Disclaimer: I own no characters whatsoever, and it all comes from the talk of "what if Jesus was an alien" I had with friends. That's all Iøm going to say...
The food is eaten, the wine drunk, except for the last jar. I pour myself a cup from it, and sip it, while I look at my friends. Most of them are already asleep, snoring slightly. Some are still fighting the sleep, amongst them Peter. I kneel down, and touch his hair gently, stroking it.
"Sleep, my friend", I whisper.
"But...we must look out for you..." he mumbles.
"I'll be safe enough. Sleep. Rest. You will need your strenght tomorrow."
I mean something entirely different by my words than he does, but he doesn't notice. His eyes close, and he also drifts off.
I get to my feet and look at them, the drunken bunch around the blanket spread out on the grass. I love them all. Even the one that left, although I find that hard to beleive.
The small device in the pocket of my robe vibrates silently against my leg. The time of contact is near, and I empty my cup. I take one last look at the sleeping men and walk into the darkness under the trees. Soon, I reach a small cliff, which I climb effortlessly, enjoying my body's strength and agility.
At the top of the cliff, my contact waits for me. He smiles, but the smile looks fake somehow.
"Good to see you, my friend!", he says.
"Likewise. So – what news? Have you been able to track him?"
"We followed him, yes. He went straight to the temple. He told them everything."
Even though I was prepared for this, had even been told the odds of it down to the last decimal – it still hurts me. How could he do it?
"So", I say, clearing my throat, "I suppose you will put me on a ship out right away? I'll just vanish in the middle of the night. A mystery."
My contact's voice is silent, and I see the truth in his eyes.
"They aren't going to allow me to leave, are they?"
"No. I'm...I'm told that the order to stay here comes from the captain himself. He thinks that if you leave now, the experiment will be wasted. We DID put 3 years into this, you know."
"Yes, don't I know! I spent the last 3 years travelling in the desert with the men – I think I, if any, should know how much effort we put into this."
"Then, you understand that we can't just let the experiment end with you vanishing into thin air..."
"Then, what do you suggest? That I let them kill me? Isn't that rather drastic?"
My voice has a endge of fear in it, which I hate. But this is still my life we are talking about.
I can't beleive my ears, and I step closer to him. He steps back, as if he is afraid I will grab him, beat him. I feel like doing it too – how can they, in their infinite wisdom up there, decide that I should just give my life for some crazy experiment?
"Look – I just give the messeges, OK? I don't give the orders. I just follow them, same as you."
"Well, the you can go back and tell the captain that I am not in the mood to die for his cause. I value my life far to much for that!"
"But you have always said you believed in the experiment..."
"I do! I beleive what we are doing here is a good thing, or at least will be, eventually. But I would like to be around to actually SEE it be good. Can't you find someone else to give their life? Give that responsibility to someone else?"
"If we made it anyone else, it would not have any impact. You know that."
I nod. I DO know.
"I just feel..."
"I feel tired. Used up. These 3 years feels like 30, and I feel like I gave all I had. Why can't we just end it all here?"
He pulls something out of his pocket. A small device with a screen, and starts to call op data on it. Probability projections. I lean in closer, stare at the numbers, and half of it is lost.
"I've been here for 3 years – could you just recap? I think I'm not as quick as I used to be."
"What it predicts here is, that if you give your life while the experiment is running, you will be considered a martyr to the cause. People will rally around your name and make the cause even greater. It also says that the odds are almost 5000 to one that most or all of your friends down there will go on after you have died. Spreading the word, so to speak."
"But what about me? Will the things I have formulated be intact? Won't it be corrupted?"
"It will, yes. If the probability holds, it will be changed, re-written and altered – but that is part of the flow of time. Besides, you know our probabilities doesn't stretch beyond a few hundred years. How can we say what will happen in 2000 years? Maybe your ideas will be dominant religion at that time!"
I nod, taking it in.
"So...what you are saying is, that if I die – like you ask of me – the experiment could culminate into a succes of greater proportions that we can measure – but what if it simply falls apart?"
"Well...that's what we do, right? Take chances, experiment."
I look at him, sternly.
"Is there anything you can do...to get me out of it, if..."
I don't finish the sentence. Even I have a hard time picturing my own death. Especially now, as I feel so alive in the warm night air. The scents of the grass, the trees...all is so full of life, that the talk of death feels distant and unreal.
"Well...we might have an opportunity to revive you...afterwards. It all depends on whether we can actually get to you or not. And of course, how they...choose to do it."
I nod. It will be hard to bring me back to life if my head has been cut off...
I stand up straight, and run a hand through my hair.
"All right. If that is the facts...tell the captain, I will do as he commands."
He nods, and point down towards the sleeping men below us.
"You really care for them, don't you?"
"Of course I do. They're my friends."
"Well, I will make sure to keep an eye on them. Maybe, if...I mean when ...we get you out of there...I'll tell them that you are all right. So they don't worry."
What are you going to do? Sit on my grave and tell them I have gone to a better place now?"
"Something like that."
I reach my hand out, and he takes it. I have told them about this custom amongst the people of this world, and they have grown to appriciate it.
"Good luck" he says.
Then, I turn around and begin the climb down the cliff. Maybe I can get a few hours of sleep, before the soldiers come and take me away.