Dimar.org  

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 29

     Rakal chuckled, "Nothing's changed...you're still poring over reports." He poked his head into the open door of Tara's barryd room.
      Tara leapt up from her desk and rushed toward him joyously. "You're back! You're back! You're back!" She grabbed him around the waist and swung him around the room, laughing like she was a girl again.
      Breathless, he stumbled back as she released him, "I have to load up on mainland food, I guess," he laughed as he caught his breath. Always able to manage his supercilious airs, "It's unbecoming for even one as important as the Leader of two great Barryds to be able to lift a full blood Arrallin..."
      "Oh, you!" She punched his shoulder good-naturedly. "I prefer to think of us as shipmates before the day I was promoted to officer status." She grabbed a report off her desk and flopped down in her bed, as much as she might have on board the ship they both flew so long ago, before the Insurrection.
      She looked tired, Rakal noted to himself, not letting his concern show. She had a nervous kind of energy about her, but her eyes were ringed heavily with dark circles and her hands fidgeted. Her look matched the mood of the barryds - anticipatory, nervous, but already stretched to the limit.
      He had to ask "So, how's Barryd life treating you? These plants being good to you?" He patted the mahogany seat-shelf he was on.
      She dismissed his question with a wave, "Don't try to change the subject bud - you're here to report to me. Tell me everything! How's Kiralla? When's she due? Are you going to stay up on the Singularity II, or make a Hive down here like the others?" Tara pointed to her map of mainland, winking at him as she jabbed her finger toward a bay along the northeast coast.
      "Kiralla's coming along fine. Two more months and she'll give birth to, from what we can tell, 27 healthy kits." Rakal whuffled with pride. "As you can imagine, the politics are unbelievable, but we only have 20 keeni up there so there's little fighting over the choosing order. They all know they're getting at least one kit. The fighting's been over who will get two." Rakal looked up toward the ceiling with mock exasperation, "An embarrassment of riches." He grinned wildly. "I'm going to transfer up seven keeni with me when I return to the Singularity II. We'll need them to start getting acclimated now so they'll be ready to take guardianship by the introduction time. You know...milk production and all that."
      Tara nodded. "I've never been around a real Hive at this time, but I was wondering how long you'd need for Arrallakeeni to start producing milk." Tara flipped through a personnel chart. "I hope I'm invited for the introduction, you! Heck... can humans take guard of a kit?" She shook her head, "Who am I fooling? When will I have time to be a parent anyway! I will have more free time by then, though. I expect to be fully disconnected from these fairly soon." She patted the wall behind her. "Definitely take Timra and Whirkil. The other five you can choose however you like. Those two you'll find particularly useful. They've both developed Psi down here. With their help, and Kiralla's talent, you can stay connected with the other Hives more easily. It's the oddest thing, lots of Talent emerging in the Keeni population. The Dimar tell me it's the Wind down here. If anyone's got even a hint of psi, it will emerge if immersed in this magnetism long enough."
      "Go back a step. Disconnecting from the Barryds? Explain. Your turn to report, lady." Rakal peered toward the door, pointing toward Luuko's blue hindquarters visible down the hall.
      "He knows...it's fine. But, the walls have ears. Literally." She waved her hand toward the door membrane and it slid shut noiselessly. "This is the second reason I called you down here. I need someone competent - combat competent - to operate the Pride."
      "What? Why?" Rakal's lengthening mane stood on end. Could he risk himself flying a combat mission so close to Kiralla's birthing time? He couldn't bear the thought of her having to become a second mate to one of the Hives down here if he was lost in the combat. Kiralla was second to no one, and deserved better than that. He was her only shot at being an independent Hive queen, and despite his loyalty to Tara, he couldn't risk himself now.
      "In three days, we're launching a Barryd pod. Talks with outside Barryds have completely broken down at this point. Telka and Mulkol cannot continue as one and not be completely razed by the rest of settled Dimar. Between our plasma, Mulkol's death weapons and Telka's cleverness, we pose far to serious a threat, and the other Leaders know it." Tara leaned back against a wall and seemed to rejuvenate from the contact. "So, we have to win their trust..."
      "With combat flying the Pride?" Rakal interjected.
      "Let me finish. We have to win their trust or beat them into submission. Either way, the mission cannot be jeopardized." Tara ended on a low note.
      Rakal knew that tone too well, but would not be swayed into risking himself or the Pride unnecessarily. For once, he understood Tara's complaints of being pulled in too many directions at once. He was in the position of leadership now, and would have to make the final call regarding his own resources, and his own ship. "Outline the mission. Let me see what we might be able to do from up above."
      "This seed will be guided two days north up to that bay I showed you. What this seed is designed to be is a combined Mu/Tel Barryd, and it's going to be Dimar's first Starborn Defense Academy. From there, we're going to train up a fighting force the likes of which even the Mulkai would tremble to face. No one is taking our homeworld without a fight." Tara's passive posture didn't hide the tensing in her arms as she quietly stated her case.
      "You sound like a Dimar, Tara. Our homeworld? These barryds have gotten to your head." Rakal grinned uneasily. "And how do you think the other non-Mulkai Leaders are going to take this? You're building a military force in their backyard. Winning their trust, in the face of what you're proposing, is preposterous. How do they know that you, or your successor at the Academy, won't just turn the machinery on them and enslave them again?"
      "I don't see what choice they have, Rakal. The only reason they're not Earth force slaves now is because we stole the gate from them before they could find this place. It's only by sheer chance that the Mulkai that left Dimar haven't stumbled back onto it and retaken it - with perhaps a worse regime than before. You have no idea what they were like before." Tara sorted the plastic report sheets distractedly. "No, the Leaders will be made to see that there is no threat from the Academy. It will serve them, and they for their own protection will want to learn from it. All the books will be open to them. Anyone who wants to learn from what we do, can.
      Dimar got lucky once, but luck has a tendency to run out. The Telkans have been made to see it, even those so hateful of Mulkai that they can't bear to fly past the western spire of Telka these days. The Mulkol, with all their feelings of superiority, agree that they have to serve the whole. If I can get these two wretched plants to agree, the rest of the planet should be easy." She smiled half-heartedly.
      Rakal nodded. He'd seen some of what she'd learned from her experiences as a Barryd Leader in her reports, and from the historians. The fighting farmer-lizards on Dimar were not going to be the problem in the years to come. The danger was from offworld. An image from one historical report leaped into his mind - one of hundreds of non-Mulkai Dimar arranged in a massive column to guide a Starborn Mulkai ship to space. He furrowed his brow, remembering the animation of the huge black ship, propelled by all the tiny wings of the Dimar toward the stars. It crushed them as it passed, and they fell back on the writhing half-dead bodies of those beneath them as they, impelled by the undeniable force of a Leader's command, continued to direct all their force up. Hundreds of thousands of Dimar slaves died with each launch - both Mulkai and non. It seemed the losers of Mulkai wars were no better off than the non-Mulkai slaves they kept. There were parallels between certain Hives on Arralla, and certain nations on Earth, but none rivaled the image of that much carnage all at once.
      "We're going to use our own launch techniques, I hope." Rakal watched for Tara's reaction closely. He wasn't sure how much contact with the Mulkai barryd would change her. She certainly hadn't seemed herself in this interview.
      "Definitely. However, there are rumors of another launching system. Disgruntled Mulkol have destroyed the files, but the equipment has to be on the planet somewhere. You can oversee the surveyors on the Golden Hinde for me on that project." Tara flipped through maps and heat-resonance scans.
      "You're not going to use the Dimar as a launch wall, are you?!" Rakal demanded furiously. His tail lashed from side to side. He couldn't believe she would even consider it!
      Tara looked taken aback. "Never! There were some Mulkai who recognized the value of life, you know. You shouldn't believe everything you see in the history reels - many were made for us by Telkans. Although, the Pillars of Flesh were actually used by the most cruel of the Mulkai culture. That's who we're going to be defending against. They make Nazis look like amateurs." Tara explained calmly. Rakal expected that she'd been through this argument before a number of times. She continued, "Some Mu, despite their choice of lifestyle, were quite ingenious. They used another technique. We just have to figure out what it is. From what the reports can tell, whatever it was, it was environmentally friendly and would augment our fusion drives. The Pride will only last so long, and we've got serious mass to lift off this rock."
      Rakal sighed inwardly at the idea of his quiet little pocket of space being invaded by the bulk of a giant space station. Even orbit wasn't going to provide him with privacy for Kiralla and his Hive. He consoled himself with the idea that an Academy would mean less need for him to lead combat missions, and with this in mind, he almost enjoyed the idea of one last mission. "So, how do you need us to prepare? Should we gather up bombardment objects in orbit to aim at the neighboring barryds? And how do you need the Pride?"
      "I have no idea how this is going to play out. They may try to swarm us, in which case we have to keep the Mulkol from just shredding them. I've been reviewing the ranks, and most have agreed that in return for Mulkol returning to Mulkol rule and isolation, they will restrain themselves. Of course, Mulkol is teaming with young warriors desperate to make a legend for themselves - I'd rather they fight the Pride than take out a Leader and destabilize the entire political structure." Tara rested her chin in her hands.
      "Great. A friendly fire mission." Rakal couldn't hide his disapproval.
      "What else would you have me do?" Tara gave him one of those 'Why should I even justify my plans to you?' looks and continued on. He bristled with annoyance. "In the best case situation, the Leaders will want a demonstration and explanation of how the technology for Plasma and Fusion works. In either case, we need an impressive lightshow. I need to convince them of how serious I am about full disclosure of this information. In any case, just have the ship around."
      "Do I have to comply? More importantly, do I need to pilot it?" Rakal looked deeply into her eyes, wondering if she'd try to command him.
      "No. You're a Hive King now. I can't tell you how to live your life - all I can do is ask to borrow your transport and hope you say yes." Her voice was unusually soft, but her face was impassive.
      "In that case, yes. You can work the ship into your planning. I'll stay down here to watch how things go. I'll move off to Keinsa Hive tonight. I can't risk myself or any more Keeni. I'll be moving out all the Arrallakeeni over to Keinsa Hive and back up to the Singularity II over the next three days. I'm sorry if this leaves you short-staffed." His tone was curt and to the point. Rakal wasn't sure how Tara would react, but he had to take command sometime, and the gate was closed. It might as well be now.
      "Fine." Tara's eyes flashed angrily, but she nodded.
      Their conversation continued long into the night, but was all business. Rakal wondered if he hadn't lost a friend in gaining a Hive.

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