Tag Archives: science fiction

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

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #31

(I’m afraid I have to “bore” you a bit more with esoteric explanations on stack worlds, space wars and dimensional barrier crossing.  And some more philosophy. All a necessary part of the story though.  It can’t be just about arena fighting but we will return to that…)

[begin blog post #31

“I have a bit more to tell you about the Shearing drive system that is of great interest to worlds such as these.  The drive is a pseudo space folding energy system which propels physical ships across non-physical dimensional barriers at multi-quantum “speed.”  It has been ascertained that the drive creates violent (and many observers believe, dangerous and objectionable) disturbances or chaotic conditions on the edges of the barriers but for the time being its benefits are considered to outweigh future costs.  Some believe such “costs” will prove catastrophic and predict sudden, inexplicable melding of dimensions, fusing everything within and urge termination of Shearing drive use.

“Much research is being done in alternate modes of cross-barrier physical transport but nothing so far has produced significant or reliable results.  The search for man’s age-old dream of finding doorways or portals through which one could just walk to translate unscathed from one dimension to another, or to another point in physical space, these remain dreams, remaining a tantalizing and possible aspect of man’s future.

“It should be noted that throughout human history, war or the threat of war has always been used as justification for playing fast and loose with the natural environment.  That has not changed except on a few more evolved worlds such as my home world of Altaria.  United Treaty World federations, taking a typically political stance refuse to endorse or veto the Shearing drive.  United Space Command insists it would be helpless without it.

“While the debate continues the number of orbiting x-ram Shearing drives is on the increase around all United Treaty worlds, now more commonly referred to as the Supremacy, a hegemony that combines the civilian authorities of the old United Treaty World federations and the military power garnered by the United Space Command during the Melkiar series of invasions.  Thus all authority, including those worlds dedicated to religious “freedom” or theocracies in all known human worlds is coming under the sway of the Supremacy.  For all practical purposes humanity once more exists under a military dictatorship in all but name.

“Every astro-worlds (artificial moons or space stations that span more than a hundred kilometers and are considered self-sustaining for a ten-thousand or more human population) is now orbited by a least one x-ram shearing drive as a necessary part of its defense system and supply lines.

“Of great interest to you doctor should be the fact that the human Supremacy has no contact with (this time) Earth and her stack worlds.  The great galactic human dictatorship has not as yet been able to penetrate the supra-dimension that hides Earth, though its rulers are aware of the existence of such a world and much research is also being done to understand why the Shearing drive will not work in these spaces.  I can assure you that it certainly galls the Supremacy to be thus foiled at its varied and costly attempts to break through into Earth’s space.  As to the existence of her stack worlds and their dimension, they simply do not believe such a possibility exists.  But should they find Earth, they will soon enough discover the stack worlds, that is inevitable.

“If the Shearing drive indeed causes dangerous fluctuations between dimensional barriers this could adversely affect the stack worlds we are now on.  Earth, what you refer to as your unknown singularity, and her supporting stacks could well be destroyed.  This too we have to keep in mind as we seek solutions to other problems.  We are also faced with the interesting fact that the Melkiars were able to send ships into this dimension.  The question I have is, were they able to enter this dimension also?  Or did they just “propel” the unmanned captured ships into unknown dimensions just to hide them from pursuers?  Who, apart from us Avatari and WindWalkers, know of your existence, and if such knowledge exists, what will be the nature of the inevitable intrusion in these dimensions?

“Now we have one more, glaring problem which was never taken into consideration: the real possibility of space travel between stack worlds!  People from Koron are now interacting physically with the stack world of T’Sing Tarleyn.  The question I ask myself, and must take back to my fellow WindWalkers is, how will this space travel capability affect the stack worlds’ balance?  What happens if they develop their own type of dimensional shear and become “physically” aware of each other? What happens if they find a way to exchange ideas across their once inviolable dimensional barriers?  The possibilities from your discovery of space flight capability are staggering to consider.  Hopefully they can be channeled in positive ways.  I cannot even begin to imagine what would happen to Earthian energies should stack worlds go to war with each other!

The doctor has put his elbows on the table once again and is holding his head.  “Well like it or not we do have space travel and we are going to use it.  If the worlds we explore and interact with are in some way connected to your stack world theory, that is as it is.  According to the logic you have presented to me thus far, I think we can… er, will have to, live with the consequences since they cannot be quantified.

“As for your galactic history, it is certainly interesting Antierra, or perhaps I should refer to you as Al’Tara?”  Not giving me time to respond he continues,  “I am not saying I believe you.  Apart from the small space ships you call jump scouts which we cannot explain and which you claim to be familiar with, you present me no evidence I could use.  I can sense how your story does clarify certain things.  But is it just you creating a plausible case scenario to inveigle us in some personal agenda of yours such as a female take-over of this world with you as Goddess or queen, or is it really true?  How can I believe that these Altarians whom you claim as your people are truly benevolent?  That your incursion in this world is not just a preliminary fact-finding mission prior to invasion?”

“An old argument doctor.  What is truth?  We of Altaria choose to consider “truth” as a compendium of experiences coming together as “cosmos.”  There is no such thing as an overriding, singular concept we could label “truth” except in an interim, at best a theory that one uses to begin a new search, a new quest within infinity.  Truth is our starting point, not the end of our discovery, doctor.  Once engaged upon the search, the original “truth” like the x-ram drive, is discarded, perhaps never to be used again should we not return by that route.  Somewhere else, we always find another x-ram drive to take us to the next dimension!”

“That’s exactly what I mean!  You have a dangerous and devious mind, Al’Tara.  The way you present difficult concepts is, on the surface, quite attractive and I enjoy the play.  I like the way you move your pieces on the board.  But I realize that you have a greater ability yet to hide facts from anyone and that on such a level no amount of inducement or physical pain would extract those facts from you.  All in all, I am willing to take my chances with you and trust you.  Your mind is the truly erotic part of you.  I am glad I got to know at least a part of it.”

“Spoken like a true Koronese intellectual, my dear doctor!  And now I am returning to my Antierra persona.”

“Just like that, huh?”  He says, looking at me in that strange way he sometimes get.  I have returned to my more normal self and respond with my typical shrug that earned me a smashing blow to the head from him once.  This time he just gives me a broad but sad smile.  I made him re-think some important points at least.

During my lengthy recital of current Earthian and galactic history Deirdre had remained silent and in a state I would have called listless.  As the doctor was going to ask a question, she atypically interrupts as if she’d come from a deep sleep.  She is running a finger over the facial scar I received in one of my earliest fights.

“Why didn’t the auto-medic remove the scars from her body?”  She addresses the doctor with a puzzled look.

A great healer but weak on the simplest concepts of deductive reasoning, my Deirdre.

The doctor’s answer is obvious.  “If we removed all the scars and all the signs of the many fights from her body, how would you explain that to the handlers and her owners?  Everything we do here would be exposed.  I’d be the first suspect on their list.  Antierra would be thought of a witch and be tortured to death by the “Inquisition” and I would be next.  My place would be searched, likely our auto-medic facility discovered and many others working in this world’s underground would be discovered as well.  Our network would be destroyed.”

“Ahhh!” A sound of deep pain escapes her.  “It is time for me to die.  I cause too much upset and pain around me.  I’m no good here.  I don’t understand any of the important things.”

I open my arms to her and she throws herself into me sobbing.  I look at the doctor pleadingly.

I have to get her away from here before she destroys herself and I’m certain that by some method no one could even imagine, Cholradils can terminate their own lives at will. Could they, like Avatars, stop their own hearts?

And I think, so that’s what you meant when you pledged me to ‘join with you’ – that I would become a part of your underground work on Malefactus.  So, what’s all that about a network?  A network of what and for whom?  Is this underground network made up of other than Koronese researchers?  What is the good doctor hinting at that he is not telling me, or not willing to share with me just yet?

Does he withhold information to protect me or to test my sentient abilities?  My power of deductive reasoning?  Is he testing my intellect?  After all, he’s certainly told me enough to destroy him and whatever “network” he’s involved in, should I be exposed and break under neuro-induction questioning.  So, he’s not protecting himself, but preparing and training me for some purpose.

He adds, “Yes, I know I’ve told you things you wonder about.  I want you to discover how much of what I’ve told you may be suspected in your compound, among handlers, trainers or slaves.  I need you to spy for me, tell me, through the kitchen Cydroid, if you hear talk among the men or the women.

“I fear we have been too complacent and rather imprudent.  Before your arrival things were somehow different, simpler, predictable.  In ways I do not understand you’ve caused an upset in the status quo here.  It began when you killed that trainer and the king bought you as his fighter for Hyrete.  He has other fighters in other towns also but the main events are always held here.  Consequently you became the main event and your affinity for hand to hand combat weaponry has changed the balance.  Power is switching to the side of the women, however much they still die, however much they still remain slaves.  This, they will have noted by now and some will be asking questions.  Your closeness to me puts me in a difficult situation.  Seems to me you’ve turned our medical compound into another arena, an arena of mind fighters. ”

[end blog post #31]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #30

[begin blog post #30]

“May I continue with this story Doctor?”

The Doctor’s response is affirmative, even eager:  “I am certainly intrigued, Antierra.  Do continue.”

“According to Altarian research in the matter, and something I can vouch to be true from personal experience, when an ISSA dies, it vanishes, disappears, and there is no contact with those who remain in the vacated dimension.  Death is the process that separates the mind from the body and sends it automatically and without recourse into another dimension.  Few have ever been able to cross that barrier and contact the “dearly departed” and even when that has been claimed, the likelihood of the contactee being in fact the real “dead” person sought is astronomically small – perhaps nonexistent.  As an incarnate on Túat Har I have experimented with the process of contact with the so-called spirit of the dead.   I have made myself available to this experience but never have I been successfully contacted though I have been aware of such attempts being made by “someone” or “something” not of the current dimension I was in.

“To give an example. The psychic mind probe on astral travel seeking dear aunt Julie is wide open to spirit entities who sense the expectations found in the probe and can easily mimic the images.  Aunt Julie shows up, looks right, and says all the right things to the psychic who in turn relays them to the paying client.  But there is no Aunt Julie.  No secrets are shared.  The hidden cache of bonds or gold is not revealed.  Platitudes are exchanged.  Nothing more than expensive and time-wasting navel lint gathering, in my opinion.

“The only thing that is likely to happen is the essentially evil entity attaches itself to the psychic probe and, as a jump scout shuttle attached to a destroyer being “sheared” across a dimensional barrier makes the jump with it, the spirit entity jumps back into the psychic’s dimension and joins the growing host of ghosts, demons, spirits and other disembodied entities who haunt these worlds and seek bodies to inhabit and control.  These are not Avatari who can manifest material bodies from thought; these are failed lives driven by selfish and depraved desires.  Some of the more powerful of these failed lives manage to inveigle themselves into the minds of leaders, teachers, philosophers and engineers on various worlds…”

The doctor interrupts at that point to set me back on track.  “You were going to explain the small space ships we found free-floating in our space.”

“I am sorry to take such a round-about way to get there but yes doctor, I haven’t forgotten your initial question. 

“During the Melkiar invasions (there were a series of them) the USC lost thousands of their ‘jump scout’ crafts which they sent in convoy formations to attack the Melkiar ships.  When the Melkiars broke up a convoy and disabled some of the ships, they “fumigated” (killed all biological life on board) the captured ships and propelled these across various dimensions, not destroying them but saving them for some future and still unknown reason, perhaps simply because they were no longer a threat to them and they considered these crafts as having been liberated from their biological controllers and could now go on their merry way through infinite space, as relatives of the Melkiars, or as their children?

“Obviously some of those crafts were “pushed” into this dimension, where you found some free-floating in deep space and which Koron eventually appropriated to its own purposes to further its development of interplanetary space flight abilities, I presume?”

He nods affirmatively and smiles. 

“To make this part of the story more understandable, I’d like to explain about the USC’s propulsion system that can take physical objects across dimensional barriers.  The future of human survival, even on these stack or relative worlds, may depend on greater awareness of this process and consequences of its growing usage.”

“I’m much interested in that.  Please continue.”

“In one of those sorties, a wolf pack of thirty USC war craft engaged a Melkiar main ship who had just translated.  After a violent battle that claimed twelve USC crafts and all aboard, the remaining attackers were able to penetrate the Melkiar force-fields and disable their craft.  In a coup that will likely remain as the great heroic deeds of those wars, the USC troopers boarded the main ship destroying the Melkiars who became helpless when the central computer was blasted with controlled charges of singularity grenades.  The captured ship was taken back to a Federation space port and USC’s finest engineers were put to work on it to discover its drive properties, particularly their ability to just appear and disappear in colourful displays of lights resembling aurora borealis.  The question had always been: “Where do they come from and how do they just disappear without trace?”

“There were those who were convinced that Melkiar ships were able to “fold space.”  The now-famous Paul Shearing, a Leptan physicist who lived his entire life doing research and experimentation in low or zero-g space stations, was called in to study the Melkiar ship.

“Shearing, whose mind it is said functions more like an AI than a human, was able to identify the drive mechanism that caused these ships to vanish and reappear at will.  He experimented with smaller versions of that drive on a UTW craft, using insects and small animals to test his theory that no biological life would survive the “dimensional warping” effect of the drive.  He was correct.  All biology aboard the craft terminated.  After much additional research and re-design he was able to create a new drive as effective as that of the Melkiars but whose effects did not kill the biological occupants of the craft.

Pieta Olnava, a researcher-engineer in parallel worlds theory, a reincarnate who had been a political/religious prisoner killed in a prison camp in Túat Har’s North-East Coalition and partner in a triune marriage with Shearing, offered to take a test drive of the redesigned drive.  She successfully crossed a dimensional barrier in her small craft and returned it to its exact departure point. 

“The Shearing drive was perfected by the Shearing team, Paul, Olnava and Associates.   At first it was installed only on the larger UTW ships.  Great ovoid vessels called space arks were built and designed to accommodate a single gigantic Shearing drive mounted on their underside.  The vessels were sized to house tens of thousands of humans and entire cross-sections of lifeforms from worlds under attack, these remnants to be scattered throughout the then unknown space, hoping that some would escape the Melkiar devastation.

“Behemoth class warships of the USC were equipped with dual Shearing drives and auxiliary standard fusion drives and sent through dimensional barriers to intercept Melkiar ships, blowing them to smithereens when they announced their arrival with their typical light show.

“But that was still not enough to turn the tide.  The huge attached drives were cumbersome and useless in combat.  When not actually active, they were a drag upon auxiliary power systems.  Also they required maintenance which these ships’ crews could not perform under almost constant battle conditions.  If they were damaged in combat, the ships became sitting ducks to Melkiar attacks.

“Then came the revolution that would change the course of the greater galactic human movement.  The Shearing group invented a detachable drive with an x-ram configuration that would engage the ship and boost it into required velocity for the “shear effect” to take place.  Once the shear accomplished the ram pulled away to await the return of its ship, or any vessel equipped to accommodate the detachable x-ram drive.  These automated drives were also equipped with a devastating auto-defense system that would vaporize any unauthorized traffic, including unmanned missiles, entering its scanning field in over a hundred thousand kilometer radius.  Detached, the drives settled into preordained tight orbits around space station, moon, asteroid or whatever world to which it arrived, thus adding their awesome fire-power to the defense perimeter.  Once a ship had been propelled across the barrier it used its dual rear mounted standard fusion auxiliaries to function in physical (normal) space.  These are the same basic drives your “desert ship” is likely using.

“X-ram Shearing drives were installed and controlled by the USC in critical positions within any dimension the USC and UTW federations had ships, ready to propel crippled, retreating or returning ships to their home worlds or send new waves of destroyers and the behemoth planet crushers against the invaders.  Thus were the Melkiars defeated and the wars ended.

“That the Melkiars never caught on to what had happened says much about their computer mindset.  They were incapable of meeting new threats with instant decision-making.  They needed home-based direction.  They could not evolve or adapt to meet changing circumstances.  They could only increase their current efficiency linearly, as any computer does.  They could not alter the basic programming, could not evolve.  When the humans developed a superior drive, the Melkiars were defeated.  Another aspect of their faulty programming: it did not make allowances for retreat or surrender.  Once outmaneuvered or outmatched they could only stand, fight and be destroyed.

[end blog post #30]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #29

[begin blog post #29

Chapter 13 – Galactic History – The Melkiar Wars

The doctor steeples his hands with his elbows resting on the table; there is a hardness on his face warning me I’m treading on thin ice with him at the moment. 

He says, “I am not at all satisfied with your explanation, and I certainly reject your claim that you can manifest a physical body on any world you choose to “visit” or interact in.  For the purpose of this interview I will take your story at face value because I need other information from you and I certainly need to think through what you have just told me.  I know I can, and will, destroy your story and discover what you are hiding from us.  I’m not a fool, Antierra.  If what you claim were true, why would we not have encountered the likes of you before?”

“Please Doctor, please do not get angry at me because I tell you things difficult to accept.  Every event has a first in it.  My position in the Galaxy makes it inevitable that I should be a first in many people’s lives.  Although I know that once you break through the veil of programming in your own mind you will realize that you have encountered others much like myself in your past-future time.  So, speaking of time, may I suggest you give this information enough time to fit in with other events you will remember, and some you will observe here, on this world, probably soon?”

“Very well, you make a good point.  For now I’d like you to explain the ancient crafts we found free-floating in Koron’s deep space, all completely shut down with no signs of any biological life having ever touched them?”

“I am certain I can doctor, but that involves an extensive period of galactic history that is not quite over yet if one were to believe the pundits on the matter.  What I am going to reveal to you is going to stretch your belief regarding the worlds outside your known space.  I will tell this exactly as I remember it and will let you decide when you have heard enough.  Remember our motto: believe all things, believe in nothing.  

“I will use classic Earth time to describe these events as stack world years do not coincide with those of Earth and my historical chronology of events will be meaningless to you.  To satisfy my own curiosity before I go into my tale, do Malefactus years coincide with those of Koron?”

“No, they do not.  Koron has a much longer year than Malefactus as you call it.  Our days are also longer.  Nor do we use the same count in years.  On Koron, this is year 51006 since the beginning of our calendar and of our accounting in years whereas it is year 1337 here, accounted since the overthrow and break-up of the planetary oligarchy that ruled all of T’Sing Tarleyn.  The empire of Estáan is what remains of the old oligarchy.  It has been attempting to re-unite Elbre for about a hundred years now, by various methods, sometimes using trade sanctions but mostly by direct military attack upon Hyrete, the plan being to overthrow the supreme monarchy.”

I continue with my story about the ships found by the Koronese.  “Thank you doctor, I wondered much about the ruling forces on this world.  Now a bit about the events behind the lost craft in Koron space since that was our original question. 

“About a century and a half ago in our (classic) time, this sector (but in the greater galactic dimension, not interacting with this one nor directly affecting it) was invaded by a non-biological robotic life-form whose sole purpose it seemed was eradication of all biology in the galaxy.  Millions of humans were vaporized, entire worlds pulverized and all biology destroyed to the last cell.  It was a genocide beyond anything imaginable.  There was no rhyme nor reason to their depredations and they could not be approached through any communication channels or methods used by human mediators.  They made no attempts to reply to any overture and all efforts aimed at mediating a cease-fire were a complete failure.  All human ambassadors were killed in attempts to make direct contact with the invaders.

“The United Treaty Worlds (UTW) were then loose federations of human worlds in their infancy, far from the power of the current Supremacy it has declared itself to be.  Space travel was slow and cumbersome, most of it still below the speed of light.  Space was still being measured in linear distance then!

“Human defenders were no match for the invaders and kept pulling back, evacuating worlds with humans and whatever could be salvaged of indigenous biological life by whatever means.  A United Space Command (USC) was hastily cobbled together from various space police and peace-keeping units and sent against the invaders in the hope of finding a weakness in their method of attack.

“The fighting units of the USC were known as United Defence Units (UDU – now derogatorily referred to as “you do’s”) which at the beginning of the retaliations were composed of hardened space ‘troopers’ made up of private security patrols, freebooters or pardoned space pirates, planetary defence units and even revolutionary groups who had rebelled against the UTW and wished to join the battle against a common enemy it was belatedly realized was bent upon the complete extermination of humanity.  These were sent out in tens of thousands of small space crafts to engage and hopefully destroy the invaders which by then had been dubbed “Melkiars.” 

“Who were the Melkiars?  From a private collection of reports I remember studying on the blue world of Parnako, a water world where the people have adapted themselves to life almost exclusively spent in underwater communities, I will now attempt to recall the gist of what I learned with my Al’Tara memory.  I must resort to trancing again, doctor, if you don’t mind?”

His smile appears quite genuine as he encourages me to continue.  “I’m getting used to your rather esoteric ways Antierra.  Please continue, I’m quite taken by these revelations.”

As I had grown used to in my many appearances on Túat Har I did not expect him to accept I could be more than one personality with more than one name.  For him to accept me and give some credence to anything I may have to say, I have to be Antierra, the female slave fighter.  He cannot make the leap in his mind that would allow him the full freedom to interact with a full-fledged Avatari who calls herself Al’Tara.  Therefore, as is always the case, much of what I share with him will be lost to his immediate memory and of no use to him until such time as he allows himself to break out of his self-imposed limitations.  So it is!

Melkiar invasionsThe Parnako Reports

The invading robotic AI’s (Artificial Intelligence) we called Melkiars brought us the only means we know to physically cross dimensional barriers.  It is called the Shearing Drive, after engineer Paul Shearing, the man who first broke the mystery of Melkiar invasions on our worlds and perfected their device for use by the United Treaty Worlds.

Crossing dimensions, of course, is done all the time by billions of entities from all over.  But they do not use “drives” or “ships” – they cross through with their minds.  The process as we know it is, simply put, physical death.  An adept such as an Avatari can use this process to travel to any chosen location by simply leaving a body on one side of a dimension and re-manifesting a new and suitable one on the “other side” wherever that be.  This process should never be confused with another called resurrection in which a new body is given to an entity, but not through self-empowerment.  In the resurrection process as we understand it now, the resurrected entity is blocked from further mind evolution until it chooses to die, reject the offer of new life through resurrection and instead re-manifests by its own choices. 

 We now believe the Melkiars are descendants, clones, creations or inventions of an ancient and powerful group of Time Lords who once traveled freely between dimensions because they were mind, never existing as physical beings.  They “fell” from their pure mind state and incarnated to taste the pleasures of their (physical) creations.  Once in physical form they could no longer escape the pull of their created worlds.  They became the gods of time.  Aeon after aeon passed and they became ever more locked into the matter worlds.  They continued to de-evolve mentally and to rely more upon the physical and technological aspect of life for their continuity. 

 But they remembered the time before time when they had full freedom to come and go as they pleased.  These memories ate at them and they became dark lords who, though certain they could never die,  condemned their worlds to experience death – not that those who died would find their freedom thereby, but that they would lose all consciousness by being physically disconnected from one another.  Death of the gods’ devising was intended to be an end to awareness and enslavement of all developing ISSA consciousness.  What they could no longer have, the freedom to traverse cosmic infinity, they wanted to ensure their creations would never find.  They realized the possibility that in time their creations would supplant, even outlive them and this they vowed to prevent.

 Eventually these dark lords became aware of the process we so take for granted: aging.  This had been an unknown factor to them and it frightened them.  Filled with hate against the very fate they had set up, they re-worked themselves to give their physical forms immortality.  They made themselves into Cyborgs replacing their weakening biological functions to positronic and mechanical constructs.  They finally removed their biological brains to store them in a central containment field as a back-up should their next change fail.  They re-designed each other’s brains into basic silicon circuitry.  Once the switch completed and they knew it worked, they removed the containment field from their original brains and killed them.  Thus they became artificial intelligence – in essence mere computerized machines.  They did not think of themselves as artificial intelligence though, but as absolute intelligence, as gods who would rule the physical order forever.

Having broken completely from their high spirit estate, down into physical/biological life, then further down into the silicon life worlds, they proceeded to embark on a plan to destroy all biological life on their worlds and create nothing but mechanical/computer brains in robots to replace it.  They then programmed these robots to seek out and invade all biological worlds with the single directive: destroy all biological life everywhere.  To them biology had become a poisonous substance that translated as death.

 The invaders of the human worlds called “Melkiars” are their AI robotic “spawns.”  The precursor to the Shearing drive was the dark lords’ invention to cheat the dimensional blockade that forbids matter from crossing from one dimension into another. 

 [end of the Parnako report]

[end blog post #29]

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #27

[begin blog post #27

“We found nothing on that moon.  All we know was gleaned from the pseudo-historical documents in the King’s archives.”

I’m so excited now that I feel ready to risk anything to get more information, perhaps to convince him or the Cydroids to take another look on Albaral.  I blurt out: “Maybe you did not want to find anything?  Afraid of what you would discover?”

His face darkens and I watch his moves, particularly his hands.  “Be careful of your accusations, Antierra.  Your statement is completely unfounded and unfair to us.  You can’t know…”

“You know what I don’t like about scientists in general, doctor?”

He frowns and I know I’m treading on dangerous grounds but I must get this off my chest now, no matter what he decides to do.  He replies with a hint of annoyance, “I’m sure you are about to tell me.”

“Scientists assume that everything has a logical explanation; that everything can be reduced to a set of calculations any computer can then analyze to give the only logical answer possible.  That is their greatest weakness.  They develop a fetish about their research and theories, a religious singleness of mind that given time and of course recognition, blinds them to any number of other possibilities.  However many times they have been shocked from their tunnel vision, they inevitably return to the simple comfort and profit of it. 

“They seldom realize the truth of it: that they cannot enter some of those “other factors” in their calculations; such factors being the esoteric quality of all life; forces created by minds through belief systems, collective histories, the shadow side.  There is also that which I, as an Avatari, know as Spirit – the primal force that turns itself into a Möbius band so that what appears to us as the two sides of life is really always only one. 

“Hence their understanding of life remains ever incomplete and seriously flawed.  Result,  those who trust them must pay for their mistakes and endure… or painfully recover, as has been the case on Old Earth following a short time when its pseudo-humanity gave itself body and “soul” to a science and technology they thought they understood and controlled.  It very nearly destroyed them and their world. 

“Life does not make mistakes doctor – by nature it is quite incapable of that.  It is people misunderstanding its purpose who “sin” against what is essentially a perfect process.  It is all those power-hungry minds who place their pet theories, their self-centered dreams, their selfish ventures, their “absolute truths” ahead of life’s natural flow.

“And why?  Because they are faced with a collective consciousness that is dirty, messy, unpredictable but which they would control and profit from.  It is however a world in flux and chaos, remaining viable only by a fine thread of order that keeps breaking and that people like you and me must continually repair with haywire, granny knots and “sleue” before the whole thing unravels.” 

He interrupts me. 

“I’m sorry, did you say slew…?”

“No, I said “sleue”(I spell it for him) – a slang word for a disgusting but absolutely necessary compound that can be manually applied using a small disposable pressure gun coated with artificial ceramic to cracks or holes on any, and I mean any(!) type of physical surface even in deep space.  If you allow any of this material to touch human flesh it eats it instantly and its fumes in a closed breathable environment act as any number of the deadliest poisons known.  They kill all biological life forms on contact.  Ironically it was developed for the wars against the Melkiars by materials discovered in their possession.  All their anti-biologic weaponry possessed some form of the formula for this compound.”

I see that he is about to stop me for another explanation and I forestall him. 

“Could I please ask you to refrain from asking me to explain every term I may use in this discussion?  I will clarify as we proceed along, if I feel it is necessary, or I will explain certain terms later if you wish.  If you interrupt me each time I say something you haven’t heard before, I’ll never finish.”

“I was going to ask you to clarify that comment about your wars with Melkiars but very well, I’ll hold my questions until later.  Mind if I enter your terms in my datacom unit?”

“Please do.”  I wave my hand at him then stand up to pace around a bit.  I feel much tension talking to him as an equal.

“Now, where was I?  Oh yes, I was discussing scientists…

“Scientists believe they are the ones to turn it around; that they can order life; that all they need is just another key to the machine.  In many ways, they are just so many high priests making pronouncements regarding the movements and thoughts of the gods, taking creation or physical reality as nothing more than mechanically programmed reality.  When something comes up challenging theories which would destroy their beliefs they experience a powerful tendency to reject the new information.  As I learned through mind numbing experience, they simply resort to breaking down their material reality into tinier and tinier ‘bits’ – a desperate attempt to maintain some shred of physical evidence to keep all of life and all of reality in the test tube.” 

With a tone of annoyance and barely concealed sarcasm he asks, “Are you done?”

“For now yes.  It is not my desire to antagonize you or your people, sir.  Obviously your people have approached the Malefactus problem very seriously.

“But I feel you may have done so too linearly, ignoring philosophical or deductive reasoning in favour of pure science, or physics?  Perhaps in doing so you have overlooked the most logical clue of all: the presence of the artificial sun-moon they call Albaral.  The real story is there, I sense it.  How I wish I had the means I once had when serving in the Supremacy fleet: to ship up to Albaral and put it through the battery of tests our technology was, or is, so capable of.  I’m sure I would discover what powers it.” 

Relying on my intuition from the previous exchanges I ask the next logical question of him: “Please tell me doctor, what is your world called?”

He raises his heavy eyebrows at my question, “I am from Koron.  It is located, as seen from deep space, within the constellation Dedaeleon as is this world.  It is the closest inhabited world to T’Sing Tarleyn and of course, we share the same basic solar system although our own sun-star is different than the one that powers this world.  If you explore our combined greater solar system, or systems, you will find it complex and very fascinating.  Trying to unravel the mysteries of our worlds and our innate curiosity literally drove us to develop space travel to explore our worlds.  Once we had launched out we first explored our own inner space, our moons and asteroids.  That’s where we found our first alien space craft which we thought too small to be of much use in interstellar travels, yet had been built to accommodate humanoid beings.  But we found no trace of any kind of biological life aboard them.  It was as if they had been built for humans by robots and no human, or robot, had flown them.  When we understood enough of their technology to reactivate at least the communication and information storage devices aboard, we found nothing, just static.

“We puzzled over them and finally we developed a grapple system to piggy-back some of them back to our world to study.  We never could understand how they could be propelled from distances across parsecs of space; from other star systems.   Even in cryogenic freeze couches which the small ships were not equipped with there was no way they could travel outside a simple solar system without killing everyone aboard.  And even if they could travel at light speed, it would be hundreds or thousands of years before they reached our world! 

I notice his penchant to sarcasm again.  He shrugs, turns to look me in the eyes and says, “Perhaps you can solve that mystery for us?”

“I will try to explain sir.  Have you ever heard of the stack world theory?”

“If you mean the relative worlds idea, yes, I have heard of it.  I’d say I’ve heard enough about it to have dismissed it long ago.  It does not work simply because of the great singularity at the “center” of the so-called stack that possesses no known reality.  Anything flowing into the singularity disappears.  What seems to flow out from it has wave-front properties that make no sense – just pure chaos.  Almost like emotions measured from the break-up of feelings in hyper-agitated humans.”

I reply excitedly, “Exactly!  And how many worlds – if there was a stack condition of opposing stacks – how many relative worlds have you calculated to exist in tandem – that would affect each other’s gravitational pull, orbits and environmental conditions?”

“Our calculations decree an average of twelve worlds, six to an opposing ‘stack’ as you would put it.  But they could be considered as a complex system, each world having one or two suns and either one or two moons.  It’s a small tight-knit constellation, nothing more.  The singularity we take to be the same sort of force that exists at the center of any spiral galaxy, holding it together, pure energy, nothing else.”

[end blog post #27]

The Antierra Manifesto – blog post #13

[begin blog post #13]

Later I ask my trainers why there were two men.  “Fight two tomorrow.  They be in gambling debt owned your owners and must pay.  No money so only way out is fight you.  If they killed, debt cancelled, not passed on to families or guarantors.  If kill you they win full amount of debt back in credits.”

Keeping my voice as low as possible yet loud enough to still be heard, I ask, “I meet together, or one after other?”

“It decided you strong.  You take two, same time.  Money on this big.  Stakes very high when owner boasts you best two fighters at same time.

“One on one they no chance with you.  Together they have.  Is up to you.  Kill these and you better here.  Be given young lover from new batch of trainees come yesterday.”  He makes a lewd gesture and sneers, “After, have authority over others.  They be jealous, huh!  Now get ready.  Oil protectors and lace on tight tomorrow.  Tie hair up before fight.”  Poking my breast hard he adds, “Don’t let damage to tits.”  He has an ugly down- turned smile and small malevolent eyes.  I can’t decide if I even like him for helping me or if I totally hate him for being a typical male of Malefactus.  I don’t want to feel either.  But feelings have a way of intruding in one’s life, don’t they!  I hate you! I scream inside myself.  But I look as blank as I can.

“I do my best fighting.  Who be owners, please?”  I ask quietly in a very deferential tone.  His answer should have been predictable and it was a very stupid and dangerous question.

“No.  Maybe after fight tomorrow.  If survive it.”  Then he adds, as if he’d just been struck by the incongruity of my question: “Why you ask such thing, you stupid gora?  No ask questions, understand?  Next time, you flog for sure.”

I can but shrug and hope he’ll remember I wasn’t bred and raised as most females are.  Most of them are getting used to some of my oddities, which they let slide as long as I don’t overtly break any rules or taboos for which I’d have to be punished.  For some reason I need to find out who my owners are; who I am fighting for.  It seems important.

‘If survive it’  he said.  Two men at the same time, both with staves.  I am reminded of those Old Earth movies of Jedi Knights fighting with light sticks.  Deadly weapons, had they been real.  But this is real.  Maybe if I think of myself as one of those heroes, something will happen out there.  I will discover skills and moves I don’t even know I possess.  Better not rely on that happening.

I work my routines in my head.  I’ve handled several trainers at a time, but then they were not trying to kill me.  I must work out a plan.  I must make them interfere with each other, perhaps even hit each other and lose whatever coordination they may have worked out – which I know they have.  I must find out what their game plan is to bring me down.  Tricks.  What tricks will they have?  Assume their staves are poisoned or drugged, certainly, but for that to work they must thrust into my flesh.

What else do they have?  Ah, I have it.  My hair thong.  My hair piled high on top of my head.  One of them will deliberately take a blow so the other can catch me off-guard, thrust his staff point in my hair and pull me off balance.  I can see it, yes.  Déjà vu?  Strange to find that here, but definitely convenient.  The one part I would not have been aware of, having no such need in training.  Solution?  No hair thong.  Can I chance the loose hair?  Will my handlers allow it, if I try to explain what I’ve worked out?

Morning comes, dark and foreboding.  Clouds hang low and it looks like rain later in the day.  The air is cold as we all wash in the open, always with cold water.  I notice my hair has begun to mat as a result of being washed with coarse soap and cold water.  My excuse.  I importune a handler and ask that someone looks at my hair.  I explain it’s a mess and a terrible nuisance in a fight.  Anyone can grab at it and throw me off balance.  Would they please cut it, or at least some of it off?

A flurry of conversation takes place.  The image.  What about the image of the Desert Beast with the wild hair?  But I point out, almost whispering, no one ever saw me fight with my hair loose anyway.  Always tied up high and behind my head.  Why not just cut it shoulder length, please?  I sincerely beg and put forth my most seductive energy.  You want me to survive this, don’t you?  Please!

They give in.  I’m put on my knees and a wood chopping block is shoved between my legs from behind and propped tightly against my shoulders.  My hair is pulled back roughly and as I gaze straight up, a trainer hefts a battle axe, swinging it down in a lazy arc, looking for all the world as if he’s about to cut me through the throat.  I refuse to wince, thinking that this sort of death is preferable to the one waiting for me in the arena.  But the axe is angled to miss my head and go through the matted, dying hair spread on the block.  It all comes off at one blow and I’m ordered to stand.  I can but imagine what that kind of cut looks like, but no matter.  I feel much lighter and freer, and there goes at least one of my opponents’ cards.

I am led into the arena wearing my light armour and carrying my staff this time.  A sign of growing recognition and worth?  The crowd hisses and boos loudly: I’m the enemy, the one to be killed, something I fully understand by now.  I am assailed by another bout of vertigo that dulls the crowd’s noise.  I can distinctly hear my own heart-beat.  I shake my head to clear this weird sensation and it’s my turn to study my challengers.

Unlike my first, these are not interested in engaging the mindless crowd in theatrics.  They are carefully going over their armour and weapons and testing the pressure points, making sure the mechanism of their staff works.  I notice they are careful not to let the pointed end touch the ground or each other.  Poisoned or drugged.

The first trumpet sounds and we face each other at center ring, holding our staves in a kind of salute.  The second, shriller trumpet blares and we instantly and viciously engage each other.  Parry, jump forward, attack, jump back and parry.  Blow after blow ring upon the weapons or thud upon our bodies.  I connect on the side of one’s face leaving a bloody streak and turn to perform a lightning fast, vicious jab into the other’s defence, cracking a rib.  He doubles over but his partner has returned.  I’m slammed on the side of my right shoulder and the shock almost makes me loose my grip – that damn arm will never heal properly now.  I recover, keeping my face blank and hoping they cannot see my searing pain by my sweat.  Blame that on the humidity, I think as I parry two thrusts and sliding down, slip a jerk-hook on his staff and send it flying high in the air, disarming him.  He jumps back fast enough to avoid my killing stroke.  I turn to the other.

For a few seconds I have but one of them to deal with.  I inflict heavy punishment on him, finding an opening and bringing my staff hard between his legs.  That’s it.  His armour-skirt is no protection and he instinctively reaches for his mangled genitals.  He doubles over and I break his back, laying him flat out, face down in the trodden, bloody coating of sand.  His partner returns to the attack but I jump upon the body of the fallen one to gain height, swing the staff fully extended now to bring it down upon his back.  He parries to protect his back but my intent was to smash his head with the butt of the staff.  Before he recovers from his mistake he lies face down in the sand, dying.

It’s over.  Again my “success” is greeted with spitting, loud boos and curses.  I bow my head and wait to be led out into the tunnel to the wash troughs.  I can barely stand from the hard blows I’ve received, it seems, on every part of my body, but particularly on my thighs.  I cannot use my right arm at all.  Still I walk.

Pain is not something you seek to avoid here; it’s something you learn to call a  friend.  For many, it’s the only true and reliable friend they will ever have, the one who keeps reminding them of the necessity to fight to their utmost if they would live to see another day.

My body will now wear new welts that will never go away.  My right arm will never be “normal” again and will be slower than the other.  A cracked rib will never heal properly and I will have a permanent swelling that will cause me constant pain, especially at night when I try to sleep on my back and when I breathe deeply.  I feel the long but shallow cut across my forehead that reaches behind my left ear.  Another permanent scar.  My hair is a tangle of sweat, sand, mud and blood.  Thankfully, it is now short – more of a ragged mane than a woman’s hair.

I stagger to the washing stalls and let the ice-cold water run over my body.  I am shivering and sick.  I throw up, heaving until it feels as if there is nothing left inside me.  It’s not just the physical pain, I realize.  It’s the whole mess of it.  This whole world, lost in its decadent depravity.  The inflicting of pain; the destruction and killing of beauty raised to the level of honour.  I was beautiful when I awoke on that sand dune – wasn’t it just the other day?  Now I’m on the way to becoming a scarred and battered crone, for indeed I’m now the oldest in the line-ups.  I cry silently, blending my “illegal” tears into the water I keep pouring over myself, despite my shaking.

No matter how much water I use, it seems this place will never allow me to become clean.

[end blog post #13]

The Antierra Manifesto – [Blog post #7]

[Begin blog post #7]

Chapter 4 – First Fight

You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.    (Unknown)

I wish I could say I walk to the arena without trepidation, in full confidence of my ability to defend myself against a single male opponent.  But I cannot.  I am afraid.  I can hear the cheers as two handlers lead me down a dark, damp underground tunnel.  My opponent – challenger- must already be down there, showing off for his friends and perhaps family, such as family can mean on this world.  Father?  Brothers?  Other male relatives?  Oh, the sadness of it; the utter hopelessness of this.  Why would I choose such a place to work with?

Again I repeat my mantra against fear, less successfully, and we pass through an automatic door to emerge in a brightly lit area.  I become embarrassingly aware of my nakedness and the chains that bind my wrists behind my back.  I have been told my weapons would be waiting for me but how can I trust these people?  What if I’m being led there just to be slaughtered helplessly by that malevolent fop who tried to crush my jaws with his vicious grip?  To be subdued and raped publicly, as I know they do in some of their killing rituals?  Surely they are capable of anything, any sort of treachery.  Would it be treacherous in their minds to trick a slave?  Of course not.

My two handlers open a steel grated gate also by remote control and I step into the low arena floor proper.  I’m temporarily blinded by bright light, not only that of the sun at high noon, but by brightly lit plasma lighting tubes surrounding the entire small walled and fenced yard.  Tiered seats, what we called bleachers or stands on Old Earth, are filled almost to capacity by men in wildly coloured attires, resembling that worn by my challenger yesterday. 

I am brought to the center of the ring to be greeted with jeers, catcalls, whistles and lewd shouts and gestures.  The fop pretends not to notice me, but continues his prancing and playing with his swords, making them flash in the lights to the delight of at least one vocal section of this crowd.  His supporters?  Where are mine?  Right!

I’m finally unchained, after a stern warning and being shown where guards stand with lasguns trained on me with orders to kill should I make any unauthorized move.  To my surprise, the “doctor” appears and carefully checks me over.  He takes my pulse and heart rate, entering these on his wrist com unit.  Again he looks me in the eyes and I react to his gaze: he wants me.  He hands me a supple piece of leather thong and indicates I should tie up my hair so I am not blinded while fighting or so as not to give the challenger an opportunity to topple me by grabbing my hair – and whispering in my left ear he says, “He was going to use your hair against you and also his dagger is drugged.  Be careful.  I will see you after the fight and patch you up if needed.  Take care.  Don’t let us down,” and nodding towards the challenger he adds, “it’s your mandate to kill him – we want him dead.”

Who are “we” and why do they want this particular individual killed?  Another aspect of my status of slave I have to learn.  I can be given any sort of order by anyone in authority over me (which translates as any male, basically, except my officially sanctioned opponent) and I must do my utmost to deliver.  I do not need to know any of the reasons why I should do whatever it is I am asked to do.  My function is to obey without ever questioning any of it.  Silence and obedience. In this case, not obeying means death so not much choice there.

Now a man in a red robe which I was to learn is called a weapons judge leads me to a small stand at the opposite end of the squarish yard from which I entered.  There I’m told to buckle on my dagger belt.  I tie up my hair as tight to my head as I can.  I heft the rapier but without any obvious theatrics.  I must appear totally humbled and look as if I’m here to die, not to kill.  No sound must I make and no shout will I utter if I kill the challenger.  All I will feel will be the unified surge of hatred and lust for revenge from every spectator, bar none.  I am the alien, the enemy, the one to be defeated, humiliated and killed.  Were it not for the gambling, and the simple fact that we are worth much to our owners, no gladiator would ever leave these arenas alive.  The crowd would rush through the defences and tear her to pieces if she won.  Such is the way of their mindless, programmed hate. 

A single trumpet blows.  As instructed, I take my position at the marked center of the ring.  I face my opponent now.  He’s removed all his clothes as well, since he must match the slave’s attire and weaponry.  He has an enormous erection and I’m surprised at the amazing musculature his ridiculous attire had hid.  I feel another shaft of fear go through me – even though I’m not at all afraid to die.  It’s something else, something dark, ancient, atavistic, some raw memory that tries to take over my mind.  I fight off a moment of vertigo and regain some of my composure.  The yells and shrieks of the crowd seem to fade into the background until I can hear my opponent breathe and my heart beat.  I’m finding a center of balance, certainly, but it isn’t really mine.  I’m being controlled by a force I did not expect and cannot push away.

Another, shriller trumpet blows.  I feel his rapier slash through the air rather than see it and easily bend out of its way, thrusting with mine toward his loins.  This takes him by surprise, just enough that I nick his thigh.  First blood drawn.  The crowd is standing, enraged.  Kill her!  Kill her!  Kill her!  Deafening chant of pronounced judgment.  He moves like a cat, stealthily and sure.  This man is certainly not here to die today.  He fully intends to bring me down slowly, tiring me by giving me false openings.  I realize he had let me cut him.  Let me feel the elation of first blood to create over-confidence and to draw the favour of the crowd to himself and rise on the power of their killing chant.  Blood: there must always be blood.  These men are raised upon the shedding of female blood and trained in feeding that ever-flowing river.

I begin to give way to him, backing around in a tight circle, parrying his thrusts, none of which are intended to kill outright.  He cuts me on my right arm as I lift it to balance my sword – clumsy.  Fortunately he does not know I’m fully ambidextrous and I switch sword hands – again surprising him.  He glares -likely visualizing the informer he has handsomely paid to supply him with crucial details of any surprise fighting tricks.  Someone’s in deep shit, I think and find myself smiling inwardly at the old Earthian saying.  At that moment everything changes.

I’m no longer a simple woman who would rather be sitting in a small home rocking her sleeping child.  I’m no longer the wandering Avatari seeking answers to existential question, or the philosopher she embodies.  I’m no longer an Altarian logician balancing equations to extract answers nor am I a slave fighting for her life in an alien arena confronted by a trained killer. 

I’m the green-eyed Desert Beast whose turn it is to challenge and taunt her prey.  No longer is the naked man attacking me a danger to me.  He’s a gift to me.  And I to him.  I will kill him and because I’m the Beast he will die honourably, according to their belief system.  And my task with the women will begin.  So I think.  So I must believe.

I project thoughts of my Desert Beast nature over to him and watch his face.  I see a subtle change on it and the not-so subtle effect of losing his erection.  He pales,  noticeable even on the white skin.  I see a profusion of sweat running down his torso and I smell his fear.  There is nothing for it now but to press my attack, parrying and moving in.  He jumps back, now on the defensive, and I know it’s no longer a ruse on his part.  He knows I do not fear him; that I’ve entered in a terrible, dark high that can only result in his death if he doesn’t kill me first.

For him the impossible has happened: he realizes (by force of the many superstitions that under-gird this society) that I have somehow incarnated that evil female Spirit, the green-eyed Beast of the Desert men somehow fear here.  He realizes, too late, he should not have challenged me.  He’d hoped that my clumsy attempts at avoiding my trainers’ thrusts and jabs in the training yard were proof of my total ineptitude in handling weapons.  He’d chosen the swords because they require the longest training and the most skill and dexterity.  And he’d made the most costly and last mistake of his short and pointless life. 

The power of the truth as he understands it makes him lose control.  In a desperate moment, knowing his rapier thrusts are outmatched, he reaches for his dagger.  At that moment I thrust my sword into his exposed throat, almost exactly as I had visualized the day before. 

It’s over.  There is a stunned moment of complete silence.  Seeing their  challenger is not going to stand, the crowd erupts in angry utterances.  Many spit in my direction as they leave.  I was to learn their hate did not come only from the killing of a man, but from loss of money in betting.  The odds in favour of their challenger winning had been astronomically high.  What does a just harvested ‘wild’ female know of sword play?  She should have provided the expected sport, been brought down in blood, raped, then while still alive, her extremities and limbs severed and thrown to the exuberant crowd.  I was to experience many such reactions in the months and years to follow.

I am led back down the same tunnel to our compound, only I am allowed to bear my weapons and am not chained.  In our section the “doctor” takes me in hand.  I remove my belt and hair thong.  He orders me to wash and has me brought to his office where we are left alone.  He puts a bandage on my arm, then undresses himself and makes love to me, as I expected he would.  I don’t want to feel what I feel but I am helpless.  After the fight, after seeing that naked man flaunting his erection at me then killing him, a new force has come over me; something to my mind horribly depraved, evil, yet utterly enjoyable.  Something of the preying mantis has awakened in my loins.  Now I enjoy it – him.  And I want it to continue… forever.  To forget everything and lose myself in this man. 

At this moment I realize what that fear was I felt just before the fight.  I feared most of all that I would enjoy myself, that I would find, in fighting for my life, defending myself and killing my opponent, a kind of mind soporific, a drug, which I would then use each time I entered the arena.  I could kill without feeling anything beyond the simple effects of receiving cuts and bruises in the flesh.  I would become a killer without compassion or sense of empathy.  I remembered I had passed through that stage before and it was still a part of me.  My sexual release with the doctor amplified this feeling: it was my “due” as the one who conquered to enjoy the ensuing pleasures of sex or drunkenness or both.  I did not want to remember that, but I did.  And he was there, conveniently, to ensure I did remember.

[end blog post #7]