For the first time in months there was rain in the region of the Vestige Clan. Councilor Miriana Housenn Thuall wasn’t sure if it rained in the farther reaches of the two other Clans, but she did not concern herself too much about it. In fact, she was more concerned about her own family’s photovoltaic sun-catcher. It was a relatively new piece of technology all three Clans had utilized for collecting photonic energy from cMaj’s local star. Typically, the sun-catchers were a wide and very thin wall of specially heated glass from cMaj’s sand…specifically, the sands taken from Lake Thuall. That same lake with the so-called sentient-sand. The properties of the living sand’s neural connections greatly augmented the transmittible qualities of the photovoltaic walls—usually, a few feet away from each family’s mastaba-hut. Universally, when cMaj’s sky was cloudy or during nighttime, the sun-catchers gathered approximately 90 percent less photonic energy from the sky and even the stars at night—including cMaj’s three moons.
Councilor Housenn Thuall thought within herself that there was a time, many years prior, where the Councilor used to reach out to the cMaji and the Dominions to make sure their settlements were getting enough rain for their crops and basic sanitation—and that was after a bit of treatment of the water by the citizens, of course. Even after 70 years on cMaj after the bombing of the old Ship, Vestige, humans still had to treat the water of cMaj for them to digest and bathe with it. The humans had adjusted to their new ecosystem for the most part. But it was a constant reminder to the humans on cMaj that they were still the aliens…
Filleppe Thuall, common-husband to Miriana, came in from the rain, as he was doing some agrarian work on their own plot of land. Even though she was around 65 and he just a bit older, like pretty much every elderly human on cMaj the couple had no choice but to continue to labor the land—for their food, clothing, and even much harder work when it came to utilizing their trees for the upkeep of their mastaba-hut. Those tree limbs, rocks and pebbles, and jagged stones from the plateaus were what made it possible for all three human Clans to construct the tools and equipment that was necessary for their agrarian work.
After the Thualls ate dinner and retired for the evening, they were both greatly surprised when they heard persistent knocks on their hut’s door! In those days, all the portable devices that were built with synthetic intelligence had all expired years prior. Generally speaking, when they were all manufactured during the Glory Days on Vestige, they were never quite as high functioning as the humanoid synthetic laborers. So, there were none left on all of cMaj that could serve as a lookout for their respective Clans. All three Clans were grateful for the repurposing of the parts of those portable devices, but it was times like these that Councilor Housenn Thuall really wished they still had them around as a watcher!
Miriana had grabbed an old, long tree branch that they kept around the hut for self defense and slowly crept up to the door! Filleppe stayed behind her as backup, the elderly man strong from all the labor that cMaj demanded on all humans! But seconds later, a man’s muffled voice came through the hut’s door.
“It’s Rhett, Councilor…it’s very important that I talk with you!”
The couple looked at each other for a length of time. Why in stars would the leader of the Dominionists Clan unexpectedly show up at the Councilor of Vestige Clan’s abode in the middle of the night?
Miriana handed her husband the tree branch as she finally unlatched the door and opened it, with the tall middle-aged Rhett an Preun standing at the doorway; politely waiting to be invited in.
The couple, despite themselves, graciously allowed the human chauvinist into their relatively small mastaba-hut. His body-wrap clothing looked damp, meaning he most likely was out in the rain a few hours ago…that couldn’t be good!
Filleppe offered for him to sit at one of their wicker chairs but the bearded man politely refused.
“Councilor,” Rhett said while his eyes flitted between the couple, “I normally would ask your audience in private, but given the time…”
Councilor Housenn Thuall and her husband both silently nodded that they understood the circumstances. The Dominion continued.
“I’m just going to the point: I’m sure you know that my Clan has achieved flight, Councilor…I don’t have time to play political games and pretend that we all don’t spy on each other.”
That genuinely surprised the couple! They glanced at each other, but let Rhett explain his presence.
“I’m here tonight because I actually need your help…” The younger man could see the incredulity in the Councilor’s glance toward her common law husband. “I, I don’t blame you for doubting, Councilor Housenn Thuall, given the deep chasm there is amongst all three Clans. But you both know me and my politics: I would not be here, talking with you under any other circumstances…but, as the old saying goes: desperate times makes a stranger a friend!”
There was a pocket of uncomfortable silence in the low-lit hut.
“So, what’s the problem,” Councilor Thuall asked with the jutting of her head.
“We’ve lost contact with our crew…” Despite what the clan leader of the Dominionists said earlier, he found himself taking a seat on one of the wicker chairs anyway. This encouraged the couple to find their own seats within the common area of the hut. Rhett continued.
“And I’m sure your Clan also knows, Councilor, of the rogue synths’ achievement of flight a few months ago…Here’s the problem. My Clan knows the lost communique with my crew is not due to the synths! I won’t go so far and tell you how we know this, but, trust me, it’s accurate.”
“Ok,” Councilor Thuall came in, “so why do you need our help?”
Now Rhett’s head slightly turned to the side as he became pensive. “The last thing they communicated with us via our own zip-frequency was they had spotted a ship from a distance…and then that’s when not only their communique ended, but our connection with them was totally lost!”
Councilor Housenn Thuall looked at Filleppe, both in deep thought, though mixed with confusion.
“Are you saying that your crew saw the rogue synths’ new aircraft and was shot down by them,” Filleppe asked.
Rhett was slowly shaking his head while his eyes were looking at a corner of the hut. “Filleppe, we’ve seen the synths’ aircraft—it’s impressive, especially given that they scrounged up the parts from the old Ship’s crash site. But a ship, it is not!”
That statement seemed to jab at the couple. Rhett went on.
“Councilor…based on what my specialists are telling me, we are not alone on this planet, ma’am!”
That statement caused the Thualls to freeze in their respective wicker chairs!
** To read the first novel, “Vestige,” LINK HERE >> Vestige by Joseth Moore at Inkitt