Their long, often dangerous, sea journey aboard the old freighter through the Mediterranean and beyond, negotiating the increasingly violent waters of the Atlantic Ocean, constantly in a frenzy caused by the massive increase in storms as the world’s weather patterns changed, inevitably became a race against the Solar System’s relentless enemy ‘time’ and the end of everything mankind held dear. The world was experiencing a dramatic increase in equally disastrous natural events like the swarms of tsunamis’ being generated almost continually by a marked increase in geological activity in the world’s curst. Long dormant volcanoes erupted back to life after many centuries of fitful sleep, enveloping large populated areas with a mixture of their boiling pyroclastic clouds and the unforgiving march of new lava flows, forever burying whole towns and cities. Add one further irrefutable fact to this picture of total worldwide destruction, that of the relentless growth by the ice shelves towards the planet’s equator from both polar regions, and all the signs clearly pointed to man’s chances of being totally wiped out as a distinct possibility by the middle of 2013 at the latest.
In the case of the countless millions living on the low lying coastal areas of the world’s many continents, their lives would end much sooner. Everything now depended on Nick getting the countdown stopped. Should he be successful, hopefully he could restart the system once more, a process much like re-booting a computer when its software crashes; reversing the Earth’s destructive end and allowing ‘time’ to once more become a positive rather than a negative influence.
Their safe arrival at the mouth of the Amazon river after a nail biting sea voyage was nothing short of miraculous when you consider that the old freighter’s decks were constantly awash as a result of the hurricanes, plus the massive increase in another natural phenomena that all seafaring men fear above all else – rogue waves. By the time they had travelled up the Amazon River to its headwaters in the valleys of eastern Peru aboard an ancient riverboat piloted by Cristo, plus the gruelling, often dangerous overland journey they all endured through thick jungle and across the cultivated open country beyond the mighty river’s source towards Lake Titicaca, 2012 was drawing rapidly to a close as the month of December finally began.
At long last they had some relatively good news, courtesy of Miles, Ricardo and Thomaso. Ithis had determined back beneath the Giza plateau that Isla Del Sol was the likely location of the master control for the failsafe device. Not housed in the original capacitor chamber which had started Nick’s quest, but in another of her people’s constructions hidden beneath a long forgotten Inca temple somewhere close by. Nick had sent word to Miles and Thomaso, before he and his party began the long journey from Egypt back to Lake Titicaca. Using the still barely functioning and extremely erratic internet system, he asked them to look out for any new archaeological site during their investigations into the ghostly Incan warriors, and the equally mysterious re-appearance of dinosaurs in Patagonia, when they went to see the ethereal phenomena for themselves.
As the old freighter renamed Hope, was passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, Nick got the reply they all hoped for. Miles sent word back that owing to a recent major earthquake deep beneath Lake Titicaca’s murky depths, which had led to the lake level dramatically falling by several metres less than a week after the event, a long forgotten Incan temple, built on an even older structure had now been exposed on the southern shore of Isla Del Sol. The one thing that convinced Ithis, Nick and Hakan that this was the place they were ultimately looking for was what Miles described next in his email. He reported that he and Thomaso had been observing the ghostly Incan apparitions when suddenly they headed towards the doors of the recently exposed temple, disappearing from sight, seemingly swallowed up by the solid stone walls. The ghostly sighting drew Miles’ immediate attention to heavily incised carvings on either side of the temple’s entrance clearly showing the reason why the ancient peoples of the area had constructed it so long ago. He was staring at a reasonably accurate portrayal in stone of Ithis, or at least one of her people.
The long held belief among Thomaso’s Quechua speaking nation and the rest of the many descendants of the former Incan people, that Isla Del Sol was indeed the dwelling place of green eyed devils, which until now was largely dismissed out of hand by serious minded archaeologists as nothing more than yet another example of superstition or folk lore told to them by a simple minded people, now made a lot of sense. Thomaso pointed out that the fact it had been swallowed up gradually in the relatively recent past by the rise in the lake’s level, centuries after the Inca people had first occupied the land. Clear evidence to him and his kind of divine retribution by the Inca’s own gods long ago, determined to free their people from any kind of control by the much feared green eyed devils.
By the time Nick and his friends emerged on the shores of Titicaca at the town of Puno in the second week of December, more bad news was unfolding. Miles related the latest reports as they continued to monitor the hourly radio broadcasts from around the world of violent tornados, lightning strikes, earthquakes and massive tsunamis causing major panic across the world with millions dying as a result. Ricardo filled them in on his investigation into the apparent ghostly sightings of ancient dinosaurs, by farmers down in Patagonia, which he and Miles had undertaken while waiting for Nick and co to arrive. The farmer, who had first reported the discovery, took the cardinal and the journalist to a cave on his property where he said fierce beasts dwelt. It turned out to be a very similar setup to the one Miles had encountered in the English county of Norfolk, in that a similar rip in time had manifested itself, this time in the form of a much larger gateway between the two time periods, allowing free access by the monstrous beings from the past into the present. After Ricardo had convinced the farmer to allow the Argentinean army to dynamite the cave entrance, sealing it forever, he blessed the site to prevent any further incursions by the ungodly monsters to allay the farmer’s fears. Next he saw to it that the one or two real dinosaurs still trapped in our time where shot and secretly buried by the armed forces. Then they both returned to Puno to await Nick’s arrival, and to continue monitoring events as they unfolded across the world.
The mean temperature across the world had suffered a massive drop while the Earth’s new path around the sun becomes more of an extended ellipse, allowing the rapidly encroaching ice shelves to begin to lower sea levels worldwide, exposing countless drowned sites where those living at the beginning of the sixth age had first established themselves, after abandoning their former homes on the Antarctic continent. Incredulously, many country’s governments still continued to argue among themselves over who was to blame for the world’s present predicament, completely ignoring all the people around them who were dying in their hundreds of thousands. Third world leaders, totally ignoring the now blindingly obvious, still clung on to their paranoid belief that the whole thing was an orchestrated campaign of terror by western nations, irrationally assuming that countries like the United States and her allies were somehow employing new weapons of mass destruction to conquer the rest of the world. Across the surface of the entire planet, widespread panic ensued among the world’s population as total anarchy now took hold.
Hourly, reports came in via Miles’ radio from around the world about the astronomical event that the whole of mankind was caught up in, and its progress towards its final tragic configuration in space. The speed of the solar system’s new realignment rapidly increased; witnessed by millions of terrified people across the world, who still believed that somehow or other, whatever form of god they each believed in would deliver them from this nightmare. Millions more assumed a fatalistic attitude, by now resigned to their end.
Nick introduced Hakan and Cristo, while Ithis finally revealed herself to Thomaso for the first time. His startled reaction to her was priceless. Much to everyone’s amusement Nick’s simple Quechua speaking friend sat down hard on the ground, turning white in shocked disbelief and sheer terror, while clinging on to the simple wooden cross suspended from a piece of string around his neck. Thomaso rapidly crossed himself. He was completely dumbfounded by the fact that an ancient god was standing in front of him. Despite the assurances of his gringo friend ‘Sènor Nicholas’ and everyone else, that Ithis was the real reason why they were all there, and that she was the reason why they were hoping to put this thing right, driven by her deep abiding love and concern for humanity, it took several hours before he finally accepted her. Nick, Hakan and Ithis finally began to plan their next move. Hopefully once they had found the Solar Defence System’s failsafe device, this would be the final act in their long, often dangerous search for its location; putting paid once and for all to the violent outcome of the relentless countdown.