“Ben, the Gaian tablet is being handled, do you want to join me and watch?” said Celeste. “Of course,” said Ben as he sat close to her on the couch and looked at the vid. The room was ceremonial in appearance and six older women, one of which he recognized, were clustered around the tablet staring at it. “What do you have in mind Celeste, they look a little apprehensive,” said Ben. “Let's just listen, and we'll see if we can pick up any real information,” said Celeste.
“They really fired a shot at someone from the ship Nona?,” said Lyn the Chronicler. “I couldn't see it but think it was the woman Celeste who was shot at by one of Davin's nasty security thugs. The arrogant look on his ugly face sure disappeared when that ray of light slashed in front of him and that big red spot appeared on his chest. I bet he pissed in his pants before he fainted,” smirked Nona. “I didn't know slimy Elder Davin and his antique cronies could move so quickly. They were screaming, yelling, and climbing over each other trying to be the first one back into their fancy carriage.”
“Why would people from the stars want some of our seed Nona? They are just beans,” said Lyn. “I don't know Lyn, but at least they were talking to us and not them. It also surprised me when he gave one of our men the gift instead of me, and then had the temerity to lecture about things he knows nothing about. He just has to look at what men have done in Eauland to understand what would happen if men were in charge here. The Eaulander's charge us more and more seed for the batteries every year and Davin is gleeful about this. A third of our villages have no light at night now because we cannot afford the batteries they sell us to store the solar energy.” “What is so valuable about this gift Nona? It doesn't appear to be special or do anything,” said Lyn.
“I'll talk with them now, and we'll see how they react,” said Celeste The image of Celeste appeared on the tablet standing alone in a green valley said with a sad smile. “How may I help you, what do you need?” The women were startled by the question, and one in the back whispered quietly to another. “Could she possibly be the Mother?” “No I'm not the Mother,” said Celeste. “But I can help you find a way to solve your problems. The solution will be very difficult for you, but doable if you have the desire. The choice is yours, I can not force you.”
“The path you are on will work for a while longer, but in the end, you will lose and your lives and efforts will be lost to history. This will require you to become one and equal with your men, for without their help you are destined to fail. It won't be today or tomorrow. But it will be in the near future and your children will pay the ultimate price. Without change, all Gaians eventually will be slaves to the Eaulanders. I understand it will be difficult for many of you to change, but if you hold to what is comfortable and familiar all will be lost. Think about this for a while and when you are ready to talk, call for me through the tablet, and we will discuss how we can make a good future possible.”
Lyn the Chronicler tentatively asked, “Are you the Celeste from the ship the Eaulander's shot at?” “Yes,” said Celeste. “But they can't hurt me, and I hoped my message to them was clear enough, but I suspect not. This is another problem my partner Ben and I will put some effort into. Goodbye.” The stunned councilors sat in silence looking at each other.
Ben looked at over at Celeste and said, “What do you think they will do.” “I suspect there will be resistance to change by many of them, but an enough will prevail and will want to learn more. We must be ready for them when it happens. We've learned a lot today, but we need to know more. The Gaians are providing the fuel for the Eaulander's power plant in the form of their seed and most likely crop products too in exchange for batteries. If they stop this they eventually will only have oil lamps for lighting if that. They also have little in the way of manufacturing technology. They need to find a way to break this chain, or it will break them.”
“We should take a closer look at the Eaulander capitol,” said Celeste. The globe of Pastoral appeared in the center of the salon and zoomed until an image of Veneration showed with a small blinking icon. Ben studied the image for a few seconds and said to Celeste. “This is an ugly looking place, it looks more like a prison camp than a city.”
“Is that blinking spot your tablet?,” “Yes,” said Celeste “I have not been able to see much more than occasional image flashes and I have not heard anything but background sounds. Currently, it's in a dark place, and I would guess the person who has it, hid it. I'll zoom in much closer to show you where it is.” An image of one of dozens of similar two story bleak stone buildings with few windows appeared. Ben stared at it and said, “If these are dwellings they make my micro unit on Bliss look like a palace.”
“Do you know where the elders live Celeste?” said Ben. The image blurred for a moment and focused on a large low hill surrounded by an impressively high stone wall. Large homes were built near and just outside the walls and next to them was a substantial military installation. Inside the walls in the center of the hill was a huge cathedral style structure surrounded by about a dozen huge mansions. Celeste flatly said “The odds nearly approach unity this is where they live. The word feudal comes to my mind.”
“Do you have any ways to put ears and eyes on this place, Celeste?” A smiling Celeste said “Yes, I have micro drones that look like insects, but they have a limited transmission range. I am going to have a larger drone at the right time carry them to this place, land in a safe place, and deploy them. The larger drone will relay to me what the small drones hear and see.” “You're a remarkable woman Celeste,” said Ben. “Why thank you, Ben, you're no slouch either.”
That evening Ben looked at Celeste quietly for a moment and awkwardly said, “Celeste, thank you for choosing me. It would be nice if you slept with me every night if you would like to. I really enjoy your company and you look very nice in your pajamas.” Celeste gently said “I'd like that also Ben. It's nice feeling closer to you. I see us together through your eyes.”
During a light rain shower that night a small hatch opens in the ship and a nearly silent drone exits and flies away towards the Eauland capitol. It hovers briefly as if looking around before setting down behind a parapet wall near the top of the cathedral. A panel slides aside and a small swarm of what looks like insects fly off towards their targets in the drizzle.