At the Lunar Base, Batresh learns that Namazu is a hero
They stood opposite three Elders, a steel table between them. Through the false window, they saw an image of Mussara, the Tayamni home world, turning slowly, a moon of oceans and scattered islands. In the corner stood an ancient Roman statue, a priestess permanently genuflecting before a Goddess. Erish, fresh from battle, excitedly, haphazardly, sent streams of unconnected images from the conflict. Already stressed and worried about Namazu, Batresh tried to deflect. But, the Elders welcomed the onslaught. After a short time, Gashan entered.
“Please be seated,” the male Elder directed.
Elder Sagar addressed them, “Your efforts have been successful. Erish, you and Namazu have done what we hoped.” She paused and looked at the other Elder female, a middle-aged woman with her hair pulled back.
The middle-aged woman offered, “Because of your work, the riots at Oxford were less disruptive than they would otherwise have been. We know from the Jovian portal, this riot will now be a footnote in American history. You successfully changed the timeline. The United States is safe from this particular threat.”
Sagar interjected, “Erish, you will continue to refine the enhanced ayullu. Work with Hilimaz and the…” she paused, realizing the enormity of the moral breach. She looked down at the surface of the table, as if she were personally shamed. She took a deep breath and looked up slowly, continuing “…the two human abductees.
“You will create a more efficient method of weapon delivery,” she directed. They saw images of Erish simply throwing the disks at the groups of men.
“Yesterday, Gashan broke the Tlaloc encryption. They are helping the Soviets develop an anti-matter weapon.” Sagar calmly looked at an ancient Greek sculpture of the three Graces on the wall behind Batresh. Then, looking directly at Gashan, “We modified encryption keys. You may communicate from Terra again.
Sagar looked at the male Elder, as if she were communicating with him. She added “As soon as Erish has created the enhancement, you will all be given copies.” She looked toward Batresh, and continued, “Batresh, it is good that you have a human companion.” Batresh blushed, knowing they were referring to Jerry. “Since you can trust him, bring him here. We have a job for him.”
Amun is to travel back in time three months, to prevent an eruption at Yellowstone. The portals are taking precautions to prevent anomalies. But, as you know, it is dangerous.” She sighed, looking at Erish, “We hope our medical facilities and personnel can give us an estimate of the advancements the Tlalocs made during their absence. It looks like the weapon dissolved Namazu’s nerve tissues.” Batresh looked down. “We will keep you informed.”
Continue to work with Erish on the effects of your weapons.” Hilimaz nodded. Sagar looked at Batresh, “Please stay here for a time to rest. You will be needed back at Terra.”
Later, Batresh, Erish, and Hilimaz stood in the corridor, looking at each other. Batresh felt the fatigue of the last ten hours. She needed rest. Her body ached. It was almost as if she had been at the battle herself.
Gashan offered, “I will keep watch on Namazu and the abducted men. I will contact you when we have more information.” She reached over to Batresh and took her hand in hers. “Namazu’s in good hands,” she added, turning towards the transporter.
Batresh offered a weak smile, but said nothing.
Gashan continued, “We can regenerate nerve tissue.” She looked at Batresh for a sign that her words were helping. “I am sure this will work.” The transporter took them to lower levels.
Once in her room, Batresh lay on the sleeping platform with her forearm resting above her head. She looked at the ceiling and tried to relax. No longer in rescue mode, the magnitude of what lay ahead, the potential death of her sister, hit her. Searching for a way out of her grief, she looked to the false window. From where she lay, she saw the dim disk of Nirgal in the corner of the glass. A trick of the reflection of the sky on the oceans below, reflected back onto the gas giant’s surface, giving the yellow currents of methane gas and neon a bluish tint. She closed her eyes. The strength she felt during the trip to Luna left her. She turned on her side. Involuntarily, her mouth opened and she inhaled deeply. She squinted as stinging tears gathered. They fell in great drops, running onto her cheeks and dropping onto the bed. Her mouth opened again, as if to cry out, but no sound came. She covered her face with her hands.
She thought about her sister, remembering watching Namazu after she returned from her first mission, a grown woman. She remembered the ancient city where they lived as young women, dusty streets, humans pushing carts of grain, scribes hurrying to the palace, farmers trading goods. Humans, only recently arrived from the desert, crowded markets, bartering for bread, reed mats, beer, and fruit. The sun was hot, but the city was cooled by breezes from the river. She remembered following narrow pathways between mud-brick structures, through a small market, to a temple that jutted out into the river.
She enjoyed sitting on the stairs leading up to this temple. She was distracted, reading sheets of papyrus, looking at Namazu and Merti holding hands, standing close to each other in the small square, speaking to each other intimately. She was happy to see her sister with someone she loved. A fountain dripped water onto a basin where women washed clothes. She remembered Merti’s hair was braided and curled, dark brown, shining golden in the sun. Namazu laughed. Then they walked into the temple, hand in hand. Batresh remembered feeling that all was right with the world.
As the night progressed, Batresh slept fitfully. Images of her sister filled her thoughts. She dreamt of Namazu as a little girl, as they played a game, throwing small pebbles against a stone wall. In a later dream, she saw her lying dead on a stretcher. She awakened panicked. Weeping again, she realized her sub-consciousness was playing out her fears. She lay her head back down on the pillow, and fell into another disturbed sleep.
The next morning, she awoke with a start. She washed and dressed impatiently, not applying makeup. Once dressed, she walked quickly to the transporter. The lift was slow. She bit her lip with anxiety, tapping her fingers on the door. Walking down a hallway where medical-bots floated above her, moving from room to room, she came upon the space where Namazu lay. She saw through the screen, that she was unconscious. A pale yellow beam of light shone over her entire body. There was one medical-bot in the room with her. Namazu’s status, in lighted print, shone in the corner of the screen facing her. Hilimaz predicted correctly, the pale light surrounding Namazu helped to regenerate damaged tissue.
Batresh was startled when she felt a hand on her left shoulder. Turning around, she saw Erish standing behind her. “Batresh,” she whispered. Erish looked at her directly. “Her prognosis is good,” she smiled and continued, “Namazu is a hero.” She brushed loose strands of hair on Batresh’s forehead back with her fingers. “She’s getting excellent care, the best.” Then, taking Batresh’s hands in hers, she continued, looking at her affectionately. “You should go home.”
Comforted by Erish’s words, Batresh began to weep again. “She is my sister.” She laid her head on Erish’s shoulder.
Erish offered, “Come, I will go with you.”