Inertial Observer, Archeons book 4, preview (a jumping-in point for the series)
4: Inertial Observer...
The raptor backed away and walked out, closing the door behind him. CJ forked her pasta a few times, set the fork down, and then opened one of the drawers in her desk. She pulled out a packet of paper and leaned back in her chair.
It was as thick as a book, as were most government documents, meant to deter unauthorized persons who stumbled upon it from getting too much out of it at a glance. She had only read a little bit before the meeting, and now she wanted to know what the experts thought of the theropods and canines now living around the world.
Joint Subcommittee Report on the Relian Refugees: A Collaborate Effort Between Members of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Appointed Experts in the Fields of Zoology, Medicine, Paleontology, Faith, and Biology.
Report issued 15 June, 1997
It has been nearly a year since the “Relian” refugees arrived. This report constitutes everything we have learned about them, everything the experts have deduced, and issues recommendations and precautions as well as warnings for proper course of action.
For the purpose of this report, “raptor” shall refer to the Relian theropod and not the family of dinosaur; “fox” shall refer to the Relian canine, not the species of animal Vulpes vulpes; “portal” or “sphere” shall refer to the spacetime gateways the “Archeons” are capable of opening (§ 4); “Krone” and “dragon” may be used interchangeably to describe the large flying reptile answering to the names of “Stephen” and “Norh.”
Section 1 — The Relians
Recall that on 31 July 1996, the Krone named Norh appeared on Fort Drum, NY, and announced he would be touring the world, preparing the people for the arrival of refugees who went by the name Relians, after the planet Rel, which he claims was destroyed in an event called the Disaster (§ 7).
Shortly after the arrival of the Relians on 18 August 1996, numerous physical, biological, psychological, and aptitude profiles were conducted. Out of 250 Relians in total, we were able to do physical examinations of 64, and mental evaluations of 21 (including the ones who call themselves the Archeons, see § 4).
Average height of the foxes is 5’ 4’’, relaxed (height is difficult to measure because they are hunched over, and if standing fully upright can equal the height of a raptor, but this is an uncomfortable position for them). Average weight is 204 lbs. Average height of the raptors is roughly 6’ 3’’, although their necks can move about, and they frequently crouch to be at different heights. They tell us it is an evolutionary leftover, originally useful to keep prey guessing as to the size of the creature stalking it and thus less able to assess the threat it poses. Average weight is 782 lbs.
Experts in zoology and veterinary medicine have examined the foxes and determined them to be biologically similar to terrestrial canines. Vulpes vulpes has 34 chromosomes, while the Relian canine has 48. Genetically, they have nothing in common. The name “fox” is used because of the superficial resemblance. The genetic sequence is unlike anything found anywhere on Earth. It represents, in the view of the panel, a DNA structure that can only be classified as extraterrestrial.
Paleontologists and zoologists have examined the raptors and determined them to be endotherms (warm-blooded), and therefore not dinosaurs. Earth dinosaurs may have been ectotherms (cold-blooded), but the planet was so warm at the time they did not need to produce their own heat, which made them behave as if they were endotherms. It is also possible dinosaurs were warm-blooded, as this is a trait of modern birds. Scientists are still divided on the issue.
The theropods have 52 chromosomes, and are clearly not related to the Earth dinosaur species Utahraptor (the panel was adamant that they resemble the species Utahraptor, not velociraptor). Our panel of consultants asserts that, despite their depiction in popular movies, many Earth dinosaurs likely had feathers to varying degrees. On the planet Rel, we are told, the avian order (birds) never evolved. Avian and reptile never split, meaning the raptors display traits of both, but feathers never evolved.
The foxes have several peculiar physical abilities, including 1) the ability to function as bipedal or quadrupedal, and 2) opposable thumbs. Raptors also have opposable digits.
It deserves particular note that the foxes were very eager to show the experts how their reproductive organs work. In the category of reproduction, foxes are similar to canines on Earth, but do not “tie” their mates as terrestrial canines do (they lack a Bulbus glandis). Instead, the entire penis swells in several stages, still remaining mobile in the orifice, and greatly increasing in sensitivity.
Only one male and two female raptors were willing to be examined in this manner. More details can be found in appendix G.
Standard IQ tests were performed on 16 individuals, including the 3 Archeons.
The Archeons deserve special mention here, as their IQs were off the scale, and their observed capabilities are incredible. They can “photoread” by taking in entire pages of information at a glance without having to read individual words. They can take in information from multiple channels at once (audio, visual, olfactory, etc.). This is to say nothing of their ability to learn new languages in minutes, retain all information to which they are exposed, and the spacetime spheres they are capable of opening, which facilitate travel over long distances anywhere in the world, and, we are told, the universe (§ 4).
The other Relians, while less capable, are no less remarkable. Their IQs are near or above genius level. Every one of them learned a second and/or third language within a matter of months. To say they are more intelligent than the average human is an understatement. To call them “superior” may not be appropriate.
The canines are sexually promiscuous, while the theropods are highly protective of their canines and encourage them to take sexual partners. A raptor is always paired with a fox, and always of the same gender. It resembles owner/pet or parent/child relationship.
We have only their word on this matter: they tell us the bond is instinctual for raptors. Foxes used to be a violent species, and it was only by taking personal control of individual canines that raptors were able to survive on their planet. The raptors tamed the foxes. Foxes would still be violent if not for the theropods, which is why they allow themselves to be dominated by the raptors. Every fox has “reverted” to their “old ways” at least once in their lifetime, so they know the consequences of being apart from their raptor.
Because of this, the canines do not hunt. The raptors do this for them. The raptors are predators, and are exclusively carnivorous. The panel of experts observed them in a controlled hunt of wild elk. Though the raptors had no leader, they were able to function as a unit to bring down the entire herd with ease. After the hunt, many asked if there was anything bigger and more challenging they could hunt next.
The raptors were observed to feed their foxes. After the meal, the foxes would clean their raptors of the blood. Some raptors were observed to clean one another after the hunt, as well, but never another raptor’s fox.
During the meal, raptors conversed while touching hands and clicking claws. We are told it is their means of smiling and laughing. They lack facial muscles, so they express the emotion in this manner. The normal way they converse looks strange to human eyes, with entire groups holding hands and touching claws. During very amusing parts, one raptor will often swipe his claws down the other’s flank or even the neck as a bonding gesture.
Meanwhile the foxes were having sexual intercourse with one another, with raptors often directing their fox to a particular partner. We are told a raptor teaches his or her fox to do this shortly after puberty, and by the time he or she is an adult, the behavior is automatic. This is as it should be, otherwise the fox would become violent to the point of madness. (See § 9 for more anecdotal accounts of a fox’s “old ways.”)
Same-sex (and interspecies) pairings can happen almost automatically for adults, but for opposite sex pairings the raptor will often keep the fox from coupling. If a female is in heat, other raptors with male foxes will keep them away from her. None of this has been directly observed; the analysts have deduced all of this from interviews.
The foxes have a strange effect on people they meet. They are seductive, able to coerce people into intercourse who would otherwise not be willing, including homosexual encounters. We are told foxes have “universal pheromones” which appeal to many species, and these pheromones merely “advertise” willingness and availability. At first this panel was going to suggest that foxes have the ability to project their bisexual tendencies onto others, but Relians insist their scent merely encourages humans to act on impulses that already exist but were repressed by culture. Indeed while interviewing the foxes, many members of this panel became involved with them and requested to be removed from the project.
The word “love” appears to mean something different among the Relians. Rather than describe the affection one feels for one’s husband or wife, the word describes the feeling a raptor and a fox have for one another.
Among foxes, mated pairs exist only for as long as it takes to raise a child. There were no mated pairs among foxes, as the Disaster tore families apart, and none of the children survived.
Among raptors, there were only 3 mated pairs. Raptors are devoted to their mates, but the basic unit of their society appears to be the raptor/fox pairing, not the husband/wife. The researchers were not aware of the mated pairs until they were told simply because both partners had been with their foxes the entire time, and the mated pairs did not stand close to one another or act as couples even after making this fact known.
1.3.1 notable exceptions
(Regarding the Archeons, see § 4.)
There are several notable exceptions regarding the raptors. Though we are told they are intensely loyal to their “spouses,” a number are promiscuous, even displaying bisexual tendencies. We are also told it is something of a taboo among their kind for the canines and theropods to intermate. Raptors are not supposed to have sexual relations with their foxes, but a small number of them do. The practice seems to be unusual but not explicitly forbidden. One exception of particular note is a raptor named Ratash, who was the only male willing (some would say eager) to demonstrate how his reproductive organ worked and to let it be photographed and examined (see appendix G). ...
1.4 integration with human society
Raptors do not seem to understand authority, or the chain of command. They recognize it as a concept, and they understand human society is organized as a hierarchy, but do not understand why they should be subject to it as well. They do not take orders well, which means recruiting for military purposes will be difficult.
The foxes understand authority, but they obey only his or her own raptor. While they are highly intelligent, their sexual tendencies make them poor workers and even worse soldiers. It remains to be seen how the foxes will fit in with the employment market, if they can be utilized as workers at all.
This calls into question whether raptors can fit in with a capitalist society, as the raptor refuses to be separated from his or her fox for even a brief interval, to say nothing of an eight-hour workday. A structural change in their mentality may be necessary if they are to integrate into American society.
Relians do not understand the concept of money, or profit motive, or incentives. We are told planets with carnivorous species (including their former homeworld) reserve entire continents full of game which the carnivores may hunt as they please, facilitated by portals leading to many different regions. They are used to a sort of communal living in which they are free to come and go as they like, and where resources are plentiful and not owned by any particular person.
With proper education and the right incentives, this panel believes the raptors can be convinced to allow for brief periods of separation from their foxes, but this change in mindset will have to be achieved in gradual steps spread out over multiple generations.
Relian social structure itself will have to change to meet market needs, and public education should be implemented to achieve this end in the form of special classes for the adults, and in the future, the children. Special incentives can be introduced into legislation in the form of high hunting license surcharges, frequent renewal requirements, and mandatory safety courses and equipment to facilitate participation in the labor market. (§ 10.)
All of this was nothing CJ hadn’t figured out from working with the Relians for so long, or from hearing her fellow human beings talking about them. She flipped to the section she was most interested in.
Section 4 — Archeons, Their Associates, & Portals
The raptor named Deka is a medium-build theropod with blue scales that are nearly black, and a red stripe running up the center of his snout and down his spine all the way to the tip of the tail. His species resembles the “raptors” in the movie Jurassic Park, but with more colorful scale patterns, and in possession of thumbs. ...
Deka’s fox. Appearance is typical of the species (thin build, red and black fur, bushy tail, backwards doglike legs, hunched posture). Exhibits all symptoms of “battle fatigue” or “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.” He does not seem interested in sex at all, unlike the other foxes, in spite of his raptor’s urgings. He lacks the energy the others exhibit and is often aloof and introverted. He claims to have suffered a great trauma but will not give more details, and neither will his raptor. ...
The raptor named Sonjaa (she insisted it should be spelled with a j, despite it making the sound of a y) is green in color with yellow coloration on her fingers, shoulders, thighs, and neck. She is mated to Deka. Though not an Archeon, she displays a talent for learning languages on a similar level. She educated the common Relians in human languages prior to their arrival on Earth, and she continued to educate them in the early months of their arrival. The Relian refugees chose the country they wished to settle based on its language, and it was her work combined with the other Archeons that enabled them to make this decision.
She claims her fox was killed in the disaster and has yet to find one in need of a raptor. Unlike Rive (§ 4.4), the loss of her fox clearly upsets her and makes her a poor asset beyond a translator. ...
In physical appearance, this raptor is the most extraordinary. Half his body is made of tan-colored scales, and the other half is composed of some sort of flexible metal unknown to mankind. He tells us his body was torn apart during the disaster and then rebuilt by a sentient species of metal, which is why he will not allow it to be analyzed. This extraordinary claim can neither be verified nor disproven.
He is the other raptor without a fox but does not seem lost without one. He claims his fox (named “Friend”) perished during the disaster but will not provide details. ...
4.5 Stephen / Norh
The “Krone” resembles a mythic dragon of European depictions. He claims to have been human at one point, named Stephen Penarrow. Taken from Earth several years ago for a “tour” of the contacted universe, his body was torn apart by an unknown event, after which a race of sentient plant life transferred his memories into the body of a willing Krone. The Department of Defense and Federal Bureau of Investigation have independently confirmed a man named Stephen Penarrow lived at the address in upstate New York the Krone provided, and has been missing since late 1994. His social security number matches the one the Krone gave as well.
He cannot be coerced to do anything, and appears to have no allegiance to any nation. He wanders the world and creates portals anywhere he pleases. He has refused physical and mental examinations, and should be considered a threat. His flight may interfere with airlines, or set off satellite and missile monitoring stations in foreign nations. The United States has coordinated IFF measures to ensure false alarms caused by the Krone in flight do not start an international war.
He shows a fondness for the United States but does not display any interest in helping American interests.
Interviews with Relians regarding the Krone species all say the Krone are “the most evolved life form in the contacted universe.” Norh has been observed bathing in molten lava, standing under Niagara Falls, and sitting casually on the peak of Mt. Everest. These corroborate the anecdotal accounts of a Krone’s capabilities: their scales are so well armored they are not vulnerable to projectile weapons, missiles, or physical harm except for the eyes. If there is breathable air, they can survive there.
4.6 overview of portals
The Relians claim they do not know what a spaceship, or Unidentified Flying Object, is. They also claim real extraterrestrials do not travel using them. Instead, certain members of the population are able to travel the universe using spheres, or portals, or “ways.”
These portals are always spherical, but we are told they can be made into any three-dimensional shape, including cubes, planes, multi-sided figures, and even torus (donut) shapes. They claim spheres are simply the easiest to calculate and hold open for long intervals.
The Relians explain that these portals are created by a person becoming capable of comprehending a special kind of physics. The subconscious mind merges with the conscious mind, and the person is then able to perceive the universe as it truly is, not how it is filtered through the body’s limited senses. This allows their minds to form connections between points in spacetime and hold these connections open in the form of a wormhole-like sphere through which people can cross light years instantly.
They claim it is a natural thing which has happened hundreds of times in the “contacted universe”: two intelligent species evolve on the same planet. When they meet, both species then embark on a quest to understand this intelligence, and the journey helps them understand themselves from the point of view of someone else, which allows some people of both species to transcend their understanding of reality itself and become capable of manipulating spacetime. Eventually they use this power to journey beyond their homeworld, and their planet becomes part of the contacted universe, a community of over five hundred other planets all networked together by Archeons maintaining spacetime portals to and from numerous other planets. Everyone uses these portals to travel across the universe as they please, apparently without restriction of any kind.
Attempts to assess how they open these portals anywhere in the world have been unsuccessful. They claim not to use machines, only the power of the mind understanding the universe. It can be surmised that this is beyond human ability for now, though this has yet to be tested. The executive branch shall have authority to investigate this matter by whatever means necessary.
They claim “lone species,” intelligent life forms that develop on a planet without another intelligent species, never become capable of opening portals and joining the contacted universe. Their animal instincts eventually destroy their civilization.
While there are no immediate plans to utilize the portals for military purposes, the option should not be allowed to slip by. It is not recommended asking the Relians directly, and they cannot be ordered to do so. Representatives from other nations express strong concern that the United States may take advantage of the Archeons in this manner, so any attempt to utilize their abilities for American interests must be done with utmost care and secrecy.
It is unlikely the Archeons will agree to do something overtly military or hostile, but this panel believes they can be convinced to use their abilities if they believe innocent lives are at stake, or if the consequences of not intervening are more severe than remaining neutral. (See § 12 for more detailed analysis of this opportunity.)
Still nothing CJ hadn’t learned from working with the Relians. She flipped to the back of the report.
Section 17 — Recommendations & Warnings
This section outlines worst-case possibilities and solutions. While ideal cases are preferred, this committee’s mission is to assess all the outcomes and come up with a consensus for action should the need arise.
17.1 worst-case scenarios & solutions
The Relians are highly intelligent and potentially dangerous. Both possess claws and teeth, and though they appear civilized, there is no way to know what may trigger violence. If they feel threatened, they will not hesitate to defend themselves.
The Archeons in particular are a concerning threat to national security. The portals they open can lead to other countries, which can let people into the United States who would do us harm. In addition, they can also expose the United States to diseases that otherwise would never reach American shores.
Military staff recommended confining them, but such proposals were dismissed, as the Archeons can easily escape from any confinement.
The committee recommends being as friendly to them as possible. Though the Relians have chosen to settle all over the globe, the Archeons remain here, and with enough time can be educated in American virtues and values and thereby persuaded to our side.
In the event they show signs of defection or compromising American interests, termination may be the only option. The Relians are like any biological creature and are susceptible to bullets and poisons the same as a human.
The Archeon Rive represents the biggest unknown. He is not a machine per se, but conventional weapons (i.e. firearms, missiles) will likely not have an effect on him. Biological agents that attack the central nervous system (which he freely admits is still intact and not metallic) are the best option. It shall be up to the executive office to determine how to allocate the responsibility of such a contingency.
The ideal course of action is coercion. The Archeons remain here in America and not a foreign land, so this must be leveraged. While the common Relians are being naturalized at a local and state level thanks to noble American citizens willing to share a home with them, the Archeons must be handled at the Federal level. They must be educated in the best interests of the United States and convinced to ally with the Federal Government to those ends. Failure to do so will risk foreign powers seizing the Archeons and hurting American interests abroad and at home.
17.2 creation of a Department of Relian Relations
Matters dealing with conflict between Relians and humans are more delicate than usual at this critical time of adjustment. At the insistence of the Archeons, the Relian refugees are living in the homes of ordinary Americans across the country. Conflict and unrest have already resulted, and the President has created a new cabinet position with the goal of resolving these matters peacefully, and with as little attention as possible. This office has jurisdiction to go anywhere in the country at any time by way of Archeon-created portals to resolve all situations that may arise.
Currently, 84 Relians are living in the country (see appendix A for names and addresses of all registered households with Relian guests). They are still adjusting to their new life in America. Initiatives to educate the Relians in the ways of American society are still being explored, but in the meantime, citizens are showing them how to live productive lives in pursuit of the American dream.
Even in light of this, precautions must be taken in case the Secretary of Relian Relations cannot resolve a conflict. Law enforcement in the neighborhoods shall be equipped with special tools to handle a raptor or a fox who is out of control.
17.3 the special case for hunting
As for the hunting needs of the raptors, each State where Relians are living shall been given the option to accommodate the raptors as it sees fit. Solutions include extending special hunting licenses and creating hunting reserves. The creation of carnivore “theme parks” is possible in the future as population increases. These options are favorable to manufacturers, as they allow for streamlined privatization, and special safety equipment will have to be designed for this potential new market of customers that is sure to grow in the future.
17.4 the Krone as a random element
If the stories are to be believed, the only harm that can be done to the Krone is to the eyes, but a precision shot would be nearly impossible, and would likely not be fatal. If a means were devised to trap him in an oxygen-starved environment, this could be a solution should he turn on the United States, but restraint would be a difficult task, as there is no way to tell how long it will take before asphyxiation occurs, and he may be capable of breaking out of confinement in the meantime.
Since he has refused mental and physical examination, this panel cannot make recommendations. Ideal course of action is to continue coercion and hope he can be won over to US interests in some capacity.
The Relians value freedom and personal choice, which makes them an ideal fit for the American lifestyle. Every effort should be made to help them adjust to their new home.
Every precaution should be taken to prepare for conflict, as an unarmed human would not survive a violent confrontation with a raptor or a fox. They have exhibited no ulterior motive as far as the panel has determined, and seem genuinely interested in learning about our culture and how to function within it. Local and State officials shall be empowered to help them further these objectives.
On a Federal level, efforts should focus on the Archeons and how they can be convinced to hold American interests to the utmost importance. It shall be up to the President and his appointed officials to decide how this is to be done, and to determine if dire measures must be taken should the worst case scenario arise.
CJ closed the packet and slipped it in a drawer. She leaned back in her chair, stared at the far wall. Her office was modest, but it had enough room for the files she was generating. There were no official forms or reports she had to file for anything she was doing. She simply typed everything up as it happened, submitted it to the president for review, then filed it in a cabinet here, with a copy going to an archive in a secret facility for preservation until the end of time.
CJ realized when she took this job that she was going down in history as the first Secretary of Relian Relations. Everything she did would set a precedent for future cabinet members. History was watching.
She had had a lot of help over these first few months. Rive, Deka, Kylac, and Sonjaa had been invaluable while CJ handled these events personally. As the population of Relians expanded, she foresaw the creation of local offices in every major city that would resolve conflicts between Relians and humans. There was so much that needed to be done to prepare for the future.
Until recently, her primary job had been arranging special conventions around the country. The Relians told her they needed to find people willing to take them in, but they needed to physically meet people. They would know the right person by scent, and CJ had arranged for the group to tour the country. More than a dozen convention centers and hotels had to be booked on very short notice. It had been a logistical nightmare, but she had the power of the Federal Government at her disposal, and she was able to arrange them quickly, sometimes cutting certain events short or canceling them altogether to make room for the Relians.
The three Archeons could take the group anywhere with ease at only an hour’s notice, sometimes less. The first time CJ saw it, she could not believe it was that easy. She was able to book a convention center for a whole week and have the Relians across the country within an hour.
Sonjaa had been invaluable as another language instructor. She learned languages as quickly as an Archeon, and she, along with the Krone, had taught the people new languages. These last six months had been a frenzy of booking, traveling, scenting, and learning. Just last week the final convention had been held, and every Relian pair had a home now. They were in thirty-seven states, including a single pair in Alaska, of all places.
Although Deka, Kylac, and Sonjaa had been helpful, it was Rive who became CJ’s primary helper. He stood alone among the raptors with a metallic body straight out of a science fiction movie, and yet he preferred to converse with the mathematicians and biologists and physicists in the local universities while the other Relians were off hunting.
The tan and grey raptor was intimidating at first, but the longer CJ worked with him, the more he reminded her of one of her college roommates. He was a socially inept clean freak, soft spoken, always lost in thought, focused so much on the big picture he forgot to notice the small stuff. Viewing him this way, he was not so alien after all. She could imagine herself in law school with this man.
She was a little relieved he would be staying in the White House. As long as he continued to be part of this team, she would not have to create a bureaucracy. She took out her day planner and made a note to follow up on where the other Archeons were living now.
Soon to be available wherever books are sold.
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