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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 named Menos. Once past 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's telepathic connection to his bio-computer failed. He felt naked and vulnerable without it.
Total annihilation was looming!
All the Messarian 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. So he concentrated his thoughts on his home world, the holy planet of Messaria. Home to where the river of the Celestial Spirit flowed freely from the Blue Ice mountains, to bless all members of his race. In his imagination, he flew over green clouds and golden spires, and finally his home city came into view.
His day dreaming was interrupted by warning alarms as Quantum fluctuations were buffeting his ship. Yet his spacecraft was surviving beyond his best expectations. Suddenly it all went dark. Then he sensed that time was moving backwards. Unimportant events in his life 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. Still he regressed to a remembered pain of a stumble, when he took his first ever steps towards a mother who smiled with pride and love.
Then the gushing river of once powerful memories slowed to barely a trickle. Could this retrograding 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."
All he could do now was to wait and see and accept whatever fate had in store for him. Whatever his fate may be, time was running out. That is if time actually existed inside a super
massive black hole....
Three Thousand Years Later
In the shade of some carob trees, stood a tourist party waiting for a guide to show them around the ancient ruins at Knossos. Above the incessant chirping of the cicadas, a twelve-year-old boy listened with ears pricked to the chatter around him. He whispered to his step cousin Maria.
"That French lady said a waiter rudely passed wind as he was serving her lunch yesterday."
“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. His drooping moustache twitched one way then the other.
"Too busy reading your Marvel comic books eh! But I'm sorry, I can’t let you go out there in this heat without a hat. Heat stroke can be very debilitating and can even be fatal."
“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.” Uncle Anthony ordered.
“And say thanks to Maria.” With reluctance the boy put the hat on, and muttered a thank you to Maria.
"What's wrong with Marvel comic books, anyway", he grumbled to himself.
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 that 'he was a bit of a mischievous 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. 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. But his legs began to feel heavy and cumbersome. From high up he studied the whole vista below him. He stretched his head forward to peer down over a wall, but the speed of that movement gave the hat momentum, and he saw it spiraling downwards.
"Oh--Shit!" he cried. Then put a hand over his mouth in surprise.
"Oh--never mind", he mumbled to himself. " A lady's hat! Whatever next?"
Turning his attention back to his view of the whole scene. 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 the feeling that if he did not open his eyes he would pass out. 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.
“If this is a dream, then I might as well investigate until I wake up.”
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.
For a while he sat and watched people going about their daily lives. He overheard their chatter and with surprise he found he could understand their language! He had no idea how he could possibly do that.
He was clever at languages, but this was a different matter entirely. It only added more weight to this being but a reverie.
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's piercing eyes then focussed directly at Christopher.
The boy’s blood turned to ice. He was no longer invisible.
The man spoke, "stop idling boy. Have you no work to do on this great occasion?”
Christopher was confused. He thought, “What great occasion?”
The twelve year old 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 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 once again.
He now wished he had Maria's spare hat, even though it would look strange in this new setting. He stumbled along and almost collided with two men who were chattering in Egyptian. At least he thought it was Egyptian. For the first time in this dream he heard words he did not understand. Why would he dream that? Perhaps....surely not? Going back in time would involve at least one paradox that he had read about.
Then a gate opened to 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, this time to his left. Normally he would have been spellbound by the chance to watch 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 found himself 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! 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.
When he awoke he felt much recovered. His eyes surveyed the much darker throne room. But his clothes had changed. He noticed he was wearing a long pleated dress made of linen with gold threads stitched meticulously through all the seams and here and there were silver and gold trimmings. He blew out a breath of bewilderment. Then he heard screams and terrible shouts coming from outside.
He ran out the way he had come in. A large setting sun filled the sky. It loomed like a blood-red orange and seemed to hover with its lower arc tangent to the land beneath. The sight unnerved him instantly. Many of the people that had gathered to celebrate the new moon festival now ran past him screaming. Upturned tables and uneaten food were scattered all around. Startled animals were adding to the cacophony. Some of the lucky victims were running away unscathed. Others had terrible wounds to their heads and some to their bodies. They ran past Christopher crying out in shock and awful pain. The noise was loud and frightening. The word mayhem did not fully describe what he was seeing and hearing. He could not think of any words to describe this horror. Then he saw the attackers. Some of them had animal heads placed on top of their human ones, chosen purposely to terrify their victims into submission and flight. And it was working.
The awful and unmistakable crackling sound of fire added to the turmoil. People ran past him covered in flames. A wind got up and the smell of burning flesh invaded his nostrils. He was so horrified and sick, he bent over and vomited. When he stood up straight again, his tongue still tasted of that vile vomit. Aghast at what he saw, he wondered if there was anything he could do to help. It was a silly idea. What could a twelve-year-old boy do? But this might not be real. Could all this be a dream like before?
"No! I could never have dreamed up such a nightmare. This is real. So why I am here to view such hideous brutality?"
So far he had been too paralysed to care about his own safety. Moments later, that changed. He could smell the smoke thickening. Someone, out of the gloom ran straight towards him. It was the Master of the West Magazine. The Master held a javelin and hurled it just over Christopher’s head. The boy swung around to see an axe carrying invader fall only a foot from him. The javelin had passed straight through the savage. The Master shouted.
"You must defend yourself or you will die”.
This surprise attack had left many of the Minoan army out in the cold. But at last some of them were fighting back. Some of the bulls were let loose and with snorting breath they trampled and impaled a few of the invaders. Close to him, Christopher saw a Minoan fall. He picked up the dead man’s shield as another sword-wielding savage came at him. Although the shield was heavy he managed to parry the sword off its intended course. His head. But the shuddering blow caused him to drop the shield. The toothless savage leered with contempt at him and spat in his face. These people enjoy killing. His foe raised his sword. The boy felt his bowels loosening. “No!" He told himself. "I will not die like that.”
He closed his eyes, waiting for the end. It did not come. When he opened his eyes again a regally dressed man stood over the dead savage. He wore a long blue gown with a sparkling diamond hanging around his neck. His sword was dripping with blood. By the way this man was dressed, the regal way he carried himself, and the way his eyes sparkled with intense intelligence, the boy instantly knew that this man had to be king Asterion. But King Asterion surprised him. For his stare was one of recognition.
A group of well-armed Minoan men quickly surrounded their angry king.
“Why was there no warning?” he questioned, his furious eyes darting to each man in turn. He didn't wait for an answer. "What were the look outs doing?”
One brave man spoke up.
“Some of them were enjoying the festivities.”
Asterion remained calm and thoughtful. He recognised a voice from behind. His second in command, Raish had arrived.
"Shall we execute the men who had left their posts?" He asked his king.
"No Raish, we are going to need every man who can fight."
He added, “I also want more men to guard the palace.”
Another Minoan appeared, he stumbled towards the kings' group. He was holding his blooded right leg.
"Three more ships have landed,” he managed to report, “each one is full with more of these barbarians.”
"Raish," Asterion ordered, "take the women and children and those who cannot defend themselves into the Labyrinth. Take them into the tunnel that leads into the mountains. You know which one. They will be safe there.”
Raish nodded, and pointed at some armed newcomers. "You, you and you", he demanded, "come with me."
Then for the first time, Asterion spoke to Christopher.
“I want you to go back into the throne room. You must go back to your own time. I need you to forget you ever came here.”
“How do I do that?”
“You must try. You must find a way.”
By now the twelve-year old was feeling weak again. He could only stumble back slowly. Eventually, he sat back onto the throne. Before him a mist swirled. Then a figure began to materialise. It was a bull-headed man from. His fiery crimson eyes studied the boy with menace. He spoke in a booming voice that came from nowhere and everywhere.
“I am glad you came”, the booming voice bellowed. Then in a softer and more thoughtful tone, the bull-headed man said.
“I sense part of you wanted to come, didn't it?"
By default, Christopher wanted to cower in awe of such a monster. But he surprised himself by holding his head up.
“I don’t know what you mean?” He said.
“No-- you probably don’t."
Another voice came from behind the bull-headed man.
“ Zaius! The boy does not know! Kill this boy and you will never ever get to go home."
Christopher recognised Asterion’s voice.
“Zaius! Why did you bring him here?”
The bull-headed man, Zaius, turned to face Asterion.
“You know why Messarian, son of Menos! But I didn't bring him here. I do not have the ability. But I detect the Celestial Spirit is strong within him. He could have gone back earlier."
Asterion quickly put himself between the boy and Zaius.
"He has my protection. You have wasted your time coming here. I should have guessed that someone like you would be leading these savages.”
The bull-headed man snorted.
"We are not savages. We are a well-trained army. We have done wonderful things. Great Empires are falling because of us.”
Asterion looked angry.
"Members of a professional well-trained army do not attack and kill women and children." He insisted. ”You are bringing a dark age to this planet.”
“Well that may be." Zaius admitted. " If you love this planet so much you can always rebuild it. If of course, you allow me to leave this world and return home to my universe .”
"You know I cannot do that. The war with Balor continues."
"Ah--yes. And Balor is winning. Eventually ,you Messarians, will lose. Then I will be free to go home." His red eyes widened. "But why wait. Lets end it now"
He lifted his sword. "Defend yourself Messarian."
The blow was quick and powerful.
Adroitly, and with speed, King Asterion stepped aside and avoided the blow. He took hold of the invader and forced his sword away from him, and the two of them wrestled each other to the ground. Such was the power released, the whole palace shook. A huge spinning blinding light formed over and around the two as they battled for supremacy. The palace shook as if rocked by an earthquake. A pillar holding up part of the ceiling collapsed and just missed Christopher. The ceiling itself could come down at any second and crush him. He had to get back to his own time. He remembered what he did when he had awoken from nightmares before.
He held his breath, closed his eyes and sought sanctuary and finally he found it. He was flying through green clouds and over golden spires to the Blue Ice Mountains and there he was able to breathe again and feel protected. As the whole room spun faster and faster,
Christopher felt himself floating away from reality. A reality he had to forget.
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.
Maria's cloudy face focussed slowly into substance. He saw her frowning. He wondered why? He surveyed the Throne Room, and recognised many of the tourist party gathered around him. In a dry and croaking voice he focussed on Maria.
“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 Uncle Anthony and Stephen 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.”
Maria pleaded again.
“Please Christopher, speak English or Greek."
Christopher could now see and hear more clearly. He heard whispers of concern from others in the room. 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 have to 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.
“We must go soon, that is as long as you feel fit to move.”
Gathering himself, Christopher pleaded.
“But Uncle, there is so much more to see!”
But Anthony would not give in. He wiped sweat from his forehead.
“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 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 Christophers mouth.
“Audible and visual” he continued.
“I thought so”, agreed Anthony, with a thoughtful nod of his head.
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. He was surprised when Anthony
said, “we are going to take him up into the mountains for a few days. Take him away from this stifling heat.”
“Good idea, "said the doctor, "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. For the first time he found himself happy to be in the company of a girl. He knew some of her history. Maria's father and uncle Anthony had been best friends. When Maria's parents were killed in a car crash Anthony and his wife adopted her and brought her up as one of their own. Now as she sat next to him Christopher tried hard not to stare at her. But the nearness of her body was intoxicating. Like a siren her whole being was calling to him. Christopher felt confused. He did not understand these new feelings he was having. He had to put them aside which wasn't easy as 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 begged for approval. “They are fantastic, “he enthused,” you're a very talented artist.” Maria smiled and then she kissed him on the cheek. Christopher felt himself blushing. He felt guilty as well.
He stammered. “I am sorry---you know--- about this morning and the hat.“
"that's ok" She replied.
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. Stephen put the drinking glass on a small table after removing a Marvel comic book first. The newcomer 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?” Asked Anthony.
Professor Leonides shuffled with discomfort 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. “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 believe that we had former lives nor that we might live again in this world. “
"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?”
“Perhaps or someone close to the king."
“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. He took a deep breath. Once more he shuffled in his seat.
‘I believe that this Asterion was not from this world!”
Anthony looked furious.
“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 professor rose to his feet. He answered.
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.
He paused for a moment then he stressed.
“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.”