Alchibah - Northern Summer - Year Two:
“I’ve done it Judith, told the other council members I resign and will not stand for reelection.”
“How did they take it dear?”
“Well, nobody cried but they all understood. It’s hard to imagine how far we’ve come in the last year. We have spent so much time just getting by and I spent too much time worrying that my initial involvement with Jack the Blade would come back to haunt me. It still could but I don’t really think so, too much water under the bridge. He’s dead and Burt Buchanan too; there was a truly evil man, but some how we survived and so did most of the rest of us.”
“Any idea who is going to run to take your place?”
“Don’t know and don’t particularly care. Our farm came through pretty well. Sure, we slaughtered and ate almost all of the older animals but we have a little breeding stock left and enough of the new births lived that we will be busy enough. We can always go out and get some more unicows and alchelos but we are owed a lot of tube time so we can get more of the real human cows going as well. And the pigs are doing better than just fine.”
“You know what I really worry about–don’t you Les?”
“I am afraid I do dear, but I think we have lost him, Mike isn’t going to come home again to stay after he marries the Seaworth girl.”
“What do you think he will do?”
“If I had to bet on it I’d say he is going to stay in the reserves and go off and work for Bartlett and Fortson. That march they made after the shuttle crash last year was his defining moment. Even more so than the fight against the Rogon. Now with it agreed we need to spread out and not just add on to Liberty City his experience in the wilderness will pay him back over and over again.”
Les had been writing up his notes from the days work and the lack of response to his last statement caused him to look over at his wife. She was sitting quietly knitting something for a small child and a tear was sliding down her cheek from a corner of one eye. Les said nothing else and continued with his data entry.
All that Les predicted did come to pass. Mike did spend the early part of the summer getting the farm back into shape but right after the wedding he and Laura, along with a few dozen of the new arrivals went eastwards a couple of hundred miles into the heartland of the continent and on the shore of a large inland lake began laying the groundwork for a new city.
Fortson went out to supervise for the month and he took the portable sawmill out with him. That one unlike the large new permanent high capacity ‘Bartlett and Fortson’ mill at Liberty was still owned by the colony as a whole. When Joe returned to Liberty City Gene Washburn came out to finish Mike’s training and shortly Mike and Laura were left in charge of the mill.
By virtue of being original colonists, Mike and Laura each had a bot of their own. Mike called his R. Fletcher after one of the two Nash bots that that were destroyed when Karl died in the ruins of the First Inn. A long way from the ocean they were, but the lakeshore would have to do. Laura had her own bot, R.Pops, and she never lacked for something to keep it busy.
The township labor pool still had thirty unassigned bots but they were spoken for and as the children of the founders grew older, there would come a time when that pool would be no more. A dozen got sent out to help set up the new town but there was still so much work left to do in rebuilding Liberty City that most were working on that. And the town was getting rebuilt and surprisingly rapidly. The new Township Hall, along with Hanna and Jules’ First Inn and the Church, were already completed. Very close, near exact, copies of the originals and that was something to be glad about and a remembrance for all who had worked so hard on the originals.
The rest of the town, laid out with the same plot plan was considerably different. The construction materials were the same, timber and stone, but even with what had been destroyed what was on the UN Colony Ship and brought back from the raid on Earth gave them a higher tech base than they had started with that first year. All except for the robots.
There were some robots that came along with the newbies but they were all a much simpler model, without the AI enhancements Hamilton had paid for. The kind that any well to do person on Earth might have owned. They helped a lot but without even a hint of initiative, they took constant supervision and except for the most basic jobs, like weeding, loading and unloading production equipment, and the like, could be more trouble then they were worth. There had been some grumbling and unavoidable jealousy between the two groups and Les was becoming more and more certain there always would be. Human nature doesn’t change with distance from Earth.
“Who are you knitting for these days Jude?” Judith unlike a few of the older women had turned down the option of having more children naturally and they hadn’t even volunteered to take one of the first from the incubators. Too many wanted that chance and it wouldn’t have been right to use his position as Council President.
“Why am I not surprised you had to ask Lester?” his wife said but not disagreeably. Even with all of the work to do to keep the farm going she had been very cheerful the last couple of weeks. “It’s for Mike and Laura. They haven’t said anything yet, but I knew as soon as I saw her last week. We are about to become grandparents.”