The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 2

The Goatmen of Aguirra is one of my favorite stories and, based on comments, popular among my readers (thankee!). It appears in my self-published Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, as an individual ebook The Goatmen of Aguirra: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, and was serialized in Piker Press in 2019.

I’m sharing it here because a friend is having some challenges using 1st Person POV, and The Goatmen of Aguirra uses 1st Person POV throughout.

Read The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 1.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 2)

 
705015:323 – The winds are fierce now that Astarte 217’s rays are directly on this moraine. Instruments indicate speeds in excess of one-hundred kilometers per hour and the sudden inversion is creating torrential rains which are creating waterfalls down the faces of the Towers and flooding this gorge.

These rains reminds me, in some ways, of New Orleans, where Robin and I lived briefly while she attended Loyola. In high summer it rains every hour, suddenly, violently, then stops after ten minutes. There are no clouds in the sky, then they gather up, release their hold and go away.

As the clouds gathered Sanders ordered the caster to ground. At the time it was flying over the run off fissures on the Alpha Tower. It continued transmitting and, thanks to the floor and angle, we witnessed incredible rains and winds clearing the skies and scrubbing the canopy. The only difference here is the color.

Despite the rain and wind, we can see Astarte 217 rising far to the east on that edge of the altiplano. It is peering over the precipice at us like some Indian scouting the fort. The clouds are higher over the plain than the precipice’s edge and this gives 217 a green crown. Nash says this is common here but uncommon on earth. Nash. Never-late-for-dinner Nash. Of all on this mission, he’s the only one who grumbles when I sit next to him for meals. No one else seems to mind my being a lefty.

God it is glorious here.

705015:500 – Wind and rain have stopped. They lasted about one and a half standard hours, about point-seven-one dechours on this planet, and Nash says we can expect something similar at dusk and dawn every day.

Sanders sent up some more casters to scout along with the first when the storm broke. They are coursing through the far away valley and are sending back holos of the several species inhabiting Aguirra.

Closer to our blind but still some distance down the altiplano Aguirran insects are busy. Their buzzing and clicking reminds me of apiaries and formicariums back home. Typical to robotic and remote sensing, the true aromas of this country weren’t captured in their entirety, or were captured with the typical burnt-metal tinge which all such equipment imparts. Considering the waxing and waning humidity, there is no smell of decay, detritus, humus, or their like. Whatever moisture lands is quickly recaptured and, as noted previously, behaves more like some kind of planetary scrubbing action than rejuvenating rain. I’ve noticed, at the leading edge of each storm recorded, there is a smell similar to a good late spring rain in a forest. The smells of the flora are highlighted and accented, hitting one high in the nose not unlike a pleasantly bitter coffee.

The Aguirran insects disturb me. More correctly, it is their mammalian eyes which disturb me, eyes you’re more accustomed to seeing on your dog or cat, eyes which you can believe have some hint of intelligence behind them. Galen further noted that the clearly arboreal species have blue eyes. “Same as you, Banks,” he said.

“Why is that, do you think?”

“Adaptive biology, I guess. A blue iris in this atmosphere could cause less ocular distortion over distance. I wouldn’t be surprised if everything living eight-k and up’s eyes were blue.”

Nothing else lives this far off the planetary floor.

Sanders brought me another message from Robin’s attorneys today. There are advantages and disadvantages to being in a jumpship. This message, received as quickly as possible, is still months too late for me to respond. It appears I won’t be allowed to see Jeremy.

Again, there is nothing here which hasn’t been reported before.

715015:030 – The alarms woke us, although there seemed to be no reason. The casters were called back and found nothing, which our shipboard instruments confirmed.

The casters also indicate thermals on the steppes and higher on the Towers, although the vegetation is too dense for the casters to gather much information due to their altitude.

Sanders is staying up to perform a redundancy on the grid and has ordered the rest of us to sleep.


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