Category Archives: science fiction

The Antierra Manifesto – Blog post #6

(Continuing with the novel – thank you all for the likes, and the comments!)

[Begin blog post 6]

I begin training.  As I said, I top their tallest man by as much or more than a head and that annoys them because they have failed, on first contact, to intimidate me.  Well, I would have been properly intimidated if I’d known how, and how important it was to their ego that I be!

Now they have to cow me into submission before they put me on display in the arena.  Fighter slaves cannot display any air of pride or superiority.  They fight only because that is their purpose, and to survive another round; their sole reason to exist.  But I refuse to be intimidated.  I am clumsy with the weapons and receive many welts and light cuts. I am tricked into bad moves and tripped to guttural laughter but each time I come back up with increased resolve to get the hang of this hand-to-hand combat idiocy. 

I observe their moves and learn to parry quickly. After a while I go on the attack – and wished I’d been able to tie my hair back – it keeps getting in my face and obstructing my vision. 

An important looking type I take to be an overseer yells a command and three trainers attack me on every side.  I become exasperated by their relentless, persistent rushes and jabs.  One of them keeps jabbing at my still raw branding, laughing every time I wince.  He comes in with his head low and I lay him flat with a sudden and angry side-kick to the head – and where did that come from?  He drops and lays still, face down to the stones.  Weapons drop from his hands.  The other two stop in surprise and outrage.  The overseer yells another command and a man in a white robe runs out and officially terminates the training.  I watch as they roll him over to see a slackened jaw and no sign of life in the body. 

Not even allowed to clean myself up of sweat and blood or take a drink, my wrists are chained behind my back and I’m shackled to a steel post in the center of the yard.  I wait and finally slip down to sit on the cold flagstones whose edges are worn smooth by generations of bare feet running over and slipping on them. 

The usual line-ups for washing and eating take place but no one looks in my direction.  I am being studiously ignored.  No one brings me food or water.

There is a short period of darkness before the false sun, Albaral, rises above the stone battlements but all I hear is the occasional cry of a young woman’s nightmare in the cages.  In the wan light I look down and realize that what I’d thought earlier was some dark stain is dried blood, and it is not mine.

I feel my thirst and hunger; my bruises and cuts.  I feel the bite in the cooling night wind after the previous exertion.  My body shakes and my teeth chatter but I refuse to give in to self-pity.  These are not my feelings.  They belong to someone else.  I have no feelings.  I am not human.  I am a beast from the wilderness.  Think: you must survive this long enough to make some kind of impression upon these people.  Shock – you must shock them out of comfort, expectations and abject acceptance of the way things are.  You must shock yourself in what you can endure, learn and do.  Shock treatment in give and take.  You are a wild animal… I fall asleep to dream of teeth tearing into bare flesh – my teeth or my flesh?

Morning comes and two men come over to me, raise me, and unshackle me from the post.  I’m splashed with ice-cold water  – this seems to be some kind of ritual used to take away your last ounce of resistance.  Still in chains – so tight I cannot feel hands or arms, my hair dripping cold water down my back and front, I’m taken into another yard where a man wearing outlandish dress, a living expression of sartorial confusion, stands.  He turns to look at me.  I stand tall above him.  He reaches up and viciously pinches my face.  I jerk my face from his hand and get a flash of his eyes: they are filled with absolute malice.  He pokes at my goose-pimpled flesh and grunts then nods to some unseen other in a crude hover craft that floats over the ground.  I recognize an antiquated type of manually operated “skimmer” or repulsion-drive vehicle with covered seating for two.  He calls the vehicle over, “Bring the carriage!”  Carriage – what a wonderfully innovative language they have!

I’m taken away, back to the training yard, unchained and fed.  My hands are so numbed the servant girl has to feed me as I cannot hold anything.  There are no implements as normally we scoop whatever food is put in the light metallic bowls with our hands and use the bowls to drink liquids that remain.  So she just scoops the food into my mouth with her bare hand and holds the bowl up so I can drink.  When I’m done – we have a set time to eat – I look into her face to let her know I’m grateful.  She lowers her face to hide in her shoulder-length dark-brown hair and smiles sadly at me. 

The visions of brown-eyed, sad faced girls and young women of Malefactus, I think, will haunt my own visions forever. 

I stand and wait.  A handler in a skin-tight dark green uniform comes to me and tells me that because of my arrogance and my crime, I’m to enter the arena in two days, to die or claim my place in the line-ups.  For now it seems, my “training” is over.  It’s do or die.

“Speak?” I ask huskily.  Without express permission, speaking is considered an offense punishable by death.  He nods affirmatively.

“The man yesterday, what happened?”

“Remember never again ask questions.  He careless, now dead.  Kick broke neck.  Kick now permitted move on fighter list.  Good move, we like, not punished this time.”

“Thank you.”  I feel grateful so hungry do I find myself for any kind word; the irony of his claim that I would not be punished considering the night I just spent completely lost on me.  Much to learn, so much to learn.  To be grateful here is dangerous weakness.  What did he mean by “punished?”  Death by some kind of torture is my guess.  

I lower my eyes to the ground and sense they are pleased.  They have a new “secret weapon” which they hope will bring them fat tips and bribe money.  Yet I know that most of my “moves” were not based on trained skill but simple desperation, the advantage of size and speed and the unorthodox (totally unexpected – including by me!) quality of my fighting.  This could be detrimental should I tire myself out in real combat.  I must remember to maim and kill quickly and without any hesitation or qualm at the very first opportunity.  Can I do that?  Is this the woman who claimed compassion as her modus operandi?  How is it, I wonder, that humans that have gone through generations, centuries, countless lives, of civilizing, can so quickly return to their atavistic blood lust and do or die survival instincts?  Why is it so easy to move backward through time, so difficult to move forward?

In a way, the person I’d evolved into before this incarnation is quickly giving way to this new persona, this Antierra, female gladiator slave on Malefactus and that alters everything.  I know nothing of stack worlds theories or even of purpose at this moment.  I must bury any residual feeling of caring or compassion.  I am a killing machine, nothing else, until the day I am killed in turn.  I shall hold that day at bay for as long as possible, though it does not frighten me.  In my mind I repeat my old Earthian mantra against fear. 

Good! I say to myself in my silent dialogue, you have something to hold on to; you won’t get lost – not this day at least.  And for purpose and passion, let these come fresh to Antierra.   

The man who looked me over was to be my adversary, the “challenger.”  The next day he comes back to observe me again.  Before he can approach me, my wrists are again chained, so afraid are they I will charge him and maybe snap his neck or do some sort of damage.  They have to maintain my reputation for being “The Desert Beast” – and extremely dangerous: makes the pot go up.  I look at that adversary and pity him even though I feel no compassion for him – I cannot afford that at this stage of my game.  I watch as he chooses the swords as our weapons – such a choice being his prerogative.  Adversary and gladiator use the same kind of weapons in any given encounter, though I suspect, based on unasked for information from a trainer that the point on his short sword will have been poisoned or drugged.  I must be very sure never to give him the opportunity to pull it out of its sheath. 

As I watch him fondly handle the weapons, favouring the short sword, I already know how I will kill him.  He will switch his attention for a split second from the rapier to the dagger and I will spit him through the throat.  I feel so sure and so completely deadly — without passion – for beyond this first public kill lies everything I’ve planned to do in this place.   First step: survival. 

[End blog post #6]

The Antierra Manifesto – blog post #5

Continuing with the novel…

Begin blog post #5

Chapter 3 – Malefactus: The Basic Set-up – Learning to Survive

 “One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks; and as one walks, a path comes into being. We make it up as we go, and we make it up by going. (Rebecca Solnit)

Malefactus (my name for this world, the people here call it “T’Sing Tarleyn” (pronounced sintarn) meaning Land of Man)  is a world whose main ruling force can only be referred to as misogyny.  Men rule absolutely and hold all women, without any exception, in total bondage and slavery.  No one escapes, not even those rare ones who are chosen as concubines by the various classes of rulers.  If, or more likely when, his concubine no longer pleases him, he tires of her, or buys a new one to play with, he either kills her himself or has her trained as a gladiator to watch her fight until she is killed, sometimes by a friend to whom he owes a favour.  Sometimes he even does the ‘honour’ and challenges his own concubine to the death.  The outcome is always the same, of course: the concubine is killed.

It is illegal and a crime punishable by death for any man to ‘fall in love’ with a female.  As for the female, her feelings in the matter are not relevant unless she becomes a nuisance, refusing to do what she is ordered or gets pregnant.  Then she is flogged to death.  There are stories of the cruelty of the judges exceeding all bounds: pitting the lovers against one-another in the arena forcing them to fight each other to the death.  They have inducements that leave no choice in the matter, trust me on that.

There are four basic classes of female slaves with few variations.  They are:

Class 01.  Those who bear the children – the birth mothers.  That is their only function.  They are normally artificially impregnated and they give birth.  If they have healthy babies, they get to continue.  One who gives birth to a defective child is killed along with the child.  When they are too old to be birth mothers, they are killed.  Sometimes they are sent to the arena to be disposed of as entertainment value.  In some cases, and in full violation of their own statutes, high members of the aristocracy and royalty will impregnate a birth mother in order to ensure a son of their own loins.  If the intercourse produces a female she may be killed outright or class branded and sold to a crèche.

Class 02.  These are the common labour slaves commonly referred to as goras although that term can be applied to any female anywhere.  This class comprises the vast majority of females and are found everywhere, doing all the menial tasks required and expected by men.  The law is very explicit on this, that these women may never be “used” for sex and if one is raped and it is discovered, or she becomes pregnant, she is killed, along with the rapist if found, indicted and condemned.  Such a thing does happen rather frequently, as one would expect under the circumstances.  “Free” sex is not permitted between men and any class of goras (female slaves).  The reason is simple: men need their energy for fighting, or so it is believed and so it is taught to the boys.  The ‘no sex’ rule is, of course, blatantly violated at every turn: who would enforce it?

Class 03.  The third class of female slaves are the exclusive group of “entertainers” or sex slaves.  These are bred specifically for their attractive bodies and trained in an endless array of sexual skills, including verbal skills, or skill in voice pitch, words, and even foreign languages should some be needed for trading to an enemy for certain considerations, or in exchange for hostages.  Their training is rigorous and if they fail or are not bid for in a certain period of time they are sold as fodder for the arena slaughters.  They are primarily bid upon by the rich and the nobility but also by the merchant class and foreign ambassadors as personal servants or concubines for themselves or their masters.  The few concubines seen are usually from this class.  The lives of these women are short.  Many of these, after they have served their purpose also end their lives in the arena.

Class 04.  The most sought-after and exclusive class are the female gladiators usually referred to as fighters.  These are carefully bred and trained for the single purpose of meeting men in an arena and fighting them, always to the death (but every rule has its exceptions).  It is considered an honour for a man to kill a female gladiator in public and huge sums of money change hands in the crazy gambling that takes place before and during these hand to hand combats.  The female fighters, of course, get no recognition for bravery or endurance, though their owners may get standing ovations when one proves to be a match for several male contenders in a single day.  The lives of these gladiator slaves are even shorter than those of the sex slaves.

 

This can be said: no woman dies of “old age” who has been slated to be a fighter in the arenas of Malefactus.  It can also be said that no woman dies of old age anywhere, in any class of female slave on Malefactus.  Fail at your work and you go to the arena to entertain male challengers and spectators by your bloody death.  Violent death, either by public flogging or in the arena is the only encouragement you get for sticking to your work.  It works.

Sub-classes of female slaves do exist as I discovered later (another hole in my research there!).  A few are bred as healers, for example, but generally lumped in with the sex-slaves.   Some specialize in numbers and are used as accountants or “Processors,” a type of human computer hardly considered to be a living being.  Though their lives may be somewhat safer than most others, they never see anything beyond the rooms where they work, eat and sleep.  

All “harvested” (captured) wild females are automatically branded as slaves in whatever class she seems to fit best, or has the most need of fresh bodies – if they survive the abuse they receive at the hands of their captors before they are auctioned off and bought.  Then they come under the protection of their owners, whatever that may entail.

Now to establish my personal reason for choosing to incarnate on such a world as Malefactus and specifically as a gladiator or as they call us, a fighter.

Having been purchased by a consortium that trains, fights and auctions off gladiators, I am now officially to become a fighter, my training, I understand, to begin immediately.  

A somewhat stocky man whom I take to be a doctor, wearing, it seems to me, nothing other than a white gown zippered down the front and dropping to just above the knees and a pair of sandals, goes over my body, inspecting every orifice.  He takes samples of my hair, skin, blood and vaginal excretions.  He makes me stand spread-eagle with my arms fully extended then proceeds to measure arms, hands, legs, feet, torso, shoulder width, head and neck.  Then I have to stand perfectly straight and he measures my height.  I can see him frowning and his lips move but he says nothing to me.  There is that taboo against “non-essential” verbal communication from men to women also. 

The “doctor” types notes on a small keypad Datacom unit on his left arm and consults briefly with a couple of men I take to be handlers.  They take a memcard from him with what I assume is a copy of his notes and disappear in a small side door while he takes another look at me.  Grabbing a handful of my hair, he pulls my face down and stares intently into my eyes for some moments, frowning even deeper.  He releases my hair, running his fingers through it, turns and walks away through an opening with an automatic door in one of the walls. 

What was he thinking apart from the obvious?  I did notice that unlike the men I’ve seen so far, he is the only one with blue eyes.  Also, his face is much broader and flatter than the others.  His skin is also of a darker hue, tending to olive.  And although I still stand higher than he, he is taller than any one else I’ve seen here.

Well, what else can I do but observe and try to fit in as quickly as possible to avoid further mistreatment or as they call it, ‘punishment’ for violation of rules?

These pleasantries over, I’m taken in hand by men I dub “trainers” and shown some of the various types of weapons gladiators are normally allowed to use.  A spear, or rather a lance, and round shield with a foot long thin spike in the center.  A staff made of some kind of metal alloy and what appears to be fiberglass on hardwood – flexible yet definitely a tough, effective weapon, slightly longer than my body length.  A set of swords, one rapier type with a long thin blade I test and find to be light, flexible and razor-sharp and the other stubby, more like a dagger but with a fiendish toothed point designed to tear chunks out of flesh.  A large, two handed double-edged “standard” sword that reminds me of those wielded by medieval knights on Earth but which I find incredibly light despite its size but still unwieldy if one were small of stature and short-limbed.  Finally I’m handed a battle axe with a straight handle and exaggerated wide cutting blade, the ends of the blade made into sharp points – obviously for cutting when pulling back or for spearing in throwing.  This is a truly ignorant weapon, suitable for trolls, not human females.  What small woman could wield such a clumsy thing?

I’m also shown some light armour but told I’ll be training and fighting naked -seeing as I’m being billed as “the wild one” already and no armour has yet been designed to fit my larger body. 

I accept all this.  In my memory I locate the images that remind me I chose this place and this position.  There are no real surprises here, except perhaps the degree to which this society has fallen into violence since the last records had been made – the ones I’d based many of my assumptions and hopes upon.  The apparent complete lack of empathy and the crass callousness exhibited in social interactions – these express serious and unnatural flaws .  These people may as well be computer-animated figures programmed by a very sick mind – but they are real enough to kill you at a moment’s notice.  

[end blog post #5]

The Novel – The Antierra Manifesto

I’ve decided to spend more of my time working on my novels and short stories, perhaps with a view to publishing eventually. I’ve held back long enough and who knows but some people may actually like to read these oft-mentioned “novels” never seen on the blog.  So from here on, until it is completely blogged, I will post two sections of “The Antierra Manifesto” per week right here, beginning today.  I’ll begin by posting an average of 4-5 pages in each post.

Since it is a novel, I break one of the blog rules and post as a copyright.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t copy and paste into your own computers to read at leisure, or to collect and read as one complete novel. In fact I would encourage you to do that as it will make more sense that way.

Fair warning: this is extreme adult content, with blatant sexuality and much violence, in fact the novel is about violence.  However, none of that is intended to titillate or to provide gratuitous pleasure.  The nature of the material will render point quite self-explanatory as you follow through.

The novel itself is the framework upon which hangs a philosophy I have pursued and studied over many years to do with explaining and exposing a particular type of unexplainable violence we are subject to on this world, are exposed to and often, are the perpetrators of same.  Someone had to look deeper and further than others have done, even with their “technical” research and their attendant degrees.  In this novel, I am daring to do that.

What hubris, you might say.  Perhaps, but hubris can have other uses than to gain power or enrich oneself therewith.  It can be turned into moral courage, daring to be called a fool and a charlatan.  Ideas are dangerous things which the system fears above all else and expressing strong ideas not vetted by the system or society in general can result in vociferous criticism.

I will close this introduction with an oft-repeated comment from one of my bosses at Coca Cola when asked how he felt about less than favourable media mentions regarding the company’s methods, involvements or products.  “All publicity is good publicity.”  I am not sure I agree with that but it’s one way of looking at it.  So, this is publicity.

Coming next: our feature presentation:

T’Sing Tarleyn

(The Antierra Manifesto)

© 2007-02-12    By Sha’Tara

Introduction

“I’m fascinated by concepts of other realities, other ways of doing things.  Nothing is fixed, nothing sacred, nothing metaphysically determined — it’s all contingent on process and evolution.  That’s perfect.  It means we might be able to understand, if we can just relax and shed our preconceptions.”(from Moving Mars – Greg Bear)

Note: I have chosen to capitalize the words “Earth,” “Galaxy” and “Universe” simply to indicate that from my perspective these are not just objects but very much living beings as you and me think of ourselves.  When you learn the truth of this you will find it much easier to relate to the greater concepts of nature or creation.  Your understanding and empathy will be greatly enhanced thereby.

My name, as you will discover herein is Al’Tara.  It is I, rather than my other-self or alter-ego An’Tierra (var. Antierra) who is addressing you now.  Although the story is mostly told in the first person by Antierra, it is I who caused the following to be recorded.  This was done not just to satisfy the needs of those who, of necessity, must keep records of Galactic history for posterity but in order to express to you, people of Earth, how much I have desired to help you see yourselves as part of our greater Galactic and Universal human movement among the stars.  It was, and remains, my hope these stories can help you take the jump, evolve, beyond your rather narrow-minded solitary human grouping that believes it is locked down upon a small planet ‘somewhere’ without any location corresponding to the rest of us.  A pseudo-human grouping which for the most part still thinks of itself as alone of its kind in the cosmos. (Exceptions from among your species, noted.)

Let me reiterate that over the millennia that I chose to interact with you as one of you, you gave me much even by how much you took from me.  You taught me to ‘love’ because you forced me to grind out the meaning of love from the manifold perversions of it I discovered on your world.  When I would ask you to define love as you understood it to mean, what did you give me?  If you went so far as to describe love as compassionate interaction with empathy, how often did your actions match your words?  I must tell you now that I spent many long and dark Earth nights crying over you and your world, for I could, even then, foresee what would happen as you short-sightedly and perversely continued to pursue your predatory mindset, exploiting every aspect of your world for short-lived profit or pleasure.  I remain convinced that even then you knew better but were not willing, as a species, as an intelligent and sentient collective, to take the low road of humility and self-sacrifice that would have freed you from the subsequent nightmares you brought upon yourselves.

The following story relates back to a time when I was among you and basically masqueraded as one of you so as to come to know you and attempt to understand what you are all about.  That time in your reckoning spans many of my lives on Earth – from millennia BCE to your 21st century CE or AD as some prefer to say.  I use the simpler indicator C-21.  The following story itself takes place some three hundred years into the future from that time.  I mention this here to help you get a start on the chronology of the following events.

It is difficult (for me) to engage this tale knowing how unreceptive you are to what you do not think you can ever understand and equally unresponsive to thoughts of alternate realities you do not believe are possible.  Knowing also that some will see this as just more workings of a dark mind experimenting with evil energies; as fictitious drama couched in a classical horror theme.  Everyone who reads the following will have a different reason for doing so, and likely a different reaction to it.  That is, of course, how it should be and it will not change how I feel about you in this ‘now’ time, my time, a time beyond the events in the following story.  Although I speak of my past, for you this remains one of your possible, if most likely, future.

However this is received, it must be told, if only to ease my longing to share something deep, terrible and in some latent way very beautiful, with you.  If you do read the following, keep in mind these things: these are events from my past, a past that remains concealed in your future.  The future I express need not be yours exactly as it is expressed, though from my viewpoint I know the outcome of these tales will greatly affect your world, regardless of which path your collective race chooses to take into its own future.  The future I express here is from another world, certainly, but one whose ways directly impact your own this very day – the day that finds you reading this material.

If you find what you read here unpleasant have the courage to look at your own history with the eyes of awareness and ponder your own experiences in that history.

Try to remember these very basic points:

— Your current history as seen mainly from the viewpoint of your media headlines, or what you call “infotainment”  and more recently, “fake news.”

— Your religious power groupings and frequent inquisitions to force individuals into specific group beliefs thus violating their inalienable freedom of choice.

— Your countless wars of conquest, exploitation and oppression which have been a permanent part of your history, continue to be so and will increase in scope in the foreseeable future (beyond C-21 and to the end of C-24).

— Your pogroms, purges and death camps against those who disagreed with you or were “unlucky” enough to be of a different Earthian race from yours.

— Your refugee camps created by power-mongering and systematic global injustice.

— Your male-dominated top-down religious, financial and political (social) systems that account all the powerless, of human and nature, as “resources” – meaning exploitable in some way or other.

Above all, remember if you can how many innocents died of preventable causes on your world of Earth while you did nothing to prevent it, either because you did not care or because you thought there was nothing you could do to change things.

A challenge by which you may determine how close you are to becoming truly human: remember how many times, and in how many ways, you personally and consciously opposed the above methods, risked your life to attempt making change or at the very least maintained a clear and present awareness in your heart of those made to suffer so the System and those who support it could extract profits, pleasures and power from this global oppression.

This is not a guilt trip.  All of us must walk that path of “remembrance” and deal with the memories thus awakened.  For it is a truism that all spiritual awakening is triggered from remembering the past, all of it, as far back as you have lives on or in these worlds.  Remembering is what frees you from the patterns of your past and allows you to continue on your path of spiritual and mental evolution, a path you chose aeons ago as did I, as did all of us or we would not be able to communicate at all.

Remember that as you read Antierra’s story which is one of my many personal histories in this Galaxy and sometimes beyond.  While you read it, think of it as your story, a vision that takes you into a future you have caused to be by how you express your life today.

What are myths, fantasies, futuristic science fiction, tales of heroes, of avatars, sorceresses and wizards but the bringing to the fore of that which “we do not speak of” in our lives?  Are we not all the heroes and villains of our own tales?  I offer the following to you as a challenge to the dawning of your greater human intellect, an intellect that as you will discover in your near future, knows no bounds, recognizes no imposed boundaries and can apply itself equally to the doing of evil or of good.

Together we are what is becoming ‘humanity’ and however we accept this truism, we are the ones who were custom designed from before time to travel time’s pathways and continue on beyond time, to replace the great gods we once worshipped as external to ourselves.  As we spread our “final frontier spacer wings” beyond the galaxy that gave us birth we become ISSA[1] beings.

We are now Source for that which calls itself New Life.  For lack of a better term, we are the creators of this time.  This is not something to take lightly, nor should it frighten us.  It is the inevitable effect of our mental and spiritual evolution.  We, collectively and individually, made ourselves into this.  There is no turning back for the ‘old farm’ (euphemism for what I will call Old Earth or “Túat Har” in my Altarian tongue) has been subdivided and become a city.  In the far-flung future just at the edge of my vision the city has become a space-faring seedship.  There is no more ploughing for ‘farm boy’ and no more fashion shows for ‘city girl.’  We outgrow our mindless toil and irresponsible foolishness.  We move on.  The Final Frontier beckons.  As far as those of us who have travelled into the far future, to the edge of the “13th Floor” we can only say it appears as if it always and ever beckons.

[1] ISSA: Acronym for Intelligent, Sentient, Self Aware

[end blog post #1]

Little Beaver

A short story, by Sha’Tara
(Part 2 – with last paragraph from part 1 to make the link)

They followed her until she came to the edge of a small lake. She made several signs in the water with her fingers, then stood facing the sun, not moving a muscle for a long time. It was as if she was asleep they said later. They approached stealthily, as trained hunters can do, two from one side, two from another and one from behind. When the one behind her was close enough to grab her, he stretched out his arm to put his hand around her throat. As he did so, she turned and let out a blood-curdling screech. Her right arm shot out and at the end, what seemed like huge talons, locked around the man’s neck and snapped it as if it was a dry twig. Still screeching, she unfolded huge wings and flew away to the west, over the trees.

The four men brought back the body of their dead comrade to the village and told their story.

At first no one believed them, but they saw the marks on the dead man’s neck and the story became more and more believable. I was confused. I thought I knew your mother quite well. I knew she was strong, but she was not a beast. I also knew she was a healer, not a killer. Your mother would not have killed the man, just beat him down and made sport of him, taunting him for being weaker than a mere woman. Then she would have challenged the other four men to try their skills against hers. She would have beaten them, as easily as an eagle takes a rabbit. I know this about your mother.

My son, sometimes people think they know the truth. Sometimes they believe that they saw what they say was there. I believe that there are others, like your mother, out there. Some are not like her in spirit. Perhaps these young fools thought they followed your mother, but I know she was a master at disappearing from any stalker. In fact that is the only time anyone was ever able to claim to have crept up on her unnoticed. I believe, to this day, that the creature they encountered was another one, perhaps a spirit which resembled her. I know it wasn’t your mother.

When she returned to the village after three suns she was smiling and happy. She showed unbelief when she heard the story, and would speak to no one. It was as if she was hurt by their willingness to believe such things of her. The story became a part of her legacy, nevertheless. She became restless again. You were three summers when she exuded that strange scent again, and I went with her to a hut in the forest. We made your sister that time. I will tell you about your sister, but for now, let me finish this part. I decided to return to the place where she had made the hut, after two suns had passed. There was no hut, not a single sign that anyone had ever been there. I know it was the right place. I had broken a twig to mark the place, and scuffed the earth in one spot. The broken twig was there, and the mark of my moccasin in the earth, but nothing else. No scent and no flowers. I was saddened and apprehensive.

When your mother began to show signs of being pregnant, I rejoiced. She had told me it was a girl child this time. It didn’t matter to me. You were so beautiful already, and slightly different than the other young children. You were already taller than all the others, and your eyes were of a yellow hue. Your hair, though thinner than mine, was longer and had the same strange waves in it. I knew by observing you that you would become a great hunter and chief in your time. I dreamt also of having a daughter who would be as strong and intelligent as your mother; a true Shaman, who would belong to the tribe, and not to the wilderness. We are too small a village to hire and keep our own Shaman. We need one born among us, one with the great powers of your mother, so the people from the other villages will respect us and come to us in their time of need. You see, as long as She-ya-neh, your mother, lived among us, we had no disease and we were never attacked or raided.

About four moons after we had been in the hut, your mother came to me at dusk. It was a beautiful evening after a sunset filled with the fire of the Great Spirit. It meant well for the fishing…

The man stopped here. He reached down and poked the embers of their small fire. The boy ran into the bushes then came back and wrapped a warm beaded blanket around his slim figure.

“Please continue, Father. When I am chief, I will need to know all about my mother, so I won’t have to listen to stories made up to make her look bad and discredit my place among the elders.”

“You are wise, my son, far beyond your summers. Your mother did not take her gifts away when she left. I believe that soon, you will find within your hands, great powers, my son. You will be the Shaman we have been asking for. Chief and Shaman. No one has had such honour among us before. Yet I know this is to be…

“So that evening, your mother knelt before me in our house. In her large eyes, I saw tears. She seldom showed tears. Her face was sad, yet I felt a deep excitement in her. She spoke into my mind as she always did when she expressed deep feelings.

“I am going away tonight. I will not be returning, ever. Our son is well. Nothing will happen to him now. Our daughter will be with me, and well taken care of. Some day, you will meet her. I cannot say more. Now let me go, and do not come after me, or even look at me as I go. Put your love in our son, and when I am gone, find him a suitable mother and wife to cook for you and to comfort you at night when it is cold. I must return to the place where I come from. Here, take this talisman I wore in my hair all these years, and when our son is old enough, put it on his head. It is a living thing, a gift of the Great Spirit for the great travelers. Do not forget. Yo nah la! Aheya noha!”

With these strange words, she crossed her arms in front of her face, closed her fingers gently then turned and walked away. I heard her footsteps for a short time, then nothing. I stepped outside our house, holding you in my arms. The night suddenly became very still. The coyotes quieted down and the owls stopped hooting. Even the frogs became still, and the breeze died down. After some time, I saw a great fire in the forest. It lit up the sky, even the underside of the clouds. Then I heard a great waterfall roaring, after which the fire rose up and soon there was just a thin trail in the sky, above the village. Then, like the shooting stars, it was gone. I never saw your mother again.

My son, look up there. See that small star village? Often your mother pointed there and sighed. She said she felt something being sent to her from those stars. She also said that the spirits who travel the trails of the stars must obey their own seasons. Stars wander all over, and sometimes they are close enough to each other to send visitors there. The visitor must then wait until the star returns at that same place to return to his own village. Your mother’s people travel the paths of the stars, my son. They come once, then are gone. Sometimes, they can return, and sometimes not. It takes much power to follow the paths of the stars, and you must also be a true friend of the Great Spirit if you do not want to lose yourself in that great blackness between the star villages.

Listen to me, my son, if one day a tall grey-eyed woman appears to you, or wanders into your village, or meets you on the shore of a far-away lake, do not look upon her as a man looks upon a woman. That woman will be your sister. Remember that. When you marry, you shall marry one of our kind, one born in a village within this valley. That is how it must be.”

“Thank you father.” The boy yawned and leaned against the man. Overhead, it seemed to the man that one star twinkled brighter and faster than any other. He pointed at it with his finger but the son had fallen asleep on his lap. The man rolled himself off the log and wrapped in their warm blankets, they both slept peacefully as the moon was hid by a bank of black clouds rolling in slowly from the far mountains.

Little Beaver

[a short story in two parts, by Sha’Tara]

(This short story is a bit long for a blog post so I split it in 2 parts.  Hope you find it enjoyable, at least as much as I found writing it!  Remembrances? Oh the wonderful mysteries and mystical ways of the mind as it wanders ‘the star paths’.)

(and, for Roger of Woebegone but Hopeful, if you read this, note the colours of the flowers mentioned here and see if they remind you of someone! 🙂 )

“My son, it is time to tell you about your mother.”

The man and his young son were sitting on a log by the river, as the moon rose over snow-covered peaks. The water made a lapping sound and somewhere across the little river, in the bushes, an owl called. It was followed by the evening ritual song of the coyotes.

“You were just past three Summers when your mother left us. You hear many strange stories about her, but I must tell you what I know, so you will be less confused.

They say your mother was a great Shaman — she was. They say she was crazy: she was not. Many Summers ago, a party of hunters from another village came upon a young girl wandering alone in the mountains along the big River. She could not speak our tongue, and she was different than anyone they had ever seen. She had very large eyes the colour of water in ice. Her hair was like the water when a small breeze moves it, and it resembled the bark of the cedar in colour. They kept the girl through the hunt. In one moon cycle, the girl had learned to speak our tongue perfectly. When asked where she came from, she explained, “From a cave full of fire. I was in an egg which was shot out of the flame and when it stopped rolling, it opened and I do not know anything else. I remember a name which in your language sounds like ‘She-ya-neh’ but I do not know what it means.”

The hunters came to our small village with their captive. My father, the chief, had the women clean the girl and inspect her. He decided to buy her, if she displayed a healthy bleeding. There was much feasting at that time. The hunters stayed in our village, enjoying the food and the girls were happy. Some babies were made at that time, yes. I was very young then, too young yet to enjoy the girls, but I made friends with the strange slave girl. She did not speak much, so we just sat together, or swam in the river. She was very strong and fast, faster than any boy. She won all the foot races, and could climb trees as if she had a squirrel’s claws. She became fascinated with our canoes and soon could paddle away so fast, only the strongest hunters in the bigger canoes, could catch her. She was forbidden to use the canoes then.

At her bleeding, my father decided to buy her. Again, there was much feasting. Then he made a ceremony in which she was set free from bondage, and could become my wife. After two more Summers, we were finally married. It had been expected that she would be very fertile, and give me many healthy sons. However, no child could she grow. Years passed and the women began to shun my wife. She became a loner, mysterious, sometimes disappearing in the hills for an entire moon cycle.

During these years, she demonstrated the ability to heal broken bones and to prevent disease from spreading. She talked to the animals, and even the spirits of the plants and the land, obeyed her. Yes, she was a great Shaman, my wonderful and barren She-ya-neh. She never seemed to miss not having children. She was full of curiosity and everything to her was a wonder. She was, hmmm, very promiscuous also — well — she went with many men, and they told stories of her ways which were strange to us. I was not jealous of this. One could not get jealous of your mother, unless one were a woman. Many women in the village came to hate her popularity, her crazy, wild ways, and especially her freedom among the men.

Your mother’s physical strength was known across many valleys. How she shamed the men in their hunts, their sports, their fights! She could outrun any man, outsmart and outfight anyone. She had skills with her hands and feet we had never seen. She was as fast as the lightning: when she struck a blow, it was impossible to see where it came from.

During the high water season, when the canoe races are held, she would taunt the men to best her. She was not, by law, permitted to compete with the men. So she would sit quietly in her canoe, behind the starting line, wait until the men were into their race, then push her own canoe in the race, soon overtaking even the fastest one and always finishing first. How my own heart swelled with pride to see her win that way, yet how puzzled I was, that such a woman could not bear a child for her man, or for any man.

Let me now speak of a time, many summers past our wedding. One day, just before the long shadows, she came to the shore where I was preparing my canoe for the fishing, and took my arm. Her eyes spoke a powerful thought and her body gave off a strange, pleasant and irresistible scent. I tried to explain that I was very busy and we could do that later, at night, but she spoke again, from within her mind, and I went with her. We walked for a long time, through places I had never been, until we came to a clearing. In the middle, there was a small hut, large enough to accommodate two adult people. All around were flowers, and even on the roof: red and blue flowers. They gave off the same scent she did. It was like a drug to me. I reached for her, as you have seen the young men and women do, but she stopped me. She undressed me, then herself, and together, we rolled our bodies among the strange flowers. Soon, my head was buzzing like a nest of wild bees, and my heart sounded like our drums at the great feasts by the ocean. She then took my hands, and pushed me inside the hut. I felt as if I were inside one of those great black clouds that give off lighting and thunder.

At that time, we made you. When she was pregnant with you, she became more normal. She was careful for you, and after you were born, she was a perfect mother. She took you everywhere, and you always slept next to her. She gave you her milk freely and you never went hungry and seldom cried. All her energies were spent on you. No more sports or men or wanderings in the forests. She stayed near the village and attended to her duties as healer and midwife with great diligence. She began to be liked by some of the women again.

But one day, she disappeared. She left you in the care of her best friend, and just walked away. This was bad luck, because in the village were five strangers, hunters, who had heard the stories about her sexual prowess, and her fighting abilities were now a legend. These young hot-blooded fools decided to track your mother to see where she would go, and perhaps to beat her down and have their way with her.

They followed her until she came to the edge of a small lake. She made several signs in the water with her fingers, then stood facing the sun, not moving a muscle for a long time. It was as if she was asleep they said later. They approached stealthily, as trained hunters can do, two from one side, two from another and one from behind. When the one behind her was close enough to grab her, he stretched out his arm to put his hand around her throat. As he did so, she turned and let out a blood-curdling screech. Her right arm shot out and at the end, what seemed like huge talons, locked around the man’s neck and snapped it as if it was a dry twig. Still screeching, she unfolded huge wings and flew away to the west, over the trees.

[End of Part 1 of 2]

Armageddon: of Plots and Counter-plots

[a short story by Sha’Tara ]

“Mr. Chairman, there is one item remaining on this year’s agenda which I think should be considered before we adjourn for another century.”

The heavy-set, red-robed man at the head of the table nods imperceptibly and looks over the table with an undisguised bored expression.

“Very well, get on with it then.”

“Gentlemen, we are in the business of publishing best sellers on contract and I have here the contract for Yahu regarding the Earthian trilogy. It appears he hasn’t written a best seller in over 2000 years of his Earth time. We’ve made several inquiries about his intentions lately but without results. I have taken the liberty of having him present himself here today to explain why he has failed to fulfil his end of the agreement with this House and what he intends to do about it.”

The portly red-robed chairman nods in agreement. “Send him in, send him in.” He waves at the massive door in the side of the meeting chamber.

The door opens and a gnomish gray-robed shifty-eyed character with long white hair and beard enters and smiles at the gathering. No one greets him but the secretary who ushers him to a chair.

“Are you the same Yahu who claimed in his book to be the God of Earth?”

“That I most certainly am,” replies the wizened character with a quavering voice. “I Am that I Am.”

“Yeah well, so you say. Some 5000 Earth years ago you entered into a contract with us to write a trilogy about the creation, fall and termination of some world in your sector. We gave you the advance in power to manifest the ingredients required of your books. You delivered a very lengthy and repetitive but fortunately very violent Part One that contained enough murder, greed, sexual perversion, racism, slavery, misogyny and genocidal mania to easily rise to the top of our best seller list for over a thousand years.

Then you sent us a stultified Part Two in a very abridged and staid format that would have gotten nowhere had our editors not insisted it be tied to and weaved into Part One.

For Part Three you gave us a brief synopsis entitled “Revelation” but we are still waiting for that denouement. No action and no revelation. You are in breach of contract with this great Galactic Publishing house. Have you given thought as to how you are going to fulfil your agreements with us or do we need to bring legal action to recoup our losses?”

The wizened character stands up and wipes his brow with his over-sized sleeve. His voice quavers even more now.

“Please, don’t be so hasty!  Yes, I realize I made you all wait a bit long for the third part but it’s been very tough making this ending plausible. I mean, it was easy enough imaging the critters, evil spirit dudes and violent multitudes I mentioned in my blurb. Also you should know that I was rather busy at the time and I had a trainee write that part. I should have read it before it was sent to you but I was too absorbed observing (and abetting) some spectacular developments in an old empire of the time. I had several contracts to complete lesser books on that affair, which do not legally enter this discussion.

“To make a long story short – I don’t want to bore our illustrious chairman – I’ve taken steps to activate that Part Three on Earth. I’m sure that with our current developments of weapons of mass destruction, the fears around new diseases, global warming, overpopulation, wars over depleted resources and the utter, almost incredible, ignorance and overt incompetence of most of that world’s leadership, that a plausible scenario can be set in motion to satisfy the requirements my agents signed with your firm. Not only will there be a book but all of the action will be on video and made available to publish as a mini-series which shall appropriately be entitled “Armageddon.” I can assure this august assembly that our work won’t fail to entertain even the most blasé of your readers. It is guaranteed to be a box-office winner. You’ll be able to buy entire planets with your profits, gentlemen, you have my Word on that.

“What exactly are we talking about here, you’re wondering? Imagine: the total destruction of an entire world, its satellite and its “heaven” in real time. Imagine this: global war, famines, infectious diseases. Rampaging armies of mercenaries raping, looting, burning and killing unarmed innocents by the millions, year in, year out for as long as there remains life to destroy. Religious bigotry running rampant. Total lawlessness, or as they put it there, the law of the jungle in spades. Billions dead and dying of causes yet unknown. A sun going super-nova and a moon melting down upon a planet. My guarantee to you gentlemen is this: there will be no special effects. Everything the videos and accompanying best seller depict will be exactly as it unfolds. You will see it in real time, exactly as it happens. That, gentlemen, is the script I and my trusty group of shadow-writers, technicians and engineers, have been working on for 2000 Earthian years. You will find it was well worth the costs and the wait.

“How can you be so certain of the denouement, Yehu? That’s a mighty big set-up, even for one like yourself. Intelligent creatures possess a mind of their own.”

“Gentlemen, do not, ever, make the mistake of ignoring the Earthian mind’s predictability. I programmed them, remember? They will respond on cue, make no mistake. I repeat, make no mistake about that. They will believe, they will kill and they will die, heroes and martyrs in their own minds even while committing the most atrocious of crimes. We have already begun to trigger their atavism in that respect and the results exceed expectations. This is win-win.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to stir the pot some more. I must return to a current political seat of power called “The White House” where the ignoramus’s in charge actually believe they worship me. I need to get their sensibilities inflamed to expand that war in the Middle East (don’t worry about these locations, they mean nothing to the actual story, just collateral damage to help us set the scene) and bring the Powers of the West ever closer to a final confrontation with the Powers of the East. You want a Revelation? I’ll give you the mother of all Revelations! I’m bringing you Armageddon!”

He departs with a flourish. He knows his Earthian humans and there is not a doubt in his mind at that point that he will create his masterpiece from the destruction of Earth. It had always been his plan to complete his trilogy thus but he had been stymied by those who claimed he was plagiarizing them and forced to put the work on hold time and again. But those who stood in his way, he had finally triumphed over: the Communists; the Socialists; the Anarchists; Atheists and Pagans and assorted others. Hardly anyone published them or read them any more. Even the new high priests of Science were beginning to “see his hand” in the movement of sub-atomic particles even if they didn’t use his name… yet. And now with his ironclad under the table agreement with his once avowed enemy, Mammon, (Capitalism for the uninitiated) the timing couldn’t be better.

The scales had tipped once more. The people clamoured for his kind of entertainment, even if it meant he’d be using their blood to write the grand finale. The sweet irony! Oh, how he hated the stinking, short-lived whining creatures. Prayers! Prayers for parking spaces and hangnails! Prayers for sick dogs, dead budgies and weeds in the lawn. Prayers for deliverance and salvation: well that last part was his own fault, he’d unintentionally, in a fit of anger, brought that on himself with a promise which he had then used to write Part Two of his trilogy. Live and learn hey, unlike the creatures he was about to annihilate in long, drawn-out bloodshed! They won’t learn, not ever, he’d made sure of that.

“Kill them all: God will know those who are his!”

“Damn, I just LOVE that line!” He says under his breath with his best sardonic smile as he settles back in his containment field for his trip to Earth, all but rubbing his hands in anticipation and glee.

The Move

a sci-fi short story,   by Sha’Tara

“They’ll never know.”  Voice intoned.  “They must never know.”

“Some suspect…” 

“Hypothesis; conjecture — we’ve always encouraged that.  We’ve also encouraged the opposite: belief that physical proof is necessary to acceptance.  They’ll follow the pattern.  Those who do not, who “see” will be disparaged and disbelieved.”

Council dissolves.

In their private chambers, Orthon and Agria discuss the matter. 

“We are manipulating their minds, Orthon.  This goes against the Teaching.”

“This is a very primitive race, Agria.  We must prevent global panic at all cost.”

“The move will create great disruptions, as the Council has been made aware.  The tips of the spirals will overheat and some of the smaller worlds will be burned up.”

“The Generators are working on the psi shields, are they not?”

“They won’t be ready in time, and there is no way to test their resilience to such a move.”

“Erthe is a minuscule entity.  Surely we can produce a powerful enough effect to shield it while it is being moved?”

“We… ahh, hope.  Why is the Council so concerned about Erthe?  Why not let it burn?  The Biologons from Elgir scanned it and found nothing remarkable, except for two unalterable facts:  one, it contains the greatest diversity of life forms anywhere and two, the Erthes are destroying their own living space on it.  Why would the Council want that world spared, particularly?”

“It has deep reasons, Agria.”

“Convince me, Orthon.  Impress this truth upon me.”

“You have my trust, Agria.  I will share with you.”

And as Agria opened herself to his mind probe, she began to sense why the Council would be duly concerned by Erthe’s fate.  Deep under one of her oceans the Biologons had recorded the existence of  an Anomaly.  The recordings described an intelligence unlike any other on Erthe,  expressing from within the magma.  The Council had attempted to have the expression analyzed but every available transponder/decoder had failed to translate the anomalous expression.  It remained the only unreadable expression emanating from any of the known Universes.  Even the great Lotharias Logos could not make any sense of it.  In fact, when the recorded expression entered its logic fields, the Logos temporarily froze.

But the times had come.  The Galaxy had to be moved to a new location or it would fall prey to the black hole caused by an imploded star know as Sol Dallin.  Already there were signs of great instability among the larger systems. The ripple effects were spreading as more and more matter-beings were sucked into its giant maw, destroying balance.  Soon the entire Galaxy would be beyond saving.  But if it could be removed from the vicinity, the danger of a Universal melt-down to anti-matter posed by the black hole could possibly be averted.  There were no alternate options in the mind of Council.

“Ah… my dear Orthon, I thank you.  We stand to lose much if we do not act swiftly.  So, Council would first move Erthe to Galaxy Eleven, then move Galaxy 58 to Sector P19?  There is more to the Anomaly than you have shared with me then?”  

“The Logos believes the Anomaly may be the Source of All Life.  It fears the implosion of Sol Dallin was caused by the Anomaly in a move to destroy itself.”

“But why would the Source seek to do such?”

“The Logos suspects a malfunction within the mind of the Anomaly triggering a self-destruct sequence.  It believes the All Life desires to terminate.  The Logos cross-referenced all its available data and concluded the activities on Erthe were the trigger.”

“Tell me more, Orthon.  Why, for example, would All Life be located in Erthe, particularly — or why did the Logos reach this conclusion?”

“Facts about Erthe herself, my dear.  Well-known facts.  For example, diversity of life, despite Draconian attempts to control, has continued to expand and mutate exponentially on its surface and in its atmosphere and oceans.  The resultant complexity has apparently caused overloading in Source Mind.  Such otherwise unknowns clashing with each other – fear, hate, violence causing physical terminations on scales unimaginable; these juxtaposed by passionate explosions of love and protection.  Predators met with ever-adaptive means of evasion and defense.  Violent rejection, violent attraction.  Wars between Erthes themselves.  Life birthed in blood and pain, sustained by death, giving way to laughter,  turning to dust.  A maelstrom of organic dysfunction.”

“It frightens you to look into these things, friend.” 

“Yes, it does.  And do you see?  Fear was never a part of our psyche Agria.  This fear we now feel, it was generated from our brief, accidental contact with the Anomaly.  As to its location, logic dictates that wherever the All Life is located such a place would become endowed with more life than any other.  Erthe, if truly the heart of creation, would pulse with an over-abundance of creative energy.”

“Yes my dear.  But the All Life chose Blessed Rest after the Completion.  Is that not the Teaching?”

“It is.  But the Logos believes the All Life was Binary.  When the One chose rest, the Other was forced to enter the process continuation.  It was inevitable.  Life demands continuous involvement, change, expansion.  The Other tried to limit its input and involvement, withdrawing, hiding within the core of Erthe but even this was too much.  Life’s needs increased over the billennia.  The Other served life with compassion, all the while accepting the need for the destruction to prevent over-building and collapse.”

“What will happen if the All Life located in Erthe’s core is destroyed, then?”

“Entropy, Agria.  The Logos believes this will apply to all known worlds.”

“And what will happen to us?”

“We will experience termination.  Without fresh input the extant will fall into stasis and cease.”

“Well my dear, let us continue with our plans to build our psi shields.  I do not think they will suffice but it will keep us focused while we contact the One who chose Blessed Rest and re-unite the All Life Binary.”

“My dear Agria, there is no Teaching even hinting that the One could be brought out of retirement and reunited with the Other.  If such was possible, would they not have done so?”

“As below, so above Orthon.  What the Teaching does not say is “why” the One chose Blessed Rest, leaving the Other to carry the burden of All Life.  But we, the female energies of Om, know intuitively what happened.  Simply put my friend, there was disagreement in the Binary, resulting in the Split. 

If I can approach the Anomaly and am allowed to enter her Mind it may be she will share her fear, anger and feelings of rejection with us .  She may yet choose to live, Orthon.  She may have learned the lesson that all of life has yet to learn: that no part of life is greater than any other, not even the All Life, and that any part can be friend with any other part.”

“Well said, friend, but where would you begin to search for the One?”

“Not necessary.  If I can make her aware her loneliness and desolation are caused by her separation from the Twin, it may be she will allow us to contact the Blessed Rest and speak to the One on her behalf.”

“Have we come so far that life would have the wisdom to speak for the All Life?  That we, the created, could bring peace within the realm of the All Life, thus bringing peace within all of life?”

“They made us in their own image, Orthon.  It is time we made use of this awareness.”

“Ah, Agria, please consider this before you proceed: the Logos predicted our conversation to Council.  It asked:

{What will you do if the All Life, instead of coming out of retirement or ending the self-destruct process, confers its powers upon you?  What does Agria-Orthon choose if offered the power of All Life?} 

“What do we choose, Agria?”

“Life, Orthon.  Always life, whatever it entails.”