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THE LATENT SEED
The super massive black hole gripped the Messarian ship with the irresistible attraction of gravity. Gravity---that beneficial universal force that holds galaxies together and has allowed life to evolve on so many worlds, was now about to end the existence of the Messarian. Once passed the event horizon there was no turning back. He had no choice. Balor's hunter frigates were closing fast. But they slowed when realising where his crippled ship was heading.
The Messarian ships' force-field was failing. His own personal protection bubble had almost burst. His telepathic connection with his bio-computer had been temporality severed. All he could do was to wait and cling on to a microscopic straw of salvation. He thought of what was to come and shivered at the thought of suffering spaghettification, where differences in gravity from his feet to his head would stretch him out.
The fate of two converging universes hung in the balance. He needed to stop the impending collision. He now had the necessary information. His bio-computer had an idea.“Admiral Menos, we could save the information on the black hole’s event horizon.”
“Yes, but doing so could cause a temporal warp that’s unpredictable.”
Pain returned. Menos knew he was dying. Hot blood oozed from his head wounds into his eyes almost blinding him.
“Ok—let’s do it.”
Closing his yes, he transferred the data. It only took a milli-second, but the pain was severe.
"Information transfer completed".
He sat back and prepared himself for death. He thought about his wife and children back on Messaria. He saw them playing in his rose garden.
There was a jolt. Menos sensed time was slowing down. Then time began to go backwards. His memories were regressing. Unimportant events flashed by rapidly, but time slowed and stretched out when he recalled important episodes. His childhood flashed by at break-neck speed, but loitered for a short while as he relived his first day at school, when the other children laughed at the boy who wept and wanted his mother. He also remembered the pain of a stumble, when taking his first steps into the arms of a loving mother.
He felt so disorientated he wondered if this retrograding could possibly continue, and where would it end? His thoughts wrapped
around a seemingly absurd but necessary question:
"Is it possible to remember ones’ birth? The experts say no! The human hippocampus is not fully grown at birth."
Slowly, the questions were beginning to fade. The gushing river of once powerful memories slowed to barely a trickle. As if once remembered they left him for ever. Would he just be an empty shell of nothingness?
Whatever his fate may be, time was running out. That is if time actually exists inside a super massive black hole....*
In the shade of some carob trees, stood a tourist party waiting for a guide to show them around the ancient ruins.
Above the incessant chirping of the cicadas, a fourteen-year-old boy listened attentively to the chatter around him. He whispered to Maria:-
“That French lady said a waiter rudely passed wind as he was serving her lunch yesterday.”
Maria's brown eyelashes flickered with disapproval. She voiced her displeasure.
“Christopher. That's not nice. I know you speak many languages but you shouldn’t gossip about other people’s private conversations.”
“Now you sound like your sister Thespina,” he replied with a smirk.
Maria looked shocked. Before she could reply, Uncle Anthony glared at Christopher.
“Didn’t you bring a hat?”
Uncle Anthony shook his head accompanied by the twitching of his big bushy moustache.
“I am sorry, but I can’t let you go out there in this heat without a hat.”
“I have a spare hat in my bag,” Maria said. She added:
“I noticed Christopher wasn't wearing one so I brought another just in case.”
She fished out a floppy wide-brimmed hat and gave it to her step cousin.
“I can't wear this,' he grumbled.
“It’s a ladies' hat.”
“Put that on or we'll go home right now.” Anthony ordered.
“And say thanks to Maria.”
He reluctantly put the hat on, and thanked Maria.
The last member of Anthony's group was his son Stephen. A quiet, young man, studying law in Athens.
This was Christopher Alexander's first holiday in Crete. Born in London, he had been waiting for what seemed ages for this visit.
Crete was the island home of his parents, so he had grown up learning Greek as well as English. But he was so good with languages this was not a problem.
In fact he had become so multi-lingual his teachers were utterly astonished. Yet his latest school report described his behaviour as being 'a bit childish at times and a bit of a prankster with a lot of growing up to do'.
Moments later the tourist guide finally appeared.
A thick black bushy beard surrounded a sullen face. He wore a sizeable straw hat and possessed large melancholic eyes. He gestured for the tourist party to follow him.
As they walked, the guide launched into his laconic daily lecture:
“The Minoan civilisation flourished from approximately 2700 to 1450BC .It fell into decline after the volcanic island of Thera exploded producing a massive tsunami which devastated much of the Aegean. Although many sources have stated that an invasion from the Sea Peoples forced the Minoans into the mountains. The term Minoan was coined by Sir Arthur Evans after the mythical king Minoas....”
The guide had nothing new to say that would educate Christopher. So he climbed higher.
“Christopher, where are you going.” It was his cousin Stephen. He came up from lower down.
“My dad’s not happy; you should stay with the group.”
“I am okay. I am just going a bit higher. I will be back down in minute or two.”
“Ok---but you shouldn’t stay. I will go back and tell my dad. Don’t be long.”
After Stephen left him, Christopher climbed higher still. But without warning his legs began to feel heavy and cumbersome. From high up he studied the whole vista below him. He tried to image what Knossos would have looked like all those years ago.
In his mind with eyes closed, he could see the rectangular central courtyard. The four wings suddenly shot upwards, into four and in places, five storeys. Columns and pillars supported each storey as the whole wing rose higher. He heard sounds of fountains splashing and carts moving led by donkeys and some others drawn by oxen. From the artisan workshops, he heard all sorts of sounds merging into a cacophony of activity. From another source he caught the sound of little children chasing squawking chickens. The mental picture took the young boy’s breath away. But this inner image began to whirl. An intense dizziness overcame him. He had to open his eyes to avoid losing consciousness. What he saw caused his heart to skip a beat. He rubbed his eyes in horror. What he saw for real was what he had just witnessed in his mind’s eye, down to the smallest detail.
Christopher heard movement behind him. Steeling himself, he swung around. A man walked past him without noticing him. He wore a loin cloth and peacock feathers decorated his hair. Both his upper arms were adorned by bronze rings. Three women, carrying baskets, walked behind the man in single file. They were dressed flimsily with their bosoms bared. Christopher knew this man was important, probably one of the upper classes. He didn't know who the women were, but they ignored him too.
“Maybe I am invisible,” he speculated.
Then he noticed he was only wearing a loincloth and simple sandals. That discovery worried him. It could mean he might not be invisible for long.
Despite the heat and the strangeness of his situation, his curiosity got the better of him.
He turned his attention to the busy courtyard below. He began the slow descent down to ground level. At the bottom he felt so weary he needed to stop and sit. He chose a sheltered spot and sat down beneath a carob tree.
“I cannot believe any of this,” he said under his breath. For a while he sat and watched people going about their daily lives. He overheard their chatter and surprisingly he found he could understand their language! He had no idea how he could possibly do that. He was proficient at languages, but this was a different matter entirely.
Close by and walking towards him the man with peacock feathers adorning his hair spotted a young boy who had put down two large stone pots, brimming with ripened figs, to chat to a very attractive young girl. The man issued an order to the boy:
“Stop that chatter and take those pots to the West Magazine.”
The man glared in Christopher's direction. The boy’s blood turned to ice. He was no longer invisible, for the man spoke directly to him.
“Stop idling boy. Have you no work to do on this great occasion?”
“What great occasion?” the twelve year old thought.
He knew he had to think quickly. He had to take a chance.
“Of course I have work to do on this great day when the Great Goddess is reborn.”
“Then go to it boy!”
Christopher rose unsteadily to his feet, and made his way to the north of the courtyard trying to look busy, which he found pretty hard considering his fatigue. The midday sun now blazed overhead causing him to feel dizzy.
He now wished he had Maria's spare hat, even though it would look strange in this new setting. He almost collided with two men who were dressed differently from the rest and were talking in Egyptian. At least he thought it was Egyptian. Some of the words he did not understand.
Then a gate opened on his right and a phalanx of carts pulled by oxen came through; he had to scamper away to avoid being trampled. He weaved a path through a gathering crowd. Then the snorting of a bull caught his attention. It took six men using very thick ropes to secure the beast as it was pulled and pushed towards another open gate to his left. Normally he would have been spellbound by the notion of watching the bull jumping that the Minoans were famous for. Now he no longer cared. This whole episode was getting on top of him. He only wanted to get back to his own time and back to his family and friends. Tears began to well up in his eyes.
Without thinking he entered through one of four large doors to his left. He entered a corridor which led to another open doorway. He went further along and unexpectedly he found he was in the Throne Room. It was cooler in there. Under a low ceiling and to his right was a throne made of alabaster. From his studies, he had learnt that this throne was either used by the King or by the high priestess on special religious days, like today. A magnetic-like force pulled him to the throne. He had to try it out. Why? He did not know! He had to try it out. So he crept towards it and slumped down upon it and blew out a long exhalation. As he sat there staring at the frescoed walls, his weariness became too strong to fight. He fell asleep and had a nightmare.
He is at home in bed but cannot sleep. Intimidating spectres linger in the shadows and wait for the darkness to come. So alone within the crushing blackness, he must find a safe haven within his imagination to keep the smoke beings away.
He is certain that the smoke will thicken and the creatures will form into grotesque shapes, and kidnap his soul and pull his very being down into the unfathomable abyss. He prefers to sleep with the light on but is told he is a big boy now and should leave childish preferences behind.
He holds his breath, for the devils of the night can hear the breathing of little children.
So he seeks sanctuary and finally he finds it. He is flying through the green clouds and over golden spires to the Blue Ice Mountains, where the waters of the Celestial Spirit flow, and there he can breathe again and feel protected....
Slowly Christopher came out of his deep sleep. He feels lost. Where was he?
Then a noise he could not identify murmured like running water through his head. He concentrated upon that noise. The noise had cadence. It was language. Someone far away was calling.
“Christopher, wake up!” He thought he heard Maria pleading from a long way off.
“Christopher please wake up!"
This time she sounded nearer.
“Where am I? Maria? Is that you?” he croaked.
Marias cloudy face focussed slowly into substance. He saw her frowning. He wondered why? He gazed tiredly around him. A crowd of people had gathered within the Throne Room, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere.
“Oh, I see. I am in the Throne Room. Should I be sitting here on this throne? Well I know this is not the real throne. But I was sitting on the real throne. Yes! just now, before I fell asleep. You know what I feel that I have been here before. It seemed so very real to me. You know what and don’t laugh, I think I can speak their language.”
He then saw Anthony and Stephen frowning and then looking at each other and shrugging their shoulders.
“What language is this?” asked Anthony. Stephen scratched his head and said:
“I noticed a couple of ancient Greek words mixed up with some other words that made no sense.”
“Please Christopher, speak English or Greek or even Spanish”, begged Maria." Anything but this weird jumbled up garbage."
He noticed the tour guide was there and others from the tourist party.
Amongst the whispers of concern, one of them spoke up:
“Must have been the hot sun!” he heard an American male voice say.
“He did not look well earlier,” uttered an Australian female voice.
“I am a nurse,” put in another woman with a Spanish accent. She came forward.
“He looks dehydrated and suffering from heatstroke. We have to get his temperature down. I saw a cold drinks machine near the West Gate entrance.”
“I will go”, volunteered the owner of the American male voice.
Christopher then noticed the tour guide was looking at him with an intense stare. His jaw was hanging loose and his eyes bulged with utter bewilderment.
The man who owned the American voice returned with a cold can of a fizzy orange drink. He offered it to the boy.
“I could murder a coke, but this will do.”
Finally he was speaking English once more. Maria beamed a wonderful smile at him.
Anthony sighed with relief and Stephen declared:
“At last, he is back with the living!”
“You had us worried just then.”
“What happened to you?” asked Maria.
“I don’t know. I can’t remember. I must have been dreaming.”
Anthony butted in saying softly, but with authority:
“We must go soon, that is as long as you feel fit to move.”
Gathering himself, he pleaded:
“But Uncle, there is so much more to see!”
But Anthony would not give in. He wiped sweat from his forehead, and said decisively:
“You are my responsibility. Heat stroke is a very dangerous condition. That's why I insisted you wear a hat. Where is it? Where is the hat Maria gave you?”
“I don't know Uncle. I was wearing it.”
“Were you now? I doubt it. Anyway I will ask doctor Andreas to come and check you over when we get home.”
Maria came closer.
“Never mind Christopher, would you like to see my sketches?”
“I would love to.” He answered with enthusiasm.
“Did you sketch the bull leaping fresco?”
“Of course,” she smiled.
Ten minutes later the nurse agreed that Christopher was now ready to get to his feet. He slowly walked out of the Throne Room supported on each side by his cousin Stephen and Anthony. When they arrived home, Doctor Andreas was there waiting.
“Heat stroke can cause hallucinations,” declared the doctor after he had removed the thermometer from Christopher’s mouth.
“Audible and visual,” he added.
“I thought so,” said Anthony, nodding thoughtfully.
The doctor studied the thermometer for a second. His grave face gave way to a smile.
“It is continuing to come down. It’s only slightly above normal. You did the right thing by giving him cold drinks. I recommend he rests and stays out of the sun for a couple of days.”
Christopher was tempted to argue that he did not need to rest, and by the way he was on holiday.
“We are going to take him up into the mountains for a few days. Take him away from this stifling heat.”
“Good idea. I would not mind a few days in the mountains myself, but people have a tendency to fall ill at this time of the year, and this kind of heat can double the death rate.”
Once the doctor and Anthony had left the room, Maria entered with her sketchbook. Christopher was delighted. She showed him the sketches she had made. As he viewed them one at a time, he glanced back to her and noticed her radiant eyes staring into his eyes and searching for approval. “They are fantastic, “he enthused,” you are a very talented artist.” He paused. “And sorry---you know--- about this morning and the hat.“
Maria kissed him on the cheek. Christopher felt himself blushing.
Late that evening a surprise visitor arrived at Anthony’s house. The bearded tour guide joined Anthony and Stephen on the patio. The hot night was bearable for a cool breeze blew from the sea a short distance away to the north. A sweet jasmine aroma, taken by the breeze filled the garden air with its cool fragrance. The tour guide was offered refreshment. He gladly accepted. He sipped some cool lemonade before introducing himself.
“I am Professor Leonides. I teach at Athens University. I work as a tour guide at Knossos in the summer to gain extra funds for my research.”
“What research is that?”
Professor Leonides shuffled uncomfortably in his seat. He asked dryly:
“Let me first ask how the boy is?”
Anthony sat back and folded his arms across his chest.
“He is asleep now. The doctor has been treating his heatstroke. Christopher was extremely exhausted by today’s activities.”
“Well I am pleased to learn he is recovering. I was hoping to speak to the boy.”
Anthony frowned heavily.
“You have not answered my question. What research are you working on?”
“Why to find out what language the Minoans spoke. I have made it my life’s work.”
“Come, come, man...no one makes that his life's work!”
The Professor leaned forward in his chair. He asked:
“You heard the language the boy was speaking today in the Throne Room?”
“That was no proper language. It made no sense. The boy had been hallucinating. The doctor’s report confirms that.”
“That was no gibberish. Some of it was in an ancient dialect of the Minoan language. But there were some words I recognised from a piece written on papyrus that I acquired a few years back. It is a completely unknown language. And it has no connection to any other language of antiquity.”
The professor paused to sip some lemonade.
“Or any modern language either. Have you heard of the name Asterion?”
“Wasn't he an ancient king of Crete?”
The Professor turned to Stephen.
“Yes he was”.
He turned his attention back to Anthony:
“I am certain that your nephew spoke that language this morning.”
Anthony sat forward.
“What are you suggesting?”
“Do you believe in reincarnation?”
“No, I do not.” answered Anthony emphatically.
“That is a pity. Some people can remember their past lives especially under hypnosis.”
“Are you suggesting that my nephew was this Asterion in a former life?”
“That is very likely!”
“So you want to hypnotise my nephew so that he could translate these writings for you?”
“I was right before when I said no one makes such a trivial thing his life’s work. There is more Yes?”
The professor’s eyes widened wildly. He took a deep breath.
“I believe that this Asterion was not from this world!”
Anthony arose from his seat. His face was flushed.
“You are mad. You wish to make my nephew the star in some freak show. He is a very nervous child and I have already told you he was hallucinating due to heatstroke. He has a strong interest in ancient Crete and is brilliant at languages. There is no mystery here. I suggest you leave now.”
The bearded academic did not budge.
“The knowledge your nephew possesses should not be kept a secret. That would be criminal. The world should know. This could be the most important archaeological discovery of all time. It would show conclusively that there is intelligent life outside of our world and that an alien or aliens have visited this planet in the past.”
The Professor inhaled deeply again.
“You want me to go. I will go but I tell you this, I have friends in high places.”
“Are you threatening me?”
He reached inside his pocket and pulled out a leather wallet. He flipped it open. Inside was a silver metallic badge, with a large, bold and authoritative metallic inscription.
“Read what that says!” He demanded.
He handed the wallet to the Professor.
“I see. You are a police officer!”
“You should have done some proper research before you came here. Now, if I catch you within spitting distance of my nephew again I will have you arrested for paedophilia. Is that clear?”
The shocked bearded man rose to his feet. He said meekly:
The professor walked slowly to the front door. Stephen got there first and opened the door and the professor, with eyes down crept back out into the night.
“What a crazy guy,” exclaimed Stephen.
“But you were a bit hard on him. He is obviously mentally ill.”
“He could well come back for he is a man with a singular obsession”, judged Anthony.
“Such men are dangerous.”
As they strolled back to the patio, Anthony put an arm over his son’s shoulders.
“We must take great care to protect Christopher”.
After a moment’s thought, he added:
“And Maria too.”
“Maria?” questioned Stephen.
“A flame has been ignited between them. A flame that is more than just friendship”.
“Well you can rely on me”, declared Stephen.
Anthony winked at his son and said:
“I know I can Stephen I know I can.”