How NOT to Save the World (S1, Season Finale)

Season Content Notes (incomplete): violence, anti-nonhuman bigotry, consensual violence

After Cheung left, Ameohne’e paced the room, eventually finding herself standing in front of her framed copy of The Evil Overlord List. “Number 15: I will never employ any device with a digital countdown.”

She shook her head and checked the countdown tracker. Of course, it said exactly what she expected. Her meeting with Cheung hadn’t even lasted an hour.

Wu and Deborah came in and stood behind her.

“Was I wrong? Was there another way?”

Wu and Deborah glanced at each other. “My friend…” Wu trailed off.

“Of course there was another way.” Deborah smacked her. “There were lots of other ways. Would any of them have worked? Were you capable of following them? Will daisies begin singing?

“Who cares? You picked the best path you could, and so far it is working. What more do you want, the voice of God to guide your steps? Tough luck, the Age of Prophetcy ended 3,000 years ago.”

Ameohne’e rubbed the side of her head and looked at Wu. “I suppose you’re going to give it to me too?”

“This one would never speak so.” Wu gave an almost mocking bow. “But you ride upon the tiger. Wonder ‘what if’ when we all survive this.”

Ameohne’e took a deep breath and nodded. “Alright. Alright. Cheung isn’t on board, but ey isn’t going to cause trouble right now.”

“This one will message Shin, e is best suited to being Cheung fully on board.”

Ameohne’e turned away from the List. “Good. If Shin can get Cheung on board, then we’ll bump up the schedule for going public.

“Deborah, I should have asked yesterday, but any new updates from our collection of seers?”

“What little new came in was also contradictory. Overall analysis shows our chances of success dropping.” Ameohne’e and Wu grimaced. “I’m hopeful that was just the risk of Cheung turning on us, and the numbers will improve over the next week.”

“How bad are we looking at?”

Deborah hesitated. “Last night’s results gave us one in three of enough people surviving on Earth to rebuild when everything is over.”

“Well. That’s reassuring.” Ameohne’e rubbed her eyes. “Wu, do whatever you need to get us a night off. I need some family time; remember what we’re fighting for.

“Join us, Deborah?”

Deborah smiled but shook her head. She enjoyed being an unofficial grandmother to Ho’neheso when she got the chance, but tonight she had other commitments. “My granddaughter has consented to join me for dinner tonight. I’ll bring leftover kugel to share tomorrow.”

Ameohne’e took a deep breath, straightened her back, and nodded. “That’s for tonight. For now, back to work.

That evening, Deborah slipped out of the World Government building, looking not much different from any member of the cleaning staff. Like Ameohne’e, she had taken a new name within the rebellion. Unlike Ameohne’e, she never ‘died’ in her old life. She had simply lived two separate lives. A challenge at her age, but one worth doing. With a bit of care, some cosmetic changes any community theater could pull off, and the slightest bit of magic, she could show up on international news and not even her family could recognize her.

It wouldn’t last forever, of course. But once she went public, she dragged her granddaughter into the limelight with her. That, she wanted to avoid as long as possible.

Sadly, neither her daughter nor granddaughter had ever been interested in the study of Torah and Talmud necessary to become a Baal Shem. But they had their own paths to walk, their own purposes to fulfill in the world.

Avigail, as she was known in her private life, reached home without incident and started work on a simple kugel for dessert. She had just put the kugel in the oven when the fronted door opened.

A woman with short spikey hair in a long trench coat with a subtle triangle pattern running around the hem strode into the kitchen carrying a takeout bag.

“Joan!” Avigail smiled and opened her arms for a hug. “Running late again; your job keeps you too busy.

“What did you bring for dinner?”


Well, that’s going to be a problem sooner or later.

We’re saying goodbye to our Evil Overlord and her friends and enemies for now, but they’ll be back next season.

In the mean time, we’ll be starting a new story. This is one of my rare pieces of contemporary fiction and an experiment in the kishotenketsu story structure which is popular (in several variations and names) in East Asia.

Family is supposed to be natural. Spontaneous.

Relationships are supposed to be born out of star dust and moon beam.

Love isn’t supposed to be something you decide to feel.

Emeka won’t wait any longer.

Orli doesn’t like star dust.

Andi always needs a plan.

They are done with ‘supposed to.’

Together, they are

Building Family


The first 6 posts of Building Family are already up on my Substack. If you want to get caught up, pick a paid subscription option today.

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