“The moment Ai kicked me off the nest on Mizar 3, I had to face a rather embarrassing problem: what to do with my life. I guess this is something youngsters of all species share to a certain extent. In our case, it is complicated by two factors: one, all choices are open to us. And when I say all, I mean it. Two, we live long long lives, where you can’t die of boredom, only live bored to death. Not something I would like.
So I headed towards the Galaxy’s Great Table of Destinies, resigned to pick up the least awful one–for a start. It looks like eons ago, but I still remember that day.”
“Have been there too, Ki. Not that easy.”
“Not at all. Take wizardry. Nobody can deny they’re a powerful lobby. How to explain otherwise those false images of a rewarding and enjoyable career? Peering over various planetary systems and observing them, I had the impression it was something I could master out of a whim. A few formulas, voilà, training in fancy places, voilà, pretty babies and boys to keep you company (that was the best part). Ha. Masters of deception, they are. This is the real magic, not the rest.
As I have found out many decades later wasted in a miserable existence, wizardry is the worst possible way of spending your time; mine, for sure. I was so focused in trying to control my environment and accomplishing things that I regularly forgot to ask myself if I actually wanted them at all. And regarding romance, well, even pumpkins look like cuties with the right spells. I fancy mine natural.”
“Some surprise. You’re smug by design.”
“If you say so. To cheer me up, I set my eyes on trainer of dragons. Once you get your own pet, and you learn a couple of tricks, you can tame all the others of the same kind. And they are bad-ass, the beasts. Having them behaving is not a task for the faint of heart. That pleased my vanity, and kept me happy for a couple of centuries.”
“But you had enough, eventually.”
“Eventually. So I took to fly; interstellar pilot was even easier. There’s no need to travel faster than the universe allows. You have only to pretend to, shouting to ignorant passengers “and now, let’s shift to light speed” and les jeux sont fait. Glory and kudos are assured, at the speed of light.”
“Looks like a career full of satisfaction and no hazards, perfect for you. After all, laws of physics pardon intrepid souls, and so do passengers once they discover the horrible truth.”
“Indeed. Some trolls tell them though, taking away the fun. So I went upscale. Vampire.”
“This is why you’re here now. When I beamed you details about this small planet of a peripheral spot of the Milky Way I thought you would never join me,” El says, stroking her long hair. How pretty is she?
“Happy to prove you wrong. I’m sure you noticed, this job enjoys an excellent reputation here. And the position comes with some perks: white skin, ethereal beauty, and a pervasive scent of sex and sin that makes the whole thing quite alluring. If it were not for the impossibility to see daylight, I would have maybe gone for it. Just maybe. I like too much my dawns and sunsets to give them up for a few hot babes, crypts and garlic heads. And to blood I still prefer red wine.”
“But you stayed on Earth though.”
“Yes, after all, its master species looks rather creative in terms of possible occupations for gifted kids from outer space. I knew they had something for me, even though landing on the right one has taken a while.”
“Did you try zombies?”
“You bet. Them, and the whole set of brainless hordes with fanciful names. But…”
“It didn’t last.”
“Just one year. Zero fun. You can say that a few species of Earthians–mainly humans–qualify by birth for the lack of rational thinking, but things get more complicated when you want to turn into one. Zombification equals eating foul, stinking stuff, which is of course the worst punishment after having to run after screaming human preys.”
“And you ended up following my advice.” She smiles, looking at her white, tapered fingers. “They call me Venus here.”
I smile too. Yes, I did follow the advice of a fellow alien creature and, after much wavering and bad picks, I decided to settle like her for godship. Three thousand years later, I am still moderately happy with this choice. Entertaining, colorful, and always ending up in the most incredible situations, human gods are the cosmos’ best invention after quantum physics and theatre. And with more deities than insects on this little rocky planet and more churches than hospitals or schools, I bet I won’t get bored any time soon.
With a gesture of my lithe hand I summon dark clouds bloated with rain, ready to unleash the deluge upon a silly bunch of humans that keep demanding doom for all their enemies. It’s the moment for them to learn that gods are vain and capricious and it’s difficult to know which one is listening.
They’d better get ready: tonight is Gilgamesh Time.
Russell Hemmell is a statistician and social scientist from the U.K, passionate about astrophysics and speculative fiction. Stories in Not One of Us, PerihelionSF, Strangelet, and others.
Image by George Agathos