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

Chapter XII – No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed

By

Christopher Stewart ★ Bookcast Edition – May 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 - May 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 XII

No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed  We believe men and women of all origins are confronted to the same necessities, impelled by their dreams to fully develop and to fully express their beings to the world. This essential process must be supported at all cost. Therein lies the key to the improvement of the whole Ovelian civilization. While we agree that some of the objectives of the Federation are basically noble, we believe that some of its regulations contribute to create circumstances too restrictive for citizens, from individual and collective perspective alike, notably in terms of disposable income, disposable time, and access to cultural diversity. Similarly, some of the increased powers it claims are crucial for its operation in fact only serve the organization itself, to the detriment of the citizens, who end up the countless cogs of a machine wherein the masses feed their hearts and souls to a handful of individuals. We believe this situation cannot be tolerated any longer.  – Excerpted from the Manifesto of the Alliance of Sovereign Nations


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A

aren Mayr had never really enjoyed air travel, but he was learning to suffer the trips

gracefully. In the comfort of his first class window seat, he mused that ever since his election as Treasurer of the Alliance of Sovereign Nations, there hadn't been much choice. His duties frequently required him to fly, either within Milagenia, or to and from the various independent countries. If it was a definite downside to his functions, at the very least it forced him to find ways to appreciate the wearisome journeying. And indeed, the processes were getting less tedious. However, on this particular occasion, his presence onboard an airborne vehicle had little to do with official matters. The secessionist was returning home following an escapade to Neo Apollonia, where he had attended Aeira's anointment ceremony. After all, it wasn't every day that new Popes were consecrated, even less a new Popess, and furthermore, given that personally knowing the lady opened him the doors of the otherwise private event, he had allowed himself the leisure visit. He was only a neophyte in the group of disciples, yet he was aware that there had been an epoch when such nominations were celebrated extensively all over planet. All things considered, the title didn't mean much to most Ovelians anymore. But he wasn't truly preoccupied by the regrettable state of affairs which, in a sense, also had its advantages for the faithful. Whereas it had once been prominent in the social landscape, the religious order was now generally construed as somewhat of an obscure oddity. Nevertheless, it was still strong, and its future was secure. More to the point, it still had power, it still had influence. It still had relevance. The observation obliquely reminded the economist of one of the manners in which he could pass the hours more efficiently. He had developed the peculiar habit of systematically archiving all of his electronic conversations, that he could save automatically thanks to the native communication application of his uDev. In view of his professional activities, he had deemed it an additional safety, and it had proved invaluable in quite a few instances. His transits afforded him the time to manage his collection and rewatch some of the chats, and in this fashion he had fished many pearls among the dregs, bits of information that, in hindsight, suddenly gained significance. Now was the perfect moment to peruse the ever increasing heap, and recapitulate the recent evolutions of his attempt at establishing a collaboration between the Community and the Alliance. Universal device in hand and earbuds in place, the quadragenarian began to browse the media folders, searching for a specific document. The randomly generated filenames didn't help him much to retrieve the coveted clip, but he could rely on the timestamps. The crucial exchange had been held on a weekend he wasn't about to forget anyhow. The tremendous repercussions of his previous trip to Triton Aeolus still resonated in his life and within him. As dates and times scrolled across the tiny screen, he slowly immersed himself in the past, gradually recapturing the atmosphere of the pivotal The Threshold

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period. The Milagenian remembered having greatly enjoyed how his sojourn in the Neo Apollonian megapolis had started. The evening he had spent with his friends from the old neighbourhood had provided him a very welcome boost. Their familiar company had uplifted him, infusing him with a healthy dose of renewed enthusiasm. Some of his concerns had seemingly vanished altogether as a result. In fact, the gathering had made him conscious of how jaded by routine he had grown. It had prompted him to recognize the freedom he had to savour far better than the brief intermissions he permitted himself to taste now and then. While many could only dream of such liberty, hankering for it their whole lives, he had somehow lost track of it. He had realized that, manifestly, he could make a much more constructive use of his long sought-after and well deserved autonomy. Indeed, he had resolved to do just that, and he was already implementing the decision. But what had fired up the military-looking man had occurred on the second day of his short escape. He had made the pleasant discovery that the emitter he had surreptitiously implanted on one of the shoes of Bernard Sturn during the late meal had quickly yielded unexpected revelations about the motivations of the scholar for travelling to the national capital. He had listened to the clandestine recordings carefully, selecting the excerpts his accomplices of the ASN would be most delighted to hear. He recalled the satisfaction his gamble had brought him. Bugging the doctor of physics in the unlikely hope of unearthing the intentions of the Global Government regarding the new finding in outer space had not been devoid of risk. And much to his amazement, to a certain extent at least the operation had borne fruits, yet obviously not of the flavor he had anticipated. The audio snippets had made clear that the former educator had been a master at concealing his true allegiances. The sovereignist himself had always deemed rather curious that the scientist had remained so close to his longtime comrades, knowing that all three of them had become disciples of the Community. It was even odder given his tenure as senior project director on Veshtar, and all the inconveniences the distance implied. And even more peculiar was the interest he had shown for their spiritual activities. After all, the pundit was known all over the world as a researcher and a science popularizer. Surely, there couldn't be a more incompatible occupation ? In any case, the Treasurer of the union of independent countries had gotten to the bottom of things. Still, that the space engineer was affiliated in some way or another to the religious order, or at any rate scheming with the seer, had been a conceivable hypothesis all along, however shocking. But learning that he had chanced his career and advised the opposition parties had been something else entirely. Mayr had ultimately concluded that the consultant was quite a different character from what he had always supposed. { Bernard is definitely not a Conservative } he mused, contrary to what he had taken for granted ever since the relevancy of politics had dawned upon him. In light of some of the clips, he had pondered the possibility that the famous Veshtari had been attempting to infiltrate the Progressives. But a chat between Aeira and the renowned expert captured on the evening before had seemed to preclude it. The economic analyst had even envisioned the more disturbing theory that the The Threshold

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public speaker had been two-timing the Church, eventually dropping the train of thought altogether with amusement. He still chuckled as he acknowledged that his own machinations had rendered him somewhat prone to paranoia on that crucial weekend. More realistically, the secessionist had reckoned that his illustrious friend was a left-winger at heart, perhaps a newly converted Neolit even, and that, understandably, he had thus kept his feelings to himself over the years. Considering the reputation of his superiors from the Global Research and Development Administration, this was the wise and safe thing to do to. Far better to avoid attracting the attention of the loyal Conservatives than arouse suspicion and jeopardize his privileged position in the scientific circle. If Sturn was indeed leaning towards the Coalition, any occasion to contribute to its potential accession to power, and in turn hasten the changing of the executive guard, definitely constituted sufficient incentive for him to meddle in the affairs of the Federation. The Milagenian could recollect a particularly eye-opening revelation that the remote snoop had enabled him to hear live. Though the words coming through the emitter had been awfully noisy and barely discernible, focusing intently on the loudspeaker of his handheld device, he had identified the faint voice of the scholar, apparently either phoning or messaging somebody. –

« I think your pupil his already in deep » the military-looking man had distinctly picked up, and this single sentence had been enough to validate his impressions.

The physicist had followed up on his late night talk with the priestess, or so had presumed the sovereignist. He had surmised that the former teacher had told the gifted woman what he had figured out from meeting the leader of the New Light Party. And at the same time, the elected official of the ASN had deduced that the client of the soothsayer was likely under the dominion of a Celestial he had unfortunately contacted. The Treasurer of the Alliance had already been aware that most of the advanced members of the Community had strong political views. But it had been yet another surprise to find out that some of those individuals, or perhaps was it only one very prominent person, did more than merely share the opinions the disciples generally advocated. In just a few days in Triton Aeolus, he had discovered the true allegiance of the space engineer, and he had learned that the prophetess and him had been actively working to influence the course of events so that it suited their own agenda. Moreover, he had gathered evidence suggesting that Jack Harvey, who was well on his way to the Chancellery, was a beginner spiritualist who had ventured recklessly into the perilous territory of channelling. { What an interesting weekend it had been ! } he reflected, grinning as he finally spotted the media file he was seeking, and quickly played it to ascertain it was effectively his conversation with Emeth Demir. –

« Hello Aaren ! » cheerfully greeted the head of the union of independent countries, « I'll be with you in a second » he announced at once, putting his colleague on hold before the

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to other could say anything. Promptly pausing the clip, the economist remembered that his monitoring and editing tasks had prevented him from taking incoming communications at the time. However, the excerpts he had already mailed had generated enthusiastic reactions from his cohorts of the secessionist group. And among the missives clogging his inbox, a text reply sent by his chief had stood out, simply requesting him to call back, which he had immediately done. But his chief had also been busy. Mayr valued his friendly relationship with the esteemed quinquagenarian. At the precocious age of twenty-six, the nonconformist politician had been the youngest ruler that Milagenia had ever known, inasmuch as recorded history could confirm at any rate. And recorded history could confirm beyond any doubt that the most ancient Ovelian republic, which was widely regarded as the cradle of civilization, had known a lot of rulers. Not that the military-looking man was a history buff. Still, he obviously knew that the state was notorious for being the first ever to leave the Federation, at an epoch when a large majority of nations had been willing to grant more control to the central administration. Back then, the prevalent perception had been that the previous attempts had clearly demonstrated the budding organization didn't have the means of its ambitions. Numerous observers had agreed that to adequately manage the increasingly aggravating issues which manifestly had to be addressed from a global perspective, the Federal Government needed more powers. However, unlike their peers, the Milagenian deciders had resisted to the promises of prosperity and equality of a more elaborate Global Government, as many of their successors had fervently repeated over the years. They had instead chosen to reclaim sovereignty, despite tremendous pressures coming from all quarters of the international community. The proud country had always been one of the wealthiest and most technologically developed of the globe. Thus, the brief campaign to convince its dignified population of the advantages of returning to independence had met very little opposition, although the option had not been without drawbacks. Joining the union in the first place had meant having to forsake some much prized and painstakingly acquired possessions, such as the stellar system's third planet, and recovering them had been out of the question. Nonetheless, the countless successes of the foremost people, from the original glimmers of urbanization that the foundation of Milagen had heralded, to the spectacular conquest of Veshtar by the National Space Administration, had ultimately swayed the balance in favour of secession. The optimistic inhabitants had confidently believed they could recapture past glory, and even surpass the achievements of yesteryear. And its rulers, Demir included, had resolutely defended and efficiently promoted its ideals ever since. Following his groundbreaking incumbency, the once Prime Minister of Milagenia, who wasn't allowed to seek another term after having reached the national legal limit of three, had been elected head of the ASN. The controversial position had traditionally been occupied by former statesmen of Ovel's longest standing democracy, and the function was thus perfectly suited for the authoritative, self-reliant, and surefooted quinquagenarian, recognized the world over as a naturally gifted leader. The Threshold

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Or such was the sentiment of the economic adviser anyhow. But Mayr was digressing. He had indeed found the video file he had been searching for, and watching the conversation again would definitely be a treat given how the situation had evolved in the last few days. Perhaps it would yield one of those gems of realization that made the exercise even more rewarding. He had plenty of time before the airborne vehicle would land. He was inspired by the attractive prospects he could envision for the Alliance. So he comfortably straightened back up in his seat and fingered the play icon on the touchscreen of his uDev, keen to discover what the camera had caught of him, as the application enabled him to view the two interlocutors side by side.

– –

– –

« Hello Aaren ! » the chief reiterated, happy to see the familiar collaborator, « truly sorry to have made you wait » he sincerely apologized, « I had to deal with an emergency ! » he justified, chuckling as he reflexively scratched the short dark hair on the top of his head. « Oh ! Nothing serious I hope ? » queried the concerned Treasurer. « No, no, nothing of the sort » asserted the director of the sovereignist group, « matters of the utmost importance » he pointed out in irony, « my oldest daughter is excited about her prom night » he noted, laughing softly. « Oh ! I can imagine » reacted the amused military-looking man. « I have heard most of the clips you've sent me » enthusiastically responded the blue eyed politician following a slight pause, his frank smile illuminating an otherwise severe, bony face featuring a prominent nose that had clearly been fractured at least once, « enough to be pleased... very nice work ! » he congratulated his colleague.

{ It would have been nicer if they hadn't found the mic } mused the regretful air traveller. – –

– –

« Thanks ! » the dark skinned quadragenarian replied, delighted of his feat, « what do you think ? » he immediately inquired. « I think that apart from the few surprises involving your friends » the highest ranking official of the ASN began, « we know the situation is pretty much as we had supposed » he suggested in a solemn manner. « Looks like it is » confirmed the master of economics, « but we have more alternatives than we thought » he stressed after a brief silence. « True » the former Prime Minister agreed, pondering the declaration for a while, « if the Conservatives are reelected, we can hope to win the race to the new space... apparently Ramsay has no intentions to exploit it for now » he submitted pensively, « but it's still a long shot » he commented right away. « Indeed » approved the buzz cut haired independentist, « oh, by the way » he promptly carried on, « I'm told the negotiations have advanced significantly this week » he proudly announced, « and the construction is nearing completion too » Mayr added, manifestly satisfied, « ahead of schedule for a change » he lastly emphasized, chortling at the idea.

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« I guess the Federation needs the money ! » cynically retorted the quinquagenarian, « but seriously though, that's excellent news » he assured, evidently appreciative. « Yup » the brown eyed Milagenian tersely acknowledged, « still, getting a first Euthenia station is one thing » he went on, suddenly apprehensive, « getting the means of moving it will probably prove much harder however » he observed pessimistically. « Ahem... maybe not » Demir tentatively contradicted, « not as long as the Atlantians are willing to collaborate » he argued with more conviction, « they own one of the few power cell plants still in operation on the planet, and they have access to current technology » he reminded his cohort, « so they can provide both the know-how and the raw materials » he proposed, grinning confidently. « Yes, eventually » the Treasurer readily granted, « but they're not independent yet » he countered at once, « the Feds would surely investigate and prevent the transactions » he mentioned in resignation. « True » concurred the leader of the Alliance, « but you're aware that our work with them has already borne fruits » he quickly maintained, « remember, the secession movement is strong over there, and the government doesn't have a majority anymore » he pointed out persuasively, hinting at his strategy, « so it's very possible that they'll join us in time to fit our spatial agenda » he finally speculated. « Okay... I see » the military-looking sovereignist reacted, « so I'm guessing we increase our efforts and actively help them overthrow their government – » « And win a referendum on independence » the authoritative politician completed, « and if the Conservatives survive the Globals again, we won't run into much trouble converting the good people of Atlantia » he ultimately noted, chuckling lightheartedly.

{ Looks like they won't though... hopefully the Atlantians won't back down } the quadragenarian reflected. –

– – –

« Good point ! » responded the amused economist, « so that's scenario A » he coined the prospect, « now, what do we do if the Progressives are elected ? » he wondered, appearing concerned again, « surely we won't beat them to the new space... they're getting ready to unveil their colonization plans » the amateur spy remarked. « True » the former ruler first admitted, « although they'll have their share of obstacles to overcome » he correctly contrasted, « but now we can imagine that maybe we won't have to » he hazarded enigmatically. « Ahem... I'm not sure I'm following you Emeth » Mayr replied after a short while, with a puzzled expression, « what do you mean ? » he immediately inquired. « As a good Milagenian, Aaren » began the once Prime Minister, « you know – » « And good Milageni too » the buzz cut haired man submitted, hesitating briefly, « but let me remind you that my family left Milagen for Triton Aeolus when I was very young » he

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explained keenly. « Still » the quinquagenarian resumed after a second, « you're aware that the New Light Party has its roots in age-old religious crusades, which in turn have their roots here » he asserted, slightly irritated at having been interrupted, « both Milagenia and the Alliance have traditionally been very close to its various incarnations over the years » he firmly stressed. « Of course I am » assured the dark skinned independentist, « and it's widely known that many of them have always been very supportive of sovereignists » he further stated. « True » agreed the head of the ASN, « and our relationships with them are still as strong as ever » he mentioned, pausing for effect, « our connections within the party could play in our favour » he added, patiently setting up his argument. « You really think so ? » questioned the Treasurer, quietly considering the possibility for a moment, « in my opinion, our Neolit allies are not sufficiently influential within the party to be of much help to us... even less within the Coalition » he countered soon after, « and surely the Liberals won't just allow that we join in the fun and exploit the new space too » he observed, laughing softly in disbelief, « Coalition or not, we're dealing with federalists here » he lastly commented. « First, I think the weight our connections effectively carry in the party is something that will become clearer in time » the leader of the Alliance maintained, « and for the record, given the debt of the Federation, the Liberals might be tempted to accept, if the amount is right » he suggested in a humorous manner, « but more seriously, and more to the point, no government can object to us doing whatever we want in that new space just like they can't object to us parking a space station in orbit around Ovel » he declared passionately, « I mean, I have no doubt that Ramsay and his wealthy patrons will try to trip us up » the experienced politician continued, « but the Progressives won't try to stop us, not openly at any rate, they know the stance is indefensible » he claimed in a raising voice, « anyhow, even if the Federation wants to stop us, ultimately it doesn't have the military power to do so » he concluded confidently. « But they can make life very hard for us » the quadragenarian pointed out. « True » Demir readily granted, « unless we negotiate some sort of accord that guarantees peaceful coexistence » he proposed, taking an instant before delivering the core idea of his strategy, « if Harvey gets elected, he could give the green light to our spatial development program via a special decree » he finally announced. « I see » Mayr slowly responded with a satisfied grin, « he could invoke the discretionary powers of the Chancellor » he noted, realizing what the other had been implying all along. « True » the once national ruler simply repeated. « And you think we could – » the master of economics hesitated, seeking an inoffensive formulation, « convince him ? » he asked, chuckling at the euphemism. « That's where religion intervenes » answered the quinquagenarian half-jokingly, « our

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Neolit connections, your friends, and you » he clarified in a more sober tone, « apparently, professor Sturn and Mistress Aeira also want to see him become the next federal leader » he calmly remarked. « Apparently » replied the buzz cut haired Milagenian, emphasizing the uncertainty. « And we can imagine that they hope to – » the blue eyed secessionist went on, carefully selecting his phrasing, « direct the course of events through him once he is appointed » he submitted, again presenting his plan little by little. « If he is appointed » promptly corrected the dark skinned official, « that's something we can imagine, yes » he stressed, wanting to highlight the speculative nature of the whole train of thought.

{ Emeth was onto something... he always has that knack of picking the right horse } the Treasurer reflected admiratively. –

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– – –

« And don't some – » the former Prime Minister persisted, choosing his words cautiously, « advanced members of your Community have... abilities... » he stated, looking somewhat unsure of the proper term, « that could help them achieve that ? » he inquired tentatively. « You mean exert power of influence over him ? » wondered the neophyte disciple, not waiting for a confirmation, « some are definitely able » he resolutely asserted at once, « I know for a fact that Aeira is very capable of doing so, but I doubt Bernard is » he further explained. « And isn't it possible that some of our connections might also be able to... counsel him, from within his own administration ? » the cunning politician hinted. « It's very possible, yes » admitted the quadragenarian, « it's too early to know for sure who and to which extent however » he immediately argued. « Obviously » the leader of the ASN conceded, « yet, it is entirely possible to imagine that some of those people might be willing to help us get what we want, if we help them get what they want » he suggested with a wily smile. « I see » the amateur spy pensively reacted, nodding as he grasped the perspective of his accomplice, « you're saying we could help the Neolits get elected and make sure Harvey becomes – » « I'm saying we could be interested in helping the Progressive Parties get elected » Demir interrupted his colleague, « knowing that Harvey could be interested in granting special privileges to us if he were to become Chancellor » he completed his proposition. « The Alliance has more than sufficient presence throughout the Federation to have an impact on the outcome of the campaign » the economist mused after a moment. « True » concurred the head of the union of independent countries, « we're active in most states now, we can deliver our promises » he confidently maintained. « But what if some... one, were to get at him first ? » Mayr warned in a cryptic manner.

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« Good point » gravely acknowledged the quinquagenarian, « can you tell me more about this... contacting thing the professor has mentioned ? » he requested right away, guessing the concern behind the reservation. « It's called channelling » responded the brown eyed Milagenian, « it's an ancient practice based on the belief that there are numerous orders of intelligence at work in the cosmos, including some that are far more elevated than ours » he solemnly carried on, « in short, through some well-guarded ancestral rituals, some people claim they can communicate with those... entities » he lastly noted. « Celestials » the chief of the sovereignist group remarked reflectively. « Yes » attested the dark skinned official, « they were once like us » he briefly evoked, « I mean, according to the age-old beliefs – » « This comes from our own folklore, doesn't it ? » asked the former statesman. « Exactly » the Treasurer promptly corroborated, « Milagenia is the birthplace of many religious traditions, including the one which my Community honours » he submitted with strained humility, pausing for an instant as he recollected his thoughts, « as I was saying, when living beings successfully ascend the spiritual levels, by gaining wisdom and ridding themselves of their lowly preoccupations, they can gradually reach those higher orders » he revealed keenly, « thus, over many lifetimes, we can reincarnate as galaxies, planets, comets, suns, and so on and so forth » he told his curious cohort. « Very interesting » observed the experienced politician, « but then, what are the risks ? » he questioned, not quite making sense of the situation, « I mean, such advanced... beings must be invaluable mentors, aren't they ? » he supposed after a few seconds of silence. « Well, that's the problem » answered the disciple, « not all of them are » he asserted with conviction, « and thus it can be a very dangerous exercise, especially for a beginner » he stressed at once, « it's very much possible that a careless channeller might end up being manipulated by a powerful intelligence whose aims are ultimately detrimental to them » he elaborated, repeating what he had learned at church. « Stellars ? » hazarded the Ex-Prime Minister. « For instance » agreed the buzz cut haired secessionist, « a stellar is basically a star like our Sun » he first emphasized, « stars can have many destinies however » he immediately added, « most main-sequence stars are very stable and thus can be supportive over very long periods » the quadragenarian continued, seemingly entranced by his own discourse, « but eventually they explode into supernovae, or collapse » he finally explained. « And those cannot be trusted » the perceptive Demir ventured. « Exactly » the economist reacted, « stellars in either their early or late stages can hardly be trusted as reliable guides » he further clarified. « Okay, now I understand » calmly replied the leader of the ASN, grinning in satisfaction, « thank you » he offered gratefully, taking a moment to consider the matter, « your friend professor Sturn seem to think that Harvey has contacted such an unreliable stellar ? » he

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recalled in an interrogative tone, inviting validation. « Yes » the military-looking independentist concurred, « and apparently Bernard knows a thing or two about how dangerous that can be » he commented, not yet accustomed to the freshly rediscovered personality of his companion, « and Aeira seems to think so too » he pointed out, reminded of the conversation between the scientist and the priestess. « True » again responded the quinquagenarian, « I remember her saying so in one of the clips » he mentioned, still pondering the circumstances. « If they're right, perhaps there's not much we can do to influence him » Mayr imagined, reiterating his concern, « perhaps he's already under the control of... whatever Celestial he has contacted » he proposed gravely.

The traveller promptly paused the playback. { Why do you always expect the worst, Aaren ? } he thought, appreciative, yet somewhat frustrated. He had spotted a pearl, but that particular category of treasures was familiar to him. He was aware of the bad habit he deemed supremely difficult to rid himself of. { Perhaps he's not under anybody's control, Aaren... and who knows, perhaps there's plenty we can do } he mused, sighing deeply. He had been vigilant, however it hadn't been sufficient. It was part of the practices he had to hone to reach the advanced levels. { You have to do better, Aaren } he observed, before he eventually resumed watching the chat. – – –

« And perhaps it'll help us, who knows ! » retorted the head of the Alliance, chuckling at the pessimism of his interlocutor, « and perhaps it already has » he enigmatically hinted. « I'm not sure I follow you » the amateur spy admitted, perplexed. « I'm guessing the future Chancellor of Ovel wouldn't like it if it were known that he was a budding channeller » the cunning politician insinuated, « and a careless one at that » he remarked sarcastically. « Good point ! » the quadragenarian approved, « we could use this against him, yes » he went on, visibly amused by the prospect.

The dark skinned sovereignist reflected that his chief was indeed a consummate strategist. In little time, the former statesman had absorbed the developments and seen how to best take advantage of the new situation. Rubbing shoulders with an individual of his quality was a rare privilege, which he valued very much.

« So what's the plan ? » the disciple inquired after a while, « we have our two scenarios » he cheerfully began, « A, we beat Ramsay to the new space, and B, we help the Coalition help us » he announced, simplifying the alternatives, « on which do we work ? » he asked ultimately. « Both ! » the once ruler of Milagenia declared with humour, « we carry on backing the secessionists in Atlantia until we secure their collaboration » he first stressed, « then we won't be caught off guard even if the Globals turn out to be, disappointing » he submitted

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confidently. « If the Conservatives stay in power » the economic adviser continued, « we possibly win two more allies » he tentatively suggested, « the Fidelistanis won't stand Ramsay much more longer either, but contrary to the Atlantians, they already have an independentist government » he noted, more enthusiastic. « True » corroborated the quinquagenarian, « in parallel, could you see if we can reach an agreement with the professor and the seer ? » he requested in a warm voice, « probably, many of our organizations will lose momentum if the Progressives get elected » he readily granted, seemingly not especially bothered by the unfortunate outcome, « but in return, chances are both Milagenia and the Alliance will benefit from the invaluable assistance of Chancellor Harvey » he completed, smiling in satisfaction. « True ! » Mayr mimicked, grinning widely, « and I can live with that ! » he commented after considering the premise briefly. « So can I ! » the Ex-Prime Minister eagerly ensured, « you keep an ear on your friend the scientist, I'll confer and confirm » he proposed in an upbeat manner. « Vid me if I'm busy » immediately instructed the Treasurer, knowing that the other often terminated their communications abruptly. « Got it ! » Demir replied, winking as he switched off his universal device and vanished from sight.

{ What an interesting weekend it had been indeed ! } the traveller mused again, straightening back up in his comfortable seat. Gratified and peaceful, he thought that the picture offering itself to his imagination could hardly be more inspiring. Ramsay was apparently on his way out, neck deep in turmoil, while Harvey and the Progressives were ever on the rise. Many secessionist movements had guaranteed their participation, waiting for the ASN to call to rally behind the Coalition. Bernard had agreed to help, and given that Aeira was now Popess, she could probably convince the Councillors to follow suit, assuming she herself approved the bargain. He couldn't have planned any better if he had purposefully tried. After all, that's wasn't why he had planted the microphone in the first place.

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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.

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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 Alan Light : First class sleeper pod on United Airlines 747 between Tokyo and Chicago 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 12 – No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed