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"I will pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again." 1859 Household Words Weekly Journal


Space Rocker: The Novel

by Michael Steenbergen
Copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Novel's
NAVIGATION

----------------Chapter 1

1  2  3  4  5  6

7  8  9  10  11

Chapter 2

12 13 14 15 16

17 18 19 20 21

Chapter 3

22 23 24 25 26

18 19 20 21 22

Chapter 4

22  22  23  24  25

26  27  28  29  30

31 32

Chapter 3

----------------

Rocker wasn’t sure what to do. Protocol would indicate he should answer the spoken questions and not the strange look the Chief was giving him.

“I feel much better after sleeping. There seems to be a lot of soreness but no impairment that I can find. Thank you for your concern, King of the Chapeck Aneal, Chief Feathered One, The Light Walker.” Rocker managed to remember all the parts of the leader’s title as he maintained a very formal grace to the conversation.

“You may call me Chief, and I will call you Rocker. That name seems to be most familiar to you I can sense.” The perplexed look was gone and the Chief went directly to the point. “Where did you get the Silver Circle?” He pointed at the leather bag hanging from Rocker’s neck.

Rocker smiled at the question. It was a very strange story and odd that the Chief would ask this particular question. There were two answers: One for close friends with which he shared everything and another for strangers and the public.

“It is a magic charm I found years ago. It has strong powers.” Rocker gave the Chief the close friend answer.

“I know it has power. I asked how did you come by it, very specifically, I would like to know the details,” the Chief answered back.

“As a young man I was sorting through the things left by my great grandfather, who was an archeologist in the late 1800’s. He explored and studied a lot in this area. He actually married a native girl from here in the Amazon. A woman he saved from drowning on one of his expeditions. Anyway, the silver charm was wrapped in a cloth and in one of his boxes with expedition notes. I would assume my great grandfather obtained it on one of his visits to Peru.”

The Chiefs eyebrows had risen when Rocker mentioned ‘drowning.’ La Pedrita, forgotten in the corner, also seemed to react to the story. The Chief turned to Pedra and spoke in their native tongue. She answered him and they spoke two or three more sentences each. Something had changed though Rocker did not know what. The Chief stood up abruptly and said a short goodbye before he turned and left the hunt. La Pedrita gave a more formal good bye as she, too, left the hut, as if following the Chief.

Rocker was left by himself right when he thought he was about to have a deep and long conversation with the native leader. A sense of foreboding came upon him, but it held no apprehension or fear, rather it held more of a sense of something big about to happen, but not especially ‘bad’ big.

Across the village, a somewhat heated discussion disturbed the quiet of the night. Back in his own hut, the Chief looked at Pedra. “He is a fourth generation male descendant. The Silver Circle is his by right. “

“We cannot be sure, Little Feather.” She called the Chief by his family name. She did it quite comfortably as his niece, as his own twin sister’s daughter. She also held the position of Warrior Attendant to Queen La Cenisa, the Chief’s daughter. As Cousin of the Queen, she was both part of the Royal Family, and as Warrior Attendant she was the leader of the Royal Guard. “We have no way to verify his story yet. He could have easily robbed a tomb or excavated the Silver Circle from one of our ancient areas.”

“I have a sense, a feeling, and the story of the drowning? Could my grandmother’s sister have survived the plunge over Angels’ Waterfall? We never found her body, or her Silver Circle. This is most unusual for a Light Walker. You know they always account for their own, or, I should say, we. It has been an unanswered question for all these years. If this man is her descendant, he is one of us, and of Royal blood, and a Carrier of the Silver Circle.” After a short pause The Chief added, “And he could solve a 60 year old mystery.”

“You have no evidence this man is the answer to your grandmother’s sister’s death or disappearance. You are wishing. You are hoping. That is all, Uncle. Our tribe holds a sacred guardianship that supersedes all of our individual lives or longings. We must remain true to that sacred trust. Move slowly with this stranger, called Rocker of Space, James Duncan, Texas Professor. Millennia of secrecy cannot be jeopardized for unproven suspicions.”

“Thank you, La Pedrita!” The Chief stepped forward and put his arms around the girl. “My family’s counsel is always dear to me. Return to our guest and continue to guard him while I sort this out. His having the Silver Circle is of great importance. It is the only one missing. His claim to it is unbelievable. Unimaginable! Let me think more on this and talk with our ancestors. Perhaps they will answer me now that the Silver Circle has returned.”

As they finished their embrace, Pedra bowed low and backed out of the Chief’s presence, leaving him to his contemplations.

Rocker was dozing again when La Pedrita entered. He opened his eyes as she came into the hut. Again, he had the unusual ability to sense when others were close and he was aware of her before she actually arrived this time. He often knew the hour of events that were about to happen, or he had a ‘spider’s sense’ right before events occurred. It was another uncanny ability he had always possessed. Premonitions and precognitive dreams were common to Rocker.

La Pedra asked if Space Rocker had any requests before he was presented to her Mistress, La Cenisa. He noticed she left off all the Queen stuff. Again, this was spoken with a commonality that surprised Rocker. He would have expected Pedra to show more awe and reverence at the mention of her Lady.

“I need to relieve myself. Would you show me where, please?” Rocker asked the maiden. “And I would like to bathe before I meet your Mistress.”

“Certainly, my Lord, I will wait outside for you. I suggest that you change what you’re wearing. Try the loose fitting leather drape I have provided. It is more private than what we wear, to make you comfortable. There is a soft leather vest, belt for the drape and sandals also.” Pedra bowed low and left the hut.

Rocker had noticed the strongly utilitarian design of the natives dress, or lack there of it seemed. The Chief and elders were well clad, and highly decorative in there dress with leather skirting draped long and wide around their midriffs. They usually wore colorful beaded vests that also covered most of their upper torsos. Even his soft leather vest had been essentially tie-dyed to the bright pinks, blues, turquoise, yellows and greens common in the dress of the Elders and in the decorating of their living areas.

The common tribe members, both warriors and maidens, dressed much more immodestly, making no effort to cover their private parts. Men and women wore very narrow leather thongs, designed to provide support for weapons and provisions. The leather straps provided no privacy with both males and females being mostly exposed. For the first few encounters with the almost naked natives, Rocker felt a sense of embarrassment but after noticing how comfortable everyone seemed, he quickly stopped noticing the scanty dress of the tribe’s people. At least no one ever had to worry about “getting caught with their pants down” in this society, thought Rocker wryly.

He actually felt quite comfortable in the native garments. Rocker’s leather amulet hung round his neck and looked natural with his all leather wardrobe, down to the sandals. James Duncan had always been allergic to polyester clothing and through out his life would only wear cotton fabrics. In his stage dress as Space Rocker, he only wore leather, so the native dress was more than accommodating. Leather sandals were also a favorite of Rocker’s.

As Professor James Space Rocker Duncan stepped out of the hut by throwing back the skin hanging over the doorway, he immediately noticed the shift from color to grey. The huts were thatched and almost built inherently camouflaged. The mud used to bind the thatch made the huts look like a dried riverbed of reeds among the trees. He had photographed this same dried riverbed on an earlier flight and seen nothing unusual in the pictures. Until he was actually low enough in the airplane to be crashing he did not see the village. A hundred years of aviation without discovering this tribe. Amazing, he thought.

Pedra reached for his arm, “This way, my Lord.” Rocker had noted that La Pedrita dressed in the fashion of the warriors and not in the style of the rulers and Elders of the tribe, even though she obviously held great power among the tribe’s members, and was part of the ruling group. Here in the daylight Rocker could get a better look at what she was wearing. He looked her up and down.

The first part of Pedra’s clothing appeared to be her feathered spear. She was never without it. The next most noticeable aspect of her manner of dress was her markings. On a youthful, perfectly toned and shaped body, she had dark black marks all around including her face. Starting at her feet, just above the ankles, were black chevrons than ran up and around both her shins. Across her lower stomach were straight, black diagonal marks. Beneath both collar bones were more parallel diagonal marks. On her arms the dark black marks started just above her wrists. Across her forehead was a black rectangle that dropped down to obscure her eyebrows and half her eyes’. Under her eyes were dark black lines about 3 inches long on each side of her face. Under these lines were black dots following along the path of the lines. The effect was very tasteful and decorative, and somewhat primitive.

Her clothing was sparse, consisting of leather, grass reeds, and feathers. Across her forehead was a leather band with small, colorful red, blue and yellow feathers that were delicately intertwined all the way around her head. Her long black hair was braided into two tight long braids that framed her face and fell down her chest. A third, wider braid fell down her back. More leather bands, beads, stones, gold and silver were intertwined in all her braids. Her actual clothing consisted of leather straps, leather breast cloth, leather loin cloth, and more small colorful feathers. Long grass was woven into her leather belt strap so as to provide a Polynesian style grass skirt, though much more sparse and brown.

Pedra told him they would walk to a stream close by for Rocker to take care of his bathing needs. On the way, his tour through the village allowed him to inventory the possessions of the tribe, and make a guess at how they lived. Reeds and animal skins were the main materials of their building of huts and making of clothing. All through the village upright sticks held animal skins in the midst of the drying and curing processes.

The Alpaca, a llama like animal, provided a perfect coat of wool to weave into yarns and to dye into the well known, brightly colored cloth that made up most of the native clothing and bedding. Rocker saw an Indian on his knees weaving a long bolt of cloth from these yarns. Many of the work areas were no more than open air huts without walls. These dwellings provided relief from the sun and rain so the production of the villagers could continue.

Pedra looked at Rocker and saw he was absorbing every detail of the village. She spoke firmly, “You may learn, My Lord, but you can never tell.”

Rocker was dismayed. “But I have to write about this. How could I not?”

Pedra answered simply. “You can not. Our way of life depends on the lack of interference from the outside world. It is just us and Those Below.”

Normally, Rocker would have picked up on the “Those Below” reference, however, today, whether it was the concussive effects on his memory from the crash, or his amazement at what he was seeing, he simply did not notice the important remark. “Those Below” would forever, and actually, had forever, been involved in Rocker’s life. Much later he would learn their name, and tremble in their presence. For now, he continued to worry about the discoveries he was making and returning to his expedition, and then the States.

Rocker began to realize he must get word that he had survived the crash to his base camp. Besides wanting his companions not to worry, he knew a massive search would begin, at great cost of local resources. He had to discuss this with the Chief at their next meeting. Rocker had two stations he needed to contact and based on the attitude of the natives, he was not sure this would be possible.

Rocker was staying in a tree house approximately 75 miles up river. Tree house does not do it justice. Elaborately built, the structure could withstand the harshest whether, and was engineered to repel insects, animals, birds and other Amazonian creatures. His companion there would be worried when he didn’t return from yesterday’s flight. Then the actual Science Center where the expedition was headquartered was called the Marriott of the jungle. Sturdy huts, reinforced with modern materials formed the nerve center of Rocker’s South American studies. The Science Center would immediately begin the search for the missing plane as one of its major assets, and Rocker, as their Director.

They neared the small stream the tribe used for bathing, and passed a group of villagers returning from a family trip to the bathing area. There were two adult males, 4 adult females, 3 nursing children and 5 older children. The villagers were more scantily dressed than the warriors. The men wore only a belt and a cross chest arm strap for portage. La Pedra explained to Rocker,

 

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