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Journey, part 10: The lowest point
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Author:citizenKane
IP:12-233-1XXXX
Date: 06/30/02 11:06
Game Type: Starcraft
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The end comes in two weeks.
No time for introductions, I must prepare.


The lighthouse stood atop a craggy ocean cliff. The sun hung over the sprawling ocean to the west, and the sunlight sparkled off the agitated waves. Frequently the earth shook, and the metal stairs in the lighthouse would creak and groan, but the building stood fast upon the rocks.

* * *



Now Jennifer was flying.
Easier way to get around, but she wasn’t a very fast flyer. It was faster than driving, though, especially now, when the earth quaked every minute. She wanted to get to Spain, where the blast had took place and where (according to the radio) the earthquakes came from. Gerard would probably be there, too.
She flew high, where people couldn’t see her. Below her, the autobahn was a line of black admidst tree-speckled countryside. She would be coming into France in the next hour or so.

* * *



Gerard wasn’t in Spain.
He was somewhere west of Iowa (he wasn’t sure where) staring off east, watching a speck in the distance. That speck was Haman, flying rapidly toward Gerard.
Haman slowed down swiftly, flew in a circle around Gerard, came around and landed.
“You’re still here,” he said.
“I kinda figured you’d come back.”
Haman did not respond.
Gerard looked into the distance.
“Couldn’t follow it?”
“Uh...”
“That’s okay, we’ll find out anyway.”
He turned around and stared into the east.
“An airplane’s been hijacked.”
“Er... plane?”
“A flying device. Been hijacked. Taken over.”
“Er...”
“By someone whom I... he can use magic.”
“And?”
“I think he can tell us what...”
“What...”
“...this is.”
“This.” Haman pondered the word. It .
“Hey, I know as much as you do—”
“You know what, Gerard? I think you're hiding something.”
“Wha?”
“You’re hiding something, aren’t you?”
Gerard mouthed wordlessly.
“Yeah, you’re hiding something. I can sense it.” Haman circled him, his robes trailing behind. “You really think you could hide it from me?”
Gerard adjusted his sunglasses. “Hide... what, may I ask?”
“You tell me.”
“Er...”
“Tell me everything. You can’t use magic, can you? Not too well, at least. I can kill you on the spot.” (Haman could sense traces of magic in Gerard but they were faint and had a strange flavor.)
Gerard stood still. “That’s nice.”
He felt it was time for some drastic action, but he didn’t know what he could do. He felt like the Magician was reading his mind.
“Now.” The Magician relished the word. “Now.”
Gerard sensed a weakness.
“You really have no idea what you’re doing, do you?” Gerard said.
Haman hesitated.
Hesitation. Attack! “No, Haman, you’re kinda bumbling around.” I’m bumbling, too, but I bumble with authority.
“Why are you here? I know the legends— the Magicians, in their spaceships, left this earth to destroy evil. Yeah.” Now it was Gerard circling Haman. “Evil on this planet? Then why is there only one of you? You got friends? I’d think if there were more of you, you’d be a little less stupid,” he spat.
Now Haman was mouthing wordlessly.
“I never believed the legends, myself. But I saw you.”
Haman straightened himself. “And what do you know about—”
Then he stopped. Something clicked in his brain, like a peg falling into place.
“Wait— left— er... huh?”
“You heard me the first time, Magician.”
“I—”
There was a pause, in which Gerard continued circling Haman.
“So why don’t you tell me. Why don’t you tell me why you came here. Because I’d like to know.”
Haman looked at the ground. “We came because we sensed—”
“Yeah?”
“we sensed—” Suddenly he jerked his head up, and his eyes went wild. “We sensed you! Why didn’t I see it— We sensed you! You’ll pay!”
Something tingled in the air. Gerard saw a faint ripple around Haman.
He’s really going to kill me, Gerard thought.
Then he punched Haman across the face.
The Magician collapsed into what looked like heap of tangled robes with limbs sticking out at odd places.
Gerard heard a gasp behind him. He turned around.
Greg was there, pale as a cloud, gaping at him.
“You—” He pointed. Then he turned and ran.
Oh, geez, Gerard thought.
Then he turned and looked at Haman.
I hope I didn’t kill him.

* * *



The ground shook harder, and the waves beat against the ocean cliff, but the lighthouse stood fast. The sun shone in the east.

* * *



A third of the way around the world, the sun was poised at the top of the sky. As it traveled toward the west, a plane flew across it from the east, casting a brief shadow over the expansive Nevada desert.
Banon was sitting in one of the cushy chairs, reading in-flight magazines. A pile of already-read magazines sat in the chair next to him, and Banon was quite disappointed to find out that most of the magazines were the same. He was currently trying to figure out how a crossword puzzle worked.
Joni was still trying to figure out what was going on. He was writing down his theories on the backs of vomit bags. Discarded theories were scattered across the cabin floor.
And in the cabin, the steering stick and pedals lazily moved back and forth, steered by no visible hand.
The horizon was clear, and the plane flew on.

* * *



Gerard climbed into his car. He placed a finger on a plastic square on the dashboard, held it for a while, then drew it back.
A few seconds later, the dashboard flipped open, revealing a panel full of buttons, switches and knobs.
Gerard deliberately twisted one of the knobs, and there was a muffled thump.
He then pressed a button and closed the dashboard cover.
The car groaned. Then it shuddered. Then it jumped into the sky.
It was soon beyond the clouds and out of sight.

The journey continues July 7, 2002.
(I've deleted the signature pic from this report.)

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