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                                                                                             Chapter 6

                                                                                       *Return To Ma*

The Lamu Conference had not gone as anticipated when 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 Central Government knows about everything we just heard. Surely, they wouldnt let it continue if they knew. The only sensible explanation is that they dont know anything about it.

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 Tindo’s confidence in the Central Government. There was no way the Central Government would let the conditions on the Outer Planet continue it they knew about 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.”

For the first time now Tindo began to understand why Juju was so cynical 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. The ultimatum given to the Central Government seemed driven purely by desperation.

So far, he had no reason to think the Central Government would ignore the Pleas of the Federation Planets. All at once, He felt the weight of the entire Kingu Federation resting on his shoulders.

Back on Kingu, Sikhathele looked out from the Hive Balcony to enjoy Kingu’s binary Sunset. Her thoughts wandered to Tindo as she contemplated how the trip to Planet Lamu had gone.

She was looking forward to the souvenirs he always brought home after each trip to a Federation Planet.

She enjoyed being able to vicariously travel the galaxy with Tindo.

Nevertheless, Sikhathele couldnt help thinking about the conditions on Kingu.

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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 the Ancestral lands, even their 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 Hive compartment door slid open as Tindo stepped in. Sikathele was happy, relieved and anxious to see him. 

For now though she brushed the flurry of thoughts aside and welcomed Tindo home with a beaming smile and a tight, warm embrace.

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.

Tindo reciprocated  Sikathele’s tight embrace, simultaneously letting go of the tension inside him as he kissed her forcefully on the  lips while they stumbled clumsily to their 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 their secret wedding night coupling ceremony.

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

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 order to ensure their survival, the Akan had made sure the eggs and seed of each Akan couple wed on Kingu was secretly preserved in the fortified sacred Shrine of the Ancestors before the couple was sterilised by the Juluka on the day after their marriage as required under the new Juluka Federation Coupling Laws.

Once the Juluka had outlawed physical coupling, they gave a licence to each sterilised Federation couple for one child which was cloned from a pre-determined selection of genetic stock controlled by the Juluka at the Citadel Infant Growth and Reproduction Facility.

All  new born Children on the Federation Planets now came out of these growth chambers, and were given to their Federation parents after six months of growth to maturity inside the chambers.

In taking this measure, the Juluka had told the Citizens of the Federation that in order to prevent unnecessary, undesirable and potential birth 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, 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 made up of Elders from each of the Planets of the Kingu Federation.

The Elders passed on the Ancient secret knowledge of coupling  to each newly wed Federation couple as part of a secret Ritual wedding night ceremony as a way of preserving the Metju Nacher Teachings Of Old which the people followed before the arrival of the Juluka.

“You look anxious, how was the trip? 

Sikhatele’s words slowily registered in Tindo’s mind as he took a long drag from Sikhatele’s Electron cigarette . Perceptive as always, she could see right through him.

“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”, Sikathele continued looking confused.

Eventually Tindo mustered the strength to speak.

“I’m sorry, I didnt bring back anything this time. I dont even know where to start.”

“Really…Why is that. Now I’m reaaaally worried”. She looked disappointed and bewildered.

“The people of the Outer Planets are angry, and they have every reason to be”, he began. We may be close to an open rebellion, and its because the Juluka have been lying to us all along Sikhatele!” Tindo continued 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 accept the Citadel Protocols.”

The words stung, but inside Tindo knew she was right.

“We’ve been given an ultimatum to deliver to the Citadel leadership, failing which the Outer Planets will initiate a rebellion against the Juluka”, 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 attempted to shrug the whole thing off. There was no need to rush to conclusions he thought. I will give the Citadel 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  frantically stepped into what seemed like an Ancient Stargate just before it was destroyed by a Juluka Nutrino Missile.

Disturbed by the dream, He’d spent a bit more time than usual in the Hygiene Chamber as he let the beams from Cleansing Ions penetrate right through him. Feeling a bit more energised, he dressed quickly, and in a few short moments he was ready for breakfast as he headed for the Meal Chamber.

He still couldn’t shrug off the dream 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 as Capsules.

Somehow a meal you actually chewed seemed to be more satisfying than the Juluka Meal Capsules even though the Juluka had 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.

“What did your bring for me from your your trip on Lamu?”, 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 anything 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, I’ll hold you to it”.

The special meal was soon over, and they all prepared to leave 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