The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 5

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 4.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 5)

 
755015:500 – Sanders consented to an attempt at open communications. Aside from the robotics and the collar, I’ll be going alone. I suggested a holo for first contact, in case these creatures are hostile. Policy and the others went against my suggestion, and I was selected as Odd-man-out. No robotics indicated anything like these Goatmen, so no xenopologists were assigned to this crew.

This isn’t what I was trained to do and I don’t like it.

755015:940 – When they saw me walk around the Blind, all immediately lowered themselves to their knees with their arms at their sides and hands on thighs, fingers pointing inward, their backs straight and their faces always towards me. I felt like I was entering an Aikido class. The way their arms arc out from their bodies I can only think of “I’m a little teapot short and stout…”. Jeremy so loved that song. I would sing it to him and dance, positioning his little body to the lyrics of the song. Ah, well.

As I approached, in unison they held out their left hands and bent slightly towards me. One of the Goatmen communicated. The communication was audial, but was in the infrasound range as I felt it more than heard it, like feeling the vibrations of a big bass drum as a parade marches by. The vibrations stopped and, again in unison, they extended their right hands, still bent slightly in my direction. I was told by a friend from Nambia that most white men smell like goats. The wind has changed and, if this is how we smell, we should bathe more often.

If they used audial communication, I would try the same, hoping my voice was neither beyond their hearing nor painful to their ears.

“My name is Gordon Banks.”

They communicated amongst themselves, this time in the audible range. What I immediately noticed was the physical cues to communication. When one spoke, he leaned towards his listener and extended his left hand, then showed he awaited a reply by extending his right hand. The listener kept his back straight until he spoke. During conversation – as opposed to communication – both leaned into each other and their hands darted forward and back quickly but rhythmically. During oration (if that term can be applied) the listeners sit with their backs straight. The patterns for conversation and communication followed when more than two Goatmen were engaged.

I remember that my reaction to their physical cuing was the amount of respect it showed for speaker and listener. I wondered if this physical cuing was ceremonial or cultural.

Their voices remind me most of excited horses and sheep, a combination of high bleating, neighing, and low bellowing. It is obviously a complex language. As they went through their posturings the wind brought several subtle smells to me. Could there also be an vomeronasal component to their communication? How I wished for a Goatman’s nose! Is the grotesque physical animation necessary due to the torpidity of the face? Does their vomeronasal sense supplement that? And if so, how subtle and sophisticated is it?

Why did none of the robotics reveal this culture here? Why are there no other such creatures or cultures anywhere else on this planet?

They extended their left hands again (a sign of placation or offering?) and bent towards me. When the one Goatman – I’ve decided to call him Gomer, it is as close as I can get to his name – spoke, I tied in the translators. He is, I think, a middle-aged male of some importance. “You are from the …” He made a sound at the end of his question that the program couldn’t translate.

Again their right hands came forward. All stared at me, waiting. I spoke into the collar, “Can the computers give me anything on that last phoneme?”

Sanders answered me, although I could hear the others in the background and imagined them all huddled around the holo watching and taking notes. “Something tied to their mythology is the best we can do. Some kind of primary cultural icon, we think.”

I wanted to echo “We think?” but know Sanders was incapable of an original thought unless the flight manual expressly indicated it. Instead I said, “Thanks. I’m talking with fifteenth-century Christians and am about to say, ‘Jesus Christ? Holy Spirit? Sorry, I have no idea what those are.’ I hope their culture is more aboriginal.”

I tied in the translators and spoke. “Can you understand me?”


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 4

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 3.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 4)

 
745015:400 – The rumbler rolled from behind the blind and out towards the Goatmen. Set on low, its pseudopod extended and thumped the Aguirran plain lightly and rhythmically.

A strange thing happened which I haven’t shared with the others but am willing to recount here:

All of us – Sanders, Galen, Tellweiller, Nash, and myself – sat at the great table in Common and watched the monitor. On the screen we saw all the goatmen save one turn and stare at the rumbler. They watched it with the same blank, seemingly mindless expression with which they watched the blind previously. They showed no aggression, no offense, no territoriality; nothing. No display of anything with which I’m familiar.

All except one. He turned to the rumbler, puckered as if in thought, as if he were trying to come to some decision about it, then turned back to the Blind. It didn’t end there. If it did there would be nothing more to tell.

When he turned back to the Blind, his eyes – those damn near human eyes everything seems to have on this planet – came to a focus they had not achieved before and he stared – if that word can be used – not only directly into the blind but at me, as if I could be seen by him as separate and distinct from the blind, our ship, even my fellows in the crew. I was about to mention this to the others when I noticed none of them was aware of this singular fellow. All of their attention was on the rumbler, waiting for it to cause an aboriginal scatter. None of them seemed even aware of the lone Goatman.

I looked back at the Goatman whose eyes were fixed upon me and he opened his mouth as if to say “oh”. It seemed he breathed rapidly and I…I felt my surroundings fade. As I sat there meeting this creature’s unintentional stare, I peripherally watched my compatriots moving off as if into some great distance, becoming wisps and shadows until they, the table, Common, and even The Merrimack itself were gone from me.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 3

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 2.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 3)

 
725015:600 – They stood outside the blind for a full day, leaving only when the inversion storms formed on the horizon and coming back when the storms dissipated, seating themselves in the extended root systems of the succulent where their coloring makes them damn near invisible. We realize now they may have been there since before our landing, hence the blind is moot.

As I stated earlier, Aguirra is a testament to adaptive evolution. These creatures – we call them ‘Goatmen’ now that we’ve been able to observe more about their physiologies – are the best blend of North American mountain goats and South American camels.

In this land of high, thin air, little food, cold, and treacherous terrain, these Goatmen have developed enlarged hearts and lungs – my guess is that they couldn’t survive at sea level.

Their coats are fine and dense with two layers; the outer layer is comprised of long, oily, water repellent guard hairs, the inner layer is comprised of dense hollow hairs to provide both thermal insulation and protection from parasites. At least the insects don’t seem to bother them. The coat won’t collect moisture and sheds condensation, the principal elements of the best insulations known, and is thickest across the shoulders where the guard hairs may be ten to fifteen centimeters long. The coat thins as it moves out to the muzzle and legs.

Toe walkers. Their feet are like their hands, although the toes are broader, flatter, and rubbery in their ability to grasp the surface they walk on. Their legs obviously evolved from something quadripedal in recent evolutionary time.

Chromotographic analysis of their respirations – only two to three per decminute while observing us, apparently a resting state – shows a ninety percent CO2-O2 exchange. Without dissection I can’t be sure, but I would guess they can force oxygen into their tissues in much the way deep diving cetaceans do.

I would almost believe they live on the Towers, although there is no evidence of this other than the telemetry of the casters.

It is obvious they know we are here. This blind serves us nothing. I’ve asked Sanders to allow attempts at communications. Although they haven’t made obvious communication amongst themselves, their behavior leads me to believe them intelligent.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

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.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 1

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.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 1)

 
Continue reading “The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 1”