Author : Andrew Bolt
â€œWhy is there no Zeus, Vale? Why am I the only one?â€
Dee sits on a pile of aquamarine thermal pillows. Cushions of air, tinted and pressurized, hold her aloft, warming her blood and chlorophyll and making her glow red and green like Christmas.
â€œCâ€™mon, Dee. You know this one. You were the only one with enough residual Psi-fi left. Something to do with the mineral content of that sanctuary in Sicily. I donâ€™t know. I donâ€™t get it either. But the point is, we havenâ€™t found enough psychic residue to recorporate anyone else.â€
Her eyes darken. Itâ€™s subtle, but Iâ€™ve been watching this for months now. Itâ€™s an open secret that sheâ€™s been growing peyote in her arterial walls for the last twenty or thirty years. Sheâ€™s just released some into her bloodstream. Her metabolism operates at a rate fifty or sixty times that of a professional athlete. The amount required to have even a mild effect must be incredible.
â€œWhat about Ares? That temple in Thrace?â€ she inquires with a slight slurring.
â€œYeah, well, we talked about that, too. Believe it or not, the WestHem government is not thrilled about the idea of recorporating the ancient god of murder. Thereâ€™s a spot somewhere outside of Parga that we could probably use to pull together Hades, but weâ€™re not going to be doing that either. Death-related gods are not considered viable candidates.â€
â€œWeâ€™re not gods.â€
â€œIâ€™m not a god,â€ she mumbles, drifting both physically and mentally. â€œIâ€™m a physical embodiment of the neural energy empowering a generalized faith in something like me. Iâ€™m a recorporated Tinkerbell, powered by your fucking belief in fairies. I exist because some government tool clapped too hard and brought me back from Never-never-land with that damn PsiReCor.â€
â€œHmmm?â€ Her head lolls to the side.
â€œTinkerbell died. The clapping brought her back to Never-never-land.â€
Dee glances around at the walls of her room, a plush setting that looks like a cross between a botanical garden and a medlab.
Screw the Westie rules. I slip my electric bandolier off my shoulder and settle next to her on the thermal couch. Up close, she looks terrible. Greenish veins trace spider webs down her cheeks. Sweat is slick on her face and hands, even though the couch is set at only slightly above room temperature. She coughs once. I lay my arm across her shoulders.
â€œIâ€™ve saved the world, more or less,â€ she murmurs. â€œYou have food growing everywhere, in deserts, around the poles, on the surface of all major oceans, even on the moon colony that everyone said was impossible. Why do you still need me?â€
She gazes at me distractedly, a milky white film over her eyes.
â€œWhy am I still here?â€