This is the prologue and partial first chapter of a concept for a book. Deciding whether to finish it.
The Balar are a recently discovered indiginous tribe on a planet being mined for resources. The Galactic Council has mandated that no planet with indiginous humanoid life may be harvested. The Balar were not detected, as they are covered with moss, mud and fungus.
Now that they have been discovered, the Council has stated that they will approve a relocation of these people to a refuge area comprised of a medium sized continent with similar ecology, however, they are not allowed to forcibly remove the tribe. So, they must convince them to move.
An ambassador is sent to find one of the people to talk to, but communication is difficult. The people have no names, and no words for I, me, mine, etc. They won’t say “give me the food”, but rather, “give food”.
They have no sense of society, and are broken into groups of 3 to 20 people. They can’t count past three, and they have no concept of ownership of anything, including land. They have no formal religion, but have an animist belief in spirits that reside in the trees.
They don’t have concepts of thanks, or gift giving because nothing can be owned.
They stay in one place for as long as the leaves are green on their shelters. Once they yellow, the people move.
When the ambassador is able to get one of the tribe to learn some modern concepts, the man becomes suicidal because he now has a sense of identity, and he feels it is the utmost affront to nature and to his people. He tries to kill himself but is saved just in time and is told that if he does not convince his people to relocate, they will all die because the edge of their world is getting closer. If they are discovered by the Harvesters, they will be raped or murdered. The man learns of rape and murder and is shocked beyond belief. This just doesn’t happen with his people. In order to convince them to leave, their entire worldview must be completely destroyed.
Then the man is told he must do yet another unheard of thing. Lie.
After a history of self-destruction and ecological degradation, the corporations of Earth eventually realized that they must strike a balance between ruthless capitalism and ecological sustainability. If they wanted to continue to profit, they had to do so in a way that did not destroy their environment. Other planets, however, were ripe for the raping.
While Earth became a model of ecological efficiency, Terra Corp had no issue taking what they wanted from other planets, however, there was one mandate they had to follow. If it was discovered that there were any other humanoid species on a planet, that planet was off limits. The universe is rather vast and full of resources, so it was a concession Terra Corp was willing to concede.
So, they would send scout fleets to scan a prospective planet and determine if there was any humanoid life. They were an independent body that was not under the thrall of either government or corporations. With all its power, Terra Corp basically was the government. Once it was determined that a planet was devoid of humanoid life, the Harvest Fleet could be sent. Once it was sent, however, there was no turning back. It was just too expensive.
Planet Balar had been scanned and found devoid of human life, and word was sent to approve the launch of a Harvest Fleet. While the fleet was on its way, geologists and biologists were free to explore at will until the Harvesters arrived. A biologist stumbled upon the traces of intelligent life that might turn out to be humanoid after all.
The divets in the earth were not distinctive of any kind of animal track. They were certainly impressions left by something with at least 70 lbs of weight, but no marks of pad or claw were evident. It was almost as if they were made by something made of foliage.
Chiara’s scanner showed no oils, flakes of skin or other evidence of mammalian life. There were, however, tiny bits of moss and fungus that were found within the divets. This was Chiara’s thirteenth planetary expedition and while her job consisted of finding things she’d never encountered before, this simply baffled her. In all the planets, none of the foliage was mobile.
She followed the trail of the divets and found several large leaves scattered about, however, some of them were tied together. They were old and brown, yet there was no mistaking that fibers had been tied into knots to connect the leaves. There were sticks that had been broken from the trees lying beneath some of the leaves. This had once been a structure. Something intelligent was here.
She found a small mound not far from the scattered leaves. Chiara took a stick and began to dig. Ashes. Bits of burned wood. A sick feeling welled in her stomach. This had to be humanoid. Paws can’t tie knots or build fires. No wonder there were no traces from the satellite scans. She hadn’t been able to see it until she was right on top of it. Everything was blended in so well.
Chiara marked the location with her GPS unit on her wrist. Sunset was approaching and she hadn’t been here long enough to know what might come out at night. She walked back to base, cleaned up, let her long salt and pepper hair down and ate dinner, her brow furrowed with perplexity.
She decided to wait until she knew more before reporting anything. Once a report was in, it was uploaded and visible not only to her fellow researchers, but any alert that there might be humanoid life would also go to Terra Corp, and she wanted to be sure. After all, it was her team that had scanned the planet and a failure to locate humanoid life until after a Harvest Fleet was launched was professional suicide as well as a probably death knell for the discovered species.
The next morning, Chiara brought extra specimen bags and sprayed herself with scent neutralizer. She went back to where she’d found the dismantled shelter and the fire pit, wondering if perhaps she was wrong. No, there were definitely tied knots in the plant fibers that held together a couple of large, dry leaves. There was certainly a small pit of ash from an intentional fire. There were tracks that made no sense. No claw marks or specific outline of pads.
© 2015 William Suphan