Copyright (c) 2016 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
By R. Peterson
I’ve often heard that just before death a person’s life flashes before their eyes. As the nuclear warhead launched by Sabah Karga streaked from the Fodiator toward the female form inside the glowing white sphere, not just one life flashed before my eyes, but every life that had ever been. Death is an illusion; it does not exist. There is only one single everlasting life manifesting itself in an endless variety of different forms. I understood that mother was me and you and that all life on Earth was a part of her. I remembered every moment and each and every life, from the beginning …
Nearly four billion years ago, the same light surrounding the female-figure that Sabah had launched the missile at, gave me/us the gift of change and caused matter to become a living thing. From a combination of chemicals I became a single cell powered by sunlight and capable of absorbing nutrients from sea water and the sea floor and I used these materials to expand.
I thought there would be no limit to how large I could become, but I was wrong. At one point I felt myself in conflict, being pulled apart and I divided … not once but again and again. After a thousand centuries I was not one living thing … but millions and every single part of me had the same gift of change, a capacity to grow to change and to evolve.
A million centuries later I was no longer limited to single cells but forming complex organisms in an infinite variety of designs before dividing, and I filled the ocean floors. And then in the short space of another billion years I developed the ability to free my root systems from the ocean bottom and to move freely in the water. And at that moment I became both plant and a new life form that we now call animal.
And as an animal I was becoming complex and the elaborate systems of locomotion I had evolved for my millions of species capable of free movement demanded nutrients of much higher quality and I began to pursue and kill other parts of me swimming in the oceans and to nourish myself with differing life-forms. For over two billion years I ruled the oceans and I knew horror and fear and I also grew teeth and I learned to like the taste of blood.
As various plant forms, I often scattered my seeds in the winds that blew above the surface of the water and sometimes they did not return to the sea but took root in another emerging world apart from the vast oceans.
During the next four hundred million years, I acquired by necessity the ability to leap from shallow waters and learned of a strange place above not completely covered by liquid and I was the hunter and the prey in a hundred-billion struggles to survive as the large fed on the small. I was a terrified Colelacanth (tetrapod) carrying fertilized eggs who was driven away from my mate and a school of other fish by rival females and who wandered far in search of food. It was I who first leaped from the water to escape an open mouth filled with teeth and also the Acanthodii (spiny shark) who missed his meal while I flopped on a sandy beach in hopeless despair before re-entering the water … and I lived and I learned and I passed along the knowledge of my miraculous escape to my offspring.
Two hundred million years later I was leaping from the water regularly to avoid being eaten and I began to stay on the rocky beaches for longer and longer time periods as my lungs adapted to the new environment. My tetrapod fins slowly evolved into legs and carried me across and through a strange world of shallow ponds, ruled by exotic plant life that had discovered dry-land a half a billion years before. And as all life forms, I also followed those who escaped onto land and I continued to hunt and to kill.
Over three hundred million years I evolved into the most massive life forms the world has ever seen, and as a million species of Dinosauria (terrible reptiles) I feasted on all other life … plant and animal.
The Earth was a world of terror when mother returned sixty-five million years ago and with her eternal light she destroyed the vast majority of life in the world. And I who had billions of years before became a “we”, moved inland and continued to change.
A little more than a million years ago, we left the trees and learned to search for food on the open plains and we walked upright. And we dominated and ruled the world of animals before we knew good and evil and then we began to fight with ourselves. We discovered fire and lived for thousands of centuries in caves, sheltered against the cold winds as the ice ages came and then receded and then came again. Always it was that which sought to destroy us that made us change.
We built shelters of hides and wood and our villages turned into cities. Humanity evolved side by side with evil. We learned to dominate others who were weaker and we became kings … and slaves … rich and poor. Wars raged across the land and on the surface of the seas and we built monuments to our Gods … stone pyramids reaching to the sky and rock monoliths arranged to catch the orbits of heavenly bodies … all memories of our mother long forgotten. Every single lifetime was replayed in exacting detail up to the present time when I left New York City in the Fodiator and then traveled along with Alvin Sullenger and the others to the Caribbean and the ancient site of mother’s last visit.
Captain Smith, Abniel and I left the flying submarine and walked toward the glowing sphere and then I saw Sabah launch the AGM-88D again. The missile had barely gone beyond the point where my memories replayed the last time, when the memories began again from the begging.
The three and a half billion years spent evolving in the oceans was relived in exacting detain along with the five hundred million years that followed as I moved onto land, ever changing, ever growing with each generation. The last million years I once again relived the evolution of man through steaming jungles, windswept plains and through countless ice ages huddled together around fires and into the dimmest parts of recorded history. It was Déjà vu and I had been here before and I remembered. Time upon time I tried to change history.
I found myself a woman, the wife of Pontius Pilate, during the trial of Jesus in Jerusalem in the year zero and I tried to warn my husband of the world-shaking consequences of his actions … but my husband washed his hands of the entire affair.
On April 11, 1865, I was a soldier guarding the inside of the White House and I told a sleep-walking Lincoln that a coffin would lie on a catafalque in the White House East Room and that the dead man it contained would be the president. He dismissed the encounter as a too-real dream and ten days later met his fate in Ford’s theatre.
In November of 1941, I was boxing oranges at a warehouse in California and mailed a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt warning up the impending Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor … but my letter was ignored.
Finally the flight across the Caribbean was replayed and this time I paid special attention to Sabah as he stared at the missile launch controls aboard the Fodiator. I knew what he was going to do, but was I helpless to stop him? It was only as we walked toward the glowing light that contained mother and heard the whine as the hydraulic levers lowered the missile into firing position that I was able to force myself to deviate from this particular timeline of events. As Captain Smith turned, cursed and then ran back toward the Fodiator I grabbed Abniel and this time dragged her forward toward the glowing sphere that contained Mother.
Just before we entered the glowing orb and just as the nuclear missile was launched from the flying submarine, I saw a doorway open in mid-air and an outstretched arm pull Alvin Sullenger through it. Time and the impending doom appeared to stand still. Alvin’s eyes caught mine for an instant before the door closed and I heard his brilliant scientific voice in my head offering an explanation. “I must go back, but you two must go forward. I’m sorry that there was only one lifeboat on this voyage capable of pulling an individual back from destruction. Fate is a drama written in the bedrock of time and its principal players can be changed only with the greatest of difficulty. Captain Smith and the religiously mad Sabah must go down with the ship and the world that it has destroyed. Hang on and I promise I will return and bring you back.”
Abniel and I were both aware of the nuclear destruction going on outside of the sphere but we were in a safe place, a kind of intergalactic womb and we were protected from all harm. We were in immersed in a dielectric dream, coddled by a mother’s warm and infinite love as we discovered the vast and improbable secrets of the universe, delivered by the soft sounds of an unspoken lullaby.
The Earth that we were born into, was now a world covered with seas and the sphere that contained us, skimmed the surface of the waters until time and the end of rain created for us a new destination. Mother planted us on a small patch of land rising above the all-encompassing oceans with a rich and fruitful garden to sustain us.
I tried to question the superior being who planted the first seeds of life if we were to be another Adam and Eve destined to re-populate the world just before she and her magnificent light vanished. Mother had no vocal skills … only eternal meditations capable of traversing the cosmos.
“No,” her thoughts assured me. “Only the past repeats itself … never the future.”
I made a few primitive tools and Abniel and I together built a shelter. I kept tract of the days by making marks on the trunk of a tree with a stone axe and in the evenings we sometimes watched the stars as they glimmered above the oceans that surrounded us.
“Are we the last people on Earth?” Abniel asked me one day as I was weaving a grass net to catch fish. I had earlier constructed a raft to take me into deeper waters.
“It’s hard to say,” I told her. “What the nuclear missile that Sabah launched didn’t destroy, five months of endless rain probably did.”
“You remember when we were in the Fodiator,” Abniel said, “after we went below the water in the Caribbean and we saw the strange life forms?”
“I remember everything,” I told her, “and a lot more.” I was thinking of my vast four billion year-long replay of the history of life on Earth, and I had now been though it three times.
“I don’t think you should venture onto the oceans,” she said looking out over the waves. “I think there is other life other than fish there … horrible things that only water can hold.”
“I’ve seen schools of fish swimming just beyond those rocks.” I pointed to where the ocean waves broke on a wall of just under the surface coral. “I’ve fished-out every spot I can reach from shore.”
“I can’t afford to lose you,” Abniel said. She shyly patted her stomach that I noticed for the first time had a prominent bulge. “We … can’t afford to lose you!”
“No child of mine is going to be raised on fruit and berries!” I kissed her with the passion only fatherhood can bring and then I laughed as I pushed the raft into the waves.
I discovered to my horror that Mother had repopulated the oceans with the terrible monsters who had existed during the Mesozoic Era. Perhaps she thought land-based animals was an experiment that had gone bad and wanted a do-over. I was pulling my heavy net back to the raft for the first time when a giant Plesiosaur tried to swallow the captured fish in one huge bite destroying the raft in the process. I escaped death by swimming only because the long necked beast was feeding on my labors. Abniel and I watched from the shore as the giant sea-serpent circled the island obviously hoping for a free meal. “Don’t you ever do that again!” Abniel was crying as she beat on me with her fists. “I can’t raise a child alone … I just can’t!”
Abel, named after Abniel not the biblical second child ever born, was just three years old when he spotted the ship while gathering shells and firewood and ran to tell us. A battered cruise ship the Carnival Breeze was listing badly when it drew close enough to the island for us to see the white robed people clustered on the numerous levels. We had been discovered and we were not alone. The ship was lowering a lifeboat filled with men brandishing swords when I noticed the skulls hanging from the deck rigging and heard a familiar voice call. “We Fish men survive destruction because we line the pathway to God with the blood of sinners!” It was Wolf Eyes the murderous religious zealot that we had escaped from once before. We had no weapons except for a few crude spears. I grabbed Abniel and Abel and we headed across the island to a hidden cove where I had secretly been building another much stronger raft. This time I didn’t think Abniel would mind.
I could hear the Fish Men rummaging through our meager belongings as I loaded Abniel and my child onto the raft. Our lifeboat was much stronger this time, but horribly large sea monsters still circled us as we headed out to sea. One particularly large creature with a mother-to-be abdomen circled especially close to the raft. “She’s eating for at least three,” Abniel gasped.
A furious cry of indignation rose from the shore as Wolf Eyes and his murderous band discovered they had been cheated out of their latest round of self-righteous mutilation and torture. Twenty minutes later the Carnival Breeze stormed around the island to intercept us.
“I thought you were just another James Bond wanna-be working for the National Security Agency when I first met you.” Abniel looked into my eyes and held tightly to me and Abel as the cruise ship turned death boat loomed before us. “A man who thought he was invincible and the world’s gift to women.” She kissed her son and pulled him closer.
“And now?” I was out of ideas about how to escape the worms of this new world. I knew that this was most likely the end.
“I haven’t changed my mind.” Abniel grinned. “I can only add to that, that you are bone-headed and you won’t listen to a thing I say.”
The six foot long front flipper fin of the toothy pregnant Plesiosaur rammed our raft at the same time that the cruise ship drew close enough to see the toothy grin of Wolf Eyes. I almost welcomed being eaten by the sea monster. It was better than enduring days of unspeakable horror and torture at the hands of the Fish Men. We decided to cast Abel over the side and then join him. It would all be over in seconds. Abniel leaned forward and kissed me. “I love you,” she said.
With the lightning-strike sound of ten million volts of electricity exploding in the atmosphere an aircraft suddenly appeared above us. We were lifted into the air by a beam of black light that obviously defied the laws of physics and especially gravity. Moments later we found ourselves in the cockpit of a much improved and sophisticated flying submarine.
“I’m sorry I took so long,” Alvin Sullenger said. “But I had to go back a few years and build a time machine capable of transporting more than one person … of course I thought of the Fodiator with a few additions.”
“Time machine?” Abniel gasped.
“I’m sure Alvin will explain everything later,” I told her. “Right now I want to get out of this world.”
The world’s most brilliant scientist, the man who discovered and named all one-hundred eighteen elements of dark matter, punched several codes into a keyboard and an instant later we were airborne and laughing … glad to be alive, bouncing like joyful children on the stretched-fabric mattress of space time.
“Something is wrong!” Alvin was staring at the flying submarine’s controls. “We should be moving across the fabric of space time much faster. My theory is we’ve hit a snag and a string is unraveling and causing drag!”
“Time travel? String theory?” Abniel gasped. “How is this even possible?”
“Time, like all mind, matter and energy in the universe, is just another element in the closed structure of infinity,” Alvin told her. He switched on an exterior camera view of the bottom of the Fodiator before he continued. “Imagine a counter clockwise spinning wheel of fortune only made of dark matter, the clicking pointer is always on the present and the next stop to the right is the beginning of everything. Every nanosecond new spokes are added to the wheel,”
He used a joystick control to make the exterior camera scan the bottom of the aircraft. “When you slide down any spoke to the hub you can choose to move onto any other spoke except the future … which does not exist.”
We were flying over a constantly time-changing land mass that currently looked like a Peter Bruegal painting of medieval Scotland. The digital time display on the Fodiator’s console showed the year 419.
“Oh my God!” Abniel’s scream caused me to avert my gaze from the side window. Alvin’s exterior camera display showed the same Plesiosaur sea monster that had been swimming around our raft, tangled in and chewing on the aircraft’s hydraulic cables. It was obviously still alive. Abel sensed his mother’s fear and began to howl.
“Sometimes I pick up more than I bargained for,” Alvin muttered sheepishly, “when I snatch people from death without extensive planning.”
“We’re not taking that pregnant Jurassic Park monster back with us are we?” Abniel picked up her crying son.
“I think if I extent the landing gear, and then retract it … perhaps skim a few waves, I should be able to shake the creature off,” Alvin told her.
We were flying low over a long stretch of dark water and a crude fishing boat, with two terrified peasants inside, capsized just before Alvin shouted his triumph. “Knocked the sucker loose!” he yelled.
This time it was my turn to gasp. “What’s wrong?” Abniel was dancing with Abel held tightly in her arms.
“I recognized that dark misty water,” I told her looking back as time continued to change.
“So what?” she said. “There are plenty of big fish in the sea … one more dropped in the middle ages won’t make that much of a difference.”
“Loch Ness,” I marveled. “That lake we passed over was Loch Ness!”
Alvin dropped us off in New York’s Central Park and strangely gave Abniel a weapon instead of me. There was communication between the two but I didn’t know what. I decided to ask her about it later. It was night. The time display on the aircraft’s consul read 4-19-06. We had returned to the city three months before we left. We had just ninety days to make the world a better place and to possibly save it. While Alvin had been converting the Fodiator into a time machine he’d also learned that Sabah was part of a radical Salafi jihadist militant group that had infiltrated the N.S.A. as a sleeper cell just before 9/11. They viewed the destruction of the infidel world as the will and desire of Allah. We might not be able to completely change the flood that was coming … but we had to try.
Several joggers noticed the aircraft vertically land and take off without obvious concern. Pot smoke drifted in the air like the fog we’d seen over the Scottish lake. People who live in the Big Apple claim that they have seen everything … perhaps they have.
We followed an elderly Woodstock looking couple past giant rhododendrons and hollies, to a circular pathway mosaic of inlaid stones. We kissed next to an inlaid stone memorial that said IMAGINE while Abel danced to the hippy couple’s softly playing i-Pod. You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one …
It was late, we decided to get a hotel room. I flagged down a cab on 72nd Street in front of the Dakota apartments. Abniel was halfway into the back seat with Abel when I pulled her back. Sabah Karga sat behind the wheel. “I’ve changed my mind … It’s a nice night. I think I’d rather walk,” I told him.
Abniel’s look of horror quickly vanished from her face as she handed me Abel. “I still have things to do,” she said. “When my work is finished I’ll get us a room. I’ll call you when I’ve found something we can live with.”
“Are you sure?” Sabah hadn’t met either of us yet and so there was no way of recognizing us. Perhaps intuition warned him of danger. “This city is not a suitable place for an unescorted kadın!”
“Perhaps,” she told him. “But tonight I have my reasons.” She looked at our child with love in her eyes.
“Where I come from it is haram for a women to be out alone at night,” Sabah muttered as he looked at the address Abniel had given him. The look of contempt in his eyes was unmistakable. “This is a very kötü part of the city. If you got raped and murdered the police might not show up for hours”
I noticed the Smith and Wesson 38 special under Abniel’s coat as she slipped into the backseat.
“Are you sure about this?” I kissed her as when she unrolled her window.
“Yes,” she said looking at Sabah. “It is the only way.”
And as I held Abel in my arms the cab disappeared into the dark traffic of the city that never sleeps and I knew at least one of the world’s upcoming problems would be solved. I stood looking up at the stars and marveled at the vast universe above us all. And then I ran with my son to take shelter under a tree … it was beginning to rain.
THE END ?