Harvest

 

By Ultrasybarite

 

Chapter Two

 

The two tribes settled in with each and peacefully melded into one tribe. They expanded the town. They grew crops both native and from seed provided by the Elders, who lived among them as gods. They hunted native animals. Most importantly, from the Elders point of view, they learned, meditated, and worshipped their gods.

 

The Elders poured knowledge into their heads. All sciences from Political Science and Philosophy to Math and Physics. They were given the equivalent of 5,000 years of investigation and research in a matter of hours. The vast amounts of data that had been force fed to them killed some and drove others insane. Those who lived had strong, flexible minds.

 

A few generations passed and each generation received the same glut of knowledge on being declared adults. They were taught how to how to store and instantly retrieve any of that mass of data and anything they had learned instantly. The Elders led their meditations and rewarded the best. Punishments were limited to gentle chastisement and some of the very best experienced the physical love of their gods. It was considered an ultimate reward.

 

In this way the Elders managed to introduce inheritable changes in brain wiring. In learning to cope with, actively use, and manipulate the vast amounts of data the Elders gave them they strengthened their minds immensely. These changes would make it ultimately possible for them to develop the ability and concentration to use what other races of man would call sorcery.

 

It wasn't really. It took an extremely flexible yet immensely strong mind to fully comprehend what they were really doing and even then it was only those who inherited the wiring changes who could see the extra-dimensional energies used could make full use of them. Others were only able to use them by rote, unable to alter them for circumstances or create new spells.

 

One young man wanted to share some of this great knowledge with other humans on earth. His name was Ra. He hid this desire. He learned how to not even think it unless he knew the Elders occupied with instruction or other things. He bided his time. Then when it was announced that in 10 more years the third group was finally close to solving their last puzzle and so passing their entrance test he volunteered to learn their language and be among those to meet them.

 

He made his mind blank as the Elders gave him the new language, Egyptian they called it. For his own safety he tried to be a perfect sponge, thinking none of his own thoughts merely receiving. This led to a pleasant surprise for him. He was one of the best speakers of the new language and so he and a woman Heidi were selected to meet the Egyptians as they landed.

 

The tribal leaders had made clothes for them imitating then current Egyptian dress for them to wear. Although they knew that the Scandinavians had landed naked they were told that the newcomers would arrive like the first Pearls did, with whatever they had been wearing and carrying.

 

They were waiting by the pyramid. He had shaved his head and applied makeup as male Egyptians of any status did, and was wearing a pectoral made of gold around his neck and hanging down his chest. He had on a short linen kilt and sandals. Heidi was wearing a linen skirt that reached ankles but was loose enough to walk in as well as open toed sandals of leather decorated in silver. She was wearing no makeup but had on a small tiara and other jewelry. The jewelry was loaned them but they had purchased the clothes using their own money. After some discussion the community had been put on the gold standard and used gold and silver coins.

 

As soon as the bright light started he left Heidi and, running forward, leaped towards the light. Ra hit it almost exactly right and vanished as the Egyptian harvestees landed near the pyramid. Heidi was shocked speechless. She didn't know what to say or do. An Elder appeared and took over.

 

The Elder mentally spoke to the new arrivals. She told them of the nature of the test that the godbox represented and of their mission to oppose the creations of the Galen and their works. Including Heidi in the mental broadcast she also said that Ra had managed to make it back to Egypt but that she and her fellow gods would watch him and prevent him from causing any harm there. She welcomed them to their new home and then disappeared.

 

She took thought and decided that it would be very educational to watch him and see how well Ra managed for himself. It would be a good baseline for seeing how well the Pearls were developing and how easily they could manage the work which their "gods" had planned for them.

 

If he did well, with no so-called sorcery and mental powers, then when the Pearls had such powers, there would be NO society the Galen could create that the Elders could not influence through such useful followers.

 

The Galen were concentrating on physical superiority; they would, she could foresee, be naming their creations Supremis.

 

But even physically perfect specimens can be hamstrung by bad governance. Or a slow and unfeeling bureaucracy whose people, even if mostly good people, have to worry more about securing their positions against those who aren't good then performing their jobs. Or even strange and twisted cultural fads that seem to spring out of nowhere and grip the youth of a culture. Or mixes of any of these.

 

She smiled and reported to the other Elders. They would have to find out where Ra came out and what he did. They would watch carefully but never reveal themselves unless and until they deemed that they had learned enough. She smiled as she envisioned what she would do to these Supremis the Galen were creating. Partisanship, Nihilism, Fanaticism, Despair, Apathy, they would visit all of these on the creations of her hated enemies.

 

Meanwhile unsuspecting of their fate, the new arrivals were meeting Heidi and being led to the town. They marveled at the construction of the road and the running water in the showers and the giant bath.

 

The only real change since the Scandinavians had come was the bioluminiscent light, from algae found in some deep caves by a scientist who developed a nutrient bath that kept them alive and glowing for years. If properly taken care of, they produced light without need for fire where candles otherwise would be used.

 

Once in the bath, the Egyptian harvestees had been given what had become known as The Knowledge and were started on the road to merging with the existing culture.

 

Ra, meanwhile, was realizing that navigating a spacetime fissure was no easy feat. He could see nothing but grey formlessness, neither hearing nor smell worked. and the only solid object was apparently himself. He deduced that navigation must primarily mental and so commenced to remember all he knew of Egypt and built a picture in his mind that he clung to fiercely. His deduction was correct and his concentration sufficient. He came out of the grey limbo on earth and in Egypt. He was several feet in the air but managed to land on his feet. In front of Pharaoh Amenophis IV.

 

He managed to convince the pharaoh he was an emissary from the sun god and after demonstrating some of his wide ranging knowledge he became the Pharaoh's chief advisor. It was on his "advice" that Amenophis IV changed his name to Akhenaton and it was based on the words of his supposedly divine message that Akhenaton changed ther religion of Egypt to monotheistic worship of Aten and built the city of Akhetaten and moved his capital there.

 

Marrying Nefertiti was his own idea. Ra, although unknown to most people, wielded a great deal of power. He enjoyed it far more than he had thought he would and instead of using it to ensure that he was heard and his wealth of knowledge taken seriously he used it to cement his place and for his own enjoyment.

 

Any secrets he let slip were purely by accident, and did not much alter Egyptian society. He made enemies and eventually one got to him despite his superior knowledge, and he was killed a little more than 16 years after arriving. So much did Akhenaton miss him that he designated his brother Smenkhkare to be his co-ruler. Two years later they were both dead and the religion went back to its normal polytheism.

 

The Elder watching nodded, satisfied at what he had discovered. He went back and told his fellows that these Atlanteans were precious indeed and should receive the most attention of any group.

 

 

Chapter 3

The Elders kept closer watch on the people calling themselves Pearls after that and for many decades to come. During the four decades between the incident with Ra and the coming of the fourth group the Elders walked among their charges. They led meditation groups, judged contests, sat with the leaders in council, and generally tried to keep a firm grip on the pulse of civilization with the dozen or so of them who were primarily assigned to this project.

 They still considered the Pearls to be the best prospect for fighting future Galen projects but they now realized that humans were inherently unpredictable even with their powers so they stayed close and watched carefully. This way their projections for the future would have the best data. 

The fourth harvest took place in Central America. The people who would one day be called the Olmecs are the cultural hub of their region. Their pottery and artwork is traded far and wide and many try to copy their style without success. They are a prosperous people with a rich culture and a history as a city of cosmopolitan traders and artists. From the raised earth mound that holds their capital city their ideas, artwork, and goods flowed to the lands around them influencing cultures far away.

The outlying citizens of their country and some from other countries as well made at least one pilgrimage to the city on the man made hill to see all its wonders. Among these wonders is the "Sacred Stone". They had no idea their sacred stone was an alien device meant to encourage creativity and certain patterns of thought. They only knew that it protected them from invaders and that those who spent long in its presence came to understand that "the gods" wanted them to try to solve the puzzles carved into its surface.

These puzzles rewarded correct solutions with a wave of pleasure and punished wrong ones with horrible pain followed by death if they were wrong. Still they believed that these "gods" must be appeased so they had a priest attempt one once a year. The priest who did so was chosen by lot. The attempt was made during a big celebration which was witnessed by many tourists and natives alike. It was held in a large amphitheater built in the center of the capital with the "sacred stone" in the center upon a raised platform. 



On the day the last one was to be attempted the High Priest had purposely made sure his name was drawn from the lot. He was certain he had the solution and also certain that whatever the reward for solving the last puzzle was it would be greater than all the previous ones and he hoped to get it for himself. As the day dawned he dressed himself in his most impressive clothes and lead the procession of priests to the amphitheater.

He had actually schemed to be the one chosen as he believed he had the solution and he thought it was only right that he be the one to solve the final puzzle before the eyes of a rapt multitude. 

He wore the cloak with sacred runes inked into the fabric and his jeweled kilt and sandals. He led a procession of 100 priests to the center of the city where the sacred stone sat in the center of the amphitheater. They was much celebrating going on today and the amphitheater would full of people from all the neighboring kingdoms.

Those who could came every year to witness the ritual, to join in the partying and to trade of course. This year with the likely prospect of it being the last time the ritual was performed the crowd would be even larger. All would see him solved the final puzzle set him by the gods and he would receive his reward. He led the procession past jugglers and children playing with small spheres of rubber that were miniatures of those athletes used in the Olmec ball game. Minus the skull in the center of course. Upon entering the amphitheater he saw that everyone was cheering him and the priests who entered behind him.

* * *

 

No further chapters available. But see also: Finding Sanctuary, another Diaboli story

 

 

2007