Monday, February 29, 2016

Part #2: The Feeling of the Earth

Continuing from last week, the novel narrative of a pioneer Quaker family on the Oregon Trail, ruthless bison killers, opposing Pawnee Indians, and the arrival of an alienologist from far away in our galaxy, 1842--

When Uzx came out of rest-state refreshed and ready to work again, the waiting data flow agitated until his skin hurt from many negative messages.


Rising on his owl’s wings, Uzx soared up in the early dawn, earth's minor sun almost cresting low hills to the east. Soon the wide river of flatness below him would shine like glass. Startled, he realized that he had, again, used his owl's visual percepters to make that prediction, not his real skin!

He had completed his total data skin of Neil, Naomi and their infant and other families of the wagon travelers.

Next, he planned to de-owl, return to his star ship, and then move onto a land mass down on the lower part of this globe.

Overview statistics skinned of a wonder there, a large marsupial. One with a few vaguely similar traits to my own species. Zhxxjh! That’ll be a fine enclone.

The biological details of the earthly marsupial reminded him of his own great Maternal Pouch, bless her name. This earth hopper could leap forward, but most importantly actually cared for her young in a small pouch above her large feet.

Though the female only kept a few birthed-ones in her sac, unlike his own Maternal Pouch’s dozens of tailings including himself back many years ago. Uzx felted a longing ritual, moving his appendages in tandem, virtually swinging his missing tail in a wide arch.

Suddenly, an alert rashed his inner skin!

Harsh, onrushing, tragic data flow.

According to new probability statistics felting into him from the data director, 2 groups of dissimilar humans were about to do battle near those thousands of shaggy beasts. Uzx flapped hastily backward.

When he flew over on the battle scene, the hide-obsessed Caucasians had already clearly won.

They were going around the skirmish field, knifing any wounded Pawnee still alive.

In the far distance, Uzx could skin—too far even for his owl vision—many thousands of bison stampeding away across the flat prairie.

Uzx feltdentified into invisibility and played the data flow. There near a rock outcropping below lay the prone body of the native who had shot the wagon train scout, a few days earlier.

Bullet wounds pocked the reddish-brown alien’s upper body.


Wore Wolf Teeth’s scalp was bloody, his rooster comb of hair, an erect fiber blade and its skin, missing.


At least 7 of the raiders were scalping the Pawnee dead and dying. Proud and gloating, filling the air with obscenities.

While Uzx floated on the updrafts, he analyzed the scene--realized the Pawnee war party had been caught between 2 bands of heavily armed Caucasians. Uzx tried accessing any lingering mental patterns from Wore's brain. Yes, brain images were still flowing. Uzx implemented data storage.

But surprisingly, the Pawnee warrior though near death wasn’t reliving his last battle with these pale invaders.

Instead, vivid scenes feeling into Uzx showed Wore applying garish face paint, a number of solar rotations ago, then leading a whooping war party of several Pawnee villages to attack a large grouping of a different tribe, the Arapaho, one set far to the west in red-rocked land.

Horrific images filled Wore’s mind, bloody scenes of the Chaticks-si-chaticks (Men of men), slaughtering every man, woman, and infant in triumph.

He and his other braves then hurried about the destroyed Arapaho village and tore ornaments and clothing from the dead.

Morally sickened, Uzx adjusted the scale of his feltment to access more details in Wore’s fading consciousness.

The native warrior, blood covering his hands from many scalpings, stooped in triumph and skinned off the hair of a 7-year-old Arapaho boy. Blood seeped out of multiple holes in the boy’s chest; a broken arrow stuck out of his left eye socket.

Almost expiring, Wore’s last conscious image and feeling—that of his 2 small sons, juxtaposed with him raising up the bloody trophy wet in his hand.

He grimaced and died.


While observing and duly saving the data feed, Uzx ached deep in his 3-hearts. All this senseless killing. For what? Wore Wolf Teeth hadn’t even focused on his spouse at his dying. But on what he considered a worthless tribe, the Arapaho, not of his own people, the Chaticks-si-chaticks. And scalping a child!

Yet the Uzx truly skinned even for Wore, this savage human.
Should I intervene? The alien’s fatal wounds weren’t irrecoverable. But his ship data director negated the suggestion: "Don’t medify the earth primate."

So the researcher only lingered, emotionally close to the deceased human and recorded a last brain pattern, no doubt mindless.

Then though outwardly invisible, and encloned in an earthly owl, he moved his actual missing marsupial tail in the mourning ritual of his people—not only for this brave murderer, but for all these savage humans, millions of them.

Then moving his skin flow from the lifeless corpse of Wore, Uzx felted into one of the still rampaging Caucasians who had just scalped a corpse laying half immersed in a stagnant pool by the river.

The white alien, lanky almost gangling, with no hair on his face, muttered in another communication system of the earthlings, displaying sort of a permanent smirk to his mouth.

Uzx accessed the foreign words--German--and also retrieved the battle scene from the immigrant’s point of view.

Another sociopath.

Finally, the Orxxjhian partially numbed away to escape the agony after pulling extensive life memories from half a dozen other Whites. He had skinned battles on what, maybe 13 planets, in the last 5 Orxxjhian rotations?

At times alien beings were so tactilely fascinating and tragic, but then they tended to fit into a few basic and similar patterns—all strikingly savage.


Each species of these aliens thought itself the very center of the universe—Uzx would have felt his skin chuckle at the absurdity, if he weren’t feeling so grieved down deep in his inner hearts.

Why does nearly all sentient life always think it, and it alone, is the center of everything? That’s surely a philosophical question worthy of asking the All/Ultimate.

But now I must leave this cloak of invisibility, close up the zxdjroklf part of my research project and then feltdenitify out of this owlness, return to my ship and transpose to the southern hemisphere for the next step of the Terran study.

The data director continued to explain to him, unnecessarily, "You will study in depth as to why evolution on this planet didn’t lead to advanced consciousness in marsupials. And at what point did primates begin to develop self-awareness and how and why?"

Wait! Uzx’s skin yelled, jamming the lectured felting from the ship director. We need to help! I’ve just caught raging data flow from this alien leader. The heavily bearded killer plans to continue their war, is going to decimate all life at the nearby Pawnee village.

"Uzx, stop interfering. Felt your instructions."

But surging pain cut through deep into the alienologist. It would be a white version of Wore’s massacre of the Arapaho village 3 rotations back, yet with almost the exact same bloody, hateful outcome.

Uzx numbed the felting from the data director and stayed invisible both feeling and watching the alien gang with the pale skin as they tended to their wounded, buried 15 of their dead, then mounted and rode away west with shouted “Yeahs! Death to the savages!”


Uzx flashed away to the north and came out of invisibility, his great flapping wings raising him high above--a miracle he normally luxuriated in--but now ignored as he winged far ahead of the killers toward this Weeping Water village.

It was noon on the prairie which stretched endlessly ahead, the slow-moving wide river to their left.

The long procession of Oregon-bound pioneers had stopped for lunch. Men and women stood watching the vastness of the landscape, not talking, chewing on their salt-pork.

At one point, Neil turned to the scout called Hack, “How many more miles do you estimate it is before we camp at dusk? I hear we’re stopping at a famous Indian spring. After the threat earlier today, think it’s safe?”

The scout at first didn’t answer, but spit a gulp of tobacco down into the mudded dirt and looked up at the cloudless sky, as if to ask God; then said, “Oh I reckon about 6 more mile.”

He paused ejected another glob and watched it arch away, glanced over at an elderly gent from Austria scratching his face, then finally added, “Yeah, not too far from them springs; the Pawnee call ‘em Weepin’ Water. Not much danger there. Only a small village… ‘cause a bunch of ‘em starved last c’upple a winters.

He chawed. And added, "So probably no problem.”

A short pudgy Norwegian looking worried, countered, “Well I don’t like campin’ near any savages; no way!”

Hack looked up at the sky again. “Ya wanta go thirsty? Our barrels r’ most empty. Don’t see no clouds…”

Justifying himself the immigrant turned to a compatriot and said, “Heck, yeah, we need water, but them Pawnee are trouble, gotta be careful don’t we?”


Spitting another glob, the scout nodded to no one in particular.

Another traveler, leaning against a wagon wheel responded, “Let me tell ya, them Indians killed my neighbors in the Ohio; that’s why we’re movin’ west.”

Despite his usual cautious demeanor, Neil joined in, “Yeah, we had a peck of trouble when I was coming through the gap in Tennessee, but then we killed a whole contingent of Cherokee; after that they didn't behave so high and mighty. Imagine that, them trying to keep us from taking virgin, unused land.”

But even as he spoke, the small bloody scalp, hanging like a red rosary in his partner’s hand, dripped through Neil’s consciousness, and he turned away. Guilty.

I never took a scalp! He responded to his haranguing conscience, or was it the Almighty’s convicting spirit?

Ignoring the men-talk around him, Neil inwardly did battle in the courtroom of his guilt. Not one! And certainly not a kid’s. Most of our fight was justified. Get off my back, God.

These alien savages deserve hell! They’re a blight on the land. Besides, didn’t you give us this land like ministers preach, like that Presbyterian pastor from York, Pennsylvania claims?

But Neil’s lawyer-self derided his protestations, and like a prosecuting attorney, drove home caustic accusations--You know better than that! And images of his wife’s crying face haunted him.

“Ya dumbstruck, Neil?”

“Huh?” Neil turned and saw Hack who was holding another chaw of tobacco in his grimy hand and staring at him. Neil didn’t answer.

A middle aged Scot was talking loudly now to the men, “Listen if those scum give us any trouble, the government pays for scalps ag’in...I earned 500 bucks last year in Missouri.”

Neil cursed.

Further west, at the village of Weeping Water, an elderly Pawnee man half crippled, but alert as a fox, hobbled into the circle of his tribe’s lodges breathing in gasps, sputtering, to everyone,
“Invaders—bison killers—coming this way at a gallop. Hurry! Quick we must escape.”

Immediately all work ceased. With most of their warriors gone, the villagers—2 guard warriors, some young boys, a few elderly ones, women and little children rushed about hiding valuables; And then the 2 aged guards climbed up into large rocks at the cleft. The others started up a far side of the weeping ledges to escape over the high ridge.

In the eastern distance from down river, thick dust circled up in skyward, and they could hear ominous danger coming--the thunder of hooves.

It was late in the day, the swim of sunlight almost sunk into the wide river bend ahead.

As he held the reins, and their horses plodded westward, Neil ruminated on what they would do when they got to the lush green land of Oregon Territory. I might still lawyer; there would probably be plenty of disagreements to solve as the immigrants staked out their lands and argued over each other’s borders. Then he wanted—

Loud shouts!
“Men, get your guns and assemble!” hollered their guide, Hack, as he came galloping by, words spitting from his mouth.


“By the limestone spring, there’s a bunch of buffalo hunters fightin’ them Pawnee vermin. Stop your wagons. We need every able-bodied man, now! Com’on.”

Neil tethered their horses, got his extra gun from under the mattress. He kissed Naomi, who stared back with concerned questioning. Then he joined 16 other men and rode away to help fight, glad they hadn’t reached the supposedly safe spring unawares.

Riding next to Neil, the middle-aged Scottish man muttered curses toward Hack, and said to Neil, “I told you, he ain’t no scout!”

Hovering above this tiny human village, contemplating the utter beauty of how such soft liquid flowed lightly down over rock ledges, a little of the precious water wisping outward, rain-bowed in the air of the setting sun, Uzx waited for the thundering horde of pale primates to descend through the cleft and raid into the village.

He watched 73 red-skinned natives clamber up the cliff-side near slowly weeping water from the limestone spring, up past foliage and trees, climbing carefully over each ledge wet with moisture, seeking freedom on the wooded bluff above.

One small boy--Wore’s youngest--still holding onto his play rope, suddenly slipped and fell, dropping to his death.

Uzx moaned deep in his skin. This small child’s pouchless Maternal One couldn’t save him.

Why did the All/Ultimate bother to evolve such a species as this that couldn’t protect their little ones in a great pouch of love? Why didn’t the sires of this species meet in a great feltment and skin their differences?

With great inner grief which welted his skin, Uzx sorrowed and checked again with his data director. “This skins too deeply! Must I get the data feel of this?”


"Yes, fulfill your research quota."

Uzx turned back to monitoring, but spontaneously skxxjhed almost losing consciousness--felting his own answer deep in his inner organs. He hid his near skxxjh from the ship and felted.

He would disobey the impersonal data director; would intervene in this tragedy. For he skinned the raiding party had found and shot 2 guard warriors in the rocks, ambushing them from the back.

As the remaining red ones inched their way up the ledges to the cliff top, Uzx sensed the rage of the white aliens as they roared into the deserted village.

A few of raiders lit torches and heaved them onto lodges. Other men jumped from their horses and shot up at the limestone ledges where they could see the escaping villagers.

Slugs splintered rock shale and pieces flew out. A large fragment hit an elderly woman; she lost her grip and fell 40 feet, hit one weeping ledge, then another, and dropped to her death in the shallow pool far below.

Unknown to those below, though obvious to Uzx, the wagon-team men led by their scout came to the lip of a rocky cliff above the village and stared down at the burning and shooting. They couldn’t see the climbing natives directly below.

The Norwegian asked Hack, "Where’s them Pawnee? I see only other Whites blammin' away, must be them buffalo hunters.'

Tired of these yokels questionin’ him, the scout didn’t answer, but weighed whether to descend into the cleft and join the fight. Instead, he took time to pull a chaw from his coat and stick it in his cheek.

Hearing more bullets hitting rock, Neil got off his horse and leaned over the ledge.

There below him down the rock face to the left were Pawnee climbing to escape. He drew out his colt revolver to shoot.

But a sudden uncertainty hit Neil when he saw they were kids and women. He hesitated. But not Hack who joined him, leaned over the cliff edge and immediately started firing downward. As did the Norwegian.

But within Neil, guilt flooded—images of the little scalp in his friend’s hand, dripping blood...Then a Scripture verse from his wife gouged deep. He wrestled with the bloody images and his guilty conscience. Moved his gun back and forth, but not firing.

Hack shot an old grandmother and sent her catapulting away from a ledge, screaming. The Norwegian picked off a 10-year-old.

More men got down from their horses now and took out their guns, then crept up next to the 3 and peered down.

Abruptly, before anyone else could fire, everything below them blanked out!

Fogged out ghostly pale, yet darkening, like a somber Rhode Island morning.

And then the massive expanse of murkiness rose and engulfed them on the ledge. Fog swirled around them like an immortal monster from a London-hell, fuming up out of some damp abyss.

All guns below silenced. Someone kneeling next to Neil cursed. He closed his eyes, ground his teeth, tried to look down again—white nothingness; couldn’t even see his own hand or revolver; in dread, he actually formed a prayer.

On his other side, a man spit, no doubt Hack. Even straight up above them, only a gray-white shroud. This was no natural phenomenon, not by a long shot. Neil wasn’t devoutly religious like his wife, but this evidenced the preternatural, the supernatural, an alien presence.

Holstering his gun, Neil remembered in his law studies, the court records of other alleged supernatural occurrences, many going way back to the supposed witching times of the past.

And there was the one 150 years ago up Boston way. Rubbish; superstition—nevertheless; what’s causing this strange fog?

Weird/uncanny/eerie/spectral and otherworldly!

The fog thickened and drizzle formed on their clothes. Then behind them, their horses paced about, agitated, giving forth a sudden cacophony of neighing and stamping. Neil heard men jump up and rush back into the blankness, trying to find their horses by sound.

No one spoke. Not even the middle-aged complainer. The impenetrable fog continued to ooze heavy moisture. They huddled, and had to keep wiping their faces with their sleeves. Explosive silence. Not a sound.

No voices spectraled up from down below either. Neil pondered,
Is the village still burning? What of those Pawnee climbing up the ledges of the waterfall below? And the attacking bison hunters?

From up above, Uzx observed all of the scenes with his skin, his keen owl percepters now worthless. He felted a spooked horse when it reared up, knocked over its owner, and rushed off the cliff.

Other men on the bluff pulled down and twisted reins lest their horses, too, gallop off into the monstrous pale darkness. Then in the foggy blindness they led their horses back down the rocky slope toward lower ground. There they talked low, all jittery, waiting for what they knew not.

In the village below, the buffalo shooters stood silent, filled with dread, their guns still drawn. Smoke from burning lodges darkened the dense fog. An unearthly nothingness. Dread writ large.

One older White actually pulled out a crucifix from under his shirt and mouthed a Rosary chant.

High above, Uzx swirled, and ruminated, knew it wouldn’t be possible to keep the fogging, and yet at the same time rescue all the climbing ones.


Besides, the ship data director suddenly poked him. "This atmospheric disturbance isn’t permitted. You are skewing our data."

Yes, Director, I’m feltling your demanding presence!

"Cease this interference! Uzx, while compassion overflows our Maternal Pouches, we all must remember duty to the Data Quest. Obey the research plan of your Exalted Sires. On these many countless savage worlds, evolution hasn’t reached the All-Ultimate’s timing. Again, Class 3, you are ordered to stop skxxjhing for these aliens and finish your data flow."

Uzx hesitated between his moral felting and his duty to their research mission. Below, he skinned how those Caucasoid killers were now at the base of the waterfalls and repeatedly drying their guns, waiting for a moment of clearing to shoot the rest of the villagers.

The Indians kept working their way carefully up the far side of the falls.

He hid himself again from the irate director, and skinned a statistical analysis. Will I have energy enough to hide my disobedience, continue the fog, and save--swoop up at least one small primate?

There to the lower right of 3 women, clinging to the upper ledges, another female held on with one hand to a gnarled tree root, her other arm around a crying infant close to her chest.

Oh my Ultimate! She’s Wore's widow with their baby! Agony ached to his deepest innerness, down to memories of his loving Maternal Pouch—bless her name. His inner skin lacerated into deep wounds, like when his youngest sibling, Ywqa, back on Orxxjh had been swallowed by the Zqqqqxzzlhht! Their Maternal, bless her name, managed to escape the monstrous beast, but had not been able to rescue her littlest one. Oh my little brother how I miss you! Where was our Exalted Sire then?

I will save this little one! But how?

Suddenly, Wore’s spouse with her crying infant lost her footing and slipped.

NO! Uzx shaped his male owl into a much greater size---ignoring the data director’s censure—into a gigantic winged being, an action that almost made him skxxjh, and then added a great sac on his lower region, a maternal pouch!

Then the Orxxjhian-transfomred owl swooped down through the great dark milky ocean, his feathers, heavy with moisture and his own alien-skinned tears.

Uzx grabbed the screaming infant as she fell and tucked her into his warm pouch, only regretting he couldn’t save her mother.

Without the ship’s power, that wouldn’t be possible.

Far below Wore’s woman plummeted, her black hair flinging out, and crashed into the jagged rocks, another offering to the horror of Terran life.

Lunging vertically upward, his great wings flapping fog, Uzx swept away eastward with barely enough energy to stay aloft.

If only the data director had permitted, I could have saved at least 6 more of the lost ones. But what an unusual feeling this feminineness, this mothering pouch, such warmness, so much tenderness. For a moment, the infant, startled, yet warm and succored, lay silent.

Suddenly, the director returned in his skin, having over-ridden his hiding screen, and now both commended and berated him. Yes, Uzx your Exalted Sire and your Maternal Pouch will skin wonder at your brave compassion. But you are violating protocol! Your continuing violation has been submitted to higher command. Expect a strong censure, maybe even a court martial.

Instead of responding, Uzx committed an irrevocable act-- temporarily shut down the data-flow feltment from himself to his tachyon ship and to the sire cruiser on the other side of hyperspace.

That will provide me with more energy. I’ll deal with the consequences later. No doubt he would endure disciplinary numbness from his galactic leader, the Exalted Sire, maybe even receive banishment from the Feltment.


Behind him, the huge fogbank gradually disppistated and the sun returned. He refused to allow him to felt what would happen to the rest of the villagers, with killers both at the top of the cliffs and below at the base of the falls. Terra, the planet, become terrorizing.

Skxxjhing bone-deep agony, Uzx flew on. He wondered if now would be the time when he would weep in his facial percepters if he were one of these primates. Why didn’t the All/Ultimate give us eye tears like these primitive aliens? Or maybe we lost the ability when our seldom used percepters atrophied.

He winged eastward following the wide flat river. Now the infant wailed, confused by the jarring and strange enviroment. As if mourning for all in this travailing planet. I’ll data-record this small blue sphere circling the minor yellow sun, as the Weeping World. What should I do with you, oh little babe?

On Uzx flapped into the dusk of the day. At last the perfect felt came to him where to go with the baby girl—to the only un-alien individual of this savage earth species, the one who sang tender words of wisdom, her long hair undulating softly while she worked. Though the primate female was pouchless, she was nursing her own infant girl and softly musing words of hope and glory. Yes, to this Naomi, the empathetic spouse of Neil. There dear little one, you will be safe.

Covering miles in point time, the alienologist found Naomi’s schooner in the circled wagon train. After swamping the area in fog, the mutant owl flew down into the wealth of moisture, and deep within exalted hope welled in his inner skin.

"Wise as an owl"...Uzx quoted, remembering the phrase from some Terran’s mind he had scanned, and he smiled deep to his 3 hearts.

Here, would be the ‘stable’ place for my dark-skinned infant in the midst of all this alien slaughter.

The messenger descended and landed at the entrance to the wagon’s cave-like opening, his feathers dripping heavy with moisture, feeling this earth in all its wonder and sorrow, savagery and hope.



Chapter 2: The Return of the Tactilization
Earth Year, 1862 C.E.
Orxxjh Year, 300,033 O.Q.J.X.

Their ship burst out of hyperspace in good form, as fine as any of Uzx’s previous missions across the galaxy. He skinned virtually down to the rather runty planet rotating below. Though so small, this blue swirling sphere deepened down into his feltness as he briefly relived his previous journey—all the joy and all the sorrow....

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Is Killing Civilians Worse than Enslaving Civilians?

Is Bombing Civilians Worse than Enslaving Civilians?


It appears that Quakers got off onto the wrong downward path away from peace-making at the start of the Civil War when many Friends enlisted in the war.

Some enlisted because of nationalism.

But others enlisted, determined to end slavery by invading and killing soldiers of the Confederacy.

For sure, slavery is inherently evil, one of the very worst acts humans do (as various thinkers from John Woolman to Martin Luther King Jr. have emphasized).

Contrary to the subjective ethics of modern society, for Friends, slavery is always wrong. Always.

Furthermore, ethical leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. emphasized that to achieve justice and peace and human rights,
we need to go about seeking justice, peace, and human rights, through just, peaceful, and right means.

Our killing others so as to end injustice, (whether slavery or Islamic subjugation of women, etc.) isn’t the way to bring peace and goodness into being.

Tragically, at least beginning in the Civil War--and much more so in the Great War,

Friends often justified war, emphasizing that it is necessary to kill to bring about justice.

Somehow they became blinded by war propaganda, and lost site of the vivid truth that 'just war' for both sides of a conflict is
"just destruction,
just suffering,

just agony,
just bloodshed,

just killing, '
just murder,

just carnage,
just death..."
(from MCC)

Just War?

No, just war!

And now at present, most Friends meetings hold the view that whether to kill other humans in one's country's wars or not is an individual's choice, not a horrific ethical wrong for every Friend, indeed, for every human being.

Why is that?

How many Friends at present--
and in the past beginning in 1775
when slavery was banned by Quakers--
would declare that whether or not you own slaves
your own individual choice?

See how weird and wrong that sounds?

It seems that we Friends are like the frogs that are getting slowly boiled by relativistic ethics when it comes to killing.

Even worse than all of this, many Friends in the Civil War (and later in the Great War) enlisted, not primarily because a belief that killing is justified to bring justice, but because of rampant nationalism:

“The words of the Quakers themselves provide us with telling insight into their attitudes toward their service in the military.

"Letters from the field written by Quaker soldiers reflected the resonance of calls to patriotic sentiments and duty echoing from the festive atmosphere of the recruiting stations. Abner Hoopes wrote, "I do not believe there is a man in our army but what is willing to shed the last drop of blood in defence of his country."*

The irony of the Quaker man's words “in defense of his country,” is that they were untrue.

On the contrary, it was the Union forces who invaded Virginia. More than 30,000 Northerners invaded Virginia in the Confederacy, even though the latter had voted to leave the Union (a central right according to the founding father Thomas Jefferson!).

While the South was guilty of gross slavery, it is also true that Virginians were seeking to protect their home and families from the robbing and killing invaders from the North.

Robert E. Lee, who wouldn’t accept becoming the general in charge of all U.S. forces, only a few days later, when the President Abraham Lincoln ordered 70,000 troops to invade his state of Virigina, joined the army of Virginia.

Lee had already stated he didn't want war, was opposed to Secession, and did think that slavery was an evil which needed to be phased out.

Such home-defense doesn't excuse General Lee's slaughter of hundreds of thousands of human being, but we need to remember to get history accurately. The Quaker soldier and hundreds of thousands of other Northern soldiers were the invaders, not defenders.

Furthermore, when Abner Hoopes said he was "willing to shed the last drop of blood..." he wasn't speaking in the Light, not at all.

“Edward Ketcham, a New England Quaker, expressed similar sentiments in a letter to his brother when he wrote, " ... and am willing, if necessary, to die for the cause of the Unity entire of this government, and do not wish to live to see its overthrow ... "

"Jesse Taylor wrote '... I do feel that my life would be willingly given up for my country.' These men, prior to expressing these sentiments, had seen battle. These were not the words of idealistic dreamers, but the words of men who saw the death and destruction of war. They expressed grim determination to fight for their country."

Invasion of Virginia by Union forces

"Although many Quakers Meetings opposed slavery, sentiments of patriotism rather than hatred of slavery were foremost in these soldiers’ thoughts as well as in their letters.”

Patriotism and Paradox: Quaker Military Service in the American Civil War by Mark A. Schmidt

"I think it is conceded that in proportion to their number they had more soldiers in the war for the Union than any other religious denomination." Willard Heiss, Quaker and historian, wrote that "many" Quakers served in the Civil War.

"Finally, letters written by Friends during the war also disclosed that many Quakers marched off to the battlefield. One Quaker, for example, wrote: "23 of our Springboro Boys going to start away ... for the Army."

"Another letter recorded that the southern rebellion had become so serious that "thousands" of Quaker boys all over America were going into the army."

...”the percentage of Friends in service [in the Civil War from Indiana] in the same age range lies between 21 and 27 percent.”

Imagine if in 1861, 21-27% of Quaker men had started buying and owning slaves!!

"Another Friend, Daniel Wooton, echoed a similar patriotic view for joining the military in several letters in which he carefully explained how a Quaker could take up arms in the rebellion.

He insisted that the cheapest way for the nation to obtain "justice" in the war was to hang every seceder
and stated that "God will also justify us in doing so."

"I would be serving my God."

See how accepting most humans are of killing--even many Friends, but not of enslaving?


Is not killing other humans even worse than enslaving them?

It seems that we Friends are too often like the frogs that are getting slowly boiled but not aware of it.

By the 1990’s many Friends rarely condemned specific wars supported by their own countries.

Allegedly, some Friends organizations such as the AFSC even excused lethal killing by oppressed people.

Check back to the Civil War again, “At Birmingham Meeting, the only mention made of members who violated Quaker peace testimony appeared muted...members falling asleep during meetings received equal attention."

"Baltimore Yearly Meeting expressed an understanding of the reasons for some of their member's enlistment “... it is not surprising that they should be carried away by the current of popular enthusiasm."

"Longwood Meeting went even further, "As a Yearly Meeting, we disclaim all disciplinary authority, whether over individual members or local associations." Although not an outright sanction, this proclamation did remove one potential obstacle to military service by young Quakers fired up with patriotism.”

As already mentioned, Quaker opposition to the Great War was even less. (Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the statistic--but as I recall about 2/3 of Quakers supported the war).

Of course, what does one expect when some leaders and members of Quaker meetings in Indiana were also members of the KKK!

The 'world' had intruded into the Society of Friends, and twisted good ethics.

The "Ocean of Darkness" of which George Fox spoke, was alive and destroying even among devout Friends.

Yes, some Friends spoke of "peace," but it was in a similar sense to warring nations speaking of peace--that the other side ought to stop warring, not us.

All talk, no living.

No doubt that is why in the past California Yearly Meeting in 1990 strongly supported the U.S. producing and owning nuclear weapons!

And leaders supported its members killing for its country’s wars!

When our meeting in Southern California hired a fighter pilot as our leader, my wife and I left.

Many Friends, and quite a few Quaker meetings rarely condemn specific wars when they come.

Northwest Yearly Meeting who in the distant past strongly opposed war, and had a high percentage of conscientious objectors, now thinks killing is an individual's own choice!

Other forms of killing have also become acceptable, or even supported, in some Friends Meetings.

Some members in a different yearly meeting support euthanasia!

And think of how many modern Quakers now support abortion,
the intentional killing of infants in the womb!

Not only do many modern Quakers support abortion in tragic circumstances, many have bought into the modern lie—that a mother killing her infant is a woman’s right.:-(

The World is so twisting Quaker ethics, it’s probably not impossible that some Quakers will someday say that Quakers don’t have to view slavery as inherently evil.

Well, actually, some Quakers now already say they don't think there is objective ethical truth.

Such darkness.

Instead Live for the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, February 26, 2016

Is This Presidential Election a "Seeding Time"?

Would you agree or disagree with the following statements?

#1 Usually, war is justified when there is a dangerous enemy.

#2 The only way to understand what is happening and what ought to happen is to wait a couple hundred years to get a more objective perspective.

While we wonder at the tragedy, uncertainty, and even absurdity of our times, so have humans in the past.

We, at present, deal with Muslim jihadists, but the colonists dealt with savage Indians resisting the confiscation of their lands, and with the complex conflicts between the British and the French Empires on the American frontier, and then against the British government itself.

If one skips the nationalism, even the admirable patriotic legends of the Revolution, and reads a few history books, one soon discovers that those troubled times weren't clear cases of good versus evil, or right versus wrong, or justice versus injustice (nor are most--maybe all--historical events).

Nor is the present time. Who is correct? who is right?

The Syrian Government of President Assad which protected all of its citizens except for Sunni Muslim jihadists?

The Sunni Muslims jihadists that the U.S. Government supports, hoping they will overthrow the Syrian Government of Assad?

The Russian Government which is bombing the jihadists to protect the Syrian Government?

The Turkish Government which is killing Kurdish Rebels?


T'was Seeding Time by John L. Ruth is a powerful narrative about the troubles and tragedies of that period, but not told from the perspective of the Revolutionists such as Adams, Jefferson, or Washington,
or told from the opposite perspective of the British Parliament and King George and the evangelist/reformer John Wesley,
or even the Indian tribes losing their homelands,
from the perspective of a few contrary American immigrant groups--the Mennonites, the Quakers, the Brethren.

Ruth starts out his historical account in December 1755 at the start of the worldwide 7 Years War (known in the colonies as the French and Indian War).

The war involved all the European powers and "affected Europe, North America, Central America, West Africa, India, and the Philippines. Considered as the greatest European war since the Thirty Years War of the 17th century, it once again split Europe into two coalitions," Great Britain against France. (Wikepedia)

From the first page of Seeding Time:
"Angry Indians had crossed the long Blue Mountain...and left behind in the ashes of [immigrants'] cabins the smoldering, scalpless bodies of European settlers...their Swiss Amish father had forbade them to fire at the Indians..."

"The wounded Jacob Jr. and his sister were tomahawked on the spot, and the mother as well, after having been stabbed in the heart with particular malice"

"...No one was more troubled by such events than the Quakers, who up to this point had controlled the Pennsylvania legislature...Israel Pemberton...with fellow Friends...organized the "Friendly Association"...appealed to the Mennonites..."

"for aid in building up a fund from which presents could be purchased for meetings with the aggrieved Indians...on account of the unjust treatment of the Indians...This enraged the Scotch-Irish...[but] the devout Quakers...believed that nonviolence was the essence of the Christian faith..."

Benjamin Franklin (later one of the Revolutionaries) took a dim view of the Mennonites, Quakers, and their nonviolence toward the Indians.

So on the eve of the Revolution, these formerly oppressed Swiss-German Anabaptist Brethren and Quakers were living diligently in the Quaker Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in "Penn's Woods."

Then following the first battles in Massachusetts, during the spring of 1775, fervent war fever spread again like fire through the colonies including Pennsylvania. All men were under pressure to sign up to fight the British or to contribute money for the Revolution.

Thus whether we live now when nearly all presidential candidates are claiming we Americans should attack the Syrian government
and continue supporting the Islamic jihadists
(who we gave about 300 million dollars alone several months ago)
back in the volatile slaughter of the 1700's, there are no easy answers.

So, too, as at the time of "Seeding Time" described by Ruth, those who oppose war find it very difficult to follow the way of peace-making when everyone is crying "War!
Go Fight!
Stop the Enemies!"

A fine short history book well worth the reading time.

'Twas Seeding Time by John L. Ruth, Herald Press, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book stores.

In the Light of Peacemaking and Seeking,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Chewing the Cud on Walden and "A Plea for John Brown"

Thoreau wrote, "I am glad to hear that you no longer chew, but eschew...
My excuse for not lecturing against the use of chew is, that I never chewed it...
though there are things enough I have chewed which I could lecture against."

So here I am chewing the cud on the writings of Thoreau.

"To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem."

"It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written."
Thoreau, from Walden, Reading

After all, while cows need to chew their in-take twice, we humans can spend a life time
chewing repeatedly/many times over the various philosophical and ethical points writers have made.

Cows chew their cud for eight hours, chewing with almost 40,000 jaw movements in a single day.

How about you?

Have you been chewing your reading?;-)

One famous line comes back to me as I sit here looking at the cabin that Henry built...

well, actually, only a line drawing like on the cover of my old taped paperback copy
of Walden and other writings,
The Portable Thoreau by Viking Press,
but you probably know what I am referring to:

“You can never step into the same book twice, because you are different each time you read it.”
John Barton

“In a sense, one can never read the book that the author originally wrote, and one can never read the same book twice.”
Edmond Wilson

Because this is happening to me now. Some portions of Walden, and the essays “Life Without Principle” and “Civil Disobedience,” I’ve read repeatedly, but none recently.

On the title page, I see I wrote at 16 in 1964, “These writings are surpassed by only one other book ever written—the Bible.”

Wow! And Huh?!

That was back when I was a devout Christian, so it’s quite a stunning statement...

But now, 52 years later, reading Walden, I can’t imagine why I thought so/thus.

True, Thoreau still has his amazing turns of phrases, nuggets in the gravel of his rhetorical prose.

But at 59, I wonder what all my devout hoopla was about back then. True, I was a naive teenager who had grown up in a tiny Nebraska village 1/10 the size of Concord, Massachusetts where Thoreau had lived, not in the city.

But I doubt there was much similarity. In fact, what appealed to me so much about Walden and Thoreau was how different his life and views seemed from my own background.

He became my hero for years.

Yes, at 19 I even journeyed--heck, let's admit it--'pilgrimaged' to Massachusetts to visit Walden Pond, and an spent an afternoon walking about along its shore, reading passgaes. I allegedly stood where Thoreau had built his cabin.

But, sheesh, during the year I was there an enterprising carpenter was selling mock-up cabins of Thoreau's for a pretty penny. No doubt, Thoreau would laugh loudly at that absurd irony. Had the builder never read Thoreau's essay "Life Without Principle" which castigated such economic endeavors?

And so many writers who imagine themselves emulating Thoreau by going off into the wilderness to write tend to forget that Thoreau only spent two years of his life (at the age of 28-29) out in the woods. And his cabin was situated within site of the train tracks and a road; he could even see a few other houses in the distance.

Furthermore, he kept a couple spare chairs for friends and strangers who stopped by regularly. At one point in in the Visitor section of the book he mentions of 25-30 "souls, with their bodies, at once under (his) roof."

Not a hermit by a long shot. And there were the local fishermen in the summer months and the ice merchants taking out ice from the Pond in the winter. The land he "squatted" on belonged to his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Reading Walden the last few days, I find that much of the writing is rhetorical, not philosophical or reasonable. And there is hardly a mention of Transcendentalism.

It gets much worse though. Several days ago, I read Thoreau's defense of John Brown, "A Plea for Captain John Brown." Obviously, I didn't read that particular shocking essay in 1964, one which glorifies a 19th century terrorist, declaring Brown to be like "Christ," crucified by Americans!

Surely, when John Brown, his sons, and followers hacked to death 5 unarmed pro-slavery individuals with their sharpened swords he was caught in the pit of self-righteous destruction.

And the murdering continued later when he and his small war band attacked and killed people at Harper's Ferry. One of the strangest ironies is that their first victim was an innocent free Negro railroad porter!

Along with the killing also came theft and deception. Some aspects of war never change.

"Evil, when we are in its power, is not felt as evil, but as a necessity, even a duty."
--Simone Weil

How strange that this murderer was idolized by Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many other civil leaders of the northern states, his attacks supported financially.

Appalling. But then look at how so swiftly the nonviolent protest movement of the late 1960's also descended into killing.

But I was dedicated to nonviolence by the time I was a senior in high school, strongly opposed the Vietnam War, and signed up as a conscientious objector when I registered with the Selective Service. So this pro-war side of Thoreau's writing--really poisonous meat--would never have been chewed by me. I would have spit it out.

All violence on all sides was opposed by me. I soon became a Quaker-at-large. Only once did I go to a large formal war protest. Among those thousands of angry, shouting protesters, I felt like I was caught in the belly of a raging beast.

Though I strongly worked against the war, I never attended another protest. We instead often had silent Quaker vigils at Long Beach State College near the student bookstore and the speakers' platform.

I will continue this chewing of Thoreau's writing tomorrow. Next: Walden, Chapter 2: Where I Lived and What I Lived for

To paraphrase Thoreau, in this New Year of 2016, I want to go to Life because I wish to live deliberately, to confront only the essential truths of life, and see if I can learn what God has to teach, and not, when I come to die, discover I have not lived at all.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Quaker Family on the Oregon Trail Meets an Alienologist

from the speculative novel, The Feeling of the Earth (1842-2073)

Chapter 1: The 3rd Alien
Nebraska Territory, 1842

New wheel ruts marred the grassy area near the stream. The native crouched down and examined long furrows in the wet ground.

Alarmed, he turned to stone and scanned nearby land, holding his breath. But no human sounds were evident, only sparrows chittering in clumps of elms hanging over Clear Creek.

The brook’s thin water gurgled, rippling, wide and shallow. Pebbles shimmered on its sandy bottom. Eastward, the stream flowed, winding away amongst the grassy loafed hills.

Through tall elms, a flat stone ridge loomed, the Table Rock. However not a single unusual movement anywhere in the landscape.

But the native seethed. These wheeled scars had marred their land far too long! Pale aliens came from the north and from the east, following the wide, flat, muddy Nebraskier River westward.

Sometimes their wagon teams stopped at little Clear Creek, because of the abundant spring which fed it.

Recently the invaders had gotten men of a nearby tribe, the stupid Oto, drunk on firewater—trading that evil drink for beaver pelt.

He cursed silently and watched the land. Thank you Great Spirit that my people, the Chaticks-si-chaticks (Men of men), don’t betray others for drink. We’re not a twisting snake like the Oto.

However, then he remembered several seasons ago. True, I sold my last catch of beaver to one such group of invaders, ugly haired 2-faces, but did so for blankets.

But I won’t sell to those cowards--defilers--ever again! I, Wore Wolf Teeth of the Chaticks-si-chaticks, swear to it.

He brushed one hand through the single ridge of stiffened hair that roostered up from his mostly shaven head. Then he stood up and swept his gaze over the terrain once more, peering at rock outcroppings and up narrow arroyos.

Only 3 moons ago lazy Oto thieves had slunk into his village of Weeping Water while he and other warriors were out hunting. Had stolen his prize ceremonial shirt which his spouse had made from the hide of a large deer, one he had shot last winter.

Peering toward the east, Wore Wolf Teeth wondered what other evil lay there yet to come this way and curse their lives. The white aliens hadn’t only corrupted the worthless Oto. Those invaders coming in wheeled lodges killed their bison and profaned their land.

Last summer the invaders slaughtered over a thousand of our bison, eastward toward the Big Muddy. Crazy aliens, such evil waste!

Stark images filled Wore’s mind. When he and several other warriors rode onto the cruel scene, a terrible stink assaulted them. Carcasses of hundreds of bison lay abandoned by the edge of the Nebraskier—so much rich meat rancid, rotting and bloating, crowded with skin-islands of flies in the hot summer sun.

The killers had skinned every shaggy hide from the fallen beasts, abandoned the corpses, and then left with only the hides piled high in their moving lodges. Greedy scum!


On that shameful day, the sun had blazed hot like now; yes, the season of sweating. He wiped moisture from his brow, and reprimanded himself for not being there with his fellow braves to stop that slaughter.

Again, he scanned the landscape. Still no human sounds. Finally Wore rose and walked over to Clear Creek and scooped up a cool drink with his right hand. He would return to his village, speak in the council and maybe they would mount a war party to deal with these new wagon-aliens.

Suddenly, a covey of quail swarled up from a nearby thicket and winged up over the muddy ruts, skyward. Wore dropped flat, and like a bull snake slithered into heavy brush, listening for the sound of hooves, or boot steps, even muffled breathing.

Nothing! Only the creek’s gurgle. However, the birds had stopped chattering.

Then as he peered out through leafy branches, the sky tore open--abruptly, distorting, and bubbling out,
a darkness looking at first like a black globbed mass,
like dark spittle on a French trapper's beard,
but then widening, widening, widening...
until he, Wore Wolf Teeth, inched back in dread.

This deadly vision must come from the spirits or maybe the Great Spirit, not from any bodied foe. Yet the horrid sight boded nothing like his quest dream he had received when becoming a brave a few seasons back on the southern plains.

Widening, the dark, translucent bubble continued enlarging until it loomed greater than all of their lodges back in his village of the Weeping Water.

Strange and horrendous, the spirit up above expanded until it gaped far vaster than one of the white invaders' cliff forts—enlarging until the monstrous distortion filled the whole sky, and then it blotted out the sun.


Wolf Teeth lay still, at one with gravel and stones under him. The distorted cavern above him, endless, coal black, a dark horror, threatening to engulf the world.

He remembered the murky cave he had climbed down into when a small boy, how it blotted out the sky. And how terrified he had been when he couldn’t find his way out for hours. All that black pitched darkness.

Now the sky tunnel of smoked blackness swallowed the entire whole horizon and out of the cavernous maw charged, stormed, barraged a drab-gray monster.

What dreadful evil spirit? Or could it be a severe warning, an omen for me from the Great Spirit? But why?

For the first time in his 23 years, Wore shivered despite the summer heat. Even when he had counted coup against the Arapaho, disdaining their warriors and had to pull out a thrown lance from his bleeding arm, while hanging to his stolen horse's mane, even then he hadn’t been afraid.

No fear then, no! But alive and glorious, so triumphant, galloping across the plains, we were great victors.

But not, now a hungry dread ate at his gut like a vulture. He was being truly tested. His pulse beat fast, but he gripped his medicine bag hanging from his neck, crawled out of the brush, stood tall and spoke, "I am Wore Wolf Teeth of the Chaticks-si-chaticks!”

Above, the gigantic dark gray spirit hovered pulsating, threatening, and behind it the black sky, endless tar, darkening the world.

Only 3 miles away, horses of an Oregon-bound wagon train skittered and bucked; one large roan knocked its rider to the ground. Men looked up in shock, bewildered by this sudden pitch darkness. Even the chatter and horseplay of their children ceased.

In the 3rd Conestoga wagon, Neil O'Brien stared up into the blackness and held his breath.

One of the forward scouts shouted back, "Halt!"


Their wagons came to a stop. Drivers tensely searched the sky for any funnel of an approaching tornado. Everyone, even the children, waited for the first strike of lightning and then the crack or roll of thunder, but none came. Only an extreme darkness, an utter silence, a thunder of blackness filling the day sky.

Neil couldn’t even see his rein hand. Baffled, he hollered back to his wife in the wagon, “Darlin’, you okay?”

‘Yes, Neil, is a storm brewing? Our babe’s asleep.”

Mothers shoved their children under tick beds in the schooners and waited. The darkness increased, darkness on darkness. And then a horrid grayness shot into being. Men pulled out rifles—rather senseless, they knew—and waited. A few little ones started crying.

But then, just as the sudden blackness darkening the world had attacked, the abyss of color vanished including the great gray monster, and again the wagoneers squinted into the blazing glare of the summer’s sun and a totally pristine blue sky.

Almost immediately hundreds of voices rushed to fill the still air. Neil turned to Naomi, his wife, who had come up behind him from the back of their wagon.

He put his free arm around her shoulders and said, "Strange, almost preternatural. What a dangerous incongruity! Suddenly that vast thunderhead, or maybe giant tornado, dominates the sky—largest I’ve ever seen—frightens and bedevils us, but then vanishes instantly."

"Neil, it might be a sign from the Almighty," she responded as she leaned closer to him where he sat, reins in hand.

Before he could answer, a scout shouted and the 2 wagons in front of them began moving again. He turned and flicked the reins. His wife backed into the shade of their schooner’s covering and lifted up their 6-month-old daughter Hannah, and softly sang a Good News hymn.

As Neil guided the horses forward, he thought about the strange atmospheric phenomenon, remembering a few texts he had read at law school which had mentioned a similar strange sky a few years back.

Sounded like superstition, but what could have caused such an atmospheric disturbance? No thunderhead or tornado.

Finally, as the wagon train plodded along, he returned to contemplating his and Naomi’s future…about their chances in the Oregon Territory. He was glad they weren't staying here on the Nebraska plains. Not that it doesn’t have potential—lots of level land for farming, but looks too dry.

And I’d miss all the oaks and elms. This terrain’s almost treeless except by streams. No wonder some commentators call it a vast desert.

What a contrast to last week when they had camped back near the Missouri River where land stood thick with timber—very verdant and so fertile.

They followed along behind the 2 schooners in front of their wagon, and 13 more behind, as their train of immigrants rolled alongside this wide river, the Platte (the word meant 'flat' in French, coined by early explorers).

More and more, the rolling hills of eastern Nebraska Territory were lessening, the land flattening, turning to prairie, endless plains as far as he could see. When would they spot buffalo? He corrected himself, Bison; am I picking up ignorant speech?

Holding the reins with one hand, Neil took a swig of warm water from his cloth canteen. He momentarily contemplated whether the French term for the wide shallow river was the best, or if they should have kept the stranger, more alien sounding Oto Indian word, Nebraskier, meaning "flat water."

But then the matter of the sky darkness came back to him, the dark foreboding and sinister aura of the phenomenon, and he pondered what it could signify.

Several hours passed. Behind him, in the wagon, Naomi was sewing and cooing to their little one. He wiped sweat from his face with his forearm again. So blazing hot!

At least that threatening darkness provided momentary relief. ‘Must be 110 degrees at least. Such a contrast to the downpour 5 days ago that had created a muddy mess for their wagons. But this excruciating heat seems to exude moisture.

His shirt clung to his chest and back, utterly drenched, as if he had taken a dunk in the nearby river, though its sluggish water didn't look deep enough to get baptized in.

Their 4 horses plugged along the hoof-punched mud trail; he tied the reins to the post, yanked off his dripping shirt, wiped his face and arms, and wrapped it around his neck to ward off more sunburn there.

Below his left rib, showed a large scar, the one from his battle in Tennessee against the Cherokee. It welted livid against his dark tan.

Jagged memory assaulted him--his partner holding a small bloody scalp, a child’s, and whooping with delight, boasting to Neil how they'd get rid of all of the red vermin, cursed aliens, the savages which tried to stop their move westward.

Blood dripped into Neil’s mind like the sky darkness of hours before, all of it seeping from the small patch of hair hanging like a shredded rattler in his buddy’s hand. Neil cussed! Banished the bloodied memory.

He flicked the reins so hard their horses bounded ahead, pulling him too close to the wagon in front.

“Whoa…” he pulled back on the horses—the loud chatter of kids up ahead--and thought of his own baby and Naomi behind him within their wagon. His wife had stopped singing. Probably heard me take God’s name in vain.

Scanning out across the shallow water on his left, Neil tried to see the far side of the river. But too much humid haze.

Then he turned behind to see what his wife was doing. Their baby, Hannah, lay wrapped tightly in a thin sheet, asleep on the Mennonite quilt covering their small mattress that rested on packing crates.

Naomi sat behind the infant, peeling potatoes, her blouse wet-damp against her bosom and pleasingly open at the neck, her long mahogany hair a tumble of wrap up on her head, a few wisps clinging to the sweat on her forehead.

"Hey Love,” Neil asked, “how about bringin’ me some tea?"

She looked up at her man, and smiled. “Sure, Neil.” Naomi reached down under the side of their mattress and pulled out a large stone jar. Then hefted it up, tipped, and poured out brown tea into a glass mason jar.

Naomi felt proud of her husband, though sometimes now wished she were still back in Philadelphia and teaching at Penn Quaker School, not out here on this rough, dangerous trek. And wished my parents were still alive.

Naomi edged forward, holding onto the crates so as to not spill any liquid as their wagon rocked and jostled over uneven ground. One wheel slid into a mud-hole and the wagon lurched. But she caught herself with a hand against one of the stays supporting the overhead fabric cover.

Grabbing the reins, Neil calmed the horses as they righted the wagon and plodded on again.

He felt her hand on his bare shoulder, turned back and looked down into her luminous eyes, great with kissed closeness, sweat glistening on her forehead and cheeks. Wanted to swoop her up into his arms...but he only visually caressed her, with intensity into her irises, and took the tumbler from her calloused hands, and turned back to watch the horses.

Behind him, his wife’s hand lingered on his shoulder, then slid it down his side and mischievously pinched him.

He sloshed his tea, some slurping over the rim and landing on his legs. He grabbed for her hand but she had retreated.


“Just you wait, you ornery sprite, you’ve got yours comin’ later. Is that kind of tomfoolery proper for a young school marm?”

Naomi’s gentle laughter came to him as she picked up their 6-month old daughter, no doubt holding her close, probably giving her to breast. And he thanked God above for his young wife.

Later in a lawyer-like moment, he marveled how he still used high-falutin’ literary terms like ‘sprite’. Out here in the wild west of the Nebraska Territory, many pioneers and trappers couldn’t write basic prose, let alone reference out literary allusions. No time for study when ever’ waking moment meant hard work.

Should I have stayed in Rhode Island and finished my law courses? But then I wouldn’t have met Naomi! However then somber images crowded in—and had to bury her folks and 216 other dead bodies interred in the spring thaw ground in St. Louis, decimated by the small pox.

Another death haunted him—blood seeping guilt...that dripping scalp of the little savage hangin’ in his friend’s hand…No! I won’t think of that.

Remember good times! Focus on Naomi—making love. Weeks before when they first met, she had looked so severe in her sedate Quaker dress, but she was all heat and passion hidden away within. And that brought back passionate images of their wedding night! Better not dwell on that.

He noticed the horses had slowed, and shook the reins.

Maybe if they hadn’t decided to go west, he could have taken her back to Providence, Rode Island after their wedding and shown her his old stomping ground, got her a small frame house, and she could be tending their daughter and walking down to Dutch’s Dry Goods, while he read the Law...but corpses of savages clotted on the ground, their lodges burning and that dripping hair in his friend’s hand. God, Stop it!

He looked ahead at the 2 wagons in front of him as they rounded a slight bluff and wondered how long before they reached the Weeping Water camp site. Would it be safe? The Pawnee natives were unpredictable. Look how they slaughtered that village of Arapaho several years ago! And their oppression of the Oto.

On the other hand, Pawnee hatred of the Lakota might help us, when we get to Chimney Rock. Indians are so tribal...well that’s prejudiced if we Europeans aren’t. Neil remembered his study of the Napoleonic Wars, and the infighting among American easterners even now.

A horde of flies circled and he batted at them with his free hand. The horses were sweating profusely and whipping their tails against the endless flies...must’ve swarmed up from Egypt, compliments of Moses.

Speaking of the Good Book, he now heard Naomi singing a Scripture passage to their daughter. His wife was versing a line: “Be kind to foreigners, aliens in your midst, angels unawares. Yes, dear Lord, yes.”

Yeah sure, right! Neil frowned. Dark images of the Cherokee war came back. Sometimes the Bible’s downright stupid! Be kind to killers? Savages? That’s what most of the redskins are. Aliens who show no mercy to us or their own kind, other tribes.

Natives were so strange in their thinking, the way they could attack friendly wagon trains out here, without warning, slaughtering everyone, and executing whole families at wilderness farms back in Kentucky.

The savages, even their squaws, mutilated the bodies! Take that German immigrant we found with his entrails torn out of his body, his intestines wrapped all the way around an oak tree...tied there by his own guts left to bleed to death slowly. Despicable aliens!

But then gruesome images of his best friend with the small bloody trophy seared bleeding script on Neil’s mind, the proverbial writing on his own inner wall, and he cursed loudly. And again harshly, and whipped the horses.

“What’s wrong Dearheart? Do you need me?” Naomi asked from in the wagon. “Please don’t take our Savior’s name in vain.”

Neil didn’t answer, but focused with his lawyer mind trying to argue his conscience down. His wife didn’t say anymore, began singing again. The fervent words of the song scalded his conscience. He battled back against the guilt.

But trying to justify himself, arguing against the Almighty, the judge of the cosmos was a nigh bit more than his ability. But oh God, why do you emphasize we should care for aliens? Think of your servant; they gutted him to a tree!

Clumps of box elders stood tall with dense thickets of raspberries by the flat river. But Neil couldn’t focus on the scenery. He grimaced and again swung at hordes of flies swarming around him and the horses.

What if I was assigned as a defense attorney for savages? This is hard. Well, if I were a savage, then white folks would seem like aliens, too. We’ve taken lots of their land. And there’s the broken treaties. Even with the derned Cherokee. But heck...

Neil flicked the horses angrily to speed them up as he realized they had again fallen back a few yards. But suddenly the wagon in front of him stopped.

"Tarnation! What now?" Neil stood up and stared ahead. If the wagon train kept stopping, they wouldn’t make it to Chimney Rock for days, and then would get caught in early snow before getting over the Rockies through the pass.

Neil waited—hopefully the stop wasn’t because the scouts had spotted signs of natives. Out here they were likely to be hostiles. He took off his brown hat and wiped more sweat and grime from his forehead. Then glanced up toward the glaring sun and ran fingers through his wet brown hair.

Remembered the strange atmospheric occurrence earlier. He turned back to the hooped opening behind him. Inside, in muted light, on their mattress propped on top of crates, kegs and large trunks, Naomi sat nursing Hannah.
Neil grinned wide remembering the rambunctious night only 15 months ago, right after they had seen the justice of the peace.

But then he bit his lip at the somber images which crowded in--the shallow grave which he had dug for his wife's parents, their skin all pocked up, only 2 of hundreds of people who had frenzied to death in an epidemic that had descended on St. Louis for months in the spring—

Yelling! What now?!

His warm memories shattered away. Coming at a gallop, one of the scouts dashed up to the wagon in front of them, waving his hat as if warding off storms of bumble bees. And stopped. Loud conversation but too indistinct to hear.

Neil quickly looped the reins on the wagon stay, jumped to the ground and hurried forward. It was the short French Canadian, the one with a mangy trapper's hat. How could he wear that thing in this heat?

The trail guide suddenly trotted alongside the wagon toward him. Even before he reached Neil, the guide pulled up on his reins, and shouted in his heavy accent, "Got problems! Scout Lefty hasn’t returned. And there’s horse tracks just up ahead; probably Pawnee. Most of 'em been passive these days, but there was an attack on a train a few weeks bac’. Get out yer rifle ‘n stay eagle-eyed."

Before Neil could answer, the scruffy guide giddied his horse and trotted on past him to the next wagon behind.

After his tachyon ship flung out of hyperspace, bursting from the bubbled warp, Uzx Hjxthzgvk mentally felt-skinned many grassy undulating hills and streams below on this alien world and emotionally warmed, wishing he could skxxjh. And beyond the warm hills lay flat expanses of endless grass and wildlife for miles!

"Such tactile wealth!" his skin gloried in joyful anticipation. "What luxuriating wonder." He virtually caressed many strange plants growing up from the grassy terrain near a wide river.

“So much liquid! Visible above ground--zjzhgtqz!" The Orxxjhian smiled at the glory of this new world. This wondrous place would be a tactile for many rotations. So what if it’s a small planet rotating a minor yellow sun.

He would somehow justify the research, though the data feeling into him from the ship emphasized there were no great techno-cities here--no extensive statistics to be analyzed and statted; and these few conscious inhabitants were only skinny primates...but with no tails for ritual and support, and a species of such limited basic intelligence at that.

But nevertheless, this world showed promise. He grinned wide with his facial orifice and shifted his feel on the instruments. Data flowed in on one of the primates crouched below, evidently hiding in the foliage.

Yes, the Terran alien was spying up at their ship using only his visual percepters and the aural lobes in his head.

Probably not a threat--obviously incapable of distance-feeling, only has basic self-consciousness, medium intelligence for a primate, pre-literate, dark-skinned, strong energy level and brave, but strangely overly filled with dread.

Nearby, the primate’s 4-legged mammal-rider shook itself and hoofed the ground. Ah, called a “horse”…thanks data director, Uzx felted to the ship’s computer center. Not dangerous, but tactilely fascinating, especially the long main of hair on its neck.

The horse stopped moving and lowered its head back to a shallow stream where it had been drinking. The mammal was restricted by a cord tied to one of a few tall many-limbed plants--the term, trees.

Skinning the wide horizon, felting this new place of wonder, Uzx marveled. Yet, the primate far below, as alert as any sentient creature, seemed barely senseful.

Only a few points to the south over the terrain from him, many other primates congregated, but of a lighter skin shade than his, some of them vocalizing so loudly, yet the dark-skinned one couldn't hear them or feel them.

These aliens obviously had no inner means of communication. And all their loud yakking, like a bunch of xhvzpxzlzsq, was embarrassing.

Also, none in the large grouping had the stiff ridge on a shaved head like the first earthling, but instead they wore odd fiber coverings over their hair; and some of their faces sprouted bushy hair below their sense organs and intake orifices. Otherwise, no fur.

Quickly, Uzx accessed 139 different mental states of the primitive travelers. Most of them were upset because one of their leaders had found tracks belonging to the lone native's mammal.

One of leader was riding his mammal back along the primitive conveyances shouting out warnings. So much loud linguistic noise! Rather odd, funny in a way. Uzx's skin laughed.

The leading primate hadn't even taken a moment to stick his multi-pronged appendages into to feel the semicircular shapes of the tracks in the rich loam of the muddy soil. What a waste of tactile!

Musing rather excitedly, Uzx considered options: Maybe I should quantum-destruct those primitive gunpowder tubes attached to the aliens’ waists and held in some of their hands. Oh, I can do that later after my complete survey and all the data collection finishes.

Instead, he shifted on his large feet, adjusted the back support of his tail, and felted again back to the terrain where the first earth primate still hid. The primitive was holding a totem of sorts and invoking deity.

At least the earthling had advanced enough in the evolutionary scale so he was self-aware, and vividly cognizant of an ultimate category of existence, the All/Ultimate. Good.

But Uzx skinned, felting the little finning creatures in the surface liquid of the small creek. What will they skin like when I actually touch them? Such fascinating primitive life forms.

What would my own planet of Orxxjh be like if it had surface water?

He touched the ship data flow and the weird scaly creatures flapped their fins in panic and zipped about in the shallow stream.

What a strange wonderful world. Oh thanks to the All-Ultimate that I careered as an alienologist. Surely, no other Sirehold compares to this joy of discovery.

Next, Uzx scanned with his skin across the landscape to where shaggy 4-legged creatures congregated at a much larger moving body of liquid, a wide river.

He first considered feltdentifying into one of the herd of thousands for his first skxxjh, but then remembered the bloated carcasses he had accessed from the hiding native's mind. Better do more research on the reason for the massive slaying of these furry beasts.

The ship alien remembered his own great Sire's wise quote to him when he was growing up, not too long after depouching: “Dear son, always remember, ‘Forefeeling leads to felthood.’"

So instead Uzx widened the range of his sensing for more in depth input. Thankfully the scanning ability of his ship’s data director was nearly endless.

Later he would focus on one of the alien primate families, probably the extremely small family in the 3rd conveyance in the line of human travelers. That curly-bearded one, termed Neil O’Brien, is conscientious, ardent, and spiritual, yet skeptical—fascinating. But his searing memories show a very tragic past—what a chaos of troubling images.

And his nursing spouse, within under that vegetative gray-white covering--very sad, has no pouch. How belittling to be a primate. Only one small infant!

Yet she spends much inner time in worship of her species’ Divine, seems similar to the All/Ultimate. Furthermore, the male and his mate show more erudition than any of the others in this human grouping--so many of these aliens are barely literate! Really difficult to fathom.

Uzx paused to move through a short tailing ritual of regret for this unfertile couple, though he quickly realized the vast majority of these primates were likewise afflicted. None of them are blessed with a decent sized brood of younglings, not even at least 23 or 33.

One family in the primitive conveyances does have 9 tailings—such cute progeny...but what’s that to my Sire and Maternal Pouches’ 63?

And none of their infants are safe because these primate females have no maternal pouch. Very sad.

After a few more moments of data flow on the primates, Uzx returned to his search. Too bad there’s no marsupials nearby.

His ship’s data director responded, Many of earth’s large marsupials live in the southern hemisphere. You will study that continent after this one, see what genetic similarity they might have to your own species on Orxxjh, whether the All-Ultimate created them with the same basic genetic code as on Orxxjh.

Scanning through possibilities for feltdentification, Uzx kept searching.

Leaning heavily on his tail, he sifted through millions of potential candidates, finally eliminating flyers (though so intriguing with their wings; no beings like that on Orxxjh), and lots of small reptiles and sea creatures of the vast ocean of liquid to the west.

For his first feltdentification on Terra, he needed something very basic, different yet familiar, with fur and a tail like Orxxjhians—that would help him adjust more easily to the sudden change, and a creature non-intrusive, maybe even a bit fun.

Ah there, he felted a furry, smallish--actually tiny--mammal who tunneled and who was mostly ignored except by winged ones.

It will be perfect for my first feeling of this planet, despite the animal’s stupidity, or rather because that will make the mind-meld less intrusive, less difficult. The alienologist engaged his felt.

Down under ground, a burrow's inhabitants suddenly scurried about sensing an invasion of their sanctuary. A fairly large male collapsed in a tunnel near the surface-mound in the tall prairie grass.

Then it awoke a genius.

Wore Wolf Teeth lay still like hard stone, like bedrock, for long after the demon of dread had unswallowed the sky and vanished. Now only blue remained and the blazing warpath of the sun.

He peered through various holes in the thick brush, and waited and waited, but the fearsome spirit didn't return.

Nowhere gulfed the huge black tunnel or that dreadful spirit that had come lunging out of it.

So, slowly, Wore snaked backward ignoring shards of rock and thorns which cut abrasions on his stomach and upper thighs above his rawhide leggings. Extricating himself from the heavy thicket, he stood.

But then there came a slight noise of slow-moving hooves, only one horse going very slow. Wore shut from his mind the strange sky spirit and focused on what he did know. A rider, in stealth, was coming this way.

Running silently over to his tethered horse, he pulled down his bow and arrows and spit quietly, mentally cursing all invaders.

The horse didn’t sound like Oto or Lakota. Must be a scout for alien palefaces. Evidently this one, a good tracker, did know he was here; must have found his horse’s hoof marks somewhere, though Wore had ridden carefully on rock and hard ground, avoiding open areas.

More and more of these pale aliens, strange talkers who bent their words, kept moving onto his people’s land. Why were so many moving westward?

Always before, even in his grandfather's time, it's true, French trappers had come, but after trading for fur, they left.

But these new one--the trappers called them "les Anglais"--came like locust to chew up everything. They slaughter our bison, only stealing hides, and leave all the rich meat and other good parts for the buzzards and flies. What a cursed breed!

Wore shimmied across ground to a forward tree, then crawled to the dip behind a boulder left of the stand of cedars. How he loved this place; like the body of his warm mate.

Then the horseman, the intruder, came into view, gun drawn. Wore fitted an arrow to his bow, now could see the invader’s slouch hat. Evidently, a French scout.

Wore grinned with deliberation. He drew back on the string. Go back Frenchie, you talker of oiled words!

Thunk! The rider gasped.

Finally, the bow string stopped vibrating, and then the invader toppled from his black horse, an arrow deep in his chest, dead before he crashed into the heavy prairie grass.

The Pawnee warrior waited momentarily, listening. Then he scampered across the small open clearing, and thanked the Great Spirit for delivering this brave Frenchman to the afterlife.

After dragging the corpse into nearby brush, Wore Wolf Teeth calmed the dead man’s skittering horse. Fine horse for my people! From his belt, he pulled out his knife to scalp the invader, but stopped momentarily again; and listened for any other hooves. Nothing. Yet he paused.

The dread omen in the sky lunged back, looming in his mind again. Long claws of dread clutched his gut. Maybe I should let this white roamer go to the afterlife with his hair. Wore remembered his grandfather's words, "In triumph, bow to caution; in bravery, resist pride."

He stuck his knife back into his belt, led the large gelding over to his own horse and swung on the latter.

Leading the enemy's horse by its reins, he rode down into the shallow creek, watching out for deep holes and hidden pockets, and lay close to his horse's neck, ready to sweep over onto its left side if any more invaders came into view.

After leaving the creek, in the distance, he could hear many hooves and the wagons’ pale aliens yelling at each other. Such discourtesy and stupidity! Talking loud like a bunch of geese. They would never hear him.

So Wore rode west at a fast canter distancing himself from the approaching wagons. Thoughts of the other invader, the great evil spirit in the sky came back.

An ominous omen. Dread rose coiled within him like a snake, about to strike.

Riding through a thick stand of box elder and oak, he came out into a large clearing near the Nemaha River.

Despite his courage, the brave glanced up at the sky again. But no dark cavern or gray monster showed, only the great sky-lake of blue and the blazing sun’s warpath.

He crossed the river ford on flat stones, noticing many more ruts on the far side where a previous wagon train had passed weeks earlier. Murky water filled them now, from the thunderstorm of 3 days before.
Wore journeyed toward home, to their Weeping Water, where a rock-ledged falls streamed into the wide Nebraskier River.

Frantically, the prairie dogs kept skittering about in tall grass instinctively warned that something wasn't right. A dangerous presence stirred. They avoided the oddly behaving male.

That small rodent suddenly sensed he was an “I.” Strange thoughts obsessed him. And he felt double-selved. He couldn’t concentrate on foraging for food because of this felting at the wonder of being alive, of sensing and becoming. This amazing life—it’s so incredibly wondrous!

But when he crawled back down into the lower burrows, the primitive state of their habitat depressed him. How can we live like this? I need to create much better living quarters for us. But later...

Uzx skxxjhed within the rodent for at least 2 of earth’s rotations while his ship continued to roam the alien globe accumulating felt data. Though the initial feltdentification into the little mammal was enjoyable, he quickly lost interest in his host, and focused on experiencing the fauna and other creatures of the nearby surroundings.

Scampering through prairie grass to a small stream, Uzx luxuriated in all the surface water. If only Orxxjh still had surface liquid like this! He tried to feel one of the finnish creatures flitting about in the creek, but they were too fast for his tiny mammal self.

Finally, the alienologist left the confused and dazed rodent, and returned to his ship filled with experiential tactilization, having enjoyed his first skin. And with a better awareness of how to feltdentify into more complex earth creatures later.

He engaged in an in-depth analysis feeling through all the earth information the data director had already gathered. Several rotations of Terra later, Uzx relaxed from his work in his sleep-pod.

What would the High Feltment think of this new world he was gathering so much feeling from? Wouldn't his Maternal Pouch and his Sire skin so deeply, be so blessed? And wouldn’t he be the envy of his 63 siblings? He immediately turned away from the miss-felt.

After a restful numbing, he returned to his work station and felted the world below. A hawk flew on a downdraft to the east. Maybe I could feltify into such a winged one for a closer feel--well, in this case it would be a closer look.

He smiled at the new term. Such felting excitement at using visual percepters, and flying for the first time! What a potential skxxjh!

Great winged ones appealed to him immensely. There were no flying creatures on Orxxjh; they had gone extinct in the immense past. But which one of the many Terran species would be the best?

So many offered fast movement over the terrain—hawks, falcons, eagles, and their visual acuity would be a new revelatory experience. Orxxjhians seldom used their own vision, and it had atrophied over evolutionary time to dim nearsight.

Uzx actually couldn’t remember a time when he had used his own facial percepters, not even when close up to his loved ones.

As his ship flew automatically, he skinned the terrain, and there came to his epidermal sense, a large winged one, perched asleep atop one very tall tree, termed, “owl.”

According to the data director, the nomenclature comes from Terran’s Old English language--ule "owl," from Proto-Germanic *uwwalon- (cf. Middle Dutch, Dutch uil, Old High German uwila, German Eule, Old Norse ugla), a diminutive of PIE root *u(wa)l-, which is imitative of a wail or an owl's hoot.

Trying to think in the new alien language of English, Uzx suddenly ascertained a word play, My experiment will be a real hoot! And he smiled wide, his vocal orfice above his sense organ stretched the most since his little sister had got him laughing last year at the Xmzxxxtttj Festival.

This flyer was bigger and potentially cunning despite its relatively small brain, and it had keen percepters. If I enlarge its wings by 5 to 7 times, the flyer will serve my work purposes and also be a fascinating feel. He had never been a winged being before.

Uzx sent his tachyon ship away for more data research, and he feltdentified into the great owl and transformed it after the basic enclone. Immediately, he almost skxxjhed.

This creature affected him much more than the rodent had. He loved its strange visual percepters--So strange to be looking out and down on the glorious world in such minute detail, though not capable of the microscopic levels of felting.

And these huge wings! Glorious! He wheeled about enjoying the new almost skxxjhian feel, skinning the terrain below in all its variety. And the luxurious feathers, what a difference from my fur.

Gradually gaining more and more control, the alien looped over the landscape, swooping low and then up, lingering in the updrafts, then plummeting down. All of this bewildered the great owl's brain, and even this bewilderment was so new to the Orxxjhian. A new feltment to add to his reserve for some night's tactile reminiscence.

He followed the lay of the wide plains, his percepters inflowing with vivid colors; yet cognizant of any Terran dangers on his data flowchart, but letting his own skin roam and luxuriate while at the same time experiencing the strangeness of flight and the way his feathers felted in the hot sun and the movement of air.

Suddenly, Uzx skinned death of a conscious being in this strange biosphere. His keen visual percepters scanned over the land.

There! A primate’s corpse in brush near the creek back where he had first felted an earthling, the dark-skinned.

After killing the wagon scout, the Pawnee brave, Wore Wolf Teeth, had started for home, but within 3 miles sensed another large group of white invaders and had to delay.

Wore hid out in a shallow cave by a clump of oaks in a bend of the Flat River. After 2 suns, he decided it was safe to leave.

While riding homeward with his new horse trailing, the warrior caught a glimpse of a huge owl. Another unearthly omen!

The flyer’s huge; its shadow sweeps the land. What does it mean?

Urging his horse and the trailing horse into a gallop, Wore prayed against this returning dread. No owl could be that large, and flying in daylight.

Why Great Spirit are you sending me these warnings? I didn’t scalp the invader, only killed him for desecrating our land.

Have you not given this place to our people the Chaticks-si-chaticks?

But heavy foreboding weighed down on him, as if carrying 7 bison hides on his head and shoulders.

The warrior rode like the wind toward home, chased by ghosts crowding his back.

Up above, Uzx swung with delight through this alien sky, felted the dark-skinned primate below again with its 2 mammal-riders.

The Orxxjhian then swooped over a few furred creatures which suddenly froze in fear; then remembered to use his owl’s large percepters to visually look up ahead for creatures he had already felted via his inner skin. How it would feel to eat as an owl?

He pondered what new felting that would be. Still the thought of violating the Sanctity of Reverence, killing a living creature--even if it were only one of these basic mammals--made him skin-full with guilt.

Also, images clashed back of the dead primate corpse by the creek. He couldn’t rid his inner skin of that killing, another primate of the same species, only darker skinned, had used a primitive flying instrument to execute. Of course, the dead light-skinned one would probably have done the same.

The Terran species thrived on violence. Early evolutionary adaption. But, my killing and eating as a feathered flyer wouldn’t be the same as killing a member of a self-aware, reasoning species.

It’d only be a minor slaying, an insignificant death. Uzx felt how unaware and basically stupid small Terran mammals are--such as that prarrie dog I encloned.

Besides, his own great race protected itself against the Grvcth, alien invaders, 300,000 rotations ago, back many, many generations, so long ago that his generation and that of his own Sire and Maternal Pouch had no skinning of the conflict except via ancient data scopes.

Yes, Uzx, his own innerness answered him, showing up his weak rationalization for what it was. But that was for vital defense. What you want now is base, ill-gotten experience. You don't need to kill one of these alien creatures for defense or sustenance.

Think! You wouldn’t be eating as a real owl, but as an alien-enhanced encloned owl! These Terran flyers don’t have a fine sense of cuisine—that’s your Orxxjhian import.

And the data director sensed his inner-conflictedness from the distant ship, at this point surveying the Indonesia islands in the southern hemisphere. Proceed with your assignment, Uzx Hjxthzgvk, Class 3 Alienologist. Fulfill your assignment for the Feltment and the All/Ultimate.

So dutifully, Uzx abandoned the offkilter impulse and returned to his research assignment. What was happening to him? Experience on this planet seemed to be leading off into divergent comet trails.

Soon the first great moment of the day clawed through to his skin--the shaggy herd of bison which Uzx had discerned earlier from the images in the primate's brain were grazing up ahead.

Such powerful feeling of these 4-legged hairy beings assaulted him that he lost his sense of flying and plummeted earthward almost bashing into a high ridge.

He swung around the line of forest, and swirled in loops above the great furred landscape of bison as they mulled just north of a wide, flat river--so much more water and water and water!

Of course, Uzx knew of the vast oceans and great rivers of this alien planet--he had surveyed them earlier from his ship, but here now so close flowed and eddied the life-giving liquid.

No one on Orxxjh ever saw water in a natural state, and definitely not like this above ground.


And the wonder of the 4-legged furrings below who muddied the river edges. Flying only a few feathers above the bison, Uzx felted the shaggy brute creatures, luxuriating in their endless fiber as they crowded together and guzzled water in mud holes along the edge of the wide river where it alternated between mudflats, inner streams, and small islands thick with trees.

But the mammals’ brains are small; not much more advanced than the prairie dog’s. Yet aren’t they worth my whole galactic trip? What a skxxjh!

Some of the large mammals jostled away and bounded back up the low bank threatened by this strange flying creature flying too close.

Uzx withdrew into his feathers, momentarily looping back and forth, ecstatic from sensuous overload, but then remembering his central assignment, he resumed his flight back toward the wagon train.

However before the alienologist reached the long line of wagons, he sensed another group of Terran primates. Behind jagged bluffs, they were vocalizing loudly, cursing in the name of their religion’s ultimate being, guffawing, and yelling.

Sidetracking again, this would be important research, he as an earthly owl rose higher on another updraft and flew southward over the river bluffs. Soon he came upon the noisy aliens. He denied himself any felting in his inner skin, but instead consciously perceived them through his owl percepters. Fascinating.

Maybe we Orxxjhians need to regain the sight sense. Shouldn’t have let ours atrophy. How long ago did our species abandon vision for skin-feeling? All data for his species came through their skin as it sent out and received trillions of electrical charges every nant.

The loud-mouthed primates were sitting on mammal-riders, horses, milling around several crude conveyances. Uzx flew in low, accessing their strange brain states.

But immediately, he regretted his lack of caution. One of the aliens, with a wide brim of black fabric atop his head, swung up a primitive powder-tube and shot at him.

Another of the primates shouted, "Look at that huge crazy owl, I'll be derned! What's he doin’ out in broad daylight?"

The first metal ball missed Uzx by at least 2 wing spans, but a 2rd alien had better projecting ability and following Uzx's flight, let loose with another slug. This one honed in, amazingly accurate.

Uzx decided to experiment, so instead of evading the fast-moving piece of metal by space-shifting, he let it hit him near the base of his right wing. A powerful implosion occurred and intense pain ravaged in his owl-self.

But then he shoved the iron ball backward out the bloody hole, sealed the wound, split the slug into a thousand fragments and reversed their direction, sending them slowed down and into the posterior of another hunter who had gotten off his horse and was bending down to fill a drinking container.

The latter primate jumped up cursing, shouting, "Who buck shot me, Ya worthless scum!" and swung around pulling his short tube from his belt looking wildly about at the others on their horses.

“None of us!” the 2nd shooter declared. He scanned the hills for signs of hostiles, but saw nothing, then followed the flight of the owl. “I’m sure I hit that owl. This is gettin’ mighty strange…n’ I don’t like it.”

A stout man added, “Yah, That thing’s unearthly large. Weird stuff’s been happenin’. Don’t much like it neither. Remember the weird darkness day before yesterday.”

Finally, the obvious leader of the group recovered his wits and took charge. "Stop actin' like a bunch of barn hens, ya dumb asses! Next yokel that fires his gun will be gutted by me. Them buffalo may be on the oth'r side of the hills, but they got ears."

Then he, too, squinted up at the owl as it flew east. "Gol dern it! That thing’s biggern any 7 owls togethar! Why, it's at leas’ 3 times tha size of tha eagle I shot last yeer in Colorada!"

He swung up onto his horse and shouted, "Com'on men, forgit the bird; let's get some buffalo!"

From high above, Uzx observed the 73 primates as they rode off. Sensing their killing lust, he skinned a growing sadness within him. Vivid memories etched his inner skin, ones he had uploaded from previously from the dead French scout’s brain.

All these primates slaughtered bison indiscriminately, usually leaving hundreds of bloating, bloodied carcasses abandoned on the plains. Only cared for by this planet’s swarming insects.

Leaving the scene, the Orxxjhian flew quickly across the landscape to where the other group of humans was trudging along the wide river in their line of wagons. He discerned the Neil one in the 3rd schooner and began a study of his mind and uploaded the primate’s vivid but tragic memories.

Some of the images deeply gouged into Uzx’s inner skin--to the point he almost lost his owl sense and stopped flapping his very large wings. Especially troubling was a scene of several years before, where Neil stood next to a companion who held a small dead female in one arm, and suddenly started hacking off the small child’s scalp of hair.

Repulsive! Disgusting! Evil. Deeply in angst, Uzx flew down and settled on a lone oak at a creek letting into the river.

To distract himself from that horror, he pondered these earthly human rituals concerning hair. Lacking body fur, these primates seemed to obsess with the thin strands on their heads, sometimes their faces.

The dark-skinned Wore whose shaved head sprouted only a thin ridge of spiked hair in the middle, often removed hair-skin from enemies—“scalped” them.


Uzx did a chemical analysis of Neil’s and Naomi’s hair follicles—and that of the 111 other inhabitants of the moving wagons but skinned nothing of intrinsic value. Why do humans scalp their enemies? What a strange, barbaric custom.

Obviously, revenge and power-lust, though those emotions didn’t explain why money was paid for such savage strands. Or why the items were kept.

Of course, primates removed shaggy thick hair from bison too, and from flat-tailed mammals with big teeth that chewed on tall plant wood. Humans had an obsession, a ritualistic totem, for sentient fiber. Why? Sometimes the fixation was positive.

Many of their females wore their hair very long; seemed to be a mating ritual because when they married, most of them then hid their hair, braided up on their heads under an ugly cap of fiber.

Except for Neil's mate; Naomi let her dark strands flow luxuriating and undulating all the way down her back to below her waist. This she obviously did for Neil. She often pulled a utensil through it carefully, over and over. Intriguing. Now I’m obsessing, and Uzx smiled.

How strangely these Terran humans affected him. Perched high in the tree, his owl eyes mostly closed, Uzx got back to researching Neil’s memories. So many troubling ones. In a location called Tennessee, Neil battled dark-skinned primates. The data director inserted—Mongoloid race.

Overwhelming the latter with their death-dealing weapons, Neil, and others of European stock, shot, stabbed, and scalped the dark-skinned humans. A burly man near Neil, slashed his knife across a woman's throat and red gushed down over an infant she suckled. Screaming.

At last, the Caucasian men rode their horses over the mutilated bodies…

Utter silence, except for the thudding of hooves.


Oh my Sire, my Maternal Pouch! Uzx wept. His inner skin reddened until moisture oozed out to the feathers of his owl self! Quickly he withdrew from imaging Neil's tragic memory.

If only I were back on Orxxjh communing in the Innerness with my many siblings and dear compatriots.

This terrible inner agony of being human reached deep into Uzx's vital organs. In Orxxjhian bereavement, he skinfulled, rapidly attempting to move his missing tail into deep mourning.

Later, finally, he recovered his alienological objectivity. And then he skinned back again into Neil's mind and the minds of others in his grouping. Most confusing of all of the earth primate’s memories, was the statement of Neil's companions who said they would get 100 bucks for each female scalp.

What could their earthly government want with hair from other humans, except as brutal revenge? Maybe a primitive means of accounting?

It made no reasonable good sense, but aliens' ways seldom did. So few had reached the Way of True Knowing, of the wonder of All/Ultimate.

Uzx remembered the odd deathing on the planet Rihalda. Now that had been grievingly depressing! But as a galactical researcher, he had experienced many strange behaviors. Yet he could never get used to the barbarism and petty selfishness. Terra was turning out, here at the outset, to be one of the worst.

Where are the Feltment Leadings of their Exalted Sires? Where their compassion? Why don’t the Maternal Ones speak up, demand these cruelties and massacres stop?

Was it because all these conscious primates on earth live mainly by their visual percepters, not skin feltment? Does their vision give them a sense of emotional distance from others, which can then lead to hatred, even slaughter?

The data director from the globe-circling ship started to answer, but Uzx silenced the cyber-intelligence. Then he banished the horror of the bloodletting and skin removal from his felting. If not, he might lose control and skxxjh into untimed despair and his owl-host would die from the stress.

Next the Orxxjhian turned to accessing images from Naomi, Neil’s spouse, and her relationship with their one and only very small infant.

Uzx wondered, Could the human prederliction for evil spring from its being born so solitary in the womb, bereft of the joy and communion of many cute tailings sharing in the joy of their maternal pouch?

And how had Naomi come to her fervent devotion to a Terran understanding of All/Ultimate, filled with desire for compassion and empathy? She appeared to be the only nonviolent individual of all the primates that Uzx had studied so far.

Out further to the west, Wore Wolf Teeth rode into the cleft in the limestone hills that his people called Weeping Water.

A large spring flowed out of a tall rocky bluff and wept down over many stone layers, from rock ledge to ledge to ledge—a thing of utter beauty--descending down and down as if their Mother of All were weeping for them, for her children because these pale aliens from the east were ravaging their land, hairy invaders who had no sense of right, but gobblers like locust.

After the falls, the stream then meandered past his people’s village into Wide Flat River. He refused to use the Oto name for the river. What a place of beauty our people’s land.

He, Wore Wolf’s Teeth, warrior of the Chaticks-si-Chaticks, rode proudly in amongst the lodges of his people with his great horse prize trailing behind him. People of his small village caught the glory of his ride and smiled with approval, then turned back to their work.

Coming to a stop in front of his own lodge, he sat formally stiff and silent. His spouse Meadow Lark came out the front opening and stood looking down demurely but regally at the ground, holding their youngest, but a babe, sucking hungrily at her breast.

As required in the returning ritual, Wore didn't smile, but stared at his mate; but unspoken, his love descended to her in floods as he sat on his horse waiting the customary time of courtesy, not bragging like ignorant Whites with their lack of sense, their lack of morals.

Meadow Lark stood before her man, who had obviously counted great coup. What a wonder to be your woman, Wore Wolf Teeth!

Her husband’s two young sons stood silently by her, their eyes lowered too, but the littler one of only 4 years kept peeking up at his great father, and twisting a small rope in his hands.

The baby whimpered and Meadow Lark shifted her infant on her bosom. She thanked the Great Spirit for bringing her mate home.

But before they could speak and adjourn to their lodge for sharing and a home-coming ritual, this glorious moment got trampled.

The pageantry of their meeting got stomped down when unexpectedly 37 warriors descended the draw and came thundering into the village, horses sweating and breathing heavy, nostrils flared.

Wore turned and recognized the lead rider, a great Pawnee warrior of a western village, his face slashed with war paint. The latter dropped overly hastily to the ground—ignoring ritual courtesy—rushed up to the chief’s lodge, across the way, and called out in haste.

Quickly, Wore swung down from his horse, handed the reins to his older son, turned from wife and children, and strode off toward his leader’s lodge and the gathered warriors.

Meadow Lark walked back into their lodge, put her infant down and began to tensely work on a bead pattern. But she couldn’t concentrate. She waited for the bad news.

Soon her man returned. He pulled her close to his chest. No words. He caressed her hair. But she knew it was war.

But with whom? The Lakota? The white invaders? Surely not the stupid Oto! However, she knew not to ask.

Turning from his spouse, Wore left, nodding to their 2 boys with stern affection. Then he rode out with the village chief, the other Weeping Water braves, away from their home, following behind the visiting war party. Wore tensed with excitement and honor and wrath.

The war party, while following a few Southern Lakota, had discovered a large hunting group of white invaders. The aliens were about to attack the great herd of bison along the Nebraskier River!

Wore cursed as he galloped east and with his free hand smeared a bit of charcoal across his face because of no time to apply formal war paint.

Only 3 summers before, these invading aliens had slaughtered hundreds of bison, so that winter 20 people of Wore's village had starved to death for lack of bison jerky. He had lost his older daughter; they had tried to get her to chew deer hide ooze from his fairly new leggings, but she caught the cough and died.

Wore Wolf Teeth leaned forward now and rode into hate, letting his wrath clod the ground.

When Uzx came out of rest-state refreshed and ready to work again, the waiting data flow agitated until his skin hurt...

To be continued--

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In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox