An antechamber, decorated in bright stone colours and open to the outside on two walls. A man stood alone, watching a pair of birds fly circles around each other. A cool breeze ruffled black hair.
Double doors slammed back, scattering the birds and disrupting the stillness of the moment. A younger man stormed into the room, squinting at bright sunlight.
"It's all a lie!" He shouted, kicking one door shut behind him. "He isn't prescient, he just brings what he says will happen to pass!"
"Ah, if only you knew what you said." The dark-haired man smiled. "I take it the meeting went well?"
"He didn't murder me, at least." Moneo snapped, turning to glare out at the verdant landscape. "Everything I see is his doing."
"Isn't it beautiful?" Idaho joined him at the balcony. Moneo failed to appreciate the hint of irony.
"It's disgusting. He's disgusting." He growled, indicating the now sealed doors. "That is God? All he does is sit around all day telling people what to do!"
"How is he able to do that, do you wonder?"
"Is that not the prerogative of God?"
"God should not need mortal servants to carry out his whims."
"Why not?" Idaho folded his arms.
"He is supposed to be superior, else what is he?"
"You cannot tell me you left that room with the impression that he is not superior."
"He's petty! Egomaniacal, pompous... human!" Moneo slammed his fists down on the stonework.
"He is very clearly not human."
"He does not look human, there is a difference."
"So certain, are you?" Idaho's indulgent smile vanished. "Tell me, did it occur to you that perhaps you have been educated with a specific idea of God, one deliberately contrary to His reality?"
"No, and I see no reason why it should have done."
Idaho sighed. "Always clear after the fact."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that perhaps it is not God who is flawed, but your notion of what God should be."
Moneo paused, seemed to consider his words. His eyes widened as realisation dawned. "Why would you do that to me?"
"A better question would be why he ordered me to do that to you." Idaho corrected.
"But everything I know, everything I thought I knew-"
"What about it?"
"I can't trust any of it! Nothing, I know nothing!" He was distressed now.
"As any good mentat." Idaho nodded. "How is your training progressing, by the way?"
"You already know that." Moneo almost snarled. "Keeping me under your thumb, that's what you've been doing for years."
"Soon that will not be the case."
Feigned shock. "No?"
"No. The time is fast approaching when he will share his plans for you with you. This meeting was the first of many."
"I don't know. Perhaps he simply wants a new mentat." Idaho paused, seemed almost wistful. "God knows, we don't last forever."
"I don't want to do anything for him."
"Maybe that's what he wants." Idaho smirked.
"Damned if you do, damned if you don't." Moneo scowled.
"Maybe he's prescient after all."
"Do you know?"
"I know as much about him as he's willing to share."
"Which means only as much as he's told you."
A pause. "Just like me."
A longer pause. Moneo watched a shadow in the trees below, remembered the D-wolves that prowled outside. "I'm sorry, Duncan."
"No apology needed. I was furious when I first discovered what had been done to me. And when I heard about the Fish Speakers."
"What about them?"
"All in good time. Still angry?"
"Well. Try not to stew on the flight back."
"I'm not going to be cooking anything." He looked surprised when Idaho chuckled.
"It's an expression of his that I picked up. He does that a lot. You'll probably get a few yourself, one day."
"If I survive that long."
"No need to be maudlin. Come on now, he expects me to see you to the 'thopter before I report back."
"He told you that?"
"After a fashion, yes." Idaho held the smaller exit door open. "He's been in a good mood of late."
"I'd hate to see him in a bad mood."
"You will." Voices faded as the two left the antechamber. The sun shone on, catching on the wings of a flock of birds which soared overhead. Presently it began to rain.