After the Sky People
Chapter 6 - Seven Years Part Two
Norm floated in empty space. It was an intriguing experience. It was literally nothing. He wondered if this was what Jake was talking about when he said it would be a wild ride.
"I figured you'd be showing up sooner or later, Norm." A familiar voice called out from the nothingness.
"Dr. Augustine?" Norm asked.
"Yes… and no." the voice answered.
"How can you possibly be and not be Dr. Augustine?" Norm asked.
"I know everything that she knows, for all intents and purposes, I am her. Just like I am every Na'vi that ever lived." came the answer.
"…Eywa?" Norm asked tentatively. Norm knew of the interconnectedness of all the things on Pandora. However, he had just figured that Eywa had been a way for the Na'vi to describe the phenomenon and to give it substance. For Eywa to actually exist…
"That would be correct." Eywa answered, still using Grace Augustine's voice. "I am real, Norm. As hard as it is for you to believe. And, yes I am a construct of the interconnection of the trees. Essentially, I am Pandora's consciousness."
"I… but… how?" Norm was flabbergasted that Eywa seemingly read his mind.
"I have Grace's memories, remember? She also asked many of the same questions when she was here. Also, you are passing through the 'Eye of Eywa', I can read your thoughts." A touch of mirth crossed Eywa's voice, "You scientists are a very odd bunch. You're like children, always asking why and how."
"There's so many questions…" Norm said as he began to go through a mental rundown of everything that would be prevalent to ask the deity of Pandora.
"So many questions, but no time to ask them. You have already stayed too long, Norm. If you stay much longer, you risk never waking up." Eywa instructed. "You must return to your new body, that is what you want, correct?"
Norm started, he almost forgot the reason he had been here, "Yes, I want to make the transfer."
"Then go." Eywa said.
Suddenly, Norm felt like he was being pulled through the darkness, though he couldn't see anything or truly feel anything that definitively told him he was being yanked through the nether.
"Norm! Damn it, wake up Norm." Jake continued to attempt to will his friend back to life.
"Ma'Jake, there's nothing we can do for him." Neytiri said sadly, "He is with the Great Mother now."
"No, damn it. He's stronger than that, I know he is." Jake denied.
"Ma'Jake…" Neytiri said softly as she laid her hands on Jake's shoulders.
Without warning, Norm's body convulsed and started gulping down air. Subsequently coughing up a storm.
"Norm!" Jake shouted happily. Norm's eyes shot open and he started to move his body in more controlled motions.
"You were right when you said that was one hell of a trip." Norm said as he slowly sat up, "I feel like I just got out of cryosleep."
"We thought you were dead." Jake said, "You were under for way too long."
"Yeah, I talked to Eywa for just a little too long. Sorry to have worried you." Norm replied.
"Worried me, hell. I was about to blow a gasket, man." Jake answered.
Norm let out a small chuckle, "Well, I'm okay, so you can stop worrying."
Despite making the transfer over to his Avatar body, Norm did not join the clan as Jake had hoped he would.
Norm had undergone the transfer simply because he had no plans on leaving Pandora, and having to undergo the link procedure every time he wanted to go out for samples was a major hassle. Since they had established that the Na'vi could breathe in an Earth atmosphere, Norm's decision had been made easy.
Jake accepted this, but still tried to convince Norm to join the Omaticaya clan at every available opportunity.
Currently, Norm was with a few other Avatars at the Omaticaya Kelutral continuing the education of some of the Na'vi children who wished to learn. The teaching was going well, and Norm wasn't really needed at the moment. Therefore, Norm decided to go out into the nearby forest to collect samples. The stock of some slightly uncommon plants and insects were running low.
Norm quickly grabbed his gear and was out in the forest doing his best to collect what was needed. He managed to find a couple of plant samples, but the insects were elusive. Holding a net, Norm was chasing the Pandora equivalent of a firefly. He stumbled over a root and fell flat on his face.
As he was picking himself up, Norm heard mirthful laughter coming from above him. Looking up, he saw a lone Na'vi woman descending from the trees. She had her bow slung over her shoulder and her hair was done up in a multitude of braids that ended in beads, as per the Na'vi tradition.
[You are very funny, Normspellman.] The huntress said.
Norm noticed that the woman was much more toned than most Na'vi were, meaning she was most likely a full-time hunter. However, he did not recognize her. [Well, at least I'm entertaining, I guess… Forgive me, but who are you, again?]
[My name is Beyral.] the huntress answered, [It not surprising that you don't remember me, we have never talked.]
[But you knew me.] Norm retorted.
[You ay'uniltiranyu stand out too much. Everyone in the clan knows your names.] Beyral answered.
Norm looked down at his clothes and realized that she had a point, [I see.]
[What are you doing out here, anyway?] Beyral asked.
[Collecting samples to study.] Norm said.
[You need a firefly to study?] Beyral asked, confused, [How will it help?]
[We're learning about the bioluminescence on this world.] Norm explained, hoping she could understand, [Also, there's several other things we are trying to figure out.]
[How would understanding why things glow help you? Isn't it enough to know that they do?] Beyral asked.
Norm didn't have an answer that he thought she could understand, [There's many reasons. If we can understand why it happens, then we might be able to recreate it.]
Beyral didn't answer. Norm continued on, [That, and I'm just plain curious as well.]
[Your people are interesting.] Beyral said, [Always so curious, like children.]
Norm cracked a smile, [It's a condition of the human race, we aren't satisfied until we understand everything about everything.]
[Just like children.] Beyral replied, her own smile crossing her lips. She looked around and fixated on a small plant, [Come, I'll help you collect your 'samples'.]
Norm watched as Beyral took a leaf from a nearby tree and dipped it into the plant's bell-shaped flower. After she removed her arm, the leaf was covered in nectar. She laid the leaf on a branch and stepped a few feet away.
Norm watched in awe as fireflies swarmed the nectar-covered leaf. Each, in turn, drawing more. Carefully, Norm collected more than enough insects to last for a long time.
[Irayo, Beyral.] Norm said as he put the specimens away.
[My pleasure, Normspellman.] Beyral responded. She looked up to the sky and noticed the hour was getting late, [You must enjoy a dinner with us. The food should be ready now.]
Norm cast his own gaze to the sky and thought about the invitation for a moment, [I guess I can, there's nothing too pressing back at the lab. So, why not.]
Beyral smiled and lead the scientist back to the new Hometree.
The next couple of months leading up to the arrival of the next ISV was relatively uneventful. Max and the crew left at Hell's Gate got the solar power stations working, and the base was running completely green.
Norm visited the Omaticaya much more often than usual over those two months as well. Jake noticed that he spent a majority of his time with Beyral. One day, he brought the topic up to Neytiri while they were eating breakfast. Norm was across the fire pit, enjoying a conversation with Beyral.
"Have you noticed how much time Beyral and Norm are spending together?" Jake asked.
"Yes." Neytiri answered, "I know Beyral well, and I believe that she is 'smitten', as you would say."
Jake cracked a smile. Neytiri was slowly getting used to human slang, which made it easier on Jake now that he didn't have to clarify ever other sentence that came out of his mouth.
"Yeah, Norm looks like a love struck puppy too." Jake answered, "I wonder if…"
"It is a possibility." Neytiri picked up on where Jake was going, "However, Beyral is very loyal to the clan, if she was to mate with Norm…"
"He would have to become an Omaticaya hunter." Jake finished for her, "He's already declined joining the clan numerous times, maybe it was a woman's touch that was needed to push him in the right direction."
"We will wait, though." Neytiri said, "We cannot force him, or her, to do anything. We should watch and see how things go."
"You're probably right." Jake agreed as he turned his gaze back to Beyral and Norm, "They do look good together. I wonder why such a brilliant hunter fell for a science geek."
"Who knows why a woman falls in love with a man?" Neytiri mused, "I fell for a skxawng."
Jake nudged his mate with his elbow, "A skxawng that makes you laugh. Not to mention…" He pulled her in for a kiss
"Not in front of the clan, ma'Jake." Neytiri warned him, "Just wait until we are in the hammock tonight."
"Oh, I like the sound of that." Jake said happily.
The ISV came and went without a hitch. The RDA personnel on the ship weren't too happy about arrangements, but Jake and the rest of the Hell's Gate crew really didn't give a damn.
Jake knew that none of the incoming ISVs likely had the ability to retake the compound. They were expecting to come into a friendly controlled base.
Max had a list of people they believed they could trust. Well respected scientists that were the heads of their fields on Earth. Most of them were Avatar drivers, and they unloaded and got settled in relatively quickly. Roughly an equivalent amount of personnel left the base as well, having their fill of Pandora and wishing to go home.
"Everything went off without a hitch, Jake." Max informed the Omaticaya olo'eyktan over the communicator. "New arrivals are settling in and getting briefed on what has happened here over the last year."
"Good, just make sure you keep a close eye on the new people. Let me know if there looks like there's any bad apples." Jake radioed back, "How about the ISV?"
"Still in orbit. It's going to use Pandora's gravity to help it turn around and then it should be gone." Max replied.
"Two days tops. Then it's all back to normal." Max assured him.
"Sounds good to me. Thanks for the update Max." Jake answered.
"Anytime, Jake." Max replied.
"Godspeed." Max cut the communicator off.
A couple of months passed after the arrival and departure of the ISV. Jake had took the time to meet the new arrivals and to inform them of what was expected of them. They had pretty much free reign to collect samples and do all their other science stuff, but they would be watched. He also informed them of the standing offer to convert anyone wishing to stay on Pandora permanently, though he seriously doubted any of them would take him up on the offer so soon.
Jake had just landed in the upper reaches of Hometree, patting Tsmukan on the neck for a job well done. Strapped to the back of the ikran was a few small game kills that Jake had made while out.
No sooner had he dismounted and unloaded a young hunter called out to him.
[Olo'eyktan, come quickly, the Tsahik wishes to speak with you.] the hunter said.
[What's the matter?] Jake asked.
[It's something about Neytiri. I don't know what exactly, she didn't tell me.] the hunter said worriedly.
Jake nearly had a panic attack. His mind swam with what could possibly be wrong with his mate. [Don't stand there, take me to them!]
The hunter jumped nervously then nodded, quickly setting off to where Mo'at and Neytiri waited.
[What's wrong with her?] Jake asked anxiously as he saw his mate and mother-in-law.
[There is nothing wrong with me, ma'Jake.] Neytiri said.
[Then why did you need to see me? What's so important?] Jake asked, glad that Neytiri was in good health.
[Eywa has blessed you, my children.] Mo'at informed him.
[Ma'Jake, I'm pregnant.] Neytiri finally laid the bomb on him.
Someone informed me that would be a good idea to include translations of any Na'vi words I use. I concur, not everyone may be familiar with the Na'vi Language.
Ma'(someone's name) - My (person's name), for example ma'Jake translates as my Jake. It's used between mated pairs as a term of endearment.
Kelutral - Hometree
Ay'uniltiranyu - plural form of uniltiranyu
Uniltiranyu - Dream Walker, Avatar driver
Irayo - Thank You
Skxawng - moron
Eywa ngahu - Eywa be with you, good bye
So, I finally got off my lazy ass and finished writing this chapter. I honestly have nothing to say about it other than that I really just lost the will to write for a while. I'm trying now to get back into the swing of writing during a portion of my free time.
Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed this chapter. Irayo for all of the positive reviews that I'm seeing.