Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Chapter 40. Of the Departure of the First Wave

As the course at Camp Two turned from classes towards individual tuition, all seemed to be going well. So I threw myself into the work at Camp Four. My one night a week there extended to two or sometimes three. And Lily went often with me. We even took to Camp Four a human bed out of one of the monitoring rooms.

I talked a lot with the Brjemych, both their Team and the trainees. I began better to understand them and their societies.

The Brjemych had on their planet three hundred or so greater or lesser kingdoms, along with a few dozen republics. Adelghem’s tale, although it was just that – a tale, helped me understand that Brjemych politics shared much with Earthly politics. They had the right wing – those that like to dominate others by violence and fear. They had the left wing – those that favour domination by suppressing economic success. And they had what I will call the down wing – those that want power to suppress others by whatever means they can.

But the republics, so said several trainees, were on balance worse to live in than the kingdoms. For, in each case, the character of the society was determined by the character of the ruler or rulers. And while kings didn’t – except the worst of them – feel much need to be dishonest or devious, the leaders of the republics most certainly did.

I helped the Brjemych clarify, in their own minds, their attitudes towards the leaders of their societies. I thought they might find it helpful to judge each of these leaders into one of four classes, for which I suggested the names Felixes, Radixes, Feroxes and Atroxes. Then, when time came for the Brjemych equivalent of P-Day, we would look to Pull for punishment all the Atroxes, and the worst of the Feroxes and Radixes.

Although the Brjemych were behind us in their Tuglay training course, the fact that we had two waves of trainees to their one meant that their P-Day would be ten weeks or so ahead of ours. I sensed an opportunity to use the Brjemych as a practice run for our own P-Day. The lessons we learned from Camp Four could then be put into action at Camp Two.

I explained this to Gelmar, who was more understanding than I had feared he might be. He asked only that I should bring several members of my Team to Camp Four to help with the Pulling and its aftermath. Cees and Elise, in particular.

A few weeks into this process, I saw that I had, almost without realizing it, cut out for myself a new role among the Brjemych. Then, suddenly, I realized that Balzo and Odam had not been stupid, when they chose not to bring a project consultant to Camp Four. For they already had someone they wanted to grow into that role.


* * *

Meanwhile at Camp Two, much had gone right. The Tuglay were putting the finishing touches to our trainees’ understanding of what they had to do when they reached Earth. Balzo had arranged for those members of the first wave who wanted it to receive the Galant’I “service” and rejuvenation treatment while they were on Socotera.

As to the second wave, neither time nor budget allowed for a Galant’I to visit Perinent. But there was an alternative. The Galant’I would allow qualified members of certain species, whom they considered competent, to administer their “service kits” under their direction. The Seraphim were one of those species, and we had already on Perinent a Seraph medic, Zer’ael. Because he had not administered Galant’I kits before, he would first have to take a training course – but this was possible by mescap. Odam had agreed for Zer’ael to do this work, with the proviso that before he treated humans, he must first give similar treatment to the Brjemych.

There was more good news. Ramael and Hazael had volunteered to be the pilots to go to Earth. And they would come to Perinent to pick up the trainees, in time to dock with the Naudar’I ship which would take them to Socotera.

And yet more. In recognition of my extra role at Camp Four, my contract had been upgraded to Galactic Scale 21C. I was now the highest paid member of any not-yet-even-Junior species on the entire payroll of the Company for Galactic Advancement!

* * *

The Tuglay’s course for the first wave finished on a Saturday. On the Sunday, around midday, Ramael and Hazael arrived. Their ’mobile was larger than those we had so far seen – 64 passenger seats, big enough to take all the trainees together. It also had, though this was not so obvious, a serious amount of weaponry, both defensive and offensive.

I had suggested that Zer’ael and Gavantchin bring Gelmar, and with him Adelghem, up from Camp Four a day earlier than usual, as Sunday evening would be festive. It was, indeed, an end-of-term party. Ray and Jenna excelled themselves with the food, and the beer, wine and Hooch Juice all flowed copiously.

Lily button-holed Ramael, and asked him about some of the finer points of piloting. In particular, how did he dock and undock with Naudar’I ships, when they were already in motion at a mind-bending speed?

“When a ship is to pick up passengers from a planet,” said Ramael, “the Naudar’I provide a docking station. This is like a hollow rock with, usually, three entrances. It is put into an orbit a million kilometres or so from the planet, well before the ship passes. It has living and sleeping quarters as well as space for ’mobiles, so we can drop off passengers if we are not ourselves travelling too. The docking station, and everything inside it, will be flung into the ship’s envelope as it passes. Undocking is the same process in reverse.

“I’m not sure of the detail of the physics, but to reach such a speed so quickly, you have to go through something called configurational space. It’s quite a wild ride. So we make sure our passengers are deeply asleep, usually well before we reach the docking station.”

I was more interested in the possibilities for communicating with Ramael and Hazael when they were on Earth or Socotera. “When we are on Socotera, you will freely be able to use mescaps to communicate with us,” said Ramael. “But when we are on Earth, you will only be able to use mescaps with us when we are stationary relative to the Earth’s surface. That means communications will need to be initiated from our end. Fortunately, Hazael is a strong Puller and Pusher.”

* * *

On Monday morning, it came time for the trainees to leave. There were many farewells. With their meagre possessions, they trooped into Ramael and Hazael’s big ’mobile. It was hard to believe that these people would, in just a few months’ time, be instrumental in changing human history for the better.

We gathered outside the east door to watch them go. But there was a wait of several minutes, while the passengers were put under a strong, slow acting sleep-gas. Then suddenly, silently, and with amazing acceleration, the ’mobile bounded forward and took off. The nose lifted, then the ’mobile went almost straight up. Within fifteen seconds of it starting to move, we had lost sight of it.

“Right,” said Cees in a businesslike tone. “I have a Canadian professor to Pull this afternoon. Michael, Lily, are you ready for the interview?”

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