Author : Ari Brill

It is always a joy to bring rightness to God’s creation. The Good Doctrine’s shiny hull glimmered in the blackness of space, the eerie light of the alien sun reflected off of it and somehow purified. The 100-meter-long starship had just completed its seventh (a lucky number indeed!) mission and now orbited the alien planet, while the hyperspace coordinates for the voyage back to Earth were calculated. But surely the people inside the starship are more important than the mere material object!

Captain Joseph Daniels, son of Jeremiah, looked with satisfaction upon his sixteen assembled crewmembers. For the seventh time they had completed their – all of humanity’s – mission of helping purge sin from the galaxy, and bringing a heathen species to God. He spoke formally:

“Crew, you have done well this day. Alien species 338-I has been purified and sins no more, through your righteous work. But we do not rest! After our short voyage home, to refuel and resupply, we again shall go forth to bring the divine will to the galaxy.”

“Now, a short prayer, led by Chaplain Amos.”

All bowed their heads and mumbled piously. Several wept with joy. When the last man had lifted up his head, the Captain motioned to a crewmember. The man stood up, straightened his jacket, and spoke.

“We estimate that over 12 billion 338-Is ascended during our mission. Before, the insects knew only sin, swarming over and under the planet’s surface. Now, their souls are at peace and harmony. Approximately 300 warheads were expended during the purification process.”

Several again wept with joy, but this time mixed with a little sadness. For while all other sentient species must be freed from this impure, material world, it stayed humanity’s fate alone to remain behind and spread the light and fire of God.

Some hours later, a red light flashed on the bridge console. Crewman Uriel examined the video message – from Earth, a forty-five minute time delay. At first he didn’t quite understand the meaning of what he was seeing.

“Great and glorious God in heaven above!”

The five crewmembers on the bridge, as well as the Captain, dropped their mundane tasks. A truly spiritual message must be at hand.

On the screen, the radiant image of – it could only be! – an angel spoke from seemed to be the bridge of a starship, its echoing voice a strange fusion of thunder and the sweet bubbling of a fountain. The angel’s body superficially resembled a man’s, but it had to be the most beautiful, glorious man ever seen – to the crew’s eyes, it was the essence of perfection. Truly, it was as different from man as a man was from an insect.

“Today, humanity shall be rewarded for its holy work! As you have so rightfully done to others, you shall now receive your due. For the past eighteen scores of years, mankind has done God’s work and purified the galaxy.”

The voice of the angel grew awesome, and terrible to perceive.

“The reward of mankind is nigh!”

The message suddenly cut out. Crewman Uriel frantically pushed buttons.

“Sir! All I’m getting now is static…”

But no one was paying attention.

On the bridge, all wept with joy.

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