The island state of Hawaii has been permanently ensconced in American history because of the infamous attack upon Pearl Harbor in 1941. It’s as American to the continental-born as the Alamo, Gettysburg, and George Washington crossing the Delaware. Surviving veterans of that battle, few as they are, and the stories they and their families have handed down have been seen on the History Channel and written down into scores of textbooks. Movie upon movie have dramatized the events of the day for us.
Despite that, the fact is that most in America view Hawaii as little more than a vacation destination or a footnote in history that leads to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan. Many of us don’t realize that decades before Pearl Harbor forever Americanized Hawaii to those of us born on the continent, Hawaii was its own land with its own history. Let me clarify that: we have been educated to understand that Hawaii had its own culture previous to American influence, but we don’t truly give much thought to what that means.
As Americans, we don’t view the country we inhabit as something “conquered,” or “claimed.” While the native tribes of this land lived and thrived here before either the Viking or European settlers began arriving, the continent wasn’t a “nation” in the traditional sense of the word, and certainly the peoples of the land didn’t recognize it as such. So as expansion began westward, the American government wasn’t “conquering” territory held by natives, it was “manifest destiny,” or it was “displacing savages.” We purchased the Louisiana territories. We acquired Alaska. The constant influx of immigrants from every nation on the planet has given us a very unique perspective on the world and our place in it. We cannot trace our origins back before the Revolutionary War because there simply was no America then. To go further, we must go into other nations and seek out the culture of our progenitors.
Hawaii, on the other hand, was an island nation that we pretty much went in and took control of. The people of Hawaii enjoy the protection of the United States military, fully aware of just how strategic a location they inhabit between two massive continents in a very large ocean, and they enjoy the commerce of the tourism industry from the continental states. That doesn’t mean many of the people living there don’t remember the days before the white man arrived. They remember the days before the Bayonet Constitution, when the monarchy still held the dominant power on the islands. They remember the valiant efforts of Queen Lili'uokalani to prevent her nation from losing its independence, and how she was eventually overthrown.
It’s difficult for many who have always lived under the American flag to understand why these feelings may exist, and some of our people are simply so ingrained with the belief that America is The Best Thing to Come Along that the idea that something else being preferable is unfathomable. Many Hawaiians are happy with the current state of their land, but there are some who long to return to simpler times: times when the white man was not there, when the names of island deities were still held in reverence. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that after returning to her native Hawaii, former Team Tomorrow member Malu “Fury” Hekili was greeted by approximately eighty native Hawaiians ready to recognize her as their patron deity.
Hekili, ironically, owned a tourism business before her eruption. A trained pilot, she’d take tourists up in a single-engine aircraft for panoramic airborne views of her homeland. She erupted when her plane suffered mechanical failure and began spiraling out of control, and spontaneously developed wind-manipulating abilities to right the plane and carry it safely back to the airstrip. Project Utopia courted the Hawaiian native, and after several long months of training, Hekili was assigned to the Auxiliary ranks of Team Tomorrow Americas. Hekili left the Project less than a year after her assignment, citing both concern over their handling of Canadian Nova Kathleen Miller and what she felt were misrepresentations in Utopia’s press releases during Miller’s abduction by the Teragen.
The last report from Team Tomorrow’s paraphysicians indicated that when Hekili left the Americas Auxiliary, she was capable of meteorological manipulation on a par or greater than Pratima Basham, with control over other elemental phenomena, notably flora and terra. (If rumor within the Project can be believed, Hekili’s control over “Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather” earned her the whispered nickname of the “The Good Faerie” with some of the veteran members of the Team.) With that manner of power over nature itself, it’s perhaps to be expected that someone wishing to have a patron deity would choose her. While Hekili herself has made no official release to the press, some of her more devoted followers have.
“When the first makua appeared,” apparent leader of the Hekili “cult” Tashiki Manaoio told Time, “we were filled with great hope. That Pualani (T2M member Pele) would leave her home behind and neglect her people broke many of our spirits. We were afraid that we had truly been forgotten. When the second makua appeared, only to follow in Pualani’s footsteps, many of us gave up.”
In an interesting footnote, apparently Hekili didn’t know there was a Hawaiian nova amongst Project Utopia when she signed on to be with them. She asked for the name Pele without realizing someone else already registered it. Members of the Team hint that Pualani and Malu didn’t get along particularly well, hence the reason Hekili was assigned to the Americas branch instead of Asia/Pacific, and many believe Malu felt Pualani was unworthy of the name.
The group that Manaoio represents view signing up with Project Utopia as a great offense. “The makua have abandoned us before,” he explains, “when the first white settlers arrived and brought their own beliefs. Our people were blessed to have two of the new gods emerge, and both of them had left us to be part of the white man’s world.” When asked why he didn’t consider Project Utopia representative of the entire world, regardless of race, Manaoio shook his head and stated, “No true makua would trade their people for the poison of currency. One who is paid in paper does not have the good of their people at heart.”
Hekili’s private airstrip was in danger of being overrun by Manaoio’s group, who had begun developing a small community of tents and shelters along the borders. Hawaiian authorities pressured her to force them to disperse, and in a move completely unexpected by the government, she instead allowed them to relocate to her several hundred-acre estate. Since that time, Manaoio’s group has swelled to roughly one-hundred and twenty-six from its original eighty.
“Malu saw through the mirage that is Project Utopia, turned her back on their petty offerings of cash and fame, and returned to us,” Manaoio beamed. “She has taken us in. We have no doubts that she will one day lead us to freedom.”
By freedom, Manaoio means eventual succession from the United States. He and those with him are hoping that Hekili will see fit to challenge the current government and return Hawaii to the way it was before the United States annexed it. “Weaponry of technology no longer is as threatening as it once was,” he elaborates, “when one must deal with the power of the divine. The sky and soil answer to Malu’s call. How can bullets compare to that?”
While Hekili doesn’t appear to be embracing that direction herself, having for the most part secluded herself in her estate since her departure from Utopia, the Hawaiian government is taking the possibility of a Nova challenging them very seriously. “We have communicated our concerns to Congress,” government representative AuKanaii Alepeka said in a brief telephone interview, “and we have been assured that any such attempt will be handled promptly.” Whether that means response from either the Directive or Project Utopia, Alepeka declined to comment.
At any rate, the idea of a full-blown India Syndrome on United States soil is something many politicians are genuinely concerned about. Project Utopia has released statements in the past that trying to remove an India Syndrome Nova from their homeland is problematic at best, since all parties involved seem to wish the Nova to remain, except the government holding authority there. There’s also the fact that Utopia would be forced to act against one of its own former employees, and current T2M operatives might find it difficult to come into conflict with a Nova that many still consider a friend.
“Fury’s service to the Team was impeccable,” T2M Director Caestus Pax told Time. “I find it hard to believe that anyone considers these accusations seriously. I wish her well in her private life and in any future endeavors she chooses to pursue.”
Until Hekili makes a statement, we can only speculate on her feelings. That she allowed Manaoio’s people to reside on her property definitely has many worried. Pax’s stance might be correct so long as Hekili garners the affection of only a handful of the island’s population. Each week sees new Hawaiians flock to join Manaoio and his associates. If the current trend continues, however, Hekili might be responsible for several hundred Hawaiians before the year is out. Should she ultimately decide to assume the mantle of a goddess, it might rally more to Manaoio’s cause.
These feelings of resentment towards the United States have been lingering for years. With the advent of Novas, the separatists might suddenly have the symbol they need to jump from ineffectual activists to full-blown political movement.
Freedom of religion suddenly has taken on an entirely new meaning.
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