Author : Glenn S. Austin

It was always the same, Bojorn counted on it, and he was never disappointed. He had fine tuned the process over time, but the basics were still the same. Part of this tuning had been to add an anthropologist to his crew, and it had made the selection go so much easier.

A Supreme Being or their future selves, that choice was always the toughest. The anthropologist made deciding easier, as she’d found an algorithm to make the choice, and so far it had been dead on.

All self aware intelligent species had a belief system. It didn’t matter how far along in their development they were, vestiges of age old beliefs were clung to by every species. Beliefs that were born out of ignorance when they were just starting to have a vague notion of their own existence, wanting to explain the world and cosmos around their barely surviving civilization. Wanting to believe that they had some control over their future and their destiny. Unwilling to release any belief to history, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Some worlds that Bojorn had visited, and profited from, held a singular world wide belief, and some like the one that was being categorized by his staff right now, were fragmented by many.

He was surprised on the occasions when they found a civilization that had achieved great strides in technology; early attempts to control atoms, flights into their solar system, and an understanding of the size and nature of the universe, but still held onto the beliefs that had guided them when they had first looked at the stars and wondered.

Some of these were tricky, and he would have to use the “I am from your Future” scenario to gain an entrance into these civilizations and leave with what he needed often simply by asking. It was the better choice, when possible, as they always seemed to understand that he would eventually have to “return to the future”, which made his departure with another full cargo hold of riches that much easier.

He studied the planet on the screen as his anthropologist handed him her report, and verbally summed it up for him.

“Looks like the best angle is the returning Deity routine.” She explained. “There are three or four major belief systems that are awaiting the return of their Supreme Being. If you go in with that angle, you should get buy in from most of the planet’s population, and we should be gone before they start to ask which one of them you came back for.”

Bojorn looked up from the report. “Alright then, if you’re sure that’s the best option.

Where would you suggest I should be returning from?

This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows
365 Tomorrows Merchandise: The 365 Tomorrows Store
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow