Read Ice Shock Online

Authors: M. G. Harris

Ice Shock (9 page)

On page one, after the ISIG come fifteen glyphs. Some are the same—I count only ten different glyphs. I try to translate the first two and get gobbledegook.

First glyph:
aj-la-ni-ne
.

Second glyph:
li-si-ne
.

The third one looks as though it isn't going to make any sense either. So I give up on page one, move on to the next page.

Where I have much more luck. Using my system of reading the Mayan syllables in each glyph to make a word which more or less sounds like an English word, I manage to get a pretty reasonable-looking translation.

The Fourth Book of Erinsi Inscriptions

To preserve technology under electromagnetic pulse from periodic galactic energy wave. Dates of galactic energy waves calculated
.

Essential instructions on use of Revival Chambers. Three elements required. Key, Adapter, and Container. All protected by bio-defense
.

First step shows how to make Key. In liquid form Key unstable. Use within sixty minutes. Crystal Key can be
… (And that's the end of the third page.)

All a bit mysterious—and it seems to be about the galactic superwave of 2012.


To preserve technology under electromagnetic pulse
…”

I'm guessing that these pages are saying that the Ix Codex is all about a way to preserve computer technology from being wiped out by the gigantic electromagnetic pulse that's coming with the superwave in 2012.

From what I can tell, they need three things: the “Adapter,” the “Container,” and the “Key.”

The “Key,” it seems, can be made. It looks like one of the missing pages gives some kind of formula—a recipe for the “Key.”

So what about the “Adapter” and the “Container”? Are they more ancient artifacts? Do the Mayas of Ek Naab have them—or know where they are? And what about these “Revival Chambers”?

If those pages from the document folder have found their way to Madison, he might be able to figure out as much as I have. Will he be able to figure out how to make the Key?

Then from a forgotten little part of my memory, a tiny thought pops up. Madison stole an ancient artifact—from that collector in Lebanon.

Was it the Adapter? Was it the Container?

What else do his people have; what else do they know?

We're in a race to get hold of and use this ancient
technology—and now I have some idea of what to do next. But it won't be easy.

BLOG ENTRY: DEAR MOM

If you're reading this, it's because something happened to me; it's because I haven't come back. It means that you've been through my locker at school and found my letter, found the Web address of this blog and the password clue
.

I've thought long and hard about this, and here's what I think
.

I owe you an explanation. It's been really hard not to tell you what's been going on. At first, it was because I knew you wouldn't believe me. And then I began to worry about you
.

I mean, people have died searching for this secret. They've been killed. Dad, and my sister, Camila. If I'd told you, I might have put you in danger. I couldn't handle that
.

So why tell you now?

If I'm in major trouble, that could be the end for me
.

If it is, well, that changes everything. This is what I've decided: it's not fair to keep you in the dark anymore. If I'm done for, you deserve to know why. I can't have you wondering what happened and why for the rest of your life. I've seen what that's done to you with Dad. I can't have that on my conscience
.

To cut a very long story short, I haven't told you the complete
truth about what happened in Mexico. Because when I met Camila, she died because of what she knew. I almost died too. The Ix Codex that Dad was searching for—it's real. I found it. I met the people Dad came from—his real family in Mexico. They live in a hidden city called Ek Naab and they're descendents of the ancient Mayas. They protect an ancient secret—a secret older than the Mayan civilization itself
.

And, Mom, I'm one of them. There's some kind of genetic factor that's passed only through boys. It protects you from this ancient technology that the Mayas have been guarding since, like, forever. Their books of ancient knowledge can kill with a touch. Unless you have the genetic factor
.

Which means they need me. Dad could have done the job too, but he disappeared—captured by the NRO, a U.S. agency that stole some of the ancient technology. Well, to be fair, the NRO found it when one of the Mayan aircraft crashed. But now that they've had a taste of what this technology can do, the NRO want more
.

And then there's this guy named Simon Madison. Or Martineau—who knows what his real name is. I thought he worked with the NRO, but they say he doesn't. Do I believe them? I don't know. Madison is the one who killed my sister. And maybe Dad too
.

Yes, I know. You think I'm making this up. But how could I? It's completely crazy!

This blog starts the day you leave for your retreat at Worth Abbey. I said I was going to stay with Emmy, remember?

Well, I might, but I haven't quite gotten around to asking her. And anyway, I have something important to do
.

I messed up, see. Made a big mistake that allowed a certain document—part of the Ix Codex—to fall into Simon Madison's hands
.

I don't know who Madison works for. I do know that he doesn't work alone. He's had an accomplice for months. You know her as “Ollie.”

Who knows what her real name is
.

You know how everyone comments on how grown-up she looks for a sixteen-year-old? Camila thought that she was at least twenty. I'd guess Camila was probably right
.

Luckily, I haven't told Ollie everything. I didn't tell her about my secret blog. I didn't tell her what really happened in Mexico. What she does know has already gotten me into trouble. Not just me but the Mayas of Ek Naab
.

What it comes down to is this: I let those pages of the Ix Codex fall into enemy hands, so it's up to me to get them back
.

I'm going to do that. I'm the only one who can. Ollie doesn't know that I know. She won't suspect. The hunter will become the hunted
.

I know it's dangerous—I'm not a complete idiot. Which is why you're reading this—the only record of this Web address is on the letter I left for you. I'll keep blogging here when I can. Right until the last minute, I promise
.

Mom, I really hope you never read this
.

12

It's the last day of the semester, so we finish school at midday. I pick a random school computer on which to post the “Dear Mom” entry to my new ultra-secret blog. I know it's going against what I promised to Montoyo.

But this is for my mom. I mean, there's a line even I won't cross. She deserves to know the truth about what's happened to me, if anything goes wrong.

I write the Only To Be Opened If Something Bad Happens letter to my mom and tuck it away at the back of my locker. I walk to the bus stop. My plan is almost ready to hatch. I've written the messages to Mom; all that's left is to say good-bye. And to make one very difficult phone call to Ek Naab.

When I arrive home, Mom's already packed for her retreat; her coat is on and she's standing by her suitcase, ready to go.

“You're sure you won't come?”

“Thanks, but no.”

Mom looks sad yet resigned. “I spoke to Tyler's mother. Everything's fine. She's expecting you for supper tonight.”

I give a disappointed look. “Oh … sorry, I should have mentioned. Tyler and I aren't getting along too well. That's why I was kind of hoping to stay with Emmy …”

“Honestly, Josh.” Mom makes an irritated clucking sound. “I don't have time to change things. I'm really not sure about you staying with a girl …”

“Couldn't you please just tell Tyler's mom for me?”

She pauses. “What about Emmy's mom?”

“I'll sort that out.”

I'm not sure whether mom is going to agree, and I'm starting to get pretty worried. I can't just fly off to Ek Naab if mothers all over Oxford are waiting for me with soup. Luckily, Mom seems in too much of a hurry to argue.

“Okay, fine,” she says reluctantly. “I'll take my cell phone, but it's better if you send me a text before you call. That way I can arrange a place to talk where I won't disturb anyone else.”

“Will do.”

“I'll be back for Christmas Eve. And we'll go to that hotel you like.”

I manage a weak smile. “Great!”

With a last regretful look, Mom hugs me tightly, whispering, “I love you, Josh” into my ear. She marks a cross on my forehead and kisses me. For a couple of seconds, I feel a
gaping hole open up somewhere deep inside me, and it fills with fear and guilt. I hug her back, trying to ignore it.

“You won't do anything stupid?”

I can't speak, so just shake my head and swallow. I watch her get into her car and drive away.

And then I'm alone.

I go upstairs, take a few deep breaths; then on my Ek Naab phone, I call Montoyo.

“Josh! It's great to hear from you!”

Montoyo's voice sounds warm and confident. He tells me that the transcription and translation of the Ix Codex is all finished. Blanco Vigores has worked solidly for months. “He's been looking very old lately,” Montoyo admits. “And he seems lonely, like never before. Can't remember seeing so much of him.”

“I have a bit of a confession to make,” I begin. Then I explain about discovering that Dad might have been in Saffron Walden on June 16, and about our escapade to the archaeologist's house the other night. When I come to the part where Simon Madison saw us, I sense Montoyo growing wary. When I admit that the pages of the Ix Codex were taken from my bedroom (I don't mention the kissing), there's a long silence that crackles with tension.

Finally, in a dry whisper, he says, “You're telling me that you let Madison get his hands on pages from the Ix Codex?”

I can't help cringing. “I tried to stop it …”

His voice sounds hollow with dismay. “Josh—how do you think he came to be at the Thompson house the same night as you? He must be having you observed. He could only know about it because of you.”

Miserably, I tell Montoyo my theory about Ollie. He doesn't seem all that surprised. Instead, he breathes a long sigh.


Dios mio
. I was afraid of something like this.”

“You knew someone was watching me?”

Montoyo practically growls. “Of course not, Josh! What I mean is this: it was perhaps inevitable that you'd try to get involved on your own account. As I suggested, we would have been wise to keep you in Ek Naab. The plans for the 2012 problem are well under way. This is the safest place for you. With what you know, you should not be in the outside world, meddling.”

“I wasn't ‘meddling.' I was trying to find out what happened to my dad!”

Montoyo lets rip with an impatient yell. “We don't know what happened to him! It's possible we never will! And look what you've done in the process!”

Now I'm angry. After all I did to help them, Montoyo has done nothing to help me find the one truth I really care about.

“I'm going to send someone to pick you up,” he snaps. “Where is a good place?”

“I'm not going to live in Ek Naab.”

“Josh, listen to me. Do you realize what's in those first three pages? Enough information for Madison's group to control part of the 2012 technology.”

My heart sinks. It's true, then; Madison's stolen artifact is one of the things written about in the Ix Codex.

“They
have
the Adapter,” Montoyo continues, exasperated. “They can
make
the Key.”

“The Adapter is what he stole from that guy in Lebanon?”

Montoyo sighs. “We think so. We were negotiating with a private collector—Abdul-Quddus. He bought it from the Baghdad National Museum after the start of the Iraq War. But as you know from that news story, Madison took it.”

“Damn … ,” I say. “That is
not
ideal.”

“Not ideal?” Montoyo repeats, annoyed again. “Of course it's not! Listen, Josh. I'm looking at a map of Oxford. There's a big meadow near your home. Port Meadow. A river runs through it. Be by the river at four tomorrow morning. Okay?”

I hesitate. “Where on the river?”

“Don't worry. When we get close enough, we can locate the phone. Just make sure it's on you—and turned on!”

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