Trevor held up a hand
halting his companions, then placed a finger on his lips as he carefully pulled down a small branch of a large shrub allowing
him to see better. Twenty yards away, several small mud huts, similar in shape to igloos, indicated the edge of the tribal
Michelle, Adrian and
Trevor were assigned to make contact with the largest tribe and had arrived in a dense wooded area. The other clones were
assigned the smallest tribe several miles to the west.
Michelle and Adrian
crept forward and joined Trevor. Peering through the dense leaves, they observed the huts silently. Two of the natives were
by an open fire close to one of the huts obviously conversing.
"They look like giant
insects," whispered Adrian. Trevor nodded in agreement. They had four arms ending in hands with six, long fingers.
The two legs were short but strong and had flat feet with a single claw. Their broad bodies were shiny brown like an ant.
The chests appeared to consist of three parts to allow expansion.
"Their heads are smaller
than the ones we saw yesterday," Trevor whispered in reply.
females. Or a different race or species," suggested Michelle.
"Being female would
explain the smaller heads," whispered Adrian. "Just kidding,"
he quickly added when Michelle gave him a scathing look.
"How would you like
a knee in the crotch?" hissed Michelle.
"Quiet! We don’t
know how well they can hear! Try to get into their minds," Trevor send his thought to his companions. He concentrated on the minds of the aliens.
talking about some kind of madness among them," said
"Yes, but not this
tribe," added Michelle. "Some tribe to the west."
to send a thought to them," Trevor said. "Let’s
hope they can understand." Trevor transferred a thought to the two aliens simultaneously.
"We are friends
from another planet and want to meet you."
The result was unexpected.
The two aliens became agitated and uttered a high pitched tirade of screeches that brought several other natives running to
scared them, Trevor," said Michelle.
"They think they’ve
been struck down with the madness," Adrian said.
As they watched, several
of the aliens pounced on the two screeching natives and dragged them away as more natives came running to surround them.
where they are taking them," said Trevor. "Try not to be seen."
Fitting from hut to
hut, they followed the crowd to the center of the village. The crowd dragged the two natives to a hut larger than the others
that stood in the middle of a clearing. Two aliens emerged from the hut; one had a bright red band around each of its four
"Must be the chief
of the tribe," Adrian commented.
"Get into their
minds and see what’s going on," said Trevor.
The chief raised his
arms and the crowd fell silent. He approached the captives and walked around them, then addressed one of them. Trevor read
the thoughts as the chief spoke.
"Do you have the madness?"
"We heard voices in
our heads," replied the fearful captive. "You must kill us."
The chief held the
captive’s head in his hands and examined it. Then he examined the head of the other captive.
"Your heads are normal.
What did the voices say?"
The native began to
explain what they had heard Trevor say in their minds. At the chief’s command the other captive spoke confirming that
was what was heard. The chief was silent for a moment, then turned to the crowd that had began to speak among each other with
strange clicking and hissing sounds.
"This is not how the
madness comes," he announced. "Their heads are normal. There is no hole."
talking about?" asked Michelle.
sure, but they seem to have been cleared of being mad," replied
Trevor. "Maybe now is the time to show ourselves."
"What should we
do if they attack us?" Adrian did not sound convinced that this was the right time to reveal their presence. "They
seem pretty agitated."
"Transport to the
point of our arrival if there is any attack on us. The green button on your belts," answered Trevor. "Don’t use any
of your powers against them. Come on."
He stepped out into
the open with Michelle and Adrian either side of him and a step behind.
"We are friends!"
Trevor called out. The crowd turned toward them then fell back in fear, screeching. Trevor entered the chief’s mind
and sensed the chief’s fear.
"Do not be afraid.
We mean no harm to you or your people." Trevor’s
assurance did not lessen the fear that filled the chief’s mind.
"Have you come to
give us the madness?"
"We have come to
help fight the madness." Trevor assumed that the madness
the natives spoke of was the Scuddar’s doing.
"No one can fight
the madness," retorted the chief.
"We can. We have
fought it on another world."
"What other world?
There is only one world."
Trevor pointed to
the sky. "When you look up at night, what do you see?"
"We see the lights
of the spirit guardians."
live on other worlds," said Trevor. "Like the one we come from."
"You are guardians?"
The chief walked around the three clones. "You do not look like any beings I have ever seen."
"That is because
we are not of this world". Trevor pointed to the sky
again. "We come from one of the lights you see at night."
The crowd of natives
watched their chief apparently talking to himself. The clicks and squeals that was their language grew in volume. The chief
turned to them and raised his arms, silencing them.
"The voices in Raco
and Cen’s heads came from these creatures. They speak to me in my head. They come to fight the madness." The chief pointed
skyward. "They are the spirit guardians! They come to help us!"
As one, the crowd
slapped their chests and raised their arms to the sky. They did this three times in unison.
"Nicely done, Trevor,"
"Now we have to prove we can help them."
"Yes. If this madness
is due to the Scuddar feeding on the victims minds, then it has spread further than we thought."
"Ask the chief
how many have the madness," said Michelle.
"Good idea," replied Trevor. He did as Michelle suggested. They learned that four
natives had the madness in a tribe to the west of them and many in the southwest suffered from the madness. They also learned
that the heads of the victims grew in size over a period of time after becoming mad. Only one of their own tribe had suffered
and they had killed him as soon as they saw the signs of madness. The chief had discovered a hole in the base of the victim’s
head at the back.
"We had better
warn the others. They are to the west of us," said
Trevor. He turned back to the chief. "We must go to the west of here. We will return when we have destroyed the madness
"This should surprise
them," Trevor said to Adrian and Michelle. "Transport
to where the others are at the count of three."
tribe heard a popping sound and the three strange spirit guardians vanished.