Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Alien Legacy

Shayla rises. Her statuesque form is majestic. There is a grace about her that accentuates every gesture and movement of her body. She activates a three dimensional scanner of our location and I see the Iranian desert approach quickly.

"Today we will visit the flame completely unperturbed."

I see the mountain range which contains the ancient cavern. Several teams are in position and sensor scrambling camouflage tarps have been erected to conceal folks and equipment that are holding this treasure for the United States. Iranian horsemen patrol outposts which guard the various desert approach routes.

The craft hovers motionless less than a hundred feet from the cavern entrance.

"Are you ready? You are going to get to play Casper with me."

Her mind makes clear her meaning. We are going to be invisible and still resonating in this higher isotopic state.

"How is it the craft can keep us invisible even when we exit it?"

"The ship generates a field that will sustain this state as long as we are within 500 yards of the ship."

"What about passing through the ground? How will we meet any resistance?"

"I've adjusted the rate of vibration so that we will not pass through the other lower vibrating elements. We will be merely out of the bandwidth of visual perception."

"This should prove very interesting."

"Yes, your sensory abilities have been enhanced by this elevation. Your visual acuity for example is greatly enhanced. The rods and cones cell structures in your eyes will effectively double their sensitivity. Each cell now has enhanced performance."

"That explains this sense of elation I feel. Everything just seems very uplifting."

"Yes, in this state, lower thoughts don't resonate as well with your cerebral cortex and your body is adjusting to the refined sensory processing and more data. In less than an hour you will be able to focus your senses to perceive things you never dreamt you could perceive."

"What about the reversion process? Will my cells retain any of these abilities or does it all vanish in a puff of smoke?"

"Most of the enhancements will vanish, but the record of them as experiences will not. It is like transferring data recorded on a computer with a faster processor and then transferring them to a slower computer. They still exist, but are accessed in a more limited manner."


We emerge from the craft. It is a strange sensation to feel the air and breathe with this new relationship. Air feels heavier and yet the body barely seems to need it. Breath comes slower, and one is conscious of it, much as one is when at higher elevations. The guards are not very alert as the outer perimeter is where the first action would normally occur. Several are playing cards on a fold table that has been erected near the cave entrance. Clearly the import of the cavern is lost on these folks for whom a full house over three of a kind is the only Holy Grail they seek.

We pass through the entrance and I see that artificial flood lighting has been installed all along the cavern tunnels fed by extension cords and powered by the latest portable solar/gas generators.

No one is inside, which is understandable. Shayla is beside me. I see her just as easily as I see myself, but to the guards we're invisible.

"Observe."

Shayla is in my mind and I see what she wants me to see. With our minds linked I feel the things she sees and in some ways I can perceive through her senses as well as my own.

It is fantastic. I never would have thought two people could be so close and have only known each other for 15 hours and 36 minutes.

Her mind is a very orderly place. Her thoughts that she shares with me are of the other flame rooms she has seen on at least fifteen other worlds. I am suddenly aware she is a seasoned galactic traveler. I meet some marked thoughts that indicate the border of that which she wishes to share.

"Yes, I have traveled to many worlds and seen a number of flame rooms. Each were built on worlds that were still savage and in primitive conditions. Each room serves as a repository of information about each particular world, it's place and location in the galaxy and a record of the visits by 'the travelers'"

"You mention the travelers - who are these beings?"

"The travelers are a very old race. They come from a world that is near the older part of the galaxy, billions of years older than the outer rim. A world that has traveled and explored the growing galaxy since before this world was even formed. They are tall, averaging between 11 and 15 feet in height and they act as world makers."

"World makers?"

"Yes. They find and nurture planets with primitive life forms and help spur the advancement of evolutionary conditions on the worlds they travel to. If one finds a flame room on a world, one can be certain that the civilization on that world was founded and nurtured by the travelers."


I find it hard to imagine that humanity has its origin in some strange alien travelers. And yet even though all this is overwhelming, it still makes more sense then the Adam & Eve story which on the face of it is impossible due to the inbreeding which would have resulted from a planet evolved from just two people.

We arrive at the flame room itself. The flame is still pulsating, gyrating in it unearthly way. And a moment of fear strikes me as I recall what happened the last time I touched it.

"You need not fear the flame. It is a very powerful stream of knowledge. In some ways you can imagine it as a hard drive connected to an internet. It is what the travelers leave behind when they leave a world. It is a source of knowledge, history and for those who are so able to use it - a communication device."

"So why did I pass out when I touched it?"

"You passed out because your brain was not able to process all the signals at one time and because these signals activates parts of the human brain that are not normally used. This requires additional blood flow and then the body overcompensated calling up more blood than needed and then trying to balance it, which resulted in your fainting. This time your elevated state will let so much more data flow through you."


She intends for me to reach into the flame again. There was also something else about the flame and why she can't get as much out of it that quickly raced through her mind and was too fast to pick up in detail.

"Why can't you get the same use of this flame? You were thinking about it but it was not clear"

"Each world has its own flame. The flame uses genetic markers as a conduit for data. In laymen's terms this flame is keyed to humanity. My genetic make-up will not activate the flame. And yes, this is why some will feel nothing from the flame, if their genotype was not encoded when the flame was built."

"Fascinating."


I realize suddenly why she is in a mind link up with me and why we are in this elevated state. She intends to use me to extract information from this flame and in our joined state all I experience and learn will pass thorough her astute senses as well. For a moment I suspect her of deception and manipulation and my thought can't be concealed. I feel her pain and hurt as I think it.

"I'm sorry. My mind is trained to weed out deception an treachery."

"I understand. I do wish to use you to extract data, but not just for me or my world, but for humanity and earth as well. Without my help you would never be able to learn of this device or extract its priceless knowledge. My world accumulates this knowledge as well and has compiled its own growing history of the galaxy from these flame rooms we have encountered."


I understand, It is very logical. We would surely do the same and are doing the same on a national level. After all, this is Iranian soil and we are extracting data and artifacts without the Iranian governments assent or knowledge. Who am I to judge a world that extracts historic knowledge from other worlds?

"Are you ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be. And anxious too, as you can tell."


I reach out for the flame...

(to be continued)

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Visitor Part II

After introducing Shayla to various Techs and the wiz-kids hard at work deciphering the glyphs, I am anxious to try and find out more about her work and the knowledge contained by MIMIR. Jimmy Neutron's eyes were ogling her mercilessly.

"Pleased to meet you!"

"This is a test. How well can you keep a conversation going on two levels?"

"The pleasure is all mine. You have a wonderful facility here."

"I hear you. I can't really say as I don't think I've ever tried."

"We are working on those glyphs right now and Tech1 is being a tyrant about it."

"Oh, how so?"

"So you are a virgin of sorts when it comes to telepathy multitasking"

"Well, our meal breaks have been cut down to 20 minutes from 30 for starters. And he keeps calling me Jimmy Neutron. That alone should be grounds for improper work conditions!"

"I wouldn't say I'm a virgin."

The conversation stops. All eyes look at me, and I realize I spoke aloud what I had meant to transfer mentally. Shayla turns towards me and laughs aloud.

"I think you need more practice big guy!"

"What? What did I miss?"

"Don't worry Jimmy, this is between me and our distinguished guest."

That's just great. Now, I will never hear the end of it."

"Whatever."

"Your mind is cute when you're embarrassed."

"Well, then I'll appear cute quite often, when you're around."

One didn't need telepathy to know what was going through Jimmy's mind or the other parts of the team. I forced those thoughts out of my head and refocused on MIMIR. I half-suspect that MIMIR already has this glyph deciphered as well as far more knowledge about this world than we have compiled here in Shamballa. To be precise, I wish we had been integrated with MIMIR sooner, so that any redundancy in research could be avoided.

Clearly an EXOR has now brought these disparate sectors of knowledge together, yet for the first time in a long while, I feel out of the loop - even though I am more in the loop than I've ever been. Its discomforting, to say the least.

"I think we should return to Iran and visit the flame again. I will brief you a bit en route."

"Do you want to fly or shall I warm up a plane?"

"I'll take you onboard my craft. It will be far more convenient."

"Well, I will admit to being curious about the craft and it's abilities."

I put on a flightsuit and pack some survival gear. Entering a hostile nation, one must always take into account the possibility of being shot down. Weapons, ammo,ERGO Drink, Hooah! nutrition bars, etcetera. Our planes are already pre-equipped with such PERCs (Performance Enhancing Ration Components), and I suspect Shayla's craft is equally prepared, but it is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) to make sure that certain supplies are always present. I also grab a PAQ-10 Thermal imager, targeting system. It can accurately measure targets and base them upon the current GPS location of the imager. An essential tool for calling in airstrikes or positioning spy satellites. Iran is a thoroughly hostile zone to enter and if the place were any more hostile it would be called North Korea and run by Mr.Il.

Fortunately, here there is no waiting for luggage check and I hoist a tote filled with gear over each shoulder.

Shayla's craft is incredible. As I walk up the ramp, I half expect to see GORT onboard.

"Oh, you'll find this craft is well beyond the crude imaginings of Earth's science fiction writers."

I look at the seats and am nonplussed. No harnesses, no seatbelts, even! Before I can even think the thought, Shayla is in my mind with the answer.

"This craft does not need them. The cabin never experiences turbulence or vibration. Trust me."

I keep looking around and realize that MIMIR really uses earth-built alien technology. That this is one of the best kept secrets of the government is obvious. More properly though, almost no one knows about MIMIR except those actually in it. Considering my own clearance had not cleared me to become aware of this until now, I suspect even ODIN only knows bits and pieces and the details are kept.

Shayla sits down and a small holographic console appears in space before her. A console of controls and data is displayed. With a few quick hand gestures, I sense the craft is moving and yet I cannot really feel any vibration only a mental sense of speed.

"What are the specifications of this craft?"

"It is very, very fast. It is very, very quiet."

I hear the mental equivalent of laughter in Shayla's head.

"That's not what I meant. What can this thing do? Surely as its designer you must take a certain pride in its performance."

"Well for one thing, in the time it has taken to have this conversation, it has taken us to Iran.

It is incredible. This is flying saucer level performance and its real. It is magnificent and uses laws of physics we obviously are only beginning to understand.

"How does the craft avoid detection? Speed? Radar evasion? Inquiring minds would like to know."

"Nothing so primitive. This craft generates a field of energy that envelopes all of its component atomic structures. When the generator is active, the atoms become new isotopes of their normal atomic weights, and carry a substantial charge. In this state, the craft meets no resistance from atoms in lower states. Radar, clouds, air and mass pass through the craft or vice-versa depending upon your point of view."

"You mean right now, our atoms have been turned into different isotopes? Is it permanent? Does it leave any side effects?"

"Yes, your eyes grow larger, your skin becomes peach hued and your iris has a spira mirabilis pattern."

I sense her laughter in my mind. It is rich and warm. Her thoughts are sweet, like a bouquet of fresh flowers. I realize how privileged I am to be aware of the things I am and I see the glorious future man has to look forward to when he is ready.

"Do you always think in such grandiose ways? Mankind! The future! Your mind sounds like Doctor Doom's mental journal. SDAI-Tech1, I am going to have to teach you how to enjoy the here and now, and the 'magnificence that engenders the present!'"

More laughter in my mind and more of the sweet essence. Her presence in my mind has already become normal. And to think when I first thought of MIMIR involvement with SDAI, I suspected the chief scientist would be a pompous fifty-something with serious control issues and that we would be batting heads all over the place.

I carefully place mental markers around these thoughts as I think them. She probably knows how much I already like her - and we haven't even been together for 12 hours!
Of course for all I know she has an alien boyfriend back on her homeworld who makes me look like the village idiot.

Or maybe she's an orphan from a world like Krypton, the last of her kind and all alone, battling evil. Suddenly it occurs to me she knew who Doctor Doom was and that she has read comic books.

That makes me feel just a little bit better.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Visitor

My life is exceedingly abnormal for a human.

Here in Shamballa, normalcy is the state of abnormal. Most of the time I wish I had five or six bodies. There simply is not enough ME to go around for the half dozen projects going on at any time. I feel somewhat guilty if I spend too much time on one project and will consciously disrupt my efforts to spend more time on others. Multitasking is one thing, but mentally sometimes I feel like my consciousness is being drawn and quartered.

I am relieved that briefing ODIN went well. A number of new EXORs have come down as a result of this and this world will never be viewed the same way for me and for dozens of others inside this particular compartment.

My buzzer goes off and I remember my appointment with the Chief Scientist working on MIMIR. I take an elevator to the surface. A plane I knew existed but never seen was about to land. Project MIMIR has unlimited budgeting, although practically it amounts to perhaps a billion dollars a year, if necessary.

The plane is huge and looks like two boomerangs joined at both ends, forming a hollow trapezoid structure. It is painted sky blue to avoid attracting too much attention. I see no turbofans and hear no engines of any sort. It lands effortlessly, like a feather using a VTOL style landing. A stairwell descends and for all the world I get the feeling the designers deliberately knocked it off of the spaceship in The Day the Earth Stood Still.

A figure descends in a metallic suit and helmet. I assume this is the Chief Scientist. I walk over to greet him.

"Welcome to Shamballa. That's a very interesting craft."

The Chief Scientist stops and removes the helmet. A rivulet of auburn curls descend and frame a face that is all hazel-brown eyes and porcelain skin.

The Chief Scientist of Project MIMIR is a woman. And not just any woman, an extraordinarily beautiful woman.

"Yes, it is my own design and uses electromagnetic pulse propulsion. My name is Shayla. You are SDAI-Tech1?"

"Yes. I oversee this facility. We have much to brief each other on."

"Indeed. I hear you made a most stimulating discovery in a cavern?"

"Probing the depths for treasures is just one of the things we do well here. However, of the accomplishments and technologies Project MIMIR has generated of which I am aware, I must say I have always been quite impressed."

"Thank you. We have been very fortunate to take in some of the best and most talented and let them loose on projects far beyond the conventional. Sometimes things have just dropped in our laps."

"Let us go down below, where we can converse more freely."

"Lead the way."

No one ever told me the Chief Scientist for MIMIR was a woman. MIMIR is one of the most classified projects and deals with extraterrestrial technology, time travel and has oversight for all things alien. There is something about her I can't quite put my finger on. Her auburn hair or her skin - or both. Something "realer" than real. Something that makes her glow somewhat from within.

We reach my office and I offer her a chair. She seems about 5'10 and now that I look at her eyes closer I see they are abnormally large, about 5% larger than normal I would estimate. And her skin has a vivid peach complexion and glow. Looks almost like a fake tan from a bottle or spray booth. Her iris is unusual, a pattern and cell structure unlike any iris I have ever seen. Suddenly it hits me all at once - this woman is not human!

"So which planet are you from?"

"I am afraid that is classified information. Congratulations though, as you are the fastest human yet to recognize the disparity. The eyes right?"

"Yes. The iris is most exceptional. Almost appears like a spira mirabilis pattern."

"I have contacts which I wear almost all the time. If we are going to work together, I wanted to see how perceptive you are. I accessed your file and I see you have telepathic experience."

Suddenly, I realize she has higher classification than my own. Which is rather startling. My file had been sealed and removed from almost all systems at the agency, or so I thought. I immediately sense her mind probe my own fundamental frequency and so I set up a clear area to converse in.

"So how developed are your telepathic abilities? Your file was missing several sections and only the overview remained."

"My abilities are nothing too spectacular. I can converse at a distance with folks known to me and folks unknown as long as I have a picture or other source to identify their fundamental frequency."

"Very good. That will make our working together much easier. Once one has shared mind with someone, one can tell exactly who they are and who they've been."

"Yes, mindsharing is indeed far more efficient than verbal conversing and there is not the same ability for deception."

"That's not entirely true. Deception is still capable of being performed and can be successfully employed if the minds are not of equal development."


This of course distresses me, because I know she comes from a world where such development makes my own appear rudimentary - like the speaking skills of a 4th grader next to a world class public orator. I don't get much chance to practice and the very few in the agency who do use telepathy are not much more developed as I am, if that.

"You need not fear that I will deceive you, and as a matter of fact I bring this up because I want to assist you in developing your own abilities."

"Something like a telepathy tutor?"

"Yes. Exactly. From this moment on, I want our communications to be entirely non-verbal unless we need to converse normally for others benefit. Is that acceptable?"

"Sure. I'll do what I can. I'll tell you upfront however, that I may not detect certain thoughts when I am busy. Physical activity and stress significantly lower my perception limits."

"That is what we will work on. I want you to have just as good detection and communication abilities as I do. In the future, we will be dealing with other races who are predatory telepaths. They will try and reach into your mind and extract secrets and knowledge from you and they will do so clandestinely, often forcing you to address two thoughts at a time or interjecting a thought and posing it as your own."

"Posing it as your own?"

"Yes. Like this."

"I wonder what she looks like naked.'"

"Hey, I didn't think that!"

"Yes, I know. I planted it there. You recognized it was not your own thought, but you would be surprised how many folks immediately accept suggestive thought projection or STP"


Suddenly I find myself wondering just how she would look naked and if she has any anatomical disparities underneath the suit. I cringe at this lower thought train that now interferes with my other thoughts and feel guilty for continuing the example.

"That is exactly why STP is so destructive. It is great for distracting someone and getting them feeling insecure or emotionally imbalanced. On my world, such thought projection is a criminal misdemeanor."

I suddenly realize the sheer scope of MIMIR and wonder how many aliens are working for the agency in this capacity. I am also concerned about these predatory telepaths she mentions. Folks like that on the Earth would be a disaster, a clear threat to national security.

"I want you to brief me on what happened in Iran. Just think about what happened. You need not linger on anything, I will pick it all up."

I proceed to relive the journey in my mind, the landing, the camels and the individuals we dealt with. At last I am again in the "flame room" and as I reach out into the flame with my hand I feel her mind and her hand within mine. Suddenly as the images race through, they have more meaning, I know this world of which the builders originated and I understand that this flame is indestructible energy.

At the same time, my mind drifts into her own thoughts and I see she has seen other rooms like this and that one exists on her home world. I probe that line of thought further and see an agency on her world that assigned her to Earth. Then I encounter a rather shocking and forceful mental barrier.

"You must learn to control your thoughts, unwelcome probes of the mind are tantamount to rape. If we are going to work together you must respect the subharmonic markers that clearly tell you what thoughts are accessible and which are off limits. I will excuse you this once because you are still an amateur, but do not let it happen again!"

I feel chastised and humble. Yet a part of me is very glad nevertheless. That is the first confirmation I have ever received that other worlds are working alongside our government in a knowing capacity. Then I feel guilty again for having betrayed her trust.

Her mind feels good. Very good. And very familiar. I feel guilty about that too and get busy setting up mental shields and markers of my own. I realize that my life, from this moment on, will never be the same.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Vacationing in Iran - Part II

The C130H Raptor control and command center over the Caspian Sea has been ordered to instruct certain Special Forces already in Iran to converge on Kasht-E-Kavir desert area. Our hosts will provide round the clock security until we figure out what to do with this - the greatest archaeological discovery in the history of mankind. We are en route back to Shamballa and I get on the horn with ODIN himself.

"I have a speech to make and not much time. I've got the images in front of me here on my desk. What's the situation?"

"Sir we need to crossover with Project MIMIR. We've got an artifact here that is priceless and very important. There's technology here too - and it's working."

"Fine. I'll have the papers signed and processed within 24 hours and you'll have whatever resources you feel are necessary. You're sure...working?"

"Yes sir. Working. It's incredible and I'll give you a full briefing in 12 hours after we lock down the prize. Oh, and good luck on the speech."

"Thanks. They expect a high Nielsen on this one. Anyways, I expect your complete briefing in 12 hours. No later."

"Understood."

I disconnect my headset and try to relax. The images that flowed through my mind are still as vivid as earlier and I cannot shake them. This is the big one. This is the breakthrough we have awaited a lifetime for. The discovery every archaeologist would sell their soul to the devil for, just to claim as their own.

Mach 5 is turbulent. The reason SDAI has not yet activated the Borealis is because it's experiencing serious technical problems. Vortical turbulence at Mach 6 is beyond considerable and the prototypes are constantly being reskinned to perfect flight stability. The loss of two prototypes and a test crew has not helped things.

We navigate over ocean and into the Gulf of Mexico. Then a quick dash across the southwest. The blues of the gulf are always a treat as we race over the US Virgin Islands.

Soon we are back at Shamballa. Good news travels fast and already the laptop on my desk announces that 100 million in operating budget has been made available and that the Chief Scientist from MIMIR has left two e-mails. Several small artifacts we brought back from Iran are going to be laser-measured, cast-molded, imaged and indexed before they undergo rigorous lab testing. Shamballa is in a flurry of activity and as I enter the conference room I see the entire series of videos and images upon the walls and being replayed on monitors for the first batch of analysts.

These analysts all have IQs upwards of 150 and all work for SDAI. After having excelling in other branches and seeking more of a challenge, they arrive here eager to prove their mettle. Here they get to take on the most daunting tasks and the work environment is one in which constantly spurs advanced thought and out-of-the-box thinking.

Some of these kids I've already given nicknames. There's Jimmy Neutron the physics wiz-kid who can also speak fluent Japanese and seven other languages. He designed an atomic powered replacement to the SS manned orbiter capable of planet surveying in his spare time and is also responsible for a novel inter-earth communication system that avoids all detection and data loss.

Encyclopedia Brown is the walking encyclopedia and knows everything mankind has ever recorded. Asking him a question will supply you an answer faster than Google or Yahoo. He has a photographic memory and several other heightened abilities that were discovered when he was the first person ever to score 100% on the Agency's PSYESP test. And unlike Google he can plug apparently disparate items together and find their common link.

Then we have Isis. If you ever saw the original TV show back in the seventies, with the cheesy plots and hokey special effects - you would see that this girl is a dead ringer for Isis - I mean really! One of these days I'm going to give her an amulet to wear around her neck. She's a cryptologist slash linguist slash hierology expert. If anyone can crack the glyphs found in the flame room it's Isis.

All are already working on the data. Meanwhile, I want to decipher the images I saw in my mind.

My office is my sanctuary. It has all the comforts of home should I require them. Books, objets d' art, and recorded history sits on the shelves and a mini-fridge and a microwave are built into a handsome birch cabinet. Whereupon sits a circa eighties-vintage Krups coffemaker, when they still made them to last, and a permanent pleasant aroma. A daybed offers me a place to crash if I need too. But mostly I like to sit at my desk in this big leather chair and kick my feet up on my desk and think.

I create a mental list:

A) Alien visitations pre-dating earth history in the Iranian desert.
B) Alien "flame of life" installed on multiple planets by aliens.
C) Alien technology defies all known science.
D) Flame itself transfers data - but selectively?
1) Why didn't flame influence Iranian nomad?
E) Room that offers Earth's true history.
1) What was meant by "true" - implies concealment or misdirection?
F) Where did aliens come from? Where are they now?
G) Do aliens and/or other worlds harboring similar flames constitute threat?
H) Why did I pass out when I touched the flame?
I) Is the flame dangerous?

I see it all in my mind just as if it were written down somewhere. If I am going to brief ODIN in a few hours, I want to have it clear in my mind.

I keep bouncing back to the images of the strange city. Everything crystalline in appearance and colorful like a city made of jems. Tall beings 10 or 11 feet tall reside there. Is this the flame-builders homeworld? Is this a city they built on earth? If so what happened to it? Is it Churchward's Mu?

Many questions. Let's hope in a few hours the team has already made some progress with the glyphs.

Meanwhile, I will enjoy some fresh brewed hot roasted java.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Vacationing in Iran

The phone rings. It's ODIN.

Normally we get a 4 hour heads up before a major operation. Not today.

One of SDAI's mission objectives is only tangentially related to national security. It's the collection and analysis of objects that pre-date all recorded history or are made of materials that do not react to any known atomic elements testing. These objects are kept in various facilities around the US and the world. Shamballa, here has it's own warehouse and when I have the time I peruse these objects. One, a nude that looks like an elongated human female, is sculpted in a completely unknown metal that looks like translucent gold or silver, depending on which angle you look at it, is the only one of its kind in the world and I, and others who've tested it, seriously suspect it's not from this world at all.

Occasionally we get a break and the conventional military we have stationed around the world stumble upon artifacts. Our presence in Iraq has been a historical goldmine. I have sitting on my desk a sculpture carved somewhere carbon dating has placed between 55-65th century BC. A small organization has been developed to piece together this missing human history and come up with a timeline for the many thousands of years not recorded by current texts.

The Techs suit up. A custom B-1-SDAIB is already warmed up and on the tarmac. We have to break some speed records to get to where we are going. Fortunately, the SDAIB has two more engines than a conventional B-1B and is the fastest fuel-powered plane in the world, bar none.

We take off and it's like taking off in any conventional jet until the other engines are throttled once airborne, then it's like some huge invisible hand presses you into your flightchair and seems to squish you in place. Oxygen masks and full pressurized suits are worn in the cabin for safety sake and to provide proper oxygen/nitrogen rates. The pressurized cabin hisses constantly to balance pressure as the speed exceeds Mach 5 and you find yourself swallowing every half minute to ease the pressure change that disturbs the cochlear nerve.


"Where are we going?" Tech6 asks over the headset.

"To boldly go where no man has gone before." Tech2 answers and he begins to hum the opening music from Star Trek TOS.

En route Tech2 makes a quick dash over Egypt and we can see the pyramids, in our headset monitors, far below us. Fortunately, it is night and identification of this plane is difficult. Within several minutes we are entering Iranian airspace. Our course takes over desert and mountain regions with few villages. We have descended to 200 feet over the ground and have reduced to sub-sonic. No need to grab any locals attention with an ear-cracking sonic boom. It feels like we are driving on the ground. Tech2's piloting skills are a credit to the entire nation. My split-monitor in front of me now shows tactical maps of the mountains ahead.

Not a peep out of the Russo-Chinese designed Iranian air defense and tracking system. Good. Very good.

In 10 minutes we are landing in the vast Kasht-E Kavir salt desert. Fortunately, we have the very latest PEGASUS X4 quadro-landing gear setup. This allows us to sacrifice up to three sets of gear and tires with take offs/landings in unsuitable terrain and still have a final set to land with before servicing and repair. This is very good because all but two of the tires have burst and this 1st gear is no longer suitable for taking off. We emerge from the craft. I look around and wonder what treasure could be found in this desolate, arid region.

"About two dozen camels and riders are heading this way and they are heavily armed with...what look like...yes definitely Kalishnikov RPK-74's and some other unidentifiable stuff."

"The welcoming commitee."

I tell tech's 8 & 14 to stay with the plane and for one of them to activate the rotating high capacity gun under the belly of the plane. A C-130H Raptor is over the Caspian Sea after having come from near Baku, in Azerbaijan

"Good idea. One can never be too careful." Tech8 replies.

In three minutes the camels have brought our hosts to us. They are Iranian, but not friendly with the existing government and work with the US and other nations clandestinely. Several of the men have their rifles pointed at us. Our combat suits could take a few slugs if necessary, but I'd prefer not to test them out.

"Iyi -e doğru görmek sen! nereye yapmak sen gelmek!"

I ask where the leader is from in Turkish. My Farsi is very bad and sometimes it helps to speak a language both parties are semi-proficient in. Most of the nomads here will speak Turkish and Dari besides Farsi. The folks in this line of work also know and speak Russian fluently. My Turkish is very rusty but he seems to understand. He names a city that sounds made up: "Gonabad".

Our team and his men exchange Salams and we are to be taken on camelback to the object we have come to bid on.

I don't like camels. As a child they seemed fine enough. Reading Tintin and the Crab with the Golden Claws made them seem a fine alternative to a horse. (Only later did I learn Herge was Belgian...and you can trust a Belgian to overlook inhuman conditions. ;-) They are not! The smell! Camel odor is heinous and suddenly burkhas and face covering cloth makes a lot of sense.

"For King and country!" I shout as I mount.

"I did not realize America had a king?" The leader turns to me and smiles, "unless they now call him king George?"

"I'll be damned. Perfect English."

"Not perfect. But better than your Turkish!"

"My Turkish is good enough for Turkeys. So how far do we have to travel?" I ask.

"Not far - one hour's distance."

The hour passes slowly. After half an hour my olfactory nerve centers shut down. I can't imagine why anyone would ever go vacationing in Iran. I can't smell the camels now - or anything else. We travel through many mountain passes and the elevation gets higher. The camels struggle under the weight of both riders and our team and they wheeze through their big, ugly teeth and nostrils.


"Here we are!"

I get off and scan the scene. So many cubby holes for snipers and as I look up I see heads quickly moving out of sight. We still are armed but this would be a short firefight if these guys are not on the level.

"Relax! You are a customer. We treat our customer's very well. Like Sak's on Fifth Avenue!"

With this his men start laughing and guffawing. They speak English too and they find a store named "Saks" a particularly amusing US joke.

"So where is it?" I ask getting down to business.

"This way. Follow me."

Our team follows and around a huge boulder is the opening to a cave. It has been recently excavated, as I can see fresh sand in piles in the distance as well as digging, surveying and archaeological tools. I pull a flashlight out of a zipper near the top of my boot. There are torches lighting the way but the light is still very dim and hard to see in. We are descending and suddenly the tunnel widens and opens into a enormous cavern. It is gorgeous! Stalagmites of countless lengths and varied purple-pinkish-brown hues, formed over centuries and centuries, descend from the cavern roof. A steady stream of water, probably from the winter season, must reach this elevation and sink into this mountain cliff.

We follow a freshly made trail which leads to another tunnel off of the main cavern. Walls, ancient and smooth, appear along this tunnels passage. Hieroglyphs unlike any I've seen still clearly mark the walls. I pull out a digital camera and snap a few shots. All photographs I take are already being wirelessly transmitted to the Raptor which will relay them back to Shamballa and Valhalla. Even these mountain walls can't stop the cameras super long wave length transmission.

"That's nothing. We're almost there."

I return to follow and suddenly the passage opens up into an enormous seven-sided geometric room. It is unbelievable! The roof travels up to a prism at least a hundred feet above. The prism is catching daylight from outside and sprinkling it down here. At least I assume that is what it is doing.

The room is made of the same translucent silver/gold metal we've encountered in the past. It almost glows and as my flashlight passes the walls - the light - is regenerated! The light lingers in the metal and pulses...almost as if the metal is alive. An image of the earth is present along one wall! It is perfect! It shimmers with a blue green tinge inside this weird metal! Mathematically precise even to the tilt of the axis! Images of the beings who carved this are also present! They must be 11 feet tall and look humanoid. In the center of the room is a dais and on this dais is a flame. It looks unlike any flame I've ever seen before and is about a foot in height, 2 inches at the base and comes to a perfect point at the end, no matter how it pulses. It seems like a laser but it is far too variable and flexible. I cannot find what fuels this flame and I have the strange feeling it has been pulsing here for many millennia, unattended.

It is simply unreal. I've never seen the like. And I can't forget to take pictures! I start taking pictures of the flame and of the entire room. Tech2 is standing beside me, his jaw is hanging open.

"Captain, the technology here is far in advance of anything we have. I should say that whoever built this are as far above us on the evolutionary scale...as we are above the amoeba."

"It is...magnificent."

Then it occurs to me. This is not something we can simply pack up and take back to Shamballa. We could try to carve up and extract some of the wall perhaps, but it almost feels like that would be sacrilege, if anything could ever be sacrilegious. From experience we also know this metal is not easily carved up. It's apparent atomic density makes it tougher than diamonds.

"You like what you see? So what is it worth? We wanted to offer it to you rich Americans first. The Russians don't pay as well."

"It is hard to say. However based upon cursory evaluation I can offer you 5 million dollars."

"5 million? Too low. I could probably even get the Russians to pay double that!"

"Ok. Twenty million dollars. But we want ground support and security here for the next few weeks as we try to figure out what to do with this."

"Deal"

We shake hands. I unzip a pocket on my side and pull out 2 million dollars in 100,000 dollar treasury notes. Woodrow Wilson almost seems to smile.

"And now that our dealings are concluded favorably I show you the most amazing part of your deal."

Tech2 looks up nervously and reaches unconsciously for his XM8. However a quick death was not what our hosts had in mind. The leader walks over to the flame and puts his hand into it...

...the flame goes right through his hand as if it was not there!

I walk over to the flame and I pull off my glove. I slowly reach out towards the flame...and then I thrust my hand into it. It feels strange and unearthly and I sense it is the key to this whole room. Images start racing through my mind. Distant places, beings and cities from a world far removed from this one. Suddenly I can see the people who built this room...and in flashes the meaning of the inscription on the dais becomes ever more clear. This room was meant to be found by man. And when we decipher these walls we will learn the true history of this world...and this flame....this flame....is the eternal flame of life and it has been placed on this world and many other worlds like earth....

"Are you all right!"

I see Tech2 and Tech12 hover over me, concern in their eyes. I am on my back.

"What happened?"

"You reached out and touched the flame, you screamed something and fell to the floor. You've been out for the past fifteen minutes and yet there is not a mark on your hand. Was it hot? Did it give you a shock?"

"I'm all right. Let's take some more pictures and then let's get out of here. We have to get airborne before dawn or there'll be hell to pay."

I get up and pick up the flashlight that had fallen down beside me. I see the light flicker above and as I exit the room I hear the howl of the winds as they pass through these mountain passes. There will now be sand and dust to contend with on the ride back...and of course...

...camels.