The fog rolled in and threatened to envelop nenothtu. "Not this again!" he muttered in his sleep, and determined to wake up to forestall the
Otherwhere episode threatening to break into his Dreamtime. He woke up just enough to realize there was a warm body between himself and the narrow
corridor his bunk opened to, and try as he might, he had not the strength to roll over Margo and into the floor. When the Spirits want a palaver, they
will seldom allow a denial. Even the Vikings knew that when a sudden, irresistible urge to sleep overtook one, it was because the Spirits wanted a
conference. He drifted back into the fog.
As the fog swirled and parted, only to slap back together again as the swirling continued, Margot stepped out of a parting bank of cloud before it
merged back together again. "How's tricks?" she cheerfully chirped.
"I don't do tricks" neno responded, adding "I can't get away from you anywhere. If I'm awake, your mechanical self is there, and if I go to sleep, you
assail me in the fog. Ain't you got nothing better to do?"
"She's not me, neno. We're two separate and distinct beings. I'm not 'there', I'm only here."
"Y'all got the same DNA."
"You have 98% the same DNA as a chimpanzee. Are you a chimp then? Well - that might have been the wrong question, considering the way you drag those
knuckles around, but you get my drift. Identical twins have the same DNA, too, but they are distinct persons. We're not the same. I'm 'dead', and if
she plays it right, she never will be. We have separate 'spirits' or 'souls' or 'life forces' or whatever you want to call it. Different experiences.
We're different people, in spite of the DNA." Then she brightened. "Look at the positives! You've a girl in every port, whether that world or the
next! Isn't that every man's dream?"
"Nightmare is more like it" nenothtu grumbled. "Fer one thing, I ain't a sailor. Fer another, any fella what thinks he can handle more'n one woman at
a time is an idjit, and ought to never go to sleep unless behind a locked and barred steel door. Every time the two 'sweethearts' gets together, it's
the fella what catches the fallout. That'll make a man old - fast!"
You need not worry over it - I've already explained how she and I are different, and won't EVER be getting our heads together to make your life a
"Eh, she's a jealous sort. I wuz wearin' a food suit not long ago to prove how she gits excitable over nothin' more'n a hunch - even iffen it's a
"Relax. She's there, I'm here, and YOU are the only one of the three of us who can walk both worlds with any solidity. Whenever she's in the Dreamtime
of the Otherworld, SHE is the ghost - she's no more solid here than I am over there. Oddly, your 'solidity' in both worlds is why I'm here now."
"Why ARE you here, Margot? I KNOW you didn't come just to bat ideas of gender and relational politics around. I'm not up fer any slap-n-tickle... "
"Jenovah sent me. Time for you to absorb another lesson - well, it's a little premature, but Jenovah says you're going to HAVE to know, sooner rather
than later, because you've got a trial upcoming, another test."
"Jenovah? The god what lives on Carbiox? What's he doin' out here off his world? vacationing?"
Margot smiled. "You just don't understand. He LIVES out here - well, actually on the other side of Otherwhere, not IN Otherwhere. He was
, as you put it, on Carbiox. Not out here. Jenovah is a bigger deal than you seem to realize - even your friends Death and company
seem not to understands the way it really works. Jenovah is THE god - the creator-being, the guy that sets everything in order. The rest of you are
all just demi-gods."
Neno spat on the ground. "Death ain't 'zactly a 'friend'. Dumbass seems to try an' kill me ever' chance he gits, not realizin', evidently, that fer me
to be dead would be a really BAD eternity fer him - we don't git along very well."
"That's neither here nor there." Margot said in dismissal and steered back to the subject at hand. "Do you know WHY you are solid in both words?"
"I expect it's because I'm dreaming, and I git to say what's what in muh own dreams. That's how I know YOU ain't real - it's jus' a dream over here,
and I got that other you with the warm body curled up agin' my side over there, so THAT one is real. Over here, it's just a foggy-assed dream, and
ain't NONE of it real."
"You're more right than you know, but wrong at the same time." Margot replied. "What is 'here' is every bit as 'real' as what is 'there', but nothing
is really real. For example..." and Margot reached up to stroke neno's cheek before continuing "that felt 'real' enough, now didn't it?"
"'Course it did, but it's s'posed to. That's why dreams fool people who don't understand they ain't real. What is REAL is when Margo pokes me in the
damned short ribs with that sharp-assed elbow of hers in her sleep."
"No, that's no more real than this. Here's why. You know that everything - all matter, all mass, is made up of atoms. All atoms are mostly empty
space, little bitty particles flinging themselves around other little bitty particles at great relative distances to one another, like tiny solar
systems. In other words, everything is mostly nothing - in either world, or in any of the others you've not seen yet."
"It all feels solid enough" neno complained.
"Sure it does" Margot agreed "but that is all an illusion
. It's just how people percive what lies around them. Now try to keep up, neno - those
particles that occupy that mostly empty space to make up atoms... those particles are NOT solid, either. They are made up of little bundles of energy
- nothing 'solid', just little bundles of energy bound up into bundles by other sorts of energy... so EVERYTHING, right down to the smallest which
even goes into making the very biggest structures, is basically and at the most fundamental level nothing. Nothing is 'real' ."
"Margot, these physics lessons of your make my head hurt. I'm not a physicist, I'm a knuckle-dragger." nenothtu commented.
"Be quiet and learn!" Margot snapped. "You don't have a lot of time to absorb this!"
"I'm told I have forever to absorb anything I want." neno parried.
"True, you can't be killed, but there are worse things than dying as you are so fond of pointing out. Imagine spending that forever in chains in the
dark - that's EXACTLY where you'll spend forever if you don't catch this!"
"I'll pop holes in any bit of 'mostly nothing' that tries to chain me up" was neno's response to THAT threat.
Margot rolled her eyes and reponded "not unless you catch this lesson you won't! Now pay attention! Just as matter is composed of atoms of varying
composition according to the material, and just as atoms are composed of varying mixes of particles according to the material, those particles are
composed of varying mixes of energy bundles, according to what sort of particle it is. There are only a few basic sorts of elemental energy - gravity,
the 'weak' force, the 'strong' force, and so on. Out of those few sorts of energy, the wide variety of everything that is is composed, in an infinite
number of variations and combinations at all the several levels." She paused to try to allow that to sink in.
Continuing, Margot said "One of those types of energy is almost indefinable. For all their knowledge, mankind STILL doesn't know what gravity really
is, yet they use it every day, and it is present everywhere in the universes - ALL of the universes - just as all the other forms of energy are. The
energy that is the subject of THIS lesson, however, is not gravity. Call it what you want - mankind has given it different names in different cultures
and in different times, but they don't understand it even as well as gravity - but every living thing uses it, every day. 'Yin and yang' may be the
closest description, but even that is inadequate. This force, found everywhere in spacetime, in everything and nothing, has a 'polarity', but an
infinite number of polarities, not just 'on-off', 'yes-no', 'male-female', 'positive-negative', et cetera. it doesn't have just two orientations - any
bundle of it may be oriented in ANY direction, an infinite number of directions."
Trying to grasp it, neno said "so it's got poles, but those poles can be pointed any whichaway?"
"Yes! Something close to exactly like that!" Margot injected, excited that he seemed to be able to grasp it, however rudimentarily. There might be
hope for nenothtu yet. "Now when those polarities are not aligned right with one another, they act against each other, one counteracting the next, but
when they ARE lined up right, anything can be accomplished using this force. ANYTHING" she stressed.
"I don't see how that's s'posed to do me any good. I can't split an atom, much less wrestle anything smaller than even that into alignment. What good
is it to ME? Why waste your time givin' me a 'lesson' in something I can't do anything with?"
"Because you can
do things with it. You just don't know it, but if you catch this lesson, you WILL know it. You see, neno, this force is
intimately connected to life, just as it is with everything else. But with LIFE, it is so intertwined that it responds to mere thought. You can THINK
it into order."
Nenothtu grinned. "Power of positive thinkin' eh? Whatta crock of crap! It's crazy stuff like this that let's me know this is just a dream!"
Margot sighed and shook her head. "NO, neno, it's real all right - well, as real as anything. People have been using this force forever, even in
ancient days on Earth, but most who know that something
is there can still only use it imperfectly. They use it to heal - faith healers use it
- they use it to levitate, like Indian yogis, they use it for any number of things and parlor tricks, but they all use it imperfectly. You, on the
other hand, are just a little different in your mind structure."
Neno snorted. "You ain't the first to tell me I'm a little odd in my thinkin'!"
"Not your thinking
, your mind structure, your soul, the part of the life force that makes you YOU, whatever you want to call it. When you were
concieved, created, whatever you think of your genesis as, Jenovah added a little something that few others have. Not long ago it was awakened or
activated, and even more recently still it was solidified."
" ' Awakened'? Have you lost yer ever-lovin' New Age mind. Margot? You never talked this craziness before - you used to be all business!"
"Yes, neno, 'awakened'. Aboard Penelope, when she first encountered Yydryl, it was activated, and you fell into a coma if you'll recall. You heard a
voice saying your 'vibrational level had been raised' or something like that, but it was an imperfect translation of the notice that this part of you
was activated. Later, when you were made immortal, that portion of you was 'solidified' - that's what MADE you immortal. It's what makes you a 'god' "
The muscles in neno's jaw bulged as he gritted his teeth and said "I ain't no gorram 'god' ! I'm just a guy whose hard to kill."
"What do you think a 'god' is, nenothtu? You ARE a god, hewever much you run from it and deny it. It's more than immortality. It's also this ability
Jenovah implanted in you and caused to be activated. You can make ANYTHING happen, make it exist or cease to exist, just by using your thought and
ordering the energy fields to do your bidding. They key is this force, this energy, so weak and tiny per bundle, but so vast and overpowering in
unison, because it exists throughtout the universes - ALL of them - inside and outside of the atoms that make up everything. Your mind can make it
work for you, anywhere, in any universe. that's why you can be solid here, or there. You 'walk the worlds' because you have the mind power for it."
" 'Mind power' my ass. I ain't NEVER been the sharpest tool in the shed, an' if this were true, there'd be other people who could run rings around me
with this 'power' who'd have been documented LONG ago! Yer blowin' smoke up my ass, Margot."
"Not 'intelligence', neno, 'mind power' - motive force. You HAVE the mind power, but how you use it - or whether you figure out how to in time - will
determine whether there is any wisdom to go along with it. Go back to your world, your universe, and try. Practice. THINK about what I've told you
here. I have to go report to Jenovah that I'm not holding out high hopes for this experiment." Margot said dubiously. Then she kissed him, stroked his
cheek, and locked eyes with him as she said "You'd better prove me wrong, you worthless sonuvabitch. FOREVER is a long time, especially chained in the
dark!" and turning, she walked back into the mist, and was gone.
Nenothtu woke up with a start, bumping his head on the low bulkhead above his bunk as he sat bolt upright in a cold sweat. Margo. sleeping beside him,
was snoring of all things.
But it was a cute
sort of snore, neno thought as he tried to clear the sleep from his head.
edit on 2012/5/13 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)