Chapter 6

                                                                                       *Return To Ma*

The Conference on Lamu had not gone as anticipated since the delegates from the Federation Planets had taken control of 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 Outer Planets.

“Glad we made it out of there alive Boss” Juju’s words abruptly interrupted Tindo’s thoughts.

“Me too”, Tindo 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 knew. 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 HAD to be another 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 outer Planets for a while now. All I can say is that what we are told at the Citadel is different from the stories I hear.

For the first time Tindo 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 resting on his shoulders.

Back on Kingu, Sikhathele looked out from the Apartment Balcony to enjoy Kingu’s binary Sunset. Her thoughts wandered to Tindo as she contemplated how he had fared on the trip to Planet Lamu. She was looking forward to the crystal images he always brought home after each work trip to a Federation Planet.

She enjoyed being able to vicariously travel the galaxy with Tindo, and she had seen enough wonders to realise that it was a blessing to simply be part of the universe, breathe its air and enjoy the experiences it brought forth…There was something divine about it.

Nevertheless, she couldnt help thinking about the everyday reality of life on Kingu. Ever since the arrival of the Juluka, the traditions, freedoms and Culture of the Akan people had been steadily obliterated.

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 Sikathele wondered whether Tindo 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 apartment door slid open as Tindo entered the apartment. She was happy, relieved and anxious to see him.  For now though she brushed her thoughts aside and welcomed Tindo home with a beaming smile and a grizzly hug.

Tindo was also happy to be home even though he had lots on his mind, but he would discuss it later with Sikhathele. He could always trust her intuition in such matters.

Tindo held Sikathele 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, Tindo wildly lost himself in her. Sikhathele yearned for him, reciprocating with a vigour and tenderness that both consoled the neediness and satisfied the passions 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 as the Elders had taught them to do 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 population.

In addition, the eggs and seed of each Akan Kingu couple had been secretly preserved in the fortified sacred Shrine of the Ancestors before they were sterilised on the day after their marriage under the new Juluka Coupling Laws. Once the Juluka had outlawed physical coupling, they licenced each sterilised couple to one cloned child from a selection of controlled genetic stock kept and grown at the Citadel Infant Growth and Reproduction Facility.

All children now came out of these growth chambers, and were given to their parents after six months of growth 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 Kingu 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, Tindo 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 Cult from among 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 in which Children had been brought into the Realm of Kingu before the arrival of the Juluka.

After a brief silence, Sikhathele ignited a translucent electron cigarette.

“You look anxious. How did the trip go?

Perceptive as always, she could see right through him.

Tindo took a slight toke of the 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 Tindo 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 amongst the Outer Planets”, he began. We are very close to an open rebellion, and its because the Juluka have been lying to us all along Sikhatele!” with a rising terror and hysteria in his voice.

Sikhathele 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 Tindo knew she was right.

“We’ve been given an ultimatum to deliver to the Citadel leadership, failing which a rebellion against the Juluka by the Outer Planets will be initiated”, he finished.

Sikhatele 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 bed”.

Tindo 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 Outer Planets before deciding on my next course of action. I owe them that at least.  

Sikhatele switched off the cigarette and the dim light in the sleeping chamber. Tindo’s eyelids were heavy, and he soon fell into a deep sleep in Sikhathele’s arms.

The next morning Tindo woke up to the smell of a laser cooked breakfast, and by all indications Sikhathele 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, and 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 had been 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 Chamber 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 heading for the Meal Chamber.

He still couldn’t shrug the dream off as he entered the Meal Quarters

“Well, lets have it then, I’m starving!” Tindo jokingly demanded. Sikhathele served a generous helping of synthetic Meat and Eggs which Tindo 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 nutritional 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 Tindo was grateful Sikathele had gone the extra mile to make his return special.

“Can I please see the crystal images from your last trip?”, Runya asked after a short while with  excitement written all over her face. Tindo felt gutted, but thankfully Sikhathele quickly came to his rescue.

“Daddy didnt bring any this time my love, the Crystal Imager malfunctioned and needs to be replaced. I’ll let you help me with the design and printing of the new one…Deal?”

“Okay, but I really wanted to see what the Methane Towers on Lamu look like. I’ve heard they’re amazing”, Runya replied with a slight shrug of disappointment.

“I promise I’ll make it up to you next time”.

“Promise?”,

“Its a Promise!”

“Ok, but I’ll hold you to it”.

The special meal was soon over, and they all prepared to leave home for the day.

Rushing out, Sikhathele muttered something about a recent influx of Refugees arriving at the Kingu Central Space Refugee Centre where she was stationed, and was soon out of sight.

Next Chapter 7: The Mwari Cult