Peers Ch. 11byjjcole©
Thirty-four months had gone by since the meteor. The sun stayed out most days and the planet was slowly warming. On Cel people were again wearing shorts and t-shirts during the day although they wore sweatshirts at night. The tropical wildlife was coping with the cool nights OK and the shield was now down to ten meters above sea level.
There had been many disappointments on the search for survivors. Few shelters contained living humans and those that did were in poor physical and mental shape. The total number of people found on the second, third and fourth search and rescue sorties was just under twelve thousand, which brought the grand total worldwide to fewer than lived in Cel.
Many had attacked the rescue teams thinking their shelters were being invaded. The teams had begun to carry stun guns and sleeping gas on every trip. The teams always left them supplies although many in shelters were people from the mobs that overtook them.
Cel got a message that the shelter in Germany was being attacked. A rescue ship was dispatched but by the time they got there the mob had won the upper hand. The men were dead and the women were being assaulted. A sleep gas was dispersed and the team rescued the women. While giving the women first aid the team learned two of the women had decoyed the guards of the shelter into opening their gate. The team took the mob women back then sealed the gate so no one could get out.
That incident prompted Carmen to evacuate several shelter survivors to a colony they established in what might have been Tahiti.
The Council then decided that since there were hundreds of islands around them all the rescued people should be brought there if there were more women than men in the shelter. They replanted the islands and set up shelter towns with room to grow crops around them.
The rescue teams joined several circle shelter housing groups of six and connected each ring to the others with passageways. Each ring circle became a two hundred and fifty people town interconnected with ten others to form a two thousand five hundred people city. There was at least one such city on each island and one had three cities.
Forever the optimist Carmen had those shelters built so there would be enough that all the islands together could sustain fifty thousand people.
The islands were planted with grains and fruit trees and chickens were brought to them. Fish farms were built.
The people in the shelter understood their luck and worked hard to be assimilated with others.
The people of Cel helped them adjust and made sure that they knew there were no taboos with sex except it had to be consensual. Still, the first people to be sent to exile where people from the shelters. All those men were sent to the shelter in Germany or Africa and all the women to the shelter in Asia or Australia. Those were the only populations on any continent.
Cel still had teams searching for survivors as the land became free of ice and snow. One team found a shelter that had seven women and an apparent wild man. He refused to show his companions to the team and when one came up from the cellar he punched her hard. The team subdued him and asked the women to step up. They were asked if they wanted too remain with him or go with them.
All ran outside. All were naked. It was brutally cold.
They left enough supplies for the man to survive for a year then left with the women. They were in shock and did not do or say anything until after they were covered with blankets and had a warm cup of chicken soup in their hands. Then one began to giggle. The others were stunned but soon all were giggling too. They finished their soup and promptly went to sleep.
Back in Cel they found that none spoke a language anyone recognized. Test showed each to be about forty years old but all looked like they were twenty. Suspecting they were not from Earth Moesha asked the resident aliens to come talk to them. All the women immediately began to talk rapidly with the Kindred. All seemed to be pleading.
Rah said, "They are from Mur, a warlike planet that was mostly subdued by the Federation many years ago. We were aware that they were close to achieving space travel but when the Federation confronted them they backed down. Recently they had a major war between the five nations that killed nearly all of them.
They treated women abominably and the warriors had as many wives as they wanted.
The man they left behind is a danger to all. He needs to be confined and his ship needs to be confiscated."
Moesha called Carmen and she immediately ordered the team that had found them to return and arrest the man and bring back his ship.
Finding the man and his ship was easy; he was trying to take off in it. He in fact had fired a weapon at them but it had fizzled before it hit their ship. They forced his ship to the ground and he came out ready to fight but was easily subdued by Marc's second son Andy.
They restrained him and Andy went to inspect his ship.
It had been badly damaged and so had a young Devil male.
Andy helped him up and asked him if he could fly the ship.
The Devil was astounded that he could speak Devil and did not look at him in terror. He apparently already knew he was not in league with the Mur.
"Yes," he said. "But it will not leave the planet, its energy coils are mostly spent. When I told him that he beat me and decided to try anyway."
"We are not going off planet, we are going home."
Andy told his wife Yara, daughter of Mizuki and his ship captain, "We are going to lead you back at a speed that is comfortable for this ship. Tell Moesha a Devil will need medical attention when we get there."
The Devil managed to stay functional until they got home and the medical team immediately took him to Clara.
The Mur was put in a bubble and the Council postponed deciding what to do with him until they heard back from the Federation.
All the resident aliens and many humans came to look at him. Most had never seen a Mur.
He did not look like the monster the stories had had portrayed. He looked like a Kindred only taller and with hair. His manic behavior had terrified them at first but when he saw four different alien races he suddenly calmed and sat.
He had realized he was in Federation territory.
He ate his meals and answered questions from Rah's father morosely.
They learned that it had been his clan that had started the war and had been the biggest losers.
The survivors of the other clans hated his a lot more than they hated each other so they all joined forces and attacked his clan.
All males of his clan were to be killed on sight.
"How many space ships did your Clan have?"
"Many. Most were lost in the war. Three of us left a battle and went home to pick up our wives. The other two ships were destroyed before they reached space. I survived because my Devil was a better pilot than the pursuers were."
"So if we send you home you are a dead man. If we send you back to your shelter you will soon be a dead man."
"I am safe where I am," he acknowledged.
"True, and you will remain here until the Emperor decrees otherwise.
A word of advice, on this and several other planets the women are in charge. If you insult or hurt any of them they may choose to have you executed at once. Behave towards all as you would a chieftain.
You have already attacked royalty and he may wish to end your life at any time for as long as you live.
You will be transferred later today."
The Kindred left him not at all bothered by his exaggerated threat, he knew no one on Cel would harm him but the man was a savage and needed to understand.
The Mur tried not to think of anything.
A few centons later his bubble lifted and carried him to a small island in a bay, it was the habitat of giraffes, water buffalo, zebras and wildebeests. The bubble expanded to include a cabin on the island within it and he was now living in the most comfortable home he ever had.
Two things the Kindred knew about the Mur, they worshiped large beasts and they were terrified of water.
The Mur's food and supplies were replaced every ten days but he soon got a note advising him that supplies would stop until his place was clean. He fumed for several days but had to have supplies so gave his home a token clean up.
He got token supplies.
He cleaned up everything including the trash he had left outside and he got full ten day supplies.
The visualizer in his home only received news. He did not understand the languages so he ignored it. Several days later he saw that words in Mur scrolled along the bottom of the screen describing what he was seeing. He was fascinated.
Later visuals featuring the animals on his island began to appear. He learned their names and habits. He cleaned up after himself and when he began to smell something awful in his cabin he soon figured out it was he that stunk.
He was very surprised to find that the water in the shower was a comfortable temperature and enjoyed getting clean for the first time in his life.
He noticed his room still smelled and discovered the stench came from his bed. He took the mattress off and took it outside. Two hours later a small watercraft brought him a new mattress and took away the old one. The men that carried out that task ignored his presence and he stayed out of their way.
There were diagrams detailing how to make up a bed that puzzled him until the looked inside closets and found clean sheets that fit over the bed.
That night he slept on clean linens with a clean body. He was proud of himself.
The next morning he saw that the shield around his cabin was five meters further out from the front porch. His cleanliness had been rewarded.
A week later women appeared on his island, they were rangers checking on the animals. He was impressed when the very largest giraffe came to them and took a treat from their hand. He watched the women measure a zebra and a wildebeest then took samples of the vegetation. When they were done they got on a platform on the water and left. They had never acknowledged him.
He was impressed with their bravery but had difficulty in accepting the fact that he could not have done what they did but finally admitted to himself that the beast was too big and the water was too close to the feet for him.
The next morning when he awoke there was a small shiny oblong box on the table next to the chair in which he sat to watch the visuals. It had three buttons and he pressed the red one, the visualizer came on. Panicked that he had done something wrong he pressed the button again and the visualizer went off.
Did he see the button turn green when he pushed it the first time? He wondered.
He pushed the button again and it went green and so did the other two buttons. He pressed one of those side buttons and learned he had just changed the program. He could control the visuals. At home he had never had choices in visuals, he had always watched what the Chieftain wanted him to watch.
He began to change channels and just pressed the side button until he saw he was back where he started. He was giddy until an image he had flashed past registered in his brain. He went through the programming much more slowly until there it was, a note in Mur that read the news would begin in five centons.
He sat stunned for all five Centons then became manic when the image on the screen became his first wife.
"Hello, I am told you are doing fine. I told them you were the most intelligent man on your planet and would figure everything out.
First, this planet had not just suffered a war as we thought when we first landed but had been hit by meteors and a large comet. Most of the survivors are on this island.
They were not looking for you when they found us; they were looking for other survivors. They were not your enemy until you hit me. In this planet hitting a woman is the most un-manly thing a man can do. The respect they would have given you vanished then.
The Devil is fine but hitting him did not help your reputation any. The man you charged that easily subdued you is royalty and has placed you there until the Emperor decides your fate. Expect to be returned to Mur but I hope they allow you to stay even if it is where you are.
There are Akkad, Devils, Sprites, Kindred and humans on this island. All get along well, all love each other. All seem to love me and love all your other wives. One Duchess is sponsoring me to be a chef.
I am learning a language they call Spanish.
I will renew this visual when I learn you have seen it. Take care. Adios."
He was stunned. His wife, his first wife had been on a visual. She was fine. She talked to him.
He began pressing buttons to bring her back but couldn't so he put the controller down and went outside then sat on the grass.
He had never cared whether he lived or died as long as an enemy died with him. Now he wanted to live, "Even if it was on just this island," he thought.
Five days passed before there was another visual for him. Again it was his first wife.
"Hello. They told me you had seen my visual. I am so proud to be doing this; everyone thinks I am capable so here I am again.
Cooking here is so much more complicated than cooking at home. The flavors are thousands of times more complicated, some for the worse but most are much, much better than we have ever eaten. My executive chef thinks I am doing well. I love her. She is human.
Your other wives are also doing well. The youngest has returned to her first profession, making cloths pretty. She has an amazing variety of cloths to work with. Her tunics are very popular.
Oh, the women that take care of the creatures in your island reported you made no gestures or uttered demeaning words to them. That seemed to have surprised many.
I have to finish my speech now. Maybe they will let me cook something for you. By the way if you want to save this visual press both side buttons at once. Adios."
It took him a few seconds to realize the visual was over and he needed to press the buttons so he did so quickly. It did not work; he had only changed the visual.
His frustration with the hand-held unit was short lived, he was supposed to press both buttons at once and he knew he had not. He was now frustrated with himself.
Five days passed before he had another visual from his wife.
"They are going to take you a meal cooked by me soon," she said excitedly.
"When they do write me a note on what you think of it. Your other wives love it. My teacher tells me humans and Devil love it.
By the way, Sar has recovered well and has a new friend called Sehel. She is an important person here. They have already had sex but so far they are just friends. He was asked about you and what he told them I do not know but it couldn't have been all bad or you would be dead by now.
You have lost your two younger wives to others, a human and Kindred. You are about to lose all your wives as the law says if you become a prisoner of war your wives will be set free. They have decided you committed an act of war against the ship that brought you here. The ruling will be in two days.
I love living here and have requested asylum. It has been granted.
I will record another visual soon."
She did not say adios that time. He did not know what it meant but she seemed proud to say it. He pressed both side buttons and the visual restarted. He played it over and over until it was time to sleep.
Five days later the rangers were back and one brought a box for him. She walked through the shield and placed it on his patio table then placed a tablet on the table too. It was his writing tablet. The woman smiled and went through the shield and out.
He wondered why he had not attacked her, held her hostage and demanded a ship to get away. Five millicentons went by before he had the answer, he did not want to leave his home.
He was wondering when his cage began to feel like home then remembered the box. He opened it and found a note that said. "I prepared this. It is called paella. Please tell me what you think."
His first thought was that she was more important there than she had been at home. Humans had brought him food from her.
When he opened the container his sense of smell sang to him.
It's a trap he thought. But why would they poison him, beheading would be much simpler.
He took a bite. His sense of taste overwhelmed him; it was the best thing he had ever tasted. He was licking the container before he realized he had eaten everything.
The tablet blinked, she wanted to know what he thought.
He wrote it was very good, then added very, very good. Then he wondered why he was holding back and wrote, "I was the best thing I have ever eaten in my life. Thank you."
He had never thanked anyone in his life except the Chieftain. Then he remembered that the Kindred suggested he treat women like chieftains. It had sounded ridiculous to him then and it still did.
But he pushed the send button anyway.
A few centons later the ranger returned and picked up the food container and the tablet. He bowed at her and she smiled at him then got on the platform and left.
He wondered why his face felt weird so he looked in a mirror. He was smiling.
He did not see a new visual for five days and by the afternoon of the sixth he assumed he no longer had a wife and would not hear from her again. He was wrong.
She said, "I have bad news for you today. Apparently you are the last living male of your clan. There is glory for any that kill you but the other clans are decimated themselves. They have requested the Federation grant them Propectorship. They will have an answer in three months. They do not expect it to be granted although they are prepared to disarm.
More bad news, you no longer have wives, you are now a prisoner of war. Your younger wives are searching for suitable husbands now but we have been told we do not need husbands at all if we don't want one, we can live independently. That thought seems to have terrified some of them.
The good news is that if your planet is granted its request to the Federation you would fall under their protection too.
I was so proud to read what you said about my cooking. Everyone tells me to keep my head on then they all praise me. I do love everyone here. I am home."
She just smiled then ended the transmission.
He was not as saddened as he thought he would be. A Protectorship would mean overseers on his planet but that was what was needed. If no one had arms they would have to talk. They could build things other than war machines.
He regretted losing his wives but the only one he had cared about was his first. He had seen her gain her individuality. He had seen the pride she had in herself. She was happy.
He then realized he was happy for her.
He did not expect any more visuals or meals.
The next day the rangers came back and handed him an earpiece, a translator, and a tablet He put it in his ear and heard the taller lady say, " We are very busy and we thought since you live here you could just as easily check our creatures for us.
This tablet has all of them listed and our notes on their condition. The tablet has your language and ours so you may make all the notes you want and when you click send the tablet will send the data to us in our language. If you want to see something we wrote just click on it and it will appear in your language.
Lets start with the big guy, his name is Pete,"
He spent the entire day following them and making notes. The rangers were pleasant and allowed him time to assimilate information before continuing. He walked with them to the platform although he could not get closer than five meters to the water. The women said "adios" and waved as they left.