The Conference on Lamu had not gone as anticipated since the delegates from the Federation Planets had seized the agenda. If all the complaints were true however, then the Federation Planets were justified. He still wasn’t sure whether the Kingu Central Government was aware of the grim situation on the Federation Planets.
“Glad we made it out of there alive Boss” Juju’s words abruptly interrupted Makandal’s thoughts.
“Me too”, Makandal replied sombrely.
“What I cant understand is whether the Kingu Central Government is aware of everything we heard. Surely, they wouldnt let it continue if they were. The only sensible explanation is that the Central Government is not aware. I will make a detailed report, and bring everything to their attention. Nothing but swift and immediate action will follow…I’m sure of that”.
The unexpected turn of events on Lamu had shaken his confidence in the Kingu Central Government. He simply couldnt face the possibility that the Central Government was this flawed, and that he served it…There simply HAD to be an explanation.
“Let’s hope so Boss, although I’m personally not surprised. A cousin of mine has been telling me about all sorts of things happening on the Federation Planets for a while now. All I can say is that I dont believe everything they tell us at the Kingu Citadel.
For the first time Makandal began to understand why Juju seemed so cynical and jaded about the Kingu Central Government. He would wait and see how the Central Government would respond to his report on the desperation of the Federation Citizens. Their ultimatum to the Kingu Central Government seemed driven more by desperation than the desire to rebel, and he would make certain his report reflected that.
So far, he had no reason to think the Central Government would ignore the Pleas of the Federation Planets. He felt the weight of the entire Kingu Federation Colony resting on his shoulders because his report might determine whether or not the Federation itself would continue to exist.
Back on Kingu, Sikatele looked out from the Hive Balcony to enjoy Kingu’s binary Sunset. Her thoughts wandered to Makandal as she contemplated how he had fared on the trip to Planet Lamu. She was looking forward to the souvenirs he always brought home after each work trip to a different Federation Planet.
She also enjoyed vicariously travelling the galaxy with Makandal, and she had seen enough wonders to realise that it was a blessing to simply be part of the universe, breathing its air and enjoy the experiences it brought forth. There was something divine about it all.
Nevertheless, she couldnt help thinking about the everyday reality of life on Kingu. Ever since the arrival of the Juluka, the traditions, and freedoms of the Akan people had been steadily obliterated.
On top not being able to join the Ruling Council, the people in the Federation had lost control of their Ancestral lands, bodies and minds to the Juluka regime. They were rumors of discontent all across the Federation, and Sikatele wondered whether Makandal had experienced any of this on Lamu. He could be so naive at times, and his blind faith in the Juluka regime worried her.
The Hive door slid open as Makandal entered. She was happy, relieved and anxious to see him. For now though she brushed her thoughts aside and welcomed Makandal home with a beaming smile.
Makandal was also happy to be home even though he had lots on his mind, but he would discuss it later with Sikatele. He could always trust her intuition.
Makandal held Sikatele in a tight embrace, letting go of the tension inside him as he kissed her forcefully on the lips while they stumbled clumsily to the main sleeping chamber, ripping off what remained of each other’s Gear along the way.
Then with the look of an orphaned child, Makandal wildly lost himself in her. Sikatele yearned for him, reciprocating with a vigour and tenderness that both consoled the neediness and satisfied the carnal hunger of the lost man-child that had just returned home to her.
Time and Space dissolved until once again their Souls met in the sacred space the Elders had shown them to get to during the secret wedding night coupling ceremony.
Since the arrival of the Juluka, physical coupling had been outlawed and gradually phased out. It had now been replaced by mental coupling using a virtual intimacy interface. The Juluka had provided many reasons for this decision including the need to limit the spread of diseases caused by physical coupling and to control the Federation Colony population.
Once the Juluka had outlawed physical coupling, they licenced each sterilised couple to have not more than 2 cloned children from a selection of controlled genetic stock kept and grown at the Citadel Infant Growth and Reproduction Facility.
All new born children in the Federation Colony now came out of these growth chambers, and were given to their parents after six months of nurturing to maturity inside the chamber. In taking this measure, the Juluka had explained to the Citizens of the Kingu Federation that in order to prevent unnecessary, undesirable and potential defects amongst the children, it was better for Federation Citizens to raise a child carefully selected, grown and optimised for physical health and intelligence in the infant growth chambers of the Citadel.
Despite his position as a government official, Makandal frequently defied the Juluka Coupling Laws by engaging in physical coupling with his wife.
The knowledge of physical coupling had been preserved by the Ancient Mwari Religious Order together with the Akan Elders of Kingu who passed it onto each Kingu couple during a secret Ritual wedding night ceremony with the hope of preserving the Olden ways of the Metu Neta in which Children had been brought into the Realm of Kingu before the arrival of the Juluka.
After a brief silence, Sikatele ignited a translucent electron cigarette.
“You look anxious. How did the trip go?
Perceptive as always, she could see right through him.
Makandal took a slight toke of the cigarette.
“Careful, the electron reserve is running low, we’ll need to get a refill soon. Besides, I thought you’d quit. Now I’m wondering what really happened over there”.
Eventually Makandal mustered the strength to speak.
“I dont even know where to start, except to say I couldnt bring any crystal images or presents this time.”
“Really…Why is that. Now I’m reaaaally worried”. She looked disappointed and bewildered.
“Well there’s serious unrest and unhappiness in the Federation Planets ”, he began. We are very close to an open rebellion, and its because the Juluka have been lying to us all along Sikatele!” with a rising hysteria in his voice.
Sikatele chuckled in response.
“You can be so naive at times. Did you really think all was well in the Federation? It seems like you blindly believe all the nonsense they preach at the Citadel.”
The words stung, but inside Makandal knew she was right.
“We’ve been given an ultimatum to deliver to the Citadel leadership, failing which an open rebellion against the Juluka by the Federation Planets will probably happen”, he finished.
Sikatele was swift and unhesitating in her response.
“I suggest you take their demands to the Kingu Leadership at the Citadel like you promised. If the Kingu Leadership doesn’t want to listen, then I fear you may have to choose sides”.
Once again she didnt mince her words, letting him know exactly what was at stake as if he didnt already have a sense.
“I suppose you’re right. “I’m tired now, lets go to sleep”.
Makandal reluctantly admitted as he attempted to shrug the whole thing off. There was no need to rush to conclusions. I will give the Juluka leadership a chance to consider the demands of the Federation Planets before deciding on my next course of action. I owe them that at least.
Sikatele turned off the cigarette and the dim light in the sleeping chamber. Makandal’s eyelids were heavy, and he soon fell into a deep sleep in Sikatele’s arms.
The next morning Makandal woke up to the smell of breakfast, and by all indications Sikatele had outdone herself. He was relieved because he needed as much energy as he could muster for what was sure to be a long day of reckoning ahead.
His sleep had been interrupted by an unusually vivid dream, so he had only managed to get a few hours’ sleep before dawn. In the dream he had been the Commander of a massive Military Space Station leading an attack on a battalion of Juluka Warships. The battle was brutal, and he woke up as his Command Station was hit by a devastating Juluka Nutrino Missile.
Disturbed by the dream, He’d spent a bit more time than usual in the Hygiene Compartment as he let the Cleansing Ions pour right through him. Now that he felt a bit more energised, he quickly dressed, and in a few short moments he was ready for breakfast, and headed for the Meal Compartment of the Hive.
He still couldn’t shrug the dream off as he entered the Meal Compartment.
“Well, lets have it then, I’m starving!” Makandal jokingly demanded. Sikatele served a generous helping of synthetic Meat and Eggs which Makandal wolfed down with 2 cups of Coffee. Even though it was all synthetic, the food tasted good, and today was one of those days he needed a solid breakfast even though most meals were now taken in Capsule form.
Somehow a meal you actually chewed seemed to be more satisfying than the Juluka Meal Capsules even though the Juluka assured all Federation Citizens with the aid of nutrition charts that the Capsules taken once a day were just as nutritious, if not better than the synthetics. Synthetic solid foods were now a luxury, and Makandal was grateful Sikatele had gone the extra mile to make his return special.
“What did you bring from your last trip?”, Runya asked after a short while with excitement written all over her face. Makandal felt gutted, but thankfully Sikatele quickly came to his rescue.
“Daddy didnt bring any this time my love.”
“I’ve heard the Methane Towers on Lamu are amazing”, Runya continued with a slight shrug of disappointment.
“I promise I’ll bring you something next time”.
“Its a Promise!”
“Ok, I’ll hold you to it”.
The special meal was soon over, and they all prepared to leave home for the day.
Makandal decided to walk instead of Teleporting to the Citadel and as he approached the Citadel, Makandal’s thoughts were suddenly interrupted by an urgent, loud female voice which drowned out everything else around it.
A small crowd including a small group dressed in white were gathered around a woman speaking atop the Kingu Plaza, right opposite the Kingu Central Citadel Building. She looked slightly younger than Makandal, but her face and radiant brown eyes betrayed the presence of an Ancient Soul, giving her an aura of wisdom beyond her age.
Makandal nudged through the crowd and drew closer so he could hear what the excitement was all about.
“The Olden Teachings Of The Metu Neta refuse to be forgotten! Children of Kingu, the Gods of your Ancestors weep for you. Its time to sing the Ancient Songs once again in the Sacred Shrines which stand deserted and abandoned devoid of your lofty praises and offerings.
Behold the Ancestors of Kingu have sent us to gather you once again into the Sacred Shrines so you can once again know the Teachings Of Old from The Metu Neta and sing praises to the Ancestors as their Children, so they can delight in your presence as Parents do!!”, she shouted in ecstacy.
The words pierced through the crowd which stood transfixed, latching onto every word.
“If the Gods care about so much why have they left us to suffer for so long under the Juluka?”, a firm skeptical voice blurted from the crowd. The crowd nodded and murmured in agreement.
She didn’t even acknowledge the question and continued, “I tell you that the moment of deliverance is at hand, and that The Neta who will free you from the yoke of the Juluka stands amongst us at this very moment!!!”.
The crowd stirred, and fell silent as they vigorously scanned one another.
“Point him or her out to us if what you say is true!”
The skeptic spoke out once again, but this time the crowd was less interested.
She continued as she surveyed the crowd until she locked eyes with Makandal, and broke into what appeared to be a brief endearing smile.
“I will not point out The Neta here, but soon all will be revealed.
I came here to deliver a message to The Neta, and it is this:
In your sleep have the things that must come to pass been revealed, and you must not be afraid.
We are here to help and guide you in the work that must be done to free the people from the Juluka”, she continued with her eyes firmly fixed on Makandal.
“I am amongst those that were Born and raised in the Sacred Shrines, and unlike you I have never been implanted with a Neural Connection. Far out in the outskirts of the Citadel near the Zig Ore Fields is where we are. You must come to us now”.
By now Citadel Security Marshalls had been dispatched to break up the illegal gathering, and as they approached the crowd the mysterious woman let out one last shrill telling the people not to lose hope before vanishing into the crowd.
By the time the Citadel Security detail arrived the crowd had already dispersed.