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e^(pi * i) + I = 0

without wondering if the universe was the creation of some vast intelligence.

Having first made his name with a new cosmological theory that had survived almost ten years before being refuted, Goldberg had been widely acclaimed as another Einstein or N'goya. In an age of ultra-specialisation, he had also managed to make notable advances in aero and hydrodynamics – long regarded as dead subjects, incapable of further surprises.

Then, at the height of his powers, he had experienced a religious conversion not unlike Pascal's, though without so many morbid undertones. For the next decade, he had been content to lose himself in saffron anonymity, focusing his brilliant mind upon questions of doctrine and philosophy. He did not regret the interlude, and he was not even sure that he had abandoned the Order; one day, perhaps, this great stairway would see him again. But his God-given talents were reasserting themselves; there was massive work to be done, and he needed tools that could not be found on Sri Kanda – or even, for that matter, on Earth itself.

He felt little hostility, now, towards Vannevar Morgan. However inadvertently, the engineer had ignited the spark; in his blundering way, he too was an agent of God. Yet at all costs the temple must be protected. Whether or not the Wheel of Fate ever returned him to its tranquillity, Parakarma was implacably resolved upon that.

And so, like a new Moses bringing down from the mountain laws that would change the destinies of men, the Venerable Parakarma descended to the world he had once renounced. He was blind to the beauties of land and sky that were all around him; for they were utterly trivial compared to those that he alone could see, in the armies of equations that were marching through his mind.

22. Apostate | The Fountains of Paradise | 23. Moondozer