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Uncovering the Past
"You want to see WHAT? You are aware that that particular volume is 1200 years old? Well of course you are, after all you asked for it by name." The librarian went into the back to have the Bible in question pulled. He returned rather quickly with documentation for the unusual requisition.

"I will need to see the proper credentials and I.D. before allowing you access to the manuscript. We take great care in preserving our historical treasures at the MSU, especially with foreigners. I hope you understand."

John understood, alright. With a name like 'John Smith', everything he did was scrutinized. That and every librarian he had encountered in his researches over the last 10 years got a special kind of stupid when an undesirable wanted access to a priceless piece of antiquity. With access to billions of US dollars, 3 masters degrees, and fluent in 5 languages(4 of which are 'dead' ancient languages and on the to mastery in a 5th) and he was still an undesirable. Dickhead.

" Here is my passport and student visa. I will be here for at least a semester. I will be pestering you daily for my research over the next few months. I will get those back today, right? I am too new to the area to not have my paperwork on me at all times." The librarian gave him a quizzical look and nodded and said something very non-committal.

After a few minutes another librarian led John to an empty table and told her that could work here. He stressed that any damage to the book would be 'frowned upon.' John sat down and carefully open the abnormally large tome that was the subject of todays venture. The Bible was just what he expected it to be. And these idiots had no clue as to how valuable this book truly was. The Bible it self was just over 1200 years old, but what was under the visible text pre-dated it by almost another 700 years or more.

After the fall of The Western Roman Empire writing materials were scarce. After all, commerce and the preservation of knowledge took a backseat to survival. Education and enlightenment just couldn't compete with the need for food. When the Augustinian monks began their efforts to make copies of the Bible and other classical literary works that were danger of being lost in the annals of antiquity, they were for forced to use existing material as new parchment was almost nonexistent. So in order to supply the necessary parchment for this grand enterprise, they had to 'scape' off the existing writing from the parchment (and occasional vellum) and then write the new text over the old. The process was less than perfect. While to the casual observer all that could be seen was the new piece transcribed on the newly cleaned material, an expert in the restoration of the text originally on these pages could unearth knowledge long since oppressed and believed by the Church to be tossed in the abyss where it belonged.

Funny how things really work out. In replicating Bibles and other classics on 'recycled' material, the Church unwittingly were the saviors of that which they labored to destroy. Ain't Karma a bitch. All you had to do was know what to look for and have the proper skill set.

What sat before John was a copy of what could only be called 'Dark Prophecy.' It wasn't really what he generally searched for, but a vision he had in the 'Dream' was explicit. Or at least as those psilocybin-esce experiences could be. So here he was, reading one of the oldest copies of the Latin Vulgate believed to still be in existence. And he hated Latin. It just wasn't as fascinating as the Greek. Unfortunately most of those types of works were done at the time and place when Latin was the predominate language. Most of the Greek manuscripts either predated the Latin by few hundred years, or were in the Eastern Orthodox world where the 'dark ages' had less of an impact.

John was as elated as someone could be when doing a job he loved. Thankfully he 'removed' text was in Greek. And so there he was, reading a hidden Greek text in a Latin Bible while making his notes in Sanskrit. His work should be relatively safe from prying eyes.

For the first hour, things proceeded rather slowly as there wasn't too much of interest to be found. then he found it. On the pages of many of the scholars in the 19th century would call 'Deutero-Isaiah'(the last 20 or so books of Isaiah). he began diligently working an transcribing the underlying text.

John was an excellent researcher, and good hunter, and a better than joe combatant. Unfortunately, he was piss poor when it came to intrigue and finesse. "Wow. Can you really read that? Christian? Or just a literature buff? What the hell is that you are writing? Is that a language, or is it code?" The annoying bastard then took a seat beside John. Definitely not a southern gentlemen.

John stopped what he was doing and turned his attention to his uninvited guest. the man was patiently waiting a reply. "My name Yoseph, and here are your papers. I am curious. According to our information you fluent in Latin, and here you are seeming to struggle for almost half an hour on one page? And of a Bible no less? Most Latin students either go into medicine or theology. Your studies primarily revolve and Man. So tell me why you are really here, Mr. Smith."

Stupid nerd. John could have kicked himself. So absorbed in his passion that he didn't see anything else. Idiot. Now was he really got a good at look at his guest. Yoseph seemed to be a little older than John, maybe in his late 40's. He was dressed in a older style dark suit. Nothing fancy but very well kept. he appeared to be focusing all of his attention on John and at the same time soaked in everything around him. This was no librarian.

"Obviously you are aware of my 3 masters degrees? I am working on my Doctorate in History. I am taking notes for my thesis. I am an over-achiever." John smiled sardonically. He tried to give the appearance of a smug elitist instead of a man about to shit his pants.

Yoseph smiled and shook his head as he casually leaned back in his chair. "Here in the CCD we can be quite tolerant, or hideously unforgiving. Which would you prefer?"
Edited by doulou, Oct 25 2014, 08:41 PM.
John was surprised at how calm he was under the circumstances. He really did see the humor in the situation. Walk casually into a man's house and attempt to rob him blind while he is sitting at the table. And guess what, he is pissed. Go figure.

"I am a little unsure on how to proceed. I am a researcher. A scholar so to speak. I am not into confrontation. Especially not on foreign territory." At least John felt that that was truthful enough to fly. Yoseph just sat there. John waited for the man to show any sign of believing the story. Nothing, so John decided to continue. His years of hiding his addiction made him an adequate manipulator as long as there was enough truth to be plausible.

"Are you a religious man? Have you ever looked into biblical history? Or tried to prove or disprove its authenticity? I work for men who are very interested. They believe the Bible is more than is generally believed. They believe that it is not what it professes to be. I personally couldn't care less. I am called 'Doulou.' It is Greek for slave. We contract out our services to and do the leg work for people who for whatever reason are not willing to expose themselves to risk or travel. I am who and what I say I am. A scholar. I seek the truth and care not what it turns out to be."

John showed Yoseph his notes. Swelling with pride in always making his notes cryptic and vague. All they really said that there was an underlying text and a general outline of topics. No discernible 'meat' in there at all. Trusting no one paid off. Now if only he could be more careful of his surroundings.

Suddenly, John became afraid. He was fucking scared. Yoseph just glanced at John's notes and slid them back to him. "Be careful not to do anything that would be seen as 'unfriendly.' You are our guest. Remember that there are only guests and intruders. You would not want to be thought of as an intruder."

Yoseph smiled and departed. John watched the man leave the library. John didn't take his eyes off of the man until he was gone. Yoseph had NO scent. there was nothing. Somehow John was the radar. But who's radar?
If there were secret languages written beneath these relics of antiquity, Jensen was hardly aware of their presence. The extent of his experience with conspiracy theories ended with eschatology, the study of the end times as described in the Bible. Times yet to come, not with things that already had come to pass.

Movement in the periphery caught his eye, and he looked up from his own studies. He'd noticed the librarian escort the newly arrived gentleman to an open table half an hour or maybe a whole hour ago? It was the same woman that showed him to a seat with no less stern a warning. At the time, Jensen had bowed his head and assured her his respect for the books was authentic, but he understood her right to question. He was in jeans and a button-down shirt, but both were wrinkled and worn - the jeans part of his usual work wardrobe on the docks, the shirt dull and generic. He hardly felt like the academic used to standing on stage; between the clothes and thin beard, he'd fit in more with the back-row Christians hoping to be overlooked by the crowd.

He wasn't one to eavesdrop, but he watched the newcomer seat himself alongside the scholar that'd been diligently working this last hour or two. How long had he been here? Jensen stifled a yawn at the thought. He was usually passed out at this time of day, but that same protective streak that urged him to oversee others' welfare spiked once more before he simmered it back to a reasonable level. The man, suited, confident, threatening, was clearly unwelcome. Jensen merely watched, concerned, and ready to do something, though what exactly he had no clue, should the situation turn sour.

While they carried on their 'overly civil' conversation, right, Jensen eventually shoved back the chair and got up for a stretch. He bent and twisted, going through the same physical routine that paused his studies back in divinity school. Days and days curled over books far more numerous than the two open before him now; dictionaries and thesauri spanning from Greek to Hebrew, topics covering apologetics, hermeneutics, eschatology, commentaries and concordances, and on and on. To pour over such ancient pages now took him back to days long gone.

He took a deep breath, and glanced in time to witness the intruder's departure. A relief to say the least. Though Jensen had no explanation for the tension he'd sensed, but he had to wonder.

He should sit back down and let the man be. Obviously his work had been interrupted once, but the hooks were firmly in his skin and as soon as the way was clear, Jensen found himself approaching. He had to ask.

"Sorry to bother you," he kept his voice low what with the librarian's stern warnings still fresh in his mind. Now that he was closer, he scanned what pages had occupied the scholar's attention this whole time. As much as what he could see from the angle, he absorbed it for what it was: a page covered with the familiar symbols of Latin. Beautiful.

"I couldn't help but overhear," he said with a bit more directness, "but you said 'the Bible may be more than what it professes to be.' May I ask what you meant by that?" He assumed the man meant that the Bible wasn't the Word of God but merely another historical artifact as most secularized beliefs inferred, but it was the man's exact phrasing that brought Jensen over. What more could a thing be than the inspired word of God?
The man standing before John gave off a very wary scent. Almost as if he had just been told that he had two minutes to live. John paused, this man seemed be an a razors edge. Was this about his faith? Or something else?

Looking at the man, John could see that he was trembling, but he had a tight rein on his emotions. Almost as if he just pushed them all to side to ignore for the moment. Everything seemed to hinge his question. John began to tense up, he was beginning to wonder if he would survive the day. What did this man? Was he here by design? Or was this a chance meeting? Did he know what John was looking for? Or why?

John was working himself into a frenzy. he became to consider pulling out one of ceramic stilettos and hope for a break in his escape. He hated killing humans.

The stranger visibly softened. He carefully touched Johns shoulder and began to speak. " My name in Jensen. I am not a threat, but I NEED to know what you meant by 'the Bible may be more than it professes to be.'"

As the words settled in John's ears, all of his tension left him. He felt at peace. Refreshed and confident. Look in the man's eyes was tortuous. He seemed as if his whole life was going to revolve around the answer John gave him. So John decided to tell him. He decided to trust for once.

"My name is John, but I am also Doulou. I will answer you to the best of my ability. First and foremost, I believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God. He is my Lord and Savior. Secondly, I believe that the Bible is the infallible and inerrant Word of God. Third, I believe that he is the Light of this world."

Jensen relaxed after hearing the beginning of John's monologue. John couldn't tell why, but he continued his discourse. At least the man hadn't killed him yet.

"For the rest, hear me out with an open mind and understand that some of what I say I will expound upon here but I will go in to greater detail in a more 'closed' environment. I believe that the Bible was not written for the reasons that we believe. I also believe, for reasons unknown, that the Catholic Church began using Bibles to preserve information from a time that may pre-date the story of creation. Some of the things that I will tell you may seem contradictory to my first 3 statements. I will not try to reconcile my findings from my research with my faith. 'Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen.' My faith is strong enough to wait for God to explain my why this was in His design."

" Now back to the Church; the Church began collecting unknown writings from an unknown time and took it upon themselves to preserve these documents for some unknown reason. This began in the time of Pope Vigilius somewhere between 537-555. I do not know how long they continued doing this other than enterprise lasted for atleast 400 years."

John could see the questions on new found friend's face, but the man held his tongue. John was impressed.

" So far it appears that the Roman Catholic Church was alone in this task. I have only found these buried writings in Latin Bibles from the dark ages. The priests wrote down what they wanted to preserve on parchment or vellium, and then they removed the writing. They then used those same pages and copied the Bible on them. Originally, I believed it chance or weird twist of fate that these writings survived, but my research has shown otherwise."

" I was blessed with a passion for the Truth, a spirit of Discernment, and other gifts that enable me to do the task of my master. I not the best at what I do, but I am all there is. So the job falls on me. On my wrist I have 'Doulou', to help encourage me to do what I must. If my master wants me to do that which appears to cast doubt on Him and His Word, who am I to question him."

John paused and slowly rolled up his left sleeve and showed Jensen his forearm. He waited to recognition on the man's face. John smiled. 'He knows his Greek', John thought to himself.

Jensen's eyebrows rose and he looked perplexed. Instinctively he traced the words written in Greek... 'wicked and faithless slave.' The words Jesus spoke over a man before casting him in a lake from one of the Parables. And this man had it branded on himself.

'When my Father calls me home, I pray that He feels that I am worthy to have it removed. If you have any more questions for me I suggest that we find a more private location. But either way, here is my contact information. I am new to Moscow, and I have greatly enjoyed your company." With that John wrote down his info and held out the paper for Jensen. John wondered if he would accept it.
John's hesitation was pronounced, but when he finally began to unfurl an explanation, Jensen found his own mind chanting the man's creed nearly word for word.

For it was the same as his own. The son of God. Infallible and inerrant. Light of the world.

It was both with anticipation and shame that he remained to hear more. Soon, he found himself seated across from the man, drinking up every drop to land on his parched soul. So many lonely years had passed without fellowship with another believer.

As John continued, a bilge stone of sadness settled in his heart. The man's warning was certainly not enough, though open-minded Jensen believed he was, saying the Bible was both inerrant and yet hiding its full truths were the contradictions of a conspiracy theorist. He scanned the impressive selection of books splayed before John: a highly educated conspiracy theorist.

By the end of John's oration, Jensen's dismissal of this man had morphed into a calling to help him. His gaze settled on the displayed tattoo, shaped in a script Jensen nodded that he recognized. However, the translation which came to his mind was one of servant rather than slave, particularly when used by Christ. No doubt a flicker of confusion touched his expression, but John explained that too.

He wasn't sure why, but John saddened him. He should think more highly of his own value as a son of God. Jensen could have shook his head at that. He could understand not heeding such advice.

His gaze fell to the paper slid before him. He took it, of course, and pulled it up to the level of his eyes briefly before folding it in half and placing it in the pocket of his jeans. After which, he returned his attention to John, studying the man's expression. It was hard to read, but Jensen believed the man was sincere in his delusions.

He ought to leave, but like he ought to have followed Katya and shared the gospel with her, Jensen did nothing. Instead, he drew in a breath, "And who exactly is your Master?"

He was prepared to hear what he feared to hear, and clenched his jaw in anticipation of the dark truth. As he waited, his gaze was drawn inevitably back to the man's wrists and a twist of nerves curled in his stomach at the symbolism. This was a public place, after all. Maybe he should accept the invitation for 'closed conversation', if only to draw the danger away.
There was no hesitation, no pausing for thought. "I serve the Father of the Light which resides in us all and His son the Lord Jesus Christ with the guidance of the Holy Spirit," John answered with all the earnestness and sincerity in his being.

" I can provide you with what I believe to be sufficient proof regarding my statements at a later time if you wish." John said his goodbyes and prepared to depart.

John wondered if Jensen believed him. He carefully organized his notes, returned the mundane books their proper places, and had the librarian collect the Bible. He needed more unrestricted access to these manuscripts and to find a better location for his research.

He began to leave the library mortified by what was found hidden beneath the later part of Isaiah, 'When the demons return in the flesh to pray on mankind, the sons of god- mighty men of reknown- shall be reborn. They shall walk among us, and there shall be a war that will shake the foundations of the earth.'

Finally, their philosophies diverged. At John's admission of his master, Jensen's brows turned deeply downward. It was a small error that Jensen felt the urge to highlight, but he remained quiet regarding the assertions. The Holy Spirit does not reside in them all, only those that ask for it, or hadn't rejected its presence.

What darkened his expression, however, was not the misspeak, but the chain reaction of thoughts erupting one painful explosion at a time as a result. Salvation is forever. Justified by grace alone? Does the Holy Spirit remain with me? Was I never saved? Does rejection equal free will? Predestination?

He was standing at the edge of a familiar abyss, peering down into the darkness so fervently, that there was little left to regard what was happening in front of his face. But there were no answers down there. Only silence and shame.

John readied his departure, but Jensen remained seated, watching with red eyes and remaining quiet. The librarian collected the ancient Bible, and as priceless as it was, Jensen found himself torn between following it and following John. Or do nothing.

He swallowed a resolved breath and hurried after John. The man's pace resembled more of a flight rather than a departure, but from what did he flee? Jensen? The suited stranger? Or some unwelcomed truth revealed in his studies? Jensen surely understood fleeing from the things one fears most. In his haste, Jensen left unshelved all the items he himself had pulled and as a result, the librarian shot him a malicious glare on his way out. Jensen's return expression was full of silent apology, but there was little he could do about it now. He pushed against the doors and met the sunshine of Moscow's summer sky outside.

He caught up with John, "Wait, please." He wasn't sure whether to address him as John or as Doulou.

His lips parted, but no speech emerged. Honestly, Jensen didn't know what to say. Only that a hundred questions, each tainted with the color of doubt, buzzed wild through his mind.

Finally, his dredging the muddy waters of his mind produced something of a request, "I'm sorry. I didn't handle that well. Can I buy you a cup of coffee or something?" His shoulders fell, heavy with fatigue that caffeine was unlikely to cure, but the gesture was social rather than physical. Men shared thoughts easily when also sharing a table.

As he spoke, the heavy drawl of a pronounced accent emerged, wide and sprawling as the Texan horizon itself, full of slowly spoken twang that charmed thousands of lost souls into his trust. Oblivious to how fully he gave himself away by voice alone, he continued. "I'd like to hear your theories, though I can't say I'm a believer anymore. Maybe I can help?"

His hands fell to his side. If John fled once more, he was resolved to not chase again.
Then it hit him. That accent. It came to John like a full armed bitch-slap across the face. How had he missed it? He was just fucking oblivious to the obvious. "How did I miss it. You must have been living her for quite some time for me not to notice right away. .I am H-town proud. Where are you from? Northern Texas? Lubbock? Or D-FW?" John paused. Was that a flinch He saw on Jensen's face? What was wrong with Texas? John only left Because of his mission. His mission. He still wasn't even sure just what that mission was exactly. 'Find allies. A war is coming.' So many questions. Why? How? Against who? And how much time was there? And who was the enemy? So many questions and still no solid answers.

And then came the second revelation. No wonder Jensen flinched. John's dumb ass blew right over his invitation and offer to help in the research chasing a pig trail. As if an accent was that important. John chastised himself. He was oblivious to the obvious. A researcher with the attention span of a gnat.

"I would love to, but I have a few prior commitments that I must meet first. I am expecting my personal library and research materials to come in today. That and a few sensitive items that customs require that I retrieve them personally. And I must follow up on my realtor. I am afraid that I might need a home in Moscow. Damn the luck. In two days I should be able to share some of my research with the relevant data to show how and why I have come to my conclusions. And if you know of anyone who can help me set up my computers, that would be great also."

John was about to wait for Jensen's reply, but the words just kept coming.

"But before I go I need to tell you something. And I think you need to hear it more than I need to say it. You do believe. I do not know what you are struggling with or why, but I do know what a man who is struggling looks like. A man 'kicking against the goads' so to speak. I am a recovered drug addict. The fact that you are still struggling is indicative that you still believe. It is evident of the battle of the Flesh against the Spirit. Just remember, His grace is sufficient. That and since salvation is a gift, and Romans 11:29 says that 'The gifts of God are irrevocable'."

John looked at his companion. Did his words help? Or did he come of as a rambling zealot? John was never called to preach, but he knew that he must spread the message.

After getting Jenson's reply as to whether or two days would be good him or not, John headed to the loft he was renting. It was okay for now, but he needed something with more space and a larger electrical service. His library wasn't priceless by any stretch of the imagination, but it did go into the millions. And some of the works that he had procured were, to his knowledge, unique. At least they were until John had them copied. Always prepare for the worst. Most of the books that were coming were copies. Some were just too fragile to travel. But some were the real McCoy. He might need to send for others, but not yet.

Once he got home, he checked his messages, confirmed an appointment to see a prospective house, and made sure that his delivery was arriving as expected. Once all that was done, he laid down and allowed his mind to drift. There was something that he desperately needed from the Dream. he just didn't know what that was, and since the Dream reminded him of a much hated past he sometimes struggled with navigating it when it should be second nature by now.

John stepped into the Dream.
Edited by doulou, Sep 25 2013, 11:19 PM.
Confusion transitioned quickly to horror.

John was a fellow Texan. His own accent was mixed with the southern landscape and hinted at the coast as powerfully as the scent of the Gulf itself wafting inland. Not only did John wield the accent, but he uttered the dialect as only a local would.

Jensen forced himself to answer. Silence would only draw more suspicion. If John hadn't put two and two together yet, he was bound to any moment. "I grew up outside Wichita Falls," he replied, though the family transitioned to DFW early in his childhood.

Thankfully, John abandoned the line of thought in lieu of a raincheck. Or else, he had connected the dots and couldn't stand the idea of breathing the same air as a--whatever monster Jensen was.

As soon as John's brush-off began, Jensen glazed over, subconsciously numb and hardened to the man's advice. The verse from Romans shot a flaming arrow through his memory, but Jensen's acknowledgement was only an academic realization that John was definitely not advocating the doctrine of Free Will--that justification could be revoked by rejection. There was a time when Jensen didn't either, but after everything that happened, it was hard to ignore the possibility that a man could simply reject grace. A gift, that once rejected, left you to the hell he so craved no matter how repentant he became in the future.

His jaw clenched with the sudden uprising of such defensiveness. John had no right to tell him what he did and didn't believe, but that didn't mean he was so cold-hearted as to be unwilling to assist; especially after offering in the first place. If not for his own sake, then for Katya's--the young lady desperately in need of the Light.

"There is a young lady in my building whom I suspect knows more about computers than she should," he pictured the way she'd shown herself around the breaker boxes. Jensen offered John the address, but he could provide no surname or apartment number for the young lady. Short of knocking on doors, he wasn't sure how John might track her down, but anyone with a decent search engine should be able to hone in. Maybe she had a website? A legitimate business would do her some good, likely. At least keep her off the streets. And out of the basement.

Of course, this meant that by sharing Katya's address he also shared his own, and at the last minute, he added his own apartment number and eText number. Two days from now Jensen's shift started back up: four-nights on, three-nights off, which meant any time with John was going to be either extremely exhausting or too short to glean much. He wasn't comfortable with the man simply stopping by, but he saw little other choice.

After John left, the hum of university students hurrying around him loomed larger than ever. After the brief touch with civilization once more, he realized just how alone he was -- which was, of course, exactly what he wanted. Right?

A glance behind him was followed by a sigh. Rather than going back inside, he made for the metro station.
John woke to his wallet buzzing by his bed. His realtor said the house deal fell through. Apparently some moron came and paid cash as is without bothering for appraisals and inspections to insure the quality of the house. Oh well.

And then there was finally some good news. A reporter from the home called him. "Mr. Smith, after going over the accompanying data you sent to us, we have decided to use your piece discrediting what the Chinese government claims to be the "Q" Document."

John shook his head. He wrote that over 2 months ago, and they were just now able to verify his findings. He was beginning to lose his faith in investigative journalism. No, that's not true. He never believed they were worth the air they breathed. He was, however, surprised that they had decided to publish his work. Not that it wasn't worthy of print. He soundly proved that not only was it forgery, he showed how it was done, why it was so believable to the casual observer, and how the forgery had to have been made within the last 5 years. Handily exposing that various members of the Chinese government had to be behind the plot for either subversive or economic reasons.

Jensen still confused him. He liked the man. Jensen seemed to be transparently honest at times, and then surprised at himself and almost afraid of the consequences. Jensen also knew Latin. John could easily tell be the way the stared at the Bible at the library. The knew his Word and probably had some formal training. Either in Divinity or Theology. Well. john conceded that Jensen could have studied archeology and specialized in the Latin world. Who knows.

John quickly put out more adds for homes to buy. He needed a house. Either that or he needed several offices. His loft was about to be grossly overcrowded.

He contacted the MSU to see if he could get an office there. Unfortunately, since he didn't have a doctorate his chances were really slim. That meant books all over the place. He was quickly running out of time to arrange a good place for his library and computer system.

He traveled to the airport and collected some of his shipment. He wasn't aware of the lenient policy the CCD regarding foreigners and the possession of firearms. He holstered his Ingram Mark 11, and felt a lot better having it on his person. Thirty .45 caliber rounds squeezed out as quickly as a man could draw breath was a clear asset. Fuck those little bunny fru-fru liberals. He was from Texas.

He retrieved his Aramaic collection from his library as he was always needing reference material for translating that particular dialect. After making sure that the rest of his library was secure, he prepared to return to the Moscow State University. Maybe he could get an internship and that could be an angle for getting an office.
Edited by doulou, Sep 26 2013, 05:42 PM.

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