About Rewriting Green Cabin

Green Cabin rewrite.

I’m not fond of calling an in-work manuscript a draft. Just me, I suppose. 

Rewriting Green Cabin will be about converting a lot of narrative to dialog. This helps with the show me don’t tell me thing.

There are any places throughout the story that need details to fill in and make it easier for a reader to get a sense of place. Also developing minor characters to make them seem more real is needed. And the same holds true for action scenes.

For me the first writing is about setting a goal of reaching the end of the story. And too for everything to weave together well enough that I believe I’ve created a foundation of believability.

The characters I create or use to get me there must be plausible, as must everything else about the storyline.

I don’t like to or think I need to keep reminding readers about how emotions drive characters ad nauseam. If I write it well the reader understands from a single telling how Stanton Wilson feels about the death of his fiancée. To remind the reader of his emotional state when he saw her die, is more about adding words and pages than moving the plot of character development.

Now I put the manuscript aside for a few weeks and work on other projects. This will allow me to return to Green Cabin without the clutter of creation in my head.

See you soon.

Green Cabin – End of 1st Draft

“It will be there in five Solars.”

Stanton knew she meant earth time rather than attempting to calculate and live by a calendar set up to matched the ring world.

“What if they have additional ships on the way now?”

“It seems unlikely since the two in orbit now are large enough to hold twice as many people as are here.”

Stanton frowned and rubbed an itch under his left eye. “Okay. That sounds logical, but I’d like to be prepared in case we’re wrong about that.”

“We have nothing we can use to destroy them.” Attrea squatted and looked Minerva in the eye. “What do you think?”

Minerva had obviously been listening. She nodded and pointed at the sky. “They plan to invade and conquer the territory around them as far as possible. They will slaughter males including boys and infants. They must be stopped completely.”

Attrea nodded and put her hands on Minerva’s shoulders. “I am glad you are with us. I only wish I might’ve known you mother Margaret.”

“The healers claim I am like her but how would they know without truly knowing her?”

“The healers have the gift of mind read. They only use it with creatures that are struggling to live. So it is possible they knew Margaret through what they call a mind mesh.”

Minerva smiled weakly. “Can they share with me what they learned?”

“I am not sure. I will ask for you.” Attrea stood and took Minerva’s hand. “For now we should eat and rest. I believe Taisie will join us come sunrise.”

With the sunrise Stanton viewed through the satellite link the smoke on the ring where the invaders lived had grown substantially. To him it looked like a large segment of the ring world became in inferno.

How can they plan to live there? How can they even breathe? He scratched his head as if his hair itched. Damn! They went back to the colony ships. That’s how. We will need stealth gear and full body armor to invade their ships and survive. Weapons too.

In the distance he heard to gristmill begin operating. The sounds were unique. The steady splashing of water dropping from the wheel cups. The grind of gears. The odd noise the huge belts made and they glided over pulleys and guides. The grinding stones made a noise that hurt his teeth.

Shaking his head to dismiss the feeling of annoyance he felt, he turned to the sound of someone approaching. A tree disk had settled about a hundred feet behind him. Attrea, Minerva, Taisie, and two Healers stepped off.

He smiled warmly when his eyes met Taisie’s. “You appear well. How do you feel?”

“I am ready to return for a bit of retribution. This time I will not attempt communications.” She stopped in front of him as if reluctant to touch him. Then she shrugged and stepped closer, put her arms around his shoulders and hugged him hard. “Thank you again. I live due to your generosity.”

Gently, he kissed her cheek. “You live cause you’re too stubborn to do otherwise.”

She laughed lightly. “That may be so, but it is your blood that mingles with mine now. And that gave me new life.” She let him go and stepped back. “But I must tell you it feels a little itchy.” She grinned.

Stanton did not know how to reply so laughed with her. “Just be sure you don’t lose any of it.”

Together they turned to face Attrea. Stanton pointed up. “There is more smoke now than yesterday. I think the fire got away from them. And I think they returned to their ships.”

“You don’t think they plan on moving elsewhere do you?” Attrea sounded concerned.

“Maybe. Can we program a drone to explode and send it to the engine room?”

“We can arm and program it to do that but we do not know where the engine room might be.”

Stanton sighed, shook his head, and thought that invaders had the advantage.

“Why don’t we send a larger drone equipped to do a 3D scan of the ship. Surely the engine room is in the lower rear section.” Taisie said.

Attrea smiled. “That we can do. We can also determine where the invaders are staying.” She turned and walked away, tapping a message into her wrist pad.

When she returned she smiled weakly. “Everything is set. Our first team is assembling the final components. Second team arranges the portal and connects it to the satellite. The trick is timing the arrive to the moment the satellite opens to accept the drone. But you shouldn’t concern yourself too much. Both teams are experienced. It is they how build and connect portals to one another. They’ve worked together for several decades since we discovered this world.” She opened her hands and spread her arms to encompass the ring world.

“Is there a note time frame for completion?”

“Twenty-four solar hours.”

“Then I say we get something to eat. Taisie and I need to be fitted with armor and stealth gear. I want us in and out quickly and successfully.”

“As do we all,” Attrea said. “Once we have the data from the satellite’s scanning probe I will show you where you two can enter the ship without immediate confrontation. We will create a temporary portal there. That way you can get in, do the work that’s needed and get out. Hopefully before any of the invaders discover your activities.”

Minerva nodded vigorously. “I am hungry too.” She grinned when the adults looked at her slightly astonished.

Then they all laughed, which sounded as much like relief and humor. Eating the foods prepared by the Healers, which Stanton thought was more vegan mush that anything protein rich, settled them into a warm family-like routine.

Attrea’s wrist link beeped twice. She stood, walked away and raised it so she could read it. Stanton watched her nodding. Then she returned and tapped the tiny keypad. That created a holograph of the colony ship’s rear lower hull.

She tapped more directions into the unit. Now the hull slowly became transparent. The engine room was huge. The twin turbines, with FTL drive ability glowed yellow orange as if they were but idling.

“They look ready to use.” Stanton stood and pointed to the light red/yellow glow. “And there are several people working around them.”

He turned and looked at Attrea. “How soon can we get the gear we need and then transfer over?”

“Everything already exists. We may need to make some minor adjustments so the armor fits properly. Otherwise you and Taisie can leave before sunset.

“You should also know that the portal from here will pass through the satellite. There is slight risk that you may be affected negatively. But it hasn’t happened before so I feel you’ll be safe. We will hold the portal open for eight hours. If you do not return by then, it will automatically shut down. After that the portal will reopen every three hours and remain open for two hours.”

Stanton opened his mouth to reply, then drew a deep breath, held it and slowly released it. “Let’s get started.”

Forty-five minutes later Stanton and Taisie stood side by side. Both wore the newest armor design. It covered from the tops of their heads to the soles of their shoes. Stealth gear was built in and controlled by a trigger device in the right hip pocket of the armor. They had impregnable facemasks invisible to the viewer. Both carried the most powerful laser stun hand weapon available. The weapon was attached to the armor suit’s belt so if it was dropped it would not be lost. They also had mini-nucs that would emit a powerful burst of energy to destroy the targets. But would not emit more than a trace of nuclear energy. It had a null half-life so the ship would not be contaminated.

They reviewed the detailed scan of the colony ship and chose a target area where the portal would open.

“We’re ready,” Taisie said calmly.

Attrea scrutinized each of the carefully. She walked around them and finally nodded her satisfaction.

Without speaking, she turned and used her wristband to open the portal. It started as a pinpoint of purple light and grew into a hole big enough for a person to pass through. The edges shimmered and then slowly stabilized.

Attrea glanced over her shoulder. Stanton could see she struggled to hide the emotions she felt.

“We will return,” He said and stepped into the portal. Taisie followed the recommended thirty seconds between travelers.

The portal sprang into a long twisting tubular shape. It’s end was not visible.

Attrea turned to the Healer and Minerva. “We should get some food and rest. They will need several hours to complete their assigned tasks.”

She led them back to a travel disk, which took them high in the tree.

Stanton stepped out of the portal and found he stood behind one of the massive FTL drive turbines aboard the colony ship. The space around him was the same yellow orange they’d seen before.

A brief tap on his right shoulder told him Taisie was with him. He tapped the side of the facemask to activate their comm system. When he turned to look at her, Taisie was nearly invisible. He knew she’d not fully turned on her stealth gear.

“Let’s find the power source for these engines. Then we can plant the explosives where they won’t be seen.”

She nodded and went around the engine. “I’ve got on here,” she said softly. “Explosive planted and activated. We have three hours to finish.”

Stanton found the second power source and planted and turned on his explosive device. “Ready?” he asked her.


Taisie came around the engine and stood directly next to him so their shoulders touched.

Stanton activated the portal using the wristband Attrea gave each of them. The portal opened instantly and second later they were in the other colony ship. Where hell’s fury awaited.

Laser fire criss-crossed the air surrounding them. The red beams didn’t damage the FTL turbines, but did etch lines in the outer metal casings.

Stanton dove for cover when the laser beams started sizzling the air around him. His stealth shield held. He looked for Taisie and found her standing her ground. She fought with vengeance in mind and bodies began filling the access points to the engine room.

In less than five minutes, she stopped the invaders’ attack.

Stanton felt a bit foolish, got to his feet and stood shoulder to shoulder with Taisie. He added his firepower as a second wave of invaders began crawling, climbing over the bodies of their dead comrades.

When they finally stopped, Stanton attempted to count the dead and injured. He could not. Both he and Taisie bore the scars of hundreds of laser hits. And he saw they both had trickles of blood dripping down their bodies, legs, and arms.

“Don’t know what type lasers they used, but they are more powerful than ours.”

“We should collect a few and return with them. Then we can reverse engineer and create our own.”

Let’s get the explosives set first.” Stanton pulled his from his carry pack. He examined it and saw that somehow a single laser strike had penetrated the trigger mechanism. “Shit,” he said. “This one is already counting down.”

“How long?” Taisie asked.

“Five minutes.” Stanton located the spot where it needed to be fixed and did so.

Taisie had to climb over stacks of bodies to reach the far turbine. By the time she finished, the damaged trigger was counting down from two minutes.

“Open a portal from there and get out now.” Stanton called. He listened and heard the sound of her portal open.

“See you when we get back.” She called and then he heard her enter the portal.

At that moment the first colony ship exploded.

Stanton was tossed around and slammed his head on a metal beam. He struggled to keep from passing out fingers fumbling with his portal controls. He heard a rumble and knew he was out of time.

Then his portal opened and he staggered into it. Behind him cascades of fire and debris followed. Something slammed into the back of his head. I’m not going to survive this, he thought and passed out.

Taisie fell through the portal opening and landed at Attrea’s feet. She could only crawl. “One of the triggering devices was damaged. Hundreds of the invaders awaited us on the second ship.” She turned and sat. Blood began pooling around her.

Attrea tapped into her wristband. “We need multiple Healers at once.”

That was when Stanton literally blew through his portal and rolled to a stop when he collided with a boulder. He did not show signs of life.

It was five days before Stanton opened his eyes. His head felt like someone was drumming inside it. The sunlight burned his eyes. He attempted to sit, but failed.

He groaned loudly. Instantly, he was surrounded by Healers. The sight of them gave him a moment’s fright. “My god where am I?”

Then Taisie appeared. She took his right hand and held it with both of hers. She opened her mouth to speak and found she could not.

Stanton squinted and focused on her face. His lips moved to smile, but failed. “I hope I didn’t take back my blood from you.”

Tears ran down Taisie’s cheek. She shook her head. “You are seriously concussed. The Healers have treated you for days. They didn’t believe you would even regain consciousness. I am deeply thankful they were incorrect.”

“Me too,” he mumbled and drifted into sleep.

Another five days passed before he recovered enough to attempt to stand. He managed to sit and then saw Minerva and Attrea watching.

“I think I’ll live,” he said glad his voice sounded normal.

Minerva ran over and climbed onto his lap. “Good,” she said. “I was pretty worried. But Attrea told me you have a very hard head.”

“I did not,” Attrea said fighting a smile. “I said, well okay I did.” She sat next to him and rested her head on his shoulder.

“The colony ships burned. I’m afraid most if not all the invaders may’ve died.” She turned and gently kissed his cheek. “Their earth-made lasers are quite powerful. We have a tech team working on them.”

“I hope we never need to use them,” Stanton said. “I am sorry we killed so many invaders. I did believe we would destroy the engines only.”

“From what our aftermath scans displayed the invaders’ ships were laden with explosives. The damage done was due to that not what you and Taisie accomplished. Which, by the way was astonishing. She told us about the damaged timer.” Her voice broke. Her eyes watered. “If you had not reached your portal when you did, even if you’d been five seconds later, you would be dead now.”

He took her hand. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Speechless at last,” Taisie said as she joined them. She placed a hand on Attrea’s shoulder and said softly, “Did you tell him yet?”

Attrea reached and put her arm around him. “I want to carry your child, Stanton. With Minerva I want us to be a real family this time. Earth is beyond repair. We have fought for too long to prevent the self-destructiveness that seems part of humanity’s DNA.”

He nodded. Used his arm to pull her closer. As if that was possible. “It’s time I stop hunting and start living.”

But he was immortal.

Green Cabin part 85

Attrea stood and turned to him. “They are why I called you here. Well, I wanted you with me too, but they are from earth at a time when wars raged.”

“A time before my time. My world wasn’t destroyed by nuclear weapons. Therefore they are either lying or there is an explanation that doesn’t fit.”

“Which do you believe to be true?” Attrea asked.

“They are lying. You saw my time when you held the light on your hand, which allowed me to return to confront my once best friend. The pandemic destroyed civilization then.”

“Perhaps the pandemic from your time was a byproduct of radiation poisoning?”

Stanton frowned etching lines deep into his brow. “I never considered that possibility. It might explain why there was no true cure other than immunes like me. But since I’m an immortal actually born long before then, well that too offers an explanation as to why my antibodies cured so few.”

“You think they too were immortals?”

“Either that or they were ancestral cousins. I can’t think of another reason. But if that’s true think of the awfulness being a healthcare provider. They thought that they could stop the disease and even save the vast majority of humans, but they could do neither and never suspected that truth.” He stopped talking and rubbed his face and eyes with both hands. “It’s all too hard to truly comprehend.”

“So let’s assume the invaders are honest. Taisie left earth 2234. However she was born much much earlier as you were.”

“That does explain a lot.”

Attrea reached out and took his hand. “I think it best if we disable their ships.”

“Or destroy them?”

“If necessary. We can quarantine them to that section of the ring. There are no other humans within thousand of square miles. They can live out their lives and be as happy as possible. And they will then be no threat to the rest of us living here.”

“Can you create a portal to get several of us on one of the ships? If so I can get to the bridge and learn how to disable it permanently.”

“I will need to establish distances. They seem to be stationary, but missing by a foot might kill you one way or another.”

“How can I assist?” Stanton pulled her closer and put an arm around her shoulders.

She leaned into him and neither spoke for a few moments. Then she said, “For now be with Minerva. I can returned to the mountain and assemble a team. They will help me with calculations. We will build and send a small soundless drone. It will enter the satellite. From there it will be sent over and into one of their ships. If we succeed the drone will record everything in the ship. That will allow you a better chance at success.”

“Can’t say I want us to be separated again but I agree.” Stanton lowered his head and kissed her lightly.

Attrea grabbed him and held him wrapping her arms around his neck. ”We are safe again. You and I and Minerva can start a life together.”

He exhaled a short breath. Almost a laugh or a sigh. “Yes.”

Then she released him and walked to the edge of the disk. Seconds later a traveling disk appeared. She stepped onto it, glanced back and waved, and then she was gone.

Two hours passed before Attrea returned. During that time the Healers, using Minerva as an interrupter informed Stanton that Taisie would recover and be her normal self within several days.

“She requested that she speaks with you. If you agree you must do so now. She needs sedation and continued rest.”

“I will come now.” Stanton said.

A second Healer walked to Minerva. “I will stay with your child.”

No more conversation passed between Stanton and the Healer as they rode a tree disk to a lower level.

He saw Taisie resting comfortably he hoped. She was on a ground level bed with sheets, pillows, and blankets. When she heard him, he saw her turn her head. She appeared alert, but exhausted.

Stanton stopped alongside her. The Healer stood back to give them privacy.

Taisie reached for his hand. Weakly grasping him, she said, “Thank you for saving me.”

He nodded, feeling that what he did he did out of friendship and love so didn’t need thanking.

She cleared her throat and glanced at a hide water container. Stanton helped her drink. “Do not return without me. Those bitches didn’t give me a chance to explain why I was there.”

“You killed their leader.”

She nodded. “I’m afraid that she left out choice. But if you go alone they will at the least bring you to the edge of death.”

“I do not believe Attrea wants another confrontation. She indicated that we should disable or destroy their colony ships.”

“Then I want to accompany you when you do that.” She squeezed his hand weakly.

He nodded and said. “Okay. I think we will need several days to prepare. Attrea plans to create a portal that will open inside one ship. It will be operated from inside a satellite. Then I think we should send a drone to scout the interior locate the bridge and engine room.”

Taisie nodded. “Good. I will be ready in two or three days.” She winced as if in pain, raised her hand as he was about to speak. “Even an immortal can die. I always knew that to be true, but to be on the edge of such darkness is a lesson I will never forget.”

“We will be safe together.” Stanton heard movement behind him, glance back and saw the Healer approaching. “I will return in two days. For now please rest and recover.” He leaned and kissed her forehead, then turned and walked to the traveling disk. Minerva waited with a Healer. Together they descended to where Attrea would be when she returned.

Nothing unexpected happened during the following two days. By then Stanton was becoming anxious. He desired an end to the long travel time that began as he entered to portal on earth.

He and Minerva visited the gristmill twice. The first time it was not operating. The second time the big waterwheel turned steadily. The grinding stones pulverized grains filling sacks that would be distributed throughout the area.

They watched wagons burdened with fresh grain arrive and then after unloading depart with sacks of meal.

A flash of blue light caught Stanton’s attention. He turned and saw Attrea walking to him. She carried a small metallic box under her arm.

“You’re back,” he said redundantly and grinned feeling a bit foolish.

She smiled and once she stood directly in front of him handed him the box. “This a newly designed drone. The audio and video will sound and look as if we are there. The motor is silent so if there is anyone on the colony ship they will not hear it. Our tech team added stealth technology, which should make the drone invisible.”

Stanton opened the box and lifted out a tubular shaped object that, if it didn’t had a small propeller, would look useless. “This is very light.”

“Six ounces.” Attrea responded.

“Has it been tested?”

“Several times. It worked flawlessly.”

Stanton pointed up in the direction of the invaders base. “Through the satellites I’ve seen a lot of smoke. The fires must be massive.”

“This is why we must act quickly. Apparently they are clearing forest, using fire. As far as we can tell from satellites they are burning hundreds of acres.”

“Why would they? Are there more of them than what Taisie concluded?”

Attrea shook her head, wiped her hands across her face and pushed loose strands of black hair behind her ears. “We think that they decided to set up a perimeter wide enough that they cannot be invaded without the invaders being visible for miles.

“My research team also thinks they are planning to return to earth for more members of their society.”

“Then we must disable their ships soon.” He glanced up again. “When will the rain cycle saturate them?”’

“It will be there in five Solars.”

Green Cabin part 84

They entered the house through a normal looking door. Wood with four-pane window in the top half. There was no porch just three steps up a brick staircase.

Inside everything looked normal to his time except he saw no holo-displays. In fact he did not see anything that might have to do with entertainment.

Minerva walked to the kitchen where stainless steel and slate formed the cabinets and shelves. He smiled as he watched her tug in the refrigerator door failing to open it. He assisted. He gathered what was needed to construct a good meal as Attrea collected medical supplies for the coming morning.

After that they settled into a routine that made him feel at home. They talked and laughed. Then long after the sunset, got Minerva climbed into bed.

Attrea guided him into a second bedroom where they resumed what they’d begun in the green cabin.

An hour later, Stanton dropped into a deep sleep.

Attrea woke him. He rubbed his eyes and was about to ask the time. She was up and dressing.

Stanton joined her. Then he gathered the bag of medical supplies. As he moved to the door, Minerva stepped out of her room and walked to him. She was dressed.

Without a word, the three left the house and went directly to the portal. There were there less and five minutes. The blue light began like a distant throbbing ring, building and growing as it neared them. Seconds passed then Taisie appeared. There was blood running down the right side of her neck.

She dropped at his feet. She was semi-conscious. Stanton saw wounds everywhere. It looked like she’d been in a knife fight. Her right hand was locked around the hilt of her sword. It was covered in blood and slim pieces of flesh and muscle.

Stanton dropped to his knees. Carefully examining the worst of her wounds, the right jugular he pinched closed. It had been leaking blood steadily. Not ruptured so she’d immediately bleed out, but she’d lost enough blood to look pale and weak.

“The only way to kill an immortal is beheading. Whoever she fought knew this. Fortunately Taisie was quick enough to escape the worst of the blow.”

Attrea knelt alongside him. “We can save her.”

“There is nothing we can do here.” He announced. “We need to Healers.” He glanced over at Attrea.

Then he thought, I’ve lost Margaret I’ll not lose Taisie too.

She nodded, stood, and stepped away about fifty feet. She removed some small electronic device from a hip pocket. Blue-green light illuminated the air before it as she held it aloft.

Attrea moved it in a circle. The light blinked in what looked like a code. Then slowly, a gate appeared.

“You must carry her,” she told Stanton.

He nodded and struggling with her weight, lifted the warrior and staggered to the portal. Minerva joined him before he could tell her no. Together with Attrea they stepped through.

Stanton smelled the tree. The air around it. Smoke from a distant fire. Then he was kneeling on a round dirt platform. One attached to the tree. The sun was starting to rise setting shadows moving as if they were sent to greet them.

Carefully he lowered Taisie to the ground. He heard a familiar sound. He looked over the edge of the dirt disk and saw three healers rising on a small disk.

They reached his location in less than two minutes. Stanton still hand his fingers closing the arterial wound. The first healer trilled several tones. He looked at Attrea. She nodded, answered with trills. Then she said to Stanton, “They need you to keep the artery closed as you are until they can get Taisie to their infirmary.”

Stanton nodded. “Okay. I found it quite difficult carry her as well. I’ll need help.”

Attrea conveyed the message. The third Healer approached him. It waved one arm in a circle. Taisie floated upward.

The second Healer touched Stanton’s shoulder. The contact filled him with an odd sensation that relaxed his worries. Once he seemed ready, they moved onto the Healer’s disk. Minerva jumped on. The Healers smiled kindly at her.

The disk sank steadily. The lower it went the darker the area around them got. The disk sank into the ground at the base of the tree. They continued down for several minutes. Then it stopped. Stanton saw they were in a room that looked like the inside of a modern hospital. Except this one had jars of herbs and liquids he could not describe.

They moved the warrior to a clean shiny table. Carefully, the first Healer placed a pillow under her head. Then he waved his hand. A small laser appeared. Using it he moved its green beam along the edge of Taisie’s neck where Stanton had his fingers.

Briefly, he smelled burning flesh. After several seconds, the Healer tapped his hand indicating he should let go.

Stanton did so with much reluctance. But then saw the wound had sealed completely. Raw emotion ran through him. He stepped back, bumped into a chair and dropped into it.

Attrea walked over and told him, “The Healers need to give her blood. They believe yours in compatible. You are B+ and so is she.”

Stanton stood wearily. Removed his shirt, which exposed his many scars. The Healers moved a second table alongside Taisie’s. Stanton climbed on and lay down.

A minute later he was connected to the warrior by a device that drew blood from him and slowly pumped it into her. Stanton closed his eyes, drifted off.

When Stanton awoke, he was told he had given her two pints. He felt weakened, but pleased he helped his friend. He turned onto his side to study her. The paleness from blood lose was replaced with normal color. Her chest rose and fell evenly not as ragged as when she stepped through the portal.

He reached a hand to touch her arm, but felt too weak to finish. Attrea came to him and assisted. Now Stanton felt Taisie’s pulse. It was steady not reedy as before.

Nodding, he rolled onto his back and looked up into the tree. To Attrea he said, “Do we know at all what or whom she confronted?”

Attrea stood next to him. “She recorded the encounter on a cube.”

A cube?He thought and then recalled the method.

“Do you have a display device with you?” He asked.

“I do.” Attrea said, “but will need a power source. The Healers and tree people use only sunlight for energy. That is what feeds the life force of the tree and therefore sustains them all.”

Stanton could only nod. He knew there was not much they might currently do to seek revenge. Or to attempt a peace agreement.

“Peace or war?” Attrea asked. “Is that your thoughts?”

“I’m afraid I am feeling less tolerant than I once did. The way Margaret was murdered and the fact I could do nothing to revenge such a senseless death disturbed me rather negatively. When we brought her to the Healers I hoped she might be healed and saved. As it turned out they struggled to keep Minerva alive.”

“And for that you are blessed I believe.”

“I agree. She is growing fast. I suppose the DNA mix from me and Margaret created something very special.”

Attrea didn’t reply. Instead she stood. “I will get you some food and drink. They told me you would need a day and night to recover. You must eat more than normal too.” She left him alone.

After the second meal brought to him by a Healer, Stanton began to feel stronger. Yet he waited until he’d slept through the night before daring to attempt natural activities.

He felt a bit off balance, but after a few seconds that passed. Next he decided to seek Attrea and learn if she’d spoken to Taisie assuming the warrior survived.

Attrea was sitting at the edge of the disk. She was in what he’d heard called the lotus position. Her hands rested on her knees. Thumbs and first fingers forming a circle. She was humming a single sound that he could not decipher.

Stanton sat ten feet away and waited. Attrea finished and stood fluidly, turned and smiled. “How do you feel?”

“Stronger and ready,” he replied. “Have you spoken to Taisie?”

“No. The last time I tried the Healer told me she would be in a coma for at least another day.”

“So we do not know what happened to her then?”

“She recorded everything with her implant. The Healer was able to transfer the data onto a sim card.”

“Have you reviewed it?”

Attrea shook her head. “No, I thought it best to wait until you were ready and then we’d see it together.”

“I’m ready if you are.”

She reached for his hand. He grasped hers and instantly felt an emotional jolt of joy.

They walked to the base of the tree trunk where the disk attached. There was a small door wide and tall enough for Attrea but Stanton needed to bend over and then twist his torso to get inside. There he saw a small room filled with electronics.

Attrea sat before a monitor and tapped a keyboard with pictographic images rather than letters and numbers. She didn’t seem to need to look where her fingers landed as she tapped a code. The monitor filled with a moving image showing Taisie traveling through the portal. It was a bit disorienting with rings of brilliant colors throbbing and moving her from entry to exit. The entire event took less than ten seconds but seemed dizzyingly longer to Stanton.

Then Taisie walked though into a dense forest. Distantly he heard the sounds of drums and female voices singing about travel and freedom. Taisie slowed and squatted looking at a scene before her Stanton imagined might be some late night horror movie.

The tallest of the women danced naked, coated in what looked like blood. It dripped off her, pooling whenever she stopped. She stood about six feet tall, he guessed she weighed 150 no visible fat. She was hairless from the top of her head to her feet. Watching her was nearly hypnotic.

“I wear the blood of the men we slaughtered. Men who destroyed our homes, our families, our world.” She stooped and lifted a large metal container, poured blood over her head. It slid down her body like a slow moving waterfall.

Taisie leaned slightly to the left for a clearer view.

The dancer stopped in the center of the circle. A ring of low fire surrounded her, illuminated her, cast shadows that extended upward, which distorted her otherwise fine features. Her hair was red hung straight down to her waist. When she moved it enveloped her torso.

Now she squatted, sat back on her heels. Stanton actually felt a tinge of embarrassment at her exposure.

She looked skyward, pointed with both hands arms extended overhead. “We have arrived at the only safe destination for our kind. The men we left behind who still live will perish. Their world once ours is dying because of them. Our children died too. Except those we kept with us.

“This world we know is a massive ring, but no one will be allowed to enter our domain. If they try we shall eliminate them without prejudice. Never again shall we suffer injustice.”

Taisie rubbed her nose as if the smoke blowing in her direction was an irritant.

“We took the last two colony ships. We are free.” Slowly she stood, turned in a slow circle looking at each woman surrounding her.

Stanton tried counting, but they stood in concentric circle off into the growing darkness. He managed to count a hundred, but guessed there were, twice that number.

“Now we must begin establishing our new home. Unload the ships and assemble buildings. Those who stay here will clear areas for our homes and shops. Also bring all weapons. We cannot allow. . .”

Taisie sneezed. It was loud, sounded like a echo.

Seconds after, she was surrounded by a dozen women carrying long knives and crossbows.

“You will stand and approach. If you move to hold your sword you will be killed.” The leader said with command authority.

Taisie did as ordered. “Where have you traveled from?” she asked as she neared the leader.

“The planet Earth. Are you familiar with it?”

“Yes. I too originated there.” Taisie stopped walking directly outside of the ring of fire. “I left earth in 2234. How about you?”

“That’s impossible. The men destroyed everything with nuclear weapons in 2156. We saw it as our ships left orbit. Mushroom clouds covered every land mass.” The woman stepped outside of the fire. “Who are you and why do you lie?”

“I am Taisie. I am a warrior of this world. I do not lie.”

The woman punched Taisie hard enough to visibly stun her. Taisie stumbled back several steps and drew her sword. She was faster. Her blade slid from its sheath and with one swing easily decapitated the woman who hit her.

Then it seemed Taisie realized her error. She was attacked with knives. It reminded Stanton of a death of a thousand cuts.

But despite the wounds, Taisie fought with a vicious ferocity. Steadily moving back to where the portal left her. Once there, now bleeding badly, she tapped the pin on her chest. The portal opened. The women who fought her staggered back to where their leader lay dead eyes wide with surprise, maybe fear.

The portal opened with the usual sound of a hawk’s cry and Taisie fell through. The next event we saw was Stanton and Attrea waiting.Stanton shook his head once Attrea shut everything down. “Do we leave them alone? Or do you think that’s too much of a risk?”

Green Cabin part 83

“What has happened that made my return so urgent?”

“Across the ring there are invaders. They did not come in peace. They have set off explosions with no concern for the consequences should they punch a hole in the ring. We must stop them.”

“How many?”

“We relocated two satellites for observation and to target localized portals. What we’ve seen is that they arrived in two ships possibly from earth.”

“So hundreds at least.”

“Yes, but the majority of them will not be fighters. So its plausible there are only a two to four companies of military.”

“With massive explosives. Do we know who or what resided in that sector?”

Attrea shook her head. She ran her fingers through her dark hair, pushed it behind her ears. All signs of frustration. “We do not.”

“There is a portal to connect us to them?”

She nodded. “I don’t believe they are aware of our gates since they used colony ships to travel. And I do not want them learning about them either.”

“I understand.” Stanton paused to think. “Can we use one not close to their landing site?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Then I’ll go and inspect then return. That way only I will be in danger and as I suspect you know, I am immortal. Unless they behead me I cannot die.”

She watched his eyes carefully as if wanting to read his emotions. “You cannot die. I have waited too long and this time I may not allow you to travel again. Besides, you have a child to care for.”

It was at that moment that Taisie stopped walking and stood alongside Stanton. Minerva held her hand and looked at Attrea.

“I know you,” Minerva said in her small voice.”

Attrea eyes wide with surprise tilted her head as if to do so helped her see better and understand. “I do not recognize you.”

“You will soon.” Minerva removed her hand from the warrior’s and captured Stanton’s hand instead. “You can’t leave here daddy.”

He opened his mouth to speak and was interrupted by Taisie.

“She is right. I will travel across and return with the answers we need to proceed.” As Stanton again started to talk, she added, “You know this is correct. The child needs her father and this is also what Margaret would’ve desired.”

Stanton drew a slow deep breath exhaled and nodded. “I will help you prepare.”

Taisie carried a travel backpack. It reminded Stanton of a go bag. He assisted her with her armor. When finished she looked ready to do battle.

They went and met Attrea and Minerva. “There is a gate within a stone arch over that rise.” Attrea pointed to a small hill about a hundred feet up behind where they stood.

“When you reach the gate you will need to walk swiftly through it. Do not hesitate and look back. The gate is newly designed and still needs adjustment. We installed it rather hurriedly because of the invaders.”

“I understand.” Taisie took Stanton’s hands and held them longer enough to express her emotions. Then she walked towards the hill went over it and a minute later Stanton saw a flash of blue light. The warrior was gone.

He turned to Attrea. “Is there a place we can stay while she’s gone?”

Attrea smiled expressing amusement and more. “You and the warrior are old friends. Did you know?”

“I suspected such. Truthfully I am still groggy with confusion. Learning I am immortal is daunting. Was I born immortal? Do you know?”

“No one is born immortal.” She reached and took his hand.

The contact felt electric. Stanton squeezed gently. “Why did I need to experience all I’ve done since leaving the green cabin?” He pulled so she was closer. Then he looked at her face. It was unlined, light pink complexion perfect. Her silver eyes seemed to study him carefully.

“It is not mine to explain. The portal you chose guided you to a certain place here. Then events unfolded in a sequence not necessarily random. Time guides and we follow. The paths we walk are fated. Therefore we must learn to love fate.”

“Stoically,” he added and grinned.

They found Minerva piling flat stones. The first one was largest and each after was progressively smaller. She was standing tiptoe to get the final stone in place.

Stanton felt parental pride, wanted to gather her in his arms and hug her. But he suspected she’d not be pleased with that at the moment.

“We must leave,” he told her.

She nodded and put the top stone exactly so it would not be off-balanced. “We need to return her at daybreak.” She said.

“Why?” Stanton took her tiny hand as the three of them began walking towards the mountain behind them.

“Taisie will return. She will be injured. You must prepare to help her.”

A sharp stab of fear jolted through his chest. “How do you know this?”

Minerva answered with a tiny shrug. She did not speak. Then looked at Attrea and asked, “Can we eat soon? I’m very hungry.”

“How badly will Taisie be hurt?” Stanton persisted.

“If you are here and prepared she will not last long.”

They had reached the safety of the meadow far from the edge of the cliff. Minerva shook her hand lose and skipped and danced through the wildflowers.

“Don’t fret,” Attrea said. “We will gather all the supplied we might need tonight. I’ll have a watchman wake us before the sun lifts out of night.”

Stanton nodded and before he could reply saw a small house in the distance. He pointed. “This is yours?”

“It is ours. We need to stay up here for several days. Then when we know it is safe we will descend to the plains below where we can live.”

“Until. . .”

Attrea stopped and stepped before him. She lifted onto her toes and kissed him. “Whenever. I have waited long for you to arrive.”

Stanton lowered his head to kiss her again. He’d not quite recalled how amazing her lips felt. As his lips brushed hers, he heard a familiar sound. With a wry smile, he glanced up and saw he owl flying in their direction.

“I wondered where he was,” he said.

“Never far,” Attrea told him and reached up, put her hand behind his head and pulled him down so she could finish the kiss.As good as he felt, Minerva’s words haunted him. Taisie was a true friend. She was, he believed also immortal. Her getting injured badly enough to put her in jeopardy felt stunning.

Green Cabin part 82

Stanton helped set up a temporary camp. Once Minerva was sleeping, after eating a meal of berries and dried meat rations, he collapsed.

The sounds around him settled down as night traveled across their location. When an odd noise encroached and woke him, Stanton was awake in seconds. A dim light illuminated the figure of a male dressed in mixed armor. His polished steel helmet was like a bell with a ring pinnacle at the top. It had cheek guards.

Otherwise he word chainmail, which covered him from the neck to his waist where it flared out. Wide well-worn leather straps crossed his chest and wrapped around his waist. Everything looked old. His mail pants ended inside knee-high boots that laced up the front. He held a lantern aloft with a lit candle inside. Across his shoulders rode a heavy woven vest with what Stanton believed were Scottish clan markings. In his left hand was a long sword that glinted light from the candle.

Stanton pulled his own sword from under the bedding he’d used. Then he stood fully prepared to fight if needed.

“You must come with me,” the intruder told him.

Stanton shook his head trying to get the grogginess out. “Why? Who sent you?”

“As you discovered yesterday the way you’ve chosen to reach the summit is filled with pitfalls. You will never see one until it is too late. Therefore to achieve your immediate goal I will lead you. As to who sent me, well, I think you know.”

“Attrea,” he said softly. “Is that true?”

The intruder nodded. “She awaits your arrival. Time is running out.”

“Time for what?”

“Prepare your child and awaken the warrior. Then we will travel.” He stared at Stanton making it plain he would answer no more questions.

As Stanton turned to rouse Taisie, he discovered she was awake donning her armor.

He went to Minerva and she too was awake. “We must leave now.” He spoke quietly.

“Yes. Attrea is anxious,” the girl said in reply.

“You are growing quickly.”

Minerva looked down at herself and nodded. “Because of mother. Every time I change I grow and age. It will happen until I am an adult.”

Stanton drew a deep breath preparing to speak, then did not. Instead he helped repack their supplies.

When finished he nodded to the intruder. “We are ready.”

The intruder turned around and began walking. He followed a path likely known only to him. As dawn leaked over the peaks of the mountains, he looked back at Stanton. “Do not worry about what happened next. We will be safe.”

Stanton frowned, glanced at Taisie, Minerva, and then blue light surrounded them. The ground they stood on, the air, the land, the mountains, the lake, disappeared.

When the light extinguished, Stanton blinked and rubbed his eyes to clear them. Then he looked at what was before them. They stood near the top of a mountain. A finger of stone extended out over a deep void. At the tip he saw a small human figure.

He turned to Taisie. “Please wait here and keep Minerva safely with you.”

“I will,” Taisie said.

Stanton nodded and dropped his gear. He walked as quickly as the uneven ground allowed, slipped once, nearly fell, and then reached the mountain end of the finger. As he walked towards the tip of it, he saw a familiar figure. She stood straight. Her raven black hair lit by sunlight so the gold threads in it glittered as she moved. Her silver eyes were opened wide when she turned and saw him.

“Attrea,” he spoke loudly enough for her to hear, he hoped, but not too loud.

She extended her arms as he grew near. Then she was holding him. He her. His heart felt like it began to beat a normal rhythm for the first time since Margaret died.

“I am glad you arrived finally. I was beginning to worry that you’d set too many difficulties for yourself.” She spoke with her head pressed against his chest.

“Perhaps,” he said. “But not once did I recall that I planned the misery I lived through. I don’t believe meeting Margaret as part of the original.”

“No, but your daughter is very gifted as was her mother. I’d heard talk of the first half of the twenty-first century as if it was nothing more than humanity’s nightmare. But learning through you what Margaret experienced then, well,” Attrea left the thought unfinished. “Now we much assemble the others.”

Green Cabin part 81

He managed to stop before he fell into the opening. The ground continued to move until he and Minerva stood on a round disk with a moat wrapped around them.

Minerva squirmed and said in a miniature adult voice, “Put me down father or you might fall in with Taisie.”

He did what she asked. When her feet touched dirt and grass, Minerva shape shifted. She looked much as Margaret had, but more delicate and the action did not seem to cause her pain. Without another word, she spread her wings and dove into the hole where Taisie fell. Silence followed.

Stanton sighed and shrugged, then sat to wait hoping they would both return alive. But after a few long moments, he could wait no longer. He stood walked to the edge and looked down. Darkness greeted him. He could not see if the opening surrounding him was shallow or endless.

He located a stone and reached out, dropped it and began counting. It hit before he reached three. “Minerva,” he called, listened and thought he heard wings. My daughter has wings, he thought. Before he finished, Minerva flew into sight.

“Taisie is jammed between two boulder,” the child spoke like an adult. “You must help her.”

“How deep?”

“Before you ten feet. Where she is stuck much deeper.”

Stanton turned and lowered himself over the edge, let go and was glad Minerva’s estimate was correct. Without a light to guide him he used one foot to test the ground in front of him. He kept his right hand against the side of the hole and cautiously walked until his front foot hovered over nothing.

“Is this where she is?” He asked.

“Below you,” Minerva replied.

“What is down there besides boulders?”

“I saw nothing else. There must be a way out though.”

Stanton knelt and reached across the opening. He discovered that it was quite narrow. Carefully maneuvering his body so his left hand touched the opposite wall, he swung his left leg over and was relieved to feel it contact the same wall. Now he slowly entered the hole and by pressing his feet and hands on opposite walls could slowly descend.

After what felt like an hour, his right foot hit something solid. Boulders, he hoped silently.

“Taisie are you near me?”

A hand tapped his left calf. Stanton nearly screamed, bit down on it and tried to get his heart to stop pounding.

“Are you hurt?”

“I don’t know. I cannot feel pain, but am wedged rather securely.”

He lowered himself onto the boulders and squatted so he faced where he heard her voice. Using both hands, he felt around and heard her gasp fearfully when it touched her.

“I’m going to try to feel around you in the hope I can help you get free.”

“Hurry. I’m getting very cold.”

After prodding where he could reach, he learned one hip was beneath a ledge of stone. Otherwise, he believed he could free her. “This hip bone needs to rise. Can you twist to the left while I pulled up on your clothing?”

“I’ll try.” She moved before he was ready.

Stanton felt her drop slightly and shouted, “Stop. Wait until I get a good grip.”

“Oh sorry guess I…”

“Okay,” he interrupted. “I’m ready.” He pulled upward and felt her twist slightly. Using both hands, he started standing, but stopped when Taisie cried out. “You okay?”

“I think so, but well let’s just try to get it done.”

“Okay here goes.” He pulled as hard as possible, heard her crying painfully, felt her entire body twist to the left. She almost popped free sending him backward.

Stanton landed hard on his back, and then Taisie was on top of him.

They both struggle to untangle from each other without slipping into the trap she fell into.

Finally, they were able to sit side by side with their backs against the wall of the hole.

Minerva appeared and settled next to Stanton. “Will Taisie be okay now?”

The warrior chuckled. “I think I will be but I won’t know until we get out of here.”

“I found a long vine you can use to climb up.” Minerva pressed it against Stanton’s hands.

He grasped it found it was thick and felt like it was newly grown. He tugged on it as hard as possible, stood and hung from it, lifting both feet off the stones. It held.

“You first,” he tapped Taisie’s shoulder. He helped her stand, braced himself to assist her up, and was pleased she succeeded. He kept one hand on her until she was too high to reach. Then he waited.

Minerva flew up and waited above to help Taisie.

Nearly thirty minutes passed before he heard a faint shout. “You now.”

Hand over hand with his legs locked around the vine, he made his way to the surface, hauling himself over the top edge and then collapsing with exhaustion.