Two months ago – Beneath the Desert
The next day, Sonti followed the path back to the virtual history area of the computer and slipped into a section called ‘Miracles’. She browsed through the index noting many interesting items and several familiar topics. She was surprised to find that she knew of as many of these topics as she did! The thought also occurred to her that these pages of history, as odd as it may seem, could be true! Sonti reflected on that thought for a moment then hurried on, knowing that her time in this zone was limited.
Sonti stopped at a section of titles under the heading ‘Jesus direct’ and read the information listed at the top. She gasped at the line that read ‘… 750,000 listed miracles … list not complete … some miracles known to have been executed but not allowed to witness….’
The time frame for these miracles was about 3 years. Sonti saw that one was titled ‘Water into Wine’. That sounded familiar. She scrolled through page after page of listings. The titles floated past her eyes. She stopped the scroll at random and looked at the 10 titles listed before her. As she read through them, each title tugged at her, encouraging her to view it. She read and then re-read the sixth title. That was the file she would touch first, she decided. The title read, ‘Sand into Bread’.
She paused before continuing into the file. Did she really want to open herself up to this kind of thing? She had no idea what was behind the file. And miracles? Really! This sounded like it could be smoke and mirrors. She weighed the pros and cons and decided that just the idea of a miracle captured by some recording device was enough to tip the balance toward opening the file. She could make her own conclusions after she saw the ‘miracle’. Sonti triggered the appropriate commands and waited. Her heart beat quicker as a mist covered her minds’ eye. It swirled and seemed to pull her forward. Suddenly, she was in 1st century Jerusalem. She gasped at how real the scene seemed. Sonti wondered at the sounds of Jerusalem and the aroma of fresh baked bread contrasting with the odor of unwashed bodies. She could see the dust in the air and the twinkle in the eyes of the children that surrounded her. She was amazed at the reality coming to her from the file. She felt the sun warm her skin and almost lifted her hands to shield her eyes from it’s brightness. Such detail was unheard of. ‘This is what you get when you have a triple cube running your AI’, she thought. Sonti wondered at the intricacy of the detail in this file, and couldn’t imagine what this would be like if she had the forehead implant.
She made a note of the time of entry into the file and checked her meters. She had determined that eighteen minutes was the maximum length of time she could be in this area of the system and not be found out. She had timed the security sweeps and had implemented a simple cloaking program, and felt comfortable being in the HX files for fifteen or sixteen minutes, maybe seventeen, but no longer than eighteen.
With the time noted, Sonti looked at the scene around her. The children, oh, there must have been twenty or so, were dirty, no, they were filthy, and their clothes were mere rags. They looked underfed. They were playing some sort of game in the dust of the street, and even though they were laughing now, it seemed that sadness was not far from their thoughts.
Sonti took several minutes and experimented with the file controls. It was thought driven, and took a little getting used to. She paused the file and moved her point of view to several different aspects, learning the controls. By going overhead, Sonti saw that the children were playing a version of hopscotch.
By this time, Sonti saw that she had less than three minutes left. She quickly moved the file forward scanning the activity for something else of interest.
She saw the children run across the street towards another child who was waving his arms and yelling for their attention. They followed him around the corner and out of sight. She used the controls to change her aspect and located them crowding around a man two streets away from where Sonti had entered the scene. Sonti noticed that the man had the kindest face she had ever seen. Peace seemed to flow from him. The children all ran to him and reached up to tug his robe for attention. Some held his hand while others just held his robe, but all were smiling with true joy.
The man appeared to have been going somewhere with a small group of men. The other men instinctively moved away from the noisy, dirty, band of street urchins. But the kind man stopped when the children mobbed him and Sonti saw that he was grinning from ear to ear. They scrambled around him as he knelt down to their level. Sonti lost sight of him for a moment, but then saw the middle of the pile of children seem to lift off of the ground.
The man had picked up several of the children and stood with them clinging to his arms, his neck and his back. He laughed as they laughed and gently lowered them to the ground. He seemed to glow with pleasure as the children looked into his face and told him everything that was in their heart. He took time to listen to each one and motioned to his friends to join him in the pleasure of the company of these children.
The other men turned away, not understanding what could possibly be of value in the collection filthy, loud, worthless kids.
The man looked concerned and thoughtful as one child talked to him. He gathered the children more closely to him and kneeled down in the dust of Jerusalem.
Sonti changed the aspect of the view and looked down from about 10 feet directly over the head of the man. She saw the children wiggle up close to him and look with trust and anticipation into that amazingly kind face.
Sonti watched as the man appeared to ask the children to scoop up dust from the street and give it to him. Sonti gasped as the dust from the first child’s tiny fist fell into the callused hands of the man, becoming a small loaf of bread, which he gave back to the child. This happened over and over until each child had a loaf of fresh bread in their hands. The man held his arms over the ragged children, looked toward the sky and smiled.
Sonti was so engrossed in the file that her entire body jerked as her alarm went off and she scrambled to extricate herself from the file. When she finally broke the connection, she found herself drenched in sweat. Her head was swimming with the vision she had just seen. It was so real it seemed as if she had just lived it. But she was struggling to gain some balance because the events of the file jarred with what she knew, or thought she knew, of reality. She finally gave up and fell asleep, hoping her dreams could sort it out. Her dreams took her back to the file where she saw her own face on each of the dirty, poor, hopeless children.