Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter Fifty-Five

"Prior to the Days of Destruction there was a man by the name of Solomon Harper.  Back in that time period the educational system and methods of training were quite different and less balanced than we have today, nevertheless he was a learned man, had accumulated wealth from his knowledge, and as proof of how knowledgeable he was he had obtained several training degrees and was called a doctor though he was a different kind of doctor than Dr. Cummins.  Solomon Harper was a doctor of knowledge and science, of the forbidden art of intentional human genetic manipulation.  They called it by various names in the ancient days but the goal was still the same.  He and his colleagues took the building blocks of the physical human at the microscopic level and manipulated them to perfect the human species."

"Now there were those in our family that claimed that his specialty was for the good of humanity in that it was about curing diseases through genetic manipulation and repair rather than creating them but in all honesty no one can say for sure.  The truth of it is lost to the ages.  What is known is that because of his status and training he had access to storehouses of knowledge.  This was in book form and in the form of other learned people.  He was also brilliant himself and it is said he could make leaps of logic that helped him see over, through, and around issues that took others much longer to do."

The Sheriff snorted.  "Sounds like someone else I know."

"What?  Oh ... do not be ridiculous.  I am simply well-trained.  And if you do have a high opinion of my intelligence you should thank Nat.  He is the best teacher I ever had and that includes all those that I was taught by in the college and by the Brothers and Sisters of the church where Nat would often take me when I ... well ... when I jumped faster than the college could prepare material for me to consume.  That is where I met Sister Evelyn and it was she who channeled my energies into something productive and constructive rather than have it bouncing all over like it did in the beginning."

"Very well," the Sheriff said.  "I have the whole lot of them to thank for teaching you to give me a headache.  I'll be sure and send notes around during New Year Celebration.  Now focus.  My head cannot handle as many rabbit trails as yours seems to travel down."

Shaking my head I told him, "I’m not sure what you want this story for but I'll continue as you wish.  Just stop giving me rabbit trails to follow."  He snorted but was quiet and I continued.  "So, as I was saying, Solomon Harper had access to a great many assets of  knowledge as well as other resources and the picture he put together from what he learned disturbed him enough that he sought to begin the process of separating himself from his society."

"To start he bought a large tract of land and built a fine home upon it.  That land is now included inside the boundaries of the town of Harper and the home became the Mayoral Manor.  The home itself, even in the beginning, was unlike most homes of the time and more like what we see in our modern era ... though it also had the nature of the ancients of the ancients that were called castles.  It was a place purposefully designed for security and for sustainability of a large group of people.  But Solomon Harper had no family to share his home with."

"The story goes that he secretly tested many females to find the ones most biologically compatible with him - remember that was part of his trade - and from those candidates he then winnowed the group down by physical, mental, and emotional compatibility.  His first two attempts at marriage however were abysmal failures, all three children from these two unions had behavioral issues as well as some latent health problems, and in fact the failures did put all of his other plans in danger."

"Left with less than half the fortune he had once had, despite additional income from new patents and such like, he suffered a depression that was only helped after he received counseling from a local ... well it was called a church in that era but was dissimilar to what we call the church today.  Upon reflection Solomon decided to add the component of spiritual compatibility and amazingly the marriage with his third wife was successful beyond his wildest expectations.  He came to realize that biological compatibility was only part of the issue for humans.  This realization also changed the focus of his work and made him look at not just what we call today the physio-environmental impacts on genetics but non-physio environmental impacts.  He and a few colleagues interested in the same issues were eventually able to chart the genetic impacts that emotions and other external stimuli had upon begatting and begats."

"With the success of his third marriage he began looking around for more people that shared his philosophy and found a few that remained lifelong confidants ... a man by the John Waverly was one such.  The uncle of his third wife - a man by the name of Benjamin Linder who was some type of politician like the family is even today - turned out to be another.  His research and community building experiment was interrupted by a severe economic decline which led up to and at least partially caused the econo-religious global war that started the Days of Destruction and the Chaos that came after it."

While scribbling notes the Sheriff said, "Are you saying the Harpers and Linders are connected?"

"Back then, but only by marriage and some philosophical elements."

"But still ..."

"But still nothing.  By the time the Chaos had come to a complete cessation - a generation away from Solomon Harper and Benjamin Linder - both men had died.  In all the generations since the two families never reconnected ... at least not until my marriage and there was no fruit from it."

Both of us avoided comment on my last point and the Sheriff instead said, "There's all sorts of legends about the Linders but I don't think I've ever heard about the Harpers."

"And most of those stories you've heard are nothing but legend as far as the early Linder genealogies are concerned.  I don't know all of the details ... in fact didn't even know many of the names until I started reading Ceena's volumes on the subject ... but I can tell you absolutely that all you have to do is read the journals and other papers from the era that are in the Linder Library and you find out that it is not nearly as glamorous as some in your family would like others to believe.  Most of The Linders since that era have had good intentions and the skill to pull them off but there were a few in there that used their talents for less than their status called for.  Not to mention some had so many family and personal problems that nearly everything they tried to build got torn down only to be rebuilt by the next generation."

With only mild curiosity, as if it didn’t really matter all that much, the Sheriff asked, "My family is a mess is it?"

Answering him honestly I said, "The earliest generations after the Chaos appear so.  But then again, so are many of the first gen individuals born right before and right after the Destruction and Chaos.  Then add into it the corruption that began appearing in the progeny of our ancestors and you are left with enough confusion that it is a wonder any truth can be found.  But that is what sets those early Harpers off from most of the other families."

"Now we have it."

I nodded.  "I suppose this could be what you are looking for.  But it is also a potential weapon and probably why most of my ancestors have never bragged of it."  Gathering my thoughts I explained.  "Solomon Harper did not die during the Destruction and Chaos but it was a close thing.  He had been on his way to ... well it is described as some kind of flying machine that transported large numbers of people ..."

"We have those now."

"Not like these.  What we have now are mostly gliders or floaters with modest mechanical components to help with steering and forward motion and the largest can carry as many as two dozen people as long as there is no heavy equipment aboard.  Back in Solomon Harper's time one of these flying contraptions could carry hundreds of people for thousands of miles without stopping; and the rate of speed at which they traveled far surpasses even our most advanced gas carriages by many velocities.  And they were common.  In some areas I've read that it was unusual not to see at least one or two in the sky every day.  In some places you could see that many and more every hour, at all hours of the day.  So long as you could purchase a ticket and show the proper traveling papers you could fly in one unlike today you have to have a certificate of training before you can even request such a transport."


"Yes, even fantastical but all true.  Nat has shown me the remains of advertisements for such travel.  They could even travel across the 'Lantic and 'Cific without falling into the water though there are reports that some did due to mechanical failure or being targeted by warships.  Toward the end of that era they even had something called trans-global travel using a device called a shuttle that could ferry people around the world in a matter of a few hours from stop to finish."

"But this Solomon was not on one of those contraptions?"

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