Gold Cross / Gold Shield

By Eric Bertish


Being a Soldier of God is tough. You can find yourself halfway around the world being stalked by demons, when you have an eight o'clock board meeting to present a proposal you haven't had the time to write. Sometimes your assignments are so ineffable that you question your sanity and/or faith, but you can't talk to anyone about it because a priest will think you blasphemous and your therapist will diagnose you as dangerously delusional. You risk life and limb and soul for The Greater Good, but selflessness doesn't put food on the table or pay your daughter's orthodontist bills, and your job is in jeopardy because angels don't quite understand that humans need downtime for rest.

Enter Marc. His choir nature enables him to understand the nitpicky details of human existence, and through his Word he sees that acts of selflessness by Soldiers of God often cause them more harm than good. That isn't a fair Trade.

Gold Cross/ Gold Shield doesn't really exist; it's actually several wholly-owned subsidiaries spread throughout the corporate healthcare system. If it were one company, it would far too easy for Gamesters to track Soldiers through the paper trail. As it is now, Marc has several Kyriotates whose sole job is to lose paperwork and change procedure, while at the same time using multiplicity multitasking to keep the system running and accessible to other angels of Trade. This system, codenamed Gold Cross/Gold Shield, provides benefits to Soldiers and their families as a part of what Marc calls "Heaven's Compensation."

Gold Cross

Every Soldier of whom Marc is aware -- and his people are in constant contact with Laurence's -- is issued a new health insurance card. Sometimes this is through the Soldier's old healthcare system, if a policy change would arouse suspicion, but frequently a new account is opened with a new provider. There is absolutely nothing special about this card, as it is neither relic nor reliquary nor talisman. It is simply a card for an account with a specific routing number, and when a Domination of Trade sees this number he contacts his friend here who talks to this other Kyriotate there and... well, it gets confusing at that point. The upshot of all this is that Gold Cross provides 100% subsidized healthcare for not only the Soldier, but also his immediate family. This includes not only the standard medical/dental/optical package, but also comprehensive counseling and substance abuse programs, as well as elective/cosmetic surgery procedures. (Looking good means feeling good about oneself, which leads to increased confidence, which leads to happier and more productive Soldiers.)

It is important to note that at no time is money stolen from individual humans or insurance companies to pay for all this. The vast majority of funds come from yet another of Marc's projects, More Money Than God (to be detailed in another post if I can ever get help with it), and the rest from Marc's personal salary.

Gold Shield

At first, this sounds like a life insurance policy. And, to a certain degree, you'd be right. Gold Shield does in fact pay off in the event that a Soldier is killed in the line of duty, at rates which will not attract much notice but will still ensure the financial stability of a family if its sole breadwinner is killed. (Disablement is rarely a problem, as in extreme cases angels with extensive knowledge of Corporeal Healing and large Essence are sent to administer "physical therapy".) Its biggest benefit, though, is one that is rarely seen but constantly felt: peace of mind.

It's all well and good for a human to endanger himself by serving Heaven and fighting demons -- that's the point of free will -- but is it fair to endanger his family as well? Marc doesn't think so, and so he subcontracts with Zadkiel to provide Protection for the Soldier's dependents. Unfortunately, God may infinite but angels aren't, so it is frankly impossible for every family member of every soldier to be under 24-hour watch by an attuned Cherub. However, every family is guaranteed at least one guardian angel whose sole job is to protect them from demons and the more violent aspect of corporeal life. Vessels in the form of domestic pets are favorites, especially in families with children. Angels of Children frequently work closely with this branch, and Cherubim of Jordi sometimes volunteer.


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