sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Hammer

A Hammer
(4500 BC and The Shimmering God,  concluded)

a fictional short

We can only imagine the surprise of the three long boats filled with warriors intent on raiding Tor's village, when three Walkir drifted over the tops of the waves and directed them to paddle to shore. None of the warriors paddled, all of them cowered, requiring the Walkir to tow them half a dozen meters through a gentle surf to shore. One feeble arrow arced out of the second boat, deflecting from the shimmering armor. The Walkir/target replied by administering an electric shock to the bold archer, causing him to shake and scream. No other arrows were launched.

The Walkir spoke in the common language of the coastal villages, "You will climb to the top of the treeless bluff near the village you had set out to raid. Once there, you will camp and wait." The voices of the beautiful yet horrifying Walkir pierced them.

At the same time, other Walkir visit all of the villages and hamlets, representing just over a hundred people, inviting them to the meeting, encouraging them to arm themselves for war and cautioning them not to attack their own. The villagers are not quite sure who, "their own" are outside of their hamlets, but they will err on the side of caution.

Meanwhile, in geosynchronous orbit over that region of Earth, the Plarans plan their gifts to The People before they leave to join their own battle fleet eleven light years distant.

Din March told Frie Wrenet, "L.O.K.I. has returned from inserting the chips and the neural nets will grow in their brains over the night. By tomorrow, they will be ready to begin."

"How can they ever be ready," Frei asked? She looked down at the night-side of Earth, below. The primitive scene was so different from her home, where lights shined like jewels on the surface of the globe.

"They must form into a warrior people or they will not survive. This first test agent the Neanderthals will inspire confidence and will build precedence in their collective memories, but the rest, well they must do it on their own. We can not be a crutch for them, only enablers who insert seeds along with a few tricks."

Frei said, "I had hoped for better for them."

"One good asteroid will wipe them out until they become space faring creatures far in their future. For now, all we can do is turn what threats in space we find for them to dust, and have hope they will survive. They will defend themselves and they will be warriors or they will die even if a mass driver from space doesn't kill them off. Are they any different than we are? At this very moment we are making final preparations to do what they do. Which reminds me, are we ready to get underway?"

"Yes, everything is in place and the ship can leave orbit on your command."

"Good, then let us finish with The People and go to fight and live or die."

L.O.K.I., humanistic robot capable of light-bending
invisibility. Will remain behind as the Plarans depart.
The Shimmering God makes an appearance by floating over the central cave that The People sought refuge in. He makes a terrifying sight, draped in a blood-red cloak with a hood, eyes shining from within the darkness of that hood. Rog and Tor step out of the cave's mouth. Tor holds his copper hammer aloft, as a sign that he, and those before him have born true faith. 

Both Rog and Tor woke feeling very differently than they had when they went to sleep. They are totally unaware that L. O. K. I. visited them in the night and that even as they stand before the cave, the neural net that will change them forever is completing the final steps of its formation in and around their brains.

The Shimmering God identifies himself as "Din" and he is joined by a second shimmering figure, wearing a sapphire blue cloak. He identifies the second figure as Frei. They are backed by an army of Walkirs, who float motionless above them. Frei reaches what passes for a hand out to Rog and says, "You will come with me!" Rog rises from the ground and ascends with Frei and the Walkir, to the heavens.

Din sets foot on the ground and bids those in the cave to come out. The families came out of the cave as supplicants, slowly and timidly. Din demanded a cup of mead and a smoked, dried fish to eat. 

"Oh Din, great Shimmering God," Tor said with great ceremony as he presented the fish and mead.

He could not hide his shock as O-Din sat with the people, joked and ate his fish, drank his mead and called for bread and more mead. He placed Tor at his right hand.

"Where is Rog?" Tor could not hide his concern.

"Search your mind, Tor, do you not know where he is?"

Tor closed his eyes, "He is there, in your great home, in a place that I can not comprehend." He pointed up. "And he is safe and amazed."

"Give me your hammer, Tor."

Tor handed him the copper hammer and O-Din took it, handing him another one that glowed when he touched it. "I fashioned this one for you myself but it is very different than the one you held. It is a weapon, it is a teacher and it has power that has been embedded within it. With it you will wield great strength, but all strength and power flows from within you. The hammer is merely an extension of your inner will, combined with a few little surprises that I have included. I call them fireworks, but you don't know what fireworks are yet."

Tor hefted the new hammer, "It's light as a feather."

"To you. To anyone else on the planet it can not be lifted. Throw it up in the air."

Tor threw his hammer and it spun up into the clear, cerulean sky. In his mind's eye he could see what his hammer could see, from above where they stood. The hammer stayed in place, in the sky until he wished to have it back. Then it flew back and hovered before him until he grasped it.

"We do not have much time, Tor. You know of the Old People don't you?" The term, 'old people' applied to the Neanderthals. 


"They are coming in great numbers, and you are going to help your people stop them." O-Din spoke to all of the people, "Take up your weapons and follow Tor and I. We are going to the top of the round mountain to the East where all of The People from the seashore are waiting for you."

The People have gathered and set up cook fires. Across the valley there is a hoard of Neanderthals and their tame mastodons with fires of their own. Necromancers bless the Neanderthal warriors under the visage of Mog for the easy victory ahead.

The mood of The People is anything but confident. The Old People are fierce warriors and possess personally strength that few of The People can match. They also outnumber The People three or four to one.

All of the people are shocked at the arrival of O-Din and bow down at the sight of The Shimmering God.

"Your path to eternal feasting, drinking and wenching is through battle!" O-Din speaks slowly and distinctly. "Warriors must die with their weapons in their hand, to show me and all of the Shimmering Gods in the great hall in the sky in order to be admitted!"

The People nod, they understand. At the same time, they look across the valley at what is facing them and they are afraid.

"You need send only one man, Tor, to meet them." It is only now that they notice Tor, standing roughly half as tall as O-Din, the Shimmering God. Tor will speak for me and Tor will lead you!

The People are not all together sure that Tor is the one they want leading them. They are fiercely independent people and have their own strong men and village chiefs. Those chiefs themselves do not want to be eclipsed by Tor. The more closely they look the more that it appears that Tor, himself, is shimmering. 

Tor, with his hammer. 
Tor walks uncertainly forward, alone, facing the irrepressible force of Old People and their mastodons. The Old People advance irregularly down from their hill as Tor confidently strides toward them, holding his hammer aloft. Lightning flashes up from the hammer into the cloudless sky and the Old People stop, looking at Mog and then at Tor.

Tor threw his hammer. Knowing that he should not claim all the victory for himself. Reducing the Old People to one tenth their number would give somebody for the rest of The People to fight and kill.  He knows that blood shed in this place at the hands of The People is critical to their success.

The hammer did its work, The People charged down from their hilltop with O-Din looking on and they prevailed against the Old People. They tore down Mog's standard and rallied around Tor, who brought them a victory that they shared in. Only one of the people died in the battle, and The Walkir came from the sky and carried his body away, for he died with a club in his hand.


The Shimmering God

The Shimmering God
(part two of three, continued from 4,500 BC)

a fictional short

"Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions,
which move with him like a cloud of flies on a summer's day." -- Bertrand Russell

Plaran Base
The Plaran base in geosynchronous orbit around Earth serves as one of many outpost stations that the Empire established to secure its  territorial interests. In addition to military concerns, the Plaran Empire's development team seeded Earth with human beings, who were very compatible with the native ecology. Humans descended from aquatic ancestry on a planet one hundred fifty-seven light years from Earth whereas the native Neanderthals descended from the African continent. The DNA of both human and Neanderthal is close enough that they can genetically intermix. The Plarans can not explain this genetic similarity. Their expansion into this quadrant of the galaxy is recent and the history of exploration and planetary seeding precedes their experience. As their opponents retreat, they advance.

Din March
Notwithstanding that advance, matters on the Earth outpost move slowly. After, nearly five-hundred years on the station, Din March's interest over the success of the humans in the seashore region approaches an obsession. Absent warfare, there is little else to keep the long-lived Plaran staff's attention. They have bumped several asteroids out of a collision path with their pet planet, but those don't come along every day. News from home and of the progress of the war is routine.

Din March, Expeditionary Base Commander, indulges his hobby of building ancient weapons with a twist, with the humans who live on the seashore in mind. There is no prime directive that they avoid contact with the locals. Most Plarans would not bother. There is no need to. Din and his deputy, Frei Wrenet simply exercise their hobby.

Plarans are bipedal, breathe oxygen and are flesh and blood, but they are not remotely human. Din's unusual interest in the humans vaguely reminds us of a human male of much later millennia tinkering with a train set in his basement.

Frei Wrenet recorded the pleas of Rog, the village priest. She had a monitor peering out from the eyes of the idol in the priest's cave, which served as his holy retreat, and an office of sorts. Rog had concerns about raiders along the coast. The monitors had recorded  movements  of that particular band for over a week now, but the coastal raiders were not the threat that concerned Frei Wrenet. She shared her thoughts with Din March, her friend and commander. He would make the call. 

They'd put considerable effort developing and protecting not only the village but the surrounding area and it was in danger of being overwhelmed and destroyed. That would not do.

Din March, himself, gave Tor's great grandfather the copper hammer. He took some humor from the title that they'd given him, "Shimmering God". The Plarans would live for a millennium or more while The People who occupied the village seldom lived past fifty. People outside of the Empire would view a body shield as a 'shimmer', so the title made some sense. Though he tried to explain to Tor's great grandfather that the shimmer was not 'magic', his efforts proved unsuccessful. Din March displayed his kinship to the people. He ate fish and flesh with them, and showed them how to kill oxen and mammoths with flint-tipped spears. He cheated when he demonstrated with an old tusker, striking the impressive old bull with an infrared laser seconds before administering a killing blow with the spear. 

Frei Wrenet showed the large, foraging Neanderthal army to Din March. They came from the east, destroying all before them. They had been displaced themselves, but their diaspora gained momentum and they were within easy striking distance from the village and from all of the villages that bordered the sea. The ocean would stop them, but not before it wiped out all of The People.  The Neanderthal numbers had reached to over seven hundred and they heaped their belonging on travois pulled by mastodons. The sight of such an army, impelled by fear of their own extinction would strike terror in the villagers, who had no frame of reference for such a threat.

"I have fashioned a new hammer for Tor," Din March boasted. We will need to put a controller into his body to make it work. It will extend his life by a factor four or five times, eliminating pathogens and providing better processing of nutrients. It will also expand his capacity to process information.

"Then you will give him body shield technology?"

"Yes, but limited to the threats that he is likely to face. It won't save him from drowning in hot volcanic ash or anything like that."

"What about Rog?"

"Well, what about Rog?"

"They are twins, and if you are doing that for Tor, I want to do something special for Rog."

"What do you have in mind?"

Walkir - Armored Soldiers
"I want to bring him up here, let him see his world and give him a greater perspective. Perhaps we can give him a chip as well that will help with abstract thought rather than using it as a weapons management system?"

"If we are doing for Tor, I see no problem with giving the shaman an edge of his own. I haven't told you, but we have orders to depart orbit soon and join with the fleet in a move against massing forces at Tau Ceti. It is unlikely that we will return. This can be our parting gift."

Din continued, "The first thing that we must do is unite the various bands of people in the region and gather them together so that they can witness Tor and Rog deal with the threat to them all. Send ten Walkir down there in heavy armor to all of them including the group planning on attacking Tor's village and have them meet on top of the round bluff east of the village in five days time. By then the Neanderthals will be approaching and we can see the deed done."

The Neanderthals in this band are substantially the last of their kind. They consist of 300 males and about 200 females with the remainder of their numbers being comprised adolescents and infants. They'd been pushed and pushed by humans who have spread across the landscape, multiplying in great numbers, virtually unchecked. The Neanderthals resolved not to be pushed again. Now they will do the pushing.

In a battle to become the dominant alpha species  they are poised to rebound. They have concentrated, formed an army, and their natural advantages in strength and cunning gives them an edge. They also have an overwhelming advantage in bringing numbers to bear at the point of contact. The Neanderthal army will kill the human men, mate with the women and absorb the fertile coastal region. Even though they now operate on instinct rather than geographic knowledge, those instincts are correct. The only question is who has the greater God backing their play. The Neanderthals have Mog, the great God of the, the Sun, the harvest and the feast. His standard, consisting of a massive oxen head perched atop a sapling leads them, colorful feathers hanging from the horns. The Plaran Empire backs the humans.

Concluded with part three, A Hammer.