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LOVE AND PEACE ON POLODA II
By TIMO MANTERE
Continued from ERBzine 0797
5. WOODSTOCK ON POLODA
One day I was ordered to the surface to do some order keeping at the large hippie festival. Over a million Unisian youths were reported to walk towards Punosian border. In the hills near the Punosian border, there was to be held a huge rock festival called "Woodstock on Poloda."
There were rumours of a large amount of hippie-lookalikes coming from the direction of Kapara. Marching towards the same hills.
I arrived to the place, and it was an unbelievable sight -- a valley full of hippie people, young people everywhere, people with long hairs and unclean clothes, some wear no clothes at all, and most of the girls were at least with bare breasts.
And that noise! I saw a group of people playing on some sort of stage. They played something that one maybe might call music, although I thought of it as irrational noise. They sand about love and peace; other songs were about sex, drugs and something called rock'n'roll. I didn't think there were too many people there who were not high with drugs, among these millions.
I wondered how they got the energy for their equipment out here in the wilderness. But I suppose they had some sort of portable power generators. The army had some of those, but I don't know how the hippies got theirs.
I was a bit concerned about my own safety. There were only a couple police officers, and we must patrol alone to reach at least most of the area, if needed. But I knew I would be totally helpless if anything would happen.
As I watched this "end of the world" looking party, I thought to myself that it would be the end for hippies if Kapara would now make a bombing flight here. I thought that all the hippies in the world were gathered here. Maybe Unis should make the bombing flight here themselves, I thought. Maybe we would be better off then. But I knew that we cops were ordered here because Unis still felt it had to provide some safety to its youth. They were still our hope.
There were Kapar youth as well in the crowd. That amazed me. I didn't quite understand how come they managed to get here. I didn't know what to think about that and them. I couldn't believe that people could just leave the totalitaristic Kapara. I had visited Ergos a couple times and knew it was impossible. But, still, these people were here. I knew that Kapar bombing flights had decreased in recent times. I didn't know what to make of it.
There were the black hairs of Kapars and brown hairs of Unisians in the crowd, although some Unisians had coloured their hair black. Some interracial pairs were formed. I wanted to ask some Kapar about what was going on, but they were not interested to speak with a police officer. They just showed me a peace sign and said, "Peace, man!" or "Have some peace and love, man."
Thankfully no Kapar or Unis youth attacked me. I guess they considered me so old and senile that it would be shameful to harm me.
I was still waiting for the moment when Kapara fleet would arrive and start bombing. Somehow I was sure that it would happen.
Suddenly I saw familiar faces in the crowd. They were my daughters Monica and Angela and the five hippies from Earth. My daughter Monica was kissing with some Kapar boy, which sent some strange feelings through my body.
6. AIR BATTLE
I went to met them. They were obviously all high. DSL, I suppose. My other daughter, Angela, was with Jimmy, who obviously had been released from the prison island. Angela had bare breasts, but it seemed natural there and I knew my anger would do no good, so I pretended to ignore them.
Between the noise, we couldn't talk much, although I tried. But I can't be sure I understood all they said. I asked Harkas Monica, "Who is this boy?"
She represented him to me as Horthal Gullym, the son of Horthal Gyl. I can tell you I wasn't too enthusiastic about him. I remembered that tiring four-year-old Horthal Gyl, that I met back in Ergos a long time ago. I didn't think too highly of him. I also didn't think this apple could have dropped too far from the tree. I also remembered the horror story of the other Earthman who was later tortured by the grown-up Horthal Gyl at the Zabo (Kaparian secret police) prison in Ergos.
So, I didn't have warm feelings towards him. However, I was really interested to know how Kapars had managed to come to these festivals, or even leave Kapara, so I asked him. But I couldn't get the answer because they said Jimi Hendrix is starting to play.
Surrounded by the noise, I asked "Who he is?"
Monica answered that he's the best guitar player there is: "He's resurrected here from the Earth."
Yes indeed, I saw the black man playing on the stage. I have never seen a black man on Poloda before. I asked her when he had arrived and why no one had told me. She said that Jimi appeared in the surface-level garden of Orvis, right into the camp-fire in the hippie party one night. Hippies took him to their shelter and healed his burned legs. They never told the authorities. Jimi had lived and played his guitar on Poloda for almost a Polodan year already.
I watched the stage and thought to myself that this noise resembled an air attack warning. Then I realized that it was an air attack warning. Kapar airplanes descended upon us. I turned my head back towards my daughters and the J-gang, but half of them had disappeared.
The four J's had vanished -- only Jane was left. My daughter Angela lay unconscious on the ground, with my other daughter Monica kneeling beside her. Monica's Kapar boyfriend and their friend Morga Shanda looked upon them. I went to my daughter Monica and asked what happened? She had strange amazed look in her eyes as she answered: "They disappeared and Angela fainted." I check my unconscious daughter's pulse. It was quite slow, but not critical. I asked Monica, "What do you mean they disappeared?"
"They vanished," she said.
We didn't have any more time -- Kapar fleet was almost above us. I took my daughter in my arms and started to carry her towards the trees nearby. I ordered the others to follow us to the small forest. It seemed the safest place. So we rushed into the small forest, which was filled with hippies hiding from the bombers.
What followed was about the strangest air battle in the history of Poloda. Traditional Kapar planes came first, but they didn't drop bombs. Behind them came the newer, turbine-motor planes.
Kapars and us now had these faster turbine-planes. We both got the idea from the Earthman that arrived in Kapara about two decades ago. Kapars copied it from our planes that crashed in their lands.
The air-battle started between these two Kapar fleets. Older planes just tried to land; sometimes people tried to parachute jump, letting their planes crash into hilltops. Thankfully, none crashed among the crowd. Newer planes mercilessly fired upon the older ones and the parachutists. Only a few returned fire. At the same time, the Unisian fleet came to the scene. First they fired upon all Kapar planes, but that lasted only a couple seconds. I guess there was a bright captain in the Unisian fleet, who quickly realized that there were something strange among the Kapar forces.
The Unisian fleet fired only on the newer Kapar planes. The terrible battle lasted only a couple minutes before most of the newer Kapar planes were shot down, unfortunately it was unavoidable that many of them crashed upon the crowd.
Only a couple Kapar planes tried to escape back to Kapara, but they were chased and shot down as well. All the older Kapar planes had landed, but no no Kapar ground forces emerged from them.
Our fleet landed also, after they returned from the chase of enemy planes. I had watched the fight, which now seemed over. I guess I should have gone to help those who were injured under crashing planes, but at the moment I was too concerned about my daughter Angela to leave her.
I finally got a chance to ask my other daughter's Kapar boyfriend what the hell had happened in Kapara? He answered that the hippie ideology had grown in Kapara. Those hippies that Kapars snatched from Unisian prison island had taught them the ideology. Kapars snatched those people, because they thought that they are Unisian traitors that had been sentenced to the prison island, and they might be useful them, in their quest to destroy Unis.
It turned out that the young prison guards were interested in the hippie ideas and spread them among the other Kapar youth. When Zabo realized the danger, all Unisian hippie prisoners were executed, but the seed had already grown. Soon there were peace-protesters and hippies everywhere, totalitarian Kapara couldn't except that, so they sentenced all caught hippies to death.
Soon, news of the big hippie festival in Unis spread among the underground Kapar hippie movement. They wanted to see Jimi Handrix. Kapar hippies made a mass escape. Many of them were shot, but many managed to escape and travel to Punos and there to the Unisian border to attend the "Woodstock on Poloda" festival.
I asked him what he made of the air battle we just witnessed.
"I think there may have been a revolt in the Kapar army and revolutionists escaped with older planes," he answered. "Newer planes can be piloted only by those who are absolutely faithful to the Kapar ideology and ruling, where as all the young men in Kapara are forced to the military service, many of the old planes were piloted by the people who wanted to escape, if given chance."
A Unisian army officer came by then, and asked how the girl was injured. I replied that I am Tangor, and that this wass my daughter, she just fainted, I don't know why. Soon she was taken with the hospital plane into the hospital at Unis. She was still unconscious.
I couldn't take the same flight, so I stayed behind to watch my other daughter and to do some humanitarian services as a police officer.
I returned home by ground. My daughter Monica came with me. I guess she was too concerned about her sister to turn me away, as I would have expected her to do just a little time earlier.
7. BODY COUNT
We arrived in Orvis and went to the hospital. My wife Yamoda was already there and she cried against my shoulder. Well, I wasn't too good to pacificate her. We went to the hospital day after day, our daughter didn't give any sign of awaking. At some point I started to visit less and less, but my wife Yamoda kept going every single day.
It turned out that the air-battle we witnessed was the last there have been in the Polodian sky. It also turned out that what Horthal Gullym had told me was about correct. After the big hippie mass escape, the whole system in Kapara crashed. Revolution started, their ruler Pom Da was ripped to pieces by an angry crowd and people gained their freedom.
The Unisian army interrogated Kapars that landed into the festival that day and Unis started the occupying mission immediately. Unis army took over Ergos without violence. That mission was only performed because Unis wanted to make sure that Kapara would no longer threaten us. The occupation didn't last long. We didn't need to perform any war crime trials, since angry Kaparian people had already killed all their former leaders. And when Kapara elected new democratic leaders, we let them rule themselves, after most of their weapons and the factories that produced them were destroyed.
At the festival, about 70,000 people were killed by crashing planes and fires they started. It's a big number, but then again, Unis used to lose 100,000 soldiers in one month of war during the last 130 years. So those dead hippies were a small price to pay for peace.
My daughter Monica later married Horthal Gullym. I wasn't too happy about that, but I guess a father has no other choice than to swallow the things he doesn't like. Jane was maid of honour. She was the only Earth hippie left. All the rest seemed to have totally vanished from the surface of Poloda.
Thankfully, they don't use drugs any more. The hippie ideology seemed to lose strength after peace came. Many of them are stockbrokers now.
I was once again patrolling in the streets as a street cop. Days were much the same now as earlier. There were no peace demonstrations any more, but now we had unemployment demonstrations. When the war between Unis and Kapara ended, we simply weren't able to find job for everyone.
8. ANGELA RETURNS
Orvis was now a surface city. With no bombings, we had no reason to hide underground, so all the buildings were lifted to the surface level. I watched the unemployed crowd shouting their slogans "Give us a job," and "Laziness is worse than war" and "Send us to a new battle."
The look of the protesters was quite different these days than a couple of years earlier. Back then, demonstrators were mainly women, mothers and grandmothers. Now they were mostly young men. These men made for quite a strange scene. The long hair of the hippie days had given way to men with things pushed through their noses and cheeks; their heads were bald, some had some sort of bristly green or red hair in the middle of their head. They listened to totally awful, bawdy music. Well, that is, if one is open-minded enough to call it music.
Anyway, while I watched the demonstrations, my celluloid phone started to ring. It was my wife. She was quite
overwrought. At first I couldn't make out what she said, but finally she calmed enough to say: "Our daughter, Harkas Angela had returned. She's regained consciousness. Come to the Poloda Memorial Hospital immediately!"
I was excited. Could it be true after all these years? I said to my wife that I would come at once and that I loved her. Our younger daughter had been in coma ever since she fainted at the "Woodstock on Poloda" festival, when she was taken to the military hospital. But those doctors couldn't return our daughter into consciousness in all these years, they just kept her lying there.
I rushed to the hospital and hugged my daughter, crying tears of happiness. I guess I had happily forgotten the distance that had grown between me and my daughter before she left us.
I thanked the gods that I had her back. I asked how she feels, she said "Fine father. I was on Earth."
I didn't believe her, until she told us things that I had never told her about Earth. I guess her boyfriend Jimmy could have told her those details, but maybe indeed she was on Earth while unconscious.
Angela said that she and her friends had been dropping DSL at that "Woodstock on Poloda" festival. They passed out, and woke up in a mental hospital on Earth.
Jake, Jimmy and Joe had woken up in the mental hospital, too. They'd been there, unconscious, since that other Woodstock on Earth in 1969. Nurses had considered them totally insane all those years, they had never more than momentarily show flashes of brain activity. The three J's later had thought that it must had been those times when they hallucinated that they returned to Earth in their DSL trips.
The J's were quite sure that they had spend all these years in LSD trip and only their minds were on Poloda and rest of their bodies in the mental institute. They thought that the same had happened to Angela, her mind had jumped to Earth via the DSL trip -- while her real body still lived on Poloda.
A couple months after they arrived on Earth, Janis came to see them. She had awaked in a common hospital and came looking for the other J's.
It took almost half a year before my daughter and the four J's were released from the mental institute. My daughter, of course, was aksed many questions. She had no papers or anything, but they finally accepted that she was no illegal alien, which they'd suspected, since she spoke a foreign language. Funny thing was, she really was an alien. More alien than those Earth doctors could know.
By the time they were released, Janis had checked where Jane's body might be held. She found out that Jane was also comatose, but her parents' had pulled the plug off her life supporting machines many years ago. Maybe that's why she never returned to Earth.
Anyway, my daughter lived couple of years on Earth happily, using LSD and later cocaine and heroine. It was her testimony that all young people on Earth she met used drugs. She lived with Jimmy all these years, first in USA and later they moved to England.
In 1976 they were in London's Hyde park to see a free concert by Queen. They bumped some old high school friend of Jimmy's who had moved to Britain many years earlier. This friend had LSD, which was more rarely used these days. Of course they all took a taste, and when Brian May howled his guitar and Freddie Mercury sang "Now I'm here, Now I'm there.." my daughter was no longer there, she was here, back on Poloda.
I guess I wouldn't have believed my daughter's story, but for one thing: She was pregnant. Now, either the child was seeded on Earth by her boyfriend Jimmy or the hospital staff had sexually abused her while she was unconscious.
At first I rather believed that latter. I asked a lot of questions at the hospital until the baby girl was born. She was blonde-haired and blue-eyed, just like Jimmy, who vanished from Poloda too many years ago to have possibly seeded this baby here.
My daughter still wishes to return to her love Jimmy back on Earth. She has told us that if she is ever comatose again, we are not to prolong her life. Well, I rather don't like the idea.
These days my daughter Harkas Angela takes DSL every evening and sits in the front of her house looking up to the skies, wishing that this trip would take her back to Earth. Beside her sits the little girl, wondering what her mother is dreaming in that drug-induced fog. So do I.
When I'd finished reading this remarkable tale, I searched for more information about Tangor and Poloda in my father's books.
End of Manuscript
EPILOGUE - FATE WORSE THAN DEATH
The next day I read "Beyond the Farthest Star" and "Tangor Returns." I couldn't find any more stories about Poloda from father's collection.
In the sheets spewed forth by my father's typewriter, Tangor said he wrote about his trips to Poloda's neighbor planets. And who was the other Earthman, whose name Tangor never mentioned? Over the next couple of days, I turned the house upside down. But no Tangor stories were found.
I found the answer in my father's diary, which I had never read before out of respect for his privacy. And because I could never bring myself to do it.
On Oct. 30, 1960, father's diary claims something amazing. Apparently father was home alone, me and my mother were visiting my grandparents. Father was making coffee in the kitchen, when he heard the type-writer back in his work-room starting to write by itself. Father rushed to the room and witnessed how the type-writer wrote by itself. Apparently father was totally excited, his long time dream had came true. Father went and started to read what the machine wrote.
The next pages in the father's diary reveals the plot of the story he received. I have tried to search the original manuscript everywhere, but it seems to have disappeared.
Therefore I tell you what father wrote in his diary.
I remembered that Mr. Edgar Rice Burroughs said in one of his last interviews that after he dies, he hopes to visit other planets.
According this manuscript, he got his wish.
Mr. Burroughs resurrected on Poloda. From all the planets in the Universe, he just happened to reach one of those he placed his stories. He must had been thrilled.
But the story soon revealed that Burroughs didn't have very good luck after all. Of all the countries in the Universe, he happened to resurrect in Kapara.
Now, no one could expect a warm welcome in the totalitaristic and war-crazy land of Kapara. But Burroughs could not expect even as warm a welcome as any casual inter-planetary traveler would have in Kapara.
That's because before Burroughs' arrived, a man name Gurrul, the former chief of Zabo (Kaparian secret police), had died and resurrected on Earth. Gurrul wrote back to Poloda from Earth how some man named Edgar Rice Burroughs had wrote disgusting stories about the cruelty of Kapars and spread awful propaganda and filthy lies about Kapara and Zabo.
Kapara's ruler Pom Da was furious to heard that Kapar's honour was ruined and filthy propaganda about their cruelties were spreaded through the Universe. Pom Da sent the orders that Gurrul must kill that man Burroughs. Unfortunately, Gurrul was forced to report that Mr. Burroughs had happened to die already of natural causes.
And when Burroughs resurrected in Kapara, Pom Da was pleased.
However, Mr. Burroughs wasn't too happy to find out that he was in Kapara. He was even more dissatisfied when he heard what these Kapars thought about his stories.
Pom Da was just about to order Mr. Burroughs to be tortured to death, when he remembered that Gurrul had mentioned something about the "fate worse than death" that Burroughs' books always referred to. That sounded like a good torturing method, Pom Da thought. He asked Gurrul to send detailed descriptions about how this "fate worse than death" method works.
When Pom Da received the information, he didn't quite believe it. It didn't sound like a torture method at all. Pom Da thought that apparently those Earth people are quite different than Polodans, so he ordered Burroughs to be tortured with the "fate worse than death" method. He also asked that patriotic unmarried young Kapar maidens volunteer to work as torturers.
One day Pom Da came to the prison-complex to see how the torturing of Mr. Burroughs was going. Pom Da saw how the beautiful young Kapar maiden tortured Burroughs. Pom Da was still not totally convinced about this torture method.
A Zabo agent named Horthal Gyl was responsible for making sure Burroughs received his "fate worse than death" torture every day. Pom Da asked him if Burroughs is suffering while been tortured.
Horthal Gyl answered: "Well, at least it makes him sweat and scream, but then again, I would sweat and scream in his situation, too. But it wouldn't be because of pain."
Pom Da said that if it does make Burroughs scream and sweat, then the man must be really suffering, because Gurrul had wrote that based on Burroughs' books, these Earthmen take the torturing silently and calm. They never give enemy the pleasure of seeing their pain.
Horthal Gyl said that he would still like to use more conventional torturing methods on Burroughs. Pom Da forbid it, though. "Our methods could kill him and he would probably just resurrect into some other place, safe from our hands. No, this method doesn't seem to mortally harm him, we must hang on to this torture method and show him that resurrecting into the hands of the Kapars is truly a "fate worse than death.
"And if we ever again catch that cursed Earthman Korvan Don, alias Tangor, we will make him taste this torture method also," Pom Da continued.
When Pom Da started to leave, he informed Horthal Gyl that his own daughter also wanted to torture Burroughs and that she would be coming in the morning.
Horthal Gyl knew Pom Da's daughter, Kantos Janida. She was probably the most beautiful Kapar maiden there was. He wondered how can it be, that so beautiful a creature had come from the seed of probably the ugliest man in Kapara.
Horthal Gyl dreamed about the beauty of Kantos Janida, that optimal shaped body, that beautiful oval face surrounded by long black hair, perfected with deep green eyes and fullness of lips. He wished from the bottom of his heart, that he could also be tortured via the "fate worse than death" method by Kantos Janida.
However, secret agents of Unis had heard that the Earthman named Burroughs was held as prisoner and savagely tortured in Ergos, the capital of Kapara. This information reached Tangor, who started the rescue mission immediately.
Tangor returned to the enemy city and after many exciting happenings, Tangor managed to secretly reach the prison cell, where Burroughs was held.
But when Tangor offered him the escape opportunity, Mr. Burroughs didn't want to leave Kapara. It required lot of convincing from Tangor to get the man go with him. Tangor had to promise that he will arrange for Mr. Burroughs to receive the "fate worse than death" torture in Unis as well. Tangor also claimed that young Unisian maidens are much more beautiful than those of Kapara. Mr. Burroughs thought of Kantos Janida, the girl who regularly gave him his torture, and wasn't all that convinced that there could be any more beautiful maidens in Unis.
But I guess the will for freedom eventually won, and he escaped with Tangor.
That's where father's notes about the story he received ended.
I read through his diary, but only a couple of unimportant mentions of the type-writer were found. Father never told where he put the original manuscript.
After several weeks of searching, I haven't found it. I still don't know if my father really received that story from Edgar Rice Burroughs. Were these notes in his diary just his imagination? Maybe they were notes for a Burroughs pastiche he wanted to write. I guess I shall never know.
I believe that those other stories Tangor mentioned in his preface about his trips to the other Omosian planets were received by whoever owned the typewriter before my father.
If I ever find any of these missing stories, or if the typewriter writes a new one, I will tell you. But for now, it is time for a little fate worse than death.
Copyright 1997, Timo Mantere
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