Wordcount: 1,160 words words
Rating/Warnings: PG-13, Death
Summary: And that was how the world ended.
It was a rainy, overcast, dismal day when the world ended.
“So this is it?” The Chosen One sounded more tired than surprised, but there had been little doubt from the beginning that things were going to turn out in Evil’s favor. The last few days -and those frantic final hours- had been more about making the effort than any real belief that they’d win. Plus he’d been waiting for over an hour for the Evil Overlord to finish with his board meeting and the adrenalin rush that came with infiltrating the Evil Lair had run its course.
“More or less,” Brian shrugged, “the execution will have to be a live broadcast of course, once I’ve had the chance to arrange for independent verification. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as killing someone only to have no one believe you. And with CGI these days—” the Evil Villain sat back in his chair and gave the Chosen One a sad smile. “It’s nothing personal you know.”
“‘Nothing personal’ and ‘Execution’ really don’t go well together. But I suppose you’re right; until I’m dead and they believe I’m dead there’s no way they’re going to stop… and I think, on some level, the only reason I’m here is to keep them from dying too.” Daniel glanced at the armed guards that had escorted him into the office. “Not that I don’t appreciate the gesture, but I don’t suppose they can stop pointing loaded weapons at me now? I think we’ve pretty much established I’m not much of a threat at this point.”
“True.” Brian waved a nodded at the guard, who holstered their handguns. “Of course if you were a real Chosen One you’d now kill all of us, destroy my evil lair and save the world before sunset.”
“Yeah, that would be nice.” Daniel sat down in the chair opposite Brian and tried to work the kink out of his neck he’d gotten from staring upwards during the long ascent up the cliffs of madness. It was one thing to climb a cliff knowing you could slip and fall and another thing knowing you could get shot from above. It was the first time he’d been climbing and more afraid of things above him than below. “I guess this is sort of anticlimactic for both of us then,” he was sort of disappointed himself. The Evil Villain wasn’t particularly evil looking in person.
“Not really,” Brian said. “You see I put a lot of work into getting everything in place before all of this started so while we’ve skipped the epic battle and the ticking bomb drama, it’s still rather satisfying.”
“But you’re destroying the world.”
“Improving, not destroying.” Brian leaned forward, tapping the desk with a finger. “This, here, now, this is destruction. We’ve turned in on ourselves for millennia now; humans fighting humans over scraps of earth and whose thought patterns are right or wrong. What I’m giving them is a better world, one without all that pointless nonsense.”
“So you’re replacing humans killing humans with demons killing humans. I really don’t see much of an improvement there.”
“They aren’t technically demons, demons are malevolent spirits and these critters are most certainly flesh and blood. They die a hell of a lot easier, and the whole point to this is that it’s a fair fight. We need something to focus on, something to give us a purpose– you can see that can’t you? Given a unifying force we can throw away all the excess baggage we’ve brought upon ourselves since the last ‘time of darkness’. Plus the general Darwinian improvement that comes from any situation in which only the competent survive.”
“Do I get to point out that the Darwinian improvement you’re aiming for apparently comes at the cost of civilization? After all, the last time the Bad Guys won was, what, five thousand years ago?” Daniel raised an eyebrow. “We’ve done pretty well for ourselves since then.”
“I think we could have done better.” Brian leaned back in the chair again and gave Daniel a measuring look. “You do realize that it was these cycles of light and darkness that brought us up from primates to where we are today. And now where are we going? What real progress have we made, not as a community, but as a species in the last five thousand years? We’re nothing but fat, lazy, self-centered idiots wandering around in an Eden of our own making. It’s time we got kicked out of the garden again.”
“For someone who claims not to be an ego manic, you did just compare yourself to God.”
“To the snake.”
“Ah, well then that’s so much better.” Daniel rolled his eyes.
“See, that’s the kind of attitude that get’s us in this mess. The foolish belief that we can prosper on our own without and outside motivating force.” Brian frowned. “We need the demons, or aliens, or whatever you want to call them in order to remind us of what is important. If your predecessor hadn’t broken the cycle we would never had gotten to this point.”
“Yes, I was meaning to ask about that. How exactly did they manage that again?”
“I may be the Villain in this story, but I’m not an Evil Overlord.” Brian snorted. “While you aren’t going to escape, or thwart my evil plans, or anything else other than meet your fate with a certain amount of dignity, I’m not going to lecture you about how to defeat me.”
“Well, I could hope.” Daniel sighed. “So how long do I get to live? 48 hours? Till high noon?”
“About two weeks, depending on how long it takes to get things together.” Brian gave Daniel a measuring look. “If you’d like to make any preparations before then— goodbye letters, final will and testament, etc. just let me know.”
“Thanks, I guess.” Daniel stood as Brian did, the guards preparing to escort him back to the cell.
“I’d say it’s the least I can do, but it’s not.” Brian reached out to shake Daniel’s hand. “No hard feelings?”
Daniel looked at the offered hand for a moment and then shrugged and shook it. “No, I suppose not. Of all the ways to die, I guess this isn’t as bad as it could have been.”
“I’ll let you know when we have a date, and try not to kill too many people trying to escape.” Brian grinned and Daniel chuckled as the guards gave Brian annoyed looks.
“So long Chosen One.”
“So long Evil Overlord.”
Sixteen days later the Chosen One was executed by lethal injection during a world-wide live broadcast, with a panel of physicians from across the world on hand to provided independent verification that the Chosen One was no more. As dramatic deaths go, it was somewhere on the scale just below ‘sudden aneurism’ and just above ‘died peacefully in his sleep’.
And that was how the world ended.