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

7 Mar

Because ancient Greek legend held that Apollo was born on the seventh day of the month, that day was celebrated and dedicated to recognizing the  greatness of his legacy for those who believed in his astounding capacities and gifts. The audience flocking to Niko’s Taverna had grown noticeably larger as days and weeks passed. Word circulated among the field workers that a spectacle of astounding new colors was to be presented soon, at the end of the ceremony, after the pythoness priestess gave her sermon speech to those who were there to hear it.

After days of intensive labor, Hermes had set up the devices in proper working order on the second storey mezzanine, behind the central box used by the priestess, Niobe. On the evening that the Echolight was ready for public exhibition, she gave a special address on the healing power that Apollo himself granted through the medium of light rays.

“The god Apollo has for many ages been a “iatromantis” to Greeks, wherever they may be. That was especially so among those who migrated to the sands of the Sahara. He is the Olympian who can prevent disease and misfortune among human beings. All-wise healer, Apollo helps us avert the dangers and evils of life. Our ancestors believed he has the power to purify an evil person, cleansing away all sin from that individual. Both body and soul can be saved from harm, believed the Greeks of the ancient homeland. Today, most Greeks are scattered around the world in many places, separately and apart from each other. Yet hope based on the mercy of Apollo continues and even grows. That is the new situation here at Gamara, where the reliance upon that wonderful divinity is a burgeoning phenomenon.

“I intend to do what I can to revive the Hellenic tradition of moral cleansing of body and spirit in the name of beloved Apollo. Everyone present here today is invited to step forward for the sprinkling of their head with consecrated water, so that their guilt can be washed away from them.

“But before we proceed to the Apollonian Cleansing, I shall command the start of a new feature in our assemblies from now on, the reverberative light with a new spectrum of colors, a gift that had to come from Apollo himself. Chromatological science has advanced to a point where our knowledge is now capable of producing the rainbow long ago created by the Great Archer.

“Please, I ask everyone here to focus their eyes on the large screen behind the box that I now stand on. The screen is now white in color, but you will soon be able to perceive shades of light that you have never witnessed ever before. The Echolight that comes from Apollo will soon be visible there. Do not panic or become afraid. It will harm no one, it is safe and a friend to mankind. You shall become familiar with it in time.

“Keep your eyes fixed on this light of wonder.”

She waved her hand at Hermes behind the screen, who began to throw switches and levers connected to the quasiparticle devices. Figures and shapes appeared and covered the screen, moving and changing with accelerating speed. In a short time, Hermes set the dials on the fulminator for the three primary shades of alpha, beta, and gamma. Cries and exclamations rose from the audience. The iridescence in sight grew hypnotic in effect. Some rose to their feet stunned. The great hall of the taverna seemed enchanted as if entirely under a hypnotic spell.

Who that was there had ever seen such a magnificent sight? Who could have imagined such a wonder was possible?

In the front row of the audience sat Cadmus, Ianon, Ganymede, and Echo. They peered in wonder at the new colors visible, as did the crowd behind and around them. But in the extreme rear of the hall sat a secretive person, an individual who had come with a devious purpose of his own.

Atlas Cimera, the wealthy owner and publisher of Chronia News, was there to see for himself and gather material for wave broadcasts over the telescreen. But he had come with a much deeper motive as well.

Indeed, this was a most impressive optical presentation. No one who was present would ever forget the first occasion on which they saw the colors of Echolight, the gift of Apollo.

What was this discovery going to lead to? Atlas wondered.

I have to talk with the people who possess the secret of this new spectrum.

Interviews would be useful means for probing what was going on and what was planned.

When the screen finally went blank, he had decided what his course must be.

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