CHAPTER 6 2030s
Part 1 MANDY, MUSIC AND THE HT-4
MARINA DEL REY, CALIFORNIA: 29 FEBRUARY 2032
Mandy Uses the HT-4
The Wenslers bought one of the first commercially available HT-4s for their home. The price was just over $1,000,000. The new HT unit was spectacular. For the first time, the three dimensional holographic screen was available in a personal unit, and all for the price of an expensive car.
The HT-4 unit was significantly less expensive than any of the previous models because 1) HTI cooperated with the Japanese in building a robotics manufacturing plant, and 2) the heavy duty biofeedback computations were done on specialized HTI supercomputers not sold with the HT-4 unit. Supercomputer time was readily available and sold separately by HTI.
The robot controlled manufacturing plant was operated by a 250 person crew. There were three eight hour shifts every day, and the plant produced about 50 HT-4 units per day. Thus, one plant could produce about 15 billion dollars worth of HT-4s per year. The larger than expected number of orders by individuals, HT-Health Clubs, and private companies caused HTI to begin construction on 5 more manufacturing plants.
The HTI supercomputers were built by a US consortium of companies that made specialized massively parallel computers involving the equivalent of a hundred million coupled CRAY-1 class computers. The centralization of these supercomputers at two HTI locations, one on each coast, provided the breakthrough in pricing for the HT-4 home units. The supercomputers were specialized for HTI by balancing the fast computational needs, large memory needs, and complex input/output requirements for the many HT-4s which could be on-line simultaneously.
The HT-4 was primarily the result of advances in supercomputer, superconductivity, and robotics technology as opposed to an outgrowth of any new innovative HTI technology. The one important exception was in the area of miniaturization of sensors.
The reduced size of all the sensors now permitted a very flexible suit made completely out of sensors and wires. There was one cable from the suit which connected to the HT chair. But the cable was 2 meters long which permitted the user the option to stand in the HT-4. Deactivation was accomplished by simply saying stop or quit or end. The monitoring of the 500,000 contacts on the body including 50,000 super conducting SQUIDS permitted all vital signs to be automatically monitored. At the slightest sign of a problem, the session was automatically terminated, and alarm bells would ring outside the unit and at the local HTI office.
Special attention was given to the cortex region of the brain where 100,000 sensors were assigned the task of reporting the electromagnetic activity to the HTI supercomputers. The HT-4 was practically a brain itself¾ a second brain connected to the mind of the HTer.
"Well, it's finally working," said John. He had spent most of Saturday and Sunday morning personalizing and testing the HT-4 unit which was installed the previous Friday.
"That's great," said Mandy as she continued reading her magazine.
"We can both use the HT-4 instead of going to the Health Club," said John.
Mandy put down her magazine, "John, I'm really happy we bought the unit, but I won't use it that much. Let's face it, it's mostly your toy."
"It's a lot more than a toy," said John.
"I know, I know. Don't be so sensitive. HTing is a way of life for lots of people. It's practically replaced jogging and doctors." Mandy laughed at her overstatement.
"Honey," said John. "We've made significant improvements to the speaker system. The 360 degree speaker system has the potential for generating sounds over the full range of human hearing. Actually the system can go significantly above and below the human hearing frequency range."
John's tone had become very serious. Mandy knew he was leading up to something. "That's nice," she said.
John continued, "This permits all musical sounds to be generated...anything you can conjure up on any musical instrument can be HTed, in principle, that is."
"What do you mean by in principle?" Mandy asked the mandatory question, with the same emphasis John had used.
"The software for driving the sound system is not at the same level as for the holographic screen. No one is advancing the HT-4s musical capabilities. There's not much interest at HTI in the less dramatic effects of improving sounds as opposed to 3-D holographic color images. We've developed the hardware, but noone has worked the software for HTing sounds...or HTing music..." John paused and looked directly at Mandy with a slight smile on his face.
"What is that look? What is that look?" she repeated.
"Honey, you taught me that music can often touch us deeper than images. "
"Are you suggesting that I develop the software? I don't know anything about software?"
"You don't have to. You know music, and that's all you need to know. We developed an AI program¾ that's Artificial Intelligence¾ that will learn from you and from your biofeedback approach to generating HT-4 music. I put together a simple music program for you to start with. It takes filtered biofeedback signals from the brains cortex and converts them to sounds. My program is only a child. I know you can mature it and create beautiful music."
"Are you serious?" asked Mandy.
"Absolutely." said John.
"HT development is your interest, not mine," said Mandy. "I don't think I ought to become involved."
"Music is your love...and HT music could...could be beautiful," said John.
What do I have to do?" asked Mandy.
"Nothing special, really. My simple program will let you create simple sounds in the unit. Don't worry about the details. Just enjoy your HTing...why don't you give the unit a try. Don't even worry about the music part...just enjoy your HTing."
"Okay," said Mandy, "I'd like to try out the unit. I'll do my Health session right after lunch."
After her session, Mandy found John in the study. She said, "I feel so good...I went to a beautiful palm tree bejeweled beach in Hawaii, and bathed myself in healthy rays...I feel so relaxed."
"Terrific, I'm glad you enjoyed the session," John said. "What did you think about the changes from the H-3?"
"Very impressive. I liked the mobility...I walked my beach and checked out the H-Screen patterns from both sides...quite impressive. But I found the sound system more interesting. I was able to generate sounds from any direction. Notes moved around the room...the flexibility is remarkable. The sounds do truly surround you...and even massage you. I could literally feel the vibrations on my body."
"You're probably the first person to ever prefer the sound system! I hoped you would. The vibrations massaging the body and the exceptional sound quality are only possible because of the full-sized room. We're working on a small model you can wear, but it'll never be as effective as the full-sized unit. The holographic screen is the flashy modification, but we also improved the sound system. There are over 1000 full range speakers in the room."
"Can I bring my violin into the unit?" asked Mandy. "I'd like to play my Lullaby in there."
"Sure, the gloves on the sensor outfit are removable," said John. "Though you won't be using all the pressure and strain sensors in the glove, so there will be a slight reduction in the biofeedback signals. "
"I don't care about that," said Mandy. "This year, I'll remember grandpa in your new Model 4."
: 10:00 PM
Mandy retrieved her violin from the closet, and said to John, "Hon, grandpa would really be surprised at this high-tech remembrance I'm about to attempt. I'm not so sure he'd like the novelty. He was very conventional, but he'd like the sentiment."
"You're devotion to the memory of your grandfather is remarkable," said John.
"Why do you say that? Lots of people remember their dead relatives."
"True, but they don't play the same tune every night and then meditate."
"My nightly ritual is not primarily for my grandfather anymore...I find it nurturing. But, tonight's special. Somehow on February 29 there's a stronger sense of...of memory. I like to do something extraordinary for him every fourth year. Playing the Lullaby in our new HT-4 certainly qualifies."
"Have a good session," said John.
Mandy entered the dressing room adjacent to the HT-4 and put on the sensor outfit, without the gloves. She took her violin into the unit and closed the door behind her. The inside walls looked like solid wood, though the speakers and sensor/transmitter equipment were crammed behind them.
Mandy sat down in the chair. She didn't care about any of the technical details. All she knew was that when she said, "Start", the unit sprung into action. She was alerted to the beginning of the session by a metallic clicking noise and the activation of the H-Screen and sound system. There was no console¾ only the chair¾ in the middle of the 4 meter wide hemispherical room. The holographic H-screen was a 1 meter by 1 meter by 1 meter cube. With the H-screen off, the inside of the unit was cold and inert, but once the screen propelled its colors throughout the room, and once the sounds began, the HT unit was transformed into a personal place which reflected the persons state of being.
Mandy sat still for a moment thinking of her grandfather. Colorful patterns developed on the screen which changed slowly with a rhythm in sync with the basey notes circulating the room. The rotating music was being generated by appropriately activating the thousand speakers comprising the sound system. The sound moved around the room once every three seconds or so. The sensation of a rotating musical source, which was slightly above her head, was hypnotic.
She remembered how her grandfather taught her to play the violin. They would work together for hours, but the hours seemed only minutes long. Her memories were much more vivid than ever before. She began remembering¾ almost reliving¾ a particular lesson when she first successfully played 'Lullaby' for him without any wrong notes. The memories brought tears to her eyes, she picked up her violin and began to play.
Mandy's Lullaby filled the room. The biofeedback sounds became quieter, and the H-screen's colors and shapes became muted. Mandy was listening to her own music and playing for her grandfather. It was so real. Mandy was playing for her grandfather¾ when she was six years old. She was playing Lullaby and playing well. She had not made a single mistake. Mandy re-experienced finishing the piece. Grandpa gave her a long warm hug. Mandy could feel it now.
Mandy put down her violin and began her meditation. It was her custom to close her eyes when she meditated. She was not at all interested in seeing the H-screen while she meditated. She didn't want anything to detract from the warm hug she had just received from her grandfather.
"How was the session?" asked John as Mandy entered the study.
"Just fine. The violin activated some very old memories...it was good."
"I'm sure your grandfather would be pleased at the mix of technology and sentiment."
"The technology is truly amazing. The memories were so real. I relived the sight, sounds and emotions of a time long ago. I played for my grandfather when I was very young. I'd like to do my nightly ritual in there more often."
"Terrific," said John. He was glad that Mandy was taking a more active interest in HTing. "I wonder what you sounded like."
"Would you like to find out?"
"What do you mean?" asked Mandy.
"Honey, all the '4s have a sophisticated local recording feature. The health-related information is stored at the HTI supercomputer center, but I've set-up our unit to save all our sessions on 3-D optical disks. Would you like to hear and see your session?"
"Of course!" Mandy was quite excited about this prospect. As they walked to the HT room, Mandy asked, "Is everything recorded?"
"No...not really," answered John. "Only the biofeedback signals which activate the H-Screen and the speakers. They can be played back producing very little distortion."
"Well, that's everything you'd want to record...isn't it?" asked Mandy.
"No, we're working on recording the biofeedback signals sent back to each of the body sensors, so that they can be used to record feelings and thoughts."
"Are you serious?" Mandy stopped and looked at John.
"Yes. We hope to be able to playback the total HT experience."
"I don't think you'll be able to do that...I hope you won't."
"What's the problem here?" asked John.
"My feelings...my thoughts...they belong to me. No, it's even more than that." Mandy paused to collect her thoughts. "Feelings and thoughts, and other such personal experiences, are my essence. These are the important part of me. I don't believe you can record me. And I don't want me to be available for playback," she finished rather angrily.
"Wow," said John. "This is a sensitive subject..."
"You're damn right."
"First of all," he said slowly and deliberately, "at best we could only record the part of you showing during an HT session. And secondly, we are having difficulty in playing thoughts and feelings back...except to the person who made the recording."
"You have touched a nerve of some sort..." Mandy said pensively. What is that sensitivity? she thought. I felt very threatened. "I don't want any part of my essence available for playback. I'll show my self when and how I choose..."
"Your musical recordings are part of you," said John. "And it doesn't bother you to play them back. What's the difference?"
"Yes, my music comes from somewhere deep inside me...but it's the outward result of my inner essence. You can record the objective part of me. That's the part I show you. But you cannot record my subjective self," she said with the ring of someone who had just explained something to herself.
"I don't understand that," said John. "But would you like to see the objective you that HTed an hour ago?"
"Okay," she felt better and smiled, "let's do it."
They walked to the back of the HT-4 unit where there was a TV screen and attached keyboard. John typed in a simple rewind and play command, and immediately the TV sprang to life with images of Mandy sitting in the HT chair with her violin at her side. "This is the quick look approach. But don't confuse this with the full HT recording. I'll show you that in a minute," said John.
The image included the H-Screen, but when Mandy picked up her violin and began playing, it was obvious that the H-Screen and the full 360 degree sound system could not be satisfactorily reproduced with video even with a high definition screen.
John said, "The best way to replay the session is to have you sit in the HT seat again, and I'll play back the sounds and images directly through the HT-4."
"I don't have to wear that outfit, do I?" Mandy asked.
"No, there won't be any additional biofeedback. You go sit in the chair."
It only took John a minute or so to activate the full playback features of the HT-4. And Mandy was enthralled. As an observer and listener, she appreciated the dynamics of the H-Screen and the 360 degree sound system. She realized that earlier she had been too absorbed in her own playing to listen. Now she listened and watched as the H-Screen became more active and as the sound system began quietly playing strangely beautiful music.
"John...John, are you there?"
"Yes. I'm watching you from the console."
"I think I'm hearing music accompanying my Lullaby."
"I can't hear it from here," said John. "But I hope you're right."
"Can you make it louder?"
"I can do better than that," said John. "I'll turn off your violin music, and we'll listen only to the biofeedback sounds¾ hopefully music¾ that you generated during your session."
"You can do that!" said Mandy.
"Um...I hope so...yes. Give me a second. There you go." It turned out to be relatively easy to do since the violin music and other sounds coming from within the HT unit were recorded separately from the HT-4 biofeedback signals sent to the sound system. He simply turned off the violin sound track. At first the music was barely audible. John increased the volume.
Mandy now heard¾ from her left and right¾ a simple harmony of music which was both unique from each direction and yet coordinated. She wondered who composed this music, and then she realized that it was her biofeedback that had somehow performed the composition. How marvelous, she thought.
After a few minutes, five additional sources of music gradually appeared which completely surrounded Mandy. She felt this circle of music hug her. Mandy began to quietly sob.
John could also hear the accompanying music. He could not appreciate the full effect of the sound system, but he was still astonished at the simple beauty of the musical creation.
John could hear Mandy sob. He left her alone with her music and her memories.
After the playback session, Mandy emerged and gave John a big hug. "That's quite a toy," she said.
Mandy knew that she would delve deeply into this new form of playing and composing music.
Part 2 DAVID AND JAMALI
LEBANON: 7 October 2033
David was into his fourth year of traveling around the world. He had spent most of his time in third and fourth world countries. He didn't stay long in the more advanced countries, because they were all similar¾ much like America. There were, of course, differences in culture, etc, among the hi-tech countries, but these were small compared to the dramatic difference in the life style of the poverty-stricken countries and cultures.
David found plenty of original things to admire in these other countries. He was especially drawn to the strength and dignity of the common people, under hardships which would break many people from more hi-tech countries. He also saw the impoverishment, corruption, hatred and death. He learned to appreciated why so much violence was born in the midst of nothing-to-lose. He struggled with the almost impossible to answer question: Why so much poverty, and how to break the chain? How to end the cycle of misery and violence?
David had spent the last year traveling through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. His primary mode of transportation was a small camper which was registered with the U.S. Tourist Bureau. The tourist business was a primary source of income for all of the Near and Middle Eastern countries, and these specially marked vehicles were welcome almost everywhere. The Bureau notified all vehicle owners of restricted areas where regional violence was present. The small camper slept two and had a small refrigerator, microwave oven, stove, bathroom and two way radio hookup with the Bureau. This mode of travel was relatively inexpensive and quite safe as long as one traveled in authorized parts of the countries.
David was currently in Beirut. That's where he met Jamali Sayed, a 19 year old Palestinian girl. Jamali worked for the Palestinian government as a translator. She was on vacation from her job for one month and she took a temporary job in Beirut to earn extra money. Beirut was courting tourism, and the pay was very good as a translator at the US Tourist Bureau.
David met her shortly after he was towed into Beirut. It was her job to provide business for Arab establishments in Beruit¾ business from Americans calling the local Bureau needing food, lodging or other assistance. David's camper had developed a serious problem with its alternator 10 miles from Beirut and had to be towed into the local garage. Jamali had taken his call at the Bureau, and she had placed the request for the tow truck. Jamali first saw David when the truck pulled into the garage. Cute, she thought. Jamali had driven to the garage to act as translator between David and the Lebanese mechanic¾ that was standard procedure. She was quite surprised, and annoyed, to discover that he could speak Arabic, though only with a terrible accent.
Spunky, David thought as she ranted about how he should have told her that he spoke Arabic. He didn't say a word. Sexy and pretty, too. He just smiled. The more she bellowed about how inconsiderate he was and how busy she was, the more he smiled. And finally, he simply erupted in laughter. She stopped jabbering, she looked at this tall tan muscular American boy who had done nothing to provoke her diatribe, and she too burst out with laughter.
David offered to buy her lunch for the unnecessary trouble he had caused her. She accepted.
"Don't you see that enormous progress has been made?" said David to Jamali as they sat down at a restaurant near the garage.
"What progress," answered Jamali, "we're dominated by the Israelis."
"You're still blaming Israel for all your problems," said David.
She continued, "We're their economic slaves. They no longer kill our brothers and sisters. No, they do worse, they exploit us in their factories. I totally support the strikes. The wages we're paid are wages of slaves."
"Come on now," said David. "Exploitation! That's a bunch of rubbish. The Palestinians are better off now than they've been in thousands of years. The have a country of their own...Palestine. That's what they've wanted ever since Israel was established."
"Yes," said Jamali, "we have a country¾ but no resources, no industry, no worthwhile leaders."
"But you can't blame the Israelis for that!"
"Sure I can. They've always provided inferior education for Palestinians."
"Well," said David, "I guess now's the time for you to start educating your own people. Stop being so dependent...and stop bitching so much."
"I'll bitch if I want to!"
David paused, and then asked rhetorically. "What's at the source of all the conflict?"
Jamali took the question as a serious one, and immediately answered, "Lack of caring for people on the other side."
David was somewhat surprised by her response...it sounded right.
"How did you become so wise?" he asked Jamali.
"Wisdom can be learned in Lebanon...you become wise or you become sad. Most are very sad."
"I guess that's true," said David. "By the way, where did you learn to become a translator?"
"At Beirut University," she answered. "Ever since I was a kid, I was very good at languages...I'm fluent in 6 languages," she added shyly.
"Wow, that's impressive. Are you learning more languages...I assume you're still at the University."
"No...no more languages. And I've graduated. I was encouraged¾ actually pushed¾ by my parents through school very quickly. Being a bright Palestinian girl, I was able to win special scholarships. I graduated last year with honors"
"Why are you working here, and not in Palestine?" he asked.
"Actually, I do work in Palestine¾ Arafat City to be exact," she answered. "I'm translating contracts between the Palestine and Chinese governments. This is an extra job I took for three weeks during my vacation," she answered.
"You are the first hyper-active Palestinian woman I've ever met," said David. "You're making me feel like a do-nothing bum."
They spent a very pleasant hour, and then Jamali said, "Well, it's been fun, but I have to go back to work. This is my last day here. I'm taking the bus to Jerusalem tomorrow."
"I'm leaving for Jerusalem in the morning," said David. I'm going to visit a friend of my father's...you're welcome to ride along with me."
"No...thank you, that's okay. I want to make a stop on the way to visit my uncle," said Jamali. "I don't have to be in Jerusalem until Monday."
David laughed, "I don't have any schedule. I'll take you to your uncle's... Am I being too forward here... I'm sorry... "
"You laugh a lot, don't you?"
"I guess so," said David quietly and without a smile. He was now feeling very self conscious. What a dummy...asking her to join you...she doesn't know you from Adam he thought.
"Okay, David, I'll take you up on your offer."
NEAR BENT JUBAIL, LEBANON: 8 October 2033
David and Jamali had driven through 3 sectors of Lebanon and were only a few miles from Israel's northern border. Each of Lebanon's 6 sectors was controlled by a different group. The Syrian surrogates controlled 3 of the sectors, and three separate Muslim groups maintained control over the other 3 sectors. There was an uneasy peace, broken periodically with bloody skirmishes at sector borders, that had now lasted for 8 years. Each group was happy to solidify control in it's own reasonably well defined territory. Discussions were going on in the United Nations to partition Lebanon into 6 separate countries; partitioning was becoming the method of choice in resolving long standing territorial conflicts.
About a mile past the small town of Bent Jubail, Jamali said, "David, there's the turn off¾ just ahead¾ for my uncle's village. I really appreciate you taking me here...it's out of your way."
"No problem," said David, "Meeting people is why I'm traveling all over the world."
"He's down the road another mile or so, then turn right."
David made the right turn into the village. The road was just as bumpy and the shops and houses just as shabby as they had been for the last 60 years or so, ever since Lebanon's civil war began in the late 1970s. The villagers did not see many campers and it attracted much attention. In fact, a group of children and a few adults followed them to Jamali's uncle's home.
"There it is!" exclaimed Jamali pointing to a small house about 50 yards off the road. David turned onto a very narrow path and parked in front of the house.
By this time there were over 40 people tagging along. When the two passengers climbed out, there was a gaggle of talk about an American boy traveling with a Lebanese girl. "...have they no shame," said one women to another.
Jamali knocked on the door and there was no answer. She turned to the onlookers and asked in Lebanese, "Where is Muhammad? He's my uncle."
A young man answered, "He's dead...our village was raided by Shiites about a month ago. They wanted his stored food. He said no and put up a fight and they shot him."
"Oh no," said Jamali sadly. "He was such a kind man. How could they kill him."
She asked the young man if he knew where her aunt could be found. He didn't know exactly, she had left the village shortly after the funeral. The young man was paid a small sum of money to make sure nothing happened to the house or belongings inside.
Suddenly, there was a loud crash as a rock smashed through the back window. David ran to the back of the camper and saw a woman throw another rock. David jumped high and caught it in mid-air. David shouted at the woman in somewhat stilted Lebanese, "Stop, stop, why do you do such a bad thing!"
By now all eyes were on the little drama being played out. The woman was taken aback by this young American knowing Lebanese. She said to him and to the crowd, "You rich Americans think you can buy anything you want. You buy our little girls with your money. They sleep with you...it's against all the teachings of the Koran...it's against what Allah says is good. Shame, shame, shame."
Jamali was now incensed, "What do you know¾ you know nothing," she shouted waving her arms. "We met at the border. We have done nothing. But," she said even louder, "if I want to sleep with my new friend, I will."
The crowd murmured at this admission. She continued, "What good has your Koran done you, or what good has it done our people? No good!" Then she sadly lowered her head and more quietly concluded, "No good at all. I too believe in the Koran, but I believe that I can tell the meaning which is right for me."
"Blasphemy," shouted a man from the crowd. "Who are you to interpret the holy scriptures? You are a mere girl."
Jamali again became excited. "What do you know? What do your mullahs know? I'll tell you. They only know about controlling people. They know about telling people what to think, what to eat, what to wear, how to pray, how to enter heaven. They tell you all how to live your lives. Where's your freedom, where's your self respect, where's your...where are you in all of this?"
"I am right here," said the man in a deliberate and angry tone. And I know that you are evil." He picked up a rock and hurled it toward Jamali. She dodged it easily, but now others in the crowd were reaching for stones.
"Let's get the hell out of here," shouted David. He grabbed Jamali by the hand and ran toward the van. Rocks were now being thrown from the crowd¾ one hit David on the forehead and he fell down. Jamali started to help him up. Two men ran towards them. One was the man who was so incensed at Jamali; he grabbed her arm while the other man kicked David in the stomach.
Jamali held firmly to David's left hand¾ she did not want to be dragged off by this angry man. David held firmly to Jamali's hand, and with his right hand he punched, as hard as he could, the ankle of the man who had kicked him. This man fell to the ground. David sprang up and karate chopped the wrist of the man holding Jamali. The man's wrist was probably broken. In any case, he let go.
David and Jamali ran to the camper, and David took off at top speed. More rocks were thrown¾ one breaking a side window. The racing camper knocked over a cart as it left the village.
Once they were a few miles out of the village, Jamali said, "We have to take care of your head. Do you have a first aid kit?"
They stopped and Jamali began cleaning David's head wound. "Oh David, I'm so sorry you were hurt. They're so stupid. They live just like they lived thousands of years ago... nothing will change them."
"Maybe so," said David. "Is there anything wrong with that? Why can't we just let them live their lives the way they want to?"
She then rather roughly put some merthiolate on the wound to disinfect it, "Ouch," David said.
"Then you're stupid too," Jamali said as she wiped the wound clean with a little more force than necessary.
"They're being taught how to stagnate, and they're being taught hatred."
"Are you finished trying to kill me? I think I'll ask those guys back at the village for help!" He looked up at her pretty face and they smiled at each other.
"You want to know the worst part, David?" she with a gentle, but sad tone in her voice. "They're not aware of hating. Most of the people have no reason to hate, and yet the teachings of their elders alienate them to other modes of thinking. They learn mistrust and hatred in the guise of loving and serving Allah in the way He intended. The term 'infidel' still carries the power which should be associated only with inhuman creatures bent on destroying all of mankind."
"How did you become so intense?" David asked.
"I'm one quarter Jewish," answered Jamali.
"You're kidding. I didn't know that happened." What a stupid thing to say, he thought.
"It happens more than either the Jews or Muslims like...but maybe it's part of how the two religions and peoples will learn about each other...I don't know," Jamali ended rather sadly.
David said nothing.
"Okay, you're cured," Jamali said, shaking off the mild depression. "Why don't we hit the road, as you Americans like to say."
"Thanks for cleaning me up." David started the engine and they were on their way again.
"Would you like to hear how my Jewish grandmother and Muslim grandfather met?"
"Of course," said David.
"My grandmother was a tourist from America¾ Chicago¾ right before the turn of the century. She came with her parents to visit Israel. She was a 18 year old Jewish college student.
"The family was visiting the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem when some violence occurred inside the Muslim sector of Jerusalem, near the Dome of the Rock. This is one of the holiest sites to Muslims, next after Mecca and Medina. The infighting among the various Muslim sects had become so bad that violence broke out over control of the Dome, control over whether non-Muslim visitors should be permitted.
"The violence consisted primarily of fist fighting, but later two men were found knifed to death inside the Dome area. The fighting spread to the gate separating the Dome area from the Jewish Sector right near the Wailing Wall. The Muslim guards tried to contain the mob fighting, but it began to spill over into the open area in front of the Wall. An Israeli soldier fired a warning shot into the air to try to stop the fighting. This shot apparently shifted the mob's anger toward the Israelis. The mob attacked one of the soldiers and took his gun. The two other Israeli soldiers on duty shot into the crowd, and 22 innocent people were killed. There was panic and confusion. Most of the people ran back into the Muslim sector. But some attacked the three Israeli soldiers¾ killing all of them."
"I remember reading something about that in a history class," said David as he brought the Washington Post news accounts of the incident into his memory. "It was in 1993, and the Muslims actually gained control of the Wailing Wall. They took all the people at the Wall hostage."
"Including my grandmother and her parents," added Jamali with a sigh. "The hostage taking¾ in fact the whole incident¾ started without planning by any of the Muslim groups. But once they had control of the Wall and the hostages, there was a consensus to stay and use the incident to rally the cause of returning all of Jerusalem to the Palestinians."
"The Muslims must have known that Israel would never give Jerusalem back," said David.
"Not necessarily, at least they hoped to receive something from the Israelis. And, they eventually did. It took 20 more years¾ March 1, 2013 until the formation of Palestine was official. And remember, Palestine not only includes part of the West Bank, but also part of Jerusalem¾ the area around the Dome of the Rock is formally part of Palestine. My family still likes to think that we were part of the decision to form the independent country of Palestine."
The camper reached the Israeli border. They were briefly stopped, they showed their passports, and they were asked the reasons for entering the country. "Vacation," said David. "Returning home," said Jamali.
Once inside Israel, the road became a paved four lane highway. David was quickly doing 100 km/hr. He was interested in hearing more of Jamali's story.
"So, the Wailing Wall Episode began," said David echoing a headline from the Washington Post, "and your grandmother was right in the middle of it all. How did she meet your grandfather from this?"
"I'll get to that," she said. "First, you have to understand that not all Muslims hate Jews. The Koran is built upon the 5 books of Moses. Abraham, the Jewish patriarch is also a Muslim patriarch. The similarity¾ significant similarity¾ in teachings at the basic level between Judaism and Islam is often neglected by those who benefit from a narrow interpretation which strengthens their personal base of influence. I believe this to be true of many Muslim and Jewish religious leaders."
"I'd add many Christian leaders to that bunch too," said David. "And, now that I think of it, it's also true of most ethnic and cultural groups. How can a religion or any group survive if it doesn't identify something as being uniquely its own?"
Jamali ignored this tangent and continued, "My grandfather, Muhammad Sayed, was a man of 22 at this time, and he was one of the Muslims who rushed the Israeli soldiers and took the 40 hostages at the Wailing Wall.
"Now everyone knew that the Israeli army would be showing-up shortly. Most of the Muslims ran back into the Dome area; about 20 stayed with the hostages. They knew that their lives were at risk; they also knew that the Israelis had started the shooting, and they hoped that they would have a chance to tell their side of the story to the world. These Muslims were not terrorists ready to die in martyrdom¾ they were simply caught-up in a chain of events.
"The Israeli helicopters and soldiers arrived within 5 minutes of the initial shooting. They cleared the Muslim sector and rapidly controlled the entire Wailing Wall area...except the area held by the Muslims.
"'Who's in charge here,' said the Israeli Major in charge of his forces.
"My grandfather looked around, and then said, 'Noone is really in charge. We've done nothing wrong here. Israeli soldiers fired into the crowd killing many Muslims¾ you can see their bodies over there.' "
The Major said, 'Release all you hostages at once and no one will be hurt.'"
David now smiled as she quoted statements from the 40 year old incident, "How do you know what everyone said?"
"I'm telling you the story my grandmother has told me a thousand times. I've memorized it...it's my history."
Jamali continued in a very serious tone. "The Major motioned for his men to carefully move to positions where they could fire on the Muslims. 'Don't fire on them unless they fire first,' he said. When my grandfather saw the men move he shouted, 'Major, stop that movement this minute. If this turns into a massacre, it'll be on your head. So far, we have a tragedy which happened very quickly without much thought. Let's not make it worse. Let's just talk for a while.'
"The Major had pretty accurately assessed the situation. He could tell that my grandfather and the other Muslims with guns were not terrorist nor well trained. He probably felt that he could kill them, but if his men started shooting they would fire in return and some of the hostages and his men might be killed.
"'Okay', said the Major as he motioned for his men to hold their positions. 'Let's talk. First, what's your name?'"
"'I am Muhammad Sayed. I am a Palestinian without a homeland. We want you and the world to know that Jerusalem cannot remain under Israeli control. You Israelis say that you provide freedom to Muslims to worship...and yet you shoot us if we innocently leave our Sanctuary at the Dome of the Rock. What kind of freedom is that. You have killed many of our people today for no reason. Jerusalem must return to its rightful heritage...it must become part of the country of Palestine.'"
Jamali continued, "Both my grandfather and the Major knew that the incident was being photographed by video cameras which were remotely controlled by the United Nations. The constant monitoring was one of the agreements reached at the First Palestine Formation Conference in 1997. It only took 6 more Conferences until they succeeded!"
"The Major was annoyed at the political statement and said, 'Is this why you're keeping all these innocent people as hostages. So you can make a political statement. You want to become famous do you? Well, if you don't release these hostages in two minutes you will be famous...and you will be dead. You're on Israeli soil, and you're holding Israeli citizens hostage. You have two minutes starting right now.' The major motioned to his men who started to surround the Muslims and their hostages.
"The situation was becoming very tense," Jamali continued. "When suddenly, a young girl¾ my grandmother¾ started waving her hands and said with tears in her eyes and heart, 'Stop this foolishness...stop it. Let's not have any more killing. I saw the whole thing...the Muslim crowd¾ it was really a mob¾ broke through the gate and they were fighting among themselves when an Israeli soldier shot into the air. This caused the mob to turn on the soldiers. The soldiers began defending themselves and they shot into the crowd. The mob quickly overpowered them and killed them with knives. I don't know who you want to blame, but don't be so dumb as to have more killing. Why don't the Muslims just go back to their Dome area and you can sort everything out later.'
"And then my grandmother did the most extraordinary thing. She took her parents hands and began slowly walking from the Wailing Wall area toward the entrance to the Dome. As she started walking some of the hostages and all of the Muslims began walking behind her. Many of the non-Israeli hostages, visiting tourists from all over the world, moved to the outside of the group in order to shield the Muslims from the Israelis soldiers. This shielding action developed spontaneously.
The Israeli hostages, who were mostly orthodox Jews praying at the wall, simply stayed behind."
"Wow," said David, "That must have been very scary...for everyone concerned."
"Yes," said Jamali, "my grandmother says her heart was pounding so loudly that she couldn't think. She says that if she had thought about what she was doing, she never would have done it.
"Anyway, the Major let them all enter the Dome area. He could have stopped them by blocking the entrance, but he appreciated the opportunity which my grandmother had created for a bloodless conclusion."
David knew, from the Times articles, that Muhammad Sayed and Jackie Feldman became heroes to the Muslim world after this incident. And they were married two years later. He asked, "How did the Israelis react to your grandmother's impulsive act?"
"They had mixed emotions, to say the least. They considered the three dead Israeli soldiers to have been murdered by the Muslim mob. The video showed that two of the Muslims in the group that remained with the hostages were involved with the murders, and they viewed my grandmother as helping them escape. The Major was severely reprimanded for letting the Muslims out of his jurisdiction. My grandmother, however, was not charged with anything. And fortunately, Muhammad was clearly shown to have not been involved in the killings.
"So," she continued, "the Israelis were not happy with my grandmother, but the Muslims made her a national hero. This was all very uncomfortable for her parents. And when Muhammad began showing a special interest in my grandmother, they cut their visit short and returned to Chicago."
"So how did Jackie Feldman and Muhammad Sayed eventually meet long enough to become acquainted and married? asked David.
"Muhammad was an unusual Palestinian. He won a scholarship to the University of Chicago Medical school. He waited until my grandmother was 21 years old, and then they were married¾ her parents never approved. He earned his medical degree and they moved to Jordan. My grandmother never saw her parents again. That almost broke her heart, but she loved Muhammad."
"That's a wonderful story," said David.
"Yes it is...but wait a minute! How did you know that my grandmother's name was Jackie Feldman. She hasn't used that name since she was married. I've almost forgotten that name."
"I have a very good memory. You've heard of photographic memories. That's how I knew," said David.
"Photographic memories are very rare," said Jamali. "You have quite a valuable gift. Do you use it well?"
"I really don't know how valuable this gift is. Yes, I can remember lots of things which have been written, but that doesn't provide any particular synthesis for improving my life...or anybody else's."
"I've always wished I could have a photographic memory. At Beruit University, the number of things we had to read was ridiculous. But what a waste, to read all that material and not be able to remember it! You're very lucky."
David smiled. I can remember anything that's been written, he thought, and so what! "It's not that big a deal. Yes, school was easy for me, so what...what do I do now with this 'gift' as you call it. I've been out of school now for about 4 years, I've traveled through much of the world, and I still don't know what I want to do with my life. It hasn't helped me with that key decision at all."
"Well...you've traveled and met lots of different kinds of people. That's an important decision. What to do with your life is not usually a single decision. It's a series of choices."
"You're a philosopher," said David.
"Actually, that's about right. I work as a translator, but I took a minor in philosophy at the University. Nobody pays for philosophy, but there's lots of work for translators in the Middle East. Tell me more about yourself. How can you travel for 4 years?" she asked.
"I love to travel and see people living in the natural world¾ without all the high technology trappings I grew up with. My parents can afford to support me, and they're giving me time to roam free. Maybe part of my problem with deciding what to do with my life is that I don't have to decide!"
"What do you have against technology? We're trying to attract more of it. Most of the people who live in the natural world want more technology," Jamali strongly emphasized natural. "Anyway, what do you mean by natural. Do natural people have to live in caves, or are farms okay...farms with oxen pulling wooden plows. I suppose a modern plow would be unnatural because it was made from automated steel mills using iron ore mined by robots."
"Now wait a minute," David protested.
"No, I won't wait a minute. You Americans take so much for granted. Robots are made by man. Why isn't that as natural as a bird making a nest. You and your friends can provide a new age of freedom from hunger for mankind, and yet you waste this potential because of politics." She said this last word with a vehemence which showed a deep wound somewhere in her past. And then Jamali began to sob.
"Jamali, are you okay...I'm sorry."
She began crying, and David pulled the camper over to the side of the road. He turned toward her, and saw the tears in her eyes and on her cheeks. There was nothing for him to say, he gave her a reassuring hug, and they sat there for a minute or two.
Finally, Jamali said, "I don't usually carry on like this. But my mother is being deported from Palestine for being 50% Jewish. My father died two months ago, and since she is no longer married to a Muslim, and since she's Jewish under Palestinian law, and since she will not convert to Islam, the government of Palestine is deporting her to Israel. This is clearly a political move in retaliation for the deportation of several Muslims¾ on very flimsy grounds¾ being carried out by the Israelis."
"How terrible," said David. "Your father, he must have been very young. How sad. But, if your mother wants to stay in Palestine, why doesn't she convert to Islam?"
"My mother and father both believed very much that the differences between Islam and Judaism were small enough that Muslims and Jews could live together peacefully. Worship would be freely permitted, but would take the role of respect for tradition rather than blind obedience to dogma. My grandmother taught my mother to respect the person's character, not their religious label. My grandmother and then my mother would say, 'The essence of good is what is common to all religions.' Neither of them would practice any religious rituals¾ that was their way of demonstrating their faith in unifying people as opposed to dividing them with separate religious practices and rituals."
"Your mother still feels that so strongly that she won't agree to worship in the Islamic fashion," said David incredulously.
"That's right. She's been through the Palestinian court system¾ which is really Islamic¾ and she will be deported in 10 days. I'm going to help her. First with a final appeal to the authorities, and then...then I'll help her resettle...somewhere...in Israel."
"It's been pretty tough on your mother...and you too."
They were both silent for a few moments, then David said, "We'll be in Jerusalem in less than an hour."
"Thank you David."
"Just for being kind enough to listen and understand. Let's stop here for the night...I think we've driven enough for one day. Don't you?"
David wasn't sure what Jamali had in mind, so he just said, "Uh...okay. We'll still arrive in Jerusalem tomorrow morning." He drove off the road a short distance into the desert.
Jamali stepped out of the camper, closed the door and began walking into the desert. She looked back and gestured¾ with a movement of her head¾ for David to follow. "Do you have a blanket, and any wine? I love making love under the stars."
The next morning, tired but happy, David and Jamali drove to Jerusalem after having some fruit, bread and coffee for breakfast. They chatted about all kinds of personal things like their childhood triumphs and tragedies, their favorite music and movie stars, their best memories...they completely forgot politics, religion and the rest of the world.
As they approached the outskirts of Jerusalem, Jamali asked David to take her to the Palestine Embassy in Jerusalem. She explained that she was going there to make final arrangements for her mother to move to Israel¾ though there was a small possibility that her mother could stay in Palestine.
David drove to the Embassy. As Jamali was stepping out of the camper, she asked if he would be interested in going into Palestine with her. He said he'd really like to do that. She asked where she could call him once the arrangements were finalized. He said that he would be at Tracey Cantor's home, and he gave her Tracey's telephone number.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL: 9 OCTOBER 2033
David Arrives at Tracey's Home
After David dropped Jamali off at the Palestinian Embassy, he drove directly to Tracey Cantor's home near the old city.
"David, I barely recognize you," said Tracey.
"It's been 10 years, and I guess I've changed."
He gave her a gentle hug, and she kissed him quickly on the lips while holding his cheeks.
"Dad and mom said that I'd better come and stay with you when I arrived in Jerusalem¾ or else they and you would never forgive me."
"That's right! I still talk to your mom about once a month¾ more often to your dad because we're working on some projects together. Come in, come in."
"You look terrific," continued Tracey. "Are you hungry? I was just making dinner. I'll throw a little extra lettuce on the salad and we'll be set."
"Sounds good." said David.
He was very impressed with Tracey's house. It was filled with modern contoured furniture and lots of electronic equipment including what looked like robots. "Are these robots?" he asked.
"Of course," she said. "Where have you been?"
"In South America, Africa, India, China, Russia...I guess I've been gone too long from the modern world of technology," he said.
"I expected them to look more like humans."
"I'm sorry, Davey," said Tracey. "I forgot that you haven't been in touch. I guess I've become rather narrow in my view of the world."
"That's okay," said David.
"These robots are the latest models," said Tracey. "They're indispensable to me. This one cleans the house twice a day. The attached hose connects directly to my garbage bin. There's no reason for it to look human. It's designed to vacuum and scrub items which it recognizes from an initial manual use. I operated it¾ really trained it¾ two years ago to clean my home. I haven't had to clean since then. It only requires maintenance once a year, and plugs itself in to recharge its batteries ."
Tracey moved over to another robot which was an open cubic basket, resting on a computer terminal, with wheels and four arms¾ one arm came out of each side of the cube. "This fellow takes care of day to day chores outside the home, like shopping for groceries or buying standard clothing. He goes to the communications room in the back of the house whenever I ask him for a standard order. He calls the Robotics Delivery Service which arranges to deliver the items within 24 hours. He takes the delivery, which is always in a standard cubical box, and puts the items away and makes sure that my account is billed properly. The robots are great¾ I don't know how I found time to do the things I wanted to do before them."
"What kind of things do you like to do?" David asked innocently. He wasn't really interested in robots.
"Mostly work related. I really love my work. Your dad and I are working on some very interesting things. Also I have several special projects which are fascinating. I wish I could talk to you about the details, but...you know...security," said Tracey.
"I understand," he said. No I don't, he thought. "You know, Tracey, I'm just being polite. This secrecy is crazy. Why is it so important?"
"It comes down to making it as difficult as possible for other countries to discover what you define to be secret information," answered Tracey. It's important because the government considers it to be important¾ that's what governments do. They decide and carry out policies...some are intended to be secret. And some are more secret than others."
"Who keeps the most important secrets?" he asked.
"That's secret," she answered in all seriousness.
David couldn't resist smiling. And Tracey, seeing his smile, also smiled. David was smiling at the seriousness of Tracey's attitude. Tracey was tickled by David's naiveté.
"Let's go eat," said Tracey, with a smile still in her voice.
"Which robot makes dinner?"
"I enjoy doing that, anyway, the robot chef is too temperamental." She looked at him, and they both laughed.
At dinner, David told Tracey about Jamali. As he related the events of the last two days, he realized how much he had enjoyed her companionship.
"I'm looking forward to seeing her again, and to visiting Palestine," he said.
"Why do you want to go to Palestine?" she asked.
"To meet some of the people, and to see the progress being made in this relatively new nation."
"Palestine is ruled by the old tenants of Islamic law. Very little has changed with the Palestinians, except they have some land which they can call their own. Most have finally accepted Israel as an independent country¾ that was part of the agreement which permitted the formation of Palestine. But Israel's relative prosperity is a sore point."
David said, "Jamali told me there was a lot of industry coming to Palestine. Mostly from Arab countries, but China was also starting a major solar-powered manufacturing plant for constructing robots. She thought that the move toward modern technology was a major breakthrough for the Palestinians. Jamali is a strong believer in modern technology."
"Well," said Tracey, slowly, "there are plans like that being discussed, but whether they come to fruition is another matter. Only time will tell."
David continued, "Jamali is translating the business contracts. She's very optimistic about the robot deal. The Chinese really want a presence in Palestine...according to Jamali. She says that the terms are very favorable for the influential Palestinians who will eventually own 51% of the factory."
Tracey could not freely discuss what she knew about the China-Palestine robot deal with David. Lama Kiela was central to the deal, and everything the Israelis and US intelligence services knew about him was very closely held. Tracey was in charge of the Israeli project to keep track of Kiela. She became entranced, almost obsessed, with Lama Kiela. The attraction began a decade earlier when Tracey was contacted by Kiela¾ contacted, Tracey claimed¾ from the future. The Israeli government was quite skeptical of Tracey's account of what happened during her future-dowsing session with John Wensler in the D-3. But for Tracey, the influence was emotional, not mental. Kiela had brought peace to her life.
According to Tracey's Future-Dowsing information, Kiela was the primary mover in convincing the Chinese government that this business deal was in their best long range interests. Also, Tracey predicted a fully operational plant operating in less than 4 years with advanced robot models being successfully marketed all over the world shortly thereafter. Tracey's recent report on the China-Palestine Robot Project was dismissed as inaccurate by both her government and the US government.
Tracey said, "Your friend Jamali seems to be in the middle of this Palestine-Chinese robot project." Then she paused and added, "Ask her if she knows about a Lama Kiela."
David said, "A name from the past...Lama Kiela..." David paused and internally asked for all the available information in Tracey's files on Kiela. Now, he thought, what about my father's files. David had learned the value in requesting his information one source at a time. He could then internally compare, contrast and evaluate the written material.
Tracey didn't understand David's comment. She saw him deeply concentrating, and asked, "Davey, what are you thinking about?"
David said, "You guys have spent a lot of time on this Lama, haven't you? He's in Palestine...at the Chinese Embassy..." What about the Chinese? he thought. His meaning to himself was clear; namely, retrieve to my memory all the written material in Chinese government files concerning Lama Kiela.
Tracey was visibly agitated by the reference to Kiela being in the Chinese Embassy¾ that fact was known only to 3 people in the Israeli government, and by about the same number in the US government.
"David Wensler! What's going on here!" David's attention returned to Tracey.
"Lama Kiela is the prime mover in this robot deal...he's in disguise and using an alias. He's hiding his identity at the direction of the Chinese government. They don't want the Palestinians to know that Kiela is working on this deal. The Palestinians don't trust Kiela, because he was part of the failure in detonating the plutonium laden bombs fifteen years ago. Palestinians have long memories when it comes to loss of face and loss of family members. Many Palestinians who participated in the mission were later assassinated by the Israelis."
Tracey just stared at him for a moment, "What are you talking about? How could you possibly know all this?"
David's eyes flashed with surprise.
"My father never told you about my psinfo ability," David said incredulously.
"I have a kind of psychic ability...I just assumed you knew," said David.
"No, not really...well not in any detail," Tracey flashed back to brief conversations with John. "Your father mentioned many years ago, when you were very young, something about how you had psychic flashes. He never mentioned it again."
"I'll be..." said David. "Dad always felt that I needed to mature without any outside influence mucking around with my psinfo ability. He felt that the longer I went without anyone else directing my psinfo applications, the better it would be for me. But...but, I just assumed he told you...especially after Thanksgiving...after you found the bombs. That's right, you weren't at our Thanksgiving dinner...that's when I mentioned Kiela."
Tracey was remembering the plutonium incident, and said, "As I recall, it was about a week after the Thanksgiving weekend that we identified Lama Kiela as the key guy doing HTing for the Chinese and Iranians. Your father gained that information from you, Thanksgiving night. He never told anyone. He told us he discovered Kiela's role during an HT session. Then we independently confirmed his information."
"My father said I had a gift¾ a gift which I had to learn how to use in the real world. A gift which could make me a freak or a friend. A gift which was a responsibility."
"How good are you with your psinfo?" asked Tracey.
David smiled, "I really don't know. I seem to be able to absorb any written material which I request. I just concentrated harder than usual to absorb the huge files that you, my father, and the Chinese have on Kiela. But still, it wasn't that difficult. I feel that I know the information as well as if I had read and studied the files."
"Studied them, huh," said Tracey, hiding her skepticism.
"What have your studies shown you?"
David thought a moment, "Well, first of all, the US and Israeli governments both think he's dangerous because he uses his HT abilities so well against them. The Chinese view him as a valuable resource to be exploited. I wonder what Kiela has written...wait a minute Tracey."
"I'm waiting." Tracey was having a hard time watching this young man, who she had known since his birth, display the most remarkable psychic ability she had ever witnessed. All the work she had done with HTing could not duplicate this ability to absorb written material¾ and some written in languages which should be foreign to David.
"That's very interesting," continued David. "Lama Kiela hardly writes anything down. He writes reports which are very factual. When his supervisors ask for clarification, he always responds with 'based on intuition'. "
"Okay," said Tracey, "tell me what your studies say about China's objectives in Palestine."
"The Chinese objectives, starting with the robot plant, is to financially and technologically support Palestine, thereby forging a strong political base," said David without hesitation. "This will provide China with a foothold to the entire Middle Eastern political and economic infrastructure. Also, by improving its relationship with another Muslim country, China is able to further strengthen its ties with dissident Muslim groups inside the old USSR."
David paused for a moment, and then concluded, "The Chinese are certainly willing to support long range plans...quite impressive actually."
"You're quite impressive, Davey. Very impressive indeed. Do you know anything about Kiela's personal life? Does he write any personal letters to friends?"
"No, I don't see any personal letters...none at all. He just doesn't write. Wait a minute, I've only been remembering his adult life...he wrote many letters to his older sister who went to Peking in the late 1980s. Tibet was a miserable place for a young girl. Kiela's sister took care of Kiela after their parents died. Once he became a young monk she went off the Peking to live. They wrote each other for several years...and then he stopped writing..."
David suddenly stopped talking, his face became long and confused. He got up out of his chair, and walked toward the living room. Tracey followed him with some concern. She saw that he had just gotten some insight or some piece of information which he did not know how to handle.
"Davey," she said, "are you okay."
"I need to be outside. Do you have a backyard or patio?" he asked with an intensity which surprised Tracey.
"Sure. Follow me." She took him to her den which had a small wooden patio outside. The patio overlooked the western part of the old city of Jerusalem.
"I'm sorry Tracey. I'm okay. But sometimes I feel that I have to be outside, or I'll suffocate. I like the wide open spaces."
"What happened in there?" she asked.
"Lama Kiela can psinfo. His last letter explains to his sister that his strange ability to acquire information caused him serious trouble in the monastery. He was accused of reading secret papers written by the Dalai Lama and smuggled into Tibet. He was eventually exonerated, but only because noone could prove that he could have had access to the documents. That incident frightened him, and he vowed to be very careful about his ability. Also, he figured others must have the ability too, so he decided not to write anything down, unless he absolutely had to. He told his sister that he loved her and would see her whenever he could.
"Tracey," David continued, "this was in 1990, when Kiela was only 12 years old. An apprentice monk in a monastery with psinfo ability, and lots of time to think and meditate on how to use it. Incredible...I've ignored this capability, while this man has probably cultivated psinfo to a fine art...wow!"
"Why are you so happy for him?" asked Tracey.
"Actually, I'm happy for myself...I don't feel quite as freakish."
Tracey had to bite her lip. She wanted so much to bring David into the intelligence community to study and use his psinfo ability. But she basically agreed with John's assessment. The outside control would be too rigid for David. He needed to mature and choose his own path.
"Davey, you're not a freak," she said. "You have an extraordinary and mysterious gift. The universe supplies these, I believe, to keep mankind's knowledge growing. It's built into the evolving reality which we share. David, use your gift well. Others may have similar gifts, but yours is unique because you are unique. It's for you to choose how to develop and use your psinfo ability. If there's anything which I can do to help you, please let me know. It would be my privilege."
"Right now, I'd like to get some sleep."
"Your room's right here, next to the den. I'll show you."
: 10 October 2033
The next morning, David was awakened by a knock on his door.
"David," said Tracey. "It's Jamali on the line."
"Uhhh...thanks Tracey," David said with a groan and lots of sleepiness in his voice. He reached for the phone on the end table as he sat up, "Jami...hi."
"Hi, David...sounds like I woke you up. Sorry about that."
"That's okay. I was hoping you'd call."
"I have some good news. My mother doesn't have to leave Palestine. The people I work for were able to pull some strings, and a modification to the court order will be issued later today. She can stay as long as she agrees to not become a practicing Jew."
"That's acceptable to your mother?"
"Yes, she doesn't like the concept, but she's willing to sign the court order since she's not a practicing Jew, or doing any of the Jewish rituals. Anyway. I'm leaving to meet her in about an hour...want to come along?"
"Great. Be at the embassy in one hour."
"I'll see you then."
PALESTINE EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM:
David was expected at the Palestinian embassy, and was taken to a small room where Jamali was waiting for him. She gave him a big smile of welcome, and when the embassy staff member left, David gently kissed Jamali¾ a kiss which she warmly returned.
Jamali was so happy. "We're very lucky," she said excitedly. "Before I left for Beirut, I asked my supervisor to ask his supervisor to try to convince the Chinese government to pressure the Palestinian government to let my mother stay."
"Right," said David as he tried to follow the sequence.
"Two days ago, the robot factory deal was signed, and my efforts in translating the complex deal were being rewarded by this grace for my mother."
"That's...marvelous. What's going to happen now?" Before she could answer, there was a knock on the door. The staff member said that their car and driver were ready.
Jamali looked at David and said, "First we'll be driven to my mother's home to pick her up, and then we're off to the Palestinian Court of Islam to sign the papers."
The drive from Jerusalem to the Palestine border was only 5 minutes. The embassy car was waved right through. Palestine was only about 10 miles by 10 miles in size, cut out from the northern part of the West Bank next to Jordan. The drive from the border to Jamali's mother's house took another 15 minutes since she lived near the Jordanian border. They first passed through two small cities near the Israeli border. As they approached central Palestine, the conditions became much more rural with scattered farms and ranches.
"The conditions near the Jordanian border are quite modern," said Jamali. "Arafat is a bustling capital city of 100,000 people¾ that's where I work."
"Doesn't the Islamic government inhibit technology in the cities? I'd think that modern cities would somehow violate Muslim traditions," asked David.
"There are many interpretations of Islam," answered Jamali. "The Iranians have always had the strictest interpretation. But most other Muslim countries have been very pragmatic and have aggressively opted for development as the opportunities presented themselves. There's a cool sense of coexistence among the Muslim countries. That's much better than the terrible in-fighting that existed during the later part of the 20th Century."
"I think Iran's primary problem is that they're too poor," said David, "They never prospered under Fundamentalist Islamic rule. Their refusal 15 years ago to join the Muslim Economic Council left them out of the tremendous growth which has occurred."
Jamali nodded in agreement, "I'm convinced that poverty is at the root of most of the suicide attacks coming from Iran. As long as people have something to lose, they won't readily die...no matter what their religious leaders tell them."
The embassy car stopped in front of a large apartment building. David and Jamali were too busy talking to notice where they were. The driver said, "We're here."
"This is it," said Jamali excitedly. Jamali ran from the car and disappeared inside. She and her mother had a happy cry together.
Jamali came out after about 10 minutes and invited David inside. Jamali's mother's apartment was quite modest; a small living room, a bedroom with barely enough space for two beds and one dresser, a bathroom off the bedroom, and a small kitchen. It was built, along with over twenty five thousand similar units, shortly after the formation of Palestine. Jamali was still living with her mother. This was where Jamali grew-up. Her parents moved here from Lebanon when she was one year old. The interior of the house was very warm--filled with pictures of the family. Jamali had many aunts, uncles and cousins. Her mother was the oldest child of a family of 8¾ that's why she only had one child herself and why she married at the age of 14.
Jamali's mother was young, but looked old. David liked her. She didn't speak English, but they haltingly spoke using his stilted Lebanese and help from Jamali. The driver honked his horn to remind them that they had an 11:00 o'clock appointment.
The drive to Arafat City was dramatic. With each passing mile, the architecture became more modern, the buildings taller and the homes larger. Solar power was as common on the homes and office buildings as in Israel. The skyline of Arafat City was very impressive. This city had become what Beruit was before the wars broke out in the 1970s. Arafat City was becoming the financial capital of the Arab world.
"Out of the desert comes a modern flower," said Jamali.
"Yes, this is very impressive," said David with only a little conviction in his voice.
"Reminds me of New York City." Now his tone was downright negative.
Jamali's mother said, "David doesn't like big cities."
David understood her, and answered in Lebanese, "I'm sorry I was that obvious, but I prefer the natural earth¾ the old fashioned look."
"Me too," said Jamali's mother.
Jamali couldn't believe the two of them, "That's crazy. Here we are entering one of the most fantastic phenomena of the modern world, and you two want to go back to biblical days! I don't believe it." She first said this to David in English, and then to her mother in Arabic. When she finished telling her mother, the three of them broke out in laughter.
It was a delightful morning. As they approached the court building, which was built in a circular shape with Koran symbols sculptured all around, Jamali said, "David, I think it would be better if you didn't come inside with us. Americans are still not welcomed with open arms in this city. Why not drive around for about a half hour and see the city."
"Sounds like a good idea," said David. "Maybe the driver can show me where you work."
"Sure," said Jamali, "ask him to show you the Chinese Embassy. And if you'd like, maybe I can get you in for a tour. My supervisor will be meeting us inside."
"You work at the Chinese Embassy?" said David.
"Of course," said Jamali. "Who did you think I was doing the translating for? The Palestinians would never hire a woman for that kind of job. See you later."
David was chauffeured around for the next half hour. David could not really appreciate the city. All he could think about was Lama Kiela. Quite a coincidence, my meeting Jamali. Now I might actually meet Kiela at the Chinese Embassy. I'd never recognize him...he's using an alias! Why wasn't his alias written down anywhere. Why am I being drawn so close to Lama Kiela? Did there have to be a reason?
Jamali, her mother and another woman came out of the court house about 15 minutes after David was returned to the court building. Jamali introduced the woman as her supervisor, Lo Chin. Lo Chin spoke in stilted English and said that she would be happy to have David and Jamali's mother visit the Chinese Embassy. Lo Chin invited them all for lunch.
The Chinese Embassy was very impressive. Much more so than the Palestinian Embassy in Jerusalem. The art work was magnificent. Clearly the Chinese had gone first class in designing and building their embassy. Once inside the embassy, Lo Chin excused herself and asked Jamali to show David around. Jamali knew the embassy layout and most of the people. She gave David and her mother the class A tour. David kept looking for any sign of Lama Kiela, but he had no way of identifying him.
Lo Chin tracked them down on the second floor, where the day to day business was conducted by the staff. "If you're almost finished with the tour, let's meet downstairs in 10 minutes and have lunch. I've arranged for the ambassador to join us," said Lo Chin.
At lunch, the ambassador and his first assistant joined Lo Chin, David, Jamali's mother and Jamali at the head table. There were about 20 other staff members at three other tables also being served. The Ambassador was very gracious, especially toward Jamali's mother. She, of course, was thankful for all their help in obtaining permission to stay in Palestine. The Ambassador said that it was their pleasure, and that Jamali had been so helpful to them in the Robot Factory Project that they wanted to show their appreciation.
"...and this seemed the most meaningful way. We are just thankful that we have some influence with the Palestine government," the Ambassador said.
"We are so grateful," said Jamali. "You have helped our family so much...beginning with my scholarship to Beirut University."
"Oh, that was our pleasure. You deserved it...we never saw a young Palestinian with such an aptitude for languages. You were¾ you are¾ brilliant," said the Ambassador. "Also, we hoped it would help, in a small way, to relieve some of the injustices done to women in Palestine."
David felt like extra baggage at the luncheon. He was introduced as a friend of Jamali's. Nobody seemed particularly interested in him. The conversation was in Arabic, and he followed most of it. He was surprised to learn that the Chinese had provided Jamali with a scholarship.
David thought that the Ambassador's assistant or one of the other staff members at the luncheon might be Kiela. So he carefully looked at their faces hoping to obtain a picture of Kiela from Tracey. David decided to stir things up a little to see if he could learn something. He said, "You mentioned women, but injustices are done to many different types of groups. I was wondering about Tibet...how's the situation there?"
There was an embarrassing moment of silence, and then the Ambassador responded, "Yes, we too have our problems with dissident groups. Some, but not all, Tibetans want an independent country. Ever since Palestine was formed, with our blessing, the cry for independence for Tibet has been a source of trouble for us. We had a similar problem in the last part of the Twentieth Century. We stopped it then, and we'll stop it now."
The Ambassador paused and gave David a long look, then he continued. "You can't give a separate country to every ethnic or regional group that asks for it. If you do, there will be no stability...there will be no countries in the usual sense. Palestine was different...not the same as Tibet. The United States faced the same issue in your Civil War. You decided you could not permit the Southern states of your country to leave. You had some very terrible times stopping the South from forming a new country. We don't want any part of China forming a separate country."
Lo Chin added, "Eventually, all the ethnic groups will come to feel both their unique ethnic character as well as an affinity to China. And who knows, some day, maybe we'll all feel an affinity to one Earth with countries being regional groups containing many diverse ethnic subgroups."
Jamali laughed, "Lo, you're so idealistic...I love it."
"That is a worthwhile goal," said the Ambassador's assistant.
"Would you all please excuse me now," said the Ambassador. I must return to the work of my country." He stood up rather abruptly.
Obviously, thought David, the discussion about Tibet and one unified political system was not to the Ambassador's liking.
The good-byes were brief. David, Jamali and Jamali's mother were quickly on their way. They returned to Jamali's mother's apartment first. After talking for another hour or so, including setting up a date for David to visit them again, the limousine returned David to Tracey's home. Jamali stayed with her mother in their home.
JERUSALEM, Tracey's Home: 14 October 2033
Tracey and David were relaxing at a Shabat dinner that Tracey had made for them. Neither was religious but Friday evenings was a traditional time for friends to meet and relax in Israel. David told Tracey that he was planning on calling his folks the next evening. She suggested he call from her home that night.
"Mom, Dad...Hi," said David as the 6 inch by 6 inch video screen on the phone came alive with both of his parents in view.
"David, we hoped you'd call soon," said John. John and Mandy were receiving the call at their telecommunications center using their 1 meter by 1 meter screen and wide angle camera.
"It's good to see you honey...you're looking good," said Mandy. "Is that Tracey's home you're calling from?"
"Yes, we just finished dinner. Tracey's first-class. I'm staying with her for a few more days, then I'm finding a place in Palestine."
"Palestine, huh," said John. He scrupulously stayed out of David's decisions. If David asked his advice, which did happen on occasion, he would freely give it. No advice sought here, John thought.
"I spent a day there already...seems like an exciting and fast growing place. Maybe I'll look for a job and stay a while."
"Isn't Israel, and especially Jerusalem, even more exciting," said Mandy. "All the history from the biblical days."
"Israel's fine," said David, "but more current history is being made in Palestine. Also, I met a girl who translates for the Chinese Embassy in Arafat City."
John tensed-up inside. Lama Kiela had been at the Chinese Embassy for the last three months. John knew he was working on the Robot Plant Project, but the intelligence agencies could not identify Kiela's role in the Embassy. He was probably using an alias. He rarely left the Embassy, and when he did leave, it was for quick excursions not far from the Embassy. Kiela had not been seen in Palestine, but John's people used HTing to locate him inside the Embassy. The most recent information indicated that Kiela was working with a translator on a daily basis. The translator was a women named Jamali Sayed. She was easily identified, since she spent so much time near Kiela and she left the Embassy every night.
Mandy was, of course, very interested in any women in David's life. "That's wonderful. Tell me more about this girl."
"Her name is Jamali," said David.
Oh God, thought John.
"I met her in Beirut, but she works at the Chinese Embassy. Her grandmother was an American Jew who married a Palestinian about 40 years ago. Jamali's very talented, and the Chinese seem to appreciate her skills. I think they like that she's a women. The Chinese want to advance women's rights in Palestine, and Jamali's a good example."
"Does Jamali have any family in Palestine?" asked Mandy.
"Yes," answered David, "her mother was almost forced to leave Palestine because she's half Jewish, but the Chinese Embassy interceded on her behalf. I think the business planner for the robot factory¾ that's Jamali's supervisor¾ was really the driving force behind the decision to support Jamali's mother."
John then asked, "Do you know who this supervisor is?" "Sure. I met her at the Court House and Embassy. Her name is Lo Chin. A charming Chinese woman with an enormous amount of energy. She's been putting all kinds of women's liberation ideas into Jamali's head. Jamali thinks of her as her teacher. Lo Chin returns to China tomorrow. Jamali will miss her."
"Does Jamali work with any male Chinese?" asked John.
David paused and looked hard at his father. He's asking me about Kiela thought David. What's the latest American information on Kiela? he asked his internal psinfo sources. ...oh shit, Dad thinks Jamali's working with Kiela as some sort of enemy agent!
David said, "If your information is correct about Jamali working regularly with Kiela, then he must be Lo Chin!," David emphasized the word he, and then added, "But Jamali's no enemy agent..."
"What the hell are you two talking about?" Mandy said angrily. "Who's this Kiela?"
David said, "Mom, remember when Dad and Tracey were involved with the Jerusalem bombs about 15 years ago. And remember when at a Thanksgiving Dinner I blurted out something about a Tibetan Monk¾ that Monk was Lama Kiela. Dad and Tracey think he was the person responsible for guiding the radical Muslim groups doing the bombings. Well this guy is still around and probably in Palestine. Based on what they've Dowsed about Kiela, the most likely person who he is...is a she¾ named, Lo Chin."
"John, you promised me that you would not involve David in your intelligence stuff...you promised," said Mandy.
"Now what a minute, mom. Dad didn't do anything. Tracey and I were talking a few nights ago and she brought-up Kiela. I used my psinfo to find out the latest that was going on with him. Dad and Tracey both said they wouldn't encourage me to become involved in intelligence work...but this Lama Kiela fascinates me. I think he has psinfo abilities also."
"We shouldn't be talking about this stuff over this line," said John.
"Come on, Dad, there's still way too much secrecy in this world. You're even keeping secrets from your friends...and it's hurting you. You and Tracey are keeping secrets from each other¾ that's ridiculous."
David turned and motioned for Tracey to come join him in front of the screen. David continued, "Tracey has been ordered not to tell you that Israel is checking out this psinfo capability of Kiela's...to see if it can explain why Kiela is always one step ahead of them. And you, Dad, you're keeping the HT information about Kiela working almost daily with Jamali secret from the Israelis...why, I don't understand why."
There was a long silence, and then Tracey said, "David demonstrated his psinfo for me. He thought I knew about his ability. He also told me about the last letter that Kiela wrote to his sister. A letter which strongly indicated that he knew that anything written could not be kept secret. I told my government. They don't quite know what to do with this info. So as you might guess, they ordered me to say nothin' to nobody."
"Well Tracey," said John, "we've been following Kiela for the last 15 years. We obtain daily HT fixes on his location. During this visit to Palestine, he almost never leaves the Embassy. We're able to track those he works with, and he spends a lot of time with Jamali."
"Hey guys," Mandy said rather loudly. "Can we move on to another subject? This psinfo stuff is too weird."
David laughed, "You're right mom, this stuff is weird. How's the HT-Music project? Is your new unit finished yet?"
"No," answered Mandy. "But close. The unit should be done in a few weeks... though they said that a few weeks ago...and a few weeks before that. Also," Mandy now became quite animated, "I'm hoping to finish my first composition by the end of next year. And your father says that he wants me to perform it live through the HT-Modems."
"I thought you planned on distributing the HT recordings of your session," said David.
"That's still part of the plan," said Mandy. "But the recordings are not the same as a live performance. The fiber-optical modems can carry a virtually undistorted duplication of my performances. My manager thinks that we can sign-up as many as 10,000 people for a live performance. Then we'll also sell the recordings afterwards."
"Sounds very exciting," said David.
"Yes it is," said Mandy.
"David..." she paused, "will you be here for my performance?"
"I wouldn't miss it," he said without hesitation.
The video phone conversation was reported to both the US and Israeli governments. Neither government would believe the psinfo hypothesis for Kiela. In fact, the official government position was that neither David nor Kiela could possibly possess such a capability. John and Tracey knew that David possessed psinfo capabilities. So they were inclined to accept David's hypothesis about Lama Kiela.
John, however, was having trouble understanding if, how and why Kiela brought Jamali into their lives. And how did David happen to meet her in Beirut? Was this just a coincidence? he thought. No, that's not possible. Was Jamali working with Kiela?
MARINA DEL REY, CALIFORNIA, John and Mandy's Home: MAY 14, 2034
"David should be arriving from San Francisco within the hour," said John.
"I can't tell you exactly how," said Mandy, "but his being here, and their wedding, will make my performance next month much better...much deeper."
Mandy's HT-Music performance was going to be transmitted live to over ten thousand HT-4 units in the United States. Her HT recordings were selling well world wide. She had completed 6 original compositions from the HT-Music unit. The unit was really a music studio for recording the holographic images as well as the full range of the music which Mandy played¾ including the complex and beautiful musical compositions which originated from anywhere on the walls of the 1000 speaker unit.
Her music was acknowledged to be unique and revolutionary in the way the physical motion of the various musical themes flowed inside the unit. The motion of her music combined with her choreographed holographic visuals provided a remarkable and gratifying experience.
Anyone with access to an HT-4 unit could enjoy Mandy's recorded compositions by a simple request to the central HT-computer. However, the recordings were not a live performance. As good as the recordings were, they lacked the excitement of a live rendition of the work. Live HT-Music performances were HTI's attempt to make a significant entree into the entertainment business.
Entertainment uses for the HT-units was growing, but not rapidly. Viewing recorded movies inside a HT unit was enjoyable, but the larger 3-D movie theaters provided a more intense emotional response. HTI had not been able to enhance the movie experience with biofeedback. This was a major disappointment to Matt and John. They had been unsuccessful at having the HT-user provide biofeedback at the same time he/she watched a movie. Any attempt to perform biofeedback interfered with, and basically ruined, the visual and sounds of the original recording. Also, HTI had been unable to playback biofeedback signals recorded from one person in a form which another person could experience. So the emotions of actors could not be recorded and successfully played back.
Mandy was very pleased with the conclusion that intimate biofeedback signals could not be recorded and successfully reviewed by other people. She believed that her internal biofeedback responses were private. On the other hand, she wanted her externalized compositions to be shared with as many people as possible. The idea of a live performance excited her because she felt it would increase the interest in her music, and because she loved to know that a live audience was listening. She felt it improved her work. Audiences also appreciated the excitement, stress and power of live performances.
"I'm also looking forward to meeting Jamali," Mandy continued. "David said their wedding was beautiful...he loves her very much."
"Yes I know," said John with very little enthusiasm.
"Jamali always wanted to visit San Francisco, so they honeymooned there. But I'm glad that we're having a second wedding ceremony here."
John shrugged, "He's a grown man, though 24 is still very young. You know that I have my reservations about her. But I'll not show them."
"We've been through all that so many times," said Mandy with a clear tone of anger in her voice. "She's not a spy, and she's not working for Lama Kiela... you haven't found a shred of evidence to suggest anything negative about her. You have to drop you're paranoia about Kiela and his power. He's just a person like all the rest of us."
"Maybe...but maybe not," said John. "The recent Chinese initiatives at the United Nations have been led by Kiela. He has managed to solidify the Muslims in Palestine with the Muslims in the rest of the Middle East and Asia...that was no small task."
"Why are you so worried? You're own HTing shows that America will be in good shape for at least the next 40 years or so. What's bothering you?"
"I don't know exactly," said John thoughtfully. "He's a strange man...very strange. And I don't know his intentions. Why does he want to help unify Muslims? Kiela's a real mystery."
"Forget Kiela, and start thinking about your son. He's in love with Jamali. Don't spoil it for him...for them."
The doorbell rang signaling the arrival of David and Jamali. A FlyCar had brought them in from the San Francisco Airport to the local depot. FlyCar depots were scattered throughout Los Angeles. A short taxi ride delivered them right to the door.
Mandy opened the door. David broke out with a big smile when he saw his mother. They gave each other a big hug and David affectionately kissed his mother on the cheek. Mandy found it hard to release the hug¾ she had not touched David for 6 years.
"Mom," said David, "this is Jami...Jamali Sayed Wensler."
"I'm so happy to finally meet you in person. I still don't like those televideo calls. It's just not the same as meeting the person in the flesh so to speak." Mandy unwrapped half of her hug to look at Jamali.
"It is so good to meet you in person too," said Jamali. And then she moved into the opening that Mandy had created and placed one arm around David's waist and one arm around Mandy's shoulder and said, "David is so remarkable, you must also be remarkable."
John came to the door as the three of them hugged. "Davey, I'm so glad you're home," said John. The triangular hug opened up, and David took a step toward the door to greet his father.
John met him half way and they gave each other their customary bear hug. Tears came to John's eyes.
"Dad, it's good to be home." David moved backwards a quarter step, and said, "I'd like you to meet Jamali."
John held onto David for another moment, and then turned toward Jamali. "It's so good to meet you," said John as he extended his hand toward Jamali.
"It's good to meet you too," said Jamali as she shook John's hand.
"Can I help you with your bags," said John turning to David again.
"Sure Dad." David and John went to the sidewalk where the taxi driver had left the four bags. Mandy and Jamali went into the house.
"Dad, what's wrong?"
"What do you mean?" said John.
"I've never seen you be so cold to anyone before."
"I was that obvious...I'm sorry."
"Jamali is the most phenomenal person I've ever met. When know her better, I'm sure you'll love her just like I do. But, you don't know her well enough to not like her..."
"Davey, please just ignore me. Your mother says I'm going paranoid in my old age."
"Come on, Dad. What's going on."
"You remember Lama Kiela, of course. Well, I'm having trouble believing that Jamali's working for Kiela was purely coincidental. And look how easy it was for her to get the job at the UN as a translator for Palestine. I think that was Kiela's doing."
"What are you saying," David said rather angrily. "That Jamali's a spy for China...for Kiela. Is she spying against Palestine...or just against the US."
"No...neither...but...there's something fishy going on. I just don't believe in that kind of coincidence. Please drop it. It's my problem...let's bring these bags in the house."
While David and John were fetching the bags, Mandy showed Jamali to the guest room. "How was San Francisco?" Mandy asked.
"Oh, it was lovely," said Jamali. "The food, Fisherman's Wharf, and the FlyCar tour which included a half-day stop at Yosemite¾ they were my favorites. The tour used a large FlyCar decorated like an old-fashioned trolley! They said it was about as roomy as the old trolleys."
"How did you like the FlyCar ride to Los Angeles?"
"It was a breeze. Isn't that the expression?"
"Yes," said Mandy with a little laugh and a smile.
"The first time¾ going to Yosemite¾ I did have a problem. In fact, I was very frightened, at first. It took me while to feel comfortable with no driver or pilot in a FlyCar traveling at speeds of 300 kilometers an hour, several kilometers above the ground. Even though the tour guide explained the automated traffic control system, it was still scary...for a while."
Jamali paused remembering her initial misgivings, "But, by the second time, I felt like a veteran. It was fun. And having a private two seater car was very romantic. It only took a couple of hours to fly to the FlyCar Depot near you home."
"Yes," said Mandy, "it's frightening at first. I still become nervous when they taxi by themselves onto the Overway and then takeoff. The FlyCars, though, are very safe. And the close coupling with the freeway system has made Los Angeles a mobile city again. We have one car, but we usually take a FlyCar and cab to go anywhere in LA, San Francisco, or San Diego¾ there's almost always a Depot near our destination."
"The freeways looked relatively empty flying in," said Jamali.
"Yeah, they're used mostly for local traffic and for the Depots spaced every 20 miles¾ I'm sorry¾ that's about 30 kilometers. I hate this metric system. I'm too old to learn new tricks."
"That's certainly not true," said Jamali. "I've heard your HT music, and that's certainly new. I love it. I wish we had some HT spots in Palestine. David and I have to go to Israel to hear your music at a place that sells HT time. The music and visuals are sensational. We've heard all 6 of your recordings."
"I'm glad you liked them."
"And your live concert...you must be very excited about that."
"Yes, I am. And you must be excited about your marriage¾ even if it's a repeat performance."
"Yes I am!" They smiled and then laughed together.
After a pleasant, but somewhat reserved, dinner, Mandy said to David and Jamali, "Would you two like to HT together?"
"HT together?" said David quizzically. "We've HTed at Health Clubs a few times in Israel...and we've listened to mom's recordings...but that's always alone. HTing together?" David did not understand.
"We're a two HT family," said John. "My unit's in the study. Mandy's Music unit¾ that's the HT-4 where she creates her HT symphonies¾ is in a special room attached to the back of the house. With two HT-4s you can share an HT session, it's called HT-Sharing."
David and Jamali looked dumbly at each other not understanding what John and Mandy were talking about.
"You HT at the same time," said John, "sharing your biofeedback signals while watching the same images on the H-Screen and listening to the same sounds. The screen and sounds will be jointly created by the two of you."
Mandy jumped in with, "Have you two ever played that game where you stand in front of each other with your hands a few inches apart...and then you start moving your hands and each person acts as the mirror to the other. Pretty soon, a rapport can be reached where both pairs of hands will move together...with control of the motion being shared. That's a simple example..."
"Let me try to sketch what's going on," said John. He found a sheet of paper and a pencil and sketched the following:
John continued, "Usually, every HT-4 Unit is independently linked to the HTI computer. But when two people decide to HT-Share, then their biofeedback signals are linked in the computer," John pointed to the shaded ellipse. "The two HTers can then share, balance and synthesize their biofeedback sending the same feedback to both people. Thus, both receive the same electrical as well as sound and light biofeedback ."
"Sounds fantastic," said David. "Why haven't I heard of this before?"
"We haven't shipped any of the HT-4s outside the US," said John, "so this idea of coupled, or shared, sessions is not discussed very much overseas. Here, any two people with HT-4s can have a joint session simply by calling up HTI and scheduling the supercomputer time."
"This is becoming a very popular use of HTs," added Mandy.
"Hopefully mom's HT concert will begin another trend of popular programs," said David. "Do you need HT-4s for the concert?"
John and Mandy nodded, yes. John said, "The key to the HT concert as well as HT-Sharing is the supercomputer that does the processing for the HT-4s. That's why we haven't shipped any '4s out of the country...not enough supercomputer capacity."
"HT-Sharing sessions are sometimes quite powerful," Mandy said, returning to the main subject at hand. "It's exhilarating when you focus on the same thing...like love or health or designing a better mousetrap...and when you find that balanced HT state between you. It's very special, creative...it's marvelous.
"Though, not everybody likes it," John added.
"Can we talk to each other? You know, we're in separate units." asked David.
"Yes," said Mandy. "Once the coupled session begins, the microphones can be left on in both units...everything is coupled together. But for a coupled session, it's probably better if you keep the talk to a minimum."
"Neither of us have HTed in months," said Jamali. "I'd like to do it...David...let's do it together."
"Okay. But, you shouldn't talk like that in front of my parents," said David with a smile.
Jamali gave David a dirty look and a light jab to the arm.
Mandy smiled; John did not. In fact, John had a brief look of disapproval on his face. A look which David saw. What's wrong with Dad? That look is totally uncalled for... David angrily thought. He thinks she's some sort of spy!
David was suited-up first for the HT-Sharing session. He barely noticed the lightness of the suit and the woody feeling of the walls. He was still upset by his father's attitude. After connecting the single cable to the chair, a loud "HT Command...Start" was the command David used to begin the session. A metallic "Click" was the first HT response, and then the screen filled with rapidly changing three dimensional shapes. The shapes were jagged and had many protuberances which grew and shrunk. The surfaces were erratically splashed with colors. The sounds were loud and clamorous, and they moved quickly across the walls.
What a mess, he thought. Calm down. You're still angry.
"This is a coupled session," said the HT unit. "You're partner is not yet ready to begin. I will inform you when your partner is ready. When you are ready to begin, say 'ready'."
I'm glad there's a warm-up period...I need it, he thought.
Relax...calm down. The screen's goin' wild, and the sound's all over the place... What's dad's problem... Relax... The screen and sounds calmed down a little, but not much.
Jamali dressed in one of Mandy's HT suits and noticed how comfortable it was. Mandy had four suits: Two were for regular HTing, with sensors on the hands and arms, and two were specially designed to give her freedom to play her violin. As Jamali entered the HT-Music unit, she was very aware of the comfortable feeling the wood walls provided. Much better than anything I've used before, she thought.
She plugged in her cable, settled comfortably into her chair and said, "HT Command...Begin."
"Click." I wonder why it does that?
Exquisite...look at those colors. And the sound is coming from everywhere. Her H-Screen reflected her mood of happiness. And she heard sounds of music.
"This is a coupled session," said the HT unit. "You're partner is not yet ready to begin. I will inform you when your partner is ready. When you are ready to begin, say 'ready'."
She immediately said, "Ready."
"Thank you," acknowledged the HT unit.
Jamali had only used a HT unit with biofeedback one time in Israel, so she wasn't very experienced. David had taken her to a HT-Health Club, where the instructions were quite clear about focusing your thoughts and feelings on improving either specific aspects of your health or improving your general physical and mental health. The music playback sessions did not involve biofeedback, so those sessions didn't help here.
David, she thought. He's terrific... I love that guy... The screen and music became quite beautiful and organized as she held that feeling. The three dimensional rainbow of colors flowed and ebbed to the complex rhythm of the music.
She was immersed in her solo session, when the HT's voice entered her consciousness. "...partner is ready to begin. Are you still ready?"
"Yes," said Jamali.
"The coupled session will begin after the count of three. One...two...three...begin," said the voice of the HT to both Jamali and David. Suddenly, their screens and sounds changed in response to the mixing of their biofeedback signals. They were now seeing and hearing the same things. And, they were each accepting the other's biofeedback signals mixed with their own.
Jamali's mood changed instantly. She felt ...anger and confusion. It was very unpleasant.
"David," she said, "there's something wrong with the HTs...I'm stopping..." She lifted her hands off the arms of the chair. "This ends the coupled session," said the HT voice.
"No honey," said David after a short pause, "the HTs are fine...I'm the one with the problem."
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"I don't want to talk about it. I want to feel your love again," David paused. "When we went on-line together. I thought I had calmed myself down...obviously I was wrong because you picked up my negative vibes. But honey, I felt so good when we began sharing. I love you too."
"Let's start again. I was just surprised by the strength of the emotions, it frightened me. Can we start again?" Jamali asked.
"I suppose so...HT Command...we'd like to begin again," David said. The phrase "HT Command" was a universal attention getter for HT equipment.
"Okay," said the HT voice. "Are you ready to begin the coupled session? When you are ready to being, say 'ready'" This time he asked them both simultaneously since they were both hooked-up.
"Give me a moment," said David. "Ready," said Jamali.
David composed himself, and then said, "Ready."
"The coupled session will begin after the count of three. One...two...three...begin," said the voice of the HT.
Jamali held her feeling of love for David as strongly as she could. She felt David's anger, but it was not as strong as last time. She tried to separate herself from his negative emotions...she wanted to provide David with love. The screen and sounds were still quite erratic.
David seized the warm loving feelings he was receiving from Jamali. They felt so good. He wanted to bury his anger in Jamali's love. The screen and sounds seemed to mellow and sweeten. We're doing it, thought David.
Jamali felt David relax somewhat. She also relaxed a little. She noticed that the screen and music were not even close to what she had experienced during her solo session. It's not right, she felt/thought, not balanced...what did Mandy say...find the balance state.
Jamala said, "David...David, are you there."
"Yeah, hon. This is great."
"No...it's not...I had something before... David, let's see if we can balance where we are...where we are right now. Let's balance our love and our problems. Let's find a balanced state."
"What does that mean? he asked.
"I don't really know...but this ain't it!" she said.
He laughed. She laughed. The screen and sounds seemed to react in a coordinated fashion for a moment.
"That's much closer to balanced!" she said."
"I love you Jam."
They became silent and focused on the screen, the sounds, and finding a balanced state which had a sense of both of them. The colors on the H-Screen began to move and flow with soft patterns of light. But the rhythm of the lights didn't quite match the music.
Balanced state..., thought David, right now...with Jam...my sweet Jami. We're balanced...no we're not, he thought as he noticed the mismatch between the light and sound. And, as he noticed the incongruity, it became worse. Damn. I'm pissed off at Dad, thought/felt David.
Jamali felt the anger. This time she didn't run from it. Let it be she felt/thought.
David felt the anger for the first time. As he let the anger surface, the sounds became louder, the patterns larger, and the colors redder. An intense coordinated harmony of lights and sounds ensued.
Jamali and David felt the balance between them. The balance was a mix of love for each other and David's instinctive anger to defend Jamali's honor against his father's suspicions.
Fortunately, David's anger was not really very deep, or a balanced state may not have been possible. David felt the balance, and it felt good. He experienced the anger. He felt the confusion. What possible reasons could his father have for such doubts about Jamali. He endured both shame and guilt from having his certainty about Jamali weaken when John expressed his doubts.
Extraordinary, felt/thought Jamali. The dynamic colors and patterns on the screen and the coordinated rhythm indicated the state of balance with David. The screen and sounds were quite different than when she was solo HTing. The differences permitted Jamali to experience some of David's anger, confusion, shame and guilt.
Jamali sensed these feelings, and yet she was quite clear that they belonged to David. She sensed that the conflict was with John, and that trust was the issue. She didn't perceive the details, nor did she care about the details...she wanted to be balanced with David.
David's mood was becoming more confident. He let himself feel his emotions, and share them with Jamali, and it was okay. He felt stronger and comfortably balanced.
Then as they remained balanced, David touched his love and trust of Jamali. ...it's Dad's problem, he felt/thought. The sounds he heard turned to music and the H-Screen filled with brilliant colors and patterns.
"Oh how marvelous," said Jamali.
They remained in the coupled HT session with a remarkably dynamic balance for about 15 more minutes. Then the color and music began to lose their magic. David said, "Jam...I love you...I trust you. I'm ready to stop." And he stopped the session.
They joined John and Mandy in the living room.
"It was fantastic," said Jamali. "At first I was a little frightened, but then it was...well, wonderful. I felt so close to David."
"Yeah," said David with some hesitation. "Jam and I...it was..."
"What's wrong?" asked Mandy.
"It's Dad...let's talk about it later."
"I know that he doesn't trust me," said Jamali. "It's okay. I'm so sorry that it bothered you so much."
John was very embarrassed by this public airing of his doubts. "I can't help it, it's your closeness to Kiela."
"Who's Kiela?" asked Jamali.
"It's a long story," said David. "But Dad thinks that your supervisor Lo Chin was, in fact, a man named Kiela."
"No," said David. "...afraid not."
"Lo Chin a man...that's ridiculous," said Jamali.
"Did you ever see her¾ pardon the expression¾ in the flesh to know for sure," asked Mandy.
"No, she is a very private person."
'It doesn't matter anyway," said David. "Even if Lo Chin was Kiela in disguise, Jam had nothing underhanded to do with him. I know that from the HT session we just had. I always trusted her, but now there's no doubt in my mind."
"Why don't we have a session?" asked Jamali looking directly at John.
"Oh God," said John. "I'm so sorry about this Jamali. Intellectually I have no reason to doubt your integrity, but I'm holding such strong misgivings about Kiela...that anyone close to him becomes tainted. Please forgive me, please ignore my foolishness."
"Dad," said David. "Why not do a coupled HT session with Jamali? You'll be able to feel her honesty."
"No, Davey. It doesn't work that way I'm afraid. My attitude...my doubts about Kiela's motives are too strong right now. I wouldn't want to share them with anyone."
"Anyway, it wouldn't prove anything," said Mandy, "HTing together only reveals the feelings each person brings to the conscious level..."
Two weeks later, David and Jamali were married on a rented sail boat in Marina Del Rey. She wore the same lovely wedding gown that her mother made for the wedding in Palestine. They took a second honeymoon in Hawaii, and returned two days before Mandy's live HT-Music concert.
John had reserved two HT-4s for David and Jamali to enjoy the concert. These HTs were at HTI headquarters in Venice. On the afternoon of the concert, David and Jamali visited with John and Mandy, and then drove to HTI for the 6:30 PM (West Coast Time) start of the concert. John remained home with Mandy¾ he listened and watched from his personal HT-4 as she performed in the HT-Music unit.
: Saturday Evening, June 10, 2034
Mandy's Live HT-Music Concert
"Ladies and gentlemen," said the announcer to the 10,000 HT-4 users who signed up for the concert.. "This is an historic occasion. In a few moments we will begin the first live HT-Music concert. Mandy Pizano Wensler will be the musician using her violin composition created especially for this evening's performance. The performance is a unique blend of HT-music and light.
"For the best listening and viewing, we recommend that you remain in your HT chair. However, do not wear your biofeedback outfit, since no biofeedback can be provided during the performance.
"The undistorted and live signals are possible through the technology developed by HTI, Advanced Fiber Optics Incorporated, and your local telephone company. The concert will begin in two minutes. Enjoy the show."
A simple title remained on the screen for two minutes:
MUSICAL LIGHT: An HT-Music Composition
by Mandy Pizano Wensler
Then the audience heard the slow sweet music of a solo violin playing simple notes, and simultaneously, a glowing smooth sphere appeared in the center of the H-Screen pulsating with the strokes of the violin bow. One note for each beautifully sluggish stroke.
The sphere was initially pure red and filled about a fourth of the otherwise black screen. With the first long stroke, the color changed through various shades of red through the oranges. As the entire sphere changed color, it gradually increased in radius.
With the second stroke, the sphere's color flowed from the oranges through the yellows. The sphere's radius decreased on this stroke, but not all the way back to its original size. For the next several notes, the throbbing sphere gradually spanned the rainbow of colors. With every other note, the sphere grew slightly larger until the entire screen glowed with a vibrant purple hue.
Then, there was an explosion of color and music. Color emanated from hundreds of thousands of sources of light in the screen, and music from a thousand speakers in the walls.
10,000 people responded with a bit of fright and surprise. The colors were kaleidoscopic in three dimensions, and the music was similarly complex. The binding that held them together was the violin which now seemed to propel the colors and music at the viewer. The violin felt like the source of the blast of light and sound. The violin's music seemed to come from everywhere¾ and it almost did. The same violin music was broadcast from all 1000 speakers. But the rest of the sounds varied between speakers without a comprehensible theme. The sounds, and the lights, were apparently random for several seconds.
As the piece progressed, the sounds were transformed to orchestral music and colorful luminous shapes emerged from the chaos. The feeling was that the shapes were present all the time, but their individuality could only be expressed when the force of the explosion began to dissipate. The music revealed the colorful three dimensional shapes¾ one at a time. As each luminous shape or entity appeared, a musical theme would simultaneously emerge.
The music included an amazing combination of recognizable instruments as well as sounds that Mandy invented with her HT-Music unit. The simulation of the classical instruments was excellent since the HT-Music unit could accurately duplicate all the audible frequencies of any instrument.
A typical musical theme used 100 to 200 speakers localized in one area of the room. The various musical themes then floated around the room with the luminous entities. The feeling was that the music guided the motion of the entities. Themes and luminous shapes would often overlap and emerge anew.
There was a small source of white light in each entity. This source was rarely seen directly, except early in the theme development. Rays of light emitted from each source appeared to pass through prisms and filters, to reflect off invisible mirrors, and to diffract through complex gratings which were all created by the music.
The H-Screen was indeed a beautiful and colorful sight. The objects were each uniquely luminous. Each appeared alive.
As beautiful as the light show was, the music dominated the performance. The colorful objects felt like the luminous shadows of the living creative music. It was the uniqueness and depth of the musical experience that captured and enraptured the audience. The violin music alone would have made a fabulous solo piece as it converged on the listener from all directions. Add the orchestration, which was created by Mandy to reach as deeply as possible into the spirit, and you have 10,000 enthralled people.
Thus far into the concert, seven distinct musical entities had been created from the initial chaos. They moved in and out of the composition¾ and each other¾ quite freely.
Two luminous entities approached each other. The musical themes were quite different, and yet, quite attracted to each other. As the luminous entities moved nearer, their colors brightened¾ instead of passing through each other, the two entities lingered and danced and played together. The white light sources of both entities became increasingly bright. The light sources began spiraling in toward each other. Each orchestral theme wound around the room¾ they were heading toward each other and the listener. The musical themes reached simultaneous crescendos as the two white lights merged.
Only a single violin remained, while one brilliant white light glistening in the middle of the screen.
The music and light shimmered peacefully. Additional violins joined in, holding their notes constant for durations longer than would be possible with a real violin. These notes began circling in the clockwise direction causing the luminous light to rotate. The violin music circled at a constant rate¾ with the pitch now increasing with each revolution¾ while the light began rotating faster and faster.
Then suddenly, a cacophony of instruments began playing. Simultaneously, two lights broke off and began spiraling around the similar light in the center. Complex color patterns began radiating from all three lights. The noise dissolved into music which revealed the two previous entities plus a newborn musical theme. As the music danced around the room, complex color patterns began radiating from the three white light sources. The two original entities formed first, and then, a fresh musical-light entity was born.
The music was charged with new potential. This newborn entity was the first involving a fusion of themes. And yet, with the fusion came an explosion of newness and uniqueness.
Suddenly, the music stopped and the screen went black. HT-4 users all over the country heard the same words from their units, "There has been a loss of access to the supercomputer. This ends the session."
The HTI supercomputer centers in Venice, California and Washington D.C. were simultaneously destroyed by sophisticated image guided missiles. Without the supercomputers to process the biofeedback signals, the HT-4s could not operate.
Twenty five HTI employees were killed, and hundreds of people were injured, including David and Jamali.