Tag Archives: science fiction

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #49

{Continuing with the manuscript. }
…“We have a similar “identical twin” bond humans sometimes experience from the womb state when two come from a single fertilized ovum.  All YBA’s – we are five and I’m the “youngest” at this point –  are my identical “twins” in every sense.  Though we each train in individual specialties, we can convert one-another’s knowledge and skills and function so that even the adoptive parent is not aware if we’ve made a switch.  For us, life does not get better, as you would put it.  All we need do is protect our own “investment” in Dr. Echinoza to ensure continuity.”

[end blog post #48]


[begin blog post #49]

Chapter 23 – A Dangerous Plan; a Confession

“I have so many questions.  But of practical use right now, what happens to me while I’m convalescing?  Why wasn’t I killed when it was found I could not train or fight and was disabled, possibly permanently?  What do I “do” now?

“You do nothing at all.  You rest, you talk or ask questions and I answer.  No one except Warmo and us knows of your debilitated state at this moment.  Warmo won’t talk, he cannot for obvious reasons.  The doctor is securing your protection from the King as we speak.  Of course (by the way this place is safe from eavesdropping bugs) the King understands fully the situation you are in.

We need you back among the women, Antierra.  Your turn of duty there is far from over.  You will have to return to that mindset soon and get ready for that reality that wants to make you sick right now.  And suffer more of the indecencies of this world you will, much more than you already have, I’m deeply sorry to have to remind you.  I also, as your healer, must remind you that this is just the continuation of your personal choices; the ones you know you cannot change or run from.

I realize what she is saying and I nod in acquiescence.  No wonder, I recall now, my Altarian friends told me they would not be needed here with me.  That I would manifest all the friendship and all the help I needed to accomplish my goals.  Still though, some doubts persist.  I am, after all, facing some serious handicaps here.

“But what about my crushed wrists? My broken ankle?  How can I function if I cannot hold anything, or even walk?”

“You will be repaired soon.  We are waiting for a new module to upgrade our old auto-medic.  The new module will implant artificial “bones” and “sinews” to replace your damaged parts.  You will essentially have artificial wrists and left ankle.  You will begin your transition to bionic form.  That famous kick of yours will likely become even more deadly.”

She has such a pretty smile.  Not sexual, but full of child-like innocence.  Not something you’d want to kiss, but something you’d want to paint on a huge mural for an entire world to look at; something that would scream, “Here, look at this!  It’s marvellous!”

“We have the technology.  We can rebuild her.” I cannot help but recite.

“Pardon?”

“Old Earth joke.  A story about a woman who was mangled in a motorized vehicle accident.  The military powers that be decided to rebuild her body into that of a bionic woman, so they could use her, of course.  Not a terribly inspired story.  Now I find it ironic I’m partly living it here.  Coincidence?  No, inevitable, because the concept intrigued me and I remember projecting myself into that role.  We create our reality from whatever bits and pieces our mind latches on to.”

“That is correct.  The only reason we bandaged you is to prevent infection and further damage while we wait, not in the hope you would heal.  They made sure when they crushed your wrists that you could never use them again; that they could never heal normally and you could never fight.  But, hmmm, “they” can be wrong about some things, can’t they.  That Warmo character will know something is going on with you and the doctor and will send spies to discover why you healed, and so quickly, from the effects of his hellish machine.  That is assuming he hasn’t already figured out what is going on.  So we must do something about that.

“Did you know that the “straps” that wrap around wrists and ankles do more than hold you there?  When the arms are extending, the “straps” correspondingly shrink in small bands pulled in opposite direction, thus destroying bone and muscle beyond recovery.  That was the impossible pain you were being subjected to.  They had activated only the wrists ones, either by oversight or deliberately to fit in with some other diabolical refinements on the torture.  Your ankle was not crushed, just dislocated.  But we won’t take any chances there.  The natural healing takes too long and could leave a weakness that would manifest in the arena, leaving you defenceless.  We will replace the bone and the sinews as well.  Then you will learn to put your greatest trust in that ankle.  Yes, you will learn.  You are needed for some time yet, while we perform other, but related, tasks.

“We, that is Dr. Echinoza and his trusty Cydroid crew, of which yours truly is the fifteenth and youngest member – we are five females and ten males total — hope to set a trap for Warmo and catch him in a definite illegal activity – and as you know, all illegal activities are capital offences here.  We have a plan that may mean one of us dies of torture but it will be worth it.  We have already decided who returns to Koron for the re-cloning and who must become Warmo’s victim.”

She bends her head to my face,

“No, I was not chosen for the victim role.  I’m your “nurse” for the duration.  XBA9 chose himself for the ordeal.  He feels he needs the experience.  He’s young.  He’ll be fine.”

Such matter-of-fact statements from these Cydroids, I find it difficult to understand them, perhaps because I approach them with normal human feelings.  How can someone who chooses to enter into excruciating torture and die from it be fine?  Do they possess neural-blocks?  As in the opposite of the neural inductor?  Have they found a way to manipulate the effects of  “Hansen’s Disease” in creating anaesthesia of body parts while having them torn from them?  Fine?  I just come from a short term of Warmo’s brand of finesse.

She is smiling at me but not probing.  Just as well for the time being.  I’m thinking.

“Tell me,”  she adds with a mischievous smile,  “how would it feel to find yourself fighting that Warmo in the arena?  We are hoping to arrange that.  It would be justice, hm?  It’s also a fact that you are the only “champion” we possess who could beat him.  I sense that you need this challenge, Antierra, that you and Warmo have much unfinished business.”

My heart skips several beats at the suggestion.  Eagerness and horror ride side by side.  Revenge and compassion vie for first place in my mind.  How must I respond to this idea?  I motion to the healer Cydroid to touch my head.

“Can you feel me there YBA?”  I shorten her name, dropping the number for simplicity while only the two of us are present.  “Can you tell the turmoil your question has put in my mind?  I cannot answer you right now.  How could I?  I have made so many mistakes here already it seems, nothing but mistakes.  I’ve violated my own beliefs about myself, my own, even private codes of conduct.  I’ve broken every promise I made before I came here.  Crossed every boundary I’d painstakingly set so I would not fail. 

“I’ve killed often out of hate and mocked my opponents before killing them.  Yes.  And I’ve fallen in love twice already, the second time incredibly painful and utterly confusing.  I’ve bitched at my charges even knowing they were going to die the next day; given utterly lewd sexual “performances” publicly.  I’ve despaired, doubted, recanted, thought my Altarian life a total fake; hated Old Earth for inveighing me into coming here.  I forgot why I came here and at times just became a mad, frantic killer, an animal fighting for her life not caring about anything else. 

“I’ve cursed Malefactus and every male on it.  I’ve looked into the sky at Albaral and cursed that too.  I’ve used the doctor to my own ends instead of just taking it like everybody else and dying as I should have.  In the end it seems to me that I am the one who brought all these diabolical things to Malefactus; that I made a most terrible mistake long ago and now everybody is paying for my foolishness and my false sense of redemptive properties.  I’m an idiot, YBA. 

“You are looking at a wreck and a wretch of a once human being!  To seek more vengeance, and along with letting myself fall in love with a man I can never really be with – you heard me earlier and heard his response – what can I say? 

[end blog post #49]

Antierra Manisfesto – blog post #48

“It has never been proven that on the long run any military benefited any society it purported to protect.  All military forces are there but for the ease of extracting power from those who trust them, or must endure them.  Fear, through lies, is their modus operandi.  But I digress and I apologize.”

“No, it’s OK.  I did ask and I appreciate your candid answer.  I have similar feelings in that regard and my own experiences on Old Earth support Dr. Echinoza’s assessment of the military.  Please continue to explain what it is like to be a cloned Cydroid.  The subject fascinates me.”

[end blog post #47]
__________________

[begin blog post #48]

“Cydroids” are basically an advanced form of android.  We are quite human in most ways.  Our bodies are cloned from human DNA stock, not from artifices.  If you took my body apart you would not know I am not a true human.  You would assume I was some kind of freak human by the “perfection” of organs and placement.  We are cloned to function at peak human physical and mental capacity so you would not find any pre-birth blemish or defect in any of us.  Things can happen later, of course, but that’s easily ascertained and repaired.

“The actual cloning is a very costly process.  To grow a Cydroid on Koron takes approximately six months of full time involvement by a team of no less than four specialists working, as you say, around the clock.  The purchaser must pay for this, of course, plus the rental of the cloning tanks and lab facilities.  Then there’s the training and programming into whatever specialty is expected by the ‘adoptive parent to be’ before the new being can enter the household of its owner and display its abilities – another two years minimum, involving another team of specialists and whatever equipment required.  If the Cydroid is to fly stealth craft, then one must be rented for the training.  If one becomes a doctor – as I am – my healing center time must be paid for – that is another three year investment.  

“Then there’s the legal ceremony of entering “it” from a thing or basically a machine to full-fledged member of the, what you call “ISSA” side of the life equation.  Though it is not considered human, it becomes “she” or “he” and is officially named.  Enter YBA1 or XBA1 – the costs of this also having been prepaid by the adoptive parent or parents.

“In the course of time though, Cydroids can be a very lucrative investment, not to mention the fact that for space travellers like Dr. Echinoza we can, and are, life savers.  We program ourselves to save his life under any circumstance, no questions asked.  We never even think of hesitating to perform a command or doing what we know needs doing if our name-parent needs us.  We “know” what to do.  We can die doing this, of course, but only if all of us are killed do we terminate.  As long as one (on each side of the gender equation) survives, we all survive.  We can be re-grown from the remaining one’s memories, of course.  That is why we prefer to work in larger groups.  Our chances of survival are exponentially increased with each new adopted member. 

“So naturally, there is a real aspect of self-preservation in protecting our adoptive parent.  If he were to die, we could be split up and re-adopted (purchased) piece-meal by others who cannot afford all of us together.  You see, as member of the household, we are full-fledged members of society with all the rights and responsibilities of humans.  But without an adoptive parent we revert back to non-identity status.  Why?  Because it’s a lucrative business to re-sell Cydroids and we remain part of the estate as property rather than as family, children or heirs.  Certainly the laws have seen to it that we could never become heirs!

“Just as certainly we can function independently of humans, likely much better than we do now.  But humans (the ones your mind dubs pseudo-humans) are strange creatures who, even in the midst of change, continue to fight innovations and the very change they put in motion.  Irrational is what they are.  They are also dreadfully afraid of creating a pseudo-human life that would demonstrate qualities and abilities beyond their own. 

“They fear being taken over by superior minds and so, what actually happens is they live all of their limited lives being taken over by lesser minds.  It’s more than ironic to us.  We would be so good for, and to, our humans if they set us free to develop.  Our mindset is clear and clean.  We reject violence for any purpose.  We love knowledge but we can only understand it as we experience it.  I think, Antierra, that we have more in common with you Altarians.  Perhaps, since you call less evolved human types “pseudo-humans” as compared to your people whom you consider to be fully human, we Cydroids are more human than our makers.

“If we are split up among different families we no longer function with equal efficiency.  We lack that closeness that shares issues and problems and uses the combined minds to resolve it.  Also, our new adoptive parents can lose track of our other “twins” and if we accidentally die, our group can dwindle down to one and terminate.  Then everything that we were or are, is lost.  All that was put into us at such great cost of money and time; all our experiences, gone.  Our history through time, gone.  There is no law currently that would enforce the re-growing of one of us who dies.  Only if our owner wishes it and the money is available to cover the costs will this happen. 

“Our advocates are currently arguing these obvious points before the Koron World Court, but without much success.  Money talks, especially on Koron.  Cydroids cannot make investments and gain the necessary credits to, say, buy themselves into independence.  Estate lawyers and the courts they manipulate also saw to that.  The only thing that makes us different from bond slaves is that we cannot be mistreated or sold, even if the estate is liquidated as long as our current adoptive parent or parents remain alive.  Ownership of human others, i.e., slavery, is not legal, not permitted and forcefully investigated and prosecuted on Koron. 

“We have the right to charge our adoptive parents – or anyone who hires us, or rents us, for whatever purpose – for abuse, corporeal mistreatment or upon discovery of “pre-sold” arrangements with investors.  We have full and guaranteed access to pro bono representation by the best legal minds on Koron and anyone found pre-selling their adopted Cydroids, no matter who it is, goes to jail – the automatic sentence cannot be less than ten years.  So we are not without some legal representation including important rights and protections but we certainly need more so we can become more than we were ever expected to  become.  We are the future for humanity and we are certainly chafing at the bit that is imposed on us (Hey, got that one from your mind too.  Horses you say.  Powerful riding animals. These animals were your slaves then? Ok, later). 

“You see, we also have, at the very least since there is no way to know when or if it terminates, a very long life-span resulting in useful memories that can be tapped into anywhere at a moment’s notice.  We remember everything.  So far Koron has cloned Cydroids for over one hundred and fifty years and the first successful “model” still looks and feels as young and alive as I do without any kind of rejuvenation treatment or “re-tanking.”  I was privileged to meet her before I was assigned to Malefactus.  You would love her, Antierra.  Her knowledge spans so many years.  Not like yours, but impressive, at least to me.  She let me feel her mind and I believe that simple touch changed my life’s direction.  I “saw” the flow of life through many generations of humans.”

And while she talked I wondered at her ability to so tap my mind that she knew so much about my expanded life or lives.  That she knew how my “other” spanned millennia of time, and of time beyond time, as far as I chose to remember myself outside my current bondage to Malefactus. 

Amazing that I don’t feel threatened by her mind touch.  I don’t feel robbed but the opposite.  I feel as if I were undressing myself for a lover for the first time – that heart-flutter excitement that wonders what comes next, feeling the moistness between my virgin thighs… and how while watching him take his clothes off I stare at his naked body and at that which is supposed to give me the most wonderful pleasure life has to offer. 

She isn’t raping my mind, she’s making love to me.

“We have a similar “identical twin” bond humans sometimes experience from the womb state when two come from a single fertilized ovum.  All YBA’s – we are five and I’m the “youngest” at this point –  are my identical “twins” in every sense.  Though we each train in individual specialties, we can convert one-another’s knowledge and skills and function so that even the adoptive parent is not aware if we’ve made a switch.  For us, life does not get better, as you would put it.  All we need do is protect our own “investment” in Dr. Echinoza to ensure continuity.”

[end blog post #48]

The Antierra Manifesto – blog post #47

… That was a warning to get myself together, and quickly.  More effort, when all I want to do is lie here, be taken care of and let the world go on without me.  Oh, to just wallow in self pity and pure wonderful misery.  To be a bitch.  To be dead!

He walks out of his office looking pensive and the automatic door swishes closed.  I got a glimpse of the sky, still cloudy and windy but not raining.  A cold draft finds my back and I shiver.  It’s not just the cold I am reacting to.

[end blog post #46
______________________
[begin blog post #47]

Don’t they say that when one door closes, another opens?  I turn to YBA5.  I feel the flesh on her bare arm with my finger tips extending beyond the bandages.  It feels normal, human.  She covers me and rubs a heavier wrap over my goose-pimpled flesh.  I smell of lavender or something.  I smell human.  No, better, I smell like a woman.  I wonder what my hair looks like.  I must be alive.

All this while the Cydroid has her hand on my forehead with a finger pressed against my temple.

“Your hair is fine Antierra.  And I’m holding back some of your pain so you can feel normal.  No drugs, I know.  But your young friend left you a priceless gift: a box of stim cubes.  Let me know if your pain becomes unbearable and I’ll split a cube in half, give you just enough to ease your pain.”

“You can mind read?  Mind meld?  What kind of AI are you?”

“Ah, one question at a time.  I’m a Cydroid, as you’ve been told, a clone of human genetic material with artificial intelligence – not human.  I do not possess human feelings, only mimic them from mind-touch – we do not like the term “mind meld” as it presents a form of invasion.  AI’s are particularly wary of mind invasion probes.  Despite the many safeguards we build within ourselves, we are more susceptible to mind probe attack than full humans for we do not carry the confusion your egos create in interaction between mind and brain, nor can we so easily fabricate “mindless” or irrational verbal expressions such as your use of swear words. 

We only mind touch when the human or the other AI has given its permission for us to proceed.  I can sense your thoughts because I feel you wish it.  I know when it is not desired.  Nothing happens then, just what you call white noise.”

“White noise… hah, yes.  That’s what I mostly pick up from the fighters in the cages.  Only in the training can I pick up disconnected segments of thoughts.  White noise is caused when the mind blocks probes…

And having caught a thread of thought I wish to share with this person I continue:

“Or as on most pseudo-human worlds where genetic deformities and pathological diseases are the norm and where telepathy is rare or non-existent, the telepath encounters white noise from minds completely scrambled, full of true madness or autistic.  A dysfunctional mind does not create logically sequenced thinking.  The binary code necessary to form the thoughts for verbal communication has empty sockets; is missing parts of itself; is gapped. 

“Hence we have deduced why some autistics can accomplish amazing feats with their minds with certain numbers, or “observations” that do not translate into a life equation.  They can “count” but they cannot really “add.”   Their simplified view jumps across the normal logical and logistical connecting details (missing from their wiring), merrily skipping across the board from number to number – without being able to make a logical connection that gives the reason or purpose as to why they should be “counting” for example. 

“A bit like this: if someone is “doing it” for example, with a purpose, four marbles plus four marbles will equal eight marbles.  To the one with the missing detail (the marble) it narrows down to four plus four equals eight.  The equation has the same value, results derived much quicker because the ‘non-essential detail’ has been removed but translated into life, it becomes, not so much meaningless as useless. Just numbers in space, not connected to reality.  To communicate you need to connect the “necessary detail” to the number. 

“This falls in the same category as information versus knowledge.  You can access tons of information and remember a tiny percentage of it for some  useful purpose if you happen to have that kind of brain but if you access only that information you really need, apply it to experience, then you have knowledge.  You never get knowledge without experience.”

“Yes, interesting observations.  I have ‘such a mind’ – she adds smiling – I have stored that for future research and comments, should I function on such a world.  Thank you.”

She bows to me.  She stands beside me and I gauge her size.  Slim, just slightly taller than the people of Malefactus, slightly darker of skin – looks like she does tan – and of finer build – like expensive china, her skin softer even than mine. 

“Do you always look like this, or are you able to shape-shift to match any human form on any world?  Can you explain the cloning process used to “make” Cydroids;  how you function within a human society or what your real purpose is?”

“No, I don’t shape shift.  It’s too hard for us.  We’d have to re-enter the cloning tanks and go through a painful and expensive process.  I use disguises, that’s all.  I can change my voice and have a working command of any language I wish to use.  We are telepaths and we simply make sure, as when on a world like this one, that we are never together in the same place.  Everyone of us is the same person to those who are not acquainted with our type of life.  We are all clones of the original who is cloned from generic, if carefully chosen, genetic stock. 

The originals, purchased by Doctor Echinoza are vat-stamped YBA (Y for the female chromosome and BA for the initials in the name of the purchaser, in this case, Balomo instead of Echinoza – there were other “EC” entities being processed) and XBA (X chromosome for the male, etc.).  A woman or a man of means who wishes to own a Cydroid has to legally adopt one before the cloning process can begin.  Illegal Cydroids are unknown.  If they were found they’d be terminated and anyone involved would be jailed for life without parole.  The reasoning behind this law is sound.

“The first Cydroid cloned for Dr. Echinoza was male stamped XBA1.  If the person is truly wealthy, or involved in civilian or military off-world “research” (you can just imagine what “military research” can mean!) the cloning process for more can begin but only after the first is fully integrated in our society.  First, the legal documents must be procured, approval granted and costs met up front.  Koron’s economy does not allow for monetary debt.  Others there are of course, but must be hidden, or as I find in your mind, the term is “laundered” – that’s funny.” 

She smiles like a child with a new toy.  I think she is falling in love with my mind or perhaps the outlandish terminology and images there! 

“So Bal, I mean Dr. Echinoza is a research scientist attached to the civilian side of government on Koron?  Is there a cross-over here, on this world, between civilian and military goals?”

“Absolutely not.  Dr. Echinoza hates all things relating to military and para-military activity.  He would sooner abandon his own research and the notoriety and profit of it if he had to share his results with military minds.  Of course he realizes and so do we, that he does not have complete control over what is done with his notes and discoveries from his research.  Militaries, in any society, spy on everyone, but particularly on the very society they are supposed to be protecting.  They are always pushing for more “state security measures” which, when translated means more surveillance of, and control over, their own people.  As far as Dr. Echinoza and other influential people like him are concerned, all militaries, wherever encountered, should automatically be disbanded. 

“It has never been proven that on the long run any military benefited any society it purported to protect.  All military forces are there but for the ease of extracting power from those who trust them, or must endure them.  Fear, through lies, is their modus operandi.  But I digress and I apologize.”

“No, it’s OK.  I did ask and I appreciate your candid answer.  I have similar feelings in that regard and my own experiences on Old Earth support Dr. Echinoza’s assessment of the military.  Please continue to explain what it is like to be a cloned Cydroid.  The subject fascinates me.”

[end blog post #47]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #44

(I must be tired… forgot to post the title of this blog post…)

Fate, yes.  Some Earthian friend of long ago called it karma.  Whatever it was I would pit myself against, I would serve Earth again.  The people would never know but she would know.  She would be grateful.  “Ich diene.”
[end blog post #43]


[begin blog post #44]

Chapter 20 –  Goodbye until the End of Time

The day drags on, yet the moments fly.  I strain to hear sounds from the kitchens that indicate Deirdre is there, working and in her inimitable way, amusing the other workers without seeming to do so, right under the eyes of their guards. 

Why am I torturing myself so?  I act as if I were a pubescent girl in love for the first time with a man who pays no attention to her.  Damn.  What a predicament.  Now I can understand what those poor Earthians went through with their own personal love affairs I thought were so stupid.  Now I certainly could empathize.  Now I’m living their pain.  What a terrible thing this inloveness is!  And the worse is yet to come.

I dread the time of evening meal.  She will come out, unaware, innocent, and will give me my bowl with her beautiful hands, the long fingers shamelessly running over my skin, her hair brushing my bare shoulders.  She will lean against me for a few moments before moving on and returning into the kitchens.  And I will never see her again.

The sun has gone behind the battlements and Albaral has not risen yet.  We end our training for the day; put away the wooden and rough or worn out fibresteel weapons we train with.  Wash and get in line for count, inspection and finally our evening meal.

Two of our own have not returned from the arena.  I should feel something for them, I know, compassion and a real sense of personal loss, not necessarily in that order.  But what I feel is envy.  I’m jealous of their new found freedom.  Death means it’s over, all the pain and suffering we are made to endure; that so many endure all over this world.  Death means we find peace finally.  We can fly away free for as long as we wish it.  Death is our blessed realm.

Of course that is an incomplete picture, but my mind is not into completing images right now.  I feel torn and shattered.  The count and inspection complete we line up at the tables and sit, waiting silently for our meal.  The clattering in the kitchens stops and silent young servant women file out, each with two bowls in hand, passing them out.  Deirdre is not among them.  Again I’m paralyzed by fear that something happened, that our plan was discovered, that they’ve taken her to kill her.  I can barely eat, yet I must so as not to arouse suspicion.   

The meal over we wash our faces quickly as we pass the washing troughs, then file into the cage compound, each to our own.  In the gloom I see a young woman in my cage, and for a moment I think it’s Deirdre but it is not.  She could pass for Deirdre in size and no guard recognizes the subterfuge.  I don’t know where they found her or how they got her into my cage but it satisfies the official count.  I sit next to her and she moves against me, crawling between my legs as the young ones often do, like young animals seeking a mother’s warmth and protection.  I hold her lightly and wait.  More lights go out and there is the usual noise of the changing of the guard outside, only with much less volume than usual.  Many less men out there.  Then as the automatic alarm systems fully set themselves, no one remains in the yards to accidentally trigger the sensors. 

Rising Albaral is hidden behind phosphorescent-edged clouds above the keep.

With night comes the expected storm.  I can hear the thunder far away and soon the wind comes up.  Heavy drops of rain spatter far above on the tiled roofs, sparsely at first, then increasing to a true downpour. Distant lightning flashes and my heart beats as loud as the thunder.  After a time a trainer comes to my cage and opens it.  The young woman, startled begins to stand.  She is ordered to lie down in the straw and to not make a move: she won’t.  Guided by the Cydroid-trainer’s extended arm I step out and follow.  In the gloom I see two guards carrying the body of a woman towards one of the southern portals.  Deirdre?  It has to be!  It opens and I want to run out to her and at the very least, whisper goodbye.  The false trainer grabs me and whispers my task again. 

“You have twenty minutes now to lay the marks.  I will wait for you inside the wall and return you to your cell.  Your friend is fine.”

I run out as if I were making for the crossing, then turn sharply, digging in the muddy sand to leave impressions, run down to the water and go in silently, gliding through the deep waters.  For a moment I can even enjoy the sensation of swimming, even though the water is icy.  Reaching the far side, I run up the bank far enough for my footprints to get lost in the shifting sands.  I steal one moment to stand and stretch in the breeze, outside the keep, giving myself a momentary illusion of freedom. 

I carefully retrace the steps, backward over the first set until I’m in the water, turn and, as silently as before swim back across the moat.  I take a different path along hard ground and rock, back to the portal that immediately hisses shut.  The false trainer leads me back to my cage.  It’s now empty.  I understand the simplicity of that part of the plan here:  I go in with Deirdre; a trainer orders me out of my cage in the night and makes me walk outside the walls and back.  When I return Deirdre is gone.  Meanwhile in reality my false companion is returned wherever she came from and cannot be found to be interrogated.  In any case, she would have no story to tell except she was put in the wrong cage, in the wrong line-up.  She could not know why the mistake was made.  My lies and her innocence almost guarantee a dead-end.

I spend the night transfixed in thorough angst, ice running through my veins – feeling more alone than I remember ever having felt.

I look up through the only opening visible where sometimes you can see a star or two, or where Albaral crosses.  It’s still dark and raining so if they reach the craft in time, assuming they have a reliable carrier that won’t be grounded by lightning, it will have gone through the clouds and become invisible quickly. I can see and imagine the shuttle craft streaking across the skies picking up speed to vanish on its way to Koron, a trip that should take the small craft just a bit over six months shunting time.  How I long at this moment, to be aboard that craft!

Goodbye until the end of time! 

“Don’t look back when you reach the new shore,
Don’t forget what you’re leaving me for,
Don’t forget when you’re missing me so,
Love must never hold,
Never hold tight but let go.

Oh the nights will be long,
When I’m not in your arms,
But I’ll be in your song,

That you sing to me, across the sea.
Somehow, someday, you will be far away,
So far from me and maybe one day,
I will follow you,
‘Til then, send me a song.”

(excerpt from “Send me a Song” by Celtic Woman)

And I cry for us, for her, for me. 

Not all of it is sad. 

I take comfort in the Cydroid’s words of certainty.  She is safe.  What else matters? 

For now I must try to find some sleep.  Tomorrow we will be subjected to the inevitable investigation.  Escapes, even attempted ones, are taken most seriously here as I’ve seen.  If the investigators cannot arrive at logical conclusions regarding the events, they will arrest individuals at random and send them to be interrogated by the inquisitors.  Most will never return.  They will be made to endure the most extreme sophistication of torture ever devised by pseudo-humans, either to extract information (the lesser reason) or satisfy the torturer’s lusts. 

Since Deirdre is my friend and known as my lover, I will certainly be one of those chosen for the inquisition.  Ah well, it’s the price you pay for loving, for caring, for standing out in some way and for upsetting the status quo which I’ve already done much of.  I know in my heart that even if I had nothing to do with Deirdre they would come for me.  I’ve been on their list of suspected subversives for some years now, whomever ‘They’ be.

This I must share here: my experiences on Old Earth taught me well as regards those we are forced to call ‘They’ in referring to ‘Powers’ we know exist but cannot identify because they are chameleonic in nature and use humans to camouflage their evil works.  We’ve always known ‘They’ exist and have power of life and death over us, never mind how many legal ‘rights’ or safeguards we are given under the law.  Whenever we choose right over wrong in their viewpoint and according to their arbitrary rules we are targeted as the enemy; terrorists, subversives, spies and in many cases we forfeit our lives to them.  So, let me emphasize that ‘They’ are very real to me. 

I must sleep now.
[end blog post #44]

 

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #42

(continuing with the Manifesto… )

By mid-morning the twins return.  One has a long slash on her left arm which she holds as blood drips from the fingers of the limp hand hanging down.  The other woman is limping, but they have returned from their first fight and there is a look of triumph on their faces.  They have done what they swore to do and thought they’d never get the chance.  Two men died to pay for whatever horror other men did to these women.  They will survive their wounds and will go on to kill many more.  Their hate will never abate, that I know.  They have become killers of men.  They will never be anything less or more than that, until they are killed in turn.  By permission now long granted I escort and turn them in to the medics’ rooms for patching up and brief observation, the costs of such medical treatments having been paid by their owners.  Deirdre accompanies me and is permitted to attend to their wounds, thus leaving the medics to just sit and watch, doing nothing.

Expensive fighting animals taken to the vet after the fight: it is the way of it.

[end blog post #41]
______________________

[begin blog post #42]

I retrieve their weapons from the handlers and as I clean the long sword and bloodied axe, I shudder again. 

Such waste!  Such terrible waste.  No wonder this world is dying.  The black hole my friend the doctor is looking for – look no farther than into the heart of every person on this world.  Look at the blackness there.  That’s your problem, doc!  That and whatever Force is pushing the buttons of Malefactus.  That outside Force you won’t consider to exist.  You bastards who control this world from the spy-moon of Albaral, I’ll find you and expose you yet, I swear it!

‘And when are you going to get Deirdre out of this hell-hole, doc my very good friend?’  I my mind and heart I exude sarcasm and bile.

My thoughts jump naturally to Deirdre and Balomo.  I have to have someone to beat up on in my head at this moment, or I feel I’ll go stark raving mad, make a mad rush into the arena where the organized killing is still going on for the entertainment of thousands of brain-dead boneheads, and “go postal” as they used to say on Old Earth.

I grab the weapons tightly, one in each hand and walk down to the forge to have their cutting edges re-done, hissing my anger between my teeth, imaging this entire stone “fort” blowing itself to dust and joining the rest of the growing desert.  The blacksmith approaches me with his expectant erection and I make a gesture that says: ‘now would definitely be a good time to practice abstinence.’  Fortunately for both of us he understands and laughs his hearty old pirate’s laugh.  He won’t go without.  Some other girl will be available to him shortly.

On the way back I’m greeted silently by a Cydroid disguised as a handler.  As he pretends to escort me he whispers, more into my mind than ear, lips never moving:

“We have secured permission to take your friend to Koron as a special case study, not as a refugee.  You will have to perform your end of the bargain, covering for us, and her.  Are you ready and willing to do so?”

“I have been ready for over a year!  Yes, do it.  When is it happening?”

“Two days.  Dark night of clouds forecast.  The “King” has arranged to have many of the usual complement of guards busy at the court for his personal “protection” while we take her through the gates and alarmed sectors.  You will follow us until we cross the walk bridge across the moat and you will wander away along the water’s edge, then walk in and swim to the other side to make imprints there.  Then return immediately before the alarms are reset and the doors close.  You will have twenty three minutes.  Can you calculate that without chrono?”

“I’ll be swift, never fear.  I’m ready.”

“You cannot speak of this to the Cholradil, you understand?  She will be sedated when we take her.  There is no other way.  You will not say goodbye to her even though you won’t see her again.  You must not let her know something is going on.  Use anger to cover your feelings.  That works for us.  And above all, you must trust us to do what we promise to do.  You must never worry about her safety.  In time, the doctor will let you know how we fared and how she is doing and adapting.”

“You sound so confident… I wish I could be as much.”

“Be.  You must.”

“Thank you so much, sir.”

But he walks away as if he did not hear me.  I know he did.  It’s not their way to bandy or accept thanks, praise or blame.  They do what they program themselves to do until it is done or they reprogram themselves.  Now my mind fills itself with the risks of this enterprise.  Yes, the false king is on our side, of course, but he is only a figurehead in the whole gamut of Malefactus politics and economics.  His word is law only because some greater Force upholds it.  The position of King is used to control the people only.  But the real government of Malefactus resembles more the organization of a secret society.  Its ruling aristocracy is but a front.  There is a tight-knit secret oligarchy pulling the strings on this world.  Who are they and what do they want?

The questioning that will arise from Deirdre’s disappearance will not come from the courts, but from the dark, dreaded official inquisition.  Even the King is subject to the Force that instituted the inquisition.  This much I learned from Bal.  I know now that my greatest trial on Malefactus has begun and won’t end even long after she is gone, if I survive that long.  How much will I feature in their investigations?  What will it cost me?  How much do I love you Deirdre?  Never enough, I know, but in this just enough to see you off this world.  The rest is the rest.  

I step lively back to the training, involving myself in a bunch of details I’d let slip.  I upbraid a couple of fighters for sloppiness, striking one hard on the side of the head to demonstrate how easily one dies.  She flinches and rubs her head and I hit her again on her unprotected side.  She goes down and I jump on top of her, ready to spit her.  There is a look of pure terror in her eyes.

I step off of her and growl for her to stand.    

“Pick up your ‘fucking’ staff and fight me, damn you.  Fight me! You call yourself a gladiator?  You’re nothing but ‘pess.’”  (In our world the term means a combination of excretion of piss and sweat.  It is always used insultingly.) 

And I drive her hard until her fear changes to anger and she begins to return the blows in earnest.  Too late, of course, but an improvement.  Maybe she will last more than a couple of bouts if her challengers are drugged, or certifiable idiots.  We do get those.  Some people get lucky.  Will this one?

“Is there something wrong with your head?” I ask her.

“No sir!”  protocol – if I’m trainer, I have to be ‘sir.’

“Well if you’re not stupid, is it laziness?  Do you want to die on your first round?”

“No sir.”

“Then FIGHT!  Attack me, not to tickle me, but to KILL ME!

I say it so loud the sounds echo against the great walls and everyone stops to listen.  Trainers come running to me and I take a stance of humility.

“What is going on here?”

“Something new, sirs.  I have discovered that certain words help people respond to attack.  Perhaps we could be permitted to test my idea?”

“It will be taken into consideration.  One more outburst and it’s a flogging – for both of you.”

“I’m sorry sirs.  No more outbursts.”  And I watch them return to their brew and dice.  In this instance the threat would not be carried out but protocol was served.  They did their job.

I turn viciously to the trainee and use the ‘high’ language, not their pidgin.

“Do you understand now, girl?  You have some power you can use.  I just demonstrated how easily you can die, one from weapons in the arena, the other by violating rules.  The only reason we are not being flogged to death at this very moment is because of who I am, do you realize that?  I put your life in danger because I seek to save your life.  You owe me this: to listen carefully and to throw yourself body and mind into our training.  There is nothing else here for you.  No escape.  No miracles.  No fairy tales.  You will fight to the death every time you enter that arena. 

“Turn around.”  She obeys immediately.  I read her brand for her ‘age.’

“You have approximately one year left to prepare for these ordeals.  They will not end until you are killed. 

“If you do not wish to survive, tell me now and we won’t waste time I can best spend on those who wish to live longer.  You will go into your first fight and you will be tortured to death, not killed outright.  They will soon realize you don’t know how to attack, or even defend yourself.  And they will toy with you, disgrace and dishonour you and you will make the status of all women on this world even less than it is because of your lack of courage.

“We don’t fight only for ourselves.  We fight for all the women on this world.  The others only suffer and have no means to fight back but we do!  We are the gladiators!  We have weapons and we can learn how to use them.  It’s how we make our way.  You girl are not just one girl; you are all of us when you fight them.  Are we then all lazy, stupid, or cowards, as they like to think?  Or will you show them something different? 

“Every one of you youngsters has the potential to be the greatest female fighter ever to enter the arena.  Everyone.  All you need to do is find the key that opens the door to that new idea and believe you can do it.  Realize that if you can think it, you can do it.  Just follow through with nothing to look back on, nothing to lose.  This world hangs by a thread and the end of that thread is just within your grasp.  There is only one thread.  The men want to cut it.  You are the one called to prevent this from happening.  You get me?”

Does she ‘get’ me?  I fear not in the least.  There is yet no understanding of philosophy, of any sort of personal power one can tap into from within.  With these poor people, everything is physical and external.  If you have a weapon; if you are given permission; if you are challenged; if you are allowed; if you are physically able – you can fight against a man and maybe kill that man before he kills you.  But you gain nothing by it.  You just live to fight another day, that’s all.  You cannot improve yourself in any way. 

It is the way of it. 

And I’m sick to death of hearing that damned expression that says it all for all of us.  How can I communicate abstract ideas to these people?  They express white noise for thoughts and they have the limited vocabulary of a three year old Earthian child, exceptions noted.

[end blog post #42]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #41

(Busy times and I realize I’ve fallen behind in posting… sorry!)

By her branding she is now fifteen years old.  She has maybe one more year before she must enter the arena and I still have no idea what criteria they use to decide when a new trainee makes her debut in the arena as an official fighter.  The way it looks, unless someone notices her and buys her out of this place into concubinage or the sex trade – not much of an improvement from what I’ve heard from the two “demoted” concubines I’m in the process of training for the arena – Deirdre is doomed to die within the year. 

I cannot let that happen.

[end blog post #40
__________________________________________________
[begin blog post #41]

Chapter 18 – Trainer, warrior and worrier

I’m leaving the physical aspects relating to this world’s malaise to the Koronese and their Cydroids for the time being.  I’ve been involved in too many physical “rescues” in other lives, other worlds, to hold much hope that we can help this world in such a way.  What is needed here is sentience probing.  Deep exploration of mind pathways. 

Logically, it begins with a withdrawal, or better put, a removal.  One woman escapes in physical form and without trace.  Thus we create a crack in this stultified structure.

Now have your laugh at me: if that isn’t a physical rescue! Life is fascinating, not because of how much in it ‘fits’ somehow, but in endless contradictions!  So, let us proceed in contradictions up to our proverbial armpits, vowing to do thus, doing that instead, to arrive at this!

Deirdre is the one who makes it possible for me to communicate with the ever-changing kitchen slave Cydroid.  She takes our messages back and forth, fully aware the discussion is about her.  She understands I want her to leave Malefactus and why.  She sees the need of it, yet does not want to entertain the thought of leaving me.  Nor does she want to hope such a miraculous avenue of escape could be possible.  No one escapes Malefactus, she would say.  ‘It is the way of it.’

One of the female Cydroids answers my questions with much detail and demonstrates definite concern for the empath, coupled with professional interest.  According to Deirdre, she wants to be the one to bring the Cholradil to her home world and perform the preliminary studies of Deirdre’s strange characteristics.  She even cancels the two-day shift change to remain in the kitchens in order to probe Deirdre’s mind.  On Koron this Cydroid holds degrees in psychology and philosophy. 

Convincing others is more difficult.  Time, I insist, is of the essence.  How long will they procrastinate?  Until she is killed?  She cannot survive even one encounter in the arena, that we all agree on.

Bal is concerned, certainly.  But Koron is a problem.  They don’t want another denizen of Malefactus on their world.  Their laws currently forbid entry of off-world refugees for whatever reason.  My hopes for Deirdre are heading into bureaucratic red tape.  I want to get angry; steal the stealth craft and take Deirdre with me — anywhere.  Certainly I can find the memory in my mind from our wild days at the controls of jump scouts and crewing on attack ships.

Certainly I remember. 

A mad adrenalin rush comes to my head as I consider that kind of move. 

The pure ‘shamelessly physical’ engagement as your right hand grips and pushes the thrusters stick; hair literally standing on end and spine tingling from the effects of the electro-magnetic containment force-field of the fusion drive as it now comes out of “hibernation” into a roaring full-blown mini sun-flare blasting  the ship forth from its holding surface. 

The breathless rush into free space, the stomach-churning pull of multi-g force sensed even through the containment fields, pushing the body into the padding; the rumbling and shaking as the drive kicks into max while on screen the world you’ve just launched from dwindles to a speck, then to nothing in darkened skies. 

Left hand poised, tense, fingers splayed, hovering over the weapons’ console waiting for the tell-tale orange or red blip of an enemy ship appearing on screen; for the chase to begin long before your ship has a chance to engage its cloaking mirror and deflector shields.  Lifetimes lived in endless moments.

Oh yes, let’s do it!’

I’m not rational.  Love, what a terrible and stupid thing to be involved in. 

I try to move out of it.

When none of it matters, it will all be yours.’  Ah yes, truth that I don’t want to hear at this moment, yet is the only comfort I can receive.  I must cling to these remnants, these shreds that kept me reasonably sane in other incarnations.  I know so much, too much, I think.  Else, I’ve gotten messed up in my feelings.  The tail is wagging the dog these days, no doubt of this. 

Meanwhile life continues, Malefactus style.  We train to kill, we kill.  We get killed.  We are replaced, train some more and kill more.  Each day, more bodies of dead women are carried out to the hearse as I call it now.  Many die in their cages, finding ways to terminate their hopeless lives.  Owners get upset at their losses in entertainment and money.  We are driven to perform more.  New recruits arrive to replace the dead.  I see more blood each day.  I smell more of the piss and sweat at night even though I should be used to it by now.

It’s war with the only difference that the losers can never be allowed to win. 

I want it to end and it doesn’t.  It’s the way of it. 

I’ve finished the training of the two concubines.  They are passable fighters.  Angry and bitter but not careless.  They know the score of the survival game.  but they possess an insatiable need to avenge themselves on men.  I know they can kill.  They work well together.  That’s how we mostly trained – two on one.  I am trying something new: team work.  Like the two men I fought long ago, but that wasn’t team work.  This is.  They fight as one, each covering the other, aware of every aspect of their moves, how one affects the other.  They came from the same crèche and I wonder if they are twins.  They don’t understand what I mean, so I can only assume they are.  They are not empathic – I’m grateful for that! – but they possess an instinctive awareness of each other’s presence even under stress conditions and rapid movement.  This could work to their advantage, prolong their lives, if I can get the concept approved.

More bureaucratic delays.  My ‘girls’ are ready for the arena, but only as a team.  I explain the concept to a couple of handlers.  They shrug, then reluctantly take the idea to their overseer.  For two weeks, the answer is no.  Then it changes to “maybe” when I involve another group of trainers.  Competition between trainer teams I learned to use long ago.  If they approve my idea and it pays off, those who do the approval get the tips and bribe money.  Finally the concept is approved.  The “Concubines” will fight as a team, never as one, at least not until one of them is killed. 

A new style of fighting, guaranteed to up the antes, is carefully leaked out of the training compound into the streets of Hyrete.  Those who possess ‘the secret’ can sell it.  

We train in earnest now, knowing to concentrate on the team work.  I introduce another “revolutionary” idea: let it be different weapons for each member of the team.  It is approved.  We still cannot choose our weapons – that’s another thing I am working on slowly – but the challenger (if only one) must indicate which two weapons or set of weapons he wishes to engage the “Concubines” (now their official handle and fighting title) with.  If two challengers, each picks a different weapon and we match the choice.

The day before the fight, as late as they could leave it, two challengers come to the training ground and after watching the twins as I refer to them, decide on their weapons.  One is the regular two-handed long blade sword and the other, the axe.  It doesn’t surprise me they would choose such unwieldy weapons for themselves.  The “Concubines” are of slight build and short even for people of this world.  I ask the girls how they feel about the choice.  “We fight” they say in a low, throaty tone aimed for my ears only.  They say it in unison and with deadly intent.   

That’s it.  “We fight” which means, “we kill.”  Whatever they lack in size I know they’ll more than make up in speed, skill and focused hatred.  These two are driven to kill men.  Whatever was done to them, and only they and their abusers can know for they’ll never tell, they are going to make someone pay.  I almost pity their challengers.  Despite the many injunctions against demonstrating open affection I approach my charges to salute them, then hug them quickly.  The trainers frown but let it pass.  I’m still the Wild Desert Beast after all, approaching an all-time record for kills and survival in the arena.  They don’t know about the auto-medic and the stim, of course.  Ah well, as I was taught long ago, “What the eyes don’t see the heart doesn’t grieve.”  This can be the very last place in the universe where any of us would worry about decorum or honour.  Stealth, trickery, lies, deception, hate, greed – these are the values of this society.

I bring out the weapons and hold them for the twins to choose.  They decide which one will use the sword and which one the axe.  I place them in the special bundles to be taken to the arena in the morning where they are usually, not always, inspected by two officials from the Arena Fighter Council.  The twins turn for their cages, only this time I’ve managed to get them assigned to the same one.  They are thankful, I know.  And it is then, while I have time to think before I eat my own evening meal, that my heart constricts terribly for the two women.  I always assume it is easier for me to fight than for any of the others; the dangers to them are always magnified in my mind.  I cry those “illegal” tears and this time I don’t care who sees or who questions.  I’m ready to punch out or drop kick the first trainer who objects to my current mood.  I’m furious and to make matters worse, Deirdre comes to serve me the food.  And she knows.  She can see it all.  There are tears in her eyes too.  She leans on my shoulder as she hands me my bowl.   

Tonight we will not share our usual pleasure.  We will not exchange our exclusive type of loving.  We will sit side by side and let our hearts move with our sorrows.  It will be a night of vigil and searching.  We will let our minds work through their inexhaustible problems.  Tonight we will take in the entire compound of women and bring them all within our empathy and compassion.  We will cry for them and with them.  We will take the twins’ hatred and accept it as part of the gift of life here.  Tonight, through self-denial we will practice being “avatars” as I understand the concept and have taught it to Deirdre. 

Morning comes and I have not slept, using a technique learned on Altaria for remaining awake without effort.  Deirdre has succumbed and is leaning into my lap.  I wake her in time to see the twins being taken out.  We make no sound, no move. 

It is the way of it.

By mid-morning the twins return.  One has a long slash on her left arm which she holds as blood drips from the fingers of the limp hand hanging down.  The other woman is limping, but they have returned from their first fight and there is a look of triumph on their faces.  They have done what they swore to do and thought they’d never get the chance.  Two men died to pay for whatever horror other men did to these women.  They will survive their wounds and will go on to kill many more.  Their hate will never abate, that I know.  They have become killers of men.  They will never be anything less or more than that, until they are killed in turn.  By permission now long granted I escort and turn them in to the medics’ rooms for patching up and brief observation, the costs of such medical treatments having been paid by their owners.  Deirdre accompanies me and is permitted to attend to their wounds, thus leaving the medics to just sit and watch, doing nothing.

Expensive fighting animals taken to the vet after the fight: it is the way of it.

[end blog post #41]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #32

(Looks like I missed a day… oh well, can’t always be at the grindstone.  Sorry it’s taken so long to get through this dialogue between the Fighter and the Doctor, but this should be the last post on that… for now.  Going back to the fighters’ compound next.)

[begin blog post #32]

‘Indeed doctor’, I think to myself as I release Deirdre so he can remove my gown to inspect the auto-medic’s work.  He is pleased at how well my internal wounds have been repaired. 

As I wrap myself up again I ask, “What about King Tassard, doctor?  Who is he, really?  Another member of your network masquerading as King of Elbre?”

He smiles broadly at my words, obviously pleased with something.  “Perceptive!  He’s a pure clone, not combined artificial intelligence.  We made the switch very recently, at great risk.  His brother suspected the existence of our network and was suspicious of my close relationship with the king.  He worked for years to expose me before his brother only to be foiled by my spies.  Even had an assassination attempt done on me, foiled by XBA6, my best guard in disguise.  The assassin was quietly dispatched, the blame foisted upon the city’s riff-raff.  Investigations came to nothing.” 

“Where is the real king now?”

“Having the time of his life learning to be human on Koron.  I am joking, of course.  He’s not happy at all, so I’m told, but doesn’t remember much of his previous life as king.  I’m afraid we had to do some drastic re-programming on that one, or our women would have made short shrift of his priapic leanings and unwanted attentions.  Our world is heavily defined by intellect and gender has little to do with how power is shared on it.  I would say that men and women are by and large on par in our social interactions; definitely so in our laws which make no exceptions for gender, or gender preferences.  Lesbian relationships as you have here among the fighters and homosexual companions are common and completely recognized, accepted and legal, even in our religious institutions.  By the way Antierra, do you have any idea how many Cydroids we have here?”  he adds with a sly smile.

“Well sir, I’ve only seen two.  Why?”

“It’s important that you realize you’ve seen much more than two!  They keep changing.  All the males look the same, as do all the females, except when they are in disguise.  Naked it is impossible to tell them apart.  Some of your handlers and trainers can be Cydroids.  They program themselves to fit into the Malefactus mindset as per instructions.  One of them was involved in the death flogging of that poor girl you witnessed so long ago.  He did not perform the flogging, but he observed it.  Thus they avoid detection and serve me (and the group I’m connected to on Koron) as spies.  There is always at least one watching you – and your little lover friend.  We have female Cydroids in key positions, but because women do not wear clothes, we cannot have more than one in any place at any one time.  There is one in the kitchen.  She rotates with another every two days or when safe to do so.”

“Quite an organization.  To what end, doctor?”

“I believe basically the same as yours from what you’ve told me.  We feel Malefactus is in trouble internally.  Maybe a mini-black hole at the core, like a cancer, beginning to eat the planet.  Or something else.  Weather patterns indicate all is not well.  The seas are withdrawing, as if sucked into a bottomless crack.  The desert is expanding exponentially to the north and the south is cooling.  Snow, a complete anomaly on this world, has been reported at the south pole.  Much loss of indigenous life noted as well as increasing planetary changes that have no natural explanation and to our minds, threaten the life of this world, not just that of its denizens.  If it involved only the people themselves, we could possibly ignore the problem.  In the end, even if the people destroyed themselves the planet would remain to provide balance in the system.  Our research indicates that may not be all.  We fear the planet itself is disintegrating from within as from a malignant tumour and we are no closer to discovering the cause of it.”

“So Koron’s concern is that the death of Malefactus would cause a serious problem in what you call your constellation of twelve worlds?”

“It’s a matter of balance, isn’t it?”

He stabs me with a deep probing look.  I stare back, overcoming my natural fear of him.

“Yes sir, it is a matter of balance, always.  But balance is more than physical, I can attest to that.  It is also of mind and of spirit.  Without balance of mind doctor, no other type of balance can be achieved.  But there is another thing that is threatening the balance of these worlds, and that is Koron’s ability to travel through space now.  Do you know if any other of my so-called stack worlds also possess space travel, or may be in the process of developing space programs?”

“We have not investigated any other world but this one.  Our probes indicate we are currently the only world in this sector with space flight capability.  This could change at a moment’s notice, since our technology was plucked from our space, so could any world who developed basic space travel to reach, say, a moon, encounter a lost jump scout ship or perhaps even an x-ram drive, huh? 

Assuming his questions are not rhetorical, but that he is seeking answers, I reply as candidly as I know how.  “All very good questions to which there is no answer as yet.  As Antierra, I feel such a possibility is not only likely, but imminent.  However as an Avatari I say that the Supremacy is not going to discover this dimension under its current agenda.  There are greater forces than stack worlds, Supremacies and Melkiars or United Space Commands overseeing the greater movements of worlds and their lifeforms.  Earth is important in the greater scheme of things and she needs her stack worlds to maintain a sense of purpose and directions as regards her evolving pseudo-humans.

“Despite the efforts of the many residents of these worlds, Earth and adjunct “stacks” are being protected from outside interference and remain hidden, at least for the time being.  As Avatari we do not constitute “outside” influence since we are bona fide residents of these worlds and our full intent is to protect them by teaching and example to help them evolve beyond their crass selfish understanding.  Our purpose is to demonstrate to them the necessity of seeing life beyond simply the bagging of cheap resources and energy by preying upon the natural environment, including the defenceless elements of society to provide instant gratification.  Our purposes on these worlds is primarily to move them from their current predator-prey conditioned reflex action to an increasing awareness of the sacredness of life.  Ultimately doctor, changing the mindset of a stack world changes the mindset of the primary world. That is why I’m here.   

“The greater need for balance is in the transfer of mind and spirit energies.  Stacked worlds provide support for a base world’s developing ISSA population.  The people who die on base worlds need a place to go, a proper home.  They cannot be let loose upon open space for two very good reasons.  One, they’d be enslaved or destroyed by alien forces their minds would encounter and not be able to deal with.  Two, if they found a settled human world and were able to be re-born there in a child, they would be carriers of all the evils they have experienced and for many, quite enjoyed, while living on Earth.  Billions of entities would be let loose upon unsuspecting galactic worlds and beyond.  So the stack worlds were developed to house these Earthian minds, according to their belief systems and their basic nature.  Every inhabitant of a stack world bar none was once an Earthian and most, if not evolved enough mentally will be one again.  With mind unchanged, there is but one way out of a stack world, doctor, and that is to return to your base world. On Earth they call it karma. There you are once more given freedom of choice, something not so easily found in the stacks; in these absolutist worlds. 

“I hope that my explanations, though unacceptable to you, do make some sense?”

“You have given me much to think about Antierra.  I can see why we have crossed paths here.  A part of me wants to accept what you say because there is a kind of strange logic to it all my mind can appreciate.  Overall, however, your understanding of this part of the universe is, to me, quite off the wall if you know what I mean.  You are saying that even I, however long I may live, must ultimately leave everything I’ve done on Koron and here on T’Sing Tarleyn and “return” to a world I come from which I don’t remember at all; which according to our probes does not exist; and there be born a child, not remembering any of this past?  I fail to see the point of all that.”

“I know it sounds fantastic and not just a little ridiculous, but that’s the set-up we are all a part of, for better or worse.  The part about not remembering, doctor, is not quite true.  Anyone can remember, it’s but a matter of overcoming the old programming and get past the reticence to engage the “unthinkable” and opening oneself to the greater forces at play in our cosmos.  We are all so much more than we allow ourselves to believe, doctor.

“There is also this to consider when you think about all of this: that all of us ISSA’s in the making are potential Avatari.  Any spirit-mind involved in the betterment of life for others gravitates, or better said, evolves both spiritually and mentally to that place of greater knowing.  I can tell you this, that some who have been of the Avatari long eons of time are now ready to move into the next higher dimension of living expression.  While I have only an inkling of an idea what that means, or what it entails, it is there for all of us.  We are, as living entities, in a fascinating event, doctor.  We are not stuck in some questionable concept of life to just make the best of it.  Every place where we land is but a launching pad to another.”

“Ah, you make it sound so simple… uh, Altarian!  I wish I had the propensity to just draw a line across all that I believe and accept your words at face value.  But I cannot.  Maybe in time.  As you said earlier, believe all things, believe in nothing.”

“Yes, in time and beyond time.  You will remember this conversation and you will know.” 

[end blog post #32