Short SciFi: Rebirth Of The Hzaighlans - Part IV
A Sphere Cleric named Hzegidka reached to her mind. He told her that Hzhedycha had asked him to contact her on his behalf as he was quite ill and incapacitated. The Clerics required her help. A group of young novices, headed by the youth Hzithijo she had met, were so enthralled with her images of the outside world that she had shared with them that they had just left the Sphere. They were in great danger from the reptiles and the primitive humans out there but no living Hzaighlan had any knowledge of the outside world and going after them would prove to be guaranteed suicide. Amanda immediately volunteered to go after them but she needed something to protect herself. She needed a weapon. Hzegidka replied that the Hzaighlans had no weapons, but perhaps there was something in the museum that could help her. A gossamer bubble materialized in her room, she stepped inside and is ascended through an opening that suddenly presented itself in her ceiling. She drifted over the city to a large ornate building near the edge of the Sphere whose walls opened up to allow her bubble clear passage. She came to a halt in the middle of a large domed room filled with what seemed to be display cases. Hzegidka's mind told her that these were the items that had washed ashore on their island over the centuries and had been bubble-transported to the city for examination. The Sphere Cleric acknowledged that their best minds had studied these items and still were not quite completely sure what they were used for. She stepped out of the bubble and began to examine this huge and wonderous collection. There were materials from all human ages. Bronze and iron swords and shields, plundered treasure of Spanish Conquistadors, various Mayan, Aztec and Inca golden plaques, Aboriginal Didgeridoos, an ornamental headdress marked with Egyptian hieroglyphs, Ming Dynasty vases, several Coke bottles, Portuguese muskets, and of immediate interest, a crate marked U.S. Army. Inside it were dozens of World War II hand grenades, several M1 Garand rifles fitted with bayonets and enough ammo clips to start your own private war. Which it seemed Amanda might have to be prepared to do.
Amanda stepped back in the bubble looking like a caricature of a WWII soldier. She was loaded down with ammo belts with hand grenades, was holding one Garand and had another strapped over her back. She tightened down her G.I. helmet and the bubble lifted up and out of the building towards the outside of the sphere towards the teenagers. What happened next was a one-woman war, with dinosaurs and primitive humans getting shot, blown up, and fragged in infinite ways and ending up with a bloodied Amanda snatching the teens back into her bubble and bringing them home to safety.
Several days passed and Hzhedycha's condition worsened. The malady was spreading through Hzaighla like a wildfire. More than half the Hzaighlans had reported symptoms from the ailment, and one Sphere Cleric had already died. Amanda asked to see Hzhedycha, but was refused on the grounds that she could catch the illness from him. Amanda insisted, and after consultation with an expert who confirmed that to the best of their knowledge she could not catch the disease from any Hzaighlans, she was allowed in to see the ailing Cleric. Hzhedycha's eyes looked up to Amanda as she entered his chamber. He was so feeble that his voice in her mind was so weak as to be almost inaudible. She expressed her concern, and Hzhedycha replied that she was not to grieve for him. The Hzaighlans understood that all life is limited and the only place for dwelling within eternity was in the One Essence. Hzhedycha knew that he would soon be at one with the One Essence, and he thanked Amanda for her consideration. Hzhedycha asked her to come closer which she did. Hzhedycha kissed her. She kissed him. They began to make sweet, gentle, tender love. With all the strength Hzhedycha had left he climaxed inside of her, but at the same time placed his hands on her temples. Amanda felt a wave of ecstasy engulf her that she had never believed possible. It was not an orgasm in any way that she could describe. It was almost as if every nerve in her body had begun to dance in ultimate pleasure. It was so strong that Amanda almost fainted. She heard Hzhedycha's mind tell her that it was all up to her now. Amanda did not understand this comment, but before she could ask him, Hzhedycha's eyes gently closed for the last time. Amanda hugged Hzhedycha's lifeless body and cried for a loss unlike any she had ever experienced.
As the days passed, more and more Hzaighlans contracted the disease. Almost all the Sphere Clerics of the main building had died. The rest were barely alive. The secular authorities were also all dying. Virtually the entire population of Hzaighla had the illness and they were dying by the hundreds every day. The Hzaighlans took their fate with the same tranquil resignation with which they lived their life. Their dignity and strength in the face of death stirred a feeling of awe and respect in Amanda. Strangely, Amanda had not felt any symptoms of this mysterious plague which was decimating Hzaighla. The experts surmised that the Hziathamah had some natural immunity against whatever agent was causing this malady. They studied her anatomy and blood but could not identify this immunity.
By the next moon, there were only a few hundred Hzaighlans left in Hzaighla. The terrible plague was wiping out a civilization that had stood for thousands of years. The decline in population had caused the protective zone of isolation to be diminished. Fully half of Hzaighla now stood deserted and exposed to the savage primitive human tribes which engaged in pillaging the grand buildings. The great reptiles came to feed on this concentration of savage humans and began ripping apart the buildings to expose them. From within the transparent zone, the remaining Hzaighlans looked out upon what was once part of Hzaighla being demolished by the reptiles and the savages. They were powerless to stop them. Their concerns were dedicated to saving what was left of the Hzaighlan nation.
Amanda was the only person in Hzaighla who was still perfectly healthy. This fact caused great consternation among the remaining experts. Finally one of the experts stumbled upon the answer while reviewing yet again the results of her blood tests. He had not located the source of Amanda's immunity, but had identified her as the carrier of the Hzaighlans plague. An ordinary germ which in outside humans naturally dwells in the mouth and assists in the decomposition of food particles between the teeth was lethal to Hzaighlans. It had been communicated by Amanda's breath when she had met with the entire population of Hzaighla. The Hzaighlans she had originally met, the Sphere Clerics and the secular leaders, had contracted the disease and died first. The balance of the Hzaighlans were dying in virtually a direct relationship to the date they had met with Amanda.
Upon learning of this, Amanda was overwhelmed with anguish. She rushed to the expert who had identified the germ and volunteered her life to his scientific experimentation if it could save the Hzaighlans. The expert rejected her offer. It would take years of work to formulate a cure to this germ, and by his estimate, the last Hzaighlans would be dead by the new moon. Amanda was feverish with sorrow. Anguish welled up inside of her, a tearful, excruciating agony which seemed to tear at her insides. She felt responsible for the extinction of this marvellous civilization and would have had herself tortured to death a thousand times over if it could save the Hzaighlans. The expert, in his calm Hzaighlan manner, assured her that she should not blame herself. She had no way of knowing that she carried an innocuous germ which would prove fatal to Hzaighlans. If any responsibility should be assumed, it should be the Sphere Clerics who brought her to Hzaighla. But the Sphere Clerics were all dead, and what good would blaming responsibility on them now do, the expert thought to Amanda, resigning himself to his own death and the end of his illustrious civilization.
Amanda could not sleep for all the next nights. She was in a frenzy, personally visiting every living Hzaighlans and begging them to assist her in her futile attempt to save their lives. All the Hzaighlans were courteous but firm. There was no hope of success, so there would be no need to even try. By now the zone of isolation had collapsed down to a few buildings on the northern end of Hzaighla. The museum with the weapons was at the edge of the Sphere and was among the first to be destroyed. Fortunately the brutish primitive humans did not understand that there were weapons inside. To them it was just more incomprehensible material to vandalize. Amanda watched with unspeakable sadness as the giant reptiles swung their great tails and demolished the main building of the Sphere Clerics, fishing out savage tribal human invaders to devour.
The number of Hzaighlans diminished to less than fifty. Now the zone only surrounded a single small building which contained the last Hzaighlan survivors. Amanda watched them as they died, one after the other. She would place her hand over their heads as the Sphere Clerics tradition commanded. It was so ironic that she, the only non-Hzaighlan, and the one responsible for their extinction, would be performing the ritual rites of the Hzaighlan Sphere Clerics.