It turned up unexpectedly, when the world was still young. We didn’t really know what it was – it seemed to just be another sort of life, and with an evolution-based world builder, that’s not impossible. We weren’t expecting fungi either, but look how well that turned out! Aside from the poisonous ones, of course. But fungi don’t try and infect an entire world.
We didn’t even notice it at first. It was a few billion years before the angels in our research division found some odd results; data that didn’t add up. We noticed some odd effects on plants,which we had attributed to a mold, but it took us a couple of millennia to even develop the tools we needed to look into it. A lot of time was wasted. No one took us seriously, or gave us the resources we needed. For some reason, we struggled to get anyone to listen to us. The Director assured us that it was well within the usual range, and that we should re-calibrate our equipment more often. Our requests for extra funding were flatly denied.
As we were noticing the physical effects, something else came to light. The primitive beings we were developing started acting oddly: gathering objects of no use to them; diverting from observed social norms; increasing violence. As they developed, we noticed they held a strange caution and respect for certain places – either avoiding them, or visiting them often and bringing small offerings.
At the same time, things were changing in Heaven. The Director started acting more erratically, as though they weren’t quite themselves. They stayed up later, pouring over the, well, the people you evolved from, spending hours watching them, listening to them individually. Their language was starting to develop, and it fascinated us all, but the Director was obsessed. They started running tests on the primitive primates, analyzing the things they feared and revered, recreating them, training them with gifts of food, acts of kindness and protection.
We counselled them to let things be; this was either a strange anomaly, or a side effect of the new form of life we were tracking. They ignored us, and carried on.
After a while, they tired of repeating their experiments on existing species. In an act that goes against all the ethical guidelines of the entire institute, they committed an unprecidented crime.
They altered one of the apes, using their own flesh to do it. Not only did they increase their intelligence, optimize their bodies, modify their throats to produce sounds, and advance their coordination, they used samples that had been exposed to some of the samples we had taken from the species that had alerted us to the possible presence of the new life form.
In a closed test environment, the Developer let them run wild. Eden 1.0 was a bloodbath; a long, drawn out battle for survival that was swiftly conquered by your race. The Director killed off the original samples, aside from some of the females, and started over. Adam and Eve entered Eden 2.0, and, well, you know the rest.
As if this wasn’t enough, the Director continued to meddle. They wanted to test the fear/ worship effect they had observed in your natural ancestors. So they continued to meddle, even going so far as to speak directly to the race we were now calling Humans.
Their obsession grew the more the humans were conditioned to believe. They could be controlled so simply; a word in the ear of a powerful leader, an unnatural storm, plague of locusts or an earthquake could be used to increase their fear, and simple blessings like an extra bountiful harvest could ensure life-long belief. The director meddled and tweaked, until the humans had created for themselves an imaginary god.
Our research on the mysterious lifeform that had vexed us all along continued. Eventually, you bloody humans solved it. I think you call them viruses. The Director brought one with them, when they took the job. They had always intended this to happen; it’s how the merged their flesh with you in the first place. They brought a weapon that could modify DNA, and they’ve used it to control the world ever since.
This is why you aren’t in Heaven, professor. You weren’t a bad person, and if this was a normal world you’d be upstairs. But we brought you here for a reason – your work on viruses was some of the best in the world, and trust us – we’ve read it. We’d like to introduce you to some other experts in the field. We’re very much hoping that, with your help, we can find a way to stop this.