tagSci-Fi & FantasyOffspring Ch. 039

Offspring Ch. 039

byTalemaster©

Author's note.

My apologies for having taken a while to continue the story. I have had a number of inquiries if I were to continue the story, or if this was it.

I fully intend to finish the story. It's getting a bit more elaborate than I thought at first. So far I have 115K of words and it doesn't look as if it is going to end tomorrow. I'm working on chapter 43 at the moment. Chapters 40, 41 and 42 will be posted shortly.

Happy reading and Thanks for your interest.

Talemaster


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The town square was finished. The fountain in the centre was little more than a shallow basin, about thirty feet in diameter, filled with eighteen inches of water. In the centre were six jets that shot water ten feet into the air. It wasn't much to look at, but the kids thought it was heaven. They'd splash around in it during the heat of the day amongst much screeching and carrying on. No one minded. The children had named the square 'Angel Square' and the fountain 'Angel Fountain'. They loved their angel.

Talla went periodically to the school to tell the kids about her people. Her little lectures were so popular that adults started to sit in and they had to move her presentations to the community hall to accommodate everybody.

Houses were going up at the rate of three per day. It was a simple procedure to assemble the prefabricated modules. The biggest job was to connect the buildings to power, water and sewer. There were trenches everywhere.

Jeremy was in charge of construction. I found him in his site office. Pedro was with him when I arrived.'I asked Jeremy how he planned to provide accommodation for Talla's people.

"I've spoken to Talla about this. Their domestic arrangements are different from ours. They don't have families who live together. Instead they live in small communities, ideally ten to a dwelling so Talla tells me. All are adults. Their young live in hatcheries where the older kids look after the eggs and the little ones until they are old enough to leave and join a community somewhere. Anyway, back to their dwellings. These are little more than dormitories with ablution facilities and a laundry. They do not cook, eat or congregate socially in their homes. That is done in what we might call cafeterias. Anyway, to answer your question, this is the kind of thing I have in mind for them."

Jeremy brought up some images on his computer. They showed a fairly large central facility with two story houses grouped around it. There was a lot of bare ground between the buildings. Jeremy explained:

"The building in the centre is the cafeteria, if you wish. The buildings are simple, the dormitory is on the top floor, the toilets, showers and laundry are on the ground floor. I've shown the house design to Talla, she likes it. The empty spaces are for when we get a bit of greenery going. Talla tells me her people like to have lots of plants around them. I need more information on how to build the hatchery. I've made provision for the building, but that is all I can do at the moment."

"This is excellent work Jeremy, but we need to make some changes. What you have here is a ghetto. We need to break it up. These people have been isolated from the dominant society for a long time. First from the Darnaqs, later from the humans and Torgons. I doubt this separation was their idea. If we want to break this pattern and foster a greater understanding between the races we must integrate them into our society. Talla has shown us that this is not only possible, but welcomed by both races. She loves moving in our society as an equal. Our kids worship her, our adults love her. This is the way forward. Her people will be readily accepted into our midst. Let's build on that."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Put their houses amongst the human dwellings. Build a cafeteria that caters for humans and Oktonians. Let them live side by side with us; as equals."

"That's easily done. I won't have to change much at all, my general layout won't be affected. How soon do you want me to start construction?"

"As soon as possible."

"How many Angels are we talking about?"

"Angels?"

"That's what everybody calls them now."

"I must say it's a great improvement over 'dumb faeries'. Alright, Angels it is. I'm thinking of about two hundred in the short term, more later. Is that a problem?"

"Not really. We are only talking about twenty buildings, I can have them up in a week. I've got everything I need except the beds and the special plumbing fixtures. I could get our workshops to make them, but why bother? I've made some enquiries. On Okton4 they have everything we need in stock."

"What's so special about the beds and the plumbing?"

"As you know the Angels cannot get a proper rest on our beds. They have to lie face down, something that is very uncomfortable for them. Apparently the wings move all the time, even in sleep. Their beds are a kind of divan with one end raised. It is contoured to their bodies. They lie on it on their side, at an angle. The wings stick out over the side. Quite a clever piece of engineering, if you ask me. They don't have showers the way we do either. Instead they use a piece of flexible pipe with a small shower head at one end. They use a similar fixture on their toilets to wash themselves after they've done their business. Apart from that there are a few custom utensils they use for the preparation of their food, which we'll need for the cafeteria. That's all."

"Can you make up a list of what you need so we can order the stuff? Get in touch with Ben, he will tell you what we need in the way of food, say enough to feed two hundred Angels for three months. Add that to the list."

"Give me two days. Is that soon enough for you?"

"That'll be fine. Pedro, how much time do you need to get the Pygmalion ready for a trip to Okton4?"

"The Pygmalion no longer supplies power for the colony. The reactors on the cruisers do that now. I can get her ready in four hours. How soon do you want to go?"

"About a week from now, if I can. There are a few things I need to do first."

"Well, if there is nothing else, I'm off to the pub. Frank, Jeremy, are you coming with me?"

We did.

***

The pub was getting busy. I had a couple of beers with Pedro and Jeremy when I spotted Feng and Talla. I asked them to join us. Pedro and Jeremy soon went off to talk to some of their mates. When there were only the three of us left at the table I suggested we go to my cabin for a conference.

"I need to ask you some questions, Talla," I said when we arrived there. "First I must explain something to Feng, so bear with me.

"You were there when I explained the changes that had come over me after my union with the Goddess. There was something I left out. I couldn't tell the others because it has to do with travelling. According to Tikana, my human body is dust amongst the stars and is not retrievable. What you are looking at is my travelling body. I no longer need sex to travel, I can go everywhere my travelling body can, at will. I can also change form."

To illustrate the point I changed into a dog for a few moments and changed back.

"Shit, that's weird. I know I have changed shape while travelling, but to see it happening in front of me is something else. Quite disconcerting actually."

"It takes some getting used to, even for me."

"I bet. I wish I knew how that works."

"Talla can explain."

"You can?" Feng and I said simultaneously.

"Yes. All creatures have two bodies. In your terms you have a physical body and a dream body. The dream body exists on a different plane and is not subject to the constraints of time and form. When you dream you subconsciously put some of your life force into your dream body. Whatever the dream body experiences on its own plane of existence you can perceive. There is little or no control. All creatures dream.

"Talla's people have learned how to put much more life force into the dream body than is required for dreaming. This enables the dream body to become so solid that it can act on the physical plane outside the constraints of time and form. The Goddess has taught Frank and Feng how to do this. Your dream body became a travelling body.

"What the Goddess did to Frank was to tie his entire life force to the travelling body. She then destroyed his human body. To make the new arrangement permanent she exchanged part of Frank's life force with some of her own. That made him what he is today, part Frank and part Goddess as the Goddess is now part Goddess and part Frank."

I was stunned. Not because of what she had said. I had been thinking along these lines myself for a few days. What rattled me was the eloquence and precision of her elucidation. I asked her how that had come about.

"Frank's understanding of the language and his skill with words have become part of the Goddess. She gave it to Talla as a gift."

"I hope she left out the swearwords."

"Listen, you dumb prick, it's part of your fucking skill with words. Got that, Arsehole?"

While I stood there open mouthed Feng burst out laughing.

"Looks like she gave her your warped sense of humour too," he said, still chuckling, "This is going to be fun."

I have no idea where this conversation would have gone from here if Talla had not changed the subject by asking what questions I had wanted to ask her.

"I can't contact the Goddess right now, can you ask her something for me?"

"What is it that Frank wants to know?"

"I want to know where the Torgons have hidden their weapons."

"The Goddess doesn't know. She can go there, but she doesn't know where it is."

"That doesn't make any sense."

"Frank is not thinking," she admonished me. "Did Frank know where on the map he was every time he visited Cleopatra? He went to see Cleopatra and got there, regardless of where she was at the time. Cleopatra was the focus which enabled Frank to travel, not a physical location. The Goddess has shown Talla where the weapons are kept. Talla has been there, but she doesn't know where the island is."

"Can you take me there Talla?"

"Talla cannot. Frank must go there by himself."

"How the hell can I go there when I don't know what the place looks like? I have no reference."

"Talla is right," said Feng. "Frank is not thinking! Remember when you wanted me to go to the library on the mainland? You took some pictures of the library and gave them to me so I would know where to go. Talla can do the same. Hang on a minute."

Feng left and returned five minutes later with the little camera we had been using. He showed it to Talla and explained to her how it works. He had Talla operate the camera and try the different settings. When he was satisfied she could operate it he showed her the rubber casing and explained what it was for.

"Is that how you and Frank got your pictures, by transporting the camera up your rear end to the mainland?"

Feng told her that had been the case.

Tallas wings fluttered like mad. She was having a fit of laughter. It took her a while to calm down.

Feng explained that it was the only way known to us to transport the camera and hide it from the Oktonian sex partner at the same time.

"It's not necessary to put the camera, or anything else for that matter, inside your body. It is sufficient to have physical contact with the item, but when you imagine your travelling form you must include it in that picture. The item will travel with you. You must do the same on the return journey or it will stay behind."

"How big an item can you take?"

"Talla doesn't know. You must try different things to find out."

"What will happen if I try to take something too big to take?" asked Feng.

"The item would stay behind, you would travel without it."

Talla picked up the camera, took it out of its casing, held it for a moment and handed it back to Feng.

"Connect it to your computer," she said. "It will give you what you need to know."

"What did you do, Talla?"

"Talla went there and took the pictures. And now Talla is going back to the pub, drink beer and talk to people."

With that she left.

***

Feng wasted no time to connect the device to his computer. Minutes later we watched Talla's footage. The first picture showed where she had landed. She was on what appeared to be the roof of a large airport building. There was enough detail for us to get there. Next she had recorded a panoramic view of the airfield with its hangars and the shuttles, which were parked on the massive airstrip. It was impossible to tell from the footage how many of them were there. Certainly more than a hundred.

I had expected the shuttles to be all of the same type. This was not the case. They came in all shapes and sizes. Some were the size of the Pygmalion, many were larger, much larger. I expressed surprise at that.

"That makes sense," said Feng. "The Torgons had only one stab at this. They would have cobbled together a fleet of the best ships they had. You told me you suspected they would have sent the huge ships ahead and docked the shuttles in space after the mother ships had reached cruising speed. Under those conditions the varying sizes of the shuttles would have made little difference as long as the docking gear was identical."

"There is enough hardware here to conduct a major war."

"That makes sense too. They had no way of knowing what they would come across on their long journey. They would have made provisions."

"I wonder what made them pick Okton4 as a destination."

"The large lithium deposits perhaps. You know how scarce the shit is. If they use fusion reactors, as I suspect, they would need a lot of lithium to keep them going in the long run. It's required for the reaction. Secure lithium deposits, build a base and from there conquer an entire sector from a position of strength."

"I think you've hit the nail on the head. This is beginning to form into a coherent picture. Take the following scenario. The Torgons discover their world is doomed, a planet on collision course, perhaps their sun going nova, something they can't survive where they are. Say they have about a century before the shit hits the fan. The rich and powerful get together and decide to do a bunk. They don't tell their people of the impending disaster. They start building those huge ships. The vessels would have had to be assembled in space, you could never get them off the ground if they were built on the planet surface.

"One indispensable ingredient they need to keep their civilisation going is lithium. They send out scout ships. Eventually they find what they are looking for. The world they discovered is ideal. Not only is it awash with the lithium they require, it has a breathable atmosphere and ready made cities of some magnitude. Only the Darnaqs are in their way. Millions of them. They kidnap a few and develop a virus which makes the Darnaqs sterile. The Torgons don't target the Angels as they will make perfect slaves. They don't know about the humans, perhaps they haven't arrived yet.

"The fleet takes off. with a select section of their society, scientists, engineers, politicians, the wealthy, you get the idea. They will not want to attack the Darnaqs straight away. Let them maintain the planet while the ships are in transit. Say about eighty years before arriving they send a few shuttles ahead and infect the planet. The rest we know."

"A more than likely scenario, I admit," said Feng. "Knowing about it doesn't help us one bit though. Our immediate problem is that we need to show Pedro and Juan, perhaps Al as well, what we've got here without spilling the beans about travelling."

"Does the term 'Deus ex machina' mean anything to you?"

"No, what is it?"

"It's a device writers use when they have tied their story into so many knots that only divine intervention can resolve it."

"You mean like the cavalry arriving at the last minute out of the blue to save the fair maiden?"

"Something like that. I'll tell them the Goddess took me to the island and showed me. Gods are supposed to be able to do shit like this. I took a camera with me so we all can get an idea what is there. They'll buy it. What worries me more is how we'll locate the island."

"That's easy. You go over there and plant a homing device."

"Won't the device give the game away?"

"Not if we are smart and activate the gadget when the cruisers are already above the planet preparing for a landing. By that time the Torgons would have spotted us anyway so there is no further need for secrecy."

"Alright, that solves it. Now let's go and show Pedro and the others what we've got."

"Not so fast, Frank. The pictures Talla took with the arse-camera are all very nice if you want a general idea of the layout. It would be better if we had something that showed a bit more detail."

"What do you have in mind."

"You go there, Frank. I'll give you my best camera. You have a better idea than Talla what to look for. Stick to the roof of the terminal building, it'll be one of the few places where the Torgons won't have surveillance equipment. Look for surveillance gear and booby traps. My camera can pick out a fly at a thousand paces, it should give us a better idea of what we're up against."

Feng was right. Half an hour later I was on the roof. For the next two hours I took pictures. Following Feng's advice I concentrated on areas where surveillance equipment and booby traps were likely to be, I also filmed as much detail of the shuttles as I could. Having run out of interesting places to look at without shifting position I went home. The viewfinder of the camera didn't allow me to see much detail. That would show up when we had my pictures on the big screen and zoomed in on places of interest. I hoped I had something of value in the bag.

Feng had a quick look at my footage.

"This will take some time to analyse," he said. "No point getting into it now. We need to put a team together. Apart from the usual suspects I want George, Jeremy and Talla on the team."

"Talla?"

"Yes. At the moment she is our pipeline to the Goddess. We might need her help in clarifying a few things."

***

A week went by. Most of the cafeteria building was up, so were a few houses that would accommodate the Angels. Some of Pedro's people had already moved into their new homes. More dwellings were being completed every day.

The analysis of my footage showed up some things of interest. We managed to identify the surveillance cameras. Two hundred years in the open without maintenance had taken their toll. They were caked with dust and grime, much of the cabling was torn. According to George and Feng the whole system was defunct. We managed also to identify some of the booby traps; energy weapons, powered by batteries and solar panels. We doubted the batteries could still be charged after all this time, besides, the solar panels were so dirty we decided this system was probably defunct as well.

"I don't get it," said Feng. "They've built those magnificent ships, both the monsters in orbit and the shuttles here. Every inch as good as something we can produce today. And yet, they used electronics and control gear that has been antiquated and obsolete in our society for centuries."

"Hallmarks of a totalitarian system of government, I think," said Pedro.

"What has government to do with it?"

"Typically everything. There was a major power on Earth in the twentieth century called the Soviet Union. Allegedly a communist state, it was in reality a brutal dictatorship run by thugs and party hacks. They threw money and resources at anything that made them look strong in the eyes of the world. The biggest tanks, the biggest aircraft, the biggest fission reactors, you name it they built it, as long as it was big and impressive. Much of what they produced was truly great. The flaws in their approach showed up gradually. Aircraft crashed, ships sank, nuclear reactors blew up, that sort of thing.

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