This is an excerpt from the Journal of Jarn, a fictional alien who was stranded in southern Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. He has found a tribe of early Homo sapiens, and in spite of the rule he has been taught about emerging sapient species — “Do not interfere” — he has found himself drawn into an ever closer relationship with them. A somehat longer version is on my main blog; the entire Journal to date is on my author site. The Journal recounts events that were pivotal in the founding of the Confederation, where both of my science fiction novels are set.
I teleported to the nomads’ camp today. The shaman asked me about the fish trap Songbird had made after seeing a picture on my computer, and after I answered I asked the shaman why the nomads did not stay in one place as some of the lions and wild dogs do.
“We follow the food,” she said, and I was reminded of my own early struggles to find things I could eat. I could teleport to where food was abundant, once I found where that was. These people could not. But the shaman continued. “Also, we go to meet with other clans. The young people find mates at the Gather, and it is a good place to trade ideas. But if we stayed there, as you stay at your shelter, there would not be enough food.”
I was reminded of what Songbird had said, when I first asked her why her parents had left her, and the questions I had then about the role of the shamans. “If mates come from different clans, what determines which clan they stay with?”
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