Premiered August 22, 2003
Chapter Twenty One
Nathan was at his desk not having a good day, and was now faced with the report of yet another failure in putting an end to a minor affair. It was an affair, however, which because of its continuation was rapidly growing into a major problem. Staring at the equally displeased face on his monitor, Nathan could feel a controlled rage building within him.
Kurt, on the other end of a secure visual telephone hookup, was not a happy camper either. He was almost spitting the words out. "Their itinerary is now apparent: First Tlamacas, then Machu Picchu, and now, undoubtedly, Elephantine. I'm leaving for Egypt within the hour.
Nathan's voice was as cold as frostbite. "And if you fail to find them there?"
"There are two other possible destinations," Kurt replied, his expression one of calculation and deadly intent. "One is already arranged so that they will find a very unpleasant surprise should they seek asylum there."
"The trap is already laid?"
"And primed. And even if they do not go there, it's clear their final destination must undoubtedly be the English Island and our enemy's camp."
Nathan raised his head, almost as if distancing himself from the possibility of considering such a scenario. "I would not like to see them reach the English Isles," he said, his tone implying the dire consequences he envisioned. "There is too much to lose if they do."
"I am well aware of the stakes if they reach that point."
Nathan then leaned forward toward the monitor, emphasizing each word. "If you fail in your attempt to trap them beforehand, or to prevent them from reaching his island, be very certain you extinguish them before they leave there."
"I will know if they get that far," Kurt replied. "And I guarantee they will get no further."
"And I will hold you to that guarantee."
For several, long seconds the two men stared at each other -- silently making a pact.
A combination of Dawn's intuition and the appearance of some rather strange looking people loitering around the hotel prompted the three of them to avoid the Aswan airport. Instead, they hired a local driver to take them from Aswan to Cairo. It was an all day trip with their acting the role of American tourists.
But at the same time these were visitors who were very respectful of the Moslem religion. There was already in the air throughout the country the sounds and feel of a resurgence of activity by Moslem Fundamentalists opposed to any and all foreigners. All of the talk was, therefore, on the subject of the wonders of Egypt, and how delighted they were to be in the ancient country.
Once in Cairo, they had their driver take them to a tourist hotel, where they paid him and went into the hotel as if to check in. Instead of checking in, however, they headed for the hotel's main dining room, and there had a tourist-style, early dinner. Then they headed by taxi to a downtown museum. At the museum the threesome walked inside, saw a crowd of people exiting, and joined them. Outside, they quickly found a driver willing to take them to Alexandria, and were soon on their way. Their primary goal was to leave Egypt and find their way to Greece, and unbeknownst to the women, specifically to Crete.
After their arrival in Alexandria, the three made no effort to visit the wonders of the city. Alex had already made two pilgrimages to this site of ancient learning -- the remnants of the Great Library -- and had even visited the ruins of what had been one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Pharos Lighthouse. Alex still felt the overwhelming sadness whenever he visited what had become for him the site of one of the greatest atrocities in the history of the world, the destruction of the wisdom and knowledge of millennia.
The city itself had been created by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.E. following his unopposed conquest of Egypt. To the ancient Pharaonic city of Rhacotis, Alexander had added the suburb called Neapolis to the west. The two cities together came to be called Alexandria. The plan was to provide Alexander with a naval base for his assault on Persia, and at the same time, provide a link between Macedonia and the rich Nile valley.
In 323 B.C.E., upon the death of Alexander, one of his generals, Ptolemy, took Egypt as his share of the spoils of Alexander's legacy and brought Alexander's body back to Alexandria for entombment. Ptolemy and his heirs subsequently made Alexandria the most sophisticated, cosmopolitan city in the ancient world. The library not only held over a half million scrolls of the most profound history and philosophy, but the library and its extensions formed a core for scholars from every religion and region in the civilized world to congregate in the world's first truly ecumenical gathering. Alongside the many gods of ancient Egypt, early Judaism flourished in what came to be known as the greatest Jewish City in the world. In fact, the Septuagint was produced in this atmosphere, while at the same time, Gnosticism and Coptic Christianity received their initial birth at Alexandria and subsequently flourished..
For almost three centuries, the Library of Alexandria was supreme. Until 47 B.C.E., when the Roman legions of Julius Caesar carelessly (and/or stupidly) damaged the library. The city recovered from this initial insult, but then suffered a general massacre in A.D. 215 at the hands of the Roman emperor Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus), who was responding to insults from the inhabitants. The city again recovered a portion of its former splendor, only to have the main library destroyed in the civil war that occurred under Aurelian in the late third century. Meanwhile the "daughter" library, located within the temple to Sarapis (a god created, apparently, as a cross between Zeus and Osiris), was destroyed by fanatical Christians in A.D. 391.
From Alex's viewpoint, the destruction of the Library at Alexandria was one of the most notorious crimes of history, taking the greatest collection of literature, philosophy, and history and putting it to the torch in the name of some narrow-minded, ignorant religion. Alex had already grieved one of his namesake's greatest legacies, and had no desire to again wander about the precincts of what had been a golden moment in the history of the ancient world.
Instead he made a point of finding their way without delay to an ocean steamer bound for Athens, Greece. Both Dawn and Sisi were mystified by Alex's sudden turn from enthusiastically rushing from Egypt on an exciting quest, to that of a silent, somber man recalling past grievances. But neither said anything as they observed him obtain temporary lodgings and transportation aboard a modest, post-World War II steamer. He did so without the traditional display of passports, identifications, and the like. Apparently, they had the essential prerequisite: the money the Captain of the vessel required for his cooperation. With Alex still in a somber mood they were soon aboard the S. S. Kylix, bound for Greece.
"You do good work." Dawn said, when the two of them were momentarily alone, Alex's mood seemed to be on the upswing, and the cargo vessel had begun to leave the view of Alexandria far behind in its wake. "I would not have thought to take a ship in order to get out of Egypt."
"Thanks," Alex replied, his mood lightening as the shoreline receded. "When you don't want a lot of questions asked, you go to those who are similarly circumspect. Besides, if Hal was right, our fake passports have already been compromised."
"And so now we're bound for Athens?"
Alex smiled. "Not exactly," he answered. "There are two unscheduled stops. One in Crete and the other Thera, also known as Santorini. Then the S. S. Kylix is on to Athens."
"I'm familiar with Crete, but where's Thera?"
"It's the first major island north of Crete. Its primary claim to fame is the explosion of a volcano there some 3,500 years ago. The evidence would suggest the eruption set the state for the disintegration of the Cretan culture, which was subsequently destroyed by invasion some time around 1250 B.C.E."
Standing next to each other alongside an amidships railing, Alex leaned forward, his elbows resting on the only thing between him and the rolling sea churned by the wake of the Kylix. The sea breeze just off the coast of Egypt was invigorating, and afforded some welcome moments of relaxation after the hectic business of constantly looking over one's shoulder at potential enemies -- either enemies of the three of them specifically, or just Moslem fundamentalists wanting to make a general point with any foreigner -- but preferably American. Sisi took the momentary lull in their conversation to join them. She had been talking to two other foreigners further aft.
"Germans," she casually informed them. "They're the reason for the Thera stop. They didn't say so, but I suspect they're looking for Atlantis." Sisi grinned, her face lighting up.
Alex smiled as Sisi took a position opposite from Dawn. "They may be right," he said.
"Atlantis is Thera?" Dawn asked.
"It's a possibility," Alex replied. "Or Crete. Or perhaps both Crete and Thera are outlying colonies of the original Atlantis, allegedly beyond the Pillars of Hercules."
"What makes you think so?" Dawn asked.
"Ancient Thera was very much like ancient Crete. There are a lot of parallels between the cultures: Wall paintings of inhabitants at work, play and worship; indications of a gentle, sensual goddess-style culture. But curiously, there were no skeletons or written records at Thera -- as if the inhabitants had had a warning of the imminent eruption and had fled. Plato's description of Atlantis sounds a lot like Crete and Thera."
"When did that happen?" Dawn asked.
Alex grimaced, "That's pretty much up for grabs. Some say as early as 1620 B.C.E., but others are arguing as late as 1362 B.C.E. I figure it was about the time of the Exodus from Egypt, sometime in the late fifteenth and early fourteenth century B.C.E. But in any case, it was one heck of an explosion, apparently much larger than Krakatoa in A.D. 1883 or Vesuvius in A.D. 79. It was probably bigger than the biggest hydrogen explosion mankind has ever managed -- possibly the biggest blast ever seen on Earth."
"I think I'd have to disagree with you on that point," Sisi interrupted. When Alex looked at her with surprise, she added, "The Tunguska explosion was bigger."
"Oh, yes," Alex suddenly replied. "I'd forgotten about that."
"What's the Tunguska explosion?" Dawn asked.
Alex looked at Sisi, who immediately and with the slant of her head gave him permission to take center stage. Alex smiled -- he loved to talk about mysteries. "On the morning of June 30th, 1908 -- I think it was 7:17 am local time -- there was a massive mid-air blast over an unpopulated region of Siberia, some 600 miles north of the northern most tip of Mongolia, and north-northeast of Lake Baikal. We know the exact time because of seismograph readings all over the world."
"1908 A.D.," Dawn interjected, "The Twentieth Century?"
"Exactly," Alex replied. "Fairly recent."
"I think I've heard of it. A comet exploding or something like that?"
"That's the traditional thinking," Alex replied. Sisi chuckled to herself, and Dawn, already seeing another of Alex's far-out theories surfacing, smiled as well. Alex noticed both of the women's expressions and took them as positive feedback. "Everyone agrees," he continued, "the explosion did enormous damage, felling a forest and knocking down trees for scores of miles in every direction. There is also general agreement that the cataclysmic explosion was a mid-air one -- there are no craters or other indications that would imply any object actually hitting the ground. In fact, at the epicenter of the blast, the trees were still standing in much the same way as buildings directly on ground zero were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atom bombs were dropped. Those bombs were also mid-air explosions.
"But then that's where the people who have really investigated the matter  part company with the mainstream. The same eyewitnesses who saw the pillar of fire flare up in the clear morning sky, even the Herdsmen who were deafened and thrown into shock by the blast, agree on several points. The first and foremost is that a cylindrical object, shining very brightly with a bluish-white light approached the area from the south. Then it was seen heading almost due east, and then shortly after that, heading virtually due west. After which it moved vertically downward for ten minutes. Such is not the route of a comet! It simply covered too much ground, showing up initially over the Trans-Siberian Railway, and then traveled some 800 miles in a rough zigzag pattern."
"Sounds like it was running from something, or trying to evade a pursuer," Dawn suggested.
"That's a possibility," Alex replied. "But keep in mind that in 1908, the United States War Department still had Orville Wright's initial letter in their "crank" file. Thus we can pretty well eliminate an aerial dog-fight between competing aircraft -- at least those manned by humans."
"It does make a lot of sense that way," Alex replied. "And it may have been related to Lake Baikal, which is one of the strangest lakes on earth. Despite the fact it's located between 51 and 56 degrees north latitude in a very cold region of earth, the lake area contains over 1800 species of plant and animal life, a thousand of which are found nowhere else on earth. In addition, the lake has a very 'eerie' reputation -- all the earmarks of a secret extraterrestrial base. The locals even have mythologies of strange races of men inhabiting the unexplored areas, some of which hibernated for two months or longer."
Sisi quietly interjected, "Which sounds very much like the Anunnaki."
Dawn suddenly looked worried. "We're not going to Lake Baikal, are we?"
Alex laughed, "No, although that would have been our logical next destination. Lake Baikal is almost certainly a key location in this drama. But we have no way of getting into Russia, and there’s no guarantee we could find a train going in that direction in a reasonable time frame.
“Plus which, it's a minimum five-day train ride, with no stops. I wouldn't want to be trapped in the confines of a train for that long."
"We could have flown, couldn't we," Dawn asked.
"It's never wise to fly within Russia. You're limited to Aeroflot, and that airline has a very nasty reputation of having their planes fall out of the sky on a regular basis. The Russians just never let the word get out for fear of reducing the airline's revenues."
"Just as well," Sisi replied. "Russia is a bit too patriarchal for me."
"I agree," Alex replied. Then he continued as before. "But even if Lake Baikal was an extraterrestrial base and the nearby Tunguska explosion was somehow connected, there were no reports of a second craft by the eyewitnesses, and thus it's not likely the object was evading a pursuer. There's also the curious fact that not a single human being was killed in the explosion."
Dawn suddenly became skeptical of where Alex was leading. "Which means...?"
Alex laughed slightly. "At first, my thinking was precisely yours. But then one day, given the exact time, date and location of the blast, I quite innocently did an astrological natal chart for the event. I'm always drawing up charts on my computer -- it's sometimes quite rewarding."
"And you discovered what?" Dawn asked.
"The astrological chart of the Tunguska blast is absolutely astounding. It has eight of ten planets clustered in an arc of some fifty degrees, six of which are in cancer and exactly opposite Uranus at 15 degrees of Capricorn. It even has Saturn exactly aligned with the top of the chart, what's called the Midheaven. The end result is that it is a very unique chart -- too unique in fact to be random. I figure it has to be some sort of a signal, perhaps a warning to humanity that it's time to wake up and smell the roses!"
"But it's already been almost a century!" Dawn replied, not quite ready to accept Alex's idea.
"A mere pittance," he answered, "to the Anunnaki. But enough time to give us the chance to make some very drastic changes. I figure the events it foretold -- whatever they are -- will be coming to fruition within the next ten years. I just don't have any idea what it all means."
"I'm amazed," Dawn replied, kiddingly. "You don't have a theory? That's incredible!"
Alex grimaced, while Sisi laughed out loud. "She knows you pretty well," the younger woman remarked. Alex just shook his head, the hint of a grin still on his face.
For a moment the three simply smiled. Then Dawn casually remarked, "I rather prefer your idea of the Tunguska blast being a signal instead of outright warfare between Anunnaki factions. It seems a bit less threatening. There's also the comfort level of knowing there's somebody up there on our side. Or at least, apparently so."
Alex grimaced. "What makes you think most of the wars that keep cropping up all over the planet are not Anunnaki inspired? For that matter, why are governments constantly fighting for territory? One possibility is that nations fighting other nations are simply the means by which the Anunnaki settle their differences. But there's also the possibility that they just want to keep us fighting among ourselves, so that we don't notice what is really happening. Something of a major distraction, you might call it. Very Machiavellian"
Dawn frowned. "Like I said; I like the idea of somebody taking an interest in our future. The wars and fights among the Anunnaki I'd rather put on the back burner to think about later."
Sisi suddenly perked up. "I agree with Dawn. I don't even like to think of the Mars and Moon things as being current. It's much nicer to think of them as artifacts from the far distant past."
Sisi's remarks quickly attracted Dawn's attention, as Alex merely said to himself, "Oops."
Dawn ignored Alex's grin, and asked Sisi directly, "Now what are you talking about?"
"The Face on Mars," Sisi replied, matter-of-factly.
Dawn was adamant. "What face on Mars?"
"Oh," Sisi replied, suddenly aware of Dawn's apparent lack of the latest esoteric and far-out intelligentsia meanderings. She turned to Alex, but he was already stepping back to allow her to explain this one herself. A pleasant expression on his face, he left the space between the women to stand on the deck, his hands in his pockets, slowly swaying side to side. It was Alex's "non-intimidating" stance -- one giving the impression he was ready to dance should anyone ask, but in the meantime, he was not going to impose his presence. Sisi acknowledged Alex's deference to her, and took the plunge herself.
"When the NASA probes of Mars took photographs from orbit of an area on the Red Planet called Cydonia, they encountered something which looked like a face with some sort of head-dress, almost like an Egyptian. Then, as people such as Richard Hoagland and others  studied the photographs, they noticed numerous pyramid-like structures nearby. Furthermore, the lines drawn to connect all of the structures formed a geometry of natural angles which could not have been by chance. Numerous scientists then began subjecting the photos to the most sophisticated photo-enhancement techniques available and came up with the startling conclusion that artificial objects, clearly created by intelligent beings, had been constructed on Mars. Moreover, the indications were the structures were laid out in their current patterns sometime around 250,000 years ago!"
"Unbelievable!" Dawn exclaimed. "But why is it I've never heard about this?"
Sisi shrugged her shoulders. "NASA wants no part of it. They've tried every manner of subterfuge known to mankind to deny it. They’ve also tried to block the investigators, most of whom are reputable scientists, until they got caught with the Freedom of Information Act. NASA prefers to bury its head in the sand, but a lot of the insiders are leaking information on the Internet."
"But why would they try to deny something so unbelievably important?"
"In the early days of NASA there was a study done on the possible effects of humanity encountering extraterrestrials: What would happen to human psychology, theology, and other ologies if the space program suddenly encountered real live extraterrestrials or merely evidence of them. The end result of the study was something called the Brookings' Report, which strongly suggested that the public at large was simply not ready for interplanetary commerce.
"Of course, a great deal has changed in the last several decades since the report was prepared, but NASA is still operating on the assumption that discovering evidence of extraterrestrials, dead or alive, would cause panic in the streets -- in much the same way the radio listening audience went bonkers during Orson Well's broadcast of The War of the Worlds. The Brookings' Report is probably also one of the reasons for the continuing denial by the Federal Government of there being the slightest possibility of UFOs being real -- if only because UFOs automatically imply extraterrestrials."
"There's another factor," Alex interjected. "If the world at large became aware of the actual existence of extraterrestrials, this could constitute one of the most unifying factors between humans in the history of the world. Differences between peoples, even warring factions, would suddenly lose most of their importance. It's been suggested, for example, that the Bosnia peace accord came about largely because the leaders -- who were unalterably opposed to compromising any further -- were shown the dead bodies of the alleged ETs from the Roswell crash back in the fifties. That might even have been the reason the peace talks were held at Wright Patterson Air Force base, where the ETs bodies have supposedly been kept all these years. Supposedly in seeing the reality of extraterrestrials, the warring leaders suddenly realized the futility of fighting among themselves."
Dawn looked at Alex, studying his idea. "And if those in charge don't want peace between people, then they certainly don't want a world unifying factor such as knowledge of extraterrestrial intelligence becoming widespread. It could eliminate war between humans."
"Precisely," Alex agreed.
"It might be that," Sisi added. "But it might also be a natural reluctance to realize that as humans, we are not necessarily at the top of the food chain."
"That's not exactly a thought I'm particularly enamored with myself," Dawn replied.
"Neither am I. So you can probably imagine," Sisi continued, "That when similar anomalies showed up on Earth's Moon, NASA really went ballistic. Or maybe Looney is a better word. And to make matters worse, the photographs of the Moon were much more numerous and even more indicative of someone or something building structures on the Moon for some unknown purpose. There is even a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that the Moon is artificial."
"Oh now I know you're kidding," Dawn laughed.
Sisi shrugged and smiled at the same time, while Alex leaped right in there. "You realize of course that the ratio of the Earth-Moon distance to the earth's diameter is a hypergeometrical number -- something far beyond normal coincidence. In addition, the Earth's Moon is by far the largest satellite in our solar system when compared to the size of the planet it's revolving about. Then there’s the fact that the Moon's diameter is exactly 2160 miles -- a number which is exactly one-twelfth of the time for the precession of the Earth's axis. Also, the Moon rang like a bell when one of the early Russian lunar missions impacted on its surface."
"You're actually serious," Dawn commented.
"Ever heard of Clementine? It was an unmanned photographic mission to the moon -- and possibly Mars -- back in 1994. There was virtually no media coverage, despite the fact it radioed back some of the most stunning color photographs of the Moon ever taken. At the same time, there appears to be no interest by NASA in any future manned missions to the Moon -- everything they're doing is now space shuttle missions and all very close to home. It's not entirely clear what's going on, but if there really are extraterrestrial artifacts on the Moon, it looks very much like someone in NASA and the Federal Government is running scared. The one thing you can be sure of, though, is that intelligent beings have been running around on both Mars and the Moon for some time now. Lunatics is not necessarily about dummies, but more likely about where one hails from."
"Absolutely phenomenal," Dawn sighed. "But I suppose it all makes sense somehow."
Alex quietly added, "Everything ties together. Why wouldn't the Anunnaki have bases on Mars and on the Moon? Being true spacefarers, it's a logical step. They may even be located in other parts of the solar system. It's just we haven't discovered any others. Yet.”
“Well,” Sisi added, “There are the Hubble Space Telescope and Voyager pictures of some very small moons of Saturn, which seem to keep appearing and disappearing.”
“Saturn?” Dawn asked.
“The ‘ringed planet.’ There were moons discovered by Voyager, and then re-discovered by Hubble, but in the wrong places. The intriguing part is that they can only be seen when the rings of Saturn are exactly on edge.”
“An event,” Alex added, “That only occurs every 15 years or so.”
“And if these so-called moons are moving around,” Sisi added, “Maybe they’re not really moons. Maybe they're spaceships?”
Dawn’s mouth opened with a brief expulsion of air. Alex merely shrugged his shoulders. “I’m afraid I can’t quite go along with that one,” he added. “That's too far out for me!”
“You’re kidding!” Dawn’s expression was utter disbelief.
Alex and Sisi both laughed, but it was Alex who first managed a reply. “I’m more likely to go along with some of the Giza Pyramids and Orion theories than spaceships around Saturn.”
“Now that I think I’ve heard about,” Dawn suddenly added. “Didn’t I read somewhere that the arrangement of the Giza Pyramids are not in a straight line, but the exact positioning as the three stars in the belt of the Orion constellation?”
“Yes,” Alex quickly answered. “Plus, Sirius -- the star primarily associated with Isis -- is the star that lines up with one of the so-called air shafts in the Great Pyramid. Of course, investigations have shown that there’s a metal door at the end of the air shaft, one which no one has quite figured out how to open.”
“So when Osiris kept coming up in our initiation on Elephantine, it was no accident.”
“Not at all,” Alex replied. “But there is one really strange, additional fact. The arrangement of the three Giza pyramids and the stars of Orion’s belt, are also duplicated by three, so-called shield volcanoes on Mars -- a very precise match.”
“Now that makes no sense at all,” Dawn quickly added. “The stars in Orion’s belt are in the position they are, only because they’re seen from our vantage point. They don’t even have to be close to each other in space, but only appear so from our particular planet.”
“That’s true. Or at least from our Solar System,” Alex added. “In fact, several of the other stars of the Orion constellation are closer to us than they are to the other stars in the constellation. On the other hand, the three in Orion’s belt, as well as the Orion Nebula and stars just below the belt, are in fact pretty much in the same part of space. And this part of space is considered to be one of the most intensive star-forming regions in our galaxy -- a very significant astrophysical location.”
“But how could three volcanoes on Mars wind up in the same configuration? You’re assuming some really strange natural phenomena here.”
“Only if those three structures on Mars are natural. If they’re artificial,” Alex continued, a big smile on his face, “Then they could have been placed their intentionally. Curiously, if the Sphinx is included in the arrangement of the structures on Mars, the Martian version of the Sphinx would end up being located rather precisely on the equator of Mars. That is hardly a coincidence.”
"I think maybe it's time for me to sit down somewhere and clear my head," Dawn said. "You two keep stretching my mind with all your theories. It's really mind-boggling."
"Heard anything that couldn't be true?" Alex asked.
"No," Dawn replied, slightly disgusted. "That's why it's so mind-boggling."
Sisi laughed. "I have an idea. Let's go up to the bow and feel the ocean spray in our faces!"
Both Dawn and Alex looked at her as if Sisi were suddenly suspect of having lost her mind. But then both smiled, shrugged their shoulders, and followed the exuberant younger woman.
It was while they made their way forward, walking along the slightly sloping deck toward the ship's bow that it happened. During a slight roll of the ship to one side, Dawn's hand had reached out to steady herself against a no longer functional, fire hose storage rack welded against the bulkhead. Shaped like the legs of a preying mantis, the metal object had long since ceased to have any defined function, other than to lend a rusty, out-of-usage decor to the lower bulkhead of the ship's bridge. Dawn's slight weight against the heavy metal object was just enough to loosen it from its rusty moorings. Then as she passed by it, regaining her balance and letting it go, it swung out -- right into Alex's path. The "preying mantis" managed to catch Dawn's sleeve and tear it, before hitting Alex across the head and chest -- the leading edge striking his forehead. Alex, concentrating on maintaining his balance against the roll of the ship, never saw the metal rack swing on its rusty hinges until it hit him in the face.
Both Dawn and Sisi turned when they heard the dull thud of metal against skull, and saw Alex falling backwards, his feet pointing to the bow and his arms askew. Dawn quickly leaped to Alex's aid, first grabbing his legs to prevent him from slipping under the lowest handrail and over the side. From there she worked her way to his head, where she lifted it into her lap. Sisi was almost instantly at her side. Alex's eyes blinked, as he momentarily shook his head to clear the cobwebs.
When Alex gamely tried to smile, Sisi decided he was okay. She then looked up at the metal holder still swinging slightly, its rusty hinges squeaking and protesting every movement. Dawn had already figured out the scenario of what had happened. Her clumsiness was alive and well, and living on a Greek freighter in the Eastern Mediterranean. She frowned and tried to explain.
"I'm sorry, Alex," she said. "I must have broken it loose when I leaned on it."
"No problem," Alex stammered. "I've a very thick skull. As I'm sure you're already aware."
Sisi, having now guessed what had happened, stood up and shoved the metal rack back into place. When it seemed ready to remain there, she turned and helped Dawn get Alex back to his feet. All the while he kept glancing at the metal rack, making sure it was not after him again.
"It occurs to me," Alex managed to say, as the three moved further forward and out of the way of the swinging mantis, "that I had better tell the two of you exactly where we're heading." For a moment he paused and touched his forehead. "While I'm still conscious."
Both women laughed, Dawn more from embarrassment than genuine joviality. But she was determined to let go of her inevitable and instinctive guilt. "Wow!" Dawn replied, trying to keep it light. "What a concept! You're actually going to confide in us! I'm impressed!"
Sisi added, brightly, "I didn't even know you knew where you were going. I had just assumed you were lost, and in the manly tradition, had not wanted to stop and ask for directions."
Alex ignored the female chauvinist remark, and sat down on the forward hatch cover of the ship. As the two women joined him on either side, he said, "The place we're going is on the south side of the island of Crete near a bay called Kali Lumenes." Dawn was immediately startled at the mention of the name, but Alex missed her reaction and said, "It means 'The Fair Havens'. It's also the name of an obscure religious order of mostly women, who have a cloister well secluded from the mainstream. Supposedly, the women there are nuns with special ties to the Virgin Mary. In reality they're more likely goddess worshippers than anything else.
"And in true goddess fashion," he continued, "there are also a fair number of males on the inside, supposedly acting like maintenance men and the like, but in reality very pro-goddess themselves. This arrangement affords a modicum of balance between males and females. The Goddess, after all, is very much into equal and healthy relationships between men and women. And The Fair Havens Cloister is one of the last remaining of the ancient goddess temples."
"And they'll take us in?" Dawn asked.
"I don't know for sure," Alex replied. "But Gil once told me that this was the place to head for if I ever really wanted to drop out of sight. He seemed to know a lot more about the place than he was willing to confide in me, but he did emphasize it was the refuge of last resort. Frankly, its greatest appeal is that we will have a place to rest and incorporate into our lives all we've learned in the last weeks and months."
"So we're to land in Crete -- I assume at Iraklion -- and then make our way over the mountains to the south side of the island to The Fair Havens Cloister" Sisi asked.
"Something like that," Alex replied.
"Inasmuch as our passports have probably been compromised," Dawn said, nonchalantly, "Is there any potential problem with out getting through customs in Crete once we dock?"
Alex suddenly looked embarrassed, as if he was not yet ready to divulge the part of the plan which was less than an laudatory one. Sheepishly, he answered, "I don't think that's going to be a problem."
The reason for Alex's dismissal of any custom problems in Crete immediately became evident to the ladies when they found themselves that night on the otherwise deserted fantail of the SS Kylix. In the darkened condition, the churning waters from the screws highlighted by the after running light was the only distinct indicator of the calm sea below. All three were dressed sparingly, as if ready to go swimming, and each had a bag or backpack wrapped in plastic and strapped to their body. Alex had insisted that Dawn's gold be apportioned between them, with Alex taking a larger portion of the heavy metal. Dawn had not understood, but had implicitly trusted Alex in the distribution of their resources. But she was less sanguine about the rest of the plan.
"This is ridiculous," Dawn said, in a low and intense voice. "When you said we'd be dropped off at Crete, you didn't say we'd have to swim ashore! Or do it under cover of darkness!
"Or without telling anyone," Sisi added, equally surprised.
Alex, struggling to manhandle a large deflated life raft, explained as best he could. "We won't have to swim if we can get this life raft inflated and over the side!" Then as Sisi and Dawn began to help Alex by womanhandling the raft -- and thereby accomplishing their goal in record time -- Alex added, "Besides, if the Captain knew about our plans, we'd be traceable. Doing it this way, he'll figure members of his crew did us in and then threw our bodies over the side. That's why we messed up our stateroom: To make him think we were victims of foul play. At the same time, he's not about to say anything to the authorities, because then they might ask him about carrying passengers without a passport. The end result is that we've covered our tracks very effectively."
As the three lifted the deflated life raft up onto a small flat section of the ship's superstructure overlooking the churning waters below, Sisi commented, "That's actually a good plan, Alex."
"I agree," Dawn added, less enthusiastically. "It's just that I'm not a strong swimmer."
"Then you can jump with the life raft," Alex assured her. With no further fanfare on the fantail, Alex pulled the cord to inflate the raft. The mechanism worked spectacularly well. Except for the fact that in the process of inflating, the life raft quickly became out-of-control and ended up falling over the side. Alex's comment was "Shit!", while Dawn, seeing her life raft slipping away from her, quickly scampered over the rear safety lines and without hesitating, jumped into the water, already grabbing for the rapidly inflating flotation device. Sisi immediately followed Dawn's example, while Alex was only slightly behind, still partially mesmerized by the abruptly out-of-control nature of his carefully calculated plan.
By the time Dawn had resurfaced, the life raft had completed the inflation process and was now floating gently on the Kylix's wake. Dawn struck out for it with a vengeance, making up in effort what she lacked in swimming efficiency. Her technique was primarily a dog paddle, with her main intent to keep her head above water. Within seconds, however, she had managed to grab the rope circling the exterior of the raft and sling her second arm over the inflated side. Hanging there, she tried to catch her breath. Almost immediately, she was joined by Sisi, who having expended considerably less energy in the short swim, was able to scramble and squirm her way aboard the life raft without delay. Sisi then helped Dawn crawl into the life raft as well. Falling back in a tumble, intertwined with one another, they again tried to catch their breath.
Just as they began to breathe more normally, the two women suddenly sensed the quietness, and leaped to their knees to search for Alex. With the only light from the aft lights of the Kylix, they realized they could see nothing. Only the bright yellow of the life raft stood out in the dark. Sisi took a breath preparatory to yelling out, when Alex's right arm was suddenly slung over the side. Reacting by instinct the two women immediately grabbed him, and in a concentrated effort, managed to pull him into the raft. All three fell back into the raft and for a moment share a relieved laugh.
"You two okay?" Alex asked.
"Oh, we're fine," Dawn answered.
Sisi seemed to assent as well, as she rose up and tried to stand. Glancing around to get her bearings, she pointed to the Kylix, and then pointed to the left of the ship's course. "There goes our ride, and I assume that row of lights is Crete."
"I think you're right," Alex answered. "Probably, Iraklion."
Dawn then asked brightly, "Anybody bring an oar?"
All three looked at each other, and then begin the process of discovering that the life raft had long since had all of its emergency equipment and rations stolen.
In the early morning, just east of the port of Iraklion, Crete, a small yellow life raft approached the beach with three exhausted individuals looking the worse for wear. Each was attempting to paddle using some manner of jury-rigged paddle, from a canvas flap to a portion of a backpack to the old reliable: both hands. As they approached the shoreline, in what was apparently shallow water, Alex looked down, misgauged the depth of the water, and jumped over the side. He immediately went in over his head. Bobbing back up, his face showing considerable surprise, he grabbed a hold of the raft. "Deeper than I thought," he admitted.
Both women resisted the temptation to laugh, as Alex grabbed one of the attached ropes and began swimming and pulling the raft. When he had finally reached shallower waters, he stood up and began hauling his cargo toward shore. Both women jumped out as well once they had reached knee deep water, and then with the raft resting half on shore and half in the water they set down to rest. Alex joined them.
"So," Dawn asked, "Do we get to Kali Lumenes by land? Or by sea?
"By land," Alex replied. "A rented car. With someone else driving."
"Good plan," Sisi replied, already planning on a long nap in whatever vehicle they chose.
Sisi's mobile sleeping quarters turned out to be a "customized" Volkswagen bus driven by a strange, former San Francisco hippie-turned-Cretan. His name was Homer -- but apparently no relation to that other Greek with the same name.
This Homer was unique, having avoided for fifty some odd years any temptation to evolve and/or join modern society. His customized bus was equally unique and had developed a reputation among VW Bus owners throughout the world. Every solid surface on both the inside and outside of the vehicle was painted a deep purple -- only the head lights and brake lights had escaped the purple onslaught. Inside the bus, the seats were randomly situated, with only the driver's seat in anything resembling a traditional position. The seats faced each other at various angles, and two of the seats could be adjusted in one of several directions (although apparently, this was a result of chance and not of original intention). Each was covered with equally purple fabric, and overlaid with small white embroiderings of strange, graceful lines resembling some stark, ancient symbolism.
A small table was also provided behind the driver and midway in the "aft parlor". Beneath it was an old cooler turned on its end, but still functioning as a place to store drinks and foods. It was not as if Homer's VW could ever hope to compete directly with the more modern buses, but it did have a strange appeal for the small group of tourists looking for something far, far distant from the ordinary.
The trip across the mountains was extraordinary as well. The road was not one traveled by tourists -- there not being an insurance company in the world willing to cover any bus making the attempt. And yet it was a functional road. It served the local populace -- provided, of course, the locals did not mimic their distant brethren in Athens and attempt to join the twentieth century's frantic pace.
Alex had assumed there would be all manner of opportunities for the three passengers to get out and push when the VW bus met its match on a steep incline. Homer, however, had long since solved that problem by incorporating a small tractor engine in his customizing. The effect was to give the bus a unique appearance, as well as a slow, plodding, but nevertheless powerful thrust up most any incline. Suffice it to say the bus took less than half a day to traverse the width of Crete and find their destination.
The Fair Havens (Kali Lumenes) was situated along the southern coast line, overlooking a rugged and not particularly attractive looking conglomeration of wave formed contours of horizontally stratified sedimentary rocks. The bright sun had bleached out any colors in the rock, and the remainder was crumbling shale surrounded by foamy seas.
The cloister itself was a disjointed series of white, broken plastered walls, apparently constructed during different centuries with little regard to outward appearances and/or continuity of traditions. The walls were high and built on a foundation of upthrust rock, such that only the lush greenery of trees on the interior gave any indication of life on the other side of the walls. The overall effect would have been impressive for its sheer height and breath had anyone been able to step back far enough to appreciate it -- but the scatter of local buildings and shrubbery surrounding the landward side prevented anyone from ever stepping back far enough. Only from the heights of the mountains on the center of the island could one appreciate the cloistered buildings. But at that distance it was almost impossible to see anything in the hot, bleak atmosphere of the summer day.
As the bus pulled up to what was supposedly the main entrance, all three passengers were excited. Part of the excitement was based on what might lay behind the walls. But part of the excitement was also in having survived the arduous journey and their looking forward to escaping the confines of the bus. Then, as Homer and his bus lumbered off to visit a distant relative (of the bus), the three foreigners stood before a heavy wooden door wedged between two bulky column supports of the wall. For several moments, they simply stood there.
Finally, Alex shrugged his shoulders, and stepped forward to knock. At the same moment, Dawn suddenly felt a strange but intense feeling, and immediately reached out for Alex's arm, catching him by the sleeve and causing him to hesitate and turn to look at her. For a moment, her eyes focused inwardly as she vainly tried to see in her mind's eye the reason for her sudden sense. Her intuition could have been warning her of danger, or simply an expectation of the unknown -- Dawn could not quite identify which. Yet the sense was there -- intense and attention grasping, but nebulous as to why.
Dawn then allowed herself to look at Alex. Shaking her head, she said, "Something there, but I can't quite figure it out." When Alex merely waited, she added, "It might just as easily be something good, a genuine welcome. Go ahead. Try the door."
Alex replied, "Okay." Then he tried the door. No chance of it budging. He knocked. Nothing. Then he pounded on the door with his fist. Everything was quiet. Alex stepped back, as if to gauge his adversary. He looked up toward the top of the wall, but saw no signs of life. He frowned, and turned to Dawn. She was still trying to grasp the meaning of what was now a diminishing emotion. She shrugged, and Alex turned to look at Sisi. The younger woman was looking very contemplative, glancing around the wall, as if studying it, as if searching for clues. Then Sisi smiled, a solution apparently on its way to her.
A local was approaching them along the narrow street. He had all the indications of being an old farmer, but seemed to be unaware of the three foreigners. The man trudged along, but with a purposeful gait -- as if he was determined to be about on some quest, but at the same time was too tired to merrily skip along. His old straw hat and his lowered head served to cover his eyes, but he seemed not the least bit threatening.
Of course, a bull elephant in full charge might not have threatened Sisi. She smiled and faced the man as he came within six feet of her. "Excuse me, Sir," she said. "Can you help us?"
The man made not the slightest movement to acknowledge her question, apparently intent on simply walking by. But just as he passed her, he said, "Follow." Without missing a step, he continued walking down the dusty stone pathway alongside the wall. Sisi, without hesitation, fell in behind him, smiling broadly to Dawn and Alex as she passed. Dawn and Alex looked at each other for perhaps three seconds, and then turned to follow Sisi -- Dawn stepping out just before Alex.
The three followed the man until he turned a small corner and stepped into an alcove composed of a small bench and another, smaller wooden door. There he stopped and turned ninety degrees to await the threesome. As they arrived next to him, the door opened without a sound, a small hand curled around the door the only evidence of how the door had opened. Sisi smiled at the man, said, "Thank you", and proceeded through the door. Dawn smiled at the man as well, and followed her. Alex tipped his non-existent hat as he passed the man and followed Dawn into the walled compound.
Suddenly Dawn pulled up short, her intuition once again raising hell. But the emotions were still as nebulous as before, even if possibly more intense. Dawn was still struggling to clarify her thoughts, when the small woman who had opened the door, closed it behind Alex.
Sisi interrupted the silence, saying, "Thank you for allowing us in. We're..."
Her voice trailed off as the small woman held up the universal sign for silence. Dressed in white robes with her hair wrapped in a white bandanna, the woman might have been a nun on a "dress-down day". She was clearly young, perhaps in her twenties, but far beyond being a novice.
Gesturing with her hand, she led the three across the small patio they had entered, and down along a small, roofed passageway between buildings. The passageway twisted its way through a maze-like assortment of walls, occasionally passing roofless sections until it came upon three doors clustered around a slight widening of the space. The woman opened the left hand door and stepped aside to allow the others to enter. Sisi led the way, continuing her life-long tradition of rushing in where angels feared to tread.
As Dawn and Alex stepped inside as well, the woman followed them in and closed the door. The room was lit by seven candles located, apparently, haphazardly about the room. Nevertheless, it was still much darker than the light afforded outside by the late afternoon sun. As everyone's eyes accustomed themselves to the relative lack of light, the woman gestured to chairs about a conference or dining table, a table measuring roughly four foot by twelve. Other than twelve chairs neatly in place around the table, there were no other objects in the room. Even the walls were bare. Not so much as even a cross.
As the three sat, the woman made another gesture of silence, and gently excused herself.
They were quiet as well -- for a brief moment. Then Alex leaned forward to rest his elbows on the table. Quietly, he said, "Interesting welcome." He smiled slightly, as if content with his statement.
The only other door to the room opened, and another woman dressed like the first, entered with a tray containing three goblets. She quietly sat the goblets before each of the guests, and with a slight bow turned to leave the room. From outside a single, sonorous tone sounded. The woman stopped, took a deep breath, and turned back to the three guests. Quietly, she said, her voice slightly out of tune from not having spoken recently, "She will join you momentarily." With that, she turned and left the room. As the door closed behind her, Sisi managed a parting shot of, "Thank you." The door closed with no further acknowledgment.
"Does this mean we can talk now?" Dawn asked.
"You mean we couldn't before?" Sisi asked in return.
"Apparently," Alex absently replied, his attention more on the contents of his goblet. Cautiously, he smelled it and then used a finger to tentatively taste it. Abruptly, he smiled. "Water," he said, and promptly took a deep drink. Even more pleased, he added, "Delicious!"
The others took a drink as well, realizing they were each very thirsty. Then as they leaned back, Sisi commented, "Simple but perfect hospitality." Both of the others indicated agreement.
For several moments, they were content to enjoy the quiet. Then Dawn's intuition reared its head again, but this time garnering her attentions and adrenaline for immediate activity. Almost on cue, the interior door opened and Anna Zedek calmly walked into the room! The effect was stunning, and while neither Alex nor Sisi recognized the woman, they could feel Dawn's reaction of flight or fight. Only it didn't make sense to them. Anna's smile seemed so genuine.
"Hello, Dawn. We meet again." Anna with royal grace and common courtesy moved to the table and took the empty chair once removed from Dawn's. "You've had quite an adventure," Anna added. Then when Dawn and the others could only stare -- waiting for the next move -- Anna laughed slightly. "I'm afraid you've given Nathan and Kurt more anxiety than they're accustomed to. They've become ever more insistent upon catching you and your companions, and yet finding themselves encountering failure after failure. They've always been several steps behind you, and right now I doubt they have a clue as to where you are. I rather imagine they should be in a state of acute, total frustration about now."
"Is that good?" Alex asked, trying to make sense of the tension in the room.
"It has its satisfying moments," Anna replied. "But it's also a bit dangerous."
"What are you doing here?" Dawn asked, her voice on edge and almost accusatory.
Anna, realizing Dawn's confusion, smiled gently and answered, "I live here at Kali Lumenes." Then in an almost contemplative mood, she added, "In fact, I am the Kali Lumenes." When the answer seemed to reduce Dawn's initial anxiety, Anna added, directly addressing herself to Dawn, "We're on the same side, you and I. I don't suppose you were really aware of that, but we are. We have been, and I hope we will always be."
Dawn was not ready to commit herself. "I suppose that will depend upon actions."
Anna smiled, not offended by Dawn's reticence. "It always does." Then she turned to the others. "I'm Anna Zedek. You must be Alex, and I rather suspect you're Sisi."
Alex was immediately relieved at discovering the identity of his hostess. "You're Anna!" he acknowledged with considerable gusto. "Gil told me about you."
"But probably not much, am I right?"
Alex smiled in a macho-mischievous manner. "Not nearly enough."
Anna smiled. "Gil has always been the secretive sort. The quality has served him well. It has probably saved his life on more than one occasion."
The remark hit Dawn below the belt. Instinctively, she retaliated. "Maybe it didn't serve him well enough!" For a second she glared at Anna, not yet willing to be friends.
Anna responded to Dawn's challenge by disarmament. Her eyes filled with compassion and understanding, she gently replied, "My dear Dawn. We occasionally are forced to do things in order to accomplish greater goals. Often the innocent are hurt and not allowed a real understanding. And for those actions of mine, I apologize to you. I'm deeply sorry."
Dawn felt the genuineness of Anna's intentions, but still could not speak. Or forgive.
"Fortunately," Anna began, after a brief pause, "I am now able to set things right. You've passed all the tests we might have laid in your path, even had we been programming your journey and initiation. And now it's time for a small reward." When Dawn's expression turned from one of suspicion to simple bewilderment, Anna added, smiling very broadly, "Gil didn't die. He's still alive and mending quite well. I'm expecting him here within a few days."
Dawn's mental processes went into overload. The idea was preposterous and wonderful at the same time. Alex managed to ask a choking "What!?", but Dawn hardly noticed the interruption. Her mind was more intent upon the practical implications. "Where?" she finally managed to ask.
Anna gently replied, "In a very secure place in British Columbia. His supposedly lifeless body was taken there, while you provided an unplanned but fortuitous diversion at the airport."
Tears had begun to stream down Dawn's face, as Anna gently reached out to put her hand on Dawn's shoulder. "The reality is that Gil was about to be compromised. He was already under suspicion. When the accident happened, I realized our only hope was to fake his death. It's a truism that conspirators seldom expend great efforts to find someone they're convinced is dead. And your actions and apparently full acceptance of Gil's death were instrumental in his enemies not questioning his fate."
When Dawn could only look at the woman, her intuition gently insisting Anna was telling the truth, Alex took the moment to say, "It would have been nice to know that Gil was okay."
Anna hesitated, still looking at Dawn, gauging for herself if the younger woman was okay. Then she turned to Alex, even as she reached down to take Dawn's hand. "It was too risky. Gil had never been able to tell any of you about our connection, about many of the truths of the situation."
Dawn looked surprised. "Gil didn't trust us?"
"Let's just say," Anna replied, with a slight laugh, "Gil has a keen sense of discrimination -- taking pains to discriminate between what is good and what is bad. People under stress do strange things, and often regret their actions later. You three, on the other hand, have shown remarkable tenacity of purpose, and now I believe it's time to reward your perseverance."
As each of them felt a momentary sense of pride, Anna continued. "First of all, each of you has a home here as long as you like. Considering Nathan and Kurt's obsession with finding you, Kali Lumenes should serve you well in that regard. Nathan is unlikely to suspect me of harboring the two of you. I have some influential friends at court, so to speak. Therefore, there is a certain safety here."
"And Kurt?" Dawn asked.
Anna frowned. "Kurt is not above attacking me on the slightest provocation. We've never been on what you would call friendly terms. At the same time, I think I can anticipate any overt action on his part. In the meantime, it occurs to me the three of you might have some questions."
All three abruptly laughed, the previous tension in the room now vanquished. Alex was the first to take advantage of the opportunity. "Are you an extraterrestrial?"
Anna chuckled. "Ninki told me I could count on your being blunt." Then, as her smile took a more serious note, she said, "The answer is yes and no. No, in the sense that I was born on Earth. Yes, in the sense my parents and grandparents were not."
"And your grandfathers were Enki and Enlil?"
"I claim Enki as my grandfather. Enlil I admit to."
"Why is that?"
Anna hesitated, marshaling her thoughts. "For millennia your world has been the battleground between different members of what can now only be described as a seriously dysfunctional family. For a very long time, there have been anywhere from two hundred to two thousand of us roaming about the planet, often with conflicting and divisive agendas. The situation has evolved such that there are now two main factions who are in strong opposition to one another. There are other minor groups making up their own rules, but they pretty much pale in comparison to the two main antagonists. One group, you've met: The Patrons -- primarily, Nathan and his younger brother, Kurt. I'm also considered a member, but it's pretty well known among my kind that I have my own goals and motivations."
"I don't understand," Sisi interjected. "How long has this been going on?"
Anna looked at the younger woman for a moment, before replying. "Let me back up a little bit and give you an executive summary. Bring you up to date."
"My ancestors arrived on earth about a half million years ago. In the ancient texts of your planet, they were called the Anunnaki, 'those who from heaven to earth came'. Their purpose was to mine gold from sea water. This worked for a long time, but eventually, when they weren't getting the production they had expected, they switched to mining for the gold in southern Africa. About a quarter of a million years ago, the Anunnaki miners mutinied, and threatened to shut down the all important gold production. To forestall this, one of the leaders proposed to cross breed a local creature you now refer to as Homo erectus with the Anunnaki genes to create a 'primitive worker'."
"That we know about," Sisi interrupted. "Enki and Ninki doing the genetic manipulation, Ninki as the original mother, Enki's rivalry with Enlil, the other Anunnaki."
"Good," Anna replied. "From those beginnings, mankind evolved. Sometimes the early human evolved within the confines of 'civilization' -- those portions of the earth actively controlled by the Anunnaki. But sometimes there were also 'strays' and 'runaways' from the mines and other work areas of the 'civilizations' who escaped and ultimately evolved outside of the mainstream. Keep in mind that Enki and Ninki did their genetic experiments with Homo erectus over a long period, which accounts for the divergence of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man, as well as some of the monsters of old -- genetic experiments that went wrong. Neanderthals, for example, came first, having been ideally suited to work in the mines."
"I'm with you so far," Alex commented.
Anna continued. "The Great Flood and Deluge came along some thirteen to fourteen thousand years ago and wiped out most of mankind. But of course, as in all such disasters, there were survivors all over the world, especially those on high ground. A few managed to survive, even without Enki and Noah's Ark and thus kept the possibilities alive. They were probably supplemented in later years by more runaways from what was becoming something akin to a real human civilization. However, mankind was still considered by many of my brethren to be nothing more than slaves.
"My people were always at odds with one another. The original discovery of gold on earth stemmed directly from the results of a rulership coup on our home world. Then there was the rivalry between Enki and Enlil for control of the earth, and then the wars between their sons. I was heavily involved myself in several of them, although admittedly for my own reasons. But then something changed.
"In the last major open conflict between the Anunnaki, humans were included in the war. After that, when it was obvious an Anunnaki 'god' could be killed in a war, it was generally agreed that mankind would thereafter carry out the wars guided by the Anunnaki. Of course, sometimes a king went to war on his own, but usually it was an Anunnaki or god-inspired conflict."
Anna's eyes sparkled for a split second. "However, things weren't working exactly like we had planned. For one thing, mankind, with a much shorter life span, was breeding like rabbits. Slowly but surely the self-appointed gods and goddesses were losing control. There were just too many humans! It was getting to the point where the wars were literally getting out of the control. It was in one such conflict that Sodom and Gomorrah were wiped out by atomic weapons."
"Amazing," Alex interjected. "I had always suspected. But now, it's really true."
"It's really true," Anna replied, as she looked at Alex. Then, as an afterthought, she added, "The decision to use nuclear weapons, incidentally, was initiated by Nathan. He was the one who advocated the idea, carried it out, and ultimately took the heat for it. The bombing also resulted in the end of the Sumerian Civilization from the fallout of the radiation after being carried eastward with the winds. We had -- through Nathan -- just destroyed the civilization our race had helped create. The end result was that Nathan’s bid for the leadership among the Anunnaki was seriously eroded by that miscalculation."
As Dawn listened, she was remembering her conversation with Nathan, which now seemed to be so very long ago. His questions and eagerness to justify the atomic bombing of two cities now made complete sense. He was still carrying the guilt or the blame, Dawn thought.
"It was a very sobering moment for us," Anna continued. We realized things could not continue as before. The decision was made to cool it for several thousand years. Only like most of our agreements, the peace didn't really work; each of us continuing to try and impose our own personalities.
"For another thousand years or so, we kept up our individual empires until sometime after the time of King Solomon, when Enlil took a sabbatical to his home planet, Nibiru. As the heir apparent to his father, Anu, it was only appropriate that Enlil return and spend a little time in the Royal Court. Anu was not about to relinquish command as of yet, but it seemed a good idea for the population back on the home world to become better acquainted with the man who would be their next leader.
"Meanwhile, Enki stayed on Earth, and despite the fact Enlil's sons headed by Nathan were ostensibly to be the new commanders of earth, Enki persuaded the Anunnaki council -- in order to honor Enlil's brief time away from his command -- to have a long period of a couple of millennia as a kind of holiday for the Anunnaki. During this time they were to cease their continual manipulation of humans. Sort of like flying the flag at half mast for a week or so after the death of some major individual. Only this time out period was to last for the entire astrological Age of Pisces, ‘Enki’s Age’, beginning about 600 B.C.E.
The council went along with this based in part on Enki's very clever argument that the Anunnaki didn't want to have a lot of major decisions made while Enlil was away. Even Enlil bought the idea -- much to the chagrin of Nathan and Kurt. Enki and Ninki then arranged for some profound philosophies to be introduced to humankind through such figures as Lao Tzu, Confucius, Budda, Zoroaster, and later, Jesus Christ. Enki's intent was that the human race be given the opportunity to evolve without the Anunnaki, i.e. the 'gods', continually meddling in human affairs.
"Of course that didn't work either," Anna said, frowning. "Or at least, not completely. While none of us could afford to offend the council by directly challenging the decision, there was little to discourage us from manipulating things from behind the scenes -- or particularly during the time of Enlil being honored. The effect was that, until Enlil's return, Anunnaki like Nathan and Kurt would be restricted to covert activities. The problem for humankind is that the end of that time is fast approaching. Once Enlil returns, Earth could be once again looking at open warfare between the factions. Something we haven't seen for millennia. And something few are looking forward to."
"Are you saying most of mankind's problems are Anunnaki inspired?" Dawn asked.
"Not completely. Mankind, being the offspring of the Anunnaki, undoubtedly has some of the genes that include the potential for belligerence, hate, fear, and so forth. But many of the major problems are due to one or more of the competing Anunnaki factions. And it's a lot more than just wars breaking out between two opposing sides. Mankind's future is being thwarted in a variety of ways.
Part of the reason is simply the in-fighting among the Anunnaki. Nathan has been leading the major group of those who are ignoring the moratorium, but he's being effectively challenged by his younger brother, Kurt. There's also Enki's son, Nergal, who nobody seems to like, causing problems in southern Africa. I have supposedly been on Nathan's side, but in reality I've been working with Enki and Ninki, as well as Ningishzida -- who introduced himself to you as Hal -- to do what is right by humankind.
"But keep in mind that Nathan and the Patrons are capable of anything. On the one hand, science and engineering have been distorted and diverted such that the really incredible inventions and understandings of the universe has been blocked time and time again. Things like Maxwell's Quaternion Equations have simply been dismissed from the literature -- with only four of the more restrictive and limiting ones still existing under his name in the literature.
At the same time, true innovation, your understanding of the multiple dimensions of time, so-called free energy devices which effectively tap into the virtually unlimited energy sources of hyper-dimensional space, all of these things have been distorted and hidden from view. The universe is incredibly more exciting than your mainstream science has literally been allowed to imagine. Everything has been subjugated to monetary controls, acquiring grants, and maintaining funding. Universities used to be repositories of knowledge and research, but have since become nothing more than giant consulting firms. Even the profound connections between science and philosophy have been severed -- which can only be described as ludicrous. You can't have science without philosophy!
"Humankind's development in virtually every arena has been thwarted. Medical advancements have been held back, including such incredible concepts as the ability to evolve DNA with the focused intentions of one's mind and heart, or by residing within sacred geometrical structures. Fortunately, there are a few courageous scientists who have bucked the trend and found a way to begin to demonstrate these capabilities . At the same time, effective cancer cures have been intentionally blocked, and in some cases they have been blocked by violent means."
"But why would the Patrons want to deny humans their health?" Dawn asked. "Look at all the money ranchers spend in keeping their herds healthy!"
"You're right, of course. Cattle, pigs, sheep, even dogs and cats have better nutritional advice than humans. But you have to look at it from the viewpoint of the Anunnaki. Humans are no longer that valuable. There are just too many of them! Having too many slaves is dangerous. It encourages rebellion.
“Humans might neuter their pets to keep the animal population down, but such a method probably wouldn't work with humans. In fact, most societies won't even consider birth control limits for themselves. Thus the most effective way the Patrons can massively reduce the human population -- in order to bring it back under control and at the same time not allow the humans to know what is going on -- is by disease. To this end, AIDS, the Ebola virus, and all manner of diseases are being experimented with in order to see if they can be used on a massive world wide scale. The only current hesitation of their wide scale use is the inherent danger of the Anunnaki succumbing to the diseases themselves. The Anunnaki do, after all, have some of the same genes as humans!"
"This is incredible!" Dawn exclaimed. "All the suffering and death..."
"And it's just part of what's happening. Mankind is being constantly bombarded with all manner of mind-control techniques. Television, for example, is using subliminal advertising to a phenomenal degree. There is even evidence that every political agenda imaginable is being pushed by the same techniques. In fact, the best evidence of the increased sophistication of distortion and deceit is the generally acceptable status among the human population of the work ethic.”
Dawn laughed. "The work ethic is a mind-control technique?"
Anna smiled. "Look at it this way: The principal method of The Patrons in controlling the masses is to keep them busy at inane and unimportant tasks such that the human individual never stops to think or consider what is really going on, never stops to pay attention, and never stops to listen to the sound of the universe. Workaholism is the ultimate technique in keeping people unconscious. If an individual were simply interested in survival, he or she would need to work only about ten hours a week. Probably less. Much of the rest of the work is makeshift, pointless tasks to keep the human mind occupied and distracted. Even sports, entertainment, television, movies -- all of which have become the opiate of the masses -- they're all nothing more than a mental blitzkrieg to keep the human mind distracted from the more important aspects of life.
"Politics is one of the biggest diversions. Totally ineffective in large part, politics nevertheless sucks the energies of millions. Whether it's in pointless campaigning between two different evils -- and with many people taking W. C. Field's advice and choosing the evil they've never tried before -- or arguing over minutiae without either side really having any sense of what's really happening, politics just doesn't amount to a hill of beans. Even the vote counting is fraudulent -- a fact becoming increasingly obvious. But it still consumes the mental activities of millions.
"Another example was the O. J. Simpson trial. On the one hand, there was an immense decrease in productivity throughout the nation as everyone tuned in to the process, as people became mesmerized -- effectively hypnotized -- with the spectacle. But at the same time, and whether or not you might have agreed with the outcome, the one thing that became obvious to everyone was that it was perfectly plausible for the police to have framed him. Whether they did or not was not the point. The point was that they could have, and no one would have been any the wiser. We may never know whether or not he was guilty or innocent. But after watching the trial, it became clear we would never know for certain if any accused person was ever guilty, knowing full well that person could easily have been framed, and for any number of reasons. The justice system was simply made defunct by that trial. The end result was meaningless, and yet the trial had taken over the mass consciousness almost totally.
"Religion is used in the same way. Anything keeping the human mind from occasionally quieting and getting in touch with the universe, is nothing more than just one more technique The Patrons use to keep humans off balance. For the most part it's working. Very effectively!"
"What about specialization," Alex asked, with a knowing glint in his eye.
"Good point," Anna replied. "Specialization is a very effective way of keeping knowledge compartmentalized, every specialist a cog in a machine, but without a hint of what the machine is really doing.”
"I keep thinking about when Pons and Fleischmann made their cold fusion discovery,” Alex interjected. “One of the main arguments that their work couldn’t be ‘cold fusion’ was that neither of the professors were physicists, and that fusion was the purview of physics. Being chemists, they were supposedly not allowed to have opinions in another field -- particularly, contrary opinions."
Anna agreed. "Such specialization has been very effective in limiting scientific progress. It’s wonderful at solving a particular problem, but it can also act as blinders."
"There's one other thing," Dawn interjected. "There was a third group, another major player that Alex called the Humanki. Who are they?"
Anna laughed. "Think about it. The 'ki' stands for earth. Just as Enki is lord ("En") of earth ("ki"); then Humanki is 'human of earth'." Dawn was delighted with the realization, while Anna added, "As for the word, 'human', the original meaning was 'man who hears sound', the sound being that of the 'hu'. There's even a small religion called the Ekcankar which reveres the same word. They've discovered a small part of what's really going on. At least they're on the right track."
"The Humanki are just humans who can hear?" Sisi asked, incredulously.
"Oh, no," Anna hastily replied. "Only those humans who hear the sound, the sound of the universe -- a sound which is continually in one's head, but never disturbing or distressful. It is a sound that can be ignored, but a sound to which the Humanki can always turn their attention. As the humans develop, the sound becomes a bit like a continual, sacred orgasm. Really quite profound."
Dawn laughed. "But why would anyone want to leave that state?"
"Many don't," Anna replied. "Many simply ascend, make the transition into another life without dying, and eventually enter another dimension. At the same time, others take an alternate route. Because of their compassion for their fellow humans, or for other reasons, they stay and try to help. They're the true Latter Day Saints, Boddhi-Sattvas, who remain in a world considerably less than the true heaven many would prefer."
As the three initiates tried to grasp it all, Anna took another tack. "Think of it this way," she said. "Because of an incredible genetic experiment done a quarter of a million years ago, mankind is on a unique track. Because of one of the most extraordinary events in the annals of the universe, your species can evolve without the baggage of their ancestor's, the Anunnaki's.
"Ironically, my species can not reach the level you can achieve without your help. Or more specifically, without the help of the Humanki. Enki and several more of us have realized we must help humankind become extra-dimensional beings, so that humanity can then help us progress along our own path. Keep in mind that time simply goes by far too slowly for us to progress at anything like the human being's rate of development. Especially the Humanki’s."
"But why would the Patrons be so afraid of us?" Alex asked.
"Because you breed like rabbits and have the potential to evolve even faster than we could ever have imagined. You could easily become as we are, with all of our powers and capabilities, and in fact, probably exceed them in rapid order."
"But how is that possible?" Sisi asked. "Don't we have the same genes, the same DNA?"
"Not exactly. In the cross breeding between our species, you received everything we have -- all our assets and liabilities. But you also received the rapid development DNA from Homo erectus. And it was that extra set of genes that most terrified those of the Patrons who could understand what was really happening. Thus everything was done to limit you, including denying you the essential elements in your diet which might activate your latent DNA and unused brain capacity."
"You mean," Sisi asked, "Deny us the Orme?"
"That was one technique, yes," Anna replied. "Had you been allowed to develop to your full potential, particularly with that part of your DNA which allows for an astounding rate of evolution -- you would have been incredible, possessing capabilities beyond our imagination! That was what was so scary. After all, after being treated as slaves, you might have been less than kind to your former masters."
Anna smiled grimly. "But there was also another technique used on you. The best way to think of it is as a series of viruses we implanted in your DNA. Essentially, the viruses incorporate within your being the emotions of guilt, shame, servitude, sorrow, separation, despair, and a belief in death -- effectively the original seven deadly sins. All of these are aspects or emotions which have absolutely no positive use or advantage to any soul with free will. They are pure limitation, without any socially redeeming value. Unlike such things as anger or fear, which can, under some circumstances, be considered to have survival advantage."
“I can see the uselessness of guilt and shame, even sorrow and despair,” Sisi replied. “But what about servitude? And what do you mean by ‘separation’?”
“Servitude is the belief one doesn’t deserve things without pain and struggle. It’s the old and incredibly stupid, ‘no pain, no gain’ concept. It’s the work ethic.
"Separation, on the other hand, is the belief that one is not connected but rather is alone in the universe. Nothing could be further from the truth. As for a belief in death, that was the most limiting. If someone fears death, they can be controlled and manipulated in a thousand different ways. But if one truly believes that death does not exist, that so-called dying is simply a transition into other dimensions, then that person is truly free. Manipulation becomes a thing of the past.”
"These viruses were implanted in us intentionally?" Alex asked, suddenly very concerned.
"Yes. At the insistence of my paternal grandfather, Enlil, your species was from the outset severely handicapped. It was a comfort factor for us that your race wouldn’t get out of control."
"Is there a cure?" Sisi asked.
"Originally, we didn't think so. But your species has apparently once again surprised us, and has begun to develop the techniques which allow you to remove the DNA viral implants from your being. I say 'apparently' because I suspect Enki had something to do with it."
"That's probably not something the Patrons would like to see," Alex commented.
"It could be quite terrifying," Anna agreed, “But fortunately the Patrons don’t seem to be aware of the cure just yet. Or they simply don’t want to believe it. You have to realize that the principal problem is that those like Nathan have become so fear based that they can't bring themselves to believe the Humanki would actually help the Anunnaki. This might make a lot of sense considering how badly they've treated humans in the past. And someone like Nathan -- totally devoid of compassion -- can hardly be expected to have any sense of what compassion might be about. Because he and others can't experience this particular emotion in their own lives, they can't even imagine it in others. Thus the Humanki have become the arch-enemy. Just like any fanatic fundamentalist, the Patrons can't believe the radical and total change implied by the Humanki will be in the Anunnaki's best interests, or that the Humanki will not want, and be able to take, revenge."
"And so they want to sabotage the efforts of humans becoming Humanki."
"Yes. They don't understand. 'They know not what they do.' Unfortunately,” Anna added, “The timing is critical. The end of the non-interference period is rapidly approaching. There is some division on the exact ending date among the Anunnaki. It might be the winter solstice of 2012 A.D., or sometime between 2009 and 2013. That's when the Patrons may be able to take off the gloves and once again attempt to overtly destroy most of humankind just in order to regain control of earth."
"Not much time," Dawn remarked.
"But perhaps long enough for the Humanki to reach a point of being capable of ensuring that the human race will be able to defend itself. We can't count on Enki and the others to do it for us. They can only help us become empowered. It's like raising children. Parents have to allow their children to grow into self-sufficiency. If one always takes care of another, the other becomes dependent and will then be at a total loss when left on their own."
"But why can't Enki and the others help?" Sisi asked. "Aren't you helping now?"
"Being infinitely wiser than The Patrons," Anna replied, "Enki knows -- and I and the others have come to agree with him -- that he can't force feed or lead your species by the hand. The absolutely essential requirement is that he has to respect your free will. At the same time, however, he can give you clues and let you figure it out for yourself. Thus, everyone has to do their own homework and discover things for themselves. It's the only way we can honor your free will, and at the same time, ensure that each of you have the opportunity to learn to stand on your own two feet."
"I'm not sure I understand," Sisi replied. "What kind of clues?"
Anna thought for a moment. "Well for one thing, Enki doesn't exactly speak English, or any other language for that matter. Instead, he speaks feelings and emotions. He uses symbols to communicate. Symbolism is far more effective than mere words -- particularly in a world of many languages and many misunderstood words and interpretations."
"Like, for example, crop circles?" Dawn asked.
"Among other things." For a moment, Anna paused. With the others momentarily inundated with answers, she added matter-of-factly, "We can take some comfort in the fact that the Anunnaki can be incredibly slow in taking action. Long lives also implies -- from the human perspective -- the ultimate in procrastination. There's even the possibility the official date can be stretched to as far away as the year 2040 -- the timing of another major astronomical event."
"But how in the world can the Humanki protect us?" Dawn asked, obviously concerned.
"You know about superconductors, right?" When Dawn shook her head yes, Anna explained, "Superconductors don't have to touch for their energy to flow from one to another. They can be at a distance from each other, and as long as they're in resonant frequency with each other, they're one. They function as one superconductor. When you become a Humanki, you will have a superconducting body, and no longer be exclusively of this space-time. You'll be a light being, your mind will be one with other people's minds. You will literally know their thoughts, and they will know your thoughts. You and they will be literally of one mind and one heart. That connection between different members of the Humanki makes for one incredible team effort!
"In addition, you will have perfect telepathy, you will know good and evil when it's in the room with you, you'll be able to project your thoughts into someone else' mind. You’ll also be able to levitate, even walk on water. Because you're flowing so much light within you, you literally won't attract gravity. Your Meisner Field will exclude all the other magnetic fields. You'll no longer even be constrained in this space-time. You'll be a fifth dimensional being. You will literally think where you want to be and go there. Just disappear. And reappear. You'll be able to heal by the laying on of hands, cleanse and resurrect the dead within two or three days of their death. You will have so much energy you will be able to embrace people and bring light and energy back into them.
"There are many ways to become Humanki, but the easiest way is to take the Orme, what the Essenes in Qumrun called the Teacher of Righteousness. You and the others will be able to become a nation of high priests, as each of you swallow the Teacher of Righteousness, when you swallow the holy spirit, the zero-point light, the god source within you. You'll be able to fill yourselves with this light and will know all things. You won't have to read or study. You will just know.
"When your light body exceeds your material body, you won't have to eat food. You can, but you won't have to. You'll have become a ‘god’ far greater than we could have imagined."
Sisi, her thoughts running rampant, said, "How much more could anyone ever be judged than for everyone else to know their heart and mind? Everything about someone would be known. No more hidden agendas, no more lies, no more deceit. Everything would be an open book."
"Sounds almost scary," Dawn said. "One would really have to have their act cleaned up."
"Probably more than we can imagine," Anna replied. "Instant manifestation without the comforting buffer of time to correct our mistakes... It will be a heavy responsibility. But first, you'll have to eliminate the implants of guilt, shame, and so forth. Then and only then, absorb the mono-atomic elements, become human superconductors, become, in effect, light beings..."
Anna paused again to make a specific point. "It's called the opening of the Book of Light. In Revelations, it says, 'Blessed be the man who shall overcome, for he shall be given the hidden manna, the white stone of the purest kind upon which will be written a new name.' He will not be the same person. And all of this is encoded in your DNA just waiting to be activated. And the way to activate it is to follow Rein's research  and concentrate your heart and mind on love. Love evolves the DNA. The Orme just speeds up the process."
For several moments Anna looked around at the three supplicants, judging their reactions. "At 1160 degrees the white powder of gold fuses to form gold glass. It's a transparent glass, just like window glass. In Revelations, it says, 'The streets of New Jerusalem will be paved with gold of the purest light, as transparent as glass, and the foundations of New Jerusalem will be made with gold liken unto glass.' The Orme is the gold glass, the very basis of the New Jerusalem, the very basis of raising yourself and your consciousness to a higher state, a fifth dimension. The Orme, or the highest light, will literally activate all of your DNA, including the so-called 'junk DNA'. It will cause you to use all of your brain again, and you will be able to return to the original state wherein you were created -- and possibly far beyond." Anna's eyes flickered as if momentarily trying to imagine the possibilities.
Then she shrugged her shoulders, glancing around the room. "Of course, you don't have to take the Orme. It's not the only way. Through work, dedication, years of study and meditation, you might be able to achieve similar results. But the routes without the Orme are really tough. It's like being a Tibetan Monk. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of time. The Orme is simply the Keys to the Kingdom. In itself, it's not the answer. But it’s the way to the answer. If you step though the door, that's your decision. Nobody's going to make you take it."
Alex looked at the others for a moment, and then turned to Anna, "Where do I sign up?"
Anna almost laughed, before replying. She said, very earnestly, "I admire your courage!"
Alex basked in the compliment for several seconds. Then somewhat sobered, he said, "I know there's a heavy responsibility associated with this, but I am serious about doing it."
Sisi reflected on the possibility as well. "Certainly those who went before the Ark of the Covenant -- the container of the Orme -- in anything but the most sacred space got pretty well blasted to kingdom come. It's definitely not something to be taken lightly."
Dawn smiled slightly, lightening the mood. "I guess we'll all have be very careful."
When the others seem to join her in her relaxed commitment, Alex asked, "There are a few loose ends I'm curious about. What was the Tunguska explosion in Siberia in 1908 all about? Was it a sign which was trying to tell us something specific?"
"Oh yes," Anna replied. "It was both a warning and a reassurance that even when things were looking particularly bleak, that it was still possible to survive even the most threatening of events."
"And the crop circles?" Sisi asked.
Anna laughed. "Think of them as Alchemy 101."
Dawn laughed. "What exactly does that mean?"
Anna thought for a moment. “The word literally means, ‘the art of Khem. Khem was one of the early gods of Egypt.” For a moment, she paused. Virtually on cue, the door to the commons room opened, and an apologetic woman stepped inside. Anna was immediately attentive.
Quietly and meekly, the woman said to Anna, "You requested you be informed when..."
"Of course," Anna quickly answered. "Thank you." As the woman acknowledged Anna’s reply, she stepped back, awaiting any further instructions. Anna turned to the others. "I'm afraid I must leave you for now. But I'm sure we'll have other opportunities. For the present, please make yourself at home.” Gesturing to the woman, “Aris Holyn will arrange for accommodations for you."
As Anna rose and turned to leave, Dawn stood up as well. "Thank you for everything."
Anna stopped and turned back to face Dawn. "You're welcome." Then she left.
Dawn set back down to face the others. Alex, in his thinking mood, mused, "'Alchemy 101.' Interesting. The basics of what transformation and the universe is all about, all done in the medium of growing crops. What a concept!”
“But can they be interpreted?” Sisi asked.
“I would think so,” Alex answered, “Clearly, the Barbury Castle design has been shown to be a masterpiece of sacred geometry and/or hyper-geometry. And the Ickleton Mandelbrot is definitely about fractals and the mathematical cipher used in Chaos Theory. There are even more recent ones which tie into the mechanics of zero-point energy. I suspect there’s a wide range of scientific and philosophical thoughts in them, but you have to have an open mind when you study them.”
"What about the crop circle corresponding to Shoemaker-Levy?" Dawn asked. "Gil had that one highlighted. What sort of a theory are we talking about there."
Alex smiled slightly, realizing the degree to which Dawn understood him. Then he admitted, "Yes, well that one is rather unique. But even then, I really can't be sure."
Dawn smiled, knowing him. "Speculate," she ordered, in a lighthearted fashion.
Alex accepted the "order" easily. "Okay. On July 20, 1964, the Russian deep space probe, Zond 3, sent back the first photos of the dark side of the Moon. The U.S. then put the first man on the moon on July 20, 1969. The first landing of an unmanned spacecraft on Mars was July 20, 1976. The U.S.'s Clementine space craft, after spending two months photographing the Moon, was ejected out of an Earth-Moon orbit -- probably on its way to Mars -- on July 20, 1994. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit Jupiter the week of the 16th through the 23rd of July 1994 -- the biggest chunk 'splashing down' on the 25th anniversary of the moon landing. July 20th of that same year, the crop circle you mentioned appeared overnight in customary fashion which seemed to mimic the Jupiter incident. The following year, on July 22nd, the Hale-Bopp comet was discovered. On July 20, 2005, the planets Saturn and Chiron are in their fifth opposition of the 21st Century in the signs of Leo and Aquarius -- degrees symbolized by the key words, 'conflagration' and 'concretization of an ideal'. The two symbols for July 20th itself are 'Inner rebirth through a total acceptance of the primordial values manifest in the human body and its natural functions', and 'The intuitive weighing of alternatives'." 
Dawn grimaced, as if slightly uncomfortable. "There seems to be a pattern here."
Alex hesitated for just as second. "Apparently. Clearly, there's something very strange about this date in July. But it becomes even more curious. On July 20, 1956, a group called the Prieure‘ de Sion, a secret society allegedly derived from the Knights Templar, and who may have had access to all manner of esoteric knowledge from the ancients -- including, supposedly, ‘the art of Khem’ -- officially registered themselves with the French Government. In effect, they came out of the closet after some 850 years of secrecy. There’s been speculation that many of the significant events surrounding July 20th were calculated to commemorate this 'coming out' party."
Dawn was wide-eyed. "This secret society has something to do with comets, moon landings, and crop circles?"
"I don’t know!" Alex quickly answered. "But somewhere, somehow, someone knows how all of this is connected. I just haven't yet been privy to some of the more esoteric secrets."
Even Sisi looked skeptical. "But some of the events are with comets and planets and aren't controlled by humans."
"I know," Alex replied. "It's all quite fascinating, but not easily explainable."
"I would be satisfied," Dawn said, "If I could just figure out the crop circle enigma."
“I have a feeling you’ll be figuring that one out in the very near future.”
Three days later, Gil arrived. The celebration was intense and muted at the same time. It was itense due to the surge of emotions between the four; muted because of the general atmosphere of Kali Lumenes, and the fact that Gil was not completely healed. At the same time, Dawn, Alex and Sisi had begun a specific program of taking the Orme, meditating, discarding old bad habits, and in general grounding themselves in preparation for flights into the unknown.
In the days that followed it was soon realized Gil was on a slightly different path from the others, his having inherited a much greater portion of the Anunnaki genes. The off hand clue he gave was that he was two thirds Anunnaki and one third human. Consequently, he could not progress at the same rate. While both Alex and Dawn pretty much took this in stride, willing to allow Gil whatever time and direction he needed, the implied vulnerability had another, stranger effect on Sisi. She was profoundly intrigued, deciding very early on that she was going to stay close to Gil and to thoroughly investigate all of the ramifications of what it would be like to be with such a man.
It was in one of their quiet moments alone, that she asked him about his faked death.
"When I was in the hospital, I was convinced the end was near. Imagine my surprise when I came to in a small village in British Columbia. My first reaction was that heaven looked a lot shoddier than I had been expecting. I could even feel all of my aches and pains which I had assumed would have been long gone by the time I reached heaven."
"Poor baby," Sisi replied, already well on her way to being enamored with the man.
Gil could only smile. "I had had a very long life, had known many good things. I was fully prepared to let go. Not like in my youth, when I searched high and low for the secret of immortality. Then I was possessed. A week or so ago, I was ready for the new adventure on the other side. I didn't want to leave, of course, but I figured I would at least leave on a high note." Then he abruptly laughed. "But Anna had other plans! She figured I still had karma I owed her, and she was not about to let me slip by on that one."
Sisi's attention picked up immediately. "You have karma with Anna?" This would require some explanation, she decided. It wasn't good to have a potential lover owing karma to another woman! Sisi had recently become less open minded about sharing intimate affections.
Gil looked at Sisi, guessing her concern. "I once gave Anna a very serious rebuke, one that was uncalled for and which gave her a fair amount of grief. I then compounded it with slander and libel at a time when such stuff really counted. Not directly in all cases, but I did allow lies and deceptions to occur and continue. I have only lately come to the realization she was on the wiser course, and that it behooved me to make up for my earlier stupidity. We're now on the same side, working for the same goals."
"And you still owe her?" Sisi asked, intent upon Gil clarifying this one point.
Gil thought about it for a second. "Not really. It's just we're seeking similar results now." Then he looked down at Sisi. "If I owe anybody, I owe you. You've been more than kind in the last days -- taking care of me, taking time out of your own schedule to be with me."
Sisi smiled, clearly satisfied at his answer. Reaching up to caress his beard, she said, "I think I'd like a partial payment on that karma right now."
Gil looked puzzled, until Sisi leaned over and kissed him. With little effort, he returned the kiss, making sure she received her due. When they finally eased back from the moment, she took a deep breath and said, "A couple of thousand more payments like that one and you may soon find yourself debt free!"
Gil still looked puzzled. "What about Alex?"
"Alex is with Dawn. Haven't you noticed?"
"But I thought you and Alex..."
"Alex and I were intimate friends. We were there for each other in a lot of ways. But it was not something we expected to last forever. It was what it was, and... And it was perfect."
Gil continued to watch the young woman, never having imagined his attraction to her would ever bear fruit. Then he sobered slightly. "About the karma... It's not our owing each other that matters. It's a day-to-day choice. We can do whatever is loving and leave it at that. A man and a woman don't have to have drama and excitement or karma in their relationship. There's plenty of all three in the outside world. The better plan, I suspect, is to meet the external challenges as a team. Catch our excitement and indulge in all of the dramas knowing we're always together."
Sisi swallowed at the profound implications. More than she might have asked for, it was almost too much. Like asking for a car and getting a Lambordini. Tears welled up in her eyes.
"There's a lot out there, Sisi," Gil added. "Enough to keep us occupied for a long time."
"I know," she answered. "It's just nice to know we're a team."
"Like Alex and Dawn?" he asked.
"I'm not sure," Sisi replied. "I've always thought of myself as the innovator, the rebel, the maverick, the one who would have the most unique relationship imaginable. But now I think it's Alex and Dawn."
"What do you mean?" Gil asked.
"Dawn was telling me this morning that Alex and her relationship didn't seem to have any of the old rules, that their individual spiritual evolution would take precedence over any of the traditional duties and obligations of two people being romantically involved. At the same time, they wanted to encourage and assist each other in that development. Dawn's concern was that the two of them were in totally new territory, with nothing from their past relationships which would be necessarily valid any longer. It was like they were entering another dimension together where even the laws of physics were no longer something they could rely on."
"Sounds fascinating," Gil replied. "But isn't that something you would want?"
"Maybe," Sisi answered, uncharacteristically hesitant to commit. "But for right now, I'd prefer something a little more familiar -- a crazy, unique and delightful love affair. Then, once I'm comfortable with that, perhaps we can sometime in the future follow their lead."
"That's good," Gil admitted to. "Perhaps I'm just procrastinating, but I don't think I'm quite ready to leap into an extra-dimensional relationship."
Sisi swallowed. "Neither am I."
 The Fire Came By, John Baxter and Thomas Atkins, Doubleday, New York, 1976.
 The Monuments of Mars, Richard C. Hoagland, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1987/1996.
 Glenn Rein, Presentation at the International Forum on New Science, Fort Collins, Colorado, September 1995.
 Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases, Vintage Books, Random House, New York, 1974.
Chapter Twenty -- The Magician
Chapter Twenty Two -- Again, The Fool
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved [Feedback]