The Story of Hathor & Dayo:
AK was a flamboyant pharaoh but today he stripped himself of his arsenal of guards, assistants and decadent opulence. Today, he and I sat on opposite sides of a small marble table, on crafted wood chairs with the softest pillows in the world. It wasn’t exactly a war table, but it wasn’t an olive branch moment either. Nor was AK seeking to impress me. It was his humble attempt to shun his god-like status and talk to me man to man, human to human. He wants something. I wondered, if like Hathor, he too got tired of the crown and stress of mastery. A plate of oversized fruit sat between us. AK snatched a pomegranate, broke it in two with his gaping mouth and slurped the red juice. The juice rolled down his chin, but he didn’t bother to wipe it up.
“Your world wants to enter our world and I won’t let it happen,” he said.
“And neither will I,” I said.
“Then we agree,” he said taking another hearty bite into his fruit of choice. More juice trickled down his chin. It was sticking to his beard.
“Have you discussed this with, Hathor?” I asked.
“She knows,” he said. “She seems to know everything. Such a pity. She lies to me like I’m a second rate servant and she expects me to have a modicum of respect. And I do have a modicum of respect. But just a modicum,” he added.
“I hate my sister,” he spat out as more juice oozed from his lips. He grabbed a cotton cloth and finally wiped the mess away. “But if you keep your world unaware of our portals, I will leave you two alone.”
“You should leave her alone regardless,” I said.
“Whatever,” he muttered before taking another bite. “If you betray us I will find you, I will hunt you down, and you will have no peace. We have our ways here.”
“And I have mine,” I said.
“Please,” AK said, flailing his arm into the wind and turning his head in disgust.
“Why,” I asked, “is it okay for your world to have access to ours, but we can’t have access to yours?”
“I don’t answer such questions,” he said. “As long as your world thinks it’s the future it poses a problem for us.
“But we’ve mastered peace,” I argued. Not that I disagreed with AK. I instinctively felt that our Agency should not be positioned for this access. I don’t think we could handle it and I questioned the Agency’s motives, but there was relative imbalance in the logic that he, a man who’d been strategizing the overthrow of his flesh and blood twin sister would believe that he had a greater mastery of harmony than his brethren of the future. And why did he question that we were the future?
“Your backward ways are imbecile and I refuse to accept that you’d throw all our achievements away in the name of being reborn as infants in the universe. Your subhuman ways disgust me,” he said. “You’re masters of sucking from your mother’s breast and nothing more,” he continued.
“As for your fetish for peace,” he said, spitting out the juice on the ground below “what you call peace is nothing more than thwarted ambition masked as harmony - a sense of homeostasis where no change is progress. I prefer red blooded passion myself. And so does my sister. You really don’t plan on taking her to your emotionless world do you? She would never fit.”
AK, it seemed, was finicky about his legacy in the future. He resented the future and the fact that he was not in it. But he was right in that our world should not have access to the portals. Men like AK had a penchant for emotional displays of ego hidden in platitudes. Men like AK could dazzle the simple mind, the tempted mind with the hopes of wisdom and wealth. While talking to a pharaoh was a first for me, I wasn’t one to be easily thrown off focus –typically, anyway.
“Is that an invitation to be part of your Kingdom?” I asked. “You’re a smart man. You know I have no interest in ruling here.” AK cut his eyes.
“I think you should work for me. Be my eyes and ears to the other world. Go back and forth, report on the happenings. I could make you a very rich man. You’d be a man who could have the best of both ends of the time spectrum.”
“I think I’ve got that,” I said. AK grunted. “Follow me,” he bellowed. I stood reluctantly and followed AK through a narrow corridor, down a winding path of stairs into a giant underground cave flooded with every ruby, diamond and precious metal one could imagine.
“My gift to you, if you work for me.” My eyes darted from one golden trunk to the next. It was an impressive sight, but I already had the ultimate jewel of the universe.
“Thanks for the offer,” I said. “But I decline.”
“You really do love my sister,” he said in half disbelief. “They all do,” he said, snidely before whipping around and marching back up the stairs like an angry kid. By the time he got to the top of the stairway, he’d composed himself. I followed him back to the courtyard. This world had too many formalities and now I had to share a black cup of liquid spices with this man as he described his vision for a new monument he hoped to build in his honor. “I’m sure Hathor will have her people build one in her honor that’s twice as large. Which means I’ll just have to be prepared to build another.”
“Why can’t the two of you work together?” I asked.
“Because I don’t want to,” he said flitting his nose in the air to match the high pitch of his voice. Something about it made me want to laugh. So AK was concerned about the portals. And if he couldn’t lure me to be a spy, he’d just find someone else.
Back in my world, I decided to tell Del everything. No point in having his suspicions raised and contacting the Agency himself. If we were going to safeguard the portals, if I was going to a have I life with Hathor, I needed his help.
“Let me get this straight,” Del said as we sat in the corner of another dark hovel of a bar he’d found on an abandoned space station and hideaway for galactic pirates. The dank hole was plastered in smelly, intoxicating moss on the inside and featured one lone quack of a musician who played the same chords on a makeshift ancient organ. “You want to protect the portals? Whose side are you on?” Del muttered.
“Look, Del..the Agency doesn’t need to know about this.”
“The hell they don’t. And what do we get in exchange?” he asked.
Del shook his head in disgust. “No, you found love and I want something, too. Riches, money, asteroid minerals…anything,” he said. “Do you know how much money I could make off this information? You better hope no one’s tracking this,” he said. But tracking people was banned a millennium ago.
“You couldn’t make anything, because I haven’t told you how to access them. You’d sound like a dreamer like the rest of them,” I said.
“And how do you know I wouldn’t sell you out?” Del asked.
“I don’t,” I said. Del cracked his knuckles.
“Damn you, Del,” he said pounding his fist on the steel table between us. “I just got back in and now you have me harboring secrets. What am I supposed to do?”
“Help me,” I said. “Do something noble for once.”
Del rested his elbows on the table and mashed his palms on the side of his head.
“I wanna see,” he said. “I wanna see her world.”
“I’ll see about making that happen,” I said.