by David Baresch
We orbit a planet - barren. It is a world stained with
darkness, yet it once held a plethora of vivacity.
“Time Gatherer,” Captain Magma hailed the atom formatter,
“find the cells of the sentient beings that once existed here. Amass the past
20,000 years of perceptive neurons, put them together. Let’s find the acts of
devastation that wreaked the death of this planet.”
Time Gatherer scanned the world below. It identified the
drifting atoms that had once moulded together to create intelligent life, at
close to the speed of light the cellular formatter linked them back together
For, from atoms, all are made, and atoms live on, nothing is
ever lost, in a finite universe everything transforms, and hence, a finite
universe weighs the same today as it did at its moment of its eruption.
Time Gatherer rapidly pieced together the neurons that were
once held in craniums. It reformed the brains of the long interred, and many
millennia after their decease-ation, minds were re-activated.
The atom formatter watched on as eons of sentient life were
re-lived. The neurons of a ‘Dominant’ were identified, but these were not the
cells of a native.
These were the molecules of an entity. This was a being from
another dimension, and, in a few short seconds, Atom Gatherer re-connected the
The machine scanned. The dimension traveller made this world
his home. He became honoured as a god, and his neurons relayed witness to this
“Sir, a memory of significance has been rejuvenated.”
“Good, project the tragedy into the minds of all onboard.
Let us watch and learn.”
“Do not give fire to those on this world!” said Zeus.
(Zeus, an entity, a fugitive, a leader.)
“For, here, the cruellest of souls are imbued with a furnace
of torture for others.”
(Zeus, he who had fled from his crimes in a parallel
will be those who will use the wrath of scorch for self-empowerment alone.”
(Zeus, he who made himself a god on a lush blue/green
will enrichen themselves, and themselves only.”
Prometheus, a fellow entity, listened.
will persecute with barrages of blaze anyone who dares to defy them. All known
life will suffer. Do not give fire to humankind!”
“Oh,” Prometheus answered, and, seemingly deep in thought,
he stepped towards the water pump.
There, he poured out two drinks and placed a chalice
of nectar in front of the Entity of Mt Olympus.
“Let us drink,” he toasted Zeus then bade him, “Adieu”.
Zeus, weary from his tense exchange, drank, a warm
calm flowed throughout his being, it overwhelmed him.
In his lofty palace he lay back, closed his eyes, and
slept for many a-millennia to come.
Dreams appeared and those aboard ‘The Planetary
Cruiser’ watched on within their own minds.
Zeus’s sleep was deep and tranquil until one distant
A bell tolled, it hailed the sundown, and it awakened
a nightmare that snaked through the neural pathways of the entity’s somnolence.
Zeus’s sleeping-eye watched on, widened…
Silent drifts of vaporous claws formed. They drifted
over the lands swirling from left to right, as if in search.
They floated towards the vast forests, and there they
slowly entwined around the tall, fruitful, trees.
The mists gripped, squeezed, crushed, and the
woodlands crumbled into deserts of dust.
A deluge of cinder rained down from a star hidden
heaven, and the once dew-fresh fields of verdant now lay encased within a tomb
of hardening ash.
The sun wheeled. It fled from the world, and a horror
of spectral shadows roamed and suffocated all that breathed.
Without his command, Zeus’s body jolted. He arched
upwards, coughed, splattered, panted.
A choke of smoke had invaded his airways, the
crackling of flaming timbers rattled throughout his eardrums, his eyes shot
A stinging sensation blinded him, he sat bolt upright,
he rubbed the burn from his sight and stared.
Clouds of smog flowed through the great palace halls,
and there, nearby, in a rocking chair, the Oracle grinned.
is this!?!” Zeus and the Oracle shouted in unison, “what have you done!?!” they
said, also, at exactly the same time.
The Oracle let out a wail of laughter, for the Oracle is the
traverser of the circle of universal time.
“You have slept for many a-millennia,” said the eyes of all days past and all
days yet to come, “a multitude of Cronos’s seconds have slipped by and much has
“Hephaestus!” she yelled in an ear-piercing cry, “bring me
my tableaux of mirror!”
Hephaestus, the craftsman, entered. He positioned a
mirrored table before the Oracle and placed a chair for Zeus.
“Sit,” said the Oracle, “let us see the journey that time has taken,” together
they sat and watched.
Prometheus appeared. He flew towards the sun, he held a branch
wrapped, thick, with reeds and pine leaves.
A solar flare leapt up from the orb of Helios, it rose to a
height of a hundred miles or more. Prometheus, soaked in sweat, swiped the
branch through the atomic burn and his torch ignited.
The entity admired his theft of blaze, smiled, turned, and
flew back down towards the cool of the world.
The folk below gathered. They looked to the sky, in fear
they gazed at the dancing sunlight that approached ever nearer.
Moments later Prometheus set foot on the terrain.
The crowd, nervous, backed away. Prometheus laughed. He
arced the flaring mace, wildly, in circles above his head.
Starlight sparked into flight, it was as if a fury of wasps
swarmed and darted with ire intending death by a thousand stings.
“Fire!” bellowed Prometheus in a voice of thunder.
And a mystery of light streamed from the beacon.
Red, yellow, gold, and orange streaks of sunset
entwined, swirling, flickering, leaping, and dipping.
give you the gift that I have severed from the heart of Helios himself.”
The spectre mesmerised.
“And all of humanity shall remember me as the holy bringer
It was as if the spirit of Salome herself danced the
Seven Veils before the onlookers, swaying, luring, enticing.
The bewildered beings looked to their shadows and
They jerked, frantically, from left-to-right, from
fore-to-aft, it was as if they had been given souls of their own and fought to
wrench themselves free of their mortal bondage.
Then there was a warmth…
It passed through the cool of the air, it caressed and
soothed the chill of fragile corporeal skin.
Is this a god of aid placed before them?
A child, entranced, dared to touch the perplexing,
many tailed, asp, then let out a screech of pain.
venom!” the innocent yelled, “it stabs with the poison of Medusa!” and a
blister of red roses blossomed upon the child’s palm.
Or, is this a demon to slay?
Then there was a dark drifting mist. It held an aroma
anew. It slid through the nostrils and throats of all.
Unaware, a birth of darkness fell across the lungs of
the inhalers and the passageways of their arteries filled with mire.
The onlookers coughed, wheezed, spat, threw up. Such
was this thing named fire that it enthralled with both dread and awe.
me iron,” Prometheus roared. He smelted the metal then shaped it into the form
of a deadly spearhead. He attached it to an unbending staff of ebony.
A rustling came from the forest nearby, within the
trees a boar snorted, Prometheus hurled the missile, the iron tip embedded deep
into the throat of the swine.
Blood erupted, the boar squealed, collapsed, writhed,
panted, and a pool of red slowly grew around the fallen beast. The creature
breathed no more.
Of the men watching, most beamed with admiration. It
was an act of power that they had never before witnessed.
Of the women, a look of horror crossed most. It was an
act that struck with murder’s macabre.
me the carcass,” ordered Prometheus, “and you will learn of the delights of
The servile beings complied and Prometheus roasted a
haunch over a great blaze.
An unknown aroma filled the air and the crowd found
themselves suddenly hungered.
The meat was served and all feasted as they had never
feasted before. A hither to unknown glory of warm juices flowed through their
beings, it stained their hands and faces.
Ravenous tongues licked, sucked, and gulped down the
fallen juice, and it is a juice that slowly cools, a juice that slowly hardens,
and a juice that slowly brittle-izes the innards of a body.
Prometheus watched and thundered with laughter. He
then called the crowd nearer.
“Now, I will show you how to bear the child of fire.”
On the ground, he formed a circle of stones, inside he
heaped a pile of dry twigs and leaves, he packed them tightly together.
Next, he produced two small, sturdy, shafts of wood,
he stood them upright within the centre of the circle.
Using a thick cord, he spun the timbers furiously. As
if by magic, smoke arose, the onlookers gasped.
Flames magically materialized, they flared up amid the
leaves and the twigs.
Prometheus then went to a nearby stream, knelt down,
cupped his hands, drew water, and returned to the ring of fire.
He poured the water onto the flames, they hissed as if
in rage and pain, and soon, the eruption of the stone circle dowsed. A black,
smouldering, patch of ground, alone, remained.
is the executioner of fire,” said Prometheus, “have it ready at all times, for
fire is without prediction.
“Fire can take to journey upon a whim, it travels with the
speed of the wind, it knows no boundaries, and its plots are made in stealth
“Beware and be prepared!” and Prometheus left.
The people of the world gazed at this new, before
unknown, child of Prometheus.
The mirror clouded over, the scene changed, time
Forests were axed, wood burnt, crop-fields set alight for
fallow, humanity, roasted, smelted, and charred.
Hellish kilns were constructed. Within, metals yielded.
Spears, knives, swords, and shields were fashioned. Blades slashed, stabbed,
Cannons were forged, lit, shot was fired, missiles flew,
Torsos were ripped, battlefields ignited, within, bodies
blazed, reeled, writhed, and slumped to molten deaths. These, the infernos of
glory of a warmonger’s desires.
The lands were mined…
The poison locked within the grip of coal was unleashed.
Factories blazed, turbines spun, the night’s horizons danced with flicker.
Palls and palls of mass production arose.
Cities of a thousand funnels billowed, rainfalls of ash fell,
the breath of the trees, the fields, the flora, the fauna - all were smothered.
Towns of a million chimneys now lay under a filth of
coal-painted clouds. They passed by, silently, like a mortuary of airborne
The air now held a density of breath that strangled breath.
The rooftops, the streets, the masonry, all were tarred with
the strokes of lacquer’s deepest shadow.
The colours of blue and green greyed.
Atomic reactors were fashioned. They heated, over-heated,
detonated, and volcanoes of nuclear fallout winged skywards.
An invisible hail of plague rained down. Radiation swam
through the rivers, the lakes, and the seas.
An atomic carpet swept over the plains, the hills, the
forests, and hence, thousands of years of a cancerous desert now rested upon
Zeus watched on…
He saw the gift of Prometheus fashion pyres for sacrifice,
penalty, and gain.
He saw the faces of those who were enchanted by the threat
of ‘terror by fire’.
He saw the minds of those twisted by the rapier of nuclear
scorch and who sought the power of life and death over all.
The mirror of the Oracle misted over, the scene changed, the
entity saw himself in discussion with Prometheus …
“… I can give them the gift of fire.”
“No,” said Zeus, “humanity is at peace with nature, they live to gather
sustenance, to share, and to be as one with the world.
“The garden of the Earth gives them all that is needed.”
The gift of fire will corrupt their minds, for some will use that deadly
furnace as a tool to portend and inflict great suffering. No!”
“But they clothe and warm themselves with leaves and animal skins,” said
Prometheus, “they shelter in caves, they have not the engineering for palaces
such as your own. Fire will be their treasure.”
“And treasure brings terror. No!” Zeus repeated, “craftsmanship shall forge and
sully for profit, weapons of devasting destruction will be unleashed, the lands
will be torched, and the azure sky will be stained for an eternity.
“The planet will return to the days of Archaea and Archaea…
He alone… will bathe in a world swamped with broiling, arid, sands.
Prometheus answered, and, as if deep in thought, he went to the water-pump. He
poured out two drinks. Zeus watched on through the mirror of time.
Prometheus added a potion to one of the vessels. He
returned. He placed the chalice of tainted nectar in front of the Entity of Mt
Prometheus downed his own goblet with one swig and
placed the empty vessel carefully and quietly onto the table, “Adieu,” he bade.
Zeus, still tense and angered, drank. A warm calm
gradually overwhelmed him, and in his lofty palace, he closed his eyes. He fell
into the depths of a sleep that was to last for many millennia to come.
In rage, Zeus stood up, he stepped out and onto the brow of
Mount Olympus. Below, for as far as he could see, the world was now a shroud of
shadows such as that of the Realm of Hades.
Tears fell onto his cheeks, “Vultures!” he yelled.
Two towering beasts, their wings singed and covered in ash,
flapped and hovered in the billowing smoke that choked the air.
“Bring me the soul of Prometheus,” he whispered. And the
atoms formatted faded.
“Time Gatherer,” said Captain Magma, “you show us the
mind-traits of the corrupted that led to acts of mass devastation here.”
“Let’s give this, once, abundant, fruitful, elegant world
“Set about refashioning the atoms of the entire planet.
Reform the particles - the cyanobacteria. Ensure photosynthesis. Return the
ecosphere to its pristine past. This world will live again.”
“Yes sir! And the rebirths of the sentient dwellers, sir?”
“Disconnect the neural pathways that lead to hate, spite,
conflict, self-pride, and self-profit.”
“Input the potency of value of a natural, peaceful,
breathable, world-garden for all.”
“So be it, sir,” and Time Gatherer set about restoring the
planet to the sustainable life giver that it had once evolved to be.
© 2022 David Baresch
Bio: David Baresch has published with… Aphelion XR-Hub The
Telegraph media New Humanist Austin McCauley David Baresch also…
Produces and publishes music videos.
E-mail: David Baresch
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