Monthly Archives: April 2020

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #102

I force them to consider this, emphasizing that only by a miracle would all of them reach their destination alive.  I speak of the carriers which, even if enough of them are found to put in service, may be overloaded and crash, or succumb to the action of sand and wind in the desert storms.  I speak to them of the many hundreds of kilometers to cross with no access to cover or water.  Of roaming tribes of black people who hunt down trespassers in their territories and ritually kill them to eat.  Of giant snakes in the badlands beyond the borders of the desert.  But the gravest danger remains the possibility of discovery by computer sensors and being chased by Hyrete police, Elbre military forces or worse, hunted down by bounty hunters.  A shiver passes through me as I remember, so vividly, my first encounter with these hunters of human beings.  The group gathered around me feels my pain and remains silent.

End blog post #101
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Start blog post #102

Chapter 40 – The Great Escape and Aftermath

After a peaceful and restful sleep, my bony frame tucked gently between the soft bodies of the young Tieka and the fighter Zel morning finds us going through our rituals as if nothing had changed.  But they have changed.  Many less men in the compound.  Less guards for these are weapons trained and were called to defend Hyrete from the Estáani attack.  We can still hear the firing of heavy guns far away to the north.  The unmistakable sound of military booted feet running through the streets can be heard even through the walls as men are brought from near-by towns to bolster the city’s defenses. 

Being simply trainer and handler, both Hudu and Huntu are again in the compound.  They acknowledge their women with the briefest of nods as Tieka files into the kitchens undoubtedly happy to escape the weapons training and Zel takes her place in the training line-up.  Hudu walks behind us then takes the place of the female trainer to spar with Zel.  Undoubtedly he wants to know what we spoke about and it’s relatively safer than usual to exchange words today.  I engage some of the trainees to teach them basic custom tricks that have been useful in saving many women’s lives in two-on-one combat situations.  Yes, our brave men still believe that if two men fight one woman they are being honourable.  It’s amazing what you can convince yourself of if you really believe in something.

A skimmer carrier sporting the Hyrete flag glides gently down by the doctor’s office after coming over a low wall.  Two men get out and disappear inside to emerge soon after, remount their carrier and disappear over the wall again.  Cydroids?  Most likely.  I continue the training with half a mind on my job.  I receive a stab wound for my carelessness and the young trainee who inflicts it appears devastated.  She freezes until I press her again, smile at her and give her the “Job well done” signal.  Hudu walks away pensive and racks his staff, rejoining Huntu at their table.  They talk rapidly and seriously.  Huntu signals for me to stop and come to their table.

Huntu speaks low while Hudu pretends to be giving me hell over something. “We have better plan now.  Have access to repair hangar for carriers.  Four large ones in for drive upgrade and one for burned flue.  Have friend in hangar, knows of plan, wants to join.  We can get carriers repaired, tested and ready in five, maybe six days.  Four carriers for sure, maybe five.”

“You trained in carrier piloting?” I ask him.

“No, only in yard, not in difficult conditions or terrain or when in heavy load.  Need trained pilots.  Friend in hangar, he good.  Need three, maybe four more pilots.  Or I can do if I get instruction and follow leader.” 

“This is good,”  I say, “do you know anything about the attack on the city?  Is it going to last?”

“Enemy dug in and using mid-range weapons on walls.  We are training ground troops to flush out and try maybe do what call pincer movement on them. Cut off reinforcements.  If enemy get no additional support from Estáan battle last maybe couple weeks, no more.”

“That is good too.  We are moving in the right direction.  This is time of big storms now so we can prepare to move in the next one.  There should be desert storms at the same time; there usually is.  I can get many women to join the escape but we need as many men preferably.  How many can a carrier transport take with weapons and provisions?”

Huntu replies, “Eight would be best.  It could handle ten depending on supplies.”

“Does this include the pilot?”  I ask him.  I need accuracy here, to get my complement of women together.

“Yes counts include all bodies.  So if get four vehicles, we take forty people.  Better like thirty two to thirty six.”

I return to the training until it is time to rack up the weapons, wash and eat.  We sit silently at our tables and soon the servers bring the food.  Tieka brushes my neck and whispers the kitchen Cydroid wants to know about transportation.  I quickly tell her we have a guarantee four large carrier transports with the possibility of five.  I add that each can carry eight to ten people depending on load of supplies. She tells me that two other kitchen gorok want to join our escape and have been briefed by one of the YBA Cydroids.  Again, this is good.  I enjoy the challenge but also the smoothness of this crazy plan. 

Two days later, with storms galore in the offing and the battle intensifying to the north of the city I have my complement of 18 women for the escape.  All are young and tough, including Tieka, for her desire not to fight has nothing to do with heart.  Quite the opposite.  She has declared her willingness to fight as well as anyone to defend the group.  News from the hangar indicate that the transports will be ready.  Three have already been tested but to avoid conscription by the military the head engineer has declared them as yet unfit for use.  They are parked, fuelled and ready.  Two to go. 

Via Tieka I hear there’s activity in the doctor’s place.  He has returned and gone to the false King with our plan.  We will get three of our pilots directly from the palace and they will join our escape.  So for the male complement, I’m still short.  I’ve got Hudu and Huntu, two from the hangars, both pilots, three from the palace, also pilots so we have extra should something happen to one of them.  Two Cydroids will also accompany the escape and will return with one of the carriers afterwards, crashing it into the deep desert and finding their way on foot to their landing site where they will join seven others in the ship and return to Koron.

Meanwhile under orders from the King much work is being done on the sensors and alarm systems all over our compound ostensibly to bolster security against infiltration by Estáani special forces.  That’s the other part of the plan happening.  The shunts are being installed by Bal’s trusty crew right under the noses of security people and the small complement of guards, mostly older men judged unfit for the rigors of open warfare in the sands.

It’s time for me to risk it all.  I carefully approach trainers I’ve done favours for over the years and explain our plan, one to one.  The life of trainers is boring, dull and dangerous in its own way.  They are often held responsible if a fighter fails her owner in some costly way.  They can be killed or ‘punished’ in a number of ways.  I offer them the dangers of freedom.  I gain five men that way. I need three more at the very least and more if possible; if we get the fifth carrier repaired on time.  Two of the handlers I consider close to friends and trustworthy, within limits. 

I approach them with my crazy idea of being free men to live with their own woman on an island in the sea with nothing to do but fish a little each day and wait for her to bring the cooked and prepared food.  “You could build a boat from trees that grow there and go sailing around the island and no one would ever be able to tell you where to go or what to do.  You can have your son to be with you, to teach and become your heir.  As it is none of you can ever afford to buy a son from the crèches, right?  You can’t have your own woman to lie down with in the night or to chase on the warm sands to catch and make love to whenever you feel the need.  What future do you have in this place?  If the wars get worse you will be sent out in the desert to get killed for people you hate anyway and what will you be protecting here?  None of it is yours.  You are as much slaves as we are.”

They have simple minds and I’m not really lying.  It could be the good life they all dream of sometimes.  I gain three men that way and stop my recruiting.  That’s it; we have our complement and are set.  Now it’s up to the engineers, the Cydroids and the weather.  We wait. Was it too easy? I feel serious discomfort in my mind but cannot locate the source. Maybe I’m nervous. Maybe I just want it all to be over.

End blog post #102

Addendum to Professional Driving Course T-18 (2006)

for British Columbia, Canada
(Humorous short story – some of you may relate even. As the date says, this was written while I still drove for Coca Cola, something to entertain fellow drivers. Some thought it was funny, some didn’t get it and wanted an official copy from ICBC – the provincial ministry in charge of drivers’ licenses)

Dear students,

You have graduated from Professional Driving T-18. Congratulations. The following is intended to help you make sense of all that you have studied and practiced in the last 6 months. There is no extra charge for this information but we would encourage you all to read through these following pages and think about it. This information, while not an official part of the course, was collated from interviews with long-time professional drivers who, upon retiring, wanted to share some of their observations.

This section is called “Moving Obstacles.”

The road is your friend. When out on the road, remember to look at the road. It will always try to tell you what to expect as you travel along it. However, the road is not a free entity. Before you got on it, there were already other things moving on it. We call these things “moving obstacles.” They will resemble vehicles, for the most part, but sometimes will also resemble human beings or animals. Do not let that fool you. They are just moving obstacles.

Moving obstacles will be found ahead of you, behind you, coming at you from side roads or simply wandering along with no fixed destination. Some will be faster, some slower and some will be immobile. Do not let any of that disturb you. If a moving obstacle is in front of you, do not get too close. You can never know what it will do next. Moving obstacles do not, as a general rule, obey any known (or de-listed) traffic laws. Remember that these MO’s (as we shall so designate them) do not possess any intelligence or common sense. When interacting with them, you are entirely on your own. Do not assume anything. It is very important to note that MO’s and their cargo are incapable of understanding that road laws apply to them.

Let us give you some examples of what we are talking about.

If there is a double yellow line and an MO is stuck on your tail, do not speed up or slow down. Ignore it. Chances are it will suddenly veer to your left and attempt to zoom past you. That is normal. Let it go. Sometimes you will observe a strange movement of the hand coming from what is referred to as “the driver” – a human-like object sitting prone directly behind the steering wheel of the MO. The hand jerks up and a middle finger tends to spring up and remain stuck in an upright position. That is perfectly OK. This condition is common but not life-threatening. The human-like object can still function with its other hand – which will probably be occupied holding a small black or shiny grey object called a cell phone to the ear. All is fine. The MO is designed to handle such situations for short periods on straight roadways. Hold back and let it go. It may swerve back in its intended lane ahead of you, or if the road suddenly curves, may disappear off the road or crash into another MO. That’s totally normal. Remember students, you are not getting involved. Just keep watching the road. You have a schedule to keep. 

How to reason MO encounters.

We would instruct you to think of MO’s this way: Think of walking along the side of an unstable mountain. Suddenly you hear a rumble above you. You look up and see rocks begin to tumble down towards you. Using common sense, you will instantly know that such loose rocks will generally obey some simple rules of physics. They will tumble downhill towards you depending upon their shape and size, the make-up of their path, the pitch of the hill and force of gravity. You already know that stopping and screaming at them will make no difference. Running at them or downhill away from them will only result in them crashing into you. The only thing to do is to move either left or right away from their path. They will tumble past you and come to rest eventually at the bottom of the hill. So it is with MO’s. They obey certain very simple rules, which have, we repeat, nothing to do with man-made laws. Let them go. We cannot emphasize this too much.

If you are following an MO and it keeps changing its speed, keep your distance. Possibly it is looking for some egress from its current trajectory. If it signals to turn right, do not assume anything. It is just as likely to turn left. If it begins to pull over, do not begin to think it is parking. It may suddenly jerk forward again, without any warning. If it signals to turn left and moves way over to the right shoulder, then stops for no obvious reason, do not confront it. It will only get angry and react, involving you in a stupid accident in which you will be at fault. Patience is a virtue: use it when dealing with MO’s.

Remember: no intelligence rides with these constructs. You cannot reason with them. 
Never get angry at an MO. This is a total waste of time and dangerous. Think of them as wild animals and yourself on a touring safari. Remember that MO’s are an absolute necessary part of the whole “road show” system. You cannot destroy them, however much you think they deserve it. The System depends heavily on their willingness to throw money away along the road. That money is sometimes used in the maintenance of your friend, the road. Killing an MO is not only illegal, it would be stupid. Allow them to go ahead of you. The police enjoy chasing them and are likely to be preoccupied ticketing them while you blissfully pass on by. Businesses thrive because of them, keeping some of your costs lower. Politicians love them (hence why they are protected) because anytime they want to win an election, they put up signs that say things like, “Your tax dollars at work” and pretend to “fix” a piece of road. The human-like objects inside the MO’s are entitled to vote and some of them will respond to the gimmick and elect that “road fixer” politician.

Sorry students, we did not mean to get political. All we wanted to do was equip you to survive your first year as a BC certified professional driver.

Good luck and happy roads to you!

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #101

“Part three of the plan is much more chancy.  We need a particularly wicked desert wind storm combined with strong electrical discharges and heavy banks of clouds to blind any satellite sensors that may be operating.  We think there may be some but we have not found them while passing out of the atmosphere.  We do not think this world is under long-range interplanetary watch.”
End blog post #100

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Start blog post #101

“I’m getting truly frustrated with all of this Yoba Four.  The sensors are on Albaral.  Why can’t you understand this?  Why this blindness to what that thing is for?  Even the women slaves here know this.  What do you hold sacred about that construct that you won’t accept its evil presence as regards this world?”

“We’ve investigated it at length Antierra.  We think you have become somewhat bewitched by the local legends and are looking for something to blame, something easy to find, visible, obvious, for the troubles of this world.  We don’t believe you, or the people because there are no signals, no known kind of communication, happening between Albaral and this planet.  What sort of probe would be working there that people can sense but our own sophisticated technology remains unable to pick up?”

“Maybe I can explain that, or at least point in some possible direction.  Can your “sophisticated technology” discern between a ‘normal’ human and a Cholradil?”

“Pardon me?”  She is genuinely bemused by my question and it’s as if lights are going off in that Cydroid brain of hers.  “Are you saying the probes emanating from Albaral could be some sort of naturally empathic signals which our probes do not detect but some higher life-form long ago knew how to manipulate and some may be doing so now?” 

“My Altarian teachers say, “Believe all things, believe in nothing.”  It has served me well.  I discount no possibility simply because it seems impossible.  I just accept it’s something I as yet, cannot understand but if my mind has created the possibility in thought, that now exists in ‘real’ time for me.  Thus Albaral is our information gathering and disseminating device.  How it does it, and to what input it is responding, I cannot tell.  But here’s a scenario that might interest your Cydroid mind.

“On Túat Har circa C-20, C-21 Earth time, it was possible for certain groups to own orbiting satellites and rent space/time on them to other groups who used satellite communication but could not afford to put their own in orbit, or opted for renting instead.  Now think thus.  Albaral is “owned” by some consortium on a distant planet, say Ditani and some group on Ditani have, as you do, a “plan” for Malefactus that has to do with total control and manipulation of the population; that depends for reasons known only to them and a small secret society group here, on promoting and maintaining misogyny as a modus operandi.  The local group, and probably some locals also involved in the plan then “rent” space on Albaral, using its communication facilities to watch, record and warn of events on Malefactus.  The probes are programmed to search for certain patterns and report immediately when a pattern breaks, weakens or strengthens.  Thus they plot a course to make necessary corrections and maintain their delicate and deadly status quo.  Perhaps Yoba Four, their hold on this world is not as strong as they’d like all to believe.  Of course this is only one scenario.

“I realize there are a host of holes in my theory but it is still something to build on or work at dismantling to arrive at some truth.  Still better than blowing smoke rings in the fog.”

“???”  She has a comical quizzical look from raised eyebrows that makes me laugh.

“Just ask Cedric what that means.  He’ll be delighted to explain it to you.  It does not originate on Túat Har but from a place inhabited mostly by people we call “Dwarves” who are very fond of smoking pipe tobacco.  Their world of tall mountains, deep ravines and countless streams and rivers bordered by giant ever-yellow torias, trees that rise to as much as five hundred to one thousand meters in the air, is regularly hemmed in by thick fogs for weeks on end.  The dwarves are not affected by this as they do not guide themselves with their weak eyesight but use their feet to ‘talk’ to the ground, much as we do on Altaria.  Anyway, interesting saying, as full of legend as is the dateless gloomy Dwarf world of Takkar.  You should make a note to visit there some day.”    

She nods non-committal.  “I’m more interested in having time someday to record your tales in my mind.  I find the way you move your information around, generating new ideas from contact nodes and particularly when you switch to your alter-ego Al’Tara persona, extremely seductive.  I want to swim inside your brain and travel your neuron pathways to worlds I could never construct in mine.”

“Are you saying you believe I’m making this up as I go along just to get you to believe in my viewpoint?”
 
“I’ve reserved judgment on your stories.  For now I must decide if this view of Albaral merits cipher time and how to analyze what you’ve forced me to consider here.  The implications are somewhat frightening to us because this means our presence here, our “safe” comings and goings in the small ship we hide in the desert may already be known and our destination plotted by some group that may use us to establish a similar foothold on Koron.  Our presence here may be putting our own world at risk…  I must speak to doctor Echinoza before we do anything else.” 

“Where is doctor Echinoza if it is proper to ask?”

“In the south with my sister.  He was in a dangerous mood so she decided to go on a tryst with him.  It always brings him back to us.”

“Why does he stay here if his mind is being perverted so?”

“His choice.  He wants to conclude a plan to which he has dedicated his life.  He wants to understand this power that manipulates the minds of the people here.  He also hopes to introduce some antidote that will destroy this mind-virus.  His dream parallels yours Antierra.  That is why you fascinate him so.  I will trance-call YBA5 and they should return within 3 or 4 days, depending on his state of mind.  She won’t return with him until he’s back to his normal self. 

“And meanwhile?” I ask her.

“You choose to do what you must, what you can.  Return to the training and sleeping compound, talk to the principals and their supporting groups as much as you can or dare and get everyone prepared for the great miracle of Hyrete, our great escape.  Get them excited about it while cautioning them to remain calm.  I’m sure they’ll know already but the young ones are always dangerous in such matters.”

Our conversation is interrupted by a loud booming noise and crashing from farther battlements.  More of the keep crumbling, no doubt, but what was the boom we just heard?  We look at each other and she motions me to silence, bowing her head and ‘trancing’ to members of her family in the keep.  She is expressionless during whatever information sharing they do.  When she speaks again there is a touch of sadness in her eyes.

“A small but very well armed mobile land force has attacked Hyrete.  To what end, we do not know.  Many people were crushed under the falling stones.  I feel terribly constrained that neither you nor I can go over and help in the rescue.  Only three of ours can be involved since they are…” Another loud bombardment, the certain explosion of small concussion missiles hit the old walls and more crumbling can be heard.  We hold each other and wait it out.  I can now begin to ‘feel’ the additional pain added to this place’s burden of suffering.  It comes at first as a constricting of the heart, then a throbbing in the head.  Yoba Four cuts the stim cube she must have retrieved from Cedric and gives me a half, storing the other for some other time.  I take it without hesitation and regain some of my composure.

She continues, “Only three of us are cleared as legitimate staff in this place.  The rest, we are nine in all now, must exist in hiding.  What we could do with our medical expertise and healing powers now.” 

We hear footsteps coming towards the doctor’s office.  Yoba Four disappears instantly inside some secret passage and I stand by the door, head bowed.

A guard in a brown uniform stands in the door as it slides open to admit the human.  He looks around.  “You gora, where is doctor?”

Without lifting my head I say, “He not here.  I wait, nothing.  He gone, not tell.  Please take to compound now, I frightened here.”

I hear another guard in the yard.  “The ignorant gora won’t be any help, I told you.  Let it go back to its compound and see if we can find more defenders.  Told you last week we should have patrols at the old perimeter.  Shit.  You, gora, follow guard.” 

I meekly and quietly step behind the two men who take me to the compound.  Once there, I am handed to a trainer who happens to be Hudu.  He takes me in hand and asks if I need to eat.  I nod ‘no’ and he locks me in my cage where I’m confronted with a surprise.  Both Tieka and Zel are there.  We quickly huddle together more from joy than need for comfort.  I may certainly enjoy my moments with Cedric, Cydroids and Balomo for the challenge to my intellect but this is my family.  I belong in this cage with these women. 

Now we can talk, since by signal and touch I’m assured that all those around us listening want to be included in our plans and want to help in any way possible.  As simply and briefly as possible I relate some of what the Cydroid told me about the planned escape.  I can sense the excitement among the listeners, especially with Zel and Tieka.  A dangerous point where hope can rise too fast and blow the top off its human containers.  I strive to bring down their enthusiasm to a safer level by listing the many real dangers those who choose to escape will certainly encounter before they reach any safe zone, and even then they will not be entirely safe. 

I force them to consider this, emphasizing that only by a miracle would all of them reach their destination alive.  I speak of the carriers which, if found, may be overloaded and crash, or succumb to the action of sand and wind in the desert storms.  I speak to them of the many hundreds of kilometres to cross with no access to cover or water.  Of roaming tribes of black people who hunt down trespassers in their territories and ritually kill them to eat.  Of giant snakes in the badlands beyond the borders of the desert.  But the gravest danger remains the possibility of discovery by computer sensors and being chased by Hyrete police, Elbre military forces or worse, hunted down by bounty hunters.  A shiver passes through me as I remember, so vividly, my first encounter with these hunters of human beings.  The group gathered around me feels my pain and remains silent.

End blog post #101

The Russians And The Chinese Are Your Enemy

Yes – there you have it. Now go ahead and call this more conspiracy theory…

Tales from the Conspiratum 3

The Russians and the Chinese are your enemy.
Not the oligarchic class in your own country that has been exploiting, propagandizing, deceiving, oppressing and robbing you every moment of your life since you were born.
The Russians and the Chinese.

The Russians and the Chinese are your enemy.
Not the people who have been engineering and advancing endless bloodbaths around the world at no benefit to you using your money and your resources and your political energy.
The Russians and the Chinese.

The Russians and the Chinese are your enemy.
Not the political/media class and their plutocratic puppeteers who’ve been manipulating your mind to accept omnicide, ecocide, austerity and increasingly Orwellian dystopia as normal and not to be opposed.
The Russians and the Chinese.

The Russians and the Chinese are your enemy.
Not the sociopathic manipulators who give you two thieving, warmongering…

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Dallas

Periodically I run a short story of mine here. Most of those pass by unobtrusively, a few likes, rarely a comment. I think it’s because most of my stories are parables that contain too damn much “Shatarian flossofy” that spoils the entertainment value. The odd time though, I can contain my exuberance and just tell a story.  Maybe this is such an odd time. Enjoy anyway.  Thanks for reading.
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Dallas was a week from her 15th birthday when she disappeared. I am her older brother by almost 2 years. My name is Greg, or for some, Gregory, 3rd oldest of five siblings. Home is Hope, a small town at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley, if you will. The house is in an older subdivision on the way to Kawkawa lake. Not much ever happens in Hope and Dallas’ disappearance created quite a stir for the next year, until nothing was discovered or found and like so many, Dallas’ fate entered the missing persons’ growing police files.
Needless to say, the family was not the same after that. Mom was disconsolate but adamant that Dallas was just “lost” as she put it, that nothing had happened to her. She managed to communicate this feeling to me and upon graduating from Hope Secondary, I decided to go in search of Dallas.
There wasn’t much to go by, but I knew Dallas intimately – we were more than siblings, we were close friends, and I knew a lot of things about Dallas that she had not shared with any one else. I knew that she was restless, not close to anyone and tired of being “mom’s girl” at home. Dallas had grown wings prematurely and wanted to try them out. She had talked to me about leaving home many times but it was always something in the future, when she was “of age” so to speak. But youth is fed by impatience and Dallas added impetuosity to the volatile mix. Hope and home were much too constricting for someone like her. I could remember her flashing dark brown eyes and black pony tail swinging back and forth when she entered into an argument about something she felt deeply about, and Dallas felt deeply about everything.
So, with only mom knowing my plans, and a little over 2 years since Dallas had gone missing; with some money from an uncle’s inheritance, I set out on my private search for her.
I went west, to the city and port of Vancouver. After settling down I focused on doing research on teens running away from home. I did a lot of work to create a working pattern. I rented cheap accommodations where I set up my notebook and bluetooth mini printer. I transcribed my notes from the day’s search into computer files and printed pictures of Dallas to put on posts, bulletin boards or to pass around. I got to know a few city police detectives on missing kids detail and everyday was a new learning experience. I won’t bore you with the endless false leads, and the sick people trying to cash-in on leading me to Dallas. I learned to smell them out pretty quickly. And all the while, I discovered the dark heart of a modern megalopolis.
Having made my peace with the reality of the city I knew that anything was possible. I interacted with prostitutes, pimps and massage parlours, any sort of place or business that might provide a haven for underage female runaways. I didn’t think Dallas would go that route but desperation narrows choices. On the other side, I frequented movie sets where a young girl’s ID might not be checked too closely when an extra was needed in a hurry. I checked the Internet for ads and agencies that placed babysitters or nannies.
It was a strange time. The more I came up blank, the more convinced I became that I was on Dallas’ trail and would find her.
I dreamt about her sometimes, and every dream showed me this: that she was not only all right, but had found herself and was happy with her new life. Sometimes I met her in a restaurant where she waitressed, or in a rich household where she worked as a nanny. There was always that mischievous look in her eyes, the twinkling that said, “I have a secret and I won’t tell you what it is until and unless you discover it for yourself.” Then she would laugh and the dream would end.

I emailed or texted mom fairly regularly, skipping many details but reassuring her that I was not only still looking, but increasingly sure that I would find Dallas and that she would be well. Often I would get a simple reply: “Thank you, Gregory, thank you. – Mom”
It occurred to me, after over a year, and a third of my funds gone, to combine my search with some practical course on private investigating and journalism. Within a few months I felt confident that I had enough horse sense and street smarts to try working. I answered an ad from a family looking for their disappeared son. I visited the people and explained what I was doing in Vancouver and convinced them that I knew enough to be of value to them. We settled on a fee and I added 14 year old “William” to my search query, creating a new set of patterns. Not surprising (to me) I found William with a group of Lost Boys downtown, trying to earn some money washing windshields at intersections.
Once I was sure of him, I waited for a chance and approached him as casually as I knew how, offering him a small amount of money if he would run an errand for me. He was hungry and broke and completed the errand in record time. Before I paid him, I told him his name and asked him if he ever thought about returning home.

“You a f…king cop?” he snarled and almost bolted from the outdoor table I had chosen for the exchange. I gently but firmly put my hand on his arm.
“Oh, don’t be stupid, Will. A cop wouldn’t ask you to run an errand. I wanted you to have that to think about before I talked to you.”
“So what’s the deal? Why do you care who I am or what I do?”
“Should be obvious – I’m a private investigator hired to find you, and I found you. I can have you home within the hour… if you’ll let me. Hey, it’s no skin off my nose if you run, I get paid regardless. I report that I found you, the location, and that you took off. Doesn’t sound too smart to me, though. Whatever caused you to run in the first place couldn’t have been that serious, and it’s been 6 months. I think it’s time for you to go home, finish school, then think about leaving with your head high this time, with a job or a degree at least. You’re not a poor homeless kid, William. You’re a spoiled Yuppie brat who may just have learned a valuable lesson now. You can take advantage of that. You know what gets you the farthest in life? Self-discipline. You can do it to wash windshields, surely you can do it to a greater end than that.”
So I returned a subdued William to his grateful parents. And I found other jobs; learned to collaborate with some of the undercover cops and my life slowly changed, but my purpose remained steadfastly the same: to find Dallas. Another year went by and I figured most would have given up by now. But something was inextricably linked in my mind: Dallas and the City. Dallas and I. All three of us were drawing together, I could sense this.
The City, as ugly and frightening as it had appeared at first, was definitely growing on me. I saw her gross sins and could forgive many of them. I interacted with her victims, the rich and the poor, and found out many didn’t mind being victims and I learned to accept that. And I wrote all of that down in my notes and began to feed some of my impressions to the borderline underground press that proliferated in the City. I deliberately used my real name to sign my articles and made sure it appeared frequently. I made a couple of “appearances” on radio talk shows about my work on the street, and what I had learned in interaction with the “Wendy’s” and the “Lost Boys,” as I called the runaways; their pimps, employers, lovers, and mentors.
And as I somehow knew it would, it happened: I found Dallas. She did investigating for a couple of Internet news blogs between other jobs, and she saw my name on an article, found the radio program on the Internet and contacted me by email. My heart soared as old Chief Dan George would have said. We chose to meet in a Starbucks, neutral grounds. I was there early because I wanted to watch her walk in; wondering how much she’d changed; if I would recognize her.
I had no trouble recognizing her face. Her hair was longer, no longer in a pony tail but allowed to flow freely thick over her shoulders. She appeared a bit taller, slimmer certainly, and much older. She wore a brown fake leather jacket and a short blue skirt and knee-length high heeled black boots. But that dark brown-eyed twinkle was as bright as ever.
“Dallas!” I couldn’t help calling as she looked over the crowd and line-ups. She saw me and smiled. It was still that special smile she used on me when we were “kids” it seemed so long ago. She came over, hugged me and went to get an espresso. I watched her, the poise, the certainty, the assurance. I should not have been surprised, but I was regardless. I couldn’t help but remember that she had not yet turned 15 when she left home and Hope to find herself. And I though it uncanny how right both mom and I had been about her. Except that she was never lost: she had her own map, her own destination and her own destiny to fulfill. And as I watched that young woman interacting with the guy behind the counter, I realized what her mind had told her, those eventful years ago: “It’s time Dallas. Leave – now, or forfeit your purpose. They will take you, when you come of age; when you have graduated, or earned a degree, and they will file you, pigeon-hole you, and you will become the living dead, just like your parents, your teachers, the adults you see on TV and meet in the stores. They will make you fit in. You’ll get married, get a house and stuff, have kids, part-time brain dead job, and walk the treadmill until you die. Walk away now, Dallas. You can do it.”
And, she had.
We didn’t talk very long that morning. I was on a case and she had reports to file, so we decided to meet at my place. Hers she said, was a bit crowded; she lived with two other women, one of whom was her lover – for the time being – she added with that twinkle. “Neither one of us is ready to settle, and I don’t think I want a serious relationship, at least not for a long time.”
She came to my place and having settled my case that afternoon and gotten paid, I got the goodies and wine and we talked, basically all through the night. And although the question was burning on my tongue, I never asked her why she hadn’t contacted mom, nor whether she would now. It didn’t seem appropriate and besides, she was the one asking the questions.
“OK, so I can see mom would try to put you up to this, but why did you come looking for me, Greg? Why didn’t you just let it go? Huh? She got up abruptly from the chair, sending it flying ass over tea kettle, turned, grabbed it and threw it back on its feet. She turned her back to me and talked: “I’ll tell you why you came to find me. You didn’t believe that I was lost. I became an opportunity for you, didn’t I. An excuse to leave also. Romance, excitement, feelings, emotions, so many things that tend to get bottled up in a small town stuck against a mountain and a river, things that can be let loose and expressed in countless ways, good and bad, here in the metro. You wanted what I had discovered. And you wanted to find me to prove to yourself that you had found it too. You followed me, not to find me, though that was your intent, but to find yourself. You were the one who was lost, Gregory. You were never going to find yourself in Hope, or in whatever institution you ended up working for. You sensed it, and you found my map in your mind, where I left you a copy. So, have you found yourself, Greg?”
She turned just as abruptly, leaned down with both hands flat on the small table and literally stared into my soul. She smiled thinly and sat down to sip some more wine. She waited for my answer.
“You are right, Dallas. The commitment, the gallantry, the chivalry, call it whatever you will, that was the cover story. The underlying motive was romance. I would do something different, and I had you to light my way. And Dallas?”
“Yes?”
“What a light you turned out to be!” She smiled again, and her eyes were wet, as were mine. We finished the wine and I called a taxi to take her home. We hugged once more just before she got in the car. She picked up the dragging edge of the long trench coat she was wearing and I closed the door, watching her disappear in the early morning mist and smog.
And the City stood surrounding us, neither smiling nor frowning, withholding comment and judgment.

There are Moments

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

There are moments in my (aging) life when I become severely aware of how brief one physical human life is. I don’t live in that awareness of course but when I enter into it I can so keenly sense the past(s) and the future that beckons with its magical offerings of (mostly) unknowable possibilities and impossible to make choices. There is a dangerous longing in this greater awareness and confusion as well.

It confuses me because it does not fit the “normal” time of this world and it is this time that anchors me here, as contradictory as it seems. This particular life is the picket my ever-expanding life-leash is attached to. Until death do us part, that is. But what is death? It’s a birth canal, I suppose, a transfer from one world reality into another totally new and unexpectable or unpredictable.

That ever expanding leash is the sum total of my remembrances and memories. The longer it extends, the shorter any incarnated life will seem, of course and I’ve managed to extend that leash substantially in this life. I’m kind of proud of that actually. I’ve been hoarding some precious things this time around, things I now know I get to “take with me” because I’ve securely made them a part of me; of what I am. I have mentally evolved myself in an irrevocable fashion – a fashion not very popular on earth, I have to add. I have gathered for myself those treasures that no thief can steal, no moth can eat, no rust can destroy. Why? Because they are non-material treasures. 

In this very short life that is about to end I’ve managed to trade in a lot of petty earlier acquisitions for some serious ones. For example, I’ve traded in most of my emotional baggage, a lot of it from past lives and much of it held on to for purely egotistical reasons. I thought if something was “fun” or “exciting” once, with my experiences I could improve on that, make the same moves more fun or exciting. I learned that was silly because there was no substance in that suitcase full of emotional baggage. I got a little bag to keep some of it and ditched the suitcase. Done and done. Instead I’ve learned about self empowerment; about detachment; about joy and sorrow. I’ve taught myself the true meaning of ‘love’ which is spelled ‘compassion’ and I’ve activated my own sense of empathy. I’ve learned to manipulate energy so as to be able to give without expecting to receive in return because I can extract my spiritual and mental energetic needs from myself.

Sometimes I can actually see the “gateway” I will soon be standing in front of and I get shudders. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve stood in front of such a gateway there is no memory of how it was before. Because we mutate with each incarnation we are never the same when we approach the gateway, and it is never the same gateway. Each one leads to a different reality based on the message it receives from your mind, hence the shudder: it’s totally unpredictable and a little bit scary.

OK, it’s unavoidable so… go! Jump! And that’s what we do isn’t it. Believer or not, prepared or not, we all make the jump and we all end up somewhere. This last time that somewhere was here, as it was for all of you! I don’t know if I’d ever met any of you (all of you who crossed my own path in this life) but now we have. For lesser or greater memories! I don’t know if any of us will ever meet again – possibly if we have unfinished business. None of that matters at this point, does it.

I remember saying to some, “I’ll see you again on the other side.” and only recently did I come to realize how childish that is. Considering an infinity beyond size or boundaries of space or time, it’s silly to say, “I’ll see you again.” Such a limiting statement, such attachments deny one the freedom offered by a cosmic infinity. This reminds me of a poem a friend wrote some time back which said, let me live a full and vibrant life that leaves no path, not even a footprint to entice anyone else to try to follow into. That is total detachment. That is self empowerment.

This is April 2020. I see and read about a lot of frightened, confused, even angry people. Needy people who want to be safe, protected, felt sorry for, dependent, needy for collective support and agreement and very confused. You know what I’m referring to and this may be a good place to mention that if there really is a truly deadly killer virus about, I can think of one good reason for it, never mind all the theories and beliefs.

Mankind has allowed itself the unthinkable luxury of growing its population and a gargantuan technological society that is literally eating everything this world had to offer in terms of comfortable survival for all. Eight billion individuals(and growing) wanting and needing and taking, contributing absolutely nothing to their natural environment(!) when it is calculated that one billion is a maximum number in a fair exchange situation.

Isn’t it conceivable that if there is such a thing as a smart nature, or a Gaian super-organism, call it what you will, sooner than later the axe is going to fall and mankind will be called to account for engaging the greatest crime of all: ecocide.

It may seem contradictory but it’s in times when I feel the strongest attraction to my gateway that Earth’s condition appears the most poignant. I look back at what I’m about to leave and I have to ask myself: what has man accomplished that stands superior to anything natural life has to offer?

Not a thing. Not one single thing. Quite the opposite, in fact.   

 

 

 

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #100

True Avatari teach detachment and self-empowerment in all things.  We do not create dependents just as we are not dependent.  Our home is the cosmos and together we seek to shape it to the betterment of all life as it reveals itself and its chosen purpose. 

Remember this also, that truth as it self-defines with each sacred breath you take of life is characterized by simplicity.  Evil, being its opposite, is characterized by complexity.  With this information you can readily identify the true nature of the forces who vie for control of your life.

End blog post #99
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Start blog post #100

Chapter 39 – A Daring Escape Plan Revealed – More Troubles

It has been decided that I can remain ‘here’ for a two day recuperation and rest period.  After some discussion I opt for one day.  I am eager now to return to the women and assess the results of our decision to find a way for Tieka and Hudu, Zel and Huntu and whomever else would dare it, to escape from Hyrete into the deep desert and eventually beyond the land of the black people, into the far south.  In speaking to some of the women I found out there may be lands, or islands of sorts not inhabited where escaped slaves may be able to create some kind of life and perhaps begin the task of building a counter-culture to the misogynist powers ruling Malefactus.  I take several deep breaths as YBA4 finishes her scans and proceeds to offer me a full-body massage which I cannot refuse.

She expertly and effortlessly rolls me over facing down and begins.  I feel I may fall asleep so I ask her my burning question in a voice muffled by the mattress:

“Yoba Four, what lies beyond the Great Desert, to the south, beyond the land of the black people?”

“Interesting question.  You’ve never shown much interest in T’Sing Tarleyn geography or topography.  May I ask why you wish to know this?”

“Could you just answer my question without another question, please?”

“Certainly.  The Great Desert is where nothing at all grows.  It is two great sections that practically circumscribe all equatorial regions.  Two hundred kilometres below where we are it thins to a narrower centre providing a (relatively speaking) shorter way across.  Beyond lie plains of rolling hills of semi-arid country where only plants living on condensation can grow; where finding water is almost impossible as most of it flows hundreds of meters below the surface. Beyond that along a wide strip are the lands of the black people as they are called because their skin, unlike the citified T’Sing Tarleynans, tans dark under the sun.  These are tribal peoples with a strict patriarchal structure and as everywhere else on this world, the women are slaves.  They are cannibals and of extreme and violent temperament.  It is perilous to venture on foot across those lands.

Without raising my head to reply I mumble in the cover sheet, “Yes, I’ve encountered a black challenger in a fight long ago.  He wasn’t a pleasant character.  I remember he wanted to eat me, not fight me.  Considered being pitted against a female fighter to be a great dishonour.”

“That is their way.  Beyond that land lies the southern ocean with thousands of kilometres of flat white sandy shores broken up with oases where pressurized water forced from the lower continents strata surfaces before flowing into the sea.  Trees resembling palms and dates grow there, as well as the amazing dollam bushes with their sweet water laden, edible leaves which are about a centimetre thick and average twenty centimetres across.  Delicious, juicy and available year round, though not as filled in summer.”  She brings her lips together in a sucking sound at the memory of them.  “Beyond this polar ocean the basic topography repeats.  I am told that ocean is rich in mineral deposits and has countless islands scattered all over the central polar area.  Oh, and of interest to the nature of your question, the orbit of the satellite asteroidal moon Albaral does not pass over that area.”

“So you’ve guessed why I asked you this question?”

She flips me over again, now facing her.  “Oh no, I did not guess.  I used mind touch.  You were so willing to share your dream with me, I thought it proper to do so.  Why won’t you ask my family and doctor Echinoza to help you in this venture, Antierra?”

“Simple Yoba Four.  I’ve already jeopardized your mission here and you have saved my life so many times, plus that of Deirdre, how could I impose upon you again, in all conscience?  I was even instrumental in causing the torture death of XBA9!”

“I think you have some serious misunderstanding of this situation. First, you don’t know what our ‘mission’ is here, we’ve never really told you the full story.  We saved your life because it suited our purposes and we did mention to you that from that moment you were a part of our mission as you call it, our group of subversives if you will.  So, really, we are the ones who used you.  And we need you yet.

“We took Deirdre because we needed to discover the secret of her nature in hopes that we could clone others like her.  She fascinates us.” I do not fail to detect the use of the present tense in speaking of Deirdre.  She continues to explain.  “As for the death by torture of XBA9, that was his choice, not yours.  He would have thanked you for providing the experience, and may yet some day.  We don’t die so easily as you know.  Why could we not proceed without the “you owe me, I owe you” human type bargaining?  Like friends; like people who must work together towards a common goal?  Perhaps we should be entertaining this with the avatar, not the slave woman.”

A bit crestfallen, definitely chastened at being found so ‘human’ I reply, “Very well then.  No strings attached, I can understand.  There is a crime being committed in the compound and the cages at this very moment; a terrible crime.  Two women are in love with two men, and they, in turn, love the women.  This is possibly the greatest crime men can commit on this world and the consequences if the love affairs are discovered by the wrong people, will mean terrible punishment for all involved, and you may be sure it will not stop at the four principals, but reach deep into the compounds, wherever the Teaching as I call it, has begun its inroads.  We are speaking here of the potential death by slow torture of several hundred women, perhaps involving many male trainers and handlers as well. 

“I feel it is a foregone conclusion the love affairs will be discovered.  The young trainee called Tieka has determined to refuse to fight because it would dishonour her love for the man Hudu.  That’s the spark that will set the fuel depot on fire, Yoba Four.  To prevent this from happening we need to get these people out of this compound, away from Hyrete, past the dangers you just described and down to the southern sea where they have a chance of surviving.  From my viewpoint, never mind the ‘Avatari possible,’ the obstacles are insurmountable.  I have no idea how to proceed.  All I’ve done so far is speak with the two men and contrived to have their lovers put in the same cage so they can plan something, whatever that be.”

The Cydroid looks sagely at me. “Why don’t we eat now, you need to get your strength back up and I’m finished with the massage.  Then we can check on our resources and compare notes on possibilities.”

I don’t know where she got the food prepared.  It comes in sealed metal containers, cool to the touch, hot inside yet does not appear to have any insulating properties, just a thin metal wall.  The food tastes delicious to me, quite a cut above the sustaining but bland fare of the compound.  When I have eaten two full helpings she offers me a half-glass of red wine.  Wine!  Sadly it’s been such a long time since I’ve tasted anything alcoholic, I do not enjoy the taste but sip on it nevertheless as I listen to her go on about our subject.  She realizes the wine is affecting me as would a drug and takes it away, touching my head to remove the slight headache and unease I feel.  She hands me a glass of juice, cooled to perfection.  I sip and listen.

“As to the love affairs, we’ve been anticipating a re-occurrence of such an event for many years.  We considered it inevitable but were beginning to wonder if we’d see it happen.  This is a good thing and now we have you in the compound to help us develop an escape with more than a chance of success.  We don’t want a repetition of the slaughter that greeted your arrival on this world in 1328.  If we involve ourselves in planning an escape we would consider nothing less than a substantial event involving a force capable of establishing a solid and permanent beach-head in the south, preferably on one of the islands.  If we had such a place we could establish a base there. 

Distance, obstacles and ideally ocean waters, would protect us all from any attack from mainly ground force of the two major powers on this world: Elbre and Estáan.  Neither has any significant navy or air force and whether these traditional enemies would even consider a united attack into the deep south is highly unlikely, though possible. The costs would far outweigh the benefits and that alone speaks volumes in Estáan, if less so in Elbre.” 

I interrupt.  “So if we plan an escape then, you see a massive one, not just the four principals mentioned?”

“Oh yes.  We would anticipate a major break-out.  If we are to go to the trouble of manufacturing a break-down of the security system and create diversions to confuse security people we want significant results for our effort.  Our plan, even before you came on the scene and provided us with new resources, was to bring our entire family here, all fifteen of us, to help in creating the confusion, steal the three to four carriers necessary for the desert crossing, gather the provisions, water, tools and weapons the people will need and get them on their way, each carrier having one of us to operate it.

“Here’s how it plays out.  We infiltrate the security people first, and set up trip switches throughout the compound, setting up a com center here to operate gates, doors, lights, sensors, drawbridges – two of them – if needs be should we feel shooting the carriers over the walls too dangerous due to their heavy loads.  All these fine points would have to be surreptitiously pre-tested to ascertain we have not forgotten anything – even if unlikely because of how we operate in Cydroid common link.  Once our shunts are in place and reliable we would pass word along those chosen for this escape.  That’s where you come in as our main access to the female holding cells, Antierra.  You know these people better than us and you also have an in to the male trainers, handlers and a few guards because of the money you earned them and the fighting tricks you have given them should they ever need to defend themselves without their guns.

“Part three of the plan is much more chancy.  We need a particularly wicked desert wind storm combined with strong electrical discharges and heavy banks of clouds to blind any satellite sensors that may be operating.  We think there may be some but we have not found them while passing out of the atmosphere.  We do not think this world is under long-range interplanetary watch.”

End blog post #100