“Robby. I just got a cablegram from Nepal. I gather you left some money with Tenzing and instructed him on how to send one.” said Edward.
I told him, “I did. He's our first contact with the Yeti and as an Elder he's the top of the ladder, in their society. What does he want?”
Edward said, “He says, 'Need help! Please come.' Knowing you, I've booked a flight to Los Angeles, where you'll be contacted by an expert on Nepal. He does a lot of climbing during the season and he does a lot of it in the Himalayas.”
“What's the name of the contact?” I asked.
Edward said, humor evident in his voice, “You're not going to believe it. Apparently, his father, one Andrew Jones, had a sense of humor. His name is Smith Jones. I've heard that he doesn't appreciate jokes about his name.”
I told him with a little humor of my own, “I'll try to remember that, Edward, but I'm a kid remember and we find elephant jokes funny. So he may have to watch out.”
'Paging alias Smith and Jones. Paging alias Smith and Jones, please go to the American Airlines counter.” Now that pissed me off. I hated people making fun of my name. I slapped my newspaper in my hand, got up and headed for the counter, where I found a small kid waiting for me. He looked at me with such gentle humor in his big green eyes that I broke out laughing. This kid wasn't laughing at me, he was just having fun and inviting me to have fun with him, so I did.
He held out his hand, saying with a grin, “Hi, I'm Robby Hansen, I'm a kid and I just couldn't resist.”
“That's all right,” I said, gravely. “I've never heard that one before. I know it was a television series but that was way before I was old enough to go to school. How did you ever hear about it?”
He told me, “I'm from the South, it’s considered good wholesome entertainment there, so I've seen it a few times.” He cocked his head to one side. “That's a really interesting set of auras you have Mr. Jones, jaguar, werewolf and something else. A combination of the two perhaps?”
I was astonished, no one had ever been able to detect the additional auras as he called them before. Elders just saw werewolf. Robby continued, “I'm a Healer as well as an Elder, Mr. Smith,” and his eyes gleamed with humor again.
I looked down at him reprovingly. “I'm going to have trouble with you aren't I?”
“I certainly hope so, Mr. Jones. Seriously what do you prefer to be called.” he asked.
I told him, “Most of my friends just call me Smith. Your flight wasn't supposed to arrive for another forty-five minutes?”
“I think it'll be lucky if it arrives today at all.” he explained. “They were originally projecting a forty-five minute delay, but there were indications that it would be much longer than that, so I chartered a jet to fly me out.”
That threw me for a moment, I knew Elders had access to enormous funds of money but those I had been around had always seemed reluctant to spend it. Looking at Robby, after he made that statement I knew that he wasn't one of them. He would spend what he considered necessary.
Robby continued, “I've decided to keep the charter, so you can cash in the tickets you have. When I informed the charter company of that fact, they decided to change pilots here and then again in Hong Kong, so we'll have to wait for the new pilots to get here.
I hadn't considered a charter jet at the beginning, I was glad I had to switch and I decided it might be a good idea to keep it rather than going by commercial flight.
I liked Smith Jones, despite what Edward had said about not liking jokes about his name, it seems that he still had a sense of humor. I knew he was thirty-four, his father had been a diplomat in Mexico where he had met and married his mother. There was no indication in his file that he was anything other than werewolf, so since it wasn't important at the moment, I wouldn't add that information to his file. He had never mentioned the fact to anyone, I assumed he wanted it kept secret, so I would wait until I got home and send it EYES ONLY to the Council, just in case the information was needed sometime in the future.
We only checked into the hotel then, leaving most of our stuff except for the cold weather gear, we hired a car to take us north. In the car just before we left Robby dialed a number using his cell phone and when it was answered, he just said one word, “Here!”
I was puzzled, as we headed north, there was really nothing accessible at this time of year, so I wondered just exactly what was going on. When I had asked Robby, he said, “You'll find out.” with humor in his voice. When we stopped, at the base of a mountain range, he took out the cell phone and dialing a number, it looked like the same one, he again just said one word, “Now.” We had something to eat and drink and then Robby told me, “We'll change into wolf form and go a little north, to meet him.” he said eyes twinkling.
Doing so, we didn't travel far, perhaps five miles, before he said, *We'll wait here.* Well fed, I really appreciated the natural fur coat that I had, as we waited, mostly laying around.
Robby raised his head, briefly, with an air of listening, telling me, *It appears that Tenzing isn't alone. He has some company, a woman and a small child.* Then he laid his head down again.
When he raised it again, he turned into human form, he said, “They're here.”
Following his example, I also changed and what came into sight was simply extraordinary. Yeti, three of them, a male and a female carrying a small child. I had heard of them but had never expected to see one. And when they first approached it was no wonder they were so hard to see. They were mainly white with some grayish fur, which blended in perfectly.
(Descriptive Note-mostly taken from Snowman
Only a little over six feet tall and he was more slender than a Sasquatch, though his chest was broad for his size, an adaptation to allow for increased lung capacity. His fur was mainly white but was a very light gray in spots. Face a little more apelike than Sasquatch. His dark eyes were large but only about two thirds that of Sasquatch, which in a male was double a human's eyes. Like Sasquatch his vocal apparatus is more primitive than a human's and like them, while he could make meaningful sounds he couldn't talk. His teeth were almost the same size as a human's but his canines were oversized. His legs were about six inches longer than they were as a human, so his height as a human was only a little over five feet six inches and he moves with the fluid ease of Sasquatch. Also he doesn't sport a crest of fur.
His fingers while large are more slender than his cousins, but the claws are more like a cat's and are retractable and his feet are truly enormous, broad and long with fur on both top and bottom. The fur on the bottom of the foot helped him with traction on snow and ice and he could stiffen portions of it to actually act like spikes to dig into the surface.
There is little difference between male and female, not even size. The only difference is that the female has visible breasts.)
The male changed and grasped Robby in a bear hug, which was returned with enthusiasm. Obviously, they knew each other. We began to communicate in mind-speech, which I realized was different than usual. Robby told me later that it was much deeper than Elders could reach, on a more primal level and no translation was necessary. The Yeti said sincerely, *Thank you for coming Elder. I found out why the two young men were helping the drug dealer. I ended up not punishing them at all, simply showing them what drugs can do.*
He motioned to the female Yeti, saying, *This is their sister Sashi and their nephew, six year old Jamling, who has always been fragile and often ill. They took him to the city to be examined by the doctors there and one of the doctors said that he needed an expensive operation. He sent them to the drug dealer Flores, so they might make enough money to afford the operation. I am not really sure what an operation is, nor do I think, were they. Can you explain?*
Robby told him, *There are many types of operation, for all types of things. I will show you an appendix operation, my little brother Teddy had his out some months ago and they showed us a video of what would happen.*
Then Robby showed us what the video had been like. It was simply incredible, it was like we were actually seeing the video ourselves, rather than through his mind. I never knew that anyone, even an Elder, could do that and I had a sneaking suspicion that Robby was the only one who could.
Robby explained, *This is a very minor and routine operation in our society, Tenzing. Though if not performed the result could end in death for the patient. But there are many much more complex operations on other organs inside the body.* he said. *And many of these operations, even the one I just showed you, in countries like yours can be very expensive. I assume that you wish me to take the child to be examined by a doctor in the city?*
Tenzing said, *Yes, Elder, I do not trust the results that the young men got, it was too convenient. I would like an opinion from another doctor, to be told to one that can not be lied to.*
*Jamling, you know you will be going with us?* Robby addressed the young Yeti.
He nodded, saying, *Yes, Elder, I have been told, my mother is sad but feels I must go.*
We didn't change until we got back to the car and if Jamling was fragile, he didn't show it, certainly he kept up with us very easily. Once we were in the car and heading back, I asked, “Now that your little secret is out, how exactly did you meet Tenzing.”
Robby told me what happened when Tenzing had been sent all the way to Colorado and Robby and Ron Jansen had brought him back.
I asked, “What happened to the drug dealer?”
Robby explained gravely, “Well it seems that he went crazy and shot his henchman and then stuck the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.” His voice was soft, but very cold, “Can you imagine, we had just gone to see him and we were down in the restaurant having lunch. Terrible what guilt can do to a man, simply terrible.”
Robby began to whistle very softly and very distinctly I could recognize the Christmas carol, Joy to the World. I was amused and impressed. Obviously, the drug boss had a little help getting into the next world.
Jamling was in the waiting room playing with some toys, obviously from the way his face lit up he had never seen anything like them before. Robby said confidently, “I think I have a pretty good idea of what you're going to say doctor. I'll tell you and we'll see how close I come. He's completely normal, but he has one deficit. It wouldn't be a defect, its completely normal with people who live at sea level, up to a few thousand feet high. But he lives in the mountains and he doesn't have the higher lung capacity that is needed, for high altitudes.”
The doctor looked at him, gaping with surprise. He closed his mouth with a click and in his prissy manner, snapped, “If you know what's wrong with him, why did you bring him to me?”
Robby said gravely, “I suspected, but we had to be sure, doctor. His family lives at high altitudes, it's impossible for Jamling to grow up to what would be normal in that environment. His family can't move, that means he'll have to be separated from them and it will have to be permanent. Communication for his family can be arranged, but he won't be able to go back, for more than very brief periods. We didn't want to split up a family unless we were sure.”
The doctor's face softened. He said, “Yes, you are right. If that's the case then you had to be sure. I'm sorry the news is bad.”
up and as the adult I shook his hand and said, “Thank you very much
doctor. The news isn't as bad as you might think. Sure Jamling will
have to be moved away from his family, but we were under the impression
from a previous doctor that he would need an expensive operation, which
is why we wanted a second opinion.”
Driving back to the hotel, I asked, “You thought that was the case, I gather?”
“Yes,” said Robby somberly. “It's sometimes hard to extrapolate what a child should look like by comparing them to adults. Sometimes some features develop in puberty or later, but I could see that Jamling's lungs as a Yeti in proportion to Tenzing and Sashi were much smaller. Never having seen any other Yeti children, I couldn't tell if it was normal, though I didn't think so.”
It was 2:00 AM Nepal time so I figured it should be early afternoon in Elliot, Colorado. A female voice answered, “Hello, Jansen residence.”
“Hello, Ariel, this is Robby Hansen.” I told her.
“Hello, Robby, did you want to talk to Ron?” she asked.
“No, actually I wanted to talk to you.” I said, humor in my voice.
“Oh,” she said, warily.
I said, “Carrie, told me that you would have liked to have had at least one more child, but the doctor said it could be dangerous. How would you like to adopt a child? Ron told me one time that he wouldn't adopt a Yeti and I just couldn't resist the challenge.”
“I have a sneaking suspicion that I should ask where you are?” said Ariel.
“Well, actually I'm in Nepal.” I explained about Jamling. “I would like to arrange it so that he's at least with the cousins of his species. Carrie said she'd be willing to accept one more, but I'd better wait for at least six months, so I think it's a little too soon to con Steve into taking another child.”
I explained, “I think his parents will give him up willingly though with a lot of sorrow. I know that if they won't, Tenzing will order them to do so for the welfare of the child. It'll be hard on all of them. If I have somewhere for him to go, to people whose descriptions I can put into their minds, they'll feel a little easier about the whole thing.”
“What about language and stuff like that?” Ariel asked. If it was getting that far, I figured she was pretty well sold.
I explained, “I can put a pretty good knowledge of our language and a lot about our society directly into his mind. At first he'll have to think to use that knowledge, learning how to use it, but after a while he'll begin to think in English. His own language will become a second language and the knowledge will become second nature.”
Ariel said, “Yes, we'll accept him. Do you want to spring it on Ron, or break it to him now?”
I considered, “The way you can wrap him around your little finger, I would say that now would be fine. I'm going to have to arrange for another ticket to Florida and Disneyworld, I guess. Bye Ariel and thanks.”
She said softly, “No Robby. Thank you.”
The change Smith made to half wolf, half jaguar was impressive. He had the long coat of a wolf and the head was also wolf like, but his fur had the markings of a jaguar. His legs were somewhat thicker than a wolf so they were sturdier, his paws were larger giving him better grip on snow and his claws were retractable. He said the cross gave him the stamina of a wolf, with the speed that a cat had in short bursts.
We had decided to let Jamling walk as long as he could and then Smith would carry him. At two hundred and forty pounds the extra forty or so pounds wouldn't even be noticeable.
I quickly came to envy him his retractable claws. Since they were protected they were sharper than mine and he could actually dig them into the snow for additional traction. Jamling was able to make about five miles before he began to labor and Smith had to carry him.
time we started, until under Jamling's direction we reached the village
took about three hours. As we approached the village I contacted Tenzing
and Jamling began to give a series of whistles as we got even closer.
Most of the village, except for those out hunting, greeted us as we
came into the village proper, some in human form, others in were form.
There weren't a lot of men present, but from the way he was greeted
by one man and woman in human form this was his father and Sashi, who
we had never seen as a human.
We were gathered in the largest of the houses, which was Tenzing's. The reason it was so large wasn't because of his status but because it was also used as a meeting place. I was feeling a great deal of sorrow because of the news that I had to give. I was at least relieved to find out from Tenzing that they had two other children so they weren't losing their only child.
I began solemnly, not hiding my sadness, *I can tell you that Jamling does not need an operation, but you still will lose him. When your ancient ancestors first came into these mountains they had a hard time breathing in the high altitudes. As normal humans came in after you, you were forced into those altitudes and in time as you adapted, you could go higher and higher.*
I shook my head, saying, *Jamling is a throwback to those first ancestors. He can not take the high altitudes that the rest of your people can. If he stays here, he will not develop normally and will very likely die young. He must leave the high altitudes permanently. As Yeti, I don't think the rest of his family could leave these altitudes even for the sake of a child. I'm sure that this is not the first time something like this happened.*
Tenzing said, reluctantly, *Yes, you are right, my own uncle was the same and he died before he was an adult. We have had some who have left to go to the city, all have returned after less than a year, so I believe you are right. His family could not leave the mountains just for one child. What do you suggest?*
*The people you met in my country, the ones I told you were once the same.* I said, showing everybody, Ariel and Ron and their children. *They have agreed to take the boy in as their own and they live at an altitude of less than a third of what you live at and hunt at, where he will grow up normally.*
Sashi, not protesting his leaving I was glad to see, but simply wanting to know said, *He too is Yeti. He also needs the mountains.*
I showed them in my mind, where Elliot was located, in a valley among the mountains, as I had seen it from an airplane. I told them, *He will be among mountains and he can even climb them, he just cannot live in them permanently. I can blur the memory of these mountains so he will regard the new ones as his home. It is not something I would be willing to do with those of you who aren't ill and as he is and living here, he is ill. Three or four times a year, or more if you wish, we can arrange for you to go to the city and talk to him, so he will not forget you, for he should not. Heritage is important to all of us and his is Yeti. We will withdraw from your minds to let you talk it over.*
and I watched them while they talked it over. I think the decision had
pretty well been made before I had finished, but they talked for about
an hour. Finally, I could see Sashi and her husband, talk to Jamling
and he nodded sadly tears streaming down his small face, but there was
also acceptance and I knew the decision had been made.
With Smith working on the Nepalese government and Edward working from the other end, it only took three days to make the arrangements. It had been decided the night they made their decision, would also be the time they would say goodbye. We only had to get on the charter plane with Jamling and go. However, it was a busy flight.
The first thing I did was blur Jamling's memories of his own mountains and replace them with what I had personally seen of the new ones. That way he had at least a place to start and then I began on the language. Both of us slept the last eight hours of the flight, but by then, he had a pretty good grasp of the English language and social knowledge.
Perhaps too good, as Smith said he reminded him of someone, unfortunately that someone was me and he tended to be a bit of a smart alec. Looking at his mind I couldn't see that I had given him anything except language and the niceties of society, so I guess the smart alec part was a natural result of his personality.
I fell in love at first sight, when I saw him at the top of the plane stairs and I think Ron did too, though he never would admit it. Laura and Eric were enough older than Jamling that the extra sibling didn't bother them. I was worried about Brad, who was a little younger than Jamling.
At the beginning I didn't know how things would go, but on the second night I found them in the same bed, wrapped around each other, sleeping. I figured they must have decided to get along.
Robby decided not to come out, perhaps wisely. Ron had threatened to give our little Elder a good spanking and I think he meant it. A fact which I had passed on to Robby, so he just waved from the window, while Smith Jones brought out the papers. They were only on the ground for about fifteen minutes in total.
I didn't really know if Ron intended to give me a spanking or not, but that's not the reason I didn't go out. I wanted to make the break with Jamling quick. Being in his mind for several hours, I had gotten closer than I intended and waving from the plane seemed the best thing for both of us.
The trip back to Prescott was uneventful, I told Smith that I intended to inform the Council of his multiple were forms, but that it would be EYES ONLY, I also said I wanted to tell someone else, but I wouldn't mention his name.
Edward had arranged a commercial flight back to Los Angeles for Smith, but it wouldn't be until the following day, so he invited him to stay at his place for the night and Smith accepted. Edward had Arthur Masters drive me back to Benson. I was glad to get home, despite all the homework, which had been piling up.
I dialed a number on my cell phone and heard it ringing, “Reynolds.” Sam answered in his usual gruff way.
I asked, “Hello, Sam, I was just wondering how things were going between you and Alameda?”.
He said a bit disconsolately, “I don't care myself, but she's not sure if two different types of were should marry, since we don't know what will happen.”
I told him, “Well, I don't have a very large sample. One in fact. But his father was a werewolf and his mother was jaguar, but he has three were forms, both werewolf and jaguar and a cross between the two. Have her call me if she's still doubtful, otherwise just invite me to the wedding. Bye, Sam.”
Obviously, Sam had forgotten about me, for he actually said good bye. Something Sam Reynolds never did. I felt very contented.