Tallamh Cuid I (Earth Part I)
Ρουσόλακκος, Ελλάδα (Roussolakkos, Greece)
The old ruins of Crete were deathly silent, save for the distant sound of crashing waves. It had once been a place of life. This old town had featured a thriving market-place, quarries and sanctuaries, and even a port which had serviced the entire Mediterranean Sea. A vibrant place, where the Minoans had lived for centuries.
Olivia Wright was currently standing in the middle of what had been the market square. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine just what it had been like, all those years ago. The sights, the sounds, the smells. Crowds of merchants, yelling out to sell their wares, spices, foods and curious trinkets from distant nations, brought across the sea. This place had known life.
But no matter how much Olivia tried, she couldn’t bring this place back to its former glory. Where the streets had once been shadowed by tall buildings, stood but tiny walls, scarcely reaching Olivia’s waist. Where merchants, beggars, nobility and thieves had once lived, were only sparse shrubs and dusty land, the only signs of life for miles, besides Olivia and her team.
The young American journalist had come to Crete with two photographers, Mark O’Dwyer, a fellow New Yorker, and Luca Moreau, a Frenchman. They were here to research an article on the ruins for the National Geographic. And Olivia was determined to make it a success, even to the point of hiring local guide Joseph Doukakis with her own money.
As she stared among the detritus of a long gone civilization, she realised how terrible it was that these were the most intact remains of the Minoans that could be found. And she realised how much sadder it was that within in a few months, not even these pitiable walls would remain.
The reason behind Roussolakkos’s so-called “intactness” was both a blessing, and a curse. Unlike most Cretan ruins, it had not been ravaged by tourism, staying safe in its bubble of isolaton from the rest of the island. But because only a handful of people knew about it, an even smaller group of people cared about it. Olivia Wright was one of those people.
“I can’t believe they’re going to tear this place down, just to build a damned tourist complex!” she exclaimed to no-one in particular. “Don’t they realise how valuable this place is? How much it’s worth?”
“Unfortunately, the complex will probably be worth a lot more to the developers,” Mark replied, sounding just as annoyed as Olivia did.
“Ten million euros a year, that is what we were told,” said Joseph, shaking his head sadly. “Our history and heritage, destroyed for pathetic scraps of paper. And you can be sure nobody from Palekastro will see a cent of it!”
Palekastro was the neighbouring village, where the research team were staying in Crete. Most of its citizens were distraught at the loss of the ruins, but the government had turned a deaf ear to their complaints. It was no secret that Greece, like the rest of the world, had fallen on hard times recently, and its politicians were eager for any kind of cash injection their economy could receive. Even if it meant trading off their own cultural heritage.
“We’ll just have to do our best to raise people’s awareness of this place,” Jack told Joseph, “but I won’t give you false hope. The deal is as good as done. I’m not sure that there’s much we can do. It’s going to take a miracle.”
“Then a miracle is what we’re going to have to make,” Olivia stated determinedly.
She took out her notebook and walked among the ancient remnants, her eyes scanning over every single detail. Her brain was doing its best to come up with alluring adjectives, enticing sentences to bring people to Roussolakkos’s stony shores, while her hand jotted down any thought that crossed her mind. But she knew it was futile. As much significance as this place might have for the locals and Greek historians, she doubted the average tourist would have the same interest. Despite herself, she couldn’t help but see what they would see: some old broken-down walls and dust that would fly into your eyes at even the gentlest of breezes.
After a while, when Olivia had written all she could, of both her own ideas and Josephs constant stream of information, and when Jack and Luca had taken as many photos as they could, they trudged silently back to the edge of Roussolakkos.
Olivia took one final glance at the ruins and sighed. The midday sun blazed right overhead. She wiped the sweat of her brow, took out her water-bottle and drank huge gulps.
“A miracle,” she whispered. “That’s all we need.”
Then several things happened at once.
Luca’s digital watch struck twelve.
A drop of water from Olivia’s bottle hit the dusty ground.
She heard a voice, that both boomed and whispered the word “Kalós.”
And more than 1,180 kilometres away to the west, an old Irish pound coin hit the surface of the Fontana di Trevi, and caused a huge ripple, This ripple shook across the world, faster than the speed of light. A ripple unlike anything ever seen before on this planet.
It was a ripple, but not of water.