2012-01-01. The Seraphic Transport System.
“Confessions of a Rebel Angel; The Wisdom of the Watchers and the Destiny of Planet Earth.”. – Book 1B. Chapter 17. ~ by Timothy Wyllie
“True Visions, Electromagnetism, Aftermath of the War, Discovering Xtul, and the Sign of the Black Snake”
Confessions of a Rebel Angel. Book 1B. Chapter 17. The Seraphic Transport System.
I had intended to stay on Zandana for as long as possible, justifying it to myself as making a detailed analytic study of the comparable social and political systems on the two planets I knew best. I thought it might have been of use when the time came to examine some of the effects of the rebellion. That was my plan, anyway. Yet my days on Zandana put an end to that idea. Beneath my rationalizations I realized lay a moral and spiritual cowardice. I didn’t belong here. Staying here was an easy way of avoiding the chaos and bloodshed I knew had been breaking out on my home planet. I’d chosen to follow Prince Caligastia back on Earth and by doing that I’d unwittingly cast my lot in with him. There was no avoiding it. I belonged on Earth, whether I liked it or not. Now this sort of quandary is not an issue generally faced by angels, certainly not Watchers of my order. We are created for specific functions and are posted to worlds for indefinite lengths of time. The only reason I could get to travel to Zandana, for example, was because the unrest caused by the rebellion had disrupted so many of the normal lines of communication.
I was amused to consider that M A’s local administration, which I’d heard wasn’t known for its efficiency, most likely had failed to inform their transport network about how to handle Watchers like me. Once again I found I had to walk the gauntlet of those sneering transport officials who had frowned at my arrival only a few months earlier. Nevertheless, by treating the mocking disdain of the officials as an exercise in patience, I obtained the necessary permit, together with an agreement to travel back to Earth with the next available Transport Seraphim. As it turned out, this gave me a few more days on Zandana. There’d been no seraphs scheduled for travel in the immediate future, which I took as a sign that fewer and fewer angels wanted to go to Earth. That couldn’t be good! I spent my time before my departure soaking up as much as I could from what I saw of Zandana’s technological progress. I should make it clear when I’m speaking of “Zandana’s technological progress” that I’m only talking about the more advanced southern continent.
Zanda, their Planetary Prince, after whom both the planet and Zandan, the great city on the southern continent, were named, had chosen to focus all its development where he believed the people were mature enough to value it. A point on naming: It had become something of a Local Universe tradition to name planets and Systems after their Princes; for example, the Local System was named Satania, after Satan. He was the closest associate of Lucifer’s and was the junior of the two Descending Sons administering the System up to the time of the rebellion. Although the name Satan has become irrevocably entwined with a purely fictional “devil” in the human imagination, the truth is that Satan has not had a great deal to do with what has been happening on Earth. Caligastia has been quite devilish enough! So it was that Caligastia’s city back on Earth had been named Dalamatia before it disappeared under the waves after his chief associate, Daligastia.
All of which makes it somewhat providential that your planet calls itself Earth and not one of the possible derivatives of Caligastia’s name. As I mentioned earlier, the city of Zandan as well as the whole continent were blessed with rich natural resources. The central mountain ranges gathered rainwater and held it in dozens of deep turquoise lakes before rushing it down magnificent waterfalls to flow into the broad rivers that so generously watered the crops and orchards of the wide coastal plain. I was familiar with the farmers’ waterwheels from previous trips, and how the farmers would use them to grind their wheat and move water around to their irrigation ditches. This time, however, I saw that they’d been up to something far more advanced. Besides the simple rough-hewn timber wheels I’d observed on the plains, large industrial-size buildings had been built high in the mountains. These, I saw, contained massive new turbines that took advantage of the rapidly moving water to run the dynamos, creating the electricity that was slowly transforming the city. I’d seen some hints of this before I took to the forest, and it had puzzled me.
I thought perhaps I was becoming delusionary, as I was in a somewhat hallucinatory state of mind when arriving on Zandana on this trip. Perhaps, if I’d had a more ready understanding of electromagnetism, I might have been able to recognize the principle by which those carriages I’d glimpsed were able to skim so silently along on their single silver rail. But, no. I was too confused to make any sense of what I was seeing. Now that I felt more balanced and had the time to look more thoroughly, I could see a spider’s web of gossamer threads radiating out from Zandan and across the plains as far as I could see. The rails were barely visible from the mountains unless they glinted in the sun. The implications of what I was seeing were profound: the hydroelectric plants at the head of various waterfalls were somehow feeding, without observable transmission lines, the growing Maglev system that would soon be linking all parts of the continent. All this progress was tens of millennia ahead of Earth. Evidently, copper, iron, and zinc had been discovered on the other side of the island, and Prince Zanda had judged the population to be mature enough to handle some of the elementary principles of metallurgy. Soon other useful minerals were discovered, which allowed the Zandana scientists to create some remarkable alloys.
Then there were tutorials in electricity and electrical conductivity with what must have been a focus on the phenomenon of electromagnetism. There was so much the Zandanan’s would have had to learn to put together such an elaborate transportation system. They’d been extremely clever about it, too. The city’s natural radial design must have suggested the spider web pattern that extended far into the forested foothills. As I rested far above the valley, I could see the shadows of the rails bobbing over the meadows, disappearing among the trees, while the single silver rail, supported by graceful pylons, swept like a great curved gesture hundreds of feet above the ground. I watched the single carriages moving around the concentric circles, halting at the radial intersections for passengers to change to carriages heading out into the hinterlands. Nothing moved very rapidly, but, like the mechanism of a watch, all the carriages were moving and stopping, moving and stopping, in one coordinated dance.
I could barely believe what I was looking at—it just confirmed my initial realization about how far Earth was falling back compared to Zandana’s progress. Could all this really have happened since my last visit? Had I been away that long? Before I could plunge back into the emotional turmoil and the black depression that had taken me so long to work through as I sat alone in the center of that purple forest, my three days of waiting were over. Eager to get off-planet, I arrived at the magnificent king tree that acted as the locus of the seraphic transport system (S T S) on Zandana. Perhaps a few words about this S T S business are needed, because the basics of the system are bound to sound strange unless you have already grasped how alive and sentient the Multiverse truly is—as a whole and in its many parts. Some functionaries in the inner worlds that a human might consider mere mechanisms are, in fact, sentient beings, created to carry out extremely specific tasks. Transport Seraphs (T S), for example, are not androids or biological robots or the result of the crude gene splicing we sometimes see performed by mortals in the material worlds.
They are fully intelligent spiritual beings whose specific function is to transport super-material beings around the inner worlds and the higher realms of the celestials. A TS is able to do this by enclosing the traveler within a heat shield that serves to keep them safe when moving through subspace at tremendous speeds. Back in the days when humans gave any serious thought to angels, they had to account for how we might get around, so they gave us wings. Fanciful though wings might be, of course we don’t need them. Yet there is something vaguely wing-like when a Transport Seraph spreads the two sides of her heat shield wide to receive a traveler into her embrace. Mein Host reminds me that in a lucid dream he can think himself from place to place within the dream. And he is half-right. We also have bodies that we have to move around, and we do it as necessity demands within our local domains. It’s not instantaneous, but it is extremely fast. For this we don’t need Transport Seraphs. But we cannot teleport ourselves over interplanetary distances any more than a human can.
However, I quite understand the predicament of the artists when faced with having to distinguish angels from humans in their paintings and sculpture, so it’s wings we’re portrayed with and very beautiful they look, too, when they’re rendered by an artist of genius. But don’t imagine for a moment we actually have wings sprouting from our shoulders. They wouldn’t work anyway. Wings would have to be so large to support an angel’s weight that they would become an impossible encumbrance. However, when it comes to moving around the vast inner spaces of the Multiverse we have to rely on Transport Seraphs. Although they are dedicated to transporting us to points within the Local Universe, I am told they actually possess the “energy range” to get out into the Superuniverse realms. I won’t go into any more detail on the variety of Transport Seraphs, except to say they are not intended to, nor are they capable of, transporting a material human body.
But, you will encounter a particular subgroup of these angels when you shed your mortal coil and ascend through the inner realms of the Multiverse. On long journeys, these seraphic transporters are known to achieve speeds of over three times the speed of light. This is not quite as impressive as it sounds, because the relationship between time and space, so intimately intertwined in your dimension, becomes progressively less closely woven in the higher frequency realms. The first time I remember using the S T S to get from Jerusem, the Local Universe H Q, down to Earth to join up with the Prince’s mission, the seraph was friendly and explained something of how she functioned. Of course, this was well over a quarter of a million Earth years before the rebellion, so I wasn’t then being given the angelic cold shoulder. She told me—which I already knew—that I’d fall asleep when she enclosed me in her embrace, only to wake up when we reached my destination. I say embrace because that is what it feels like—wonderfully warm and embracing. But, in reality, it’s a self-enclosing heat shield designed to dissipate the friction created at speeds within the denser regions of subspace.
I’ve never had the chance to carefully examine the material of these shields, as I’m invariably asleep before I can probe any deeper. I do recall, however, before I was taken into the transport embrace the previous time, that the exterior surface of the twin shields had a shiny, diamond-like finish with a sheen like shot silk. Idiosyncratically, the same material that appeared so hard and impermeable on the outside became as soft as formfitting sponge on the inside. That’s as much as I’ve ever been able to discover before I’m asleep. The next moment I’m awake again and getting out at my journey’s end. Consequently, I had no idea of how long the trip took. I knew Zandana has been classified as a nearby planet to Earth and must therefore orbit stars in a solar system relatively close to Earth.
Yet, Sirius, one of the closest star systems, is some eight and a half light-years away, so I can only imagine it took a lot longer than I believed to get back to Earth. This was confirmed for me when I saw the state of Caligastia’s vast domain covering most of the Middle East, west across North Africa to the Atlantic, and stretching east to the northern border of Persia. It had been devastated. Much of the fertile land along the North African coast had become desert. Stretches of sandy landscape appeared as if turned to glass, which flashed and glistened in the harsh sunlight. From Africa’s West Coast, in a vast swath of territory all the way across the continent to the Nile River, I didn’t see one living creature. The jungle and the thickly forested regions to the east were disappearing into a dirty brown smudge. The small clearings in the jungle that once held villages and their plantings stood out from the carbonized surroundings as new growth was just starting to poke its way through the burned dirt. Even the Eastern Empire showed signs of desertification, especially toward the eastern end of the coast of the Mediterranean—regions now known as Syria, Jordan, and Turkey to the north.
Before I left for Zandana, I knew that nuclear weapons were being developed in the laboratories of both hostile empires. What I was observing now was evidently the result of this death-oriented madness. It wasn’t until sometime later, when I met up with one of my colleagues, that I was able to figure out what had occurred. The two sides, spurred on by Caligastia and his midwayers, had worked feverishly to complete fabrication of the bombs and stockpiled as many as possible before the opposition showed signs of attacking. In the middle of the arms race, Caligastia had his midwayers relocate some of the scientists in the Western Empire to a large island in the Atlantic some five hundred miles off the Portuguese coast. This had set back the laboratories’ research and development schedule, as well as the manufacturing process in their enormous underground factories. In their haste to catch up with their enemy, numerous errors had been made, which resulted in many of their bombs failing to explode. Midwayer spies had apparently penetrated one of the western fabrication plants and reported back the slow rate of progress and the rumors floating around concerning their efficacy.
That prompted Caligastia to take advantage of the Western Empire’s weakness and order a surprise attack. As it turned out, it wasn’t a complete surprise. An enemy agent, a mole working in the East, was able to get a message back to the West in sufficient time for them to place their bombs, half of which were duds. Not so with the Eastern technology. Not only did more bombs rain down on the Western Empire than on the East, but virtually all exploded successfully. The only survivors were those working underground in the labs and factories that hadn’t collapsed. The Eastern Empire fared much better, although at least a third of the population died in the blasts. It was hard to believe that this terrible destruction could have been Caligastia’s plan. Perhaps he really did lose control of his midwayers and their loyal scientists, who might well have developed their own agendas by that time. Yet, even if this was so, the ultimate responsibility had to fall on the Prince’s shoulders. He was the one who had pushed the weapons technology along so fast, just as it was his decision to share the secrets of the atom with his midwayers.
He had certainly become the most cynical and self-serving of creatures by now. I was aware of his negligent attitude toward humans, but how annihilating over two and a half million people served his purposes was beyond my imagination. Some months later, when I’d returned from a long trip throughout Van’s far-flung Eastern territories, I got more clues as to what Caligastia was up to. But first, a brief observation on my tour of Van’s many settlements, which had by now taken root throughout the Indian subcontinent. They certainly knew about the war, because their skies had darkened for a full three days as thick clouds of ash obscured the sun. Birds had fallen dead out of the sky, and some grazing animals had died a few months later without apparent cause. Apart from that, and the dust cloud only occurred in the northern region of what was now an ever-expanding habitable territory, no one suffered and the event soon passed from memory. Because Van’s territories were not subject to Prince Caligastia’s constant interference, the Prince’s policy of dividing and conquering, his push for more and more devastating weapons, and the ways he found to manipulate his scientists, little energy and social capital was being expended on weapons.
As a result, there was a generally higher standard of living in Van’s territories than anywhere within Caligastia’s sphere of influence. Living for the most part in peace, this also had the effect of creating a rapid burst of population growth as people sought to fill the vast empty spaces. Small groups, for example, had by this time crossed over the land bridge to Australia, while other tribal groups were expanding into northern China and Mongolia. Van himself, and his small circle of midwayers, were understandably appalled by the holocaust in Caligastia’s western provinces. A nuclear war on a relatively primitive planet was considered by M A as the most shameful incident for a Planetary Prince to have permitted to occur. This particular mindless act of destruction was reckoned even more reprehensible by virtue of Caligastia’s complicity in feeding advanced information on weapons technology to both sides of the conflict. Van had suspected that Caligastia’s obsessive focus on technological progress was intended to develop weapons with which to invade and occupy his territories. The war ended any immediate prospects of making that plan a reality.
So Van’s horror at Caligastia’s despicable act of genocide was slightly mitigated by knowing those who’d followed him were safe from the Prince’s invasion forces at least for the foreseeable future. Just as it was Caligastia’s way to encourage his powerful kingdoms to invade and conquer weaker ones, so was it Van’s approach to wield his power far more softly. As his settlements had moved farther east he always made a point of sending out missionaries in advance. The function of this advance guard was not to convert the indigenous natives but rather to get their attention so they might gradually raise the level of the natives’ understanding and intelligence. Fandors, too, previously unknown in those parts, played an important role in dazzling the natives with their empathic charms and their general good humor. The missionaries were in no hurry. They were patient people, confident of their own moral righteousness. They understood the dynamics of mental entrainment—that if they simply mixed with the tribe, answering questions, and didn’t try to impose a foreign belief system on them, the inherent curiosity of human beings would take care of the rest.
Free of the shackles of contemporary concern for maintaining the integrity of a primitive tribe, Van’s intention was to carry out the Prince’s original mission: to raise the basic consciousness of the natives. Aware that at some point M A would be bound to recall him to Jerusem, he wanted to ensure that his teachings would continue after he was gone. The terrible war in the West must have deeply troubled Van. Evidently, he’d never considered the possibility of an entire civilization being wiped out almost overnight. He had to develop a way of ensuring that something of value would be preserved, even if the worse were to happen. Earth had been thoroughly mapped in the early days of Dalamatia, well before the uprising and when the staff still had access to their flying craft. All creatures explore their environments as thoroughly as possible, and the staff was no exception to this.
They carefully charted the planet—its landmasses and oceans—and plotted the ocean currents and areas of volcanic activity. All this was lost, however, in the chaos following the uprising, leaving Van to rely on nothing but his memory and his good sense. He recalled seeing on the charts a large number of islands that were fertile and yet completely uninhabited, distributed around the Pacific, the main ones about fifteen hundred miles from the South American mainland. There were no large predators, except a type of iguana, whose forebears were assumed to have arrived on the islands carried by the ocean current on floating tree stumps. Birds of a multitude of species existed in wild profusion, barely kept under control by the egg-eating lizards and snakes that seemed to turn up almost everywhere.
Some of the islands were very large and isolated and surrounded by an endless ocean so that Van believed they would make a safe repository for his advanced teachings, all of which he wanted to make sure were firmly imprinted in the world mind before he had to make his exit. This project rapidly became the main focus of Van and his closest colleagues’ attention, as they made their calculations regarding the equatorial currents. They checked out the seasonal winds and the optimum geographical place from which to embark on the voyage to take advantage of the main currents flowing across the Pacific. Humans had been using canoes, coracles, and rafts for a long time, but these were simple small craft, only capable of navigating rivers and hugging the coast for short ocean trips. Building boats that could withstand the rigors the open sea, on voyages that might last many months, required a design of a different order. Van must have quickly realized he couldn’t afford to leave it up to humans to slowly develop larger and larger boats.
Even if he had to disregard one of the prime directives again, he knew he had to introduce the necessary improvements if he were going to accomplish his goals before he had to leave the planet. By this time Van’s settlements had expanded south along the Malay Peninsula and then farther, island-hopping onto Borneo, finally establishing themselves at the northeastern tip of the island. Other groups made their way farther south, down through New Guinea to cross the land bridge, where now the Torres Straight separates Australia from the mainland. This expansion into Indonesia, which included Sumatra and Java and the many smaller islands farther south, played right into Van’s plans. The impenetrability of the virgin jungle on most islands made travel overland almost impossible, forcing both missionaries and natives to take to the water. Once again, the fandors showed their value in being able to survey the land ahead from the air. When the forest canopy wasn’t too thick, they scouted out appropriate places to halt for the night. Their empathic abilities also made them perfect lookouts: they were able to sense when wild animals were approaching and also use the power of their minds to distract the animals, turning them away from the camp.
Hugging the coast of the hundreds of islands of the Indonesian archipelago in their outrigger canoes, they hopped from island to island until they found a pleasant place to settle. Within a couple of generations, a new crop of adventurous souls emerged to continue their journey of exploration. In this simple way, the centuries passed with humans under Van’s guidance, spreading throughout Indonesia. Most humans have a natural fear of the sea. Humans of those distant times, more than seventy thousand years ago, were no different. If anything, they were even more fearful than contemporary people, simply because life in general was inherently so much more dangerous than it is now. This fear of monsters living in the sea, as well as the constant threat of vicious storms, was motive enough to prompt a period of rapid improvement in boatbuilding.
And even more significant for Van’s project was that his people were slowly adapting to a life on the water and were being prepared, unbeknownst to them, for the long voyage to the Pacific Islands. There were very few survivors from the West’s terrible war. Although the bombs were relatively clean, those not killed by the blasts soon died from radiation poisoning. Some of the tribes who had settled farther south on Africa’s East Coast and who’d taken to living in caves, emerged unscathed. The prevailing winds blew away the little radiation that had traveled that far south. But, of course, trade with the northern territories suddenly ceased, along with any news of what had happened. Mining ground to a halt, as the need for metal by the factories up north dried up.
Caligastia’s wide-ranging authority structure—using his midwayers as his proxies through whom he was able to maintain overall control—broke down on the first day of the war when the Northern Kingdom launched their surprise attack. The southern tribes suddenly realized that they were completely isolated and, although the irony would have escaped them, they found they had been “bombed back into the Stone Age.” Spain, and much of the region stretching along the north coast of the Mediterranean, including Italy and the Peloponnesian Peninsula, lay stripped bare of any vegetation, leaving the earth scorched and barren for a thousand years. The worst of the devastation occurred in Asia Minor, and the coastal regions at the eastern end of the Mediterranean including the settlements that had grown up around Caligastia’s locus of activity.
All this region was totally destroyed by the Western Empire’s furious counterattack. I overheard Caligastia reassuring his midwayers that they would remain unaffected by the bombs, or the ensuing radiation, as they occupied a parallel, and slightly higher frequency domain. But I knew perfectly well that all his plans had gone up in smoke. He tried to claim the cataclysm had been his intention all along and that “it was a good way of clearing away the cockroaches!” Yet I think even his most junior midwayers would have known he felt betrayed by the very scientists with whom he’d shared the secrets of the atom. In all the rants, I never once heard the Prince assume any responsibility for what he’d done.
He would (or should) have been aware that passing along nuclear technology to a primitive world was utterly forbidden by M A. And to have done it in the spirit of personal revenge with such ruinous results for the human population was absolutely reprehensible. Caligastia must have known he would have to pay for this at some point. Perhaps he no longer cared. He’d committed the very worst crime in M A’s book, so what was the worst that M A could do to him, after all? Annihilate him? Make him as if he’d never existed? Isn’t that the phrase M A uses? What an appalling thought! Far more terrible for one who knows himself to be an eternal being than perhaps for humans, who live with the uncertainty of a 50/50 chance of personal extinction at the end of their life.
Possibly by that time Caligastia really was starting to go insane. It was hard for me to judge. While his recent actions had resulted in utter devastation and the death of millions, it could hardly be called irrational. In fact, it was a perfectly rational plan—if unbridled ambition and unmitigated revenge can ever be considered rational—but a plan that went badly wrong. So perhaps it was an incipient madness rearing its head when I overheard him murmuring over and over again, as if it were a mantra: “I’m still here. . . . I’m the God of this World! I’m still here. . . I’m the God of this world. . .” Then, when boasting to his midwayers, he constantly reiterated, “Those damnable cockroach scientists! After all I’ve given them!” with never a hint that he understood how thoroughly he’d hoisted himself on his own petard. I’d suspected that something was starting to go awry, and the once noble Prince Caligastia, subsequent to the rebellion, was becoming progressively more unhinged. But I believe it was in observing his behavior immediately after the war that finally confirmed for me the depth of my error of judgment in choosing to follow him.
I am a Watcher Angel and my name is Georgia.
The following is an excerpt from the Timothy Wyllie’s book series on rebel angels, specifically an account as described by the angel referred to as ,’Georgia”.
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