Since the beginning of recorded history mankind has believed that there is another level of existence, or other realities, perhaps even different worlds capable of supporting life. What if humans could even for a brief moment see into one of those realities? Then imagine that this experience affected them so much that they created an entire religion or belief structure around that vision.
In the story I am about to tell you Alex Danes experiences a vision much like those before him in this tale. The difference is he is a part of this vision, this world felt somehow familiar to him. When he wakes up the next morning he goes about his daily life but his mind often reflects on this vision he saw in his dreams.
Let me introduce you to Alex Danes the adopted son of Peter and Debra Danes. Alex has wondered what happened to his birth parents for most of his life. His parents gave him all the encouragement and guidance that they could and Alex grew up to be quite gifted. A rare man, Alex could apply himself to almost any task and accomplish it.
Many marveled at this great gift considering him blessed. Being a moral individual Alex saw it as his task in life to help others.
In high school and college he helped to teach others giving other students the extra guidance they needed to excel. When he graduated at the top of his class as a doctor in medical school, Alex joined the military seeing another chance to help others and a chance to apply himself to a new challenging task.
He decided to join the Pararescue - one of the most difficult jobs in the Air Force. In his duties he was responsible for saving the lives of other airmen and bringing them safely home from the battlefield.
Pararescue was part of the Air Force's Special Forces, therefore few knew what he had done for his country but Alex didn't care. The thank you letters from airmen and their families that he had brought back and rescued from the clutches of death were all the thanks he needed.
Those who knew him were saddened when he was wounded going back for a dying teammate. The wound gave Alex a severe limp that would never fully heal. His teammate never forgot his sacrifice and would often come to visit him in the hospital as he recovered.
When Alex was released on a medical discharge he found himself experiencing an emptiness that was hard to fill. He had sacrificed years of his life for others and now he had no children or woman waiting for him back home.
Alex had simply not made time for such things not wanting to put a prospective fiancé and wife through the stress and dangers of his job. Now he returned home alone to the small town of his birth in Southern California, and the dreams he had experienced throughout his life suddenly became more vivid and real. One night after a long day working as a doctor at the local hospital he experienced the dream again.
Just like all the other times, he saw the Titan Prometheus from Greek mythology. Having read about Prometheus Alex knew much about this kind-hearted immortal who could see into the future and shared his wisdom with the gods, in truth he had always been Alex's favorite. Like Alex, Prometheus could not stand to see others suffer and it was this action that brought him to harm.
Seeing the plight of man cold and ignorant, Prometheus stole fire from the gods of Mount Olympus against the wishes of Zeus King of the Gods. For this trespass Zeus punished Prometheus. Ordering his son Hephaestus to make chains that would hold the Titan, Zeus had him chained to Mount Helen.
His punishment was that a great vulture would come each day to eat Prometheus' liver killing him. Only for him to come back to life with his liver re-grown to experience it again the next day. While Alex knew this part of the story that was not what he dreamed.
Instead, his visions were of Alex as a young babe called by a name he could not remember, and Prometheus was his father. This night a new vision came to him unlike the recurring ones he had experienced before.
In this dream Prometheus called to him saying, "Come to me my son. The time of your exile is over."
Like all the other times Alex opened his eyes expecting to awaken in the world he knew. This time he awoke at the side of a dirt road lying on the ground while wearing a strange garb that reminded him of clothes worn in Ancient Greece.
As he wandered around he found that his new environment reminded him more and more of that time period. He began to seriously wonder what was happening until he heard a distant call of that same familiar voice he had heard in his dream. It seemed far away, just on the edge of his hearing. Alex tried to visualize where it was coming from because he saw no one around him.
In trying to visualize the owner of the voice he instantly transported himself there. Now he stood before a tall man naked from the waist up sweating in the sun, chained to the mountain itself, that he had immediately recognized from his dream. The large man looked down at Alex and gave him a warm smile.
"Greetings Iptomas my son. At last we stand before each other. I have not seen you in person since I held you as a babe in my arms." Prometheus said.
"This is impossible. It was only a dream. This can't possibly be real." Alex said.
It was all too unbelievable, for it was just as he imagined it from the Ancient Greek myths. Before him was the great Prometheus, the wise Titan of his dreams. Prometheus looked upon him as a loving father onto his son.
"It is real Iptomas. I have called you home when you could at last stand on your own and claim your destiny. You are the son of immortals. I sent you away from your Mother and me to save you from the wrath of Zeus." Prometheus explained.
The distant shriek of a great bird could be heard and it sounded like it was coming this way.
"There is little time. You must go. I do not want you to witness what must happen next." Prometheus said.
Alex now remembered the image of the vulture from the story books he had read as a child.
"It is coming to take your life, a vulture sent by Zeus." Alex said looking over his shoulder before turning back to his father.
Somehow it all made sense, he felt it at some level and it was this feeling that allowed him to accept everything he was experiencing.
His father nodded replying, "I took pity upon man desiring that they be lifted up from their humble beginnings. This was not the wish of Zeus who cared nothing for them in the beginning, in response he put me here to die more times than I care to count."
Looking behind him Alex could already see the bird. Its black beak trained on its prey swooping down. Angry at the injustice of what was happening he ignored his father's protest not to interfere. As his anger rose an electric charge coursed through his body.
Unconsciously he struck out in anger at the bird hurling a bolt of lightning which erupted from his hand, which struck the bird killing it in an explosion of blood and feathers. Thunder rumbled through the heavens as if the sky itself protested the loss of the great bird.
"That was unwise my son. You have alerted Zeus to your presence. Soon he will seek you out and one day a confrontation must occur." Prometheus said seeing what his son had done.
"I don't care! What he did was wrong! Why should you be punished for helping others? Why did you not fight him? You had every right!" Alex said experiencing a mix of emotions.
"I did what I had to, and I would do it again to protect you and your mother." Prometheus said.
It was the mention of his mother that caught his full attention.
"My mother?" Alex said.
Prometheus nodded saying, "But before I tell you about her you must promise not to attack first. While you and Zeus will eventually come to blows, you must not strike first. Promise me this here and now."
Prometheus eyes were insistent. It was obvious that he clearly did not want this to happen.
Reluctantly Alex nodded signaling his agreement.
Satisfied Prometheus said, "You are Iptomas son of a Titan and a goddess. Hera the wife of Zeus and Queen of the Gods is your mother. Zeus as you know is not known for being faithful, and has slept with many mortal women. In the early days of unfaithfulness Hera wishing to get her revenge took on the form of a mortal woman.
I was wandering on the Earth below and saw her. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Not wanting to frighten her I myself took on the form of a mortal man to be with her.
You were the product of our union though we did not know each other's true identities. It was only later when I sought to see into the future that I realized what had happened.
Both of us were at fault but neither of us regretted you. As Zeus was to his father Cronos and Cronos to Uranus you are a danger to Zeus. Your lineage and who you are makes you a threat to Zeus. I saw a danger to you if Zeus discovered your existence before you were old enough.
Only now could you stand against him and win. Zeus only discovered our coupling after ordering my punishment but by then it was too late. Zeus could not do any worse to me than he has already done, but he was still unaware of your existence. Now he will wonder who this new god Iptomas is and where he came from."
"You have my word that I will not attack first, but when the day comes that he does, I will come to free you. I promise. Until then I can only lessen your discomfort." Iptomas said closing his eyes and reaching out to touch his father.
From his hand a warm light spread over Prometheus' body.
"Next time the pain will be less. It is all I can do for now. If I do anymore it will invite war from Zeus to the point he can't ignore it." Iptomas said.
Iptomas tried to force the image of the bird returning and cruelly killing his father again. Tears threatened to overwhelm Iptomas but he managed to hold them back. It would not help to cry now, and his father had enough troubles and Iptomas did not want to add to them.
"I understand my child, and thank you for that. You are learning quickly, but always remember it is from your heart that your strength comes from. Use it wisely and you can accomplish almost anything." Prometheus said.
"Almost anything?" Iptomas asked his father.
"We are limited by what is in our hearts and our nature. Because there is so much goodness in you in time you may find that you can only do what is good, to do otherwise would change the nature of who you are. Now farewell, go with my blessing." Prometheus replied.
Prometheus smiled warmly at his son, his joy at seeing him in person apparent. It had been too long since they had been separated. Even now his child's simple presence was a comfort. When Iptomas left, Prometheus would have to steel himself again for what was to come.