The Battle for Imdeu Pax

The Battle
for Imdeu Pax
inspired by my daughter-sister, Kelly Blake

 


You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars
I've been living on the edge so long
Where the winds of limbo roar
And I'm young enough to look at
And far too old to see
All the scars are on the inside
I'm not sure if there's anything left of me

I stepped through the hatchway into my condo-partment. Walking over to my bunk, I stripped off my singlet and went to put it in the chute for cleaning. It was practically in tatters at that point so I dumped it in the compactor instead. I pulled off the netcap, shaking out my hair.

“Still gorgeous after how many battles?” I said to myself as I gazed into the mirror over my sink. Running my hand through, I found a stray Naesce-mouse that had crawled under the net for shelter.

“Join your pals.” I dropped it into the tank over my fridge and watched as it scurried quickly over and disappeared into the plas-castle. Finding nothing else in my hair, I proceeded to strip the underarmor that wrapped my body. One of those days where a long fight was rewarded with a bleak reminder of how things actually were in the Haven. As each piece of armor came off, it was like my muscles screamed in gratefully relief. My legs still bore the scars of the heat from the blaster that grazed me. Something I’d have the doc attend to when she had the time.

“Oh fuck….” I shook my head and ripped the armor off my left arm. The blast had heat seared the inner seal in a nice four inch square patch that came off with a tear, a bit of blood, a modicum of skin and a yell no one heard since I had stuck my netcap into my mouth to silence my scream.

“You’ve got to take more care of yourself,” Irollo said from her perch over my bunk. The parrot was a fair facsimile of a real bird, but a bit sturdier, since even avi-droids out lasted real parrots by several decades. I wondered if I would fare as well. Part of me might resist the passing of time, since I was still more than ninety-six per cent human, but the droid in me was almost confident that we’d last long enough to see the passing of my hundredth birthday.

“Try not to cry this time, Imana! You know how I hate when you cry!” Irollo squawked in protest and tease. Not quite as sentient as a real creature, she still had enough insight to expect my daily disappointment and pain would insert itself once again into my daily routine.

Don't let these shakes go on
It's time we had a break from it
It's time we had some leave
We've been living in the flames
We've been eating up our brains
Oh, please don't let theses shakes go on

The hardest part of the underarmor was removing the torso; the most vital of all the armor pieces both protected my life and guarded my most desperate secret……

“Oh my Goddess..she’s doing it!!!!” Irollo taunted from her perch, her laugh almost eerie since it sounded just like me….of course, since I programmed her. Just like me when I'm very anxious, I should add….hence the rag in the mouth only moments before. I pressed the release tab and the torso piece fell free to the floor, revealing my secret; to my shame and my regret.

“There you are!” Twin voices spoke with soft laughter from behind me. Irollo sounding almost like a gruff twelve year child who had programmed her decades before. And the sweet innocent tones of the one who sat on the bed.

“Come to me….let me comfort you after a long day!” She patted the bed next to her. She looked about twenty-five; her age bore well, since she was well into her seventies. Irroya, my mate….my soul twin in a way, since she knew every bit about me; including my secret.

“I’m so tired…..it keeps going on and on and on, and it looks like it will never end,” I said, flopping behind her on the bed with my face to the wall; partly out of having no energy to speak. But mostly out of too many years to remember of shame and lies and deceit and guilt and pleasure.

“I know, Imana, my wife!” She said it with conviction, and to be sure, it was the right thing to say, at least for the sake of safety. Anything practiced in secret may come out in the open in a moment of vulnerability or even when we have our guard up.

“If you must say that, at least do no hold me when you do,” I protested. I can’t bear you speaking the lie I live and holding me; if we’re caught, it must be because I deceived you. If they believe you are complicit in any way, it will be the death of us both, and you know they will!” I shook my head as she continued to caress my aching shoulders, moving slowly down to my bra.

“I won’t say a word, I promise, but we must get ready for bed, dear heart.” She pulled off the bra and exposed the flatness underneath. No problem would arise if we were discovered at that moment, since everyone knew I had lost only in part my fight with the consuming terror every woman feared. But she continued.

“Let’s just relax. We are alone; you are off duty at least for two nightfalls, my sweet girl.” She kissed my ear; one of the parts that they could repair or replace. The plas-frame held up well after nearly seventeen years, and no one could tell it wasn’t original. My bout with the disease that took my breasts came after the restriction of replacements with the war wreaking havoc on resources and supplies. Many of the council fought with little success the scourge that had disfigured me, but none bore my shame, since every one of them was privileged in rank and stature, and feared no shortages of medical assistance.

“Imana….stop fussing so! You know I love you, no matter what!”

You ask me why I'm weary, why I can't speak to you
You blame me for my silence
Say it's time I changed and grew
But the war's still going on dear
And there's no end that I know
And I can't say if we're ever...
I can't say if we're ever gonna to be free

Don't let these shakes go on
It's time we had a break from it
It's time we had some leave
We've been living in the flames
We've been eating out our brains
Oh, please don't let theses shakes go on

You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars
My energy's spent at last
And my armor is destroyed
I have used up all my weapons and I'm helpless and bereaved
Wounds are all I'm made of
Did I hear you say that this is victory?

My nightly tremors were upon me; the lack of sleep coupled with the fear of discovery and the pain of shame for being disfigured and alien.

“Let me soothe your fears, my darling wife,” she kissed the right ear; flesh and cartilage and nerve and feeling; her breath in my ear caused me to sigh.

“No…” I struggled to protest; my words fell vainly as she climbed atop my body, kissing my malformed breasts while humming a child’s lullaby. Her hand went slowly down my torso, almost tickling as it traced the center of my body down to the band of my panties.

“No….we can’t.” I said, sensing some discovery that was impossible; we were safe, weren’t we?”

“Yes we can. And I will.” She reached under the fabric and touched me. I began to cry in my shame; how could she love me when I was a monster; a lack of such glaring proportion that most women….all women would run in horror.

“I love you, Imana….every bit of you, and I’m not ashamed to say so.” Ashamed or not, if she breathed but a single word to anyone, it would be both our deaths.

“I love you.” She pulled down my panties even as she leaned closer to me, kissing me slowly as her head moved further down my body until she was kissing….it.

“No….I began to weep. I put my head against the bulkhead and shook as she kissed the hated appendage; the thing that was not allowed. My mother had bundled me quickly and sent me away, almost like a mythical character when I was born, since to have a child such as the beast she had borne would have meant death for her and me and my sister who witnessed the birth. No one ever knew; she died in a raid on our contain-ship only days after I was born, leaving my sister and my grandmother to raise me. Imirai and my grandmother treated me as if nothing was wrong, and with great effort managed to raise me without discovery of my hated secret.

“You mustn’t weep, my dear sweet wife,” Irroya said, lifting her gaze to my face as she kissed me.

“I am not ashamed, and neither should you be. The creator in her wisdom has deigned that you live, for at least my good, but maybe for the good of others.” She straddled me and eased herself onto it, softly caressing my cheek with her hand as she got settled.

“I could live forever if I knew I could do this without fear.” She laughed. It was a mantra that had lasted for years. We had joined late in life when my sister Imirai died from the scourge. Irroya had been her doctor, and had consoled me after her passing. Compassion turned to love, and I was foolish enough to believe even a monster like me deserved happiness. At the advanced ages we were, nothing was expected between us, but Irroya insisted and discovered the curse I had borne since birth....

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

“If only the Council knew and approved….why should you be condemned for being whom the Creator meant you to be? Why should you suffer for the sake of a goddess who designed you this way? It is unfair.” Her words were sad and meant only for me. She wept in my arms, and I hers, as we fell asleep.

You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars
My energy's spent at last
And my armor is destroyed
I have used up all my weapons and I'm helpless and bereaved
Wounds are all I'm made of
Did I hear you say that this is victory?

“No reports of battle anywhere in this sector for days; I’ll be working in ordinance with the other sisters for the next few hours unless something comes up,” I said the next morning after getting off the com-phone.

“Would you mind taking Irollo to the Avi-narian for a checkup….she seems listless.”

“It’s on the way; no problem at all.” Words that sounded innocent enough.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

“Where is your mate?” The tall girl seemed almost impertinent, which wasn’t a surprise as she had yet to enter her fourth decade. She pushed Irroya aside and stood in front of me akimbo; almost as if to demand an explanation for my existence.

“Imana Nel! You are under arrest by order of the Imdeu Pax Planetary Council in violation of the Mal-Existence Act of 16438. You must come with us. A Paracletian will be appointed on your behalf for your hearing, which will be held this evening at 18 bells. Your mate may attend as well, but she is not to speak unless spoken to.” The girl grabbed my hands and lifted me roughly to my feet as another prepared the plas-shackles. A moment later I was whisked down the gangway to the common hallway leading to the central chamber.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

I was brought before the Council; Seven of the Most Honored Women of Imdeu Pax sat at a long table on a dais elevated nearly five feet above the chamber floor.

“Imana Nel! You are charged with violation of the Mal-Existence Act of 16438.” The tallest of the Seven spoke harshly. Two of her sisters on either side put their heads down, weeping. Enforcement of the law was just and swift, but the penalties were still sadly regretted by all but a few. The slight woman next to me spoke.

“If it pleases the Council, my sister-client has had no time to review the charges.”

“There is nothing to review. You will submit immediately to an inspection. She is either in violation of the law or she is not. There is no plea or mitigation of the offense!” She shook her head, as if it was an inconvenience to threaten my loss of life.

“How is this possible?” My Paracletian pleaded, wanting desperately to forestall the inspection, hoping for some deliverance beyond her abilities.

“Please place your attention on the screen on the wall!” The woman pointed. A moment later a blurry image appeared and the sounds that would betray me.

“If only the Council knew and approved….why should you be condemned for being whom the creator meant you to be? Why should you suffer for the sake of a goddess who designed you this way? It is unfair.” Irroya’s words spoken only the evening before in our privacy. As far as I knew, the council had yet to stoop to invading condo-partments or private areas with listening devices.

“Your avi-droid was being serviced this morning. The recording came up as the technician accessed the bird’s memory. She contacted security who in turn contacted the Council. Will you submit to an inspection, or must you be forced?” She leaned forward with a wry smile.

“I….I do not dispute the claim of Mal-Existence….I….” I began to speak, stumbling over the words.

“As your Paracletian, I must caution you!” The woman put her hand on my arm, but I pulled away. In any event, a public confession was irrevocable under law, and my fate was sealed. The Council woman seemed angry at the declaration, as if she was upset that I had admitted to the crime.

“You will still submit to an inspection.” I put my head down, ashamed and afraid of exposure even though I had admitted my fault. The guard next to me pulled me forward roughly and pointed to the Council.

“You will submit, now!”

“NO!” Irroya said from behind me.

“Silence. You will not speak before this assembly!”

“She has done nothing wrong! If anyone is wrong it is the Creator! She made Imana! Let her answer for this so-called crime.”

“Silence! You speak blasphemy!!!” The woman screamed and pointed to me and to the guard!

“Strip her!” The guard motioned and was joined by another woman. The two pulled my clothing off, starting with my blousette. A moment later my bra lay on the floor and my lack was exposed. The woman seemed to almost enjoy my shame, but my lack, as shameful as it was, still was no crime.

“Continue!” One guard held my arms as the other pulled off my skirt and my undergarment. Several sobs from the dais were echoed as two of the guards put their hands to their faces.

“You see the hated appendage that insults this world. You are not a woman at all, but a travesty!”

“No….she is beautiful. She cannot help how she was made no more than you can for having green eyes!” She pointed to one of the counsel women.

“Or you for your brown hair!”

“Silence. You have no standing before this hearing. Be glad that we do not find you complicit in this crime even though there is ample evidence. We can be merciful in our judgment, and so it shall be recorded.

“If you must destroy a life, destroy mine!” Irroya shouted as the guards began to escort her out of the chamber. One of the women at the far end of the table stood and nodded. Two of the guards walked slowly to the doors of the chamber and closed them. They then turned and stood quietly.

“No….no more!” The same woman who had nodded spoke.

“It is a travesty to kill in the name of correctness and orthodoxy and belief, dear sister! We cannot harm this one, nor shall we.” She nodded again and a door opened, producing two figures, both young girls.

“This is Iloye Peu, my daughter.” She smiled and the little girl smiled back at her.

“And this is Ildeyu Peuu, my sister-daughter!” The girl giggled at the sound of the second u in her name.

“They mean more to me than my own life, Imauey Cei!” She said to the head of the counsel.

“If Imana Nel is guilty, then they are as well, for they bear the mark of our hated enemies. Would you kill them? Would you sentence my daughter and my sister-daughter to death?” She nodded once again and a door on the other side of the chamber opened, producing yet another child, a girl in her tweens. Imauey’s hand went swiftly to her mouth to stifle a gasp, but a sob escaped instead.

“Imuaey Dei is your daughter….your daughter! Would you put your own daughter to death?” The woman shook her head and her expression was mirrored by the head of the counsel, who sat down and began to sob. A moment later the girl stepped up to the platform and knelt down at her mother’s feet, rubbing her arm.

“We, the Council of Imdeu Pax, find that the law of Mal-Existence is in violation of the Creator’s True Law and we abolish that law forever. May the Goddess forgive us for not acting sooner. And somehow, someway and someday soon, may this Goddess-forsaken war be over.” The woman motioned with her hands and the two little girls rushed to her side and embraced her.

“I’m sorry for being so brusque before, but we had act thus for the sake of appearances; anything less would have alerted the council head to our plans tonight. Please forgive me, mother-sister?” she said as she helped me restore my composure and clothing. The first guard bowed and kissed my hand and then my cheek in deference to my age. I nodded and touched her face softly, wiping away her shameful tears.

“May we be wise and kind and as loving as the Goddess, little one!” I smiled as we walked out of the chamber, Irroya holding my arm tightly.

“My wife? I don’t know what I would do without you!” I said softly as we walked.

“You are my life also. I have a surprise for you. I am happy that you are most assuredly alive and breathing to share it with as well!” She giggled, which always sounds amazing coming from someone as old as we are; the life of our youth visiting us in a nice way.

“And what, pray the Goddess, is your surprise?” I smiled at her and she stopped walking. She motioned for me to come closer and whispered in my ear.

And I laughed.

You ask me why I'm weary, why I can't speak to you
You blame me for my silence
Say it's time I changed and grew
But the war's still going on dear
And there's no end that I know
And I can't say if we're ever...
I can't say if we're ever gonna to be free


Veteran of the Psychic Wars
Words and music by
Michael Moorcock and Eric Bloom
As performed by
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RegzUvYZ7E Blue Oyster Cult



If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
up
68 users have voted.

And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks. 
This story is 3353 words long.