Its first public appearance was, appropriately enough, at a wedding in late December 1999. The San Diego press carried a footnote story about a massive brawl that broke the bride’s arm and caused an elderly relative to suffer a heart attack. When questioned by police, participants couldn’t recall what had started the fight, only that they had suffered a bout of intense jealousy and glimpsed a flash of something golden.

A year later, a fistfight started in a Colorado pawnshop that spilled out onto the street, quickly involving bystanders and nearby shopkeepers who could have had no personal stake in any quarrel. A unit of the Denver police in full riot gear was required to calm the altercation, which resulted in hundreds of concussions, broken bones, and knocked-out teeth.

Following the resulting trail of destruction saw the same pattern–immense and violent fights breaking out spontaneously–all over North America. Toronto (2002), Atlanta (2003), Mexicali (also 2003), Detroit (2004), and Seattle (2005). Careful examination of newspaper records and police reports shows a line of smaller altercations between each major outbreak. Participants would always claim memory of nothing but intense jealousy and a golden glow before plowing into the melee.

While its mechanism (pheromones, subsonic vibrations, or something supernatural), and origin (experiment, accident, or divine intervention) remained obscure, thorough investigation revealed one incontrovertible fact.

The Golden Apple of Discord had returned.

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