The Aruspex stood quietly by the edge of one of the windows that were a part of the giant bank of windows that covered his wall, watching the crowds of people in the city below. The window was tinted black from the outside, so those below could not see him watching them. With the flick of a button it could come clear, however, and everyone below would instantly fall to their knees, eternally grateful that they were allowed to gaze upon the distant silhouette of their god-ruler. He did not press the button though. Despite the role he played he really did not feel like a god. and he only accepted being treated as so because it was necessary for the health of the galactic empire that he cared for more than life.
The power had gone to and from his head long ago, many forms before, when being worshiped had been enough justification to do anything. But a vast span had passed since that point, and many forms as well. Age had granted a measure of tolerance in him. He was old in the mind, having seen countless eras that were stored away in the machine heart of this massive island space city, and which was constantly feeding off of his memories and experiences as well, storing them for that point when this form would fail him, and he would need to find a new body.
He only knew who this body had once belonged to because he had pressured it out of one of his subordinates. They told him that the man had been overcome with joy at the honor of being the next body for his glorious Aruspex. It was probably even true. He knew the honor that was given to him by most every living being in his empire.
When the system had first begun it had seemed like a wild idea. Having a person as god on earth, and getting everyone to really believe it. It was the perfect way to rule an empire that was so vast that it would be impossible for a military force of any size to control it all. It it could not be ruled by force, they reasoned, it would have to be ruled by a “love”. If everyone believed they were working for a god, that a god approved of them and would watch over them, they would willingly follow any command given, fight to the death to protect his honor.
It had worked better than any of those long ago would have believed. He ruled completely, perfectly, and no one dared oppose his every command.
Well, that was almost true. No matter how perfect of a system is created, there will always be those who find a reason to oppose it. And, recently those forces had gathered themselves together into one organization. The United Rebel Resistance, they called themselves, and they finally had become united. It was not perfect. Some hated him for daring to call himself a god, some hated him because they did not believe that he was a god, some hated him for the unflinching and complete control he wielded over the population of his empire. But they all had a reason to hate him, so they fought him, trying to crush the system that he, so long ago, and over such a span of time, had put together. They thought that they would be better “free”, free to fight among each other, to destroy and kill those that they didn’t believe matched up with their beliefs. It would destroy the empire, dividing it into countless nations of warring states. It had happened countless times in history, and would be destined to happen again unless the empire remained under the control of an absolute power.
And that was why they had set this system up in the first place, because the perfect system could only come by having everyone under its control. Then they would fulfill the position that they were given in society, which would benefit the empire the most, willingly and happily. Things ran perfectly smoothly, perfectly efficiently. Everyone was taken care of, to a reasonable extent. People were not left to starve, to freeze out on the streets or in cold space, so long as they continued to fulfill their role. There was enough food, enough space, enough energy, and the only reason everyone had enough was because they were guided by his hands and the laws he had set down. And because they did not feel that they had reason to rebel from the system, and followed it so perfectly willingly.
And if you asked them, they would say that they were happy, and they would mean it too. Sure, what they were doing was hard work, but every drop of sweat that they gave, every moment, every heartbeat, every drop of blood, every life, was for the glory of the Aruspex and His empire. And that was enough for them.
He turned away from the window, and walked fluidly out into the outer chamber of his rooms. Everyone who had been standing there, quietly talking, while they waited for him to emerge, promptly fell to their knees. He waved them up with a polite hand, and set off down the corridor, inquiring after their lives and joys, a benevolent god who cared for his subjects and always worked towards their best interests. That was the role he had to play, and, after so many thousands of years, he had learned it perfectly.
The rebels would fall eventually, finding out the hard way that butting their heads against an impenetrable wall built from the support of so many decillions of loyal subjects was only ever destined for failure. They would fall as so many had fallen before his grace, before the grace of his reign. And as so many were still yet to fall, in every reach of their galaxy, and, when that was finished, every galaxy in the universe.
The Aruspex had left a visitor behind in his rooms, an unseen, unknown visitor who had also wandered the universe for an undefined amount of time. This point of consciousness that had once been human still identified itself as Nicola Sovendel, despite the fact that he had been both more and less than Nicola for many thousands of years. He had spent the last five years of time within the Aruspex’s mind, the mind of the man, for he was just a man, who Nicola had once worshiped as a god just as fully as everyone else within the empire.
But he was ready to move on now. For the first time in so long, the desire for a true, physical body had built up within Nicola, and he was ready to obey that wish. In the blink of an eye, or what might have been the blink of an eye to some, on a planet far from the distant glowing light of the island city ship of the Aruspex. Its inhabitants called it Terra Prime, and it was a thriving city planet, dedicated not to agriculture, mining, or the gathering of other natural resources, but rather to the making of goods, both of luxury and utility.
Nicola was currently in a deserted section of the slums, where those who were expected to preform the most menial and simple of tasks, but still very necessary, they were told, lived. These were the ditch-diggers of society, and, unless they proved themselves to be more suited to another task, it would be where thy lived for the rest of their life.
Certain that there was no one around, Nicola slowly rotated parts of his being into existence. A general body, average height, comfortably muscular, tanned Caucasian skin. Dark blonde hair, flat grey eyes. A tight grey t-shirt, black slacks, black shoes, and black duster coat.
He took a breath, air rushing into his lungs like a fresh drink of water on a hot day. For a moment he held it, then he let it out. Lightly he ran his fingers over the wall of a nearby building, reveling in the feel of the rough material under his fingers. He had forgotten some of the beauties of having a physical form. But it took him a moment to readjust to a physical form, as well. His first step was quavering, cautious, and it took several moments longer before the neural impulses connected with limbs once more, and he was able to walk away.
He had no plan right now. All he wanted was to live, live in the moment, in a linear, consistent time, for as long as he wished.
Well I'm a sucker for fine Cuban cigars, The problem is I can't afford 'em, But last year I went and got myself a whole box, And just to be safe I insured 'em
I took out a policy against fire and theft, And then I hurried home, With a fifty-cent lighter I sat on my back steps, And I smoked 'em one by one
Two weeks later I went to see that insurance man, And I handed in my claim, With a straight face I told him that through a series of small fires, They'd all gone up in flames
They reviewed my case and they had no choice, But to pay me for what I'd done, And I took that check and bought a whole new box, And I smoked 'em one by one
Two weeks later this detective shows up, Tells me that company's pressin' charges, One speedy trial later they locked me up, On twenty-four separate counts of arson
And now I sit and I stare at a blank brick wall, Lookin' back on what I've done, To pass the time I've got some ten-cent cigars, And I smoke 'em one by one