A Word in Edgewise

Day Seven Lunchtime 00:07:11:40

“Janie and I were just finishing lunch. We had been able to eat outside because the weather was so perfect. Because of that we were there to see the Historian as he strolled along heading back to the Community Building. It looked to be twenty minutes before the meeting was set to resume, and as he passed by I said to him, “Hi Brice, got a minute?“

He glanced at his watch and said, “Sure Bart, why so formal, you only call me Brice when you want something.”

“Pull up a chair and I‘ll tell you.” I replied while pointing at a spot right beside us on the ground. As I watched him work a bit to settle down into place I was struck for the first time that he was old… I had never thought of him that way before but at 70 he was probably the oldest of all the Colonists.

When he appeared comfortable I continued. “Janie and I were thinking,… Well Ok Janie was thinking and I was watching, but when she was done I had to agree with her. Things are getting too much like they were back on Earth. How ‘bout you explain it Janie, just the way you told me?”

“Glad to Bart. I’ll just give you the basics for now Histy because I know the meeting will be resuming soon. Unlike Bart,” with a nod in my direction, “And it seems unlike many of the rest of the Colonists, I left Earth not because of a great wrong done to me or any of my family. On a professional basis I was outwardly doing rather well. But I felt stifled and always seemed to want to look behind me to see who was watching. It was the constant nag and sense of being over regulated and under the control of all the petty rules and authorities. I was dreaming and looking to find a place where I could do as I wanted most of the time. Sure I wanted to make a difference to those around me… yet not have to put up with the kind of regimentation and the ordering of every aspect of my life that was driving me to distraction. You could say I was looking for a kind of Walden Pond with friends and modern conveniences, and a good job too.”

“I can understand that Janie,” the Historian said with a hint of wistfulness in his voice. “Go on. Tell me more. But remember I‘ve only a few minutes.”

“I know it’s early in our time here but it just doesn’t seem to be working out the way I planned. I’m no dummy and Bart’s one of the smartest, most practical and certainly the nicest guy I’ve ever met. Yet in this place here and now, we are, both of us, misfits. It’s almost like we were the last Neanderthals swamped by the coming of the Homo Sapiens.”

“I could see by the Histy’s puzzled expression that the analogy hadn’t quite worked so I said, “What she means–”

Janie interrupted me by saying, “No, I’ll finish this Bart. I know that almost everyone here is a decent and honorable person, and Robert Hamilton,” she said looking the Historian right in the eyes, “Must have had a good reason for every selection. But listen to my list, and think about it.”

“ First we have Jack the Blade he seems more like a violent sociopath than anyone I’d have asked to come along. He’s at best a radical anarchist with delusions of grandeur. He is so sure he will get everything he wants that it’s scary. I‘m pleased but more than a little surprised that Eugene Washburn and the guy Jack used to call Wirehead, I forget his name, seem to be ok.”

“And that brings us to Burt Buchanan. He is a bully and a snarling contriver; he is a replica of every petty tyrant and bureaucrat that I thought was dead, brought back to life on Alchibah. And just like Jack, or maybe just with Jack, he figures he gets his way too. Can’t we ever escape that type?

“Now we go on to Lester Reye,” she continued, “who spends his time worrying about everybody else’s business rather than his own. And it sure looks like he gets elected to the Council in spite of it. Bart told me even he would have been voting for the bastard jerk if he hadn’t had the chance to see him in action when Reye decided he would be first on the block with a real house. Look at all the people following him. And as I told Bart ‘If you go with the flow…You’ll be caught in the flood’. His every word is unctuous to the point or hypocrisy. But enough of him for now.”

“And next I give you…. ” Janie began, but a cough from the Hist stopped her for a moment.

The Historian said, “I can see you’ve got much more to say Janie, more than I have time for now, I’ve got to get the meeting underway. We’ll continue this after our next recess but you have given me something to think about.”

Comments are closed.

Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Probably.

All Contents (written or photo/artwork) not attributed to other sources is
Copyright (C) 2006 - 2011 by Jeff Soyer. All rights reserved.