Tag Archives: Anxiety

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

Surface Intelligence and the Rabbit Hole Life

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

In a finite environment where there’s birth, there has to be death. There’s no way around that one. We know that, we accept that. Just like everything else here: it ages and sooner or later, it dies. This is a “pay to play” world. We pay the price of admission (pain) to enter, hang out for the time allotted by paying a steep rent, then when we can no longer pay, we have to leave. If not perfect – and it certainly isn’t – it’s a system for all of that, and it seems that whatever life expresses here, it has accepted the situation and is making the best or the worst of it. At least that’s how I feel at the moment, subject to change without notice. That’s how it is with feelings.

Have you ever felt incredibly sad for no apparent reason? I would imagine everyone experiences that. Sadly, in this artificial, drug-crazed, noise-drenched, emotionally charged barbaric society such a state should be recognizable as a sign of some mental condition. If I dug deep enough I might to discover I had incurred some fictional trauma and I could tentatively label it PTSD, and if I had a doctor, I would be diagnosed accordingly and handed a prescription for a bottle of very expensive poison pills which would then change my “condition” to a worsened condition to be diagnosed later by a “specialist,” given a new acronym malady and “managed” with more bottles of poison pills, some added shrinkology, more acronymed maladies, more pills, perhaps even a week or two in a psych ward.

I’ve never taken those pills myself since I took the red pill before I became a teenager, but I’ve seen a great many of them and when I looked at them a certain way, they all looked blue. Of course I’m referring to the red pill/blue pill concept made famous by the first Matrix movie.

I live my life in the Rabbit Hole, you see, but I do come out time and again to see how things are going here. They’re not, but hardly anyone notices, so I guess it’s all good – for them.

Just because I took the red pill and live my “real” life in the Rabbit Hole doesn’t mean I can’t relate to life on the surface. I can. In fact, having been changed by the red pill, I realize my place “here” is to practice and develop my RH (Rabbit Hole) empathetic nature. In the RH we control events so that when something begins to go askew, we can change it at will. But here, on the Surface, the sentient life doesn’t have control. It doesn’t know where the controls are located and it would rather trust those who claim to have the controls than try to find them for themselves. That causes serious problems because as most are aware, those who have the controls can decide where the ship sails to, or what the torpedo hits or putting it more bluntly, who lives and who dies before her time.

I find that incredibly sad. Why have intelligence if it’s not going to be used? Or worse, used wrongly, to support and encourage lies? The worst kinds of lies? Surface intelligence relies on Systems to make its life possible. Its three main systems seem to be Religion, Politics and Money. What is truly unbelievable is that Surface Intelligence is fully aware that all three Systems are corrupt and rotten to their very core. But somehow this SI (Surface or Sentient Intelligence) manages to convince parts of itself that despite all the overt corruption, there are some parts that can be tolerated. Lesser of evils and all that – that line is much used and abused at “election” time.

That’s called living in Denial, and it’s a formally accepted part of Surface Life. Denial is a favourite surface recreational resort and you are forcefully encouraged to spend most of your life in Denial . When living in Denial ultimately fails, Hope comes forth, looking Bugs Bunny fashion coy, even charming in a sense, “Eh, what’s up doc? Need some reassurances?” and seduces SI with various believable arguments that with persistence and dedication whatever is wrong with the System can – “of course!” – be fixed. A favourite lately is the voting thing. It used to be going to church and lighting candles… or going to war, basically it’s all the same thing because none of it changes anything, but don’t tell the SI that, they would get “vewy angwy… vewy angwy indeed” and you may find yourself chased by a silly looking little guy in a funny hat and a not-so-funny shotgun.

SI likes to believe (Yes, SI is all about belief) that it’s totally sane in its one and only reality. It’s Rabbit Hole (RH)Intelligence that’s crazy. According to SI, any world that can be controlled by its Intelligences; that can be righted if it goes off the rails, can’t be a real world. Or it’s totalitarianism. According to SI, individuals should be taught that they have power but contrariwise should never be given any. If by accident some SI’s discover they have bits of power, they can talk, or write, about it but most indubitably cannot use it without violating some SI rule or law. SI controllers would burn people to death for that not so long ago. Now they use drugs to counteract the effect of empowerment. They also use executions and torture, but they have standard explanations for that. SI’s accept the explanations as a matter of course. The greatest necessity in an SI world is to believe. The SI world’s innate insanity is always determined by the intensity of its beliefs.

The problem isn’t all due to ignorance and stupidity and selfishness. It also stems from the fact that the inventors and enforcers (of the Belief Systems) are faced with an infinite number of arbitrary laws, rules, and regulations, most of which they can’t keep track of. This gives rise to ridiculous performances, especially in the Religious, financial and legal system. It’s called interpretation. On the legal side, SI’s have high priests of Interpretation which they call Supreme Court Judges. These high priests have the last word on how certain rules are to be enforced. This isn’t justice, of course, but cheap drama, replete with laughable powdered wigs in some places, ridiculous robes and wooden mallets, a lot of bowing, standing and sitting and calls of “order or I’ll clear the court” dramatic utterances. Substance? Why? It’s just another “controlled substance” that’s all about control.

Rabbit Hole Intelligences, (that’s me, in case you forgot) don’t have long lists of laws and rules, they make them up as they see fit, and drop them as soon as their need is over. They’re called “Common Sense Rules.” Let me point out one instance of Common Sense Rule. It has to do with clothing. Much of the world is quite temperate and in those areas the wearing of clothes is optional at all times. Ah but wouldn’t you know it, there are “taboos” on nudity and because of that – and who cares what prompted the taboo in the first place, no one remembers – it is necessary to dutifully feel incensed and “report” anyone daring enough to show too much skin, especially to the “public.” An RH, of course, would naturally and happily go naked when the weather doesn’t mandate the wearing of clothing. The point would be to live frugally on one point (clothes aren’t cheap for those who can’t afford them) and not suffer hypothermia on the other. That’s called Common Sense. Contrary to popular “public” belief, Common Sense is not a drug.

Other CSR rules? There’s the sort of rule against stealing but if “stuff” was shared by all and made available to all, that rule would be rather redundant, wouldn’t it. And no one could feel self righteous by punishing another for taking something needed because no one could lay any special claim to any of it. Where everything belongs to everyone and no one, theft is not possible. By the same token, neither is hoarding. But what an insane idea: imagine where that would leave that special class, the 1% of world-class hoarders?

One of the really big rules laid upon the SI’s of Earth is against murder. Thou shalt not kill is a seriously main rule, and if violated, the perpetrator can be given a life sentence, even be executed. But again as the RH (remember, that’s the Rabbit Hole denizen here) observes, murder is only murder when done one-on-one. When it is done with weapons of mass destruction because a member of the 1% hoarding class wants control of a specific resource, or a piece of property called a nation, then it’s totally justifiable, and often praised. Those who do the killing, well some anyway, are sometimes rewarded with medals and bits of coloured cloth. If they are dead, their nearest of kin is given a flag and the victims of the dead person are further demonized, especially if they lost the war.

When a RH resident comes up among its ancient relatives, among SI’s, it’s natural that it will feel a terrible depth of sadness. Only by returning to its RH world can the sadness be relieved. There are no cures for such sadness (it’s now called depression and yes there are drugs and “treatments” for that) among SI’s whatever the claims of its high priests of System Interpretation. There’s anger and violence or suicide, that’s about it.

And in case you’re still wondering: there are no drugs, no doctors in the Rabbit Hole. Come to think, I don’t remember seeing any politicians, police “men,” business “men” or clergy “men” and I never saw any money changing hands, just stuff being exchanged with smiles and laughter.

How corny. Doesn’t it make you want to lob a grenade in there?  But you have to find it first.

 

 

 

 

The Wait – a short story by Sha’Tara

 

The thing about these blogs is, if they aren’t babysat constantly, they seem to just go dormant.  I caught my fingers typing dormat, as in door mat but no, I don’t mean door mat, I mean dormant.  Everything just stops.  It’s like the so-called news: if “they” aren’t pumping new confusticated claptrap out into the ether every second, no one is informed about stuff everyone apparently needs to know but can’t remember for more than fifteen minutes.  Why not just write a short “newsey” article on the month’s planetary happenings… once a month, or if you really want to be generous, a once a week snappy tale of woe? (And don’t forget the horrorscope)  Ah, but of course, that wouldn’t pay for the ads… or is that vice-versa, or just plain vice?   Anyway, to fill in that thunderous silence of a 2-3 day “abandoned blog” here’s a little story.  Not a great story, just something I once wrote during a coffee break.   And don’t ask if people who work for Coke take Coke breaks: they don’t. 

THE WAIT
a short story by Sha’Tara

          The steel-framed, rusting hexagonal clock, hanging high on a cement wall partially covered by flaking green paint and brown water stains, ticks away loudly. He tries to imagine the sound of passing traffic or ocean waves to blot out the heart-pounding beat but to no avail: nothing covers over the infernal sound filling the ponderous silence. Tick—tick—tick—tick. Like the drip of a tap in a sink full of last night’s dirty dishes half submerged in cold, greasy water; like the slow, steady creaking of a tightening chain in an inquisition torture chamber; like the heart-beat of the pursued in a green-fogged nightmare… running—running—running—and red-eyed orcs and slimy ghouls hiss all around; like the hungry wolf pack relentlessly stalking the tired trapper stumbling through a December blizzard; like the mountainous gray wave of a tsunami rising and rising; approaching; threatening to engulf creation.  He feels like a deer on a freeway caught in the cross-hairs of a dozen approaching headlights, unable to move.

        He brings his shaking, clammy hand to his mouth and bites his fingernails. One tears and he watches the finger bleed. He spits the detached crimson piece upon the cracked cement floor and stares at it for a moment before covering it with an unlaced, torn, muddy runner. Why? He doesn’t know. He doesn’t remember. His head pounds from a blow or bump. He moves sideways slowly to ease his sore back and the chair creaks. He almost jumps up with a scream and a cold steel needle of visceral fear pierces his spine. The chair holds him fast. Thump—thump—thump—thump—his heart hammers like an old steam donkey, the pulsing arterial flow forces the goose-pimpled flesh against the damp black leather jacket. Cold sweat beads on his forehead when he hears movement in an adjacent room, or thinks he does. He tenses, stretching his hearing to maximum; tries to make something of the noise: nothing—only the ticking of the clock, the thumping of his heart, and his insane fear.

         He tries to relax only to find his mind wide open to the night’s scattered memories. The explosions; the screams, the crash, then the chase that seemed to go on and on and on, with no one gaining… only the endless screams of sirens, or was it the screams of the damned? Of his friends lying on the roadway in pools of blood? His own screams coming back to haunt him as the wind rushed through the broken windshield? The screams of tires on dry pavement as the truck bounced wildly before taking off of its own volition from the scene of destruction and death like some wounded wild beast?  In his mind he tries desperately to roll back those hours; to make it that nothing happened; it was just a violent reaction to a bad hit.  It’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not real, please make it go away: it’s not real.

         Pale sunlight shining through the one barred window high in the center of the south wall creates shadows that move slowly within the room, lengthening with every tick of the clock, every pounding of his labouring heart. Again that shuffling noise—real this time; closer. The knob on the door turns. He stares as its grimy brass face grins at him maliciously. His anxiety reaches an all-time high as the door is flung open. A black-uniformed giant looks down at him with piggish, bloodshot eyes full of resentment, of hate, of punishment: “You’re next!”