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P A R T
She turned to him in the booth as if he had said something that she couldn’t quite grasp, then smiled brightly--just as bright, in fact, as when she refused his first, off-mike request to address her as simply “Dr. Lana.”
“Perhaps, Mr. Matthews, I spend too much time on frequency studies, and not enough with person-to-person relationships. I am speaking above your head, though I didn’t mean to! I just meant that human communications are not at all restricted to verbal speech, mechanical writing, and the usual mechanical modes for transmitting speech and human thoughts, such as this radio broadcast station you have here.”
Bart, by this time, well, poor Bart was rolling his eyes upward a bit, and he pulled his trademark Roosevelt-era fedora down over his face. He too recovered brightly, with a big boyish grin. “Exactly! I couldn’t have expressed it better myself! Pushing back his hat, he drew himself up for the kicker, for what he hoped would end this not very promising interview. “But Dr. Cantrell--” chopping half her name as a compromise, ”--if communication is not restricted in the ol’ traditional ways, then how else can we speak to each other and the big bad world?”
He hoped his incredibly obtuse guest expert would give him a half-way intelligible reply, for which he could thank her, then dive immediately into a station break and commercial. Off the air, he would inform his interviewee he wasn’t feeling at all well, he had this gastric problem, you see, and would she perhaps not mind--” In his five years as the star of KXAM he had gotten rid of quite a few deadbeats that way. It would no doubt work with her too.
There was a dreadful pause, as his guest didn’t bite--bite immediately, that is. She gazed at him as if for the first time she was seeing if not her equal then something vaguely approaching the human level in cognitive intelligence. Then, her voice very grave, she began speaking, and the boys in the studio just back of his stopped throwing stale donuts to listen in, having caught the tone of her words while sensing, with the ears of broadcasting experts, that Matthews their renowned and raffish raconteur of Radioland, KXAM’s own post-punk-rock style-setter, was about to get his comeuppance.
“The answer to your question, Mr. Matthews, may cost me personally a great deal--perhaps my freedom, perhaps even my life--but it is a valid question that demands an honest answer. I will tell you!”
Bart’s mouth began to gape as he fished furiously for a way to cut her off at the pass, but he saw Alexis Hosmere Owens the station manager signalling to him, and signed back with a meaningful glance, “Well, babe, you take the responsibility for what she says! It’s going to be some bomb!”
Dr. Tao-Cantrell got even more serious in her expression--a degree closer to Oppenheimer’s perhaps, when he viewed Dawn Zero and his atomic brainchild fizzled, dashing America’s Atomic future in war and peace. “I can give you the equations for this statement, but I will spare your listening audience. I have them here and can release them to anyone who requests them. But just let me say that human communication is, at the least, human speech. My findings show conclusively that we are all broadcasting stations, each human body an electromagnetic radio emitting messages across considerable space and--”
Bart did a double take in an instant. This had grabbed him--and he leaped at the same time.
“You mean, doc, my body talks--it is saying lotsa things I can’t hear? And across space? How far is that? Across this room, through the padded concrete possibly to the next room? Or even beyond this building? What--”
Dr. Tao-Cantrell waved her hand, as if he were cluttering the air waves with interference and static. “I mean that you are not only one radio station but a composite of many. Everything happening to you is being transmitted back into space almost simultaneously. This whole array of transmisssions I call the HAC, ‘Human Aura Continuum,’ or the full range of possible radio emissions from a human organism--in your case, a living one. But ‘dead,’ you’d still be transmitting--for quite some time actually!”
Bart’s mind whirled, as he fought the impulse to ask a thousand questions. He had to narrow it down quickly, or lose a promising interview in clouds of scientific jargon nobody in his listening audience could understand. “Well, doctor, what could my beautiful bod be saying, for example, if--if, let’s say, you pulled a Magnum and offed me dead sitting in this chair right now?”
He would never forget her reaction. She hadn’t missed a beat so far, and his question didn’t faze her in the slightest, as if she had considered the possibility quite some time previously.
“Oh, it would just say that a certain lady had pulled a lethal bow out of her purse and shot poor Mr. Matthews--your initials would transmit readily--right in the midst of an interview. And how far would this transmission reach? Well, by conservative estimate, given time, to the Andromeda Galaxy.”
You could almost hear the doughnuts drop with a thud and the coffee slosh in the styrofoam cups in the adjoining sound-proofed studios.
Bart balked, more from surprise than actual disbelief. “Cmon, you really don’t expect me to believe that, do you?”
Dr. Tao-Cantrell’s eyes met his laughing eyes with an icy gaze. “Science doesn’t depend for its existence on whether you, Mr. Matthews, believe its findings or not. I have verifiable evidence. I can give it to you now, if you like. Of course, it’s all in equations.”
Bart’s despairing eyes caught his manager’s, and this time it was the manager who had thrown in the towel.
“Thank you, we would appreciate hearing your tremendously exciting findings, but of course we haven’t time. But perhaps you would like to return later at your convenience, Dr. Cantrell--”
He cut out of the interview with an ad for underarm spray and waved his hand wildly for help, any help he could get, to see Dr. Tao-Cantrell out.
But he could have saved himself the effort, as she had already risen, and was heading for the exit.
Reaching her residence and lab, ostensibly a time-share condo in an upscale suburb of New York, Lana slipped her card in the gate security slot, and the gate opened. Parked in her garage, with the door down, she let herself in and disarmed the interior security system, switching it back to exterior surveillance.
The radio interview had not done her much good, she felt. Why had she accepted the invitation on the spur of the moment without considering the consequences? That was unlike her to act so impulsively. It had taken valuable time from her researches. Time that she could ill afford to waste. Had she done it just to throw a defiant red banner in the face of certain hostile government agencies watching her?
She dropped her coat and scarf on a chair and went to the kitchen, lights switching on at her approach.
After a cocktail, she felt more at ease and went into the livingroom. She decided she could work late and make up for the four hours she had lost on the interview.
As she put down her glass on the coffee table, she turned--hearing something she couldn’t make out. It wasn’t so much a sound as a transmission--from one body to the world. Her years of listening hard and tracking frequencies had fine-tuned her to frequencies or disruptions of regular sound patterns animals could detect but humans missed.
Someone was coming down the access hall to her front door, she sensed. But not in the regular way. It was too stealthy a tread for a normal visitor. And the pattern was disjunct, irregular, not at all normal for human movements. Her heart began to beat fast. Was this what she knew would come her way eventually? Was the government’s patience wearing thin, and they had finally sent someone, or even a--
The next thing that she knew was that her door was shattered and flying in pieces and through the smoke and debris other shapes, humanoid at best, wearing riot police masks and gear, hurtling directly at her.
Her only thought was to preserve her life work! They must not have her life work!
Prepared for the event--though it was more terrible than she could have imagined when it was really happening to her--Lana’s foot struck, as trained, a floor level control panel--and contacted.
Double steel doors slid instantly across the ordinary ones, sealing the lab and research study off from the living quarters. Inside her laboratory a vault automatically closed with her most precious records and sank into a cement and steel cocoon that could not be removed or blasted open--not if the government wanted half of New York to know about the raid.
It was always a wonder to her why her heart hadn’t stopped. A grim smile frozen on her bloodless face as she was dragged and beaten by the frustrated agents, she let the rest happen knowing that they had gotten nothing valuable for their trouble--thanking God she had always been one to prepare for foreseeable exigencies, such as secret government agencies and their SWAT teams.
As for the papers and news programs, when they reported what the government allowed, it was merely stated that the renowned neurospecialist had suffered a nervous collapse due to overwork, and was now resting in a private care facility “in the country.” As for family and friends, of whom she had precious few due to her demanding career, they were told not to inquire any further--the doctor had left strict orders not to be disturbed until she had recovered. In time, of course, she did “recover” and return to New York.
Briefed by experts at her “rural retreat,” Lana chose not to return to active frequency research. She had done her best work anyway by that time, she decided. Let others take up the cost of upsetting the officially accepted paradigms. Like Galileo, like Socrates, like so many original thinkers and discoverers of new realms of thought and knowledge, she had already paid a stiff enough price for genuine, unauthorized scientific research. Her nerves were permanently damaged. She found she could no longer concentrate for serious work.
“That is just the way it is,” she said to herself in her remaining years whenever she thought of what she had suffered. “People holding power have never changed, not since human beings first inhabited this planet and decided that some would be rulers and others would be the ruled. It’s all about power, and knowledge is always a threat to their control systems.”
As for her secret vault, she herself emptied it out, and burned the contents, saving only the original documents, the music-based “Oracles of Enoch” that had come to her from an ancient synogogue in Shiraz, Iran, that was torched and gutted by fundamentalist terrorists. A rabbi, fleeing with his life, had forwarded them to her, being a reader of scientific journals and learning of her research in frequencies and the connection of human frequencies with the physical structure of existence. “The Oracles,” he had informed her in a cryptic message that carried no name, “may be of some help to you, doctor. I saved them risking my life--please preserve them for posterity and the cause of the forefathers of my people! Our traditions tells of his knowing of sacred music, a music that will guide the stars and bring a baby to manhood in a twinkling of the eye, or put wings on a man and fly him to the courts of God in heaven, or even move a mountain to the sea! It is a wonderful and and holy wisdom this music of Enoch contains--it must not be lost to the Goyim!”
What could she do with them? Enoch being a contemporary, in the Bible record, of Adam and Methuselah, to her they were the most precious artifacts on the planet. A tradition among the Arabs and Jews, Enoch was credited with the creation of writing, while a New Testament book, Jude, referred to a “Prophecy of Enoch,” and quoted him. Supporting the legend and the Biblical record in Jude 14, his tablets, indeed, were composed of pre-Flood, ante-Diluvian script, as the Pre-Flood Kish Tablet at the Ashmolean Museum and the Pre-Flood Seal of Fara both testified. Baked clay lasted a long, long time, keeping the script intact for thousands of years as these had, but translation was no easy matter. It had taken her months with a supercomputer, the same one that was joined with robotic machines being used in the Human Genome Project, to translate Enoch’s entire Oracle. Yet it was well worth the expense and effort.
Though Enoch proved a relatively short-lived Ante-Diluvian, living only 365 years, he spent his time well, not like his neighbors, who apparently spent all their time carousing and oppressing the poor. What did it matter that he purported to speak of a “Twin Earth” and its troublous past and future, with a pair of prophets called the Two Candlesticks, the Two Olive Trees, the Two Witnesses of the Most High God holding forth to the wicked authorities of a Latter World?
For this “Twin World” they were oracles, of course, speaking forth what was to usher in the New Age of Peace and Harmony in that happy world after the close of the last age of man-ruled Earth. What he had described as cruel and blasphemous tyrannies of deified kings in his own time and his own world, that was of little matter to science also--maybe anthropology and comparative religion might find it interesting. And what did it matter that the Mabbul, the Great Flood, had once wiped out humanity, all due to human wickedness, leaving only eight humans, Noah and his family, to carry on the race?
Enoch had prophesied the Mabbul of the time of Noah, and had proven right--if many people were to be believed who supported the Universal Flood Theory were to believed. That question, she did not dispute. It wasn’t her province to debate it, leaving it to anthropologists and Bible scholars and skeptics. No, her research into music frequencies and human HACs, that had drawn her fatally into the arena of international notice--even into highly restricted matters of top national security! Where Enoch was speaking of “Ancients” abiding on the Earth before Adam--that had alerted her to something greater than her expectation--and, not disappointing her, Enoch had revealed those hoary Ancients to be races who knew how to employ “music” and their instruments to move mountains wherever they wished, and do many other things just as momentous.
Publishing her first accounts without considering the political significance, she had misstepped--since the day her findings were received, she received polite but somewhat pointed inquiries from three embassies--Britain’s, China’s, and the U.S.--concerning her sources and even her intent.
Alarmed to find that she had blundered into the realm of political intrigue and international power brokerage, she had stopped further publishing--but by then it was too late. She started reading the popular papers, and discovered that she had trod on important toes--China’s neutron-bomb armed missiles were getting longer-ranged and laser-frequency guided, thanks to frequency transmission research of the rarefied kind she was doing.
Sealing the fired clay tablets in plastic, she put them in a plant container and took it to the local library, setting it in the indoor-gardened lobby among other plantings after burying the tablets and walking away as if she had left her own child. Someday, she liked to think, an archeologist would dig up the library and discover the tablets. Enoch’s damning judgments of his degenerate world culture and apocalyptic vision of the future world would survive the collapse of her present one--and, more importantly, his insights into the Universe’s inner musical workings would also be made known to a generation that might possible be more open to the truth and the light. What did it matter that Enoch had prophesied far more arcane things for both Earths, like the “Nativity of the God-With-Us-One,” and his death on a “Pen of Wood That Writes With Blood the Slaves’ Release,” followed by his “Release from the Realm of the Wicked Slain Dead” to life to take up everlasting “Kingship of light and dominion” over the “Sons and Daughters of Song and Light” who play him unceasing praise and music on their tabrets and pipes? His words on frequency and the structure of the Universe--how they related and energized and directed the development of all things from stars to man and man to atomic nucleii--they witnessed of immortal truths.
Viva Enoch! she thought, even as her mind faded and she could no longer read her own books and do her household accounts.
Losing her grip on her income--retirement checks and social security, not to mention bank savings and checking accounts and investments, she had handled them all before, and now the checks had stopped, and she couldn’t find anyone to help her get them re-started or at least find out why they had all stopped. Forced from her luxury living quarters, her leased car repossessed, she found herself out on the street one day, her personals in one bag, and clothes and a couple blankets in another. Soon coming to look like hundreds or even thousands, she trudged the streets and slept in doorways and parks. The Big Apple was big and cruel and sooner or later anyone who couldn’t eat it--namely, the helpless, old bag ladies just trying to hang on--would be eaten by the Apple. What else could you expect? "Aside from the Abomination," Oregon's folk singer and cracker barrell philosopher Burl Ives said, "business goes on as usual." So nobody even noticed when Dr. Lana Tao-Cantrell, looking like a just like a bag lady, disappeared as if she had miniaturized and slipped through a crack in a sidewalk--though, past calling back to life, she was still transmitting toward the stars of Andromeda and beyond