Date: Saturday 21 October 2017ce 0813z
Location: Capitan Mountains, New Mexico (-0700)
The rules for Mission were simple.
They were also absolute.
For this reason, the Missionary was most unhappy, and said so.
Not in any language that a human could speak, but an assortment of hisses from its throat combined with intentional clicking of its neck and shoulder plates to provide emotional context.
“This is a dangerous game you play.”
Humanity had a long and terrifying history with religion.
“It must be done.”
The human’s response was softly spoken but still rang with the tone of finality.
The Missionary was quite impressed with the human’s finesse in using his will.
“The Future-Vision is never entirely certain.”
“But does accurately reflect current probabilities.”
The human was right about that.
“I cannot leave.”
Shoulder plates provided an angry tone.
The Missionary could easily depart without any humans, other than the one standing here, ever noticing.
But humans weren’t the only ones watching the skies now.
“How long is twenty-five of our years within your own considerably lengthy life span?” the human asked.
The Missionary shivered slightly, plates tinkling; The racial equivalent of a resigning sigh.
Many rules had been broken already; From directly interfering with (and causing) the awakening of an immature species to not destroying the craft upon discovery by said species.
Specifically, discovered by the same individual which had been awakened.
There was a line the Missionary would not cross, of course; A line upon which the Missionary will overload the void generators that powers the interstellar drive, erasing all evidence of Mission aside from the mystery of why a mountain collapsed in the middle of the New Mexico desert.
And while the human was correct, that twenty-five of this planet’s stellar orbits was not a particularly long stretch of the Missionary’s average life expectancy, those twenty-five years still had to be lived and experienced from the seclusion of its hidden craft, buried literally beneath a mountain.
“Long enough for Mission failure,” came at last the Missionary’s reply.
“You worry that I’ve seen too much,” said the human. “But did I really? If the Choice was made three thousand years ago, would I know more or less than I do now? Yes, I know; Destiny doesn’t work that way. If it can be said to work at all. But I’ve seen what I’ve seen, and I’ve planned accordingly.”
“Your plan defies probability.”
“My plan looks at what’s about to happen and accounts for the new human reality that will come from it. The plague only got them half-way there. And it’s the wrong half. The half that will look upon my past and do everything they can to distort what I’d create. Generations of political and religious strife, and still just the toss of some dice.”
It took Missionary a moment to understand the metaphorical context.
“You have been absolved,” the Missionary said. “Awakening has cleansed you of your sins.”
“Not in the eyes of my species. It will take a lot more before they can accept me without the burden of my life before awakening. And by that point, she will be ready to take up the mantle you prepared for me.”
“You leave the others alive?”
More than a touch of anger in that question.
“The old bastard has been wounded. A broken man who has now buried his one and only child, the only one in their family with a true measure of talent. Killed by the wounds I myself inflicted, though I’m certain you were watching. His witch-sister is mother to a degenerate line, each generation doomed to weakness and mental instability. Yes, I let them live. I’ve a role for all of them to play, now that each has been minimized as a threat.”
“And the Hivers?”
The tone was of fear.
The human’s sense of finality was far more direct this time.
“Are days away from revealing themselves.”
“You will not stop them?”
“They are a part of the new reality. I can help my species to survive, but I’ll not be their savior or messiah.”
“Billions will die.”
“And a new species-awareness will be born. The plague started it, yes. The sudden appearance of an alien species… A hostile alien species… That will continue it. There are billions of people out there waiting for a savior to deliver them from darkness and fear. Let them all hear my voice calling to them through that fearful dark, telling them to save themselves. Only then will they be ready. Not for a savior, but for a symbol.”
“And then… The truth. Until then, I will fight this war in the shadows, as my family always has, except without the primitive mythology they created for themselves, and my message will be spread through legend.”
The Missionary contemplated for a moment.
The first, and most irritating, fact to consider was how close to success Mission was. But the human’s argument for not yet completing the task yet in concert with how The Church would like to see the matter resolved. The immediate solution would end the conflict, but provided the least satisfaction of Doctrine and came, as the human before her stated, with a high probability of cultural and religious strife that would rival the last three thousand years of this planet’s history.
The human’s plan, the Missionary determined, was most likely to accelerate this world’s Ascension.
It was accepting the lower probability of success, and the greater chance of the unforeseen impacting that probability even further, that bothered the Missionary most.
And given Law which governed Mission under Church in pursuit of Ascension, the Missionary only had two choices: Accept the human’s plan or accept failure and implode the ship’s engines.
“What, then,” the Missionary asked with resigned acceptance, “do you intend call this legend?”