THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY
THE NINTH TRIP, OR YESOD
For over a week the musicians had been boarding planes and heading for Ingolstadt. As early as April 23, while Simon and Mary Lou listened to Clark Kent and His Supermen and George Dorn wrote about the sound of one eye opening, the Fillet of Soul, finding bookings sparse in London, drove into Ingolstadt in a Volvo painted seventeen Day-Glo colors and flaunting Ken Kesey's old slogan, "Furthur!" On April 24 a real trickle began, and while Harry Coin looked into Hagbard Celine's eyes and saw no mercy there (Buckminster Fuller, just then, was explaining "omnidirectional halo" to his seatmate on a TWA Whisperjet in m-H-Pacific), the Wrathful Visions, the Cockroaches, and the Senate and the People of Rome all drove down Ra-thausplatz in bizarre vehicles, while the Ultra-Violet Hippopotamus and the Thing on the Doorstep both navigated Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse in even more amazing buses. On April 25, while Carmel looted Maldonado's safe and George Dorn repeated "I Am the Robot," the trickle turned to a stream and in came Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Glue Sniffers, King Kong and His Skull Island Dinosaurs, the Howard Johnson Hamburger, the Riot in Cell Block Ten, the House of Frankenstein, the Signifying Monkey, the Damned Thing, the Orange Moose, the Indigo Banana, and the Pink Elephant. On April 26 the stream became a flood, and while Saul and Barney Mul-doon tried to reason with Markoff Chaney and he struggled in their grip, Ingolstadters found themselves inundated by Frodo Baggins and His Ring, the Mouse That Roars, the Crew of the Flying Saucer, the Magnificent Ambersons, the House I Live In, the Sound of One Hand, the Territorial Imperative, the Druids of Stonehenge, the Heads of Easter Island, the Lost Continent of Mu, Bugs Bunny and His Fourteen Carrots, the Gospel According to Marx, the Card-Carrying Members, the Sands of Mars, the Erection, the Association, the Amalgamation, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the Climax, the Broad Jumpers, the Pubic Heirs, the Freeks, and the Windows. Mick Jagger and his new group, the Trashers, arrived on April 27, while the FBI was interviewing every whore in Las Vegas, and there quickly followed the Roofs, Moses and Monotheism, Steppenwolf, Civilization and Its Discontents, Poor Richard and His Rosicrucian Secrets, the Wrist Watch, the Nova Express, the Father of Waters, the Human Beings, the Washington Monument, the Thalidomide Babies, the Strangers in a Strange Land, Dr. John the Night Tripper, Joan Baez, the Dead Man's Hand, Joker and the One-Eyed Jacks, Peyote Woman, the Heavenly Blues, the Golems, the Supreme Awakening, the Seven Types of Ambiguity, the Cold War, the Street Fighters, the Bank Burners, the Slaves of Satan, the Domino Theory, and Maxwell and His Demons. On April 28, while Dillinger loaded his gun and the kachinas of Orabi began the drum-beating, the Acapulco Gold-Diggers arrived, followed by the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Dracula and His Brides, the Iron Curtain, the Noisy Minority, the International Debt, Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, the Cloud of Unknowing, the Birth of a Nation, the Zombies, Attila and His Huns, Nihilism, the Catatonics. the Thorndale Jag Offs, the Haymarket Bomb, the Head of a Dead Cat, the Shadow Out of Time, the Sirens of Titan, the Player Piano, the Streets of Laredo, the Space Odyssey, the Blue Moonies, the Crabs, the Dose, the Grassy Knoll, the Latent Image, the Wheel of Karma, the Communion of Saints, the City of God, General Indefinite Wobble, the Left-Handed Monkey Wrench, the Thorn in the Flesh, the Rising Podge, SHA-ZAM, the Miniature Sled, the 23rd Appendix, the Other Cheek, the Occidental Ox, Ms. and the Chairperson, Cohen Cohen Cohen and Kahn, and the Joint Phenomenon.
On April 29, while Danny Pricefixer listened raptly to Mama Sutra, the deluge descended upon Igolstadt: Buses, trucks, station wagons, special trains, and every manner of transport except dog sleds, brought in the Wonders of the Invisible World, Maule's Curse, the Jesus Head Trip, Ahab and His Amputation, the Horseless Headsmen, the Leaves of Grass, the Gettysburg Address, the Rosy-Fingered Dawn, the Wine-Dark Sea, Nirvana, the Net of Jewels, Here Comes Everybody, the Pisan Cantos, the Snows of Yesteryear, the Pink Dimension, the Goose in the Bottle, the Incredible Hulk, the Third Bardo, Aversion Therapy, the Irresistible Force, MC Squared, the Enclosure Acts, Perpetual Emotion, the 99-Year Lease, the Immovable Object, Spaceship Earth, the Radiocarbon Method, the Rebel Yell, the Clenched Fist, the Doomsday Machine, the Rand Scenario, the United States Commitment, the Entwives, the. Players of Null-A, the Prelude to Space, Thunder and Roses, Armageddon, the Time Machine, the Mason' Word, the Monkey Business, the Works, the Eight of Swords, Gorilla Warfare, the Box Lunch, the Primate Kingdom, the New Aeon, the Enola Gay, the Octet Truss, the Stochastic Process, the Fluxions, the Burning House, the Phantom Captain, the Decline of the West, the Duelists, the Call of the Wild, Consciousness III, the Reorganized Church of the Latter-Day Saints, Standard Oil of Ohio, the Zig-Zag Men, the Rubble Risers, the Children of Ra, TNT, Acceptable Radiation, the Pollution Level, the Great Beast, the Whores of Babylon, the Waste Land, the Ugly Truth, the Final Diagnosis, Solution Unsatisfactory, the Heat Death of the Universe, Mere Noise, I Opening, the Nine Unknown Men, the Horse of Another Color, the Falling Rock Zone, the Ascent of the Serpent, Reddy Willing and Unable, the Civic Monster, Hercules and the Tortoise, the Middle Pillar, the Deleted Expletive, Deep Quote, LuCiFeR, the Dog Star, Nuthin' Sirius, and Preparation H.
(But, on April 23, while Joe Malik and Tobias Knight were setting the bomb in Confrontation's office, the Dealy Lama broadcast a telepathic message to Hagbard Celine saying It's not too late to turn back and Joe hesitated a moment, blurting finally, "Can we be sure? Can we be really sure?" Tobias Knight raised weary eyes. "We can't be sure of anything," he said simply. "Celine has popped up at banquets and other social occasions where Drake was present five times now, and each conversation eventually got around to the puppet metaphor and Celine's favorite bit about the unconscious saboteur in everybody. What else can we assume?" He set the timer for 2:30 A.M. and then met Joe's eyes again. "I wish I could have given George a few more hints," Joe said lamely. "You gave him too damned many hints as it is," Knight replied, closing the bomb casing.)
On April 1, while God's lightning paraded about UN Plaza and Captain Tequila y Mota was led before a firing squad, John Dillinger arose from his cramped lotus position and stopped broadcasting the mathematics of magic. He stretched, shook all over like a dog, and proceeded down the tunnel under the UN building to Alligator Control. OTO yoga was always a strain, and he was glad to abandon it and return to more mundane matters.
A guard stopped him at the AC door, and John handed over his plastic eye-and-pyramid card. The guard, a surly-looking woman whose picture John had seen in the newspapers as a leader of the Radical Lesbians, fed the card into a wall slot; it came out again almost at once, and a green light flashed.
"Pass," she said. "Heute die Welt."
"Morgens das Sonnensystem," John replied. He entered the beige plastic underworld of Alligator Control, and walked through geodesic corridors until he came to the door marked MONOTONY MONITOR. After he inserted his card in the appropriate slot, another green light blinked and the door opened.
Taffy Rheingold, wearing a mini-skirt and still pert and attractive despite her years and gray hair, looked up from her typing. She sat behind a beige plastic desk that matched the beige plastic of the entire Alligator Control headquarters. A broad smile spread across her face when she recognized him.
"John," she said happily. "What brings you here?"
"Gotta see your boss," he answered, "but before you buzz him, do you know you're in another book?"
"The new Edison Yerby novel?" She shrugged philosophically. "Not quite as bad as what Atlanta Hope did to me in Telemachus Sneezed."
"Yeah, I suppose, but how did this guy find out so much? Some of those scenes are absolutely true. Is he in the Order?" John demanded.
"A mind leak," Taffy said. "You know how it is with writers. One of the Illuminati Magi scanned Yerby and he thought he had invented all of it. Not a clue. The same kind of leak we had when Condon wrote The Manchurian Candidate." She shrugged. "It just happens sometimes."
"I suppose," John said absently. "Well, tell your boss I'm here."
In a minute he was in the inner office, being effusively greeted by the old man in the wheelchair. "John, John, it's so good to see you again," said the crooning voice that had hypnotized millions; otherwise, it was hard, in this aged figure, to recognize the once handsome and dynamic Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
"How did you get stuck with a job like this?" Dillinger asked finally, after the amenities had been exchanged.
"You know how it is with the new gang in Agharti," Roosevelt murmured. " 'New blood, new blood'— that's their battle cry. All of us old and faithful servants are being pushed into minor bureaucratic positions."
"I remember your funeral," John said wistfully. "I was envious, thinking of you going to Agharti and working directly with the Five. And now it's come to this . . . Monotony Monitor in Alligator Control. Sometimes I get pissed with the Order."
"Careful," Roosevelt said. "They might be scanning. And a double agent, such as you are, John, is always under special surveillance. Besides, this isn't really so bad, considering how they reacted in Agharti when the Pearl Harbor revelations started coming out in the late forties. I did not handle that matter too elegantly, you know, and they had a right to demote me. And Alligator Control is interesting." "Maybe," John said dubiously. "I never have understood this project"
"It's very significant work," Roosevelt said seriously. "New York and Chicago are our major experiments in testing the mehum tolerance level. In Chicago we concentrate on mere ugliness and brutality, but in New York we're simultaneously carrying on a long-range boredom study. That's where Alligator Control comes in. We've got to keep the alligators in the sewers down to a minimum so the Bureau of Sanitation doesn't reactivate their own Alligator Control Project, which would be an opportunity for adventure and a certain natural mehum hunting-band mystique among some of the young males. It's the same reason we took out the trolley cars: Riding them was more fun than buses. Believe me, Monotony Monitoring is a very important part of the New York project"
"I've seen the mental-health figures," John said, nodding. "About seventy percent of the people in the most congested part of Manhattan are already prepsychotic."
"We'll have it up to eighty percent by 1980!" Roosevelt cried, with some of his old steely-eyed determination. But then he fixed a joint in his ivory holder and, clenching it at his famous jaunty angle, added, "And we're immune, thanks to Sabbah's Elixir." He quoted cheerfully: " 'Grass does more than Miltpwn can/ To justify God's ways to man.' But what does bring you here, John?"
"A 'small job,' " Dillinger said. "There's a man in my organization named Malik who is getting a little too close to the secret of the whole game. I need some help here in New York to set him off on a snark hunt until after May first I'd like to know who you've got on your staff closest to him."
"Malik," Roosevelt said thoughtfully. "That would be the Malik of Confrontation magazine?" John nodded, and Roosevelt sat back in his wheelchair, smiling. "This is a lead-pipe cinch. We've got an agent in his office."
(But neither of them realized that ten days later a dolphin swimming through the rums of Atlantis would discover that no Dragon Star had ever fallen. Nor could they have guessed how Hagbard Celine would reevaluate Illuminati history when that revelation was reported to him, and they had no clue of the decision he would then make, which would change everybody's conspiracies shockingly and unexpectedly.)
"Here are the five alternate histories," Gruad said, his wise old eyes crinkling humorously. "Each of you will be responsible for planting the evidence to make one ot these histories seem fairly credible. Wo Topod, you get the Carcosa story. Evoe, you get the lost continent of Mu." He handed out two bulky envelopes. "Gao Twone, you get this charming snake story—I want variations of it scattered throughout Africa and the Near East." He handed out another envelope. "Unica, you get the Urantia story, but that one isn't to be released until fairly late in the Game." He picked up the fifth envelope and smiled again. "Kajeci, my love, you get the Atlantis story, with certain changes that make us out to be the most double-dyed bastards in all history. Let me explain the purpose behind that ..."
And in 1974 the four members of the American Medical Association gazed somberly down at Joe Malik from his office wall. It looked to be a long day, and there was nothing to anticipate as exciting as last night had been. There was a thick manuscript in a manila envelope in the IN box; he noticed that the stamps had been removed. That was doubtless Pat Walsh's work; her kid brother was a stamp collector. Joe smiled, remembering the diary he'd kept when he was a teen-ager. In case his parents found it, he always referred to masturbation as stamp collecting. "Collected five stamps today— a new record." "After five days of no stamps, collected a beauty in several colors. Enormous, but the negotiations were tiring." Doubtless today's kids, if they kept diaries (they probably used casette tape recorders), either talked openly about it or considered it too incidental to mention. Joe shook his head. The Catholic teen-ager he had been in 1946 was no more remote than the crumbling liberal he'd been in 1968. And yet, in spite of all he'd been through, much of the time he felt that all of the knowledge didn't make a difference. People like Pat and Peter still treated him as if he were the same man, and he still did the same job in the same way.
He took the heavy manuscript out and shook the envelope. Damn it, there was no return envelope. Well, working at a magazine like Confrontation, whose contributors were mostly radicals and the kind of kooks who were willing to write for no bread, you didn't really expect them to enclose stamped self-addressed envelopes. There was a covering letter. Joe sucked in his breath when he saw the golden apple embossed in the upper left-hand corner.
(Down the hall in the lady's room, bolting the door for privacy, Pat Walsh takes her transistorized transmitter from her pantyhose and broadcasts to the receiver at the Council on Foreign Relations headquarters half a block east "I'm still writing lots of Illuminati research papers, and they'll give him plenty of false leads. The big news today is an article on Erisian economics by a Fernando Poo national. It came with a covering letter signed 'Mal,' and from the context, I feel fairly certain it's the original— Malaclypse the Elder himself. If not, at last we've got a lead on that damned elusive Malaclypse the Younger. The envelope was postmarked Mad Dog, Texas . . .")
Joe put down Mal's letter, trying to remember the obscure references to Fernando Poo before the movie last night. Someone had said something was going to happen there. Maybe he should get a stringer on the island, or even send somebody over. A malicious grin crossed his face: It might be interesting to send Peter. First some AUM, then a trip to Fernando Poo. That might fix Peter up.
Joe flipped through the Loberigula manuscript quickly, scanning. There were no fnords. That was a relief. He had become painfully conscious of them since Hagbard had removed the aversion reflex, and each fnord had sent a pang through him that was a ghost of the low-grade emergency in which he had previously lived. He turned back to the first page and began to read in earnest:
Joe stopped. That sentence had been used in the Black Mass in Chicago and further back, he knew, it was the code of the Abbey of Theleme in Rabelais; but there was something else about it that chewed at his consciousness, something that suggested a hidden meaning. This was not just a first axiom of anarchism—there was something else there, something more hermetic. He looked back at Mal's letter: "Remember what I told you about the goose in the bottle."
That was a simple riddle used by Zen Masters in the training of monks, Joe remembered. You take a newborn gosling and slip it through the neck of a bottle. Month after month you keep it in there and feed it, until it is a full-grown goose and can no longer be passed through the bottle's neck. The question is: Without breaking the bottle, how do you get the goose out?
Neither riddle seemed to shed much light on the other.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
How do you get the goose out of the bottle?
"Holy God." Joe laughed. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
The goose gets out of the bottle the same way John Dillinger got out of the "escape-proof" Crown Point jail.
"Jesus motherfucking Christ," Joe gasped. "It's alive!"
JUST LIKE A TREE THAT'S STANDING BY THE WAAATER WE SHALL NOT WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED
The only place where all five Illuminati Primi met was the Great Hall of Gruad in Agharti, the thirty-thousand-year-old Illuminati center on the peaks of the Tibetan Himalayas, with a lower-level water front harbor on the vast underground Sea of Valusia.
"We will report in the usual order," said Brother Gracchus Gruad, pressing a button in the table before him so his words would automatically be recorded on impervium wire for the Illuminati archives. "First of all, Fernando Poo. Jorge Lobengula, having decided that the combined resources of Fernando Poo and Rio Muni can be reallocated so as to increase the per-capita wealth of citizens of both provinces, has accordingly broken with the Fernando Poo separatists and returned to Rio Muni, where he hopes to persuade Fang leaders to go along with his schemes for economic redevelopment. Our plans now center on a Captain Ernesto Tequila y Mota, one of the few Caucasians left on Fernando Poo. He has good contacts among the wealthier Bubi, the ones who favor separatism, and he is inordinately ambitious. I don't think we need contemplate a change in timetable."
"I should hope not," said Brother Marcus Marconi. "It would be such a shame not to immanentize the Eschaton on May first"
"Well, we can't count on May first," said Brother Gracchus Gruad. "But with three distinct plans pointing in that direction, one of them is bound to hit. Let's hear from you, Brother Marcus."
"Charles Mocenigo has now reached Anthrax Leprosy Mu. A few more nightmares at the right moment and he'll be home."
Sister Theda Theodora spoke next. "Atlanta Hope and God's Lighting are becoming more powerful all the time. The President will be scared shitless of her when the time comes, and he'll be ready to be even more totalitarian than her, just to keep her from taking over."
"I don't trust Drake," said Brother Marcus Marconi.
"Of course," said Brother Gracchus Gruad. "But he has builded his house by the sea."
"And he who builds by the sea builds on sand," said Brother Otto Ogatai. "My turn. Our record, Give, Sympathize, Control, is an international hit. Our next tour of Europe should be an extraordinary success. Then we can begin, very slowly and tentatively, negotiations for the Wal-purgisnacht festival. Anyone who tries to develop the idea prematurely, of course, will have to be deflected."
"Or liquidated," said Brother Gracchus Gruad. He looked down the long table at the man who sat by himself at the far end. "Now you. You've been silent all this time. What do you have to say?"
The man laughed. "A few words from the skeleton at the feast, eh?" This was the fifth and most formidable Illuminatus Primus, Brother Henry Hastur, the only one who would have the gall to name himself after a lloigor.
"It is written," he said, "that the universe is a practical joke by the general at the expense of the particular. Do not be too quick to laugh or weep, if you believe this saying. All I can say is, there is a serious threat in being to all your plans. I warn you. You have been warned. You may all die. Are you afraid of death? You need not answer— I see that you are. That in itself may be a mistake. I have tried to explain to you about not fearing death, but you will not listen. All your other problems follow from that."
The other four Illuminati Primi listened in cold, disdainful silence and did not reply.
"If all are One," the fifth Illuminatus added significantly, "all violence is masochism."
"If all are One," Brother Otto replied nastily,'"all sex-is masturbation. Let's have no more mehum metaphysics here."
Then George was here, with Celine, in Ingolstadt. This was going to be tricky. George's head was bent over an earthenware stein, doubtless full of the local brew.
"George!" Joe called again. George looked up, and Joe was astonished. He had never seen George like this before. George shook his shoulder-length blond hair to clear it away from his face, and Joe looked deep into his eyes.
They were strange eyes, eves without fear or pity or guilt, eyes that acknowledged that the natural state of man was one of perpetual surprise, and therefore could not be greatly surprised by any one thing, even the unexpected appearance of Joe Malik. What has Celine done to him in the past seven days? Joe wondered. Has he destroyed his mind or has he—illuminated him?
Actually, it was George's tenth stein of beer that day, and he was very, very drunk.
(Civil liberties were suspended and a state of national emergency declared during a special presidential broadcast on all channels between noon and 12:30 on April 30. Fifteen minutes later the first rioting started in New York, at the Port Authority on Forty-first Street, where a mob attempted to overrun the police and steal buses in which to escape to Canada. It was 6:45 P.M. just then in Ingolstadt, and Count Dracula and His Brides were giving forth a raga-rock version of an old Walt Disney cartoon song . . . And in Los Angeles, where it was 9:45 A.M., a five-person Morituri group, hurriedly convened, decided to use up all its bombs against police stations immediately. "Cripple the motherfucker before it's heavy," said their leader, a sixteen-year-old girl with braces on her teeth . . . Her idiom, in standard English, meant: "Paralyze the fascist state before it's entrenched" . . . and Saul, trusting the pole-vaulter in the unconscious, was leading Barney and Markoff Chaney into the mouth of Lehman Cavern . . . Carmel, nearly a kilometer south of them, and several hundred feet closer to the center of the earth, still clutched his briefcase and its five million green gods, but he did not move . . . Near him were the bones of a dozen bats he had eaten . . .)
TO BE A BAT'S A BUM THING
Joe Malik, hit by the raga rock as if by an avalanche of separate notes which were each boulders, felt his body dissolve. Count Dracula wailed it again (YOU'RE NOT A THING AT ALL), and Joe felt mind crumble along with body and could find no center, no still point in the waves of sound and energy; the fucking acid was Hagbard's ally and had turned against him, he was dying; even the words "Hey that cat's on a bummer" came from far away, and his effort to determine if they really meant him collapsed into an effort to remember what the words were, which imploded into an uncertainty about what effort he was trying to make, mental or physical, and why. "Because," he cried out, "because, because—" . . . but "because" meant nothing.
YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A NOTHING NOTHING BUT A NOTHING
"But I can't take acid now," George had protested. "I'm so damned drunk on this Bavarian beer, it's sure to be a down trip."
"Everybody takes acid," Hagbard said coldly. "Those are Miss Portinari's orders, and she's right. We can only face this thing if our minds are completely open to the Outside."
"Hey, dig," Clark Kent said. "That French cat eating the popsicle."
"Yeah?" said one of the Supermen.
"It's Jean-Paul Sartre. Who'd ever expect to see him here?" Kent shook his head. "Hope to hell he stays long enough to hear our gig. Sheee-it, the influence that man has had on me! He should hear it come back at him in music."
"That's your trip, baby," a second Superman said. "I don't give a fuck what any motherfuckin' honky thinks about our music."
YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A NOTHING
"Mick Jagger hasn't even played 'Sympathy for the Devil' yet and already the trouble has started," an English voice drawled . . . Attila and His Huns were trying to do acute bodily damage to the Senate and the People of Rome . . . Both groups were speeding, and they had gotten into a very intellectual discussion of the meaning of one of Dylan's lyrics ... A Hun bopped a Roman with a beer stein as another voice mumbled something about Tyl Eulenspiegel's merry pranks.
YOU'RE NOT A THING AT ALL
Joe had always had the policy at Confrontation that real screwballs should be sent to him for interviewing, but the little fat man who came in didn't seem particularly crazy. He just had the bland, regular, somewhat smallish features of a typical WASP.
"The name is James Cash Cartwright," the fat man said, holding out his hand, "and the subject is consciousness energy."
"The subject of what?"
"Oh— this here article I have written for you." Cartwright reached into his alligator briefcase and pulled out a thick sheaf of typewritten paper. It was an odd size, possibly eight by ten. He handed the manuscript to Joe. "What kind of paper is this?" said Joe. "It's the standard size in England," said Cartwright. "When I was over there in 1963 visiting the tombs of my ancestors, I bought ten reams of it. I took the plane from Dallas on November 22, the day Kennedy was shot. Synchronicity. Also, I sneezed the moment the gunman squeezed. More synchronicity. But about this paper, I've never used anything else for my writing since then. Kind of gives a man a nice feeling to know that all the trees that went into my paper were chopped down over ten years ago, and no trees have died since then to support the proliferation of Jim Cartwright's philosophical foliage."
"That certainly is a wonderful thing," said Joe, thinking how much he loathed ecological moralists. During the height of the ecology fad, back in 1970 and '71, several people actually had had the nerve to write Joe saying that ecologically responsible journals like Confrontation had a duty to cease publication in order to save trees. "Just what fruit have your philosophical researches borne, Mr. Cartwright?" he asked.
"Golden apples of the sun, silver apples of the moon," said Cartwright with a smile. Joe saw Lilith Velkor defying Gruad atop the Pyramid of the Eye.
"Well, sir," said Cartwright, "my basic finding is that life energy pervades the entire universe, just as light and gravity do. Therefore, all life is one, just as all light is one. All energies, you see, are broadcast from a central source, yet to be found. If four amino acids—adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine—suddenly become life when you throw them together, then all chemicals are potentially alive. You and me and the fish and bugs are that kind of life made from adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine: DNA life. What we call dead matter is another kind of life: non-DNA-life. Okay so far? If awareness is life and if life is one, then the awareness of the individual is just one of the universe's sensory organs. The universe produces beings like us in order to perceive itself. You might think of it as a giant, self-contained eye."
Joe remained impassive.
Cartwright went on. "Consciousness is therefore also manifested as telepathy, clairvoyance, and telekinesis. Those phenomena are simply non-localized versions of consciousness. I'm very interested in telepathy, and I've had a lot of success with telepathic research. These cases of communication are just further evidence that consciousness is a seamless web throughout the universe."
"Now wait a minute," said Joe. "Automobiles run on mechanical energy, heat energy, and electrical energy, but that doesn't mean that all the automobiles in the world are in contact with each other."
"What burns?" said Cartwright, smiling.
"You mean in a car? Well, the gas ignites explosively in the cylinder—"
"Only organic matter burns," said Cartwright smugly. "And all organic matter is descended from a single cell. All fire is one. And all automobiles do communicate with each other. You can't tell me anything about gas or oil. Or cars. I'm a Texan. Did I tell you that?"
Joe shook his head. "Just what part of Texas are you from?"
"Little place called Mad Dog."
"Had a notion you might be. Tell me, Mr. Cartwright, do you know anything about a conspiratorial organization called the Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria?"
"Well, I know three organizations that have similar names: the Ancient Bavarian Conspiracy, the New Bavarian Conspiracy, and the Conservative Bavarian Seers."
Joe nodded. Cartwright didn't seem to have the facts straight— as Joe knew them. Perhaps the fat man had other pieces of the puzzle, perhaps fewer pieces than Joe had. Still, if they were different, they might be useful.
"Each of these organizations controls one of the major TV networks in the U.S.," said Cartwright. "The initials of each network have been intentionally chosen to refer back to the name of the group that runs it. They also control all the big magazines and newspapers. That's why I came to you. Judging by the stuff you've been getting away with printing lately, not only do the Illuminati not control your magazine, but you seem to have the benefit of some pretty powerful protection."
"So, there are three separate Illuminati groups, and among them they dominate all the communications media— is that correct?" said Joe.
"That's right," said Cartwright, his face as cheerful as if he were explaining how his wife made ice cream with a hand freezer. "They dominate the motion-picture industry too. They took a hand in the making of hundreds of movies, the best known of which are Gunga Din and Citizen Kane. Those two movies are especially full of Illuminati references, symbols, code messages, and subliminal propaganda. 'Rosebud,' for instance, is their code name for the oldest Illuminati symbol, the so-called Rosy Cross. You know what that means." He snickered lewdly.
Joe nodded. "So— you know about 'flowery combat.'"
Cartwright shrugged. "Who doesn't? Dr. Horace Naismith, a learned friend of mine, and head of the John Dillinger Died for You Society, has written an analysis of Gunga Din, pointing out the real meaning of the thuggee, the evil goddess Kali, the pit full of serpents, the elephant medicine, the blowing of the bugle from the top of the temple, and so forth. Gunga Din celebrates the imposition of law and order in an area terrorized by the criminal followers of a goddess who breeds evil and chaos. The thuggee are a caricature of the Discordians, and the English represent the Illuminati's view of themselves. The Illuminati love that movie."
"Sometimes I wonder if we're not all working for them, one way or another," said Joe, trying deliberately to be ambivalent to see which way Cartwright would move.
"Well, sure we are," said Cartwright. "Everything we do that contributes to a lack of harmony in the human race helps them. They are forever shaking up society with experiments involving suffering and death for large numbers of people. For instance, consider the General Slocum disaster on June 15, 1904. Note that 19 plus 04 equals 23, by the way."
Him too? Joe groaned mentally. He's got to be either one of us or one of them, and if he's one of them, why is he telling me so much?
"You tell me," Cartwright said, "if all consciousness is not one, just how did Joyce happen to pick the very next day for Ulysses, so the General Slocum disaster would be in the newspaper his characters read? You see, Joyce knew he was a genius, but he never did understand the nature of genius, which is to be in better touch with the universal consciousness than the average man is. Anyway, the Illuminati were trying, with the General Slocum disaster, a new, more economical technique for achieving transcendental illumination—one that would require only a few hundred sudden deaths instead of thousands. Not that they care about saving lives, you understand, though the desire might result from the return of the repressed original purpose of the Illuminati, which was benign."
"Really?" said Joe. "What was the benign purpose?"
"The preservation of human knowledge after the natural catastrophe that destroyed the continent of Atlantis and the first human civilization, thirty thousand years ago," said Cartwright.
"Yes. A solar flare that erupted just when Atlantis was turned toward the sun. The original Illuminati were scientists who predicted the solar flare but were scoffed at by their fellows, so they fled by themselves. The benevolence of those early Illuminati was replaced by elitist attitudes id their successors, but the benign purpose keeps coming back in the form of factions which arise among the Illuminati and split off. The factions preserve traditional Illuminati secrecy, but they aim to thwart the destructiveness of the parent body. The Justified Ancients of Mummu were expelled from the Illuminati back in 1888. But the oldest anti-Illuminati conspiracy is the Erisian Liberation Front, which splintered off before the beginnings of the current civilization. Then there's the Discordian Movement— another splinter faction, but they're almost as bad as the Illuminati. They're sort of like a cross between followers of Ayn Rand and Scientologists. They've got this guy named Hagbard Celine, their head honcho. You didn't read about it because the governments of the world were too scared shitless to do anything about it, but five years ago this Celine character infiltrated the nuclear-submarine service of the U.S. Navy for the Illuminati—and stole a sub. He's a supersalesman, Celine is— he could talk old H. L. Hunt right out of half his oil wells. He was a Chief Petty Officer. First he converted about half the crew with the most incredible line of bullshit you've heard since Tim Leary was in his prime. Then he put some kind of drug in the ship's air supply, and while they were under the influence he converted most of the others. The ones that were stubborn he just blew out through the torpedo tubes. Nice guy. Now, mind you, this sub was armed with Polaris missiles. So the next thing Ce-line does is get himself off to someplace in the ocean where they can't find him and blackmail the fucking governments of the U.S., the U.S.S.R., and Red China to each give him ten million dollars in gold, and after he gets the thirty million he will scuttle his missiles. Otherwise he will dump 'em on a city of one of those three countries."
"Was Celine still working for the Illuminati at that point?"
"Hell, no!" Cartwright snorted. "That's not how they play the game. They like to operate stealthily, behind the throne-room curtains. They work with poison and daggers and things, not H-bombs. No, Celine told the Illuminati to go fuck themselves, and there was nothing they could do but grind their teeth. He's been operating like a pirate ever since. And I'll tell you something else. There's more than one world leader, including the Illuminati leaders, that hasn't been able to sleep at night because of what else Hagbard Celine has on that submarine."
"What's that, Mr. Cartwright?"
"Well, see, the U.S. Government did a very dumb thing. They weren't satisfied to have just nuclear weapons aboard their Polaris submarines for a while. They also thought the subs should be armed with the other kind of weapon— bugs."
Joe felt himself go cold, and the back of his neck prickled. Let others worry about the nuclear devastation all they want. Disease— the extinction of the human race through the spread of some manmade plague for which man would have no remedy— was his particular nightmare. Maybe because at the age of seven he'd very nearly died of polio; though he'd been healthy ever since, the fear of fatal illness had been impossible to shake.
"This Hagbard Celine— these Discordians— have a bacteriological weapon aboard the submarine?"
"Yeah. Something called Anthrax Tau. All Celine has to do is release it in the water and within a week the whole human race would be dead. It spreads faster'n a two-dollar whore on Saturday night. Any living thing can carry it. But one nice thing about it— it's fatal only to man. If Celine ever gets crazy enough to use it— and he's pretty crazy these days, and getting worse all the time— it'll give the planet a fresh start, so to speak. Some other life form could evolve into sentience. Now, if we have a nuclear war, or if we pollute the planet to death, there won't be any life left worth talking about. Might be the best thing that ever happened if Hagbard Celine shot that Anthrax Tau down the tube. It would sure prevent worse things from happening."
"If there were no one left alive," said Joe, "from whose point of view would it be the best thing that ever happened?"
"Life's," said Cartwright. "I told you, all life is one. Which gets me back to my manuscript. I'll just leave it with you. I realize it's much longer than what you usually publish, so feel free to excerpt from it as you please, and to pay me at your usual rates for whatever you publish."
That evening Joe stayed till nine at his office. He was, as usual, a day late getting copy to the typesetter on his editorial column and the letters column. These were two parts of the magazine that he felt only he could do right, and he refused to delegate either job to Peter or anyone else on the staff. First he ran the letters through his typewriter, shortening and pointing them up, then adding brief editorial answers where called for. After that he put aside his notes and research for the editorial he'd planned for this August issue, and instead he wrote an impassioned plea that each reader make himself personally responsible for doing something about the menace of bacteriological warfare. Even if what Cartwright had told him was a crock, it reminded him of his long-held conviction that germ warfare was far more likely to put the quietus to the human race than nuclear weapons. It was just too easy to unleash. He envisioned Hagbard in his submarine spewing the microbes of all-destroying plague out into the seas, and he shuddered.
His briefcase weighed down by Cartwright's manuscript, which he'd decided to take home with him, he stood in the lobby of his office building, gazing gloomily at the tanks full of tropical fish in the window of the pet store. One tank had, as an ornament, a china model of a sunken pirate ship. It made Joe think again of Hagbard Celine. Did he trust Hagbard or didn't he? Was it possible to really believe in a Hagbard with the Captain Nemo psychosis, brooding over tubes and jars full of bacteria cultures, one hairy finger hovering tentatively over a button that would send a torpedo full of Anthrax Tau germs out into the inky waters of the Atlantic? Within a week all humans would die, Cartright had said. And it was hard to think that Cartwright was lying, since he knew so much about so many other things.
When Joe got home he put on his favorite Museum of National History record, The Language and Music of the Wolves, and lit up a joint He liked listening to the wolves when he was high, and trying to understand their language. Then he took Cartwright's manuscript out of his briefcase and looked at the title page. It didn't say a word about consciousness energy, indeed, it referred to a subject Joe found much more interesting:
"Well," said Joe, "I'll be fucked."
"It was quite a trip," said Hagbard Celine.
"You're quite a tripper," Miss Portinari replied. "You really did Harry Coin very well. Probably just the way he'll do it, when he gets up the nerve to come see me."
"It was simpler than doing my own trip," Hagbard said wearily. "My guilt is much deeper, because I know more. It was easier to take his guilt trip than to take my own."
"And it's over? Your fur no longer bristles?"
"I know who I am and why I'm here. Adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine."
"How did you ever forget?"
Hagbard grinned. "It's easy to forget. You know that"
She smiled back. "Blessed be, Captain."
"Blessed be," he said.
Returning to his stateroom, he was still subdued. The vision of the self-begotten and the serpent eating its own tail had broken the lines of word, image, and emotional energy that were steering him toward the Dark Night of the Soul again— but resolving his personal problem did not rescue the Demonstration or help him cope with the oncoming disaster. It merely freed him to begin anew. It merely reminded him that the end is the beginning and humility is endless.
It merely, merrily, turned the Wheel another Tarot-towery connection ...
He realized he was still tripping a little. That was readily fixed: Harry Coin was tripping, and he wasn't Harry Coin right now.
Hagbard, remembering again who he was and why he was there, opened his stateroom door. Joe Malik sat in a chair, under an octopus mural, and regarded him with a level glance.
"Who killed John Kennedy?" Joe asked calmly. "I want a straight answer this time, H.C."
Hagbard relaxed into another chair, smiling gently. "That one finally registered, eh? I told John, all those years ago, to emphasize that you should never trust anyone with the initials H.C., and yet you've gone on trusting me and never noticing."
"I noticed. But it seemed too wild to take seriously."
"John Kennedy was killed by a man named Harold Canvera who lived on Fullerton Avenue in Chicago, near the Seminary Restaurant, where you and Simon first discussed his theories of numerology. Dillinger had moved back to that neighborhood for a while in the late fifties, because he liked to go to the Biograph Theatre for old times' sake, and Canvera was his landlord. A very sane, ordinary, rather, dull individual. Then, in Dallas in 1963, John saw him blow the President's head off before Oswald or Harry Coin or the Mafia gun could fire." Hagbard paused to light a cigar. "We investigated Canvera afterward, like scientists investigating the first extraterrestrial life form. You can imagine how thorough we were. He had no politics at all at the time, which puzzled the hell out of us. It turned out that Canvera had put a lot of money into Blue Sky; Inc., a firm that made devices for landing on low-gravity planets. That was back in the very early fifties. Finally, Elsenhower's hostility to the space program drove Blue Sky to the bottom off the board, and Canvera sold out at a terrible loss. Then Kennedy came in and announced that the U.S. was going toi put a man on the moon. The stocks he'd sold were suddenly worth millions. Canvera's brain snapped— that was all. Killing Kennedy and getting away with it turned him schizzy; finally. He went for spiritualism for a while, and then later joined White Heroes Opposing Red Extremism, one the really paranoid anti-Illuminati groups, and ran a telephone message service giving WHORE propaganda."
"And nobody else ever suspected?" Joe asked. "Canvera is still there in Chicago, going about his business, just another face on the street?"
"Not quite. He was shot a few years ago. Due to you."
"Due to me?"
"Yes. He was one of the subjects in the first AUM test. He subsequently made the mistake of knocking up the daughter of a local politician. It appears that the AUM made him susceptible to libertine ideas."
WE'RE GONNA ROCK ROCK ROCK TILL BROAD DAYLIGHT
"You sound very convincing, and I almost believe you," Joe said slowly. "Why, all of a sudden? Why no more put-ons and runarounds?"
"We're getting to the chimes at midnight," Hagbard replied simply, with a Latin shrug. "The spell is ending. Soon the coach turns back to a pumpkin, Cinderella goes back to the kitchen, everybody takes their masks off, and the carnival is over. I mean it," he added, his face full of sincerity. "Ask me anything and you get the truth."
"Why are you keeping George and me apart? Why do I have to skulk around the sub like a wanted fugitive and eat with Calley and Eichmann? Why don't you want George and me to compare notes?"
Hagbard sighed. "The real explanation for that would take a day. You'd have to understand the whole Celine System first. In the baby talk of conventional psychology, I'm taking away George's father figures. You're one: his first and only boss, an older man he trusts and respects. I became another very quickly, and that's one of the thousand and one reasons I turned the guru-hood over to Miss Portinari. He had to confront Drake, the bad father, and lose you and me, the good fathers, before he could really learn to ball a woman. The next step, if you're curious, is to take the woman away from him. Temporarily," Hagbard added quickly. "Don't be so jumpy. You've been through a large part of the Celine System, and it hasn't killed you. You're stronger because of it, aren't you?"
Joe nodded, accepting this, but shot the next question immediately. "Do you know who bombed Confrontation?"
"Yes, Joe. And I know why you did it"
YOU'RE NOT A THING AT ALL
"Okay, then, here's the payoff, and your answer better be good. Why are you helping the Illuminati to immanentize the Eschaton, Hagbard?"
"It steam-engines when it comes steam-engine time, as a very wise man once said."
"Jesus," Joe said wearily. "I thought I had crossed that pom asinorum. When I figured out how you get the goose out of the bottle in the Zen riddle— you do nothing and wait for the goose to peck its way out, just like a chick pecks its way out of an egg— I realized 'Do what thou wilt' becomes 'the whole of the law' by a mathematical process. The equation balances when you realize who the 'thou' is, as distinguished from the ordinary 'you.' The whole fucking works, the universe—all of it alive in the same way we're alive, and mechanical in the same way we're mechanical. The Robot. The one more trustworthy than all the Buddhas and sages. Oh, Christ, yes, I thought I understood it all. But this, this . . . this stone fatalism— what the hell are we going to Ingolstadt for, if we can't do anything?"
"The coin has two sides. It's the only coin that comes up at this time, but it still has two sides." Hagbard leaned forward intensely. "It's mechanical and alive. Let me give you a sexual metaphor, since you usually hang out with New York intellectuals. You look at a woman across a room and you know you're going to bed with her before the night is over. That's mechanical: Something has happened when your eyes met But the orgasm is organic; what it will be like, neither of you can predict. And I know, just as the Illuminati know, that immanentization is going to happen on May first because of a mechanical process Adam Weishaupt started on another May first two centuries ago, and because of other processes other people started before then and since then. But neither I nor the Illuminati know what form immanentization will take. It doesn't have to be hell on earth. It can be heaven on earth. And that's why we're going to Ingolstadt."
THREE O'CLOCK TWO O'CLOCK ONE O'CLOCK ROCK
I became a cop because of Billie Freshette. Well, I don't want to jive you— that wasn't the whole reason. But she sure as hell was one bodacious big part of the reason, and that's the curious thing about what finally happened, and how Milo Flanagan assigned me to infiltrate the Lincoln Park anarchist group, getting me in right up to my black ass in all that international intrigue and yoga-style balling with Simon Moon. But maybe I should start over from the beginning again, from Billie Freshette. I was a little kid and she was an old woman— it was in the early 1950s, you see (Hassan i Sabbah X was operating in the open then, going around the South Side preaching that the greatest of the White Magicians had just died recently in England and now the age of the Black Magicians was beginning; everybody thought he was one stone-crazy stud), and my father was a cook in a restaurant on Halsted. He pointed her out to me on the street once (it must have been just a while before she went back to the reservation in Wisconsin to die). "See that old woman, child? She was John Dillinger's girl friend."
Well, I looked, and I saw she was really heavy and together and that whatever the law had done to her never broke her, but I also saw that sorrow hung around her like a dark halo. Daddy went on and told me a lot more about her, and about Dillinger, but it was the sorrow that got printed all over every cell in my little baby brain. It took years for me to figure it out, but what it really meant, as an omen or conjure, was that she was basically just like the women of the black gang leaders on the South Side, even if she was an Indian. There's just one way for a black in Chicago, and that's to join a gang— Solidarity Forever, as Simon would say— but I dug that there was only one gang that was really safe, the biggest gang of all, Mister Charlie's boys, the motherfucking establishment
I guess every black cop has that in the back of his head, before he finds out that we never really can join mat gang, not as full members anyway. I found out quicker, being not just black but female. So I was in the gang, the baddest and heaviest gang, but I was always looking for something better, the impossible, the boss gimmick that would get me off the Man's black-and-white chessboard entirely into some place where I was myself and not just a pawn being moved around at Charlie's whim.
Otto Waterhouse never had that feeling, at least not until near the end of the game. I never did get inside his head enough to know what was going on there (he was a real cop and got into my head almost as soon as we met, and I could always feel him watching me, waiting for the time when I would round on Charlie and go over to the other side), so the best I can do in making him is to say that he was no Tom in the ordinary sense: He didn't screw blacks for the Man, he screwed blacks for himself; it was strictly his own trip.
Otto was my drop after I got assigned to underground work. We met in a place that I could always have an excuse to visit, a rundown law firm called Washington, Weishaupt, Budweiser and Kief, on 23 North Clark. Later, for some reason I was never told, they changed the name to Ruly, Kempt, Sheveled and Couth, and then to Weery, Stale, Flatt and Profitable, and to keep up the front they actually did hire a couple of lawyers and did some real law work for a corporation called Blue Sky, Inc.
On April 29, still harboring a cargo of doubt about Hag-bard, Joe Malik decided to try the simplest method of Tar-ot divination. Concentrating all his energy on the question,' he cut the deck and picked out one card that would reveal Hagbard Celine's true nature, if the divination worked. With a sinking heart, he saw that he had come up with the Hierophant Running the mnemonics Simon had taught him, Joe quickly identified this figure with the number five, the Hebrew letter Vau (meaning "nail"), and the traditional interpretation of a false show: a hypocrisy or a trick. Five was the number of Grummet, the destructive and chaotic end of a cycle. Vau was the letter associated with quarrels, and the meaning "nail" was often related to the implement of Christ's death. The card was telling him that Hag-bard was a hypocritical trickster aiming at destruction, a murderer of the Dreamer-Redeemer aspect of humanity. Or, taking a more mystical reading, as was usually advisable with the Tarot, Hagbard only seemed to be these things, and was actually an agent of Resurrection and Rebirth—as Christ had to die before he could become the Father, as (in Vedanta) the false "self must be obliterated to join the great Self. Joe swore. The card was only reflecting his own uncertainty. He rummaged in the bookshelf Hagbard had provided for his stateroom and found three books on the Tarot. The first, a popular manual, was absolutely useless: It identified the Hierophant with the letter of religion in contrast to the spirit, with conformity, and with all the plastic middle-class values Hagbard conspicuously lacked. The second (by a true adept of the Tarot) just led him back to his own confused reading of the card, remarking that the Hierophant is "mysterious, even sinister. He seems to be enjoying a very secret joke at somebody's expense." The third work raised more doubts: It was Liber 555, by somebody named Mordecai Malignatus, which vaguely reminded Joe that the old East Village Other chart of the Illuminati conspiracy showed a "Mordecai the Foul" in charge of the Sphere of Chaos— and "Mordecai Malignatus" was a fair Latinization of "Mordecai the Foul." Mordecai, Joe remembered, was, according to that half-accurate and half-deceptive chart, in dual control (along with Richard Nixon, then living) of the Elders of Zion, the House of Rothschild, the Politburo, the Federal Reserve System, the U.S. Communist Party, and Students for a Democratic Society. Joe flipped the pages to see what the semimythical Mord had to say about the Hierophant. The chapter was brief; it was in "The Book of Republicans and Sinners," and said:
(At eight o'clock in Ingolstadt an unscheduled group called the Cargo Cult managed to get the mike and began blasting out their own outer-space arrangement of an old children's song:
And, in Washington, where it was still only two in the afternoon, the White House was in flames, while the National Guard machine-gunned an armed mob crossing the Mall in front of the Washington Monument, a single finger pointing upward in an eloquent and vulgar gesture which only the Illuminati knew meant "Fuck you!" ... In Los Angeles, where it was eleven in the morning, the bombs started to go off in police stations . . . And in Lehman Cavern, Markoff Chaney disgustedly pointed out a graffito to Saul and Barney: HELP STAMP OUT SIZEISM: TAKE A MIDGET TO LUNCH.
"You see?" he demanded. "That's supposed to be funny. It's not funny at all. Not one damned bit")
On April 29 Hagbard invited George to join him on the bridge of the Leif Erikson. They had been sailing through a smooth-walled tubular passage that was completely filled with water and was both underground and below sea level It had been built by the Atlanteans and not only had survived the catastrophe but had been maintained in good condition for the next thirty thousand years by the Illuminati. There was even a salt lock, located, roughly, under Lyon, France, which served to keep the salt water of the Atlantic out of the further reaches of the passage and the underground freshwater Sea of Valusia. The underground waterways were connected with many lakes in Switzerland, Bavaria, and eastern Europe, Hagbard explained, and if salt water were found in all of those lakes the existence of the weird subsurface world of the Illuminati would be suspected. As the submarine approached a huge circular hatchway barring the passage, Hagbard turned off the devices that rendered the craft indetectable. Immediately the enormous round metal door swung toward them.
"Won't the Illuminati know we've activated this machinery?" said George.
"No. This works automatically," said Hagbard. "It's never occurred to them that anyone else might use this passageway."
"But they know you could. And you guessed wrong about their spider-ships being able to detect you."
Hagbard whirled on George, a hairy arm lifted to punch him in the chest. "Shut up about the fucking spider-ships! I don't want to hear any more about the spider-ships! Portinari's running the show now. And she says it's safe. Okay?"
"Commander, you're out of your fucking mind," George said firmly.
Hagbard laughed, his shoulders slumping slightly in relaxation. "All right. You can get off the sub any time you want to. Well just open the hatch and let you swim out."
"You're out of your fucking mind, but I'm stuck with you," said George, clapping Hagbard on the shoulder.
"You're either on the sub or off the sub," said Hagbard. "Watch this."
The Leif Erikson had sailed through the round metal gateway, which closed behind it Here the ceiling of the underwater passage was about fifty feet higher than it had been in the section they just left, and the tunnel was only partially filling with water. The air seemed to be coming from vents in the ceiling. There was another metal hatchway in the distance down the tunnel.
"This lock is pretty big," George said. "The Illuminati must have sailed some enormous submarines through here."
"And animals," said Hagbard.
The hatchway ahead of them opened, and fresh water came pouring in. The water level in the lock rose until it I reached the ceiling, and the Leif Erikson's engines turned over and began to propel it forward once more. Now George is writing in his diary again:
Hagbard's voice over the intercom jolted him out of his reverie. "Come on back up, George. There's more to see."
This time Mavis was on the bridge with Hagbard. As George entered, Hagbard withdrew his hand from her left breast in an unhurried movement. George wanted to kill Hagbard, but he was thankful that he hadn't seen Mavis touching Hagbard in any sexual way. That would have been past bearing. He might have tested his new-found courage by taking a poke at Hagbard, and Goddess only knows what karate or yoga or magic would be the response. Besides, Mavis and Hagbard must be balling all the time. Who else but Hagbard would a woman like Mavis take for her regular lover? Who else but Hagbard could satisfy her?
Mavis greeted George with a comradely hug that made the entire front of his body ache. Hagbard pointed to an inscription carved into the wall of the cave. There was a row of symbols that George didn't recognize, but above them was something quite familiar: a circle with a downward-pointing trident carved inside it.
"The peace symbol," said George. "I didn't know it was that old."
"In the days when it was put up there," said Hagbard, "it was called the Cross of Lilith Velkor, and its meaning is simply that anyone who attempts to thwart the Illuminati will suffer from the most horrible torture the Illuminati can devise. Lilith Velkor was one of the first of their victims. They crucified her on a revolving cross that looked very much like that"
"You told me it wasn't really a peace symbol," said George, looking wistfully back at the carving, "but I didn't know what you meant."
"There was a Dirigens-grade Illuminatus in Bertrand Russell's circle who put it in somebody's mind that the circle and trident would be a good symbol for the Aldermaston marchers to carry. It was very cleverly and subtly done. If the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament had thought about it, what did they need any kind of a symbol for? But Russell and his people fell for it What they didn't know was that the circle-and-trident had been a traditional symbol of evil among left-hand-path Satanists for thousands of years. So many right-wingers are secret left-hand-path magicians and Satanists that of course they spotted the symbol for what it was right away. That made them think the Illuminati were behind the peace movement, which threw them off the track, and they accused the peaceniks of using a Satanist symbol, which to a small extent discredited the peace movement. A cute gambit."
"Why is it there on the wall?" said George.
"The inscription warns the passerby to purify his heart because he is about to enter the Sea of Valusia, which belongs exclusively to the Illuminati. Traveling across the Sea of Valusia, you come eventually to the underground port of Agharti, which was the first Illuminati refuge after the Atlantean catastrophe. We are emerging into the Sea of Valusia right now. Watch."
Hagbard gestured, and George watched, open-mouthed, as the walls of the cave that closed around them fell away. They were sailing out of the tunnel, but what they seemed to be entering was an infinite fog. The television cameras and their laser wave-guides penetrated just as far into this lightless ocean that they were about to navigate as they had into the Atlantic, but this ocean was neither blue nor green, but gray. It was a gray that seemed to extend infinitely in all directions, like an overcast sky. It was impossible to gauge distance. The farthest depth of the gray around them might be hundreds of miles away, or it might be right outside the submarine.
"Where's the bottom?" he asked.
"Too far below us to see," said Mavis. "The top of this ocean is just a little above the level of the bottom of the Atlantic."
"You're so smart," said Hagbard, pinching her buttock and causing George to flinch.
"Don't pay any attention to him, George," said Mavis. "He's a little bit nervous, and it's making him silly."
"Shut the fuck up," said Hagbard.
Beginning to feel anxious himself, wondering if the noble mind of Hagbard Celine was being overthrown by the weight of responsibility, George turned to look out at the empty ocean. Now he saw that it wasn't quite empty. Fish swam by, some large, some small, many of them grotesque. All were totally eyeless. An octopoidal monster with extremely long, slender tentacles drifted past the submarine, feeling for its prey. There was a covering of fine hairs on the tips of the tentacles. A small fish, also blind, swam close enough to one tentacle to set up a current that disturbed the hairs. Instantly the octopus's whole body moved in that direction, the disturbed tentacle wrapped itself around the hapless fish, and several others joined in to help scoop it up. The octopus devoured the fish in three bites. George was glad to see that at least the blood of these creatures was red.
The door behind them opened, and Harry Coin stepped out onto the bridge. "Morning, everybody. I was just wondering if I might find Miss Mao up here."
"She's doing her stint in Navigation right now," said Hagbard. "But stay here and have a look at the Sea of Valusia, Harry."
Harry looked all around, slowly and thoughtfully, then shook his head. "You know, there's times when I start to think you're doing this."
"What do you mean, Harry?" asked Mavis.
"You know," Harry waved a long, snakelike hand, "doing this, like a science-fiction movie. You've just got us in an abandoned hotel somewheres, and you've got a big engine in the basement that shakes the whole place, and here you've got some movie cameras, only they point at the screen instead of away from you, if you know what I mean."
"Rear projection," said Hagbard. "Tell me, Harry, what difference would it make if it wasn't real?"
Harry thought a moment, his chinless face sour. "We wouldn't have to do what we think we have to do. But even if we don't have to do what we think we have to do, it won't make any difference if we do it Which means we should just go ahead."
Mavis sighed. "Just go ahead."
"Just go ahead," said Hagbard. "A powerful mantra."
"And if we don't go ahead," said George, "it doesn't matter either. Which means that we just do go ahead."
"Another powerful mantra," said Hagbard. "Just do go ahead."
George noticed a small speck in the distance. As it got closer, he reccognized it He shook his head. Was there no end to the surrealism he'd been subjected to in the last six days? A dolphin wearing scuba gear!
"Hi, man-friends," said Howard's voice over the loudspeaker on the bridge. George cast a glance at Harry Coin. The former assassin was standing open-mouthed and limp with astonishment
"Greetings, Howard," said Hagbard. "How goes it with the Nazis?"
"Dead, sleeping, whatever it is they are. I have a whole porpoise horde— most of the Atlantean Adepts— watching them."
"And ready to perform other tasks as needed, I hope," said Hagbard.
"Ready indeed," said Howard. He turned a somersault.
"All right," said Harry Coin softly. "All right," he said more firmly. "It's a talking fish. But why the hell is it wearing an oxygen tank and breathing through a fucking mask?"
"I see we have a new friend on the bridge," said Howard. "I got the mask from Hagbard's on-shore representative at Fernando Poo. After all, a porpoise has to breathe air. And there is no surface in most of this underground ocean. It's water all the way to the top of the cavernous chambers that contain it. The only place I can get air near here is by swimming up to the top of Lake Totenkopf."
"The Lake Totenkopf monster," said George with a laugh.
"We'll moor the submarine in Lake Totenkopf later today," said Hagbard. "Howard, I'd like you and your people to stand by tonight and tomorrow night. Tomorrow night be ready to do a lot of hard physical work. Meanwhile, stay out of the way of the Nazis— the protection they're under is particularly aimed at sea animals, since that was the presumed greatest danger to them. We'll have oxygen equipment as needed for any of your people who want it. Tell them to try to avoid surfacing on the lake unless absolutely necessary. We don't want to attract more attention than we have to."
"I salute you in the name of the porpoise horde," said Howard. "Hail and farewell." He swam away.
A little later, sailing on, they saw in the distance an enormous reptile with four paddles for swimming and a neck twice the length of its body. It was in hot pursuit of a school of blind fish.
"The Loch Ness monster," said Hagbard, and George remembered his little joke about Howard's surfacing in Lake Totenkopf. "One of Gruad's genetic experiments with reptiles," Hagbard went on. "He was really queer for reptiles. He filled the Sea of Valusia with these plesiosaurlike things. Blind, of course, so they could navigate in darkness. Think about that— eyes are a liability under certain conditions. Graud figured monsters like that would be another protection against anybody finding Agharti. But the Leif Erikson is too big for Nessie to tangle with, and she knows it."
At last there was a column of yellow light ahead. This was the light let into the Sea of Valusia by Lake Totenkopf. Hagbard explained that the lake was simply a place where the ceiling of rock over the Sea of Valusia had been soft and unstable enough to collapse. The resulting hole, being at sea level, filled with water. Debris falling down through the bottom of the lake had formed a mountain below the place where the roof of the Sea of Valusia was punctured.
"The Jesuits, of course, always knew that Lake Totenkopf connected with the Sea of Valusia and thus made possible easy contact with Agharti," Hagbard said. "That's why, when they gave Weishaupt the assignment of founding an overt branch of the Illuminati, they sent him to Ingolstadt, which is right by Lake Totenkopf. And there's the mountain under the lake."
It loomed ahead of them, dark and forbidding. As the submarine sailed over it, George saw a cloud of dolphins circling in the distance. The mountain top had been sheared off in a fashion that seemed too precise to be natural; it formed a plateau about two miles long and one mile wide. There were what appeared to be dark squares on this gray plateau. The submarine swooped down, and George saw that the squares were huge formations of men. In a moment they were hovering over the army, like a helicopter observing troops on parade. George could clearly see the black uniforms, the green tanks with black-and-white crosses painted on them, the long, dark, upjutting snouts of big guns. They stood there silent and immobile, thousands of feet below the surface of the lake.