The saga of the Phoenix  volume 3

 Chapter 2. The Incorporeals.

Lucius had only recently been a part of the Phoenix. He had been persuaded to join it by Admiral Gordon who had met him during a time travel in search of the Incorporeals, in Imperial Rome in the year 757 aUc1. His full name was Lucius Calpurnius Piso who had been a valiant proconsul and, in Thrace, a heroic legate of the Legio XI Claudia. Gordon, after an investigation into his mind, had seen in him a possible valuable collaborator and had proposed to Lucius to follow him into the future. Lucius had been subjected to the four notional treatments provided and had reached a level of knowledge equal to that of the other members of the Board. His pragmatic and rational mind, brought to a rigorous logic, had allowed him to fit perfectly into the organization and had become Gordon's right hand. The same mind, that had allowed him extraordinary victories in Thrace many centuries earlier, was now busy trying to understand the Incorporeals and their secrets. Lucius was no longer surprised at anything. Notional treatments had provided him with the mental tools and adequate knowledge to understand everything around him at that time, so far away for him, in the future.
He perfectly understood phenomena that were unthinkable in his time and thanks to his cold and calculating character, he remained imperturbable in the face of any novelty.
The only thing that upset him, even if he would never admit it or point it out to others, was the presence of Giorgio Relli, whose biological death dated back to a century earlier and was considered a myth by all members of the Phoenix. Shortly before his death, Giorgio Relli had poured all the contents of his mind into the organization's super-computer and, when Sean, one of the most experienced computer scientists, noticed the presence of that data, had it transferred to a new organic super-computer, with unprecedented performance.
The new machine didn't outperform normal proton current computers by much in processing speed4 but it could process billions of data simultaneously, so ultimately its performance was vastly superior.
Thus it was that Giorgio Relli came back to life, even if confined within an organic machine, whose data were stored and processed in DNA strands. The huge cylindrical container that housed it was equipped with sensors designed to detect any phenomenon that occurred in its vicinity. A monitor, inserted in the steel casing, showed his face and the voice with which he spoke was absolutely identical to the one he had had in life. His experience and his mental abilities made him an invaluable aid to the Phoenix. The fact that a man, who died a century earlier, spoke, reasoned, possessed memories and gave advice to others from inside a machine, was something that intimately upset Lucius's mind. It would have been much more normal for him that the gods had allowed George to return from Hades to rejoin the living.

Gordon had called a meeting to which Dr. Wiesman with his team of scientists and obviously Lucius and Giorgio Relli would have been present. When everyone was gathered around the large rectangular table, Gordon, who had Lucius and Giorgio on either side, turned to Dr. Wiesman who sat across from him, in the center of his team:
“During the previous meeting1 we had highlighted two particular statements that had been made by the Incorporeals during my time travel in the Imperial Rome. These statements have left me very perplexed as they are inexplicable from our current scientific knowledge. You and your collaborators are most likely the only ones able to deepen these topics and give us explanations.”
Dr. Wieseman carefully hid the pleasant pride that pervaded him hearing those words and replied with a very serious air:
“The main arguments, incomprehensible to us, are two: the fact that the Incorporeals tell us they exist outside of time and the assertion that all human theological theories have always been wrong and far from reality. We are now dealing with the first question and dr. Wiesenthal leads the team of physicists who are dedicated to this problem.”
He waved his hand to Dr. Wiesenthal to invite him to speak and he began in a calm voice, pronouncing the words in an almost didactic tone:
“Let us consider the assertion of the Incorporeal that claim to exist outside of time. What we know as space-time comprises four dimensions, one of which is time: x, y, z, t. The time dimension makes sense only in conditions of motion of matter or of energetic changes of any kind referred to electromagnetic waves or to gravitational or electrical variables. If we could reach the hypothetical temperature of 0 °K, which is impossible, then the time dimension would lose its meaning since at that temperature there is no motion or change, at any level. This tells us that existing outside of time is impossible but perhaps it is possible for them to exist outside of our time and within their own time.” He paused as he looked at those present who were following him closely and went on: “We don't know what the Incorporeal are made up of. The host bodies they use are singular organisms based on silicon instead of carbon, but their true essence is unknown to us. In any case, regardless of what constitutes them, they think. The succession of their thoughts is enough to determine a temporal sequence and then insert them into a time dimension.”
He made another short pause and finished:
“So the problem to be faced is which time the Incorporeals are inserted in. If their statement is true, and we have no reason to think otherwise, then theirs is another dimension of time, different from ours. This is the goal of our research: a fifth dimension, which we could call 'super-time', which also includes them.”
The hall was silent for several minutes. Everyone was considering what he had heard, in the light of their specific scientific knowledge, when Giorgio Relli's voice rang out in the room:
“Gentlemen, in some remote corner of your memory there will surely be, at least a hint, of a short science fiction novel, not very well known, called Flatland and written by Edwin Abbott in 1884. You will remember that the author imagined a world with only two dimensions inhabited exclusively by two-dimensional polygonal beings. In the second part of the novel the protagonist, a square, meets an extraordinary being, a sphere, which comes from an external world called Spacelandia. This meeting enlightens him on the existence of a third dimension for him hitherto unknown and unimaginable. Here, I think that we now find ourselves in the same conditions as that two-dimensional square.”
Some smiles appeared on the faces of those present at the thought of being assimilated to two-dimensional geometric figures, but all agreed, almost gleefully, that this was the reality. At least one dimension was missing if not more. Lucius, who had remained silent all the time and was particularly struck by the other mysterious statement of the Incorporeals, introduced the second interesting topic:
“While dr. Wiesenthal will be in search of the ‘super-time’, we should consider the other aspect of the Incorporeals claims regarding the theological misinterpretation of reality. Their speech suggests the existence of a superior being who guides them and who has entrusted them with their mission of peace. In my time there were many religions and, in all of them, there were different divinities but the most important ones were united in a Triad. In Rome the Triad formed by Jupiter, Juno and Minerva was particularly venerated, who also expressed the political power of Rome as well as the religious one.”
All those present were particularly attentive because listening to considerations on events that had occurred many centuries ago from a man who had really lived them was an extraordinary fact. Lucius continued:
"f one of the main religions that have been professed on Earth, Christianity, I have no direct news as it spread several years after my departure for the future. Only from notional treatments did I learn of its disclosure and of some hypotheses that affirm that Christianity was one of the contributing causes of the decline of the Empire. I was struck by the fact that in this religion, as in many others, a Triad is venerated. Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Christianity. Allāt, Al-Uzza and Manāt, the three goddesses of the pre-Islamic religion. The Hindu Trimurti formed by Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. In many other religions, such as Norse, Egyptian and Greek, there are similar Triads. I do not believe that the similarities between these beliefs, characterized by very different and distant geographic locations and theosophies, are coincidental coincidences. This could be a reason for furthering our research.”
Giorgio intervened:
“In our archives we have no certain historical evidence of the presence or appearance of divinities on Earth. The existences of Buddha and Muhammad as spiritual guides or prophets are historically confirmed. The only one to proclaim himself and to have been venerated as a divinity is Christ, of whom, however, we have no historical evidence of his existence, which is proven by his followers exclusively by referring to confessional documents and texts considered sacred by Christians, but of not irrefutable purely historical relevance. The only historical document that could concern him but which is impossible to verify is a written report of a Roman centurion, who reports having crucified three Jews, without mentioning their names, in the place and approximately in the period in which the sacred texts indicate the crucifixion of Christ took place. The whole Christian narrative has as its probative sources the Gospels, written by various authors over the course of many years after the death of Christ and the Bible, a very ancient text whose origin, however, can only be defined fideistically, in the absence of real historical evidence on its authors and the veracity of its texts, mostly allegorical, with evident educational and didactic purposes.”
He paused, detecting with his sensors an extreme attention on the part of those present and continued:
“The Bible, which in fact, as evidenced by the Greek etymology of the term (βιβλία = books) is not a single book but a collection of writings by various authors, could provide us with useful clues.” During a very brief second pause, he noticed a sharpening of the attention of those present, characterized by an awaited interrogation. “One of the oldest books is Genesis, which is present both in the Hebrew Torah1 and in the Christian Bible. The text was written in Hebrew by unknown authors, it seems to be around the fifth century before the Christian era, Lucius would date it to around 200 aUc. and deals, in the first part, with the origin of the world and its creation, the so-called biblical prehistory. It is interesting to note that the narrative is focused on the creation of the Earth, considering the rest of the universe in the alternative and takes place by the hand of a superior being, God, who gives birth to everything from a shapeless set of water and darkness. The scientific value of this narrative is irrelevant even considering it as an educational text intended for the primitive world of the time. However, it should be noted the presence of this superior being who after creation imposes essential rules on his creation and remains its supreme owner. The first characters described in the text, the Patriarchs, who follow one another and all descend from the first man created by God, live very long lives, lasting almost a thousand years. The text explains how this extraordinary longevity is the result of divine benevolence.” He concluded by saying: “In the absence of scientific relevance of the text and with very often contradictory contents and often in contrast with scientific evidence, we must consider it an allegorical story, for educational purposes, handed down orally until it reaches its writing in Hebrew, which took place about twenty-seven centuries ago. We must instead reflect on what extraordinary events of the distant past gave birth to it, so much so that it was handed down orally for so long, until its written drafting. Surely the oral transmission of the original story will have produced, over time, many textual and conceptual changes and additions, but the details are not very interesting, since we must focus our attention on the main event that may have caused the story and, on this, formulate our hypotheses."
The hall was silent for a few minutes and Gordon spoke again to end the session:
“I would propose to create two working groups. The dr. Weisman with his team will continue the search for the ‘fifth dimension’ ... “
He stopped smiling for a moment and added:
“While Giorgio, Lucius and I will go hunting for God.”
Everyone smiled as they left the room, only dr. Wiesenthal, passing by, whispered to Gordon:
“Good hunting, Admiral”
who in return replied with a further smile:
“Good hunting for you too, Doctor.”