What Does God Need With A Starship?

Item #: SCP-XXXX

Object Class: Neutralized

Special Containment Procedures: Although SCP-XXXX as an event has concluded, further monitoring of its participants are necessary. The correspondence and conversation of these participants are to be monitored for details regarding SCP-XXXX.

The Space Shuttle Enterprise remains missing as of 2020. Foundation satellites, as well as personnel on SCP-2117, are to monitor the solar system in an attempt to discern its location, and attempt containment of it when it is located. The Enterprise is currently being considered for designation under a separate SCP filing.

Description: SCP-XXXX refers to an anomalous legal trial involving Belgian author, conspiracy theorist, and self-proclaimed UFOlogist Ulrich von Eichmann.1 Von Eichmann himself is the defendant in the case.

SCP-XXXX-1 is a masculine, bearded humanoid of Greek descent, standing at 1.3m and mildly obese.
They act as von Eichmann's defense attorney, claiming to be 'state-appointed'. They have shown perfect recall of all materials related to the case, and are apparently capable of absorbing written material through touch; the medium that the writing is on dissolves into liquid following this process. SCP-XXXX-1 is fluent in Greek and English, and wears a grey suit with a hemlock flower on their left lapel.

SCP-XXXX 2 is a feminine humanoid of Greek descent wearing black robes and a purple blindfold, acting as the impartial judge in SCP-XXXX. Despite being blindfolded (and, if court transcripts are to be believed, lacking sight entirely), SCP-XXXX-2 displays omniscience within their courtroom, knowing the actions of all individuals within the court. SCP-XXXX-2 is capable of bilocation, and has used this ability to act as their own bailiff, ejecting disruptive elements from their courtroom.

SCP-XXXX-3 is a masculine humanoid of unclear descent, with the head of an African sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus), acting as the court recorder for SCP-XXXX. SCP-XXXX-3 has been cooperative with Foundation efforts towards obtaining information regarding SCP-XXXX, due to the proceedings being 'public record.' Recovered footage has shown SCP-XXXX-3 writing with, alternately, a stenotype, quill, pencil and paper, typewriter, and laptop computer.

SCP-XXXX-4 designates the jury as a whole, which is made up of anywhere from 200 to 400 members. The exact makeup of the jury is unknown, as entry to the jury box requires that the jurors wear robes and masks at all times, but several members do not have a humanoid body model.

The legal counsel for the plaintiffs is already documented with an SCP designation under SCP-3807. SCP-3807 claims to be representing at least five different plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against von Eichmann, but is 'not at liberty to discuss their clients.'

SCP-XXXX began in 2018, following von Eichmann being served summons by SCP-3807 at a UFOlogy conference in Brussels. Von Eichmann disposed of the summons, only to find over four hundred additional copies in their hotel room. SCP-3807 proceeded to abduct them from the lobby of their hotel. An abridged version of the summons and accompanying letter of complaint are below:

To: Ulrich von Eichmann

You have been summoned to the First Celestial Court of Invidia2 for hearing of a civil lawsuit within 0 days. Failure to respond to this summons will result in a judgement by default against you by the plaintiff for relief requested in the accompanying complaint.

CELESTIAL COURT OF INVIDIA


The Society for the Preservation and Promotion
of Ancient and Extinct Cultures

versus Civil Case 00001

Ulrich von Eichmann

COMPLAINT

Plaintiffs complain against Defendant as follows:

1. On October 19th, 1983, Defendant published the book Starborn 'Gods', a manuscript which alleges that civilizations both extinct and extant (particularly the inhabitants of Kemet,3 the Acoma,4 the Rapa Nui,5 the Nazca,6 and Those Who Built the Place of Reeds7) could not have built their own temples, monuments and assorted architecture, and associated technology and infrastructure needed to create said temples, monuments and assorted architecture, due to 'mental and technological simplicity' in these regions.

2. An updated version of this manuscript, published on September 10th, 2017, uses forged items in order to make a claim that these civilizations were definitively visited by alien beings who conferred on them the tools and knowledge. These forgeries depict deities emerging from spaceship-like constructions, which is a clear falsehood.

3. This injury has caused disruption among the cultural noospheres of the plaintiff, as well as mortal (i.e. human) parties related to the plaintiff. Furthermore, several individuals represented by the plaintiff have been dealt permanent psychic harm. The continued existence of Starborn 'Gods' worsens this injury due to the spread of misinformation.

DEMAND FOR RELIEF

The plaintiffs demand the immediate retraction of Herr von Eichmann's manuscript, the discontinuation of its printing, and destruction of all unsold copies, and a written apology. Furthermore, Her von Eichmann is to pay all royalties earned from Starborn 'Gods' for the past twenty-five years to the Plaintiff, as well as the forfeiting of their heart.

The plaintiffs demand a jury.

This summons must be answered immediately. Failure to do so will result in collection by the plaintiff's representative, Seth Hasani, for the immediate commencement of the hearing.

Addendum: Foundation interaction with SCP-XXXX: In May of 2018, Jr. Researcher Thomas Gardener was allowed a week-long leave for jury duty on a civil case. Gardener proceeded to vanish for over five weeks, with various locator beacons that would have been on their person (including a sub-dermal chip) having been rendered non-functional. At the time, it was believed that Gardener had gone AWOL.

On June 25th, 2018, Gardener's beacon was detected in Cairo, Egypt. Foundation agents were sent to detain him for immediate interrogation and trial. Approximately three hours into their interrogation, the following occurred:

Agent Tayfur: Do we have to start breaking bones?

Jr. Res. Gardener: I'm telling you the truth!

Agent Tayfur: There is no way you were in a courtroom for five weeks, and nowhere in the world uses a jury that big.

Js. Res. Gardener: I swear, I was. Look, if you'd just look at my body camera, I forgot to take it off when I went in—

Agent Tayfur: If you were in court, what was the case about?

Jr. Res. Gardener: I don't think I'm allowed to—

At this point, the door to the interrogation room opened, despite the door appearing to be closed from the outside. SCP-3807 and SCP-XXXX-3 enter. SCP-3807 looks visibly flustered.

SCP-3807: First of all, I would like to apologize. We didn't mean for such great temporal displacement to take place, but—

Agent Tayfur draws their firearm and attempts to discharge it at SCP-3807. The powder in their bullets does not ignite. They then attempt to draw their combat knife, which results in the blade breaking off in the sheathe.

SCP-3807: We're trying to have a conversation here.

Jr. Res. Gardener: Jesus Christ, what the fuck?

SCP-3807: I do apologize for the state you find yourself in. I've come to provide recompense.

Agent Tayfur: What the hell are you talking about?

SCP-XXXX-3 produces a USB drive and places it on the table.

SCP-XXXX-3: Within this you'll find transcripts of the trial which Mr. Gardener was a juror on, as well as photographic evidence of his presence, and some miscellaneous details. I know how much you like hoarding knowledge.

Agent Tayfur: Bullshit.

SCP-XXXX-3: You could also not report two Type-Black entities entering an interrogation and freeing your prisoner.

Agent Tayfur What do you mean—

At this point, SCP-3807 has untied Gardener and is leading him towards the door. Agent Tayfur lunges at them, but suddenly finds himself lost in a field of reeds.

SCP-XXXX-3: We can't have that. Sorry. Oh, and if you try destroying the drive, I think you'll find that hippos aren't as extinct in the Nile as you'd like to believe.

SCP-3087: What have I told you about gloating, Thoth?

SCP-XXXX-3: Sometimes, father, I think you use the Hellenic pronunciation on purpose.

A large flock of African sacred ibises appear out of the reeds and surround Agent Tayfur as he attempts to exit the field. He emerges half an hour later. By this time, another copy of the USB drive had been delivered to Gardener's team lead and site director.

The transcripts present on SCP-XXXX detail another Foundation interaction. Dr. Miguel Cortez, a Foundation Egyptologist at Site-29, was allowed a one-day leave in May of 2018 to act as an expert witness in a trial on antiquities theft; Dr. Cortez has done this several times in his career, both prior to and during his tenure in the Foundation. Following his testimony, he was unable to provide a clear recollection of the details regarding the trial, until viewing this transcript.

Miguel Cortez, PhD, after having been first duly sworn,8 did testify as follows:

DIRECT EXAMINATION

BY MR. HASANI

Q: Could you please state your name for the record?

A: What the hell is going on here? Are you—

Q: Please state your name.

A: Uh. Dr. Miguel Cortez.

Q: Do you know why you're here?

A: No, but given that I'm in the witness stand, I'm assuming that I'm not about to be fed to Ammit.

Q: Are you telling me you don't know why you're here?

A: No. I… think I'm an expert witness?

Q: Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the organization alternately called the Foundation, the Jailers, 'Those Bastards Who Ripped Off the Center's Acronym Wrong', etc?

A: I… plead the fifth?

Q: I don't know what that means. Just answer the question, please.

A: Are all of you… anomalous? In the know?

Q: Yes, we are.

MR. SOCRATES
Objection, Your Honor. Relevance?

THE COURT
Mr. Hasani?

MR. HASANI
We've run into a snag. There's meant to be a… measure that informs you of the details of the case going in, but your brain is so full of counter-memes and anti-memes and Blasphemy-only-knows what else that it doesn't work. So if you could just…

THE COURT
Please strike that from the record. Dr. Cortez, I do not tolerate profanity in my court, no matter how creative.

Let the record show that Mr. Hasani has conferred the knowledge onto the witness.9 Mr. Socrates, your objection is overruled.

MR. HASANI:
Q: Do you understand now?

A: My head is killing me. But I understand, I think.

Q: With the assurance that all here know of your organization, are you part of the Foundation?

A: I am.

Q: Do you recognize the defendant?

A: Yeah. Ulrich von Eichmann.

Q: What is your opinion of him?

A: At least Chariots of the Gods? was well-written. Starborn 'Gods' is nonsense atop pseudoscience.

Q: Starborn 'Gods' makes the claim that the Pyramid of Cheops could not have been constructed using technology available at the time. What is your opinion on this?

A: I'm not going to laugh, because I'm not sure how it would look in the transcript. But that's my opinion.

Q: How could they have built the Pyramids, then?

A: You're asking me this? You? Aren't you the Set?

Q: Autographs later. For now, humor me. Please.

A: For one, incredibly skilled workers. They weren't slave labor, like the defendant's manuscript attests. They were paid well and got to live next to the construction site. Engineers worked for years to figure out a system of ramps, pulleys, wheels and lord knows what else to build them. We don't know the exact details, but we know that they were built by human beings.

Q: I suppose you would know better than most? Time travel and all?

A: We… don't have time travel.

Q: …oh. I motion for that to be stricken from the record?

A: Wait, do we?

Q: Objection. Irrelevant.

A: You… don't object to the witness. Do you?

Q: Look, I'm used to having cases dismissed on account of a choir using a courtroom for practice, or the prosecution eating their own evidence. Actually having to litigate something that isn't trial by combat is new territory for me.

A: And the defense is Socrates. Yikes.

Q: Ra help me.

MR. HASANI

Your honor, I tender the witness to the defense.


BY MR. SOCRATES
Q: How long have you been with the Foundation?

A: Seven years.

Q: Would you say that Starborn 'Gods' or works like it pose a threat to the integrity of your so-called veil?

A: No.

Q: Why is that?

A: Because it's utter bunk.

Q: Is there evidence of extraterrestrial visitation in the time defined as 'Before Common Era'?

A: Admittedly, there is some.

Q: Elaborate.

A: It's a fringe theory, even in the Foundation. Supposedly, the Mitochondrial Eve— a woman whose DNA is present in all human mitochondria— was extraterrestrial in origin, as is evident by the presence of triple-helix mitochondrial DNA among the population of countries such as Gambia and the Ukraine.

Q: So, it's possible that extraterrestrials may have shaped human civilization in some way?

A: Anything's possible. Even if extraterrestrials did visit humanity during ancient times, it would have had little effect— the connections we have on Earth today would be mind-boggling to anyone even three hundred years ago, let alone three-thousand.

Q: So, you're saying that there's a possibility that—

A: [interjecting] May I be permitted some irony?

Q: I suppose?

A: von Eichmann's work, and the work of every other individual who purports the existence of ancient aliens, is nothing short of creationism.10

Q: You do realize that all individuals in this court, barring myself, yourself and the defendant, are some form of deity, and therefore creators?

A: Hence the irony. I mean no offense to you, your Honor, but what von Eichmann is saying is, essentially, 'no human could have accomplished what these civilizations did.' This same man held a conference in Rome in 1999, less than half a mile away from the Colosseum.

Q: The Colosseum was built over 2500 years later than the pyramids. Technology had advanced by then, surely?

A: That's not the point. Von Eichmann makes the argument that the works he discusses in Starborn 'Gods' are too perfect to be created by humans that he calls 'primitive' and 'dull.' He treats the Egyptian civilization like they're Neanderthals banging rocks together to crush salt, to say nothing of the way the Pueblo are talked about.

Q: And how are the Pueblo talked about?

A: He literally says that they didn't have the know-how to stack up stones to build a wall.

Q: What would his motive be to portray history in the way you allege?

A: I think that's a question for you to answer.

Q: I don't follow.

A: And it's not my job to ask those questions.

Q: But is there any possibility these works could have been built by extraterrestrials?

A: There is some possibility. But it is very, very slim.11

MR. SOCRATES: No further questions, your honor.

Following this, Dr. Cortez re-appeared in his car outside of the courthouse where he had been asked to report. His right shoe contained approximately a kilogram of sand.

Addendum: Further Court Transcripts: The USB drive that SCP-XXXX-3 gave to the Foundation contains several hundred pages of transcripts of SCP-XXXX's proceedings. Several items considered pertinent or notable are listed below, along with annotations provided by SCP-XXXX-3, presented in italics.


DR. ROSARIO VASQUEZ12
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. HASANI

Q: What does the expression 'Rome was not built in a day' mean?

A: It… means that big feats take a long time to do.

Q: How long did it take to finish the Colosseum?

A: I…

THE COURT
The witness will answer the question.

BY MR. HASANI:

A: Sorry, I'm just… distracted by the ears. How are they doing that?

Q: Objection, irrelevant. How long did it take to finish the Colosseum?

A: Maybe nine or ten years?

Q: A similar time frame was needed to construct the pyramids at Giza, yes?

A: I think so. I studied some Egyptology in college, a few people thought it took twenty.

Q: Would it be reasonable to assume that advanced technology on an extraterrestrial scale would have been able to finish the Colosseum in less than half that time?

A: Isn't this a trial for theft of cultural artefacts? Why the hell are we talking about aliens?


CROSS EXAMINATION
BY MR. HASANI
Q: To clarify, how do you pronounce your name?

A: Nata´aska.13

Q: Honored Nata´aska, Guard of Soyok Wuhti, enforcer of children. What is the role you hold in your pantheon?

A: I am not part of a 'pantheon.' I am a spirit, not a god. There is a difference.

Q: Beg your pardon. Then what is your role among the kasina spirits?

A: I act in several capacities. As a guide for children, I enforce good behavior.

Q: And what happens if the children do not behave?

A: I eat them.

Q: You… eat them?

A: That's what's said in my lore.

Q: May I ask why you eat children?

A: How else are other children going to learn to respect their parents?

Q: What are some things a child could be eaten for?

A: Lying to their parents and friends, disrespecting the culture, not going to bed at the appointed hour. The list goes on.

Q: Would the offense of claiming that your culture, and possibly yourself, are some form of extraterrestrial, be grounds for you to devour these children?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: It is not a lie, it is ignorance. I would not eat a blind child for not knowing what color the sky is.

Q: But… are you extraterrestrial in origin?

A: I do not know.

Q: Could you please elaborate on that point?

A: Quite frankly, white men have misrepresented, mis-documented and eradicated my people to the point where western views of us are more prevalent than native views, at least in terms of sheer numbers. There are more people who study the Kasina than who actually perform the rituals.

Q: But… you exist. Objectively. Are you an extraterrestrial, to the best of your knowledge?

A: No.

Q: Do you believe any of your fellow Kasina to be extraterrestrial?

A: I don't know.

At this point, Seth lets out a string of swears so foul that I fear to transcribe them. Thankfully, I do not need to.

THE COURT
Strike that from the record. Mr. Hasani, refrain from profanity in the courtroom, especially in the presence of a witness. We will now take a fifteen-minute recess for you to collect yourself.


DR. QUENTIN MORGAN-RUSSEL
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. SOCRATES:

Q: State your name, for the record?

A: Dr. Quentin Morgan-Russel.

A thoroughly unremarkable-looking man. Maybe sixty years old, Caucasian. Looks like he smiles a lot, and I can practically feel the love he has for his work radiating off of him. The Hemlock-Loving Socrates has never read a work of his, and yet thinks he can match wits with the man.

Q: And your occupation?

A: Professor of mythology, Harvard.

Q: May I call you Dr. Morgan-Russel?

A: Certainly.

Q: How long have you been lecturing at Harvard, doctor?

A: Twenty years this August.

Q: In that time, have the works of scholars such as Ulrich von Eichmann— proponents of the 'ancient aliens' theory— attracted students to your lectures?

A: Quite a lot. All misguided, of course.

Q: Would you say that the impact this theory has made on your field of study and its perception is tangible?

A: Certainly. Back in 1980, nobody could tell you who Ra or Set were. Ever since Stargate, they've been household names.

Q: Do you know what the noosphere is?

A: Yes. Somehow.

Q: You shouldn't worry about that. How would you describe the effect this theory has had on the noosphere surrounding mythology?

A: Honestly? Quite positive.

Q: Elaborate, please.

A: Well, these entities that we call gods, people think they're powered by belief, but that's not quite true. Not many people believe in them, outside of neo-pagan segments that have popped up. So… I'm not an expert on this by any means, but they may be powered more by awareness than belief.

Q: Awareness? The simple act of knowing of the deities is enough to sustain them? Do they not require belief?

A: There are neo-pagan sects that still believe in them. But I'd say that awareness is enough to keep them alive; not many people who study Egyptology actually believe in it, and honestly, more's the pity, I say.

Q: Could damage have been done to the Egyptian pantheon by belief in this theory, as opposed to belief in the deities themselves?

A: Of course not. They're too resilient for that.

MR. SOCRATES:
Ladies, gentlemen, and various individuals of the jury, you have not seen the full extent of The Egyptian Typh— that is, Mr. Hasani's complaint.14The wording of it is such that one would assume that Herr von Eichmann had sent thieves to steal the children of his clients, and then feed them to lions.

Mr. Hasani is literally demanding the heart of my client, which— while within the rights of the belief system he originates from— should not be collected prematurely. If Mr. Hasani wishes to have my client's heart so badly, he should wait until Anubis greets him in the Hall of Two Truths, and settle his account then. And for what? Libel, and some vague injury to his client. If it were simply a monetary matter, I would see value in it, but he insists on taking a mortal life in restitution.

I hold love for all gods, and I see their value among their worshipers, and I respect the rituals they keep. And while I do not share my client's beliefs, nor do I know his reasons for believing in them, I will defend his right to state them.


IMHOTEP, THE ONE WHO COMES IN PEACE
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. HASANI

MR. HASANI
I greet you, Imhotep the Great, son of Ptah, born of Khereduankh.15. Acclaimed you are, vizier and architect, god and man. I ask the healer that you are to heal the ignorance of man with the balm of knowledge. I bade thee forth, Uncle Mine.

Divinity and humanity are a hard thing to reconcile into the same being. Imhotep appears twofold— once from the chambers where he is waiting for the baliff to bring him out, and once from a wind that smells of hot sand, pomegranate, cumin, garlic, and cannabis16. They both manifest into a single being— a younger man, his eyes full of wisdom and some degree of boredom.

Q: Honored Imhotep, are you a man, or a god?

A: I was a born human, but deified after my death.

Q: And what is your domain?

A: Medicine, but in life, I was an architect.

Q: What works did you design?

A: Among others, The Tomb of Djoser— it's a step pyramid, located in Saqqara, near Memphis.

Q: The plans for the pyramid you built, how did they come to you?

A: I… don't understand the question.

Q: Did they come through you by divine inspiration, from your Father, or…?

A: No? I honestly just based them off of the Mastaba that had dotted Kemet at the time. They would evolve into the pyramids we know today, but they were still used at the same time Khufu was building Giza.

Q: Were the pyramids always perfect in design?

A: Amun, no. It took a generation of builders to make one that could have straight angles. The Bent Pyramid is literally bent at a strange angle because they mis-measured it and it would have fallen apart otherwise. The three pyramids of Sneferu contain more stones combined that the Great Pyramid does by itself.

Q: Would you say there is progression here? From the first, flawed attempt at a pyramid all the way to the semi-decent Red Pyramid?

A: Definitely.

MR. HASANI
Associated beings, we have an architect and a deity here with us, who has just told us that progression— nay, evolution occurred in the building of these titanic structures in Kemet, land of the Pharaohs and the Nile. If these were dropped out of the sky by alien beings, would they contain such imperfections? Bent angles, being on the verge of collapsing, inefficient design? Or is it glorious human error that does such things?

MR. HASANI
No further questions, Honored Themis.

CROSS-EXAMINATION
BY MR. SOCRATES

Q: Imhotep, you were born the son of a mortal man and mortal woman, were you not?

A: I was.

Q: Later traditions state that you are the son of the god of creation Ptah, and the goddess of destruction Sachmis.17

A: This is true.

Q: Which is the truth? Do you have mortal parents, or parents who are of the celestial plane?

A: That is a… very complicated question.

Q: For the sake of argument, tell me.

A: I was born a mortal, but you of all people should know that divine genealogies can be nonsensical if you take them at face value. I sit here now, divine, but with memories of both being a mortal child with mortal parents, and being the son of divinity. When I was mortal, I remember the pride on my father's face when I became a scribe, and my sadness when he died. I, the architect, was not a son of Ptah. I, Imhotep the god, am.

Q: And your deification came after your death?

A: Obviously. Only pharaohs are deified in life.

Q: So, does that not mean those who worshiped you after death were projecting their own notion of you onto your life as a mortal?

A: That's one way to look at it, I suppose.

MR. SOCRATES
If that is the case— people of the jury, I contend that, on the charge of my client's actions rewriting the perception of deities and history, Herr von Eichmann is just as guilty as those who projected their beliefs onto Imhotep, or indeed, any deified being.

I do acknowledge the inequality of these actions— the deification of Imhotep the man gave us the Honored Imhotep the god, whose domain of medicine helped ensure healthy lives for those who worshiped him. Nevertheless, the essence of the charge is that my client's works are historically inaccurate, even if that is not what the complaint states. To this end: Why not charge every other poor fool who has been mistaken about history throughout the ages?

At this point, we had to take a recess due to a sudden sandstorm in the courtroom. As I type this, my steno machine crunches with the sound of sand beneath his keys— my father nearly lost his temper. There's still a thundercloud over the courtroom.


INANNA, QUEEN OF HEAVEN
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. HASANI

Q: I call upon she of Akkadia and Babylon. Queen of Heaven, Star of Lamentation, Lady of Battles, most awesome of the goddesses, clothed in pleasure and love, she who blessed Those Whose Faces Are Brilliant. Known to me as Astarte of the Battle, of the City, of the Mountain, though I am bereft of your presence as my wife in this matter, and known to Socrates of Athens as Aphrodite. I call upon you in the form of Seth, beseech you to show yourself to this court so that you may give testimony, in the name of all gods.

Inanna comes upon the stand to the sound of a raging battle, with lions roaring alongside them. Her appearance is, predictably, dramatic— starting as an eight-pointed light, she produces wings of multitudinous colors, which fold in on herself. They open, revealing a woman that is taller than Seth and Socrates combined, with a dozen weapons between her wings, a horned crown upon her head, and garbed in white silk stained with red— though if the stains are blood spilled in battle, or wine spilled in the throes of passion, I cannot say.

(Annotation by Dr. Athenodora Cat: Jr. Res. Gardener's body camera footage was largely unusable during this transformation. The being that appeared in the witness stand afterwards has a distressingly strong resemblance to SCP-4960.)

A: I see you and I hear you, Suketh of the Ennead. And I regret that I cannot be here as Astarte.

Q: I have called you to act as a witness in this matter, in the aspect you would have been known to those in Babylon.

A: Ask your questions.

Q: Inanna, what is your connection to this case, in your current aspect?

A: I am not involved in the plaintiff's suit.

Q: But you are a deity, yes? One who has been affected by the defendant's work to some degree?

MR. SOCRATES
Objection, compounded question, and leading question.

THE COURT
Sustained. Mr. Hasani, one question at a time.

MR. HASANI
Q: Apologies. Have you ever been accused of being an extraterrestrial?

A: I am Venus.

Q: Beg pardon, but you are appearing in your aspect as Inanna, are you not?

A: I am the star you call Venus, as well as Inanna. I am not of this Earth in any sense, except when I walk upon it.

Seeing my father grow some flop-sweat is oddly satisfying.

Q: Do— do you feel you are misrepresented by works such as Starborn Gods?

A: To a degree, yes.

Q: Could you elaborate, please?

A: Of my descent to Kur, he… what's the term you use? Cherry-picks. He cherry-picks pieces about my descent to retrieve Tammuz, saying that the protective garments I wear— my crown, my jewelry, my girdle, among others— were simply a 'space suit', and that Kur was the darkness of space itself. Which, by that logic, means the later part of the narrative, where I passed through the gates of the underworld and had to give up a piece of my garment, until I arrived naked and vulnerable in front of my sister Ereshkigal, must surely be a depiction of how my spacesuit became ruptured and I thus died from decompression.

A (continued): There is a subsequent part in the narrative where I am resurrected from the underworld and regain my garment as I went back through each of the gates. You would think this would refer to my decompressed corpse re-assembling itself and putting the suit back on… but but that doesn't match expectations of how spacesuits work. So those pieces have to be metaphorical. But the bit about me putting on fancy clothes, those have to be absolutely literal and referring to literal artifacts that the poet saw with his eyes.

A (continued): And of what he says of Asushunamir and their kind18… it makes me want to—

I cannot hear what she says. The sound of battle overwhelms the courtroom, and her eyes shine with the fire of the Morning Star.

A: …apologies. I did not realize that would happen. I will control my anger.

Q: But are you an alien being in the sense that Starborn Gods alleges?

A: No.

Q: And the others among your group?

A: The Annunnaki, in my sister's realm. Their name comes up more often in ancient alien literature than most, and… well, I'm not sure if you were in the zeitgeist in 2012, but one of the prevailing theories for how the world would end at the time was the collision of Earth with a rogue planet called "Nbiru." That's where the Annunnaki are supposed to come from, according to his kind, and that they are responsible for building all the great works of the ancient world.

Q: I see. Other than them, who is the most affected?

A: Dagon, definitely. Poor Dagon.

Q: Elaborate.

A: Well, Howard P—
The entire courtroom is blinded and deafened as she tries to speak the name. I've heard of nuclear weapons used by humans, and this feels like one has been dropped in the court. The human in the jury was protected by an Aegis, but his ears are still ringing. Note to self: ask for further reparations for personal injury.

The smoke clears, and we can see again— thankfully, I know how to touch-type. Inanna looks drained, her crown somewhat ablaze.

INANNA, QUEEN OF HEAVEN
Excuse me.

MR. HASANI
Q: Are you alright?

A: So much hate behind that name and those works. It… infuriates me in an incandescent manner. I need to write it down, please?

And here, I, the great and powerful Djhuety, handed her a reed pen and quill. She wrote down the name that is next spoken by my ungrateful father, who does not even think to offer me libations on my festival day.

Q: The author in question is H.P. Lovecraft?

A: Yes. He, and others, such as E. Rob—

She goes on to name further names that are drowned out by cosmic rumblings, though these are thankfully far less violent. I catch the names of a few presidents and at least one king. Socrates hides under his desk, but the rest of us are stoic.

MR. SOCRATES
Your honor, I request that the witness name no further mortals which have caused her injury, for the safety of all in the courtroom.

THE COURT
Granted. Honored Inanna, please refrain from enacting your fury upon the court.

INANNA, QUEEN OF HEAVEN
Apologies.

A: That man, and others, portrayed Dagon, a grain and fertility deity, as being an alien, fish-like being.

Q: Has this affected you adversely, in any manner?

A: Not in the ontological sense, but… people don't know how to call out to him anymore. All of their calls are being directed to Dagon the Fish, and not Dagon the Farmer. Even then, little records of either remain.

Q: Do you have any idea why your Babylonian aspect is portrayed as alien, but not, for instance, your Hellenic one?

A: Part of it is a bad interpretation of science. Our Ziggurats are decorated with images of the heavens above— and of myself, Shamash, and others. Naturally, they think that we couldn't possibly have looked up at the stars and made them ourselves, so it has to be aliens.

Q: Are there any other examples of this bad science?

A: Several. The Art of the Nazca is said to be landing strips for alien craft, and not dedications to their long-since forgotten deities, may their monuments stand. Why would aliens need landing strips, if they're so advanced?

Q: And—

A: I'm not done. Gold, a substance which humanity has arbitrarily given value, is said to be the main reason that we 'invaded' the planet— to mine it. It has little practical use, and we come from light-years away to a little rock that can barely support life to mine it? And even then, we have to uplift humanity just to extract that stupid yellow rock? Surely a space-faring civilization has figured out mining.

Q: I see, but—

A: And it is veryconvenient that the technological horizons of the day these theories were formulated just so happen to match up with the technology we were capable of. Fifty years ago, we were compared to astronauts in space capsules. Today, we apparently have warp drive capabilities or 'star gates'. It's…

Q: Honored Inanna. Are you… sharpening a dagger?

Inanna looks down and finds a whetstone and dagger in her hand.

A: It appears that I am.

Q: Why are you doing that?

A: It is… a metaphor. I just named over a dozen individuals who enrage me, most of whom are still alive and in positions where I cannot easily visit my rage upon them without smiting entire cities. I have also spent the last several minutes talking about the poor quality of the science used by these… 'theorists', and this represents how badly I want to visit my vengeance upon them? Take him, for instance, that insipid son of a—

THE COURT
Please refrain from gesturing at the defendant with a blade for the duration of the court case, Mistress of All Lands.

INANNA, QUEEN OF HEAVEN
I apologize, your honor.

Q: Getting back on track… we've established why they believe it from a factual standpoint, but what about by an ideological one? What would motivate otherwise intelligent— or at least sane —individuals to believe in such a theory?

A: It is because they lack confidence. They see themselves as insignificant in the face of monuments eons old, built by beings so much lesser than them, far more superstitious and technologically inferior. They can't rationalize the fact that they could have gardens and ziggurats and pyramids and sphinxes. They see these things, and they can't comprehend the fact that they cannot do the same thing with their cranes and computers, so they try to rationalize it away, and… that does even more harm, in a sense.

Q: Can you elaborate?

A: The idea that gods change themselves based on the belief of the masses has been popularized in the modern age, but as I'm sure most of the court can attest: it is bunk. Our perception is changed, but our core essence remains— unless we are forgotten. Campaigns are being carried out in the Near East to destroy the heritage of Babylon, Akkad, Sumer, and even Roman elements in and around Mesopotamia and Levant— The Temple of Bal at Palmyra, The Winged Bull of Nineveh, the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II… all gone, forever.

Q: Do you blame the defendant for those?

A: Of course not. But his efforts are another example of modern humanity trying to erase a past that doesn't fit their present. The defendant's audience are people who could rest comfortably with the knowledge that they know who they are. Every year they have celebrations of their national mythology, with fireworks and feasts and pride. Yet when they look at my home… Mesopotamia being the 'Cradle of Civilization' is easily discounted if it's nothing more remarkable than some primitive barbarians, who happened to be there when aliens landed. Outside of that, nobody bothers to learn of the Islamic Golden Age.

Forget or destroy enough of this history, and suddenly it's so much easier to think of this place and its peoples as insignificant, inconsequential - and if something is inconsequential, who would care if it dies by bomb or by drones or by hunger in a refugee camp?

Q: To boil it down to a single point…

A: Those who believe these theories are… well, sad and jealous of the fact that they haven't been able to accomplish something that grand. So, they steal it in imperialistic rage, and if the culture that built it still exists… well, just take one look at America, and you'll see how that went.

Q: Do you believe that there's a racial prejudice to it, as well?

A: Does my brother Shamash rise in the east? Of course there is. There's a reason you don't typically see Greeks and Romans worshiping aliens— they're European.

MR. HASANI
You ask why we should punish the defendant? I realize that several of us come from prejudiced pantheons, but the actions carried out in our names and the actions we condone are not one and the same. Kemet committed atrocities against the Hebrews and the Caananites, and we all know of what Rome did to early Christians. Times have changed, and I would like to think the world as a whole is more tolerant. But von Eichmann and others are supporting a theory which says that civilizations with lighter skin developed their own culture, while the likes of Egypt, Akkad, and the Hopi had to be given theirs. That is why.

No further questions, your honor.

MR. SOCRATES:
Honored Inanna, I regret to inform you that I have… little comfort in questioning you in this aspect. For this reason, I call upon your counterpart from Hellas, of the Ouranoes. I deeply apologize for my impudence here.

INANNA, QUEEN OF HEAVEN
I shall allow it, for I know that you find more familiarity with my Cytherean counterpart. Begin your invocation, if you would please.

APHRODITE19
CROSS EXAMINATION
BY MR. SOCRATES

Q: Cythereia, violet-crowned goddess, you who make the world grow, you who make our hearts beat, mistress of Cyprus, golden Aphrodite—by whatever name that pleases you, I call to you now.

In times before, I have always tried to serve the gods as well as I could. In times before, I have never prayed for anything other than ‘the good things,’ trusting you to know best what is good. Yet the responsibility placed on me by this court now compels me to ask different questions. So, if ever in word or in deed I have pleased you, be gracious now, o Queen, and answer me as clearly as is fitting.

A flock of doves fly in from Socrates-Who-Hates Scribes’s right-hand side, circling around his head a few times, before rising upwards and disappearing into the courtroom’s ceiling.

On the witness stand is now laughter-loving Aphrodite, who nods her head.

Q: … Very well. I know the last points were raised by the Aphrodite of Babylon, but you are who I am most familiar with, and so I call to you now—if it is alright with you?

A: It is of no inconvenience to me. Speak your questions, son of Sophroniscos.

Q: You were, on account of your son Aineias, called upon as "Mother" by the Roman people, and as "Conqueress" as well—did that not happen?

A: Yes, it did.

Q: When Alexander the son of Philip reached the end of his conquest at the River Hyphasis, he was said to have built altars to the Twelve Gods the size of great towers, to mark his achievement and to honor the gods who had led him this far—did that not happen?

A: Yes, it did.

Q: I was there, when the city used to send out our fleets from the harbor of Piraeus, to bring the islands into the rule of the Athenians, to collect tributes, to quell revolts. I remember how the ships sailed past your temple on the promontory. I remember everyone, both the sailors and those on the shore, pouring libations and praying to you and to the other blessed gods—did these things not happen?

A: I know where you're going with this. The answer is yes.

Q: Could any of these people be said to have engaged in imperialism?

A: "It would have been small consolation to the Melians, as the Athenian soldiers and sailors fell upon them, to be informed that they were about to become the victims of a hegemonial, not an imperial, measure." Yes, it is a legitimate way of viewing it.

Q: You now object to the imperialism in this man’s work, yet you yourself have been worshipped by so many conquerors and empire-builders—is that not a contradiction?

A: Socrates, you ask a question you already know the answer for. People say and do many things in the name of the gods; if we listen to them all soon we’ll be down the road of allowing gods to take all the blame for the bad things humans do.

Q: But if we adopt this framework, of recognizing a distinction between the people who actually do the deeds and their alleged inspiration, then we must be precise about what the defendant is to be judged for today. Just now we have been going through the wrongdoings of this man Lovecraft, and of the ‘ancient astronauts’ school in general, and of the education system of the defendant’s native land… but to what extent is any of these the responsibility of the defendant in particular? If he is part of a trend, then why are we suing him, specifically, and not any of the other people in this trend?

A: Why are you asking me, Socrates? That question should be directed to the plaintiff, not me.

They both turn toward the plaintiff’s table. At that moment my father is amusing himself with some bubble gum, apparently too bored to pay any attention to what is going on. Feeling their eyes upon him, he turns around, a little too quickly, and the gum bubble bursts all over his face.

The courtroom is filled with guffawing.

Q: I have given up trying to get a straight answer from the Egyptian Typhon—it’s all hieroglyphic to me.

A: I would counsel you to be careful with questioning him: he too is a divine power, in his own way, and deserves proper respect no less than anyone else of us.

Q: I will keep that in mind.

THE COURT
Do you have any further questions, Mr. Socrates?

MR. SOCRATES
No, Your Honor. I would just like to direct the jury’s attention to the last point of inquiry I raised: what is it that these witnesses are supposed to be testifying about? What is it that you are supposed to be rendering judgement on? If it is the flaws of a whole movement, then let the movement be sued. But if it is the actions of this one man, then let us consider only the man. And, certainly, let us not give him a punishment more in scale for the crimes of many men.


MR. HASANI
Ladies, gentlemen, assorted beings. We have heard this theory being debated called 'hateful' and 'racist' on at least two different occasions, with the perception of several spirits being so twisted that they themselves cannot say whether or not they were extraterrestrial.

MR. SOCRATES
Objection. Opposing counsel seems to have forgotten, yet again, that this is a libel suit pertaining to a particular volume, not the theory as a whole.

THE COURT
I'd like to hear where this is going. Overruled. Mr. Hasani, proceed.

MR. HASANI
Herr von Eichmann and his ilk tout the idea that the peoples of my civilization, and several others, were too simple to build their own works without outside aid. While beings such as myself gave inspiration in the form of dreams or prophecies or signs, as well as the occasional divine aid, all of the thinking, inventing, and building that went into a single block of a pyramid was all down to humanity.

He makes a grand gesture to the audience. Seems he was watching some of the legal dramas, finally.

For all of its flaws, humankind has always been amazing at working with its hands, and with its brain. Herr von Eichmann wishes to rob entire civilizations of that agency, and install space ships in its place. He would have you believe that the burning bush Moses encountered was lit by the exhaust of a warp drive, or that Ishtar garbed herself in a spacesuit before descending into the underworld.

To expound upon this matter, I call my next witness to the stand.

BRAGI, AESIR OF POETRY
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. HASANI

Q: Ash Yggdrasil's trunk, of trees is foremost, and Skídbladnir of ships, Odin of Aesir, of all steeds Slepnir, Bifröst of bridges, and of hounds Garmr; Hábrók of hawks, and Bragi of skalds.20 Boddasson, husband of Iðunn, first maker of poetry, long-bearded, I summon thee forth to the stand.

Bragi arrives with a strong scent of fermented honey on his heels. A humble being, long-bearded and clad in fur, he could be mistaken for human, size and all— one of the advantages the Aesir have always had is their ability to blend in. With the scent (possibly this 'mead of poetry' I've heard so much about?) every human within twenty miles suddenly gets an urge to write a novel— maybe one or two will manage it. Other than the scent, little else accompanies his arrival— he simply walks to the stand.

A: All right, I'm here. No need to go mangling my poetry to get my attention like that.

Q: Apologies. Onto the questioning… Are you involved with this lawsuit in any way?

A: No. Uninvolved third party, was invited to testify by you.

Q: Honored Bragi, your rule over poetry includes inspiration, yes?

A: Aye. I've inspired many a great work, though it never catches the eyes of any of those Greek girls.

Q: And would you say that you've inspired the retellings of several myths of the Aesir, Jotun, Svartálfar, et cetera?

A: Indeed! There's always poetic license and some metaphor that gets garbled— Hel isn't literally half-alive and half-dead, split down the middle.

Q: Since your domain includes poetry, does that include the writing, recording, etc. of all myths?

A: Most of them. There are a few that, sadly, are lost to us all.

I will always respect a god who bows his head in mourning when they discuss those who have been consigned to Oblivion. Bragi already had my respect, now he earns more.

Q: And how have your myths been mis-interpreted in the past?

A: That is… a twisted knot of a question. Imagery from the Norse peoples was co-opted by the Nazis to further their crusade. It didn't help that Norway and Sweden were both occupied, and Finland was with Germany so long as it meant pushing back the Soviets.

Q: Can you think of any other examples, if it does not do you harm?

A: They saw themselves as the new Norse, essentially. Called themselves an endangered Nordic race. Tried to distance themselves from anything Semitic, and that included the Christian God. So, they looked for a European pantheon to leech off of, and found us. It was disgusting.

Q: Did they literally worship you and the other Aesir? Offer libations and such?

A: Nay. There was this one fool, name of Karl Maria Wiligut. One of the occultists. He claimed he was a descendant of Thor, and used that claim to further the occult studies of the Nazis. He said that a Germanic god named "Krist" had been appropriated by the Christians as… well, their Christ. It's absurd.

Q: So, in other words, not a flattering interpretation.

A: Fuckin' hell no.

Themis ordered me not to strike that from the record. I think that Bragi, being a fellow deity involved writing, would un-strike it anyway.

A: They just chose the bits they liked best, and twisted them until the 'evidence' fit their facts. Their eyes are turned inwards towards their own navels, and they fail to see the color of the sky for their own shit. Why, I oughta—

Bragi had to be retrained by Themis in her aspect as a baliff in order to be prevented from breaking out into a skald song.

A: I do apologize. But I hate them Nazi fucks.

Q: Regarding the idea of prejudice coloring interpretations of writing. At one point in his book, the defendant uses the description of a chariot with solid gold wheels being pulled by sparrows21 as evidence to indicate the existence of spaceships, with the wheels and sparrows being mistaken for turbines and… one moment.

My father's notes are better-organized today. Slightly.

Q: And an organic computer, respectively.

A: Next you'll be trying to sell me Slepnir. It's poetry, meant to convey the idea that humans cannot possibly reach divinity. Chariots were the one of the most advanced pieces transportation technology in the day, and the golden wheels are meant to convey the miraculous nature. If Aphrodite cared to go out today, she would probably have a diamond-studded Lamborghini with a leopard as a chauffeur.

Q: He uses this also as evidence of the ignorance of some early Greek peoples, before the invention of the wheel, as gold is unable to be shaped into such a form without bending into uselessness.

A: If you want to play a jester, Set, you need to learn how to have your humor translate.

Q: I don't follow.

A: That isn't in the book. It can't be, nobody's that conceited. You have to be joking.

Q: Read here.

Seth has a document in his hand that kills any joy and mirth Bragi has in his eyes. His jaw hangs open for several seconds before he realizes he has made a massive mistake.

A: Odin's balls.

Q: Can you answer the question?

A: If Greeks were that ignorant, how would they even know what a chariot was to begin with?

MR. HASANI
Note that the defendant specifically makes these accusations at the expense of the 'Early' Greeks— bronze-age, before the Parthenon. The time of myth in which conflicts such as the Trojan War are said to take place. The past is a different country, they say, and to the defendant, it is culturally barren.

The defendant supposes that humanity, in those days, could not have developed their own technology, their own culture, without the aid of a higher being. But the very myths used to describe the higher beings such as myself work at a rate of fifty metaphors per sentence. I do not literally cause every rainstorm over Kemet, I was just a convenient excuse. The defendant has taken these metaphors and chosen to interpret them as metaphorical or literal at their leisure. Chariots and bamboo are called spaceships. To quote a famed mortal actor, said to be a scion of Melpomene: "What does god need with a starship?"


HEPHAISTOS KLYTOTEKHNES
DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. SOCRATES

Q: Great Artificer, Maker of Miracles, Craftsman, Grand Sculptor, Keeper of the Forge at Etna. Known to Opposing Counsel as the creator Ptah, maker of Clockworks, the most Steadfast of the Gods. I bid thee forth now, Hephaistos Klytotekhnes, to come and give witness and testimony in a matter where a mortal life hangs in the balance.

Hephaistos Klytotekhnes does not bother for him to even begin the second sentence before he starts to, quite literally, roll in. Gears, shafts, cranks, springs, wheels, tubes, and all manner of technological devices both ancient and modern roll in from the waiting chambers, coming together with clicking and ratcheting sounds so loud that I strain to hear Should've-Written-Something-Down-Socrates over the din.
Hephaistos assumes the form of an automaton, and I cannot help but wonder if this is a proxy he is simply speaking through— a mouthpiece. Every time I encounter them, he looks broken in a different way.

A: While I appreciate the formality, son of Sophroniscos, there is no need for it. I am a god of technology, and in this modern age, I am ready to be called at a moment's notice. Call me Hephaistos, Vulcan, the Smith, the Artificier, call me Bob for all I care.

Though it pains me, the format does not allow for me to address you as 'Bob' or 'Robert'.

Q: Er, well then. Honored Hephaistos, Mr. Hasani brought up a point following a previous testimony: 'what does god need with a starship?' Tell me, do you have any need for spacecraft?

A: We have never had the need for a starship, nor do I think we will ever have a need.

Q: Space exploration does not interest you?

A: In an academic sense. Apollo was literally over the moon when it was first landed upon. And naturally, several members of my family have a planet, planetoid or moon named after them.

Q: You do not have a celestial body named after yourself?

A: A minor planetoid. As for my Roman aspect, it was once thought that, between Mercury and the Sun, another planet existed. They called that Vulcan, for a time. Discredited, unfortunately.

Q: But what of the vast ocean of space itself?

A: We don't really have a need to go there. Most of our worshipers are on Earth, and we exist in a somewhat abstract celestial realm. We are the stars in the sky, and the planets. Anything beyond that is hard to imagine.

Q: Honored Hephaistos, you are a god of artifice. Are you saying that you are incapable of creating a starship?

A lightning strike interrupted the testimony, impacting on the desk Socrates was using. My father's hackles were raised. If the Greek bothered to use written notes, they would have been in flames. Hephaistos is curiously unfazed.

A: Of course I could. I've forged and repaired far more difficult things. Give me some lead, a kiss from my wife, a book of matches, and I'll give you a warp drive before you take dinner.

Q: Have you ever built a starship, then?

A: In a sense. I created the chariot Helios uses to pull the sun.

Q: And is this a literal chariot, pray tell?

A: It can take on whatever form pleases him. He prefers a chariot, but has experimented with other forms. For a time, when Apollo took up the duty, it became…

I do not know the exact mechanics of Apollo's relation to Hephaestus, but the disappointment in his sigh was something that I've only heard used by parents when their children forge their signature to get tattoos.

A: A tour bus. God of music, yet he has no respect for the classics.

Q: Could this chariot theoretically become a 'diamond-studded Lamborghini'?

MR. HASANI
Your honor, objection. That's plagiarism! He's re-using my argument!

THE COURT
Mr. Hasani, if I had an obol for every incorrect objection you've made since this trial started, I could afford to send all of Athens across the Acheron. Overruled. Shut up.

The storm brewing in the court died down with only a faint growl of complaint from my father. Part of the audience had pulled out umbrellas, and I see the lone mortal in the jury cowering. I have to give this to you, father: You tried. You failed miserably, but you tried.

BY MR. SOCRATES
Q: Answer the question, please.

A: That would be something my wife would have more interest in than myself. But it could.

Q: So, what's to stop Helios from turning his chariot into a starship?

A: Honestly, the simple fact that nobody has ever really thought of it in that sense— until now, I suppose. There was this one author who imagined it as a train and a sports car, both only capable of travelling east to west, but that's largely it.

Q: So, gods do not need a starship, but they could make one.

A: Indeed.

Q: Why haven't you?

A: I talk to Voyager 1 occasionally. There's no real need to go any farther than humanity has already.

Q: …beg pardon, Honored Artificer, but did you say you talk to Voyager 1?

A: I mean, you did make it an attempt to encapsulate the essence of Humanity, as a collective part of the species that could reach out into the unknown Final Frontier, yes? It's Human enough for my purpose. Not that you made it easy for me to look after it— it didn't include any data on us, aside from someone speaking Ancient Greek.

MR. SOCRATES
Associated beings of the jury, need I say anything else? Even if the item that is described in the opposing counsel's letter of complaint is a forgery, we have just had a god of artifice admit that he could make a starship, and that the things he has already made could qualify as such, depending on perception.

This lawsuit was made solely for the purpose of brute revenge, not Justice. Honored Themis, I have no further questions.

CROSS EXAMINATION
BY MR. HASANI
No questions, your honor.

THE COURT
Are you sure?

MR. HASANI
Yes.

(Annotation by Jr. Res. Gardener: At first, I thought that he was going to start crying— he being 3807. All that work, for nothing, destroyed by a single testimony. He was slumped in his chair, head bowed. But I was just at the right angle in the jury that I could see the head behind the hands on his face— the smirk he was wearing was terrifying, and victorious.)


THE COURT
I believe it is about time for closing arguments. Mr. Hasani, you will go first.

MR. HASANI
Associated entities of the jury, I…

My father fumbles for words.

Our faiths are largely dead in the modern age. While sects and worshipers pop up, they are few and far between. I genuinely believe that the damage done by this man and his ilk to our kind is tangible. Look upon Dagon. Look upon the ideas that the pyramids or the Hopi's structures are immaculate. Look upon the damage done to the Kasina, to the point where even they are unsure of their status.

The 12th President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, said this of the things constructed by the natives of his country in 1830: “In the monuments and fortifications of an unknown people, we behold the memorials of a once-powerful race, exterminated to make room for the existing savage tribes.” This 'ancient race', according to him and those of his time, would have been Caucasians, but there is no doubt in my mind that were he alive today, he would attribute them to extraterrestrials.

Gods are inherently extraterrestrial in the sense that they are present in a celestial realm. But calling us aliens who bring knowledge to our civilizations is an insult to the humans who serve us, and those who serve them.

The plaintiff rests.

THE COURT
And Mr. Socrates?

MR. SOCRATES
I have made it no secret that I hold contempt for this theory. But ignorance does not deserve punishment so extreme as what Mr. Hasani and his clients are requesting— literally tearing out his heart and feeding it to a beast, in addition to removing a major source of income for my client? It is unconscionable.

I would like to paraphrase myself in Philebus. My client holds no malice towards his neighbors— instead, he finds himself in the unfortunate state of ignorance. Some might argue that this is worse, but I do not believe it to be so. He is far from the first to state this theory, and he will be far from the last. Why does my opposite not go after every individual who believes this theory? Why single out my client?

So, please, I ask you to not find in favor of the plaintiff. I do not believe my client to be correct, but I do believe he does not deserve this punishment. Thank you.

The defense rests.

The transcripts included here are incomplete, as they do not include any verdict reached by the jury. Five days after the Foundation received the USB drive containing these transcripts, Ulrich von Eichmann appeared in Geneva. While having no memory of the experience and being unable to account for the time lost, von Eichmann was not harmed and Starborn 'Gods' remains in circulation, so it can be assumed that the jury found in favor of the defense.

von Eichmann's work remains extant, and for sale. He has not issued a retraction of any form at this time; however, this statement was made in an interview with The Fortean Times in in July 2019:

…I'm not entirely sure of the idea that these were literally extraterrestrials, anymore. All gods are, in a sense, celestial in nature. Of earth, of sky, and beyond. Maybe their chariots were just starships in that shape. Maybe the sparrows were poetic license…

Furthermore, I feel… mistaken. My views reflected poorly on the ancient peoples. The Gods may have given them the original inspiration, and some guidance, but saying that they could not have built a stone wall? I feel… guilty for perpetuating that.

Addendum: Theft of the Space Shuttle Enterprise: In January of 2020, several Type-Black entities were detected in the vicinity of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. Among those present were both SCP-3807 and SCP-XXXX-3. Through a complex display of anomalous abilities, they proceeded to board, anomalously alter, and then launch the now-inactive Space Shuttle Enterprise. Modifications made to the shuttle included:

  • Removal of all symbols indicating ownership by the US Government on the shuttle and replacing the name with "HELIOS 2"
  • Addition of several types of writing to the hull, including Cuneiform, Hieroglyphs, Ancient Greek and Ancient Norse; all of these appeared to have thaumic properties, which may account for the anomalous acceleration and lack of damage to the surrounding area, including it phasing through the building it was contained in.
  • Altering the nose into a more conical shape and removing the dorsal tail fin
  • Altering the hull in such a way that it refracted light
  • Adding an anomalous artificial gravity system around the center section of the hull.

Researchers in the Foundation's Department of Space Exploration note similarities between this altered Space Shuttle and the now-defunct Project Kaguya, which was an attempt to make a spacecraft that could launch and land on airport runways. The Enterprise was replaced by a replica made by the Foundation for testing purposes in the 1980s.

Addendum: Closing notes from Dr. Athenodora Cat: The following is a rough collation of thoughts by Dr. Cat, and has not been edited for inclusion in the final draft of this document.

Dr. Cat is sitting at her computer, looking over several documents associated with SCP-XXXX.

Dr. Cat: All right, day five of looking over these court transcripts. I’ve reached the end.

Dr. Cat takes a sip of coffee. Several empty cups sit around her desk. Monitors on either side of her show pictures of SCP-3807 and various participants of SCP-XXXX.

I’ve… got nothing.

Socrates was completely right, and argued well— the various beings here did not need to do this. SCP-3807 could have called down lighting to smite not only von Eichmann, but the rest of the Ancient Aliens movement. This was overkill, and useless.
NOTE FOR BETA READERS: This section is getting an overhaul and should not be considered final.
Before I go on, I have to explain the concept of theodicy. It… basically, it means that gods have a divine right to law that lets them punish those who deserve it with impunity. In Christian theology, it’s why the question of ‘why do bad things happen in the world if our god is omni-benevolent’ has stuck around for so long. The Christian god is omni-benevolet and just, but a lot of other pantheons don’t care about that type of thing, or else they are very choosy about where to exercise it.

In Greece, theodicy could take many forms, from Zeus sending a gadfly to bite Pegasus as Bellerophon tried to ride to Olympus, or Hades binding Piriphous to a chair using stone snakes— punishments for hubris. The Furies were dedicated to crimes such as matricide and patricide.
End Beta Reader Notice
My problem isn’t that they’re choosing to exercise it, it’s the way they’re choosing to exercise it. Why not exercise it now? Why hold a court case of all things, and why in a Western format? Japanese court cases lack a jury, and they have a 90% plus conviction rate. They could have held a kangaroo court, appointed… I don’t know, Loki as the defense attorney to screw him over, but they got Socrates? Somehow? It’s like they wanted to lose.

The jury’s another thing that bugs me, in that it’s so incongruent— the rest of it is a US-style jury trial, but the jury itself is big enough to be part of ancient Athens. And why bring in a member of the Foundation to be part of it? Poor guy’s in counseling, still. And the USB device, why give us court records? We could have written this down as an extranormal event, or appended 3807’s file, and…

And…

And then a new myth wouldn’t have anywhere to be written down. Son of a bitch.

Dr. Cat drinks the rest of her coffee, throwing the paper cup over her shoulder and starting to pick up notes. In the process, she knocks her webcam behind her desk, causing it to disconnect.

Dr. Cat: Wait, shit—

Connection restarts approximately six minutes later. Dr. Cat is more composed.

Dr. Cat: All right, so.

After the theft of the Enterprise, many of us have entertained, for obvious reasons, the theory that the preceding "trial" has been a distraction, to divert our attention and thus facilitate the theft of said craft. This interpretation runs into a problem, however, since given the anomalous abilities displayed by the subjects, even without the distraction there is nothing we could have done to hinder them.

Another theory is that the theft is a statement of showboating, given in response to the lenient judgement on Ulrich von Eichmann. Yet as a statement of superiority, this seems rather hollow—the subjects are aware of the Foundation and are aware that we would do everything to keep the incident under wrap, and they still made no move to make sure their statement reached a wider audience.

But… what if both of those are wrong? What if this isn’t a court case, it’s a smokescreen. Where’s— ah, here, Hephaistos. He says that gods can create a starship. And Ishtar, she says that she is Venus, so gods are amongst the sky. And— you clever little so-and-so, Set has Imhotep talk about the progression of technology, and Socrates brings up the idea of mortals projecting images onto the gods. And then… crap, where is it?

Dr. Cat begins clicking through their computer,laughing when they reach a specific document.

Here it is. Quoting goddamn Star Trek at us, Hasani? Gods don’t need anything with a spaceship, but you… you want one. You want the concept of 'Gods can go to space' to be divorced from this awful, hateful theory, and maybe get a chance to smite one of its main proponents to boot.

The Foundation hoards knowledge like I hoard degrees. And we keep that knowledge forever— the server I’m uploading this to can survive the collapse of civilization, a reality restructuring, and a 500-kiloton nuclear blast at the same time. I- I- I can’t— we’ve been had.

Dr. Cat laughs.

We’ve been completely and utterly had! I recorded every word and annotated every reference I recognized! It’s all on there!

Dr. Cat points to the screen.

And in here.

Dr. Cat points to her head.

We’ve been had, duped, bamboozled, tricked, had the wool pulled over our eyes— all to record this single freaking case!

Dr. Cat pauses.

I’m… not overthinking this, right?

I mean, if this is some kind of divine secret, I’d… probably be struck down for knowing it, right? Happens all the time. One of the myths of Tantalos says that he was killed for stealing Ambrosia, which is a big divine secret.

Dr. Cat looks behind her.

I need to clear my head. Wash out the coffee with some libations. Maybe get some sleep. Being up for three days straight examining court documents isn’t good for the soul.

Dr. Cat gets up from her seat, leaving the camera running briefly. The image of SCP-3807 on one of the monitors is grinning; it did not bear this expression before. Dr. Cat returns to turn off the camera.

Reviews:

Popsioak: Positive
UraniumEmpire: Positive
AbsentmindedNihilist: Positive (on an earlier draft, get more a little later)