Part 60 of the ongoing saga of The Great Being, the One Self that manifests as each of us.
We have been following the experiences of two Agents of Cosmic Intelligence, Melchizedek and Layla, here on a mission that started in 200,000 BC. To infiltrate the Rebel forces on the planet, they walked into the near-dead bodies of Blu and Ska around 40,000 BC on the coast of northwestern Spain. Taken into the Rebel Stari-ki’s army, they trekked southward, made a miraculous crossing over the Straits of Gibraltar, and are now discovering Africa. Previous episodes.
In our last episode, Blu and Ska had followed a tribe of savages back to their encampment and to their shock discovered that they had been carrying a light-skinned teenage girl, apparently abducted from another tribe, back to camp. She was either dead or unconscious as she was placed on a large flat rock covered with dried blood. They noticed her body move and felt compelled to save her from certain death. Meanwhile, the savages had eaten and were bedding down. When all was quiet, Blu and Ska made their move, lifted the girl’s lifeless body off the rock, and were halfway to the edge of the camp when a cry went up and Blu and Ska had to run for their lives.
For some reason, Ska found it hilariously funny to be running at breakneck speed through the forest with the girl over his back. Blu glanced over at him for an instant, nearly losing his footing, and caught a flash of the girl bouncing up and down on Ska’s back, glassy-eyed. Eyes forward again and pushing to the limit to maximize speed without falling, which could be fatal with the cannibals close behind, Blu couldn’t help but to start laughing uncontrollably too. It seemed to help his body run.
Rocks whizzed by their heads and other things too, small and faster than rocks. Into Blu’s mind came an image of a blowgun, something he couldn’t remember ever thinking of before. Where did that come from? He stole another glance at the girl. He couldn’t be sure but there seemed to be a red dot on her neck. “Poison,” he yelled between gulps of breath. Ska peeked back at him, understanding his meaning but wondering how Blu could know that these savages were throwing something poisonous at them. Then he realized the girl could be drugged by some poison, perhaps from a plant or insect. He flashed on a thorn dipped in poison then blown through a hollow reed.
Ideas buried deep inside, within their true identities, had been coming back into their minds for some time. They both accepted this as normal and as a good thing. Hopefully someday soon it would all come back.
The girl, roughly shaken by the ride, seemed to be coming awake a bit. Her eyes held some intelligence now — she was watching Blu and now made eye contact. Her arm lifted, the arm that was going up and down with the ride, and she pointed. She seemed to be directing them more to the north rather than northeast as they had been heading. “Ska this way,” Blu yelled and changed direction, with Ska picking up the beat instantly.
The cannibals were still in pursuit but they had opened up a decent lead. There were no projectiles whizzing by them at the moment. Ska stole a look backward and could see the huge cloud of dust kicked up by the running tribe, a sign that they could not afford to stop and rest. Blu saw his look and nodded and picked up the pace a notch.
“Want me — carry a while?” Blu asked breathlessly, and Ska shook his head just perceptibly. He was aroused by the immature beauty of the girl and liked having her skin to skin. He liked her smell. This was all in his face, easy for Blu to read. Blu smiled with a pretend look of rebuke for infidelity to Asa. Ska just grinned innocently.
Blu sent a mind message to Stari-ki but got no sense of recognition back. A moment later he had the intuition that Stari-ki had his own problems right now.
True enough. Stari-ki’s army, northeast of them, had made contact with an enemy force of unknown size and character. The only thing Stari-ki knew was that he had lost many of his best men in the front line assault force. This enemy had a new weapon that was able to strike men dead at a distance. It did not make the crashing sound of rocks, it was something else. Were these Rebel marines landed by aircraft and using energy weapons? It didn’t sound like that. Rays did a lot of collateral damage in a forest fight, with branches and sometimes trees falling, and nothing like that was happening. It was almost silent yet deadly.
Stari-ki was crawling on his belly toward the front line to get a better look. He encountered the body of one of his men. A long skinny piece of wood was sticking out of the man. He vaguely remembered an ancient weapon that commonly arose on planets with humanoids, but the name escaped him. Why had he not thought of making such weapons himself? Once again he had the strong suspicion that someone had tampered with his mind and was perhaps still tampering with it, holding him helpless to bring to bear his full strength and intelligence.
He resumed crawling toward the enemy to get a closer look. As he crested a small rise, still in the concealment of a thorny patch of ground vines, he saw a large group ahead that appeared well-organized and spaced. Standing at their center was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was placing a long skinny piece of wood alongside a larger curved piece of wood and drawing back on something flexible. The men and women around her followed her movements synchronously. Ironically, the performance struck Stari-ki as beautiful. An instant later, with almost no sound, skinny pieces of wood were flying through the air toward Stari-ki and his troops, and a moment later he heard a scream as one of them found a mark.
Stari-ki was transfixed by the woman leader. He could see from this distance by focusing his eyes, looking off center, letting his eyes tear a little, and other tricks he had taught himself. She had the light skin of Ska’s people but instead of blonde hair she had long wavelets of black hair. She had the full lips of Blu’s people. She looked like a dream he had once had, or more than once. She must not be injured. They must become allies. He needed to learn to make and use their weapons. He had to stop the fighting now. But how?
That’s when he heard the message from Blu, saying they were being chased by somebody. He sent back a homing beacon to help Blu and Ska find him.
Blu and Ska were also taken by the beauty of the flying sticks moving together like a formation of birds as they ran into Stari-ki’s skirmish line. Blu got it first. “Don’t let one of those strike you!” he yelled to Ska. Seeing Stari-ki crawling backward toward them and keeping low, they hit the ground with the girl cushioned by Ska’s body.
“Who is that?” Stari-ki demanded, followed by the immediate recognition that this must be the daughter of the enemy leader. They looked almost identical in their features, but this one was younger. Or maybe this was a younger sister?
“Stari-ki, here come the cannibals!” Blu whispered so as to not reveal their position to the shooters of the flying sticks. Now they were beset from both sides.
TO BE CONTINUED
My best to all,
1. Tribal Wars – AR15.com
2. Woman Leader – digital rendering by CK Niver