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MYRRH: First in the Ceremonies of the Horsemen
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Hebephrenica/ It's Time You Knew
by:  Ken Egbert (aka K. Griffiths), One More Haggard Drowned Man
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May 10, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 349: Towards the Wordless Chamber

On our return to CERN, no rhyme intended again, we put our mounts in our room, checked in with Dr. Bernheim; the best she could give us just then was a distracted smile and a reminder about our tour, so we went in search for her colleague. An inquiry at the partially repaired front desk made his arrival possible within a few minutes, and in a runabout he squired us off to the Collider proper.
“Looking better,” Dr. Schneider informed us. “Not so foggy.”
-Glad to be out of that, yes. –P.
“I haven’t been asked to skip any subjects when I talk to you so if I go over any red lines, you’ll tell me.”
-We will. ‘Preciate yer time, Doc. –W.
I wondered that he did not see all our eyes on him, awaiting a clue. Of any kind. Did he ever dream of my brother’s knife at his windpipe, a creation ago? At all?
“Leah-- Dr. Bernheim says you get the VIP tour, you get the VIP tour. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since I was co-credited with the ‘strings’ discovery, so I’m more than happy.” He was of good size, not terribly assuming, well-groomed and well-exercised. His baby fat from the last creation had long since burned away. Our small vehicle approached the main entrance to the Collider lab. “We’ll be heading for the ATLAS entry since it’s closest.”
-Don’t tell. Nobody believes you didn’t make the discovery yourself. –F.
“They consider it standard ‘humble scientist’ behavior. Well, in my case, humble engineer.” He attempted the appropriate voice. “‘Oh, it was a team effort all along.’ Which is not untrue. I did design and help build the sub-electron frame. Did not expect this to occur, though. Overall it’s been fun. Being misquoted is not, but that’s another story.” Stopping at a crossroads, he looked at us. “The Brooklyn Eagle ran an article, I even heard from my folks. Also, I have told everybody who’s called for a comment or an interview that your friend did most of the work. I’d better underline that.” He turned back to his driving.
-Yet Dr. Bernheim seems to have received no calls at all, herself. –P.
“Oh, she’s had them. She just doesn’t answer them.” We arrived at the interior gate and he parked. “I will say this, her spreading the credit was a stroke of complete genius because there was some recent talk that our funding from the ES2 would be cut next year.”
We began to climb down from the runabout.
-Less chance of that now? –F.
“We’re getting an increase. Dr. Bernheim is a senior visiting research fellow, you see. She’s not an employee here.” The engineer led the way towards the main entry. “By heavily crediting us, the Superstate would look like idiots if they scaled back. She may have saved a lot of our jobs. If I could ask, where do you know her from?”
-My brothers Frank and Petey, here/ saw her give a recital when she was 13, and another when she was 14/ something like that/ -- D.
“Were you in your line of work then?”
-We can tell you that much/ –D.
“I’m not prying.” At the front desk Dr. S exhibited his badge and took four passes for us. Unlike Dr. Bernheim, it seemed that we towered over him. This had nothing to do with his height; among us, she simply appeared to have more presence than he. I wondered how that worked.
-‘Course not. –W.
“So you’d met her before. Ah, Peter. Francis.” We moved towards the elevator. In most places the work day had begun the wind-down, but not here. He pressed the ‘down’ button, put his hands back in his pockets. Each of us managed to pin on our visitor badges, again after a few tries.
-A completely different person, then. –F.
“Time was Dr. Bernheim didn’t talk much to anyone. The bosses, yes, but the rest of us less often. Always acted as if she were on her way somewhere else, even if she was sitting in her office. Not unpleasant, just very distracted. You seem to have cheered her up, though. Brought us all on board, though why wouldn’t we; she organized everything from below the ground up, she talked to us nonstop through the experiment we conducted with you, helped run the show and even pitched in with packing up when we were done. She actually called Dr. Singh by his first name yesterday, I hear.”
The elevator arrived, and I began to hear it. In the shaft, a sound that was not a sound, yet it registered. Some hint, some first scattering impression.
-Hm. –P.
-What? –W.
I shook my head. We entered the elevator, I listened closely. Was this the tonic dominant of what I thought I’d heard when we first approached here with the angel…
“At this point we often get comments that there’s a hum in the air of a sort that no one has ever heard before.” The doors whisked shut and we descended. “From visitors. I no longer even register it. Maybe the first five minutes after I show up in the morning. Just now the NHC is in ‘idle’ mode because what you and Dr. Bernheim and Dr. Bailter at Cambridge discovered has caused the delay of some experiments.”
-Perhaps you’d better put us/ at the end of that list… --D.
“Credit where credit’s due. I don’t have clearance to fire anything up but if you’re at all intrigued I could set up some footage of previous collisions as seen by the sub-E frame in the theater after I show you this part of the facility.”
-Yes. I’d be interested in that. –P.
William eyed me oddly here, and asked…
-So tell us about some a’ what’s going on here, Doc. –W.
“First and foremost is the collision experiments. We’ve already isolated the Higgs particle some years ago so we’ve moved on to others. I’ll assume you’ve already heard the basics from Dr. Bernheim and Dr. Bailter. Stop me if you haven’t. Two proton streams approaching ‘c’ collide in the chamber and the detonation causes an amount of subatomic particles and energy to fly free. We view the collisions through the sub-E and measure what comes out, how and when. Thanks to the very sensitive equipment we have, Dr. Bernheim comes across some new wrinkle of some kind about half of every time she looks.”
William chuckled.
-Yeah, we heard about ‘the great bestiary’; our horses were kinda insulted ‘cause they weren’t in it. –W.
The elevator toned, the main sanctuary opened to us, and whatever it was all but engulfed me.
“You have very serious four-footed friends, there,” admitted Dr. S. “Where I used to live, Brooklyn and then Tokyo, even around here, I never saw anything like them. They have more macho about them than Clydesdales. But yeah, I’m sorry, they just don’t qualify. Too many particles. Apologize to them for me.”

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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April 18, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 348: Two Vignettes

“What do you mean we can’t access their frames?” demanded ‘Silas.’ “Oh, bugger.” He looked at his mobile and shook it. “Not you. Of course they know what’s afoot, even if they don’t. We won’t mistake our correspondents here.”
Again Silas plugged in his charger. “You told me that we had the best. Do you want a black mark or not with your client? Crack it. All three of them. Now.” He rang off, cursing while he viewed his mobile.
“I need a loo.”
“So do I, for all that. Bugger again.” He punched Tyrell in the side of the head once more. Tyrell did not react any longer. A bruise would show any time now. Small, compact, not what one would expect to be a bully of any sort, ‘Silas’ flipped on the Land Rover engine. It caught, and attained life. “Good. Battery’s not drained yet. Take your rig and come with me.” He shut off the car again.
“I’m to wear this into a pub, or --?”
“No, fool. We’ll find a lunch counter.” ‘Silas’ opened his door.

In Sir Hal’s office, Edith returned to her desk. Her superior called, ‘Our feed to NOS on line?’
After a view of her right-hand screen: “It is. The detection patterns are entered, and accepted.”
“Five and thirty-five.”
“I have the Greenwich cesium clock up, Sir Hal.”
“As do I,” the head of Five answered, well on the way to the afternoon’s other concerns. While time remained.

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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April 14, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 347: Enforced Ignorance

At her seat in front of Sir Hal Edwards’ desk, Leila shut her encrypted mobile. She unplugged the connector cable, pressed ‘rewind’ on the mini-recorder, and
looked across at the head of Five. He gave a nod.
“What’s next, Sir Hal?”
“Off you go to your safe house, your base of ops until the matter’s settled.”
Behind Edith’s desk outside the office, those picture windows gave onto a brighter-than-usual pre-winter early afternoon. Some faint blue limned the clouds. The analyst labored just beyond Sir Hal’s office door among piles of intercepts, cuttings and charts; two monitors obscured some of her face from sight. The remaining desks but for the receptionist’s stood empty; all the rest of the temporary section had already taken their places throughout the city.
It was as inconceivable to Leila that the sun remained high as it was that the following day would be Thanksgiving; the morning had passed at a blistering pace with Philip schooling her thoroughly on Five communication tactics and nomenclature. All was just different enough between Five’s and Six’ procedures to cause grievous harm to the operation if anything were forgotten. It just appeared that far more time had passed, somehow. Sir Hal noted her viewing the day.
“You cannot imagine their enforced ignorance.” His trademark air of judgment had gone missing; he nearly sounded wistful. Nearly.
Leila turned at the click of her recorder. “No, I can. Sir. I was one of them, three years ago. I walked around in circles, I consumed without thinking about it, I had friends and a home. I had no idea what went on in the Federal Building at 26 Federal Plaza.”
“In New York City.”
“Yes, Sir Hal.”
“Why do you mention that building in particular?”
“I worked near there. My friend Dennis had a lot of Federal contracts.”
“Your adopted parent, yes.”
“One of them was upgrading the cameras in and around that building. But I have a better idea what goes on there, now.” She removed the tape from her recorder, placed it before Sir Hal and opened her loathed ‘barrister’ bag.
“Pestilence said, ‘welcome to the gulf beneath the Gulfs.’ Do you have any idea what that meant?”
“Two possibilities, if I could.”
“Certainly.” The peer allowed the tape to remain where it was.
“One, he knows I didn’t want to give him that OK to terminate. He may have researched my background and assumed I was some kind of straight arrow, which of course I’m not. Two, he knows I’m observant and he knows what I just told him means in Islam.”
Sir Hal, still close to expressionless, recalled the phrase from the Qu’ran… “As if he had murdered all mankind.”
“Yes, sir. Although in the end all he has to do is send one of his men against me while I’m in the field. It’s pretty obvious that they’re all master trackers. He knows I can’t stop him from doing that if I want him to help us.”
“Even if we give them everything they want.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Understood,” Sir Hal said. “While there is no such thing as a straight arrow.”
Leila considered Dr. Bernheim as a possibility, but the head of Five would of course not countenance that one. “Good show on the intel concerning the lack of bomber detonate signals,” he added. Sir Hal wanted no part of thanking her, one could tell, though his sense of fair play seemed to win out.
“Farid Paraswaram-Rehm of our IT Department should have that ‘well-done,’ Sir Hal.” She stowed her recorder and reclosed the bag.
“I’ll pass that on, then. Well, I’m frying other fish this afternoon. The conveyance for your safe house is expected ready in the garage in ten minutes. You’ll have one Five agent joining you. In the lobby, take Elevator H to the garage floor. We go live in five hours and forty minutes. Our onsite ‘den mother’ will have your assignment.” He stood. “Good luck, Al-Adil.”
Ready, Leila got up as well, hoisted her bag and put her hand out. Her wheeled case stood at attention by the door. Sir Hal shook her hand. “May G-d be with us, sir,” she answered. “See you on the battlements.”
It was not respect, it might never be, but Leila’s words caused a slight alteration in the peer’s expression. Turning and going for her case, she heard Sir Hal reply, at lower volume, “I look forward to it.”
Edith rose as Leila passed her desk with a nod, calling in to her boss, “I’ll walk Al-Adil to the elevator.” She didn’t wait for the lifted hand of permission he gave as he sat again. The hundred ten or so paces to the main floor bank were at first quiet; Edith took Leila’s case handle and gave it back as the younger woman punched the elevator button.
“I have something for you from both my uncle and myself,” Edith offered. With no further discussion she hugged Leila; surprised, after a half beat she gave it back. The elevator took its time, as they do in old retrofitted buildings. Moments before a tone sounded, Edith let go. “Uncle Weston has trouble with these things. You can imagine. We’ll talk on the network.”
Mind on the future, Leila did her best. “I hope so, Edith. Please tell him thanks. And to you.” Edith’s replying smile was a quick thing; she turned and made for her office again as the elevator doors bonged open.
In the lobby, our Chosen Woman –- though one wondered how much longer that would go on – switched to the H bank, and upon arrival below she noted a familiar back in a medium leather jacket and turtleneck, waiting. Philip turned, his own overnight and equipment bags ready. “So who’s seeing who off, then?” he wondered.
“New temp warrant card ready?” An approaching car hissed from a distance.
“Ink’s dry.” Leila’s gloved hand slipped into her inner coat pocket, pulled it out on its strap. “So you got your wish.” Back it went.
“Bottom of the barrel, officially now scraped.” Straight dark brown hair, thin, weathered, well-exercised features, admittedly what her friend Nunzi would have called ‘nice eyes…’ Oh, well. She had been younger. Leila might have looked twice, once. Too late now. As O’Carlan would have said, ‘fortunately.’ The car slid to a stop, trunk rising; attempting to play the gentleman, the Five veteran opened the car door and waited while Leila loaded her case in the trunk.

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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April 11, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 346: 'Silas Stingy' returns

“Why are we in this situation?”
A well-aimed fist from the driver’s seat numbed the near side of Tyrell’s head.
“Shut the fuck up,” replied the voice he’d grown very tired of hearing. A sort of City accent with overtones of Canterbury. “Best you ask why you’re in this situation. You’re the only break in the wall, you and your two idiot friends. We’re giving you the only job you can handle.” The man next began another call on his mobile. He removed the battery connection from the onboard cigarette lighter. “And that can handle you.” He waited for the connection.
“Gibby, it’s Silas again… Has the toy arrived?... Good. No, no assignment for the old man of the sea yet. Keep optimistic. We’ll convene tomorrow night in your office at nine. Cheers.” He rang off.
“…When will Mum and Dad get the check?”
“It’s already arrived.” Another punch while Tyrell’s head rocked. “Just think! They’ll have no idea why they’ve received it. Until they see the evening news. Only you and your friends will be identified among the bombers.”
“Now I understand why you took my mobile.”
“Wouldn’t do for you to tell them to keep a copy, would it. Incidentally, I told you to shut up.” ‘Silas’ raised a fist again but Tyrell did not see. He sat, slack, facing ahead, waiting.
‘Silas Stingy’ turned back to his phone, dialed. “…Philly? How’s the cream cheese?... I’ve been in the American Virgin Islands far too long. In position?... Well, potentially… She is a creature of habit. She won’t move until the usual time… Because the Eurostar uses Gate software… All I want is eyes and a mouth… No not hers… She will. Scattered to the four winds, yes. We just need to know where… Don’t worry about how. I’ll handle how… Very good. And one of your men has to send me a photograph. Side, not back. Tomorrow.”

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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April 8, 2015

The Human Game, pt. 345: 'It's still here'

-It does exist. According to Dr. Bernheim and her colleague Dr. Bailter…”
“Dr. Augustus Bailter?”
-You’ve read about him. –P.
“Well, who didn’t, when I was a kid? They taught him in my senior year ‘gymnasium’ class in physics. He developed the idea of the ‘Bailter space.’ I admit, I thought he was dead. So she works with him.”
-He’s still very much alive. –P.
“Good for him. So this is, what do you call it, cutting-edge research.”
-Bleeding edge/ –D.
“You would say that, Dave,” Nadia trumped him adroitly. “So not only am I going to offer her a shoulder to cry on, long-distance, but I’m going to tell her that her project is based on something real.”
-She knows that! She sent us there t’ find somebody. –W.
-Well, Someone Else wanted us to find the man, as you recall, but she figured out how to get us there. –P.
With a certain resignation: “I remember this part, Peter. So on top of everything else, she’s incandescently brilliant. Please don’t tell me I have 20 years on her.”
-You’re both the same age. –P.
Nadia pushed her hair back over her left ear. “If she’s beautiful and not gay too, I may curse you, you know. Never mind that. I will.”
-…Then curse away/ --D.

“…At least we can talk about perimenopause. After we’ve dispensed with you. So. This place I’ve been visiting in my sleep; naturally I always knew it was real somehow, you’re my proof, but you did go there! I mean, back there.”
-Yesterday. It’s exactly as you remember. –F.
“It all turned out as I recall?”
-It will. –P.
“It will. And it’s still there.”
-It’s still here. –P.
“…Please explain that.”
And we did, and we did, until, satisfied, Nadia made it known that it was time to be away. We collected our mounts and departed, once again with our guide through the streets of Al Quds in the lead. “Another meeting with a donor,” she explained once we approached the souk. “And I have the Palestinian Deputy Home Secretary coming by after that. Who knows what for?” Now her cellular rang. “Our respite’s officially over…”
-We’re thankful. We are. –P.
“Of course you are,” she tossed back at me, “I’m helping you out of a jam. One second…” While she took the call, I watched her, as vital as when she was a teenager, snaking through the marketplace traffic and towards her home street’s somewhat less pressing ambience. I recalled her then, that day in Cologne a ‘Verse distant, nowhere near as conservatively attired, chattering away on her cellular as she passed Francis and me in the street. Very seventeen, she had not even given us a first look. We’d just begun to prepare me to lift up and challenge St. Michael on the spire of St. Severin’s. Bow bag and backpack on her shoulder, she’d hurried away that day, into future history. Now, however… well, yet another clock was wound. Assuming it hadn’t been before we’d arrived.
At last we came upon the door of ‘Ahl-I-Maryam’; no Khalil awaited us this time, but a similar crop of gabbing yeshiva students congregated across the street. Their ‘tzaddik’ called them in, luckily, before any of us could commit an indiscretion. G-d’s will once more, perhaps. Why not.
Having fielded several calls on her way back here, Nadia put her phone away again and crossed her arms, not entirely willing to let us go even if she did remain piqued at us and our very ‘male’ behavior. “I will do this for you on one condition. Come back, one more time, and do what you should have done in the last world. Say goodbye, I mean. If you have to bring Azrael with you, fine. Just as long as he doesn’t take me too. Swear this to me.” We did so, and received another kiss apiece. “I suppose I’ll need a friend too…” she added, and with regret Nadia made to enter her house. “You’ll get your hugs then,” she informed us, and departed.
-I will be very glad to get out. –F.
-Anywhere/ including here –D.
-Much as we’ve just enjoyed our time with Nadia… --P.
-Yeah. –W.
In single file once again we and our horses moved west, where we might find someplace to take our leave and take to the air.

Copyright 2010 by K. Griffiths. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt from a work of fiction. Any similarities between this narrative and actual events or between these characters and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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"A good writer is an expert on nothing but himself. And on that subject, if he is wise, he holds his tongue." --John le Carre

Exactly how interesting can the author be, anyway, when nobody has any idea where their creativity comes from or how the mechanics of inspiration works? Maybe it's something we all have access to. Maybe it's a sluice that empties into your head when you're facing in a particular direction and thinking a particular series of things. Then again, maybe not.
However benevolent inspiration really is, to say nothing of what it is, I suspect that any good fictional character is a lot more interesting than the person who dreams it up. So mine speak for me here.

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