“This is what we’ve been training for, folks!” Harry Elam Jr. barked to the phalanxes of engineering students lined up before him. Stepping down as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education had cleared up a good bit of time for Elam to become chief tactician for the glorious Stanford Empire, and on this — the day Prophecy would be made manifest — he was ready. “When on his deathbed Leland Stanford Jr. was granted by God Almighty an unimpeachable claim to this fair peninsula, he cemented in place a birthright that we must now redeem! You see a target out there — a Palo Altonite or Menlo Parkian, even one of those dirty Athertonoids — you fire. You don’t hesitate!”

After President-General Tessier-Lavigne withdrew the Empire’s General Use Permit application earlier this month, he issued orders for Stanford’s standing militia to prepare for war, and to disregard whatever civilian casualties might result. “As we expand, we’ll rebuild atop the ruins of those heathen cultures which came before,” Tessier-Lavigne decreed from his palace balcony. “We’ve given them enough warning. God has given them enough warning. This is the land promised us, and we’re ready to take it!”

Stanford’s declaration of war against the surrounding neighborhoods is rooted in an apocryphal account of the archangel Gabriel — having descended from Heaven to guide Leland Stanford Jr. to the afterlife — announcing to a stunned Leland Stanford Sr. and Jane Stanford that all the fledgling towns nearby would one day belong to the Stanford people. “You are God’s Chosen,” scripture quotes Gabriel as proclaiming. “Not the tech workers, not the yoga instructors, and certainly not all the displaced homeless people. No, it is your righteous successors who shall, in time, conquer these hallowed grounds.”

As the war bells now ring out from Hoover Tower, the seers announce visions of the San Francisco Bay running red with the blood of righteous triumph.

“Destiny belongs not to those who wait for it!” High Priest Drell exclaimed in one of many recent rallying speeches. “God helps those who help themselves, and the day has come to help ourselves: to gorge on the blasphemers who dirty this sacred land. There is no room for doubt nor guilt, for our cause is righteous and our goal clear!”

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