The Sypher Of Eternity

SVET
35 min readJan 21, 2024

Introduction

IDEA: (сс) Stanislav Taktaev @stanta & ChatGPT )

In a world where Evernomics and Hyperconnectivity are the backbone of society, the mysterious disappearance of a renowned economist and Evernomics pioneer attracts the attention of private detective Alex Riley. The investigation begins with the analysis of data from a hyperconnected network, where the scientist’s every move was recorded and analyzed. Alex discovers the complex financial schemes and smart contracts that the scientist was developing, and realizes that large financial interests may be behind the disappearance.

Alex soon discovers that the clue is in a scientist’s manuscript on the principles of Evernomics, which describes the future of the economy based on eternal values and the distribution of resources. This work poses a threat to traditional financial systems, and it seems that they were trying to stop the scientist.

Alex joins forces with a group of Evernomics enthusiasts to solve the mystery of the scientist’s disappearance. During their investigation, they encounter corruption, secret agreements and the dangers of a hyper-connected world where their every move is monitored.

The story’s ending is a thrilling clash between Evernomics and corporate interests, as Alex not only finds the missing scientist, but also uncovers a global conspiracy to suppress Evernomics.

Chapter One

Beneath the shimmering moonlight that bathed the Santa Cruz beach, a mysterious masquerade unfolded in the heart of Silicon Valley. A grand mansion stood as the epicenter of opulence, hosting an elite gathering cloaked in elegant masks and veiled in an air of secrecy.

Among the guests moved Dr. Sebastian Blackthorn, a luminary in the avant-garde realm of new-wave cybernetics. His mind, a fusion of mathematical brilliance and an affinity for the supernatural, set him apart in the scientific echelons. Clad in a tailored suit that mirrored the enigmatic depths of the cosmos, he navigated the dance floor with an aura of quiet confidence.

Laughter and captivating conversations swirled around the masked figures, creating an ambiance of celebration. Yet, as the clock approached the stroke of midnight, an imperceptible shift in the air hinted at an impending enigma.

Dr. Blackthorn found himself drawn toward the moonlit shoreline, where the rhythmic waves whispered secrets of the night. The celestial glow painted silver patterns on the sand, beckoning him to the edge of a dance that transcended the boundaries of reason.

With each step, the line between science and the supernatural blurred for Dr. Blackthorn. The cosmic energy seemed to resonate with his every heartbeat, creating an atmosphere of anticipation.

As midnight approached, an unexplained occurrence seized the moment. Dr. Blackthorn, surrounded by masked revelers, vanished into the obsidian night. His presence dissolved, leaving behind a void that sparked bewilderment and speculation among the masked throng.

Whispers and murmurs swept through the crowd, speculating on the fate of the scientist who dared to traverse the delicate balance between the known and the unknown. Under the cosmic tapestry of stars, the enigma of Dr. Sebastian Blackthorn’s disappearance unfolded, setting the stage for a mystery that transcended the realms of science and the supernatural.

Chapter Two

In Sergey’s mind, the thought of getting some fresh air had finally taken shape. And now he hesitated, whether to simply go out and take a stroll in the park (cold, but beneficial), or to grab a beer and play a couple of rounds in Counter-Strike (pleasant, but harmful). A peculiar task, arising suddenly from a strange client on a freelance website, kept nagging at him, refusing to be resolved.

Already putting on a scarf and rustling with a bag (oh well, bad habits triumph over a healthy lifestyle again), he noticed that the client spoke impeccable English in their discussions, both oral and written, without using the usual slang abbreviations like “u,” “a,” and the like. The diction was precise, and at first, Sergey, with relief, thought the client might be German (clear requirements, a correct approach, a good fee). But now it occurred to him that the interlocutor spoke without any accent, like a German top student who had lived his whole life near Oxford.

Smirking, Sergey found himself near the shelf of foamy delights, and autopilot didn’t fail him. The prepayment for the job pleasantly jingled in his personal account; he decided not to deny himself anything but without fanaticism, and took three bottles of contraband Bier, apparently Turkish. Well, what can you do… Sanctions… Throwing a handful of salty treats into his basket, he remembered that he hadn’t had lunch and grabbed some expensive dumplings with sour cream. The evening promised to be languid.

He scribbled down a work plan — the order initially seemed straightforward; a social network-type website was needed, but one that had to connect with an unusual service that refused to respond correctly. The customer promised to send the support team’s response only tomorrow. Some kind of user support chat-bot… Nothing to worry about; after a couple of startups, it no longer scared him.

He set the dumplings to boil, set a timer on his watch not to forget, and went to check the servers; maybe some of his acquaintances also decided to run and shoot a bit.

Chapter Three

Sebastian stared at the flickering green line on his computer screen, the lifeblood of macroeconomic trading. The anticipation in the room was palpable, akin to the collective breath-holding of the financial world. The fate of his entire year’s income hung in the balance, contingent on the impending release of the GDP figures. In the volatile dance of the market, a positive GDP meant a domino effect of trade decisions — a cascade that could either elevate Sebastian’s fortunes or leave him navigating treacherous waters.

As he waited for the revelation that would sway the market’s sentiments, Sebastian pondered the relentless pursuit of wealth that had consumed his life. The allure of financial gains had propelled him into a world where every fluctuation, every economic indicator, held the potential to reshape destinies. Yet, beneath the surface, a disquieting realization lingered — the game he so ardently played had an endpoint, a destination where wealth could no longer be the driving force.

His contemplations were interrupted by a flashing message on another screen — a missive from Irene, the youthful visionary behind Marcel X, a burgeoning tech enterprise. She proposed a venture far removed from the halls of trading and economic predictions — a field trip to Peru. The purpose? Irene sought to test her colossal cargo drone, capturing awe-inspiring footage to captivate potential investors.

Sebastian’s brow furrowed as he questioned the abrupt shift in focus. Why Peru? The answer lay in Irene’s quest for striking visuals to weave into her entrepreneurial narrative. Despite the contrasting worlds of high finance and technological innovation, Sebastian found himself tethered by an unseen force — an allure that beckoned him toward an unexpected expedition.

With a sense of inevitability, he opened Irene’s message, knowing all too well that in doing so, he willingly stepped onto a new path, one where the machinations of trade and the allure of distant adventures collided in Lima, Peru. Little did he suspect that this seemingly incongruent journey would unravel a web of mysteries beyond the realms of trading floors and economic indicators — a journey into the enigmatic Code of Eternity.

-

Mr. Blackthorn sat beside Helen in the luxurious confines of the Embraer Phenom 300, their journey propelling them toward Lima, the vibrant capital of Peru. Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport awaited their arrival, a gateway to the mysteries that lay beyond the realms of financial trading. From Lima, the duo’s destination extended further, beckoning them to the enigmatic Pampas de Jumana, home to the mystifying Nazca Lines.

The capital city, nestled to the northwest of the Nazca Lines, served as the starting point for an adventure that defied the confines of Sebastian’s accustomed financial world. The distance from Lima to the Pampas de Jumana, where the iconic hummingbird, monkey, and spider etchings awaited, was a mere 450 kilometers by road, yet the symbolic weight of the journey transcended its physical span.

Irene’s determination to capture her drone’s ethereal dance above the ancient geoglyphs became a driving force for the expedition. She envisioned the hummingbird, monkey, and spider unfolding in a sequence of unparalleled beauty, each line and curve a testament to the artistic prowess of civilizations long past.

The Embraer Phenom 300, a sleek vessel of the skies, was emblematic of the technological prowess that had come to define Sebastian’s world. With a range of approximately 1,971 nautical miles and an average cruising speed of 521 knots, it epitomized speed and efficiency. The great-circle distance between Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) in Santa Clara, California, and Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima, Peru, stood at 3,800 miles — a vast expanse that promised to compress under the jet’s wings in a matter of hours.

Sebastian, ever the cautious strategist, orchestrated a brief stop in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The bustling city housed José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport, offering a strategic point for refueling. The straight flight was technically possible, but Sebastian, a skeptic of direct paths, preferred the safety net of a pit stop, a pause in the journey that mirrored the intricacies of his financial maneuvers.

As the Embraer Phenom 300 soared through the skies, the anticipation of the unknown mingled with the hum of its engines. The journey from macroeconomic intricacies to the enigmatic Nazca Lines had begun, a narrative unfolding in a sequence that defied the straight lines Sebastian so distrusted. Little did he suspect that the intertwining threads of economic strategy and ancient mysteries would converge in the vast canvas of the Pampas de Jumana, where the echoes of the past awaited their return.

The pilot cabin door creaked open, revealing a silhouette both ominous and familiar — the Welrod, a weapon with a distinctive sound signature akin to the hushed tones of a library conversation, around 73 decibels when fired with new wipes.

In an instant, Sebastian Blackthorn’s reflexes, honed by years of navigating the unpredictable currents of financial markets, kicked into gear. With an automatic precision that belied the chaos unfolding, he instinctively shielded Irene, the metallic clatter of 9mm Para cartridges rolling across the floor providing an unsettling percussion to the scene.

Sebastian’s mind raced, recalling the unique characteristics of the Welrod — its limited magazine capacity, typically 6 rounds for the 9mm version, and 8 for the .32 ACP. The bolt-action mechanism, designed for quietness, rendered the Welrod slower in the firing process compared to semi-automatic pistols. Effective only up to 25 meters, its short barrel and light bullet weight, while restricting range, proved more than sufficient in the confines of the aircraft cabin.

Without hesitation, Sebastian seized a silver coffee plate and hurled it towards the assailant, the metallic clang resonating in the tight quarters. The Welrod-wielding intruder crumpled, temporarily stunned by the impromptu diversion.

With Irene still under the veil of surprise, Sebastian swiftly moved to her aid. Everything had transpired in a blur, a sudden intrusion into the otherwise ordered trajectory of their journey. Sebastian’s gaze then shifted to the incapacitated pilot, his Welrod now safely secured.

As Sebastian assumed control of the Embraer Phenom 300, disengaging the autopilot with practiced ease, a quick call to a local security agency set in motion the handling of the unexpected episode. The aircraft, now under Sebastian’s steady command, sliced through the skies, hurtling toward Lima.

With the immediate threat quelled, the hum of the engines provided an eerie backdrop to the aftermath. Sebastian’s thoughts, however, remained clear and resolute. The incident, an uninvited twist in their narrative, had not deterred their course. In less than thirty minutes, the gleaming lights of Lima sprawled beneath them, a testament to the indomitable spirit that propelled them toward the enigmatic hummingbirds that awaited in the Pampas de Jumana.

Chapter Four

High above the Nazca Desert, where the winds whispered secrets through the blades of their Robinson, Sebastian and Iren gazed down upon the enigmatic canvas below. The monkey geoglyph, with its stunted wings and zigzagging neck, lay sprawled across the arid earth like a playful riddle left by ancient hands.

The Robinson hovered, a modern bird of metal and rotors suspended in time over the mysteries etched by a civilization long gone. The Nazca Lines, a celestial puzzle woven into the fabric of the Peruvian sky, held the hummingbird geoglyph close to its ochre heart. As twilight painted the horizon in hues of amethyst and gold, the lines stirred with the dance of shadows, revealing the secrets of a bygone era.

The hummingbird, a testament to the clandestine marriage of earth and artistry, emerged from the canvas. Its wings, frozen in the eternal pose of flight, beckoned the daring to unravel the cosmic enigma concealed within the labyrinth. A cryptic code, a message from an epoch forgotten, whispered through the arid winds, inviting those who dared to understand the dance of the Nazca Lines.

The beak of the hummingbird pointed skyward, a silent oracle summoning the inquisitive minds to decipher the riddles written across the desert floor. Converging and diverging, the lines wove tales of esoteric knowledge, mirroring the labyrinthine pathways to wisdom guarded by the silent sentinels of the desert.

Below, the monkey and hummingbird sprawled across the earth, their massive forms defying the constraints of time and logic. The monkey, an icon of foreign allure, disrupted the norm by gracing the coastal plains instead of the jungle. Meanwhile, the hummingbird, a giant in representation for its diminutive size, stood as a beacon of identification with its gracefully elongated beak.

More than mere petroglyphs, these geoglyphs were threads in the rich tapestry of Peruvian history. Over 70 zoomorphic designs adorned the Nazca desert, each holding cultural and historical significance. The monkey and hummingbird, playful and majestic, were but pieces in a grand mosaic of mystery waiting to be unraveled by intrepid souls willing to navigate the threads of time and space.

-
And so, as the Robinson continued to hover, suspended between the ancient and the modern, Sebastian and Iren became modern adventurers in a tale spun by the Nazca Lines — a tale that whispered of human follies and cosmic wonders, waiting to be explored in the heart of the Peruvian desert.

Sebastian squinted at the vast canvas of earth below, the Nazca lines twisting and turning like the feverish scribblings of a forgotten god. The afternoon sun cast harsh shadows, etching the monkey and hummingbird geoglyphs into stark relief against the dusty canvas.

What were they? Messages to the heavens, as Maria Reiche believed, her life woven into the fabric of these lines? Or watery veins whispering secrets of hidden springs, as Paul Kosok theorized? Perhaps ceremonial racetracks, Breunig proposed, echoing with the ghosts of long-dead rituals. Or mere pathways, as the Yamagata researchers mused, connecting ancient settlements and forgotten dreams?

Sebastian scoffed. Too mundane, too earthly. Generations etched their souls into these lines, not to find a shortcut to a neighboring village or gaze at Sirius. Not for water, for there were easier ways, and not for deities, for the sheer number mocked such simplicity.

And then there were the monkeys, not one, but three, scattered across the plains like forgotten constellations. The first, a mischievous gibbon nestled beside the hummingbird, the second, a hulking gorilla further north, and the third, a stoic orangutan, a silent sentinel eight kilometers east. Why three? To mark water? Impossible. To appease gods? Ridiculous.

No, these lines, these figures, they whispered of something grander, something beyond human comprehension. They were like drafts of some divine blueprint, an unfinished symphony scribbled across the earth. Each stroke, each curve, a yearning for eternity, a desperate attempt to bridge the chasm between mortal and divine. Sebastian felt a pang of kinship, a reflection of his own struggles to grasp the elusive threads of time and meaning.

He traced the contours of a line with his finger, feeling the rough grit against his skin. The wind moaned through the dried grass, a lonely echo in the vast emptiness. Was this all there was, then? A yearning trapped in dust, a message forever unsent? Or was there, like within himself, a spark of hope, a whisper of understanding waiting to be kindled?

He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, the silence pressing down on him, heavy and pregnant. And then, a flicker. A warmth in his chest, a tingling at the edges of his mind. A vision, fleeting and indistinct, of lines converging, of monkeys soaring, of the hummingbird’s wings brushing against the stars.

-
He opened his eyes, the vision fading like desert mirages. But something had shifted. The lines were no longer a puzzle, no longer a taunt. They were a story, unfinished, yet brimming with potential. And he, Sebastian, was somehow a part of it. The Nazca secrets lay before him, not as enigmas to be solved, but as an invitation to participate, to add his own verse to the eternal poem etched in the sand.

His mind thrummed with a new theory, one sparked by the enigmatic geoglyphs that stretched before him. Yes, those Japanese researchers might be onto something, but not about communication between settlements. These lines, these figures, whispered of something grander, a dialogue with the self across the infinity of time.

That wasn’t just a hunch. If the universe truly possessed a finite number of particles, their eternal waltz through collapse and expansion meant every possible combination would eventually manifest. Eternity was a canvas vast enough for a singular bird, across a million years, to wear down a diamond pyramid with its touch. And within that unimaginable expanse, even stranger things could occur.

Sebastian pictured it: all the particles that formed his being, brought together again and again, not just replaying his current life, but every conceivable permutation. The thrill of that cyclical existence was undeniable, but it also spurred a deeper question.

Just like him, wouldn’t others yearn for proof of their own permanence? And what better canvas than these monumental earthworks, etched with deliberate strangeness to transcend even the ravages of time? A message to their future selves, a defiant declaration of their existence echoing across the eons.

But there was a paradox in that, wasn’t there? Expecting recognition of that same strangeness in a future iteration felt…contradictory. Unless, Sebastian realized, there was something more.

His mind buzzed with the possibility. To validate his theory, to truly know he wasn’t chasing phantoms, he needed to see more strangeness, more whispers of eternity echoed in stone. Other corners of the world, he knew, held their own enigmas, waiting to be deciphered. And with a determination sharpened by the desert wind, Sebastian knew his journey had only just begun.

-
Sebastian’s gaze snapped to the screen as a smoky plume erupted from the desert floor. A missile, propelled by a deadly purpose, screamed towards his Robinson R44. His mind raced, recalling the manual’s wisdom on evading ground-to-air attacks: erratic movements, terrain cover, and the hope that aging missile technology might grant a sliver of mercy.

He dipped the R44 low, weaving through the Nazca’s sparse landscape. The missile, a SA-7 Grail or Strela-2 — a Soviet-era relic still lethal in its simplicity — pursued relentlessly. The flat expanse offered few options, but Sebastian’s eyes locked onto a solitary structure piercing the horizon: the observation tower, a silent witness to the ancient geoglyphs below.

With a sharp bank, he guided the helicopter into a daring dance around the tower, the missile snarling behind him. He could almost hear its infrared seeker struggling to keep pace with the R44’s erratic ballet. A deafening crack shattered the desert silence as the missile, unable to adjust, slammed into the tower’s steel frame. Shrapnel sprayed across the deserted observation deck, a testament to the season’s merciful lack of visitors.

Sebastian rocketed past, his heart pounding in fierce harmony with the thrum of the helicopter’s blades. The near-death encounter had echoed the fragility of existence, a stark reminder that even as he sought the threads of eternity, he was still bound to the mortal coil. But he had survived, his mind already racing ahead, weaving the lessons of this violent dance into the tapestry of his quest.

Chapter Five

Sebastian stood alone amidst the ancient ruins, his mind a swirling tempest of thoughts, pondering the enigma of the old builders of Machu Picchu. The full moon stood high on the horizon, casting white shadows over the weathered stones that seemed to whisper the secrets of centuries long past. He scratched his head, unable to grasp the logic behind the alignment of some constructions with equinoxes while others remained mysteriously unaligned.

“Why?” he murmured to the silent stones, as if expecting an answer from the very essence of the past. “Why do some structures bear a perfect correlation with the stars, and others seem to defy any cosmic order?”

His mind raced, thoughts colliding like stars in a distant galaxy. Sebastian envisioned the ancient builders driven by a singular desire — to prove their immortality. Immortality, not in the physical sense, but in the perpetuity of their creations. Perhaps, he mused, they believed that the permutations of atoms, akin to body parts, would ensure the recreation of their buildings in future re-appearances.

“Their immortality resides in the incongruities,” he thought aloud, the words hanging in the air like an ancient incantation. “Not aligned perfectly with the stars, missing economic records — a consistent inconsistency through time.”

Sebastian’s imagination soared as he envisioned the builders crafting their monuments with the fervor of a timeless legacy, each stone a testament to their enduring presence. The mysteries of the pyramids, he realized, were not obstacles but breadcrumbs left for seekers like him to uncover.

Gazing up at the night sky, Sebastian wondered about the infinite possibilities in the cosmos. “Why don’t we find giraffes with hamster heads?” he pondered. A whimsical notion, yet the essence of his inquiry. Perhaps, he mused, some universes were simply not allowed, incompatible with the fundamental dynamics of eternity. Or maybe, in another re-appearance, a two-hundred-headed giraffe roamed free.

The real challenge, he concluded, was not just in uncovering these incongruities but in proving their consistent inconsistency. As he navigated the ancient ruins, Sebastian felt a surge of determination to decipher the messages left by the old builders.

“Why buildings?” he questioned the stones beneath his feet. “Because the larger the object, the greater the probability of re-appearance. Builders, it seems, remain builders regardless of reincarnation.”

His eyes gleamed with newfound purpose. Sebastian recognized that the best way to apply his skills was to unravel the non-consistency of the accounting records of ancient buildings. In the quiet ruins, amidst the echoes of time, he set forth on a quest to prove the enigmatic legacy of the old builders and, in doing so, to unravel the secrets that spanned the fabric of eternity.

Sebastian’s heart pounded in the darkness, a rhythmic reminder of the gravity of his situation. Panic threatened to grip him as he fumbled in the black void, desperately searching for a way out. His mind raced, grappling with the reality of being trapped in the unfathomable prison beneath the Room of the Three Windows.

Memories of the moonlit Intihuatana Stone and the enigmatic Hitching Post of the Sun echoed in his mind. The celestial dance of light had abruptly ceased, plunging him into this abyss. As he probed the cold stones around him, the realization of the impenetrable walls set in. Sebastian recalled the Incas’ ancient technique, using acidic mud to soften stones, but the specifics eluded him.

His breath quickened as he pondered the origin of the air around him. In the midst of this surreal imprisonment, existential questions loomed. If the universe was indeed flawed, as his musings suggested, then finding the flaw required the right tools and the right understanding. The Code of Eternity, a bypass perhaps, held the key to opening the door or sealing it forever.

Sebastian, now aware of the urgency, focused his mind on the cryptic words spoken by the curanderos in the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. If the universe was flawed, palabras de poder — words of power — could potentially unlock the passage. As he uttered the incantations in the velvety blackness, the air around him seemed to shift.

In an instant, he found himself once again before the Intihuatana Stone, the moonlight casting ethereal patterns on the ancient altar. The subterranean chamber, the trap doors, and the darkness dissolved like mist. Sebastian’s mind wavered between the two realities, uncertain of what was real and what was a dream.

He touched the walls of the underground chamber, half-expecting the cold moisture to linger on his fingertips. Was it an elaborate hallucination, or had he truly stumbled upon the hidden doorway with the power of palabras de poder? The mysteries of the old builders and the flawed universe seemed to weave together in this surreal experience.

Sebastian took a deep breath, the air now filled with the scent of ancient stones and the lingering traces of moonlight. As he stood before the Intihuatana Stone, a newfound determination burned in his eyes. The journey to uncover the consistent inconsistency of the old builders’ creations continued, fueled by the belief that somewhere within the Code of Eternity, the answers awaited.

The transition from the ethereal realm of the Intihuatana Stone to the harsh reality of a life-threatening situation was abrupt. Sebastian’s senses snapped back as he felt Garrott’s vice-like grip constricting around his throat. The room became a battlefield, and the struggle for breath intensified.

On the floor, Sebastian instinctively went into survival mode, his training kicking in like a reflex. Arms shot up, creating a desperate barrier between the garrote and his neck. His chin tucked down, creating a buffer zone that made it challenging for Garrott to tighten his hold. Forward, he bent, disrupting the assailant’s balance, creating a window of opportunity.

In a swift move, Sebastian stomped on Garrott’s foot, his body weight working against the attacker. Backing into a wall, he limited Garrott’s control over his movements. The garrote loosened, offering a precious moment to breathe. A surge of determination fueled Sebastian as he turned, launching a knee strike aimed at Garrott’s groin. But the swift block by the assailant left him vulnerable.

The next moment unfolded like a blur — a fierce exchange of strikes and blocks, a dance of survival in the dimly lit chamber. Sebastian’s legs gave way, and he collapsed onto the cold floor. Garrott, sensing victory, loomed over him with a menacing glare.

As Sebastian struggled to regain his bearings, memories flashed before his eyes — the moonlit ruins, the cryptic palabras de poder, and the face of Iren in the hotel room. The emotional charge fueled his resilience, and with a burst of adrenaline, he defied the odds. Channeling the strength within, Sebastian mustered the last of his energy.

With a sudden surge, he twisted away from Garrott’s grasp, delivering a swift kick to the assailant’s abdomen. Garrott staggered back, momentarily disoriented. Seizing the opportunity, Sebastian sprang to his feet, determination burning in his eyes.

The fight raged on, a symphony of strikes and dodges echoing in the underground chamber. Each move was fueled by the primal instinct to survive. Sebastian’s mind raced, his body a vessel of adrenaline and skill. In a final act of defiance, he delivered a decisive blow, sending Garrott sprawling into the shadows.

Silence descended in the aftermath of the fierce struggle. Sebastian, panting and bruised, stood amidst the ancient stones. The taste of victory lingered, but the mysteries of the old builders and the flawed universe still awaited him. With a steely resolve, he pressed forward, driven by the echoes of the past and the uncharted journey that lay ahead.

Chapter 6

Sergei woke up from the annoying beeping of his phone. With difficulty opening his eyes, he reached for the gadget. A message from his ex-wife, Irina, glowed on the screen.

“Hello, Sergey. Let me remind you that today you need to pay Alice for English courses. 15,000 rubles. Don’t forget, please.”

Sergei winced. He has not been able to log into his online bank for several days due to sanctions. There was money in the account, but it was not possible to send it.

“Damn,” he muttered, “what should I do?”

At that moment, his gaze fell on the laptop on which he had been working yesterday on a website for a strange customer. Sergei remembered the prepayment that jingled in his personal account.

“Maybe he can help me?” — thought Sergei.

He quickly got dressed, made himself some coffee and sat down at the computer. Having visited the freelance site, he wrote a message to the customer:

“Hello, Vasily Petrovich. I have a small problem. I urgently need to transfer money, but my bank account is blocked. Could you help me with the transfer?”

Sergei did not expect a quick response, but, to his surprise, a message from Vasily Petrovich arrived within a few minutes.

“Hello, Sergey. Of course, I can help you. Please tell me the card number to which you need to transfer money, as well as the amount.”

Sergei sighed with relief. He quickly sent the necessary data, and a few minutes later a message was received on his phone about the funds being credited.

“Thank you very much!” — he wrote to Vasily Petrovich. — “You helped me out a lot.”

“You’re welcome, Sergei. I was glad to help,” answered Vasily Petrovich.

Sergei transferred money to Irina, and then decided to write her a message.

“Hello, Irina. I transferred the money for the English courses. Sorry for the delay.”

“Thank you, Sergey,” Irina answered laconically.

Sergei chuckled. His relationship with Irina did not work out, but he still tried to take care of his daughter.

He returned to work on the site. The customer was rushing him, and Sergei understood that he needed to finish the job as soon as possible.

As he worked, Sergei became more and more immersed in the strange world of the chatbot. He read the manuscript provided by Vasily Petrovich and was surprised to discover that it described events that took place in Russia in the 19th century.

Sergei became interested in his work. He forgot about time, ate on the go and slept several hours a day.

One night, when Sergei was already collapsing from fatigue, he heard a strange sound. The sound was coming from his computer.

Sergei went to the computer and saw that an image of a man appeared on the screen. It was a man in ancient clothes.

“Hello, Sergey,” said the man. — “My name is Ivan Petrovich. I am from 1862.”

Sergei stared at the screen in shock.

“How is this possible?” — he muttered.

“This became possible thanks to the chatbot,” explained Ivan Petrovich. “It allows us to communicate with people from different eras.”

Sergei didn’t know what to say. He was both amazed and scared.

“I would like to thank you for your help,” said Ivan Petrovich. — “You helped me out a lot.”

“You’re welcome,” Sergei muttered.

“I would like to give you a gift,” said Ivan Petrovich. — “He will help you in your work.”

An image of a book appeared on the computer screen.

“This is a book about programming,” explained Ivan Petrovich. — “She will help you create a website that will work without failures.”

Sergei looked at the book with interest.

“Thank you,” he said. — “This is a very valuable gift.”

“I’m glad that it will be useful to you,” said Ivan Petrovich. — “Goodbye, Sergei.”

The image of Ivan Petrovich disappeared from the screen.

Sergei sat for a long time in front of the computer, thinking about what happened. He couldn’t believe that he had just communicated with a man from the 19th century.

Chapter Seven

Sebastian, lungs burning, reached the top of the Sun Pyramid. Teotihuacan, once a bustling city, stretched out before him like a sleeping giant. Historians painted it as a bloodbath, but whispers of doubt gnawed at him.

Silicon Valley, the modern hub of innovation, popped into his head. Could Teotihuacan have been the same? A place where ideas flowed freely, and groundbreaking stuff happened?

He looked at the pyramid’s steps, then thought of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Both pointed at Orion’s belt, hinting at a shared connection across continents and time. Even though Teotihuacan was way younger, they seemed linked, like two parts of the same story about progress and knowledge.

Suddenly, it hit him: Teotihuacan might have been the ancient Silicon Valley! A beacon attracting the brightest minds, like a magnet pulling in geniuses with wild ideas. Maybe, instead of bloodthirsty rituals, the courtyards buzzed with shared inventions, pushing the boundaries of what humans could achieve.

The footsteps of those ancient innovators seemed to echo the determined strides of modern tech giants, connecting the past and present in a dance of human progress.

A thrill shot through him. This wasn’t just about digging up old stuff; it was about reconnecting with a forgotten spark of human ingenuity. He wasn’t just an archaeologist, he was an Indiana Jones of ideas, on a quest to reignite the flame that had lit the path for generations.

The sun dipped below the horizon, painting the city in shades of purple and orange. Teotihuacan held its secrets close, but Sebastian felt closer than ever to unlocking them. The Code of Eternity awaited, and he, its determined code-breaker, was ready to answer its call.

Okay, so Silicon Valley attracts people from everywhere who bring their smarts to build cool things. But Teotihuacan takes it up a notch! Rumors say there are secret tunnels under the city, maybe even rivers of mercury — like an ancient science lab gone wild! And these metal balls found there are way older than the city itself. Were they ancient particle accelerators, like the Large Hadron Collider, but way more intense? It’s crazy!

Then came the city’s fiery end. Was it bad weather, fighting, or maybe a big science experiment that went kaboom? Talk about going out with a bang!

But Teotihuacan’s influence lived on. Maya cities like Tikal and Copan show signs of Teotihuacan’s impact, from pottery to art to writing. Just like Silicon Valley’s tech spreads around the world, Teotihuacan connected people and ideas across vast distances.

Sebastian’s mind whirred. Teotihuacan wasn’t just an old city; it was a mirror reflecting a possible past for Silicon Valley. People, then and now, flocked to centers of innovation, sharing their knowledge to create something bigger than themselves. Just like tech giants today, the whispers of Teotihuacan seemed to echo with friendly competition and shared ideas.

But unlike modern campuses, Teotihuacan held mysteries deeper than computer chips. Whispers of hidden tunnels and mercury rivers sent shivers down his spine. Were these wild stories, or remnants of technology far beyond their wildest dreams? The metal spheres, older than the city itself, hinted at an ancient understanding of materials that baffled them. Was Teotihuacan, in its time, an ancient Large Hadron Collider, pushing the boundaries of science with consequences they couldn’t foresee?

Then came the whispers of destruction. A great fire, marking the city’s demise. Environmental collapse, political upheaval, or perhaps… the fallout from a grand experiment gone wrong? The irony wasn’t lost on him. What if Teotihuacan’s brilliance, like some Icarus reaching for the sun, met its end in a fiery downfall? A cautionary tale for modern innovators, or a testament to the inherent risks of pushing the boundaries of knowledge?

But Teotihuacan’s legacy stretched beyond its own demise. Its influence on Maya sites, evident in shared culture, art, and trade networks, spoke of a broader impact that transcended borders and time. Just as Silicon Valley’s innovations ripple across the globe, shaping societies far beyond its borders, Teotihuacan had woven its threads into the very fabric of Mesoamerican civilization.

The weight of responsibility settled upon him. He wasn’t just deciphering a code; he was unearthing the lost chapters of human ingenuity, with all its triumphs and tragedies. The echoes of Teotihuacan’s past weren’t just whispers; they were a potent mix of inspiration and cautionary tales.

Chapter 8

Sebastian stood transfixed amidst the megaliths Göbekli Tepe, their monolithic forms dwarfing him, casting long, inky shadows in the fading sunlight. Each towering pillar was a button on the cosmic keyboard, silent keys waiting to be pressed, melodies of the universe begging to be played. He ran his hand over the rough, weathered stone, feeling the whispers of forgotten stories etched into its surface. Were these not the fingers of gods, reaching up from the earth, grasping at the heavens?

Beneath his feet, he could almost feel it — the River of Mercury, a celestial current pulsing with unseen energy. Its ancient hum vibrated through the megaliths, carrying whispers of forgotten wisdom, secrets yearning to be unearthed. He longed to dive into its depths, to trace its course beyond the veil of time, to become one with its eternal flow.

But here, amongst these silent giants, he was but a mote of dust, a fleeting spark in the grand tapestry of existence. Yet, within him burned an ember of defiance. He wouldn’t just be another forgotten grain of sand in the hourglass of time. He would leave his mark, etch his name upon the cosmic canvas.

With a determined glint in his eye, he looked towards the heavens, a sea of stars mirroring the immensity within him. He wouldn’t reach beyond the River of Mercury, not yet. Instead, he would cast a buoy, a beacon for those who might follow, a testament to his audacity, his thirst for the unknown. This duel, this dance with death amidst the megaliths, it was but the first verse in his grand symphony, a challenge thrown to the heavens, a testament to the indomitable human spirit.

The setting sun cast an orange glow upon the stones, painting the scene in an otherworldly light. Sebastian stood tall, a solitary figure against the backdrop of eternity, his heart filled with a strange mix of trepidation and exhilaration.

The wind whispers through the ancient megaliths of Göbekli Tepe, carrying the tension between two figures locked in silent combat. On one side, Sebastian, the genius economist, hefts his newly acquired marvel of engineering — the compound crossbow, its sleek form glinting in the sun. On the other, an unknown woman, a specter cloaked in shadow, her traditional Mongolian bow a whisper against the wind, its string already taut with anticipation.

The duel begins abruptly. An arrow, loosed from the woman’s bow, sings through the air, a deadly song aimed at Sebastian’s head. With lightning reflexes, he throws himself aside, the shaft whistling past his ear to embed itself harmlessly in the earth. Fury and adrenaline surge through him. He assembles his Wicked Ridge Raider 400 with practiced ease, the click of the mechanism a chilling counterpoint to the woman’s silent movements.

He fires back, the crossbow bolt arcing through the air. But the woman is gone, a wraith flitting between the megaliths, using their immense forms as shields. Arrows fly from the shadows, each a blur of feathered death, forcing Sebastian to dance a desperate jig, his shots finding only empty air.

The game becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse. Sebastian stalks, crossbow at the ready, his keen eyes searching for a flicker of movement, a telltale glint of sunlight on metal. The woman, a master of the hunt, melts into the shadows, her arrows appearing from unexpected angles, forcing him back with each volley.

Then, a stroke of luck. Sebastian spots a unique megalith, its polished surface catching the sunlight like a mirror. He uses it to his advantage, the reflection revealing the woman’s position as she prepares to loose another arrow. He fires, the bolt a streak of silver in the sun, and it finds its mark.

But the victory is short-lived. As the woman crumples, a strange contraption unfolds from her back — a paraplanner, catching the wind and lifting her into the sky. She disappears into the heavens, leaving Sebastian standing amidst the megaliths, the taste of bittersweet victory mingling with the dust and the scent of ancient stone.

The duel at Göbekli Tepe ends not with a bang, but with a whisper carried on the wind. A victory, yes, but one that leaves more questions than answers. Who was the woman? What secrets did she hold? And what other wonders lie hidden within the shadows of these ancient stones? These are mysteries that Sebastian, the genius economist, now archer extraordinaire, must unravel if he is to ever truly understand the echoes of that fateful duel.

Chapter Nine

Hotel Al Sohour embraced Sebastian and Irene in an enchanting ambiance. A crocodile gracefully crawled underneath the glass floor, casting mesmerizing shadows that danced around the room. Irene, adorned in a semi-transparent shirt adorned with diamonds, radiated elegance.

Seated at a lavish table, they indulged in a luxurious dinner. A long-legged glass of 1945 Romanée-Conti Conti-Cros Hermitage stood like a timeless monument, enhancing the allure of the evening. The air was saturated with the poetic verses of Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty,” adding an extra layer of romance to the atmosphere.

As the night unfolded, they immersed themselves in the verses of “La Belle Dame sans Merci” by John Keats, its haunting beauty echoing the emotions that swirled between them. The poetic symphony continued with Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” infusing a touch of wittiness to their conversations.

Sebastian: To these ageless giants, and the chance to share their magic with someone as mesmerizing as you.

Irene: (Eyes sparkling) The feeling is mutual. But tell me, Sebastian, a man of numbers and verses, why history?

Sebastian: It’s the poetry etched in stone, stories whispered by lost empires. It shows us love, loss, and ambition are timeless dances.

Irene: And philosophy?

Sebastian: A hunt for meaning, to understand the script of our lives. It pushes us to see differently, like art.

Irene: Speaking of art, where does it fit in your world?

Sebastian: It’s the soul exposed, raw emotions on a canvas. It speaks louder than words, connecting hearts.

Irene: And love? How does it fit in this grand picture?

Sebastian: Ah, the unsolvable puzzle. It defines us, makes us create, fight, even break empires. It’s the fire that fuels the artist, the thinker, the lover.

Irene: (Leaning in, eyes playful) You paint a beautiful picture with your words, Sebastian. Do you think love can blossom under the gaze of these ancient wonders?

Sebastian: (His voice dips low) History whispers of unexpected love stories, Irene. And tonight, with someone as brilliant and captivating as you, I wouldn’t be surprised if a new chapter began…

With the tender flicker of candlelight guiding them, they left the table, carried away by the allure of the poetry that had wrapped them in its embrace. The journey continued to Irene’s room, where the night unfolded into a symphony of love, a melody composed by the echoes of the verses that lingered in the air.

— -

Sweat beaded on Sebastian’s forehead as he scrambled up the final, agonizing slope of the Great Pyramid. 51 degrees of sheer, unforgiving limestone scraped at his boots and gnawed at his resolve. Above him, the electrum, shimmering in the desert sun, promised answers.

A dark figure stood silhouetted against the pyramidion, a menacing arc drawn back as a heavy stone left its hand. “Leave now, infidel,” boomed the attacker’s voice, echoing around the vast chamber.

Sebastian ignored him, his gaze flitting across the intricate carvings. Queen’s Chamber. Resonate. His heart pounded a frantic rhythm against his ribs. It wasn’t just a phrase; it was a trigger. With a whispered word, the chamber hummed, activating a hidden mechanism. The floor split open, revealing a dark void below.

But before Sebastian could celebrate, a rock slammed into his leg, sending him sprawling. Pain flared, but adrenaline masked it. He sprang up, nimble jumps carrying him down the perilous slope. Reaching the base, he tossed a grenade — a flash of yellow, a deafening roar. Limestone dust and debris rained down as the pyramid groaned, two-ton blocks tumbling like oversized dice.

He sprinted, but the attacker was faster. Stones flew, each a near miss. Two million to go, the script had said. Panic gnawed at him. The sheer scale of the crumbling pyramid became terrifyingly real.

Ahead, the Giza Plateau stretched out, endless under the merciless sun. The Sphinx, Khafre’s majestic face staring impassively, offered a beacon of hope. He clambered onto its weathered back, its rough surface tearing at his clothes. Twenty meters above the sand, he raced across its 70-meter length, heart hammering against his ribs.

Reaching the base, he dived headlong into a dark opening hidden at the statue’s base. The scent of dust and dampness filled his nostrils. As his eyes adjusted, he saw ancient hieroglyphs painted on the walls, their vibrant colors eroded by the passage of time.

“Mercury river,” the script had whispered. This passage, carved millennia ago, must lead to it. A hidden waterway, forgotten by time, offering escape.

Sebastian pushed forward, guided by the fading script and the gnawing fear at his heels. He would leave the mysteries of the pyramid for another day. Today, survival was his mission.

And in the echoing darkness, under the watchful gaze of a forgotten god, Sebastian disappeared into the heart of the Sphinx.

Chapter Ten

The heat clung to Sebastian’s back as he circled the colossal Angkor Wat, its moat reflecting the fiery sunset like a liquid mirror. Five kilometers. It felt like an eternity in the thick humidity. Finally, the outer wall loomed, three and a half more kilometers of ancient stone. His heart pounded, not from exertion, but anticipation. Inside, hidden beneath layers of time, lay the answer.

As he navigated the labyrinthine galleries, each rising higher than the last, his fingers traced the intricate carvings. Plants, animals, geometries — a language older than words, whispering secrets from a lost civilization. Then, he saw it. The code. It danced across the stars, an invisible river flowing from Teotihuacan, the ancient Silicon Valley of his dreams. He closed his eyes, picturing the vast data center Angkor Wat once was, its five towers like mounted Mount Merus, beacons of an interplanetary network. These carvings, whispers in stone, carried information meant for an eternity beyond human comprehension.

The universe, he’d discovered, was a finite dance of particles, a cosmic ballet replaying itself endlessly. Each iteration adding a new line to the eternal script, etched onto the fabric of reality. How? Unknown. A truth sensed, not grasped. A truth reserved for the enlightened few.

A shiver ran down his spine. He wasn’t sure if it was the cool evening air or the realization of his own mortality in the face of such cosmic truths. One thing was certain: he was closer than ever to cracking the Code of Eternity. But at what cost? Was enlightenment worth sacrificing the warmth of human connection, the fragile beauty of the here and now? The weight of the question pressed down on him, heavier than the stones themselves.

He opened his eyes, the fiery sky reflected in the moat’s obsidian depths. Tonight, under the watchful gaze of ancient gods, Sebastian would make a choice. Would he chase the cold embrace of eternity, or find solace in the fleeting joys of the present? The universe held its breath, waiting for his answer.

Chapter Eleven

As Sebastian stood before the colossal moai on Rapa Nui, a shiver of realization coursed through him. These enigmatic stone sentinels were not mere sculptures but ancient vessels, travel capsules, guardians of a mystical River of Mercury that connected realms unknown. Paro, the towering moai, seemed to whisper untold secrets, its massive form carrying the weight of ages.

Carved individually with meticulous precision, each moai stood as a silent witness to bygone eras. Sebastian traced the intricate features — heavy brows, elongated noses, and lips in a perpetual pout — symbols of Polynesian reverence for the sanctity of the chiefly head. The artistry etched into the stone transcended time, revealing a story lost to the ages.

Joined by Irene, Sebastian delved into the heart of Rapa Nui’s ancient ritual. Orongo, perched on a perilous ridge, teetered between a treacherous drop into the abyss and a yawning crater. The site of the cult’s festivities, it exuded an aura of both danger and sacredness, setting the stage for an adventure that would test their mettle.

Descending the sheer cliffs of Orongo, Sebastian plunged into the turquoise waters, bound for Motu Nui. Here, the sacred birds would decide the fate of those seeking the elusive eggs. Yet, amidst the waves, a rival emerged — another seeker of secrets, another challenger in the dance of destiny.

In the shadow of the towering moai, the duel unfolded with primal intensity. The haunting beats of a haka-like dance reverberated through the rocky landscape, a prelude to the clash of warriors. Symbolic gifts exchanged, sacred pigments smeared on faces, the dance of respect commenced. Sebastian faced his opponent, a Raihana warrior, amidst the ancient chants that echoed through time.

Weapons revealed, the air resonated with the whistling precision of the Raihana’s club and the agile twirls of Sebastian’s spear. Mastery and skill collided in a spectacle of ancient combat, each move a dance step in a choreography that spoke of generations of tradition.

Defensive stances assumed, the warriors circled each other with intense focus. The atmosphere crackled with anticipation, as if the very air held its breath, awaiting the next move in this dance of destiny.

The duel erupted in a clash of power and agility. Sebastian, driven by determination, countered the Raihana warrior’s strength with his own nimble finesse. The battlefield became a canvas, each movement a stroke in a painting of survival, strategy, and skill.

Exhausted but undeterred, Sebastian’s spear moved with a lateral grace, disarming his foe. Instead of reveling in triumph, he extended a hand in reconciliation. The ancient ritual, once a duel of adversaries, transformed into a symbol of unity, bridging the gap between two warriors.

Having secured the sacred egg, Sebastian emerged from the waters and presented it to Irene. In that moment, Irene ascended to the revered position of The Bird Mother, her eyes reflecting the culmination of an adventure, a dance with destiny on the mystical Rapa Nui.

Chapter Twelve

Sebastian arrived at the private spaceport owned by Virgin Galactic early in the morning. After clearing security, he made his way to the crew quarters where he donned his specialized ionic engine space suit. The suit allowed for propulsion and maneuvering in the vacuum of space using cutting-edge ion thruster technology.

Sebastian then walked across the loading bridge and entered the passenger compartment of the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo vehicle. He secured himself into one of the passenger seats as the rest of the civilian crew boarded. Finally, the main rocket engines ignited and VSS Unity was released from the carrier aircraft at high altitude, blasting off into space.

How he flew to orbit and what he saw: As VSS Unity achieved orbit, Sebastian looked out the windows at the curvature of the Earth below. The thin blue atmosphere gave way to the inky blackness of space. Sunlight reflected blinding white off the ceramic tiles protecting the spacecraft.

Sebastian activated his ionic thrusters and unbuckled from his seat, gently maneuvering in the microgravity environment. He floated over to a window to get a better view as the International Space Station came into sight — a massive gleaming outpost constructed of modules from multiple nations.

The central core of the station was the Russian Zvezda module providing living quarters and life support systems. Attached to it were the US Destiny laboratory for microgravity experiments, the European Columbus research lab, the Japanese Kibo science module, and the Russian Prichal node allowing new modules to dock.

Extending out from the core were long solar array trusses providing power. The cupola observational module allowed breathtaking panoramic views. Soyuz and SpaceX crew vehicles were docked, ready to rotate personnel on and off the station.

Suddenly, Sebastian’s view was interrupted as a strange capsule emerged from below pulling up alongside the station. It clamped onto one of the docking ports and began forcing its way in. The capsule disgorged armed men in Chinese space suits — space pirates intent on seizing control of the station!

The pirates fanned out, rounding up the crew and taking them hostage. But they didn’t account for Sebastian who was still in his ionic suit, floating in open space.

Sebastian fired his suit’s maneuvering thrusters, jetting away from the station to get a clear line of attack. The pirates spotted him and two broke off in pursuit, firing projectiles with their own suits’ thrusters.

An intense zero-gravity chase and firefight broke out as they grappled and traded shots. Sebastian’s fancy loops and spins made him a hard target to hit. Finally, he got a clear shot and disabled the pirate suits with well-placed hits, sending them spinning off helplessly into the void.

With the remaining pirates bottled up on the station, Sebastian docked and vented the whole module, sucking the air and criminals into the vacuum. He freed the hostages and crew, saving the day through his mastery of extravehicular combat.

(…)

TO BE CONTINUED

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