Premiered 9/9/9 (9 September 2009)
The continuation of The Myth and Legend of D'PTah, an original novel by Dan Sewell Ward.
One might have called it a bifurcation point. I rather liked the term, if only because it had such a sense of definitive choice. But regardless of one's affinity for such a term, there was no doubt that we had reached the proverbial point of no return where we would be required to follow one of two event filled paths. Gil and I had already made our decision to initiate the crisis point; it was now time to see which path Anna would choose, and which therefore we might be constrained to follow.
Curiously enough, I felt strangely detached from the possible outcomes. I, quite frankly, could have taken either path. I was aware, of course, that one path might be easier and the other a bit more rock strewn. But either path would undoubtedly have its own version of delights and challenges... and not being omniscience, I would have no way to deciding with certainty which of the two paths would ultimately be the preferred route. And if we were still going to arrive at the same point down stream, it really made no difference which channel we took... the process on either channel would clearly have its own appeal.
Because I could see intrigue and fascination in whichever way Anna chose, her choice suddenly meant far less to me than I might otherwise have thought a month earlier. About the only slight preference on my part was that with Anna as an ally, it might be the scenario of 'the more the merrier'. Anna did, after all, have some notable talents... many of which I would not have been loath to enjoy. Meanwhile...
The Myricon project had been shut down. All artifacts thus far unearthed had been taken away for so-called safe keeping (in other words, safe from the possibility of anything ever again seeing the light of day). This left a devastated ground zero with all the appearances of clear cutting, strip mining, or a raped, pillaged, burned, razed, and salt-strewn-in-the-soil city. Zadi Xytol and Dimutri Whatever... had had their way. The victors had vanquished their arch enemy... in this case the truth. All the other personnel having been severed from their raw material, their data and their notes... were subsequently and generously given the traditional authority to make a last, “minority report” on their findings and conclusions. What had not yet been said, could now be said. Yeah right. No data and no notes... and therefore, no report... minority or otherwise.
But then Simon and Freddie's foresight, courage, and delightfully sneaky actions had, unbeknownst to the Peer Review Oversight Committee... and various higher echelon groups in a de facto hierarchy... kept an ace up their sleeves. We would now be playing Simon and Freddie's ace... and hopefully, it would turn out to be the ace of trumps. After all, it's just a game... including the time when the all important last five segments had been unearthed, disguised as rubble, and secreted off the site. After the deaths of both heroes, Gil had inherited the raw material, shared it with me, and together we had prepared our final report, our own personal “minority report” that had the potential to strip away once and for all any claim to fame of any so-called “official, majority report”.
The report that precedes these words constitute precisely what we developed.
There was just this one minor (minority) problem [pardon the pun]: We would be required to submit our “minority report” through channels! That is, if we ever wanted them to see the light of day... and not simply end up in the quasi-real land of the academic underground. Gil and I had thus been faced with the dilemma of very likely seeing our report be edited out of existence, lost in the wasteland of unofficial and/or minority reports, and in general lost for all time. None of the last five segments might in fact never be seen... unless Gil and I could obtain access to the credible channels of report dissemination.
The difficulty is that neither of us had the imprimatur to have those last five segments reach its intended reading audience. On the other hand, there was someone who did have the clout... assuming that we were willing to bring that person into our confidence. Aye, there's the rub, for the one person who had both the access, credibility and the official imprimatur of having been part of Myricon... and who might actually associate with such 'outlaws' as Gil and I... was Anna Shamhat.
Ah, yes. The tall redhead who had taken me on more than one journey into the incredible. She was the woman Gil could not bring himself to endorse, the lady enigma wrapped in a mystery... but one with really great wrapping! It was probably my gut reaction – a reaction located close to my other previously activated Anna-reactive organs – that told me we had to take the risk. For Gil it was the other location -- the one between the rock and the hard place -- that suggested to him: no friggin' way! Admittedly, it was going to be far more painful for him, but I could afford little sympathy. It was something that had to be done. For that, I accept full responsibility. After all, it would at the very least be amusing to watch.
Of course, getting there could be somewhat painful in and of itself... as when I first brought up the possibility. “You know, of course, that the only way the material will see the light of day is...”
“Don't even think about it! I'm not dealing with that woman!”
“What woman? Anna?” I assure everyone that I was wholly innocent of any... subterfuge. In fact, please note the painful pause I incurred when my remark resulted in Gil glaring pitilessly at me. Alas, Gil had never learned the skill of being able to laugh at himself, and who therefore inevitably resorted to glaring whenever confronted with sarcasm... even the light hearted kind.
Accordingly, his answer was one with gritted teeth, “Anna. We will not deal with that woman! Clear?”
“What do you mean, 'we', white man?”
“Clearly, it makes more sense for the two of us to approach her. But I am perfectly willing to go it alone.”
“Why you back-stabbing little...”
“Careful! You wouldn't want to say something you would regret later. Or that I would....”
“Be assured that I have no regrets in telling you that if you try an end run around me, I'll trash your rear end with such finality that you'll never know diarrhea again.”
“In that case, don't concern yourself about regrets. I have no intention of taking that threat seriously.”
“On the contrary, I know that I can count on you for some calm, reasoned, even pragmatic discussions.”
After something of a thoughtful pause, Gil asked, “What the hell has gotten into you?”
“Not sure. Maybe, it's the... well, you know: the 'Weaver Effect'.”
Gil actually laughed, albeit grudgingly. “More like the Anna effect.”
“But only because you love her... and probably fantasize that she loves you.”
“No more than yourself.”
“You were once in love with Anna... and probably still are. I'm simply following in your footsteps.”
“With several big differences! One, you're still buying into her... her agendas.”
“Only to the extent of getting what I... what we want. How does this help her and... her agendas?”
“Have no fear; she'll figure out a way for it to help her.”
“Great! More power to her. No skin off my... well, you know.”
My last remark occasioned a long pause, but one at least with reduced tension.
Asking the question as if he really wanted to know the answer... “You think she'd just sent it in without taking her ounce of flesh?”
“Speak for yourself. I'm sure I've more than an ounce.”
“You turkey. You've already begun the process, haven't you?”
“Just awaiting the final planning activities to ensure your personal safety from her female wiles.”
“Very fucking funny.”
“Precisely my point.” (pause, with a grimace or two) “Okay. Here's what we'll do.”
After that it was a piece of pie. Anna was subsequently approached with a plan filled with dramatic flair for the covert, a subtle scheme with enough twists and turns to intrigue her to play whatever game was afoot. In reality, of course, she was enormously amused by our dramatics, and went out of her way to indulge us in our fantasies. The latter including a path of torturous reversals, all leading to a location seemingly removed from all semblance of civilization, save for a secret link to the media channels. Of course, the secret link, according to the devious plan developed by Gil, was not to be even hinted at until Anna had joined us wholeheartedly and with enthusiasm. We wouldn't give everything away prematurely. I also suspected that there existed an alternate plan B that Gil had never shared with me, including one that might well be to use the isolation of the rendezvous cabin as the perfect place to execute a murder... one without clues, motives, or opportunities. If you can believe it, Gil and I had actually wore flesh gloves from the moment of our first arrival. This was really hush-hush stuff! It was also fun.
As it turned out, Anna's last leg before arriving at the cabin had been with me as her escort. We did not go to the point of having her blindfolded; that would have been just a bit too much. Okay... so Gil wanted to do so, but I just couldn't bear the thought of Anna laughing in my face and then refusing anything of the sort. She probably would have stuffed the blindfold somewhere on my person.
Upon our arrival at the location, with Gil meeting the two of us in the main living area, the clear sighted Anna was all smiles. “Good choice, Gilbert,” she said. “This one of my favorite locations. I hope we'll have the time to watch the sunset from the rocky lake out in back.”
If that wasn't funny enough, the back door suddenly flew open and Koroviev came bounding into the room... playfully bounding with sheer exuberance! He practically threw himself at Anna's feet, only to leap up into the classic bear hug. The two of them hugged and danced about in the manner of two long lost friends reunited. "Koroviev," Anna exclaimed! "You dirty old knight! How's my very best friend?" Koroviev responded by attempting to bathe her in slobbery licks. Anna, unsurprisingly, responded in the way you would expect... but nevertheless quickly and lovingly had him under control within just a few minutes. Thereafter, Koroviev was constantly at her feet, his body pressed against at least one of her legs. Occasionally he would look up and observe Gil... as if to ensure that the man had not recently come to grief. After all, Gil had always been good to him, and thus the loyalty clause every dog has to sign prior to incarnation had to kick in... even if the escape clause of consistently lousy treatment could be invoked in extreme poodle cases.
During the festivities, Gil very nearly turned purple, his intense frown one of the funnier things I'd ever seen. Even The Queen of the Night music  in the background could not cover his chagrin. Mercifully, Anna didn't leave him hanging in the wind, and with her faithful companion at her feet, quickly added, “You've always had wonderful tastes, Gilbert dearest; always keeping me in the best style. And it is indeed wonderful to see you again.” She then leaned back in her chair, ready for the next act.
From my perspective, I finally had, direct from the conspirators, the essential confirmation of all my suspicions. Gil and Anna had indeed been lovers! Seeing them together could lead to no other conclusion. It was great to have my grand theory vindicated, but then, of course, there was also a sticky bit there as well. What was that old joke: Gil needed sex has much as the next man. But I was “the next man”! Of course, Dookie quickly realized... probably not “next”.
Gil did manage to cover himself somewhat. He simply handed Anna the completed final, minority report. She took it from him, smiling as broadly as his frown. Then she opened it and almost immediately grasped the significance. “And the bronze sheets themselves?”
Gil kept his voice in a dead calm. “In a safe location.”
“I will have to see them before I release any of this,” she said, as if it was just another minor detail. “But first, let's see what you have here.” She sat down and began reading.
When she was done, she leaned back and looked at us. "You guys have been busy," she said, and then still fingering the manuscripts, "Very impressive."
Gil's response was notably tart, “Thanks.”
“And the raw material,” she asked?
Gil frowned, even more than I would have thought possible. “First,” he said, “We need to know your reaction... something more than mere platitudes.”
“The report is brilliant,” she replied, her voice suggesting that she was the one holding the better hand. “It is in fact sufficiently good that I would be happy and honored to use my authority to funnel the material into the fast track channels. We can even use the channel access link that is hidden here at the cabin.”
Gil's frown took on a sunset purple haze.
Anna kept smiling at him. “I will need to personally see the bronze sheets.” When Gil found it difficult to swallow, she grinned broadly and leaning forward, added, “I'll show you mine if you show me yours.”
Gil's expression dropped off the charts. Mine, I suspect, was not notably better. I had to ask, “What are you talking about?”
Anna was really having fun at our expense. Then she leaned back to bask in her glory, her grin transforming into a delicious smile. “And mine is derived from what the ancients called 'stainless steel'. I have them in my pack... if you'd like to see them.”
"Naw, we wouldn't be interested," I replied, dismissing them out of hand. Then, with considerably more energy, "Are you kidding? Of course we want to see them!"
Anna, of course, was all diplomacy... as she laughed in our faces.
The 'stainless steel' with incised black lettering did indeed seem to be so – both stainless and heavy as steel. Anna had even done the translation, and quite generously offered to share the authorship. Within another hectic twelve hours, the bronze and stainless steel sheets were viewed by all, the concluding remarks provided below was appended to the Duenki/Meshga final “minority report”, and everything sent on its way into the channels. The content of these sheets can therefore be construed as the epilogue of the journey that all of us have taken.
Clearly this final document had been intentionally preserved by even more extraordinary means, and yet initially failed to yield its secrets, having been written in an apparent code – one of sufficient cleverness so as to be identified as valueless inventories of food stocks, and which accordingly to date had not been addressed or understood. After the strong hint of an alternative code, and considerable effort to decipher this final portion of the D'PTah saga, success had been achieved. Gil had been both amazed... and delighted at the turn of events. He had even adopted a peaceful grin.
Anna had done the deciphering, and Gil had agreed with her techniques and end results, but something told me there was just a bit more to her efforts. It was as if she had inherited a key, an invaluable clue from times long past, a Cleopatra glyph that enabled her to begin reading her own Rosetta Stone. Of course, at my first opportunity to question her privately on the matter, she used the time honored technique of distraction, once again taking me to bed. Maybe I'll never know. But then again... who cares? There comes a point when one can become detached from even the most significant events and activities. You'll know the point when you get there... and in general, will laugh a lot about it. Meanwhile, truth can be its own advocate. It has a lot of such experience... and considerable patience.
We have not the omniscience to comment further, but only to allow the reader to view this final artifact at its face value, and thereby allow its completeness (despite its brevity), accuracy, and revolutionary nature go uncontested. There is no doubt in our mind that this document speaks truth... for it answers entirely too many of the questions that all the preceding writings demanded to be answered.
The nature of our investigations have always been to report when such reports yielded valuable data and information. We may perhaps wish to consider living with the new dictum that uncertainty is a good thing, one to be savored and enjoyed.
Twilight of the Gods
Once we were decidedly alone at sea, the four of us gathered once again on the main bridge, breaking bread and drinking wine, and relishing the memories of all we had encountered... all the while listening to Tannhauser .
Joy was smiling. "I must admit that I never thought of a... Richard III send off. Absolutely classic!"
"Which is probably where we differ, my dear," Pete replied. "While you might not have considered all of the possibilities, I was fully prepared... as it turns out... to defecate in my pants."
"Yes, dear," Joy smiled, her eyes rolling with just enough emphasis to put Pete on notice. "On the other hand, I seem to have been left out of the loop as to exactly what we're going to do next." When Pete and I both looked at each other, claiming total innocence, Joy turned to Daniel. "Then this is a unilateral plan, is it?" For just a moment, she looked at the... Daniel without blinking... almost accusingly.
Daniel laughed. “Our goodbye will become the stuff of legends, and more than anything else, legends are sometimes vitally needed until the people truly come of age. That's pretty much it in a nutshell.”
"Except..." I began, probing for the next step.
“Except that this is only the beginning,” Daniel added. “For the immediate future, we will be sailing the globe, visiting parts unknown and possibly unfathomable, and all the while allowing glimpses of the Rhode and the four of others by others. Then, within a week or so, in the wee hours of the morning, we will make a rendezvous. Four of my friends will take over the Rhode and sail away, until one day shortly thereafter, the Rhode will be found deserted and without the slightest hint of foul play. Everything will be in order, the decks spit and polished, the hatches locked from the inside, and the deserted, fully functional ship will thereby pose a mystery as to just what happened to it... and most importantly, to its passengers and crew. It will be a world class riddle – the kind of uncertainty that will do more for the race than the biggest imaginable dose of fireworks.”
I was still back at 'in the wee hours of the morning'. When I looked at Pete, it was clear that he too was surprised. My mind suddenly reeling, I managed only to ask, “Rendezvous?”
Cue Music: Die Götterdämerung 
The GS Leviathan, when it surfaced in the moonlight, didn't appear to be quite as gigantic as I had imagined from the brief description Daniel had provided. As it turned out, however, he had never been aboard and was describing only what had been described to him. He had, however, been quite accurate in comparing it to an iceberg where only a small portion breaks above the surface of the water -- and even then, only on very, very special occasions. What could not be easily visualized was the massive amount hidden underwater. And of course, once we were aboard and the underwater city had returned to the relatively shallow sea bed, we were going to need a lot of time to explore.
What I hadn't planned on for our arrival on board, was suddenly meeting Lil Landow again. It had been years... thankfully, I must admit... since I had last seen her. But for Daniel, of course, it was all smiles and hugs. Lil even gave me a nice, affectionate hug – and thereby belied the rumor that her body was composed of radioactive scrap metal and spare parts.
“Well, Daniel,” she began, “I can only say I'm amazed. You did good.”
“Thanks,” Daniel answered. “I rather assumed it was time to once again give the humans all the rope they could muster.”
“We are definitely all in agreement with that assessment.”
“Excuse me,” Pete said, as he gingerly returned from his somewhat prolonged state of awe, “Where exactly are we?”
Daniel smiled. “Home?”
Lilith was gracious and somewhat more enlightening. “Actually we don't call it home; we call HQ. 'Home' is out there... somewhere. HQ, on the other hand, is here, under our feet. This is the place from whence was derived all the wonders of technology, those clever activities that were, long ago, manifested in the world. This is where the production derived its beginning, its midpoint highlights, and where we dealt with the very much unexpected.”
With three very bewildered individuals, and two seemingly in the know... the conversation was momentarily stymied. Into the breech, Hormer Volkov sauntered, announcing himself directly to me,
“Milady, we are honored.” With that he bowed and kissed my hand.
My surprise was exceeded only by my delight. “Hormer,” I said with far more affection than might have been appropriate. As I threw myself into his surprised, but comforting arms, there was some laughter at the gesture. Stepping back, I suddenly felt compelled to show that my wits were still about me. Quickly I said to him with a fake frown on my face, “Why didn't you write?” Hopefully it was a good line, and may even have kept my probably useless dignity intact.
Hormer then did the gallant thing: distracting attention from my embarrassment and hugging Charlotte Joy Weaver as well. The latter was a very welcoming gesture, and Joy made it clear from her expression that it was very much appreciated. For her, it was almost an indication that she had indeed from her new friends.!
“Wait, wait, wait a minute,” Pete interrupted. Clearly, merriment and welcoming hugs were not what he was looking for. “Are you saying that all of the works of the NinGish, the incredible displays of technology at the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, the Washington Monument, and all the rest... came from here?” Pete's total bewilderment would have been a delight see... except that I too was reeling and watching Lil and Hormer. With even more intensity, he asked, “Were we all scammed?”
Lil smiled as she gently put her hand on Pete's shoulders. “Peter,” she began. “You of all people should know that anyone with a vastly superior technology can, if the situation warrants it, come across as a god, a deity, or an agent of such. It's all a matter of spinning the right weave.”
“Are you telling us,” Pete asked, “that everything we based... everything we depended upon... was all a fake, a trick of superior technology?”
“Who knows?” Daniel suddenly added. “Maybe EN.KI., Lord of Earth, showed Noah, the Sumerian Ziasudra, the boat/ark plans without Noah ever knowing whose plans they were... or even originally what they were intended for.”
Pete looked back and forth between Daniel, Lil and Hormer. His voice quavering, he managed to ask, “There were no extraterrestrials?”
Daniel and Lil seemed to exchange glances, and Lil asked, “Are you sure we're not? Or that, for example, former German Chancellor, Hilda Kurtz, is not and ET? Before you answer, I should tell you that she's here with us. She is someone you will want to spend a lot of time with... a delightful woman. I'm sure the two of you will find much in common."
I finally managed to find my own voice. “Daniel,” I struggled to ask, “Is the Regent... is D'PTah... are you... a human being?” It suddenly seemed to me to be a really important question to know the answer to!
Lil fielded this one. “Who knows? Does it really make a difference?”
Hormer shrugged his shoulders as if to explain. "On the one hand, it's merely the brainchild of the Lady Lilith and her fantastic imagination. At the same time, it was basically just a project, a play, a stage illusion... which pretty much describes life. The next question should be, 'where shall we do lunch?'"
“Forget that,” Pete interjected. Not being a fan of men behind the curtain, he wanted to know, point blank: “Are you guys extraterrestrials or not?”
Lil smiled at Pete. “Hormer Volkov, Daniel and I were born on Earth... thus we're not ETs. However, that does not imply that the three of us are of the same species as each other... or the same as you and yours... or that our ancestors were not extraterrestrials. If it's a matter or origin, then we're locals. If it's a matter of genetics... that might be different. However, I should warn you that any attempted categorization of individuals into broad ranging species designations is fraught with complexity."
Pyotr Alexandrovich Spasopeskovsky could only look at her, shaking his head. Then he smiled, as if at a practical joke, one which he had bought into completely. What else could an April Fool do?
I must admit to being ready to sympathize with Pete's feelings. I felt a bit the same... knowing that just keeping up with Daniel was going to continue to be a challenge. And I had thought we might be actually contemplating retirement! But then I discovered that Lil's name was more accurately "Lilith". Great! Just when I thought Daniel and I might be allowed to grow old together... now I'm told that while we do, we can watch Lilith resist aging and stay as young as she was... how many millennia ago?
Hormer, I suspect, had noticed my chagrin at being properly introduced to Lilith. In a typical kindness, he said, "Speaking of human origins, you'll be happy to know, Daniel, that the Iapetus Mission has reached its goal, entered the Saturn system, and taken up orbit around the Moon with a View. They are now in the process of landing. We should be receiving some of the message of Iapetus itself within the hour. You should also be able to hear from your friends, Joe and Laura Rati, both of whom are in the landing party, as well as Jessica Enid. Jessica has even managed to nearly complete a doctorate in astrophysics during the trip. I suspect everyone knows what her dissertation will be about!"
“Fantastic!” Daniel exclaimed. “Let's get to it. I can't wait to see what they've found! It will be like walking through a museum of unparalleled antiquity... perhaps even the seeds of humankind.”
Lil smiled at Daniel's enthusiasm. "This portion of the drama will have to be preserved with incredible care... maybe stainless steel, encased in impenetrable containers. It's all about the grand, universal scheme... and its successful conclusion. It might very well need some tweaking from time to time... but for the moment it's time to let the program run. See where it leads. And Iapetus will be the key."
Hormer Volkov, Lil Landow, and Daniel were about to charge off on their apparently new hobby, when I grabbed Daniel's arm. “Wait a minute! You're going to walk away from this discussion, this revelation of the greatest con in the history of mankind... for a lousy science report?”
Daniel shrugged, as if his answer were common knowledge. “First of all, it's not the greatest con; there were far greater and more devious ones long before our time. In the second case...” He smiled with more than a few stars in his eyes. “It's my nature,” he began. “A common human characteristic to want to see what's beyond. Wouldn't you like to join me, Margarite Sophea (Sally) de Riordan?”
Sitting here, listening to Die Zauberflote , and looking back at my personal journal, I am struck by what I had written during the earliest days of my Regency.
Yes, yes, I know. My belief that everyone should be allowed total freedom in their beliefs is, in fact, just my belief, my paradigm. The fact that such a belief system might breed tolerance, equality, respect, and compassion for everyone on the planet... it's still just a belief that is mine. It is also diametrically opposed to the beliefs of other human beings that everyone must...for the sake of the planet and/or for whatever... be brought into a very narrow, specific line by whatever means available.
My goal was to provide a means by which the most downtrodden of souls might rise up and pursue their happiness... by whatever means. Strangely, such an effort on my part might be one which violates my own belief that diversity is to be pursued... including those "diversities" that includes narrow-mindedness and other limiting strictures. Perhaps there's an inconsistency here in my own philosophy whereby my acceptance of diversity conflicts with the fact that I am flailing against those diverse views which demand subservience to – what I believe to be -- a diverse, but much narrower view.
Not that long ago, I had contended that anyone endeavoring to “save the world” was as misguided as any inquisitor or alleged defender of the faith. I had concluded that the only thing one might do to truly commit to the betterment of the world was to serve as a good example. If one was wandering through life, blissfully happy, and having a thoroughly good time, it was almost inevitable that a few others -- in just the right state of mind or stage in their path -- would see my happiness and finding it intriguing, ask me my secret. It would then be time for me to tell them of my own truth, and thereafter allow them their choice. This had been the reason for my [?], over which I labored for so many years.
Looking back on it all, however, I must conclude that when you're given a unique and extraordinary opportunity to unleash the best of all possibilities – where any hint of hesitation or refusal quickly extinguishes the opportunity for all... Then what else could I do? After all, as had been said by someone I greatly admire :
Perhaps the greatest good is the pruning of the garden of man, in order for the greater evolutionary growth of the human race. No garden can flourish when weeds are allowed to choke out the flowers and the nourishing plants. Nor can those who have been unleashed from the bounds of the Earth be refused... for whatever reason... their far greater destiny.
As a gardener who very much dislikes weeds, but who has a creative bent and perhaps far too much theatrical experience, I can only say at the end... “Thanks for the Use of the Hall”.
Daniel Arthur DocPtah Melke
May those who taste the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, forever remember their sweetness, and with the taste lingering on their lips vow to ensure no branches of the Great Tree may falter for lack of nurture, no roots may be cut or injured for lack of attention, and no fruit allowed to fall into oblivion where their sweetness would lie dormant, inevitably to rot.
And when the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil have thus nourished us, may we then taste the fruits of the Tree of Life and thereby ascend to our destinies.
May the Truth in All of its Glory Continue to be Pursued.
Mikhail Arthanius Duenki
Gil Deuruk Meshga
Anna Lil Landow Shamhat
 Mikhail Bulgakov, The White Guard, translated by Michael Glenny, Academy Chicago Publishers, Chicago, McGraw Hill, 1987, page 297.
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved [Feedback]