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Chapter 6

The clatter of dishes, along with the children's fresh teasing voices, told David he had overslept. Descending the stairs he caught sight of Reuben, Ari and Helen on the patio enjoying the sea views. They sat on white painted seats, in a shady corner, sipping coffee and nibbling on traditional Greek cake served each morning. A bowl of fresh fruit sat untouched. Across the road people already lay on low bench lounges, hiding behind sunglasses that allowed them to secretly stare at others strolling up and down the sand.

"Good morning sleepyhead! The excitement of yesterday must have caught up with you. A cup of Helen's coffee is just what you need."

"Thanks Ari. It took me quite a while to settle last night. You seemed restless too Reuben. I thought I heard you call out!"

"Probably dreaming," grunted Reuben. Puffy lines under heavy eyes confirmed David's thoughts regarding his friends bad night. After helping Helen tidy the breakfast table, the three men were soon driving along the ever busy city road towards Reuben's computer warehouse. The still sea, with its quiet calm, soon faded from sight. Pulling up at the barrier, next to the security box, Reuben nodded to the uniformed guard, who poked an official looking paper through the open window of the car.

"It's O.K. Stephen, these are my friends. David is on holiday from Israel and Ari decided we would use his car today. Good to see you keeping a close check on all cars entering the premises." Ari and David raised their eyebrows as they glanced at each other in mild curiosity.

"Must be something special here Reuben!"

"You can't be too careful. We had a break-in last month. Nothing was stolen or damaged, but it appears some of our newest equipment had been used. Although it is not on the market yet, a great deal of interest has been shown by a firm called Macrotech." Row upon row of state of the art equipment filled the large concrete building. Red lights flickered on and off as outside users checked Bulletin Boards and left messages. Telephones rang and busy operators answered queries, or solved problems for novice users. Printers clicked as they whirred out endless sheets of processed data, filling the large trays to overflowing, spilling onto the floor. Junior staff scurried to and fro delivering these spewed out epitomes of obscure information containing hidden messages. At the far end of the building were several rooms with heavy iron doors similar to those on the vault at Yani's bank.

As he pulled hard on the lever to open the first door, Ari sensed Reuben's air of secrecy and caution.

"This is part of the new equipment being looked at by governments around the world. Some of the local enquiries have been made by men who were on course with me when we were at uni."

"Sure outdates the ones I've seen or used, Reuben. Nicholas told me about some senior boys at his school getting really addicted to some special effects computer programs. They call a friend on the internet and play virtual reality games, even though they are many miles apart."

"Oh, that's been around for years. You need goggles, data gloves and special suit to put you right in the onscreen picture, just as if you are really with the other person at an agreed meeting place. From then on, the individual's hand, head or body is actually in that situation. Kids and teenagers love these programs. They don't need cars, planes or other toys to keep them occupied."

"Sounds spooky to me Reuben," replied Ari.

"It makes me wonder if our young people are becoming trapped into creating an alternate universe. They become creators and forget that God is the Creator of all things."

So often in his practice, Ari dealt with people whose minds had been damaged by vain imaginings until they eventually lost sight of truth and reality. Often they had begun their downward spiral into mental illness by things thought to be harmless in themselves. They used their imagination to create a picture in their minds and believed that eventually the picture would become a reality. They visualized(1) themselves possessing great power, or being cured of some disease such as cancer, as they saw in their mind's eye their cancer growing smaller. Some pictured themselves being very wealthy. This had really worked for some of his patients. Eastern religions had been using this technique for many years, but this virtual reality could be even more damaging, making things that are not, appear as if they are. Reuben's words interrupted Ari's thoughts.

"This is called cyberspace. With data suits and your own thoughts anything is possible."

"What you're really saying is that science, technology and imagination equal a transcendent reality."

"I guess so Ari, but you are getting a bit clinical for me."

"I have never seen anything like this before," marvelled David.

"My limited experience is of local TV advertisements where you see things like a teapot changing into a monster, or a horse becoming a car."

Reuben laughed at his friends ignorance. "That's called morphing. That's mild compared to what is to come, especially if my plans come to fruition. Let's move on to the library. For many, the on-line world is a valuable tool used for study, work and play. Some time ago, Microsoft integrated their products with the Internet. Everyone benefited, from beginners to software developers like myself."

"Computers and their programs make me nervous," ventured David.

Opening another solid door, the trio walked into a huge room. It's walls were lined with manuals and computer packages. In the centre of the room sat a busy young girl. Her long painted fingernails waltzed smoothly over the keyboard.

She sat engrossed in her work cross-checking figures, headings and data. Behind her, in grey steel cabinets, stood rows of digital D.V.D. disks, all carefully categorized. David and Ari began browsing through them. Each selected a disk to feed into a computer.

"Need any help?" she asked, looking over her fine gold-rimmed glasses.

"Probably," laughed Ari. "David and I are just about computer illiterate."

Placing her glasses on top of her head she pushed back her chair. Black high heeled shoes emphasized her long, brown, bare legs as she bent to place the disks in the two computers. Ari's screen revealed banking facilities, whilst David's listed religions and cults throughout the world. Both sat quietly searching the text in their quest for further information. Reuben walked across the room to his secretary, "Any mail that needs my attention?"

She handed him a note which read, "Peter, the manager of Macrotech, rang. Could you please return his call to Rome on ISD 0039-6-999-666

"Are you two ready to move on?", called Reuben, drawing their attention away from the computers.

They followed him to the door of the final room which had an alarm fitted. Reuben punched in a series of numbers and opened the thick steel door. As they entered the darkness David felt an eerie coldness. Reuben flicked on the light flooding the room with unnatural brightness that made their eyes narrow. In front of them stood Reuben's newest product. This piece of equipment looked similar to a television set. A multimedia keyboard was inset just below the control panel. Small circles on this panel, when pressed, adjusted colour and magnification of the media presented. Beside the screen, and connected to the back of the set, rested a small telephone with two tiny buttons which flashed either red or green. On top of the set sat what looked like the bust of a man - a modernistic art form of an electronic box, controlling the entire equipment and operating it continually.

Reuben intended to market this technology for interactive purposes, on the basis of its usefulness in society. He had imagined business and governments using the equipment to build data banks for all authorities seeking and collecting information from private homes. For example, because child abuse had become endemic, officials would be able to tap into data banks that would list known offenders. He also saw it being used to supply important information relating to diseases or epidemics. The only way to disconnect this set was to turn off the power supply, a difficult task as there was no switch. All wiring would be directed to the back of each monitor through thick cables housed in reinforced walls.
"That's my baby," enthused Reuben.

"It comes with a keyboard featuring an inbuilt microphone and stereo amplified speakers. With voice activated software, visual phone and video equipment, distance users can come in and interact online. Sooner or later everyone will have one of these. They will be as common as telephones have been for years. Replacement parts for old sets will not be produced, forcing people to purchase this new equipment."

Reuben reset the alarm as David and Ari said goodbye to Dianna, his secretary.

"Don't forget your message Reuben," she called as the three left.
After a leisurely lunch in a tiny tavern, they were headed home. The streets were quieter this afternoon as a result of yesterday's closure of all banks and financial institutions. Ari noticed as he drove, that people seemed to be shopping mainly in food outlets, leaving larger clothing stores emptier than usual.

"If this money crisis continues I can see many of the smaller, privately owned shops closing down. People with a limited supply of cash will save it for the barest necessities."

"Mmm," replied David, not really listening. He was unsettled and ill at ease after seeing the equipment at Reuben's computer outlet. It was as if something sinister and far beyond human control was about to emerge. He had never before experienced such misgivings. David realized his simple lifestyle caused some fear towards newly developing technology, but it was more than that. Perhaps a technological war, more sinister than any of the current bomb attacks throughout the world, was about to explode. A war, not of artillery, rockets, chemicals or infantry; rather, a subtle war of control by a hidden enemy. Modern day humanism, where deception distorted minds, could lead people unknowingly down a road to nowhere.(2)

Reuben sat with eyes closed and let the warm late afternoon sun bathe his body. He could not understand why David and Ari failed to share his excitement. His new technology seemed to alarm them. Had he been too confident as he vainly promoted the virtues of a coming new age? Computers of the type he had invented would link people throughout the world far easier and better than the Internet had done in recent years. His system would have incredible multiple usages. Better facilities would be created to provide a smoother running society, giving governmental, financial and personal information, such as the location of people at any time.

"According to today's news there is no change in the monetary situation," persisted Ari.

"The big global players, corporations and banks, seem to be dictating to all and sundry by virtue of their international agreements. Countries seem to be in danger of being ruled and governed by international forces outside their control. Money certainly has power to control or dictate policy."

David, wondering what the situation was in Israel, replied, "Airports, seaports and industries have the potential to come under foreign ownership, as is the most precious commodity of all in ones native country - land. Foreign countries are reaping the financial benefits as billions of dollars fill their coffers, while people endure hardship in their own country. They have become servants in their own lands."

"To some extent you would be protected from all these concerns wouldn't you David?" queried Ari.

"We have different struggles, Ari. There are many social problems caused by homeless teenagers. They roam the streets in their aimless search to satisfy their physical and emotional appetites. People have become fearful because of lawlessness and are urging government to introduce tighter controls."

"David, do you really think tighter controls will solve the problems of homeless and unemployed youth? I think they need to be brought together and given a cause to work for. They need discipline and organization to bring them out of their lethargic state. A strong leader could harness their anger and use it for a far greater purpose than they themselves ever imagined."

Reuben had disturbed David with these remarks. They came from deep inside a once angry youth, now grown into what could well be a man still tormented by his thirst for revenge. He has the simmering qualities of a dictator thought David.

"Reuben, you have seen the effects of these social problems right here in Athens," retorted Ari.

"Alcohol and drug abuse is an escape for many. I doubt that an arranged program would make any difference. The wealthy don't want an increase in their taxes to support those they perceive to be a lost minority. Fear seems to dominate rich and poor alike. The rich fear losing control of their assets and lifestyle, while fear of the future and fear of commitment to any cause other than their own survival, rules the poor."

"Those in the sixteen to twenty five year age group need to know they are important members of our community. Societies values, a change to our present education system, or perhaps a return to religion could help these young adults out of their hopelessness," responded David.

"That is exactly what I meant before," interjected Reuben.
"My ideas also include education, discipline and religion, whether it be traditional religion or a modern version appropriate for our time."

"Reuben, most people are religious.(3) From the tribesman in his spirit world, to the highest priests and ministers of today's churches, all have a deep spiritual desire. Some religions have grown out of others by rejecting what people perceive as bad, causing much confusion when new ways are introduced. Our old Rabbi used to look forward to the Coming Messiah, the Messiah Who would do away with all misery and suffering, bringing hope and freedom."

Reuben was becoming impatient with David and his voice rose, "All I see now is a so-called Christian church that shows insufficient concern for the future of its fellow man. Their Bible seems to me to be just tales or myths, with no relevance today. I've heard of many congregations being divided by doctrine, beliefs, or ritual, sometimes resulting in the closure of their churches.(4) Now is the time for a new movement or religion to suit their demands. It's time we relied on human wisdom, knowledge, and power to fix this world."

"Mmmm, maybe Reuben," but Ari's tone revealed the doubt in his mind. Picking up the automatic control, he stabbed the button and the large gates opened. The men stretched their bodies as they stepped out of the car. Wearied by talk that tangled their minds, each tried to understand the other. How could men once joined by a common bond have changed so drastically in their view of life? David felt an ache begin in his throat, the tightness extending downwards to the pit of his stomach. He felt an overwhelming sadness for Reuben as he remembered him as a young boy - a boy whom he had loved and accepted as his brother.

"Before you head home, come and have a drink with us. I see the children have washed your car for you."

"Just a quick one then. I must get home early as I've work to do tonight.

The NovelNotes Feature.

These are a helpful feature of this novel. Their use is optional. They may be used if you want to understand more of the underlying Biblical aspects of the story, or the historical and factual material. However, you do not have to use these to follow the story line of the novel.

Chapter 6 NovelNotes

1. Visualization is often used in the world as a means of curing parts of the body or making one feel better. It is trying to do with our minds what we should allow God to control. When a person is initiating the visualization to create or change something it can be against God's will. It is alright if God initiates the vision, because He is providing it for a purpose. God, knowing it's dangers, actually forbids it in Scripture. See Jeremiah Chapter 14, verse 14, Jeremiah Chapter 23, verse 16, Ezekiel Chapter 13, verses 1 to 8.

2. Humanism is a rejection of God and religion in favour of doing things our own way without God. It is one if the reasons why the world is in a mess, because people try to rely on themselves when they should trust God. After all, God made us and we can all trust the Maker.

3. Religion is man's search for God. Christianity is God's search for man, where God has supplied His story and Word in His book, the Bible. God tells us in His Word He has planted in us a desire and an ability to seek Him. Someone once said that we all have a God shaped vacuum inside us - which needs to be filled one way or another. If we do not fill it with God, we will fill it with something perhaps dangerous, of less value and of no eternal significance.

4. Many people think the Bible is just myth. They do not realize it's incredible historical significance and value at all points of history. The Bible speaks of events that are recorded in secular history. It's predictive record is 100%. There are only about 18 of the 738 major prophecies in the Bible that have not yet come true - only because it is not yet time for those to occur. It is also true that some churches are divided on some issues. But, it is God's church and He will prevail, despite the struggles of His people. God's eternal truths will stand, despite all the weaknesses, hypocrisy and sin within His people. Judge God and what He can do by what He says in the Bible, not by the struggles of His people here on earth. No matter what man does to help or hinder, God will prevail for ever against every effort of every enemy.

Continue to Chapter 7