Chapter XXVIII
by General (Uncle Claude) Xxaxx
& General (E.J. Gold) Nunan PFC 1st Class Ret.

Calling back to Ja Mere earlier this evening it was a simple matter to confirm arrangements to meet at the sports auditorium. Over the years, the Cownsil has converted the ambiance of the gymnasium to that of a club. With the exception of the basketball court, the egghead Cownsil had totally redecorated.

Professor Woo walked past the empty reception area and headed straight into the lounge. The metal and vinyl bar stools of the lounge have been replaced with overstuffed smoking chairs and pinball machines were replaced with a massive fireplace and stone mantle. Stepping into the room, Woo noticed Ja Mere seated at the bar sipping a tall refreshment. The bar was old and well polished — its satin varnish recently. Any decoration done in the auditorium was dictated by two conflicting aims, the first was to provide an atmosphere conducive to intellectual intercourse, the second was to make the bubblers uncomfortable enough that they chose not to wait for their egghead charges while on don’t let them do xpearimints duty. A complete lack of vidi helped. In addition, attention was paid to such detail as subtly redesign of chairs to be uncomfortable to bubblers, colors of the room were selected to grate on bubbler’s nerves and humidity control set to an uncomfortable dry.

Once eggheads begin using a basketball court or other sporting facility on a regular basis, the Citizins will avoid it more than the plague — the plague at least is semi-curable. In sports there is much superstition. After the incorrigibly incompetent eggheads have been on a court no one else seems to be able to play as well as before. The eggheads have jinxed the court and jinxed the basketball. Pushing this superstition for their own advantage the Cownsil will typically gimmick all of the sporting equipment in the storage rooms of any arena that they wish to use for their clandestine meetings. They fill the basketballs with eccentric weights, change the angle and height of the basketball hoop, make volley balls slightly heavier — in short they do anything to put a normally good player off his or her game. Once Cititzins stop using the facility, the eggheads can redecorate and use it for meetings with nothing more than the standard shift of goober guards to worry about — enabling them to carry on business without concern. Why would any Citizin worry about what happened inside an egghead dominated sports auditorium — they can’t play the game worth beans anyway.

Trying to look nonchalant, magazine and refreshment in hand, Ja Mere got up from his place at the bar, crossed over the room and sat in the large overstuffed couch near the fire. After taking a moment to settling himself in Ja Mere glanced up at Professor Woo over the top of his magazine, “Professor Woo, have a seat. May I get you a refreshment?”

Sitting herself down in a chair opposite Ja Mere, Professor Woo respectfully declined the proffered drink, “No thank you Ja Mere, I remember the last time we started a meeting with refreshments. If not for detox pills my head would still be hurting.”

Betraying his attempted pose as nonchalant and cool headed, Ja Mere burst from his theatrical at ease posture on the couch, grabbed Woo by the shirt and started blurting an endless stream. “Give Woo, give me details, tell me more, talk, What’s happening between the dragons and the goobers. What’s the plan? Speak, I’ve got to know.”

This went on for many minutes. Woo figured that eventually Ja Mere would have to pause for a breath. At which point she would maybe get a word in edgewise. This took longer than she thought. Apparently this meeting between Little Roy and Drak excited Ja Mere as much as it perplexed Woo.

“Let me guess. You have some personal interest in this issue of dragons and goobers?”

“You shameless tease, you know I’m completely obsessed with my interest to stop the research into bubble annihilation?”

“How could I forget, given your incessant babbling on the subject.”

“I think aloud, extemporize even, but I don’t babble. Besides now that your dragon buddies have taken an interest in the goobers, you’ve got to have the common decency to involve me, at least assist me in petitioning their help.”

“What are you talking about?”

“When a dragon takes a goober out for a stroll, it’s not for no reason.”

“Before you get yourself worked up into a complete lather you should know that I have not been able to get past a mem-block left by Drak. What ever transpired between the two of them is hidden behind a rather strong and apparently impenetrable memory block.”

“Well, use some of your dragon magic and go around it.”

“If I were to tear it down or magically go around it as you say, all of Little Roy’s psychological infrastructure would come tumbling down.”

“Have you ever heard of the Maginot Line? Now that was an impregnable barrier. It was constructed in ancient times by the Fren-Chees. No army of the day could pass it. It would have required a million assorted soldiers and armored devices to breach its security. The Germ-Ants found a rather unique method of dealing with it. They went around. Apparently this was something that the Fren-Chees had not counted on. Apparently there was a superstition about going through neutralizing territories such as Bellgerm.”

“I’ve tried that. At least in part, by trying to slip around through dreamwork.”

“Woo for this to work you must find a territory to trespass that is unthinkable to Drak, something so totally beyond his conjecture that absolutely no provision could have been made against it. Something totally alien to his natural approach.”

“Perhaps there is a way, as you know Ja Mere the dragons have a near total disdain for science as inefficient and belabored. They have a saying, The Universe is 90% magic and 10% science and most of the science is wrong. If we could clear our agendas for a week or two and really get into the laboratory, I’m sure we would find a way around this Maginot memory block.”

“That was my thoughts exactly. But why wait to clear our agenda?”

“I’m asking you as a friend to help me clear up this gravity business before we exert ourselves in what could prove to be a diversion, interesting and worthwhile, but a diversion from our main line none the less.”

“Enough of this just call on your ol’ friend Ja Mere stuff. I’ve been happy to help you without question for the past fifteen years, but don’t take me for an idiot. I know how you and your dragon buddies have put me under a geas to help — that I’m magically constrained to help you whenever you use that particular phrase. I didn’t fall out of the back end of a taxi yesterday you know. I’ve let it ride — for fifteen years. You’ve needed me — I was happy to help. But don’t think I’m so unobservant that I can’t tell when I’m operating under compulsion. It didn’t take long to figure out the key phrases you used to ensure my help. Even though I was your friend, you couldn’t trust me to help so you did your magic mumbo-jumbo. All of that I forgive as your weakness — but don’t take me for an idiot.”

Woo could kick herself. Not for trying to leave Ja Mere in the dark or the fact that she put him under geas. Duplicity was a way of life for her. No, the real embarrassment was she never noticed he knew and, more importantly, she was personally humiliated to find she had mistrusted someone that was such a friend he was able to overlook her magical manipulations and continue giving help even in the face of her mistrust.” Like it or not, Woo was being forced to reevaluate those around her in a new light. First the goober proved to be of such interest to Drak that he was willing to vogue as a human, a.k.a. biped slug, for the afternoon and now Ja Mere, a friend to the friendless.

Woo remembered what it was like coming back from China after completing her graduate work in dragon magic, she had steeled herself to the prospect of working alone, not a Citizin, not a goober, not a dragon and no longer an egghead. She had already spent three years of post-graduate work hiding her true talents from the administrators biding her time playing at learning in a slow and laborious time linear fashion just as they expected. She appeared to be learning in the only way they could except as learning. Even though at the end of her first year of study she already knew as much dragon magic as she would ever learn, and much more than any accomplished student of real dragon magic would ever admit to or demonstrate. Never the less she had to go through the motions for three years. In addition to being frustrating, this charade served to make her feel very much alone.

During those three years of post graduate work Woo labored secure in the knowledge that she’d handled her loneliness. Apparently not true. Looking into Ja Mere’s face, Woo realized that it wasn’t Drak’s insistence that she insure the help of a Cownsil member through magical geas instrumental in forcing her decision to place Ja Mere under geas to help. Nor was it the necessity of guaranteeing support during critical phases of work. She couldn’t bear to face the possibility that she may be as alone in her work as she felt herself to be.

Even now, as she began to admit this self deception to herself following the genesis of its hold on her, she beheld the unnecessary load of loneliness she had been carrying these past fifteen years. This vision of herself in the stark light of cold attention broke the chain of delusion and occlusion. It was her lack of faith in the process and denial of who she was in reality that had guaranteed the loneliness that she carried and tried to deny.

Woo got up from the overstuffed chair to get some circulation back into her legs and arms that seemed to be falling asleep by the second. The tingling in her legs was not a symptom of their falling asleep. Something else was happening. The release of electrical bonds had opened neural networks that were held in check until this moment. This release gave vent to megawatts of energy flux, enough to rehabilitate a plasma-net which had atrophied. Legs giving out beneath her Woo sat down beside Ja Mere on the couch and fell into rhythmic shudders of sobbing.

Misintrepreting the visible manifestations of this tremendous energy flux, Ja Mere put an arm out to comfort his friend. Big mistake — at least if you call grabbing the live end of a 40,000 volt transmission line a mistake. Some do call it a mistake and some don’t. Whether or not Ja Mere would have called it a mistake we’ll never know because at that moment he ceased to exist — at least as he was.

In blinding moment of eternity, Ja Mere and Woo were fused — a coming together that no couple could ever dream of, nor would they want to if they could. The two became one. All of the loneliness that they had felt all of their separate lives was erased in that one fusing instant. They stood as one that was two — fused. Now, instead of the petty loneliness that they had pushed to the outer edges of their lives, they had something new: a sense of utter aloneness that permeated all reaches of their being, springing forth from the very core. This was not something to be replaced by further revelations, this was a prime realization, not something to be superseded but to be dealt with.

Standing or sitting, who could tell, what had been two bodies were now black ice windows looking onto a room. Nothing behind the eyes save empty voidness. Nothing before the eyes save its reflection. The room and all its furnishings flattened against the walls of a ten foot sphere. Nothing inside the sphere, nothing outside the sphere. All that was, was a film of image thinner than a reflection in a mirror

Plasmic energy continued to course through Woo-JaMere flushing circuits and connecting nodes that had lain dormant since their entrance into the human biological servo-computer called man. The energy had the redemptive property of cleansing anomalies and and removing dharmic hooks — a sensation, not unlike that of a sugar cube melting in a glass of water coupled with a bolt of lightening clearing a path in the bark of a tree.

Moment by moment the seemingly irrevocable attachment that Woo-JaMere had to the tar-baby known as creation lifted. As the attachment dissolved corresponding portions of the spherical image also dissolved. Behind the image of the room was a central view of the universe stretching as fair as the attention could penetrate. A thinner than thin film of image on a sphere barely out of reach. At first it was a relief to be finally rid of the gravitic pull of illusion. Near and far were no longer concepts of distance, they became facets of big and small. Everything was an image projected on a spherical screen only five feet away.

The melting continued. The release from the tar-baby of creation continued. The dissolution of her vision continued. Even the image of creation continued to wink out, star by star, galaxy by galaxy.

This was a new thing. With the passage of each galaxy, an inner sense of stillness and silence came forth highlighted in nothingness as the background noise vanished. The morphology of the body began to expand filling the gaps in space left by the disappearing stars. No longer was Woo-JaMere looking through portal-eyes into a creation, as the stars winked out they left voidness to fill with presence. Their vision expanded into a total view — three hundred and sixty degrees of nothingness.

Eventually only a few stars remained, less than a handful. Five left, now four, three . . . .wait...two galaxies left, now just the one a small star and a hovering cluster of pink and blue luminescence somewhere in what was once the western rim of the Milky Way. With the prospect of this last tiny star winking out of existence, something snapped — an audible crack entered into the stillness and silence. Panic, apprehension or perhaps a foreshadowing — it doesn’t matter. Whatever and wherever it is coming from Woo-JaMere knew without doubt they did not want this last vestige of creation to be gone. We are not ready for the complete absence of creation. The anticipation of nothing, absolutely nothing to stand between us and the utter voidness of the void...yow, that’s not for us. No buffer, not even a single veil of gossamer to occlude the face of God. Face to face in a mirror that isn’t there. This we’re not ready for.

Sensing something tugging within, Woo-JaMere noted a remnant of that which was about to not be. What is this? A hook of attachment. Is it a vestige of the tar-baby or a life line of salvation? We don’t know whether to feel disappointment for failing in this last step of liberation or tremendous relief at a last minute reprieve. It doesn’t matter. A hook we have and a hook we’ll use. Hurtling down in a spiral descent, Woo-JaMere rushes toward a minuscule cluster of pink and blue phosphorescence on a receding horizon. Later we can wonder whether we were saved or failed as final step. For now, we have one small hook attached to one tiny green planet circling a singular sun of a small solar system in the western rim of a reemerging galaxy that is flying away from countless millions of other galaxies in a comfortably full universe exploding wonderfully busy with life and places to go, people to be, a thorough buffer between ourselves and the destiny that awaits when perhaps next time that last hook is gone — unnamable and equally undeniable.


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