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LC_Satellite 001-Boxee (the alternate LC story)-Book 11 - post027 by arthur.grafo

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LC_Satellite 001-Boxee (the alternate LC story)-Book 11 - post027
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<p><center><img src="https://imgoat.com/uploads/93f65e080a/58503.jpg" /></center></p><br>
<sup><p>“I can’t Robert, I can’t stay away while you walk into danger, I must watch with you.”</p><p>Robert shrugged and gestured. Fiera bit her knuckle as she thought. She retrieved her knife and gestured for them to follow.</p></sup>
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<p><a href="https://steemit.com/sfandf-fiction/@arthur.grafo/lcsatellite-001-boxee-the-alternate-lc-story-book-11-preface-and-post001"><center>Post 01</center></a>
<a href="https://steemit.com/sfandf-fiction/@arthur.grafo/lcsatellite-001-boxee-the-alternate-lc-story-book-11-post026"><center>Post 26</center></a></p><br>

<br>
<p><center>194</center></p>
<p>At the brisk pace Fiera set it took them two hours to arrive. They were immediately surrounded by spears and an elderly man walked through them to face Fiera. “Why have you brought them here?”</p>

<p>“They insist I was wrong and they allowed me to touch them. They have a power that they tell me is for healing. Bring Tsheshesi and we’ll see if they lie.”</p>

<p>“If they lie, your daughter dies.”</p>

<p>“I will bleed her myself.” Even the savages were impressed by her fierce stand. Tsheshesi was carried by four men and laid on the ground. Cherine handed Bobby to Robert and knelt by the man. She put her fingers to his cheeks and sat back.</p>

<p>“He will need a couple of hours, he has been eaten from the inside by his sickness.” She looked up at Fiera. “As he heals he will feel pain. It will feel as if fire ants are biting him. It is a part of the healing and cannot be avoided.”</p>

<p>Cherine had deliberately told her healer to delay as she could tell they would be more impressed if the healing was obviously a struggle against the dark forces that had attacked Tsheshesi. They waited in the sun, Bobby back in her arms again. When Tsheshesi called out in pain, despite the warning by Cherine, there was angry muttering, but Fiera stood guard and none dared challenge her, not with her daughters’ life at stake.</p>

<p>When it was time, Robert gave his hand to Tsheshesi. “Stand, let them all see you have been healed.”</p>
<br>

<p>The little girl was released and she walked out without any show of haste. Wiry of frame, her shoulders pulled back and her head high, she was a miniature proud copy of her mother. She stood before her mother without speaking and when Fiera nodded her head, she silently took her place by her mothers' side.</p>

<p>It was no surprise that everyone seemed to be ailing or hurt or crippled in some way. Some were from mutations and those Cherine asked that they wait for the next day. For Robert it was a new way of seeing life. One minute they were pointing spears at them and the next they were treating them as old friends. No apologies, just a sudden switch to familiar friendship. Cherine had to ask them to stop touching Bobby as it made him nervous and was, in his worldview, a violation.</p>

<br>
<p><center>195</center></p>
<p>Robert was in no mood for eating food he found disgusting and roughing it for the night. </p>

<p>“Fiera, would you and your daughter spend the evening with us? We’d like you to see what our dream for our world is.”</p>

<p>“My people will be hurt if you do not accept their hospitality, you hold them now in your debt and to refuse food would shame them.”</p>

<p>“What if we leave afterwards?”</p>

<p>She gave a feline grin, “If you are still capable of walking they will admire your drinking powers.”</p>

<p>He sighed. “Are you going to introduce me to this lovely young lady?”</p>

<p>“Lovely what?”</p>

<p>He couldn’t help chuckling. “Your daughter. A lady is a female who has been taught to act correctly and with dignity.”</p>

<p>“Her use name is Birshima.”</p>

<p>“Well Birshima, do you have the same powers as your mother?”</p>

<p>“It only comes after the first blood, she is too young.”</p>

<p>“So, if we stay for food and drinks, will you and Birshima join us afterwards for a visit to our home?”</p>

<p>“It is far?”</p>

<p>“To walk? Weeks. The way we travel, less than a minute.”</p>

<p>“The way you tried to avoid my fire warrior?”</p>

<p>“It is like thinking, I want to be at a certain place and my body goes there, it is not dangerous.”</p>

<br>
<p><center>196</center></p>

<p>“My mother does not fear danger.”</p>

<p>“Your mother is braver than even you realise Birshima.”</p>

<p>“We will come. It is not right that you ask us and not my father and father of Birshima.”</p>

<p>“Sure, ask them to come with.”</p>

<p>“They are one man - how else to be certain my daughter has my powers?”</p>

<p>“Hmm,” he turned to Cherine, “do you think that would work for us also?”</p>

<p>Bobby grinned when she punched him on his arm - hard. She had second thoughts and giggled. “Maybe, if it is a son we have.”</p>

<p>Robert did not find that as funny. “I was only kidding love.”</p>
<br>

<p>One of the treasures of the tribe were five still solid wooden logs from the olden days. They brought them out to sit on in a circle around the fire that held a massive pot. Robert and Cherine saw their pride and lavishly complimented them on preserving such treasures and the tribe preened at the recognition of their value as a people.</p>

<p>A gourd was passed from person to person to drink from. Cherine was not expected to drink, but Robert had to drink and show appreciation of their brew. He tried to avoid drinking any of the scum floating on top but he failed. The soil was full of fleas and Robert became convinced they must be mutant fleas, for he could not believe normal fleas could be such an irritant and so painful. He noticed the locals scratched without really seeming to notice the fleabites.</p>

<p>The fire was not a comfort for they used dried faeces and it smelt terrible. Robert couldn’t stop imagining the smell permeating the food and gagged at the thought of eating. When they passed him a dirty clay dish he was expected to serve himself and with all eyes on him he served himself a more than healthy portion, but the pleasure they showed did not seem to suffice as justification for being forced to eat it. He hardly chewed, swallowing as fast as he could while simultaneously urging his healer to save him from whatever gastric ailments were his due and making noises he hoped they would construe as showing appreciation of the fatty food he was spooning into his mouth. Cherine derived great sadistic pleasure in telling him later on that the fatty stuff was from boiled worms. She was being smug because she’d prudently diverted her food to Bobby who enjoyed it.</p>

<br>
<p><center>197</center></p>
<p>An elderly man of the tribe explained to Robert that the ash from the fire is precious, for they use it for daubing over wounds and include a small measure of it in the preparation of food. Whatever is left over they press into the floor of their huts as it is well known that the ash is feared by enemy spirits. He asked for a sample and they gladly gave him some in a small clay pot. Robert intended requesting the scientists at Pol examine it for harmful and beneficial properties.</p>
<br>

<p>Cherine had expected their guests to be awed by their teleportation. They did tremble, but magic is a part of their lives so they showed more interest in their surroundings, wanting to know why the green plants had not sickened them. The old man explained that it has been passed on from father to son that when they see green plants they must keep their distance and avoid eating anything from that area.</p>

<p>“I almost despair at the task of teaching you how to improve your lives. So much of what you think is right, is wrong, and so much of what you think is forbidden, is good. We must also be careful of what we give you to eat because your bodies have adapted to your limited diet. We had similar problems with Bobby, when we first gave him meat he enjoyed the taste, but it upset his stomach and he spent hours suffering from cramps and a runny tummy. Luckily he did not associate the meat with his health problems because, as a small child, he thought that since he enjoyed eating the meat it must be good for him.”</p>

<p>“I am here to learn so you will teach me and what I find is good or right, whatever our teachings, I will help my people change. Too many of our babies die Robert, soon our people will not be.”</p>

<p>“How many times does each female try to bear a child?”</p>

<p>“Those that can?” She showed both hands, put them down and raised one hand again. Both Cherine and Robert were aghast at the misery and pain they sensed lay behind that.</p>

<p>“Your females must learn not to bear more than four.” He showed four fingers. “From now onwards, all they bear will live and you could not find food for,” he showed both hands, “babies.”</p>

<br>
<p><center>198</center></p>
<p>“If this is shown to be true we will obey in all you ask of us.”</p>

<p>Cherine grinned. “Have you ever had a shower - washed with water?”</p>

<p>They had to demonstrate by persuading Bobby to have a shower. He was a bad example as he made his displeasure very evident and they thought he was suffering. Without hesitating or showing any inhibitions or modesty Fiera stripped and stepped under the still running shower. Cherine told the old man and Robert to leave the room and stripping, she joined Fiera. She showed her how to clean herself and use a towel to dry off the water. Fiera ordered Birshima to have a shower and they watched as she stiffly obeyed.</p>

<p>“Now you take their father for a shower Robert. Here’s clothes for both of you.”</p>

<p>Cherine made tea for all of them, adding a little extra honey for their guests as otherwise the astringent taste needs time to become familiar enough for it to be considered pleasant. Birshima and Bobby were each given a sweet to suck. Cherine recognised the amused anticipation in Bobby’s eyes as he watched for Birshima’s first reaction to the taste. After her reaction, Cherine had to give the adults a sweet each and they openly showed their pleasure.</p>

<br>
<p>As anticipated, the first foods they ate caused them problems, but within days their bodies adapted. Each day they would teleport to the tribe and the old man would speak for hours, his exaggerated tones and arm waving drawing exclamations of surprise. Cherine sacrificed all her sweets and they were a great success, opening the people to new ideas.</p>

<p>Bobby was halfway used to wearing pants and a shirt, but he obviously could still empathise with the discomfort their guests showed. Using the few words he can speak and pantomiming the rest, he let them know that as soon as he is in his own room where Cherine can’t see him, he takes it all off. He offered to show Birshima, but she did not accept.

<p>“I was thinking of asking Arthur to visit us. If he arrives in a vehicle it should impress them.”</p>

<p>“I’ve been reading about contact between those of the advanced people and the savages of the olden days and they speak of problems we have not considered Cherine. Arthur must come so that we discuss them and find ways not to cause damage, but he must teleport.”</p>

<br>
<p><center>199</center></p>
<p>Discussions were held without the outsiders present. Decisions were made and Cherine and Robert spent days being quickly briefed while men were trained to go and live with the tribe. When they were ready, Cherine, Robert, Arthur and Bobby teleported to the tribe.</p>

<p>Robert asked to speak to all of them and they gathered by the fire that was only a few sad embers at that moment.</p>

<p>“The worst days of your lives are now in the past and the best start from today. For you to understand how and why we will help, it is necessary you learn our common history. Do you know the word history? It means, the story of the past, how it is that the world is the way it is and why you have suffered for so long.”</p>

<p>Robert paced to and fro nervously as he talked. “I’m not going to ask you to believe what I tell you, only that you try to make pictures in your minds by imagining what I say is real. Our world used to be green. Not all of it, but the deserts were the exceptions. Flat land covered in grass for as far as the eye can see with bushes and the odd group of trees breaking the monotony. The wind blows in soft gusts and the grass ripples in waves that show where the wind is. The leaves of the trees rustle, telling each other stories that us people would never understand, for their stories are all about life and us people only know how to tell stories about death and the fear of dying.</p>

<p>These same mountains we know, so brown and grey, so sad for they have lost their clothing. They used to be dressed with big, big numbers of trees that reached for the sky. The logs you treasure, all of them together would not make one tree of the old days. The green world of the past, a dream we thought we’d lost. All that green gave life to numbers of animals so many that they were like the stars at night. Of all the kinds of animals, there was only one kind that was mad. They called themselves humans. I asked people older than me what the word really means.”</p>

<p>He ticked them off on his fingers. “First, humans are creatures that know what is right and wrong and are intelligent. Knowledge of right and wrong we call morals. Humans may have thought that animals don’t know what is right and wrong but it is not true, they do. Mostly they do not need to know because they only do what is right - because they are not intelligent like us.</p>

<p>Second, humans care about the suffering of others and do what they can to stop the suffering. Many times, in the story of our world, these humans looked to healing the suffering by killing.</p>

<br>
<p><center>200</center></p>
<p>Third, a way of thinking that said human dignity and our ability to achieve what makes us full people comes through our using reason and logical ways of thinking.</p>

<p>Have you noticed that all the old ways of describing a human speak of how we live and treat other humans? As long as we care about other humans it does not matter if we kill our mother Earth. It does not matter if one kind of animal and then another and another until so many that we cannot count them, no longer exist.”</p>

<p>He paused and looked down, as if he’d only just heard the words he’d spoken. When they saw his face again they saw tears on his cheeks and a look of determination on his face. “Never! Never again. A human must mean more than that. Yes, we must care about other humans, when your child cries from hunger, it must be as if I or my child hungers. Humans must know and feel the pain of others. This time we must include all of life, the plants, the insects, the birds, the animals, all of life, including our great mother Earth - please.”</p>

<p>He then explained about the old ones. “My people call them the mad ones because they could not see they were killing themselves. I think they are wrong. They did not care about what they were doing to our world because each of them thought it would happen in the future, to their children or the children of their children. It did not matter to them, as long as they could have what they want. They used to have a saying, <i>let the future look after itself. </i>They could not see that the past, now, the present and the future, they are all one.”</p>

<br>
<p>Most of what Robert spoke about and of for the next two hours was beyond the tribe, they could not even paint the pictures he wanted in their minds. However, as limited as their understanding was, they were filled with a foreboding, as if he were telling them that the world is coming to an end.</p>

<p>Arthur took over and he spoke simply, painting pictures with his words that they could see and understand. He ended off with, “Remember, we are all one. Your tribe, my people and many other tribes we have not met, we are all one. We are all the children of the old ones - those children who did succeed at surviving, despite them not caring about us. We will not be as them, we will all care about each other and our world. We will make our world green and beautiful and this time we will care about our children and their future.”</p>

<br>
<p><center>201</center></p>
<p>The tribe were introduced to the men and women who would be living with them to help improve their lives. Permission was sought for their huts to be built and they exclaimed with wonder as they were quickly erected. Having been told about the showers, they continually took turns wasting water to exclaim over the sight of water falling like rain. Without comment a second water tank was teleported.</p>
<br>

<p>“Does it ever rain here Fiera?”</p>

<p>She pointed south. “It rained too much so we moved here. Here it rains too little. Nowhere rain is as needed. It is the same for you?”</p>

<p>“Some years we have too much and some too little.”</p>

<p>“You go to the rain place?”</p>

<p>“Soon. The others will stay with your people. You’ll see us now and then.”</p>

<p>She called Birshima. “Are you to be better than I?”</p>

<p>She drew herself to her full height, her eyes gleaming with pride. “So it is said you will make me.”</p>

<p>“Then the time of parting is come upon us daughter. You will leave with them when they leave. Learn from them and return when you first bleed.”</p>

<p>The child stolidly refused to crumble, fear, hurt and pride holding her rigid. “As Fire Woman speaks, so will it be.” She added one word and somehow it sounded forlorn, “Mother.”</p>

<p>“Prepare yourself daughter and greet your father before you leave.”</p>

<p>Cherine stared at Fiera as if she were a freak of nature. “How can you do that, how can you be so hard?”</p>

<p>“You will teach her?”</p>

<p>“Not what you want Fiera! That was callous. Don’t you love her? For god’s sake, she’s just a child!”</p>

<p>“Birshima is not just a child Cherine, she is Fire Woman-to-be. Would I want she be the best, better than I, if I did not love her? She is my heart Cherine.”</p>

<br>
<p><center>202</center></p>
<p>“Then you should show you love her!”</p>

<p>“With soft words Cherine? She sees the love in my words and pride of her.”</p>

<p>Robert spoke softly, “Let it go love.” Cherine turned away, grabbing at Bobby. He started a snarl at her abrupt jerk and then looked up at her face. Silently he let her lead him away.</p>

<p>The first adjustment the tribe had to make was in their diet. They were provided with flour and egg powder and a few other items for making bread. Solar ovens were placed around their fire place and those who were interested were taught how to make bread. It wasn’t long before the smell of baking bread filled the air and men and women came to sniff appreciatively. They were impatient and had to be convinced to wait until the bread cooled enough for them to eat it using their fingers. Each was given only one slice that evening and another the next morning. As they’d been warned, the day was spent with everyone moaning as their stomachs burbled and grumbled and they had to rush off to waste their faeces since they could not be dried properly.</p>

<p>“You are lucky that you have a healer Mr Teller, the food you ate the first night here could have killed you. They have built up a resistance that our bodies do not have.”</p>

<p>Robert laughed, “The best invention ever, the solar cooker. I did not need my healer to protect me from germs, it was the taste and smell that were murderous.” The man smiled sympathetically and walked off.</p>

<p>Two of the older men offered to guide them as erosion has altered the lay of the land so that it no longer resembles the topographical maps Robert was using. They were told that some of the gullies are dangerous, with the sides sloping inwards overhead and the slightest disturbance could cause a collapse. Robert, Cherine and Bobby returned to the mansion for a good sleep before embarking on their trip.</p>


<p>“Ntchizi says she can teach you to generate an energy shield if we go to the void. It could help keep us dry, shall we go?”</p>

<p>The Sparkles greeted them joyfully, pleased to inform them that Ntchizi’s home world is successfully keeping the dust cloud out of their system and the POL volunteers are bringing back to life the European continent. They watched and shared as Ntchizi helped Robert find his ability to create energy shields and before they left, the Sparkles were already creating their own shields.</p>

<br>
<p><center>203</center></p>
<p>Arthur had been permitted by Bobby to hold him in his arms so his goodbye hugs were awkward. When he hugged Cherine, Bobby transferred to her arms and she let him slide to the ground to stand on his own. They promised to meet Arthur the next night and with their guides and Birshima, they strode off into the unknown.</p>

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<p><center><a href="https://steemit.com/sfandf-fiction/@arthur.grafo/lcsatellite-001-boxee-the-alternate-lc-story-book-11-post028"> Post 28</a></center></p>
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<p>Dear visitor, if you only joined us now, at post 27, <b>welcome</b>.</p><br>
<p>I think you have missed some beautiful parts of the story of Cherine and Robert. </p>
<p>This is a reminder, you can go to the top of this page and use the link to return to Post 01.</p>
<p>Thereafter, each post has the next link at the end of the story. Or else, from post2 onwards, all you need to do is alter the url, increasing the post number by one.</p>
<p>If you enjoy the story, I do not ask that you resteem or upvote; those to me are just bonuses, a sign you enjoyed reading <em> Boxee.</em> All I really want as encouragement is that you recommend the story to all your friends; those you think would enjoy such a fantasy story.</p>
<p> I would like to add a personal note, which is also a <b>hope</b> of mine. You may or may not enjoy my way of keeping my writing simple where I can; you may or may not enjoy the style of the adventures experienced; but, I am very confident you will each grow to love at least one character. </p>
<p>Is that character going to be Cherine, Robert, Arthur, Bobby, the Fire Woman or her daughter, or one of the others you will come to know? I will not even try to guess, but I know you will, for I have loved each of them and written of them with love  :)</p>
<p><strong>Thank you.</strong></p>

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