By David K Scholes
I liked to think that I enjoyed a special relationship with him. Being present at first contact.
I remember seeing tears roll down the Benefactor’s beautiful alien face when, as we learned later, he absorbed the enormity of the the human condition. The full extent of human joy on one hand and human pain and suffering on the other. The mixture of indescribable goodness through to indescribable evil, of total indifference through to total caring, of vain glorious pride through to modest humility that is humanity.
For all his vast experience in the Multiverse, it really seemed to shake him. Which made me wonder if things were different elsewhere. Perhaps not so complicated. He never did say. Except for a vague reference to the cooperative seeking after the truth approach to justice (rather than the adversarial approach) being the norm elsewhere.
His first act was I think an immediate albeit miniature show of defiance. In completely healing an impossibly deformed young girl that was under my care. The very first of countless acts of kindness.
Benefactor. It was the one name that had stuck among the many that people had used to describe him and his works. The name had a woeful inadequacy about it. As did all of the other names
Right at the outset he had warned us of those who might not like what he was setting out to do here. Those that did not believe in interference in the affairs of other worlds no matter how great the justification. Most of us couldn’t or didn’t want to believe that at the time. . .
I cannot presume to judge those who ensure order in the Multiverse. Perhaps from their higher vantage point the actions of the Benefactor on Earth went against some higher laws or code of conduct relating to non-interference in the affairs of others.
At any rate the time came that none of us ever wanted to see. When the decisions and actions of the Benefactor were challenged.
Elemental beings came to Earth. No less than three of the near omnipotents. Each born at the creation of their respective dimensions. Whatever else he might be I came to understand that the Benefactor was always a force of the Multiverse and such a force could only be countered by another force or forces of the Multiverse.
I remember the three Elementals waiting for the appearance of the Benefactor outside the NorAm city of Chicago, seemingly impatiently. When he did not manifest immediately they showed their displeasure. Destroying the megalopolis (if that’s not interference I don’t know what is). Though we didn’t even know it at the time, the Benefactor’s response being so swift that within a nano-second of its destruction he re-created Chicago in its entirety. Some later said with minor improvements.
Many people had never actually seen the Benefactor in the flesh and his image never could be captured by any means known to us. So, knowing that he would have to confront the Elementals, and with world wide television coverage, it seemed like everyone waited to see him appear. This time he was recorded on camera. People genuinely wanted to see what the Benefactor really looked like and what he was going to do about the Elementals. There was definitely curiosity but it was mixed with the very real fear among us all that much or all of the good done by the Benefactor might be rolled back. That he might not even survive the day.
The nature of the conflict between the Benefactor and the Elementals was such that it was rather difficult to tell who won and who lost. Except to say that it was somewhat protracted and that there was a sense of the Benefactor at least holding his own against near omnipotence.
Throughout it all there was no further attempted destruction of Earth cities. The Elementals seemed to have realised the futility of this. Yet the confrontation raged on, in, and well beyond the Earth. The contestants variously taking energy and even mystical and spiritual forms.
After it was finally over we never saw the Benefactor or the Elementals again.
Yet there was never any evidence of any of the Benefactor’s past good deeds being reversed. More than this, some new acts of goodness flowed on for a little while. The examples were too many to count. Yet they did ultimately come to an end.
One of those later acts of goodness has always stuck in my mind. It related to an elderly woman, the very last still living survivor of the holocaust. A woman who had never known a peaceful night's sleep since those horrific times was granted exactly that. A peaceful night’s sleep and beautiful dreams of her pre-Holocaust childhood for all of her so few remaining years.
It was an act of kindness that both typified the Benefactor and also reminded us of what we had ultimately lost.
For the historians of Earth though it was enough. More than enough to consider the Benefactor the winner over the Elementals and whatever force they ultimately represented.
The winner by a technical knock out.
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The author has written over 140 speculative fiction short stories, many of which appear in his six published collections of speculative fiction short stories and two published science fiction novellas (all on Amazon). He has been a regular contributor to the Antipodean SF and the Beam Me Up Pod Cast sci-fi sites and more recently Farther Stars Than These. He has also been published on 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories and the former Golden Visions magazine. He is close to completing a new anthology of short sci-fi stories and is also writing a “Human Hunter” series for the Beam Me Up Pod Cast site