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Authors: John Strauchs

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BOOK: The Arcturus Man
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innocent of sin.”
“No one takes every part of the Bible literally.”
“That is wrong. Many do, such as Anderson,” he said.
“You can’t base an argument on religious crackpots. Everyone knows that parts of
the Bible are translations by Jewish zealots from ever more ancient stories. The flood is
described in the
Epic of Gilagamesh
. I read that in college,” said Jenny.
“The story of the king of Uruk was written almost three thousand years before
Christ. That is more than six hundred generations of people from the time of Gilagamesh
to Christ—and yet more generations until the Bible as we know it was actually compiled,” said Jared.
“That’s the point. Jewish scholars borrowed the story. The drowning of innocent
children along with the wicked comes from a cruel and savage time. God wouldn’t have
done that,” said Jenny.
“Either the Bible is the word of God or it isn’t. If only parts are the word of God
and but other parts aren’t, who can ever sort it out. How can you know what is the word
of God?” asked Jared.
“Moreover, provided there is enough seminal information about
any particular miracle described in the Bible, they can all be explained by science. Take,
for example, the burning bush that Moses saw, there is a shrub in that part of the world
called
Dictamnus albus
, or more commonly Dittany. It exudes a volatile oil that can self
ignite during very hot weather. Hence, the burning bush plant.”
“Alright! I get it. I don’t take the Bible literally.
It is nevertheless an important
way of teaching morality.”
“Really?
Lot has an incestuous relationship with his daughter.
Is that teaching
morality?
And, if you violate all of the ten commandants, only two, perhaps three, are
regarded as crimes by today’s legal systems throughout the world.
Some actions therefore are sacrilegious, but not criminal.”
“You keep pulling stuff out of the old testament. No, that’s not moral, but you
won’t find anything like that in the New Testament.
There are absolute values of right
and wrong that Jesus Christ teaches,” she said.
“He died by crucifixion to atone for the sins of all mankind, is that the morality
that the New Testament teaches?
“You know it is,” said Jenny.
“So if a mother drowned her newborn baby before the crucifixion because she
doesn’t want to care for it, her sin was paid for by Jesus? There is absolution by proxy, is
that it?
“If she is sincerely repentant, yes, her sin was forgiven.”
“Who determines if she is sincerely repentant?”
“God,”
“That is the power of religion, isn’t it? It requires blind faith. Didn’t the crucifixion absolve even the unrepentant from all sin?”
“No, of course not.”
“Then what was the point of a Father allowing his son to die in such a cruel and
painful way?
I could never allow my son to be crucified, but God could. Wouldn’t the
repentant have been forgiven by God without the crucifixion anyway or is it that God was
going to punish even the sincerely repentant if Jesus hadn’t died on the cross.
Doesn’t
sound moral to me.”
“You’re twisting things. It’s not like that.” Jenny was disturbed. “Even the Devil
can quote scripture.”
“Am I the devil, Jenny?”
“I’m not calling you the devil. Just stop it. Anyone can take words out of the Bible out of context and twist the meaning.”
Jenny was very disturbed. Jared was confusing her. He was confusing the goodness of the Bible.
“I’m not twisting anything.
You just don’t have any answers so it’s easier to
simply assert that the logic is warped. It isn’t,” he said.
“Everyone knows that some things are just right and some things are wrong. Certain moral values are universally absolute,” she said.
“Like what, for example?” asked Jared.
“Thou shalt not kill! That is an absolute. Every culture on earth follows that, even
the ones that aren’t Christian,” she said.
“Then explain killing in war.
Explain capital punishment. I know you said that
the Old Testament may not be the word of God, but he kills tens of thousands in it,
doesn’t he?
You might as well believe in the pantheon of gods in Greek mythology as
believe in Christian mythology. There is hardly a difference.”
“Killing in war is still evil. So is capital punishment,” she said.
“It wasn’t to the Grand Inquisition,” said Jared.
“That was a sinful time in human history.
Those people used religion to do evil
things.”
“And in our time, therefore, how can you know if the Church is serving the will of
God or the Institution of the Church?”
“Like I said, morality is absolute. You just know,” she said.
“There is a dark side to you that I have never seen before,” she said.
“Now that is interesting. In lieu of rational debate, you have chosen to use one of
the great fallacies of logic—A
rgumentum ad Hominem
.
Attack the speaker if you can’t
refute the words being spoken.”
“I’m just not as smart as you. You’re perverting everything I say into something
bad. That doesn’t mean that you’re right.
It only means that you’re better at debating
than I am,” she said.
“Now the fallacy is
Ignoratio Elenchi
,” said Jared.
“That’s enough. Quit it.”
“Fine, but at most, I am agnostic. Do I need to explain that to you as well?”
“No!........Do you have to be mean?” Jenny started to walk away.
“I’m sorry. I really didn’t intend to offend you.”
“Well, you did. I am disappointed in you,” she said.
She didn’t want them to have another fight. She couldn't think. She felt overwhelmed.
"Imagine man before our ancestors learned how to make fire.
You are cowering
in a cave hoping against hope that a predator—let’s say a saber-tooth tiger—doesn’t enter.
You have no defenses against an attack. What do you do? How do you manage the
nightly stress and fear?
You invent a god who will protect you. You need a coping mechanism.
And, if you are still killed by this predator, the survivors invent a god to provide some faint hope that something is better for the person who died.
All world religions are grounded on this tradition.
Faith is the panacea for hopelessness and fear.
Knowledge, on the other hand, is the enemy of faith,” said Jared.
"You keep saying that. Can you be any more cynical?" she asked.
"Or course I can. Shall I?" asked Jared.
“NO! I don’t want to talk about religion with you. You have been talking about
the bogus reason why people are trying to kill you. What is the real reason?” asked Jenny.
“The real reason is quite perfunctory. It’s all about a future patent. I invented an
instantaneous analysis technology that can detect almost any material, but especially explosives.
Although accuracy suffers slightly, this technology can detect at a distance of
several hundred feet.
Airports can be totally protected and even the risk of roadside
bombs is virtually eliminated. The U.S. Government wants to seize this invention on the
basis of national security.
To guard against that, the critical technical information about
how to make this technology work is in my head. The rest of the reason why people want
me dead should be obvious.
If this technology is developed, any international terrorist
group, such as Al Queada, would lose its primary weapon, explosives. Terrorism could
be stamped out. Killing me kills the technology.”
“That’s incredible Jared. I guess I do see why they want you dead. Your technology would change everything.
What about other kinds of weapons of mass destruction,
such as chemical and biological agents?” asked Jenny.
“As long as you tweak the sensors for the materials you are looking for, it would
also work for those kinds of materials.”
“I can understand that some Russians may be in cahoots with terrorist groups,
such as Chechens, but I don’t understand why those American officials you talked about
would want you dead. I can’t believe that a Deputy U.S. Attorney General and the Executive Director of the CIA are working for Al Queada. That just isn’t credible,” said Jenny.
“No, its not! As I mentioned already, Anderson is a religious zealot—a pious nutcase radical, if you like. He actually believes the Russian cover story that I am the antiChrist or something of that ilk. On the other hand, Reisinger is level-headed and not very
religious so I frankly don’t understand his motivation.
Reisinger is a career intelligence
officer and committed to defending America against terrorism. I am reasonably confident
of that.
I have to assume he simply doesn’t believe that the technology I developed will
work as advertised. He must know about it. In any event, he is still a mystery to me.”
“Wow! I’m sorry I asked. Now I’m really scared. You have some powerful and
serious enemies Jared. Think about all the money and resources these guys can muster.
You have to get help. You can’t do this alone. Should we get the police involved…you
know…maybe the FBI…maybe some kind of witness protection stuff…I just don’t…”
Jared interrupted.
“Jenny, the FBI works for the Justice Department and the top
guy in Justice is Anderson. Reisinger is CIA. Exactly who do I trust?” asked Jared.
“I know. I know. I see that. There has to be someone who can help us,” she said.
Jared noted that even though he always described the danger to himself, Jenny
continued to refer to “we” and “us.”
He didn’t want her to be in danger and being with
him was certainly putting her in danger.
He hoped she implicitly understood that if his
enemies couldn’t find or get to him, sooner or later they would go after Jenny to use her
as bait for him.
Like it or not, he had to keep her with him.
He wondered if he should
explain that logic to her. She was already scared; he didn’t want to terrify her yet further.
She stayed with him and nursed him. She probably didn’t save his life, but she may be
lieve she did.
“Jenny, I know you’re already upset about everything that’s happened, especially
about those men I killed.
I’m not a killer.
Not really.
I wasn’t only defending myself…defending us. Sooner or later…if you haven’t already wondered about it…you will
ask yourself why I’m not dropping you off at Newport and letting you go back to your
family.
You can do that, of course, but you could be jumping out of the frying pan into
the fire.
They would find you and take you to use you to get to me.
These are ruthless
men.
I truly believe that I can protect you and that you’re safer being with me.
I can’t
begin to tell you how sorry I am that you got mixed up in this,” said Jared.
Jenny slumped down. Until she met Jared, the most frightening things in her life
were horror movies, lightning storms, and spiders.
Her face blanched. She couldn’t believe that this was happening. Bad men might be coming for her.
“No, that never occurred to me.
I guess I understand though.
They’ll use me to
kill you. Jared, this is horrible. What are we going to do? It’s just a matter of time until
they find us Jared and I don’t care how incredible you are. They’ll bring as many men
and as many guns as they need and they’ll kill us both,” she said.
“That’s why we’re going to Panama. I need to draw them to me in an area where
I have an advantage, even if they come in numbers.
I know one area in Panama really
well. I’ve been going there for years and I have friends there who will help us,” he said.
“Panama? You can’t be serious.”
“You have to trust me on this Jenny.
I don’t want anything to happen to you.
I
have friends there who will protect you while I take care of this once and for all—or at
least for the time being.”
“I trust you Jared. You know that,” she said. “Suppose they find us before we get
there?”
“I have a plan for that part too. It will take a little luck but I think we can escape
discovery until we get to Panama. Staying in the open ocean makes it easier to avoid detection. They have hundreds of square miles to search. It’s a lot better than trying to hide
along highways and motels. On water, we can go in any direction.”
“But if they did find us?” asked Jenny.
“That would be very bad for us.
I can’t let that happen. I have to admit that we
are pushing the edge of our time envelope.
If we are caught on open water, there
wouldn’t much that we could do to save ourselves,” said Jared.
This was too much to take in.
She felt overwhelmed.
She needed to talk about
something else.
She didn’t want to think about ruthless people tracking them…about
people who wanted to kill them.
“Tell me what happened on the island,” she said.
“Can we talk about that later? I am just going to upset you more.”
“I am already upset. I don’t see how it can get any worse. Just tell me what happened.”
Jared waited for a few moments.
“Thirteen paramilitary types landed on the island to assassinate me. I killed all of
them save one, the leader of the group.
I already told you about him. He got away.
He
was one of the men who attacked the homeless man in Old Orchard Beach.
Do you remember the man who startled us at the pond?
(She nodded yes.)
He was an advance
man casing the island…probably part of the planning for the attack.”
“My Gosh! Jared. ”
Jenny couldn’t absorb the reality of what Jared just said. She stood up and began
pacing.
“So many people. So many people. Well, it was clearly self defense, wasn’t it?”
she said.
“Of course it was self defense,” said Jared.
“No wonder you’re acting so odd right now.
This is a horrible thing to have on
your conscience…even if it was unavoidable…I guess necessary,” she said.
“It doesn’t bother me. I had to protect you and I had to protect myself. My only
regret was that I was so stupid as to let them harm me.”
It was troubling to hear Jared say that killing men didn’t bother him. Again, she
didn’t know how to react to yet another disturbing revelation about Jared.”
“I was arrogant and overconfident. I won’t make that mistake again.”
Jenny was silent.
Jared stood and opened a compartment above the kitchenette.
He pulled out Pandora’s Box and put it to the side. He then slid out a small metal box that
was hidden behind the paneling. He opened it. It was full of money.
“I have about $25,000. There are some credit cards here too. Take whatever you
need if you want to run ashore and get anything. I have to run into town to get some materials. I’ll be right back”

BOOK: The Arcturus Man
11.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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