Date 10 May 2015.
Author Palantir
Subject Mparntwe.

The author retains copyright (2015) to this story. Reproducing this story for distribution without the author's permission is a violation of that copyright.
This story is fiction.

Thank you Nifty for the opportunity to post this story.

Mparntwe is another tale of the Terran Diaspora. Set in an earlier time to the tumultuous events of 'Attunga', it is based in Central Australia and tells the story of two young people. Jarra and Mirrigan, both with serious disabilities, both with serious abilities, live in one of the first great underground communities and experience events which change the world.

Mparntwe Chapter 2.

The visitor entrance to Mparntwe was positioned quite close to Jarra's Community and the gently sloping downward ramp was lined with amazing pictures and designs which slowed his progress till he saw Mirri with a large group of people.


The loud cry of recognition sounded and a few seconds later Jarra was hugged and lifted from his feet then hustled towards the smiling gathering. There were so many it was quite confronting till Baradin stepped close and Jarra felt himself relax.

"Welcome to Country, Jarra. Mirrigan's family invite you into their home."

Jarra had seen this formal greeting many times.

"I am honored to be here, and to meet Mirri's family."

There were nods and smiles from older members of the group at this formal acknowledgement from a ten year old boy. They would soon learn how much he loved to know things. Mirri took Jarra's arm and led the way to the nearby lift station. Jarra hardly looked at the surroundings because the people were taking nearly all of his attention.
He'd known, from Baradin, that Mirri had four sisters and five brothers, but having them all present and watching him felt strange. They were all smiling though so that made it easier. The lift was big enough for everyone and sixteen people were rapidly whisked along. After one level change and a short walk Mirri was telling Jarra they were home. Inside, Jarra was welcomed again, this time by Mirri's parents who made him smile by pointing to a hallway and telling Mirri to take Jara and help them escape all the nosies.
Mirri grabbed Jarra's arm and led him down the long hallway.

"My room is fun. ...Are we going exploring?"

"Show me your room and then we can go to your lizard place."

Baradin had planned this with Jarra the day before.

"This is my bed."

Mirri jumped on the mattress and started bouncing up and down.

"These are my pictures."

He stopped bouncing and pointed to the walls. Jarra started to look but Mirri had already moved on.

"These are my discoveries."

On a shelf was an odd collection of objects, rocks, sticks, a little bleached white skull, and when Jarra touched a coiled up snakeskin Mirri immediately unrolled it to show its length.

"He gave me this one because it was old. You have to be careful when you see a snake in case he gets angry."

Mirri re-rolled the skin and put it in Jarra's hands. He was giving it to him?

"Mirri, you keep it and we'll explore for another one."

Jarra quickly learnt that Mirri would give him anything and everything.

"Okay, let's play in my action room now."

A different door opened to a large area with all sorts of equipments and space for physical activities. Mirri ran and did a somersault onto a soft looking mat then beckoned happily. Somehow, Jarra knew exactly what was to happen. Well, it had been one of the surprises of yesterday's encounter. Would Mirri remember to be gentle?
He did, and a few minutes later Jarra was once again in fake control of the bundle of muscle and energy beneath him. It was time to stop. If they were going exploring he'd need to conserve his energy.


There really were lizards, mostly little skinks darting in and out of cracks and gaps in the rocks, and a couple of slow shinglebacks, but the special moment happened when they surprised a big frillneck and he puffed himself up in a threat display before racing for cover. Mirri made one of his excited happy sounds and Jarra felt like doing the same.
They'd been guided by one of Mirri's brothers and left at the surface access point which was several hundred metres from a little visitor area in the reclaimed land above the Community center.
Jarra was loving every minute of seeing a new place and his mind was racing as he took everything in. It was amazing to think that below his feet there was level upon level of people living. He'd looked it up last night at home and found that in this spot there were thirty-one levels.
The little signs suggested keeping to the established walking trail but that didn't happen because nothing was going to stop Mirri showing his special places and things.

"Big Bird!"

Mirri was pointing to a large eucalypt. He did have good eyes. Jarra took a couple of seconds to register the outline on a branch. Big was right. It was the distinctive shape of a Wedge Tailed eagle. A moment later Jarra realised there was also a construction in the tree.

"Look Mirri, the Eagle has an eyrie."

"What is eyrie?"

"His nest."

"Yes, his nest is always there. Some times he has babies."

The great raptor launched from the tree and Jarra watched wide-eyed as it passed with wings spread only ten meters above. He saw Wedgies most days when he went on his walks but not low like this. The moment of wonder passed because Mirri burst into action. He darted several meters to a grass tussock and pounced. Jarra's heart jumped at the site of the struggling reptile then jumped again when it was thrust towards him.

"You hold him, Mirri. He makes me nervous."

The fat lizard did indeed look scary with its gaping mouth and large blue tongue. The struggle slowed and the jaws closed as Mirri used his free hand to gently stroke the scaly back.

"Nice hands."

Jarra watched, amazed, as Mirri placed a finger under the front claw of the now placid creature and smiled happily at the little clutching movements. When Mirri looked at him Jarra did the same and was immediately taken by the sensation of the tiny claws against his skin.
Mirri resumed his gentle stroking and the sight and feel joined with the sound of Mirri's singing, to etch a special moment in Jarra's mind.


Karmai pointed down the track, quite needlessly, because Mirri knew exactly where to go. For the last two weeks all the exploring had been at the lizard place but this fixation had ended two days ago when he'd found a torn and tattered snakeskin and proudly gifted it to Jarra. Karmai was Mirri's second oldest brother and he seemed to be the main person involved in overseeing Mirri's exploration activities.
Baradin had come along once but hung back from the actual exploring, which didn't count as real for Mirri unless he did it by himself. The consensus seemed to be that because Jarra was a proper explorer the rules had changed.
Jarra liked Karmai, and regarded him with a kind of awe. He joined in with Mirri's playing and tumbled them both around on the mat in the action room. When he saw Mirri allowing Jarra to be the victor he did the same and shrieks of laughter filled the room as Mirri watched Jarra triumph over this formidable adversary and make him carry him piggyback around the room. Mirri had to have his turn against Karmai of course, and Jarra stayed well back as twelve years of strength and energy battled against eighteen.
This track was proper exploring so they were on their own. Not really. Karmai's InfoPad was linked to the ComPatch on Mirri's shirt so everywhere he went he could be watched, and if he discarded his shirt, as he had the day Jarra met him, the signal from his Ident ring could always pinpoint his location.

"Look at the lumpy tree!"

Mirri had run a few metres off the track to touch one of the lumpy burls on a nearby eucalypt. Jarra had a quick look then focused along the track where it appeared to run into an outcrop of bright red rock.

"That's the bird place, where they have their drink. I hope we see them."

The soft sand of the track slowed Jarra with the extra effort needed and it was nearly fifteen minutes before they rounded a bend and Mirri stopped dead in his tracks.


Birds? Jarra wasn't seeing birds. There was a stretch of water bordered along both sides by a band of bright green grass. Where were they? A section of the grass lifted into the air and flew to a nearby tree.
Oh my! This wasn't grass. It was thousands of little green budgerigars, congregated for a drink. Jarra was used to seeing them in flocks of ten, twenty or even more on his own walks, but nothing like this. The closer they got the more the real numbers became apparent. Jarra had never seen anything like it.
With a great rush of tiny wings beating and tiny throats screeching, the air filled with whirl and skirl as the multitude flew over their heads to the shelter of the nearby eucalypts. Wheeling above was a bird of prey.

"Come to the watching place."

Jarra followed Mirri to a small clump of rock not far from the water's edge and settled, in what he figured must be a pattern for Mirri, to wait and watch. The big hawk disappeared, a small flock of budgies returned, another, and then another till once again the sand looked like living grass.
A group landed almost at their feet then fled noisily when the movement of Mirri's arm pointing alarmed them.
The hawk returned, the green storm retreated to the trees then ventured to the sand in a cycle they watched twice more before Mirri jumped to his feet.

"Let's explore the frog place."

This was unexpected. No one had mentioned anything about frogs.

"Is it very far, Mirri?"

"It's there. Not very far."

He was pointing further along the stretch of water. Jarra hesitated, but the idea of seeing frogs was very tantalising and if they walked slowly it would be all right. They did walk slowly but Mirri had no idea of distance and when they arrived Jarra sat quietly watching while Mirri raced from place to place in his frog quest. There was a happy yell, a rush to share, and Jarra was given a big green bullfrog.
Wow! It was wonderful because he'd never actually held one before. He'd seen some little brown frogs once on his own walk when water came flowing down the Todd River, but otherwise he'd only seen them at the Nature Park.
Jarra moved close to the water and put the frog down to see what would happen. After two jumps and a little splash it swam out of sight under the water.

"More frogs?"

Jarra nodded and followed Mirri. This really was interesting. A ledge of rock jutted into the water and Mirri blithely walked along then jumped a gap to a broader area. Jarra was much more careful. Yes, he could jump across but would it be tricky on the way back, going from broad to narrow? It didn't matter. There were plenty of other ways to go. Jarra made the jump and felt really pleased with himself. This really was exploring at its best.

"Look! Fish!"

There they were. Little ones, darting this way and that near the surface. Jarra tried to count but the movement was too confusing. About fifteen or twenty probably.
Jarra kept watching, suddenly intrigued with how they all moved in the same direction at exactly the same time. The more he looked the more it seemed as if they were linked together. How did they do that?

"More fish!"

Another group, smaller, joined with the first and the same group movement continued.
A commotion from behind made Jarra turn. A flock of budgies a bit further along was rushing for the trees. There was a loud whistling call and his eyes fixed on a bird of prey gliding low, straight towards them and then directly overhead. Jarra tilted his head back to follow.
Everything went crazy with his orientation as sky and water mixed in a great splash. He'd overbalanced and fallen in backwards. He surfaced and was just gathering his wits when Mirri leapt straight on top of him. At least that was the impression till the water right next to him rocked as Mirri landed.
Jarra floundered and struggled towards the edge till his foot pushed against something. He stood up then promptly lost his footing again when Mirri's arms grabbed him and he went under for a second time. The water was only chest deep but Mirri didn't let go till they reached the edge. He eeled out and then helped Jarra onto the rock.
Jarra stayed still till he felt himself steady, then grinned at Mirri who was staring at him.

"I fell in. I watched the bird and lost my balance."

"It was a big surprise and I have to look after you."

"I can swim, Mirri. Everything is all right."

Jarra could swim, but not for long or far. His doctors insisted on it because it helped his muscles and at school everyone had to learn anyway. Mirri started smiling when Jarra tipped water out of his shoes and then joined in the fun process of wringing water out of socks and shirts. Jarra noticed that the color indicator for his ComPatch showed it was malfunctioning. Mirri's too. Well, they weren't designed for water immersion.
In the water there were just two little minnows.

"We frightened the fish away, Mirri, but they'll come back. Did you see the bird? This is a good place but it's time to go home."

Jumping the gap was easier than expected but after one hundred meters of walking back to the bird place Jarra slowed his walk to a shuffle then stopped completely and sat down. This shouldn't be happening yet.

"I can't walk, Mirri, my muscles have gone wrong."

Jarra felt for his InfoPad to contact Karmai. Oh no. It must have slipped out when he fell in. Mirri dropped to his knees and gave Jarra a big hug.

"Tired muscles? We will have a rest."

Rest was right. At least a whole night of it and treatment with the doctor as well.

"Not here, Mirri. I have to get home."

As soon as he said it, Jarra realised he shouldn't have. Karmai would come looking, and waiting here was the only thing they could do anyway. Mirri looked worried.

"I have to look after you. Uncle Baradin told me."

"Let's wait, Mirri. Karmai will come."

Mirri took no notice. He had to look after Jarra and get him home.

"I will be your pig."

Jarra stared in disbelief. What was he talking about? Mirri patting himself on the back clued him in.

"Piggyback? It's too far, Mirri. I'm too heavy."

"I am strong."

It was no good arguing or explaining. Mirri now had it fixed in his mind that this was how he could help, so Jarra cooperated in the awkward process of being manoeuvred onto Mirri's back.
It wouldn't hurt and when it got too hard they'd just stop. A hundred meters later Jarra understood that Mirri wasn't going to stop. At two hundred meters he was slowing and staggering but so focused that Jarra's calls to stop didn't register. A few meters later Mirri slowed even more and started making a rhythmic sound.
His movement steadied, and slowly, surely, he sang himself on.
They'd almost reached the bird place when he did stop. Not because he had to but because beneath a crowd of screeching budgerigars a racing figure was calling his name. Karmai arrived in a great rush.

"What's wrong? What happened?"

"We have to take Jarra home. His muscles got sick."

Jarra was still on Mirri's back. He was being held so tight he had no choice.

"I'm all right, Karmai. My muscles lost their strength and I can't walk till I have a big rest."

"You can't even walk?"

Karmai looked horrified and transferred Jarra to his own back and started walking while he listened to the explanation of what had happened. He'd known Jarra had fallen in because the ComPatch signal had worked till Mirri's leap, and he'd set out to meet them, but then became worried when he couldn't contact the InfoPad.

"Did Mirrigan make you walk too far?"

"We misjudged a bit but as long as we walked slowly I would have been all right. The shock from falling in must have set it off. If I have an adrenaline rush it's not good for me."

"Adrenaline rush? You understand things like that?"

"My doctors explain it because I have to know."

"If I run will that make you worse? I want to get you home as soon as I can."

"I'm not sure. I think walking might be better."

Karmai's walking speed increased but at the same time evened so that the bounce with each step was less.

"Mirrigan, run and tell Baradin that we're coming."

Instead of taking off like a rocket Mirri shook his head about five times.

"I have to look after Jarra. He needs me."

Jarra had just enough energy for a smile before his eyes closed and everything went away. When they opened again the first thing he saw was Mirri looking at him.

"Jarra is awake! Jarra is better!"

The next thing was a hug. Mirri was big on hugs and Jarra couldn't help smiling at the enthusiastic way it was delivered. Karmai and Baradin were smiling too.

"Where am I?"

Baradin moved to the other side of the bed from Mirri and rested his hand on Jarra's shoulder for a moment.

"This is one of our medical centers. You've been asleep since yesterday and we'd like to know how you're feeling."

Jarra took stock then sat up in surprise.

"The last time this happened I was tired as anything for two days but I'm not. I feel really good. How long was I asleep?"

"Nearly eighteen hours. Our doctor decided it was best for you and it looks like he was right. Your father was here but he couldn't stay so you're coming with us till you go home this evening."

"Don't I have to stay in bed?"

"Not at all. Your new doctor says there's no need."

Jarra blinked a few times while he took that in. His doctors were always changing but he did like the lady doctor who sometimes walked with him. Baradin picked up on his resistance.

"I hope you like him. Your father is eager for you to stay as his patient after his effective care for you last night."

"Dad said that?"

"Yes, but you can make up your own mind after you've had a talk in his office.
Mirrigan has fresh clothes for you so whenever you're ready we'll be on our way."

"How did I get here? Mirri carried me and then Karmai, and that's all I remember. Did Karmai carry me all the way?"

"Emergency transport took over at the entrance and monitored you while we contacted your father and organised our doctors."

Jarra suddenly blushed because he realised what he hadn't done.

"Thank you for helping me, Mirri. You are the best friend in the world. Thank you for carrying me, Karmai, and thank you, Baradin, for organising the doctors."

Mirri gave him another hug, Karmai smiled, and Baradin did the touch on the shoulder thing again.

"We are honored, Jarra."

Jarra didn't know it but Baradin was surprised and quite moved by a ten year old boy expressing an almost formal thank you only moments after he'd woken.

"I always take care of you. Uncle Baradin says it's good to help sick ones."

"Yes, Mirrigan. That's correct. And you were very good."

Jarra slipped out of bed and checked how steady he was on his feet. Much better than he expected. While he was dressing he noticed an InfoPad on the bedside bench. His? Yes, it was.

"Where did this come from? I lost it in the water."

"Karmai explored. He swam with the little fish and he found it."

Karmai nodded.

"Mirri's right, I knew where it would be and diving for it was a good adventure. You can't be without your InfoPad."

That was a tiny tease because Jarra used his InfoPad far more than most people. He activated it briefly to see if it was okay then followed Baradin.

End of Chapter2.
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