Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Ivory Intersect

The Editor's introduction to Ivory

I hope that you have enjoyed being introduced to Roben, Gohrlay, Grean, Ivory, Angela and Peter. In strict temporal sequence, Peter was the first of these folks that I met, back when we were in college together. At that time, I knew that Peter was exceptional, and later, when I learned about his alien origins, that new knowledge really did not surprise me. By then, I knew Ivory well and I had grown comfortable with the idea of alien beings secretly visiting Earth.

in the Ekcolir Reality
I first knew of Ivory's existence when I read her "story" called "Thomas and Izhiun" in the February 2012 issue of Future Science. I suggest that you find a copy of that edition and read her story; you can judge for yourself if "Thomas and Izhiun" is actually a science fiction story. [Editorial note. When I wrote this chapter back in June 2014, I mistakenly believed that there would be few if any restrictions on published accounts of Deep Time and the hidden history of Earth. Ivory proved that a false assumption. Her published stories won her a ticket off of this dreary planet. Her publications such as "Thomas and Izhiun" were really just a way of attracting my attention and establishing our all-to-short period of collaboration. Don't bother searching for the magazine of Future Science; it has been deleted from this Reality.

I first met Ivory in 2013. Back then, I selfishly imagined that she and I could have a very long and productive collaboration, but now I realize that she was desperately scheming to find a way to escape from Earth.]

1. The Meeting

It was mid-April in Boston and I was riding a bus back to my hotel. Many of the passengers on the MBTA bus were discussing the upcoming marathon. I suppose some of them were riding out to the airport to meet runners arriving from across the country. I hardly noticed.

All my attention was on my motion sickness and sincere hopes that we'd get through the tunnel under the Bay and I could step off the bus before I vomited. I desperately went through every compartment of my backpack, but I knew I did not have a plastic bag with me. I was surprised by how quickly this bout of dizziness and sweating had come upon me. I pulled off my jacket and used it to catch my vomit, thankful that the bus was not very crowded.

All that came out of me was a vile fluid that had been produced by my stomach. Since I had nothing else in me, I stayed on the bus until I reached my intended stop at the airport terminal. It was evening and only the last few flights of the day were still due to arrive. I walked unsteadily towards my hotel, wishing that my nausea would dissipate.

After riding up an escalator and turning into the walkway that crossed over the roadway I just arrived on, I paused next to a trash can. I tossed in a wet napkin and briefly closed my eyes, hoping that the world would stop vibrating. My self-directed misery was interrupted when a woman passed by me and something made me pop open my eyes.

Of course, even if traffic on the roadway below made the walkway vibrate slightly, most of the problem was me. When I opened my eyes she had already stepped onto the moving walkway. She was walking fast, her long legs propelling her quickly across the bridge. I imagined that she might be a marathon runner. She wore a hooded sweatshirt that covered her hair, but there was something odd about her hands.

She wore gloves that looked like thickly padded bandages, possibly for a burn victim. Then she turned her head back over her shoulder and I could see that she was wearing sun glasses. I thought that was a bit odd since it was night time, but I was concerned with my own problems.

I slowly started moving and stepped onto the moving walkway, letting it carry me along. At the end of the bridge I pushed the elevator call button and turned around to see which floor the second elevator was on. I saw her again, watching me through glass door that linked to the next bridge that continued on towards the other terminal building. She opened the door and came over and got into the elevator car with me. I asked, "Are you lost?"

She smiled and nodded her head. I could see a fringe of blonde hair under the hood, framing her face. "I was worried that you might be too dizzy to make it back to your room."

I guessed that she had been on the bus and seen me vomiting. "I think I'll be fine."

The elevator door opened and we walked into the bridge that linked over to my hotel. She walked along at my side. She was wearing a pair of old age-faded red running shoes with new white laces. I asked, "Are you in town for the race?"

All she said in reply was, "No."

I almost asked what was wrong with her hands, but I was preoccupied with just trying to keep walking in a straight line at the quick pace she was setting. We entered into the hotel and she suggested that we stop in the lobby restaurant if I wanted to try to settle my stomach with some food.

I had no interest in food. What I was feeling was more than the uncomfortable sensations of fading motion sickness. "No, all I want right now is a shower." I made it into the hotel elevator and slumped against the wall. She had hold of my arm with one gloved hand and she tried to push the button to select a floor with her other hand. She had to pull off the glove so she could get the touch-sensitive button to light up. She'd selected 23 and I said, "Could you hit 12?" I got a look at her hand: she had strange long fingers.

She pulled the glove back on and said, "I want to explain what's happened to you and I've got something in my room that will help me explain."

I remember stepping out of the elevator and starting down a long hotel corridor, but my world was shrinking into a tunnel of narrowed vision. I had an arm around her shoulders and she guided me towards her room.

2. Even More Odd

Later I regained consciousness and I tried to reassemble the threads of my memory. I could remember slumping to the floor just inside her hotel room door. She picked something up from the desk that looked like a gun and held it to my head. For a few seconds I saw flashing "stars".

I reached up and felt my head. Then I heard her voice from across the room, "Welcome back."

I sat up and realized that she had dressed me in a fresh change of clothes and it seemed like I had been bathed. She sat down next to me on the bed and asked, "How do you feel?"

My nausea was gone, but there was now something new, as if my sensory apparatus had shifted into a new operating mode. It didn't help that she had her gloves off and her long delicate hands and fingers were out in full view.

This was my first opportunity to get a good look at her face. I realized that I had seen her before, during my poster session at the scientific meeting I was attending in Boston that week. She was just one of hundreds of meeting attendees moving through the rows of posters on the vast floor of the convention center. She'd caught my eye, although I was busy and she only touched the edge of my consciousness. I noticed that she was tall, slim and dressed in a very unconventional suit of what looked like silk or possibly an odd semi-metalic foil that reflected -or projected- mysterious and unknown colors in a patterns that defeated brain's attempts to categorize it. I'd forgotten all about her until she plopped down on the bed next to me.

During the meeting I'd only gotten a glimpse of part of her face. Even indoors at the poster session she had worn dark glasses. I'd imagined she was a graduate student or maybe a member of the press, there to report on recent scientific advances. She'd turned her body and I was left looking at the golden nimbus of her hair.

Now what I could see of her hair seemed artificially crafted into a fly-away pattern, but the end of each strand of her fine hair seemed to disappear into a submicroscopic tip - the overall effect was to create a shimmering blur that framed her delicate face like some sort of halo.

Struggling to stabilize my consciousness, I tried to put what I was experiencing into words, "Everything looks odd."

She nodded and a mischievous smile twitched onto her lips. "It's going to get even more odd." She Pushed back the hood and pulled off the sun glasses. Now I could see that she had large eyes and irises with a kind of metallic glint rather than a normal color. The pointed tips of her ears could be seen poking through her hair. I reached out and pinched the tip of her left ear. It did not feel like I could pull it off. She giggled, "They're real."

The feel of her hot little ear seemed to awaken all my senses and I noticed that there was a pizza across the room on the desk. She followed my eyes and asked if I was hungry. I was most urgently thirsty. She went over to the desk and prepared a glass of ice water. I got off the bed and took the glass from her. After I quenched my thirst we sat down and ate.

I ate, she mostly talked. "Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Ivory Fersoni." Somehow I was not surprised.  It was as if part of me already knew who she was and I did not feel any surprise at her unusual appearance. I'd read descriptions of the Asterothropes and now here before me was someone who had oddly mixed Human-Asterothrope features. She had a strange Caribbean-like accent and somehow I knew that she had spent many years living on an island in the Atlantic and before that in South America.

Ivory and I had been exchanging communications over the internet for more than a year and she had always refused to discuss the idea that we might meet. I could sense that something had happened to change her mind. She explained, "I was contacted by Thomas."

We had often discussed Thomas and the fact that I had even met him back when I was in school. Still, I tended to think of Thomas as a theoretical entity. The mere mention of his name seemed to make my mind expand and I had the odd sensation of the discovery of a vast new domain of my memory that was all about Thomas. The world seemed to rock and shift slightly. I set down what remained of the piece of pizza I had been eating. She asked, "Do you feel his memories inside you?"

I did, but how was such a thing possible? I guessed, wrongly, "Are these my memories of Thomas?"

She shrugged. "They are now. I apologize for that, but I did not want them. It took some arguing, but Izhiun and Thomas both eventually realized that you are the proper recipient of their infites." Everything she said was clicking into place inside my mind. I even knew that "infite" meant "information nanite". Memories originating from a nanorobotic symbiont that had lived inside Thomas were now available to my brain. And it was a similar situation for Izhiun, even though the origin of those infites was actually his grandfather.

Ivory continued her account, "Thomas and Izhiun were there on the bus with us. They sent their infites into your brain." In a strange kind of constructed memory I could suddenly remember having seen two men and Ivory sitting at the back of the bus when I got on and took my seat.

I reviewed the memories from both the Thomas and the Izhiun infites, memories showing how they had intended to leave the infites with Ivory, but she had requested that they take her off of Earth and leave the infites with me. I'd spent a year trying to meet Ivory, and now that we were finally together I knew that she was ready to depart from Earth. I asked, "Both you and Angela?"

She looked ashamed to be running away from Earth. I knew that she was very much concerned about the future of our planet, but I could now "remember" her telling Thomas and Izhiun that she was eager to escape from Earth. It had been many years since she had decided to grow out her Asterothrope/Kac'hin/Ek'col bodily features, and she had no desire to remain on Earth as a sham human. She politely gave me a minute to rummage through my new memories and find the answer for myself. "I can't speak for Angela, but I've already told you that she fears you humans of Earth. She does not want to be revealed as an invader, as what the xenophobes will view as a freak. I must ask you once more: please don't try to seek out and reveal my sisters."

"Sisters?" I immediately regretted my question.

"Did you think there would only be one clone of me? But what does it matter? One or many, you must put us all out of your thoughts. You now have within you what you need to tell the story of Gohrlay and Trysta and Grean...the whole hidden history of Earth. You don't need us anymore."

I knew that she was right, but I could not suppress all my petty complaints. What good would it do for me to tell this story if it was just my voice alone? And I envied her right to escape from this world, her ability to go out and explore other worlds. She put on the dark glasses and pulled up the hood to cover her ears. "Goodbye." She stood up and walked out of my life as swiftly as she had appeared.

3. Back to Reality

I sat there for more than an hour, mostly looking through the memories that had been donated to me by Thomas. I quickly confirmed the structure of the strange tales that I had heard from Ivory's clone "sister" Angela, tales that I had never previously been able to independently verify. Perhaps the most shocking thing I learned that day was that neither my brief meeting with Ivory nor, many years earlier, with Thomas, was the first time I'd met an alien. I'd repeatedly meet and interacted with Trysta when I was young. She'd seen into my future and had known the role that I must play in this Reality.

When the shock of that revelation began to fade, I got up, took one last look around Ivory's hotel room and rode the elevator down to my room. In a few hours I would catch my flight out of Boston. I would that day return home, but I would not be returning to my life as I had known it.

[Editorial. I miss Ivory, even though I'm glad that she was able to escape from this world. She came to believe that her entire life here on this planet was an ill-conceived and poorly-executed lie. I still don't understand how she was able to "regress" the structure of her fake human body back to the form of the alien-human hybrid that she was. It does not matter. What matters is that she sought me out and shared with me both her alien genetics and access to Angela.]


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