“Please do not try to go outside your covered region – we’ve planned to allow for enough space and time for everyone that wants to go.” Ryan took a deep breath. “I know this is difficult to believe, and I know it’s difficult to accept. I wish there was more time. Since there isn’t, however, I hope you can find it in yourselves to trust the evidence. Scientists can confirm the stellar expansion. Thank you. I’ll now answer any questions you may have.”
The results were immediate. The entire room erupted into a chorus of shouted questions – or really, demands for information. A few were even calling for security to come in and forcibly remove them, as if there hadn’t been plenty of indications as to exactly how effective that would end up being. What did you expect, Ryan? Hugs and applause? This isn’t some movie.
One person wasn’t shouting. Lalitha Rajan, the Secretary General. She was sitting with her hands folded on the desk, waiting for the tumult to die down, her gaze firmly on Ryan. He felt a bit like a bug pinned to a board under that gaze. Ryan tried giving her a quick nod of acknowledgement. That only made her stare harden. “Mr. Smith,” she said the moment the clamor died enough for her voice to carry, “you are correct that there has been some…unusual activity from the sun lately. However, your claim that this leads to an imminent solar detonation is hard to countenance.”
Ryan grimaced and nodded. “I know. I can only imagine how crazy I sound right now. But I don’t speak alone – the gods with me can confirm what I’m saying.”
“Confirmation from your allies is not exactly proof,” Lalitha said, her voice firm. “All it proves is that people who believe you will believe you. What do you have that could convince people who are less predisposed to agree with you?”
“Well…there’s the fact that I’ll be able to create these wormholes in the first place,” Ryan said.
Lalitha leaned forward, raising an eyebrow. “And how exactly does that prove anything?”
“I’m the Eschaton,” Ryan said, the word drawing another murmur from the crowd. “Gods normally can only do small, localized changes. We can alter the weather, we can throw fireballs and lightning, we can do pretty impressive things, but…the small nuclear device that killed Enki was only possible because we tricked him into making it with his own, abnormally enhanced powers. Something like that goes beyond my normal powers. But, being the Eschaton, I’m able to do one thing – just one – that goes well above and beyond what we’re normally capable of. I intend on using it to create these wormholes. As soon as I leave here, in fact.”
Lalitha’s face made it very clear that she felt him leaving wasn’t something entirely up to his discretion. “I see. And yet…who can confirm that is true? Again, you see the problem. You make claims based on evidence that no one else can confirm.”
“Other gods can confirm that such a thing is well beyond our normal power,” Ryan said. “Gods who aren’t my allies.”
The Secretary General made a note. “I will, of course, be looking into that. I don’t suppose any of them could provide more proof for your claims?”
“They could confirm if they believe it or not, but there is a lack of proof that it’s true” Ryan admitted. “All I have is the manipulation that exceeds normal divine powers and the expansion of the Sun. I could present you with a Curator, a being that has knowledge of the inner workings of the universe, but it would only be his word. I could ask an angel to appear, a being as old as time itself, but it would only be her word – and she’ll soon be very busy carrying these wormholes. Those are the beings that can prove what I say. Well, and Crystal,” he gestured towards her. “She was the Eschaton the last time this happened.”
“I’d like to hear from her,” Lalitha said.
Ryan stepped back, and Crystal stepped forward. “I was the Eschaton last time. Millions of years before humanity, my people were there. The Lemurians. We shared this world with Atlanteans, Hyperboreans, the Men of Leng – people out of your myths and legends. Those myths exist because I’ve spoken of them, so they would not be forgotten. I failed to figure out then what we know now – that the only option is to evacuate the planet and our civilization along with it.”
“You look human,” Lalitha said.
Crystal took a deep breath, and her body began to change. Feathers replaced hair, a beak grew from her face, and her hands and feet turned to talons. Gasps and mutters began to spread around the room, and even the thus-far-unflappable Secretary General’s eyes widened. “This is what I looked like,” she said. “This is who I was.” Crystal’s form changed back to the one Ryan knew better. “This is who I am now. I don’t think of myself as Lemurian anymore. I have lived among you since your earliest ancestors first figured out speech. I was Ishtar. I was Innan. I was Sauska. I was Astarte. I was Astoreth. I was Ainina. I was Durga. I was even Aphrodite, although someone else has that name now. I’m Crystal now, and I have spent more time than even I know preparing for this to happen.”
This time, there wasn’t an eruption. Crystal was able to command the kind of stunned silence Ryan had half expected after his announcement.
“You have given us a great deal to consider,” Lalitha finally said. “We will investigate your claims. We will speak to others who would speak to us. And then we will act accordingly. The first of these Wormholes opens tomorrow?”
Ryan stepped back to the podium. “Yes.”
“And we have a week?”
Ryan nodded. “The time can be extended. If disasters are unleashed, we can buy more time, but it will put countless lives in danger. I intend on using that only as a last resort.”
Lalitha’s lips narrowed, but she nodded. “Then we will investigate very quickly. Now…I would ask you to leave. We have a great deal still to discuss.”
“Thank you,” Ryan said.
And with no more fanfare than that, the five gods left the United Nations.