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Temple whores gave Sheena firsthand accounts of the many atrocities to innocent people that the Emperor was behind, which made her anxiety grow about their trip to the Temple of Solomon.
Since Sheena had tied a dainty green veil on Tish's flawless face this morning, Tish had not spoken one word to her, but if she was going to make a scene, Sheena wanted it to be in the privacy of Veleda.
Now the veils on some of the women at Tish's presentation party in London came back to haunt her as Sheena, Tish and Krista flew low over Jerusalem in an Aerosport Classic Eluder.
The ACE or Eluder was a state of the art hovercraft that kept descending as the golden Temple of Solomon came into view amidst all the other synagogues, churches, mosques and skyscrapers.
Sheena was terrified to think that Tishia Bach, the alleged deceased terrorist was to dance at a command performance as Cherry Sheldon for the Emperor of the Imperial World.
Tish as Cherry Sheldon, the prima ballerina and star of EVE'S TRIAL was going to be in high demand, and get them in a lot of trouble because the media was still running news reels of how much damage Tishia Bach had done sabotaging Atlantis. It was shocking to see how much debris was floating around in space because of Tish, and yet, here she was preparing to dance tonight for the world's elite, with many Atlantis investors attending.
For days technicians had been working on the stage and equipment preparing for Tish's command performance that Sheena and Tish were not even aware of.
Everyone could feel the horrors to come, but no one could prevent this mandatory appearance at the Temple.
Vigdor said that they had not been previously informed about the performance to make their stay in London less stressful. Sheena could see the truth in his words. Had she known about the command performance, she would not have enjoyed EVE'S TRIAL as much for dreading this trip to Jerusalem.
For centuries Jerusalem had been dubbed —The Golden City' because there was a golden hue on the yellowish stone buildings that comprised many of the oldest sections of the city.
Mosques, churches, chapels and shrines all compete with modern businesses on the crowded streets. Many boasted gold and brass architecture, increasing the golden luster of the city.
If gold were the means of measure, the Temple of Solomon would be the most beautiful building in the world. The Temple was heavily adorned with golden relics from ancient times and its walls were sprayed with paint made of pure gold. The Holy Temple glittered brightly in the center of Jerusalem on the original Temple Mount, exactly where the actual historical —Temple of Solomon' stood over two thousand years ago. Now it was the capitol building of the world and headquarters for the New World Order and home of the European Common Market.
Sheena wished that they were going anywhere on Earth but the Temple. She had to go because she was Dr. Beckenstein's mistress, though she was still having trouble with this job description because she was in love with Vigdor.
They were to meet at Mustafa Rahmat's home close to the West Bank, and were to have Palestinian guards as well as the WSI to protect them.
Much of the city resembled other metros, with skyscrapers and thousands of city buses, taxis, compact cars and scooters, along with City Police and military patrols. Constant street celebrations were performed for the wealthy tourists who swarmed the city, as the locals catered to their every need for a price, while con artists tried to dupe as many tourists as they could. She felt guilty about veiling Tish, though the silky green facial veil was sheer, covering the tip of her nose to below her chin in the traditional Middle Eastern style. She had not said a word, and only glared at Sheena from time to time, speaking volumes with her eyes.
Stubbornly sticking right to her word, Tish refused to touch the facial veil, swearing that she'd never touch one again as long as she lived.
Sheena also made her wear a matching green scarf pinned to the top of her head that was merely symbolic for a veil because it did nothing to conceal her long curly blonde hair.
Sheena would have never believed that veiling Tish would be so hard, but she agreed to do it herself feeling that it was in the best interest of all, now she was not so sure. She had convinced herself that Tish would be safer from the audience and the Emperor behind a veil.
Another mistake Sheena had made was letting Tish choose her own wardrobe for the trip, because now she was flaunting herself after Calista advised her to dress modestly.
She was wearing a triangular mint-green body shift that exposed her smooth creamy hips, with only three sheer layers of translucent panels, just long enough to make it legal. There were hints of pink running all through it, and along with it came a tight matching blouse revealing a lot of cleavage. She wore six-inch heels identical to the ones that were ruined when they were kidnapped at Veleda. The only thing that made the shift remotely modest was the long silky robe covering it and bringing the outfit together.
Tish had always dressed modestly on travel days and the sexy garment was in protest, yet she looked quite stunning, resembling a beautiful harem girl in it.
Sheena wore her royal blue sequined mini dress trying to distract from Tish a little, knowing it was not going to work, and anyone who saw them would think they were professional call girls who took their jobs seriously.
It seemed like the only good decision she'd made lately was having the interior of a baby jumper lined with medicine for Krista instead of the white gown she usually wore. She curled her lips at her precious daughter who seemed to like the jumper as she tried to stand with the aid of the seat.
Try as she might, Sheena could not keep her eyes off Tish. She was bewitching behind the veil, which made her look like a tempting seductress, with captivating emerald eyes.
"Do you know what Yomana is doing?" Sheena plied trying to get Tish to talk to her, "He was very vague last night."
The ACE descended slowly bringing them closer to the city streets and deeper into the West Bank. This part of the city had all the looks of a slum.
The inhabitants of the city made it unique from other ghettos of the world, and it would have appeared that they had stepped back in time, had it not been for the modern uniforms on the soldiers.
Most of the men wore a traditional head-dress called a kaffeyeh, which was a piece of cloth covering their heads while hanging down their back, and tied back by two cords. Hair veils were common on local women wearing long black dresses, some with facial veils, but few, most just wore scarves. Tourist were easy to spot.
Sheena silently slid next toTish, and when she made no response Sheena took her hand in hers. Still ignoring Sheena, Tish continued to stare at the monitor in front of her, but Sheena wouldn't give up and kept looking right at her.
Their schedule had been moved up a few hours because of a call from Dr. Yomana, who had choreographed a difficult stunt that Tish needed to rehearse a few times, but Sheena still wanted to wait until late in the day to go and planned to be back at Veleda by dawn.
Tish shook her head after a tearful glance, and then looked straight back at the monitor.
Sheena could see tears streaming down her face, but they were quickly absorbed by the veil's lacy trim, and only now could Sheena see how deeply Tish was hurt, but no matter how much she wanted, there was nothing Sheena could do about it. The Emperor had ordered her to be veiled while in the Temple and the Holy city even though Tish liked nothing about veiling or what it represented. She had been forced to veil herself as a child and unlike Sheena, who had an intriguing but remarkable afternoon doing it, Tish completely detested the very idea of it.
They tried to watch a film on the rebirth of Israel, which happened over a century ago, but Sheena had to turn it off because it made Tish sick to see what went on in concentration camps throughout World War II. So Sheena watched the movie alone after her morning brief, while Tish and Krista slept.
What the movie did, besides make Sheena aware of Israel's history, was to let her know after a few carefully asked questions how ignorant Tish was about war in general. Outside of naming the American participated wars, she found out that Tish knew nothing about them. She understood war only as it affected the world of dance, which was minimal as world history goes.
Jerusalem was actually torn in two from numerous wars, just like the whole country of Israel, which the State of Palestine now partially owned. There was also a heavy Christian presence as well, but it was the Israelis and Palestinians who constantly fought for the tiny strip of land. The sacred land had been sold to the Jews to create the state of Israel after World War II. The land, however, already had Palestinians living on it and that put a huge damper on God's promise to Israel to be restored to their homeland. The West Bank was occupied by Palestine, but they've had continuous border wars for centuries until the world at large came to expect it from the two countries.
All of that was brought to a halt several years ago by the Emperor through a treaty with Israel, and he became the Unified Imperial leader of the world after making a pact with the countries that controlled the European Common Market. Both Israel and Palestine felt betrayed as the Emperor's plan unfolded. He did not keep his promise to either country. As if by a trickster's card, he rebuilt the Temple of Solomon over another temple or —mosque', called the —Dome of the Rock' or the —Mosque of Omar.' In Islamic tradition this was also where Mohammed ascended to Heaven on a white lightening horse, and Christians and Jews believed that Abraham intended to sacrifice his son Isaac in this same spot.
It all sounded so far-fetched and ridiculous to Sheena, except for the possibility of it being the old Temple sight of King Solomon. It seemed very odd that all of those things were supposed to have happened at that exact same geographic location.
Sheena was worried about this Temple being held sacred by so many powerful religions, and with diverse beliefs such as Islam, Judaism and Christianity. One thing that they all seemed to enjoy was commerce in the Temple, which was abundantly active.
The new Temple of Solomon was many times larger than the original one, with a replica of the ancient temple within its walls.
The Emperor ruled the world from the holy Temple, with minor states paying a planetary tax for any transaction. It was a World Trade Center that could bring a country to its knees in days if they went against the Common Market.
The ACE banked steep enough for Krista to lose her balance and topple backward on the black carpet as Skeet turned down a narrow and shadowed street.
They were heading toward a garage door that opened upward, where they were met on each side of the door by two khaki clad guards baring miniature automatic weapons. More guards could be seen at strategic points along the dimly lit war-battered street. The plain square block building was only two stories and about thirty yards long utilizing little architectural imagination. A few small windows could be seen with the popular gold paint creating a dark yellowish-brown color in the shadowing light, but the masonry seemed quite solid. Fluorescent lights lit the garage making it plain that there were only two other cars parked in this facility, but they were economy cars, and one was a black sedan, but looking worn out.
A dark-eyed officer wearing a khaki uniform and a neatly pressed military pill box hat stood beside a Palestinian man wearing a traditional loose fitting robe and kaffeyeh, reminding Sheena of an aging sheik. Six younger guards stood behind them as they all watched, waiting for the ACE to idle down.
Drexler, Garshnek, and Miranda piled out of the middle compartment carefully surveying the area along with the two white armor clad Atlantian guards. Buffy got out of the cockpit with Skeet, and both of them gaped at all of the security.
Sheena donned her spectras and recognized the man from her brief was Mustafa Rahmat, a man Vigdor said he trusted with his life. She also remembered seeing him at EVE'S TRIAL, yet they never spoke. Sheena had never seen the man who stood next to Mustafa, but two stars on each collar identified him as a general.
The Atlantian guards in their white-shielded armor looked like they were indeed from outer space, and commanded a lot of attention from the Palestinian soldiers. Except for the General and Mustafa, all the soldiers bore the mark on their foreheads. Once she was satisfied, she slipped her spectras back into her purse and stepped out of the ACE.
All the men gaped at her in the bold skintight dress with genuine lust, causing Sheena to blush, knowing that they interpreted her as an expensive whore. Attention to Sheena ended when Tish slowly stepped out of the ACE but stayed behind her.
The men leered at Tish in astonishment no matter how hard they tried not to, and when none of their security staff approached the two Palestinians, Sheena awkwardly stepped forward feeling the weight of her responsibility.
She shook the men's hands introducing herself and Tish, with her following closely. The men exchanged peculiar glances at her; then at her and Tish, who would not offer her hand.
Calista explained on Sheena's PTC that Tish was acting like Sheena's Muslim wife, causing Sheena's heart to pound as she spun around and tried to pull Tish up beside her, but she cringed away as if Sheena would hit her. Sheena could see how willing Tish was to fight her, so she let her stay where she was.
"It's not how it looks, she's frightened," Sheena explained wanting to wring Tish's neck.
"Yes, Palestine is not America," the General chuckled as he eyed the girls, but Mustafa spoke in his own language. The words, "Doctor Beckenstein," were all Sheena could make out, but according to Calista the General was being reprimanded, and his smile disappeared.
"Please forgive General Azar," Mustafa pleaded sincerely, "I'm afraid he is blinded by your beauty and that of Cherry's."
"Mr. Rahmat, I apologize for our ill mannered behavior, and thank you for your kind words."
"She is stubborn?" the General asked completely swept away as he kept looking Tish over, and Tish just meekly acknowledged Mustafa when it was his turn, making Sheena glad to see that she was willing to talk modestly to others from behind her veil.
"She is timid and shy," the General added obviously having never seen EVE'S TRIAL.
"In that," Sheena laughed thinking that they must have different ideas of what timid and shy are in this region.
"Come, we must go," Mustafa urged though Sheena sensed trouble from the General.
She was sure that Mustafa had the wrong impression of them as Tish continued to follow her in the same embarrassing manner. She carried Krista on her hip, like a good little wife, infuriating Sheena, as they were led between the black sedan and the dingy yellow faded wall.
"We must take the lift to get to your quarters," Mustafa calmly explained as the General commanded the soldiers to push the car forward.
At first there appeared to be nothing beneath the car except for the dirty cement floor, but then a white crack developed in the cement, becoming a large rectangular platform to step on, surrounded by a frosted white light.
Everyone except Tish and the enlisted soldiers stepped onto the lift. When Sheena tried to coax her, she refused to get on it shaking her head while still holding Krista.
Sheena stepped off of the platform and reached for Krista, but Tish took her hand as she brought it up and stepped out onto the lift as if holding Sheena's hand was all the reassurance she needed. She refused to let go of Sheena's hand once they were on the platform, and Sheena was beginning to believe that Tish really was afraid.
They continued to descend down the well-lit shaft.
"Thank you for receiving us Mr. Rahmat," Sheena stated sensing that she was going to have to do all of the talking for them since Tish continued to pout.
"It is my honor," Mustafa chuckled already enjoying their company, especially Cherry's, "and just Mustafa, please."
Tish made a fleeting glance at the Palestinian, and looked back at the floor as she eased timidly behind Sheena again.
"You have a most enchanting daughter," the General added still gaping at Tish, making Sheena uneasy.
Excerpted from Legend of the White Dragon by Albert James Copyright © 2012 by Albert James. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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