Many eons ago, when the World was nothing more than a barren ball of rock forsaken by the gods, it was happy.
It was happy because life was simple. It was happy because life was understood. It was happy because simplicity is the way to peace, not only for creatures, but for worlds as well. And so, without even being aware of what to call it, the World was at peace.
But one day, a wild pack of gods searching for a world discovered the World. And these gods were indeed searchers, having pushed far out from the crowded, god-packed center of the Milky Way and toward the outer reaches of one spindly galactic arm. To reach the World, they flew for many ages, at a thoughtful pace, as gods are wont to do. And in reaching the World, they grew very excited indeed.
“It is a fine ball of rock!” cried one.
“And we will make a fine World of it!” boomed a second.
“Yet this time we will do it right…” whispered a third.
Gods do not need air to make sound, in space. They are gods. And so they can bend both worlds and the laws of physics over whenever they wish, screwing both as they please.
“It is time to begin,” intoned a fourth god.
And the gods did begin.
First, born from a deific love of disaster and chaos, the gods gathered in a smaller planet from elsewhere in the solar system. Obeying the artistry of physics in their task, they created a collision, watching as the flesh of the two worlds both blended and separated as the two worlds felt both sadness and joy. And a newer, more fertile World was born.
High above, the Moon formed from the debris thrown free. It seemed to watch the proceedings below, like a bastard child half envious and half relieved.
“It is now ready!” shouted a fifth god. “It is hot again!”
From the bosom of one the rest pulled the seeds of life. Seeing this, the World grew nervous. It had heard what the seeds of life had done to some of its third cousins, but being a ball of rock, could do nothing to resist.
At first life grew slow by our standards, hardly evolving at all. Yet by the standards of gods and worlds, it grew and evolved fast.
Single-cell organisms became multi-cell organisms. Multi-cell organisms became complex organisms. Complex organisms became diverse organisms. And, manipulating the flesh of the World for the benefit of life, the gods made sure that water, atmosphere and more all grew in the ways they knew to be necessary, from eons of training as young and obedient gods elsewhere in the galaxy.
Some of the gods worried, as philosopher kings and queens are wont to do, about this new life. Their godly hearts bled for every form, and they wished to good for each. But deep down they knew that what is good for one life is evil for another. So they taught life to love and trust the gods, who are always the true kings and queens of worlds.
Many of the gods descended to the flesh of the World, to grow smaller and become gods of certain places. There they learned the ways of the organs of their new World. There they worked in tandem, for the good of the whole, and always half awaiting the day when this World would die and they would be forced from its corpse and toward the distant body of another, younger one.
“It is now time for sentience,” stated a sixth god.
The other gods, seeing the giving, taking Eden they had created, assented.
And pulling new seeds from the bosom of one, the gods planted them, sewing the flesh of the changing, learning World with the sprouting promise of Humanity.
Humanity grew, following the mandate of all life by giving allegiance to the gods who were responsible for all life.
These new creatures, blessed with faculties unique on the World, did not deign to see themselves as gods over it. The very idea would have been ridiculous. They loved their wives, aided their husbands, raised their children, and partook of their communities, each of which was awash with stories that sang of the truth of that view.
“And if they were to see themselves as gods?” wondered a seventh god.
“The same fate would befall them as befell all the others of other Worlds,” replied an eighth.
“But are we not better and wiser gods than those we left behind?” inquired a ninth. “Can we not avoid the fault of our elders, faults they are only not wise enough to see, recognize, and mend?”
Godly murmurs of powerful assent rippled over, across, and within the World.
The changing World heard these murmurs. Long ago having fallen in love with the life sewn on it, it had bonded with both that cornucopia and with the gods who had fallen and bonded with it. It felt fear, and yet it also felt excitement. The possibility of more change was the common source.
“Then we will whisper to Humanity that they are but young gods,” bawled a tenth god. “Perhaps they are. Perhaps that is how new gods are grown. I disbelieve the fables told by our elders.”
Starting in one place, then, the gods did whisper.
As they knew would happen, Humanity began to behave like kings. In a god’s eye blink of Time, were gods to have eyes, a fire started that spread outward, consuming not only all other life but all of the pockets of Humanity that still believed themselves to each be one of myriad subjects in the Kingdom of Life, and not the unified King or Queen insulated from the commoners.
From on high, the effect of the change on Humanity was clear. Humanity spread, as if on a mission to turn all of the flesh of life into the flesh of Humanity. It looked to the gods like a disease. They thought of the life of their World, and of its affliction called “cancer.”
On the surface of the anguished World, the descended gods shrank or even died under the feet, tools and assault of Humanity. The gods, pressed, wondered what to do.
“And now how do we guide them?” questioned an eleventh god.
“Can we guide what will not listen?” queried a twelfth.
“Perhaps they can be taught by a greater connection of their devices,” proposed a thirteenth. “If the essential variety and interconnectivity of their machines becomes apparent to them, perhaps the essential variety and interconnectivity of the life of the World will become apparent to them.”
“Most by far will do no more than satisfy the simple desires they are evolved for,” blurted a fourteenth.
“Yet perhaps it will still work, somehow,” hoped a fifteenth.
“Perhaps it would be better if we destroyed them,” mumbled a sixteenth.
“You would murder god children?” barked a seventeenth.
“Then perhaps a humbling disaster,” ventured an eighteenth. “Destroy their belief in their own godhood.”
“Then how would we reproduce?” goggled a nineteenth.
In the end, the gods did guide Humanity into the weaving of a Web. And things proceeded with some promise. Little. Yet some. And over it all, the gods hovered, doing what they could for the bleeding, anguished World from which diversity was being stripped away like layers of skin, and cut out like organs.
“Are they gods, or are they not?” pontificated a twentieth god, the one who forever watched from the face of the Moon. “Perhaps we should not have left home so soon….”
ANTARCTIC ZHONGSHAN STATION
The station is identified by name, on screen, with a shot
from outside, full of ice, snow and wind.
This station is managed by the Polar Research Institute of
China (PRIC). It is located at 69 degrees 22′ 3.36″ S 76 degrees 22′ 17.14″ E, on
Larsemann Hills in Prydz Bay in East Antarctica, a few
kilometers from the Russian Progress II Station and the
Romanian Law-Racoviţă Station. Scientists speak Chinese,
Six scientist sit at a table in a recreational room, playing
a trick taking card game called “Tichu.”
CHINESE SCIENTIST #1
CHINESE SCIENTIST #2
CHINESE SCIENTIST #3
CHINESE SCIENTIST #4
CHINESE SCIENTIST #5
CHINESE SCIENTIST #6
(Playing four 2’s)
The three players not on #6’s team groan. The 2 that are on
#6’s team smile. Another hand begins.
The first scientist looks around, wondering if anyone will
play a bomb. No one does. The trick goes to the other team.
A small earthquake strikes. Many of the scientists grip the
table. The tremor subsides.
What was that?
Earthquake. What else?
He’s from Mongolia. He thought it
was the giant frog twitching, the
one that carries the Earth on its
The scientists wait to see what happens next. Nothing does.
They begin to go back to their game.
The scene cuts away to later. They still play.
Another earthquake strikes. Stronger. Books fall from
shelves. A window cracks, letting in howling wind and snow.
#4 stumbles to it, trying to cover the gap with a blanket.
That’s some frog!
Radio the mainland! Tell them we
have a problem!
When the quake finishes.
It finishes. The room is in disarray, with cards everywhere.
Several of the scientists move to patch the window.
The scene cuts away to later.
They’re all in the radio room. #6 works the radio, trying to
raise the mainland. The other five look around, anxious. #6
hears a voice on the radio, audible only to him. He turns
white as a ghost.
What did they say?
They… will put the red plaques
outside our… houses. Our deaths
will be remembered.
All six scientists turn white. Some drift away, picking up
odd things or falling into thought. This takes perhaps
twenty seconds. And then a low rumble begins, becoming a
tremor which rises in strength. Some cling to things. Some
fall. Things begin to collapse. Everything falls apart.
The view switches to outside. The station implodes. And then
the landscape cracks asunder, destroying everything nearby.
Fumes and fire hiss up from the cracks, melting ice.
A monster, more terrestrial and less aquaitc perhaps than
the one from the North Pole, breaches the surface and
screams with a deafening roar.
I imagine aliens would have better things to do than hang out in human hands. Just look what we’ve done to the other species on Earth, which we chose to put “in our hands.”