A small town is transported to an alien world
The sun was starting to set and Monday was quickly becoming worried. Jimmy and Talia had left to go fishing early in the afternoon and had not yet returned. The two often went on fishing trips together but they had never stayed away this long before. Ever since they'd escaped from their enemies, the Tyberians, by crossing over the mountains and finally settling into this beautiful little valley, he'd worried that they would eventually discover some other people had prior claim to the land.
Although the Ionar scouts, who were by far the best scouts and trackers he'd ever met, had reported no sign of inhabitants in or around the valley, the fact that he and his small band of survivors were so vulnerable continued to bother him. They had fought desperately against forty thousand well-armed Tyberians and managed to defeat them using modern weapons and guerrilla tactics, then made good their escape, but he knew they were not prepared to defend themselves against another determined enemy, not yet.
He was sitting in a wicker like chair made by his first wife Tanitha, securing goose feathers to the long shafts of several new arrows he'd just formed and straightened. Although the new settlement still possessed an abundance of modern weapons including M-16 automatic rifles, numerous shotguns and hunting rifles, and homemade muskets, the ammunition left to them was in very low supply and could not be replaced until they rebuilt their industrial base. He had accordingly requested that the people save their precious few rounds for defense of the settlement and use other means of hunting game.
He turned as his second wife, Karen, walked up and begin preparations to light the evening cooking fire. The laws of the New United States had been changed to allow a man to have as many wives as he could protect and provide for. This change was made after a large percentage of the male population had been killed by a bloodthirsty hoard of savages called the Tolec shortly after the Americans had been unexplainably transported to this strange new world.
"I'm worried," Karen said, "Talia and Jimmy have never been this late before. Something must have happened to them?"
"I sent a security team to look for them a while ago," Monday replied, laying the shafts aside and leaning back in the wicker chair. Karen walked over and begin to knead the taunt muscles in his neck and shoulders. He leaned his head back in response to the soothing massage and looked up into her beautiful green eyes.
Karen was a tall, slim, and graceful natural blond. She was also a respected Anthropologist and one time socialite back on old Earth. She, along with several other scientists, had been transported to this strange new world as they flew over the same area in which Monday and his people had lived while in route to Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. Whatever had abruptly plucked half a southern county from the face of the earth and transported them to this new world had done the same with the Chinook helicopter in which she'd been flying.
The last eight months in this peaceful little valley had gone by like a dream, especially after the fatigue of battle and the weeks they'd spent in the freezing cold high among the mountains in their final escape from the pursuing Tyberian Legions. The valley was approximately twenty miles long and half that wide with a small river gently flowing through the center of it. The new settlement, which the survivors called the New United States, had rapidly sprung up near the banks of the clear stream.
For the most part their family dwellings resembled the Tee-pee's of the early American Plains Indians, although a long wooden log house had been erected in the center of the settlement to serve as a meeting hall and social place.
At first the concept of having two wives had been both strange and awkward to Monday, however, since he honestly loved both Tanitha and Karen, the shadowy guilt and awkwardness disappeared. He now gave no thought to the idea of bigamy. Both wives loved him as much as he loved and cherished them and they had grown to respect and love each other as well. There was no friction or jealousy or unrest on the part of either for his affections. For Tanitha, it was the custom of her people the Ionar and something to expect. For Karen it was a bit strange at first to share the man she loved with another woman, but she soon overcame the inhibitions of her Victorian upbringing and come to accept and cherish the love all three brought to each other.
She had learned the hard way that she truly loved this rugged Army Sergeant Major. Although in his mid-fifties, Monday, or Keane Monday Stiehl, was a strikingly handsome and incredibly affectionate man. He had proven time and time again that he could tackle and defeat a score of young men half his age in physical prowess or combat. The Ionar held him in such respect and awe they often referred to him as one of their unpronounceable gods. He was around six feet tall, had dark hair turning sliver at the temples, and weighed around one eighty, with an incredibly slim thirty inch waist. He also occasionally sported a well-trimmed beard with frostings of gray. He had spent twenty six years in the United States Army most of which was with the Army Rangers, Airborne and Special Forces elite units.
Being an Anthropologist she had been fascinated and mesmerized by the Tyberian civilization they had found on this world which closely resembled that of ancient Rome. She had almost given up this wonderful man and her own people until she accidentally learned of the treachery the Tyberian Senate had in store for the new American settlement it had allowed to prosper in the southern part of their empire. She thanked God that she'd made the decision to return to him.
Tanitha joined them and started placing heavier sticks into the small fire that Karen had kindled. Her movements were like a graceful ballerina or champion ice skater, no wasted motion, fluid movements with gliding like steps. Her short three foot tail flickered around her like a wispy cloud adding even more grace to her feline suppleness. She was a remarkably beautiful girl and she loved both Monday and Karen with a passion beyond life itself.
"Warriors come," Tanitha motioned, with the quick sign language that she and her people preferred over speech. He had quickly learned the sign language of the Ionar when he'd first encountered them in the mountains near the spot where he and the other Americans had been transported to on this planet. They were similar to the signs made by the American Indians among whom he had lived for many years. Karen still had difficulty with the signs and preferred to use English which Tanitha understood and spoke well.
A band of several men and Ionar walked quickly into Monday's camp, the men arguing while the Ionar stood passively still. Monday's friend and brother-in-law, General Zanik, a onetime Sergeant on Earth, broke up the argument and turned to Monday.
"Kids have been taken," he stated, handing a fishing spear to Monday. "Found this down by the river. There were signs of a scuffle but there weren't no blood so I reckon they ain't been harmed."
Monday glanced quickly at his other brother-in-law, the young Ionar warrior called Dhar whom he'd first met well over a year ago.
"It is as Zan-Ick says," Dhar motioned in sign language and speech, "we found the footprints of a dozen warriors near the place from which the two children were fishing. The prints led to the south and west away from the valley. We could not follow for long as darkness came fast."
"What type of prints," asked Monday?
"They were kind of like boot prints," General Zanik replied, "None of them resembled sandal prints."
"So it's safe to assume they were not taken by the Tyberians," Monday said, this was more of a statement than a question. "Send runners to the Governors and tell them I would like to call an emergency meeting in the town hall in about an hour. In the meantime, security plan B is in effect."
Security plan B meant there was a possible threat to the security of the settlement and around the clock guards and patrols would go into effect immediately with the roving patrols using modern weapons.
He shot a glance at Karen and Tanitha. Both were wide eyed in fear for the safety of the two children as well as the possible threat to the settlement. He signaled for Tanitha to go inform Jimmy's mother of his disappearance and headed to his room to pull his modern weapons from storage.
Mayor Staples banged the gavel on the rostrum for silence several times before the long room finally quieted down enough for him to speak.
"You've all heard in a roundabout way," he begin, "that Jimmy and Talia have been kidnapped by people unknown to us. According to Dhar and the Ionar scouts it was a party of approximately a dozen large men. To date, this is the first indication we've had that another race of people live anywhere near this valley. I'll ask Monday to take over from here and outline what he proposes to do about the situation, Top."
Monday stood and walked to the center of the wooden platform built along the center wall of the long house. It was placed in this position so that everyone within the building could see what was happening on the rough stage. It was used for religious services, improvised plays which were popular among the people, governmental debates, all judicial hearings, meetings of any nature, and whatever else one of the citizens petitioned the government to use it for.
"Since our scouts have never found any sign of intelligent life before this, I'm inclined to think this may have been a scouting or exploring party from a group or village which is not close to our settlement," he stated. "I would like to take a small party of select people to intercept this party and try to talk them into releasing the children without resorting to violence."
"Who you gonna take, Top?" questioned a farmer's wife setting near one of the three doors. Unlike most governments, all governmental debates of the New United States was open to all people regardless of race, religion, sex, or age. Even part of the school children's curriculum involved their participation in the running of the daily government.
"I must keep to a small party for the sake of speed and quiet. I'd like to take Dhar and a few of the Ionar for trackers, and at least another ten which would give us the numerical advantage over the kidnappers. I've asked General Zanik to go, two of my nephews, and Doctor Prestano. If any more would like to volunteer, I could use a few more?"
Much to his dismay, every hand in the long house quickly went up. He recognized the hand of Tom Thumb, a giant six-foot-eight red bearded man who had accompanied him on his mission to Tyberia and who now acted as one of the new Governors. He also noticed that a young Tyberian Centurion whose name he didn't know was eager to join the party.
"OK Tom, you have someone who can fill in for you while you're gone?"
"Shore enough, my third wife Margaret has been practically running my job as it is, and the people seem to like the way she does things. I wouldn't be missed too much."
"You wouldn't be missed at all," another woman humorously yelled from the assembly!"
"And you," Monday pointed to the Centurion, "what do they call you?"
"I am called Appius Cincinnatus, sir,” the man replied, "and I have the permission of Tribune Seutonias to go with you. I would consider it a great honor."
"So be it," Monday replied, "I think that will be enough. Mayor Staples, you have anything else to say before we grab our bags and hit the trail?"
"You're going to try tailing them at night?" the Mayor asked, a puzzled look on his face.
"We know from the footprints we saw before darkness fell that they have one primary direction which they seemed to be heading and that's down river. We'll simply stop every half hour or so and cut their trail using flashlights. It'll give us a big jump on them if they planned on stopping for the night and I'd kind of like to catch up with them before they reach their village or whatever it is."
"I notice you're taking both Doctor Prestano, our Secretary of Defense and General Zanik the Commander of our military forces, do you think that's wise in view of this unexpected meeting of a new and potentially dangerous threat?"
"I know these men's abilities," Monday stated, "and I think it's past time their seconds in command took over for a while to learn the job. We can't afford to risk our entire defense on the command decisions of two people. Besides, the men told me if I didn't get General Zanik out of here for a few weeks or so they'd mutiny."
"I'd like to go with you if I could," asked Chief Kendricks, Colonel in command of the settlement's Air Force which consisted of one Chinook helicopter and communications. He was a black pilot who had been transporting the scientists to Redstone Arsenal when they were caught and transported to this strange new world.
"No problem Chief, we'll meet at my house in half an hour. I want everyone to pack lightly but plan on a sustained trip if necessary. Mayor, I'll send runners back if I need to inform you of anything. Do not, and I repeat, do not send a party to look for us if we're not back in a good while, you'll need everyone you have in order to defend this settlement."
The people had grown accustomed to Monday's brief way of doing things, they had learned a long time ago he was a man who said what he meant in as few words as possible, but he always meant exactly what he said. He had turned over the running of the settlement's new government to Mayor Staples, who had been elected after Monday flatly refused to run for office after having led the people under martial law for over a year. The people still regarded him as their titular leader despite his vehement denial and would follow him to the ends of the earth or even to the gates of hell if he asked them to.