03 September 2007

Story: In Cannibalism We Trust, Part Two

Author's note: In Part One of this saga, I had written that there were five Dystopian lands that are the settings of our story. Well, I realised that I had made a bit of a blunder in stating that, as, upon thinking(an activity in which I rarely engage)about it further, there were actually SIX such nations, not five.

So, of course, I and my Premature Senility take the blame, as there isn't anyone else involved with this mess of a process to blame.

Well, I guess I could blame it on the Cats or the Fairy God-Mother, but no-one would rightly believe the former, and the latter would probably sue me for defamation of character, if imaginary beings can be supposed to have any character, good or bad.

My apologies to you all there, for the last-minute notice of revision and the sloppy manner in which it was done.

But, that's just par for the course with me, now, isn't it???

I hear you sighing, whining and restlessly moving out there like a bunch of spoilt six year olds, so, yes, I will now Shut Up and Get On With The Story.

Happy, now??? I hope so.

So, Dear Readers, where were we????

Oh, yes, the six Dystopian lands.

Well, they were all located side-by-side, along the coast in the southern section of the far eastern part of Dystopian, and were respectively known as New Polynesia, Nativia, New Atzlan, New Ethiopia, Asgard and Panasia, after the types of figures who settled there.

New Polynesia, the farthest west of the quintet, was the smallest in area and population, and was home to around 60 action figures that thought of themselves as belonging to one or another of the various Polynesian peoples.

There were no cities, or even large towns, in New Polynesia, merely a set of small villages and two small towns, Kamehameha Bay in the east, and Lilliuokalani Beach in the west that, combined, had around 32 souls residing in both places.
The rest were scattered in four small settlements, two of which were also along New Polynesia's coast, with the other two being found in the country's centre and north.

The bulk of New Polynesia's people lived by fishing, growing crops like taro root, and the odd spot of hunting and gathering, with a few people making various handicrafts for purely local use.

There were also around 3 or 4 shamans or priestesses who devoted themselves to practising the various traditional Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian or Maori religions, around the same number of sacred hula dancers, and, of course, the 4 chiefs and kings who made up New Polynesia's Governing Council, which made up the general sort of legal rules for New Polynesia as a whole, though the chiefs, priestesses and shamans held sway in their own areas.

There were also about a dozen full-time warriors in New Polynesia's Defence Force, half of which belonged to a tiny land force, while the other half belonged to its equally small navy, which possessed one small home-made wooden ship with which to protect New Polynesia's territorial waters.

But, in times of war, the New Polynesia Defence Force included most of the able-bodied male, and some of the female, population, and, despite its diminutive size, proved itself to be a generally formidable lot in action against its neighbours, especially the Nativians on New Polynesia's east, about whom we'll say a bit more in a little while.

Ever since the first New Polynesian settlers arrived and settled down in the region in 2001-2002, they had always been in one sort of dust-up or another with their immediate neighbours, and had shifted alliances with one or more of them as well, as was, and is, customary in action figure inter-state politics.

But, if there was one factor that remained constant in New Polynesia's relations with its other four neighbours, it was its animosity towards Nativia. This dated from the earliest days of settlement in both states, and came out of several territorial claims between the two that rapidly turned sour, and remained so, only intensifying as the months and years passed.

The up-shot of all this brouhaha between the New Polynesians and Nativians meant that whatever side one state was on in the various regional disputes between the quintet, the other would make absolutely sure to be on the opposite one, no matter how disgusting its allies were, or just how badly its own interests were harmed.

But, that could generally be said to be true for all six nations at the centre of our story.

The Nativians, who were composed for various Native American figures, or Asian, Latino, European, and even some African figures who had had their identities either conferred upon them when liberated from their packages (a state in which action figures and dolls that, up until three weeks or so after their being removed from their packages and dressed in costumes appropriate to their new identities, is characterized by a similar stage to that found in organic infants, toddlers, and children up to until around the ages of 8-10 years. These stages are formally known as, respectively, "Blank Slates" for the former, "New Arrivals", for the second category, and, finally, "Confirmed Figures", for the last-named category. Colloquially, they are also known as "Blanks," "Newbies" and "Configs", as well as "FOBs"(an acronym for "Fresh Out Of The Box"), "Weebs"(acronym for "Wet Behind The Ears"), and "Confies"(a shortened version of "Confirmed Figures"), though the latter three terms are considered rather derogatory and not generally used in "polite" society or conversation), or choosing them after reaching psychological maturity when between 4-6 months old, numbered roughly around some 300 or so souls among them at the time our story took place.

The first Nativians, who numbered around a tenth of that number when they first settled in Nativia in late 2001, and the successive waves of immigrants who followed them, sought a refuge, like their neighbours, for their cultures and ways of life, uncontaminated by what they felt to be the destructive influences of other ethnicities' ideas and lifestyles.

In the Nativians' case, having come mainly from the Pacifican department (equivalent to an American state or Canadian province) of Occidentalia, which was inhabited mainly by American Western-themed figures and dolls, their fears were of being colonized culturally, socially and economically by the European-American and Latino figures and dolls, and, to a far lesser extent, the Asian ones, resident there.

So, after organizing a small group, called the Native Occidentalian Survival and Preservation Association, in mid-2001, they embarked, first on finding a distant part of the Terra Novan lands (as Dystopia was then called), which they could call home, and that would support enough of them to make their concern a success, and, after finding what was to become Nativia, journeying there and setting up shop, so to speak.

By the time of our story, the thirty original settlers had grown ten-fold in number, and lived in 6 different communities scattered over the length and breadth of Nativia.
All but one of these, the only town and Nativia's capital, Tecumseh, named for the famous Shawnee chieftain who gave the Americans considerable trouble in the early 19th Century, were hamlets and villages with no more than around 10-30 inhabitants in each one, where they lived by traditional methods of fishing, if along the coast, hunting, gathering, agriculture, and animal herding.

Tecumseh's citizens, who comprised around a third of Nativia's people, in contrast, lived a mixed form of Native American (incorporating elements from various and sundry Native American cultures) and European-American lifestyles, with some small-scale manufacturing, service and media industries (Nativia even had a film studio that produced around 4-8 feature films, and twice that number of short films, usually documentaries and instructional films, a year), and had a rudimentary European-style governmental bureaucracy.

However, that bureaucracy was organised and maintained mainly to deal with outsiders, who would have been otherwise bewildered, confused and stymied by doing business with the broad range of governments the Nativians had internally. These ranged from the sort of tightly organised chiefdoms found among the Iroquois and Mexica, to the far looser arrangements pursued by other tribes, within the confines of the Nativian Concord, as Nativia was officially known.

Nativia's quarrels with New Polynesia, as mentioned before, had begun over territorial boundaries, both sides' contending claims over pieces of those territories, and hunting and fishing rights and privileges in them.

The armed conflicts between the two states that sometimes erupted them (five between early 2002 and the late Spring of 2008, when our story begins) considerably added to the hard feelings between the New Polynesians and the Nativians.

But, compared to those between the Nativians and their eastern neighbours, the inhabitants of the Chicano nationalist state of New Atzlan, the tensions between the New Polynesians and Nativians looked like an occasional hissing and growling match between two very elderly and sick cats by comparison.

About the quarrels between the New Atzlanians and Nativians, as well as the former's history and disputes with its other neighbours, the New Ethiopians, Ivorians, and Panasians, we shall find out more in the next passage, whenever Yours Truly gets up off his dead arse, and actually makes the time to write it, Dear Readers.

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