| I will never forget the day I reported that the remains of Jesus Christ had been found, or at least the remains of his remains. According to Doctor Banner (head of R.E.V.I.V.E. International), there was barely enough genetic material to perform the procedure. Of course, the importance of this find put a certain emphasis on this particular re?animation that had not been seen since the early days of Project 237?61 (better known as Project Resurrection). From mosques, to synagogues, to the Vatican itself, every house of worship pushed for this one.
Although each had different reasons for wanting to bring this historical figure back from the grave, they were all in search of one thing. . . enlightenment. While most people of the world were content to wait for this enlightenment, the world's religious leaders felt the need to send forth their champiams. Philosophers and theologians who had studied their respective religions most of their lives would debate incessantly via satellite for days and sometimes weeks on end. On virtually every channel these men and women could be seen twenty four hours a day, discussing what the Messiah would say once he was brought back. In the end however, these debates proved to be nothing more than surreptitious means to recruit new followers: Eventually, these debates became such spectacles that even reporters with the "inside scoop" questioned whether the whole thing was real or just another hoax, eclipsing the Great Hoax of 2345 AD.
I am Mike Jensen and I was one of the reporters with the inside scoop. From the very beginning, I was on the scene. This, I guess, was due to the popularity that I experienced in those days. Next to the World's Presidents, I was probably the most recognizable figure on the planet: I had it all, money, power, glory and women. . . plenty of women. But, as some ancient philosopher once said, 'All good things must come to an end.' Oh well, at least I know that there is or was a better life than the one I lead now.
Back in those days however, I knew everyone who was anyone, so of course a story this big was going to come my way first. I had greased enough palms and kissed enough asses to insure that, as soon as Christ's remains were found, I would be notified. In the end, I probably knew about them before the Project Resurrection’s supervisor, or even the project's financial backers knew: I was that well connected into the Infonet.
This latest Jesus had passed all of the assurity tests with a 99.99 percent rating, which in the past, had proven to be an infallible means of determining the authenticity of such historical figures as Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, George Washington, Cylous Marcos and numerous others who had been re?animated. Each one brought back to life, as it were, to aide in the revision of the worlds history and to give us a greater insight into why and how our society had evolved to its current state. Not too many questioned this motive, for it only stood to reason that there could be no greater source for these facts than someone who had lived through the time in which the incidents had occurred. This ideology proved to be a good in theory only, because every aspect of re?animation was considered save one: Each re-animated individual, albeit a clone, was still human in every respect and therefore subject to the shortcomings of the human mind. Invariably, as Project Resurrection progressed, historians began to realize that the clones memories were distorted by their own personal biases, as would be those memories of the original historical figures from which these clones DNA was derived. Whether they committed acts of great sacrifice and selflessness or injustice and persecution, they all felt justified in their decisions: Adolf Hitler even praised himself as 'The most giving humanitarian to walk the face of the Earth'.
Although the problem of distorted memories was easily over?looked by Resurrection’s lead scientists there were several debates on other aspects of re?animation which were waged daily. When the funding to develop the technology and techniques for the project was being considered, arguments ranged from; whether or not man should actually seek the truth to; the moral issues involved when bringing a person back from centuries of death. The latter issue being the most heated topic in all of history until the Jesus re-animation came to fruition. Groups opposed to the re-animations argued that no one knew what to do with these individuals once they were brought back to life. As Cylous Marcos (the greatest leader of the 23rd century and the first person re-animated) put it:
'Here would sit a man or woman predating brain implants, space relations, and in some cases. . . Electricity!. . . What should we do with them?. . . Introduce them into our society? I don't think so. . . I had only been deceased for fifty years, and I can assure you that it was most unsettling to see the changes that the world had gone through in my absence. Hell. . . Re-animation alone terrified me. . . Imagine how someone from an even earlier period in history might cope or not cope with this new reality. Another option, I suppose would be to kill them, but this would only put a greater chasm between the moralistic aspects of these experiments. No. . . It is my opinion re-animating the dead is both immoral and illegal according to the laws that govern our society. . . Man has no right to play God!'
There was never a rebuttal to this argument however, for shortly after his speech, Cylous II (as he came to be known) died instantaneously from DNA failure: Apparently, a clones DNA is only viable for a short period of time, after which, death is eminent and sudden. As it was explained to me in laymens terms; during re-animation, something called a ‘blank’ is injected with the DNA of the person to be re-animated. These ‘blanks’, which are more or less featurless carbon-based blobs of flesh, then take on the characteristics and personality traits of the historical figure that was injected into them. And from all indications, it is the bond between the blank and the DNA that determines the longevity of the clone. This is what the scientist determined from Cylous II’s autopsy. As for the proponents of re-animation, Cylous II’s death inadvertently gave them the answer to the question he posed just before his DNA failure. Ultimately, it was decided that the information gained out?weighed all other consequences, and the fact that the clones died naturally cleared the way for other re-animations.
Resurrection was the world's pet project, so all efforts were made to supply it with the DNA of as many historical figures as possible. Eventually, an entire industry was created by this desire to bring back the dead: From prospecting equipment for the amateur archeologist, to stock market shares for the avid investor, the Earth was captivated by this novel technology. So much so that no one thought to consider its end result, or the impact that this result would have on the world: More than one war was started over some information gained from a clone. In retrospect, Jesus II was the catalyst for one such war, sending mankind into an unrecoverable spiral towards self destruction; sparking the war to end all wars.
The smaller skirmishes started just after the first announcements of Christ's return and yours truly was the man who brought this news to the world.
"Yes. . . Another cloning expedition has brought in the greatest find since these experiment began. The Messiah himself has been found and his second coming is going to be a bit premature, for instead of being born again, he will be the two hundredth person to be brought back to life. On June 6, at exactly six a.m. American Eastern Time, Jesus Christ will walk the Earth again, and we'll have live coverage from the moment he opens his eyes to his first words."
What a pompous ass I was. I spoke of the possible Son of God as if he were some kind of hokey celebrity. It was as if he had a fan club, and I was its president, because I was the man who would be his mouthpiece to the world. This little bit of journalism, I thought, would sky?rocket me off any popularity scale known to man and possibly earn me a slot on some future re-animation list: Of course the world would want to bring me back. . . I was, after all, Jesus Christ's buddy, interviewer and confident, Michael Stanley Jensen.
As the day drew near, the world went into a frenzy and the wars escalated. Opposing religions just couldn't wait to destroy one another. It was as if they were driven by their respective Gods to kill all who didn't share their beliefs. The ones that prayed to Yahweh felt threatened more so than most, and concluded that their Savior's safety was somehow compromised by the existence of other religions. They deemed it necessary to eradicate all non?Christians before Christ's arrival, sparing no costs on weapons of mass destruction.
Before our Savior opened his eyes, three religions and their followers were made extinct; before he uttered his first words, five more disappeared along with two countries. Even on the day of his resurrection, various peoples were being wiped from the face of the Earth. Many of the smaller religious orders fled to the safety of space, in an attempt to avoid persecution. These groups thought that they would be safe amongst the colonists. . . They died in space. Only when Jesus spoke did all aggressions cease. Whether out of respect or fear, all hostilities ended, so the world could hear what God's son had to say. The following is an excerpt from the only interview ever conducted with the man:
"Welcome back Jesus. I'm Mike Jensen with World Broadcasting. I do believe that you have been briefed about this interview, but if there are any questions that you have of me, please feel free to ask away."
As the interpreters voice came over the intercom, a hush fell over the Earth. From my vantage point in the Vatican, I could almost sense how silent the world was.
"Thank you Mike.” the Messiah said, his voice as gentle and caring as any ever heard in history. “I have many questions, but I don't think that that's what the world is interested in at this moment, so I will ask them at another time. Please proceed."
As thoughtful as the Bible portrayed him, even with the confusion that most certainly must have filled his mind, Jesus' concern was for mankind, as was mine . . . for different reasons of course.
"Thank you, Jesus. I guess we should just get to the big question. Are you the son of God?" After a brief pause, Jesus smiled, his eyes soothing all who viewed them as he leaned toward the interpreter who relayed the following message:
"Well, who's to say who is the son of God and who isn't. I was always lead to believe that we were all a product of our God. In that, I mean that everyone and everything was, and is born of God, therefore God is father to us all. Whether or not I'm the son of God that your viewers seek, I cannot say. That's a matter for every man, woman and child to decide for themselves."
Put slightly off by what sounded more like a “no” than anything else, I peeked down at my notes for my next question.
"Okay. . . Well, what can you tell us about the Bible and the stories in it that relate to you?. . . Maybe, in order to save time, I should site specific examples and you can address them individually?"
"I'll do my best." He replied, a mixture of interest and excitement visible in his expression.
"Alright then. . . The first story that I wanted to ask about was the one about the fish. You know the one where you turn one fish into thousands of fish, feeding the masses. . . That has been one of my favorites since I was a child. Now. . . What can you tell us about it?"
Apparently, the interpreter had to restate the question several times before Jesus understood what he was being asked. At first, I thought that the translation wasn't quite clear, but after a couple of tries Jesus seemed to comprehend what I had said.
"Sorry about the delay Mike, but I wasn't quite sure of which incident you were referring to."
"Oh well. . . We can go onto something else. . ."
"No no. It's okay. I remember it now. It just took a little while to jog my memory. The way the question was posed made it sound like I had performed a miracle, or something just short of a miracle. The interpreter kept asking me 'how I turned one fish into a thousand fish..."'
"Yeah. Well Jesus, that's the way it reads in the Bible. It tells us that you took a single fish, and turned it into a thousand fish."
Christ’s apparent confusion once again put me off my game, but proving my professionalism yet again, I remained in control.
"No no no. That's not what happened at all. What happened was a friend of the family gave me a fish to eat for dinner one day, but I didn't know how to cook, so instead of eating this gift, I fashioned a fishing pole out of bamboo, and used his fish for bait. Besides helping me forget my hunger, fishing proved to be quite a profitable business. In less than a year, I was supplying all of the people for ten square miles with fresh fish, thousands of them. The best part about this story was that, once a year I could give back to the community by throwing this huge party. All the guests had bring to the party was whatever wine they were going to consume. In actuality, even this one requirement was too much for many of my guests, because most were too poor to afford wine, so instead they would bring water in their vessels. This was easily rectified however, because I would have my employees secretly replace the water with wine from my cellars: After all, what's a party without wine? Anyway. . . We would eat, drink, dance and then eat some more for an entire week. I can recall that on several occasions, most of the guests wouldn't eat anything the day after the last night of the party: There was just no more room for food in their bellies. . . Oh, how I miss those days.” Reflecting on his past, Jesus sat silently for several seconds before he spoke next. Hey Mike! Do you think we could possibly do something like that sometime?"
"Yeah. . . Of course we can Jesus.” Trying to get the interview back on track, I changed the subject. “Well then. . . Can you tell me about the time that you reportedly walked on water?"
This time Jesus laughed before responding.
"No no no. I didn't walk on water, and I'm not to proud of that deception, eventhough its intent was to help those less fortunate than myself. The truth is that I would trick some wealthy aristocrat into a bet that I could walk on water. Well. . . When they took the bait, I would pour some water on the ground and walk on it. It was pretty funny at the time, so the aristocrates almost never complained about being tricked. Usually, they would laugh with the rest of the crowd and hand over the money without an argument. I would then give my earnings to some poor person in need of food or clothing. . . I only did that when there was a need for it though."
And that was how most of the interview went. I would question him about certain incidents in the Bible and he would come back with logical, non?miraculous answers. It was all so upsetting, and anti?climactic. After a few more questions, I imagined that the hush which had encompassed the Earth moments before had turned to disillusionment, as the man before me professed that all of his miracles were mere mis-understandings, mis-interpreted by good story?tellers.
As the interview progressed, I couldn't help but think that the plug would be pulled soon. After all, this man was disputing a book that most of the world's population had learned to live by. Looking back now however, it probably wouldn't have made a difference whether the plug was pulled or not, because the damage was done. From around the Globe, reports of wars breaking out anew poured into my ear implant. The world had been thrust into complete and utter chaos. Countries divided and conquered one another, crime in these war stricken regions took the lives of most of the survivors while plagues and epidemics would decimate the rest of the population. And although Jesus was not receiving the same feed in his earpiece, I had the sense that he knew the turmoil that was developing around the planet. Not only apparent in the sadness of his eyes, but in his entire posture which seemingly slumped whenever I received some report of the atrocities that mankind was committing against one another.
That was two years ago, when Earth was still worth living on. Nowadays, those of us who stayed behind can barely find enough to eat and drink and have found cannibalism to be our only viable option. The Earth is now a dead world and I can't help but wonder how different things could have been had Jesus II finished his last statement: He died during that first interview.
The scientists said that his DNA destabilized so quickly, because of its age and since there was only enough for a single re-animation the world would never hear these last words. I remember sensing an almost overwhelming emotion in his gaze as he spoke them. Full of both pride and love his eyes welled up before releasing a single tear, which streamed down his right cheek and disappeared in the forest of his beard. When I asked him later, the interpreter told me what Jesus had said. The following statement is Christ’s final sermon.
"I can not tell you to believe in me, for I am merely a part of what you seek. What you need is faith, but since you have shown very little, I shall tell you how you can truly meet God. . ."
After that, he simply collapsed and died: Leaving humanity more bewildered than ever as to this question of God. . . It is in this reporter's opinion that: In his folly with the second coming of Christ, mankind has prematurely started Armageddon. . . Mike Jensen reporting for World Broadcasting.