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Episode Seven

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Hell and bloody disaster. It turns out that my delivery is intended for rebels on the Pak'ma'ra homeworld. Whoever heard of Pak'ma'ra rebels? Our tame Pak'ma'ra does not approve, but that does not worry me. I don't care what happens on Pak'ma'ra as long as I get my money. What does concern me is that the young pack of fools haven't got the money we were promised - they have some form of honour payment where they *promise* to pay the money later when they have it. No wonder the Pak'ma'ra put up with the Centauri - they haven't got the brains or the nerve to fight off invaders who would strip their fumepit of a planet even drier. It is not honourable they say. Honourable my left toenail. Is it any less honourable to allow one's people to be used as living rugs, only good to be trodden into the ground?

We Narn learnt how to fight. We fought and we pushed and we struggled, and the Centauri left our homeworld. They were forced to leave because we made it not worthwhile for them to stay. They probably left Pak'ma'ra because this dry sandpit of a world is full of stinking carrion eaters.

Back to the main point. These idiots haven't got my money. I was so furious with the running around in circles and getting nowhere quickly that I left Nar'Bon to deal with the situation. I've had ENOUGH! Instead, I spent my day firstly wanting to smash something in, preferably a few Pak'ma'ra skulls, and then in meditation, talking to Na'Tal and updating this journal. I hope that Nar'Bon can deal with the problem - he has more diplomatic skill than I do, and when diplomacy doesn't work, he can use his fists to get the concept across.

Nar'Bon - now that's another tale to tell. Good Narn, but a chequered past. I know that he was in the military at some stage. I know very little about him apart from that. I found him in a fight tent, the likes of which travel around the more remote stations providing entertainment, of a sort, to the unwashed masses. He was billed as the Ferocious Narn - a thousand credits to whoever can go three rounds with the Ferocious Narn. Of course, any being stupid enough to take him on lost the 100 credits they paid to face the Ferocious Narn. Nar'Bon rarely lost the show's owner, or should I say master, the 1000 credits. He was down and out, but still could pack a mean punch or two.

We got to talking - he hadn't seen many other Narn for some time, and some of those would not talk to such as he. I needed an offsider, one who would stay loyal to me. Nar'Bon needed someone to give him a chance to prove himself again. So I gave him that chance. He is good in a fight and has saved my skin on a number of occasions (I do often forget that Na'Tal isn't around to fight with me...), but he also is better at dealing with other beings than I am. He has more patience and experience with their vagaries. I think it was one of my more canny business dealings to obtain Nar'Bon as my shiphand. As it turned out, he is an uncle of Nar'Bok, so in a way, I am repaying Nar'Bok's kindness to me.

Nar'Bon has just called. He has managed to get the payment. Indeed, it seems that one of the young idiot rebels stole a treasure-of-his-family and they would pay anything to get it back without anyone else knowing - it is a great dishonour to have the emblem of the family missing. By "finding" and returning the staff, Nar'Bon made himself eligible for a large reward. Six star rubies, which will be worth something like six or eight hundred thousand credits to the right buyers. As I said, Nar'Bon has been very useful. If I can get these to the right buyers, I will make a very tidy profit and pay off a considerable portion of my debt to Ja'Hut.

Before I left Narn my mother gave me a treasure-of-the-family. Our Book of G'Quan, the most holy text of holy texts. This replica was a family heirloom that could be traced back six generations to a time well before the Centauri found our world and subjugated its people. I think I will always remember her words. "Remember this, and pass the Book on to your daughter as I have to you, and my mother to me. Reflect upon the writings of G'Quan, for they can teach you much. Go well, my daughter."

There is not a day when I do not read one of the many passages in the Book of G'Quan. I read and try to understand what it is trying to teach me, but it can be so difficult. Some passages talk of love. This I understand. Some passages talk of revenge. This too I understand. Of choosing right actions, of weighing responses, of taking responsibility for one's actions - this is more difficult. Understanding that danger is all around us and accepting that life is danger - this I believe. But then there are passages that talk of the Darkness stalking the land, of the mindwalkers and G'Quan driving the Darkness from the land and the mindwalkers being destroyed. Is this a religious parable or something that really happened? There haven't been any Narn mindwalkers from the time of G'Quan, so I believe that it is true. I take many of the tales in the Book to be true. It is the simplest way to interpret it.

The Book urges us to see everything, to examine little things, not just to see the big things. It talks of war, of living and of love. It warns of the Darkness and watching for its return. The Book of G'Quan is not just a religious manuscript. It is not a simple matter of faith in a higher being, as I believe some Books of other religions profess. It is a way of life, a Way of Being. It teaches us to be true to the self, true to the heart.

My heart is torn. I cannot stay planet bound or live my life in sterile stations. I must fly. But then there is So'Kath and little Na'Kath. And I would like to have more pouchlings, and this time be able to look after them. I often wonder what Na'Kath is doing, what stage her development is at and whether she remembers me at all.

The Book of G'Quan predates contact with other aliens, except this Darkness. It does not teach us how to respond to the depredations of such as the Centauri, but we do not need guidance further than that of our hearts. The Centauri were like gods unto us with their amazing machines and weapons. We welcomed them with open arms - had not other stargods benevolently guided us in the past? - and they betrayed our trust and laid waste our planet. We learnt all that we know from them and because of them. How to subjugate populations. How to fight a war of attrition. How to hate and destroy on a planetary scale. We had been a peaceful agrarian folk. Now we are star gods ourselves. The Centauri gave us much, and none of it should we be thankful for.

How far from the Way have we fallen?

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Na'Tiel's Story / Lynne / last modified 29 February, 2000