A Novel – One Chapter Per Week
Week 03, 2019
Jim finished his coffee, gathered himself and hurried from the café.
He had a plane to catch, a funeral to prepare for and he was afraid he would miss his flight if he lingered any longer. The timing of his departure, and precisely where he was in flight when he set the final stages of his plan in motion, those things were crucial.
He had to keep his activities hidden from the prying eyes of his enemies.
He returned to his apartment to gather some things, to set the artifacts in his apartment in just the right place for Kathy to find in the days to come.
She must be able to track his thoughts and follow his plans when the time came.
He did not need much of anything to take with him; his black suit, his watch, his tie.
“I’m dead;” he mused, and then “I am death itself, the harbinger of doom.”
He knew that he would never return to his beloved Earth, and that even if he did, nothing would be the same. The cultures that had evolved over the past seventy thousand years would be wiped out, with no guarantees that what would emerge in its place would have any of those qualities that he loved and found so fascinating.
The humans of Earth had nourished his spirit for millennia, he had found his rest in them, and they had helped him define his purpose.
He allowed himself some time to remember all that he had accomplished since he found this world. Then his telephone rang to inform him that his taxi had arrived.
With a final check of his preparations Jim exited his apartment. He walked down the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Taking in the view of the lakes from the mezzanine of his apartment before he got in the car.
Jim was struck as he had been many times before by his feelings of ambivalence, knowing what was going to happen to this planet in a few short days, while the entire population of the Earth was completely unsuspecting.
It was a strange burden.
Jim contemplated it while he made small talk with the cabby, before he fell into a state of reflection.
“I never should have seen her.”
Jim thought, doubting himself.
He felt himself filling-up with regret.
It was an emotion he was not inclined to do, but at this moment he could not help it.
He reviewed each step of his plan, reviewing it for every possible detail, believing, and yet uncertain that he had laid the path for Kathy to follow it perfectly.
He visualized each step, telling himself that his indulgence today was a necessary one, he had to see Kathy in order to reinforce, in non-verbal ways, his absolute need for her to follow the plan that he had laid out.
Another wave of doubt washed over him.
Was he being foolish when he asked her to see him?
His emotions were running high, too high. They might alert her to his design.
Whenever he was with her, through all of the years that he had known her, he had to maintain a strict discipline in order to shield his mind from hers. It was the most difficult thing he had ever done, but he was able to do it nonetheless.
He could feel her consciousness probing his, like psychic tentacles pulling at his mind.
Never once had she penetrated him, and that was only because she was not trying.
As forceful as her psychic powers were, they functioned within her autonomically. She was not directing them, she was a passive user of her powers.
For her safety, she had spent most of her life learning the skills she needed to suppress her powers, rather than push them to the limits.
Jim was always aware that if she had wanted to she could break through his defenses with relative ease.
When the time came, it was paramount that she be taken by surprise, his plan depended on shocking her at just the right moment.
The delicate path he was walking filled him with dread, and sorrow, and guilt.
Jim couldn’t help himself. It was all over; it was over for everyone, and nothing could be done.
It was doom’s day.
What was about to occur would be a global catastrophe. It would affect everything on earth, changing humanity irrevocably, killing hundreds of thousands in minutes, millions in days, and most of the rest in the few short years to come.
Very few human beings were even aware of the danger. Human scientists had only discovered the existence of the volcano that was the agent of their destruction,a few decades past. It took years for them to measure and quantify their data, even now they were in a place of uncertainty.
The geological system was too complex, they did not know how much they did not know.
There was no way to reasonably predict an event they had never experienced before, the certainty of which was absolute, but the frequency of its repetition occurred on a scale of time so great that the leading geologists had to admit that they could not pin point the eventuality within years, or decades, or centuries.
For all they knew it could be millennia before it erupted again.
No one disputed the fact that the event was overdue; it was overdue by several thousand years. But then again what is a thousand years, or even ten thousand years when the periodicity approached a million.
It was impossible to tell.
They watched over the sight as carefully as they could.
They measured every possible feature of the hazard zone.
They released reports.
Some reports were so alarming that the Federal Government decided to restrict the way that information was disseminated.
They adopted the view that it would be better, if when the event occurred it took everyone by surprise, because there was nothing they could do about it anyway.
Even with their careful observations and their watchful analysis, no one expected it to come now.
The data, which every geologist believed indicated an immanent eruption, had led to numerous false conclusions in the past.
At the present moment, there was nothing happening, to tell them of the mounting threat.
Like every planet, Earth endured episodic calamities; cycles of massive storms, great floods, powerful hurricanes and tremendous earthquakes. These were minor events compared to the power of the caldera volcano.
There were catastrophes that came from beyond the planet, such as; collisions with comets and asteroids. They had happened many times and Earth would experience those events again, or come close to it.
Given time, the advancement of technology and proper planning, any of those events could be avoided.
A civilization could gain complete control of its weather, could identify every fault zone and only build structures that were capable of allowing the force of an earthquake to pass through it. They could set satellites in orbit around their planets, string them together throughout the solar system, so that no object passing near to it would not be seen, enabling them to be diverted or destroyed.
Technology could accomplish all of those things, but nothing could stop the power growing within the Earth.
The heat of Earth’s molten core powered the entire planet.
It was the engine of life, and evolution.
Nothing could stop it, but given time its heat could be harnessed and used for the benefit of the world.
It was time that human civilization did not have.
The monster beneath the surface was stirring and would rise.
They were approaching the end of days, it would be the beginning of the long night.
Human beings would survive, they would survive better than they did when the last caldera blew, seventy-two thousand years ago, but the new civilization that emerged on the other side would be radically different.
They would not be starting over, that much was true.
Their technology had advanced far enough to guarantee a relatively rapid recovery.
In the last event only a couple of thousand human beings survived, that number would be hundreds of times greater.
Billions would be wiped from the face of the earth, and those surviving would emerge with a unified human culture.
In his heart Jim desired nothing more than to belong to that new human culture, but he would not be returning.
When the last caldera blew in the South Pacific, in Indonesia. Only a few human beings survived, a couple of thousand people in a few hundred tribes scattered across Eurasia and Africa.
It had been six-hundred and forty thousand years since the Yellowstone caldera last erupted in North America, in Wyoming, nearly wiping out all life on Earth.
The coming cycle of destruction would be greater still.
The human race would survive, even without the kind of intervention that Jim could have given them, if the Continuum had allowed it, but civilization would collapse.
The species would pass through a genetic bottle neck, and what would emerge on the other side would be different.
The psychic trauma would be extreme, it would wound the survivors in ways that no person could predict. The narratives that they would develop in order to contextualize all of their pain could potentially derail Jim’s work.
Earth’s magnetic field which enveloped the entire species in a cynergenic web, making the humans of Earth unique in all the galaxy, was itself under threat.
Jim was virtually certain that he had succeeded in developing the vessel that was key to his larger machinations, he had accomplished his work, he had brought it all to fruition in the final generation.
He only needed to deploy her.
Everything depended on Kathy, on the strength and range of psychic abilities, yes, but even more importantly, on her fortitude. She had to possess the stamina to stand in the space between worlds and pass the collective trauma of earth on to the Central Planet.
This was not something he had been given the time to test.
He desired nothing more than a resolution to the ambitions that had been driving him, or so he told himself, even if it meant failure. Even failure would resolve him, by prompting the Collective to abandon him and allowing the Continuum to finally terminate him.
In one form or another death awaited him.
What he desired more than anything was success, and then at long last to die in an organic body a natural death, un-enmeshed from the constraints that the Continuum had tethered to every member of the Collective, even to those Observers serving in the far reaches of the galaxy.
If civilization on Earth had been given a little more time to develop, Earth’s technology a little more time to actualize, human beings would have been able to harness the geological power of the caldera.
The power they could have captured would have changed everything for them, resolving issues of energy scarcity that had been elusive, or socially impossible for them to tackle.
In another century, or possibly sooner they would have had it, he lamented.
These children of the ancients, who had devolved like no other group. This far flung colony in the most remote reaches of the galaxy, possessing no memory of who they were or how they arrived here, they would have been able to re-establish themselves as a spacefaring people in earnest.
The Continuum would not allow for an intervention, even though it seemed that the will of the Collective was for it.
A majority of those who followed the drama unfolding on Earth were in love with its art, and music, its joy and trauma, a majority of them wanted to see Earth’s narrative continue.
Even though Jim was certain that the Continuum had no idea about his plans, he sensed that it perceived Earth and human civilization as a threat to it.
Of course he knew that the Continuum perceived him as a threat to it.
He believed that this was the reason for blocking him, not a dogmatic adherence to a policy of non-intervention, which was the reason the Continuum issued for why it would not allow resources to be mustered to save the planet,
It would not allow Imperial communications to be established with Earth in such a way that it could help them.
Jim might have helped Earth by strategically distributing knowledge in such a way that it would have advanced Earth technology, but he refrained for fear that it would draw further scrutiny to him, risking the exposure of his plan
Jim worked covertly against the restraints, appearing to comply, because he did not wish to jeopardize his long term ambitions.
It would be difficult, if not impossible to conceal a new mode of treason from the watchful, and penetrating gaze of the all encompassing consciousness of the HomeWorld.
He could do nothing else but fulfill the directives he had been given.
Jim had to say goodbye.
There was a cloaked satellite orbiting far above the earth, one of many.
This one was the actual house of Jim’s consciousness. It was the principle platform for Jim’s mission on Earth, one of thousands of satellites, and drones, hidden from the eyes of human beings, and from the Continuum.
Some were fixed in stationary orbits, other moved about, semi-autonomously, all of the watch the planet and intercepted its communications with inexhaustible capacities.
In that place, Jim the Observer # 92835670100561474 activated a switch, sending a signal to his host body, and with that, an embolism in his doppelganger burst inside its brain, ending its life in a massive stroke.
Jim’s doppelganger had been flying on a plane from his Midwestern home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to New York city.
The destination was only important for the route and the timing Jim had planned for his death, to covertly transfer his consciousness from his organic vessel to the orbiting platform.
Those sitting next to him did not notice the moment of his demise. It was only as the plane made ready for its descent that the airline attendants found something wrong with him, saw the thin line of blood dripping from his nostril, and that he was not breathing.
They did what they could for him, but they quickly realized that there was nothing to be done.
They called ahead for a doctor, indicating that they were dealing with a medical emergency, but in reality, they knew that they were dealing with a corpse.
Jim observed those final moments, the last seconds of the body that housed him during his most significant incarnation, the life that would define his entire existence, expose his greatest secrets, give him the victory he had long sought over the Collective and its Continuum.
When he was satisfied that he was mentally prepared for the challenges that awaited him. He toggled another device, opening a channel through space and time.
He paused for a moment to consider the steps he would take on the other side. He did something that was forbidden, something he had not planned on doing, had told himself he would not do, he left a copy of himself in the quantum memory of his base, and then he let his consciousness go, slipping into the stream of the infinite.
He passed through the wormhole.
He was home.
Part One, Jim and Kathy
Chapter Two, Departure
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week
#Emergence #ShortFiction #OneChapterPerWeek
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