A satire of dysfunctional politics and economic disparity.
Chapter VI: Day/Page 57 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . So, when all these factors are considered, when all the necessary characteristics needed to build an advanced, intelligent, class-1 life-form are incorporated into the design, the end product that is ultimately brought to the evolutionary market is a fairly standard model, which is why the physical bodies of the canines on the Blue Planet and the avian ones from Gâia are not that dissimilar; and why Sofia is sufficiently pleased, and not too alarmed, with the new canine body she now has.
Sofia inhales deeply, sensing an intensity of earthy musky smells she never before experienced as a Falcon. (Holy Shit! This place really stinks! I can smell everything.) She rises unsteadily and walks barefoot through the dark back to her pod, tentatively feeling her way through the jungle undergrowth. (But I can’t see a damn thing. Are these freaking creatures half blind?)
She finds the pod and clamps the lariat-bracelet on her left wrist; feels the tingling jolt from the force-field spreading over her body; hears the compass and clock auto-calibrating to the new planet’s coordinates. She places the ruby necklace over her head and turns the crystal slightly to tighten the thin chain around her neck, as Pils had shown. She slips the diamond ring on the pinky finger of her right hand and tightens it too; then scoops up the chain-mail purse with the diamonds and gold and carries the pod back toward the old woman’s hovel.
Twenty paces north of the banyan tree Sofia finds the LAAC sensor placed there 30,000 years ago. It looks like an inconspicuous rock with a cork-sized hexagonal hole on the side, where Pils had said she could insert her ruby crystal if she needed to reprogram the sensor to gather and send data back to Gâia. There she digs a hole and buries her pod. Then, with a flick of her wrist, she disengages the white-hot lariat wire and slashes at a nearby dead tree, cutting the branches to kindling. She places a pile of wood in front of the hut by the banyan tree, wraps the white-hot wire around the stacked pyre, and in minutes is rubbing her hands in the light and warmth of a crackling fire. (That feels nice.)
She tries contacting Swift telepathically, but gets no response. Above, through the forest’s high canopy overhead, morning’s thin crepuscular light trickles in to rinse away the darkness. With rising crescendo she hears the wild native cries of the jungle’s stirring beasts. (What the hell is that racket?) First, the chirpy songs of parakeets; next, the raspy scratch and click of brittle insects; and finally, the long drawn-out wailing bawl of black howler monkeys, tamarins, and marmosets, all welcoming in the dawn of a new day. (Damn, the yelping of those creatures is coming from everywhere.)
In a plastic bag under the broken fruit crate she finds two blackened bananas, which memory or instinct tells her is food, a hard white root caked in dirt, and a plastic soda-bottle half-filled with murky water. She forces down the two rotten bananas, blistered black skin and all. (That was absolutely disgusting!) The water she pours into the dented cooking pot and places on the fire to boil; then rips a broad strip of fabric from the hem of her dress, ties it round her waist like a sash, and tucks the small purse of gold and diamonds into it.
Pils said the LAAC sensor was located. . . TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW. . . .
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James All rights reserved