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Dianire in pain and sorrow

The Locust, Act Two

Two Ambushes, not Just One!

Something I should have worked out a while ago. Cyl and Tia have analyzed the havoc that Rintiala wreaked on the Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain, and have devised a new strategy, now that they know the synthetic diseases will have no effect on the Nueguans.

Instead, synthetics will lure the three in by pandering to their desires, separating them, and then killing them. Alyria works this subterfuge out first, running out the front entrance with a synthetic HTR and Rintiala.

HTR goes underground, while Dianire has a running battle to top of the crennelated towers of the Kierland. The buildings use automated defenses against them both.

Cyl and Tia come up with a strategy. They have assessed the powers of Alyria as a Healing Sister–but nowhere near the powers of Rintiala–and decide she can be used as a ‘bargaining chip’ with the Western Bandits, so that the synthetics can keep incursions to a minimum. HTR is a hybrid, and the synthetics decided to test his abilities, as he is likely the forerunner of a new breed of humans. If he dies in the trials, so be it. Their real focus is on Dianire, as they have the technology to access the RIN programming that will give rise to the Dark Queen. (Sean Landesten was originally a Sky Wanderer, before he was expelled). So..the synthetics know more about Dianire than she could possibly know about herself. They will test her combat potential, but will not kill her. Unfortunately the torture they inflict on Dianire awakens the murderous rage of the Dark Queen, and the Western Bandits are the first to feel her wrath.

So, how in practical terms, do Cyl and Tia test and torture? They use the automated features of the Westin Kierland against HTR and Dianire. Cy begins his test of HTR when HTR is examining the state-of-the-art septic facilities; although there are no humans yet, food is prepared, animals slaughtered and plant waste processes. Literally HTR goes through shit to get back to Dianire.

HTR nearly dies at the bottom of the effluent reclamation tank, but his super-spleen kicks in, and he has several more minutes of oxygen. He is surrounded by a new kind of creature–one of Sean Landesten’s designs–an electric sturgeon that cleans up the bottom of the tank, and kills others scavengers if they get too close. The bottom of the tank turns out to be a breeding ground for new creatures. HTR fills his canteen with fertilized sturgeon eggs, in the hope that these creatures will be of value to Dianire, which they will be.

Dianire on the other hand is introduced to another Landesten design, a century cactus that converts wind energy to stored electrical energy by use of piezo-electric sucrose fibers. The synthetics very much want Dianire to go along with their plan, until she discovers that they intend to vivisect her.

The two trials can be summed up as HTR = Darkness and Dianire = Light. HTR is shown the latest effluent reclamation by Cyl, featuring nanotechnology filters, engineering lost to the Empty Earth, while Dianire is shown by Tia the solar-powered air conditioning and heating systems, using carbon fiber super-capacitors, another lost technology. Cyl traps HTR in the bottom of the effluent processing station, warning him that synthetic booby traps have been laid out for the Apache; Tia explains that the synthetics wish to vivisect Dianire, but not kill her, as they believe such torture will unleash Dianire’s power to the full. The synthetics believe that what they are doing is just, because they also do not know what kind of Sky Wanderers will return. If the returnees are malicious, then hybrid Apache and Nuegua warriors will be needed. It is for a good cause, repeat Cyl and Tia.

Dianire is the one the synthetics want to keep, so that they can vivisect her. Their DNA assessment indicates that she is the larval stage of a new kind of highly aggressive human, and they wish to steal the secrets locked in her RIN (Recursive Instructional Nexus). They trap her on the top tower of the wing of the Kierland overlooking its massive wave pool. Dianire dives into its deep end from four stories up, and hits the bottom hard enough to shatter her left clavicle, The pain of this turns on the first flowering of the Dark Queen, and Dianire rises from the water as an avenging angel. She meets up with HTR–fighting numerous copies of Cy and Tia along the way–until they hole up in the coffee shop, while the synthetics look for a way to burrow under said shop.

HTR and Dianire meet up in the coffee shop at the north east of the Westin Kierland property, and discover that this non-descript building holds the weapons and armor they need.

Finds-Water’s Strategy

One of the problems of a project the size of the Nuegua Trilogy is that one can lose sight of the motivations of a character, because building the world is so much fun.

With that in mind, let us see why Dianire Redourine is in the Ruins of Phoenix, fighting for her life at the Kierland, the last known gathering place of the Sky Wanderers.

Going back to ‘Ghost Sickness’, the reader will know that the Sky Wanderers have left caches of treasure and weapons for their eventual return. Finds-Water, the oldest and cleverest of the Apache Traders, has not been able to convince Alathea of Clan Tiala that her clan must intermarry with the Apache, to create a new, superior breed of human, to combat the Sky Wanderers.

Instead, Alathea commissions Dianire to locate any and all Sky Wanderer weapon caches that she can. The Kierland is a logical place to start. Rintiala is deep in the building of Dragon Head, and Alathea will never put her oldest daughter in jeopardy again. Dianire agrees, because simply reconnoitering the Kierland will likely be a high enough acheivement to promote her to First Sister.

Dianire succeeds, although the Kierland has only a small cache of weapons, most of which have been converted into tools for the aid of the synthetics, the old ‘beating swords in plowshares’ metaphor.

What Dianire does discover is the map of all the Sky Wanderer’s weapons located in the American South West, or the ‘Empty Earth’ in Tialan parlance. Finds-Water insists that she share this information with the Apache, but she flatly refuses. This fuels his suspicion that Clan Tialan and Clan Redourine will ultimately rule the Empty Earth, leaving the Apache and the rest of the Native Peoples as second-class citizens. This has ramifications for Rintiala, because when she delivers her grand scheme to have all Apache women bear their children in Clan Tiala, Finds-Water is convinced that his suspicions are correct.

The Second Tome, or the Final Synopsis of ‘Second Sister’

I’m going to use the month of September 2019 to finish ‘Second Sister’ as all the individual chapters have been written, some as long as twenty-five years ago (!) So here goes:

The entire story is read during the second session in Carlsbad Abbey by Queen Ariana, so we have the same guests in attendance (in order to improve continuity). So, the entire second story is wrapped inside the Second Tome of Queen Ariana, A.D. 2578.

The first section is ‘The Locust’ or the coming of the Dark Queen in the form of Dianire Redourine. This is the wrapper around ‘The Ruins of Phoenix’. This section also contains ‘Strong Baby’s Dream’ and the entire section ends with Tianara’s successful surgery and the defeat/expulsion of the Western Bandits from the known Empty Earth.

The second section is ‘Second Sister’ proper, and is the story of Ariana’s entrance into New Spain, her triumph of opening the Sky Wanderers’ treasure-trove in Los Alamos, and ends with her murder at the hands of Dianire. (I”m going to write this as manslaughter, but King Carlos of Spain won’t see it that way).

The third section is ‘Queen, Saint or Goddess?’ and is the story of Rintiala’s failed attempt to extricate Ariana from New Spain, Dianire’s attack on Santa Fe, and the final decisive battle at the Healing Temple in Tiala.

All three sections culminate in Queen Ariana finishing the Second Tome, and then meeting her mother, Rintiala in the flesh. They go out of the Great Meeting Room to walk on the southern balcony of the Abbot’s Residence, and there witness the Sky Wanderers’ landing their ships a few hundred meters away.

That ends ‘Second Sister’, setting up the conditions for the third and final volume of the Nuegua Trilogy, ‘War in Heaven’.

There are also going to be extended appendices, mostly notably ‘Desert Frigate’ where Prince Carlos, Benedetto Sepulveda and Alejandro Baca drive back an attack on Soccorro by the Western Bandits.

A second addition is ‘The Cities of Quivera’ where we meet Don Benedetto’s older brother, the adventurous and doomed Don Genaro.

The Masters of Luridity: A Study of “The Mesa Of Lost Women”

Or, how one of the worst movies ever made became the inspiration for my life’s work.

First, check out this unintentionally hilarious (and lurid) trailer:

The Mesa of Lost Women (1953 Trailer)

Now, let’s do a quick precis:

“Hidden the mesas of New Mexico, a disgraced but brilliant scientist creates a new type of human female, altering their genetics to include the powers of a spider”.

Uh…wait a minute..is that “The Mesa of Lost Women”, or “Nuegua”?

The truth is that the Nuegua storyline is an update to and rewrite of “The Mesa Of Lost Women”.

To show how close the world-building is. let’s take a look at my villainess, Beryla.

Hmmm…that’s Tandra Quinn from “The Mesa Of Lost Women”! I dimly remember watching this movie on a Saturday afternoon when I was no older than twelve, maybe only eleven.

The image stuck. Here’s a better one:

As all modern rewrites do, Berylia is a ‘dark grey’ character; her motivations are logical, but cruel. She is a master manipulator, determined to overthrow the elite of Nueguan society.

As for the soundtrack of “The Mesa Of Lost Women”, it was disastrous attempt to fuse (I won’t go so far as to say ‘integrate’) Flamenco guitar with Schoenbergian piano.

And again, much of my Nueguan music does the same thing, hopefully a little better.