Chapter 7 The Son
Eva lay in the dark on a pull‐out bed that formed the bench seat near the table. The only light in the camper came from a red warning light on the dashboard. A light the old woman paid no heed to. After the incident with the gun and the harness she had no doubt the old woman was telling the truth. ‘Ah, the truth’ she thought, ‘Such a slippery customer.’ Turning over on her side her head full of currents of thoughts, moving one way then another almost at will. ′ Was everything the truth?′
She lay there thinking how fantastic all this was and how on earth was she going to get to sleep. So much to think about. She had no doubt some government agencies were working on a ‘body harness’ has she called them but , to her knowledge, no one had anything like this. This was body armour on steroids. What convinced her most of all about the true nature of the old woman story, was the fact that the harness was so fine and elegant and above all it only fitted a woman. True a man, some men of a certain shape and size may get it to it fit, yet she doubted this. Her instinct told her it was intended for a female only. She was so certain of this that it helped her give credence to the rest of Prims story. The bit about an all female planet with virtually no men was like oil on water, it just would not sink in.
How had this come about? She pondered this. Had feminism gone rampant? Had biology or natural selection bred out the male? Had genetic engineering brought about this result? Did the change happen slowly or was there a gender revolution? Was it male against female and a fight to the death or a slow withering of the male as when a plant finds the environment hostile, it withers and dies, slowly over time ? Disease, perhaps ? Had the males become infertile and were culled until only a handful of fertile males survived ?
Eva had let loose a tidal of flood water called curiosity and it was seeping into every corner of her brain keeping her from finding sleep. More questions followed, like what was Prim’s son like, was he like human males. Was he tall, slim, fat or ugly ? She thought sleep was a long way off so she reached out into the darkness for some answers.
“Prim , are you awake?”
“Yes” the reply was low and soft. The single word appeared to creep through the darkness to Eva giving her sense of a shared endeavour or shared purpose, like a bumble bee is to a flower.
The young nurse felt empowered to ask questions feeling she would get honesty.
“Have there always been so few men on your planet?”
“Males you mean, we call them males. ” came a slow reply, “In my very basic educational years I studied a period when males were warriors. They fought battles much as you do but that was
ancient history. I paid little attention to it. I loved science.”
“Have they never roamed free as they do here ?”
“Unchained you mean?”
“Unchained, yes, I like that.” Smirked Eva a strange vision of her husband in chains fired through her synapses.
“Not really, if they did it was a very long time ago, well beyond living memory to a factor of 10.”
“How did it come to pass they went from warriors to farm animals?”
“I don’t really know, I am a physics person not a history person. My guess is that once we had
machines to do the fighting, and women rose to position of power in our industries, and in the media , as well as politics, males became redundant. That is purely my guess.”
“We have a feminist movement , males are enemy number one, was it like that?”
“Again , I don’t really know, except it is feasible once something like your feminism becomes quasi religious anything is possible in the name of a belief, a religion. Being a scientist I despise all religions but they are powerful, even in my world. I do know that having a male child was frowned upon and sometime in the distant past genetic manipulation may have ensured more females were born. But, again that is really a guess on my part. I have no proof. Selection took a hand in things is my guess and I do not mean natural selection.”
“So do you think the birth of males may have been suppressed?”
“Could, err..could be. Nearly every pregnant female I ever met carried a female child. That would suggest some form of manipulation. A game of chance would suggest fifty fifty on having one male while 99 to .01 smells of a fix of some kind.”
“Could it be two of you gave birth to boys, sorry males, because you conceived outside the system?”
“That has crossed my mind more than once, but then I was too busy hiding and trying to raise my son without detection to dwell on it for too long. But yes ,that could well be true.”
“And your son, what is he like?”
“Physically you mean?”
“Tall, two of your metres, very strong , stronger than your males, intelligent, I taught him so I know. To me he is hansom with a long narrow nose, blue eyes and rarely sweats for he is adapted for desert conditions. He can go for days without a drink, but cannot tolerate alcohol. Alas we parted when he was a teenager not fully mature. The mature Kreptor may be different from the juvenile.”
“Kreptor?” queried the nurse as she pulled the bedding closer around her neck feeling very snug and somehow safe with this old woman who had faced many trials and survived.
“That was the race of people his father came from.”
“Do you have a photograph of him?”
“Only one, very grainy, poor quality, since we parted but many when we were together. I will show you tomorrow.”
“How did you come to be parted?”
“At what you call a ‘fun fair’ in a place called Hornsea.”
“Hornsea , Yorkshire?”
“Yes, we had gone for the day out . It was a warm summer evening just going dark, with lots of
bright lights, music and people . He wanted to explore the activities. I was reluctant since I felt we were being watched. I had in fact thought we had been followed for a number of days up to that point. In preparation for us being found by my own kind and taken back to Kron 9 I had drilled into him a procedure and a method of living.”
“What was that? A bolt hole of some kind?”
“Some two years, no, nearer 3yrs before , in our wanderings, we had come across an old lady who turned out to be wealthy yet friendly. I had made an arrangement with her that if I got into trouble Clive, for that is what I called him back then, would make his way to her and she would look after him. She was a trusting old soul of a kind nature who owned two properties abroad. She had money yet virtually no family, a poor arrangement I find. I did not know the location of the properties which meant I could not disclose them.. So I left her some funds, against her wishes, and let the arrangement stand, sending a postcard every 6 months to say I was well. She agreed to take my son to one of her properties and I should not know the location, as I said, that was essential. She merely thought I was a woman with a past that was likely to catch up with me. Nothing as strange as what I have told you.”
“I can see why you could not tell her half of your story.”
At the fair, I became very concerned for two females who were getting close to us. I had seen them on and off over the last week. They appeared to be in liaison with two others who I had never seen before. These latter two where my kind of that I was sure. We went into one of those scary tunnels on a ride, the kind were monsters lurk. Half way round I jumped off the ride with Clive, cut the canvas side and told him to escape. I gave him the code word that meant he activated our plan. I then resumed the ride. Sure enough at the exit to the ride all four females were waiting.
Enough to say they pounced on me. In short they held me for 4 months but I told them nothing. Since they wanted my son and not me they eventually let me go. We are by nature not a violent society. Or they wanted to follow me, believing I did know his location.”
“You did not meet him again?”
“Well no. That is how I lost him for I never heard from him or the old woman again, except an agreed signal in a newspaper 12 months after we parted that said, “Mr Jones resurrected and in good health Kreptor 1". This told me the plan had worked and all was well. I had no reason, and never have had any reason to doubt the old woman.”
“Did you return to her house?”
“Yes, nearly two years after the event for I did not want to lead anyone to her. The house had been sold.”
“What was her name.?”
“Isobel Cable” came a short firm reply.
“And you trusted her with your son.”
“Totally. Sometimes you have to go with your instinct and trust. Without trust the whole of society grinds to a halt. It is the backbone of everything you do. I made checks of course and everything she told me was verified. To this day I would still trust her.”
“He could be anywhere in the world!” stated Eva.
“He could but not if he kept to the plan we agreed to. You see the beauty of this country over many others in the world is that a citizen does not require formal identification. Many countries require a citizen to carry identification, here the rules are so lax anyone can arrive and start work almost immediately. And there are plenty of casual jobs for him to earn a living. However, I taught him well both academically and in practice. Fluency in your language was an early goal. My English is not bad is it?
“Excellent” stabbed back Eva with she hoped a sound of admiration.
Her host continued, “It was agreed he would keep to a certain line of work in certain locations.
Unfortunately, my search in these locations have been met with varying degrees of success. Once I got very close to him but so did the Greys. Because they are after me still means, obviously they do not have him.”
“Obviously” agreed the young nurse then enquired further, “Greys? People from the prison.?”
“Our code name for those that wanted to get their hands on him. We are not sure if they work for the state, the crown or are freelance. Hence they are greys , neither black or white. I am still not sure who they represent. They appear to be well financed and over the years they have got better organised, more sophisticated like employing well trained humans. Have you any idea how valuable my son would be back on his home planet?”
“None whatsoever, ” answered Eva being perfectly candid.
“Well, if sold, the wealth would not only change the life of she who sold him but also the lives of all her descendants stretching into the distance future. Does that give a clue as to his value and why we were pursued.?”
“Indeed, it does.” Answered Eva suitably impressed.
“Is money important to you?” asked the old lady gently as if to hide the real meaning behind the question..
“I am a nurse.” observed Eva, “if you want to be rich you do not become a nurse, no madam you do not.” She said this with real feeling to such extent the old woman smiled in the dark.
“If you help me... tomorrow, to get to my destination,” the old woman sounded hesitant as if asking a crucial question upon which her world would pivot. ” if you help me I will see you well
“Help ? In what way?” asked the nurse, very intrigued.
“I need chains on the wheels of this contraption, I have them but alas not the strength of body.
Secondly, I will need you to wait with me until my contact appears, just in case my health goes ..”
The old woman let the nurse draw her own conclusion, leaving the sentence somewhat unfinished
“Of course I will help you responded Eva, “of course.”
Being in a candid frame of mind as well as cloaked by the dark the old woman appeared to part with a frightening statement. “You know, as much as I love my son,” she started in a slow drawn out voice, “I do love him dearly but if the Greys were about the seize him I doubt if I could let him live to face that fate.” Then in a throw away line asked, “what would you do?”
Eva closed her eyes saying, “I really do not know.”