Somewhere between the place where Lilith had paused and the front door of
the lighthouse Haziel has slipped away. Lilith is quite alone when she
knocks on the door of what had been her girlhood home. A strange, severe-
looking woman with her hair tied back in a bun opens the door. “Yes, what
“Is my…is Benjamin home?”
“Who are you?”
Lilith’s father hobbles up behind the woman to see who has come calling. At
first, when he sees the IDF uniform, he doesn’t recognize who it is, and he
thinks he is in some sort of trouble again. But his mind merges the two
decades of changes on Lilith’s face with his own memories of his daughter.
Tentatively, he asks, “Lilith? Are you Lilith?”
His daughter’s face crinkles up in a way that Benjamin cannot mistake, and
this time there are tears, perhaps the first tears she has shed over all
that time. Lilith sobs, “Father, I’m so sorry!”
They embrace for a long time, and Lilith weeps as she has never done before
in her life, for she realizes that her father has done nothing, absolutely
nothing, to deserve the silent treatment that she has inflicted on him over
all the intervening years. Lilith had rationalized to herself that she was
punishing her father for refusing to emigrate to Palestine, but that was
nothing more than a huge lie she had made herself believe all that time,
and Lilith now marvels at her own capacity for self-deception.
When Benjamin and Lilith separate from their long embrace, the strange wom-
an holds out her hand to Lilith. “I am Laura,” she introduces herself. “I
am your father’s wife.”
“Life goes on,” Benjamin offers, as though he owed an explanation.
Lilith is mildly shocked by the news. “Father. We have so much catching up
to do, it seems.”
“Then let us do so, beloved daughter, over a cuppa.”
The three share afternoon tea in the large common room of the lighthouse.
It is the place that once held a Teletype that gave the family their orders
to direct the Clarinet antenna for a strategic bombing run over occupied
Europe. Benjamin tells Lilith he was old enough to retire, but operating
the lighthouse is not so physically demanding, and he still enjoys making
his meterological observations and publishing articles in his field to var-
ious professional journals. Also at certain hours during the day he and
Laura guide tourists about the lighthouse grounds and even take them up to
the top, something Benjamin forces himself to do despite a bit of arthritis
in his knees.
Lilith, for her part, is necessarily vague on answering her father’s ques-
tions about how she managed to travel to Israel, since she herself didn’t
know the mechanics of that. But everything else she relates, in reverse
order, starting from the recent Suez War and going backwards to the birth
of her adopted nation.
“And all this time, daughter, were there no gentlemen in your life? Have
you never considered being married?”
Lilith comes to a dead stop there. The heroic accounts of an IDF Major the
Arab-Israeli wars are over. Her father’s innocent question dumps her di-
rectly into the pit of agonizing memories that smolder yet in the core of
her soul. “How shall I proceed father? I am no stranger to the touch of
man, but…let’s call it conditioning, shall we? The thought of physical
love inevitably takes me back to the camps. You may draw your own conclu-
sions, but that, I think is a mental scar far more long lasting than any of
the physical ones I bear, and I know you have seen those.”
“I am so sorry, Lilith!”
“Rather it is I who must apologize to you, father. At no time did you do or
say anything that merited shunning from your own daughter.”
“Once,” he tentatively said, thinking of Lilith’s mention of scars, “just
once, I did see the scars on your back. Will you say anything about what
happened to you?”
Lilith lowers her head for a long time, gathering the painful memories into
a narrative for the first time since it happened. This is it, she thought.
And I dread it so, but Haziel wants me to do this.
“One time,” she began, “near the very end, before we were liberated by the
American army, the survivors and this was a death camp so there were not
very many of us the survivors were mustered together for a roll call, or
what the Germans called an appell. We all wore very thin clothing, and it
was very cold, as the mornings often were in late March. The commander of
the camp gave an order to flog the entire first row of prisoners simply
because the exhausted and freezing women had poor posture! And I was in the
“Listening to the screams of the prisoners being whipped before my turn was
almost worse than the actual punishment. Almost. I vowed that I would not
scream when it happened to me, and I begged God for the strength to make
that vow hold true.
“I was stripped naked and held by two female guards over a table while a
third laid on the lash. The agony of this punishment is indescribable. I
will not even attempt to describe it. But from the first stroke I complete-
ly forgot my vow, and I did scream.”
Both Benjamin and Laura gape at her with horror.
“I lost count of how many strokes I received because I lost consciousness
before it was over. I woke up in the camp hospital in only slightly less
agony than during the whipping, with my entire back on fire, it felt like.
It would take four days before I could get more than a few minutes of unin-
terrupted sleep at a time. I had lost a lot of blood and the slightest
movement opened the scars and caused me to bleed again. So I could not be
moved from the hospital or walk under my own power. When the American
forces drew very near, the entire camp descended into chaos. I was left
“A day later I did manage to stumble out of bed for one final task. Troops
of the 89th Infantry Division of the US Third Army captured Ohrdruf-Nord on
April 4, 1945. Among the many thousands of dead Jews whose burnt or decom-
posing bodies where strewn about the camp, one female German guard also lay
on the ground with her head nearly twisted off the spine. That guard was
the one who had laid the lash on my back. She was my first one, father, but
she was not my last one, not by a wide margin.”
Benjamin closes his eyes and howls in despair, as Laura tries to comfort
“And so you see, father, as I stand here in my IDF uniform, that the little
girl you raised in this lighthouse is no more, replaced by a cold-blooded
killer, and we do not really know each other at all, do we?”
“Please,” Benjamin begged, recovering just a bit. “I must know. Please.
What happened to your mother?”
Lilith shakes her head firmly. “You’re not ready for that, father. It would
kill you. I’m not ready for it yet, and I was there.”
She gets up and quietly leaves the lighthouse.Looking around for Haziel,
Lilith sees instead an unclothed white human figure with no hair, no eyes
or mouth.The figure draws near to Lilith, who is not afraid.She reaches a
hand out slowly as though to touch the mannequin-thing. A needle springs
out from the surface to pierce one of Lilith’s outstretched fingers, and
she draws back her hand in pain. Then there is a rush of images, followed
by the heat of the sandy stretch of the eastern Mediterranean that Lilith
calls home.The white figure is gone.
Nineteen years after the creation of the State of Israel, Lilith Gervasi
(having been advanced from seren to rav seren, or Major) is crucial for her
nation’s success in the Six Day War. This is the third major conflict be-
tween Israel and the Arab nations that comprise the bad neighborhood of the
Middle-East. Geopolitically this war would have greater ramifications than
any other tussle in the Arab-Israeli conflict except on one timeline when
the 1973 Yom Kippur War with its use of nuclear weapons would prove much
The cause of the 1967 war is exactly the same as the cause of the First
Suez War in 1956. President Nasser rolls the dice one more time. The Strait
of Tirin is once again blocked by the heavy guns of the fortress at Sharm
el-Sheikh, choking off the southern Negev town of Eilat from access to the
The biggest factor in the war is the destruction of nearly two hundred
Egyptian warplanes while they are still parked on their runways. In just a
quarter of an hour on the morning of June 5 many Egyptian planes which had
been prepared to bomb Israel are mortally crippled by the Israeli Air
Force, and powerful cluster bombs tear up the airfields where the planes
were parked. Bomblets shatter the concrete of the runways down to the foun-
dations and make them temporarily useless.
The IDF retains most their fighter planes orbiting on CAP (Combat Air Pa-
trol) in Israeli airspace to defend from any counter-attacks in case the
bombing attack fails, but some of these are dispatched to Egypt after the
attack to evaluate the damage. They report that 180 Egyptian planes have
been destroyed, and all the communications facilities of the Egyptian air
forces are also out of operation. The operation is considered to be a spec-
President Nasser tells King Hussein of Jordan nothing of the sudden loss of
his entire air force. He tells the king it was the Israeli air force, rath-
er, that has been completely destroyed. Proceeding on the basis of this
misinformation the king orders his troops to cross the border and his
planes to begin bombing targets in Israel. Syria and Iraq attack at pre-
cisely the same time.
Within two hours, Israeli warplanes drive back the invading forces and de-
stroy the bulk of Syrian and Jordanian air assets with aerial dogfights and
ground attacks. A grand total of four hundred Arab aircraft are destroyed
in the first day of fighting, leaving only 280 operational planes, but
there are very few runways left operational from which to launch them. That
fact alone decides the outcome of the war in favor of Israel. The rest is
just icing on the cake
On June 6th, Nasser makes another phone call to King Hussein to tell him
American and British planes destroyed his entire air force on the first
day. Nasser half-believes that lie himself. To admit the Israelis had some-
how decapitated his entire air force would imply that mere Jews were mili-
tarily superior to Arabs, which was, of course, utterly unthinkable. So it
must have been the Anglo-Americans went his muddled thinking.
On the morning of June 7th Major Lilith Gervasi receives orders to report
to General David Elazar at his Northern Command, based out of Galilee,
where she is given command of a full battalion. She spends the rest of that
day and most of the night evaluating the readiness of her troops and brief-
ing her staff.
On June 8th General Elazar drives to Tel Aviv to get permission from Chief
of Staff Yitzhak Rabin to attack the Golan Heights, lest the Syrians be
left in a position to shell settlers from there after the war draws to a
close. At first the proposal is rejected, but overnight it becomes clear
the Egyptian army is in a state of disintegration. Moshe Dayan, the Minis-
ter of Defense, overruled Rabin and authorized the Golan attack.
By June 9th Lilith and her battalion are in bitter hand-to-hand fighting
against Syrians manning fortifications in the Golan Heights, which their
enemy defends with impressive tenacity. But future President-for-life Hafez
al-Assad, then the Minister of Defense in Syria, begins to fear for his own
hide. He orders the Golan defenders to withdraw to reinforce his forces
along the route to the capital city of Damascus, which lies only forty
miles away from the front line.
As the Syrians give ground through the night, Lilith’s battalion advances,
but the fighting remains fierce and exhausting. By the evening of June 10
it is all over. After only six days of hard fighting, Israel possesses
three times the territory she did before the war.
No Egyptian forces of any strength remain to prevent the IDF from reaching
Cairo even if they chose to do so, which they ultimately do not. Egypt’s
infantry has been reduced to thousands of thirsty, barefooted stragglers
walking west to cross over the Sinai Canal. As long as they keep moving
west, the IDF lets them go. Israel is already burdened with 7,000 Egyptian
prisoners as things stand.
The whole Sinai peninsula is annexed by Israel, which completely isolates
the Gaza Strip. Sharm is abandoned by the Egyptians in the face of a strong
amphibious assault. A chain of IDF fortresses designed to block any future
Egyptian attack is built along the east bank of the canal. This was called
the Bar-Lev Line, but it was never staffed by appropriate numbers of Israe-
li troops, and this foolish policy allowed Egypt to attack once again in
The ancient capital of Jerusalem falls completely into Israeli hands after
nearly two thousand years. Jordanian forces are driven east across the Jor-
dan River, leaving the entire West Bank, also called Judea and Samaria,
under IDF occupation. The State of Israel now controls the lives of a mil-
lion Palestinian Arabs, and this was to come with its own host of problems
well into the Twenty-first Century on every timeline El Shaddai and Yeshua
Syria loses their territory in the strategic Golan Heights. A helicopter
takes IDF soldiers to the summit of snowy Mt. Hermon to take possession of
the radar facilities there. This broad and tall mountain, whose snows are
the source of the Jordan River, becomes the eyes and ears of Israel.
Total Israeli losses are about 700 dead. This butcher’s bill is far smaller
than had been feared on the eve of the war, but it is still a heavy burden
for their families and communities to bear. Arab losses are much higher. In
the Sinai alone there are 15,000 Egyptian corpses left unburied on the
Israel, despite her relatively small population, has stabilized as the re-
gional superpower of the Middle-East. A roughly equal number of Jews dwell
in the United States, where they lived in conditions much safer than in
Eretz Yisrael, but they were still of the Diaspora. They weren’t home, in
the land that had been promised to Abraham, and if the Jews had learned
anything over the previous three thousand years it was that seemingly fa-
vorable conditions abroad were liable to change precisely because they, as
a tribe, as a people, never changed.
Something buried deep inside the rest of humanity could never accept that.
The lesson had to be learned all over again just five years later.
Early in that five years Lilith develops the same bony knob at the back of
her head that is the mark of the Boda in Greendome. The knob opens to be-
come a 55-pin connector. At first Lilith is quite alarmed, but she knows
it has something to do with being pierced by that white figure in Ventnor,
and that Haziel must be responsible.
In the middle of the five years between wars Haziel meets Lilith and brings
the Purple Cable with har.Sha plugs one end into the back of har head, and
holds the other end out, requesting that Lilith do the same.At no time does
Haziel force Lilith to do anything.Lilith accepts the invitation and her
mind is flooded with a storm of images.
I am not the one you worship as God but I seek that one even as you do.
Thaumiel stands between us and the Old One who created the elohim in this
galaxy and who also created humans on Earth. This planet alone has the com-
bination of a stable sun, a self-moderating climate, a magnetic field to
shield it from cosmic rays, a large moon to dampen wobble due to preces-
sion, a large gas-giant planet to vacuum up most stray comets and aster-
oids, the optimum rate of spin to moderate both temperature extremes and
stormy weather, an active geology to rebuild eroded lands, and a fully
functioning water cycle.
Lilith sees the thick planetary accretion disk forming around Epsilon Erid-
ani. Haziel takes her to the Hyades star cluster in Taurus, and then to the
Pleiades cluster further on. There Lilith looks back to see how the Earth’s
sun is snuggled in along the outskirts of what Haziel calls Collinder 285,
a formerly tight star cluster which is widely scattered now, but a few core
stars remain close together, and men called it the Big Dipper.
Next Haziel takes Lilith far above the plane of the Milky Way galaxy. The
sun dims far below and is lost among the interstellar clouds which give
shape to the spur of the Orion Arm in which it lies. Haziel points out Rho
Cassiopeia, four thousand light years away from Earth, a huge supergiant
star 100,000 times more luminous than the Sun. Behold Milcom, my absent
Lilith learns there are 2 billion trillion stars in the visible universe,
but only a tiny fraction of these are alive and awake. Then Haziel takes
her further out and up, until she is looking at the forty galaxies of the
Local Group, dominated by the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. We count
ten billion large galaxies like our own, and a hundred billion lesser gal-
Haziel takes her even further out, and Lilith sees that the Local Group is
just a satellite of the Vega Supercluster, which had one hundred fifty
large galaxies and a thousand dwarf galaxies, all bound together by gravi-
ty. It is a meta-galaxy made up of galaxies, with a core thirty-five mil-
lion light-years away. And it was only one of 300,000 superclusters in the
universe. But the whole Vega Supercluster is moving toward the Great At-
tractor near the Centaurus supercluster. Meanwhile the Sculptor and Phoenix
superclusters form part of a long wall of thousands of galaxy groups
stretching across a billion light years of space.
Finally Haziel shows Jill the Bootes Void, 300 million light-years across
with no clusters inside it at all, only a few lonely galaxies scattered
within. This is the structure at the largest scale of the universe: Walls
of galactic superclusters, which form the surface of large voids. The uni-
verse is built like a vast sponge.
Haziel judges that sha has shown Lilith enough for now, and departs.Two
years later, war comes once again to Israel.
Egypt crosses the Suez Canal on October 6, 1973 while Israel is basically
shut down for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Egypt’s attack consists of
240 warplanes and two thousand pieces of artillery, followed by eight thou-
sand troops crossing over the Suez Canal. At the same time, six hundred
Syrian tanks advance across the uplands known as the Golan Heights.
Mobilization orders go out to the reservists and regulars of the Israel
Defense Force while the soldiers are at home, or attending synagogue, or
even living overseas. Lilith Gervasi, now an adjunct professor living in
the United States, is notified by telegram and arrives in Israel Oct. 8, in
uniform as a sgan aluf or Lieutenant Colonel.
Lilith reports for duty once more at General David Elazar’s Northern Com-
mand. At forty-five years of age she is a little long in the tooth as com-
batants went, but Lilith, who spends much of her time between Arab-Israeli
wars conditioning herself for the next Arab-Israeli war, is actually in
excellent physical shape.
By Oct. 10 the Israeli counterattack in the Golan reaches the line from
which Syria launched their attack on the first day of the war. Defense Min-
ister Moshe Dayan wants to halt right there, thirty miles from Damascus, to
avoid drawing the Soviet Union into the war. General Elazar, by contrast,
wants to advance another twenty miles into Syria to set up a strong defen-
sive line and stabilize the northern front. Prime Minister Golda Meir, who
has been assured by the US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that Nixon
had her back, sides with Elazar.
The Israeli thrust east from the Golan Heights into Syria begins on the
11th and pushes the Syrians back after fierce fighting. Early that evening,
Lilith’s brigade is already six miles over the border into Syria. A few
days later, the Christian commander of Syria’s forces in the Golan is exe-
cuted before a firing squad in Damascus for ordering the withdrawal.
Moshe Dayan goes on television at 2200 hours and reminds the Syrians that
the road from Damascus to Israel is also the road from Israel to Damascus.
But the next day Iraq enters the war, with fifteen thousand Iraqi troops
shoring up the Syrian front. King Hussein of Jordan resists Arab pressure,
however, and refuses to move against Israel in yet another war.
In Syria, all eighty tanks of one Iraqi brigade are destroyed by Israeli
tanks and planes with absolutely no losses to the Israelis. Another Iraqi
tank brigade is blocked by Lilith and a demolition crew who arrived at two
bridges the tanks needed to cross and slice partway through their support
structures with blow torches, letting the weight of the tanks do most of
the work. There are no tell-tale explosions. When the bridges collapse,
fifty of the eighty tanks were stranded on a dirt “island” with fewer than
ten tanks able to advance, which the IDF Air Force quickly takes off the
On October 16, sixty Iraqi tanks are hit on the Golan Heights and they
withdraw. The Israelis hold their position just eight miles outside of Da-
mascus and Lilith’s brigade of infantry is an important part of this strong
offensive line. The IDF also halts five miles west of the road from Damas-
cus to Amman, Jordan, ready to block any late-minute entry of Jordan into
the war with a flank attack. The Soviet Union finally grows alarmed at the
setbacks experienced by their Arab client states.
At that point the Israelis begin to breathe a sigh of relief, particularly
when equally spectacular results are starting to come in from the southern
theater of war. But the religious extreme right in Israel, with none of
their own boots on the ground (as usual) prevail upon the female Prime Min-
ister Golda Meir to withdraw all female combatants from the front lines of
the conflict. In the event she refuses they threaten to take Likud out of
the temporary power-sharing arrangement of her Alignment party, which would
in turn drive her from office. Meir quickly caves in, and Lilith Gervasi is
relieved of duty.
When she makes formal protest, General Elazar, demonstrating an extraordi-
narily short memory of Lilith’s legendary accomplishments for Israel over
the years, barks at her, “Give me one reason why I should not carry out
these orders rotating you back home?”
She bares her arm with the six tattooed numerals. But it is not enough and
she is immediately demobilized.
As the 1973 Yom Kippur war rages on, President Nixon orders an airlift of
military supplies to allow Israel to keep fighting. The Soviets supply
their Arab client states continuously throughout the war. To keep Lilith
away from the temptation to wage war against the Arabs by “unofficial”
means, she is placed on an empty C-130 Hercules cargo plane on it’s way
back the United States.
In the Sinai, Israel loses two hundred tanks right away, but a pair of ex-
tra tank divisions are rushed forward to halt the Egyptian advance. Eighty
percent of Israel’s entire inventory of armor that is still operational is
sent into the battle, but Egyptian troops using Soviet-supplied anti-tank
weaponry hold the Israelis to a line five miles east of the Suez Canal.
Meanwhile more Egyptian tanks and infantry massing on their side of the
canal are protected from Israeli air attack by a tough shield of anti-air-
craft missiles guided by radar, again courtesy of the Soviet Union.
On October 13 the Egyptians try to break through two mountain passes in the
Sinai. What follows is the largest tank battle on Earth since the 1943 bat-
tle of Kursk between Germany and Russia and the second largest tank battle
anywhere, ever, involving nearly two thousand tanks. During the battle a
total of 264 Egyptian tanks are knocked out, to Israel’s ten. On the 14th
another Egyptian attack on the Suez Canal is stopped with the destruction
of 200 tanks and a thousand Egyptian soldiers killed.
The following day a third battle is fought at the meeting point between the
Egyptian Second and Third Armies that serves as an administration area for
both armies and headquarters for the 16th Infantry Division. Tanks fire at
practically point blank range. Egypt loses 150 tanks to Israel’s eighty.
Overnight an IDF parachute brigade establishes a toehold on the other side
of the Canal. Two forward-deployed Egyptian anti-aircraft missile bases are
taken out, allowing Israel to establish air superiority over the western
bank of the Suez Canal.
A veritable conveyor belt of Soviet war supplies move by air to Egypt and
Syria, while the Americans supply Israel from their own endless abundance.
But when the Soviet Union sees the Arabs checked in the Golan and now in
the Suez, and Nixon refuses to pressure Israel to allow the trapped Third
Army to escape, Leonid Brezhnev begins airlifting Soviet troops to Cairo to
supplement the Egyptians.
Passing through the strait of the Dardenelles, Soviet naval forces in the
Mediterranean reach a total of 97 ships, including 23 submarines, while the
US adds a third carrier battle group from Spain for a total of 60 ships.
Three carriers in a theater always heralded war.
Nixon takes the US to DEFCON 3 and sends the 101st Airborne into the Sinai
to counterbalance the Soviet troops, but events are moving fast and there
is insufficient time to match the Soviets troop-for-troop. Nixon tells
Brezhnev that sending any more troop transport planes would be crossing a
red line, but Brezhnev calls his bluff.
Fighters from the USS Independence shoot down the next cargo plane hauling
Soviet troops. Brezhnev replies with a nuclear-tipped torpedo round fired
at the Independence. The United States didn’t even know the Soviets had
nuclear torpedoes. The weapon didn’t even have to be close. The blast takes
out the carrier, several support ships steaming alongside, and even damages
the Soviet submarine that fired it. The Cold War has just gone hot.
Nixon orders weapons red and free on all Soviet forces in the Mediterra-
nean, and the two sides slug it out. Both remaining US carriers are taken
out, but the Soviet naval forces definitely come off much the worse.
This hardly matters at all. An exchange of ICBMs takes out the American and
the Soviet capital cities, killing ten million people instantly and many
more people after the fact. Then the two superpowers go back into their own
corners to assess what is happening and see if the other side is willing to
A few more items on each side’s laundry list are nuked, such as the Hanford
site in the US where Robyn and Hunky were once held, and the Sevastopol
navy base, but Brezhnev and Nixon are both dead, and cooler heads don’t
think losing more millions of lives would be worth what either side has
gained by the war, which is precisely nothing.
Haziel appears to Lilith one final time after she has returned to America,
while the country is busy tearing itself apart in the wake of the limited
nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union.Sha knows har own adopted nation of
Israel is a radioactive shambles. It is December of 1973. Haziel brings a
coat to bundle up Lilith. The yin seems to be sad and listless, and says
nothing, letting Haziel whisk the two of them to wherever sha wishes to
go.Certainly the novelty of traveling in this way has worn off.
In a flash the two yen are looking across the steep gully of Indian River
at Greendome, covered in snow.Even as they watch, the water of the very
upper reaches of the river slows to a mere trickle.Haziel leads the way
down an icy footpath to the edge of the river, and Lilith follows, still
not speaking any words.
Ever since sha was pricked in the finger by the white walking avatar of
Chokhmah just before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Lilith has been radically
changed. A bump at the back of har head grew and opened up like a flower,
revealing a hard little cup. It was difficult for Lilith to see it, but
sha could feel the growth with her fingers, and sha wore her hair in a way
to cover it. But other changes happened.
Over the course of the short war, Lilith developed a second set of female
genitalia just above her original organ.
Most radical of all, Lilith found that sha had the power to change the
shape of any part of her body at will. Sha could become very large, like a
piece of furniture, or very small, like a purse, but sha could not alter
her total body weight.
Using this strange new ability, Lilith causes both of har genitals to close
under a layer of skin, leaving only a small hole in her original organ for
urine to escape. In this way sha enforces physically the celibacy she has
chosen for herself since the camps. When from time to time she feels the
need for sexual relief she can still touch both of her clitorises through
the skin. Lilith soon finds, as every yin eventually does, that having two
orgasms at the same time is almost as amazing as alternating between the
two for continuous bliss.
Haziel has somehow turned the Indian River off like a spigot. This exposes
a wet but walkable ledge of rock that acts as a trail leading into the cave
that was the very source of the stream.Inside, Lilith can see a pool of
water. Haziel says, “Were you to go for a swim, Lilith, and dive to the
bottom of that pool, you would find you had swum right out of this world
into another one.But I wanted to show you another thing.”
They crouch at the far end of the cave and enter another chamber that would
have been blocked by the water had the river been flowing as it usually
did.There Haziel flicks a switch and lights come on, for the room has been
prepared with electric power, yet the floor and walls and ceiling remain
On a long blue table that nearly fills the space from end to end, a white
scroll lays completely unrolled. Haziel turns to Lilith and says, “I call
this the Scroll of Lael, after the name of the author who has penned a por-
tion of it. Please give me your first impression of the scroll, Dr. Gerva-
si, as an academic, of course.”
Lilith emerges from her silent sulk and says, “It looks fake. It doesn’t
look like any scroll I’ve ever seen. It’s as white as a wedding dress for
one thing, and the thing’s shiny, like a sheet of plastic.”
Haziel says, “Yet it is not plastic, it is biological in origin. Under the
microscope you would see plant cells, but no one on Earth would be able to
identify them for you. If you were to cut off a corner of it, say about the
size of a postage stamp, and submit that fragment for carbon-14 dating the
labs would report that it is 2,600 years old, plus or minus fifty years.
Please take a closer look here.”
Haziel steers Lilith to a section of the unrolled scroll in the middle of
the long table.
Lilith examines the characters written there and says, “This is Paleo-He-
brew, from before the Babylonian Captivity, when it was just a variant of
the Phoenician alphabet without contamination from Aramaic. And yet I see a
smooth evolution of the characters consistent with a natural progression
across many centuries. I cannot even detect Samaritan influences.”
Haziel says, “Then if it is a forgery, would you not say it is one of ex-
Lilith nods her head in the affirmative, but says, “Okay, but who ever
heard of a scroll that was more white than modern paper? What kind of plant
looks like that?”
“If you were a shrub on a dog-eat-dog planet that was all ice and snow,”
Haziel said, “and you didn’t want to be dinner, what color would you be?”
Lilith examines a part of the scroll a little more than a quarter of the
way from the left end and after reading it for a time, gestures for Haziel
to look. It is that cowboy story with Chief Wanica and Mark Lange, written
in English in a neat hand. Lilith says, “Unfortunately, Haziel, someone has
vandalized your scroll with some western pulp fiction. Actually it reads
more like science-fiction than a Zane Gray yarn.”
“For your entire life your story has unfolded separate from the one on this
scroll,” Haziel says, unwrapping the Purple Cable from around har waist.
“I think it is time you were grafted in.”
Sha plugs one end into har own head, and offers the other to Lilith. After
much silent deliberation, including moments when sha stares at the empty
walls of the cave anteroom, Lilith accepts the other end of the cable and
Haziel speaks to har directly, mind to mind: This planet alone has the
combination of a stable sun, a self-moderating climate, a magnetic field to
shield it from cosmic rays, a large moon to dampen wobble due to preces-
sion, a large gas-giant planet to vacuum up most stray comets and aster-
oids, the optimum rate of spin to moderate both temperature extremes and
stormy weather, an active geology to rebuild eroded lands, and a fully
functioning water cycle.
Each one of these things are shown to Lilith in turn. After that sha sees
harself plunge into the sea.
Haziel says: In the beginning the ocean of Earth was saturated with the
ingredients of life. These are the amino acids and nucleic acids which
form naturally on many planets or even in deep space following to the ex-
quisitely tuned laws of chemistry selected by the Old One for this uni-
And Lilith watches some of the amino acids slam into each other and stuck
together for a short time, forming random shapes, but these rickety struc-
tures are soon torn apart again. Floating underwater in the sunlight of a
new star, buffeted by chains of wiggling crystal maggots that were amino
and nucleic acids, Lilith watches the Old One assemble an enzyme Haziel
calls ‘replicase’ from raw amino acids.
The Old One grabs a handful of hydrogen end caps from one amino acid and
tears them away, preparing it for assembly into a larger structure. As the
Old One adds amino acids together one at a time, the object folds up like a
long phone cord tying itself into a knot.
Lilith watches the Old One busy itself for a time making a few dozen iden-
tical replicase enzymes, and soon it has all the hardware it needs.
Haziel says, The Old One turned to making the software. The shortest strand
of RNA that can reproduce itself is a mere 4119 nucleic acids long. Omit a
single one, and the strand is worthless.
Haziel goes on to tell Lilith the only thing the strand codes is replicase
and also smaller molecules that deliver stored solar energy for breaking
and forming chemical bonds. But there is something rather like a ‘Catch-22’
because even with the little energy-providers on hand it takes replicase to
read the old strand and build the new one. So Lilith watches the Old One
turn one of its hand-crafted replicate molecules loose on the strand and
away it goes, zipping along in fits and starts, powered by second-hand so-
If the replicase machine finds the nucleic acid it is looking for in the
ambient soup floating all around, it adds it to the growing child RNA
strand. If it find the amino acid it needs, it adds it to the growing child
replicase structure. Two structures emerge from this process, a second,
identical RNA strand, and a second, identical replicase enzyme.And along
the way, dozens of energy providers are also spit out to gather sunlight.
Two becomes four, four becomes eight, eight becomes sixteen. Life on Earth
had begun. Random thermal collisions still destroyed the fragile struc-
tures, but now they could replace themselves with identical children faster
than they could age.
Haziel says, In just a few years the entire ocean was filled with copies of
these RNA strands floating in a soup of replicase.
Lilith watches competition begin. Replicase is hoarded and these hoards are
raided by eating. The single-strand RNA creatures gradually give way to
more sturdy double-stranded DNA creatures with a kind of error-correction
that can resist mutation and aging. And after the sea has filled with life
even the land is colonized by them.
Haziel says, Here on this planet, alone in all the universe, did a species
evolve whose natural gait was to walk on two legs, leaving two hands free
to manipulate its environment. It is a tragic misfortune that the first
meeting of elohim and humans took place under the cloud of sequestration,
but Milcom and Thaumiel set up a community of elohim isolated from the
greater community as a kind of harem.
Haziel goes on to say, I am committed to reversing that and restoring hu-
mans, nephilim, and the other elohim in this bubble to full union with El,
and even one day with the Old One who is father of all. I am a living star,
but I must become one with a planet-dweller again. As Chokhmah I did this
once before with a brave and intelligent yin of Barbelo named Haziel, but
now the time has come for myself, as Haziel, to lay down my life to dis-
credit Thaumiel once and for all, and also to save the people on Haziel’s
home world from extinction. And yet, to bring Thaumiel to utter defeat I
must unite with the flesh and mind of a planet-dweller once again, this
time with a human being of Earth who is fully willing to make such an eter-
nal decision. Will you be that human being, Lilith Gervasi?
And Lilith, thinking of the dark wreckage of her life and of her whole
world, replies, “Let it be as you have said, Haziel. You not only have my
freely-given assent, you have my eager willingness to do this thing.”