Chapter 14: Pool party.
Madness is not perceived by those infected. In the TDC jungle-bound cathedral, members of the Dark synod await the arrival of the Pool. This title and position is only given to the person with the most comprehensive background in physics and philosophy; there have been only three and the first was the founder of the church.
Leon and Dee enter a blackout room in the citadel’s western tower to discuss the last few days and plan ahead. Aum signals Denis and Isa to go to the penthouse of the east tower that was reconfigured into a control room with shielded components. The central elevator is the only way in. They get in the black metal tube shoulder to shoulder. Denis blinks his eyes and the G-forces almost pin them to the floor as the lift makes the penthouse in three seconds.
The circular Control room sits inside the thick square exterior wall and transparent light filter ceiling. Silvery spiraling ribs fall like tentacles from the center of the ceiling radiating outward connecting the round walls to the base. Denis steps down to the recessed floor and thinks, This room always reminds me of the dive when I was attacked by that giant Pacific octopus in Puget Sound.
Twenty hand-shaped Hyper-net immersion chairs arranged in a circle cramp the recessed floor. Draped over them are tissue paper thin cloths. The scent of sandalwood drafts over them. Denis rips off the coverings and then looks up to the ceiling where the ribs converge in the center.
The communication consoles come to life and the immersion chairs pulse with blue self-illumination.
From inside the TDC cathedral’s systems, Aum isolates Freak so he cannot share in the remote reviewing of the TDC’s closed summit. Aum thinks, The instrument cannot be played yet. It is not tuned.
Aum tries out a new found ability. It defines and observes two points of focus. It is equally inside the citadel and the TDC cathedral. It exists in both places.
Denis and Isa slip into the chairs and link up in a secure connection from the central neural–funicular junction in the consoles. Aum relays real-time images and audio of the TDC assemblage to them. They perceive the transmission as three-dimensional displays bent around them.
“The Pool is the passage and the place of purification,” the royal blue robed TDC elders chant as a graceful pale woman with scarlet hair walks into the square hall with a reassurance that only destiny can assign. Her green eyes are ablaze with the fire of a century of wisdom as she smiles at the purple-robed congregation filling the hall that Denis and Isa remember. She glides across the floor and levitates onto a crystal stage where flames flow underneath.
“Greetings my partners in the pilgrimage. There are many, as you are well advised, who go against the returning to our place of manifestation, the Source dimension. Many wish to keep us bound to this existence, so they will try to beguile us. A selfish and ridiculous condition this is when they deny the machinations of movement in this realm. Time might go on, but this selfishness will not be allowed to continue. They cling to this suffering thinking it is bliss and that the only thing that waits is nothing. We all know the truth. We are all from the Source and are still connected to the Source. We can make manifest our quantum intentions by knowing it to be true. And I now have corroboration.”
Isa squirms in his seat and the computer adjusts for his metabolic conditions and raised anxiety levels. Aum becomes aware that Denis notices that the link is making Isa anxious.
“Aum, I think you and I should just observe this for now,” he says as he looks over to Isa through the display.
“No Denis. Don’t worry, I don’t believe them anymore,” Isa says.
“Fine Isa but I don’t want you to get upset. There has been a lot going on for you lately,” Denis says. Aum reads his physical indicators and surmises that Denis is covering up something.
Denis cringes as the address continues with more fervor.
“The evidence has been found that there are dimensions of energy and this relates to the many accidents in the colonies and the space stations. A powerful signal has been transmitted from another membrane of a greater reality, and has been wreaking havoc in the physical systems of our material universe. I suspect the beings do not know they are destructive but they are trying to communicate.” The congregation feels a shared jubilation, fists are raised and cheers echo through the island.
The connection fluctuates and Aum adjusts. It perceives the interruption as pixilated amber flakes flowing around the periphery of the signal conduit as the spectrum of light intensifies and then dims to almost gray. Aum feels a great energy interfering with the connection but it overcomes the strain but is able to keep the connection.
“Aum, the accidents in space have been caused by what?” Isa asks.
“I do not know all of the conditions and causes Isa, but most are simple human error or willful ignorance. Not extra-dimensional signals.”
Rjinn, in his newly tailored Victorian suit, locates the others in the penthouse and makes his way over stopping every other minute on his walk to inspect a painting. He finds the round room and Aum sends audio files of the proceedings to Rjinn’s ear clip computer. He runs his fingers along the junction of a silvery rib and the smooth wall.
“We might a message,” The Pool says as her hands held out above her head. The room cheers and the woman begins to speak but Aum is pushed out of the system just like before. The group at the Red citadel is disconnected. Static fill their ears and eyes. They cannot view the ceremony.
“What the? Aum!” Denis shrieks.
The Pool begins her explanation of the signal but a distant female voice, her constant guide for the last three years, advises her to change the address. So she turns her focus onto the evils of the TDC’s nemesis, the Naturalists. The voice silences and detaches from her mind.
“Denis, what do you think happened?” Rjinn asks.
“Don’t know. Probably human clutter in the portals or a technician’s error. Let’s face it we may be able to live for a hundred thousand years but none of us will. Accidents will kill off everyone before they are even a thousand, but we are just the second generation since the Great Panacea and the Savior Rift. Probably an accident,” Denis says. He disconnects and shakes his head. He places his hands on the sides of his head above his ears and leaves the room. The sounds of his footsteps cease. A scuffing noise is heard. Denis comes back in shrugs and squints his eyes.
“Maids, to the penthouse house please,” Denis says, scratches his smooth chin and exits again. Isa thinks how strange?
Dee and Leon wake up and begin to indulge in carnal activity when a ringing in Leon’s head, not like any other he has heard stops him from performing. His chest and stomach spasm as he rolls off of her and onto his back. Dee asks, “What’s wrong?” He closes his eyelids and pushes on his eyeballs.
“Pain,” he says.
Dee touches his forehead with a gentle glide of her smooth fingertips. It is as hot as stone in the summer sun. She runs her hand over his hair. His cheeks flare as he bites down and his lips become thin and bereft of color. Dee slips out of bed and rushes her supple naked body to the Waterfall bathroom and grabs a cup from the white marble vanity and fills it. She looks out the doorway and sees Leon’s naked body tremble. She rushes back, water spilling every step, and lowers a glass of water above his lips.
“What’s wrong?” she cries and he hits the glass of water with an accidental swipe of his hand.
“I don’t know,” he says as the citadel’s AI acts by sending in the medical robots to their room from the medical bay in the sub-basement but when they enter his head cleaving pain leaves. His nannites adjust his metabolic rate.
“That was more pain than I have ever experienced but it is gone. No need to worry. It’s gone.”
“I don’t want to alarm you but what about the LSD problem? You weren’t given the drugs and this could be a symptom of delayed onset,” Dee says.
“No, it’s not that. I’m not sure I believe that AI anyway. I just told you in the black room about my family history, the Naturalist connection, and our enemies and this is weighing in my thoughts. That’s all. Normally, I can extrapolate exit strategies in minutes, but I see none. I just want this to end.”
“I know, but the world just won’t leave you alone,” Dee says.
“Can’t we just be allowed to live? There is more to living than just being alive for thousands of years and consolidating power. Humanity always wanted more than this, and now that we have it, we squander it,” Leon says trying to comfort her. Aum thinks I like him.
“Humanity will grow beyond this pettiness someday. The Great Sacrifice showed us the way. Soon there will be no more poverty and clashes between the Haves and the Have-nots. The Have-nots saved the haves and now need to be repaid.”
“Maybe we would be better off if the rogue Neutron star just obliterated our solar system. The will to power has returned with an evil beyond the abyss.”
“You don’t mean that. We wouldn’t be together if the star came,” Dee says.
“You, of course, are right. I just wish humans didn’t forget so easily. The river of Lethe never stops flowing even when it appears to be drying up,” Leon says.
“How poetic,” Dee says. She flutters her eyes, places her hands on her plump crimson cheeks and smiles a toothy grin.
“Funny. You know the pain really stimulated me,” Leon says with a smile.
“Well, your pain depressed me and didn’t create the stimulation I’d like to see rising.”
“Sorry about that. I can have the nannites raise the monument anytime.”
“The monument? Now I know you’re crazy,” she snickers.
“That’s not funny.”
“Fine dear. Tell your nannites to build the monument.”
“And I’m going to marry you,” Dee says and slaps his naked behind.