characters: Jesse Custer, several angels
genre: gen, PG-13
story summary: quickie ficlet for the Preacher season finale.
The other end of that video-phone call ; )
"What do you mean, you don't know what to do?" Ansiel said, brow furrowed. "Follow the protocol."
"There is no protocol for this!"
"Don't be ridiculous--did you misplace one of the manuals again?"
"No, I mean, it's not--it's not one of ours." Barrattiel said, still reeling from what she'd seen on the other end of the phone.
"It's a human, sir."
"How is that possible?"
The phone rang again, louder somehow than before.
"I don't know, sir, but--I can't just ignore it, can I? What if they--" Barrattiel couldn't even voice the thought.
"We won't let that happen. Of course not. We have a duty; an image to uphold." Ansiel pushed one of the dozens of intercom buttons on his desk. "Tagas, get in here."
"Tagas?" Gina mouthed, giving Ansiel an unsure look.
"He filled in before, that time with the prophet."
"That prophet was...pretty inebriated."
"Humans usually are. Chances are this one is too!" Ansiel snapped, after a moment adding, "You have a better idea?"
Tagas tried to get out of it, but the phone kept ringing and they were out of time. After another threat of forced fieldwork, and the encouragement of two enforcers, he took his seat on the 'Throne.' The beard looked pretty good, all things considered, Barrattiel reassured herself. The robes were a bit overkill maybe, but they were classic. Plus they had enough lights rigged up to make him excessively radiant; bright lights always seemed to awe humans, and that's all they really needed: a little awe. Just enough to shut them up and get them to go away, content in the knowledge that everything in Heaven was under control.
Which of course it wasn't. It hadn't been in a long time.
Barrattiel could still remember the Day Everything Went Wrong. They all felt it, the shift in the fabric of Heaven, the absence of Him, the horrible vacancy in the Throne.
And nobody had seen Him leave. Nobody knew why he'd left.
"Look upon me! I am the Alpha and the Omega and the bright morning star. I am the Lord, your God."
Tagas was giving it his all. Barrattiel took a deep breath as he prattled on and the humans asked for forgiveness, and answers, and whatever else they thought was important.
The AV team was going a bit overboard with the thunder and lightning bit, in Barrattiel's opinion, but she wasn't about to tell them what to do.
Heaven had been in a holding pattern since God's departure, operating under the same orders they'd had for eons before. But with every passing century, there seemed to be more situations that required improvisation. And angels, as a whole, weren't good at improvising. Following orders --that's where it was at. Do what you're told or cease to exist. Easy instructions, hard to misunderstand.
"What'd you do to the dinosaurs?" One of the humans shouted. They had bizarre priorities. There were quite a few of them watching. More than a hundred, all of them with a mix of fear and ecstasy on their little faces. It would've been endearing if it wasn't so terrifying. How had they gotten hold of a Seraph's phone in the first place? It was a huge violation of protocol. A violation that guaranteed months of paperwork for everyone in the Communications Office. And with something this big...the approval process alone made her sick to her stomach.
"I wanted you to have everything. Joy, hope, love, but also pain..."
The extinction of the dinosaurs, from what Barrattiel could remember was the result of a stray meteor. Up until then they'd usually avoided Earth. Usually. But that particular party had been pretty crazy, and so, when the archangels got sick of arm-wrestling they started a throwing contest instead. Raphael always did have terrible aim.
"You're not God, are you?"
Wait, what? The human couldn't possibly have figured it out. "Do more lightning!" Barrattiel waved at the sound booth.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega."
"No, you're not."
"More lightning!" But the angels inside were standing there listening to the human, rapt, practically hypnotized.
"Where is God?" the same human voice said.
A weird vibration echoed through Barrattiel's bones.
"Where is he?"
And Tagas stuttered out a response, and the rest of them couldn't do a thing to stop him.
"I... I... He made... he made me say... he made me say that." Tagas was weeping openly as the guards dragged him away. "The... that... that preacher, he made me do it."
"Send him to detention." Ansiel said.
"No! No please!" Tagas screamed as he bucked wildly, trying to get away from the guards. But he didn't stand a chance. Not against those two.
Barrattiel shuddered as she watched Tagas and the guards disappear around the bend. Detention was terrible.
Ansiel rocked back in his chair, hands clasped together in his desk. "How could a human make him do anything?" He looked as frazzled as everyone else in the room. The secret was out. The jig was up. The cat was out of the box. Bag? Whatever container it had been in, it was no longer there. Well, at least for that particular group of humans. The Communications Office just had to make sure word didn't spread. And luckily, there were protocols for that. Lots of them.
"He said God gave him a power."
"I have no idea, sir."