The universe will take control.
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…Some people wait an entire lifetime for purpose. Some don’t find it at all. Some spend an eternity searching for paradise… for a Utopia. But sometimes purpose and paradise come at a cost.
BelisCo-San Jose boasts all the latest breakthrough technology: the fax machine, the electric typewriter, the tri-ox system transport vehicle and the newest technological breakthrough, the porta-fax. With innovations galore, BelisCo-San Jose is a modern-day Utopia—perfectly designed, complete with adult-only zones, smoking and non-smoking zones, cannabis, cigarettes, food, work, income, and reliable, clean transportation—all provided by BelisCo.
But things are not entirely as they seem in San Jose. It is here that jaded, chain-smoking Marcus Metiline’s world is turned upside down. After taking a mediation job with the ubiquitous BelisCo and meeting a peculiar doctor beyond the city’s zoned limits, Marcus’s world quickly unravels. It all starts with flashes of déjà vu and memories that have gone astray. As Marcus searches for answers to the increasingly strange events around him, it’s not long before he discovers that the fate of the world rests in him.
He’s been told exactly what he needs to do… But is something bigger moving him along?
Gnashing metal, labored breathing, and low growls resounded throughout. Not the sound of machines hard at work, but the sounds of caged, defeated animals. Marcus knew this was a purposeful darkness, an orchestrated blindness, and he was glad for it.
Marcus figured he had walked about a quarter mile before encountering the end of the red arrow pathway; a dimly lit staircase. He stepped onto the first step and was carried to the top. At the end of the moving staircase, Marcus faced a pair of enormous double doors. The doors possessed no handles or knobs and were lined by thin threads of rose-colored light. The doors hissed, clanged, and darted upward toward the ceiling.
Beyond them, in the distance, was a man. The man faced away from Marcus, gazing out a large wall of windows. A dismal colorless light flooded the room through the panes of glass. The walls were lined with an overwhelming number of Romanesque plaster sculptures; Jupiter held his lightning bolt proudly overhead, Mercury stood frozen in a sprint, his winged helmet in hand, a bare breasted Minerva sat in the corner examining a scroll, and beside her stood a winged man, a god Marcus didn’t recognize. This wasn’t the only statue unfamiliar to Marcus.
All around the room stood various amalgamations of man and beast. To his left, a group of hyenas with human hands crouched over a small child with feathers for skin. On his right, was a bloodcurdling display of anguish; a man’s middle portion possessing the face of a warthog and the legs of a goat, holding in one hand a long curved blade and in its other the head of a man. These two macabre sculptures specifically stood out to Marcus.
High along the rust-colored walls, various paintings were intermittently hung. They were in no particular order. All of the frames, however, contained similarly themed images. Most striking to Marcus was the horse demon depicted in The Nightmare. Marcus knew this painting and he did not care for it one bit.
In the center of the room rested a large oak desk with wrought iron edges. It sat upon thick, swollen legs that were carved to mimic horse’s hooves. A single pair of oversized chairs neighbored the hooved desk; one behind the desk facing Marcus and the other before the desk, its back to him.
The man at the window turned to face Marcus.
He wore a waxy, white pullover smock adorned with jewels, and wide legged canvas-like pants held in place by golden tassels. His hair was long, dark and thick. His face was framed by a wiry but neatly trimmed beard. His eyes were big and round. He stood tall, taller than Marcus had expected. His presence commanded the room. He looked more like a religious leader than an innovator.
The blue gemstones inlaid upon his collar glinted and twinkled as he approached the desk.
“Please have a seat,” he offered as he sat.
Marcus approached the desk and situated himself in the oversized chair, taking note of the silver dusting across the man’s lips and the abundance of gaudy bracelets he wore. The man rested his elbows upon the desk.
With his chin nested neatly in his palms, the man quietly sang, “As you may have guessed, I am Colin Belis.”
As Colin Belis spoke, he shifted whimsically between tones. His voice was strong yet elastic, commanding yet calm, flexible but steady. Each syllable escaped his lips in an irregular song.
“Science is no different from religion, Mr. Metiline,” Colin Belis began lecturing at Marcus Metiline. “They both request belief of their followers. For example, the particle physicist must rely on probability and mathematics and a belief in the correctness of the two; an astronomer must believe in the planets and upon his limited observational tools and laws of motion.”
His face lit up as he continued, “The electrical engineer must believe in the electron. And a spiritual man, a man of religion, he must consult his intuition and his surroundings to concoct a god.”
He pointed toward the plaster Jupiter. “It seems as though, in this light, gods are attainable.”
He crossed his arms and settled in his chair, concluding, “The only difference between gods and science is in the evidence. In truth of fact, it is merely the categorization of evidence that brings about the belief in a god, or science. The same evidence may lead two different men into differing conclusions.”
He leaned forward, his hands grasping the arms of his chair. “But what most do not realize, Mr. Metiline, is that it is the science that is the line between men and gods. God uses science to create man and man uses science, in turn, to describe him. A man who believes in a god has as much evidence in his mind to support his belief as the man who believes the world to be round and stuck in rotation around the sun. It is the personal experience.”
He went on like this, unprovoked, rambling about scientific breakthroughs, gods, logic and the like. Belis preached as if Marcus were to find some prophetic universal discovery about life buried amongst his words. Maybe this was a tactic of Belis’, or maybe he just liked to hear himself speak.
Finally, Marcus interrupted, “Why do you need me? You have your hands in everything. Why not deal internally, or send the ISE after this Avant fellow?”
“The situation is a delicate one, Mr. Metiline. Time is of the essence.”
Colin Belis paused, and then continued, “You were hand picked for your unique talent. You possess a particular ability that will prove useful in this dispute.”
Straight faced, Marcus butted in, “Then this is not necessarily a patent mediation?”
Belis hesitated, and then answered, “On the contrary Mr. Metiline, I believe Dr. Avant is in violation of certain laws and this patent that he” – Belis cleared his throat – “filed is very similar to one of my own. I cannot yet prove it, and this where you come in.”
Belis appeared to be calculating his words, formulating the correct string of thoughts as he uttered them, pausing to choose the right verbal coefficients.
Belis went on, “This discovery of his is not greatly understood by myself or my people, but due to the mechanisms involved in this patent…”
He slid the paperwork across the desk to Marcus, “It seems to be quite dangerous.”
Marcus began thumbing through the pages. He fanned them out in front of him to see the plans, the formulas, the descriptions, all at once. Marcus had a unique ability indeed. It was not something learned in schools or taught at university. It was not trickery or magic. It was natural, something he was born with, a quality any inventor would envy, even Colin Belis; Marcus could see the true nature of how things work. The complexity of a problem posed no obstacle to Marcus Metiline. Marcus was able to piece things together like a puzzle. He needn’t understand the specifics, because he saw the picture as a whole.
After a moment, Marcus asked, “Can I smoke?” He corrected himself, “Do you have cigarettes?”
Belis nodded and opened a small baroque wooden box on the desk. He turned the box to face Marcus. It was filled with cigarettes. Marcus removed one and put it to his lips.
“Hold please,” Belis requested.
He flipped open the plastic cover of a small black box on the desk and depressed a button. Marcus could hear the whirring of gears as the wall of glass behind Belis ascended upward.
Now, with the air from outside moving freely about, Belis held a light for Marcus.
The first drag was harsh. Marcus let out a deep hacking cough as he exhaled the cigarette smoke. The smoke felt dry. It tasted bitter, stale, disgusting; as if it were the first cigarette he had smoked in years.
The pages on the desk began to flutter in the open air. Belis moved a heavy crystal paperweight atop the pages, pressing them down tight. Marcus noticed that the air was different here. It seemed dirtier, heavier.
“I’ve seen enough,” Marcus said as he leaned back in his chair and inhaled deeply on the cigarette. He let out a small cough. He examined the cigarette, seeing that it was a premium smoke, not a BelisCo cigarette, but a brand he had never seen before. It tasted bad to Marcus. He put it out in the open head of a tarnished, nickel plated lion that stood beside the desk.
“It’s incomplete.” Marcus advised, placing his finger onto a formula on the final page. His gaze was fixed on the clouds outside the window. He had never seen such filthy clouds…
Excerpted from “The Mediator Pattern” by J.D. Lee. Copyright © 2012 by J.D. Lee. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher/author. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.