Ch. 17 — At the Gates of Jerusalem

 

“Well, folks, since you all enjoyed our earlier trip over to McConkey’s on the Delaware in 1776,” says David James Richardson, “this morning, we’re inviting you to take a trip with us that we hope you will find to be delightful.

“Remember, we told you about the General Washington trip that you wouldn’t be disappointed,” he adds.

“Our travels today are at the request of Ethan Thomas, who is here with Ron Pfeffer, his producer.

“It will help Ethan and Ron to fill the requests of their viewers for further information about the System, so I hope you will find my choice of scenario to be one you will enjoy.

“This one is going to be a little more complex than the Delaware operation, because it involves foreign languages that none of us are able to speak,” James explains.

“Where did you have in mind to take us, Deej?” his dad asks with great interest.

“I thought you’d appreciate visiting with someone from mankind’s history who really was a mover and groover on the world scene. George Washington certainly changed the world from the late-eighteenth century onwards. The person we are going to try to visit started shaking up the world in a big way about two thousand, three hundred years ago.

“The name is King Alexander III, the young man from Macedonia, who became Alexander the Great, conqueror of the ancient world, who established an empire that stretched all the way from the River Danube, to the Indus River, well into what was then part of India.”

“What will you do about the language difference if you have to talk with people back then?” Ron Pfeffer questions.

“Before the rest of you got up this morning, Lyndsey and I took the System backward 48 hours, then went over to the British Museum in London, and asked if we could have the help of one of its language experts; one who speaks both classic Greek and also Hebrew or Aramaic. When we told them we were interested in doing some research back at the time of the visit of Alexander the Great to Jerusalem, they told us that Aramaic was the going language of the Hebrew people and so we would need Aramaic and Greek to be able to understand them. The museum has a staff member who is fluent in all three languages.

“We just need Ethan to come over to London and convince the curator of the museum that we need to borrow this person for a couple of hours. We were trying to avoid revealing the existence of the System to him,” Lynz explains. The teens obviously are genuinely committed to keeping this amazing phenomenon on a need-to-know basis.

“Just because I could blind George Washington with science, I don’t know if I could do the same with a modern-day rocket scientist,” Ethan jokes. “Hey, I’ll give it a try.”

“Thanks, Ethan,” James says. “Can we leave right away?”

“Certainly! Whenever you’re ready.”

“Coffee, everyone?” Ladybird asks. “I remember how each of you takes it, so I’ll be back in a few,” she adds.

With the acceptance of all, Ladybuck disappears toward the kitchen, as Deej hands the remote control off to Ethan, and says, “Would you mind ‘driving’ us to London, Ethan. I’ll get Lynz to give you the final directions when we get close to the city.’”

 “If you would just take us up to about ten thousand feet and steer us in the direction of the U.K.”

A few scenic moments later, and the System shows up once more in London, at the Great Russell Street address of what many consider the world’s premier museum.

ET: “What time was it when you left the Curator’s office, Deej?”

James’ reply: “Sorry, I didn’t think to take a note, but it must have been about 9:30 a.m. It certainly wasn’t after 10 o’clock.”

Now Ethan can address a minor time correction that needs to be made. First, he moves their portal physically upwards, to clear the surrounding buildings, and ‘conducts’ the System over to London’s parliament buildings, so that Big Ben’s clock tower is clearly in sight, then backward in time so that the four enormous clock faces show the hands moving much more quickly than normal while this function is carried out.

The correspondent, having made adjustment to the location in time, is now free to return to the out-of-the-way spot on Great Russell Street, so that his disembarking from the rec room will not become common knowledge to the museum’s patrons or other passers-by.

The television anchor hands off the remote to Lyndsey, who, in turn, passes it to Buckminster, who is happy to take over. Ethan, after stepping onto the street, and being joined by James, calls to Pfeffer, “OK, Ron, let’s go!”

“Who? Me? I haven’t finished my coffee yet,” Pfeffer says, questioning Ethan’s choice of a backup partner for the encounter.

“Yes, you!” ET verifies.

“Come on, Ron, I’ll help you,” Russell volunteers. He rises to his feet and walks over to the HDTV, and climbs out onto the street with Ethan, and reaches out with his hand back into the house, and signals for Ron to follow him.

Pfeffer finally stands up, strolls over to the TV, and follows Russ to London Town.

The teenager and the three men walk around to the museum’s front door, looking for all the world like four tourists, and, while Russell turns back to the portal, the others head off in the direction of the curator’s office.

Once Russ is back in the rec room, Buck takes the System around to the massive front doors of the British Museum and, elevating it above the heads of the visitors, follows the directions James has given him regarding the whereabouts of the office of the curator.

The three musketeers are ushered in to meet the man who has the power to let one of his linguists join the group for a couple of hours. He silently ‘intrudes’ the curator’s office so that the family can catch the entire conversation as it takes place.

“Good afternoon,” Ethan greets the curator. He is reflecting the difference in time between Florida and London, where it is already well after 3:00 p.m.

“You’re Ethan … Ethan Thomas, NNN, National News Network in America” … blurts Curator John Cheng, PhD. This London museum is his life. He loves ancient things, and this institution is full of artifacts [and not a few antiquated employees, for that matter,] that meet that description. “What can I do for you, Mr. Thomas?”

“My colleague, Mr. Richardson, was in a little earlier and spoke to you about a project we are working on together. NNN is putting a program together that will cover the visit to Jerusalem of Alexander the Great in 331 BCE.

“From the Museum’s standpoint, our common ground is an interest in whether the priests really did have the gates of the city opened in welcome to the army of Greece. You no doubt know that Alexander was heading up the Greek army on a conquering spree in the middle of the lands of the Persian Empire back in those days.

The priests seemingly had the idea that Alexander would be fascinated that they had long known, from the prophecy in the Bible book of Daniel, that a powerful Greek leader would be coming to Israel, having demolished the Persians as the leading world power of the day.

“Where you come in, Mr. Cheng, is helping us to resolve a rather big issue. Our principal difficulty is that we don’t have access to a specialist able to handle the languages the people spoke back in those days. If we could borrow your linguistics expert for a couple of hours, it would help us to make a more accurate report of the meeting between Alexander and the Hebrew priests, at the gates of the city.

“We’re trying to zero in on the historic value of the encounter. As you know, many people deny that the meeting actually took place. Since the British Museum will come out of this little endeavor smelling like a rose, will you be in a position to assist me?” ET asks.

“Of course; it will be a pleasure. The Museum’s ancient languages specialist is Harry Regan, and he lives here in London. He’s out giving a lecture this afternoon, and likely won’t be back today,” Cheng said. “I’ll call his home later, and arrange for him to be ready for you to pick up here at 07:00 tomorrow, if that will be in order; and if you’re a little late returning him, that will not create any difficulties.”

“That will be perfect, and we’ll pick him up here in your office. Will that suit you, Mr. Cheng?”

“Of course!” Cheng responded. “By the way, Mr. Thomas, can you tell me how it is possible that you can be here at this time of day, and still be back in America in time to do your news programme this evening?”

“That’s was the subject of a program on NNN a week or two ago. If you didn’t catch it, I’ll send you a DVD of the show.”

“Thank you so much”

“See you tomorrow morning, then,” Ethan concludes.

“We’ll look out for you.”

 #

James, Ethan, and Ron Pfeffer, walk calmly out of the huge front doors of the museum, heading off toward the drop-off spot, and find the System now back at the same spot, waiting where it had been when they first arrived.

“Excellent, Ethan,” Russell congratulates ET on his negotiating skills. Everyone agrees.

“What time do we have to leave in the morning to come and get Mr. Regan, James,” ET asks. “On second thoughts, we’re already in the right place. Let’s just move the System ahead for 24 hours and he will already have come in for 07:00 tomorrow morning, no?”

“That should be a go, ET.”

[The reason that David James and Lynz had taken the System to London two days in the past, was that they would be able to return for Harry Regan the following day, just one day in the past, in order to avoid moving ahead of their own place in time as that might accidentally take them into the future. Keep in mind that they are trying to avoid traveling ahead of the wall-clock and calendar; firstly, because they don’t know if they’re able to, and, also, they want to nix the possibility of doing some damage to someone or something vital, as James has previously explained.]

Now it is time to hand over the controls to Charles (Pop) Grover and his wife, Jackie, Dianne’s parents; grandparents to the two teenagers. Both have had exposure to the remote control, and have practiced a time or two with it. Even so, no serious harm can be done, even in the case of an extended trip to Jerusalem.

“How will we go that far back? How will you know when we have arrived at the right moment in time, Deej?” Jay asks.

“Excellent question!” is echoed by most of the group.

“Lynz and I anticipated that question and did some research on the topic. You remember that on our trip back to the Delaware River, I told Lyndsey that she had to hold the time button on the touch pad down for seven and a half seconds. That action took us back almost 239 years to late in December, 1776.

“If we take 239 years and divide that number by 7.5 seconds, the result is 31.8666 years per second. The bottom line of that calculation is that we can travel in time at the rate of 31.8666 years per second.

Therefore, to go to around 331 BCE, or 2,346 years into the past would mean that we would need to go backward for 71.6 seconds.

There is going to be a way to verify our location in time because, fortunately for us, there was a major celestial event that we can use to pinpoint our exact whereabouts: A near-total solar eclipse occurred in the area of Jerusalem two years before Alexander came to the city. That kind of cosmic light show happens very rarely, and it will prove to be a major calibration time for us.

So, first, I think, Pop and Grandma Jay should take us to Jerusalem in modern-day Israel and, once there, we can wheel and deal in the time stuff.

“OK, let’s start out by getting Harry Regan from the museum, and maybe Grandpa Buck and Ladybuck could use the second set to show Harry how the System functions. It’ll be hard to get him to confront a great world leader on our behalf without some kind of explanation,” the boy concludes, as he hands the remote to Pop and Jay.

Parking their portal above St. Thomas’ Hospital on the south bank of the River Thames, the time on the Big Ben clock tower, just opposite, is displaying seven a.m. So, there still remains a need to move forward one twenty-four-hour period, to give the museum time to notify Harry Regan, and let him get in to his Great Russell Street office, ready for work the following morning.

So, with guidance from her husband, like a professional, Jay smoothly moves ahead to the following day, with the clock tower again indicating seven o’clock, and then directs the System back to the British Museum, and finds the same isolated place in which ET had parked on the previous occasion. It is still very quiet in that spot.

James and Lynz disembark onto the London street, and walk toward the museum, where a guard allows them to enter when they drop Harry Reagan’s name on him. They walk to the office of the curator where a tall youngish man sits with a briefcase at his feet, reading a London newspaper.

“Mr. Regan?” James asks.

“Everyone calls me ‘H.’ You may as well do the same,” he grins.

“Hello ‘H,’ I’m Lyndsey” Lynz smiles and exchanges a warm handshake. “This is my brother David James, better known as DJ or Deej. Our transport is outside the museum waiting for us. Are you ready to leave right away?”

“Ready when you are!”

The three exit the curator’s office, walk to the large front doors of the British Museum, and again are allowed passage by the security guard.

They walk line abreast to the System, and with Lynz taking the lead, each one climbs into the St. Pete’s home of the Richardson family.

“Everyone, this is Harry Regan; he says we can call him ‘H,’” Lynz announces. There follow the usual introductions, handshakes and greetings all around.

Harry scans the room, and is especially awed at the shattered sofa. He leans over to Lynz, and whispers a question in her ear. Lynz’s response is to direct him to her paternal grandparents. Buckminster and Ladybuck have been assigned to help Harry to understand the System, which will more than likely involve an explanation of what the Missourian marine had done to the daybed.

As the next best thing to a rocket scientist, even Harry will probably have a little difficulty getting his head around the idea that he is suddenly transported from London to Florida and, pretty soon, in fact, inside mere minutes, will be in Jerusalem.

With Ladybuck filling in the gaps, Buck explains to ‘H’ the features of the System, being careful to explain its known limitations.

Harry is fascinated with the capability of passing through solid objects without any difficulty or harm.

At Ladybuck’s suggestion, Buckminster takes the second HDTV on a quick trip to Iwo Jima and backs up in time to show the linguist the enormity of the US fleet offshore of that embattled World War II island.

The sight of the 1945 kamikaze attack against USS Saratoga, Harry finds to be appalling, and when Buckminster returns in time to the present day, and takes him over for a stroll along the beach, he is choked-up and speechless as time-after-time he stoops down and takes a handful of the black sand, allowing it to sift through his fingers.

His studies for his PhD had involved a tremendous amount of history. That included concentrated efforts to learn as much as possible about the enormous battles that were fought in the Pacific theater of war. He had made intensive study of the battles for both Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. This was his first visit to the small island, paid for 70-plus years ago, with so much blood.

Once Harry is back in the rec room, he queries Ethan about the possibilities of traveling all the way back to 300-odd years before our common era; that is more than one thousand, eight hundred years before Columbus’ voyage of discovery.

“Well, ‘H,’ DJ is the project director, and also the most traveled of all of us,” the correspondent explains.

“He and Lynz zapped themselves back to see Christopher Columbus in 1492 and had a fairly long conversation with him without any difficulty.

“Now James wants to go back to meet up with Alexander the Great, and see if he really was met at the open gates of Jerusalem by the Hebrew priests.”

“I’ve heard this story,” Harry said. “The Hebrew priests apparently showed him the scroll of the prophet Daniel, which referred to a Greek king coming to power, and defeating the Persians, which Alexander did in a very big way. Why are you interested in this, DJ?”

“Mostly I’m doing it as a demonstration of the System’s capabilities for Ethan and Ron. This is only the second time Ron has seen it in action.

“Before we came to get you in London, we made a trip back to see George Washington crossing the Delaware River, with the Continental Army, back in December, 1776. As a matter of fact, ET can show you pictures on his digital camera that he took of the future president.”

“Here, Harry. What do you think of this?” ET queries. He shows the English linguist the small screen on the backside of his camera, and presses the play button and lets him see the video he had made of General George Washington in his tent at McConkey’s Ferry Inn.

“That sounds like an incredible holiday to me! I’d love to meet Christopher Columbus, or George Washington. I’m a historian; there are so many things I would like to ask that pair,” ‘H’ says, bemoaning his late arrival.

“How are you planning to keep track of time traveling back over two thousand years, anyway? People were not so conscious of the passage of time back then, and you’ll have trouble finding calendars, or even people who know how to read one, for that matter.”

Ladybird decides to give a mini lecture on the subject of time travel, based on her prior note-taking endeavors, “Normally, we would use an old watch of DJ’s. Its digital display is able to handle backward travel through at least 130 years, to date. Problem with that is that we have no way to know if it will keep on working through over two thousand years of time, especially on negative time, like years BCE (before our common era), for example. So we’ll be using an older method of keeping track of where we are in the stream of time.

DJ adds, “I thought we could go to the city of Alexandria in modern-day Egypt and just go ripping back in time until the city disappears. Then we could just watch out for Big Al to show up, because the city was named after him, and apparently he was there when the plans for the city were first drafted.”

Harry sticks in a thought, “That’s a good plan, Deej, but maybe I could make an extra suggestion. You might try to orient yourselves by checking out the Lighthouse of Alexandria. That was an unusually tall tower put up in the 3rd century BCE (between 285 and 247 BCE), about forty years after Alexander died. It was built on the island of Pharos in Alexandria, Egypt to serve as the port city’s landmark, about forty years after he died. That would give you some idea where you are in time and roughly how much further you have to go. After you find that moment in time you can back up looking for the solar eclipse that Lyndsey told me about.”

[With a height variously estimated at between three hundred and eighty-three to four hundred and fifty feet, the Lighthouse was among the tallest fabricated structures on earth for many centuries, and was identified as one of the Seven Wonders of the World by Antipater of Sidon. It was the third tallest building after the two Great Pyramids (of Khufu, and Khafra) for its entire life. Some scholars estimate a much taller height exceeding five hundred and forty that would make the tower the planet’s highest building up to the 14th century.]

“Once you get close to the right year, you can move over to Jerusalem and fast-forward or fast-reverse until you see the Macedonian Army coming up to the gates of the city. What do you think?”

“I knew we’d be glad we brought you along, ‘H,’” says James. “Let’s do it!”

JG offers the remote control to her husband, but Pop refuses it, saying to her: “Go for it, Jay. You know the Middle East just as well as I do. Head out toward the south over western France, and Spain, until you hit the Mediterranean.

“You can follow Jay’s progress as we go east on the Med., everybody,” Pop Grover, our tour guide announces. “Once we turn east and pass by the Rock of Gibraltar, which will be on your left, you’re going to see the boot of Italy kicking the ‘soccer ball’ of Sicily. Just after that you’ll see the island of Crete blocking the way up to the Aegean Sea, the Dardanelles, the Bosporus and the Black Sea. Then the island of Cyprus will appear off to the northwest up toward Anatolia, the non-European part of Turkey, anciently known as Asia Minor. Once you see Cyprus in the distance, we’ll be turning south to the mainland of Africa.

“Alexandria should be visible from that point, and we can start moving backward to get to the spot in time we’re looking for.”

JG elevates the party up to a height of about six hundred feet, and rotates until, looking downward, she clearly sees Big Ben’s clock tower and wheels the System out over the prominent landmark.

Before hitting the road, she moves vertically to an altitude of close to six thousand feet, and then heads off toward the south. First landmark is western France, which brings them close to Normandy’s ‘D-Day’ beaches. [Your old granddad can perhaps tell you about ‘D-Day,’ which took place on June 6, 1944. You can also try using ‘d-day’ as a search string on the Internet.]

At the rock of Gibraltar, Jackie makes the required ninety degree turn to the east, enabling the group to travel past all the landmarks and scenery identified earlier by Pop Grover.

After passing Crete in the beautiful deep blue color of the tide-less Mediterranean Sea, Jackie keeps a sharp eye out for Cyprus, as she remembers she has to turn south before reaching that island.

Pop sees it first, and points out the guitar-shaped island to his wife, so she duly makes a sharp turn to the right, arriving in seconds off the north coast of modern-day Egypt.

Alexandria is clearly visible a few miles away, a couple of quick presses solving that difference, and, in moments, they are offshore of the city Alexander the Great commissioned on the western side of the Nile delta. Jay makes the requisite forward and backward movements on the time buttons, so registering Alexandria as a DELTA-stop location.

“Can you point Grandma Jay in the general direction of Jerusalem, ‘H’? Then we’ll be able to set our second default location.”

“It’s about 300 miles east northeast of Alex. At this height it should be fairly easy to spot, once we get near, since it’s on a mountain,” Harry Regan advises.

Again, Jay speeds off in an easterly direction slightly favoring the north, passing over the landmass of Egypt without any difficulty. The southeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea slips smoothly by as the coastline of Israel appears in the near distance.

‘H’ proves exactly right. Jerusalem quickly appears in their sight on a line level with the northern extremity of the Dead Sea.

Finally, she parks the System west of the city at a range of about a half mile from the temple mount area facing in a northerly direction, since eventually this is the probable direction from which Big Al will appear with his soldiers. She opts to keep the height at about 5,000 feet for safety reasons, for now, at least.

After Jay again registers the latest point of arrival as a DELTA stop, James gives his grandmother the OK to go ahead to start the major event.

Making a DELTA move back to Alexandria, Jackie receives the latest instruction from David James, “Backward in time until the Lighthouse appears, Grandma Jay. Your total trip is going to be just over one minute. Because the lighthouse suffered severe damage by an earthquake in 1323, it should first appear to our view in about twenty seconds. After that, maybe you could run back for about forty-five seconds and then slow down.”

Jay aims the screen directly at the city of Alexandria, Egypt, and hits the back-up key and holds it down with a vengeance.

‘H’ adds, as time flies by, “Keep an eye on that big square building over there. That is the Qa’it Bay Citadel. It was built in 1477 C.E. on the site of the old lighthouse, mostly using the blocks of light colored stone from which the earlier structure had been built.”

After just fifteen seconds pass, sharp-eyed Lynz sees the stub of a tower taking shape on exactly the spot where the square building had previously been seen. The box-shaped edifice rapidly disappears only to be replaced by the wreckage of another enormous building; the one Lyndsey had spotted.

What would finally prove to be the towering structure expands in size as the years stream backward, to the time when the lighthouse was in its best condition. The city also quickly diminishes in size as its suburbs disappear, as Jay Grover speeds the group back to the pre-Christian era.

[The ‘great crowd’ at the Richardson’s house eventually discovers that the lighthouse was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1303 and a second temblor in 1323 the latter of which seems to have toppled the structure, so that people traveling in the area reported that it was not possible to enter the ruin.]

The corporate watch, which is hanging on the rack, well within Jay’s sight, continues to wind down the years, but, not surprisingly, ceases to display a year after 1 CE. It has paid for itself in more ways than one, but is incapable of offering assistance to movements into the BCE arena.

Jay slows the rearward progress of the time shift and proceeds at a more reduced pace, until the group sees the huge lighthouse begin to sprout an ancient form of scaffolding. This leads our family and its visitors to suspect that they are watching the very early stages of construction of the monument.

‘H’ is able to tell them the tower was constructed starting in the year 285 BCE down to 247 BCE, a period of forty years. Hence, there is still a goodly period yet to run before the king will surface.

The tower diminishes in size with the regression of time into the days of old. Jay again slows the rate of time travel as the building reaches only two courses of the huge stones used to construct it.

Smoothly, one by one, the huge monoliths are removed from the structure and taken away. This is all at relatively high speed, of course, since Jay continues her low-paced reversal through time.

When the final stone is the sole remaining part of what will become the massive lighthouse, JG slows to a snail’s pace, moving just one click at a time.

She closes in on the worksite and scouts around to see if there is anyone of interest. Is there someone who might be of help in determining where or when Alexander the Great might be located. Strangely, no one can be found. No matter.

If this really is the year 285 BCE, and the startup date we have been using is accurate, then we should be getting close to meeting the man of the hour.

‘H’ adds the detail that the architect who designed the tower was a Greek named Sostratus. Harry also advises that, because this all happened forty years after the death of Alexander, he feels it is unlikely that Sostratus ever knew the king, noting that the lighthouse was actually commissioned by one Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-din Qa’it Bay because ships on the Mediterranean needed navigational help at night.

Harry feels that the family and the NNN representatives should prepare themselves to be disappointed at this location, at least.

“We’ve come this far. Let’s keep going anyway,” DJ decides.

‘H’ adds a further thought. “It would help if we could beetle over to Jerusalem, then go back in time until the solar eclipse occurs. Once we spot that, then we can just go back in time for a year or two until the Greek army shows up.”

“Great. That’s something someone had suggested just before we came to the Museum to pick you up,” Deej responds.

With that said, Jay vectors in the direction of the east, heading for ancient Jerusalem. She remembers that a DELTA will not be of value, since their earlier trip to the holy city has been in the twenty-first century.

This time, though, the view is of a vastly different Jerusalem. Gone are the modern skyscraper hotels and other edifices and trappings of the twenty-first century. Gone are the huge ships plying their trade on the Mediterranean or heading to or from the Suez Canal. In their places are small single-family dwellings, each with a flat roof where various items of food or household property are drying or being aired in the sunshine.

The group arrives after a few seconds, without further incident. Using DJ’s formula for extensive periods of time travel (31.8666 years per second,) JG holds down the backward time-travel key for one-and-a-half seconds, to get from their present location in Jerusalem in 285 BCE (which agrees with the beginning of construction on the Alexandria lighthouse), with a need to get to 332 BCE, the time of the solar eclipse.

The next step is to move backward at fairly slow speed until a double-dark period flashes by. She stops and changes to the forward mode and slowly clicks until the sun is mostly obscured by the moon. An almost complete solar eclipse!

Jay appears to have isolated the solar eclipse of July 4, 335 BCE. Finally, we are pretty sure that we are hot on the trail of Alexander during perhaps the most enlightened moment of his short life. The event we are en-route to see in Jerusalem is reported to have taken place in November of the year 332 BCE. Our voyage through time is almost complete.

[These years have been good to the twenty-four-year-old Alexander III of Macedonia. The Macedonian/Greek king, born in 356 BCE, in Pella, capital of Macedon in the north of ancient Greece, had as his dad King Philip II. Mom was Philip’s fourth wife Olympias, an Epirote princess. Just for the record, Alexander acceded to the throne of King Philip in the summer of 336 BCE. In the next year, 335 BCE, [Remember to count downwards when you’re dealing with BCE dates] he campaigns in the Balkans. Then in 334 BCE, he fought the huge Battle of the Granicus River; in 333 BCE, he fights the vital Battle of Issus. Unfortunately, this great world conqueror will not enjoy his fame and fortune for much longer, for in just eight short years, his life will be cut short by what is still a puzzle to this day. Could it have been what we today call West Nile Virus? What about malaria, perhaps from the bite of a tiny mosquito? Some have suggested that it was something Alexander was unable to conquer, his inability to exercise self-control. If this latter reason is true, what killed him was his failure to exercise moderation when imbibing alcoholic beverages at a certain party thrown in his honor. He perhaps drank himself to death.]

#

Jay keys the System backward in time toward the year 332 BCE, but Harry Regan stops her to warn that she is facing toward the north. “True,” says he, “that is the direction of Greece, but Alexander will approach Jerusalem from the south, from the direction of Gaza, his last stop before heading off in the direction of the City of David.” JG makes the necessary correction to the group’s view so that, rather than gaze at where the sheep graze on the ‘Fertile Crescent,’ they will gaze at Gaza [Sorry, we just couldn’t resist that one!].

Now, with our folks anticipating the imminent arrival of the king of Greece and his army, Jay slows the forward progress to a slow trot so as not to miss the young monarch.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the horizon clouds over with dust and a huge armada of humanity looms large where the earth meets the sky. Jay heads the System off to the south in order to meet what she hopes will be the Greek army.

As they draw closer it became obvious that it is indeed an army. ‘H’ is able to identify the soldiers’ uniforms as being those of Alexander’s forces. In front is a bare-headed young man with long waves of dark blonde hair, riding with another uniformed soldier.

Long before meeting with the Greeks, Harry and Ethan disembark from the time portal and slowly advance toward the approaching armed force. Jackie keeps pace with the pair, remaining immediately behind them as they move southward. ‘H’ suggests that they both exercise caution, walking slowly, each with his right hand raised as a sign of peace.

As Alexander’s eyes light upon the two men, he flashes a verbal command to the man on his right, who relays it to his assistant. The third man (chosen to be the gopher,) selects a companion and the pair rides out to meet our heroes. The ride will take several minutes as ‘H’ and ET are at quite a distance from where Alexander is presently riding.

Although our lads are feeling a measure of trepidation, they are happy at least that the huge army is heading north, the right direction for the purposes of their trip. They continue to walk south with their right hands raised, hopefully as a symbol of peaceful greeting.

As the men close in on Harry and Ethan, ‘H’ begins to call out in the language of the two soldiers, ancient Greek, “We come in the name of peace and friendship to meet the great king of Greece, King Alexander III,” repeating this same phrase until the men respond.

The senior of the two men addresses our heroes, saying, “Who are you men and for what reason do you wish to speak to the great Alexander?” he demands.

“My companion is Ethan Thomas of the National News Network. He is a journalist, a man who finds news stories and reports on these to others in the community. He knows of the recent activities of your great King Alexander; the Battles of the Granicus River and the Battle of Issus. He has made the information available to people of many nations. He needs to speak to His Majesty the king about the visit to Jerusalem which he is about to make. He has with him a little box, which makes drawings of people toward whom he points it. He can show you a drawing the little box made of a man he was talking to this morning. Ethan!”

ET whips out his trusty digital camera and shows the officer the footage he had recorded of Benjamin Fraser of the Philadelphia Reporter, choosing not to show the pictures of George Washington in military dress, since these might be perceived as a threat.

The response is as expected and immediate: “Where may I obtain such a box? My career would be greatly helped by such a device.”

‘H’ intervenes, “My friend is unable to speak the language of Macedonia or Greece. He was asked the same question by the man whose drawing he showed you in the box. He told that person that the little box requires more work and, once that is completed he would be willing to notify him where a copy of the box could be found. He can do the same for you, if you wish.

“Do you think he could send you the information at the royal palace in Athens?”

“Perfect.”

“If I may have your name, sir, I could ask my friend if he would be willing to let the little box make a drawing of you two gentlemen.”

“I am Captain Nikolaos Angelis.”

Although not speaking a word of Greek, neither ancient, classical, or koine, Ethan still has a feeling about what ‘H’ is negotiating for, so as soon as Harry looks in his direction he knows what is expected of him and lines up his camera with the two men as the focal point and starts recording. After ten seconds, he stops the camera and instantly switches to the replay mode and shows the captain the results of his work.

Putting it mildly, Angelis is delighted. He calls his colleague and lets him watch as ET replays.

“Please wait here and I will tell the king of your need. I’m sure he will receive you favorably.”

Captain Angelis rides off in the direction of the main body of troops. Minutes later he has reported with great gusto to Alexander, who after listening carefully to his captain’s report, orders two other soldiers to accompany him, mounts his own horse and accompanies Angelis northward to meet ‘H’ and ET. Wow! This is one amazing result. They could not have asked for better.

The 24-year-old dismounts immediately in front of our two representatives and, with Angelis at his side, asks, “What is this all about? What is it you men want? What is this magic box Captain Angelis is telling me about?”

Harry answers, “This gentleman, Majesty, is Ethan Thomas of NNN. He is working on assembling a history of your reign as king of Greece since you acceded to the throne upon the death of your honorable father King Philip II, and wishes to include in his report some of the activities of this, your most recent foray.

“It is Mr. Thomas who has the magic box that draws pictures. He can show you drawings that the box helped him to make of Captain Angelis a short while ago, and you can see for yourself that this box is how he creates drawings to accompany his reports.”

Ethan hears the name Angelis and so again pops out his camera and replays for the king the footage he had just made of the captain. Alexander’s eyes open up like saucers and without hesitation, he asks the standard follow-up question, “Tell me where I can obtain a magic box that draws instant pictures. This would be perfect for training my generals on how to fight a war. A picture must surely speak more than a thousand words.”

‘H,’ with a glint in his eye, “I’m sure it would. That is a very wise proverb, Majesty. You should save it for your memoirs.”

“Majesty, my colleague has a special interest in the visit you are making to Jerusalem in Judea as part of your northbound travels.

“It is a great misfortune that he doesn’t speak the language of Your Majesty, but he has learned in his travels and his research that the priests of Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, in Jerusalem, have historic writings that foretell the visit to Jerusalem of a great king of Greece who will conquer most of the world of today. He wants to know if you would be prepared to make a comment.”

“This is not the first time I have heard of these writings. This is one of the reasons I am driving toward Jerusalem. I want to destroy the city and find these writings for myself.”

Harry, sincerely, “Your Majesty will probably find that destruction of Jerusalem is unnecessary. The priests are as anxious to show the scrolls to you as you are to examine them.”

“Tell me what you know of these writings.”

Harry explains that the scroll was written by a very elderly man named Daniel about one hundred and eighty years earlier, around the time that the Israelites were released by the Medo-Persian Empire following their 70-year-long Babylonian exile and captivity.

The description that the Hebrew priests of Jehovah feel probably will apply to Alexander is as follows:

(Daniel 8:5-9) And I, for my part, kept on considering, and, look! there was a male of the goats coming from the sunset upon the surface of the whole earth, and it was not touching the earth. And as regards the he-goat, there was a conspicuous horn between its eyes. 6 And it kept coming all the way to the ram possessing the two horns, which I had seen standing before the watercourse; and it came running toward it in its powerful rage. 7 And I saw it coming into close touch with the ram, and it began showing bitterness toward it, and it proceeded to strike down the ram and to break its two horns, and there proved to be no power in the ram to stand before it. So it threw it to the earth and trampled it down, and the ram proved to have no deliverer out of its hand. 8 And the male of the goats, for its part, put on great airs to an extreme; but as soon as it became mighty, the great horn was broken, and there proceeded to come up conspicuously four instead of it, toward the four winds of the heavens. 9 And out of one of them there came forth another horn, a small one, and it kept getting very much greater toward the south and toward the sunrising and toward the Decoration.

[This text is a direct quotation from the Bible book of Daniel, chapter 8, verses 5-9. The prophecy also includes the identification of many of the symbolisms; namely,’ the male of the goats’ or the ‘he-goat,’ represents a ‘first’ king of Greece who would impact on God’s people (per Da. 8:21). The ‘ram possessing two horns’ represents the dual world power of Media-Persia whom Alexander would defeat to take over the ancient world. Verse 8 of the prophecy shows that, following Alexander’s death, his great empire would eventually come to be divided up into four parts. History tells us that the kingdom was indeed taken over by four of his generals. So, from our history books, we know that this prophecy proved flawlessly true.]

‘H’ avoids talking about the portion of the prophecy that discusses the matter of the king’s early demise and the four Greek generals who will fight among themselves to take Alexander’s throne after his unfortunate death in 323 BCE.

[Just so that each of you knows exactly what we need to prove, historians relate that a prophecy of Daniel found in the Bible book that bears his name, regarding the Grecian Empire, in particular that segment about Alexander the Great, had an incredible fulfillment. This has long been known. Flavius Josephus, the first-century Hebrew historian, recorded that Alexander was at the open gates of Jerusalem and had Daniel’s prophecy shown to him by the High Priest. As to the reaction of the conqueror, Josephus writes: “When the scroll of the writings of Daniel was shown to the king, in which the prophet of Jehovah had declared that a certain Greek commander would destroy the Persian empire, he believed himself to be the one indicated.” While many today doubt that this occurred, the fact that Josephus mentions this tradition confirms that Alexander the Great was viewed as having fulfilled prophecy. Their questions as to the accuracy of Josephus’ report are what generated James’ interest in this ancient forecast.]

The powerful young ruler now takes an unexpected action, which takes both Harry and Ethan by surprise. He invites both of our heroes to join him in riding up to Jerusalem, still a few miles away. The city of David is visible on the horizon, but it is located on a small mountain, and so is actually further away than it appears.

‘H’ suggests that, in order to avoid insulting the powerful monarch, they accept his generous offer and, when two horses arrive from the rear of the formation, both men climb aboard. (It’s a good thing neither James nor Lyndsey are presented with the same offer. The two teens have never been on a horse in their lives and would definitely have fallen off.)

The army again begins to move northward. Alexander permits our heroes to ride on either side of him and Ethan takes advantage of their situation by getting Harry to pose some questions to the monarch. [Isn’t that just what you would expect of an NNN newshound?]

“Harry, could you ask Big Al what effect his father’s assassination had on him? See what he has to say to that?” ET asks.

‘H’ obliges and renders Ethan’s message into ancient Greek and relays it to their host.

Alexander’s answer, given to ET by Harry, indicates that the youthful royal was surprised by the assassination four years earlier, and reported that his mother had been seen weeping after her husband was killed. At the time, he felt she had shed only ‘crocodile tears,’ and that she was not really saddened, as Philip II had taken a new bride which greatly offended her.

Alex had taken advantage of the power vacuum to secure his father’s position and developed some of Philip’s military tactics into battle strategies that had proven to be extremely effective and as a result, he had become the leader of the most powerful nation on earth.

Time flies by quickly and very soon they are at the gates of the city of Jerusalem. James and Lyndsey, along with Ron Pfeffer of NNN, Russell and Dianne and the teens’ four grandparents, are sitting on the edge of their seats as the Greek army halts on Alexander’s command outside the huge portals which, strangely, given the invasion-type setting, are wide open.

Jay has handed the remote control off to Lynz, who does a great job of keeping abreast of the action in the desert and all present are easily able to follow along with the conversation and the explanations that Harry Regan is giving.

A general riding in the second rank of the army just behind our heroes, dismounts and, along with a single soldier to act as a courier, advances into the gates where he is met by a delegation of Hebrew priests. These welcome him with cries of “Shalom!”

He listens quietly to them for a few moments and then sends his courier to advise Alexander that the priests have indicated by signs that they wish to speak with him and have something to show him that he will find to be of the greatest interest.

The courier then hurries off to find the formation’s official Hebrew translator to get him to join Alexander. Interestingly, Alexander’s single Hebrew-speaking officer is none other than Captain Nikolaos Angelis.

King Alexander III, inviting ET and ‘H’ to accompany him, disembarks from his mount and confidently strides forward to meet the priests. The holy men speak excitedly in the Hebrew language, but the royal stops them, he cannot understand their language. The general sends Captain Angelis forward to be with Alexander in his discussions with the priests.

Angelis greets the priests in the Hebrew language, asks how he can be of assistance to them and listens politely as they state a fascinating fact. The city has been expecting the Greek king for many years.

The young monarch is already aware of the ramifications of the scrolls held by the Hebrew priests, thanks to the explanation of their contents that ‘H’ has given him, but Alexander doesn’t let on to this foreknowledge.

He permits the priests to explain exactly what it is that they have, and the importance of this data. He is very impressed by their sincerity and candor. Something he learns of which he had been unaware, was that Jerusalem has scrolls other than that of Daniel containing literally hundreds of other predictions many of which had already been fulfilled, although few of these had any reference to the rulers or people of Greece.

Without fear of being overheard, or at least understood, ‘H’ leans in the direction of Ethan and says quietly, “How about asking Big Al to come and meet the Richardson family inside the house? We could really light his fire in Florida!”

“Can you hear us, DJ,” Ethan asks, hoping that James would be able to catch what they had decided to try out.

“We can all hear you,” the teenager responds. “Hold on, ET, let me ask around the family here.”

“What do you think, Dad, Mom?”

“Holy cow! What an honor! It should be OK, but you’ll have to try to get him to leave his sword behind,” Russell recommends.

“Ethan, the family is OK with what you suggested, except my dad is a tad concerned about him bringing his sword into the house. Can Harry get him to leave it behind?”

As Alexander withdraws from the presence of the priests, forever impressed with the things he had learned from them, Harry Regan works his way into close proximity to the regal personage and speaks quietly to Alexander, “Your Majesty would be extremely interested in some things Mr. Thomas and I have to show you. If you and Captain Angelis would be willing to leave your swords behind, and step behind your horse, I think that you would be delighted with what we can show you.”

“Why do we have to leave our swords behind?” the royal one questions.

“Majesty, we will be in the presence of ladies who find military hardware to be offensive. I’m sure they would be willing to greet you very warmly if you would arrive in their company without the swords. Do you think you and the captain could comply with that one single requirement?”

“Angelis! Remove your sword and come with me,” he commands his interpreter. The captain joins the king, as together they step toward the south end of Big Al’s horse.

As they reach the agreed spot, Harry stops them immediately beside the electronic portal and motions to ET to get his camera working again. “Majesty, Captain Angelis, Mr. Thomas wishes to have his box make a drawing of Your Royal Majesty with Captain Angelis, if you wouldn’t mind.”

The two men turn and, with the System faintly visible in the background, ET makes the customary five to ten seconds of video of the two men as each one extracts his sword from its scabbard and drops it on the ground beside the royal mount.

Ethan eases himself into the rec room and ‘H’ guides Captain Angelis to do the same. Once Alexander III sees his translator is quite at ease on the other side of the portal, he feels comfortable following the subordinate.

The king steps into the Richardson’s house and is immediately greeted by everybody at the same time. Everyone tries to shake his hand, and the hand of his trusty captain. Harry has to remind them with quite a loud voice that neither the king nor his captain understand a word of the English language they are speaking.

With a great deal of laughter, they back off from the two ancient Greeks and allow ‘H’ to translate for the two men, introducing each one in turn. Alexander isn’t accustomed to shaking strangers by the hand, but he seems to realize that these unusually dressed people put great stock in it and so, as each is introduced, he vigorously shakes them by the hand. He enjoys it so much he even shakes hands a few times with Captain Angelis just for practice.

“What is this place?” he asks in his native tongue. “I saw no inn as we approached the city.”

It is at this moment that his eyes fall upon the numerous boxes dotting the rec room. Strange, he thinks to himself, they are all very reminiscent of the tiny screen on the back of the little magic box the foreign man had shown him outside Jerusalem. Now slowly it dawns on him that each box carries the same picture on it: the scene of the gate of the city of Jerusalem where the priests still stand talking among themselves and gazing at where the Greek king had disappeared with his army captain a minute or so earlier.

“What are these boxes?” he demands. “They display drawings like the ones you showed me in the desert. Except these all display exactly the same drawing.”

‘H’ has to do a bit of fast talking to the king. “Majesty, these boxes make copies of the drawings Mr. Thomas made of you earlier.” Harry tries to ignore the question about the nature of the home, trying to avoid the issue of time-travel.

“These are part of a new technology that he is developing, and is trying to perfect. If you wish, we can get him to send you news to let you know when the boxes become available for distribution in Macedonia and Greece.”

His eyes next land on a picture hanging on the rec room wall. “What is that drawing?” he asks Harry. It is a picture of an Airbus A-380, a huge four-engined jumbo jet, with wheels and flaps deployed ready to land at its home base in Toulouse, France.

“Buck, Ladybuck, can you take the other big set over to Whitted and show Alex the planes landing and taking off and see what he makes of that?”

“Always a pleasure,” said Buckminster, stepping over to the second large set, moving it out of the sphere of influence of the main HDTV. “Here you go, my love,” he said, handing the second remote off to Ladybird.

Bird lifts the view up about 300 feet and swings the System out in the direction of Tampa Bay, cruising over to the vicinity of the Pier and homing in on the Albert Whitted Airport which is immediately south of the inverse pyramid structure. As the small planes zip in and out of the busy landing strips, the two Greek dignitaries stand open-mouthed.

Lynz and Jay along with ‘H’ exit the number two System onto the Pier’s causeway and stand on the sidewalk watching the aircraft. Once the three are outside the rec room, Alexander and Angelis reckon they could probably safely join them on the Pier, and quickly disembark from the house onto the causeway. Their eyes are riveted on the cars that constantly drive along the roadway and back toward St. Pete’s; the parking lot’s shuttle buses in particular.

Too, both are fascinated by the inverse pyramid and what holds it up, but even more than that, they are intrigued by the noisy little aircraft, especially the ones that trail banners. The flying machines are close enough that they were easily able to pick out the men in the cockpits.

“Look at those soldiers flying on those huge birds,” Alexander notes to Angelis in wonderment. “They do chirp very loudly, but I would like to buy such animals?” he tells his captain.

At the king’s right shoulder, Harry Regan speaks quietly to answer the question. “Majesty,” he uses the Greek tongue so that the young monarch can understand him without difficulty, “anything you obtain here will have to be passed back to Jerusalem or Athens through the lighted window that Your Majesty just climbed through with Captain Angelis and me. That means, sire, that those objects must either have the ability to be folded up very small, or be less than two cubits in width,” ‘H’ said. He is figuring that one cubit measured about 18”, remembering that the Richardson HDTV had a diagonal (corner to corner) screen size of about 70 inches.

“The birds that you are admiring here are much too large to fit through the opening. May I suggest, Majesty, that you take some small models of the birds so that your own engineers can experiment with a large-scale version back in Athens? These come in a small package that can easily fit through the window and your weapons specialists can assemble them and discover what makes them work. They could then prepare large-size units. Would that work for you, sire?” Harry asks.

“Harry,” Alexander responds, “are you certain that there is no other way for me to obtain supplies of the large version of the birds?”

“Majesty,” the linguistics expert assures him very respectfully, “I am certain that such large objects could not be successfully passed through the window. Would Your Majesty like to inspect a model of the type of which I spoke earlier?”

“Do you have one available?” the emperor responds.

“Just one moment, Majesty,” ‘H’ replies. “I shall see if I can find such a model for you to inspect.”

Harry leans toward the portal waiting beside them on the causeway of the St. Pete’s pier, and begins asking DJ, who is still in the rec room, if he knows of anyone who has a model aircraft. It could be either of the radio-controlled variety, or just a model for static display, such as airplane fans keep hanging from a string in their bedrooms.

Ladybird has a potential answer to that. “Buckminster,” she asks, “what happened to that young man who flew model aircraft who lived next door to us a year or two ago?”

“I think he went into the military, so he won’t be able to be of much help to us. What about taking Alexander over to the Hobby Shop in Clearwater? We could get him there in a few seconds,” Buck queries.

Deej agrees. “That might be good. It looks like that’s about our last resort.”

“’H,” can you bring Alex back into the house and we’ll get the two of you over to the Hobby Shop in Clearwater Beach and let him have a look at a couple of the model planes over there and perhaps buy him one or two. Can you ask him what he thinks of that?” James asks.

“Do you want Captain Angelis to come along too?” Harry asks.

“I guess so; they’re a team.” DJ is thinking that it doesn’t really make much difference. Captain Angelis can get the explanations along with his boss.

Harry speaks briefly to Alexander and his captain, and the two men follow the Londoner through the portal and back into the house. The two ancient Greeks seem to be much more at ease using the System even in this strange place.

Because Jay and Pop Grover are ‘driver’ and ‘navigator’ respectively on the main set, they are currently tied up with the Jerusalem scenario which it is vital to retain on hold. Although the other members of the party are still out on the pier, it falls to Buck and Ladybuck to look after the trip to Clearwater on the second active unit.

James: “Grandpa Buck, could you please get ‘H’ and our two guests over to the Hobby Shop near the Marina in Clearwater Beach?” he asks.

“This is amazing!” Buck says. “We have the most powerful man in the ancient world in the house, and my lovely-and-talented and I get to ‘drive’ him to the Hobby Shop. If someone had told me about this, I wouldn’t believe it either.”

Buckminster passes the remote over to his wife, saying, “Here you are, Bird, let’s go!”

Ladybird vectors the second System in the direction of Clearwater, which is, positioned some 18 miles northwest of St. Pete’s.

The trip takes just seconds and Bird touches down in the parking lot about ten feet away from the side of the store in a little-used area, hence ideal for offloading her passengers.

With Ethan Thomas taking the lead (there are going to be questions that will need some pretty fancy footwork to answer, and ET is great at handling these), and Big Al, his captain, Nikolaos, hard on their heels, with ‘H’ and DJ making up the rest of the group.

This leaves Ladybird and Buck looking after the number two unit, Jay, and Pop in charge of the main HDTV and oversight being given by Russell, and Dianne, along with NNN’s producer Ron Pfeffer.

Back at the main action, Alex and Nikolaos Angelis, along with Harry and DJ enter the store at its front door. Fortunately, the counter clerk is shielded by his display shelving from seeing the two Greek military men in their skirted garments, and so pays little attention. He is accustomed to hosting browsers in the store as this is one of the most popular tourist areas in the entire United States. Little does he know what he is missing.

ET and James escort Alex and Captain Angelis down an aisle containing numerous aircraft models. Harry speaks quietly to Alex as before, giving him a brief description of each type. He knows, however that his words mean little to the Greek monarch.

The world conqueror stops with fascination several times, especially at a beautiful model of the now-obsolete F-14A Tomcat.

His mouth opens at the sight of a model that really takes his fancy. Compared even with the F-14A, it is a futuristic-looking craft with a circular body, such as has never flown in the skies of planet earth. Suspended below the main body is a large cylindrical structure that appears to be the living quarters and offices. It is surmounted with two parallel tubular structures, positioned in a fore and aft orientation, that appear to contain the thrust mechanism. It is emblazoned with the logo NCC-1701® and the name Enterprise®.

It is the famous Starship Enterprise® of Star Trek® fame. Alexander cannot take his eyes off it. “This is the one I want,” he says. “I wish to have three copies of this one and three copies of that one,” pointing at the F-14. “As Your Majesty wishes,” ‘H’ responds.

It doesn’t make much difference, as the entire American group is aware that the two Greek men will be totally unable to recreate anything like the two machines. Modern science has been unable to create anything other than a model of the starship Enterprise, and it had taken until early in the twentieth century for inventors to be able to construct anything capable of powered flight. There is no propulsion machinery in either of the models and so Alex’ engineers will have to be satisfied with making a glider out of either model, if such is possible. Too, keep in mind that Alexander does not have access to fuel for either of these craft in the ancient world.

ET leads the way to the clerk’s position with Alexander and Angelis in tow with DJ and ‘H’ as the vanguard. The associate’s eyes widen as his eyes light on the two military men wearing breastplates and Greek-style military skirts and sandals. He is unable to contain his curiosity, but before he can say anything, his eyes settle on ET, whom he instantly recognizes. “Ethan Thomas! To what do I owe this great honor, sir?”

Ethan, figuring this would be a great time to head off the Indians at the pass, as John Wayne would have put it, explains, “We’re putting together a program which will show me interviewing a man from ancient times, and we’re going to be picturing him with some modern toys, nothing special.”

“How could I get someone at NNN to let me know when the program is to be aired? Then I’ll be sure to watch it.”

“I’ll have my producer Ron Pfeffer give you a call and give you at least two days’ notice.”

“That would be great, but listen, if you could mention my store during the program, I could let you have the model kits for free. Fair deal?”

“Sounds OK to me. What is your name, sir?” ET asks.

“Matt Raymond” the storeowner responds.

“OK Mr. Raymond, I’ll see if we can get you mentioned by name; that might be even more valuable to you.”

“Thanks, Mr. Thomas. I’ll look out for Ron Pfeffer’s call.”

The quintet exits the store with the six boxed models only after everyone has shaken hands with an ecstatic Matt Raymond. The group heads for the corner where the System faithfully awaits their return.

 Alexander leads the way back into the house where everyone examines the gifts from Matt Raymond at the Hobby Shop.

Bird ‘drives’ the second unit back to the Pier for those of the party still on the causeway. DJ exits the screen again on the causeway to get those family members, Lynz and her grandma, Jay, both still watching the sights as well as the small aircraft at Whitted. Upon return to the house, Lyndsey and her grandmother both express amazement at Alex’ choices of model aircraft.

“I have most everything I came for; Captain Angelis and I should be returning to the army. How much time has passed since we arrived here, Harry?” Alex asks.

“One half-hour, Majesty.”

“Then we had better be on our way through the window to Jerusalem. We both wish to thank you all for your hospitality. It has been our pleasure to meet all of you.”

“By the way,” he adds, “what on earth happened to your divan bed? It looks as if it was eaten up by the world’s biggest woodworms.”

Harry isn’t sure he remembers the answer to this one himself, so he asks what had damaged the sofa. He is told that the short version of the story is that an uninvited visitor to the family home had gotten a little out of hand and had done the damage before realizing that he was in the wrong house.

Harry relays the message to the two Greek guests, which they appear to accept without question.

Handshakes all around; kisses and hugs for the ladies, and the two ancient warriors step through the main screen back to the main gate of Jerusalem in the year 323 BCE, where the priests and Alexander’s equerry are patiently waiting. Some 30 minutes have elapsed since Big Al and his captain, Nikolaos Angelis, departed the rustic city.

‘H’ follows with Lynz and Dianne and Ethan carrying the model kit boxes. ET is eager to witness the action that we all traveled so far to see. The question of the hour is: Will Alexander the Great spare Jerusalem from the storm of destruction he has wrought on every other national capital he had visited.

Harry asks the young king if he can be of any help with the translation of the documents the priests have brought to the gate of Jerusalem to show him, to which Alexander agrees. The actual language used in the documents is Aramaic, which is one of Harry’s specialties. The king speaks briefly with the priests who show him several rolled scrolls, which, they explain, are those written by the prophet Daniel over two hundred years earlier, and which call for a visit to Jerusalem of a king of Greek origin. Said king is to become the ruler of a government that will become the fifth of a string of world powers having an effect upon the people of Jehovah.

‘H’ explains this to Alexander who responds that he would like to see the very words of the scroll himself. Harry asks the priests to unroll the scrolls to allow the king to inspect the exact wording of the prophecy. As the priest points to the words, ‘H’ interprets them to the Greek royal. Alexander marvels, “That’s me!” he says. After exchanging some words with the priests, using Harry as his interpreter, the young Macedonian ruler gives some orders to Captain Angelis.

‘H’ quietly explains to all the English speakers that King Alexander III of Greece has agreed to accept the priests’ disclosure of the Daniel prophecy as a peaceful surrender, and that he would not be laying siege to the city of Jerusalem, which would perhaps have resulted in the destruction of the temple once again. (It had already been desolated by the Third World Power, Babylon, in 607 BCE, and rebuilt in the intervening years, and would in future be destroyed on one final occasion by the armies of Rome under General Titus in 70 C.E.)

The priests are delighted with Alexander’s decision for quite understandable reasons. They are prepared to accept occupational forces of his army as a part of being a province of Greece. [In the years that follow, most of the population will be taught koine (or, common) Greek as Alexander goes about taking over much of the known world and all the conquered areas take on a new lingua franca, or principal tongue.]

“Harry. If you’re about done, we can see about getting you back to the museum for nine a.m.,” DJ calls quietly over to the linguistics specialist. “Can you bring the girls back to the System with you?”

Harry, Lynz, ET and Dianne all say their goodbyes to Alexander and walk back to the portal and climb through it back into the house.

Ladybuck slowly lifts the System up to a height of about 300 feet, where they have an unusual birds-eye view of the Holy City, then slowly drifts away.

Once more, there can be no DELTA to zip the family and its guests back to the Lighthouse in Alexandria. Time-travel was part of the itinerary over Jerusalem.

It takes mere seconds to ‘drive’ back over to Egypt, and once in sight of the Lighthouse’ location to move forward in time until the huge structure appears and reaches completion; two earthquakes destroy it and its debris is ultimately replaced by the Citadel.

At this point, it is safe to take the Mediterranean ‘cruise’ back to Gibraltar and London. Once over London, it is safe to move forward in time until twenty-first century sights are seen.

Rising up over London, Jay orients the System in the direction of the U.S. and ‘drives’ back to the newspaper office in St. Pete’s and makes a final correction to the journal’s chronometer to match the house clock and the wall calendar.

Home at last!

“That was amazing,” ‘H’ allows.

“Coffee with lunch for everyone?” Dianne asks.

Lynz: “Mom, why don’t we take the System over to a fast-food restaurant? You don’t have to go to the drive-through; you could just park the System and I’ll run inside for you.”

Dianne: “Now I’ll go along with that. Can you sort out which one you want to go to and maybe get Ladybird to ‘drive’ you over there and I’ll twist your dad’s arm for the money?”

Bird still has the remote control in her hand from her trip over to the Pier. “There are restaurants at the Pier,” she says. “Can you go to one of those?”

To show that she remembers how, Ladybuck punches the keys and Albert Whitted Airport quickly shows up through the second HDTV screen.

“That’ll do, Grandma.” Lynz stuffs her pocket with the money her mother had given her and zips around the ground floor of the Pier building into one of her favorite dining spots.

She remembers that she has to order for four grandparents, two parents, two NNN representatives, one languages specialist from the British Museum, and two teens. She orders enough to feed the eleven-strong ‘great crowd,’ pays for it and picks up the food and runs back to the portal where Ladybuck is waiting. Once Lynz is back on board, the teen’s grandmother takes the System up to the roof and ‘parks’ it there about thirty feet in the air. This will allow any interested parties during or after lunch to spot schools of dolphins playing in Tampa Bay’s warm waters.

“Lunch is ready!” our hostess calls. Everyone takes to the stairs and walks out onto the patio where lunch is waiting along with the coffee Dianne has prepared.

ET: “This has really worked out well, Russell. These two little excursions took about three and a half hours and gave Ron a really good look at the capabilities of the System. Now he’ll have something to get his head around as he tries to figure out how to best present this information over the NNN network. How soon do you think we’ll be able to get the program on the air, Ron?”

Ron: “It depends on whether we can get our hands on Russell’s DVDs and how he wants to be involved.”

“Well, Deej can make you copies of the DVDs; that no problem. As long as you can avoid giving our identification or where we live, count us in, any way you please.

####

1 Comment »

  1. mestreseo said

    i really enjoyed reading this. thanks for the post.

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