Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chapter Forty-Four: Celestial Sentinel

“God is watching us…
…From a distance.”

~Bette Midler

A celestial figure, clad in shimmering armor from head to toe meditated in silence on the Lunar Surface, looking down upon the planet over which he was soon to pass judgment.  The select few mortals that had ever seen their home from this vantage point would carry the amazement of the view with them for the rest of their lives. To Gabriel, it was just a ball of Carbon, Iron and other trace materials, mostly covered in water, and inhabited by billions of a cosmically insignificant species. He had long since lost track of how many such objects whose creation, and occasional cleansing, he had been witness to over the eons.

When he tried to look beyond the big picture, to read the details, his vision could only focus clearly upon areas in conflict, and skies filling with gas that was slowly broiling them – signs of humanity’s squabbling hatred, greed and petty over-consumption.  And yet a judgment that had seemed so easy to make just two years ago – the blink of an eye from his perspective – was now confounding him.  Because while he saw all that was wrong, he was also aware that the conflicts were starting to end, and that the skies would eventually clear.  He pondered for a moment longer, before becoming aware that he was no longer alone on this desolate, sterile tract.
“Hello, Azrael,” he called out from his mind, without turning to greet his guest.

Had he looked, he would have seen a dark figure, clad in robes so black that they were perceptible only for the stars blotted out behind them.  The only truly visible part of this figure were the Ivory Gauntlets reaching from under the billowing sleeves, and the lower part of a Mask, its Skeletal countenance peering out from under the jet colored cowl.  The figure’s own thoughts came fourth in a language that no mortal had ever heard spoken.
“[You seem conflicted, ancient one.  I have never known you to have doubts so near to the appointed time.]”

Gabriel answered back in the same manner. “[In a very short passage, much progress has been made. I cannot deny this.  But the manner in which this came about troubles me.]”
“[So… the Morning Star’s savior is not so worthy as believed?]”

“[He has murdered hundreds of people; arguably evil people, but that was not his judgment to make, nor his vengeance to reap.  He has manipulated thousands more, and stolen Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in Wealth.]”
“[Is that… a lot?]”Azrael lacked any sense of proportion on a human scale.

“[It is more wealth than anyone in their history had ever managed to amass, and more killing that any one person was so directly responsible for.  And this is the man who is meant to be saving them.]”
Azrael gazed upon the planet below. It looked small – somehow even smaller than the last time he was here. “[If you mean for me to destroy them all, then what are these hundreds out of the billions you would wipe out, for the sake of the few unrepentant?”]

Gabriel emitted an inaudible sigh into the infinite void. “[That’s the rub: They matter naught. They were, in fact, the very reason that we now sit here.  I take no quarrel with his particular judgment of humanity.  It is more his pride that concerns me. And tell me one time, in all of mortal existence on this plane, that hatred and violence has ever been stopped by mortal vengeance?]”
[It has never been. But this one… He acts as we would, and by your own admission, judges wisely.]”

Gabriel finally stood and turned to face his visitor. “[Do you advocate for them?]”
Azrael perceived the slightest potential for anger in Gabriel’s tone. “[I seek only to understand your feelings. If I presume to offer any assistance at all, it would be only in the capacity that in explaining to me, you may gain a more clear understanding yourself.]”

Gabriel turned back to the luminous blue sphere below them. “[His actions and judgments bring me pause; mayhap they too closely mirror that which would be my own. But it remains that this species is not making a moral choice, but rather being forced to do so by one man. What’s more, there has never been conflict or hesitation on my part when judging a species to have succeeded worthily. So for all that has happened, we are nowhere near the point where that would be the case.”
Azrael had no further counsel for him. “[So, do wish for me to return at the appointed time then?]”

From beneath the shimmering face plate of his helm, Gabriel glowing eyes darkened. “[Yes. I do.]”

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