Fantasy Science Fiction posted August 13, 2017 Chapters:  ...24 25 -26- 


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Archie meets a new companion.

A chapter in the book Humanity Project

Jacob

by davisr (Rhonda)




Background
Archie, now in charge of the quest to free Mine City, meets up with an unusual companion.
Archie leaned against the damp tunnel wall and sank slowly to the ground. He bowed his head into his hands and moaned. How was he to lead the women, one pregnant, and the other terrified of being underground, to a city of outcasts? How was he to free a group of animal/human hybrids held under guard, and lead them to an unsuspecting world? And why, why did his mentor and leader, Sani, leave them behind?

On and on the questions flowed as Archie sat engulfed in indecision. He kept thinking about how incapable he was to lead, and how this wasn't really happening to him. Eventually, he drifted into troubled reveries marked by Cougar Clan attacks, Hawk betrayals, and the people in Mine City rejecting him.

A hand landing on his shoulder, disrupted Archie's insecure musings. "Please be Sani!" Archie rose to his feet and leaned against the wall. "I knew you wouldn't really leave us."

"I'm not Sani," a voice stated. The male voice was coarse, and uttered in a low tone as though not to be heard by any but Archie.

"Who are you?" Archie stood up straight, blood pumping through his veins so violently he could feel it in his throat and temples.

"I'm Jacob." A hairy hand dropped down to shake Archie's. "Please don't be afraid. I'm a friend of Sani's. He sent me to help you."

"A Tommyknocker?"

"Absolutely not," Jacob chuckled. "Sani has called us that before, but I assure you, we aren't fantasy creatures. We are very real, and quite determined, my friend. We are a secret force who have only waited for a catalyst to stir us up."

"I guess you mean me?" Archie leaned away from the wall and stood before the larger man. He placed his hands on his hips and tilted his head in question.

"I don't know." Jacob's eyes glowed with the embers of a primordial fire. "Sani seems to think so, but I will need more convincing."

"Do you want to wrestle?"

"Maybe. You look like a stout guy, but we'll have to leave that for another day. For now, we need to move ahead."

"Okay." Archie's eyes sparkled. They had just thrown a proverbial gauntlet at each other, but it was good natured. They didn't have time to prove alpha male, so they would share for the moment.

"You have two women with you," Jacob said. "Sani has explained them to me. They are welcome as are you, but, let's be honest, they may prove to be a weak link in our plan for freedom."

"They are the main reason I'm here, and must end up being an integral part of any of our plans. I'll not leave either behind."

"Fair enough." Jacob put a hairy arm against the wall. He had on a coarsely woven short sleeved shirt that looked like it might have been stitched together from an old feed sack. His pants were made of leather, ending about his ankles. His feet, shaped like a human's, but hairier. Long toenails came to a sharp point. Archie wasn't sure if they were naturally shaped that way, or chiseled. Either way, they added to the wolf-like impression of the man.

"We have chosen to lead our own lives in tunnels outside the city," Jacob said. "We do help the others mine. To not do so would be to shirk our duties, but after we are done, we blend into the shadows of the tunnels where we are attempting to build an army."

"The leaders of the city don't try to stop you?"

"No reason to. We do our work and don't cause problems. Beyond that they figure we just prefer each other's company. The leaders aren't Hufacs, and are basically scared of us. Besides, Leander Senior is my father. I don't get the attention Junior gets, but I'm allowed certain latitudes."

"Leander Junior of the Hawk Clan?" Archie asked. He leaned forward, trying to get a good look at the face and eyes of his new companion. The torchlight was just bright enough to give him a vague impression of a massive creature, his visage softened by humanity. There was very little that seemed to tie Jacob to his weaker Hawk sibling, however, both were tall . . . both bore a commanding presence.

"Yes. I was my father's first creation with his DNA, the other scientists contributed to other experimental animals. It was then they figured out which animals worked well with humans, and those that did not. Wolves, apparently did not."

"So your father stuck you out here in the mines?"

"Not at first. He kept me in his home for as long as he felt he could. He treated me as any other son until he got Junior, then he sent me here. I was about 10-years old. Others were brought here as well. It's sort of a long story, and we don't have time to go into it now. We've got other plans to make."

Jacob then stepped out of the shadows of a tunnel and rested his hand back on Archie's shoulder. Archie suppressed a revulsive shudder as the man's face came into clear view. A large shaggy head was graced with a plethora of thick reddish brown hair. Piercing brown eyes were set deeply into a face that looked disfigured by a protruding nose.

As though aware that Archie was staring, Jacob put a hairy hand up and touched his mouth, which when he opened it, betrayed sharp canines. His other teeth seemed more human-like as did his body form.

"I look like a monster, don't I? I can see it in your eyes."

"Not as much as I had imagined, but you are a big guy, Dude." Archie managed to regain his composure, and slap Jacob on the shoulder. "I'm just glad you're on my side."

"Am I?"

"Aren't you?"

"Question is, are you on mine?" Jacob raised a furry eyebrow, eyes piercing through Archie's as though in doing so, he could look into the smaller man's soul. "At this point, you could leave . . . go back to your world as a Senator, or whatever it is you are. It would be much safer. To stay here is to put yourself in great peril."

"I've been in peril since I flipped my car on the highway and ended up in Hokee."

"You've not known real danger," Jacob said. He slapped a hairy hand on the wall beside Archie's head.

Archie was filled with an array of emotions and sensations. His first reaction was fear. He felt it rise up like bile in his throat, but swallowed it back down. The next feeling was bewilderment. This man-like creature in front of him was a beast out of legend. It seemed surreal.

The final emotion was a heady thrill. He could smell the wild animal in Jacob, and the effect was to stir the latent animal inside all human beings. He could almost imagine early mankind rising out of the primordial swamps that bred life. He breathed in the sensation, and breathed out desire to fight for survival . . . his own and those he had pledged to protect.

"I'm not afraid," Archie snarled, his breathing raspy and fast.

"You will be," Jacob said, leaning in closer. He seemed to be smelling Archie's scent as well. "But I believe you mean to help us, and you're the best we've got right now."

"Thanks," Archie said. His voice was steeped in sarcasm. He knew to show weakness right now would be to lose the respect of Junior's larger and more serious brother.

"Follow me," Jacob said.

"Where?"

"To our compound. We need to talk and make plans."

"What about the women?"

"I'll send one of our women to bring them."

Archie shrugged and followed his furry guide. He certainly was not comfortable with the turn of events, but what choice did he have? The only way he would free the miners was to trust one of them. After years in politics, he had learned to trust his instincts... that and watch his back.


Book of the Month contest entry

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A special thanks for the art work, "spirit of the wolf" by MKFlood

A note on the purpose of the animal DNA discovery. This book is intended to be Science Fiction and Fantasy, but it has an underlying theme. There have been groups of people throughout time that have been treated as less than human, even experimented on in some cases.

It's also to bring up any discrimination against other groups of people. It happened in the past, and is still happening today. The poor, ethnic groups, sexual orientation, mental illness, people from other countries, etc. There are a lot of different types of experimentation where we try to "cure" what we don't understand. It is my intention to use a science fictional environment to teach cultural tolerance, while telling a yarn. Thank you to those of you who look beyond the story.

Summary of the book so far:

Archie Franklin is a United States Senator from the State of Texas. He's also the President's son.
He was traveling the west, scoping out New Mexico for a committee he was on, when a deer ran in front of his Ferrari and caused him to crash.

He was rescued from the desert by a group from a cult-like village called Hokee. In this town, the people are part of an experiment to improve the human condition by taking orphans and raising them isolated from many of the modern conveniences that make mankind weak.

The children, as young as 5, are placed in houses named after animals, but otherwise taught animals are dangerous and unclean. Each "house" has a particular job in the community based on the attributes of the representative animal.

The leader, Leander, chooses what children are brought to the village. He doesn't want anyone to know about the compound so they can maintain isolation. Archie is now a prisoner, but has befriended a young lady, Koko, whose husband has come up missing, and is assumed imprisoned in a penal mining colony.

Working against odds, the two hope to escape and protect Koko's unborn child. Having babies at stage one of the experiment is forbidden by the scientists in charge. Teens are sterilized at puberty to avoid pregnancies, but occasionally one will be conceived. Standard operating procedure is to perform an abortion, but Koko is willing to fight against all she's grown up to believe to give her child a chance at life.

Now, Archie, Koko and Sani have escaped the complex after the old miner, Sani, set off an explosive distraction. On the way through a fence, they ran into Ayala, Koko's "sister" who tried to stop them. In order to ensure her silence, they tied her up and took her with them.

After traveling all night, they stopped at dawn to dig a shelter under the sand. Covering themselves with a blanket they wove from plants, they are resting from enemies and the heat of the day.

Archie and Koko begin to read a book Archie rescued from Hokee before they left. It is the story of the experiment called The Humanity Project.

In the book, they find Ayala and the others in Hokee, are a part of a project where animal and human DNA were mixed together to produce a new, stronger, species.

In order to keep the people of Hokee secluded, they have made them feel they were unwanted orphans, and to fear animals and the desert. They were kept in check by the ruling Hawk clad, and the fierce Cougar clan.

They continue to journey to Mine City in the San Juan mountains. They overcome many challenges along the way.

These are the 12 houses of Hokee:

Hawk: Where Leander Jr. lives. They are the strict rulers of the compound, answerable only to Leander Sr..

Cougar: The strong arms of the Hawks. They dish out whatever punishment is required, even to sending miscreants to another settlement they have up North in the mines.

Coyote: The one Archie and Ayala are in: Job: Teachers and professors. Allowed more knowledge of the "outside world".

Ant: Considered unclean, these people tend meat and fur animals outside the village

Tarantula: Architects, and menders

Donkey: Transportation and communication

Wasp: Prepare and serve food

Deer: Sports and entertainment

Hare: Make and distribute clothing

Rat: Childcare

Snake: healthcare

Buzzards: Clean up crew, maintain sewer and custodial chores


General Summary of the Book:

Young Texas Senator, Archie Franklin, finds himself marooned in the desert with a group of people who are more than they appear to be on the surface.

Hokee: Name of the village Archie is held in. It means, "The abandoned."

Characters:

Archimedes (Archie) Franklin: High energy, main protagonist, who is, also, a Senator from Texas, and son of the President of the United States, Andrew Franklin.

Ayala: Female head of household in the house Archie finds himself imprisoned.

Andrew (Andy) Franklin: President of the United States, and father of Archie.

Koko: Ayala's best friend in Coyote House, close as sisters, born on the same day.

Todd: Koko's husband

Sani: Old man. Used to be a miner up north. Another trapped refugee from the desert. An ally in the quest to escape.

Leander: Head scientist in charge of the structure of Hokee. His son, Leander, is in charge of daily operations.

Junior: Leander's son, who lives in the Hawk house. He's personally a coward, but rules Hokee with an iron fist.

Others to be listed as they appear in the book.
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Artwork by MKFlood at FanArtReview.com

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© Copyright 2017. davisr (Rhonda) All rights reserved.
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