“Heya, Daasti. Long time no talk.”
Daasti looked up, showing no surprise at seeing Ryan standing there in the door to his office. Ryan, for his part, was surprised by Daasti’s appearance. He could see lines of the man he had made into a demigod, but it was a faint echo. Daasti had filled out over the centuries, the relatively thin man that had been stuffed full of augmentations grown muscular and his dark hair gone grey.
His clothing had also changed completely, which Ryan had to admit to himself would be the hope after 10,000 years. But it matched what Ryan had seen yesterday as he explored the planet – the clothes Daasti wore looked like a hybrid between robe and toga, and his were in white and gold. Put some leaves in his hair and you could call him Caesar 40k.
“Ryan.” He gave a perfunctory, reluctant bow, “I was wondering if you’d stop by while you were here. We’ve been watching you for the last couple of days.”
Ryan shrugged. “I wasn’t exactly hiding.” He’d changed his clothes to match the style he’d seen exploring the world they now called Throne of Peace, but had seen the cameras and hadn’t bothered altering his face.
“No, you weren’t. You spent time at a club, enjoyed the company of a lovely young woman, then…wandered. Looking around like a tourist from the Edge, to be honest. Like you were surprised by what you saw.” Daasti frowned, not just with his mouth but with his entire face, a downward curl that reached his eye and forehead. “Why?”
“My power is almost unlimited, not completely, and I never claimed omniscience.” Ryan smiled, deciding to mix a bit of lie with the truth, “Besides, there’s a big difference between watching from on high and walking among the actual people.”
Daasti jerked his head up and down, accepting that. “And what did you think of what we’ve done since you were last here?”
“It’s a paradise.” Ryan didn’t see any point in disassembling here. “I’m not seeing anyone hungry, any sign of oppression, and crime seems to be almost nonexistent.”
“It’s rare,” Daasti said, relaxing a bit. “But not unheard of. The One Hundred Companions – the Demigods I created with the gift you gave me – deal with it when it happens. But with no poverty, no hunger, no want,there’s no motive for most people to commit crimes.”
That matched what Ryan had seen, too. “And then there’s the fact that you’ve gotten rid of all weapons.”
Daasti nodded. “And found harmless ways to replace tools that could be weaponized – knives and spades and the like.” He smiled. “Even those gripped by madness or rage find it hard to actually kill someone with their bare hands. Some people get creative – break sticks to points, tie chunks of metal or stone to them – but that’s a High Crime. All weapons are.”
Ryan did his best to keep his face blank. “There’s a problem there, though.”
Now the tension, and Daasti’s full face frown, returned. “I was worried you’d say that. Your first commandment. ‘Here is the book of Science – thou shalt use it to make weapons in My name, and thou shalt wage war with those tools.’”
Ryan winced. “Not actually what I said. I didn’t command war, I didn’t want that.”
“You commanded weapons and didn’t want war?” Daasti sounded incredulous.
“Well, when you put it that way, it sounds pretty dumb of me.” Ryan forced a smile on his face. “But I have a war I’m still fighting. Against Enki.”
“And why is that something we need to worry about?” Daasti’s voice was calm, level, but it made Ryan’s eyes widen like he had been slapped.
“I’m sorry, what?” Shock was rapidly giving way to anger, and Ryan felt an echo of that dark hate he’d felt last time he was here – an urge to wipe Daasti out, to just cleanse this entire civilization and start again. They were ants, and this entire galaxy was an ant farm that was questioning why it should have clear sides not realizing it was the entire reason they existed.
This time, though, Ryan was able to fight that down and let Daasti reply, “You’ve been here twice. Once you set things into motion to turn it into a hellhole, the second time you eliminated the need for yourself. So why should we care about your war with Enki when we could have paradise?”
Ryan stared at him, his mouth hanging open. Then he felt himself starting to chuckle, a laughter he couldn’t prevent from turning into an outright laugh. “Oh damn, I didn’t mention it, did I? Or if I did, it got lost through the ages.”
Daasti’s eyes narrowed. “Care to share the joke?”
Ryan nodded, needing a moment to calm his laughter. “If Enki wins, he’ll destroy the universe. Or take it over.”
Daasti stared at him. “I don’t believe you.”
Ryan shrugged. “I don’t care if you believe me, because it’s the truth. He’ll destroy the entire universe,” Ryan didn’t feel the need to explain the nanoverse was just one of many – it would only confuse the discussion, and Daasti wouldn’t care. “He has the power to do it – if I’m dead. As long as I’m alive, he can’t. But I can’t keep him at bay if the best weapon I have to pull on is a damn sharpened stick.”
“Why not just make your own then?” Daasti’s eyes narrowed at that.
“It doesn’t work that way, Daasti. I have rules I have to follow, same as anyone else.”
“So…what? We created a perfect society, and now we need to tear it apart or the universe will be destroyed?”
Ryan opened his mouth, closed it. “No, Daasti. I’ve screwed up your society enough by trying to meddle with it. I’m going to go to another galaxy, create new life. The lightspeed cap should prevent them from ever bothering you, and I’m going to limit your divine powers to prevent you from jumping to another galaxy.”
Daasti nearly slumped with relief. “We can provide our scientific research, so they can-” Ryan cut him off, not with his words, but with a shake of his head.
“No, I learned my lesson there. I’m going to be a bit more careful this time. Just give them enough to master agriculture so I don’t have to wait millions of years for them to figure that out.”
“Makes sense, Ryan. And…what about us?”
Ryan smiled. “I’ll swing by every so often, say hi, make sure you and the One Hundred Companions don’t turn into a bunch of dickholes. But as long as you don’t, I’ll let you do your thing.”
Daasti returned the smile, “I can live with that.”
“I hope so, Daasti. Good luck.”
“Same to you, God.”
Ryan, grinning at that, vanished.