TC1X

TC1X – NUPTIALS

That afternoon Jerry wakes up outside the town somewhere with a sore bump on his head. He’s naked, lying flat on his stomach, and each hand and foot is roped off to stakes buried in the ground.Three men surround him, all wearing hoods to hide their faces.

JOHNNY SUNKEL
Where’s the Golden Gift, Jerry?

Jerry recognizes the voice as belonging to that of Johnny Sunkel.

JERRY
In the temple, Johnny.

There’s a whistle and a crack. Jerry grunts, more from surprise than pain, although there’s enormous pain. He’s not too terribly frightened, though, he already volunteered to be flogged by his mates on his vision quest just to see how much he can take. Jerry thinks he can take about five lashes.

JOHNNY
That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard of! Of course it’s in the temple. Where in the temple is it?

JERRY
I don’t know, Johnny. Twofeathers gives it to me.

The whip falls again and the skin on Jerry’s back splits with a cloud of red mist.

JOHNNY
Bullshit! And you don’t know my name!

On the backstroke Johnny Sunkel’s whip hits one of the other boys and the kids screams, even though it just hits the back of his leg and he was wearing blue jeans. When the boy curses, Jerry recognizes the voice as belonging to Larry Porter.

SCOTT HILLING
You don’t get to marry our white girls, Jerry. That was the arrangement going way back.

Jerry nails down that voice too.

JERRY
Your white girls, Scotty?

That earns Jerry another stroke. His grunt lasts a while longer this time, but then he almost laughs when the whip comes back and bites Johnny across the chest and it’s his own turn to scream.

LARRY PORTER
You ain’t marrying that Zinter gal. Tell us the wedding’s called off Jerry.

JERRY
After I pass out make sure you keep going, Larry. Make sure I’m dead, and hide my body, because I’m in this club, see. We look out for each other.If they know you did this to me they’ll pick over your feet for two or three days with a sledgehammer, blowtorch and knives like they were leftover turkey.

JOHNNY
This is gonna pinch some.

Johnny hurled the business end of his whip down on Jerry’s back again, two more times, whistle and snap.They kept waiting for Jerry to scream, but instead they saw the white layer of fat underneath the split skin on Jerry’s back and two of the boys started puking. Jerry figures it’s time to make his move. With his right hand Jerry reaches into the new “space-time pocket” that always goes with him now and comes back out of it holding the Golden Gift.He extends the blade long enough to cut the rope binding his left hand. Then with his left hand he takes the Golden Gift and frees his right hand.

Johnny hurls the end of the whip at him one more time but Jerry cuts it uring the downstroke, leaving little more than a riding crop for Johnny to swing. Then he cuts his legs free. All three of the boys star running, but Jerry, with his back feeling like it is on fire, is too damn sore to run after them.

Later, in the hospital, Jerry tells sheriff Roddy Walker the boys wore hoods and he couldn’t see who did it to him. He does tell the sheriff the boys said they wanted him to call off his wedding with Kim.

Peter Twofeathers is ready to go pick up Robyn and Hunky. He brings his wife and Dory along, but first they stop at the hospital to see how Jerry is doing after his whipping. Dory asks the obvious, stupid question.

DORY
How do you feel?

JERRY
Not any better than the last time it happened.

DORY
The last time? You’ve been flogged before?

Jerry nods, and stares at Prophet Twofeathers.

JERRY
It’s a boy thing, Dory. The Prophet knows.

PETER (rolling his eyes)
Vision quest?

Jerry nods again, and Peter rolls his eyes again.

JERRY
Come on, ladies, we’ve got a rescue to do.

After Dory, Peter, and Deborah leave, nine Kaleetan braves about Jerry’s age pay a visit. Jerry’s a popular fellow. River Rawdon gestures at Jerry, lying all bandaged up on his stomach.

RIVER
What the hell is this?

JERRY (wincing a bit)
The gift that keeps on giving. Keystone Cops, with a whip.

RIVER
Who did this to you, Jer? You know the rules. We gotta keep this from happening again.

JERRY
It was three Bunners. Johnny Sunkel, Larry Porter, and Scotty Hilling. I told ’em Thanksgiving is coming early this year.

River unsheathes his blade and holds it up, smiling.

RIVER Gobble gobble.

In Caspar, Wyoming Robyn and Hunky get off the bus and make their way over a little footbridge to a wooded bend of the North Platte river with dirt roads and trees where they can hide and minimize the number of homeless girl sightings until they see the Prophet, his wife, and Dory. It would be just their luck to be busted by a cop for vagrancy on the very cusp of their freedom.

DECON does indeed have the bus station and Clara Zinter’s house watched, but they do not have enough resources in place that early in the game to tail any of Robyn’s friends. Later when reported sightings of Robyn and Hunky come in from the public (their bedraggled appearance after the river swim at Hanford made them stand out), DECON has people crawling all over Greendome, Lusk, and Crawford, but Caspar, Cheyenne, and Rapid City are too far afield, they figure.

When Twofeathers, Deborah, and Dory arrive they split up and search the woods, calling Kim and Sophie by name. Robyn hustles out of a bush she’s hiding in and faces Dory.

ROBYN
I’m not Kim Zinter anymore, Dory. Call me Robyn.

DORY
I don’t care what you want me to call you, Robyn, or Kim, or pick a name out of a hat. It’s good to see you again girlie girl!

They embrace tightly. Then Dory sees Hunky and rushes into her arms as well. Dory hasn’t seen either of them for more than a year. Robyn asks about Jerry, and Dory mentions the hospital, which causes Robyn to make a strange face. Then Two Feathers starts his car and drives a half-circle around the little green space to the point closest to the Boda, where he throws open the doors and tells them all to get in.

Two feathers steers his vehicle towards the outskirts of Greendome.

ROBYN
We escaped from the Army. Hunky and I. So now we’re fugitives, I guess.

DORY
What do you mean a fugitive? So you left without checking out with them, big deal. This is a free country, mostly.

HUNKY
They took rifle shots at us. I lost count how many.

After she says that there is silence in the car until they pass the city limits.

PETER
You’ll have to go underground. Literally underground. Jerry is prepared to help you do that, Kim, and you too Sophie and Dory, but this is the end of your life as you have known it.

ROBYN
I’ve already taken a big step on my new life, sir. I’ve discarded the name ‘Kim’ and now I answer only to Robyn.”

PETER
Robyn what?

ROBYN
Just Robyn, sir. A single name, like Hunky. Sophie is just Hunky.

DORY
I feel a little left out. Okay, so I’ll make it official, I’ll drop Fuchs and just go by Dory now.

PETER
Klaus Hansen made his move.

He’s referring to the second ranking clergyman in the End Dome Church, the Apostle he appointed from among the Bunners and now deeply regrets doing so.

PETER
He’s helping the Army or the FBI or whoever it is that is trying to find you two girls. You won’t be able to show your face anywhere near Greendome for a very long time.

HUNKY
Why don’t you just fire him, sir? You are the Prophet, after all. He’s just the Apostle.

PETER
I did, but the schism is already in full bloom. He’s leading the Whites to go their own way and he’s already made himself the Prophet of something he calls the Reformed Green Dome Church. There’s a large faction of the Church that has never been able to stomach equality with the Red Wing. I thought making him Apostle would hush them.

ROBYN
I figure the mandatory cousin marriage thing has always just been a bone tossed to the Whites.

PETER
That’s correct. No Red will ever be able to marry a White as long as that rule exists. But rules can be changed.

So here is the change Robyn was hoping for, coming from the mouth of the prophet of the Church himself, but looking inward and ahead with her new powers, Robyn still can’t see her wedding to Jerry.It is just a big blank, and she has no idea what that meant.

Klaus Hansen, the former Apostle of the Green Dome Church and prophet of the Reformed Green Dome Church, comes to the hospital to visit Johnny Sunkel, Larry Porter, and Scotty Hilling.The doctor is still muttering about the “animals” who had slowly turned their six feet into just so much ruined hamburger, requiring a clean amputation of each one. Every time the boys are awakened, first by the sheriff, and now by Klaus, they take to sobbing miserably, not so much from the pain they were now suffering but from the memory of the pain they had already suffered, for two days and a night, as the tormentors worked in shifts. Unlike themselves, who had been hooded and disguised when they tortured Jerry, yet were still identified, the ones who retaliated on behalf of Jerry wore no hoods at all, yet the victims refuse to identify them at all, other than to say they were “Indians”.

KLAUS
Where’s the Golden Gift?

JOHNNY (moaning)
Jerry had it all the time.

KLAUS (in a mocking voice)
You knocked him out, stripped him naked, hogtied him, whipped him, but Jerry had it, all the time. Where did he have it all the time? In his asshole?

JOHNNY
I don’t know!

KLAUS
Did you mention he ought to call off his wedding to the Zinter girl?

JOHNNY (in a whiny, sing-song voice)
I did, but I don’t think he listened to me! What’s the world coming to when you can’t even get a little respect?

KLAUS
Jesus H. Christ on a crutch!

Klaus is the Prophet of the Reformed Green Dome Church and the spiritual leader of the Bunners.

KLAUS
I guess it is true what they say, if you want something done right, you got to do it yourself.

The man’s name is Tashunka and he remembers helping to field-dress bison that had been killed by Chief Wanica when the Golden Gift made its first appearance in North America. After he tells the Sheriff what he found, the Sheriff tells one of his deputies to get a flash camera and come along to the scene.

Outside of town, about a mile north and west of the hill of Green Dome, Tashunka walks them right to the body inside a little fenced-off area nigh to the road.The body is naked, clearly female, with rolls of flesh that say she has been amply fed.The body is elevated, in a position that reminds the Sheriff of being crucified.Her feet are about six inches off the ground.Palms facing up, her arms droop back as far as they can go. Her head is also drooping back. There is a wooden post about six inches square, embedded in the ground, but cut with a sloping top, and her back rests on this.

The Sheriff tells the deputy to start taking pictures, while he goes back to his car to get pictures he already has.When he returns, he compares his photographs to the face of the dead girl.

RODDY
Sure enough, it’s her.

Kimberly Zinter. DECON had been looking for her, but now she is dead, the victim of murder, so whatever business DECON had with Kim died with her, and it is his business now to find out who did this to her and bring whoever it is to justice.

After the deputy finishes taking his pictures and writing down notes about the crime scene, he and Sheriff Roddy and Tashunka all pitch in, grab Kim’s body, and lift her off the post to be laid gently on the ground.That’s when the Sheriff sees what she has been pinned to.

RODDY
Fuckitty fuck fuck fuck!

It is the Tri-State marker, a little plaque where surveyors had decided the corners of two different states ran smack into the border of a third.That simple fact takes the investigation right out of Roddy Walker’s hands. It is back to being Federal.

After the trip to Caspar and back again, Peter Twofeathers is driving his Town & Country on the east flank of Green Dome with his wife, Robyn, Hunky and Dory all aboard. They are only about a mile from Robyn’s house and her long anticipated reunion with her mother when they see three figures on the side of the road waving for them to stop. One of them is Jerry Shybear. Another is Clara Zinter, Robyn’s beloved mother. The other one has no clothes, no eyes, no mouth, and is as white as bone.A set of needles bristles from the top of its head like a Mohawk.Peter pulls over and they all get out.

Robyn runs immediately into the arms of her mother for a long embrace.

No one else speaks for the longest time as they all stare at each other in shock.

DORY
Jerry, I thought you were in the hospital.

JERRY
I’m all better now. Meet Chokhmah, or at least the avatar of Chokhmah exactly as it appeared to Haziel in the story we all know from the Buron.

Obviously the little white dome inside the cairn wasn’t there anymore, because now it was back into a human shape and walking around.

CHOKHMAH
DECON has the bus station in Greendome under surveillance. They are contemplating abduction. But Klaus Hansen has Robyn’s house under surveillance and he’s contemplating murder. I sent Jerry to fetch Clara and bring her out here. But now we all need to get off the road before somebody comes along and sees us. Peter, leave your vehicle here, you will never need it again. And follow me, everyone.

Chokhmah leads them across the road and over the side, where a footpath starts. They immediately begin to drop down the western flank of Green Dome and out of sight of any passers-by. By making this intervention, Chokhmah has once again bifurcated human history.

The first thing Jerry does when they are safely hidden over the side is approach Robyn and take both of her hands in his.

JERRY
I hate the rule that says Greendomites can only marry cousins.

CHOKHMAH
I hate that rule too, Jerry.

JERRY
That rule is keeping me from marrying the one I love, Lord. I have loved Kim – well I guess I better call her Robyn now – from the very first day I met her in school.

CHOKHMAH
And you, Robyn, do you love Jerry too?

Robyn thinks about it for what seems to Jerry a very long time. She is waiting for all the ramifications to pile up in her mind. Finally she speaks.

ROBYN
Yes I do, Lord. Very much.

CHOKHMAH
Will you marry this young man, Robyn?

ROBYN
I will, Lord. But we have no marriage license!

CHOKHMAH
None will be needed, Robyn.I will perform the ceremony myself, and I am, as you know, God.

The trail switchbacks down into what the locals call the Grand Canyon of Indian River, a pretty little sandstone gorge very near the source of the stream.At the bottom of the canyon they follow the left bank up and up to a cave surrounding a pool of water. The pool constantly overflows its own brim and this is the source of the river. As soon as Chokhmah and his group of followers arrive in the cave, the water abates, and the pool no longer runneth over.

CHOKHMAH
I will go first. Hunky, you know exactly what to do.

The avatar dives feet first into the pool and disappears.

HUNKY
You will be the first one, Robyn’s mom. Don’t be afraid! My body makes oxygen now. I’m going to hold you tight, and we’re going to kiss. Breathe in what I breathe out, and I’ll breathe in what you breathe out. It’s a little hard to get the trick of it at first, but nod when you are ready.

After about a minute of literally sucking face with Hunky, Clara nods, then Hunky falls backwards into the pool taking the woman with her. A few minutes after that, Hunky resurfaces and climbs out of the water.

HUNKY
Mrs. Twofeathers, I’d like to take you next.

And so Hunky repeats the procedure for Deborah Twofeathers, Robyn, Peter, Jerry, and finally Dory.

When everyone is gone, the flow from the pool surges again, restoring the river once more.

They have arrived at another pool in the Land We Know, which is neither Earth nor Barbelo. The pool there is ringed by a deck of dark wood. Directly overhead, a sun is slowly brightening from red to orange, for it is “morning”. The surface of the land wraps completely around as a hollow sphere, with the far side draped behind the sun.

Surrounding the pool are little wooden sheds, like outhouses, where people who emerge from the pool can towel off and change into dry clothing.The new arrivals do avail themselves of these.Robyn and Jerry share one, Hunky and Dory share another.Inside each shed is a variety of folded and stacked clothing, from loose fitting robes to tight-fitting leotards and everything in between, ranging in color from white to green.

When they emerge again they find a number of other people seated on chairs arranged in a half-circle around two chairs. Seated on the chair is a young man with soft, dark features and short black hair, wearing something that looks like striped pajamas similar to what men wear in the country of Oman. Haziel is seated next to him, but her white humanoid avatar is nowhere in sight.

HAZIEL
Welcome everyone to the Land We Know, especially our family members who have newly-arrived from Earth and have not yet met my son, Yeshua.”And the jen seated next to Haziel stands up briefly to be recognized. “Some of the scriptures name hem as Jesus Christ. Che is actually the nephil incarnation of my daughter Binah. In short, Binah possesses the body of the jen you see standing before you, just as I possess the body of the yin named Haziel.

The newcomers are astonished to be in the presence of the very one they know from the Bible as Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, alive just as the apostles attested, now two thousand years after his crucifixion. Hez clothing is of advanced Barbelo make, woven from fibers not grown on Earth, for they are nearly impossible to soil and never developed the smallest wrinkles, yet unlike most artificial fabrics the tunic was much like cotton, and it was very efficient at permitting body sweat to breathe. Che was eternally young, brown-skinned, with short black curly hair, and rather short. He was also beardless and looked nothing like his depiction in paintings.

HAZIEL (pointing overhead)
About one thousand miles overhead is a small artificial sun that waxes and wanes to simulate night and day here. This place is a hollow sphere with nearly as much land as Asia. We call it the Land We Know because the physical laws that govern this place are established by myself and Binah and we know it intimately. But don’t ask where we actually are, because it bears no relation to anything in the universe where Earth and Barbelo lie. No relation in space, and no relation in time.

Haziel sits down and allows Yeshua to stand up and speak.

YESHUA
What Haziel says about this place being outside of time is true. Know then, Robyn and Jerry, that some of the people seated here together with you are actually your children, and even your grandchildren! Jashen here was a young man in the century previous to yours, but you can see he is young still. Time can get all jumbled up here in the Land We Know, yet never forget it is all for a very specific purpose.I need not go over the ancient controversy between Chokhmah and Thaumiel now, you are all familiar with the Buron, so you know our family history. But some of you do not yet know our goal.

Yeshua unrolls a star chart and places it on a stand so that everyone may see.

YESHUA
This is what men in your century on Earth call Barnard’s Star. It is the next-door neighbor of both Chokhmah and Thaumiel, yet it a living sun that neither Chokhmah nor I have ever spoken to. Barnard’s Star moves more rapidly than any other nearby star.She is female, and ancient, yet she is still a virgin. Barnard’s Star calls herself Yefefiah. She is eleven billion years old but she has no planets, for they have been stripped away long ago. She is a ‘runaway’ star, and she has decided to live her life in stroboscopic time. Once every century or so she wakes up for a day, looks around, talks to the other elohim, and sees her position in space has changed. In twenty of her days, she moves one light-year. So she’s something of a tourist who flies above and below the plane of the galaxy over and over while it turns. Many male elohim have tried to court her, but she has little in them. Someday, humans and nephilim will travel to where Chokhmah has agreed never to go.They will be very close to Yefefiah, and Dory will begin talking directly to her about many things. And after that, everything will change forever, for elohim, nephilim, and human alike.

Dory perks up, startled to learn that she will have a central role in perhaps the most important event in history.

YESHUA
We call you the b’nei elohim, the children of the gods. Everything you do, directly or indirectly, is in service of that goal as I have just outlined for you.

Yeshua glances then at Peter and Deborah Two Feathers. TC1X8

YESHUA
Although you two are not of the b’nei elohim, we are in need of a real prophet in Haaretz, in the mold of Jeremiah or John the Baptist. But if you recall the scriptures, a prophet was never the safest occupation. There could be danger.You could be killed, and if you are, then your story will end forever.

DEBORAH (gasping)
The afterlife does not exist for us?

Such an admission goes against everything she had been taught to believe.

HAZIEL (smiling gently)
There is a time for everything to end, Deborah. Just open your eyes and look at the world, even this one. Leaves turn crispy and brown, then they fall to the ground where they turn rotten and black, and eventually they become part of the living soil. Even the whole tree succumbs to this cycle when it is time. The old and decrepit are always recycled to form part of the new and supple.

PETER
So the eternal life promised to us in the Bible is a lie?

Peter is almost panicking. It is a terrible thing to have one’s innermost doubts confirmed.

YESHUA
‘Eternal’ is an adjective describing the complete character of one’s life, not merely it’s duration. That is all I taught, and nothing more. Modern humans have something called the Telephone Game. That might give you an idea how my doctrine got twisted into a message promising unending but empty time for believers.

HAZIEL
From the Land We Know a wormhole can give us access to other places in past time, not only other places in space. If we have our victory over Thaumiel, we will be able to save many people who have had their lives cut short and give them a second chance at life. The trillions of other elohim out there in space anticipated we would find something like you planet dwellers. There’s a place very much like heaven already waiting for you, if we win past Thaumiel’s formidable road blocks.

PETER
But even there, I suppose, in a second life people will live a normal span and die, because just as Haziel is trying to tell us, that is the way of all things.

Haziel nods, and turns to make gentle eye-contact with Peter’s wife. Deborah Twofeathers.

HAZIEL
We as individuals do not enjoy persistence, but the cycle itself persists forever from season to season. Don’t you see? And if you were to contrive immortality by some incantation or potion or hidden quality of some sacred burial ground, you would no longer be a child of the world. You would no longer belong in reality! You would be alien to life itself, just like a stone smuggled into a nest of bird’s eggs.

Peter and his wife discuss the request. Her first choice is the comfortable one, to settle down in the Land We Know. But Peter wants to live up to his own title, no matter the affliction he would suffer, and at length he persuades Deborah to agree.

PETER
I will be your Prophet in Haaretz.

Then with the b’nei elohim as witnesses, Haziel sets aside the law of the Green Dome Church that requires all marriages to occur between first or second cousins. Sha calls Jerry and Robyn forward.

HAZIEL
For this one occasion, Red will be united with White. And if your love is real, and bears fruit, and we already see clear evidence gathered around us here that such will be the case, then your offspring will belong to both Wings of the Church, and so will their children in turn. As the generations roll on, and your sons and daughters marry whomever they love, the breach between both Wings of my Church will be healed. This is both a joy and a burden I lay upon both of you, Jerry Shybear, and Robyn, if you are willing to take it.

They both affirm that they would accept the burden. And so, with God literally presiding, Jerry Shy Bear weds Kim “Robyn” Zinter. They exchange vows, rings and kisses. Dory is a wreck, and even Hunky allows her tomboyish mask to drop for a short time and cries genuine tears of joy.

On their wedding night Jerry and Robyn use the Purple Cable and join in the kind of wild wacky fun that Hunky and Dory have discovered. Jerry Shy Bear goes down on his wife while they are connected together with the Purple Cable, and he becomes the first man to know what a female orgasm is like, directly, from her end. And it isn’t that much different, truth be told.

Jerry has his work cut out from him because Robyn’s body has been changed. She’s a nephilim yin now, with two pussies that he has to keep happy.

After pleasing his lady’s first pussy orally he enters her other’un and Robyn becomes the first woman to know what a surging male orgasm is like, directly, from his end. Again, not so different. But in years to come other women would Share with Robyn or with their own fellows and they would come to know what she knew.

The sensation of being Robyn as Jerry pushes into her echoes in Jerry’s own mind, and it seems to sit well with him. In this Sharing Jerry cannot hide his memory of his sex with Aaron Anton, because it had been comparable.

Robyn is not greatly outraged. In conversations with Haziel she was made well aware of the root cause of homosexuality in planet-dwellers. She knew there was not enough information density in human DNA to code for the exact wiring layout of the brain. There were simple basic rules that neurons follow in the womb when they grow and start hooking up their neighbors, but randomness plays a role. In the case of both handedness and sexual preference (which are independent, of course), this chaos resolves in the form of a bifurcated butterfly pattern with left-handedness and same sex attraction forming a lobe with somewhat less probability of occurring than the other. Fifteen percent of humans resolve as lefties. Eight percent of male humans and five percent of female humans resolve with same-sex attraction.

ROBYN
You owe me a freebie, Jerry.

JERRY
That little tryst was before we got married! And it was for a greater cause.

ROBYN
I get one free homosexual dalliance.

Jerry grudgingly accepts, but he says he would be happier about it if he could at least watch. And Robyn snorts, because there is little chance of that happening.