>Insist that since it was our fault, it's our responsibility to fix it.
"We...we have to fix it. If we can, we have to." You say, gaining a bit of confidence.
"So go, then. Fix the world." Echidna says, turning to you and all of your friends. "Leave here as heroes, and rebuild the world in your own image. That's why you were here. It's time for you to go. Time for you to claim your rebirthright!"
"But you can undo it! You can give all those people their lives back!" You shout.
"Yes. I can. But just because I can doesn't mean I should. Or that I will. This is the way it will be from now on. It's the way it has to be. Because I've decided and it's my burden to decide now. I could have just made you all worthy. I could have made you what I wanted you to be. There never had to be tests. I could have just snapped my fingers and made it happen. But I didn't. And I won't."
> Also insist that since it is humanity's failings that define it, having a god preside over humanity is hypocritical, so as a god, Echidna should take away her own godhood.
"But you are a god. Why should you decide what humanity does and doesn't do?!" You say, renewed fire in your voice. "If you really believed what you said, you wouldn't be a god, either!"
Oh jesus there's that super-proud patronizing smile again.
"That is exactly why I don't want to rule. I want you to. I want all of you to go out and be humanity's light. I want you to rebuild life. I should have no say in what happens from now on--the last time I did, I nearly destroyed everything."
"So stop. Strop being a god. You've made it so no more gods can happen, right? There's no reason for you to be one, not now that the test is over."
There's a pause here. A very uncomfortable pause. There's a look on her face that makes your blood run cold.
She's afraid. She's a god and she's afraid.
"There are things I don't know. Things I think were hidden from me. They worry me. If there's something I cannot do, or do not know...it is because there was another god. The first one sets the rules, remember? I don't know what the Beacon is. I can't turn it off. Now that it's covering the world I can't reduce it. It's stronger than I am. I can re-write history. I can unmake large swaths of reality, and the only way I can effect the Beacon is to make it stronger or re-write time so that things that made it stronger never happened.
"I don't want to leave the world without someone to watch it....because I'm afraid of what might happen if whatever made the Beacon comes back. Or if it changes."
"Why didn't you tell us this to begin with?"
"Did you want to know? Did any of you want to know that there's something strong than a god out there? That maybe, maybe all of this was just a side effect of something greater than you can imagine? What if this wasn't the intended purpose? What if this isn't the first time this has happened?
"What can hide itself from a god?"
"So make it so we never made it bigger. Save those people. It may take whatever made it longer to find it. Give us more time to stop it."
She's pausing again.
"I tried. But I stopped myself. A me...another me came to me and showed me what happens...what happens if I do.
"Something's coming. Something's moving in the dark. Something I can't stop, something a god can't stop.
"When...when a bone breaks, it heals stronger than it did before. When the world didn't break...it wasn't strong enough."
"...strong enough for what?"
She's actually shaking now, a tear in her eye.
A door appears beside you.
"It will take you to the surface. Away from all of this. Go. Please. Leave this vault. Get away from me and rebuild the world we destroyed. Make sure it's strong enough. Please."
> The Excavation brought up the Beacon, correct? And the Beacon caused the Fever, at least initially. And we were the first to become Stage Fours of the Fever. Why? Why us?
"An accident of genetics. We're twins, after all. We simply had what it took. It could have been anybody. By a random combination of chromosomes, it was us.
"Or, maybe...it was meant to be? Maybe the Beacon had a reason? Perhaps it's alive. Perhaps this was its plan all along? Maybe whatever set it could see all this, this train of events, and decided to program it so that we were the ones to reach godhood? I can't see, so I don't know."
Something tells you that, even though she said you'd never meet again, this isn't goodbye.
You take Orpheus's hand and open the door.
You are now on a street, just outside a tall, prefabbed building. You squint as the sun comes down from a clear blue sky, a warm summer breeze blows down on you.
The world may be ruined. Something ominous may be coming for the world soon. Humanity may be reduced to just a few hundred people with strange powers, but right now, with your friends at your side, and your freedom ahead of you, there's just one thing on your mind.