Pascal's Wager

"But of course we're meant to be here, It's God's will."

Aras sighed-an expression of frustration that he'd picked up from the gethes. Frustration that stemmed from numerous sources in this case-the humans' belief system was perplexing enough, how they insisted that deities and angels existed at all, and that all other systems of belief were false. But that they believed in it without any hard evidence to back it up…well, despite their consumption of carrion, despite their technology lagging behind even that of the isenj, humanity was clearly an intelligent species, even if one took their narrow view of what intelligence actually encompassed. So why this irrational mindset?

Or rational, as the people of Constantine called it. The irrational supposedly remained on their homeworld. The godless.

Heck, maybe they were irrational too, considering the state the world called "Earth" was in…even if it was still mostly covered in water. As far as Aras could tell, gethe science and belief both went hand in hand with insanity.

"I am not going to debate your beliefs with you," the wess'har murmured to Benjamin, gazing upon the established settlement of Constantine, ensuring that their patterns of construction matched the edicts laid out by the matriarchs. "As long as you respect the world around you and our laws, you are permitted to stay on this world."

"Of course," answered the leader of "the faithful." "As the lord wills."

"No, gethe, as the matriarchs will. And bear in mind they do not answer to the higher power you believe to exist. They answer to the laws of Wess'ej. The laws that have been applied to Beser'ej by proxy. The laws that led to the removal of the isenj from this world and would permit us to do the same to your species in a heartbeat."

Benjamin fell silent. All in all, Aras wasn't surprised. Sometimes he suspected that the man was preaching his faith in front of the guardian because of the fact that the wess'har in question was an affront to what that fate stood for. Or rather c'naa'tat was, but as the parasite had entered Aras's bloodstream, granting him eternal life and forever cutting him off from Heaven, the wess'har was the object of his dislike. And there was the question of isenj genocide. Never mind that it was to save the few beseri that remained on this world from the aliens' pollution. Apparently humans believed that the bigger an animal was, the more its life was worth.

Unlike their…"religion" as it was called, it was a belief that was proving to be contagious. If it hadn't, Aras might have ordered the refugees eliminated as soon as they entered the Cavanagh System.

"I will take my leave," Benjamin said eventually. "Until then Aras…"

He extended his hand…a gesture of trust and/or friendship, if the wess'har understood correctly.

"Until then…" answered the guardian slowly, taking the gethe's small hand in his gloved one. "And whatever blessings you may seek…or…well…"

"Pascal's Wager."


"Aras, I know what you and every other sapient on this planet thinks of our beliefs," the human said firmly, showing conviction that Aras hadn't suspected him capable of possessing. "You think us fools for believing in something that can't be observed or measured. Well there's my answer."

"I see…" answered the guardian slowly, suspecting that he might have been better off without an explanation, and would have preferred a lecture on how he would wind up in Hell for his supposed sins against the isenj. "And who is Pascal?"

"Blaise Pascal. A philosopher who lived on Earth many centuries ago. His wager argued that since the existence of God cannot be determined cannot be determined through reason, an individual should live their life on the basis that He does exist, for an individual has everything to gain if he does, and nothing to lose if he doesn't. So maybe you're right Aras. Maybe I am following a non-existent entity and nothing awaits me after death. Maybe it would be in my best interests to embrace c'naa'tat. But as you wess'har are so logical in your actions, I think you can appreciate mine."

Aras didn't. He knew that now more than ever. But as he watched the gethe walk back to Constantine, he thought it best not to mention that.

Right now, he didn't want those gethes making more trouble than they already were.