Chapter 1. The Beta Craft (
The 'terminal' was crowded with green and red. No one knew when the BetaCraft would land, so the passengers remained in separate small places of the large room, as if separation would prevent an attack. Each traveler held his goods in his hands to board the craft quickly when it arrived.
It was difficult enough to reach the 'terminal' located on the outskirts of
The BetaCraft silently appeared in the field outside the building now called the ‘terminal.’ Only those ‘in the know’ had been warned beforehand to expect the craft and to provide security by wearing green and red.
One old lady sat on her bag near the window, as if scanning the sky through the dirty glass panes. She remembered a long time ago when terminals had a better appearance and craft were regularly scheduled. She mused that she had had to pay a dowry’s fortune to be able to leave this place—at least 200 times the price of a craft fare in the old days. But it would be worth it if she could be with her son once again.
Passengers were marked with a mottled gray stain on their palms. These ‘tickets’ were able to be 'read' only once, so hands were kept closed around their bags and other possessions. Even though it was said that the ticket stains would last for two days before disappearing in natural sunlight, there would be no shaking of hands.
The passengers were alerted to board the craft by noise from the opened terminal door. Outside a few workmen stood around the BetaCraft and appeared to have finished their work quickly. They stood looking as if expecting at least one of the passengers climbing the old ladder to fall. Yet even the old lady made it up the ladder, with her bag being carried by a young man behind her, and both stepped through the small door.
No one had cleaned the craft. The old lady thought it was a good thing she had visited the stall outside the terminal before boarding. Passengers were counted by a young fellow with a well-shaved head and face. No hair was the preferred style of the Western alliance, while Muslims preferred hair and beards.
When the doors shut, but before all the passengers were seated, the craft moved away from the terminal to make its quick exit upward. The old lady had just pulled the lever that tightened around her when a whoosh was heard and the BetaCraft was airborne. Within a few seconds, it was pulsing along on a course to the southwest.
This was not the first time the old lady had tried to leave the New Mohammedan Empire (NeME). She had once paid over 12,000 gards to a fisherman who said he was able to travel quietly, undersea, if necessary. He said it would be slow but she would be able to reach her far away destination. His boat was old but well serviced and he even showed her a 3-D demo of a descent into the water after three passengers had been loaded. Of course, the demo was faked and she believed the scam. No boat, no undersea travel, and ruefully, no more 12,000 gards.
Not until she had learned that a trip to the west was planned for a special person did she and her friends know about the BetaCraft. It wasn’t totally unheard of that a BetaCraft would land and pick someone up, but it usually meant more money than she could arrange. This time the craft would carry more than 50 passengers in addition to the special passenger, and the shared cost was more reasonable.
All of the 12 women passengers were Mary’s Angels, founded in 2029 to work medical cures for both Muslims and Christians alike. A Mary’s Angel was appreciated not only for the cures but for the quiet and supportive manner in which she did her work. Consequently, trials faced by other non-Muslims were to a large extent not encountered by the neomedical practictioners.
A Mary’s Angel gained her unique skills in a very old way, by being apprenticed to older Mary’s Angels before she gained her ‘halo’ after 12 years of study and practice. The small white metal oval on her coat lapel told everyone that the old lady was a Mary’s Angel, and she had cured many people in the past 40 years. The perfected combination of medical, mental, and spiritual control of illnesses worked well even when the best medications and devices were not able to be obtained.
Few of the passengers talked, except for one older man who spoke animatedly to a companion. At least, the old lady thought it was his companion. A group of younger men in the rear section of the BetaCraft, near the pilot deck, kept their eyes on ‘dangle screens’ suspended in front of their eyes. The small viewing portholes could not be observed by others, and could show scenes of remote friends, books, news events, and the land over which they traveled.
The trip was fast and the BetaCraft prepared for its arrival on the west coast of upper
Dingle screens were now in use by all the passengers and they saw people come out from their shacks and houses to observe the BetaCraft pass slowly over the river as if assessing the situation. Then it turned to land gently on the bridge and travel up the straight street to where many young men were standing waving white flags.
The men first off the plane did not answer to the yells of “Papa, Papa.” Next down the ladder was a slight figure with a long brown robe. The shouts became greater as the Pope arrived for a hoped for temporary residence in the
The men attending the Pope were urged by the welcoming party to quickly move to an old bus that stood on a side street. Suddenly a flamegun was shot from the opposite side of the river. The warning was not ignored by the Pope’s attendants, but by then the welcoming party had turned sour. The fight was over quickly as people emerged from open windows and shouted, “Allah, Allah, Allah has conquered again!”
The old lady on the plane observed the unwelcome scene and brought her lips close to the oval ring. She whispered, “He’s in the wrong hands; we’ve been betrayed again.”
Chapter 2. Papal Rehistory (
The voice was undeniably his mother, and Noah Perez Amini knew they must move rapidly. Skip the intial simulation task and move to the next procedure to upload the data on current events to the Gorge of Alladin, at least that’s what they called the quantum computer discovered in a vault in
The Gorge of Alladin was programmed in 2032 using Shor’s quantum factoring algorithm. Even computers in 2097 had not significantly advanced over the 2032 model. Consequently, many copies had been made of the 2089 computer discovery. The old quantum computer remained in its protected original environment, because it served to back-up history. Since 2095, its purpose was to record current history in the 2032 memory of the computer. Thus, the record of future history was documented in 2032, even though a rehistory event later changed history.
Noah looked at his oval ring again and knew the Papal capture must be undone. First, back up the most recent three days of history for documentation purposes, and then let history repeat itself—but this time with a successful escape of the Pope from Al Karim City and the New Mohammedan Empire to the