Welcome to Saturday Morning 2
Sliffis jumped and half curled into a ball when Riko
emitted one of his infamous pistol shot sneezes.
The landodile would normally tease the ichneumon about
the noise, as Riko teased him about his pine cone body
or long tubular snout. But with Weeha out scouting the
bizarre scenery than had appeared in the north, in what
had once been the Great River Valley and later became
the War Zone. Just over what had been the farthest
Avalon advance in the war appeared a small town where
the day before was charred rubble. The town looked nothing
like anything that had been there before, according to
a couple members of the platoon who had been in this
area before the war.
Suddenly, the sanstring opened up with jumbled sounds
for a moment and then fell silent. Rico made up his mind.
"Out! Juggernaut too!" The platoon and the juggernaut
came out of hiding and moved toward the building the
otter aesop scout had entered as fast as they could.
The ichneumon was used to making drastic decisions on
the spur of the moment...in Hindia he had fought capello
snakes in carnivals when he was growing up, and if you
thought too long there you would entertain the visitors
by dying in agony before them.
The battle was quick. The defenders only had a small
number of people in uniform, and they were armed only
with pistols. Against a juggernaut and a platoon armed with
rifles there was not much doubt what the outcome would be.
Weeha had a strange flesh wound on his neck ("Let me
tell you, whatever they say in books, flesh wounds hurt!")
The platoon killed a number of humans. They shouted in
what seemed to be a cross between English and German, and
soon fled for their lives. The vehicles in the town seemed
more streamlined than any they had seen before, and that
made Sliffis nervous. The medic smeared some medical
paste on Weeha's neck and wrapped a bandage around it.
The platoon and juggernaut then made quick speed
south before the newcomers could call for reinforcements.
Rico began interrogating the otter. The building he
had chosen to enter was the one where the uniformed
humans were stationed. They almost immediately attempted
to take him captive, and he tried to call for help
on his sanstring before they smashed it. He was unable
to understand their language, but allowed himself to
be captured, being rather outnumbered. They at once
began angrily shouting at him, then started trying to
remove his head. When they failed in this endeavor,
someone brought a pair of scissors and started cutting
at the fur and skin on his neck, when the platoon
arrived and rescued him.
Some pretty strange things had happened in the last
five years of war. Sliffis had a feeling that the
strangest things of all were just starting to happen.
Alberto Philho sighed and shook his head. His second
in command and near life long friend Paulo Vargas nodded
sympathetically to him. "I had a great deal of trouble
making myself believe it, too. I am not up on the latest
scintific ideas as you are, of course. Is there anything
that would correspond to such a thing?"
"There is an idea I have heard that every time
an unstable atom breaks, a universe is created where
that break did not occur, and one where it did occur.
Then each universe goes its own way, getting more
and more different from each other as different
atoms interact with the broken or unbroken atom.
But it is considered a fool's guess about how unstable
atoms break. Of course, we only learned about unstable
atoms twenty or thirty years ago."
A man came in with a rolled up cylinder of paper
and deposited it on the table, then bowed and left,
as Paulo Vargas had instructed him to do as soon as
the map was available. South Vespuccia was now
divided into four new countries. Alberto Philho was
stunned to see that Brasil was now barely over a
quarter of its former size. Instead of covering almost
nine tenths of the continent, it was the smallest
looking of the four "countries". To the south was
something labeled "Plate", to the east was "Quechuan",
and to the north was "Amazon".
"I am getting way too old for this" thought Philho,
not for the first time since the war began. Well in his
eighties, he moved slowly and painfully now. Vargas
was not too many years younger, and he did not have
parents who had both lived into their nineties.
When he had led the Bloodless Revolution so many years
ago, he thought he would get his country to a position
of liberalism and scientific learning and then retire
to a life of science. Somehow, it had not worked out.
"Are you sure there are these three different
realms on our continent? What is the rest of the
"Actually, there could be a hundred or more areas
of this new world we are in...each with people from
a different history. Quechuan seems like our Huaraca,
a surviving Inca nation, only larger...how much larger
depends on its exact borders. Plate seems to have been
settled by the English..."
"Exact borders? Aren't these the borders?" asked Philho,
pointing to the map.
"Actually, we only know that they are our neighbors.
We don't know how far away they extend, yet. In fact,
just before I woke you I had heard of sanstring messages
that seem different in language from the language spoken
in Amazon, which seems to be Dutch, a language spoken,
until yesterday, by only a couple million people.
They seem to come from where Novohispania was, based
on direction finding. At least part of that area now
seems to be called "Wenzela" or something like that.
But we have to speak about Amazon, Alberto. There have
been at least twelve battles already by aesop troops
with the people there. At least two of them were caused
by aesops hearing "Amazon" and thinking the Humans said
"Avalon". You also have to understand that aesops seem
to be unique to our area of the world now. Other people
react to them like you would to a walking tree or a
talking fish...they not only never saw aesops, they never
heard of them or even imagined them. And a lot of the
aesop troops along our border with Amazon are rather...
"Yes." Philho now had some reason for regretting
putting so many aesop like wolverines, ichneumons and
Tasmanland demons in and near the War Zone. "Have orders
given immediately for no fire or even scouting unless
you or I order it or to defend. How many casualties?"
"At least a few hundred Amazon Humans. And several
score of our Aesop killed. Maybe twice or even thrice
those numbers injured. Amazon seems to be more
advanced in technology than we are...actually, much if
not most of the world is now, based on sanstring
messages...but the Aesop have surprise and sometimes
numbers. Amazon doesn't seem to be at war now, most
armed people seem to be police, so while their pistols
are better than ours, they do not match our rifles."
"Very well. And also find some people who speak
fluent Dutch, so we can open negotiations with this Amazon
before we stumble into another war." If we haven't
stumbled into one already, he thought.
DRIZZLE DRAZZLE DRUZZLE DROME
TIME FOR THIS ONE TO COME HOME