13,333 BC, Puma Punku, Bolivia
The Plythi’i female screamed.
Her legs quivered in response to the last contraction of the coming birth of her fourth child. The Human-Plythi’i hybrid newborn writhed in her womb, and she helped the newborn’s struggle by pushing and contracting her own muscles to help aid with the exit from her womb.
The Plythi’i Nurs’ ti and Sense trainer, who stood at the foot of the birthing hatch, witnessed the mother’s human-like eyes glowing a fierce blue, reflecting off her long curly blonde hair and turning it snow white. Her toned body tensed, strained, and flexed, contracting muscles that exposed rippled veins near the surface of her flawless sandy white skin along her neck and temples.
“Will she and the child be okay?” her male Human-Plythi’i hybrid partner asked the Nurs’ ti as he squeezed the birthing Plythi’i’s hand in support.
He knelt beside her as she screamed in program, not pain, for the Plythi’i mother did not know the physical feeling of true pain, only the Sense awareness of hardware circuitry and software spirit of the newly born child leaving her body.
“She will endure. Her program and the child are sound, just like her first three births. All is well,” the Plythi’i Nurs’ ti assured him.
Nesting within the womb, the hybrid felt pressure compressing his skull and shoulders, then a shocking squeeze that moved the length of his body. As he entered the world, an unfamiliar bright light shown through the amniotic fluid covering his eyes, overriding the darkness that had kept him safe for eleven months.
He began to suffocate as his lungs tried to function in the new environment until the Nurs’ ti turned him upside down and hit his butt with her six-fingered hand, causing gulps of air to rush into his newly functioning lungs. He did not like it, so he screamed through the pain, and for the first time, fear racked him. It soon dissipated as he began to breathe on his own and his eyes cleared enough to reveal blurred colors in the overwhelming light.
Pain struck him again as his lifeline was cut from his mother and tied off. All senses active, the sensory nerve connections overloaded his brain, jumpstarting the proliferation of neuronal synaptic connections. Familiar sounds once muffled became loud as the Nurs’ ti cleared his ears, and his initial rush of adrenal fear trickled into calmness and fatigue. Overstimulated and exhausted, he fell asleep as the Nurs’ ti handed him to his mother wrapped in a bundle of soft blankets.
The Plythi’i’s eyes dimmed to a faint blue as she held her newborn in her arms and her breathing steadied. She moved her golden locks away from her breast, so her babe could take his first feed. As she tried to nurse, he woke when his instincts told him to suckle, further dissipating the fear of survival and triggering his first meaning of love. Her coupling partner, Utyi, smiled beside her and clasped his hand gently over hers.
There was hushed silence within the oval birthing room. The interior glowed a steady white and blue from biomaterial laced within the curved walls and ceiling.
“We will call him Inklewhaat Winklestar,” the mother said, her voice vibrating with the soft static tone characteristic of all Plythi’i. The reverberating echo only enhanced their perfectly beautiful human likenesses.
“A fine name, Zayla.” The teacher of Plythi’i Sense stood by the attending Nurs’ ti at the foot of the birthing hatch.
There was a proudness within Zayla’s blue eyes, twinkling in the silver speckles of her irises.
“Inklewhaat Winklestar, meaning Cyclic Star. I like that. I’m glad you chose that name, my sweet Zayla,” Utyi said and kissed her sweaty forehead, gently rubbing his finger over his newborn son’s clasped fist. Both their eyes flashed blue in admission of joy.
Eyes shut tight by fatty newborn wrinkles, Inklewhaat breathed in and out through his nose in between suckles from Zayla’s breast. Zayla tussled his wet, curly brown hair with her thumb as her palm gently caressed his cheek. She knew his hair would turn ash blonde as he matured, just like his parents’ and siblings’ had.
“He will be essential for the hopes and dreams of the Huply, Plythi’i, and humans,” Utyi said, smile fading and eyes sharpening with seriousness.
“Yes, like his brothers and sisters,” Zayla said with a smile and kissed little Inklewhaat's head. She looked up at Utyi, moved her hand away from Inklewhaat’s cheek, and gently shifted a lock of Utyi’s long silky blonde hair from his brow. Pride rushed through her as the program within created new paths of defining love—her euphoric elation indicated by the blue glow of a single half-moon tattoo on the back of each hand.
“Yes,” Utyi agreed. He grabbed her hand again and kissed it, lips meeting her blue tattoo.
Utyi’s eyebrows furrowed as he pulled away. “As we discussed, we must be steadfast in keeping the siblings apart from each other as much as possible.”
It was difficult hiding all three children from each other. Davati and Nicogti knew they were brothers, but their younger sister, Magyti, was sequestered away on the other side of the Painted Mountains, and both brothers were unaware of her. All three were unaware of the new Inklewhaat. It had to remain so. The Shepherd were hunting all four.
Utyi was still rubbing her hand. “All is prepared for when the Shepherds arrive. They will arrive,” he said, even knowing full well his words weren’t needed for Zayla’s programmed memory. “Our children must be trained in the Plythi’i Sense separately to discern their potential ability. Each will be different but only one will be the Savior for Earth and Ply’. It is already apparent that, though exceptionally bright, Davati and Nicogti are both limited.”
Zayla squeezed his hand. “The Tsr’ Yyd will warn and protect us and reveal to us the Savior. Remember, it is not clear that there only be one Savior. That is why we cross-bred. Besides, Magyti has stronger Sense than the older two. Who knows what potential Inklewhaat might hold?”
“Yes,” Utyi conceded. He only hoped that their children’s human side would not override their Plythi’i side. It was how Sean had designed them.
His brother, Uag’ ti, had failed to tame his violent human instincts and so had become the founder and leader of the Shepherds, a well-organized highly zealous group of partial half-breed’s intent on restoring humanity to its natural evolutionary roots. Their goal was to prevent all technological methods of artificial speciation and eradicate biomechanical creations, like his Plythi’i birth partner, Zayla. Like their Huply children. Like himself, a true hybrid of human and Plythi’i and supporting advocate for the mixing of Plythi’i and human traits.
“You are sure that Uag’ ti leads the Shepherds?” Zayla asked as if reading his mind. It was a question she had sought to solve for so long and she was trapped within the finite machined emotion of being unable to obtain a clear answer. Utyi knew this would only lead to a negative feedback loop within her internal program.
Utyi nodded sadly.
Utyi placated her for a moment, gently stroking her hair. “You need not fear that I will do as my brother.”
“I do not think you will defect,” Zayla assured Utyi. Then she looked down at Inklewhaat and hugged firm her programmed belief. “Our Huply children,” she whispered.
“Inklewhaat Winklestar will be guided in Sense to the best of my ability,” the Plythi’i male Sense trainer interrupted, speaking in the same soft electronic tone reverberating with machined wisdom. The contour of his skin and imitative constructive human qualities were overly perfect, giving him the appearance of a handsome mannequin.
He had been one of the first Plythi’i created, along with Zayla’s father unit, Zabric’i. Together, along with Zayla’s mother unit, Zabya, and sister unit, Yla, they had become the first Plythi’i “family.”
Utyi and Zayla nodded their acceptance of the Sense trainer’s words. His advice and solid-programmed teaching emanated directly from the creator of the original Plythi’i, known as Sean. The knowledge of Sean was only stored on the Plythi’i homeworld of Ply’ in the hardware and software knowledge system known as the Plythi’i Convictions. It was a great honor to have access.
“Thank you.” Zayla smiled in renewed wonderment, and her half-moon tattoos glowed in response. “My Huply children,” Zayla whispered again.
Inklewhaat cooed while he slept peacefully in his mother’s arms, oblivious that his fate had already been set in motion.