Raven Rattle

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        As she prepared her Eagle for the approach, Nuu-Chah was offended by the archaic airport in the middle of the long, low building. Architecture to no purpose, except to echo old glory days of airports past. A tower and flat concrete landscape instead of trees and rolling hills. This was where Jon lived, where he fled to, thirty years before. Jon had run home to a world that found the past a benediction and the present a horror.

        Enough of that, she thought, concentrating now on the approach to the quaint 'runways' of this port. She could land on the roof of the longhouse, like she was used to on Kagwantan, her home. She could land softly, making no sound, and not intruding on the gulls on the beach or the bears in the nearby forest. But here they wanted fanfare, an approach, a fly-by of the tower, to satisfy Homeworld ego. The inhabitants of Earth loved to show off their "trade with Other Worlds", a trade limited to goods. Nuu-Chah knew that they felt that ideas were the property of Earth alone and thus outlawed importations that were not derived from Earth science.

   Nuu-Chah's Eagle was a tiny craft, and looked lilliputian in the huge Private Jet Hangar. The hangar was well guarded though; she thought and wondered why there was so much crime on this most imperial of worlds. She walked away from  her Eagle wishing they allowed the use of such 'alien' tech here. Her Eagle could have taken her directly to the University, directly to Jon, but the authorities would not allow it. She would not be as fearful herself if her Eagle was there. But it could not be. She had to see Jon at the appointed hour. It was very important. The Eagle, much as she loved it, would have no more meaning for her after this meeting.

        She was forced to chance public transit, a quiet controlled underground with guards at every door. A child laughed at her long black hair and asked her if she was a witch. She smiled and said, "No, Kawantan Indian." The child ran away, frightened of her. She signed. There was so much misunderstanding.

        When the train stopped, the uniformed guard looked at her and asked where she was going.

        "Alumna University."

        "This is your stop, then Madame."

        He pulled the door open for her. She wondered briefly why he had asked her then, if he knew already, and not at the twenty-odd stops before. Why now and why here? But she got off anyway, rolling with the flow of old Earth control, that she felt wash about her, realizing that her every move was being watched. There was no other way to do it, it had to be done. Her son, Loon-Chil would forgive her, she hoped.

        She was the one who had been given the dream, and she felt the fullness its truth when she saw how grey the people of Earth were. Over the years, officialdom and computerized rules had taken the place of dreams and wild adventures. The Earth that had explored the galaxy with wild cowboy dreams of open space had been replaced in this century by a regime of bureaucrats. It was time to take wisdom from the Earth and give it to the Kagwantan who so desired it.

        She saw the university crest on the short grass ahead of her, with swords and words on it. The motto was "Truth Forever". As Nuu-Chah approached, she realised the crest was made of flowers. It was the exact crest and colouration that she recalled from her days as an Earth-Alumna University student on Kagwantan. Uncanny to see the crest created like this, of flowers bent and forced into proclaiming Alumna University more powerful than the forces of nature. It saddened her. In contrast, she recalled the brilliant reds, oranges and pinks of the bush flowers beside her own lodge; wild and glorious and now far away.

        In the Department office, there was a woman in a blue uniform sitting at a desk who asked her to supply a reason for her visit to Jon.

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