Chapter 22: The Ghost
Rowan was in the dark, floating in nothingness when suddenly a single light appeared. A pin point of pale pink light danced before her or behind her or within her she couldn’t tell; there was no direction here.
“Remember the light,” a soft voice said, “it is your light, like no other, know it if you wish to leave this place as Rowan.”
One by one other lights appeared, pin points in velvet blackness, more and more appeared until there was nothing but points of light endless, countless points of light.
Suddenly Rowan was standing on a rocky beach wearing a great fur cloak. Her bare feet felt the cold, wet, smooth pebbles; the salty wind whipped her hair across her face, gulls cried as they circled above.
“Remember this beach daughter?”
Rowan turned and beside her stood the woman who had activated the golden egg, Isis.
“Yes mother,” Rowan answered, “we stood on this beach the day you left me. I have missed you so much.”
“I never really left you, we have always been together.” Isis replied.
“We are not really on the beach are we?” Rowan said as she reached down and picked up a pebble. “This is not real.”
“What is real? Isis questioned. “We are in a construct of our consciousness as real as we choose for it to be. Here everything is possible, this is the fifth dimension.”
Rowan tossed the pebble into the rolling waves. The wind felt real, the pebble was solid, smooth and cold to the touch; the air tasted of salt. Everything was right but yet everything was wrong.
“We are only reflections of what we were, like empty images projected on a screen,” Rowan said to Isis.
Suddenly the beach was gone and again there was nothing.
“Excellent daughter you can see the truth. We are now nothing more than the coalesced thought that was once housed in the organic vessel we called our body. We are outside of the three spatial dimensions and removed from the fourth dimension of time. We are the Consciousness, pure thought; the ghost that rises into every living thing only to retreat again when the vessel fails.”
“So the fifth dimension is thought?” Rowan questioned.
“Thought, consciousness, chi, god, there are so many names for something that wants no name.” Isis explained. “The visible universe is a place of time, matter, waves, particles, light and all of the rules and forces that control their behavior. Hyperspace exists beside the visible, its shadow where the same rules do not necessarily apply. The Consciousness is that which perceives them both; manipulates the visible to do its will or whimsy, uses the freedom of hyperspace to avoid the constraints of space-time. Within the Consciousness there is no spatial dimension, there is no temporal dimension. The Consciousness can perceive of these dimensions but they do not actually exist here. The Consciousness is in every living creature throughout the entire universe. When living structures arise in the ever blooming fractal of the universe an interface is created that allows the Consciousness to interact within the visible universe, the so called ghost in the machine. Every one of those pinpoints of light is a living window into the visible universe.”
“If we are in the Consciousness, the fifth dimension as you put it then am I still Rowan?”
“Yes because your own self-awareness is strong enough to maintain its integrity. When the consciousness of say a butterfly returns to the collective consciousness it does not remain a butterfly, it reintegrates into the whole only to re-emerge as part of another interface in another living vessel capable of perceiving the visible.”
“Like reincarnation?” Rowan asked.
“In a way,” Isis agreed. “Picture the visible universe as a balloon. If you push your fingers up into the balloon you see their shape. Now imagine that every time an animate life form occurs the Consciousness pushes itself up into the visible universe through that life form. Eventually life forms became so complex that the Consciousness in them began to individualize; it became self-aware. Self-aware creatures do not want to dissolve back into the Consciousness; they fight to remain whole.”
Rowan was beginning to understand.
“You and your kind found a way to remain whole in the Consciousness. That is what you did to me on Availon. You made me able to remember all the times I had existed in different forms.”
“Yes daughter but you are much more than that now. You are going to be the first that can move back and forth from this dimension to the space-time dimension. We cannot do it. If we try and push our consciousness into the interfaces they cannot function. No life form had evolved that could hold so much information until you.”
“Did you create me so you could escape? “ Rowan paused and suddenly she understood something else. “You are somehow responsible for that thing that wants me, the Birilgi, aren’t you?”
Suddenly they were no longer in the nothingness. They were in a bright white room, a research facility of some kind and a man was laid out on an operating table. The holographic symbols swirled around him. Rowan watched as Isis walked around the table and took his hand. He had a kind face, dark red hair and huge dark eyes; his skull was long like Isis’.
“The process is complete Anik are you ready?” Isis asked him, as she patted his hand. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
He smiled a big broad smile at her and nodded. Isis stepped back.
Thin robotic arms rose from the sides of the table he was laid out on as the blue stasis field surrounded him. He closed his eyes as hundreds of needles emerged from the robotic arms and pierced his body. A halo of needles entered his skull. Anik was deathly still as others in the room began to scan holographic monitors.
“His brain wave activity has dropped to zero,” one of the technicians announced.
All of them stood and watched the monitors. Although Rowan had the sensation of waiting somehow she knew that all of this was occurring at the speed of thought. There was no waiting just the concept of waiting.
The monitors began to change, colors changed, everyone looked towards Anik’s body.
“Brain wave activity is at ten point two percent and climbing,” the tech announced, “ten point eight; twenty point three, thirty percent.”
“He has done it he is coming back,” Isis said excitedly.
The tech continued his countdown, “thirty three percent, forty point one percent...”
Anik’s eyes opened suddenly but they were not the soft dark eyes Rowan had watched close. She saw only emptiness, fear and horror; Anik’s eyes were bottomless voids. His mouth opened as if to speak and then a scream so terrible came forth that everyone in the room covered their ears. Blood began to pour from Anik’s ears, mouth, eyes and nose. The stasis field was wavering as the techs tried furiously to maintain it. Blood ran off the table onto the floor, more and more of it until the floor of the room was red.”
Finally one of the techs looked to Isis, “he is gone. No brain activity. His brain was ripped apart from the inside, even the nanocytes were destroyed. “
Tears were running down her cheeks as Isis held his hand one last time, “I am so sorry my love, so sorry.”
“You were trying to raise the dead, that never goes wrong,” Rowan said sarcastically, “…so what went wrong?”
“We were trying to defeat death,” Isis defended their actions, “to allow the spirit to move freely from the organic shell to the consciousness and back again. At first we were not sure what had gone awry. By this point in time our technology had developed to such a state that unless our physical bodies were massively damaged we would survive. The telomere restructuring kept our cells perpetually young; we were basically immortal but we wanted more, always more. We believed that Anik had made the jump to the Consciousness but when he tried to return he brought back with him all of the other lives he had experienced and his physical form was unable to reintegrate the download so to speak. Of course we had hoped that he had been able to rejoin the Consciousness but no, he was separated from it, trapped in the void, the space between matter that senders use to reorient themselves in the visible universe and there he went mad.”
“You can say that again,” Rowan answered, “so I am the answer to your first mistake. I can contain all of the memories of every life form I have inhabited. It took you millennia to do it but you bred me to cross the boundary and come back again and believe me when I say he knows it too.”
“You have spoken to him?” Isis seemed surprised, “What did he say?”
“He once asked if you had mentioned him.” Rowan replied. “He also said and I quote, I am lost and incomplete. I have wandered for an eternity searching and waiting for the perfect form; the form that can absorb my total energy and allow me to truly walk in the visible universe again. This shell has served me well. Her power is great and I can indulge my needs but I am only an observer living through her. I desire my own flesh; my own vessel. You Eki are that vessel.”
Rowan felt Isis’ sadness, sorrow and shame.
“He has been driven mad by the flesh.” Isis said her sadness palpable. “The body he occupies mainly now is a very old one and he can put much of his essence into it but never fully. He is always only a part of himself; many pieces scattered throughout the void. His anger from being separated from the Consciousness is overwhelming. He hates all life because every living thing is a tiny piece of that which he can no longer join. He loves dead things because they are free of the Consciousness; he considers them more like himself. Pain, control, hate, lust and anger are his only companions in the dark place we sent him to. The spirit cannot remain sane separated from the Consciousness.”
She would have never thought it possible but Rowan felt pity for him.
“You are now part of the Consciousness but you cannot leave it? How did that happen?” Rowan asked Isis.
“Do you have any idea how boring immortality can become? Isis laughed at the irony. “After our failure with Anik we revised our approach. We had tried to alter Anik’s genetic structure in one procedure but that obviously did not work so we devised a plan to create a being that would have all the necessary neural structures to withstand the consciousness download. First we created a race whose primitive brain was super developed so they could integrate the less sentient, more animalistic forms. Then we developed a race whose higher brain, was hyper developed to allow integration of sentient life forms.”
“You mean the Fadians and the Thracians?” Rowan asked.
“Yes and many others between the two but all this led to our last creation, the people of earth; you were bred to come as close to the Consciousness as possible. The ability to send matter through the visible universe is part of the development. Your subconscious mind is able to reorient matter in space by skirting along the surface of the Consciousness, the void. There is more space between matter than there is actually matter so that is the void. We designed the sending ability to allow you to eventually move from the visible universe into the Consciousness and hopefully back again.”
“So only senders will be able to move back and forth?” Rowan asked trying to understand.
“Perhaps,” Isis replied, “or it may be that you can move others with you we do not yet know for certain. We had hoped for many more senders but an unforeseen problem arose in the people of earth’s development. Apparently the deeply active subconscious, so close to the Consciousness, sensed it intuitively and yearned for it so deeply that humans were constantly creating gods to fill the empty space left by their separation from it; in much the same way Anik has been driven to madness by his separation from the Consciousness. These gods were angry, vengeful gods created by children. They bred hate and superstition and eventually led to the destruction of almost every sender on the planet.”
“You mean the witch hunts?” Rowan said as she tasted the memory of burning flesh.
“Yes the almost wholesale destruction of those carrying the genetic ability. They wiped them out. We had to initiate numerous time jumps to establish your line. I stayed with you, protected you when I could and made certain that the last part of our plan, the nanocytes that would finally unlock your genetic memory, where in the hands of the last twenty generations.”
“The golden egg was the device to unlock the memories?”
“Yes, not only was it designed to alter your DNA but from every female who wore it the device absorbed genetic material and structured the final alteration to maximize the memory retention of the last twenty generations.”
“Where are the rest of your people, the Annunaki?” Rowan asked, “I heard so many voices calling me here.”
“Hundreds of thousands of years passed between the terrible accident with Anik and the day I gave birth to you, Eki. Many of us had grown too tired to walk in the visible universe anymore. One by one my people shed their organic vessels and came home to the Consciousness. Immortality is as I said very boring in the end. They are all here and they have great joy in your coming. You are the mother of a new race, a race that can exist in the seen and the unseen. We will live again in the visible universe in the vessels of your children.”
Rowan gave the construct thing a try. Instantly they were on the avenue of the Weeping Trees. She pointed to the faces frozen in terror, tens upon thousands of them.
“Well all that sounds just peachy keen but you are forgetting one thing; you are forgetting Anik. He has other plans and none of them involve you getting what you want. In fact he wants to destroy all life and lay waste to the visible universe. I am guessing this little meeting that may have cost the lives of the two most important people in my life, has been to tell me that I have to destroy Anik before any of this can come to pass.”
Isis stood on the Avenue looking at the wretched heads. She turned to Rowan.
“Certainly not, you must save him,”
Niurgun ran down the black spiral hall. He leapt over fallen debris and fissures. The sounds of the battle raging behind him faded and he hoped that when the end came for Brannoc it was quick and that he took out a hundred more of those bastards before they got him.
All he could think about now was Rowan and he was at a full run when he hit the icy floor. He slid half way around one of the turns in the hall before he got his footing. The cold hit him as well; his rapid breaths came out as thick white clouds of frozen vapor. The passage opened out into a colossal cavern and he saw her lying by the gaping fissure of the galax. No white breath came from her lips, she was pale and blue. Ice had formed on her eyelashes and hair. Niurgun dropped to his knees and put his hand to her face. She was as cold as the floor he knelt upon.
He felt the panic of the dream; it hit him like a shock wave. No. No. this cannot be how it ends. We did not come this far for you to die.
He put his arm under Rowans back and held her dead body to his chest. He wanted to pick her up and run but they had nowhere to go. To go deeper into the cavern meant his death for the cold would kill him very soon and there was no escape up the passage way, only death waited there as well.
“Save him! How do you propose I do that?” Rowan wasn’t sure you were supposed to get upset inside of the Consciousness but she was definitely heading in that direction.
“Look around you,” she motioned to the Weeping Trees, “and this is only a small portion of his sickness; he devours life.”
Isis turned slowly towards Rowan.
“Your coming here was not for me to tell you the story you have just heard; it was already in your memory. Your coming here was to show you the way into the Consciousness and to see if you can return to your body again. We were not there to help Anik return but we are here for you.”
Rowan knew she wasn’t really looking shocked because she didn’t even have a physical body now but the construct of her face must have looked pretty put out.
“Do you mean to tell me that you are not sure if I can get back into my body after all the eons of plotting, planning and breeding?”
“No,” Isis answered, “We will not know until you try. You did pass the first test when the egg altered your DNA and your memories were accessed, so we have every confidence that you will pass the next test.”
“And if it doesn’t work I end up like Anik?” Rowan asked.
Niurgun held Rowan in his arms as he looked towards the entrance to the cavern. He knew they were coming; the darkness was rolling down the passageway to consume them. He tried to reach her mind.
Come back, please come back. There is no way out unless we jump and I can’t do it. The magnetic interference from the galax is too great. You can do it, only you can do it.
Cali and her men came through the entrance. The carliffs walked behind her as the dark Fades poured out of the passage way. Niurgun was living the dream and he saw no sign of Brannoc.
They stopped about thirty feet from he and Rowan; Cali clapped her hands over her ears.
“Silence!” she screamed, “silence, you abandoned me; I will destroy your way back just as you did to me. Silence!
Cali stopped screaming but blood was pouring from her nose, she looked straight at Niurgun and spoke.
“She is with them now and I doubt she can get back. Such a shame I had so hoped she would bear witness to my triumph. She and I have so much in common. Her body is now mine and with it I will tear this universe apart until not even a tiny spark of life is left and they are condemned to the eternal darkness. I have many plans for your body as well my sweet Niurgun,” Cali smiled as she licked her blood from her lips, “oh how I have missed you.”
Niurgun decided at that instant that even if he could not successfully jump out of the cavern, he would rather die trying than fall back into Cali’s hands. He did not think he could bear the thought of that evil in Rowan’s body.
The image of The Avenue of the Weeping Trees was replaced by the countless points of light. Isis’ voice was clearer than ever.
You know your light Eki, return to be Rowan and find the path for us all. Bring Anik home for he has suffered too long.
Rowan felt the light as if it came from inside of her own thoughts. It grew until it surrounded her and suddenly there was a flash so brilliant that for just a second she was stunned.
The soft blue glow began to radiate from Niurgun’s collar. Even if his collar did manage to overcome the massive field emanating from the galax he did not have the power to jump out of the system. The galax seemed to act like the magnetic trap that was around the academy or the dampening collars used to control new senders; his collar just wasn’t going to have enough power to get them through the mountain.
Cali saw the collar began to glow.
“Stop him,” she screamed. “He will destroy the body.”
Several Fadians threw nanoblade spears towards Niurgun. He knew his shield would not stop the needle thin blades but suddenly the blades stopped in midair, frozen as if the air had grabbed them. Niurgun looked down at Rowan. Her face was still pale blue but her deep green eyes were locked on Cali. The blue glow went from pale to blinding and Rowan and Niurgun were gone.
Look for Book Two in the Annunaki Song of the Beginning Series
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