Disclaimer: I don't own Star Ocean 3. The rightful owners do.

This is a bunny I've had for awhile. Or actually, this is a very small segment of that bunny. That has no 'research theologian' (God Was My Copilot trope) running around with Albel attempting to capture Romero (and joking about doing it with a butterfly net), not to mention conspiring with chibi!Sophia, and the ficverse is much sadder for it. Also, Connection is totally the most powerful gene.

'That one book' is Strata, by Terry Pratchett. I think the book is very relevant to Star Ocean 3. The planet of supermodels thing is from the Insecticomics, especially Ask Vector Prime. The game is Shadow of the Colossus.

Only the acting skills honed over centuries of role-playing allowed Luther to resist the urge to roll his eyes. "At this point, even I'm starting to doubt that they're capable of actual thought. I'm dropping hints that are about as subtle as meteors, and it's still not penetrating their thick skulls. Maybe I should use smaller words?"

Unsurprised that his next attempt didn't do anything but make them think that he was the insane one who couldn't see what was right in front of his nose – forget their opinion of him, didn't they have any respect for themselves? As though a universe like theirs could have been constructed by an insane idiot.

Well, it was a little arrogant of him to think that they should know that he was awesome from the way he'd given them a world with magic, space travel, the ability to cure almost any disease: all the things his world didn't have. He'd given them everything the people of his world had ever dreamed of. Even death wasn't the end for them!

Spare the thunderbolt, spoil the child?

By their works ye shall know them? Or not, in their case.

Everything had been going wonderfully until Blaire had realized that the people he'd created had managed to evolve minds of their own and free will and informed the government like the complete idiot that she was. That had been a close call, but he'd already created an insanely powerful security system so no one had to worry about his children wandering around on the internet and trying to take over the world or kill the fleshlings or anything.

Then the dear, curious little things had a stroke of absolute genius. None of the scientists of Earth had ever figured out how to do anything as close to magic as just letting an AI materialize in the real world. He hadn't even thought it was possible, which was why it was a PC instead of him that found out about the research project and informed the government without even having the decency to report it to tech support as a bug so Luther could run damage control first.

Sadly, the fact that his wonderful creation was so popular (which was in no small part thanks to the emotional attachments and friendships people developed with its people) meant that quite a lot of military people played it. And they could do the math just fine.

The Eternal Sphere had magical armaments. Shields, insanely powerful guns… the Federation could conquer Earth with a scout ship. They didn't have anything that could fight back. And the Federation would have to: no government could put up with the danger his world presented. All it would take was a few bombs blowing up the servers, and all the citizens of the Federation would die. They'd have to conquer Earth just for their own self-preservation. There was really no alternative.

So Earth would have to destroy them first. If rogue AI had the ability to enter the world with this much firepower, there really was no alternative.

Unless, of course, the rogue AI weren't rogue and backed down, obeyed their Creator, realized that he had a damn plan… But no. He'd had to make this act convincing, to convince his government and, most importantly, convince Blaire, who had been so determined to see the good in her brother. Who had known that he wouldn't really do this.

And when she was telling the government that he wouldn't really do this, protesting on his behalf and saying how wrong the order was, he had no chance of pulling the wool over their eyes. She had to really believe that he would kill them all without any regret. That was the only way this had a chance in hell of working.

So, at this point, everyone present believed that he actually did want to kill them (what with blowing up planets and the parody of Blaire he'd made to mock the hell out of her for how difficult she was being), and he couldn't do anything to let the people who would certainly watch this recording later figure out that wasn't what was really going on.

He could only try to get them to realize that hey, if they weren't real people and admitted it, then they were no danger to his world. If they were instead obedient AI, or intelligent little children who could take a fucking hint, then he didn't have to kill them. He could just go ahead and restore their earth and everything from backup, and this would never have happened. His people could believe that they were safe, the people of the Eternal Sphere could live, and everyone would be fine if they could just take a hint and realize that he was repeatedly insisting that they were programs for a reason.

Come on! If he really believed that they were programs, would he have been trying to convince them? Of course not, there would have been no point.

He could only keep trying to get this through to them for so long. He could act like he'd cracked well enough to fool his sister, but they'd have analysts going over this. At a certain point, even the 'mental breakdown' he'd have very publically after this would cease to be a good enough excuse.

Fortunately, it wasn't so much that he had a plan B as trying to get them to play along was the plan B. Plan A was the one he'd come up with after he'd found out that his creations had started inventing computer games of their own. No emotionless, soulless program could possibly create art. It was when he'd played one of them and found himself only starting to take notes two hours after he was done, the greatest game designer Earth had ever produced (according to the reviewers, anyway) wowed by a combination of horseback riding and mobile-mountain climbing that he'd realized that he'd accidently created life, and they were awesome.

God, he was so proud of them.

Well, they weren't being that impressive right now, but lack of sleep and panic did that. It was really very noble of them to keep fighting, keep trying to get through to him, etc. etc. It was all a very stirring story arc, which really just confirmed the theory that his world was also someone's creation.

The creation of a real jerk, because seriously, who set the speed limit at light? Who would stick their kids with cancer and oblivion?

Honestly, there were millions of problems with his creation (he'd written it, he could see all the flaws), but he still thought he was a fairly decent god because 'his' god, not to mention that bitch Freya and the others who kept trying to invade his creation, were such bastards that saying he was good compared to them was damning him with faint praise.

Anyway, the realization that billions of people that he was personally responsible for were a computer virus or government order away from oblivion had made finding an insurance policy very, very urgent. He didn't want to use Plan A. If they'd just back down and give him an excuse to not delete them, then they could be kept around in the public eye. People could get used to the idea of having AI. His world's government could figure out how to get spaceships that worked in this universe and bring them over. He'd even supply them with his own personal cheat codes so they didn't have to worry about being attacked.

On the other hand, if he was forced to 'destroy' the Eternal Sphere because it was too dangerous, and then people realized that he'd just hidden it away?

They'd destroy it, he'd be regarded as a traitor and watched very closely for the rest of his life just in case he had any other backups. They'd die, and he'd be out of options to save them with.

He'd have to spend the rest of his life as a broken-down recluse, to avoid the chance of making any slips. He'd have to spend the rest of his life with his sister hating him, because Blaire would be so relieved that he hadn't destroyed them. Blaire would want to reveal that they were still alive and hand them over to that museum, since she always thought the best of people, and even if he did manage to convince her, even if watching them all die in about five minutes convinced her that this was not a game but serious business that she couldn't just walk in and help the heroes solve like some Mary Sue, she still couldn't lie worth a damn. She'd be so relieved that they were alive that she'd give the game away. Hell, even no longer hating him for killing them would give it away, because there was no way Blaire would ever forgive something like the genocide he was about to fake committing.

Not to mention that Plan A, loading the Eternal Sphere on a stealth satellite and launching it a good ways away from his planet to drift around looking like the other junk from the era before they'd given up on having a space program, was a lot harder now that he had to fool two sets of people. He had to make them believe that their world was no longer connected to his, because otherwise they'd try to send a starship or person in a space suit over again, it would work, and then, since they'd be convinced he was the enemy, they really would blow Earth to kingdom come in self-defense.

At least all the crossing back and forth they'd done had allowed him to get a pretty good read on what the Connection gene actually did. It was potentially possible to use Alteration to make the Eternal Sphere no longer dependant on his universe, Destruction to destroy the programs that gave the people of his world such power here and Connection to sever the bonds between them.

That would take time, though. Of course, the three-dimensional Eternal Sphere didn't have real time, the fourth dimension. If he 'died' doing this, the way Blaire kept warning him about, as though he didn't already know that, he'd written the damn safety protocols, then he'd have all the time in the world.

On the other hand, if he didn't stay in his world, then he wouldn't be able to keep an eye on his backup plan. He wouldn't be able to try and run damage control if anything went wrong.

…but they'd be watching him. If they figured out that he was watching the situation, and worrying, then they'd know something had to be up.

And then they'd all die. Fayt and his bravery, Maria and her tenacity, Sophia and her kindness: all of them. Billions upon billions. A world that he'd kept safe from death, where there was no real ending, only other worlds, other wonders, would be extinguished.

He couldn't let that happen. This was his work of art, this was his life. They were the only children he'd ever have, the only ones he'd ever want. He'd looked up at the stars as a child, read tales of aliens and wizards and wished: they were his every dream come true.

He was cutting it close: time was almost up. There was a very real chance that this would kill him without giving him a chance to transfer his mind here. He was a programmer, not a god: he'd given the people of this world the potential to have powers like this, yes, but they were powers he didn't have. He was just a mortal, even if he'd intended better for them.

He had to believe. Every trace of the old Eternal Sphere had to be deleted: he had to believe that he'd managed to create yet another afterlife, yet another second chance for them. He had to believe that they'd pull it off (and hadn't they exceeded his every expectation?), he had to believe that he could do this.

If there'd ever been a time Freya's arrogance would have come in handy…

Alright. Enough putting it off: time for the death scene. He'd admire the fact they were so powerful if it weren't for the fact that the more impressive they were, the more they scared the hell out of the people of his world. Luther had drawn the fight out to give him time to think and them time to figure out what was going on, but the fact he hadn't been able to flatten them instantly, even with his administrator codes, made them look even more powerful than they were.

They were fairly strong. Not strong enough to stop Freya if she tried again, not yet, but fairly strong.

Alright, he was impressed, but if he looked smug and patted himself on the back while he was supposed to look mad and beaten that would give the game away.

Trying to write the Creation gene into his new avatar at the last minute was probably a bad idea. A rush job, with something that powerful? On the other hand, if he could create the new Eternal Sphere independent of his own world from the start, that would mean he wouldn't have to go to Fayt, Maria and Sophia and try to convince them to hear him out instead of killing him a second time. That would be bad, especially since if they succeeded in killing him that would let them know that his world was still connected to theirs, still a threat, and eventually the Federation would take those necessary steps to fight back.

He wasn't all-knowing, or the UN wouldn't have found out about the genes and they wouldn't be in this mess. He wasn't all-powerful, or Freya wouldn't have given him a run for his money. He certainly couldn't see the future, or he wouldn't have been surprised when they evolved sentience.

He was a poor excuse for a god, but he was the only one they had. Time to start acting like one.

A god sacrificing his life in order to save his children and give them eternal life made for a great story, too. If it worked, he'd have to leave them some note that they could find eventually. Thinking that he didn't really care about them or see them as people had really hit some of them hard. If he hadn't been acting that way in order to save their lives, well, ok, he still felt bad about it.

The Eternal Sphere wasn't some hack job. He'd put hours and hours of his life into this world, dammit, and they should know that, not just so that they felt better about themselves but so that they gave him some damn credit.

Really, he should have spelled out Copyright Luther Lansfeld on some planet somewhere. Maybe in the form of a mountain range, like in that one book.

Well, if the whole creation gene thing worked out, he was creating himself a planet full of supermodels to retire to. He'd have damn well earned it. He was also going to appear before these people after they died so he could make them apologize for being idiots and making this harder than it had to be, because seriously.

Whatever happened to having faith in god?