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2206 : Window Onto A New World Book I in The Threshold

Chapter VI – It Can Happen

By

Christopher Stewart ★ Bookcast Edition – March 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Christopher Stewart

★ All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

★ Bookcast Edition - March 2012

★ This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Chapter VI

It Can Happen  I have to admit that Harvey represents a refreshing change in the political landscape. We've grown tired of the orchestrated press conferences and the trite, contrived declarations of his fellow representatives, regardless of allegiance. He doesn't play by those rules though. This makes following his campaign a joy for the cynical and easily jaded columnist I quickly turn into when I meet his peers. There's always an element of suspense to his public appearances, as my esteemed colleagues and I all know the next thing to come out of his mouth could be the next big story. This maverick man leaves few people indifferent. He has an opinion on everything, and he just tells it like it is. And he manages to do this respectfully. No wonder so many people either love him or hate him. The last few weeks of this campaign should be particularly interesting. And in the end, whether he wins or not, he will have successfully proved one thing, that rectitude doesn't have to rhyme with platitude.  – Excerpted from Marie Gilmour's column, The Daily Aeolian, 57.4.2206

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VI. It Can Happen

VI. It Can Happen

J

ake Harvey reflected that it had been a long while since he had last set foot inside the

temple of his mentor. The hiatus hadn't been intentional, but despite his goodwill and best efforts, the campaign just hadn't allowed him to make his regular trips to Triton Aeolus. Nevertheless, the distance he felt from the quiet place was coming as a surprise. He wasn't as comfortable as usual, and neither did he have the sentiment of being uplifted by the edifice, as he habitually would. He couldn't figure out why the particular connection he had always known to the converted Allenist Orthodox chapel had suffered a subtle yet undeniable degradation in quality. It seemed something was shifting within him, and though it wasn't clear what that something could be, he clearly wasn't at peace with it. { I'll have to be a lot more disciplined once the campaign is over } he mused, gazing in appreciation at the impressively ornamented ancient building from his seat in the transept. Still, he was well aware that it would probably be a hard resolution to put into practice should he become Chancellor. At a relatively young age, an excessively busy working life had brought the tall blond man the financial independence he had been seeking. But socially things had been more difficult, and indeed never truly rewarding, as if there had been a price to pay for his success. And then his circumstances had improved dramatically as he had chosen a new career. Or maybe had it been the new career that had chosen him ? Being elected leader of the New Light Party and voted in as representative in the Global Chamber had actually ushered in a very welcome change of pace. His responsibilities rarely amounted to the craziness he remembered from the time he had been directing his own venture. Yet, he was merely the chief of a secondary opposition party. The head of a Federation comprising no less than one hundred and twenty-seven states including colonies onboard stations orbiting the homeland and on a neighbouring planet surely couldn't enjoy such leisure. { Over fourteen billion people } observed the tricenarian. That was the total population of Ovel, counting the eleven sovereign democracies along with the federated nations. Or at any rate, that was what the most recent census had reported, but its ten-year old results obviously underestimated the current numbers. Numbers that were way too big for one person. { How is it possible that the lives of so many people can be affected by the decisions of one man ? } he pondered. Paradoxically, the more his dream was becoming real, the more the whole situation appeared surreal. Then again, so had been his trajectory. After all, when the progressive wing of the former Children of Ovel had regrouped to create the New Light Party, he had only been remotely interested in public affairs. He had first joined the organization about twelve years after its foundation, just after selling his own company. In fact, his well earned sabbatical had been cut short when he had been approached to run for the leadership, and though he had no experience whatsoever in politics, he had won the convention by a landslide. The following mandatory by-election had been uneventful, as if his opponents had conceded him the victory from the get go. And only a few quarters later, the official was finding himself at the heart of The Threshold

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a Coalition which could very well replace the government. And as if his course hadn't been unbelievable enough as it were, almost every step of the way had been accurately foreseen by a soothsayer, a lady the Neolit candidate had originally consulted on a whim, more for the fun of it than because he had needed counsel. The same woman who was now sitting in front of him, dressed in her distinctive pale blue robe, eyes closed, her left hand on his right knee, finishing her preparation so she could finally give him the answers he was impatiently waiting for. The same woman who, apart from her white hair and barely noticeable wrinkles here and there, looked about three decades younger than most her age, as if she had somehow stopped growing old during her forties. The same woman whom the stubborn autodidact had accepted as his mentor, and who taught him things he would have laughed at had he not seen for himself how exceptionally well they served his aims. And she was staring at him at last, straightening back up in her chair, resting her hands on her thighs, ready to address the questions he had presented, and reveal what the future had in store for him. –

« Before we start » Aeira announced in a calm, tender voice, « I have to ask once again » she declared, manifestly bothered, « are you sure you want a reading and not a lesson ? » she queried with insistence. « One hundred percent sure » firmly assured the former businessman, « I don't have time for both today » he justified in an apologetic tone, « and considering the circumstances I'm in, a reading seems much more valuable » he remarked with conviction, « you know my doubts » he ultimately chuckled. « I do » tersely agreed the beautiful seer, smiling gently, « as you wish » she granted after a moment, « but then I must warn you that you won't like what I have to tell you today » she submitted in a more sombre manner, once more lowering her eyelids. « Thanks for warning me » the tall man politely responded after a few seconds of silence, clearly annoyed, { maybe I should trust her and request some of her wisdom instead ? } he mused, but the passing incertitude quickly drowned in intensifying interrogations about the upcoming election. « Regarding your most pressing question » the prophetess began solemnly before Harvey could express his concerns, « don't worry, you're still on course to become Chancellor » she ensured to the delight of her pupil, « but there's a point past which I cannot see » she immediately stressed, « contrary to what you believe, the future is pretty much in your hands, and you still have one more decision to make » she stated, appearing increasingly entranced as she proceeded with the prediction.

{ What does she mean ? } wondered the upset party leader, { that decision has been made some while ago, there's no doubt in my mind that I want to be Chancellor ! } he reflected, bedevilled by the idea that he might be resisting the prospect subconsciously.

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« Of the two paths lying before you, the hardest to take is not the hardest to walk » the prescient elder resumed, « you'll make that choice sooner than you realize » she foretold confidently. Thoughts were clouding the psyche of the politician as he sought to figure out the precious insights of the visionary. { Certainly, becoming head of the Federation is a hard path to take } he first surmised, { but could changing direction this late in the game be even harder ? } he pondered, perplexed. { And why would I even want to do that ? What does she mean ? } he carried on, growing progressively irritated, { this is no time for riddles, Mistress ! } he finally opined, fighting to keep his attention on the words of his guide. « Remember to focus on your feelings, not your doubts » the soothsayer suggested, to the amazement of her trainee, as if she knew exactly what he was experiencing, « just listen to me and notice your feelings, then clarity will return » she patiently instructed. { That's easier said than done ! } quietly reacted the Neolit, disappointed at how the session was unfolding, { maybe I should rely only on the advice of the Bhagavaan from now on } he deliberated in frustration. « You have doubts regarding the practice I have taught you » Aeira went on, « remember there are very good reasons why I wanted you to learn it, although they might not be the most obvious of reasons » she noted enigmatically, « be wary of those who profess to help you » she cautioned gravely, « you might end up serving aims you're not aware of, aims you wouldn't serve if you discovered them » she ultimately submitted. That last remark had sent a shiver of fright down the former businessman's spine, as if he had been given just a fugitive glimpse of terrible events to come, but the moment had been too fleeting for him to make sense of it. Nonetheless, the impression that the white haired lady had been alluding to herself, if only partly, was nagging him. { But why would she warn me against her own advice ? } he considered, riled by his inability to receive her revelations more distinctly. « Also, be careful not to confuse an end with means to an end » the seer proposed, « some things we have to undergo, whatever shape they end up taking » she affirmed in a solemn manner, « but some things you should avoid, if you can find the wisdom » she cryptically hinted. { Could she be referring to Sturn ? } suddenly imagined the tricenarian, { I've met him through her, he has offered his help, and he has mentioned channelling } he recalled, trying to piece the puzzle together. { He's manifestly no stranger to it himself } he pursued the hypothesis, { maybe he's hoping to discourage me from gaining the power the Bhagavaan has promised me ? } he suspected, increasingly distrustful, { but then why vouch for him as a scientific consultant and then tell me to stay away from The Threshold

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him ? } he wondered. Somehow, the interpretation seemed less convincing the more he contemplated it, { maybe if I knew how his own experiences have backfired } he supposed, lost in conjecture. « You shouldn't concern yourself with Bernard's past » the prophetess declared, as if she had again been following the speculations of her client, « moreover, I'm sorry but I'm not at liberty to disclose such matters » she replied, further aggravating the politician, « I'm sure you can understand I'm bound by confidentiality » she justified at once in a warmer voice, as if she had briefly escaped the deep trance she had been in since the beginning of the reading, yet her eyes remained closed as she finished her thought, « but I'm sure he will happily answer your questions » she pointed out with a gentle smile, reminded of her dear friend the space engineer. { Clearly, she's not telling me to stay away from him now ! } realized the bewildered candidate, his annoyance turning to exasperation as the mystifying riddle was still sorely unsolved, { who is she warning me about ? } he ruminated, searching for a match to the obscure clues. Struggling to control his anger, he sighed loudly through his nostrils, { if only I had her insight ! } he mused as the revered woman carried on her compelling performance.

– –

« The powers you're longing for, you will develop if you continue your training with me » the perceptive elder announced, « but I can't simply bestow them on you, nor in any way accelerate your training » she stressed, adding to the dismay of her pupil, « this can only be achieved in time and with effort » she firmly stipulated. « Obviously » Harvey concurred with resignation, « I'll be patient» he assured, attempting to sound calm and collected despite the difficult circumstances. « I know your frustrations, Jake » responded the septuagenarian, « I knew you wouldn't like what I had to say today » she reiterated caringly, « but then again, if you had wanted better answers, you could have asked better questions » she bluntly admonished the party leader.

The reprimand had stung the former businessman. However, he had learned to recognize the criticism for what it was. The soothsayer intended it as a wake-up call. She was prompting him to put her instructions in practice, and to take advantage of the invaluable opportunity he had to exploit her talents to their fullest extent. After all, this was a privilege she granted to only a few. – –

« Then why don't you just decide which questions I should be asking ? » the blond man retorted after a short reflection, grinning smugly. « Then it wouldn't be a reading, it would be lesson » observed the seer, smiling back at her student, « still, that may be the single most important question you've asked me in a long while » she immediately emphasized, pausing for effect, « remember that I've been graced with prescience » she hinted, stopping once more for an instant to let the words

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sink in, « most of what you've asked today you should have figured out by yourself » she revealed magnanimously. And somehow, that last statement relieved the tricenarian who was slowly recalling that he had lately been entertaining doubts, feeding uncertainties, and pursuing dubious conjectures, when he could have trusted his own senses and abilities instead. And then it occurred to him that this same negligence could also possibly be the reason why he was feeling so distant from the chapel. He would definitely need to be more disciplined. – –

« Thank you » the Neolit gratefully acknowledged following the deliberation. « You'll find peace again before we part » the prophetess concluded in a soothing voice as she opened her eyes.

The final remark puzzled the politician who thought the previous advice had already helped him return to serenity, but the alarm tone of his handheld suddenly broke the silence his mentor and him had been enjoying. Startled, he abruptly recovered awareness of the unique place they were in. –

« I have to go now » the candidate declared as he quickly muted his communicator, « lest the chief of the New Light Party be late for his next public appearance » he chuckled as he rose from his seat and took a few steps in the direction of the nave. « I know » placidly noted the wise lady, nodding in amusement.

Harvey waited for the woman to reach him, and they started to walk side by side towards the front door, advancing quietly down the main aisle of the small church, until something attracted his eye. He could see, to the left of the entrance, at the foot of the wall and tightly rolled up, a rug similar to the one adorning the lounge of his suite and upon which he had been sitting the night before while meditating. –

« Is this a new rug ? » the former businessman inquired, indicating the striking work of art with his forefinger as he vividly recollected the channelling seance, { « don't let anyone lead you astray... the path you have chosen is the right path » } the guidance of his celestial supporter resounded in his mind again. « Yes and no » Aeira cheerfully answered, « actually, it's a very old rug » she first pointed out with a grin, « but as far as traditional rugs go, this one is particularly well preserved » she went on in a more serious manner, « a client offered it to us just this morning » the soothsayer commented, « she said she felt it belonged here » she explained, pondering the matter for a moment, intrigued, « may I know why you ask ? » she then wondered.

But the blond man didn't respond right away, engrossed in the reflection that the instructions of his supernal counsellor had triggered. Mysteriously, it all made sense again. He would remain on The Threshold

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course, despite his insecurities about the professor and about the occult practice. Inasmuch as science and space were concerned, he could still rely on the physicist, but the experiences and apprehensions of the renowned researcher didn't have to become his own, and knowing that he probably harboured a hidden agenda, he could keep a vigilant eye on him. He could use the engineer's expertise, and yet avoid his influence regarding spiritual issues.

– –

– –

– –

– – –

« Jake ? » interrupted the seer, speaking slightly louder. « Oh ! » reacted the charismatic leader, smiling as he realized he had been absent while his host had been hoping for a reply, « sorry Mistress » he apologized pensively, « there's one of these in my hotel room, and the sight of it got me thinking » he shared to justify his earlier question. « Obviously » concurred the beautiful septuagenarian, « not a single thought is lost » she observed soon after, reiterating the principle that her pupil had heard many times before. « Indeed » the politician tersely agreed, turning to glance at his mentor, appreciative as it occurred to him that he had found a way to be at peace with her revelations, recognizing she had once more been right, « I have a favour to request of you » he declared following a brief silence. « I'm sorry but I can't officially endorse you, the Neolits, or the Coalition » the prophetess maintained, immediately deterring her interlocutor. « Well, then you also knew I had to try » simply chuckled the candidate after a second of surprise, suddenly appearing bemused as he attempted to work out which elements of his party's program could repel his adviser. « Don't worry about it » calmly suggested the lady, « it's not that I don't like the values of the Progressives, quite the contrary in fact » she reassured her mentee, « nor is it that the various inclinations of my many patrons bind me to neutrality, I have more freedom than that » she confidently stated, noticing that her companion was still visibly affected by her refusal, despite brave efforts to seem unfazed, « I've learned the hard way that my own aims sometimes interfere with my clairvoyance » she submitted, somewhat embarrassed. « Oh, I see » Harvey uttered, relieved as he had been half-expecting a totally different and more discouraging motivation for her stance. « If I publicly announce that I support you » the prescient elder continued, « then it will turn into a preoccupation » she patiently explained, pausing shortly for effect, « when a glimpse turns into a preoccupation, it is no more a prediction, it becomes something else » she cryptically proposed. « Fair enough » accepted the former businessman, nodding and grinning at the woman although he clearly hadn't received all that she had offered him. « Don't you have some urgent event to attend ? » Aeira playfully queried after a moment. « Right ! » exclaimed the tricenarian, looking apprehensive as he directed his attention to his upcoming appointment, « it's been a real privilege » he politely emphasized, promptly

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bowing his head before he started to walk towards the exit. « Bye Mister Chancellor ! » the soothsayer cheerfully bade just as her client hastened out of the chapel, temporarily disjoining her hands to wave at him.

At the words, the representative stopped at once and turned around to stare at his wise guide, wondering if her remark could mean that he had made that one last decision she had mentioned at the beginning of the reading. { « You'll make that choice sooner than you realize » } the warm voice of his host echoed in his mind. As he stood still on the threshold of the small church, holding the heavy wooden door to prevent its self-closing mechanism from shutting it, he intently made an exaggerated perplexed face to invite some sort of confirmation. But the experienced seer remained quiet, smiling and waving a little longer before uniting her hands again and heading back to where they had left the two chairs, near the center of the transept, between the bema and the first rows of empty benches. Had she forsaken him to his interrogation, or again signified that he could figure it out by himself ? Had she made one final prevision, or had it merely been wishful thinking ? { She wouldn't say such a thing lightly } he reflected as he stepped out of the building, the large door loudly closing behind him, { « when a glimpse turns into a preoccupation, it is no more a prediction » } he recalled the observation of the prophetess. { She has seen it ! } he deduced suddenly, transported by an overwhelming feeling of elation. At that instant, he was convinced he would become the next leader of the Federation, and although he couldn't see exactly how it would all unfold, he didn't much care. Preferring instead to fully appreciate the uplifting sentiment, he let out a brief shout of enthusiasm as he reached Janice Gallagher who had been waiting for her boss on the parvis. Inside, the septuagenarian was pondering on the session as she put both seats back along the wall, to the side of the altar. She had definitely sensed when the politician had chosen to keep some distance with her friend the researcher, and to carry on consulting his stellar adviser. She had known for sure from everything which had then appeared into view, ever so fleetingly. Crucial elements of the future had shifted, and settled in the desired configuration. She had been successful. –

– –

– –

« Call the Abbess » commanded the priestess as she took off her formal robe, revealing a finely embroidered white blouse and dark denims, and then she grabbed her uDev off its clip on her belt while tossing the garment on the altar. { I've been expecting your call } silently replied Olivia Romero just a few seconds later, the familiar face of the environmentalist showing up on the gadget's tiny screen. { We are all set } soundlessly asserted the elder, the two disciples having realized a while back that they had the capacity to communicate telepathically when they kept gazing into each other's eyes, { the decision is made... he will stay on course now } she further indicated. { Perfect ! } reacted the public official, { you have not disappointed } she noted, delighted. { Thank you ! } offered Aeira as she loosened the white hair she usually wore tied up.

The conversation did not last any longer, nor did it need too. The gifted woman replaced the The Threshold

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device on its clip, folded her pale blue robe neatly, and finally pushed it close to the front edge of the communion table. Putting both her hands on the flat surface, she tilted her head backwards to stare for a moment at the diagram of the solar system which was represented in stained glass in the middle of the hemispheric ceiling high above the sanctuary. Eventually, she lowered her eyelids and raised her arms up as if she were imploring the heavens. –

« Ganti, please hear me wise guide » she began to repeat, visualizing images of the fifth of seven planets.

Soon after, the experienced spiritualist felt the elevation that she had learned to recognize as the establishing of the connection to the intelligence of the gigantic orb.

– –

« The decision is made » the soothsayer reiterated, speaking to the celestial, « the bond has been strengthened, and the rift has been widened » she cryptically announced in an earnest manner. { « And your duty to the Congregation has been fulfilled » } a strong feminine voice echoed in the mind of the prophetess, { « we will see that you receive the just reward you deserve » } it added right away. « What is my next duty ? » the gratified lady inquired. { « We will contact you » } tersely answered the supernal counsellor.

A whole day of teaching, reading, and channelling, had taken its toll on the aging visionary. Exhausted, she opened her eyes and bowed her head down towards the altar, exhaling loudly as the feeling of elevation quickly receded.

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About the Series

A

t the turn of the century, Ovel must face the consequences of its accelerated growth. One

hundred and twenty seven federated countries and eleven sovereign nations, spread across the homeland and in colonies settled onboard orbiting stations and on a nearby planet. Fourteen billion inhabitants struggling to thrive under the rule of a corrupted Global Government, in power for over forty years. Fuelled by a recent scientific finding, the once in a lifetime discovery of a discontinuity in the cosmic fabric of the neighbouring space, a coalition of politicians is willing to stand up for the people and radically change things. Now relegated to the ranks of an obscure sect, the once dominant Community and its disciples must effectively handle the requirements of the Celestials to ensure that the most favourable of all possible destinies comes to pass. Meanwhile, halfway across the world, a young monk must learn to collaborate with the Enlightened Ones in order to successfully discharge the essential task he has accepted to fulfil in behalf of his monastery. Will the crucial 2206 electoral campaign climax on the emergence of a charismatic Progressive leader, or will the decried Chancellor prevail despite the many forces scheming for his downfall ? On a background of environmental and financial crises, and religious influences intertwining with political manoeuvres to determine the fate of the overpopulated orb, The Threshold chronicles the evolution of the Ovelian civilization as it heads towards unprecedented upheaval.

★ Contact Facebook Profile : https://www.facebook.com/the.threshold.2206 Google Plus Profile : https://plus.google.com/u/0/104660427672333556879

★ The Complete Edition of The Threshold - 2206 : Window Onto A New World is available in the following locations Kindle Format on Amazon ePub Format on Lulu

About the Author

C

hristopher Stewart loves to try his hand at various artistic endeavours, but if there's one discipline he's perfecting, it must be the art of blooming late.

He has studied for a long time, played football even longer, spent a significant part of his adult life developing software on a full-time basis and invested what remained in the pursuit of his ideal of creating meaningful music in the context of a rock ensemble. He has founded the prolific yet still album-less Quebec-based progressive rock outfit Poligraf in 1998 and has never been quite the same since. He has been practising Buddhism dead-seriously since the mid 90s, until he finally awakened to the fact that it teaches living happiness. His interests range from psychology, physics, and philosophy, to mysticism, divination, the arts and the creative process, and, obviously, multitasking and clichés. Pick any task, tag it with the word « impossible, » assign it to him, and he’ll be hard at work for years before the first suspicion finally pops in his mind.

★ Contact Email : christopher.stewart@gmail.com Facebook Profile : https://www.facebook.com/christopher.andrew.stewart Google Plus Profile : https://plus.google.com/114005406455037130049 Twitter Profile : https://twitter.com/poligraf

★ Also Available as eBooks On the Meaning of Sin

Credits Chapter Titles The titles are meant as a tribute to the musicians. Special thanks to the members of Yes for their musical genius, and to Jon Anderson in particular for sharing his vision with the world. Fonts Linux Libertine : http://www.linuxlibertine.org/ Vollkorn : http://friedrichalthausen.de/ Philosopher : http://jovanny.ru/ BorisBlackBoxx : http://manfred-klein.ina-mar.com/ Quirkus : http://www.peter-wiegel.de/ Ubuntu : http://font.ubuntu.com/ Liberation : from the Fedora Linux Distribution : http://fedoraproject.org/ Images Roland zh : Kirche Enge in ZĂźrich-Enge Software Open Office : http://www.openoffice.org/ FreeMind : http://freemind.sourceforge.net/ The Timeline Project : http://thetimelineproj.sourceforge.net/ Gimp : http://www.gimp.org/ Blender : http://www.blender.org/ References Most of my book design questions have found an answer on Joel Friedlander's The Book Designer : http://www.thebookdesigner.com/

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The Threshold Bookcast : Chapter 6 – It Can Happen