Namazu and Erish fight aliens at the Ole Miss riots, September, 1962
Namazu and Erish went over enhanced weapons, practicing their aim. Checking the Temporal-Portal once more, they found two humans would die and over 200 would be wounded.
At four in the afternoon, she and Erish walked outside. They looked at each other with apprehension. Like their ancient forebears, they looked to the skies. Namazu gripped Erish’s hand tightly. Whispering in unison, ancient phrases in the old language, they invoked She whose fire scorches the deserts, She whose winds strip flesh from bone, She who is the flame in the eye of Ra, the Lady of wrath, the Lioness whose bloodlust is not quenched, the Goddess Sekhmet.
They were going into battle.
In earlier battles dressed as male soldiers, Erish fought alongside Namazu. In the Napoleonic wars, they left carnage behind them, bodies ripped by primitive projectiles. This time, they would not fight humans, but aliens with advanced technology. Wounds would not be as gruesome, but more fatal. Namazu backed onto gravel. Sighing as she moved the gear-shift, she pointed the car towards Tupelo. They would take Main Street west, all the way to Oxford.
They planned to find a barrier near the Lyceum. The most important building on campus would be significant. For weapons, they had, the ayullu, a disk adhearing to the palm of the wearer, emitting sound waves at a pitch that sickened the Potacas, causing head and abdominal pain. Repeated bursts had caused beasts to release their hosts, disintegrating them afterwards. The warak’a directed a particle beam that caused objects it struck to disintegrate on a molecular level, causing death if aimed properly. The macana was a laser weapon that burned through steel. In case they encountered Tlalocs, they also brought a miti, a directed beam that caused molecules to vibrate slower, equivalent to a blast of cold, stopping any creature with reptilian DNA in its tracks.
They also brought the time tested ocelotl that stunned the Potacas to unconsciousness.
Once out of Tupelo, the land flattened, typical of the Delta. Acres of open land recently shorn of corn, soybeans, and sorghum. Cotton fields had been plucked, bits of white cotton still clinging to hard, dry sticks. They passed lonely gas stations, weathered barns, and share-croppers’ shacks. In the middle of a field, a young black woman stood wearing work-worn clothing, staring at the highway, her head bare in the sun.
Unbidden, Namazu saw a woman lying in corn stalks. Glancing through the car window, she tried to push the memory away. Men stood around her, one wearing a white suit, dusty from running. They were shouting. “Abomination!” pointing at Namazu.
“We’re here,” Erish said.
Entering the campus, they drove towards the Circle aided by a navigation system Namazu built that day. Driving around, passing jeeps and military trucks, they parked just past the Confederate Monument. They heard shouting. No one stood close enough to see them attach ayullus to their palms, warak’a and macana to their belts. Federal marshalls seeing them would assume the weapons were costume jewelry. They attached chimallis, a shield generator protecting the fronts and backs of their bodies.
Looking up at the Memorial, Erish remarked, “Only 100 years.”
“Not much has changed,” Namazu responded.
Gesturing towards the Lyceum, they walked slowly. Clusters of people yelled racial epithets. A man nearby tried to recreate the rebel yell considered to be so unnerving during the Civil War. Erish thought to herself, it sounded more like an untrained castrato.
Trying to seem like onlookers, they walked through the Circle. An early autumn sun cast lean, angled shadows through trees. They passed groups of students, adults, a man holding a Confederate flag, another wearing a Southern uniform. As they approached the Lyceum, they saw federal troops in straight lines, commanders standing in front.
Namazu pressed a disk in a ring on her right hand. “Are you there?” she whispered.
“Yes,” Hilimaz responded. “We can see what you see.” She paused. “Most adults have beasts, but we don’t see them on the young.”
Namazu saw almost identical males, pale skin, short in stature, Potacas. “At least they are not all dressed the same,” she tried to joke.
They walked behind a van. To their left, more people gathered across from the Lyceum. Some carried shotguns. Telepathically, she instructed Erish to activate shields.
Looking across the circle, Erish saw a bus pulling up. The first person to exit was tall and muscled, a Tlaloc. Namazu nodded. They activated mitis, cold blasting weapons. More humans exited the bus, agitated.
Hilimaz continued, “So far, all the humans on the bus have beasts.”
“Can you do scans?” Namazu asked Hilimaz.
“You have to be closer,” she responded.
They heard a gunshot. A bullet hit a column on the Lyceum, and ricocheted. Rioters moved closer to the troops. Someone threw a brick.
Looking to their left, Namazu saw a group of Mississippi State Police, standing together. They watched, some laughed, talking among themselves. A pickup truck, and more automobiles drove to the Circle. People threw rocks, bottles, whatever they could find.
Over communicators, Batresh asserted, “We see a group of men, all have beasts, to your right.” Namazu saw them.
“I’ll move closer,” she whispered.
Approaching them, she heard more racial epithets. She grew angry but maintained control. “Can you see their DNA?”
“Getting readings,” Hilimaz continued. “The only human you cannot take is the one in the striped shirt.” Namazu knew that he would be the only one whose descendants made a contribution.
“Not surprised there’s only one,” she whispered sarcastically. She held her palm out towards them, the ayullu fired. One small man ran away, a Potacas.
Hilimaz instructed, “No change in the beasts.”
Namazu sighed. They had to find another strategy. She looked back at Erish who now stood behind a tree about 10 meters away. A tall man approached quickly from behind. Looking at her, Namazu sent an urgent message, but the man put his hand around Erish’s neck. Instinctively, she lifted her right foot and kicked the Tlaloc hard in the crotch. There was no response. His grip tightened. She swung around with her right fist, striking him on the nose. Both hands went to his face. Standing on her left foot, she spun around, kicking him on the left side of his head. He stepped back. She spun around in the other direction, lifting her left foot. He grabbed her by the ankle, twisting her leg. He picked her up off the ground, throwing her against a tree. Erish grimaced and collapsed.
Namazu activated the cold blasting weapon. Running towards them, she aimed at him and fired. His movements slowed. She fired again and he began to slump, a third time and he fell to his knees. She fired again and he dropped to the ground. An explosion of fire flashed among federal troops, a Molotov cocktail.
Reaching Erish, Namazu lifted her into her arms, shaking her softly.
Erish began to focus.
Namazu’s shield activated. Someone fired a weapon. The group of men disbanded but others arrived. She heard the pop of tear-gas launchers. Curses grew louder. An automobile was on fire. Feeling in her pocket, she put a breather on Erish as tear gas thickened. Launchers sounded. A canister landed three meters away. She brought Erish to her feet. Looking around, she saw more rioters walking towards the Circle, “…need a protected place.”
Throwing Erish’s arm over her shoulder, Namazu pulled her towards the center. At the flag pole, a priest urged the crowd to disperse. Rioters shouted at him. More canisters landed around them. People were coughing and throwing whatever they could find. Another Molotov cocktail exploded five meters away. The blue electric glow of shields flashed around the two women.
In the near distance a building was under construction. They moved in that direction, looking for a place to observe. Erish grew stronger.
“Hilimaz,” Namazu spoke into the communicator. “Do you see a safe place?”
But, it was Batresh who responded, “Make your way back to the car. Put the humans in the trunk.” She was suddenly more willing to violate the Moral Code. Namazu nodded.
People gathered at the construction site. They collected bricks, boards, pipes, anything they could throw.
Namazu and Erish headed towards the car. Mostly grown men, not students, ran through the Circle towards the Lyceum. Erish pulled on Namazu’s shirtsleeve. “Let me try.”
She pulled a disk from her dress pocket. It was similar to the ayullu Namazu fired earlier. However, this disk was larger and had a metallic protrusion in the center. Erish lay it on the ground. A red spherical glow emanated from it, then dissolved. They saw two small men, Potacas, fall to the ground. Humans nearby dropped their weapons, placing their hands on their abdomens. Three dropped to their knees.
“It worked,” Erish said.
Namazu’s eyes widened. “What was that?”
“I’ve been working on it.” They were both panting. “An enhanced ayullu.”
Men ran past them.
“How many do you have?” Namazu continued.
“Three more in my pocket. Four in the car”
“Can you use them more than once?”
“With diminishing effectiveness.”
Breathing heavy, they stood against the car. Men were running in all directions, shouting, carrying objects to throw. Some brought pistols and shotguns. Nearby was a group of Potacas, with a Tlaloc.
“Hilimaz,” Namazu whispered into the sensor at her shoulder, “Do you have a visual on the people around us?”
“Yes,” she paused, “…three humans standing together. Ahead of you, to the right. The one in the center has a Confederate flag.”
“I see them,” Erish nodded.
Hilimaz continued, “They are all candidates.”
The men stood several meters in front of the car, facing away. Without talking, Namazu turned the disk on her bracelet two clicks to the right. Then, raising her hand, pointed it at the men. She fired. A transparent orange beam shot towards them. Instantly, two collapsed. The third, standing closest, seeing his friends fall, turned white, and stepped back. His mouth agape, he turned and ran.
“Come!” Namazu shouted.
Erish opened the trunk of the car, and ran to join Namazu who was lifting one of the men onto her shoulder. Erish lifted the other. He still held the Confederate flag. They took the unconscious men to the car, and lay them in the trunk. “Get in,” Namazu ordered.
Erish pointed, wordlessly, to a position behind Namazu. Before she could turn, a small Potacas jumped onto her back, wrapping his legs around her. With his left hand, he pulled her hair violently back. She spun around, slapping at him with her hands. He pulled a device from his belt and drew back to plunge it into her neck.
Erish opened her palm towards him and an orange beam shot forwards. His movements slowed. Namazu backed against the car violently, crushing his body. He fell from her back onto the ground. Moving slowly, but still holding the device in his hand, he lunged toward Namazu’s bare legs. She kicked his face, causing him to fall onto his back.
Erish screamed. A Potacas wrapped his legs around her tightly, like a child playing piggy back. He slapped at her head and face to distract her. Pulling a hypodermic looking device from his belt he plunged it into her neck.
Namazu clicked the setting on her wrist and opened her palm towards them. A darker orange beam shot towards the struggling pair.
The Potacas loosened his grip and fell to the ground.
Namazu turned and kicked the small creature lying nearest her, in the head.
Erish fell to her knees.
Namazu ran to the other side of the car.
Erish held onto the door handle. “So cold,” she murmured.
“Seedlings,” Namazu shouted. “He injected seedlings.” She looked furtively around her. Men were running towards the Lyceum. No one noticed the two women kneeling on the ground, nor the Potacas lying unconscious near them. “Hold on, concentrate.” Namazu turned Erish’s head to face her. “I’m sorry, darlin,” she said as she slapped her hard. “Stay awake!” A stone, thrown from behind, ricocheted off the car window.
Namazu stood, lifted Erish and dragged her to the other side of the car. She placed her in the passenger seat and shut the door. Blue shielding flashed on and off, a projectile bounced away from her as she ran back.
Once in the vehicle, she reached under the seat for a pouch. She withdrew a small cylinder and reached over, moving it across Erish’s arm. Her eyes were closed, she seemed to be sleeping. Namazu knew her enhanced immune system was fighting the biological weapon.
“Wake up!” she shouted again.
Keeping the cylinder in contact with her skin, she reached up and pulled Erish’ hair hard.
She gasped, and began to breathe fast.
“What?” Erish whispered.
“Seedlings,” Namazu responded. “Let’s sit here for a moment.”
Erish began to stuggle to wake herself. Moving her hands, she tried to push Namazu away.
“It’s alright honey. You’ll be fine,” Namazu whispered. Reaching down for the pouch, she found a tube of cream. Squeezing it onto Erish’s skin, she moved the cylinder over it. The small mound of cream dissolved.
Erish gasped, sitting up forcefully.
“Sorry to do that to you, but we have to get out of here now.”
Erish was panting. Her heart raced.
“OK, maybe it’s overkill, but you’re awake now.” Namazu said as she started the vehicle. “Get your homemade weapon ready, honey,” she said, trying to joke.
A brick struck the passenger side window. Erish moved away from cracked glass. Namazu pushed the accelerator to the floor. Tires squealed. “Smash the window, and throw a disk at my command!”
They drove south around the circle. The sky was darkening. Tear gas floated through the air. A group of men stood nearby.
“Throw one!” Namazu commanded.
Erish threw the disk. A red, electric sphere of light emanated from the ground. The men collapsed, dropping their weapons.
The two women sped on.
Reaching a crowd, they could see the roof of the Lyceum. Most rioters gathered here. Bricks and boards arched through the air towards the troops. “Throw two disks, as far as you can.” Erish leaned through the broken window, raised her right fist into the air, and threw disks towards the crowd. Again, spheres of red light appeared. The crowd thinned as men fell to the ground. Namazu pressed the pedal to the floor and the car spun around, facing in the opposite direction. A bullet hit the windshield at an angle, cracking the glass and ricocheting away. Namazu pressed forward.
A tall man stepped in front of the car, aiming what appeared to be a pistol. He fired. A white beam of light passed through the glass of the windshield. Namazu’s shield activated, but the beam passed through it hitting her squarely in the forehead. Immediately, she slumped in the seat. The car sped on, striking the tall man flinging him to the side.
Erish took the steering wheel. The car squealed around the circle. She threw another disk at men to her right, not stopping to see its affect. Looking in the side mirror, she saw the man they hit struggling to stand again. Steering the car around the Circle, she looked back and could no longer see him. She reached her left foot over Namazu and pushed the brake pedal, pulling the vehicle over to the side.
Running to the driver’s side, she pushed Namazu to the right, out of the driver’s position.
Pressing the gas pedal to the floor, the car screeched away towards the other side of the Lyceum. On the left, she saw two tall men with weapons drawn. She ducked down, allowing white beams to shoot over her head. Speeding around to the other side of the Circle, they approached another crowd. Erish threw three disks. The weapons fired, and again, the crowd thinned, as men and Potacas fell. Three Tlalocs stood there, focused on the now scratched and dented car. Turning the vehicle violently, spinning around facing the opposite direction, she slung gravel into the crowd.
Approaching the exit to the Circle, she saw another Tlaloc blocking the road ahead. She sped on and fumbled for the miti at her belt. Finding it, and lifting it towards him, she saw him aim his weapon. She fired and saw him slump. He struggled to stand as the vehicle struck him. The front of the vehicle rose as it drove over him. Then the back of the car lifted into the air with a thud, as the vehicle continued on. She looked in the mirror and saw him rolling on the street.
She swerved to avoid groups of people standing and running to the Circle. The back tires screeched as she turned left, heading out of the campus. Speeding past stop signs and through traffic lights, she was driving too fast for the narrow streets.
Fists banged against the inside of the trunk. The men were waking. A muffled voice shouted, “Let us outta here!” He kicked the trunk lid from the inside, and beat it with his fist. He continued, cursing and threatening. Running over a rise in the street, she heard the men tossed in the trunk. They grew quieter.
After a short time, she reached the highway. It was a dark, moonless night. Looking over at Namazu, she wondered what the Tlaloc had fired at her. Her eyes were open, but she struggled to sit upright.
“Namazu!” Erish shouted. But Namazu could not hear her. Her eyes were focused on the dashboard. Erish sensed no communication.
Pressing the gas pedal down, she picked up speed. Shouting from the trunk began again. She considered pulling over and firing the ocelotl to render them unconscious. But headlights appeared in the rearview mirror. The vehicle behind her was gaining speed. She wondered how they could go faster than this sports car, the most powerful on the road. Looking at the speedometer she read 125 miles per hour. She pushed the gas pedal to the floor, but the vehicle behind was still gaining.
Focusing on the car in her rear-view mirror, she was aware of another car crossing the highway ahead. Swerving sharply to the left to miss it, she crossed into the oncoming lane. The tires screached as she tried to regain control of the car. Turning sharply to the right, she felt the side of the vehicle lift from the street, but then lowered again, hitting the pavement.
She struggled to regain control of the steering. Skidding onto the shoulder, she tried to turn the car back on to the highway. Looking in the rearview mirror, she saw a trail of dust.
The car ran over a small rise. The high speed launched the vehicle into the air, crashing down onto the pavement with a bang, scraping the undercarriage onto concrete. She turned to the right sharply, pressing the gas pedal to the floor. The motor stalled, then engaged, picking up speed. She was covered with perspiration. “Namazu!” she yelled again.
Through the mirror, she saw the men in the car behind were tall, Tlalocs. They sat in the front seat. Their vehicle was enhanced. “Namazu!” she screamed, bringing her right hand to Namazu’s shoulder, shaking her.
She moved her hand to her belt, and found the macana, the laser weapon. Wondering how she could drive and fire at the vehicle behind them, she knew she had no choice. Namazu was struggling to sit, her face expressionless. She was focused on the dash board.
Erish felt communication from Namazu, but it incomprehensible.
Erish aimed the macana at the vehicle behind her, while keeping her eyes focused on the road ahead. Firing, she smelled the scent of burning plastic and metal. Looking in the mirror, she saw that she had fired the laser through the plastic back window and trunk lid. The humans in the trunk were hit by the laser. Alternating focus between the road ahead and the vehicle behind, she fired again. Cutting another slash through the window, the beam stuck the grill of the car behind them.
One of the Tlalocs had a weapon pointed at them. Swerving violently to the left, she saw the Tlaloc’s beam pass through the air where the car had been. Turning the car so sharply, caused it to spin around in the road. She was now facing in the opposite direction, Namazu had been thrown hard against the right side of the car. The humans slammed against the wall of the trunk. She heard what sounded like a head hit the trunk lid. The Tlaloc’s vehicle zoomed past.
Erish pressed the gas pedal to the floor, and turned fiercely into the highway. The Jaguar’s motor hesitated. Pumping the gas pedal violently, the motor engaged again and she sped up. Now, behind them, she aimed the macana directly at the gas tank of the large car. As the laser beam made contact with the metal of the tank, the car exploded in a ball of fire. The back end of the vehicle lifted into the air and crashed back down, turning sharply to the right. The car bumped violently over a ditch and drifted onto an open field of dry stalks. Erish turned to the left, pulling off the road onto a bumpy, plowed patch of ground.
Braking on the gravel on the side of the highway, the tires skidded. Dust swirled around them.
The Tlaloc’s vehicle was engulfed in flames. The dry field caught fire. Erish pushed the gas pedal down and turned back onto the road. Looking ahead, she saw the burned slash in the windshield. She sighed heavily and looked back at Namazu, still slumped, semi-conscious against the right side of the car.
Erish was wet from perspiration, afraid but exhilarated. Namazu sat in the same position, struggling, slumped, not moving. Erish whispered into the communicator at her shoulder. “Hilimaz,” she paused, “Are you there?”
“We are here.” Hilimaz swallowed hard. “Are you and Namazu OK?”
Back at the house, Batresh stood next to Hilimaz, covering her face with her left hand, as if she was trying not to see what was happening. She called, “Namazu?”
After a short silence, Erish replied, “Can you sense the humans? Can you sense Namazu?”
Hilimaz sighed. “We don’t know what the Tlaloc weapon did, maybe nerve damage. The humans are alive. Bruised and overheated, but OK.” She paused again, “Pull over, and render them unconscious. They will sleep and cool down.” Erish slowed down. The car rattled as she pulled off to the side of the highway. The muffler was loose. Carbon monoxide was leaking into the trunk. The exhaust pipes were damaged.
“Namazu’s signs are weak. We must get her to to Luna,” Hilimaz continued.
Sensing the car slow down, one of the men in the trunk shouted, “Pleeeeease let me out.” He wept, his earlier bravado, vanished.
Erish stepped out of the vehicle, and walked to the back. Aiming the ocelotl at the trunk, she discharged the weapon. The yelling stopped.
Hilimaz said, “They are unconscious.”
Opening the trunk, she saw the men were disheveled and wet with perspiration. Erish walked to the one on the right side of the trunk. “This one is wounded,” Hilimaz said. “broken rib, sprained wrist, concussion, laser burn on his left arm.”
Erish sighed. “Watch them, Hilimaz,” she paused. “Let me know if they regain consciousness.”
“Understood,” Hilimaz responded. “Take them to Namazu’s ship. Go directly to Lunar Base. They all need medical attention.” She sighed, “We will meet you at the ship. Namazu should receive care as soon as possible.”
Erish bit her lower lip with fear, and got back in the car.