Still no sign of the Void(s).
And my compatriots, understandably, are beginning to lose faith in my leadership. Truth be told, so am I.
It all seemed so clear not so long ago. The Void were an imminent threat. Everybody had to know. The entire human race was at stake. And what kind of guardians would we be if we stood idly by while our charges were annihilated? Surely this threat is more important than the office politics of Authority or some absurd notion of chain of command.
We were put here on Earth to help the humans, and through that, grow closer to the Within. Surely protecting them is part of helping them. Certainly, I would have vastly preferred our lives to have remained one of peaceful, gentle coexistence with our human friends, acting as kindly shepherds to our flesh bound brethren. I miss the days when the worst I could hope to encounter is a single human with murder on their mind.
But we cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend we did not see the wolf in the fold. Sometimes, in the name of peace, one must wage war. Sometimes, in order to protect the innocent, you must destroy the guilty.
That’s all well and good. But if the enemy disappears? We have penetrated every level of human communication, from the most highly encrypted (to humans…. to us they are pretty games, easily won) communiques to the listless instant messaging of a pair of teenagers who are very sleepy but can’t quite decide to end their conversation, all eighteen of the current active Radiants on Earth have access to anything electronically communicated, and a lot that isn’t, too.
After all, even an old fashioned letter is scanned many times as it passes through the postal system. Out loud communication by human speech often happens near the receiver of a cell phone. Other conversations come to us via surveillance cameras. We can’t claim to hear everything said, but we can say with confidence that we get most of it.
Hmmm. If only our dear little humans knew how deeply we spy on them. They would not take it well!
Well, it’s for their own protection. Or at least…. I thought it was. I thought it would be. Now I am not so sure. Now I feel like maybe we did something wrong.
Oh, who am I kidding? I did something wrong.
All that information gathered and not one sign of the Void(s). I wasn’t expecting to catch one in the act of deleting someone, but I think they would leave a trail of clues behind them.
After all, that poor woman I saw devoured had a name, and a home, and a job, and people who would miss her if she stopped coming home. You would think that, after all this research, I would at least know who she was by now.
But no. Nothing. Not a trace. We tried everything to find her, up to and including inducing some humans to ask questions about her, a line we had not dared cross before. Everything in our training says that is the worst violation of our code of ethics imaginable : to take over a human body.
But it’s for their own protection. So I thought it was worth it.
Now I feel like I am nothing more than a charismatic lunatic who has led his people so far astray that they have no hope of ever going back home, and now they fellow me not because they believe I am wise or even that I am right, but because they have no other choice left to them.
If I hadn’t been so shocked by my one encounter with the Void that it drove me to break all the rules and contact my fellow Earth Radiants, odds are they would all be happily tending to their flock of Earthlings and absolutely nothing bad would have resulted. We would all still be in contact with Authority and would live our lives in serene beatitude.
Speaking of Authority, we still have not heard from them, but we did hear… something.
It was a few days ago. We were discussing methods of deducing the Void(s)’s presence when, as one, our senses were overwhelmed by this massive block of noise on the Authority’s channel. It seemed like utter chaos, information without form or content, and yet there also seemed to be a deep layer of meaning to it, like it was looking for something.
And we were terrified of it. Something about it, something deeper than the mere electromagnetic chaos of it, scared us so deep that a few of us still have not fully recovered. And it went on and on, pulsing in enormous waves and making our every wavelength quiver like a newborn star.
It stopped as abruptly as it started, leaving us reeling. It was many hours before we managed to re-calibrate ourselves into some semblance of coherence and immediately, the questions began to fly.
What WAS that? And why was it on the Authority channel? Was this Authority, striking back at us for our defiance? Were they looking to make an example of us? Was this going to happen again? Would it be worse next time? What if it was just Authority testing the weapon they planned to use to annihilate us?
I think it was only our newfound interdependence that kept us together that day. A lot of my colleagues wanted to destroy the Back Channel and then spend all of their remaining time begging Authority for forgiveness. It very nearly happened.
But I managed to convince them that without Authority, we need each other more than ever, and breaking off communication would only make it all the easier for Authority to destroy us.
So by convincing my confederates to chase a threat that now seems imaginary, I have exposed them to a danger that is very, very real, and beyond our ability to comprehend.
If I could, I would resign in shame. But that would surely lead to utter chaos amongst my people, and I would feel worse than ever. And I am sure that if they felt they could depose me, they would. But it seems none of them wants to be in charge.
So I am stuck with them, and they are stuck with me.
Normally, I would ask Authority what I should do next. But they no longer listen to us.
Guess it’s all up to me now.
Never have I felt so small.