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2.9) The Devolution

The devolution started with the military. The military leaders had always been given what they wanted by the ruai as part of their self-protection, and what they wanted was money for hardware and R&D. Over the years they had become dependent on high levels of technology, dependent on technicians, and less and less on what might be termed military craft – soldiery, seamanship etc. Military structure had also been waning as the true military power lay with weaponry rather than the hierarchy. Once it became clear that the finances were not there the rank-and-file deserted the hierarchy. A few of them joined together and formed a unit whose sole purpose was to disarm the destructive weapons. They initially thought this might prove difficult but very quickly they found that those who were guarding the weapons were rank-and-file as well. Having all suffered at the hands of these hawks they had no desire to see a change that left those relics in charge. There were some amongst the rank-and-file who sought power, but even they saw the sense in not having doomsday weapons in which there would be miserable death for all if used.

Some military became headless and sought the direction of the ruai. But that relationship had always been servile, and once the funds ran out they saw little reason in protecting such usurpers. In the end the angry mobs were just let into the homes, taking up residence – sometimes with and sometimes without the original residents.

The next to go were the automated factories – the factories that produced the technology too intricate for human hands. Few people knew how to run them, and whilst initially that knowledge gave them power devolution turned away from them. Ordinary people did not use this high technology, quickly returning to the land and developing barter as a means of trade. Some technology remained amongst those who could patch them up but once the fuel ran out international trade in fuel didn’t exist to replenish stocks; earth had become too dependent on the cheapness of fastlight.

Despite the forebodings of many most places settled down to agrarian economies being thankful they did not have to be drug-driven ruai wage-slaves. Very soon they realised their drug dependencies had been manufactured along with so many other manipulations, and once their cravings had been let go many people found the peace and harmony of agrarian life satisfactory. There were a few who could not let go of the old ruai ways but they soon found their fixed mindsets could not bring dividend, their survival depended on their developing skills that could create produce to barter.

During these times Corders teamed up with Arico who was ageing. It was Corders who recommended Arico seek refuge as he thought there would be devastation. The prison had been established in a rural setting, its distance being seen as a means of segregation of the 8 couples; not far from the outskirts there began a mountain range. The three of them, Arica, Marina and Corders climbed, and eventually Corders found the hidden refuge. Once they settled he soon left them and sought Aldris and her family, maybe he would reunite the generations after being the cause of their separation. This was fortuitous for him as Kindo had been one of the casualties of devastation from one of the maverick army groups. After all this Corders had the one he loved – plus baggage, they found a rural community and began to live out peaceful days.

Or so Corders thought – not taking account of Aldris’ mindset. The problem became apparent one day when he could see something was troubling her. “What’s the matter?” he asked “you don’t seem happy.”

“I miss Kindo,” she told him. He nodded quietly, he had heard this before and let it play out.

“He was a good man,” she said, “Yes he was,” he mumbled.

“You didn’t know him like I did,” she snapped at him. “Of course I didn’t,” he answered her “but from what you have told me he was a good man.”

“Yes he was a good man,” she said “I feel guilty that I left him for you. What must the children think now that I am with you? You caused the separation.”

“We have discussed this with the children. Kindo joined you in the end, and they are happy with that. There is no ill feeling from them, they treat me well,” he explained.

“I still feel guilty,” she complained.

He sat back and accepted this was a problem that he could do nothing about. Gradually he realised that she blamed him for her guilt – it was always between them, but what could he do.

Another time. “Kindo was a brave man,” she told him, he nodded. “He died protecting us, you know?” she informed him but he did know. “Those crazy soldiers came for me and Arica – she was only 8,” Aldris started to cry. “Kindo ran out, and the four men chased him. They were crazed especially after Kindo wounded one in the leg,” she continued tears falling “I saw him disappear in the distance with the four of them following him so I grabbed the kids and ran in the opposite direction.”

“You did the right thing,” consoled Corders “that was what Kindo’s sacrifice was for.”

She nodded, she knew “But maybe there was something I could have done?” her musings trailed off, and then “I feel guilty about Kindo.”

Corders just nodded, what could he do.

In the end her mental block created anger in him. She could not let go of her feelings of guilt, and because she blamed him it created a barrier. This primitive woman, his anger spilled out during meditation, she is creating the guilt. I keep telling her, but she creates and creates and builds this unnecessary barrier between us. When something happens with the kids she blames me saying Kindo would have known what to do. Even the kids were looking at her because they knew of Corders’ kindness but she would not let go of the guilt. At times he would work with her on meditation but her contact was much more innate than most. For most they needed the meditation but for some there was a switch in the mind that enabled the contact. That which contacted somehow was a separate experience for Aldris, for most the mind required holistic focus but she just seemed able to slip into contact with just part-mind. Gaia had many twists and turns – far too many for one life to comprehend.

In the end Corders was forced to give up. For him life was about resolving problems whether personal or otherwise yet for Aldris she didn’t see something to solve. Contact was contact – so what about this holistic mind? She knew she had guilt, she didn’t like it but she could live with it. Why couldn’t Corders? Barriers she felt none, if he felt them it was his problem. Natural ways, holistic, completeness, the way Gaia is, these were just phrases that Corders trotted out. She was natural, who she was, if he loved her that was who he loved. Love is greater than truth, truth is Gaia, Gaia has a natural order, these are all things that belonged to the off-worlder – not her.

She loved her children. Their family functioned well within their community. The longer the devolution occurred, the more stable their life became. Their own community had been fortunate in working with some good ex-military. In return for food they protected the village, and they didn’t demand servitude – she suspected Corders had something to do with that. These military minds did not have the egos of other military minds. So Corders was not happy with barriers …. so what.

When Carjo, Aldris’ son – three years older than Arica, reached manhood he wanted to know of his grandfather. He spoke to Corders about Arico, and Corders became pleased that he wished to seek out the old man. “I think he would be happy to see Aldris again, and help look after his grandchildren.” Many days later found the old man up the mountain and returned to his camp.

Once home the old man seemed to recover his mental state, he probably only had one journey left in him. “Are you the writer?” Arico asked Carjo “I went down the mountain because I wanted someone to record my story.”

“We don’t have much cause for writing now,” answered Carjo “but maybe ….”. he enjoyed seeing the eyes of his grandfather light up. “Can you understand me now?” he asked “I am your Grandson, the son of Aldris.”

The light in the eyes of the old man again shone “Aldris is my daughter, we were held in prison together – she was born there …. born there before the devolution, the dark times.”

“She told me about the prison,” smiled Carjo finally able to break through to this man, his grandfather “I have come to take you back to Aldris and Corders …. if you want.”

“My grandson,” muttered Arico, and light appeared in his eyes again.

“Where is Marina?” asked Carjo “Corders told me that Marina came here with you.”

“Marina has died,” he said slowly “our time here was good. We were safe, we had each other, we had contact. It was a good life. But she died and I knew it was time for people to know …. if they could still know. “I wanted to come down to see if they were ready to know, do you think they are ready to know?” he asked Carjo.

“I don’t know, grandfather,” answered Carjo carefully “but where we are we are safe, people are happy, and your family would love to see you. Will you come with me?”

“I will,” Arico agreed “but first I will say goodbye to Marina. This will take time young man do you have time?”

“Time does not matter,” replied Carjo “it is right that you make your peace.”

Arico looked at him, that is good for a young man, he thought. He took his time, bade farewell to his beloved, and because there was purpose he had the strength to climb down the mountain and return to Tratrap with Carjo. His joy increased further as he met with his daughter and granddaughter, was sad to hear about Kindo but felt glad that Corders had found Aldris again. All seemed good.

After his return Arico found love again – the love of his family. However there was a distance, he spoke to Aldris of this but she did not open up to him. Corders explained the problem between them, and Arico knew the stubbornness in her. He too spoke to Aldris about Gaia and holistic and true love but he could see there was no way through the part-mind. It saddened him but he too moved on. At his insistence Carjo did become his scribe, and the Chronicles became of value in the evolution.