by Holly Heisey -
Three fingers tap on five in mnemonic blue light of the fazing screen. Tap tap tap. Once five, now three; Kerin Rhi left the ground, the water, and the world and its dangers for higher sights. He is smart, so he is here. Here is a ten by ten meter cabin on Avenir, walls slightly wedged, where he sits on his white couch and watches the Peacekeepers like a god. And this disturbs him.
Kerin has decided to ask an angel what angels undersea think of the Peace Council. He has decided this is smart, but to be safe, he has of course triple locked and bypassed the security protocols of even his Council line. Maybe he is a god and doesn’t know it; but it would not be good for others to think he thinks of that at all.
The screen fazes on an orange-red infrared signature, a blob among blue-green swirls from the waters below. He doesn’t know if a god-link can be made this far, but it is near Approaching, and he must try. He sits forward on his couch and squints at the screen. He is not a wizard. None in his family were wizards, how can he possibly presume to talk to an angel?
How can you presume not to?
He jumps so high he almost hits his head on the bulkhead rail and floats carefully down in this less than normal gravity.
How can he presume not to? “How can I presume not to what?”
To talk to me, stupid.
Kerin blinks at the screen, wets his lips and says feebly, “Stupid?” Stupid is one thing he knows he is not. Of course, this is not an angel; it must then be a demon. Which is almost as good. He sits forward again.
“Are we gods? Are Peace Council members gods? It often feels like so, yea, it does.”
The demon snorts and the blob of red ripples in the water. Gods. What is a god? What makes a god a god but the people who worship it? Are you worshipped?
Kerin thinks about this, his thoughts waving with the slow churning on the screen. “I am…perhaps.”
Perhaps. You mean you do not know?
“I…” He thinks some more. “The Peacekeepers look up to me, and I look down on them.”
“But I don’t know if they worship me.”
So ask them.
Ask. Them. It can’t be so hard, especially if you are a god. And if you are, they’ll want to know.
Kerin blinks. He hasn’t thought of this. It is so simple, of course. He opens his mouth…then closes it again. He leans forward to divulge his great secret. “I can’t speak to them. I am a member of the Peace Council; they can’t know who I am.”
Secrets are good. Secrets are somewhat godlike.
Kerin sits back, satisfied.
Ten decks below him on the station, the wizard Encimanion Coriander Peronnel wonders at the spike of neural activity between Avenir and a plot on Eclectia he’s long suspected to be haunted by demons. His hands track the signal in a rush--to Room Eight in Ward Two of the Rich Men’s Happy Bin. He sighs and makes a mark in his log beside “Kerin Rhi, marginally psychotic”—fifth time this month. He’ll speak to Kerin later, but now, as the signal’s already gone, he sends his scanners onward.