The balding man leaned against the railing and stared across the still desert with tired eyes. "Did I do the right thing, do you think?" he asked, not turning.

The one he addressed shrugged. "You've given this fairly immature species the means to destroy itself and the whole world," he answered bluntly. "You've pushed nations along into what will become drawn-out conflict, you've started a decades-long arms race, you've leveled two cities in a matter of seconds, and millions have died because of you."

As though he could feel the weight of the world literally on his shoulders, the man at the rail bent his neck to touch forehead to arms. The accuser broke the silence gently, "On the other hand, you stopped a war and saved millions of lives, you moved science and technology ahead and broadened the scope of human understanding. You have even shown mankind that there are some powers he shouldn't try to attain, though it will take him some time to figure that out."

"I'm not sure the good weighs out the bad well enough," said the man in his shirtsleeves, looking out over the desert again.

"You made a mistake. It doesn't make you evil. Just human."

"All the same." He shook his head. "May the Lord forgive me."

The old man put his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket and stared across time with weary eyes. "Us both."