Lords of Being
Chapter 35: Walkabout II
We’re heading to Raco Michigan, to the airbase we just now bought a couple of years ago. Glass has been hacking computer records for fun and profit. With the immediate crisis over, Mona takes Ragnison, Zabeth and Lady Diamond back to Ragnison’s house to continue the work of setting up additional teams of Elemental Knights and Courtiers to deal with the anomalies.
We arrive in the early hours of the morning. The land around the airport if fairly flat with a lot of pine trees. The airfield has been abandoned for a while. There are weeds growing through the cracks of the runways, but nothing that will cause us any problems. Captain Barron lands the plane in his usual, competent manner.
The plane pulls up to the deserted hangers. While Captain Barron completes the post-flight checks, the Courtiers and Knights deplane to look around. Neon suggests that the airport could use some lights. Hellgrammite examines the hangers and other buildings on the site. He finds them locked, but that isn’t a problem for long. The buildings are all pretty much empty.
Mabel takes Roper and Hookie out for a walk in the surrounding forest. Rosamund joins her. The dogs love it here. The forest is of full of new and interesting smells, and fun things to chase. Despite the distractions, they never stray too far from Mabel, and always return when called.
After he’s completed the post-flight checklist, Barron and Neville retire to their cabins. Neville falls asleep quickly and finds himself dreaming. The dream starts with him lying in a hammock that extends and turns into the dish of the Aricebo radio-telescope. He’s been here in his dreams before. Once more shattered spheres are floating down out of the sky towards him. The spheres seem to be glass. The sections are about the same size, and fade away as they come towards him. This time there’s a man carved out of opal staring up at the sky with him. The opal man has an impatient expression on his face. Neville calls, “Hello.” The opal man glances at Neville, nods, and returns to looking at the falling spheres. Neville asks, “Are you waiting for a particular one?” The opal man glances at Neville again, shakes his head, and goes back to staring at the sky. They watch the spheres silently drifting downward for a bit. Then the opal man stands, puts his hands on his hips, and suddenly the scene changes to a dark city street lit only by occasional street lamps. Neville watches the opal man walk down the street, and then clamber up a light pole. When he reaches the top, he pulls a book out of the lamp, and then slides to the ground. Stepping away from the pole, the opal man thumbs through the book. Apparently finding what he was looking for, he slams the book shut and runs out into the dark, leaving the book on the ground. Neville looks at the book. Its title is Larousse World Mythology. Neville wakes up.
Neville exits his cabin and finds that Glass is still on the plane. “Simon, can you call the others? I had another one of those dreams.”
Simon pulls out his phone and calls everyone to come back to the plane. When everybody is gathered, Neville recounts the dream and finishes with the question “Is my passenger still here?”
The Courtiers and Knights who just take a glance see that Asiras is missing. Rosamund looks more closely and sees that Asiras has left a little bit of himself behind. She reports this to the group.
Glass asks, “Most of him is gone?”
“He’s left a tracer, of a sort. But he’s hiding somehow. Or there’s just a little bit.”
Glass considers, and then pulls out his specs, puts them on, and retrocogs. He rewinds to when the plane contains just himself, sleeping mortals and luggage. Focusing on Neville’s cabin, he sees a plethora of little branches of opalescent color coming out of Neville’s midsection and waving above him. They suck back into Neville, and then a loaf-like lump rolls out of Neville and rolls to the back of the plane to the storage bin where the Tupperware container with the decoy is. Asiras leaps onto the decoy, shrinks down and vanishes. Pulling off the specs, Glass goes to the storage compartment and examines the decoy. It’s empty. No Asiras, no decoy, no chip, no little glass figurine, no elemental Mercury.
The figurine and the chip are “known” to Glass. He should be able to locate them, wherever they are. He reaches for them. He’s pretty sure that the chip and the figurine have merged, which he was hoping would happen. But the combined things are very far away. The distance is not physical. Anyone who’s looking at him sees his reaching hand vanish. He announces, “Folks, our chum has gone walkies again. And he’s… out there.”
Catalyst asks, “Ascended?”
“Damned if I know. I don’t know anything about stuff like that. That’s for those mortals and higher powers and the like.”
Neville asks, “What do you mean by… out there?”
“The kind of place that is only believed in by esoteric philosophers as opposed to humanity in general.
Neville looks puzzled.
Glass tries to explain, “Not one of those simple physical wheres.”
“Not in this universe?”
“How about continuum? The universe is everything, after all. You got height, width, depth, all 90 degrees from each other. Turn 90 degrees from that and head out a ways. That‘s where he is.”
Neville looks at Rosamund, “Can you follow him?”
“It depends on where he went. As Courtiers, we’re assigned to here and aren’t supposed to leave.”
Glass taps a few times on his phone, and Ragnison answers. “Mr. Glass, how may I help you?”
“I’d prefer not to talk about this over a communications link. Can you be here? Diamond can help you get here if needed.”
“Mona has left. I’ll talk with her. One moment, please.”
The two figures step out of Glass’ phone, and look at Simon, who explains, “Our friend has gone… somewhere.”
Ragnison turns to look at Neville, as Glass continues, “I know what direction, but I can’t say it, and thought you’d be the one person I could convey that thought to.”
Ragnison grins. “Ah. You want me to?”
Suddenly, Glass feels Ragnison is standing much closer to him than he really is. He holds that pose for a moment, and then says, “Oh my.”
Glass shakes his head. “Not one of my places.”
“Not one of mine, either. I would have expected him to have headed off to Yetzirah.”
Neville has been trying to follow the conversation. “Yetzirah?”
Ragnison explains, “The next of the four Kabbalistic worlds.”
Glass offers, “I suppose I could follow him.”
Ragnison cautions, “How fond are you of this manifestation?”
“You do have a… spare.”
“I was trying not to waste them. He did more or less take me with him.” Glass explains about how the chip and figurine are a part of him.
Ragnison frowns. “To be blunt about it, he seems to have headed off into the abyss. A state of disconnection from reality. I saw in your memory record… ah.” He looks at Neville. “He did leave a tracer.”
Rosamund says, “I figured he was going to come back, and went off to keep from endangering us.”
Ragnison suggests, “He may have gone off to collect himself.”
Glass notes, “He took the decoy, which means two elementals. Myself and Mercury.”
Ragnison turns to Neville. “What kind of lamp was that in your dream?”
Neville thinks back to the dream. Now that he considers it, the light was very bluish. “Mercury vapor.”
Ragnison prompts, “I don’t suppose the book was opened to a handy page?”
“No, it was closed when he dropped it. But I do own a copy.”
“Do you have annotations in it?”
Ragnison muses, “Mercury is a god.”
Glass notes, “And a messenger.”
Rosamund offers, “And a thief.”
Ragnison finishes, “And a guide of the dead.”
Glass notes, “Some of us have oft repeated roles, in manifestations around the universe. If memory serves, Mercury is one of those.
Ragnison observes, “It is an extremely distinctive material.”
Glass says, “I don’t recall working with him recently. So I don’t know if he often takes the guise of messenger. But it wouldn’t surprise me.”
Ragnison muses, “So he has kept his toe hold. And enlisted the help of you and Mercury. And gone off into the great beyond. He’s either feeling much better or feeling urgent.”
Rosamund notes, “I did try to make him feel urgent.”
Glass considers where Asiras has gone. “If you take me someplace less physical, I may become more personable and the same might apply to Mercury. But I can’t at the moment access that presence. Mercury is one of the more ephemeral of us.”
Ragnison glances at Neon, who’s looking at the lights in the ceiling.
While he’s been talking, Glass has been fiddling some sand from one of the bowls he’s scattered around the cabin. The sand first collapses into a blob, and then slowly is shaped into a little figure of a man with a spyglass. Actually, it’s more of a teddy bear with a spyglass. Glass explains that it’s a new menagerie figure which will act as a detector for the bits of Asiras that went away. It will let him know when the bits return.
Lady Diamond notes, “At least we know that he’s not in the hands of either of the groups of partisans.”
Rosamund nods. “True. He also appears to have enough of himself to take action. I did suggest that he needed to pull himself together and do something.”
Ragnison shakes his head. “Unless anyone wants to head off trying to trail him, we should wait to receive him back.”
Glass offers, “I’m willing to go, if anyone thinks I should.”
Rosamund shakes her head. “He knows what’s going on. I’ve told him that things seem to be getting worse and he seems to have taken that to heart. Let him do his job and we’ll do ours.”
Ragnison nods. “And we should return to our job. Lady Diamond and I will return to Denmark.”
Before they can go, Rosamund asks, “Does Loois need to know?”
Ragnison considers for a moment, “I’ll see if I can find a Page to go.” And then he and Lady Diamond are gone.
Neville yawns. “I think I’ll go back to bed. Perchance to dream.” He returns to his cabin, closing the door.
Over the next few days, Rosamund communes with the trees on the edge of our newly-acquired property and asks them to let her know if we have any visitors.
Mabel and the dogs have many enjoyable romps through the forest.
Glass orders a bunch of stuff for delivery to our new base, and then finishes his work on the airplane; the communications system and the heads-up displays for the cockpit. Once those are complete, he connects into the satellite dishes the Air Force considerately left behind.
Neville orders a copy of Larousse World Mythology and helps Captain Barron set up living quarters in one of the buildings. They both appreciate the additional living space, and take to referring to the building as “The Barracks”.
Nothing much happens on the 1st day.
On the 2nd day there are eight normal blockages. This is much more frequent than the usual pace of one a month or so.
On the 3rd day there are two normal blockages.
On the 4th day, there are six normal blockages. That evening, there’s another blockage that doesn’t go away. The Knights feel this one. It’s another anomaly. Glass triangulates on it. It’s in the Pacific, northwest of Midway Island.
Getting to Hawaii from the mainland would be impossible for a stock BAC111. Glass immediately starts hacking records for a company that refits BAC111 to explain why our plane can go further than expected. With that done, Glass hacks into the military satellites currently over the anomaly. There’s a new island. Actually, it’s not a new island. It’s Nuumealani. Rosamund remembers it. It sank beneath the waves ages ago.
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2010
©2009 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved