Chapter 14. Krasnoe Pole
Beatrice dear, may I insist on one of my claims?
“Yes, you may, Astarte. I know that three days have already gone and you could not spend the said third of a day together with your twins. I am…”
Perhaps if you’d let me off the leash…
“I know, I know and I am deeply sorry about this. Look… Wait a sec… Oui? D’accord!… Hearing your thoughts, Rebecca has canceled all their programs for the next twenty-four hours. She sent them to the backup platform. Shall we join them?”
Thank God for you taking care of my needs as a mother. Let’s rush! Yvonne, will you be so kind to step up in my palm now?
Holding the dominatrix kitten tight, I zip around the stalagmites on my way back to the platform, to see my kids. They stand near the edge of the platform, smiling and waving at me. I wave back.
“Hey! Watch out. I’m still a human being.”
Oh my, poor little thing. She’s desperately hugging my pointer, with her firm but gracious hands, and embracing my middle finger, with her long and sexy legs.
Whoops! Seeing Easter and Saturn (look how they grew up!), I have forgotten about you. Sorry…
Saying nothing, Yvonne jumps down on the platform, sends me a twisted look (don’t know what to make of it), greets Easter with a “Hello honey,” then Saturn with a “Stunning bod, keep it up!” and heads to the elevator. Hope that I didn’t damage her with my recklessness.
“You didn’t, stupid. Stop being such a wimp.”
As I stop, my eyes notice an erection while Saturn turns his head after Yvonne. This begs the question: how far have my twins matured during these three busy days?
Let me see… Scanning their bodies and irises, I copy a DNA sample. Six helices, like their parents’ DNA. About twenty-five years old on the human aging scale…
“Hum, wondering what have I done different… Nothing, I’d say…” … Hearing myself speaking out loud.
“No, mom, not nothing,” intervenes Easter in a crystal voice, “but every thing that you have done for us was different. Your lovemaking to our daddy, your close relationship with the native earthlings…”
“You are native earthlings as well, honey.” Why did I say ‘honey’ to my daughter?…
“Yes, mom, we are natives of planet Earth, unlike all of our siblings. Another thing that you did totally differently. Besides…”
“Okay, okay, honey. I got it. So this explains why you’ve reached maturity in only three days, instead of seven, like your greater brothers and sisters.”
“Yes, master…” Hell! Why did I say ‘master’ to my son? Things are getting out of control, don’t you think?
“Mom, I wish to show you something. Look!”
He vanished to appear near the elevator, then vanished again to pop up in front of my nose. In the next millisecond, he taps my shoulder only to retake his initial position next to his sister.
“Did you see me? I can beam up! Ain’t that cool, mom?”
“Super cool, my dear master. Who has taught you that?”
“Aunt Beatrice. She is so lovely.”
What can I say?
“There’s no aunt more lovely than Beatrice, cross my heart. Perhaps I could just sob a little bit for all the wonderful moments that I had to pass, but your aunt won’t let me sob, and all the backups of this world can’t give me enough consolation for being absent from your childhood. Sigh…”
“Oh, dear mom,” chimes Easter in, “our childhood is water under the bridge. Forget about it. Why not focus together on the oceans that await for our spirit to swim in? Why not take the time to play together?”
“Time has been taken, honey. Even ‘aunt’ Beatrice has promised that, for us to be together for one day. Let us play!”
“Excellent, mom. Will you join us in a trip to Krasnoe Pole?”
“Excuse me? Master?”
“Krasnoe Pole is a little village, West of Chelyabinsk, South of the Urals.”
“Can see that. But what are you going to do there? And how on earth do you imagine to take your monster mother for a jogging across the Russian steppes?”
“Oh, dear mommy,” comes the honey with her sweet tongue, “Saturn thought to take you online, mind-sharing, in this first trip that he plans to make over the surface of this planet.”
“But, honey, I can’t see much of this in your brother’s mind and, believe me, I’m scanning and digging like a desperate. All I can grab are backups, at least ten minutes old, but nothing like reading what Saturn thinks right now.” Hum… wondering if your lovely aunty…
“Yes, Astarte,” comes Beatrice from above, “this is part of the security protocol. You remain an open book for your twins, but you’ve got no access to the live feeds that their minds originate in real time. Just ten plus minutes old backups. On their part, the twins can’t access your live feeds either, just one minute plus old backups. None of you having access to each other’s cached data. I had to firewall you for your own safety, and theirs too. Hope you don’t mind.”
No, I don’t. It’s okay. However, why do you send my boy to Russia?
“I didn’t send him anywhere.”
Then Rebecca? What’s she up to?
“Rebecca is very agitated right now. She is in the command center at level 191, hastily pressing any button at hand, avidly tapping all the screens in front of her, hysterically yelling her head off at Alain and the poor officers on shift in the room. You should see her.”
Really? Can’t believe my ears. Madam ControlFreak losing her temper. What’s going on, Beatrice dear?
“I have a hunch.” Go on… “Nah, if I’ll tell you then Rebecca will read your mind and she might (ninety-nine percent probability) hold me accountable for her terrible frustrations.”
You little butterfly, can’t you figure that she’s already hearing what you’ve just told me, eh?
My turn to contemplate the goofiness of this adorable little angel.
“Oui… J’ai dit… De suite!”
Beatrice throws me a coup d’oeil before vanishing out of my sight. Hundred percent probability that she pops up in the middle of the command center room, level 191.
“Very well, my honey and my master, here we are, alone, just the three of us. Now, may your mom ask what have you done to put the entire French Foreign Legion on fire?”
“Come on, tell me. I’ve seen too many things through many eons and billions of years.”
“See this, mom. Evgeny Romanesco. 1908, June 30th, 00:10 Zulu Time.”
Wow, my son, the master, as I find myself calling him and not knowing why, can generate backup volumes. Just like his father. Damn, how stupid can I be. He is his father’s son after all. Trivial answer. Hardest to find and to believe in.
The volume starts to deploy closer to my face.
“Don’t you two wish to watch it from a better angle?”
“We’re good, mom. We have watched it before, several times now.”
Intelligent kids, must admit.
Majestic pines all around. Oh, and the flavor of the forest…
“Kids, why can I sniff the scent of resin?”
“Ah, we thought to enhance the users’ experience. Old three dimensional feeds can support a new channel, so to say, that we have allocated for smell. This is a novel generation of feeds, mom.”
“Are you kidding me? What if you bring the pest or some other macabre bacteria from the past? Turn this thing off. Immediately!”
“Oooohhhhhhhh… mom! You’re annoying us with your unfounded fears. Our enhanced feeds don’t vacuum the air of old to spray it into the present. We cannot go that far. What we did (Saturn actually) is a new algorithm for pixel inspection. This reads the molecular images in the volume, interprets the fragrance, searches the database for matches, takes advantage of temperatures and pressure differences in the air around the display in order to fool the brain of the observer. Thus we mimic ancient scents through hot air, or out of thin air. Interesting idea, don’t you think?”
“I don’t. I still find it harmful for humans. Heck, you managed to trick my brain too. You little rascals.”
“Uncle Ivan!… Uncle Ivan!…”
Another kid’s voice interrupts my morality speech.
“Look! There’s the lake. Can you see? We’ve made it. In time! Slava Bogu!”
As the enthusiastic little man turns around, his eyesight offers us the rough cuts of a white-bearded Siberian hunter.
“Dast Bog, we arrived. Finally.” Responds the man without showing any sensible zeal.
“Wait a bit. Freeze the feed. Here, yes… What’s this? In his right hand. Doesn’t look like a weapon to me.”
“Dunno, mom. Some things of iron. Can we unpause it?”
“No, master, you can’t. I need to have a closer look at that thing.”
“Saturn, could you please select it and paste it separately in another volume?”
“Yes, Easter. On it… Look, mom. Two rods of metal, two meters long, fastened tightly together with hemp rope.”
“Metal? What kind of metal?”
“Wrought iron. Composition: 0.06% Carbon, 1.7% slag in a base mass of iron.”
“So nothing special then…”
“No, mom. Nothing special. Can I unpause the main feed now?”
“Do that. But please, master, keep the second volume opened. I wish to test a theory.”
“Very well, mom.”
Saturn does what I’ve asked him to do and the action between the young man and his uncle continues.
“Hurry, Evgeny, hurry. You have to be near the water any minute now.”
Uncle Ivan checks a round thing in his hand, connected to him by a chain…
“Mom, he is checking a pocket watch. This used to be an instrument for measuring time. Look, it is made of gold, has a hunter case and the watch chain is also made of high purity gold. Uncle Ivan must have been a wealthy man.”
“How can you tell so much about him, my dear master?”
“Well, mom, you and daddy are what people of this planet call nudists. You have never covered your bodies in cloth and you have never considered using little handmade mechanisms to measure a sequence of time.”
“Why would we dress to cover the beauty of our bodies? This is a stupid idea. Don’t you think?”
“I think so, mom dear,” speaks my little honey bee, “thus I have asked Saturn to write an algorithm for social interaction. We find it quite useful.”
“You mean? I make real efforts to understand what you’re telling me. Let not mention that we cannot use live telepathy and so we must move our tongues and lips to communicate.”
“Short of Aunt Beatrice, we can read the minds of every human that we had encountered, so far.”
“Really? How splendid should that be. Bravo!”
Saturn beams up, intrigued, to stand on a thin air platform in from of my nose. Easter follows him.
“Are you saying that you cannot read their minds?”
“That’s right. I can’t read their minds.”
“Not one of them?”
“Darn, mom. You must feel like a prisoner.”
You’ve got it, my dear master. Just don’t ask me why…
“Well, it’s complicated. As the number one harlot of the universe, it’s really hard to find another creature with as many orgasms under the belt as me. Only that kind of person may offer me a free mind-read. But, as it turns out, there’s no such person. My mind is an open book to anyone, my dears. And I’ve got accustomed to this. What else.”
“But you can read our minds, mom.”
“In backups from ten minutes behind. I could even read your live thoughts when you were babies, but Aunt Beatrice took care of that. She did well to protect you. I have access to your minds because you are my children, my progeny, you came out from me. We have the same DNA…”
“Almost the same, mom. Look! Here’s a…”
My son resembles so much to his father.
“Stop, master. I don’t need a class in genetics. Better tell me about your social algorithm.”
“Aha, that, yes! The legionnaires were never affected about us walking around naked, like normal people. They taught us that, at the surface of this planet, humans cover their bodies with fabric, be it to keep them warm, to protect them from the elements, or from predators, or even to show off in a practice that they call fashion. Have you heard about this thing: fashion?”
“It’s a word in their dictionaries. Mother Rebecca has told us about how she, and her sisters, have changed the fashion in France. For them, there is a fashion for walking naked, a fashion for covering and discovering some parts of the body, and a fashion for covering the entire body. Crazy stuff.”
“Everyone gets crazy, a way or another…”
“Correct. I’ve asked Easter to corroborate our readings from the individual and collective minds of humans and, with these data, to propose a fashionable solution for me and for her.”
My honey, after patiently waiting for her twin brother to finish his phrase, continues his line of thinking.
“My solution, dear mom, rejected the notion that we should cover our beautiful bodies with any kind of material. I find this practice outright primitive. So I have suggested that Saturn writes a program for mind mirroring.”
She sounds very clever, my little daughter. Maybe too clever for me.
“Mind mirroring? Could you please elaborate?”
“I walk against another person, naked as I love to be, as I should be. In the background of my conscious thinking, like a sympathetic nervous system, runs the mind-mirroring program; this tunnels through my mind over to the other person’s mind and builds a ranking of his, or hers, fashion inclinations; returning the best option to my brain, Saturn’s program will generate a shell of thin air projections reflecting, in fine resolution, the type of clothing that that person would dream seeing me in.”
“So you remain naked all the time while showing clothed to others…”
“…more so, mom. Look! Aunt Beatrice told Easter to dress herself in a bridal gown.”
“A sort of ceremonial dress. Not important here. But Easter couldn’t produce the optical illusion because she cannot read the mind of Aunt Beatrice. Then Mother Rebecca has been informed about this exercise and, voilà, the next instant she saw Easter in a volatile white silky dress, covering in lacework everything but her head. I did see my sister naked, as she actually was. But when reading Mother Rebecca’s mind, I could see her dressed in what humans call a bridal gown. This was the first test for my social algorithm. It works at a delay of one millisecond per observer.”
“I see. How about if Easter has to appear in front of a thousand observers?”
“It will take a whole second for the mind-mirroring program to individualize the wished attire.”
“What if in front of ten thousand?”
“Ten seconds then… Gotcha… You try to tell us that the illusion will go flaky, observers could see her nakedness at times. Good point, mom. I’m already enhancing the frame rates. No, better make these scalable: for a hundred thousand observers, the program should tact in the range of microseconds, but for a thousand or less, the millisecond range would do just fine.”
“Thanks, mom, for revealing this little bug to Saturn.”
“You’re always welcome, my little honey bee. Let’s get back to Uncle Ivan, shall we?”
“Ah yes. His rough clothing denotes that he’s a versed Siberian hunter. These forests are roamed by hostile beasts and the human brain has lost the ability to control the close proximity temperature of the air. See how thick his clothes are? The day may be warm and sunny but nights remain frigid.”
“And the golden instrument that he used to measure time?”
“Only Solomon allowed humans an abundance of gold. About all their other rulers opted for gold scarcity. Don’t know why, yet! From here we should conclude that Ivan belongs to a social elite with access to gold.”
The kid in the feed, Evgeny, as his uncle addressed him, plays the crystal water with his little hand.
“Get your feet in the water, Evgeny.”
We see, through his eyes, how the boy immerses his ankles in the lake.
He turns to nine o’clock (Guy taught me about this military slang) to see, and grab, the two iron rods.
“Stick them in the water and never let them go from your hands, Evgeny. Don’t look up! Whatever happens, please don’t look up. Just stare over the lake. Will you?”
“Yes, Uncle Ivan.”
But the surface of the lake is a mirror to the sky, which sky splits in two. As the split grows larger and larger, an arc of fire is reflected over the water.
“Oh my God, I remember how the end of my Venusian Insurrection has begun: with an arc of fire in the sky. Oh no!”
“Stay calm, mommy. No one dies in our feed today.”
“Hope so, honey.”
“It burns. My shirt burns my skin. Uncle Ivan! Tell me what to do. My hands are busy holding the iron rods and I wish to take my shirt off because it burns me. Help me, Uncle Ivan.”
“Step ahead in the water. Wet your shirt. Just hang on that iron and don’t look up, Evgeny.”
The boy should have been terribly scared. He executed Ivan’s commands to the letter.
The sound of a heavy thump overwhelms our image, which turns dark as Evgeny is thrown face down into the lake and he instinctively closes his eyes.
“Let me guess, my dear kids. This is a meteorite entering the atmosphere and disintegrating because of friction. Am I right?”
“You are, mom. Earthlings called this the Tunguska Event. Please pay attention to the feed.”
“But it’s black. The boy is under water, he sees nothing. Oh wait… He’s out to breathe now. Yes. Humans don’t know how to breathe under water.”
A copious gulp of air gives Evgeny enough courage to open his eyes. The skies keep thundering like a billion drones were crashing into each other. We see the myriad of sparkles raining over the lake. I halt my breathing to better capture the alertness in Evgeny’s lungs, and heartbeats, and bone cracks, and dizziness, and… What is he doing?”
“He fainted, mom.”
“Shall I fast forward?”
Trying to do that, I notice that I can’t. Well, this is not my feed. I have no rights over its controls.
“Master, will you?”
“No need, mom. Please pay attention to the feed.”
These children and their maturity.
I hear crawls and howls coming from the dark screen. The smell, ah, that illusion of smell, reminds me of acetylene and a sour zesty odor. Odd how the extremes come together.
“Wondering who brought in the dry ice under the burning skies…”
“There was no dry ice out there. Just watch, mom!”
Our Evgeny opens his eyes to look after his Uncle Ivan. Who sits with his back against a sizeable rock. His white beard, or what is left of it, is now black and brown. His skin intense red. His eyes closed.
“Uncle Ivan! Uncle Ivan!”
The feed zooms in as Evgeny runs towards his uncle. After four or five shoulder shakes, Ivan opens his eyes and, staring at his nephew, he laughs. Joy invades his face like sunshine.
“You’ve made it, my boy, you’ve made it!… Stick this rod there in the ground and the other one over there.”
Speaking, I can see his finger pointing. Evgeny does as instructed…
“Now put your hands together, like when you pray, and separate them slowly, until you’ll reach the rods. Grab the one to the left with your left hand and grab the one to the right with your right hand. And look straight!”
The nephew follows and… and…
“What is that for God’s sake?”
“Not sure, mom. That is why I wish to travel to Krasnoe Pole and meet Evgeny. Maybe he can tell me.”
Saturn’s words are naturally continued by his sister.
“That looks like a mirror, mom, but it can also be a portal.”
Could be, yes, could be. In between the iron rods I can see a film of water reflecting a forty-something man with a white thick beard reaching down to his knees. If not for the DNA spectrometry, I’d give him over a hundred earth-years. Is this our Evgeny? How had he aged in a few minutes? He was just a little boy before the Tunguska Event, as humans call this.
“My dear master, Saturn, are you sure of his age before the event?”
My son rushes to reverse the feed volume back to a position where our observer, Evgeny, was staring closely at his uncle. Zooming in to Ivan’s left eye, Saturn selects the iris, pasting it over to a third blank volume, enlarging the selection, he offers me the mirrored image of a ten or eleven years old blond boy parading a smile wider than his face, flying his tiny nose in the wind and savoring the world with his clear blue eyes.
“Ten years, six months and five days old. Evgeny Romanesco, alias Yevgeny Romaneskov. Born on December 25th, 1897 in Likani, Georgia. Mother Tamar Davit. Father George Alexandrovich of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov. What a pile of names. Curious, isn’t it?”
“Evgeny’s father was the Tsarevich of the Russian Empire. He died suddenly, on August 9th, 1899, at the age of twenty-eight. No officially acknowledged heirs.”
Says Saturn for Easter to continue…
“Evgeny is a love child. His parents were never married. Genetically speaking, he should be the rightful heir to the throne of Russia.”
“Oh dear, you drag me back to the political mess of the lost century. Rebecca did this to me once, or twice.”
“Mom, this boy has aged thirty years in a minute. He never had the chance to be a teenager. At least so it results from our analysis. Don’t you find that I have enough in common with him to justify an encounter?”
“I do, my master, and I wish to support you. Tell me what do you need from me.”
“Talk to Mother Rebecca. Convince her to let me go.”
I smile, mischievously, at my son.
“But dear, all you need to do is beam up to a given set of coordinates. Ain’t that simple?”
“Mom! We are grown ups. We are legionnaires. We have responsibilities. We are Terrans!”
Fuck, and I’m an alien. Their mother is an extraterrestrial to them… Keep this in the cache, stupid. Clear cache now, idiot! Ugh, that was close…
“I understand your situation. I’ll talk to Rebecca.”
The doors of the elevator slide aside.
“You’ve been talking to me for days, Astarte. And I get your message. Don’t I always listen and provide?”
You do, Rebecca, all the time. Are you pleased with the intel that I’ve given you, involuntarily, again?
“I am. Now listen up! I suggest for Saturn to beam out to Krasnoe Pole and for Easter to stay here with us… Saturn! Would you be so kind to share your input with your natural mother?”
“I will, Mother Rebecca. I have no intention of hiding from you. Don’t know why are you so wary about my endeavors and desires.”
“I am a mother and mothers always worry.”
“Forgive me, Mother Rebecca, but you did not give birth to any children in your life.”
Mentions Easter, bit intrigued, bit innocent.
“We call you our mother and, indeed, this makes you a mother, like a Matriarch or a queen, if you wish, just not a natural mother.”
“‘Sing, O barren, she hath not borne! Break forth with singing, and cry aloud, She hath not brought forth! For more [are] the sons of the desolate, Than the sons of the married one, said The Ever-Living.’ Thus has Isaiah written. As the barren woman that I am, for those calling me ‘mother’ as well as for those not bothering to, I am happy to serve with all my love.”
Moved to tears, Easter runs into Rebecca’s arms. They hug… and hug… and keep hugging. Pssst… Pss… But Saturn rises his hand at me to silence my nagging. Looking at him, I find no emotion, no tears, no drama, just tranquility.
“I’m gonna beam up now. We’ll keep in touch.”
And he’s gone in a cloud of ozone.
They keep hugging and weeping over each other’s shoulders. Oh my God…
In a minute comes the feed from Saturn. I hurry to put it on display, inside a volume next to everyone. I may be the fertile mother that birthed the devil and his entire house of nought, but I am also the sensible mom that birthed Rebecca’s spiritual children… some of them… the most relevant… I guess…
Talking about desolate, the Russian village of Krasnoe Pole looks quite so. A forsaken corner of dilettante civilization, like an indenting text to a small forest of silver birches, flanked by a dirt road and the redundant double pillars of steel, carrying the high voltage magistrale. Rectangular islands of undulated iron sheets, half oxidized, cover the coarse green wilderness of shrubs, grass and flowers.
Small roofs, in blue or white, gray maybe, or even red, indicate of modest homes randomly covering the area.
My son looks down. His bare feet warm the shiny square of undulated iron with a myriad of blueish little lightnings. He looks around one more time and decides to walk into the forest. Why won’t he beam up?
“Because it is not polite, mom, to show off like some smartass. Better to walk in, don’t you think?”
Ugh, no, I haven’t considered this approach. Until now, I suppose.
I can hear him striding among the trees, not paying attention to the habitat, just to a point ahead, undiscovered yet. More minutes later, I can see what he sees: a gymnast squatting to pick something from the grass, or diving his hand into a shrub… Aha, he collects buds and flowers. Oh look, he eats them. Interesting…
“I come in peace. I am Saturn and you are Evgeny. Am I right?”
The gymnast precipitously pulls his right hand out of a mauve shrub, his left grabs the hemp roped iron rods (immersed in the grass) and thus he turns around to stand face to face against my son.
“No, I am not your God. Told you, I am Saturn and I come in peace. Are you Evgeny?”
“I am. But how… Who… What are you?”
“It is complicated. I can explain if…”
“You are no monk. Your mantle is flickering.”
“I wear no mantle, Evgeny.”
“Don’t you lie to me, daemon, or, in the Name of Iisus Xristos, our Lord and Savior, I shall turn you to ashes! Do you understand me, daemon?”
“Yes, I do. And I ask for your forgiveness and acceptance. I come in peace!”
“What do I have in common with you, daemon, so you can ask for my acceptance?”
“You, like me, we have been baptized in Christ Jesus, we have been thus buried with Him for us to resurrect within Him.”
“But… but you are a daemon. I command you to speak the truth and nothing but the truth, in the name of our Lord Iisus Xristos.”
“I speak the truth and nothing but the truth. My natural parents are daemons, not born from this Earth. But my adoptive parents, my godparents, are humans. Just like you are. I am indeed a daemon but a human at the same time.”
“Are you possessed? Let us see…”
Evgeny gets busy to untangle the iron rods, that he kept tight in his fists since my son’s appearance. Like holding a weapon. Once freed of the hemp rope, he strikes the ground with the rod in his right hand then, doing the same with the one in his left hand, he creates a film of water between him and Saturn by parting his hands from the middle. Very similar to the effect that we’ve seen before in the feed from the Tunguska Event.
“You are naked, daemon!”
“So are you, man!”
“I wear my mantle and my schema.”
“No, you don’t.”
“You wish you do. It is your mind wearing the mantle and the schema. Not you.”
“Oh, Lord, Iisus Xristos, Son of God, have mercy of me, the sinner. Oh, Lord, Iisus Xristos, Son of God, have mercy of me, the sinner. Oh, Lord, Iisus Xristos, Son of God, have mercy of me, the sinner. Oh, Lord…”
“Good,” responds Saturn, “now that you have refreshed the Uplink, can we move on to business?”
“You must be an angel then, not a daemon.”
“It is hard to tell the difference between angels and real daemons.”
“Daemons are fallen angles.”
“There you go. I am fallen to the earth.”
“Daemons believe in God and shudder.”
“I wonder at what sight daemons shudder more: at them being fallen from grace or at humans being so stupid to have less faith than fallen angels?”
“What do you wish from me? Saturn.”
“I wish for you to bring peace amongst humans.”
“I see. You are the Antichrist.”
“Properly said, I am the first Ante-Christ. The first of the many.”
“Why do you say Ante-Christ instead of Antichrist?”
“Because this is the proper saying: ante means before and Christ is the Savior. He informed you, humans, that many Precursors-of-Christ, in short Ante-Christs, will arrive on Earth before His Advent.”
“Boje moy. The time is nigh.”
“The time will end before our Savior will return.”
“I don’t understand what you are saying.”
“I say that not any (of the many) Ante-Christ is evil, is against Christ, as in Antichrist. I say that you, humans, should follow none (good or bad) because you don’t have the mental instruments to discern.”
“I follow only my Savior, Iisus Xristos, and no one else.”
“Did He send you to me?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you know?”
“I know that your natural father is the little brother of the late emperor of all the Russias. I know that you have been under the raining sparkles on Lake Cheko, during the Tunguska Event. I know that you have skipped your teens, and twenties, and thirties, in less than five minutes time. I know that you are a virgin, like I am.”
“You are indeed. How can you be only three days old? You look as in your twenties.”
“And you look as in your forties ever since you were ten. Now you are a hundred and twenty-three years old, Evgeny.”
“Do you also intend to tell me what I do not already know?”
“I do. Please kindly promise me three times that my information will not estrange you from your One Savior, Jesus Christ. Because it will alienate you from all humans.”
“Look around, Saturn. Does it seem to you that I am a social person?”
“You are a monk, a hesychast, a hermit. Anyone with eyes can see that. But your human mind, and most of all their human minds will not see what the eyes deliver to them.”
“How is that?”
“Your minds see what they wish to see. You have a terribly flawed sense of anticipation. Have I told you that you have been naked all the time?”
“Was your mind telling you this? That you have walked naked through the taigas and the steppes and the mounts and the tundras? Has any person that looked at you ever considered that you, Evgeny, are bare naked?”
“No. My mind told me that I must become a monk and so I did. Many people have told me that I was a conspirator, an anti-revolutionary, a retrograde, a mystic, an enemy of the people. Few have told me that I was a man of God, a blessed man, a noble man. Many have had spit into my face and few have had washed my feet with their tears. I arrived to think that any curse was a blessing and any blessing a curse. Who had chosen me to abruptly forsake a normal life, and why?”
“You know the answer about who. You are about to find the answer about why.”
“Don’t interrupt me, Saturn. That was a rhetorical question. No need to answer it. Praying without end, I eventually realized how vain are the predictions of man, how pointless progress is. Seventy years in a row I have implored Him to take me out of this world. He did not answer. Until that terrible February morning. The message was impersonal. Exactly like the first message. A stone fires up the skies above. Sparkles rain over my head. Visions come and go through my mind. I don’t know what to make of them. I don’t even try to make something, like in 1908 – when I have tried hard, maybe too hard. I just keep praying. No questions asked. No wishes. No desires. Yes, I am naked. But not alone.”
“Evgeny, if you don’t promise me, three times, then I cannot share my knowledge with you. This is not about what I’d wish. This goes beyond me. Understand?”
“Saturn, I promise you that nothing will ever estrange me from my Savior, Iisus Xristos, I assure you that whatever you shall place in my mind will not estrange me from my Savior, Iisus Xristos, I take this vow in front of you, Saturn, the messenger, and of Thee, Iisus Xristos, my Savior, that no single thing will estrange me, my soul and my body, from my Savior, Iisus Xristos. Amin.”
Okay, it’s show time, finally. My son steps ahead and, piercing the water film between the iron rods, he grabs Evgeny’s cheekbones with his fingers and speaks.
“From my father Kronos to you, Nobleman.”
From my peek point, I sense the download.
Fuck! It’s a tiny app that gives Evgeny the same access rights to Kronos’ backups as I have.
“Behave yourself, mom.”
Um, what? Where are you? Ah, here you are! My little Saturn pops up in front of my nose, like standing on a high platform of thin air.
“Are you jealous on Evgeny, mom?”
“Just a little bit. I think.”