233 – Kill switch

“–So… I’m stuck in this body on a planet that’s alive and thriving but will probably won’t see any intelligent life for a couple of millennia.”

“–Well, that’s one way to see it.”

“–Not that I was ever exactly a believer but… weren’t you guys supposed to be watching over humanity?”

“–Um… well… not exactly watch over. More like… supervise.”

The young angel looked away a little embarrassed and uneasily shifted his weight from one foot to the other, feeling the full weight of the metal man’s silence on his shoulders.

“–You didn’t exactly do a great job, did you?”

“–Do you have any idea just how many worlds there are? It’s not like we can have a personal guardian for each and every one of them, let alone each one of its inhabitants.”

“–So the whole omniscience and omnipresence thing?”

“–Awfully exaggerated. Blame the PR department. The fact is we do our best to keep tabs on the most promising worlds, send a couple of field trainers to give them a head start and hope they don’t blow/poison/starve themselves to extinction before we have time to get back and check on them.”

“–Field trainers?”

“–Oh, you know. Messiah, prophets, gurus…”

“–How well does that work?”

“–You nailed one of them to a tree.”

“–Oh.”

The metal man adjusted his vision to watch the setting sun directly. The angel stood silently beside him, admiring the view.

“–I hate to say this, but I must admit this world is way more beautiful without the human race to mess it up.”

“–Life does have a way of thriving when left alone. It might not make you feel better, but at least this world is still alive. You wouldn’t believe how barren some of the other ’failed’ worlds were left after intelligent life made them reach their tipping point.”

“–You’re right, it doesn’t make me feel better.”

“–I’m sorry… maybe I should leave now.”

“–Please don’t. I’m just a lonely tin man who’s gone too long without someone to chat with. I’m afraid I’ve lost all practice in the art of conversation.”

“–I understand, you haven’t had anyone to talk to for too many years. It’s natural that you feel upset.”

“–It’s not only that. I was very disappointed when you told me you were not the angel of death.”

“–You wanted to die?”

“–I just wanted to finally rest.”

“–I’m sure you will, eventually.”

“–Perhaps, but you know what the worst part is? I could ’kill’ myself if I really wanted to.”

The angel looked surprised.

“–They built a ‘kill switch’ in my system. You know, in case something really bad happened and this body suffered catastrophic damage that crippled it beyond repair. They wanted to give me the opportunity to get out easy.”

“–Then why…?”

“–Because, for all the loneliness and desperation, deep inside I still very much enjoy being alive.”