Day 21

Rocco, BJ, and I were strolling towards our land grants. Our robots followed behind, pulling makeshift carts laden with the precious lumber we had gotten when our allotment came due at the mill. For the present, there were only enough beams, posts, and boards for one small structure, not three separate ones. Since our grants were adjacent, it was decided that we would pool our resources and with our robots, build a simple cabin on my property where we would all live. Eventually, when more supplies were available — when our numbers came up again — BJ and Rocco’s residences would go up.

We had crossed the river by the lower bridge. Reye’s makeshift rope barrier had been cut and lay in the mud. As we headed North, it was noted with some amusement that — safety being not all that paramount after all — Les, Judith, and their robots were hard at work themselves on their own property, with a small cabin nearly complete and a crude corral fence erected nearby. Word on the street, if we had real roads, was that Les was going into the unicow raising business.

“My God, Histy,” Rocco said as we passed the Reyes, “seems Les was able to navigate the 12-foot wide bridge without the help of railing.”

I said, “Isn’t it amazing how the entrepreneurial spirit is able to overcome the ’safety first’ mentality?”

BJ said, “You mean greed?”

“Now, now, young fella’,” I replied, “No pain, no gain as the saying goes. All of us in this colony are going to be entrepreneurs of one sort or another. As soon as we get my camp built, and a proper chicken pen put up, I’ll be bringing my flock down. There might be competition for chicken meat, although I suspect that even with exotic new foods on this planet, nostalgia for our home world and it’s ways will insure that Buffalo Wings remains a popular item for years to come. Even old fogies like me have to earn a living!”

Rocco said, “You can take the maven out of the market but you can’t take the marketing out of the maven.”

“Hush, you brute!” I said, jokingly, “I’m a history teacher. Don’t forget that! Anyway, I have, apparently, an even bigger market to corner. It seems that all the critters on this planet, even the Devils, reproduce by live birth. I have the monopoly on good old-fashioned eggs. And nobody gets tired of eggs, scrambled, poached, or fried, for their morning meal.”

BJ said, “You had a leg-up on the others, being awake for the four years we slept.”

I said, “That’s four years you all didn’t age. I did and I was already elderly. I consider that a proper trade-off. And what do you, young Bradley, plan to offer the colony?”

“I’m a potter,” he said, “You can sell food, Hanna can cook it, but people will need a plate or saucer to eat it from, not to mention for their homes when they eventually get built. A foot-wheel and a kiln is easy to build. Plates and bowls are my specialty.”

“Don’t forget the mugs for brew,” Rocco added, his voice still a bit raspy from something that happened the other day.

We reached our properties. The spot was quite pretty, nestled around a finger of a large lake just off the river. We went to work…

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

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Copyright (C) 2006 - 2011 by Jeff Soyer. All rights reserved.