This is an excerpt from the seventh chapter:
D is a number 3 x 100 that is the number of spatial dimensions in our world. Life would not exist if D were 2 or 4.
Close to the beginning and also on microscopic scales, space may reveal its deepest underlying structure of all: the vibrations and harmonics of objects called ‘superstrings’, in a 10 – dimensional arena.
(Martin Rees – Just Six Numbers)
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Dogsar – Bhutan
0518 hours Friday April 29th 1998
“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible” Albert Einstein
There is a tradition amongst the people of Paro that a one-day pilgrimage including a dual visit to the temples of Lhading and Tamchog should be undertaken to wash away three-hundred years of sins.
In the grey pre-dawn light Tensing, Netem and Prem passed two old women in their kiras harvesting a crop of foxtail millet, and then after walking through dense pine forests to a ridge in a light rain they ascended the mountain. High above them they could see the steep climb to their destination. They paused and drank from a nearby stream and then in silence continued to head upwards.
On arrival at the temple they first paid a courtesy visit to Dophu and his family, the caretakers, and then settled down in a room on the second floor. They were the only visitors, which suited their purposes well.
Tensing led the meditation and chanting and their devotions for the next two hours were intense and uninterrupted.
Vee topped the rise a few hours later and took a few deep breaths of the pure mountain air. At sixty years of age she was capable of moving quickly but needed to stop every now and then to catch her breath. She heard the deep melodious chanting across the other side of the valley and felt content in the knowledge that her daughter and colleagues were already there. She estimated that she would arrive in Jana just after dawn and it wouldn’t be too soon. She was hungry and tired having walked, climbed and sometimes run across the vast distances and difficult terrain over the last week. The last few days had been easier as she had lightened her load by dropping off the Thomasite manuscript at a remote location deep within the Himalaya on the Tibetan side. The location was a secret known only to her.
Arriving just as a delicious stew of dal bhat was about to be served to the group, Vee was welcomed and a space made for her to join them. After freshening up with warm water, she joined the group and ate in silence, savouring every mouthful. After they had all finished they went through to the meditation room and sat in a circle on comfortable cushions.
‘It was a magnificent sunrise this morning. Did you notice it?’ Tensing asked, smiling with affection at his long-time colleague and confidant.
‘I notice and give thanks for each sunrise Tensing, but you are correct; this morning’s was particularly magnificent. It is auspicious for today I think.’
Tensing agreed, as did the others. Both Tensing and Prem had been given full details on the proceedings and outcome of the conference in Jerusalem, so they were aware of the sad news regarding Aaron and the premature ending of the conference.
‘How were the last few weeks?’ Vee asked Netem with trepidation.
‘He died a few weeks later as you predicted,’ she replied, knowing that even though the news was expected, the final confirmation would upset her mother.
Vee straightened up with a jerk and tears welled in her eyes. ‘Did he regain consciousness before passing?’
‘Were you able to talk to him?’
‘Yes, we were able to talk briefly, but he was struggling with each word.’
‘What did he say?’ she asked in a tone that was too loud in comparison to her previous statement. She put a hand to her mouth, acknowledging her indiscretion.
‘He said, “The fragment of truth is the… ” and then he cut off, just staring at me.’
‘Is that all? Nothing else?’
Netem cast her eyes around to the others and flushed before answering.
‘He was trying desperately to gather his strength, and then with a last huge effort he was able to say that as he was watching Joseph, Yusef and Hazael on the stage during Moseni’s revelation of the Pi repetitive sequence, he suddenly came to the realisation… ’
Vee remembered how Aaron clutched his heart and was about to say something when he collapsed, prompting with impatience, ‘And?’
‘He said that there was an uncanny physical likeness amongst the three of them… and that Joseph and Yusef were brothers… ’ Netem tailed off, knwoing that her mother might find this idea extremely odd, as she herself had when she first heard.
Vee felt the skin around her head tighten. Then it was true she thought… but Netem interrupted her thoughts.
‘And… ’ Netem continued after some hesitation,, ‘he said that there was a missing link and he gave me his notebook.’ She reached into the folds of her kira and withdrew a thick notebook that had a well-worn cover. It was the same book that Vee had seen him scribbling in during the presentations and tearing the page out of.
Vee tossed her head anxiously. She felt her face flush with a sudden rush of blood. She took the notebook from her daughter and creating space for the myriad thoughts rushing through her mind she scanned the pages one by one. On every page there were algorithms and formulae, drawings and notes, and she realised that it would require a massive effort to go through them and decipher the detail. She hoped that the missing link that Aaron had referred to would be apparent. There was nothing obvious at first glance apart from some notes on the page directly before the one that had been torn out. There were several calculations, four of which were totals that Aaron had underlined. He had written the names of Hazael, Yusef and Joseph next to the three calculations and a question mark against the fourth. Vee closed the book and her mind froze. The fourth number that Aaron had marked with several question marks was the gematria of the name Netem had been given at birth by a holy Lama. Dolma. The previous three totals were the gematria of the other names. In extreme shock, Vee sat, her hands trembling, her face ashen.
‘Did he have anything else to say after he gave you his notebook?’ she asked, trying hard to reduce the tremor in her voice.
‘He focused intently on me for a minute or so. I didn’t feel that he was trying to regroup and build his strength, it was as if he was searching my face for something that he couldn’t quite understand… then with a last deep inhalation he breathed his last, stuttering, “Look to th… th… the position, the two four two… the fragment of truth is the whole truth”. Then he expired and lay there with his eyes wide open… it was too terrible,’ said Netem and she began to cry as she recalled the poignancy of that moment.
Vee’s eyes filled with tears again, in empathy with her daughter and in remembrance of the passing of a remarkable man.
‘Aaron’s passing is sad for us all but we must be strong and keep going. Aaron would have wanted it that way and we have no time to waste.’
‘I know, Mother. He was such a wonderful man,’ she sobbed. Vee put her arm around her, consoling her; overwhelmed by the realisation as to whom her father really was, and fearful of the possible reaction once she was told.
Vee ventured‘What do you think he meant when he said, “look to the position, the two four two; the fragment of truth is the whole truth”?’
Drawing herself up and taking a deep breath, Netem answered, ‘I have thought about that over and over and it is a mystery to me. Clearly the two four two relates to what Dr Moseni said and the number within his own sketch of the Magen David, but there is a three-digit difference there. The “position” comment could refer to the way he has inscribed the 2s and 4s into the corners of the triangles. As for the “fragment” I have no idea at all.’
‘What do you think of the Pi repetitive sequence Moseni gave? Remarkable don’t you think?’
‘Indeed, but remember Mother, any constant that is included in the array must be paired. What would you pair the 242424242 with? I think that there would have to be another unique feature within the Pi string to allow that to be an effective inclusion. That could take years to find. It has taken long enough to find this one.’
‘You’re right and that is the reason why we need to get the team back here as soon as possible to devise a way forward.’
‘This is the right time for everyone to be working in concert now, don’t you think? We’ve been transparent with everything they have achieved so why not form a team and all work together in the same room,’ Tensing asked, joining the discussion for the first time.
‘There is no problem at all with that suggestion, Tensing. I agree. Aaron was a lone genius and this is the only way we can try to fill the vacuum he has left behind,’ she said. ‘We all have to meet as soon as possible. Tensing, please arrange for Yusef, Hazael, and Joseph to come and meet with us here. There is no time to waste.’
Tensing left the room, beckoning to Prem to join him. Noticing the level at which emotions were running at the beginning, Tensing was sensitive to her need to be alone with her daughter.