The troops were fed and ready to move out at six o’clock the next morning. This day would be a test of strength. If the troops stayed united and did not deviate from their course, then the next level would be won.
The men were moved to a location on the eastern edge of the complex. The strategy was straight-forward and brutal. One half of the men would charge directly into the blasting lasers while the other half provided cover. It would be a war of sheer numbers. There were at most recesses for one hundred and fifty or so enemy in the wall into which the men would be charging. Approximately seven hundred men including Omicron were poised ready to charge.
Then the signal was given.
It seemed to go better than the commanders had hoped, though the result was grim. At a signal the men surged as one towards the wall of the second level. The metal roof was littered with casualties, dead and injured; the latter would not be tended until the gunners on the second level were dispensed with. However, in all, there were at most one hundred casualties, which was better than expected. The 1,400 hundred or so who were not killed or injured swarmed towards the nooks and crevices in the wall of the second level…once there they were able to work their way into the mammoth area inside.
Omicron had been surprised at how inaccurate the gunners firing at them had been…as they ran to the wall. It appeared that many of the laser machine guns had jammed in the gunners’ excited efforts to kill as many of them as they could. Very accurate cover fire of several companies who had laid back to assist the assault…had also helped. Not a small number of the enemy had been shot right out of their hiding spots.
When Omicron got to the wall, he and ten others blasted a hole in the wall and began shooting anything that moved. The machinery was crawling with enemy. The enemy’s orders were to halt the oncoming charge at all cost. A total of 800 enemy were stationed on the second level and many were now moving as fast as they could from their various perches around the second level from where they had been shooting at the troopers below. The enemy was converging as quickly as possible upon the place in the walls…where the troopers were breaking through.
Once inside, the troopers first tried to eliminate the gunners who were still in their perches in the wall. Then troopers climbed up the machinery shooting one enemy after another in the wall. The gunners were compelled to return fire at the troopers inside the second level which significantly reduced the fire directed outside…allowing the remainder of the troopers to rush as a body inside. Of this group only about a couple of dozen were killed or wounded. Now there were about 1,400 troopers versus a Force of about 800 enemy in the second level. The troopers attempted to move through the machine units upwards towards the third level, but they were slowed in their progress by the difficulty of scaling the machinery and ultimately were forced into guerrilla warfare as the area was swarming with enemy.
It was dark inside the unit…with only an emergency blue-white lighting from above to assist the troopers. Friend was distinguished from foe by means of the official uniform the troopers wore. However, around any corner might be a uniform or a blasting enemy laser gun. For the first time since he joined the troops, Omicron felt fear. The variables were too many, the odds too great… progress was impossible. He cowered into a crevice in the machinery. Lasers were popping through the cavernous unit disintegrating both flesh and metal. His friend, Isidor Robin, a saxophone player from the Green Hill Band, moved by him, laser gun pointing toward every noise in the vicinity. The gun turned with a snap at Omicron, then a nod of recognition allowed it to recommence its probing ever forward.
Then suddenly a bolt of light, a scream, and Isidor lay a seething, mass of carbon. Omicron swung his face away and cried out for both the loss of a friend and in fear for himself. He slumped down beneath the machinery and tried to cover his ears and eyes. It was not two minutes before a hand was felt on his shoulder. He lurched around grasping for the gun which had fallen beside him.
Then he saw him. It was Steve. The interchange between father and son was instantaneous and intuitive. Not a word was exchanged. Omicron struggled to his feet, his father’s strong, unrelentingly powerful grasp still on his shoulder. Omicron wiped his eyes with the back of his sleeve. He looked straight into Steve’s intense blue eyes, smiled weakly, and began to climb upward over the metallic hulks.
There was an enemy before him, he blasted before thinking, beating him by an eyelash. Then he looked to the top. He saw the interlocking metal, wire, glass, and rubber reaching to the ceiling some one hundred feet above. The elevators were dead. There was only one way to the top. They would have to follow the same path as electronic components did as they were transformed into rough form from raw materials, were fabricated, and then distributed to other units and to the terminals at the top. The complex was the brain for the entire City, therefore, almost all the equipment in sight were tools which fabricated computer equipment to replace or renovate the solid-state-like blocks of compacted chips…which were encased at the very top near the command center. Replacements were fabricated instantly and transported the minute they were needed to keep the City’s brain and backup systems in top operation…Computer systems now were arrayed in stories-high amalgoms of computer chips…powered by consciousness of their own…Ions are now in charge of the world! Omicron thought…Yet…they are not!
Omicron grabbed the metal and swung himself out with the other men into the full view of the enemy. Nothing could be done until a good number of the troopers reached the top and to do this they would have to be brave, exposing themselves to the firing of the lasers sprayed at them from below. As he climbed, he saw the steel blue eyes of his father. He was filled with increasing strength and confidence as his body was fueled by increasing determination. Come on now!…The enemy was vastly outnumbered!…
An enemy was firing at them from another pile of machinery from the left. Omicron zeroed his sight in on him and blasted him off his perch. Up the metal wire highway toward the Light at the top he climbed. Then he saw a non-uniformed figure to his left. He slammed his body into the protection of the metal, waited until he saw the figure cautiously lifted itself up to continue climbing, then blasted the shadow into a shower of falling ashes. Now, he was climbing over the metal, plastic, and raw materials receiving areas. Then he was crawling upwards through the areas which were still warm where heating and shaping of the materials was done during brief exposures to white hot temperatures. Then he was walking and then working his way up a conveyer belt where chips with ion brains, trillions of transistors per square millimeter..with their I-particles in charge… and other components were fed into the assemblers. Omicron wound his way through the massive assembly areas where robot-like fingers and arms married the various parts. The components were still there but the wires being wound and soldered, the plastic being molded around, and the systems being interrelated, were all frozen in suspended animation. As far as the City was concerned, time had stopped! It was as if the modern age had paused for a Cosmic second to await the drastically important outcome of the war between the ages.
Then two eyes, sinister with hate, flashed before him from the other side of the assembly area. Omicron dived beneath the assembly benches. Five other pairs of eyes moved with accompanying shadows from an opening in a wall. Then Omicron was on top of a bench, laser blasting. He dropped between the next benches, threw two bombs, leaped onto the next bench blasting, whereafter instantly two jerks of pain were seen and three men scrambled for cover. In seconds all was quiet. Omicron stepped over the bodies as he continued his way upwards.
The televiewer buzzed urgently. The President finally pushed the “Receive” button. It was eleven o’clock PST. The President mused for a brief moment that the need for a top official to scan a wall full of clocks would soon be gone as the world would be adopting one uniform time the next year. Local times synchronized such that noon coincided with the sun at its zenith no longer made sense in a world in which more and more people were working continually in overlapping phases during both the day and the night. Scar Liege’s face, a bit more pale on the colored viewer than previously, but more arrogant than ever, scowled on the screen.
‘O.K. Now we do business,’ he ordered, his penchant for diplomacy and skill at delicate negotiation were now place aside, for minutes were vital. ‘Now I want you t’ call your dingbats off. And I want five hundred billion dollars now. Or I’ll torch da whole kit ‘n kaboodle up.’
The president smirked as he noted that the price was already dropping. Then he very placidly, but as implacable as stone spoke slowly in response. ‘We see no need to bargain with you. You are vastly outnumbered…Our men are closing in on you. In hours, you will be captured or dead. We have nothing further to discuss.’
‘Hold on dare, boss,’ sneered back Liege.” ‘The last cards have not been played. As you know, we’re on the top of a hill of treasure here. It is worth trillions of dollars. Either you give us what we want or I’ll blow your city and men sky high.’
The President knew that the two Forces were fast approaching a moment of Truth. Liege was the cornered prey. In the end, Liege was willing to risk all to accomplish his goal. For the fact was, of course, that he had nothing to lose. The President had no doubt that Liege would be quite capable at some point of pushing the button which would annihilate himself and his men as well as the mountain of machinery and troopers. The President felt that Liege was not at that point yet. The advance of the troopers had been slowed tremendously by the extremely protected position of the enemy. It was quite possible that Liege could make a bargain if enough of troopers could be killed or injured.
However, the President knew that Liege really did not know what was possible. The President felt that Liege’s position was hopeless. It was just a matter of time until some of troopers reached the top level and captured the headquarters. An army, regardless of its size… would not be able to function without its leadership. It was a difficult decision, but the President knew what he must do. He must stall, and keep Liege from ending the fight early. Ironically, stalling in this instance would take every ounce of fortitude and strength as the action that might have been taken. Very much was on the line, and Liege was right, financially it would be far cheaper to buy the enemy off than have Liege push the button, but offsetting this risk were the tremendous benefit’s the world would receive from getting rid of these rodents forever.
The President pushed the ‘send’ button.
‘Liege, you have us over a barrel. The latest word from the field is that our men have been stymied. If you push that button, the Nation will suffer a severe blow. We must discuss this situation and decide upon the amount to be delivered to you and how and where you will be delivered in safety.’
‘Com’ on now,’ ordered Liege, who was a bit relieved to hear that the troopers were being held in check, although he made a mental note to check immediately and find out if this was True.
‘You give us dat money now and get us out of here or I’ll blow everyting and everyone sky high.’
‘I cannot, Liege,’ responded the President in a strong, controlled voice, which betrayed none of the anxiety he felt. ‘We must confer. And then all tribal leaders must be polled. As in most matters, it is up to the people to decide.’
There was a pause on the other end, a pause that the President thought would never end. Then, ‘All right! But you’d better have somethin’ by tomorrow.’
‘That is impossible,’ replied the President. ‘It will take me at least four days to query the tribal leaders.’
‘Forget dat, but you have two days, forty-eight hours from now – No, I’ll be lenient, make dat two days from noon today, dat’ll give you more dan forty-eight hours. I’ll be expecting you in poisun with money in hand on Tursday.’
Thors day, thought the President. That seemed appropriate considering the circumstances. ‘All right,’ he snapped. ‘Thursday noon.’ and with his finger he slammed the receiver onto another channel.
‘Goss, we have until Thursday noon, before these vermin blow the complex sky high. We need to capture it as soon as possible. I want you to cut every corner. We must succeed. The highest medals of honor go to you and those most deserving when and if this is achieved. Good luck.’
Omicron was two-thirds of the way to the top. He was encountering one foe after the other and the bodies of fellow troopers and enemy were falling past him with regularity every few minutes or so. However, somehow he prevailed and still continued up and up… climbing up machinery that rose to the ceiling. From where he was, he could see that the troopers at the top were forced into a concentrated clump of humanity on the opposite side of the tower of machinery, away from an opening at the top through which the enemy was pouring a deadly rain of lasers.
Hand over hand Omicron reached for the sky. However, strangely, he did not feel tired, although in analytical and objective terms his body must have been starving for rest and oxygen. Yet he remained filled with strength and kept fighting to the top. He saw an enemy above aim his laser gun at a trooper. Omicron drew and blasted the enemy to flight in one long graceful arc to the cement below. Then he was surrounded by enemy. He saw one to the left, two to his right one above and one below. He dug for safety within the embrace of the metallic mass. He heard crashing to his left as an enemy approached. He took the gun in his left hand, swung away from the machinery holding on with his right and blasted the ugly face away. A laser shattered the metal five feet from him as he swung back into the hard, cold mass. He switched the gun to automatic and with his right hand sprayed the two enemy on the right with a hail that sent them reeling downward. With his foot he dislodged a large piece of machinery and sent it spinning down towards an enemy man below. The man avoided the hurtling missile, but lost his hold and slid on a conveyer belt further down the fortress of machinery. Omicron then moved quickly to his right dodging flying lasers and from a better angle easily dispatched the next enemy above. As he reached to grasp the metal to move upward again, he saw a dark figure cowering within. He immediately saw it was Gemstone, afraid to advance or retreat. His eyes were no longer confident, his bearing no longer sardonic towards everything about him. He was now totally at the mercy of his environment and of the Will of others. His frightened eyes looked at Omicron with no recognition other than ‘friend,’ not ‘enemy.’ Omicron realized that at this moment, in terms of progression, not only had he passed Gemstone, but he was now rising rapidly and the other was falling backwards.
Then Omicron was climbing again. Up and up, going through passages within the mass if necessary. It was noon before he got to the top and huddled in the machinery with about fifty others. About fifty soldiers had been killed on each side. The enemy now was allowing its men to exit the level through an opening in the roof and killing any troopers they could see. Most of the enemy had exited the level by this time leaving the troopers trapped inside. A constant barrage of lasers flew downward from the opening. The enemy would just keep blasting machinery killing any troopers in view. The machinery mass went on through the roof to the transportation tubes above, but there was an opening near this mass, where the mass bent sharply to a 30-degree angle from the horizontal to go through the hole in the roof through which the enemy was firing. If the troopers could get rid of those enemy closest to the opening, they could climb on top of the mass and pull themselves to the opening. Once they got to the opening they could start shooting all the enemy standing in mass on the roof of the second level. Omicron threw a positive ion bomb through the opening which caused the shooting to stop abruptly for a minute or so and then resume, although with a decreased intensity. The troopers moved to the opening and began to pour lasers back at the enemy, scoring many hits. One trooper had shrapnel bombs tied around his waist. He got up on top of the mass in order to throw a bomb through the opening, but he was cut to pieces in a moment. Omicron crawled to where the fallen hero lay and transferred five shrapnel bombs to his belt and got back just before the laser guns could find him. With his laser gun he blasted his way through the mass of machinery until he could climb into the tunnels and recesses within. He climbed up within the machinery, stopping just before reaching the thirty degree angle where the machinery was too small in circumference for him to crawl through. He then blasted his way into the main tube through which commodities were propelled to the major tubes on the roof. Crawling through the tube which was barely big enough for him for approximately one hundred feet, he then blasted upward with his laser gun and made a hole in the tube, then another through the outer covering of the machinery mass. He was now next to and just past the opening in a position that the enemy outside could not see him. He signaled to the men below and waved a positive-ion bomb at them, pointing at it and pretended to throw it at the opening. One of the men understood that he wanted one of them to throw a bomb from his better angle; he did so and threw a perfect strike.
During the silence after the explosion, Omicron climbed quickly over to the opening and threw three shrapnel bombs through it in different directions and dove back inside of the mass of machinery. The ensuing explosion ripped a second gaping hole in the roof and sent a dozen bodies down to the floor. Omicron saw that the troopers now had easier shots at the enemy who had come running up to the hole and thirty or so were killed outright. Omicron threw another shrapnel bomb and then fifteen minutes later, another. He waved for the troopers to advance. Then he poked his head over the edge of the opening above, his laser gun blazing. The men on the roof were sitting ducks and with his gun on automatic he cut down about twenty more before the men behind him began firing, too. In fifteen minutes, the roof was littered with enemy bodies…about 700 enemy had retreated to the protection of the next level…there were now about 900 enemy poised within… ready to stop the surge of about 1,300 troopers to the top…one more time….
It was two o’ clock…Omicron and about forty men were on the roof now…looking across the wide expanse to the wall of the next level…They were safely ensconced within structures containing vents and fans which circulated air in the level below…Above them rose the third level, up, up… to the last level, which was the command headquarters far above. There was not a sound. Evidently, the enemy in the third level had been ordered to rest…spread among the thousands of peep holes in the wall above..through which a blanket of laser blasts could shower the expanse the troopers had yet to traverse. T
The troopers were ordered to rest…food of every sort was purveyed for their reinvigoration. Sentries were posted in the event of attack. This was it…the troopers advance had been relentless and overwhelmingly successful…The enemy was hopelessly outnumbered and in retreat…The third level loomed over them as one black metal mass, a friend and a symbol of progress and prosperity in a time of peace… now a symbol of evil… an anachronistic medieval-type bulwark in the Heart of a modern society.
Omicron could see some of the backup troops moving on the ground… approximately 200 feet below. The injured were being carried in streams to hospital stations…in nearby structures. Just like a bunch of ants, thought Omicron almost automatically. Then he realized what he had thought and was amused in spite of the grim circumstances. Wolfgang should be here to see this, he thought,…perhaps he was… somewhere. He looked round. The rain had subsided… however, thick, black clouds billowed almost all the way down to meet him. The wind was howling and biting him to the bone. How did he ever make it? he wondered. When he thought about the obstacles he had met and overcome, he was amazed. However, he knew that he would not have made it if his father had not been there at exactly the right moment. He was ashamed. He looked around and did not see Steve on the roof either. He knows how to take care of himself, he thought. He’ll be all right. Steve had been there when he needed him. Still he was impressed by the strength, the courage he, himself, had possessed, reaching the top, leading the men.
Before him came an ‘image of a young girl who with her bare hands is closing, without effort, the jaws of a lion.’ He remembered his father instructing him long and vigorously concerning this principle… Cosmic step 11… Strength… For this image ‘is the emblem of that Strength which is communicated by faith in oneself and by innocence of Life.’ Yes, his father had been at the right place at the right time. But he would not have been able to budge two feet during the subsequent perilous moments if he had not at those instants possessed the strength and courage close at hand…necessary to conquer all and fight his way to Light.
On the physical level, strength is pure organic force. On the intellectual level, it is moral force, produced by the knowledge of Right and wrong. On the Cosmic level, it is ‘the Principle of all strength, spiritual or material’ and it was motivated by the knowledge of the True and the Just.
‘Remember, son of earth, that deeds necessitate faith in your ability to accomplish them. Proceed with faith: all obstacles are phantoms. In order to be strong, silence must be imposed on the weaknesses of the Heart; your duty must be studied, for it is the rule of righteousness.’ One must act, for it is expected, nay, commanded of him by his father, by the communities, by the heavens. Yes, it had been more than muscle that had gotten him to the top. It had been the strength and Power of his Being, which had allowed him to rise to command over others, over matter, over destiny. During the past days, he had grown in many ways…ways that were in keeping with the Laws of the universe, with the evolution and destiny of man. He had learned to move the earth in the pursuit of what is True. He had learned to ‘practice Justice as if you Love it.’ Upwards, ever upwards, was he climbing… still far to go. But his progress was gathering momentum. He hungered feverishly for more challenges. For only through challenge and risk and constant exertion up the strange, yet marvelously wondrous Cosmic path… could he grow… could he reach the Light of the universe.
It began raining furiously and the men were secured for the night. Omicron could see men curled up in various areas of the machinery. They would wait until the next morning for an assault upon the last level. The men talked quietly among themselves in small groups within the metal. Omicron sat alone, his mind overflowing with the events which had transpired over such a short span of time. There had been extended periods in which at any moment his Life could have been snuffed out like a candle. And would such an extinguishment of his Life hold more significance than that of a smoking wick? In one sense it would not. Life is a game, he thought. On one level Life is of no more importance than that of a butterfly, or the existence of a rock for that matter. However, one must take the game seriously if he or she is to receive a return that is worth the horrendous effort it takes merely to survive. Life is pain. Life is sensation and all sensation is on a continuum with pain. Life is an exhausting process as it is based upon the oxidation, that is, the combustion of material… and the body is consumed in the very act of its replenishment. The only reward in Life worth the effort is joy and happiness. And true joy is reaped from two sources…from the Will…which has the capability of impacting the world about it…with creativity… physical, intellectual, and Cosmic creativity. Joy and happiness also comes from Love…another Cosmic aspect…one of connection and community…Therefore…creativity in the embrace of community within the primal band…extends to a person…the possibility of the greatest joy and happiness. One must take the game of Life seriously in order to gain this joy and, thus, receive enough benefit to justify continuing the game. When death is imminent and inevitable, then the game is over. One can then sit back and calmly say… ‘My Life means no more than the flutter of ashes upon the ground.’
Yet there is another way to think about these things, a way to revise this statement and its content be just as True. ‘My Life means just as much as all matter, and that is very much indeed.’ For Life in its essence consists only of matter combined with energy. The significance of Life must be related to the amount of energy which flows over a basic structure of matter, for it is this flowing of energy over this particular structure that is all that distinguishes Life from all other matter. However, then one realizes that such significance is on a continuum and is not unique to humans, animals, or plants alone. Is not matter itself quanta, bits of energy? All matter possesses energy within the atoms of its composition. And all matter is born of energy. Thus, all that exists in the universe is energy. However, all that possesses energy is significant, for that which does not embrace energy is void. Energy is eternal although its forms are ever changeable and reversible. Energy is the miracle of the heavens for without it the universe would be nothing, not even void, for void gains meaning only in the absence of matter and energy. Thus, if no matter or energy existed, there would be no void, only nothing, a concept without space, time, or meaning. Thus, Life is meaningful, because matter, is composed of energy…and all energy possesses….consciousness…Will…and Love…Power and Connection.
Yes…Energy is consciousness and the latter is known by its Will…which unleashes its Power upon the Cosmos by means of tools..However, the impact that tools are able to impart upon the universe around them..is meaningless without Connection…without purpose…without a reason for a building up of capability….However, without man, there is no significance; there is no meaning…in the plant/animal sphere. Man and woman are matter reflecting upon itself. Among the particles and clusters of particles of matter, man and woman possesses great significance in that he and she represent the furthest striving of matter toward the Light, a closure of energy funneled upon itself. Only in man and woman’s eyes does matter gain significance on earth and thus all Life basks in the radiance of meaning that the exaltation of man and woman have conferred upon it. The loss of a human is a loss to Nature. However, in the Cosmic sphere…there must always reside meaning…and this is the great Cosmic mystery…
The Cosmos is permeated with consciousness and thereby must be imbued with thought…and the impact of thought made possible by tools… The Cosmos is composed of the great works of one immense I.…artifacts left by an I…when it was shattered into countless pieces…each piece of which possesses a personality of its own…Thus, that grand I...by necessity must have embraced all personality…all Being.. at the beginning of time.
` Yet in a way that great I is still throbbing…still impacting all about it…because all that fire…all those globs of swirling power of I’s….exploding,
coalescing throughout the Cosmos…may actually be a great brain of sorts…where thought occurs…Truth is created…preserved somehow in a great Cosmic memory somewhere…Man and woman…created in the image…of that great I...whose artifacts fill the void with Truth, Justice, Will… Love…. Beauty….
` God knows…what is in that ninety-seven percent of the universe…that we cannot see…exactly what is going on…in that abyss of Darkness.
Perhaps one of the most important things being done…in places we cannot see…is to give meaning to all that can see…give meaning to the monotonous, reoccurrring explosions and implosions…gives meaning for us…for our Lives…also….
Yes…. It is appearing to scientists now that the universe is filled with ‘existence,’ that is, consciousness. Yes… in the end,…it appears that we are on a continuum with all other matter and we are not apart. Consciousness is on a continuum with all sparks in the universe… from the energy of the atom, to the wiggle of DNA, to the brain of the mammals. When we die we revert to lower levels of energy; we are not annihilated. The I-particle in a person’s brain, that is, the I…is eternal and indestructible. And death will be welcome and its familiarity will be recalled the instant we are reintroduced to it. That is, the instant we die we shall say, ‘Oh, yes,’ and the disintegrating primal brain will recall a peace, a lower level of combustion which the dust of man has previously known. For before conception, we were otherwise, and otherwise we shall be again. When death approaches, we will welcome the time to lay our bones down and pass onto lower levels of energy. We shall be at peace. We shall be at home. At rest. No sensation. No pain…in an eternal Present…an eternal Connection…until electrons are stripped again…and consciousness is induced…to reach out…again…to impact…to impart…to express Power and Will….
However, until then, Omicron thought, the passion, the throb, that is man and woman… must unfold and spread out upon the Land. The mind of man and woman must thrust humans ever upwards. The Light of man and woman must e’re be worthy of the obsequious and worshipful matter at their feet. One day the many sparks will be united into one blinding inferno with the consciousness of a nebula. If we are valiant…fight our way up the steps of the Aracna…in the pursuit of Truth and Justice…in the embrace of the Love of the Cosmic Priestess…we will have fought our way…towards to the Light…with others….until at last we may bask for an eternity…together…in that Light…
Yes…the Loving, calming words of his mother would always come to him…always there to supplement the admonishments and exhortations of his father…
Omicron…men fight upwards and onwards…it is in their sinews…Yet they must not forget that they are never alone…this is not an individual fight…Never!…All courage and sacrifice loses meaning…without family…without community…without Love…For that same matter which is filled with energy….that is filled with potential Will…if ‘revealed’…if it is unleashed….yes, then that Will is able to move all matter about it…That same matter…is also filled by virtue of the energy within it…it is also filled with Love…
Power and Connection…Force and Law….Will and Love…acting together…acting as One…are the primordial impetus… which moves the world….which moves the Cosmos….