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Not A Bit Like Zeus

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There is a part of Douglas that remembers things which both reason and logic tell you he shouldn't know. The pulse of primitive drums and the hot blood of a freshly slaughtered bull still reverberate somewhere at the very core of his being, an echo of the encompassing scope he'd once claimed as his own. He remembers feeling mighty, power surging through his domain, feted and glorified and dangerously temperamental.

Oh, how he misses that.

Times change, of course. The old ways get forgotten and believers are so very hard to come by when your realm has been probed and mapped and rendered not just small but explicable. Douglas doesn't need to be in a plane to be part of the sky, he is the damn sky. Not that anyone would believe him, and therein lies most of the problem. He got his kicks at Air England whenever he could, a little turbulence or a hint of thunder when no one was looking, just enough to bring forth the sweetly satisfying prayers of a 747 full of sunburned holidaymakers simultaneously hoping for a gentler flight. It always felt like rather a cheap shot if he was honest, but considering he hadn't been properly worshiped in millennia he felt rather obligated to take what he could get.

Of course it was rather the same attitude that got him into the whole pesky situation with Customs and then an even peskier situation with the Air England Disciplinary Board, but the less said about either of those the better.

He is one of the last of the Old Gods, clinging on tenuously to the scraps of faith thrown his way. It's usually more by luck than intention but he's made it this far even on such slim pickings. He saunters through the world of men, unobserved, wearing one face and then another. His skins change as the eons slide by and he nudges where he can just to remind himself that he's still able to. (The Wright Brothers met a man in a pub one evening and he gave them a genuinely brilliant idea, but the next morning neither one of them could quite remember his face.)

But then... ah, yes. After Air England there was MJN. To say he was not pleased to have ended up sulking in the armpit of the aviation industry would be somewhat of an understatement. To say he'd been incandescent with fury would be an awful lot closer to reality and it had unexpectedly rained over Sussex for three and a half days before he finally got a hold of himself.

Of course the thing he had not expected was that MJN, rag-tag and hopeless as they are, actually believe in him. Perhaps not as the terrifying and powerful Sky God of yore, but as Douglas Richardson; pilot, chancer, and lucky son of a bitch. It may not be ideal, but all three of them have somehow wound up investing him with something that skirts terrifyingly close to actual, blind faith.

Of course they have absolutely no idea what they've done, or what it means, but he can feel it creeping through him with every moment of every day. Beneath his skin he burns again, fragile whispers of genuine belief sparking faintly at his fingertips and it binds him to them in ways they can never even hope to understand.

Douglas makes all the relevant noises about wanting to move on to bigger companies and nicer planes, but the truth of it is that couldn't leave them even if he tried. Because without them he is nothing. Literally nothing. Without faith, Gods die. Without believers there is no Douglas, and with no Douglas the sky would finally be just the sky.

He knows he is the tail end of a dying breed. There's no space for his kind among the new Gods; Gods of technology and information and science. He knows he will very soon be obsolete. That there will come a day Martin and Arthur and Carolyn lose faith in his skill. There will come a day he can't fix their problems, or manipulate his realm enough to keep Gertie flying even though she should have long ago fallen apart. Like all things, time will pass and eventually MJN will end, and with it so will Douglas. Without them, piece by piece he will fade and return to the shadow of the legend that bore him.

But today at least-

"Come on, Douglas. I know you have a plan. You always have a plan..."

-Today is not that day.