Piqued - A Toki Ponist Adventure
Chapter 20: Super-early trans-late
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lon lawa ala la, pilin anpa li ike lon kulupu.
– Toki Ponist Pu
When Tipi opened his eyes, he was in a sunlit room. He must have slept throughout the night. He got up from the teenager bed with superhero duvet cover design. The rest of the room was empty and revealed that there had not been a teenager living in here for quite some time. He checked the door which his captors had locked, of course, and also the window could not open. He looked outside over a large water reaching into a flat polder, housing several Frisian cows.
The sound of a key in the door lock startled Tipi, and he struck a fighting tai chi pose, wu chi. In came the two familiar bird men. Wu chi is formlessness. There are no poses, just flowing motion. From wu chi you can flow in any direction, prepared to parry any attack. Alas, they still grabbed Tipi, put him on a rolling desk chair and tightened his hands behind his back with an intricate jumble of intertwined rubber bands.
“What do you want?” Tipi asked. “Who are you?” While Tipi did not have a great reputation for remembering names, he hoped to get a better hook on them than with derogatory terms like bird men or crow people.
“We’ll get to explaining our needs in a minute. You can call me Vasco, and this is Körbl.”
He took several papers from a portfolio he was carrying on his back. He tried to read them but gave up.
“We’ve come an awful long way to find you, Mr. Tipi. And we had hoped not to need you at all.”
“That feeling is mutual then,” Tipi said. “It seems unreal that you have been following me all the way from Austria to here, with months in between.”
“Nothing is unreal as long as you can imagine like a crow,” quoted Körbl.
“The feeling is mutual, because we are not at all interested in you. So you can imagine the tremendous disappointment of having to track you down after all that trouble on the mountain. Still, we were lucky to bump into you on those slopes or we would never have found these.”
He held up the papers.
“Are those papers from my mountaintop hideout?” Tipi said.
“Excellent start. At least you are not denying anything, we’re in much luck again, Körbl,” said Vasco.
“After all these years, we are close to the Secret of the Mountain.”
“Yes, don’t play coy with us. You hid the secret to enlightenment in your little Batcave so the world would not benefit from it. You don’t have to teach us about gurus in the wild. They’re selfish assholes, most of them, and charlatans. But we knew you were the real deal, and you hiding away for most of the time let us believe the rumors that you kept the secret that could make anyone enlightened in an eyewink.”
“But what we had not expected,” Körbl said. “Is that you have written it in an arcane script. We tried to decode it but it was too complicated.”
Tipi laughed out loud. “Complicated?” He looked at the manuscript, which Vasco held in front of his nose. “That’s written in
toki pona and not even in the
sitelen suwi script. It is simple as hell. The language even means: the simple language.”
“We need you to translate it for us.”
“Now, why would I do that?”
“You can also just tell us the secret,” Vasco said. “We’re not interested in your childish cipher.”
“I’m afraid I can not do that. Memory loss. I have no recollections of the last two years when I spent my time in that hideout.”
“That is most unfortunate,” Körbl said. “So translate it and we both learn something new.”
“Why would you think the papers even contain this secret? And why would you believe my translation?”
“We’ll see,” said Vasco, who nodded at his partner. Körbl walked out and when he returned, he held up a young boy by the collar of his hoodie.
“Julian!” Tipi said. “What the hell did you maniacs do? Hasn’t he been through enough?”
“No, he has not. He was quite a disappointment to us on the mountain. He’s also been a terrible letdown to his parents. Aren’t you, Jules?”
Julian bit his lip and kept his mouth. He must have been with these two creeps for many days, maybe weeks.
“He lost his parents once, and now you rip them from him again?”
“Lost his parents, you say? No, dear Jules ran away from them.”
“Yes, just before he could lead us to the hideout by himself. If it wasn’t for your guiding brightness, he would never have found it.”
“How would he have ever found it for you? It was my hideout, and I had never met the boy before that day and he knew nothing of the place. He has nothing to do with it.”
“That is only somewhat true.”
“We know about the neural implant, Mr. Tipi,” Körbl said. “But you are not the only one carrying such a chip around.”
“Are you the ones behind the mind control?”
“This mind bender device controls the weak-minded. But alas, we did not create it ourselves. We stole it,” said Vasco. “We knew it had taken control of you already, but you were untraceable. So we needed to find another soul that would copy your actions without adding too much extra complexity and autonomy. After we had figured out where in the world you kept your secret, we searched for children able enough to be naïve and complacent to climb the mountain. Once we had a child chipped, he would mirror your behavior and go to the hideout.”
“It was a hell to find parents who would let us chip their child,” Körbl said. “We could persuade Julian’s parents with a decent sum of money. So we didn’t even have to kidnap any children.”
“Shkoyekh! Well done. You win Most Considerate Bastards awards. You kidnapped him now though, didn’t you?”
“We’re in a different phase of the game now,” Vasco said. He put a knife from his pocket to Julian’s throat. “Even though Jules is quite used to being mistreated by his not so loving parents, I think there is a new level of hurt we can get him acquainted with.” He grimaced.
Tipi hissed. “With such attitude, how do you ever think you can reach enlightenment.”
“You were also a troubled nobody if I’m not mistaken. And then poof, it happened. Do you think I want to connect to the cosmos and experience all reality and truth so I can become a tedious guru myself or yap about world peace and that we should all love each other? Nah, I have much bigger plans.”
Joakim cocked his head.
Reluctantly, but with slight excitement, Vasco continued. “You know enlightenment is bullshit right? Clearly, the chip instantly connects you to the joint human consciousness. And if you can receive it, you can also manipulate it. In your connected state, you had the power to manipulate all of humanity to your will. But because of your feeble will, you hid yourself and the way to exploit this power. But we will find out.”
Vasco gave the knife to Körbl, who put it even harder into Julian’s neck. Julian whimpered. Then Vasco took the papers again. “Now. Translate!”Read the next chapter