Archive for eagle

Carrier Bird System

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by javedbabar

Sharon watched Pinku rise into the sky. She always felt a pang of sadness when a bird left her hand, knowing there was a chance that it would not return. They were trained to return, the same or next day, but you couldn’t be sure. Birds were a blessing to the humans remaining.

It was hard to believe that people had once eaten pigeons – beings whose brave adventures now kept us connected in far-flung territories. The flatlands were all taken; humans who had not escaped were captured and killed.

Communities remained only on the mountains at each end of the Lucerne Valley – the larger one in the meadows atop Mt Alba, and smaller one in Mt Negra’s caves. They were in regular communication by CBS – the Carrier Bird System built upon an aviary bequeathed to the village. The tropical birds were beautiful but not sustainable, and were a luxury in difficult times. Their flesh was eaten and their feathers used for decoration. But the pigeons, hawks, and eagles proved useful. They were nourished and trained.

Sharon wondered if a hawk would have been better for this mission. The message had seemed important to her, and she had alerted her commander upon its arrival. The Signal Corps were meant to relay “but not absorb” messages’ contents, so if they were captured no secrets would be betrayed. Her commander had said to send a pigeon.

Her brother had built the coop himself. Its design was ingenious. When a CBS courier arrived, wires sounded a bell, alerting the guard. Then he or she would remove the steel canister from the bird’s neck or back, decode the message, and relay it upward.

She’d heard that carrier pigeons had flown only one way originally, towards home; hence the common term for them, homing pigeons. But the Signal Corps had trained them to fly both ways, by making them feel that Mt Negra was home and Mt Alba was their feeding station. Hence they flew happily between them, managing the 160 km round trip in a day.

Pinku hadn’t returned by dusk. She began to worry, and again wondered if she should have selected a hawk. She had seen some hawks during her surveillance of the valley; even eagles back early from their winter sojourn in the Gulf. Could a hawk or eagle have got the better of Pinku? It was unlikely. He was a smart bird, always flying close to the tree line, not leaving himself exposed. She had a worse thought – were they cultural, rather than natural, predators? Maybe enemy forces had trained their own birds.

She’d better send a hawk. She prepared another coded message and selected Bubbly to deliver it. As she saw him rise into the dusk sky, she saw an eagle rise with him. Hawks were faster, but eagles were smarter and stronger, and generally got the better of any fight. She knew right then that Bubbly was gone.

Sharon prepared a third coded message, and called forth Azeem. You couldn’t treat eagles like other birds. You had to treat them like people.

She said, “Azeem, my beautiful bird, my powerful companion, I have a request for you. Would you please deliver this message to Mt Alba by daybreak, and then return safely home?” Azeem stood still as she affixed the steel canister, and then was gone. She saw his back shine silver in the half-moon.

The next morning she saw glittering air in the valley. At first it seemed a flock of birds reflecting sunshine, but then she realized that it wasn’t birds. They moved too deliberately, taking no advantage of winds and thermals. If anything, they were pushing against them.

But one shape among them moved differently, and dodged from side to side, dropping down suddenly and swirling. It was Azeem.

When he dropped heavily beside her, she saw he was injured. His breast and wings were bloody, and his feathers tattered rags. “What happened to you, brave bird?” she said as she opened his canister. As she unrolled the hand written message, she had a brief recollection of digital technologies. They were now of no use to humans; 100% too dangerous to use.

The message when decoded read, “Urgent. The machines have adapted. They are no longer confined to land and water. They can fly now. Evacuate immediately.” Sharon looked up and saw a swarm of small aircraft, all remotely controlled like toys, but deadly ones, seeking out humans.

Spinthro & Aquila

Posted in Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by javedbabar

Spinthro spotted a good hole in the snow. Pickings were slim in winter so he was glad for the find. He could have stayed in the trees for longer but that was getting boring; a hunter can’t stay cooped up forever. A spiderling’s got to travel – see the world – to become a spider. The dark bulk of Mt. Negra had called him forever, and it was time for him to go.

He spun an orb-web immediately. One of his proteins was a little off, and not mixing well with others. He tested it with a front leg – yes, it would intercept prey; yes, it would absorb their momentum; yes, it would entangle and hold them, ready for dinner. The web was fit for purpose. Within the hour, a cedar moth flew into the web. It struggled for a while but soon gave up, exhausted. Spinthro watched its terror increase through all eight of his eyes; he zapped it with venom, and flooded its corpse with digestive enzymes. Then he ground it down further with pedipalps. Dinner was thus served.

Spinthro’s brethren hunted various prey – he’d heard of spiders eating lizards, even birds – but he stuck with insects and smaller spiders. Of course the most popular, proven method was using a sticky web; but spiders also lassoed prey with home-made bolas; to avoid detection they camouflaged themselves, or mimicked prey; ferocious spiders even ran prey down!

He thought back to web class. They learnt how to use their spinnarets efficiently to produce all six kinds of silk together; how to draw out their proteins smoothly and transform their structure; and how to harden them into the world’s strongest, most flexible, versatile material. It could be used for many things besides webs. Sperm and egg wrappers, and safety ropes. Girls focussed on nest-building; boys used silk to make parachutes!

Survival class taught them about peripheral vision; putting your eight eyes to best use. With dragonflies and birds around, this saves your life. They learnt about hydraulic repairs. Spiders’ limbs operate by fluid pressure; one leak and you’re done for. The most vital class was sex education. How to deal with females. You needed to create the right web vibrations, or mighty females may gobble you up. The Spider Code was instilled into all spiderlings: Be Patient, Be Scary, Be Cruel, Be Creative.

Spinthro knew he was a holy being of mysterious power. Spiders had spun webs to protect Muhammad, King David, and Robert the Bruce. He was Anansi the trickster god, and Spider Grandfather. In modern times, he was Spiderman. He weaved his web as humans weaved their lives. The Shaman he spoke to said that clever humans behaved like spiders, manipulating their thoughts and actions skilfully, like strands of a web. He had eight legs and eight eyes. Eight was the symbol of infinity. He was the spinner of the fabric of existence.

High above Spinthro sat Aquila. Though the spider only knew her as the moving top of a tree, the eagle had seen the spider clearly, crawling way below. Her huge pupils allowed in much light, and ensured minimum diffraction, leading to a clean, deep gaze. She sat in this perfect nesting site, a giant old-growth cedar with 360o vantage.

Both her eggs had hatched successfully, but the older sister had killed her younger brother soon after he appeared. This is a cruel world and females must get ahead whenever they can. Aquila had been sad to lose her son, but knew that this was the way of life. She had done the same to her younger brother. It was a wonder that there were any guys left at all.

Her mother had told her about her name. Aquila means dark, on account of her dark feathers. The similar aquilo referred to the north wind, whose thermals she rode. But their moniker bald eagle was misunderstood. Its derivation was from a word meaning white-headed, rather than bare-headed. The shamans she spoke to had told her that.

Many gods had adopted eagle form. Zeus became an eagle to attack and seduce others. Garuda’s eagle body was so massive that it could block out the sun. Muhammad’s black standard was known as the Banner of the Eagle. An eagle was symbol of St. John the Evangelist. A knight bearing an eagle crest would be courageous, a man of action and justice. Spread eagle’s wings indicated protection, as embodied by Holy Roman, Russian, and French Emperors. It was the emblem of the old lands of Egypt, Iraq and Palestine, and newer lands of Poland, Spain and America.

Aquila was proud of her noble lineage. It made her welcome everywhere in the world. If Lucerne’s lakes froze over this winter, she would migrate somewhere south. She could swoop and snatch fish from Mexican or Bolivian lakes. Her broad even wings created direct, fast flight; her heavy head and large hooked beak, strong muscular legs, and powerful talons ensured that fish had no chance of escape. How could they against a spiritual messenger of the gods? They had given her the gift of clear vision, and the ability to fly above life’s worldly levels.

Aquila’s keen eyes looked around. There was the little spider in the snow hole, in which it had built an orb-web; created its own little world. She could swoop down easily and have a little snack. It would be good exercise and worth the effort nutritionally. But she didn’t feel like doing it. He was working so hard down there. Let him continue to work the land, she thought. She would uphold her dominance of the air. The spider was the Actor; she was the Observer. Their worlds were different yet the same.