I had to talk to Aggie first. Back at the office I stared at the off white walls and the grey carpet. Aggie knew the look. “What’s the trouble today, Boss? It looks to me like we got it solved.”
“Does it? Does it really?”
“Oh damn it. Come on, Ax. What are we doing?”
“Do you really think that trollop they got in a cell killed Fade Triumph? Because I don’t. Hell, just lookin’ at her you can tell she couldn’t have done that.”
“Seemed pretty lethal to me.”
“In spirit maybe, but not in talent. You think she’s physically capable of murdering another god? Of making her way back to the city from the boundary all on her own?” (more…)
Right outside the station was God Olive. She was a pain in the ass reporter who was real good at finding stories and tracking you down. She wasn’t as good at relaying real facts to the public, but hey, as long as she sold papers, right?
“Detective Axiom! Detective Axiom! Can I get a statement?”
“The police will issue a formal statement later. All I can tell you is that I was part of the investigation.”
“But you found the suspect, didn’t you? Look, Ax, I’m not gonna burn you in the press. One headline ain’t worth it, and you know I know that. Give me something. Any detail, any quote, even if you don’t want it attributed.”
I was about to tell her to piss off, but I wasn’t in the mood. I just had this itch. “All right, Olive. Tell your readers that the official investigation is over.”
“Come on, Ax.”
“Listen, stupid. The OFFICIAL investigation is over. Now you keep things to yourself that might make for a better story later on. Got it?” (more…)
I left the vahana with Aggie so he could follow Bible if she decided she needed anything in the middle of the night. I hailed a taxi and headed over to find out if the plot would thicken. The offices of Doctor Ixlilton Runner were cold and unforgiving. They did not resemble the man who loved them. He was good at his job. He was a god that I thought could really be trusted. That is, if I trusted anybody. I trusted me and Aggie. Everyone else was a suspect to one degree or another.
“Ax. Good to see you.”
“You had a chance to check the I.D. on that body?”
“Well naturally. He was in very good shape for a fade, I can tell you.”
“Too good?” (more…)
There’s always drudge work to do before the interesting part of an investigation. The first step in any investigation of a person was to visit the registry. We wanted the basic information as accurate as we could get it. Every god was in the registry. There were so many Zeuses, Christs, and Buddhas that you ran into them constantly. Most of those big names just went by the identifier, the last name. There was more than a handful Bifrosts, and those poor suckers weren’t even gods as mortals understand them. They were only symbols, the connection between Asgard and Earth. There were quite a lot of Asgards too. Asgard Smith, Asgard Snow, Asgard Nails. Fades though? There were more fades than anything. No religion in existence had as many gods as the forgotten fades. Let me amend what I said a moment ago. Not all the gods are in the registry. The only Fades in the registry are the ones that luck into some new income, like Fade Triumph had. The others can’t be listed. Their records literally vanish from the registry and the city’s memory. None of us can recognize a god that has faded. The mortals have forgotten, so our city does as well. There are so many of us wasting away. The lucky ones last less than a century, a piece of an old story that is half remembered from a previous generation. The less fortunate ones last a lot longer than that, rambling around aimlessly, without any identity. (more…)
Aether : Fuel for the city’s machines, particularly vahanas.
Ark : A motor vehicle like a vahana, but able to seat many gods. Arks are usually public transportation, and in Pantheon City they resemble cable cars. So in town they are often referred to as cable arks.
Boundary : The edge of the gods’ small world has a literal boundary that can be seen. No one knows what is beyond it, and nothing that passes over it ever returns.
DemiUrge Temple : The largest religion of Pantheon City. Gods who are followers of the DemiUrge religion believe in a supreme being beyond their own reality who is responsible for the creation of both Pantheon City and the mortal world.
Devotion : The gods of Pantheon City receive devotion, or belief, from their mortal followers in various forms. That devotion can be fashioned into various products, most importantly nourishment that maintains a god’s identity. It can also be sold and traded, creating the economy of Pantheon City.
Divinity : In Pantheon City, the word has a completely different meaning. Divinity is their word for humanity. (more…)
Twice a day a train full of gods stopped at the station just before the bridge. The official name of the bridge was the Number Five Lerna Crossing. The locals and commuters who were used to crossing the bridge and stopping at the nearby railroad station coined the nickname ‘The Three Buddha Bridge’ on account of the local frontier managers, all three of whom were named Buddha.
For five months the new bridge had carried the commuters on the replacement trains. The old bridge sat unused, making it the Vacant Three Buddha Bridge. That track hadn’t been officially declared derelict yet, but it was only a matter of time. With the community of Avalon growing so rapidly, the old tracks and even the old trains hadn’t allowed enough travel.
The railroad station had hired a number of new maintenance men and grunt workers. The local frontier work was still overseen by the three Buddhas though. The opening of the new track had spawned puff pieces in two Pantheon City newspapers about the frontier trio. Some of the people that crossed the bridge did so out of curiosity, as tourists more or less. Their disappointment in the bridge and station was laughable to most of the genuine travelers. The Three Buddha Bridge and the Three Buddha Station were growing, but it was still just a rural train track. Maybe one day Avalon would become a major town. Until then it was just an extension of the simple communities outside the city of the gods. (more…)
This story is not intended to be read on its own. It’s a follow up to my time travel story ‘They Can’t Tell Time’. This story won’t make much sense if you haven’t read that one. You can find ‘They Can’t Tell Time’ here.
“Friends George and Earl. I am sorry about the trouble with my last transference. For me it was painful. What you call a headache.”
George asked a very strange question. “You’re the same one we saw here before?”
“The same what?,” Ceen asked.
Earl asked, “You’re named Ceen?”
What were these scatterbrained Earthlings talking about this time? “You know my name.”
“Yeah, I mean, are you the only alien?”
Again, Ceen was completely at a loss. “There is an entire planet full, just as there are of your kind.”
George sounded as though Ceen was the one being difficult. “All right, I’m tired of this alien and Costello routine. Are you the only alien that Earl and I have met?”
“I do not know what other aliens you have met. You told me you had met others.” (more…)