Friday, August 21, 2020

States of Change Chapter 29: Hawkeye (Iowa)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 
Fifty independent States have forged unique societies from revolutionary technology and ideology
Beneath an August night sky, three forms wend their way across lowland forest in the wild of Iowa's Paleozoic plateau. The cloudless galactic dome showers starlight upon them. 

"You two don't know what you're missing. Biological night vision has been a tribal legacy for millennia. It may be evolutionary but with practice it's a skill that honors the shared memories of our ancestors."

Sepera alone wears only the fully traditional garb of the Kipopo, from her beaded headband down to hand sewn moccasins she made herself.  Quetz and Coy Wolf on the other hand have no qualms about using modern gear, including imported visARs which provide, among numerous custom app features, enhanced infrared and low-light overlays.  

For nearly thirty years Iowan tribal customs have evolved along a variety of paths for each of the twenty-six resident tribes. Most harbor open disdain for modern technology preferring self-sufficiency over the corrupting influence of economic capitalism. That isn't to say tribe reparation accounts don't fund up-to-date medical and educational programs for all Iowans, still only half a dozen tribes dabble in the full on modernity of augment tech. Nevertheless, as members of different tribes, these three have banded together to fulfill their coming of age mission, to collect evidence of the most elusive Iowa wildlife. With sufficient documentation, they will earn passage into adulthood.

"Respect to your anti-tech choices, Sepera," whispers Coy Wolf. "But recall, our paths cross on this vision quest not only to garner honor but also to grow interdependence and acceptance among our tribes."

Quiet, che'yunyenos! Acoustic anomaly to the northeast. Possible predator presence within range 100 - 200m.

In the Algonquian sign language they share, Coy Wolf passes to Sepera the message Quetz sent on their visAR internal feed. He leaves out the 'stray dog' pejorative.

Quetz scans the area then leads the group forward. For Sepera's offline benefit he then signals guidance the takes them around a small pond toward the hopeful target area. The footpath is visible as a dark swath in the moonless night, yet the recent rain makes the clay soil slick. Huron tracking training notwithstanding, Coy Wolf loses his footing on a muddy patch. He catches his fall grabbing out to a nearby sapling but the resulting extended rustling transforms the living white noise of the night into unnatural silence. Two moments pass, then three, when two bleats issue from further back in the undergrowth followed without warning by three white tail dear bounding in thumps through the brush off to North.
Sepera beams then signs confirmation her sighting of two doe and a fawn to her male companions."No need for silence now. You're skill at flushing out game is epic, CW." Quetz chortles shaking his head. The outburst breaks hours of silence for Quetz. Touching the visAR control at his temple, he adds, "that surely spooked anything within two clicks of here. Still, adding three deer to our list is a boon.  How about we take a break."

Quetz's tribe, the Sauk are focused pragmatists. During the occupation, his people patiently fought for tribal justice within Oosa's legal system. Now, most Sauk have turned in their law degrees to pursue plant-based subsistence off the land. Still, they don't fret over acquiring outdated paramilitary gear to support Iowa's restoration efforts. The Huron, Coy Wolf's people, in contrast have much higher financial standing, not only from past casino deals. They prefer outfitting themselves in an aesthetic closer to the authentic Iowan norm. The latest synthetic materials and microtech are Huron standard.

"As you like it Q. I have to take a leak anyways." As Coy Wolf disappears in search of a tree, he notes over his shoulder, "maybe when the Moon rises we'll have better chances at syncing with our totem spirits anyway."

"I agree," adds Sepera. "Tpukizes' guiding light will serve as an honorable harbinger in celebration of Repatriation Day."
"Wait. Sep, don't the Kickapoo still feel great ill toward Old Whitey? I thought acknowledging the five century occupation in any way was beneath your tribe's dignity."

"Yes Quetz. We do spurn all things western including neo-tech but the anointed among my village are schooled in Iowa's heritage, so we never forget the evils of the past and the sacrifices we made in the journey to the present."

"Well does any of your Kickapoo heritage say anything about where we might find a ghost lynx or prairie fox out here. Hell, I'd settle for a cloned barred owl at this point to boost our wildlife count."

"Kipopo legend favors the hunter who is hungry. The plateau is large and its environment by and large healthy, but you know that as well as I do. Perhaps a better epithet is to follow our fellow Huron's creed: victory rises like the sun in those with patient hearts."

"Yeah, I guess we have much to learn from each other, whether it takes another day or ten. Though, I still don't understand why your tribe insists on hunting, especially the beaver and raccoon that have taken decades to restore to sustainable populations."

"Quetz, my blood, and yours too, is inseparable from those who came before us. To ignore our ancestors' ways is to forget the experience of living on the land."

"The Sauk don't forget, we just recognize change is sometimes necessary, otherwise we can get stuck in our past."

Coy Wolf chooses that moment to stumble from the brush, raising his hand to signal, "Sorry. Patience with me."

Then all three signal silently simultaneously, "Stand together." Each youth grins with the good energy of the moment and in unison they look up to the glittery canopy of stars.

In time, night sounds creep back into the open space around them. Cricket song dances at the fringe and peepers loudly proclaim their desire to mate. Then as the moon peeks above the distant rolling hills a howl ululates across the plateau. The future looms bright.

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