After 3498 BC, somewhere between Guatemala and the Yucatan. Kairos life 28: Otapec.
The jungle they traveled through was not too thick at ground level, but the canopy above cast their journey into shadows, and there were other, deeper shadows moving among the trees. Roland and Boston thought it best to stop and watch as the shadows stopped with them. Lincoln, who was not paying attention would have run into them, but his horse knew better. Elder Stow watched Lincoln’s horse buck as it stopped and he laughed. The Gott-Druk had not laughed much since joining the group, but he was learning.
“What’s up?” Lockhart’s voice spoke softly from the rear. Katie got busy retrieving her rifle.
“Not men,” Roland said. “I do not recognize the scent.”
“Let me try,” Boston said. She was all excited because in the last time zone, when she was under the spell of the genii, she did all sorts of magic that she never imagined she was capable of doing. She pulled out the leg bone of a doe that Roland was helping her carefully shape into a proper wand, and she focused. The tree branch lifted and they saw two reptiles, clothed and standing upright like ordinary people, and they were arguing.
“But are they tagged?” Everyone heard that because the gray reptile raised his voice.
“Yes, sir. Yes, but can’t we find a way to bring one of them now? The supreme one would be most pleased.”
“There will be time for experimentation later.”
“No! We haven’t the room nor the capacity.” He turned toward the travelers and saw the branch lifted. “We have been seen,” he said and stepped out to face them all. The one with the electronic equipment followed, and Boston was glad because she could not have held up the branch much longer.
“Can we help you?” Lockhart said, or hoped that was what he said. The language of these reptiles was all tongue slurps and guttural growls. The human tongue and vocal chords were not designed to make those sounds. Of course, thanks to the gift of the Kairos, they heard the whole conversation like it was in English, but being able to respond was another matter.
“Remarkable.” The gray one stepped up. “It is almost as if this one is trying to speak.”
“Sir,” the other interrupted. “My equipment is unable to get a lock on this one.” He referred to Roland, the elf, but before the gray one could respond, Elder Stow pushed up between Lockhart and Boston.
“These are under my protection,” he said in his own Gott-Druk language. The gray one squinted and put something like an ear bud in one ear. He tapped the box on his belt.
“Ah, yes,” he said. “One of the lesser helpers against the Balok all those years ago.”
“From the lesser ship that followed us?” The other suggested, but it was like a question. The gray one made a face, stuck out his tongue and snarled which Katie interpreted as he did not care if he was or wasn’t.
“I said, these are under my protection,” Elder Stow repeated himself.
“Yes, I heard.” He turned to his colleague. “Notice how the less intelligent feel the need to repeat what has already been plainly stated.”
“I wonder if these beasts have a form of communication.” The other pointed at the horses.
“Worth finding out,” the gray one responded. “Beasts of burden, certainly, and the first we have seen in this unsophisticated place.”
Lockhart tried again, this time in the Gott-Druk tongue. “Can we help you?”
Again, the gray one turned to the other, and this time he showed his great rows of very sharp teeth. Katie and Boston both imagined it was a reptile kind of smile. Lincoln was not so sure. “You see?” The gray one spoke. “They are capable of learning. This world might not be the total waste we imagined. It would take a great deal of time and energy, but the natives can be trained.”
“We need to get this information to the supreme one,” the other said with a hint of excitement.
“Quite right,” the gray one agreed and placed a claw on the shoulder of his companion. They turned their backs on the travelers and stepped back into the trees. A moment later, something like a real flying saucer, though a very small one like a scout ship lifted into the sky.
“That was weird.” Lockhart said what everyone felt.
“This way.” Boston had the amulet out and pointed their direction. They had to dismount and walk the horses because the jungle got thick again.
On a small hill in a wild meadow there were a number of shelters which one might call tents if one wanted to be kind. There were also a number of camp fires, children running free, women cooking and men lazing about. It might have been a scene from anywhere at any point in history, and certainly fit 3450 BC Central America, but for two things. Half of these people looked more African than Native American. They were dark skinned and had none of the expected slightly Asian look about them. Then also they carried a stone sarcophagus with them and with no visible means to move it. How it came to be in that meadow, no scientist in our day could ever explain.
One woman, beautiful and young looked up from the meat in the fire when her middle-aged, gray haired man came up to her. She kissed him because she wanted to. He kissed her because he loved her.
“Your friends are near,” the woman said.
“Then perhaps we should go and greet them,” the man responded, but the woman shook her head and made him sit down and share the meal. When they were done, she took his arm and walked him to the meadow’s edge as six horses emerged from the jungle.
“Hey, Lockhart.” The man waved.
“Otapec?” Lincoln asked. He had the database out and was trying to read. It was something he had not really been able to do in the jungle. Otapec nodded and smiled until the woman tugged on his sleeve.
“Opi, aren’t you going to introduce me to your friends.”
Otapec patted the woman’s hand, gently and introduced the travelers. Lastly he introduced his wife, Maya.
“Hello Maya.” Boston said. “My real name is Mary Riley, but everyone just calls me Boston.”
Maya did not respond as expected. In fact she reminded the travelers of the reptiles in the jungle as she turned and spoke only to Otapec. “You are right, she is a dear one.”
“Come,” Otapec waved for everyone to follow. He turned to walk and the travelers dismounted and fell in line. Otapec spoke up. “Maya has made a treat for the horses, and then I have a surprise for you as well.”
Katie looked at Lockhart, but all he could do was shrug.
Avalon 2.8: Revivals … Next Time