The Pandion Prophecy ... Part 6
Welcome, and thank you for visiting the continuing story, “The Pandion Prophecy.” There are eight chapters in all.
A link to the first chapter appears below.
The music videos at the end of each chapter are an integral part of the story.
By noon, the troubled sky had traveled elsewhere. The sun, no longer hidden from view, coaxed the living from points of refuge in trees, burrows, and hollowed logs; beneath wrinkled bark, rocks and leafy canopies; and within human-made structures of hard, straight lines.
Kate's detour took the pair on a 20-minute drive to Farhaven Point along the coastline. Ray drove as she talked on her burner phone with her paternal uncle, William Martin, a professor of astronomy and physics at UMASS. The extended drive afforded her the time she needed to acquaint him with the bizarre happenings of that weekend. When they arrived at Martin's home on the Point, he was waiting for them at the front door.
The aging professor carried his sixty years well. True to his family's Irish DNA, his thick red hair had begun to whiten at the temples. His eyes, still youthful and sharp, dwelled on Ray as he hugged his niece. "And how is your mother?" he asked her.
"Worried that you're working too hard. You never seem to take a vacation, Uncle Will."
"I know...I owe her a visit to Marco Island. I'll go soon -- I promise. Mr. Stiegel...the man of the hour," he said, turning to her friend. "We met at Kate and Jack's wedding, Raymond. I was so sorry to hear of what happened to your parents in Arizona. It's good to see you again." He shook Ray's hand, warmly, then inspected his palm in a movement so deft, it was barely noticeable.
Will took Kate by the arm and led the two to his study. He excused himself and went immediately to his desk to look for something in an untamable pile of research papers and folders. The north wall of the study boasted ceiling to floor windows, reflecting his fondness for working in natural light that bounced around the room. The south wall was filled with an eclectic assortment of artwork, wildlife photography and iconic images captured by the Hubble space telescope -- each symbolic of something that helped trigger his love of teaching.
Mouthing a silent, "Wow," Ray paused near a large photo of an osprey, suspended in a ritual, descending glide over a salt marsh. The bird's powerful, M-shaped wings were bowed downward in flight; its barbed talons, thrust forward to seize the life that was hidden from view in the water below.
"That's Pandion Haliaetus, one of Uncle Will's favorites," said Kate. "It's a fish-eating bird of prey that almost became extinct from our use of pollutants. A French biologist gave it the name of Pandion in 1809, although why he chose that moniker is odd. In ancient Greek mythology, Pandion was the King of Athens. The Olympian Gods turned one of his daughters into a swallow and the other into a nightingale after their tragic involvement with the brutal King Tereus of Thrace. Tereus was turned into a hawk or osprey, destined to chase the swallow and nightingale for eternity yet never catch them. King Pandion was left behind to mourn his loss."
The professor retrieved a manila folder from his desk, and the three settled into a cluster of chairs surrounding a small conference table near the windows. Well-respected in his field, Will's ability to explain complex topics in lucid terms a layperson could understand made him a favorite with students. In other circumstances, he would have refused an audience with anyone who approached him with such an improbable story as Ray's. But he loved his niece and knew her well. Kate and her friend were neither hysterics or cultists. Nor were they naive. The Bureau's unsettling reaction to what had occurred also troubled him...and what was tucked in the folder he held in his hand. "Where do we begin?" he asked.
Ray kept silent, and nodded to Kate in an unspoken consent to talk on his behalf.
"I'm not sure where to start," she said, tentatively. "The universe is such a vast unknown."
"How the universe is viewed has changed considerably in the past decade, with records being surpassed almost every day. The Hubble telescope, alone, re-wrote all of the textbooks."
"But how are these travelers even possible? Where would they come from?" she asked.
Will's forehead furrowed thoughtfully. "Let's begin by running through the numbers. Light travels at a constant, finite speed of 186,000 miles per second. The sun's light takes approximately eight minutes to reach earth. Taking Mars out of the equation, sunlight takes nearly six hours to reach Pluto at the outer edge of our solar system. Our Milky Way galaxy is, at minimum, 100,000 light years in diameter. The estimated 150 billion other galaxies in the universe are so far away, it takes hundreds of millions of years for their light to reach us. Consequently we see them not as they exist today, but at a point in time long before there was life on earth. We are but a tiny speck in the universe...less than a grain of sand on that beach of yours, Raymond."
Kate gestured to one of the Hubble photographs on the wall. The gray images, filtered into composite colors, burst through the endless, soundless night like brilliant fireflies. "So when we look at those lights, we're looking back in time at how the objects appeared then...and the source of some of them may have drifted or no longer exist."
"Exactly. Alien beings visiting our blue planet for the purpose of studying or interacting with humanity on some level presupposes a few things: They survived cyclical instabilities in their own environment without destroying themselves; they're aware of our existence, and can travel immense distances faster than we ever imagined possible. Such an alien intelligence -- whether artificial or not -- might be as advanced over us, as we are over the amoeba."
After hesitating for reasons known only to him, Ray joined the conversation. "The Hubble scope is like a kind of time machine, professor. What about wormholes -- the theory of pathways through space-time that could create shortcuts when traveling across the universe or between parallel universes?"
"The Einstein-Rosen wormhole theory was predicated on Einstein's theory of general relativity. But sending life forms, images or probe-like conduits through one runs the risk of extreme radiation, contact with exotic matter and rapid disintegration. The idea of an alternate universe or dimension might explain the source of dark energy that keeps flowing into our universe while seeming to push galaxies farther away from each other."
Will's eyes strayed to the wildlife images on his wall. "At the rate we're destroying the earth's natural resources, and everything else in the process, it's a good thing we don't yet possess the ability to leapfrog from planet to planet throughout the cosmos, attracting a lot of attention. Perhaps that's part of the grand design -- should one exist."
"You mean we're in a kind of quarantine until we get our act together."
"Well, that's one way of looking at it," replied the professor with a chuckle. "Do we inhabit the only terraqueous globe in existence? Probably not. Yet the chances of another planet mimicking that which currently supports the complex life forms on earth are minute. From what we know at present -- which isn't much considering what's out there -- our world seems to harbor more exotic elements than anywhere else in the universe."
Ray nodded, then shifted his weight awkwardly in the chair. "Some scientists believe that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe. You mentioned something about the grand design, if one exists. I'm curious. Do you believe..." He stopped, mid-sentence, slightly embarrassed for asking a question that might be too personal.
"You were going to ask me if I believe in God."
" I do...but my belief is more spiritual than religious. Science and spirituality, or the positive aspects of religion, shouldn't be so often mutually exclusive. The only time knowledge should be feared is when it succumbs to the erotic allure of power. All things exist in relationship. Our differing perceptions of that relationship too often fuel the power factions striving for supremacy to create the darker schisms in humanity -- rather like the way dark energy is driving galaxies apart in the universe."
Will opened the manila folder, pulled out three photographs and placed them, side-by-side, on the table. "A fishing buddy of mine called me about these earlier this morning; he's a marine biologist on staff at the university. Kate, on the phone, you mentioned the news story about the whales. The media doesn't have all of the facts. Those are sand lances," he said, pointing to the photos. "They're small eel-like creatures that are part of the oceanic food chain. They burrow into sea beds and sand when the tide recedes to hide from predators. The real anomaly is that massive whale pods and other aquatic life are gorging on millions of them that appeared several hours ago. A new species, off three distinct coasts, all at the same time: Mossel Bay off the Southern Cape of South Africa; South Devon, England, and our own Stellwagen Bank."
"Why those three places in particular?" Ray asked him with a faint smile.
"Specialists are scrambling to find an answer to that question. If this links to your beach confrontation, one would think your travelers might have chosen the Gulf of Mexico after the mess the Deepwater Horizon spill created -- assuming, and I'm loathe to use that word, their agenda is magnanimous. But any suppositions at this juncture are foolish leaps into the unknown. We can't know what these things are or what they're are capable of."
Kate gave a shudder, her eyes searching the face of her friend as he stared at the photos. "It means that two other people might have experienced what you did, Ray. We have to let Jack know about this," she said, standing up. "Thank you, Uncle Will. You're such a treasure."
The professor escorted his guests outside and waited at the edge of the driveway. With a smile that couldn't conceal his worry, he said to is niece, "Call me, and soon."
When they reached the car, Kate took the driver's seat, pulled out her mobile phone and called Jack. Ray slid into the passenger side and fastened his seat belt. "Your uncle is one amazing guy," he said with admiration. "He's concerned for you...your involvement in this, and the FBI's."
Kate stiffened with the sudden realization of why Ethan Lynch looked so familiar to her. He resembled the young emergency resident at the hospital who had questioned her about Ray so intently in his office without making eye contact. Doc Faraday. She shook her head. It doesn't make any sense, she thought. Her uneasiness intensified when her call went unanswered. She handed the phone to Ray and turned on the ignition. "Keep trying Jack's number," she said, her voice taut. And kiddo...you damn well better start telling me what it is that you've been hiding."
As they pulled out of the drive, Ray turned to see Will staring after them. The professor nodded and waved before returning to the house. Closing his front door, he noticed a faint chemical smell that singed the air. The odor was disquieting -- strangely familiar but out of place, as if it had trespassed into an environment it didn't belong. Sensing he wasn't alone, he walked cautiously to his study. Upon reaching the doorway his eyes widened with shock and disbelief. Gasping for breath, he pressed his arm against the frame to steady himself.
Sprawling the chair Ray had occupied only minutes before was the partial shape of a man, encased in a thin membrane of green iridescence that cradled the figure as it struggled to emerge. Will watched sifting tendrils of light sculpt the embryonic mass of bone and flesh that pulsed from the aurora's core. So fluid and silent were the luminous whorls of the specter, for a instant he thought he was hallucinating. A voice -- drifting as if distorted through time -- reached his thoughts with jagged quavers of energy, trying to find its pitch as the entity sought human form.
“Sit down, William,” it said. “I am not here to harm you.”
Within seconds the metamorphosis was complete, somehow altering the space-time reality that preceded its creation. Will couldn't remember walking from the doorway to the chair. He stared at the human-like presence sitting across from him -- perfect in its illusion and substance, yet cast no shadow in the glare of the midday sun. Swallowing the panic wedged in his throat, he asked, “What are you? What do you want from me, and from that young man?”
The image of the man Kate knew as Dr. Mark Faraday removed his glasses with a clumsy sweep of his hand, as though brushing away a fly. He stared into her uncle with the traveler’s eyes…infinite, the color of oceans, with a deep caring and calm purity that moved the professor to tears, ashamed of his fear and the question that leapt from his mind.
“No. We are not here for you," his visitor answered gently. "Something important you must do for us. We do not have much time, William.”
Jack's cell phone rang on the floor of the passenger side of his car as he drove to Ray's beach house -- his right wrist, cuffed to the steering wheel. Cradling a Glock 23 pistol in the crook of his left arm, Lynch kept the barrel pointed away from his torso at an upward angle. The detective took in shallow breaths as he maneuvered the car over back roads, knowing that the slightest untoward movement would send a bullet through his skull.
Lisa Gerrard is an Irish-Australian composer and artist who often sings in her own unique language she created as a child. The above video was created by tiempos6 of YouTube.
A link to the next installment appears below...
Written and copyrighted by Genna Eastman (Genna East) 2014; all rights reserved.
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