3 Day Novel (2002) – New World Order

Small Island off the coast of Thailand – Docks

Teng took a last drag on his cigarette, not really savouring the faint burn and tickle in his throat. Flicking the butt into the water, he shifted the weight of the AK47.

He watched the butt until it bobbed under the pier, wondering idly how long it would take to emerge on the other side. It wouldn’t be much of a game to race objects under the pier, but it would be something to break up the monotony.

Teng glanced at the three other guards, and decided against suggesting it. From their expressions, each of them were lost in their own escapes from the tedium of guard duty.

Teng closed his eyes, and imagined his wife and children in their afternoon routine back on the mainland. He knew that taking this job allowed him to send more money home than any job he could have gotten in Satun, but at least he would have been able to be with them.

Six months more in his contract, and a huge bonus to be paid at the end of it. He couldn’t leave now, when the end was so close. Still, it had been a year and a half since he’d arrived on this island, and he’d done little more than stand on the dock watching people and supplies come and go.

Teng shifted again.

He waved his hand at the faint whine of a mosquito. With a quick motion, he reduced the insect to a gooey spot on his upper arm. He flicked the remnants off with a fingertip.

The other guards seemed nervous, unsettled more than could be explained by the heat and humidity.

A bulky white figure slowly emerged from the forest and walked up the path to the pier.

The four guards subconsciously moved closer to the boats, away from the decontamination suited figure with a blue armband.

“Report to the village,” the figure’s deep and authoritative voice was only slightly muffled by the suit’s helmet.

For a long moment, none of the guards moved.

The air seemed to have stilled and even the incessant insects were silent. Only the whir of the new arrival’s portable oxygen tanks filled the moment.

A cold dread gripped Teng, deep in his body. He was going to die, no wife, no children, no home, and no completion bonus.

He fingered his gun, one clear shot would take out the decontamination suit, if not the man inside.

He made nervous eye contact with his fellow guards, and they all subtly repositioned their machine guns as they fell into a marching order to return to the village.

Ten white suited yellow armbanded figures, with more accurate weaponry, emerged from the treeline.

“Leave your guns here, these gentlemen will be guarding the dock.” The blue armbanded figure turned to head back to the village. “Follow me.”

Teng’s heart sank; he could only hope to prolong his life now by following orders; any attempt to escape would surely result in instant death.

He shivered a moment, and wondered if the people in the compound were already dead.

His three fellow guards had already placed their weapons on the ground.

He glanced back at the boats, maybe it would be better to die quickly in a hail of bullets.

He took a deep lungful of air, to prepare for his doomed run.

The boats bobbed seductively against the pier.

One of the yellow armbands cocked his weapon.

Teng exhaled, and then fell in line behind his three companions. The four men marched down the forest path to the trees to the village beyond.

 

Hospital In the Island Compound

 

In the village’s makeshift hospital, three nurses in decontamination suits with light red armbands moved from patient to patient, taking pulses and temperatures and recording them on charts. They dispensed medicine and changed cooling cloths.

 

The nurses paused their routine only during the familiar short burst of not so distance gunfire.

 

They moved quickly and efficiently, but with the knowledge that these ten patients have no hope of recovery.

 

Dr. Michael Taylor, wearing a Level 4 decontamination suit with a red arm band, moved to the window. Unlike the nurses, the gun fire disturbs him.

 

In the bed nearest the window, Captain Ray Brown, is dying.

 

“Don’t have the stomach for it, Doc?” he gasps out.

 

“What do you mean?” Taylor looks at Brown.

 

“Got to stop the virus from spreading to the mainland, even if it means killing uninfected…” Brown’s last words are drowned out by a coughing fit.

 

“But, we can test the people working in the complex, the ones who aren’t infected…” Taylor protested naïvely.

 

“Would never have been allowed to return to Thailand anyways.” Brown tries to sit up. “Lucky bastards, better to die quick than drown in your own damn body.”

 

“I’ve got some samples being cultured, there’s a chance that I’ll find something, we’ve got some really high tech equipment here.” Taylor tried to sound cheerful. “This is a government operation, after all. We don’t just let people die if we can help it.”

 

Brown coughs a mass of bloody phlegm into a cloth. He looks at the row of empty beds across from his; and folds the cloth to enclose the mass.

 

“This is a covert government operation, doc.  We let people die; and I got about an hour left. Your high tech equipment work that fast?”

 

Taylor shakes his head, “no”.

 

“None of us were getting out of here anyway,” Brown closes his bloodshot eyes for a moment. He is visibly weakening. His eyes open, bright and brilliant blue, the white tinged a yellowish orange.

 

“Captain, if there’s someone you’d like to leave a message for…” Taylor said quietly.

 

“Thanks doc, but there’s not anymore. Family’s a liability in my business.”

 

“Lots of military personnel have family.”

 

“That’s not my actual line of work anymore,” Brown closes his eyes and grinds his teeth against he deepening body pain.  “Doc, can you give me something to kill the pain?”

 

Dr. Taylor goes to the medicine cabinet. He prepares a syringe with morphine.

 

Behind him, Captain Brown’s eyes glow orange. The glow fades out before Dr. Taylor returns with the pain killer.

 

Dr. Taylor pushes the needle into the IV drip.

 

“It should be hitting you any second.”

 

Brown’s eyes snap open and he focuses hard on Taylor. “You’ve got to get the information off the island to someone you trust, someone who might be able to stop them. Because you’re as dead as I am.”

 

Taylor steps back, surprised by the vehemence in Brown’s voice.

 

“I’m not infected, the suit, is a level 4…” Taylor stammered ineffectually.

 

“Doc, shut up and listen,” Brown paused long enough to be sure that Taylor wouldn’t interrupt. “I can’t die with this on my conscience. I’ve never been a religious man, but, just in case there’s an afterlife, I’d like to get into a nice neighbourhood. There’s no hope for a cure, there’s not supposed to be any hope, the virus causing this illness was engineered.”

 

Taylor opens his mouth to protest, but a sharp look from Brown keeps him silent. Brown turns his head to see that the nurses are at the other end of the ward.

 

Beads of blood tinged sweat form on Brown’s brow.

 

“I got transferred from the regular army to a special core,” he explains in a hoarse whisper, “From there, I was recruited for a few covert assignments, transporting groups of third worlders to specially built remote villages like this one. The people were test subjects, it’s been going on for years. Bio-weapons.”

 

Brown closed his eyes against a pain spasm, sucking his breath viciously through his teeth. When Brown opens his eyes again, the white is almost complete blood red. His fever seems to break, and even the coughing is subsiding.

 

Taylor recognized the final stage of the illness. Brown had less than a half hour, it was a bitter twist with the illness that your last half hour, you felt as good as you ever had in your whole life. As if it was the virus’ way of saying, sorry I made you feel bad, these last few days, just before it kills you.

 

Taylor watches him anxiously; he pulls a chair over to sit closer to Brown.

 

“The agency runs an illegal migration operation as cover, most of the migrants end up in the States, Canada, Australia, wherever, and are allowed to be captured and dealt with by the immigration authorities. Sometimes, they let a boat burn on the water, or sink off shore, so there’s the expectation by the migrants that there’s fatal risks.”

 

Brown’s eyes brim with blood tinged tears.

 

“That way, when a boatload disappears wholesale, none of the family left behind try to track the people on it. They assume that their loved ones were lost at sea in a leaky boat or that the shipping container was misdirected and everyone starved.”

 

Taylor sits back. “But I don’t understand why, the government has lots of ways to develop bio-weapons legally, without all of this conspiracy crap.”

 

Brown shakes his head.

 

“Naw, there are regulations, even for covert agencies. Animal testing is a bunch of crap, what works on one species, doesn’t always work the same way on another. And they need something human specific. Rogue covert agencies don’t have moral dilemmas, they like to push the scenarios, just to see how bad bad can be.  The problem with the planet is that there’s too many people on it; and the space program isn’t developed enough for wide scale or  long term colonization.”

 

“No, this is crazy, you’re delirious. We’re a small research facility off of Thailand, not some genocidal clinic.”

 

“Yeah, you’re the doctor and I’m just the dumb muscle.” Brown tries to sit up, but the effort is too much for him. “Doc, I’ve been doing this for five years, you’ve been here less than eight months. Don’t you wonder why this clinic has such high tech equipment, when the buildings in the complex are basically portable tear downs? Don’t you wonder why the generators can power a small city, and there’s less than fifty of us here? Use that educated brain of yours.”

 

A thin sheen of pale pink sweat breaks out on Brown’s forehead.

 

A nurse makes her way over to Brown’s bed. Taylor waves her away. She eyes him suspiciously, and then attends to the other patients.

 

“Look, doc, I started out as security on these junkets. I got to hear a lot of people talk, got to see a lot of paperwork over the years. We’re being lied to, all the time. It’s built into the whole social conscious. It starts with the fairy stories we tell our kids, to the bullshit version of history we teach in our schools. I don’t know how far up it goes in the government, to the U.N.? The president? World Leaders? Probably all just the patsies of the middle management in the public service running special projects with no checks and balances. Was Roswell a cover up of alien contact, or is the alien contact story a cover up for something else? Who knows, doc. The truth it, it’s all lies. You can’t trust anyone.”

 

“It’s progressing very rapidly,” Taylor said, leaning in closer, “Just keep talking, I’ll listen, tell me everything you know, I have a contact on the outside. I can get information out.”

 

Brown nods, “Take a blood sample from me, the virus you’ve been working with is a fake. You’re a new recruit, and they’ll pretend to be legit for another few months, until they know you can be corrupted into their cause. I gotta tell you, the perks are really amazing. That’s if they haven’t already decided to kill you.”

 

Brown closes his eyes again, and breathes quietly. For a moment, Taylor isn’t sure if the man was dead.

 

Brown’s eyes open abruptly, “This round of virus seems to be more effective than the last assignment I did in Cambodia. And the bastards infected me.

 

It’s the old, kill-the-people, leave-the-buildings, but they also need to keep the animals and plants uncontaminated. They need to reduce the human population, dramatically, maybe back down to two billion, maybe a little less. That’s a lot of people in the unindustrialized world to offload.

 

Lots of pollution to reduce, let the planet fix itself until they finish the technology to colonize the other planet.”

 

Taylor is hard pressed to decide if Brown or the delirium is in control.

 

“What other planet? Who’s behind this?”

 

“They found another planet 41 light years away, it’s very earthlike, a younger planet than ours, but the atmosphere is good and there’s lots of water. They’ve sent a few probes and a couple of pathfinders.”

 

“We barely have the technology to locate other planets, we can’t travel that far.”

 

“What the government does, and what they tell people it does is black and white. The only hoax about the moon landing is that we’d been there for twenty years. They just sent a couple of guys a mile away from the colony to clown around and sent those murky images back to earth.”

 

“If we can do that, why don’t we just fix the pollution then? Send the industrial waste to space?”

 

“Pollution is a red herring, it’s the food sources and the livable land area, there’s only so many food producing areas and too many people to distribute it to.”

 

“But we can support more than 2 billion people.”

 

“Look, doc, I don’t know the whole picture, just what I’ve been able to piece together from overheard conversations, paperwork that I’ve come across and conversations with guys in my position the last five years. You’d be surprised what top-secret conversations you get to overhear if you’re the hired help. You don’t have to believe me about everything. I’m dying, what do I care? Why should I lie? You can’t help me.”

 

“So why tell me any of this?”

 

“You gotta stop them. Now, take the damn blood sample and compare the virus in my blood to the one they gave you to study. They’re different, and then get the information out of here, do you have a way to do that?”

 

Taylor looks around.

 

“I have a satellite phone that I snuck in. I have a friend, at the CDC.”

 

Brown nods. He closes his eyes.

 

“Get the needle, you sneaky bastard. How much did you already know? Who are you with, really?”

 

“Only about the medical experiments. The rest of it, goes beyond my wildest theories. I’m not with anyone, I work for CDC, but I’m a free agent.”

 

“So, who are you getting the information to?”

 

“My ex-wife and best friend. We have a small group, but well placed, that work together.”

 

“Funded and organized by someone? Or just a bunch of do-gooder nosy kids?”

 

“Um,” Taylor smiled boyishly, “The second one.”

 

“Great,” Brown closed his eyes, “The fate of the world rests in the hands of Scooby Doo and the kids from the Mystery Van.”

 

“Hey, it’s not exactly like that, we don’t have a talking dog, and there’s five of us.”

 

“Kid, life isn’t like Mission: Impossible and that other crap they pump out to keep the masses complacent.”

 

“Captain, I know it’s not, but if you can’t at least have a laugh along the way, what is the point?”

 

“Dunno. Guess that’s not really very pithy for a deathbed revelation. Guess having a laugh is as good as any other life’s mission. Get the hypo before the nurses come over here.”

 

Taylor goes back to his desk and returns with an empty hypo.

 

Brown doesn’t respond to the needle being slipped into his arm.  The blood in the needle is dark and starting to coagulate.

 

“I’ll get the information out, Captain.”

 

Brown’s face is already slackening, the morphine relaxing him completely.

 

Taylor leaves the ward area for the back lab. He looks at the high tech equipment, some of it more advanced than the CDC lab in Atlanta.

 

He shook his head and wondered why it never struck him before that the equipment was a bit incongruous with the compound. What a complacent freedom fighter he’d become.

 

By the time Taylor puts the vial into the centrifuge for separation, Brown had already stopped breathing.

 

Taylor runs the blood components through a variety of high tech and sophisticated filtering systems, quickly isolating the virus.

 

After running the virus through an electron microscope scan, Taylor compares the on-screen image with the one that the medical centre had previously isolated. They are different.

 

Completely different.

 

Returning to the ward to talk to Brown, Taylor is surprised by the completely empty ward.

 

Hurrying, he grabs the satellite phone and a laptop from a false bottom compartment in his desk and heads back to the lab.

 

He connects the laptop to the desktop computer and saves the scans of the two viruses and several other documents to the laptop.

 

While the files are being swapped, he clamps the phone to the modem port.

 

He quickly taps out an e-mail, and attaches the transferred files and sends the e-mail.

 

The sound of gunshots outside is closer and louder.

 

Taylor leaves the lab and peeks back in the ward.

 

A nurse is leading two suited figures with yellow armbands and guns towards the lab.

 

Taylor returns to the desk, anxiously watching the progress meter for e-mail transmission.

 

“C’mon, c’mon.”

 

The e-mail finishes transmitting.

 

Taylor closes the laptop, and pops the hard drive out, dropping it in a trash bin. He grabs several breakers of liquids from the side table and pours them into the trash, immersing the hard drive.

 

The nurse and a yellow arm banded suit walk into the lab.

 

“Dr. Taylor, you’re needed in the quad.”

 

“Should I bring my bag? Is someone hurt?”

 

“You won’t need anything, it’s a debriefing.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“We’re evacuating the island, you need to be debriefed.”

 

“Evacuating? Has the virus spread that badly?”

 

“Yes, all personnel who’ve been exposed will be left behind.”

 

“There’s something that I’d like to get.”

 

The yellow arm banded suits wait impatiently.

 

Taylor goes back to his desk and picks up a small framed picture of Dr. Lily Adams, his ex-wife.

 

He turns and faces the trio.  “I’m ready.”

 


Atlanta – Lily Adams’s Apartment

 

The darkened studio apartment is an extremely tidy, orderly Ikea furnished home. It is utilitarian, functional, research oriented and with nothing sentimental or overtly personal.

 

Lily’s kitchen spices are organized into a rack of alphabetical savory spices and a second rack of alphabetical baking spices.

 

Lily is sleeping restlessly on an upper bunk bed. Below her in the “lower bunk” office space, her computer screensaver of images of the political assassinations of both Kennedys, Oswald, Martin Luther King Jr., Yitzhak Rabin, and Princess Diana shuts off while her e-mail program launches itself to download new mail with a beep.

 

Lily’s three overflowing bookcases reveal her quest for enlightenment.

 

The first, organized by subject, is filled with medical literature with a strong leaning towards microbiology.

 

The second bookcase, also organized by subject matter, is focused on various philosophies – Darwin, Humanism, Objectivism, a range of Religious Theory, gender politics, morality and ethics, and world histories of conflicts and world communism, technocracy, labour, humanism, socialism movements.

 

The final bookcase, which is not organized, is full of books about secret societies – the Illuminati, Freemasons; Bermuda Triangle, Spontaneous Combustion, Crop Circles, stonehenges, astral project, cryptozoology, Kirlian photography, ESP, near death experiences, ghosts, divination, UFOs, petroglyphs, automatic writing, ancient astronauts, time travel, Atlantis and other related phenomenon.

 

Rejecting all organized religion wholesale, Lily became an atheist early in life. However, a sneaky suspicion that she might be missing something drove her to clinically study religious dogma, and people’s attachments and twisting of it.

 

It wasn’t long before Lily was openly contemptuous of those who had any faith at all; dismissing them as superstitious fools, unwilling or unable to think for themselves, and reliant on the ultimate cop out of ‘god’s will’ to explain not only the unpleasantness, but also the world and beyond.

 

The purpose of religion was little more than a tool for controlling the masses to keep them poor, ignorant and over-breeding future generations of tithing foot soldiers in the war on science and humanity’s true developmental potential.

 

Why everyone seemed to clutch at any external thing to give them validation and definition was beyond her.

 

Even now, it was beyond her comprehension how, in America, the world’s most technologically advanced and scientifically developed country, were we still having court battles over evolution versus creationism being taught in schools.

 

Lily dismissed the current trend of intelligent design as being little more than creationism tarting itself up in the thread-barest housedress of poorly constructed science theory.

 

Education was clearly the problem, not so much as to what curriculum was delivered but how. For people to still think that evolution meant that we descended from monkeys, rather than with monkeys from a common ancestor, demonstrated a problem with how the scientific process was taught, not the process itself.

 

By her college years, Lily was a virtual recluse, spending all of her time in classes or in the research lab. She had little interest in people or their companionship, having far more interest in deconstructing biological systems to better understand concrete inner workings.

 

Intrigued that atoms and solar systems were structurally similar, and guided by the thaumaturgy principle of the part effects the whole, Lily believes that by understanding the smallest thing, we will be able to understand the universe around us.

 

Lily had stopped studying people and turned her mind to more manageable and smaller things – viruses.

 

She and Michael Taylor met and married in college, and he opened her heart to the beauty of the macro natural world and her eyes to the passion of the human heart.

 

Infected by Michael’s passion for life, Lily took her education and research out of the university lab and into the world, working for the Centre for Disease Control, to do work that would benefit the world in identifying viral outbreaks, developing therapies, and contributing to prevention education.

 

In turn, her passion for historical multi-generational cycles, combined with her studies of secret societies, influenced Michael and a small circle of friends to form their own secret society to determine if there really was a secret consortium of individuals running the world – or trying to.

 

What started as a college prank, became a much more serious endeavor as each member began their careers in earnest – in secret government labs or intelligence agencies. As they continued to meet and compare experiences, their suspicions of an organization directing history by manipulating events were beginning to be confirmed.

 

It seemed that the government was too large and disorganized to be in any meaningful control. The group of five began to examine multi-national corporations as the culprits; since they are not accountable to anyone, and have less of a turnover at the top. Companies tend to do longer term planning than administrations that may not even last their full term in office.

 

After Sept 11, 2001, the five became even more convinced that world events were manipulations and not merely unfolding as it would. They began to actively work to expose those working in the shadows.

 

The thought occurred to each of the five that most people wouldn’t want to know the truth of how the world worked, but they all kept this dangerous thought to themselves. A terrible sneaky suspicion that maybe ignorance really is bliss.

 

Rationalizing their unwillingness to allow the bliss to continue, by deciding that the shock of truth was what was needed to force the next stage of human social development. The general population was sinking into a complacent quagmire, their thoughts controlled by a shadowy consortium working outside of government. They needed to be jolted out of it, they needed to be in charge, ask the hard questions and make decisions for themselves.

 

The irony of working covertly to expose covert operations was lost on them.

 

On her narrow bunk, Lily’s foot twitched. Her breathing became harder, as in her dream, she was running, chased though a cornfield.

 

  The corn is dense and lush in the furrows, but somehow, there are open flattened  trails criss-crossing the rows. Lily runs down a flattened path. She tries to elude her unseen pursuers by going into the thick of the corn, only to emerge into another flattened corridor.

 

She hears pursuit noises and runs faster, but the sounds only seem to get closer. She turns several corners and runs into a small round clearing. She looks at the ground, and it is not bare, the corn has been flattened. She screams at the sky for help.

 

Her view shifts skyward, racing towards the stars, then abruptly reverses. A brief view of the whole of the earth, then through the clouds; continents distinguishable and back to the field, seeing herself with her arms raised skyward. Lily is at the centre of an immense and complex crop circle pattern.

 

Shadowy figures closing in on her from all flattened corridors leading to the center.

 

 

There is a blue flash of light, and Lily sits up in bed, sweaty and disheveled.

 

She is disoriented and looks around her apartment, not recognizing anything at first. Her alarm clock rings 5:30 am. Turning it off, she rolls out of her bed into the shower.

 

Her computer fan whirs patiently waiting for her. The screensaver blinks on again.

 

By the time the assassination screensaver has cycled three times, Lily emerges in a bathrobe.

 

She puts some bread in the toaster and moves to the computer.

 

She scans the list of e-mails, deleting the sales pitches, porn links and other junk mail.

 

She opens Michael’s e-mail, reading it slowly.

 

Lily:

It’s worse and bigger than anticipated.

File Virus001.exn is real and at least a level 5 – much faster than Ebola, similar symptoms – could be new hybrid. The virus is engineered. You know what to do.

Source revealed that:

1. Illegal migrant operations provide cover for bio-weapon research. Not sure of the extent worldwide;

2. Research is for genocide to reduce population to < 2 billion;

3. To make time for space program: colonization 41 light years and less than 2 decades away!

Sounds crazy, not sure about reliability – the man was sick and delusional. I can’t really accept it, logically, but he was so strangely sure…

I don’t expect to see you again. They are shooting people who aren’t infected. Still not sure who “They” are – turns out not the military branch of the government.

I love you, I always have, if there is a beyond, I will find a way to contact you – even if I’m not supposed to. There’s got to be a better way to have the last word.

Love

M

 

She closes her eyes against tears, and touches the “M” on-screen.

 

The toast popping up startles her and she gets up to fix the toast.

 

Returning with the buttery breakfast, Lily hits the forward button and selects her distribution list “tennis”.  She deletes the personal lines before sending the message onwards.

 

While the attachments save to the hard drive, Lily pops a blank cd rom into the drive.

 

She opens the recording software and selected “Mixed Mode”, she drags some MP3 music files to band one, and Michael’s files to the second band.

 

This way, anyone casually finding the CD rom would simply think it was a personally produced pirated music CD rom, and wouldn’t likely scan the CD rom for data files.

 

The progress bar pops up.

 

Lily hits the icon for the e-mail and re-reads it. Then touches the computer screen, as if it was Michael’s face. She deletes the e-mail, and the sent item.

 

“I’ll always love you, too, Michael,” Lily said sadly. “You make me hope that I’m wrong and that there is something after this, if only to let you have the last word.”

 

Lily pulls on her clothes, grabs the newly recorded CD rom and leaves for work.

 

 


Atlanta CDC Building

 

Lily flashes her id card at the card reader and enters the lab.

 

The lab, like her apartment, is an organized to an anal-retentive art level. Procedural manuals on one shelf, trade journal magazines in binders with little index cards on the spines  on another.

 

The shelf closest to her computer contains a number of plastic action figures from science fiction movies and comics. Many of these have had limbs and heads traded around.

 

Captain Kirk’s head on Xena’s body with The Thing’s legs dangling from the computer monitor was a familiar sight to visitors to Dr. Adam’s lab.

 

Lily pops the CD rom out of her portable player and puts it in her desktop computer. She makes three copies.

 

While the disc whirs, she addresses three envelopes for the interoffice mail to the other members of her covert collegiate group; well positioned in secret CDC lab facility in Houston, a Health Canada lab in Winnipeg and within the FBI in Washington.

 

She pops a copy of the disc in each envelope, with a short handwritten note to enjoy the music.

 

Lily uploads the virus scans to her SPARC workstation, and uploads the files into the CDC database to run a diagnostic comparison to other viruses in the databank. She minimizes the screen and heads to the lunchroom.

 

Her screensaver of ancient monoliths and petroglyphs being visited by various science fiction television characters starts.

 

Lunchroom

 

The Lunchroom is cheerfully decorated. Several couches line the walls, and the center of the room has tables and chairs. There are a few TVs in the room.

 

One wall has a huge world map, with the currently monitored hot spots indicted with push pins of various colours to match the risk of epidemic outbreaks.

 

There are no pins in or particularly near to Thailand.

 

A few staff members are lounging and eating their lunches. Several of them greet Lily with warm smiles.

 

Lily gets her lunch from the vending machines and plunks down on a couch.

 

“That stuff’ll kill you, it’s just chemicals,” one of the male doctors said, flirting with Lily.

 

“Well, I figure it this way,” Lily bites the chocolate bar. “We’re dumping the chemicals on the crops, so this way, I can just cut out the icky plant part and just get to the scrummy synthetic vitamins and minerals. At some point, we’re just going to be swallowing food pills with drink supplements, so I figure the more I’m used to refined products, I’ll have a jump on all you raw organic people in adapting.”

 

“Lily, you can’t be serious. You must work out.”

 

“The only exercise I get is jumping to conclusions.”

 

“I think that I’m going to have to kidnap you and take you home for a real home cooked meal, just so you can see what you’re missing.”

 

Lily takes a long, slow bite of her chocolate bar, using her teeth and lips to their erotic limits.

 

“Maybe I’m not the one missing anything.”

 

He blushes furiously and leaves the lunchroom to the laughter of the women.

 

Lily bows and finishes her candy.

 

“Anyone watching this soap? I wanna check the news?”

 

The remaining staffers encourage her to change the channel to the news.

 

Lily scans several stations, hoping to hear about anything to do with Thailand. The news is almost over and they are into the funny human interest stories.

 

A story about a crop circle that appeared in England catches Lily’s attention. Lily drops her bag of chips when the image is shown on screen, the crop circle matches her dream.

 

“Are you okay Dr. Adams?”

 

“Um, yeah, it’s the crop circle, I mean, don’t people have better things to do that play in cornfields?”

 

Lily bends over and picks up her chocolate bar and chips.

 

“What, you don’t believe in aliens?”

 

“Sure, I just wonder why they believe there’s intelligent life here. I mean, hang up the corn-phone,” Lily quipped. “They keep leaving these freaky messages that we just can’t return. Give it up already.”

 

The women laugh.

 

“Hey, I think I left a Bunsen burner on in my lab.” Lily gets up and bets a hasty retreat.

 

Atlanta CDC Lab

 

Lily checks on the database search, which is less than twenty per cent done and no matches so far.

 

Switching to e-mail, she starts a new message to her tennis distribution list.

 

Dreamt about Crop Circle, identical pattern shown on news as having appeared last night in Newbury, England.

This is the third time in two months that this has happened.

Not sure what it means, except that I’m going to fly there tonight. It’s getting too insistent to ignore.

I’ll send you all postcards of Donnington Castle.

Have sent a CD of materials, will forward database search results as soon as available.

L

 

Lily leaves the database search running, but turns her computer monitor off.

 

She phones a travel agent and books a flight and hotel.

 

She drops by her manager’s office to request two weeks emergency stress leave.

 

Returning to her lab, she organizes her new journal arrivals and tidies her work area while waiting for the database to finish.

 

 


Atlanta Airport

 

Lily waits her turn to go through airport security.

 

As the guests in front of her pass through the detector, Lilly moves up. She places her overnight bag on the conveyor belt, and holds out her CD player headphones to the guard.

 

He listens to a few bars of Deena Carter’s warbling about her leg shaving efforts and an ungrateful and inattentive husband, and lets Lily pass through the check point.

 

Lily grabs her bag from the other side of the x-ray conveyor belt and heads for the boarding lounge.

 

 

Heathrow Airport

 

Lily flags down a taxi, giving the driver the address for Travellodge in Newbury.

 

“Gonnta see the circle, mum?”

 

“Yeah,” Lily smiled, “I find them fascinating, I’m working on a term paper. I just flew in from Saskatchewan, Canada.”

 

“You fly a lot, then?”

 

“No,” Lily said, “And I can’t say I like it much, something really uncomfortable about being in a tone of metal in the sky. I think I’d feel better about planes if we could make toasters that don’t burn the toast.”

 

The cabbie nods sagely, and lets Lily settle down in the backseat for the ride.

 

Lily watches the street of London turn to countryside, and then small towns dotting the roadside.

 

The cabbie woke her up when they reached Newbury.

 

 


Newbury

 

It was dark when Lily arrived in a local taxi at the farmer’s field with the crop circle formation.

 

Tents dotted the roadside, packed with circle researchers and alternative media. More than one tent seemed to be equipped with a live crop circle webcam that showed mostly the comings and goings of the researchers.

 

A fair number of curiosity seekers had also set up tents and websites.

 

The farmer had let some media and the more credible of circle researchers enter the field; but was keeping the curiosity seekers out. His only means of divination was based simply on those who had equipment that seemed to do something versus those who simply had cameras.

 

Lily attached herself to a group of well-equipped circle researchers and headed into the field.

 

In the field, Lily feels strange, pulling sensation. She is marginally successful at resisting the urge to run into the circle; and she reaches the circle before any of her supposed comrades.

 

Once in the circle, she easily separates from them.

 

Lily walks down the patterned aisles of the tall standing corn. There is an eerie silence, and Lily feels a hum along her skin. She knows that she should be able to hear the other people in the field, but sound does not seem to be traveling normally.

 

She flashes back to her dream, and then shakes the feeling of pursuit off.

 

Lily smiles warmly at a couple of researchers approaching her, one waving what appears to an aluminum foil dousing wand, the other a high end digital camera.

 

She walks the outer circle of the pattern, feeling very comfortable and eerily at home.

 

There is a tone Lily is aware of once she begins walking in the central portions of the circle patter, but no one else she encounters in the circle seems to hear.

 

The few researchers she mentions the sound to express an interest to examine her; but, sensing their particular offers have less to do with any scientific interest, she politely declines.

 

As Lily is about to enter the last circle before the centre, she encounters two older and more gentlemanly researchers, carry more genuinely looking scientific instruments.

 

“Hello, Miss,” the greyer of the two greets her. “I was wondering, we seem to be picking up a sort of pulse the nearer we get to the center, which becomes a…”

 

“Tone the farther out you are?” Lily is excited to have her experience verified by a reasonable appearing person.

 

“Yes,” the younger man says excitedly. “A lower frequency tone the farther away from the center that you get.”

 

“No one else I’ve talked to seems to either hear it or be able to detect it.” Lily felt a unexplained and sudden reluctance to share too much information. “What organization are you with? Your equipment seems a little bit more sophisticated than the other researchers I’ve seen.”

 

“We’re with the International Institute of Paranormal Research, in the crop circle branch specifically. And you are?”

 

“I’ve never heard of it,” Lily said. “Lila Adamson. I’m a student at the University of Saskatchewan. Doing research for my term paper. Thesis, actually.”

 

“Well, Miss Adamson,” the grayer man said, “I’d be interested to know what sensations you receive in the center of the circle.”

 

“Um, sure,” Lily agreed, slightly worried about the two men, but feeling fairly confident that they had no reason to be interested in her. She also assumed that other people would be in the center if she ran into difficulties with the two men.

 

It occurred to Lily only after the men fell into place behind her that she didn’t have any equipment to be pretending to be picking up the tone and pulses. And that the two men never said they heard either, just that they were picking up on the sounds.

 

Lily swallowed, and suddenly wished that Michael had never left Atlanta.

 

For the first time in her life, the thought occurred to Lily that if there was an international consortium running the world, that they would not take kindly to her and her friends attempt to discover and expose them.

 

People who manipulated history and entire countries, would not think twice about making viral pathologists disappear. Michael was proof enough of that.

 

Lily enters the center of the crop circle, the two men close behind her. To her relief, there are a few other researchers in the center, photographing the corn in extreme close ups.

 

Occasionally, one of them excitedly calls another over to look at the way the nodes are formed on the stalk.

 

Lily feels pulled towards the pattern’s center. She struggles against her body’s movements. She moves like a marionette; and is unable to even turn her head to see if the two men are still following her.

 

Her arms rise above her head when she reaches the center. And her body reacts with a jerk as a faintly orange shockwave, pushes outwards in a circle.

 

The few researchers are knocked to the ground. The two men who followed Lily are able to remain on their feet.

 

A football sized orange light appears in the air between Lily’s hands. Its glow intensity increases and decreased in sync with the rhythm that Lily, and now the others present, are able to hear.

 

Lily is able to move freely, but she does not move away from the light. She tentatively reaches a finger to the light’s edge, and then, extends her hand into the light.

 

She is dimly aware of the sound of cameras.

 

The orange ball emits a beam of light; which wholly envelopes Lily. Her body jolts again, her eyes roll back in her head, and to observers, it appears that she is having a seizure while standing up.

 

A gasp and a recoiling, as the observers realize that Lily is actually suspended almost half a foot in the air.

 

“Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn—” Lily tried to enunciate as images download almost simultaneously into her memory.

 

A prehistoric family group of early humans run away through a savanna, the perspective pulls away from them.

 

In a circle drawn in the sand, an Egyptian priest stakes out an animal sacrifice, the perspective pulls away from him.

 

In an animal pattern worn into the ground, an Aztec priest stakes out a human sacrifice, the perspective pulls away from them.

 

In a circle of upright stones, a Druidic priest, stands with his arms raised in welcoming. The perspective zooms closer and the early images repeat.

 

Images of another planet, populated with vaguely elongated human-like figures, form.

 

The figures are friendly, even familiar and welcoming.

 

Images of machines slightly advanced from medieval technology or merely improvements on medieval technology flit through Lily’s mind.

 

These images change to more general images of medieval European times, with lavish and ornate buildings of Freemason Guilds and cathedrals; crowded marketplaces, extremes of poverty and wealth. The time of the Black Death.

 

Medieval banquets halls with men of some importance and rank, with one empty “head” chair, superimposed over the society scenes.

 

Medieval to present time scientists, thinkers and reformers who pushed society a little farther down the enlightenment path – Galileo, da Vinci, Newton, Luther, Union movement, suffragette movement, civil rights movements

 

The same Medieval halls repeated, with the men and their clothing becoming more and more modern; and as the images become more modern, from Victorian time onward, women appear alongside the men at the table.

 

In flashes, almost like a strobe, the secret society crests and symbols, from the Illuminati, to the Knights of Templar to the Freemasons and into this century ending with slight distortions of various corporate logos of multi-national corporations.

 

Chemical formulas, engine schematics and architectural designs flash into her mind. Atoms explode into solar systems.

 

The images slow down, and then Lily is treated to slower and unfolding rolling scenes of an alien landscape, cities in harmony with the alien flora and fauna.

 

The images of people, partway between human and the alien shapes. Each one able to generate light to create effects that Lily could only understand as magic.

 

Then  to spectacular views of space from within a huge spaceship, an agrodome ship with flora and fauna from both planets, hinting at the possibility of traveling to other dimensions.

 

The final image was Lily surrounded by a lavender glow.

 

In the corn field, Lily’s face is rapture.

 

She is slowly and gently lowered to the ground, her body seamlessly able to adjust to having weight, as the light dims, and is gone. The orange ball streaks upwards and is soon indistinguishable from the stars in the sky.

 

Lily stands, swaying in the soft breeze in time with the still standing corn stalks.

 

When she opens her eyes, the two men who followed her are standing directly in front of her, and the researchers who were knocked down are crowded around her in a circle. The clearing is absolute silence.

 

Lily smiles at everyone. She adjusts her backpack and starts to leave.

 

The spell over, everyone is talking at once, demanding answers from Lily.

 

What was it like?

 

What did the aliens communicate?

 

What did it feel like?

 

Do you feel different?

 

Are you possessed?

 

Lily acts confused, but she has never felt this clear about life, the universe and everything  before this moment.

 

The two men make the others back off, to give her some room to think and breathe. They offer to take her to their equipment van.

 

She agrees, partly because of just wanting to be away from the throng and press of the dozen or so people, but mostly because she knows that they are here for her. Somehow, they were expecting her. Her head aches as she recalls their images from one of the modern day occurrences of the medieval banquet halls.

 

Lily knows that she is looking for these men, as much as they are looking for her.

 

Lily follows the two men out of the circle, feigning weakness and confusion to avoid the researcher’s questions.

 

Back on the road, Lily climbs into their van.

 

For a moment, she thinks of Michael, then she disregards her obvious danger. She knows that they need her for something, and that what they need most is her co-operation. As long as they think they are going to have it, they won’t harm her.

 

Lily didn’t question the how or why she knew this, she simply accepted it, and stepped into the van.

 

The mindlink with the alien intelligence had awakened parts of her brain that humans have not generally used. Lily is aware that she has been gently, but purposely evolved a step further than anyone else on the planet.

 

“So, where are you taking me prisoner?” Lily asked chiperly.

 

“What? Prisoner?” said the younger man, trying to deny the truth.

 

“Shut up, she knows you’re lying.” The older man turns to face her. “Just as I know that we are taking you to exactly where you’ve wanted to be for most of your life. To the place where history is made by the Illuminati.”

 

“You don’t still go by that name?” Lily asked, “I mean, how bad Hollywood thriller is that?”

 

“The name is suitable, and we put out the nonsense that the general population believes or suspects may be true.” He starts the van, “But isn’t. I don’t think we’ll need to restrain you?”

 

“No, you’re right, I’m a willing captive.”

 

“Ride up front then, and be a guest instead.”

 

The younger man is disturbed, but changes seats with Lily. He is not about to challenge the older man.

 

They drive only a few fields over, pulling off the road into a dirt track. They arrive at a helicopter pad.

 

 


London – Illuminati International Headquarters

 

The helicopter flies low over the city, and Lily never wished so hard for a camera in her life.

 

“It’s amazing,” Lily murmured, “I felt like I can see the old city and the new, all merged into one time stream.”

 

The helicopter lands on top of a medieval building. There are gargoyles of all sizes and ferocity arranged along the rooftop edges.

 

They disembark from the helicopter and enter through a rooftop staircase.

 

As they work their way into the building, schematics of the building, including secret passageways flash through Lily’s mind.

 

Lily is taken into the present day hall from the medieval vision. She is drawn to the empty chair in the vision, but does not sit in it. Looking at the head chair, it is clear that it has never been sat in.

 

The large room walls are covered in medieval and renaissance tapestries and paintings.

 

The room is two stories tall, and the only modern element is the replacement of a portion of the stone work roof with a huge circular stained glass installation.

 

There are two men, an old man – Frederic, who appears friendly and fatherly, and a younger man, his grandson, Gerald, who looks weak willed and weasel-y. They are both wearing upscale modern clothes.

 

Lily takes the seat beside the empty chair. Gerald winces, but Frederic permits the transgression.

 

“Why were you in the crop circle?”

 

“Lots of people were there, I don’t see them here, ” Lily leaned back in the chair.

 

She could almost feel the presence and thoughts of all of the chair’s previous occupants.

 

“Grandfather,” Gerald stood up.

 

Frederic waved Gerald to sit down again.

 

“You already know why I was there, and what I saw,” Lily stated, “You’re just trying to figure out how much I’m willing to tell you, maybe how much that I understand without your explaining everything to me.”

 

“Refreshing. No attempts to lie or tell half truths,” Frederic smiled at Lily. “Still, you could be somewhat more respectful, I’ve been doing this longer than you.”

 

Lily narrows her eyes. Her view of him shifts, and she can see an aura around him, it’s mostly milky with dark purple-black streaks, and one small red area around his left lung.

 

She clears her mind, and her view returns to normal again.

 

Frederic opens a file folder, with “Dr. Lily Adams” neatly hand lettered on the index tab. Inside are copies of papers she’d had published, newspaper clippings, lists of conferences, a detailed record of her life and career.

 

A wedding photo of Lily and Michael slips partially out of the file. Lily glances away, glad that Michael’s face is hidden from her view by a research paper.

 

Needing to keep her wits their sharpest, Lily pushes the thoughts of him away.

 

“I don’t know who you are, so you have the advantage over me, but I do know, what you are,” Lily’s voice dropped, “So, perhaps, the advantage is mine after all.”

 

Frederic laughs.

 

“Show some respect to my grandfather!” Gerald jumps hotly to his feet. “It’s not just anyone who is invited into the sacred hall, or into the order.”

 

“Ah, so that’s what this,” Lily waves her hand to encompass the room, “is about.”

 

She leans back in the chair, balancing on the rear legs, and puts her feet on the table.

 

Gerald is purple with rage.

 

Lily gives him a bland look, fascinated by the deep purples and violent blues of his aura.

 

Underneath her calm exterior, she questioned her motives in provoking such a dangerous little weasel. She didn’t really know if she was in the catbird seat, but perhaps it was best to play it that way until she learned why they wanted her so badly.

 

She also knew that she needed to be away from here, to give her some time to understand these strange new abilities that were manifesting, and what they meant.

 

“I’m listening.”

 

Frederic clears his throat, and joins her at the table. He looks significantly at her boots on the table top.

 

Feeling that her point was made, whatever point it was, Lily removes her feet and sits properly at the table. She looks expectantly at Frederic.

 

“Since you have been in communication with the aliens, you already know much of what I am going to tell you.”

 

Frederic talks for several hours, detailing a rich historical alliance between the Illuminati and the aliens, explaining that the alien race had evolved as far as they can in this dimension. They are looking for a partner race, with which to interbreed to move to the next evolutionary step.

 

Part of evolution on that grand scale is the joining with another, no one race is sufficient to continue on alone. Perhaps not enough genetic diversity or further opportunities for mutation, and therefore advancement.

 

The Illuminati has been in contact, and indeed started, when individuals were contacted by this other race, through dreams, and other methods.  An individual had to be more enlightened than their peers. The aliens were so advanced, that they could single out an individual’s thoughts from the entire planet.

 

The Illuminati was tasked with pushing human development, science, technology, spirituality and their very enlightenment to catch up with the aliens, so that they could take the step to the next dimension together, as equals.

 

By influencing the churches and the governments at the highest level, they have been able to change and direct the course of history.

 

He explains that in the last century, as direct contact with the aliens became more sporadic, and with fewer and fewer members of the Order, many Illuminate have begun to question the alien’s true intent and nature, and have begun to suspect instead, unknown sinister purposes.

 

As he talks, Lily observes Frederic and Gerald, their auras shifting into ever darker colours as Frederic explains the growing opinion within the Order that the aliens are in fact, evil.

 

Lily is started to see that her own aura is an almost transparent white, with a few streaks of murky grey.

 

She is unclear as to the significance of the colours, but knowing her own heart, reasonable suspects that the darker and more vivid the colour, the more selfish and self-serving the person.

 

Lily looks around the hall – it is a medieval historian’s dream treasure trove of artifacts, all in perfect condition.

 

“So, what is it that you want from me, exactly?” Lily asks again.

 

“We wish you to join us, and to tell us what the alien probe transmitted to you. To make sure, that you are indeed, a chosen one.”

 

“I need to think it over.” Lily stands. “I guess I’ll need someone to call me a cab.”

 

Frederic’s anger flares, but he quickly calms himself before he speaks.

 

“There are many rooms here, it makes sense for you to stay, while you consider our offer.”

 

“I’d rather have my own hotel room, I’m not a prisoner, am I?”

 

“You’re our guest, I insist.”

 

Lily looks carefully at Gerald’s pinched face and bitter expression.

 

He openly glares at her, but she stares him down.

 

“Allright,” Lily turns to Frederic, “But you’ve not really told me what you’re offering me, other than joining the Illuminati. I’m not really sure what’s in it for me to help you against the aliens.”

 

“I would think it would be an obvious choice,” Frederic said. “Choosing your own people over aliens.”

 

“I would choose my own people over aliens,” Lily smiled sweetly. “You just have to convince me that you’re my people. So far, all I know about you and the Illuminati is that you were in league with the aliens to manipulate history, and now you’ve decided that the aliens are bad. They seem to have done very well by you.”

 

“They have stopped communicating with me, a gesture that I can only interpret as hostile.” Frederic stands and moves to the liquor cabinet. “Brandy?”

 

Frederic pours two large brandies and offers Lily one.

 

She accepts it, sipping it lightly.

 

Frederic looks at her expectantly.

 

“Well, Dr. Adams, there’s a great deal of benefit to working with us.”

 

“For example?” Lily was savouring his discomfort more than the amber warmth.

 

“We have technologies decades in advance of what is publicly available. You are a researcher, I’ll let your imagination guide you. But more than that, we have long influence in the government, which provides the research grants. We are slowly introducing the technology advances we have developed into society. You could be the one guiding that process.” Frederic’s eyes were ferverish.

 

“What, no personal wealth? Big house with servants? Private planes and yachts?”

 

“Naturally, that would be part of the package, but you and I both know that wealth is not what drives you. I wouldn’t insult your intelligence with such lowbrow desires.”

 

“Then you should also know that dolling out bits of existing knowledge isn’t going to do it for me, either.”

 

“No, I suppose not.”

 

“You need me to communicate with the aliens, because they’ve stopped communicating with you – but you specifically or the Illuminati as a whole?”

 

“With the Illuminati.”

 

“You need me to be the one who continues to get the new technologies from the aliens, otherwise, you’re going to be out of business in a few decades. You won’t have anything to peddle in exchange for your influence.”

 

“Yes.” Frederic wasn’t sure who he was angrier at, himself for underestimating her, or her for enjoying it.

 

“Well, there’s a flaw in your plan that you haven’t considered.”

 

Gerald watches his grandfather squirm with an exquisite pleasure; his only regret was that he was not the source of it. This woman was very different from the others, very confident, arrogant really. That she was also physically attractive was almost beside the point. He had to make her his ally against his grandfather.

 

“Oh really? Remember, that I have been managing history for the last forty five years with not a lot of loose ends.”

 

“What if I don’t want to join you, no matter what you offer? It seems to me that you need me more than I need you. I’m not afraid to die.”

 

Frederic smiled and downed the last of the brandy.

 

“My dear, don’t be so melodramatic, if you are going to refuse, then you simply leave. If you tell what you know, you will lose the one thing you care about most – your credibility as a scientist.” Frederic looked at her intently, “What it boils down to, is that you will be closer to achieving your truest dreams by working with us than by working on your own, or with your little band of self-important college friends.

 

You are quite correct we do need someone in your situation, but you are not the only one. The choice is really yours, work with us, setting your own terms, or simply leave, and return to your life of banging your head against the proverbial glass ceiling. Your choice really.”

 

Lily studied Frederic’s face, and carefully considered her next words.

 

“Alright, I will stay here tonight.” Lily stands up. “But, I need to know exactly what I’d be agreeing to. I assume that there’s a library here somewhere?”

 

“Yes, of course. Sensible.” Frederic nodded to Gerald.  “Gerald will show you to your room first, and then to the library. You are; of course, free to move about the building. I only ask that you make your decision by morning.”

 

Frederic bows to Lily and makes his way to the door.

 

“Goodnight, Grandfather,” Gerald said, far more pleasant than he meant.

 

“Goodnight, Gerald. Dr. Adams.”

 

Lily just inclined her head, feeling like she was in a twisted Waltons episode.

 

“Well, Gerald, why don’t we just go to the library, I have a feeling that I won’t be needing the room.”

 

“Whatever.” Gerald stood up reluctantly, taking a sudden dislike for the woman, despite his attraction for her. She would be difficult to control; and far more headstrong than her predecessors.

 

Gerald sulked his way out of the room, followed not particularly close by Lily.

 

Lily tries not to gasp in shock as they walk passed lost originals or unknown paintings by medieval and renaissance masters.

 

“So, I don’t suppose, Gerald, that you’d be interested in giving me your view on all of this?”

 

“Not really, anything you need to know, Grandfather will tell you.”

 

“Oh, does he really know everything?”

 

“Everything he needs to.”

 

Lily watches Gerald’s body language closely, wondering just how far she should push him.

 

“And what all does ‘everything’ encompass?”

 

Lily glances around the hall, the image of the stonework overlaid with a technical schematic of the building. The wall shimmers and she can see into secret storage rooms, filled with ancient treasures covered in so much dust, she realizes that even the Illuminati no longer know what they are in possession of.

 

“Sound carries amazing well in these long corridors.”

 

They walk in silence for a few moments, until they reach the library.

 

The room is huge, almost three stories inside and a marvel of medieval architecture with a domed and buttressed ceiling. The variety of gargoyles peering down at the occupants.

 

“Gee,” Lily said, looking up, “I feel like they’d swoop down if I tried to steal a book.”

 

Gerald looks up, as if noticing the gargoyles for the first time. He laughs. An unfamiliar event for him.

 

There is a large round oak table dominating the center of the room; reminding Lily of not much more than a large dartboard with its red center, and cream and green strips emanating from this center and terminating in an outer red ring. One of the strips featured a detailed painting of a man with fierce eyes, a rather exquisite sword and a modest crown.

 

The surface of the table was marred with knife marks, as if the surface had been used for games, as well as dining.

 

Closer inspection revealed a gold inlay forming very old Latin words, along with semi-precious jewels.

 

Lily touches the table gently, feeling it’s age and hearing faint whispers of boasting conversations and political debates.

 

She looks at Gerald for confirmation. He just looks smugly at her.

 

“This is the real Round Table.” Lily could feel her heart racing. She sat at the table, it really wasn’t a game.

 

It was one thing to have suspicions about shadowy organizations manipulating history, and quite another to have your wildest conspiracy fantasies actually confirmed by being in their stronghold and touching a piece of history that was supposed to be a myth.

 

Lily head was full of so much information, and, in the moment, could not trust any of it. She would not have been surprised to see Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny having tea with Churchill down the table from her.

 

It was too overwhelming, yet why had she been able to take her in the cornfield in such an easy stride, when the simple presence of this table was throwing her for such a loop?

 

Lily took a deep breath. Delayed shock. Her whole world was turned upside down, it was too much to absorb for her. The world she knew could no longer exist, how could she go back to her life, working at the CDC, as if none of this happened?

 

Would her friends understand that chasing shadows would eventually lead to discoveries that may not be in the best interest of the world to know?

 

Lily shook her head, she couldn’t have these thoughts here. She knew that Frederic could read her thoughts, maybe he could project them, too.

 

Gerald must not know. Lily knew with certainly that the aliens had never contacted Gerald, and he wanted them to desperately.

 

Gerald watched the play of emotions over Lily’s face. It didn’t take a mind reader or an empath to know that she was deeply conflicted, and having a difficult time absorbing the evenings revelations.

 

He grinned in an oily, evil way that made his ratty appearance jump out in sharp relief.

 

Lily’s revulsion of him pulled her out of her reverie.

 

“So, does your grandfather know you’re trying to betray him?” Lily asked sweetly, “Or would you already be dead if he did?”

 

Gerald smile evaporated.

 

“Why do you think that?”

 

“Oh, um,” Lily pretends to rifle her backpack, “I’m pretty sure that I read it in the script. I got it in here somewhere.”

 

Lily sits back in the chair and looks at him.

 

“Amusing.” Gerald glared at her. “You really have a unique way of expressing yourself.”

 

“Thanks, it was funnier than saying ‘Duh, I can read your mind.’ ”

 

“It’s not a compliment.” Gerald paces around the table, reminding Lily of a reef shark she saw in an aquarium once.

 

“Look, I’m not entirely sure that I trust your grandfather, I think he’s a bit old school. He’s been doing this, what 45 years, the aliens aren’t talking to him, maybe it’s because they want new blood in charge.”

 

Gerald, who was not without some naturally bred abilities, looks at her, wondering if she ever presents an honest face.

 

“Have you always been able to tell people exactly what they want to hear, or is this a recent talent?”

 

“Recent, actually.” Lily realized that she’d really never been good with people, until Michael. She realized with a shock that her friends had all been his friends first.

 

“Fine, we can play word games in a battle of wits, getting up each other’s noses all night, or we can just be upfront with what we want. I’ll even go first. Deal?”

 

“Okay.” Lily withheld several sarcastic retorts, in the interests of shortcutting what would have been a fun, but ultimately unrewarding strategy.

 

“Alright,” Gerald sits at the table, two seats away from where King Arthur would have sat. He smiles in an almost charming and self-deprecating way, and moves one seat closer to the King’s place at the table.

 

“I do want to lead the Illuminati, to a brighter future than my grandfather can conceive. I want to move out of the shadows, to the open. I’ve already begun to make strategic alliances with several corporations, who will be filing a variety of technology patents for transportation, energy, computers, food production, entertainment, every industry really.

 

I want to lead the whole world in a giant step forward, but as the head of a large multi-national, not from behind the scenes in an outdated secret society.

 

What my Grandfather didn’t tell you, is that the Aliens only maintain direct contact with one person at a time, and that person is deemed to be the leader of the Illuminati, for they are the only one who really know the future.”

 

“But he sort of implied that there were others. Was that just to downplay how much he needs me?”

 

“My turn to say, what was it, ‘Duh.’ ” The ratty grin returned briefly to his face.

 

“Okay, yeah, I can see how that’s annoying. You were saying?”

 

“In the early days of the Illuminati, there were more people in direct communication, but it caused power plays, and the original organization, you know them as the Druids, wiped each other out in internal power struggles.

 

For the past 600 years, the contact has been a family affair, direct line descendants. My family has been substantially changed because of the continual communications. You’ve guessed that it changes you, the aliens need us to evolve, so we can join with them.

 

In the 1890’s, we thought that there was some urgency to human developing faster, it’s why the Industrial Revolution was such a huge leap forward in technology. It changed not only our production methods and labour base, but the whole fabric of society.

 

It’s why technology is starting to outstrip our ability to absorb it’s impact again. We’re in a race with another planet to be the one who step forward to new dimensions with our alien friends.

 

We’ve got to get there first, or we’ll just die out on the planet with a failing environment.”Lily sits bolt upright. “But if we had a smaller global population, we could make our planet last a lot longer.”

Gerald sits back, considering this option.“Yeah, I suppose that we could, but what would be the point? We’d have missed our chance for further development. We’d be a dead end, there’s only so far we can evolve here on Earth, we’d just be putting off the inevitable.”

Lily sat back and analyzed Gerald’s words and tone of voice. He clearly wasn’t a part of the bio-weapon manufacture that Michael had stumbled on. Maybe it was a government project, but how could the Illuminati not know about it if they weren’t the ones driving it.Or maybe Gerald just didn’t know.“But what if the person who’s supposed to be driving humans to further development, really isn’t ready to go there himself?”

“I don’t follow you.” Gerald waited for her to explain.

“Not sure how the pieces fit together yet.” Lily looked up at the leering gargoyles. “tell me more about what you know about your grandfather.”

“The rest of the Illuminati do not know about you,” Gerald said. “Very few even know that the contact with my grandfather has stopped. Mostly those who I’ve recruited into my support base. I think that the aliens have lost faith in my grandfather.I think it happened when he began to suspect that the aliens are actually using us, as we use animals for experiments, as cannon fodder for battles with other planets, and for other sinister purposes not yet imagined by us lesser humans. I think he got disillusioned when he caught a stray fragment of thought from the alien that Earth is only one of the races that the aliens are pushing to develop for the Joining. That we aren’t the only ones. He felt betrayed. Who knows what purpose these aliens truly have, but, since they have not chosen to actually reveal themselves to the Illuminati or to the world at large, then Grandfather’s  conclusion is that the alien’s purpose is not in the best interests of humans.They gave us the technology that has so polluted the earth, and only recently were doling out the tech to fix the problems.”

“Yet those fixes are being released awfully slowly.”

“Well, we still need to maintain a profit margin. We have the tech to clean up the whole environment and create clean fuels now, we’re not quite to the brink where the tech the Illuminati have can’t reverse the pollution.The main issue now is that the Illuminate are looking for ways to thwart and prevent an assumed take over by the aliens and to redirect the course of human history in a path in the best interests of humans.”

“Did it occur to your grandfather that the aliens stopped communicating with him because he’s working against them? Has he gone paranoid senile? During the joining, there can be no secrets, it’s a pure communication. If I joined your grandfather, working against the aliens, they won’t talk to me either. They’d know I was in league against them.”

“It’s why I believe the aliens are our best hope, I don’t think that they can lie either. It’s why Grandfather found out that the Earth is not the only choice the aliens have.”

“So, if the leader of the Illuminati is the one the aliens talk to, doesn’t that mean that I become the leader?”

“Grandfather will not step down gracefully. I think he would not want anyone to know about your being in contact. He’d have you tell him everything and he’d act like it was direct form them to him. And, I am the heir, don’t forget.”Lily laughs. “I think that the aliens, and not bloodlines are in charge.”

Gerald recoils, stung by her laughter.“So, you want to lead an ages old worldwide organization that you know only fairy stories about?”

“No, actually, I don’t. I didn’t want any of this.”

“Didn’t you?” Gerald stood up and began to pace again. “Why have you spent your adult life chasing us then?”

“I,” Lily stopped abruptly. “I’m not sure why. I always wanted to be a scientist. In high school, I became interested in history. Real history, not the pabulum they spoon-fed us in school.”

Gerald leans very close to Lily.“And why do you suppose that was?”

Lily looks up at Gerald, feeling very much like an errant child with the proverbial cookie jar.“I’m not sure.”

“The aliens were already influencing you, directing your development to their ends.”

“I don’t want to lead the Illuminati” Lily feebly protested.“I don’t want you to either, I’ve waited my whole life for that contact, I’ve been born for it, so don’t think that I’m pleased about you showing up.”

“So, we return to sarcasm and barbs. Just when we were getting to be friends and allies.”

“Well, let me offer you another deal,” Gerald sat down beside Lily. “Neither of us want my Grandfather in charge. He’s broken faith. Neither of us want you to be in charge. I want to be in charge, but you have the inside track on it. So, we work together. You give me the information the aliens give you, and I will return the Earth to it predestined path.”

“Faith? Destiny?” Lily shuddered. “Not exactly welcome words in my vocabulary. I need some time to think. Your Grandfather said I could have the run of the place. I’d like to stay here. I’m a researcher, I only believe what I can touch and measure.”

Lily waves her hands at the books, parchments and scrolls on the walls.

“You’re going to have to expand your vocabulary then.” Gerald stifles a yawn. “You can’t determined what’s happened to you with measuring instruments. You’ll just have to rely on more of your senses than your skin. You’ll have to use your feelings, as much as your intellect. They go part in parcel.”

“I’m not sure what’s more upsetting, that I have to think in a new way, or that I have all these new things to think about.”

Gerald’s facial expression softens briefly, “Give yourself some time to adjust, it’s been less than ten hours since your first contact.”

“It that how it usually happens?”

“What?”

“I dreamt that I was in a crop circle, the perspective in the dream showed me the pattern. The next day, I saw the pattern on the weird story portion of the news, and I had an overwhelming compulsion to go to Newbury.”

“It happens in different ways. I remember Grandfather was able to just meditate and he said he was in contact.”

“I have a feeling that it’s a one way initiation process, they have to want to communicate something. Not sure why.” Lily was suddenly exhausted. She stretched and yawned.“Are you sure that you don’t want to have a room, the library will be here tomorrow.”

“No, I’d like to look up a few things.”Gerald headed for the door.

“Tomorrow, then.”Lily had a sudden and unwanted image of having a child with Gerald.

The image was so foreign and clumsy, that it had to have been projected into her mind by Gerald. Lily shook her head to clear the image. She toyed with sending him a few choice images, or at least phrases back, but decided against it. Instead, she put up a metal barricade to prevent further intrusions.

Lily, no longer tired looking or feeling, didn’t move for several moments, just scanning the book spines from her central position.

Having now plotted a course of research, Lily moves up and down the shelves, devouring the books and parchments at a rapid, inhuman pace.

Revolution in the Ranks

Gerald felt Lily’s barrier slam her mind closed. It had exhausted him to project the suggestion. He leaned for a moment against a wall to steady himself.She was strong, even before the contact.

Gerald felt a chill as he considered just how far the aliens had evolved her. Gerald knew he was in a race, not with his abilities against her, she was far more powerful, but against how fast he could mobilized against her before she learned the extent of her abilities.He hurried down the hallway to make preparations.

It begins

Daylight shines through the high stained glass windows of the Great Hall.Frederic sits in quiet meditation, waiting for Lily. He is impressed by her speed at adapting to her new abilities. He was already not able to read or direct her thoughts, and she’d pushed Gerald’s clumsy attempts aside like so many mosquitoes.

Still, Gerald was not to be underestimated, having come by his abilities through careful breeding rather than direct contact and forced evolution. Gerald may yet have abilities beyond what he’s demonstrated.Underhanded weasel.Frederic never approved of his daughter’s choice of husband. The man had the wrong sort of background, and Gerald had inherited many of his more annoying traits from him.

Gerald entered the hall, flanked by three large men.Loyalty was something Gerald could never be guilty of.Frederic closed his eyes, a faint green glow surrounded his head, formed into a small ball and disappeared into the wall.

“Grandfather,” Gerald said, “No one will help you.”

“Gerald,” Frederic said, “I don’t need any help.”

Frederic stood; his hand appeared to be on fire.

Gerald’s henchmen stepped backwards fearfully.

Frederic fires two intensely green balls of light, each one striking a henchman.The ball wholly engulfs each man, each of whom are seen silently shrieking only briefly before they are consumed by the light. The ball contracts and returns to Frederic’s hands, leaving no trace of the men.The third henchman runs out of the room, leaving Gerald to face his grandfather alone.

The older man’s confidence is shaken by the calm look on Gerald’s face.

“Why aren’t you afraid of me?” Frederic’s voice was menacing. “I could destroy you as easily as I did your henchmen.”

“I know something that you don’t.” Gerald’s arrogant look was insufferable.

“What?”

“Technology is more reliable than magic abilities that depend on something as frail as a human body, even one as advanced as yours.”

Frederic’s hands glow a brilliant green.“Seems I have energy enough to rid myself of an ungrateful grandson.”

Gerald pulls a small black control box from his pocket.

Frederic squints at it.“What’s that?”

“Revenge for my father,” Gerald said, calmly. He presses a button, and a simultaneous bright light flashes and very low frequency sound waves are directed at Frederic.

Frederic’s hands fly up trying to block the light flashes, which disorient him. He doubles over with sound wave induced nausea.

Gerald calmly takes a hand gun from an inside jacket pocket, and shoots his Grandfather.

“Not so hard to make the tough decisions, after all,” Gerald smiles his ratty smile.

Library

In the library, Lily is surrounded by a brilliant green aura.

In a series of images narrated by Frederic’s voice, the true Illuminati history is revealed:

“Aliens contacted several selected humans, who formed a secret society to direct the human course to greater enlightenment, in gradual developmental stages.The society splintered, each member believing that they were the true path. Eventually, even this original branch group became corrupt, using what they learned from the aliens for their own ends and benefits, believing themselves to be superior to mere humans.We began in the 1700’s to manipulate human events for profit, rather than social development. The known world no longer good enough, we began to force exploration to new worlds. Exporting resources and people like playthings.Whatever it took to fill the coffers, the promised future with the alien joining was so far off, it seemed harmless, let the future Illuminati worry about the evolution, there was money to be made.The world was easy enough to push along into trade, territory and religious wars, and when the world wasn’t willing to war, it was easy enough to manipulate a Pearl Harbor or the Sept 11 attacks to prod the population along. Rabble rousing was a fine, and long standing tradition going back before the crusades.All to keep the world population, off balance, consuming products, not working together. By working to slow the human development down, we believed that we could get more and more knowledge from the aliens to speed us on our way.Lily, your contact is the first direct such contact in about 50 years, and in my last contact, I understood that Earth is not the only planet that the aliens were cultivating to form a partnership with. The Illuminati, by taking for ourselves, may have lost humans their best chance at a future. Our own shortsightedness, our own arrogance.Gerald is here to kill me, and perhaps I deserve it. You must get out, do not trust Gerald, his is not the way of the humankind’s future. You are our only chance, if we are to have one. That’s why the aliens contacted you, you are the chosen one.You must escape now, but return when you understand the scope of your powers, and take Gerald off the seat of power. You must bring the Illuminati back to their true and original purpose to help humankind.”The green glow fades away from Lily.Leaving the ancient texts scattered along the table, Lily pulls the building schematic from her memory. She moves quickly to the last bookcase on the west wall, and triggers the mechanism to open the door to the secret passageway.She slips into the darkness, closing the bookcase behind her.

Secret Passageway

“Shit. Light.”A faint lavender glow surrounds Lily’s hand.“Okay then.” Lily takes a calming breath and then wiggles her fingers experimentally.“This is getting too freaky.”Holding her hand ahead of her, Lily makes her way down the passageway.Every twenty or so feet, there are archways leading to other secret passage doors or hidden storerooms full of forgotten medieval and earlier treasures of artworks, texts and historical artifacts.After following several twists and turns, Lily uses another forgotten secret door to come out in the main entrance hall, and simply steps out, unchallenged, to the street.Lily walks a block away and hails a taxi.

Paris

Lily emerges from the bathroom, dressed in a dressing gown and drying her hair.Wrapping the towel around her head, she sits at the writing desk and checks for e-mail on the laptop computer.There are three instant messages, one from each of her friends. Each person expressing their joy at her being safe, and amazement at the limited tale she provided.Each of the Winnipeg & Houston laboratory technician friends confirmed Michael’s thoughts that the virus was a genetic engineered hanta-ebola fusion. There were other components, but a live sample would have to be cultured to make a proper determination. Her Washington FBI friend reported that a small island off Thailand was reduced to ash when a wildfire broke out. Remnants of a small village, which should not have been there was located, along with remains of bodies, so reduced to ash and fragments, that they will never know how many people where there, or be able to identify them. She writes the group that she has discovered the real Illuminati and that they must come to Paris.

  Lily: I can’t explain everything right now, but your lives as you knew them are over, and a new one is about to begin, and I need you in Paris and be ready when I call you. Let me know which hotel you are each in – stay in different ones.Kyle in Winnipeg: You’ve made the media – there are reports that a woman was in the Newbury crop circle, in contact with aliens and whisked off by 2 MIBs. Even the mainstream media is carrying the story.Teresa in Washington: But there’s no photos – no one’s pictures turned out – that’s a story in and of itself. All the camera and video tape shot turned out blank, but there’s a lot of personal eye witness accounts. Light glowing, you floating.

 

Lily: I’ll fix it. Get here as soon as you can.

 

Warren in Houston: Keep yourself safe, Lily. We’ve already lost Michael.

Lily logs off the internet. “What the hell am I going to do?”Lily paces around the room. She looks at her hand again.“I guess it depends on what I can do.”Lily sits down at the laptop again, and opens Photoshop. She creates an image of a woman very similar to herself in mind, with the glow around her, but including a small support stool and a partial light projector in the upright cornstalks. She closes her eyes and touches the computer screen.The image begins to generate row by row in the software.Once the image is complete, Lily begins to manipulate the image with the clone tool to make it appear to any serious observer to have been faked.She spends the next several minutes uploading the image to newsgroups and news websites.Then, smiling, she drafts a news release about an upcoming movie about crop circles, inserts the image and e-mails it to mainstream news websites.“Should have thought of that first.”Lily turns off the computer. She moves to the bed and lies down.Stretching out, she spends several moments staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep.“Well, kiddo,” Lily sighed, “Whatever you expected was gonna happen when you discovered the Illuminati, this sure as hell wasn’t it.”In college, everything was so clear. The group of five friends would find a way to discover the real truth behind history, current events and multi-national corporation involvement in all of it. They would expose all the wrongs, the lies, and the manipulations.The multi-national corporations would be made to clean the environment, eliminate global poverty and create a fair distribution of food and natural resources to all people, not just those few lucky enough to live in proximity.The world just didn’t have to be as unfair as it was, and it was our own disregard of each other, the intolerance, the willingness to screw each other into the ground for a buck that made it that way.How naïve to think that the five of them, smart alec know it alls with fancy degrees could bring down a centuries old system of greed and global control.How naïve to think that, if by some fluke, the five were able to get close, that they’d be allowed to escape with their lives, never mind bring the system crashing down around their ears.Never mind being heroes.What if the world didn’t want to know?What if the world wasn’t ready for the truth?How happy had she been to find out there wasn’t a Santa Claus, an Easter Bunny and a Tooth Fairy. Why do we tell ourselves these lies?Lily looked at the ceiling tiles hard enough until she was able to see the stars in the night sky.There were millions upon millions of them. Too many to count.A streak of a satellite marred the night sky.Lily had never felt so alone and adrift before in her life.She was different now. She could feel it in her cells, feel her cells even. If she concentrated hard enough, she could feel her blood flow, the throbbing, gushing, pumping, sloshing; she could feel it all.Alone.She realized that’s why we tell ourselves lies. To make ourselves more important, more comfortable with the world. Santa Claus and that ilk to keep children behaved and under control. Religion to keep us under control and tell us how to behave, what to think, and what to think of others; but mostly to make us feel important in the face of all those stars.

 

Advertising to make sure we never feel good enough about ourselves, even when we buy their useless or poorly produced products.

 

And of course, Christmas specials with the oh so happy families, just to make sure any shred of self esteem we might have remaining was firmly extinguished in the face of not being able to measure up to what’s supposed to be normal. Whose family could possibly measure up to television programming? So many stars, that a large number of them would have to have planets; and a lot of planets would have to have life. Law of averages if nothing else.Controlled and behaved.Controlled.And now, she was facing a future where she would be doing that controlling.The aliens had changed her. She was smarter, and she could make things happen. Make anything happen by thinking it hard enough.
If she couldn’t cope with this change, how could she expect the complacent general public to accept that they really weren’t alone, and that aliens had been working with a select group of humans, throughout history, to manipulate towards a cosmic one night stand, so their mutual offspring could journey to another dimension.Lily had a headache just thinking about it.If we really knew how insignificant we were in the biggest picture, we’d just sit down and cry until we were dead from dehydration.A memory from her early school years floated to her head.It was as if she was back in seventh grade, her teacher standing at the back of the room, with the projector, showing slides of ancient ruins of Rome. Explaining how it fell through over expansion, a bloated and corrupt government, undisciplined army, but mostly a loss of pride and meaning in Roman citizenship.Lily put her hand up, “So, all these civilizations we’ve been looking at, Roman, Egyptian, Aztec, Sumerian, they all had a rise, a peak and a fall?”“Yes,” the bored teacher said.“So, does that mean that western civilization as we know it is on the rise or the decendancy? How can we tell, did the ancient Romans know?”The class laughed at her. So did the teacher.“Our civilization just is, and will always be. We’re not rise or falling, we’re progressing.”“But,” Lily said, “That’s probably what they all thought too.”Lily supposed that that was the moment she realized two things. She was smarter than everyone, and grown ups didn’t understand things better than children.She set about from that time onward to discover for herself the truth, no longer passively accepting things she was told by media and information sources. If she herself hadn’t tested it, measured it, experienced it, verified it, then it was unreliable information.Lily let go of the stars, and counted the ceiling tiles again.Never once occurred to her that the secret society she wanted to bring to an end might actually recruit her into their ranks. That, if she played her hand correctly, she would lead it. That she would be the one deciding what information and social mores wouold be trickled down to the masses.It just went against her very nature, while appealing to her ego in a huge way.It also never occurred to Lily that Michael wouldn’t be a huge part of her life. She really hadn’t given herself anytime to absorb that he was dead.He spent so much time away from her, their work took both of them away from home. It was easier to be divorced than married. But the divorce never changed their relationship; it just let the guilt be gone from the lack of attentiveness. Now Michael wasn’t going to be here, and Lily wasn’t sure how she was going to get along without him. She’d have to find a way to get along with him; and part of that was making sure she was really going to be without him. She wondered if there was the slightest chance that somehow he survived.Lily closed her eyes and thought of Michael. A soft lavender glow surrounded her, and Lily had the sensation of flying.In a few moments, her consciousness returns to the Paris hotel room. Michael was nowhere that her mind could reach him. He was truly gone from her, and the world.Michael’s own words came to her, forcefully: ‘Suck it up.’Lily took a deep breath. She’d do it.She’d get rid of Gerald, and she had no choice but to take over the Illuminati. She could do it, bring a new age of knowledge to the world. Would do it. No more legislated poverty, people would be more inclined to work together if they had full bellies and a solid roof over their heads.Science and reason instead of religious dogma.It had to happen; the opportunity was now, before the aliens advanced with the other planet. Otherwise, the world was like her marriage; if it wasn’t going to go anywhere, change anything, why race into it?If we’re not playing our best, there’s no point in playing at all.Lily drifted into a fitful sleep.
LondonGerald, from the seat on the right of the empty head chair, called the meeting to order. Twenty-three men and women watched, as Gerald greeted and welcomed them all to London.The room does not hold any clues as to Frederic’s true end.“My grandfather passed away last night. I ask for your endorsement to lead the Illuminati, like all of my family before me. I live to serve.”There is light applause, disrupted by a banging in the adjacent front room.Gerald looks at some guards significantly. They rush out the doors to deal with the problem.“Now, as I was saying,” Gerald continued, “My Grandfather…”The stained glass installation in the ceiling explodes as Lily rappels down the wall. She lands on her feet on the banquet table.“Apologies for the dramatic entrance, saw it in a movie once, and I just always wanted to do it,” Lily undoes the rope harness and jumps down to the floor. “But this man, is a murderer, he cannot lead human kind towards any kind of future that we should follow.”Gerald is purple with rage.“You lying bitch!” Gerald lunches for Lily, who sidesteps him easily.“I am in contact with the aliens, I am the chosen one. I am Dr. Lily Adams. I am here to fulfill my destiny and to complete the work that the Illuminati started centuries ago.”“I am the direct line descendant of countless generations of Illuminati leaders.” Gerald glared at her. “You are an interloping outsider.”Lily throws the newspaper, proclaiming the crop circle hoax on the table for all to view. “I bring you not only proof of my words,” Lily paused for dramatic effect. “But also that I’ve already put the cover up for the masses in motion. I have the true interests of the aliens and will lead you back to the true path of the Illuminati.There are rumblings that many do not want to return to the older path, that they are content to bleed the earth for their own benefit. That they believed the alien story was simply a story to recruit people into helping the Illuminati to become powerful.Much like the story of a vengeful god gave rise to their rival, the Catholic church.”Many of the Illuminati present are clearly swayed by her words. Focusing on those who are not yet swayed, Lily continues. “I am a doctor, a researcher, and I bring the truth and I will not withhold it from you.”She focuses her thoughts, and from her mind, projects the images of the alien landscape on the walls.The assemble members gasp, many weeping, many pledging alliance to Lily. “Lies! Lies and trickery!” Gerald was nearly hysterical. “She’s a fake!”“The best proof of who I am, is that Frederic sent people for me, and brought me here, How I could have come to be here, if I had not been brought? I wouldn’t even know where to begin to look for you.” Lily watched as the last of the resistance left the faces of the Illuminati council. “Frederic wouldn’t have brought me if I had not experienced what I did: the first direct contact with the aliens in 50 years. That I am willing to fully share with you all.”Gerald watches as his plans fall to ruin. “I am Frederic’s grandson,” Gerald’s voice was increasingly shrill. “I am a direct blood descendant of the first. We have always lead the council, and we always will.”Gerald leaps onto the table, his hand glowing with a reddish brown. Swinging his hand furiously, he lets loose a bolt directly at Lily. Lily steps backwards, and throws up a defensive shield just before the bolt strikes her. The bolt is reflected back at Gerald, who avoids it by jumping off the table.A four century old tapestry catches fire, as the illustrious Illuminati council scramble ignobly for cover or exits.Lily crouches down to concentrate her power, she stands, her arms outstretched and a lavender shockwave emanates outward from her.The lavender wave picks Gerald up and hurls him into the burning tapestry; then continues outward, slowing down time.The Illuminati counsel members continue to scramble, but in slow motion towards cover and exits. Only Lily and Gerald are unaffected by the time shift.Gerald slides down the wall, screaming in terror. He hits the ground, rolling to his feet.Clenching his fists, a brown aura emanates from him, dousing the flames.“Betrayer!” Gerald spat the word at Lily. His right hand balances a pulsing ball of brown light.“Well, Gerald,” Lily generates two lavender balls of light on each of her hands. “I thought about your offer, and then it occurred to me that I don’t actually need you. I have the aliens on my side.”Gerald hurls the light ball at Lily, and generates a second and a third. He hurls the energy at Lily as fast as he can generate them.Lily vanishes in the hail of brown light.Gerald is tired, the light he is able to generate is weaker. He stops, and re-absorbes the last generated energy back into himself.Lily appears behind him. She taps him on the shoulder.“Tired yet?” “AAAhhhhhhh!” Gerald lunges at her, trying to choke her. Lily easily sidesteps him, pushing him to the ground.“You don’t stand a chance against me in a power slugfest, Gerald, your breeding pedigree notwithstanding.”“I’m far from done.”Gerald nimbly jumps to his feet, throwing up a brown energy shield.Lily hurls three lavender energy balls, draining Gerald’s shield of power.The battle rages on between them, Gerald trying to kill Lily, Lily merely draining Gerald’s energy.Lily generates a lavender rope of light, and entangles Gerald.He lies, gasping for breath, his body unable to regulate his body temperature because of the huge over expenditure of energy.“Gerald,” Lily said, “You’ve lost. Cope with it.”“No, I can’t let you take everything away from me!”Lily touches his forehead, and sends out a small cooling wave of lavender, healing the damage he’s done to his body.Gerald tries to pull away from her, but the energy rope holds him firmly in place.“Nooooo!!!” Gerald screamed, generating a brown wave to counteract the lavender one. Gerald’s body ignites from within, consuming the lavender wave and the energy rope. He is quickly reduced to fine ash, the carpet underneath not even singed.Lily is sweating, has some oozing wounds. She tucks a tendril of hair back over her ear. She walks out to the entrance room, and smiles at the cowering counsel.“I think there’s a motion on the table to appoint a new leader,” Lily said solemnly.Lily’s friends, Warren, Kyle and Teresa fall in with the Illuminati counsel members to re-enter the banquet hall.There are no signs that the physic battle took place, even the burnt tapestry has been restored.“I told you, I am a healer, I have not come to destroy, but to remove the cancer within the society, to bring you back to the true path, for time has become short, and we have less than five generations to become ready.”Lily closes her eyes, and is surrounded by an lavender glow. Her wounds heal instantly.The council members take their seats. Her three friends remains standing at the periphery of the room.Lily walks up behind each person, looking at their auras. Each of them have some taint of dark violent colours, to varying degrees.She removes two of them, Gerald’s staunchest supporters. She passes a hand over them, and wipes their memories.“Take them away, deliver them to a local hospital, they will remember nothing, but will be able to become productive members of society, eventually.”Lily mounts the steps and takes the centuries empty head chair for her own. No one objects, and Lily’s moment of destiny is anti-climactic.

“I’d like to introduce our newest members, Warren, Kyle and Teresa.”The three take the seats recently vacated by Gerald and his two supporters.A lavender glow envelops her, and spreads quickly to fill the room, it recedes and each of their auras is now almost all a crystal clear light.Lily smiles, “I am appointing these three replacements to the counsel.Ladies and gentlemen, intellectual and technological enlightenment is nothing without compassion. We must prepare as many of our people as we can for the step ahead, and we have less than five generations before it is too late.As you suspected, we are not the only ones being considered by our alien mentors, and we have fallen very far behind where we should have been. But I am going to allow you a chance for redemption; we need to work harder than before to bring about the positive social changes that will allow us to enter a new era of our development.If you do not wish to join me on this adventure, then tell me now and you will be free to go. I will not rule this counsel with fear. Everything we do from this point forward, must be done as above board as possible and with the best of intentions: advancement of humankind.”Lily closes her eyes.She sees flashes from around the world of artists, scientists, thinkers, builders and other creators. She sends each of them a tiny nudge from the vast store of knowledge provided to her from the aliens. Each person her mind touches has sudden flashes of creativity and knowledge insights or logical leaps, guiding their work and creations to new levels.“We must build in earnest, if we are to be the ones who go forward to a new era.” Lily looks around the room, with a twinkle in her eye. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Revalian – Station HeadquartersTwo junior executives, bearing the latest ratings report for the reality TV show, The Terans.The slightly more ambitious of the two knocked on the office door of Utür Vlezdi, Senior Programming Vice President, Reality TV Division.“Enter,” came the baritone voice.The junior executives exchanged smug looks and then entered.The room was darkly furnished, and one wall was covered with awards for The Terans, the stations longest running reality soap opera.“Well, the Dr. Adams takeover sequence seemed to go down with the viewers all the same, judging by the telemessages so far. Do you have the ratings report?”The junior executive handed the ratings report to Vlezdi.Vlezdi scanned the numbers, pleased.“Excuse me, sir,” said the non-report bearing junior executive.“What is it?”“I don’t understand why Dr. Adams has all these powers, above and beyond what all the other contactees have had, I mean.”“It’s simple, humans believe what they are told, and we never told Dr. Adams what her limits are.” Utür Vlezdi smiled, “Indeed we are going to have some fun, Dr. Adams.”

 

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8 Responses to 3 Day Novel (2002) – New World Order

  1. dykewriter says:

    This is the last one I wrote in the contest

    It was my most fiction one and the most unrelated to my own life

    a little too Laura Croft meets Armageddon the Musical

    and more screenplay style writing than novel

    Like

  2. Pingback: WorldWatch: Obama in Kenya: Homophobes Kept Clothes on! | dyke writer

  3. dykewriter says:

    I’m writing this at work while filling out shipping orders, so if it seems fragmented, that’s why.

    First of all, I really enjoyed this story, even with the formatting problems. At least on my computer, the last third or so was all jumbled together in one huge single-spaced paragraph, which made it hard to read. That’s not part of the critique, just letting you know in case you want to fix it.

    The story starts out definitely in novel form, past tense, descriptions, and transitions. But about halfway down, it starts to look an awful lot like a script, with setting headings, two-line paragraphs, present tense, etc. You mentioned that you were going to adapt it into a screenplay; I’d say you’re already halfway there.

    The glows and auras that surround people when magic is being used is also more of a movie convention than a novel one. In a novel, such obvious visual clues aren’t necessary because the author has other ways to let the reader know what’s going on, but in a movie the auras are more important. Still, if you could find another way to indicate magic it might be good to leave the auras out, just because they’ve become kind of a cliché.

    I found myself not entirely trusting Lily at the end. She has good intentions, sure, but I was expecting her to start being corrupted by this incredible power she’s suddenly gained. Or was that the intent? I wasn’t sure.

    Oddly enough, I think I would’ve trusted her more if she were less idealistic, if she showed some doubts about her own plans. Which reminds me, the other thing that didn’t quite ring true for me was her calm acceptance of these powers, and the way she learned to use them instantly. It seems to me that a little more focus on Lily’s emotions would be called for, the first time she reads someone’s mind, or sees her own hands glowing.

    Lily’s takeover of the Illuminati seems very rushed. After I realized that this was for a speed-novel contest, that makes sense, but in editing it you might want to slow things down a bit and let her think this over and plan for a while longer, maybe even be a little conflicted about it. After all, she’s about to become the secret leader of the world; that would be cause for some reflection in most people. She does state at one point that she didn’t want any of this. Maybe you could expand on that?

    The Illuminati seem to take Lily’s takeover in stride. No assassination attempts? It seems like Gerald wouldn’t be the only one who’d like all that power for himself.

    And one loose end: the virus. It’s still killing people! This would be an easy fix, though. A short scene where a cure is suddenly and miraculously found, courtesy of Lily, would do it.

    Earth as a reality show, huh? That could explain a lot!

    Great story. Would be an even better movie, I think, but that’s just me.

    Bethany Harvey 10/24/2002

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  4. dykewriter says:

    Nina,

    Before summarizing, here are a few nits I found along the way in your story.

     Section 2 – “not so distance” gunfire – should be “not-so-distant”
     “have no hope of recovery” – should be “had no hope…”
     “the gunfire disturbs him” – you’ve suddenly switched into present tense, when it’s been past up ‘til now.
     “Captain Ray Brown, is dying” – no comma needed
     “against he deepening body pain” – should be “the deepening…”
     “to a special core” – should be “corps”
     “that there’s fatal risk” – should be “there are fatal risks”
     “what they tell people it does” – should be “what they tell people they do”
     “several breakers of liquids” – assume you mean “several beakers of liquid”
     It seems like quite a stretch that Lily suddenly went from this inward-focused, misanthropic person to a caring person wanting to benefit the world, all in the space of one paragraph. Apparently this was due to her relationship with Michael, but we never get the sense of precisely how it happened.
     “The toast popping up…” sentence both begins and ends with “toast” – doesn’t read well this way.
     “in secret CDC lab” – should be “in a secret CDC…”
     You have a “passage of time/plausibility” problem. She wakes up in her apartment at 5:30 a.m., does maybe a half hour’s worth of stuff, then goes to work at the CDC. Once there she does maybe another half an hour of stuff and then goes to the lunchroom to eat lunch. This feels way too fast.
     I like “The only exercise I get is jumping to conclusions.” – I may steal that one.
     “that play in cornfields” should be “than play in cornfields”
     “bets a hasty retreat” should be “beats a hasty retreat”
     “a tone of metal in the sky” – presume you mean “a ton of metal” (and actually it’s several hundred tons).
     “shakes the feeling of pursuit off” would be better as “shakes off the feeling of pursuit.”
     “express an interest to examine her” should be “interest in examining her”
     “carry more genuinely looking” should be “carrying more genuine-looking”
     “felt a unexplained” should be “an unexplained”
     You constantly change the tense from present to past and back again. Is this intentional? It’s very disconcerting.
     Did you intentionally use the phrase, “life, the universe and everything”? I’m sure you know that Douglas Adams has a Hitchhiker’s Guide book with that exact title. If you didn’t know – well, you do now!
     “Lily asked chiperly” should be “chipperly” (I suppose, although I’m not actually sure that’s a word either)
     “How bad Hollywood thriller” should be “How bad a Hollywood thriller”
     “weasel-y” – why the dash?
     In one sentence you state that “the chair” has obviously never been sat it before. A few sentences later you refer to the thoughts of all the chair’s previous occupants. A continuity problem, or did I miss something?
     “I do know, what you are.” – needs no comma
     “The aliens were so advanced, that they could…” – no comma needed
     “reasonable suspects” – should be “reasonably suspects”
     “as they walk passed” should be “walked past”
     “The variety of gargoyles peering down at the occupants.” – is a fragment.
     “evenings revelations” needs an apostrophe in “evening’s”
     “Gerald smile evaporated” – should be “Gerald’s smile…”
     “…some urgency to human developing faster” – should be (I guess) “…some urgency to humans developing faster…”
     “absorb it’s impact again” – lose the apostrophe.
     Why, all of a sudden near the end, do your paragraphs become huge? It looks as if there’s a sudden formatting problem.
     A few times “Illuminati” is mis-typed as “Illuminate”
     “Return the earth to it predestined path” – missing an “s” in “its”

    I have to confess that I didn’t quite get to the end because it started to seem like it was getting progressively rougher and rougher (I can see how that might come from trying to write this in 3 days). It became harder and harder to follow as the structure went away. Are you meaning to finish this at some point, i.e. clean it up, fix the structure, etc? If so, I’d be interested in having another go at some point when it’s ready. Anyway, you have lots of potential edits above already, so happy polishing!

    Many thanks for a fun read! Try to be nice to us little people when you take over the world!

    Cheers,

    Brian Swain

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  5. dykewriter says:

    I truly enjoyed the use of the different locales within the story (Thailand, Heathrow, and Newbury), there were definite inspirations of ‘Tomb Raider’ and ‘Signs’. You have a well-developed female lead who doesn’t back down from a situation and has a good head on her shoulder. I would’ve like to have gotten more background information on the group that she belonged to (maybe even come up with a name for them.). You did a nice job on how the Illuminati was first formed and then members became disillusioned or corrupt with the power of the aliens. As well as, a well-crafted story of the aliens purpose and how we had fallen behind the timeline.
    However, I had some difficulty near the end. I don’t know if it’s a formatting error or perhaps how the novella was uploaded to the site but after page 23, the rest of the story reads as one big paragraph. It made it difficult to discern what one character was saying from another and the breakup of action. I enjoyed your uses of Lily’s new found powers and how she illuminated her way through the secret passageway that was pretty cool. Most of my trouble I didn’t have until the end, I was trying to figure exactly what had taken place. Was all of it merely a television show to fool society or was this another ploy of the Illuminati society at work? I read through it to make sure I didn’t miss anything but I just had some difficulty with the ending.
    Was it an illusion or perhaps an altered reality?
    Overall, I like what was going on I like researching and reading about crop circles so I like what you going on there. It would’ve been nice to see Lily in a few more situations to see how she got out of them. She seems to be a character with a cool head on her shoulders, perhaps you can make some adjustments to it and transform it into a full length script.

    Andre Ogden 10/05/2002

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  6. dykewriter says:

    Mmm. Nice twist with the reality TV show, except—popping in right at the end like that, it’s not so much a twist as a gotcha. It does nicely explain why every conspiracy theory known to man appears (almost like product placements) somewhere in the story. But I think you need us to say “oh yeah, she hinted at that, I just didn’t see it” rather than “oh, I guess that explains everything.”

    Knowing that this will turn into a script more or less counters what I was going to say about focus and not throwing a million fun but possibly distracting details in there; you can have bookshelves full of conspiracy books with all those titles, pan the camera across them in the background or whatever…

    Yes, yes, here’s the thing, right—a soap or a reality TV show is its own genre with its own rules, which are not the same as those of a story or a movie. Your narrative proceeds according to soap rules, and at the very end, you tell me why. But before that, I’m looking at a lot of things and feeling that they’re implausible. College kids making a pact to infiltrate the worldwide conspiracy and expose it (and all going to sensitive positions); guy appears who can explain big conspiracies in fine detail; transmitting e-mail from a hyper-secret facility with hot data and nobody flagging it; this fantasy and that fantasy just coming true out of thin air; main character suddenly gains Super Powers.

    I’m guessing your strategy here is to let the reader/viewer realize that it’s all getting more and more implausible, and then come to expect an explanation of the implausibility, which you then provide–voila. If that’s the case, I think you’re leaving too much to chance. I think you need to take control earlier, grab the reader and rip him out of that comfy chair in which he’s expecting plausibility, and plop him down in the chair of your choice. Kind of like watching a Jackie Chan movie; you know right off to expect completely ridiculous stunts (and, more to the point, *frivolous* and *gratuitous* stunts, which is a step beyond), so you can turn off the part of your brain that is bothered by gratuitous stunts. You’re there to watch Jackie Chan do his stuff.

    That’s sort of saying that there are two ways to get the viewer to accept what he sees; one is to start from the plausible and slowly walk the reader into fantasy by small and acceptable steps, and the other is to start with the bald assertion “yeah, it’s not plausible, don’t worry about it” and then proceed “backward” into fantasy from there. That is of course ridiculously simplistic.

    Good luck with the script!

    Jerry Douglas 10/29/2002

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