I’ve managed to write something every single day, and with a couple of really good days to offset the couple of so-so days, I’m hovering right around the pace to hit the 50,000 word mark by December 1st. That’s good.
Continuing last night’s notes about Jean-Michel Jarre’s music and its effect on my writing pace, if you need a serious pick-me-up, go with “Chronologie Part 2.” It’s also excellent running music. If you have the option, PLAY IT LOUD!!
While I normally put in a lot of internal links to previous, related posts here, I won’t be doing that for what I hope will be this year’s thirty NaNoWriMo posts. If you have jumped into or stumbled onto this story in mid-adventure, there are plenty of other ways to navigate around the site to find previous installments. Actually doing so is left as an exercise to the student.
CHAPTER NINE (Continued)
“Yes, yes!” Stover shouted. “I see that as well, it is obvious that it must be that way, there can be no other course of action. I had doubts at first, I have freely admitted that, but you have shown me how it must be. I trust you completely and only pray that I may successfully prove that your trust in me was justified.”
Stover’s gaze shifted back out the window and down. As the doctor followed to look in that direction, he saw suddenly that the dolphins outside had lined up as at attention, clearly watching Stover. There were many more than he had seen earlier, perhaps thirty or more.
“Twenty,” said Stover. “We are training to be able to handle more, but at this moment we have only twenty.” Again he stopped to listen. The doctor strained to pick up any sound but could hear nothing. “By itself, not, but as part of the overall strategy it will be more than sufficient. With the strategic goals that you have laid out for us, allow me and my people to implement the exact tactics.”
Again Stover turned to look back into the darkness beyond Suni. The doctor slowly turned his head a bit and looked out of the corner of his eyes for anything there, but saw only the conference table, chairs, and Stover’s desk in the meager lighting.
“Six months to reach the halfway point, with the pace accelerating after that as systems collapse. Our models indicate that a terminal tipping point will be reached in less than a year, beyond which recovery will be impossible.”
The doctor watched as the individual dolphins would kick rapidly to the surface, one at a time, before diving and returning to their original positions in the ranks.
“Ecological systems will be severely impacted by the transition phase,” Stover said after another pause, “but will recover quickly, typically in less than ten years, once the transition has completed. Further inputs will be extremely limited and chaotic collapse of unmaintained assets will accelerate as natural systems are restored.”
Stover looked out the window at the dolphins, his eyes still unseeing, his face still expressionless. “It will take a thousand years for the obvious damage to be repaired, a hundred thousand more before all traces of this scourge have been erased. But it will begin on Their command. Your task is to be ready and you will reap a new world for yourselves and your children’s children. Go now and await my word as the clarion call of the new age.”
The dolphins all turned and fled, swimming away in all directions out into the darkness. Stover again turned back to face his unseen cohort behind Suni.
“We have overlooked nothing, my Lord. With the tools given to us by Your hand, we know all there is to know of both our enemies and our allies. They can not live without us, they can not hide from us, and they are not aware of the viper that we have placed at their bosom. We will be your tool of vengeance and cleansing and we can not fail.”
With that, Stover again stiffened, rising up on his toes as if he were a marionette being pulled skyward. Another groan of pain and sorrow welled up from him, rising toward a scream, only to be abruptly cut off as Stover went limp and collapsed toward the floor.
The doctor was ready, moving quickly to catch Stover and ease him to the floor. Stover was sweating profusely and panting. The doctor quickly checked his pulse and found it to be racing, but steady.
Suni was also up and moving toward her husband. “Pei,” she said, “you got all of that, correct?”
“Yes, ma’am,” said the voice from nowhere. “The entire incident was quite clear to me.”
“Lock those recordings under maximum security, accessible only to Jordin and myself until further notice. What about the environmental monitors that were just installed? Were they functioning yet?”
“Yes, ma’am, they were all fully functional. I have locked those recordings for you and Mr. Stover as well.”
“Did they show anything obvious?”
“No, ma’am, but my understanding of the data is strictly functional, it will take someone with far more experience to look for anomalies.”
“Very well, please call for a recovery team.”
“They are standing by outside already.”
“Let them in, bring up the lights to twenty-five percent.”
The doctor listened to this exchange with growing dismay. How had Suni witnessed this bizarre display so dispassionately? Her husband had experienced some sort of seizure, combined with obvious hallucinations. There had been signs of major dissociative lapses. He was now in significant physical distress, yet all she could do is check with the building’s system to check on recordings and monitors?
Behind them, through a different door than the one he and Suni had entered, a team of medical personnel in scrubs hurried in, wheeling a gurney along with them.
“May I?” asked the first EMT as he politely but firmly got between the doctor and Stover, pushing the doctor back. The doctor caught his balance and stood, coming up from the floor next to Suni. He turned to her to start asking questions, but met her cold gaze as she shook her head slightly. Her hand moved slightly, indicating that he should wait.
The doctor kept his mouth shut and waited. The EMT team was well trained and quickly had Stover on the gurney, connected to an array of monitoring equipment, an IV bag hanging above him. In less than five minutes Stover was wrapped up and bundled off out of the room.
As the door shut behind them, Suni once again sat and indicated that the doctor should sit once more. “Pei, please bring the lights back down. Verify that the doors are locked and we are secure.”
The lights began to fall, again revealing the dark waters outside the window. The doctor strained to look but could see no dolphins anywhere.
“You are secure, ma’am.”
“Thank you, Pei,” said Suni. “Please let me know immediately if there is any deterioration of Jordin’s condition. Otherwise, I do not wish to be disturbed.”
“Yes, ma’am. I will make sure that you have your privacy.”
With that, Suni rose and went over to a small bar along the far wall. She opened a refrigerator under the counter and took out a bottle of water. “Do you want one?” she asked the doctor.
“No thank you, ma’am,” he said. “But I do have a great many questions to ask.”
Suni walked back and sat down opposite him. “Ask away, I’ll do my best to give you the answers.”
“Do you know what your husband’s condition is, what he’s suffering from?”
“I don’t know that he’s ‘suffering’ at all, but that’s what I brought you here to tell me.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Did you think I brought you out here for a vacation and a schmooze fest with a multi-trillionaire? Jordin has been told that you are here for him to interview for a position as his personal physician. That’s not entirely incorrect and I want you to seriously consider it. But what I brought you here for was to tell me if my husband is insane, has a tumor or some other significant medical issue, or is faking it for some bizarre reason.”
“He’s what?” the doctor asked, incredulous.
“I guess there is a fourth possibility. He could actually be a prophet of some sort. What did he say, ‘the clarion call of the new age’? Although I find that to be the least likely scenario of all.”
The doctor sat quietly watching her for several seconds, mulling over his words, testing to see if his next questions could be phrased in the most polite way possible.
“How often does this happen?” he asked.
“At this point, four or five times a week.”
“How long has this been going on?”
“Since before I met him, apparently. When we first started seeing each other it was long, long before the Spheres breakthrough. I was smart, he was freaking brilliant. One night he talked about the voices he had heard since he was a child. I assumed he was high, drunk, or both.”
“But he wasn’t.”
“No, he wasn’t. He never touches any of that, says it pollutes his mind and muddles his thoughts.”
“When did you first see this sort of activity from him?”
“A couple months after we met. I woke up and saw him standing in front of the window in the moonlight, looking out over Cambridge. He was in that trance, discussing something. He was occasionally lucid enough to write down some notes before he collapsed.”
“So this has been going on for decades. Is it pretty much the same now as it was then, or has it changed?”
“It’s much more common now and it’s definitely changed. I only saw it a couple of times a year at first, but now it’s every ten days to two weeks. In the beginning, he seemed to be in a discussion, where now he sounds like a badly dubbed version of ‘The Ten Commandments’. Whoever or whatever he thinks he’s talking to, they’re much more at odds these days. Jordin seems to be afraid of them, subservient to whatever he hears them demanding.”
“Is he on any medications?”
“For this? No, you’ve got to be kidding. He’s on a whole handful of pills every day for his heart, diabetes, pain killers, and cholesterol but not a damn thing for talking to the Gods. Or aliens, I guess they could be aliens.”
“How many people know about this?”
“You’re the third,” Suni said.
“You want me to be the one to tell you if he’s insane or if he’s actually hearing and seeing these things.”
“Exactly. Did you see or hear anything when he was off in la-la land?”
“No, but I did notice the behaviors of the dolphins. They sure as hell saw or heard something.”
“I don’t understand the dolphins, never did,” Suni said.
“How does someone of his wealth, fame, and notoriety have a condition like this for over thirty years and no one knows about it?”
“This ‘condition’ is the reason he has his wealth, fame, and notoriety. I was there when he came up with the basic structure of the Spheres technology. It was during one of these trances.”
“It didn’t sound like a creative session to my ears,” the doctor said. “It sounded like he was taking orders, being dressed down, bullied, and pushing back against a couple of real unpleasant adversaries, imaginary or not.”
“They do have their fun talks.”
“Does he remember anything when he wakes up? Is he aware of what he’s doing, of when this happens to him? Or does he just wake up with an eight hour long hole in his world?”
“He remembers, but it doesn’t ever seem painful to him. He won’t give me any details at all, but to him these creatures he’s talking to are a real as you or me.”
“It’s not an unknown phenomenon, even to have brilliant and original ideas such as Spheres come out of such a fugue state. But what was he arguing about? What was all of that about destruction, death, and a new era.”
“Oh, nothing much,” said Suni. “He’s just trying to start a world war and wipe out civilization. I could also use your help in preventing that.”