The Temple Master of Neeshama bowed to the young apprentice. The apprentice bowed back. "My son," the Master said, "you must quiet yourself and become one with your inner Towel."

"Yes master."

The Master patted the apprentice on the shoulder, "You must learn to do as the good book says and do not panic."

"Yes master."

The Master smiled and then said, "That is all, my son, you may leave."

"Yes master," and then he left quietly.

Halfway across the 5th dimension1 Jasis smiled at the Doctor. The Doctor, whose face was engraved with years of work didn't even move one of his barely used facial muscles. "Jasis, I am sorry to do this to you and Deet, but you need to do something we all hate. You know the +5 sector?"

"The… Earth sector?"

The Doctor was the Assignments Director for the Guild, and he had seen almost all of the assignments ever given to the Volis. "Yes Jasis, the Earth Sector, one of the most despicably inept and fudged part of the Human Continuum. It seems that they have once again fudged things up. You have heard of the ‘Book’ from some of those lines that almost destroyed the continuum many times over? Well, it seems that the Book is at it again. This time, it has fallen into a line that was not supposed to have the Book. We need to see how badly things are messed up in the resulting nexus line."

Within minutes Jasis and Deet had phased between lines. They ended up inside a temple of some kind; a kindly old man gaped at them.

"Are you visitors from above?" he asked.

Volus Jasis smiled at him; "You can say that, yes."

"Ah. It has been a long time since our last visitor, Arter or Hawther or something like that… he made good tea and sandwiches."

Volus Jasis, "So, where are we?"

"You are on Neeshama, and we welcome you."

Jasis checked the GPS coordinates on his watch, "Okay, so where is Earth?"

"Earth? We have not used that name in years; it was somewhere in the sky. We remember a war, and we remember taking a long sleep in a sky vehicle. We had lost so much of our culture. We were glad when the stranger from Earth gave us the Book of Wisdom and taught us how to follow its ways."

The man continued, "I am the Temple Master, and I invite you for dinner tonight and you can learn more, but you are weary, and so I’ll show you to a room."

Jasis wasn’t actually weary, but he had gotten used to becoming one with his surroundings. They were lead to a small room, and they both slept, because of Phase Lag, it was best to let the body just situate itself into local time periods, however, they always had enough Calletin2 that they needn’t worry.

At Dinner time the odd Temple Master returned. He lead them to a fair sized dining room, and set them down at the side of the table. Deet examined the food and frowned. It was mostly vegetables with a few meats.

Jasis smiled, he enjoyed all foods, and other cultural foods were always a treat. He added some VN-983 to the food and began eating. Deet did the same, but did not make any signs of enjoyment.

After they ate, the plates were cleaned up and tea was served. The Temple Master smiled, "We have visitors, and they were inquiring to the Earth. Shall we enlighten them?"

The man to the left of the Temple Master, spoke up, "Since I am the Book Master, I shall start the tale. An evil plant known as ‘War’ grew quickly, ravaging Earth, our home planet, and it grew larger and larger day by day. Our home nation of Japan was afraid of being hit again with one of its seeds, the Nuclear Bomb, and thus they spent years following the death of ‘War’ to build a great sea-ship that would sail in the sky. It was powered by a cousin of the ‘War’ seed, and the men and women were to be frozen until they reached a planet not ravaged by ‘War’."

Jasis smiled as the burly man at the end of the table frowned, "Book Master, you have spoken enough, the ‘War’ plant frightens us, let us speak no more of it tonight. Don’t Panic."

Deet chuckled… the book, it was mentioned, and Jasis spoke up, "So, Book Master, tell us about the Book of Wisdom."

The burly man spoke again, "I shall tell that story, I am the Wisdom Speaker, I have spent my life devoted to the ways of the Towel, and I have spent many nights giving wisdom to the young and panicky.

"He came to us in a great sea-ship like the one we came in. He made us sandwiches and drank lots of our tea. He brought the Book, and showed us how to punch the oracular buttons. He left us the Book, and departed soon after. My grandmother’s grandmother was there when he departed.

"Since then we have studied the ways of the Towel, but many years ago when my Grandmother was young, the Great Book was lost and so we have passed the ways of old down through our own tongues. My Grandfather was the first Wisdom Speaker."

Jasis interrupted, "How was the book lost?"

The youngest looking man at the table stood up, "I am going to take this question as I am sure that we would all enjoy refraining from the family stories of the Wisdom Speaker. I am of course, the Towel Watcher. The Book was first discovered missing by Wisdom’s Grandmother, the Towel Watcher at the time was taking his Tea Break, and Wisdom’s Grandmother was cleaning the Halls of the Towel. She entered the room to find the Book stolen and she ran out of the room to take the time to meditate and be one with the Towel. When finished notified the Towel Watcher. The Towel Watcher found Sea-Ship tracks outside the building, so we think that the Great One himself took back the book."

Jasis smiled. Deet let a smile out. It was rare that a kludge like this one worked itself out, and so after the tea Jasis said good bye to everyone. Outside Jasis used his watch to phase them back to the Pazerion.

The Doctor was surprised when they phased right into his office. He nearly jumped. "I didn’t expect you back this early Jasis."

Deet jumped in, "Its fine, the Guide was taken back before we got there."

Jasis smiled, "Yes, the Guide was lost and when the Neeshamians are re-integrated into Tri-Galactic society in +300 after we arrived the Guide will be just a faint cultural memory."

The Doctor smiled back, "Good, so what is your overall report?"

Jasis who had spent some time reading the Guide chuckled, "Mostly Harmless."

1 Or 2nd Temporal Dimension if you prefer. Back

2 A Lag reducing drug allows Volis to bend easily to different time periods and sleep schedules. Back

3 Volus N-Ration 98 is a chemical that destroys allergic conditions in food. Volus themselves take VN 233 before phasing into other lines which works similarly with Oxygen. Both were developed in one line or another's R&D facility, but have since become staples not just to the Volus, but to the Corporations in all the lines possible to sell it to. Back