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Ch6 Evidence of Distress

No-one knew the extent of Kolok’s distress especially Daasur, the sensoid who was tasked to know. Throughout her time on Kolok Sommwa had been concerned about the strength of the gaia’s distress given what she had seen. But Daasur had seen the same and was far more experienced, Sommwa bowed to that until it was too late. “I hadn’t known about the callousness of the farms.” Daasur later lamented during her resignation, but the Council knew that was nowhere near enough of an explanation. She had failed in her diligence.

Suddenly the deaths started, Taj and Talak alike; Kolok had thought of targeting Taj but the problems were endemic corrupt Talaks would have soon become new Taj, both Taj and enough Talak were defiling her gaia. For Kolok her distress meant a new beginning for the Talak as she protected her other life. It was not that she wanted her dominant species extinct because she loved them more than her other creatures, but that love meant she could not tolerate their cruelty any more. Because she was Kolok she knew their compassion was there but they had just gone so wrong. So wrong!

Apart from the indigenous exceptions who had always remained true to her there were no societies she could single out as true Kolok. Sure there were individuals she hoped they would survive. But a gaia doesn’t micromanage, a gaia provides home for all her creatures. And those places of murder and torture they called farms were an abomination.

It was time to free her creatures.

She used the abomination to destroy the abominators. It was straightforward. These abominations had none of her natural defence. They had misused their science to manipulate her creatures into becoming these abominations – they weren’t her creatures any more. How she hated using a word like abomination for such natural beauty that she had originally created. This Taj science had perverted her creatures, they called it genetic modification. Her creatures were alive, they were sentient. When she was feeling poetic she called that sentience love, but in truth she never gave these creatures the connection to her that Talak knew – that Talak could call love. But it was still a connection, and technically connection to her and love are the same.

But her distress was so deep that such thoughts mattered not. These creatures were not machines that had no sentience. They deserved a life as she intended. They could be eaten, it was part of her balance that they could provide health for Talaks. But health only when respected, respect their life they will provide health. She was never meant to hear the cries of her creatures as they died for natural meat. They lived and died as she intended roaming free – a natural cycle.

But it wasn’t just the meat they perverted. Kolok gave them children, gestated, born from eggs. She gave them her fluid so the young could survive. As a gaia she gave them all cycles, it all fitted together, there was a harmony as she meant. She even gave the Talak the minds that could enable the science but not to develop a science that could pervert her harmony through their horrific modification. All in the name of yield. They were not yield, they were creatures, they were living a life she meant for them. Not yield, not machines in stalls in farms. Those places were such abominations. The creatures, if she could call them that, the machines science made for yield were not in harmony, their whole lives were just suffering. There was not the cries of birth and death that she loved because it was her harmony, these were the ongoing cries of abomination, perversion, not her creatures but Talak monstrosities that yielded.

She would use their yield to destroy them. Enough of her Talaks were living in harmony as she had meant. But apart from these indigenous there were individual Talaks whose compassion had taken them to vegan or natmeat. These Talaks would not be affected by her purge she hoped her purge would end the Taj because she saw the Taj as the source of the imbalance, but in truth her emotion had just taken over – anyway that was a micromanagement that was not natural to gaias. Even though these were abominations these yield-machines would die but her creatures would eventually return.

Talak science would detect deaths from all produce so she allowed her emergence of new life form to appear randomised, after all kamma was hers to decide. Some produce were killed whilst Taj and Talak survived other produce. They never knew that produce was killing them because there was no scientific pattern. Life surviving was never uniform it appeared phased surviving in one produce and then another – except of course the plants and natural meat. These Taj had become so arrogant they never saw that the indigenous were not dying because they never considered their communities seriously, and those communities which prevented their resource exploitation had been decimated in other ways so many of those indigenous had not stuck to natmeat and plants. But their wisdom was still there, and their harmonious way of life would survive her purge – as would the vegans and the natmeaters.

Science never really determined her kamma, in the end they knew all the produce of these abominations led to death. Many Taj and Talak had died mysteriously – until the last vestiges of science who were vegan themselves pointed it out. But by then the accumulation was finished. The cities were graveyards, the few city-dwelling Talaks who were left were killing themselves as they scavenged for purged produce. The Taj had returned to their strongholds but in those strongholds they kept out Talaks who they feared. But no security was strong enough to overcome ignorance of the purging produce, and they died in their strongholds – on their islands, in their second homes, in their bunkers there were no exceptions because these Taj were so far from their connection to their gaia that they couldn’t conceive that their abominations were the source of the problem until it was too late. They had learnt to protect from minor pandemics, let the Talak continue working during pandemics so that after they can rebuild their accumulation. But Taj and Talak alike must eat. It just took them too long to see that it was their way of life that was the threat, they were too focused on the Talak threat their exploitation had created. To Taj there was no connection, no harmony, they just exploited – and exploitation killed them.

As the deaths started Daasur was concerned but did not connect the issue to Kolok – although Sommwa had her suspicions. More urgent for her Sommwa had become concerned about Lance, and she wanted to protect him. To do this she had to understand the deaths so that she could guide Lance.

The first body she checked had died of heart failure, nothing unusual there but the body had no unifying chi. There were small residues of chi in the cells – enough so they didn’t dessiccate, but there was no unifying chi at all. This was unnatural. Wherever there was life there was unifying chi otherwise there would just be cells. This life energy was one of the many natural cycles common to all gaias. Life is born, unifying chi builds up, and then dissipates away until there isn’t sufficient unifying chi for life. Eventually there would be none but there would be no cellular chi either. No unifying chi was unnatural, there had to be a source that caused this disharmony. She needed to sense what was happening during death – not a pleasant thought as of course she would feel the unnatural pain; there was a kind of peace during natural death that was stronger than the suffering.

These deaths seemed to occur in clusters, so if she sensed one then it was possible there would be others present dying – such morbid calculating, she thought. Sensing one death she reached the Anderson home. Quickly assessing the scene she saw that the father had died, and the family were dying. Who was the strongest? She took a moment and was blown back by revulsion, and danger to herself. She had heard of these things – chi-worms, and her own chi was at risk. She withdrew, this was powerful. Chi-worms.

She did some research mainly concerned with how sensoids protected themselves from chi-worms. And they could for a short while, long enough to take a moment. The technique was called atamashield, and it was ill-advised but if practiced it would enable her to take a moment of the chi-worm without the worm gorging on her own chi. She read the advice:-

When a chi-worm is encountered great care must be taken because chi-worms gorge on any unifying chi – not just that chi of their host. Chi-worms vary in nature. Sometimes the chi-worm lives permanently with the host but takes little chi and is often indistinguishable from the natural chi cycle – although can be a cause of heart failure in the old and fragile. Such chi-worms reside in corners of the host’s body but can be removed from the system by the host through various chi forms and meditation where the host becomes aware of every corner of their own body. Once there is awareness in every corner the chi-worm has nowhere to hide so returns to their gaia’s chi.

Chi-worms float around in the gaia’s chi, and are indistinguishable from chi. It is only in unnatural circumstances that the worm takes chi-form. When the host is unaware then the chi-worm can hide in the unawareness of adults after the first grace, nature’s kickstart to awareness in adults to end the survival conditioning of youth. Chi-worms don’t occur in children, nor in mature adults, but if Talak have ignored first grace they can hide in that ignorance.

So there are these unnatural ignorant circumstances where these chi-worms can take a grip of the host, and once they have taken a grip they just suck the unifying chi out of the host leading to loss of life. The source of these chi-worms is an indication of disharmony in the gaia, and often arise as a consequence of unnatural activity by the host or the host-species.

To remedy this situation the sensoids needs to identify the unnatural activity on the part of the host, and correct that activity bringing it back into harmony. Whilst these chi-worms live in the chi-sphere, whilst their food is chi, they are partly corporeal becoming corporeal through the unnatural activity of the host such as on the small scale of lack of awareness.

Chi-worms can also invade the host through substance abuse. For example with alcohol abuse the alcohol makes certain organs vulnerable and the chi-worm enters that organ and festers in the organ for life if the abuse continues. This can then lead to the destruction of the organ over a lifetime as the chi-worm gorges on the organ’s unifying chi.

But there are a very rare and special category of chi-worms that have been known to cause almost instantaneous death. These chi-worms enter the host, and immediately gorge on all the chi leading to immediate death – characterised by an absence of unifying chi in the dead host. Such rare chi-worms need to be reported to the Council immediately as they indicate severe gaiac disharmony, and the hosts on such gaias might present a risk to other gaias in the Council.

If Sommwa was correct there is such adisharmony here on Kolok and sadly Daasur has missed it. That will present Daasur with insurmountable problems with the Council but that did not concern Sommwa as she was worried about Lance. Lance must be safe before she gets involved with her other duties.

To make an atama shield will use up vital atama, and it should only be used in drastic circumstance. The sensoids takes a moment, and upon joining with the host they recognise the chi-worm. In the moment the sensoid uses their atama to cut a section of the chi-worm and encase it in a spherical shield, and withdraw it from the host. Once the chi-worm is outside the host it is not a risk to the sensoid as it requires the host body to maintain its minimal corporeal existence. It is not a risk unless the sensoid is also involved in unnatural activity, but that is unlikely if the sensoid has sufficient atama to create an atama-shield. Once the shield with the chi-worm is outside the host, the sensoid can take a moment determine its origin and release it back into the gaia’s chi-sphere. But note the Council must receive a full report of the derivation of this chi-worm so that they can determine any punitive actions on the gaia and its species if other gaias are under threat.

She was prepared now, a significant chi-worm and atamashield on her first posting, that’s impressive. A voice rose, should you discuss this with Daasur? How can I? Daasur should have indicated this gaia was at risk. If I tell her about a dangerous chi-worm she might feel threatened - quite rightly so, how would she react to Sommwa, her apprentice? The situation was difficult, she needed more information to be certain – and she had to take care of Lance.

Sommwa sought another cluster. In the first area the clusters had now stopped, why hadn’t the chi-worms proliferated? So another district on Kolok where clusters were popping up. Arriving there another family were beginning their death throes. She sought the strongest and shielded a section of the chi-worm. Withdrawing it from the host she took a moment to determine its origin, and was briefly repulsed by what she found – then quickly, she hoped quickly enough, returned the chi-worm to its sphere.

The moment was particularly painful but she was able to determine the origins. The chi-worm’s birth occurred at the farms so she visited the farms to be certain – to confirm for her report, she told herself. These creatures were pitiful, and she deeply felt for them. They were neither alive nor dead, they were in some kind of science-limbo. Avoiding any possible contact with chi-worms she determined that they had been genetically-modified so that they would produce more meat whilst remaining stationary in the farms. Their bone-structure lacked any substance as they were held in harnesses with their heads next to the feed funnels. Because she knew what she was looking for she didn’t need to take a moment. The GM-cells were the base of the chi-worms but they didn’t come alive until they united with the chi-worm present in the antibiotic feed, the feed that forced these poor creatures to continue life – or what passed for life.

But these chi-worms were species-specific, they were not interested in the chi of these creatures – and she then realised they were not interested in her own chi. It was a chi-worm focused on the Talaks, through disharmony Talak science had modified Kolok’s creatures, and the modification had created the chi-worms that were so destructive to the Talaks.

But these were a new species of chi-worm as yet they did not grow in every one of these poor machine-creatures. They grew in some became part of their produce, became chi-worms in their Talak hosts, devoured their unifying chi causing heart failure. Their science would trace the source of infection as the produce, but in this early stage the chi-worms were not born every time; as yet they were not strong enough.

But their science could not measure the chi-worms because their science had not developed enough to understand the nature of chi. They traced the deaths to the produce but were unable to determine what was the death-agent in the produce. The science would trace the produce to the farm, test the meat, find there were no known toxins, test it on animals to no effect, and try it again on Talaks. Because the chi-worms were still in a survival battle this meat would usually prove non-fatal, so the science could not detect the source – because science could not measure chi and therefore could not know of the existence of chi-worms.

It was a cat-and-mouse game that science lost because science was controlled by the Taj. Powerful groups of the Taj became wealthy through the medical industry. Firstly they controlled the medicines and secondly they controlled the insurance that paid for the medicines. Because of this dual control the cost of medicines was raised so high that Talaks could not afford them. Talaks were therefore forced to pay for insurance, often this insurance was connected to their employment – the same Taj. So illness was a huge accumulation for these Taj – make Talaks ill through overwork, choose the medicine that did not necessarily heal but at least got them back to work.

Scepticism was used by the Taj to avoid recognition of chi and traditional medical practices such as acupuncture or Ayurveda because these practices were outside their control – outside their sphere of accumulation. Measurement of chi and other approaches that could have helped Talak science deal with the chi-worms had not been developed so there was very little chance that the science could cope with the problem. Because of Taj financial pressures, science could not carry out due professional diligence on the consequences of their genetic modifications - although it as unlikely they would have discerned the chi-worm problem. Proper science might well have arrived at unexplained fatalities without determining the chi-worm cause; but no such diligence happened, and nature took its course.

By the time the chi-worm survival had matured and all the farm produce became infected, science was too late. They delineated that the farm produce was the source of the deaths, and such production ended. But by this time approx. 80% of the Talak population had died, Taj accumulation was meaningless as finance had almost completely broken down. Communities had returned to barter or if not barter community currencies. With the lack of infrastructure that came with the number of fatalities Taj lost their influence, their accumulations were meaningless because they were mostly based on fiat money. There had initially been a rise in militia but such militia were usually meat-eaters and soon died out.

But there were conspiracies flying around amongst the egos, and one was the vegan conspiracy as meat produce was often postulated as the source. These violent Talaks were of course bullies, and found it very easy to attack vegans; sadly many vegans died before they learnt to defend themselves – violence begetting violence. But in the end nature helped them but there was a consequence.

Sommwa had plans for Lance and they began with solitude. She began an internal dialogue:-

Sommwa inside Lance “Extent will be concerned with these deaths, not Yanus. You must leave.” Whilst developing his plan to call off the assets Lance had been looking after Yanus making sure Extent didn’t get to him. But of course he was watching the news of these unexplained deaths. He was trained to read the news, not listen to the words but deeply listen to what the people were really saying – and the people who were saying them. They were baffled and concerned, he could read – see that. Unexplained deaths with no apparent cause could well be Extent but there was no target in the deaths of families. And there was the death of a Taj family, that was clearly not Extent.

Lance thought “Leave why? I can watch from here and learn.”

Sommwa inside Lance “What can you learn? What can you do? These deaths are going to spread there is something going on, isn’t there?”

Lance was silent, there was something going on.

Sommwa thought “Play it safe, leave. You know they will turn on black people – unless you’re safely protected in a gang.” She felt the emotional reaction to gang, she knew that couldn’t happen again.

Lance thought “There isn’t sufficient evidence for such drastic response.”

Sommwa thought “By the time the evidence is there it will be too late.”

Lance paused.

Sommwa thought “Trust yourself. What do you feel is happening? Do you want to stay in the middle of it? Trust yourself.”

She had created the concern, but he had to figure out the rest or there will be no determination. She withdrew her thoughts as she watched his mind grapple.

So began the grappling. These deaths were a real threat. There was no external agency to the threat as they appeared random, some of the people who had died were clear innocents. But they were not the usual collateral casualties as they appeared to be the target. Yet they were clearly not targets – even for the most destructive of anarchist, no reason, no message, no sense. Destructive anarchist sense, he laughed to himself.

Staying near the targets was stupid – even if protecting Yanus was positive. But the Extent had closed ranks, and the Yanus threat was far from a priority, Taj had died. And they didn’t know what to do; first time?

What were the Taj doing? Retreating. They were leaving their precious economy, and retreating to their islands, second homes and bunkers. Follow the money, he joked, the money is leaving, I must leave.

Whilst he had built up a nestegg for a rainy day – and it was raining heavily, he did not know how to use it.

Sommwa thought “Where will you not be a target?”

Lance thought “Back to Afrika.” Her smile became a glow of acceptance.

Lance thought “But Ethinia is not my home any more, they will not accept me.”

He began to get tactical. He had not thought of Ethinia in a long time but he had always longed to travel there – the roots trip. But Ethinia is unlikely to escape the deaths so that would make any stranger a target – even a stranger on a roots trip. That meant the cities were not feasible, they were likely to be death hotspots and they would be centres of xenophobia.

But Ethinia had a mystical tradition where the wise of old would start a life of contemplation in mountain caves. That was where he would leave to.

Sommwa thought “Money in the bank will not be safe.”

Lance thought agreement. The Taj will be the first to take their money, if necessary by force using their security. He must get his money, it was mostly in deposit boxes along with the “Bourne passports” as Extent called them.

Lance began his roots trips to a number of deposit boxes acros the country, converted his currency to Ethinian shek whilst keeping the gold, and soon he was on a flight to Ethinia. Back to my roots, he shouted loud in his head – his Odyssey to Ethinia.

All was not settled with Lance, she would need to watch the details when he arrived. But that was not the priority now that he was clear. She must face Daasur.

Returning from her latest visit to the farms, Sommwa was ready to discuss with Daasur. Her feelings about Daasur were mixed up. As her mentor Daasur had taught her a great deal but she had missed Kolok’s distress – and that was basically why they were there. How had she missed it? Sommwa felt her sensoid wisdom, why had she not picked up on it? Maybe she was jaded, been an emissary sensoid too long, seen far worse and missed this.

She broached the subject but found that Daasur was not listening – a few deaths on these planets was usual and no threat to the Council. Wanting to tell her that there were far more deaths in the pipeline, she was put in her place – Daasur held to her experience. But she was willing to visit the farms; all was not lost, thought Sommwa.

And she was right because as soon as Daasur saw the farms she felt shock and shame at her negligence. Quickly she assessed the chi-worms, recognised they were directed to the Talak but held no threat for the Council as they would not spread.

“How can you say that?” asked Sommwa.

“They contain a gaia correction,” she explained as if that were sufficient. Seeing Sommwa’s puzzled countenance she explained “I have seen such corrections before. These worms will not spread beyond their target because the gaia is only interested in controlling the Talaks – well the Taj but that means Talak. Once the chi-worm has consumed the unifying chi the worm has no further purpose, its life-cycle will just mean that it moves on from the host and finds a corner where the worm curls up and dies, and its chi returns to gaia. It takes a while for this to happen so you might not have seen it. Unlike viral entities it does not spread from one being to another, chi-worms attach only to their host and then die. In a sense they reclaim chi for the gaia.”

“What this means is that once the farms stop creating the chi-worms there will be no problem, so not only are they targeting the Talaks they are targeting their farms – both abominations with one worm,” she finished.

“The abomination of the farm creates the worms, and then the worms destroy the creator of the abomination,” she recognised but then thinking of her Lance “Good Talaks will die with the Taj.”

“That is nature’s limitation on gaias,” advised Daasur “they cannot pick and choose. For a gaia there are only trends, directions, history and movements. As talaks they perceive their own individuality but in truth Talak is just Talak, a species within Kolok, the gaia. In this case the species needs to be controlled, and the gaia is doing that ….” she paused “the Councilneed not be concerned although we do need to report on it – use of chi-worms is quite drastic.”

“Are you not concerned that you did not see this?” asked Sommwa, somewhat horrified.

“As envoys our duty is to the Council,” Daasur answered “Are the beings on Kolok a threat to the Council or other gaias?”

“No they are not,” answered Sommwa “Kolok is only a threat to her own Talak.”

“That is rather emotive, Sommwa,” noted Daasur sharply “we are here as envoys to observe and assess any threat. On all these gaias life will be returned to source but it is not for us to be concerned about that.”

“Is it?” asked Daasur pointedly.

“Of course not,” replied Sommwa defiantly, trying to hold back her emotion; for her Lance meant everything and for Daasur he could die and it not mean a thing.

After a while she asked Daasur “Don’t you care about the lives of these Talak?”

“Of course I do,” she answered “but that is the envoy’s dilemma. We care about the intelligent life-form on the gaia, but we cannot interfere. There have been cases where envoys have interfered – even taken sides in conflicts and the results have been catastrophic. And if the Council ever hears of such interference the envoy is immediately removed and retrained. When it comes right down to it we must trust nature, nature gives the gaia the power to decide, it is our job as envoys to trust nature. Our abilities enable us to connect with gaias but our job says not to interfere …. She paused “it is a hard lesson to learn but envoys must learn it.”

And Sommwa had learnt it. All her criticism of Daasur was misplaced, it was her own ego and emotions attached to Lance perverting her thinking. She would still ensure that Lance’s path was beneficial but do it in a way that would minimise the impact of her own interference. Could she see a way for that? Now that she had regained her envoy detachment, she saw no problem. Inside she watched as her learning slowly let go of her pointless attachment to Lance, and her feelings turned towards gaia. How much must she have hurt to introduce the chi-worms?

Twenty years later, but a blink in her eye, she visited Lance (having suitably aged herself). She was so pleased with what she saw. In contemplation he had rid himself of the attachments and pain of his upbringing and time with Extent. Through contemplation he had reconnected with gaia, a connection that most Talaks had lost long ago. With his gaia connection came connection with the people around him. Amongst the Zards of the caves he had become a spiritual adviser, and their community had gained some fame throughout Kolok amongst good Talaks with many seekers choosing the arduous journey to gain their advice – to seek their raft.

She was lucky, her interference had not been wasted atama, and in time she was sure that Lance and his Zards would benefit Kolok. “Have you been writing yet?” she asked knowing that was enough to cement the future. They never met again.

What was left of the Talak began to rebuild. Science never understood the source of the chi-worms, and this meant that Talak connection to Kolok had still not been re-established. Was there hope?

Part 2 /Contents/Previous - Ch5 Apprentice