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Monthly Archives: July 2009

CHAPTER SEVEN

Commander Grant ran quickly, for a man of his age, into the control room of his ship. The code red sirens were wailing and the man at the controls was yelling at the top of his lungs.

‘INCOMING! INCOMING! WE HAVE TWO HOT FISH COMING STRAIGHT AT US!’

‘What’s the situation?’ called back Sir Hamish

‘We have a Collins shadowing us at ten k’s back, it’s just fired.’

‘Well what are you waiting for man, full speed ahead?’

‘Do you think we can outrun them?’ said a second sailor

‘I don’t know, but for sure we’re about to find out.’

‘What should our heading be, Sir?’

‘Just drop some chaff, aim for open water and hit the scram jets.’

Boom, boom was felt behind the craft as they were catapulted north away from Indonesia and towards the Philippines.

Commander Grant left the control room boys behind him and proceeded to the incident room where he was thought the others would be gathering right at that moment. He was there within moments and sure enough that’s where they were.

‘What the hell’s going on?’ demanded Laurie

‘Seems we’ve been tracked.’ Replied C.G

‘I thought you said we couldn’t be tracked.’

‘Well, it seem like I was wrong; doesn’t it?’

‘What will we do now?’ asked Jim

‘Find somewhere to lie low and recharge the batteries,’ answered the Captain ‘any ideas?’

Buzz put his hand up and everyone looked at him, oddly enough.

‘What’s the matter; do you want to go to the toilet?’ asked Laurie

‘No, I think I know somewhere to go?’

‘How, Where’

‘Before I was so rudely awaken, I was having the most amazing dream.’

‘Yeah, go ahead we all know about these strange dreams of yours.’

‘It just so happens that I was dreaming of traversing these very waters and low and behold I was shanghaied by Chinese pirates and taken to a under ground cavern that was large enough to hide this modern monstrosity in. If you can get me a map, I’m sure I can direct you to it and if no-one has a better plan, I think we should check it out.’ Said Buzz

They all went about the business of battening down the hatches and rigging for high speed running. Time flew by, securing them from the worry of death and failure, which they left in their wake as they sped towards a new safe haven; Chang’s cave.

As Captain Grant’s amazing vessel made its way through the slender, pipe like, entrance and into the huge cavernous hideout that Buzz had directed them to, he purposely found his younger C.O slapped him on the back.

‘Well done my boy, well done.’

Buzz just responded by squirming around with a painful expression on his face trying to rub his own back.

‘I told you I knew what I was saying.’

‘Aye that you did’

‘So how long do you think we should stay here?’ asked Buzz

‘Just long enough to get our bearings and recharge the batteries. You, my lad are going to have to come up with another heading for us because I have no idea where we are going.’ Replied Grant

‘No worries but you will have to stop slapping me around like that.’

‘It’s a done deal.’

Captain Grant spun around and marched off to instruct his crew on how to go about their duties.

Buzz turned to Nat who massage his shoulder while he complained about her uncle’s rough treatment. After she had restored his composure, he asked ‘How would you like to go exploring with me?’

‘Sure,’ she replied ‘I’d love to.’

‘Get your hiking boots on then.’

Soon they had made their way off the ship and Buzz was showing her around the cave that he had visited in his dream. He began to recount to her some of the things he had previously forgotten to explain and before long, was back in the past again, experiencing it first hand and detailing it to Nat as it happened.

The Grand Cavern had taken on a new glow, more golden light had enriched the previously dark corners and new colorful sheens glistened from small fires marking the various groups of now happy pirates. Some celebrated the new order and reconciliation of old friends and foes. The mysterious princess’s men were a much more agreeable bunch and the woman herself proved to be a gracious host. Buzz the relieved, luxuriated in her company as the pair made themselves comfortable in the now deposed King of the South China Sea’s pirate empire.

‘Lai Choy San, I don’t understand what has just happened. It doesn’t make any sense to me. You give me my treasure, that your father gave to you and then he takes it back off me, then your men overthrow him for it?’

‘My brave warrior, you have changed the course of history. Chang was not my real father, he owned me from the time I was a small child and for many years I have dreamt of this day. He was a tyrant, feared and served by many but loved by none. He had imprisoned me in my mountain of wealth, after I had stolen from him the treasure you sought and now I rule his kingdom because of you.’

‘So I was your bait?’

‘Not only, but also. I dreamt you up, so when you arrived in my passage I knew exactly who you were and what you would do for me.’

‘How did Chang get the Golden Eagle?’

‘He or his father, and I am not sure weather they are one in the same, stole it from the Great Genghis Khan or his descendants. As far as I know, they would have gone on to rule the world if we had not relieved them of the symbol you now possess. So you see we are thieves and you are the salvation of the people or their next despot.’

‘And what do you want from me now?’

‘Nothing, take your Eagle and go, it has not brought anything but sorrow to my kind and we will be better off with out it and don’t forget the Portuguese rule the waters between here and where you want to go.’

There was great wealth stashed in the coffers of Chang’s caches, all the maps and charts needed for our dreamtime hero to plan the next leg of his quest to return the Great Golden Eagle to its Himalayan high coupe.

In the days and nights spent in the company of his Dragon Lady, he studied the layout to the passages and safe havens that had previously only been known by Chang and his gangs of men, who now seemed perfectly happy to work for their new mistress. The Sinbad was refurbished, restocked and made ready, while his old crew started to take on the appearance of a well oiled unit ready for anything or anybody who might cross their path.

On the day they sailed out of the waters controlled by Lai Choy San, with the prize of their quest safely stowed out of sight, Buzz the once again magnificent, was confident of the successful path

laid before him. Now all he had to deal with was the Portuguese Navy based out of the old city of Bombay, hopefully the disguises they had prepared for themselves would suffice when the inevitable time would arrive that they would have to deal with these people who must not, under any circumstances, relieve him of his prize.

His ultimate goal was to make it to Northern India where under the protection of the Moguls he would begin the overland journey to Samarkand thru the Hindu Kush with his golden bird. Years of studying the stories told to him as a child in the Palaces built by the descendants of Genghis Khan, had sent him questing for the fabled bird he had vowed to return.

For now he had to content himself with the slow and steady pace the trade winds were propelling him at. All the preparations had been made and nothing more could be done but wait for the inevitable confrontation with the powers that presided between him and his goal. The Sinbad was sailing well, at their present pace they could expect to reach the open ocean between Singapore and Ceylon within days and as long as the weather held fair then the crossing was only a matter of weeks.

—————————

Natalie spoke bringing Buzz back to the moment, ‘So all that happened right here?’

‘What? Yeah, yeah, right here.’ He said somewhat distracted as he started pulling rocks away from a crevice in the cave wall. Before long, he was standing upright and proudly displaying a bejewelled dagger still beautiful if not somewhat encrusted by centuries of corrosion.

‘Amazing!’ exclaimed Nat, ‘What’s the story behind that?’

‘This is were I slept when I was him, the ancient mariner. It was much nicer then but I kept this handy just in case my princess changed her mind about my status as savoir of her people.’

‘Oh, so she slept here as well?’

‘Look Nat, I wasn’t really him; it was like I was seeing through his eyes, understanding with his brain, but not in control of what he did. I certainly don’t feel responsible for the men he killed or anything else; I was more like a passenger than the captain, you must understand that.’

‘I do, it’s just a little hard for me to accept it.’

He dropped the artefact and carefully moved towards her. She resembled a cat deciding whether to strike or flee, but as the freeze frame moments passed, did neither. He eventually embraced her more tenderly that ever before and breathed into her ear ‘I love you’.

———————————

Meanwhile back at Nick’s headquarters, things hadn’t gone as well as Elisha had hoped, Nick had managed to get himself into a fowl mood and had begun throwing things, namely the cute little blonde, she was out on her ear. Eli was trying her best to calm him down, but by the time the reports started coming through that they had once again let those ‘arsholes’ get away, there was no consoling him. The day was off to a shit start and it didn’t look like it was going to get any better, he was threatening to pull the plug on their whole ‘holiday’.

To make maters worse the company suits and been sending reports that their operation in Afghanistan hadn’t been going well, the drug lords were getting greedy and demanding more and more for their crops everyday. General Pain in the Butt was making his presence felt by rallying support on just who ran this part of the world, pointing out the fact that while Nick might have inherited the business on paper, he still had the men on the ground in his employ and that if Nick didn’t want an army of bikies surrounding him, he might just want to reconsider his position.

‘Get that pilot’s lazy arse out of bed and tell him to start warming up the engines, it looks like we are going to have to run this ourselves from the air.’ Commanded Nickolas

Eli didn’t even try to disagree; she just put her head down and went about complying with Nick’s orders as was her habit when he got like this. If things didn’t get any better she would end up biting pillows while Nick worked out his frustrations on her. This was pretty much how it went and by the time they were leaving Australian air space, Elisha was having trouble sitting straight in her office chair and Nick was heavily sedated.

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The trouble with ying and yang is that it’s a two-dimensional concept in a multi-dimensional universe. It works if you are bi-polar and only see things in black and white but as we all know, there are infinite shades of grey (not to mention colour).

An unevolved basic brain might not be able to see anything because it can’t distinguish shades. For example if everything was perceived as black there could be a whole world before you but you wouldn’t know it because all you would see is blackness, a worms eye view or as I like to think of it, mono-polar.

In our world today we have the equivalent in people with perfectly good vision, they only seem able to see things one way, theirs and if you don’t agree with them they label you bi-polar (as if it is a disease). You might recognise this problem in crazy Muslim terrorists, right wing Christian fundamentalists or, god forbid, evolutionary zealots.

Real evolutionary progress is to be had in the form of round table thinking, where in the evolved being takes his/her/whatever, place at the table, as an equal with only a perspective to be argued not a truth revealed. Whenever we thump the table and demand to be adhered to, we regress and trouble ensues.

So, it is with that in mind, I ask all evolved souls to be patient when dealing with the mono-brains even if they are exploding bombs, bashing bibles or kicking heads because after all, THEY have a mental problem.

Pass through this door and it will be like choosing the red pill instead of the blue.

What if nothing was as you had perceived?

What if all available channels were about keeping you out of the loop?

Suspend the part of your brain that keeps you locked into “reality” as we know it, and drift with me into the void of alternative possibilities.

Population control might not be as simple as keeping it to a minimum, it could be more advantageous to keep them ignorant. After all, power presides on a principle that is not for the ears of the multitude, but for the edge of privilege. Religion, for instance, has benefited by being so inclined for millenniums. So it is with that in mind, if you knew the secret, and it was within your capabilities to either reveal or stifle, how would you proceed?

Firstly, revealing might jeopardise all you know and love yet open up a world of possibilities far beyond any comprehension. Empowering the masses might be a scary thing if you didn’t include yourself in the numbers. Unleashing truths only ever uttered behind closed doors could have a tidal wave effect, previously shied from by greater entities than you. Yet somehow or another, you know it would be the right thing to do.

Secondly, stifling would continue a way of life that has become obviously unsustainable. Refusing to state the obvious seems as logical as hiding an advanced pregnancy. At this point you could be hailed as a hero or wait a minute and be panned as a villain; to be or not to be, that’s a question.

Forever Kings and Popes have denied knowing of the things that keep them perched above swarming humanity, without ever flinching from the task. The despots and divine mutually, have languished in knowledge not for the aspiring. Our great leaders are in no less a place but for the march of accountability. The times are upon them and the moment is at hand, just as if it had bean deemed inevitable from the ancients of days gone by. Keeping the people ignorant has passed it’s best before date, no one has the mandate, no one has the right.

Take the blue pill if you will but inevitably you will be sleeping on your own.

Maintain the charade if you have to but eventually you’ll look like Marcel Marceau.

Come out of the closet, lay it on the table and you may just be accepted for who you are, a dinosaur who made it into a future full of diversity and promise.

Once upon a time you could trust your eyes and ears, not any more!

We really must be vigilant in engaging the b/s meter when reacting to what we see or what we hear. Spinsters used to be single old maidens plying a trade beneficial to weavers, at least. Now there are spin-stirs, greedy good for nothing a’holes, capable of selling you anything for their own benefit. Take for instance the gun lobby, they would sell you the line everybody has the right to carry a gun, but they don’t really mean it. What they mean is that they want the right to be judge, jury and executioner of anyone they deem to be guilty of threatening their prosperity. If everyone carried a gun it would be Dodge City all over again and the guy with the biggest gun rules or the scumbag that sneaks up behind you gets to tell his/her version of events while you rot in boot hill.

Then there’s the Tobacco and Alcohol lobbyists, they would sell you the line people have the right to decide for themselves, while addicting children to their products which subtly take away their ability to choose. The government spin-stirs plaster our living rooms with advertisements condemning smokers and drinkers to an early grave while raking in billions in ill gotten gains; when if it wasn’t for their addiction to the generated revenue, they could pass a bill tomorrow and end the evil trade.

The Hocus Pocus of unethical professionals swirls before you every day with the sole intent of lulling you into a state of mind from which they can profit. Everybody knows, every body can see the comb over, but we are so mesmerized by it and so used to the conditioning, we just go along with it. They tell you aspartame will make you slim, trim and terrific and permanently overweight people lap it up by the truckload. They tell you Round up ready, genetically modified crops are the go and before you know it were all shoving it down our gobs. They sell you the concept there is no God while they are trying there damndest to become your god; believe me?

Women used to want the right to bare boobs, now they want to bare arms.

Men used to plot their pay off, now they pay off their plot.

Children used to inherit a future, now they doubt any future.

The poor, the meek and the ones who mourn used to believe one day they would have their reward but the spin-stirs have even converted that.

I believe in a creative force that doesn’t condone magic, but I sure wish someone would click their fingers and wake us all up.

Discrimination is no respecter of color and poor white people need a dream as much as the blacks, yellows or reds.

I have a dream and it has to do with the words of Martin Luther King Jr and it’s not that all men are created equal but that all men are entitled to equal treatment by the law. If a certain group of people decide to sell Drugs, Alcohol or Tobacco to addicts and it results in the death of those addicts; they can get off scot free, absolving themselves by quoting “personal responsibility” rhetoric. Yet if I (or Millions like me) sold Drugs, Alcohol or Tobacco to their loved ones and it resulted in deaths, then I would be held personally responsible regardless of what I said. Double standards are the norm, not the exception and “responsible” citizens are turning a blind eye to the appalling situation Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco are being sold to our children legally from the moment they turn 18.

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.” MLKjr

Peril
by Toni Morrison,

Authoritarian regimes, dictators, despots are often, but not always, fools. But none is foolish enough to give perceptive, dissident writers free range to publish their judgments or follow their creative instincts. They know they do so at their own peril. They are not stupid enough to abandon control (overt or insidious) over media. Their methods include surveillance, censorship, arrest, even slaughter of those writers informing and disturbing the public. Writers who are unsettling, calling into question, taking another, deeper look. Writers — journalists, essayists, bloggers, poets, playwrights — can disturb the social oppression that functions like a coma on the population, a coma despots call peace; and they stanch the blood flow of war that hawks and profiteers thrill to.
That is their peril.

Ours is of another sort.

How bleak, unliveable, insufferable existence becomes when we are deprived of artwork. That the life and work of writers facing peril must be protected is urgent, but along with that urgency we should remind ourselves that their absence, the choking off of a writer’s work, its cruel amputation, is of equal peril to us. The rescue we extend to them is a generosity to ourselves.

We all know nations that can be identified by the flight of writers from their shores. These are regimes whose fear of unmonitored writing is justified because truth is trouble. It is trouble for the warmonger, the torturer, the corporate thief, the political hack, the corrupt justice system, and for a comatose public. Un-persecuted, un-jailed, un-harassed writers are trouble for the ignorant bully, the sly racist, and the predators feeding off the world’s resources. The alarm, the disquiet, writers raise is instructive because it is open and vulnerable, because if un-policed it is threatening. Therefore the historical suppression of writers is the earliest harbinger of the steady peeling away of additional rights and liberties that will follow. The history of persecuted writers is as long as the history of literature itself And the efforts to censor, starve, regulate, and annihilate us are clear signs that something important has taken place. Cultural and political forces can sweep clean all but the “safe,” all but state-approved art.

I have been told that there are two human responses to the perception of chaos: naming and violence. When the chaos is simply the unknown, the naming can be accomplished effortlessly — a new species, star, formula, equation, prognosis. There is also mapping, charting, or devising proper nouns for unnamed or stripped-of-names geography, landscape, or population. When chaos resists, either by reforming itself or by rebelling against imposed order, violence is understood to be the most frequent response and the most rational when confronting the unknown, the catastrophic, the wild, wanton, or incorrigible. Rational responses may be censure, incarceration in holding camps, prisons, or death, singly or in war.

There is however a third response to chaos, which I have not heard about, which is stillness. Such stillness can be passivity and dumb-foundedness; it can be paralytic fear. But it can also be art. Those writers plying their craft near to or far from the throne of raw power, of military power, of empire building and counting houses, writers who construct meaning in the face of chaos must be nurtured, protected. And it is right that such protection be initiated by other writers. And it is imperative not only to save the besieged writers but to save ourselves. The thought that leads me to contemplate with dread the erasure of other voices, of unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being overheard by the wrong people, outlawed languages nourishing underground, essayists’ questions challenging authority never being posed, un-staged plays, cancelled films — that thought is a nightmare. As though a whole universe is being described in invisible ink.

Certain kinds of trauma visited on peoples are so deep, so cruel, that unlike money, unlike vengeance, even unlike justice, or rights, or the goodwill of others, only writers can translate such trauma and turn sorrow into meaning, sharpening the moral imagination.

A writer’s life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity.

The above is an excerpt from the book Burn This Book: PEN Writers Speak Out on the Power of the World edited by Toni Morrison. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Toni Morrison, editor of Burn This Book: PEN Writers Speak Out on the Power of the World

About the Editor:
Toni Morrison
was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of many novels, including, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, and most recently, A Mercy. She has also received the national Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction.

About PEN:
PEN is the leading voice for literature and a major force for free expression and the unhampered exchange of ideas and opinions worldwide. Founded in 1921, it is the world’s oldest ongoing human rights organization, and it currently has 144 PEN centres in 102 countries dedicated to protecting the right of all humanity to create and communicate freely. By mobilizing the world’s most influential literary voiced and an international network of writers, readers, and human rights supporters, PEN makes a difference every day in the lives of writers who are facing persecution around the world. For more information about PEN, visit www.pen.org

For more information please visit www.therighttoread.com or http://theharperstudio.com/authorsandbooks/burnthisbook/about-the-book/