The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.
The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue, Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family Business, Jewel’s Place, Shanghaied, First Mark, The Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash Down, The Lake House, Dancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment.
The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to See and Maintaining Common Sense. Today we get the Episode 23 or third episode of the second battlefield.
They continued moving across the floor of the valley until they found the original settlement. This allowed them to explore and look for items which might help them at the lake house when they returned.
One building though they both felt was too dangerous to enter. Even though they were not sure why. They decided nothing in there could be so valuable to make it worth overriding the sense of danger they felt. They did ask Colofer if she knew what it was that made them feel so uneasy. She explained the building had explosives from the mining operations. Those explosives had aged to the point of being unstable. If they opened the door, the breeze, the change of pressure or the sunlight might well set it off, blowing the entire settlement sky high.
They spoke about whether this had been the feeling they were following. But it wasn’t. So they moved a safe distance out of town and set up camp again. Both looked around carefully before setting up their tents. Colofer watched with satisfaction. The next morning Jamison felt all the more urgency to get across the valley and find the source of what was calling him. So they hastened their breakfast and headed in that direction. Shortly they stopped on the edge of a tree line watching a man in a mining operation just above them on the hillside.
He had brought in a private ship, with sophisticated equipment to withdraw minerals out of the planet. Almost certainly the operation was illegal, but even if he had secured the rights to do this mining, prospectors were notorious for being wary of claim jumpers.
“This is why we had felt the sudden danger two days ago. He was watching us from somewhere nearby and had considered killing us.” Jamison spoke out loud as the surprising realization came to him. “But why did I need to travel out here and talk to this man? Even now I feel for certain I must get up there and somehow meet him without getting my head blown off.”
Colofer answered, “You want to speak with him because our king is asking you to do so. One of the important lessons you must learn is how to discern what assignments the king is giving you. For you, Jamison, this is one of the most important assignments. Telling others about the king.”
Jamison watched the man going about his business for several long minutes. He would work for a while, then he would put his hand on his side arm and scan the surrounding terrain. After reassuring himself, he would return to work for a while before repeating his routine.
Jamison glanced sideways at Chambers and said, “I will be back as soon as I can.”
“We will be back as soon as we can.” She corrected.
He gave her a nod and the two of them walked out of the tree line and into a clearing. Here Jamison signaled Chambers to stop. They waited until the man did his next scan. When he looked their way they both waved their arms to get his attention. Jamison found the hair on the back of his neck standing up when the man pulled his weapon with one hand while motioning them away with the other.
Jamison did not go away, nor did he draw his own weapon. Instead he waved the man to come down to where they were. The man hesitated only a second, but then he put his operations on hold and started down the mountain. He didn’t put the weapon back into his holster. He carried it at the ready the whole way down.
This caused Jamison and Chambers both to feel the presence of danger. But in addition to that they felt a slight emotional tug, kind of like a Dibolocos was coming toward them. Jamison decided this must be what it felt like to meet someone under Dibolocos control. He determined it must be the passive version, first because it was very subtle. But more importantly he figured if it was active control the king never would have asked him to meet the man.
“Hello.” He called out as the man got close enough to talk with. He hoped he sounded friendly. He felt a bit of relief when the man switched his weapon to his left hand and extended the right for a handshake. Jamison took the hand gladly. Then the man extended his hand to Chambers in a similar way. But when Chambers shook his hand he snatched her back toward him and attempted to hold her, hostage style.
He had not counted on Chambers being a trained officer in the CDF though and she rather easily deflected the attempt. A moment later the man was on the ground with his weapon several feet away and both Jamison and Chambers had their weapons aimed at his head. His eyes were wide and sweat was soaking his hair and clothing. Jamison did not need any special training to know this man thought he was about to die.
After holstering his own weapon he picked up the man’s gun and put the safety on. Then he handed it back to the man. The man sat up, received it and put it back in its own holster. Only then did Chambers lower her own weapon.
The man stood up and said lightheartedly, “So does this mean I am going to live to see another day.”
“Well, not necessarily,” Jamison answered, matching the man’s tone, “but it does mean if there is a fight we would rather fight with you than against you. Shall we try this again, my name is Jamison, and this is Chambers.”
“Glad to meet you, my name is Compagno. If you guys are not claim jumpers then what are you doing here?”
“We crash landed on this planet in an escape pod after our ship was blown up by pirates.”
Compagno nodded and said, “I see.”
Jamison ventured an educated guess and stated, “But you knew that didn’t you. You were here and monitored our emergency beacon as we approached. You have been trying to figure out ever since whether to kill us to hide your illegal mining.”
“Well. If you knew all that, why did you give me my weapon back.”
“We will do better as friendly neighbors than as mortal enemies.”
“Okay, neighbor. But why did you choose to come calling today?”
“I felt compelled to talk to you once I figured out you were here. The colonies are falling apart. The Kilkian and Dibolocos discovery has undermined our society. If we don’t restore society we will cease to exist as a people, we are already in the process of destroying each other.”
“True enough. Legitimate business seems to be a thing of the past. We are trapped in this mess. But in the long run what can we do about it?”
From this point Jamison explained his own journey. He spoke of the things he had learned about the Kilkians and their king. When he was done Compagno made a commitment to the king in the same way Jamison and Chambers had. They invited him to come down to the tree line and meet Colofer and Colofen. When they arrived they were all surprised to see three kilkians instead of two. The new Kilkian introduced himself as Coloban, He was going to be the one responsible for helping Compagno in his journey to serve the king. Just like Jamison and Chambers, Compagno had a special purpose in the king’s plan.