(c)2013, 2023 by Vernon Miles Kerr and VernonMilesKerr.com
Yesterday, I remembered a line from this unfinished novel when posting a Tweet on Twitter . I found the Word doc on my Google Drive. Amazingly, ten years had elapsed since I started it, but much of the my underlying philosophy, which drove its creation, remains intact. The references to 2013’s then-current memes, like “cupcakes” and “Downton Abbey,” is amusing to me. I don’t know whether to update ‘em or just leave-be. :) Today’s post here contains only Chapter One. As I add Chapters, I’ll just hit the “Update” button on WordPress, so this story will always be available, if you “bookmark” today’s URL. Cheers, Vern
Introduction to Novel
“Armageddon (from Ancient Greek: Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn, Late Latin: Armagedōn) will be —according to the Book of Revelation — the site of a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or symbolic location. The term is also used in a generic sense to refer to any __end of the world_ scenario_.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia http://www.Wikipedia.org Emphasis, the author.
The man, “Mars” awoke on the morning of his 200th birthday. The sun was already up. Through the open window drifted the scent of the hyacinth in his yard and the sound of bird songs. It was a beautiful Boston day and a good day to be alive—still. He had outlived all his contemporaries, those who had made it beyond the arrival of Armageddon in CE2043. There was a flash-back of sadness when he thought of them. He, and his other young survivora, had been the children of three worlds. The first world was old Earth, the one they thought of as “pre-Armageddon,” a place of violence, fear, deprivation, competition and a constant vying for status. At least such was his experience, as a pre-teen. He hadn’t had time to accumulate much scholarly knowledge of Earth’s adult world, at that time. He assumed it was more of the same.
It was now NE182. He was the first bi-centenarian in NewEarth and, most assuredly, not the last. Those babies born in transport and on the planet of safety would be following along with their 200th birthdays in the next 20 years. The Star Brethren, distant brothers and sisters from other star systems, had shown his branch of humanity the way toward almost perfect health, and the way toward almost perfect peace. Almost perfect peace, because, as they also taught, the Multi-verse on all of its infinite planes is in a constant state of war, at least in a physical sense. Two particles, even neutrinos cannot occupy the same space at the same time within the same universe, or plane. Therefore, there will be a tiny battle for “turf” with the particle with the greatest energy ejecting the lesser, or, when two particles of equal energy, frequency, mass, and velocity enter the same spatial/temporal coordinates, they mutually annihilate, at least in terms of the plane in question. What happens to the former particles after that, is a question that can only be answered in meta-physical terms. The Brethren were also helping their protégé-planet’s human occupants to begin the process of understanding meta-physical issues as well.
Mars was not his name, pre-Armageddon. It was Robert C. Grantham, “Robby” to his single, learning-disabled mother, Emily Grantham. After Mars, there were no further siblings. The two, living alone together until he was twelve, developed a singular devotion toward each other—although Mars was embarrassed by her quirky ways and rarely brought friends home, always dreading the thought of having to introduce them to her. He had heard her tell her social worker that Robby was a product of immaculate conception–claiming that she had never been with a man.
During her lonely pregnancy, she came upon an Omninet resource of old Television series episodes. Executing a fast-scan, she heard her own last name somewhere in the near un-intelligible, flashing frames of video and audio . “PAUSE,” she shouted. “Replay last thirty.” She was dropped into the random last thirty minutes from the scan, an episode of the CE2011 BBC series, “Downton Abbey.” She found and re-ran the dialogue, “Lord Grantham surely cannot…” several times.
She was immediately drawn into the scene. The gorgeous, sumptuous costuming; the over-arching, ornate, meticulously-crafted, embracing walls and ceiling of the manor house; the gentle, civilized, educated, tongue-in-cheek bickering between the three generations of noble family members. During the rest of Mars’s gestation, his mother was immersed in episode after episode of the once popular “TV” series.
In her hospital bed in the Birthing-wing of County Hospital, on the governmental form headed “Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Division of Vital Statistics”, handed to her by the OB Charge Nurse, in her most carefully drawn capital letters, under “Father:” she entered “UNKNOWN.” Under “Given First Name:” she drew “ROBERT,” and under “Given Middle Name, “CRAWLEY.”
To historians, whether Robert Grantham had absorbed his gentle, civilized manner of speaking and demeanor while in utero or he had later joined his mother’s obsessed and continual escape from poverty into the sparkling world of early Twentieth Century English nobility, was not clear. Whether either or both were true or whether he had been born with his peaceful character, spirit and wit, Emily didn’t care. Robby was a constant joy to her and a source of pride before, during and after the arrival of Armageddon.
“Mars.” The god of war. Robert chose it himself. In Post-Armageddon times, people chose one name, meaningful to them. That was all that was needed. Everyone’s last name was NewEarth, one family. The last name was used only when they were off-planet: technology took care of differentiating one Earthling from another even if he or she chose the same name. Mars chose his name not to honor the God of War but to celebrate that god’s demise —to celebrate the burial of a false human educational paradigm: the war-like system of pitting one child against another in a constant round of athletic, scholarly and social competitions. By the time Mars was twelve, the year of Armageddon, he was sick of and repulsed by the adults saying that competition brought out excellence in people. Somehow, innately he knew that the logic was false. He guessed it was the definition of “excellence,”
Happily, those who promoted war, who profited from war, who loved war had not survived Armageddon.
Before Armageddon, the Star People had been around, coming and going from other stars and galaxies in their g-wave craft, tentatively appearing and disappearing, providing tiny, helpful nudges throughout the centuries of old Earth history. But it was not until Armageddon had forced their hand that full-contact and full-collaboration had come about. They later explained to people, actually tongue-in-cheek, that they had always tried to honor “the Prime Directive,” using the term from the old Earth-media program “Star Trek,” of which many of the Star Brethren were avid fans. When Mars had met and become friends with some of the Brethren, he was amazed at the depth of their understanding and knowledge of human cultures. “Humanity’s degree of cultural evolution was one good gauge of its readiness to join Civilization”, he was told. Anyway, enjoying things like old TV shows was fun for them, especially when some of the ideas they had attempted to communicate to Earthlings telepathically came out in human art forms. He had heard one Star Sister, while watching a wall-display of an old “Star Trek Enterprise” episode, burst out laughing and shout, “I gave Brannon that idea in CE2001!”
Mars eagerly went through his morning ablutions: the sonic shower and massage, the laser shave, and today’s dressy-casual (a little bit more dressy than casual) clothing layer. He was keen to get to the neighborhood garden-park in a corner of the Boston Common, where everyone in the area normally met to join projects. Today there would be a “surprise” birthday party in his honor. He knew what his neighbors were “up-to”: a friend had leaked the plan to him. Maybe she was afraid his two-century-old heart wouldn’t be able to take the shock of everyone jumping out of the bushes shouting “Happy Birthday!”
In his dressing room, where the water was vapored off, he went through the Attire Menu looking for that dressy-but-casual leotard design, one that would be appropriate for a day such as today–not because it was his birthday so much, but because, in the mirror, the Projects-Display from the park showed that there was a history lecturer needed in South Africa to give a talk on “Events Leading up to the Arrival of Armageddon.” Pretty good match, since he was there when they happened. He was hoping that there was a person at the garden with no particular project that they needed to join that day, who would come along and have dinner (or was it lunch) with him in Jo’burg. He never could keep the time zones straight.
When he reached the Common he stopped and meditated about the iconic weathered and rusted sign by the sidewalk. The sign had survived the impact, the deep ocean flooding and was still standing when the first rehab crews returned to Earth. The Pre-Armageddon enameled letters were still legible: “Boston Common, 1634” As expected, when he reached the garden-park’s central circle, everyone jumped out of the shrubbery shouting “Happy Birthday!” Funny how, even when you are expecting something like that, it still causes a start, and also makes the adrenalin flow a little bit. It was that old, primitive hardware layer, the kernel, the OS, the ROM of our basic physical/spiritual DNA (and the Star Brethren’s as well, for that matter.)
Several million years after humanity’s proto-types, virtual “Adam and Eve,” had been created on the planet Eden, in a flash of less than one second, nothing at that “kernel level” of our make-up had changed much. In his pre-Armageddon youth, Mars had always thought “what a cruel joke that the so-called “God” had supposedly made humans one way and then had “inspired” reams, volumes and libraries full of “holy writings” which commanded people to behave in ways that were clearly contrary to this basic human programming. Not that some of those writings didn’t contain useful guidelines for improving human relations and society, such as, “Don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t cheat on your spouse, don’t be a liar, don’t create gods and religions and use them to dominate others, don’t spend 100% of your time on monetary pursuits but instead take at least one day a week for family, friends and meditation about the beauty in the natural world…”
But the idea of a creator setting out to program his or her creation one way and then pestering it to death to perform in ways that were contrary to that programming like, “don’t eat pigs but go ahead and eat other animals, genuflect before you sit down in church, cross yourself from left to right if you’re Greek Orthodox but from right to left if you’re Catholic—or, maybe it was the other way around. Anyway, it just didn’t make sense. At that age he was most concerned about the sex-drive and how his own seemed to run completely contrary to the rules of society and the supposed words of God. He had to ask, was the so-called “God of the Universe” some gigantic kid with a videogame-controller, moving us around laughing his ass off when we stumbled?
Of course, Mars had been allocated almost two centuries by now to think this question over and, with the help of his off-world friends, he had come to be somewhat more comfortable with mysteries like, “Why are humans so over-sexed—wasn’t it inevitable that they would over-populate the Earth and nearly use up all her resources by about CE2050 or CE2100?” or “Why are there some people who obsessively try to be better than others, both financially and socially?” or “Why has it always been so easy to stir up a war and get young people to go kill each other?”
Subaruko, his Star Sister friend, his mentor on trans-physical matters, later explained it in Earth terms: “Do you remember how the inventor Thomas Edison said that genius was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration?” “Sure, I heard that,” he answered.
“Well, the development of human religions was always pretty much the same: 1% inspiration from the God family and 99% perspiration from the physical writers. The writers’ temptation to advance their own agenda, to dominate and bend others to their will, was always active in that hardware level you are always asking about. The sex drive and the drive to dominate and perpetuate your own personal gene pool was necessary for survival.” She went on, “The monthly estrus, when other animals only come into estrus a few times a year; the relatively short human gestation period, compared to other large mammals; these were all God’s insurance policy that the human race would populate and over-populate every planet to which his messengers would spread them.”
She added, “On the physical level, some of the Star People’s ancestors, the “messengers” or “angels” of your holy writings, had great latitude to modify planetary atmospheres to accommodate the human physiology and even to hybridize the human physiology to accommodate otherwise uninhabitable planetary atmospheres. The point was, and is, to spread physical humanity forever so that the spiritual family, in the spiritual, timeless realm will grow new Brethren forever as well. Each humanoid individual’s experiences while incarnate contributes to the knowledge and wisdom of the whole.”
“Oh, just now I remembered a scene from the Old Testament,” Mars said. “An angel appeared to this guy and the guy fell down on his face in reverence and the angel said something like, ‘Get up fool. Don’t worship me! I’m just a man like you are.’”
“Yep, that also happened to me here in North America about 2,000 years ago, Subaruko said.”
Subaruko. The Star People didn’t really need names; they conversed mostly by telepathy, but for the Earthlings’ sake they usually made up a name based on humans that they admired. She followed and visited Japan’s society and culture for a few centuries and, although Nippon had a war-like class of individuals and a war-based economy, like every other big nation on Earth, she considered the Japanese and the Native North Americans to have the gentlest human interactions and the best understanding of the spirit residing in all living things. Being from a star-system in the Seven Sisters constellation, the Pleiades, she took a typical Japanese girl’s name-ending, “ko” and stuck it on the first part of the Japanese name for the Pleiades, “Subaru.” Thus, it was “Subaruko.” For a 3,000 year old lady, Subaruko looked damned good, in Mars’s opinion, but he had enough sense, and respect for what she stood for, and not allow himself to have any romantic thoughts about her. Well, it was the respect and also the fact that, if she were anywhere near, she would have been able to read those thoughts as soon as they germinated.
With her long, gently curved, platinum hair cascading like a waterfall from the crown of her head, plunging from her shoulders nearly to her waist, and then her perfect hour-glass figure and much larger than normal steel-blue eyes, it was very difficult to think of her as a great-great-great granny. But he was determined to keep his thoughts only familial. So, the 200-year-old Man and the 3,000-year-old Semi-angel-extra-terrestrial Woman were in fact, just pals. But, best pals, for certain.
“Are you thinking of me?” her voice said in his head.
That caused a start: “You tell me, smart-ass, you’re the super-human,” he thought-sent back.
“L-O-L” she sent back.
It had been about a hundred and eighty years since he had last heard that acronym.
“I heard something about South Africa,” she continued. Would you mind if I came along?”
“Hell no,” he sent, “ I would love it,” his face then flushing a little. Not an appropriate epithet to send to an Angel. Maybe “Heavens no,” would have been better.
“Okay, I’ll see you at the garden-park. Star-girl out.”
A Lesson in 21st Century OldEarth History
After everyone had enjoyed some cupcakes and ice cream and had given Mars good wishes, they all went to the Project Wall and began touching their choices of assignments. Subariko found the South Africa gig and Mars touched it, transmitting the DNA of one of his skin cells to Project-Central as a registration form. 80 or 90 g-wave craft had already been seen descending from high in the stratosphere, as if they were formations of tiny pelicans, and landing in the part of the Common surrounding the garden park. The dramatic “entrance” was largely ceremonial but was also meant to give the consultants and workers a convenient time estimate of when their rides would be there: P-C could have just used the digital method, having the craft appear on the lawn instantaneously.
The two pals randomly chose one of the disk-shaped craft parked on the Common and as they settled into comfortable flight chairs, the hatch hissed shut and the metallic walls of the disk became 360º of transparent window, on both the vertical and horizontal planes. They could see other craft blink out of view: blink, blink, blink, as they too blinked out, soon after Mars spoke the words, Johannesburg, South Africa”. When he did, the craft responed, “LZ Clear.” Mars answered in his best rendition of the deep voice of Jean-Luc Picard, and Jean-Luc’s iconic, casual, forward finger-point: “Engage.”
Through their trans-panoramic view window, their Boston garden-park also blinked out, to be replaced instantaneously by Joburg’s Wilgeheuwel garden-park. If they had felt like it, they could have set the craft for an analog-transit of the North and South Atlantic, made at any given speed–the scenic route–but both of them were anxious to go meet the students. The digital journey was accomplished by the craft’s speech-recognition algorithm changing the one piece of g-wave frequency meta-data for “location in space,” within the over-all g-frequency of the craft and its contents, and the craft was instantaneously translated from a craft in Boston to the same craft in Joburg. There was no twinkly, glittery tornado that slowly formed at the target location, like in Star Trek. That part, the authors of the popular space-opera got completely wrong. The digital route was just blink out, blink in, without the loss of one nanosecond of time (since the only variable change in g-frequency meta-data was “location.”)
Subariko found a seat among the students in the great lecture hall at Wilgeheuwel State University, the most prestigious on NewEarth’s African Continent, while Mars stepped to the speaker’s podium. Looking out at the audience he sent, “Maybe I should have you sit at the table up here so the kids will at least be looking in my general direction.” There was a ripple of student laughter. Telepathic abilities were gradually spreading among Earthlings. It was true though, she was already a little bit of a distraction. Even though the South African students had seen various off-world people, none were probably ever as beautiful, as regal or as invitingly humble as Subariko. He would introduce her and invite her to speak before the session was over but first he introduced himself, gave a short bio and enjoyed their applause when he told them that today was his 200th birthday. Then he opened it up to questions.
“Why did the Star Brethren wait so many years to reveal themselves to humanity. Why did they wait until Armageddon had almost reached the Earth,” was the first student’s question.
“They would have helped Earth sooner except for the imbedded power structure of wealthy human families who had built themselves a monopoly on truth, or more accurately, a bulwark against truth.” He answered. “Their fabulous wealth came from cornering the market on vital commodities such as oil, agricultural chemicals, even diamonds, then conspiring to raise prices as quickly and as high as human society could sustain it. With that unfairly-gotten wealth they were able to own the politicians of all parties, everywhere. They were adept at stirring up new wars when old ones had lost momentum, so that their profits from selling the price-controlled equipment and logistics of war would keep growing forever.
“Because they owned the truth, no one but they knew of the comet that was predicted to collide with Earth in 2043. Astronomers had secretly known about the impending event since 1979—the Star Brethren long before that—but at the behest of certain “government” operatives, whose grants of money made the profession of “Astronomer” economically possible, they told no one. The promise of being privy to this elite class’s escape plan helped to seal their lips and keep things quiet.”
“The details of the plan, known only to certain members of the ‘Families,’ was to build a kingdom in the rock of the Earth’s crust. Sometime before the time of collision, these special individuals would secretly disappear into their cities and highways deep under the surface and brace for impact. They would then wait, in relative luxury for the inevitable nuclear winter to eventually subside and the rotting human and animal flesh to become dust.”
Mars went on to explain that sometime around CE2020 the underground kingdom was complete, including an underground agricultural system that would feed the special class of a few hundreds of thousands of people for a number of years if necessary, while they waited for the first “Nuclear Springtime” after the strike of Comet Armageddon. And, as planned, exactly one year before the arrival of the comet, the Earth’s superior families disappeared into the sides of mountains, around the planet, closing and bolting 2 meter-thick steel doors backed up by 15 meters of carbon steel-laced concrete that automatically poured into place only minutes after the great doors were bolted. Pre-set charges of plastic explosives went off, causing planned dirt and rock slides which erased all trace of the great apertures through which the throngs of lucky elite had just retreated.
Subariko pointed to a shy, tentatively raised hand to Mars’s right.
“Yes ma’am?” Mars said nodding to her.
She stood, glancing around at a few other students, as if searching in their eyes for permission to speak, “Why didn’t all those people turn up on missing-persons lists. With so many gone all at once, wouldn’t it cause a big mystery, all around OldEarth?”
“Good question,” answered Mars. “The disappearance of so many individuals off the face of the Earth at the same moment, actually was noticed by the police and media still on the surface. But, the secret as to the cause, was so well kept that no government agency could put enough clues together to even offer a theory.”
Mars went on to explain how some of the Astronomers and others who had been promised a place of refuge in exchange for their silence, didn’t even know that they had been defrauded: they had never been told how or where they were going to be protected when the comet strike occurred.
“The projected time of collision was over a year away,” He continued, “so it took awhile for these duped folks to realize that the missing multitudes had anything to do with the timing of the comet strike. As Impact Day drew within a month in the future, the Astronomers realized they had been made fools.”
“Did they tell the people then,” the Young lady asked.
“Definitely. There was no longer a reason to keep the awful secret and the truth went viral. I was twelve years old. To me it looked like half the people were on the verge of panic while the rest just couldn’t believe that human beings could be so sociopathic and greedy in such great numbers. It seemed so ridiculous, until the Comet became visible to the human eye.
People all over the world had theories as to how the elite had protected themselves. There was an urban legend among the North American Indian tribes that a gigantic, needle-shaped space craft was seen rocketing up out of the top of a mountain in the Northwest Territories, riding on top of a sapphire-blue flame and leaving no smoke.
“First-Nations Paranoia” taunted the Canadian media.
“Since the elite were so thoroughly sealed off and incommunicado they had no knowledge of the fabulous flotilla of glowing space craft descending slowly from the heavens and settling in various places across the surface of the Earth. They were also not aware that the predictions of the composition of the comet, based upon prior experience and actual samples of other comets captured in the early century were totally inapplicable to Armadeddon. A-2043 was a dirty snowball alright, as its predecessors had been, but the ratio between H2O and particulate impurities was more than ten times greater on the side of water than was the ratio of all previously experienced visitors from the Oort Cloud. Those superior humans had no way of knowing that the rise of ocean levels would be ten times greater than they had planned for. This meant that the temporary level of the seas of Earth would cover most of the hidden, mountain snorkel-openings that ventilated the subterranean “utopia.”
The rescued billions watched in horror, through the ten-story high windows of the mother ships, which were parked around and synchronized with the Moon as it orbited Earth. The flash of impact was blinding, even from their vantage point nearly 200,000 miles distant from Earth. The vaporized water from both the comet and the Earth’s oceans caused the Earth’s apparent size to double, and changed her appearance to be similar to an enormous soap bubble. For years, the flotilla of thousands of great ships, each, at least seven-times larger than the largest of Earth’s ocean-going cruise ships, stayed parked in Lunar-synchronous Earth orbit. Days later, the Star Brethren and their primitive siblings witnessed the steam bubble turn into something resembling a small Jupiter, with lanes of variously tinted clouds circling at intermittent lines of latitude. faint as the steam precipitated and fell out as rain. They couldn’t see any difference in the sea levels from that distance but they did notice that the coastlines of familiar continents had drastically changed. Those children proficient in geography, as then Robby was, wouldn’t have been able to pass a pop-quiz, now. Those in the tunnels did not have long to think about what was happening as they were inundated by the steaming water gushing down from the snorkels.