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.
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."
"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."
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)