Chapter XXIV.

7 May

The voice of Yod Teth arose on an almost invisible side path.

“Where are you two going? It is dangerous to proceed any farther.” He moved closer to them. “The scientist was right. He knew what to do and he did it. No one else could understand or carry out such a difficult decision as he did.”

Lea and Thav gaped in growing amazement.

“What is going on, Yod?” asked the latter.

“Tell us, Yod,” added Lea. “What makes the tall trees explode and soar into the air that way? How can such an unnatural finish come to this new forest?”

The brigand’s sudden smile was enigmatic and eerie.

“Resh took us to a small electrical shed hidden in the forest. I cannot explain how it was done, but you can see for yourself what is now happening because of what he did there. He made an adjustment in the amount of electro-magnetic current flowing into the cambrium interior of each of the trees in order to stimulate and enhance their growing processes. The photosynthesizers that are used to stimulate the tree cells were flooded with excessive quantities of charged electrons. This resulted in causing the sudden combustion of the giant super trees. It was the inevitable reaction to all the energy that was flowing into the new trees.

“The many differing wavelengths of light clashed with each other in a gigantic battle of energies. The result was limitless fire and explosion. That is what everyone saw happen in the air and on the ground. The entire system that Resh set up exploded like an explosive of some kind.

“The devices meant to enhance and augment the special trees instead caused them to become volatile bombs and missiles bursting upward into the upper air. Isn’t that somewhat of a paradox? The trees were meant to grow and grow without limit, but Resh figured out how to make them into spectacular weapons against the oppressors of us tribers as well.

“Yes, the new trees exploded up into the air, but they are also the means by which we shall bring defeat to the our selfish enemies, the planter class. They will bring final victory to the long-oppressed and exploited tribers of the rain forest.

“The special trees are gone, but they can be reconstructed and duplicated in days to come. In the meanwhile, the super trees are going to save the lives of the Vazean tribe and bring them into a new life of freedom.”

As the explosions continued, two more figures appeared on the side path. They were Rambatan and Resh Zayeth.

“We have done all we can here,” announced the latter. “I must get to my office and report all these momentous events to a close, trusted friend of mine in the capital as soon as possible. He may be able to aid us. That is my desperate hope.”

He stepped closer, till he stood in front of the two women.

“I expected the experimental trees would explode under the heat of fire if the force and pace of their photosynthesizers was increased beyond safety limits. In a certain sense, the trees have been electrified before they could be burned to the ground. The nanoceria within the lamps has ignited the leaves and the bark of the giant trees. They have been transformed into dangerous weapons of conflict because of the enormous energy flowing into the bark and cambium through the advanced photosynthesizers. A multitude of different, clashing frequencies of light waves produced a catastrophic disruption and final explosion.”

Lea could feel her pulse pounding. Her heart beat accelerated swiftly.

“And that will stop the planters’ wall of fire, then?” she inquired.

Resh beamed with he glow of victory.

“That is already happening. Now, let’s make it to my office. I need to attempt to call my colleague in the capital and report to him what has happened here. I must find out whether we will receive any aid from elsewhere, from other sources.

A small group sat in the anteroom of the forest station as communication connections were established with Chak Dara over the still operating paraphone line. It was a difficult task to accomplish, but was finally carried out.

Rambatan turned to Yod, sitting by his side. “What do you think? If the news-sheets in the capital can be contacted by your friend, the editor, the central government might be motivated to act and punish and restrain the landowners. In addition, our promise must be to end all dacoit activities for good. That would be the price we would agree to pay for a complete, final settlement. But I believe it would be worth it to come to such a peaceful resolution. Is there any practical alternative for us? I ask myself.”

For a time, the younger man seemed stunned. He looked to the side, where Lea and Thav sat together on a small bench.

“What do the two of you think?”

The Landian called Lea spoke first.

“Unless the planters agree to leave their latifundia and give the forest to the tribers, there can be no true peace in this district. I have concluded that no compromise can settle these questions. That has always been impossible.

“The Tochians have to surrender all claims to what they have taken from the Varzeans.” Her face turned toward the one beside her. “What do you say to that, Thav?”

“My brother and his neighbors will not voluntarily agree to any such terms. Only if compelled will they ever go away from here.” Her eyes filled with tears. “The planters have the horses and weapons. Were it not for Resh’s quick thinking, they would have incinerated all of us in the station reserve.”

Lea took hold of Thav, leaning her against her own shoulder.

Suddenly, the office door opened. All eyes focused on Resh as he entered.

“I talked with Chak Dara,” announced the dendrologist. “He is angry and has taken immediate action. This district is now officially under military rule because of the influence of the news-sheets of Tochian City. The publisher-owners have mobilized to have the government advance a division of the army into our district to put down the gentry’s illegal attack on the Varzeans. This rebellion by the landowners will be suppressed with full military force as soon as that is possible. The official, national state is on our side and will put down the assaults and attacks of the Tochian gentry of this region.

“But there is much more. The planter militia has been proscribed as an illegal insurrectionary force. They are to be considered incendiaries in rebellion against the whole nation. The Tochian air arm is free to bomb them if necessary. The goal is their total suppression. Entire fleets of gyroplanes and rotorcraft will soon be flying through the sky toward our forest. There will be synchropters, quadcopters, and multicopters suppressing the movements of the gentry cavalry. What can riders on horses do against fully armed and manned gyrocopters? They shall be powerless to mount any effective resistance.

“The air power of the army has been ordered to sweep into this area and disarm the forces of the latifundia gentry. Officers and troopers will be setting down and landing for the purpose of taking control of the station forest and the traditional Vazean rain forest. All of this can be accomplished in only a fraction of a day, in just a few hours of direct action. It will be a speedy operation by professional soldiers, and it is certain to be successful.

“The army is empowered to administer summary execution of those who still oppose them when they arrive here. No one will dare obstruct the strategy of military occupation and take-over. All of it shall be completed with absolute certainty and total success. That will be the certain outcome of the government’s suppression of this planter illegality.”

A general sigh of astonishment circled about the anteroom.

“And there is more,” continued Resh triumphantly. “All those identified as rebels must leave the district forever. The land they now own shall be returned to its original tribal ownership. The military will expel them forever from this region. They can never return here.

“The President of Tochsylvania insists upon harsh penalties for the planters. The militia must be disbanded and its members made an example of. All rebels will be taken away to prison. Nothing is to remain of the old structures of injustice. The old system of plantation labor must be abolished and never in any way restored. It will be only a bitter, painful historical memory.”

Everyone in the room began to talk at once.

Yod stepped across to Thav. “I understand what he said as allowing you to remain. You are not responsible for the crimes of your brother. There will be a place for you in the future that is envisioned to be built among us, because you have proven yourself to be a friend and ally of all the Vazeans.”

“Will I be welcome among your tribers?” she inquired with desperate curiosity.

“Certainly,” he forcefully asserted. “They will find much to cherish and admire in what you are able to do to help them. Your actions have revealed the nature of your character to those who have come to know you.

“You have won the trust and love of those you have helped and sacrificed for.”

Resh Zayeth was surprised when Lea rose and approached him.

“You and your station have become the salvation of the tribers,” she whispered to him. “They can never make adequate repayment for what you contributed to their victory. Your role has been a major factor in determining the result of the conflict with the planters. How can the people of the forest ever repay you for your generous service to them?”

The researcher grinned, but another matter concerned him at this point.

“Are you going to leave us, now that so many things have happened here?” His yellowish irises grew larger.

“No,” she firmly replied. “My father will want to return to our native Landia. But I think it would be useful to stay and try to help the Varzeans. My education prepared me for teaching. Hopefully, the tribers will allow me to open a school of my own. There is much that I could do for them. It can be a very productive and creative kind of life for me here. I am willing to move myself and my life to the innovative frontier that will be opening for all the people of Transylvania. There will not be a dull moment of time for anyone involved in the mighty transformations about to begin in this country.

“I have been inspired to remain here and help the tribers however I can.”

Resh glowed ecstatically. The rain forest was soon to hold a new inhabitant, one he planned to make his special partner in the creation of a new, better future.

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