Tag Archive: teleportation

Year 10 day 3

I haven’t tried to explore the oceans, for the simple reason that they don’t have landmarks. For some reason it was not until early this morning that it occurred to me: couldn’t I teleport directly to a given latitude and longitude? I wouldn’t dare do it over uneven ground, of course, unless I teleported to a point high enough there was no chance of arriving underground. But a latitude and longitude where I had been before, where I knew there was nothing but water beneath me ….

I checked the coordinates I have recorded, and found two points from which I had gone high enough to be sure there was nothing but the tideless sea in sight, and where I could triangulate to a point at a latitude and longitude that I was sure was over water. It worked! So if I flew directly north from the northernmost land mass I have found, and teleported back to my home when I was tired, I could resume flight the next day from the latitude and longitude I had reached the day before.

I’ve been worrying about whether there was a northern ice cap, and this way I can find out.

I’m confident now it does not reach the peninsula I have been exploring; there is a warm current from the south washing its shores. But if I head due north, I can at least find out if the pole is ice-free. The northward equinox is the ideal time; I will have enough sunlight to see easily but any ice will not have melted yet.

Besides, it will give me something to do until the People return.

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I’m getting toward the end of the snippets I plan to post from this scene in War’s End, but I still have a few weeks to go before I switch to my published works. Ginger is speaking, and she’s just said that that young a baby — Michelle’s only a month old — could not possibly mange the energy and momentum matching required for a smooth teleport.

Dark Matter Ring, Hubble“That’s why we landed a bit apart and moving relative to our surroundings. Just getting us all here alive on pure instinct—wow! She’s Inner Council material, I bet. Here, Coralie, try this.” She handed Coralie a bladder-like object with a nipple.

Michelle obviously considered the bladder’s contents a poor substitute for her mother’s milk, but she was too hungry to hold out for long. “Give her here,” Madame Irela suggested. “I’ve raised four of my own and helped with ten grandchildren, and I’ve had plenty of experience with that kind of feeding.”

At least Coralie’s getting a break from almost non-stop nursing, though she’s still stuck with figuring out what to do.

There are lots of us posting snippets of our work today. Click on the logo at the top for Weekend Writing Warriors; on the logo at the bottom for the Snippet Sunday facebook page. Again, I’ll be really late getting around. I won’t be spending as long in the air today (Ithaca to Boston) but have no idea what internet connection will even be possible at my 50th Harvard reunion.

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 Year 3 Day 25

I don’t know why I worried about clothes.

African sunset, Emlyn AddisonI teleported to where Storm Cloud had said their last camp would be well into the afternoon, to find them still present. Songbird caught me by the hand at once, and pulled me toward the shaman’s hut. “Hurry, hurry, she cried, “we must adorn you!” The next thing I knew I was being stripped and elaborately dressed in beautifully tanned leather, covered with designs in ivory and shell beads, porcupine quills, and carved bone. At least the loincloth they gave me didn’t chafe like mine. Perhaps I could trade for some properly tanned leather?

I managed to talk them out of dressing my hair with mud, but not out of the strongly scented fat they rubbed into it. Not that it made much difference, as they then covered it with a creation of feathers, fur and more beads that covered my head to such an extent that I could hardly see. Then they proceeded to paint designs on whatever skin was still visible. I think most of the paint was colored mud, though a thinner red color seemed to be some kind of vegetable dye.

The final step was a heavy leopard skin, complete with head and tail, to wear as a cloak. By this time I was sweating profusely in the heat, and felt more like jumping into the lake nearby to cool off than accompanying them along the shores to the meeting place, where a bonfire was already lighting up the darkening twilight.

“Ah,” said Storm Cloud with satisfaction. “Now you look like the god you are.”

I almost teleported back to the shelter.

Welcome back, Sixers. I’m going to post something today that is completely different from what I’ve done before, though still in the same universe. This is from the third book of the trilogy, working title War’s End — though I hope I can come up with a better title before publication. This is roughly halfway through the book, and a moment before this scene, Coralie is on a spaceship.

She had to protect the baby.  Coralie tried to make a rigid shield of her body and arms as she rolled through wet, foul-smelling greenery, punctuated by harder masses that might have been tree trunks or rocks — she was too confused to tell.  Around her, familiar voices cried out in shock, and somewhere a dog yelped.  What had happened?  This wasn’t the ship!  The uncontrolled tumble ended with a blow that drove the breath from her lungs, and for a moment she could see nothing but colored flashes as she struggled for air.

If you like this excerpt, or want to play yourself, check out the other fine authors at Six Sentence Sunday.

Year 2, Day 339

African Wild DogI am beginning to wonder if I may have promised more than I can deliver. At least it keeps me busy!

Yesterday morning was devoted to filling water containers, finding food (for three groups now) and checking on the woman whose name, I have finally discovered, is Meerkat. Then I teleported Patches and myself to the last camp of Lion’s group and had Patches try to track them to their next camp. Patches can move a good deal faster than they can, and they usually stop to hunt well before dark, so I caught them just as they are staring to look for a campsite. Yesterday I spotted a good site ahead of them and guided them to it. By that time, however, Patches was getting tired of tracking. Getting her to follow the hunters from Storm Cloud’s camp toward Meerkat’s took a good deal more mental control than I really like to use, and it was full dark before we found them and delivered their water.

I hoped to break up the tracking by having Patches track the hunters partway in the morning, as they leave as soon as there is any light at all. Then Patches could rest while I took food and water to Meerkat and filled the water containers for Lion’s group. Actually finding the group was as much a matter of guessing as following Patches, who by that time was sore-footed as well as rebellious. When it came to following the hunters from where they’d been around noon, she simply laid down and dared me to drive her on.

I thought that by then they might be getting close to Meerkat’s camp, as after all they had estimated two days to get there. So I teleported their supplies to the camp and then flew back along the route I though they would be using. Luckily there was a full moon tonight, so I was able to find them. Lucky also that they had estimated the time it would take them so well. And I have seen most of the trail they will be returning over, so if they tell me each day where they will camp the next night, I should be able to teleport to those sites, leaving only Lion’s group to depend on Patches’ skill as a reluctant tracker.

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.

I think I’ve gotten myself in over my head.

My well supplies far more water than I need, and with counterweighting it is no great problem to teleport the filled containers to Storm Cloud’s group. Filling the containers and finding the group each day takes far more work, though they are marking their trail after a fashion. No doubt their marking method is as obvious to them as it is hardly visible to me. Another two days, and they should be in country with grass and surface water. The herds are only a little beyond them.

Lion’s group is more difficult – they seem unable to accept that I can keep them supplied with water if they leave their mudhole, which is going to dry up soon, and teleporting fresh kills to their site is simply not going to work long term – for one thing, it’s hard on the local predators. And it won’t solve the problem of water. They don’t seem able to understand that I can do some things that they cannot but that I can’t do everything, and they keep trying to argue that it would be much simpler if I just made it rain.

Worst yet, I’ve spotted two more groups of people who speak the language I’ve learned. I was going to leave them alone, since I’ve found Storm Cloud’s group, but because of what I found today I have to rethink that.

I was searching for a fresh kill to take to Lion’s group when I spotted a group of hyenas squabbling over something – and the something turned out to be a human body, emaciated to the point that there was little left even for a hyena. I teleported back to the shelter for Patches, and had her backtrack the hyenas. The trail led to a camp of sorts, with enough of a thorn barrier to slow down the hyenas, but those who had built the barrier were dead or dying of starvation. Only one was still conscious, a woman whose skin, far too large for her body, suggested she had survived this long only because she had once had enormous fat reserves.

The rest were beyond any help I could give them, but I teleported two melons and some figs to her. By evening I though she might survive, though the rest of the group were now dead.

What can I do? She cannot walk far, or survive on her own. Nor can I teleport her without further shock which could well kill her. And will the other groups I saw end in the same way as hers?

Year 2, Day 325

Even the predators are hungry.

Not that I let that stop me from stealing two of their fresh kills and teleporting them to the vicinity of the camp I found yesterday. The shaman, who goes by the name of Lion, begged me to stay, and share my wisdom with them as I had with Storm Cloud’s group. Wisdom? Knowledge perhaps, thanks to the computer library, but it is these people who seem able to adapt that knowledge to their environment. Was it not Songbird who combined her knowledge of basketry with the information in the computer to devise the fish traps?

Well, I could teleport in enough food to keep them from starving from areas where the drought had not been so extreme—but visiting them occasionally would be sufficient for that. I pointed to the half-moon, visible in the daylight sky. “I will return when the moon is full,” I told Lion. “And I will join you at the Gather. But for now, I need to find Storm Cloud’s band.” I was perhaps going too far with the promise to join them at the gather—I still didn’t know were that was! But if I could find Storm Cloud, I could follow that band, no longer constrained by my inability to walk any distance.

Neither Lion nor any member of his band could tell me exactly where to find Storm Cloud’s band. They did, however, have considerable awareness of the regions each band roamed over. Not teleport coordinates, not a map, but a general awareness of landmarks, and distance (in days’ travel) and direction between them. By the time I left Lion’s band, late in the evening, I had a much smaller area to search in hopes of finding Storm Cloud and Songbird.

I can only hope they are in better condition than Lion’s band.

Year 2, Day 324

It’s now my fourth day of searching, and I still have not found them. I did see a band yesterday—not the people I am looking for, but their ornaments were similar. I thought it over last night and most of today, and decided to contact them. Cautiously. I hid where I could hear them speaking, enough to know they spoke the language I learned from Songbird, and who knew? They might have been at the gather, and be able to tell me where I should look.

Their camp was by a water hole, and I walked in with my hands spread, just before sunset, ready to teleport away at any sign they were hostile—I had not forgotten those others! “Greetings,” I said carefully. “Do you know of the band that has a child called Songbird?”

They looked at each other and the men, their ribs painfully obvious, took a tighter grasp on their spears.

“They call their shaman Storm Cloud,” I went on, and one of the men took off at a run for the center of the camp. The others continued to surround me, their spears held at the ready, but their expressions were more of fear and concern than of hostility. I found myself hoping the fear did not escalate to panic—I didn’t really want to teleport back to the shelter.

The man who had run off returned, accompanied by a panting man whose halo of gray hair was surmounted by something similar to the headdress Storm Cloud wore when she was acting in her capacity as shaman. The headdress was somewhat askew, which made me doubt that he wore it on other than ceremonial occasions.

“Great God Jarn,” he gasped, “forgive us for using your sacred knowledge to keep ourselves fed, but Storm Cloud said the knowledge was to be shared.” And he fell on his face before me. The men with the spears gave me a horrified look and backed away.

Do not interfere. To the hells with that! These people were hungry, and if any knowledge I had shared would prevent that, good!

“It was to be shared,” I said. “And I am pleased if you can use it.” What knowledge was he talking about?

As he led me into their camp, my nose provided the answer. Fish. The band I know had shared their knowledge of the fish traps, and given that game was scarce on the ground, the additional food source had been a boon to this band.

Not enough to make up for the lack of rain, I thought, given that the water hole was small. Could Patches and I drive one of the half-starved antelope I had seen toward them? Not today, perhaps, for it was already getting dark, but in the morning? But “Great God!” How am I to convince them I am merely a castaway?

Ever notice that the berm across the end of your driveway, or the one formed when you shovel the sidewalk, is harder than the undisturbed snow? That’s because when snow is disturbed crystals are broken, and the broken surfaces positively grab onto other ice surfaces. Two examples of this are common in nature, and I’ve used both in my fiction writing.

The first is called a wind slab or wind crust. When a turbulent wind picks up snow crystals and redeposits them, a good deal of crystal breakage takes place. When the broken crystals settle down they weld themselves to other crystals and the result can be a hard crust—even though the temperature is below freezing. Roi has to cope with this in Tourist Trap:

The trees had broken the force of the wind up to now, but once he entered the open swath the wind almost knocked him off his feet. The snow was crusted here, not quite enough to hold his weight, but enough that his thighs were bruised repeatedly by the chunks of wind-slabbed snow he was dragging Timi through. He paused twice to increase the circulation to his feet. Were they cold, hurting like hell, or just numb? he wondered absently, and then realized that Timi’s shields had dropped to the point that he was feeling Timi’s body as well as his own. The wind cut through the frozen scarf and the cold glued his eyelashes shut, and with a start of horror he realized that he had drifted away from the line back to the shelter. He could teleport himself back, maybe—but he wasn’t sure he had the energy left to do even that, and there was no way he could take Timi with him.

He struggled on: lift a leg and break the crust with his knee, then drag the leg through the slightly softer snow underneath until he could balance on that leg to break out the next step with the other leg. Timi staggered behind him, almost falling several times, and his mind ached from the effort of keeping the other boy upright. Snow had sifted into his clothing, somehow, and he knew he was cold but no longer felt it. With an abruptness that caught him by surprise, the wind died down, and he went to his knees as he tried to break through a crust that was no longer there. Back in the trees, he finally realized, and reached out for the faint impression of the shelter.

The second is probably less familiar to most, and I hope it remains so, but here in Alaska it is constantly being drummed into us. This is what happens in an avalanche. The churning snow sets up like concrete as soon as it comes to a halt. Well, not quite like concrete — it can be dug through with shovels – but far too hard to shift by moving your body. Marna is caught in an avalanche in Homecoming:

Even as she crouched and aimed herself for a belt of trees that might provide some protection, the leading edge of the avalanche overran her, tumbling her helplessly down the slope. The churning snow caught and twisted one forceweb until she thought her leg would break, but the torsion activated the safety cutoffs and the forcewebs went abruptly inert. She clawed her way upward through the fast-moving snow, and tried to remember what lay downhill. Only her perceptive sense kept her from total disorientation.

The buffeting and spinning as she was carried along reminded her of the time she had been caught in the breaking wave—but then Win had been there to rescue her. Win. She had repudiated whatever was left of Win, but as the slowing mass suddenly set rigidly about her body, she wondered at her own insanity in wanting to be alone. She struggled to move, but felt only the slight snapping of a switch, followed by the growing cold of the snow that held her prisoner. Her struggles must have turned off the thermal suit, she realized with a growing sense of despair. Exhausted and chilled, she could not even visualize a place of safety. Win, she sobbed mentally. Forgive me, my love.

This is a situation where time is absolutely essential, and buried but living victims are likely to die of suffocation or cold – often in less time than it takes to get help. Dogs are better than people at finding victims, but if search and rescue dogs have to be flown in, it is often too late to find anything but a body.