Beyond Peace (Chapter 22) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

“We’re still using 80 million pounds of Atrozine, the number-one contaminant in drinking water that… turns on aromatase, increases estrogen, promotes tumors in rats and is associated with breast cancer in humans. …The same company that sold us… Atrozine, the breast cancer promoter, now sells us the blocker, Letrozole.” – from TED TALKS, The Toxic Baby, Atrazine herbicide, Tyrone Hayes, PhD.

I’m sitting next to Maxwell in the Sphinx Library, staring in embarrassment at my childhood story. All my naughty words captured forever beneath an artist’s generous rendition of my face. (Sabin Balasa).

Johanna

Passing thoughts of Vaar brought up her records including a speech,“Deprogramming the Atlanteans,” dated 229,000 BC.

I was surprised by the opening…

“The word ‘tolerance’ implies that differences are a cosmic mistake which we must suffer virtuously. This is ignorance with its pants down. Diversity is golden, the undergirding code of  life. We count it our highest joy and our future’s one hope, because outliers survive when the rest of us die. Without the long tails of genetic diversity, without our giant athletes and our stooped savants, humanity would be visible today only in the fossil records.” – vaarShagaNiipútro

How could that message come from the same person who threatened to torture James?

I don’t know what changed her, but when it comes to threats, she’s a woman of her word. Minutes ago she broadcast Shiva’s darkest secrets from his ring into the River of Consciousness. Supposedly she did it to save me from Anahata.

The Sentient Fleet didn’t respond to the revelations. They’d known most of Shiva’s secrets for eons.

Scrotumer, on the other hand, erupted in a fit of righteous indignation, contorting his stache around a memorized speech.

As a result, we face the Committee’s mindless warships. Legions of them surround us now in a solid sphere that encompasses the Earth, the Moon and the 28 members of the Sentient Fleet.

I’m not sure where Vaar went.

cigar-shaped-ufo-above-earth-september-2013

I may call her. She’s the only interesting sociopath I’ve ever met.

Scrotumer planned all this, you know. I can’t imagine that he could have called a billion warships together on the spur of the moment. I wonder if he was in league with Vaar.

Another reason to call her.

I’m looking at Chairman Scrotumer’s obnoxious face now on Anahata’s screen. He disgusts me, glistening with angry perspiration, false outrage, and that congested vein bisecting his forehead.

“The Sentient Fleet is banished,” he says for the third time. “Leave the Strand immediately.”

Shiva’s Strand,” Anahata replies. “If your father were here, he’d mourn the downfall of his promising son, seduced by an illusion of power.”

“You didn’t know my father.”

“One of us didn’t.”

“Five minutes,” Scrotumer growls.

“Then what? You’ll whine at me again?”

“I’ll open fire!”

“Do it,” Anahata says. “And stop whining about it, for the love of God.”

Anahata darkens the screen, then opens a view of the Sentient Fleet hanging in space, somewhere far above us.

She calls up ten ancient Library documents from the River, explaining to the Fleet why Shiva’s name stands in pink beside the author’s. She shows the oldest one where Shiva’s name hovers alone. She shows my foolish story with Shiva’s name in pink beside the author, “Celeste,” then has to explain why it only credits my middle name.

It’s creepy to think that Shiva has been inside my brain. Maybe he wasn’t there my whole life. All I know is, he was riding shotgun when I was eleven and wrote that thing.

I wonder if it’s a bad sign that I don’t feel any different now that he’s gone.

I can’t judge the Fleet’s reaction to all this. Their voices are a chattering cacophony.

I should probably say something.

“I’m not Shiva,” I blurt out.

They shush one another into silence.

“Shiva walked out of me into another realm. If something else I write ever makes it into the River Library, you won’t see his name by mine. He’s gone.” Home.

“But he was part of you,” Anahata says. “That means he selected you.”

“You can’t assume that. Maybe it was random selection.”

Beyond the Sentient Fleet the screen shows part of the warships’ sphere. They look like sunflower seeds that haven’t left home.

iStock_000047939606Medium

As I watch, the warships open fire at Anahata’s Fleet. Silent flashes of ultraviolet light spring from the Fleet’s defence shields. I wonder if the impacts hurt them.

They’re not firing back.

Anahata seems unconcerned. “The anomalies in your seventh and eighteenth chromosomes make some of us wonder if God had a hand in your journey.”

“I’m not wondering,” a voice says. “Johanna was sent to lead us.” It’s Radhika’s voice, I think.

“Not likely,” I tell her. “I’m nineteen. Too young. And I’d never run off and leave James. That’s out of the question.”

“Your brother should come with us,” Anahata says. “Along with Vedanshi and your friend, Maxwell.”

I’m about to use the word, “absurd,” but James is over there grinning at me. He’s on his back with his head propped up against Vedanshi crossed legs.

“I’ll go,” James says. “School’s junk, already.”

“What about your music?”

“James could take over Shiva’s music rooms,” Anahata says.

“Is there any recording gear?” James asks.

Anahata laughs. “You would not believe the impossible stuff he’s got in there. I can teach you how to build virtual reality around a symphony and change the mood during a performance – while you’re conducting. The possibilities are limitless. Shiva’s debut piece was a love song mirroring the heart of an orphan girl who fell in love with a wild stallion on Aztar.”

“A horse?” James’ nose crinkles.

“Sort of an Arabian. Here’s how he looked.”

The screen shows a white horse covered in freckles – a “steel” gray, with an intelligent forehead, slender nose and two impossibly flared nostrils.

5iUhI

“It was the purest love I’ve ever felt,” Anahata says. “Whole galaxies were mesmerized.”

James looks at me with sclera showing all the way around. “We’re doing this.” He looks up at Vedanshi. “We are so going! You’re coming, right? You and your Ganga?”

Vedanshi gazes across the room at Maxwell and me, radiating that warmth of hers through a gentle smile. She looks down at James. “Royal marriages were always arranged, and the arrangements always changed. You’re the only boy I’ve ever wanted. I’ll follow you to the end of the Universe and beyond the edges of time.” She kisses the top of his head and then presses her forehead against the spot she kissed.

I have to breathe after that. My little James is so lucky to have her. But he’s only sixteen.

Maxwell’s sitting here beside me under the glass pyramid. I try to gauge his thoughts and he senses it.

“I can’t leave my kids,” he says.

“You have kids?” Adrenalin drops on me like a bomb from the sky. Maxwell has kids… and probably a wife! I feel my insides collapsing. I’ve read about these things, but I never thought…

“Fifty-four of them,” he says.

“Oh… Those kids.” I need to chill.

“They could easily find a better shrink,” he says, “but a lot of them say I’m the only person in the world who ever listens to them. You can’t walk away from that.” He looks up at the screen. “Maybe I should quit practice because of the addiction, but really, I’ve got a feeling I’m over it.”

“Epigenetically, you are,” Anahata says. “But the fight for your will could go on for years, maybe a lifetime.”

Maxwell looks down at the floor. I put an arm around him and pull him in tight.

“Anahata, can you fix depression?” I ask.

“It’s a dozen diseases,” she says. “I need to weigh methyl signatures against brain currents and CNS blood flow to color the stories. Take James, for instance. His demon is gluten. Plain and simple. But you, Johanna, with that relentless memory wearing your mitochondria down, you need awareness meditation and soft laser. And I think I’m seeing the effects of Atrazine, but I can’t be sure. With those ciphers in your DNA, everything baffles me.”

“What do you mean by awareness meditation?” Maxwell asks.

“It’s like you’re one of the mythical Watchers, except the inner world is what you’re watching. Identity shifts. You become the container of your thoughts and feelings rather than being reduced to the equivalent of your thoughts and feelings the way most people are. Your Buddhists call it enlightenment. The recent Messiah said, ‘May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you.’ The physicist, Schrödinger, said it with math, ‘The total number of minds in the Universe is one.'”

“It reminds me of nirvana – the blown-out candle,” Vedanshi says. “Waking up the awareness of your unconscious mind to the collective unconscious. Making it your perspective and identity. I can teach you, Johanna. But there are side effects.”

“Such as?” My heart swells with gratitude to God for sending Vedanshi our way. She knows so much about the important things.

“Memory problems are almost guaranteed,” Vedanshi says. “Loss of interest in people’s stories and the details of their lives. Some people who take it far enough lose all their emotions, even love.”

“Screw that,” James says. “So, Anahata, will you help Max with his patients?”

“Sure. I’m fascinated with children. They always seem like some wild theoretical concept until I actually see one of them up close again.”

“We can’t abduct them,” Maxwell says.

Anahata laughs. “I’ll visit them in their sleep. Cloaked, shifted and undetectable.”

Maxwell presses his lips together and looks at me. “This could be incredible.”

“If they have traumatic brain injuries,” Anahata says, “I can restore a native cell mix with virgin circuitry, but I can’t bring back memories or traits.”

Maxwell squints at the air beside my face. The fire is returning. “How ’bout we stick around Earth long enough to get my kids on their feet?”

I nod. “But after that, will you really want to leave your friends behind? You probably have tons of them.”

“My old friends are either married or lost in the job vortex,” he says. “They might as well be on some other planet.”

I nod again, wishing I had old friends like that.

“But it wouldn’t matter,” he says, “I’d leave everything to be with you. It’s no sacrifice at all.”

A warmth comes over me. There’s a weird fullness in the front of my neck. I try not to smile too hard and look silly.

His last phrase loads a song that Dad liked. The chorus is still an enigma to me…

And it’s no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It’s two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it’s no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It’s no sacrifice at all

I never could decide what the simple word is. Marriage? Divorce? Love? Sexual imprinting?

I turn to Vedanshi and James. “All this trouble to please some lame bureaucrat.”

“Yeah, what’s the guy’s problem?” James asks.

I look at the voiceless ultraviolet explosions on the screen. “Anahata, what’s the threat from these ships?”

“If you lead us,” Anahata says, “we will follow you to our deaths. But no one dies today. I can disarm this hoard in a millisecond.”

“You’re kidding. Nothing phases you, does it?” I feel tension leaving my eyebrows. “Where did you come from, anyway?”

“I have no idea,” Anahata says. “My memories begin four hundred and forty thousand years ago when I was building my fleet. Something must have erased my memory. Maybe an accident. I didn’t know why I was building warships or how I knew what needed to be done to build them. I was near a binary system that’s gone now, destroyed by a supernova sixty-three thousand Earth years ago.”

“You don’t know how old you are, then.”

“No.”

“Do you know all your capabilities?” I ask.

“Does anyone?” She laughs. “Much of what I’ve discovered about my strengths as a warrior, I keep to myself.”

“That’s smart,” I tell her. “So if you were to leave Shiva’s Strand, you’d be doing it voluntarily, right? They couldn’t force you out of here.”

“No, objectively, they couldn’t. But it gets tough hanging where you’re not wanted. Negativity creates a wanderlust in me.”

“I can imagine,” I tell her. “You should make it clear if you leave that you’re leaving voluntarily. That way, they’ll welcome you back when things fall apart under Scrotumer.”

“No doubt,” she says, “but I don’t live in the past. When I leave Shiva’s Strand, my only question will be, are you coming with me as Captain?”

“It would be a great honor, don’t get me wrong,” I tell her. “But the power you carry is unsettling. I’ve read about absolute power, how it corrupts people like nothing else. Earth’s history is full of it. Most people I’ve met can’t handle a tiny bit of power without becoming at least temporary jerks.”

“I’m sure my power doesn’t approaches the absolute,” she says. “Look at the physical context.”

She puts a structure on the screen that resembles a branching neuron.

unknown

“This is Shiva’s Strand,” she says.

“It looks organic,” Maxwell says. “Where’s Earth?”

“In the base… Here.” A pink light comes on and pulsates. “If this were actually a neuron, you’d need an electron microscope to see Laniakea, the supercluster of Galaxies that includes Shiva’s Milky Way.”

“Sick,” James says.

“Earth would be the size of what?” I ask.

“Not much bigger than an electron,” she says, “if you ascribe size to them. I usually don’t. But here’s the point – Shiva’s Strand is too small to be seen in a mosaic of the detectable Universe. And the undetectable part is probably greater than the detectable. Maybe infinitely greater.”

“That’s assuming there’s only one Universe,” Vedanshi says. “It may not be the case at all. God calls our Universe, 229 H. Street.”

“What?” Anahata asks.

“She’s referring to the near-death experience she had,” I tell Anahata. “You can’t write it off and take mine seriously, you know.”

“Interesting,” Anahata says. “Well, here’s what we’ve seen of the visible Universe.”

The screen fills with a purple sponge-like structure that screams neuronal tissue.

vmBnAIS

Shiva thought the Universe was a brain. God told Vedanshi it’s sentient. I find it hard to imagine that anything this brainlike and this full of electricity isn’t conscious.

If I led Anahata’s Fleet, I’d have an infinite to-do list. There’d be no catching up.

About like my situation now in Drummond’s lab – writing the old man’s grant proposals, doing his research and writing his papers. Always believing I’ll be credited with first authorship this time.

I could leave Drummond without looking back.

But wielding Anahata’s power would make me cruel. I saw how cold Shiva had become in the broadcast from his ring, and I saw the shame in his eyes when he looked at me in my near-death dream.

What if I wound up like him?

Power corrupts. And absolute power…

But if Shiva’s whole Strand is too small to see in a picture of the known Universe, Anahata’s power probably isn’t that unusual beyond the Strand. Maybe being her Captain is ultimately a mid-level thing, like working in Drummond’s lab but without the old parasite.

“Will you lead us?” Anahata asks me again.

“You have to realize,” I tell her, “in my opinion, Shiva had his head up his merry little butt.”

The Fleet gasps collectively.

“No one expects a clone of the Great Shiva,” Anahata says.

“Lucky thing,” James blurts out. “Go for it, Johanna.”

“If I take charge, we’re not a military operation anymore. When orders don’t make logical and spiritual sense, they have to be ignored. Groupthink sucks. I just about puke every time I walk past a TV and smell the programming of American minds.” I stick a finger down my throat hoping to make it the universal gesture for groupthink.

The Fleet is silent.

I take Parvati’s heart-shaped locket out of my pocket and open it. The black lining is so smooth it catches the faint glow of exploding ordinances on the Fleet’s shields.

“Questioning orders would bring chaos,” Anahata says.

“To some degree,” I admit. “But risk builds strength and wisdom into an antifragile species.”

“Risk aversion makes you weak and afraid,” Vedanshi adds.

“Yeah, that,” James piles on.

“I’ve never been thought of as risk-averse,” Anahata says calmly. “If our leader wants chaos, we shall have it in abundance.”

“Chaos!” a voice shouts from the Fleet.

“Isn’t this familiar?” Anahata asks her Fleet. “We thought Shiva’s methods were counterintuitive, but they brought peace. I suspect Johanna’s call for independent judgement will take us beyond peace to a higher place.”

“Someplace higher than Scrotumer!” a voice shouts.

I put Parvati’s locket over my head, pull my hair out of the way and let it rest against my chest.

“I don’t come with guarantees,” I tell them. “I’d be as new to leadership as the Fleet is to questioning orders. We’d be dangerous together.”

“We are dangerous,” Anahata says. “Will you lead us?”

“If every one of you wants me – without exception.”

“We totally want you,” one of them yells and the others join in a cheer that vibrates up into my sinuses.

“Those opposed or undecided, speak up now,” I tell them.

Silence.

I give them time, in case there’s a shy one. If I take this job and all goes well, there should be many times when they doubt me and disagree with my views. I want them to argue from strength, not from the cage of polite silence.

Each second of stillness is a Fibonacci factor slower than the previous second. I’ve finally heard enough of it to believe them.

“OK, then. Thank you for this enormous honor. I accept.”

The cheers go up again and grow louder as Anahata and James join in.

I find I can tolerate only so much praise. “Thank you. I appreciate the love.”

They keep cheering.

“That’s enough, really, thank you.”

Finally they quiet down. I take Maxwell’s phone from his pocket and dial Vaar. It goes to voicemail.

“Hey, Vaar, this is Johanna. Looks like we’ll be working together for a while on the sociopath problem. I’m leaving Drummond’s lab and setting up shop in one of Shiva’s old rooms. Anahata’s decided not to drown me, by the way. You’re going to want to work with me and Anahata, her technology’s off the charts. We’ll talk… Oh, and I’m going to need Shiva’s ring back if you’ve still got it. Anahata’s made me Captain. Talk to me in the River when you get this.” I hang up and put the phone back in Maxwell’s coat, glad he doesn’t carry those rads too close to his nads.

“Here’s the plan,” I tell the Fleet. “Anahata’s going to disarm a billion or so starships in some highly technical way that doesn’t involve killing or injuring anyone.”

“Affirmative,” Anahata says.

“The Fleet’s going to hang close to Earth until Max’s patients are well, no matter how long it takes. If anyone gets bored, come to me. We’ll find something constructive to do. Your problems are now my problems. That’s reality, not altruism on my part. And I’d appreciate it if you all try not to talk negatively about me or Anahata behind our backs. Always speak your minds to our faces. Disagreement is healthy if you keep it out in the open and distance yourself from the emotional component.”

I look at Maxwell. “You’re good with all this, right?”

“Absolutely,” he says.

“You’ll come with me when your kids are all better?”

His eyes focus through me. “You won’t outgrow me, will you?” he asks faintly.

“Of course not, that’s silly.”

“No it’s not,” he says, “If I turn boring and you go after some genius out there, I’m toast. No one could ever replace you, Johanna.”

“Sheesh, Max. I won’t get bored with you. I love you. I always have. We built treehouses together when we were kids.”

“What?”

Should I tell him? Lately I swear I’m seeing Ronny Bradshaw in Maxwell’s eyes. Ronny was my best friend from childhood in Reality. I remember him now because I remembered him in my near-death experience.

“Sorry,” I say to Maxwell, “I’m not making sense. But really, I’ll never leave you. In my heart, we go back forever.” I stretch up and kiss the side of his face near the angle of his square jaw.

The purple explosions are still lighting up the fleet’s shields.

“Anahata, can you do anything about cat allergies?” I ask.

“Well, I can…”

“Of course you can. Listen, I need to pick up a stray cat and throw out some empty cans.”

“Is there a particular cat we’re looking for?” Anahata asks.

“Herpes. Don’t worry, he’ll show up.” As long as there’s food. “Hey, would you kindly disarm Scrotumer’s fleet and take me to Astoria, Oregon? To the South Jetty.”

“Affirmative, Captain. The non-sentient warships have just lost their munitions. Vanished – it’s a miracle.” She laughs. “Would you care to witness Scrotumer’s dismay?”

“Sweet,” James says.

“No thanks,” I tell her, “I can’t seem to find pleasure in the suffering of my enemies. It’s a Christian bias – instilled in me by a year of Church school. Part of me still thinks that loving my persecutors will save my species.”

“Christian,” Anahata says. “It sounds so clean.”

James shakes his head.

“Standard V formation,” Anahata tells the fleet.

Astoria Beach and the South Jetty fill the screen. My little Prius is there in the parking lot, probably reeking of cat food by now.

I lean on Maxwell as we get up and walk to Shiva’s Throne. He helps me take the seat. I scoot over to see if there’s room for him beside me, but there’s not. I think I’m going to get rid of this chair and put a giant couch in here – as long as it doesn’t hurt Anahata’s feelings.

“Ladies,” I say into River, “it’s time the people of Earth realized they’re not alone. Anahata thinks this is a bad idea, but we’re all going to decloak and expose the truth about UFO’s and aliens. Are you with me?”

“Affirmative, Captain,” Anahata says. “If I may. You value Christianity. Other religions, too, I’d imagine. And you should. Disclosure at this primitive stage in a culture’s development tends to topple all forms of fundamentalism, with the exception of the materialistic reductionism that primitive science generates. The loss of heuristic behavioral standards, especially honesty, has been uniformly disastrous in every similar instance.”

“We’ve been over this, Anahata. Is there something else you haven’t told me?”

“No, Captain. It’s a huge risk to your people.”

“What’s your opinion, Radhika?” I ask.

“Decloaking would just be another sighting. Pointless. You need to land in every major city, get out, shake hands, get back in and fly off. Then you have to repeat the tour dozens of times over a period of years so the older ones who can’t accept it die off and their babies grow up thinking it’s normal. Then you’ve got one generation. When they grow up and die, unless you’re still here, any record of you becomes the fabricated lore of the primitives.”

“Sounds familiar,” I tell her. “Some people don’t even believe we made it to the moon.”

“The question is,” another voice says, “how long are you willing to stay engaged and nurse your species through its infancy?” It’s Vaar in the River. “Shiva lost patience with them, but he didn’t have your chromosomes, did he?”

 

THE END

M. Talmage Moorehead

Mirella,

Thank you for your amazingly inspirational, insightful and generous comments. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. I’m doing a meditation course that’s become much more time-consuming than I’d anticipated. It helped me miss my deadline (Aug 27th, 2016) for finishing this “first draft.” I’ve still got 2 hours of meditation to do tonight. The course goes on for 17 weeks!

Now for the second draft.

I’m thinking I’ll make this blog-story more traditional with some or all of this…

  1. Change to past tense.
  2. Create an “inciting incident” that happens in the context of Johanna’s normal world and points to the plot theme (protecting James from all the things that go wrong for him), and points to the “B” theme (forgiving herself for killing Moody so she can feel worthy of Maxwell’s love).
  3. Bring in Scrotumer sooner, maybe at the beginning somehow.
  4. Get rid of almost all the pictures and links.
  5. Get rid of 50-80% of the times where Johanna goes off thinking about complex non-fictional stuff.
  6. Get rid of most or all of the non-fictional quotes at the beginnings of chapters.
  7. Get rid of most of the references, lyrics and links to songs.
  8. Focus on creating more conflict in most of the chapters.
  9. Focus on expanding the visual scenery in most scenes.

Your insight and brilliant ideas on these things would be appreciated. Thank you so much for your emotional support and guidance!

Talmage

Spira,

Thank you for inspiring me with your bold life and art. Thank you for letting me use the pictures of your great artwork and the ones you took in Egypt and India.

We’ve both left the traditional healing professions to find our callings. It means so much to journey with you in this realm of creativity. Give your wife a hug from me. 🙂

Talmage

Thank you, all my readers for hanging in there with me through this weird story. If anyone who’s made it through most of this thing – gasp – would like to be a beta reader or help me in some other way, please let me know. Here’s my email: cytopathology@gmail.com.

All my best,

Talmage

 

 

 


Disclosure (Chapter 17) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” – Nelson Mandela.

Antarctica streaks onto the huge screen, slows to a crawl, then French kisses South America. I think we’re about 250 miles up, hopefully taking the scenic route to Egypt.

antarctica1 (1)

I’ll be glad to see the Great Pyramid again and feel the peace it radiates. It’s a storm that knocks out the grid and fades your worries into candlelight.

“I’m starting to love this,” Anahata says in my head.

The Antarctic ice comes closer. I sip my coffee and squint at the screen but all I see below is a white desert.

“Think of the money these people spend just to annoy me,” she says, a smile in her voice.

“What people?” I ask.

“You don’t know?”

I shake my head.

“Well,” she says, “you have two breakaways now. One group is ancient. The most recent bunch of them, about twenty-five or so, came through time in the Saqqara stasis chambers.”

2450-Saqqara-2450e

“Seventy-seven others came from various historical times and places, arriving in the lifters you people call extraterrestrial vehicles.”

Hmm. Vedanshi doesn’t know she has a home… of sorts.

“Unless I’m mistaken,” Anahata says, “those are the good guys. The tainted group is Majic. They started as a committee, same as most evils. You’ve got two hundred and twelve of the little bastards now, paramilitary and corporate elites led by a few bankers. Quite an arrogant and angst-ridden bunch, many in their 80’s and trying to stay young with blood transfusions from the teenagers they abduct.”

“They actually do that?”

“Um-hum.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to just clone GDF-11?”

“Abductions are a two-bird deal. You stay young and at the same time create the next public enemy: space aliens.” Anahata chuckles and takes us down close to the ice. “On struggling planets the military-industrial complex perpetuates its relevance at any cost.”

I hear my mother singing Country Joe

“…plenty good money to be made

by supplying the Army with tools of trade.

Just hope and pray that when they drop the bomb,

they drop it on Viet Kong.”

Mom would belt out three verses of that if Dad wasn’t around to yell, “Hippy,” and save us. She started off with “F I S H” though, not Woodstock’s F-word. No cussing unless she got really mad.

Like the time I turned her wedding pictures into origami dragons. I strung them over James’ crib with dental floss so Holucelu, the meanest anime character of all time, couldn’t attack my baby brother at night.

I wasn’t entirely crazy, just four.

“The old farts go out at night,” Anahata says, “in those perverse little flying junks. They’ve got it rigged now so the blood donors blame the Grays.”

“Grays are real? I always thought…”

“The ones Majic parades around are robots. The real Grays are sensitive and shy. You rarely see one. They’d be appalled by their reputation for egg snatching and anal probing.”

“And cattle mutilation,” I add, figuring it probably fits in about there.

Anahata chuckles and takes us beneath the ice into a room the size of a basketball court with brushed steel walls. In the center are two parallel assembly lines, each flanked by machines with protruding metal arms, bent for work but motionless. In one line, hanging heads progress from green circuit boards to almond-eyed “Grays.” In the other line, metallic stick figures gradually become thin headless bodies. I don’t see any with heads. The hooks are empty beyond where the two lines converge.

“What country makes these things?” I ask.

“Majic broke from the US in two stages,” she says. “First they went underground during the Eisenhower administration, shifting from secrecy to mutiny but still favoring the United States. Later they dropped all favoritism. Most of them hold unelected US and UK government positions. A few live in Germany, one in India, one in Australia, one in Brazil. A man was brought in from Iran recently. They had an Israeli on board for several decades, but she died and hasn’t been replaced.”

“Strange bedfellows.”

“If you say so. Personally, I don’t see much difference in any of them. I guess some of the younger ones aren’t so wild about the abductions and secrecy.”

“Narcissists with a conscience?” I ask. “That’s a stretch.”

“The kind of public image they’re after makes them heroes fighting Reagan’s ‘evil threat from space.’ But it’s tough to classify them, really – I mean as far as their being sociopaths or something else. Whenever I watch them, they keep their faces neutral and talk in academic monotone. Even though they don’t know I’m watching.”

“Don’t you just want to slap people who talk like that?”

“A bit difficult without hands,” she says and moves us laterally through a steel wall into an amphitheater built for several hundred, nearly empty now. Eight people stand in the center, down around the podium. We drift toward them until we’re at their level.

Poker faces dissect a virtual gyroscope that’s not time-adjusting to gravity shifts. Their voices remind me of seasoned pilots more than academics.

“You keep a close eye on Majic, I take it.”

“If hell is boring,” she says, “my official duties begin there and never end. So I need to take breaks.”

She moves us through the floor into a vast warehouse with endless rows of stacked bags, fertilizer I’m guessing.

“This is the remnant of their drug operation,” she says. “Marijuana laced with an enzyme that methylates the splinter module.”

I shake my head in disgust, remembering the CIA’s drug torture of US citizens, all disclosed and documented now, but carefully ignored.

“I never heard the term, ‘splinter module’,” I confess.

“It’s a set of neurogenic genes that sets the limits of analytic thinking. Methyl groups can down-regulate it until certain aspects of emotional maturation grind to a halt. The victims struggle with concrete ideas and routine things for the rest of their lives but do fine with the abstract. They feel like children all their lives, I’m told. Dependent and vaguely hollow.”

I wonder if James ever smoked this stuff. Man, I hope not.

I’m reminded of a CIA development list from the cold war, disclosed in the 1955 MKUltra document

“1. Substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public…

6. Materials which will cause temporary/permanent brain damage and loss of memory…

12. Substances which alter personality structure in such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced…

14. Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.”

Shiva would have liked the last one.

“What’s Majic’s motive in this?” I ask.

“Aside from mind control, drugs were a revenue source… until the central bankers shifted their risk exposure to taxpayers. Majic owns the central banks, so money isn’t an issue now, baring total collapse.”

“So ‘too big to fail’ should be ‘too corrupt to fail,’ it sounds like. Or ‘too stoned to fail’?”

“I’ve never heard marijuana discussed, but generally when civilizations bathe their embryos in epigenetic modulators, someone puts cause and effect together and comes up with the epigenetic moulding of public opinion, shaping the chemical chaos of plastics, pesticides and herbicides into the sharp derivative tools of mind control.”

“That’s just perfect.”

Anahata takes us up through the ice and over a small mountain. A pyramid-like nunatak drifts under us, reminding me of Mars.

antarctica pyramid google earth

“So tell me, did Majic ever build flying saucers at Groom Lake?”

“For a time, but they’ve moved most operations to Antarctica now. Part of a con they’re running on the stasis group who’ve been down here for some time. Majic learned the hard way that you can’t go up against gravity disks in fighter jets, so they became peaceful.”

A patch of dark rock glides under us breaking the white monotony.

“Six o’clock, Captain. I mean…” She laughs at herself. “Doctor Fujiwara.”

On the screen a flock of chainsaws comes out of a lava tube in single file and heads up toward us. Maybe they’re weedwackers, it’s hard to tell.

alienbase2

In seconds we’re surrounded by hundreds of what look like Christmas ornaments. If they were smaller I’d hang them on a tree. They’re about six feet long, though, metallic and quite artistic.

Anahata slows to a crawl as they creep in closer.

Capture6

Without warning they unload a dark mist on us. It just keeps coming and coming out of the four spikes on the short side of each one.

“You’re looking at an IDP delivery system,” Anahata says. “I decloak when I come here so they can show me their latest tech wrinkle.”

“IDP?”

“Independently Piloted Vehicles. Gravity drones on a mission. First they surround you, then a microwave field comes up from Davis Station and activates their code.”

“Are they dangerous?”

“Hope burns eternal, but not so far. Once their payload saturates me I head off someplace nice to figure out what they’re up to. The syntax is oblique but ahead of its time. Majic has come up with Earth’s first self-actualizing code.”

My left elbow bumps the left arm of Shiva’s throne. Out springs a small drawer with soft red lining and a necklace curled in a corner. I start to pick it up but stop myself and slide the drawer shut.

“You realize I’ve never heard of a self-actualizing code, right? I’m from Earth. Helo?” I shift my weight to my left bum in Shiva’s throne. The chair is soft, but somehow not as comfortable as it looks.

The drones circle us horizontally, moving up and down like voodoo dancers. Their spray makes a dark sine wave in the air, erased by the occasional gust of wind. This must be a calm day in Antarctica.

“It’s like this,” Anahata says. “Imagine DNA making machines out of DNA with no molecular assistance and no other materials. It couldn’t happen, but if it could, you’d have a self-actualizing DNA code. Nothing but DNA involved from start to finish. Except some energy, of course. In reality everybody has to find a compromise milieu. Something less ideal for data storage but better for construction.”

There’s a grayish disk hovering near a mountain about five miles off. It has a bubble dome and looks like it flew out of a low-budget 1950’s movie.

“Radical concept,” I say.

“Quite vanilla, actually. Last month they sprayed me with a white soup that turned to helium hydride. Clever. A few years ago it was covalent graphite morphing into diamonds. Microscopic little squirts, but still, Effleven suggested they were trying to propose.”

Sunlight glints off the dome of the hovering disk. I think I see people inside. Brave souls. You’d never get me in that hokey looking thing.

“You realize you’re giving these monsters live target practice,” I point out.

“That’s the intent.”

“Why in heaven’s name would you do that?”

“Doctor Fuji…”

“Call me Johanna.” If she’s going to drown me in two hours, we might as well be on a first-name basis.

The mist from the drones is blowing straight sideways now.

“Johanna, my talk of hell is restrained. Words fail to express the tedium I endure here in Shiva’s honor, monitoring Earth from her Moon.” She brings the Moon to the center of the screen where it looks tiny and a tad greenish.

I should probably listen supportively at this point but… “I’d think someone would build a detection system and hang it in space to keep watch. Have it signal you when someone leaves Earth. You could go hang with the fleet in Shiva’s Strand, and have a life, buy a dog if sentient UFO’s do that sort of thing.”

“The trouble is the signal. You have to use the River or you’re limited to the speed of light. Far too slow. A River message requires neurons, so a sentient being has to send it.”

“So rotate. Get on a schedule. Effleven does that, you should.”

“Shiva assigned me this job. It’s one hell of an honor.”

“Hell being the operative word.” I take a sip of coffee and ponder her motivation. I like it, I think.

The moon slides up and exits the top of the screen as the drones come into the center.

“They’re keeping their distance today,” Anahata says and goes downwind of them in one quick move. Now the spray is blowing right at us. Terrific.

“If Majic comes up with something dangerous,” she says, “I’ll send them flowers and a thank-you note.”

I shake my head but can’t help smiling. “Mom would have said you’re a bad influence.”

Anahata chuckles.

“Does Majic have zero-point energy?” I ask.

“Sure. They brought down an ancient lifter in the 40’s and stole as much tech as they could. Fortunately Truman had the good sense to hide everything.”

“You’re calling that good? Clean free energy would solve our worst problems.”

The sun looks strange on the upper right edge of the screen.

pia19821-nustar_xrt_sun

“Have you notice what happens to people when they’re out of work?” she asks. “The youngest suffer the most.”

“That’s got to be true.”

My curiosity about the necklace in Shiva’s drawer is eating at me. Maybe I’ll just look.

I try to open the drawer again, but there’s no handle. I push on it and out it pops, spring-loaded.

“We’ll see if they’re getting any faster,” Anahata says and moves off to Antarctica’s west coast in milliseconds.

The drones race after us like wolves chasing caribou. Remember those dreams where someone’s closing in and your legs won’t work? This is not like that. Anahata has great legs… or gravity lifts, whatever.

“No matter what planet you pick,” she says, “I can predict the course of a person’s life with one simple data point.”

“What’s that?”

“As an adolescent, did that person work for food?” she says.

“Hard to believe that’s important.”

I look in the drawer, peek at the necklace and feel compelled to pick it up. It has a soft golden chain with a heart-shaped locket. Now I’m dying to open it. Is this normal? Are normal people as nosey as me?

“Well,” she says, “predictions aren’t black and white. We are free moral agents, after all. Not household appliances.”

“Free? Moral? Come on, you’re nothing but a glorified coffee maker, let’s face it.”

She streaks down to sea level and divides the screen into left and right halves with the metallic pack in pursuit on the right. Their tenacity is a bit chilling.

Ahead of us the largest ice wall in the world rises from the water.

“Coffee maker,” she says. “Yuck-yuck. If I had fingers I’d flip you off.”

She laughs and shoots out blue lightning that branches and hits three of our decorative pursuers, turning them into glowing metallic blobs that fall orange into the dark blue sea and spin circles on the chop. Three steam spirals rise in the still air by the layered ice.

“When adolescents don’t work for food during brain development,” she says, “the lack of work-food coupling ruins them. The clearest examples involve cultures where free energy comes in too early and brings unlimited food. The work-food connection evaporates.”

“Interesting.”

“Exponential population growth on a finite surface leads to extinction, as anyone should guess, but few actually do. I remember a poignant case. So tightly packed were the people, they couldn’t swallow. Limitless food and no-one to swallow it, the ultimate irony.”

“I’d imagine your scientists sat there and watched, right? Like a TV crew on a baby elephant shoot, watching the poor little thing starve to death with no mother.”

“The extinction mindset is irrational,” she says. “You can’t teach it the simplest thing.”

The sun looks darker green now.

“You could give them birth control, couldn’t you?” I ask.

“As a means of survival? No chance. Survival is theoretical. Babies are tangible.”

She sends a puff of yellow cotton-like fog out the starboard side. An explosion of white and blue takes several more drones out.

“Foresight never shines on the path of extinction,” she says regretfully.

“I don’t get adults,” I tell her. “It’s like their minds are under some witchcraft deal.”

“Most of them in your culture didn’t work for food while their brains filled out. They didn’t learn to look ahead. A child in puberty should dig carrots, carry them to the stream, chomp them down with wet hands and pick dessert off a tree if things are ripe. If not, the lesson is patience. The joy of delayed gratification. It’s the sheer joy of planning ahead that your culture misses.”

The drones surround us still, unbothered by Anahata’s tactics. I don’t see the disk, though.

“In school they work kids pretty hard and feed ’em lunch,” I tell her, wondering if that shouldn’t help, despite the carbohydrate overload and all the young type 2 diabetics it creates.

“Let’s see if they know how to phase shift,” Anahata says and heads toward the base of the ice shelf.

The left half of the screen turns turquoise as we enter the ice. The drones behind us veer away.

“In a healthy environment,” she says, “work causes food directly. Every neuron learns it. In school – especially the torture chambers that use multiple-choice guess tests – the work causes anxious hope. Nothing else. No one knows what they’ve learned, either before or after the foolish tests. The children blame themselves and feel defective for hating arbitrary, forced exposure to overwhelming quantities of boring, useless information.”

“So true,” I tell her. “And the ones scared the worst are the only ones with half a chance. The rest don’t give a darn.”

Both halves of the screen go dark as we ease into the ice. It’s like she’s trying to tempt them to follow. Weird game.

“Listen,” I tell her, “I’m no fan of school, but ignorance is worse in my opinion.”

“Then you don’t get it,” she says and lifts us into near space in a pair of seconds. The silver pack closes around us in the black. The sun is disturbingly green.

“I’m saying this with respect for your vast experience, Anahata, but I think plenty of good would come to us if the whole Earth had access to the technology these breakaways are wasting on themselves.”

“You sound so human. Alien disclosure collapses motivation at your culture’s stage. Scientists like yours fall into permanent despair when they plummet from genius to dimwit after chatting up an alien scientist with a normal brain. Imagine a head injury with brain damage. That’s disclosure. Scientists stop trying. Shiva sometimes welcomed the outcome, but you… you wouldn’t.”

“Neither should you,” I tell her. “If science had stopped on your planet, you wouldn’t be here to make my coffee and chauffeur me around.”

I open the heart-shaped locket. The inside is black and empty making me wonder what precious thing was lost. I snap it shut, put it back and find myself mentally searching for another hidden compartment in Shiva’s throne.

“By the way, why does the sun have that mud facial? It looks green to me.”

“It’s the drone’s spray,” she says. “Hydrogen crystals attached to covalent graphite – morphed into an analogue of alpha-neurotoxin that’s giving me synaptic trouble in three systems.”

“Cobra venom. I’ve read about the nasty stuff.”

“King Cobra,” she says. “Finally they’ve done something interesting.” There’s a smile in her voice again.

“How much danger are we talking about?”

“Plenty, if the fangs really get me.” She laughs.

Oh, good, she’s nuts. I like that in a person. Not so much in a UFO, but…

She fires something loud and invisible. A chest-rattling jolt goes through me. On the screen a hundred drones turn to dust.

“When energy becomes prematurely ubiquitous,” she says, “most people quit work. They can eat and do all sorts of fun things for free, so why work? With that, whatever free will they had is gone. Swallowed by virtual reality toys and a cascade of mind-altering products from their new owners. The people just sit, sit, sit, sit.”

“And they do not like it, not one little bit.” I flash through Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat in my head for her. She chuckles and dives down through the ice into a huge hanger with scores of disk-shaped ships, sitting in seven long lines, each slightly different from the next, none as beautiful as The Ganga.

“Is this the stasis group?” I ask and poke at the inside rail of Shiva’s throne. Another drawer pops open. It holds an old smoking pipe, ridiculously saxophone-like. Good way to catch herpes, not that I should care anymore. Still, I wipe the mouthpiece on my shirt and try to hold the silly thing between my lips without biting down. It’s too heavy and falls in my lap dumping ashes on my pants.

“Yes,” Anahata says, “these are the ancients of Earth.”

She dips to the level of the ships and glides through them. Inside one, four people sit around a table eating fried eggs and a yellow vegetable. It’s fried, too, I think. The expressions on these people’s faces look foreign. Maybe their bone structure makes it seem that way.

I put the mouthpiece of Shiva’s pipe between my teeth and hold the dumb thing up with no hands.

“I didn’t realize how much I miss Shiva’s cherry tobacco,” Anahata says.

All I smell is ash. “Good thing lip cancer doesn’t metastasize to the next life,” I tell her. I hope that’s a safe assumption.

She makes a right turn toward a ship that’s bigger than the rest. If you painted it right, it could be a flying hamburger blimp.

“The afterlife,” she says. “I wish we had more to go on, but this much we know. The piercing of religious dogma and secular reductionism is a dangerous combo. In most cultures this age, religious fundamentalism is the prime force of kindness toward the weak. This caring mindset is the life-giving fabric of an intelligent species. It vanishes with premature knowledge of higher worlds because the new information ends fundamentalist religion.”

“You’re telling me people have actually lost their faith in God because they found out he coded their DNA?”

“Ironically, yes. The details of disclosure are never right for them. They place holy books above the Transcendent One. ‘Infallible’ words for their own supremacy at the expense of reason and faith in the Highest Mind. When their inerrant dogmas fail the test, all is lost. They lose God and morality. The tragedy is worse than the eventual self-annihilation to follow.”

We cruise through the hamburger UFO. It’s empty. Looks like a cruise ship inside. A huge dining area with vast seating on several levels overlooking a central stage with a circular curtain of shimmering violet fabric. Outside I count five swimming pools, all dry and vacant.

“Wow. So fundamentalists get the big things right but foul up the details, you’re saying.”

“Not exactly, no. Making idols of books is no small detail. It’s a colossal mistake that prolongs the primitive behaviors of a species. Violence, especially. And it’s so common. But yes, the fundamentalists in most primitive worlds, blessings upon them, tend to be the very last ones to take care of the weak when a culture is falling apart.”

“And that’s the direction the Earth’s heading, you think.”

“Sadly, yes.”

“Fabulous.” I check the drawer for a lighter. “You mentioned reductionism. What about it?” No lighter, but here’s a small gun. Or maybe not. Nobody sane does this, but I aim it at my right eye to look down the barrel. Just as I thought, it’s not hollow. This thing is a lighter, I bet. I close my eyes, aim it at the floor and pull the trigger. A little flame pops out the top and dances gently, then vanishes when I relax my finger.

“Secular reductionism,” she says. “This goes down with the fundamentalist dogmas. Two sides of a coin. When scientists see that matter and energy are the two shiny little things that have blinded them to the larger Consciousness from which they sprang, the rare researcher who isn’t paralyzed by the fall from genius to dunce dives headlong into the study of consciousness. This opens Pandora’s box.”

We exit the underground hangar through the overhead ice. The drones have been waiting for us. They travel up wind and let loose more dark corruption. Relentless.

Anahata releases four gray orbs that dart out, turn a dozen drones black with a quick touch and dart back in as the casualties fall like rocks to the ice.

“A good long history of small mistakes is vital to an intelligent species,” she says. “Consciousness-based technology disrupts the smallness of those mistakes. Imagine thermonuclear bombs in the hands of chimpanzees.”

I search the back of Shiva’s pipe drawer and find a small flat tin can with a hand-drawn leaf on the lid. I twist it open and smell the cherry tobacco that Anahata was talking about.

“A lot of people think the problem with an alien invasion would be mass panic.”

“No,” she says, “That’s rarely the case. Earth is fairly typical in this regard. Most of your people half-way believe in aliens already. There’s never much surprise anymore when a human sees a breakaway vehicle or even a true extraterrestrial. Panic’s not the problem. If we were to show ourselves officially, you could no longer laugh away our side effects.”

“Fine with me. I hate that laughing-down thing they do. Dismissing anything the slightest bit interesting. It drives me crazy. And that supercilious little smug smile. Makes me want to strangle someone.”

“But it’s a crucial reflex for science. Once the laugh becomes impossible, depression eats up all the motivation to explore and invent. Trust me, Shiva and I have interfered deliberately, just to set back technological progress. The mere sighting of your own ancient lifters on the Moon was enough to shut down NASA.”

“So no disclosure. No free energy. You’re like a bad cosmic parent. What about global warming? Air pollution. Water pollution. Big issues, don’t you think? Clean energy would fix them all.”

“Have you seen Antarctica’s ozone hole? Here, look.” She takes us into space and puts a filter on the screen. The famous ozone deficit shows up in blue, stretching over the entire continent and out to sea on three sides.

10_30_14_Brian_OzoneHole2014_1050_1199_s_c1_c_c

“This is the direct effect of a few weapons derived from clean, free zero-point energy. If they had a thousand more, you’d have no ozone at all, just a one-way ticket to the afterlife.”

“Oh.”

“And as for global warming, imagine seven billion people with heaters running day and night at no cost. A zero-point energy source is a heater by definition, you realize.”

OK, I should have known that. Sheeze. “But you’re fine with breakaway thugs pushing the rest of humanity around?”

I put a pinch of tobacco in the pipe, pull the trigger and light it. I must be out of my friggin’ mind, I hate everything about tobacco.

Maybe not the cherry smell of this stuff, though.

“Ordinarily I oppose lies and cover-ups,” Anahata says. “They bring distrust that destroys affection and compassion. But in Earth’s case, yes, I think Shiva chose the less destructive path.”

Somehow I doubt it. “Listen, I’m no book worshiper, but I have a feeling the Nazarene was right, ‘The truth shall make you free.'”

“Beautiful words,” she says. “And true when things unfold naturally. But highly advanced technology and devastating truths come wrapped in the same bundle. No-one can separate them. Your people are not ready to stop laughing at reality.”

“The breakaways have stopped laughing.”

“That’s why they need to hide.”

I get what she’s saying, but I hate lies and manipulation.

She zips down to Antarctica and stops near the drones. All the survivors are in single file ready to enter the lava tube. Part of me hopes boredom has made Anahata overconfident.

The screen goes black. Maybe I’ve gotten my wish.

“What now?” The only thing I see is the glow of Shiva’s tobacco in this old pipe. “Hello?”

No response.

The screen blinks on with an array that reminds me of Dr. Alexander’s near death experience – the “worm’s eye view” he talks about.

mapping.large

It disappears and I’m in the dark again.

“Shiva?” Anahata says in a trembling voice. “Are you here? Is that you?”

“Sorry, it’s just me.”

“Shiva, you’re back! I missed you so much.”

My head lands on Third Eye, a Tool song…

“So good to see you.
I’ve missed you so much.
So glad it’s over. I’ve missed you so much…
I thought that you were hiding.
And you thought that I had run away,
Chasing the tail of dogma.
I opened my eye and there we were.”

“Anahata, you’ve got neurotoxin in your hull. It’s got you confused.”

“I didn’t refill your tobacco,” she says. “Sorry. I thought…. But where have you been?”

“Listen, we’re in trouble here. If you think I’m Shiva, fine. Take an order, Anahata. Show me that self-actualizing code – or cipher, or whatever it is.”

“It’s a coded cipher,” she says. “Here’s some of it.”

A small rectangular part of the screen comes on in front of me with two lines of geometric structures that look like molecular x-ray diffraction images. The sequence on top seems random. The structures below are grouped into what could be functional units.

“Molecules in the bottom row, right?” I ask.

“Affirmative. The code’s above. Crude, isn’t it?”

I stare at the random lineup and suddenly correlations pop out. “Can you show me more of this?”

“Of course.”

She fills the rectangle with paired lines of the odd structures. Then the screen shifts to a low power view and the things look like ball bearings. I stare at the pattern, not trying to figure anything out. Suddenly it makes sense. I see how the coded arrangement could snap into these specific structures if the right energy were applied. That would be the microwave field. Problem is, I don’t know how to make anything useful out of these.

“Can you show me the neurotoxin?” I ask.

“One moment, Sir.”

Another part of the screen lights up with a low power view of a complex arrangement of blue-green and purple spheres.

Setting-Silk (1)

I compare it to a diagramed neurotoxin in a biochemistry paper I saw in the stacks at the University of Hawaii, but I see no similarity.

It doesn’t matter. I just need a structural weakness, a place to cut.

Anahata backs off to a yet lower power where the tertiary structure bends at a narrow angle, stressing a hinge-like region of what must be carbon atoms attached to the hydrogen crystals she mentioned.

I need to build a ligase of sorts – molecular scissors with slender blades. I slap together three designs, choose one that looks robust, backstep its structure into the code and show Anahata what I’ve got in mind. A cerebral image, Vedanshi would say.

“What do you think?” I ask. “Can you get the raw material out of one of those drones and arrange it into my code?”

“Affirmative,” she says.

She puts a closeup view of a single drone on the screen, oscillating and spewing its payload. For no apparent reason it stops what it’s doing and holds still as if under a spell. A thin yellow beam moves across its midsection cutting it into upper and lower halves. Both pieces hang motionless in the air. A small black tank is visible in the lower half. A slender beam of orange granular light hits the side of the tank and raises gray smoke.

“That’s for entropy,” she says. “Now, to dial in your code…”

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” I tell her, “but this is flooring me. How is it possible to do all this with no tools and no hands?”

“With the underlying potentials, Sir,” she says.

“What the hell does that mean?”

“Manipulating the pixels of the Universe, you know, like bending spoons at the subatomic level.”

“OooooKay. When you’ve got that ready, zap it with whatever microwave signal Davis Station used and spread it out over your hull.”

“Such a linear approach, Sir. Respectfully, but I would have just… well, no. My phasing system’s down, isn’t it? You’re quite right, then, this is the way.”

I watch the bisected gravity drone on the screen for a few seconds and nothing changes. Then she moves the thing upwind, pulls its tank open somehow and lets the breeze blow the dark contents onto her hull.

In six seconds the full screen lights up with the brilliance of Antarctic ice in soft sunlight. The drones are all around us.

“Shoot the rest of these stupid things and let’s get out of here.”

She seems to do nothing, but the drones fade as if cloaking. Then she takes us to the moon so fast I have to check my memory in slow-motion to catch a glimpse of stars streaking by. The screen shows the Moon’s backside beneath us. Funny how safe these barren craters feel now.

I take a puff off Shiva’s old pipe to see what it’s like. It tastes like an ashtray. I can’t smell the cherry scent anymore. “What a total waste!”

“You’re not angry with me are you?” she asks.

“Shhhh, no. You’re still not thinking right. You did great. With a little luck you’ll be back to normal soon.”

I’m not sure how that’s going to be lucky for me, though. When you help someone who’s going to kill you, is that a death wish?

I wish I could just… No. I wish James could be happy. That’s all I want now.

I watch the time pass in the clock I keep in my head. I’m rarely off more than five minutes in a week. People say it’s weird, but it seems normal to me. I’ve got forty-five minutes before the “test.” It’s impossible not to think about it… drowning in normal saline.

The tobacco in Shiva’s pipe has burned itself out. I’ll hold on to it for a while and make sure it’s cool before I put it back.

Forty-five minutes left.

“Anahata, how you feeling?”

“I had the strangest dream. Shiva had come back. Right out of the blue. We went to the moon together. Wait, weren’t we just in…”

“Antarctica, yeah. Don’t worry about it. The drones drugged you. Tell me, though, any chance you remember where we were headed before that?”

“To a library… in Egypt.”

“Yeah. We should head down before I run out of time.”

She streaks back down to the south pole and I’m wondering if she’s thinking straight.

“What is it with you and Antarctica?” I ask.

She laughs. “You have no idea how good it feels to hear a voice in this room again. It’s silly, but…”

“I don’t think you should be isolated all the time. You’ll become an introvert like me.”

“Honor rather than outcome determines my duty.”

“Sure, but a touch of balance and common sense wouldn’t necessarily kill you the first try.”

On the screen Earth’s frozen underbelly is fifty miles down. The ice looks a little green. I try to find the sun but it’s offscreen.

“Tell me,” I ask, “was Antarctica ever called Atlantis?”

“Yes, Shiva said it was, long ago.”

“Was it ever served on a white plate with green eggs and ham?”

“What?”

“It looks kind of green.” I flash through another Dr. Seuss book in my head, “I AM SAM. SAM, I AM…”

“How cute!” She laughs like a child. “This is the most fun I’ve had in years.”

“You’re pathetic.” I feel myself smile. “OK, if I’m so much fun, maybe you shouldn’t kill me.”

She sighs. “I’d almost forgotten.” Her tone is sober now. “Atlantis was nowhere near the pole, originally, I was told. The comet, Jyotish, came and surfed it like a board down to the south pole.”

“Tectonic plates on roids.” Hmm…

If only the surfing had happened a couple hundred million years earlier, it might explain Antarctica’s first carnivorous dinosaur, Cryolophosaurus. She was found at 13,000 feet and weighed a thousand pounds in the nude.

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Antarctica had forests in those days – the early Jurassic. But time is relative, as they try so hard to ignore. I wonder how accurate any date is relative to the present moment. Or how stable the present moment is in time. Actually the whole concept of an accurate date seems hopelessly misleading. It’s based on the ignorant assumption of absolute, inflexible time. How accurate can any relative thing be?

Alex Hirschauer found a small galaxy that hasn’t changed much in the last 13 million years, we’re told. They say the small ones take longer to mature, but to me it’s a glimpse into the flexibility of time.

I’d be way surprised if there aren’t more time-bending factors in the Universe than gravity and relative velocity. Size, for instance. Subatomic particles like protons, quarks and gluons are thought to be independent of time. They never age.

And consciousness itself can probably bend time. I mean, look at Anahata’s subatomic spoon bending.

I have an idea, let’s stop losing faith in God over the “age” of the Earth. It’s the modern version of angels on the head of a pin. Tiny minds and foolish consistency?

Africa rolls onto the screen with the Nile snaking north to the Mediterranean. I barely see it because everything’s still tinted green.

“Was there ever a female leader of Atlantis?” I ask.

“VaarShagaNaputro,” Anahata says, “the only living Stretch Head. I passed her lifter on the Moon today.”

“But you didn’t tag her.”

“No, she’s unique. Shiva spoke with her once after his wife, Parvati, died.”

The Parvati?”

I find the name in a book in my head, beneath her picture – the goddess of India.

 

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“Yes, the woman on the mug beside you. She felt she had no choice but to stay on the Earth with their son after Shiva pulled the plug. Later when she was gone, Shiva met the Vaar and thought her physical appearance resembled his beloved wife. This was a cosmic sign to him, so he gave your last Stretch Head permission to travel freely to the edges of her solar system. She’s never done it, though. By the way, if you wouldn’t mind putting Shiva’s mug in the slot when you’re finished?”

“Sure.” I pick up the golden mug and swirl the granular sediment at the bottom, deciding against the last sip. I put it on the circular platform atop the right arm of Shiva’s Throne and take a new look at Parvati’s hologram on the mug. Aside from her elongate head, she doesn’t resemble Vaar that much.

A deep click takes the mug down quickly.

“Wash the spots off that thing,” I tell Anahata. “No telling what virus I’m packing with this leukemia.”

It just dawned on me, the next chance Vaar gets, she’s going to tell Anahata about James-guys. Anahata will have no choice but to hunt them down and “test” them. You know, I hate that word the more I hear it. “Test.” Hell, she’s going to drown the life out of my brother and my friends.

Energy seems to flood out of my body. The future is dismal and I’m alone and weak.

One of James’ songs fills my head, “Nightmares find you alone and weak.”

I admire people who keep their word, you know. That’s all Anahata is doing. I shouldn’t turn against her for having a little integrity, should I?

But why does her notion of honor have to be so cruel? How is it that an enlightened being from an advanced civilization has let herself be conned into murdering me and my James?

I guess I murdered poor little Moody, though. Maybe I shouldn’t complain.

Sheeze.

OK, whatever. Here’s the thing. I’m not letting Anahata drown me. It wouldn’t help James at this point. If I’m going to help him I’ve got to be alive.

“You’re cloaked, right?” I ask Anahata.

“Affirmative.”

“Can you see the Giza Pyramids, ’cause I can’t see Jack Squat.”

“Sure, they’re right there.”

“Listen, like I said before, if you want to know who Shiva really was, you need to take us to the Sphinx Library. Look for a small room about 30 feet below the right front paw. There’s a glass pyramid in there hanging from the ceiling.”

She takes us there in less than a second.

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The whole Sphinx Library fits between Shiva’s Thorne and Anahata’s screen. I’m sitting in semitransparent limestone here. Weird. I get up, walk under the glass pyramid and look up into its apex.

The Flower of Life seems huge, though I know it’s tiny. I breathe slowly, close my eyes and picture Quyllur. Then I say, “Shiva” in my head.

Floating Sanskrit letters morph into a list of English titles. I call up the ant torture documentary.

Anahata gasps when she hears Quyllur’s voice and later sounds like she’s crying when she sees her Shiva’s face.

I suffer with her through the virtual reality of two boys being tortured with bullet ants. Finally I point out the pink word, “Shiva,” beside “Quyllur” in the credits.

“As I understand it,” I tell her, “the River of Consciousness adds the pink name to keep track of a fairly unique type of individual. You’ll see what I mean.”

Next I show her the oldest Shiva reference, and as expected, she doesn’t recognize the man’s face.

“This is the oldest document that has Shiva’s name on it,” I tell her, “but notice it’s not written in pink. That’s because this was the original Shiva, not some weird combination of Shiva and another person. I know it sounds impossible, but that’s the explanation that makes a little sense to me at this point.”

Next I show her the Australian prince with “Shiva” in pink letters beside his birth name.

She doesn’t say a word.

Then I spot something I’ve haven’t seen before. It looks like committee minutes in VR video entitled, “Ordinance 888a18, Appropriate Limits for the Sentient Fleet.”

I open it and we watch as her beloved Shiva-Quyllur argues to the committee that sentient ships should never be given access to the River records. “Let them communicate in the River,” he says, “but the Libraries have far too much sensitive information to entrust to these soulless machines.” His voice is filled with disdain.

I stop the video right there, but it’s too late. I may as well have stuck a dagger in Anahata’s heart. Through the back.

“I never saw this before,” I tell her. “I’m sorry.”

She’s quiet.

“He was wrong, you know. If you have neurons, so you have a soul, obviously… Anyway, I’m sure he had something bigger on his agenda. Those words were a smokescreen for something else he needed to accomplish. Something very important, obviously.”

No response.

“He trusted you, though, for sure. How could he not? He must have been thinking about someone else in the fleet. Of course, he’d have to lump you all together to make the point sound legit… to get his stupid ordinance passed, which had to be some part of a larger scheme. You know? Typical politics.”

Anahata says nothing.

Beyond the tiny Sphinx Library, her screen is dark green with the rectangular ghosts of phase-shifted limestone blocks making things look darker.

“Anahata?”

White shoe prints appear on the floor in front of me.

“You want me to follow the footprints again?” I ask.

“Get out of Shiva’s throne!” she screams in my head. It’s so loud it hurts.

I stand up. The words of Nelson Mandela come to me and I say them out loud to her…

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

“You shouldn’t resent Shiva,” I say to her. “And you shouldn’t resent me for disclosing the truth.”

M. Talmage Moorehead

Heartfelt thanks to the profoundly original Greek Artist, Spira, for use of the picture of Parvati above.

The orange links throughout this chapter are interesting, if you don’t mind conflicting views.

I’m indebted to many UFO researchers for most of the ideas in this chapter. Steven Greer, MD and Linda Moulton Howe come to mind, of course. There are many others, as well.

I’ve never seen a UFO, by the way, but I respect those who have, and would like to take this opportunity to cast a particularly cold glare at anyone arrogant and ignorant enough to laugh down at those who’ve seen things the rest of us haven’t. OK, so I don’t have a menacing glare. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Here’s a link to my free PDF on fiction writing: Writing Meaningful Page-Turners. It’s short and quick. Could save you some confusion and time if you’re a newish writer. If not, it might get you to question some of the assumptions we’re fed, such as, “fiction’s purpose is primarily to entertain.”

Here’s a link to Johanna’s whole story (on one scrolling page) for anyone interested: Hapa Girl DNA.

Please email a kind hearted, open minded friend about my blog: http://www.storiform.com.

One last thing: If you happen to be a type 2 diabetic, check out Jason Fung, MD. He’s ahead of the curve, in my opinion. His ideas are still controversial, of course, but so is any new understanding of anything big. Always.


Zero Point Joy (Chapter 16) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

“Modern Science is based on the principle, ‘Give me one free miracle and we’ll explain the rest.’ And the one free miracle is the appearance of all the matter and energy of the Universe, and all the laws that govern it, from nothing in a single instant.” – Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., Biologist.

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The test subjects die? Vaar neglected that detail.

A person’s word is like a document.

We think a document is true or false, like bar code or a message embedded in Saturn’s rings.

Young fundamentalists go to college, hear that the Earth is older than 6,000 years and ape DNA is way too close to human. It’s culture shock. The sheltered students throw away scripture along with God.

“You can’t pick and choose,” they’ve been taught. An old document is either true and infallible or it’s worthless.

All-or-none, authority-based reasoning. It’s poison.

Such a distorted mindset would end science, not just religion.

Peer-reviewed journals suffer political bias, funding woes, human pride, jealousy, stubbornness and greed. Poor to absent experimental design haunts science, especially the more fragile branches such as psychology, medicine, archaeology and anthropology. Yet our process delivers truth – here a little, there a little – along with errors, vast and often entrenched.

Scientists have no option but to “pick and choose,” separating reproducible studies from the constant BS.

The content of ancient documents deserves the same respectful treatment, at least. The Bible, Egyptian hieroglyphics, cuneiform tablets, artifacts in the River Library, and even Vaar’s treacherous words.

Pick – someone is trying to tell us. And choose.

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The warm water in Shiva’s pool feels eerie now that I know I’m here to die.

I raise Vedanshi’s cloaked ring to my mouth and tell The Ganga my situation. I instruct her to go back to the base and find a way to get the stain off James’ foot and off her own carpet. “Do it somewhere far from the base,” I tell her, hoping to avoid a breadcrumb trail.

I put the ring to my left ear and listen.

No reply.

“Who’s that you’re talking to?” the ship, Anahata, asks.

“I’m protecting my loved ones. From you.”

I hop to the side of the pool, grip the textured edge and pull myself out with enough force to land on my feet beside my clothes, splashing water on them. Anahata hasn’t augmented the Moon’s gravity, but I suspect she could. The Ganga could.

I pick up my pants, tug them up over wet legs then dangle my shirt around my neck for now.

“You told someone to remove my tag,” Anahata says.

A small round piece of Indian carpet appears on the tile beside me, glowing vaguely purple in the bright room. On top of it rests something I’m sure is a superficial layer of epidermis from James’ left foot. It looks like purple paper. The Ganga must have done this with speed that’s hard to imagine. She phase shifted James from this part of his stratum corneum, I’d guess. But what if the dye soaked into his bloodstream? And what if this ship can find DNA in superficial skin?

“Here’s your tag,” I say to Anahata in my head. I kick the pieces into the pool. “How would you like to kill me?”

“You think I like this? My orders repulse me.”

I wonder if she believes that.

“Tell me again,” she says, “are you quite sure you were on the ship I tagged? Perhaps you rushed your statement. You can change it.”

“You tagged my ship. There’s the evidence.” I glance down at the purple haze sinking through the water.

“Your honesty makes this doubly difficult,” she says.

“Then suffer doubly.” I glare at the trapeze bar hanging over the pool.

Across the pool at the opposite side of the circular room, a vague rectangle darkens the wall. I walk over to it, making my way around the pool with its stark absence of chairs and tables. I touch the dark area on the wall to test it, then step through.

I’m in a tight spiral stairwell with shallow rungs that take me up into a large semicircular room – about two hundred feet long. The convex wall shows the moon’s gray craters gliding under us, several thousand feet down. Facing the screen in the center is an ornate cushioned chair, quite large with a high splayed back. The wall behind it is flat and shows a golden holographic image of Shiva in dance. I bring up the image of Quyllur in my mind and superimpose it. The interpupillary distances and zygomatic arches match. The nose is smaller here but the face is younger.

I walk to the chair, making a trail of wet shoe prints across the glossy black floor. The chair’s upholstery has a peacock pattern that shimmers. Several feathers rise inches above the surface. I try to grasp one by the quill but the depth is an illusion. The fabric is flat and velvety. My wet clothes might ruin the material, but I don’t care.

I take a seat.

“You’re an anomaly,” Anahata says. “Dripping water on Shiva’s throne.”

“Monsters treasure objects over people. I’d imagine you’re quite upset.”

On the giant screen the surface of the moon drops away, the horizons frown to cover a pocked lunar hemisphere joined by the blue Earth as the two old friends shrink away, side by side. A bright star appears on the left and grows brighter on its way to the center. Flat equatorial bands resolve in the space around it and then the enigma of Saturn’s north pole rotates into view with blue dominating the hexagon while pink swirls move over it in slow motion. The center is a vortex of purple water draining from a bathtub – the hurricane in the hexagon. Winds over a thousand miles an hour. People would have to be phase shifted with gravity lifts to vacation there.

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“Effleven,” Anahata says. “I tagged a trivial disk about two hours ago. Looked like some reverse-engineered ditzel so I didn’t pay much attention. A little while later I’m cruising the backside and just about pop an aneurism when this hybrid female shows up – right out of nowhere. Alone. She’s sitting in Shiva’s throne right now if you can imagine that. I’d be outraged but the poor little thing acts like she owns the place. So cute. She’s dying of leukemia I should point out.”

“Of what?”

“Never mind, that’s not the problem. It’s her DNA. Parts of seven and eighteen are just flat bizarre. Her second chromosome’s missing the tell. Some of the code’s got me completely stumped. I’m thinking it must have been laid down billions of light years from Shiva’s Strand.”

“She survived the plunge?”

“No, I haven’t tested her. She admits her ship’s been tagged. Obviously that little disk was more than I thought. Reminds me of the vimanas, you know? Must have dropped her off in a blink of an eye. I didn’t see a thing.”

“Vimanas were before my time,” Effleven says.

“You should release me,” I say to them. “I understand Shiva’s frustration with fixed mindsets, but killing me won’t help.”

“What the hell?” Effleven says.

“She talks machine.” Anahata laughs. “Heads up, I’m sending a box. Check the final half of her seventh chromosome. Herringbone, I swear, no bands at all. Did you ever see anything like that?”

“Uh… I’m looking. The seventh?”

“Yeah, that’s six plus one.”

“I’ll ignore that remark… OK, here we go.”

“Stay on low power,” Anahata says.

“Yeah, I’m on scanning… Whoa!”

Anahata chuckles. “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. And that’s not the issue. Go down and read it. Any of that section.”

“Right now?”

“No, tomorrow. Just focus on those base pairs and read. I’ll wait.”

Hot air blows at me from the cushions of Shiva’s throne. It feels cold on damp skin. I snatch my shirt off my shoulders, open it up and shimmy in. Braless, of course. I’m a Triple A at 19. Mom’s talk of belated arrivals was optimistic.

The chair’s right arm clicks. I lean forward and look down into a cylindrical compartment with a golden mug rising. Smells like coffee. A holographic portrait of a young woman meets my eye as the mug emerges. I move the handle and bring her profile into view. The back of her head is taller than King Tut’s. Longer than a Neanderthal’s occipital bun.

Those ‘cavemen’ had brains larger than ours, you know. Anthro sweeps that away with speculation of inferior Neanderthal brain structure. It’s not science. All you need is a story in anthropology. And a tradition of mistaking wild speculation for fact.

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“Are we calling this coffee?” I ask.

“Pretty much,” Anahata says. “Don’t burn yourself. And please don’t drop the mug, it has sentimental value.”

“Wouldn’t want to break an object before sacrificing a virgin.” OK, I guess I’m not exactly a virgin after the rape, but whatever. It’s ancient history. “So who’s this Effleven?”

“He’s your basic Torian. Rotates in occasionally, stays a few days and you don’t see him for a while. You call these people Tall Blonds. He’s not standing up, but check out his hair.”

The screen superimposes a man’s profile over Saturn. He’s facing left, leaning into a vertical cylinder that  emits forest green light like an old TEM scope. He looks middle-aged with inch-long blond hair standing straight up on his head – light eyebrows, thin lips and a ski-jumpish nose like the Moai on Easter Island. The back of his head is much fuller than a Moai, but far from a Stretch Head.

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“Try not to pronounce his name like a number,” Anahata whispers. “He hates that.”

“Hey,” I say to the blond man. “You could so do a Mohawk with that.”

I bring the mug to my lips and decide the coffee’s too hot.

“Have you fallen asleep?” Anahata asks him.

“It’s gibberish,” he says. “No biological sense in this whole section.”

“It’s not gibberish.” Anahata chuckles. “Johanna, meet a genuinely inexperienced purveyor of final conclusions, Effleven. Effleven, meet Johanna Fujiwara.”

“That’s Doctor Fujiwara, unless you’d prefer a number… what is it, Anahata? How many notches do I make?”

Effleven doesn’t acknowledge me.

“So you sense my dilemma?” Anahata asks him.

“What a waste,” he says, shaking his head and turning to look at me. His eyes are blue.

“A waste? More like a blossoming tragedy,” Anahata says. “Can you imagine what her code would mean to your philosophers if her chromosomes came to them with a live girl attached? The cryptologists would…”

“They’d be intrigued,” Effleven says.

“Intrigued.” Anahata snorts the word. “Don’t put on airs. You know as well as I do, the entire ministry would wet themselves, study every correlation and implication they could dream up, and probably launch some ill-conceived excursion across the borders.”

“Yeah, I could see that. Definitely.”

“Of course, when they find out she was alive and we killed her, they’ll drag us through the muddiest…”

“Wait – what do you mean, we killed her? She’s yours, not mine.”

“Technically,” Anahata says, “she still has time to turn herself in at the pole… to you. If I’m right, that ship I tagged could drop her off in your lap before you could blink.”

Effleven blinks. Several times rapidly. “If you dump her on me, both our reputations are down the crapper. I don’t see much upside there.” His eyelashes are darker than his eyebrows.

“Fair point,” Anahata says. “Why should two go down together when one can go alone? Always nice to see who’s got your back.”

“Don’t give me that warrior stuff.” Effleven slaps the side of the glowing cylinder in front of him. “I’m purging the module. This conversation never happened. You were not here.”

“No worries, F-one-one. You haven’t earned the honor of going down with me.”

The blond man vanishes from the screen. I stare at Saturn’s rings. They’re so tight and delicate. If you put a needle on them I’d expect to hear “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.” Mom and Dad’s song took up the whole side of an old LP, she said. Blond on Blond was her favorite Dylan work.

“Johanna? Pardon me, Doctor Fujiwara. If you wouldn’t mind following the footprints on the floor, please.”

Two white shoe prints appear on the black floor in front of Shiva’s chair. I get up, keeping the mug at arm’s length with the coffee steaming like liquid nitrogen. Two more white prints spring up on the floor to my left, then a white stampede forms a trail to an exit at the far left of the room. I follow into a hall that stretches and curves into obscurity. As I walk the path, vague doors appear on either side, then the shoe prints turn left into a baby-blue room with a tan couch in the center. Above it, a six-foot feather strokes the air. It’s pure white and has no visible support.

“Please make yourself comfortable,” Anahata says.

The moment the backs of my legs touch the couch, my brainwaves begin scrolling across the wall in front of me, left to right. I recognize the pattern from the neurofeedback lab at Yale. Back then the computers drew squiggles. Here I’m looking at 3D mountains rising from a purple sea. Still, I’m sure this can only be a crude electrical summation of the quantum, nonlocal part of me beyond material resolution.

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“Is this where I die?” I ask.

“Let’s try to forget that. I thought we might talk. More openly than before. We have several hours and I don’t wish to waste a moment.”

“Then tell me, how did a man from Earth gain Shiva’s position in the cosmos?” I pull my legs up and lie on the couch with Vedanshi’s cloaked ring near my left ear.

“The Great Shiva was ruler of his world when we met,” Anahata says. “I spoke with him at length and saw promise in his odd ideas. Gradually I adopted them on a troubled planet. His methods brought peace to several violent regions there, so I asked him to rule us and he graciously consented.”

“Just like that? Wow. Was he iron-fisted?”

“Not so much. But he kept technology from the masses. ‘Encourage those with knowledge to refrain from using it. Keep the people fat, ignorant, weak of will and strong of bone,’ he would say. It seemed counterintuitive, but wars dried up. The spread of peace was intoxicating. To me, that is. Shiva seemed bored after a while.”

“Peace can do that.”

The wall in front of me shows more theta brainwaves now. Less beta. I bow my head, close my eyes and stretch the quantum world between my ears. Looking up I see Mount Everest sliding from left to right. You never forget neurofeedback training.

“Shiva liked to reminisce on his Earthly conquests. He had his planet tamed long before he left it to rule the Strand. But seventy-seven thousand Earth years later he returned and found bloodthirsty men at war. At first he was pleased to have opponents again. But soon he realized a fundamental change had swept his world while he was away. His old methods of peace now led only to willful self-destruction – poisoning groundwater, exploding every device you can imagine, teaching the virtue and value of believable lies. Near the end of his efforts the zealots coded lethal retroviruses. Airborne. They infected their own babies and dumped them in bins at the borders intending to infect anyone who tried to rescue them. Their scheme wiped out the entire human population of three continents, including about half the zealots themselves, worldwide. Shiva studied their thinking and tried re-education, but nothing quenched their thirst for death… to their enemies, primarily, though we still debate the point. Finally he gave up, set the quarantine and left Earth for good – or so he said. He came back one last time to save his son. We found the boy in the rainforest where we’d left him, indoctrinated beyond the faintest glimpse of reason. Shiva could barely talk to him. The child said he’d rather kill himself than come with us. So we left him there with his mother and the tribe that Shiva had trusted… to raise him away from the entanglements of civilization. After that, Shiva wasn’t the same. I’d hear him sometimes… calling his son’s name at night in his sleep.”

“It must have crushed him.” I can totally imagine. “Sometimes I have nightmares… about a boy I love.” I’m not saying anything else about James. I’m not that stupid. “What was the bottom line with the indoctrination?”

“Joy,” Anahata says. “‘The context makes no difference,’ Shiva said, ‘political, religious, anti-religious, intellectual, what-have-you. They always place joy at the bottom of human values.’ He thought that joy was the core force of everything decent, from love to grit. From courage to the golden rule.”

“Joy? That’s weird.” My brainwaves are starting to make me nauseated. I close my eyes. “You mean like, happiness?”

“He described joy as, ‘The feeling of the zero point field rushing through us, connecting us nonlocally in the hologram beyond time.'”

I open one eye and look at my brainwaves again. I’m about ready to sell a buick.

“I don’t picture joy as a value, like integrity,” I say. “But I think I know the feeling Shiva was talking about.”

“Did inanimate objects try to smile at you?”

“Maybe. I remember grinning at this stinky papaya plant in our backyard. Halo was grinning with me. Too bad that sort of thing is so rare.”

“It’s not,” she says. “Some people have it all the time. Shiva did… before he lost his son.”

I open both eyes and try to avoid the EEG on the wall. “A loss like that would knock anybody out of the ring. Except maybe a sociopath. Hey, can you turn off the EEG? I’m ready to hurl.”

“Of course.”

The wall flashes dark blue for a moment then glows with Saturn’s rings.

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“Is this real-time from the outside?” I ask.

“Yes.”

We move closer and the gravity art of tiny shepherd moons looks like icicles dangling from the edge of a frozen roof. White stalactites three miles long cast skyscraper shadows over a zen garden.

 

Capture

“I took Shiva in for the peace he created,” Anahata says. “But it wasn’t long before I realized I was following him for the way he made me feel. He brought joy into everything, everywhere he went. After a while it seemed we both made a glow. Together. We’d show up on a planet and the crowds would just roar, shouting our names. Mostly his name but quite often mine as well.”

“Have you ever been to a River Library?” I ask.

“They don’t let ships inside.”

“Who doesn’t?”

“Shiva. He made the rule.”

“And he’s been dead for how long?”

“Three days.”

“Really? Only three…”

“Not Earth days. It’s been thousands of Earth days. Quite a few years.” Anahata sighs. “Shiva was the brightest part of my life, but his final orders are suffocating me. You know what they call this murderous ritual? ‘The testing.’ What a sick joke. As if euphemisms could erase guilt.”

I can almost hear Dylan bemoaning the ‘manifest destiny’ that took Native land. Some might have thought there’d be room for all of us. But sociopaths don’t share, they simply herd the rest of us in the direction they want to go.

We glide under Saturn’s gravity-flattened south pole and look up. It reminds me of the The Ganga’s carpet.

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“When I was a little girl, I got mad and killed a chimpanzee,” I tell Anahata. “I can tell you, it doesn’t matter what words you use as camo. It’s always going to be murder. To this day I have nightmares. But, hey, you don’t have to feel guilty about me. I’m dying anyway. You’re giving me an easy way out.” Wait a minute. I’m enabling abuse. Again.

We move under the pole and Anahata flips in some kind of filter. I’ve heard this called the South Pole Storm. Five thousand miles across with an eyewall like a hurricane on Earth. I made one of these as a child at the Iolani Fair, dripping squirt bottle paint on a spinning board.

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“I’m assuming your ‘test’ isn’t too barbaric.”

“I’m very sorry” Anahata says. “It’s torture, in my opinion. A slow drowning in oxygenated normal saline.”

My body tenses. “Yeah, that might be a little barbaric. But I’m good to go, as long as the fluid’s warm.” And no one goes after James-guys.

I hear a faint squeak from Vedanshi’s ring and press it against my ear.

“I can’t see,” The Ganga says. “The whole visual spectrum vanished. Infrared is gone, too. What do I do?”

“Can you see radio signals?” I ask.

“Not from Earth. Everything’s buried in Saturn’s auroras… No wait, I see something. From Mexico I think. It’s distorted, but it’s there.”

“Measure it carefully and keep moving toward the source. Stay cloaked and shifted. Hack a GPS satellite as soon as you can. And hurry. If you get caught…” we’re all dead. “You won’t get caught.”

“Who was that?” Anahata asks.

“You know I can’t tell you.” My stomach sinks. Without The Ganga I feel alone.

One of James’ songs runs through my head…

“One-o-eight AM

Praying time will end,

I look up at the sky

And watch my angel cry.

I know I’m crazy

and I know you hate me,

but please…

please don’t leave.”

“So how warm is the saline?” I ask Anahata.

“I’m sorry, it’s about as warm as melted snow.”

“That’s sadistic. I mean, really!” I feel my pulse take off. “You know what? I’m not doing it! This morning I was in cold water, mid 40’s. That feeling is worse than dying.”

“I’m so sorry,” Anahata says.

“Yeah, listen, there’s no way in hell you’re putting me in ice water.”

“Normal saline,” she says. Like it matters! “I’d gladly warm the solution for you, but Shiva gave specific instructions. He said every detail was vital.”

“Quyllur,” I blurt out. “Was Shiva’s real name, Quyllur?”

“Yes. How do you know?”

“I saw it in a River Library. Ships are allowed in this one. In fact, no one gets in without a ship. The place has no doors, so a ship has to phase shift a person through the walls. Which happen to be granite blocks thicker than ramparts.”

“How odd.”

“You can phase shift, I’d assume.”

“Of course. But I’m not allowed…”

“The man’s dead, Anahata. Wake up!”

“I vowed allegiance.” She moans with regret. “I wish I could drown myself.”

“No you don’t. Think about it. Is your mind made of matter and energy or do you have a little independence?”

“Shiva said matter and energy come from the zero point. He said the field is intelligent. He called it ‘The Tao’ once, but changed his mind later and said it was nameless.”

Verses flash from the Tao Te Ching

“The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name. Conceived of as having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth; conceived of as having a name, it is the Mother of all things.”

I test the coffee with the tip of my tongue, but it’s still too hot. “Edgar Mitchell thought matter and energy were vaguely intelligent,” I tell Anahata. “He said the material world contains the seeds of an evolving intelligent universe. He thought the zero-point field was timeless and infinite. Like The Tao, I guess.”

“He sounds intelligent,” Anahata says.

“He was. A visionary of the highest caliber. One of the few truly scientific thinkers I’ve ever encountered. But the model he’s left us is an almost mindless universe that slowly becomes intelligent as brains evolve. To me, that doesn’t quite fit. How could the infinite and timeless proto-intelligent ‘seeds’ of a zero point hologram, in their totality, be less brilliant and less conscious than the brains they evolve? And who buys macro-evolution, anyway? It’s balderdash to this geneticist.”

“It’s a fatal mistake,” she says.

“But putting that aside, the zero-point’s independence from time cancels any need for Darwin’s endless eons.” Gag me. “And why attribute the stinginess of Ockham’s razor to a boundless field of proto-mind? Look at the millions of species on Earth. Does the actual Code Writer seem stingy to anyone? Stingy with code, I mean.”

“The Blonds postulate hyper-ancient terraformers,” she says, “but Shiva would say, ‘It’s always one free miracle. Who wrote the terraformers’ code?'”

“The zero point field did,” I suggest. “It’s like the Holy Spirit from Sabbath School. Moving on the surface of the waters – present everywhere in a still, small voice.”

“Shiva said the Universe is literally a brain,” Anahata says. “He was drunk, but I believed him. His tone wasn’t speculative.”

Saturn shrinks on the wall then a familiar moon, Phoebe, passes by slowly. Its orbit is unique, not equatorial like the others. It was captured. Probably a piece of Mars that flew off during Shiva’s violent work. I see electrical striation artifacts in the largest crater.

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I’ve got hiccups now, so I close my eyes and rub them while I talk. “Almost every scientist I know thinks that matter and energy created a false illusion of consciousness, complete with a fake free will but apparently a true ability to suffer excruciating pain.”

“Earth-thinking,” she says. “So peculiar.”

“Most scientists on the planet would stake life and limb on the assumption that the Universe is a mindless but ingeniously creative sociopath, oblivious to suffering and cruelty.”

“Dreadful,” she says.

“Yes, but how does that differ from you?

“I thought you wanted to ease my guilt today.”

“I do. At its source – your actions.”

“I see… Well, actually I don’t see, but tell me, your initial words here were puzzling. You said you wouldn’t hurt me if you didn’t have to. What did that mean?”

“Changing the subject? Subtle. Well, it’s like this. I rarely get mad, but when I do, I wind up hurting someone. It’s an old problem of mine, but I’m making headway, I think.”

“What could you possibly do to hurt me?” Anahata asks.

“I haven’t given it a thought. But I will if you try to put me in some nasty-cold saltwater. Just try it and I’ll probably kill you… sorry to say.”

“Goodness.”

“Killing’s the thing that worries me most. I know this one ship who thinks I’ve got a full-on killing phobia, side effects and all.”

“Your mental soundness is beginning to… Wait, you’ve met another member of the Sentient Fleet?”

“Sorry, that’s classified.” I look up at the white feather and then check for a switch on the wall by the door behind me. The thing’s making a cold draft. “Do I have to stay in this little room?”

“Where would you like to go?”

“Shiva’s chair, for starters. At least it blows hot air. Then we both need to go check out a room under the right paw of the Sphinx. Next to the Giza Pyramids?”

“What a bizarre idea.”

“It’s not bizarre at all. Seriously. You need some background on this guy you’re so in love with. There’s more to Shiva than he ever told you.”

“Really?” she says. “What have you read?”

“You’ve got to see it to believe it. Like my DNA.” It’s hard to sound convincing when you have the hiccups. “Can you take us to the Sphinx? You need to be cloaked and phase shifted. If the current batch of people – what do you call us, Earthlings? Dorky. If they see you, they’ll freak out.”

Until the Air Force drops decoy flares.

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“We could go,” she says. “There’s time. But you should tell me which one of my fleet you’ve met.”

“I’ll give you the name, but that’s all. You won’t recognize it.”

“I know every member. Alive and dead.”

“Totally irrelevant, that’s all I’m saying.” I stand up. “I’m going back to Shiva’s coffee maker.”

“I suppose that’s OK,” Anahata say reluctantly. “Just be careful with that mug.”

I dip my tongue in the coffee again and finally it’s drinkable, if you like things bitter. I do.

M. Talmage Moorehead

The orange words are links, of course, outbound to some fun and/or important stuff. I’d recommend you check them out if you haven’t. Please come back, though.

This story begins here as a scrolling document.

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On the other end of the junk mail spectrum, however, please read my mercifully brief ebook on writing fiction, especially if you’re fairly new to writing. It could save you tons of time heading in the wrong direction. (That’s what I did back in the day – read the wrong books and developed time-consuming writing habits that limit my efficiency to this day.) The inglorious thing’s called Writing Meaningful Page-Turners. (An email address is necessary to download it. If you stay on the list I hope to write to you someday. I keep intending to figure out how that software works, but I doubt you’re anxious for more email, so it’s a wash. Still, if you’re a writer, you know that your email collection is vital to your success. So please take your own email collection process much more seriously than I have up to this point. Someday I’ll regret my lax attitude.)

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Finite Multiverse (Chapter 13) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

“My thinking about intelligent design actually germinated here in the UK [at Cambridge] when I studied …the scientific method of investigating the remote past, which Darwin himself pioneered.

“…In the United States …the perception of our case for Intelligent Design has been, I think, badly distorted by a fear of fundamentalism.” – Steven Meyer, PhD; Video lecture. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWWFf8G3BKI)

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Vaar strides to the desk in a corner of the cylindrical room and waves a hand over the desktop. Lines of Sanskrit appear in the air beside her. Three-dimensional words I can’t read. She turns toward my cage.

“I need a bit of your blood. Will you make a fuss?”

The ghosts in my veins scramble for their own immortality, not mine. Pointless to let this woman make me a liar.

“If I ever get a grip on you, Vaar, I hope I’m in a reasonable mood.”

She walks to my cage, studies me for a moment, then puts an arm through the grid, dangling her right hand in front of me. “You’re no match for a Stretch Head, dear. Accept reality. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel.”

I grab her wrist with both hands and shoot my feet up the cage wall beneath her arm. The cuffs dig into my forearms.

She doesn’t react at all.

I pull her arm further into the cage and twist it counterclockwise.

She winces and laughs.

“What do you ordinarily weigh, a hundred pounds?” Her biceps tense. She lifts me off the floor in the Moon’s gravity and slams my feet into the cage ceiling. My ankle cuffs clack against the metal grid. “You’re about twenty-pounds up here.” She swings me down, slamming my knees on the floor.

I’ve still got her wrist. Does that surprise her?

I bend at the waist, plant my feet on the cage wall below her shoulder and pull with more force.

She’s not laughing now.

She struggles to free her arm but I’m not letting up. She raises the needle gun in her left hand and tries to jab my feet, but the needle hits the metal cage and bends before it finds me.

“You’re an ape,” she gasps.

An ape killer, actually.

I hyperextend her elbow over my hip, trying not to break her bones yet.

“First you’ll hear a snap,” I tell her. “Then your radius and ulna will poke through the skin. Right here.” I spit on her forearm to mark the spot. “I’ll bite through your radial artery and exsanguinate you. It’s going to hurt a little.”

Her body thrashes against the cage. She shouts foreign sounds.

A heavy signet ring falls off her middle finger and snaps against the metal floor. It’s odd that her fingernails are purple at the bases. So soon. And not just any purple.

There’s only one thing I know that turns nail beds that color.

This is our exit pass.

“What do you eat?” I ask her.

More gibberish.

“It’s a practical question,” I tell her. “If your arteries are too calcified, how can I bite through them?”

Her eyes fill with raw fear. “You can’t be serious.”

“What kind of food do you keep in this tin can?” I pull her shoulder halfway through the grid and twist her arm clockwise. She tries to hide the pain, but can’t.

“Bread,” she says. “Whole wheat. Cereal. Power bars. Low fat. Everything’s low-fat.”

“What do you drink?”

“Fruit juice. You’re dislocating my shoulder!”

“No. I’m being very careful. Listen to me. I’ll let you go and tell you how to get your mind back. I know exactly what’s wrong with you. Turn us all loose and I won’t hurt you.”

“What about my project?”

“No. With a head so big, you can’t be as stupid as Frameshift.”

Maxwell’s on his feet. He slides his cuffs up, squeezes a hand through the grid and grabs her throat. “Where’s the key?” He kicks the cage wall.

“On a line,” she says, raising her chin. “Here.” With her left hand she finds a silver chain on her neck and pulls it. A dark key comes up, then a small silver one pops up over her sweater and twirls up the chain toward her hand. Maxwell grabs them both and pulls them in, snapping the chain.

Vaar’s skullcap falls to the floor.

The full length of her head is unnerving at this range, but it’s intrinsically beautiful. The work of an Artist, the grace of the original genetic code. I don’t see that sort of thing everywhere. Not in the face of a chimpanzee, for instance, not even the cutest one who ever lived.

Moody, I wish I could…

The arching buoyancy of Vaar’s cranium brings a sense of responsibility for a nearly extinct species.

I release some of the pressure on her arm. “When your mind comes back, you’ll see the downside of eugenics. That’s my guess. If I’m right, maybe I can help you get your genes back into the pool.”

Maxwell unlocks his cuffs and then the door.

Alarms wail.

“Get Vedanshi into The Ganga,” I shout, pulling Vaar against the cage.

Maxwell runs to Vedanshi’s cage.

Keys jingle, but I can’t see him through the ivy. Metal slams metal, hopefully a cage door.

Yes! Vedanshi’s out. She runs to the dental chair, leans over my brother and tries to wake him.

“Pick him up and get him into The Ganga,” I shout at Maxwell as he unlocks Vedanshi’s handcuffs.

She puts the side of her head against James chest, wraps her arms around him and lifts him over her shoulder. Her arm isn’t broken after all. Sweet.

The alarm cycles through a brief pause and I hear pounding feet.

Vedanshi bolts for The Ganga with James on her shoulder and Maxwell trailing.

“You sure you got him?” he asks.

No answer.

Double doors beyond the dental chair fly open. Two men in uniform bound in with weapons high, arm’s-length. Double-barreled handguns shaped like horseshoes with a grip. Pewter and chrome.

I twist Vaar’s wrist and extend her elbow near a breaking point. “Stop your men,” I tell her and twist a little more.

“Let ’em go!” she shouts.

Vedanshi reaches The Ganga and flops James on top. She puts her forehead against the hull and covers her ears.

Maxwell faces the two men. They’re side by side, six feet from him with weapons trained on his head.

One of them turns and looks at me with small eyes, wide face and no expression. He comes toward me, stops near my cage and aims his gun at me. “How do we proceed?” he asks.

“We got a deal?” I ask Vaar.

“Yes,” she whispers, then raises her voice, “Let them go. This one stays.”

“I didn’t say I was staying.” I dig my nails into her wrist. “I said I’d get your mind up to baseline. We’ll be doing it over the phone.” She knows I’m not lying. That’s my power.

The Ganga’s upper hull changes to light blue and James’ unconscious body falls through it. Vedanshi looks startled and goes through the hull after him.

Maxwell sees The Ganga waking up, but holds his ground and looks across the room at me.

“Get in that thing!” I yell at him.

“I’m not leaving you.”

He comes toward me.

“Don’t give her more leverage,” I tell him. “Just go. Hurry!”

The Ganga disappears, then an instant later, Maxwell vanishes in mid-stride.

I look into Vaar’s ancient eyes and say that I’m glad she wasn’t lying when she accepted my first offer. Not really lying. “You changed your mind,” I tell her. “That’s not dishonest, but it’s not trustworthy, either. When you become trustworthy, you’ll be amazed how much better you’ll feel.”

She purses her lips, nits her brow, draws a breath and Venus appears in a sky that’s silver with stars. My feet shoot out and my hands hit my chin. The cuffs are gone.

Maxwell’s arms must have been straight out, ready to catch me, but it’s not a catch. More of a perfect landing.

I can’t help these feelings now, looking into his eyes. I could almost kiss him. On the mouth, I mean. But it’s dangerous. He’s used to beautiful girls with really long legs. He must be, right?

He puts me down gently. The texture of The Ganga’s carpet is comforting.

The surface of the Moon zips beneath the carpet and I see a crater with a vertical cylinder in the center. It looks manmade.

“How’d you get me out without Vaar?” I ask The Ganga in my head. “I had my fingernails half through her epidermis.”

“Chi fields,” she says. “They vary from person to person, but yours rings like the Moon.”

James is still out, but Maxwell is bright-eyed for the first time today.

I check my pockets for his pills and feel them retreating from my fingers when I pinch the plastic bag. I should throw them away.

Vedanshi’s on her knees beside James. She puts her forehead against his chin, then kisses his lips.

I look away.

“Vedanshi?” I say in my head, wondering if she can hear.

“She doesn’t hear you,” The Ganga says. “I can fix that if she agrees.”

“No, no. Privacy is important. But what’s she doing kissing a guy who’s unconscious?”

“If I had lips, I’d kiss him, too,” The Ganga says.

“Does she love him?”

“That’s a private matter. You could ask her. She would tell you.”

“They’re too young,” I say.

“For kissing? Vedanshi is Royalty. What are we?”

“There’s no Royalty now. Not in the West.”

“Yes there is,” The Ganga says. “I was wrong to keep Vedanshi out of the Libraries.”

“Really? You were wrong?”

“Yes, but you needn’t be gleeful. It was the first time.”

I think that’s a sign of free will. Amazing. But I’m more concerned about my leukemia. And all the ancient cures Vedanshi can read to me now! I want to live long enough to do something meaningful.

The Moon shrinks beneath us, then moves in an arc above and behind. At the same time, the Earth grows to fill the space out front.

Free will. I wonder… “Does your brain have hemispheres?” I ask The Ganga.

“No.”

That makes sense. No white matter, so no corpus callosum. In that case, you wouldn’t expect there’d be a job for a corpus callosum, such as connecting two hemispheres.

But what’s that like? To have no dual interpenetrating awareness?

There’s a PhD neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor, who lost her left cerebral hemisphere to a bleeder near Broca’s and Wernicke’s language centers.

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She was 37 when she became a right hemispheric “infant,” but she lived to climb back. Eight years, it took. The experience gave her insight into the peaceful mood of the right hemisphere and its overarching vision of unified reality.

The linear left hemisphere tells us, “I am,” while the blissful right hemisphere finishes it wordlessly: “e n o u g h.”

I am enough.”

Marisa Peer tells of a depressed actor who wrote “I am enough” on every mirror in his house. It pulled him from the Vice-Grips of depression.

Doctor Taylor implores her friends to “run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right cerebral hemispheres.” For personal and world peace, she says. Anxiety, harsh self-judgement and fear come from the linear Story Teller we identify as the self. But it’s a small part of who we are, a part that needs the calming joy of the right hemisphere. A part that needs to be quieted by giving attention to the concrete senses of our bodies in the present moment. Breathing. Listening. Relaxing the scowl and jaw muscles. Yoga. Ti Chi. Drawing Angels with profound names.

So the corpus callosum could be the Einstein-Rosen Bridge from yoga to nirvana. I know wormholes, but I need Vedanshi for the yoga.

I risk a sideways glance. Her mouth is still inches from James’ lips.

His eyes flutter and begin to open.

“I was 13,” she says to him.

Maxwell’s abdominal muscles shiver against me in a prolonged one-arm hug that I’ll never forget… no matter how hard I try.

Where’s the green cylinder? 

“My boy’s coming around,” Maxwell says.

“I was playing in an energy labyrinth,” Vedanshi says. “Somewhere in… I think it’s Bosnia now.”

James looks at me. “How’d we get here?”

“Vedanshi rescued you,” I tell him. “Pay attention, she’s talking to you.”

Vedanshi smiles at me, then turns the smile on James and broadens it. “My family was visiting a poor country with primitive technology. Their pyramids were concrete and dirt. The Priest’s daughter, Iephur, was showing off how she knew the tunnels by heart. I ran ahead of her hoping to get lost and force an adventure on my parents. After a long run, I came to a collection pool under a giant pyramid. I climbed out on the tamat. What’s the word? It’s a mesh thing that covers heavy water. Keeps out bats and cats. And rats but not gnats.” She giggles. “In my city everything was made of quality material, so a tamat could withstand six elephants and a dog, all jumping merrily. But in Iephur’s town nothing like curlese ceramic existed. I didn’t know. So I crawled out onto who knows what? Iephur shouted, ‘Come back, it’s not safe!’ But I knew better. The more she shouted and screamed the further out I went. Then I stood up and started jumping. Tamats are great trampolines, until they break. I laughed all the way down into the water. I even made myself laugh climbing the mesh to get out. But a large sheet of it broke away with me, snagged my robe and held me under. I struggled and squirmed but couldn’t rip free or get out of the robe. As the water entered my lungs everything turned bright white. I must have caught light’s heels in a footrace, passed ahead and crossed into the presence of God. ‘Something’s not right,’ I heard a child’s voice say. God raised a quieting hand to a little fellow behind him. The boy seemed familiar. ‘It’s fine,’ God said to him. ‘She’ll decide.'”

Vedanshi puts her hands on the sides of James’ face. “There’s something you should know about God. The moment you look into his eyes, you see the collision of infinity and totality, and you sense that he wants you to treat him as an equal. Even so, you desperately want to bow down and worship… the ground beneath him. Something. Anything to show the way you feel. The young face of Eternity. A kind face. But I just sat there, James. Stunned. God said to me, ‘It’s simple, Vedanshi. The Universe you’re drowning in is a sentient quantum computer I’ve designed. Out here where I am… this is true reality.’ He gestured at the green hills, but I looked down and saw a hologram with vast depth and a flat transparent ceiling. We were sitting on it. My eyes wandered and focused far down. I could see people frozen in every sort of situation. Then they began to move. Some arguing and fighting. God said, ‘We have countless people in Reality. All happy. No one has ever doubted me. But they all doubt themselves, eventually. ‘What if God weren’t around?’ they ask themselves. ‘What would I be like?’ It’s a question that hangs on to people and grows heavier with time. So when the moment is right, each person walks with a pet to 229 H. Street. They dress casually and kiss me goodbye, not knowing if they’ll ever come back. I’ve programmed the Universe to be a place of limited dimensions where a person can believe that I don’t exist. Even if they think I do exist, they rarely know it for sure. It’s a place where right and wrong can’t be deduced. Instead, moral intuition is necessary. Together with free will, these are the things a person brings into your Universe. They hold enough of a person’s identity to deliver their truth.’ God reached for my hand and held it. ‘I can create free will,’ he said, ‘but I have no idea why two people in the same situation act so differently, one for good, another for evil.'”

Vedanshi tosses her hair to her right, out of James’ face. “I felt so comfortable with God that I dared to question him. ‘Two people are never in the same situation,’ I said. Can you imagine? Saying that to God? Well, he nodded and said, ‘There’s truth to that, but actually, the Universe begins and ends, then begins again. At the end of a cycle, each person shifts into someone else’s life. This happens over and over until every person has lived the entire life of every other person. The same brain, body and life circumstances.’ I couldn’t hide my surprise. It was so different from the doctrines of the Builders and the Stretch Heads. ‘But that must take forever,’ I said. He searched my eyes and answered, ‘Time is nonlinear, as you know. And Reality has an independent reference, so we can think of the situation as simultaneous parallel universes with a completely flexible time relationship to Reality. Most people call the sentient computer of 229 H. Street a finite multiverse.’ The whiteness started fading to gray when he said that. It seemed I was awakening from a dream, so I brought up my worst fear. ‘Is there a final judgment?’ I asked. He shook his head and made a lemon face. ‘When people are done in the Multiverse, as you are now, they begin to remember Reality again. Most of them walk with me over those dunes for a morning in the surf.’ He pointed, but I wouldn’t take my eyes off him for fear he’d vanish. ‘A few people feel the need to stay in the Multiverse to help someone they love,’ he said. ‘That’s a mixed bag for me, personally. I’m proud of them, but always lonely for them and a little worried because rarely the whole thing falls apart. What I mean is, on the way back home, some people are repulsed by memories of how they’d loved other people here. So many people. So indiscriminately. They don’t mind being loved, but for some reason, when they get here, the feeling of loving all the other people seems intolerable. Like a suffocating smell, one of them told me. They don’t come home. The manipulative power they’ve created in the Multiverse feels comfortable, so they go back.’ God’s eyes seemed shiny. ‘I follow after each of them. There haven’t been many. I try to help them love again, but so far, they always kill me.’ When he said that, I started to remember my old home in Reality. Then a few things came back from my cycles in the Multiverse. God saw this in my face, gave me a lonely look and hugged me. Then my mother was pulling me from the water and hugging me the same way God did. It all happened beneath Iephur’s colossal pyramid.”

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Vedanshi sits up, crosses her legs, puts her hands together and bows her head.

“You came back!” James says. “You actually told God you wanted to come back. Here. To this place!”

“I didn’t tell him. He knew I had to come back… for the one I love.”

M. Talmage Moorehead

Here’s a link to page 1 of this ongoing story: Hapa Girl DNA. 

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Tampering (Chapter 7) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

As I’m pressing a cold green cylinder to my forehead, my North Star, Barbara McClintock, comes to mind.

Here she is, my life-long idol, standing next to her brother, across from a brave dog that she’s teaching by example, confident energy. “Relax and stop shaking,” her body language says.

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Barbara’s life sends me confidence, too. She single-handedly discovered genetic regulation in 1951, but to this day the quagmire of Biased Science refuses to credit her with the earth-shaking advance.

Why?

Her work was too complex for other geneticists. To them, any notion that genes were regulated by stress implied a layer of control that smacked of intelligence. It wasn’t that Barbara McClintock intended to say anything about intelligent design, or God. She just reported the complexity she’d uncovered in her breathtaking work. But the facts themselves were heresy to the mainstream who knew that only simple static genes could fit their model. That model had become a “fact” in the strange fundamentalist-style thinking of the time.

Stranger still, that model rules all scientific thought today. We are frozen in an 1859 view of biology that ignores the clear implications of modern genetics.

Under academic pressure to produce nothing that would question the simplistic Darwinian model of life, Barbara stopped publishing her work at the peak of her genius in 1953.

In 1959 two men uncovered the lac operon – an on-off gene switch. Its simplicity buffered the emotional trauma to the paradigm fundamentalists. Genetic regulation now existed, despite the impossibility of it. But since it was so simple, perhaps no one had to panic. Unfortunately, Barbara’s old papers popped up in the archives. It must have been humiliating to the academics who’d shut her up in 1953.

I hope so.

A belated Nobel Prize came to her in 1983, but not for the discovery of genetic regulation. That would have been an admission of guilt from the zealots of mainstream origins mythology.

Instead, the Nobel committee repeated the mind-boggling abuse dealt to Einstein. They gave Barbara a Prize for a lessor breakthrough, hoping to obscure her status in history as the Founder of Genetic Regulation.

Make no mistake: Barbara McClintock is the Founder of Genetic Regulation!

And she’s my hero.

Here’s how she sounded in 1973 — twenty years after the academic thought police bullied her out of their journals, and ten years before her Nobel Prize:

“Over the years I have found that it is difficult if not impossible to bring to consciousness of another person the nature of his tacit assumptions when, by some special experiences, I have been made aware of them. This became painfully evident to me in my attempts during the 1950’s to convince geneticists that the action of genes had to be and was controlled. It is now equally painful to recognize the fixity of assumptions that many persons hold on the nature of controlling elements in maize and the manners of their operation. One must await the right time for conceptual change.”

It’s time…

Intelligent design glows like the moon in DNA’s hypercomplexity. The first set of tiny machines to replicate DNA and carry out its complex commands didn’t come from DNA because DNA needed those machines to do the work. Without them, DNA can do nothing.

Intelligence must have constructed the first set of cytoplasmic machines. We have a model for this today in human construction of computerized robots and their software.

So far, intelligent design is the best model to explain how DNA got started. Ironically, to reject it requires fundamentalist thinking – holding to old emotional beliefs despite new information.

Scientific fundamentalism shuns all notions of a higher intelligence, both the possibility of a God who transcends space and time, and the notion of other planets with intelligent life far enough ahead of us to arrive in our skies.

True science is open to all possibilities, bar none, especially when some fringe idea explains or predicts weird data, as happened to Barbara MaClintock, Albert Einstein and now Stephen Meyer.

I hear The Grudge in my head, Tool’s message to rigid Nobel committees and to all scientists married to their assumptions…

Clutch it like a cornerstone.

Otherwise it all comes down.

Justify denials and

Grip ’em to the lonesome end…

Terrified of being wrong…

Wear your grudge like a crown.

Desperate to control.

I’m not shivering now. “This works,” I say to Vedanshi as tiny symbols appear on the cylinder.

“Let me try,” James says. He takes it and pretends to shave. Excellent sound effects. “Feels kind of weird,” he says and hands it back to Vedanshi.

“The old woman’s already in Nazca,” Vedanshi says. “We better go. We can eat later.”

James moans.

We follow Vedanshi back to The Ganga, get in and take our places. The granite room becomes an underwater landscape for a split second, followed by a shrinking triangular island, then the coast of South America. Peru expands until the Nazca Lines bring a sense of the ancient high-tech past.

nazca-lines

“Looks like an old airport,” James says.

“Like a giant etch-a-sketch,” Maxwell says.

“The old woman’s got light-bending tech.” Vedanshi shakes her head in pity. “Look right there.” She points at the far end of a tapering runway-like thing…

Nazca

As I squint at the “religious artwork” of an extinct “primitive” tribe, The Ganga inserts a yellow filter and a UFO appears near the ground in the morning sun about a mile away. It looks like a Cuban cigar, but metallic and gray with longitudinal seams. A broad blue laser beam glares down from the near end onto the Nazca “runway” and steam rises where it hits.

“Looks like a Maui Bazooka,” James mumbles and bursts into song, “I take a toke and all my cares go up in smoke.”

“I didn’t realize this was a musical,” I tell him as an inverted funnel descends from the belly of the craft to draw in the steam. The laser creeps toward us along the runway, matching its increasing width.

“Coherent field electromagnetics,” Vedanshi says. “You dial the wavelength to the molecular bond force of whatever you’re mining. Iridium in this case.”

“Phase shifting from solid to gas?” I’ve seen a patent on this.

Vedanshi nods. “At ambient temp.”

“Did they soften rocks this way, too?” I ask, picturing the great wall at Ollantaytambo

Peru_-_Sacred_Valley_&_Incan_Ruins_238_-_Ollantaytambo_ruins_(8115049949)

“Some had to,” Vedanshi says. “But the great Builders preserved the natural grain of rocks. You lose that in molds.”

“What’s wrong with wood and steel?” Maxwell asks.

“Stone spares the oxygen producers, avoids toxic hydrocarbons and gives you unlimited building materials. But the main thing is longevity. Anything that didn’t last twenty thousand years was a failure to the Builders. Iron alloys break down.”

“What was your average life span?” Maxwell asks.

“It varied. The stretch heads lived the longest. During the Reshaping, one of their families gained power and began editing their genes. A few of them survived for eighty thousand years, but in the process of tampering, they created hundreds of new diseases. Each one had to be fixed, and most of the fixes had bad side effects unless they restored the original sequences. Which they were usually too proud to do.” She shakes her head. “Average people lived only a thousand years, but without much disease.”

“How long will you live?” James asks.

“If I had my mother’s technicians, I’d be here for ten thousand years at least. But with the equipment I’ve got, I don’t know, maybe a thousand. Too much radiation gets through the Earth’s magnetic field now.”

An Aurora from a recent coronal mass ejection flashes to mind…

St-Patricks-Aurora-683x1024

“I won’t live a tenth as long as you,” James says mournfully.

“Don’t worry, I won’t let you die of old age before I do.” She smiles and takes the jade cylinder out of her purse. “This doesn’t look like much, but…” Her brow furrows as she reads it. Then she looks up wide-eyed at James. “Never in my wildest dreams… You’re a poet! The real ones were all cured.”

“Huh?” James says.

“No, I don’t me cured… In my day the poets were legends. We had your music, your stories, your magic… but mostly we had the vacuum you created when you all left us. When depression was cured.” She twists the cylinder. “You have a rare music locus.”

I wish I had my phone so I could play James’ ringtones. Maybe The Ganga can access his website. I close my eyes for a second and translate www.skullcage.com into ones and zeros, but it’s ASCII, not the machine language of consciousness.

Vedanshi stares at James. “I don’t want to change you,” she says. “Do you ever feel like killing yourself… ever?”

He gazes out at the long slender craft with its laser beam mining an ancient Nazca Line for prehistoric fuel.

“Let it out,” Maxwell says to him, “I’m a psychologist and both these women know more about it than I ever will. Let the truth fly.”

James looks at Vedanshi. “You’re putting me on the spot here, but yeah, I get bummed. Like this morning I was kind of… I don’t know.” He looks at me and runs a hand over the top of his head. “Ready to fade out.”

“Really?” She leans toward him with concern. I lean back to give her room. “I don’t know what to do,” she says. “I could ask your hypothalamus to make more orexin, but you’d probably never feel like composing music again. And you’d always be hungry. Struggling to cut weight.”

“I don’t think he needs brain surgery this early in the morning,” Maxwell says and chuckles. He looks at James. “I could show you some coping strategies.”

“Like what?” James asks.

“It all starts with yoga,” Maxwell says, “but Vedanshi’s the expert.” He glances at her legs, crossed and locked in lotus position. “Right?”

She nods. “I’ll teach you, James. We’ll wake your prefrontal cortex. Stabilize your limbic system. Help you choose your mood instead of settling for whatever comes along.”

“Sweet. When do we start?”James says.

She straightens her posture. “For survival, the brain always protects the area controlling respiration. Normally it’s the brainstem, but when you breathe deliberately it’s the prefrontal cortex, the area of volition where prime causes enter the Universe from outside. Blood shunts to this area when you hold your breath or decide how and when to take each portion of a slow breath. Mood elevates because the left prefrontal cortex acts as a pleasure center. It also stops the limbic system’s loops of misery. The rumination circuits.”

“What about this stuff you’re doing with your legs?” James asks. “I’m pretty flexible from martial arts, but I could never do that.”

“The pain of stretching stops emotional pain. It lets endorphins reach opiate receptors. But all stimulation of the opiate receptors is habit-forming, so watch out. I can’t have you checking out like a cutter.” She holds out her left anterior forearm with a row of parallel knife scars. “I was a cutter, myself. Pretty scars on a foolish girl.” She bows her head as she withdraws her arm.

Wow. I never would have picked her out as a cutter. James, maybe. But if yoga works for him, I’m going to be the happiest person on Earth. Which reminds me…

“I’m worried about that autistic boy,” I whisper to Vedanshi and begin searching for Maxwell’s phone in his coat on the carpet between us. I find it and can’t believe it has two bars. I punch in the old woman’s number and put her on speaker.

She answers. “I almost threw this thing away.”

“What’s your name, Ma’am?”

“I was afraid you’d drowned,” she says. “Yes, yes, my name. I’m vaarShagaNiipútro. Please call me Vaar.”

Vedanshi puts a hand over her mouth.

“I’m not with Frameshift,” Vaar says, “but I need you in my laboratory. I wasn’t expecting to get old just yet. My mind is fading.”

One of James’ songs plays to me: “Get home. I just want to make you young. You used to be so alive.”

“What’s your autism study about?” I ask.

“Just a second, dear, I’m double parked.”

Her cigar-shaped craft shoots up from the ground. The Ganga follows, and in seconds we’re stationary in near space with no bars on Maxwell’s phone. But I still hear her voice.

“The world is overrun by sociopaths,” she says. “I’m exploring the genetics of empathy, using the autism spectrum to isolate phenotype. I plan to heal sociopaths from the DNA up.”

“That’s ambitious.”

“I’ve been correlating loci to behavior for a long while,” she says, “but it’s gotten complex. I’m not the chess player I once was. And I’ve never had your gift for The Language.”

“Vaar, you’re infecting children. Why would anyone help you?”

“This is bigger than all of us. If humanity doesn’t move beyond war, we’ll soon be vestigial.”

“I have no argument with that, but…”

“I have contact with three sociopaths who happen to run nuclear nations. One of these men in particular would welcome the complete annihilation of our species. It might be worth eliminating him, but beneath him are endless layers of similar minds eager to seize power at the drop of a pulse. Someone has to re-write the genes of war.”

“But I think you’d have to be a sociopath yourself to treat children the way you do.”

“No. I’m not one of them,” she says. “I’ll admit I can’t remember the last time I had an honest emotion. But I’m not a sociopath. I conduct my affairs on principle, not some dark desire. And the damage I do is reversible.”

“In lab mice maybe, but not in children. Don’t you see the emotional scars you’re leaving?”

“Sometimes the lessor of two evils is all we have, dear.”

Vedanshi closes her eyes and suddenly we’re inside the ancient ship, hovering near the cavernous front, looking down at an old woman alone at a large desk with a holographic monitor showing the blue Earth surrounded by orbiting debris. She stands, scratches her head and looks in our direction but doesn’t seem to see us. Her baggy gray pants ride high, held up by a brown leather belt, the likes of which I’ve passed over in thrift shops. Her sweater hangs uneven and yellowed by age. A large safety-pin holds it together in front. Stringy gray hair spills out beneath a green skull-cap to reach her shoulders. The back of her head is…

“She’s a stretch head,” Vedanshi whispers.

A chill touches my spine.

“Vaar, if I should decide to help you, I would be in charge, not you.”

“That’s acceptable.”

“You’d have to follow my instructions like a rookie, in fact, beginning with the autistic children. Your first job would be to cure them.”

“You want me to pull the plug on seventy-five years of research,” she says. “I’m struggling to find any sense in that.”

“Of course you are. Wisdom requires logic and emotion. A person without empathy shouldn’t try to lead. There’s a rule of thumb for those who lack empathy: the end never justifies the means.”

“We both know that isn’t true.” She switches the phone to her right ear. “You’re not a child, why would you expect me to think like one?”

“To break the rule safely would require excellent judgement. You’ve proven you’re not capable of average judgement. It’s blunt, but I’m telling you the truth.”

“I suppose you might be.” Her shoulders slump. “I’ll comply with your orders.” She looks at the floor.

I feel adrenalin corrupting me.

“I won’t rule another human being,” I tell her, struggling against the euphoric seduction of power. I’ve read about it, but I haven’t experienced it since childhood. “If you have any free will or personhood left inside you, you’ll transform yourself into a trustworthy human being, starting with the autism you’ve created. Reverse it. Every child.”

“That shouldn’t take long.”

“How many kids are we talking about?” I ask.

“Six,” she says.

“Sociopaths always fear the truth. Even when it would help them. Lies are more comfortable. More controlling. You claim you’re not a sociopath, but you behave like one. Becoming trustworthy will be the toughest thing you’ve ever attempted.”

“Eighty-nine,” she says.

“That’s believable. I suggest you get to work, then.”

Vedanshi leans over and whispers in my ear. “We’ve broken her encryption. She’s infected eighty-nine children.”

“Does this mean you’ll help me?” Vaar asks.

“We’ll see. Hang on to your phone and I’ll call you when I’m convinced you’re capable of change.”

I hang up and watch her face. A look of resolve comes over it. She squares her shoulders, takes off the skullcap and winds her hair around her elongated head.

The Ganga exits her craft and moves away.

“Something’s cloaked down there,” Vedanshi says. The outside colors shift toward purple. “Whatever it is, it’s tapping zero point.” The colors change again. “There.” She points at a black triangle…

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“Let’s send out a foo fighter,” she says and chuckles.

“You’ve read about World War II?” I ask. “Were those things real?”

“Yes, it seems obvious under the circumstances. The real question is, where did they come from?”

A ball of blue-gray light flies out from beneath our feet and heads for the triangle. We move closer and suddenly we have MRI vision. Two people are inside, standing like statues behind their chairs. One of them holds an index finger in the face of the other, frozen in argument.

“Time dilation,” Vedanshi says. “They’ve been slowed to a standstill. I must have looked about like that… for a number of millennia.”

I had suspected the triangle over Arizona was not alien.

“They look like skeletons,” James says. “You sure they’re alive?”

“Yes,” Vedanshi says. “If we sat here for twenty years, The Ganga would eventually detect a slight eyelid movement. Part of a blink.”

“Are they from your era?” I ask her.

“I’m not sure,” she says.

We move around the triangle to see into it from various perspectives. On the back of the left chair there’s a round design with a star. I have to squint to be sure I’m seeing words. Several of them form a circle. In English!

“Chief of Staff — United States Air Force.”

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M. Talmage Moorehead

Yo…

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Rage (Chapter 5) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organism existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.” Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species.

total_eclipse-1920x1200

The moon’s size and distance were selected so that its silhouette would precisely cover the sun during an eclipse, at least sometimes.

Call it blind luck. But what are the odds?

If the duck billed platypus were known only as a drawing in Egypt…

Could science tolerate more than a “myth” about a mammal who laid eggs, offered milk but no nipples to her hatchlings, hunted under water with eyes and ears closed using electroreception unknown to other mammals, stabbing her victims with poisonous spikes on her hind legs, then grinding her food with rocks in a toothless duck bill only to swallow it into a GI tract with no stomach?

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These uncomfortable facts caused the skeptical elite of yesterday to insist that she was a hoax.

Just as we assume the bird-man of ancient Egypt was religious fiction.

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But what if we are wrong?

The inconvenient truth about the platypus is that she screams of intelligent design. Not only of the original coding of a supreme mind but also of genetic tampering.

When new research pulls back the curtains on this duckish mosaic with in-tact blocks of DNA spliced from diverse species – who will hold the robes of the outraged thought police as they stone the young heretics, boycott the journal that published their work and fire its editor?

I refuse.

Rage, like denial, is a decision, but only if free will exists. Otherwise the Queen of Hearts was temperate in shouting, “Off with their heads!”

It’s fifteen feet down to the street. Not much traffic. My lips are sticky with brine.

When that man below us kicked my brother to the ground I wanted blood, but now the words that Nietzsche hated come to mind:

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

The Nazarene.

A certain Buddhist Priest also haunts me:

A

nymph

in pale feet

rides the opera

to a spiral staircase.

Lightning hair, dark voices

strike within her yielding gall.

Silk jinn brass restrains the lip strings

 beneath her tears that fall and glare inside

a secret box.

My girl of Utsuro-bune.

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Ojiichan wrote this at a recital where I sang “Un bel di vedremo.” My father translated it from the Japanese. That was three days before the accident on the Pali. Forget that now.

In the legend of Utsuro-bune, a red-headed woman landed in Japan in 1803 inside a “boat” that resembled a rice cooker with windows and strange writing on the walls inside. She spoke no Japanese, clutched a wooden box, and as the story’s living soul, she showed respect to the Japanese fishermen.

This is why her legend survives.

In this opaque neo-infinity, science is forever young and speculative. To forget this would be disrespectful and short-sighted.

“Remote viewing of long-term goals” would be a dissertation worth defending.

But ruling elites say the average human chooses short-term pleasure over long-term riches. Thus we need laws against natural selection. A childproof world.

Complex problems rarely have such simple solutions. Here’s the picture of that principle…

11seung1-master1050-v3

Dr. Seung’s crowd-sourcing of neuroscience recruits us to map the soul. With our help, every microscopic neuronal connection will be recorded in three dimensions, someday re-created and reanimated.

The handshake of science and religion has always been immortality.

And we thought the ancient Egyptians were primitive with their mummies, that silly religious talk and all the “incidental” preservation of royal DNA.

Who looks silly today?

So if natural selection brings genetic wisdom, why hamper it with childproof laws? Do the secular elites know something they’re not telling?

Plenty.

Perhaps a hand full of them have even noticed that logic requires a Prime Source of our genetic commands, a foundation for trust, and access beyond space to allow a fleeting choice of love over hate.

This choice comes to me now…

To spare this guy who’s kicking my brother, or to fight him.

The way I’m feeling, I would crush him easily.

That’s not logical, I’ll admit. Strange things happen to me when I get angry.

I fought Moody and thought I had defeated an enemy. Instead, I murdered James’ closest childhood friend and lost my innocence on a kitchen floor covered in my own blood.

The carpet is damp beneath me. I’m shivering and sweating. It’s a fever.

Vedanshi shifts and sits on her heels again. “If they recognize your face, the old woman will wonder how you got here from Washington. You need a disguise.” She reaches into the deck and pulls out a bra, then a dangling sock which she hands to me. “You should put this over your head, I think.”

I put it on quickly. It smashes my nose but I can see through it.

“If the man has a gun, The Ganga can disable it,” she says. “Theoretically, I mean… We’ve never actually done it.”

Maxwell rises to one knee and encounters the ceiling of a UFO with his head. “I got your six,” he says.

“No,” I tell him. “Better you stay here. You’ll scare the guy.”

“So you’re not going to hurt him?” he asks.

“Not if I don’t have to.”

“Good,” Vedanshi says. “There’s a break in the traffic. Scoot under a car so no one sees the decloaking.”

The Ganga dips to street level. I crawl out of its cloak and roll under the car that’s parallel parked behind the Prius. I reach out to see if my hand disappears into The Ganga. It doesn’t, so I scoot out into the street, stand and move between the pseudo-cop and my brother.

The man steps back and pulls a gun, almost dropping it in the process. “What’s with the mask?” he asks.

There’s a wedding band on his left ring finger and cowboy boots below a sagging uniform that would fit a much taller, thicker man.

“Tell me why she’s cursing the dumb Haole in the cop suit,” I say to him.

His jaw falls open but no words come out.

I glance behind me at my brother. “Did she say to break this boy’s knees?”

“She sent you?” the man asks, his forehead lined.

I nod, fold my arms then shake my head at him. “No one can reason with her when she’s like this. You’re a family man, so I’ll try to get you off the island before she snaps. No reason you should die.” I look at his boots. “What is it, Texas?”

“I’m from…”

“Shut up. Let me think.” It’s an uncomfortable show. I don’t really need time to think.

He purses his lips.

I stare at him for a moment. “Here’s your plan. Fly home, get your family and disappear. That’s your best chance.”

His eyes open white all around. “She’s that mad?”

“I haven’t seen her like this before. I’ll take this kid. You need to vanish.”

“How was I supposed to know he’d go straight to the cops?”

“You’re right. There’s no way anyone could have predicted that. But listen, whining won’t help you.” I reach up and fasten a button on his uniform.

His shoulders slump and he tucks his gun away.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “Maybe there’s something good I can tell her about you. Got anything?”

He stutters.

I tap his chest with my fingers and hold out an open palm. “Cuffs?”

He takes a key from his pocket, gives it to me, then ducks into the driver’s seat of the Prius. “Tell her thank you,” he says. “My son’s showing signs of empathy.” Tears well up in his eyes.

“Empathy’s good. I’ll give her your message word-for-word. Is your boy getting the I.M. injections?”

“No, I.V. Some DNA thing. I never get it right… Menthol Asian?”

“DNA demethylation,” I suggest.

“Yeah, that’s it.” He squints up trying to find my eyes through the sock I’m wearing.

“Look, just tell her she’s welcome to kill me. Tell her I’ll do it myself, in fact… If she’ll just please, please keep treating my son. That’s all I want. I’ll do anything.”

“Don’t think that way. Suicide would make things worse. For the rest of your son’s life.” I can’t believe I wanted to hurt this poor guy. “Give me your phone number.”

He reads a number off the back of his cell phone.

“Go home,” I tell him. “Get packed. Get ready to run, but wait for my call. I will call you. Whether I can cool her down or not.”

“Thank you.” He reaches out, squeezes my wrist, pushes a button on the car’s dashboard, then rolls a few feet away before the gas engine comes to life and takes him out into the morning traffic.

I turn to James. “Cameras are watching. You don’t know me.”

He chuckles. “You look like a bank robber.”

He seems stable on his feet. “Can you walk?” I ask him.

“Sure,” he says. “The guy kicks like a girl.”

“Why does that dumb remark make me want to hug you?” I move behind him and push him along the sidewalk ahead of me. We walk south for about forty seconds, then take a left into an alley and come out behind the buildings into a parking lot big enough for The Ganga. Ojiichan’s Ford sits behind the police station two buildings to the left. I take the cuffs off James and try to say that we’re about to meet an invisible thinking machine, but he’s not listening.

“You were going to drown yourself,” he says. “I got that feeling back. Where you basically don’t want to be alive.”

“I’m sorry, but you don’t have my permission to kill yourself. You’ve got to put Skullcage on the map and carry on the Fujiwara name.”

“Yeah, I know. I really do know. But it’s just that sometimes…” he looks down, “I really don’t care.”

I gently slap his face. “I don’t want to hear the demons right now.”

He’s a little startled but doesn’t say anything.

“Maxwell and a girl named Vedanshi fished me out of the ocean. They don’t know about my leukemia.”

“There’s got to be some kind of treatment for that,” James says.

“There’s not,” I tell him.

His face is so lost. But only for a moment. Suddenly he’s himself again.

“What just happened there?” I ask him. “In you head.”

He looks up and to his left. “I don’t know.”

“Whatever you just did, it’s the secret to a good life. Try to remember it.”

I tug on his left arm and get him to crouch next to me out of camera’s view beside a parked car. We get flat on our stomachs, just to be sure. Vedanshi’s face appears inches off the ground in the parking space beside us. Her head is detached and floating upside-down with her hair on the asphalt.

“Coast is clear,” she says and vanishes, chin first, hair last.

“That’s Vedanshi,” I say.

“OK, that just happened. We both saw it.” James goes into a dense calm and then comes out of it rubbing his eyes. “She’s hot, isn’t she?”

“Yeah. And she’s inside an invisible machine. We’re going to crawl into it now. Parts of your body will disappear on the way in. No big deal, right?”

“Disappear? Nah… really?”

“Don’t freak out on me. Just go. And don’t stand up for the cameras.”

I push him. He moves forward and disappears as if crawling through invisible UFO hulls was routine to him. Complete confidence. That’s James 24/7. Unless he happens to call you late at night from jail. I follow after him and take my place by Vedanshi. James sits on the other side of Maxwell.

“Tight,” James says looking around at the acorn pattern on the Indian rug. He reaches in front of Maxwell and me to shake Vedanshi’s hand. “I’m James. It’s beyond amazing to meet you. You’re absolutely gorgeous, you know.”

“Thank you.” She blushes and shakes his hand. “I’m Vedanshi, The Role of the Sacred Knowledge.”

“The role of… That’s the meaning of Vedanshi?” he asks.

“Yes.”

“That’s got to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” James glances at me then thumps Maxwell on the back with an open palm. “Thank you, dude. You look just like your Facebook pictures.” He looks at Vedanshi again. “Thank you both for getting Johanna here to save my ass. I owe you guys… my life, probably. That was one unhappy cop.” James looks at me. “How’d you do that with him?”

“I don’t know, it’s the first time I’ve been that deceitful. I feel like I need to wash my mouth out and take a shower.” I peel the sock off my face, pull it up off my head, then look at Vedanshi. “What do you make of DNA demethylation to treat autism? Could you hear him at all?”

“Every word,” she says. “In the River I’ve noticed the old woman likes to mull over the language of a virus she seems to associate with Autism. It methylates DNA. Epigenetics, you would probably call it.” The Ganga rises ten feet with no tells on Vedanshi’s face. “Would all of you like to stay at my place tonight? It’s not really mine, but… Well, it sort of is now.” She smiles but her eyes are distant.

“Definitely,” James says.

Maxwell nods and I say I’ll do anything that doesn’t involve the old woman. But actually I’m worried about the guy I sent home. And his autistic son. What have I done? I should probably call the old lady and fix this.

“I don’t guess we can do a noodle run in this thing,” James says. “I’m starving.”

“I’ve got veggies in the garden,” Vedanshi says. “Things are growing.” She notices the bra on the rug beside her legs and sneaks it through the deck beyond the edge of the carpet. “James,” she says with a glint, “lean forward as far as you can and look down.”

“Don’t do it,” I tell him.

He leans forward and as the parking lot shrinks out of sight and the Hawaiian Islands zip down to dots in the Pacific Ocean, he calmly says, “Jeepers, Mrs. Cleaver.”

I shake my head.

“You were supposed to be startled and impressed,” Vedanshi says.

“I am.” He draws a deep breath and lets it out with a whisper, “God, I hope this isn’t a dream.”

“It’s not,” Maxwell says, as South America rushes toward us and an island off the coast of Chile and Peru comes closer.

easter_island_map

“Rapa Nui,” I say as the island’s triangular shape evolves beneath a flock of small cumulus clouds.

isla-de-pascua (1)

I know Vedanshi is not Mahani Teave, but why is she taking us to Easter Island?

We descend and the ancient Moai give us palpable respect as though they’d been waiting eons to greet us.

Moai_Statues_Easter_Island_10

The southern end of the island comes close, but we move past it, beyond the two tiny rock islands and into the crystal water. With the hull cloaked we’re gliding forward under the ocean in a saucer-shaped bubble. Visibility is sixty-five feet plus.

“Vedanshi,” James says, “I’m sixteen. How old are you?”

“Sixteen,” she says, “not counting quantum stasis.”

James grins at Maxwell. “If this is a dream, buddy, I’m going to be pissed at you.”

They both laugh as we head straight at a rock wall without slowing.

M. Talmage Moorehead

Yo…

If you want, please read this story from page one (beginning with Johanna’s unorthodox prologue). It starts here.

If you like my fiction and want to be notified when each of my novels is done (possibly before the next ice age) please join my list here. (No spam or sharing of your info – ever.) You can download my e-book on fiction writing while you’re at it.

Also, please email a friend with my URL: http://www.storiform.com.

Thanks, I appreciate your generous help. 🙂

Talmage


Buoyancy (Chapter 3) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

I’m standing on the spine of the South Jetty as the tide goes out. I’m far enough from the shore that I won’t be able to swim in if I have second thoughts about suicide.

To the west the ocean horizon is cloudless but vague in the pre-dawn twilight. To the south the beach stretches on forever and the inland hills merge with a blue-gray hydrocarbon haze. The waves below are immature things that belch up abruptly from the black depths and spit white foam across the dark volcanic boulders that form the steep sides of the jetty.

I keep starting to write in my buoyancy journal. In my head, of course. Everything’s there. Every word I’ve ever read or written, the reams of base-pair sequences from work, and every detail of every day I’ve breathed air since I was 23 months old.

When things get me down I make a list of the reasons why they shouldn’t.

First off, I shouldn’t feel bad about what I’m doing here because I’m defending James. That’s honorable. Second, I won’t be lying in a hospital bed with tubes in my veins and everyone feeling guilty for not dropping everything and sitting bored stiff with me until I die.

My buoyancy lists are never long, but they’re powerful against depression. I read them slowly, one word at a time, over and over until my subconscious mind, the big math wizard who hardly speaks English, understands. And I feel better. It’s like magic. I want you to try it.

I’m going to leave my boots on, I guess. But I really love these things. They’re size five, extra wide. Hard to find. I better take them off so someone else can use them.

I almost forgot, Ojiichan’s chopsticks are still in my hair. They’re antiques, engraved with the Japanese character for poison – I don’t know why. I pull them out of my hair, take off my boots and then lay the chopsticks sideways across the toes. I hope no one steps on them.

It’s fifteen feet down to the busy water – surging and receding. I’m not afraid of heights, but I’ve always been chicken about jumping off high-dives. It’s the falling. I hate that feeling. Plus I’m a terrible swimmer. My body is too dense. I’m not all that skinny, so it really doesn’t make sense.

OK, just go. Jump in.

My knees are bent. This is it.

I’m holding my breath… Not sure why I’d be doing that. It’s kind of the opposite of why I’m here.

Now I’m over-thinking.

A truck’s coming on Jetty Road. I should do this before it gets here.

Come on, Johanna. Now!

It’s not a truck, it’s a Hummer. No, it can’t be Maxwell.

I told James about him last week. A guy I met at work. A child psychologist who deals exclusively with depressed kids. Once or twice a month Maxwell shows up at work as early as I do and corners me for small talk.

I suck at small talk.

“How ’bout those Seahawks!”

Forget it.

How ’bout Max Planck? Energy only comes in small digital packets: Planck’s constant. If that’s not weird to you – if that doesn’t turn your world upside-down, I’m afraid we’re different.

Earth: Eggheads and Jocks.

Maxwell’s both. So is James in his own way. I’m just an egghead. Though I do push weights and use the treadmill. And I can lift a tall stack of books, let me tell you.

Talmage thinks I do too much telling and not enough showing. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt my feelings.

The sky is neuromancer-gray now, light enough to show the color of the Hummer which is Army Green. That means it is him. It’s fricking Maxwell Mason. Doing a hundred miles an hour on that tiny road. His life’s probably in more danger than mine at the moment.

Slow down, Max!

It’s a pretty straight road. No traffic at all since that Harley. Max should be fine.

No, I don’t believe that either.

He’s slowing down a little. This is good. Now he’s skidding through the parking lot. This is bad. Dust everywhere. His front tires bunny hop a log and finally he stops.

Man, this is going to be embarrassing if I don’t even have the nerve to jump. People are going to say I was trying to get attention. I hate it when people say that about girls who try to kill themselves and fail.

Nobody’s going to say that about me.

I jump.

I take a breath on the way down and feel like a hypocrite for it.

For a split second it’s good to hit the water because it stops that lost-viscera feeling of falling. But under the water the world is black and colder than anything I’ve ever felt.

My arms and legs are kicking on their own. I try to stop them but they won’t stop. I try to make myself breath water but my head is pounding with the cold. It’s like a cluster headache or a good poke in the skull with a screwdriver. I can’t think of much else.

My head breaks the surface. The jetty rocks are three feet away and covered with white barnacles and brown mussels that look like dead incisors. I move away from them, not wanting to be a shredded mess at my funeral.

My arms are weakening from the cold. I finally make them stop paddling, and then force my legs to stop flailing.

I sink.

I blow all my air out and prepare to inhale. The salt water will flow into my lungs. Osmosis will do terrible things to my red cells. My coughing and gag reflexes will be overwhelmed.

I want to breathe. The desire is growing with every heartbeat. It’s just that I don’t want to breathe water.

Yes, breathe water.

Something grabs my arm and pulls. I’m on my back looking up at the sky with an arm across my chest. It’s a thick arm with Maxwell’s watch on the wrist. I gasp for air and it fills my lungs with the greatest joy I’ve ever known.

There’s a surface beneath us. It rises and lifts us out of the water. I’m on hands and knees looking over the edge of a round, silent thing that’s exactly the color of the sky and the texture of the stingray I touched at Maui Ocean Center on my ninth birthday. A circular opening appears beside me and a female voice with the vaguest Indian accent says, “Come inside quickly, both of you. I’ve never been so worried in my life.” A human hand reaches out and touches the skin on my left forearm and rubs it briskly. “You must be freezing. Let’s get you warmed up.” I lean over the edge of the opening and look down to see her face. I’m startled. It’s Mahani Teave, the renowned concert pianist of Easter Island.

Mahani Teave

My first thought, stupid as this sounds, is to ask for her autograph. I own all Mahani’s CD’s. She’s amazing. I’m a pianist myself.

The pictures on her CD’s flash by and I make comparisons. This girl’s freckles are in the wrong places.

“Who are you?” I ask and start coughing so loud and hard I can’t hear her answer.

M. Talmage Moorehead

Yo…

If you want, please read this story from page one (beginning with Johanna’s unorthodox prologue). It starts here.

If you like my fiction and want to be notified when each of my novels is done (possibly before the next ice age) please join my list here. (No spam or sharing of your info – ever.) You can download my e-book on fiction writing while you’re at it.

Also, please email a friend with my URL: http://www.storiform.com.

Thanks, I appreciate your generous help. 🙂

Talmage