This small piece was a response I wrote on the r/writingprompts subreddit, which you can view here.
The prompt was: “[WP] An alien visiting earth and a fallen angel debates about being human.”
I hope you enjoy reading it, and I shall see you again soon!
That’s all for now,
In the blackest reaches of furthest night, plunging through the darkness of infinity in the event horizon of the black hole in the centre of everything, two unlikely dinner guests were perched against the obsidian nothingness, exchanging pleasantries, and sipping from what looked quite like fine bone china teacups.
“It’s funny, we’ve both spent so many years watching them, learning about them, but never caught glimpse of one another” Cassiel took a sip from his china cup, his pale hands toying with the handle as he did so.
“They’re a strange bunch it’s true.” The mouth of The Beast spoke, or what Cassiel took to be a mouth, it was difficult to quite discern, a deep voice thundering across the cosmos. “But yes, we were not aware of your kind before first contact. We scanned the cosmos extensively but your star cluster is a mystery to us.”
“Well, I should expect it would be, seeing as it’s not necessarily a where exactly, it’s a little more complex than that.”
“A multiverse? But we would have seen–” A tentacle scratched what could have been a forehead.
“Let’s just say it’s a little complicated.” Cassiel, the Watcher Beyond the World, smiled a moment, taking a sip once more from his cup.
The Beast shuffled in his seat, confused and irked by his companion’s wry grin.
“Have you been watching them long?”
“Watching whom? I’m afraid I don’t quite follow?”
“The humans.” The Beast was fast losing his patience, his voice reverberating across the reaches of the scene.
“I’ve been watching them since the first glass star of time fell, its tiny pieces scattering across the cosmos. I danced there, with a man from long ago, a man who disappeared once time was born anew.”
The Beast snorted.
“Fool. We were born out of the very furnace of creation. After the first light burnt in the sky, we emerged. And we shall be there when all of light is gone.”
“Well then…” Cassiel smiled and shook his head. “We shall have to agree to disagree.”
The Beast made a noise, something between a grunt and a snort, and returned to the gelatinous glue that was in his cup. He brought it to a valve in his swirling mass, emptied it, and place the cup down in front of him.
“Can’t say we’ll miss them,” The Beast muttered, wryly. “They have already done a good enough job of wiping themselves out. Shouldn’t need much of a push from us.”
“I’m afraid my employer can’t allow that, you see. Seeing as they are Steward of Everything, you see?”
“They are no Stewards of us.” The Beast was angered at this, insulted even, should an extraterrestrial possess such capabilities. “They are a parasite.”
“I wouldn’t put it quite like that. They’re a lovely bunch really, once you sit down and get to know them…” Another sip, bringing the cup to his angel’s lips.
“They are a parasite. They are an organism which lives in or on another organism and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense. Their words, not mine.” The mass swirled once more, its shape shifting with every pulse of the dark star.
“And yet you are using their Internet of Information to fuel your own hivemind. Funny how that works, isn’t it?”
“I do not see the humour,” the Beast replied, his voice dry. “There is no humour here. They will be removed in preparation for the new stars of our kind.”
“Is that really necessary though? The humans have already come so far in a time we both have witnessed, think what they could do in another few billion years…”
“They are not necessary for the sustaining of the universe. And, as such, they are a liability to my people. They are hunks of flesh, burning through their planet, nothing more.”
“But the human brain is capable of amazing things. Wonderful, beautiful, incredible things, if you just give it the right conditions.” Cassiel was worried now, as he struggled to keep his composure, jovial yet concerned.
“Our hivemind is capable of a million more connections than what the humans call their brains. We can predict to the smallest degree the events in the quantum universe, we can collect all that there is to know and store it for the betterment of our kind. We have no need for humans.” Another shift, this time a glowing mass of slime and scale.
“I don’t think you’ve quite grasped it. Being human isn’t about the tiny micropathways that fire across the surface of the brain, it’s what’s in the heart?”
“The pump? Why so? There’s nothing remarkable about that. Just muscle contracting and contracting until it contracts no more. They are meat, decaying on a framework of crumbling bones.”
“You mustn’t let my employer hear you speak about his creation like that, he takes this kind of thing quite personally you know.” Cassiel took another sip, careful to maintain eye contact with The Beast, or what Cassiel believed to be an eye at the very least.
“We care neither for you, nor for your employer. We care only for the health and the sustenance of the stars. Nothing more.”
Cassiel sighed. He did not take kindly to his employer being referred to in such a way, let alone himself. “But, take a poem for example. To you and I they are just mere scratchings on paper, little nondescript markings in ink. But to the right reader, a human reader it can move them to tears, elate them to the heavens. They take the languages that my employer has wrought and they turn it into something beautiful. You do follow, no?”
The Beast puzzled a moment, then spoke. “We do not know of such things. We have only what was and what is.”
“They project their songs into the furthest reaches of space in the hope of making the smallest contact with a lifeform such as yourself. They dream as they sleep of the stars, of travel, of exploration. They crave companionship, someone to teach them, to guide them.”
“A task which you are supposed to do?” The Beast laughed, a laugh that rang throughout space. “They crave to colonise, to burn, to spread like a virus, until the stars themselves go sick and rot.”
“You’re missing the point, you’re –“ Cassiel stuttered.
“We do not miss the point. We do not know how. We are the vessels of knowledge, we collect and we review and we protect the stars.” Another shift, this time as a swirling mass of letters Cassiel could not read, as though words were plummeting through the air.
“Well then, I suppose we shall have to disagree there, I am afraid.” Cassiel shook his head.
“I suppose we shall.”
“There’s nothing left for it then. My employer has instructed me that, should you turn down his offer, we are to battle for the future of the human race, the armies from Heaven against the Hive, until their fate is decided. We are to lock horns, to clash across the sprawling starscapes, until only one is left standing. The humans have a word for that, a word long fallen into the annals of history – Armageddon. I was tasked to watch, as eternity dripped against my body, as the humans brought life to the planet they call home, but I cannot interfere within their affairs. And I must warn you, my employer does not take kindly to those who meddle with his creation, and he is very keen to protect it.”
“We fear nothing, Cassiel, Seer of Stars, Prince of the Celestial Wastes. It is for the good of our universe, and all other universes that exist at its peripheries. We shall meet you, and we shall protect the Starborn.”
“So be it.”
“So be it.”
In the furthest reaches of the horizon, two distant figures appeared to reach over to one another, to shake hands, and to part their separate ways, the light that emanated from then being swallowed by the infinitude of space.
It had begun.