The First Born
by David Andrews
eBook ISBN: 9781615722136
Print ISBN: 9781615722143
Genre: Science Fiction
Sub Genre: Romance
Plus-Novel of 109540 words
About the book:
A veteran of WWI, the French Foreign Legion, WWII and Korea, Peter knew the price of Liberty. Yet, he believed the freedom of an environmentally sustainable world where war was unthinkable came at too great a cost. Setting out to change it by guile, he founded an immortal dynasty with Dael, who chose to become a flesh-and-blood woman, and gave it a mission to free humanity
Forty hours later, Dael emerged from the blankness of non-being with no memory of how she came to be in this place. She woke in warmth and comfort, her host body lying on a crude bed covered with fur and fragrant with dried herbs. She didn't stir, allowing her senses time to explore the surroundings. There were Commoners close. The slow murmur of their thoughts a soothing background noise. She reached further, swimming towards the hum of the Group Mind rather than to any individual. It felt fuzzy, muted by distance. She focused a thought-and received no response.
More surprised than annoyed, she did it again and got the same lack of response. Angry now, she bent her will to the task and demanded attention.
They can't hear you.
Dael recognized the intruder's mind and memory returned. They'd banished her.
They're ignoring me, she corrected him. Choosing not to hear.
They can't hear you, he repeated. To them, you no longer exist.
I can feel them.
Yes. You still need comfort.
The implication that he controlled what she could sense of the Group Mind confounded everything she knew. No individual could achieve this power. Even the Group Mind could do it imperfectly. She shuddered, on the edge of retreating into her haven-until she remembered it was no longer hers.
He was observing. She could feel it.
His ascendancy was intolerable. I'm not a child!
You never were. That's the problem.
Caught falling back on the vocabulary of the Commoners to express concepts she'd never known before, it was a hint of what they must feel about her race.
She felt his approval and bridled. By what right did he sit in judgment?
A chuckle answered her. She was amusing him.
Dael lashed out with her mind, creating a cacophony of squalling children and barking dogs in the huts around them.
Temper, temper. His amusement increased. For someone who was never a child, you throw a mean tantrum. Then he was gone.
She lay there, feeling the emptiness. It was like losing part of herself.
I know what you mean, Samara thought.
The intrusion appalled Dael. It had never happened before. The personality of the Chosen stayed dormant, powerless to do anything other than observe. The communication was always one way, never the other.
Peter allowed me to help. You won't be alone. Samara's thought held affection, concern, and a touch of pity.
A door flew open, flooding the room with light, and a bow-legged man swaggered into the room. "She's back," he said. "Woke every kid and dog in the place."
Let me handle this. Samara took charge of their shared body. "Show respect, Torred. Dael has a right to it."
"Only for you." His truculence showed, but Dael didn't feel threatened. She could feel his affection for Samara. Something had happened while she slept. Curious, she probed his mind.
Another surprise. She could sense his thoughts, but not share them. Emotions came through clearly enough-he still feared her-but the rest was garbled nonsense. She reached out and tested the closest individual, a woman cooking in the next hut. It was the same. Dael sensed her pleasure in the task, understood what it was, but she could probe nothing beyond.
Baffled by the change, Dael reached beyond her and found yet another limitation. A hunter, on the edge of the settlement, moved further away in search of game and disappeared.
Interesting. Samara shared the thought. Do you think it's the isolation?
Reminded of her host's presence, Dael probed inwards and the results reassured her-until she met a barrier. Samara shared part of herself willingly. The rest, she hid beyond Dael's reach.
You're doing it deliberately.
Yes. Peter said we needed private spaces while we shared the same body.
Dael retreated inward to her haven, beyond the reach of Samara's awareness. The implication this was a temporary situation startled her. She needed time to consider.
This Peter-she wasn't sure whether it was a name or title-wielded immense power, more even than the Group Mind, but not enough to survive without a host. It had to be their common weakness. No one had ever survived total separation and even a moment's distraction during transference was fatal. The growing incidence of insanity, and the occasional accidental death of a host, accounted for the diminishing power of the Group Mind. With no way to replace individuals, the Hives now occupied less than one percent of the human population. It was enough to maintain total control, but shrank perceptibly with every generation of Chosen. Another hundred generations would see a difference. They might soon have to accept greater variation from perfection and be less ready to banish contagion.