Again, The Fool
Premiered August 22, 2003
Chapter Twenty Two
She was cruising through a wasteland, when suddenly her thoughts drifted, her spirits lifted, and her location shifted. Whereupon she found herself in a new dimension, a fifth dimension.
Was this someone's intention, with the use of some strange invention, to crash her dimension? What pray tell could be their intention? Aye, what would be hers? For the dimensions of a shifting mind, drifting into a dimension without time, might not yet be sublime.
Shifting among dimensions requires mindful intentions, and no wondrous inventions can relieve our conventions of living in other dimensions. The manifestations of her mind, the shiftings of her rhyme, would no longer be buffered by time. She must make a pact to clean up her act before she left these dimensions, shifted her intentions, ignored the inventions, and discarded the conventions - before lifting her spirits, and departing this wasteland of her mind's shifting dimension.
For in that fifth dimension, there will be all manner of invention solely from her mind's intention, and relieved of all convention other than those from a higher dimension.
Dawn awoke with a start, literally coming straight up in her cot, her mind still immersed in the words and rhyming within her mind. Yet once again, in those rare moments of sleep, strange thoughts and even stranger feelings had come to her. And of late, visits by entities describable only as guardians of profound mysteries, arriving in her thoughts to teach and ever so gently guide.
They had been at Kali Lumenes for two months -- time enough for the first cool indications of a relief from the summer heat in the Eastern Mediterranean. After the first week of reconnecting with Gil, and becoming slightly more at ease with Anna, the three adventurers had begun their "program". For nine days they had fasted, drinking only water -- which was only occasionally graced with the hint of lemon juice. Then for thirty-one days, they had continued the fast, taking "megadoses" of the white powder of occult gold, the golden tears from the eye of Horus. Then they had returned to a more or less normal, semi-vegetarian diet, supplemented with large amounts of grape juice and Vitalitea. The effects on their bodies and minds were astounding.
They began to sleep less and less, often for as little as two or three hours in a twenty-four hour period. They meditated for hours at a time, feeling ever more connected, the urge to meditate constantly increasing. The meditations began as quiet sittings upon their cots in their small cubicles, then manifested themselves as Dawn and the others walked in the gardens, and later while doing any number of chores about the cloister. It became only a matter of paying attention minute by minute to the multitude of signals coming from the universe -- seemingly provided as a suggested guidance for one's next action, thought, or feeling. And in all ways, their thoughts felt as one.
Then there was the sound, a deep, unobtrusive hum, a "hu" sound that appeared in their minds early on and slowly began to increase in volume as they proceeded during the fast and thereafter. The sound was always there, but never uncomfortable. One could focus on it or simply ignore it. But it was there, as if patiently waiting for a few moments of one's attention. And when one did focus on the sound, the feelings of a single song, a uni-verse, pervaded one's being. It was home. Always at one's beck and call, and yet never possessive or invasive of one's Free Will.
Dawn smiled as she sat in her bunk, her light sleeping smock draped on her body haphazardly and with only the slightest twists and curls from having slept in it. The feelings she felt were of peace and delight. These were combined with curiosity for what might happen next, and all feelings intermixed with wonder and patience. Her thoughts were less of an intellectual nature; the reasons for the cause and effect she was experiencing becoming less and less important. Her early fears, most of which were based on her life before Kali Lumenes, had faded and dissipated, losing all their strength as she had faced them and let them go. She had become more the witness to those drifting fears, rather than being the one invested in their continuation and growth. Fear was one of those illusory emotions, arising whenever she felt momentarily disconnected from the oneness.
The implants of guilt and shame had been eliminated very early on. Then sorrow and despair stole away unheralded in the night. Separation gradually became an non-entity as the connection between the three and the universe at large took precedence over all of their actions. The fear of death was routed after one profound experience, where Dawn in a conscious state had found herself floating in the universe, encountering six other ships of light, and feeling the intimate presence of her departed loved ones -- beginning with her children and husband and ending with a host of all the others who had gone before her.
The seventh implant, that of servitude, was slightly more difficult and considerably more insidious. A lifetime of earning her way in some fashion or another was deeply ingrained. Within the program, it manifested as an eagerness to embrace and attack the “problem” of becoming more enlightened, virtually on schedule and out of a sense of duty and responsibility. How was one to become completely whole if one was not to work at it? And work at it, Dawn had. It was the classic example of attempting to “push the river”. But then, she came to grips with it and finally allowed control of the process -- its timing and agenda -- to rest entirely with the universe. And in that moment, she completed the Journey, and became, once again, The Fool.
Wearing her new persona, Dawn slowly shifted on her cot, swinging her legs to gently curl down and touch the small mat on the floor beside her bed. As she sat there, she decided it was three o'clock in the morning. There were no time devices in her room, but only her sense of the darkness outside, hours before first light and the dawn. It was a sense she had quickly learned to trust.
She then opened her mind, allowing the thoughts of others to enter. Dawn no longer probed to discover other's thoughts or intentions. She simply allowed whatever thoughts were offered. She could as easily shut her mind to the intrusion from others, but now, in this more limited way, she was open to any thoughts that had been left in the ether for her -- effectively her own version of “call waiting.” Instantly, there was Anna's presence as she gestured to where two double doors were opening. Anna's thoughts stepped aside as Dawn looked with her mind's eye into the space beyond the doors. There she saw Nathan and Kurt facing each other. Nathan was speaking to Kurt, his voice and manner betraying his frustration and unremitting anger.
"I don't think you realize the pressure I'm receiving on these two fugitives. It's been two months since we have had any evidence of their still being on the planet!"
Kurt's reply was more concise and directed. "There is a severely limited number of places they could go and still manage to avoid us. They are not at any of these places. This leaves only one possibility. They must be at the one place we would, by design, least expect."
Dawn could sense Nathan's face hardening as if begrudgingly being led to a conclusion he would prefer not to make. "You're suggesting a turncoat in our midst."
"I see no other reasonable alternative," Kurt replied. "It’s the only thing that makes sense. Consequently, I see no reason whatsoever that a surprise visit to her lair on Crete would not now be next on our agenda. It's the only place on this planet our fugitives could be!"
"I might remind you," Nathan quickly countered, "that your unannounced twin excursions to Lake Baikal and Glastonbury six weeks ago are still having very negative fallout. We can not be made to look like fools again. I need strong justification before we go rushing into Kali Lumenes, and incurring the wrath of..."
"Perhaps you need justification," Kurt interrupted. "But I don't. She's betrayed us before!"
"That was a long time ago. All of that has been officially forgiven."
"Fortunately," Kurt replied, his teeth clinched, "I have a good memory, and very little forgiveness. Make the arrangements, big brother. I'm going to lead this assault team myself!"
Abruptly, the scene in Dawn's mind faded, and for a moment she dwelled on her reaction to it. Instead of fear or concern, however, she simply observed it. She knew action would now have to be taken, yet it was more like observing a sunset, and then obliquely deciding it might be time to turn on a light. Then she felt the presence of Gil, as her friend and former employer beckoned her to visit him in the small room where the guests occasionally gathered and took their multi-layered nourishment. It was a gentle beckoning, rather like a brief message on an answering machine inviting one to call when they had the inclination to do so. Dawn smiled and stood up. She would accept the invitation.
As she rose slowly, and began to walk from the room, her senses picked up on the coolness of the stone floor on her bare feet, the whiff of early morning sea air in her slow deep breaths, and the dampness on the whole of her sensory skin apparatus. Her room was in darkness, but she instinctively knew by some inner insight the location and status of everything in the room as clearly as if she had 20-20 eyesight in the best lit of rooms. As she gently opened the door to her cubicle, a dim light filtered in from the hallway. Her mind seemed to care less about the extrasensory informational stimuli, and she proceeded down the hallway toward the commons room.
Her thoughts momentarily drifted to the other more profound effects of her progress in the "program". She had already had glimpses of increased telepathy -- as in the communiqué from Anna, and far beyond her earlier capacities to sense emotions and intentions from others. She knew she had tasted of the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and that she could surely know when good and evil were in the room with her -- of even if such evil was about to visit her at Kali Lumenes. Dawn also knew she would soon be able to levitate and bilocate as her body became superconducting on demand.
In the interim, there had already begun the beginnings of what can only be described as solitary sacred orgasms occurring in her body, typically without anticipation, and initially invoking total surprise. The first ones had been like her dream of long ago in the aircraft bound for Lake Mach. But now they were much more intense and with infinitely greater staying power. Her whole body would feel an overpowering heat and ecstasy, one which seemed to envelop her totally. Only to then have it gently ease its power over her, as she reached out in her mind for a momentary stability. What she now termed "super-extended orgasms" had then begun, and from her discussions with the others, she realized the feelings to total rapture could become commonplace, occurring six or seven times a day. It was almost like a universal nourishment, a reminder of her progress -- a motivator for her to continue. It was the food of her "ka", her soul-spirit.
The effect had had a profound effect on her relationship with Alex, taking it into realms she could not have even imagined before -- even when she had been anticipating stunning revelations. A loving connection continued to develop between them, but none of the normal issues of a relationship were present. Save perhaps a sense that each was still learning from the other the lessons of androgyny. They were on parallel paths and that was a delight. But then Sisi and Gil were also on similar paths, Gil, in particular, providing unique insights and reasons for being. They were almost a foursome, as much as two twosomes. Dawn obliquely wondered if they might soon discover another similar foursome and multiply thereby their powers and understanding.
There had also begun what she thought of as visitations by "ascended masters" -- beings which fairly radiated love and compassion. They always seemed to arrive and then radiate for a while as Dawn grew accustomed to their presence. For several visits, they were just there, as if awaiting her first move. Then when she had boldly asked the reason for their visit, one simply communicated to her mind that they were there to respond to her. Dawn had abruptly realized the implications, and begun to ask questions.
Eagerly, they had responded with answers, always presenting them with a precise caring and knowledge of the state of the woman asking them. But it was Dawn's questions which generated the discussion. It was her agenda. There had never been any "masters' agenda" -- if such a thing even existed -- to infringe upon hers. She could ask and receive complete answers, but other thoughts were never offered -- it was a question of Free Will -- as if a "prime directive" existed to prevent any kind of interference in the growth of a sentient being, even to the point of suggesting or initiating in conversation an idea not originally hers.
Intriguingly, Dawn had also realized her questions were not just simply answered. Instead, her inquiry had simply been an excuse for the masters to remind her of the answers already at her beck and call. It was as if the teacher and pupil had agreed to pretend the pupil had questions and the teacher had answers -- when in reality both knew the answers to all questions and the "teacher" had simply remembered the answer a split second before the "pupil".
As Dawn approached the commons, where Gil was quietly sitting, Dawn felt a sudden shift in her universe. The door to the commons had begun to sparkle like a clear night without moonlight, and Dawn had become a light being without the constraints of matter and mass, moving into the midst of stars and atoms as they enveloped her in a deep, rich blue of immense comfort and gentleness. Then, just as quickly, she found herself inside the door to the commons, the stars and night vanished, and the alleged reality of a three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time frame of reference reasserting itself.
The brief excursion left her amazed and breathless. Blinking several times, she then turned to where Gil was sitting with his own equally amazed expression. Resorting to old communication techniques, Dawn abruptly asked out loud, "What was that!?"
Gil almost laughed, as if relieved Dawn was as human as he felt. Then smiling, he said, "Perhaps you shifted dimensions." When Dawn could only look at him, Gil added, "You wanted to go through the doorway, and you simply stepped into another dimension momentarily in order to do so. Once you had manifested that intention, you stepped back out. And now you're here."
Dawn felt a smile cross her face as she realized that was exactly what had happened. Without another word, she took a chair across the corner of the table from Gil and closed her eyes. Her mind formed a question and then felt the response, gently provided in linear, verbal terms: "Within many of the higher dimensions, there is instant manifestation. One thinks a thought and it is. There is no buffer of time; there is no delay or opportunity to ask, 'Is this really what I want?' The thought becomes reality, even when the thought is random, careless, or unconsidered. There are no limits or boundaries within many of the higher dimensions. Whatever is thought is instantly made manifest within the reality of that soul."
"And thus one must be very careful what one thinks," Dawn added in her mind.
"Of course," came the answer (or the reminder). "In the four-dimensional time and space, there is the benefit of time, when one can reconsider their desires, when one can have the leisure to formulate a thought, to gather data as to its desirability and precise nature, and then to reformulate the thought until it is exactly one's considered desire. Then, by a process of continual and consistent thought over a period of time, one's desires can be made manifest."
"And in higher dimensions," Dawn replied, "there is no time. No moment to reconsider, no opportunity to say, 'Wait a second'." There was no reply to Dawn's statement, only her own inner knowing of its accuracy, and the subtle legal implication of "Silence implies consent."
Then another realization struck her. "And this could be the basis for bilocation," she abruptly thought. "Simply shift into a higher dimension, think oneself at whatever time or location, and it's manifested. Then back into the space-time dimension at whatever point one desires -- be it a shift in the spatial and/or the time coordinates!" The reply was again silence, but one laced with broad, delighted smiles on what might be construed as the faces of Dawn's "teachers".
Dawn smiled in return (with Gil watching intently and silently picking up on the mental conversation going on between Dawn and the others). Then Dawn picked up on a question in Gil's mind. Dawn silently asked the question. "And healing someone fatally wounded... Could one shift with them into a higher dimension, heal them instantly, and then return? Could this be the way to provide instant healing? Even raising the dead?"
The response was subdued. Gil instantly felt the lack of encouragement for his having invaded Dawn's space to ask his question. At the same time, there was no judgment against Gil for having stepped out of line -- only his own realization he had slipped up, and his instant decision to work on it.
"One never heals another," the words reminded the two of them. "One facilitates or reminds another of their power to heal themselves. But it is an act done only with permission. The wounded may have other higher plans for dealing with their wounds. If they ask for help, and ask not purely out of fear, then you may assist in the least invasive manner. But even then, you must ask the higher self of the wounded person. Cut off from their higher self, the wounded may have temporarily forgotten their purpose in incurring the wound. 'Temporarily', of course, is a temporal concept -- and not suitable to the higher dimensions."
Dawn pondered for a moment of time. Then she smiled, silently whispering, "Thank you." Opening her eyes again, she looked at Gil. "And thank you," she added. "For the question."
Gil smiled in return. "You've come so far," he said, almost wistfully. "You've surpassed me already. In all my time upon this earth, I could not have evolved to such an extent."
Dawn was momentarily surprised by the observation. She thought to protest, but instantly realized Gil was speaking a truth -- one not to be protested. Instead, she asked, "Why is that?"
Gil shrugged and did the minimalist version of a quick laugh. "The universe is not only blessed with a marvelous sense of humor, but an ironic one as well. When the Anunnaki jump-started your evolution, they also, inadvertently, created a karmic limitation on their own growth. And inasmuch as I'm genetically close to them, on my growth as well. Thus it's slow going for me. But then again, I have a great deal of time to work on it."
"But why should it be slow for a particular set of genes?" Dawn asked.
"I don't know," Gil replied, "But I suspect it was due to taking the Orme before being ready. Instead of evolving from it, we wallowed in it. We became addicted to the powers and longevity it provided, but without taking responsibility alongside our new found abilities. At the same time, it was perhaps perfect in that the Anunnaki then created you, never suspecting that it was in order for you to be able to reach a position where you could help them on their path of spiritual growth."
"A strange but natural interdependence," Dawn suggested.
Gil looked at Dawn with considerably more intensity. "Their evolution, as well as mine, now seems tied to yours. Our greater purpose seems to be that we must facilitate your reaching the next level, where hopefully, you will then reach back down and raise us to our new level. Something on the order of a leapfrogging between races, one always helping the other to the next evolutionary plateau." Gil shrugged slightly. "It seems a sound policy. Just like something the universe would conjure up for its own amusement."
Dawn thought for a moment. Slowly a smile came over her face. Quietly, she extended her hand to Gil, symbolically giving him a pull up to the next level, allowing her friend to join her.
An uncharacteristic tear came to Gil's eyes as he took Dawn's extended hand and grasped it firmly. For a moment the two beings sat there, their arms interlocked, looking to the casual observer as if they were arm-wrestling, but without yet expending any physical effort.
After a brief excursion into what the Greeks called kairos time -- when one "participates in time," losing all track of its passage -- Dawn spoke. "I'm reminded of something I think Voltaire once said. Something to the effect that God, the ultimate creator of the universe, was a comedian, but unfortunately he was playing to an audience too scared to laugh."
Gil could not help but grin. "My kind of God," he admitted.
Then, slightly sobered, Dawn asked, "And the others?"
Gil grimaced slightly, releasing Dawn's arm and retrieving his own. "Nathan, Kurt, and not a few of the others are still living in fear. They just haven't figured out their true destiny. They will continue to fight us -- even as they are preparing to do now."
Dawn immediately felt the underlying meaning in Gil's words. "Yes. I received a warning from Anna. We now need to consider our response."
Gil's expression indicated that he agreed. But before he could reply, both felt another's presence. It was Sisi approaching the common room. Gil said quietly, "Anna gave me a few suggestions. We'll discuss them in a moment, when the others are here."
After Sisi had joined them, and within minutes Alex, Gil summarized the situation. "As you may already be aware, Kurt is planning a frontal assault at dawn, apparently out of desperation. Anna has suggested -- and I agree -- that it is not time for us to make a stand at Kali Lumenes."
"But it's too soon," Sisi replied. "We're not ready. Or, at least, I'm not."
"You may be more ready than you think," Gil suggested. "But regardless of whether or not we're ready to do battle with Kurt, the fact remains he's now on the attack, and Kali Lumenes is his next target. After his fiasco at Lake Baikal and Glastonbury six weeks ago he's desperate for a win."
"What about the others?" Alex asked.
"There has been a continual effort to ferret them out," Gil replied. "But they've countered effectively and have scattered. There are now a dozen or so independent groups, all with the same goal. They've become mobile and are constantly on the run, but they're persevering, and even though it’s somewhat slower than expected, they are getting the job done."
"It seems to me that we have to help them," Sisi interjected, the tone in her voice suggesting she was already mentally packing her bags.
Dawn noticed that she did not feel the same urgency. For a moment it puzzled her.
Until Gil explained. "Not all of us." Gently and directly to Sisi, he said, "You and Alex and Dawn are doing precisely what you're supposed to be doing. It’s not time for you to rush into the battle between 'the servants of light and the servants of darkness'. We can't be sure if you abort the process now, even temporarily, whether or not you can then get back on track."
Sisi was insistent. "They're my friends, Gil."
"And there is a world of humanity which needs you more," Gil replied. "But it needs you whole and fully prepared." After a brief pause, with Sisi not yet ready to reply to the charge, Gil said, "Anna and I have infinitely less to risk. Anna, in fact, is already into the fray -- even if apparently Nathan and Kurt are not fully aware yet of her true allegiances. I can join Anna, covertly, and begin the fight for you. The three of you can then join us when you're ready; when you're free of a momentary emotion unbalancing your better judgment.
"I don't think it's a 'momentary emotion'," Sisi replied, her voice insistent. For a moment, the two willful individuals looked at each other.
Then Gil spoke. "It's too dangerous." When it was clear the argument had not worked on Sisi, he continued. "The lesson of the Anunnaki, and myself as well, is that we began taking the Orme before we were ready for it, before we were wise enough to use the powers it entailed. We never acknowledged our responsibilities in doing so, and thus didn’t take the Orme in the proper manner -- in the manner in which you are now doing. But if you interrupt the process now, you may fall into the same trap. In effect, you may rush in where angels fear to tread. Well, there’s a reason angels fear to tread there: We're the reason! The abilities and longevity we enjoy... Or perhaps, the better word is endure... These are not such a wonderful thing without the consciousness to go along with it. You mustn't fall into the same trap!"
There was a pause in the conversation, until Gil interrupted the impasse. "Anna and I have nothing to lose, comparatively speaking. We can take action, while the three of you remain here. But even with our best efforts, the best we can do to help the others is to alleviate the pressure being imposed on them by Nathan and Kurt." When the others just looked at him, he added, "Anna and I will gather their undivided attention and focus it in another direction. We'll set up a diversion."
"Gil's right," Alex said. "Everyone at the Site knew this could happen. We planned for it."
"Sisi," Dawn began, her voice gentle and very understanding. "Do you remember, some weeks ago, when Alex talked about tweaking the minds of more than one highway patrolman? When he fantasized about roaring by one after the other, and in each case then taking off like a hot-rod UFO?" The tension in the room immediately lessened, as all the others grinned and Dawn continued. "We all agreed then that Alex's fantasy was a very bad idea! We’re no longer allowed the luxury of responding from anything but the best intentions."
Alex, looking at Sisi with gentle eyes, added, "If I've learned nothing else in the last three months, it's this: Every soul chooses their own experiences, and I am not sufficiently all-knowing as to judge when I should assist or how I should 'save' my fellow man. My 'prime directive' is not to interfere with another soul's path -- including those of my friends. But instead, my higher good is to serve as an example. I can be a very good example."
"And if someone asks for your help?"
"The best way I can answer," Alex continued, "is by a medical analogy. I can be the equivalent of an Emergency Room, where I can facilitate stabilizing someone's condition and allowing them the time to heal themselves. But if it's an acute illness or disease, my helping may be self-serving at best, and may actually interfere with the other person's growth and evolution. I'm not helping anyone if I give them the answers on their test. I can only be that example, that suggestion of how another person might choose to answer their own tests."
Quietly, Dawn said, "We have a sacred trust here. We have to complete what we've begun."
Sisi knew it was a losing battle, but she was not quite ready to let go of it. "And what constitutes completion? How do we even know when we're ready?"
"I can't speak for you. When you're ready may be different from when I'm ready."
"Yeah, well," Sisi replied reluctantly, "I'm not ready yet. So there!"
Alex involuntarily laughed, and the others smiled at Sisi, until she relaxed as well. Gil took her hand, making his feelings for her crystal clear. Alex then added, "The sense I get is that not only should we be doing nothing offensive, but we can't even afford to take offense! Even when it's our friends we're worried about."
Gil then added, "I think that's wise advice. Something I should have learned a long time ago. I now know that such things as vengeance, in any form, is nothing more than an Achilles' heal. It may be the one thing that prevents our ultimately helping."
"Something running through my head yesterday," Dawn interjected, "Was that if we’re not able to let things be, and instead, insist on following our own agenda, the result of our program is that we may simply ascend, and not come back. Instead of becoming a 'Latter Day Saint', we would simply move on. If that's the case, we won’t be able to stay in order to offer the same choice to others. Helping before we're ready might make us martyrs, but won't allow us to help later on. We have to be wise enough to know every wrong cannot necessarily be made right by our actions.”
"Simply put," Sisi acknowledged, "Thoughts are now reality! And my thoughts are not quite under control yet. I'm still in the paradigm of fighting fire with fire."
Gil abruptly laughed. Smiling at Sisi, he said, "Anna and I are not loath to bring a little fire to the situation to perhaps buy some time. But then again, we have a lot less to lose."
Dawn didn't buy it. "You will have to come to the same point yourselves. The two of you, despite the profound physiological differences, will still have to take the same leap of faith."
"The difference is," Gil countered, "Anna and I have the time to make mistakes. Once we see the three of you come into your own, we can begin our own, very slow process. Remember, we don't change easily or quickly. Comparatively, it's a very slow process. I may be able to evolve faster than Anna, but I'm still quite slow compared to the three of you."
Dawn smiled, knowingly. "Your growth may turn out to be a lot faster than you think."
Gil looked at Dawn, considering her words. Shrugging his shoulders, he decided it was not yet time for him to know the full import of her statement. Instead, he returned to the second item on his agenda. "There's just one other, minor detail." As the others braced themselves -- already aware of Gil's tendency to understate -- Gil lowered his eyes and matter-of-factly said, "We're going to need a destination for our escape. Not just leave Kali Lumenes, but have somewhere to go"
The momentary silence in the room did not carry the normal tension and surprise. Instead, there was the sense of having known something, but not consciously recognizing it until it was pointed out. Then Dawn smiled. "I rather suspect you already have somewhere in mind."
Gil looked at her for a split second, and then answered simply, "England."
Dawn, Alex and Sisi had learned over the last weeks to live frugally, and carry next to no baggage. (It's the best way to go through life: i.e. with as little baggage as possible -- particularly, old baggage.) Thus the packing and preparing to leave scenario lasted just under twenty minutes. By that time, in the deep darkness of the hour before first light, all four of them were making their escape from Kali Lumenes -- scampering over the south wall and dropping down to the edge of the rocky cliffs overlooking the sea.
Their unorthodox departure turned out to be quite appropriate, in that two men had secretly stationed themselves in a nearby building to watch the only serviceable entrance/exit to the cloister. The two men were, in turn, waiting for the arrival of three V.I.P.'s who would be arriving in the early hours after sunrise. This threesome would be arriving without fanfare, and ostensibly with total surprise. Rather like the bank examiner arriving at the unsuspecting local repository of other people's money preparatory to checking the books -- books that were normally cooked.
Scrambling down the cliffs, Dawn, Alex, Sisi and Gil made their way onto the rocks jutting out into the sea. A small fishing vessel was thirty to forty yards offshore, slowly proceeding around the squared off protrusion of the island into the sea. The vessel was carefully hugging the shoreline at the island’s point ostensibly in order to save fuel. The four fugitives saw the fishing vessel's running lights and knew they were on schedule. With no further hesitation, all four dived into the water and began swimming for the vessel.
With Alex keeping a watchful eye on the less accomplished swimmer, the four approached the boat, swimming around the bow of the boat, as it slowed to accommodate them. Shielded from view of any spies on the land by the boat's wheelhouse, the swimmers grabbed a small fishing net, draped over the side, and began to scramble aboard. Once on board, the four slipped into the bunk area below the wheelhouse, as two sailors pulled the net back aboard. The boat's engines continued to operate just as before, and thereby caused no difference in the sound of the engines. But with the net no longer over the side -- resulting in a definite drag -- the boat began to make better headway and slowly sailed away from Kali Lumenes
As the first light of dawn began to dissipate the darkness, the fishing vessel with its four unauthorized passengers was heading out into the Bay west of the ancient city of Phaestus and proceeding due west. By the time the vessel had reached Cape Krios, on the southwestern tip of Crete, the fishing vessel and its occupants encountered a large, black helicopter flying eastward. The helicopter took no notice of them -- in fact, barely saw the fishing vessel, the pilot more concerned about the glare of the early morning sun. The helicopter's three passengers, meanwhile, were more intent upon their destination: a small field near Kali Lumenes, where a private car was awaiting their arrival. Everything had been well scheduled ahead for the convenience of the "examiners" -- which, of course, was why Gil and the others had chosen their particular escape route. It is a truism that there are virtually no well kept secrets among the population of a small village in the backwaters of an island in the middle of a great sea.
From the wheelhouse of the fishing vessel, Gil watched the helicopter fly over. He glanced at Dawn, who was sitting in a small cubby hole just aft of where he was standing. But her eyes were closed. Gil took the hint and turned his thoughts to the idea of how many fish they could expect to catch this time and other mundane thoughts. One could never tell who might be listening in, and none of the four were sufficiently certain their powers could protect the privacy of their thoughts from a concerted effort by others. As he looked at the vessel's captain, the old grizzled sailor responded with a toothless grin, a shudder to indicate the coldness of the water, and then returned to his piloting. Gil smiled, as he sensed the inherent willingness of humans to assist others.
An hour later, the four novice "fisher kings" were skirting the northwest corner of Crete and beginning the process of heading into open sea. Gil glanced at the navigational map, making a quick judgment on their progress toward the Greece mainland. It would be about four hours, Gil decided before arriving at the small port on the southeast tip of the Peloponnesus. 'Mid afternoon,' he said to himself. 'And then overland to the small private airport, where they would find their private jet.'
Then he noticed on the same map, the location of the ancient ruins of Khania east of the northwestern tip of the island. Also known as Cydonia, it reminded him immediately of the area by the same name on Mars where the enigmatic Face of Mars was located. 'It's a small universe,' he thought. 'And everything is connected in so many unique and fascinating ways.'
By the following day, the foursome had landed on the Peloponnesus, acquired a car to take them to the isolated, private airport, and then boarded a private plane bound for the south of England. A few more of the remaining gold coins had been expended in the process, but there seemed to be no regrets. Gold is, after all, only a means to an end.
The private plane's route, meanwhile, was a masterpiece of national politics. There was the initial requirement for an easterly trek in order to avoid the near-perpetual conflict in Bosnia-Serbia-Croatia-Macedonia, then a northwesterly course, just off the eastern coast of Italy and beyond its international boundaries. This was followed by a relatively low flying oblique crossing of the northern portions of Italy and the Swiss Alps, and then a run northward along the approximate border between Germany and France, being careful to appear to each country's radar as if it were flying across the other's sovereign territory. (And because the Germans were notoriously more efficient, the private plane tended to "err" on the side of France -- the French always being more tolerant of mischief and subterfuge.)
It was during the time when the low-flying plane was approaching the Netherlands (probably the only country in Europe which was not paranoid about its aerial borders), that the first verbal salvos were being fired in England.
"Apparently," Kurt was saying with all the available intimidation and threat at his command, "You are not aware of who I am, or who I represent!"
The woman, who would not be cowed by the likes of Kurt, answered with the total assurance of someone acquainted with the facts -- and who knew her boss had the power to back her up. "I know all too well who you are, and who you represent. Everyone in Avebury does. But the one I serve does not feel the same urgent need to meet with you as you appear to meet with him."
Kurt was not to be dissuaded. "The Lord of the Command is returning! In the very near future! Will your master feel a greater urgency to meet with him?"
"I'm afraid," the woman replied, standing up to Kurt in every measure, "that such a question is irrelevant to our discussion. My only instructions at this time concern you. He will not see you."
"And I will be damned if he doesn't!" Kurt shouted.
"Undoubtedly," the woman replied only partially under her breath.
Turning on his heels, he walked briskly from the room. 'There was more than one way to skin a cat,' he thought. And Kurt was fairly certain he knew the whereabouts of this particular cat. Within minutes, his limo had reached Silbury Hill -- after Avebury, his first estimate of where to best find his quarry.
At roughly the same time, Dawn and the others were flying over the countryside of Southwestern England. With Gil and Sisi otherwise occupied, Alex and Dawn spent their time, looking for crop circles in the late summer fields. Most of the crops had already been harvested, but Dawn thought she saw one that was uncannily familiar. It was surrounded by a harvested field and a large square of standing wheat -- as if someone had left a canvas for the artist to complete her work. Dawn smiled, silently thanked the unknown farmer who had felt compelled to leave a portion of his crops standing for a few more weeks.
Then the aircraft began to approach the most famous monolithic structure in England, the small grouping of massive stones called Stonehenge. For a moment Dawn observed the area from a distance. Then she turned to Alex.
Alex picked up on her interest immediately. Almost spontaneously, he said, “Stonehenge is reputed to have been built three to four thousand years ago. And yet, the locations of the stones demonstrate that the builders knew the exact distances to each of the visible planets, as well as their relative sizes. They were also aware of the various geometries which connect all of the planets’ orbits in our solar system.”
“The planets are connected with geometries?”
Alex smiled. “Of course, what else would you expect?” For a moment the two simply smiled. Then Alex added, “A fellow named John Martineau put out a book a few years back , which showed conclusively that every single planet’s orbit was connected to every other planet’s orbit by simple geometric figures such as five and six-pointed stars. At the same time, the physical sizes of the Earth relative to the Moon, as well as to Mercury and Saturn are also connected with geometries.”
“That can’t be by chance,” Dawn replied.
“It isn’t. The physical mechanism may not be obvious, but all of the planets’ orbits, and some of their sizes, are related not only by geometry, but as I rediscovered several years ago, by what is known as the Golden Section -- a transcendental number that is apparently fundamental to everything in the universe.”
Dawn smiled. “Why am I not surprised?”
“Because you know that everything’s connected, and what better connection than one that is sacred? The fact the connection is geometrical is just, from my viewpoint, icing on the cake.”
Dawn laughed slightly, but just enough to catch the attention of Sisi and Gil, who had been involved in their own private interaction in the aft portion of the airplane. Sisi looked forward, a broad smile on her face, as she observed Alex and Dawn. One might have thought that she and Gil had been privy to Dawn and Alex’s entire conversation.
Shortly thereafter, Dawn and the others were landing in Bristol. Their subsequent reception was distinctly different from Kurt’s. On the one hand, Kurt was receiving no positive feedback at all from the locals in the Silbury Hill District. Few if any seemed to know anything, and the ones who might have had a clue did not warm to Kurt's urgency. Despite the blank stares, however, Kurt nevertheless decided that the one known locally as the "Fisher King", the one who the obstinate woman of Avebury served, was not in the immediate area of Avebury and Silbury Hill. After two hours of pointless haranguing, Kurt backtracked slightly and then headed south toward Stonehenge. The latter was an unlikely place to find his quarry, but the old King he sought had always had an emotional attachment -- in Kurt's mind, a weakness -- for the famous ring of monolithic, erect stones. It was the second of the three most likely places to find the one Kurt was seeking.
Meanwhile, Dawn and the others were met at Bristol with unexpected cordiality and respect. The fact their passports showed no official entry or exit visas to or from Greece, and no exit visa from Egypt, seemed not to matter at all. An English entry stamp was obligingly provided, and the guests of the British Empire were warmly welcomed. In fact, they were so warmly received that Dawn had been quite surprised.
Gil, however, was quick to point out that the extended courtesies were likely the result of some extraordinarily well connected individual paving the way for them. Rather like the Queen of England showing up unexpectedly just so her very best friends can be taken care of in appropriately British, upper-crust style. Only in this case, the well connected individual apparently had a much higher rank than the mere Queen of the British Commonwealth.
The only flaw in the proceedings at Bristol was that Gil was to take his leave of them there. He and Sisi had spent virtually the entire flight from Greece in close and intimate contact, so the good byes were less heart-wrenching. And there was the sense they would always be connected, and in all likelihood, in a physical sense in the very near future. But neither had any guarantees, and it took a concentrated effort on both their parts to exercise their recently established faith in order to keep themselves going. As for parting being such sweet sorrow... Balderdash!
With Gil taking the first flight to London, the original three desperadoes left in the car provided by their benefactor and headed south for Glastonbury. At roughly the same time, Kurt received intelligence of exactly where his quarry was, and immediately turned west -- heading for the same village of England, with its profound history and tradition.
The vehicle arrived just outside the stock wooden gates of an ancient stone wall. Alex stepped out of the car first, and was immediately impressed by the height of the wall. The driver, noticing his expression, said quietly, in a heavy accent underlain with a Welsh ancestry, "Tis sum ate and a half foote tall!" His guess was close enough. But to be precise, the intended height was exactly 8.545 feet -- the product of two fundamentals, one of which was distinctly local to the area and known as the “megalithic yard” (and which measured 2.72 feet).
Alex was impressed (and would be more so when he knew more). For several minutes he admired the structure, while the women joined him on the cobblestones representing the nearest thing to a curb in the vicinity. And then, without further ado, the driver bid them farewell and drove off. It took only a moment for Sisi to assume her regular hubris and attempt to open one of the twin gates. The gate immediately responded and swung open easily and with little noise.
As the three stepped inside, they found a heavily wooded and forested area (mostly ancient oaks). The spot could easily have been a model for a medieval and very dense Sherwood Forest -- a place where rogues and outlaws could escape the clutches of the law for years on end. The greenery was absolutely intense, with multiple shades vying for their own small place in the sun and scarcely anywhere an empty patch of sky. Dawn immediately felt the sacredness of the spot, seeing all the accouterments of a Druid temple: Massive oaks, boulder sized rocks located within and amongst the greenery, and the sounds of a small babbling brook -- the latter, for the moment, still unseen.
From behind her, Dawn heard the sound of a heavy click -- a security bolt being engaged. She turned toward the wooden gates, as did her companions. All three instinctively knew they had just been locked in. Or the rest of the world locked out. Whichever one preferred.
Sisi accepted the locked gate, took a deep breath and begin to walk deeper into the wooded area. The barest outline of a path caught her eye and she followed it without hesitation. The others, in turn, followed Sisi, each person looking about the area like a typical tourist from Scarsville, Iowa on their first visit to the Big Apple. The area was lush beyond imagining, an example of the extent and prolific ability of Mother Nature's green thumb. When the path encountered the rocky and moss-laden brook, the scene became almost surreal. One would have expected Merlin to show himself at any moment with Excalibur in hand, ready to hand it over to the new monarch.
Instead, the path curled around and through the greenery on every side, until it reached a short section where just ahead stood two upright, four-foot-tall stone pillars. Behind the entrance represented by the pillars was a small clearing surrounding by oak trees, twisting vines, and the horseshoe meandering of the babbling brook. Sisi came up short at seeing what lay ahead, and for just a moment she simply stared. Dawn stepped beside her and marveled as well, while Alex was content to see it all from behind. Then without a word, Dawn began moving toward the stone pillars, stones she somehow instinctively identified as "Herms." Drawing abreast of them, she stopped, removed her shoes and socks, and then -- very gingerly -- stepped into the clearing.
Her immediate reaction was intense! An incredible antiquity, combined with a sense of the most profound foreboding descended upon her. Almost as quickly, she felt the empowering sacredness, a sacredness guaranteeing the safety and sanctity of every enlightened disciple who dared to enter and step upon holy ground. Then she noticed the figure, ostensibly a very old but still robust man, sitting on a low rock, his attention on a small patch of dry sand at his feet, where he was drawing small interlocking circles with the point of a tree branch -- a branch green and still growing and held easily in one hand. Dawn watched him for a moment, but saw no indication of an awareness on his part of their arrival. Dawn intuitively identified the man as none other than Enki himself.
Then, as she became aware of Sisi and Alex's standing next to her, she took her intense focus off the old man and glanced around. Her attention was immediately captured by three rocks, similar to the one upon which Enki was sitting. Apparently, judging from the rocks, they were expected.
Dawn could not help but smile, as she stepped toward the rock furthermost to her right, and then set down. Sisi followed Dawn's lead and took the rock next to hers. Alex then set down on the rock to the left of Sisi and quietly awaited the next move. Sisi glanced at Dawn to see if she would take the initiative, but seeing Dawn's complete attention on the enigmatic figure before them, decided to leave it at that. Sisi was feeling the need to remain still and wait.
Quietly, the moments progressed unhindered -- as if time was no longer on the agenda, or even particularly noticed. Everything was in its essence and nothing more was needed.
Dawn and the others watched Enki, as he continued to quietly drag his stick across the sand. Dawn suddenly had the sense she was in the presence of the legendary Fisher King, the same entity they had once called Oannes. For several long moments she was mesmerized, until a realization hit her. Instead of watching him, she turned her attention to the figures being drawn in the sand. She immediately recognized several of them as the ones she had talked about with Alex when discussing crop circles. But then just as one sand drawing registered its symbolism on her subconscious, Enki's other hand would come out and wipe away all trace of the drawing with the quick whisk of a feathery broom-like brush. New symbols and figures would then appear with incredible precision, only to be casually wiped away in their own time. It was the Druid version, Dawn decided, of audio-visual aids in a lecture. Only it was a lecture without explanations -- just the momentary appearance of lines and circles, curves and discontinuities; geometries which were quickly replaced by the next set.
As Dawn watched, her subconscious storing data sufficient to rival the most advanced computer, her conscious mind began to piece together the disparate actions she was witnessing. In the sand drawings, she saw a multitude of geometrical concepts, from sacred to hyper to post-Euclidean, and virtually everything in between. She saw within the symbolism: stars and fractals, common patterns in the celestial and earth-bound spheres, visions of the past and future, all things repeating in space and time. The creations included crop circles of the past, along with those still in the future. There were designs more akin to technical drawings and blueprints, but with an incredible efficiency of only as many lines as absolutely needed. There were hints of actions to be taken, of philosophies to be pondered, and in all cases, the suggestion that enlightened devotion was not only required, but was, at heart, the very essence of life. It was indeed, Alchemy 101 -- with a smattering of graduate courses on the same subject.
The silent tutoring session spanned two and a half hours, but no one seemed to notice the time. Even the hard rock seats failed to distract anyone from the process. But then Enki suddenly looked up, his mind seeing far beyond the local space. His expression became momentarily intense, but then softened into a curious smile. Actually, it was more like a sneaky grin -- as if he assumed he had the upper hand or yet another ace up his ancient sleeve.
His smile vanished as he stood up. He began walking out of the clearing, through the twin pillars, and abruptly turned off the path between two uninviting bushes. Dawn knew instinctively they were to follow and did so. Once past the bushes, they found a less traveled path, grass growing as if it had seldom seen the foot of man. But it was a path nonetheless, gently skirting the trees and rocks.
Within moments they came to a small, mist covered lake. There four small skiffs rested on the bank. Enki pushed one into the water's edge, and stepped aboard. He then waited, staring into the mist. Dawn, without hesitation, stepped onto the same skiff, and without any acknowledgment, her guide leaned on his tall staff and the skiff moved silently away from the bank. Alex and Sisi, with as little hesitation, took a second skiff, and with Alex yielding the staff, slipped into the water behind Dawn and Enki. Together the two light craft left the forest, floating toward a distant mist.
A space separated the two skiffs, a distance Alex could not quite close despite his best efforts. As Dawn and Enki begin to vanish into the edge of the mist, Alex and Sisi could only plunge in as well, relying on faith as to where they were going and the hope they were keeping up.
Dawn, meanwhile, was at peace as she sensed the presence of something she could only identify as the legendary Avalon. But then sounds from behind them caught her attention. The remaining two skiffs, originally situated further from the lake's edge, were being quickly moved into the water. Accompanying the launchings were orders and grunts -- all of the signs of beings unaccustomed to silent communications, or to moving through water with stealth as a companion. The poles of the other skiffs made themselves known by clumsy splashes and careless bumps on the side of the wooden boat frames. The occupants were similarly indisposed to according honor to the quietness of the surrounding lake, and urgently discussed the need to catch the other two skiffs.
Out of the mist, an ancient castle suddenly reared up. Dawn's skiff was expertly moved toward a small narrow inlet in the crumbling castle walls to where a small dock awaited them -- a dock covered with greenery and moss and looking only marginally stable. The same could be said of the overhanging walls of the long-deserted castle and fortification. Enki leaped from the skiff onto the dock, and turned back to Dawn. As she took her own leap of faith and joined him on the dock, he used his pole to push the skiff forward and up against the adjacent wall.
Turning, Dawn could hear the sounds of men arguing over where to go next and complaints of being unable to see in the fog. She was still looking back, when Alex and Sisi came silently out of the mist in a beeline for the dock. Dawn was relieved at seeing Alex and Sisi, but then turned back to find Enki had already moved behind one of the rock walls. She quickly hurried to catch up with him, as Alex and Sisi moved their skiff into the dock and debarked in similar fashion as Dawn.
The three disciples hurried to follow Enki through a low, narrow passageway and into an open courtyard, overrun with grass and occasional vines. There he gestured toward one end. When Dawn and her companions turned to look, they initially saw nothing. Then, out of the corner of their eyes, the old man -- Enki, Oannes, or the Fisher King, whichever you prefer -- suddenly vanished in a flash of intense white light. The three looked at each other, wondering why and what had happened to their mentor.
Then their attention was arrested by noises from the end of the courtyard where Enki had pointed before his departure. As they turned to face in the same direction, they saw four men approaching them. Three of the new arrivals had the look of being totally out of their element, probably lost, but still willing to obey orders without thinking -- orders from the fourth man, their leader. And despite the apparent inequality in their ranks, Dawn could not help but think of them as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
When the most fearless of the four saw Alex and Sisi, and another figure (Dawn) standing just behind them, he immediately dismissed them as relatively unimportant. They were not the one he was seeking -- Kurt had not taken the time to look carefully at Alex, and had not seen Dawn at all. On the other hand, it had occurred to him that the three strangers might have information. "Where is he!?" Kurt demanded, fully expecting an immediate and subservient reply.
The question momentarily surprised them, even as the three strangers in a very strange land were well aware the rude newcomer was looking for Enki. They could not help but smile at the orchestrated, four-on-three confrontation. Not three-on-three, of course. But four-on-three -- an exercise in the fact life is not always fair. It was sink or swim time. Only fleetingly did they wonder if they would have help from the fourth member of their former party.
Alex, meanwhile, was less sanguine about the situation. "Who wants to know," he asked.
Kurt was surprised by the audacity of the single male now standing in his way. But he humored him. (Or thought he humored him.) "My name is Kurt. Who the hell are you?"
Alex and Sisi simultaneously smiled, recognizing the man and the situation. Sisi voiced their common reaction. "Oh. So you're Kurt." Then adding what might be considered as conveying a slight touch of arrogance, she said, "We've been so looking forward to meeting you."
The calmness and smiling faces was not something to which Kurt was accustomed. Looking at them with a practiced stance of intimidation, he asked, once again, "Who are you?" For emphasis, each of his three companions each pulled out vicious looking automatic weapons, complete with silencers and full clips.
Dawn refusing to be intimidated stepped forward, putting herself in clear view. Quietly, and showing no fear, she replied, "I'm surprised you don't remember me, Kurt. I'm Dawn. And these are my friends: Alex and Sisi."
Kurt's lower jaw very nearly became acquainted with the grass at his feet. But then his shock turned to a smile -- a vicious and devious smile. "Unfortunately for you," he said, his voice carrying every sound and timbre of evil intent. "Were I not in a hurry, I might have spared you for purposes of interrogation. As it is, I really can't take the time. So I'll have to kill you and leave it at that."
The lesser three of the "four horsemen" responded to the subtle command and aimed their weapons. All three had decided Alex was the greater threat and fired simultaneously at the same figure. But in the split second before their fingers pulled the trigger, Dawn, Alex and Sisi phased. Suddenly they weren't there. Shifting dimensions to and fro, and winging about the confines of the ancient courtyard, all three dodged the bullets with Alex's name on them.
Just as suddenly, three rocks from the ancient walls went sailing in the direction of Kurt and his three men. Kurt, reacting as if by instinct, deflected and destroyed the stone meant for him with the wave of his arm. At the same time two of his goons managed to duck and avoid being hit. The third was a bit slower in his reaction and caught the heavy stone intended for him directly on his head and shoulder. He went down with dramatic finality.
Kurt recognized immediately that he had underestimated his opponents. Or that they had help. It was immaterial to him which. Instead, he used his own thoughts to blast the walls where he thought he saw any of the three momentarily manifesting themselves. In the process, a small confined war was initiated, filled with smoke, fire, explosions and flying rock. To suggest there was a great deal of sound and fury signifying nothing is to suggest that the first of many future violent confrontations meant nothing -- when it fact, the opening salvos at Avalon meant a great deal.
Both of the remaining horsemen continued to rake the area with their automatic weapons. Kurt picked up the weapon of the fallen horsemen, who was still alive but highly unlikely to contribute anything to the battle being waged. All three continued to move, firing in all directions at once, trying desperately to hit any of the phasing figures. Then with the wounded horsemen trying to regain his feet, one of his own men, noting the movement out of the corner of his eye, turned and gunned down the struggling man. The shock at realizing what he had done was sufficient that he was momentarily distracted and a large stone crashed into his upper body, knocking him down and seriously injuring him.
Kurt responded to the rock attacks by mentally causing explosions, increasing the noise level of the small confined war. The ancient castle was rapidly becoming fodder for the conflict -- and amidst the blasts and explosions of mental displeasure -- was quickly being destroyed. Battlements and arches exploded or collapsed, walls reeled and portions fell leaving gaping holes. Stones and boulders were hurled through the smoke filled air, colliding with one another and everything in between. Grass, moss and other debris added dashes of color to the smoke and dust filled air.
In the midst of the explosion of one rock wall, Sisi took a hit between phases, and went down. Dawn was there instantly, shielding her from further harm. Together they phased just before an entire wall collapsed on them. Kurt became intent upon finding them, when he suddenly found himself in a close confrontation with Alex. With a vicious smile, he was about to totally destroy his adversary, when Dawn blasted onto the scene, taking both Kurt and Alex by surprise. All three phased, as Sisi found herself near the only remaining horseman left alive. The man was swinging his weapon to bear on Sisi, when she momentarily reverted to the old style and kicked him judo-style between the legs. The third horseman went down in incredible pain, as Sisi tried to phase again.
Still hurting from the earlier hit, Sisi's lack of focus created a moment of vulnerability, which Kurt attempted to take quick advantage of. But just as he confronted her, ready to separate her head and body, both Dawn and Alex descended upon him from either side. In a massive physical confrontation, the four hit one another, until the final remaining walls of the castle suddenly exploded in a massive conglomeration of rocks, dust and smoke. Dawn reacted in a self-protective mode, while Alex attempted to shield Sisi.
Abruptly, the noise of battle ceased, the three finding themselves surrounded by rubble. Dawn knew she was basically unhurt, and as she looked around, she realized Kurt had completely vanished. At the same time, she began to realize the first skirmish at Avalon had ended as quickly as it had begun. Confusion, smoke and debris was everywhere, and for a moment Dawn thought she saw Alex standing to one side, looking like an ancient warrior at the end of a battle. In his hand, was what she thought was an ancient long sword, but now lowered as if the struggle was over.
Then she began to see things more clearly. The last of the horsemen was staggering away, believing himself mortally wounded. Sisi was sitting on the ground, nursing her bruises and cuts, while Alex was on one knee inquiring as to her health. All three were dirty, marked with blood on some part of his or her body, and all looking slightly perplexed. But then, as they began to realize they were basically unhurt, that they had survived, and even quite possibly had been the victors in the battle, they began to smile.
Sisi, looking for a relief from the tension -- not to mention her own aches and pains -- said, "I'm certainly glad we didn't miss this little excursion to Avalon."
Dawn, looking around at the destroyed castle, replied, "I don't know. For a major tourist attraction, they're not keeping the place up very well."
Alex laughed. "You're sure you didn't just have a maladroit moment?"
Dawn and Sisi laughed in return, as suddenly the ancient castle itself phased and magically returned to its original state before the battle. The three combatants, however, remained, dirty and continued to feel the after effects. In a state of amazement, they looked around. Alex voiced the common thought. "Was everything that just happened here, actually... real?"
Dawn shook her head. "Is anything real?"
Sisi seemed more certain of reality. "I don't know. This leg feels pretty real." As Dawn and Alex gathered around her, she asked, "Now what?"
Alex thought for a moment before guessing. "I suppose it depends on whatever you want to do. Perhaps take Avalon back into the real world with us. Perhaps something else." Looking at Dawn, he asked, "What are you thinking about?"
Dawn grinned, as her mind considered all of the things she might do next.
At some distance from them, in the middle of the English countryside, a surprised and shaken Kurt found himself wandering about an open field, just below a chalk cliff where a stylized horse had been carved in ancient times. Kurt was unclear as to what had happened at Glastonbury, how he had left the area, and where in the world he had ended up. He was still feeling the aches and pains from the melee, until suddenly, Kurt found himself in what can only be described as “adrift in a wasteland, some strange invention having shattered his dimension...”
It was a profound learning experience for Kurt. In a place without the constraints of three dimensional space and one-dimensional time -- in other words, in a place called Avalon -- Kurt found himself reaping the rewards and ramifications of all of his actions -- instantly, and without the usual buffer of time -- worse yet, without the very long buffer to which he was accustomed. It was a new experience for someone accustomed to the sound and power of his own thunder, but not to the reverberations from the rest of the universe in response to the results of his own actions. It was an experience the former god of numerous civilizations would long remember.
As Kurt struggled to restructure his mental view of the world, Dawn was in the middle of her crop circle. With sweeping gestures and the twinkle of an eye, she found herself having a glorious time as she put the finishing touches on a unique and complicated design. Everything was falling into a wonderful pattern. Then she sensed the approach of a small private airplane. Instinctively, she knew it carried two men: a pilot of some repute in the discipline of crop circle investigation, and the other an artist, formerly of Hollywood fame, and now devoting his talents to recording evidence of crop circles and carrying the results of the research to the public at large. Dawn could feel them already as they began their first pass to take a photograph of her masterpiece. With only a thought, Dawn became a brilliant flash of light and disappeared, leaving the two men in the airplane with yet another tale no one in their right mind would ever believe.
Within two months of the Avalon Incident, Nathan was having his own new and very unique experiences. Suddenly it had become very clear to him where Anna's loyalties were -- and were not. The realization had been more than a surprise and it had taken some time for Nathan to reconcile himself to the evidence. But then, when he could no longer dodge the issue, he simply became enraged, realizing he had been duped for a very long time.
His immediate response was predictable: an attempt to scapegoat other nefarious characters, blaming them all for Anna's success at her fooling their boss. Not surprisingly, it never occurred to him that his being conned was in any way a flaw in his own character. In the same manner of willful ignorance, he also never got around to making another traumatic realization: the fact his former "associate" Gilbert Lenki had survived. Even more remote was the idea that Gil had come back to "distract" the self-proclaimed, albeit temporary, Lord of the Command.
Nathan's confusion could be understood in part. On the one hand, Anna was blatant and direct in her assaults, blazing away with the latest in conflict resolution weaponry -- doing minimal damage but provided one heck of a show! Just the sort of thing to make a Commander do a lot more than blink. At the same time, Nathan was having the anxiety pains of a son left in charge of the store, and now like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, finding himself in the midst of chaos and confusion just as his parents were returning. Nathan's first inclination was to simply panic and go screaming into the night. It's not entirely clear what kept him from doing so.
On the one hand, Nathan had always considered himself a great warrior. But mistakes in the past and errors in judgment of much more recent vintage were starting to imperil his confidence and his arrogance. Added to the misery were the signs of a carefully designed structure, a long nurtured and established paradigm, beginning to come apart at the seams.
Meanwhile Anna raised Cain (it was an old joke between them), while Gil, with the aid of his newly acquired partner, Sisi, had -- unbeknownst to Nathan -- begun the subtle, insidious approach.
Gil's first achievement was the insertion of the most potent of computer viruses into virtually every software program on the planet. Suddenly, the governmental and international, corporate mainstay computers -- those that had become the nemesis of the human race (particularly those that had lately been used to monitor, control and deny the citizens of the advanced societies all manner of unalienable freedoms) -- these “control” computers were now coming up with huge blank spots in their memory.
This was delightful enough, but there were also the sudden appearance of erroneous instructions of every type and byte. The stock market's Dow Jones Industrial Average, for example, gained in one day, nineteen hundred points in what was a totally fictitious event. Bankers who had written massive “call options” on stocks were jumping from windows at every level. The Internal Revenue Service, meanwhile, began sending refunds in the amounts of seventy-seven thousand dollars and fourteen cents per person, and managed to mail out six hundred and sixty some odd thousand before anyone noticed and was finally able to switch the computer's O N O F F switch to the O F F position. There were also the obviously erroneous reports that the Cincinnati Bengals had won the Super Bowl. [*]
For Sisi’s part, her favorite accomplishment was in simultaneously turning off all power, communications, and lights at the Florida State Legislature during an intensive, late-into-the-night debate on whether or not to outlaw welfare for everyone under 72 years of age. The vote to pass the legislation was indefinitely postponed, as some of the more religious of the group suspected they had just been exposed to a sign from God. They were close.
The only overt evidence of serious retaliation by The Patrons, governments, and other tyrants was an abrupt increase in what were apparently naturally occurring earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, and radically bad weather. Not only was everyone talking about the weather, but someone had finally learned how to do something about it. The new technological advances provided a whole new way to wage war. And someone was waging it like a kid with a new toy. Often just to see the effects and then marvel that they had been the cause.
Much of the major assaults against humanity were done by a relative few, who at the same time were fighting bitterly among themselves. Still other factions, however, were standing back and observing. Not for a lack of intent to interfere, but more from amazement at how badly things had gotten out of hand. A few, such as Anna, Gil and Sisi were making waves of a more subtle nature, gently encouraging the house of cards to fall of its own weight. Which it had begun to do with a vengeance! The old paradigm was, at long last, in the final throes of crashing and burning. Yea.
There was, of course, no "prime directive" for the bad guys, no prohibition against interference. There was no one to enforce it, or at least, no group or species who had stepped forward with dramatic evidence of their protection and/or ability to interfere. There were still the enigmatic and dramatic astronomical events which could scarcely be considered coincidence, but nothing clear cut enough to ensure that the end results of the battle were in any way guaranteed. At the same time, there was a smattering of evidence that the human race was reaching the stage of being able to defend itself. The goals of the Humanki were being realized in a host of different locations.
Three months after the opening salvos at Avalon, Dawn was well on her way to becoming a full-fledged member of the Humanki. It's a state difficult to describe to someone unfamiliar with the territory of the higher dimensions and the implications of being truly one with the universe. But suffice it to say, she was becoming one of the select few to be allowed to roam about the earth, exercising the ultimate demonstration of Free Will. For a time she shuttled between Glastonbury and Kali Lumenes -- still learning her trade -- and having made one memorable trip to Lake Baikal in Central Asia. The latter was an experience in itself, and one she relished.
Then, six and a half months -- or more precisely, seven moons -- after first arriving at Kali Lumenes, Dawn returned for the first time to the United States. During her absence, she had truly become The Fool, the universe providing for all her needs. She was now at the beginning, initiating a totally new journey. She had no agendas, no plans, but only a profound sense of responsibility -- or, in other words, an ability to respond. However and whenever appropriate. She was Humanki.
On a particular point in the four-dimensional space-time continuum, some 40 weeks from the time of her and Gil's abrupt crash in the Idaho wilderness, Dawn was flying over the Snake River with Hell's Canyon again visible below. Ahead lay the lush green forests and rocky crags of the Salmon River Mountains, while off to the right, the tumultuous Snake River flowing north, carving Hell's Canyon ever deeper. Slightly to the left of her flight path lay the city of Lewiston, covered with lightly scattered, low-lying clouds, and behind, the muted glare of the late afternoon sun, partially shielded by the cumulus streaking across the sky. But there were no engines to fail, and little likelihood of pilot error.
But this time, Dawn was responding, quietly and without fanfare, to a call for help from the environs of Lake Mach. She was smiling at the time, relishing the moment, as well as each of the moments that had both proceeded and followed the current one. For just a split second, she recalled the phrase: "The light which returns to itself is represented by the Golden Flower."  It was a nice thought.
The Omega and The Alpha
 A Book of Coincidence, John Martineau, Wooden Books, England, 1995.
 The Secret of the Golden Flower, A Chinese Book of Life, Translated by Richard Wilhem, A Harvest / HBJ Book.
[*] Originally, this had been written as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But then the Bucs managed to fool everyone and win the Super Bowl in January of 2003.
Chapter Twenty One -- The World
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