"This is how the world ends. Swallowed in fire, but not in darkness. You will live on, the voice of all our ancestors, the voice of our fathers and our mothers to the last generation. We created the world we think you would have wished for us, and now we leave the cradle for the last time."
--Babylon 5, "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars"
Dr. Alyssa Naomi Bergman, postdoctoral fellow in archaeology and, slightly more recently, omnipotent being, sat nervously in the circle and looked around her gathered friends and family.
On either side of her were her parents. On her left, her dad, Brian, looked nervous--granted, Alyssa knew, he'd felt nervous ever since he found out his daughter was all-powerful--while her mom, Deborah, on her right, looked determined. Understandably so, Alyssa thought, given that she'd called for this intervention.
Going clockwise around the circle, she saw her older brother--or sister, or something, now--Thomas. When she'd first gotten her powers and come home for a visit, she had found that picking up on all the hidden thoughts and desires of every being in the universe had made her quite aroused, and given her some very strange ideas about ideal sexual partners, and so she'd simply forced herself on her brother, changing him as she liked, and left him as someone with fully-functional male and female genitalia, along with a pair of breasts that would be the envy of any stripper or porn star.
Her younger sister Rayleigh was next. Though perhaps it would be more accurate to say "sisters". Alyssa had picked up a lot of twin fantasies, and while she wasn't enjoying Thomas, she was busy giving herself a body akin to the one he now had, though often with a few extra additions, and having her way with her newly-made twin sisters while forcing them to pleasure each other also.
Next around the circle was her doctoral advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Clarke. Her change had not been for sex, but rather revenge on Alyssa's part. The woman was a perfectly competent archaeologist, and had made some important discoveries, but what Alyssa couldn't get over was that even after she'd earned her own doctorate, Dr. Clarke had still tried to block her expedition on which she ultimately became all-powerful. Alyssa was sure that there were certain clues in some old records that Dr. Clarke herself had found, but the other woman had scoffed at her and lobbied to make sure Alyssa wouldn't get any grant money. Thankfully for Alyssa, she was able to procure a loan, though at her own expense and a rate that would have been almost ruinous had she not become what she now was, and so she'd changed Elizabeth into someone who, while possessed of all her old intellect, also spoke in a laughably immature way, with a body like an erotic model's and forced to wear very revealing clothing, which meant that almost nobody took her seriously any more.
Next was her best friend, Janine Horner. She supposed they were still best friends, even if the friendship had changed a little. Needing somene always on hand to relieve her constantly-growing arousal, Janine was perhaps now better described as her best sex slave than her best friend, and Alyssa had smoothed over her memory to make sure that Janine thought this was just a natural progression of their relationship. She loved it when Alyssa would use her powers to warp and twist her into whatever she desired and given what Alyssa knew Deborah was planning, she wondered how her mom had convinced Janine to take part.
Needing a moment to compose herself, Alyssa commanded time to freeze utterly, freezing her own body with it so that she wouldn't have to get back into the position she had been in when she was ready to unfreeze it. She reflected on how she'd gained her powers. Some writings Dr. Clarke had found on a prior expedition in the Amazon rainforest had led Alyssa to believe that the cave in which her advisor had found them had not been thoroughly explored, but Dr. Clarke scoffed at the notion. She refused to sanction Alyssa taking a trip there for her doctoral work, and then almost succeeded in stopping her from going afterward, too. But she hadn't, and Alyssa had followed the hints she'd pieced together, finding a wall that seemed completely solid until it was struck in precisely the right place, at which point it crumbled and revealed a chamber containing, rather stereotypically in Alyssa's opinion, a glowing orb on a pedestal. The moment Alyssa had touched the orb with a gloved hand in order to remove it and catalogue it later, the power it contained had rushed into her, leaving the orb dead and Alyssa omnipotent.
Taking a deep breath, she allowed time to resume its flow.
"How about you begin, Brian," Deborah suggested. "Alyssa, I'd appreciate it if you'd revert any mental changes you've made." Alyssa nodded. She owed her mother that much--if it hadn't been for her co-signing the loan, she wouldn't be what she was now. Focusing, Janine and Elizabeth were restored to normal, mentally at least, while Thomas and Rayleigh were no longer perpetually aroused. "And I'd like it if you could just hear us out, Alyssa. Let us tell you what your actions have done from our perspective, and then you can respond afterward, OK?"
"OK, mom," Alyssa promised.
Deborah nodded at her husband to begin.
"Alyssa," Brian began, still very nervous, "I know you haven't actually changed me at all--or at least I don't think you have. Maybe you have and I just don't know it. That's part of my problem. But what I really don't like is that you're in my head. You're in everyone's head. You know everything we know, everything we think. It's literally impossible to keep anything secret from you and none of us have any privacy any more. I just want to be able to do things without having to wonder what you're thinking about my doing it. Or if you're paying attention to me at all."
Deborah nodded and gestured to Thomas.
"Alyssa," he--Alyssa supposed that until Thomas informed everyone otherwise, he was still a man in his view, and Alyssa would grant him that, at least--said, "you've raped me, twisted me against my will, made me a social pariah. It's next to impossible to find clothes that fit, and most tailors are just too freaked out. And you made me incredibly horny but I can't even get laid! And I don't know who I am--Thomas, Tammy, Tamsin maybe? I just, I need simplicity and certainly, Alyssa, and you've denied me that."
"Alyssa," one Rayleigh began, the two picking up each other's sentences almost as if they shared a single mind, "I also don't know who I am any more. We're both Rayleigh. Our lives to the moment you split us are identical. We can't even tell which of us is the original. And now I get freaked out whenever we're apart because I don't know if she's going to do something for which I might have to answer eventually. People will say they saw me somewhere when it was actually her. I've already lost friends because they were freaked out about how I suddenly became twins. I just need to be normal again, Alyssa. Please."
"I was right to try to block you from that trip, Dr. Bergman," the other archaeologist in the room said, making the honorific sound like a vile curse. "Either you were throwing away a perfectly good career in archaeology or you were getting something you don't deserve, that you can't handle. You were always an insufferable know-it-all, and I should have had you thrown out of the program before I ever let you see a scrap of my research. That you're so small and petty as to punish me for doing what was best for your career just proves it."
"Alyssa," Janine begged, "please. We can just be friends again. I don't mind fooling around a bit, but not like this. I had a life, too, you know. We could reconnect with everyone else instead of you just taking random people off the street. It'd be fun. You could show us around the universe! But now you've made me like this and all I can do is think about how best to please you and--" She cut off abruptly but Alyssa knew the rest of her thought. She'd already planned to bring in their mutual friends next.
"Sweetie," her mom said, finishing the circle, "I know it must be so overwhelming, dealing with what you've become. But I'm afraid that you're not using your powers; you're letting your powers use you, consume you. You always had a tendency to let your desires dictate your actions and that's just become even more pronounced now that literally all your desires can become reality. You need to learn some control, Alyssa. You can't just keep imposing your will on everyone else's, no matter how powerful you've become. They deserve respect, from you as from everyone else."
Deborah nodded. Alyssa noticed that her hands were shaking and forced them to stillness before starting to address her friends and family.
"Dad," she said, "I sympathize with your concern. But you have to understand that it's not a matter of my wanting to know what everyone's thinking; it's that I can't not know, and my brain works infinitely fast now, so I can process all that information instantaneously upon receiving it. And I'm consciously aware of all of it since my consciousness now encompasses all of reality. To give that up would be tantamount to giving up what I now am.
"Thomas," she carried on, "I really am sorry for what I did to you. I was horny, and you were convenient. But I'm still horny, and you're just too attractive to someone who's got all the most twisted, depraved sexual fantasies of humans running through her mind. I can help you come to terms with what you are now, make you more grounded, but I can't bring myself to change you back.
"Rayleigh, what I did to you is fundamentally the same as what I did to Thomas, with the same consequences. But I promise I'll help you through it.
"Betty," Alyssa said, deliberately using a diminutive form of the woman's first name, "I appreciate that you were concerned for my career. But it was my career, to do with what I wished, not yours to dictate to me. And if you're mad that I found this and you didn't, well, that's hardly the fault of the person who just followed up on earlier discoveries, now is it?
"Janine," Alyssa said, smiling, "I need a whole lot more than just 'fooling around' to keep myself from simply turning whole cities into orgies to satisfy my sexual needs now. And there's nobody I'd want more as the head of my harem than my best friend. Nothing will ever change that.
"And mom," she finished, turning to Deborah, "you just don't seem to understand. I don't have powers, nor do my powers have me. I am my powers. Whatever was stored in that orb didn't imbue me with these abilities; it changed me so that I embody them. When I do something with my powers, it's me doing it. It's not my powers controlling me. I'm as in control as I've ever been."
Alyssa took a deep breath and looked around the circle again, examining the various faces, some hopeful, some horrified. "But thank you," she said, smiling. "Thank you for doing this. You've helped make something very clear to me, something I wasn't sure of before now. Helped me accept who I am."
SIlence hung in the room for a moment before Deborah spoke up. "And what's that, dear?"
"That I'm God, obviously," Alyssa said. "And what that means is that I can do whatever I like. What it means is that my wants and desires are more important than yours. It means that I don't have to be bound by anyone else's notions of morality or propriety since I can simply define what those are in the first place. It means that this is my universe and you all can only live in it as I choose."
Any hope that had remained on the others' faces had turned entirely to terror. Alyssa swept her mind around the room, eliminating doors and windows, ensuring that none of the others could possibly succeed in escaping even if she were to allow them to try.
"Dad, since you can't accept a fundamental fact about my existence, I'd just be happier if you didn't. Bye." Brian Bergman vanished, excised from reality by his daughter's unchallengeable power.
"Thomas, Rayleigh, I said I'd help you come to terms with what I did and help you move on."
For her brother she reached into the past, altering history, giving him a fraternal twin sister, then merging them into a single body at a point shortly after she obtained her powers. The new being certainly knew where he/she came from, but was incredibly confused attempting to reconcile two different pasts and personalities controlling one body.
Rayleigh, by contrast, would no longer have to worry about people mixing her up for her twin, as Alyssa merged their minds into one, and even split her further, giving her younger sister, now one being again, eight bodies. But she didn't augment Rayleigh's mental capacity to be able to control all her bodies simultaneously, and she knew it would take a long time for Rayleigh to bring even one body fully under control again.
That, she thought, would teach them to complain about how she'd decided to use them.
"Betty, since I'm the one who actually followed up on your discoveries, it's pretty clear that I'm the better archaeologist. So I don't think the world really needs a lesser one like you. On the other hand, there'd be a lot of people who'd be pretty happy with a good erotic dancer." All of Dr. Clarke's academic knowledge and experience drained from her mind, replaced with something Alyssa thought far more suitable for the body she'd given her old advisor.
"Janine," Alyssa said, finally showing warmth, "as I said, I still need you, as a friend, as a lover, as a right-hand woman." Reaching into her friend's mind, she altered it precisely, retaining everything about Janine that made her such a good friend while also imbuing an acceptance and excitement about Alyssa's new status. The look in Janine's eyes changed from fear and trepidation to love and eagerness.
"And mom," Alyssa said finally. "Thank you so much for putting this together. If it weren't for this I'd have remained unsure of who I am, what I should do. But you've made it clear to me. I think I should make it clear to you, too." And Deborah Bergman simply vanished as her husband had, but where he had ceased to be, she was reduced to her bare consciousness and absorbed into her daughter's, stuck there to watch and learn about the true nature of Alyssa's being.
Alyssa Naomi Bergman, omnipotent Goddess of all existence, stood up, teleported Thomas, Rayleigh and Betty away, took Janine Horner's hand, and took her first steps into the world that she now knew was hers and hers alone to do with as she pleased.