On the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains in the land of Sevorbeupstry on the planet of Preliumtarn, which orbited the star Zarss, which was located in the Grey Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine, stood God's Final Message to his Creation.
After the Earth was destroyed for presumably the final time, Arthur Dent was once again the last living Earth male in the entire universe. He had become decidedly fed up with his lot in life, as most immortal creatures do (see Guide entry for Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged
for more information). And having lost everyone he could ever possibly even slightly have the notion of caring about, he was feeling reckless.
So, armed with nothing more than the Guide, Mark I (the new one terrified Arthur), the late Ford Prefect's Sub-Etha Sensomatic
, some Altarian dollars and a black M&S towel (to hide any stains), Arthur set out to view God's Final Message to His Creation once more.
He was less impressed the second time around, but this time, there was someone standing there who maybe knew a thing or two about Messages from a Creator.
First of all, he had wings. Great white wings with some ridiculous wingspan. They were currently tucked against his back, but they were blindingly white, reflecting the fires of God's Final Message quite dramatically
Second, he had a sign that said I am the Metatron
. Arthur sort of recalled that the Metatron was supposed to be the Voice of God, since humans would either explode, become impotent or sprout furry tails if they heard the actual voice of God. Arthur never had a head for fairy stories.
And third, the Voice looked at Arthur and said, "You seem to have come a long way just to be disppointed."
"This is my second time here. The first time I came with someone I loved very much, and very soon after, I lost her." Arthur cleared his throat. "You mind if I sit down? I'm a little tired."
Arthur spread out his towel and sat on it. The Metatron joined him on the ground, and Arthur unwrapped his sandwich of Perfectly Normal Beast and took out a bottle of wine from Frogstar World A, a country with the same temperate climate of Napa Valley, California, with the same penchant for decent, if mediocre, wine. He offered the bottle to the Metatron, who conjured two glasses for the both of them.
"So, as I was saying," Arthur said as he finished chewing, "I lost the woman I loved, my daughter, the mother of my daughter and someone who may have been the only true friend I ever had, and was saved. Again." He frowned at his sandwich. "In fact, it seems that every time it looks as though I am about to be well and truly dead, something comes along and says Oh, no, that won't be necessary
"So you came to see if the Message had changed?"
Arthur shrugged. "Or something. I don't have the knack for suicide."
The wings of the Voice fluttered. "Did you believe in God on Earth?"
"I didn't even have the first inkling of believing in God," Arthur said. He was speaking to the Metatron, it wouldn't do any good to lie. If there was any good to be done, anyway, which Arthur doubted.
"She does exist."
"Well, she's doing a piss poor job--" Arthur looked up sharply. "Sorry, did you just say 'she'?"
"You're going to quibble about a choice of pronouns when you're sat here, trying to determine what your life means whilst speaking with the Voice of God?" The Metatron sighed. "The last time I had to discuss theology with an un-believer, she ended up saving humanity and bearing the next possible Christ child." He eyed Arthur. "And now you're the last of humankind."
Arthur continued eating his sandwich in what he hoped was a pointed silence. "So did God only exist on Earth?"
"That's like asking if alcohol only existed in Australia," the Metatron replied, reclining on his elbows and looking towards the message. "God will cease to exist when faith ceases to exist."
Arthur finished eating his sandwich. "I've stopped believing in faith as well."
"Then you have your answer, and this Message means nothing to you." The Metatron looked at Arthur again. "But don't blame God."
Arthur sort of remembered something someone had told him a long time ago, but he had always had a bad memory for important statements.