Book II: Requiem for the Blue Planet
by euhal allen
Table of Contents|
Chapter 5 appeared
in issue 150.
Chapter 6: Troubled Times
part 1 of 3
Olga, looking tearfully at her virtual mother, said, “I feel as bad about this as I did when Johannes was killed defending the village. How could she choose Dreamers’ World over Earth? How could she, knowing her father died for these people, turn her back on us?”
“You must remember,” Katia replied, “that the ‘accident’ at the nova was a very long time ago and you were lost to her.
“Me’Avi, wanting to follow in our footsteps, worked hard to make our people, our Dreamers’ World people, a credit to and a needed part of the Galactic Council. It is very hard to change a lifetime of dedication overnight.
“It is hard for me also, to accept her stance. I, too, lost a dearly beloved husband in our fight to save our people. He was your step-father.
“Alexis, when he went to find his mother, they were waiting for him. They had kept his mother’s death a secret so as to trap him.
“When he was almost to his mother’s house they just shot him down. They buried him in a landfill somewhere, just like a piece of garbage.”
Olga, a shocked look on her face, replied, “A landfill? You never told us that before. How despicable. At least I know where Johannes is buried; I can go visit his grave. There is some comfort in that. And, I was there, holding his head in my lap when he died. His last words were, ‘Do not grieve, Liebchen; we all knew what the cost could be. Chust remember that, always, I have loved you.’ And then he was gone. I still miss him.”
“Yes, and I miss Alexis. Still,” Katia continued, “Me’Avi may yet be useful in furthering the goals that both of our men died for. Perhaps we can encourage her to continue to believe that once Earth’s system is enclosed by the force field our end will truly have been accomplished.
“She does not know of Starhell, and it must stay that way. Pass the word out to all the others that anyone who has any contact with her should indicate indirectly in some manner that our goal is to find a way to disable enough quarantine modules so that the force globe cannot be activated.”
“Yes,” replied Olga. “And, perhaps we can arrange, at the right moment, to be a little lax in our surveillance of her and her companions. If she manages to make her escape from us, believing that the quarantine will finish us, we just may increase our chances of success.”
* * *
Jonkil knew that the time was coming. And now others were beginning to see it also. He was slower in his thinking and slower in his walk. Where he had used to love to do things, when his schedule allowed, now his thoughts turned to easy chairs and warming fires. He had hoped to see the whole project through to a successful conclusion, but knew that it was not to be so.
At least the others that were seeing him slow down just thought of it as old age and not what it really was, the start of the Jo Dan, the beginning of the end for him.
“Cyr, I have a very private message that I need to send to my people. Is there a way to send it so that it will stay private?”
Knowing the worth that Jonkil’s people put on family and privacy in communication between their people, Cyr replied, “We can use the Qwell’Na band that you always use in communicating with your people. You know that the Galactic Council has reserved that band for the Qwell’Na and your people only.”
“Yes, Cyr, I am quite aware of that, but what I wish to communicate is not allowed on that band. I must find another way to send the information.”
“The best other way,” countered Cyr, “is a message drone. But that would take several days to arrive at Qwell. Will that suffice?”
“Yes, yes, that would do well. It is only a small envelope that I need to send, and the subject will not go bad in a few days.”
Then, laying a scarlet envelope on his desk, Jonkil indicated that it contained the message that was to be delivered.
“But,” said Cyr, “there is no address on the envelope. How will it get to where it is supposed to go?”
“Ah, Cyr, the color is the address. There are several special institutions on Qwell that use a special color as their only address. It is a part of our fetish for privacy. The envelope will reach the proper destination.”
* * *
Me’Avi et Sharma gathered together all those locked in with her. “We must get out somehow. We must inform the Galactic Council of the illegal activities that are going on here. For the good of those on the Blue Planet these people can not be allowed to succeed.”
“Excuse me, et Sharma,” asked Maestro Vertraumer, “but how will these plans for the people on the Blue Planet be harmful to them? When the quarantine starts, what difference will it make what they do?”
“Maestro,” the et Sharma answered, “the people on the Blue Planet are a dying people. Even now they are fighting and terrorizing one another over food and land. When the stars disappear from their sky they will be terrified and, in their fear, will lash out at each other in the most ferocious manner.
“We know this because each time a force globe has reached the limit of operational time we have gone in and retrieved the observation units. They always tell the same story, the stars go out and the people, sensing the nearness of their demise, go insane killing each other.
“When these people seek to reconstitute an artificial stability among a condemned people, they only prolong the period of suffering, the period of dying.
“If we can escape and warn the Galactic Council, these people can be stopped and this planet’s people can pass into history as they should.”
“I see,” replied the Maestro. “That explains a lot. Thank you.”
“Explains a lot?” Queried the et Sharma, “I think that I catch something more than just the acceptance of an answer in your voice, Maestro. Perhaps you should enlighten me as to your thoughts.”
“It is the revision of the Requiem that is on my mind. When I first came here to finish the piece I came to see the planet itself. I did not think that I could really write the Requiem as it should be written until I had seen the planet itself. And I was right.
“It was my dream to write a requiem that could find its place alongside others written by those in the past. Before I came here I spent several months listening to, and studying other such works. Works by Mozart and Brahms, Verdi and Liszt and many others that live in our people’s history. The music I had composed about the planet was too soft, too unvaried, too mild to sit on the same shelf with those others, to picture the Blue Planet.
“But, then I began to see signs of people down there acting, not as barbarians, but as civilized beings, and then I began to question even a need for a requiem for those people. It was exciting, and I wanted to put that excitement in music also, not as a requiem, but as a resurgence of a great people.
“The more I watched, the more I began to think that such a people should not be quarantined but given another chance. But the last few times I looked and saw that the ones I had thought had become so civilized were engaged in ruin and hatred all over again.
“I shall put that brief resurgence of sanity in the Requiem as if it were a lovely and unusual spring day intruding on a long and lonely winter; a winter that they will not survive. It is sad for me, for I thought I saw a hope and then I knew it was only a dream that could never come true.
“I will help you escape if I can. And when I do finish the Requiem I will stop writing music. This will be my last and greatest piece. It will be my requiem as well.
“I have seen the Blue Planet and felt its winds. I have seen the energy of its oceans and the grandeur of his mountains. And, I have seen how the challenge of this planet makes too many of its people become barbarians seeking always to conquer.
“Having felt these things I know that, back on Dreamers’ World, I will know the quietness of life as one should. But I will not be inspired to write the music that the Blue Planet has demanded of me, and that is good, for it demands too much.”
* * *
Charlie Philips was not happy. First these people come into his garden and grab him and bring him to this place, wherever it is. Then they leave him alone in a locked room and only give him a little food and water every few hours. “Somebody,” he said to himself, “had better be doing some explaining or I am going to kick the bejeebers out of that door, metal or not.”
Just then the lock clicked and a couple of very big guys stepped into the room and said, “Mr. Philips, your appointment with the Administrator is in five minutes. If you will follow us we will take you there.”
At first, Charlie was a little hesitant about following them, but considering their politeness and their size he decided that if he was going to punch anyone it might be better to use the Administrator, if he was small enough, for his target. So, he soon found himself in an office facing a somewhat smaller but still big enough man.
The Administrator got up and, coming over to Charlie, held out his hand in welcome. “Mr. Philips, you don’t know just how glad I am to see you. Please be seated, and I would be pleased to answer any questions that you might have. But, first, let me ring for some coffee, if that is all right with you.”
Charlie, overwhelmed by the unexpected, managed to say, “Well, I reckon that’s fine.”
“Hocat,” the Administrator called out the door, “we need some coffee in here and, if there are any donuts...” Turning to Charlie he asked, “What kind of donuts do you like, Mr. Phillips?”
Charlie, warming up a bit to the Administrator, answered, “I kind of favor chocolate ones, if you got some.”
“Ah, yes, a favorite of us all,” replied the Administrator, who put his head back out the door and ordered, “Hocat, make that a big plate of chocolate donuts with the coffee, please.”
Then, sitting down at his desk, the Administrator said, “Mr. Philips, my name is Thomas Hiram Tinker — you can call me Hi, everybody does — and I am the Administrator for this whole area.
“I am sure you want to know why we brought you here and why we were a little less than gentle than we might have been in doing it.”
Just then Hocat came in with the biggest plate of chocolate donuts that Charlie had ever seen. Even better, he set it down on the table right in front of him next to the mug, and pot, of coffee that had come a little earlier.
That first bite of a chocolate donut with chocolate icing, while, at the same time, seeing a pile more of them on the in front of him, convinced Charlie that he could listen to this Hi for just a little while longer.
“Eat up, Mr. Philips.”
Charlie looked up and, after a swallow, said, “Guess you can call me Charlie... at least until the donuts are gone.”
“Wonderful, Charlie! I appreciate that. Let us start by telling you that we brought you here because of your wonderful talent at cold-climate gardening. We have a very great need for that kind of knowledge and we hope you will teach our people some of your skills.”
“Well,” answered Charlie, “I ain’t much of a teacher, and being grabbed the way I was probably ain’t the best way to convince me to learn. Why didn’t you just come and ask me to help?”
The Administrator pushed a button and Charlie watched as a wall panel went up, revealing a video monitor showing his cabin and garden in Alaska. It also showed him working in that garden just as those guys that kidnapped him picked him up and carried him away.
Then, as Charlie was about to angrily say something, he saw, coming down the hill in back of the cabin, a bunch of those Kilmer boys. They were carrying guns and gunny sacks. Then he saw his cabin robbed and burnt, his produce stuffed into the gunny sacks, and then his barn set fire.
Charlie set back and, looking over at Hi, said, “I reckon there was kind of a hurry to get me out of there after all. It is just too bad that my mule was in the barn. She was always a big help with some of my gardening.”
Hi, smiling, said, “Your mule, Charlie, is in our barn waiting for you.”
* * *
“Katia, I am worried about Jonkil. He asked me to do something pretty strange awhile back. Then, today, he received a package from home and went into his quarters and all the communication devices in his quarters just ceased to work.”
“You know how the Qwell’Na have periods where they have to have absolute privacy. Not that Jonkil has overused his privacy privileges, but, being older, he probably wants to meditate over a package from his family. Don’t worry about it.”
“Katia, the package was not from his family. It was addressed to him but there was no return address anywhere on it. Just like that colored envelope he had me send earlier. Only the envelope didn’t have any address on it at all.”
Katia, her face whitening a bit, asked, “Colored envelope? What color was the envelope, Cyr?”
Katia, her face saddening with grief, answered, “It is Jo Dan. Jonkil has started his Jo Dan.” Katia replied. Even as she was fading and returning to her ship to weep alone, she added, “Cyr, we are about to lose a very good friend.”
Copyright © 2005 by euhal allen