Chapter VIII

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Earth. 3rd Planet from the star, Sol, Africa

Eighteen Earth Years Ago

"Julie. We need to close this... I think I feel a pulse. It's very faint and slow, but I am pretty sure she came to life the moment I touched her."

"Huh?" Julius stopped reviewing the images on his SLR camera's LCD screen. "What did you say, Misty?"

"I have read enough science fiction and fantasy stories to know. You don't seal up beautiful women in huge stone boxes at the bottom of a temple for no reason...especially when they still look amazing at 160,000 years old and are very pregnant!"

Misty felt a cold hand grab her by the throat. It was the last sensation she would ever feel again.

When Julius awoke, he found he was on his back in the soft grass and flowers lining the bottom of the dig. "Arawa?" he muttered curiously, observing the large African moon as it floated overhead, slowly making its way through the heavens. He often referred to the lovely object using the name of the female lunar god of the Suk and Pokot tribes of Uganda and Kenya.

It was such a pretty night he noted, the sky clear and full of stars. Julius shook his head as the mental fog lifted, suddenly becoming aware that the roof was gone from the temple along with everyone and everything in it. The woman he and Misty found entombed beneath the ruins was now very much alive and lying beside him, tracing his cheek with her fingernail. Julius could see her perfect features highlighted by the moonlight, her beauty almost hypnotic. She ran her lovely fingers softly through his hair admiring the way it fell back onto his face. He sat up only to be pulled back down by some invisible force.

"Relax," the woman commanded, placing a hand on his chest. "Now, what kind of human are you? So very pretty..."

"What kind of human?" Julius inquired nervously.

"You know, you remind me very much of my Jay, only with more color."

"Jay?"

The woman smiled softly and placed a finger to the German's lips. "Oddly enough, it appears he left me with a lovely parting gift." She patted her very pregnant belly and felt the baby move inside of her responding to her touch. "Tell me, native..."

"Y-y-yes?"

"How long was I in this awful box?" She whispered slowly as she cocked her head to the side to examine the German.

"We believe, roughly 160,000 years." Julius felt himself relaxing more and more as the strange goddess touched him. It was as if she were built of pure pleasure.

"Well, that should have been plenty of time for your people to become somewhat civilized and reach a decent level of technological advancement, no?"

"I suppose so."

"Good, that's good."

"Ummm, who are you? What do I call you? Are you a god?" Julius asked nervously.

The woman chuckled. "A god? That is interesting, but, I suppose it would be more appropriate to call me Mother."

...

Earth. 3rd Planet from the star, Sol, North Carolina,

Church of the Holy Man Compound

Eighteen Earth Years Ago.

"Dr. Gertrude Hanover?"

Flash! Flash! Flash! 

Cameras clicked in rapid-fire as several dozen electronic devices snapped images. Their sounds echoed through the old wood church's high ancient ceilings.

"Dr. Hanover!"

The aging scientist pointed to a very eager reporter. "You, Yes, you, go ahead young man. Ask your question."

Several black fur covered microphones hovered over the small elderly woman wearing an outdated pinstripe pantsuit. As she stood up to the church podium, sunlight broke through the cloudy sky above the church. It poured in through the stained glass windows down onto the aging scientist and glistened through the woman's thinning permed gray hair like a halo. It was almost divine.

Flash! Flash! Flash!

"My name is Victor Brian. I'm with American National News..."

Flash! Flash! Flash!

"Doctor. You claim to have a discovery that will change the world. You say your Church's archaeology team found a mysterious woman in the temple Mr. Mannheim discovered and the body was pregnant? Is this a hoax?"

The old woman smiled. "No, I am afraid it is not. Our two archaeologists, Misty Taylor and Julius Mannheim, whom you have alluded to, have confirmed the woman is pregnant, clearly seen in the photograph I am about to release to the world and is quite possibly over 160,000 years old."

Silence.

"So her remains indicate she was pregnant, Dr. Hanover?"

"You could say that. See for yourselves." The woman waved her hand behind her as a few gray haired academics carried in a flat screen television and set it down on the altar. She pressed a button on the remote control she fished from beneath the church's podium. The screen began to glow and the image of a beautiful pregnant woman unlike anyone in the room had ever seen appeared. She lay motionless in the middle of a dirty round stone tomb filled with inexplicably green grass and flowers. The enclosure's circular lid was clearly seen laying off to the side.

The reporter examined the image on the T.V. "Victor again, Dr. Hanover. So, how do we know that photo is real? It sure looks doctored to me."

"Why would we lie, Mr. Brian? What would we have to gain? Every find we have presented you to date has been thoroughly investigated and verified to be authentic. Why would we wish to tarnish ourselves now? I received that image and others from Mr. Mannheim, whom I trust completely. I will freely give these images to you all to have researched and investigated until you are content."

...

Around the planet, aircraft owned by the world's various covert agencies lifted from the ground. Their guidance systems all pointed to the same location. 

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