Floating in the darkness, watching the planets spin and orbit around a far-off star, there is utter silence. She watched, knowing the star would soon burn itself out, ending all life it supports, returning the solar system to its original state: quiet, inky dark. She turned her gaze to another star system, seeing at once the burgeoning life that was sprouting there, pondering the potential outcomes, and the courses and paths those tiny beings could put in place. The events in this relatively nearby solar system would have little to no impact upon them, no matter how catastrophic. Even with her billions and billions of years watching the universe, it was still curious to her that there was a limit to the so-called “butterfly effect.”
She allowed her mind to wander over all the other systems she had overseen, thinking of all the species that had risen and fallen, all the wars that had been waged, both natural and manufactured, all the knowledge that had been gained and lost, all the lives that had been lived, all the minutes that made up all the days of all the years, all those moments that, while universally insignificant, that had meant everything to someone. It was a thought that sometimes even she struggled to comprehend. Of course, given that this was her realm, she understood, but to her, sometimes it felt as though her creation was beyond even her mental grasp.
Her eyes wandered through the blinking heavens, landing once again on the dying star. It was not long now. To the beings on the planets it supported, it would be thousands of years in their eyes, but to her, it would be mere moments. It would sputter and flare before fizzling out, and ultimately, suddenly, the light would be no more. The heat it gave off would live on for quite some time, but the heat was nothing without the light. The planets would eventually crash into one another, breaking into trillions upon trillions of pieces, each floating off into the nothingness, away from every other.
Was it arbitrary? Was there any point to all of this? While every life was unique from every other, did any life really matter? Perhaps on a much smaller scale. It was conceivable that each moment of those beings’ lives was monumental to them, and to some extent, to those around them. But on a universal level, on the grand scale, none of it seemed to matter at all. Yet those little creatures carried on as if their every moment had cosmic significance.
It was likely a good thing that they could not comprehend just how miniscule they were. If they could see the universe in all its expansive grandeur, they would probably just cease to live from pure depression; the revelation of their insignificance would cause them to simply fade away…much like the star before her. She noticed a slight shimmer and crackle, and a soft smile crept onto her face. The time was soon upon them, and their defining moments would arrive. She had hope that they would greet their final days with grace and posture; at heart, they were a decent people. They went on their wayward travels, but when all was stripped away, they had a wonderful habit of rising to the occasion and showing their best.
All of time was hinged on those events. The life span of every intelligent species was a three act play; there was the birth and sudden arrival of the beings. Then, there was the fall; the beings would reach a public and open depravity, displaying their very worst. Then, finally, in their very final moments, they faced the sundown of their species with courage and strength. In between, there were thousands of years of fluff; years and decades and centuries of things that, while they carried the tale from one act to the next, they held no direct weight. The story rose and fell and rose again, making the cosmic theater worth watching; it was captivating, utterly, consumingly captivating. And that was where the individuals gained their universal value. Those tiny beings all impacted the outcome. They all bore the weight of the story on their shoulders, and they had full control of the course of the epic saga. While they were, on the surface, totally unnecessary, they were each intrinsic to the ultimate outcome.
Even to the embodiment of death itself, a being considered by some creatures to be a deity of one form or another, that concept was inspiring and uplifting. It was the very reason she allowed the universe to continue playing out as it had for all this time. Perhaps someday she would bring the theater to a conclusion and move on to another venture, but for now, it still moved her deeply, and she considered it to be her crowning achievement. Carry on, little ones; despite all your many flaws, you still manage to captivate the gods.