Population Explosion


Population Explosion by David Macfie

The Arrival of ships two and three, bringing ten more human couples, was now just three days away. From then on a ship a day would arrive, each bringing five more couples. Enough houses had already been constructed for all of the humans so there was no pressure there. They would design their fixtures and fittings on day of their arrival or the following day and would live in tents until their units were ready. There were enough tents to continuously cycle the humans until all were settled in their new homes.

The first ship of refugees was due two days after the arrival of ships two and three. It was carrying three hundred and fifty families, representing a total of one thousand and fifty of the refugees. However, not all of these needed housing within Androm, because seventy five of the families were farmers, who would immediately be resettled on farms that would be ready for them. The balance of six thousand nine hundred and fifty refugees consisted of two thousand two hundred and fifty families of which one hundred were farmers who would go straight to their allocated farms. These others were coming on six more ships spread over a period of two weeks. The impact of this would explode the population of Androm to more than nine thousand individuals requiring over three thousand homes. There was, of course no problem with these numbers. Five thousand plus dwellings had been built and all the Taurian families had already specified their internal and external choices, so their units were completed and waiting for them. By the time the last ship arrived, Genesis would have spare accommodation even after the tented workers were now going to be housed.

The team were happy with that because news from Taurus was that there were minor earthquakes starting to happen elsewhere. If these escalated to full power more refugees would have to be housed on Androm. Jamie called a meeting to discuss this. He opened the meeting by explaining the latest situation.

“So, guys, we must decide on the best way to handle this. Any suggestions?”

Gillian replied.

“I think broadly there are two options. One we expand the settlement at Genesis and build another at the other end of the country. Or, two, we move to the next country, Baltra, and repeat what we’ve done here. I think we should move on to Baltra. But, first, we should stop building houses here immediately. We’re up to eight thousand already and that provides plenty of spare capacity. There are still some farms to allocate so there’s also extra capacity there. Now we should complete all the public works facilities, factories and generating plants that we planned and make sure that everything is working. Then we should move on.”

“Are you suggesting that we, this specific team, will go to Baltra?” asked Pantando-Ka.

“Yes I am. Ships two and three should work with us for a while and then take over as the human leaders here. We should spearhead the initial work in each country with two ships worth of humans. We then leave them behind and go to the next place until all countries have the basic infrastructures in place. That will use up twenty one of the twenty three that we worked with during the conflict on the ships. The others from twenty two and twenty three can be used where the most need exists. Then there will be a delay until the rest of the other humans start to arrive. During that delay, we can be pretty much finished with the start-ups in the ten countries. If we mirror the facilities here we will then have capacity to absorb about eighty thousand individuals. Then we can expand into the new capacities in each country, while extra capacity is being built everywhere, under the leadership that would then be in place. Our job, after that, is to address the problem of the ring continent.”

“Clearly, you’ve given this quite a bit of thought, remarked George. “And I must admit that I’m impressed and it makes sense to me.”

“And still waters run deep,” commented Peter, with a rueful grin. “She didn’t even discuss it with me.”

“You haven’t been able to talk to me much, working the hours you’ve been putting in,” replied his wife, tartly.

“Now, now, children. Let’s not get snappish,” grinned Laura. “We’ve all had a tough time. I like the thinking, but I can’t say I fancy the idea of becoming a gypsy for the foreseeable future. Are we all going to live in tents then move to the next place and more tents?”

“I think, it will be different than it was here,” pointed out Brian. “I think the core of the workforce here would move with us. So they must leave behind a maintenance contingent only. All the factories and plants will be properly manned and can be used as training venues. And all the countries will already have a landscape layout. This means that our ongoing role is to get the show on the road according to a pre-defined program, train the people, who move in, and then move on. Also, we’d have to keep a really careful eye of the state of the situation on Taurus. Depending on that, we can scale up or scale down our efforts to meet the likely demand. I think that means that we wouldn’t be in any of the countries for more than two to three months. That translates into two to three years of being gypsies, before we tackle the ring continent”

“Put like that, it doesn’t sound all that appealing,” stated Robert. “I tend to agree with Laura about being a gypsy. However, I also agree with Gillian that we’re the best people to get the show on the road in each place. Isn’t there a middle-ground that lets us start everything off and then move on and simply monitor afterwards?”

“I think we’re not seeing all the factors involved here,” suggested, Jenny. “There are three major factors that we aren’t taking into account. Gillian mentioned that ten more humans arrive every day, from the twenty three and many of them have leadership skills. Thereafter the first factor is that we have already prepared plans and manuals that explain everything. These are the bases for our training programs. The second factor is that we’re forgetting that there may be many more skilled Taurians, who will choose to migrate here even without natural disasters to force them into it. These should be integrated into the teams on the different countries. And the last factor is the robots. We’re forgetting that every single one of them knows all there is to know about what’s going on. They are in constant communication with each other and they are skilled teachers. Finally. Any new robot who arrives here, will pretty much instantaneously be brought up to speed. I think these factors may mean a lot of travel, but I’m not even sure of that. Remember, Jamie and Pantando-Ka have been to every country and examined it in fine detail without leaving Chatham.”

Pantando-Ka grinned wickedly.

“Your wife is very smart, Jamie. Perhaps she could have done better than a mere soldier.”

Jenny blushed and Jamie pretended to be mad. He ran towards the huge Taurian, pulled over a chair, climbed onto it and looked the Taurian straight in the eyes.

“Don’t you dare spread that idea around,” he said, threateningly. “You’re still not big enough that I can’t smack your bottom.”

The scene looked so ridiculous that everyone burst into delighted laughter. It only got worse when Pantando-Ka lifted Jamie as if he weighed nothing at all and placed him on his shoulder. Jamie was laughing as much as anyone and so was the Taurian.

The final straw was when Amy whispered in a stagey voice, “They look like Long John Silver and his parrot.” The meeting disintegrated.

It was a while before everything came to order again. Pantando-Ka was first to speak.

“I think all these points of view are correct, but Jenny has hit on our way forward. We absolutely must supervise all that happens and I think it’s a good idea for us to visit each country, but only during the set up phase. During that phase we must identify and familiarize the leaders for that country, including additional immigrants from Taurus, and train them in the processes and procedures we’ve been using. We must also carefully explain the landscaping plans including why things have been laid out the way they have. Thereafter we should use the process suggested by my father and used by Jamie and myself for oversight. We will show you all that in the next couple of days. That should give us the middle ground that Robert referred to. I think it’s a great suggestion to move to each country as fast as possible.”

Jamie scanned the group

“I see from your reactions,” he interjected, speaking for the first time, “that you all like Pantando-Ka’s summation. Does anyone have anything to add? No? Right then, we have the basis of a plan. Well done everyone. We will work out the details during our time finishing up here. Let’s get busy.”

The next five days were absolutely frantic. Everyone worked double shifts to make sure all was ready for the impending influx. Pantando-Ka and Dendaro-Ra focused on the food resources that would be needed in the short to medium term, while Robert and Laura concentrated on placing all the incoming livestock onto the farms where they would remain. An unexpected conservation bonus happened during this process. The indigenous grazing animals and the farm animals took to each other like long lost cousins. Before long the farm grazing lands started to look like the veld grasslands of the African continent, with herds of different animals contentedly sharing and interacting. Robots were left to watch over the livestock, while others began to plant the crops that were suitable to the arable land for the time of year.

Meanwhile, Peter, Gillian, George and Elizabeth were fully involved in completing the construction and implementation of all the industrial and generation complexes as well as the water and sewage infrastructures. Brian and Amy spent most of their time at the hospital making sure everything was on track. In their quiet times they finalized their plans for studying the effects of the new planet on the fertility of the refugees. Jenny’s team were working with a construction crew using earth moving equipment to emphasize the existing uplands and make them higher. And testing their efforts in terms of affecting rainfall patterns. They already had some success stories to tell.

As for Jamie, he was everywhere until Komando-Ka and his Taurian commanders returned the day before ships two and three were due. They had brought their families with them, so Jamie organized a team or robots to assist them into their new houses. As soon as that was under way, Jamie took the commander and his team to his house for a meeting to bring them all up to speed.

“We will have a get together tomorrow to introduce you and your colleagues to our families,” began the commander. I’ll arrange it, if you will invite your team and my son as well as Dendaro-Ra. We will have it next to my new house. We will invite the new humans who get here tomorrow as well so that they feel at home as quickly as possible. Now tell us everything.”

Jamie filled in all the details that had taken place since the leaders had returned to Taurus. He emphasized the progress that had been made in preparing for the arrival of more and more humans and thousands of refugees then he delivered a particularly detailed account of the plans being completed for the way forward. There was a short silence when he was done, while the leaders assimilated what they’d heard then the commander looked at his colleagues and then at Jamie.

“I am continuously astounded at how incredibly effectively our two races work together. The teams on Androm have achieved the impossible and I, for one, can’t wait to see all that has been done. I must add that the matriarch and the committee also find the progress, not only praiseworthy, but also indicative of what may be done when groups of committed and enlightened races work together. They believe that the alliance between Taurians and the humans who have become involved, is probably the most important development ever to take place in the universe. It is their intention to visit Androm in the near future. So we also have that to look forward to. Now my colleagues and I must go and help our families to settle in. Please pass on my compliments and my gratitude to your team.”

Jamie caught the hint and quickly brought the meeting to an end.

Ship two arrived in the late morning and was met by Jamie and the commander. It turned out that the next ship was only going to arrive the next day. There were two reasons. The original ship three had been one of those that returned to earth, so this new ship three had always been at least a day behind. Also, it had a minor engine issue that prevented it from increasing speed to catch up.

The humans crowded round Jamie and the commander. Jamie recognized the leader from the time of the crisis. He stepped forward to shake hands.

“Good morning, Lilian Marchburn. Welcome to Androm. This is commander Komando-Ka. He was the commander of ship one and is the overall leader of this settlement.”

“Good morning Jamie, commander. I’m flattered to be recognized. But Jamie showed that quality at the video conferences so I’m not surprised. May I introduce my colleagues? First my fiancé, Brett Lancolm. We’re both agrarians, who have been working with Robert and Laura and their team. I must say that we’re pleased to be here and we’re raring to get stuck in. Next to Brett are Francis Shepherd and David Beaton. They’re weather specialists, so they will join Jenny. Next to them, are Marge Poulter, who’s a specialist nurse and Jeremy Banks, who is an electrical engineer. He’s been working with George. The couple on my right are Betty Ramsey and her husband Geoff. They are consulting engineers in everything to do with water. They’re working on the dams project. Last but not least, on my extreme right, are Bill and Debbie Frobisher. Debbie’s a botanist, specializing in grain plants among other things and she’s already busy with Laura to get the farms producing crops as soon as possible. Bill is a Surgeon who will take Marge and catch up with Brian and Amy as quickly as they can. Thanks for meeting us. What do we do now?”

“First I will take you to see your houses. They are next to those of my team and the commander’s officers, whose families arrived yesterday. Tonight there will be a get together to which you are all invited. I will come and fetch you to take you to the venue by the commander’s house. Now follow me.”

The commander left Jamie and his new group, who proceeded to the first set of houses.

“This one is mine and Jenny’s. Take a look around and get some ideas on furniture. After this little tour you must decide on your requirements.”

He handed out annotated plans of the buildings. “These will give you an idea of dimensions. When you specify your things, please give dimensions, color, internal setup and location on the plan.

Jamie showed the newcomers everything and left them with notepads, pens and pencils, a calculator and an eraser. They had all noticed that their houses were colored as they had requested and all were impressed with the style, space and elegance of the buildings. They were impressed also with the gardens already flourishing in the houses next door. Their final surprise was that each house had a temporary work table and chairs and a cool box with snacks and refreshments.

 “I will get your requirements from you before the party,” said Jamie. “And take them to get started on manufacture. It will take two days to deliver everything then you can move in. In the meantime you’ll bunk in your ship. I’ll fetch you at six thirty.”

The commanders of ship two shared Komando-Ka’s hospitality and the evening was a great success. Komando-Ka introduced his wife, Penvavo-Ka and then his leaders introduced their families. Romalu-Do’s wife was named Sendarino-Do, His daughter. Candandy-Do and son, Pembamba-Do. Sandaro-Ji was still single, while Nunamo-Ge’s wife was Lumolu-Ji and Tipanapo-Zu’s was Dimunado-Zu. Neither of these had children

The humans were interested to find that Taurian females were almost as large as the males and similarly muscular. Their skin color was a lighter shade of green and the facial features a little softer and more rounded. The two kids were eight and twelve. The younger girl was a mirror image of her mother but half the size, while the son took after both parents. He was nearly to the shoulder of his father. The children were very relaxed in adult Taurian company, which said something about the race’s family culture. They were, however, a little in awe of the smaller and stranger humans. That lasted for about half the evening until they’d got to know Jamie and Jenny, who tried hard to get them to relax. When the party came to an end, the ship two humans and Taurians returned to the vessel to prepare for the day to come. In a small way the population explosion had begun.