aren’t pushovers, and them surrendering to the cyborg is no easy thing). And then BAM Killjoy Gosherd comes waddling up and pours cold oatmeal over the whole conversation with his talk of visiting Devas.
First knife, getting flustered by the panicked elders, shouts “surely we can do something!”
The deva, speaking for the first time the reader has seen: “What would you do?”
Startled, first knife regains his composure and haltingly speaks: “We – we would drive this threat out into the lakes, or into the river, where you could destroy it. Or, if possible, we would destroy it ourselves.”
The deva is silent.
First knife continues: ” We have paid dearly for this place you wish to destroy. If we can protect it, we will.” after a pause, he adds “my lord”
After a few moments, the deva speaks: “Yes. It is authorized. If the situation is yet unresolved within the lunar cycle, sterilization procedures will recommence at the beginning of the next.” With that, the deva disappears in a flash of light.
The matriarch walks over, glaring, and calls First Knife a fool – then hugs him tightly, and calls him a fool again.
Lovely. Just perfect set-up for the story.
My world-building senses tell me there’s a potential paradox centered around the fact that we have a loose, hunter-gatherer society (with a Matriarch whose brother commands warriors, but no aristocracy or court to get between them and the people they order around), trying to act like an empire and annex territory for settled peoples. It’s not impossible (after all, the Mongols did it), but empire-building will require the Hudsoni to develop division of labor and social hierarchy. I don’t think you have to address that problem directly since most of the story takes place away from the centers of power, but some visual clues during the audience with the Devas might help. For example, you have a relatively rough, wooden longhouse, but it’s full of really nice stuff (golden idols, shiny CDs, lots of statues, jewels on things that have no buisness having jewels on them. Maybe a pair of tanks or war-robots or something, all pretty and cleaned up but totally non-functional, standing to either side of the long-house door like guardian lions. A concourse of satellite dishes stuck up on colored poles, hanging with strings of jewels and talismans. Lots of construction and slaves dragging things around. An even cooler longhouse—a “tallhouse”—is begin constructed). Savage splendor.
We cut to canoes full of armed men, sailing from the Hudsoni capital, with ten-fifteen men from each of the seven major clans, sailing south under First Knife’s command.
This traveling might also be a place where you can do world-building and establish the details that make the rest of the story have emotional impact. Maybe just some shots showing abandoned constructions. A nice broken space-elevator against a day-moon? The remains of a crashed generation-ship.
After a few nights of traveling, they find a giant, still metal form lying half-in the river – a dead Deva builder, beginning a new concrete and earth extension to the river’s edge, collapsed with jagged holes and gashes melted through its metal exoskeleton. There are a few battered Hesukristian corpses, too – one of them dressed in ancient ceramic armor a Hudsoni warrior recognizes from the Hesukristian Holy Crypts, in Cincinatl. Both the collapsed Deva and dead men are fresh, so First Knife orders them all onward. Their enemy must be close.
Good establishment of how badass these soldiers are.
Soon they smell smoke, and a burning village comes into view. Disembarking into cover further up the river, they quickly creep into the village and attack, cutting up the armored and non-armored Hesukristian warriors. Suddenly, a thin beam of red light snaps out of the smoke, dismembering Hudsoni and Hesukristian alike.
Maybe he hears “STAY” otherwise it’s unclear why he doesn’t try to run away.
After three such beams flick over the Hudsoni warriors, First Knife sounds the retreat. As he backs up, watching the carnage, the red light snaps out and touches his sword. But it only begins to heat the metal, instead of killing him outright. As the smoke clears, the source of the red light becomes clear – a sixteen year old girl, wearing ancient ceramic armor that’s too big for her, holding a dull olive-drab laser tube, riding on the shoulders of a very big man. Staring First Knife in the eyes as she moves closer and his laser-heated sword begins to smoke and burn him, the girl says “Submit, or die.
Right now, it is very, very easy for you to die.”
First Knife drops his glowing sword out of his swollen hand, and looks away – “We submit”
The laser-wielding girl commander shouts “Hesukristos has risen” – and her troops shout in response “HE HAS RISEN INDEED!”
Voistino Vazkresen! I love it!
There’s a huge emotional impact here, a big buildup of potential energy to drive the story (and pull the reader) forward.