“Stay on this dirt road until we get to where we’re going,” Lilith tells the group. “There’s many intentional and unintentional booby traps around here. Mine shafts and that sort of thing. Very dangerous. This land has been royally abused.”
Everyone casts a wary eye at the woods all around them.
“How does one become a living star?” Hunky asks har, sincerely curious. Haziel had never taken the time to explain.
“Didn’t you get the mummy and daddy talk, Hunky?”
“Please, Lilith. You know what I mean.”
“Well, stars don’t get around a lot, so we’re really just talking about phone sex. What happens to the female at the climax of star phone sex is some ripples go out from her, like on a pond, but the ripples are spheres, not circles, and they move at the speed of light. Months or years go by. If a ripple finds the core of nuclear material in another star that is hot enough, but not too hot, and isn’t already a living star, then it fertilizes the part of that core that is the right temperature. A layer of the core organizes itself into a girl eloah. Mom can do this exactly once, because she is transformed permanently into a male eloah. And we live for absolutely eons. That means ninety-nine point nine nine nine nine nine percent of elohim are male.”
“So it must needs follow that the competition for female elohim is terribly fierce,” Robyn says.
“You pegged it. This competition leads to all sorts of bizarre behavior from the males, and some of that is illegal and immoral. So we get our Thaumiels. I have a daughter myself, named Binah. We’re actually going to meet her now.”
They arrive at a pond of calm water surrounded by a berm of earth in the shape of a ‘C’ ring. Lilith jumps in without further ado, fully clothed, and the others know sha expects them to follow. The water is icy cold, but counter-intuitively it gets warmer and lighter the deeper they go. The group follows Lilith head first and the water grows comfortably warm. The bubbles change direction. They break the surface and can see varnished wooden decks, towels, plus a dozen striking women to help them out of the water and offer to dry them off.
“I’m using this body,” Lilith says, to give Yeshua a heads’ up. Simultaneously, Chokhmah says the same directly to Binah.
“I’ve met one of your people before,” Yeshua says with a smile when che recognizes Fred Aspin.
Freddy sits hymself down at Yeshua’s feet, and the others are shocked at the transformation of hyz swagger into genuine humility. Freddy says, “I apologize for what I said here before, Lord. I didn’t think you were real. I thought it was the drug.”
“No offense taken, Fred Aspin. Forget it ever happened.”
So Freddy stands back up and says, “Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you, ah…Jesus Christ.”
“The one and only,” Yeshua says.
“I can’t say she came into this universe out of love,” Lilith says, “but yes, Yeshua is the nephilim incarnation of my beloved daughter Binah. I changed him into a jen, like Mike.”
“How did we get to this place?” Mike Morrich asks Yeshua when the floor is open for questions. “How” is hez main thing. Mike has been left totally in the dark as to exactly how che had escaped Hanford and che is still sensitive about that.
“Does the concept of a wormhole mean anything to you?” Yeshua asks in reply, but Mike just shakes hez head. “Einstein-Rosen bridge? No? It’s a natural facet of living suns. We are endowed by our creator, the Old One, with links which go from daughter to mother star, bringing point A and point B close together no matter how far apart they really are in actual space. We usually just let them remain microscopic webs and use them to talk to each other. But we can fatten them up a little bit with the repulsive force of negative energy and move things through them. You just swam through one such tunnel linking that pond on Earth with this pool.”
“The link between myself and Thaumiel goes between his capital city and the headwaters of the Indian River at Greendome,” Lilith adds. But that place is too hot for us now. DECON is swarming all over. So we’re using Binah’s link now.”
“What is this place?” Robyn asks Yeshua next. Har talent is precognition so sha is all about “what”. Finding what combination opened the door, or what blackjack deal would pay off. The purple sky and second sun told har this wasn’t Earth.
“We’re on Barbelo, which is a mostly icy planet circling the cooler member of the pair of stars that are nearest to your sun, Sol. This land called Haaretz is a little colony my parent Chokhmah wrested from Thaumiel as part of this deal or that.”
“Why did you make this place?” asks Dory, a question about the relationships between elohim and humans, a question that harmonized with her new clairvoyance.
“It’s a transfer station between worlds. Travel between Sol and Centauri would take at least two years of ship’s time and five years of real time if you didn’t want to flatten your passengers. Even light takes four years. Keeping people happy that long takes a very large ship. We don’t have ships yet but we soon will. And there’s also a third place called the Land We Know that serves as a transfer station between times.”
“Are any of these ladies available?” asks Freddy Aspin, who had spent years in prison locked up with men. At least hy knows what hyz own priorities are.
“These women and yen are my priestesses,” Yeshua says. “My alleged followers do not permit females to perform ritual tasks on Earth so I try to compensate here. Others like Miss Ambe Omphal here are begotten in the Land We Know and have been between Earth and Barbelo many times. Occasionally I send begotten men or nephilim to the State of Washington and you get your Bigfoot stories.”
“The history of human beings on Earth is a painting,” Lilith explains, “and Yeshua is putting the final touches on it.”
“As for their availability as a date, don’t ask me, Freddy, ask one of them. It’s none of my business, really. And my sex life is none of yours. Besides, the Roman church always misquoted me. I never said celibate, I said celebrate.”
A set of waterproof luggage is brought to the Sacred Pool by the priestesses. Lilith invites Robyn to have a look thgrough them. “See if any of this gear won’t fly.”
Robyn holds up one minidress, which looks more like just a blouse. “Where’s the rest of it?”
“That’s the whole thing,” Lilith replies, and Robyn figures Lilith is joking and wonders why sha even asked har to look. The rest of the stuff in the luggage is what two women would need for an extended trip, packed very tightly. Yeshua’s ladies also set out a great deal of paper money. Robyn doesn’t recognize the design of some of the bills. Some of the dates are in the 1960s and 1970s, and Robyn is certain Lilith is joking now.
Jerry Aspin is mostly just admiring the priestesses themselves, especially Ambe Omphal, who looks very exotic to hym. Sha is very fair, as a yin of an ice world would be, with white hair, but hy cannot pin down har ethnic background. Later hy would learn that sha was a Fallen Angel from ancient Salem, and har origin therefore was simply Barbelo and nowhere else.
“I’m taking Robyn with me back to Earth,” Lilith says. “Mike, Freddy, Hunky and Dory will go to Nath and to points beyond. We will be in touch.”
“Who will show us the way to go?” Hunky asks.
“I have been given the task of accompanying you overland to the temple of Chokhmah,” High Priestess Omphal says, and Freddy makes a victory fist with hyz one fist.
When Robyn and Lilith traverse the wormhole again from warm water to cold, and commence to dry themselves off, Robyn looks around and says, “The trees look different, Lil, are you sure this is the right place?”
“It is different,” Lilith says. “Look up.”
Robyn follows the line of Lilith’s extended hand directly overhead and sees a yellow-orange sun, as though they were standing on the equator at equinox at noon. And behind that is a “sky” made of green and blue patches that is actually land.
Lilith says, “Welcome to the Land We Know, where we change busses, or rather, wormholes. When we get back to Earth the trees will look different there too. We’re skipping April and May and going right on into June. We will also go forward in time twenty-five years to 1972.”
“You’re shitting me,” Robyn says, to God.
“I’m not. Wormholes from here bridge locations in space-time, not just space. And so far that is something Thaumiel has not pieced together. I’d like to keep it that way.”
“He’s a full-blown eloah. How can he not know?”
“You’re right Robyn, he’s an eloah, but he’s too stupid to understand most of the Lore of El. He relies on me for all his technical stuff. And Thaumiel doesn’t have improving human history for a modus operandi. He’s more interested in making ever more arcane rules until someone commits an error in ritual so he can say “see!”. Thaumiel thinks planet-dwellers will be a threat to the elohim someday and he wants any excuse he can find to destroy them. But neither myself nor Binah will accept his premise that humans ought to obey us, although we did at first, and that’s why we have the Torah, and that’s why Yeshua died in Jerusalem. That malformed question has been answered.”
Lilith’s drivers’ license says it was issued in 1973, which is ridiculous in 1972, and Robyn has none. So they can’t fly aboard an airline, and they can’t write checks, but they can buy a used car with cash on the barrel head, and using Robyn’s talent of precognition they can avoid being pulled over by the police. Robyn says, “But you just whisked me from Greendome to Washington State. Why not do that again, here to D.C.?”
“I want to take time to explain things to you, and let you see how things change over twenty-five years. Otherwise, when you try to use your precognition it will just be a flood of images that you won’t understand.”
“I’ll try to help, but why did you give me this power? It seems more fitting for yourself. Why am I tagging along?”
“It’s hard to explain,” Lilith says, “but I guess the way I could put it is I can’t see the forest for the trees. Yes your power ultimately comes from the elohim, but by necessity you are looking at time as though through a small pinhole. Am I right? Tell me, Robyn, what is it like for you, your power?”
“There’s this big…canvas, but every time I do something or even say something, I can see a ripple run up that canvas and change the paint that’s on it. Sometimes it’s a big ripple, like when you showed up with Mike Morrich, and the whole painting changes.”
“That’s why you’re tagging along, Robyn. I have too much information of all the different ways things can go, so I have no information. But you, with your pinhole view, can help me find the pivot points where we can do tiny changes and make big improvements.”
“So you can see that canvas also, you and Binah?”
“We’re painting that canvas, my daughter and I. And do you know something else about our art, Robyn? We are perfectionists.”
From the Seattle area they head back East on the same road Freddy took from Hanford, but it was decked out as a freeway now. Lilith said they would probably end up getting some cheap motel in the Tri-Cities because of their late start, but that bothered Robyn. She remembered the precariouys time when Hunky and herself made their way home to Greendome from there.
“Relax, it’s twenty-five years later. Doc Troch and Earl Roland are still around, but they have your dead body after raiding Greendome on your original timeline, so they’re not looking for you or Hunky anymore.”
“So if Haziel took possession of you, that means you’re just like us, right?”
Lilith flips the hair from the back of her head to show Robyn her connector. “My talent is shapeshifting, but when I’m in REM sleep I can’t hold that shape. It’s like when you try to sleep sitting up, when you dream you sag against your seat belt. When you see me then, I’ll look like I’m fifty years old, because that’s how old I really am. And you’ll see scars.”
“You look like a million bucks right now, Lilith.”
“Okay, twenty-five years later, President Truman is out, General Eisenhower went in. There was a bad war in Korea with China and the Soviet Union involved, America fought it to a draw with about thirty thousand GIs dead, and ever since then the Americans and the Soviets have kind of squared off for what they call the ‘Cold War’ where they just sort of growl at each other, or use proxies to fight.”
“So no third World War?”
“Not until next year, and that will be a very bad thing, Robyn, because both sides have the same weapons that were used on Japan at the end of the last world war. It doesn’t do human civilization a bit of good when the Cold War goes hot. You and me, we’re going to change that.”
“I don’t know how people could stand it, not knowing.”
“It’s not all bad, Robyn. The Cold War is a big contest to see whether a planned economy is better than an unplanned one, and competition leads to innovation. Ten years after your time the Soviets put a machine into orbit around the Earth, just above the atmosphere, and that scares the Americans into doing the same. A few years after that they start putting men into space too, which is something Barbelo already did about sixty years ago. In fact, I was on that first flight.”
Later they check into some no-name hotel in Kennewick, Washington and Robyn discovers the miracle of television, which sha heard was coming in 1947, but sha has never seen one before. This one was in color. They watch Columbo for an hour and a half, which they both enjoy a great deal (although Robyn knows how it is going to end before it gets over) and after that Robyn turns to Lilith and says, “Shapeshifter, huh?”
Lilith stands up and removes har military panties and bra. Robyn sees that sha has retracted har somewhat ample breasts to something less than even modest “A” cups, and there is new body hair, not just between har legs but on har legs and abdomen as well. In a deeper voice, with now looser vocal cords, Lilith says, “How do you like your fellows, Robyn?”
“I like lean, lanky men.”
So before Robyn’s eyes the soft subcutaneous fat-layer on Lilith thins out to reveal the underlying musculature, and Lilith becomes an angular male specimen of extraordinary beauty, like a cut diamond. Her cock starts to stand up in anticipation. The second pussy is closed by skin.
Robyn says with a gentle laugh, “I guess you’re the first female to know what it’s like on the other side of the great barrier reef. My husband Jerry was the first man to know.”
Lilith nods har head and smiles. “I certainly understand a lot of very strange behavior by men and yeng now, not so very different from male elohim. And the star part of me understands a lot of very strange behavior by people in general now.”
So Robyn opens har arms and legs to gather Lilith in to harself, going crazy under har, and bringing forth to the Haziel part of Lilith sweet memories of Khondiel.
Yellowstone Falls is the most beautiful place Robyn has ever seen. Sha thinks it looks exactly like an abstract painting made real and three-dimensional before her very eyes. There are so many things to see in the park that the mere two days Lilith allotted for them to do so couldn’t possibly do it justice.
At Rapid City, after seeing Mount Rushmore, Lilith drives south and east on rural roads through the Great Plains, passing very near to Greendome again, crossing Nebraska and Kansas until they reach Route 50, which Lilith says they will take all the way to Washington DC.
Lilith speaks of how the young President who followed Eisenhower was assassinated and how the world came very close to World War Three when the Soviets tried to set up intermediate range nuclear missiles just ninety miles away from Florida.
Still, twenty-five years after World War II things aren’t all that different. Robyn can still cope. Sha does notice that men no longer wear hats. Lilith says that was a trend started by President Kennedy. Some women wear their hair piled up in what Lilith calls a “beehive” hairdo, and Robyn thinks it’s funny. Sometimes in the sky sha hears a loud roar. Lilith says the jet engines the Germans first put on their Messerschmitt-262 “Swallows” had finally trickled down to the public, replacing propeller motors on airliners.
“Ariel and Edgar would be all grown up now,” Robyn says.
“Don’t worry Robyn, you will see them both again, soon. As babies. And your mother as well.”
Approaching Kansas City Robyn hears her first Beatles song, “Ticket to Ride” and she starts tapping her feet.
“Do you like it?” Lilith asks.
“It’s incredible, who is it?”
“Four chaps from my home country who call themselves the Beatles,” Robyn smiles at how Lilith drops the ‘t’ and says “Bea’les”. “They no longer record music together, but when they did, they seemed to have stumbled onto something timeless, all right?”
Robyn smiles at how Lilith drops the ‘t’ and says “Awroi?”
Lilith says, “I mean a hundred years from now small children might listen to this song and say just what you just did, ‘It’s incredible, who is it?’”
“Only that they might listen? You’re not sure they will?”
“No. I can’t see past the decade of the Thirties in the next Century. But then, that’s precisely what we’re running about trying to remedy, isn’t it?”
In the morning, in a hotel in Kansas City, Kansas, Lilith lays out the clothes they are to wear now they are out of the sticks and “back East”. “You’ve been getting away with wearing your stuff from the Forties without too many second looks, but you can’t get away with it anymore.”
Robyn is puzzled “I see the blouse but where’s the skirt?”
“The blouse is the skirt,” Lilith says, with a wicked grin.
“No I’m not, look.” And Lilith opens the window curtain of their second floor hotel room to look down on a busy street on a sunny morning in the Nineteen Seventies. Robyn sees that Lilith definitely is not pulling her leg. Many of the women down there wear dresses so short their white knee boots cover twice as much skin on their legs than their hemline does. And many of the men in the city have hair so long they’d be mistaken for women back where and when Robyn came from.
So Robyn dutifully puts on the clothes and gets into the car, but sha feels funny about it, like in one of those dreams where you’re speaking in public and wearing only your underwear.
“In Israel, or Palestine to you, I did wear these kind of clothes in the Sixties before everything went to hell. Tel Aviv is really something. I had a lot of fun in my time.”
After that they are on the road again, making for St. Louis. Carly Simon sings about how vain her boyfriend is. Steely Dan wonders aloud if his college acquaintance is reelin’ in the years. Lilith says, “We’re on the other side of another war like the one in Korea. This one wasn’t fought by World War II vets, but by their sons. Most of them didn’t have a choice and they weren’t very happy about it. As you might have guessed from the clothing I’m having you wear the attitudes of many of these young people towards sexuality would shock the older generation, and I rather think that is precisely their point.”
As they cross the Appalachian mountains Lilith tries to explain how Robyn’s precognition works. Sha explains that a particle, like an electron, isn’t just a little dot moving through time, it’s more like a long line, growing like a crystal, and the exact point where it crystallizes is the present. From that point going forward, many other lines exist in a ghostly form, including the Primary, the most probable future, which is almost firm enough to be a crystal itself. “Time is a fire,” Lilith tells har, “and history is ash.”
After Robyn understands all that, sha wants to know how they can possibly loop back in time. “Wouldn’t we be walking into the middle of a bunch of hard crystals?” sha asks. “Even just the very air we breathe?”
Lilith says, “It’s like our bodies can dissolve the crystals of anything we touch, and set even the ashes of the past afire again. I myself looped back from 1978. But I can’t put the whole world in play again just by being back here. I’m looking for a crucial event that can give us leverage. That’s why we’re headed for Washington, D.C. I think I found just the thing.”