[AN: You bastard. And I mean that in the nicest way ;) ]
On the plus side, he had survived the plane crash. On the minus side, nobody else seemed to have done so. Potentially worse news, there were natives here, and they seemed to be worshipping him.
Gavin looked to the passengers on either side of him. Strangers he had nicknamed Mr Complain and Ms Annoying. Mr Complain had thought that the entire plane was his property and all other passengers were unwelcome guests. He'd spent the entire flight monopolising on the Stewards' and Stewardesses' time about things that they couldn't possibly fix. Ms Annoying, on the other hand, merely kept turning to talk with her pal across the lane and either elbowing Gavin or kicking him in the process.
Neither had deserved to be impaled by branches. At least it seemed to have been quick. Both had been speared through their hearts.
The triple seats dangled on those two limbs. And almost convenient distance above the ground. Gavin kept a tight grip on his seat belt as he unbuckled, and made sure his descent was at least dignified. The bough bent enough for Gavin to land on his feet.
They were talking a Pacific Islander dialect that had elements of Dutch in it. They must have had contact with some Eighteenth-Century explorers at one point. But not enough contact that they were exploited or eradicated by egocentric Europeans.
Gavin wasn't about to start. He dredged up enough of his knowledge of Dutch to mangle something akin to "Please be stopping that," or at least he thought so.
It seemed to work. The natives were no longer bowing and scraping. They were staring, though. Some whispered among themselves.
He didn't have enough knowledge of Dutch to say, "I'm not who you think I am." More's the pity. And he didn't quite know the local language that well.
But he had to try. "What is happen? Talking slow for please. Not knowing much talk this."
This made a lot of smiles. He smiled in return. If it was good news for them, then it might be good news for him.
A small child took him by the hand and lead both him and the assembled natives to the town. And into what had to be a temple. There, pictographs showed what he thought they called The Story of Gods.
One set came to the island in a cloud tied to a big boat. That had to be the Dutch sailors. They had come for water and fruit and traded shiny beads for supplies. When they tried to trade shiny beads for people, the natives knew that these were false gods and saw them off.
They only won because matchlocks were no good in the rain.
There was a prophecy, of course. A great metal bird would lay in mid-air and fall into the sea. The true god would hatch as a full-grown man. And his two heralds, one man and one woman, would be without their hearts.
And the prophecy included him telling them that he wasn't a god. And... it looked like there were trials. Of escalating deadliness.
"Please, no," he said in English, shaking his head. "I can't do this to you. I'm an atheist. I can't be divine." He swapped to his limited Dutch. "This not true! Gavin not being god!"
But they cheered. And held him a feast. And offered him more nubile young ladies than he ordinarily could dream of. But it wouldn't be right. They didn't love him. They thought they were offering themselves to a god.
Sometime in the middle of the night, he crept away to bury Mr Complain and Ms Annoying. He left the chairs as a marker. And there were smiling natives to greet his return.
Gavin did try to fail at the trials to prove himself mortal. And, either by misunderstanding or pure luck, he managed to pass them. With flying colours.
He tried to learn the local language while they kept him there. The local kids were an instant help, and made games out of his atrocious accent and his atrocious grammar. He laughed with them. Even came up with a few jokes, himself. But he did not seek rescue.
This island had survived so far by being out of anyone else's interest. Trying to get himself rescued would only call the modern world down around their ears. Which included modern diseases, fast food franchises, and more egocentric white men who felt that any natural resource in the hands of more 'primitive' people was best immediately transferred to their own abundant coffers.
Better that he was presumed dead and these people were left to their own devices.
As the weeks turned into months and the trials continued, and his passage into godhood increasingly likely, he got better at the language. He learned that the pictures in the temple were all prophecy, not part history. They had been waiting for their god from the sky for millennia. A storm god with powers over thunder and lightning. He who brought bounty to the beach.
Okay, so the plane wreckage did was up on the island's shores. And lots of it was stuff that the people could use. The rest - they turned into decorations.
It's not as if much of the tech could survive a fiery crash into the ocean, anyway. And having it not on the beaches only protected the islanders from any other interference from the outside world.
He insisted on being useful. Gavin was never one of those people to sit idle and let the world come to him. Even though he was allegedly the god of storms, he wouldn't be idle.
When they didn't have anything for him to do, he beachcombed. The island had a lot of beach and even driftwood and seaweed had their uses. Which was how he saw the whaling ship.
He knew it was a whaler because they were dragging a struggling whale into their vessel. Gavin had never been angrier in his life. He wanted to actually have storm powers so he could free the whale and actively discourage the ship and its crew from their trade.
And just like that, a wildcat squall appeared over the ship and forced them to release the whale and turn tail.
Miti, a young priestess, laughed. She had taken to following him around. "Congratulations," she said. "In his first storm, he shall save a singer of the sea."
"Okay, but that could be a fluke. It's not like I could strike the ship with lightning--"
A flicker of light from the squall, and lightning hit their radio antenna.
"That could have happened anyway. I'm as human as you are. It's not like I can point at a spot on the beach and make fulgarite..." He pointed as he spoke. And nearly jumped out of his skin as lightning struck exactly where he'd pointed.
That was immensely more unlikely than, say, lightning striking a metal antennae in the middle of a relatively flat ocean.
All he could think, but was wise enough to never say, was, Holy crap!
And he was suddenly learning how to be a god. Him, the atheist. An actual god of storms. He learned how to keep the monsoons from causing property damage. Learned how to aim lightning. Learned how to lure a storm. How to make one. How to clear a sky...
And Gavin insisted on not accepting either gifts or sacrifices.
Not even when the survey turned up.
He didn't bother to learn what they were looking for. He didn't really care. They were in the employ of egocentric, rich, white men and that was plenty enough for him.
He told them, bluntly, and in simple English, to leave the island and its people alone. He told them that there would be consequences.
Then he made certain that each and every piece of heavy equipment they shipped onto the island suffered from a lightning-related mishap. He even encouraged the local kids to steal all the lightning rods. Soon, very soon, this island would be too expensive to exploit.
But it didn't work that way. He didn't kill any of the workers - they had families to keep - so word got out that there was a sole white man living on the island and protecting it somehow. This lead to increasingly unlikely stories of hidden treasure.
They didn't get it. This island and its people were the treasure. Something untouched by modern civilisation. Something that should have been preserved. And he could only stay awake for so long...