From the Log Files of Lester Reye
There weren’t enough hours in the day for all that needed doing. When I first mentioned that to Judith she said “Of course not Lester, there are only twenty of them. Back on earth we had 24 and something ought to be done to fix that. Can‘t you pass a law to make our time system the same as the one we were used to? This may be a new planet but that doesn‘t mean we have to change everything!” I told her I would look into it.
The death of Jack Seaworth and fear of being out of the protected area around Liberty City had almost put a stop to working on our farm. Guns, and the culture of guns, both Judith and I had always said, were a danger to the public, and should be, and rightfully were, at least back on Earth, illegal. Now I wasn’t so sure. Without some means of protection though, working at our future farm was out of the question. And I guess I was surprised, though I shouldn’t have been, when Burt Buchanan helped solve that problem.
When Burt and I had our first meeting after the militia regulation issue was settled I was not at all prepared for his anger. Till this point he had always seemed cold and professional whenever we had spoken, that wasn’t how he behaved in public but I had come to the conclusion that everything he did in public was part of a larger act.
“That bastard Stuart,” Burt said snarling with rage, “he didn’t follow the script. Now we are going to have to find another… and a more certain means to discredit him!” Buchanan was livid, I was momentarily stunned by the force of his anger. “Next time, if we decide to let him have a next time, he’s finished!”
Shaking my head slowly side to side, and in a puzzled, wary tone, I said, “But we have civilian control of both the Militia and the Guard, isn’t that what we wanted?”
He was like a kettle about to boil over, “It was only part of it Lester.” I could see the veins in his face and neck throbbing, “We also needed to eliminate his influence in the future. Now we may need to eliminate him!”
As soon as those words left his mouth his entire demeanor changed like the flicking of a switch. A mask seemed to drop over him and instantly he seemed the Buchanan I had come to know. If I hadn’t been so shocked by the vehemence of his tirade it would have been scary, and when I thought about it later it was.
“This is what we do for now,” he continued as if nothing at all was out of character in his earlier remarks. “We start at once, today, working your farmland, that gets us out of town and out from under anybody’s prying eyes. After that we begin to prepare for the next stage. We will get this colony structured in a sane efficient manner. But first the farm.”
“But Burt, I can’t bring my wife and son out there, the danger is way too great until this ‘rumbler and slizard’ problem are dealt with.” Gathering up all my courage I said, “I just won’t do it!”
Far from becoming angry again, Burt’s expression, and persona, changed once more, this time to one of, I can only call it, good natured natural bonhomie. “There’s no need to worry about personal safety Les, Jack the Blade will provide all the protection you will ever need.”
So that’s how it was. With a couple of Jack’s supporters and their robots always on watch, Mike, when not at Bartlett’s lumber mill, and I began getting the farm into order. We had Buchanan’s help along with any of J t’ B ’s personal support group along with their robots whenever free from community projects. Progress was both more rapid and satisfying than I had any reason to hope for.
Our farm was slated for mostly livestock, cattle and, well buffalo. Cattle I knew, the other might take some getting used to, though until the Peta laws there had still been a few small herds used to provide food for elitist and ostentatious consumption back home, so I was aware they could be domesticated to a degree. The farm was on the other side of the river and farther from Liberty City than any of the other colonist’s freeholds with the exception of the spacers.
The fact that the lower bridge was in place just to our west made it a very good location providing the natural predators could be kept at bay. The land itself was a little too sandy to make good cropland but should be fine for the grasses and cover crops we would want for animal feed. There was also plenty of nearby forest for firewood and fence posts. I spent all of my time there when not involved with Township meetings, or the new thing, working on a draft Constitution.
Mike and I were getting along better than we had in years, I could see he was starting to pay attention to some of the girls in the camp who were near his own age. I couldn’t say that came as a surprise. But Judith wasn’t quite ready, or maybe didn’t want to overcome her fears, and so spent most of her free time helping out at the Community Farm closer to town. The walk back and forth between the city and our farm was time consuming, but that, along with all the work I was doing, was getting me into the kind of shape I could have only dreamed of back on Earth.
I was continually troubled, and starting to have ever darker and more uncomfortable thoughts concerning Buchanan, and deeply regretted the necessity of our continued association, but I pushed them into the background and decided to deal with the present and let the future look out for itself. No… that’s wrong… I knew something was terribly wrong and just refused to address it, but I was still certain that I could back out when the time came, and fix things if any of those things I wouldn‘t think about, should turn out to be real. And then I prayed it would never come to that.