Ch 18 New Friends

Smyth Industries – Kingmoor Facility
Carlisle, Cambria, UK
Saturday May 22, 1999

The six o’clock meeting started a few minutes early when John Harvey saw that everyone was there.  He was at the head of the table with Marie and her Aunt Marge on one side and his father and his sister Barb on the other side.  His three kids were sitting behind Marie.  KA and Less were sharing a chair with Sphinx, who was letting them pet her.  JJ had made the rounds of all the non-family members in the room, but he had returned to his chair.  He was acting like a little politician just as he had seen his father and grandfather do, but John Harvey knew that he was just sizing everyone up.  Alyca and Bruce, each armed with two pistols, were sitting behind his father.  The scientists, the military officers, and the S-I senior managers were spread around the rest of the table with the more junior members sitting against the wall.  His mother had decided not to attend the meeting in person.  She was checking on her second family, her employees.

John Harvey stood up.  “I am glad to see that you all are eager to get going so we will start the meeting early.  As most of you have heard, we have identified what could be an intelligent species on the Earth world.  We have pictures of a number of these creatures doing things that we consider intelligent but there are no signs that they are tool users.  They appear to be herders, since they keep quite a number of types of domesticated animals.  We have modified our plans for exploration on the Earth world.  We will set up a small compound then try to contact this species.  The only effect on our activities on the Water world is the availability of more workers to set up the compound.  Marie will give a summary of what has occurred in the United States and Australia.”  He sat down.

“I will start off with the US.  President Clarke, his administration and the Congress are fully behind our efforts to explore the four new worlds.  When the terrorists kidnapped Claire Clarke, her rescue gave us access to President Clarke but it has also kept the US government distracted since then.  They hope to have things resolved in the next few days, but it is believed that there are terrorists still loose in the city.”  Marie’s last words had shocked many of those sitting there.  John Harvey looked over at JJ, who shook his head no.  No one had given an indication that they were in league with or sympathetic with the terrorists.  They were taking no chances.  They would repeatedly check everyone that was not family.

“My father last night led a group to TDI to take care of the technical problems there.  He got the observation windows working.  Military personal are using them to check for suitable locations for the windows.  They have added an infrared camera to the standard camera so they can work to rule out locations during the night.”  One of the scientists started to ask a question.  “Please hold all questions until later.  There will be a summary on the four worlds later.  The US expects to have their first exploration early next week.  They are looking for a good location like both we and the Australians have found.”

“Now let us talk about where all the action has been these last few hours.  The Australians had to move the Air world windows because of wetlands on the Air world at the first location.  The alternate site also had good access to the Water and Earth worlds.  They have set up a full compound on Fire and four building compounds on the other three worlds.  The Air world should have a full and supplied compound in about ten hours.  I almost forgot.  Outside activity on the Fire world was curtailed when a heavy storm came up.  Luckily, Major Eric Lawson, the British Military Attaché had suggested that they put the windows inside the buildings.  We will be implementing this for a number of reasons.  The most important one right now is our convenience as we walk between worlds.”

“On the Water and Earth worlds, they will expand to full compounds as the material for the buildings becomes available during the next few days.  The important news is that the scientists and the army signal company agree that on all four worlds there are no signs of radio transmission and that the air has no signs of chemicals associated with civilized activities.  That isn’t to say we don’t need to keep an eye out for any signs of intelligence.”  Marie closed her folder.

“Thank you Marie.  Remember to hold any questions until later.”  John Harvey turned to the S-I factory manager, Tim Tankersly.  “Tim, give us a report on the logistic status.”

“We are ready to start as soon as we leave this meeting.  Our plan have switched to the four building compound design to start, since it quickly gives us a defensible position.  We will then expand the compounds to the originally planned configuration.  Following another of Major Lawson’s suggestions, we will move supplies, material and other items directly into a building when we can do so.  We expect to have both initial compounds in place by 10 AM.  All construction will then switch to the Water world while we determine the intelligence level of the species on the Earth world.  By 2 PM, we expect to have the full compound in place on the Water world.  The only difficulty that we foresee is the dead trees that will have to be removed from the compound area on the Water world.”  Tim paused.

“There are one hundred and fifty seven ATVs available for use on either world.  Thirty-two of them will be configured for tree cutting and building construction on the Water world.  Eight of them will be configured for construction on the Earth world.  When the initial construction is finished on the Earth world, that crew will move from Earth to Water and support construction there.  They will take eight additional ATV to support the work with the configuration determined at that time.  That leaves one hundred and nine ATVs for the military to determine how they wish to deploy them.  That completes my report.”  Tim looks to John Harvey who nods.  Tim had worked for the family since before John Harvey was born.  His children and a couple of grandchildren now worked for them.

“What about ATVs for the scientists.”  One of the younger scientists called out.

John Harvey had been expecting this question.  They had spent a number of hours deciding how they would answer it.  “Until we have a known situation on both worlds, the military commander has authority to use anything or anyone to ensure the safety of all personnel.  LTCOL Richie has had less than six hours to learn what we are doing.  Until we are on both worlds, he cannot assess the situations that we face.  He is responsible for security on all worlds that we will be exploring from here.  Until he says otherwise, we will do nothing but asses the possible threats on both worlds and construct the compounds.”

“The Australians had much larger resources to call upon.  They had over a brigade of soldiers available.  MME had their security force of over five hundred and additional workers with military experience of another twelve hundred available.  Lieutenant Colonel Richie has somewhere around two hundred and fifty men.  We have a security force of one hundred and everyone was wondering why we had so many.  Our approach to exploring was a more conservative one than the one for which Will Maclaren had planned.  We are only making a probe on to the Earth world.  If we have any problems, we will retreat to the compound and maintain a minimum presence until the full government in consultation with the US and Australian governments determine how they want to proceed.  In that case, all immediate exploration will shift to the Water world.  We will probably also switch to exploring the Fire world.  S-I industry was only preparing to colonize one world.  We planned to explore any world that we could access and then choose where we colonized.  With the government now in control, the mission is different.  The government will explore all worlds and maintain forces in each.  We don’t know where others may wish to go, but the government will control the area on the other worlds that corresponds to the UK’s land and waters.”

“My family and I are eager to find out about these worlds, but we recognize the duty of the government to protect its citizens.  That is why we contacted the three governments.  In hindsight, we realize that we should have contacted them sooner, but we figured that we would be the only ones and that we would first checkout these worlds.  We were wrong.  Exploration will now proceed with caution.  The scientific knowledge that you seek is not forgotten, but we do not want to rush and have you paying for it with your life.”

“Colonel Richie, would you make your report.”

“I guess that I still have a lot to learn.  From what I have just heard, I will only deploy a platoon on to each world and hold the rest in reserve here.  That way they can respond immediately to an attack on either world.  Further actions will depend on what we discover” Charlie doesn’t appear happy.

“John, I would like to make some comments on the colonel’s plan.”  Alyca stood up.

“For those of you, who have not met Alyca Maclaren, let me tell you a little about her.  Most of you might recognize her from the 96 Olympics or the biathlon championships this past winter.  A few of you may have seen her when she was racing the cars that she built.  That did not last long.  The officials repeatedly disallowed her car modifications, thinking that was what gave her an advantage over the other drivers.  A few of you who have been here more than a day have probably seen her working on most of the equipment here.  That is because either she or her uncle, Jess Maclaren, has designed much of our new equipment.  Alyca has two PhDs.  One is in mechanical engineering and the other in electrical engineering.  She is also a reserve police officer.  So do not be fooled by her young, pretty face.”  John was teasing her at the same time that he was letting everyone know that they should listen to what she had to say.

Bruce, her husband of less than twenty-four hours had tried unsuccessfully not to laugh.

Alyca gave him a look, which turned into a smile.  “I am also a great dancer and that has about as much to do with what I am about to say as the other things that my cousin’s husband had to say.”  She walked over to Colonel Richie.  “Charlie, you need to learn to use the windows to your advantage.  You do not have to defend a window unless it is being generated in the world that the attack is coming from or you are keeping it open because it is being used for evacuation.  If the window is being generated from your side, you just turn off the window when attacked.  Once you do that there is nothing on their side.”

“What you do then is take an observation window and spy on your adversary.  When you have him placed, you take other window generators and open windows where he is not expecting you.  You then attack him with complete surprise.  If you want to be safe, you open a window, fire at him through the window and then close it.  Move it and do it again.  Unless your adversary can generate his own windows, you have complete control over the conflict.  That is with two worlds.  With a third world, you could open a window into the third world, let them chase you, destroy the first window, escape through a second window into your world and close it behind you.  You now have them trapped on a world that is not their own.”

“There is another feature of the window that you may not have realized.  If you turn off a window with something in it, then that which is in the window is separated into two pieces.  It makes a great cutter.  No heating or stress on the pieces.  Do not turn a window off while anything or anyone you value is in the window.”  Alyca walked back to her seat.

Charlie was stunned.  He had never seen anyone like her.  He felt intimidated by her.  What she said showed was that the old style of combat didn’t apply.

“It will take time for us to realize that the windows require us to look at things differently.”  John Harvey turned to the leaders of the two scientific teams.  “Marge, Professor Langtree, do either of your teams have any problems other than a delay of access to what you want to study.”

Marge immediately shook her head no since she had known the question was coming.

“Alyca, can you design a window that we can place on some of our medium size telescopes.  I know that there are limits on how big you can make a window, but we have plenty of telescopes under two-meters that would work better than the portable telescope that we will be using in these worlds.  With the differences in sunrises we could do this during the day when the telescopes are usually idle.”  Professor Langtree asked.

“Sandy will do that.  She has been looking for a window project to do on her own.  That is mainly a mechanical problem.”  Alyca nodded to Sandy Lawrence who had been assisting her with her work at S-I.

“Well, if no one has anything that is more important than exploring a couple of new worlds, let us adjourn.  Remember we have a meeting here at 8 PM with the Americans and the Australians.”

British Compound
Water World
Saturday May 22, 1999

The four building compound on the Water world had been completed a little after nine AM.  Now the additional buildings for the full compound were being set up.  Alyca had devised a couple of non-lethal diversions in case KA was unable to work things out with the herders.  Windows for smoke generators and loudspeakers could be opened behind the herders.  This would allow them to retreat while they were distracted.  They had placed the equipment on the Water world at specific locations with respect to the Earth world landscape.  If they had to open one of these windows, they did not want to cut one of the herders in half.  Situating the windows had taken under an hour.

Alyca and Bruce had then escorted the three siblings into the Water world.  KA had been able to contact a number of creatures but she said they were not very intelligent.  Since she knew a more intelligent creature awaited her on the other world, she didn’t want to spend too long on the Water world.  Colonel Richie had other ideas.  Charlie made the five of them practice retreating into the compound and then into the building with the windows to home several times.  KA had been unhappy with what she considered a waste of time but was surprised to find that her brother and sister had agreed with Charlie.  After the third try, he had been satisfied that they knew what they were doing.

Charlie had then questioned Alyca on her choice of pistols over a rifle.  Alyca had pointed to one of the dead trees about seventy feet away.  She had then drawn both pistols and shot a line across the truck of the tree that caused it to topple over.  It had taken her less than two seconds to cut the tree in half.  What had amazed Charlie the most was the straight line that her shots had cut into the tree even with her alternating shots between the two pistols.

“Eight shots fired in a couple of seconds.  I have never seen anything like that.”  Charlie told Alyca.

“Nine shots.  I did the last two together to make sure the tree toppled the way that I wanted it to.”

“Alyca, I want to learn how to shoot.  Jason, Eric, and Jerome learned how to shoot.”  JJ had not previously shown an interest in guns.

“What about you two.”  Alyca looked at her other two cousins.  “Remember that Jason said that unless things got very bad they weren’t going to do any shooting until they got a lot older.”  Both girls shook their heads yes.

Charlie was curious.  “Who are the three boys?”

“They are their cousins in the US, who were nearby when Claire Clarke was rescued.  When Claire learned how to shoot Thursday, the boys also learned.  They were paying close attention.”  Bruce said.

“President Clarke’s daughter.  Why did she learn how to shoot?”

“Claire says that she didn’t like feeling helpless when she was kidnapped.  She wanted to be able to take care of herself.  Uncle Will believes all the family should be able to protect themselves.”  Less said.

“I keep forgetting you all are related to Sir William.”  Charlie said with a smile.  “Well, let us not hold up on your contacting the herders.  You can learn to shoot later.”

Charlie missed Less’ implication that Claire was family.

They headed back to Carlisle.

British Compound
Earth World
Saturday May 22, 1999
 
As soon as KA stepped onto the Earth world, she sensed the herders.  Shield your thoughts.  Her mental command went out to the others.  The herders had sensed their thoughts before they had shuts their minds to only communicating between themselves.  “The herders are coming.”

KA restricted her mental communication to only the other four.  They have detected some mental thoughts from here before.  It was probably Charlie or someone else that may have the ability.

We never thought they would be able to mental communicate.  It doesn’t look like they know about shielding.  They think that it might be another Pack nearby, but they are wondering how they have avoided the ‘quiet ones’.  Alyca’s hands went to her guns.

I will step back to Earth and tell John Harvey not to allow Charlie or Jamie to come to this world until they have learned to shield.  Check to see if there is anyone else that we need to send back Bruce stepped back to Earth.

They found one soldier from whose mind they could detect thoughts being broadcast.

I will handle this.  JJ walked over to Major Douglas.  “That man over there.  He needs to go back to Earth and report to my father.  He is to tell my father that he needs training.  Sorry, that is all that I can tell you.  You will have to talk to Colonel Richie.  I may not tell you any more than this.  The herders that we are looking for will be here soon.  They have noticed us here.”  JJ had used a very strong level of command suggestion but not strong enough for Major Douglas to notice at the time.  Later he would wonder why he had obeyed JJ.

The corporal was called over and sent back through the gate.

Bruce stepped back through a couple of minutes later.  John Harvey is explaining to Charlie and Jamie.  Marie contacted Willy.  The Australians have a few untrained people on the other worlds.  They have a couple of family members near the windows but they are sending a few more over to check each of the four worlds.  Ian Macphater had gone to bed, but Andy and Nancy Macphater were with Jonathan Albright.  They are going to have to figure out how to explain this to someone when he doesn’t have the ability to communicate mentally.  “I let them know that we expect to have contact with the herders soon.”  The last was for the benefit of Major Douglas.

Alyca realizes that they had to let Major Douglas in on the fact that they could mentally communicate.  I need to tell Major Douglas.  What happens will be strange if he doesn’t know about communicating mentally.  Alyca looked over at the Major who had been watching them.  She waved him over.  “Major Douglas, can we talk to you in private.”

“John and Tony, give us some room.  I think I am about to find out more about what is going on.”  Major Kevin Douglass walked over to Alyca.

They will be here in about 15 or 20 minutes.  You need to hurry.  The Major will need to have some time to understand and react.  KA informs them.

“Major, you have seen how KA can control her dogs.  Much of that is because she can hear their thoughts and can mentally talk to them.  She is here to contact the herders just as she does her dogs.  She has found out that the herder pack uses mental communication.  They have detected us here because they detected our thoughts.  We believe it was originally the man you sent back or Colonel Richie.  They have the ability to mentally communicate but have not learned what we have.  The five of us know how to communicate mentally.  This ability to communicate between people was only learned this week.  We are still trying to determine why the ability is spreading.”  Alyca was interrupted by KA.

“They have two types of mind.  One is like ours, but they have another, which is the pack mind.  That is how I am communicating with them.  I am having a hard time understanding.  I think that Aunt Ann may be able to help me understand.”  KA was very excited.

“I will step through and give Ann a call.”  Bruce said.

Alyca continued.  “Major, what you need to know is KA and to lesser extent Less and JJ are our key to communicating with these natives of this world.  They have been communicating with the animals and between themselves for years.  Bruce and I as well as you and your men are only here to support them.  If we cannot have a peaceful contact, we will need to retreat without hostilities if possible.  We will retreat until we are safe, whether that is back inside the compound or back to Earth.  Remember this is our first contact with aliens.  We need it to be peaceful.”

“I understand what is needed and I will wait for more information on the rest.  I am beginning to understand what Charlie meant by stretching us.  I’m Kevin.”

“Then call me Alyca.  It will be a while before I remember to answer to Mrs. Jenson.  It has been a wild week.  Kevin, I am glad to have you with us.  Pass along as much information as you need to.”  Alyca gave him a smile.

Bruce with Sandy returned from Earth.  “Ann is on her way.  Sandy and Nels are going to shuttle back and forth for mental communication.  Everyone is very excited.” 

“Thanks.  I can see why you were keeping this secret.”  Kevin turned and went to talk with his two lieutenants.

“Sandy, I am glad to see you are armed, but if trouble breaks out, stay by the window back to Earth.  That is where we need you most.  Tell your brother that also.”  Alyca said.  “I think we should greet our visitors a little ways from the buildings.”

Sandy stepped through the window to tell Nels as the other five headed out of the building.  Outside they walked to the gate where a squad was standing guard.  “Some of the herders will be here soon.  We have not seen any signs that they use tools or weapons but we know very little about them.  Remember if there is trouble that we retreat.  The only reason to use force is to protect from immediate harm.  Major Douglas or someone else may be out here soon with additional instructions.”  Alyca said.

“I am up here.”  Major Douglas called down from the top of the building that they had just exited.  “Your directions are just as Alyca said.  I believe we can expect either Alyca or Bruce to know and fire first if there is a need to fire.  If they start firing, be ready to fire if you have a hostile target.”

“We may have a reason to show them what a gun can do but not fire at them.  You should tell your people that that possibility exists.  Additionally, we have someone by the window to step through if we need to communicate with Carlisle.

“I will pass it on.”  Kevin started to turn.  “I can see two of them down the trail.”

“There are five more in the bush.  Two more are guarding the trail behind.”  KA said.

“There must be something that they fear.  I don’t think that it is us.  Is there anything else out there?”  Kevin asked.

“I sense a lot of other small animals except off in the distance to the right.”  KA points to the building to the right of the gate.  “The animals seem to be leaving that area.”

Kevin turned to the building to the right.  “Tony.  Look for something approaching from that direction.”  The lieutenant headed over to the far side of the building.  Kevin turned his back to talk to the rest of the men on the roofs.  “We are expecting visitors to come down the trail to the left.  Some other creatures of this world are coming from the right.  Check everywhere, those creatures appear to be sneaking up on us.

“The ones over there are nasty.  They want to kill and it is not for food.”  Less pointed to the right.

“Less, how many?”  Alyca asked.

“Three”

Kevin has heard what was said.  “Tony, to the right there should be three of them.  Be alert.  They are here to kill, but do not shoot the ones to the left of the gate.”  Kevin looked down at KA.

Alyca realized that KA had not been listening.  She placed her hand on KA’s shoulder.  “KA, are you communicating with them?”

“Yes, they are very curious about us.  They have never met any others with which they could communicate.  They are very friendly.”  She was very excited.

“KA, tell them that three creatures may be approaching from where the animals are quiet.  Ask them about them?”  Alyca instructed KA.

Alyca saw the two on the path look toward where the other creatures were approaching.  She could feel fear but determination from the herders.

“They say that we need to go.  They will take care of the silent ones.  If any of them survive they will come back.”  KA looked worried.

“Tell them to stay here and that all nine of them should come join us.  We will face them together.”  Less, let down your shield and show them where the silent ones are.  “KA, tell them that there are more of us than the five they see.”  Everyone, let down your shields.  “Tell them we have ones that are also silent but we are all one pack.”

“I told them where they were.  They cannot sense the silent ones, but I think the silent ones can sense us.  When we let down our shields they turned toward us.”

“So they can sense the herders and ourselves when we are not shielded.  Ask the herders if the silent ones hunt them.  See what you can find out about them.”  Alyca asks KA.

“They say the silent ones attack to kill all of a pack.  When a lot of them attack a pack, there is nothing to do but run.  The young and the old are all killed and only the strongest can escape.  The silent ones are much larger than the herders are.  They say they see our silent ones up on the rocks.  They warn that the silent ones can easily jump up there.”  Alyca cut off KA.

“Major, I believe we need to kill any of the creatures on the right that come into range.  Your men are not safe up there and that means that we down here are even less safe.”

“I agree.”  Kevin had been listening to what was said.  He turned to his men.  “You have permission to fire on the three creatures approaching from the right of the gate.  They are extremely dangerous.  Size may be from pony size to bull size.  They can jump up on to the roof.  Everyone is to keep checking the perimeter.  There may be more of them out there.  Ready the reserves.  They may be tracking the natives that we are in communications with.  These natives’ size varies from a very large dog to a wolf but they do not look like any mammal you ever saw.  Their coloring will match with the grass and other low plants here about.  “

“Sir, I can see one of the silent ones.  They are just smaller than a bull and they are not trying to hide.  It just came upon an animal and killed it instantly.  It did not stop to eat it.  I got the impression that that was a pleasure kill.”  One of the soldiers called out.

“What is the range?”  Kevin asks.

“Looks like about 250 yards.”

“There is one to the left of that one that is closer.  The one is to the right is about the same distance.”  Less says.

Ann Tidwell, the children’s Aunt had arrived.  She was wearing an armored vest and a helmet and she carried her medical bag.

Kevin repeated Less’s words “There is one to the left of that one that is closer.  There is another one to the right and about the same distance.”

“I see the one to the left.”  A soldier yelled.

“There’s the third one.”  A second soldier called out.

“KA, let them know we are going to make loud noises.”  Bruce says.

“OK.”

Kevin had heard KA’s reply.  He checked to see if his men had acquired the three targets.  “Do we have multiple shooters are each target?”

“Yes, sir.  They have seen us and are starting to run.”  Tony replied.

“Fire.”  Kevin yelled.

Many shots rang out.  The kids were momentarily startled but they had heard shooting before.  The herders had not.  The ones in hiding could now be seen as they moved towards the trail.

“All three are dead.”  Less reported.

“I told them that we killed three.  They said that they hunt in no less than packs of seven.”  KA reports.

Kevin heard.  “There are more of them out there.”

JJ orders.  “Join up.”  The three siblings joined hands in a circle.  Alyca, Ann, and Bruce each stood behind one of the children and rested their hands on their shoulders.

“Yes, we can tell where they are.  Six more are coming in behind the herders.”  KA called out.  Get in here.  We will take care of them.

The two herders that are guarding the back ran forward and up close to the children and the others.  They turn around and face the oncoming silent ones.  The other seven backed into position beside them.

Now that they were acting as a group, Alyca was the voice that was heard calling out the locations to Kevin and the other soldiers.  The silent ones could sense a large group together in front of them and they were starting to run forward.  They raised a lot of dust.

Kevin calmly assigned shooters to each one.  The guards by the gate had moved forward and they were assigned targets.

There was no need to search out the silent ones.  Ann gathered up her nieces and nephew and they made ready to head back towards the window.  Alyca and Bruce drew their guns.

Kevin again called “Fire.”

This time the firing was much louder and lasted longer.  Alyca and Bruce did not fire.  When they had joined up with the children, they had learned to sense the silent ones.  They could tell when each silent one died.  Three of them must have been female since they had sensed young in or with them.  With all the bullets shot, there was none of the silent ones left alive not even the young.

Alyca and Bruce put away their guns and stepped forward.  They were going to go forward and look at the lone silent one that had almost made it to them about one hundred feet down the trail.  Suddenly, the herders moved to block them.  Alyca reached out and touched the herder that was blocking her way.  She became very still.

Avla, I greet you.  I think we will have much to give each other.  Alyca communicates to her new friend.  Sandy, step back to Earth and bring Larry and your brother.  The rest of you touch the ones that I point out.  Bruce, you first with Velvon.

They each touched the ones that Alyca pointed out.  When they did, they found that they have been joined to the herder in a bond similar to a Life-Mate bond.  Alyca took her hand off of Avla and found that the bond did not go away.  She found that her sensing range was vastly increased.  The humans also found that they did not need to touch to join up as they did before.

“Kevin.  We can communicate with them.  We have friends here.  Tell John Harvey and Charlie that the immediate danger is gone.  Let them know that we need to have a full compound build as soon as possible.”  Alyca called up to the major.

“I will get the message off.  There will still be guards posted.”  Kevin replied.

“I am just passing on the news.  You know your job.  I am not going to butt in.”  Alyca said.

“This is not how it sounded this morning.”  Kevin said with a laugh.

“I have thought about these windows for months.  You and Charlie found out about it hours ago.  I am not going to let you think about the windows the wrong way, but I definitely do not know how to fight your men.”  Alyca was smiling.

A few minute later, Sandy, her brother Nels, and Ann’s husband Larry joined them.  They each touched the herder that Alyca indicated.  They also found their power increased and were able to join with the others without touching.

“Let us see if we can sense any more of these silent ones.”  Alyca said both out loud and mentally.

Avla replied.  In a dream, I was told that we would soon hunt the silent ones.

KA commented.  My grandmother told me that I would find new friends on other worlds.  She was told things in her dreams.

I would commune with your grandmother.  Avla replied.

She is dead.  She is now my newborn cousin.  KA answered.

We once had one that lived many lives with us, but then the silent ones attacked four double moons ago and killed most of the pack.  He was lost.  We few that survived joined with the Long River pack.  It is our job to scout and search out the silent ones since we have no young.  Avla thoughts were sad.

Alyca’s thoughts were joyful.  You and Kera will soon have to give up scouting.  You both will bear young.

It will be good to have a young one again.  Kera said.

No, you will have two and Avla will have three.  Sandy informed them.

It is rare to have two.  To have three is a great sign of favor from those who speak in our dreams.  Velvon replied.

We must gather more surefoots and wallowers.  Jevron said.

We are humans.  What is your name for yourselves?  Larry asked.

We are the Kin.  Jevron replied.

Let us join together and look for the silent ones.  At the same time, we can look for the surefoots and the wallowers.  Alyca suggested.

The nine humans and the nine Kin joined together.  They started searching outward from where they were.  There were no silent ones within a day’s walk but there were thirteen packs of Kin and the survivors of three other packs of the kin that these silent one had attacked since the last double moon.  They reached out to these survivors and invited them to join them.  They would be there the next day.

They next looked for surefoots, wallowers, and several other animals that the Kin herded.  They found a number of small, unclaimed groups of the animals near where the survivors would pass.  They communicated the information to the survivors so that they might collect them on their way to join them.

John Harvey, Marie, Charlie, Marge, Sir John, and LeeAnn joined them outside of the compound.  They had heard the good news and had come over to meet the Kin.  They were able to communicate with them, but after touching each of the Kin, none of them developed the rapport that the others had.  Ann joined with Kera worked to teach Charlie mental communication.  In fifteen minutes, they had taught him the basics of mental communications.

Marie spoke to Charlie.  “We need to get Karen, Penny, and Jamie over here.  It usually takes a couple of hours to teach what you just learned.  We can have all of you far enough to be working on your own within the hour.”

Charlie looked at John Harvey for directions.  “I cannot order you, Charlie, but you would be a fool if you didn’t get them over here as soon as you could.  Additionally, you should bring that corporal that JJ had Major Douglas send back.  We need all the people we can over here to communicate with the Kin.”

“Sir, I think those are the type of orders that you should give.”  Charlie said.

“Are you saying that I need to give you that order or that I should be ready to give it to others?”  John Harvey asked.

“To others.  I am looking forward to mentally communicating with my family.  I will be suggesting that Jamie be transferred to a research or planning post where he’ll be working on how the military should handle this new situation that we find our self in.”  Charlie added.

“You think he should not be a line officer anymore.”  Sir John asked.

“We have plenty of line officers and plenty of officers doing research and planning.  I think that Jamie can do both, so with this new situation he would be an excellent choice to figure out a practical way of handling things.”  Charlie answered.

“OK, we will do that.  We will keep him assigned to you but we will also have him as an advisor to me.”  John Harvey said.  “Now go and get them.

Charlie headed back to Earth.

Avla was told in a dream that they were going to start hunting silent ones.  Alyca informed them.

It sound like she and my mother have a friend in common.  Marie commented.

Alyca, I guess you want to go hunting with them.  John Harvey asked.

Dad, I would go hunting for them if I were older.  KA was very much against hunting.  I have never encountered a mind like theirs.  When they detect a member of the Kin or us, all they want to do is kill. 
 
We will need to do something about these silent ones.  Anything that KA thinks needs to be killed off, really needs to be killed off.  John Harvey knew his daughter’s feeling about hunting.
 
Bruce and I will go after them.  Sandy and Nels, if you are interested, I would like to have you join us.  Possible we should include the corporal that will be learning to communicate.  Maybe we should make a sweep through all of Charlie’s soldiers and see who else has the ability to communicate.  Alyca suggested.
 
We would be interested in helping.  Nels says.  Sandy nodded her head.

I am going to have to say no.  First, what you are talking about would best be handled by the military, so Charlie will have to organize it.  Second, it is very close to genocide.  I understand that the silent ones target those that use mental communication.  Before we can go hunting, we must learn more about both the silent ones and the Kin.  John Harvey tells them.  “Alyca, Bruce, Nels, and Sandy.  Take four of the ATVs and the Kin with whom you have bonded.  Make contact with the local Kin pack.  First, discuss with them our use of the area around the compound.  Say for a distance of two kilometers.  Then find out as much information about the relationship between the Kin and the silent ones.  Alyca, I want you at the 8 PM meeting to report on what we have found here.  Ann and Larry.  I want you to work with KA, JJ, and Less to learn more about the Kin and the Silent Ones.  I suspect that there may be some history that would enlighten us on what is going on between them.  When Charlie returns with his family, training them and the corporal has priority but get back to finding out what is going on with the silent ones.”  He looked at each and got nods of agreement.

“Marge, your science team needs a briefing on the Kin, the silent ones, and what has occurred here.  They should start their investigations but be alert for anything related to the Kin or the silent ones.  I want recommendations on what type of additional scientist we need and if possible suggestions on who could fill the positions.”

Marie looked at her children.  “You will need to have a nap so that you can be at the 8 PM meeting.  KA, do you want to introduce Sphinx, Regis, and Tammy to the Kin.”

“YES!”  KA broke into a grin and hugged her mother.  She turned serious as she addressed her father.  “May I bring them over to meet the Kin?”

“Yes, you may.  I think that’s a good way to learn more about the Kin.  Less, before you ask.  We need to know more about the silent ones before we bring horses over.  It scares me to think of some silent ones chasing you while you are riding.”  John Harvey told his daughter.

“Even after Alyca teaches me to shoot, Riddle would be in danger.  With all the spies around, it’s not even safe to ride at home.”  Less smiled at Bruce.
 
We need to discuss with the family in the US and Australia the implications of letting our mental communications ability become known.  John Harvey mentally remarked.

Chapter 19

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