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THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY

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THE FIFTH TRIP, OR GEBURAH

Swift-Kick, Inc  

And, behold, thusly was the Law formulated:

IMPOSITION OF ORDER = ESCALATION OF CHAOS!

—Lord Omar Khayaam Ravenhurst,

"The Gospel According to Fred," The Honest Book of Truth

The lights flashed; the computer buzzed. Hagbard attached the electrodes.

On January 30, 1939, a silly little man in Berlin gave a silly little speech; among other things, he said: "And another thing I wish to say on this day which perhaps is memorable not only for us Germans: in my life I have many times been a prophet and most of the times I have been laughed at. During the period of my struggle for power, it was in the first case the Jews that laughed at my prophecies that some day I would take over the leadership of the State and thereby of the whole folk and that I would among other things solve also the Jewish problem. I believe that in the meantime the hyenalike laughter of the Jews of Germany has been smothered in their throats. Today I want to be a prophet once more: if the international-finance Jews inside and outside Europe should succeed once more in plunging nations into another world war the consequence will be the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe." And so on. He was always saying things like that. By 1939 quite a few heads here and there realized that the silly little man was also a murderous little monster, but only a very small number even of these noticed that for the first time in his anti-Semitic diatribes he had used the word Vernichtung—annihilation— and even they couldn't believe he meant what that implied. In fact, outside of a small circle of friends, nobody guessed what the little man, Adolf Hitler, had planned.

Outside that small— very small— circle of friends, others came in intimate contact with der Fuhrer and never guessed what was in his mind. Hermann Rauschning, the Governor of Danzig, for instance, was a devout Nazi until he began to get some hints of where Hitler's fancies were tending; after fleeing to France, Rauschning wrote a book warning against his former leader. It was called The Voice of Destruction and was very eloquent, but the most interesting passages in it were not understood by Rauschning or by most of his readers. "Whoever sees in National Socialism nothing but a political movement doesn't know much about it," Hitler told Rauschning, and this is in the book, but Rauschning and his readers continued to see National Socialism as a particularly vile and dangerous political movement and nothing more. "Creation is not yet completed," Hitler said again; and Rauschning again recorded, without understanding. "The planet will undergo an upheaval which you uninitiated people can't understand," der Fuhrer warned on another occasion; and, still another time, he remarked that Nazism was, not only more than a political movement, but "more than a new religion"; and Rauschning wrote it all and understood none of it. He even recorded the testimony of Hitler's physician that the silly and murderous little man often awoke screaming from nightmares that were truly extraordinary in their intensity and would shout, "It's HIM, it's HIM, HE'S come for me!" Good old Hermann Rauschning, a German of the old school and not equipped to participate in the New Germany of National Socialism, took all this as evidence of mental unbalance in Hitler....

All of them coming back, all of them. Hitler and Streicher and Goebbels and the powers behind them what look like something you can't even imagine, guvnor....

You think they was human, the patient went on as the psychiatrist listened in astonishment, but wait till you see them the second time. And they're coming—By the end of the month, they're coming....

Karl Haushofer was never tried at Nuremberg; ask most people to name the men chiefly responsible for the Vernichtung (annihilation) decision, and his name will not be mentioned; even most histories of Nazi Germany relegate him to footnotes. But strange stories are told about his many visits to Tibet, Japan, and other parts of the Orient; his gift for prophecy and clairvoyance; the legend that he belonged to a bizarre sect of dissident and most peculiar Buddhists, who had entrusted him with a mission in the Western world so serious that he vowed to commit suicide if he did not succeed. If the last yarn is true, Haushofer must have failed in his mission, for in March 1946 he killed his wife Martha and then performed the Japanese suicide-rite of sepukku upon himself. His son, Albrecht, had already been executed for his role in the "officer's plot" to assassinate Hitler. (Of his father, Albrecht had written in a poem: "My father broke the seal/He did not feel the breath of the Evil One/He set It free to roam the world!")

It was Karl Haushofer, clairvoyant, mystic, medium, Orientalist, and fanatic believer in the lost continent of Thule, who introduced Hitler to the Illuminated Lodge in Munich, in 1923. Shortly thereafter, Hitler made his first bid to seize power.

No rational interpretation of the events of August 1968 in Chicago, satisfactory to all participants and observers, has yet been produced. This suggests the need for value-free models, inspired by the structural analysis in von Neumann and Morgenstern's Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, which will allow us to express what actually occurred functionally, without tainting our analysis with bias or moral judgments. The model we will employ is that of two teams, an uphill motorcar race and a downhill bicycle race, accidentally intersecting on the same hill. The Picasso statue in the Civic Center will be regarded as "start" for the downhill motorcar race and "finish" for the uphill bicycle race. Pontius Pilate, disguised as Sirhan Sirhan, fires the opening shot, thereby disqualifying Robert F. Kennedy, for whom Marilyn Monroe committed suicide, as recorded in the most trustworthy tabloids and scandal sheets.

THIS IS THE VOICE OF YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER MAN SPEAKING. YOU MUST REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NOT JOSEPH WENDELL MALIK.

Hell's Angels on motorcycles do not fit the structure of the race at all, so they endlessly orbit around the heroic statue of General Logan in Grant Park ("finish" for the uphill crucifixion racers) and can be considered as isolated from the "action," which is, of course, America.

When Jesus falls the first time, this can be considered as a puncture and Simon operates an air pump on his tires, but the threat to throw LSD in the water supply constitutes a "foul" and this team thereby is driven back three squares by Mace, clubs, and the machine guns of the Capone mob unleashed from another time track in the same multiverse. Willard Gibbs, far more than Einstein, created the modern cosmos, and his concept of contingent or statistical reality, when cross-fertilized with the Second Law of Thermodynamics by Shannon and Wiener, led to the definition of information as the negative reciprocal of probability, making the clubbings of Jesus by Chicago cops just another of those things that happens in this kind of quantum jump.

A centurion named Semper Cuni Linctus passes Simon in Grant Park looking for the uphill bike race. "When we crucify a man," he mutters, "he should confounded well stay crucified." The three Marys clutch handkerchiefs to their faces as the teargas and Zyklon B pours upward on the hill, to the spot where the crosses and the statue of General Logan stand. . . . "Nor dashed a thousand kirn," croons Saint Toad looking through the door at Fission Chips. . . . Arthur Flegenheimer and Robert Putney Drake ascend the chimney. . . . "You don't have to believe in Santa Claus," H. P. Lovecraft explains. . . . "Ambrose," the Dutchman says to him imploringly.

"But it can't be," Joe Malik says, half weeping. "It can't be that crazy. Buildings wouldn't stand. Planes wouldn't fly. Dams would collapse. Engineering colleges would be lunatic asylums."

"They aren't already?" Simon asks. "Have you read the latest data on the ecological catastrophe? You have to face it, Joe. God is a crazy woman."

"There are no straight lines in curved space," Stella adds.

"But my mind is dying," Joe protests, shuddering.

Simon holds up an ear of corn and tells him urgently, "Osiris is a black god!"

(Sir Charles James Napier, bearded, long-haired and sixty-odd years old, General of Her Majesty's Armies in India, met a most engaging scoundrel in January 1843 and immediately wrote to his cronies in England about this remarkable person, whom he described as brave, clever, fabulously wealthy, and totally unscrupulous. Since this curious fellow was also regarded as God by his followers, who numbered over three million, he charged twenty rupees for permission to kiss his hand, asked— and. got— the sexual favors of the wives or daughters of any True Believers who took his fancy, and proved his divinity by brazenly and openly committing sins which any mortal would shrivel with shame to have acknowledged. He also proved, at the Battle of Miani, where he aided the British against the rebellious Baluchi tribesmen, that he could fight like ten tigers. All in all, General Napier concluded, a most unusual human being—Hasan Ali Shah Mahallat, forty-sixth Imam, or living God, of the Ishmaelian sect of Islam, direct descendant of Hassan i Sabbah, and first Aga Khan.)

Dear Joe:

I'm back in Czechago again, fabulous demesne of Crookbacked Richard, pigbaschard of the world, etc., where the pollution comes up like thunder out of Gary across the lake, etc., and the Padre and I are still working on the heads of the local Heads, etc., so I've finally got tune to write you that long letter I promised.

The Law of Fives is all the farther that Weishaupt ever got, and Hagbard and John aren't much interested in any further speculations along those lines. The 23/17 phenomenon is entirely my discovery, except that William S. Burroughs has noted the 23 without coming to any conclusions about it.

I'm writing this on a bench in Grant Park, near the place I got maced three years ago. Nice symbolism.

A woman just came along from the Mothers March Against Polio. I gave her a quarter. What a drag, just when I was trying to get my thoughts in order. When you come out here, I'll be able to tell you more; this will obviously have to be somewhat sketchy.

Burroughs, anyway, encountered the 23 in Tangiers, when a ferryboat captain named Clark remarked that he'd been sailing 23 years without an accident. That day, his ship sunk, with all hands and feet aboard. Burroughs was thinking about it in the evening when the radio newscast told him that an Eastern Airlines plane, New York to Miami, had crashed. The pilot was another Captain Clark and the plane was Flight 23.

"If you want to know the extent of their control," Simon told Joe (speaking this time, not writing a letter; they were driving to San Francisco after leaving Dillinger), "take a dollar bill out of your wallet and look at it. Go ahead— do it now. I want to make a point." Joe took out his wallet and looked for a single. (A year later, in the city Simon called Czechago in honor of the synchronous invasions in August 1968, the KCUF convention is taking its first luncheon break after Smiling Jim's sock-it-to-'em opening speech. Simon brushes against an usher, shouts, "Hey, you damned faggot, keep your hands off my ass," and in the ensuing tumult Joe has no trouble slipping the AUM in the punch.)

"Do I have to get a library card just to look at one book?" Carmel asks the librarian in the Main Branch of the Las Vegas Library, after Maldonado had failed to produce any lead to a communist agent.

"One of the most puzzling acts of Washington's Presidency," Professor Percival Petsdeloup tells an American history class at Columbia, back in '68, "was his refusal to aid Tom Paine when Paine was condemned to death in Paris" . . . Why puzzling? George Dorn thinks in the back of the class, Washington was an Establishment fink. , . . "First of all, look at that face on the front," Simon says. "It isn't Washington at all, it's Weishaupt. Compare it with any of the early, authentic pictures of Washington and you'll see what I mean. And look at that cryptic half-smile on his face." (The same smile Weishaupt wore when he finished the letter explaining to Paine why he couldn't help him; sealed it with the Great Seal of the United States whose meaning only he knew; and settling back in his chair, murmured to himself, "Jacques De Molay, thou art again avenged!")

"What do you mean, I'm creating a disturbance? It was that faggot there, with his big mitts on my ass."

("Well, I don't know which particular book, honey. Something that tells how the communists work. You know, how a patriotic citizen can spot a commie spy ring if there's one in his neighborhood. That kind of thing," Carmel explained.)

A swarm of men in blue shirts and white plastic helmets rushes down the steps at Forty-third Street and UN Plaza, past the inscription reading, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, neither shall they study war any more." Waving heavy wooden crosses and shouting angry battle cries, the helmeted men surge into the crowd like a wave hitting a sand castle. George sees them coming, and his heart skips a beat.

"And when you turn the bill over, the first thing you see is the Illuminati pyramid. You'll notice it says seventeen seventy-six on it, but our government was founded in seventeen eighty-eight. Supposedly, the seventeen seventy-six is there because that's when the Declaration of Independence was signed. The real reason is that seventeen seventy-six is the year Weishaupt revived the Illuminati. And why do you suppose the pyramid has seventy-two segments in thirteen layers?" Simon asks in nineteen sixty-nine. . . . "Misunderstanding, my eye! When a guy gropes my butt that way I understand exactly what he wants," Simon shouts in nineteen seventy. . . . George nudges Peter Jackson. "God's Lightning," he says. The plastic hats gleam in the sunlight, more of them jostling down the stairs, a banner, red letters on a white background unfurling above: "AMERICA: LOVE IT OR WE'LL STOMP YOU. . . . "Christ on rollerskates," Peter says, "now watch the cops do a vanishing act." . . . Dillinger settles down cross-legged in a five-sided chamber under the UN meditation room. He curls into the lotus posture with an ease that would appear unusual in an American in his late sixties were there anyone to witness it.

"Seventy-two is the cabalistic number for the Holy Unspeakable Name of God, used in all black magic, and thirteen is the number in a coven," Simon explains. "That's why." The Volkswagen purrs toward San Francisco.

Carmel comes down the steps of the Las Vegas Public Library, a copy of J. Edgar Hoover's Masters of Deceit under his arm, an anticipatory smirk on his face, and Simon is finally ejected from the Sheraton-Chicago shouting, "Faggots! I think you're all a bunch of faggots!"

"And here's one of their jokes," Simon adds. "Over the eagle's head, do you dig that Star of David? They put that one in— one single six-pointed Jewish star, made up of all the five-pointed stars— just so some right-wing cranks could find it and proclaim it as proof that the Elders of Zion control the Treasury and the Federal Reserve."

Overlooking the crowd in UN Plaza, Zev Hirsch, New York State Commander of God's Lightning, watches his thick-shouldered troops, swinging their wooden crosses like tomahawks, drive back the lily-livered peaceniks. There is an obstacle. A blue line of policemen has formed between the men of God's Lightning and their prey. Over the cops' shoulders, the peaceniks are screeching dirty words at their plastic-hatted enemies. Zev's eyes scan the crowd. He catches the eye of a red-faced cop with gold braid on his cap. Zev gives the Police Captain a questioning look. The Captain winks. A minute later the Captain makes a small gesture with his left hand. Immediately, the line of police vanishes, as if melted in the bright spring sun that beats down on the plaza. The battalion of God's Lightning falls upon their anguished, outraged, and astonished victims. Zev Hirsch laughs. This is a lot more fun than the old days in the Jewish Defense League. All the servants are drunk. And the rain continues.

At an outdoor cafe in Jerusalem two white-haired old men wearing black are drinking coffee together. They try to mask their emotions from the people around them, but their eyes are wild with excitement. They are staring at an inside page of a Yiddish newspaper, reading two ads in Yiddish, a large, quarter-page announcement of the greatest rock festival of all time to be held near Ingolstadt, Bavaria— bands of all nations, people of all nations, to be known as Woodstock Europa. On the same page is the paper's personals column, and the watery eyes of the two old men are re-reading for the fifth time the statement, in Yiddish, "In thanks to St. Jude for favors granted.—A. W."

One old man points at the page with a trembling finger. "It is coming," he says in German.

The other one nods, a beatific smile on his withered face. "Jawohl. It is coming very soon. Der Tag. Soon we must to Bavaria go. Ewige Blumenkraft!"

Carlo put the gun on the table between us. "This is it, George," he said. "Are you a revolutionary, or are you just on an ego trip playing at being a revolutionary? Can you take the gun?"

I wiped my eyes. The Passaic was flowing below me, a steady stream of garbage from the Paterson falls down to Newark and the Atlantic Ocean. Like the garbage that was my contemptible, cowardly soul. . . . The God's Lightning troopers fan out, clubbing each person wearing an I WON'T DIE FOR FERNANDO POO button. Blood dances in the air, fragile red bubbles, before the tomblike slab of the UN building. . . . Dillinger's breathing slows down. He stares at the ruby eye atop the 13-step pyramid hidden in the UN building, and he thinks of pentagons.

"I'm a God's Lightning," Carlo said. "This is no joke, baby, I'm going to do the whole bit." His intense eyes burned into mine as the switchblade came out of his pocket. "Motherfuckin' commie," he screamed suddenly, leaping up so quickly that the chair fell over behind him. "You're not getting off with a beating this time. I'm gonna cut your balls off and take them home as a souvenir." He slashed forward with the knife, deflecting his swing at the last minute. "Made you jump, you long-haired faggotty freak. I wonder if you have any balls to cut off. Well, I'll find out." He inched forward, the knife weaving snakelike patterns in the air.

"Look," I said desperately, "I know you're only playacting."

"You don't know nothing, baby. Maybe I'm FBI or CIA. Maybe this is just an excuse to get you to go for the gun so I can kill you and claim self-defense. Life isn't all demonstrations and play-acting, George. There comes a time when it gets serious." He lunged again with the knife, and I stumbled clumsily backward. "Are you going to take the gun or am I going to cut your balls off and tell the Group you're no fucking good and we couldn't use you?"

He was totally mad and I was totally sane. Is that a more flattering way of telling it, instead of the truth, that he was brave and I was yellow?

"Listen," I said, "I know you won't really stab me and you know I won't really shoot you-—"

"Shit on you know and I know," Carlo hit me in the chest with his free hand, hard. "I'm a God's Lightning, really a God's Lightning. I'm gonna do the whole scene. This is a test, but the test is for real." He hit me again, jarring my balance, then slapped my face, twice, rapidly, back and forth like a windshield wiper. "I always said you longhaired commie freaks don't have no guts. You can't even fight back. You can't even feel angry, can you? You just feel sorry for yourself, right?"

It was too damned true. A nerve twinged deep down inside at the unfairness of it, of his ability to see into me more than I usually dared see into myself; and at last I grabbed the gun from the table, screaming, "You sadistic Stalinist son-of-a-bitch!"

"And look at the eagle," Simon says. "Look real close. That ain't really no olive branch in his left claw, baby.

That's our old friend Maria Juana. You never really looked at a dollar bill before, did you?

"And the real symbolism of the pyramid is alchemical, of course. The traditional code represents the three kinds of sex by a cube, a pyramid, and a sphere. The cube is that travesty we call 'normal sex, in which the two nervous systems never actually merge at the orgasm, like the two parallel sides of the cube. The pyramid is the two coming together and joining, the magical-telepathic orgasm. The sphere is the Tantric ritual, endlessly prolonged, with no orgasm at all. The alchemists used that code for over two thousand years. The Rosicrucians among the founding fathers used the pyramid as a symbol of their kind of sex magic. Aleister Crowley used that symbol the same way, more recently. The eye on the pyramid is the two minds meeting. Neurological interlock. The opening of the Eye of Shiva. Ewige Schlangekraft—the eternal serpent power. The joining of the Rose and Cross, vagina and penis, into Rose-Cross. The astral leap. Mind escaping from physiology."

The AUM was supposed to work almost instantly, according to what the scientists at ELF had told Hagbard, so Joe approached the first man who had sampled the punch and started a conversation. "Nice talk Smiling Jim gave," he said earnestly. (I rammed the gun into Carlo's gut and saw him go white about the lips. "No, don't worry," I said, smiling. "I'm not using it on you. But when I come back there'll be a dead pig on the streets somewhere in Morningside Heights." He started to speak, and I jabbed downward with the gun, grinning as he gasped for air. "Comrade," I added.) "Yeah, Smiling Jim was born with a silver tongue," the other man said.

"A silver tongue," Joe agreed solemnly, then added, holding out his hand, "by the way, I'm Jim Mallison from the New York delegation."

"Knew by your accent," the other said shrewdly. "I'm Clem Cotex from down Little Rock." They shook. "Pleasure to meet you."

"Too bad about that kid that got thrown out," Joe said, lowering his voice. "It looked to me like that usher really was— you know— touching him."

Cotex looked surprised for a moment, but then shook his head in doubt. "Can't tell nowadays, especially in big cities. Do you really think an Andy Frain usher could be a— fairy?"

"Like you said, nowadays in big cities . . ." Joe shrugged. "I'm just saying that it looked like it to me. Of course, maybe the usher isn't one. Maybe he's just a cheap thief who was trying to pick the kid's pocket. A lot of that goes on these days, too." Cotex involuntarily reached back to check his own wallet, and Joe went on blandly. "But I wouldn't rule out the other, not by a long shot. What sort of man would want to be an usher at a KCUF meeting, if you stop and think about it? You must have observed how many homosexuals there are in our organization."

"What?" Cotex's eyes bulged.

"You haven't noticed it?" Joe smiled loftily. "There are very few of us who are really Christians. Most of the membership are just a little bit lavender, know what I mean? I think it's one of our biggest problems, and we ought to bring it out into the open and discuss it frankly. Clear the air, right? For instance, take the way Smiling Jim always puts his arm around your shoulder when he talks to you—"

Cotex interrupted, "Hey, mister, you're pretty darn bright. Just now hit me like a flash— some of the men here, when Smiling Jim showed those beaver shots to prove how bad some magazines are getting, they really shuddered. They didn't just disapprove— it really honest-to-Pete revolted them. What kind of man actually finds a naked lady disgusting?"

Go, baby, go, Joe thought. The AUM is working. He quickly derailed the conversation. "Another thing that bothers me. Why don't we ever challenge the spherical earth theory?"

"Huh?"

"Look," Joe said. "If all the scientists and eggheads and commies and liberals are pushing it in our schools all the time, there must be something a little fishy about it. Did you ever stop to think that there's no way— just no way at all— to reconcile a spherical earth with the story of the Flood, or Joshua's miracle, or Jesus standing on the pinnacle of the Temple and seeing all the kingdoms of the earth? And I ask you, man to man, in all your travels have you ever seen the curvature anywhere? Every place I've been is flat. Are we going to trust the Bible and the evidence of our own senses, or are we going to listen to a bunch of agnostics and atheists in laboratory smocks?"

"But the earth's shadow on the moon during an eclipse . . ."

Joe took a dime out of his pocket and held it up. 'This casts a circular shadow, but it's flat, not spherical."

Cotex stared into space for a long moment, while Joe waited with suppressed excitement. "You know something?" Cotex said finally, "all the Bible miracles and our own travels and the shadow on the moon would make sense if the earth was shaped like a carrot and all the continents were on the flat end—"

Praise be to Simon's god, Bugs Bunny, Joe thought elatedly. It's happening— he's not only gullible— he's creative.

I followed the cop— the pig, I corrected myself— out of the cafeteria. I was so keyed up that it was a Trip. The blue of his uniform, the neon signs, even the green of the lampposts, all were coming in super bright. That was adrenalin. My mouth was dry— dehydration. All the classic flight-fight symptoms. The activation syndrome, Skinner calls it. I let the cop— the pig— get half a block ahead and reached in my pocket for the revolver.

"Come on, George!" Malik shouted. George didn't want to move. His heart was thumping, his arms and legs trembling so hard he knew they'd be useless to him in a fight. But he just didn't want to move. He'd had enough of running from these motherfuckers.

But he couldn't help himself. As the men in blue shirts and white helmets came on, the crowd surged away from them, and George had to move back with the crowd or be knocked down and trampled.

"Come on, George." It was Pete Jackson at his side now, with a good, hard grip on his arm, tugging him.

"Goddam it, why do we have to run away from them?" George said, stumbling backward.

Peter was smiling faintly. "Don't you read your Mao, George? Enemy attacks, we retreat. Let the Morituri fanatics stand and get creamed."

I couldn't do it. My hand held the gun, but I couldn't take it out and hold it in front of me any more than I could take out my penis and wave it around. I was sure, even though the street was empty except for me and the pig, that a dozen people would jump out of doorways yelling, "Look, he took it out of his pants."

Just like right now, when Hagbard said, "Button up your asshole. We're in for a fight," I stood frozen like I stood frozen on the embankment above the Passaic.

"Are you on an ego trip playing at being a revolutionary?" Carlo asked.

And Mavis: "All the militant radicals in your crowd ever do is take out the Molotov cocktail diagram that they carefully clipped from The New York Review of Books, hang it on the bathroom door, and jack-off in connection with it."

Howard sang:

The foe is attacking, their ships coming near, Now is the time to fight without fear! Now is the time to look death in the eye Before we submit, we'll fight till we die!

This time I got the gun out of my pocket— standing there, looking down at the Passaic— and raised it to my forehead. If I didn't have the courage for homicide, Jesus knows I have despair enough for a hundred suicides. And I only have to do it once. Just once, and then oblivion. I cock the firing pin. (More play-acting, George? Or will you really do it?) I'll do it, damn you, damn all of you. I pull the trigger and fall, with the explosion, into blackness.

(AUM was a product of the scientists at ELF— the Erisian Liberation Front— and shared by them with the JAMs. An extract of hemp, boosted with RNA, the "learning" molecule, it also had small traces of the famous "Frisco Speedball"— heroin, cocaine, and LSD. The effect seemed to be that the heroin stilled anxiety, the RNA stimulated creativity, the hemp and acid opened the mind to joy, and the cocaine was there to fit the Law of Fives. The delicate balance created no hallucinations, no sense of "high"— just a sudden spurt in what Hagbard Celine liked to call "constructive gullibility.")

It was one of those sudden shifts of movement that occur in a mob scene. Instead of pushing George and Peter back, the crowd between them and the white helmets were parting. A slender man fell heavily against George, anguish in his eyes. There was a terrible thump, and the man fell to the ground.

George saw the dark brown wooden cross before he saw the man who wielded it. There was blood and hair at the end of the crossarm. The God's Lightning man was dark, broad and muscular, with a blue shadow on his cheeks. He looked Italian or Spanish— he looked, in fact, a lot like Carlo. His eyes were wide and his mouth was open and he was breathing heavily. The expression was neither rage nor sadistic joy— just the unthinking panting alertness of a man doing a difficult and fatiguing job. He bent over the fallen slender man and raised the cross.

"All right!" snapped Peter Jackson. He pushed George aside. There was a silly-looking yellow plastic water pistol in his hand. He squirted the oblivious God's Lightning man in the back of the neck. The man screamed, arched backward, the cross flying end over end into the air. He fell on his back and lay screaming and writhing.

"Come on now, motherfucker!" Pete snarled as he dragged George into the crowd, broken-field running toward Forty-second Street.

"An hour and a half to go," Hagbard says, finally beginning to show suppressed tension. George checks his watch— it's exactly 10:30 P.M., Ingolstadt time. The Plastic Canoe is wailing KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE.

( Under the noon sun, two days earlier, Carmel speeds in his jeep away from Las Vegas.)

"Who am I going to meet at the Norton Cabal?"" Joe asks. "Judge Crater? Amelia Earhart? Nothing would surprise me now."

"A few real together people," Simon replies. "But no one like that. But you'll have to die, really die, man, before you're illuminated." He smiles gently. "Aside from death and resurrection, you won't find anything you'd call 'supernatural' with this bunch. Not even a whiff of old Chicago-style Satanism."

"God," Joe says, "was that only a week ago?"

"Yep," Simon grins, gunning his VW around a Chevrolet with Oregon license plates, "It's still nineteen sixty-nine, even if you seem to have lived several years since we met at the anarchist caucus." His eyes are amused as he half turns to glance at Joe.

"I suppose that means you know what's been happening in my dreams. I'm getting the flash forwards already."

"Always happens after a good dirty Black Mass with pot mixed in the incense," Simon says. "What sort of thing you getting? Is it happening when you're awake yet?"

"No, only in my dreams." Joe pauses, thinking. "I only know it's the real article because the dreams are so vivid. One set has to do with some kind of pro-censorship rally at the Sheraton-Chicago hotel, I think about a year from now. There's another set that seems farther in the future— five or six years— where I'm impersonating a doctor for some reason. And a third group of images comes to me, now and then, that seems to be the set of a Frankenstein movie, except that the extras are all hippies and there seems to be a rock festival going on."

"Does it bother you?"

"A little. I'm used to waking up in the morning with the future ahead of me, not behind me and ahead of me both."

"You'll get used to it. You're just beginning to contact what old Weishaupt called 'die Morgensheutegesternwelf— the tomorrow-today-yesterday world. It gave Goethe the idea for Faust, just like Weishaupt's 'Ewige Blumenkraft' slogan inspired Goethe's 'Ewige Weibliche.' I'll tell you what," Simon suggested, "You might try wearing three wristwatches, like Bucky Fuller does— one showing the time where you're at, one showing the tune where you're going, and one showing the time at some arbitrary place like Greenwich Mean Time or your home town. It'll help you get used to relativity. Meanwhile, never whistle while you're pissing. And you might repeat to yourself, when you get disoriented, Fuller's sentence, 'I seem to be a verb.'"

They drove in silence for a while, and Joe pondered on being a verb. Hell, he thought, I have enough trouble understanding what Fuller means when he says God is a verb. Simon let him mull it over, and began humming again: "Rameses the Second is dead, my love/He's walking the fields where the BLESSED liiiiive. . . ." Joe realized he was starting to doze . . . and all the faces at the luncheon table looked at him in astonishment. "No, seriously," he said. "Anthropologists are too timid to say it out in the open, in public, but corner one of them in private and ask him."

Every detail was clear: it was the same room in the Sheraton-Chicago Hotel, and the faces were the same. (I've been here before and said this before.)

"The rain dances of the Indians work. The rain always comes. So why isn't it possible that their gods are real and ours isn't? Have you ever prayed to Jesus for something and really gotten it?" There is a long silence and finally an old tight-faced woman smiles youthfully and declares, "Young man, I'm going to try it. How do 1 meet an Indian in Chicago?"

Like tomahawks the crosses of God's Lightning rose and fell on the slender man's defenseless skull. They'd found their injured comrade lying on the street twisting and moaning beside his erstwhile victim. A couple of them hauled the wounded God's Lightning man away, while the rest took their revenge on the unconscious peace demonstrator.

("You, Luke," says Yeshua ben Yosef, "don't write that down.")

Space-time, then, may be slanted or kiltered when you're lost out here: Fernando Poo looks through his glass at a new island, not guessing that it will be named after himself, not imagining that someday Simon Moon will write "In Fourteen Hundred and Seventy Two, Fernando Poo discovered Fernando Poo," and Hagbard says, "Truth is a tiger," while Timothy Leary does a Crown Point Pavanne out of San Luis Obispo Jail and four billion years earlier one squink says to another, "I've solved the ecology problem on this new planet." The other squink, partner to the first (they own Swift Kick Inc., the shoddiest contractors in the Milky Way) says "How?" The first squink laughs coarsely. "Every organism produced will be programmed with a Death Trip. It'll give them a rather gloomy outlook, I admit, especially the more conscious ones, but it will sure minimize costs for us." Swift Kick Inc. cut the edges every other way they could think, and Earth emerged as the Horrible Example invoked in all classes on planetary design throughout the galaxy.

When Burroughs told me that, I flipped, because I was 23 that year and lived on Clark Street. Besides, I immediately saw the application to the Law of Fives: 2 + 3 = 5 and Clark has 5 letters.

I was mulling this over when I happened to notice the shipwreck in Pound's Canto 23. That's the only shipwreck mentioned in the whole 800-page poem, in spite of all the nautical voyages described. Canto 23 also contains the line, "with the sun in a golden cup," which Yeats says inspired his own lines, "the golden apples of the sun, the silver apples of the moon."

Golden apples, of course, brought me back to Eris, and I realized I was onto something hot.

Then I tried adding the Illuminati Five to 23, and I got 28. The average menstrual period of Woman. The lunar cycle. Back to the silver apples of the moon— and I'm Moon. Of course, Pound and Yeats both have five letters in their names.

If this be schizophrenia, I said with a P. Henry twist (one better than an O. Henry twist), make the most of it!

I looked deeper.

Through a bullhorn, a police captain began to shout,

CLEAR THE PLAZA CLEAR THE PLAZA.

The first reports of the annihilation camps were passed on to the OSS by a Swiss businessman evaluated as being one of the most trustworthy informants on affairs in Nazi Europe. The State Department decided that the stories were not confirmed. That was early in 1943. By autumn of that year, more urgent reports from the same source transmitted still through the OSS forced a major policy conference. It was again decided that the reports were not true. As winter began, the English government asked for another conference to discuss similar reports from their own intelligence networks and from the government of Rumania. The delegates met in Bermuda for a warm, sunny weekend, and decided that the reports were not true; they returned to their work refreshed and tanned. The death trains continued to roll. Early in 1944, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury, was reached by dissenters in the State Department, examined the evidence, and forced a meeting with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Shaken by the assertions in Morgenthau's documents, Roosevelt pledged that he would act at once. He never did. It was said later that the State Department convinced him, once again, of their own analysis: the reports simply were not true. When Mr. Hitler said Ver-nichtung he had not really meant Vemichtung. An author, Ben Hecht, then placed an ad in the New York Times, presenting the evidence to the public; a group of prominent rabbis attacked him for alarming Jews unnecessarily and undermining confidence in America's Chief Executive during wartime. Finally, late that year, American and Russian troops began liberating the camps, and General Eisenhower insisted that news photographers take detailed movies which were released to the whole world. In the interval between the first suppressed report by the Swiss businessman and the liberation of the first camp, six million people had died.

"That's what we call a Bavarian Fire Drill," Simon explained to Joe. (It was another time; he was driving another Volkswagen. In fact, it was the night of April 23 and they were going to meet Tobias Knight at the UN building.) "It was one official named Winifred who'd been transferred from the Justice Department to a key State Department desk where every bit of evidence passed for evaluation. But the same principles apply everywhere. For instance— we're half an hour early for the meeting anyhow—I'll give you an illustration right now." They were approaching the corner of Forty-third Street and Third Avenue and Simon had observed that the streetlight was changing to red. As he stopped the car, he opened the door and said to Joe, "Follow me."

Puzzled, Joe got out as Simon ran to the car behind them, beat on the hood with his hand and shouted "Bavarian Fire Drill! Out!" He made vigorous but ambiguous motions with his hands and ran to the car next back. Joe saw the first subject look dubiously at his companion and then open the door and get out, obediently trailing behind Simon's urgent and somber figure.

"Bavarian Fire Drill! Out!" Simon was already shouting at the third car back.

As Joe trotted along, occasionally adding his own voice to persuade the more dubious drivers, every car gradually emptied and people formed a neat line heading back toward Lexington Avenue. Simon then ducked between two cars and began jogging toward the front of the line at Third Avenue again, shouting to everybody, "Complete circle! Stay in line!" Obediently, everyone followed in a great circle back to their own cars, reentering from the side opposite to that from which they had left. Simon and Joe climbed back into the VW, the light changed, and they sped ahead.

"You see?" Simon asked. "Use words they've been conditioned to since childhood— 'fire drill,' 'stay in line,' like that— and never look back to see if they're obeying. They'll follow. Well, that's the way the Illuminati guaranteed that the Final Solution wouldn't be interrupted. Winifred, one guy who had been around long enough to have an impressive title, and his scrawl 'Evaluation: dubious' on the bottom of each memo . . . and six million died. Hilarious, isn't it?"

And Joe remembered from the little book by Hagbard Celine, Never Whistle While You're Pissing (privately printed, and distributed only to members of the JAMs and the Legion of Dynamic Discord): "The individual act of obedience is the cornerstone not only of the strength of authoritarian society but also of its weakness."

(On November 23, 1970, the body of Stanislaus Oedipuski, forty-six, of West living Park Road, was found floating in the Chicago river. Death, according to the police laboratory, did not result from drowning but from beating about the head and shoulders with a square-ended object. The first inquiries by homicide detectives revealed that Oedipuski had been a member of God's Lightning and the theory was formed that a conflict between the dead man and his former colleagues might have resulted in his being snuffed with their Wooden crosses. Further investigation revealed that Oedipuski had been a construction worker and until very recently well liked on his job, behaving in a normal, down-to-earth manner, bitching about the government, cursing the lazy bums on Welfare, hating niggers, shouting obscene remarks at good-looking dolls who passed construction sites and— when the odds were safely above the 8-to-l level— joining other middle-aged workers in attacking and beating young men with long hair, peace buttons, or other un-American stigmata. Then, about a month before, all that had changed. He began bitching about the bosses as well as the government— almost sounding like a communist at times; when somebody else cussed the crumb-bums on Welfare, Stan remarked thoughtfully, "Well, you know, our union keeps them from getting jobs, fellows, so what else can they do but go on Welfare? Steal?" He even said once, when some of the guys were good-humoredly giving the finger and making other gallant noises and signals toward a passing eighteen-year-old girl, "Hey, you know, that might really be embarrassing and scaring her . . . !" Worse yet, his own hair begun to grow surprisingly long in the back, and his wife told friends that he didn't look at TV much anymore but instead sat in a chair most evenings reading books. The police found that was indeed true, and his small library— gathered in less

than a month— was remarkable indeed, featuring works on astronomy, sociology, Oriental mysticism, Darwin's Origin of the Species, detective novels by Raymond Chandler, Alice in Wonderland, and a college-level text on number theory with the section on primes heavily marked with notes in the margin; the gallant, and now pathetic, tracks of a mind that was beginning to grow after four decades of stagnation, and then had been abruptly stomped. Most mysterious of all was the card found in the dead man's pocket, which although waterlogged, could still be read. One side said

THERE IS NO ENEMY ANYWHERE

and the other side, even more mysteriously, was inscribed:

The police might have tried to decipher this, but then they discovered that Oedipuski had resigned from God's Lightning— giving his fellow members a lecture on tolerance in the process— the night before his death. That closed the case, definitely. Homicide did not investigate murders clearly connected with God's Lightning, since the Red Squad had its own personal accommodation with that burgeoning organization. "Poor motherfucker," a detective said, looking at Oedipuski's photographs; and closed the file forever. Nobody ever reopened it, or traced the change in the dead man back to his attendance at the meeting, one month before, of KCUF at the Sheraton-Chicago, where the punch was spiked with AUM.)

In the act of conception, of course, the father contributes 23 chromosomes and the mother contributes another 23. In the / Ching, hexagram 23 has connotations of "sinking" or "breaking apart," shades of the unfortunate Captain Clarks. . . .

Another woman just came by, collecting for the Mothers March against Muscular Dystrophy. I gave her a quarter. Where was I? Oh, yes: James Joyce had five letters in both his front name and his hind name, so he was worth looking into. A Portrait of the Artist has five chapters, all well and good, but Ulysses has 18 chapters, a stumper, until I remembered that 5 + 18 = 23. How about Finnegans Wake? Alas, that has 17 chapters, and I was bogged down for a while.

Trying another angle, I wondered if Frank Sullivan, the poor cluck who got shot instead of John at the Biograph Theatre that night, could have lingered until after midnight, dying on July 23 instead of July

22 as usually stated. I looked it up in Toland's book, The Dillinger Days. Poor Frank, sad to say, died before midnight, but Toland included an interesting detail, which I told you that night at the Seminary bar:

23 people died of heat prostration that day in Chicago. He added something else: 17 people had died of heat prostration the day before. Why did he mention that? I'm sure he doesn't know— but there it was again, 23 and 17. Maybe something important is going to happen in the year 2317? I couldn't check that, of course (you can't navigate precisely in the Morgensheutegesternwelt), so I went back to 1723, and struck golden apples. That was the year Adam Smith and Adam Weishaupt were both born (and Smith published The Wealth of Nations the same year Weishaupt revived the Illuminati: 1776.)

Well, 2 + 3 = 5, fitting the Law of Fives, but 1+7 = 8, fitting nothing. Where did that leave me? Eight, I reflected, is the number of letters in Kallisti, back to the golden apple again, and 8 is also 23, hot damn. Naturally, it came as no surprise when the 8 defendants in the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, which grew out of our little Convention Week Carnival, were tried on the 23rd floor of the Federal Building, amid a flurry of synchronicity- a Hoffman among the defendants, a Hoffman as judge; the Illuminati pyramid, or Great Seal of the U.S. right inside the door of the building, and a Scale getting worse abuse than the other defendants; five-letter names and proliferating—Abbie, Davis, Foran, Scale, Jerry Rubin (twice), and the clincher, Clark (Ramsey, not Captain) who was torpedoed and sunk by the judge before he could testify.

I got interested in Dutch Shultz because he died on October 23. A cluster of synchronicity, that man: he ordered the shooting of Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll (remember Mad Dog, Texas); Coll was shot on 23rd Street, when he was 23 years old; and Charlie Workman, who allegedly shot Schultz, served 23 years in prison for it (although rumor has it that Mendy Weiss— two five-letter names, again— did the real shooting.) Does 17 come in? You bet Shultz was first sentenced to prison at the age of 17.

Around this time I bought Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, thinking the plot might parallel some Illuminati operations. Imagine how I felt when Chapter Two began, "23 hours and 17 minutes ago, a flying saucer landed in Iowa . . ."

And, in New York, Peter Jackson is trying to get the next issue of Confrontation out on time— although the office is still a shambles, the editor and star researcher have disappeared, the best reporter has gone ape and claims to be at the bottom of the Atlantic with a wax tycoon, and the police are hounding Peter to find out why the first two detectives assigned to the case can't be located. Sitting in his apartment (now the magazine's office) in his shut and shorts, Peter dials his phone with one hand, adding another crushed cigarette to the pile in the ashtray with the other. Throwing a manuscript onto a basket marked "Ready for Printer," he crosses off "lead article— The Youngest Student Ever Admitted to Columbia Tells Why He Dropped Out by L. L. Durrutti" from a list on the pad before him. His pencil moves down to the bottom, "Book Review," as he listens to the phone ring. Finally, he hears the click of a lifted receiver and a rich, flutey voice says, "Epicene Wildeblood here."

"Got your book review ready, Eppy?"

"Have it tomorrow, dear boy. Can't be any faster, honestly!"

'Tomorrow will do," Peter says writing call again—A.M. next to "Book Review."

"It's a dreadfully long monster of a book," Wildeblood says pettishly, "and I certainly won't have time to read it, but I'm giving it a thorough skimming. The authors are utterly incompetent— no sense of style or structure at all. It starts out as a detective story, switches to science-fiction, then goes off into the supernatural, and is full of the most detailed information of dozens of ghastly boring subjects. And the time sequence is all out of order in a very pretentious imitation of Faulkner and Joyce. Worst yet, it has the most raunchy sex scenes, thrown in just to make it sell, I'm sure, and the authors— whom I've never heard of— have the supreme bad taste to introduce real political figures into this mishmash and pretend to be exposing a real conspiracy. You can be sure I won't waste time reading such rubbish, but I'll have a perfectly devastating review ready for you by tomorrow noon."

"Well, we don't expect you to read every book you review," Peter says mollifyingly, "just so long as you can be entertaining about them."

"The Foot Fetishist Liberation Front will be participating in the rally at the UN building," Joe Malik said, as George and Peter and he were affixing their black armbands.

"Christ," Jackson said disgustedly.

"We can't afford to take that attitude," Joe said severely. "The only hope for the Left at this time is coalition politics. We can't exclude anybody who wants to join us."

"I've got nothing against faggots personally," Peter begins ("Gays," Joe says patiently). "I've got nothing against Gays personally," Peter goes on, "but they are a bringdown at rallies. They just give God's Lightning more evidence to say we're all a bunch of fruits. But, OK, realism is realism, there are a lot of them, and they swell our ranks, and all that, but, Jesus, Joe. These toe freaks are a splinter within a splinter. They're microscopic."

"Don't call them toe freaks," Joe says. "They don't like that."

A woman from the Mothers March Against Psoriasis just came by with another collection box. I gave her a quarter, too. The marching mothers are going to strip Moon of his bread if this keeps up.

Where was I? I meant to add, in relation to the Dutch Shultz shooting that Marty Krompier, who ran the policy racket in Harlem, was also shot on October 23, 1935. The police asked him if there was a connection with phlegmatic Flegenheimer's demise and he said, "It's got to be one of them coincidences." I wonder how he emphasized that— "one of them coincidences" or "one of them coincidences"? How much did he know?

That brings me to the 40 enigma. As pointed out, 1 + 7 = 8, the number of letters in Kallisti. 8 x 5 = 40.

More interestingly, without invoking the mystic 5, we still arrive at 40 by adding 17 + 23. What, then, is the significance of 40? I've run through various associations—Jesus had his 40 days in the desert, Ali Baba had his 40 thieves, Buddhists have their 40 meditations, the solar system is almost exactly 40 astronomical units in radius (Pluto yo-yos a bit)—but I have no definite theory yet . . .

The color television set in the Three Lions Pub in the Tudor Hotel at Forty-second Street and Second Avenue shows the white-helmeted men carrying wooden crosses fall back as the blue-helmeted men carrying billy clubs move forward. The CBS camera pans over the plaza. There are five bodies on the ground scattered like flotsam tossed on a beach by a receding wave. Four of them are moving, making slow efforts to get up. The fifth is not moving at all.

George said, "I think that's the guy we saw getting clubbed. My God, I hope he isn't dead."

Joe Malik said, "If he is dead, it may get people to demand that something be done about God's Lightning."

Peter Jackson laughed mirthlessly. "You still think some honky peacenik getting killed is going to make people indignant. Don't you understand, nobody in this country cares what happens to a peace freak. You're in the same boat with the niggers now, you silly sons-of-bitches."

Carlos looked up in astonishment as I burst into the room, still wet from the Passaic, and threw the gun at his feet, screaming, "You silly sons-of-bitches, you can't even make bombs without blowing yourselves up, and when you buy a gun the motherfucker is defective and misfires. You can't expel me—I quit!" You silly sons-of-bitches...

"You silly sons-of-bitches!" Simon shouted. Joe woke as the VW swerved amid a flurry of Hell's Angels bike roaring by. He was back in "real" time again— but the word had quotes around it, in his mind, now, and it always would.

"Wow," he said, "I was in Chicago again, and then at that rock festival . . . and then I was in somebody else's lifeline. . . ."

"Goddam Harley-Davidsons," Simon mutters as the last Angel thunders by. "When fifty or sixty of them swarm by like that, it's as bad as trying to drive on the sidewalk in Times Square at high noon without hitting a pedestrian."

"Later-for-that," Joe said, conscious of his growing ease in using Simon's own language. "This tomorrow-today-yesterday time is beginning to get under my skin. It's happening more and more often. . . ."

Simon sighed, "You want words to put around it. You can't accept it until it has labels dangling off it, like a new suit. OK. And your favorite word-game is science. Fine, right on! Tomorrow we'll drop by the Main Library and you can look up the English science journal Nature for Summer nineteen sixty-six. There's an article in there by the University College physicist F. R. Stannard about what he calls the Faustian Universe. He tells how the behavior of K-mesons can't be explained assuming a one-way time-track, but fits into a neat pattern if you assume our universe overlaps another where time runs in the opposite direction. He calls it the Faustian universe, but I'll bet he has no idea that Goethe wrote Faust after experiencing that universe directly, just as you're doing lately. Incidentally, Stannard points out that everything in physics is symmetrical, except our present concept of one-way time. Once you admit two-way time traffic, you've got a completely symmetrical universe. Fits the Occamite's demand for simplicity. Stannard'll give you lots of words, man. Meanwhile, just settle for what Abdul Alhazred wrote in the Necronomicon: 'Past, present, future: all are one in Yog-Sothoth.' Or what Weishaupt wrote in his Konigen, Kirchen und Dummheit: 'There is but one Eye and it is all eyes; one Mind and it is all minds; one time and it is Now.' Grok?" Joe nods dubiously, faintly hearing the music:

RAMA RAMA RAMA HAAAAARE

Two big rhinoceroses, three big rhinoceroses ...

Dillinger made contact with the mind of Richard Belz, forty-three-year-old professor of physics at Queens College, as Belz was being loaded into an ambulance to be taken to Bellevue Hospital where X rays would reveal severe skull fractures. Shit, Dillinger thought, why does somebody have to be half dead before I can reach him? Then he concentrated on his message: Two universes flowing in opposite directions. Two together form a third entity which is synergetically more than the sum of its two parts. Thus two always leads to three. Two and Three. Duality and trinity. Every unity is a duality and a trinity. A pentagon. Sheer energy, no matter involved. From the pentagon depend five more pentagons, like the petals of a flower. A white rose. Five petals and a center: six. Two times three. The flower interlocks with another flower just like it, forming a polyhedron made of pentagons. Each such polyhedron could have common surfaces with other polyhedrons, forming infinite latticework based on the pentagonal unit. They would be immortal. Self-sustaining. Not computers. Beyond computers. Gods. All space for their habitation. Infinitely complex.

The howl of a siren reached the unconscious ears of Professor Belz. Consciousness is present in the living body, even in one that is apparently unconscious. Unconsciousness is not the absence of consciousness, but its temporary immobility. It is not a state resembling death. It is not like death at all. Once the necessary complexity of brain-cell interconnections is reached, substantial energy relationships are set up. These can exist independently of the material base that brought them into being.

All of this, of course, is merely visual structural metaphor for interactions on the energy level that cannot be visualized. The siren howled.

In the Three Lions pub, George said to Peter, "What was in that water pistol?"

"Sulphuric acid."

"Acid is just the first stage," said Simon. "Like matter is the first stage of life and consciousness. Acid launches you. But once you're out there, if the mission is successful, you jettison the first stage and you're traveling free of gravity. Which means free of matter. Acid dissolves the barriers which prevent the maximum possible complexity of energy relationships from building up in the brain. At Norton Cabal, we'll show you how to pilot the second stage."

(Waving their crosses over their heads and howling incoherently, the men of God's Lightning formed wavering ranks and marched around the territory they had conquered. Zev Hirsch and Frank Ochuk carried the banner that read "LOVE IT OR WE'LL STOMP YOU.")

Howard sang:

The tribes of the porpoise are fearless and strong Our land is the ocean, our banner's a song Our weapon is speed and our noses like rock No foe can withstand our terrible shock.

A cloud of porpoise bodies swam out from somewhere behind Hagbard's submarine. Through the pale blue-green medium which Hagbard's TV cameras made out of water, they seemed to fly toward the distant spiderlike ships of the Illuminati.

"What's happening?" said George. "Where's Howard?"

"Howard is leading them," said Hagbard. He flipped a toggle on the railing of the balcony on which they stood in the center of a globe that looked like a bubble of air at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. "War room, get missiles ready. We may have to back up the porpoise attack."

"Da, tovarish Celine," came a voice.

The porpoises were too far away to be seen now. George discovered that he was not afraid. The whole thing was too much like watching a science-fiction movie. There was too much illusion involved in this submarine of Hagbard's. If he were able to realize, in his glands and nerves, that he was in a vulnerable metal ship thousands of feet below the surface of the Atlantic, under such enormous pressure that the slightest stress could crack the hull and send water bursting in that would crush them to death, then he might be afraid. If he were really able to accept the fact that those little distant globes with waving legs appended to them were undersea craft manned by people who intended to destroy the vessel he was in, then he could be afraid. Actually, if he could not see as much as he was seeing, but only feel and sense things and be told what was happening, as in the average airplane flight, then he would be afraid. As it was, the 120,000-year-old city of Peos looked like a tabletop model. And though he might intellectually accept Hagbard's statement that they were over the lost continent of Atlantis, in his bones he didn't believe in Atlantis. As a result, he didn't believe in any of the rest of this, either.

Suddenly Howard was outside their bubble. Or some other porpoise. That was another thing that made this hard to accept. Talking porpoises.

"Ready for destruction of enemy ships," said Howard.

Hagbard shook his head. "I wish we could communicate with them. I wish I could give them a chance to surrender. But they wouldn't listen. And they have communications systems on their ships that I can't get through to." He turned to George. "They use a type of insulated telepathy to communicate. The very thing that tipped off Sheriff Jim Cartwright that you were in a hotel room in Mad Dog smoking Weishaupt's Wonder Weed."

"You don't want them too close when they go." said Howard.

"Are your people out of the way?" said Hagbard.

(Five big rhinoceroses, six big rhinoceroses...)

"Of course. Quit this hesitating. This is no time to be a humanitarian."

"The sea is crueler than the land," said Hagbard, "sometimes."

"The sea is cleaner than the land," said Howard. "There's no hate. Just death when and as needed. These people have been your enemies for twenty thousand years."

"I'm not that old," said Hagbard, "and I have very few enemies."

"If you wait any longer you'll endanger the submarine and my people."

George looked out at the red and white striped globes which were moving toward them through the blue-green water. They were much larger now and closer. Whatever was propelling them wasn't visible. Hagbard reached out a brown finger, let it rest on a white button on the railing in front of him, then pressed it decisively.

There was a bright flash of light, dimmed slightly by the medium through which it traveled, on the surface of each of the globes. It was like watching fireworks through tinted glasses. Next, the globes crumbled as if they were ping-pong balls being struck by invisible sledge hammers.

'That's all there is to it," said Hagbard quietly.  

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