After 4176 BC on Malta. Kairos: Odelion
“I think it is ugly.” Boston rarely minced her words.
“It’s artistic,” Lincoln tried to give the benefit of the doubt. He had his pad and pencil out to make a rendering.
“It looks like it has been here for a long time. Let me see.” Katie Harper finally pulled out one of the mysterious bits of technology from of her backpack. She examined the carving by scanning it and checking the readout. It was a flat faced carving on a stone, not really a statue, and it was set all alone in a clearing in the jungle.
“A representation of some demon-god,” Boston suggested.
“No. A true rendering of a spiritual reality, I would say.” Mingus touched it carefully. “I would call it a greater spirit of the night.”
“Call it a dream spirit,” Alexis suggested.
Lincoln amended that. “A nightmare spirit.” It had a flat head with high brows like a Neanderthal, eyes that glared and were far bigger than necessary, fangs for teeth, and four arms that ended in claws and looked to be reaching for the onlookers.
Katie spoke again. “According to my best estimate, this carving is about three thousand years old.”
“Let me see.” Boston stepped over to look at Katie’s equipment. “The amulet also has a temporal setting. It says thirty four hundred years.” She showed Katie so they could compare.
“But you said, or rather Lincoln read from the database that we have only traveled three hundred and fifty years since the beginning.” Captain Decker did the math. “You are saying this is older than the Kairos.”
“I would say three thousand plus years older.” Katie nodded. “That would make it pre-flood.”
“Gott-Druk,” Mingus said.
“Neanderthal,” Lockhart translated for those who did not know.
People nodded. “I had forgotten,” Alexis admitted.
“This is Malta,” Katie said. “There should be some old temples around here as well, though they may be ruins already after the flood. It would be a good way to check the readings.”
“Quiet.” Roland’s word was sharp. His hunter senses were on alert since they climbed down the mountain and entered the jungle and he was presently the only one who was paying attention to the wilderness. People looked up and he waved quickly to one side of the clearing. Everyone scattered, hid and did their best to remain perfectly quiet.
They heard the strangers before they saw them. There were three, and they clearly looked Neanderthal. They all had on orange jumps suits of a sort that looked technologically way beyond what the humans imagined the Gott-Druk should have. Lieutenant Harper and Captain Decker in particular were looking for classic cavemen.
“But the locals are resistant, our ancient cousins are behaving stupidly and there are Elenar reported in the area.” One of the Gott-Druk complained as he counted off his fingers.
A second Gott-Druk, the evident leader of the group quieted his fellow. He held up a device of some kind. He pressed some buttons and looked into a screen. “An ancient Ankaron Battleship. I don’t think we even have one of those in a museum.” He turned his device off and reassured his comrade. “You could take it down with a handgun.”
“Still, there is the one favored by the powers of the earth. He has already cost our cousins dearly.” The Gott-Druk counted a fourth finger.
“Yes,” the leader said. “But if we can eliminate him and take down the Elenar, the first plan may yet go forth as conceived.”
The third one spoke. “But if the first plan succeeds, we may never be born.”
“Worth the risk,” the leader said as he lifted his device and punched some more buttons. He lowered it and scanned 180 degrees of the forest where the travelers were hiding. “But come. Too many eyes and ears here.”
The others looked. “I see nothing,” one said, but the leader moved off and the others were obliged to follow.
Captain Decker and Roland cautioned everyone to remain silent. They led them through the trees, and not in a straight line. Roland scouted up front to pick out the trail and Captain Decker watched the rear. They were a mile beyond the carving in the clearing before Roland let anyone speak.
“What were they on about?” Katie Harper wanted to know.
“I met the Elenar in the future – back home. They are like Cro-Mangon and if not the enemies of the Gott-Druk, they are watchers at least determined to make sure the Neanderthals don’t come back and try to retake the earth.”
“I see,” Boston said. “But where would the human race fit, if the Neanderthals were successful, I mean in retaking the earth?”
“We would not fit,” Lockhart said.
“Or become a permanent slave underclass,” Mingus suggested.
“Well, one thing.” Lincoln spoke up. “I suspect the favored of the gods is the Kairos and if the Gott-Druk plan is to eliminate him it might be a good idea if we find him first.”
“Right.” Boston spoke with some vigor. “This way.” She had the amulet out and pointed. Roland joined her at the front.
It was hardly another mile before they came to the sea. It was not the best beach. In fact, the jungle marched right down to the water in several places where there was a ledge. They could see where the waves were digging the dirt out from beneath the trees and imagine there might be a beach some day, but not yet.
“I thought we might find a village,” Alexis said. Lincoln shrugged. Roland, Mingus and the marines kept quiet. Boston, though, shook the amulet the way Doctor Procter used to shake it.
“What?” Lockhart asked.
“The amulet points straight out to sea, twenty miles.”
“Nautical miles?” Captain Decker asked.
“Let me see,” Lockhart imitated Boston’s curious attitude and she showed him. “But it is a little to the south. Let’s try this way. Maybe there is a peninsula or something.
“Not on Malta,” Katie shook her head.
“Another island?” Boston turned to face the marine.
“No,” Lincoln answered. “There are two or so other islands in the Malta group, but they are north, not south.”
“The woods!” Roland spoke sharply again and everyone jumped. An airship of some sort came into view. It was noisy, like is was driven by an internal combustion engine, and it flew low and slow across the water. Lockhart and Lincoln agreed it was a shuttle, probably four to six passengers plus crew.
“Surgical strike,” Captain Decker suggested.
“Hurry!” Lockhart said, and they hurried south in the wake of that ship.