Sahara Light: a Novel. Part II. Chapter I.

7 Mar

Only a few persons attended the initial ceremony on Apollo Day. They were a group of older men and women. There were not many young people present.

Hermes sat in the first row of seats on the main floor, looking up at the pythoness, Niobe, on the mezzanine. To the right of him was Echo, to the left Cadmus. Niobe sang out at the top register of her soprano voice.

“You are our one and only Apollo, god of our sun,

Who comes to us from the distant reaches of space,

The sole light illuminating our day is your burning face,

We pray you never forsake us when your nightly rest falls.”

Raising her arms up, the priestess of Apollo finished the formal ritual and started on homiletic preaching to the small audience.

“Brother and sisters, the time is here for the rebirth of the faith of our ancestors. In the ages before the Great Migration, the Greeks honored Apollo as the celestial godhead of medicine, music, and poetry. He was the creator of true oracular prophecy. The purity of the character of Apollo inspired men and women to rise to the heights. History demonstrates the good that comes to those led by the Sublime Archer. His role was a supremely elevated one.

“We are in need of a revival and renewal of the praise and worship of this Hellenic deity. This will bring untold benefits to all of us. It is time to return to the old ways. Life will become healthier and more prosperous if we succeed in this renascence. We must search in the past for the best road into the future of Gamara and the Sahara Desert.

“So, let us rededicate our psyches to Apollo. We must listen to the teachings that come from the Pythian god. Apollo leads the way. We must never stray from it.”

Niobe turned around, stepped away, then disappeared through the door of the box of seats.

A voice came to Hermes from the left. “We must bring your new spectrum of light here,” whispered Cadmus. “It may be the only way to save things for us.”

Cadmus then moved away to a row where Ianon sat with several ergati associates. At the same time, Echo leaned over to Hermes.

“I think we have won Cadmus over. This movement needs a magnet that can draw the great masses to join it. A demonstration of your spectrum could be the means of achieving that. It can draw the minds of those who observe the new rays that will be presented and give them the inspiration to believe and show faith in Apollo.”

Hermes stared into her face, only inches away from his. “That may turn out to be the final hope of what is starting here today,” he told her in a hushed voice. “We will learn more when we get together at the module of Cadmus in a while. He ordered his cook to prepare a meal for noon for his closest friends. We shall learn then what he has decided to do for our movement.”

Plates holding baked squabs and birdlings sat on a long table on  the silex porch.

Hermes, opposite Cadmus and Ianon, could see Echo, Niobe, and Ganymede at the other end of the dinner table. The group was finishing up its repast when the host, all of a sudden, rose to his feet.

“I would like to say a few things. First of all, today is only a start. The future depends upon what we can do in coming days. How do we get large crowds to attend our events? We need an attraction that draws the curious to our meetings and ceremonies. Our good friend, Hermes, is going to provide us with something that has not existed up to now. We can have a new type of light show, one dedicated to Apollo and his godly glory. That promises to garner new supporters for the renewal movement. Word will spread and increasing numbers will be the result.

“I am happy to announce to you that Ianon and his colleagues are going to help us.” He turned and looked at the physicist with a question. “Are you ready to set up the necessary devices, Hermes?”

The latter felt his brain spinning. “All my equipment is at the Light Institute in the desert. There is no way for me to gain control of it. The Director there will be adamant over that.”

A twisted grimace distorted the face of Cadmus.

“If it becomes necessary, we can commandeer and appropriate whatever you will need,” he proclaimed in a stubborn tone, surprising everyone present on the porch. Cadmus turned to Ianon and spoke specifically to him.

“Tell the group what we have agreed to, my friend,” said the developer.

As Cadmus sat down, the labor agitator rose from his chair, all eyes focused upon him. What was he going to announce?

“A new organization of ergati will soon be formed. It will be called the Archers of Apollo. We already  have a nucleus for it. This will grow into thousands in time. A select team of the most dedicated members could go out over the desert and confiscate whatever we are told is needed. Cadmus has agreed to provide the vans needed to transport all these devices to Gamara. Ergati oriented toward direct action will be ready to take what you invented and bring it here. The taking will be easy to carry out, and no one will be blamed or arrested for the deed. It will be a total success for our cause.”

Hermes felt stunned as he replied. “But the police would term it stealing, wouldn’t they?”

Cadmus intervened. “I am giving Ianon a bank instrument for a large amount that should cover the cost of this equipment. Whatever is needed for it, I shall pay. The transaction will be a purchase, a kind of sale or exchange. There will be nothing suspicious or culpable about any of it. We shall keep and maintain all the forms of legality that we can.”

He gazed at Hermes, who bit his lip as he made a rapid, emotional decision. “All right, I will accompany those who go to the Light Institute and show them what is to be transported to Gamara. The operation is best carried out at night, when the buildings there are empty of staff. I have keycards for where the apparati are stored. The night guards are few and easily overpowered. I can try to convince them to aid us. There should be no physical opposition involved, I am certain.”

A frenzy of activity infected everyone on the porch. Plans were made for a bold adventure out on the sands of the Sahara. The needed equipment would fall to those who aimed to make use of it for a purpose they had dedicated themselves to.

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