Twice Removed... 15

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Xia Phar had a good life for a human on Saer’kah. She didn’t wear a restriction band and the Saer’khi family that had raised her since the Migration treated her like one of their own. Others humans on Saer’kah though had no reason to love the Saer’khi . At least Xia had some semblance of freedom. So when the humans decide to rebel against the Saer’khi and she discovers the real reason for the presence of humans and other aliens on Saer’kah Xia decides to take action. Enlisting the help of her family and her friend Tarek she forms a plan to get everyone out of the alien barracks without arousing suspicion and get them off Saer’kah on one of the newly built colony ships. Sounds pretty easy right? Now Tarek’s crush on her is the least of her problems and leaving Saer’kah is just the beginning.


Twice Removed
Chapter 15
Ray of Light

My eyes shot wide open and I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped as well. “Do you even know what you’re asking? I could see things you don’t want me to.”


Author's Note: Back after a terrible summer. Thanks as usual to my readers and of course the Big Closet team who work tirelessly to give us all a great place to post and read TG fiction. ~Amethyst.

Chapter 15: Ray of Light

I was looking over the program I had come up with on the display screen and hoping that I hadn’t done anything wrong with the nanites as they were being produced. Sadly I didn’t have any more time to wait and try and come up with something better. Most of the colonists were burning up with fever and too weak to move and we had long ago ran out of beds to put the patients in. Those not in the medical ship were as comfortable as my sister, the other Saer’khi, Matt, Dennis, Sarah and Bixx could make them and even the Saer’khi were too becoming weak and ill to be of much help if I waited any longer. It was this or nothing.

I continued to look for any possible problems until the humming or the nanite programmer came to a stop and the indicator showed that the task was complete. I hadn’t found any possible problems and now there were enough naniite injectors with the ‘cure’ to inoculate all of the colonists as well as the unity-corns just to be safe. I would have to start a list of mandatory inoculations and such for any visitors our new home might get, but that would have to wait until I was sure this was working and the colonists were showing signs of improvement.

The first patients on my list were those in the medical tubes. They had been sick the longest and were suffering the worst symptoms. Their illness had progressed into a third stage evidenced by sores, mostly along their arms and torsos. Once the four of them and all the Saer’khi were dosed I distributed all of the remaining injectors amongst those of us still standing with quick instructions on what to do for the non-medical people. “I’ll take the people here in the medical ship with Tarek to help me. The other colonist names are divided into lists on these four data pads so you’ll work in teams of two with each team taking a list, Krie will work with Bixx, Dennis with Karran, Sarah with Xawin, and Matt with Tanna. We’re doing it this way so there’s someone with nanites on each team in case those of you without start to feel worse and so we can inoculate everyone faster.”

“How do we know if the nanites are going to work?” Dennis asked. “I’m not saying that I doubt your skills as a doctor, but this illness is pretty rough and it’s hit the whole colony in a day.”

“That’s exactly why we need to try this cure, I’m not sure I have time to come up with something else and everyone is counting on us. I’m pretty sure it’ll work though and hopefully we’ll see some improvement in the next hour or two as the nanites do their job.”

“Ummm, I have a question,” Bixx said while raising one of its feathered arm/wings. “Why are we sticking the nanites in the unity-corns as well? Aren’t they already immune?”

“They are,” I conceded, “but they are also carriers. If we want to make sure nobody else gets this, like the Saer’khi rescue teams or future colonists or children, we need to eradicate the virus from local carriers as well. Trust me; it’s better to err on the side of caution. Hopefully if these nanties do what they’re supposed to we’ll have a good way to combat illnesses like this in the future. Let’s get moving, I want everyone inoculated ASAP.”

* * *

After all the colonists and ‘corns were inoculated I had Tarek, Krie, Tanna, Karran and Xawin get some rest while Bixx and Dennis helped Sarah to make large quantities of a soup made from molehog meat, some dried seaweed and a bit of lemonberry juice. Many of the colonists hadn’t been able to eat much, if anything at all, at dinner time due to the nausea and everyone needed something to help them keep their strength up. I was glad there were only seven Nezans amongst the colonists though; they were herbivores and the seaweed, berries and ration bars weren’t much of a diet for them. I was going to have to hope that when this emergency was over that we could start planting crops and harvesting that lavender grain soon.

While they were making enough soup to feed the weakened colonists I was doing rounds with Matt and constantly checking colonists for any signs of improvement. It wasn’t until long after the colonists who could eat had been fed and I had sent the others to bed for some rest that I began to see those signs though. The last of those to show signs of having the virus recovered the fastest, but by the early hours of the morning I was seeing improvement in Nu-Arr and the other exploration team members as well. Children had been hit particularly hard by the virus and it came as a great relief to find that even the medical scans of the twins and Pallu’s infant sister Lanni, the youngest of the colonists, were looking a lot closer to normal.

I was about to finish my latest rounds by checking up on Jake, Jared, and their fellow mutineers Tony and John, when I got a ping from Krie. *You’re still awake? It’s after four in the morning. You sent me to bed over seven hours ago.* I was much relieved that her mind voice didn’t seem as strained as it had earlier when I sent her to bed with the other Saer’khi.

*Somebody needed to be awake in case someone took a turn for the worse,* I responded tiredly. *I’m the only one besides you with medical experience who was in any shape to do it and you needed rest, I was worried about you.*

*Well, now you need rest and I am the one who is worried,* my sister admonished. *You have been working alone all this time haven’t you?*

*Sort of, but I’ve had KIt keeping me company on my rounds,* I admitted sheepishly.

*Go to bed Xia, I’ll take over; I’m feeling much better now,* she told me with concern in her mind. *If anything happens I’ll let you know.*

I knew she was right, I’d done my part and I really needed some sleep in case anything else happened. *Okay, I’ll go to bed, but call me if you need me. I’m glad you’re feeling better, all the colonists are starting to look better too, I was about to finish my rounds with Jared, Jake, and our other troublemakers.*

*I’ll do that; you and Kit go to bed. What are our priorities today?*

*I think almost everyone is going to be feeling pretty weak today, though we really need to replenish our supplies a bit since the storm seems to be calming down now. Anyone who’s feeling strong enough to gather food, water, and enough firewood for cooking fires should do so. We just need enough to pad our supplies for today’s meals and we can use the climate control on the EM shield to keep things warm tonight if needed. Other than that we’ll let everyone rest and recover,* I replied after a bit of thought. *We’ll hold off on more exploration until tomorrow, and from now on we’ll need to do regular med scans of our teams and anything we find before returning to camp as a precaution. I really don’t want this happening again.*

*I really wish we had thought of that before, but hopefully we’ll be more prepared now in cases like this. Sleep well Xia, I’ll wake you if anything happens, but I want you to try to get at least eight hours.* she told me before turning her mind toward starting rounds.

I headed back to the medical ship and went to Amy’s room to check on her one last time before turning in. Violet was curled up on the pillow beside her head and my ward looked to be sleeping somewhat peacefully, which was a bit of a relief since she had been having some trouble with nightmares since the disaster on the Bounty. Her breathing sounded a lot better than when I had sent her for bed rest, and a med scan showed her pulse and respiration were pretty close to normal again. There wasn’t much difference from when I last checked on her and I felt she could still use more rest so I tried not to disturb her as I quietly left her room. With that done I made my way to my own bedroom, where I quickly shed my clothes and climbed into the welcome embrace of my gel bed where Kit snuggled up beside me and I fell asleep almost instantly.

* * *

When I awoke Kit made unhappy noises as I disentangled myself from her and I received a mixture of sleepy, grouchy and confused feelings from her. I gave her a stern look and sent her, *Well if you’re still tired then sleep a bit longer, I didn’t say you had to get up with me.*

The slip’s response was a sleepy snort before she curled back up and closed her eyes. I merely shrugged and prepared myself for the day by washing up and getting dressed in clean panties and a light blue sundress with sandals. *How are things looking?* I sent to Krie after a quick ping to let her know I was up.

*Much better than last night,* she replied. *Most everyone is still feeling a bit weak, but those who are feeling strong enough are helping gather food and firewood. Some are helping Sarah with lunch as well, but I have been cautioning everyone not to overdo it. Kyle and Amy have been helping me do rounds every hour, just to be on the safe side. I’ve been worried people might injure themselves by working too hard in their weakened state. Jared is waiting outside the ship to speak with you when you have a moment.*

*Jared? What in the world would he want to talk to me for?* I stated in confusion.

Krie gave the equivalent of a mental shrug. *I have no idea, but he came in after breakfast and when I told him you were still sleeping he said it was important and that he’d wait. He’s been waiting outside the ship since.*

*I guess I’d better go get this over with.* I grumbled.

I made my way out of my room and outside the ship to find Jared sitting on the ground outside. As soon as he saw me the mutineer scrambled weakly to his feet. I might as well get this over with, I thought again to myself as I walked toward him. “Look Jared, if this is about the mining, don’t worry, everyone is getting a day off today except for food gathering and other necessities. You all need some recovery time. Other than that though I can’t change your punishment, it was decided on by the whole colony…”

“ It’s… uh… not about that,” he stated nervously.

I raised an eyebrow in curiosity as I asked, “What is this about then?”

He was hesitant as he spoke. “I… I wanted to say… thank you, I heard you stayed up all through the night working on a cure for the virus we had and checking up on all of us, even those of us who don’t deserve it. I’m sorry… for everything. I owe you and everyone else here, especially the Saer’khi and other aliens a big apology and I want to do that… I think there are ways I can help this colony… I’ll still help with the mining, but there are other things I can help with too. This is my home now too and I should do everything I can to help us survive here.”

I stared at him for a long moment. That was the last thing I ever expected to hear from him and my first instinct was suspicion. “Why should I trust anything you say?”

“You shouldn’t,” he agreed. “I wouldn’t in your place either. I was a fool, but since we left Saer’kah I’ve nearly died twice, and once was because of my own actions. Facing death changes a man’s perspective. I’ve been thinking about the afterlife, where I might end up spending it, and people there I’d rather not face until I’ve made up for some of the things I’ve done. I’ve been thinking about those things you said that day you assigned us the mining job. You shouldn’t trust my word without a good reason; I know that, but I’m telling the truth… that’s why I want you to read my mind.”

My eyes shot wide open and I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped as well. “Do you even know what you’re asking? I could see things you don’t want me to.”

He began to fidget nervously, but showed no signs of reconsidering his words. “We don’t have any priests here and confession is supposed to be good for a man’s soul. You said a person can’t lie that way, so I figure that’s the closest thing to confession I’ll find here, maybe you could even forgive me… I…”

“I’m not your priest Jared,” I told him with a frown. “And even if I somehow did forgive you, you’d have to earn the forgiveness of everyone else here as well, I can’t give you that.”

“I know that, and I want to earn that forgiveness. There are ways I can help this colony, but nobody is going to listen to me as things stand. I’ll apologize to the whole colony, publicly, as a start. If anybody is going to accept my help or advice though, I need to convince you first. If I go around trying to start projects without your direct approval, people are just going to think I’m up to something… I know I’ve earned that, but right now this colony needs skills and experience, even mine.”

I sighed as I considered his words. “I won’t promise anything more than this, but if you’re absolutely certain about this I will look into your mind. Come into my office and let’s get this over with.”

* * *

We were both sitting in gel seats in my office and I had just finished eating a ration bar to tide me over until lunch when I asked Jared one last time. “You’re absolutely sure about this?”

“I am Commander,” he agreed nervously.

I took his hand in mine and cautioned him, “This might feel a little weird and I’ll ask questions to make sure you’re not hiding things once we get comfortable, but for now I just want you to relax while I form the link, so think of something peaceful.”

He closed his eyes and after a few deep breaths I followed suit as I tried to filter out the signals his brain was sending to the rest of his body. I thought I could smell fresh air with a hint of other pungent earthy scents and I could swear I was hearing the sound of cows in the distance. A horse whinnied and I opened my mental eyes to see Jared astride a beautiful chestnut colored horse. There were indeed cows in the distance in a fenced off field and a large garden nearby with an attractive brunette woman in coveralls and a large straw hat kneeling in the dirt pulling weeds. This was too real to be some sort of imaginary happy place, the scents, the sounds; even the tiny details of the place itself were too ingrained. *This is a memory of a real place isn’t it?* I asked.

The Jared on the horse looked down at me and nodded with teary eyes. *This was my ranch; it was in my family for generations and was one of the last independently owned cattle ranches in Montana. I grew up here, and I thought I would die here as well. Growing things, raising and caring for animals, it was in my blood.*

*We really could use someone with experience in that,* I admitted reluctantly before asking, *and the woman?*

His voice caught as he replied, *That was my wife Anna, she was my high school sweetheart. If anything meant more to me than this ranch, it was her.*

*What happened to her?*

*She lost her battle with Cancer seven years ago, after the first Migration ships left. She had been fighting it for years, since Jake was four and we lost the ranch paying for her medical bills and radiation treatments. I’d have rather lost the ranch than her.* He paused a few seconds to collect himself as a feeling of profound grief gripped him. *When we heard news about the Saer’khi’s medical techniques we had hope for the first time in years, but we had already lost everything and we couldn’t afford the five thousand dollar fee for the hospital to send her to the Saer’khi. I tried to raise the money, but there was no jobs available that I was qualified to do.*

*Wait, what fee?* I asked.

*We were told that because so many people worldwide needed the Saer’khi’s advanced medical techniques that they were being referred on a case by case basis and that the fee would help move Anna to the top of the list,* he replied sadly. *I kept hoping that one of the Saer’khi would see her need and take pity on her, but it never happened.*

He couldn’t lie to me like this and this grief, this feeling of helplessness was so very intense that it had to be real. I was so mad that I almost lost the link between us. *There were no fees, at least not from the Saer’khi side of things. Humans are another story.*

*But they told me…* he began to argue

I took a deep breath as I tried to focus once more on his thoughts and feelings. *Jared, there were only three Saer’khi from the medical field sent to Earth, three to see to the implementation of their medical technology and move those who needed the care the most to Saer’kah. Three people assigned to a planet of billions. They couldn’t possibly see every case and they trusted humans to send the worst cases to them for immediate treatment. In fact, they pushed for federal mandates to do that in most countries, but they couldn’t possibly ensure that every hospital on Earth was doing that so there were some of us who slipped through the cracks. Take me for instance, I was being studied for research and they didn’t want to let me go. I wouldn’t be here if one of those three Saer’khi hadn’t stumbled upon me at UCLA.*

I was assaulted by feelings of grief, regret, guilt and anger, *Oh God…* he spoke quietly. *After Anna died, I blamed the Saer’khi… I despised them. For years I told everyone on the street that would listen that they couldn’t be trusted…*

*Let me guess, that’s when Eric recruited you?* I said bitterly.

He nodded in the affirmative. *He brought me and Jake to a military base and we stayed there until they were ready to put us on one of the last Migration ships. They gave me a gun to put with my belongings and told me that I was to get as many humans as possible to distrust the ‘bugs’ until Eric could make his move. They never told me much, but I heard things.*

My interest was piqued. *What kinds of things? Anything that might affect us?*

*Things like they would have a way of locating Eric when the time came and that they needed to start space colonization soon if humans want to be able to compete on a galactic scale. There was concern that Earth lacked the resources for it, even with the Saer’khi tech and that it would take years to construct colony ships. There was also something Eric mentioned one night while we were drinking,* he said uncertainty and I could feel his concern in his mind. *Have you ever heard of Roswell, New Mexico?*

*A little, I used to watch the sci-fi channel a lot before the great quake, most people seem to associate it with UFOs I think,* I responded.

*That’s the place,* he agreed. *Eric told me that in July of 1947 a UFO appeared out of nowhere, high in the upper atmosphere above American soil. The military thought it was some sort of new spy plane and shot it down. It crashed on a ranch near Roswell, but the crash mostly destroyed both the ship and it’s pilot. When they figured out what it really was, they put together some cover-up about a weather balloon and hauled off the wreckage to a nearby military base for study. When the Saer’khi showed up with their tech the military started looking at ways of using that tech and the remains of the crashed ship they’ve been studying to build a working ship that will give the United States the edge in Earth’s new space race.*

*So they might have a functional ship soon? A military one?* I asked with a grimace. This did not bode well. If they managed to complete a military ship capable of interstellar travel and Eric’s locator had given them our location, we could all be in danger.

*it depends on how successful they’ve been, they could already have it or still be years away,* he muttered in reply.

*That is not reassuring, but it is important for us to know about that possibility. Thank you for telling me.* I told him.

*It could affect the whole colony, you needed to know, and I need to start doing my part here. I’ve done a lot of stupid things I have to make up for, and I was so blinded by my own hate and grief that caused most of these people to lose people they loved as much as I loved Anna. I don’t expect forgiveness, but I would like to try to atone and help this colony succeed.*

*I think a lot of people would have reacted like you did in your place, I don’t forgive you yet, but I may be able to some day. I can’t speak for anyone else, not even the Saer’khi, you’ll need to prove yourself to the other colonists. And if I do forgive you it will be only you, not Jake, or the others.* I stated clearly.

There was disappointment in his mind, but I could sense that it wasn’t about my reaction. *I tried to talk to them about this over breakfast and convince them how wrong we were, but they’re all their own men and I’m not the leader I pretended to be. I’ll do whatever I can to atone, but they’re responsible for their own decisions from now on, even Jake.*

*I appreciate you at least trying. You’re not the man I thought you were Jared, it takes courage to admit you were wrong and to try to atone for it.*

*I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see,* he said with a mental sigh. *After what I’ve done I probably won’t make my way to Heaven, but if I somehow do, I’d like to face Anna as a man she would be proud of. To do that I’ll need to know what we have to work with. Now what can you tell me about, those horse-like creatures and those critters everyone seems to be keeping as pet’s now?*

* * *

Jared’s public apology at lunch came as a shock to most of the colony and was met with distrust until I assured them I had read his mind and that he was telling the truth. Even after that though, people were only slightly less hostile toward him. It was no less than we had been expecting though and he knew he had a lot of work to do to change public opinion of him. He did mention that he had some ideas though on how to prepare the cleared land for planting crops faster. He even figured we could start that day after lunch.

While I was encouraged by his new found eagerness to help the colony I had reservations about that idea. “That’s hard work, and I really don’t feel good about people pushing themselves that hard after being so sick” I stated, shaking my head.

“I don’t think you need to worry about people overworking themselves,” he replied. “They can mostly do it sitting down if I’m right and they’ll just need to supervise.” Then he pointed to one of the slips, “You said that those slips are smart and listen to instructions well right?” At my nod he continued. “Those critters are burrowers, so we’ll just get them to help us by doing what burrowers do best, digging. Then once they’ve done that we can get the male unity-corns tilling the loosened soil with those long, sharp-looking horns. With the animals helping we could be ready to plant in a few days tops.”

I had to admit that it wasn’t a bad idea, and from the thoughtful looks I was seeing other people were realizing that too. Finally I nodded. “Alright, anyone who has a slip, feels up to it, and isn’t working on something else can meet up in the southern fields once lunch is over to get started." I began to eat my cooling lunch, letting my mouth work on autopilot while my thoughts returned to what Jared had revealed about the ‘Roswell Project’. Should I inform the colony about this? It wasn’t really an imminent threat, after all the ship may not be finished yet or even for years, and if they had more agents like Eric in other colony groups they might not even follow his locator first, especially since it had stopped transmitting.

If I told them about the possibility now it would just upset people for no reason. Besides, if any ships entered this system the long range scanners on board the medical ship would alert us. Again I wondered if I was really qualified to be in charge of this colony. I must have thought it ‘out loud’ because Tarek’s voice slipped into my mind slightly confused and trying to reassure me, *Of course you are Tess’rha, of the three Ji’turi here, you’re the highest in rank.*

The sigh I let out was both physical and mental. *This isn’t just a Saer’khi colony Tarek, all the species deserve a say in who should be in charge. Jared shared some disturbing information with me, and I think we need to talk to Dennis and Luiza about it, and maybe a few of the others as well.*

* * *

After lunch, while many of the colonists were out at the southern field, I gathered the other Saer’khi, Dennis, Luiza, Matt, Mandy, and Lirra in the main area of the medical ship. Once I was done telling them all that I had learned from Jared, Luiza frowned. “I guess we’re going to have to look at military countermeasures after all.”

I nodded sadly in agreement. “Sadly, there’s no way we can build a military ship of our own. Even with all the resources at our disposal, we have no way to produce something of that scale and the drop ships aren’t meant for combat, they’re only meant for traveling in and out of the atmosphere. We need to get better organized. I can’t keep pretending to be in charge here, we need a stable and organized government to make these kinds of decisions.”

Matt shook his head, frowning at me. “Xia, we’re already as stable and organized as we’re going to get for the time being. If we try to institute a new government now it’s just going to make people uncertain and destabilize things. Besides, even if we held an election at this point you’d probably win anyway.”

“I doubt that,” I muttered, “I’m not near qualified to be in charge of this colony.”

“No,” Mandy disagreed. “Matt’s right, except for Jake and the others that were associated with the mutiny, almost everyone would vote for you. Matt, Dennis, Lirra, Luiza and I have been keeping our ears open just in case, but we’ve heard nothing but good things about you from the colonists of all species. People like and admire you, you take the time to do the little things most leaders don’t think about, you took what was a disaster and organized us to make things not just bearable, but even pleasant here, and you’ve proven time and again that your first priority is keeping everyone in this colony healthy, safe, and as happy as possible.”

“We need stability and right now people see you as that stability. You also delegate well,” Dennis put in. “The very best commanders assign those under their command to the tasks they are suited for and trust them to do what needs to be done. If you don’t know anything about a problem you find one of us who does and you set them to it. You’ve taken all the people in this room and made us your advisers, and right now we’re advising you to keep things as they are. This is as organized and stable a government as we’re going to get at the moment and people need to see that we’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep things running smoothly and improve our situation here.”

*They are right Xia. I know that you didn’t ask for this, but you are a good leader, the kind we need right now. Just keep doing what you have been and trust us to handle what you can’t.*
Krie’s thoughts wrapped around my own like a warm hug.

They were right. Things were going pretty well so far because of how we had been doing things, and now was not the time to rock the boat. “Fine, we’ll keep thing as they are for now. Dennis and Luiza I want you to start brainstorming on possible defensive strategies, for both on and off planet. Karran, I want you to work with them on that and think of any ways the tech we do have could be used creatively. I don’t think this is an imminent threat, but it won’t hurt to be prepared.”

After our meeting I had everyone head to the southern field to help with Jared’s idea while I went around the camp to take a quick inventory of our supplies. As I looked around I realized that my friends were right. The destruction of the Bounty and being stranded on a planet with little or no apparent resources and dangerous predators had been a disaster. Looking at things now though, we had enough food and water, we had shelters built, we had things organized fairly well, and most importantly we were alive. Everyday this place became less like an emergency landing site and more like a home. Sure the planet was strange and unfamiliar in a lot of ways, but that just made it seem even more amazing that we were surviving, and even thriving here in the face of all the adversity we had gone through. Maybe I hadn’t done such a bad job after all.

When Kit and I I finally got to the field people were resting and enjoying the fresh air and afternoon sun as they had their slips working on the fields. In fact the only one lifting a shovel was Jared. I headed in his direction to chastise him for doing physical labor when he should be resting, but I found my path blocked by Jittu, the five year old Murqui girl who often played with the twins and had been one of my three constant companions during our beach day.

She just stood there nervously for a moment, clutching what looked like a wooden doll. Then she blurted out something in Murqui that I couldn’t understand. There was something about hair and the doll, but I missed the rest of it. Since the translator didn’t pick up on it I figured it was probably something that had no real equivalent in other languages. Her mother Trill was approaching and gave a throaty chuckle as she saw my confused look. “She was formally asking you to be her Niadu. She was nervous though, and speaking too quickly, so I’m not sure how much the translator caught. Basically she asked for you to provide the hair for her niadu doll.”

“Niadu?” I asked uncertainly. I wasn’t familiar with that word.

“I asked Rebecca and the closest translation we could come up with is ‘soul parent’. The Niadu rite is one of our most sacred traditions,” Trill explained. “When a kitten is born, the parents form a doll for that child. The doll has no features until the kitten chooses their Niadu. The Niadu is the warrior that the kitten most admires and would like to be like when they become an adult, the one they will go to for their training when they enter puberty and the one that would watch over them should something happen to their parents. When they decide who they want to be their Niadu they ask them for some of their hair to begin working on the doll.”

I wasn’t quite sure what to say to that, I was deeply honored by it, especially since the Murqui didn’t share many of their traditions with other species unless it was necessary. “Has she thought about this? I’m not even a Murqui, or a warrior really.”

Trill nodded seriously, “She was adamant about it, she sees you as this colony’s greatest warrior and her father and I approve of her choice.”

“Well if you’re all sure about this, then I would be honored to her Niadu. So what happens when I give her the hair?” I asked as I looked through my medical bag for something to cut off a few locks of hair with.

“She will add the hair to the doll and she will keep working to try to make the doll look as much like you as possible until she reaches puberty and begins her training, when she will give it to you. It symbolizes that she is becoming like you in spirit,” the Murqui woman explained.

I found the scissors I usually kept for cutting bandages and carefully cut off a lock of hair where it wouldn’t be too noticeable. Once that was done I put them back in my bag and asked, “Is there anything I need to say or do?”

She offered me a data pad. “I am not yet familiar with your written languages, so I told Rebecca what needed to be said with the translator and had her put it on this for you in English.”

I took the data pad and as I held out the hair for Jittu to take, I read the words out loud. “I accept you as my spirit child and offer you part of myself so that we will be bound in spirit. Share of my strength, courage, and wisdom and become a warrior worthy of our people.”

Jittu took the hair solemnly and said, “Thank you Niadu.” Then she beamed at me and hugged me tightly before running off, clutching the doll and hair tightly.

Trill laughed as her daughter dashed off, “She is eager to get started on it. I cannot thank you enough for agreeing to this, she wants to be just like you when she grows up. I do not think she could have chosen a stronger or more valiant warrior. I should go help her get started Commander, I’ll see you later.” She headed off after her daughter and I couldn’t help but smile as Kit and I got to work with the others.

 © 2013-2014 Amethyst Gibbs
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So Xia has a God Child.....

D. Eden's picture

What a wonderful idea - allowing the child to choose the person they not only wish to be their idol and mentor, but to be their caregiver should something happen to their parents.

This brought more than one tear to my eyes.

I have enjoyed this story immensely and was very happy to see the next chapter. This was perhaps your best yet.


D. Eden

Dum Vivimus, Vivamus

Aww, thanks Dallas

Amethyst's picture

I thought that it would be a nice spiritual and yet sensible tradition in a warrior/hunter culture like the Murqui. The timing was right to put it in, when Xia was having doubts about her leadership abilities and it really cements that this is no longer a disaster, but they are becoming not only a colony, but really one united people as well. I was thinking long and hard about how I wanted to end this chapter and I was very pleased with the final result. I'm really glad that you've been enjoying it so far and that this chapter in particular has struck a chord with you :)

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

I want you to take my counsel.

Anne McCaffrey was one of my favorite authors. If you look at her "Death of Sleep", and if you wish "Dinosaur Planet" and "Dinosaur Planet Survivors", your writing is reminiscent of hers. Your sentences flow smoothly and are carefully composed.

I have read a lot of David Weber but when he finished up "The Honor Harrington" series I lost interest. It takes a lot of concentration to read him, and I believe that you are superior to him.

There are several other authors here that are very good, but tonight I decided to try to encourage you.


I'm blushing so bad right now

Amethyst's picture

The Honor Harrington series was one of my favorites and Anne McCaffrey was the author who made me want to write my own stories, Her books had such flow and just sucked me right into the world she was describing. Thank you so much for the compliment and the encouragement Gwen, it's high praise indeed.




Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Your stories

Suck me right in too. Kudos to your talent.


I try

Amethyst's picture

it's nice to know that I succeed too :)




Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Amethyst dear, first off Welcome back hon!

Secondly, wonderful chapter! I love how Xia is evolving into a true leader!
I hope Jared is serious in his contrition! I was saddened to hear about the truly horrendous summer you have had and happy you have made it back to us all! Loving Hugs Talia

Thanks Talia sweetie

Amethyst's picture

Xia really is becoming a great leader who has the confidence and respect of her people. Jared seems serious and he knew that the only way he was going to be able to start making amends would be to convince Xia he was telling the truth so it made sense for him to prove his resolve by letting her into his mind.

It's so good to be back to writing and posting. I missed you all.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

This would fit very

well on a self full of Anne McCaffrey's works. David Weber's tend to be mostly military SF while Anne wrote about people and the places they visited. Plus, David has developed a serious case of story bloat.

I loved the bit at the end. A very nice tradition.


I tend to be

Amethyst's picture

a people and places type of writer. I really liked Honor Harrington for what it was, but none of his other works really interested me.

I really like adding little traditions and cultural aspects to some of the various races in my stories so they aren't just a two dimensional backdrop. This one fit so well with how I pictured the Murqui. Xia doesn't see herself as a warrior, but the Murqui have a very broad sense of the term and she has earned their admiration.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3


Early this morning after I got back from a work issue I considered going back to bed. Instead I began reading this story just after 4am. I did not finished till around lunch time.
Amethyst you are a great storyteller.

No one has the right to tell you that you can't be you.

aww thanks

Amethyst's picture

apparently I'm also a bad influence if you stayed up that long lol

Really I just get ideas and then I tell a story how I'd like to see it told in a way that I would enjoy it I'm just happy that other people seem to like what I'm doing so much.




Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

she really is a good leader

good for everybody that they see it, even when she doesnt


Don't that put a twist in the knickers

Jamie Lee's picture

It's rather late for Jared to apologize for what he helped Eric to do, but in a way he was duped by Earth Government to begin with. So it's really the Government of Earth at fault for the destruction of the Bounty and Jared's attitude and actions.

That garbage of a fee would keep many from going because they didn't have the price of the fee. Whoever in the US put that tracker in Eric considered him expendable or the toxin would never have been in the locator. And Jared also falls in the expendable category, though he didn't know it at the time.

And now they learn from Jared that the military may be building a ship to come and take over whatever planet Eric landed on. Too bad Xia didn't save some of that virus, she could have turned it loose on anyone with ill intentions coming directly from Earth.

To bad they can't put the crocs to work as part of their defense, their size alone would fill the pants of any first time viewers.

Wonder if they can build a shelter out of the Mandium, it's stout enough? Or maybe the Pharium could be of some use?

Others have feelings too.


TheCropredyKid's picture

We didn't find out what Jared was up to with that shovel...