© 2002 by
Seven people, born in every corner of the world: each has been plagued with doubts, dreams and obsessions since childhood that don't make sense. They each had a twin who didn't share their obsession, and made their lives miserable. Ernie Magawan is one of them, and is the first to make the self-discovery.
Though born on earth, they are in fact, Zondon, from a planet clear across the galaxy, here on a mission that they must complete. The future of the human race, and of the galaxy depend on it. Those memories are awakened through contact with a mysterious green crystal.
On 'awakening', Ernie Magawan realises that he must find and awaken the other six. The action adventure takes him on a roller-coaster ride from the archaeological site in Egypt where he found the crystal, to the streets of Bangkok, to the mountains of Afghanistan, to Jerusalem, to a nuclear silo in North Korea, and finally the Golden Triangle. On the way, he and his growing team rub shoulders with international terrorists, Neo-Nazis, migrant farm workers, and a mystic rabbi, as well as their ultimate enemy, a powerful creature, also from across the galaxy, in the guise of a powerful international financier, who has been waiting for them all their lives.
Some enemies are so powerful and strategically placed that the only way they can be fought is through Wisdom. And there are times, while fighting those enemies, when one is faced with a choice – a test of one's character – one makes the choice by listening to the heart, all the while the brain screaming for the alternative. The initial result is disaster, the brain says 'I told you so', but later one realises that that was exactly the right choice – the test passed with flying colours. .
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"... Maybe I'm just tired of being cynical about us humanoids, but this writer made me think there might just be something worth saving about us....""...I loved the way the author tied religious beliefs and myths, historical places and events, and pure science fiction. ..."...good sci fi with interesting examinations of human behavior...""...A very good book ... I loved the depth of the characters. "
Prologue - The Zondon
seven Zondon lounged about their craft, visible to one another by the
light of the fast approaching stars that glistened in their compound
eyes, barely outlining their robed exoskeletons. No matter which
direction they faced, the clear walls gave them an unobstructed view
of the galaxy.
sat more or less in the middle, facing forward, minding an array of
crystals that floated in front of him. One of these, he moved this
way or that every so often, or else turned it on its axis ever so
slightly to change the course of the ship, to counteract the tidal
pull of dark matter, or divert the course around dense areas,
especially around the galaxy's centre.
seven watched as more stars came within viewing range; some
apparently jumping out from behind patches of dark matter (the
illusion caused by dense gravity bending the light towards itself);
then over there, a nebula appearing to change shape like an amoeba,
as their angle of view changed; closer by, the dance of a binary star
with its black-hole-twin, producing a magnificent spiral of light;
then more stars, more stellar clusters, and in the distance, a quasar
blinking its ultraviolet rays at them.
star expressed its own uniqueness. Some shone a love for truth,
others of knowledge, beauty, liberty and other virtues in varying
measures. All shared an intense love of life in whatever form it
exists. Thus knowing each star, no Zondon ever got lost in their part
of the galaxy.
this was not familiar space. All they could do here was gaze, while
the stars appeared to look back at them with equal curiosity. There
was a sense that they had paused in their conversations to take a
look at the strange vessels that had intruded into their sector of
the galaxy -- this one and the one in pursuit.
as they gazed, the seven were well aware of their situation. This was
anything but an exploration party. It was a mission, the success of
which would affect the well being of each star, indeed, of every
planet and comet, and each moon and asteroid. Already the mission was
being distracted by what was behind, Phondesh maintained his focus
straight ahead. He noted a stellar cluster appearing and tilted the
control crystal so that the ship changed direction and sped towards
others followed his gaze.
spoke up: 'I recognise none of those stars, not even from the
know of them only as markers,' responded Phondesh, again adjusting
the course. 'My instructions indicate it is here we must pull into a
wide orbit. If you note the arc of our present course, you should see
it at the centre.'
said both Drovshi and Draz at once.
star I know,' said Draz, 'from my training.'
knowledge caches contain extensive information about it,' said Zikh.
it was the only star in the galaxy that didn't radiate a joy of life.
By that alone, it was easy to pick out.
isn't that the forbidden star?' inquired Zhondri.
Phondesh, are you sure we're doing the right thing?' said Drovshi.
'You know this solar system is supposed to be the exclusive domain of
the infant species.'
don't understand it either,' said Phondesh. 'I was given these
co-ordinates, and I know that this endeavour is the only hope we have
to contain the evil. The crystal will tell us more.'
spoke up. 'We don't have much time. The Glaat vessel is gaining on
attention was immediately riveted to the point of light some distance
behind but steadily growing in size. It had now entered the same
circular path as the Zondon vessel.
as each star revealed its nature in the light it shone, so did the
Glaat ship. Those who had once been mesmerised by their spell but had
broken free, were the quickest to recognise it.
aura flooded the compartment. The ratio between the ships distance
and its brilliance was an indicator that the pilot was a high ranking
Glaat with powerful weapons at his disposal.
hope you know a way out of this,' said Zikh. 'It doesn't look good.'
said Phondesh calmly. 'It has come close - perhaps too close for us
to carry out our original plan for the time being. But I was told
this could happen. Our hope isn't in our strength, but Wisdom in its
a fold in his robe Phondesh produced a multifaceted gem and placed it
in their midst. There it remained suspended, turning this way and
that as though it had a mind of its own. It radiated a green,
sometimes blue glint, depending on the angle, or which facet was
giving off the glow.
knowledge cache,' said Tsav.
replied Phondesh, 'but much more.'
it was. A typical knowledge cache is usually a simple cube, a cone or
pyramid shaped crystal. This one was the shape of a Zondon compound
eye on one side, and mostly flat on the other. It looked almost like
a visual corrective device for ageing Zondon.
one carries not just knowledge, but also the Wisdom.'
signalled for all to move closer.
you know,' he began, 'each of us was specifically chosen for this
mission, and but for all of us working together and doing our part,
it will fail. Now, the crystal, in its capacity as a knowledge cache,
will instruct each of you what you must do, and how to do it. First,
we must join our minds and look.'
crystal began to emit a low hum and the green and blue light
increased in intensity.
joined their minds and looked. Their doubts were answered.
brilliance was visible from the Glaat vessel. Dosh knew something
was up. He took two pyramid shaped crystals and placed one on the
scaly surface of his forehead. Then he pressed the other into the
soft crystal wall of his craft where it submerged and worked its way
to the outer surface. From there it went speeding towards the Zondon
of this sort, be they 'knowledge caches' or probes, Zondon or Glaat,
are capable of conversion into other forms of existence, enabling
speeds many times faster than a space ship.
as it approached the Zondon vessel, there was a green flash of light,
and a small object left the ship streaking across the black expanse
towards a star not a great distance away.
this particular star? wondered the Glaat.
the interior of the vessel, the probe spotted the Zondon, but now
they were seven still bodies. No life could be found. No green
the meaning of this?
further scanning, he detected something - a powerful explosive device
had been set to go off that would easily engulf both the Zondon ship
along with his own. It couldn't be undone.
probe sped back to its sender, and Dosh turned his ship around and
began speeding in the opposite direction.
problem surfaced: The Zondon had programmed their ship to
automatically follow the Glaat should he change direction. There was
no way Dosh could get clear in time.
was only one recourse. The probe...
it sped off as fast as is possible for crystal to travel, following a
course that would cross paths with the green one at its apparent
destination, the forbidden solar system.
ahead, was a blue and white planet, third from the central star.
was no time to be lost -- not even to check on the green crystal. The
clear crystal sped into the atmosphere, and began a quick search for
a suitable host, zipping back and forth from continent to continent.
he found a witch with a crystal ball. The use of a crystal was
intriguing, but it wasn't good enough (it was no more than common
crystal, entirely composed of the same primitive molecular structure
throughout). There, he found a star gazer looking into the heavens.
No. Then, a doctor with three comatose patients -- a good possibility
here. Was there something better? Out of time -- the doctor would
have to do.
doctor was a good prospect; he wished for more power and wealth, and
would do anything to get it. All Dosh had to do was make the probe
appear to him and promise him all that and more. The doctor accepted,
and obediently placed the small crystal pyramid on his forehead. It
was still hot from moving so fast within Earth's atmosphere so it
burned his forehead. Though it smoked and sizzled he couldn't remove
it. Then it began to melt through the surgical gloves.
part of the deal the doctor wasn't told about was that once having
gained entry, the Glaat was in control. The doctor was reduced to no
more than a passenger inside his own body -- hardly better off than
the comatose patients (though it would take a while for the doctor to
fully realise this as Dosh would give him some leeway -- a honeymoon
period -- and then the doctor's lusts would incline him to do
anything the Glaat wanted anyway). Now, Dosh of Asvork had a human
body. With it, came the doctor's memory (so he could carry on as
though nothing strange had happened), a limited knowledge of the
human body and fluency in about five Earth languages.
there was still more to be done.
Glaat brain (and a Zondon one too, for that matter) has far more
capacity than a human's. That's where the comatose patients came in.
Immediately on gaining control of the doctor's body, he went first to
one and then another of the patients, placing the crystal on their
foreheads until all the knowledge known by Dosh of Asvork was
downladed into the brains of the doctor and his three patients.
the other crystal pyramid departed from the now lifeless body of the
Glaat, taking with it two or three other crystal objects from the
ship, and sped off, clearing the area just in the nick of time. All
this had happened in the space of about ten minutes.
explosion was visible to the naked human eye, if one happened to be
looking in the right direction at that precise moment in time. A
point of light appeared in a part of the sky where no stars are
generally seen, stayed a few seconds and then went away.
astrologer who had been bypassed by the Glaat probe saw it. The next
day, his newspaper column said those born under Sagittarius would be
in for a brilliant but short-lived flash of opportunity.
the third orbit, scanning every inch of earth's surface, the crystal
probe returned to Dosh without a single trace of the green crystal
nor the seven lives that it contained.
had expected as much. It left only one possibility. This meant biding
make use of that time. He'd worm his way to the highest circles of
power. He'd amass riches.
human vessel was game -- for now, anyway.
I - The Crystal
ringing phone woke him. Daylight invaded his eyes, telling Ernie he
should have been up long ago. He sighed as he stretched his arm
towards the receiver. It had to be Eddie, his twin.
Look at the time!' It was him all right. 'The aliens abduct you again
mumbled an apology, slammed the receiver and began to pull on his
clothes. Five minutes later, minus shave, he was outside his flat
trying to wind up the old Toyota. Just as the starter began to die,
the engine puttered to life and backfired. A timely tap on the
accelerator kept it alive.
was becoming a regular occurrence. He knew exactly what Eddie would
say when he walked in:
the same dream again. The space ship, the stars, a green crystal, all
is ruining your life, Eddie would say. When are you going to
get professional help?
was probably right. What brought on this plague of vivid dreams
anyway? Why couldn't he just be normal like everyone else?
the other hand, did he really want them to go away? They were almost
a second reality. There were concepts that could keep him pondering
for hours. Then, there were others that seemed to make more sense
while dreaming than in real life.
in a cloud of exhaust fumes, his toe pumping to keep the old heap
alive, while still twenty cars from the traffic signal, is an
unmistakable feature of real life. What should have been a
twenty-minute drive down Gardener Street, around the old customs
house and over the River Liffey, was taking an hour in Dublin
rush-hour traffic -- another reason to have started early.
long last, he glided into one of the parking spaces allotted to his
brother's flat cum office and removed the ignition key. The engine,
just as reluctant to stop now as it had been to start, puttered a few
more times and backfired before it died.
should'a walked,' sighed Ernie as he glanced at his watch. Not
bothering to lock the car, he trudged to the front door.
tiny plastic strip on the door read, 'Dr. Edward Magawan, Professor
happened on cue: Eddie's usual tirade about getting his life
together, his declaration that he was doing all in his power to help
Ernie find a life, and why wouldn't Ernie at least co-operate, pull
himself together and do something to help himself for a change.
he shoved Ernie a list of people to call, appointments to make and
letters to write. Ernie took it to his side of the room while Eddie
rushed off to do his second lecture of the morning.
used to be a lounge had been partitioned, using bookshelves and file
cabinets, into two workspaces. Ernie's side was away from the window
that overlooked Trinity College -- all the better for concentration.
first task was to do the email. He checked his brother's first,
printed them out for him to read later, answered the previous day's
as he'd been instructed, and then the ones from this morning that he
already knew the answers to. Then he went on to his own.
spent the mid-morning break answering his personal email, accompanied
by a mug of the strong black stuff from his brother's espresso
steamer. A couple were from old school chums he'd known in Bangkok.
While their father's archaeology career had taken them all over the
world, it was this one particular group of former classmates that
most interested him. Being the children of ex-pats, they were now
mostly scattered all over America. Now, thanks to Internet and email
they were back in touch.
it was on to the snail-mail and the phoning. There was enough today
to keep his mind on earthly things -- or rather, under the earth.
lot of his energy, of late, was spent both in negotiating with the
Egyptian Department of Antiquities for permission, and in seeking a
grant, for a proposed dig at the tomb of Thakanamen. It was a project
that their father, Alec Magawan had started years ago, before the
twins were born. It had to be called off just when they were
beginning to make a breakthrough, because funding was suddenly cut.
Later, when the timing would have otherwise been right, the war with
Israel prevented them from going back. Though Alec had never been
able to pick it up again, the project had lived in his heart ever
had also been a life long dream of Ernie's. It was his desire to go
there that finally inspired Ernie to complete his bachelors in
Archaeology after changing his major four times times. Something
about the place always caught his imagination. As a boy, his father's
stories about that dig captivated him, even when they bored his
fact, it was Ernie who practically picked the project from a list of
other candidates and talked Eddie into it. Eddie was reticent, but
only because it wasn't his idea. As far as he was concerned, Ernie
wasn't even supposed to see the list. But he did see its merits and
decided to go for it.
-- it was immediately after that, that the dreams started.
it looked as though they were beginning to make headway. The more
answers that came from the various powers-that-be, the faster things
moved, and the less Ernie's thoughts lingered on his dreams. By late
morning, after six cups of strong coffee and a shot of brandy, Ernie
was as steady as any workhorse.
it was time to knock off for lunch. Eddie, just back from his
lecture, was in a better frame of mind, other issues and achievements
having clamoured for his attention so that any doubts about Ernie's
sanity had gone the way of the morning mist.
only night-time didn't come once a day.
it looks like the Egypt thing is going through,' said Ernie, as they
sat in a nearby pub.
grunted something to the effect that it was a good thing.
does Pop have to say about all this?' asked Ernie, after a pause.
know. Haven't asked.'
should think he'd have something useful to say.'
have his notes, and all the photos,' grunted Eddie. 'That should give
us a start.'
what about any personal observations that he didn't write down -- or
maybe thought about later, or wasn't concrete -- you know --
Ernie, give it a rest! Look, if you really think it will make a
smidgen of difference, pop up to Belfast yourself and ask him. Then
you be the right brain of the expedition.'
he's longing to see you, Eddie. When's the last time you went? I
don't think he even knows this is on!'
you know I have important things to do.'
don't think the old heap can make such a long trip.'
mine then.' Eddie threw him the keys. 'Go on. It'll get your mind off
it was that Ernie took it on himself to visit Pop over the weekend,
while Eddie did his 'more important things'.
drive from Dublin to Belfast is a pleasant one if one doesn't stick
to the motorways. Being in no hurry, Ernie not only diverted to the
small roads, but even took a few 'long-cuts' where the countryside
looked especially serene.
was good therapy. It gave the prospect of the upcoming digs and the
dreams of space a chance to fight for dominance over his thoughts.
things were were swirling around in between, such as, why Eddie had
to make such a big deal of it all. What's wrong with a few daydreams?
Why couldn't Ernie just be himself? Was he that self-destructive?
brother indeed! How could two look so much alike and yet be so
different, Ernie wondered, not for the first time, nor the last. Nor
was he the only one who asked.
the one only shaving every other day, wearing just what he felt
comfortable in and letting his hair grow into a pony tail, while the
other dressed immaculately in a business suit and went regularly to
the hair stylist; nothing could hide the fact that they were twins.
So identical they were, even their parents often had problems telling
them apart. There was even doubt who was born Ernie and who, Eddie.
looks were one thing; personality and the path one took were another
had followed -- or tried to follow -- in the footsteps of their
father. The one who followed was Edward. The one who tried, of
course, was Ernie. Had Ernie not managed to finish his Bachelor's
degree when he did, he would have had to sit through lectures by his
own brother, by now, a Ph.D.!
a series of county roads through Pointspass, Scarva and Lurgan, he
got on to the motorway near Lough Neigh. That took him to the
turn-off that led to the outer ring road, and followed the familiar
route that led to the Braniel housing estates.
parent's house was on a little lane facing the golf course. Behind
it, beyond a few more lanes were rolling hills and farms, and some of
Ernie's favourite walks.
make his return trip early Monday morning, just so he'd have time for
at least one long walk.
and Pop were, of course, overjoyed to see him. Mum lost no time in
arranging the teapot on the coffee table, surrounded by biscuits,
cakes, tarts, scones, butter, jam, leftover apple pie and a few
don't know if Eddie told you or not, Pop,' began Ernie, as he poured
his second cup, 'but we're almost set to start the digging at
You don't say!' said Pop. 'Marie, did you hear that?'
Alec love, that's where we made twins, so it is.' She said it with a
tone of voice no different than had she said she baked a cake.
me?' said Ernie.
came to the rescue: 'Your mum and I were there exactly nine months
before you and Eddie were born, so we were.'
it was a romantic evening,' interjected Marie.
wasn't used to hearing his mother talk like this. Was old age finally
creeping up on her?
stars were all out, and we were sitting on the edge of the mound
looking over the desert, and I was just thinking, wouldn't it be nice
if we could have twins.'
crazy idea, I thought,' said Alec. 'No one on either side of our
family has ever had twins, so you know what chances there was of
And then there was a vivid green shooting star...'
thought it was more a blue colour...'
it was green love, and it left a tail clear across the sky, so it
did, and I thought I saw it turn and come towards us before it
which is ridiculous of course,' said Alec. 'Shooting stars don't
turn. But anyway, I said, "Make a wish".'
and I said, "Twins".'
and I said, "My dear! No one on either side of our family has
ever had twins".'
and I said, "But you said make a wish, Love, and I did!'"
knowing you can't change a woman's mind, said, "We can always
try, though, can't we!'"
we went into the caravan and we made twins, so we did!' finished
Marie, speaking as though that were the standard procedure.
we did, indeed. The next day, word came that the funding had been cut
off, so it did, so we had to pack up and come back to Ireland. Then,
of course, there was the war with Israel, and all sorts of other
things, so we never did go back.'
and it's such a pity. You were so interested in that part of the
I?' said Ernie.
you were,' answered Mum. 'Why, once, when you were five, we found you
in Pop's study, so we did, standing on a chair looking at the globe.
Your finger was on South-west Egypt, exactly where the excavation
was. You had one eye open, close to the globe as you turned it
slowly, as though you were an aeroplane coming in towards it.'
added, 'You did indeed, but the uncanny thing was, you'd never been
shown how to read a map.'
that, you seemed to have an interest in ancient Egypt.'
wasn't exactly the sort of information Ernie had in mind when he
proposed talking to Pop about the digs. In fact it didn't help him
concentrate on the digs at all.
from that there were no striking observations, save that Alec thought
that had they been given one more week, they would have found a door
or a passage into the underground chambers. Abdul Kalif, he said,
could help them with that. He had spotted something about the site
that could have been of utmost value had they been allowed to
You'd remember Uncle Abdul. He visited us several times when we lived
in Bangkok, so he did.'
he still about?'
is indeed, and he's still in the business, so he is. If you can
obtain his services, he'd be a great asset.'
walk the next day was pleasant. This time, he wandered down country
roads turning here and there until he came to a hotel. He had a pint
in the hotel pub, and then walked back. All the way, he tried to
focus on the trip to Egypt, but his mind kept returning to the green
shooting star. There was a slight tinge of familiarity about it that
made him uncomfortable.
did mum have to bring it up, anyway?
it just a shooting star, or did it really turn and come towards them?
Of course it didn't! It was an illusion, probably caused by a layer
of hot air over the desert sand.
why did it bother him?
didn't know. It just did.
he got back to the house, he buried his doubts in such a plate of
sausage, bacon, egg and potato furls as only his mother could fry.
Monday morning he started back for Dublin.
Re: long time no see
It's really great being back in
touch like this. You say you're
working with your brother? What
are you doing? I heard you were
archaeologists like your dad.
That's right. We're currently
trying to get things together to
go to Egypt. There's a tomb of a
high priest that my dad began
digging at but had to discontinue.
That was just before we were born.
Have you heard much from any other
'Salemites' - like Sam or Boz?
Sam is working for the city transit
service in Seattle. He started there
driving a bus, and now has an office
job, married his boss ...
Boz o'Brian is still in Thailand and
has a Thai wife ... My sister got her
degree in sociology ...
Things are coming together for the
dig so we should be going to Egypt in a
couple of weeks.
That sounds exciting. Egypt is one of
the places I haven't been to yet.
You'll have to give a full story
you remember Uncle Abdul, whom my
brought to the school at Salem House?
the one who gave us the lecture on
on our special Saturday class.
he's been back in Egypt for quite
time, still working along with
archaeological projects. I've
him and it looks like he'll be
us on this dig. Now all we need is a
old bloke who has pots and pots of
and doesn't know what t do with
all, to fund the digs. I really hope
weeks before kick-off a rich bloke was found, permissions were
granted, and volunteers began coming out of the woodwork. During the
final week, Ernie managed to obtain visas for all of them through the
Egyptian consulate, make hotel reservations, and arrange for
a.m., the morning they were to depart, Ernie heaved a sigh of relief,
picked up everything they'd need, placed it in his folder, put that
into his shoulder bag along with his notebook computer, and went home
to wash up before leaving for the airport for their six o'clock
went out quietly so as not to awaken Eddie. He'd give him a wake-up
home, he took a shower, threw a few belongings into his big backpack
along with his sleeping bag and called the taxi company.
taxi on its way, Ernie took his backpack and shoulder bag, locked the
flat and went to the bottom of the stairs to wait. He made sure his
passport was in the pouch about his neck under his clothing, and his
palm-top was in his inside coat pocket.
was early, but thought it better to get to the airport first, and
then maybe catch a few winks.
taxi arrived. On the way, he gave Eddie a wake-up call .
airline flight counter opened a few minutes after Ernie arrived, so
he went to get his boarding pass. He sent his backpack through with
the checked in luggage. The gate hadn't been assigned yet, so he
found a seat near the centre of the departure area.
couldn't sleep, so he got up and walked about the shops, looking at
all the duty free goods for sale. It was nice to look even if he
never had enough money for things like that (the notebook computer
was originally his brother's, who had bought a nicer one, and the
Palm Pilot was a birthday present from Pop).
soon got tired of looking and found a seat. He went through his bag
to double check that he had everything -- as though knowing something
was missing would be of any use now that it was too late to go back
some more walking about, the gate assignment flashed on the monitor,
so he went to the appropriate waiting area and sat down.
still couldn't sleep, so his mind went from this to that -- to the
digs in Egypt -- to his dad's opinion that in a week they would have
found the underground chamber -- to the green (or was it blue)
to boarding time, he gave Eddie another call. He was checking in.
appeared just as it was time to board.
recognised a few of the other workers for the digs. Having all
checked in separately, they sat in different parts of the plane.
took off. Breakfast was served.
the hostesses collected the empty breakfast trays, the fatigue of the
past day or two and the sleepless night caught up, and Ernie dozed
it was because he was so tired, or that he was flying, and the last
thought in his mind was the green shooting star. He dreamed he was a
shooting star, flying over desert, looking for a place to rest.
the dream lasted only a few seconds, he was acutely aware of every
passing millisecond, and took in every detail of the landscape below.
He wasn't alone. There were six others with him. They came to a mound
with a shallow pit dug into the top exposing a stone marker. He
recognised it immediately as middle Groount architecture. On the far
edge of the mound, two living beings were seated, facing away from
them. He took note that they were humans, natives to this planet.
Around about was an encampment of some sort. Though he saw it in
vivid detail, he could just barely discern the function of each item.
It struck him as being horribly quaint, but that was to be expected,
as the residents of this planet were known to be a primitive race.
only took him a split second to make all these observations. Now they
were coming down towards one side of the marker, into the dug out
area around it. As they descended, the dust and small rocks were
blown out from beneath them until a bare rock floor was exposed.
There, a square panel opened for them, and they went down in.
were now inside a long passage. They proceeded in the direction away
from the stone marker, sloping downward along a path with several
angles to the left and to the right, until they entered a chamber.
Inside were sculpted images and other items, some made from a
yellowish metallic substance. Though the passage and chamber
reflected middle Groount craftsmanship, the sculpted objects did not.
He could tell by the way the yellow metal was used that it was
considered a commodity of utmost value -- probably rare on this
the middle of the chamber was a pedestal on which stood a sculpture
of something that looked part human, but had a different sort of
head. As they approached, it slid backwards out of the way until it
fell off. They came to rest in it's place.
he felt a release of his innermost being from whatever it was he was
in. It was a sensation of being reduced, or stripped down, as though
suddenly finding himself naked, not only of clothing, but of
everything else that had ever been a part of his being. He was now no
more than a particle of dust.
and the six others flew upward and outward, and looked back at the
they saw a multifaceted crystal, now glowing green, now blue as the
source of light moved about inside among the various facets.
air pocket woke him up.
God!' he thought. 'Not the dreams!'
went over the details of this one -- first the primitive looking
primitive encampment?! Those were caravans and tents, three
Land-rovers and a lorry! How could they have looked so primitive?
he remembered the two humans.
looked like none other than...
God!' he said, slapping his own face with both hands.
-- er -- forgot something?' enquired the passenger next to him.
no -- er -- sorry,' he said. Then he got up, and walked, shaking, to
the toilets. He didn't really need to 'go'. He just wanted to get
completely by himself.
of them was vacant. He went in and sat down with his head in his
hadn't he recognised them? Then it dawned on him. If the dream were
indeed that of the green shooting star, he would never have met them
course, that would make sense in real life, but for goodness sakes,
this was a dream! How could he dream about seeing his own parents in
such vivid detail, and yet not know them, as though they had never
met? And since when does one make the observation, 'These are humans,
they are native to this planet'? In a science fiction film, maybe,
but be real!
vivid and recurring as they were before, at least the dreams had
never intruded into the real world in the way this one did.
finally gained his composure and walked back to his seat. The
passenger next to him only gave him a funny look as he sat down, but
as he might, he couldn't sleep any more for the rest of the trip.
plane landed, and taxied to the terminal where all the passengers got
the usual things happened that do when one arrives at a foreign
destination. They presented their passports, they collected their
bags, they checked through customs. Ernie's presence was needed,
along with the letters of permission and other paperwork for the
equipment being checked through, so his mind was back to the business
at hand, and off crystals, space ships and shooting stars.
time, he wanted to forget.
first few days were spent in Cairo, going here and there, and
finishing off pieces of business that they couldn't do from Dublin.
met them in the lobby of Hotel Beirut the day after their arrival.
They had lunch, during which Abdul recounted his fond memories of
their father. Since Ernie's role on the team was to see to the
logistics, he had a good reason to linger and chat, as Abdul was to
be the resource man. But his private reason was the fondness he still
maintained for him since boyhood.
found himself still addressing him as 'Uncle Abdul'.
had also been fond of him as a child, but now he was an adult, and
saw everything through thoroughly grown-up eyes. In his humble
opinion, old Abdul was really no fonder of their dad than every other
archaeologist he had worked with, but wanted the brownie points.
the afternoon of the third day, the fleet of double cab
four-wheel-drive pick-up trucks set off for the farther hinterlands
of Egypt. Abdul drove the lead car and. Ernie sat with him in the
driving all night, stopping only for a three-hour rest, they
shortened the two-day trip to a day and a half. Ernie slept most of
the night while Abdul drove.
Ernie was awake, Abdul managed to keep him occupied in conversation.
He asked more about Alec and told Ernie a few stories he remembered
about him. Things went just fine until late the second day. The
closer they came to their destination, the more familiar the
landscape began to look.
had never been here in his life, yet, it looked familiar.
any movies ever been filmed out here?' he asked Abdul.
as far as I know. This is too far away from Cairo for most production
companies. They prefer the pyramids. Why do you ask?'
don't know -- it just seems like a good spot to shoot a film, I
you uncover the tomb of Thakanamen, and that will be a good
background to shoot. I can then recommend it to the next film crew
that comes,' said Abdul.
sure they'd want to build a nicer road out to it though,' said Ernie.
they would indeed.'
the road was familiar.
he remembered the dream he had on the flight. The details of it were
vivid, down to the most minute feature. Was this the road that
crossed the path of the shooting star on a diagonal course?
looked in the direction he calculated the shooting star would have
gone. There, sure enough, was a large mound.
-- is that it?' he asked Abdul.
indeed. But we must go around it first. There is an old trail that we
turn on. You must have seen it from a photograph?'
said Ernie, almost under his breath. 'Eddie never showed me any of
grunted Abdul with interest.
was now wishing he had. He had meant to ask for them, but had been
too busy with the other details. Had he looked, that would have at
least provided an escape hatch to reality, which he needed right now.
The only other explanation altered his perception of things too much.
came to the turn off. Abdul manoeuvred the vehicle carefully onto it
and put it into four-wheel drive. Then they slowly and painfully made
of the trail had been covered during various sand storms. The parts
that were visible were almost no trail at all.
they were sufficiently close to the mound, Abdul stopped.
is a good place to set up,' he said.
don't we set up on that side, like Pop did?' Ernie asked before he
realised what he was saying.
must have studied the photos down to the smallest detail!' said
started the car again, and they drove over to the side Ernie
suggested. All the others followed.
managed to keep himself busy enough with the setting up of camp not
to think too much about the familiarity of the situation. However, he
found himself directing vehicles and caravans into the same
arrangement the earlier ones had occupied 30 years before.
continued to be amazed.
the while, Eddie and some of the others were inspecting the mound.
put off his first visit as long as he could. Finally, after a meal
under the big canopy, Eddie invited him up to look, and Ernie had no
they walked up to the mound, Ernie tried to brace himself for what he
was about to see by convincing his own psyche that perhaps he had,
after all looked at some of the photos. Maybe Pop had shown them to
him. He couldn't remember.
of the pit, except for a bit of the taller monument, had been buried
during various sand storms. What was left did look uncomfortably
familiar. At least Ernie was relieved that it did look different, not
that this was a logical thing to be glad about.
evening the whole team gathered around a fire while Eddie gave a few
words about the history of the dig, and what they were to expect.
Abdul was also asked to add his perspective on the excavation in the
days of Alec Magawan. Most of what he shared was straightforward
hadn't Pop said Abdul spotted a clue where the door was?
it was Ernie's turn to give guidelines as to the living arrangements,
and where to find what, and who to ask for whatever.
that, people sat and talked into the evening, one by one going off to
bed, until Ernie was left alone, nursing a cup of hot chocolate.
After another refill he gazed at the stars for a while. Then he
looked over towards the mound.
there a slight greenish halo over the mound, or was it the lights
playing tricks with his fatigued eyes?
was that low hum?
the voltage regulator for the camp electrical supply.
a while, he went into the caravan, which he shared with his brother,
and went to bed.
managed to go right to sleep.
two a.m. he woke up on dreaming that he heard someone say something
he understood as, 'Everything depends on the success of this
-- what? Who said that? What did it mean?
more he pondered it, the more confusing it seemed, because it was
said in a language he didn't even know.
how did he understand it?
trying to remember the sound of the words, he fell asleep. Soon he
was dreaming again.
was with a group of others like him. He said, 'I know that this
endeavour is the only hope of containing the evil.'
had an impression of intense evil stretching its claws over the
entire universe. He was sitting where he had that evening, looking at
the stars. One by one they were disappearing, as though a dark clawed
hand were stretching over the sky.
was sitting near the fire with his cup of hot chocolate, but at the
same time he was among the group of whatever they were -- both places
at the same time.
was asking him, 'What's the plan?'
crystal will tell us more. We're out of time. We must consult the
crystal,' he was answering. Then he produced a green glowing crystal.
where he was sitting with his cup, he looked at the mound. There, he
saw a distinct greenish halo, and heard a loud hum. It wasn't the
he was awake, sitting bolt upright in bed in a cold sweat.
was no hum -- only an impression of having just heard it.
looked out the window, from which he could see the mound. All he saw
was the light of the full moon shining on the sand. All the stars
could still be seen.
he fell into a more peaceful sleep.
next day, work began on the mound. Those who were already experienced
started digging carefully in their assigned spots while Eddie trained
the newer ones.
of the work for the first day or so involved removing the sand that
had accumulated in the last 30 years. Then, they could proceed with
that from the previous three millennia.
that this was any of Ernie's concern. His role involved the day to
day needs of the very much alive people on this side of the ground,
not the dead priests and their attendants, and whatever else lay
immediately below -- emphasis on 'whatever else'. He intended to keep
it that way.
the third day, a routine had been established. They were all up at
first light so they could get as much done as possible while it was
still cool. Breakfast was after sun-up, and that was a simple affair
of biscuits or Danish pastries, or bread and jam, downed with tea and
coffee. There was also a mid morning tea break, and then lunch at
noon. That was followed by a long siesta. Not a lot was expected
during the hot afternoon. The early evening was when work picked up
again in earnest, and that went on till sunset.
Eddie coaxed, Ernie remained unmoved at his post in the common area
under the canopy.
with you?' Eddie asked, as they were finishing their tea following
the afternoon siesta, about the third day. 'You act like you're
afraid of the mound! Don't have a fear of mummies do you?'
don't know. I guess it just isn't my thing,' Ernie said.
is your thing then? When are you going to sort yourself out? You've
got to settle down to something, don't you! And we could use your
help up there.'
that, he got up and walked towards the mound.
right, back to work you lot!'
poured himself some more tea, and took another biscuit. He certainly
wasn't about to tell Eddie about the latest twist in his dreams --
not after he had run roughshod over all earlier attempts at opening
wasn't even sure that he understood his own feelings.
one hand, there was the prospect of finding something bigger than he
felt he could cope with -- if his dreams were to be believed, that
the other, if his dreams were indeed to be believed, the equilibrium
of the entire universe was at stake pending the completion of some
mission or other. That rather put the pressure on.
what if his dreams weren't to be believed? Then there would be
nothing under the ground but a mummy and a few artefacts. That
consideration put weight on the side of taking a look to find out.
knew he would have to have a look sooner or later. He just wasn't
prepared to do it right now.
came and sat down across from him, and poured himself a cup.
far, he had said nothing about the clue Pop had mentioned. Ernie took
Abdul, when I talked to Pop about coming here, he said that on the
last day of the digging, you spotted something that could be a clue
to where the entrance is.'
yes.' He sat in silence for a moment.
wasn't inclined to rush him.
yes,' he said again. 'But really, it was the night before that I saw
indeed. The night before. I've told this to no one but your father.
He was a very understanding man, your father. He understood deep
spiritual things. When I told him, he just nodded his head and didn't
say anything. I didn't know what he though of it until just now. The
fact that he told you indicates that he took me seriously.'
was it you saw?' Ernie asked.
seem more like your father than Edward. Perhaps you might understand
it -- or, if not, at least you'll not think me a raving loony. On the
night before we were told to cease digging, I saw the whole mound
radiating a blue light. I went up to look. What I saw was that in
front of the central monument, just about two meters, sand and dirt
had been blown away as though a powerful wind had blown downward. I
could see the stone floor, and there, I saw a square of light, as
though something were inside the tomb shining through the cracks of a
square slab. I knew immediately it was a sign from Allah. But it
wasn't Allah's will that we should open it. The next day, we were
told we had no more funding for the digs, but I knew that one day, I
would have the chance to come back. I had thought of telling this to
your brother, but he isn't like your father. He's not inclined to
believe things like that.'
just sat there with his forehead in his hands.
you aright, Ernie? You look pale!'
- I think there's something I must tell you, Uncle Abdul.'
might take a while.'
refilled both teacups.
know, the day we came,' began Ernie, 'when it seemed like I knew
where everything ought to be?'
really hadn't ever looked at any of the photographs of the previous
Ernie went on to tell about some of his earlier dreams, and then of
his father's and mother's account of the green shooting star, and
then of his dream while on the aeroplane.
rapt attention had the effect of making Ernie's words flow that much
more freely. Finally, he told of the dreams of the last few nights.
When he was finished, Abdul was ecstatic.
are on a mission from Allah!' he said. 'I think they have dug almost
down to the stone floor. When they do, I think you must go to see if
the door will open. I will go with you if you wish.'
I would definitely want you to go too.'
put his hand out and grabbed Ernie's. 'Don't be afraid, Ernie. Allah
will be with you. I will go with you too. I have waited all my life
for this. I knew this day must come.'
got it off his chest made Ernie feel a lot better. Also Abdul's
enthusiasm about the whole thing gave him courage.
in the afternoon, Ernie found it in himself to walk up to the mound
and observe the digging. More and more features had been uncovered,
and now it looked unmistakably familiar.
of the foreboding came back again, but this time he met it head on.
walked to the spot about two meters in front of the monument. There
was as much sand covering it now as he remembered there being before
the meteor landed in his dream. He stood there gazing at the spot for
a moment, and then went to get a spade.
took just a few minutes to get down to the stone floor. He cleared a
spot a bit larger than what he remembered the opening to be. There
were no cracks nor anything that suggested a door of any sort.
cleared away more of the area around about. Then, he got down on his
hands and knees and tried to feel for any seams, blowing the dust
away in spots.
smooth solid rock.
he went back to the mess tent.
turning in that night, he said to Abdul discreetly, 'I cleared off
the spot in front of the monument, but I found no door.'
will show you the door,' said Abdul.
was awakened by another dream.
had seen himself standing in front of the monument, looking at the
bare spot in the pavement he had cleared. It was night, and as he
looked, the outline of a square appeared in the pavement in luminous
green. And then, he opened his mouth and spoke:
he said it, the stone panel outlined by the green light began to move
so that it sloped downward, away from him. Then, all at once, the
whole panel slid into a slot along the far side of the newly opened
door. Underneath, was a passage dimly visible by a greenish bluish
when Ernie woke up.
could clearly remember the words he had spoken. There was even a
familiarity about them, especially the last word, 'Phondesh'.
sitting up for a while, he decided to get up and walk to the mound.
He put on a jacket and went quietly out.
there, he decided he should awaken Abdul first. He walked back to the
encampment and up to one of the other caravans and tapped on the
window next to where he knew Abdul slept.
window opened a crack.
going up to the mound. Want to come?'
a few seconds Abdul was out the door and they walked to the mound
Abdul along was good in a way Ernie hadn't realised. The security
guard stationed in front of the mound would have inhibited anything
happening out of the ordinary.
walked up to him and said something in his ear, and the guard walked
good-naturedly to the canopy.
they climbed to the top, and then down into the pit. There, they
stood in silence, both gazing at the same spot on the stone surface.
looked just as plain in the light of the moon as it had in the late
saw the door here in my dream just now,' he whispered to Abdul.
also where I saw it 30 years ago,' he answered.
happened. They just stood there.
felt like any other night. No magic -- just the coldness of the
Ernie thought, he should give it up and go back to bed. But Abdul
still stood next to him, unmoving.
he could just try the words he heard in his dream.
-- er...' there was a frog in his throat.
cleared his throat and tried again.
first it appeared nothing happened.
couldn't hear anything, but soon they both knew something was
different. Then they were aware of a low hum that was becoming
gradually more audible. It was the same sound he had heard before.
the luminous outline of a square appeared in the pavement.
the hum was plainly audible, sounding like a high voltage generator,
but at a low tone.
they watched, the stone panel sloped downward away from them until it
slid into the slot, just like in the dream. Inside, there was the
passage, dimly lit by the greenish bluish light.
floor of the passage could be seen below.
said, 'You must go. I will wait for you here.'
grabbed two opposite sides of the hole, and dropped himself down. It
was a longer jump than he had expected. It would be a challenge to
get out again -- another good reason for having brought Abdul.
walked in the direction away from the monument, just as he had seen
in his dream on the aeroplane. There were the same twists and turns.
was just beginning to wonder how the light could shine around so many
corners, when he found himself at the entrance of the chamber. The
source of the light was ahead of him, on the pedestal in the middle
of the room. It was a crystal as big as the palm of his hand, and it
glowed just like in his dreams.
the greenish bluish light Ernie could see the whole room clearly. It
was an unusual arrangement for a burial chamber. Everything was
centred about the pedestal in an unnatural order: a statue of Ra on
the ground, as though it had fallen off; the gold objects set here
and there; and the sarcophagus over against the wall, as though
grudgingly ceding the position of honour to the pedestal.
right now, that seemed like meaningless trivia. The only thing that
mattered was the crystal. He reached out and took it.
he retraced his steps to the door, the glowing of the crystal grew
less and less. As it dimmed, so did the mystique of it. By the time
he reached the moon lit area just below the door, his mind was more
occupied with the chamber and its contents than the crystal.
one blow, they had just about accomplished the purpose of the entire
gave him a hand up.
showed him the crystal, which now shone only a faint greenish glint
out of one of its facets, which could just as well have been a
reflection of the moonlight.
will show you what you must do next,' said Abdul.
put the crystal in his pocket.
this was the job of an archaeologist, was it? A treasure hunting
adventure? Did 'X' mark the spot?
could just picture Indiana Jones suddenly popping out of nowhere,
saying, 'That belongs in a museum!'
this was no museum piece. He tried to imagine it in a glass case,
marked, 'Crystal from outer space that arrived in 1967, bearing
archaeologists pre-existent soul, to save the galaxy.' No, the museum
pieces were still in the burial chamber.
don't we wake Eddie up,' suggested Ernie. 'He'll be happy about the
they did, explaining to him that Ernie hadn't been able to sleep, so
he had strolled to the mound and, sort of by accident, opened the
what was all the talk about, "...this isn't my thing..."?'
said Eddie, as they peered down into the passage. 'And what about the
mummies? You'll get bitten one of these days if you're not careful!'
felt as though he'd been bitten by something far worse than a mummy,
but he kept that to himself.
they explored the passage and the burial chamber. Eddie was pleased
with the findings. For one thing, it was unlike any other burial
chamber he'd ever seen. It would make a thoroughly intriguing study,
maybe even an article in National Geographic.
the next few days, they worked as two teams, one photographing and
mapping the inside, and categorising the artefacts in the chamber,
while the other continued uncovering the exterior.
for Ernie, he had no more dreams the rest of that night, nor the
next. In fact, he could have almost forgotten about the crystal
altogether, except for what happened the following night.
didn't know why he had such a hard time getting to sleep. There
wasn't a lot on his mind, and he hadn't eaten anything unusual. He
usually had no trouble sleeping at all. Even excessive coffee and tea
didn't keep him awake, and he hadn't even had much of that.
that was it. He needed a cup of tea to get him to sleep.
decided to get out and sit under the stars.
looking for a pair of warm socks, his hand fell on the crystal. Maybe
he'd take it along and get a good look at it. He hadn't really paid
attention to it at all since finding it.
fact alone puzzled him. One would think that after so many remarkable
dreams about the same thing, confirmed by actually finding it, one
would be obsessed. But this was like something he had known all
along, but had forgotten.
in a warm coat, carrying a high power torch, the crystal in the
pocket, Ernie walked out into the moonlight. He gave a friendly wave
to the security guard, who waved back. Then he went to sit in the
common area under the canopy out of sight of the guard.
set the torch on the table, and lit the candle in the candlestick
with the matches sitting nearby. The torch was better for examining
was not cut like a gem one finds in a jewellery shop. It was an odd
shape; not symmetrical, rather flat, no two facets alike, and a large
completely flat area on one side of it. If anything, it resembled a
giant tear-drop. A few of the facets were triangular, some
rectangular and diamond shaped, and there were polygons of any number
of sides. Not all the surfaces were flat either. Two or three were
round, and stuck out like a smooth gem set into the larger crystal.
Some of the facets reflected green light from the torch, others blue,
and one or two, red and amber. Now and then, he thought he saw
another colour or two he couldn't place.
held it up and looked through the flat side towards the light.
it was even stranger. There were colours and shapes one wouldn't
expect to find. Some were changing as he watched.
was at least one colour that couldn't be placed on the spectrum. As
much as he tried, he couldn't remember anything he had ever seen of
couldn't make any sense of it. What did this have to do with the
equilibrium of the universe? What about the mission? .
was that phrase he had said the other night? He could still remember
Ghish Phondesh,' he muttered to himself. What did that word mean
anyway -- especially that last bit, 'Phondesh'? There was something
strangely familiar about it.
he was aware of a low hum, the same as the other night when the door
opened. It was coming from the crystal. It had started the instant he
muttered the words.
crystal was beginning to glow, now a brilliant green, or an
aquamarine, now a shade of blue, and a few other colours as the light
inside seemed to alternate between facets.
looked into the flat surface. Now, he saw colours and shapes changing
as though they were saying something.
they weren't just colours and shapes. Something in a forgotten
portion of his brain was translating it into knowledge.
was a knowledge cache, he suddenly knew, designed for human use. It
was especially made to facilitate the mission. The centrepiece of the
strategy required that the participants put on humanity to take
advantage of the unique strengths inherent in that species.
also knew that to make full use of it, he had to place the flat
surface of the crystal on his forehead. By doing so, he would begin
to know as much of the mission as he did before he first arrived.
did do, and the transmission of knowledge suddenly increased a
hundredfold. With it, came a consciousness he never had as a human.
suddenly knew from looking at the table he was leaning on, all the
different elements that composed it, even the atoms, and the
sub-atomic particles that were in it. He saw each one individually,
and yet he saw the table as a whole. Somehow, his brain was big
enough to take it all in.
looked at the wooden candle stand, and he could see the dead DNA, the
atoms, and the sub-atomic particles. He knew how they composed
themselves when the same piece of wood was still alive, and how they
were when it was a sapling. It looked like something that remembered
having once been alive, and understood how to hold life.
knew this, he realised, because even though the crystal was on his
forehead, he was really looking at these things through the different
facets of the crystal, making up a compound eye. Each receptor of a
Zondon eye is capable of picking out a different property of matter,
whether it be the colour, the shape, the activity of the protons, the
electrons, the neutrons, the zoetrons, the spondrectons, any atomic
particle for that matter, as well as various energy forces.
also knew a whole world of wisdom, and even some memory of what went
on before. He also understood a language. He hadn't just learned it,
it had been with him all along. He knew that the words he had spoken,
Vratzan Ghish Phondesh, were not magic words, but were from a
language he knew. It meant, Phondesh reporting for the mission to
contain the evil. He also knew his own name was Phondesh.
stone itself, he knew, was not a simple crystal composed of molecules
of the same compound, as crystals known on earth. Rather, it could be
better described as one giant molecule. Each atom, indeed, each
subatomic particle that composed it played its own role, while
joining with others in close proximity to perform group functions, as
switches, processors, storage capacitors, and receptors and senders
of various energy fields. Some of these were capable of interaction
with the human brain. They both received and sent signals to various
parts of the brain, including the portions not normally used in human
thought, and linked those parts with the conscious thought processes.
Thus, in effect, the crystal was equal to a million supercomputers.
Being crystal, the processing medium was light rather than electronic
took the crystal away from his forehead, and suddenly, he was no more
than Ernie, holding a large gem. He looked at the table and could see
nothing but metal and plastic.
was as though he had only dreamed he was Phondesh, and that he could
understand sub-atomic structure. Try as he might, it was like trying
to remember a fading dream.
put the crystal back on his forehead, and immediately it all
returned. Now, it was almost like his human existence was only a
dream and he had awakened to everyday Zondon reality, only he
remembered his humanness too vividly to dismiss it as a dream.
looked at the stars, and he could see the happy light they radiated.
One star gave off a passion for freedom. There was also a love of
truth and an appreciation of the individual uniqueness of the others,
but freedom was the quality that shone the most brightly.
focused on another star. While looking at that Ernie felt hope and
encouragement welling up inside. Another one shone an intense desire
for justice. The affect was contagious. Ernie could almost feel anger
begin to rise up. Something inside him said this was good, but that
he must keep it in balance with what the other stars radiated.
fourth star he looked at quickly became his favourite. It flooded his
soul with a similar feeling to that of a child sitting in his
mother's arms, or holding his father's hand. Even though this was a
thoroughly human sensation, he had forgotten it in the rush and
strain of acting like a grown-up. He sat for a while gazing, as the
feelings filtered through the crystal into his human emotions. His
eyes began to go damp, so he thought it better to look at something
looked at the moon.
stark contrast to all the stars, it was sad. Again, Ernie wanted to
weep, but in a sad way.
was the moon sad?
was a longing for something to be set right, which long ago, had gone
terribly wrong. So intense was the longing it made Ernie want to
double over and groan.
looked quickly back at the star that had shone hope. Now, it was
speaking in a language near to that of the colours and shapes Ernie
had seen inside the crystal, but not as distinct.
will come...all things will be restored, it was saying.
looked at the star that radiated a passion for justice.
are part of the help...begin restoring...do something before the evil
infects us as well...
Ernie remembered the dream he had the night they first arrive, of the
evil overtaking the heavens like a black shadowy hand.
maintain his equilibrium, Ernie looked back at o the fourth star,
which said, You are loved more than you will ever know, but now,
begin to know it more than you ever have before.
was struck by the fact that, far from being a mushy sentimental
feeling, it made him feel better prepared to face the challenge being
set before him.
he took the crystal down from his forehead.
the moon looked just as it always did, and so did the stars. But his
insides still reverberated with their message -- that he was loved,
there was hope, and that he was on a mission.
he remembered that the colours and shapes inside the crystal had also
said he would begin to know his part in the mission.
put the crystal back on his forehead, but this time he didn't look at
anything. He just began remembering.
the crystal on his forehead, he could discern many things that would
be impossible to recount here, so the following is what he remembered
of his memory after he again put the crystal down.
remembered living on a planet -- one far different from this one
though it didn't strike him as a strange place. He was remembering
it, after all, and what one remembers doesn't strike one as strange
as it would, visualising it for the first time.
were trans-pods flying back and forth carrying their passengers,
buildings hovering here and there, individuals riding on their
personal carriers from building to building, and a vine-like
vegetation strung all about, thick enough to provide a good shade in
spots. Some walkways were suspended from the vines.
ground was to be seen. There was no solid ground on Zuz, only
atmosphere that became denser and denser as one went down, so that
near the crust of the heavy core of the planet, the pressure was too
great to sustain life of any kind.
others looked like him for the most part. There were differences.
Some had wings, and didn't need personal carriers. Others had long
slender legs that doubled at the knees to enable them to leap great
distances. A few of these also had an extra set of arms. These were
not interstellar travellers, but lived more simply among the giant
vines -- more simply, but by no means less intelligent. The
interstellar travellers were wingless and had a single set of arms,
and legs suited to normal walking. All had exoskeletons of various
shades of yellow and light green, and all had greenish bluish
compound eyes that glittered and sparkled, so that they gave Ernie's
human mind the impression of warm, amiable grasshoppers.
most recent memory of Zuz was that of entering the common transport
facility where all the ships were kept, on his way to this mission.
Drovshi, whom he knew well, was walking with him, questioning him
regarding the details of the mission. Zhondri was walking close
enough behind to hear.
remembered having a firm dedication, knowing with almost certainty
that he wouldn't return to Zuz in his life as a Zondon.
Zondon is what he was. Phondesh was his name. The other members of
the team were Drovshi and Zhondri, who were walking with him just
now, and Draz, Zikh, Tsav and Vrosh, who were to meet them inside the
was telling them as much as he could, and struggling himself with the
explanation, because there was much that he didn't understand
a solar system on the opposite edge of this galaxy.' He didn't tell
them that it was, in fact, the forbidden star. 'There are strengths
to be gained there that will be invaluable to us in containing and
pushing back the evil.'
it would be good to have some specifics, Phondesh,' said Drovshi.
'We're willing to give all to save the universe, but we don't know
can only know one step at a time. First we must get there. All I know
is there could be opposition, even at the first stage. The Glaat
already have wind of this.'
remembered the departure, the first stage of the trip through
familiar parts of the galaxy, and then into the uncharted regions.
when they thought all had come off without any complications at all,
a Glaat vessel picked up their trail in a location they least
expected. Obviously it had been waiting for them.
Phondesh thought, would make the mission more difficult. However,
there was a plan of action already in place in case this happened.
seven sent their essence into the crystal, which then sped to the
forbidden solar system. An explosive device had been set inside their
abandoned ship that would destroy both it and the one in pursuit. It
might not totally rid them of the Glaat threat, but it would greatly
the crystal found a resting spot on the only inhabited planet of the
forbidden solar system. On landing, the seven parted ways, each
reduced to a nucleus of their being. They took with them only key
fragments of memory to enable them each to search for a suitable
human host, and maintain a subconscious awareness of their past that
would appear in their dreams. When they found a host, they waited for
the right moment, and joined with the mother's egg as it was in the
process of conception and became the twin of the child thus born to
the human parents. The rest of their memory was resident inside the
laid the crystal down. He was amazed at how it all fit together. His
dreams had been nothing more than left over fragments of his own
what about the mission? The colours and shapes inside the crystal
told him that he would learn about his mission from remembering it.
placed the crystal back on his forehead and realised that his newly
found Zondon memory had already given him that information. Now, came
some fresh impressions, like a communication.
were six more Zondon, beside himself, who were born to human hosts.
The next task was to find them, and awaken them.
where will I find them? And how will I awaken them? Ernie wasn't
sure if he had asked out loud or if his mind were just sending the
vibes back into the crystal. The crystal seemed to answer,
question at a time. One step at a time. Ernie suddenly knew that
Zhondri was the next one he needed to find. She was in Thailand, but
living as a foreigner there, from a neighbouring country.
waited for more. His mind was asking what to look for.
suddenly remembered that the details of this mission would only be
made known one step at a time. He also had an impression that the
crystal wouldn't be the only source of information. He had inherent
that and the crystal, he knew he had only enough resources to
accomplish the next step -- to find and awaken the next Zondon,
Zhondri. The next step would be to find the next, then the next. The
more of them there were together, the sharper would be their Zondon
senses, and the more vital the crystal. Only when all seven were
awakened would they be enabled, through the strength of unity and
interdependence, to carry out the mission.
the colours and light stopped, as though switched off.
placed the crystal on his forehead again, but nothing happened. It
was now no more than an ordinary rock.
he walked back to the caravan, he tried to analyse the language he
had spoken. He couldn't isolate a single word or phrase. Try as he
might, it was like trying to remember a dream.
remembered what was said, however. As he gave up trying to analyse
the language structure and thought about what was said, suddenly, he
found he remembered what it sounded like, and could even say things
to himself. But the moment he tried to figure out what individual
words meant, he was suddenly helpless.
put the crystal carefully in his shoulder bag and placed that under
his bed, and lay down. Before drifting off to sleep, his mind went
through a few more rounds of recalling the whole message, remembering
the sound, only to be stumped again while trying to make linguistic
sense out of it.
slept restfully and dreamlessly until morning.
thought Ernie, still lying in his bed. That place would pop back into
others were already at their breakfast. The ones assigned to
unearthing the outside of the tomb had already been at it for two
hours, taking advantage of the coolness of the morning. The others
would start after finishing their breakfast, as their work was mostly
in the cool underground chambers below.
most days, Ernie's duties weren't called for so early, so he would
sleep till a bit later. Today, he had to go into town.
he sat up and began pulling on his clothes, his mind went over the
details of the night before.
was on a mission. He still wasn't sure exactly what that entailed,
and wouldn't know until he had awakened the other six -- presumably
all total strangers to his human mind. All he had to go on for now
were the instructions, 'Go to Thailand, and use your Zondon senses',
-- all in all, a rather daunting task.
was he going to tell Eddie?
you've always suspected, brother, I'm not really human. I'm a Zondon,
and I'm on a mission to save the galaxy.'
Eddie would just call for the men in white coats.
would have to think of a different approach.
he went for his breakfast, most of the others were already finishing.
Eddie was announcing the agenda for the day. Any talking to him would
have to wait till afternoon tea, as Ernie had to go with Abdul into
the closest town for routine business.
least Abdul had an understanding ear.
soon as the two were on their way, Ernie said, 'I've been getting
communications through the crystal, Uncle Abdul.'
has spoken?' Abdul's words burst out.
guess you could put it that way.'
described the experience of the previous night.
how will I tell Eddie?' he said, when he had finished. 'He already
thinks I'm a bit batty on account of all the dreams I had about
think you must not ask him, but go straight away to Thailand,'
answered Uncle Abdul abruptly. 'Consider that perhaps the state of
the galaxy is of more importance than your brother's opinion of you.'
how can I just go there from here?'
the crystal with you?'
your passport, and return ticket?'
but not a lot of money. At least none of my own.'
will forward you the cash you need to get there,' said Abdul. 'I have
a company account I can withdraw from in town. There is a small
airport, and a plane leaves this afternoon on a weekly flight to
make sure I pay you back.'
It's a privilege to serve Allah in the fight for the galaxy,' said
it was decided.
arrived in town. Abdul found the ATM machine and withdrew some cash.
Then, they went to the airline office and bought a ticket for that
afternoon's flight. There was still time left, so they did the usual
items of business, such as checking the email at the cyber-cafe.
was one from Pop:
mother is doing poorly. She suffered a stroke last night and is in a
coma in intensive care. Say a prayer for her if you will.
first reacted with dismay, but that suddenly changed to elation.
is a gift from Allah!' he said.
take this to Edward, and explain that you have gone to visit your
mother. You must visit her, of course, but after that, make haste to
go to Bangkok.'
it was that Ernie, his head still spinning, set off for Ireland.
Dublin, he immediately got on a short flight to Belfast. There, he
took a taxi to City Hospital on Lisburn Road, but not before
purchasing a ticket to Bangkok for a flight leaving the next day.
father met him in the waiting room and told him how things stood.
let family members in one at a time,' he said. 'You can see her for
five minutes. She's in a coma so she is, but they say people in a
coma can hear what we say.'
Ernie put down his shoulder bag, he suddenly heard a hum. It was
coming from the crystal.
he reached in, took the crystal and put it discreetly in his pocket.
they took him to the door and he went in.
him was his mother on a respirator, with tubes going in and out of
walked up and took her hand.
mum,' he began.
the hum of the crystal in his pocket distracted him.
his other hand, he took the crystal and placed it on his forehead.
he could see, not only his mother, but also the molecules, the atoms,
and the sub-atomic particles that she was made of.
major difference between this planet and others he remembered was
that the sub-atomic structure here was off. Something in the history
of this planet had affected everything in a negative way. Things
continued to exist and to live, but only as though limping along.
zoetrons were all out of kilter in mum's atomic structure, just as
they were in all other matter on this planet. But if they could be
made to act normal -- even if just for a short while -- that would
serve to pull everything else back into their proper pattern.
placed both hands forward and exerted mu-force. The crystal stayed
where it was on his forehead. Immediately the zoetrons began to
behave themselves. To keep them that way long enough to pull mum back
into a normal state, he had to create a zeta field. It would dissolve
in a matter of minutes, of course, but that would be long enough to
complete the healing process.
as the zeta field was in place, he felt the crystal begin to slip. He
caught it as it fell.
was about to turn around to leave when mum said, 'Oh Ernie, the
shooting star -- you found it.'
indeed,' he said, as he displayed it briefly, and then put it in his
pocket. 'It's time for me to go now, mum. You'd better get some
bent over and kissed her.
evening, mum was in a regular room sitting up in bed chatting with
the family, acting like nothing was wrong with her. The doctors were
amazed at her speedy recovery, but insisted on examining her some
next day, Ernie was on his way to Thailand.
Re: How's Egypt
Hey man! Good to hear from you.
How's Abdul doing? Tell him we
Will do. He's still spry as ever,
though he's 60++ now. His business
does very well.
...and say 'hello' to that old
earth-digging mummy-rousing Eddie
I was just down to California to
visit my folks. We had a birthday
party for my mum in the rest home. I
think I told you, she has Alzheimer's.
Speaking of mothers, mine has just had
a stroke. It looks like I'll be
popping off again, first to see her,
and then for some urgent business in
Thailand. Speaking of which, I'm not
sure if I have Boz's email. Do you
Thailand? Cool! Boz is <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Remember to email me when you get there
and tell me what it's like. Tell Boz
hello for me.
here I am, in good old steamy and
Bangkok. You wouldn't recognise the
at all. I did, only because I was
a few years ago, and even then, the
construction has changed the
of a lot of places.
went by the old Salem Hostel on Soi
The big two story house that you
stayed in is still there...
Chulalongkorn University, there is a street called Henri Dunant. In
Thai, the name comes out, 'Angri Dunang'. Someone opened a restaurant
there, sort of on the edge of Siam Square, and aptly called it, 'The
Hungry Donut'. It featured tarts, meat pies, curry puffs, cream buns,
sausage rolls, bagels, and donuts of the home made variety, along
with coffees of every blend and ilk. Ernie had discovered it on his
back packing excursions, and it quickly became a favourite.
he was back. He wasn't over his jet lag yet; in Dublin it was still
three a.m. The ultimate cure was several cups of the strongest
espresso that could be had, downed with curry puffs and sausage
rolls. That, and the pleasant setting of the Hungry Donut made being
awake more attractive than sleep.
had done a minimum of sightseeing the day before, but now something
told him he didn't have time to throw away. He would soon have to
start using his Zondon senses and find Zhondri.
does one go about using Zondon senses when ones crystal won't
co-operate? It seemed to have a mind of its own, turning on just
whenever it chose to. The colours had said the crystal wasn't his to
use at his own whim.
it did turn on at Ernie's prompting, it was usually to look at the
stars at night or something related to boosting his inner strength,
but rarely just to satisfy his idle curiosity. It seemed to know the
thing he did while using the crystal was, remember. The more he did,
the more the bits of his Zondon history became part his human memory.
could remember Zhondri. The visual memory, of course, would be of no
use now, unless she had a face like a grasshopper. There were other
things, though, that radiated from within, a pleasantness, an open
heart. Perhaps he could recognise her by those?
that this made his task any easier. What was he supposed to do, meet
personally with every female foreigner in Bangkok? He needed a
starting point -- an inspiration.
downed the last few drops of espresso from his cup and leaned back
resting the back of his head in his hands. His mind wandered to the
stars as he saw them with the crystal. He could, even now, almost
feel the effects of the star that radiated parental love. Just
thinking about it began to settle his mind. He went over all the
there was the star that was always prompting him to do something
about the evil. Restlessness began to stir inside him. Even now it
seemed to be reminding him that all the while he was flopping about
the town like a decadent fool, he was on an urgent mission. He began
to imagine the stars disappearing one by one as though the dark hand
were snuffing them out.
he knew it, he was signalling for the waitress to bring the bill.
was only when he was already half way through the network of one-way
lanes criss-crossing Siam Square that he began asking himself why he
had to leave the coffee shop in such a hurry.
he was moving towards the bus stand on the opposite side of Siam
Square, on Phya Thai road. Several bus lines passed that way and he
could get one that took him close to his guest house.
got to the bus stand but kept on walking. He just didn't feel like
going back to the guest house just now.
he was by the university. He knew the campus well since the days his
father lectured there.
University enjoys an expansive campus, situated on both sides of Phya
Thai road. On Ernie's left, stretching all the way to Henri Dunant
Street, were the more showy parts, including the auditorium, where
concerts were often held, as well as some of the faculty buildings.
On the right were more faculty buildings, the admin building, some of
the dormitories and the library. Ernie crossed the road and went
were milling about near the dormitories; some walking from one class
to another, and a few were going in and out of the library.
went up the steps to the main entrance. On one side of the foyer was
a coffee stand selling Nescafe and various sweets and biscuits to go
with it. Ernie had just had his fill, so he went on to the entrance
of the reading area.
outsiders it cost 20 Baht to get in. He got his money ready as he
waited in line.
woman in front of him produced a card as she approached and routinely
showed it to the lady behind the disk.
Khun Lec in yet?' she asked in a clear Asian accent, though
definitely not Thai.
she not in,' came the answer, in a halting Thai accent.
she should be in today, am I correct?'
she come, but not here yet.'
you please tell her, when she comes, that May Lin is here?'
caught the name Tan May Lin on her library card just as she said it.
As she walked towards the lounge area, Ernie looked at her, almost
forgetting to give the lady his 20 Baht note.
was his attention so taken up with that woman? He hadn't even seen
her face yet.
girl gave him an entry slip, and he went into the reading area. He
began to linger near the periodical section where May Lin was now
seated with the current edition of Far Eastern Economic Review.
this his Zondon sense at work? Was this Zhondri?
got a closer look at her. She had a squarish, pleasant face, and her
hair was permed into ringlets. She was just a bit plump, but pretty.
looked up suddenly and caught him staring.
I'm sorry,' said Erni, hurriedly. 'I'm trying to figure out if I've
met you before somewhere,' he said.
was the truth, wasn't it?
don't think so,' she replied thoughtfully. 'Have you ever been in
I have, long ago when I was young. I attended a boarding school in
Penang, right by the sea, near Hillside. My dad was working in Bali
at the time.'
did you really? I used to live in Tanjong Bunga, not far from there!'
got them started. Ernie took a seat near her, and they began talking
about what they remembered of one another's worlds.
Lin was from a family of Straits Chinese. These were Chinese who had
been on the West coast of Malaysia, primarily in Malacca, Singapore
and Penang, since the time of the Portuguese. Many had Portuguese
blood mixed in, and their food was a blend of Chinese, Malay and
Lin's family had a corner restaurant that sold pao (steamed
rolls) and strong coffee in the mornings, and char kwei tiew
and mee goring (two types of fried noodles), and other dishes
from noon 'til evening. They still had the restaurant, but her sister
had branched out and started up in a brand new shopping centre near
Fettus Park road. Hers was a more modern restaurant, specialising in
Straits Chinese cuisine.
Lin had majored in history, and was now teaching History of Ancient
Civilisation at Chulalongkorn University. She was intrigued that
Ernie had studied Archaeology.
one point in the conversation, Ernie decided to show off his fluency
in the Penang vernacular dialect: 'Ah, yes, Penang a nice place lah!'
drew a peal of pleasant laughter.
remembered char kwei tiew and mee goring from his
school days in Penang. He even thought he had been to that very shop.
might have actually seen you there,' he said. 'I suppose I should
have introduced myself, but I was a bit of a shy one, I was. But now
that I think of it, maybe it did look like you.'
my twin sister, maybe la,' said May Lin, obviously comfortable enough
with Ernie to use her native dialect. 'My sister, Sue Ling and I are
identical. Even our parents mix us up. She spent more time in the
shop than I did.'
said Ernie. 'I'm an identical twin too!'
Lin remarked on the coincidence, while Ernie felt like this was
something much more.
Lin, does the name "Zhondri" mean anything to you?'
she said, 'Yes la -- it does.'
suddenly, as though remembering, she said, 'Oh! You must be a friend
of the old doctor, ah?'
Nicolai Stanovitch. I thought I saw you somewhere!'
don't think I know this doctor. How do I remind you of him?'
keeps saying the word, "Zhondri" to me. It's strange, you
know. I think maybe psychic one, ah? I seem to know that word from
before that. He says we meet in a previous life.'
is this doctor anyway?'
he knows some of the board members at this university. I think he's
trying to gain my affection, but he's way too old for me la. He's
supposed to meet me here with Acharn Lec.'
decided to take another stab.
the name "Phondesh" mean anything?'
yes it does. I don't remember where, though. Ah! Here they are! I'll
them were a young smartly dressed Thai lady and an old but well built
European man, with a square shaped burn scar on his bald forehead,
who looked as though he could pass for a military trainer. Ernie's
first impression was, this was someone he'd rather not tangle with if
he got up his wrong side.
Stanovitch,' May Lin began, now in proper English that sounded almost
British by comparison, 'Meet Ernie Magawan.'
pleased to meet you, I'm sure,' said the doctor, in a heavy Slavic
think you two may have a lot in common,' May Lin went on.
then, we must do lunch sometime.' He handed Ernie his business card.
'Give me a call. I'm staying at the Dusit Thani Hotel, room 733.'
he turned to the others. 'Shall we?'
me get my things, and I join you two in the car, okay?' said Acharn
me tomorrow, Mr. Magawan,' said the doctor, in a tone that made Ernie
think of Jedi mind tricks from Star Wars.
it was, it had an unnerving effect on Ernie. The very atmosphere
around the giant Russian was oppressive. Ernie took his leave and --
lest May Lin think he only came into the library to see her -- walked
towards the nearest bookcase where he pretended to browse the titles
while the doctor and May Lin decided to wait there for Acharn Lec.
had no idea what the titles were, as they were in Thai. However, he
had to hold his pose while he waited for them to go. He picked up a
book that was lying on its side and began leafing through it.
there was that feeling again. He looked up abruptly, and there was
Dr. Stanovitch, looking straight at him as the three walked to the
Mr. Magawan,' he said forcefully. Then his eyes looked at the book in
Ernie's hand, and his mouth broke into a smirk.
closed the book and noticed the cover. Under the large Thai letters
was the title in English, A Case Book of Women's Internal
Ailments. Ernie had been holding it in such way that anyone could
see what he was reading, as Russian doctor obviously had. A total
stranger could have concluded that Ernie was interested in
such a field of medicine, had he not been holding the book upside
had found this guesthouse during his backpacking trip. He had done
some business at the Irish consulate, which in those days was in the
most unlikely of places, right in middle of Yawarat, the 'China Town'
of Bangkok. He had asked the lady there to recommend a cheap hotel or
guest house, and she had directed him to this one, right on the Chao
Praya river. It immediately became his favourite. At high tide the
waves from passing boats would lap over the veranda floor of the
minds a bit of water in a hot climate. In the evenings it was the
place to sit and watch the long lines of rice barges float slowly by.
Ernie was sitting downstairs in the restaurant with a dish of fried
rice and a bowl of tom yam seafood soup, one of his
favourites. Normally, he would be dining with gusto, but he was still
unnerved by the Russian doctor.
May Lin was Zhondri, but how did Dr. Stanovitch know about her? Was
he a Zondon? Then why was there such a sinister aura about him?
Lin seemed a pleasant good-natured young lady -- attractive, even.
Nice face, slightly plump but that didn't detract from her over all
beauty. It's no wonder the Russian doctor was attracted to her.
Russians prefer a bit of fat on the bone.
that wasn't it, Ernie thought again. There was something about him.
He was sure his reasons for wanting her went far deeper than that.
had never though of himself as having a strong stable mind,
especially when his brother Eddie repeatedly told him otherwise. But
he was sure that anyone with a weaker mind than his own would have
buckled at the doctor's looks and his Jedi like hypnosis, and would
be on the phone to him the first thing the next morning.
here he was with his favourite food in front of him, but not in a
mood to eat it.
peace of the river was broken by the boom boom boom of a
double-decker party boat with disco lights flashing. It passed, and
then the waves from its wake began to lap the side of the veranda.
boom boom boom faded out, but now Ernie heard another sound. It was a
humming coming from his pocket.
immediately got up and went out as though having to answer a mobile
phone without bothering the other diners.
in his room, he took the glowing crystal from his pocket, placed it
on his forehead, and immediately knew what he had to do.
was off -- except he didn't use the door. He went directly through
the roof, bodiless.
a bolt of lightning, he sped straight across the city towards the
tall three-sided building across from the park, with the spire on top
-- Dusit Thani Hotel. He came down directly on the roof and through
several floors until he reached the seventh. Then he found the door
to room 733.
a slight pause, he went through the door, and looked.
he saw was a being consisting of an outer shell of a human, Dr.
Stanovitch, but animated by, not one, but two zoetron fields: one
that should have formed his nucleus -- the imprint matched the DNA --
and a foreign one that was actually in control. The native life
forcefield had become a prisoner of the foreign.
foreign life forcefield, Phondesh realised, was what had given off
the aura of evil that he had sensed earlier. In fact, it wasn't Dr.
Stanovitch at all.
outer shell of Dr. Stanovitch turned in his seat, as though sensing
that something was amiss.
looked about the room for a few seconds, and then back to his lap top
the nucleus of Dr. Stanovitch, his real zoetron forcefield, looked as
though it were silently calling out for help, and aware of Phondesh's
me! I'm in a prison!
felt moved inside.
will come. I'll find some way to get you free, said Phondesh, in
the language understood by human energy force.
soul of the doctor began to respond, but suddenly, it was squelched.
Glaat was now in full control. The doctor spun about, and began to
look frantically at different points of the room, until finally he
sat staring straight at the spot where Phondesh was hovering.
stayed still, letting out no vibes nor anything that would give away
Stanovitch sat there staring. There was no essence released, no aura
that wasn't there already, no Jedi tricks -- if anything, it was a
fear of whatever was in that room with him.
he turned and reached for a telephone, and began dialling a number.
Ernie knew immediately it was May Lin's.
made a dash for the phone and entered the telecom system. He could
readily recognise each component. It was extremely primitive, and
this would be an ideal situation.
Lin's voice came from the direction ahead of him, as electrical
impulses. He easily deciphered them.
the direction behind him came, first, an aura of seductive control.
Phondesh dispersed that right away. Then, came the voice, that
intended to say, 'Hello, Zhondri. Nicolai here.'
rearranged the electrical impulses to sound like his own voice: 'Hi,
May Lin, Ernie here.'
Ernie,' was rearranged to 'Hello Doctor,' on the return circuit.
'I have a proposition for you that I think you will like,' was
rearranged to, 'I need to speak to you about the doctor, and about
the name, "Zhondri".'
didn't need rearranging.
the forceful, 'Meet me in half an hour at the Bubbles Lounge in the
Dusit,' was transformed to a more polite, 'Could you meet me at the
Hard Rock Cafe in about half an hour?'
answer was affirmative. Both sides hung up, and Phondesh was off at
the speed of light for the guesthouse.
crystal fell into his waiting hand just as Ernie was barely aware of
being back in his own body.
he'd revert to a different form of transport, albeit more primitive.
He grabbed his shoulder bag, locked his door, rushed down the stairs
and went out the front entrance.
guesthouse shared its parking lot with the export company next door
who used it as an offloading area for goods to be shipped down the
river. The air smelled of dried peppers and cardamom.
quickly crossed the small street.
then, along came a man on a motorbike wearing bright coloured vest --
a motorcycle taxi.
flagged him down, and said 'Siam Sa-quae, tao rai' (meaning
'How much to Siam Square?')
motorcyclist gave a price he could agree on, and he hopped on the
a neighbourhood full of one-way streets and heavy traffic, a
motorcycle was the ideal way to travel and probably the only hope of
arriving at Siam Square within half an hour.
got off across from his destination, crossed via the pedestrian
bridge, and then retraced the path he had taken earlier that day,
until he came to the Hard Rock Cafe on the right.
went in and asked the hostess if a Malaysian lady had arrived yet.
The answer was negative, so he asked for a seat near the door.
apart from the whole business with the crystal, Ernie looked forward
to May Lin's arrival. In a way, he couldn't have hoped for a better
set up. What other excuse could he possibly find to approach such a
pleasant attractive lady and ask her out?
she arrived, and he motioned to her. They asked the waitress to take
them to a more private booth. She found them one just below a Rolling
Stone cover picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. They ordered
drinks and the waitress was off.
weird lah, you call just when you did,' she said.
dozed off, and I had a dream, you know? It was uncanny one! But tell
me about the doctor la!'
think I should start with the word, "Zhondri",' began
Ernie, but he changed track. 'First, I want to show you something.'
pulled the crystal out of his pocket. It glistened in the light of
the booth, not giving out any of its own light.
That's a big stone!' was May Lin's response.
didn't ever, by any chance, dream about a stone like this, did you?'
dreamed about a crystal that was shining blue and green, and then you
called -- and -- yeah, it did look like this one, except it glowed.'
one will probably start glowing, if you say, "Vratzan Ghish
Zhondri",' said Ernie.
really really strange la! I also dreamed you said that!'
you ever had any other dreams like this?'
la. Last week I dream about you, only you weren't human,' said May
Lin. 'You were named, ah - ah - what's that other word you say this
You were Phondesh, and you weren't human -- like E.T. or Yoda one but
more like - ah ...'
how did you know it was me?' asked Ernie. 'We only met today!'
the logic of it hadn't had time to sink in.
the dream just now, I know that you and Phondesh are same.'
attention went back to the crystal. May Lin picked it up, and then
crystal gradually began to hum, and then to glow.
into the flat side of it.'
Lin began looking.
a while, she put it on her forehead.
could see remembrance returning to her face.
sat in silence, as Ernie had a strange sensation of sitting with
nothing but his mortal human senses, while his companion was feeling
out her immortality.
that was overtaken by a different one -- one of sitting with an old
friend he had known well for ages, since long before arriving on
Earth. This was no strange girl from Malaysia. This was Sister
Zhondri of the Amieroo.
Ernie realised that he was fully functional in his extended Zondon
senses, even without the crystal on his forehead.
could pick up the message from across the table:
more there were of them together; the sharper their Zondon senses.
The one with the crystal could share the extended state. However, the
viewing of matter as it would be seen through a Zondon eye could only
be done from the crystal itself, but all can share the view.
Interdependence would be important, because each would have unique
abilities that the whole will need.
next Zondon they needed to find and awaken was Tsav. He was the most
cautious of the seven, therefore the last to find human parents. He
was twelve years old and living in Afghanistan.
was no time to waste, because the Glaat would shortly realise he has
been tricked and would soon move with full force. Right now they were
not yet strong enough to meet him head on.
I not face him just tonight? Phondesh wondered.
he knew that had the Glaat located his presence in the room with him,
he could have blasted him to the opposite end of the galaxy, and then
found his body and destroyed it before he could get back. The mission
would have been lost.
can we hope to resist him in the future then?
was wisdom to keeping silent while in the room with the Glaat. Wisdom
could come through the crystal, or through their inherent Zondon
senses, and even, at times through their human. It could thus also
come through other humans, just as it came through Abdul.
also knows me, though in a different way, the crystal seemed to
aren't you just a crystal? The exchange between Ernie's mind and
the crystal was verging on being a dialogue.
I only speak to you through the crystal.
are you then?
am Wisdom. The crystal is only one of the ways of hearing me.
as the colours dimmed, Ernie and May Lin were left with the strong
impression that they must leave for the airport immediately, and
depart for Pakistan.
Ernie and May Lin had their passports with them, so they paid the
bill and were off.
Stanovitch had ordered a drink, but it sat untouched. He needed his
mind thoroughly unaltered by any substance whatsoever. Or, to be more
precise, Dosh of Asvork needed it.
knew it ever since feeling the presence in the room with him.
Something was also wrong with the phone call.
was no coincidence then that the other Zondon -- that one, Ernest
Magawan -- had suddenly appeared on the scene. It was more than just
a subliminal magnetic attraction of one energy force to a kindred one
-- the same as had enabled Dosh to find the first four Zondon. The
Magawan creature had obviously been awakened to his identity and knew
what he was doing.
he had stolen Zhondri from him, and had awakened her to her Zondon
identity. Dosh could feel it in the cosmos (in Star Wars it would
have been called a 'disturbance in the force').
hated himself for not having been on his guard all along. Had he
remained tuned in to his senses, he surely could have been alerted to
the awakening of the other Zondon. He would have moved quicker to
make the conquest of Zhondri.
would never be caught off his guard again.
the two must be destroyed at all cost lest they find the remaining
two, and then return to steal the three already in Dosh's power.
reached for his mobile phone. From the menu, pulled up the number of
his friend at the Criminal Investigation Division.
right, two suspected terrorists,' he was saying, once he had come to
the point. 'Their names are Ernest Magawan, male European, probably
Irish or British, and Tan May Lin, female, Malaysian. I would advise
alerting Don Muang immigration. They may attempt to leave the