Table of Contents
Lost Waters - Chapter 6
Luuko looked on as the tiny mindless ones
sprang into a flurry of action. Moving throughout the wreckage of their
twisted metal tree-ship, the humans and Arrallins quickly constructed
shelters, the likes of which Luuko had only seen in his history books.
Perplexed, he quietly reached out to his Leader, and she viewed the scene
through his eyes. Great Mother, should we not offer them the appropriate
shelter seedlings, instead of letting them smother the ground beneath
them with these shade-covers? These flimsy membranes and branches won't
hold up against a serious fire storm.
Her answer was reserved, and unemotional.
We have to see how they manage on their own. We can learn from them
by watching. Study them, and report to me tomorrow. You, and all of the
First and Fourth are relieved from fire-duty, and can stay on there to
help these newcomers set up their camp.
Luuko's attention was drawn away from the
matriarch, as a wing of familiar and unwelcome forms glided in from the
north. Mulkol First Regiment — fan out! The order from the flight
leader was poorly shielded, and edged with aggression meant to scare the
Telka Dimar already stationed around the new encampment. Luuko moved to
Liur's side with several others, and in formation, they moved to greet
them in the formal style.
The activity of the humans had not changed
with the arrival of the Mulkol regiment, and Luuko breathed a sigh of
relief. They were not aware of the danger, and for now, that was for the
I, Liur of the First Tinar Rank, accord
all honor and grace to you, head of Mulkol First. However, you are currently
on Telka grounds, and we must ask that you leave. Liur's formal tone
was tightly controlled, sounding almost bored, Luuko mused with pride.
That would rankle in the Regiment leader's craw, that he had not unsettled
them as much as the Mulkol had hoped.
All honor and grace to you, First Tinar,
but we must make a full report on this ... event. We cannot return to
our barryd until we have made a full investigation and taken the appropriate
samples. The Regiment leader was eyeing an injured Arrallin resting
nearby with a sadistically curious eye.
Our apologies to you, Regiment leader,
but no samples may be taken from this site. Nor are you to cross our borders
again without retribution. Your shortcoming on this day shall be forgiven
by the Leader, and she forgives your lapse in memory. The Great Mother
can forgive one infraction, but further incidents will require correction
of you, her erring child. All honor and grace to you, and good day.
Liur, with a condescending tone that made Luuko wince to hear it, promptly
dismissed the Dimar. The insult was not lost on the regiment leader.
Growling, his tail snapping back and forth
with fury, he sprang into the air, knocking a gust of wind toward the
membrane-buildings of the settlement.
Luuko quickly quelled the breeze with a
flick of his wing, catching Liur's quiet, satisfied chuckle in his mind.
The Regiment leader bellowed a vocal call
to his unit, and in disheveled order they rose into the air, heading northwest,
Sighing, Liur sent a warning message ahead
to Ekal, broadcasting it so that the Mulkol regiment, as well as the First
and Fourth Tinar Ranks could listen and enjoy it. Ekal — a herd of
Mulkol are heading your way. Expect little trouble, if any.
Luuko turned to find Tarrin sitting beside
him, listening intently. Well, my big friend, seems the Dimar have
problems of their own. Who were those striplings, if I might ask?
Luuko felt the Great Mother's encouragement
to share the danger of the Mulkol reaching out to all of the Dimar present
at the settlement. Openly, he sent images of the Mulkol — their violent
dancers, howling herd-raids in the valley, their fire-burned sub-barryds
and decaying vines, and sick children. They are the shame of Dimar,
my friend. The worst organized, most poorly managed barryd on this continent
— and our neighbors. Beware of any Dimar bearing their colors — blue,
black and red. Their fighters are fierce and fearless, and unpredictable.
Nerves still a bit jangled, Luuko and the
other Dimar around him took up their observation posts again and continued
studying the structures as they were erected.
A combat scream from behind Luuko sent
him leaping into the air, his tail lashing back and forth in front of
him, and all claws bared. Hanging in attack stance, he looked down to
see Tara, but she had changed! Luuko could not believe his eyes, and circled
in close. Tarrin, what happened to Tara? She's much larger, and why
does she have an extra set of...no, wait...are those her feet there?
Tarrin's laughter filled his mind. No,
no, Luuko! It's fine...she's riding another 'mindless beast', but one
even more mindless than you might think. That's a horse she's on — a sub-intelligent
species that humans are quite fond of, used in their ancient days for
transport. She's just happy that it survived the crash. Several other
horses in that cargo bay, um, weren't so fortunate. Tarrin, using
images of horses without riders in his mind helped Luuko distinguish where
Tara ended and the beast began. He helped Rakal and some other betas carve
up what was left of a small pinto horse who was lost in the crash. Horses
are also excellent eating, if you'd like to partake in this one with me.
Thank you, Tarrin...I'd enjoy trying
some of your off-Dimar delicacies. Luuko could feel the concern about
Tara's horse from other Dimar around him, and broadcast a summary of what
he had learned to the others. A rumble of approval issued from the knot
of Dimar who had moved off into a tree to observe, and they chattered
away about the humans and their resource harvesting. He landed, and nipped
a sample off the haunch of the unfortunate beast near where Tarrin had
pointed. It tasted like morrak, but with a pungent aftertaste.
These humans are like proper Dimar,
in that sense, aren't they, Luuko? However, why would they keep their
form and use a subcreant 'HORSE' for transport when they can just engineer
extra land running legs? It seems that the subcreant has it's own will,
as well, making it difficult to manipulate. Goothib, a member of Rank
Tinar First, the highest firefighting flight rank, but also a Telkai sub-creation
engineer of the highest class, bombarded him with questions and queries
about the genetic design of sub-creation 'HORSE', flashing image after
image of chromasomal blueprints, flooding Luuko's mind with what was to
Goothib, I was never very good at my
Telkai studies — I have no idea what you're talking about. From what I
can tell, they do not sub-create like we do. They 'borrow' creatures from
their surroundings and learn to work with them. The less intelligent the
creatures are, like this one, the more luck the humans seem to have with
them. Luuko tried to draw a parallel within Dimar culture, Think
back to your history, before the days of sub-creation, before the Flight.
When we used morraks, miruls and oolars to pull down the trees, and to
bend the branches, or to furrow the ground to sew the vines. That is what
they have here. These are slave species, or adopted animals, but not sub-creation.
Goothib admitted being as bad a student
of history as Luuko was of the principles of Telkai genetic engineering,
but understood. With a frustrated sigh, he continued watching the progress
of the settlement. Primitives. The Great Mother should station a history
rank here, not a rank that has half the Telkai first class aboard, I should
think. He resumed his private discussions with the others near him,
nodding to Luuko with thanks.
Luuko studied the carcass in front of him
carefully. The long legs seemed frail, lacking muscle or protective scaling,
but the musculature on the body was impressive, and even tasty.
These animals are designed to eat and
run. That's all. Tarrin had been eavesdropping on his musings again.
They've got a social nature, though, which allows the humans to work with
them. That's one thing you've got to understand about humans, Luuko —
they'll mother anything. They'll adopt anything, and as long as it will
love them, they'll love it.
Tara honestly thinks she's the mother of
Luuko's ears flapped back and forth wildly
as he howled with laughter. He rolled onto one side, snorting and roaring,
barely missing knocking Tarrin into a nearby tree. Tara hatched that
thing? What...what did she mate with to get THAT?
No no... she didn't hatch it, or birth
it. She adopted it when it was born, and raised it as her own kind, really.
Humans do this. That's why they've been so successful in dealing with
us Arrallakeeni. Tarrin was warbling a high-pitched growling laugh,
watching Tara struggle to remain aboard her horse in the presence of the
laughing Dimar. Our matriarch, the alpha female, is the only one of
us who can breed — she is our version of your Great Mother. We are drawn
to the mother like the comets are drawn to the gravity of stars, like
your Tinar Rank was when the Great Mother called you to help us. Because
humans adopt so well, and so freely, the humans began to replace our own
alphas in what seemed quite a natural and harmless process. However, humans
as alphas do not breed more Arrallakeeni, and thus, our numbers are dropping.
Luuko caught his breath and rolled back
onto his haunches to sit. I understand this adopting. It is common
for us to take in the young from friendly barryds that have had their
adult population ravaged by a Great Dance or a bad fire season. However,
we do not mother the morraks in the fields — they are mindless. How can
you love something that has no mind? It is foolishness to try.
Remember, Luuko — all humans, except
for a few, are 'mindless' — and most Arrallakeeni are as well. We learn
not to see minds, but to hear speech, and to see movement in their faces
and bodies to feel their feelings. Tarrin's mind-voice seemed to be
struggling with expressing what he was feeling, and it all made little
sense to Luuko. He would watch and learn, and eventually understand the
movement of feelings that was so important to Tarrin.