Tag Archive: Levitation

Year 2, Day 337 Continued

To my considerable surprise Songbird, with the authority of the Shaman’s necklace, was actually able to convince Lion that my “godly” powers did not extend to making it rain, though I could transport water-filled containers to a band on the move. They were far more apprehensive about Patches, whom they had not seen before. Songbird laughed and hugged the animal, which seemed to reassure them a little. At least they didn’t totally panic when I had the wild dog get their scent so I could have her track them.

<a href="http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=576&picture=sunset-in-serengeti">Sunset In Serengeti</a>The sun was already low when I teleported Songbird, Patches and myself, along with a ground melon and some groundnuts, to the place where I had left the woman. She, too, was shocked, but chatted freely with Songbird while she kept a wary eye on Patches and I added a few more thorn branches to her barrier. Songbird looked carefully around her before we left. “Could you raise us up, so I can see farther?” she asked. Puzzled, I complied, letting her look around a little before I teleported us all back to Storm Cloud’s camp.

We arrived at sunset, with a hunting bird soaring overhead. “I know where they are,” Songbird told the Shaman as she returned the necklace, “and Jarn will  bring them water as they move North. And I know where your sister’s kinswoman is, too.” She then proceeded to give a series of landmarks I had not even noticed, followed by precise directions for reaching the half-starved woman. How had she known that?

Two of the best hunters listened carefully and then nodded. “We will bring her here, but it will take two days running to reach her, and more to bring her back. Can she walk?” They looked in my direction, though not directly at me.

“She is walking around within the thorn barrier now,” I told them. “But she cannot run. You will set out in the morning? I will bring you water, fish and figs at your night camp.” I would take the same to the woman, I decided. She would need the strength if she was to cover the distance back to Storm Wind’s camp.

It was fully dark by then, and I was eager to get back to the safety of my shelter – but I had one more question to ask. “Songbird,” I said, “how did you know the way to where the woman was?”

She grinned. “Oh, I described where this camp is, she recognized it, and told me how to get to her camp from here. I’ll be able to do it someday, but I don’t know all of the landmarks yet.”

When I was back at my shelter and putting today’s doings into my journal I thought a bit about these people’s ability to move around their landscape, and their ability to follow an unknown trail from a single second-hand description. I could not do that. But to survive as hunters and gatherers, they had to.

Jarn’s Journal is the fictional Journal of a Human-like alien stranded in Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. His story is part of the remote background of the Jarnian Confederation, the setting or both my science fiction novels. The Journal to date is on my author website.

 Year 2 Day 337

I couldn’t find Storm Cloud’s group yesterday evening, or the evening before! I wasn’t  too worried about them; they were getting into an area where they could find ground melons, if not surface water. But I wanted to talk with Storm Cloud about the other groups I’ve seen, especially about the one with only a single survivor.

Luckily I remembered how easily Patches backtracked the hyena, and this morning I teleported her to the last place I’m sure was on the group’s trail, and asked her to find Songbird. She set off at once, though somewhat puzzled by my wanting her to follow such an old trail. I flew above her, coming back to earth often to rest my mind, and by late in the afternoon we had caught up with the group. Obviously they did not need water; they were camped not far from a lake.

“Storm Cloud,” I said, “I need your advice,” and I poured out my problems: Lion’s group, the lone woman who was regaining her strength but was a magnet for predators, and the three other groups I’d seen. (I’d spotted another while searching for Storm Cloud’s group.)

She was a little shocked at my asking her for advice – she is still more than half convinced I am a god. But she was able to identify all of the other groups I had seen when I described their clothing, and confirm that they should also be heading for the Gather. In fact, it seems the woman who barely survived was her mother’s mate’s cousin’s niece, and Lion was some kind of a relative, too.

Songbird had been listening, and she was wiggling in a way that suggested she had something to say. “Speak, child,” Storm Cloud said.

“You could take me to see Uncle Lion,” she said. “I could tell him how you helped us.”

My doubt must have shown on my face, but Storm Cloud nodded. “I will give you a token.” She took off a shell necklace and handed it to Songbird. “Take great care of this, and bring it back to me safely, but this will tell Lion that you speak for me. When you return, we will speak of the woman.”

Did I have a choice? Songbird was the one person I was sure I could teleport safely, little though I liked reinforcing her love for being moved in this way.

This an excerpt from the (fictional) journal of an alien, Jarn, stranded in Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. Jarn’s story is part of the remote background of the science fiction world of my novels Homecoming and Tourist Trap, as well as an upcoming trilogy. For his Journal to date, see my Author Site.

Year 2, day 140

The headaches have almost disappeared. Score another round to my esper instructors.

They kept telling me that my headaches were analogous to sore muscles when I tried something new physically. Well, they were right. Over the last few fivedays I have seen more parts of this continent than I have over the past two years, and while my head felt as if it was going to explode the first few days, I can now go almost anywhere I have seen and levitate to a height which is uncomfortably cold with no headache at all. And once I am high enough, I can pick out landmarks and teleport to them with little effort.

It is a large continent that I have landed on. To the north, trees and watercourses become steadily more frequent until finally I find myself in jungle. By the sun, this jungle continues past the equator, bordered to the north by more savannah and eventually by true desert, drier than anything near my shelter. Farther yet, I came to a great salt sea. It may be partially enclosed, as there seem to be few tides in spite of the large moon.

South, the land again is washed by salty water, but stormier and with definite tides.

There are mountain ranges, valleys, even volcanic areas, and a great valley which makes me suspect this continent may be rifting apart. I have yet to find snow or ice, though I think I glimpsed some coming in. Still, by the height of the sun this continent is centered on the equator and even its most northerly and southerly limits are far from the poles.

I am mapping at after a fashion – it gives me something to do while I am alone. I can get both latitude and longitude from the position of the sun, though absolute distances have to be expressed in terms of the unknown radius of this planet. I keep hoping I will find the gather, but even the area green from the rains is far too large for anything but blind luck to lead me to them. I wish I knew where they were.

Year 2, day 122: Day 736 since my arrival

Last night I dreamed of flying.

It’s not something I’m very good at. I’m afraid once I decided to become an engineer and design starships I didn’t pay much attention to my esper lessons. But I’ve been forced to do a lot of esper over the last two years. Teleporting, perceiving, and telekinesis, mostly, but I’m dong all three much better than I ever did at home. So why not try levitation?

Not flying, exactly. But one of the things I’ve found I can do is teleport to a distinctive landmark. The higher I am, the better my chances of spotting a distant landmark I can use as a destination. So why not levitate to gain that height?

It does take just as much energy as I would need to climb to the same height. There is a way of getting around that, by using the energy of falling water or a landslide, but I’m going to have to learn how all over again. Even using my own energy, though, I managed to rise far enough into the air to see a distinctive tree and teleport to a spot above it. With practice, I could explore in much larger steps. And it wouldn’t wear out my sandals.

I think I will see what the computer library holds on levitation.

Much later in the day

Why didn’t my esper instructor tell me that all of that counterweighting and similar jargon simply referred to the conservation laws of physics? No wonder teleporting to a place at a higher altitude exhausts me; I’m using my own energy instead of swapping energy and momentum with my surroundings! I tried teleporting to the top of a butte while moving a similar mass of dirt and rock down, and it took almost no energy. The same with levitating to butte height. Water would work even better as an exchange medium, but for that I’ll need to find a waterfall.

So, my first priority is to practice exchanging energy and momentum with my surroundings, which should make teleporting much easier, and the second is to find a convenient waterfall. I wonder if I could locate that gather?

Author’s note: Jarn has finally worked out a calendar. He’s decided to start each year with the northward equinox, and to count the year he arrived as year 0. His Journal to date is on my Author Site.