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Following the overwhelming success of the pioneering research conducted by the original ALICE project, the sponsors of the VLHC chose to break with their naming convention by referring to the "Very Large Ion Collider Experiment" as ALICE II. At its inception, the project was hailed as one of the final milestones on the path of enlightenment which would unlock the few remaining mysteries of Dark Energy, allowing humans to harness previously unimaginable power.

Upon Activation Day, however, eternal infamy quickly replaced the public's widespread ignorance and apathy regarding the experiment, due to the inadvertent artificial creation of so-called Oh-My-God particles, better known in their naturally occurring form as ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. As an unexpected consequence of surpassing the poorly understood pionic interference threshold, there were no safeguards to contain or redirect the resultant gluon plasma cascade, which caused the temporary hemispheric bisection of the moon in a spectacular series of explosions that killed 860 million residents of Terraprime and sickened over 3 billion from the exposure.

More ominously, as the survivors would eventually discover in the coming decades of Lunar Reconstruction, this disturbance in the continuum initiated the first microscopic tears which would gradually grow and merge to form the Rift, forever changing our relationship to spacetime, and opening the way for the conquests and malicious exploits of The Other.

Among the many ironies which may be noted of these events, two in particular stand out. First, that if the ALICE II project had not immediately annihilated itself, it would indeed have yielded the knowledge sought, which ultimately may have proven far more destructive to our fledgling interplanetary civilization, considering the growing intensity of skirmishes with the Pro-Gideon Alliance. Hellbent on cleansing the "scourge" of humanity from the cosmos, Dark Energy would have provided the ideal means for the Pro-Gideons to accomplish their goal of absolute human extermination.

It would be 141 years of linear-time before the full extent of this threat became widely known, when the vaults of Zurich were finally sacked, and the truth about the Sinterel Corporation was revealed. Owned by none other than Gibran Sinterel, now denounced as a Pro-Gideon collaborator, the Sinterel Corporation was the primary contractor on the ALICE II project. The files obtained in Zurich showed detailed plans for the construction of a new type of weapon, powered by Dark Energy, with the sole purpose of destroying entire stellar systems. (These plans remain classified, although I have seen them with my own eyes.) Perhaps, then, we can look upon the epic failure of the VLHC as a merciful twist of fate.

The second and greater irony is that, in violating the Greisen–Zatsepin–Kuzmin limit, the far-flung remnants of this disaster would announce our existence (and our collosal mistake) to the Elonatha, whose wisdom and assistance would guide us to the present state of long-lasting peace and prosperity enjoyed throughout the Inter-Continuum Republic. Without them, we would surely have fallen to The Other, if not ourselves.

In the final analysis, we have learned much from the ALICE II project and the VLHC as a whole. But its most immeasurable value has come in unexpected forms, like a divine epiphany in the punctuated equilibrium of the evolving multiverse. One can only speculate where we would be if these events had unfolded differently, but I, for one, am grateful to providence.

~ Phineas Fnordmonger