Geo's Vision Machine - A novella for video, film and song, W Paul
Submitted by Willi on Thu, 02 Jul 2009 - 22:32
Geo's Vision Machine
Part One of Three: The Citadel Concert
(A novella for video, film and song)
"Thinking in mythological terms helps you to put in accord with the inevitables of this vale of tears. You learn to recognize the positive in what appears to be negative moments and aspects of your life. The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure-(the adventure of being a hero, of being alive)."
-- J. Campbell, The Power of Myth, p. 163
"Will our joining together-the linking of our cultures, hopes, dreams, ideas, and imaginations-into one communications lattice or membrane give us a single voice with which our planet can be heard by others greater than ourselves?"
-- K. O. Berger, "The Information Ecosystem," In Context, No. 23, 1988, p. 15
"I think spiritualism is where (music)-came from,-and I think it's coming back to that."
-- Jim Goodwin of The Call The Rocket Magazine, Jan. 1990, p. 15
"With what seemed the simplest key (Franklin) had unlocked one of the darkest and most terrifying doors in the known universe. Here was another hero of the human race even as against the terrifying gods. Franklin, Kant said, was a new Prometheus who had stolen fire from heaven."
-- Benjamin Franklin, by C.V. Doren, 1938, p. 171.
# # #
Geo's Vision Machine
Weeks of rain and hail storms had pounded a swampy, Atlantian Armistead, Oregon, causing a whirling rain of splash from Jack's rear wheel, christening faded jean and high tops alike, tall as the village fountain when summer water and power were pumping from the Cascades. A temporary break from the monsoon god was lucky, indeed. The late dusk sparkled powdered diamonds with blue black winds. He turned onto Avenue N pushin' down hard, grinin', headed for a Moon soaked and dangerous covered bridge. His walkman soundtrack matched his own heat, bammin' with the Meat Puppets tape "Monsters." Past the raging creek he fondly called Dreaming River. Over three bumps. Then right, up the gray red gravel road lined with ancient oaks to the video camera, and that weird barbed wire hex guarding the entrance to the Doc's homestead. The lab. The mad scientists' club.
To town folk, Geo's two barns and leaky frame house looked just like those oil company calendars with their genetic rural scenes and never a human being anywhere. Moss had replaced paint and shingles and the place felt like it was slowly sinking, "divining to meet the water table." The northern-most barn was off-limits to Jack for secret reasons. Geo made wine in the small barn off of the garage-which was stacked up high with boxes of books, college papers, bikes, skis, and camping gear. Dr. Georgette Klein split Cambridge, then left Madison, Boulder, and san Francisco 'cause her revolutionary philosophy courses didn't hit the mark with each successive administration. Students loved the show, but they couldn't do alchemy like Geo. They didn't have the hardware.
Transformation. Atheist-Episcopalian then bottomland Buddhist, part psycho-engineer, frequent Quaker and eco-manic depressive poet. Ph.D. finisher in her last three races. Geo was as grandiose as her nickname; she worked the new alchemy-or spirit sciences, reinitiating world traditions with high computer techno-séances and transformed pagan menus. John Lilly, Ginsberg, Crazy Horse, Ben Franklin, W.I. Thompson, Jesus Christ. Players. It was this meta-mystical boundary, "door breaking" as she referred to the whole business, that kept Jack biking up here. He had his own plan for the Vision Machine.
Jack Gabriel placed his palm on the barn door scanner, and shifted his pack stuffed full of yogurt, rice, bagels, and juices. "Geo, jack here." The laser light flashed twice, opening the security door. "I barely made it to the co-op before it closed," he yelled.
Geo was on the phone. Someone in South American by her "world Spanish." "Can't seem to balance the r-wave tonight Ramone, we sign off, count 5-4-3-2-1 cut." She was permanently perplexed, thought Jack. For years the "Truth System" was attempting the down link and connect various research bases from across the planet, independent of political boundaries-and only recently-free from corporate and military subordination. Many explorers brought programming or hardware expertise, as in the case of ramone, a wealthy mad humanist who brainstormed data bases for the System, and others like Telecommunix Nurvana Matrix in Chicago. He was a former NEC consultant and physicist from State University in Lima. He joined the group after meeting Geo at a Grateful dead concert in Oakland back in the '80s. Many of Geo's associates were "truckers." Geo "trust funded a drug store raid" that lasted into her thirties, "dropping the moon" as she yowled. Advanced degrees occupied the other half of her brain: Philosophy, Creative Writing and Environmental Anthropology.
Jack pretended to be interested in his food cache, but his eyes wandered around the laboratory for new print-outs a communiqués torn from the telefax. Maybe Francesca transmitted a meeting time for this weekend when Geo would be in Eugene with white witches and other healers from the Northwest.
"Dude, ya you, behind the refrig." She swerved off the old dentist chair and away from the multi-complex console. "Can an engineering drop-out handle the lentils and beer this evening?"
"Ya, sure Geo. What happened today? Did we receive?"
"Haven't checked since 11:00 am. Please update the nirvana link pronto, OK?"
She walked out of the security gate, palm down to the sensor. "Barn check, Jack."
What the hell is in there? He was one big frown. Maybe she doesn't trust me with some aspect of the System, perhaps to experimental and dangerous. Maybe she was growing? His mind switched to the meal, and still hadn't checked the dump ticket for electro-mail. Lentils and garlic, beer and Ben and Jerry's. He ejected Shankar, replacing mellow with Camper Van Beethoven. Jack was kicked out of the engineering program at Berkeley because his grades were experimenting with sound theory and electronic music. His band, Totem Record, played a couple of times, once on a bill with the campers, and he missed Telegraph Ave.
"Maybe this weekend I can set up the tunebox and try out the interface pic," he mused, twisting off a Henry's NA.
Part of Jack's grand design, beyond his satellite centerfold linkages and hard copy form Francesca in Madrid, required Geo's mind machinery, sourced with world music and myth. Through critical sound patterns, as in ET I, II, and III, door breakin' must occur. There was a metaphysical sound barrier out there and Jack was livid to bust into this new frontier. His "Sci-fi voyeurism," his "aidship" to Geo, was an aging cartoon pushing him down an earthen black hole. How to break the mythic sound barrier?
Francesca Lambornii played a Steve Kilbey composition on her studio piano, a piece from his earthed CD entitled "the reality generators malfunctioned," and wondered if her father would bring news of Jack in Oregon. Fall classes were rudimentary and not the electronic pathways she accessed in her papa's lab Art school was five miles downtown, but Jack seemed right next door: trans-continental electro-male man. They met at an international computer music contest, both losing before the finals but sharing ideas on an emerging new theory of mythic sound. Delayed satellite sound alchemists; broadcast lovers. 21st Century cyberpunks.
Professor E. Derek Lambornii met Geo at a conference at Harvard many years ago, enjoying a midnight run through the circular Science Center stone fountain after a series of lectures on the artifacts retrieved from Pluto by the Chinese Space Commission. Dr. Lambornii consulted in interstellar archeology and time theory, and ran a Truth System team in addition to his Chairpersonship and teaching duties at the University of Madrid.
The Truth System actually began in Central Australia, coinciding with the first global shaman-ritual transmission using the experimental electro-sensor technology from the Stanford-Apple-Smithsonian first Ancestors Project. Now each laboratory was equipped with the machinery an programs that dated back to aboriginal pre-history. This science-spirit world vision was the mind thrust of Sydney born, and MIT trained, Dr. Schillart Vega. He and his team worked in isolation underground, near Ayers Rock, an important aboriginal land mass in central Australia.
Vega was searching for a way to tap the 'prima mater' of the subconscious through the myths and archetypes of our music, healing arts and dark spiritual past. To couple these powers with technologies that freed us for interaction in today's global syntax and musical genres. Alchemy in the era of nuclear death. His now classic contribution in Blue Alien Magazine caught the attention of Geo and her followers because of his work with aboriginal artists and the new Techno-Jungian System.
Jack bit into a cracker piled high with cheese and pickles. Geo was back from the barn and was happily serving lentil soup.
"Two communications came in, both from Madrid. I put them on your desk."
"How's Francesca, rock star?" It seemed that she never took this part of Jack and Francesca's life seriously.
For Jack, questions surrounding the origin of sound and the universality of music composition were forever churning inside his head and heart.
Cesca was researching the theory of archetypal sound or sound patterns that we process and store in way similar to dream archetypes, made popular by Jung and others. She believed that our mythic heritage included sounds, sound progressions, and songs. Jack will interface the memory and interactive technology of the System with Cesca's music-image syzygy and listen for the spirits' songs. So goes the plan.
Jack threw his plate into a soapy sink, then grabbed his Fender Strat, and conjured a tale of veiled lust for his pals hours ahead of time. Musical kisses: scanned, transmuted, digitized- orbitized.
"Geo, tell me this doesn't break down your doors!"
"Do you know any Spirit?" Another band that Jack had never heard of. Geo went up to her sleeping platform to flatten-out the gyrating energies of international research on her subconscious (and settle the beers from dinner!).
To bring music into the System meant approximately twenty minutes of additional patches and frequency adjustments. Sometimes Jack would turn off the amplification and listen to his messages through his headphones. Under the guise of musical cards, via electronic delay, he accessed the data bank for Cesca, for any information pertaining to the history of sounds and mythology. Using a separate storage disk, he kept his work private and sent duplicate copies to Spain.
The aboriginal date file was quite extensive, as were tons of others. The System's African information was subdivided three times as was Oriental mythology. Euro-Slavic, and Central, South, and North American databases were all available on the Truth System. New information was sent from leading universities and governments electronically everyday. Ever since the fall of communism in1989-92, Geo, Ramone, Derek, Schillart and appendages have enjoyed historical information from all parts of the planet and some governments now wanted to know what they were doing with their "mythic heritage!"
"Damn!" His fingers toiled with the "down" arrow on the word processing panel of the massive control center. The major challenge to overcome in his mission stemmed from the lack of detailed musical information in all of the mythic bases. For example, a North American Plains Indian story describes a young warrior who took ceremonial objects on a journey to other camps to bring his people together so that they might all-young and old-live on with their traditions and with the white man. The hero meets animal-gods and trades their knowledge and direction for one of his gifts. They each teach him harmonies or songs. Heavy symbolism-and open to many interpretations. The sonorous power of myth.
"I must find a way to break down my own door to the archetypes." After the electronic journey back in time, he banged out a telefax, promising Francesca a disk and a guitar serenade in the days ahead. That night he dreamed of eagles, slowly descending over a hot plain, and cool drumming all around him.
# # #
"This profile is stuffed with crazy juxtapositions, Sir." Baxter was growing a hole in his balding head from confusion. He always finished the Times crossword puzzle before breakfast.
"Right, and Dr. Klein still has access to many files in our museums and research stations, although we don't know what she's after. CIA doesn't dance with Deadheads, and this mission is now mid-high classified. Tell me about your days at Columbia, during the war protests, Mic."
Mickey Baxter dribbled through his infamous background tale for Chief Nine-O-Four, describing how he assisted student government and other radical campus longhairs with computer surveillance of local police, and Systeming operations with other protest movements across the country.
"Take the files from Room A34-X and make sure any notes your transcribe clear with my office. From those last articles in the New York Times, it seems that this Truth System is now well established and centered in Oregon, not far from Eugene, in a village called Armistead. Kick some butt. Your tickets are in there, Mister."
"Looks like I'll be drinking with the ducks, sir!"
Baxter wondered if all this was connected to Earth First. It was all-or-nothing with those guys. Same in intelligence. CIA was checking the Truth System against FBI files but this song was strictly "posse international." "So I'm a reporter again," talking to no one, again.
Mic had zero time to research key lines of interest. All of this stuff was spooky. Like pagan craft or this new alchemy stuff that glued technology into the spiritual.
"OK. Hold on," he muttered."
As Baxter boarded a red-eye for SFO and Eugene, Ramone was linking up with the Australian lab for mega-mythologizing and a braver new world.
The weekend brought messages of all kinds-and from diverse sources. Ramone's recent upgrade from the Australian data base; a telecopy from some guy at Harvard concerning a speech Geo should do in three months; weekly reports form all labs from the Nurvana files; and a request for an on-site visit from a reporter from the Richmond, Virginia, Daily Register. "Hmm." With Geo tied up in Eugene with old pals, maybe he could show this Sam Browne around a little." Jack could handle the prelims.
# # #
"Uptown Hotel and Restaurant, how can we do ya?"
Jack resisted the obvious sexual connotation. "Can I speak with Mr. Browne, please?"
"He's in room 13. Hang on for a sec."
"Sam Browne." Definitely an easterner; Jack guessed about 40 years old.
"Mr. Browne, my name is Jack Gabriel. I'm Doc Klein's assistant up in Armistead, with the Truth System."
"Thanks for calling up so soon." Baxter wasn't really rested or prepared for his "interview" so soon. "Is Dr. Klein available?"
"No, not until Monday. It thought I could show you around and answer questions, or help with the photos for your piece."
"Great, Jack, that would be great."
Baxter/Browne finished the meeting details and opened his suitcase. Maybe it was the cold wet air, or a chest cold coming on, but he felt something slightly strange going on here. Perhaps it was the reading materials: hexes and spells, LSD dream states, artificial intelligence, Orwell's 1984, and on and on.
"Oregon is so green," he whispered, blinking twice.
# # #
Francesca was starting at her father, on the balcony. It was Sunday morning and Jack's name came up with a smoggy sunrise. "Papa, do you know any of the following late 20th Century musicians?"
"Cesca, I'm trying to format the new software for our lab. It came overnight from Geo. Why not reference the source bank through the Truth System. I'm busy all day and won't require access, Do you know the security code sequence for today?"
Any chance to utilize the computer interface in her father's lab was precious time, and she whirled and left him without a thank you. All of the technical personnel had the day off so she could pursue any facet of her project with Jack.
To find archetypal sound patterns or music scores, Cesca proposed to gather data on late 20th Century rock musicians and new composers like Steve Kilbey, Phillip Glass, Peter Gabriel, and Brian Eno, all who generated electronic space and sound images with many mythical references. And the black music of early American blues must hold some keys for her thesis because of its dominance in rock'n'roll and because it transcended so many human eras and places. Hybrids led one back to the source. She punched the security code and switched the input panel to the Universal Data Bank, then keyed into all the major musical references that the 21st Century could offer. If only Jack could rub her shoulders.
# # #
Our man from the CIA growled at the rain dumping off of the Hotel's decaying gutters. Why didn't Klein choose San Diego for her trip into global mythology? Whatever that means-
Our man "the reporter" jumped into a waiting taxi for the five miles "over the bridges and under the omens" to Professor Klein's woodland house. This prelim is too cool, thought Mic, maybe I can play this Gabriel kid for some inside stuff.
Jack had rose early. Partially because of the visitor scheduled for 11:30 am, but also to research additional myths for the project, tentatively called the Citadel Concert. Tea steeping, he slipped a Steve Tibbetts cassette into his walkman and headed outside to grab the junk mail out of his mail box, the last remains of physical mail since the World Postal System Electric Delivery Service went into operation last year. The grounds were as wet as usual, and the rain gauge topped-off at 1.2 inches. He still didn't know what Geo's hex meant on the barn.
Tibbetts was one talented composer and complete player, like many that Francesca and Jack were studying. On YR, he combined electronic sounds with real instruments to construct a rock-afro-orchestral web unlike any artist of this day. Jack still meditates to this recording, access to the soul. But why? What was occurring at the subconscious level? Was there a mythic chain or memory linkage that was could be tapped into?
All of the barns were wired tight and Jack hit the outside video surveillance control on his remote flexer for the day. He was the eye for the Truth System.
Like a dog just back from a run to the ancient trees, Jack felt good. He felt best prepared to work when his internal energy level was buzzin', but he couldn't quantify it. It was all-or-nothing, like music and Francesca.
The Truth System was always on. Warm for the next search, the next door breaker. Jack booted he mainframe VAC computer and pushed the audio-visual gear from "stand by" to "ready." Still time to fetch some brown sugar for his tea. Then Jack was looking for an Australian Aboriginal myth and accessed the very first data base, now megabillion bits in size, from Dr. Vega's research in central well Australia. Many mythic stories, or Dreamings, were ties directly to the land and to the person responsible for its care. This responsibility was passed down to initiated men from generation to generation. Jack was looking for references to the music that each tribe played their ceremonies, and pictures of their instruments. Hendrix's "all Along the Watch Tower" floated somewhere in his brain-spirit cavity.
"Man, this video is too cool," he said as he flipped the control peg like the ones on the old video games. He scanned by date, still-framing when something caught his eye. The countryside was a dull red-gold and ancient to Jack, like a foggy image from one of his old Midnight Oil records. Brown land? "This shit isn't indexed well," he spat. The first data base wasn't organized like the current ones; sometimes secret projects were missions of persistence. Tibbetts' drums and sparkling sounds of bells and tiny symbols floated Jack high above the immediate ranges of rock rhythm and melody as he searched past 11:00 PM for signs of ceremony in the 18th Century central Australia. "What the-?" he shot forward in his chair. Normally the video monitor would have sent Jack a visual clue but with the security System off, the reporter was now standing outside of the laboratory door, waiting for the "truth tour" as Geo lovingly called it.
Sam Browne was dangling by hexes.
"Mr. Browne," Jack called into a microphone that connected the lab with various intercom points in the facility.
Sam jumped two feet off the ground! "Yeeess! Yes, right!"
"You're early, sir." Jack had never been on time for anything, either. "Please step back to the edge of the grass." Jack turned and activated the security System and quickly logged and saved his position in the data base, then brought the System and his guitar, still on from hours ago, to stand-by. He then shuffled out the door to formally meet this east coast guest.
Introductions. Jack explained the rules for information seekers at the lab: "photographs are allowed on the grounds only; I'll give your paper some camera-ready pictures of the machinery with the biographies and stuff from our PR file."
After a short time, Jack noticed that Sam Browne was staring at many of the wardings or hexes that Geo and others had placed on certain buildings and trees.
"Ah, those. Hexes; old spell logic." Jack didn't know much, beyond that settlers had brought many pagan beliefs with them for protection in the wilderness.
"May we go inside now, I'm chilled suddenly." Sam wondered what was in the small barn. Jack had barely mentioned it.
"Mr. Browne, please place your hand on this panel, right here and then we can proceed into Dr. Klein's lab." A simple palm test for Jack's visitor, one giant surprise for Geo later that weekend.
# # #
After a morning of compiling sound samples from Brian Eno's enormous musical library, Cesca downloaded her data to a storage disk and made a backup set for Mr. Gabriel in Armistead.
"Sound as space," she murmured. But space depended on perception and our ability to "see music" as an intellectual happening, transcending to "feel it" as metaphysical. This idea of Eno's is a modern possibility. He used electronics to pain the listener into his compositions. "Like a soul pulse-?" she wondered. While she was certain that Brian Eno had some keys to archetypal sounds, Cesca considered the possibility that Beethoven could have created similar "aural" symbols for those initiated into his particular patterns and historical timing. Where is the Universal score?
"Culture memory; cultural filter," Cesca called out. She decided to break-off of the San Francisco Rock Music Museum Reference Database, a number sequence she knew by heart now. Time to swim and think. Maybe she could get the John Cale later.
What she didn't realize at this point was the critical relationship between sound mathematics and engineering and the brain's ability to understand certain sound patterns as music. This recognition process, back into the mythological, was the door that she and Jack must locate and break-open.
Rock'n'roll + spirit science = the new alchemy. Any Rand called it "integration".
# # #
Geo strummed through he print-outs, electronic mail, telecopies, and the Nirvana Log from Jack's weekend adventure.
"Shit! Mr. Gabriel, hey, dude. Now! Check this out!"
Jack definitely heard her screaming over his personal volume dam in Michael Stipe's latest solo project.
"Did you know that your attempt to handle things without me fucked up?" Jack scanned the security service print-out and then up at Geo.
"Now we have proof that the CIA database interceptor is still current." But this didn't get Jack off the hook.
This is how Hercules would channel-speak through Geo, Jack thought. "No visitors without my knowledge; no rock punks, no women, no milk men!"
"Absolutely, Doctor." A title that he saved for times when his ass was hanging high-like the tree moss outside.
"If he didn't like my fendings, maybe we could plant some heavier powers for his return trip to 9-0-4. Bastards."
Geo raced over to the truth System, spilling her tea on Sidney, the cat, who didn't seem to mind. She was a "barnyarder," in the lab only because of the current excitement. "OK, what time is it in Australia? Peru-Madrid?" She punched at her wrist watch calculator like a chicken pecking morning seed.
"Jack, we need to touch base with the others. Get a cover sheet ready, we'll use code 40 for security. Let's see who this Sam Browne character is, fingerprints don't lie."
Jack wondered just how much the CIA knew about Truth System-and the Citadel gig. "Big Bang II." Code 40 was a simple multiple layer code based on an ancient Amazonian prayer. In using it, Geo established an instant red warning flag in the minds of all those privileged to translate it.
"I'm all set with the telecopy cover." Geo scanned the cover and second page into the overhead tele-copier interface rack and returned to her file on government employees. Jack wasn't getting a thing that night.
# # #
By 5:30 am, Armistead was crowing and bad-breathin' its way into showers and jobs in the Eugene metropolis. The rains had returned with a purple-blue vengeance, little black bullets, shattering sleep and hairdos alike. Mic rolled over, and over, and over. One red-eyed reporter with another covert breakfast in Bumfuck, American; alone. "This amazing Dr. Klein and her team of myth diggers." All of the press and biographical stuff on his motel room floor didn't say special to him-if there was something under the "Geographic Gloss." And yet he still felt weird by the place itself. Hexes, my ass."
The water in the shower was ice cold.
By 6:15 am, Geo and Jack had Mickey Baxter by the balls, palm print and all. Plans were foaming, and for all Jack Knew, the world community would never view the CIA the same way again! One 'clock, Sam.
# # #
Francesca was lost in space, Senior piano composition, Course 411. The Professor was a dead man on a university leash, having lost any connection to modern music and the arts sometime back in 1976. She had too much to do with her own ideas, but she had to maintain her routine, like University. Nothing really mattered unless it was to find the connection between sound and spirit. Cesca left the Arts Building and headed to the "U" monorail for downtown and a friend. She still didn't know why there was such a commotion at the lab in Oregon last night; tonight she would press her papa for information.
Madrid's one track, high speed intricacy transport System was only recently completed. It literally shook the old town and created an interesting juxtaposition in architecture and urban planning. An automobile ban had been in effect since Cesca was three and now many Eurocities were overturning pavement in favor of gardens and cleaner air. At "Picasso Fair," she left the train for a small café built into an old brewery. A loose collection of old punks and students, drunks and politicians-hiding out from city hall and final exams. Sergio was playing dice when she poked him in the side. He barely twitched.
"Hey, Mister. Two beers here please."
"Cesca, do!!! What's up?"
Sergio produced many of the new bands from Madrid and the suburbs. Records by local favorites Catarata and Santo Escondite were Serg's and now he can spend his time at the brewery playing games with the less fortunate.
"You know about my sound research, the secret stuff, right?"
"But where are you going with it? Should you play with this new alchemy? I just don't see the whole vision."
"I can't tell you now. When Jack was here last we stopped our explanation on purpose,-complications, yes?"
Francesca Poured and pondered. Did Sergio have a clue to a question that was nagging her? Cesca took a shallow plunge.
"At a rock concert. The artists and audience are staged and interact in predictable ways. I'm wondering: what are the variables that can send a spiritual wave or ringing throughout the audience? How can the band be a shamanic force, and the music, a spiritual power?"
"The group needs to open a resonance, or harmonic channel, and share it with the audience. The best bands initiate and burn a ritualistic fire of sound and sight. And spirit. Remember the followers of the Grateful Dead! It was a cult, with off the symbols and rituals of any post-modern religious movement," sighed Sergio.
"So the music pulses outward like a wave? Like in wave theory in physics?"
"Why not, as a general model, but intensity, volume, harmonics, words, and many performance variables all play a role in the concert mandela. It's a living circle of sound, spirit, and technology."
"There must be a transaction, of shared belief, between the crowd and the band, a faith or trust in sounds, composition, and words. The band, with the people, are enacting a modern version of an ancient gathering for ceremony and the fans must reach out to the performers on stage. Live, music is a two-way phenomenon. What people see on stage is critical information that helps to create a mythic or transcendental relationship with performers. The pioneering group, yes, played in-the-round, right?
"A living mandela through an ancient staging form, right Sergio!"
"What happens to this mythic mix when a video screen enters the mix? And a taped concert or televised song is substituted?" asked Cesca.
"Sound pulse is diminished at the expense of superficial close ups or-how is it-soap operatic effects! The union of the spirits is more difficult. Many live broadcasts use the global stereo and expert direction well. This is a complex area, Cesca."
She wanted to ask Sergio about how important pre-event advertising was. Especially if there could be a little or none! But she held back, wanting to remain in control of the Citadel.
"Thanks babe, see you at the gig." Francesca headed for the train, rethinking the "Third wave."
# # #
Not only did Geo plant some dicey tidbits in Mickey Baxter's file at the CIA, she planted some disturbing insights into his mind. She claimed that the Truth System was working on a new "unified theory of life on earth" and that with all of the extraterrestrial contact her team was getting, the very way humans commune and share the earth's resources was up for grabs.
"We go back in time and apply mythic lessons for a better period ahead."
"But Dr., what about the every pending apocalypse?"
Jack sensed that Brown was lost in space with facts and hexes now or maybe mind-fucked with Geo's psycho-babbling. The two left the lab to Jack for the rest of the day; Geo waved good-bye to her "bugged-naked" visitor from the east and headed to Eugene for a Quaker peace march and sit-in.
Jack first decided to record a song for Francesca for the weekly Nirvana Pouch, due out as usual Monday morning. His electric Ovation created a wonder stirring through his earphones and his voice reverberated softly in the background. "Another love song." He penned a few choice words onto the cassette liner card and dubbed a letter he had recorded earlier into side B. "DAT was out the door."
Next he retrieved another myth from the Truth System, this one from an ancient Tilted/Aztec story concerning the creation of the Universe, unusual because both gods and humans were required to preserve the life of the universe and the lives of the people.
In an index from the University of Mexico at Mexico City, in the Folklore and Mythology databases, he found a reference to a videoplay from "The Five Worlds and Their Suns," a 1996 production that contained a scene entitled the "Creation of Music." He jacked into the multiple layers of electronic memory and audiovisual inputs, all duplicating systems: "play/record."
"It appears the god of the heavens, Tezcatlipoca, and the god of the wind, Quetzalcoatl, team up to bring the beauty of music down to the earth." Pause video. "From the script, Cesca, the God of the Sun is opposed to this transference of the musicians and their powerful spirit. "Stop cassette recorder. Start Video and recording system. "This is a cool production, beginning at dusk and into the night, and well costumed. Unfortunately the music is suspect. You'll have to give it a going over. Here's a great quote from the playbill."
"So it came to pass that the (two Gods) helped one another to create music upon Earth. Music accompanied the awakening dawn. It inspired the dreaming man. It comforted the waiting mother. One could hear it in the wings of the bird overhead and in the waters of the brook. From that time forth, every living thing could create its own kind of music."
Jack stopped the tape and keyed the Truth System to stand-by, noting the myriad of flashing lights and low buzz of the disk drives and tape loops.
"Interesting, the God's and their presence in our reality. Thunder, wind, animals and water in this myth all embody power from a higher guidance or order. A different place than the one we know about. But what built the sounds and songs of the myths that we have today? And how are we creating the soundtracks of our children's mythology?"
Perhaps natural, or ambient, sounds held some promise-and certainly Cesca was putting together important sources from modern composers. But does rock music have the power of myth? Their vision, now a spark, sought a power that had existed all around us for ages. One door to a billion handles into the universal soul.
Jack jumped down from the controls with his messages for Francesca, but not before checking the security monitors and electronic door locks of the grounds. The small barn stood alone, systems all ok, but gripped Jack in a strange way. He wanted in-even with the scolding that hung like and Oregon coastal fog on his back.
"This there a secret way in there?"
Palm down, lights and heat reset, Jack headed to the square in Eugene for hot tunes and tea at the Café Rott.
Inside the small barn, really more a fortified bunker than a shed, an internal satellite dish rotated to download the next signal from the Truth System, this one a linkage from Ramone in Peru. The various instruments, machines and wall to-wall charts looked like a set from the Last Monty Python rampage, "On The Second Moon to the Left!" A strange two-pole contraption stuck up into the small silo section. A robot whirled silently to the printer port, sticking a probe into the thing like a mother to a child. It carefully folded the printout and piled it on a small, cluttered desk in the corner. Geo wasn't growing plants under lights as Jack had half-heartedly guessed. She and her team were experimenting with lightning. Real lightning.
But with results far, far advanced from the kite and string in the time of Franklin. Geo believed that she had tapped a primordial source, an elemental energy that just might transform the Vision Machine into a mythic mind traveler. Lightning: sound and light, and lots of heat. Hiding this research from the military industrial complex was mission impossible!
And she knew everything there was to know about Jack and Francesca.
# # #
In lower Spanish schools, they taught children a meditation, full of sunsets and ocean birds and sounds of gentle rain s on coastal rooftops. But now Francesca was strapped and booted into the Truth System and hyperspace-and she remembered the sequence of image codes that unlocked a big, white door to another place. Each time she saw a key image or feeling, like the sounds of the waves at the beach, she replaced it with a new sign from Jack's work with mythic symbology. She wanted to discover how her memory, in combination with the System and retooled meditation, could work to produce information on archetypical sounds.
They needed to select four mythic channels, to experience through the Truth System interface, and she saw a possibility. By duplicating the sounds of the ancients in a modern format, they might finally break the storyteller's door into super consciousness.
She was hovering, soul-flexing with the soundtrack of the Toltec place. Francesca smiled under the weight of love and technology and waited for the light.
# # #
The lightning was slamming into Ramone's mountaintop lab, streaking down two shiny poles, lightning rods for a spooky mountain plan. The power activated a myriad of recording and collection devices, which Ramone analyzed and repackaged for the others in the System. All physical aspects of the flash and sound where described in microscopic detail, while the experimental conversion process developed a different analysis with the mainframe back in Lima. What is the alchemical potential in this natural bang? There were stories that told of how early man mythologized the powerful earth storm clouds overhead; that these forces were harbingers of sound and song; dance, flood and death.
In modern time, weather forces still influence our global mythic theatre, especially in the powerful imaginations of children. Geo knew that we are emotionally vulnerable during violent natural events, and even falling snow triggers certain emotional cues, as does a bright sunny morning. The weather effects our states. It is these catalytic orientations, or semi-conscious awarenesses, that she explores through the new alchemy. Lightning brought a global energy net through the wizard Ben Franklin. But there were alternate mythical sources, too. She believed that once the "kinetic shroud" was peeled away, a spirit would reside.
Lightning is the door she was determined to break. One hot cosmic baby.
# # #
The truth System was the dictionary/tutor of every student's wildest dreams. Of course, the entire database accessed the best libraries of the new Century. Jack switched off his guitar, with Eric Johnson in mind. Data file.
Atmospherics" (Harv\024\vr\min:X) 1. Radio and Television noise in a radio receiver; or randomly distributed white spots or bands on the screen of a television receiver, caused by interference from natural electromagnetic disturbances in the atmosphere. 2. A special sound or light effect created for live rock music or theatre. See Harv\025\vr:
"Isn't this strange," Jack leaned back, headset in the two cushion rest from some deadhead Armistead dentist. "Where was I reading about new research on naturally occurring sounds?"
In the den, where Geo was coating her objects d'art with dust, the wood stove was cooing and hissing softly. Jack rummaged through piles of popular and scientific journals, trying to connect a weak memory with a current quest. Mars Magazine, Sierra World Journal, Public TV Guide. "Ha!" Weather\Window. An obscure quarterly published by an international team of scientists stationed on the moon since 1997. One of many electronic mail journals that was available on disk or directly from a public access database at NASA. Geo had printed a hard copy.
She had left it on the kitchen table about a week ago and Jack remembered the dot-matrix style cover, a cool graphic illustrating how lightning was brought into a container, but he couldn't decipher the image and it had restarted a strange rumble inside of him,-"butterflies of electricity."
Geo had spilled coffee on page 3. On page 15, he noticed some scribblings on an article entitles "Earth Storms and Electromagnetic Phenomenon: New Paradigms from the Moon Meteorological Station. "Sun spots, gravity flux quotients, orbit vectors, weather charts, rock'n'roll!" Suddenly he jumped back, and stared up at the ceiling beams and the fire shadow angels.
The text read: "-we are learning more about the power of sun spots and their effect on planetary weather and it appears certain-" Jack turned the page and glanced at the right margin where Geo had written: "check print-out from Ramone against this electromagnetic valence chart," with a reminder to "check lightning antennae alignment in small barn a.s.a.p." He hacked into the Truth System, shaking. He loaded the magazine and sent a copy to Francesca. He couldn't get into the small barn. He had tried, but now he could pursue this train of thought, that had started with Ben Franklin's discovery. A kite, string, and a key. ZZZaappp! The Moon!
"Why was Geo secretly studying lightning? How does it relate to mythology? Did she want me to find that magazine?" Jack was talking to the Universe again, and to no one.
Synchronicity was knocking on Jack's door. Would he challenge his friend and hero? A ladder of trust needed a sturdy wall to lean on. He would climb as slow as possible.
# # #
Francesca was deep into her subconscious, in a trance induced by a spirit science marriage. She was actually picking apart the ancient melodies from the Toltec play, searching for archetypical qualities, patterns, or symbols. Through its meta-psycho sensors, her journey was recorded for later study. It could even record the dream state but few ever wanted reruns.
She was wanted on the outside and a small skin prod device gently vibrated and brought her out of the meditation. It was a message from Armistead "What did the "great satellite" bring this time?"
# # #
Jack had just slipped into his sleeping bag after refueling the stove when he felt Geo's presence. He had crashed in the den after stirring through galaxies of database information; the System was still printing articles, bibliographies, and abstracts. When Geo swept into the kitchen, she knew he was working.
"Jack, I think it's time you met Jami."
Geo dribbled teas on the way to the mystery barn while Jack tip-toed right behind. He wasn't sure he was awake, everything was moving so quickly. She placed her palm on the security pad and motioned him to do the same; she turned the key and hit the lights. A robot whirled, sputtered, and extended its communication sensors in a quick, steady pace toward them.
"G/999/RED.PROEP/XERA." Geo commanded!
The robot's front panel zipped down and immediately replied to Geo's verbal access code: "Greetings Dr. Klein. Did you take your vitamins today? Please log-in unidentified visitor."
Geo entered some numbers, pressed some buttons and validated a new code sequence for Jack to use. From then on, he was in the lightning barn.
"I know about the Citadel Concert," she said.
"The what?" Jack was beyond himself now. He plopped right down on an Indian rug under his feet, in awe of the laboratory he once thought was a pot factory. "Jesus!"
"That's the name Shillart saw when he read one of your secret messages to Francesca by mistake. He believes that our secret energy source, given that the correct engineering applications can be designed, can be a way to your "archetypical séance video groove-in." Door breaking!
"I should have realized that you would know what I was sourcing-and sending to Spain. You would allow an application of the Truth System at this early point? You're not miffed at us?"
"Hell no, Romeo face! Come on, let's fix breakfast and I'll explain where we're at with Jami the robot boy and the lightning transformer process. The way we know myth and our ancient heritage is about to explode, Jacko!"
"Franklin didn't have our modern technological superstructure, global information System or bio-medical advances. But he brought us electricity, the first level from the barrier. We are electrochemical beings, Jack, and suddenly we had an external currency to use to push back against entrophy. It was a grand gift, and we thing, part of the plan toward higher consciousness by beings we can now only dance with, and dream about in the shadows. Your project is genius and we think we can help."
"What is the barrier?" Jack was astounded.
"Think of it like as intermittent stream. When the rains come, water is now a spiritual or mythical current that only flows during violent, natural happenings. And lightning, right!
We are unraveling a universal DNA or met code, first discovered by the weather pioneers from the moon station. You read about it last evening! I put that into your face on purpose, buddy."
"The barrier is really our own ignorance, too! It is time to access the spirit inside each of us. We now have the force to activate myth, and we can power the new alchemy. Perhaps, though music, we can synthesize a global advancement in human understanding, a second communion and begin a world healing!"
"Door motherfuckin' breakin', palsy."
Jack started for the phone before it rang: Francesca?!!
"Have you heard the same speal I did? The Citadel Project is out. Tell me about the lightning lab! Have you interfaced the containment vessel yet?" Francesca finally paused for a breath.
"You're coming over here, Cesca, a.s.a.p. God, what a cool drop of love this is!" What do you mean, the containment vessel?" said Jack.
"Didn't Geo turn you on to the schematics and research tapes?"
"No. We saw the barn lab and Jami the robot. She rapped about a force derived from lightning, and a braver new world." He looked back at Geo, now at the controls, headphones on, tied into an expanding world. "Oz reincarnate."
"Honey, what about school?"
No problem, I can give my Senior Recital early and be there in four days, max." Jack loved it when her Spanish and street jargon mixed. He loved her.
"Bring everything not duplicated here. Let's talk again when you get a flight."
Jack left the laboratory and walked to his meditation spot along Dreaming River, in search of his orbiting nervous System. "To have the power of the Truth System, and this interplanetary energy as well. I can't believe it. Now we can find our ancient songs and start a fire under myth as never before!"
# # #
Jack viewed the disk from the lightning lab and discovered that Geo and the others had named the secret project, "Grail II." He always loved the story of the sacred cup and its many reincarnations. Two days from now, he would dream about the vessel that Joseph of Arimathea used to collect Christ's blood as he was taken down from the cross. But he would also see a second transformation, a loud blast of light entering a chamber-causing a bright glow and much happiness on the foggy faces around it! A living, mythic fire, and a vivid signal from his subconscious.
With complete security clearance, his palm ID opened the steel doors to the small barn and the low humming of Jami's monoped track. A sound reminiscent of his boyhood toys.
"Greetings, rock star!" Geo had programmed his lexicon. Stay tuned-
"Jesus. Hey, lost in space! Jami, access the Central Communication System while I'm here, please. Let me know if we receive any telecopys."
"From Spain, per chance?" More Geo than Jack needed.
"From the moon, from the Deli, from the Quaker softball tournament, little man." Jack added.
Jack leaned up against a mainframe cabinet at Jami whipped through start-up procedures, booting Grail II into "orbit."
The schematic that Cesca mentioned showed four stages in the operation of the new alchemy. It began with the raw source, the lightning energy, comprised of sound waves and electromagnetic articles and an unknown force X that Geo believed was a mythical rope that bound the two fields together into a paranormal electrical energy field with applications for the Truth System and the Citadel Concert.
Phase Two is a separation and storage process that breaks the raw force apart for study and containment. Step Three realigns the forces and allows the researcher to work with each one alone or in combinations. And Phase Four is a complex engineering prayer at this point, one that brings Grail II into the Truth System. A final linkage that deeps the operations staff on the interface grid for twelve hours each day.
"Jack. Try this on." It looked like an old leather bicycle helmet, but up-close it was a resin based skull from with velcro pads-covered with wires. "Frankenstein wasn't subjected to this attire, Geo."
"Phase Four. The System has chosen me to interface Grail II. Ramone is researching lightning from the remote station in Peru, the Spanish team is donating one horny teenage-musician woman, and the rest of the work is split as capabilities. Plus we have brought in some old-time friends as consultants."
"Your robot is a god damn comic brat!"
"Love it to death!" Geo extracted her "hell helmet" from Jack's head and slotted another hard disk into Jami's metal back. "Remember Mister. We are on full security from here on out. Take extra care. Sleep in the den."
Jack returned to his study of the third stage and stared at the containment vessel in wonder. Geo said that a small amount of energy had been delivered by Air Express yesterday and more was on the way from Ramone's team. "Force X could be the greatest discovery since,-" he said.
"-since the pet rock." Jami didn't miss a beat!
Cesca had an ancient Pat Metheny tape in her personal stereo: "American Garage." "Full circle" on side B, a gift from a guy still tow thousand miles out. Her flight was refueling in New York's new oversea transportation hub and she wanted to make a run into Manhattan for a glimpse of the city after the gang wars and the rebuilding. But there wasn't time.
# # #
She read Ego's initial research notes:
"lightning is a causal agent, or catalyst, and in many ways revealing to us in that it is an apex of the weather System of the planet-the angel and song of the coming storm-and a true natural power source which directly aided the chemical transformation of the early earth. The spark of the gods. Zeus is well known in mythology for his lightning rods. They are mind shaking and soul stirring messages, a thundering ancient musical timbre in our archetypical orchestra."
Geo's rough treatise concluded: "The primordial soup, an angry, churning prehistory, still remains in our collective souls, in our constant mistreatment of our bodies - in a dying planetary biosphere. We have been shown a new way now. Let us all double our efforts to reveal the power of the Grail II force."
# # #
Jack Gabriel drove north toward the Portland metro airport. Thoth is around his shoulders.
# # #
Over Chicago and the northern plains, Francesca fell asleep to the hum of her seat mate's Phillip Glass tape. She dreamed deeply, into a black quiet, pinpointed by light fragments and sounds blowing, tinkling. She watched her hand enter the dream from below and open a door. Bright light, stereo sounds-layers of repetitive chords reaching for-
She stirred and yawned with the tilting of the supersonic jet, papers spilling onto the floor of the cabin. ""hit." She slowly gathered the forth myth for the Citadel Concert, a story with a moral message and a powerful musical dimension.
From her notes: "Gassire's Lute" is a tale of a warrior who choose to attain immortality at the expense of his family and people, unusual in world mythology because the hern usually acquires great fame by helping his people.
Gassire's Lute was an African myth from an aristocratic tribe called the Fasa, later known as the Soninke, who lived in what is now roughly modern day Egypt. The Fasa were medieval knights who fought on horse back with spears and swords for pleasure as well as for conquest. They would fight in single combat against only those who were their social equals. The myth tells of the god-spirit called Wagadu who lived in the hearts of people, who cam four times because of their vanity, deception, greed, and quarreling. Four times she changed direction: north, south, east and west. She was visible in times of war, when the air resounded with the clash and clamor of battle-as sword met sword or shield. They shouted the names of this powerful spirit: "Hoooh! Dierral Agadal Gannal Silal Hoooh! Fasal."
Gassire led son after son into battle, only to stain his lute with their blood and deaths. His lute sang a great but tragic battle song, which caused the death of his father King and the disappearance of Wagadu. Gassire choose fame over life itself.
This would be an important song as they wove their Concert spell. Would it compare to Souza, or to Nazi battle hymns? Country Joe and the Fish at Woodstock? Doors?
Portland then rose up to meet her.
# # #
Neither one wanted the kiss to end but an involuntary force broke their touch and words spilled out like rollerball players at the start of the world championships. The lovers spoke rapidly of the not so secret Citadel Concert, of the CIA spook, of hexes and robots, and their vision. The new alchemy had lugged them into a world of global information and an electronic community and now the good "Big Brother of the West" was channeling the Truth System for the gig of the dawning century. Two young spacekids now docked in a spiritual orbit. Heroes preparing a mythic menu of rebirth.
"There is much testing to do, as you know," explained Jack. Geo's lab required the prima matter, or Force X, from another collector because lightning wasn't common in their coastal climate. Ramone was sending all he could from the mountaintop in Peru."
Francesca stared out the window at the Willamette Valley and followed Jack's thoughts. "The early tests from Peru and Australia proved positive for this charged beam. Our lab's brain studies correlate with REM sleep research and with creativity analysis from Jung and other dream theorists. But how will it interact with the Truth System??? Has Geo finished the interface technology yet? You said she had fitted a helmet prototype to your head-"
"Grail II is utilizing a spiritual force so we must be aware of our own psychic balance when we jack-in. As in positive/negative aspects of electricity, certain spiritual polarities are sure to be formatted and aligned."
"When can we begin to search for the cup?"
"Tomorrow, Cesca. Tomorrow we rock with Prometheus!"
# # #
Geo let the lovers sleep until 7:00 am, then turned on the morning show on public radio and started the coffee. She was expecting a forth shipment of Source X from the airport around eight and she wanted to be at full strength-humans, robot and systems. Some co-workers were flying in later that day, as well.
Jack grabbed the pile of telecopies and the Nirvana Log and sat down to update with a cup of coffee. Francesca was one long, purring smile, stretching into the downstairs shower. Jack still hadn't researched the last myth that Cesca had selected.
"Honey, what material do you have from the Fasa tale? What's on that floppy you showed us last night?"
Cesca shouted between shampoo and conditioner: "On my disk, you'll find the files go something like: my notes; test and references; and a critique of a movie called "Grassire's Battle" that was produced by Africa One T.V. and the BBC in 1994 for the Sudanese People's Celebration. I didn't have time to boot a copy of the program before I left. It won an award that year."
"Thanks honey. Your father sends his regards this morning. How's the hot water doin'?"
"Eat your pancakes, angel!"
Jack heard a van pull up outside of the laboratory and went to see the shipment from Ramone. It was marked "Experimental," "Fragile," and "Inert Substance." He saw the irony. He was just as volatile as the canister, and soon to connect to its magical contents. Geo waved the driver off and radioed for Jami to carry the small crate to the Grail II barn.
"Hey lover boy!" But Jack ignored yet another programmed ribbing.
"Jami baby, please transport shipment four to the lab for me; we'll see ya after breakfast. Let's pig, Jack." Geo was hungry.
Jami's retractable arms scooped up the box as he whirled and headed for the security door.
Jack called: "Don't drop it!" Jami retorted with a slow, low electric sound that amazed both Geo and Jack: "Wonder butt."
# # #
Around noon, Geo was on the System, pouring over R&D data from the other laboratories. She decided to interface the Grail II process with the Truth System through conventional telecommunication technology so that a modem and a phone line could interconnect her workers. But there were risks. They would encode the force for secrecy using a device that Geo lifted from experimental work at Berkeley, coped during a "reunion tour" last year. Schillart called it the "psycho scrambler." Jack was due for the longest distance phone calls in his life.
They experimented with the transformed particles from the lightning, analyzing its effect on test animals, later release unharmed. Francisca recalled that Ben Franklin "shocked" his dinner to dinner to death when he first began his experiments back in the 18th Century. The new alchemy, through Geo's helmet and second running of the Holy Grail, failed to neither kill nor enlighten her technicians. Routine medical research showed that the Force had many similar characteristics to nervous and electro-chemical properties in the brain, and curiously enough, when the Australian team finally interfaced with Oregon, their brain/artificial intelligence database program percolated with strange new variations. Grail II was now a round-the-clock-and-globe hunt and the Nirvana Log was now a full-time assignment for an intern from Corvallis. And sleeping bags now replaced Geo's antiques in the "den-youth hostel."
Jack and Francesca moved their work on archetypical sounds into the small barn, furthering their understanding of the four myths that would be the template to the sounds of the Citadel Concert. The couple were something to marvel at. Each morning, after a run along Dreaming River, Francesca taught Jack how to meditate, to reach deep into his essence. Then breakfast at 7:00 am, followed by briefings and strategizing with the scientists until 9:00 am. Geo then gave them full use of the System until noon. Jack was scheduled to go "on-line" with the force in two days, making time short. They were back on the Truth System each evening at 11:00 pm. It was tonight that the video and electronic databases were choreographed, or formatted, together with the meditations, and Cesca wanted Jack to use the "halo helmet" as she called it, so he could get the feeling of wearing it. "Try it on, Jack!"
"Right Geo needs to adjust the frontal plate, otherwise, an angelic fit."
"O.K. What's doing here? What are you doing when they throw the switch?" Francesca laughed. "This is launch control, sugarman."
"One, control breathing; two, total body relaxation; three, activate visual and database program interfaces. Journey One bound."
"Remember, I'll be recording this adventure, so don't touch any controls after you activate the System. Geo will monitor the rest."
"All set. I wonder if Jami has finished the critique?"
Before the Grail research was revealed to them, Jack Cesca projected their own door breaking-with the Truth System and it's enormous global database. They predicted that information stored and accessed through the machine could be used as a catalyst for opening up the subconscious, tapping a common evolution of sound and a quilted global heritage-unknown energies in initiated, then focused by meditation. They would play and record the sounds of the mythic auger in a super technological psycho-theater. Breaking doors from first level sources inward, toward the infinite soul; stripping away unnecessary noise and Centuries of cross-cultural mutations to discover the sounds first responsible for the God's of mythology. Francesca believed that archetypal sounds were constructed prior-and along with-archetypal dream symbols and that Geo's hypothesis concerning a spiritual syzygy between naturally occurring sound and early experiences by prehistoric people was true. Composer and singer Steve Kilbey believes that music is magic, and evidence of another energy force or spirits that played on earth before the time of man. And that this power/presence is still with us today. Witness his Hex recordings and film series.
Jami had the script from the first myth critiques and rewritten by the time they had returned to the lab. Technicians were taking readings from the containment vessel and Geo was suggesting electrical modifications over the intercom. The atmosphere was festive, like under the big top in a small town just before showtime.
# # #
Jack had chosen the aboriginal myth first because of the great support available to him from the Australian lab, including an authentic painting of a Dreaming that would guide their efforts. Teamwork with Shillart's people had established definitive mythic motifs and symbolic archetypes that Francesca hoped would open pathways to archetypical sounds in the origins of west central aboriginal ceremonies and songs.
Jack noted certain modifications to Journey One and made adjustments in detail and sequence. Schillart had sent the painting to Jack as a birthday gift last year and Jack placed its videotaped image in their meditation script, calling for close-ups of the intricate dots, similar to, but years prior to, the impressionists. In the style of the painters, as they told a living and complex tale of ancestral beings that were very much in present time to the myth keeper and his people. The painting would help Jack relax and to initiate his mediation. Jami though it very hypnotic at close range. Few non-aboriginals had access to the meaning of this mythic dreaming and Jack realized that if their mission to its sounds was successful, the Truth System would have to ask permission to use any aspects of it. The experiment thus began within a sacred mystique and trust.
Blue Lake Dreaming involved a young man who must travel across his ancestral landscape to an annual gathering of tribal men and spirits by a very old lake. As part of their ceremony, the initiated sang songs to the Sky and Water beings. Western researchers have taped aboriginal songs by never of this importance. And Schillart's database only described the painting and a brief mention of the artist, an elder who lived and painted from 1950-1987.
The Jami broke the humming inter-human matrix of minds and machines with data speak:
"The religious system of the aborigines is based on the inseparability of territory, people, and mythical ancestors. The concept of the Dreaming refers to the ancestral past, to the ancestral beings and their actions, to a given time space itinerary of places across the landscape, and to dreams themselves in which sequences of the ancestral past were revealed. The Dreaming is also the sacred web of the present, the driving force that guides and channels the here and now. The Aboriginal people see the landscape as alive with the power of the ancestors and, at the same time, humanized in its essential oneness with the people."
# # #
Someone at the Armistead Record Newspaper had called the lab, inquiring as to the large number of new staff at the facility. And soon thereafter Eugene reporters were "wondering" before the video camera by the front entrance. Geo knew that some information was needed as diversionary bait. She planned a press conference for dust with Jami serving as mouth. And Geo programmed some "psycho-baited PR," limiting what "microbody" could ad lib. Geo "wasn't" available."
Old Doc Klein was too consumed with bugs on a grander scale. Countdown to Test One, including Francesca and Jack's Journey One experiment, was less than fifteen hours away. The Truth System was on red alert. They would collect the source material from the Grail II process and initiate Jack's vision during off-peak hours so that the local powerboys would not be alerted.
# # #
Cesca was watching the video tape of Jami's first "meet the press" gig from that afternoon, glancing back at a digital timer that a technician had placed over the System's main console. "Mythic time," as her father said. Jami released a non-story about a System training seminar and ping-pong tournament won last year by the Peruvians. And as a "feature tid bit," he offered the reporters a story from old Pennsylvania time about a hex symbol not unlike the one that Geo had placed on the barn. 14 hrs., 37 min., 12 sec, and counting.
# # #
Geo had gathered the staff for the afternoon briefing in the den where wiring diagrams had replaced trinkets, and white coats had replaced red in a divine revolutionary unfolding. After introductions of the new staff just in from U.C. Berkeley, she grabbed the mouse and laid out the "launching area" with an analog overhead unit interfaced with an electronic designer program. Because of the unknown effects of the Grail II material and their initial engineering efforts, the experiment would have to be monitored double-close.
Jack of course was the man in the glow, jumping on the dental chair like a great white stallion! He wears the halo; he meditates into the "go place." "21st Century Cyberstein Man," as Cesca joked. Francesca will be video taping Jack's progress through the script some seven feet back, along with speaking to him when needed through a specially implanted communication linkage. To either side of the Truth System were two arcs of scientific and medical technicians who were responsible for monitoring Jack'' vital signs and for tracking the progress of the Grail II interface. Remember the launch control room at NASA? Schillart would head up the Grail II barn team while Geo worked in a special control room off to the side of the main floor area where she had constructed a parallel System panel in hopes of patching into Jack'' vision-journey into the Aboriginal. From this computer, she would have access to the database and all communication systems as the original. Geo pointed out the fire fighting equipment then released everybody, with the exception of Jami, for final System preparations and testing. 10 hrs., 54 min., 08 sec.
# # #
Jack was playing his Fender when Schillart strode in from the small barn. He looked excited, like he had just stuck his finger in a socket!!
"Jack, my friend, how do you feel?" Never one to color his language, Schillart.
"Goos. Is the phone company gonna charge us a mint for the Grail II interface?"
"No, or should I say, I trust not. Our preliminary studies can't assist us because of the fast breakdown of the material after it leaves the containment vessel-and we can't test more due to our limited supply here at Armistead."
Schillart's beaper went off and so did Schillart. Jack went back to his electric vibrations, trying to stay in no place certain.
# # #
7 hrs. 23., 19 sec. Jami skirted into the kitchen, the one place that Geo wanted left free of the metamorphosis. She and Francesca were brainstorming possible trouble scenarios and Jami might prove helpful in problem solving because he had the script in his memory. Too much juice; medical alarms; machine malfunctions; power and/or telephone breakdowns; human error; lack of testing; virgin territory; fear. No one really knew how the combination of source current, meditation, and pre-programmed audio-visual material would combine. They had "research from the moon" and time would tell if the new alchemy would work in Jack as well. 5 hrs. 5 min., 45 sec.
# # #
Jack was pacing behind the Grail II barn, with Jami right behind. "Mr. Hot Seat" was mumbling something about "the light." It's so clear," echoed Robo head. Franklin's kite connected the primordial spark of the gods with our dimming civilization. This is an electro-mythical yin-yang in the history of modern time! Spiraling layers of thunder and light! Mythic vibrations,-a new soul science experiment."
"Now the reverse is about to happen," Jami continued. "Jack, this test will begin in 2 hrs., 17 min. count. You are both connector and medium. Becoming lock and key to what could be a syzygy producing techno-spirituality. Listen to a quote from the Truth System library:
"An electric lamp is not electricity itself, but symbolizes the power of electricity in that it radiates light. But electricity can also be manifested as warmth and motion. The lamp, consequently, is only a partial symbol. If the symbol were to bring all these different manifestations of electricity under a common denominator, it would have to consist of a formula tracing all these different modes of operation back to their elemental essence. According to ancient cosmological doctrine, this common elemental denominator is the flash lightning."
:Excellent Jami." Jack was amazed, the way slightly clearer." So we are juggling with two things: one, we are using lightning and two, we are building a formula for an additional manifestation of this ancient power. Who wrote that passage?"
"Please dump the book and all related bibliographical references immediately. Francesca must review them. Maybe Geo, too."
Jami told Jack that it was time for his pre-test meditation and both spirits went in separate directions. They were "due" in 1 hr., 3 min., 58 sec.
# # #
When Francesca opened Jack's eyes, long closed from a deep, hazy walk deep within his unconscious borders, he noticed a video cam crew, shooting silently in the corner. They had taken refuge in Geo's personal space above the main laboratory and suddenly it was "strangeland."
"The documentary, right." 17 min., 00 sec.
# # #
Geo was working intensely at her interface panel, communicating with a "Ph.D. roadie," as she called her interns from Eugene. The crew came from dolphin research, brain biochemistry, computer design, and electrical engineering. "Patch eleven?" Patch 31? OK., right. Audio phase check." It sounded like a sound check. It was! How many hats, Geo? Producer, editor, mixer, mother. Underneath her "Kingdom coming," she wriggled with girlish delight at the scam she had engineered, how she "allowed" Jack and Francesca to make her work a universe or two. She now knew the basic value of intergenerational research. "B" and we can be." She sputtered under her garlic breath. "Ha!"
# # #
Another mini-cam was filming Schillart and his crew in the Grail IOI barn. Jami was tester and court jester! If this thing worked out, "Gear Bucket" would be poster child and the star of the movie. "Source levels remain constant, Doc."
Great, now check the transfer switches and the safety locks." It was time for "Grail lightning."
# # #
While Francesca discussed the database with Jack as he was "slipped into the Halo," Geo was punching buttons in her remote booth., Technicians silently gestured, frantic with nervous systems long pickled with homemade jams and funky tofu dip. Jami lurched then coolly glared, one prepared-for-launch robothead.
Then Jack said "RIGHT!" a little too loudly and Cesca took up her stand at the video and biomedical sensor equipment. She was only to film Jack's face during the experiment; others were assigned the entire show. Geo's lab was like one high-tech human Christmas tree-and Jack was the angel, soon to be electrified and shinning. He began to breathe deeply, to vibrate, to walk down, deep, past his training codes and boy scout programming, to a promise.
Geo: "Schillart, pre-amps only-"
Schillart: "Buzz up. Hot board is yours, Control."
A technician worked along side the Australian, hand recording data computer already had stored.
Jack: "Francesca, run tape 2.0. Choice volume for now."
Geo: "Everything is tight, spaceman. You will only hear my voice again if we bang this run. Bring it home, rock star."
Francesca: "Breathe, mister. Truth System input, totally fixed-awesome."
Jack was walking down a dusty red outback road, which suddenly seemed new, even after many prior research jaunts. The painting was segued, it appeared at the end of his driveway, coming in and out of focus like a cheap microscope-or a drunk. A huge, billowing diaphramic feeling was inside of him, as if he were inside a large opaque tent in the middle of-? His heart was a dripping cycle. He breathed, and breathed, and breathed deep,- and his sci-fi halo shifting slightly.
Oh, God, the music! Something was weaving in and out of,-somewhere- Should he run? Will this speed up, F-stop?
Francesca's voice waved into him. He stopped to admire a distant rock formation. Intense, strange curiosity. A pull-?
Francesca: "Great smile, baby. Now you need to continue toward that rock. Phase Two will be on your visual cue; take your time."
The beats assisted his breathing, now monitored at three-quarter his normal level. Music echoed in dust clouds at his feet and sang with birds floating silently overhead,-.struck in colorous rays as the sun beat down. "Breath, two, three, four, five-"
Jack crossed his fingers, Code Two. Geo and Cesca nodded at each other and observed Jack's new route. He looked like one of the vibrating tee pees from the last Talking Heads record. He was humming cosmic royalties.
He was aware-a new environment now. Swelling with the exo-upgrade. A slight smell of water: The music lighter, drumming? Was he stripping memory stores, dancing with archtypical sound patterns, or was this a mood enhancer soundtrack? This was Francesca's secret for obvious investigate verification., Jack crossed his arms: Code Three. His mythic day was rising, clouds were collecting. He sat. Feeling "synchronicity?"
A lake appeared.
Jack was smiling and was very still. The prelims were about to stand-down into a calm cosmic eye in the storm. Geo whispered something to Schillart; Jami buzzed right behind Jack in case an emergency shut down was called for" Francesca nodded. The "alchemic transitioner X, Grail II lightning," now trickled into the hundreds of wires and microprocessors in Jack's dreaming heart:
Talk about the coming of the "cosmic christ!" Geo's immediate reaction was utter disbelief. She stared at her video monitor, high over Jack's head, that interfaced the Journey One experience with the Truth System. An image was groping, "falling into" the screen. She flopped down and listened for audio: drumming. The source was activating the dream quest. Somebody behind her said: "Fine tuning."
Francesca saw the monitor over Jack's head and freaked!
Jacked folded his hands, dry mouth, walking, intense sunshine, wild colors - then a black & white landscape. He was a roof, without a floor. A flash from a late night isolation tank trip, his face ballooning like in a circus mirror. There was someone else, somewhere close, he could feel a presence. He could see fish in the lake, swimming with the sun like on Robin Hitchcock's album cover painting on "Globe of Frogs." Geo saw the fish and Francesca captured a normal heart beat.
Schillart freed a little more juice; Jack grabbed an outstretched brown hand and headed for a distant campfire. The drumming go louder. Chanting?
Suddenly Jack began to shake, very slowly at first, then like a drug addict, cold turkey-like. Something was wrong!
He felt a pull and a break from the mythic being or guide. Everything was washing, like a water color in the rain. Geo saw disintegration; she dialed the "lightning extract" down slowly, listening to a soundtrack cancel all VU's. Her distressed breathing replaced Jack's heroic lead.
Schillart confirmed "all safe." Jami was gently holding Jack as Francesca coached him up through the "psycho bends." The paramedics panted.
"Jesus." Jack lifted the halo off his head, placing it on a nearby titanium shelf. Geo screamed for the medical crew to comb the boy for any signs of acute injury.
"Hey, hey! I'm okay, really. Did you get any images or sounds on your System, Doc?"
"Yes. What happened as we increased the Source the final time?"
"The drumming and chanting slowly disintegrated into noise: cars, traffic, mixed with a weird WW II war movie soundtrack."
Francesca was still recording. "Overload."
Jami re-entered the scene after dumping his data into the mainframe. "I have calculated the experimental range for the Grail II matter, it will be critical to maintain this safe level."
Geo excitedly called for a period of data analysis, to be followed by a general debriefing after a meal. Journey One was partially walked and everyone was glowing.
Jack slumped into the old executive chair in Geo's master control room while the tape whirled to 00000. Schillart barked something quick into his walkie-talkie and handed out mugs for tea. They watched no more than twelve minutes of, at first, fuzzy, intermittent shapes and colors, then a xeric Australian-like world with a crystal blue lake and wonderful drumming sounds. Jack shivered from a powerful memory, really only minutes prior before the plug was pulled. Francesca dreamed of the Citadel Concert; Schillart of additional applications of their juice; Geo only of the necessary downtime for the staff to summarize the work in progress. All Jack could say was: "Dali-like, man. Sir-Real!"
# # #
Baxter put the phone down. Boss man. That high wire bunch in Oregon again. His ass was "Going up the flag pole" over at Building 6S114, Pentagon. He had been to Church every Sunday since he returned from "Hex Camp." His file was still under review, that bitch. At this point, he is the modem spy with satellite eyes. Comic spy. No more "reporting" for Mr. Browne.
His boss was convinced that something big was happening in Armistead. From infrared photos, high electrical transmissions were now occurring during off-peak hours, including one building with an undefined energy spectrum. This was no hippie farm! That robot is from research partially funded and produced by NASA; their staffing level was now past 50 and climbing.
"Can't we break-in on the phone line?" Baxter moaned, "I'd rather be demoted to Port-au-Prince."
Either way, Baxter was knee deep in high spirits. Geo had his number hangin'.
# # #
The next "inner launch was set for 9:45 am, Saturday, on the farm. Geo called in her public television buddies from New York to fine tune the cameras and recording gear. She would tape a short segment to keep the press temporarily "informed." But she had to protect the security of the kids and the emerging Grail II interface process. Perhaps Jami can smoke screen a few cryptograms. Music Television would have to wait with every one else - for the Citadel Concert . . .
Jack settled against a tree. They were hugging and spilling coffee on each other, trying to relax before the next dig. Francesca didn't quite get what the force had brought into the tech-spirit matrix. Jack giggled.
"It's a very powerful bonding, an enlargement of self. A warm, bright wind."
"I think the Quakers had it right all along."
The Dreaming River curdled and spun below them, reflecting a late misty dawn and waxin' moon. They were lovers and explorers. Time bandits and global rethinkers, gently swimming in the Milky Way, looking for a spark against the "paternal Shrine machine" too long out-of-control. In major ways, these two have activated the wizard's wand, believing in Orpheus and his musical return in their century. Jack couldn't get his first trip out of his head. The drumming had continued into his dreams last night and echoed through his preparatory breathing exercises. Jack to the lab: Jack to meditation. Cesca call home. A new chapter in long distance communication.
Peter Gabriel's soundtrack entitled "Passion" was on. Geo was sitting under television lights for a PBS interview.
"Cut. Hold it, Michael. Jack, please sit down for a moment." She explained to him exactly what they were, and weren't, releasing to the world that morning. "It is time to announce the Citadel Concert, in a general way, oatmeal breath."
The New York producer, Michael Shield, asked Jack to explain his research with the Spanish graduate student and pianist Francesca Lambornii and their search for ancient sounds. He concluded thus:
"We believe that Geo's Truth System can assist us in our search for archetypal sounds, or primordial beats, chants, and orchestrations that helped to create the multitude of myths we know in all cultures. The power of myth, as Campbell popularized back in the 1980's, is real. Like the archetypes identified by Jung and others, companion spirits in music must be rediscovered and activated for a dying human race. The Citadel Concert will be a global satellite concert on Public Television and will include segments from our research - all influenced by popular musicians from our sound library and friendships."
It was now 8:35 am. Breathe . . .
# # #
Time to awaken the dead.
"Pappa says hello, space man." Cesca was rechecking her biomed computer and video cam, glancing over at Geo for confirmation for "all go." Jami slid by her for a sound bite with Mr. Gabriel, now positioning his cosmic beanie for blast off.
"Jack, say hello to the shaman for me," uttered the robot.
Smirk: "Tell Geo not to worry, no dumb jokes are necessary."
"My father was a Marshall amp!" Jami lit up his heavy metal chest. "Das Nintendo Rama."
"Are you working on the next journey, oh infinite one?"
"Blue Lake notes now, then the others!" Jami drifted back a foot. Then Cesca closed his eyes.
Geo called the session to order. She and Schillart were joined in the new alchemy booth - via satellite with Vega and Lambornii. The Truth System gang. Jack was in "heavy breathing." This time they used the recorded drumming and chanting from the aborted experiment as catalysts for the first stages to the mythic dance.
Francesca monitored his heart rate and visual presentation. The Aboriginal painting was on the video screen, long since memorized and transposed into Jack's emotional catalog.
Jack whispered: "Too many lights." A technician dialed down. He knew his temptation was to precondition his psyche for the Grail matter and possibly risk critical preliminary unlayering. He was falling: "One, two, . . . good honey."
A wave of some kind passed through, a spirit within his spirit. In three minutes he gave the sign for "Franklin's firmament," and Geo slowly brought the hallo to light. He was now on the same road as before. He saw two large birds high overhead; he followed a snake into the brush and sand.
Schillart gave the "all clear." Geo pushed the Grail envelope into one half of their experimental level. Jack felt a Being slip into his heart, extending through his fingers and toes. No fear, only pulsing energy through a huge loving pipeline. The Dreaming at Blue Lake was no longer a Dreaming for Jack; he and his guide were one.
The Lake appeared. He sensed its sacred, life-affirming role in the aboriginal landscape. Many land masses felt strangely like home to Jack, until he realized that his guide was "explaining": to him how the culture mapped each tribal territory by using rock formations, ancient paths, and this Lake - the central place, or heart of the Tribal people of this region.
Jack hovered, grounded, sat, and melted through the power of the shaman. Men from distant landscapes - other Dreamings - formed a circle around the fire pit. Jack didn't know where he was exactly now. The drumming began. The clouds passed quickly overhead. "Fully power: 3-2-1."
"Serious colors!" Cesca looked up at the large video monitor, then at Jack, then up at the clouds, now double exposed with the crackling fire. All bio-signs satisfactory.
While the video signal played havoc with the tv techs, the sound was crystal clear. Basic rhythms came from skin-stretched drums and hand clapping. The chanting flowed in irregular waves from participant to participant. Geo didn't know if they were singing. Schillart knew.
Jack senses a séance, a mythic prayer for reasons he couldn't know. But the music vibrated through him, coupled as he was with the guide of the myth.
This was a renewal celebration and likely an initiation for the younger men coming up into the scared pool of knowledge. "Rock 'n'roll!"
It was dusk. Purples, pinks, orange-red rocks. Jack went to the Lake and dived deep into the cool clearness. He felt outside of his body, that the new alchemy had freed him from the yang. He stayed just above his Buddha-like form, laughing as exhaust bubbles bounced into new worlds and evaporated into shapes from his journey. "Pink Floyd cartoons!"
Then he looked up and saw Geo's face, swimming above him, filling the total surface of Blue Lake. She seemed calm. It was time to return. The force was brought back into the Grail II storage vessel. Francesca's voice slipped into Jack's head quietly and he breathed a peek at the video lights and Geo's face. "We got it," Cesca said sharply. Jack simply smiled and handed the halo to a tech. He was too young to compare this Journey with the LSD trips of the sixties.
Now the "Truth Shots" had something much stronger!
# # #
48 hours after Journey One, Jack requested that all staff play a mix down of the sounds on their personal stereos. It was an amazing scene: everyone, on break or working, was plugged into a soundtrack from another dimension. Twilight Zone material. He wanted a written report from everyone on the drum-chant sounds; all images and relation to any other music or sounds that they could sense. Had they tapped into the DNA sound code of the human memory? What intrinsic properties did the Grail II matter contain? Any instinctive reactions? Questions were flying as fast as Jami's one-liners. They released a photograph of just this scene to the press with the hope of piquing the interest of young people, precursory to the Citadel Concert, and for reasons that spelled "diversion" for covert operands looking for "hot lava."
# # #
"How soon can we go to Journey Two, guys? Which one of the three myths are we dealing with?" Geo smiled broadly. This meeting was hers to run, an agenda of success. The team was a whole approved the public television blurb, okaying its run on the following Saturday program called "Science in the Arts Series."
Jack was thinking about the Concert but responded quickly: "Francesca and I need to run down final materials with Jami; we'll decide in three days or less, okay?"
"Be ready to brief us at the Wednesday meeting."
"Right. I'll collect your feedback on the first soundtrack then."
Francesca and Jami strolled and rolled, respectively, into the small meeting room in the Grail II barn. Robot didn't get full of Geo's bean feed at dinner, but his mechanical fuel line was just as deadly. "Rock people, I think I've discovered the source of 'cool'" Cesca laughed. That morning she tried to teach their buddy how to play the keyboards. An old Deep Purple song.
"He was all transistors," laughed Cesca, holding up her thumbs.
"Transcendence comes to the material world." Jack spread his piles out on the large round table, a Knight in the 21st Century. Cesca slotted a video tape as Jami waited for instructions. "We really have only one decision to make relative to the order of the last three myths."
They would run the African story last, leaving the Toltec/Aztec and the North American Indian myths to choose from. Since they had the videoplay segment from the University of Mexico, they decided to seek an ancient battle between the sun, the heavens and the wind, to listen for the first vibrations of music in ancient Toltec/Aztec mythology.
The music that accompanied the soundtrack to "The Creation of Music" would be used along with two or three stills as mythic firestarters for preflight meditation. Jami rehashed the basic thrust of the story.
"The sun god battled the wind and heaven gods for the right to control music. The latter two spirits wished that man could benefit from music and teamed up to wrestle the musicians from the place of the gods - and down to earth."
They froze some images from the play and stored them in Jami for later printing through the mainframe's animation System. Stills were the best format to use when focusing or centering a meditational experience. By now Jack's imagination was running upstream, his sensitivity blushing with expectations. He was readying himself for Journey Two, for a landing with a magnificent culture and "sound baking" with the gods.
# # #
"Thank you all for your reports on the soundtrack from Journey One. I trust that you realize the importance of this work and understand that the tapes had to be recollected." Jack would see to them later, in the pre-production phase of the Citadel Concert. Geo then established a starting day and time for Journey Two: Saturday, twelve o'clock.
# # #
Baxter was rubbing his terminal screen like the wicked witch of the east in the ancient "Wizard of Oz." It had overheated again. He smelled like Toto. The New York Times photograph from Armistead and derailed his spook hunt and the surveillance went from "Code Blue" to "pending file." His boss threatened to reassign him unless he could prove the crazies were threatening international security. The "white coats in head phones are coming!" He would record the Public Television segment anyway, and run it through the Cray at Army intelligence for truth analysis. He just couldn't stay away.
# # #
Friday, a short period of R&R for everyone before the next mythic plunge. Geo was on the Truth System with the Spanish lab concerning an inquiry from the Government. Schillart was analyzing energy flow from the Grail II vessel. Jack was diverting his concentration onto his guitar, using Jami as a tuning box. Two very plugged-in dudes. Cesca had a telefax in her hand and a slight smile on her face.
"Robots do not have gender," Jami squawked, like an old Pillsbury dough boy from hell.
"Robots don't give press conferences, either, and almost never succumb to verbal torture from rock'n'rollers."
Jack finally looked up from his picking, and unplugged his guitar. "What's the news?"
"I've got a great present for you." It began with a hug.
# # #
Geo was doing her best to deflect the mounting outside pressure from affecting the next Journey, despite careful planning. Power company and State safety groups wanted to inspect the laboratory for "health reasons." The energy needed to contain the Source matter alone would light up the Armistead County Fair for twenty years, and there was no determining when the Grail II process would be safely dismantled. NASA had notified the Nuclear Regulatory Agency about a strange light source in a small barn on the property. She was now working with a couple of lawyers from Harvard who sought protection and continued privacy for the Vision Machine and its scientists. Geo suspected that one of the crew had leaked the halo technology because the U.S. Global Military Force, so named from a massive reorganization in 1996, had called her for a meeting. She needed a new hex.
# # #
The discussion at Friday night's dinner went from Geo's guarded toasts of everyone, including the family robot, to grave talk of the next two weeks. Time was rapidly constricting the window of exploration at the lab, closing fast with every test, every "on switch." Their many-tiered goals had to be streamlined: finish the four mythic stories so that Jack and Francesca could orchestrate the Citadel Concert on global feed. Plans had to be made for the decommissioning and transportation of the Grail II technology as well, likely headed to South America where a sister vessel awaited. Patent and security issues - all connected to a growing moral placenta - needed to be addressed simultaneously with the quest for archetypal sounds. Heroes were needed.
"Perhaps the lightning juice will reveal a way out, Doc," piped Jami. He always made for unexpected dessert, the frosting of foreshadowing.
# # #
Jack was rolling, falling, slowly twisting, rolling. Nothing but a purple gray void and distant screams: now black and white.
Cesca shook him again, waking him only with great effort. She was scared.
"Fuck, man." Jack went to the bathroom and splashed water on his sweat. He then descried a very wondrous but unrecognizable place, a palace perhaps - a Greek Pantheon. He was stealing something. Falling forever . . .
"Orpheus, you fought a warm-up round." Cesca settled them both back into bed for some quiet holding. Questions fell out of their hearts like dew drops from a Douglas Fir. "Who had the keys to the Temple? What did the Masons know? Where would Jack land? And: Was the world initiated to the ancient power of myth?
Dawn in Oregon.
# # #
3 hr., 26 min., 09 sec. Geo was speaking quietly to two friends from the Media Lab at M.I.T., both interface animation artists and experts in governmental spying and covert interference. Staff trickled into the kitchen for nontraditional grub of raisins, juices, yogurt and shots of wheat grass and muffins "grown" in Eugene.
Schillart had now by-passed the telephone interface, so necessary for Journey One, and was working with Jami and others in a last round of tests. This now gave them total internal security, eliminating outside tapping and measurements. They had their own generator.
Jack put in an old Bruce Cockburn tape, "Dancing in the Lion's Jaw." He loved to sabotage Geo's Morning Concert mindfuck. "D.J. God from Heaven!" 2 hr., 21 min., 03 sec.
# # #
"Are you fixing the images from the video play, Jack?" Final centering next to Dreaming River was a new electro-mythic-zen tradition for the explorers.
"Yes." Jack was confident and proud, ready to step into another space, another song. They practiced the breathing regimen together: "One, two, Five, six, . . . "Right."
1 hr., 06 min., 34 sec. On with the sun!
# # #
They passed-by a small collection of reporters and who-knows-whats at the front gate where Jami was baited, babble-ready. No questions filtered into Jack, his mental preparation a blissful barricade. Metal mouth would be on the cartoonish "Word Today Newspaper" tomorrow, explaining lots'o nothing in his programmed "circuit logic." Geo met them at the door.
"Ready?" She looked tense but not overly disturbed. She had give up pot recently and forbid any illegal drugs on the property. Her coffee mug steamed from a deep green, as big as those caldrons that the Hollywood jungle natives used to boil their hapless prey in the back lots of racist Los Angeles.
The pre-Journey meeting with the principles was brief. Cam crews captured only the faintest smiles from around the table. 27 min., 45 sec. to Journey Two. Jack sat down and waited, visualizing the Toltec target.
# # #
The soundtrack from the videoplay began and everyone took their places. Jack rubbed his temples and slipped the halo onto his skull. It was starting to wear in.
Geo: "Lights down to three.
Schillart: "Pre-flight level for Source X, thanks mate."
Cesca: "Raise your head; shoulders back, Jack. Breathe."
After one last look at the stills, Jack closed his eyes. Cesca removed them from his lap and took her place at the frontal viewing station. All the video crews were "on." Journey Two had begun. High noon.
Jack motion for the juice after 01 min., 04 sec. Fulltime flow from Geo and Vega soon brought an image into Jack, a place on the edge of the jungle, an outcropping or clearing, high over the rain forest below.
The natural sounds were astounding! It was like hearing jungle noises for the first time, and they seemed surreal, like a Mick Hart tape, a soundtrack within a dreamland video. Water was rushing, first in his ear, then right through his entire body. Pumping, pulsing, rushing, gulping, roaring.
Then he knew the feeling was his guide, dropping into him as a local waterfall flows into a tributary, creating a powerful union. Sounds arched across his being like a rainbow.
He walked and walked along a ridge . . the sun bright, omnipresent. The wind howled, cooling him presently. He/they stopped and sat and listened to the wind low its magic. Clouds came by for a rye smile and a circus of constant reshaping.
Is this a mythic geography lesson? The land, the sun, the wind, the spirit above - within? Ancient forces, cosmic symbols.
Sundown brought a slow look around. The battle between the sun and the wind had died down. A bone, hollowed and engraved with a moon and stick figure, appeared at his side.
He felt the guide pick up the instrument and hold it before Jack's lips. The sky sparkled with the stars of heaven, and Jack sensed a power stronger than he or his guide, and he blew through the small object, realizing that he was now the wind of the gods, a sound pipe in the great environmental mandela of the Toltec awakening.
His song was slow, prodding. Did it make any sense to his lab buddies? As the moon rose over his head, his guide left him on the ridgetop and Jack's solo, in what was to be deep southern Mexico, came drifting into Francesca's eyes.
It took Jack a while to regain the present. Francesca led him upstairs to a quiet space, away from the post-Journey mayhem. This time, the video was sharper, the sounds brighter. Geo was playing back the soundtrack downstairs as she monitored the containment of the Grail source. Jack didn't play wind instruments, but his ancestors just gave him a wonderful first lesson.
"Did you see how the mythic plane came to earth, honey? Natural forces were feared and elevated as the unexplainable became holy and connected to the spirit. With his own body: bone to wind, wind to sun. Early on, his world was al altar. Sounds were the breath of the gods themselves."
"And the moon, heaven's metrodome," laughed Cesca.
Jack fell asleep, exhausted from his solo gig on the Truth System. He didn't hear Geo's announcement over the PA concerning Journey Three - two days and counting.
# # #
Geo thought the song from Journey Two was haunting; Vega was equally impressed. Francesca was busy composing and orchestrating a larger piece for the Concert. And Jack was soaking up the mythic medium surrounding Journey Three. They decided to explore the story from the Cheyenne culture, the four harmonies discovered on an initiation walk by a young warrior seeking four doors of self knowledge.
Jack pushed Jami's button:
"In Hyemeyohsts Storm's "Seven Arrows," one story caught our attention. It involves a shaman and a young boy who took four sacred objects on a journey to find and bring his people back together again. Four animals guide him, each a symbol of the Indian's life stage model - each one a compass point and color. Four times the boy exchanges a gift for guidance and is taught four harmonies or songs. It is these mystical notes that Jack and Francesca seek."
The robot patched a series of visual references from the American Museum of Natural History into the Truth System and onto the overhead monitor. Twelve colorful Indian shields appeared one by one, depicting scenes and symbols, both mythic and contemporary, in the lives of the Cheyenne people - mandela's originally specific to the journey of the warrior to which it belonged, similar to the paintings that depicted the Dreamings in the aboriginal mythology - everyday manifestations of a mythic responsibility.
"The buffalo is white, the eagle is yellow, the mouse is green, and bear is black. All are archetypes of the north, east, south and west, and help to teach the people tales of wisdom, illumination, innocence, and introspection, respectively. Each was a starting point on their Medicine Wheel, and all must be experienced before balance and maturity was possible."
Jami whirled and whined 'em:
"The harmonies were a part of an exchange or sacrifice for further knowledge. This is a common theme in the journey of the hero."
"This music isn't described by the author, but we have lots of contemporary examples on tape. Harmonies from a land-animal spirituality. Far-out, Jam Man," sounded Jack.
Four days, four directions, four songs," Geo thought aloud.
"Who knows what we'll receive from the goddess?" said Francesca. Perhaps the meditation music should key on the sound environment of each animal spirit, in conjunction with a hybrid shield we are creating right now?"
One of the animators from M.I.T. punched and painted a remarkable image of the four animals in a compass-wheel pattern, each section a color, warming as it spun with its archetypical messages. They decided that a CD already familiar to Jack and the Journey at hand would accompany the System shield as launch music. Drumming and song prayers from a musician named Light Feather, a Cheyenne artist from South Dakota. Jack and Jami then engineered a tape and the meeting closed with an opening. 34 hrs., 23 min., 03 sec.
# # #
Jack walked slowly along his path, his Dreaming River sleeping lazily at this left. The sounds of the Indian composer drifted in and out of his head easily and he wondered if he could find the Guide without the Grail matter. A trout jumped and he sat down at once to capture its motion, arching with it as a "physics puddle memory" waved into a good meal just ahead. A blur. Just yesterday it seemed, his life was three cords and acne cream. Geo had brought him more than he had bargained for, she was a guide, indeed. He sought out a quiet point in himself and began to stretch deep with each breath. Lions, tigers, and bears . . .
# # #
Worldwide attention was now riveted on the ozone layer and the testing at Antarctica, now under the combined leadership of the United Nations Center for World Atmospheric Testing and the Global Task Force for Alternative Living. The hole in the delicate security layer, seemingly unstoppable, was burned-in by decades of fossil fuel combustion, causing cancer rates and world temperatures to rise uncontrolled. Rain forests were frying while deserts were blooming in a world with too many citizens at the brink of death.
Geo pointed out that the lab was using some coal-fired electricity from the Midwestern Grid Exchange, an irony not missed by anyone at the project or the press. 23 hrs., 47 min., 18 sec.
# # #
While the PBS camera person mulled over the rushes from the first two Journeys, Cesca brainstormed the endless details surrounding the Citadel Concert.
He poked the silence: "You must interest a producer and then go see the Board in New York with a solid script and art."
"Yes, of course. What about the Japanese woman who organized the Rainbow Concert in Burma last year?"
"Great idea, Deborah Chen-Martin. She lives in San Francisco now."
"Do you have a 'Crazy Horse'?"
That dates this guy, thought Cesca.
Many players to enlist. The challenge was putting the Journeys together with a rock opera expression. The mythical segue machine has got to turn on to a familiar face.
"You must balance the technical with the other, yes?"
"Right. The back corn field, with the old oaks, would be a terrific stage. Our ancestors obviously didn't worship at Paramount Studios!"
18 hrs., 00 min., 05 sec.
# # #
The Smithsonian's Institute of Interactive Technology was in the fax pile, wanting to send a representative to collect impressions. She could be there tomorrow. Geo thought funding and political support; Jack saw audience and credibility. Nobody thought C.I.A.
# # #
Francesca color-copied the final version of the "four harmony mandela" for general distribution, and made a couple of tee shirt transfers for the "mythonauts." Some of the crew were celebrating another birthday anniversary of Ben Franklin.
# # #
"What's the roux, Geo?" asked Dr. Lambornii -- via teleconference technology with Ramone in Peru.
"We are pushing the local electrical grid to the max now and we don't know how long the Truth System will co-function with the Grail II process. Between governmental encroachment and a ballooning press corps, time is at a premium. The kids want their data for the concert of course, but overall security and research direction needs to be re-evaluated as soon as we finish the remaining two Journeys.
"Any emotional changes in Jack, Doc?"
"He has never been more alive, vibrating, involved. He and Francesca are traveling brilliantly together, charting a strong course with no maps and little data. No more cowboys and Indians here!"
# # #
The shield image bounced back and forth between Jack's tee shirt and the identical picture in his hands - "infinity without mirrors." It was split into the cardinal points and Jack was meditating by interconnecting the colors and the Cheyenne meanings from the story. What sounds were possible in this spiritual ratio? Piano keys, waterfalls, sparrows, cellos?
He was still a "half lotus kind of guy" and needed the old oak for stable positioning. Then he switched from the visual cue of the shield to the tape lop of Light Feather. Fine tuning began . . .
Soundtrack dusk, in the Oregon west. The moon chased the sun to the sea.
14 hr., 18 min., 59 sec.
# # #
Geo locked the door to the remote control lab overlooking the mainframe stage below. She punched into "robotics," summoning Jami for a consultation. "Spock" was pulsed, instantly scurrying her way. Geo had to stir the beans.
"Run a check on the entire Smithsonian staff and verify status of one Rose Lopez, the one heading our way."
Jami lit up and buzzed through micro mania, gorging on the "D.C. comics."
"National security clearance, check. Press liaison - two and a quarter years. Do you require vitae, Doctor?"
"No. What is the probability of trouble, gear box, from C.I.A., or others?
Jami's processors pounded the digital stat tables in .03 seconds: "50.95% chance of 'spook city.'"
"Damn stand-up metal mouth!" Geo shrugged. Growled. "Let's make sure this woman gets into the Times. Call a press conference for her arrival and make sure the lab palm reader is 100%."
"Thumbs up, Sir!"
13 hrs., 06 min., 29 sec.
# # #
Feeding the crew now tested the limits of human and non-human alike. The lab bought out the lentil stores at the coop and the winter garden was barren, a crew cut. Geo injected garlic into everything, announcing that even "oatmeal needed a kick in the C.I.A." As Journey Three ticked into pre-dawn consciousness, Jack and Cesca made love in the hay loft. Tasting lightning before the storm.
4 hrs., 02 min., 40 sec.
# # #
Rose Lopez was reminded of her childhood during her cab ride to the lab. The lush green poetry -- still motion of the Willamette Valley had a certain vibration, or echo, and a "visual smell" similar to her native El Salvador. As instructed, she stopped the cabby by the old bridge, just a mile from the Lab, and read her "orders." This was C.I.A.! She had never felt so compromised in her life. She could handle the minority quota sing of racist Washington. She had prepped for the long odds in white America. Now they expected her to cover their asses as a "covert spy." Hit the new animation gig in Armistead with casual academic deference; bite the lab softly, and come back the "black hero," secrets under tongue. Smithsonian schmoozery.
>we suspect a ground-breaking technology<
>hardware animation links<
>electrical engineering< >highest priority<
This letter would self-destruct after three heavy sighs.
# # #
Geo met Lopez at the Gate and the show exploded as planned: blah, blah, blah. Jami rapped a few historical "we landed's" and Lopez minted a few choice Museum notes. Jack rocked up on cue and gingerly answered questions about the Citadel Concert: producers, record deals, new strings . . . They left the circus with the big top in their hearts and glanced sideways at their new guest. Lopez was in love with the cast, curtain up, and could never play the spoiler. He palm was clean.
Lopez entered the lab, now minutes to Journey Three. A technician sat her at Cesca's control space and explained the comic in four panels. Jack, helmet-interface; Geo's control booth; Francesca's lifeguard station; and the plethora of audio and video recording system. This was no Kansas, Dorothy.
# # #
Jack and Cesca joined Jami in the Grail II barn, chewing bagels, charging electrons.
"The relationships between spatial orientation, sound sourcing, and color is boiling my brain," crowed Jack.
"Your guide will bring you the understanding you will need. Trust is a big part of experimentation, lover."
Jami agreed with her: "The meditation reflects the dawn, the introspective, the black. Our path today mirrors the ancient time of the beginning - to see the basic patterns of life, as early man rose from the fire and sought answers, or myths, in the stars and planets."
"We are animals first, thus instinct carries more credibility than anthropocentric analysis." Master Jami.
1 hr., 26 min., 05 sec.
# # #
The morning concert was replaced by an old Talking Heads DAT that Geo had found under the microwave. Circuits, by Schillarts all-night dial watch, were 100%.
The kids' interpretation of the Indian's mythic wheel of life loomed on every lab monitor, creating a weird "Big Brother TV storefront barrage." Lopez was Walkmanned into the Journey Two soundtrack, close-eyed in a corner of the kitchen. Jack was slowly breathing: in, out; in, out . . .
The halo was humming. It was time for another sonic progression.
Jack sat down, and Cesca noted his temperature and heartbeat in the hand-held electro log. "Speaking in Tongues" swirled into Light Feather's aural magic, a circling, bumping, thudding of drums, toots and yawls. Mini cam teams silently invaded the meditation like worker bees to the queen - power cords swatching and rollin' from the Truth System's mega-modified stacks. Jack jested for the lights: 03, 02, 01, 000000 sec.
# # #
He felt the first trickle of Grail matter almost instantly, slowly, at this point in his mythic drilling. Geo pushed the dial upward, matching beats with Jack's steady heart.
The buffalo appeared in a burst of light - now tall grasses - an orange sun burning in his heart. His guide was there but not yet focused in any one space. Cesca's coaching faded into the past, his body a rod for a flying spirit.
Geo triple-checked the master meters and printouts, then whispered to Schillart to send Jami over to Jack's side as a guard dog.
No video yet, but slowly a beating boomed into the room. To Jack, the sound was an animalistic message of organic rhythm, breaking down the wall between man and nature. Archetypical soil-making. Doors falling.
Then his guide communicated to him, without words, that the four harmonies were in four parts, beginning with the running, drumming hooves of the sacred plains buffalo. The ladder back into the human tide began in a dream-state metaphor of running on the earth, the sound of trapped thunder.
The video screens buzzed, fuzzed, and squirted full-bore, alive with Jack's deep Journey. The buffalo, in slow motion was carving a "twister path" through very tall prairie grass. The beat. The beating continued at full force. Jack was running inside of the animal, within the spirit, around and around its heart. "Boom, bank. Boom, bank. Pump, pump, pump, pump, pump. Drum, pump, drum . . ."
The picture went white-out, then solid black to the south. A tree-lined stream came into focus. Water bubbled softly, and Jack was sitting close-by, feet bobbing in the cool flow. Sweat slowly stopped trickling and he began to breathe. His guide re-entered his spirit and a great bird slowly descended in the tree overhead.
He felt the hawk's throat call to him below, murmuring a soft hypnotic song of simply notes. The screens above the lab depicted an aerial view of the treetops: hawk, foliage, Jack, water.
The animal's call was harmonious enough to Jack, but the sensation of being there within the natural theatre, listening with his guide, put "a place on the wind." Then a fish jumped. The hawk swooped, and video went black within a splash!
The force lifted him out of the river orchestra to the edge of the nearby trees, to the border between ecosystems, where a mouse was gathering seeds. A snake waited in the grass for his friend to come closer. A harmony lesson; a soundtrack.
Over Jack's dreaming head the picture focused on the tongue of the snake, and the soundtrack resembled a whistling up and down a simple scale. Snake mouse dance, cracklin' seed percussion, flicking baton, big production! Geo and her mystical band of techno-wizards watched, stunned. Marlin Perkins never had this gig!
Jack jumped just as the monitors went black. He floated through a light grayness, into a glowing red.
Cesca found nothing wrong with his vital signs.
He now sat on a large rock outcropping, high over the prairie below. Presently, two wolf cubs appeared and came close.
The monitor revealed his transformation into a coyote. The kits began their cries: "Yip, yip, yelp, yip, oooo." Jack joined them, all three spirits howling into a fire orange-red sunset - a grateful dead crooning, a song of praise to another day of hunting - and life with mother. The mammals sang and the lab recorded. Journey Three came to a soulful end.
# # #
Jack's eyes bubbled into focus. All systems were back to zero. Up periscope!
"The animals talked to me," shouted Jack! "Not in human ways, but in vibrations, frequencies I understood through my guide. Wondrous stories I'm sure our video didn't capture."
Jami nuzzled his metal heart against the Truth System console, ready with a pre-programmed question from the Big Op. "Did you leave your body, or astral project, when you listened to the hawk?"
"No. My guide and I went together as one. We no more separated as relocated to another view. I was made more aware of the multi-dimensional insights that humans have eliminated as linear, material-loving blobs."
Geo was satisfied, for the time being, and sent the lightning back to the Grail II barn for safe keeping. Tea time for time travelers.
# # #
While the crews scurried with more data, Jack and Cesca opted for the hammock behind the screen porch - a sunburst weave from the Yucatan. Dinner, more beans and rice, could definitely wait. Jack was dreaming in seconds, falling through warm colors, his eyes open on the inside. Cesca held on.
Schillart was in shock, amazed that no net loss of cosmic source had occurred to date - no heat, no entropy to measure. What was Jack experiencing neurologically while the Grail substance interacted with his brain and body? Questions for the Truth System's Bio-Analytical Program.
"Answers from above," he mused.
# # #
Cesca peeped over the stacks of video monitors, watching as their PBS artist prepared a sample, or rush, of Journey Three images. All he could say was "incredible."
# # #
"Should we release any tape?" Meeting time again. Jack's question was first on the table.
"No rock star, too dangerous," called Geo, who was stirring tea and reading still more analysis from the Grail II process. "This isn't the Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour." Everyone laughed.
"Rose, your impressions?" Center stage at last.
"The C.I.A. wanted me to spy on you."
"What?" shouted Cesca. She put her arm around her, slowing down the beat a bit.
"I will not cooperate. They are evil. But I must report back something - I don't wish to jeopardize my ability to help out here." Smiles then replaced concerns on the staff's faces.
Geo: "A second attempt on the Truth System! I've counter-bugged, walled, and hexed those mother fuckers. And we should expect more dirty tricks." The bunch discussed a viable story that Rose could use and considered her candidacy as a team player.
Geo then pushed the "espionage" aside for planning Journey Four. Needs for the Citadel Concert, plans to move the Grail II machinery and Lab to Peru, strategies for the press and governments. The chatter meshed together into the waning hours of the morning like an oatmeal sandwich.
30 hrs., 12 min., 05 sec.
# # #
The last myth came from ancient northern Africa. A magic and moral battle for the heart of the Hero.
Cesca had located a video tape from the Truth System database from a National Geographic research mission concerning ancient Nile River Cultures. A wrinkled story teller, apparently descended from the Fasa Tribe, recalled the tale of the lute, and the blood. His voice curled, shook a bit. Hypnotic stuff.
"Hooh! Diera! Asada! Ganna! Sila! Hoooh! Fasa." Names for the God called Wagadu, who was present only in conflict, like war time. It is this seven word string that Jack changed as a built a spiritual ladder to Journey Four. Now they sought the call of the lute which sang a song of sorrow and death after the warrior sacrificed son after son for his own glory and fame.
26 hr., 16 min., 59 sec.
# # #
By now Jack was a heavy breather, a regular 21st Century yoga sutra. In, out; in out; up, down the spine. Filling a brain clogged with toxics, tv and school books long since burned. When asked to choose between creative meditation and the Grail II juice, he wouldn't let go of either. For now, the syzygy, the new alchemy, was almost better than sex.
The last journey was set in war consciousness - a very different context for the group. He imagined another last stand, bodies concaving, blood gushing. Prehistoric heavy metal blasting down the sky. Imagine.
He chanted and breathed. He would become a white knight.
24 hrs., 05 min., 16 sec.
# # #
Someone had put a cardboard sword into Jami's pincher arm and added an eye patch where only electronic sensors worked. Captain Fasa, on guard!
"Jami, here again the Cardinal or compass points out part of the mythic story line. What significance do these play in all of mythology?" Rose questioned.
Jami lectured: "The four points, or the quaternary, still assist planners and map readers alike, in terms of defining community space or planetary orientations, and symbolize time of day or season - and animals in mythic or alchemic writings.
The east's animal is the blue dragon; the south's, red bird; west's, white tiger; north's, black tortoise. Or this version:
As each day metamorphasizes with the sun, animals change. With the morning, the symbolic cardinal point is the lion; midday and the south is the eagle; evening and the west, the peacock; and night or north, is the ox.
The number four translates into the four points of the compass and the four points of the square."
"Four stories," said Jack.
16 hr., 20 min., 07 sec.
# # #
Cesca was in the Eugene Food Coop, looking for artichokes and nutmeg. The crew was now about 27 strong and Geo insisted on feeding the reporters leftovers, when available. Geo the alchemist, Geo the Mom. With the safety of the Grail II process in question, the next lab meeting was destined to be frantic. Yogurt, whole wheat flour, egg substitute. Cookin'!
13 hrs., 54 min., 09 sec.
# # #
It was late when everyone came together, the moon shinning off of Jami as he followed Schillart into the lab. Cesca had spent that afternoon editing the video tapes and writing accompaniment music for the Citadel Concert on Geo's baby grand. She had called her friends in Seattle, a rootsy rock band called Tonto's Cresh, and they agree d to play the gig with Jack and Francesca. She sent them cassettes from their "archetypical juke box."
"We have administrated a coup de art!" Geo called out, smirking. "Ms. Lopez has aided us greatly in linking a major sponsor with the M.I.T. Media Lab and the PBS people. The Smithsonian will underwrite the Citadel Concert and Rose will serve as Executive Producer."
"Fuck the C.I.A. now," laughed Jack. "What's the countdown to Journey Four, Cesca?"
"14 hrs., 06 min., 17 sec."
# # #
"How does the meditation feel this time Jack? This is the least documented and most complex myth of the four," Geo called out. Jack was working the chant, meditating on the interconnectedness of the base ideas: the directions, the war energy, the negative behaviors which boil Wagadu to the surface four times running.
"I'm fighting for the people this time!" This is the punk kid who only studied the Vietnam War, and then only to pass a test.
"Will you autograph by CD?" chided Schillart. He knew that Jack and Francesca had a deal with Greenpeace Records for a book/recording and video.
"For the money, then!" laughed Jack. Cesca let loose some uncommon feistiness, but it was Geo who laughed first.
"Just keep on your paths."
7 hrs., 38 min., 41 sec.
# # #
Everyone was pushing hard on every part of the Truth System now. Geo decided to wait on the Grail II move until after the lute played deep within Jack's consciousness and into the global feed. The guide force hummed while the "soundronauts" and crew slept. The hero's journey began at dawn. 7 hrs., 04 min., 33 sec.
# # #
The rain had stopped, the oatmeal gurgled on the stove. The Grail II was heating up. Everything was ready for Journey Four. Jack sat down and peered over the console at Cesca, eager and calm - "yin-yanged" - as usual. Then he spaced over at Geo, her communication headset on and eyes fixed on the dials. The overhead monitors displayed the standard test pattern and the remote cam crews seemed set. Jami was at his right side, holding the halo.
"This is the final tune, rockster, be cool with the Juice."
"Halo on, . . . let's go."
He began his familiar metaphysical breathing pattern: 1, 2, 3, 4. This time they used a tape of Jack chanting the versions of Wagadu's coming. Hooh! Dierra! Agada! Ganna! Sila! Hooh! Fasa!
He lost the lab, his memory charged with the sandy plain of the Nile River. He signaled for the Grail II matter and suddenly the video went into a frenzy, then cleared: a vast sand dune, a sea with purple sky; exotic trees.
Jack was now inside his guide, boy in man, ancient warriors, a lute in their hand. He faced a great shinning star overhead, then turned around slowly in a full circle, ending back at north face.
A vision appeared, hovering in front of him like a TV mirage, hanging in space. A young warrior, handsomely dressed and obviously rich, was admiring his image in a stream. Down stream, poor slave children played in front of their aged mother. The warrior did not see them. Then Jack heard the chant of Wagadu: "Hooh! Dierra!" Was it the woman who was calling him?
The sky turned red and then the guide closed his eyes and played some notes on the lute - sad, lush, yet powerful - simple notes, singing cries of injustice and vanity.
Geo scanned the video. Jack's experience, on the video screen, was from the "inside." The lab saw what Jack's cosmic camera saw.
They acknowledged the east. The sky turned black. No stars appeared. The guide and boy again revolved 360 degrees and faced the east for a second micro less: a politician appeared and then a crowd came. He was promising protection from their enemies in exchange for a small percentage of their crops and livestock.
The force made it clear to Jack that this man was a charlatan who was playing between both tribes - a capricious profit maker.
Again they played the lute and Jack felt a pain that shook him deeply. He cried.
"Hooh! Agada! Hooh!"
Then they rested. In a soft, timeless, desert place. A quiet white screen to the folks in Oregon. Then the power surged a third time and the sky slipped into a bizarre green phosphorescence. The duo turned slowly around, this time chanting Wagadu's return: "Hooh! Ganna! Ganna! Hooh!" Jack's hands were bloody.
A third apparition appeared on the Lab's monitors, a scene where a woman was exchanging her fish catch for a large amount of cloth in a village market. She was stealing from her own villagers. She left with an evil laugh.
The lute started to sing, melancholy and low, then all was black.
Turning step by step on a single point on the desert floor, they ended their ritual rotation facing the west. Under a yellow sky, a battle was being waged. Warrior and his son, many dead, many more to come. His guide did not transmit the reason for the fighting, but to Jack it seemed boastful, wasteful.
Callers on the sideline changed: "Hooh! Sila! Hooh! Sila! Fasa!"
Suddenly the young son was killed and the "Battle" abruptly ended.
Jack "stepped out" of his guide and felt the sky return to night as he knew it. They faced each other and Jack played the lute a final time.
The video depicted a fast time lapse run of the heavens. The sky from dusk to dawn in three minutes plus. The Milky Way Theatre! Jack strummed a spirit in pain, a song of selfishness, war waste, and dying sons.
Strange strings slipping away, void. He was coming back - and diving up - away, as his subterranean holy book closed.
Tones from the fall.
# # #
Jack was exhausted. This Journey was hardest on his physiology. The most intense spirituality. Colors, lights, songs, fights.
"Can we playback the tape please?" Cesca stroked his forehead softly as the TV. lights cooled down to a faint glow.
"Rest first, rock star." Geo was too busy to argue. Buzz me after you get some fresh air.
# # #
At the Journey Four meeting, transitions were discussed over peanut butter and sprouts.
"You've got your myths and songs, kids. The concert, then. Geo was proud and distracted with her own flag waving.
"What will happen to Schillart's Grail II stuff?" asked Jack. He was concerned with security for the truck convoy to Peru.
"We will decoy the damn thing and send it by water! Then it's 50-50 we get stopped and hassled."
"Cool idea, Geo."
Schillart clarified. The presently stored electromagnetic source will be drained and eliminated from the vessel before they ship out. The Grail will travel without its matter.
"I'll put a neat hex on both shipments," exclaimed Geo, a little too freakily. She was to travel down with one of them. "Rose will remain here to do the Concern and sign contracts for the lab."
"The script is under way." Jack looked at Cesca, hopeful.
"The band arrives this weekend."
"Do we need more tamari sauce?" asked Jami.
"The Citadel Band, rock monster?" Geo chuckled, the jargon of the whole experiment now too much - too silly.
"Right, Doc. Where does Jami go?" Nervous eyes.
"Well robot head?" Vin, it's Armistead. Yang, it's piggyback to Peru.
"Let's rock, kids!"
# # #
Springtime in Oregon. The green-green-green of the Willamette Valley, the fleeting, intense sunshine. Skunk cabbage popping in the swamps! Wild flowers! Everywhere segues of smell, color, and sound!
Cesca was reviewing the Journey Four rushes, while Geo and Schillart supervised the dismantling of the small barn and its cooling contents. Busy beavers jammin' at the speed of light.
Jack was up to his thighs in long grasses long neglected; in the back field, he was roping out the space for the elevated stage. Video screen? Electrical supply? Rain, speakers, monitors, players, timing? He drew a sketch.
[INSERT MAP HERE]
Lopez had set up a teleconference for Sunday afternoon with M.I.T., the Smithsonian, and PBS. Because the gig was to be a special live world premiere event, many "voice shakes" were needed, details listed and knocked off. MTV signed on to help advertise the show and was waiting for promotional materials. Jack trudged back to the lab through the bugs and wild spring wheat, looking for Jami, estimating lumber as he danced.
# # #
Baxter read the report from Lopez and wondered what was up with the mad scientist's club in Armistead. A C.I.A. report had just detected a sharp reduction in energy use through satellite surveillance. "Like turning off a lamp," it noted.
He also noted the large trucks and equipment scattered about the yards.
It appeared that some construction, or . . . removal?
"What the fuck?" He gathered the material and headed for the special map interpretation unit down the hall. "Is this enough to reopen the case, hit the chief again?" he wondered.
He could loose his job - or his mind.
# # #
The band from Seattle had arrived and a screening was set up for after dinner. Together the minstrels would build the stage, the tunes, and the next break in the evolution of sound.
Geo was on the Truth System to Ramone, exchanging computer-encoded messages over the internal modem. Their machine was "coming off the mountain," for security reasons, and Armistead equipment and database were to be combined in the Lima lab. She barely hard Jack invite her to dinner. "In a minute, man."
# # #
With Hugo, Lucey, Clyde and Laura, Jack and Cesca ate with trusty Jami close-by, enjoying his techno banter, an electronic brain as large as the System itself. The Citadel Concert Warm-up Dinner!
"The Media Lab has sent us a huge hologram of the globe - about 7 by 12 feet," exclaimed Jack! He smiled at Hugo, the drummer. The screen would be placed directly behind him, thus framing the "rear wall" of the outdoor stage.
Cesca: "While we watch the Journeys tonight, keep notes as to various combinations, segues, orchestrations, instrumentations, tempos, what have you; we need to incorporate the earth sounds and cycles and build a score toward a higher consciousness. This is for our global friends. We must speak a magic hybrid song."
Jami: "Pink Floyd in a Yellow Submarine spaceship." The robot comic was on a "heavy roll" again.
Jack: "Let the mythic power form your immediate ideas. This is a meditation! We'll have a written journal that Jack is finishing for everyone, tomorrow morning sometime, just as soon as the Truth System kicks out a final edit."
"Take some time to settle Schillart's meatless mush. Hey! Let's cruise to the staging site!"
# # #
While Jack and Laura mowed the lawn, Clyde and Cesca looked for rabbit nests. They carefully moved two, gloves on, as Jami rolled around the perimeter taking measurements for the Citadel stage. Rose Lopez noted that the Grail II barn was now in pieces and could be reused for their platform. Recycle momma!
Back at the lab, Geo was handing out legal pads and slipped a disk into Jami's shoulder disk port. Jack winced. He was always the object of that "split personality robozoid."
# # #
"Okay, okay, Baxter. Very well. Notify our undercover people in Lima and Sydney, but keep them back! If Georgette Klein and crew are relocating, let them!"
The Chief likely believed him "off the wall." Baxter had no evidence of any military applications. The whole world read the research paper from the Smithsonian New Bureau about the Truth System -- just another "high ed-tech Disneyland Cooltank . . ." He decided to take a leave of absence on the way home that night. His C.I.A. tattoo was wearing thin.
# # #
Tea and oatmeal cookies awaited the sound explorers in the library, now a small mandela of chairs, focused by a 42 inch color television monitor. Each artist was consciously and subconsciously keyed into his/her instrument for the showing. The Australian, Toltec, Cheyenne and African myths presented an awed audience with both magical landscapes and sounds. Symbolic and sonic archetypes had to wait for future analysis and documentation; modern instruments were now to be fused with the prehistoric on video. "Way, way out b.c. on M tv!"
Final script writing and editing began in earnest after breakfast.
# # #
Nobody slept too much that night. The kids jammed the moon slide, comparing notes and staging ideas under the stars with the smell of freshly mowed grass in their hearts. Music is reborn! Jami taped the informal concert as programmed - history needed his ears (and hers.)
# # #
The field session from Jami's late-night remote played in the Truth System as Geo dubbed the gig for the sponsors and fathers and co-workers far a field. The kids were wild! Now they had a sound bite to chew on, a critical reference to serve as foundation for the Citadel Concert. Jack punched up a presentation template and created a large graphic through the Educational Arts Program that had columns for descriptions and characteristics of each Grail-powered voyage, and rows for each Journey. Sound types, mood, video, story line, etc. All possible elements were all factored into each musician's vision for the final script for the Concert.
# # #
By supper, they had a rough musical outline and animation script for the gig incorporating the Journey's sounds and instrumentations, vocals, live visuals, lighting and portable cam shots. Jack suggested that the band compose and rehearse in the evening, when it was coolest; construct the stage and electrical interface during the mornings; and take personal time in the afternoon for solo work in the make-shirt lab/studio and Truth System. They promised Rose a time-coded script by the weekend and asked Jami to construct his "logical version of the Concert," using the same mythic elements from their outlines.
The raised platform was like an altar, with barn wood support from the lumber mills - tinged with "Grail II dust." The kids pulled and reused the "ancient" square nails from the homesteaders. The platform was four feet high, with pole extensions for a rain tarp if needed. "Rock'n'roll manger." They prayed for a clear moon to go with the "lightening." Three successive working meditations each day.
# # #
Geo split up the Grail II hardware after cataloging everything with Jami for later assembly. A fisherman pulled away from his chowder and beer in Boos Bay, happily signing on to transport one "fat catch" to Peru. He was fishing! The other "set," really part decoy anyway, was loaded into an old refrigerator truck that Geo had rebuilt and painted black. Both crews had Smithsonian papers, but only one would have Geo. She wasn't talking "ticket to ride."
# # #
Jack put down the phone, restacking the photographs and graphics that the Band had edited for the record company. Greenpeace offered to transmit some whale songs to them for the Citadel Concert mix, but Jack said no thanks. The material was all set. His log was ready and included selected photographs of the halo technology and laboratory areas, plus the magical field session. All went straight to San Francisco for pre-production and marketing. Lopez met with Geo surrounding final decisions right after fried tofu, soaked with hot sauce and tamari, and "wacky coleslaw." Then a press conference. Then practice.
# # #
Jack punched the planning chart through the copier, substituting special heat sensitive paper that could place an ironed-on image on a tee shirt. The "menu" was already in his heart. He made solar glow yellow Citadel Concert shirts for everyone and slipped one into the package for Greenpeace. And he made a huge "maternity smock" for the robo love machine from Armistead.
[INSERT LINE DRAWING OF JAMI HERE]
# # #
Three dates emerged from the planning meeting. Everyone leaped at the calendar at once: in three days a fully moon would rise over their theme park. Rose approved the kids' three and a half minute video montage of sights and images for the M tv spot, which was sent on the next red eye to New York. And a thirty second blurb was thrown to the press at the gate. Video tape was flyin' like raw meat!
Citadel Concert: 76 hrs., 00 min., 00 sec.
# # #
The day before, Geo sipped her tea and marveled at the monitor in her cluttered alchemy lab. The band all had their bright yellow tee shirts on, bounding around, drumming, chanting up a storm.
The 35 foot power snake went slithering into the lab to mate with the Truth System and the satellite interface. They would rehearse the ritual before they broadcasted it to the world.
52 hrs., 16 min., 37 sec.
# # #
Jami veered into the picture to get programmed from Cesca.
"It must be Movement III," Geo guessed aloud as Lopez entered the room.=
"The buffalo stomp."
"Neil Young gets the Goddess!"
For all of the electronic equipment and instrumentations available to the kids, they primarily found the rock sounds of the late 60s, 70s and 80s to their liking. The music wheel of rock kept rollin' round.
30 hr., 29 min., and 41 sec.
# # #
The press corps wanted passes. But spectators except crew and staff would be allowed into the back yard. The exposure that M tv had fostered overnight had an amazing effect: an odd assortment of hippies, students, artists and "long-time" chums were camping at the gate.
Was the hex on Geo?? A final press conference was called, set for the Armistead Public Library. It was electronic and interactive - a production of the local PBS news service. It began at 5:00 pm and ended at 6:00. The band smirked through the video cameras and their tangential answers, reminding everyone that the gig was live in 24 hr., 06 min., 48.
# # #
Geo put the oats on to boil; she hadn't slept again. The Citadel that everyone worked so hard to imagine and animate was about to bear a "syzghitic vibration," new alchemical fruit. The Concert, now a mere twelve-plus hours out, was like a child she had never planned to have, a techno-mythic mass of power cords and para-consciousness. Revealed with the aid of the gods themselves? Or so went the "show and tell" to come. How and what the gig would affect could not be crystal-balled. Her thoughts, initialed out in the back field, were hypnotized by the huge hologram backdrop behind the drum kit. She could feel the beat. She was a believer.
# # #
Cesca and Jack slipped out with their bicycles after a breakfast meeting with the entire group, heading for the Armistead-Pacifica Busline Depot and a package of last-minute supplies from a Portland music store. Extra strings, DAT and video tapes, and drum heads were sent as promised. The sound check was set for 2 pm, after "the last lunch," a little black joke by Jami. The weather computer on Channel 10 said: "Clear. Full moon tonight."
8 hr., 16 min., 21 sec.
# # #
By 1:30 pm, most of the reporters and fans had left the gate scene, likely headed for a tv set and the 8:00 pm show time. PBS had run an ad most unlike MTV's - a long, slow pan that went from the stage and hologram to the barn and Dreaming River, ending on a close-up of Jack and Cesca, seemingly asleep under the old oak. The soundtrack included out-takes from the Journeys. They would win a major award for this spot. And PBS would set an all-time viewing audience record that eve as well. The Citadel Concert would be the single-most watched live special since the global hook-up went online. Since the war in the Middle East.
And this all started with a little hex from Armistead, Oregon!
# # #
For all practical applications, the kids had programmed Jami to run the electronics, all sound and light functions and live video inserts. Geo monitored the satellite connection with the PBS producers and techies in New York, while Lopez monitored the script and "headsetted" directly to Jack as floor director.
0 hrs., 00 min., 00 sec.
The Citadel Concert . . .
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Dusk came with a purple, starry passion. The players climbed into their space-like ancient priests hiking into their king's pyramid. Floor light beams arched bright light straight up into the cool night air space - earth-bound royalty joustin' with the full moon! Oregon mist drifted past the show like a friendly ghost. Tape Loop One, or "the Entry," swooped into millions of "earth heads" while the hologram fanned the fires deeper inside.
The drumming began.
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No one knew that Jami had carried some off the lightning Force, held in a circuit even Schillart couldn't detect. The "Lake walk" on Journey I appeared on the television and Movement I was underway. Cesca's frenzied piano dove with Jack's watery lesson. Australian mythic energy repowered. Then they segued into silence with earth tones from the Outback.
Movement II used the simple sounds and winds from the Toltec Journey. A faster beat pushed the viewer into the sonic tower. The hologram was slotted into the concert mix, juxtapositioned with aerial pieces.
Then hoof beats pounded Movement III as a quick segue was realized, under a beaming sky-bound orb. The surprise worked; they played into a psychic Pink Floyd/Church-like chorus, supported by the animals and percussion from their snake friend and the wicked Wolf Jack howling. Then Cesca dialed the buzz opera down with her "Hawk Over Piano" piece. From band to Jami to living rooms, across the planet, the Citadel Concert had opened to a hungry world.
Children and adults in Poland, Brazil, Thailand, Botswana, Ireland, New Russia, U.S.A., and many other places, listened and watched as a mythic power rose and bloomed through an intercontinental currency. Jami followed suite, echoing the call of Wagadu as the camera shifted to the robot -- destined to be a magnetic personality in the rock star sales mold. Greenpeace cover hero!
The band chanted while the supporting video clipped into segments of the fighting. Cesca played a duet with the soundtrack from Journey Four: Movement IV.
Then it was credits. Silence. The moon cast a spell on the players below. The earth, a powerful yang to the shinner above.
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The Citadel Concert spun the hour allotted it by PBS. Fame was theirs. But Jack, Cesca, Geo, Rose, Schillart and the robot star couldn't hear the music just ahead, magic tunes from an ancient box - with a wondrous leak!
But that's another tale.
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