Sunday, November 26, 2006

Chapter 6.1 "The Nine"

Martin stared at the press release on his desk and held his head in his hands. Until now, the New Life venture was the best-kept secret on Wall Street. Today, NL would go public with the astounding news that they had successfully brought eight people back from the dead.

The eight men successfully resurrected were all founding members of the Ripley Cryogenics, a small company in San Francisco with incredible financial assets. Each of the men had bet their fortunes on the notion that frozen remains could someday be re-animated. And while the means were not what they had expected, tonight they would gather at a grand reception at the St. Francis hotel.

The implications of these developments shook Martin to his core. The zealots, doctors, the skeptics, and the press would soon rush into his world like a tidal wave. Martin realized he would soon be the face of New Life, as the friends of Mr. Ito wished to remain silent partners.

The mystery of the ninth founder troubled Martin as well. When Ito called with the news some six days prior, he seemed to note the failure of the ninth resurrection only as an afterthought.

"Some will not come back," he said, offhandedly.

The man's name was Kulduri, a Pakistani who had died in a skiing accident. He had been one of the first to invest in Ripley Cryogenics, and was widely renowned for hisphilanthropy.

What made Kulduri different? Was it his diet, age, or mode of death perhaps?

He had asked his man Culper to do some research. Just as Culper called, Martin saw that the press release had just hit the wire. It had begun.

"Martin? I was getting nowhere so I ran background check on all nine. I think... I think I found something."

"What is it?"

"Kulduri was a Muslim. All the others, Martin, they're Jewish."

"That's remarkable. Remember that video that Ito showed us at the Jewish cemetery in Prague?"

"I do, I did. Martin, that's the freaky thing. I got into the Internet archives of Josefov--all eight of these guys have family there."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Chapter 6 "The Nine"

The purchase of $100 million in gold bouillon happens every day in this world. As a commodity, people trade it back and forth without ever seeing or touching it. But this day, 10,000 pounds of gold was delivered to a small farm in upstate New York.

Martin helped Ito arrange for the armored cars and security. Ito was reluctant to accept assistance at first. Apparently, even Martin wasn't to be trused with the origin of the process.

The Brinks driver entered Martin's office and closed the door. "Everything went smoothly, Mr. Dial. The place is very remote and Ito met us with tractor and a haywagon. Damndest thing I ever saw."

"Did Ito accept our offer?" Martin asked.

"No. He said security was covered. Not that there seemed to be another soul for miles, mind you. Then the son of a bitch just fired up his tractor and drove away like he was hauling pig manure. Took him four trips."

"What is the place like?"

"Used to be a dairy from I could see. There was a complex of metal buildings on the next hill: huge smokestack, silos, but not a cow in sight."

"I'd like you stay on call for a few days. If this doesn't work out, we'll need to pick up the gold."

"No worries, Mr. Dial. One thing though. I don't know quite how to say this."

"What's up?"

"Well, I told you how there were no animals there, right? But the really strange thing was the corn. I mean, it's November and barely above freezing. I swear to god the cornfields there were green as July and nine feet tall."

Chapter 5.7 "The Ripley Scroll"

The conversation stopped abruptly when Chamberlin's admin wheeled in the dinner cart and proceeded to uncork a bottle of champaign. It was clear to Martin that this meeting was more of celebration than a business negotiation.

Chamberlin poured three glasses and proposed a toast. "Gentleman, to our good fortune in finding each other. This day we will make history together."

Martin sipped his champaign and watched Mr. Ito quaff down his entire glass with one smooth motion. "Easy does it, Mr. Ito. We haven't closed this deal quite yet."

"I am prepared to do so, Mr. Dial," said Chamberlin, but first I must know what happens to our funding should this effort fail."

"The gold used in the process will be returned to you," replied Mr. Ito. "It will be melted down, but it can be poured back into gold bars afterwards."

"Surely there is some risk involved."

"Only in that we have never attempted to use the process on this scale. Your nine founders will live again."

"In return, we will need to keep the gold for further work towards the IPO," said Martin. "With the uncontested validity of our process, the second round of financing should follow in record time."

The men raised their glasses once again and began the process of the bank transfer. Ito then shook Chamberlin's hand and promised results within a few days.

"Fantastic, Mr. Ito. My cryogenic engineers will be at the ready to assist you with the remains of our founders."

"That will not be necessary, Mr. Chamberlin. New life will not be forthcoming from your freezers."

Martin felt a chill as Ito left the room. As the secrets of resurrection were slowly coming to light, something unexplainable was going on here.

As he walked to his rental car, Martin stopped in his tracks. He swore he heard the cries of a wolf.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Chapter 5.6 "The Ripley Scroll"

The antique conference table was some eight inches thick. As Martin took his seat, Chamberlin remarked that this ancient furnishing had originated from a Serbian monastery and was likely more than 500 years old.

"Quite remarkable, Mr. Chamberlin," Mr. Ito commented. "Strange how old wood reminds one of home."

"And where would that be, Mr. Ito?" Chamberlin asked.

"I was a boy of Old Prague, my good man."

"Ah, splendid place," Chamberlin smiled. "Backpacked through there myself, some thirty years ago I imagine. But, enough of that. I'm quite eager to hear more about your process, gentleman."

Ito stiffened in his chair. "The process itself is quite proprietary, Mr. Chamberlin. Though I will say that it is quite expensive in that it requires great amounts of gold to work properly."

"Gold you say? How interesting. And quite ironic given the heritage of our founder."

Martin was puzzled by this. "How do you mean?"

"Sorry, I forget such things are not common knowledge, really.Our founder John Ripley was a direct descendant of Sir George Ripley, a 15th century alchemist and author of the Ripley Scroll."

Ito looked like he wanted to say something, but Martin could see the man was holding his tongue."This Ripley Scroll, what is it?"

"It's really a work of emblematic symbolism. Properly decoded, it is said that the Ripley scroll holds the key to Philosopher's Stone."

"You mean the stone that can spin straw into gold and that sort of thing?"

"Oh, much more than that, Mr. Dial. The Philosopher's stone is the gateway to eternal life."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chapter 5.5 "The Ripley Scroll"

"Your resourcefulness is quite remarkable, Mr. Dial," Ito said in a hushed tone. "The Ripley Foundation will be the perfect ally in our quest."

"Yes, Mr. Ito. But how did you know I was here? I told no one of this visit."

Ito turned to the kiosk. "You may need help convincing these folks that our process is valid. I am here to help."

"Well we do have Jennifer. I mean, if you can fully revive her."

"That will require substantial resources, Mr. Dial. The path forward is a much shorter step."

Chamberlin entered and seemed quite taken aback that there were two people in the room. "Why, hello. I don't think I've had the pleasure."

"This is Mr. Ito," Martin offered. "He represents the party who seeks financing."

"Ah, I see. Well, I think the coffee is ready. Shall we move on to the conference room? I have many questions."

Ito followed Chamberlin out into the hall with Martin brining up the rear. As Ito walked by, each of the kiosks lit up and chimed their readiness to serve.

Martin paused for a moment. These things were touch screens.

He felt the hair on the back of begin to stand up.