Swarm

They all came in. There was one cardinal rule, and they all obeyed it. Without a doubt. It was this place, the edge of nowhere, where things sort of began. It was the beggening of time of course, and everyone who mattered was there. The Gods, in whatever multitude were there, there was the Devil also, in his absolute and overpowering singularity. It was a place on earth, terra firma, everything you call it, like right there and in all possible explanations, real. But the place was a little out of the way, like everything else that matters. The purpose of the meeting was to decide what to do with mortal souls once they realised their mortality. The Gods and the Devil, being immortals, did not have this problem. They went about their businesses in the heavens and hell, and almost everyone was of the opinion that souls out to live for ever in heaven. The Gods looked at it in a different way. They stood, unfortunately as you can see, for everything that is good. Now the devil proclaimed that hell was a good place, and the Gods tittered and tattered over that so much that they totally lost the thread of the conversation. It was, afterall just a conversation. The Gods said a lot of things, they blabbered about morals and ethics, blundered over a thousand proofs, and bamboozled a million theories that could deliver a mortal soul, but they couldn't stand up to the Devil. The Devil, to his credit, maintained just one thing. "Hell is a good place" he said. And there was nothing much anyone could do about it.
Now all that really mattered, was the place. It was on terra firma, but it was in the middle of the pacific ocean, right where nobody had bothered to look. The meeting was a welcome deviation from the conversation, for it is always a conversation. There were others there too, but they were too unimportant to mention. There were all kinds of people there, dragging themselves along in the wake of whatever they believed in. They never questioned what they believed in till they ended up there. Right there, they happened to question everything, which was altogether another problem.
Unfortunately, no one but the devil knew who crossed that line. "What?" was what anyone could make sense out of the outcry that ensued from the Gods; "Makes hell such a good place anyway?" "There are some things", the Devil said "That I could not think of, but you guys did before me..." A loud cheer rang out from everyone on terra firma at this. "...and as ashamed as I am to admit, there are some things that I would shy from." The men were duly ashamed, but they had learnt to live with that.
The Gods looked at each other in confusion. Unfortunately, they were all caught up in each other's might. No one had broken free but the devil, and he maintained just one thing. The Gods were so mighty, that they soon came to the conclusion that no one would benefit from the other's might, and what they needed more than anything else was an independant opinion. They searched long and hard. Their searched for someone or something, who had not condemmned themselves to heaven or hell. They found a few men, on solid ground, who proclaimed themselves to be free. The men looked at each other, and found themselves, unfortunately, caught up in each other's might. They never, ever, made the mistake of proclaiming one thing. It was settled amongst themselves, and the settlement was often so eloborate that more was understood than was actually written down. The Men, in whatever generality as can be accepted, asked but one question, and it was addressed to the Devil; "Is heaven a bad place?"
The Devil actually thought about it. He went right ahead and took his time at it too. He in fact, took out his pocket calculator and figured out a few things about heaven and hell. He, however had an advantage over the multitude of Gods. Not only was he singular, but he could slip a line beneath the regular stuff now and then. "Well..." he said, "Hell will always be better".
The Gods felt that this somehow circumnavigated the premise of the argument. The Devil was but cornered, and an answer was the only way out of it. So the Devil went right ahead and did an incredible thing. He claimed half the human race by right. It was a difficult thing to do, but he managed it, with his slippery servants and devout slaves. A few men laughed, more cried, and a lot more faught each other till they hit it. The dead end, the thing from nowhere, the wind from the west. There was, in fact, a fourth player in the arena. The Gods, The Devil, The Men and the ones that made it all possible.
Some called them the aliens. Others call them other things. Mostly, everyone reveres them. But the Gods... the Gods alone condemned them, the men ran around, and the Devil made once proclaimation; "Hell is a good place." And that's where they all came in.

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