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2.1) The Camp

Life in the camp was tolerable – given that it was a prison. Soon after they had been captured the guardians met with the 8 couples. Commander Esthaus told them the lie of the land.

“You are imprisoned here, and” she continued matter-of-factly “we consider there is no escape. The ruai government has set aside a huge budget to ensure that you remain imprisoned, but they also have another objective. They are studying you.”

She paused expecting a reaction, there was none. “We would like to study you in a habitat you want, living the life you choose, but realistically that cannot happen – you are prisoners. There is a fence a long way off, but that fence is not keeping you here. You have all been implanted with a dead-bolt. If you go beyond that fence the capsule will explode. If we decide that we have had enough we will trigger the capsule to explode. You might think of trying to remove it but I cannot see how it could be done without precise surgery – as precise as the surgery that implanted it, and you will not have access to surgical equipment.”

There continued to be no reaction, they had self-control she noted. “I would rather you cooperate with us. Even though we are monitoring you we want that to be non-intrusive. There will be no lab-testing on my watch – that is not to say there will never be such,” she warned. But in my view life will go well for you in this camp – better than many people working outside.

“I want you to understand that my word is my bond, while I am your chief prison guard, that will always be true - I am a woman of my word. Work with me, work against me, you are still prisoners. You are not military with a duty to escape. Escape to what? If you did overcome the capsule where would you go? And we still have meggers that can track you.”

Silence prevailed, and eventually they were dismissed and returned to the bungalows that were to become their homes. They saw that Esthaus stuck to her word. Life in the camp continued favourably for the detainees, and all was normal – for prisoners.

Over the years the Light accepted their fate. Despite their ability to communicate telepathically with their partners they curtailed their search for others on their Path because of the dangers that would put any contacts in. They were being monitored. They had realised that contacting people outside the camp would immediately be recorded by the guardians who would then be able to arrest, or worse, those who were contacted.

It did not put an end to the meditation however, because being still brought such peace and tranquillity – an ability to enjoy life in the camp because they at least were in harmony with life around them - Gaia. Yes they had been bought off, they knew it, but they saw no alternative – they were given no alternative by the ruai machine – the guardians, the scientists, the meggers, etc. Gaia does not punish the victims if there is no alternative, She seeks other ways.

Armo and Morto were the first to give birth, they were of course concerned about this. Would the guardians take the child away for study? In fact they had twins, Porbo and Larto, beautiful children. And they were loved greatly by their parents – and the village. Once the couples saw that they were left alone by the guardians they also had children, and that was when the camp took on the visage of a village with all the additional amenities. In fact the guardians enjoyed the duty – it was easy, although they were resentful that enemies were treated so well. To counter this unrest Esthaus invited her guards and families to live in the village, and soon from the outside there was no difference between off-duty guards and the prisoners themselves.

Telepathy was never discussed verbally by the ex-Light so the scientists were not exactly sure of what they were dealing with. There were some who suggested more persuasive techniques be used to find out, but Esthaus resisted, after all what were they looking for? Eventually even these scientists accepted the gentle posting in the difficult ruai system. And the ruai were satisfied because there would no interference with their accumulation.

At their monthly meeting with the guardians the reports were much the same, became repetitive. They began their report with Armo and Morto. The report showed there was silence and stillness that led to Meg-imaging. This activity had long since been recognised in the camp but it was not connecting to those outside the camp as the monitoring in external houses clearly showed – time-correlated etc. It was however clear that there were connections between the couples because of the synchronous megs. This irritated Esthaus as she was kept outside …. But they were prisoners after all, she accepted wistfully. There were times when the children were in the room but they showed no such images. Although they sat still with their parents no activity in the Meg regions were recorded. The scientists were surprised, presumed it was something to do with their youth, and were waiting for the adult ability to show. They had no evidence for this supposition but it did make common-sense. Except they hadn’t accounted for Gaia.

The twins were 16 – previously a year that concerned coming of legal age. It was their birthday, and the village held a party for them and Arico’s children, one a 13-year-old girl and the other a 12-year-old boy, who just happened to have the same birthday. The guardians also participated, after all they were ruai prisoners themselves – without the boundaries and the deadly trigger. But there was one tradition the guardians were excluded from – the meditation circle. It was traditional at village ceremonies for the couples to sit in silence in a circle. There was no altar, and they prayed to no Gods, but the circle represented Gaia; their circle was a microcosm of Gaia.

“Let us in,” came to both Armo and Morto at the same time, normally the children disappeared and played when the village circle met. They knew it was their children.

“Don’t use telepathy, the Megs will measure the images,” warned the adults trying to repel them.

“Don’t worry,” they answered “we know they cannot.”

“How?” asked the parents puzzled.

“We know,” they replied confidently “it is the way. Trust us. The guardians will never know …. unless you tell them,” they transmitted a smile that was reciprocated.

They joined the circle, and from then on village circles always included children – even from an early age.

Friendship grew between the children of guardians and the Light, even the Light children were unable to separate from the universal bond that young children have. Parbo had become good friends with Esthaus’s daughter, Felia, since an early age. Felia saw how close Parbo was to his sister, Larto – they often seemed to think each other’s thoughts, but that didn’t stop her friendship with Parbo.

“What do you do in the circles?” she asked one day “what is this meditation?”

“It is nothing special,” Parbo answered “it is just Gaia’s way of helping us cope and being clear. You should try it with me …. come on.”

Felia did not understand this Gaia but she had got used to Parbo speaking about it, this Gaia was important to them – the scientists and guardians also knew this but never understood what it meant – they never experienced it. However Felia did try the meditation, they both sat quietly for 5 minutes - before Felia became a bit restless.

They stopped “You sit far longer,” she noted somewhat peevishly.

“That is only practice,” he answered “you will see if you become determined.”

She tried and she did see, and she felt better for it.

Armo showed his concern to Parbo. “She is a good person,” answered Parbo slightly aggressively “she deserves to understand the benefits of meditation.”

“What if she connects to us …. to you?” asked Armo still concerned.

“That is Gaia’s call,” he answered mystically. “It is not reckless, it is progress.”

“Do you love her?” Armo was still concerned.

“Love, who is to say?” he was equally quizzical “if love means a connection in meditation then no. We have not made love – as yet. There is nothing wrong with that …. either.”

Armo couldn’t fault him but his worries remained, but then life goes on. What Jumo had started ended at the gathering, where Gaia takes it now we will not know until it happens – if anything does.

As Arico’s daughter, Aldro, grew she became fascinated with the space programme. She loved the stars, and often spent time under the stars just sitting in silence. At times Arico would join her but although he enjoyed sitting with her he did not have the patience to sit for the hours she did. She once said to her father “the stars are calling me”, he simply wondered how the muse had got in her.

The ruai had invested in space. Natural resources were running out, and despite calls for sustainability amongst them when they investigated this scientifically they determined that in the long run sustainability would restrict their lifestyles. Some argued that it was more sensible but sensible and ruai were words that did not mix especially if there was an alternative that did not affect their priority - accumulation.

And space offered itself as an alternative. It was natural for the ruai mind to seek expansion, expand accumulation, expand their power, expand their egos, and expand their leisure. For some ruai space became a particular interest, and they invested in it. This seemed wasteful for the more profiteering but there were scientific fringe benefits – that turned the search for the stars into increased profits.

They played up the space exploration as a means of enthralling their workers, so they also profited from entertainment. As each advance into space progressed audiences increased – with profits. It became clear that space might actually be an investment opportunity so eventually all the ruai backed it – and directed their government to turn space into a focus. Entertainment competitions started to find the next great astronaut, and these people soon became superstars.

And eventually contact was made.