Rautavaara’s Case

The Eye of the Sibyl and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
Buy it on Amazon
First published in Omni Oct 1980

This brief story is part of a recap in an intergalactic trial.

Three humans on a monitoring mission in the vicinity of the Proxima Centaurus System are killed during an accident. Because of the location, the so-called “Approximations” from Proxima intervene. Two of the humans are fully and totally dead, but the Approximations are able to regenerate the brain of the third human, a female named Rautavaara.

What happens next occurs in Rautavaara’s brain as time runs backwards to just before the disaster, and Rautavaara and her two companions are visited by Christ. The Approximations decide to conduct an experiment, and they alter Rautavaara’s hallucination so that the humans encounter the Approximation’s version of a savior instead of their own. This Proxima savior proceeds to eat the humans (noted as a reversal of the Christian sacrament when humans eat the flesh of the deity), and the horrified court then elects to shut down Rautavaara’s brain activity.

Cast of characters

  • Agneta Rautavaara, Travis, Elms – three humans killed during a mishap in space
  • “Approximations” – ET from the Proxima Centaurus System