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Corporeal Passage: Chapter 20: Bread and Circuses

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Winter Camp / Media / Fiction / Corporeal / Corporeal Passage: Chapter 20: Bread and Circuses

Corporeal Passage: Chapter 20: Bread and Circuses

by Jeff Rand

"I think you may find these useful," said Danielle. "I was able to steal these glasses from the collection of artifacts before I left Zero Node. You would not be able to get a pair here. I understand that such matters are easily corrected with a minor medical procedure."

Ethan examined the rimless glasses. "How can they stay on my face?" he asked.

"According to the placard they are pince-nez glasses and are held in place by pinching your nose. The sign said that these glasses belonged to a man named Theodore Roosevelt."

Tom continued to take the lead. "Wait here. Sit and face the water," he said. "Adam will be joining us soon."

Shortly, a tall young man approached. "Moornig, I be Adam," he said, struggling with the language.

"Adam will be leading us as we worship the sun," Tom declared.

Ethan was thoroughly confused. How could these advanced people be engaged in some primitive religion? And how could the sun now be shining as a large red orb inside the earth? Were they really worshipping some other strange object instead?

When Ethan saw the others place their hands on their heads, including Leu, he did the same. As Adam began to chant, Ethan assumed that they were praying to some god. He recalled Eli doing this when he chanted grace, which was odd behavior for a scientist. He knew that many scientists were not religious and were atheist or agnostic, at best. Yet there were others, such as Sir Isaac Newton, although his core religious views were unorthodox, who believed in the existence of God. Later, Ethan was surprised when he learned that Adam was Eli's son.

After Adam completed his chant, Tom and the others dropped their hands from their heads and uttered a response, which sounded like the same "amen" that Ethan heard from Eli's family at the conclusion of grace.

"Please remain seated," said Tom, as he rose to stand by Adam. "I will be helping Adam when he conveys a message praising the sun as we come together in this new day."

Ethan did not want to participate in what he perceived as a pagan ritual. And for enlightened people to be involved, it made no sense. However, given the risk to their lives, he would continue to engage with these folks, and their twisted religion worshipping some distorted representation of the sun inside the earth.

Adam uttered verses in the strange Teran language, to which Tom gave short responses. The liturgy included at least two dozen exchanges, before Tom asked the group to stand for the Affirmation of Faith. "Now you will join together by placing your hands on the heads of your neighbors," he said. "But first you must cleanse your hands in the lake to remove the impurities from your transgressions."

The service continued with other exchanges, although they were closer to the familiar practices in a more traditional setting.

"We will conclude with a hymn," said Tom. With that, Ethan expected a melodic rendition rather than the group chant that transpired.

The fog was lifting across the lake and Ethan could see the big red sun rising above the horizon. He marveled at the technology that existed to create this illusion inside the earth. Tom led the group through a grove of tall trees to another clearing. A hemix was parked next to the lake, but there was no road leading to the clearing.

"There is someone waiting for you inside," said Danielle.

"You mean that you are taking us back with the police," quipped Ethan.

"Nothing of the kind. You will be pleased."

Louis entered the hemix with Danielle. Ethan followed with the others. Curled on the table was Thomasina. Leu rushed to pet the cat.

Adam assumed control of the vehicle and moved it into the lake until it was fully submerged. Ethan turned to Adam, "Now that we've stopped in the water. I have some questions about your religion."

"I am afraid Adam cannot speak English," said Tom. "But I heard the calling and want to become a pastor myself."

"How can you possibly want to join in these pagan rituals of worshipping the sun? As a Catholic, I can have no part of it."

"Ethan, I didn't know you were Catholic. I thought you were Christian." interrupted Ron. "Afterall, I saw you with a King James Bible."

Tom became visibly irritated, "Ron. That is a very rude comment. As devout Catholics, Ethan and Leu are indeed Christians."

Ethan pulled the Bible out of his pack, which he had kept through the many challenges he faced since finding it in an old church in Canada. He was careful to hold it upright as he faced Tom.

"And what are you, Tom, when you worship a celestial body?" asked Ethan.

"I am Christian too. I think you were confused during the service. Our faith is focused on the S-O-N, not the S-U-N. The predominant Teran faith does not differ significantly from Christianity. The corporeal personage of the godhead, whom you refer to as Jesus, has visited the Terans in physical form. He has been accepted as the son of God, the incorporeal father. In Tera, we have a different name for Jesus, which is simply using the first and last phonemes of the language, like the Greek alpha and omega representation of eternity."

Tom continued, now identifying himself as a Teran, "As you would say, we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God, the father is beyond all understanding of his form, but has become the pinnacle of scientific thought. For our scientists have concluded that the mathematics underlying all reality requires God to conceive existence. The Holy Ghost transcends the spiritual dimension. However, it is God the Son, who has been with us and provides a physical interface to practice our faith."

Although Leu had received the Catechism of the Catholic Church several years ago, he had not seen a real priest since leaving Michigan. He directed a question to his father, "Dad, is Adam a priest? He did not celebrate mass properly. We did not receive the Eucharist."

Ethan responded, "I think Adam is a minister of a Christian faith, but he is not a Catholic. There are many other religions that have their roots in our Catholic Church. Perhaps some early disciples spread the faith to these Terans, as well."

Ron joined the conversation, apologizing for his lack of understanding. "I am glad we had this chance to explore our religious heritage," he said. "But we have a long journey before us."

Adam brought the hemix to the surface and began moving it further from the shore. The hemix skimmed across the water effortlessly as he accelerated. Soon they were moving past islands and through interconnecting channels so fast that the images of their surroundings on the hemix dome were a blur. After several jiffies, the landscape gave way to open water.

"Is there an ocean here inside the earth?" asked Ethan.

"I don't know what you mean," Tom responded, evading the question.

The motion of the hemix slowed as it approached a large dome rising above the sea. Ethan was not surprised when a panel opened on the side of the dome allowing the hemix to enter. Adam opened the door to the hemix so that the passengers could exit onto the solid ground inside the dome. Three men faced them. In the center of the trio, sticking his tongue out in a welcome greeting, was Eli.

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