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Dimar: Lost Waters
(you can order a paperback copy or ebook here)

Special Thanks to:
Clay Dreslough, Ian Smith, David 'Tae' Baxter, Eugene Arenhaus and Paul aka 'Draco'. :)

Table of Contents

Intro
Prolog

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33

Glossary
Dimar terms
Arrallin terms

Map

 

 

Lost Waters - Chapter 12

     It was late in the day, and Tara felt Luuko was ready to progress to a basic geology lesson.
      Luuko watched with fascination as Tara produced detailed maps of her home world, with six continents instead of five, and huge oceans that covered most of the surface. Arralla was even more strange, having only three major land-masses, and slightly less water than the humans' Earth.
      "Ooooo-rope. Ooooorope. Eeeeoooorope." He mouthed the strange sounds, letting each consonant drag out so that Tara could make sure he was correct in each. Her smile was wide with the last try, and Luuko wiggled his ears and warbled proudly. A bit shocked, he realized that he no longer felt the spike of fear when the humans and Arrallins bared their teeth at him. In fact, he welcomed the strange expression.
      "Norf Eeeeoooorope has Feeeoooords," Luuko strung together the odd sentence carefully, mimicking Tara as closely as possible. She pointed to the northeast portion of the map of his own native Mainland continent, and then to the northwestern portion of Europe on her map of Earth. Luuko liked the word 'Fjord'. It just sounded right. "Feeord! Feeord! Feeord!" he chimed, rumbling as Tara laughed.
      Luuko replayed memories from earlier times at the colony, realizing that Tara smiled far too little. He was glad that he could make her burden as Leader of her strange, lost barryd less of a strain. He looked over to Rakal, who also was enjoying his work with Liur, who had also taken to chiming away particular words in Arrallin. Despite the fact that both Rakal and Tara were Leaders of the same barryd, they worked very well together with only occasional arguments. If only the Great Mother would consider such a close kinship with another Leader possible. He sighed inwardly, and continued viewing the map.
      The far southern continent looked like the Island Continent to the west of Mainland, except that it wasn't nearly as round. "Auuuu-stray-leeeee-aaaaaaarrr, Auuu-stray-lee-ar" He listened, trying to drop the 'r' at the end. "No good." He furrowed his heavy, scaled brows and looked up at the stars.
      "You are doing great, Luuko. They do say Australiar over here." Tara pointed to the northwest corner of the eastern continent on Earth. "In Bah-stahn. Boston to the rest of the world." She patted his arm. "You'll get it. Try again."
      "Bah-staaaaaahn. Auuuu-straaaay-leeee-ahhhh." He whuffled, relieved to finally get the word. Grateful for her unfailing support, he tried his best to express his feelings. "Thank you."
      Liur and Rakal strode up, and Liur was the first to speak. "Hello, Tara. Hello, Luuko. I am not an egg."
      Luuko rumbled appreciatively! Liur's English was flawless, and he was very confident in his vocalizations. He truly understood what he was saying, and his mind echoed mirth. 'I am not an egg' was one of his first sentences, and had become a greeting between him and Tara. Luuko sighed, comparing his own slow progress to Liur's blinding pace. In a private bandwidth to Luuko, Liur explained, Because Rakal had to learn English after he learned Arrallin, he understands the difficulties we have with learning their speech. He's an excellent and patient teacher.
      Feeling slightly protective of Tara's teaching ability, Luuko quickly shot back, Tara, too is an excellent teacher, but I am slow to learn. It was tradition for the failure of the student to be attributed to the teacher in classes, and Luuko did not want his shortcomings in language attributed to the tiny Leader. Fjord!
      Fjord? What is fjord? I like it. Liur vocalized it, barking it out. "Fjord!" Luuko sent him images of the tiny inlets all over the northern and western edge of Mainland.
      "Um, Tara, what have you gone and taught them?" Rakal looked up at Liur and Luuko, who were nose to nose rapidly exchanging words above them.
      "We were doing geography, learning the continents. I was showing him similarities between their Murrkila, the mainland here, and Europe/Asia." Tara pointed on the map and beamed up at Luuko and Liur, who understood more through context the words 'similarities' and 'geography'.
      Luuko stuck out a middle claw and pointed to the Isle. "Like Australiar-lia." Liur pointed to the map of Earth, "Australia."
      "Great!" Tara smiled. "You will teach the others?" She looked up at Luuko expectantly.
      "Yes, thank you." Luuko purred. We will confer with all the other ranks during the fire-dig tonight and exchange all our learning. I am especially curious about what Goothib and Harmon have exchanged. They were climbing through the metal tree with many Arrallakeeni betas today. He and Liur both turned to regard the knot of people and Dimar around the remains of the front half of the ship, which currently served as an animal pen and cover.
      "These 38 hour days are killing me. I've got to sleep." Rakal stretched, yawning. "Night shift will take over." Luuko felt a spike of concern for Rakal's health, but remembered that that was just an expression for being very tired.
      "Sounds good. Goodnight, Luuko and Liur," Tara bowed, and patted Luuko on the shoulder. Waving to others, many of the tiny colonists wandered off to climb inside parts of the ship, or the membrane coverings all around the building-site. The betas, Dimar and humans with Goothib at the pens did not look tired at all, but chattered back and forth with excited exclamations.
      Liur and Luuko together strode over to listen to the language lesson, hailed excitedly by Goothib. Liur, Luuko! You will not believe what we have learned today. I will try to tell you in English, to practice.
      "Humans fly in spahce. Spahce has nothink, empteeer than a morrakus head. Humans put holes in spahce. Holes lead to Arralla, and Arrallins and humans are friendus. Arrallins fly in spahce. Arrallins do not punch holes in spahce, but have fahst enginus. Humans and Arrallins make good sips together. Sips. Suuuhips. No good." He struggled, as they all did, with the 'sh' sound, his emotions in a frenzy. Luuko couldn't understand why he was so excited, and waited, struggling with the concept of the new word 'spahce.'
      Holes in space? Holes in something that has nothing? I can't understand this in the English, Goothib. Luuko struggled, clearly aware that Goothib felt that all of these new concepts were very important.
      They can teach us how to be starborn again. They don't know Telkai, but they know how to get their metal trees into space, to make holes, and go through them. This is very, very important, Luuko! We're going to recover the lost art of the Starborn Mu, and can find out what happened to them at long last. Goothib was pulling at the metal sheeting that covered the trunk of the oddly rounded tree, exposing it's multicolored metal roots.
      Following the path of the starborn is forbidden,, Goothib! What if they hear us out in space, and we accidentally guide them back to crush Dimar? Mulkai are starborn - not Tel. Tel make barryds, and guard Dimar as it has always been. Luuko was flabbergasted. What Goothib was suggesting was heresy for a loyal member of any barryd except for Mulkol. The violent ancestors of the war barryds like Mulkol had, using secrets that no living barryds possessed, taken to the stars to find richer worlds to plunder. The truth of the matter was, and all Dimar well knew, that the most ancient race of Mulkai had mostly conquered all of Dimar by the age of Telkai and in doing so had disrupted the planet's ecosystem so badly that it was dying.
      Once the leaders had abandoned the surface, the Dimar of the other arts had set about to retake the planet and restore it to balance. Millions of lives were lost to new diseases, famine, pollution and remnant wars with the few remaining Mulkai barryds, but the more peaceful Dimar survivors persevered and the planet was now much closer to it's original glory. In fact, with the spread of the new Dimar and the increase in population, the Plan was finally coming together to unite all barryds and end the waves of firestorms that ravaged Mainland and parts of the southern twin continent.
      Well, what better way to guard Dimar? By taking to the stars, we can root out the ancient Mulkai and strike at them before they strike at us. Goothib's resolve was only half-hearted. As was his engineering nature, he simply wanted to see Dimar return to the Path of the Starborn to see if they could. His spike of fear made Dimar heads all around turn as he made a second, more frightening realization. Harmon stopped her teaching for a moment, but could not read his private band. Plus, we have learned that the hole that leads back to the other home worlds is not closed. More humans and Arrallins could flood through and continue their dead-building here if we do not find a way to close it. Harmon wants it closed, but does not know how. She doesn't like Earth. She wants to defend Dimar. We must tell the Great Mother - we've got to close that hole, or expect many more silver trees like this one. Already there are four above, one larger than this one. Earth has thousands! Goothib's fear was sincere. Much as he was fond of Harmon and even the blank-minds, he knew thousands of ships would spell the end of the Plan, and the barryds would be overrun. It would mean war.
      Can we fill the hole? Does Tara know of it? Does she plan to bring many more humans through? Luuko wanted to wake her, to rip open her canopy and find her to ask. How could his smiling, laughing teacher bring about the end of his world? And what of the brave Rakal? Did he intend the same? An unfamiliar sense of betrayal flooded through him, and he quelled it.
      Liur was well ahead of him in action, having woken the Great Mother and her acolytes to relay a full report on the hole in space. She would not pass this information on to the other Leaders until she was sure that the colonists were not willing to close the hole, as they all knew the other barryds would sweep in and slaughter them mercilessly. She suggested interrogating Harmon thoroughly, and Tarrin as well. The minds might be willing to share the truth, and if not, they could be made to tell what they know.
      Luuko needed no second order. As Liur cut through the crowd toward Goothib and Harmon, he spun on his haunches and launched himself in the air toward the set of tents that held Tarrin, Tara and Rakal. Both mentally and vocally screaming, he called them, "TARRIN! TARA! RAKAL! MUST SPEAK NOW!" He slammed his tail down into the dusty, grass-free ground, watching as lights flicked on all over the encampment.
      Tarrin, his fur on end, galloped out on all fours, skidding to a halt in front of him. He swung his speckled head from side to side. Fire? Fire? Luuko, what's wrong? What? Tell me!
      THE HOLE! THE HOLE IN SPACE!! You will close it? You will not bring more through? It would be war - you must not. They'll kill you! Struggling with divided loyalty for his home barryd and the tiny struggling colony, he reared on his haunches and lashed his tail from side to side.
      Tara burst through the flap of her silvery-gray tent clad only in her robe and the morrak slippers, clutching a plasma rifle. The slippers elicited no whuffling or ear-wiggling from Luuko and the crowd of Dimar amassed around the tents tonight. "Um, Tarrin? Report, now."
      "They know about the jump gate, and it panics them. We've got to close it immediately or they'll declare war." Tarrin's fur was still on end.
      "Oh, is that all? Tell them it will be done, and put them in touch with the psi on the Singularity II so that they can monitor the Dark Hope's progress. Give them a Full report." Tara nodded her head and made a hand gesture Luuko didn't understand.
      Immediately, Tarrin began flooding him and Liur with images of the people above that they hadn't met yet. He cautioned them that Harmon, although a psi, was not a member of this group. She must not know what he was about to explain to them, so Goothib was not to know. The four trees they have are all that are to come through the space hole. There would be no more people or Arrallins brought to the world, because they were running from their own Mulkai culture. He showed them the Dark Hope, with it's dented hull and failing engines, and explained that the hole filler was here, but the ship was broken. It would take a while to close the gate, but they too needed it closed immediately, or their Mulkai pursuers would come and destroy both them and Dimar.
      Luuko studied the images of the survey team and the meeting on the Golden Hinde, relaying them to the Great Mother with Liur. He cocked his head as a thought struck him. Great Mother, if these four trees hadn't come through and sent back the misinformed probe, the human Mulkai would already be here flooding us. They have saved us, in truth.
      The Great Mother paused to consider that fact, as the details of the crew and resources of the ship flooded through Liur to her. You are correct, Luuko. They have accidentally averted an even greater calamity, but the fact remains. They must close that hole, and they cannot guarantee that the Landry of Dark Hope will perform the task, despite Tarrin's confidence.
      Luuko could feel Harmon trying to pry into their exchange, and he pushed her mind away. She was not part of the inner circle of leaders, and she could broadcast dangerous information to the starborn in the ships above, and they might not close the gate.
      He watched Tara on the communications panel. "Landry, good, you're awake," she seemed strangely nervous talking to the face in the viewer.
      "You forget, we up here are still on a 24 hour day. What's up - looks like you're throwing a party down there with all that hubbub." Landry grinned, and Luuko did get a surge of fear looking at his teeth. He continued to listen and broadcast back to the Great Mother.
      "The Dimar have made their final decision - and we're welcome to stay here. You should close that gate immediately, and we'll bring the rest of the crew down separately afterward with the Arralla's Pride." Tara smiled, but Luuko did not sense in her body movement the enthusiasm in her voice. "We've got a bit of a victory party going on down here, and seeing the fireworks as the gate shuts behind you would really finish the effect, not to mention impress the heck out of the Dimar."
      "Not an option, fearless leader. Sorry to burst your bubble, but check out this engine display. Kiralla and the other two have been working round the clock, but as soon as they get one system online, another breaks." He shrugged. "We'll be ready to shut the gate for you on schedule, but not before."
      "This won't reduce the number of credits that will be transferred to you when you get through to the other side, Landry. We don't work that way. In fact, I'd be willing to wager that you getting us here safely ahead of schedule and sealing off the gate would probably get you a bonus." Tara smiled again. Luuko watched Landry's face, hoping for some nod of agreement, but none came.
      "That's not the problem. We're just not able to fly yet. I'm sorry. I'll speed things up as much as I can, but all hands are already pulling double shifts." Landry shook his head.
      "Kir? Mm... what's her name? Kirana is leading the engineering team with who else? Have them report - patch them in to me, please." Tara was gripping the sides of the console tightly, but her face looked very calm to Luuko. He was confused by her mixed body language, and watched, trying to learn more.
      "Um, Kiralla and Murram and a few others, actually. They're working in the lower hold, and I'm afraid I don't have communications consoles down there. Would you like me to call you back when they come up for lunch?" Landry's face was unreadable to Luuko, but Tara's hands gripped the console tighter. He wondered what she saw.
      "Do that. I've got a very bad feeling about the gate, and I want to be safely on this side as soon as possible." Tara dismissed him absently, "Tara out." The screen faded.
      "SHIT!!! SHIT!!! SHIT!!!" She was stamping up and down. Luuko had not learned that word yet, and tried the difficult 'sh' sound.
      "Seeeehit! Seeeit! Sit!" He mimicked, usually evoking a smile or a laugh. Tara just sank to the ground and groaned.
      Rakal had been standing next to the console, and his fur was on end. Something was very, very wrong. Luuko transmitted the scene to the Great Mother, puzzling over it as they did so. I have much to learn about facial expressions and English, I'm afraid. I sense that very much has transpired here, but I'm not sure what.
      Their Landry is disobeying. That much is clear. He will not close the gate yet, but, if what we have heard is true, he will close the gate. Do you, my child, believe that these people will be true to their word? Our barryd - all barryds are at stake now. The Great Mother's voice was firm, and there was no evidence of the fear in her that Luuko felt, just a grim feeling of resolve.
      I trust Tara and Rakal. However, it is Landry we must be concerned with. A ship is due to land here tomorrow and Tarrin says they can use it to help fill the hole in space. There are three ships above perhaps they are enough to fill the hole. Luuko felt confident that his new friends would find a way around the problem, and could feel Tarrin's distant call to the other ship above.
      The comm crackled to life, and Tara leapt to her feet, fluidly assuming a nonchalant stance in front of it. Luuko snorted with confusion, and a bit of amazement at Tara's actions. These humans are very good at the art of misrepresentation...but I wonder why she must act so calm before the eyes of the starborn?
      She is a Leader, Luuko. You are seeing a rare aspect of our difficult tasks...a Leader must never show weakness to unruly subordinates, and Tara is preparing herself to command the Landry. The Great Mother's tone belied a minute resonance of respect, although it was clear that she disapproved of Tara's outburst a moment before.
      "Mmm, yes?" Tara fiddled with another screen, scrolling wildly past a set of atmosphere reports.
      "Kiralla's here for her report to you, sir. Landry transferring," Landry's pale, thin face faded as the communication lines switched.
      A black spotted chocolate brown Arrallin face with striking green eyes came into view on the screen, and Luuko studied her features closely. He realized that she wasn't actually spotted, but that the marks were from soiling of some kind. "Kiralla, Ir'mora of the Singularity II reporting, sir. Man...I wish I were back on the II. This tub stinks!" she laid back her ears and turned to snarl at the jumble of wires and tubes behind her.
      Tara grinned widely, and Rakal made a show of smoothing his ruffled hackles before he strode around from next to the console to come into the viewer's range.
      "Hey there, guy! Nice pets...those iguanas on sterobols, or what?" She pointed a clawed finger at her screen toward Luuko.
      "Yes...I tamed them myself with only my claws and fangs. Impressed?" Rakal whuffled, and swept his tail from side to side, moving very close to the view panel. Luuko struggled with the context for the word 'tamed', and finally assumed it meant 'found.' He relayed his best guess to the Great Mother.
      "Yeah...right." Kiralla winked. "So, why'd you pull me out of the lower hold for? Lemme guess, the timetable's been moved up?" She slouched a bit as Tara nodded. "When do you need this thing moving, and what are you planning to do with it when it does move? We're not going to be landing this in atmosphere, I hope."
      "Nope...you've just got to close that gate. Seems our iguanas here hate the idea of a thousand Earth Command heavy cruisers coming through that hole as much as we do, and we lose our welcome-wagon if it doesn't shut soon." Tara looked up at Luuko, who agreed.
      "Yes. Fill the hole, please. Thank you." Luuko bowed to the face in the screen.
      Kiralla whuffled, "SHNU! You taught them to speak! Wow!"
      Luuko was pleased that he had had such a striking effect on the Arrallin. It was obvious from her demeanor and the actions of Tara and Rakal that she was considered an equal. He rumbled happily.
      "Well, this channel is secure - I should know... I rewired it." Kiralla bared her teeth in a vicious Arrallin grin. "I've got to tell you, though. Things around here should not be in the incredible state of disrepair that they are. Someone may be throwing a monkey in the wrench, so to speak, and that makes me plenty nervous. This tub is old, but some of the failures have been on newer systems. Landry is right - the engineering crew here has barely lost it's milk teeth, but I have trouble believing that any full-blooded Arrallakeeni would let things get as fouled as they are here. I'm going to keep my guard up."
      "I want you to transfer to the Singularity II as soon as you can. We can't take any more chances - gate or no gate. Leave Malry and Linaro to finish the job. The Pride will be bringing the next load of colonists and supplies in tomorrow. Can you be on that flight?" Tara cast a glance up at Luuko, who shook his head.
      They must fill the hole, Luuko. Even if she is a Leader, any proper Leader knows that losing life to save their children is a high honor. The Great Mother echoed what he already knew with such strength that all Dimar, Harmon and Tarrin instinctively turned toward the north.
      An unfamiliar voice answered bitterly, Children? Easy for your Great Mother to talk of children! If I die on this tub, I will never get a chance to breed, and my people will be left one line shorter of a full blood Arrallin of the second House. I know my duty. The gate will close.
      The brown speckled face in the viewer snarled loudly, as Tara and Rakal backed away. Kiralla's indignation at the Great Mother's superlative tone was clear. The fury hit Luuko broadside.
      Luuko whipped his head around and nearly smashed the console. He hadn't even bothered to look, but there - clear and true - Kiralla's resonance shone through. She was a Talent, however minor, and had heard the Mother's call! He paused, not sure how to proceed .
      "Whoa...Kiralla! Okay...don't transfer." Tara snapped back, holding her fists to her sides. Tara was oblivious to the exchange, Luuko realized.
      "She is a Talent. She is mad at us for our talk." Luuko spoke quietly to Tara, hanging his head low, and letting his ears droop. Had he been more cautious, he would have known to block her from his channel with the Great Mother, and they would not have insulted one another. He had caused a political incident for his carelessness. "She would like to transfer, but knows to fill the hole is her honor and duty."
      "A Talent, huh? Kiralla...we'll talk later. There is more than one way to close the hole, Luuko. We can slam the Pride right through and puncture the containment field to close it. There are three hundred plus Arrallakeeni down here who would pay credits to be the one to do it and be sung as martyrs in the Exodus saga. Transfer on this run or the next, but GET DOWN HERE." Rakal's tone was imperious, and many Arrallakeeni near the console sat down unexpectedly.
      Kiralla just laughed. "Don't try that Arrallin command crap on me, Rakal. I know my duty, and I'll get there when I can. Kiralla out." She slapped a soiled paw onto the console and the picture faded.
      Luuko reached out to Kiralla, seeking the fiery red resonance of her mind. We meant not to insult. Please come down for them. We did not know that you were not the only one who could fill the hole. We are sorry. He managed to slip in a deep chord of remorse for the incident, and hoped that she would accept his apology as that of the Great Mother. He walled the Great Mother's own indignant echoes in his mind, making sure they didn't carry through his message.
      Fine...now can I get back to work? Make sure that no one starts sending psi-chatter my way, too. You guys are the loudest bunch I've ever orbited above, and it's hard enough blocking you out without having every curious hatchling paging me. Kiralla was straining to reach him, and he could not tell if she truly accepted his attempt at amends. He could only hear the words, not the tone.
      You will not be bothered. Good luck in your work. Luuko withdrew from the exchange still worried, and returned to translating Rakal and Tara's excited chatter.
      "Ghu, I thought it was all over. When Landry said that she couldn't report, I nearly died." Tara was smiling, and leaning against the console.
      "You're relieved? Ha! When she snarled after you ordered her back, I was panicked that she'd passed her season and had chosen some other mate. I saw my bloodline flash before my eyes." Rakal was whuffling happily, resting on his haunches.
      Luuko struggled to translate the strange expressions. "Bloodline flassss before your eyes? Passed season? Can you explain these, please?"
      "Okay...now remember how only Arrallin alphas mate? Well, when the female has her first season, she will chose a mate for life. If it is not an Arrallin male, she will bond sometimes with a beta, or even a human, of either male or female type." Rakal looked around, careful that there were no humans that were out of the inner circle in earshot.
      "So, Kiralla is an alpha female who has not mated?" Luuko was careful to relay the information clearly to the Great Mother.
      "Yes. That's why she's so, well...actually, Kiralla is always that aggressive, angry. We have known each other since we were kits. I like her very much. I want to be her mate, and she would like to be mine." Rakal spoke slowly, using simple words. Luuko understood perfectly.
      "I understand. Ssse will wass when ssee comes to Dimar?" Luuko wiggled his ears, thinking of how the Great Mother, who already had made it plain that she did not like the Arrallin female, would react when she arrived covered in soil spots.
      Rakal stared at him, and tilted his head to the side with confusion.
      "Wass? Oh, wash!" Tara laughed. "Yes, Luuko. She'll be clean when she meets the Great Mother. Don't worry."
      Rakal whuffled, and patted Luuko on the leg. "Well, if anyone can fill the hole, Kiralla can. We'll let you know how she does."

The Tomb of the Unknown Editor: Thank you for all those pages of GREAT edits. I suck for losing your email. <:|   Dimar: Lost Waters is a public domain work of modern science fiction by Dee Dreslough. Please feel free to be inspired by it, draw pictures, write stories based on it, even republish the work as a whole...it belongs to everyone! www.Dimar.org