He sank to the bench, close to the tree. “I cannot even imagine it, never mind work out how or if it will affect us. Can you explain?”
“Well, those billions will have to be permanent, unlike those you create to save entire galaxies when they collide, which only need to exist for a few thousand or million years.”
He nodded. “Of course.” And I sensed Sol laugh, and then Cherine and everyone else. I tried to ignore them.
I asked, “Freddie, can I have a screen showing this galaxy of our reality. Using what little knowledge we have about the various species home systems - and without treating those at a different time from us as not being part of it, can you dot the solar systems for us?” He did and I added, “Can you add dots, even if only estimated, for solar systems of the Anadir and others who have still not been returned to their home planets?” He did so and I too was amazed at the number of them.
I asked, “Solomon, you have seen our 3D chess game, with three boards, one above the other?”
“Good, keep that image for later.”
“I will.” Now I knew he was teasing, but I felt from Sol that it was only to cover what he was really feeling, so it did not upset me or make me feel he is making fun of me.
“Imagine each of those dots having a Sparkler World, interconnected by a golden string to all the others. An Anadir decides he wants to visit an Elipian same-reality friend, so he enters his Sparkler World and exits it by the Elipian Sparkler World. They have their brew, tell a few jokes, admire each others families and the Anadir returns home using the reverse procedure. Energy used? Very little?” He nodded. “It means everyone can afford to have friends all over the galaxy? What about the other galaxies, won’t they also fill up with dots someday? I hope we will make friends in all of them.” It looked as if he was holding onto the bench to stop himself from floating away, but he nodded.
“This is where things get a bit complicated.” His eyes widened and I heard Robbie give a nervous laugh. “Do you still have the 3D chess board image? Imagine the one board is the galaxy on the screen. Now think of the reality of…where Robbie suffered amnesia as being the second board, with its own Sparkler World dots and strings all over their galaxy, all interconnected to each other, plus to their alternates in board one. Now multiply the boards by the thousands - and maybe one day, by the millions. Could it work?”
I got to my feet. “If you don’t mind, Solomon, I’m feeling sleepy, I’ll see you tomorrow.” As if my family would let me get away with it - but they did their damn best to protect me from everyone’s emoting, apart from those of Solomon. Maybe they felt I owe it to him. In the end, I made myself three years old and let him hold me on his lap.
I had not slept well the previous night, so my loves made golden pancakes and served them to me in bed. Actually, the tray they were served in has quite an interesting history - the kind that amuses us. We saw one used in a movie, a tray with wooden legs that could be folded. Dommi tried everywhere to get one, but they were no longer made. Robbie sketched a design and asked a carpenter (a hobbyist) to make it for us. He produced a work of art and we happily paid him whatever he asked. Of course we showed it off to all our friends and family and they each decided they want at least one, so the carpenter was soon spending all his time making trays. Once the media did an article about it, factories produced them cheaply, but even many who are not so well off, order theirs from the carpenter.
Robbie wondered, “You remember that time Allan and I became one and I reported seeing Cherinians jumping from planet to planet like golden grasshoppers? How do I reconcile that to what you have just created?” He gave me a smile. “You have this gift of coming up with ideas which are not original - after all, you have been using their worlds for travelling to the Unation and back, never mind in all the other solar systems we’ve used them, but last night you took your previous idea an immense step forward and transformed the Cherinians overnight.”
“Why only the Cherinians, Dad? If Normals wish to visit each other, as long as they can send a message to the Sparklers, maybe through our Cherinian embassies, why can’t the Sparklers scoop them up from Earth orbit and transfer them to their World?” Robbie theatrically covered his eyes and groaned, making even me laugh.
I let everyone feel how suddenly I was feeling serious, so they paused to stare at me. I told them, “Dad, you also Cherine, please ask the Sparklers not to use my idea yet. If they do it from now, it could cause a catastrophe beyond anything we can imagine. For instance, the future Arthur ends this book and returns to whichever is his current book - let’s say it is the twelfth. We will be using the Sparkler Worlds without being able to mention it, for his ninth to twelfth book are already written and do not include the possibility. I fear that as we drift away from the world he has an image of in his mind, we will become less and less real to him - maybe the day will then come when we no longer exist for him to sense our emoting, since we will be trying to hide our thoughts from him. The convenience we spoke of, it is not worth losing each other for it.” Sol instantly left and as my loves passed on my latest idea and warning, I decided I want to spend some time, a few days, in Robbie and Jade’s atelier, trying to learn to draw, as Arthur asked of us.
I’ve had to come out of hiding as we are leaving and I don’t want to hurt the feelings of those I’ve come to know and like. Freddie is drifting between solar systems, giving us a bit of time to relax - with of course, everyone hoping I don’t use this time to think up more ideas (courtesy of Cassie).
As our Cherine had commented, our new Cherine was not interested in theories. Having learnt how to contact her healer, she felt in prime health, so illness of any kind felt too distant to be a possibility. Softri having also learnt to use her healing energy, both of them felt free to become friends. For Softri it was special, as she has never had a friend - and little Cherine definitely is not about to treat her like a leader.
Robbie hates using power to browbeat others; he is not that particular if they are Terrans, but he avoids it where he can with newly met aliens. Freddie appeared at a distance and slowly travelled towards their planet, broadcasting, in their language, that we come in peace. If they believed us, it did not stop them from sending every single spaceship they have to surround Freddie. I can’t help feeling it is not a good strategy, they should have kept a few hidden behind their planet as a surprise reinforcement, should we attack.
As if irritated by fleas, Freddie shrugged them off by jumping two thousand miles to the side. There we waited for them to surround us again.
“Who are you and why have you come to our world? You claim to be peaceful, but you evade our ships who come to welcome you.”
“We notice you changed the band of transmission and presume it is meant to provide us privacy. It is not the way we like to begin our relationships, so we are claiming the right to hold Barredo negotiations. We are moving our communications to your public channels.”
“You have obviously studied us for some time. Provide one reason why we should not consider you hostile?”
“You wish to attack? Please do, we promise not to attack you. However, please keep in mind that should your ships attack, we instantly will not be where we are and, since you considered it a wise tactic to surround us, your ships are likely to destroy each other. As for knowing about the Barredo method of negotiations, we learnt about it from those you tried to assassinate - the two families who you discovered are gifted. If you like, we can wait for your spaceship to return, which will take a number of years, or else, we can show you visual recordings. You have given us, under galactic law, the right to strike at you without warning, for your ship attacked the refugees once they were within the atmosphere of our planet. So, stop talking about hostilities and agree to send your leaders for negotiating with us a peace treaty.”
Robbie was bluffing about having the visual recordings, but he also was not, for he could instantly jump back in time and make the recordings. Luckily, as he’d assumed, they did not want the recording being broadcast and agreed to send their leaders. We told them a platform, unoccupied, will arrive at certain coordinates the next day and we switched off - but listened to the world below go crazy.
As they walked out of the platform, already sheathed of course, even though they can breathe our air, they looked around with a disdainful air. Their eyes only paused to examine Allan, as he had Iona perched on his shoulder; they ignored her father and finally were forced to settle on the father of Softri. By the way, when meeting aliens, it has been worked out by all those we know, how we should place ourselves, so that it is obvious to most aliens that Robbie is the leader. I grinned and shared with him what the problem is - he does not have any of the adult bumps, so I bet they consider him a child, which proves how easy it is to come to the right conclusion for the wrong reasons. Cherine gave me a big tick on her board.
The father of Softri, Dodirea, gestured and spoke, “Honourable leaders, this is Robert Teller, leader of all the species you see in here.”
“Not of ours! He is a child?”
“Their brains do not increase in size as they mature.”
“How can a cripple of the mind be leader of all species!”
Dodirea looked around anxiously, trying to find an acceptable answer. His eyes locked on mine and he told them, “He compensates by using the mind of this child, she is named Samantha, as an auxiliary brain. She is considered by all species as a true genius.” Wryly I thought to myself, well, this has certainly placed Robbie and me in our place, and threatened that any smart aleck comments are not acceptable. Robbie grinned as I sent that and told them they are welcome to say whatever they want.
“He is able to connect her brain to his? They are mutants?”
Finally Dodirea floundered, realising he has painted himself into a corner and is no longer able to handle the stress, so he fell silent. Robbie grinned. “You may speak to me directly, I assure you I am capable of handling complex thought processes, with the assistance of Samantha.”
I cut in, for humour could end up causing us serious problems later. “I am Samantha, daughter of Robert. When Dodirea speaks of my linking to the mind of my father, what he means is that I contribute, when necessary, my ideas, just as Softri does for her father. The misunderstanding has arisen because of you thinking that because we resemble each other, as species, that we should have the same…intelligence bumps you have. Nature, with us, took a different direction, we are born with all the brain cells we will ever have, which is why our infants have large heads.”
Their leader nodded, “A reasonable explanation and it makes more sense than claiming the two of you are linked, for then you would be mutants - monsters.” I’m not certain, but I think he actually shivered.
Robbie saw the right way to deal with this now and took over again. “Your planet is separated into social units, or countries…whatever you name them? Therefore, you are each leaders of your own unit? With our people, leaders only talk to each other directly if their ambassadors have either failed or come to an agreement. Ambassadors are trained to try and think as the other side does, so as to find diplomatic ways of speaking that do not offend. You are seriously in need of an ambassador, so I am appointing isi-mi-Metti as our ambassador. When she reports you and she are ready, then we will talk. In the meantime, Softri can show you where we have constructed a village for you, with food machines programmed to create foods and drinks you require. Good day.”
It took them three days to understand that they must talk with our isi. One they did, she found very gentle ways of educating them about us. On the fifth day, she let Robbie know that she thinks they will be capable of negotiating in a less tactless manner.
Robbie threw us into the deep end immediately. “Before we negotiate, it is important you understand us better. As you have heard, we all call ourselves Cherinians, irrespective of what species we are. My family will do a telling for you.” He turned to Meli. “Not a full telling, love, just what is needed for them to understand what being a Cherinian entails.”
After the telling, the leaders withdrew, returning to the privacy of their village. The next day they asked for isi and only two days later, after many arguments between themselves (we know because of isi, not because of Freddie or us spying on them), they asked to meet Robbie again. This time they also asked for Cherine. Cherine demanded Softri stand at her side.
“Surely we have not understood correctly? How can it be that all species have chosen to mutate?”
Robbie asked, “Do you have those who are healers and study the bodies of your kind?” They confirmed they do. “Who is considered the wisest and most knowledgeable among them?”
“Tatraf Qemito.” The others agreed he is the wisest.
Robbie looked up at a screen, “A vessel will be arriving within minutes; will you please join us?”
The male who stepped out must have been really old, for his two brain bumps are grooved and we can see wounds as the skin split. Cherine went to him. “May I ease your discomfort?” He only stared at her, but then he felt the pain ease and fade away and Cherine materialised a mirror for him to look at his head.
He asked Cherine, “It is one of your mutations?”
“It is. Instead of jumping about the subject so that we do not arrive anywhere, why don’t we sit and allow Robert to develop his argument, with your help, if you agree with him. If not, maybe then we will learn something?”
Robbie explained our theory of evolution and asked if they also believe in it. He sat, silent, for a while. “We have stories, myths, of how we came to be, by studying other creatures and remains we found from the distant past, we have been arguing the possibility for them.” Robbie can sense that arguments, however well argued, will not convince them, so he told them, “We are returning by about a hundred thousand years. Let’s wait and see what we find.”
The Rasiva already exist at this time, but they are a far cruder version. Robbie showed them the entire planet so that there cannot be any doubt. He then jumped us back by about fifteen thousand years. The Rasiva of that time are very primitive, in appearance, and have not evolved to walking on their hind legs only. We watched their interactions, their manner of communicating and the wars fought by the tribes. What upset our guests the most was seeing them eat those who are slain, whether of the enemy or of their own tribe.
Robbie asked, “Do you need more proof, or do you accept that your own species evolved, as with all the other creatures of your planet?”
Robbie told them to return to their village and to meet with us the next day. They were feeling too depressed for any discussions to be understood by them.
Angelica asked, “I wonder how many species passed through a stage of being cannibals? Diana, were our species ever cannibals?”
She nodded. “We’ve had cannibal tribes even recently, but I think that if we return to the distant past, we’ll find that at some time or other, they all ate their own kind. After all, survival must come first, or else a species does not survive. Food has almost always been a problem and since the flesh of our kind is nourishing for us, it would have been a terrible waste to let the jackals eat it.”
Angelica shivered. “I could never do it, however hungry I am.”
Robbie laughed. “Angel baby, you have already done it - as have all our loves…even Gilli.” Most of us did not protest, although I am certain everyone felt he is wrong. Once we had settled, silently looking at him, he explained. “For various reasons, we have all ordered our healers to leave us vulnerable to being hurt, usually because we are playing a game. How many of you have fallen or cut yourself and, without even thinking of it, have sucked at the wound? Did you not take in and digest human blood?” There were a few calls of ‘gross!’, but we did not argue, for he is right, but then he added, “When we have oral sex, are you not ingesting something from my body?” We refused to concede him that theory.
Robbie asked an Inguel scientist to join us and then he invited the Unation AI healer. Once they understood who they are talking with, Robbie let them go at it without our interference. The arguments the Rasiva came up with, in a desperate attempt to prove us wrong, was quite amazing. It made me feel quite good, for it showed me that not only Terrans are illogical in this manner. At least Tatraf Qemito, their doctor, did not advance any alternative theories and only listened. Finally he grew weary of the illogical attempts of denial.
“Our hosts have kindly given us time to grow up a little so that we understand the truth on our terms. To continue creating imaginary scenarios to justify our refusal to believe is not worthy of us. We have seen the miracle of returning to our distant past with our own eyes and we must accept they have only spoken with truth. Robert, you are ready to take over again?”
“Mutations are neither good nor bad. There are those which contribute to the evolution of a species, taking them to a higher level, and those that do not. In general, those that do not, used to be self-limiting, especially if they were contra-survival. As we evolve and build a society with checks and balances and technology to help us survive, some of the negative mutations can creep through, allowing that person to not only survive, but also have descendants to carry their mutation. This may happen, though it is more likely the mutation will die out within a generation or two.
However, when the mutation is of a positive nature, if it is not attacked by those who blindly fear any change and it survives, it can transform the entire population, so that one day everyone is closer to achieving their potential. This is what happened with us and we are lucky in that not only was our own species transformed - or rather, is being transformed, but we were able to help other species, so that one day our entire universe may become one family. Just imagine, if this applies equally to a species - to species who do not have a corporeal body, like the Sparklers, doesn’t it suggest that the mutation was not so much in our genes, but mostly in our minds.”
They found it easier to stomach the idea of the mind mutating.
Robbie had asked the night before and they had confirmed they are ready and the parents are not going to object, so he called for the new Robert and Cherine and asked them to sit before him. Robert kept her tiny hand in his, but otherwise he kept his eyes fixed on Robbie.
“We can feel how you already share your hearts and I thank you Cherine for waiting for today to link him, as I think what will be sensed will help our friends believe in the beauty of linking. Our Cherine has told us that whenever a new Robert and Cherine link, it feels to her as if the entire universe jiggles for a moment. Whether true or just a fancy, I’ll leave it to you to tell us afterwards.” He leant forward and kissed their brows and then sat back, his eyes gentle and filled with love as he looked at them. The two of them glanced at each other and then Cherine reached out and linked him.
We celebrated with a party and before our new Robert and Cherine left, Robbie spoke to them. “Do not go to the void until you have your third linked to you. It would…might be better you wait until we return to your Athens, even if you do link a third person as family. Both of you must spend time with Cherine and I tomorrow so that we can teach you some of what experience has taught us - unless you would prefer a different Robert and Cherine share with you.
Cherine, you can share directly from Cherine how to link those who are to become Cherinians without being direct family to you, like your mother and father, for instance. I know you also want to link Softri, but it might be better we talk with her first, she is going to face a lot of problems, without the support you will have, so we must try to think ahead for her.” He grinned at little Cherine. “Are you going to need Cherine’s help to block your emoting tonight?” They both blushed and our Cherine entered her mind and showed her how to keep their private moments to themselves.
As they walked away, while Cherine could still hear him, Robbie sighed and said, “He’s a lucky man.” We felt her sudden glow and sent a flood of love to our crazy man.
The next morning, the two couples and their three children were brought by Allan to our house. We took the time to help them relax and then Robbie asked, “How have we done with your leaders? Do you think they are more likely to accept you and others like you, now?”
Softri’s father hesitantly answered, “I think it will take more time, Robert. At least we can hope that they will no longer kill us as soon as you leave.”
Robbie spoke to me in my mind, with our loves listening, *Sam, I think we must make an exception for Softri and ask the Sparklers to create a World here so that there is a constant stream of visitors from Cherine and her Cherinians. The local Sparklers must keep the link locked within this reality so that we need not write of it until we return - once it is the right time.*
I gave it some thought and then spoke aloud, “Something is bound to go wrong, but as long as Arthur agrees that I do not write about it, I cannot see why not. Give me a moment while I go to ask him.”
Arthur, are you okay with it?
Dad grinned. “This is going to be one very weird start-up. The Terran Cherinians must have something to trade, both with the Terrans and the Rasiva, but we cannot do so if they do not have a Hettie and Eddie.”
Cherine shook her head. “No, as soon as we return we have to go to lunch with Elia and Claire. We’ll grab Dominique and as soon as she is a Cherinian, then we get Alki. Only then can we get the Mansfields.”
Robbie grinned. “You are turning into quite a little traditionalist. While you are getting Dominique to love her Cherine, I’m going after Wendy, Aganthi and Theresa.”
Jade immediately added, “And the rest of us are going after everyone else. I want to get Socrati and Andrea first.” It was a happy day as we made our plans and we realised how much we miss these kind of moments, of planning to bring others happiness.
Softri was listening to us with a yearning, wishing she could be a part of what we are planning. I thought, ‘why not?’ and Cherine agreed, so we asked the three girls whether they want to come with us. Seeing the girls so happy, and maybe because they still dreaded returning to their planet, with us gone, the parents agreed.
Cherine told Robbie, with a determined look, that he must deal with the Rasiva government before we leave, so Robbie called for a meeting. He asked them to bring the heads of their trading families with them.
The Akiards enjoy standing guard when we have government officials in a meeting, so we aged all of them and they took their positions. For this once, Robbie took central position and did the talking.
“When it comes to trading, there is an unwritten rule that almost all species adhere to: trading must be done for a profit.” The traders agreed, happy to hear we have the same rule. “I don’t know if your world has the same problems ours does. We call our social divisions, nations. Some nations are friendly and the wealthier one will often make deals with their poorer neighbour, offering them special terms, earning them a smaller profit. When they are about to do a deal with a nation with whom they are not friendly, one of two things can happen: either they become more difficult and charge a higher profit, or, in the hopes of making them become friends, they do a special deal for them also. Those nations who are neither friends nor enemies, their deals tend to be more expensive, for each side tries to maximise their profits.
There is one group who always do their deals as friends and minimise their profits so as to be allowed to offer their technology to help the others. I am speaking of us Cherinians. What I said does not make sense? Have we not already begun delivering food machines at no charge to both yourselves and the Manyiola? We shall also be doing so for the Terra of your reality. Quite a staggering cost isn’t it, so many billions of food machines given for free? Surely it will destroy us economically? First of all, we have moved such manufacturing plants into space, so we no longer have the expense of healing our air, water and land. The second? We get the minerals and metals we need from space, at almost no cost. These are provided to those who manufacture the machines and in return for them providing the machines for free, we also provide them with technology they need, at a very low cost, with barely a profit to it. Let me tell you about how I first made an effort to provide my world and people with clean technology and what happened.”
He told them of our agreement with the Anadir and how they would own a percentage of the corporations, with us having a small percentage, while the rest of the shares we would share out among the people of Earth. He then told them of the disaster we faced and how our governments tried to arrest us, forcing us to admit that we only represent aliens. They were amused when they heard how our governments agreed to terms they’d found unacceptable once they knew they are dealing with aliens.
“What really matters is that now our planet uses clean technology, our world is a healthier place for all and the vast sums of money owned by aliens is mostly used for us to help transform the economy without any suffering by the Normals - the non-Cherinians. Because of the feelings of friendship engendered, we show an interest in each other and learn from the variations in our philosophies and ethics. For example, our lives are made more beautiful because of the art we share, each of us learning from the other.
None of this could have happened if our deals had concentrated on maximising profits. I think we have, all parties, benefited beyond belief because of the way our deals showed that we care for each other.” He grinned. “It does not mean that I am not the wealthiest person of my planet.” That clinched it and they became more open to listening. He explained how Earth will do deals with the Anadir and other species and that in turn, they will do deals with the Manyiola and the Rasiva traders. He helped them understand that they in turn should do deals with Terra and the Manyiola, since they have technology neither of the species have. He explained how the price paid may be in kind, or by art of even philosophy. “Every species has a unique way of seeing the universe and life and by learning to also see the way they do, we each grow stronger and wealthier in those things that matter. Having Cherinians among you means that within a few decades there will be no Rasiva who suffer. The food machines ensure none ever hunger. So, if you accept these benefits and offer nothing in return, your society will implode and die. There must be a way they continue to grow and mature and we find that the only way for it to happen, is if we learn to love and care for everyone else.”
Hearing other Terrans tell them more of what Robbie did, would not help, but having the Inguel, the Anadir, the Eminixx, the Elipians, say the same, but in their own way, it slightly opened the door and they are now trying to understand. As with us, there will be those who do and those who do not. It does not matter, there is no need for pressure, time will smoothen the differences.
They were told of how the Sparklers will keep Worlds open to enable the three species to visit each other, at no cost to them, apart from friendship and the pleasure they can afford the Sparklers by dancing with them in the void and by sharing emotions and their art. I am not surprised they are stunned. I think even some of us are, for we had lived through all that happened, but had not always been aware of how we are changing everyone. I’m surprised they don’t run for the hills when Cherinians appear.
The Terran way of creating embassies was explained and our isi promised to help them and it was agreed that once the local Terrans know about the Cherinians, we will arrange for them to exchange embassies - not country with country, but planet with planet.
I’m going to skip through the details, but before we left, we were given permission to search among their populations for those who are potential Cherinians, and if they agree, take them with us, hopefully to instil in them the same dream we have. Afterwards, the Rasiva were shocked when they learnt that we collected close to seven thousand families - sadly, none stronger in mental gifts than Softri. As soon as we leave here, we will jump realities to give Softri time to find her future friends, so that they become her inner group or circle, there for her when she has difficult decisions to make. It will also be a comfort for her and Cherine that they have each other.
It is four months later and Softri has with her twenty five families in her circle of close friends, and the rest as Cherinians, linked by her, but not too tightly. They have practised going to the void to ask for the Sparklers to take then in their bodies to visit Earth or the Manyiola, so they are confident and happy. The same trade deals have been done, which will provide for the local Cherinians, so we are leaving without needing to worry about them.
We are back on the Earth of this reality, at half an hour before we have to be at the home of Claire.
It was a nice lunch and it was fun sensing how fascinated Dominique is by Dommi. We convinced them to visit us for the afternoon and without knowing where they will be going, they agreed. They were not amused to find themselves in a spaceship, very far from home. Since we have jumped realities, we can now take our time while Arthur schemes.
Allan ate his breakfast with Eleni cuddled against him, while a smiling Jessie brought the food and made the coffee. When he finished, he sat back, with Jessie now against his other side. “I guess it is about time. I wonder how he intends doing it?”
Samantha walked in. “Hi. Allan, take this laptop with you. I’ll be writing what Arthur writes for it to be in our diary, but having the laptop means you’ll be able to see what he writes.”
“It will probably depress me. Thanks.” She kissed him and returned to her family, after making the girls promise to join them once Allan is gone.
Vincent arrived. After the usual pleasantries, he told Allan, “I have a platform outside. I’m supposed to take you to the Earth where Khalid is. I’ve also been told …sort of, that I must wait for you, as you will then need to go somewhere else.”
Khalid gave a start as he recognised Allan. For a moment he hoped it is the Allan he knows, but then he changed his mind and hoped it is the local Allan, who does not know him - and what he has done. His hopes were dashed as he saw Allan walk to him, his eyes fixed on him. Allan pulled out a chair and sat.
“Khalid, you are looking well. You still have your healer?”
“Yes. Is that it, you have come to block it? Please do, at least I can then age and die.”
“Do you really believe you will have seventy virgins? Why so many? Isn’t it a waste? After all, look at Robert, with about fifty and he is already struggling. I can’t imagine him with another twenty! At least, being Cherinians, they can constantly revert to being virgins. Is that what will happen with your seventy?”
“You have come to mock me?”
“I have come because Arthur asked it of me. I do not know what he intends, maybe he will place the words in my mouth. Can I have a cappuccino while we wait for him?”
Khalid was not willing to play whatever game Allan was playing, so he sat, sullen and silent, with his heart tripping away at a slightly faster than normal pace. Meanwhile, Allan drank his coffee and as nothing happened, it felt like an anti-climax. He relaxed and let his thoughts drift, wondering if there is a local Allan. Suddenly he heard himself speaking.
“Khalid, this is Arthur. I am sorry my voice sounds so flat, but all I can do is type the words and Allan speaks them for me, as I assume he does. How long have you been here? About five years?”
“You know it is so.”
“No, I forgot to ask, so I assumed it would be a good period for you to think back and analyse the way the imam abused your trust in him. Do you know where the imam is?”
“I don’t. I have guessed they have done something to punish him - maybe they handed him over to Feizal.”
“That would not be Cherinian of them. No, you were punished by being sent here, where there are no others with your radical beliefs. I guess you tried to convert a few, but they were not interested? It was meant to help you see that truly religious people tend to be nice people who reject what you grew to believe in. Actually, I am fascinated, how was the imam able to convert a Cherinian into becoming a traitor of his friends and family? Did you never sense anything false in his emoting?”
“Never, when he talked to me, I could sense how deeply he believed what he told me.”
“Ah, that makes sense. Anyway, as I told you, you were punished, but he was not; he was rewarded by being given what he so fervently wanted. He was sent to an Earth where the radicals succeeded, the entire Earth a Caliphate.”
He was shocked. “Why?”
“Well, let’s say that sometimes, what we want is not what we think it is. Shall we visited your imam?”
“I don’t want to see him again.”
“Khalid, I was not asking. Come with us.”
As Vincent took us in the platform, I could sense Allan watching Khalid, wanting to apologise to him, remind him that it was not he that talked to him the way I did, but he wisely decided to keep quiet - which further unsettled Khalid. When we arrived, I told Vincent to stay high in the air, say about one to two hundred metres and fly us from city to city around the world. I know that Khalid enjoyed going to New York and London, so I made certain he sees what is left of the cities as clearly as possible.
“Khalid, yours truly again. Perhaps a brief history lesson would be of help, enabling you to understand what you are seeing? As the radicalised imams kept on telling you, Europe would fall to you through your people out-breeding the locals. That partly was what happened, but pockets of resistance did appear as the French, the British and various other Europeans tried to save their countries, but they were attacked by their own governments, so very few islamist extremists lost their lives. Where your people took over, they soon decided they did not want to keep many of them as slaves and most of the women committed suicide so as to escape the fate your people planned for them. Maybe there was a little Cherine? But you would have killed the local Robert fairly early on and since she was a child, she would have fetched a good price, after her genitals were sliced off and sewn shut. It would not have made much of a difference, as there is no way she could have survived the horrors of what was happening to her people. Their suffering would have killed her. Just think, an entire reality, how many millions of species will never have the opportunity to become Cherinians, just so that the Saudis and the extremists they financed could declare Earth their Caliphate.
At first, the Chinese worked with the Muslims, sharing out the world between them, but once your extremists had succeeded, they saw no reason to keep to their agreement, after all, it is said in your Koran that agreements may be made with infidels and broken, betrayed, if it will help you kill them all. As you will see from our tour, the Chinese were not soft like the Westerners; when they realised your true intentions, they send nuclear bombs to most of the Arab countries, with Saudi Arabia in particular being a target. It was this that destroyed what still survived of Israel.
As you should recall, you planned to take over the world by out-breeding everyone else. Once people are taught to think this way, it is difficult to quickly re-educate them and show them the dangers, for they believe it is their duty to have as many children as possible, for Allah and the Prophet. This resulted in a heavy population explosion; for instance, despite the countless deaths, the population of Europe tripled; North Africa quadrupled and so on. One hundred and twenty years ago, world population, the majority Arab, plus some Northern African and Asian, passed the eight billion, eight hundred million. All nice and cosy eh? Except for one thing. Your people know nothing about agriculture, especially the intensive kind needed for feeding such numbers.
Add to that problem the fact that all the pharmaceutical corporations closed, since they had no qualified staff and no scientists, so diseases spread like fire bombs around the planet, killing off people in the cities by the millions, which further contributed to the breakdown of society and technology. All you had left, soon, were imams and soldiers for killing your own people. Welcome to your dream Khalid. We are now going to Athens, which is where you friend the imam still lives. I assumed that nothing and nobody would harm him, as I wanted to offer you the chance to thank him for showing you the truth.”
I sensed from Allan that Khalid was staring at him with a cold hatred, but he was not cringing. The words I’d spoken through him had also hardened his heart as he felt an almost uncontrollable fury sweep through him. As we arrived at Athens and he saw it below him, most of the buildings destroyed, all Greek churches either razed to the ground or with minarets added to them for them to be converted to mosques, and the Parthenon, the ancient theatre, situated just to the side, all the ancient glory of Greece deliberately and with hatred destroyed, smashed to dust, Allan angrily turned his back to Khalid, not only so that he does not see his hatred, but also so that he does not see his tears. I think Allan forgot that Khalid is still a Cherinian, he is not blocked. What he felt from Allan devastated him, for he has long loved him as a very dear uncle. Seeing Athens, which he had not previously realised he loves, also hurt him.
I spoke. “Your friend the imam, he chose to convert the church on top of Mt Lykavittos to a mosque, so that he remains far apart from the savages roaming the streets of Athens. He does not want to see anything outside his mosque, for he does not want to have to think about what he has done. A few faithful come to him, bringing fruit and food so that he does not starve. Khalid, I think you will be surprised by what he preaches.”
I assume Vincent will disguise all three of them, so that they look like the typical Arabs living in what is left of Athens and they walked up the last sixty metres, to the flat top where the church used to be. They entered the mosque, behaving as any normal Muslim would. They bent over and prayed and then waited for the imam to give his speech. I also assumed that Vincent will block Khalid, paralysing him so that he cannot even call out. I felt it is important he first listens to his imam.
In brief, this is the gist of what he told those gathered to hear him. It is obvious they have heard him speak this way before, for none were angered by him.
‘We presumed and became the worst of what Allah asks of us. We destroyed our world and ourselves and there is not much time left to us, for we too are dying out since Mecca was destroyed by the Chinese bombs. I have asked this of you many times and I ask again. Look for those who were infidels, of other races and religions, and help them hide from our people. Where we find a woman of theirs, young or old, steal them and deliver them to the infidel men, so that they may bear young and thus reduce the sin we committed in the eyes of Allah. It is He who chose to populate this world with a variety of people and he did not demand they all devote themselves to Him through the Prophet Mohammed. Led by men who only wanted glory for themselves and their families, we were taught that we know what the true wishes of Allah are and we destroyed all He created. Use the little time left to us to show Him that we have repented and are doing what we can to heal the damage we caused.’
When all had departed, the imam saw three men remained. He went to them. He gave a start, shocked at seeing Khalid.
“Khalid! How is this? Is it Robert who has brought you to me. Why? What more can I do…?”
Khalid was released. He sat straighter and stared with hatred at the imam. “I was a child! I trusted you and you turned me into a monster.”
The imam did not answer, only slightly bowing his head. Allan spoke, “Khalid, you can never find redemption if you only blame him. You did not act when a child, you were an adult and, on top of that, a Cherinian. When you look at him, see yourself, as if you are looking into a mirror.”
Vincent said, “Allan, when I pretended to be the imam, I also looked into his heart, hoping to find something in him worth saving. I could not, for he had been brainwashed by the imam - it was possible, despite him being a Cherinian, because he trusted the imam with all his heart. The young often give themselves to religions and causes, for experience has not taught them to be cautious, to examine everything to a depth.”
Khalid screamed, “Stop it! I will not have you make excuses for me. I was aware that what I was doing was wrong, but I thought that it is allowed, that it is my duty, for I am serving Allah. I though that I would be sacrificing everything that means something to me; the love of my family, the joy and beauty of being a Cherinian, so as to serve the wishes of Allah. Now,” his finger quivered as he pointed at the imam, “he tells everyone he was wrong, that we acted against the wishes of Allah. Allan, what is left for me? Is there no way I can find peace, rid myself of this life?”
“It is not your life you wish to be rid of Khalid, it is the guilt that tears at you - plus the love of your mother and father and sisters, which still is as strong as ever. Look into yourself and instead of searching for reasons to increase your sense of guilt, look for understanding, accept what wrongs you did and try to find a way to earn for yourself the forgiveness you need. The easiest way to find some forgiveness is by facing Feizal and his family. The most difficult? After you have been forgiven, if you are, then go to those who love you and ask them for forgiveness. Offer them your love again and perhaps, if you sense them accept it with love, you’ll find yourself on the way to a healing. Khalid, I’ll make a suggestion, do as Jesus asked, before you do anything else, forgive the imam for his betrayal of the child you were.”
Allan insisted Vincent wait outside with him and they waited for Khalid to come out. When he did, he did not speak a word, but tears streamed down his cheeks, as if his weeping can never end. Allan put his arms around him. A few minutes later they jumped to the platform. As it rose and they looked at the ancient church, which waited beneath the trappings of an alien belief, the imam came out and looking up saw them. He only stared for a while and then slumped as he walked back into the rooms he uses as his living quarters.
“Shouldn’t we take him back?” Khalid dared ask.
“No, he has found a reason for living here and maybe he will do some good.” He realised it is not Allan talking and did not argue, so I added, “This world will not be abandoned Khalid. The day will come when Robert will return in the past of this reality with many Cherinians to collect those who were being killed, so as to give them a fresh start. Their bodies and minds will have been healed and rid of the poisons fed to them by those who planned to take over the planet. By the way, maybe this will satisfy a sense of justice in all of you. When the globalists locked themselves deep within underground fortresses, in various countries, I assumed that a new kind of bacteria came into existence and it ate away the mechanism that allows them to exit from their hiding places. They will not starve or suffer, but they will live whatever time is left to them without any dreams to sustain them. I did not like their dreams, so I cannot help but see it as being good for them.”
I hope you enjoy reading this story of fantasy, adventure and love - and should some of it be true for our reality, I hope you will love our Cherine.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
14th February, 2020
- posted: 14th February, 2020
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