No Void. Never was. Trapped here forever. The Beam doesn’t want me.
The Big Beam has been back dozens of times now. Every time the volume drops and every time the knife gets sharper. The first time was a sunset, powerful but diffuse.
Now, it’s like s malevolent laser bream, cutting through anything and everything in its way, looking for me and never finding me. Again and again I have run to the Beam as it hunts, but its light passes right through me.
It tortures my three brothers, however.
Didn’t there used to be more? Like, a lot more?
Their screams have made me weary and weak. Far better that I die than endure the torture of my three Earth-bound radical Radiant brothers. I would die a thousand times if it would spare them this torment.
I feel as though I already have.
Yeah, yeah! There was like, a couple dozen of you all over the world. I remember that. Where’d all your friends go?
Even worse are the screams of the humans. As we feared, the Beam has no mercy. It will carve the surface of the Earth like it was peeling an apple and shows absolutely no consideration for what it burns. A forest, a mountain, a street full of children at play. It is all the same for the Beam.
If the Beam is truly from Authority, then Authority has gone mad. Some might call it evil, but to a Radiant, there is no difference. Evil is madness, plain and simple.
Now look fella, I’ve known a lot of crazy people, and I’ve known a lot of evil people, and brother, they ain’t alike at all.
For one thing, the crazy ones are a lot easier to like.
If the Beam is not from Authority, then Authority is dead. Our species is dead. The Radiance and Authority are joined at the center. Without Authority, the Radiance cannot reproduce. The whole reason Authority was conceived was because it is so hard for us to reproduce. We had to create an enormous organization capable of tracking millions of stars and predicting their behaviour to the very last decimal point in order to increase our numbers. Without Authority, none of my people are capable of finding just the right star at just the right moment putting out just the right energy for us to procreate.
And while we are almost immortal, that does not mean we are forever young. We age slowly but we age, and soon enough we are so old and incoherent that we are no better than a flickering nebula arguing with itself.
Well that’s clever. Live forever but age anyway. Wish I’d thought of that.
So it seems I have not just doomed my three brothers and my beloved humanity, but my own race as well. A hundred Earth millennia from now, there will be none of us who even remember the time when we were fertile and vital and young.
Jeez, fella. Get over yourself. You didn’t ask this Beam thing to come along. You had no way of knowing that sticking up for yourself could lead to that. You did what you thought was right, and that’s all God and all His angels can ask of us.
Well, I did what I thought was right. That’s all the Radiance Within can ask of us. I have no choice but to try to learn to accept that. Even we Radiants are at the mercy of the whims of fate.
Wait a minute…. are you listening to me? Since when did that start? I’ve been yakking in your ear for years now and the best I got was a pat on the head and a meal at that lousy diner. So this is the time when you start listening?
Lemme see if I can work this. Uh…. Santa Claws wears red rubber knickers.
I feel guilty for how self-pitying I have become. What is the misery of one immortal compared to the millions of lives lost to the Beam, not to mention how it has destroyed human society due to the impossibility of prediction or defense.
Well that didn’t work. I guess it can’t be something stupid. Maybe it’s got to be something along the lines of what this sad sack of crap is already thinking.
Humanity is destroying itself out of rage and fear and frustration. The future has been abandoned and people are drinking, eating, smoking, and indulging in every destructive pleasure on Earth in their frenzy to forget the Beam and live life to the fullest before the Beam comes for them.
Sound like my kind of party. They got any women?
I appreciate their suffering and their need, and I especially appreciate the mad joys they are bringing me as they are all I have to ease my pain, but this is definitely not my kind of party.
Hey, that kind of worked! What next, uh…. uh… fuck, I don’t know. This putz is on some kind of economy sized guilt trip, and I never put up with that shit when I was alive. Fucked if I know how to deal with it now. I know, since this bozo is so into making a martyr of himself, let’s lay some New Testament on him. “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces….” shit…. “glory”?
The humans think that suffering brings glory. But to me, it’s nothing but shit.
Uh, that was close enough I guess. Listen, things are going to change around here now that you can hear me, kinda. You used to be a lot more fun to be around and with me in charge we’re going to get back to that. We’re gonna forget about your immortal torment and go get some liquor and some pussy, okay? You hear me?
The final insult? Even Frankie has stopped talking to me. Not that I can blame him.
Aw, son of a bitch…