Lady Irene and the Final Cyanocube
By Forrest Wayne Schultz
It was only because Bill was a good friend that I acceded to his strange request. The request was also strange in its verbal form. Bill, like me, is very loquacious. But not this time. He very tersely and very urgently implored me that I drop what I was doing and drive immediately to a certain store in a certain town where I would meet a certain young lady who would tell me the task I was to perform. And that's all he said. It was clear to me that he strongly believed that this was a task which ought to be done, that it was a very important task, and that it was necessary that I be the one to do it. So I told him, "OK, I'll do it.".
I had never heard of the town before, but it was easy to find. Since it was a warm beautiful spring morning, I drove there in my convertible with the top down. It was especially enjoyable to me because, after waiting almost a lifetime, I finally owned my own convertible, and this was only my second trip in it. The journey to the town took about a hour. Immediately after I decided to do what Bill asked me to, I somehow just knew it was the right thing to do. As I drove through the beautiful countryside this feeling of rightness grew stronger until by the time I arrived at the designated rendezvous I was thoroughly convinced I was doing the right thing.
We rode to our destination in my convertible at her insistence. Lady Irene – for such was her name – confided to me that she wished to own a convertible but her super-serious parents regarded convertibles as frivolities beneath their exalted station and unsuitable for a family having such a lofty mission in life. Ironically, although I sympathized with Irene, it almost seemed like her parents might be right because she spent the entire half-hour drive up the mountain enjoying the feel of the sunshine upon her face and the breeze blowing through her long beautiful red hair. I soon became so caught up in enjoying her enjoyment that I suppressed my annoyance at the fact that Irene was so enamored with the sunshine and the breeze that she said not one word about the super-important task I was soon to perform.
I am a very curious person. It was only because Bill so strongly insisted upon the necessity of my immediate departure that I suppressed my curiosity about the nature of the task. I spent the entire hour of the drive to the rendezvous with Irene trying to guess what the nature of the task was and why I was the designated agent. What unique ability or knowledge did I have that resulted in my being selected?
The first possibility I entertained was my ether theory, which is radically different from the reigning Copenhagen School of Interpretation. I had often imagined solving an important physics puzzle posed to me by a great scientist who had been unable to find the answer because he was basing his research upon the theoretical structure of The Copenhagen School. But, as I pondered the matter some more, I soon began to doubt this scenario, because it appeared that my task would be more akin to a fantasy quest. This supposition was strengthened in my mind when I met Lady Irene, heard that her family had a "lofty mission", and learned that our destination was on a mountain. This thought of a quest was appealing to me because I love the fantasy stories of C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. So maybe I would be going on a quest for a magic sword or something like that.
Well, it turned out that my annoyance at Irene was ill-founded because the task I was to perform was extremely simple and easy. All I had to do was to remove a small magenta-colored crystalline cube out of a device and replace it with an identically sized cyan-colored cube which Irene would give me. The device was housed in a quaint Alpine-Village sort of cottage located a short distance down a foot path which began near where I had parked my car. There would be no problem with the cube transfer, Irene told me. The magentacube was easy to spot (at the very center of the device) and would pop right out with a gentle tug, and the cyanocube would be popped right into the hole left vacant by the removal of the magentacube. Nothing to it!
However before Irene went to her purse to get the cyanocube I suddenly became aware of evil beings readying themselves to thwart the accomplishment of my task. So, in my mind I immediately sent up a terse urgent prayer to God to protect me, Irene, the cube, and the device with a two-fold shield: (1). What is called in certain Christian circles a "Hedge of Protection" and (2). What in Star Trek is called a "Cloak of Invisibility", but modified so as to apply only to evil beings. This meant that evil beings could neither see nor harm me, Irene, the cube, or the device. I sensed an immediate answer to this prayer, which went into effect just prior to Irene's reaching into her purse to get the cyanocube. This cyanocube was inside a beautiful red cedar box, similar to those used by wealthy women to hold expensive jewelry.
Irene instructed me to follow this sequence. First, pull the magentacube out of the device, then open the box, get the cyanocube out and insert it into the device, then put the magentacube into the box, and walk back up the path to the car. This is precisely what I proceeded to do.
There were, however, two slight interruptions. First, as I was walking down the path to the cottage there suddenly appeared in front of me a strange man. As he began to speak to me I sensed, almost immediately, that he was extremely wise, extremely good, and extremely powerful, and that he had a good sense of humor. He addressed me (in a tone of voice that somehow managed to be both solemn and playful) in magnificent Latin such as would be used at the high point of some holy or royal festival. A rough translation would be something like this: "Hail to you, most noble Bearer of the Puissant Cyanocube!". He then switched to ordinary contemporary American English and informed me that evil beings were lurking nearby and he asked me to give him permission for him (and his colleagues) to destroy them. I granted it at once. He then paused for a moment, smiled, and then said, "Well, that takes care of that!". After this he told me that his name was Michael and that if I sensed any more evil beings that I should, in my mind, utter his name and implore his aid. This I agreed to do.
He then disappeared and I proceeded the rest of the way down the path to the cottage and quickly accomplished my task with no problems whatever. The door to the cottage was unlocked, the device was the only object it contained, and the magentacube was easily located, being prominently situated in the very center of the device. I pulled gently on the magentacube, which popped out very easily. I then reached into my pocket, got out the cedar "jewelry box", and removed the cyanocube, which was radiant with the most beautiful glow I had ever seen of blue-green (cyan), which is my favorite color. I then popped the cyanocube into the device, placed the magentacube into the cedar box, and put it into my pocket. As I was about to turn around and leave the cottage, it seemed to me that the device somehow had been rejuvenated by my insertion of the cyanocube. I then noted the parallel between the cubes and electric storage batteries. The dial on an ammeter will point to the right, green zone when its wires are connected to a fully charged battery, and it will point to the left, red zone when connected to a battery with low charge. Well anyway ….
I exited the house and began walking up the path back toward my car when I sensed evil beings again. As instructed, I mentally contacted Michael, who, before I could "say" anything, "said" to me, "Yeah, I see 'em. You want me to zap 'em?". To which I responded, "Indubitably!". He replied, "You have wondrously restrained your curiosity and loquacity. I shall reward you by telling you what is going on here. The first evil beings my colleagues and I destroyed were what you would call 'evil mages'. This current group is a gang of human thugs which are colloquially referred to as 'hit men'. When the original plan -- to destroy the cyanocube – failed, the Poneru (i.e. the evil mages) switched to 'Plan B', which was to destroy first 'The Guardians' (Irene's family) and then 'The Device' (as you call it). They were preparing to do so when I first contacted you, and then destroyed them before they had a chance to act. I needed to destroy them, because, you see, you neglected to include The Guardians in the Protection/Invisibility Shield you requested and received from The Boss. You would have accomplished your task and The Device, the Cubes, you, and Irene would have been unharmed but The Guardians would have been destroyed, which would have left The Device unguarded after you left. You walked out of the house at precisely 10:00 AM , which is the time when 'Plan C' was activated, which was to happen in case Plan B had not been accomplished by 10:00 AM ."
"In accord with this Plan C, a group of "hit men" proceeded to drive up the mountain in their cars intending to come to this location where they would position themselves in hidden preselected spots from which they would assassinate you as you walked down the path to the cottage. The flaw in their plans was due to a mistranslation of the document they were consulting according to which you would not walk down the path until a few minutes before noon and then would insert the Cyanocube at precisely 12 Noon . But the document did not say '12 Noon '; it said 'in the morning before 12 Noon '. OK, now I will let you watch the destruction of the hit men." I then saw, just as though I were standing at the very spot, the hit men fall dead in their cars and their cars careen off the road and crash into a ravine. Michael then informed me that I would need to leave here in a hurry because The Guardians were about to get furious.
"OK, Michael", I said. "I will do so. And thank you for your help and your information!"
"Glad to be of help! Oh, and when you pray your prayer of thanksgiving, be sure to slip in a mention of my name. The Boss is displeased with me because I botched the job I had right before this one."
"What? I didn't know angels could botch jobs! You are an angel, aren't you, or something like that?"
"Yeah, something like that. Angels are sinless, but we can make mistakes. Actually, I think The Boss allows them to happen on purpose to keep us from getting puffed up with pride like You Know Who."
"OK. Goodbye, Michael"
"Goodbye, Cyanocube Bearer"
When I returned to the car Irene was anxiously awaiting me and wanted to know if everything went all right. She was concerned because it had taken me longer than it should have. I informed her that the task was accomplished but that we needed to leave at once because her family was about "to hit the roof". I responded to her puzzled look by saying, "Get in the car; I will explain as we drive away."
As we drove past the house we suddenly heard a gavel banging loudly followed by several irate, stentorian, and shocked voices beginning with that of the Guardians' leader.
"All Right, WHO destroyed the Poneru??!! I did NOT authorize that. …."
"My Lord, excuse me, more bad news – Look At That Screen! SOMEONE HAS CONTACTED THE MACROBES !!!!!! WHAT?? WHAT?? NO!! NO!! I DIDN'T DO IT. NOR I ! ………
Then, as we drove out of range of these voices I told Irene: "That is what I meant". I then told her of my conversations with Michael and what he had done, and she explained to me that the Macrobes were a special group of high angels, and that, according to Guardian Rules, only the leader could contact them and then only after a Special Council meeting with all the other Guardians. She said the Guardians were puffed up with pride and were envious of each other and were always at strife among themselves. The outburst I had witnessed was not uncommon, she said.
I then told her what I had in mind. I was going to mentally contact Michael and ask him to straighten out the Guardians. Irene said she would appreciate that very much. All her efforts to that end had been in vain. I therefore mentally contacted Michael and we had this "conversation".
"Oh, Michael, are you there?"
"Yes, I am here, Cyanocube Bearer, and I was hoping you would call."
"I cannot in good conscience leave here without doing something about the spiritualcondition of The Guardians. I want you to go with me to The Guardians' house and call them to account to see if perhaps they will straighten up. The Device has just received a physical rejuvenation. The Guardians need a spiritual rejuvenation. Do you agree and will you please do this?"
"I agree and will be glad to do this. In fact, I was hoping you would ask!"
We then put into operation the steps we had decided to follow. After driving back up the mountain to the house with Irene, I burst into the Guardians Council Chamber (where they were still conducting their postmortem, albeit in subdued voices now), bellowed forth in Latin the Guardians credo, and announced to them: "Your questions will now be answered and certain questions will be asked of you by Michael, The Leader of the Macrobes!" Immediately after my announcement Michael appeared by my side clad in radiant garments. The Guardians were so stunned they fell to the floor and prostrated themselves. Michael told them to get off the floor and sit down in their seats. He then proceeded to conduct a lengthy session with them. First, he said, "None of you destroyed the Poneru; I destroyed the Poneru. No one contacted me. I initiated contact. Those are my answers to your questions. Now I have some questions for you."
At this point I (who had been silently standing next to Michael during all this time) said, "Michael, you may want to consider placing the Guardians on probation, during which period they would devote themselves to a severe regimen of spiritual rejuvenation you would prescribe to them. You could delay your final decision as to their fate until after you examine how they conducted themselves during this probationary period." Michael, turning and facing me, replied: "The suggestion is quite good but I have serious doubts about whether these men will improve." He then turned to face The Guardians and asked them if they would be willing to subject themselves to such a regimen as he would prescribe. They were so relieved that they heartily agreed.
As Michael began to set forth his regimen for The Guardians, I left the Council room and walked with Irene at her request into a special, rarely used, exquisite chamber. As we were approaching this chamber she explained that the Cyanocube I had borne and inserted into The Device was the last one to which The Guardians had access. There was, in fact, only one more Cyanocube in existence, which would be the last one needed but that it was sealed in a special safe which could only be opened by typing the proper passwords into the appropriate boxes on a computer "Key" screen. All of the many efforts by the Guardians to figure out these passwords were unsuccessful. This was why she asked me to come here with her to this Chamber: to see if I could discover these passwords. To get to this "Key" screen, one followed the instructions on the opening screen. After Irene had told me this, we reached the special chamber, she unlocked the door, and we walked over to the gorgeous table on which the computer monitor was seated. She then turned on the computer and clicked on the "Start" icon, which put onto the monitor a screen with the most beautiful graphics I have ever seen. The picture bore an ornate Latin title with a gorgeous Old English font: "Key To Unlock The Repository of the Final Cyanocube". At the very bottom of this screen, in English, were these instructions (followed by a blank line) "Type the word 'friend' here, then click 'Enter'."
I was astounded when I saw those words but surprised that they evoked no emotion whatever from Irene. So I asked her, "Don't those words remind you of something?". She shook her head "No".
We then returned our attention to the computer monitor, and Irene, as instructed on the screen, typed in the word "Friend" on the blank line and then clicked "Enter". This now put us onto the screen where the passwords would need to be typed. As soon as I looked at it I knew the answer. The lines for the three passwords were arranged into a pattern with the first word on a line above the line containing the other two words separated by a space, with a cord coming from this top word descending to and surrounding the two words on the lower line. There was an arrow with a symbol on it on top of this cord pointing downward and the same kind of arrow with the same symbol on top of it between the two words on the bottom line with the arrow pointing from left to right.
Here is the meaning of this picture. The symbol on the arrows is a crown and the picture as a whole is a symbol of the climax of The Lord of the Rings: The Coronation of Aragorn. The three passwords were the names of the three participants in this Coronation: 1. Gandalf, on the top line, who directed the actions of The Fellowship (symbolized by the circumscribing cord), who (as symbolized by the arrow) passed the Crown to 2. Frodo, who had to complete his task of destroying The Ring in the fires of Mt. Doom before the Throne of Gondor could be re-occupied, which is symbolized by the arrow with the Crown on top passing from Frodo to 3.Aragorn, who only then could ascend to his Throne to became King. As soon as Irene typed in these three words in the proper places, the screen lit up and beautiful music began to play – some of the finest I have ever heard. And then the safe door opened where we saw the red cedar box which held The Final Cyanocube.
February 29, 2004
Bill is a real person: Bill Gardiner, an old friend of mine, who is indeed loquacious.
The rest of the characters are fictional.
The character flaws of The Guardians are often found in the mages of fantasy stories. I thought it would be interesting to write a story in which they are called to account for these flaws.
I purposely portrayed Michael as a harmonious blend of solemnity and playfulness because I believe that angels are neither "stuffy" (as they are often presented in traditional writings) nor are they buffoons (as certain modern writers like Andrew Greeley portray them).
The term "macrobes" I borrowed from C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength but here they refer to good angels, rather than evil ones.
The term "Poneru" I borrowed from my fantasy short story "The Defeat of the Poneru". It is derived from a Greek adjective meaning "evil".
I borrowed the term and concept of a "Cyanocube" powering a magical device from my fantasy short story "The Cyanocube of Kalothor", but that story is quite different.
An elaboration of the significance of what I said about Gandalf, Frodo, and Aragorn can be found in my paper "Christological Analogies in the Lord of the Rings", which is published in the December 2002 issue of the Chalcedon Report.
I borrowed the concept of a young lady named Lady Irene discovering my identity and encouraging me to perform my mission from my short story "The Secret Hero", but that story is radically different. F. S.