Realistic WG, Science Fiction A little different theme than most I've written - see if you like it. Shantar, Guardian of Paradise by The Observer The consciousness that was Shantar stirred, reaching out for contact once again as had occurred for over 6 million cycles. Shantar expected no response, but was still content. Sentient beings who can function across multiple dimensions have their own memories and dreams to pleasure and sustain them; they do not require contact with other living things to survive. Shantar, however had a duty to respond if mortals were present. This responsibility underlay reaching out at intervals, seeing if perchance that which once was might someday recur. As Shantar’s probes reached out they extended beyond the orbit of the planet. It was there that the unexpected happened. A metal capsule, filled with life forms in a high state of agitation and distress! Shantar focused and picked up their mind pictures. The capsule was actually an interstellar spacecraft with failed guidance and power systems. It was entrapped the planet’s gravitational pull and its occupants were powerless to avert what seemed like certain doom! Shantar’s full will instantly awakened and focused on the capsule. The natural laws of three-dimensional world gravity are not immutable to one who is a Guardian! From the eighth dimension Shantar countered normal gravitational pull, creating a major storm in the planet’s stratosphere in the process. From the sixth came a counter force. The pull of the three forces effectively slowed the crippled starship’s approach. 70,000 miles per hour, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 10. Nearly three rotations of the planet elapsed; by then the huge craft was gliding to the surface as though being set down by an unseen hand. The several score occupants were baffled by what was occurring. Shantar smiled as he returned nature to its normal order and allowed the starship to embed itself in a mass of overgrowth between two hills. The capsule’s passengers were shaken but unharmed. Now, Shantar mused, what would they do? What had occurred was beyond their likely comprehension, they could not perceive Shantar, and their nature was still an unknown variable. The planet’s guardian gently probed their minds and hearts. No evil but much fear and confusion was found. Their communication was primarily verbal, totally primitive to Shantar; it would require effort to master. But they were intelligent and therefore teachable. All this was good, for if they were to survive they must be taught. “Use the capsule for shelter, explore for food in pairs, there is nothing to threaten you here. You are safe, but you must act!” Shantar impressed upon the group who appeared to be the leaders. The capsule’s passengers were omnivores, Shantar noted. The land creatures of this planet were not used to being hunted as vegetation was abundant and non-poisonous. It would be best to keep animals away from the newcomers less conflict be introduced into the society. The mind of Shantar sent a signal to the planet’s birds and animals to stay away from the newcomers, leaving fish as the only fair quarry.. * * * Commander Charles Landor reviewed the crew reports with satisfaction. After subsisting on rations and native vegetation for many months it appeared that his charges were actually becoming farmers. Flat land had been cleared of native vegetation and sown with grain that seemed likely to be able to be milled into flour. The goal, according to advice from the ship’s medical team (influenced by Shantar’s mental telepathy), was to make bread and add needed carbohydrates to the refugee’s diet. The ship’s engineers had limited power using fuel cells that drew energy from the planet’s sun. This was being used to facilitate construction of irrigation canals. Nearly seven acres had been planted but Landor fretted that it might not be enough. What he could not know was that Shantar had anticipated him. The selected grains were specially enhanced, far higher in nutrients and calories than their Terran counterparts. Shantar wanted to make the grains-based food the primary staple of the newcomers, thus protecting the land-based wild life. Of course it also meant that ingesting two sandwiches a day would be 1600 calories. Shantar insured that the grain harvest was opulent. The growing season lasted but 10 weeks. The official estimate was that the harvest produced enough to feed everyone several sandwiches a day for four months. Landor was delighted. The flour blended well with the fruit juices used for sweeteners and could be used for pastries as well as sandwich bread. Preserves, nut butters and fried fish were available for fillings. Within a week most of the refugees were delightedly ingesting around four sandwiches a day along with other foods, contentedly unaware they were consuming over 3000 calories. After 12 weeks some of the group began noting that their clothes were becoming tighter. Linda Markham was a special case. She had been starting the day with two sandwiches, having another two at lunch, then another in the late afternoon and a sixth before bed. “This bread is so tasty,” she remarked to her friend Janice. “Its like their addictive!” “How much have you gained,” Janice inquired. ”I think fourteen pounds some of my clothes aren’t fitting. But I don’t want to stop.” Shantar took note of the conversation. Linda was in no health danger from gaining and the Guardian saw heaviness as a both a sign of prosperity and contentment. Still, clothing scarcity could present a problem. It was time to start a textile and synthetic fiber industry. Not wanting to draw attention to the weight factor, Shantar instigated a series of wardrobe malfunctions that tore and ruined clothing. When this came to Commander Landor’s attention Shantar implanted in his mind the certain ideas. Giant leaves were to be used to create artificial fibers; efforts were also to be made to domesticate certain fur bearing animals that had so far kept their distance. The industry took three growing seasons to develop.During this time, despite efforts to cut back, Linda had gained another 37 pounds, for a total of 51. She was over 170 pounds but had plenty of energy due to the high nutrient content. Her clothes were two large muu-muus borrowed from a larger traveler. Strangely the weight didn’t bother her as much as the lack of suitable garments. “Teach me to sew,” she implored Sandy Duncan, an older lady who made her own.” “Certainly my dear” she smiled, thinking as she recalled her own fourteen-pound gain, “I certainly see the need!” By the end of the year the impact of the super-rich bread, now in its sixth growing cycle, was clearly apparent. Commander Landor was twenty-three pounds heavier, Linda was a whopping sixty-one, and everyone else was in between. Shanta smiled at his new flock. They were happy his mental impressions on their minds kept them content. The animals thankfully all now safe no one thought of hunting them for food. The artificially high caloric level of the bread was scaled back, but not so much as to cause anyone to lose. All was well in Paradise.