Sharon Quigley is a graduate of NUIG and GMIT, living in Galway. She studied History & Archaeology and Hotel Management and has worked in the Hospitality Industry in Ireland and Europe, and also set-up her own business. She has managed to combine her work and love of culture with her love of travelling, believing ‘travel is the best education’.
Blame it on the Porter! – A Spiritual Insight
By Sharon Quigley
It was the strangest of days. Dan had felt it before, but never like this. Moments before, he had been whistling a tune and contemplating the Pint he would enjoy afterwards. He immediately felt guilty for having such thoughts and distracted himself with the hypnotic drone of an engine purring in a nearby field complemented by the orchestral chatter of birds overhead, but his brief reverie was immediately broken.
He was taking his usual shortcut through the fields when he felt it stirring. He quickly anchored himself to where he stood, willing his feet to take root should it move him from his place on this earth. The very same whispering aspirational breeze, not quite vocal enough to be a wind and always heard but not seen; before today that was.
A shaft of light of indeterminate colour and radiance, flashed just shy of his peripheral vision. Simultaneously, Tremors occurred above and below ground, and all about him.
‘Did the Ground just shake?’. Sense and logic blinded his brains; audio and visual perceptions were confused in a delirious debate…..
‘Dendaro Plek Ar; Serplex Den Derno’ * Tuoro repeated the request again but he did not receive a response.
‘What time was it? How far had he come?’ he pondered, technology and auto intellect partially failing him, forcing him to revert to the old fashioned method of ‘Thinking’.
‘My Tachiocorelator has failed. At least the Sporageograph is working… but I better take her down for maintenance checks as a precautionary measure’.
The Sporageograph would at least pinpoint the nearest safe landing position. He knew the closest planet was number 9, as some of his peers had recently conducted research there, and planet 9’s reported population was 6 Crubas** , but without the tachiocorelator, he could not retrieve detailed history or atmospheric information. He also knew, from the visitor’s charter, that it had been passed some time ago as a safe planet, so he hoped he was travelling in current time mode and that the atmospheric content had not changed dramatically. He requested co-ordinates for a quiet flat area with minimal structure and a small populace.
Touro programmed in the exact co-ordinates (Latitude: 52.99 Longitude: -7.47) into the Sporeageograph and prepared for landing. Under the emergency landing charter, he required an isolated area where he would not draw attention, or the Sunos Council would revoke his license and any additional freedom rights. Sun light was preferred as the ships orbs would not be visible and the reflective mirror shields would help disguise his landing. However, the landing was shakier than anticipated and two orbs were left in manual mode for a brief time before he noticed, but he managed to bring her down safely. He secured the ship and suited up. He prepared to conduct a full automated maintenance check but detected molecular activity close to the ship. His interest grew (curiosity still featured even with the higher life form) and he checked the perimeter for intelligent life and detected one species in close proximity. It was located in front of the ship but faced the opposite way.
Dan noticed the oppressive stillness that quickly followed as if time had stopped. This silence was louder than when he had been whistling, only moments before. He rubbed his ears but the silence remained. He wanted to turn around but was afraid, of what he did not know. He knew something was amiss, but before he could determine what, he felt a rush through his body and every nerve ending tingled with static as every ounce of energy drained away and he was no longer there….
Touro quickly exited the ship at ground level and using the dachiometre, threw a dachio wave over the life form immediately rendering it useless and allowing him to usurp it’s shape and appearance. ‘This is a heavy life-form with surplus inactive matter’ he noted ‘although the brain is above level one’. He logged unto the memory function and quickly managed to establish a fluid mobile pattern despite the excess matter. The brain function had indicated earlier intent to pursue a path and he re-activated this intent and allowed the physical form to follow through. He was propelled forward across the small boxed green areas until eventually he saw a host of life forms gathering in the distance.
He approached these forms with caution but the host’s brain showed recognition, and Touro soon realised they had a similar animistic belief system. His form was greeted in a variety of ways, all with a stretched mouth showing teeth. He learned this was non-aggressive and called a smile, one of the distinguishing features of this particular species.
Some of the life forms nodded their heads or removed their head dresses, and others gave verbal greetings, ‘How you now Dan!’ and ‘What’s the craic with you?’ One form, of similar physical appearance to his host’s form, spoke quietly and said ‘How’ya Dan? Nice day for it. See ya in Murphy’s afterwards’, followed by a strange eye gesture.
Touro allowed himself to be carried with the crowd into a community building where everyone sat. He enjoyed the rhythmic sounds that came from overhead and marvelled as some of the forms close to his presence echoed these sounds. Then the community leader who was dressed in a traditional ceremonious gown (he had heard about such things) commanded silence and read aloud. Some of the commune joined in and read stories too. He thought initially that this was a sacrificial meeting as the leader stood at a table / altar and raised gifts to the sky, but he quickly deduced that this was symbolic. He had initially allowed the brain to translate the readings into his language but switched off this functionality half way through preferring instead to replay and enjoy the rhythmic sounds. He was surprised when some forms approached him and held unto him and shook him but understood this to be a positive encounter as all of them had a smile. They also offered tokens called money (he had heard about this) but received nothing in return. Some of the commune approached the area in front of the altar and were fed and others slowly drifted backwards, quietly exiting. He stayed as more of those sounds which he now knew were called ‘hymns’ fell from above.
As he exited, he was pulled to one side by the man with the quiet voice, ‘Hey, where ya going? Quick! so we get a good seat’ and he was led to another building.
The setup was similar with a table top/altar and seating but the leader behind this altar was louder and briefer. He did not feed the commune but also accepted money and traded it for cold black liquid which was eagerly accepted. ‘Dan, over here’, it was that quiet man again only not so quiet this time. He took a seat beside him and was handed some of the black liquid. He mirrored his peers and drank heavily, a new and strange experience for him as he allowed himself to taste what his host could taste and to feel what his host could feel. But, he had to revert to static mode as he realised the liquid was distorting his hosts higher functions. The Rhythmic sounds had been brought to this place also as a few forms gathered to-gether and produced the sounds from themselves, as well as by hitting equipment in an established pattern. He knew now the sounds were called ‘singing’ and the hitting of equipment was called ‘music’. ‘Dan, throw us an oul’ tune’ the quiet man said. He registered this instruction and was surprised that his host could produce those very same sounds. He retrieved a memory and re-iterated the sounds. The Commune smiled and made noise by hitting their hands to-gether. He had chosen a good host and one who was obviously popular amongst his community. He decided then that he would not abandon his host’s shell after use, as was customary with tactinal body morphing, but would spend time re-adjusting the brain and physical parts returning it to it’s previous form.
Touro made his was back across the fields with a strange but comfortable sensation in his being. This learning experience had been very positive and insightful. He left Dan in the exact spot he had found him and threw another dachio wave over him until he had conducted all the necessary maintenance checks. He replaced the infuser for the Tachiocorelator and ran a routine systems check. This seemed sufficient to repair his ship until returning to base. He hovered briefly over Dan and removed the dachio wave, retreating into the atmosphere.
Dan opened his eyes as he felt a gentle breeze and the warmth of the sun caress his crown. He was momentarily blinded by the Sun which had now sunk deeper over the horizon. He checked his watch which reflected the sun’s position, 1710PM. He vaguely remembered going to Mass, meeting in Murphy’s, singing but it was like he had been in limbo. He decided perhaps he should have an early night. His mind was playing tricks on him and he was obviously ‘out of sorts’. ‘I must be coming down with something. Either that or it was a very bad pint; I’ll just have to blame it on the porter!’.
* Dendaro Plek Ar; Serplex Den Derno – Tactine Language has been translated for easy reading. Loosely translated, ‘ Reporting to base, Unscheduled landing as Emergency maintenance required’
**One Crubas = One Million approximately