Chapter 98: Evacuation Begins
We are ready to begin evacuation the nephilim and their companions from
Yazatlan. We go to our various posts:
In the pantope, we have Tom, Kate, Mirien, Markel and his dragon, and Desmond.
In the Tellemataru receiving area, we have Robbie, Brunalf, Mithriel, Katrina, Salimar, and Metalais.
On the away team to the various pick-up points in Yazatlan, we have Dafnord, Daphne, Runyana, Braeta, Greywolf, and whoever our local representative is for the area.
Desmond and Greywolf will swap back and forth, with Desmond at whatever post seems to be most in need of time-tricks or at highest risk of violence.
In the room housing the telemporter, we will have Obedan (remember Obedan?) and his retinue, along with Gannar, who, along with the Tellemataru automation, is mainly keeping an eye on Obedan.
Our first pickups will be the people of Sunbird and N'Tabo Bey, so they can go back on duty in the field hospitals as soon as possible. Sunbird wins the coin toss and goes first. We open on a sunny savannah in a quasi-African/Amerindian part of Yazatlan. The away team establishes their exit order: Runyana, the local representative (Sunbird this time), Dafnord, Greywolf, and finally Braeta, with Daphne moving up and down the line.
Here's what the various groups see:
In the pantope, we see the two portals nearly in face-to-face contact. One opens on Yazatlan, the other into the mouth of the telemporter, which is really just a distraction to prevent people from guessing about the pantope. So there's essentially one portal hanging in the air. One side shows the telemporter; the other side shows Yazatlan.
In the Tellemataru, they see a big, dimly lit, bronze tunnel mouth opening on one wall. This is the connection to Yazatlan.
On Yazatlan, they see the same bronze tunnel mouth hanging in the air. On the other side, they see a circle of bulkhead on the Tellemataru.
Stepping out into the apparently empty savannah, Sunbird makes a birdcall. A few people rise out of the grass. Then some more further off. Then more out of a stand of trees in the middle distance. Then a few more...
People sort of filter in. Some look reluctant and suspicious. Dafnord sends Sunbird to sell them on the idea. Greywolf helps at this. Daphne spots some fays eyes the proceedings. She goes to encourage them to board. Half an hour. An hour. Hour and a half.
After about two hours, when we've loaded about 1200 people. Next!
At the next stop, a runner comes up, very distressed. Some hunters have gotten distracted and gone off after some antelope. Some more folk have gone off after the hunters. We need to round them up.
Meanwhile, Robbie calculates that the crowd-flow means it will take three hours to load everyone.
Dafnord thinks, then asks Tom, via telepathy net, to double back in time and put a later instance of the portal over there between those trees. That is, he wants Tom to decide now to wait a couple of hours, his time, then put the portal over there a couple of hours ago. That way we can load twice as fast, yes?
Unfortunately, Tom is a stodgy, first-generation time-traveler. No way will he twist things up like this. "It's going up to Atropos and handing her your worldline with one hand and her shears in the other," he insists. If they want to load faster, he'll make the tunnel bigger with Glamour.
Tom shrinks down to bug size, slips through the cracks into the telemporter tube, and proceeds to enlarge it. This causes some distress signals to light up on the works back on the Tellemataru, but they soon have everything evened out.
Meanwhile, Daphne and Runyana go off to collect the strays. Daphne soon spots a three-way standoff between a band of hunters, a herd of antelope, and a pride of lions. Two humans are already down. Daphne perches in a nearby tree and animates it, to freak out the lions. It does, somewhat. (Does a job on the humans, too.) Runyana starts picking off lions with a gun. Soon, the standoff is broken, only some of the lions are running the same direction as some of the humans, and there are the wounded to consider. Eventually, the dust settles and we get the idiot die-hard hunters off to the portal, which we move to meet them, since one of the wounded is at death's door.
Collecting the other strays involves haranguing them and, in the end, shooting the lead hunter (on stun setting). It takes two hours to get all the humans, fays, and nephilim aboard (not counting the really stubborn ones who never show up at all; they're a problem for much later). Daphne's rumor that the world might collapse if you remove enough demigods was very motivating. We'll remember it. Next!
And so it goes. We find we're picking up about 1200 every hour. We pause for a logistics consultation. Revised estimates of the whole human/fay/nephil population are around 1.5 million. It'll take 40 days to clean out the planet, working non-stop. Instead of that, Morniesul recommends we shuttle off in three trips, taking 30 days to load for each trip. Looks ... workable.
We're done with Sunbird's people, so now it's N'Tabo Bey's turn. His folk included a war zone that we somewhat pacified, but we'll start elsewhere in his territory. He recommends places called the Desert of Tears and the Western Plains.
We make several loading runs, with about the same average rate we established for Sunbird, including the hassles of herding strays. Then, in the Desert of Tears, we get a report of a more serious problem: The local populace is eager to leave, but the local caliph wants to go on being caliph and won't let anyone out of the city. He is able to enforce this because he's got a lot of nephil blood and has whipped up massive sandstorms and the like as a barrier between the city and the pickup point. He's also summoned some wild beasts.
Of course, we can move the pickup point...
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.