Two thousand years ago
Minutes from the meeting affectionately dubbed:
“Oh Us! Will it ever end?”
“Let’s kill’em all!” yelled Mars, presiding in lieu of Jupiter.
Ahura-Mazda sighed wearily. These young gods were exasperating, and now that the meeting was in its fiftieth year, there were always a few standing in for their elders. Mars, always hot under the helmet, was one of the worst.
He smoothed his long curly beard, rose and rearranged his silken robes. “How many times must we explain this? We tried that before. Does the Deluge ring a bell? And now we’re back to square one. There has got to be a better way.”
“Not to mention how much work it was,” said Vishnu, playing with his nose ring. “Exhausting! All that rain… and then having to recreate everything.”
“Well, I for one wouldn’t mind getting a good storm on,” said Thor. “It would be more interesting than this meeting.”
“You gods do what you want with your humans.” Inti’s sun-disk crown of feathers was disarrayed from shaking his head so much. “My believers are still faithful, and no one is dumping a shitload of water on their heads.
“How long do you think that’s going to last?” asked Mwari kindly. “We’re well isolated, both of us, but sooner or later this plague of disbelief will spread.”
“Not to mention that Yahweh fellow,” said Amun with aristocratic disgust. “Telling people he’s the only real one and that they should renounce us. The gall!”
“Says the god who tried it a thousand years ago,” retorted Vishnu.
“Hey, that was a disagreement with my pantheon. I never tried to encroach on any of yours.”
“What about that Science gal I keep hearing about?” wondered Thor. “Who is she?”
“I don’t think she’s a goddess,” said Ahura-Mazda, unable to repress a frown of doubt. “It’s rather a way of explaining things that doesn’t give us any credit.”
“Like those humans who says the sun would come up no matter what since the earth is round,” said Athena.
Everyone turned to look at the tall young woman in armor. She stopped playing with her long auburn braid and blushed, partly with embarrassment but also with pride (the humans in question were her worshippers).
“What? Who let them find that out?” said Inti, leaning in and staring up at her with suspicious eyes.
“So, what you’re saying is that some humans are studying phenomena and then giving us the finger?” asked Thor. “A good thunderbolt always puts that to right.”
“It’s more complicated than that,” said Ahura-Mazda. “They are questioning our power and so their belief wanes. This in turn weakens us and so reduces our influence.”
“So we’ll kill’em all!” repeated Mars. “They’ll believe in us then.”
“Who?” Athena’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “The dead ones?”
Amun stood up before Mars could reply. “Talking of death, what about Anubis’s proposition the other day? That thing about us going back to earth to live with the humans.”
“Might not these scientists interpret this move as one of weakness?” asked Inti.
“Not if we kill them all!” shrilled Mars with mounting anguish, cheeks now red under his strawberry blond peach fuzz of a beard.
“Ah yes, good idea,” said Athena. “Live with humans and piss them off so they revolt.”
Thor twirled his hammer. “How can they revolt? We’re gods.”
“Perhaps,” said Ahura-Mazda. “But we are few and they are many. Personally, I preferred Mwari’s idea about creating a new dimension, even if it does mean leaving what’s left of my believers without guidance.”
“Both ideas have merit,” said Athena, “and their faults: I think the disbelief runs too deep here for our presence to do any good. What if we tried a combination of the two?”
“You mean create a new world AND live with the humans?” Vishnu’s voice became pensive.
“No!” Mars’s whole face turned vermillion. “Killing them is the solution! A nice little blood bath… Ah! Come on!”