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page five

Time posed these questions to Luuna in her opulent, newly-built Mount Shasta headquarters. “My accident is important only in that it allowed my mind to be cast free of it's fleshy tethers,” she says, referring to her coma, ”I became an empty vessel for the Brothers to fill with their message of peace and enlightenment. While there are answers to the questions you ask, they are not for the uninitiated, nor are they relevant to our Earthly mission. Only the message of the Brothers needs concern you.”

from, 'Good News from the Saucer-Men of Mount Shasta?' (Time Magazine, 8/24/59)

I navigate the ridge to the Heart and for a moment a slim, blond mirage dances across the skyline like a drifting zephyr. I wait, remembering Peace, but it does not return. I look back the way I've been and watch the cloud shadows creep across California, then turn my face upward.  

A brother, looking worried, rustled by as I moved down the hall and to the open door at the end. A single, dim light shone in the near-empty space. A small figure sadly pushed a vacuum to and fro. Imagine your dottiest aunt on Coronation Day, okay? She wore a white, sparkly fairy gown and tiara, and I realised that this wasn't the janitor at all. This was she, the Great Illuminated Space Pontiff herself – the Immeasurable Luuna. Mistress of the innermost secrets, bestselling author of over 200 books. The galaxy's honoured representative on Earth. Doing the rug like a sad domestic.

'Oh! Excuse me!' I said. This was like catching your vicar coming out of the adult boutique. Just wrong in too many ways. I was backing out of the room when she turned off the vacuum and sweetly smiled at me.

'Hello, dear!' she said, 'Would you like to know a secret?'

A door banged down the hall.

'Hello, Ma'am, and yes, I'd love to know a secret.'

She whispered, 'Jack and I are to be married! He kissed me at the sock hop!'

Oh, this was uncomfortable. I was only sixteen. Crazy was out of my league. What was I supposed to say?

'Do you know any other secrets?', I asked, hearing footsteps approaching, 'Like somewhere to hide?'

She clapped her hands. 'Yes!' she said, 'Come here, dear. Right back here. Do you like my dress? I don't remember getting it but it's pretty, isn't it?'

I followed her to a dark corner of the room. There was a door there. 'Janitor'.

'Behind the door is a vacuum, and behind the vacuum is another door,' she whispered, 'see?'

An authoritative male voice bellowed from the corridor. 'Luuna!'

She gasped, 'Hide!' and pushed me into the closet. I stood there in the darkness for a moment. I felt a strange fear, like someone was in there with me. Then I jumped as the door opened again and Luuna pushed in the vacuum. 'Shh!' and I was in the dark again.

'There you are,' I heard the man say, 'Oh, no. Is that you, Gladys?'

'I was just cleaning up, Mister Kraft. I'm sorry if I made too much noise. Is Jack here?'

It was quiet for a moment. I thought I heard the man whisper something, then-

'I don't think it's proper for you to hug me, Mr. Kraft! Please!'

'Oh, for God's sake. You're my... you... damn it! Luuna, are you there?'

I jumped as I heard a distinct, sharp slap. The vacuum thumped the closet wall. I froze.

'What was that? Are you alone here?' the man said.

'Jack? Are you trying to be funny?' said Luuna, 'Ow! Oh, damn. How long have I been here?'

'I'm not sure. Listen, I think there may be someone else here. Do you remember anything?'

'Maybe... was Peace here? Gladys might have seen a girl...'

'You go ask Henderson. I'll look around here,' said Jack.

I saw a line of bright light appear under the door. Footsteps approached and the knob  rattled. I heard a jangle of keys.

But my fingers had found the latch. I slipped through the door behind the door and softly shut it behind me. Then I crept up the long carpeted staircase to the third floor.

"Miss Sally Spenser, the teen who discovered the accident and alerted authorities, remained in contact with the Krafts and now functions as high priestess to Luuna's 'Space Pontiff'. She rejects the label 'cult'. “Despite our titles and accouterments, we are not a religion,” she says, “therefore we cannot, by definition, be labelled a cult. We do not solicit funds from our members and we do not claim tax-exempt status. We are a scientific study group, serious researchers into the link between personal and political peace. We do not seek publicity, as you know,” she says (Time's requests for interviews were refused for several months; only the intervention of Jack Kraft made this article possible), “nor do we solicit members. Every individual you may meet on these premises came to us of their own accord, and on the understanding that we do not maintain permanent housing for members. This is not a monastic order.”

from, 'Good News from the Saucer-Men of Mount Shasta?' (Time Magazine, 8/24/59)

The Professor and Sally were interrupted by a soft knock.

'Priestess? Her Grace would like a word?'

Sally smiled at her new, old friend. 'I'm afraid duty calls, Doctor.'

'Doesn't it always? I'll see you...' he glanced at the door, 'tomorrow. Around ten, then?'


She called out, 'Henderson, it's open... Hello! Please tell Luuna I have been entertaining a distinguished visitor but will attend her momentarily. Thank you!'

Henderson looked at the Doctor.

'Sir, I'm afraid we've lost the young girl who accompanied you here today...'

The Professor dismissed his concern, 'Oh, that's just Ace. I'm sure she's somewhere. If you see her, tell her the Doctor is off to the shops, the ship and then the hotel.'

The pilgrim smiled at the Doctor, 'Excuse me, sir. The ship?'

'Oh, didn't Sally tell you? I'm from outer space.'

'Oh, you kidder, you!'

'Surely that's a matter of perspective, sir?'

'Henderson, that will be all.'

'Yes, ma'am.'

They waited, listening to Henderson draw away.

'Tonight, then?' said Sally.'Good-bye!'

'Yes, good-bye.'

Deep in thought, the Professor almost stumbled into the three weirdos as he left the temple. If they spoke, he didn't tell me what they said. I imagine he brushed past them as if they weren't important.

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