Tag Archives: escape plans

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
—————————
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

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

—————————-
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

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
—————————-
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