Moses was a Liar: 3 GENESIS 4: The Curse of the Lost Tribe

Posted: October 20, 2011 in SciFi

 The scene on KRAT’s cliffs was something which would remain in Rachel’s memory for many years. She sat on the hillock overlooking what had been Bennie’s Camp where a scene of industrious activity reigned. She was recording the happenings with her camcorder. It was their record of history.

Since the failure of Jim Armstrong’s mini-coup, Oscar’s followers were clearly confronted with a massive dilemma. There was no doubt in Oscar’s mind that Jim’s group would remain a constant problem. Given the limited footprint of KRAT which they were expected to share, it was evident that to release them would be counter-productive. Some type of corporal punishment such as lashings or even worse was not appropriate either and neither was a kangaroo court. Too barbaric, the more conservative elements in the camp had said, although Gary had come up with some creative ideas which usually bordered on the ridiculous but at least created some lighter moments while the leaders debated the dilemma.

It was only after Karl pointed out that he had originally suspected that Jim’s group were planning an exodus from KRAT with the remaining four life rafts, that the solution became self-evident: “Why not banish them from KRAT and send them on their way with a couple of life rafts?” he asked.

Father Ridgeway, Ahmedi, Suzette as well as Donald James were violently opposed to his proposal but after considerable debate and argumentation, the conservative lobby could not come up with any better alternative. Neither were they prepared to guarantee the behaviour of the miscreants. Finally a decision was taken. It was decided to deploy the life rafts and place Jim’s team on the rafts with sufficient rations to get them to safe ground, possibly on the mountains of the Great Divide which they could see jutting out of the seas about 20 kilometres away.

The risks were high, as a sudden earth tremor or an eruption from Brutus would set off tidal waves which could wreck the small craft. On the other hand Oscar argued, the craft were constructed for exactly these conditions and with luck they should be able to reach the slopes of the mountains.

Once the decision had been finalised, they acted swiftly much to the consternation of Father Ridgeway who continued to plead for clemency and forgiveness. Every time he did this Christine, Esme and Gary walked away in disgust. The priest’s approach in trying to protect the criminals irritated them.

The men from Base Camp took two of the life raft canisters from Bennie’s Camp and after opening them, removed the Very Pistols and returned the rations to the rafts. Each craft had the capacity to hold twenty passengers, so only two had been deployed and fitted. This would give them the substantial safety margin which had been insisted upon by Father Ridgeway after being outvoted in the planning debates.

Each life raft was equipped by the survivors with a small mast and boom made from saplings and woven hemp sail of roughly four square metres which had been cut into sails reminiscent of the lateen sails of the ancient Arab and East African dhows. The masts were fitted into a slot provided for this purpose and with ropes lashed to the crafts’ rubber fittings. The masts could be raised and lowered with minimum effort while the shape of the sails gave them some directional ability.

In addition, they fashioned small rudders shaped like oars with which to steer the ungainly craft. The modified craft were dragged to the edge of the cliffs where the narrow goats’ herd path twisted and turned down the edge of the cliff to the waters below.

They waited for a calm day on the seas before agreeing that the timing was right. After carefully lowering the rafts to the sea and tethering them to some rocks, further supplies and drinking water were stowed in the pockets. The personal belongings of the gang, which had been recovered from their deserted huts, were lowered and stowed as well. With everything in readiness they then herded the cowed and unsuspecting prisoners from the stockade where they had been kept for the last week.

They had not been consulted during the whole process. Oscar was quite adamant that to do so would merely slow down the evil day and complicate their decision. He also knew that this would give the religionists an opportunity to appeal for clemency in front of their supporters.

When Jim and his team were gathered around the crafts, Oscar divulged the decision to banish them from KRAT. They could not believe their ears.

“This is cold blooded murder! You bastards better appreciate the implications of what you are contemplating,” Jim shouted at Oscar.

“Jim you know that you have brought this on yourselves,” Oscar replied calmly. “We have been through this with you and I’ve discussed all possible options at length with all the members of my camp. We have absolutely no option but to get you off the plateau.”

“But ’ow can you, a Flight Officer of ’is Majesty King Charles’ III, National Airline, even contemplate such a brutal act on survivors such as we are? Isn’t it your sworn duty to protect your passengers from ’arm at all times?” Bennie shouted. Besides his normal belligerence, it was clear that he was very frightened, not least because he hated sailing and got violently sea-sick.

“Bennie, you have long ceased to be my responsibility. It was by choice that you and your cronies decided to separate yourselves from the main group. That decision effectively absolved me and my original crew from any liability towards you. It was also by choice that you opted to kidnap Christine, a crime punishable by death in many countries or with very long prison sentences,” Oscar replied. He was quite surprised that Bennie had chosen the loyalty issue but he had no qualms that he and members of his crew could not be held responsible in any way for their safety should such unlikely occasion ever arise.

Christine who had been watching the discussion with her arms folded, walked straight to Bennie and said: “Bennie, where do you think His Majesty is right now?” Without waiting for an answer she turned to Graham and asked: “Wasn’t it you Graham, who made it clear that only the law of the jungle applied here? It is only brutes like you who function at the level of animals who use that term. No, I apologise to all animals. You are sub-human, and that is your choice.”

“Where humans are concerned, the law of the jungle never applies because humans have choices they can make about situations confronting them. The human being evolved with a mind which gave him power over the natural world. Unfortunately the mystics of the world tried their best to subvert this power. You made the choice to kidnap me in order to extort concessions from Base Camp or more likely to violate our rights and persons. That was the law of the jungle as formulated by you. You chose to ignore common decency and the logic of reasonableness. You have consistently operated at the sub-human level; you have denied your ability to think and functioned at the base level of an unthinking animal; you are now of the animal world and that has been your undoing.”

“Now we are responding to your wishes. We are giving you the freedom you sought. The manner is which this freedom is being handed to you may not be to your liking but brother it’s a tough world out there. Now you will learn what the law of the jungle really means.” Casting a glance at Father Ridgeway who was clearly unhappy with the chain of events, she turned round and started to clamber up the narrow pathway without a further glance backward.

Graham and Bennie watched her walk away with undisguised hatred contorting their faces.

“We should’ve killed you, you bitch!” Graham yelled after Christine’s retreating figure. She didn’t pause as she rounded an out jutting rock and disappeared from their view.

The seas seemed to be holding its breath; the surface was as flat as a mirror and no wind stirred the waves. Once the rafts had been placed on the water, the protesting and clearly frightened members of Jim’s team were herded to the craft by armed escorts and guided into the leading raft which had been tied to the other craft.

Oscar addressed them for the last time: “None of us wished for this outcome. You have brought it upon yourselves. The mountains which seem to divide this valley are about 20 kilometres away. With a fair wind you should reach it within two days. We have given you enough water and food to last you for two weeks; fairer than that we cannot be.”

“We do not wish you ill fortune and trust that you will be able to establish your own village and build your own future. Do not return to this mountain. We have posted a permanent watch on this pathway which as you know is the only access to the plateau. Any attempts to do so will be met by force. May you have fair winds.” He turned and climbed back up the pathway.

Earlier Father Ridgeway had requested Oscar whether he could bless their craft and journey. Holding aloft his arms, he now intoned:

“Let us pray. Lord Jesus, Son of the Holy Father;

have mercy on these souls and guide them on their perilous journey into the unknown.

 Show them the Way and lighten their burdens.

Lord, open their hearts and expunge the evil which resides there.

Lead them and guide them;

 we know Oh Lord that you died for all our sins and that it is only through your mercy that we survive.

We pray to you Lord Jesus to forgive them their sins and to give us who remain behind the strength to forgive them as well.

We ask this only in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord through the Holy Mother, Mary. May God be with you on your journey over the Devil’s seas.

 Amen.”

Graham jeered as the priest closed his prayer:

“Thanks Father. I’m sure that your god will look after us; but you better pray that he look after you. We will be back!”

Jim stood up in his craft and with a fist held high, cursed the remaining survivors and KRAT:

“You will feel the wrath of Red Earth.

You will be spurned by the gods while hunger and disease will be your constant companions.

The day will come when justice will prevail.

Beware the opening of the skies and the rising of the dead.

Count your days for they are numbered

Not even eyes in your backs will protect you from what you are unable to see

Not even your ears will hear the whistle of the winds of ill fortune which will accompany you

Neither will your mouths utter the fear in your belly when your livers are ripped out.

 We will return and we will avenge ourselves on you and your generations to come

Seek us not for we shall not be sought

He contemptuously cast off the last link with the mountain side which had been their home for the last six months. Slowly the craft moved away as the crew tried to familiarise themselves with the oars and the uncomfortable seating. As they cleared the lee of the mountain, their small lateen sails filled with the light wind and they quickly picked up speed until they were out of earshot.

From their vantage point on KRAT, Oscar and his people watched them until they disappeared as small specks on the vast seas.

There was no celebration at Base Camp that night. Getting rid of troublemakers like Bennie and Graham was a relief to especially the women and children but for many they were also survivors who had merely made stupid decisions. A more reflective and even sober atmosphere seemed to invade the camp as fires were made for evening supper. Even the children were quieter than usual.

Most people’s thoughts were on the two small craft on the wild and dark waters of the New World.

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