There will be scarcities of corn and squash during this katun and this will lead to great mortality. This was the katun during which the settlement of Chichen Itza occurred, when the man-god Kukulcan (Quetzalcoatl) arrived. It is the katun of remembering and recording knowledge.
Katun 4 (1993-2012) of the Mayan Calendar as prophesied by Chilam Balam
Despite his caution DJ’s water supply shrank faster than he had hoped. He was injured and seemed to need more than usual. His progress was frustratingly slow. He came up and over the first set of hills to find another identical set of hills. Each with deep recesses that in another time had been streams and rivers. Now they were empty washes that flooded during infrequent storms. This was the wrong season for storms though, and DJ had no hope of getting water from the sky. Or of going back to the refinery to await rescue. He was committed to this course. He was nearly out of water. It was dawn of his third day and he had half a canteen of water left. If the tracks did not end soon he was as good as dead.
The tracks lead down into another valley. Dried grass covered the valley and DJ could see that the stalks pointed to the left in the middle of the field. He headed down the hill and followed the bent grass. It lead to a rocky wash and then into a canyon hidden by the hills of the valley on either side. He drained the rest of his water and followed. He stuck close to the canyon walls, remaining inconspicuous in their shadow. He kept his eyes on the plateau above the canyon. He was soon glad that he had, as he saw some movement above him. He squatted behind a boulder where he could still see the plateau.
A man with a weapon paced slowly above and before him. The man’s expression was one of boredom. A sentry. DJ had found them, but he was also in danger of being found. He would have to wait until dark to approach. He began to spy on the sentry. When they came to relieve the sentry, DJ noted the direction of his relief and the direction the former sentry took. This is where DJ would head at night to look for water. His thirst was great but he would have to wait. He curled up behind his boulder and decided to sleep until dark.
At sun down he watched the sentry again. There was another changing of the guard. When DJ could no longer see the night’s sentry, he started to creep forward as quietly as possible. As he approached the area where he had seen the first guard disappear, DJ saw light coming from a space in the canyon wall and heard voices. There was actually a sharp fork in the right hand side of the canyon. The sentry, who was sitting on the plateau above the canyon, was now behind DJ.
They were living in one of the forks of an old river bed that joined what was once a large river. The ground went sharply up hill and then flattened out for a wide stretch. This wide flat area was still shielded by canyon walls that were not quite as high above the encampment as the approach had been. DJ stopped here and crouched down by the canyon wall again. He began to examine the encampment. Then to his surprise he saw the water truck. It was at the far end of the encampment and the top of the truck was covered in brush.
There appeared to be a main walk way that idled through the camp. People were walking through this area while others stood at the side in small groups having lively conversations. On either side of the dry creek were canyon walls with large cracks in them. These cracks were covered in some cases with blankets or sheet of various types. The light he had followed was actually emanating from these sheet covered cracks. Some were actually open and were being used as storage DJ noted. That was good for him. He would be able to steal food as well as water after the main group of rebels went to sleep.
DJ heard a faint click coming from above and behind him. He had spent long enough in the training at Fort Jenna to know that sound. He wheeled around to his back. There was a sudden clutch of pain in his chest that moved to the pit of his stomach as fear gripped him. Before him was a brown skinned young man training a rifle at him. Behind him another older man was standing with his gun at the ready but not directly pointed at DJ. DJ slowly lifted his hands, not knowing if this gesture would make a difference. He unconsciously began to scoot away on his shoulders.
"Yvate!" the man commanded. DJ did not understand the word but he understood the intent just fine. He froze. The younger of the two men raised his weapon. DJ tensed and looked away, sure that he was about to die. Then the older of the two calmly stated something. The younger man dropped his weapon an inch without taking his eyes off of DJ and said something in an angered tone to the older man. There was a brief but heated exchange. The older man leaned forward and to get a better look at DJ. Then he stepped in front of the younger man, pushing his rifle out of the way and indicated that DJ was to stand.
DJ carefully and slowly did so. The younger man pointed to DJ’s leg an shouted "Kañy!" DJ did not understand for a moment. Then he slowly looked down to where the man was pointing and saw that the knife he had stolen from the Blackwater was still attached to his thigh. He slowly lowered his right hand and undid the belt and let it drop. The older man picked it up with a casual aire, and then he indicated with his gun that DJ should start to walk forward.
DJ very cautiously turned and then took a tentative step. Once he was sure that this is what he was supposed to do, he walked more naturally. But he continued to hold his palms out and away from his body and to walk slowly. He did not want to stumble and give the younger man an excuse to shoot him in the back.
They walked down the main corridor. People standing in the canyon stopped their conversations to stare at the procession. DJ saw that beyond the water truck there was something lush that smelled of moist dirt. A garden?
DJ was nudged on the side by the old man’s rifle. He was pointed into one of the divvets DJ had seen earlier. DJ was a little leery of entering a blind cul-de-sac without being able to see what was there, but with 2 guns at his back what could he do? He pushed the curtain aside and strode into the space.
There were 2 men in the room sitting at a rather battered table. They had steaming mugs sitting in front of them. There was an unusual and somewhat spicy smell to the room. The 2 men leapt to their feet as soon as DJ and his armed entourage entered the room.
What followed was another heated discussion between the 4 men with DJ’s older guard arguing the merits of keeping DJ alive and the younger one arguing for DJ’s immediate dispatch to what ever lay beyond this Earth. Of the two men in the room one was very old and short, almost frail looking. This man added little to the discussion. The other was very young. Not bearded yet. He enthusiastically seemed to side with the DJ’s younger captor. In the end the old man spoke and although there was some half-hearted argument after his words, it was clear that he held the ultimate authority. The old man turned to his younger companion and barked an order. The younger man protested and quietly the older man said something to him. The young man left the room hastily. DJ was escorted to a chair where his two captures proceeded to tie his arms and legs down. DJ did not give them any fight as that seemed futile at this point.
Soon the young man returned and behind him a woman entered the room. When DJ raised his head to look at the woman two things struck him at once. First she was uncommonly lovely. Her skin was a coco brown in the lantern light of the room. She was shapely. Her face was oval with unblemished skin and dark, piercing, brown eyes. Her hair was long and black and plaited down her back. It swung as she walked and as she turned her head to look at that men in the room. The younger ones averted their eyes from her but the old man, who had apparently requested her presence, met her gaze without hesitation.
The other thing that struck him was the overt hatred her brown eyes bore when she looked at DJ.
The old man spoke first.
The woman then spoke in heavily accented English. "Epifanio wants to know your name."
"DJ. They call me DJ."
"No. DJ…Never mind. Try Jack. I am also called Jack."
"Jawk." She stated to Epifanio in her heavy accent.
While Epifanio was composing his thoughts Jack took a chance, "And what is your name?" He was glad that his dental problems had only effected his back teeth as he flashed her a warm smile.
The woman whipped her head back toward him but said nothing. Her mouth curled slightly as if she was looking at something that disgusted her.
Epifanio obviously inquired about what Jack had said. She dismissed his comment with a wave of her hand. Epifanio continued his questioning through the unnamed woman.
"Where are you from?"
"I am from North of here, in America. The United States. Most recently Fort Cheney in Montana."
"Why did you come here?"
"I was brought by the Cheney family to be a worker in the refinery."
"Not a soldier?"
Jack thought for a moment. They were most likely talking about the Blackwaters. He had received some training in defense but it was clear that they only wanted the former farmers as guards and factory workers to supplement their forces. "No." he stated.
"What did they offer you to make you come here?"
Despite the serious nature of Jack’s situation he could not help but laugh. The thought that he should have that much say in how his life would unfold was such an outrageous prospect. "They really did not ask…They offered me my life."
The woman looked skeptical but translated his word.
Jack clarified, "They took me from my home and imprisoned me. I was brought here on a train. No one asked my opinion about wanting to leave. I work and I get water and food. I do not know anyone who has tried to refuse to work or to come here."
The woman raised her eye brow for a second but then translated what Jack had said. This caused an intense conversation between the men. Finally, the younger guard spoke, "Laissi," the woman turned to him. He asked her a question and she turned to Jack, "How many others were brought with you from Montana?"
Jack met her eyes, "Laissi. What a lovely name." His best smile again.
"Answer the question!" she snapped.
Clearly befriending her was out of the question. "Twenty-two."
"All men or were there women?"
"Men. Only men."
"Where did they take you first?"
"To Fort Jenna."
"How many soldier are there?"
Jack had no idea. Maybe 100. but he was hesitant to answer this line of questioning. He owned the Blackwaters nothing. They had murdered his father and made him a slave. The Cheney Family was going to guarantee the deaths of many at the fort he had come from. But there were other men at Fort Jenna. Men like him. Men who did not choose their destiny. Men he did not wish to betray. There were other things he did know that he did not wish to betray. Where the main weapons cache was kept, for example.
"So that’s it. I give you the reconnaissance information that you need and then you kill me? Why should I answer any more questions for you?"
She smiled and translated for him. The younger men snorted and shifted their weight. But Epifanio looked directly at Jack and said something Jack could understand. Something in Spanish. "Nosotros no Norteamericanos. No matar a nuestros amigos."
At Fort Jenna if a native wanted to speak to a white they used Spanish or broken English. Jack had picked up some simple Spanish from the payday women that surrounded the fort. The language that Epifanio and his companions had been speaking up to this point was most likely Guarani, the language of the rebels. Laissi looked at him to see if he needed a translation but decided from his surprised expression that he did not. Had the family at Fort Jenna betrayed their friends here? Is that the reason for this woman’s cutting gaze? Had they killed these people in some deal gone bad?
"Alright. I do not know how many Blackwaters are in Fort Jenna. I would guess about 100. There are women and children there as well as some of your people, though. There are people like me there. People who did not choose to be there."
"Why did you follow us here? Why didn’t you go back to the Fort?"
Jack snorted. "You did not leave me much choice. I could not get back to the fort or contact them. You didn’t leave me enough water. I was thirsty so I came here."
There was a brief conversation between the men once this was translated. Then Epifanio rose from his seat. He took a cup from a cupboard and filled it with a ladle from a bucket. He brought it to Jack and allowed him to drink while he held the cup. Jack drank greedily. When he had drained the cup Epifanio asked,"Mas?"
Jack nodded. Epifanio brought him a second cup. When Jack had drained that one as well Epifanio brought his face close to Jack’s. "Usted debe entender nosotros."
These men had killed Matt and his crew, Jack’s only friends. Jack had no intention of "understanding" them. He only wanted to survive long enough to escape them and return to the relative ease of Fort Jenna.
Epifanio pulled a knife out of his back pocket and opened it. Jack tensed and readied himself for the pain. Epifanio brought the knife down to Jack’s right arm and with a quick motion cut Jack’s ties. He uttered another command and there was a pause as no one moved. Epifanio looked around. The youngest sighed and left the room. He returned shortly with bread and some soup. He placed them on the table. Epifanio pulled the table closer to Jack. Jack looked at Epifanio. Was this some kind of trick? Epifanio pulled up a chair next to the table. And stared at Jack. Then he began with Liassi’s help to try to make Jack "understand":
"This land all belongs to us." he gestured with his hand, "But we have always had to fight the North Americans for the land and the bounty it held. At one time the land was a paradise. Trees and rivers. Gardens. Birds and animals. Beauty beyond compare. But the government was secretly ruled by the Americans and the Europeans. Criminals from that world would come here to live and they would buy up the land. They did not care about the things they did here. They did not care about the land. They brought the heat that destroyed this land and all the other lands near here. The forests and the gardens died. Many of our people died."
Jack had tried to restrain himself in front of the others. They had placed bread and steaming broth in front of him and he had not had anything to eat while following their trail for 3 days. He listened to Epifanio’s story but could not help but gobble the bread and soup. He was done with both by the time Epifanio was still talking about the rainforests that were. While he did not find it a stretch to believe that the friends of the Cheney’s were criminals or that they had bought land here long ago, he doubted they could be blamed for the weather.
"Then we discovered why they had bought our land. There is water here. A great underground lake of water. And they bought the land to drill it and take the water. Water that could save what is left of my people. Our woman. Our children. And there is enough water. There is enough for your people and mine. But they only pump out enough for themselves. They horde the rest. If we dig wells they destroy them. They let my people starve or die of thirst rather than bring enough water for all. They want us to die or become their slaves, so they can own this whole land and its people. And so you see we have no choice but to stop them. The killing starts with them. We have no choice but to murder, if we are to live."
To his dismay, he did understand their desperation. It was the same desperation that his people held. He had more in common with this man, than with the people who had brought him here. Part of him, though, felt as if this was somehow a betrayal to Matt and the others that lay dead at the refinery.
"The fuel they produce makes the process worse. It poisons the land and the water around it. Even now they are so foolish. They poison themselves at the same time as they poison us. They have not learned
from the past."
Epifanio seemed to look through Jack for a moment. Then Laissi translated, "We want our land back. We want our lives back. You seem to be a…clever man. You and your people are not doing well either under these people. Why have your people not risen up against them?"
Jack was struck by this idea. Why had they been so docile? Why had they watched their friends disappear. There were even rumors of them being eaten. Granted the rumors had turned out to be untrue. But still no one at Fort Cheney had been certain of this and still no one had stood up to them. Was it only that men like Jack were unarmed and the Blackwaters were very armed? They could still do damage with the gardening tools if they had stolen them. Better yet why had no one thought to steal the weapons as these men had? Jack stared at Epifanio. Weakly he whispered, "I don’t know."
Epifanio shook his head slowly. "Sometimes it is hard to see another way when your whole life is spent fighting one way." Even Laissi was struck by this and her tone was softer than the words she had been spitting at him earlier.
Epifanio brought out his knife once more and cut the rest of Jack’s bonds. He indicated something to one of the men. This time there was no protest. Jack was taken to a storage room. A blanket was brought for him and he was allowed to sleep on the floor. Outside of the room they made a great show of letting him know that an armed guard waited. Jack curled up in the room on top of the blanket. The air was still about 90 degrees even in the middle of the night but he was asleep the second his head rested on the floor.
The Concepts Behind the Fiction:
1. The U. S. and South America
I have spent 34 years in active service as a member of the Marine Corps. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.
I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank to collect revenues. I helped pacify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12.–Gen. Smedley Butler, who headed many U.S. military interventions in the
early part of this century ISR
For over 200 years the US has taken an imperialistic stance toward Latin America. We acted as if we owned the place…and essentially we did. We used the World Bank and IMF to drain these countries of their natural wealth and resources while collapsing their economies. Even our friends and supporters in these countries suffered under those conditions. You think the US in hated in the Middle East, take a trip south of the border.
Only lately have leaders in Latin America come to power that are willing to challenge the US as the ultimate authority. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales have repeatedly challenged this system…and lived. They have taken a hard line against exports that rob their nation, against imperialism and against poverty. (Not that there have not been attempts to kill or overthrow them.)
And while Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez may engage in fiery rhetoric against the United States that is reminiscent of the Cold War, he has not taken Venezuela out of the capitalist world economy. So the leaders of 21st Century Socialism have mainly embarked on a series of reforms to help their populations: nationalizing certain industries, regulating industry and financial investment, increased spending on social programs, and helping to strengthen unions.–Helium
In news casts these men are portrayed as irrational dictators who do not care about their people and are hostile to the US. They may be hostile to the US but they are both democratically elected.
Currently the US is supporting groups in both these countries with secessionsist agendas in an attempt to create civil war.
They are trying to force secession in Bolivia, planned, structured and
led by the US. If they succeed in splitting off some departments
[states], it is highly probable that this would lead to a civil war and
abort — or at least make extremely difficult — the process underway in Bolivia.
The US would have the perfect excuse to send troops under the guise of bringing "peace" to Bolivia.–Green Left
The real reason that we are supposed to hate the South American leaders is that they are turning their backs on the world order that has existed up to this point. The US is not worried about aggression from these leaders, or in "liberating" their people, it is worried that the ideas that are spreading over South America may come here. That our society, struggling through an economic collapse similiar to the collapse in the South that started this South American revolution will come here.
As for Paraguay and the future of water, here is a little history for you:
The Argentine film called Sed, Invasión Gota a Gota ("Thirst, Invasion Drop by Drop"), directed by Mausi Martínez, portrays the military of the United States as slowly but steadily increasing its presence in the Triple Frontera
(Triple Frontier, the area around the common borders of Paraguay,
Argentina and Brazil). The overt reason for the increasing presence of
U.S. troops and joint exercises, mainly with Paraguay, is to monitor
the large Arab population which resides in the area. However, Martínez
alleges that it is the water of the Guarani Aquifer
which brings the Americans to the area, and she fears a subtle takeover
before the local governments even realize what is going on.
Similar concerns were lifted following both the signature of a
military training agreement with Paraguay, which accorded immunity to
U.S. soldiers from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and was indefinitely renewable (something which had never been done before, while Donald Rumsfeld himself visited Paraguay and, for the first time ever, Paraguayan president Nicanor Duarte Frutos went to the White House), and the construction of a U.S. military base near the airport of Mariscal Estigarribia, within 200 km of Argentina and Bolivia and 300 km of Brazil. The airport can receive large planes (B-52, C-130 Hercules, etc.) which the Paraguayan Air Force does not possess.
The governments of Paraguay and the United States subsequently
ostensibly declared that the use of an airport (Dr Luís María Argaña
International)2 was one point of transfer for few soldiers in Paraguay at the same time. According to the Argentine newspaper Clarín,
the U.S. military base is strategic because of its location near the
Triple Frontier, its proximity to the Guaraní Aquifer, and its
closeness to Bolivia (less than 200 km) at the same "moment that
Washington’s magnifying glass goes on the Altiplano [Bolivia] and points toward Venezuelan [president] Hugo Chávez — the regional devil according to the Bush administration — as the instigator of the instability in the region" (El Clarín. In October 2006, US President George W. Bush was reported to be negotiating for purchase of a 400 km² ranch near Marriscal Estigarribia
But Paraguay decided in October 2006 not to renew the immunity granted to US soldiers. The other members of the Mercosur trade bloc (Argentina, which is a Major non-NATO ally,
Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela, which is in the process of
entering it) have so far refused to grant immunity to U.S. troops. Wiki
2. "Fracking" is not a Cylon Curse Word
Lately on the television I have seen adds for natural gas. A nicely dressed, pleasant looking man comes on the stage with graphics and tells you how natural gas is safe and will prevent global warming.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Ninety percent of gas projects in the US involve something called fracking.
Hydraulic fracturing is a common technique used to
stimulate the production of oil and natural gas. Typically, fluids are
injected underground at high pressures, the formations fracture, and
the oil or gas flows more freely out of the formation. Some of the
injected fluids remain trapped underground. A number of these fluids,
such as diesel fuel, qualify as hazardous materials and carcinogens,
and are toxic enough to contaminate groundwater resources.—Earthworks Sanction
Originally the public was told that the fracking fluid was just water and that the water returns to the surface and is held there. Turns out it must keep a sand or ground glass suspended in order to work so it can not be just water. In fact the fluid is a proprietary mixture owned by Haliburton. So what’s in the mix. Only Dick Cheney knows for sure.
"Halliburton’s proprietary fluids are the result of years of extensive research, development testing," said Diana Gabriel, a company spokeswoman, in an e-mail response. "We have gone to great lengths to ensure that we are able to protect the fruits of the company’s
research…. We could lose our competitive advantage."
Somewhere between 40% and 100% stays in the soil. From there it leaches out and contaminates ground water.
Additionally, drilling requires venting. Vents from gas drilling projects contain Methane, benzene, toluene, sulfur, carbon dioxide, propane, butane and a host of other nasty chemicals. In fact studies show up to
can be spewed into the air in this way. Residents near these sites have noticed headaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, disorientation, nose bleeds, nerve damage, brain lesions, swelling and pain in the limbs, increased miscarriages and infertility.
So the EPA should shut this down, right? Wrong. Turns out fracturing is specifically exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
"It’s a Catch-22," says the remarkably frank Weston Wilson, an
environmental engineer with the EPA’s Denver office for the past 32
years. "If the EPA doesn’t study the health impacts, then there’s no
proof that there’s anything dangerous happening. It’s irrational and
corrupt. We used to investigate mysteries, and now we’re not. It’s sad.
It’s kind of like we’re being paid off with our generous salaries. The
American public would be shocked if they knew we [at EPA] make six
figures and we basically sit around and do nothing."–Salon
The 2004 EPA study is routinely used to dismiss complaints that hydraulic fracturing
fluids might be responsible for the water problems in places like Pinedale. The study concluded that hydraulic fracturing posed "no threat" to underground drinking water because fracturing fluids aren’t necessarily hazardous, can’t travel far underground, and that there is "no unequivocal evidence" of a health risk.
But documents obtained by ProPublica show that the EPA negotiated directly with the gas industry before finalizing those conclusions, and then ignored evidence that fracking might cause exactly the kinds of water problems now being recorded in drilling states.
Buried deep within the 424-page report are statements explaining that fluids migrated unpredictably — through different rock layers, and to greater distances than previously thought — in as many as half the cases studied in the United States. The EPA identified some of the chemicals as biocides and lubricants that "can cause kidney, liver,heart, blood, and brain damage through prolonged or repeated exposure."
It found that as much as a third of injected fluids, benzene in particular, remains in the ground after drilling and is "likely to be transported by groundwater."–Propublica
Did I mentions the open pits? The fracking fluid that does make it back to the surface is stored in open pits on the ground which are lined with plastic that is apparently leaking a fair amount of the time. Additionally it draws wildlife because it is high in minerals. Like a salt lick does. Unfortuanely it is also high in poisons. Animals that drink from the open pits are destined to die soon.
Then I ran across this unexpected problem:
Suddenly the Amos’ drinking water well exploded like a Yellowstone
geyser, firing its lid into the air and spewing mud and gray fizzing
water high into the sky. State inspectors tested the Amos well for
methane and found lots of it. They did not find benzene or gasoline
derivatives and they did not test fracking fluids, state records show,
because they didn’t know what to test for.–Propublica
Exploding wells. Who would have seen that coming? Want to do something about it? Check out the
Science Fiction Selection: