WE ARE REACHING THE EVENT HORIZON OF
SO SEE THE FUTURE
LEARN FROM THE PAST
This Book was researched and written between 2000-2002 AD so the technology
and factual events were from that time.
A Sequel is now being written to reflect our Present State.For this latest version see the link below
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Chapter 1: Kreutzlingen , Switzerland
Chapter 1a: CERN, Genève, Switzerland
Chapter 1b: Kreutzlingen , Switzerland
Chapter 2: City Mortuary, Kaliningrad, Russia
Chapter 3: City Hospital, Kreutzlingen
Chapter 4: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA
Chapter 5: Kreutzlingen, Switzerland
Chapter 6: Eleusis, Greece
Chapter 7: SPAK Corp. Kreutzlingen
Chapter 8: The Archons Room Of Shadows,Athens
Chapter 9: Konstanz, Germany
Chapter 10: City Mortuary, Athens
Chapter 11: Jet Propulsion Laboratory,USA
Chapter 12: Friedrichshafen, Germany
Chapter 12a: SETI, University of California, Berkeley,USA
Chapter 12b: Friedrichshafen, Germany
Chapter 12c: First Sighting, Maui Space Surveillance Site, Hawaii
Chapter 13: Corfu Airport, Greece
Chapter 13a: Jet Propulsion Laboratory,USA
Chapter 14: Athens International Airport
Chapter 15: Hotel Philippos, Athens
Chapter 16: City Mortuary, Athens
Chapter 17: City Center Athens
Chapter 18a: Island Near Santorini, Greece
Chapter 18: Police Headquarters, Kreutzlingen
Chapter 19: Island Near Santorini, Greece
Chapter 20: St. Denis Cathedral, Athens
Chapter 21: Police Headquarters. Athens
Chapter 22: Athens University
Chapter 23: Police Headquarters ,Kaliningrad, Russia
Chapter 24: Athens University, The Prophecy
Chapter 24a: Jet Propulsion Laboratory,USA
Chapter 25: Athens International Airport
Chapter 26: Hotel Philippos, Athens
Chapter 27: St. Denis Cathedral, Athens
Chapter 28: Athens Professr Zarganis House
Chapter 29: Police Headquarters, Athens
Chapter 30: Eleusis
Chapter 31: Road To Eleusis
Chapter 32: Athens International Airport
Chapter 33: Police Headquarters, Athens
Chapter 34: Athens Center
Chapter 35: Athens Exhibition Center
Chapter 36: British Embassy, Athens
Chapter 37: Spiro’s Café, Athens
Chapter 38: Syntagma Square, Athens
Chapter 39: Kolonaki district of Athens
Chapter 40: 425000 miles from Earth
Chapter 41: SPAK Corporation, Athens
Chapter 42: Athens To Bay Of Elefsina
Chapter 43: Eleusis
Chapter 43a: Eleusis Greece
Chapter 44: New Eleusis Sanctuary
Chapter 45: The Telesterion
Chapter 46: The Prophecy Fulfilled ?
367 BC: Hekademeia , Athens
700 Years Ago: Montsegur , France
7 Months Ago: Kreutzlingen , Switzerland
2067 AD: Hekademeia , Athens
Terms Used 205
Web Sites 210
Origonal was researched and written 2000 - 2002
Updated with Illustrations, Terms Used, Tables and Web Sites 2012
Εγώ ίσως Σκωτίας, αλλά η καρδιά μου βρίσκεται στην Ελλάδα.
You’ve stolen mankind and you’ve poisoned its soul
You’re dragging them on to the edge of the hole…
The darkness in the room was disturbed at first by a flickering light that exploded suddenly to fill the screen and create an oasis
of light in the vast inky blackness.
The bowed head lifted and peered at the monitor.
Rubbing his eyes, Andrew Jamieson switched on the overhead lamp and looked at his notes trying to recall where he was before the system went down.
'Not that bloody dream again', Andrew muttered.
Andrew had awoken from a recurring realistic dream, so far removed from his current technological environment
that he had to take a moment to readjust to his present situation.
‘Thank God. At last. Maybe now I can finish before the morning shift arrives.’
Before continuing his work, he glanced at the screen of his mobile phone which was running an App he had devised,
the UFO/Ghost/Emf detector App, just as a diversion from the monotony of his paid work.
‘No luck', he sighed.
He thought it an ideal time to test it, as there was talk of a ghost seen wandering around the premises at night.
He obviously didn't believe in such things, but if it did exist and approached him, his App would detect
and record it, using the camera and magnetic, temperature and barometric pressure sensors on the phone.
Anything for a bit of excitement around here.
Back to reality, as he remembered the sense of urgency that his supervisor had related to him at the start of the shift.
The pace had risen perceptibly in the last twenty-four hours and with the system being down for the last two it wasn’t the best environment for completing a crucial piece of complex software.
Even the experience that comes with ten years as a software contractor, meeting constant deadlines, didn’t dull the rising knot of tension in the pit of his stomach.
It was time for another Omeprazole ulcer tablet.
To cheer him up, he reminded himself of the rate he was on for tonight’s work.
£100 an hour plus time and a half for night shift.
What will I spend it on, he thought. So many hobbies. Astronomy, buy a new Celestron telescope to take more pictures of the moon for my website. Maybe spot an anomaly. Peter
in America at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory would be thrilled at that. Which reminds me, I'll need to e-mail him. He was a good friend to a lonely Scotsman at MIT. I wonder
if he has spotted any interesting asteroids recently.
Anyhow, he considered himself fortunate with unemployment rampent in all the EU countries resulting in instability and riots.
But here in Switzerland things were relatvely calm while chaos, terrorism and civil wars erupted round the globe.
Not only was Switzerland a temporary refuge from the world's social/economic problems, it so far had avoided the natural disasters which
were increasingly appearing throughout the world such as earthquakes, tsusnamis and erupting volcanos like the latest one in Iceland which
was much more violent than at any time of its recorded history, leaving experts baffled.
But one thing defied explanation,the threat of nuclear war. No one could could escape this on Earth, even talk of elites moving to New Zealand
would not survive this impending Holocost. At this moment in time, Andrew could not make sense of the seemingly inevitable developing events.
And with that thought together with the ulcer tablet starting to do its job he could now start to concentrate on the final lines of code.
Quickly interpreting his notes and translating them into streams of digital code through the rapid clicking of the keyboard, he was now on the verge of testing his work.
Someone had lied to him. It didn’t get any easier in fact it got harder.
At the age of thirty-five and surrounded by people of a younger generation he felt increasingly isolated.
It didn’t help that he was inward looking and although his technical skills had increased over the years his social skills hadn’t.
But that was soon to be all behind him.
His goal was in sight.
This would be his final contract and with the thought of the sun drenched Greek villa of his dreams about to be within his grasp, he now focused on his test notes.
Looking through his test notes he again thought of the differences between this project and the many others he had worked on in the past, in particular the type of data that was required to test his software.
The range of software from his knowledge seemed to encompass all forms of media from Smartphones, Pads, Laptops (all Operating Systems), Mainframes, Databases and all interconnected by all forms of communication.
And at the center was something hidden and highly restricted but noticable by the uniquness of its test software.
He had worked on military and commercial projects including submarines, tanks, simulators, factory control and manufacturing systems through to financial and business software, but the data required here was completely different.
What on earth would finally supply this data?
Because the project had been broken down into hundreds of modules, each team only knew of their piece in the puzzle and of the immediate pieces around them, so Andrew had no idea of the final use of the complete software package.
Was it for military or benign commercial use?
The one recurring reference he had noticed was the name of the installation at the other end of Switzterland, that of CERN.
Maybe one day he would have his curiosity satisfied and discover the answer.
There was a sense of jubilation. Success!
Among the many collaborative scientists, engineers and institutions there was a collective pat on the back.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most powerful particle collider, in a tunnel 27 kilometres in circumference
beneath the French-Swiss border, had broken a new record.
The data produced as a result of the successful 14 TeV proton collision was already being distributed and analysed by the LHC Computing Grid.
Who knew what secrets the Universe would reveal as a result of this powerful manmade collision of particles.
This was to be the official release to the world press.
But an inner core of analysts using the latest Quantum Computers had already reported back the much awaited news confirming their predictions.
And in room 108, another sense of satisfaction was being manifested among the select few seated around the large oval oak table.
The events on Earth had been a success, but much further away in time and space, a breakthrough had been achieved, and only those in room 108 were aware of this.
This was to trigger a sequence of events that each and every one of them knew was crucial to their survival.
But what would be the repurcussions for all else? That is a question that did not for a second cross their minds.
As one, they stood and raised their glasses at the unofficial CERN symbol.
To The SPAK Corporation.
His was not the only small island of light in this large inky dark room.
About ten desks to his right and fourteen behind him another pool of light had at its center one of his software team, a young local Swiss boy called Hans Schenk.
The rest of his night shift team; Russell MacIntyre, Franz Steiner, Douglas Crammond and Jane Davidson had each returned to their allocated hotel when the system went down.
Andrew had decided that it was only himself and Hans who were required and should remain in the hope that the system would come back online in time for them to complete the software, which had to be ready and tested by morning.
He would rather be here anyway than at his hotel, situated next to the main Swiss German border post,or Hauptzoll, as tonight was disco night.
The basement of the hotel served as both a bowling alley and disco, and although his room wasn’t directly over it he could still feel the throbbing beat of the late night music.
The relief after it finished didn’t last long though as the sound of the early morning heavy traffic passing through the border would step in and take over.
He wished that there was also one other island of light in the room tonight with the long dark haired Helena at its center.
His wife had died five years ago in a car crash, a painful and tortuous period in his life, the memory of which returned to him at night when he was alone in bed keeping him awake with it’s images.
This was one of the reasons he had asked to go on the night shift.
The other was Helena, but now that she had switched to the day shift he would consider switching back as well.
Helena had studied Philosophy at the University of Athens but like a lot of software contractors had re-trained in software with the lure of constant employment, travel and not least money.
Expecially in this time of extreme austerity in Greece where a third of her age group was hopelessly unemployed.
The first time he was introduced to his team assembled from around the globe he noticed her staring at him.
Initially he thought it was his mop of gray streaked hair which occasionally brought blinking looks from total strangers.
But after working with her for a few months he’d noticed that most of the time she seemed to be by his side; her desk was next to his at work and at social gatherings of which the Company provided plenty, she was always seated next to him.
He had become accustomed to looking round and seeing her there smiling warmly at him.
I must switch back to the day shift, he thought.
Each member of the team relied on each other and at this particular moment as his test notes showed Hans was needed to supply the simulated test data for Andrew’s software module.
Hans was a quiet young man as he had found out over the last seven months of his contract.
He was reserved and his favorite past times included playing the trumpet and hacking into computers.
To bring together this diverse collection of different nationalities, with it’s mix of permanent and contract workers, the SPAK Corporation had arranged social gatherings to inspire a team spirit which they hoped would help in the completion of this vast and complex software project.
He remembered one particular occasion when the team was invited to one of the Swiss managers houses, a large chalet perched midway up a green valley slope.
The manager, Max Rohrbach, had arranged a lantern lit barbeque night at the side of his house, which had a long wooden table with benches on either side.
Seated round the table was a mixture of Swiss, Danish, Swedish, German, Scots and one Greek.
The Scots party had consisted of Andrew and four others.
The barbeque was now in full swing and the Swiss custom of passing a bottle of Kirsch around the table appealed to the Scots.
The bottle reached Russell, a man of about twenty-seven with wild dark hair, an appealing smile and a liking for telling a tale or two.
‘Pour it in the glass,’ shouted the crowd.
But Russell oblivious to this custom put the bottle to his mouth and took a deep swig.
Eventually, he slammed it on the table and beamed his widest smile.
This sociable Swiss custom had become the Scots custom of drinking straight from the bottle and leaving as little as possible for the next person.
Russell had pushed the bottle to Andrew, and as he placed it to his mouth he could see a glint in Russell’s eye that spelt trouble.
‘We have a custom in Scotland,’ boomed Russell as he pointed to the diminutive figure of Hans.
‘The youngest person in the team has to stand in the middle of the table.’
Poor young Hans was picked up and placed in the center of the table where he stood staring at his feet red faced.
At this point Russell stood and shouted, ‘de-bag him’.
Before he knew it Hans was standing with his trousers around his ankles, with the Swiss contingent staring blankly at each other while the all the others roared with laughter.
Poor Hans, Andrew thought, smiling at the memory of this hilarious scene, as he now leaned back in his swivel chair and with outstretched hand pressed the key to start reading Hans’s test data.
After a few seconds a message appeared in the center of the screen exclaiming that a file didn’t exist.
‘Damn,’ Andrew muttered under his breath. ‘Hans had promised that his software would be ready by now to provide the test data necessary to complete this stage of the project.’
He glanced at the project chart on the wall.
This module was on the critical path and would delay ten other teams who were due to use his software in the morning.
He could feel that familiar knot of tension in the pit of his stomach return,
making the Omeprazole tablet work overtime in protecting his ulcer and preventing it from adding to his rising discomfort.
He sighed. ‘Hopefully he’s nearly ready. I’ll need to check him. A few minutes delay we can handle. Any longer…’
He couldn’t bear to think of the consequences.
He rose from his chair and started towards Hans.
As he approached him he called out,
‘Hans are you just about ready to start the test?’
The figure wasn’t upright but slumped, head bowed in front of the monitor just as Andrew himself had been when the system was down.
Oh no, he thought, he’s nodded off and didn’t wake up when the screen had burst back into life as the system came back on line.
He emerged from the darkness and into Hans’s own little oasis of light at the center of which was a large monitor displaying not the
usual colorful lines of code and development tools but instead a black screen and the beginnings of what looked like a transmission
over a broadband connection which had abruptly been stopped.
At the top of the screen in white was the word ‘RA’ followed on the next line by the words ‘KONIGSBERG’ and ‘KANT’ , then 'CERN', and on the next line just the word ‘ELEUSIS’ and the word ‘GNO’, or part of a word, with the cursor blinking at the end of it.
As he stared at the screen an uneasy feeling came over him when he suddenly realized that there was something wrong with the apparently dozing figure of Hans.
He was completely still and silent.
No sight or sound of breathing.
It was then that he noticed a deep red cut visible above Hans’s shirt collar at the back of his head.
He tapped his shoulder gently at first and whispered his name as if to awake him from a light doze.
With no reaction from Hans this rose to a shake of his shoulder that suddenly turned the side of Hans face towards him.
The trickle of blood from the edge of his mouth had made a path down his chin and was dripping onto the white notes on his desk.
In his orderly, logical world of software development Andrew had never been confronted with anything like this.
Was Hans ill?
Could he even be dead?
For a second his thoughts turned back to the project as if to escape the reality of what was before him. He was off the hook.
The morning shift couldn’t blame him if they weren’t able to use his software because the man supplying the test data was DEAD!
With that word reverberating round his head he was jolted back to reality.
What was the procedure if you found someone dead, was there one?
He was used to having endless manuals pointing him in the right direction, which he followed religiously, for if he didn’t the software auditors would catch him and he would lose his job with his reputation irreparably damaged.
But this was a different world, he picked up the phone to contact the night security desk, they would know more than him what the next step was.
There was that word again ‘DEAD!’
The phone was as lifeless as the slumped stationary figure before him. He traced the phone line to the back of the console where it entered a sea of other cables connected to the computer.
The line must have come out of its socket he thought.
As he tugged at the cable his hand suddenly raised up displaying not a plug at the end of the line but exposed wires.
It had been ripped out. The broadband line must have suffered the same fate, which would explain the incomplete message on the screen.
The signs of force and violence were all around him now.
What do I do now? he thought, as beads of sweat dripped from his forehead and also trickled down his spine after his exertions at the back of the computer.
‘I have to contact someone, anyone,’ he muttered, as if the burden of what he knew was weighing down on him so oppressively that sharing it with
someone else would lighten his load. In fact the more people he told the better.
Then it struck him.
The person who did this might still be here watching him, hidden in the darkness that surrounded him, waiting to see
what his next move would be.
That thought came too late for as he started to turn, a powerful blow from behind to the top of his shoulders sucked the breath from his lungs and chopped his legs from beneath him, sending him crashing down hitting his head on the edge of the monitor with a sickening crack.
As he slumped to the floor in engulfing pain and with darkness rapidly closing in, the last thing he saw was a gun and it was pointing straight at him.
That word ‘DEAD!’ again he thought as the last glimmer of light disappeared.
Georgi stared at the face of the corpse.
In his twenty years as a pathologist he had never witnessed anything the like of which was before him.
The expression that masked the face of the man was unnatural. A person couldn’t have sufficient control of their facial muscles to create such expressions.
It wasn’t just a look of fear, but also of misbelief and something else that he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
With this lingering thought in the back of his mind, he pulled back the sheet to reveal the full body.
With the sheet still in his hand he stood frozen.
The rest of the body in a way mimicked the face; muscles bulged in exaggerated mounds and the arms and legs were twisted and pulled into unnatural shapes.
What on earth could produce such effects on a human being?
Georgi took a deep breath as if to clear his head of any emotions that had welled up in him at the sight of this corpse and prepared to start his methodical examination.
Beginning with the head, he noticed a slight indent or band across the forehead and around the temples, as if this person wore a hat frequently. He made a mental note to check the records if this mans employment required him to wear a hat, which could account for the markings on the head.
As he examined the bands at the side of the head, he thought he could make out very faint puncture marks.
Picking up an eyepiece he could see more clearly that there were three puncture marks arranged like the points of a triangle on either side of the head.
Drugs! he thought. Some external stimulus must have been used to cause such effects on the body and its eventual death.
Blood tests may reveal the presence of any unusual substances, possibly large doses of a powerful hallucinogenic.
At this point his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the door behind him opening and steps echoing off the white tiled walls of the post mortem room as someone approached him.
Without turning he said, ‘hi Yuri, I was wondering when you’d turn up.
Your timing’s perfect, I’m about to start the part of the post mortem that I know you enjoy the most.’
Inspector Yuri Kharine of the Kaliningrad police let out a sigh and turned his head away from the body when the razor sharp scalpel was placed above the top of the chest as Georgi attempted to make the cut that would give him access to the internal organs of the body.
‘My God!’ exclaimed Georgi, as he struggled to make a deep cut into the chest of the body.
Yuri turned expecting to see the usual display of blood, pulled back skin and exposed internal organs.
Even after twenty-five years in the police force he still couldn’t get used to this part of the job.
The thought that the body was sacrosanct and in all cases should be respected was at the heart of his beliefs and this ritual dissection of the body disturbed him every time.
But this time only the merest trickle of blood on the chest of the body greeted his eyes.
Georgi stood back from the corpse.
‘The muscles of the chest are so tense that I can only cut through the top layer of skin.
Everything about the condition of this man is unusual, Yuri, I’m waiting on the results of the blood tests to see if they can provide a clue to the cause of death.
Do you have any information on who he is and the circumstances of his death?’
Yuri consulted his notes.
‘He was found in his flat by his girlfriend as she came off the night shift. Apparently he was just lying on the floor in the condition you see him in now, but fully clothed.
She didn’t expect him to be at home at all as he was also on the night shift at the same factory, but in a different department, and would be working on till later.’
‘Well, what was his job and what was the name of the factory?’ asked Georgi.
‘He was a software developer at the SPAK Corporation, Kaliningrad,’ Yuri replied.
The distant pain was coming from two distinct places, immediately behind him and above and in front of him.
As the darkness receded the pain increased rapidly to hit him with a jolt.
His forehead above the right eye was the source of a sharp blinding pain and the base of his neck was throbbing and tender where it touched the pillow.
With the light came a voice.
‘Can you hear me Andrew?’
Someone was touching his hand.
As he tried to focus on the blurred image above him, the familiar outline of long wavy black hair framing the soft features of a woman started to fill his sight.
As the features became more distinct, he recognized the image as Helena, but not as he had seen her before.
Her wide blue eyes were staring at him intently and he could see a look of concern in her face.
Again softly, ‘can you hear me Andrew?’ she said, lifting her hand to caress his cheek as he looked beyond her to see the sun streaming through white curtains into a room containing just the two of them.
‘You’re in a hospital.’
The concern in her face started to fade and a smile grew as she could see the look of recognition in the eyes that had remained closed since she had arrived at the hospital thirty-two hours ago.
‘What am I doing in a hospital when I should be at work testing my software?
It had to be ready today!
What time is it?’
This overriding thought was the result of years of professional pride in his work.
He had never been the one responsible for a project being delayed.
‘It’s eleven thirty!’
‘The last thing I remember is the computers coming back online about three in morning.
God, that’s eight hours ago, but I’m sure I finished my software module and signed it as complete.
Does the dayshift know? Do they have access to it?’
Helena stroked his forehead gently.
‘Yes, don’t worry, your software was completed.
I checked it personally, I know how conscientious you are and it would be one of the first things you asked.
But, I’m afraid you’ve been unconscious for more than a couple of hours.
Russell found you barely alive at the factory last night. Don’t you remember what happened?’
‘No! Have I been in some sort of accident? I must have been, to hurt so much and find myself lying here on a hospital bed’
She sighed and stared at him. ‘You really don’t remember?’
At this he lifted his hand to his forehead to feel the bandage covering the source of the pain above his eye. As he moved his head the throbbing ache at the base of his neck increased and suddenly he remembered the dream.
‘I’ve had the weirdest dream. More of a nightmare really. I dreamt that I had finished my software and when I asked Hans for the data to test it he looked as if he was dead!’
At this point Helena should laugh and say, ‘don’t be silly it was just a dream, what really happened was this,’ he thought.
But her expression didn’t change as she stared at him, willing him to remember.
Then suddenly the dream came flooding back.
‘It can’t have happened. It’s impossible!’
‘I’m afraid it did,’ Helena explained.
‘Russell had returned to the factory when he heard that the system was back online, to find you lying on the floor at the foot of Hans’s chair with a gun in your hand.’
‘A gun! What, you mean a real gun like you see on the television?’
‘Yes it was real and so were the bullets that were in it.’
The obvious questions were starting to form a long queue in his mind.
‘Lets get this straight. I’m a respectable thirty something software engineer who was happily working on a software project using the tools of my trade, which are a computer, a keyboard and a screen in a typical office environment. Where does a gun come into that, it’s not exactly standard issue to contract software developers, is it? Where on earth would I get a gun from?’
It was then that he remembered a gun pointing at him was the last thing he saw before waking up here.
‘It gets worse,’ she said.
‘How could it possibly get worse?’
‘The gun that you were holding had blood on the butt of the handle. The police think that it may be Han’s blood.’
‘What! 'They think that I killed him by striking him on the back of the head with the gun?’
‘It looks that way. A police officer, Inspector Monika Weiss, was here yesterday and earlier this morning. She wants to interview you as soon as you’re able to talk. There’s even a policeman posted outside the door.’
‘Good, that must be for protection from the person who assaulted me and murdered Hans’
‘No, I think its to stop you leaving. From what I can gather they think you and Hans where arguing and there was no third person involved.’
‘This is ridiculous, I have to talk to them and explain exactly what happened. You believe me, don’t you Helena?’
‘Of course I do, that’s why I’m here. I’ve only known you for several months but even so, I realize this is completely out of character and you could never do such a thing. Can you remember anything else about what happened?’
The seriousness of the situation was now beginning to hit him.
He had been clinging to the notion that this was all a dream because the events were so unusual and completely outside his normal ordered everyday experiences.
He had to try and recall everything that happened.
From what Helena had said, his future depended on it.
‘I remember walking over to Hans’s desk to check if he was ready to supply me with the test data I needed. When I got there he was slumped over his desk, with a deep red cut on the back of his head. There, that proves it. He was already dead before I reached him. It couldn’t have been me. It was then that someone struck me from behind, and that’s the last I remember before waking up here.’
‘Did you catch a glimpse of who hit you?’
‘You need proof of what you said happened, can you remember anything else at all?’
Closing his eyes he tried to picture the scene at Han’s desk. Then suddenly he remembered.
‘The phone was dead when I tried to call security. The line had been ripped out.’
‘Yes the screen was blank except for a few words. The first word was “RE”… no it was “RA”. On the next line were the words “KONIGSBERG” and “KANT”, then CERN, and on the next line just the word “ELEUSIS” and the word “GNO”, or part of a word, with the cursor blinking at the end of it.
It looked like the beginning of a modem transmission, which had been cut short when the phone line was ripped out. Do these words mean anything to you, other than CERN, they certainly don’t to me?’
Helena was staring at him, and with each of the words he had said her mouth had got wider and wider until she said.
‘Of course they mean something to me. I’m a Greek who has a degree in philosophy. Eleusis is an ancient site in Greece, just outside Athens and Emmanual Kant was one of the most famous philosophers in history who was born in the provincial town of Konigsberg, East Prussia in 1724.’
Taken aback at her knowledge, Andrew said, ‘that’s impressive, but where’s East Prussia? I don’t recognize that country.’
Getting irritated by his ignorance Helena replied, ‘that region is now part of Russia and Konigsberg is now known as Kaliningrad.’
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
United States Of America
Peter Strauss was tired, but he was on a mission, a mission to discover as many asteroids as possible.
Not just any asteroid though, because being part of the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking team or NEAT as they were known, his interest lay in asteroids that could be classified as one of three types;,
1/ asteroids that approach the Earth’s orbit from the outside known as Amors,
2/ asteroids that cross the Earth’s orbit known as Apollos and
3/ asteroids that approach the Earth’s orbit from the inside known as Atens.
But alone in the dark lab illuminated only by the bright back lit array of negatives laid out before him, he easily shrugged off the effects of his fatigue as he could sense that he was on the verge of discovering a very special type of Amor asteroid,
an Amor-PHA(Potentially Hazardous Asteroid).
This moment was the culmination of a time consuming period of observations and calculations involving not just himself but others spread around the globe, as NEAT consisted of two autonomous observing systems;
the Maui Space Surveillance Site, Hawaii,
and the Palomar Observatory, California
who both routed their data directly back to his team here in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for analysis.
In this case though, it was the Palomar Observatory, using its 1.2-meter telescope, which had provided the series of time lapsed pictures that Peter had run through the automatic data analysis system.
They were just a series of apparently identical negatives populated with a multitude of various sized small black dots, but by comparing them, if you were lucky you could spot the one dot, which was not at the same position in each negative.
This was your moving asteroid.
Tonight, he was in luck, as the analysis software had pinpointed one dot, which seemed to show up in slightly different positions in subsequent negatives.
He now had his asteroid.
The next thing was to plot its course.
After entering all his asteroid data into the computer, his excitement had mounted, as after repeated refinements of his results, the indications were of a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid or PHA as they were known.
They were asteroids larger than two hundred meters, which approach close enough to the Earth
to present a potential hazard.
He would soon know how potentially hazard this one would be as the data finally started to appear on his screen.
Peter gasped as the last number was displayed.
He quickly pressed the graphic display button, which would convert the numbers into a graphic illustrating the asteroid moving through space as it approached the Earth on its orbit around the Sun.
He now watched in amazement as the asteroid and the Earth moved closer and closer together until suddenly the picture froze when they were at their closest point.
Automatically a line was drawn between the asteroid and the Earth with a number displayed above it.
My God, he thought, this one will be close.
But not close enough to hit, he reminded himself as he let out a sigh of relief.
Luckily, this one and a half mile wide asteroid would not hit the Earth in five days time but will be such a narrow escape as to make the world leaders sit up and take notice.
They may not be so lucky the next time.
He couldn’t wait to tell them.
The one thing he would keep to himself though, was the apparent controlled entity preceding the incoming natural phenomena.A step too far at this point
but one he would personally monitor, and divulge if it's seemingly controlled actions could be verified, without bringing ridicule.
He wished he could tell his friend Andrew, from Scotland, a good friend from his time at MIT. It would make a great addittion to his astronomy website. I
need to e-mail him, how long has it been?
As for this, he knew his limitations. His expertise was image analysis. For any type of confirmation that what he was seeing was no illusion, he required other expertise,
namely signal detection and analysis. For this he would contact his friend at SETI.
The television in the hospital room burst into life?
'Top news. The number and unprecedented power of recent Earth Quakes in the world increases with a massive earth quake in Nepal, thousands dead.'
'Risk of Nuclear war increases, with the movement of nuclear warhead misiles being moved to the borders of nations threatened by emerging nuclear powers.'
'American police react to riots spreading across all states,with opposing groups becoming increasingly more violent.'
'Andrew thought not only was his own world spiralling out of control,but the world was equally matching his own increasing maddness'.
'Andrew turned his attention from the television news to Helen'.
‘What about the words “RA” and “GNO”?’
‘Well, when you first said “RE” then remembered it was “RA”, either word would have been right. They’re both the name given to an ancient Egyptian Sun God,’ explained Helena.
‘I think that “GNO” is incomplete and could be either “GNOSTIC” or “GNOSIS”.
In either case they both refer to an early branch of Christianity, which didn’t survive and died out.’
Andrew looked at her quizzically.
'And CERN ? What is the connection beween modern physics research and ancient religious refrences ?'
Andrew continued almost as an afterthought.
'Hans mentioned that one of his hobbies was the LHC Computing Grid, which helped in analysing the vast ammounts of data collected during CERN experiments.
But he was only one of thousands involved in this innocently official exercise.'
‘There is no way he could have been killed for this?’
‘Well if he was, and they know that you’ve seen this, your life could also be in danger.
Maybe Russell interrupted the murderer before he could get the chance to kill you too, so he placed the gun in your hand to incriminate you before fleeing.
He may come back to finish the job.’
‘Thanks, that’s a reassuring thought. But its all the more reason that I should tell the police everything I know so they can start looking for the real killer.
I think it’s time to talk to them.
Could you tell the policeman at the door that I can now make a statement.’
As Helena nodded in agreement he suddenly felt a wave of relief sweep through his body forcing an involuntary sigh.
Coming to terms with what had happened by sharing his experiences with Helena had an almost therapeutic effect on him mentally and physically.
He seemed to be in less pain and once he had given his statement to the police, it would then be up to them to solve this case leaving him to get back to his normal ordered life.
This thought was suddenly interrupted by a thumping noise against the far wall next to the door, which Helena was about to open.
At this she hesitated, then slowly turned the handle pulling open the door slightly.
Peering through, she could see a man in a white doctor’s coat bending over the policeman who was lying crumpled on the floor.
Helena silently closed the door and placed a chair at an angle under the handle.
‘Quick, we have to get out of here.’
‘Why what’s happened? What was that noise?’
‘It was probably the sound of the policeman hitting the wall as he fell. And there’s a man in a doctor’s coat standing over him.’
‘Maybe he fainted after standing out there so long, and the doctor’s attending to him,’ Andrew offered as Helena started to help him out of bed.
‘No, I don’t think so. He has nasty looking gash in his head.’
‘Maybe he got that as he fell.’
‘No, definitely not, the doctor was holding a gun.’
‘Jesus! Not again. Where’s my clothes?’
‘Over there on a chair by the window.’
Helping Andrew over to the chair, Helena quickly scanned the room for an exit other than the main door.
Nothing, she thought, only the window, and we’re on the third floor she remembered as she assisted Andrew into his clothes.
The sense of urgency suddenly increased as they both heard the door handle being turned, gently at first, then more rapidly making a rattling sound that shook the door.
Helena lifted the window fully open in one quick movement and pushed her head through the opening.
‘There’s a fire escape just outside the window!’
‘Thank God,’ gasped Andrew, struggling to tie his shoelaces.
Helena pulled him up to the window. ‘Forget that.’
Climbing out onto the fire escape landing, she started to ease him over the windowsill, until a loud crack from the disintegrating door gave her strength she didn’t know she had and Andrew was pulled over in one quick bundled action that had them both lying on the metal grill of the landing.
Without fully standing, Helena grabbed Andrew’s arms and threw them round her neck.
‘Hold on, he could be at the window any moment now.’
She then started to pull him down the angled ladder.
With gathering momentum Helena was now staggering down the ladder to the next level where she found herself heading towards the edge.
With Andrew pushing hard against her, she struggled to stop herself from toppling over the railing as they both stared perilously down at the car park, two levels below.
Gathering their breath they looked up and could see two feet stepping onto the metal grill above them.
‘My car’s just round the corner, come on, quick,’ she said.
Needing no prompting, Andrew was soon following her down the zigzagging fire escape to the car park below with the sound of footsteps above him urging him on.
As they jumped the last few steps onto the car park, Helena grabbed his hand and pulled him in the direction of her car.
An oncoming car screeched to a halt, almost hitting them.
Temporally stunned, they continued past the surprised gaze of the driver.
Looking behind them, Andrew could see the man in the doctor’s coat leaning over the railings of the first landing, and on sighting them lifted his hand with the gun.
‘He’s about to shoot,’ Andrew yelled.
With no hesitation he threw himself at Helena as they reached the corner of the building pushing her to the ground.
The bullet exploded into the corner bricks of the hospital sending fragments shooting in all directions.
Covering their faces, he rolled over to the safety of the wall around the corner, pulling Helena with him.
There was no loud bang from the gun, Andrew thought, he must be using some sort of silencer.
He then turned her head round to his and brushed away the mop of dark hair covering her face.
‘Are you OK?’
‘Yes, just a bit winded, my car’s just over there, come on he’s not far behind.’
Pulling the keys from her pocket as she ran, Helena quickly selected the door key and on reaching the car thrust it into the lock.
Andrew pulled at the passenger door repeatedly until it opened in response to Helena’s turn of the key.
Once inside he turned round and looked through the rear side window in time to see the gunman turn the corner and survey the car park for any sign of movement.
It was a busy car park with plenty of movement to help disguise their whereabouts, but not for long as the blond short cropped haired man started to run along the first row of cars, looking in each as he went.
They were in the second row.
‘Now would be a good time to go,’ Andrew urged as Helena started the car at the second attempt and accelerated from the parking space away from the gunman who turned quickly in their direction, but soon stopped when he realized he couldn’t catch them.
‘Where to now?’ Helena asked as she approached the exit.
‘Head for the nearest police station and safety,’ he replied.
‘That might not be a good idea. If they’ve found that the police guard has been attacked and we’re missing, they could already be looking for us as suspects. Reinforcing the suspicions they already have about you.’
‘I don’t know what to do,’ Andrew sighed.
‘I need time to think. I’ve been involved in more unusual events in the last couple of days than in the whole of my life.’
Helena could see the rising look of despair in Andrew’s face.
‘OK, let’s get out of Switzerland, that should have the police and the gunman off our backs for a bit giving us time to work things out. The border’s only ten minutes away.’
Andrew looked relieved. ‘I’ve my passport with me, do you have yours?’ he asked.
‘No, we’ll have to stop at my hotel, the Quellenhof.
Helena turned left at the exit into Romanshorner Strasse, which would take them directly to her hotel.
They would then be heading for Konstanz in Germany.
Konstanz straddles the Rhein as it flows out of the Bodensee Lake with one half of the town on the Bodanruck Peninsula and the other half on the Swiss side of the lake where it merges with Kreuzlingen.
The contractors at the factory were constantly going over the border to the larger town of Konstanz for the greater choice in shopping and nightlife, so it was usual to carry your passport around with you.
Reaching her hotel, Helena turned into Lowenstrasse where the main entrance was.
‘There’s Douglas just leaving the hotel!’ exclaimed Andrew.
‘Keep going and turn into the side entrance in Alleeweg Strasse.’
She then turned into the side street and parked her car a few lengths past the entrance.
‘Stay here, I won’t be long,’ she said as she got out the car and headed for the hotel.
Andrew leaned back in his seat and stared up at the long pink balconies lining the block opposite the hotel, where he could see local people watering their plant boxes under the bright orange and yellow canopies, sheltering them from the afternoon sun.
Everything here was so peaceful and reassuring.
His heart rate was just getting back to normal when he saw Douglas turn into the side street. At the same time Helena rushed out of the hotel and almost bumped into him.
He could see them talking and hoped she was as quick with excuses as she was with her software.
She mustn’t mention that he was with her, he thought.
They both started to walk towards him, and then suddenly stopped as Douglas got into a car.
He watched as Douglas drove away then turned as Helena opened the door and sat beside him.
‘What did he say?’ Andrew asked.
‘That Max Rohrbach, the senior supervisor was looking for me.’Helena replied.
‘I thought you’d taken the day off?’
‘I did, maybe some emergency had cropped up and they needed help. The rest of the team is taking Hans’s death hard but Max is putting pressure on them to come in today and complete their work. You know that all the software had to be completed and tested by today and if not they would lose their bonuses, it was in all of our contracts.’
‘Yes, that’s why they had brought in contractors because they were struggling to meet this date.’Andrew noted.
‘Douglas seems to think they should be OK, he was on his way to the factory to help with some last minute details before the software is shipped to another factory for integration with the final product.’
‘Yes, I’ve always wondered what this software would be used for. Did Douglas say what it would be integrated with.’
‘Pity, if Douglas did know he would certainly have said so, just to impress you. You do know that Douglas likes you and probably thinks you feel the same?’
She blushed slightly and turned to him.
‘I definitely do not have any feelings for Douglas just as I’m sure he has none for me. We are just colleagues who happen to work together.’
Helena stared at Andrew willing him to believe this and for some reason, which he couldn’t quite figure out, Andrew himself felt relieved that she had replied in the way she did.
She knew that some existing feelings she had, were growing stronger and new ones had started to appear brought on by the way they had suddenly been thrown together.
Looking at him now with the bandage on his forehead starting to unravel she knew that the feelings of affection and of wanting to protect him from harm had definitely grown.
She reached into the bag she had brought with her from the flat and pulled out a woolen hat.
‘Here put this on. It’ll hold your bandage together and also hide it. You’re starting to look a bit conspicuous and attracting attention is the last thing we want at the moment.’
She handed him the hat then started to adjust his bandage and in doing so her hand was brushing against the side of his head. There was a steady rhythm to her actions and both didn’t want the moment to end.
When she’d finished Andrew pulled the woolen hat on and turned to her.
‘How do I look?’
‘Very handsome, a little adjustment and you’ll be perfect.’
She pulled the hat down at the sides to cover any signs of the bandage then asked, ‘where to now?’
‘Konstanz,’ Andrew replied.
This wasn’t good, thought Inspector Anthony Lykourgos as he passed through the site entrance gate where the Sacred Way changed from a modern to an ancient paved road
in the Mousio Elefsinas Archeologiko.
It was like stepping into another, older world and seemed to be the perfect backdrop to the scene that was related to him over the phone an hour ago.
The twenty two kilometer drive from Athens to Eleusis wasn’t the most scenic in Greece particularly the Thriasian Plain which is now one of the most highly industrialized areas in the country with its oil tanks, chimneys and cargo quays making the last six kilometers of the Sacred Way the least romantic road in Greece.
But here, as he entered the Great Forecourt before the city walls he seemed to go back in time, immersing himself in the surroundings in preparation for the crime scene.
This was an important tourist site and it wasn’t good for business to have people murdered here. The site had been temporarily closed and the local police had taped off the immediate area.
He already had a heavy workload, organizing security for the World Peace and Anti-Terrorist Summit in Athens, which would start tomorrow
and last for five days culminating in a final days banquet for all the attending delegates at an estate near the Eleusis sanctuary where
the bodies were found.
Another reason, the Chief said, for him to take this case. The evening banquet was not made known to the general public for reasons of security
and he didn’t want this murder so close to the estate to draw attention to the area.
He had also been earmarked for organising the security of the upcoming Bilderberg Meeting in Athens using this as a test of his ability to work with
all Government departments including the military to successfully oversee such an important event without any significant incidents.
He could now see uniformed officers as he passed through the Great Propylaia with its triumphal arches to the left and right leading directly to the central focus of the sanctuary, the Telesterion.
‘Inspector Lykourgos of Athens Police,’ Anthony said as he approached the officer at the entrance to the remains of the temple.
Beside the officer was a thin balding slightly stooping figure with a tanned leathery complexion probably early sixties he thought.
‘This is Christos Kerykes, sir, the local site caretaker who discovered the bodies on his early morning rounds.’
The caretaker at the mention of Anthony’s name turned and stared at him for a second as if he half recognized him and was trying to place him from somewhere deep in the recesses of his memory.
‘You have an interesting name Inspector, one that is well associated with this ancient site.’
Anthony had no idea what he could mean.
The caretaker explained.
‘Lykourgos was responsible for ordering various parts of this site to be built, in fact there is a wall named after him, the South Wall Of Lykourgos, which I would be happy to show you.’
‘Maybe later, but first if you could show me the bodies and explain exactly how you came to find them.’
The caretaker led Anthony into the area known as the Telesterion, a large hall fifty-five meters square partly cut into the rock of the acropolis and partly built on a terrace. The hall was originally enclosed on all four sides and entered by two great doors. This was a huge specifically built initiation hall, which could hold three thousand people. But only those initiated or about to be initiated into the secret Mysteries could enter here. Two and a half thousand years later it was now an open site with just most of the bases of the original columns remaining.
They approached a large white makeshift tent quickly erected to shield the bodies from the rising sun, which had bleached all around over the passing millennia.
An officer pulled back the entrance flap to the tent as Anthony and the caretaker entered.
Both stared at the scene as a light sea breeze blew through the tent lifting the loosely hanging sides into the air.
There were four bodies, alternating male and female lying on their backs arranged in a circle staring upwards, arms outstretched and hands clasped.
All were clothed in white loosely fitting dresses, slightly pleated with thin belts around the waist.
The two men had short dresses to the knees and the two women with long dresses to the ankles.
They were definitely dead, he was assured.
But with the relaxed, content almost visionary looks on their faces, Anthony felt that they could suddenly stand up and walk away into the past like two and a half thousand year old apparitions from a long lost era.
The world outside was that of shadowy figures of policemen thrown against the thin white material of the tent by a powerful rising sun. The only reality was here though, in the tent, and Anthony started to feel himself being absorbed into whatever had graced those people in their dying moments. The looks on their faces were beckoning him to lie with them and join them in their shared experience of rising joy.
Just as he thought the atmosphere would engulf him, a voice broke through the vision and returned him suddenly to this reality.
‘This area is known as the Telesterion, the Hall Of The Mysteries, and this precise place where the bodies are arranged is known as the Anaktoron, the Holy Of The Holies,’ explained the caretaker.
But these words were already in Anthony’s thoughts before the caretaker had spoken them, Mystery and Holy, as if someone or something else had already placed them there.
‘Oh, and one other thing,’ the caretaker continued, almost as an afterthought.
‘I wasn't going to mention it as you may think me delusional, but last night on my rounds, I saw what could only be described as a
ghost in similar dress to the men before us.’
‘A ghost!’ Anthony spluttered.
‘What makes you think it was a ghost?’
‘It walked straight through the solid South Wall Of Lykourgos.’
Another fitting word to add to that of Mystery and Holy, Andrew thought as he turned and left.
Helena pulled out of her parking space and headed along Alleeweg Strasse until she came to Bahnhof Strasse, a road that runs parallel to the railway line and the border with Konstanz in Germany.
Here she turned right and drove the short distance that took her to the main road in Kreutzlingen, Haupt Strasse.
At the corner she stopped and turned to Andrew.
‘I think I’ll get out and walk to the border checkpoint just to see if there’s any sign of the gunman or if the police are being more strict than usual which may mean that they’re now looking for us.’
‘Good idea, will I come too?’
‘No, it’s you that they’re really after, best to keep you out of sight as much as possible.’
Helena got out of the car and turned right at the corner down Haupt Strasse.
Immediately she could see the Hauptzoll, which this checkpoint was locally known as, about fifty yards in front of her.
Walking towards it she scanned around for any indications that she was being watched.
It was a pleasant day with no wind and the autumn sunshine had lured people to sit outside the cafes sipping their cool drinks in conversation or just watching the world go by.
No one was taking any particular notice of her.
She was close to the Hauptzoll now and had reached Andrew’s hotel, the Schweizerland on her left.
The noise had risen perceptibly now as the line of cars queuing to pass through the Hauptzoll had their engines turning over in anticipation of moving when the next car was waved through.
She watched as the policeman asked the next driver for his passport.
Quickly glancing between driver and passport, he handed it back and waved him on.
The pedestrian queue was also no longer than usual.
Nothing out of the ordinary here, she thought, we have to go through as soon as possible while things are still normal.
Turning, she quickly headed back to the car.
‘Seems OK at the moment,’ she said to Andrew, opening the door then sitting next to him.
‘Lets go before that all changes.’
Starting the car, she pulled out and followed the route she had just taken. Quickly they found themselves in the queue of cars, stopping and starting as each car in turn entered Germany.
As they got closer to the border Andrew suddenly grabbed Helena’s hand.
‘You won’t believe this but I think I just saw the gunman from the hospital.’
‘Where?’ Helena asked, panic in her voice.
‘On the other side of the border.’
Andrew strained to see.
‘There he is again, standing next to a car parked just beyond the border post. And there are two men with him. We need to turn back Helena.’
‘We can’t, we’re in a queue with four cars in front of us and a couple behind.’
Andrew looked around and to his left.
Just where his hotel was, he saw that they were approaching a side road, Brucken Strasse.
As the car in front started to move, Andrew said, ‘let the car in front move a bit more then turn into the road on your left.’
When the car in front had given her enough room, Helena turned out from the queue and swung into the side street.
‘What do we do now? They probably have people at all the main exit routes from Kreutzlingen. We were lucky there, as we’ve already seen that man, but at the other exits we won’t recognize who is after us.’
‘You’re right, we have to think of an exit route that they may have overlooked, one that’s not well known.’
Andrew was familiar with this part of town as he would often walk around the area of his hotel and beyond rather than just sit in his single room in the evenings or at weekends when their time was their own.
He closed his eyes and started to pick his way through the myriad of routes stored in his memory.
One by one he rejected them as he could picture his unknown enemies standing waiting for him.
He was moving down to the lakeside now.
The walks there were among his favorite and one in particular was now being scrutinized in every detail, looking for the flaw that could be fatal for them.
It would mean abandoning the car, but it was their only chance and they would have to move fast.
‘Where to now?’ asked Helena.
‘Turn left into Konstanzer Strasse then left again into Banhof Strasse.’
‘But that’ll take us back to the Hautpzoll,’ she sighed.
‘No, this time we’ll keep going and cross over into Hafen Strasse.’
‘We’re going down to the lakeside then?’
‘Yes, it may be our only chance.’
Helena continued along Hafen Strasse until suddenly the Bodensee Lake came into view on her left beyond the green parkland.
‘Turn left into this road and stop next to the park,’ Andrew instructed.
Helena turned into the road and stopped the car.
Looking out they could both see the vast expanse of the Bodensee Lake spread before them.
Andrew turned to face Helena.
‘I’ve thought of a route that may safely get us out of Switzerland, but it means leaving the car.’
Helena looked puzzled. ‘But we’ll never get far on foot.’
Andrew explained. ‘I think it’s time to see where all of this is taking us and what we do when we get into Germany.’
‘Yes I was starting to think about that too.’
Andrew continued. ‘The answer to all of our questions lies in the few words that were on Hans’s screen.
“RA”, “KONIGSBERG”, “KANT”, "CERN“,ELEUSIS” and “GNO”.
You’ve already described each of them, but why were they so important that Hans was murdered.
Maybe we have to travel to one of the locations, Konigsberg or Eleusis, to find the clues that may clear my name.’
‘I know which one I would prefer to go to,’ said Helena.
Andrew stared at her. ‘Which one and why?’
‘Because I live near it and would love to be home right now, I would pick Eleusis or Elefsina as it is now known , which is just outside Athens.
But more importantly there are a couple of things about Eleusis and Athens which are starting to look significant in the light of all that’s happened recently.
Firstly, there’s a SPAK Corporation factory in Athens.’
‘What! Exclaimed Andrew. ‘I didn’t know that.’
‘Yes, it was through the Athens factory, that I found out about the contract in Switzerland.’
‘But there may also be a factory in Konigsberg,’ Andrew suggested.
‘Maybe, but there’s a link between Athens, where the factory is, and Eleusis.'
Helena continued, 'Yesterday was the first day of the Eleusis ceremony where in ancient times initiates would walk from Athens to Eleusis to take part in a ritual and I can’t think of anything significant happening at this moment in Konigsberg.’
‘Yes, and today was important to the SPAK Corporation as all the software had to be completed and shipped to another factory for integration.
Maybe that was the Athens factory.’ Andrew added.
Helena sighed. ‘That’s a lot of maybes, but it’s all we have to go on for now, I think we should head for Athens.’
Andrew looked at Helena.
‘I agree, but first we have to get out of Switzerland, and that’s why I’ve brought us down to the lakeside.
I don’t know if you’re aware of it but there’s a border checkpoint down here.’
‘No I’m not aware of it.’
‘Good because if you don’t know then there’s a chance other people also don’t know, including the gunmen.
I came across it by chance when I first started to look around Kreutzlingen, I just hope it wasn’t temporary and even if it wasn’t I’m sure that a small post like that has limited opening times.
There’s only one way to find out, come on lets go.’
Helena and Andrew got out of the car and headed for the sign marked Seestrasse.
To the right of them was parkland dotted with trees and small picnic benches.
A few of the benches were occupied and the noise of children playing and of mothers calling them started to fade as they crossed the road and rounded the corner into Seestrasse.
The parkland had now given way to what Andrew thought was a small industrial estate on their left.
To their right the road was separated from the lake by a dropping border of large boulders.
Ahead of them stretched the lakeside road, terminated in the distance by a high chain fence.
As they approached it, Helena turned to Andrew.
‘I don’t see any border post.’
‘That’s right. From what I can remember there actually isn’t any building.’ He explained.
Getting closer Andrew peered ahead and groaned, ‘I think the gate is closed.’
Just then the sound of a car from behind made them turn.
‘A police car, and it’s coming towards us,’ Helena groaned.
A knot of tension pulled at Andrew’s stomach muscles and that pain was coming back.
He needed to take another Omeprazole tablet soon or the pain would become unbearable.
Helena moved closer to him and whispered, ‘we’re trapped, the path ahead is closed and the police are heading towards us, what will we do?’
Grabbing Helena’s hand Andrew turned her to look out over the Bodensee.
‘Look natural, as if we’re out for a stroll and admiring the view.’
Both held their breath as the car approached them, but instead of stopping, it carried on to the end of the road. Both glanced round and watched as the police car reached the fence then reversed to the side of the road and stopped. For a moment nothing happened, then the doors opened and out stepped two policemen. One took a key from his pocket and opened the gate, while the other opened two folding stools and placed one at either side of the opening. They both then sat on the stools and started talking.
Andrew breathed a sigh of relief, pulled the Omeprazole tablet from the silver package and popped it into his mouth.
‘What’s that?’ Helena asked.
‘It’s my ulcer tablet.’
‘I didn’t know that you had an ulcer.’
‘Yes, it’s not something I make known when I go for a contract, in case it goes against me and prevents me from getting the job.
Anyway, this is exactly how I remember the checkpoint, and we’re in luck, I can’t see anybody else on either side of the border except for the two policemen. Come on.’
Approaching the gate they both took out their passports and offered them to the two policemen who had stood up at the sight of the oncoming couple.
The policeman on the left glanced at Helena’s document and returned it to her.
The other policeman looked back between Andrew and his passport a few times, then he also returned it.
It was always the same, Andrew thought, every time he went through a border post they would check his face against the poster on the wall, as if there were some twin of him out there wanted by the police.
Here there was no poster, however that didn’t stop the policeman from double-checking him.
But that didn’t matter they were nearly there.
Replacing their passports, Andrew and Helena held hands and went through the gate
leaving Switzerland and entering Germany.
The Archons Room Of Shadows
‘Where is he now?’
The two men sat side-by-side in the darkened room, facing the shadow lit wall across a long mahogany table.
They both sat on high backed chairs with the man on the right in a slightly lower chair.
Staring straight ahead the man in the lower chair replied,
‘He was at the hospital where our Hylic was to assassinate him. When he entered his room he had already fled. The assassin gave chase but he escaped. At this moment we do not know his precise whereabouts, but he cannot have travelled far from the hospital. We are sealing this area at all the main exit routes.’
Also staring straight ahead, the man in the higher chair said, ‘this is the second failure in an attempt to contain this man. Even though he may not understand what he has seen, there is a chance he may tell others who will understand. He must be silenced before he has that chance.’
‘I am afraid to say that there is now another person involved.’
‘What! Who is he?’
‘From what the assassin saw, he is a she. When the assassin gave chase, the man known as Andrew Jamieson had a woman with him.’
‘Do we know who she is?’
‘At this moment no, but he has a limited circle of female acquaintances and we are matching them against the description given to us by the assassin.’
‘This must be the third and final attempt to seal this breach. Make sure that both are silenced, forever.’
‘Yes, all resources in the region are focused on that one outcome.’
‘Ensure that they are. But what of the unfortunate incidents at Kaliningrad and Eleusis?’
‘There is no evidence to implicate us in their deaths.’
‘Good. Now, have we received all the software modules from our satellite plants for the final integration?’
‘Yes, all but one, the Swiss plant, which has been delayed by one hour due to the absence of Andrew Jamieson and Hans Schenk. We will receive this within the next ten minutes.’
‘Will this have any effect on our schedule?’
‘No, a small contingency was built into the timetable to cover any last minute problems. We are on schedule.’
‘I do not need to tell you the importance of this moment in time.'
'Already the signs are here as prophesized; '
'The discovery of a new asteroid which will narrowly miss us in five days time'
'The revival of the Santorini volcano.'
'The acquisition by rogue states and terrorist organizations of nuclear and biological weapons.'
'The accelerating finacial colapse.'
The divide and conquer strategy along natural human differences.'
'The awakening of the masses and increasing World Wide riots.'
'There can be no further incidents if we are to remain on schedule and finally remove forever the burdensome shackles that tie us to the shadows.'
'The call from CERN has been answered, and we must be prepared for the arrival.'
Go now and prepare the way for the prophecy to be fulfilled.’
They had only taken a few steps, but in that time their emotions had ranged from extreme tension to light relief and the further they walked from the border post with the policemen, the more light hearted they felt.
Andrew used to enjoy his trips to Konstanz but not as much as this one-way trip.
Because of its location, Konstanz suffered no wartime bombing, as the Allies did not want to risk inadvertently hitting neutral Switzerland, so Konstanz is among the best preserved medieval towns in Germany.
Not that there was any sign of its medieval history here for Konstanz was a town of contrasts and at the moment they were at the lakeside road, Hafen Strasse.
To their left was the main railway line making its approach to the central railway station.
To their right beyond a large parking area was the Bodensee dotted with the ships of the Weisse Flotte or White Fleet which were a line of boats linking most of the towns and resorts around the lake.
As they continued, the harbour came into view, and Andrew noticed, a bridge over the railway line that would take them into the center of the town.
‘I don’t think we should go into the center of Konstanz. Just over that bridge and a few streets away is the Hauptzoll where the gunman and his friends are waiting, we should stay near the harbour until we decide our next move.’
Helena nodded in agreement.
As they reached the harbour they could see the crowds gathering near the docked boats.
There were three boats, one with three levels, another with two levels and one with just the one level.
All were sleek and painted white with German flags fluttering in the light lake breeze at their rear.
Andrew and Helena looked like typical tourists as they mingled with the crowds, admiring the boats.
He had been here many times, making an effort to acquaint himself with the history of the town, and with the horrors of the last forty eight hours starting to fade from memory he thought it was even better when you had a companion, especially someone as attractive and intelligent as Helena.
As they moved around the harbour Helena enjoyed listening to Andrew describing the history of the various sites that they passed.
The most notable was the large simple bulk of the Konzilgebaude or Council Hall, so called because the Council Of Cardinals were reputedly to have met here between 1414 and 1418 to resolve a split in the Catholic church known as The Great Schism.
‘Who is that statue of – in front of the Konzilgebaude?’ asked Helena.
‘Oh, that’s Jan Hus, a rebel who attended the Council Of Cardinals under the protection of the emperor Sigismund on condition that he didn’t say mass or preach.’
‘Why is there a statue of him?’
‘Well Sigismund needed a deal with the church to restore his role in electing the pope.
The church would agree only if Hus was removed.
So Sigismund fabricated that Hus had broken his side of the bargain and duly burnt Hus at the stake, sparking decades of violent uprising in Bohemia.
It’s thought that Hus’s reforming doctrines directly influenced that great reformer Martin Luther one hundred years later.’
‘Typical, the history of the church is full of splits, lies and violence.
It would be nice if there was something which united people peacefully and filled them with hope rather than despair. Do you go to church Andrew?’
‘Me, no afraid not.'
'I’m not very spiritual minded, more practical and logical, the kind of things required to be a good software engineer.
Although after what has happened recently with the death of Hans and our lives being threatened, it has made me think a bit of our mortality and if there’s something out there that we can’t see or can only fully understand through a thing like religion.’
‘Yes, before the birth of Christ, my people, the Greeks, and the Egyptians before them had for hundreds of years known there were things we cannot see or understand and that only through ceremonies such as were held at Eleusis could initiates, as they were called, experience the various levels of awareness.’
‘Levels of awareness?’
‘Yes,’ Helena explained
‘There were four, as understood by the Greeks and later by the Gnostic Christians, each associated with the elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire.’
‘Who were the Gnostic Christians?’
‘They were an early branch of Christianity who borrowed the myths from the Greek Mysteries such as Eleusis and applied them to Jesus Christ.'
'Their understanding was that at the first level,'
'associated with the Earth was the Hylic person who identifies only with the body.'
'For them to progress to the next level,'
'they would be baptized with Water and introduced to the Jesus story as historical fact, transforming them into the Psychic who identifies with the psyche or personality.’
‘That sounds pretty much like the present day church, what with the baptizing by water and the historical story of Jesus,’ said Andrew as if he was hearing nothing new.
‘Yes, it does, this was the outer level similar to the Eleusis ceremony where a Pagan Greek initiate would see its enactment as a grand and attractive spectacle.
It was the next two inner levels that caused a split so deep that the Christians of the Roman Church persecuted the Gnostic Christians to extinction-'
'Labeled the Pagan Greeks as heretics and finally destroyed their sanctuary at Eleusis around 400 AD.’
‘What were the two inner levels about then, they must have been pretty bad for the Roman Church to react so violently?’
‘Its not so much that they were bad, but that they were a threat and a danger to the Roman Church.'
'I know a little about them but one of my lecturers, a professor of philosophy at the University of Athens, has made a study of this subject and would probably be able to explain it much better.’
‘That reminds me,’ said Andrew.
‘We still have to find a way of getting to Athens and probably sooner rather than later before our escape routes from Germany are closed.’
Helena stopped at another statue.
‘Yes if something’s going to happen in Athens which may explain Hans’s death and why we’re being threatened by gunmen, I think it will happen over the next few days, before the sacred ceremony at Eleusis is traditionally completed.’
‘The quickest route would be by air’ – Andrew smiled, looking at the statue before him – ‘but not in one of the contraptions made by that man.’
‘Graf Zeppelin, he was born in Konstanz in 1837. His Zeppelins were developed across the lake in Friedrichshafen where they were launched from a floating hanger.’
Andrew looked across the lake. ‘Where’s the nearest airport?’
‘Zurich,’ Helena replied. ‘But that route’s closed to us now. The next nearest airport would be Munich.’
‘Not quite right, there’s a small airport at Friedrichshafen.’
‘But that won’t take us to Greece!’ exclaimed Helena.
‘No but it can get us quickly to Munich airport.’
‘How do we get to Friedrichshafen?’
‘By boat,’ explained Andrew.
‘There’s a board with timetables on it, let’s see when the next boat to Friedrichshafen leaves.’
Scanning the timetables, they looked for the word Friedrichshafen.
There were a variety of timetables containing the multitude of interconnecting boat routes around the Bodensee.
All the familiar names to Andrew were there;
the ancient town of Lindau situated at the bottom end of the lake,
the unusual tiny island of Mainau with its abundance of exotic flora and banana plantations,
the wine growing town of Meersburg,
Uberlingen, known as the Riviera of the Bodensee and countless others.
But no sign of their destination.
Andrew had visited various towns around the lake by boat but not Friedrichshafen.
It had in fact been next on his list as he wanted to visit the Zeppelin Museum.
Helena shouted, ‘I’ve got it.’
Pointing to it, she glanced up the timetable to find Konstanz.
‘Yes,’ she said, as Andrew looked over her shoulder.
‘It leaves Konstanz at 1435 and arrives in Friedrichshafen at 1620.’
‘That’s in fifteen minutes.’
Andrew glanced round the harbour, two of the boats had passengers leaving them but the large three-level boat had a line of people moving up the gangway.
‘That must be our boat,’ he said leading Helena to the ticket office.
In the small office, a man with his wife and two children was speaking in basic German with an American accent to the ticket girl at the desk.
She was speaking reasonable English, but for some reason he didn’t understand her and was using his limited German to communicate with her.
Andrew glanced at his watch.
After five minutes the persistent explaining by the ticket clerk seemed to have paid off, as the American turned round, and clutching the tickets in his hand left the office with his family trailing behind him.
Approaching the desk Andrew could see the ticket clerk give a sigh of relief and stare at him hoping he would be a much easier customer to deal with.
‘Two adult single tickets to Friedrichshafen, please,’ Andrew said, smiling.
The girl smiled back at the appreciation of customers who know what they want.
Handing back his credit card and giving him the two tickets, the girl explained that they would have to hurry as the boat leaves in five minutes, pointing in the direction of the sleek three-level boat.
As they joined the remaining queue and moved up the gangway, Andrew whispered, ‘don’t look round Helena, I’ve just seen Jane Davidson over by the timetable board.’
He knew that if Jane saw them she would probably tell the others.
Jane was a solid, reliable and hard working member of Andrew’s software team but he could sense that she was slightly jealous of Helena, of what exactly, he wasn’t quite sure.
Jane was not unattractive, more of a ‘Plain Jane’ as the rest of the team thought of her, so maybe it was Helena’s beauty that made her a little resentful of her.
Looking straight ahead they moved up the gangway with the queue, as tickets were checked and people stepped onto the boat.
If Jane turned round now she would probably see them as they had reached the top and were in full view of the harbour.
The man smartly dressed in white officers uniform and cap handed the tickets back to Andrew who turned and helped Helena step off the gangway and onto the deck of the boat.
At that point he could see Jane looking in the direction of the boat but whether she could see them as they stepped out of view onto the deck he wasn’t sure.
They quickly went through an open doorway that led to a large bright timber lined room full of passengers talking excitedly about their impending voyage around the lake.
At the far end of the room was a large bar whose counter stretched from wall to wall and was already attracting a number of customers sitting on the long line of bar stools.
The area in front of the bar was dotted with small round tables fixed to the floor, and the seats around them were also starting to fill up.
Andrew suddenly felt that he was on vacation as the holiday atmosphere started to release all the pent up tension of the last couple of days.
His mood was lightened even more when he looked out one of the many large windows around the room to see the gangway being removed and felt the shudder of the boats engines starting to move the vessel away from the harbour’s edge.
‘Let’s find a seat before there’s none left,’ Helena said, leading Andrew by the hand over to a table next to one of the large windows.
Sitting down, they looked out the window and saw that the boat had already turned around and was leaving the harbour.
A look of relief was on both their faces as the feeling of leaving their troubles behind them increased with the distance the boat was putting between them and Konstanz.
‘Would you like a drink Helena?’ Andrew asked, rising to his feet.
‘Oh, yes please, a small lager, thanks,’ she replied, thinking that they both deserved a drink after their ordeals.
‘I’ll be back in a minute, don’t go away,’ he joked.
At the bar Andrew looked at the choice available and he wasn’t disappointed.
No matter where in the world he traveled there was always the ‘black beer’, as one barman in Spain persisted in calling it.
Taking the drinks back, he noticed that Helena had moved to the next table, away from the window.
‘Not enjoying the view?’
‘No, guess who just walked by?’
‘We can’t have been followed onto the boat!’ he exclaimed.
‘We were one of the last to board and I didn’t recognize anybody.’
‘Well somehow she made it, it was Jane Davidson and she is not alone.
Franz Steiner was with her.’
Franz, a young German in his early twenties was also a member of Andrew’s software team.
He was a competent engineer, Andrew thought but slightly aloof, keeping himself a little distant from the rest of the team.
‘Quite a pair, which direction were they headed?’
‘Towards the front of the boat, I think.’
‘We may as well stay here, as this room is quite crowded now.
If we keep an eye on the doors we can spot them entering and we can move around the crowds to the other door.’
‘It’s always the same.’
Helena sounded exasperated as she pulled out a folded leaflet from her bag.
‘Every time we think we can relax something happens and we’re on tenterhooks again.’
‘What’s that your looking at?’ Andrew asked.
‘It’s a timetable of our route that I picked up from the ticket office.'
'From what I can see here, we have five stops before Friedrichshafen.'
'The first is the island of Mainau in about five minutes.'
'It’s such a pretty island, I would love to get off there and wander through the beautiful and exotic flowers with you, but that’s impossible now.'
'Maybe one day we can come back.’
‘Yes it’s a nice thought, but lets hope Jane and Franz have the same idea and get off the boat at Mainau,’ said Andrew hopefully as he savoured the taste of his beer.
‘I don’t fancy spending the next hour and a half dodging those two.’
As he spoke he detected a change in the rhythm of the boat’s engines.
‘I think we must be close to the island now if I move over a bit I should be able to see where the gangway will be through that window.’
Andrew moved his chair a few inches and strained to see the boarding area.
Immediately he pulled his chair back again.
‘They’ve just walked by. Either they’re getting off or coming in here.’
The boat had now slowed down and was changing direction as it maneuvered the boarding side parallel to the harbour.
Some people, he noticed had already got up from their tables and were heading for the exit.
‘If they come in now they’re bound to see us as this side of the room is starting to empty.’
The engines stopped and the boat shuddered to a halt.
The gangway was placed against the boarding area and Andrew moved to the edge of the window to view the passengers descending down it.
He breathed a sigh of relief.
At the head of the queue leaving the boat were Jane and Franz.
He hoped they would enjoy their visit to Mainau.
Helena was staring at him intently.
When he turned round smiling she knew they could enjoy the rest of their trip.
Andrew returned to his seat and beamed, ‘they’ve gone.’
‘I know, I could tell by the smile on your face.
'You haven’t done that too often recently.’
‘No, there hasn’t been much to smile about lately, and suddenly I feel hungry. Shall we go to the restaurant and get something to eat?’
‘I’m not very hungry, probably a cheese sandwich from the bar would do me, and I’m enjoying just sitting here, is that OK?’
‘Yes, that’s fine by me. I’ll get a couple of sandwiches from the bar.’
Andrew went up to the bar and Helena picked up their two drinks and moved back to the table by the window as her confidence of being safe on the boat returned again.
The last of the passengers visiting Mainau had left the boat and others were now boarding.
The room started to fill up again as Helena looked at the timetable.
Next stop was Meersburg on the other side of the lake, just as all the other remaining stops would be, thought Helena looking at the small map at the top of the timetable.
She would feel safer on the far shore of the Bodensee, with all that water between them and Konstanz.
The gangway was being removed now, she noticed, and Jane and Franz had not been among the passengers boarding from Mainau she was sure, as she had watched everyone closely who had come on board.
She sipped her drink and enjoyed its refreshing flavour as the engines started up and the boat began to make its departure from Mainau.
On the television bar, Andrew's attention ws caught by the familiar images of conflict in the Middle East.
Factions were committing increasingly inhumane atrocitities - people beheaded, burned alive, whole communities tortured raped and murded because of
their religious beliefs.
Even more unbelievable to Andrew was the genocide perpetrated not only because of a religious difference but because of the difference of beliefs
within the same religion, all because of a schism created early in the development of the religion.
Were these people born psycopaths or createed to be psycopaths, or a mixture of both?
Again the increasing insanity in the world seemed to parallel his own personal insanity.
This increasing thought reappeared in his mind, were they some how connected?
No where seemed to escape the increasing turmoil in the world
Even in Greece, where they were heading, protests were growing against the relentlessly oppresive austerity measures.
This depressing train of thought was thankfully interrupted when the barman returned with his order.
Andrew returned with the sandwiches.
‘There we go,’ he said as he handed one to Helena and sat down taking a deep drink of his Guinness.
‘I’m glad they’ve gone I couldn’t have eaten anything with those two still around, the tension would have given me indigestion.’
Helena took a small bite out of her sandwich, ‘yes me too.’
Andrew gulped down a large mouthful of food.
‘You were saying earlier that one of your lecturers, a professor, knows quite a bit about the Greeks, Eleusis, the Gnostic Christians and this inner level that seemed to upset the Roman Church.’
‘Yes he does, and if we can find out more about the subject then maybe we can find the connection between Eleusis and Hans’s death.'
'I was wondering what our first steps should be when we arrive in Athens, visiting him might be worthwhile.’
‘It could, but I was also thinking about what happened back at the factory.
The man, who killed Hans and knocked me out, must be associated with the SPAK Corporation.
I’ve worked on many projects including military but SPAK have the tightest security I’ve ever seen.
To get into the factory he would have to show his badge at the security desk and enter his personal six-digit code.'
'Which means that a murderer is working for SPAK.’
‘You don’t think they would knowingly hire a murderer who carries a gun?’
‘Well that’s another thing.'
'He was carrying a gun in the factory. The only people authorized to do that are the uniformed security guards and they work for SPAK.’
‘What, you think he might be a type of SPAK plain clothes security man?’
‘Maybe, but the other thing that was bothering me was, well, you know what Hans was like, he was always hacking into other computer systems.'
'It was like a hobby to him.'
'That night on his screen was the beginnings of a transmission over the phone line from a system he may have hacked into, but it was terminated by the line being ripped out.'
The gunman had responded so fast that he must have already been in the factory monitoring Hans, and when it looked like Hans was getting into dangerous territory he acted quickly.’
‘That’s beginning to sound a bit sinister, where a large multi national company have a kind of secret police who monitor the employees and take drastic action, like murder, when an employee steps out of line.’
‘It is,’ Andrew agreed.
‘So what is it SPAK have to hide so much that they take the time and effort to set up an armed surveillance group who resort to murder to keep it hidden?
‘Maybe this group was formed to prevent industrial espionage, you know, like stop information on projects being leaked to other companies.’
‘No, and for a couple of reasons.'
' One, they wouldn’t need to be armed and two, if they caught someone in the act of stealing company information, they would hand them over to the police, not murder them.’
‘If they don’t want the police to know, then what they’re hiding must be illegal,’ she suggested.
‘Illegal or worse, because another thing that was bothering me about SPAK was the software we were developing for them. Nobody knew what it was for.’
Helena shrugged her shoulders.
‘I just assumed it was for use in the some of the equipment they manufacture.’
Andrew looked at her quizzically.
The factory in Kreutzlingen was purely for developing software, they didn’t manufacture any hardware.’
‘No, but the factory in Athens does.’
‘What do they make?’
‘Bio Medical equipment,’ Helena replied.
‘You’ve had quite a bit of time to look at the bodies now,’ said Anthony Lykourgos as he entered the white tiled mortuary.
‘Have you determined the cause of death?’
Aristarhos Matsukas turned and watched as Inspector Lykourgos walked towards him, past the four bodies laid out on slabs across the room.
Aristarhos was a small round balding man with a skin conditioned by the Mediterranean sun and a black moustache that seemed animated whenever he talked.
He was efficient and enthusiastic about his job and from the state of the bodies, Anthony Lykourgos could see that Aristarhos was already well into his examination of them.
Aristarhos took a deep breath.
‘I’m afraid at the moment, the post mortems are generating more questions than answers.’
Anthony Lykourgos visibly sagged.
This case was already unusual.
‘What kind of questions?’
‘Questions I’ve never had to answer in all my thirty years as the City Pathologist.’
‘Anthony didn’t like the sound of this. ‘What did you find?’
Aristarhos looked at his notes.
‘When I examined the first body’ – he pointed at the cadaver of the man on a slab – ‘I thought at first I had found something to explain his death.’
‘What was it?’
‘Parts of his internal organs were missing.’
Anthony looked intrigued. ‘You think someone may have removed them?’
‘Well, yes, it was the only explanation. But for them to have been removed, there should have been incisions on the body.’
‘Were there any?’
‘Yes, but just the ones I had done during the examination.’
Anthony looked confused.
‘Well how could parts of his internal organs go missing without someone opening up the body?’
‘I don’t know, it’s not as if he could even have been born that way.’
‘Half of his heart missing, parts of his liver, a third of his spleen… the list goes on.'
'He couldn’t have been alive in that condition.’
Anthony moved closer.
‘So this could have killed him?’
‘It could have – but it didn’t. Because he was already dead when the parts were removed.’
‘You don’t know what happened to the parts, but you’re sure he was already dead before they were taken out – or whatever?’
Aristarhos sighed. ‘Definitely.’
‘And what of the other bodies?’
‘Exactly the same – well, except that it’s different parts of the body that are missing in each case.'
'But that doesn’t explain the cause of death'.
'On a brighter note though’
– Aristarhos beckoned Anthony over to the first body
– ‘I‘ve found something else common in all four bodies.’
He pulled a magnifying glass over to the side of the man’s head.
‘See there, three faint pinpricks arranged in a triangle?’
Anthony moved closer and focused on the region Aristarhos was pointing at.
‘Yes, I can just make them out.’
Aristarhos stood and pulled the magnifying glass aside.
‘Well, it’s the exact same on the other three bodies.’
‘What does it signify?'
‘They look like injection marks, so I’ve sent blood samples off to the toxicologist. He should be able to report on any drugs that may have been used.’
‘Is there anything else? Were there any signs that they put up a struggle?
Aristarhos looked up from his notes.
‘Well, you’ve seen the look on their faces, not exactly full of terror, are they? In fact I’d say they died extremely happy, and this is reflected in the outward state of their bodies; no sign of cuts, bruises, abrasions or anything else to indicate a struggle.’
‘What happened then? Did their hearts just stop?’
Anthony was becoming frustrated.
‘Well – eh – yes and no.’
Anthony thought this didn’t sound like the precise, efficient Aristarhos he knew.
‘What do you mean by that?’
‘The one thing I do know is that their hearts suddenly stopped and they died. The question is – what caused the hearts to stop? If we can answer that then we have the cause of death.’
Anthony looked hopeful.
‘So there’s the possibility that drugs administered through the pinpricks may have stopped their hearts?’
‘Exactly! From my examinations, that’s the only possible cause of death in each case, and hopefully this will be confirmed when I receive the results of the blood tests. But we still have to solve the mystery of what happened to their body parts after they died.’
Anthony looked relieved as he turned to leave.
‘Let’s take one thing at a time.'
'Firstly the cause of death.'
'So let me know the results of the blood tests as soon as you receive them, then we can solve the mystery of the missing organs.'
'But now I’ve got to go and check that all the security is in place ready for the World Peace and Anti-Terrorist Summit tomorrow, especially after the threats made by the terrorist leader in his videotape sent to Athens Television studios.'
'With all the worlds leaders in one place, God help us if turns out to be no idle threat.’
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
United States Of America
There are estimated to be around one thousand six hundred Earth Crossing Asteroids larger than one kilometer, Peter Strauss thought as he stared at the screen in the dimly lit room, that’s a lot of needles in a haystack to find.
Which is why the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking project had been set up, to help NASA achieve it’s ten year goal of finding more than 90% of these NEA’s.
What was the latest tally?
He reminded himself.
Ah, one hundred.
Only one hundred NEA’s larger than a kilometer so far had been observed and their courses plotted.
And that wasn’t the whole story.
They didn’t need to be at least a kilometer to pose a threat to Earth.
In fact an NEA passing close to Earth larger than about two hundred meters was classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid.
This was because the path of the asteroid was continually changing, and next time round it might change sufficiently to bring it on a collision course with the Earth.
At that thought, Peter shook his head as if to erase the catastrophic picture, which had formed in his mind.
Right, back to business, no more daydreams, what were the statistics for September, he asked himself, as the screen filled with data.
Studying the information, he noted that in September there were 18 NEA’s in total.
Of which 14 were Amors and 4 were Apollos.
The Amors had two asteroids larger than one kilometer plus two PHA’s.
The Apollos had just one PHA.
Not bad, he mused, but could be better.
Maybe October will see an increase in sightings.
Which reminded him.
The pictures from the Maui Observatory in Hawaii from last night should have arrived by now.
Quickly checking the logs, he smiled as he noted that the batch of images had just arrived.
The procedure went like this.
The observatory in Hawaii would take three pictures of the same part of the sky during an interval of about one hour.
Each of these pictures would be a 4096 x 4096 pixel raw image which Peter would then process by running the automatic data analysis program.
This would then search for moving objects by comparing the three images.
Sitting back in his chair, Peter stretched out his hand and pressed the Start key.
This moment was always full of anticipation.
It was like casting a net into the ocean and then pulling it in to examine the contents.
What would be in the net tonight?
If he was lucky it might be a mixed bag containing asteroids, comets or even planetoids as large as 150 kilometers.
Or it might be empty.
He sat up suddenly as the sound of blaring trumpets emanated triumphantly from the computer.
Yes! He thought to himself, success.
Staring at the screen he noticed that the analysis had detected one moving object.
With a click of the mouse he displayed the areas of interest from the three celestial images.
Before him now were nine 25 x 25 pixel sub images.
The first three, arranged in a column were from the first time lapsed picture, with a large white object being displayed in the center of the top image together with various smaller objects.
In the next column of three images from the second time lapsed picture, the object was now in center of the second image.
And in the third column from the final time lapsed picture, the object was now in the bottom image.
‘Ah, no doubt about it. Definitely an asteroid,’ he proclaimed, inspecting the images.
‘Right, lets plot your course and find out your vital statistics.’
Clicking his mouse over another button, he then ran the orbit and asteroid analysis software, which soon displayed columns of data.
‘Bingo!’ he exclaimed. ‘We have a PHA.’
He then quickly pressed the graphic display button, which would convert the numbers into a graphic illustrating the asteroid moving through space as it approached the Earth on its orbit around the Sun.
He watched in amazement with a growing feeling of deja-vu as the asteroid and the Earth moved closer and closer together until suddenly the picture froze when they were at their closest point.
Automatically a line was drawn between the asteroid and the Earth with a number displayed above it.
Sevnteen thousand 200 miles.
‘Impossible!’ he cried out aloud.
‘This is exactly the same as the asteroid I detected three days ago.’
Taking another look at the graphic, he then noticed something.
‘No it’s not, it’s different,’ he said, squinting at the screen.
‘This one’s approaching the Earth from the other side.’
Quickly he brought up the graphic of the previous image and placed them side by side.
‘It's a mirror image of the first one. Impossible!’
‘Jesus, no one’s going to believe this.'
'But if this is correct, then in a couple of day’s time, two, one and a half mile wide asteroids will pass within Seventeen thousand 200 miles of the Earth.
'Creating a large celestial sandwich, with Earth the filling in the middle.’
'I must name them as brothers in destruction, the titans CRONUS and IAPETUS.’
The Anomaly Continued
Again he noticed, though more pronounced, was the apparent controlled entity preceding the incoming natural phenomena.This was something not to be ignored.
If not he himself reported this phenomena, then at least one of the many thousands of amateur astronomers would.
Among them he thought of Andrew, staring into his telescope, hoping to be the one to observe something different to display on his website. He was tempted to contact him
and give him this opportunity. But no, he would just get him into trouble.
Will he include this in his report, or make use of unnoficial reporting channels. It would soon be time to decide. But first, his friend Laura,
at the Space Sciences Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley
‘Friedrichshafen next stop,’ boomed the tannoy.
Andrew lifted his head in the direction of the disembodied voice.
‘What did they just announce?’
‘I think this is where we get off, just let me check. I noticed that the last stop was Immenstaad and it says here’
– Helena squinted at the list in the timetable –
Gathering up what little belongings they had, Andrew and Helena made their way to the exit, along with all the others in the large bright room, who had stirred into action in response to the announcement.
Friedrichshafen was a relatively young town dating to around 1811 and named after its founder King Friedrich I of Wuurtemberg.
It had an aeronautical history with the development of the Zeppelin, launched from a floating hanger on the lake, and the Dornier seaplanes tested on the calm surface in the 20s and 30s.
It wasn’t as fortunate as Konstanz in World War II, being almost wiped off the map by wartime raids on its munitions factories.
Andrew knew of its history, distinguishing it from all the other resort and agricultural towns around the Bodensee.
He had been keen to see the Zeppelin museum situated on a wing of the harbour railway station which was now coming into view as the boat manoeuvred in preparation to dock.
Leaning over the railing, Andrew breathed in the fresh lake breeze, he knew there would be no time for sightseeing on this occasion.
The priority was to make their way to the airport and hopefully catch a flight to Munich today if possible.
He scanned the faces of the crowds below him, no police and no one familiar to him, so far so good he thought.
Holding Helena’s hand he joined the queue as the gangway was positioned and the line of passengers started their descent.
Stepping onto the concrete harbour they both looked around as if looking for some clue to what their next action would be.
‘There’s a railway station over there, maybe it can take us to the airport.’
‘Yes, I noticed it as the boat was docking.’
They went through the archway leading to the station platform and found a board containing various timetables.
Helena was becoming expert at finding her way around timetables and just as at Konstanz harbour she quickly located what they were looking for.
‘Flughafen, that’s airport, isn’t it?’
‘Yes, when’s the next train?’
‘In five minutes on platform 2.’
When they had bought their tickets they crossed over the small bridge leading to platform 2 just as the train was arriving.
When the train had stopped they entered a carriage and looked around for two seats.
Settling down into seats next to a window, Helena opened her bag and took out a large beautifully decorated hair brush which looked quite heavy, he thought, as the handle and back seemed to be made out of marble.
Andrew watched as she gracefully pulled the brush through her long black hair.
‘I just hope we can catch a flight out of here tonight.'
'The longer we hang around this area the greater the chances of our exit routes being blocked by the police or the gunmen, who I’m sure now, work for SPAK.
If Jane Davidson had caught a glimpse of us on the boat and she mentions it to somebody at the factory the information might find its way back to the people who’re looking for us.’
Putting away her brush, Helena looked out the window as the train sped through the countryside making its way to the airport.
‘Yes, I’m constantly on the lookout for anyone who may recognize us, you know how popular the area around the Bodensee is with the workers at the factory, there’s always a chance we’ll bump into one of them.'
'And then there are the police as well.'
'It’s only when the plane takes off for Munich that I’ll finally be able to relax and get rid of this constant tense feeling that’ll probably give me an ulcer, like you, if it lasts much longer.’
‘We can share my Omeprazole ulcer tablets then,’ Andrew laughed.
‘I can think of other better things I’d rather share with you,’ she said, smiling at him.
‘Such as what?’
The train was now slowing as it approached the airport and Helena replied,
‘I’ll have to answer that another time, this is our stop.’
Andrew looked at her as they made their way to the carriage door and thought that he would keep her to that.
The train stopped and they stepped through the open doors onto the platform and followed the signs for the main airport terminal.
‘This is much bigger than I thought,’ Andrew said as they walked through the main doors of the airport.
-Stretched out before them were numerous check-in desks from a variety of different airlines, many of which had queues forming-
‘Yes, me too, I thought it would be a small airport that just handled internal flights, but some of those airlines are from other countries.'
'If we can leave Germany from here rather than having to travel to Munich first it would save us time and increase our chances of not being spotted by the police.'
'That screen has a list of today’s flights.'
'Let’s see if there are any international flights.‘
Andrew stared intently at the screen.
‘There’s a flight to Zurich, but that’s in the one country we don’t want to go to.’
Helena glanced down the list.
‘That Paris flight would get us out of the country but it’s in the wrong direction'
'We want to travel eastwards towards Greece, and that one going to Rome isn’t much closer'
'Maybe we could get a flight to Athens from there.'
'If there’s nothing closer that may have to do.’
‘What about Corfu?’ Andrew asked, still staring at the screen.
‘Corfu!’ Helena exclaimed.'
‘That’s a Greek island.’
‘Yes, I know, I've heard of it.’
Andrew replied, thinking that he may never now have that sun drenched villa in Crete he was planning to buy when this contract was finished.
Breaking into Andrew's daydream, Helena turned to him excitedly.
‘Corfu would be ideal.'
'I’ve been there many times, it’s a beautiful island, and there are flights to Athens every day from Corfu airport.'
'It leaves at 1840 and they haven’t checked in yet, what’s the time now?’
‘Quarter past five, we may be in time to get tickets, that’s if there are any seats left, but where would we buy them?’
‘The carrier is OS Austrian Airlines,’ Helena read off the screen.
They both looked around in an attempt to locate the ticket desks.
To the right were some shops and further along, a restaurant.
To the left they spotted a row of airline desks.
Walking past them one by one they glanced at the names until they had reached the last desk, but OS Austrian Airlines wasn’t among them.
Turning, Helena noticed four more desks opposite this row.
Quickly scanning them she tapped Andrew on the shoulder.
‘There it is, the last one in the corner.’
Walking over to it, Andrew asked the woman behind the counter if there were any tickets left on flight 9804.
She clicked on the keyboard in front of her and smiled at him.
‘This is the end of the season, in fact our last flight for this year is in two days, so there’s a better chance of seats remaining up to the last minute.’
The required information then appeared on the screen.
‘Yes, there are three seats available, is it just the two you require?’
‘Yes,’ Andrew replied, handing over his credit card.
The woman swiped the card through the machine, and her smile was replaced by a puzzled look.
‘I’m afraid your card has not been accepted, sir.’
‘It must be a mistake, please try again.’
She tried three more times then sighed.
‘No, it won’t be accepted.’
Andrew drew out another card from his wallet.
‘It must be faulty, please try this one.’
They exchanged cards and she tried again, the smile returned.
‘Yes this seems OK.’
Quickly processing the tickets she handed them over to Andrew.
‘Have a pleasant flight, sir.’
Walking over to the flight departure screen Andrew looked bewildered.
‘That’s unusual, I’ve never had trouble with that card, and there’s plenty of money in there.’
‘At least the other card worked, maybe it’s become faulty,’ Helena offered.
‘Yes, I’ve had the same card for a while now, it may be wear and tear due to the number of times I’ve used it.’
Reaching the screen, Helena located their flight and beamed, ‘look at the expected arrival time, the flight only takes seventy minutes, I’ll be back in my beautiful Greece by ten to eight, leaving all this horror behind me. And we can now check in.’
She turned to Andrew and kissed him.
‘Aren’t you excited Andrew to know that very soon we’ll have escaped from all the dangers of this place.’
Stunned at the kiss, he stuttered,
‘if I wasn’t excited before, I certainly am now.’
Helena held his hand and moved close to him as they walked over to the check-in desk.
A warm glow was now flowing through Andrew, making him feel half his age, from the lingering memory of the touch of her soft lips, to the intimate contact of her body with his.
And her closeness, filling his sensations with the natural scent of her body mingled with the scent from her hair.
The chemistry between them now had moved to a different level, they were both experiencing emotions and feelings that were so new and pleasing that they wished they would never end.
Receiving the tickets and passports, the woman behind the desk asked,
‘do you have any luggage to check in?’
‘Yes, just one small bag,’
Helena said, placing it on the weighing machine under the counter.
Tagging the bag, the woman smiled and handed back the documents.
‘Please make your way to the departure lounge, and enjoy your flight.’
We will, thought Helena as she pulled Andrew closer and headed in the direction that the check-in hostess had indicated.
Entering the corridor that led directly to the security checks of the departure lounge entrance, Andrew suddenly froze and pulled a surprised Helena back around the corner.
‘What’s wrong! She exclaimed, shaking, with her back pressed against the wall.
Andrew moved his body in front of Helena, as if to protect her and placed his finger gently to her mouth.
‘Shush, there’s a man standing round the corner near the entrance to the lounge, I recognize him from Konstanz.’
‘Who is he?’
‘He was with the gunman from the hospital when we were in the car waiting to go through the Hauptzoll.’
University of California, Berkeley
United States Of America
Laura-Anne at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute poured over the most recent feedback from the SETI@home ("SETI at home") Internet-based public volunteer computing project
Using her own algorith, she noticed a repeating pattern, something never before observed in SETI's history. She immediately initiated the standard protocol procedure.
Verification of independant reception of the source of the signal.
Time stood still,her mind frozen, awaiting the responses to Stage 1 of the official request for confirmation.
The multiple monitor screens, as one, startled her, so soon! No calm response here, just excited chaotic chatter, which when discerned, confirmed her data.
Then her mobile phone rang, almost inaudible beneath the sounds filling her small office.
instinctively she picked up the phone, with the caller, Peter from JPL, displayed on the screen.
On the other end of the phone, Peter, was startled at the exitement of his friend Laura's reply to his call.
Before he could say a word, Laura exclaimed 'It exists!'
Peter instinctively knew what this meant. It was the answer to his question, before he could even utter the words.
What shall we tell the world? Or more realistically, what will we be allowed to announce to humanity.
‘I remember, you said you saw the gunman with two others standing around a car on the German side of the border check post, making us have to find another way across.’
‘Yes, and one of those men is watching the entrance to the departure lounge.’
All the hope and joy that filled Helena, seemed to drain away in an instant and Andrew had to support her as he could feel her sinking to the floor.
Her voice sounded tired and resigned as she looked up at him.
‘I thought we were clear of the danger that’s stalked us over the last day and we were within hours of being back in my home country.'
'But no, all those horrible feelings of fear and anxiety have returned and I don’t know if I can live with them much longer.’’
Andrew looked at her with a rising feeling of guilt.’
It was because of him that she had endured the misery of the previous twenty-four hours. ’
She could easily have left him at the first sign of danger but instead she had decided to stay and support him.’
It was no use trying another route out of Germany, they were closing in and soon all escape routes would be blocked.’
If they didn’t leave soon, they would be caught and killed, just like Hans.’
He had got her into this situation, it was his responsibility to get her out of it, quickly and safely. ’
His feeling of guilt was now being replaced by one of anger, directed at the people who were placing someone who had become very close to him in danger.’
He was starting to feel and think like he had never done before.’
Actions that he would never have dreamed of doing when he was the quiet hard working software engineer until recently were now becoming a possibility.’
He had made up his mind, the extreme precariousness of their situation demanded it, he owed this to Helena.’
‘Do you have your marble brush with you?’
‘Ye…Yes,’ she replied shakily. ‘It’s in my bag.’
‘Can I have it please?’
‘What do you want my brush for? This isn’t the time to do your hair!’
‘I’ve got an idea, and it’s our very last chance, it has to work.’
Helena looked in her bag, found it and handed the heavy marble brush to Andrew.
‘What do you intend to do with it?
Andrew held it in his hand and motioned as if to weigh it.
‘When you hold it, don’t you feel how heavy it is?’
He then hit it against his other hand to imagine the damage it would do to a man’s head, and ran his fingers along the sharp edges of marble.
‘If we attempt to enter the departure lounge, that man will shoot.' Helena replied
'I’m sure he’s been ordered to kill us on sight.'
'He doesn’t care that there are people about.'
'Remember what the gunman was like back at the hospital?’
‘We have to go back, try another way out of Germany.’
Helena added ,desperation in her voice.
‘No, all the other routes will be closed.'
'They’ve now had time to do that. Our only hope is to make this flight.’ Andrew responded.
‘But how will we get passed that gunman?’
‘There’s a toilet just round the corner, if I can time it so that he sees me just as I enter it, I’m sure he’ll come in after me.'
'It’s better if he kills me out of sight in the toilet, it increases his chances of escaping to then try and find you.’
‘If he kills you in there, I don’t care if he catches me.’ Helena said through tewr dwelling eyes.
Andrew looked at her affectionately and gently kissed her on the lips.
‘Just pray its me that steps out of the toilet.’
Andrew looked tentatively round the corner, the man was staring at a few passengers making their way to the departure lounge, comparing them against a picture he held in his hand.
Where did he get our pictures from? Thought Andrew.
He had been watching the toilet for some time now and no one had entered, it must be empty.
Now was the time, no turning back. Andrew stepped out from behind the corner and headed towards the toilet keeping one eye on the gunman.
He still hadn’t seen him yet.
Nearing the door, Andrew slowed, the gunman spotted him, looked at the photo, then back to Andrew and started towards him.
Good, he’s coming after me, Andrew thought as he entered the toilet.
Quickly glancing around confirmed what he had thought, it was empty.
He moved to the side of the door and raised the heavy marble brush above his head.
The door was pushed open and the man strode in holding the gun outstretched with both hands.
As he started to turn, Andrew crashed the sharp edge of the heavy marble brush with all his force down on the back of his head.
The gun went off as he began to fall to the floor and a bullet thudded into the far wall.
Andrew was taking no chances.
With his adrenalin surging, he jumped at him, cracking the gunman’s hands with the marble brush, sending the gun spinning out of his hands and sliding along the floor out of sight into one of the cubicles.
As he was about to hit the floor, Andrew struck him again sending him crashing hard against the glazed white tiled wall.
As he stood over him, the man moaned, he wasn’t unconscious, just dazed.
He needed something heavier than the brush.
Which cubicle did the gun enter, he wondered, there were six of them.
Quickly he ran along the row of cubicles, pushing open the half shut doors.
Behind him the gunman was starting to raise himself, pushing against the floor.
‘Where’s that bloody gun’, Andrew shouted.
There it was, in the last cubicle, picking it up, he turned to see the gunman on his feet, coming at him groggily.
Andrew grabbed his arm swinging him against the wall that the bullet had entered.
As his face smashed against the wall, Andrew held the gun by the barrel and whispered in the man’s ear,
‘This ones for Helena.’
Then brought it down on the back of his head with a loud crack.
That did the trick Andrew thought as the man slumped to the floor completely unconscious.
What was his next course of action?
The gun had a silencer.
Shooting him would mean he couldn’t reveal that he had seen them at the airport where they could then pick up their trail.
He held the gun to the man’s head.
This didn’t feel right.
Looking at him, Andrew thought he must be in his twenties, someone’s son.
Shooting him would make him as bad as them, putting him on their low level.
In any case if he was found dead here they would guess it was him and know in either case they had been at the airport. Plus there were hundreds of flights out of here, so they could be anywhere.
Andrew lowered the gun.
The next thing to do was to hide him, in one of the cubicles he thought.
Putting the gun in his pocket he put his arms under the man’s shoulders and dragged him over to the last cubicle.
Raising him up he sat him on the toilet, positioning him so he wouldn’t fall off.
He pulled the door shut and locked it.
Blood trickled down the side of the mans head,Andrew noticed, but something else.
Three faint pinpricks arranged in a triangle,barely noticable next to to stream of bright red blood.
'Unusual', Andrew thought.
'Maybe he got them at some point during the fight, or maybe not.'
He registered this observation in his memory ,at the moment it made no sense.
But it may have some unknown future relevance.
Let’s see if we can find out something about you and your friends, he thought as he pulled the man’s wallet out from a pocket on the inside of his jacket.
Driving license, with the name Jan Kocher and a mobile phone with the SPAK Logo displayed on it.
He had allways thought this Logo unusual with the picture of a snake in the shape of a circle biting its tail with symbols in the center of it.
He then noticed a security clearance section for CERN together with it's logo.
‘I was right, they are working for SPAK,’ he muttered triumphantly under his breath.
‘But CERN and SPAK.What was the connection?
He also noted it was demanding a User ID and Password if he wanted to go any further.
'Shit', Andrew exclaimed.
'That's as far as I'm going to get.'
Oh what the hell Andrew thought.
At least try something.
After entering several cominations of User ID and Password, he gave up.
'This will have to wait for another time.'
'Maybe Helena could understand more,' he thought.
'Together we will try to somehow find out the User ID and Password which will obviously give me access to more information.'
Andrew kept the Phone then replaced the wallet.
It as then that he noticed a tattoo on the SPAK agent's arm.
It similar to the SPAK logo but with no colour, just grey.
He took a picture of it.
it maybe of some significance to be investigated later.
'Wait a minute', he thought.
This maybe an encoded tattoo with a certain signature enabling access to restricted areas of SPAK.
Now was chance to use an App he had developed, the UFO/Ghost/Emf detector App.
He activated it on his on phone and selected the SensorDetector screen.
Using the menu he deactivated parts of the display such as the Radar and Sensors display to leave
only the Magnetic Tesla field strength scanner.
It was a long shot, but why not?
He slowly moved it across the tattoo and to his amazement a varying Tesla signature appeared on the screen.
He pressed the srceen capture Icon,which stored the geolocated image together with all other sensor information.
He chuckled to himself that an App he had developed and placed on the Google App Playstore
which had been downloaded thousands of times by users for detecting UFO's, ghosts etc
had now found another use.
Maybe he would add this new use to the App's Play Store description.
Back to reality.
Just as he was about to climb out of the cubicle, he heard someone enter the toilet.
‘Bloody hell, just do your piss and get out of here,’ he cursed quietly.
There was no sound of a cubicle door closing and being locked, all the indications were that he was just doing a piss.
He would hear him washing his hands soon he hoped.
He lowered himself and looked under the door just as the man’s feet went by heading for the door.
‘Very unhygienic,’ Andrew said as he heard the toilet door close.
He had to be quick now, before someone else entered the toilets.
Pulling himself up, he climbed out of the cubicle and went over to the hand towel, where he attempted to wipe his fingerprints from the gun.
Satisfied he had removed any evidence connecting him with the gun, he ran to the first cubicle, holding the gun by his handkerchief and stood on the seat of the toilet bowl, placing the gun in the cistern above him on the wall.
Stepping down, he wrapped some toilet roll around his hand, then wiped up the traces of blood from the floor and the wall.
Flushing the paper down the toilet, Andrew looked around, time to leave.
Helena had been watching the toilet door intently, from her position at the corner, with rising anxiety.
Who would be the first to exit?
Please let it be Andrew, she repeated over and over again.
When she saw the small bald man enter the toilet, her mind had started to race, what if he sees them fighting, surely he would come running out and shout for the police.
And when she saw the bald man leaving the toilet normally, all sort of questions again entered her mind.
Why didn’t he see anything?
Had the gunman killed Andrew and hidden his body in a cubicle?
The tension now was unbearable as she saw the toilet door begin to open, and to her utter relief, out stepped Andrew who walked straight over to her open arms.
They embraced as never before, holding each other close, not wanting to be separated like that ever again.
Helena looked straight into his eyes.
‘I thought I’d lost you, the idea that the gunman may have shot you and that you might be in pain was unbearable.’
Andrew stroked her hair gently.
‘It was the thought of losing you that gave me the strength and courage to tackle the gunman.
I’ve never fought with anyone before in my life and never would have.
You’re the only person in the world I would fight for.’
Their bodies were as one as they again tightly embraced and then sealed their growing love with a lingering kiss.
Eventually their embrace loosened and Andrew stroked her face.
‘We’re now free to enter the departure lounge, let’s go before the gunman’s found.’
Holding hands they rounded the corner and walked confidently up to the security check.
They passed through with no trouble.
Thank God I got rid of the gun, Andrew noted as they headed for a table next to a large widow overlooking the runway.
‘Would you like a drink? I know I could do with one.’
‘Definitely, a small lager would be fine.’
‘Coming up,’ Andrew said as he turned and headed for the bar.
Helena looked out the window at the line of airplanes, some connected by passages to the terminal building, others taxiing, preparing to take off.
Which one is ours, she wondered, that will take us from this place with so many bad memories, to Greece, a land with so many good memories.
She watched as a plane started to move on the runway, picking up speed until it’s wheels left the runway soaring into the sky and soon out of sight.
It all happens so quick she thought, soon that will be us up there, leaving behind all the threats and danger that had stalked them for the last couple of days.
Andrew returned with the drinks and sat gratefully in his seat.
She looked at him. ‘You look tired.’
‘I feel tired. I’ve just done something I never dreamed I would do and at my age.'
'I think the adrenalin and the thought of saving you got me through it.'
'Now It’s over, I’m starting to feel the aches from all the exertions, and fatigue is setting in.’
He then smiled as a thought occurred to him.
‘What is it?’
‘I was just thinking, this was a case of the contract software engineer versus the contract killer..
'I know who I would put my money on, and it wouldn’t be me.’
Helena returned the smile.
‘Well it’s over now, we’ll be boarding soon and you can rest on the flight.’
He took a deep drink from his glass.
‘Yes, the sooner we’re on the plane the better.'
'We can’t really relax until we’ve taken off, as there’s still time for something to go wrong.'
'What if the gunman comes round before we leave and he alerts his colleagues?’
‘Don’t worry. You’re forgetting we’re in the departure lounge and to get in here you have to have a flight ticket. Then there’s the security check, no guns can come in here.’
Andrew took another swig of his Guinness, and started to relax a little from the effect of his drink and Helena’s reassuring words.
Helena completed this feeling when she looked at the screen above her.
‘Look, flight 9804 to Corfu is now boarding. Come on, it’s gate 5, over there.’
Helena stood up and took a final sip of her drink before gathering up what little hand luggage she had.
Andrew also stood and in one last gulp finished his Guiness.
Hand in hand they almost ran to the gate where a small queue was forming.
At the desk they completed their final checks and walked the last few steps through a narrow corridor to the door of the aircraft, where a smiling stewardess greeted them and pointed in the direction of their seats.
They both settled in their seats and watched as the rest of the passengers poured into the aircraft in a noisy mass.
It was then that it hit them.
This was a holiday flight with groups and families excitedly looking forward to their vacation in sunny Corfu.
Andrew and Helena smiled at each other, as this infectious holiday atmosphere enveloped them.
Once all the passengers were on board and seated, they could feel the aircraft move as it maneuvered itself to the start of the runway.
With a rising noise from the engines, it accelerated.
At the point when the noise was unbearable, they could feel a lightness as a smiling Helena gripped Andrew’s hand and looked out the window to see the aircraft leave the ground and increasingly leave Germany and all their troubles behind.
Unknown to them, this flight was full, with the final seat on the plane being purchased, just after they had bought theirs back at the OS Austrian Airlines desk.
The buyer of the ticket sat at the back of the plane looking at two documents, each with a picture attached to them.
Pictures of Andrew and Helena.
Maui Space Surveillance Site, Hawaii
United States Of America
Peter balked at the image he had just recieved from Maui
This was not his usual set of timelapsed images used to detect small discrete movements in the heavens.
Even though he knew of an unknown entity seemingly intelligently controlled, rather than a lump of space rock at the whims of nature
he had not in his wildest dreams concieved of this image.
THe shape, the markings, beyond belief. This may be mankinds first contact with unknown advanced extraterrestrials, a momentous, almost spiritual experience.
BUT! this was not totally alien. The symbols on the spacecraft were... looked like snakes.
Andrew. He immediately thought of Andrew. He was not only into astronomy, but also symbols, especially ancient Greek, and their obsession with snakes.
Maybe it was the shock of seeing this, but to confide in a friend seemed comforting. Before contacting the authorities, he would e-mail Andrew for advice.
Even though untold light years, time, space and dimension separated them, there was a connection which Andrew could maybe explain.
Why now? Did something summon it? What was it's trajectory? Earth? So many questions, but at least one he could answer. Where on Earth would it land if at all?
This could not be contained. The world must know and prepare for this encounter.
Helena had been on cloud nine since the flight from Germany had touched down on Greek soil.
The holiday atmosphere on the journey had been infectious and Andrew could see even then, on the airplane, the change in her as she had
started to unwind and leave behind the desperate frightened woman who, at Friedrichshafen Airport, was at the very limit of her endurance.
But there still remained a trace of that fear in her eyes.
It was only once they had touched down did he see that final lingering doubt leave her
when she celebrated as if it had just turned midnight on New Years Eve, by clapping her hands and kissing him.
He was now on Helena’s territory, she had been to Corfu many times and knew exactly where everything was.
They had already picked up her small piece of luggage and were heading for the Aegean Air desk.
There were daily flights between Corfu and Athens, with the last one at nine o’clock and Helena was desperate to catch it.
She was now pulling Andrew along.
‘Just think, in an hour and a half we could be in Athens, I would be home.’
They almost crashed into the desk when they arrived at it.
‘Two single tickets to Athens International Airport, please,’ Helena blurted out.
Clicking on her keyboard, the clerk replied, ‘ the next flight is at nine o’clock tonight, would that be suitable?’
Andrew handed over his credit card. ‘That would be fine, thanks.’
Swiping the card through the reader, the clerk’s smile faded.
‘I’m afraid your card has been rejected sir.’
‘Could you try again, please?’
On the third try, Helena interrupted her.
‘It must be faulty, try this one instead.’
The clerk returned Andrew’s card then tried Helena’s.
‘This one seems fine, I thought for a minute it might be my machine, it’s always playing up.’
She handed over the tickets and pointed them in the direction of the check-in desk.
‘Enjoy your flight and visit to Athens.’
‘Don’t worry, we will,’ Helena beamed.
After checking in, Helena and a worried looking Andrew headed for the departure lounge.
‘That’s the second card that’s been rejected, even though there’ve been funds available'.
'They can’t both be faulty. There must be another reason'.
'At the next cash machine I’m going to lift the maximum allowed from my last card, before that one mysteriously becomes faulty as well.’
Helena smiled and held his hand.
‘There’s one next to the book store, try that
Andrew slipped the card into the machine and entered his details.
After a small delay that seemed to take forever, the notes were pushed out and into his waiting hand.
The smile returned to his face.
‘That’s more like it.’
As they walked along the corridor leading to the departure lounge, the memory of their attempt to enter the one at Freidrichshaven came flooding back to Andrew.
The thought made him feel uneasy, he didn’t want to go through that again.
Even if I needed the toilet I wouldn’t enter one now, he thought.
He needn’t have worried.
This time there was no one looking out for them and they entered this departure lounge uneventfully.
‘That felt like the final hurdle being passed,’ Andrew said as they headed for a table next to the bar.
‘Yes, to others it may seem like nothing to pass from one area to another, but for us, past experience has shown that we have to dodge and fight our way to our destination.’
‘You’re right, but the further we get from Kreuzlingen, hopefully the easier it will become. '
'I can’t imagine that the SPAK gunmen or the Swiss police can have any idea that we’re here at this moment.'
'To them, we could be anywhere.’
'Or maybe not!
Helena pulled up a chair as Andrew's mobile phone indicated the arrival of an e-mail.
'Take a look at this,' Andrew said showing the e-mail to Helena.
'What is it?'
'Well,You've heard me talk of my friend Peter, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in America.'
'Yes, you were both at MIT,' she replied.
Andrew continued excitedly.
'He says this picture has been taken of what looks like a large triangular object or craft travelling to Earth from outer space.'
Helena looked stunned at the image, with Andrew's explanation ringing in her ears.
'Is this a joke?' she said staring at him.
'No,' Andrew replied.
'Peter is deadly serious, and he wants my opinion of the markings on the object.'
'Does this look familiar ?' he said, showing the image again to Helena.
'Yes,' she said.
'It's similar to the SPAK logo and the snake picture on their agent's arm.'
'Yes, that's what I thought. This is impossible. What's the connection between an object in deep space
and a SPAK agent?'
'I'll email him back saying that I don't know what it is, but that we've seen it here on Earth and that
we will contact him when we have more information.'
Andrew had a further surprise for Helena.
At this point he took the SPAK mobile phone out of his pocket and showed Helena an App called DataCollector which when pressed, displayed the following screen.
He then pressed the Continue button to poduce another display.
Andrew explained to Helena that SPAK had been following and recording their locations using the DataCollector App, and using the App's facility to EMail
all this back to their superiors.
Helena was taken aback.
'But that's your App.'
'But I had never envisaged it being used as a secret tracking tool, espescially against us!'
"You mean that we have been under constant surveillance and they now possibly know that we are here?"
"I'm afraid so," Andrew replied.
Helena took out her brush and started to pull it through her hair.
‘I would have thought that as well. And for some reason, I have this feeling that someone is still watching us.’
Andrew looked surprised.
‘Have you recognized anyone or noticed someone in particular?’
‘No, that’s the problem, I haven’t noticed anybody familiar, but on the airplane I had the sensation that someone was watching us from behind, I just can’t quite put my finger on it.’
Andrew was starting to look worried.
‘Maybe it’s working on a subconscious level. That you’ve just caught the slightest recurring glimpses of the same person but not enough to make it obvious to you.
Have a good look around this lounge at the faces of the people here, and try to remember if you’ve caught a glimpse of any of them before.’
Helena started to gaze around the spacious lounge area then stopped.
‘But there’s bound to be people here that were on the same flight as us from Freidrichshaven, that wouldn’t mean they were following us.’
‘I know, it’s not only that, but if you can remember the faces of the people here, then when we’re in Athens we can check again.
And if the same face keeps cropping up, we’ll know we’ve got our man – or woman.’
Noticing it was now time to board, they both stood up and prepared to go to the boarding area, but not before
Helena looked around and committed the scene to memory.
Someone else prepared to board the flight to Athens, someone with a small black briefcase, containing two documents with photographs attached.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
United States Of America
Peter now started his algorithm models to predict the course of the massive incoming craft. Utilising the data sent by
Laura-Anne from the SETI@home Internet-based public volunteer computing project, he ran the simulation which had illustrated alarmingly the
path of the incoming asteroids.
The data gathered over the recent scans indicated that it had now decelerated into a fixed course.
Similar graphics now appeared on his screens. This was not a precise science, due to the many variables involved.
But the graphics showed not only Earth as it's destination, but an area in the vacinity of Greece, in particular, a small inconspicuous island
in the Aegean Sea just south of the well known island of Santorini.
He could not contain this information any longer. With the data confirmed, he instigated Stage 2 of the standard protocol.
He knew this was now a military matter. He had done his job. It was now passed on to the experts in this field, The Military.
But this was an unprecedented event. What happens now was out of his hands, he sighed.
Athens International Airport
Helena couldn’t conceal her joy.
It was the thought of being back in Athens that kept her going through the dark moments that had shrouded their escape from Switzerland.
It had been less than two days since Hans had been murdered and Andrew attacked in Kreuzlingen.
It had been even less time, twelve hours or so, since she had become involved, when visiting Andrew at the hospital.
So much had happened in so little a time span, that she felt somehow they had both lost a couple of days somewhere along their journey.
That those days together with the events, were lost forever and only they would remember their content.
But that was just wishful thinking, for mixed in with her joy of returning to her homeland was the feeling that they were still being watched.
A feeling stretching all the way back to Switzerland
They were now standing in the luggage area, waiting hopefully for Helena’s case to appear through the flaps that were constantly being pushed
aside by the large assortment of cases, hold-alls and bags being dragged along on the conveyor belt.
Helena broke from her trance like gaze at the baggage and turned to Andrew.
‘I’ve never been so happy and relieved to be back in Athens, but I still get the feeling that someone is watching us.’
Andrew had hoped she’d left that feeling back in Corfu.
‘Well, lets do what I suggested previously. Have a look around, and see if any face stands out, but don’t make it obvious,
we mustn’t let whoever it is know that we suspect we’re being followed.’
Helena glanced at the faces gathered around the conveyor belt.
Their eyes all focused on spotting their luggage.
Helena shifted her gaze back up the moving line of cases.
One person was looking in their direction. Or maybe just at the luggage as it passed them.
But this person was standing near the flaps as the baggage burst through and should be able to pull off any luggage before
it reached Helena and Andrew.
She glanced back again.
The person had gone.
The crowd around the conveyor belt was now thinning as people pushed their trolleys, laden down with their belongings,
along the long corridor leading to the customs check.
Andrew spotted Helena’s case and plucked it from the merry go round of dwindling baggage.
‘That’s us then. I think I can manage this without a trolley.
Did you spot anyone you believe might be watching us?’
‘Yes, for a moment, and then he was gone. It may just have been my imagination.’
‘Did you recognize him from any of our previous journeys through Switzerland or Germany?’
‘I don’t know. I didn’t get a clear look at him.’
Andrew held Helena’s hand as they headed up the corridor to customs along with the straggling line of passengers from their flight.
‘Well, keep your eyes open. If we are being followed we have to give him the slip soon, before he can alert others as to our whereabouts.
We haven’t come this far just to get caught.’
Once through customs, they entered into the arrivals area where small crowds of people waved as they caught
sight of the passengers they had been waiting for.
Some kissed and embraced as if finding long lost relatives.
Others held up small placards with the names of various companies scrawled on them, IBM, Microsoft, Compaq, but no SPAK, Andrew noticed.
The majority of the companies were computer or software firms, there must be some kind of high tech convention, he thought,
reminding him of what he did for a living in a previous lifetime, or so it now seemed.
All around them, everyone seemed to know where they were going as Andrew turned to Helena and asked the inevitable question.
‘Where to now?’
‘There’s a bus that leaves every ten minutes outside the main terminal building at the Schenga exit.
It will take us to Syntagma Square, where we can find a hotel for the night.’
Andrew rubbed his eyes.
‘Good, I could do with a shower and a long nights sleep.’
People were now offloading their trolleys into waiting cars and taxis as Andrew and Helena passed through the exit into the cool Athenian night.
At this point Helena noticed something out of the side of her eye.
It was a fleeting glimpse but one that seemed familiar.
When she turned to face the figure standing beside a small suitcase, about twenty meters away,
fragments of her memory flashed in sequence before her.
First in Kreuzlingen, a solitary figure dressed in black sitting in the car behind them as they waited to go through the border checkpoint into Germany,
before they had changed their plans because of the waiting gunmen.
Next on the boat making their way to Friedrichshafen, someone sitting at the other end of the bar with just the side of his face visible.
Then on the flight to Corfu, someone putting their hand luggage into one of the overhead compartments at the rear of plane,
with just the back of their head noticeable.
And finally, earlier on, as they waited to pick up her case from the conveyor belt, the same figure with a glimpse now of the other side of his face.
The images all suddenly flew together to complete a picture of the man Helena now stood and stared at.
The man noticed Helena looking at him and turned his head away from her, shifting uncomfortably under her stare.
Helena pulled Andrew close to her and whispered.
‘I’ve just recognized the man who’s been following us all the way from Switzerland.’
‘Behind us standing by the terminal building, he’s dressed in black with short gray hair, probably about sixty years old.’
‘That doesn’t sound like the description of a trained killer. Are you sure?
‘Yes, I’ve seen glimpses of the same man at Kreuzlingen, Friedrichshafen and Corfu.
He must be following us. It can’t be a coincidence.’
Andrew turned his head slowly until the figure came into view.
‘Yes, you must be right, it would be too much of a coincidence for him to travel all that way without having some reason for following us.
The only people who would have cause to come after us are the police and the SPAK gunmen.
If he were one of the gunmen, I’m sure he would have attempted to kill us by now.
He may be a plain-clothes policeman, a detective, with orders to follow us until we reach our destination and then
alert the local police to arrest us.
In which case whatever we do we have to it quickly.
I could try a repeat of the way we got past the gunman at Friedrichshafen airport.’
Helena paled at the thought.
‘That was dangerous, I don’t know if I can stand here and wait while you go through that ordeal all over again.
This time you may not be so lucky.’
‘Look at his age, this time would be much easier, just a tap on the back of the head to knock him out and give us a chance of disappearing into the night.
But this time you must come along with me.’
She looked surprised.
‘What into the men’s toilets?’
‘No, we both have to stick together and lure him to somewhere quiet, as he may go after you if we split up.
Let’s walk further along the outside of the terminal building to a quieter bit.
Its dark and we may find an opportunity to knock him out without anyone seeing us.’
They now started to walk along the front of the airport away from the crowds milling around the main exits.
As they continued, fewer and fewer people were seen until they found themselves alone at the end of the main airport building.
She handed him the heavy marble brush that was used to good effect previously, as they rounded a quiet corner and waited.
They both held their breaths in an attempt to listen for the sound of approaching footsteps.
Nothing. Just the faint distant hum of the busy part of the airport they had left behind.
They looked at each other.
Maybe he hadn’t noticed them leaving.
They had tried to make it as obvious as possible to him where they were going.
Then soft footsteps in the distance, becoming louder.
Andrew raised the heavy marble brush in the air.
The steps were just around the corner now.
As he came into view Andrew stepped out and started to bring down his makeshift weapon,
when the man suddenly turned and raised his arms in defense.
‘No! My son!’ he gasped.
Andrew was taken aback at the words and just managed to avoid striking him.
The man stood back with a look of extreme fear in his face and held out his arms pleading in a trembling voice.
‘You don’t want to hurt me – I’m not your enemy – I’m on your side.’
Helena looked on as Andrew dropped the brush in surprise at the way the man reacted.
‘You said “My son”. What did you mean by that?’ Andrew demanded.
His voice still shaky, the man replied, ‘I’m a priest‘ – he stared at Andrew and then realized – ‘of course, you had no way of knowing.’
They both exclaimed in chorus, ‘a priest!’
‘Why the hell would you want to follow us all the way from Switzerland?
You were following us? Weren’t you?’ he asked as if finally to confirm their suspicions.
His voice steadier now the priest answered.
‘Yes. At first I was going to contact you at the hospital in Kreuzlingen, once I had discovered your identity.
But as I arrived in the car park you both ran out in front of me, as you may remember?’
Helena nodded her head.
‘Yes that must have been when I first saw you, but I had completely forgotten in our mad dash from the gunman.’
‘How do we know for certain that you’re a priest, you’re even not dressed like one?’
The priest pulled a plastic card from his pocket and held it up to Andrew.
‘There, my name is Father Angeletti and I work at the Vatican.
I don’t dress as a priest because I’m sort of working under cover, as you may have guessed, following you.’
Andrew appeared slightly apologetic.
‘Look, I’m sorry I gave you a fright, but like you said, I had no way of knowing you were a priest.
Anyway it’s no use talking here, lets go back to the terminal building and find somewhere more comfortable to
discuss what this is all about.’
The priest nodded in agreement and all three retraced their footsteps back to the main terminal complex while the
priest continued to explain that when Andrew and Helena had left the hospital car park, he followed them all the way around
Keuzlingen and through the border point at the side of the lake to Konstanz.
It was then, he decided he wouldn’t contact them now, but rather, wait until they had reached their final destination
Where ever that may be.
Reaching the airport terminal, all three entered the inviting environment of the late night bar with its subdued lighting
and relaxing background music.
They sat around a vacant table in a recess while Andrew went to fetch their drinks
When he returned, they all took a grateful drink from their glasses as the priest continued.
‘I could have contacted you on the boat, but I thought you may be suspicious, especially after the recent attempts on your life.
You might then have tried to get away, and then I would never have the chance to find out what you knew.’
Andrew looked at him warily.
‘What do you mean, “What you knew”? And why were you going to contact me in the first place?’
The priest sighed.
‘To fully explain this I have to go back in time and explain my background.
First of all, as I have already told you, my name is Father Angeletti and I work at the Vatican.
About six months ago I received a phone call from someone I used to work with, Father Dominic Bapst,
who was now resident in Switzerland at a small chapel in Kreuzlingen.
He sounded excited and a little frightened on the telephone as if he had to get his message across as quickly as
possible before he was cut off – or someone stopped him – I’m not sure what.
So his message was broken, and he kept repeating certain words.
I took a note of what he was saying and told him to calm down a little because it was hard to have a conversation in his present state.
It was then that the phone went dead.
I called him back, but there was no reply.’
‘I contacted an acquaintance in Zurich, Father Jan Scherz and asked him to look in on Father Bapst.
Later that evening I received a phone call from him saying that there was no sign of Father Bapst at the chapel
or in the attached residence.
There was nothing more we could do that night, so I asked Father Scherz to try again in the morning.
There was always the chance he was visiting someone and would return the next day.
I received a phone call from Father Scherz the next morning at about ten o’clock with the dreadful news that Father Bapst’s body had been
found washed up on the shores of the Bodensee near Kreuzlingen.’
‘The coroners report wasn’t conclusive and couldn’t establish the actual cause of death.
But certain unusual facts were in the report.
Such as the contorted look of fear on Father Bapst’s face, the small pinpricks on the side of his head and the presence of
hallucinogenic drugs in his bloodstream.
After a meeting at the Vatican, it was decided that I should head an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Father Bapst’s death.
The only clues we had were in the telephone conversation he had with me.’
Helena and Andrew stared at Father Angeletti, engrossed in this fascinating tale.
Nearly as unbelievable as the events they had endured recently.
Nevertheless, Andrew still hadn’t had his question answered.
‘But what has this got to do with us?’ he asked again.
Father Angeletti continued.
‘The connection lies in the telephone conversation.
Father Bapst kept repeating, “they’re back, we thought we had eliminated them, but they’re back”.
When I asked him who’s back, he said, “the Pagans”.
When I asked him what Pagans, he said, “the Gnostics”.
I then asked him where are they? And he replied, “they’re at SPAK”.
And that was it.
That was all we had to go on.
Quite quickly, though, we found out that there was a company called the SPAK Corporation nearby in
Kreuzlingen who luckily enough were looking to hire people at the time.’
‘Yes, that’s right, it was about then that I was hired along with quite a few other contractors, including Helena.’
The priest nodded in agreement.
‘This was an opportunity to get one of our investigators into the factory along with all the other people they were hiring at that time.
The problem was that the investigator found nothing unusual, never mind finding Pagans and Gnostics.
That was, until Hans’s death when the investigator heard talk of a security breach, and your name was linked with both the death
and the security leak.
The investigator then passed on your file to me, together with those of the rest of your team.
We were sure that Hans and yourself had discovered some information so sensitive, that SPAK would kill to keep it secret.
This was to be our breakthrough.
I was on my way to talk to you at the hospital, to find out what you had discovered, when I spotted you and Helena making your
escape from the gunman.
And I’ve been following you ever since, waiting for the right time to make myself known to you.
But you pre-empted that, and here we are now.
Which brings me to the point, what was it that you and Hans discovered?’
Andrew told the priest the words that were on Hans’s screen.
Father Angeletti clasped his hands as if in prayer.
‘Yes, this confirms what Father Bapst had said.
He mentioned Pagans, and Eleusis is an ancient Pagan ritual site.
He also mentioned Gnostics, which corresponds to the incomplete word “GNO”.
We’re on the right track.
SPAK must be involved in his death and that of Hans.
‘There’s something else,’ Andrew added, pulling a Mobile Phone from his pocket.
‘I found this on the SPAK gunman who tried to kill me in Friedrichshafen.
It looked unusual, so I kept it in case we met someone who might understand what it means.
I was going to show it to Helena’s professor, but you can have a look at it if you want.’
Andrew showed the priest the App with the crimson red SPAK Logo with the picture of a snake in a circle biting its tail with symbols in the center.
On seeing it, the priest recoiled, as if being confronted by some unholy satanic image.
‘My God!’ he exclaimed.
‘I can see now why they murdered Father Bapst who had said “they’re back”. I now understand what he meant by that.’
Andrew and Helena looked at each other, surprised at Father Angeletti’s reaction.
Andrew broke in first.
‘What’s the significance of the symbols on the card then?’
Father Angeletti leaned forward and almost whispered.
‘The snake has been used by Pagan cults throughout history.
But in this particular shape it had a special meaning.
To the Greeks, this was The World Snake or Ouroboros, to the Gnostics, this was the Leviathan,
the lord of the world who represented the malevolent character of the cosmos.
The Ophite Gnostics used it in their diagram of the Universe and in their degenerate Pagan ceremonies.
We have the early Church Fathers such as Irenaeus, Tertulian and Epiphanius to thank for exposing these evil cults and their practices,
to the point that they no longer existed.
Until now that is!'
Andrew also showed the image of the tattoo on the SPAK agent.
Then the Tesla magnetic trace he had recorded of it.
Father Angeletti looked amazed.
'This modern technology combined with the evil heathen symbol means that the Pagan cults have now re-emerged,
but this time as powerful multi-national corporations such as the SPAK Corporation.
We must get more evidence of this revival of Paganism and what their aims are, so I can report back to the Vatican.’
‘I can try to use this Phone App together with the gunman’s tattoo and Tesla signature to get into the SPAK complex here, in Athens,’ Andrew offered.
‘Once in I could attempt to hack into their computer system for the type of evidence you’re looking for.’
Helena looked dismayed at this idea.
‘What! We’ve been trying to get away from them for the last twenty-four hours.
And now that we have, you want to go back into one of their factories.
No, that would be too dangerous.
What if they caught you?
They’d kill you for certain.’
Andrew held her hand.
‘I know it sounds illogical, but it’s the only way I can get evidence of their involvement in the killing of Hans and the priest
and whatever their ultimate goals are anyway.’
Father Angeletti put his hand on Helena’s shoulder.
‘You have to be brave my dear.
The early Christians faced hardship in defeating and overcoming the evils of Paganism,
we too now face that challenge and we must meet it in the same resolute way.’
‘There must find another, less dangerous way of going about this,’ Helena pleaded.
‘Look. We’re software engineers, Andrew, what about that Mobile App.
If we could get access to a computer and a usb input, I’m sure we would be able to activate and examine the funtions of the App.’
Andrew looked thoughtfully at the App screen.
‘Yes we probably could.
In the past I’ve worked on the protocol used to bypass App passwords and if we find out more before I attempt to enter the factory
the better prepared I’ll be.
But we’ve just arrived in Athens and don’t even have a place to stay yet, never mind getting access to specialist computer equipment.’
The priest had been listening intently to their discussion and now leaned forward.
‘The Vatican is taking the death of Father Bapst and the circumstances surrounding it very serious indeed.
In fact people at the very highest level are taking a personal interest in my investigations.
They have authorized me to use the full resources of the Vatican and the Catholic Church in my efforts to find Father Bapst’s killers
and discover what their true aims are.
So I think that one of the worlds most powerful institutions should be able to provide you with a computer
and whatever else is required to access this App.
If you make out a list of what’s required I’m sure I can have it available for you by tomorrow morning.’
Andrew stared in amazement.
‘I can make you a list of what we need but even if you do get everything at such short notice, where will the equipment be set up?’
‘Don’t worry that’s already taken care of. It’ll be somewhere safe and free from prying eyes.
Good. Well that’s settled then, a few quick phone calls and we should be ready by say – mid-morning tomorrow.’
Andrew finished compiling the list and handed it to the priest.
‘I’ll be most impressed if you can arrange this by tomorrow.
Anyhow here’s what we need. I hope you can understand it.’
The priest smiled as he put the list in his pocket.
‘Oh don’t concern yourself about that, I’ll be giving it to somebody who does understand this sort of thing.’
Andrew stood and finished his drink.
‘OK, but first we need to find somewhere to stay for the night, what do you suggest Helena?’
‘I know a nice, small central hotel near the Acropolis in Mitseon Odos.
There’s a bus leaves every ten minutes from outside the main terminal, and it passes close by the hotel.
Is that OK for you Father Angeletti?’
‘Thank you Helena, but I’ve already arranged my accommodation at St. Denis Roman Catholic Church at Panepistimiou near Syntagma Square.
Do you know of it?’
‘Yes, I’m familiar with it.’
‘Good, because that’s where the equipment will be located.’
Andrew turned looking surprised.
‘What, we’ll be working in a church?’
The priest smiled wryly.
‘Can you think of a safer place?’
‘No, you have a point.’ Andrew conceded.
The priest continued.
‘Right, if you both come round there about eleven tomorrow morning, we can make a start.’
All three picked up their belongings and headed for the exit.
Once again they walked out into the cool Athenian night.
Helena then pointed to a bus that was already waiting at the stop.
When they had loaded their luggage and found seats, the bus roared into life, pulled away from the airport
terminal and started its journey to the center of Athens.
The sight before him took Andrew’s breath away.
From their balcony they could see the Acropolis rise above them.
First on the floodlit slope above a line of pine trees was spread out the remains of the Theatre Of Dionysus with it’s semi-circular stage
surrounded by the open auditorium, utilizing the natural gradient of the hill, which in it’s day could hold up to twenty thousand people.
Above that and crowning the Acropolis stood the spectacular form of the Parthenon with it’s elegant marble columns high against the night sky.
As Helena explained the majesty of what lay before them, he was reminded of his hometown, Edinburgh, known as the
‘Athens of the North’ with its Caledonian Acropolis around Calton Hill.
Here stood the National Monument, a life-size reproduction of the Parthenon, built in dour Scots granite, but left unfinished in 1830.
‘A penny for your thoughts,’ said Helena, noticing Andrew’s faraway gaze.
‘Oh, I was just thinking that our Parthenon in Edinburgh was no match for your original, although I think you would be impressed with our castle.’
‘Ah, that must be Edinburgh Castle, everyone’s heard of it. Maybe one day you’ll show me around it.’
‘Yes, that’s a nice thought, but you said Athens was your home town, do you live anywhere near here
‘Yes, I have a flat not far from here in the Veikou district.
But I think we should stay clear of that for the moment, in case it’s being watched.
If you look over to your right, beyond the Acropolis, you’ll see Mount Likavittos,
I was brought up there with my mother and father in the Kolonaki district.’
‘Why don’t you visit them tomorrow?’ Andrew suggested.
Helena shook her head.
‘No, I don’t want to get them involved at this stage.
I think we should try to clear your name first.
Besides I’ve felt more confident since we’ve met Father Angeletti,
he’s the first one to believe our story and he thinks there’s a connection between Hans’s death and that of his priest.
It’s our first lead and maybe tomorrow we can find some concrete evidence of this and take it to the police.’
Andrew nodded in agreement.
‘Yes, for the first time I think I can see a little light at the end of this dark tunnel.
Although there’s one thing I don’t understand.
All this talk of Paganism and Gnostics.
Why does Father Angeletti think it’s so important?
Moreover what’s the connection between them and the murders?’
Helena put her hand on his shoulder.
‘I’ll give my professor a call tomorrow and arrange to visit him. He might be able to explain some of these things.
It’s worth a try.’
Andrew turned, looked into her deep blue eyes and gently stroked her cheek.
‘Yes, we’ve done well to get this far and soon a few more of our questions may be answered.
But now, I think we should get some sleep it’s been a tiring day and tomorrow may be even more challenging.’
Helena moved closer to him and whispered in his ear, ‘mmm, not too much sleep though,’ as she led him off the balcony and into the bedroom.
Helena suddenly cried out waving her hands above her in the darkness as if to protect herself from an invisible enemy.
‘Keep them away.’
‘What is it?’ Andrew said, switching on the side lamp and sitting up in the bed to look down on the terrified figure of Helena below him.
‘Keep the flames away from me.
‘Its all right, I’m here.
There are no flames. Its just a nightmare.’
Andrew reassured her as he held her gently, trying to wake her up.
Helena’s eyes suddenly opened wide.
‘Oh Andrew. Hold me, the dreams are back.’
Andrew looked at her caringly.
‘What dreams are back?’
‘The dreams I had as a child. I’ve not had them since I was twelve.’
‘What are they about, and why do they terrify you?’
‘I’m surrounded by fire, that burns as it gets closer.
There’s no way out. I feel as if I’m about to be burned alive!’
Andrew held her closer
‘Shh. It’s all right now. Nothing can harm you here.’
‘But why are they back Andrew?’
‘I don’t know. Maybe it’s a one off caused by the strain of the last few days.
That would cause anyone to have nightmares.
I’m surprised I don’t have them.’ He half laughed, trying to lighten the atmosphere.
A small smile formed on her lips at his reassuring words and as the memory of the nightmare started to fade
‘I hope so. I don’t think I could face those dreams too often
Maybe you’re right,’ she said as Andrew kissed her and reached out to turn off the lamp.
‘Maybe your right,’ she repeated as she turned and fell into his safe and comforting arms.
Take a look at all the things you’ve done
Just because you want to be the One…
Ανδρέας sat on the warming rough cut stone beneath the shading Olive tree and stared at the broad shouldered wrestler Ἀριστοκλῆς
Sitting next to another new recruit to the Academy, Aristotle, both lisentened intently to the their tutor, Plato.
Although given the name of Aristocles at birth after his grandfather, he was popularly known as the broad one or Plato from his wrestling days.
Having just arrived at the Academy after the 1.5 kilometer walk from his home in Athens in the now glaring Sun on his muscular tanned young body,
Andréas was glad to rest in the shade of this revered open air site with its Sun bleached stones dotted with welcoming shady Olive trees.
Here he was learning with others from the most esteemed philosepher in all of Greece.
All were anticipating a new insight and meaning into all they exprerienced in everyday life, which to most was boring and predictable.
'In the cave, as described by Socrates in a dialectit with my brother, a scene was portrayed of people, chained rigidly from their first memories,
facing a wall.Flames was their indirect sun, illuminating shadows, passsing by day after day carrying out their chores.'
'They hear the sounds of this daily ritual, sounds echoing throughout the cave, reaffirming their senses of this reality.'
'But one prioner escaped his shackles and strared into reality and was blided by the sun.'
'Slowly he adjusted and realised that true reality existed outside of the cave as he saw and heard the beauty of what was hidden from him.'
'When he returned to the cave, his fellow cave member's ridicuded him.'
At this point Plato turned to Andréas, who blushed as all including Plato fixed their stare on him.
To his relief, Andrew awoke, staring at the the image of his now illuminated screen.
Back To Chapter1
Take a look at all the things you’ve done
Just because you want to be the One…
‘Do you know what its like do be burnt at the stake my dear?’
‘Ye… yes,’ the little girl stuttered, head bowed in fear, to the priest walking beside her.
He shook his head.
‘No. I don’t think you do. Let me enlighten you.’
The priest, dressed in white robes bearing embroidered red and gold crosses, put his arm around the little girl as her mother and father looked on.
They were at the head of a long line of over two hundred men, women and children being escorted down the southern slopes of a mountain by ten thousand Royal Catholic French troops.
At the top of the three thousand-foot high peak behind them, lay the ruins of the Cathars fortress, Montsegur.
The priest continued.
‘At first, you will feel the heat of the approaching flames. As they get closer, your whole body will tingle and you will be gasping for air. You may already be hearing the screams of your mother and father, as the flames will have reached them first, giving you an idea of what awaits –’
‘Stop it! Leave her alone!’ the little girl’s father shouted, as he put a protective arm around her.
‘Get back!’ a French soldier commanded, striking the father hard, to bring blood pouring from a gash in his face.
The priest pulled the little girl back beside him.
‘If I may continue. Now where were we? Ah yes.
Your ears will be filled with the screams of your burning parents as the flames reach your feet, and you too will scream like you have never done before. The rising flames will boil your blood and melt the flesh from your bones. When they reach your head, your eyeballs will melt. The last thing you will remember of this world will be the indescribable pain of –’
‘Enough!’ the little girl’s mother cried.
‘Leave us in peace in our final moments.’
The priest turned quickly, thrusting a silver cross in her face.
‘Then abjure your heresy and you will be spared!’
‘Never!’ the mother replied, her gaze fixed steadily at the symbol of Christianity.
‘Then prepare to meet your fate,’ the priest declared with a sweep of his arm as they reached the bottom of the mountain to see the large communal execution pyre of wood and logs spread out before them.
The Cathars gasped at the sight. They knew that their death was guaranteed after the fifteen-day truce had ended without renouncing their Gnostic beliefs, but to actually see the instrument of their destruction was a reminder of what awaited them.
The French Catholic troops now formed a ring around the huge pyre as the priests, resplendent in their fine robes, said prayers for their victims.
The Cathars were then led to ladders situated around the shoulder high bier and ordered to climb up, where they were then taken and tied to one of the two hundred and five stakes positioned around the wooden pyre.
Galleries had been placed on all four sides of the huge square platform of timber, to ensure that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and the French aristocracy would have clear views of the suffering about to be inflicted on those Pagans who dared to have different views from the Catholic Church.
In the center, the little girl looked up with fear in her eyes at her mother and father on either side of her, as the Catholic troops surrounding them lit their torches.
At a signal from the commander, they held their torches to the edges of the pyre, which was packed with tinder dry hay.
Almost immediately all four sides of the platform of wood and logs burst into flames prompting gasps from the men and women closest to edge, who quickly resumed their prayers to God, to fill the air with a background of rhythmic chanting, as the noise from the crackling wood intensified.
When the flames reached the first victims, their chanting turned to tortured screams of pain.
‘Mother!’ the little girl cried out. ‘I’m frightened.’
‘Be brave my darling. Soon it will all be over and we’ll be back together again in a better place.’
The flames had now taken hold of the wooden pile and were moving rapidly to the center, leaving in their wake the burning remains of their victims.
The priests smiled at each other satisfactorily in the morning sunshine as the fire and smoke reached high into the pale blue sky, mingling with the screams of the remaining figures tied to the stakes. The little girl’s father looked lovingly at his wife and reminded her that they mustn’t scream for the sake of the child as the raging blaze swiftly approached them.
The woman again turned to her daughter. ‘Close your eyes darling. It will soon be over.’
With the screams filling her ears and smoke choking her lungs, the little girl obeyed her mother just as the intense heat of the wall of fire hit her parents engulfing them in a blazing shroud. With tears streaming down her face the little girl gasped for air as the hungry flames approached her.
‘Mother, father, I’m frightened. Please help me!’ she screamed as the inferno surrounded her.
The priests watched on as the final, tiny victim was quickly consumed and the funeral pyre’s flames raged on.
Although the smell of burning human fat was overwhelming, this was replaced by the sweet smell of victory. At last they thought, the Pagans were finally gone.
The Catholic Church had triumphed.
Back To Helena
False churches rising all around
Holy relics that can never be found…
St Peters Chapel
Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last confession.’
Father Dominic Bapst bowed his gray head and moved it closer to the ornate grill separating him from the confessor. Through the darkness he replied softly.
‘What have you to confess, my son?’
The voice was shaking with guilt.
‘I’m a devout catholic, Father, and I can’t live any longer with the knowledge of what I‘ve seen and heard without telling someone. It would be a mortal sin if I didn’t warn you of the rising forces gathering against the Catholic Church.’
Father Bapst’s brow furrowed as he moved his head even closer to the grill.
‘What do you mean, “against the Catholic Church” my son?’
‘They thought they had organized themselves such that people like me, outsiders, wouldn’t discover the true purpose of their work. But, bit by bit, fragments of information surfaced to finally paint a picture more horrifying in its consequences than at any time in the history of Christianity.’
Father Bapst sensed the growing anxiety in the voice as it continued to utter either the ravings of a madman or the revelations of a saviour. In an attempt to get a rational explanation, he would try to calm and reassure this distressed soul.
‘The Church has always faced dangers, my son, that is what makes it strong. Surely what you speak of is not as bad as it seems. If you tell me calmly of what you know, then you will have done your duty and need worry no more.’
To the surprise of the priest the voice was now even more agitated.
‘You must believe me Father, we thought they had gone forever and that the Church had triumphed, but they’re back, with plans that no one could even begin to dream of!’
‘Whose back?’ Father Bapst queried with mounting impatience.
‘Where are these Gnostics?’ Father Bapst demanded, feeling himself being drawn into this man’s nightmare.
‘At SPAK!’ replied the voice climatically, as if it had finally got its message across and a burden had been lifted.
Father Bapst could hear the man exhale a deep sigh and sensed a change of mood in him. He too had regained his composure.
‘What is this SPAK, that you speak of?’ he asked softly.
The voice was now more subdued.
‘It’s where I work. I think they’ve become aware of the flaw in their security procedures and must now suspect that I know what their plans are. I had to tell someone before they could stop me.’
‘How would they stop you?’
‘Because of what I know, I’m sure they would resort to murder. I’m frightened Father. Please help me.’
‘If you’re afraid for your life then you must go to the police…’
The priest’s head suddenly turned at the sound of distant footsteps.
‘It’s too late, they’re here, I have to go Father. God help me.’
Father Bapst now had his face hard against the grill. ‘But what are their plans?’
The priest could hear the sound of the confessional door open. And then silence.
‘Are you there, my son?’
Father Bapst got up from his seat and came out of his box just in time to hear the main chapel door closing. He was shaken by the confession. But he had to find out more. Was this man deluded, ill, sick and in need of treatment, or was he indeed trying to warn of a threat to the Catholic Church?
As he headed through the dark candle lit chapel to the main entrance, he heard a cry then a loud thud that shook the wooden chapel doors, followed by a deep groan.
Father Bapst stopped and stepped back. He remembered the man’s final words. Those of fear and murder. Had this man risked his life to tell him of a dark secret and now that he too held this knowledge, was his life also in danger?
Father Bapst turned and headed toward his office. He had to tell someone. And he knew exactly who that person was.
As he entered the room at the top end of the chapel, the large wooden entrance doors slowly creaked open to reveal an ever-expanding shaft of sunlight that raced up the aisle and onto the figure of Jesus on the cross.
Footsteps now echoed around the chapel as menacing figures moved through the beam of light
, casting their shadows on the lonely figure on the cross.
Back To Athens