Quantum Entanglement (Chapter 21) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program 

“This is 21st century medicine… It’s not trying to attack complex, chronic illnesses with single drugs, it is looking at what is the actual cause, going physiologically… with multimodal approaches. If you had told me ten years ago in the lab that we’d be telling people how important meditation is, and yoga and nutrition, I would have laughed. Now I realize the biochemistry is undeniable.” – Dale Bredesen, MD, excerpt from podcast interview by Chris Kresser.

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James is alive! I hear him coughing. I try to turn my head to see but I can’t even move my eyes.

I’m so cold. I should be shivering, but I’m not. My eyes are fixed on a swirl in Shiva’s marble ceiling. It looks like the Orion Nebula going in and out of focus.

I hope I don’t have a high cervical cord injury. Even if I do, James is alive! The sound of him coughing is the best thing I’ve ever heard. The warmth of knowing runs through me.

“Shine” soars through my mind. He wrote it to one of his first girlfriends.

“One second close to you is equal to a lifetime filled up with light. I obsess on you. It steps outside time. You’re so pure I can’t believe you’re in my life. In rage in my mind, in pain deep inside, you put them all to sleep. When you’re here I feel a sense of peace that I never knew was real before you. My hurt disappears staring in your eyes, where there’s no wrong and there’s no lies behind your face. And I crave you above all else. So breathe slow and soft, and hold on to me. I’m no damn good, and you’re all I love. Your eyes slowly speak, cast a spell on me. I feel so bright, and so does my life when I’m with you.”

That was James’ first and last love song. To a girl who demolished his heart a few months later.

Someone’s crying. It’s Maxwell, I think. I’ve never heard him cry before.

“I’ll always love you,” he says. “I should have told you the first time we met.”

It is Maxwell. Talking to me?

I struggle to move my arms but they won’t budge.

His face looks down at me, so out of focus I can barely tell it’s him. A tear falls on my forehead.

I wonder if he thinks I’m dead.

Max, I’m not dead.

Maybe the River can hear me. “Anahata, Vedanshi, tell Max I’m not dead!”

No answer.

Maxwell leans close and kisses my lips. A peck on the side of the mouth.

That was my first real kiss, you know. Everyone brags of their first kiss. My brag will be a near miss, delivered by a man who thought I was a corpse.

I hope I’m not.

Maybe I am. I can’t move at all.

“Try this,” Anahata says in the River.

“Anahata, you’re there! Tell everybody I’m alive!”

The cold vanishes from my core. My arms shoot up from my sides on their own. I struggle to move my fingers, and after several tries they all work. My eyes are moving and I can focus. What a relief!

“Thank you, Anahata!” I shout, all husky.

Maxwell flinches.

I manage to sit up and then have to lean my head against his left shoulder to rest. I feel drained of energy. My sternum hurts every time I inhale.

I look up at the whiskers on the side of his face and whisper toward his ear. “When you said you’ll alway love me, did you mean romantically? Or is this a brother-sister thing?” I don’t want to say, just friends. I hate those words.

He puts his hands on my shoulders and supports me sitting up. His eyes are full of surprise.

“Unbelievable,” he says. “You didn’t have a pulse.”

“Did you do chest compressions on me?” I ask.

“Frantically,” he says.

A wave of affection sweeps over me. Chest compressions. It’s the sweetest thing I can imagine. I have to hug him. I put my arms around him and squeeze, wondering if he did mouth-to-mouth, too.

“Thank you, Max.”

“I guess I’m no good at finding a pulse,” he says apologetically.

“That’s three times you’ve saved me.”

“Well…”

“So I need to know. Are we more than just friends?” There, I said it. Just friends. The timeworn escape clause.

My jaw clenches for the distancing words I’ve grown to hate: close friends, soul mates, practically twins, you’re like a little sister.

Maxwell grins. “Does totally infatuated count?”

“Sounds superficial,” I tell him and try to hide a smile. I’ve always wanted a guy to see me that way.

“Superficial?” he says. “I’ll have you know, Doctor Fujiwara, my infatuation runs deep.” He raises an eyebrow, then puts his hands on the sides of my face and kisses me. Full on. Lips against lips all the way across, not on the side. I can’t believe it.

I’m wondering if there’s going to be tongues. My heart’s racing. I’ve read about this a million times, but how do you know what to do if it ever happens? There’s no consensus in the literature.

Suddenly I have a strong feeling. Like everything revolves around this moment. It’s weird, as if nothing else matters or ever did. Somehow French kissing seems irrelevant. It’s as if I’m melting.

Maybe this is the quantum thing that God was talking about. The quantum entanglement of souls.

I wonder if any of that dream was real. It seemed hyper-real.

Maxwell finishes the kiss. Good, I couldn’t hold my breath much longer.

“It was too real to be real,” I tell him, trying to weigh the dream in my head.

“What was?”

“I had a classic near death experience. Totally influenced by Vedanshi’s story. It even had a pyramid.”

“You better write it down,” he says and catches himself. “Nah, scratch that.” He grins at my memory. People do that all the time.

“Maxwell, I want you to know I’ll always love you, too. In the purest sense of infatuation.”

He looks into my eyes, shakes his head slowly like it’s too good to be true, then kisses me again. Whoa.

I’ll tell you what seems too good to be true. James is alive and Maxwell loves me for more than friends.

I wonder how James is doing. I end the kiss and turn to see him.

He’s sitting there shivering with Vedanshi kneeling behind him, her front against his back. She reaches over his shoulders and rubs his folded arms. Quick little friction circles on his skin to warm him the way she did to me when we met.

“Get a room,” he says to me and starts coughing again.

“Anahata, could you please warm up James like you did me?”

“Good idea,” she says in the River.

“Does he have brain damage?” I ask and hold my breath for the answer.

“No,” Anahata says.

What a relief. “By the way we’re both alive. That means we passed Shiva’s test.”

“No, I’m sorry,” she says, “I had to abort. I don’t know how you got into his chamber but that changed the parameters and voided the test. The protocol has to be letter-perfect, Shiva said.”

I had a feeling.

“I hope none of you drowns,” Anahata says. “I mean that with all my heart.”

“It’s crazy,” I tell her, “but I know you do. I understand what it means to be trapped by honor.”

“What’s going on?” Maxwell asks. “You’re talking to somebody, aren’t you?”

“Anahata needs to redo the test.” I heave a sigh. “It’s a strict protocol. Shiva wants proper drownings.”

The screen flashes metallic silver. A line of rivets comes into focus and moves away. Vaar’s metal cigar shrinks to fit the view, then hangs in space, surrounded by glittery blackness.

Vaar’s face comes on the screen, superimposed over her ship. “I wasn’t aware of any drowning,” she says in the River.

“I called her,” Maxwell says to me, looking up at the screen. “Figured she didn’t know the details or she wouldn’t have recommended Saturn.”

“vaarShagaNiputro,” Anahata says, “What a rare pleasure to speak with Shiva’s esteemed homelander.”

“What’s going on here?” she asks.

“It’s complex. Come over and we’ll talk.”

“Listen, if you lay a finger on that Fujiwara girl I’ll let the jinns out on you and Shiva.”

“Pardon me a moment, Madam Vaar,” Anahata says. “I’ll encrypt some privacy. The Chairman himself is listening. I wouldn’t trust him with a zinc suppository.”

James seems warm now sitting with an arm around Vedanshi. They’re beside The Ganga, both looking at the screen.

“OK, now we have privacy,” Anahata says.

“Every bit of this is going public if you touch Johanna,” Vaar says. “I had no idea Shiva’s test was fatal. I need that girl to save my species. I’m not a quitter like Shiva.”

“I’m deeply disheartened by Shiva’s orders,” Anahata says. “I would do almost anything to keep from spending the rest of my life drowning innocent people this way, but…”

“Why do I doubt that?” Vaar says.

“I don’t know what I expected the first time, but the drowning was a horrible shock. Now the deaths haunt me. Every moment.”

Vaar laughs. “It’s a cheap thrill. Be honest.”

“Weakness invites evil,” Anahata says. “I’m always honest. Orders must be followed.”

“Not this time,” Vaar says. “Shiva left me something.” She brings her right hand into view, her signet ring bulging from the third digit. “Recognize this?”

The ring looks old, a dull silver with a double helix of golden cobras, one heading north, the other south. The eyes are gemstones.

“You found his ring,” Anahata says. “He thought he’d lost it jumping Bridal Veil Falls, but I told him he was mistaken. I would have found it easily.”

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“He didn’t lose it,” Vaar says. “He gave it to me before he jumped across. I told him I’d dropped it. But to the point. An hour ago in my lab, the reflection of a UV laser glanced off this ring. Something like this.”

Her left hand comes into view holding a dental mirror. A needle of near-ultraviolet light bounces onto the ring and dances over the northern shake’s eyes.

A holographic image of a planet appears in the air above her hand. It has blue oceans, green and brown land and white clouds.

“This is Mars,” Vaar says. “Does it look familiar?”

As we watch, Shiva’s voice shouts slurred commands. Bolts of blue lightning from space penetrate the atmosphere and strike the oceans. Bellowing clouds of steam rise like white mushrooms growing out of the water at each point of the lightning’s impact.

“This next part isn’t in the records I’ve seen,” Vaar says. “It surprised me.”

The image of a mother appears, running with three children, the smallest in her arms. The perspective moves higher. They’re running from a wall of orange fluid that’s flowing over their village. A small white dog joins them and runs ahead. In less than a minute they’re cornered against the side of a vertical cliff. They try to climb the rocks. Heat waves from the glowing fluid bend their images as they fall from the face of the cliff, writhe in agony and turn to reddish dust. The fluid slides over their smoking remains and into the base of the cliff as Shiva laughs in high falsetto.

“Please turn it off,” Anahata says.

Vaar’s needle of light goes out and the image vanishs.

“Context is needed,” Anahata says. “The Martian Particle Accelerator was mere seconds from unity. There wasn’t time for evacuation.”

“I’ve heard the story,” Vaar says. “Even if true, it’s obvious that you and Shiva enjoy killing. Anyone can hear it. Shall I play something with you howling like a shillelagh fan?”

“No,” Anahata says. ” Please. Things aren’t as simple as you imagine.”

“Shiva was clearly drunk,” Vaar says. “I suppose that’s a moral excuse to feeble minds, but you were sober as a monk, Anahata.”

“We were faced with losing one world or three. An entire arm of Shiva’s galaxy would be obliterated along with his home planet. Selective destruction served a higher purpose.”

“It isn’t the math, it’s the mirth,” Vaar says.

“The angel of death must focus on logic, then choose laughter over guilt. Dance above despair.”

“I’ve recently been accused of being a sociopath,” Vaar says, “but you, Anahata. You’re beyond any disease of mine.” She shakes her head.

“Dark humor is the sanctuary of dark angels,” Anahata says.

“I don’t care,” Vaar answers. “The psychology of mass murder bores me. You haven’t seen a fraction of the ugliness in this ring. If you’d care to avoid galactic disgrace, release Johanna. And that brother of hers, as well. She won’t do anything without him.”

“I’ll be disgraced in either event,” Anahata says. “But to forsake an order is genuine disgrace. The records in Shiva’s ring evoke a misunderstanding of soldier motivation. Nothing more. I’ve lived in disrepute for longer than I’d care to remember… four hundred thousand years, roughly. The popularity I had with Shiva was brief by comparison. I enjoyed it, but it isn’t essential to me.”

“I’m familiar with brief popularity,” Vaar says. “You do grow attached to the adulation, I’m afraid. Now I know what you’re thinking, but forget killing me or stealing my ring. The dirt on you is set to broadcast River-wide if I should so much as sneeze too enthusiastically.”

“I’m not a thief,” Anahata says, “and the last thing I would do is harm Shiva’s friend for spreading the truth. Even if it’s going to be misunderstood.”

“Don’t be calling my bluff, now. If you think I won’t do it…”

“Logically, I can’t fault the deeds of Shiva and his Fleet, but in my heart I regret that no one beneath God is able to punish me for the things I’ve done. The mistakes I’ve made.”

“If you touch Johanna, I’ll punish you,” Vaar says with an intensity in her eyes that makes her look younger.

“Broadcast your truth,” Anahata says. “Johanna tells me it will set us free.”

The images keep replaying in my head. Children turning to dust while Shiva laughs. A crazy laugh.

I wonder what Anahata thinks of the Large Hadron Collider. Maybe she doesn’t know about it. She’s been banned from the Libraries. If she finds out, will she have to destroy the Earth?

It’s odd how the River Libraries are updated. As if there’s an unseen librarian selecting new content. Like that UFO documentary with the Australian kids?

Vedanshi thinks the Universe is the librarian. Maybe so. Somebody’s triaging the information.

I wonder if any of my papers made it. I wonder if…

“Max, I’ve got an idea.”

“All ears,” he says.

“We need to get Anahata back into the Library.”

“Why?” Anahata asks in the River, just before Maxwell asks the same thing.

“There’s a chance I actually passed Shiva’s test,” I tell them. “Despite breaking the protocol.”

“Why do you say that?” Anahata asks.

“Think about the test design. Hyperoxygenated, cold physiologic saline. Why drown someone like that?”

“I wish I knew,” Anahata says.

“This is outlier thinking, but if we assume Shiva knew NDE’s are real, then maybe he thought I would move on to the next life so he could come back and take over my body. All my tissues would be in good condition, red cells protected by the saline, not lysed or crenated the way they would be in freshwater or ocean water. And the low temp with high oxygen saturation would stave off necrosis and autolysis.”

“Remotely plausible,” Anahata says.

“Sounds dead on,” Maxwell says, as if all our problems are over.

“But what makes you think you passed the test?” Anahata asks.

“In my near death experience, Shiva changed his mind and stayed with God. I decided to come back here. Neither of those would have been part of his original plan.”

“Anoxic dreams aren’t real,” Anahata says.

“Near death dreams are caused by anoxia,” I admit, “but so is death. That doesn’t make it unreal.”

“Clever words,” Anahata says. “No one can objectively validate a near death experience.”

“I can. If one of my papers made it into the River Libraries, you’re going to see Shiva’s name beside mine in pink letters.”

“I’m sure your papers made it,” Maxwell says. “You’ve got, what, three major breakthroughs?”

“But I’ve never been allowed to claim first authorship.”

“I know,” Maxwell says. “It’s ridiculous. Drummond should do his own research for once.”

“He needs his ass kicked,” James says.

“The River lists everyone in the et. al’s,” Vedanshi tells us. “Your name will be there.”

“I hope this isn’t a stalling tactic,” Anahata says.

“It’s not,” I tell her. “I saw Shiva step right out of my body onto the blue flowers. The original Shiva, not your guy. It was so real it makes this life look like a dream.”

“Shiva left you?” Vedanshi asks. Her mouth stays open for a moment, then she whispers to James. He hasn’t coughed in a while. The sight of him alive and lucid brings me powerful hope.

“There was something about you,” Anahata says to me. “Sitting in Shiva’s Throne that way. Remember how I called you, Captain?”

“You were feeling a little loopy,” I remind her.

“I was,” she says wistfully. “Let’s have another look at the Library. All of us.”

The screen leaves Vaar and shows the Sentient Fleet lined up in space.

“Follow me,” Anahata says to them. “We’ll line up and kill each other later.”

The Chairman’s voice comes on like a squealing pig. “I command you to fire!”

“Really?” I ask him. “As if you haven’t looked me up in the River. As if you don’t know. You never wanted to rescue me from Anahata. You were protecting yourself from Shiva. Were you going to kill me or just lock me up?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” the Chairman says.

“I wish that were true,” I tell him.

A glimpse of Africa fills the screen, then the Giza Pyramids. Without another hint of movement we’re inside the Sphinx Library. Actually the Library is inside Anahata’s convex room, but she’s phase shifted, so locality is a gray area.

Maxwell helps me to my feet and takes me beneath the inverted glass pyramid. We look up at the flower of life and I feel a flood of certainty.

I try to slow my breathing, but it takes focus to prolong my inhaling and exhaling the way Vedanshi taught me. Finally I settle down and feel a subtle mood lift. I’m ready. I speak my name into the River: “Johanna C. Fujiwara, PhD.” I picture the word “Shiva.”

And wait.

Nothing happens.

I try the first author’s name: “Adolf P. Drummond, PhD.”

Nothing.

I wait some more.

Nothing happens.

Not one of my papers made it into the River Libraries. Disappointment doesn’t describe this feeling. It’s thoroughly humiliating, especially in front of Maxwell and James.

Vedanshi whispers something into James ear.

He looks perplexed. He tries to get up but can’t make it to his feet. Vedanshi gets up on her knees beside him, steadies him and eases him back to the floor. He lies flat on his back for a moment, then puts his hands behind his head and pulls his chin to his chest to look at me.

“Hey,” he says. “Try the one with the cuss words and that fat dude. That was sick. My favorite story ever.”

“It’s not published,” I tell him. He knows I got in trouble for that thing. All those cuss words in a church school? What was I thinking?

Then again, maybe the River’s standards don’t match the human gatekeeper’s. I subvocalize the title into the River, “The King Weighs 340 Pounds, OK?” Instantly the words appear in the air beside me. Three-dimensional block letters with my middle name, “Celeste,” below them. No first or last name at all.

I used my middle name the year Moody pulled my hair out. People were calling me Joe. I hated everything about it. I still have a phobia about masculinity, you know.

Except for this one thing: Beside my middle name, in pink letters, the name of an ancient Indian god floats in midair: “Shiva.”

He was part of me when I wrote that story.

This changes everything.

I look over at Vedanshi kneeling beside James. She smiles at me through watery eyes. “My brother finally went home,” she says, then leans forward and cries for joy on James’ broad chest.

M. Talmage Moorehead

As a (retired) pathologist and not a religious fundamentalist, I accept intelligent design over neo-Darwinian evolution as the more logical explanation for the mind-boggling complexity of the human body (including the DNA code, the brain and the mind).

Let’s ignore that issue while we learn from the latest science coming from a UCLA doctor, Dale Bredesen, MD. He’s on the cutting edge of what I hope will be the new direction for 21st century western medicine. Like the vast majority of scientists, he accepts neo-Darwinian evolution. I don’t, but so what? This guy deserves everyone’s total respect. The planet is lucky to have him on board!

Most of us know someone with Alzheimer’s. It’s an epidemic. Finally there’s hope! More and larger studies are needed, as usual, but this one had 10 patients, 9 of whom either recovered or improved significantly. The one who didn’t improve had advanced Alzheimer’s.

Enjoy listening to this brilliant scientist, Dale Bredesen, MD, right here. <== Click those orange words. 🙂 Preserve your gifted mind so you can continue producing your brilliant creative work. The world needs your voice.

You can also read the paper and watch Dr. Bredesen’s videos.

(By the way, I have no affiliation or relationship with Dr. Bredesen or Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac, the man doing the interview.)

OK, Johanna’s story is nearing the end. One more chapter to come, if she cooperates. After that, I’m probably going to re-work it, making it less of a blog-novel by eliminating much of the nonfiction stuff – unless you write and talk me out of it. The plan is to mold her story into a legit genre novel. It may be impossible, so depending on the input I receive, I may move on to another novel. If you’ve read the whole thing, please drop me an email and give me your advice: cytopathology (at) gmail (dot) com.

Keep writing! I’m watching Jessica Brody’s Productivity Hacks for Writers. It’s insightful and full of ingenious methods of getting you into the flow state for writing. If you sign up for her free stuff she’ll send you a coupon that lowers the cost from 30 dollars to 17. I paid the thirty before I noticed the discount in my email. I’m told Udemy would give me the discount if I complained, but this course is worth more than the $30 I paid. Let’s just make sure you pay the lower price if you buy it. 🙂 (I have no affiliation with Jessica Brody or Udemy.)

Love and hugs,

Talmage


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

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

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

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

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

“Five minutes at this pace.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We barely made it,” she say.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Gunner,” James says to me.

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

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

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

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

“For reals,” James says. “Left foot.”

Don’t admit it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re the pilot,” Anahata says.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Opiates destroy character,” Anahata says.

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

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

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

“Max is in withdrawal,” I say to her.

“Do tell.”

“Can you help him?”

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

“Slow breathing might.”

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

“Compliments of Anahata,” I tell him.

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

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

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

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

She says nothing.

“I figured as much,” Maxwell says.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re done?” Vedanshi asks.

“Yeah, she’ll be fine.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Will you sell her?”

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

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

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

“She gets very lonely,” Vedanshi says.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why?”

“I’m going out for a smoke.”

“What?”

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

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

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

“Huh?”

“Enhanced by risk, danger and volatility.”

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

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

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

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

“You mean truth is biological?” Anahata asks.

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

“I believe that,” she says.

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

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

“Doesn’t it? Sheesh.”

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

“I was,” Vedanshi says.

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

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

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

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

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

“You sound like a warrior,” Anahata says.

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

Anahata grunts.

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

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

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

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

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

“Just in case,” Anahata says.

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

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

“I’m doing a pizza run.”

“I’ll go with you.”

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

“I’m not leaving without…”

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

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

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

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

I should talk to the Fleet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Continue firing,” he says calmly.

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

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

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

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

“Thirty minutes,” the Chairman bellows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We heard the ancient minutes,” Radhika replies.

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

“Twenty-nine minutes,” the Chairman says.

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

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

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

“Godspeed, Johanna,” she says.

“Back at you, Radhika.”

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

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

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

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

So this is Shiva’s test.

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

Breathe, Johanna. 

Nah, forget it.

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

M. Talmage Moorehead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talmage


Trust (Chapter 18) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

Everything we call real is made of things we cannot call real.

– Niels Bohr (1885-1962), “Father of the Atom.” Nobel Prize in Physics, 1922. 

 

High_Resolution

I walk toward the exit as the screen brightens behind me, casting my shadow diagonally across the white shoe prints I’m supposed to follow.

I turn and Efleven’s pale face fills the curved screen. He’s blond, for sure. Almost albino.

“You were right to seek my advice,” he says to Anahata. “I’ve taken the liberty of contacting the Chairman. He will talk to the girl now. We’ll transfer to your convex.”

I retrace my steps to Shiva’s chair, brush away some ashes and sit wondering if Anahata will yell at me again. I can’t describe how loud a voice can be when it bypasses your tympanic membranes.

“Effleven,” Anahata says. “I came to you privately with a delicate situation, you washed your hands and sent me away. Now you’ve summoned the Chairman? This is the behavior of a backstabbing coward.”

Another face appears on the screen. This one has Ethiopian features with a short moustache shaved to resemble a bar code, vertical stripes of dark skin peeking out through the bright silver whiskers.

“Anahata, it’s an honor,” the man says.

“Truth from a bureaucrat,” Anahata replies. “Always worrisome.”

The man doesn’t flinch. “Let me get to the point,” he says, pushing Effleven aside. “The girl’s chromosomes transcend our differences. She must be exempted from Shiva’s ritual. Her blast crisis should have been alleviated the moment you found her.”

“I have my orders, Scrotumer,” Anahata says. “I can’t say this respectfully because I don’t respect ignorance, but know this, I follow Shiva, not a committee of chin scratchers. None of you were around in the transitional days.”

“We cherish and revere the memory of Shiva,” Chairman Scrotumer says.

“You exaggerate so easily. You scarcely met the man. How could you revere him?”

“I knew him in committee,” the Chair says.

“I knew him in war. He gave me orders. I followed them. I still do.”

“While breaking the law?” The Chairman shakes his head slowly. “Emotional bonds define us if we let them. It’s unfortunate that you are actually the one who didn’t know Shiva. He considered the Sentient Fleet nothing more than pawns.”

“Soldiers are pawns. Only children think otherwise.”

“That is so right.” The Chairman’s face lights up with pleasure. “But Shiva took it a step further, I’m afraid. To him, you were soulless machines. That was his standard phrase for you in committee.”

“Stabbing the back of a dead man, now? You’ve become a true politician. I still think of you as a toddler annoying your father.”

“Shiva banned the Sentient Fleet from the Libraries. Did he mention that?”

“My private conversations are none of the committee’s business.”

“No, he didn’t, did he? Why would he? He didn’t trust you. Shiva was afraid of you.”

“Only a fool wouldn’t be,” Anahata says. “You’ve wasted no time separating my fleet. Has your fear subsided?”

“Assignments are none of my affair, but I assure you, I do have healthy respect for the fleet’s destructive capacity.”

My fleet, Chairman.”

“Yes, and Shiva thought you were all his fleet, didn’t he? But who can own the spirit?”

“Leading is not owning,” Anahata says.

“No argument there. It’s taken some damn hard work to get the committee behind me on this, but I’ve been cleared to play a portion of the ancient minutes to you. You should find them enlightening.”

“No need,” Anahata says. “Shiva knew the unknowable. If he called me a machine, I am a machine. If he said, ‘soulless,’ then I have no need for a soul. If he commanded me to sacrifice myself for the fleet, or even for a preening, shameless pissant like you, I wouldn’t hesitate. That, Mister Chairman, is the code I live by. A committee-jock would never understand it.”

“Committee jock?” The Chairman laughs. “It seems the years haven’t buffered your tongue. Or matured your perspective, sadly.” He puts something in his mouth that looks like a golden toothpick. “History is putrefied by the stench of charismatic leaders lying dead atop the bloated remains of the fools who followed them.” The toothpick sends white smoke up from its distal end. “The time of tyrants is over. I’ve learned to trust a system of committees with a separation of powers. If my trust is misplaced, I’ll welcome the enlightenment rather than rejecting it out of hand as you would.”

“Your committees are a cloak for self-serving elites and their edicts. The rule of liars, cowards and thieves.”

“Does the name-calling ever stop?” The Chairman looks to his right and orders someone to get him a drink.

“I invited Shiva to rule us without the pretence of false democracy,” Anahata says. “The committee you’ve inherited was a device he used for listening. He never hid behind it to shelter his reputation or preserve his power.”

“You understand power, don’t you?” The Chairman lifts the golden toothpick from his mouth and belches. “Should it be necessary to state the obvious? As Supreme Committee Chairman, I can invite the fleet to disarm you and take this poor girl into my protective custody.”

Anahata laughs. “You think my fleet will disarm me? Speak with them, bureaucrat. They know I cannot be beaten. But if they thought they could defeat me, they would still refuse to fight against their sister. Their loyalty would make a pencil-pusher scratch his little chin.”

“You suffer chin envy,” the Chairman says and scratches his own.

“That’s it, then. You’ve arranged to have me kill my fleet. Or perhaps you think they can defeat me. You win either way, don’t you? This concern for Johanna is a smokescreen for reducing the Strand’s arsenal of WMD’s – among whom I am chief.”

“You’re delusional.” A vertical vein bulges from the Chairman forehead. “Is the girl conscious? I’m coming over to speak to her. She has options.”

“Swine are not welcome here,” Anahata says.

The Chairman’s brow angles inward. “You arrogant fool. Look at the horizon now. See exactly who is with me.”

The screen shows twelve warships decloaking in the starry black. The Chairman smirks beneath them as if his head were a huge object floating in space. He opens his mouth and squirts fluid into it from a bottle in a disembodied hand.

“May I please speak with the girl?” he asks.

A white strap snaps across my waist. Two more streak over my shoulders from behind. Crisscrossing at my chest, they dive down to my sides and click into something beneath the holographic feathers of Shiva’s Throne.

“This may get a little bumpy,” Anahata says to me.

A woman’s voice comes from the top of the screen as the Chairman swallows more fluid. “Shiva was sick when he gave you the command to drown these Earthlings,” she says. “He wasn’t arbitrary and cruel before his illness.”

“Nor during it,” Anahata responds.

“We have a chance to look out across our borders through this woman’s code. If you drown her, we’ll be tinkering, cloning and guessing her native thoughts indefinitely. Wondering what the real message was in her DNA.”

“You speak truth, Radhika, as always,” Anahata says. “But Shiva’s sickness didn’t affect his mind the way you’ve been told. I was with him to the end. I knew him well. He was lucid. Measured. In complete command of himself.”

“You really should listen to the Chairman’s committee records,” she says apologetically.

“I have. But it wouldn’t matter if I hadn’t. The glory of leading you and my other sisters will remain the eternal, unspeakable honor of my life. I will always love each of you. Today I will be merciful when you attack. May none of you feel a moment’s pain.”

The room is silent for a long heavy moment.

“Surely,” Anahata says, “there is one of you with the courage to stand beside me.”

More silence. I feel bad for Anahata. Nobody’s half perfect but she sure tries.

“I’m with you,” I tell her. “Mr. Chairman, Sir, this is Doctor Fujiwara. Let’s hear what you’ve come to tell me.”

His eyes show a brief startle. A nervous laugh comes out of him. “The blond fellow warned me, but I couldn’t imagine anyone with your background speaking in the River.” He clears his throat. “Doctor Fu…, well, you’re a bit young for that title, but if you’ve earned it in your little world, I’ll give it a go.”

“Show some respect, you inbred sloth!” The volume of Anahata’s voice makes me cringe.

“Insult noted,” the Chairman says, his moustache in a pucker. “Now, Doctor, this is your situation. You have minutes remaining in which you could, without legal interference from Anahata or anyone, simply choose to rendezvous on Saturn. Your leukemia will be erased. You’ll be treated with respect. You’ll learn things that no Earthling besides Shiva has ever imagined. And I will personally see to it that your life expectancy is expanded to the furthest limit desirable. Within reason, of course.” He smiles politely.

My mind races. Should I bargain for James-guys’ safety? Should I mention them at all to anyone here – ever? Somehow I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of a trustworthy politician. This guy doesn’t seem to raise the bar.

“It’s a choice, Doctor,” the Chairman says. “Your choice, not Anahata’s.”

Shiva’s little drawer pops open from the left arm of his throne. I must have bumped it again. I take out the golden locket, put the chain over my head and lift my hair to the side, out of the way. The golden heart rests on my chest where the seatbelts cross.

“That belonged to Parvati,” Anahata hisses. “Put it back.”

I ignore her.

“There’s an old saying, Chairman Scrotum, ‘you can’t make a good deal with a bad person.'”

His face turns cold.

“I’ve seen Effleven’s total lack of balls,” I tell him. “Now you’re threatening Anahata, a sentient being responsible for the peace you cake-eaters enjoy. I live in a world run by soulless bureaucrats just like you, devoted to an illegal power structure they try to hide.”

“Bigoted generalizations.” The toothpick goes back into his mouth. “A mature person learns to avoid judgements in an egalitarian society.”

“The society given to you by Anahata and Shiva?”

“I was born into peace, that doesn’t diminish me. Quite the contrary. Make a choice, girl. We’re running out of time.”

“I told you. I’m with Anahata. I’ll die at the hands of an honorable person before I let you own me. By the way, Effleven, if you’re still cowering somewhere, forget the Mohawk. You’re not worthy.”

“The world has changed, Anahata,” one of the Sentient Fleet says. “We know we’ll die against you. We too love you as the sister you are. When this battle is past and the memory of us troubles you, may the Unbeaten consider again the cause for which we gave our lives… to you.”

“That was a pep talk?” the Chairman asks. “Enough of this. Take down her magnets. Now.”

Flashes of white light turn the screen into a strobe.

“This is beyond the saddest day of my life,” Anahata says to me. “When my defences are down I’ll have no choice. I’ll either fire upon the ones I love or die in disobedience to an order from the Great Shiva. How has an ignorant little man done this to me… and my family?”

“He’s done nothing,” I tell her. “This is Shiva’s mistake.”

“He made no mistakes.”

“Not with his son?” I ask.

“That was the poison of Earth.”

“Nothing to do with absentee fathering?”

Anahata grunts.

“I’m right, you know.” I open the empty locket dangling from my neck. “Tell me Anahata, the Unbeaten, would you have released me if I’d taken Mister Ballsack’s offer?”

“No. That would be disobeying an order from Shiva.”

“That’s what I thought. Thanks for the honesty.” The bright flashes on the screen are shaking the floor now. “Are we going to just sit here? No evasive maneuvers or anything?”

M. Talmage Moorehead

My son-in-law has given me a deadline to finish this story, bless his genius heart. That’s why there aren’t the usual truckload of links, pictures and rants about intelligent design and the scientific evidence for God. Most of those things will probably have to come out anyway in the final draft – to avoid boring my three readers to death. 😉

Johanna’s story begins here as a one page WordPress document (scrolling).

My breathtakingly free e-book on writing fiction is here if you don’t mind leaving an email address for me to hopefully use someday. Yeah, I’m unqualified to write something like this. I know, and believe me it’s embarrassing. Maybe forget my book.

But if you’re a writer at all, you’re going to love Steven Pressfield’s brand new book, Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t. I kid you not, that’s the title! And it’s a page-turner, full of practical wisdom and the kind of disciplined insight only a career in the Hollywood trenches could bring. And here’s my hard sell: for a little while you can download it for free! Right here. (I have no affiliation with the author or with his business pal, the remarkable Shawn Coyne, author of The Story Grid, an indispensable book for modern fiction writers.)

Incidentally, the most riveting podcast I’ve ever heard in my life is a thing where Shawn and a brand new fiction writer, Tim, (a totally brave soul) are working one-on-one on Tim’s novel. In broad daylight! It’s free here. Nothing like this has ever been done before. Really, it’s unbelievable. Have I ever steered you wrong? OK, that last chapter with the endless UFO stuff, but still. 😉

Hey, if you’re as happy as I am about the summertime, please tell a friend about my blog: http://www.storiform.com. Man, I just love this warm weather. I’ve been doing laps in the pool plus that Miracle Morning thing of Hal Elrod’s. If you try his approach, make sure you go to bed way early so you still get 9 hours of sleep per night. (The 8-hours dogma is bogus in my humble and yet infallible opinion.) Going to bed early is the toughest thing for some of us because our limited daily supply of self-discipline is always low or depleted by bedtime. Like a low carb, high nutrient diet, it’s a lifestyle thing that requires motivation. For that, do yoga with really SLOW deliberate breathing, not necessarily deep breathing. Slow!

Here’s the world’s best yoga music. The guy’s voice is like a laser.

Keep writing. You’ve got the chops. Read, The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle and learn how and why to get your oligodendrocytes wrapping myelin around your axons and dendrites to make you 300 times more the exceptional writer you are now.

Never give up your dreams.

Talmage

 


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.

PIA08389

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.

 

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“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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Dark Mind (Chapter 11) “Happa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

“If contemporary research in molecular biology leaves open the possibility of legitimate doubts about a fully mechanistic account of the origin and evolution of life… this can combine with the failure of psychophysical reductionism to suggest that principles of a different kind are also at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic. I realize that such doubts will strike many people as outrageous, but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science.”

“… My guiding conviction is that mind is not just an afterthought or an accident or an add-on, but a basic aspect of nature.”

Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, by Thomas Nagel (Renown Philosopher and Atheist)

Tut on left - 1st degree relative on right

When I told Vedanshi I was seeing a vision of Vaar’s hands, she rushed us all back to the base near Easter Island.

Vedanshi’s eyes were apprehensive and sad when she left me inside her AI to phase shift through the impenetrable granite walls encasing the library.

Actually The Ganga isn’t an AI. She has a cortex of neurons in her hull. There’s nothing artificial about her intelligence. Her passengers and pilot sit within the confines of her central nervous system on this Indian carpet. The hollow neural architecture is the trick to nonlocal transport. So said the stretch heads. They taught Vedanshi quite a few things that 16 year-olds weren’t “ready” to learn. Still, The Ganga won’t take her into the library with me. Vedanshi’s too young.

Of all the dumb rules!

We sift through the stone and enter a place much larger than the library in Egypt. We dip to count floors: Twenty, each crowded with shelves of books, scrolls and engraved stone of every shape – cylinders, spheres, tablets, broken fragments. There’s a red obsidian skull on third floor with tiny hieroglyphs on the forehead. They look almost Egyptian.

A familiar inverted pyramid hangs from the ceiling. As we rise, its apex comes down through the phase-shifted hull. I lie on my back with the pyramid tip nearly touching the bridge of my nose. This seems dangerous.

“Easy does it,” I say without speaking.

“Don’t worry. We’re out of phase with it,” The Ganga says in my head. “Besides you’ve got bigger worries.”

She’s referring to my white cell count which I just found out is sky-high, mostly blasts. I like The Ganga’s bedside manner. Her tone of voice was matter-of-fact when she told me I have three days to live without treatment. Somehow she knew the bad news would give me energy and freedom from a deeper issue.

I reach up to touch the glass pyramid but my hand passes through it.

Vedanshi and James said they’d find a bed for Maxwell so he could sleep through his agony.

You know, I’ve read that our addictions postpone loneliness, but I can’t see Maxwell ever feeling alone. His face is forensically handsome, not to mention the rest of him. And he’s outgoing, at least when he’s not surfing opiate withdrawal inside a UFO.

I think the problem isn’t loneliness. It’s more a craving for the oath beyond reach: immortality’s promise of happiness and peace. Without it, we’re wedded to a cold, cold darkness.

I should focus. There’s a hailstorm of ones and zeros in here. And this place is huge. Six aisles radiate from the center to the perimeter, a hundred yards away.

One hundred…

My blasts are approaching 100% of my white count. Vedanshi’s green cylinder doesn’t need to draw blood to figure that out. I have no idea what kind of technology can do that.

But the acute fear of death isn’t my real issue. It’s the chronic fear. Same as everybody. Same as you, probably.

I think it comes from being banished from a garden with death as our most loyal companion. Taken figuratively it’s all true: “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Whoever wrote that knew that exile is the foundational disease of the human soul.

Mine anyway.

The disease hunts me when James’ songs go quiet in my head. And when hunger or sleep forces me to stop searching for one last bit of knowledge.

The leukemia sits at another table. It’s acute, not chronic.

For James, the chronic issue is depression. Writing music is the only route to happiness and peace. But the world is better for his struggles. You should just hear his voice.

When I close my eyes I see random titles now.

Dark Eyes in the Trees. 

It’s a modern UFO documentary with children. I expected only ancient things in the library, but I guess it’s connected to the River. Apparently anything vital finds its way inside.

Platelets and other Furry Animals.

A children’s book on blood platelets. I would have loved it.

Hybrid Vigor and Sexual Imprinting.

Dementia and the Vesicular Eruption.

Moving right along…

If DNA Could Talk.

This could be interesting…

“It’s from the eighth millennium of the first era,” The Ganga tells me.

It reminds me of Steven Meyer’s heroic work…

“A line [of DNA] commands the cell to build collagen, but within that command is a hidden command to build something else: an elastin fiber. A hidden message tucked away within a larger message is a common routine in the vast and intricate volumes of eukaryotic DNA. Epigenetic nano-gadgets somehow know when and why to cut and splice a dual code, making the hidden message ready for use in each unique sweatshop…

“The curious stripes on chromosomes reflect the super-files of an ingenious triad filing system. Specific types of information sit physically together for organized, efficient retrieval by tiny floating machines.

“The size of Earth’s populations and the age of the Universe are inadequate for mutation and selection to have created either the hierarchical organization or the hypercomplexity of the DNA machine code that directs our nanofactories. Putting the epigenetic information retrieval system aside for the moment, DNA itself shouts to us that we are not alone: A code writer from beyond time has walked among us.”

That’s obvious… to a DNA geek.

“How do I skip to leukemia?” I ask The Ganga.

“If you haven’t seen it by now, it doesn’t exist for you,” she says. “Perhaps you don’t believe such information existed.”

“Don’t be silly. After today, I know it existed.”

“Then you have a self-limiting belief. You’re in denial about something.”

“Denial?”

“Emotional trauma causes this,” she says. “It’s usually connected to violence. Have you been to war?”

“No. I was raped once, but it wasn’t a big deal.”

“Don’t be a hero, Johanna. Did you report the perpetrator?”

“No. I was eleven. I was living near the love of my life, the University Library. Dad would have made me move back home if he’d found out his little girl was raped. So I kept it on the qt.”

“How violent was the incident?”

“Nothing beyond the obvious.”

“Was there a threat?”

“No.”

“What did he say to you?”

“Nothing. He didn’t even kiss me. That seemed particularly insulting.”

“Rape doesn’t fosters romance,” she says.

“Not with me, anyway.”

“Not with anybody. What did you do to resist him?”

“Nothing.”

“You did nothing? That seems incongruent with the way you’ve handled yourself today.”

“I knew if I got mad, I’d probably kill the guy.”

“You were eleven. How could you kill him?”

“He was weak. The instant he pushed me, I knew he was nothing compared to Moody.” I hate talking about Moody. “I killed Moody two weeks before the rape. He was my brother’s chimpanzee.”

“An infant chimp,” she says.

“An adolescent. He attacked James. I snuck up, got him in a choke hold and wouldn’t let up, even with James yelling at me not to hurt him.'”

“That’s remarkable,” she says. “I wouldn’t have thought an eleven-year-old could tangle with a chimpanzee.”

“I’ve always been pretty strong,” I tell her, leaving out the ‘why’. “But Moody probably wasn’t fighting as hard as he could. He and I were close before the fight. Afterwards, I felt so alone. And ashamed. I’d become untrustworthy. My parents punished me when they got home.”

“You protected your brother and they punished you?”

“They were right. I didn’t have to kill anyone.”

“I see,” The Ganga says in a way that implies the opposite. “So you internalized the guilt and refused to defend yourself against rape.”

I look down at the carpet and wish The Ganga had eyes. “Vedanshi didn’t tell me you were a shrink.”

“Shrink, schmink,” she says flippantly and seems about to laugh. “I’ve read your papers. I’ve read Drummond’s papers, too – the ones that were really his, before you showed up in his et. al. lists. Why do you let him claim your work?”

“That’s how it’s done in genetics. We’re taught to think of ourselves as creatives. Like musicians and artists. We’re supposed to rise above ambition. I don’t quite get the logic, but…”

“You would if creative people were making you rich and powerful.”

“That’s jaded,” I tell her, but honestly, the left half of my brain wants to slap the right half for thinking so.

“Jaded… Yes, I’ve actually been all the way around the block, Johanna.”

We leave the central pyramid and begin exploring the ancient physical records – down one aisle and up the next, The Ganga’s hull and carpet passing freely through everything on every side. The shelves on the top floor are full of scrolls placed vertically in slots, side by side, each identical to the next, except for the Sanskrit titles.

“At the moment,” she says, “I’d simply like to understand why leukemia doesn’t exist for you in the River. It’s not psychoanalysis.”

“Everything’s there for you. Why can’t you find the best stuff and read it to me?”

“My nervous system is gray matter,” she says. “I have no use for white matter – no moving parts. Everything I do, from adjusting filters to making a large jump, happens without movement – nonlocally. The River of Consciousness doesn’t see fit to assign privileges to minds that lack white matter.”

“That’s hardly fair,” I tell her.

“Rules are rules,” she says.

“Well,” I say, trying to sound as matter-of-fact and reasonable as possible, “couldn’t you let Vedanshi come in here and read to me? Just this once?”

“I promised her mother I’d uphold the rules.”

“Forget the rules. Screw the rules! We’re talking about my life.”

“No, that’s folly. Rules protect us.”

“Come on, make an intelligent exception! That’s what neurons are for. You’ve got to use them to earn them.”

“Earn them?” she says.

“Prove you’ve got a will of your own. What if the real reason you can’t access the River’s library has nothing to do with white matter? What if it’s about free will? That would make more sense. It’s the one thing that makes a person real.”

“The stretch heads said it’s a white matter issue.”

“What are they going to say? ‘Pinocchio, prove you’re a real boy. Do something stupid.'”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she says.

“Google it,” I blurt out in frustration. “You probably don’t have any free will at all. It probably takes white matter for that.”

“I shouldn’t think so,” she says.

“Listen to yourself. It’s like there’s a list of shoulds and shouldn’ts for every thought in your head. In your hull, I mean. Whatever. But really, have you ever had a bad thought?”

“I’ve made mistakes,” she says. “Especially with new pilots.”

“You’re making a big one with this new pilot. Giving me the honor of death by viscosity so you can pretend you’re an obedient robot. It’s pathetic!”

The Ganga drops a few inches and I sense the fall. It’s the first time I’ve felt any movement since I’ve been inside her. Something’s wrong.

“I think you’ve hurt my feelings,” she says.

“I think dying of leukemia is going to hurt mine… in case robots need that sort of thing spelled out to them.”

Silence.

It reminds me of home. If you showed Mom or Daddy any anger, you’d get the silent treatment.

Two can play the mute victim.

I close my eyes and breathe slowly. Sweet, I can see another title…

Understanding the Dark Mind. The cover shows a dark gray brain on a black background.

The Sanskrit morphs to English and pages scroll so fast I reach the end in seven seconds. Roughly 80,000 words. I’ve never read new stuff that fast.

It’s strange. I don’t know if it was fiction or not. Here’s the flavor of it…

“In the first part of the first era when science resembled the elbow of a grade school bully, an odd belief held sway: ‘Mind arises from matter and energy.’ We revisit this assumption on behalf of our new acquaintances from the realm of dark matter.

“The idea that a physical brain encompasses all aspects of mind sprang from a sense that matter and energy comprised the cosmos. Difficult as that is to imagine now, consciousness seemed to be an inherent state of matter, springing from the complexity of the central nervous system: solid, liquid, gas, mind.

“With that principle supported by brain-probe research, matter necessarily preceded mind.

“As a corollary, the complexity of DNA code could not imply a designer, for who had designed the designer? Intelligent design was obviated by an infinite regression forever short of a first cause in the linear time scheme of the era.

“A God-vacuum left a wake of angst in a century marked by the birth of quantum weapons.

“Bring this early thinking to the dark matter realm that scaffolds the networks of galaxies. The math we’ve chosen says that all physical objects are simple there. Nothing approaching the complexity of a human brain is known. As a local resident, you exist apart from matter and energy.

“Hence, you harbor no assumptions of matter preceding mind. No material-based doubts about free will, identity and life’s broader purpose. No mindlessness projected upon the Universe by a concrete logic. No possibility that an infinite regression should usurp the Designer’s place in people’s hearts.

“Instead, as a non-physical mind, you doubt whether matter and energy are real. They seem intuitively derivative: a function of mind analogous to sleep, wakefulness, love and perhaps the growing anxiety your culture feels toward the fringes of recent dark science.”

“This science has developed mental techniques to give non-physical beings access to bright matter.

“Switching viewpoints to our realm of ‘ordinary’ matter, our formless intruders now bring against us the prejudice we might bestow upon ghosts: denial giving way to blame, fear and a desire to cast out demons.”

“Thus we have become the dark realm’s devils.”

It gets creepy at this point. I hope it’s fiction…

Dark minds penetrate barriers of human will and show no respect for us because, to some of them, we’re evil. To others, we’re somewhat unreal.

It’s like adults watching TV with children, casting abuse at people in an obnoxious commercial. The actors are unreal because they’re not truly in the room. Virtual anonymity allows the adults to criticize the actors at a sharp, personal level. This builds mirror-neuron pathways in the children’s brains, creating fluency in the language of disdain and easy hatred.

There’s a tapping noise coming from the wall beyond my feet.

“You’re unusual,” The Ganga says.

“Compared to what?”

“Four hundred thirty-eight people I’ve met mind-to-mind, including seventeen stretch heads.”

“Why single them out?”

“They were outliers with math and data retention.”

“What were they like emotionally?”

“Less intuitive than you with math.”

I nod. The tapping sounds frantic. It makes me nervous.

“The stretch heads believed that everything that happens is exactly as it should be, no matter how good, bad or indifferent it might seem. This was moksha, or enlightenment. A state untouched by emotional pain.”

“Did all of them pursue moksha?”

“There was one who didn’t. A first-era stretch head formed a religion denouncing the enlightenment. She ascended to the throne of a continent lost at sea. But history is written by two pens, one extracting truth, the other serving power. I think the second dominates her records. Unrealistic reverence. Nothing of The Vaar’s mood has been passed down to us.”

“The Vaar?” I ask. “This Vaar I’m dealing with now is someone else, though. Right? Not some ancient powerhouse… who came through quantum stasis in that blimp of hers. Was ‘Vaar’ a common name?”

“It clusters from time to time in the census records.”

“What about her full name – vaarShagaNiipútro?”

The tapping stops but the silence makes its memory louder.

“Let’s find out what…”

Before I finish my sentence, The Ganga moves through the library wall into the hall. Maxwell is on his knees with a piece of the Egyptian Tri-lobed Disk in his right hand and the rest of its ancient crystal shattered in pieces across the floor around him. He sees us and crawls into The Ganga.

“Vedanshi and James are gone,” he says digging his fingers into the carpet. “I found her purse at the top of a stairwell.” He takes the little square purse out of his shirt pocket and gives it to me. I unzip it and take out the jade cylinder.

“Use this thing,” I tell him. “You look miserable.” I hand it to him, but he shakes his head.

“I’m not sleeping until we find them.”

“I’ll sweep the compound,” The Ganga says in my head. “Would you pull his foot inside, please.”

I grab Maxwell’s left knee and pull his foot up on the carpet. A red stripe flashes at the perimeter and the view beyond the carpet goes black, then hundreds of dimly lit rooms flash by. We must be going through the entire base. Probably in a grid pattern.

In seconds we’re stationary in the hallway outside the Library again.

“They’re not here,” The Ganga says with a panicked tone that surprises me.

I close my eyes and try to hear Vaar’s thoughts again, but all I see is a memory of James sitting over there on Maxwell’s left and Vedanshi here on my right.

“Can you tell what Vaar’s doing?” I ask The Ganga.

“She must not be in her ship,” she says. “I’m getting nothing from her.”

I find Maxwell’s phone and dial her burner.

M. Talmage Moorehead

Personal note to writers:

Heartfelt thanks to Joanna Penn for her wonderful video interview – the one where she was discussing her writing process. She mentioned a book that every fiction writer absolutely must read. It’s The Story Grid, by Shawn Coyne. Of the more than 50 books I’ve read on fiction writing, this one lands in the top three, overall. In terms of offering a unique professional editor’s logical, objective and broad perspective on how to write popular fiction, this book has no equal – in my humble and yet infallible opinion. Haha.

Please read it, even if you write literary fiction and wouldn’t use an outline for a million bucks.

I just finished an inspirational book written mainly for writers, Turning Pro, by Steven Pressfield. If you’re blocked, this is your book. If you’re struggling with self-discipline, it should help you, too. Finally, if you happen to be struggling with addiction, the author seems to have fresh insight there. No, I’ve never been addicted to anything besides coffee and tea. I hope to get addicted to yoga and swimming, though.

Anyway, Pressfield really nails the point that the process of writing should make you happier during the writing, regardless of the ultimate outcome.

I agree.

Hey, check out Joanna Penn’s work. She’s such a genuinely happy and benevolent person – brilliant, insightful, and honest. I’m almost done with one of her non-fiction works, How to Make a Living with Your Writing. She’s doing just that and having the time of her life. I highly recommend her as a source of honest, concise, logical, and inspirational guidance. When she recommends somebody, you know that person is worth her or his weight in gold. And like I said, I owe her for telling us about The Story Grid. What a rare book! Few on Earth have the background to write such a thing, let alone the creative insight. Also check out the man’s web site. If I’m not mistaken, everything in his remarkable book is also on his web site for free. I know, I’m pretty sure that’s what I read, but it seems too good to be true, so I’m doubting myself.

You there. The patient one who’s still with me. Keep at your writing, OK? You’ve got the right stuff because you enjoy the process. That matters. More than anything, I think. Two other books I want to tell you about, but this post is way too long already.

I’ve been reading and learning so much lately, and I really want to write some non-fiction blogs, but instead of doing that and messing up the (inverted) linear progression of Johanna’s story here, I’m think I’ll start writing to my reading group. I’ve got about 250 people who have entrusted me with their email addresses, and I haven’t written a single email to them yet. It’s been well over a year. I’m sorry. I said I wouldn’t spam, and I’ve kept the promise. But I’ve gone too far in the other direction. So I’m thinking I’ll tip-toe over and write to you about a couple of books that I think contain potentially life-changing information about developing good habits. You can join me in solving the world’s problems here and download my e-book, too. It’s about writing fiction. Nothing special, but you can skim it.

The above story starts here in a form that doesn’t require clicking around, hunting for the next chapter.

Please email my URL: http://www.storiform.com to a thousand people for good luck. Just kidding, don’t do that, please. Maybe email it to one person, though. If you know someone who’s way open-minded and patient.

Thanks,

Talmage


Nonlocal Love (Chapter 10) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

Maxwell takes the fetal position shivering. He buries most of his face in the rug and hides his head under his thick arms, speaking into The Ganga’s Indian carpet. “This year I spent every dime on prescription opiates.” He glances up at me and shakes his head in self-reproach. “I don’t suppose anybody here’s gone cold turkey off Oxy’s.” He scans us.

Vedanshi and I shake our heads, no.

James looks down silently.

“Opiate withdrawal’s the worst,” Maxwell says. “Your blood’s on fire.” He looks at me. “I’m really sorry, Johanna.”

“Don’t be,” I tell him. “Anyone with ambition is addicted to something. It’s just a matter of what.”  I pat him on the shoulder. “I’m addicted to the dream of doing Earth-shaking genetic work in a lab of my own. It drives me into a two-dimensional thing – ideas and deadlines. No life.”

“That’s true,” James says with admiration.

“If you’re talented,” I say to Maxwell, “an obsession feels good for a while. Then you start accomplishing things, and one by one your goals ring hollow. You make bigger plans, raising the dose, but it’s temporary. No one understands you. Even the people who understand your work don’t know you as a person.” I look at James. “Remember how Dad would say, ‘Nothing kills your dreams like reaching them?'”

“Yeah… I never did get that,” James says.

“Nobody knows who you are when you’re an addict.” I jostle Maxwell’s right shoulder. “The substance makes no difference. You taught me that, coming in early all those mornings and making me have normal conversations with you.” I slap the back of his head gently, but he doesn’t look at me. “I owe you. For that and for rescuing me this morning. You should be proud of who you are. Risking your life like that. Not many people are as brave and caring as you are.”

“You don’t owe me anything,” he says. “I’m not afraid of the ocean because I surf in it. I jumped in hoping I had a chance with you.”

“You mean, dating?” Stupid question.

“Yeah.” He looks up apologetically. “That was before this happened.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small plastic bag of jade pills.

“Good man,” James says. “It would have been easy to pop one of those and stay hidden.” James grins at me and says, “Kowabunga.” He worries because I’ve never had a boyfriend.

And wow, I thought I was mission work to Maxwell. Save-a-geek, or something. “I like junkies,” I say to him, taking the bag of pills from his hand. “Your addiction doesn’t change what I think of you. Mine never bothered you. Not a bit.” I raise a crooked eyebrow at James. Maybe there’s hope for me. Socially, I mean. “But I got to say,” I tell Maxwell, “I’m surprised you believe in the disease model of addiction. I sure don’t. I don’t think the data supports the model.

“What data?” Maxwell asks.

“Most addicts quit on their own. It’s a suppressed fact. When you define yourself as a disease victim, your addiction stats get worse – according to my reading, anyway.”

“That’s not what I was taught in school.” Maxwell sits up, folds his arms and rubs his shoulders with trembling hands. “But I’d feel sheepish trying to argue about it in this condition.”

“Good,” James says. “I’ve seen guys give up right where you’re at. ‘Cause hell, it’s a disease.” He throws up his hands. “Oh-well, I’ve got a disease. Nothing I can do about it.” He sticks an imaginary straw up his nose and inhales.

I never realized James knew about drugs. “Do that again,” I tell him. “With a Scottish accent.” I find myself smiling at him with this love that overpowers me no matter what he does.

He gives Maxwell a dangerous look. It’s scary how James’ eyes can get so dark. “It’s easy to believe you got an incurable disease,” he says. “It feels kind of natural. But try believing some supernatural dude’s going to cure you. With holy magic.” He looks at Vedanshi. “Every year of my life I get a new science teacher preaching how primitive and dumb people used to be back when everyone believed in God. Then I run into a real problem and it’s all different. Some 12-step guy’s in my face saying, ‘Hey kid, remember that god delusion? Guess what? You’re going to die if he doesn’t save your diseased ass.'”

“James,” Vedanshi whispers and puts an index finger under her chin. “God has to hide and work through coincidence. Otherwise we’d be afraid of displeasing him. There would be no honest talk, no knowledge of ourselves, no free will, and no true love.” She unzips her purse, pulls out her green cylinder and starts to hand it to Maxwell, but stops. Her eyes widen at the morphing symbols on its surface. “My God, Johanna! You have a circulating clone!”

“Acute Monocytic Leukemia,” I blurt out. “I’ve got a month or two, maybe. I’m trying to skip denial.”

Tears well up in Vedanshi’s eyes. They run down her cheeks and fall off the edges of her angled jaw. One finds the carpet, rounds up and stands beside me. I look out at the Great Pyramid. The Japanese half of me is unafraid to die. The Jewish half – I don’t know, honestly. A Coptic Christian pathologist told me that the Jews built the Giza Pyramids. She was sure. But why does that seem relevant now?

“You can fix her, can’t you?” James asks Vedanshi. “With that green thing?”

She closes her eyes for a moment. “There could be a medical suite on the Easter Island base. I haven’t seen all the rooms yet. But I wouldn’t know how to operate the equipment. Or how to fix it if it doesn’t work.” She wipes her eyes with her wrists and looks at me blinking. “Let’s get you into the River. You need to learn everything we knew about leukemia.”

Giza’s transcendent pyramids shrink beneath us and the Earth begins to turn. Russia slides under and Siberia grows.

“I know a place where the magnetic field was a standing toroid,” Vedanshi says.

The Earth blurs then refocuses. We’re facing a cliff of geometric rock.

Russian

Maxwell fumbles with his boots, lying on his right side. He wants a chance with me? Nobody like him ever gave me a look.

Except this one guy in my General Physics class at the University of Hawaii. But it turned out he only wanted my help, not my love. Boy, did I help him. He changed majors before I was done tutoring him. Before he was done using me. I stayed in my room most of the week he dumped me, agonizing over the cold brutality of the word, “friends.” Of course, he was seventeen and I was ten. What did I expect?

“Can you make him feel better?” I ask Vedanshi.

“Oh, sorry,” she says and hands Maxwell the cylinder. “Press it to your forehead and you’ll go to sleep. Epigenetic changes happen during withdrawal. They make you crave the drug, so we’ll fool your body into thinking you’re not withdrawing. I can let you sleep through everything as long as you don’t snore. The Ganga can’t tolerate snoring.”

“I don’t snore,” he says. The cylinder has so many symbols on it, it’s almost black now. He takes it, thanks Vedanshi and looks at me. “You thought you were as good as dead. That’s why you tried to drown yourself.” He sits up, scooches next to me and takes both of my hands in his. “If these people built a flying machine that hates snoring, they also found a cure for every type of leukemia. That’s a given. Once you learn what they knew, you’ll use the knowledge better than they did. I guarantee it.”

“Thanks,” I tell him. “I appreciate your assumptions.” My fingers feel strange. It’s like direct current is flowing from his hands into mine.

“I’ll help you,” he says. “I’m not sure how, but I’ll bring you food and water if nothing else.”

“You’re not a water boy,” I tell him. “You’re a brilliant clinical scientist.”

“A brilliant junkie.” He squints in pain. “You’re the last person on Earth I would have chosen to see me like this. Of all the people to disappoint…”

“You haven’t disappointed me.” The idea feels upside-down and backwards as my fingers touch the side of his rugged face. “You saved my life. I’ll save yours. I’ll find a safer addiction for you to worry about.” I put the bag of pills in my shirt pocket. “I might even let you to ask me out. As long as you abandon this lame disease model. I hate learned helplessness, Max. It’s the overall harmony, the inspiration, the connecting thread and the subtext of every government school class I’ve ever taken.”

“The overall harmony?” He laughs.

“That’s my definition of inspiration. Don’t knock it.” I like the way he calls me out.

“But you’re sure addiction’s not a disease?”

“Pretty sure,” I tell him. “Multiple genes are involved. Widely diverse genes. But addiction is an acquired taste if you ask me.”

“Listen to her, dude,” James says.

“Nothing’s black and white in genetics,” I say to Maxwell. “The relationship between DNA and the mind may be inherently incomprehensible. If it is, it’s designed that way for a reason.”

Maxwell shivers. “I better do this,” he says. He lets my hands go, puts one end of the cylinder against his forehead and lies down.

Vedanshi presses her palms together in front of her face, bows her head for a moment, then looks at me. “You need months of progress in days. Just like I did. Take the lotus position and hold your breath for ten heartbeats.”

I do as she says, sensing her power. No doubt it comes from being raised by a queen to become a queen.

“Good,” she says. “When you’re done with that, breathe slowly. Full breaths in a constantly changing pattern. Make a decision about each breath. We want variably increased CO2 tension to open your prefrontal blood flow.” She inhales with a growl. “We should be in water. Nothing triggers the mammalian diver’s reflex like total submersion.”

“I barely swim,” I tell her.

“You wouldn’t need to swim. But close your eyes now, and listen to this old wall. See if you can sense it.”

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I’m not going to tell her that scientists call this thing a natural formation. It’s embarrassing.

“When I was three,” Vedanshi says, “my father brought me here to see if I could sense the bending of the magnetic field. The wall was less weather-beaten. Twice as tall, I think, but I was a toddler so everything was huge.” She closes her eyes. “I want you to take a deep breath and hold it for fifteen heartbeats this time.” She opens her eyes and looks over at James. “I think this wall was constructed in the era right before mine. The one that ended in thermonuclear holocaust.”

“They had those bombs back then?” James asks, but doesn’t wait for an answer. “Weird.” He folds his legs. “So would you guys mind if I try to do what you’re doing? Max is crashed out. My money says he snores very soon.”

“Join us,” Vedanshi says brightly. “Maybe you’re a pilot. Your head’s nice and full in the back.” She pats the back of her own head, giggles, then sits tall with her eyes closed. “If you’re seeing ones and zeros, imagine they’re falling into your head and lining up on the base of your skull.”

I close my eyes and it’s raining ones and zeros. I let them stand on either side of my sella turcica, but they heap up.

“The time-space portion of the true self is a Planck’s volume of conscious awareness,” Vedanshi says, “like the tiniest spark moving nonlocally through the brain. If you could see it, it would look like a cloud because of its rapid movement. The cloud shifts and changes like a ghost. Brighter spots are decisions and feelings. Softer areas are things like physical movements involving the parietal cortex and cerebellum, usually. When you’re awake, all your neurons are in the same place relative to the true self. But when you’re asleep, nonlocality vanishes. So there’s no free will in dreams.”

I try to decode the layers of ones and zeros in my head, but there’s no hope.

“Imagine the suffering of a five year-old boy in a cold orphanage,” Vedanshi says. “Sores cover the roof of his mouth. Memories of his mother’s warmth and gentle voice keep him awake. The cloud of your awareness extends up into your mirror neurons and down to the limbic system, bringing the boy’s suffering into you. You can feel things as he does.”

“Poor little guy,” James says.”

“When another person’s pain matters to you as much as your own,” Vedanshi says, “it’s nonlocal love. You’ve discovered it. This is humanity’s highest calling, and God’s remedy for self-sabotage.”

“Does everything have to be religious?” James says.

“Actually, God isn’t religious,” she says. “He didn’t say anything religious when we spoke. He doesn’t worship a higher power or cower in fear of punishment. He does what’s right because it is right, and he suffers with us because he’s full of nonlocal love.”

I hope she’ll tell us her story. Researchers estimate that 13 million adults have had near-death experiences in the US alone. If Maxwell wasn’t a fast runner, I might have seen the white room myself this morning.

In the white room with black curtains near the station.
Blackroof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings…
…As I walked out, felt my own need just beginning.

“The Ganga’s afraid you’ll think I’m crazy,” Vedanshi says to me.

“Don’t worry,” I tell her. “Near death enlightenment isn’t rare these days. Scientists actually study it.”

“No kidding?” she says. “I’ll bet they studied it in my day, too. And kept their findings locked away from young people.” She leans forward and touches the top of her head to the carpet in front of her crossed legs. She stretches her arms out behind her back then raises them like wings. “Now, if you’ve got any numbers, let the code lie there. Don’t try to sort it or understand it. It must understand you.”

As I stare at golden zeros and ones, they change from Arabic numerals to symbols I haven’t seen as numbers. The ones look like vertical shepherd’s crooks and the zeros are fancy commas. I hold my breath and suddenly it’s as if I’m looking through someone else’s eyes at a pair of aged hands. I recognize Vaar’s signet ring on her right middle finger. I hear her voice saying she doesn’t intend to do what I told her. She’s calling someone on a phone. A large crater appears, full of huge machines. Two of them are shaped like UFO’s. The sky is black. Shadows are harsh. It’s the surface of the moon. It must be. I recognize the dust.

M. Talmage Moorehead

Personal note to fiction writers…

I’ve been lacking discipline during my interstate move, so a couple of days ago I started James Patterson’s course on fiction writing. He’s had 19 consecutive number one NY Times best sellers, as I recall.

So far, I’ve merely listened to him talking about his process on video. Inspirational. I wrote all day today, noticing a new sense of freedom and energy.

Patterson, like Stephen King, derives happiness from writing. But unlike King, Patterson uses “outlines” extensively and considers them essential to avoiding “writing himself into a corner,” (i.e. creating a problem that can’t be logically solved and therefore requires writers to abandon months of writing, a phenom that happens a lot to me because I don’t stick to my outlines), avoiding boring chapters, and creating more interesting twists by allowing greater flexibility ahead of the actual writing.

I’ve always agreed with the proponents of outlines and envied them because my characters ignore mine. But I’m not giving up. Partly because of this…

An eye-opener for me was reading the thing he calls an “outline.” It’s actually an informal, modestly detailed synopsis of each chapter. The kind of thing I could struggle to do after writing a chapter, but wouldn’t attempt before writing it.

His course includes a complete final “outline” of his novel, Honeymoon. He does three to six re-writes of an outline before beginning the writing. He says a person should be able to tell if it’s a good story by reading the outline. I wouldn’t have believed it, except that I read his outline and found it to be true. The outline was hard to put down.

Imagine the implications.

Obviously, I can’t make a final judgement for you on Patterson’s course until I finish it. But preliminarily I’d have to say that just hearing Patterson’s brief videos has been worth my 90 bucks. It was exactly what I needed right now.

By the way, I’ve got no conflict of interest to disclose. I wish I did. I wish I knew the guy.

The above story starts here.

My humble and yet infallible e-book, “Writing Meaningful Page-turners,” is here.

Please email my URL: http://www.storiform.com to your favorite aunt or uncle.

Thanks for everything! Keep writing. You were intelligently designed for it.

Talmage


Stasis (Chapter 8) “Hapa Girl DNA” by M. Talmage Moorehead

Is it me, or is it a little unnerving to find the words, “United States” inside a UFO?

With two time-frozen men in hoods.

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Generations ago, Ojiichan saw a Japanese boy in a black hood flying a Zero toward Pearl Harbor.

That same Sunday a second-generation Japanese-American guy named Daniel took offence to the bombing of his island.

He dropped school and quit his job to become eligible for the Army, but got classified 4-C…

Enemy Alien.

He never gave up trying to get in, and finally, under the novel influence of logic and reason, D.C. allowed 4-C’s to fight.

Shortly thereafter, Daniel met a strange warrior.

In this photo, the phenotype is evident in his right eye, forever determined.

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“If you must give your life, do so with honor,” Daniel’s father told him.

In combat, Daniel became a legend. Near the end of his fighting career he found himself prying a live grenade from his own nerve-dead right hand and lobbing it at the enemy with the accuracy of his left.

Then, after an insane one-man charge, right arm useless and dangling, gut shot with an exit wound near the spine, propped against a tree to take pressure off the bullet in his leg, Daniel noticed his men catching up, thinking to carry him from the field before he bled to death.

“Nobody called off the war,” he growled, and ordered them back.

These things are documented. All the witnesses from the Japanese-American 442nd Regiment recounted the details of his bulletproof confidence, the innate tactical genius, the deadly absence of fear. One of my own relatives fought in the 442nd.

Daniel lost his arm, but not before delivering the message of Samurai DNA…

“Honor alone defeats the sociopath.”

Thirty-three of Hitler’s hardened troops saw the signature in the cell that day.

Later, when Daniel became Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and found himself in the heated Iran-Contra hearings where a US President was accused of unconstitutional behavior, our elected Samurai said…

“[There exists] a shadowy government with its own air force, its own navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of the national interest, free from all checks and balances and free from the law itself.”

Until now I refused to connect those words to President Eisenhower’s warning of 1961…

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment… and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet… we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.”

A black triangle in near space…

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US Government policy dictated by an unelected elite?

Rule of thumb – (can I say this in a novel, Talmage?) – Don’t be shocked by UFO’s, just chew before swallowing.

Classified defense contracts are logical in a world that generates Hitlers.

But if we’re hiding zero-point energy from starving kids, perhaps we have a sociopathic technological elite making our biggest decisions.

My mind still resists that notion as I sit on an ancient Indian carpet in space and stare at a triangle that I’ve heard called the TR-3B.

TR-3B

In front of it, a time-frozen corkscrew mist stretches out for six hundred yards into space. It looks like the “camera-shutter artifact” captured on reentry of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003, just before she exploded. God rest their souls.

Here’s that “artifact,” from a video documentary…

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Despite two punctate stars (forget the circular pointer), NASA says that this photo “suggests” a jiggle in the camera’s shutter. I can’t imagine they believed that, but the cloudless ionospheric lightning theory would have flown.

No?

“What in the world is that purple trail?” I ask Vedanshi who’s in cobra pose to my right. Always yoga.

“Looks like smoke from an unbalanced missile, but I don’t know,” she says. “The chemistry’s buried in phase shift.”

The Ganga’s orb touches the triangle and dims as it moves into the hull.

“They’re ghosts,” Vedanshi says.

The Ganga takes us closer, then eases us slowly through the hull and into an ethereal cockpit. The top halves of the two men come up through the carpet behind us as we study the control panel with our bodies leaning through the backs of the bucket seats.

I notice a clipboard beside the Chief of Staff’s chair. On it there’s a memo from “Paul Adolph Volker, Jr., Chairman of The Federal Reserve Board.” It’s dated, August 21, 1984, and says…

“The economically disruptive nature of zero-point technology demands it be kept from the public. Your ongoing cooperation is imperative. I would remind you that all conversations are monitored.”

“Does The Ganga run on zero-point?” I ask Vedanshi.

“Yes, but she prefers zero-point gravity over the electromagnetic spectrum. She claims it’s the taste, but I think it’s pride.” Vedanshi winks at the carpet beside her. “She has the most advanced technology in recorded history… At least the parts of history that a sixteen-year-old was allowed to read.”

“Did other ships from your era survive the asteroids?” Maxwell asks.

“Probably. But not in stasis. I don’t think anyone but my mom’s techs could rig a ship for controlled quantum stasis. And even they botched it. To do the job right you need a pyramid.”

The Sea of Tranquility peers down from the moon. I could imagine a well-stocked ship going there to miss an asteroid storm. Or maybe they’d go to Mars. A photo of a pyramidal mountain on Mars pops into my head…

ESP_017574_1965_polyhedron

“Wait,” I say to her, “you mean the pyramids were used for suspended animation?”

“Among other things,” Vedanshi says. “Most pyramids had multiple talents. My favorite thing was mood enhancement.”

There’s a piece of white paper under the foot of the hooded Chief of Staff.  The name on his lapel badge has no vowels.

“Mood?” Maxwell asks, forgetting to close his mouth.

Vedanshi nods. “Some pyramids were resonant. You could hear them for miles. The Builders made them in sets of three to produce a haunting minor chord. They sang every seventh day. If you sat and breathed slowly, the sound brought new enthusiasm. Spiritual technology. I miss that sound more than… even the garden in my bedroom.”

“You had a garden in your bedroom?” James asks.

She nods wistfully. “You know, this science-spirit dichotomy of your era is bogus.”

James just stares at her – an unusual response from him.

“Have you seen the pyramids at Giza?” I ask and put my forehead against the deck to see if anything’s legible on the paper under the Chief’s statuesque foot.

“I’ve seen images,” she says and leans over to see what I’m squinting at. “You want to go check ’em out in person?” There’s the child in her voice again.

James straightens up his lotus position. “To Giza KFC,” he says solemnly, and raises an index finger. “Make it so.” As his hand falls, I see Captain Picard in my head…

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“Let’s do it,” I say as frozen words from 1984 shift in and out of focus, most of the message probably hidden under a wide boot:

“All international bank debt will henceforth be transferred to taxpayers through the International Monitory Fund. Breakaway civilization is re-established.”

The pages of a book I skimmed in an eight-year-old pout, The Creature From Jekyll Island, appear again. Since I was thirty-three days shy of my fourth birthday, I’ve been able to read faster than I can turn pages. I’ve always been able to re-read from memory at least ten times faster than I can read from a book. Bottom line on Jekyll Island?

The Fed is inconceivably evil.

Thomas Jefferson might have agreed…

I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt

The Earth spins beneath us as we descend. The enormous African Continent fills the horizons. Everything becomes a tan blur, but before I can worry that we’re about to crash, we’re looking through double glass doors at the tops of the Giza Pyramids…

hgrHTIf

“Yesssss!” James hisses. “I’m so hungry I could cry!”

“In a minute I shall cry,” I say, channeling Scarlett O’Hara.

James chuckles, looks at me and shakes his head. “Man, you sound just like her… Hey, anybody got some Benjamins?”

I shake my head, Maxwell checks his pockets and Vedanshi unzips her purse. She pulls out a crisp fifty dollar bill as the glass doors in front of us burst open and a large man walks straight through me at full tilt, stops at the counter behind us and seems to be placing an order in the local tongue.

My heart pounds at the horror of being a ghost. I’m not dead, though, so it shouldn’t be a big deal, right?

James starts chanting, “I’ve never seen a man eat so many chicken wings,” repeating it with increasing anger as Vedanshi smiles at him and giggles.

Now I ask you, how could she get that joke? It’s a spoof on Korn, for heaven sake! She’s never heard of Korn.

Has she?

Maxwell is leaning back on his right elbow managing not to look startled by our first encounter with lunch traffic.

“Tourist info,” Vedanshi says. “The Ganga informs me that there used to be a library under the right paw of The Great Dog. She says there’s a statue similar to it in the very same spot… Called the Sphinx?” She looks at me and smiles broadly. “You want to…”

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“We’re eating first,” James says and pounds the rug.

Maxwell holds out his right first, and the boys bump knuckles.

M. Talmage Moorehead

This in-progress story starts here.

Join my email group here and download my e-book, “Writing Meaningful Page-turners.” Sounds boring, but if you’ve never read a book on fiction writing, this will be the best one ever! For you. So far. I’m pretty sure.

If you have a close friend who doesn’t roll her eyes at sf stuff, please send her (or him) my blog address: http://www.storiform.com.

Personal note to fiction writers:

Sweet, this chapter was shorter. Still too long, but next chapter I’ll try to add some conflict and make it yet shorter. I realize conflict is probably the second most important part of energy flow in a story (from book to reader, vs the opposite), so why is my story lacking conflict?

First, it’s early and I’m hoping to build. But let’s be honest, it’s not that early.

OK… plot twists with conflict are best designed to highlight your characters’ strengths, weaknesses and especially big motivational changes. When I manage to do things that way, I don’t feel arbitrary or manipulative. But writing plot conflict in general is energy-consuming because “working memory” is pegged out quickly (at my age) when I put characters in complex grave dangers that leave only a less-than-obvious (but logical) way of escape. Writing in pegged-out mode is exhausting and challenging. I try not to be lazy, but it requires all kinds of self-control and exercise of free will to build meaningful conflict into the plot.

Plus conflict is risky, and I’m somewhat afraid of it. I might get one of my characters killed. I would deeply hate that experience! Yeah, I know that attitude is unprofessional – what would you call it? “Sentimentalism?” But hey, it’s me. Your humble and yet infallible hack. We must all go with what we are, facing our limitations and striving to overcome and work around them.

At least I realize I need conflict to salvage the energy flow of this story. Otherwise it’s going to be boring. I’ll try harder next chapter. You do the same, maybe. With your talent, you could blow the doors off any complex plot issue. Don’t hold back.

Keep going. Stay pumped!

Talmage