THE SAGA
OF THE PHOENIX
             
 




In my twenties, I sailed as a wireless officer on Panamanian-flagged steam ships and traveled on the sea for some years. One day, an older officer, who was sailing with me, told me in confidence: “either you stop sailing now or you will be, like me, a gypsy on the sea for all your life without a normal family and without having the opportunity to be close to your sons until retirement age.” I thought a lot about those words and after a few months, decided to disembark.

During the next years, I have dedicated myself to various activities in the field of electronics and also, in the last 20 years, in cosmetics, first as export manager and after, with my own business, as exporter of Italian made skin care products, some of them devised by me personally.

A few years ago, after a large part of my life spent abroad, I decided it was time to stop and retire to the countryside. Now, at my tender age of 76, I was reminded to write. Not because I am an older guy who is bored, on the contrary, living in a big old house, I would find pastimes as bricoleur, as many as I want.

One day, when I put some old books on new shelves, I had a radiotechnics manual in my hands (it was not only an obsolete book but I think incomprehensible to those who nowadays deal with electronics, unless they are also interested in archeology) that had served me, in the night of time, to take the state exam to obtain the license of wireless officer. Leafing through it with a little nostalgia, I confess, I started to think that the figure of the wireless officer has not only disappeared for many years but, nowadays, few people know what he was doing on board.

At that moment I told myself that it might be nice to tell it around, not only because that role has been part of my life for years, but also because, in those years, no ship in the world would have been allowed to sail without a wireless officer on board. I therefore decided to describe and tell circumstances and events that happened on sea, seen through the eyes of the protagonist, a young wireless officer.

Halfway through the story, I wondered if I had bored the eventual reader with adventures that, although interesting at first, then become repetitive. Each storm is similar to the others. All evenings spent on shore in an exotic port resemble each other. Human relations on board are always the same, governed by a compulsory hierarchy. So I decided to insert a little mystery into the story, referring to my interest in the history of the universe and in the astrophysics, that have always attracted me as a curious self-taught.



During one of his trips to Brazil in the 1960', the protagonist, receives via radio a communication in Morse in which a mysterious Russian, embarked on a Yugoslav motor ship moored in Rio Grande do Sul, asks him for a meeting, on his arrival in that port, expected after a few days. During the interview, which the young man had accepted out of curiosity, the Russian offers him a vague collaboration with a transnational organization with not very clear contours. He refuses but the Russian to convince him announces that the next destination of the Bayhorse, the ship on which the young officer was embarked, would be Jacksonville, Fl, USA. Since no one could know at that time, not even the shipowner who concluded the chartering contracts from trip to trip, at the moment does not believe him and thinks of a joke even if for inexplicable reasons. When a week later the captain of the Bayhorse, as soon as the news of the next destination of the ship, came from the shipowner, communicates it to all the officers, it was indeed the one indicated by the Russian. The young man changes his mind and wants to see again his mysterious interlocutor to deepen what he had been told previously. During the second interview the Russian is not much more detailed in the explanation but he specifies that in the on-board first aid room was placed an object that the young man should deliver on his arrival to a person in charge, who would also provide him with full details of future cooperation. Driven by his innate curiosity he accepts and, once in navigation, with difficulty he manages to find the mysterious object hidden in the first aid room. After the delivery on arrival, the person in charge of the withdrawal does not have time to dwell on explanations but informs him of another similar object to be delivered to the next port, this time in Bombay in India, where every aspect would have been clarified.

During the meeting in India, he was asked to collaborate with this organization, the Phoenix, which operates worldwide and has unlimited financial resources and technologies unthinkable in those years. He was chosen because he was deemed fit for the task they would assign him, based on some mental analysis to which he had been subjected without his knowledge. It accepts as it fully agrees with the objectives that the Phoenix showed it wanted to achieve in the long term. After some trips during which he has the opportunity to verify the extraordinary technologies that this organization has, he is asked to land from the Bayhorse and reach the underground base of the Phoenix, in a desert of the USA. In the base he discovers a world unknown to him and wonderful. The technologies at their disposal were so advanced that in the 1960s no one would have even guessed. What amazes him most is the system of transferring information from a computer archive directly into the human mind. 

Gradually its position grows in importance in the organization, until it reaches the highest levels of management and is part of the Council, after receiving the final notional treatment. At that point it is clear to him many political, economic and social events that have occurred in the last fifty years that had been communicated to the masses adapted for political, economic or military purposes. The archives of the Phoenix had the true answers to all the mysteries of the time as its external agents, working in the shadows, tried discreetly to influence the various governments around the world. The ultimate aim was to achieve, for all the inhabitants of the planet, a coexistence and a shared well-being and to guarantee to all an individual freedom which, however, was prevented from becoming a prevarication for others. At that time it was still a utopia but, in the course of the next hundred years, the goal that the Phoenix had set itself at the beginning would be fully achieved. The protagonist at the age of seventy retires with his wife to a ranch in Arizona and his place will be taken by his son. Only his grandchildren will see the results of his work.

In the second part of the novel, the Phoenix achieves its political goals and, more than a hundred years after its mysterious birth, reunites the entire planet under a single government. At this point, one of its leaders asks himself the question of how the Phoenix was born and by whom it was created. The discovery will be disconcerting but also fascinating and will lead the descendant of the young Marconist officer to discover, in the depths of the space, many secrets of the universe.