The Maker of Universes Book 1 of The World of Tiers Series by Philip Jose Farmer. Chapter 5, 6, 7, 8

“I told him to put his hands up. He did so, but he lifted his foot to step into the circle. I told him not to move even a trifle, or I’d shoot. He put one foot inside the circle, anyway. So I fired. I shot over his head, and the slug went into a corner of the room. I just wanted to scare him, figuring if he got shaken up enough he might start talking. He was scared all right; he jumped back.

“I walked across the room while he backed up toward the door. He was babbling like a maniac, threatening me in one breath and offering me half a million in the next. I thought I’d back him up against the door and jam the .45 in his belly. He’d really talk then, spill his guts out about the crescent.

“But as I followed him across the room I stepped into the circle formed by the two crescents. He saw what I was doing and screamed at me not to. Too late then. He and the apartment disappeared, and I found myself still in the circle-only it wasn’t quite the same-and in this world. In the palace of the Lord, on top of the world.”

Kickaha said he might have gone into shock then. But he had avidly read fantasy and science-fiction since the fourth grade of grammar school. The idea of parallel universes and devices for transition between them was familiar. He had been conditioned to accept such concepts. In fact, he half-believed in them. Thus he was flexible-minded enough to bend without breaking and then bounce back. Although frightened, he was at the same time excited and curious.

“I figured out why Vannax hadn’t followed me through the gate. The two crescents, placed together, formed a ‘circuit’. But they weren’t activated until a living being stepped within whatever sort of ‘field’ they radiated. Then one semicircle remained behind on Earth while the other was gated through to this universe, where it latched onto a semicircle waiting for it. In other words, it takes three crescents to make a circuit. One in the world to which you’re going, and two in the one you’re leaving. You step in; one crescent transfers over to the single one in the next universe, leaving only one crescent in the world you just left.

“Vannax must have come to Earth by means of these crescents. And he would not, could not, do so unless there had been a crescent already on Earth. Somehow, maybe we’ll never know, he lost one of them on Earth. Maybe it was stolen by someone who didn’t know its true value. Anyway, he must’ve been searching for it, and when that news story went out about the one I had found in Germany, he knew what it was. After talking to me, he concluded I might not sell it. So he got into my apartment with the crescent he did have. He was just about to complete the circle and pass on over when I stopped him.

“He must be stranded on Earth and unable to get here unless he finds another crescent. For all I know, there may be others on Earth. The one I got in Germany might not even be the one he lost.”

Finnegan wandered about the “palace” for a long while. It was immense, staggeringly beautiful and exotic and filled with treasure, jewels and artifacts. There were also laboratories, or perhaps bioprocess chambers was a better title. In these, Finnegan saw strange creatures slowly forming within huge transparent cylinders. There were many consoles with many operating devices, but he had no idea what they did. The symbols beneath the buttons and levers were unfamiliar.

“I was lucky. The palace is filled with traps to snare or kill the uninvited. But they were not set- why, I don’t know, any more than I knew then why the place was untenanted. But it was a break for me.”

Finnegan left the palace for awhile to go through the exquisite garden that surrounded it. He came to the edge of the monolith on which the palace and garden were.

“You’ve seen enough to imagine how I felt when I looked over the edge. The monolith must be at least thirty thousand feet high. Below it is the tier that the Lord named Atlantis. I don’t know whether the Earth myth of Atlantis was founded on this Atlantis or whether the Lord got the name from the myth.

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