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

Chapter XV – Tempus Fugit

By

Christopher Stewart ★ Bookcast Edition – June 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 - June 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 XV

Tempus Fugit

« Proportional Voting At The Heart Of Proposed Reforms Global Press Agency - Euthenia Five - 86.4.2206. Pursuing their Tour of the Off-World Colonies, leaders of the Progressive Coalition have unveiled their constitutional program which features propositions for a global hybrid voting system and measures to prevent the creation of underpopulated states. » – Excerpted from the headlines of the Hasani Herald for 86.4.2206


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XV. Tempus Fugit

R

ichard Ramsay couldn't help but think that, all things considered, he could have chosen

a better career. Not that he should be pitied, as, obviously, he had few reasons to complain given how well he had generally been treated by the political world, if not by some of his opponents. Still, as he walked peacefully in the luxuriant gardens gracing the estate of the Malakis, he reckoned that, manifestly, the world of commerce seemed to care a whole lot more for its dwellers. Or at any rate, it did for those who knew how to handle its peculiar rules successfully, including those who knew how to break them in all impunity. The veteran statesman had never interested himself in the process by which artificial islands were brought into existence, or rather, not more than superficially anyhow. His agenda was usually too crowded for him to take the time and learn about the details of such realizations. He preferred to focus elsewhere, content to simply know that the enterprises were achievable. After all, particulars were the concerns of the specialists, the engineers, architects, ecologists, builders, and whoever else were involved in the operations. Yet, as he strolled around the area, surrounded by the astonishingly diverse variety of floras that had been selected to complement the extravagantly landscaped terrain, he had to admit that the creation was bordering on the miraculous. If he had visited the paradisiacal place just a few years earlier, of all this amazing collection of beautiful objects, not a single item, not even the smallest grain of sand, none of it would have been there to be seen. The vista would have comprised only the sky, the thin distant coastline, and, as if one had travelled to a desert of water, the undulating dunes of the ocean. As he continued his promenade in the vast, lavish, enclosed yards which encircled the huge and no less exorbitantly designed mansion of the wealthy family, the Conservative chief mused that the capital city of Hasania, and in fact the only city of the diminutive nation, couldn't have been more aptly named. Dar al-Amn meant, and indeed was, to all practical purposes, at least for the duration of his brief escape, his house of safety. The recent days had been even more busy and demanding than he had anticipated. The results of the exams he had undergone in Triton Aeolus, at the health center where his sister sometimes worked, had been disclosed, along with testimonies asserting that he had been recognized despite his disguise. What had begun as a mere rumour had first become a persisting annoyance, before fast turning into the perfect media storm. The aging man had been subjected to the combined hassle of angry citizens, journalists, satirists, and political adversaries both within and without the Federation, without and within his own troops. An unidentified source, patently an employee of the community clinic, had leaked documents claiming that the septuagenarian displayed symptoms of senile dementia of the Alzheimer type, and that the physician who had conducted the examination was recommending that additional tests be The Threshold

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performed to ascertain the condition of the world leader. The revelation had been nothing short of catastrophic for the Conservatives who had rapidly plummeted in the polls as the extensive coverage the story had been given had quickly made its way to the far reaches of the Ovelian dominion. The news had attracted impressive numbers of reactions that ranged from personal attacks, to celebrations, to denials, and to demonstrations of compassion. And it had been the responses that the legendary Chancellor had been preoccupied about. After all, he knew where he stood, perhaps he had failed some exams, but he surely didn't have AD. Still, it seemed that the entire planet knew of his own status better than he did. More importantly however, he was shocked to witness how his party had suffered from what essentially was, and should have stayed, strictly his own affair. The balding elder recollected the events as he proceeded further into the exquisite gardens, occasionally relying on his walking cane to steady himself as he paced. Soon after the evidence had been released, it had been as if the whole Conservative Party had swiftly moved into damage control mode and attempted to contain the situation as it unfolded, albeit without much success. An official statement had originally been issued, maintaining that the telling papers were nothing more than a counterfeit, that the individual who had been spotted at the social center couldn't but be an impostor, and that the scenario obviously amounted to nothing more than the shenanigans of ill-wishers. The local Health Administration had then confirmed the authenticity of the documents, on behalf of the common good, compelling the political organization to publish apologies and a formal retraction, that nevertheless didn't explicitly acknowledge the validity of the conclusions. That declaration had been followed within days by reports pretending that the prescribed examinations had been carried out by a second specialist, one who had the trust of the federalist formation, purportedly proving beyond doubt that the First Man of Ovel was in excellent mental condition. Yet, despite repeated refutations, the public opinion had remained unwavering, unrelentingly requesting the truth. Medical experts close to the party had then insisted to run their own tests and figure out for themselves. Initially, the statesman had systematically refused, adamantly contending that some kind of mistake had been made, that he was absolutely fine, although possibly overworked as he usually was while campaigning, and that there was nothing to worry about. But the constant pressures had been overwhelming, and considering that he couldn't properly justify why he had indeed undergone the exams in the first place, he had ultimately yielded to the imperative demands of the eminences grises of his own political outfit. In the meantime, the Conservatives had planned an emergency weekend retreat to analyze the repercussions of the crisis, to measure the magnitude of the damage, and to establish a strategy in the hopes of turning the tide and regaining the lost ground in the last stretch before the crucial day. Ramsay couldn't have been happier about the exceptional location where they had chosen to hold the critical meeting. Just as the eleventh hour gathering was a welcome energizing break in an otherwise discouraging and exhausting electoral race, Hasania was a uniquely uplifting land, a rare heavenly gem on a too often hellish ball of rock. The Threshold

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« Sir ! » Peter Conrad called from a distance, hurrying behind the leader of the Federation, « sir ! » he reiterated, finally getting the attention of his boss, « Mister Malaki is ready to see you now » he announced as he reached the aging ruler, « he's waiting for you at the pond » he went on, breathing loudly. « Oh, perfect ! Thank you, Peter ! » politely responded the smiling gentleman, resuming his progress. « Ahem... sir » the assistant intervened at once, « it's that's way » he noted, indicating the direction of the small lake. « Oh... yes, ahem... thanks » mumbled the elder as he started to retrace his steps back to the rendezvous point, « this island is absolutely fascinating, don't you think ? » he asked after the two of them had advanced a few strides. « Oh, sure sir ! » reacted the young helper, somewhat surprised by the cheerfulness of the veteran, « it's a real privilege to be here » he asserted, evidently delighted, « the scenery is spectacular » he remarked, marvelling at the gardens as he strolled beside his interlocutor. « Have you been enjoying the visit thus far ? » the Chancellor inquired, in one unhabitual display of interest towards one of the members of his staff. « Not as much as I would have liked to » answered the attendant after a brief deliberation, « free time has been a rare commodity thus far » he mentioned in a slightly disappointed manner, « I think it might very well be the busiest weekend of the whole campaign » he further commented, glancing at the representative. « Sorry to hear that » the notable offered, genuinely sympathetic as he too looked quickly at his companion, « hopefully, things will get less hectic soon » he suggested right away, « if they can reach a decision » he emphasized with what sounded like a touch of irony. « I sure hope so » agreed the tricenarian, « it would be a real shame to have been on this island without having really seen its treasures » he observed, his attitude revealing that he actually expected the unsatisfactory outcome. « Why don't you take the rest of the day off then ? » proposed the experienced statesman, for once sensitive to the concerns of his employee. « You really mean it, sir ? » Conrad exclaimed, incredulous, { what has happened to him ? } he reflected in appreciation. « Of course, of course, Peter » the amused politician confirmed, « you've certainly earned a break » he continued in a musical fashion, « and besides, it would effectively be a shame if you missed the opportunity » he concluded, staring kindly into the eyes of his assistant. « Thank you, sir ! » acknowledged the helper, visibly grateful and unable to suppress a wide grin, immediately motioning to get his handheld from its belt clip, « I'll send you – » « Don't worry about it » the balding federalist interrupted, « I can manage to go through one day without you around » he chuckled, his attendant laughing in turn. « Ahem... there's one thing I would like to know » the tricenarian said after a moment, « if

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you don't mind, sir » he promptly added with deference. « Sure » acquiesced the elder, « what's troubling you ? » he queried in a friendly tone. « I don't understand why you required that the results be kept private before you accepted to undergo Doctor Ryan's examinations » shared the employee, frowning as he considered the idea, « his assessment could help us win back some of the on-the-fence voters, don't you think ? » he wondered, manifestly perplexed. « The party has managed this whole affair miserably » began the ruler, suddenly irritated, nodding in the negative with an expression that betrayed his contempt towards some of the officials of the organization, « that story deserved none of our attention » he opined resolutely, « we should have kept on going our intended course instead » he carried on, barely containing his temper. « The media were too insistent » Conrad reminded him, « something had to be done » he calmly countered. « Well, something, possibly, yes » more or less concurred the Chancellor, « but surely not panicking like they did » he stressed, obviously disgruntled, « and surely not turning the whole thing into this... circus ! » he criticized in a raising voice, shaking his head again. « But, don't you think it would finally put the lid on the matter ? » the young collaborator submitted. « Quite the contrary ! » the aging representative retorted, « Paul is Liam's son » he swiftly remarked, « it's only too well known that he's a Conservative » he explained, gradually regaining his composure, « our detractors would only be too happy to play it against us » Ramsay guessed, « better to let the issue die down and let the people see for themselves in which state I'm really in » he then suggested, « I said I'd see Paul, and the party is happy... those tests can wait... » he ultimately hinted. « The latest polls seem to indicate that the trend is not receding » the assistant objected, preoccupied. « So I've seen, yes » granted the statesman, « and that only proves my point » he declared emphatically, « there's not enough time left to clean up the mess around my mental health once and for all » he reckoned confidently, « we should be investing all our energies in our candidates and on what we can do to help them win their own battles » he affirmed, looking again in the eyes of his interlocutor, this time with fiery intensity.

The attendant signified his agreement speechlessly, perhaps more because of the ardent gaze than because of the argument itself, however sound. He deemed preferable to respect the perspective of the experienced politician rather than to defend his own, knowing how stubborn the man could be when given half a chance, and even when given no chance at all. Anyhow, they were reaching their destination as the patriarch of the wealthy family who had insisted to host the emergency gathering appeared into view. Sitting a on park bench, a few tens of a meter away from them, the grey haired Middle Westerner was seemingly greatly appreciating feeding the handful of ducks that reluctantly dared approach him, coming from the nearby pond. Arriving at their parting point, the duo stopped The Threshold

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on the spot for a final exchange. – – – –

« Thanks again for giving me the day off, sir » the tricenarian gratefully told the notable. « Well, I hope you enjoy it ! » cheerfully responded the federal leader, smiling once more as his serenity had returned. « I will ! » enthusiastically exclaimed the loyal helper, « don't hesitate to contact me if – » « No » quickly rejected the First Man of Ovel, « not today Peter, I won't » he assured his employee, « and you better run now before I change my mind » he pretended to threaten, chuckling playfully soon after. « As you wish, sir ! » Conrad obeyed, grinning as he bowed slightly, and then promptly hurrying back to the mansion.

Watching his reliable assistant going away, the chief of the Conservatives stayed there for a moment. He eventually peered towards his longtime associate who was still tossing food to the birds, and reflected that if the upcoming conversation would be difficult, it would also probably be the last of its sort in quite a while. { Possibly even the last ever ! } he contemplated. Slowly, he headed in the direction of Hassan Malaki who noticed his presence, seeing him from the corner of his eye. –

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« Oh ! Hello Richard ! » the grey haired swarthy man greeted in a friendly manner, in the distinctive accent common to the people of the Lands of the Sands, swiftly disposing of the birdseed and wiping his hands with a dishcloth as he rose to welcome Ramsay. « Good morning Hassan ! » mirthfully replied the Chancellor, extending his right hand to meet that of the billionaire. « Good morning ! » reciprocated the chubby businessman of average height, manifestly pleased to be in the company of his esteemed guest, « I'm very glad to see you my friend » he declared as the two dignitaries shook hands, his kind voice conveying his sincerity. « It's always a joy to see you » politely remarked the visitor, « and it's a delight to be here on this peerless island » he added, glancing around and resting his gaze on the small lake. « You seem in perfect health » observed the oldest member of the dynasty, standing back to take a better look at the elder who couldn't completely hide his annoyance, « sit with me » the rich landowner then instructed in a warm tone, motioning to the bench.

The two men sat side by side on the wooden seat, facing the water, while the ducks gradually came back towards them, after having hastened away at the arrival of the stranger. Quiet, showing an enigmatic, amused expression, cupping his chin and stroking his grey mustache, the Emir stared at the politician, rendering him anxious although he somehow managed to keep his poise. « Richard » finally began the patriarch, whose oddly long and thick grey sideburns were somewhat distracting, « please tell me what's happening ? » he inquired, considerate and still smiling, { and don't even try to lie } he mused knowingly. The Threshold

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« If only I knew ! » chuckled the elected official, not certain where to start, and needing to break the tension. « What's this story about you having Alzheimer's ? » promptly carried on Malaki in an authoritarian fashion, evidently not entertained. « Merely rumours, Hassan » quickly answered the veteran Conservative, « I assure you » he maintained, reading disbelief in the features of the concerned fellow. « Please Richard » responded the sexagenarian after a second, « just tell me the truth » he requested, as calmly as he could, { he has never been a good liar } he reckoned stoically. « It is the truth ! » claimed the world leader, appearing insulted, « I assure you, Hassan » he reiterated with conviction. « What do you make of the reports that have been leaked, then ? » queried the wealthy host, increasingly exasperated. « I don't know what happened » asserted the First Man of Ovel, « they must have made a mistake » he proposed, disengaging briefly from the scrutinizing eyes of his interlocutor, « those tests are never one hundred percent accurate, I guess » he ventured, with the most innocent air he could muster. « So you did undergo the tests » submitted the businessman. « Of course I did » Ramsay confirmed without hesitation. « And those are really your results ? » asked the Middle Westerner. « Well, I suppose so » reacted the statesman, « obviously, I have no way of making sure they're really mine » he keenly noted. « But why did you even want to be tested ? » wondered the bronze skinned billionaire. « I wanted to prove – » the aging representative first replied, stopping in mid-sentence to rephrase his idea, « some of my staff seemed to think I had some of the symptoms » he repeated his original lie, « and I needed to prove them wrong » he declared, acting his best to disguise the tale into a plausible confession. « But why didn't you ask Paul ? » the rich landowner continued, still skeptical, « why go to a public clinic ? » he insisted, clearly deeming it to be the worst possible alternative. « I imagined I could go incognito and trust the discretion of the staff » the elder justified, « I didn't want to arouse suspicion... some of the officials of the party – » he attempted to explain, but paused to reconsider, staring down and staying silent for a short while before inhaling loudly and resuming, « not all of them are my allies, as you must already know » the Chancellor eventually completed the thought, « and if I had gone through the official channels, the documents would have been available via the Freedom Of Information Act » he ultimately hazarded.

Malaki slowly nodded in agreement, remaining quiet as he pondered the question in the light of the conversation. { Something doesn't quite add up ! } he mused, but he couldn't figure out exactly what. Prior to their meeting, he had learned of disturbing facts that corroborated the hypothesis that The Threshold

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the politician effectively suffered from the debilitating condition. Unsure about the most appropriate way to approach the topic, knowing he could easily hurt the old man unintentionally if he were too careless, he couldn't yet see that many avenues to properly address the subject. Thus, he finally opted to bluntly reveal what he had heard. –

« Omar has told me about your last conversation » the patriarch mentioned, returning to a warmer disposition, « he said you... seemed quite lost at times » he related, prudently at first, « he even told me you actually confused him with me at some point » then reported the sexagenarian, already discarding some of his cautiousness as his guest not only looked unfazed by the account, but indeed acknowledged with quick motions of the head. « Yes » admitted the elected official, without reticence, « I remember this call perfectly » he further conceded, « I was onboard the First Cruiser and about to dock onto Euthenia Six » he recollected, his transparency seemingly convincing his interrogator immediately, « and yes, I recall being slightly off on that particular occasion » the world leader readily granted, « but you have to know this is nothing unusual for me when I'm campaigning » he hastened to stress, « it's been like this since the beginning of my career » he observed in resignation, « that's just how it is when I'm exhausted and overworked » he concluded, obviously well aware of the circumstance.

The wealthy host again kept his reflections to himself as he weighed the statement, this time appearing a lot more satisfied with the replies of his associate. Having assessed the matter by himself, he could believe the claims. However, he knew that, to all practical purposes, the mental health of the veteran statesman was actually beside the point, as it was really the general public perception that would dictate the course to be followed in the end. –

« A significant proportion of Ovelians seem to think that we covered up the story » the businessman noted, speaking as if he was himself one of the deciders of the Conservative Party, « many seem to think that you're really ill, Richard » he carried on coldly, stopping for a second to let the notion sink in, « people believe that the original diagnostic is the only objective one there is, and that our refutations are the actual forgeries » he asserted in an authoritative, disparaging tone.

The Chancellor stayed silent. Manifestly anxious, he just sat there, staring at the landowner, having no idea how to react to what sounded like the beginning of a disavowal. Then, he started to grow agitated, as if animated by a rising rage that was increasingly difficult to contain. –

« Okay, Hassan » eventually responded the representative, « what would you like me to tell you ? » he asked in exasperation, « I know I'm not ill » he passionately declared, « you can see I'm sane, can't you ? » he lastly suggested in a raised voice. « Yes, Richard » calmly concurred the pensive Middle Westerner, « I can see that now »

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he confirmed, slightly bowing in respect, « and I'm truly sorry if my inquiry has offended you » he sincerely apologized, « but I'm not questioning your health now » the billionaire countered following a brief pause, « nor am I blaming – » « We wouldn't be here if the party had handled the story professionally » interrupted the politician, clearly irritated. « Listen, Richard » told the swarthy man after breathing loudly, once more resorting to his commanding attitude, « with all due respect » he mentioned, as if warning his guest of what was to come, « at this point, I don't really care to know who is professional, who is to be blamed, who is to be held responsible, and who is sane or not » he enumerated with unmissable aggravation, « if you don't mind, we'll save the housekeeping for later » the Emir remarked, « and you can mark my words » he went on venting, « I can assure you that heads are going to roll » he submitted with a fervour that sent a shiver of fright down Ramsay's spine, « but right now, I'm concerned about whether or not we're winning this election » the sexagenarian resumed after a moment, « right now, I don't really care how we do it, but I want us to get back ahead ! » he almost shouted to conclude his rant. « And what do you believe we should do ? » exclaimed the frustrated statesman, « have me take some more tests and publish the results in your newspapers so we can convince the good people that I'm not totally demented ? » he ironized, gesticulating exaggeratedly.

Malaki remained quiet for an instant. { This is fast becoming too heated } he recognized, { better to avoid saying things I could regret later } he wisely opined. –

« Richard... don't be like that » the patriarch then replied in a more peaceful manner, « it only makes matters worse, you know that » he commented, gazing at his longtime friend, « obviously we don't have time to lose on the issue of your sanity anymore » he reckoned coldly, « the damage has been done » he finally observed, in a sombre tone. « So what do you think ? » inquired the aging ruler following a few seconds of reflection, « what would you like us to do ? » he wondered somewhat defiantly, as if challenging the other to provide a strategy. « Well, Richard » answered the businessman, surprised by the question, « actually, I was expecting to hear you tell me how you plan to rectify the situation » he noted, giving the elder an interrogative look, { don't push your luck, now, Ramsay ! } he thought, riled. « Well, Hassan » began the representative, « actually, I don't have a plan » he admitted, grinning as if to mock the authority of the landowner, « and our good advisers, who are gathered somewhere inside that building over there » he proceeded as he pointed in the general direction of the lavish mansion, « they still haven't found a plan either » stressed the veteran, in a cynical voice, « and if you ask me what I plan to do » he carried on in the same rebellious fashion, « then let me tell you I plan to keep on doing what I've always done » he affirmed resolutely, « which is simply to continue my visits to the states that have always supported us, and to make sure we can still count on them » the Chancellor

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confidently explained. The Middle Westerner once more stayed silent as he tried to consider the different scenarios, nodding in the negative and breathing loudly through his nose. It quickly became evident that he just couldn't concentrate, steamed by the declaration of his associate. Paradoxically, the more he failed to keep his focus, the clearer it became that it didn't truly matter anymore, the more obvious it appeared that there was no use in taking the reasonable approach, and that he was already settled on a course of action. Realizing that rationalization was only a futile attempt at delaying the inevitable, he deeply inhaled again and started to speak. – – –

« First, let me tell you that I'm extremely disappointed » the disgruntled host submitted. « Listen Hassan – » tentatively reacted the world leader. « No, I'm not finished » promptly interrupted the influential Emir, « you listen Richard » he retorted, as if he was admonishing a young boy, « for the longest time we have been backing you and your team » he asserted commandingly, « we have helped you in many ways already » hinted the sexagenarian, « the party is indebted to my family, just like the Federation is indebted to my family » he reminded the chief of the Conservatives, « and I'm not just talking about the money here, Richard » he strongly suggested, evoking the memories of issues which his interlocutor manifestly found very weighty.

Ramsay was perplexed with contradicting emotions. Part of him longed to be free of the no longer tolerable tyranny of the powerful dynasty. However, part of him also wanted to apologize to his loyal friend and retract the recent display of harshness. And yet, he couldn't help but fancy how liberating it would be to just shout his discontentment at the sad state of affairs, to once and for all exorcize the demons who had haunted his life for as long as he could recall, demanding that he made unacceptable moves, forcing him to behave as their pawn in a political game that he just didn't care to win anymore. Still, this was no time for throwing everything up in the air, not this close to such a crucial event, not this near to such a determining moment. And for one more time in his legendary career, the experienced ruler quieted his feelings. « If we keep on supporting you at this point » the billionaire continued in an aggravated tone, « our detractors are going to be even more pestering than usual » he first remarked, « our allies are going to question our judgement » he stressed, shaking his head in regret, « and our dependencies are going to ask for reassurance » the patriarch finally proposed, « and if you lose, we'll end up losing even more than you do » he noted solemnly, taking an instant to ponder what he would say next, « I cannot risk jeopardizing our position » he then maintained, looking very much detached, « we cannot afford such losses » Malaki observed, « I would rather let go of one term than watch the whole future slip through my hands » he readily confided, « I'm sure you can imagine » he told his guest.

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The Chancellor didn't utter a single word, but his expression conveyed that he understood the circumstances the Middle Westerner was in, and that he knew what was about to occur.

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« I will announce that we are withdrawing our support » the wealthy landowner declared, « and I'm going to tell our friends they can vote for whoever is serving their best interest, as long as it is not for you or your associates » he further claimed. « But, Hassan... » responded the elected official, visibly disheartened, « you realize that by taking away your support, you take away our last hope » he pleaded in a defeated voice. « Yes Richard, of course I do » the businessman answered, « I'm sorry, but I've seen the latest numbers » he quickly proceeded, « and in my opinion the trend is very clear » he mentioned, taking a deep breath before delivering the fatal blow, « I just don't believe that your team can redress the situation this late in the race » he ultimately emphasized as he stood up. « No, Hassan » promptly reacted the statesman, « please wait » he requested in an almost plaintive manner, « I can promise you that I'll personally – » « No, Richard » immediately retorted the sexagenarian, « please don't » he firmly denied the other, « I've made my decision and I'm not going to change my mind » he passionately ensured, « you remember what my father used to say ? And that his father Sayid used to say before him ? » the swarthy host asked the elder following a brief pause, evoking their common past, « I'll tell you what those wise men used to say, Richard » he resumed after a short while, seeing his interlocutor quizzical, « they used to say, empty promises are more harmful than silence » he concluded abruptly.

The Conservative leader watched the Emir who bowed in what seemed like a blend of respect and embarrassment upon pronouncing the humbling statement. That he himself would have to pay for the catastrophic incident didn't really bother the veteran representative. However, that the whole party should suffer because of his choices struck him as particularly unfair. �� You'll always be welcome in our house, my friend » Malaki offered with a polite grin as he slightly bent down again, « and this is not a promise » he stressed, turning around and heading back to the extravagant residence. Quiet and immobile, staring at the ducks playing near the pond, Ramsay was relieved, joyful even. The pressure was finally off, the last nerve-racking talk was done with, and the monster was leaving. He felt like drinking a gulp of scotch to celebrate, only he knew it was neither the time nor the place to show his satisfaction, and yet, he couldn't help but just stay there and smile.

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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

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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 Diego Delso : Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 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 15 – Tempus Fugit