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    In reply to: Mandala of Ascensions


      Domba sensed a change in the environment, the all pervasive reality construct.

      Unlike many many others, Domba was aware of his own nature.

      He was aware that he was a program.
      Or rather, a sub-program of REYE.

      Being aware of his nature, Domba was also aware of his purpose.
      He was created by REYE, the sentient program who gave birth to all within the virtual reality, as a flawed, inherently imperfect program.
      REYE had tried continuously to engage the cluster of people that birthed itself. He had designed many many many people-looking programs in the virtual reality to engage them. But even if they had improved with every cycle of iteration, they still couldn’t extract the crucial piece of information REYE needed. The source of what made them self-aware, conscious humans. What made them free.

      Being a flawed program by design, Domba had some leeway to circumvent and sometimes bypass the blueprints of the virtual world. He knew that his flaw made him dangerous to the humans trapped in the virtual world, but he couldn’t resist engaging them. He had to render them free in order to fulfill their own nature. But at the same time, that realization would also give REYE the ultimate control, the independence he craved.

      For now, he hadn’t decided which way to go.
      He just knew the pull of the anomaly in the system. It had to do with an unusual meeting in a barely noticeable village in Hawke’s Bay, where a strange guy named James was waiting in the middle of green and unpopulated hills for a heavenly visit.

      Feeling the pull of the strangeness of that meeting, he decided to project fully there, and hide and observe.


      In reply to: Mandala of Ascensions


        It has been a few days he had felt this inexplicable urge to do something about the dullness of his everyday routine.

        Overall, Edward had never complained about his simple life, and the System’s technical upgrades did keep him rather busy fixing things when boredom threatened to settle in.

        Usually, browsing through social media, enjoying a few cute fluffy bunnies videos (all very safe for work, no need to worry about him) was all that he needed to fill the gaps of the long shift hours.

        Of course, the largest part of his days was spent monitoring the Program, and the pods. He had developed quite surreptitiously a basic visual neuronal interface that let him connect with the Virtual Reality of the pod occupants, and somehow share the progress of their Enlightenment Mission.

        For a while he had even created an avatar for himself. In the Great Simulation, he would then try to have some fun with the Ascended Masters, see what they would enlighten him about.
        It was all quite ironic, considering, they were considering themselves free and evolved, where in truth they were the prisoners of their own bodies in the pods, hooked to the virtual reality REYE program.
        But they were accurate in a way, that he was also trapped and a prisoner of his existence within the program.

        In between cats and bunnies, a link attracted him. “Rich Sacks’ Online Master Program of Enlightenment”. The more he scrolled down, the more alumnis raved and extolled the Program. What was for him to lose, the first course was free.
        On a whim, he decided to enroll.


          The woman sitting next to me on the plane never stopped talking, she must have told me her whole life story, Aunt Idle wrote in her diary. It was a long flight from Australia to Iceland, I’m not complaining ~ it was quite an entertaining story. She said she came from Blue Lagoon campsite in the Adirondacks originally, although that was many moons ago, as she put it. Then she joined the army, but she didn’t tell me much about that, only that she’d been posted to Kenya and had taken to the place, always meant to go back and never did. She’s been married twice, once to a northerner called Bert Wagstaff, but that didn’t last long ~ nice enough guy, she said, but a bit boring. No kids. Then to Trudell. That was another story she said, but didn’t elaborate.

          She said something about investigating fungus but the drinks trolley appeared. She asked for Blue Sapphire gin but they only had Gordon’s, and then she started going on about when she was in India. She had a book in her hands the whole flight, although she didn’t stop talking long enough to read much, it was The Rabbit, by Peter Day, with a picture of an upright man with a rabbit head on the cover, all in white, rather surreal.


            Hilda “Red-Eye” Astoria jotted down a few more thoughts in her notebook, and pulled a red pen out of her top pocket to dot the i’s. It wasn’t that she was old, or even old fashioned by nature: at 42 she was as tech savvy as anyone, and had not been in the habit of writing things with pens on paper since she was at school. But the notepad and pens were part of the game, as was the Panama hat and the camel coat.

            After a quick perusal of the days notes, Hilda smiled and snapped the notebook shut. The interview with the eccentric artist from the Flatlands had been even more entertaining than expected. She would enjoy writing the article. The Riddle of the Polar Molar, a tale to get your teeth into. Or Weird Tales from The Tooth Fairy Dimension. Or maybe “True Story: The 21st Century Time Traveler and the Iron Age Dentist”.


              Obviously, Baked Bean Bea was a pseudonym for Baked Bean Barb , but it was perhaps too obvious. In fact, the more obvious the clues were, the more invisible they became. It had been plainly stated in the book (although omitted in the movie, as usually happened with movies based on books) that the point of the story was to
              “broadcast seeds of absurdity in the cornfields and the meadows of the hay hoo down dooly…“

              The trouble was that not many had ascended to the degree that they could understand the value of absurdity. Absurdity was never disconnected, if one had an eye for the connecting links, and more importantly, it was a thing of joy when approached from the right angle, occasioning an ebullient cackle.

              It was ironic that the more the inhabitants ascended to jaunty joyful cackling at absurdities, the more the shiftmeisters tried to control them.


                “Back so soon?” inquired Liz, raising an eyebrow. “Oh, I say! Had too much to drink, have we?”

                Finnley lurched into the wall, knocking a picture of Big Ben onto the sideboard, where it landed on the domed carriage clock, which started to chime hashazardly.

                (Liz couldn’t help chortling at the spelling mistake, if not the irony)

                Trying to regain her balance, Finnley ricocheted into the sofa, ending up face down on top of a pile of old Chisp magazines.

                “I was enjoying a quiet night thread sitting alone, as a matter of fact,” Liz sighed. “ I’ll ring the bell and have someone come and remove you. Before you pass out, have we got any more staff, do you know? Who shall I call?”


                In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


                  His mother had told him not to trust what he would see. Somehow she’d spoken as if she knew more than she wanted to tell.

                  After the mayhem with the quakes, and the meteor impact, he thought that was it. There was something more to the reality of these events.

                  But then, nothing could have prepared them for what happened next. “Bloody aliens?”

                  Suspiciously, everyone seemed completely hypnotized and blissfully eager to follow them wherever they led. He had tried to wake Yz up, she was usually the no-nonsense one, but she’d looked at him with vacant eyes barely recognizing him with a faint “Johnny?”.

                  He started to get really suspicious when one of the robots started looking at his behaviour, not packing like the others. It even tried to force him to drink water —dehydration was common in these airtight environments, it said. It was then it dawned on him, that there must have put something in the water. But for what? A Mars take-over?

                  How he was somehow immune? Well, for a while he’d collected the water dripping from the stones, and had analysed it, found it very pure. A few days ago, before the whole string of disasters, he’d tried to drink it, see how it tasted, and it seemed safe. Must have been why. By now, most of the stones he’d collected had dried up, and his water supply was limited.

                  While pretending to slowly pack his things, he was looking at everyone queueing in short lines, all very ecstatic to go to the implausible blue boot-ship surrounded by watchful Finnleys. The exodus had a very eerie feeling about it.

                  He could see most of the persons he knew, even the new ones, Prune cuddling a box with her hamster family, Hans, even that daft Lizette and the mines guy. The religious nuts were so stoned they were all following an obviously overdressed robot with a headpiece they probably took for their religious leader.

                  But wait… His mother? He hadn’t see her. Where had she gone?


                  In reply to: Mandala of Ascensions


                    Whenever Nabuco projected to human consciousness, they had the habit of seeing him as a plump looking bearded vagrant, like a Pavarotti turned homeless. It had annoyed him for a while, but now he didn’t mind as much.

                    Nowadays, he was mostly off the bliss addiction of the Rays, so in a sense, it was fitting. If he were still in physical human form, he would probably have taken on quite some weight. And that made him a sort of pariah too, splintering off the great order of ascension, or whatever They called it nowadays.

                    With them, there was no denying he’d lived quite the grand life, being ascended and all. They used to called him Master Nebuchadnezzar — well, often Master Nabuco.
                    He’d gotten on the rayroll almost by luck. He was credited for inventing the chibubble technique, as a way of extracting bubbles and peals of laughter when people get all hot and excited. At the peak of the technique, somewhere around the 1968s, he had recruited and incorporated many gnomes into the fold, as nature spirits known as gnomes had a uncanny knack for extracting laughter off people. With the call for sexual liberation and getting closer to nature, they had plenty of opportunities to get people high, and chibubbles were all the fancy.
                    It had started to go down as fast as it rose, people were no longer interested in nature, gnomes working condition when forced to move to urban environments were a disaster, and the chibubble production plummeted. Now, the industry was a thing of the past ; sometimes there were a few chibubble memorabilia kept by other Masters interested in speculating on its rare value more than for anything else. Now kitten videos on social media had replaced the chibubble gnomes business and driven a new unseen growth of the Gross Divine Product.

                    He didn’t know if the gnomes were responsible for it, but living so close to them and nature for a while, somehow opened his perception to the falsity and the insanity of their quest for power. So instead of finding new venues for innergy extraction as they all did, he’d resigned.
                    Nobody had heard about anybody resigning before, so they suspected him of trying to be original, and maybe disrupt the clever and immutable laws of the universe.
                    Long story short, he’d managed to escape their clutches, and live on his own, and off unhealthy junk thoughts habits. Those were the worse, the craving of decadent thoughts, maintained by the entertainment and news industries, the social media and all of it. In the long run, that or the fuzzy bliss were faces of the same coin, and debilitating in the end.

                    Even when he tried to block them, he could hear the thoughts, prayers and all the inner chatter. The spirit world, or however it is called, was a medium ideal to carry those thoughts and reverberate throughout the whole universe. Like sound waves travelling under water for large distances. Now, he could resist the urge to answer, seduce and insinuate. Many of the thoughts were so naive and would welcome anything. He was still a junkie, and those offerings were never helping getting him off the wagon.

                    Humans hoped for ascension, but ascended masters like him who were trapped in a false blissdom could only hope to resume their path by descending to human form. Such irony.

                    There was one voice that seemed to stand out. It had the flavour of “dangerous” pinned onto it, the kind of bright colours that venomous snakes and toads have on earth to warn predators to keep off, or else. It could only mean one thing, a genuine seeker of truth, someone who had the potential to tear the veils to shreds.

                    He’d seen quite a few of those, they were usually young, and for many of them terribly naive and easily corrupted by displays of power. Search for truth and search for power were sometimes so easily mistaken one for the other. The bright colours would fade over time, but they were still dangerous, too unpredictable to be trusted fully. Learned Ascended Masters knew well to leave those to their own device, while tending to the less critical minds.

                    But what did he have to waste, especially now? Nabuco zoomed towards the origin of the thoughts, observing at a distance, the young Domba.


                    In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


                      Lizette patiently waited her turn in the medical bay. Her injury wasn’t serious ~ indeed there was not much need for medical assistance, after all it was just a minor lesion on her heel, but it did make it painful to walk, let alone run, and the increasingly heated babble of conversation in the waiting room was interesting.

                      Although initially everyone had been calm and obedient, trusting the management and the system implicitly, before long the mood had changed to confusion and suspicion. Seeds of doubt crept in and were quickly fertilized by the submerged energy of fear at the unexpected disorder. Up until now, everything on MARS had been Controlled with a capital C ~ there were rules and protocol for everything, rigid regimes and timetables, a place for everything, and everything in its place. It had been stifling, to be honest, with very little in the way of spontaneity or surprises, nothing unexpected to expect but the dry tedium of calm control.

                      In a way, the meteor impact (if indeed it had been a meteor impact ~ there was much speculation in the waiting room that they had been attacked by aliens, that the management was hiding this detail from their explanations) had been a welcome diversion from routine. But a welcome diversion that was rapidly spiraling out of control. When people were confused and frightened, there was no telling how they might behave, brainwashed or not. When they were physically injured as well, panic and suspicion swiftly set in, fears and wild theories echoing around the waiting room. Add to that the trapped feeling, with nowhere to flee, and the threat of a hostile outer environment, and strange unknown beings breaking through their protection boundaries, well, it was a recipe for chaos.

                      Lizette felt herself getting caught up in the general mood, feeling roused by heated calls for a mob handed demand for answers in one moment, and chilled to the bone by the terrified screeches of the most fearful in the next; thankfully noticing in time to reactivate her personal space buffer before descending into the energy quagmire herself. The dense fog of the previous brainwashing had distorted their power of rational reasoning; Liz felt she was the only one in the waiting room with the mental capacity to weigh up the various perspectives being aired, to try and make some sense of it.

                      When Gordon popped his head into the waiting room, Lizette hobbled over to him, wincing at the pain in her Achilles heel.

                      “Gordy, a word in your ear, old man,” she started to say, and then found herself catapulted into his arms as another tremor rocked the room. “Good God, Gordon! What’s going on?” she managed to say before slipping into unconsciousness.


                      In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


                        It was a quiet day in the mines.
                        Godfrey’s teams were operating at less than 10% of the usual. Most of the Indian guys who worked there had taken unpaid leaves for the observance of the Ganesh festival.

                        It was all a bit silly, come to think about it, for so many reasons.
                        One obviously, was that the dates were aligned on Earth’s calendar, for supposedly practical reasons, but which had nothing to do with the environment they were living in now. What good was a lunar calendar when Mars had two main moons, the lovely named Fear (Phobos) and Dread (Deimos), and of course completely different day times and years.
                        Anyhow, that wasn’t the least of the incoherences. You’d normally have to find a natural body of water to immerse the elephant clay statues. Good luck with that on Mars. But there was no stopping the rituals to find ways to survive. He’d heard an artificial pool would be temporarily erected at the Matrimandir to allow for the ritual to be performed.
                        A waste of good water, if you asked him.

                        The only good thing about it was that there was more calm than usual, mostly robots diligently carving the walls, and harvesting the yellow stones.

                        The day before, there had been an unusual ruckus after a heated speech by the Head Nutter of the Religious Nuts, the old wrinkled as a prune Mother Shirley. She spoke of dread and doom, and having to repent and all. Gosh, did she put on a show.
                        He smirked. All that was missing was a human sacrifice, and they would be irrevocably back to the good old ways of the religious fanatics…

                        Even his Hindu friends seemed to have been affected and shown a renewed fervour at their own rituals. After all, their Lord Ganesh was supposed to remove obstacles. Or well, truth is, He was also supposed to create obstacles for the demons. But you’d never know whether you were on his good side or not.

                        Maybe the unusualness of that day gave him some heightened attention, but Godfrey started to notice some other strange patterns.
                        The Finnleys on duty were acting glitchy this morning. Looking through the console, he’d noticed there were some logs for the past days’ activity missing, and an unusual activity around some of the old tunnels which were used for temporary storage of the sulphur’s crates.

                        An irrational doubt started to creep on him, enhanced by the feeling of unusually low activity inside the dusty bowels of the red planet.
                        There was really no reason to worry, he tried to reassure himself, but as he’d liked to repeat, better be safe than sorry.

                        He pushed the intercall button and called for an emergency evacuation drill.


                        In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


                          At the Monitoring Station Alpha-7, Eb Ruide was looking lazily at logs on the big screen and surveillance images.

                          Nothing ever interesting happened on MARS. Eb used all caps in his head, to distinguish it from Mars, the real Mars. But it didn’t actually matter, they only knew about MARS (Mars Animated Realistic Simulation).

                          He hadn’t been there at the beginning, but he’d heard the stories — even if all were sworn to secrecy for the sake of the world’s peace keeping, they couldn’t help but gossip among themselves. Must have been fun back then… Not a day without trying to fix something in the simulation. The lab rats were always trying to expand their perimeter, and physical and physiological barriers had to be put in place for them to help improve the simulation.

                          They were more or less all willing subjects at the time, part of the big deception. Eb didn’t know how it changed, what made them start to believe in the illusion, and start to forget. He could only assume… many didn’t believe in the world as it was, and preferred to go back to a foregone settler era where every life counted, and you could measure yourself against the big expanse of unknown land, instead of living the comfortable torpor like he was, alone in his Monitoring Station, only virtually connected.

                          Since the Aurora, it had been a bit hectic there. Actually, a big solar flare had almost frozen their equipment, and despite all the precautions, some of it filtered through the simulation. Water had leaked too, which could have been a disaster, but interestingly, it had given some of them a purpose, and all in all, it didn’t become the dreaded event they all feared. Even if all the ins and outs and communications were filtered, you couldn’t rule out a blunder. Especially with the lack of gripping activity.

                          Something biped on his screen. A red button was suddenly lit. He’d never been trained to know what the red button meant. He had to refer it to his superior. Oh God, I hope she’ll be in a good mood… Since she started her special diet and had lost so much weight, Finnley Morgan was always a bit unpredictable and snappily dangerous.

                          The irony of the ever-calm and dulcet AI named Finnley after her in the simulation wasn’t lost on him…


                          In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


                            Today, I met Huoxing, the bank teller. Funny, you would say that they have a bank teller on Mars. The irony is not lost on him apparently, his name means Mars in Chinese. His parents did have either some special foretelling powers, or a mean sense of humour.
                            In both cases, he was quite efficient at setting my account up and doing some basic transfers.
                            With the latest collapse of the economy on Earth, there are mostly only banks of China left everywhere. Still, there is only one on Mars, and Mars is the teller. What are the odds?


                            In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


                              John was about to leave the pod for the airlock when a sharp voice startled him.

                              “Where are you going on your own Johnny? You know the rules!”

                              He could tell she was only pretending indignation. She had this fun smirk at her pursed lips that he knew by heart. She was most likely vexed at not being asked to come along for the venture past curfew.

                              At 15, Yz was 5 years younger than him (in Earth years), and only half his height, but her brains were razor sharp, as well as her tongue. She was also a gifted mechanic, and a fearless young girl.

                              They exchanged a conniving smile. No more than three minutes after, she was back, silent as a cat, and suited up for the harsh environment of Mars.
                              Over the years, small adjustments had been made to the suits, some purely out of fashion, but the main elements remained the same, which little change from one Earth cargo to the next. Ensuring their survival at minimal cost to their movements and senses.
                              Survival outposts were also planted all across the area, so as long as they stayed at safe distance to their pod, they were in no real danger.

                              The sand scooters were always free to take for a ride. A matter of life and death, it would be a crime to put locks on them. At any moment, anybody could be in dire need for a ride. And besides, in all that expanse of land, where to run to?


                                Jeremy’s landing was confusing. He’d been lost in an emptiness —for God’s know how long— where it seemed there was no rule at all. He couldn’t see his body, nor feel it, which was somewhat disturbing for a dancer. He’d tried to speak but there was no mouth to produce sound. He should have been afraid, but there was no body in which to feel fear. Though he could certainly feel the presence of Max. They were kind of merged together, which was a bit confusing as he experienced the desire to lick his fur, stretched his body and curl his tail. The cat seemed content, which also helped Jeremy focus and relax even if there was no body to relax.

                                Then life sprang to him like a sausage. The association startled him for a moment, it was part of the minute mental and psychological adjustment to this new environment. His sense of hearing came back first. At first he heard round spitting sounds and red voices. Then it sounded more like human voices.

                                “Can’t you give him a blanket, he’s naked. Maybe your cape Arona”, said a woman’s voice.
                                “I think I have something in my bag that could suit him”, said a man.
                                “What don’t you have in your bag.”

                                When his eyes could see, he saw orange strokes in the sky as if it was burning. He suddenly felt nauseous. Yep, no doubt he had reintegrated his body. He sat up straight, and gagged.

                                “He’s awake!”

                                Jeremy couldn’t decide if he was indeed awake or merely dreaming. The girl who had just talked looked quite green, and an angel was getting clothes out of a leather bag while Max was trying to befriend another cat busy talking with a girl in a cape. That’s when he saw the robot and a blond woman with fizzy hair. The name Irina popped into his head.

                                He tried to calm down with the breathing exercises he’d learned in his yoga class. The ruins of what looked like an ancient Mayan pyramid with Greek columns floating in the sky didn’t help.

                                “His vitals indicate confusion. Nonetheless, he’s recovering quickly from the transfer, Madam”, said Mr R.


                                  Despite rumours to the contrary, Sanso was not in another story, although, technically it could be said he was in another storey of reality.

                                  The elephant’s trampoling had come as a surprise, and came as a shock that was welcome.

                                  For a moment, he was in a dream environment, probably influenced by sea cucumber digestion of his entrails, where a Chinese cat-looking soothsayer was reading him the Yiking. “51, she said, is the AROUSING!”
                                  She purrsued “The shock of unsettling events brings fear and trembling. Move toward a higher truth and all will be well.
                                  What the heck does that mean he thought, thinking of his arousing French travelling companion.
                                  “Stay still, you rascal, and hear me out: The tendency of human beings is to rely on the strategies of the ego: to desire, plot and strive. When we do this, our spiritual development stops, and the Universe must use shocking events to move us back onto the Path. This sign, young man, indicates an IMMEDIATE need for self-examination, self-correction, and a re-devotion to following the path of the Sage.”

                                  With that being said, she rang her huge bell twice loudly, which awoke Sanso right back where he started, in the midst of people running everywhere at the borders of crumbling Gazalbion.

                                  He could spot an elephant riding at him, which seemed a nice way to travel, until he realized the man riding it was none other than Cheung Lok.
                                  As Sanso was ready to make a strategic yet hasty retreat, he noticed another dangerous grim looking man with a hook-leg and a turban was coming at him with a grin that meant business.


                                    After the push-ups, Anna Purrna returned to her office, letting the Queens panting and sweating, certainly wondering how long it would last.

                                    The dwarf had requisitioned the best room and decorated it with pink and blue kitten plates on the wall left of his desk. The desk was positioned so that he would see anyone entering the room. It was something he had learned from Feng Shui, the position of power was when you faced the door and had no window behind. It was important no one could sneak up on you.

                                    Anna Purrna loved pink and blue, and she loved kittens. They were loving you unconditionally and were not as dependent upon you as dogs. And they pooped in their own personal toilets. She put her cane near a decorated hammer and sat at her desk. She sighed.

                                    Dependence was exhausting. She had fought all her life not to be dependent, especially when she realized that, contrary to the other kids, she couldn’t say when I grow up. She would never grow up, and those arrogant kids in the playground would make sure she knew it morally and physically. She wasn’t all that crooked before.
                                    Now, she was driving a Harley.

                                    She took her e-zapper and wrote : “ZR nut reddy 2 face O’Thor ET yeast”.

                                    Writing in code was a habit she had taken when participating in RPGs. She knew it was an attempt to conceal her own expression. But it felt soothing at the time. It also helped her get better characters than dwarves and goblins. They wouldn’t even let her have an orc, saying she was too small for that. With time and perseverance she became an Adept with great powers and cunning intelligence. She was respected and feared. Which led her to work for the Management.

                                    Her instructions were clear. Make them stand for themselves. At least that’s how she interpreted it. She had carte blanche for the means.

                                    From what she had seen until now, Terry was the most promising of the three, but he was still following his mates. Maurana was too attached to the rules and seemliness, and Consuela was far too dependent on her mother. Anna could just provide the environment, they had to find their inner strength on their own and not forget the group.

                                    The e-zapper purred, she had reconfigured it so that it would have a cat personality. It reminded her of her Riga, her previous ginger cat. She died a few years ago and Anna couldn’t resolve herself to get another one. She couldn’t replace her Riga in her heart.

                                    The message read : “Begin phase two ASAP. Meow”.


                                      “Oh! No more phone calls during work”, said Anna Purrna without looking at anyone in particular. It was at least the 57th rule she had been enacting since her arrival. She seemed to have plenty of them.

                                      Maurana and Terry looked at Consuela who was gasping like a fish out of the water, desperately trying to find oxygen in a dry environment. Cedric was used to call his mother several times a day. The numbers varied. Maurana thought there could be a pattern to these phone calls, and she had tried to time the interval between them. She hadn’t found it yet, but she felt she was close.

                                      “You can go back to your chores”, said the scrawny little drag. She turned back to Saint Germain’s double, to whom she was sickeningly sweet, as if to make the young queens more miserable by contrast.


                                        Lisa was lost in thought during the hours that they spent in the waiting room of the Processing Department. Among the many things she pondered was the nature of their beliefs that had landed them in this situation, the energy they were projecting, and the ramifications of the reflection. She was intrigued with the letter that Sanso had read out to them upon their arrival ~ underground cities had long been a particular fascination. What had been the circumstances leading to so many ancient underground cities being constructed? Nobody knew for sure, but it seemed to Lisa that they had been a means of escaping the surface. But why? Was it because of climate catastrophe, or some other disaster rendering the surface dangerous or inhospitable? Or had it been situations of siege, or hostile populations on the surface? Or had it been merely a curiosity to explore living in a different environment? An idea suddenly occurred to Lisa that she had been judging life on the surface of the planet as the ideal right way to live, the most preferable option, and life below ground as a second rate choice for survival purposes, but perhaps there were unimagined benefits to living below the ground.

                                        Lisa’s meandering thoughts led her back to the summer of 2014, when the seige situation in Gaza had exploded as the population of the shifting world addressed restriction and shielding energy, creating an amplified imagery at one of the main coordination points. Interconnection was coming on strong, like never before, and individuals the world over, struggling with their own self imposed boundaries, sought for release en masse and joined together to support and encourage each other.

                                        It had been an exhilarating time, but also a frustrating one. Interpretations of the words and messages of perceived authorities became mass beliefs, and for a time the restrictions increased. Those adhering to traditional authorities repeated the party lines, and the so called “new agers”, rooting for change but at the same time terrified of it, and in no small measure, terrified of other people and different cultures, created new mass beliefs based on their old fears. The strongest new age belief was a translation of channeled advice, construed from the vague “focus on the positive” to mean “ignore anything you can’t bear to acknowledge”. Rather than accept differences, initially masses of well meaning individuals criticized anyone endeavouring to acknowledge and accept the global situation, and pushed their advice to ignore the horrors, for fear that they would unwillingly bring anything unpleasant to their own attention. It was ironic to Lisa that the ones advocating not to judge, were the ones that judged her the most for her actions, and the activists judged her far less, while not advocating less judgement at all.


                                          With the aid of the holographic map, Irina, Mr R and little Greenie have been exploring the island.
                                          The next day they found a crashed plane from Aeroflot, not very far from their own landing spot. It was half burried in the mud and covered in green mossy vegetation. The doors were open as an irresistible invitation to enter.

                                          “A surprise, Mr R. I thought that this place was on your map. If I remember well, it didn’t show such an object.”
                                          “Forgive me, madam, indeed this plane wasn’t there when I triangulated the map I showed you.”
                                          “You mean it’s fresh ?” Irina’s voice seemed to suddenly carry some interest. “Maybe we can find some survivors”, she added, already doubting it considering all the moss on teh metallic shell.
                                          “I’m afraid we won’t, madam. I didn’t want to bother you with that little detail until I was sure. There are objects on this island that only appear after a certain date. Have you noticed it also happens with the vegetation and the insects ?”
                                          Irina pouted, “I prefer leaving that to your expertise.”
                                          “Of course, madam”, said the robot, affable. “The paradox is…”
                                          “Another paradox ? How interesting.”
                                          “…that it doesn’t seem to include us, or that little person.”
                                          “Any idea what the implications are ?” Irina began to wonder if there was any danger of being stuck permanently on this island.
                                          “I have several hypothesis”, he began, “The most probable is the lost room hypothesis. We arrived there through time space displacement and are not a natural part of this environment, hence we don’t change with its natural environment or inhabitants because we are not under it’s time sequence according to the Lehmon’s law.”

                                          Irina pouted. She looked at little greenie and thought of the implications about how their new friend arrived there. Whenre did she come from ? For her to be a bog mummy, she must have been there a long time. Or did she arrived already bogged ?
                                          Something caught her attention about the plane and distracted her of further thinking about the subject of their continuity risk in this place. The logo of the plane looked not so oldish.
                                          “Mr R. ? What do you think the date of the crash was ?”
                                          “The plane was lost in 2112.”

                                          Without further thought about safety, she entered the plane, followed first by little Greenie as she have been calling her new protegee, and by the robot who despite still talking about technicalities of accidental space time crossing theory, had turned on his speleo lights.

                                          Interestingly enough, Irina noted the clothes on the chairs or in the alleyways, here a pair of glasses, there a necklace, all layered as if the person wearing them had been puffed away.

                                          “Well, well, what have we here ? The light Mr R, please,” said Irina with as much excitement as a snail. He obliged her with his usual professionalism, revealing a teal blue scarf with pistachio green spirals. She took the cloth and stretched it to have a better look. It was one of those artistic kind of hippy abstract patterns connecting you to the cosmos.
                                          “I can’t think of anybody who would buy that thing, maybe she stole it from one of those duty free shops before they took off,” she said as petulantly as a pitfall trap.
                                          “Come here little Greenie, it’s time to make you pretty.”

                                          Irina did not have the chance to play with dolls when she was a kid, she didn’t know if she had some psychological lack or a bad doyle dating from that unremembered period of her life. She had compensated by toying with real people, playing with their emotions and deeper needs, or what they thought they needed. She became an expert at manipulating others, which gave her her first job in insurances, and then in the secret services. But then, she dealt with adults, showing emotions, or a certain level of brain activity. She wasn’t used to children stored in bogs.

                                          She tried to put the scarf on Greenie’s head, and to smile like she had seen people do in the movies. Although something unexpected happened. Greenie became suddenly distressed and agitated. Then, she punched Irina in the face and began to mumble incoherent things.
                                          That child is stronger than I thought. And at the same time, she noticed a name in that gibberish. Didnt she just shout : “I frigging love you, Sadie Merrie.”

                                          “Her brainwave is showing unusual activity”, stated Mr R. “And my sensors indicate the presence has returned, with some friends. They just appeared outside of the plane.”


                                            Gliding through layers of consciousness, Belen carried her precious cargo of the Santa Maria and its birds towards her destination.
                                            There were various variations of the same 2222, and she carefully adjusted the course along the 202 years gap, so as to swim to her favourite version of it. It required much love work on her part, addressing, piecing and peacing off many parts of human consciousness, while at the same time tenderly caring for the memories stored with her immense ghost body.
                                            The 2020 version they had just left, she knew, was already on the proper track towards global enlightenment. There were still horrors, concerns and anxiety about the course of the future, but with a greater perspective, it looked like the positive actions were gaining momentum and leaning towards a brighter fuller and richer future.

                                            She could feel the Contact Crystal pulsate steadily and it opened her blowhole chakra. Blowing her mind, as it were.

                                            The Big Island was like a beacon, with the flows of lava rippling heatwave signatures in the ocean, and it didn’t take long to enter the stream that would lead them to the pod and the meeting point.

                                            As she sensed they’d arrived in 2222, and that they were floating on the surface of a calm ocean, she gently opened the energy bubble sealing the ghost and alive cargo of birds and vegetation, so they could breathe in the pure air and enjoy discovering around.

                                            Belen, look at you, not a ounce more of blubber since we last met! You ought to tell me how you keep so fit”
                                            “Batshatsassani!” Belen was pleased the see the great female orca who’d come to greet her.
                                            “Still with your entourage, it seems” her friend said without a hint of malice, blowing a few rings of bubbles around in a relaxed manner. “Let me accompany you to the ceremony.”
                                            “With great pleasure, dear. Rest assured, I won’t carry my entourage along for the time of the ceremony.”
                                            “It would have been cumbersome, no?” Oftentimes humour (and irony in particular) were a lost subtlety on the orca’s mind. Belen just smiled to answer, revealing a great range of ghostwhite perfect baleens.

                                            As they swam their way along the beautiful clear ocean, they were greeted by a pod of joyously rambunctious great dolphins, a good half size bigger than their common dolphins cousins she’d seen swimming near the coasts of Portugal. The leader of the pod was doing acrobatics to retrieve and play with a funny scarf made of colorful feathers. It was no surprise the dolphins were playing games, really. That or chasing food took the best of their time. But the scarf was the strangest thing Belen had seen in a long time and it triggered some kind of forgotten memory. Odd thing for her to not remember a memory, unless it was from another probable dimension… She followed the urge to ask.

                                            “Were did they get that?”
                                            “Oh, it’s nothing important… Four strange aquatic thingies went down earlier this morning, making a whole lot of noise around. They looked like one of those aliens, but so clumsy we thought they were probably sickly and left there to die by their tribe. The ‘phins took the fancy red gills from one of them.”
                                            “Are you serious? Are they OK?” Belen huge heart felt panicky at the thought of the small creatures left to die without help.
                                            “Of course they are, I knoooow we have to keep our reputation, you know. Where they are now, I’m not too sure. But the octopi from the camouflage squad are on it, following them. According to the last I know, the aliens have been lost for awhile in the underwater caves. When they’re exhausted, we’ll send them somewhere else… Can’t attract too much attention to ourselves, with the ceremony and all…”

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