Test of Time is something I wrote back in early 2001. In fact, I wrote the four stories in the series before 9/11, which is kind of odd in retrospect, since Islamic terrorism is one of the major topics involved. However, it is set in a very alternate history, so any comparisons to our world are ambiguous at best.
The premise of Test of Time is fairly straightforward. The Pale One–a quasi-immortal being of pure white complexion–has ruled over humanity for generations. He forcibly segregated the human race by skin color, separating them into different Gradations, and enclosing them in single-Gradation cities. No religion except an overly-secularized Judaism exists–a means of control exerted by the Pale One. But he has seen the stagnation his efforts have produced, and hatches a plan to revitalize human civilization.
There are some fanfic elements here, due to a tangential relationship to the Hell’s Fire universe. In other words, there are characters that are very similar to X-Men characters–sometimes even in name. A rewrite will remove those references but the overall story should remain intact.
When it was originally posted, it sparked a considerable amount of discussion. Some wondered if the Pale One was right to enforce the kind of segregation he did. It certainly created a world of peace, albeit peace through fear. State terror was the norm. The opening makes this very stark, as an entire school is massacred for daring to harbor a child of the wrong Gradation. This is one of the stories I’m actually fairly proud of, because there is a lot of ambiguity, no easy answers, and you can never be sure just who is right or wrong. I’m also quite pleased with the universe I built around this. The writing is not that great–it improves dramatically from one story to the next, so the technical level of this one is easily the worst of the four stories I wrote. Still, I think it’s a worthwhile tale.
Without further ado, since I’ve had enough of that already, here is Test of Time: