Journeys of the Mind

 

Chapter 42

 

 

 

 

Chapter 42

 

Endings and Beginnings, pt. 2

 

 

 

Buck and Wilma and Hawk landed in two separate starfighters just inside the plateau landing ‘bay.’  As at all other times, including Hawk’s visits of the past several days, the cavern entrance looked pristine and natural, but he knew better.   He felt the presence of those like him, the Tane-rapanui who had survived the hazard-fraught journey across space so many years ago.  Oh, Koori, are you here?   Of course she was, he thought.  And of course, her presence was here, too.   He was with his own people; he had come home.  He had done what he had been invited to do on board the Searcher a year ago.   He could rest now.   And so could Koori.  

Buck popped his canopy and stood up, breathing in the scent of the dense forest below, the sky above and even the dank rock smell of the cave itself.  He stepped out on the wing of his craft and looked around.  “No welcoming committee,” he said wryly.  He reached back and helped Wilma out of the seat behind his.   In his heart there was happiness, too, but it was tempered with the pain of a coming good-bye.  The others had said their farewells to Hawk on the Searcher, but Buck, and then Wilma, had insisted on coming with Hawk, taking leave of their friend in a more private setting.  Private, like his and Hawk’s initial meeting had been, except the circumstances were different.   And Buck wanted to say good-bye to his newly found Tane-rapanui friends as well.  

“Things are still unsettled, Buck,” Hawk said.   He was now of two minds, torn.  Three days ago, the same day that Buck had regained his memory, Hawk had decided that he would stay with these, his own people.  However, after he had made the decision, Hawk began to feel the deep and tearing pain of separation from those he had come to consider his family-- Buck and Wilma, Goodfellow and Asimov, even Twiki, and others on the Searcher.    He had broached the subject with Buck, trying to verify his choice, but although his friend seemed saddened at the possibility of an impending separation, he had done nothing to dissuade Hawk.  Buck was leaving the decision totally up to his friend, having only said that he wanted Hawk to be happy.   Indeed, Buck was dealing with his own happiness, that of his newfound memories and his implied, but-not-yet-official engagement to Wilma.  And in that Hawk had also found himself emotionally divided.  On the one hand, he was very happy for his friends, knowing that they had been close even before he had met them.  But on the other hand, their very closeness reminded him of what he had lost . . . Koori.   And that, too, became a consideration in his decision.  

“Yes, I know,” Buck said, jumping down and watching as Wilma jumped down beside him.  

Hawk followed.  “Do you feel it?” he asked.  “Do you feel Sky Mother’s presence?”

“I feel something, but nothing tangible, nothing I can link to one individual,” Buck said.  They walked toward the corridor that led into the cave system and while the light from behind them dimmed, the two men found no need to use their flashlights.  There was illumination at strategic intervals along the corridor.  They were expected and as they walked into the large meeting cavern, they found many of the Tane-rapanui awaiting them.  On one side, as they had before, stood the leaders of this group of bird-people.  There was Sky Warrior next to Sky Father and then Sky Mother. 

“Welcome to you all,” the three said, almost as one. 

“I am glad you decided to come back to see us, Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering,” Sky Mother added, gazing intently at Buck, who was standing close to Wilma, holding her hand.   “And do you feel at a disadvantage now, Buck Rogers?”

Buck grinned back.  “No, Sky Mother.  Kalee-a ni ranashu.” 

“I am glad you are better and that you remember.  I felt it would happen somehow.”  Sky Mother walked up to him and gazed into his eyes.  “It is good to have a human who understands, who feels and whose heart is willing to envelope all the currents and patterns of the universe.”  She turned to Wilma.  “And one by his side who understands as well.”  Wilma smiled, her eyes sparkling with pleasure. 

“Te-mano,” Buck said softly.  “Thank you, honored one.”

Sky Mother turned to Hawk.  “You have made a decision.”   During his visits the previous days, Hawk had said nothing to her about staying, although he had made reference of his decision to Sky Father.  She had thought much about that decision. 

“Yes, Sky Mother,” Hawk replied, but now the decision didn’t bring him the totality of happiness it had when he had first made it.  He glanced at Buck, but his friend was trying very hard not to show his feelings, not to influence him.   But no amount of effort could hide the fact that Buck was feeling sadness. 

“You have spent much time among other people now, Sky Warrior Hawk.  You have learned much and seen much.  Your heart still contains the spirit of Make-Make, but your heart has also enlarged to contain even more.  Are you sure about this decision?”

“More?”  Hawk looked puzzled. 

“Yes, more.  You are not the same as you were when your people died.  You are stronger, my son, much, much stronger,” Sky Mother said.

“But you are my people.  I set out to find my people and I have done so.” 

“Yes, you know we are here,” she said simply.

Hawk gazed at her, trying to understand what she was trying to convey to him.  “I . . . what do you mean?”

“Hawk, Sky Warrior, how many ships carried our people from Earth to the stars?  Three?  Four?  And how many split from one another as our peoples did?”  Sky Mother smiled and lightly touched a finger to Hawk’s chest.  “Have you found all of our people?” she asked.

“You believe there are more?” he asked, while knowing in his heart that there had to be more.

“Yes, more of our people.  Sky Warrior Hawk, when you truly feel your journey is done, we will still be here.  But you are the only Tane-rapanui who is able to search out and find our lost people.  You are our people’s only Star Warrior now.  And you have humans with the spirit of Make-Make in their hearts to help you; to help us.”  She glanced at Buck and Wilma.  They nodded their heads slightly. 

Star Warrior?  Hawk had only heard that appellation in the telling of the old legends.  The Star Warrior was the legendary navigator that led the first group of his people on their exodus from Earth.  Hawk felt his heart constrict in his consternation.  He didn’t deserve such honor and he said so. 

“Oh, Hawk, you are not the navigator of legend, but you are nevertheless a Star Warrior.  You sail the stars, you are an explorer and a discoverer,” Sky Mother said.  Sky Father and Sky Warrior nodded their agreement. 

Hawk gazed at Buck and Wilma, and then at Sky Mother, and then he looked inside himself and comprehended the truth of what she was saying.  He comprehended the rightness of what she had said.  He also felt Koori’s presence and felt her happiness.  Perhaps that was what she had been trying to convey to him after his decision, when he suddenly had doubts about his choice.   Smiling softly, he nodded.  “Yes, I think I understand what you are saying, Sky Mother.   But it will be hard to leave you; to leave my people here.” 

“It is not easy, living as one alone,” Sky Mother began.

“No, it is not easy,” Hawk concurred. 

“But again, let me tell you that are not really alone, Star Warrior Hawk,” Sky Mother said gently. 

Hawk looked over at Buck, and then Wilma, whose eyes were brimming with unshed tears of happiness.  He turned back to Sky Mother.  “Yes, you are correct, honored mother; I have human friends who have the spirit of our people inside of them.  They are my family in all but physical form.   I will be content to continue my search, hoping there are others of the Tane-rapanui among the stars as there are here.”  He paused, then bowed slightly to the three standing before him.  “Thank you, Sky Mother.”

She simply nodded.  “Hawk, go with Make-Make’s blessing.   He has made you an instrument in the reunification of our people.  And in the reunification of our people with all peoples in the galaxy.”  She turned to Buck, walking closer to him and touching his chest with the fingers of one hand.  “And Buck Rogers, I leave Make-Make’s blessing on you as well.  Be aware, that while you will be leaving us, a part of your spirit will always remain within our eyrie.” 

“And a part of your eyrie remains inside of me,” Buck replied softly.  He felt her touch and felt the good wishes emanating from within her soul to his.  He bent over slightly and gently kissed her on the cheek, as he had often done with his own mother. 

Surprised, Sky Mother touched her cheek and then smiled.  She turned to Wilma.  “It is fitting that you become the life mate of this man.  You two have souls of eagles flying upon slightly different currents of the wind, but hearts that beat in unison.”  She smiled “When next you are in this quadrant, come and visit,” Sky Mother said.  

“We will, Sky Mother,” Wilma said, her voice almost a whisper.  She wondered at the abilities of the bird-woman and also wondered if Hawk had told her of hers and Buck’s closer relationship, but realized that it really didn’t matter.   “And thank you.”  

Buck saw Hawk still facing the three elders and realized his friend’s need to talk with them alone.  “Uh, Wilma and I will go warm up the fighters, Hawk.”

Hawk gave him a grateful glance and, with Wilma by his side, Buck sauntered out, saying his farewells to Creel and his family as they left.   He lounged on the wing of his starfighter while Wilma walked to the edge of the large cavern, gazing at the forest below before returning to sit next to him.  Some time later, Hawk appeared, a look of contentment on his face. 

“Get everything squared away?” Buck asked, trying to sound nonchalant, but not succeeding very well.

“Yes,” Hawk replied.  “I only needed to give the last of my clan’s genealogy that I had been reciting for Sky Father.”

Sitting up, Buck gazed at the corridor where several Tane-rapanui stood in the shadows, nodding a greeting to them. 

“We’ll be back,” Wilma said softly.   “I know we will.”

“Yes, Wilma, we will return,” Hawk replied.   “But for now, let us go home.”

 

 

 

 

  Please let me know what you thought of the story.

 

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