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Money for Nothing

Alchibah - Southern Spring - Year Two:
Shintok; elron-A was relieved the winter was finally over. Along with his broodmates argo, huk and teth, he found the long winter spent underground, sleeping and dreaming but for a day or so every month, when he got up to eat and eliminate accumulated metabolic waste byproducts, extremely unsatisfying. On balance he was glad he lived but worried that as more time went by without contact with others of his race that his opinion on that matter might change. His broodmates seemed happy enough.

For a week after the SwiftStrike left in such a hurry leaving them stranded all of them felt complete and total despair. They had their weapons and the skimmers, and a mostly empty continent, so no matter what, with food of all types so plentiful, in the short term they would eat. But they couldn’t plan on holding out, stopping capture or worse, if the Humans, or even the Soessossins made an issue of their presence. And if they tried to hold the ponies to their proper place they were sure to be noticed and dealt with sooner rather than later. It was the accursed and hated Guardians that indirectly provided the reason they still lived.

A robot, a certain R. JP, located them several days after the SwiftStrike departed and left them stranded. In their distraught condition they did not point a weapon in its direction as it approached. All the robot did was drop off some communications equipment and demonstrate its use. The robot left heading towards the sea. Using the com gear some days later a deal was struck.

When the Guardians banned any kind of advanced technology on South Alchibah the Rogons were granted a reprieve, of sorts. The Humans in North Alchibah wanted and needed the mineral wealth from around the Crater Lake and the Human Leviticans had no desire to aid them in acquiring it. The Rogon’s might not know much about much, but they did know about extracting mineral wealth from a new and to them hostile planet. So that was the basis of the deal: In return for operating the mines and overseeing as many Soessossins as they could enlist to help start and work them, elron and his broodmates would live.

All things considered it wasn’t a bad deal, but it was so much worse than elron, as a Rogon, would normally expect or experience, that he had no words to express his frustration. Even to think about what he felt compelled to do, figure out a way to get off this planet and back to his people on the Rogoss caused him no end of internal conflict. His broodmates always agreed with whatever he said when he talked about the situation at hand but they seemed for the most part very happy with it, not understanding at all the ridiculous nature of their position and wealth.

When not working at the mines they spent hour upon pleasant hour, watching the few percentage points of gold and other non radioactive minerals they kept skimming of the top build up in the storerooms in their underground home. With out a thing to spend any of it on but low tech trinkets the amounts were staggering, and utterly meaningless.

None of the Human Leviticans ever came to the mine diggings other than to mark their own share. Ten percent of whatever came out went to the church as a prerequisite for doing business, the rest went to pay for labor where another the percent was given to the church. That money was used to trade with North Alchibah for whatever they desired, the Humans never seemed to want anything but low tech.. Often ornamental items for the churches they were now having built. Sometimes hand tools and cloth and building supplies.

The Soessossins doing the actual mining were a mix of religious and not. After a time all those in the not category seemed to migrate to the other side. To elron the whole thing was a bunch of nonsense but something he had to put up with. They were all pretty sharp and hard workers to boot; those eating meat almost as large and strong as a Rogon,. He often remembered how good they had tasted, cooked or raw, the memory was delicious, but he had to purge the thought as quickly as it occurred. A lot of meat in South Alchibah but none of it was Soessossin anymore.

And yes, they were getting rich, as rich as the highest Broodmaster, but without females and descendants, or much of anything they hadn’t already purchased to spend the profits on, there didn’t seem any practical reason to care about a storeroom full of gold. He made himself a vow to do anything required to get off planet; even go to the north continent and work for the Humans if that would make it possible. He would not tell his broodmates about this decision, the part about working for the Human, until and unless he had a chance to make it become real.

Shintok; elron-A was not certain he would join with the Humans, and if he did it would only be a temporary measure, but he saw no other way to get off planet again and perpetuate his family line. The Humans had the kind of spacecraft that could manage that if he could ever get hold of one. What his broodmates didn’t know would cause them no harm and they couldn’t reveal, so he spent a lot of time dreaming, working on a plan, and waiting for a break.

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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.