Book 3: Shaare Emeth - The Gateway

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Baebler State Park

Tecpatl walked slowly. He reached out to touch the veined petal of a flower he’d never seen, its long, pink petals curling back, stamina bent languidly over them. He rubbed his finger over pink-orange flesh, and it occurred to him that human skin was more sensitive than Tlaloc.

Looking up into the structure, and knowing something of human history, he recognized that, at one time, this green house would have seemed cutting edge, modern. It’s glass and metal structure seemed to form a series of boxes stacked on top of each other. The stone entrance of the structure was adorned with art deco columns. Still, the concept of an elaborate glass and metal structure so decorative as this one, seemed quaint, even Victorian.

He was to meet Buzzy here at the Jewel Box, as it was called, to discuss upcoming plans.

At this time in winter, late afternoon, the place was practically deserted. Outside the grass was gray, trees had denuded themselves for winter. But inside, all was green, lush, and florid. True to his reptile nature, he preferred the warm humidity of this space to the cold, dry weather outside.

Looking ahead, he saw someone with white-blonde hair standing behind a palm frond.

It was Buzzy.

They shook hands in greeting, like humans.

“I see you are enjoying yourself…being human, I mean.” Buzzy said.

Tecpatl looked into his face, trying to hide the shame these words brought.

“I don’t think your previous incarnation would have allowed you to enjoy this kind of beauty,” Buzzy continued. “…these colors and textures...so erotic.” He paused examining Tecpatl’s face, trying to discern the effects of his words. “It’s practically obscene.”

Tecpatl’s smile vanished. “You have made a plan?” he responded.

“Do you have contact with any more Icnotl?” he drew out the term, knowing it was an insult. “We will need a couple of strong men.”

Tecpatl nodded.

“You don’t even have to come. I’ll run the whole show, I just need two strong, heterosexual looking men. They have to be able to act too,” Buzzy said. “They will have to pretend to be horrified by the presence of homosexuals in the woods.” He looked into Tecpatl’s face. “It’s called the homosexual panic defense…works every time.” Buzzy smiled maliciously.

Tecpatl looked away to avoid showing annoyance.

“Oh, wait. I’m so sorry,” Buzzy said sarcastically. “I forgot. You Tlalocs are all male, aren’t you? So, you are all homosexual?”

“At least we are able to express sexuality,” Tecpatl paused to verify the influence of his words. “We have sex organs.”

Buzzy looked up at the darkening sky. Through palm leaves arching above them, through the glass of the ceiling, the first star of evening winked into view. It was night now. “The most unsettling part of being a Potacas hybrid, I suppose,” he said wistfully, almost in whisper. “…is knowing that your species has evolved away from crude animal instincts. Yet, I am part mammal, part human.” He looked at Tecpatl sarcastically, “Like you.”

Tecpatl involuntarily flexed his forearm and balled his fist. “I know you are an expert in delivering insults. You have proved your skill in this arena. Tell me where you want the men to be and at what time.”

“Oh my,” Buzzy said. “You do have a tender spot.”

“I have a message from Ilyapa,” Tecpatl said.

Buzzy looked at him, his expression suddenly changed to one of fear.

“If we fail, we will be sent to Uruk,” Tecpatl said.

“Uruk…what?” Buzzy asked, losing his supercilious attitude. “What is Uruk?”

“You know human history better than I do. You should be the one to tell me what Uruk is,” Tecpatl said.

“What war?” Buzzy asked.

“A war among your kind,” Tecpatl said. “…among the Potacas.”

“Why would there be…” Buzzy began.

“Apparently,” Tecpatl interrupted. “there is a war between those with pure DNA and hybrids, like yourself.”

Buzzy looked at Tecpatl with his mouth agape.

“Looks like those with pure DNA don’t wish to be executed.” Now, it was Tecpatl’s turn to twist the knife. “Uruk is an ancient city in Mesopotamia,” Tecpatl said.

“…an archeological site.” Buzzy said.

“Have you traveled through time?” Tecpatl asked, stepping closer.

Buzzy stepped back.

Tecpatl smiled wickedly. “About 6,000 years…”

“You’re lying,” Buzzy said. “Potacas didn’t arrive at Earth until 3,000 years ago. How could there be a war?”

“Timeline change,” he responded.

“I don’t believe you,” Buzzy said.

“There is a way to find out,” Tecpatl said.

“3:30,” Buzzy said, changing the subject quickly. “Have your men there at the park at 3:30. I have to go.” Then, he turned around and walked towards the exit.

“That felt good,” Tecpatl whispered to himself. He’d finally been able to make Buzzy feel uncomfortable.

Tecpatl was living at a run-down apartment in a decaying section of St. Louis; a neighborhood in deep decline, the result of the government’s Benign Neglect strategy. He had electricity, gas heating, and a communicator. The Potacas allowed him to communicate with other Tlalocs, but they managed every aspect. They listened in -- they recorded calls. They set down conditions for what he could discuss, with whom he could talk, and for how long.

He was looking forward to the drive to the park. He would be alone with two other Tlalocs for an hour. He could find out what they knew.

He lay his wallet on the dresser and looked at his reflection in a stained, cracked mirror. They’d used Middle Eastern DNA to create his human characteristics. His skin was dark, his hair black. He could be from Uruk. But, what would Buzzy do? He was so pale; his hair was so light it was almost white. He would be seen as a freak, or a demon.

Looking at his reflection, he smiled to himself. “Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad,” he thought.

The Potacas had modified him, changed him to appear human. Of course, it was at the request of his commander, but still. They had done this to him. And, now, he was their captive. His every movement was restricted. “We are slaves,” he whispered.

The Potacas had been using, manipulating the Tlalocs this whole time, even before the war. He remembered, when he was captain, before the DNA modification, a Potacas came to him to make a petition. The small, pale creature bowed subserviently, making a sycophantic statement praising the Tlaloc religion. Even then, while pretending to serve the Tlalocs, it was they who were in charge.

“How could we be so foolish?” he whispered.

The Potacas outmaneuvered them, had coerced them, and now enslaved them.

It’s not the Tayamni who are our enemy, he thought to himself. Our real enemy has been the Potacas. Then, he had another thought, Perhaps, rather than killing Denny, I will kill Buzzy. He smiled at his reflection in the mirror.


Batresh and Ahatu sat in the station wagon. The afternoon was growing dark. Bars of red light from the setting sun streaked between buildings to the west of them, casting stark patterns of light and shadow onto the vehicle.

They were parked across from College Church. The day was cold. The older nun started the engine again, to warm the car.

“I have sensors on him,” Batresh said. “He’s been with Buzzy, not the Tlaloc.”

“Maude says he’s abusive,” Ahatu said.

“Who Buzzy? I would agree. And there’s a beast. Do you still call it that? The beast that feeds on emotion? It must have been Buzzy who did it. Denny has a beast attached, the new kind. Removing it would him.”

Ahatu was silent.

“It will cause him to be more self-destructive,” Batresh continued. “More than he already is.”

“I didn’t think the hybrids could attach beasts without becoming infected themselves,” Ahatu said. “They have human DNA, the beast is attracted to it.”

“Oh, Buzzy has a beast on him too. I’ve seen it on the display. He must be aware of what it does to him,” Batresh said.

“That’s a new wrinkle,” Ahatu responded.

“Why don’t we threaten them? Scare them? Warn them to leave him alone?” Batresh asked. “Our weapons are superior. They know that.”

Ahatu looked at her as if she were a small child. “My dear Batresh,” she said. “Right now, we have an advantage. They don’t know we are watching them.” She paused. “If we threatened them they wouldn’t stop, they would just make a greater effort to hide from us.”

Batresh looked at her hands, knowing Ahatu was right.

“And,” Ahatu began, “We have to keep our activities secret. Denny cannot find out about us. He cannot know. If he were to find out, or become suspicious, it would distract him, take him off course. The timeline would change.”

“Why?” Batresh asked. “Why is this timeline so important? Aren’t there other timelines that will work?”

Ahatu shook her head and looked down. “No, my dear. There are no others that will work. We must preserve timeline 496 or the human mission will fail.”

“Where’s Namazu?” Batresh asked. “Shouldn’t a trained warrior help us?”

Ahatu looked at her with surprise. “Namazu is with a contingent at the Perseus Transit. Sagar is monitoring the timeline there. I thought you knew that.”

“Is Sagar her Primary?” Batresh asked.

Ahatu nodded. “The timeline is mixed up with what is happening at the Transit. We, the Tayamni, have a connection to a powerful enemy.” The older Nun looked aside. “We should head back. I’m hungry.”

“What enemy?” Batresh asked.

“I don’t know,” she responded, turning the ignition key. The old station wagon started up. She looked directly into Batresh’s face. “You don’t need to know either. Concentrate on your mission here, now.”

The car moved into reverse, backing up, closer to College Church. “Take a look at that church, Batresh.” Ahatu said.

“It’s pretty. Richardson Romanesque, right?” Batresh responded.

“That’s not the point,” Ahatu said. “Do you have a cigarette?”

Batresh shook her head and laughed. “You know I don’t smoke, but you keep asking me for a cigarette.”

“Hope springs eternal,” Ahatu said, looking at the Church in the mirror. She turned the steering wheel sharply and drove out into the street. They were now facing the church directly. Ahatu pointed a bony finger at the structure. At that moment, spotlights anchored to the sidewalk in front of the structure, switched on, illuminating its stone façade. “Voila!” she said, gesturing theatrically. “That, my dear, is a Jesuit church. Do you know about the Jesuits?”

Batresh shook her head. “I know about them, founded in France in the 16th Century.”

“Again,” Ahatu said, “…not the point.” She pressed the gas pedal and the vehicle moved closer to the structure. “They work with us, some of them, anyway.”

Batresh looked at the old Nun with surprise.

Ahatu nodded, and turned right onto Grand, stopping at a signal light.

“But, they’re Christian, right?” Batresh asked.

Ahatu smiled mischievously. “The definition of that term has expanded,” she said.

Batresh looked confused.

“They have been following you,” Ahatu said giggling. “…watching you.”

“How can we work with Christians? They destroyed our spirituality,” Batresh said.

“Remember,” the old Nun said as they turned left onto Lindell Boulevard. “Our spirituality was hidden within the Christian container. Remember the Goddess.”

Connections Batresh been making subconsciously came to mind. “The Goddess and the Virgin Mary?”

Ahatu nodded. “It’s bigger than that. The Jesuits discovered it. You might say, their spiritual journey led them to us.”

Batresh shook her head. “I don’t understand.”

Ahatu smiled again, “You will, you will.” She stopped at another signal light. Changing the subject, Ahatu continued, “So, it will be Buzzy, not the Tlaloc who take Denny to the park,” she said. Turning to look into Batresh’s face, she continued, “We don’t know what they will throw at us, so we have to take blasters.”

“Who will help us?” Batresh asked.

“Bring your friend Bob, maybe that David person who helped you before,” Ahatu said. “Are you sure you don’t have a cigarette?”


“Phone call!” a young woman shouted through the door.

“Do you know who it is?” Batresh yelled back.

She didn’t answer.

Batresh sighed, not wanting to go downstairs. Each floor had one telephone. Sighing, she made her way down.

“Yes?” she asked into the receiver.

“Miriam, it’s time,” the voice said.

“Who is this?”

“I never trusted him,” the voice added.

“Bob?”

Raising his voice, he continued, “They’ve gone to west county, somewhere.” He was breathing heavily, “How can we find them?”

“Bob, calm down. Who?”

“They took Denny,” he said, panting, as if he had been running. “We have to find them.”

“Come here, to Fontainebleau. Come to get me,” she said hurriedly. Hanging up the phone, she ran back upstairs and walked to a chest of drawers. She opened the top drawer and pressed a control. A blue square of light hovered above the chest.

“Show me Denny,” she ordered.

An image of a scene inside a car hovered above the dresser. Inside, she saw Denny siting near the passenger door. Around him was a transparent red fluctuating form. Dimming and brightening, it was there, pumping hormones into him. It was the beast. Humans couldn’t see it, but it was there.

Batresh brought her hands to her forehead. She turned to the window, as if looking for a solution. She looked back at the screen. Victor sat in the back seat. Buzzy was driving. Victor held a pitcher of Bloody Mary. They were laughing.

Batresh brought her hand to her mouth.

She ran to the door, and down the stairs. She saw Sister Ahatu and Maude in the station wagon. The engine was running. It had begun to snow.

Batresh waved her hands.

Maude pointed towards her.

Running to the driver’s side, Batresh yelled, “They’ve got him. It’s happening now. They’re going to a park.”

Sister Ahatu turned to Maude calmly, “Go get Sister Diotima, it’s time.”

Maude looked panicked and fumbled for the door handle.

“How do you know?” Sister Ahatu asked Batresh.

“Bob, Bob called.”

“Get in the backseat,” the elderly Nun ordered her.

“He’s on his way,” Batresh answered. “Bob’s on his way. I saw it. I saw the beast again. It’s on Victor too. I saw it on my display.”

“Slow down,” the elderly nun said.

Batresh leaned forward, grabbing Sister Ahatu’s arm. “They put a beast on Denny and Victor.”

Ahatu looked down at her lap. “We will find a way to help them,” she whispered.

Looking forward they saw an elderly man wearing what looked like a forest ranger’s uniform. Maude was running ahead of him towards the car.

“Good, she’s dressed,” Sister Ahatu responded.

The forest ranger opened the door and sat down heavily.

“Do you have the blaster?” Sister Ahatu asked.

“Right here,” the forest ranger said, lifting the bulky weapon into the air in front of him.

“Wow, that thing must be centuries old,” Maude said referring to the weapon.

“Keep that down,” Ahatu ordered.

The ranger looked back at Batresh in the backseat. “Are you OK, hunny?”

It was Sister Diotima in disguise.

“Are you OK? She asked again.

“They put a beast on Denny,” Ahatu answered for Batresh.

“Utukku,” Sister Diotima said, using the ancient Tayamni word for monster.

“We should have protected him,” Batresh continued.

“There was no way,” Ahatu responded. “He is human. We have no way to protect them.”

“First things first,” Diotima said. “Let’s save his life,” she said, “then strategize. We should get going.”

“We’re waiting for Bob,” Ahatu responded. She looked in the rearview mirror and saw Batresh looking towards the parking lot entrance. “Can’t believe it’s snowing. Damn it.”

“Well, what do you think?” Diotima asked, tapping Ahatu on the leg. She smiled teasingly. “Do I look the part?”

Ahatu looked at her elderly friend. “Passable.” Ahatu frowned and turned to look at the entrance to the parking lot.

Maude sat against the passenger side back door, “What do you mean you can’t protect humans?”

“Here he comes,” Ahatu said.

They all watched as Bob’s weathered Peugeot pulled into the lot.

“You are human?” Batresh asked Maude.

“I sit next to Denny in New Testament Studies,” she responded.

“She’s an initiate,” Ahatu said. “…and human.”

Ahatu yelled out her window to Bob, “Get in, we don’t have long!”

He opened the back door. “Why so many?” he asked, referring to the number of people in the car. “Can you drive in the snow?” he asked, looking at the frail nun’s hands on the steering wheel.

“Get in,” Ahatu ordered, ignoring him.

“Do you know where they went?” Batresh asked.

“I don’t know, West of the City,” Bob responded.

“Show me Denny,” Batresh said opening her purse.

A blue screen materialized above her bag, resolving into the image inside the car. Buzzy, Victor and Denny were laughing and talking fast. It was hard to understand them. Denny held a small cup up to Victor.

“We’re getting low,” Victor said, pouring the spiked tomato juice into Denny’s glass.

“That’s OK, I brought four gallons,” Buzzy laughed.

“What is that?” Bob said, pointing towards transparent shapes around all three passengers.

Batresh looked at Bob as if death itself surrounded the young man. Her face was white. She looked back at the screen. “Show map of target,” she commanded, ignoring Bob’s question. They could still hear the conversation inside the car, but the image resolved to a map showing a red dot for Buzzy’s vehicle and a green one for the station wagon.

“They’re on Highway 40 going west,” Batresh said.

Ahatu pushed the gas pedal closer to the floor and the station wagon jumped over a small rise on Big Bend Boulevard. Landing, the vehicle slid dangerously towards the ditch on the right side of the street. Ahatu countered and they continued on, straight up a hill.

“We’re going to need tire-chains,” Bob said.

They heard Denny’s voice. Batresh and Bob looked at the display. “So, where are we going?” Denny asked.

“Don’t worry, we’re just going to have a good time,” Buzzy responded, turning up disco music playing on the radio.

“Only Victor and Denny are drinking,” Batresh observed.

“What’s going on here?” Bob asked again. “Who is the forest ranger?”

Batresh took his hand, “Bob,” she gestured to the front seat, “Sister Ahatu is driving, and Sister Diotima is the ranger.”

“What?” he looked at Sister Diotima who turned around and smiled. “You’re nuns?”

“After a fashion,” Sister Ahatu responded.

Sister Diotima, winked at him, “We’ve had our eye on you, little Bobby.”

Bob drew his brows together with concern.

“Bob,” Batresh interjected, “The Sisters of Hypatia are an order founded by the Tayamni.”

Bob’s eyes widened.

“And Maude is human, Bobby,” Ahatu offered.

Bob looked at the young woman who looked away from them through the window.

“What do you mean you can’t protect humans?” Maude asked again.

“You are nuns, but you are not human?” Bob asked, ignoring Maude.

“Bingo,” Sister Diotima responded, looking around with a goofy grin.

Bob sighed as Ahatu sped up. “Something’s wrong with Denny,” he said, sitting back for the first time.

Batresh looked at him with concern.

“He gets so angry. He flies into rages. I came home the other night and found him in bed with another man. We had a fight.”

Batresh shook her head. “That doesn’t sound like Denny.”

“He tore a mirror off the wall in the hallway,” he continued. “Threw in in the floor. He broke it.”

“Seven years bad luck,” Diotima smiled.

“Did you know the man?” Batresh asked.

“No, but he was tall and muscular, Denny’s type,” his eyes widened as he realized. “Like that guy in the Chorus.”

Batresh looked forward to the rear-view mirror and saw that Ahatu was looking at her. “The beast,” Sister Ahatu said. “That’s why Denny is acting differently. The Potacas Beast got hold of him.”

Batresh looked down.

“What’s a beast?” Bob asked.

Batresh took Bob’s hand in hers. “The Potacas created a biological weapon we call beasts. They attached one to Denny.”

“First things first,” Sister Diotima barked.

“How are two old nuns, two women and a gay man going to save Denny from these aliens?” Bob asked.

Sister Diotima held up the gun.

“Don’t wave that thing around,” Ahatu cautioned.

Batresh squeezed Bob’s hand, “I have a few things in here.” She patted her bag. Looking back at the screen, she continued, “They are driving to Baebler State Park.”

“It will be hard to find them in those woods,” Ahatu responded.

“Denny is wearing sensors,” Batresh responded.

“Why can’t you protect humans?” Maude asked again, this time more urgently.

“We have tried. Removing the beast kills its host,” Batresh replied.

Maude wrinkled her young face and looked back through the window.

“We’re working to change human DNA so that the beasts won’t attach. Still working on it,” Ahatu offered.

The young woman shrugged her shoulders.

“Why is Maude here?” Bob asked.

Maude continued looking out the window, ignoring their conversation.

“She’s an initiate,” Ahatu responded.

“You’re an alien, Catholic order of nuns, but you have human members?” Bob asked.

“It’s complicated,” Sister Ahatu responded.

“We should have foreseen they would attach a beast to him,” Ahatu said.

“We did,” Diotima responded. “Nothing we can do about that. Hybrids are everywhere, even at Fontainebleau.”

“Hybrids?” Bob asked.

“They mixed their DNA with humans,” Batresh responded.

“And Tayamni,” Diotima added, looking around at them.

“They’re getting out of the car,” Batresh said, seeing Denny stand wavering, unsteady from the alcohol. “Victor and Denny are drunk.”

Bob and Batresh watched the display as Denny, Victor and Buzzy walked towards the woods.

“Here’s the path. Come on, girls!” Buzzy yelled.

“They’re walking into the woods,” Bob said.

“We’re getting close,” Ahatu added.

“Who are those men in the parking lot?” Bob asked, noticing three men get out of a car. They opened the trunk.

“No,” Batresh responded.

“What’s going on?” Ahatu asked.

Maude leaned over to look at the display.

Diotima looked back at Batresh, “Give me your disk, hunny.”

Batresh fumbled in her purse.

“Who are those men?” Bob asked again, his voice louder.

Batresh gave the weapons disk to Sister Diotima.

“They look like humans,” Batresh answered.

Bob gasped, “They’re taking tire tools into the woods!”

“This is it,” Ahatu responded, exiting off the highway.

“Step on it,” Diotima urged Ahatu.

Snow was falling more heavily.

“Bob, we have to remain in the car, hidden. Diotima can handle it,” Batresh offered.

“What are they going to do?” Bob asked panicked.

“Looks like they plan to kill them,” Maude offered calmly. “We need to kick the hybrids out of Fontainebleau.”

“Are you sure you can handle this?” Bob asked Diotima.

“She is stronger than she looks,” Ahatu responded.

The station wagon sped over a bumpy road towards the parking lot.

“There, park on the other side,” Diotima ordered, placing the weapons disk in her pocket. “We’ll have to drive them back…may have to use Buzzy’s car.”

“Knock out the hybrids with the disk. I don’t know what to do about the humans, leave them in the woods?” Ahatu looked at Diotima, “Take ’em to the Elders. They won’t get paid for this mistake.”

“Paid?” Bob asked.

“Oh hunny,” Diotima looked back with a grin, “Those Potacas don’t do anything without gettin’ paid.”

Bob looked at Batresh with worry.

“They are mercenary, Bob. Their reason for living is to acquire credits,” Batresh responded.

Ahatu pulled the car into the parking lot, sliding on fallen snow.

“Drop me off at the path. Watch your displays,” Diotima ordered.

“Can I help?” Maude asked.

“We’ll need help driving back,” Diotima paused, turning around to look at Maude. “You and Bob can drive them all back to Fontainebleau. They will be unconscious.”

Bob looked at Sister Diotima.

“Don’t worry, little Bobby,” she patted his hand. “We have a welcoming committee already there, waiting to meet them.”

Bob had a vague notion that he remembered a nun calling him Little Bobby, when he was a child in Catholic school.

After parking, Ahatu, Batresh, Bob and Maude watched the display. They saw a scene unfold in front of them. Denny and Victor stood in a clearing, down a short hill.

“I think the cave is that way. You girls stay here, we’ll go look for it,” Buzzy said.

Buzzy walked away, deeper into the woods.

“I wish a hot man would suddenly appear,” Victor laughed, dropping his Bloody Mary on the ground. “Dammit,” he said reaching down.

“What in the hell would you do with a hot man, faggot?” They heard a low rough voice to the right.

Looking in that direction, the three men carrying tire tools were walking towards them.

“I’m gonna be the last hot man you see,” another one said.

The men walked closer to Victor and Denny.

Denny’s eyes widened. Victor moved towards the path.

“We got us a coupla faggots here,” the one closet to them said.

“Not for long,” another replied.

“Hold it,” another voice shouted from the pathway. “Hold it right there.”

A tall, manly park ranger walked towards the clearing. It was Sister Diotima. “You boys better get back to your car,” she yelled at the men roughly.

They looked at her with surprise.

She held up the ancient weapon, pointed towards them. “You better leave, or you will be spending the night in jail.”

One of the men, holding a four-way-lug wrench, threw it directly at her head. Batresh and Bob, watching the display, heard it whir through the air. Sister Diotima, like a superhero, deftly reached up, catching it in mid-air.

Another of the men charged at her, his tire iron raised.

Holding the tire-iron, the hit the raised iron in the man’s hand, knocking it from his grasp. The speed and force of the strike drove the iron into a tree on the other side of the clearing. Reaching forward, catching him with her open hand, she crushed the bones of his hand. He screamed, falling to his knees in the snow.

Watching on the display, Bob whispered, “…can’t let this happen…” He opened the door and ran towards the woods.

“Bob, no,” Batresh shouted.

She got out of the car and ran towards him.

“Come back, Diotima’s got this,” Ahatu yelled. “Adrahasis’ balls!” she cursed. Looking back at Maude in the back seat, she continued, “You keep watch…gotta make sure those two don’t get killed.” She stood out of the car and leaned back into the window, “Watch on the display. Be ready to drive back to Fontainebleau. Get in the driver’s seat. We may have to take them to the infirmary.”

Sister Ahatu arrived on the path overlooking the scene.

Bob lay on the ground in front of one of the large, male attackers.

(explain this) Batresh raised herself up to a sitting position, on a small rise of ground near a clump of trees. She’d been struck in the head.

The ground was white with snow. A gust of wind blew a dust-devil made of snow, towards the woods. Denny ran through the white whirl back towards the clearing. He’d been dragged deeper into the woods by one of the men.

Diotima stood at the center of the clearing, her blaster raised with one hand, her palm raised with the other.

Another man ran into the woods away from them.

“How many of these critters are there?” Diotima whispered to herself, as two more men appeared on the hill in front of her. Diotima pointed the disk towards the woods.

A muffled cry sounded from behind a group of trees. Buzzy collapsed.

Sister Diotima raised the blaster, pointing it at the man who threw the lug wrench. “Stay right where you are.”

Taking that as his signal, he ran towards her. She spun around like a ballet dancer, catching the right side of his head with her boot. The strike threw him three meters towards the woods. He lay on the ground unconscious.

“Now, you will all kindly go to sleep.” She raised her open hand towards Denny and Victor. They fell onto the ground unconscious. “I thought that would work,” she smiled with a goofy grin. “It’s the beast.” She looked at the disk adhered to her palm, as if looking at it could explain the mechanism.

Ahatu walked towards her. “Where did those other men come from?” She squinted her eyes in the darkening afternoon.

“Don’t know…they ran off,” Diotima said. “Looks like they took the Potacas with them,” she said, pointing to the spot where Buzzy had collapsed. Turning around to look at Ahatu, Diotima continued, “Didn’t think you’d be able to stay away from the action.”

“It’s their fault,” Ahatu said, looking towards Batresh and Bob.

Ahatu walked over to Denny and Victor, lying unconscious on the ground. “How did the disk work on them?”

“Has to be the Potacas DNA. Remember, the beast is made with their DNA. The disk used to make the beasts disengage. Now, it just knocks them out.”

Ahatu reached down and as easily as she would have picked up a bag of potatoes, she lifted Denny onto her shoulder. “Not human…Tlaloc hybrids,” Ahatu said, looking at the other two men.

One of them lay unconscious, the other on his knees grimacing in pain. He held his crushed hand.

“They’re not human. Send them to Luna,” she said, referring to the Tayamni Lunar Base.

Then, smiling, Ahatu turned her head to speak directly into the sensor, “Do I have to do everything?” she asked. “Come and help me get these Sleeping Beauties.”

Diotima walked over. Reaching down she effortlessly picked up Victor’s sleeping form, throwing him over her shoulder. Walking towards the unconscious Tlaloc, she lifted him onto her other shoulder.

“We’re waiting,” Diotima said, as Bob, Batresh and Maude made their way to the clearing. “Get this one to Buzzy’s car,” she said, looking down at the man with the crushed hand. “The others got away.”

“You must be some kind of super-hero,” Bob said, looking at the elderly nun, now park ranger, with Denny and a Tlaloc hybrid thrown over her shoulders.

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.