Under the Heavy White Sun
An Earth family immigrates to a Planet where the Aztec-Mayan Religion of human sacrifices, is the Established State Religion; and they required to participate in all its rites.
Under the Heavy White Sun
The island City of Manhattan was a single building, 12 miles long, 3 miles wide and 200 levels high. A ration of three nutrition cakes a day was allocated for each citizen, but there was never enough for everyone. Famine, starvation and disease were perpetual threats.
The bony, hollow cheeked, David Krendell made his way home from work, along the cold, crowded, dimly lit corridor avenues. All the stores were packed with gaunt, sickly people, waiting impatiently on line for hours.
43 year old Dave was gaunt and hungry as always, but he wasn't starving like he'd been when he was unemployed. That was when all three of his daughters had been wasting away. Two of them had died from starvation.
As he moved along the crowded, freezing corridor near his home, Dave heard machine gun fire, along with the screams of women and children. A Civil Disturbance Police Unit was suppressing a routine food riot, outside his neighborhood Nutrition Center, in their routine manner. He wondered if his wife and daughter were among the dying.
A man stood on a flag draped podium to his right, haranguing the passing crowd.
"Those machine guns are too ineffective!" he shouted. "We of the Annihilation Party, and our Presidential Candidate, Senator C. Harrison Randolph, know what harsh measures must be taken, to end the perpetual crisis of overpopulation! The answer is clear, simple, and everybody knows what it is!"
"Blow up this monstrous City, with everybody in it!"
The crowd cheered.
"Blow up every city on Earth! Kill as many people as possible, so the few who survive can start again from scratch!"
The crowd cheered again.
Dave continued on his way, hearing the crowd chant.
"Blow them up! Blow them up! Blow them up!"
That evening, Dave sat with his 38 year old wife and his teenage daughter, shivering at the table, under a flickering light, in their family cubicle on Level 87. They said grace, thanking the Lord for the dinner of nutrition cakes, cooked into a flavored broth.
After dinner, they turned on the TV and watched the News.
They first report began with the words, "The Crucifix Killer has slain his eighth Victim."
The Reporter stated, "The body of 17 year old High School Student Deborah Sheridan was found murdered last night. According to Police, Miss Sheridan's heart was ripped out, and replaced with a crucifix.
"She was the eighth person found murdered that way, in the past five months, by an unknown assailant, who we in the media have dubbed 'The Crucifix Killer'."
After the News, the Krendells watched that week's episode of the Documentary Travelogue Series, "Galactic Traveler". The show was not a drama. Everything they were about to see, actually occurred.
The episode began, showing a narrow, winding jungle trail, shrouded in mist. A healthy, well fed, full figured blonde woman in her mid-twenties, moved cautiously forward, dressed in only a pair of sandals. She carried a six foot long spear in both hands.
She moved along looking to her right and left, trying to see through the thick foliage, while speaking softly; her voice picked up by a sensitive mike.
"The naked young woman sweated heavily in the tropic heat, as she walked along the path through the jungle behind her hut, without seeing the headhunter, who was hiding in the foliage to her left."
Then she quickly turned to her left, and leveled the spear. A man sprang out of the jungle in front of her. He was naked and held a three foot long machete raised high. The woman leaped forward with a loud cry, plunging the entire spearhead into his chest.
The man howled in agony. She yanked the spear out of a deep, bloody gash in his chest. Her entire spearhead was read with blood.
She stepped back, out of the man's way as he collapsed onto the trail in front of her, where he lay dead.
She now looked at the screen, smiled, and spoke in a friendly tone. "I couldn't actually see him. But he sure was making a lot of noise."
Then she said, "Welcome everyone. My name is Peggy Meghan, and this is Galactic Traveler"
She knelt beside the man she'd just killed. He wore a belt with a few shrunken heads tied on it. She picked up the machete that was lying beside him, raised it up high, then brought the blade down fast, slashing it all the way through his neck.
"In this episode," she went on, "You're all invited to join us, as we tour the exotic, deadly and beautiful Planet of 'headhunters, cannibals, ritual warfare and human sacrifices'."
She gripped her spear in one hand, and picked up the man's head in the other. Then she stuck his head on the point of the spear, up through his neck.
She stood up, held the impaled head high, while grinning broadly.
"Now!" She announced, "Galactic Traveler, explores...Mundomaya!"
The Show's opening credits came on. That was followed by a commercial break.
After the break, the viewers were shown various sites, in and around the Mundomayan City of Chichitok, while Peggy Meghan spoke the narration.
"Chichitok is a gleaming white city that swelters under a heavy white sun and glowing blue sky. The City is surrounded by lush green farmland, which stretches all the way to the jagged blue mountain range, 50 miles to the south, and even further in all other directions.
"Chichitok is a City of museums, theaters, hotels, office buildings, libraries, and the University of Tulum."
The viewers were then shown palm tree lined avenues, with elegant shops and art galleries, where Peggy Meghan browsed, and a sidewalk restaurant where she had more food on her plate at one serving, than most citizens of the City of Manhattan Building ate in a single day.
In the Krendell's apartment cubicle, Dave's wife Amanda said, "I bet there are plenty of women who'd just love to have her job."
On screen Chichitok was also shown to be a City of one and two story, whitewashed stucco houses, with orange tile roofs, on narrow streets paved with blue cobblestones. Open air markets were found in every district. Peggy Meghan was shown shopping in them. The citizens all looked well fed and healthy, and none of them were shown to be wearing anything above the waist. Neither was Peggy Meghan.
After the day's events, there was a night scene. The episode's vivacious hostess, was seated at a table in a sidewalk restaurant. The remains of her dinner lay in a plate in front of her. A wine glass containing a red liquid was in her hand, and a young, local guy sat beside her.
She now wore a light green skirt, hanging halfway to her knees, matching pumps on her feet, and a shrunken head dangled between her uncovered breasts, on a chain of human knuckle bones around her neck. She also wore earrings, a pair of bracelets and a hairclip, all carved from human bones.
"In the morning," she spoke to the camera, "the deadly Fiesta of Two Full Moons will begin, during which many people will die. I will also be taking part. That means there is a chance that you might actually get to watch me, your Guide, being killed on your TV screen. Those of you who are regular viewers, know that if that does happen, I won't be the first Galactic Travels Tour Guide to whom that will have happened."
She spoke laughing with a slurring voice. "And that's why they pay us those big bucks!
"Yeah--right! If we live to collect our salaries!
"Since I might die tomorrow," her voice continued to slur, as she leered. "I'm being a very bad girl tonight. I'm sitting here bare breasted; having just dined on well cooked human flesh. I've been drinking cocktails of human blood, mixed with 151 proof rum; and I am now extremely drunk. I am also very horny, and am going to be having casual, uncommitted, recreational sex with this studly guy to my right; whose name I'm not sure of, and who I will never see again after tonight.
"I promise, that if I do survive the Fiesta, I will go back to being a good girl; but tonight, I'm getting laid! And I'm gonna be getting it good!"
Now in the Krendell's cubicle, Karen laughed. "You're right Mom. I really would love to have her job."
Then the picture revealed the dark interior of Peggy Meghan's hotel room. The shot was focused on the shrunken heads of a man and a woman, dangling from a hook on the wall, above the headboard of the bed. The pair was softly illuminated by light coming through the window.
Off screen the bed creaked rhythmically, while Peggy Meghan moaned. "Uuuh! Uuuh! Uuuh! Uuuh! Uuuh! Uuuh! I'm coming! Oh! Aaaaaaaaaah!"
Karen laughed again, "She lives good, eats good, and she gets to sleep really good too!"
On the TV Peggy shouted, "Hey! What are they taping this?"
The scene changed again. On screen there were shots of sunrise over the City, and people beginning to go about their morning tasks.
Peggy was shown seated alone, at the same table where she'd been in the earlier shot. A large cup of coffee was in front of her. She had a sour look on her face.
"It is now the morning after the night before. I am completely hung over and totally fu---- out. My studly partner from last night is gone; to never be seen by me again. Believe me. From now on, I'm being a good girl."
She now sipped some coffee from the cup in front of her, and had an even sourer look on her face.
Then she announced, "Both moons of Mundomaya were full last night. The Fiesta begins today! So let the Sacrifices begin!"
This was followed by a sequence showing different acts of human sacrifice; all narrated by a clear voiced Peggy Meghan.
The episode featured "A Time of Joyous Worship"; which began with the Decapitation of both Maidens of the Two Full Moons. This was followed by the deaths of 200 beautiful women, who were sacrificed with arrows through their breasts. This was followed by an equal number of men being hanged, and children tossed onto spears.
After this, male and female gladiators fought to the death in a local sports stadium. Peggy Meghan actually took part in this event. She fought among a group of women, holding spears and shields, while again dressed in only a pair of sandals. She actually got to kill two opponents.
As the Fiesta went on, there were unexpected fatalities among participants and spectators. Then there were deadly fireworks in the evening.
There was also music, dancing and feasting on roast human meat.
"And More!" According to Peggy Meghan.
Then the episode went to the following day. Peggy Meghan stood in the shimmering heat waves, in the middle of Chichitok's Plaza Mayor, with bodies of the sacrificed displayed in the background.
She smiled pleasantly. "It's now a week since that opening sequence." She touched a shrunken head tied on her belt, with the fingers of her right hand. "This is the cabezita of the man I killed then.
"The Celebration of Two Full Moons has ended, and I have survived. Things are returning to normal here in Chichitok. From here, we'll be going on to the seaside resort town of Puerto Jiminez, where...Kuh!"
An arrow had been shot through her left breast, gone through her lung, and was now poking out her back.
She looked at the feathers on the end of the shaft, that was sticking out of a small bloody patch on her breast.
She muttered, "Oh sh---."
Then she looked back at the screen, and spoke with a raspy, gasping voice.
"Some folks are still celebrating!"
She made a choking sound. Blood came out of her mouth. She shut her eyes and collapsed.
The screen now framed "Galactic Traveler" Hostess Peggy Meghan, lying dead and naked on the pavement in the Plaza Mayor of the City of Chichitok, with the shaft of an arrow sticking out of her breast.
Dave Krendell said, "You never really do know, when an episode's gonna end this way. That's why this Show gets such high ratings."
Amanda repeated, "Would you really want to have her job now, Karen?"
Karen chuckled, "Yeah Mom, I'd get to travel to exotic locals. I'd be living good, eating good, having really great sex, and end I'd up as a sexy corpse."
"I'm just joking Mom. You've got no sense of humor."