World's Third E-BookPublished On the Web in 1997 For Digital Download
an Empire of Time SF novel
by John Argo
15. New WorldYear 3301
Licia pressed the initiative with a roll of gauze. Soon the spears went down on one side, the rifle on the other. Licia and the boy bent over the prostrate youth. The boys spoke in a flowing language rich with syllables.
"Wonder where their people are?" Paul said
Licia hefted a gauze roll from one hand to the other, "Well, they talk, so maybe we can learn the lingo. Remember, we are the aliens here."
"God, but they're like us, aren't they?"
Licia nodded, busily applying her dressings. "Got to get them home, wherever that is. They need more care than we can provide."
"I'd be afraid to give them anything of our medicines," Paul said.
"Hello there," Licia said firmly, tying a knot in a bandage. "Licia." She pointed to herself. "Licia," she repeated.
Both boys looked at her with intelligent eyes. Licia repeated her name. Then she pointed to Paul and said "Paul."
Paul pointed to himself and said: "Paul."
The two boys labored to say: "Li-sha, Po-wul." Then they burst into self-conscious smiles, as earthly children might. Paul and Licia exchanged looks. He'd never seen her look quite so independent and accomplished and pleased.
"Your name?" Licia asked.
The two young men who stood before them in clay-blue pendulous nakedness were out of breath and exhausted. They appeared grateful at having been rescued. "Amda," the taller and more slender of the two introduced himself. He pointed to his companion and said:
"Dunda." Dunda offered a chubby, complacent grin.
"They're sweet," Licia said.
Conquer, the voice inside Paul said suddenly, so surprisingly he felt flustered for a moment, thinking he'd spoken out loud. He suppressed the despair bordering on panic that arose in him. It was maddening to think that they had to share this world and therefore be
dependent on the good or ill wishes of unknown people. To think that they had come all this way, perhaps to be wiped out like gnats by some disease, or a random arrow, or a bit of poison food. Then again, every kilometer along the thousand year journey had involved life and death risk.
He posited the conditional: trust, but verify.
He relaxed. "All right. We'll go with them. But keep your eyes open. Ask them if they know anything of the Tynans."
Copyright © 1990-1996-2014 by John Argo, Clocktower Books. All Rights Reserved.