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The Chronicle of Belthaeous

by John W. Steele

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Chapter 37: The Fistula

When I arrived at the cryogenics lab, a wooden-faced guard performed an iris scan and then allowed me inside. A team of Genibolic scientists hovered over Belthaeous. With mechanical precision, they maneuvered a transcranial Doppler probe along the surface of the Avatar’s skull. Dr. Nacroanus had developed this technique; he used the ultrasound to measure the blood flow in the cerebral circulatory system.

Nacroanus stared at the plasma images displayed on the monitors. He sat transfixed, like a man absorbed in his own private world. His antics were strange and he moved spastically. He talked to himself, and his lips contorted in exaggerated and highly articulated whispers.

One of the technicians glanced my way, and Adrian looked up. When he saw me, his face bloomed with a smile that quickly faded. He motioned to the techs. They put down their instruments and left the lab.

Belthaeous looked younger. The pallor of his countenance had faded, and his complexion shone with a golden radiance. His electric blue eyes had come to life, and I could see the Angel was indeed a handsome and charismatic figure.

He now wore a luxurious black wool vestment. The seams, hems, and collar of the robe were finished with scarlet piping and gave him a look of provincial grandeur. I’d never seen a priest with a presence as captivating as his. Save for the nasal canula protruding from his nostrils, Belthaeous looked absolutely sacred.

Nacroanus motioned me to come closer. “Rodney, I’m glad you’re back. I trust you put your affairs in order. The day of resurrection is at hand, our work is nearly completed, and only the fine detail of our mission remains to be accomplished.”

I approached him and he pointed at the sine waves rolling like swells in a sea of plasma.

“The Archon’s blood gases are nearly perfect, Dr. Nacroanus, and the ECG looks normal. What did you do to him while I was away?”

He shifted the image to the Xenoscope. “As you can see, the orange-yellow complex has increased on the quantum level. The force thriving within the Avatar has surpassed my wildest imaginings. Once the electromagnetic frequencies are fully established, the magnetism of his presence will be nearly impossible to resist.

“When the souled beings witness Belthaeous awaken from the dead, they will be dumbstruck. Many of them will be so grateful with the promise to be released from this world of suffering that they will fall on their knees in worship and gratitude. The entire illusion is geared to influence the deeper levels of their awareness, a self-fulfilling prophecy made manifest by their own expectations.

“None but the most skeptical and unregenerate will be able to resist the Avatar’s charismatic persona, and these are the ones we’ll capture and prepare immediately. But here is the best part. Follow me; I have something I want to show you.”

We walked to the far wall where a number of MRI negatives hung on a light box illuminator. The films revealed structures hidden in the Avatar’s brain. Deep inside the cranium, behind the frontal lobe, sat a black object the size of an acorn.

“What is that shadow, it wasn’t there before I left? What did you do to him?”

Nacroanus clicked his tongue. “Did it ever occur to you that I possess no psychic powers? The ability to control Belthaeous from a distance has been an obstacle that has required a great deal of research. Unlike our friends the Vulpeculans, I could not communicate telepathically with the Avatar. But through the virility of my genius, I overcame this frustrating imperfection.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“The device you’re looking at is called a Neuromorphic Adaptive Quantum Nanoprocessor. It is the crowning achievement of years of dedicated Genibolic research. With it, I can control every thought, movement, and emotion within the perceptions of the Avatar’s awareness. Every motive that arises in his psyche, every ripple of his volition, will be under my command. Belthaeous will exist as an exalted marionette, the symbiosis of science and blind faith. “

Adrian removed a snow-white surgical cap from his skull. He turned and tilted his head forward. “Remarkable, isn’t it?”

The hair on his skull had been shaved. I scanned the area carefully but could not understand what he was talking about.

“I don’t see anything, sir. What am I looking for?” I asked.

“Open your eyes, Dr. Neumann. Only a blind man could miss it. Look in the hollow of the sub-occipital lobe.”

I strained my eyes and caught a glimpse of a tiny wire, no larger than a sliver of translucent fishing line.

“I see it, Dr. Nacroanus. What is it?”

“It’s a Tesla link. With it, I can possess the mind of Belthaeous through a wireless interface. My thought will be his thought, my will shall determine his. Through this miracle, I can enter the mind of the Avatar and live vicariously in the perfected circuits and design of his highly developed nervous systems. Can you even begin to imagine the sensations one with such advanced perception can experience?

“I have discovered that, unlike the human bipedal animal, this demigod’s autonomic nervous system is made up of at least five distinct circuits beyond the sympathetic and parasympathetic modes. This alien is capable of vision and awareness impossible to describe; it can see on the quantum level and hear frequencies in dimensions beyond the sphere of physical reality. Compared to a human, this creature is a god, Rodney. A being of such advanced design that nothing of this perfection has ever existed on this earth.”

He sighed deeply and mumbled. “And through this instrument I will become omnipotent.”

Nacroanus turned and faced the Angel. He closed his eyes and slowly raised his arm, his knuckles clenched into the sign of the fist. Like some kind of mindless automaton, Belthaeous responded in kind. His fingers contracted and his arm extended before him.

“I have established complete somatic control of the entity’s body. It is only a matter of perseverance before I control the neuro-pathways that stimulate his vocal cords, as well. This has proven to be the most difficult part of the procedure. The laryngeal nerves are most unresponsive to psychic manipulation, but I have awakened the dendrites in the hypoglossal ganglion, and it is only a matter of time before the Angel will mimic my words as accurately as a voice recorder.

“Watch carefully,” he said. “Belthaeous, I am Adrian Nacroanus, the demigod who has resurrected your consciousness from the depths of oblivion.”

The Angel remained silent, his arm suspended before him like a catatonic’s.

“I command you to speak to my colleague, Dr. Rodney Neumann.”

The Archon’s chest heaved, as if breaking to the surface of an icy lake after a long period of submersion.

In a hollow voice, he cried, “I am Belthaeous, defender of the living will of Mammon. Salutations, Dr. Neumann, I know we shall become dear friends.”

Adrian mouthed the words and the entity's lips and tongue twisted to produce them.

Nacroanus closed his eyes like one lost in prayer, and the Archon’s hand drifted back into his lap.

Adrian smiled. “Just a little more time, and Belthaeous will become my perfected alter ego,” he hissed.

I’d never witnessed a miracle of such magnitude. Nacroanus could bring the dead to life and control demons with his science. “That’s incredible,” I said. “It defies everything I’ve learned about neurophysiology.”

“The chip contains a WIFI internet linkup and, through it, I can customize Belthaeous to reflect my rhetorical and intellectual idiosyncrasies. I established the psychic link when I altered the enzymes in his pineal gland.

“By the power of my genius, I trespassed into the domain of the divine and fused the orange-yellow spectrum of infinite intelligence, thereby altering the hormonal programming of the entity’s neurons.”

I thought about what he said. Who was playing whom in this paranormal game of espionage? Belthaeous communicated from somewhere outside of his physical body. I knew this to be true.

Something about this ruse didn’t add up. Why would Adrian need this device if he had already blocked the full spectrum of Infinite Intelligence from the Avatar’s pineal? I knew he was lying, and that he’d hidden something from me. I began to sense the trick lay in the MRI negatives and the Xenoscope.

All I knew for sure was that the connective interface at his occipital lobe functioned as Adrian said it did. But I had no real knowledge of how this device would be used.

If indeed Adrian had inserted the nanoprocessor in the Avatar’s brain, it could serve no other purpose than to inhibit the neuromuscular stimulus of the Avatar's body and, in so doing, force the entity into a state of suspended paralysis.

Belthaeous began to tremble, and the Eye burned like an ember at my solar plexus. I grew unable to concentrate and a feeling of detachment came over me.

“Rodney! Snap out of it, you’re daydreaming!”

The screech of his voice jolted me from the trance. “I’m sorry, Dr. Nacroanus. It must be jet lag.”

His eyes fell on me, and I sensed a new impatience in their gaze. He held his arms before him, palms up and spoke in a solemn voice. “You don’t know where you are, do you? Your body exists on this planet, but your mind is somewhere else. This will be your downfall.

“Neither the Vulpeculans nor the Creator deity you cherish will want you if you remain lukewarm. Why do you think it is written that you cannot serve God and Mammon, too?

“Don’t get psychotic on me, Rodney. It will not save you. Wake up. My patience has its limits. Though you are my son, I cannot turn my back on Mammon. You must pay strict attention to what I am saying. If darkness asks me to destroy you, I will not disobey.”

The look in Adrian’s eyes filled me with anxiety; there was no exit.

He reached into the large yellow envelope and removed several more negatives. He pinned them on the light box and stared at the shadows they contained.

“What do you see here?” Adrian asked.

I stared at the negatives. “They appear to be within normal limits, Dr. Nacroanus. What is it you see?”

Nacroanus ran his finger along a narrow thread that ran from the frontal lobe deep into the third ventricle.

“I grew curious about the stigmata on the Archon’s brow and decided to run a CT scan. The tests remained negative until I added a contrast medium and that is how I discovered the fistula.

“Behind the cleft in the Avatar's forehead there exists a narrow opening that leads to his pineal gland. It is not natural. Only a highly gifted surgeon could have performed this procedure. A tunnel of this nature should have killed Belthaeous. Even today, using the most sophisticated surgical techniques available, I would not attempt an experiment such as this, unless the life form was disposable.”

It was now or never. I had to know. I braced myself for the worst and blurted out, “What are you inferring, Dr. Nacroanus?”

He fixed me with a cold eye. “The duct in his brain was created by a science I am not familiar with. The channel opens to a portal that allows a direct psychic communion with the energies beyond the physical dimension. The Chronicle of Belthaeous says little about the stigmata, but now its purpose is painfully apparent.

“An object of great significance sat in the brow of the Avatar, Dr. Neumann. This is the fly in the ointment, the only flaw in my blueprint of perfection. For reasons I can’t understand, I sense this secret is our Achilles heel.”

Adrian’s face erupted in a burst of scarlet; the veins in his neck inflated, and pounded his fist against the wall. “It’s the Aeons of Light! Every time we near a victory, they interfere. Why won’t they accept defeat and leave us alone!”

Like some kind of lunatic enthralled in a fit of rage, he toppled a data stack and kicked the papers on the floor. His hands trembled and he sobbed. He pounded the button on the intercom and screamed for the techs.

We spent the next six hours discussing the possibilities of the aberration. We ran endless tests and formed several hypotheses, all of them worthless.

I knew they’d never discover the truth with science. I suggested to Nacroanus that I needed some time alone to assimilate this new information and try to define the probabilities it created. He reluctantly agreed that it might be wise to study the numbers. When I left the lab, he stood ranting and, waving his arms at the Genibolic researchers who cowered like gnomes before him.

The truth was clearly evident. Adrian’s mind was beginning to crumble, and his unbridled genius would be his prison forever. Though he might succeed in his endeavors, like all of us, he would be forced to live with who and what he was for eternity. And for this I pitied him dearly, for what is there to be gained from this world?

Proceed to Chapter 38...

Copyright © 2014 by John W. Steele

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