The Light Behind the World
Chapter 26: Forge
Copyright© 2010 by Sea-Life
According to the oft-quoted (in my house at least) Great, Great Grandpa Arlington McKesson, time and knowledge are treasures no man should ignore.
The many sessions I'd spent with Construct in the last year and a half had given me a greater understanding of Construct and his situation, and the challenge it presented me. The guardians who saved us all had established protections which shielded those sensitive to the Light from the corrupted Focus, and its reversed energies. Right now that appeared to be me and only me. This protection took the form of three jump points. Artificial, one-way, local jump points that existed only in the single facet of our Earth, unlike natural jump points, which existed in many different facets.
Imagine my chagrin when I realized that my elaborate technique of moving Sheb and Violet through two jump points to the meadow and then back to Earth had been based on a few incorrect assumptions and as a result, serious overkill!
I could sense any jump point I'd ever been to in a facet from anywhere on that facet, On Earth, that currently meant I could reach out to Chocowinity, the ledge, Green Horn Creek and Downtown Angel's Camp from anywhere I was. This made me in effect, as far as I could tell, the world's only functioning teleport.
Construct was always quick to remind me that this was only a single aspect of my true ability, which was the manipulation of the Light, and that location was one of the more basic aspects of it. Others, he loved to say, would come when I grew into them.
In addition to the limitations placed on our focus, the Choctowineh and Seeker descendants who had built Construct had built certain restrictions into him. Primary among these was one which prevented Construct from traveling to our Earth.
Seemingly less important, but with huge impact for me, and the friends and family who had offered their help was a restriction which limited Construct from moving to or from the Seeker facet from anywhere except the Focus. And since Construct could not come to Earth, that meant any facet save our own. Construct promised that if the day ever came when the energy of the focus was restored, all his prohibitions were removed.
Because Construct could affect nothing physically, the gifts promised by the departed peoples awaited us still, in the area of the focus on the Seeker facet. We were left needing to find a way to cross a continent on foot, or find a civilization on one of the other facets which we could move among, and do our traveling there. The possibility of just wandering America in our own facet until we blindly stumble upon a jump point within reasonable distance of North Carolina I had dismissed immediately.
Contemplate the idea of crossing the entire continent of North America. On foot!
Even on our ATVs or on horseback, if it were an option, it would be an almost insurmountable task. To do it in anything resembling safety would require a large party of people, all utterly dependent on my ability to reach back to the jump point and return us to our own Earth when needed, and then reach back through the jump point to return us to our point of forward progress. The logistics were not insurmountable, but they were formidable, and the possible negative outcomes weighed heavily on me.
My fear of something happening to me and stranding those I loved was what decided it for me. I told everyone that all plans to make an overland effort in the world we were starting to call Meadow were on hold until further notice. I told everyone that Dare, Construct and I would concentrate our efforts on the second option, finding another world with humans advanced enough to allow the journey in a relatively short and safe manner.
But that's not to say I didn't have ideas. I was working on a couple of them, but they required acquiring skills I did not yet have. Like skydiving. I was working towards my private pilots license as well, and that was mostly a matter now of getting enough hours to qualify. Ground school, as with school in general these days, seemed effortless. Captain Bob, who Grandpa had tasked with shepherding me through the process, always warned me that memorizing the facts of flight was not enough. The hours of flight time were there to make sure a person integrated what he had learned into his behavior. All this passed through my thoughts one day as I sat sipping a glass of iced tea and staring at the United States on Google Maps. Something had been tickling my brain for a while now, and I couldn't figure out what it was.
I had briefly thought to use the Bonneville Salt Flats as a natural runway, allowing me to create a staging areas there where we could land a plane after pulling off a mid-air move through one of the Angel's Camp jump points to Meadow. There were just too many unknowns though, and Bonneville was actually in Northern Utah, and would have been at least partly in the wrong direction not to mention smack dab into the Rockie Mountains!
My eyes kept flickering between the little stickpin that pointed to the salt flats and the Great Salt Lake. I zoomed out a little, until I could see most of Utah, Nevada and California. Four bodies of water were visible. The Great Salt Lake, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake in Nevada and the Salton Sea in Southern California. That might be it! I grabbed my cell phone and punched in Captain Bob's speed dial number.
"Captain Bob here!" He knew it was me of course, but He liked me to think he acted this way with everyone.
"Good morning Captain Bob. Tell me about sea planes."
Within an hour I was dejectedly scrubbing that idea from my list of quick solutions. Captain Bob had shot me down with three little letters. GPS.
Everything flying today used the Global Positioning System for navigation. GPS navigation depended on a global network of orbiting satellites that did not exist beyond the jump points. We might be able to navigate and fly to our desired destination, but it was not going to be the quick and easy solution I'd imagined.
My life in the eighteen months that had passed since meeting Construct had been busy, challenging, and surreal. At first I spend a good many hours in class with Ginny, being home schooled by our Mothers. But it soon became obvious that when Construct rescued me after the incident in North Carolina, my mind had been affected in more ways than just enhancing my sensitivity to the Light. My ability to comprehend and retain information seemed to have increased by that same order of magnitude. Now I simply absorbed the information as soon as the next section was available and did not attend class, except on those days when the state tests came in. I would do the tests with Ginny. I know this had frustrated her as well. On the bright side, both of us completed the course work at a rapid pace and finished with High School within a year.
During the same eighteen months, a lot of things swung back to a state closer to normalcy than I thought possible. Grandpa McKesson flew back to Chocowinity with Sheb and Violet. Now that the origins of their guardianship and the reasons for it were known to them, Grandpa and Sheb conceded that they were needed at home more than here. Cyrus remained behind however, and his wife Felicia had joined him. They were in fact living in the house to the immediate left of Grandma and Grandpa Carson at Green Horn Creek. He became Dad's driver and bodyguard, as he had been Grandpa A.J.'s.
Dad's position with the company he had worked for had changed. The man whose house we had stayed at in Big Bear had been the founder and CEO of the company, and he had been waiting years for the word from Dad that he was ready to finish buying him out and take over the company completely. Dad was now the majority stockholder and CEO of Proto-Tech Industries. Dad had been waiting for me to make it past the sixteenth birthday ritual he knew had been coming to take this final step. As Keanu would say, 'Whoa!'
As Construct predicted, I soon expanded my awareness of the Light, and discovered the thing he called 'phase variations'. This awareness led the way to using jump points for moving to more than just the single world I had found, and I began exploring other worlds.
This evening I had begun exploring the fifth inhabited facet, as Construct liked to call them, that I had found, and so far only the second whose inhabitants were technologically advanced beyond the bow and arrow. The first appeared to be lizards, tails and all. My search for a technological society which would not suspect me of being from 'somewhere else' had brought me here.
I felt the gravel crunching under my feet, and wished I could move a little more quietly. The waning light of sunset had almost completely faded into a sliver of light on the horizon that made silhouettes out of everything I could see. In the darkening night sky I had been seeing an occasional bright light move in a quick arc from East to West. The people of this world had air travel, and it appeared to be very fast. A few hundred yards ahead of me I heard the odd hum and saw the oddly too-blue lights of another of the local ground vehicles as it moved past on the curve of the nearby road or highway. I had been watching the road for the last hour from a spot about half a mile further up the hill. Once it got dark enough I had moved down to my current location. Between me and the road was a building with large glass windows on all four sides. It was brightly lit from the inside, and I could see movement, but it was still too far away to see clearly.