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"So, if the Mondoshawans are all hot to save life, how come they've never interfered before?" Korben muttered as they stood on the landing pad, waiting for the Mondoshawan ship to arrive. "'Cause there is always some shit going down somewhere, and they're one of the biggest nations in the known universe. Hell, if they'd just stepped in and had Zorg killed a month before everything kicked off, everything would have gone off without a hitch."

Leeloo shook her head. "No, Korben. Death cannot create life. Violence cannot create life. Only life can create life." She breathed in deeply, tasting the life of all the many billions of creatures in the city around them. They were so much cleaner, and livelier, than they had been when she arrived.

This is the great universal truth that Leeloo knows better than she knows her own name. It is not merely encoded in her DNA; it is the entirety of her existence. It is the truth for which and through which she was created. It is what she does when she takes the four pillars of creation—warmth and water, earth and air, the building blocks of life—and harnesses them together for the power of creation. Leeloo does not destroy evil; no, she frees it from itself, gives it the power to live instead of die, and in that transformation, entropy is reversed and the life of the universe is rejuvenated and the cycle begins again.

Ruby Rhod was standing close enough to hear them. He shoved Korben with a noise of frustration. "What's wrong with you, always violence this and bombs that and shooting people! Korben, my man, make love not war! Be green, super green. We need to build things up, bring people together, not kill them!" Leeloo didn't understand why he kept talking anout that color. There was no green around them, in the middle of this great city, and nobody was wearing green; she and Korben were in suits, Father Cornelius and Acolyte David were in their robes, and Rhod himself was in a yellow and blue and pink bodysuit that made Leeloo think of flowers.

Korben rolled his eyes. "Yeah. And Zorg would have just stopped trying to kill us if we'd just asked nicely. And the Mangalores, they would have let us walk through with the stones."

Leeloo shivered in remembrance. She herself had not killed anyone; all they needed was to get through their opponents, and knocking them out was enough. But she had felt the deaths, piling up inexorably one by one, sapping her strength and her will, and she did not like remembering that Korben himself had caused some of them.

"If serving life were easy, the Mondoshawans would not have needed to engineer a perfect being to accomplish it," Father Cornelius put in.

"This cycle was harder," Leeloo said thoughtfully. "In the past, the forces of evil had no weapons that could destroy ships before they got to the Temple." And Leeloo herself had never needed to fight. In the past, the ship would land at the Temple and awaken her, the Mondoshawans would form a living wall with their bodies to protect her from any of the forces of evil that showed up, and she would activate the stones. Some Mondoshawans might be killed by the forces of evil trying to prevent her transformation, but as long as she succeeded they did not die in vain … and dying themselves caused less entropy than a full battle would. And besides, Mondoshawans were very hard to kill. "All the death added to the entropy. It was harder to resist."

"Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, why are you talking like you've done it before?" Rhod asked. "Everybody says the cycle is five thousand years long, which is why the ritual happens in an ancient temple out in the middle of nowhere instead of a nice modern building with air conditioning and running water. I dunno why nobody thought of putting in air conditioning in there, and maybe a humidifier, because my sinuses were not happy by the time we left I can tell you, but you are way, way, way, way, way too young to have been there five thousand years ago. Unless the Mondoshawans have much better hypersleep technology than anyone else."

"They do," Leeloo said, "but that's not what they use for me. I am turned into a statue to wait in between the times I am necessary."

Korben jerked. "You're what? Is that some sort of metaphor?" He turned to Father Cornelius. "Father, tell me that's some sort of metaphor."

Father Cornelius shook his head. "No, my son, it isn't. I've never seen her in that form, of course—the Mondashawans removed her for safekeeping during the First World War—but I've seen the pictures. It's why I was so surprised to see she was a she. The statue doesn't have …" he waved his hands, trying to think of the word "… doesn't have …"

"Visible genitalia or secondary sex characteristics," Leeloo said helpfully.

Father Cornelius' hands cupped briefly at chest level. "Yes, those," he said.

"Perfection is not about gender," Leeloo said. "Either all genders are perfect or none are. And the same goes for genitals. So I have one kind, and the statue has another, so that all will be encompassed symbolically within."

Rhod brightened and brought his microphone staff closer to her face. It wasn't live, this time; the human government wanted the ability to edit the record of this historic contact. "So tell me more about Mondoshawan sex. And gender!"

"Wait, are the Mondoshawans going to want to put you back into a statue?" Korben asked, pushing Rhod's staff aside.

"Yes," Leeloo said.

"Now?" Korben asked.

"Soon." She did not want to leave Korben and Father Cornelius and Ruby Rhod and David, but she was so tired. The human rejuvenation machine was wonderful, but she had had to give so much more than usual, and the machine could not quite make up the difference.

"But you saved the world!" Korben objected. "Surely you're owed a little time off."

"Time off?" Leeloo asked, frowning. She had assimilated all the knowledge of Wikipedia, but she did not always understand the connections between concepts.

"You know, free time," Korben said. "Vacation. Time for just you, when you don't have to follow any orders or do any shit you don't want to."

"I never have to follow any orders," Leeloo said.

"Of course not, you're a supreme being," Father Cornelius said. "Who would give orders to a supreme being?"

"I dunno, Father, maybe the people who created her?" Korben said.

Leeloo shrugged. "My purpose is my calling is my job is my desire. I create life. I save life. I saved all life, and then I created life with you, and soon I will sleep until the next time I must save life."

"And what was it like, creating life with Korben Dallas?" Rhod asked, shoving his staff at her again.

She smiled at him. "Very nice," she said. Why Korben didn't like Rhod, she couldn't imagine; Rhod was very dedicated to life, and with none of Korben's unfortunate tendency to respond to challenges by shooting them. "Korben is very creative … when he wants to be. Very helpful. It is always nice to create life with a partner. More powerful, that way."

"So, all this talk of creating life, does this mean that in nine months there'll be another little Dallas running around?" Rhod asked.

Leeloo cocked her head, unsure of what he meant.

"He's asking if you're pregnant," Korben said.

"I am not," Leeloo said. "I create life in other ways." She paused, trying to think of how to explain her function in English. The language had such a paucity of ways to talk about the metaphysics of life and entropy. No physical new life was created, but two or more people moving in harmony and mutual care was always life-giving in a metaphysical sense.

Father Cornelius spoke up. "What she means is that while the visible manifestation and outpouring of life she channels through the stones when they are activated is the most obvious expression of her powers, she is always emitting life force on a noticeable level to some degree or other. Her very existence creates life and reduces—or in some cases, reverses—entropy. That's what makes her the perfect life-form. There is nothing in the universe as alive as she is. Why, even in statue form, she emanates a noticeable amount of life. Infertile couples used to copulate in her temple in order to conceive, warring factions would meet there to broker peace, prophets would sleep there to receive visionary dreams, artists would come there to be inspired … it was a very great loss to everyone on the planet when she had to be removed."

"So, when people bam bam in the ham, they're giving life to the universe?" Rhod asked, eyes alight.

"Yes," Leeloo said. She didn't understand the words, but she knew what he meant. When in doubt, Rhod always meant something about sex. "Unless it kills the spirit." Humans could take even sex and make it soul-killing.

"Ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first: bumping boots and whuffling goots is recharging the universe's life-bank, so we are going to have some love-ins on the Ruby Rhod show, I can tell you that. Join me in sticking it to the man, the woman, and anyone else who wants it."

"Of course, there are many other ways of encouraging and creating life," Father Cornelius said. "Meditation, tending to plants and animals, all the other forms of love besides the physical—"

"Yeah, but sex is the fun one," Rhod said.

"Yeah, and Leeloo isn't going to get to do any of them if she's in a damn statue," Korben said, raising his voice. His fists were clenched. "So how the fuck are we going to keep them from doing that to her?"

"Korben," Leeloo said gently, taking his fists in her hands and encouraging them to open. "They are not doing anything to me besides giving me a safe place to rest until I am needed again."

"You're needed here!" Korben said. "We need you! I need you."

"I am always needed," Leeloo said gently. "And I am very tired."

"You got plenty of sleep last night," Korben protested.

"It's not a physical kind of tired," Leeloo said. Her few days of activity had taken every last reserve of energy she had, and given that she had had to start those days of activity by re-growing her entire physical body (albeit with help), those reserves had not been great to start with.

"It is true that the longer you stay animate, the greater the boost you give to life at the beginning of this cycle, the better it will be for all of us … and the easier the battle next time." Father Cornelius sighed and shook his head. "I would never presume to tell you how to fulfill your function, of course, Leeloo, you know that, but if there is any way you could remain with us longer in this form, we would all be very humbly grateful."

"I know, Cornelius," Leeloo said.

"What about that rejuvenating thing the government has?" Korben said. "You felt better after we went in that. Would it help to do it again?"

"Some," Leeloo said. "It is fake life, but it does help a little." She squeezed his hands. "I don't want to leave you, Korben, and I will stay as long as I can, but I cannot stay awake too long."

"Okay, then that's what we'll do. We'll get the government to let you use the thing as often as you need it, and we'll find other things, and you'll stay as long as you can."

"What do you want the government to do for you, Mister Dallas?" came a voice from over her shoulder. Leeloo turned to see President Lindberg approaching with his retinue.

"The rejuvenating chamber we went in to help Leeloo recover, sir," Korben said. "She needs it again."

"That chamber takes about ten million credits per use," Lindberg said. "But I'm sure if the Mondoshawans request it, we can make an agreement. Now, everybody's going to be calm and peaceful," he said, giving Korben a hard look, "and respectful," he transferred that look to Ruby Rhod, "when the Mondoshawans arrive, right?"

"Yes."

"Super green."

"All right, then." He checked his cuff links.

The Mondoshawan ship began its descent. They all looked up to watch it come. As it grew nearer, Leeloo considered. Human society had so many places where it needed to encourage life instead of death. And so, so many people who needed to face the error of their ways. And Father Cornelius was right. The more change there was now, the less drain there would be on Leeloo. This time around, she might take a more … active role in the tending of life.

Korben would probably enjoy it.