5. The Reading

February 1, 2007


Certain she had made an error, Rachel Angela performed the reading over again. And again and again.

She watched the algorithms arrange themselves on the virtual display. Each time they aligned into a distinct unmistakable pattern. The pattern formulated an inescapable conclusion. An improbable conclusion.

Seeing her anxiety, the other Reverend Sisters of the Order of the Oracle whispered nervously amongst themselves. Already they were drawing their alliances; calculating whom among them might be most favored to take advantage of Angela’s distress, eyeing for the opportune moment to embarrass her.

Out of the twenty-eight Reverend Sisters assigned to The Parliamentary, the Order singled out Faithful psiSadewa Rachel Angela to deliver the requisite prophetic reading for the legislature’s most politically reaching session of the last several decades, expected to cement the careers of anyone involved.

The entire planet and Free Townships eagerly anticipated ratification of the labor rights reforms before the government. The authority to force Guilds and Houses to renegotiate centuries old division of work contracts and trade agreements tied to familial alliances would end brutal provincial fighting. The economic hardships sowed across sectarian bloodlines may begin to heal. The Oracle who performed the Parliamentary reading would be automatically thrust into the limelight of public and political awareness.

The Reverend Cardinal Mother zetaPetriss handpicked the newly ordained Angela for the prestigious honor. Other Sisters were more senior than Rachel Angela. Some Sisters were better known and more politically connected. Still, as a young seminarian, before earning a commission at Court-at-Columbia, Angela made a considerable impression.

Remarkably intuitive, she possessed a natural gift for the meta-scientific arts. Her easy, agreeable and genuine manner allowed her to be both smart and likable, a combination in short supply within the elitist Order.

Despite her skills and personality, Rachel Angela’s Parliamentary selection was a surprise to everyone, mainly herself. The notoriety she earned at her confirmation ceremony burned fresh in the minds of the Faithful.

Her will and body had been mysteriously taken over by the Divine Celestial Collective, who used Angela to herald the expelling of the Archangel from their ranks. Torn in their views, Angela’s peers remained undecided whether the spectacle was miraculous or damnable. Only just recovered from weeks of hospital care, others feared that Angela was too weak to deliver such an important reading.

PsiSadewa Rachel Angela, keenly aware of the critical eyes of her peers and superiors in Faith, bore herself courageously before the Assembly of Delegates earlier that morning. The presence of The Goddess and the Ancestors permeated the Parliamentary. Rachel Angela drank the ambrosiadyne. The ceremonial drug placed her in the proper altered consciousness to channel their energies.

She opened the proceedings with a rousing benediction. She performed the sacramental rites with such grace that delegates were said to have been audible moved. She summoned a reading. The reading had the signature of profound change. Clearly, it was a good day for reform.

Then, the Oracle turned the floor over to the Guildsmen and Matriarchs and retired to the adjacent Altar Room. As deliberations ensued, Rachel Angela and her fellow Reverend Sisters set about monitoring the metaphysical dynamics at work.

The procedure amounted to an expansive reading, building upon the algorithms she calculated before the Assembly that morning. Such procedures were the routine activities the Faithful Reverend Oracles were called upon to conduct daily at Parliamentary.

Rachel Angela performed another reading. And then another. With each new calibration the algorithms aligned into more alarming patterns, and the greater Angela’s anxiety grew.

“I don’t understand,” Rachel Angela confessed her frustration. “I did everything properly. These algorithms are not consistent with my initial reading.”

The Reverend Cardinal Mother leveled a knowing glare at the virtual display. She seemed neither alarmed nor entirely indifferent to what she saw. “We are witnessing the affects of action on the original timeline,” the elder Oracle offered in a studied judgeless whisper. “Experience is fluid, my child. Experience is constantly influenced and influencing.”

Waving a hand expertly over the display interface controls, Rachel Angela isolated the patterns dancing before her. “This configuration here, this alignment suggests intervention. Not change,” she studied. “But these juxtapositions over here, they terminate. The hierarchy is broken!”

“So they do,” the Reverend Cardinal Mother agreed. She was impressed. The young Oracle had been astute enough to see within the complicated layers displayed. She made a surprising leap of association between obscure algorithmic sub-sets. “And what might you conclude from the lattice.”

The young Oracle held her breath. She did not want to believe what was right before her. “There can be only one conclusion, Your Grace,” she choked down the foreboding fears germinating within her. “Death. Death will intervene this day.”

NEXT:
Meet Daria as plans are placed in motion setting innocence on a dangerous course.

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