Alchibah - Northern Spring - Year Three:
Janie and I were relaxing on the quarterdeck of our schooner the Bluenose. Winter had broken very early this year and it was quite warm already. Our two oldest children, Tammy and Karl, were happily underfoot, and whenever we weren’t watching them ran off to play in the ships rigging. It would be another year before we would let them go aloft without a safety belt and lanyard. They both complained but to no avail, and we kept videos of the complaints and of the slips and falls. These might prove good ammunition to keep them in line in a few more years, but more likely not.
The Jeep and EmyCee took care of all the sail duties and just now, in the light breeze, we were making little more than steerage under a single foremast topsail. We weren’t in any kind of hurry, but would be in a couple of hours unless the breeze kicked up as predicted. I would have sent the bots down below to crank us along a little faster if Janie hadn’t said, “You do that Bart I will be going down to help them. They need to get the sun and fresh air too.”
It didn’t make any sense to me but I loved her for the thought.
We never spent a lot of time talking about the past, too many things to worry about in dealing with the future, but today was an exception as it was the third anniversary of our arrival, we called it ‘Landing Day’ and it was one of two holidays we introduced to our Alchibah calendar based on our experiences here. The other, ‘Victory Day’, was in honor of our fight for freedom from the Rogon/UNWG and in memory of those who lost their lives in the process.
We were heading up river and were going to tie off at the Liberty dock in time for a full day of celebration, food, fireworks, and friends. I had been thinking about the cold rough trip down to South Alchibah just after the Rogons left us.
When the Guardians threatened us over technical aid and interference in the South, it seemed using the Bluenose to go and pick up the Jeep and RoDan was our only option. That was a voyage to remember… Janie interrupted my thoughts and started to reminisce herself for a change. I paid attention without saying much, admiring the view, scenery and Janie both, when not watching the kids.
“I was so glad when they came back from Earth without any casualties,” Janie said. “But I worry that all of the real hard edged fear we all felt at that time is somehow being softened, almost forgotten, and we will fail to remember it the way it was but instead how we glorify it. I guess choosing to forget is a more natural strategy. Who wants to remember the ultimate horror of war, the things that keep so many of us awake at night, and causes others to go marching without any thought to the sound of the drums.
“The fear is lost on this new generation. Fighting for the right is one thing, something that needs to be done, at all times and in all places. But if you have never felt the fear,—fighting for glory, for what we call honor, for esteem and the respect of the regiment, can become a stand in for only fighting as a last resort, when all else has failed.
“Should fighting always be a last resort? I can think of no reason why not. So long as the alternatives are known and the cost of not fighting to resisting oppression, is considered. But, the battle we fought, righteous and necessary as it was, happened without us doing anything to bring it upon ourselves. It was forced on us and we did what had to be done.
“Now, with so much left to do here, lifetimes won’t be enough, there are already people who want to go through the second wormhole and see what’s on the other side.
“I am all in favor of doing what we can to guard the gates but I just don’t see a need to take a chance on inviting problems.”
“For now I have to agree with you Babe, but sometime down the road we are going to have to go and see what’s out there. The danger we don’t know about can kill us just as dead and a hell of a lot faster than the danger we are aware of. But enough worry for today, it’s good to be out on the water and even better we get a chance to talk about the past and remember old friends.”
“Speaking of old friends both the Neilson brothers are going to be in town and I want to talk to Lars about chartering out the Bluenose. She needs to be worked and you and I never seem to find the time.”
“There aren’t many who have the time or can afford to charter her Bart.”
“Sure. I know that Babe, I just want to give a few people the chance to enjoy the ride. Someday we’ll want to redo or replace the Bluenose and it’s good advertisement for Pam and the boatyard. Lot of small craft on the blocks and there’s always maintenance but she needs something big to keep her from dwelling on the past like we are now!”
“I intend to get with Hanna, Kara, and Mariana, and loosen that woman up a bit. With the ration of marriageable women to men as lopsided as it is she needs to start enjoying herself more and that is one way isn‘t it darling.” My dear wife did have a way with priorities.
“Hold that thought Janie! The wind is finally picking up and it’s time I got busy. Jeep!! Lets get up some sail!”
Half an hour later we tied up at the dock and went ashore. The people doing the rope handling were mostly new to the job but it wasn’t all that difficult so no problem. We could have tied off without any help. It was good to see that unlike last years try at a celebration, when the animosity was still running high, the majority of the people from the Earth ships pitched in with a will and not just to operate booths and make some extra credit from the preparations. Sure they did that but were participating in the festivities and enjoying them as well.
The long Alchibah year was changing the way we thought about holidays and the way we scheduled them. Traditional Earth types, such as Christmas and Easter, we arraigned to have twice in an Alchibah year or at the same time, close as we could figure, when they would be celebrated on Earth. Alchibah specific dates we would keep to the Alchibah calendar. Due to being infrequent they seemed extra important and special. I liked that.
We would work it all out in the long run, and planned on having a lot of years to make it work.
Les Reye came out of retirement for one day and delivered a speech that was perfect in tone hitting all the right notes. Later in the evening, a bunch of us gathered at Hanna’s and just enjoyed ourselves, talking, drinking, and watching the fireworks, as Alchibah itself cooperated with one of the most spectacular auroras we’d seen all year. It was a night to remember.