A book that takes science into fantasy. Here's the first few chapters for your critique.
Dedicated to my father, whom is passed away and
would turn over in his grave to know who I've become, much to my amusement.
Magic? Really, Hannah. I thought better of you. How long have we known each other? 15 years now if I recollect?
And Hannah said, "yes, I guess it has been that long, but I believe I have proof now, and you know I've never gone off this direction before. We're both scientists and I know I fancy some things you find distasteful,but I'm telling you, This ancient text gives specifics, not only on how it was done, but on how to do it! I've looked through it a dozen times, and all the science lines up with what we know already.
"Hannah, the whole idea is distasteful. Really."
"I know Gerald, but would you at least look at it? I've already carbon dated it to over 5000 years! It's authentic, least as far as the date goes, and it describes current science as well as equations way past what we understand now. I've already had the top scientist at Bell labs and Berkeley look at it, even the best mathematicians can't read more than a quarter of it. At least look at it and tell me what you think!"
"ok Hannah. I'll give you that much since you already vetted it, but why the talk about magic?"
"Well", she said kind of sheepishly, "It does refer to some things that are myths, but with the science there too, I have to wonder a bit if some of the old myths might tie into actual science. I can't be sure of course. Just too much there to ignore off hand is all. I was hoping as a physicist you might be able to make sense of some of the things the math guys might not grasp. Who knows. Maybe is all just nonsensical crap, but others don't seem to think so, least not all of it. Too much of it is real science, way past what they could have known when it was written. That alone makes it worth looking at."
"OK, Hannah, I'll look at it when I can, but I still suspect the whole idea. People are wonderful at faking artifacts these days, finding old papyrus, chemically erasing the ink and finding ways of inking. "I'd be happier," he said, "if you had tested the ink and other things before bringing it to me first."
"I really didn't have time. People were following me. I know that sounds preposterous, But I made several turns and the same car made them too. To be honest it made me a little scared. My grandfather worked for the FBI and told me how do dodge a tail. Following his advise, I did manage to loose the car that was following me, but it just makes me more sure we have something important. So PLEASE look at it soon!"
Hannah left the photocopy of the manuscript on his desk, but still feeling unsafe, left by the back door and went to a hotel. She could feel something wasn't right. She couldn't tell if it was danger or just that odd feeling you get when you can tell something isn't right.
"Am I crazy?" Better safe than sorry as her Grandfather always said. She also thought that maybe she should hide the manuscript somewhere. But where?
After thinking about it a while, She remembered the cabin she spent her summers with her granddad. He had a loose floorboard that he kept all his flys in. Amuses her now, he thought they were so valuable. It was his secret way of tying them. He was a bit eccentric, and maybe that's where she got that. Either way, it was as good a place as any to hide something.
Needless to say, she drove the two hours up to the lake and put this valuable item under the floorboard with his old fishing gear and covered it back up.
It was nice to be up here again. The lake could be seen from the cabin, with the small stream always heading downhill to its final destination.
Sitting by that wonderful blue water, she could remember all the times fishing with her grandfather, the fish they never caught and all the laughter. He was a great man. Always played the hero as far as she thought. He had that big 30 ot 6 hunting rifle, he could split firewood always in one swing of the ax.
Her father had died when she was very young in a car accident, and mother, well. She never was much of a caregiver. Just didn't seem to care much after her father died. She never blamed her mother. She understood the depression she fell into when dad died. He was her whole world pretty much. She just never got over it. Grandpa was lively and vital, always had a kind thing to say. Eventually he was overcome by something she couldn't understand as a child. Mesotheleoma they called it. Some kind of cancer. Didn't take him till he was 70. She didn't think he minded at the end. He still smiled and had comforting things to say when he died. Lots of memories here.
She couldn't stay here living the past forever though, so she drove back in the direction of the city, feeling so much more refreshed. The air there was clean and crisp, relaxing. So, why was she feeling stress?
The feeling of fear started to creep back in. Just an old text, someone following her sure didn't help. Could she be sure they were actually following her? Maybe they just needed to go to the same area she did. Besides, what's to be afraid of really?
Just then, there was a loud report, a sound unmistakably of gunfire. Her right left tire was blown and she couldn't keep the car on the road. On hwy 5, the cliff is always right there beside you. Her car first ran up to the embankment, then veered off to the right and over the cliff.
["I hesitate to describe the scene that I saw when I got down to the vehicle. The car never caught fire, but was mangled so badly that they couldn't just cut her out. Some of her limbs were found 50 feet away, the rest was crumpled inside the car. I won't describe the rest to you. Worst scene I've ever witnessed. I was the coroner at the scene on duty that evening." - John Statch, Medical Examiner]
The beginning of the end
He drove furiously after hearing what happened to Hannah. She really was like a daughter to him, had known her for so many years. She based her thesis on his ideas. She looked up to him like a father really, and just driving off a cliff wasn't something she would do intentionally of course. She was an overly careful driver. He remembered too many times how he asked her to drive faster, get there quicker and many times made them late to university. The head of the lab threatened to cut funding, but of course they both knew that was bullshit.
He wasn't driving up to where she died, to be honest, he didn't know where he was going. He had just gotten the new this morning and nonplussed, he drove around maybe in circles for all he knew. She just talked to him yesterday. Just yesterday she was happy and bright and excited about things. His mind raced in a million different directions. She was only 28 years old and one of the most intelligent people he had ever met, excluding himself, of course.
But he never cared about what he thought of himself, always refused the standard IQ tests. What a waste of ego he always thought. Still, he was one of the brightest people in physics under Steven Hawking and maybe on or two others. He just never cared. He could think outside the box a bit, and that's why Hannah liked him so much. Its why she brought that book to him. She thought he might understand it when others would dismiss it. She really did think it was important.
But he wasn't thinking of the book, or her visit to him at the moment, he was thinking of her smile and the way she lit up every room she walked into. He was thinking of his stray thoughts about her, his attraction though inappropriate maybe for a professor to think of a student that way. He actually was only ten years older than her, but of course its frowned on no matter the ages.
He was her mentor and never mentioned his own feelings, but to be honest he did think of her as more than a daughter, truth be known. She just had that way about here that time couldn't touch. It was who she was. She had all the qualities that everyone looks for. I think mostly her young spirit and love for the curiosity of living. Ageless in that way.
He slept a bit, but restlessly. Hard to understand. He just really didn't want to accept it. His restless sleep was confirmed though in a few days when the coroners report showed that the tire had been shot, not just failed. They found a 38 slug still in the tire. That confirmed that her death may have been, and most likely intentional. Not a snipers choice, but just a handgun. Would have had to been shot at fairly close range. Like they were just waiting for her and sitting comfortably on the side of the road.
Learning the facts of the case made him of course sad, but the more he thought about it, the more he thought there might need to have some look into what she was trying to tell him before she was killed.
"Well, all I can do now is look over what she gave me. Sad though it is." he thought to himself.
Looking through the copy of text, one page at a time he started going though it trying to see what she did in this old odd language, mostly Hebrew, Some Greek and something he didn't quite get, maybe older Sanskrit. It was as if the normal languages shown were and older version of each. Many different variations, different dialects and some that didn't seem like they were written by someone of that time period. Older? Newer? Just off somehow. Like the writer was a bit unfamiliar to the language. He wasn't an expert on language, but he did minor in old languages way back when. He guessed he should take this to a friend of his, probably the only one he trusted not to try and steal it since it might be worth something if the original that she had shown him were to be found again, and if it really dated back as far as she claimed, which he no longer doubted after trying to read some of the text.
Once again he remembered her saying she was being followed. She wasn't given to needless or fanciful ideas. Never paranoid and didn't smoke. Not even the fun, aromatic local things the had here. He always took here seriously, for the most part. She did love a good joke now and again, loved her for that playful part of her. But all the facts showing, maybe he should just take a closer look at things.
Where to start? Her Mysterious death and feeling the part of him that was still a kid, and secretly hoping it was some sort of conspiracy, He realized he had to analyze the book first.
First he looked at several passages, some had familiar equations, obviously way past the time line of the books age. Some were familiar, but with sections he couldn't find answers to. Some equations of course, are shorthand to the originator, the mathematicians. They do tend to do that. There were, however, symbols he just couldn't find meaning for. It wasn't like normal shorthand symbols, they actually seemed very decisive, and in some ways, divisive too. Just a feeling. But the texts in some places were very clear. It described male and female abilities, magic as it were. With some help from a colleague, he did manage to decipher most of the text. (thought some of the language didn't seem to be anything modern or old, just odd).
It described a race of people that had many different values or abilities if translated. Mostly was legend ideas, like being able to levitate or heal. Some with (roughly translated as pushing air) abilities. Being able to hunt with just their hands. That part was hard to decipher. A lot of it was being able to disappear. I guess that referres to many old ideas like that of the Ninjitsu, or the shadow people. Many ideas that could be traced back to either known ideas or myths propagated over eons of time.
But then it got very interesting. As Gerald looked at it, it started taking a shape. The math mixed in with the myth started to make an odd kind of sense. If he was reading this right, it even showed how these abilities would have to fade because of the DNA changes that seemed inevitable over time. What disturbed him was that, if the calculations he worked on, over time meant that things would return to, well a state of... well he never got too far with the idea, it got past the idea of translation after that. He did realize at that point that there was a reason Hannah might have been killed. Brought him out of his revery and excitement for what she had found and back to the feeling, the same feeling of fear she had just before she was killed. Now he knew she suffered at the hands of someone. The police report just came alive to him.
The End of innocence
The formula; 19 s2/m3 = v = dx/dt (T2)/(R3) 5 m/s + 50 m/s = 65 m/s.
+2 Cu2S + 3O2 -> 2 Cu2O +a = d[(dx/dt)]/dt = d2x/dt2 2 SO2: 2 ZnS + 3 O2
Some are simple planetary equations, but impossible in a book 5000 years old. some including metallurgy and a few things he didn't expect. They don't really mix. A few other symbols he'd never seen before, and as a physicist it really didn't take long to figure out it didn't make a damn bit of sense. She was correct. It was exciting, didn't make sense, but pointed to an idea almost crazy. To be honest, the whole of the equations just made him nuts. So many things mixed in the wrong places. As a physicist, he understood half of it, but if the best guys at Berkeley couldn't understand the math, well he wasn't sure what to do with it either really.
His first instinct was to find out why his best friend was dead. But that kind of thinking led to the idea that if she was killed for the book, then maybe it wasn't best to dig too openly, after all he had the only copy of the book, and not even all the pages. Where the original copy was, was the least of his worries. Doesn't take much thinking to realize he might be in danger as well, though no one else knew he had a copy as far as he knew.
They were old friends though, and connected. They had lunch every day and shared everything. He surmised that everyone knew that pretty much. So who wanted the book? So many thoughts raced through his head. Was it military? A private company? The Government? Shit, it could even be a collector. Private collectors have been known to kill to get certain artifacts or art pieces. Its well known in certain circles they hire people to get what they want, no matter the cost.
Ok, back to the book. I have to find the original. I can't prove anything one way or other without the original text. Knowing her, she wouldn't have kept it in her home. Maybe she put it in a safety deposit box or something. That's the first thing. Have to find the tome first.
On the other side of the planet, somewhere in Turkey a man was very upset. An old temple had been raided, and a very secret group of people had been asking a lot of questions. They called themselves the watchers In the English language. They had other names he had heard rumors of before, but didn't ever really take the idea seriously. Suddenly though lots of people had been asking lots of questions. Someone had unearthed a section of caves below an old mosque, a place held in high esteem and not somewhere people would go just for fun. For centuries it stood in the desert, away from civilization and alone. No one payed that close attention to it, but there was always someone around to warn you away if you got too close. Reminded him of some movies from the west he had seen in an old theater in Ankara when he was a boy, now what they call a "private movie theater".
The watchers, more commonly know as Druses or Assassins; from Egypt. Also known to have wandered south after tomb raids they could not stop, eventually found new homes in Turkey and other places, still bent on protection of sacred places. They were making themselves known to him, something he surmised they would never do unless things were really going the wrong way. He was upset for several reasons. For one its unsettling to find out secret societies actually exist, second, that they have decided to come into the open, third that the council of ministers have sent envoys out into his little town to ask questions. He was Yusuf Akdad. Since surnames by law could no longer be religious in nature or titles and had to be family names since the 1930's his grandfather had chosen Akdad. He was just a small village mayor and not really equipped to deal with national problems but somehow he is smack-dab in the middle of whatever comes. And now it was his problem, even though he didn't really know what the problem was.
It all started about two weeks ago with a build up of raiders In the northwest section of the territory, too close to what many considered to be sacred land. They started raiding local villages, but never really causing any damage, never hurting anyone, just taking camels and some food supplies. It was way too late by the time they realized it was just a distraction. What seemed pretty harmless at the time was anything but. Someone had not only raided the Mosque, but found the tunnels underneath that had been there for centuries. They had to have known what they were looking for in advance. In the end, they only found evidence that somethings were missing from the blank spots where the dust was disturbed. Traditional treasures were left alone. These raiders found what they obviously knew was there and left everything else alone for the most part.
They came and went in the night, no one saw their passing, heard them come nor were there tracks left behind to find them. Not surprising with the sand and the winds, but it still left a bitter taste in the mouths of those that were supposed to be guarding the place, even though they themselves never knew why they guarded it in the first place. They were drugged with darts and never knew what hit them.
I guess by now you are asking how did Hannah get this book. Not something you just find in an alley and pick up. Well, that part of the story is a bit longer, but I will try and shorten it a bit. Hannah was part archaeologist, part closet anthropologist, but her PHD was in languages, many of them dead ones. And the funniest part was that she actually did pick it up in an alley. Not off the ground, but rather by a very small, very old man that wanted her to have it. Since he didn't ask for money, she did eventually accept his gift. Not without trepidation and expecting some kind of trap. No alley in Turkey is the safest place to be. She went out of the tea house she was in in the wrong direction, and he was waiting there, said he was expecting her.
Believe that part of the story or not, I swear it happened just the way I said it did. The old man, maybe the people who stole it in the first place, likely part of the Deep State, wanted it to get out of the shadows. Either way it found its way into her hands and she was killed because of it.
Proffessor Gerald Spohn was beside himself with grief, feeling more alone than he ever felt before. It had been a long time since anyone he new or cared for had passed. He was young enough not to have tenure yet, only 32 and still learning himself. A career academic, he graduated from stanford at 17. Never really had any friends until he me Hannah. Though she studied language, they just seemed to click. She did tend to go off on ideaology sometimes, but that was endearing really. His physics tended to be dry, though it was his passion. She brought life to him and tended to be the sunshine in an otherwise theoretical world.
He figured at this point that the only thing he could do was to make her death as meaningful as she made his life. He knew the first thing he had to do was to get that tomb and make sure it was authenticated. Sure, he had several photocopied pages, but no one would ever listen if he couldn't show the manuscript itself. Besides, he wanted to know what the rest of the book talked about and why she was so exited about it.
He didn't have a key to her apartment, besides with a suspicious death the police would have tape over her door and wouldn't let anyone in. He did the only reasonable thing. He waited till it was dark and tried the windows. He did find an unlocked window (he knew he would) and crawled in just over the kitchen. Once in he was shocked to see the state of her residence. It looked just like in the movies when you know someone had been there tossing it, looking for something. Even the couch cushions were ripped apart. Obviously the cops hadn't done that. Not unless they were looking for drugs or something else they already thought might be there and there certainly wasn't a reason for them to suspect anything like that. More pieces falling into place. It certainly verified his idea that that damn book had something to do with it. VERY important to someone.