54) Pious Fraud

A crimson dawn broke over the city of Mavira. The sky was filled with dark clouds but the atmosphere was generally good. Mavira had fared well through the cataclysm. Cobi, Ana, Biltar and Edyn had already departed in the early morning while it was still dark. They had set out for Quepar, the next distribution point on their list.In Mavira, many people were astir with excitement. The scientists and engineers from Biltar’s reception party were still awake, talking together and sipping drinks on the high balcony outside the hall where Biltar had spoken. They’d been up all night. A handful of them knew what was about to happen but would act as surprised as the rest of the population.

This former NSS complex looked like a palace with its marble columns and floors. The top portion of the main building, directly beneath the aerocar landing pad, had quickly been converted into residential suites and plush new furnishings brought in. Some were puzzled by this and wondered why, but most of the population took it in stride and assumed it was being prepared as a center for law and authority now in the aftertime.

Vast amounts of property throughout the nation of Shaluma and the whole world had been destroyed and there were few buildings like this one left intact.

In front of the complex, a quadrangle with fountains, now inactive, overlooked a vast terrace and garden. There were no flowers because winter was approaching and even the small amount of black rain that had come down over this city had poisoned the soil. That old soil was being dug out and sent for decontamination while new soil was being brought in for next year’s garden. This building was obviously intended to be one of the hubs for the new Miraban age.

On the high balcony outside the hall, Syntal ap Dakleen watched the emerging dawn. He turned away to pour himself another drink when he heard a shout. “There! There …look!” When he turned back he saw a light. It lit up the distant sky several degrees from where the new sun was rising. Miraba had shifted on its axis 33 degrees to the west during the pole shift. As the mysterious light began to draw the attention of more and more of the scientists and engineers, Syntal’s anticipation grew.

“What is it?” someone asked.

“I don’t know,” said Syntal, “but its getting bigger.”

“Oh no,” a woman reporter cried, “please God, don’t let it be another disaster … please God.”

The light grew in size and intensity until it almost covered the horizon. “Whatever it is … its huge,” someone said.

Everyone stood aghast as a huge glowing triangle came rapidly toward them.

“It’s a space ship!”

“Aliens!”

“An invasion!”

“I don’t think so,” said Syntal, “probably friendly beings like the two Kultaki women who brought Biltar and Edyn.”

As the huge craft loomed in the sky, a few onlookers down below began to fall on their knees. “Celestial Savior,” they shouted, “Celestial Savior. The fulfillment of the prophecy!”

By this time, much of the population in the city were already standing outside gazing upward. The huge craft rotated as it flew and slowed down as it came in over the city. It was clearly some sort of space craft under intelligent control. The triangle had smooth silver skin and was slightly concave. It had a groove around its perimeter and colored lights could be seen blinking on and off. Suddenly, out from the bottom emerged dozens of brilliant lights. They appeared to be smaller craft and went into formation around the huge ship as if to escort it in. A low hum began that grew louder and louder until the shouts, exclamations and prayers of the people were completely drowned out. The hum became so intense that it was painful. Many in the crowd put their hands over their ears. Some ran away in panic, others lost control and began to scream. The gigantic specter slowed and slowed until it hovered directly over the building where the wide-eyed Mirabans stared in awe. There was a blinding flash and waves of energy rippled over the entire city. An intense beam of light shot out from the bottom of the craft directly onto the aerocar pad at the very top of the main building. In an instant, the escorting ships zipped back in under the huge triangle and it shot away at incredible speed toward the horizon. A pulsating light still remained on the aerocar pad as the confused crowd gasped. Many, who had fallen down got to their feet.

Syntal ap Dakleen and three of his friends ran into the building and rushed up the stairs emerging onto the roof next to the aerocar pad. Everyone else was too frightened to move. The pulsating light subsided and two vague figures in white garments could be seen. Their materialization was far from exact and no details of the forms could be discerned. The ones in the crowd who had been expecting a prophet began to bring forth gifts and place them around the foot of the building. Syntal and his three friends could be seen by the crowd standing within close proximity of the mysterious figures. Then the four stepped even closer for several moments and seemed to be having a conference.

Up on the aerocar pad, Syntal spoke to Wave barely moving his lips. “Just stand there for a few moments and when I wink, you and Petuva go down that stairway into the building. Someone will meet you there to take you to your apartment. I’ll take care of these true believers.”

“If they weren’t before, I’m sure they are now,” whispered Wave, trying not to move his mouth.

Petuva pursed her lips and stiffled a giggle.

On the observation deck of the Firefly, Pheledra perceived the whole thing through the psychotronic adjuvant. “My my …” she said to herself, “Wave, you have gone completely insane.”

She took off the headpiece and buried her head in her arms. “Ohhh,” she groaned, “the hologram technology of the Kultaki. I feel like blasting them all out of existence. Patience … patience … allowance … mercy …”

“What’s going on?” said Fabby over the communicator.

“You don’t want to know.”

“Trouble?”

“In the theater there’s an ancient theater term for it … ham … no … in this case … ham and cheese.”

“What are you talking about, Pheledra?” Fabby was perplexed.

“Give me a few zerons, to put my eyeballs back into their sockets, and I’ll come explain it to you.”

Pheledra didn’t perceive, nor want to perceive, what happened next.

Syntal and his three companions took a few steps backward and the two glowing figures seemed to float out of sight as they went down the stairs. Technicians suddenly rushed out from the side and began setting up a public address system with large speaker units and aimed them toward the crowd. They brought a single microphone and Syntal stepped forward to speak. “My fellow scientists,” his voice boomed, “citizens of the right and citizens of the left in the great city of Mavira, the astounding event you have just witnessed is a visitation from highly advanced celestial beings … fifth dimensional lightworkers from another plane of existence. They are the physical manifestation of the primordial ‘It’. They are called … Nestingwave/Petuva … duality manifestations of Divine oneness. They have been sent on a mission to save the survivors of Miraba by bringing justice … and enlightenment. Tomorrow, as you already know, four heinous war criminals are sceduled to be flown here for swift judgement. They are the first of many. Mavira was selected because our infrastructure is still somewhat intact after the terrible cataclysm. The judges and legal assistants have already been here for several days in preparation. Now, plans have changed. We have been given a message from the Celestial Savior Himself. The Divine wisdom has pronounced an edict. It is essential that judgement be passed and carried out by higher authority so that all Mirabans will know the comfort, love and wise guidance that is constantly poured out from on high … with no strings attached. So … by grace … Nestingwave/Petuva has come into our world. And now, our own judges have humbly conceded to them, having complete confidence in their righteous judgement from an objective point of view without prejudice. The male half of this divine being, known as Nestingwave, will preside tomorrow. The female half, Petuva, will preside later over … civil cases. The judgement of Nestingwave will be broadcast across Miraba through our new communication satellites which only became operational a few days ago. Due to the small initial size of this new network, knowledge of what is unfolding here will be severely limited for now but in time, these events will become known by all, first by word of mouth and later by replay as the communication network expands to every Miraban survivor. As the days move on, more war-criminals will be brought here, until the indignation of Miraba is satisfied and our planet can forget the past and move forward.”

There was mixed reaction. Most of the people realized by now that this was a hoax and were very dissapointed that the new Miraban age was beginning like the old Miraban age ended. However, there were a few religious zealots that believed Syntal spoke the truth. They out shouted the disgusted majority and caused a spectacle of emotionalism.

Most people ignored the whole thing and just went home. However, all the citizens of Mavira were mystified by what they’d seen. They had no idea that hologram technology could simulate reality that well. When it came right down to it, almost everyone would view the proceedings. Thousands of computers and satellite dishes, which had miraculously been undamaged by the cataclysm, were now being distributed for free in the hope that communication and commerce would quickly spring up again.

When Lance’s mind returned to the Kultaki command carrier, he roared and roared with laughter.

“Don’t strain yourself, Your Excellency,” said Dr. Vagila as he tapped an interactive screen.

“Take it easy, darling,” said Ranilla, “you just aren’t taking proper care of your heart. You mustn’t forget your delicate condition. I don’t want you to suddenly drop dea…”

“Shut up!” Lance shouted between spasms of hilarity, “this has got to be one of the funniest debacles in Miraban history! Look at those idiots! So many actually believed … give me a tissue!”

Lance coughed and wheezed as Ranilla produced a tissue and held it for him as he loudly blew his nose. “It’s going to be great! Wave will wow them tomorrow! Four brains splattered against the wall right in front of the public! They’ll never forget it and eagerly watch reruns for the next fifty annoms. What a thrill party!” He laughed harder than ever and finally almost choked in his glee.

“Lance, you’re impossible. You’re going to blow a valve!” said Ranilla.

“Shut up! I never had so much fun in my whole life! I’m going to contact Wave!”

CONTINUE: 55) Boom Boom

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