Namazu and Erish battle hostile aliens at Ole Miss
Namazu and Erish went over enhanced weaponry, in the back yard. They practiced retrieving weapons from their belts, how to aim and fire them. Finally, Namazu checked messages from the Temporal-Portal again. She found that before the riots were over, two humans will have died. Over 200 would be wounded.
At approximately four in the afternoon, she and Erish walked outside to her car. They got in and 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.
Erish thought of earlier battles, dressed as male soldiers, fighting alongside Namazu, the Napoleonic wars, wounds left by musket balls, the dying and dead on the battlefield, bodies ripped through by primitive projectiles. This time, they would not fight humans, but aliens with advanced technologies. The battle would not be as gruesome, but perhaps more fatal, more dangerous. Namazu backed onto the gravel road. She sighed as she moved the gear-shift to drive, and pointed the car towards Tupelo. They would take Main Street west, out of town. It would take them all the way to Oxford.
Namazu went over the plan. They would find a barrier for protection near the Lyceum. As the most important building on campus, it would be significant. She made a mental list of the weapons they had, the ayullu, a disk adhearing to the palm of the wearer, emitting sound waves at a pitch that sickened the Potacas. It caused head and abdominal pain, and made the beasts sharply weaker. Fired repeatedly, beasts had been known to release their hosts, disintegrating afterwards. The warak’a, directed a particle beam that caused objects it struck to disintegrate on a molecular level. It would cause death if aimed properly, the macana, 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. It should stop any creature with reptilian DNA in his tracks. Of course, they brought the time tested ocelotl that stunned the Potacas to unconsciousness.
Once out of Tupelo, the land flattened in all directions, typical of the Delta. Acres of open land had been 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. At one, in the middle of a field, a young black woman stood wearing work-worn clothing. She was staring at the highway, her head bare in the sun.
Against her will, the memory returned, Namazu saw Marquesha lying in a similarly barren field. Men standing around her, a white summer suit, dusty from chasing her down a dirt road. She remembered men shouting. When Namazu found her, lying unconscious, she looked at the men standing around, shouting threats. Apparently, Namazu was next on their list of abominations.
Entering the campus of the University of Mississippi, they drove towards the Circle at the Lyceum, aided by a navigation system Namazu built earlier that day. They drove around to the Confederate Memorial, passing jeeps and military trucks. She parked just past the monument. They heard shouting. There was no one close enough to see them as they attached the ayullus to their palms, the warak’a and macana to their belts. Any federal marshal seeing them would assume the weapons were decorative costume jewelry. The ocelotl was attached to an innocuous looking bracelet each of them wore. A disk on the bottom of the bracelet must be aimed at the target. They also attached chimallis to their belts, a shield generating device that protected the fronts and backs of their bodies.
Looking up at the Confederate Memorial, Erish remarked, “Only 100 years since then.”
“Not much has changed,” Namazu responded shaking her head.
She gestured towards the Lyceum. They walked slowly, observing clusters of people. They heard racial epithets, and angry shouting. Some men tried to recreate the rebel yell considered to be so unnerving during the Civil War. Erish thought to herself, ironically, that it sounded more like an untrained castrato.
Trying to appear as curious onlookers, they walked through the Circle. An early autumn sun cast lean, angled shadows through the trees. Several groups seemed to be students, some adults, occasionally 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 small disk in a ring on her right hand. Now, she could communicate with Batresh and Hilimaz. “Are you there?” she whispered.
“We are here,” Hilimaz responded. “We can see what you see.” She paused. “Many adults have beasts, but we don’t see them on the young.”
Namazu saw tell-tell signs of Potacas here and there. Almost identical males, pale skin, short in stature. “At least they are not all dressed alike,” she tried to joke.
They walked to a spot behind a van. Looking to their left, they saw more people gathering on the side of the circle across from the Lyceum, shouting racial slurs. Namazu noticed some carried shotguns. Telepathically, she instructed Erish to activate her shields. Erish looked across the circle, and saw in the distance, at the other side, a bus pulling up to the street. The first person to exit was tall and muscled, a Tlaloc modified to look human. Namazu nodded and they both activated mitis, cold blasting weapons. More people exited the bus, highly agitated.
Hilimaz continued, “So far, all the humans on the bus have beasts.”
“Can you do DNA scans?” Namazu asked Hilimaz.
“You have to be closer,” she responded.
They heard a gunshot. From the sound, the 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, taking no action. They watched, some laughed, most talked among themselves. A pickup truck, and three more automobiles drove into parking spots nearby. 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 looked to the right and saw them.
“I’ll move closer,” she whispered.
Walking towards them, she heard more racial epithets. She grew angry but maintained control. “Can you see their DNA?”
“I am 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 significant contribution.
“Somehow, I am not surprised there’s only one,” she whispered sarcastically. Now, 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, heavy man was approaching quickly from behind. Looking at her, Namazu sent an urgent telepathic message, but the tall 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, and 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, twisted her leg, and picked her up off the ground, throwing her against a nearby tree. Erish grimaced and collapsed. Namazu activated the miti, the cold blasting weapon. Running towards them, she aimed at the tall man and fired. Immediately, 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. Someone threw a Molotov cocktail. Reaching Erish, Namazu lifted her into her arms, shaking her softly. Erish began to focus.
Namazu noticed her shield activated. Someone fired a weapon. The original group of men disbanded but others were arriving. She heard the pop of tear-gas launchers. Curses and shouts grew louder. An automobile was on fire. Feeling in the pocket of her dress, she put a breather on Erish as the 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, “…have to find a protected place.”
Throwing Erish’s left arm over her shoulder, Namazu took her towards the center. At the flag pole, she saw a priest, urging the crowd to disperse. Rioters were shouting at him. Canisters were landing around them. People were coughing and throwing whatever they could find at the troops. Another Molotov cocktail exploded five meters away. The blue electric glow of their shields activated.
In the near distance was a building under construction. They moved in that direction, looking for a place to observe. Erish’s strength began to return.”
“Hilimaz,” Namazu spoke into the communicator. “Do you see a safe place for us to hide?”
But, it was Batresh who responded, “You might want to make your way back to the car. You’ll need to put the humans in the trunk,” Batresh 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 something.” She pulled from her dress pocket, a disk, similar to the ayullu Namazu had tried earlier. However, this disk was larger and had a metallic protrusion in the center. Erish lay it on the ground. Suddenly, a red spherical glow emanated from it, then dissolved. They saw two small men, Potacas, fall to the ground. Several humans nearby dropped their weapons, placing their hands on their abdomens. Three dropped to their knees. “It worked,” Erish yelled. Namazu’s eyes widened. They continued to the car.
“What was that?” Namazu asked, looking at Erish incredulously.
“Something I have been working on.” 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?”
“Yes, but with diminishing effectiveness.”
Breathing heavily, they stood against the automobile. Men ran in several directions, shouting, carrying objects to throw. Some brought pistols and shotguns. Nearby was a group of several men who could be Potacas, and one that was tall enough to be a Tlaloc.
“Hilimaz,” Namazu whispered into the sensor at her shoulder, “Do you have a visual on the people around us?”
“Yes,” she paused, “…there are three humans standing together. They are a little ahead of you, to the right. The one in the center is carrying a Confederate flag.”
“I see them,” Erish nodded.
Hilimaz continued, “They are all candidates.”
The three men stood four yards in front of the car, facing away from them. Without talking, Namazu looked at the ocelotl on her bracelet. She turned the disk towards the right. Erish heard two clicks. Then, Namazu raised her wrist and pointed it at the three 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.
Once inside, Namazu continued, “Grab your weapon!” She started the vehicle. A brick struck the passenger side window. Erish instinctively moved away from the cracked glass. Namazu pushed the accelerator to the floor. The tires squealed. “Smash the window, and throw a disk at my command!”
They drove south around the circle. The sky was darkening. Thick tear gas floated through the air. A clump of men stood nearby.
“Throw one!” Namazu commanded.
Erish threw the disk. A red, electric sphere of light emanated from the spot where it landed. Several collapsed, others dropped their weapons.
The two women sped on.
Reaching a crowded spot, ahead, they could see the roof of the Lyceum. This is where most rioters gathered. 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. Suddenly 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 a clump of 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’s feet, 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. Out of her left eye, she saw two tall men with weapons drawn. She ducked down, allowing the white beams to shoot over her head. Speeding around to the other side of the Circle, they approached another crowd of rioters. 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. She approached the street exiting the Circle. Another Tlaloc stood 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 rear view mirror and saw him rolling on the street.
She was driving fast, swerving to avoid groups of people standing, and others running towards the Circle. The back tires screeched as she turned left, heading out of the campus. Speeding past stop signs and through traffic lights, she knew she was driving too fast for the town. Fists banged against the inside of the trunk of the car. 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 made her way to the highway. It was a dark, moonless night. Looking over at Namazu, she wondered what the Tlaloc had fired at her. Namazu’s eyes were open. 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. The shouting from the trunk began again. She considered pulling over and firing the ocelotl at the trunk, to render them unconscious a second time. But then, headlights appeared in the rearview mirror. The vehicle behind her was moving faster. She wondered how they could go so fast since this sports car was one of the fastest 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 suddenly aware of another car crossing the highway ahead. Swerving sharply to the left to miss it, crossing into the oncoming lane, the tires screamed as she tried to regain control of the car. She turned sharply to the right. The left side of the vehicle lifted from the street, but then lowered again, hitting the pavement hard.
She struggled to control the steering, running 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. It crashed down onto the pavement with a bang, scraping metal onto concrete. She turned to the right sharply, pressing the gas pedal to the floor. The motor hesitated, stalling, then engaged once more, picking up speed. She was covered with perspiration. “Namazu!” she yelled again.
Through the mirror, the men in the car behind her seemed tall. They were Tlalocs. They sat in the front seat. Their vehicle must be enhanced. “Namazu!” she screamed, bringing her right hand to Namazu’s shoulder, shaking her.
She moved her right hand to her belt, and found the macana, the laser weapon. Wondering how to drive and fire at the vehicle behind, she knew she had no choice. Namazu was still struggling to sit, her face expressionless, focused on the dash board.
Erish felt communication from Namazu appear in her cerebral cortex, 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 of the convertible. The humans in the trunk could have been hit by the laser. Trying to alternate 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 her.
One of the Tlalocs had a weapon pointed at her. 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 them. 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 onto the road, turning sharply to the right. The car bumped violently over a ditch and drifted onto an open field of dry corn 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 her.
The Tlaloc’s vehicle was engulfed in flames. The dry corn 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. She was seated in front of the display upstairs at the house. “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 to her, maybe nerve damage.” Hilimaz looked up at Batresh. “The humans are alive. They are bruised and overheated, but otherwise 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, completely 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. “…a broken rib, a sprained wrist, a concussion, and a 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.” Looking up at Batresh who was looking towards the wall, away from the display, she continued, “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.