The Alicorn Who Saved the Ants

My four-year-old granddaughter drew this picture and loaned it to me so I could write her a story. On Sunday we’re celebrating her 5th birthday (two days early), so I’m posting this as a birthday surprise.

“Seagull talked to the whales,” Crow Bird said. “They told him the comet crashed into the ocean an hour ago!” Crow Bird’s dark eyes looked wild. “It’s too late to find Ronnie now.”

Sabeth, a young alicorn who was still waiting for the stump on her head to grow long and slender, stood in the bottom of the big Safe Boat and ignored Crow Bird. She stared down at Juniper, a red ant on top of an anthill next to Sabeth‘s straw bed.

Juniper had lost her best friend, Ronnie, a little black ant.

She covered her face with her ant arms and wouldn‘t stop crying and sobbing, no matter what Sabeth said to comfort her.

Explosive diarrhea had forced Ronnie off the trail when they were leaving their home in the forest to come to the old man‘s Safe Boat. Ronnie must have gotten lost searching for toilet paper, and now it seemed he would miss the boat for sure and drown in the comet‘s nasty flood.

Big raindrops pounded on the boat’s wooden roof high above. Sabeth’s mane bristled at the roaring thunder outside. Those loud deep sounds shook the boat‘s wooden hull beneath her hooves as she gave Crow Bird a look of sad desperation.

Crow Bird must have known what she was thinking. They both bent their knees and jumped into the air, flying carefully as they weaved their way up through the strong wooden rafters of the boat, and up to the top deck where they looked out at the flood.

The waters were still rising fast. Flashes of silver lightning branched across the sky and seemed to scold the gloomy clouds with their angry thunder.

Sabeth made a decision that seemed easy to make but dangerous to carry out. She clenched her teeth, steadied her pounding heart, and made ready to open her powerful wings.

“Don’t do it,” Crow Bird said. His face was stern. “Stay. In. The. Boat!”

But Sabeth knew too well the lonely sadness of her friend, Juniper, because Sabeth was now the only alicorn on Earth. All the others were dead and gone, even her parents. There was no way Sabeth would let Juniper become the last ant on Earth. Not if she could help it.

“I have to find Ronnie,” Sabeth said to Crow Bird. She opened her wings and jumped into the wet sky.

“Wait,” Crow Bird shouted.

But there was no time to wait. Sabeth flew headlong into the rain, squinting at every patch of land she could find, searching for Ronnie. He was so small though. How could she ever find him from up in the sky?

Soon Crow Bird’s little wings rattled up beside her, beating wildly in the wicked rain. His eyes were glazed over as if he didn’t quite know what he was doing or why.

“Go back to the boat,” Sabeth shouted above the rhythmic beating of her strong wings. “This is no place for a little bird.”

But Crow Bird wouldn’t listen. He stayed close to Sabeth as they flew on ahead, searching the flooded Earth for a little black ant.

Soon the water had covered almost everything. They could see only the pointed tops of mountains poking above the furious sea. In a few minutes the flood would cover the whole world. Time was running out for Ronnie.

They flew side by side in silent resolve until finally Crow Bird said, “What in the world is that?!” His eyes were wide on the western horizon.

Sabeth looked, and far away, a huge wall of water was roaring toward them. It stretched so high it brushed the clouds aside as it came. She remembered her mother warning her about giant waves that could climb out of the sea and wash everything away. They were called “tsunamis,” her mother had said.

Or was it “salamis?” Sabeth couldn’t be sure.

She told Crow Bird every detail about the horrible power of an earthquake wave. But this one looked bigger than anything her mother had described.

“Fly back to the boat,” Sabeth said. “Hurry! Little birds can‘t survive giant waves.”

Crow Bird laughed. “Oh, I’m sure I’m going back to the boat. And let you take all the glory? No way, McVay!”

Sabeth glanced over at Crow Bird and shook her head as they flew. “You’re impossible, you know.” But inside she was proud of Crow Bird‘s courageous heart. What a friend he was!

“Birds migrate long distances, after all,” Crow Bird said, making fancy circles in the air with the tips of his dark purple wings.

“I hope you‘re not suggesting that crows are migratory,” Sabeth said.

“Usually they’re not,” he replied. “But I was once a rare bird. A migratory crow, in fact, right up to the day I met a blue-footed booby. She came along and just like that…” Crow Bird snapped his toes. “She turned me into a homing pigeon.”

“A pigeon?!” Sabeth said with a dubious tone and one raised eyebrow.

“I got better,” Crow Bird said sheepishly, putting on a ridiculous accent.

Sabeth wondered if Crow Bird had eaten the wrong mushroom, but it didn’t matter now because the giant wall of water was drawing closer and closer, wiping out everything in its path. There was no time to waste on silly arguments.

Sabeth flew straight into the wind with Crow Bird by her side struggling to keep up. They swooped down together to search every rock and pebble on each mountaintop still above water, hoping to see the little black ant, Ronnie.

Suddenly, Crow Bird’s sharp eyes grew wide. “It’s an ant!” he cried. “Over there.” He pointed a crooked orange toe to the south.

Sabeth squinted hard, and there on the tip of a sharp mountain peak nearly covered with water, a tiny red ant stood waving its arms and calling for help.

Crow Bird swooped low and Sabeth followed as the icy rain seeped between the alicorn feathers of her wings.

Crow Bird landed beside the ant. “Hop on,” he said.

But the little ant was afraid of birds, ran to the other side of the peak, and bent its legs, ready to jump into the water.

Sabeth circled close to the ant and when it saw her it reached out and called, “Korn!” which was slang for alicorn.

“Oh, sure,” Crow Bird said. “Swoop in and steal the show. Be the big hero, why don’t ya?”

“Grow up,” Sabeth said to him and lowered her right front hoof to the ground for the little ant to climb on. “What’s your name?” Sabeth asked.

“Gretchen,” the red ant said and ran up Sabeth’s leg, across the side of her neck and up into her right ear, out of the rain.

“Good eye,” Sabeth said to Crow Bird. “I think your blue-footed boobie turned you into an eagle.“

Crow Bird smirked, and off they flew toward the giant wave with the wind slamming the cold rain against their faces.

Just then a huge fork of angry lightning flashed in front of them sending a spear of white static electricity across Crow Bird‘s purple wings.

“Oh sheep suds!” he cried and looked over at Sabeth with his beak wide open and his tongue hanging out for a moment. “My wings are cooked! Tell my wife I love her.” With that, his beautiful purple wings became stiff as boards and took him down into a death spiral… down, down, down toward the blue and white sea, right in the path of the relentless tsunami.

Or was it a relentless salami? Sabeth couldn’t decide.

She zoomed under Crow Bird and called out, “Grab my main.” Then she felt Crow Bird’s tiny body land on her back. His sharp claws dug into her mane and gave her the best back scratch ever. “But wow,” she thought. “I almost lost Crow Bird.” A lonely chill came over her.

“We should go find the Safe Boat,” Crow Bird said, his voice quivering in shame.

“You might be right,” Sabeth replied and stared down at the rising sea with the looming tsunami so close now it might be impossible to fly back to the boat before the wave hit them like a giant Vitamix.

“Please listen to Mr. Crow,” Gretchen whispered from inside the alicorn’s ear. The little ant was so frightened her shaking legs tickled Sabeth‘s ear.

“Hold still,” Sabeth said to her. “You don’t want to make an alicorn sneeze. It‘s very unlucky.”

But it was too late. Sabeth knew she was about to sneeze and nothing could ever stop an alicorn sneeze. She tried not to take a full breath, but she did anyway and sneezed so loud the little ant screamed in fright and bounced around inside her ear. Barely able to hold on to her back, Crow Bird squawked like a chicken and clutched her long colorful mane so tightly his toes cramped up.

Seconds later, they all laughed as Crow Bird said to Gretchen, “We rode a sneezing alicorn. Nobody’s ever going to believe this!”

Crow Bird began to brag about it some more but stopped when his sharp eyes caught sight of something new. “Over there!” he shouted. “Look, it’s Ronny! It’s gotta be!” Crow Bird placed a wing in front of Sabeth‘s right eye and pointed straight at a distant mountaintop nearly covered with water.

Sabeth raced toward it and soon she could see a tiny black ant on the mountain peak with the huge tsunami wave looming in the background and coming toward them fast. It looked like the wave would wash away the tiny ant before they could get to it.

“You can‘t save him,” Crow Bird said in grave tones. “Don’t even think about it.”

But Sabeth couldn‘t help herself. She put all her strength into her wings and raced to save the little black ant from the giant tsunami.

“We’re all going to die,” Gretchin said inside Sabeth‘s ear.

They reached the mountaintop one second ahead of the giant tsunami. Sabeth opened her mouth on the fly and scooped up the little wet ant hoping and praying it would be Ronny.

Then she flew straight up the face of the tallest wave ever seen on Earth. It tipped forward at the top as if it was ready to break onto a beach.

“Wicked lovely,” Sabeth said and powered higher with her strong wings defying the wind, the rain and the anger of the mean tsunami.

Up and up she flew with Crow Bird and Gretchen holding on. The heavy muscles on Sabeth’s back burned with lactic acid as she cleared the wave’s teetering crest with her hooves pulled up against her tummy.

She kept going. Far up into the clouds with the silver lightning flashing all around.

Still higher she flew until she was above the clouds where the sun’s warm glow could embrace her. Now the rain and thunder below seemed far away and the giant wave roared on like a herd of frightened Brontosauruses with terrible gas.

“Crow Bird,” she said, “open those sharp eyes of yours and help me find the Safe Boat.”

“Are we still alive?” Crow Bird asked.

The little black ant in Sabeth’s mouth crawled out onto her nose and shouted, “No, we’re angels, genius!” He waved his little arms in a frenzie of small circles. “Find the boat, already! I‘m dehydrated from diarrhea.”

Sabeth crossed her eyes to get a better look at her new passenger.

“What?!” he shouted, glaring back at her with his eyes crossed.

“It’s Ronny!” Sabeth shouted. “How incredibly lucky!”

Maybe alicorn sneezes were good luck after all, she thought. Or maybe there was no such thing as luck, just courage, love and sore muscles.

“The boat’s down there,” Crow Bird said and pointed down at the clouds. “I believe it’s doing the backstroke.”

Sabeth soared down toward it like a giant eagle. She relaxed her aching wings and it felt great to be gliding.

But the Safe Boat was upside down in the choppy sea with its wooden underbelly pointing to the sky. Sabeth flew down toward it and landed on its tar-covered hull.

“We can’t climb in from the bottom,” she said. “And if we could, a boat can’t float upside down for long.” She tapped on the wood with one of her hooves. “What do we do now?” she asked.

Crow Bird shrugged. “I got nothing.”

Sabeth look down her nose at Ronnie.

“Don’t ask me,” Ronnie said. He folded his two shivering ant arms and crawled on four legs up across Sabeth’s face and into her right ear, out of the rain.

Sabeth tried to ignore the chatter in her ear as Ronnie and Gretchen spoke to each other beside her right eardrum.

OK, Sabeth said to herself, it’s time for a big idea. Come on now!

She closed her eyes and took sixty slow, deep alicorn breaths that made her hooves tingle. Then she held her breath and counted until a fine idea came. It didn’t take long.

She put her mouth down against the hull of the boat and called out to the great blue whales of the sea. She made her voice musical and kind, just the way blue whales talk.

“Come,” Sabeth said in their ancient language. “Come flip our boat over and save us.”

She waited.

There was no response.

She leaned down, put her mouth to the hull and sang her call again.

Still there was no response.

Then she added the magic word “please” and sang her message a third time.

Suddenly, the voice of a great blue whale came back, “Your boat has humans onboard. They hunt whales.”

“Yes, they do,” Sabeth replied, being completely honest. “I know how your feel. These naughty humans have killed all the alicorns except me.”

There was a long pause before the whale spoke again. “Why would you want to save the creatures who killed your parents?”

That was simple. “Saving life is the right thing to do,” Sabeth said. “Alicorns do what’s right because it is right. When you love someone, you help them, no matter what. It‘s like a sneeze. You just can’t stop yourself.”

“But how can you love the ones who killed your parents?” the whale asked.

“Alicorns love their enemies,” Sabeth said.

The great whale laughed, but she must have been old and wise. “That’s the sharpest logic I’ve ever heard!” she said. “I mean, if you really think about it.” Then she and her whole family of blue whales came up under the starboard side of the Safe Boat with their gigantic noses all side by side pushing up on the dark wood. Sabeth jumped into the air and watched as the whales flipped the Safe Boat over. The sound of tumbling animals echoed inside, and Sabeth hoped everyone was OK in there, especially the elephants who were pals with the mice and might accidentally squish them.

Soon the Safe Boat was bobbing proudly upright on the water. It looked respectable again even though it had a wooden roof covering the whole upper deck. Sabeth felt as through normal boats shouldn’t have a roof that looked like a house.

“Thank you so much,” Sabeth said to the whales as happy tears fell from her eyes to join the rain.

“Tell the old man we saved him,” the smallest blue whale cried out.

“Oh, hush, Poseidon,” his mother said and brushed over his nose with her gigantic left front flipper. She looked back at Sabeth and winked, then the whole magnificent pod swam away, spitting water up through the blowholes on their enormous backs. The spray shot up high and pushed through the clouds letting a beam of sunlight shine down for a moment. Then as the whales dove and vanished into the deep, Sabeth thought she saw a rainbow above them.

“You know, those things have a blubber problem,” Crow Bird said. “The fat under their chins is, like, two feet thick, I kid you not!” He spread his damaged wings out wide to show how thick two feet of blubber was.

“Don’t be rude,” Sabeth said. “They saved your life, for crying out loud. Show some respect.”

“I’m just saying,” Crow Bird said and shrugged his shoulders. Then he faked a cough and blurted out, “Heart attack!”

Sabeth ignored him, soared down and landed on the top deck of the boat and walked over to the trapdoor. She knocked on it with her right front hoof.

“Knock, Knock.”

“Who’s there?” the old man asked from inside.

“No.”

“No who?”

“No-Ah, let us in!” she said without whining. (Alicorns almost never whine.)

The old man opened the trapdoor and look out. On his shoulder stood a little red ant, Juniper, with a hopeful face. “Did you find Ronnie?” she asked.

“We sure did!” Sabeth said and smiled.

Just then, Ronnie ran out of Sabeth‘s ear, jumped off the side of her face and landed on the old man’s shoulder next to Juniper. Then he stood on his back legs and gave Juniper a big four-legged ant hug.

“Crow Bird spotted him on a mountaintop,” Sabeth said. “I‘m telling you, this crow of ours is part eagle. Such brilliant eyesight!”

Crow Bird grinned with pride. “I found Gretchen, too,” he said.

With that, the little red ant, Gretchen, came out of Sabeth‘s ear and waved shyly at the other two ants.

“Awesome!” Juniper and Ronnie said at nearly the same time.

The old man gently picked up Gretchen and put her on his shoulder with the other two ants.

“Group Hug!” Crow Bird shouted and rolled his eyes. “You know, I do hope somebody has saved a few tarantulas. I just love those hairy little things!”

Sabeth tried to swat Crow Bird with her long tail, but he jumped out of range, landed on her head and kept right on talking. “Tarantulas are perfect for any occasion — holidays, birthdays, pizza night with the boys. I’m not saying ants don’t brighten up a picnic, but Tarantulas, boy-howdy!”

Sabeth shook her head and took a deep breath. Nobody’s best friend is perfect, she thought to herself. And besides, wouldn‘t a perfect crow be perfectly boring?

It was way past everyone’s bedtime by now. The old man rushed to tuck all the animals in as Sabeth told him how the great blue whales had come and saved everyone by turning the Safe Boat back over.

The old man’s face went pale and seemed super-serious. He lifted his oil lamp and looked at it with shame in his old eyes. Then he made a solemn promise. “If we survive this flood,” he said, “we will never burn whale oil in our lamps again. And we’ll never hunt a whale for any reason.”

“Fair enough,” Crow Bird said, closed his eyes and fell fast asleep between his wife and Sabeth who was wide awake, trying to think of a way to heal Crow Bird’s injured wings as soon as possible.

The End

Morrill Talmage Moorehead


My Spiritual Paradigm in 2018

My father was born today (December 27, 1897). He was an MD with board certification in Radiology, Anatomic Pathology and General Surgery. His life was all about studying science, publishing medical articles and living far beyond frugality. He was an atheist who preferred religious people because he thought they were more trustworthy. “It’s too bad everything they believe in isn’t true,” he said.

This post is dedicated to Dad…

We live in a simulated universe created by means of a language that’s projected from beyond, possibly using the crystal structure called “E8,” in which the fundamental building blocks are not irreducible strings or electromagnetic waves or subatomic particles or even intelligently driven perturbations in the zero-point field (though this idea is related, I think).

Instead, the fundamental building blocks of our simulated reality appear to be the symbols of a language.

This is a language in which each physical symbol, its meaning, and the hardware needed to interpret or “manifest” the meaning within our 3D space are one-in-the-same.

The Supreme Being (or Beings) exist outside the simulation, but can enter it and undoubtedly have. We (our full selves) inhabit a Reality outside of the simulated universe, a place that is beyond our ability to imagine because it’s “outside of time” and contains something like “extra dimensions” which can only be vaguely imagined by people with expertise in math and physics.

Our simulated universe was invented for us by the Supreme Being(s) because we requested it.

We enthusiastically spend simulated time here in hopes of expanding the depth and breadth of our love, wisdom and character in a place made specifically for developing these personal attributes.

There’s a respected web of cause and effect stemming from free decisions that each of us has made within the simulated universe. This free-choice web limits our ability to create a reality based upon a belief system.

For example, if I want to believe in a fundamentalist Christian paradigm (or any other spiritual system), but I’ve been convinced in school that scientific materialism is undeniable, then I am incapable of believing in any fundamentalist paradigm other than scientific materialism itself (a.k.a. physicalism). And vice versa.

On the other hand, if for any reason I have retained the ability to believe in a given spiritual (or anti-spiritual) paradigm, and I pursue it, then that system of belief will become literally true for me within the simulation.

In practical terms, this means that there is always a “reality that’s out there” in the simulated universe whether or not I believe in it.

Examples of realities that won’t go away with denial include the reality of UFO’s, the reality of DNA’s hyper-complex code, the reality of dinosaur fossils, the reality of Near-Death Experiences, the reality of Angels, demons and various ethereal beings, the reality of World Bank domination in modern times, the reality of all souls being ultimately one, the reality of an intelligent universe, and the growing reality on Earth of a mindless, meaningless universe.

Logically opposing belief systems can be fully manifest in separate parts of the simulation on an individual basis, especially after a person’s current life ends, but also to some extent during this current life. The more something is collectively believed, the more real it becomes due to the simulation’s basic nature and the careful respect for free will. (When the effects of a free will decision are eliminated, the reality of that decision is also eliminated. Hence the respect for the effects of free will decisions and actions.)

Our experience in the simulated universe is not necessarily limited to one lifetime. Depending on what we are able to believe, we may ride the simulation for multiple lifetimes.

Each of us is here for our own specific purpose.

For some, the purpose is to learn courage and love.

For others (particularly scientists) we’re here to learn open-mindedness and the ability to question things we know are true. The odds are against us achieving such objectivity on Earth, but the very challenge of it attracts us here.

One characteristics of the simulation that renders it particularly useful to our souls’ growth is the ubiquitous “dualism” in which every good thing can have a negative side effect and every negative thing can have a positive side effect. This becomes a source of cognitive dissonance, particularly in questions of morality.

For instance, our dependence upon food requires us to kill plants, bacteria, insects, and perhaps to some degree, higher organisms, to stay alive. And yet our innate sense of morality (a.k.a. love) makes us loath to kill certain creatures. Similarly, our need to procreate, driven largely by testosterone in all genders, is necessary to our species’ existence, yet it also manifests as a strong force in breaking trust, destroying families and making life more difficult on our dear children.

And yet the dissonances here teach our souls balance and perspective. That’s a huge attraction.

Realizing that our universe is simulated may seem to present a new problem of rejecting all other worldview paradigms. It might tempt one to say, “If our souls exist with God in another realm and nothing here is real, then nothing here is worth believing in or caring about.”

But despite the literal simulation of matter and energy, our cognitive awareness here is real, not simulated. Our love and our pain are genuine because our souls experience them. We don’t have the option of dealing with the simulated universe as an illusion because it reaches beyond the simulation into our hearts.

In view of all this, the logical thing to do is to identify your own personal reason(s) for entering this simulation, and based upon those, choose a personally believable worldview that offers support for someone on your quest.

For instance, if you’re here primarily to learn open-mindedness, which means you’re probably a scientist, then you might read about the search for UFOs and alien life, although you already “know” such things are complete nonsense aimed at “lesser minds” than yours. Be prepared for the surprise your soul is seeking.

Or if you’re here to learn courage, then choosing a live-for-the-moment worldview might make sense, leading you into a lifestyle of courage, such as mixed martial arts, public speaking, surfing giant waves, doing open heart surgery, smuggling Bibles into North Korea, or standing up to politically correct hatred and prejudice.

Or if you discover that you joined the simulation to increase your capacity for self-sacrificing love, then any of the major religions will probably steer you in that direction. Find one you can truly believe in, if possible. If not, pick and choose from among them, or make up something of your own as I’ve done. Your beliefs will be real for you when you need them most.

If you’ve joined the simulation to discover who you would be apart from God’s physical presence and influence, then materialistic science and atheism might be what your soul needs (assuming you’re capable of believing). If so, make the world envious of your good character the way Gillette Penn has done. And like him, don’t be offended by others who believe in undetectable realities besides Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

And if you’re one of the family of suffering people who feel overwhelmed by the seemingly infinite loss of someone precious to you, then focus on the Reality beyond this simulation. Imagine a Real place where time is independent of us, allowing a loving Supreme Being all the time in the world to travel with your lost loved one to a meaningful, great place doing exciting things. As infinitely horrible as it feels to lose your loved one, the loss is temporary and only exists within this simulated universe. Trust me. This is literally true.

Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD

As a pathologist (retired now), I’ve been trained to observe and interpret complex visual and biologic systems, so my diagnostic opinion of Reality is worth consideration. Conflicting belief systems are part of what unites us here as souls from Reality seeking personal growth in this Divine Simulation.

Happy Birthday, Dad.


Warriors (Chapter 19) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

“In a materialist worldview of an arbitrary, mechanistic, unfeeling Universe there is every reason to feel alienated, lonely, fearful and depressed. On the other hand, in a blissfully conscious Universe there is every reason to feel inherently connected to people and to the world, to feel loved, hopeful, happy, at peace with oneself and others.” – Dada Gunamuktananda

PIA13123_hires

 

Anahata’s black floor vibrates beneath Shiva’s Throne as the giant convex screen in front of me flashes from one white-out to the next. I wish I understood what sort of weapons they’re firing at us.

“We could prolong the dance,” Anahata says, “but why?”

“To buy time,” I tell her. “How long do we have?”

“Five minutes at this pace.”

To the left of Shiva’s Throne the air turns gray. Pink sparks crackle. The Ganga appears on the floor looking like a hologram for a second, then she’s solid. Dark purple.

“Get out fast,” Vedanshi says in the River.

“No, stay in there!” I shout silently. “Leave now, while you can.”

The Ganga’s hull shifts dimensions, making Vedanshi and James visible on either side of Maxwell. They’re tugging on his arms to get him up off the carpet.

He’s up now on bent knees, wobbling from the edge of the rug onto Anahata’s glossy floor. All three of them turn and look at me with wide eyes. The Ganga’s hull changes to an opaque pulsating glow of ultraviolets.

“We were going for a fast grab to get you out of here,” James says. “Then something hit us. Totally screwed The Ganga.” He glances at Vedanshi.

“We barely made it,” she say.

“You shouldn’t have come,” I tell them. “I don’t know where to start…”

“We know what’s going on,” Maxwell says, his voice all gravel. “We heard everything through the ring.”

I glance at my fingers and rub the ring with my thumb to make sure it’s still there.

“You look green,” I say to Maxwell. “Come here and sit down. This chair’s just your size.”

I pull the straps away from my chest, something clicks and they come loose. There’s no friction as the white seatbelts slither over my clothes and vanish into the upholstery. I get out of Shiva’s Throne and go over to take Maxwell’s left arm from Vedanshi. James ducks his head under Maxwell’s right arm and we help the big guy over into the chair. His butt hits the holographic ostrich feathers and the sound of air brakes bounces around the semicircular room.

I lean towards Maxwell on my toes and kiss the side of his head. I’m getting bold.

“Gunner,” James says to me.

He should know. I turn and hug him so tight I hope I don’t break his ribs. He’d never tell me.

“Anahata,” I say out loud. “I’d like you to meet my amazing brother, James.”

James glances around the room. “Hey,” he says. “You’re one big-ass spaceship.”

Anahata moans. “I tagged you in that Vimana.”

“For reals,” James says. “Left foot.”

Don’t admit it!

James takes his left foot out of its rubber slipper and shows off an area of missing epidermis.

“This just keeps getting worse,” Anahata mumbles, her voice coming through the air. It’s odd hearing her words through my ears. “James, I’m honored to meet you,” she says. “You have an amazing sister.”

“Yeah, kind of short, but otherwise OK, I guess.” He holds a deadpan face. Classic. “This other knockout is Vedanshi, The Role of the Sacred Knowledge.” He gestures in her direction with an open palm.

She’s standing near The Ganga, staring up at the strobing screen. “Nice to meet you, Anahata, the Unbeaten.” Her lips didn’t move.

“You’re with Earth’s older breakaway,” Anahata says.

The floor shakes with new force. I wonder if the Sentient Fleet has switched weapons on us.

“I’m afraid you know more about Earth’s rulers than I do,” Vedanshi says. “My only friends are here in this room.”

“You’re the pilot,” Anahata says.

“Yes,” she answers. “And this is The Ganga.” She turns a sorrowful face on her UFO friend, glowing the color of a failing baby on life support.

“This is the ship I was talking about,” I say to Anahata. “You don’t know her, but she’s one of you. At least in spirit. She’s always trying to do the right thing but making the occasional mega-stupid mistake.”

“I don’t make stupid mistakes,” Anahata says.

“Yeah you do. Mirror images. She wouldn’t let Vedanshi into the River Libraries on her dead mother’s orders. Same lame thing Shiva did to you, and you’re still following his orders.”

Anahata sighs. “This man in Shiva’s Throne is heavy with opiates.”

“Maxwell Mason,” I tell her, “the man of my dreams.” Shoot, I said that out loud. “The opiates are just a phase he’s going through,” I tell her in my head, trying to think of a future where Maxwell proves me right.

“Opiates destroy character,” Anahata says.

“And free will,” I say silently. “He’s not perfect, but he doesn’t plan to drown me.” He actually saved me twice.

“I wish I were dead,” Anahata blurts out.

It’s weird. I can feel her ‘eyes’ turning away from me and staring out at the artillery. I don’t even know if she has eyes, or anything remotely similar.

“Max is in withdrawal,” I say to her.

“Do tell.”

“Can you help him?”

She grunts. “Here… I’ll take off a methyl or two and kick the noxious substrates down. It won’t help his willpower, though.”

“Slow breathing might.”

Maxwell straightens up, takes a deep breath and stretches. He looks surprised. “Damn,” he says. “I’m taking this chair home.” He holds his right hand out and stares at it. “Not even shaking. My legs aren’t burning, either.” He stomps his heels.

“Compliments of Anahata,” I tell him.

“Really? Thanks a metric ton, Anahata.” He looks up at the screen, then down at me with a crooked grin. “You said I’m the man of your dreams.” It’s a full grin now.

“Sorry,” I tell him. “Probably not a normal thing to say.”

“Normal? You think I give a rat’s ass…”

“Anyway,” I interrupt, “Anahata’s about ready to drown me. Unless the Fleet kills her first – in which case we all die. Right, Anahata?”

She says nothing.

“I figured as much,” Maxwell says.

“But you brought my brother here anyway? How could you do that?”

“It wasn’t his decision,” James says. “We barely let him come with us, the shape he’s been in.”

I turn and hug James again. I’ve spent my life trying to protect him. From himself, mostly. I feel like such a failure now. “Why in the world did you have to come here?” I ask, holding back tears.

“I’m sixteen,” he says. “Not eight. You think you wouldn’t have come after me?”

I start to say, “That’s different,” but it’s not.

All I can do is hug him… My little ‘Hurricane James,’ sword fighting a tree in the backyard. Always a stick in his hand. I just want to go back to those days… when Mom and Daddy were alive.

“Can you help my ship?” Vedanshi asks Anahata.

“Sure,” Anahata says. “Looks like she took one in the chops. There’s neural damage but it’s mostly synaptic. Here you go, back to the mids for now.”

The Ganga stops glowing. She’s a lighter violet now, too.

“You’re done?” Vedanshi asks.

“Yeah, she’ll be fine.”

“Areey!” Vedanshi’s eyes are shining. “Thank you so much. Will she wake up soon?”

“Probably. But I can’t have you running off. Sorry. I’ll have to ground her for a while. I have my…”

“Orders,” Vedanshi says. She sits on the hard floor and crosses her legs. “Following orders is a type of religious fundamentalism. Surrendering your mind to a uniform instead of a sacred book. Tell me, if God doesn’t think for you, why should Shiva?”

“You’re welcome,” Anahata says softly. “Your little Ganga’s going to need some sun.”

“After you’ve drowned us, what will you do to her?”

“I don’t know… Look, I’m really sorry about all this.”

“Will you sell her?”

“No, of course not, she’s sentient. Nothing to test either, she doesn’t breathe air.”

“No, she doesn’t,” Vedanshi says and leans sideways, resting her head on The Ganga’s hull.

“Maybe she’ll join the ancients in Antarctica,” Anahata suggests. “No sentient ships down there, though. It could get lonely.”

“She gets very lonely,” Vedanshi says.

“If she’ll forgive me for following orders, she can join my fleet. Or replace it, I guess. After all this shooting’s done.”

The floor seems to ripple, then a ten by ten slab from the ceiling crashes to the floor behind Vedanshi. She doesn’t jump, just turns and looks.

“Sorry,” Anahata says. “I need to focus.” A hundred irregular pieces of stone float back up to the ceiling and become part of the polished marble surface up there.

“Are you really going to kill your sisters?” I ask.

“It’s that or die in shameful disobedience.”

“I sort of get that,” I say, but really, I’d die in disgrace a hundred times before killing James. “Tell me, is there a spacesuit around here?”

“Why?”

“I’m going out for a smoke.”

“What?”

“Those sisters of yours. Shooting the hell out of us? I’ll bet my life they hold their fire when I’m out on your hull.”

“I’d stop shooting,” she says. “Hmm. I could let you out. Extend the shield around you, but what then?”

“I’ll tell them the truth. It tends to be antifragile, you know. Like an out-of-the-money long option?”

“Huh?”

“Enhanced by risk, danger and volatility.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb gets things right. Academics hate him for it. I love him. He says that if you see fraud and don’t shout, “fraud,” you become part of the fraud. Elites don’t tend to shout fraud when it’s part of their own system.

He tells us that biological systems benefit from unstable, unpredictable environments that cause many small failures which, in turn, strengthen a species to avoid the real failure, extinction. He’s right. God designed us that way. Biological life is antifragile. Not just “robust,” as in weathering storms with little damage, but antifragile: becoming stronger because of the storm.

This is also true of the human mind and its access to free will. Stress your soul with use and it grows like a muscle.

Truth, too, Taleb tells us, is antifragile. Try to suppress accurate knowledge and it becomes a force too great to hide. Steven Greer is counting on this.

“You mean truth is biological?” Anahata asks.

“Yeah, basically,” I answer. “I’ll only tell what we both know… That I’ll do anything to keep my brother alive.”

“I believe that,” she says.

“I’ll tell them that if they’ll stop shooting, I’ll shut you down from the inside. Hopefully I won’t kill you, but I have trouble with my temper sometimes. That’s the truth.”

“I know,” she says. “I mean, I know you’d shut me down or worse if you could. Part of me wants that, to be honest. This whole nightmare keeps getting worse.”

“Doesn’t it? Sheesh.”

“You realize now I have to test your little brother.” Anahata groans. “And his pilot friend, Vedanshi – I assume she was there, too.”

“I was,” Vedanshi says.

“Damn, I’m sorry,” Anahata says to her. “This man, Maxwell. Please tell me he wasn’t with you.”

If we weren’t talking in the River, Maxwell would call dibs on drowning first.

“Do what you’ve got to do,” I tell Anahata. “Maybe I’ll get your sisters to stop shooting so you can drown me in peace.”

“The more time fundamentalists have to think, the better,” Vedanshi says.

“If my death saves your fleet,” I tell her, “it beats dying for the amusement of Chairman Jock Itch.”

“You sound like a warrior,” Anahata says.

“No. Vedanshi’s got a point. Warriors are forced to be fundamentalists. All of you stop thinking when the orders stop making sense. I tried that sort of thing once but I couldn’t turn off my critical thinking for Church school.”

Anahata grunts.

“Don’t get me wrong,” I tell her, “I love your character. But fundamentalism is a bike I can’t ride. Can’t reach the peddles, no offence.”

“Offense?” she says. “That’s the furthest thing from my heart. If I could, Johanna, I would die instead of you.”

“That’s sweet, but it’s a big if, isn’t it?” I glance over at Vedanshi in Warrior-One yoga position. Eyes shut. I wish I had her calm. “Let’s do this. Where do you hide the extra-smalls?”

“You don’t need a suit,” Anahata says. “Walk through the screen. I’ll extend the shield and hug your back.”

A white cord shoots out of Shiva’s Throne, encircles my waist, goes diagonally across my chest and ties itself in a square knot. Then the ends fuse together.

“Just in case,” Anahata says.

In case of what, I don’t want to know. I pull Parvati’s locket up over my head, untangle it from my hair and put it in my pocket. Then I walk to the screen. My right hand passes through it up to the wrist.

Looks like Jame followed me. “What’s happening?” he asks.

“I’m doing a pizza run.”

“I’ll go with you.”

“No, stay close to The Ganga. If she wakes up, grab Vedanshi and Max and haul ass out of here.”

“I’m not leaving without…”

His voice is gone the moment my ears move into Anahata’s hull. It’s like putting your head in water. There’s a blue granular light that comes and goes when my eyes pass a certain area. I bet this is Anahata’s cortex. If it runs through the entire hull, she has a truckload of pyramidal cells. And Oligo’s. Trillions.

The hull is thick. I put both hands out beyond the outer layer and poke my head out into space. I can’t imagine this technology.

The fleet is lined up in a single row, hanging over a velvet sea of stars in the three-dimensional blackness. Space has a calmness.

An orb from the fleet hits Anahata’s shield turning it into a bright orange-red fog a hundred feet thick. It vanishes the next instant. I’m waving my hands, but the fleet’s still shooting… blue-gray spheres. They glow deep blue just before they hit.

I should talk to the Fleet.

“Hey ladies, don’t kill me. I’m outside. We got to talk.”

“The time for talking is past,” the Chairman says. His voice is coming from Vedanshi’s cloaked ring. I move it close to my mouth.

“I don’t mean you, Scrotumer. Why anybody would listen to a man with that moustache is beyond me. Just try to shut up for a while… Hey, warriors? Can you hear me? There’s something you need to know.”

The orbs from the center ships stop in mid-flight. The ones from the ships on the ends keep coming, but they’re slowing. Now they’ve all stopped.

“Thanks,” I tell them. “Listen, things have changed in the last five minutes. My brother and best friends just crashed the party. They’re in Anahata’s main room. She plans to drown them, God forgive her. You guys understand what it means to be sisters, I can tell that. It’s the exact same deal if you’ve got a little brother. That’s what I’ve got. His name is James. He’s been tagged by Anahata.”

“He’s not our concern,” the Chairman says.

“Chairman Ballsac, would you just shut up. If I want your opinion, I’ll ask.”

“Continue firing,” he says calmly.

“Ladies, ignore the coward. James is your big picture here. I’ll do anything to protect him. Anahata knows it and respects me for it. She wasn’t the slightest bit pissed when I told her I’m coming out here to tell you that if you’ll stop shooting for a while, I’ll go back inside and do everything in my power to disarm her. I’ll try not to kill her, but honestly, that option is wide open right now and I told her so.”

“You did?” It’s a female voice coming through the ring. She sounds surprised.

“Yeah. My brother’s here, for frick’s sake. You get that, I’ll bet. Anahata sure as hell does.”

“This is Radhika,” the voice says. “We understand perfectly. You have twenty-four hours, but we have one condition…”

“Thirty minutes,” the Chairman bellows.

“Ignore him,” I tell the Sentient Fleet. “What’s your condition?”

“Anahata must erase your leukemia,” she says. “Immediately.”

“I rubbed the clone out hours ago,” Anahata says. “What do you take me for?”

“It’s nice to hear your voice, Anahata,” Radhika says.

“And yours,” Anahata says. “Johanna can’t disarm me, you realize. I almost wish she could.”

“She’s got 30 minutes,” the Chairman adds.

“Why do you listen to this toad?” Anahata asks.

“We heard the ancient minutes,” Radhika replies.

“Not enough of them, apparently,” I tell her. “Anahata has actually been inside a River Library. With me. She knows Shiva’s biggest secret now.”

“Twenty-nine minutes,” the Chairman says.

“Radhika, how much time do I really have?” I ask.

Silence eats a dozen seconds. “One hour,” she finally says. “I can’t think of anything you could do to defend yourself against Anahata, but then, I can’t imagine what your DNA does. That seven and eighteen.”

“Yeah, some weird stuff, I hear. But I’m strong with codes. It’s what I do. If I survive, I’ll help you girls figure it out.”

“Godspeed, Johanna,” she says.

“Back at you, Radhika.”

I pull myself into the hull with the white strap and there’s the weird light again, probably the rods and cones of my retinas moving through Anahata’s neurons, messing with who knows what? Maybe the dimensions of free will.

There’s Anahata’s floor again with my brother standing between Maxwell and Vedanshi. The Ganga’s looking dark gray now, an improvement, I think.

You know, I probably should have given some thought to disarming Anahata before this, but maybe I could…

A cylinder of fluid streaks down from the ceiling and surrounds James as fast as I can focus my eyes. It stands like a glass of water, but without the glass. James is pushing out and up on the sides to keep from floating to the ceiling. He looks calm.

So this is Shiva’s test.

But why would James have to go first? It’s so gut-wrenchingly unfair the way the world treats him. Again and again. If someone would normally get a warning, he gets two weeks in jail with a gang and no phone calls. It’s cruel and it’s just evil!

Breathe, Johanna. 

Nah, forget it.

“Anahata, I’m going to boil you in battery acid. Leave my brother alone!”

M. Talmage Moorehead

This story starts here as a WordPress scrolling document. No email address needed.

Also check out my infallible ebook, “Writing Meaningful Page-Turners.” I may start writing to you in a few months if you don’t immediately unsubscribe. But it’s alright if you do. 🙂

If you have Multiple Sclerosis or any other autoimmune disease, check out The Wahls Protocol. Dr. Wahls is an academic physician doing groundbreaking research. Her results continue to be remarkable. Watch her videos and read her book.

It’s that “everything’s vanilla in the real world” mindset that locks people out of life-altering nonfiction and our natural thirst for knowledge. Most doctors, for instance, don’t read their own specialty journals cover to cover, let alone basic science research where the insights and breakthroughs usually begin.

Basic science on lab mice is where Dr. Wahls turned when the monster was killing her. When the best US doctors in captivity couldn’t slow its progression, she took matters into her own hands. If there wasn’t science throughout her story, people would call it a miracle. I’ll call it that anyway, I guess. Wait till you hear her tell it on YouTube! Wow.

I’m liking the concept of having “empathy for the reader” as Shawn Coyne puts it. It’s ironic that fiction writers who refuse to “sell out” by writing for non-academic readers are sometimes ripping readers off. Twice. Once for the price of the (often) boring book, and once again for the value of the reader’s time spent reading to the disappointing ending. That’s kind of “selling out” to selfishness, in a way. No?

Keep writing steadily. This means you, the one with something important to say. There’s gotta be a balance out there somewhere between our soul’s needs as writers and our reader’s needs as good deserving people. Empathy for both seems right to me.

Talmage