Ramping Up and Moving On


Ramping Up and Moving On by David Macfie

The days following had much activity. The humans from ship two immediately integrated into their respective teams and were briefed on the way forward. By the time ship three arrived, they were able to welcome them just as they had been welcomed. The five couples from ship three were led by Dan Fogarty, a civil engineer who was already working with George on the construction of energy generating facilities. His wife Audrey quickly joined the surgical nurses at the hospital. The other couples were agrarians Bob and Felicity Rutherford, who specialized in breeding livestock; Richard Fleming, a sewage management specialist with his fiancé Glenda Martin, who had studied desalination processes and plants; David Carter and his partner Angie, who both were communications specialists and, finally, Jason Day, a landscaper, and his partner Jean Ellis, who had joined Jenny’s weather management team. This new group had to settle in quickly, because Jamie had explained the need for himself and his team to move on to Baltra.

Three days later the first refugees arrived. It took five days to get most of them settled into their new homes or farms and, in the meantime, four more ships also landed at the space port. The twenty new couples were put into a rigorous familiarization program and the team that would now move on to Baltra to begin a repeat of the creation of Genesis, was selected and trained.

This team had all twenty couples to start with, as well as the majority of the Taurians from the initial project and a selection of suitable candidates from the new refugees. All were accompanied by their personal robots and the additional robot contingent that had been so useful in the rapid acceleration of the first project. Pantando-Ka, as Taurian leader elect of Baltra, and Dendaro-Ra, as site manager of the new project, would also be moving on to the next settlement. After much discussion, the name selected for the new settlement on Baltra was Newtown.

The ship two and three humans were to remain in Genesis under the leadership of Lilian Marchburn, who had rapidly established herself as the obvious choice. She was energetic, capable, creative and empathetic and had almost instantly grasped everything she needed to know. She would work closely with Komando-Ka and his leaders in the management and necessary expansion of the facilities and accommodation in Genesis.

So now the population of Genesis was growing by the day, as new ships containing human couples arrived until all twenty three of the previous problem ships had arrived and so had all the refugees. Among the chaos of all this, the project continued until the work on the public works facilities and other facilities was complete and operational. Also all the humans had been trained as much more as was required and all was in readiness for the Baltra project to begin. There was then one delay caused by a near riot caused by an altercation between six humans from ship three and several families of refugees. Komando-Ka sent Jamie and Pantando-Ka to sort it out.

They arrived on the scene to find a large crowd of humans and Taurians facing off against each other. There was a lot of arm waving and shouting and there were two still bodies in between. Jamie walked calmly up to the fallen ones – one human and one Taurian. He knelt in the dirt to feel pulses. Both beat strongly and there wasn’t any blood. He stood up and faced the humans first.

“I’m Jamie Calhoun. You all know of me. I want two spokespeople to tell me what happened here. The rest of you go home NOW.”

There was no movement.

“I SAID NOW!” shouted Jamie. “I’ll lock up everyone other than the spokespeople, who is still here in two minutes. NOW GO.”

Now Jamie turned to the Taurians and repeated his words in the Taurian language. Pantando-Ka simply added. “He means it. It would be wise to go.” Then he stood at Jamie’s left shoulder and glared at the crowd. In just over two minutes the space had only eight people in it. Jamie called for medics to come to look after the two unconscious bodies then he led the four spokespeople and the commander’s son to the nearest empty building. They sat on the floor out of the sun and Jamie called Dendaro-Ra and asked for some refreshments to be sent over. Then he turned to the two humans.

“Pantando-Ka, will you please translate for our Taurian spokespeople?” he said, while he was looking them over.” It was a man and a woman.

“First, please tell me you names and which ship you came off,” he said, quietly. The woman replied.

“I’m Flora McKinnon and this is Jamie Brady. We’re from the original ship twenty four.”

“That’s Margaret Hobsons group, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“Does she know about all this?”

“No. And she’s not going to be happy, when she finds out,” replied Flora.

“Alright. Now tell me what happened.”

“It was Dick Simson that started it. He’s the unconscious human lying outside. He came across a refugee family that were sitting, quietly having a picnic in a shady area next to the wall of an uninhabited dwelling. The family was the father and mother and one young boy. They were just eating and talking quietly, but Dick doesn’t like the Taurians and decided to pick a fight. He started by insulting the kid. He spoke in English for that. He didn’t get a reaction so he moved on to the wife. He insulted her using some particularly ugly Taurian words that he’d learned. Now the father got angry and the fight started. Quite quickly, the Taurian knocked Dick out. Next thing a big stone came flying out of the crowd that had gathered. It hit the Taurian on the back of the head and he went down also. That started the scuffles and the big face off. It was getting uglier by the minute until you arrived.”

“How wide spread is the group that doesn’t like Taurians?”

“Not big. Perhaps three of the men from our ship and two more from the ship that came in after us. But they’ve been agitating since they got here.”

“Can you give me names and are their partners of like mind?”

“Yes and yes.”

“Have you anything to add, Mr. Brady?” asked Jamie, turning to the man.

“No. Flora’s got it pretty well. I didn’t see anything else.”

“Do you think the stone was thrown by one of the five men you mentioned?”

“I’d guess so,” replied Brady, with a nod from Flora.

Jamie turned to Pantando-Ka.

“Did you translate all of that?”

“Yes, all of it.” Now Jamie turned to the two Taurians, who were both male.

“Thank you for being here.” He began in perfect Taurian. “My colleague has told you what the humans have said. First please give me your names and then say if their account of what happened is accurate. If it isn’t then please tell me what else you can add.”

“I am Quindendro-Lu and this is Madondo-Lu, my brother. We are of the last group of refugees to arrive. The humans told it truly. The only thing they left out was the name of the father who was hurt. He is a good man, named Fallenka-Po. He also arrived with us. He was just enjoying being out of the earthquakes with his family in one piece. He was doing no harm.”

“I understand,” replied Jamie, with a stern expression. He handed Flora his notebook and a pen. “Please write down the names of the five couples.”

“Thank you all. You may go now,” he said in English and then repeated it in Taurian.

They went outside to find medics examining the injured pair. The spokespeople wandered away as Jamie and Pantando-Ka approached the huddle on the ground. Brian Falkner looked up.

“Nothing to worry about,” he reported. They’ll both have serious headaches for a day or so but it’ll pass. The concussion is mild. I’m going to take them home and leave some pills and instructions. They’ll be fine in a few days.”

He gathered his stuff and his two orderlies loaded the pair onto stretchers that were heaved onto the back of a small tracked vehicle.

“Mini ambulances,” said Brian, with a wink. Then he set off.

Jamie called a meeting of the human leaders. He briefed them on the near riot and explained what he had learned from the spokespeople. Then he read out the names of the five couples implicated.

“Dick Simson and wife Debbie, Gordon Levy and partner Linda, Ryan Slater and fiancé Pamela, Fred Lofthouse and wife Agnes and, last but not least, Bertie Flyn and partner Dorah. The first three are from ship twenty four and the others come from ship twenty five. I’d like comments first from Margaret Hobson and Gerry Runcorn, the leaders of these two ships.”

“I thought Dick had calmed down,” began Margaret. “He was one of the leaders of the opposition during the crisis and he wasn’t happy when I announced that I’d been persuaded to support the project. The other two couples and Dick and his wife are best buddies. They mix with each other all the time so I’m not surprised that they were involved in this ugliness. They say a leopard doesn’t change its spots. I guess this proves it. I suspect he won’t change no matter what we say to him.”

“I must say I am surprised,” said Gerry. “I knew Fred and Bertie were a bit negative about the Taurians, but I didn’t expect them to feel strongly enough about it to get involved in something like this. They’re followers rather than leaders so I suspect Dick has recruited them to his cause.”

“What do the rest of you think about the situation and possible punishment?” asked Jamie.

The replies were consistent in condemning the actions, but opinions differed, from one extreme to the other, on suitable punishment.

“I am certain that such behavior is unacceptable,” began Jamie. “The situation here on Androm is difficult enough without such tensions. I think we must send a strong message against any conduct that threatens to success of this venture. If you agree then please raise your hands.”

The vote was unanimous.

“Then I’d like to make a proposal. I propose that we send all five couples back to earth on the first available ship. We will first send them to Taurus and they can disembark from there. They will be restrained until they leave for earth. If you do not accept this proposal. Please raise your hand.”

“I think this is a wise move,” commented Margaret, to nods from many, including Gerry.

There were no dissenters.

“Right. Dick is suffering from his injuries so I will, accompanied by Margaret and Gerry, meet with the couples tomorrow at ten, at my house, and explain our decision. Tonight I will arrange the transport. Does anyone have a problem with this?”

There were none.

“To put the whole incident to bed, I will make a general announcement tomorrow. I will communicate with all residents of Androm at the same time. Please say nothing to anybody until we have spoken to the five. Thank you. Now we are adjourned.”

It happened just as Jamie had proposed. The meeting with the five couples was over quickly. They had no regrets at their behavior and no intention of changing their views. Jamie explained what was going to happen to them and they were pleased. They went straight to a transport that had dropped off provisions and were gone an hour after the meeting. Jamie then used the communications system to send a voice message to everybody. He spoke to the humans in English and the Taurians in Taurian. He spoke about the incident and stressed how unacceptable it had been. He apologized to the Taurian family and then told everybody what the punishment had been. He got instant positive feedback from Komando-Ka and the other leaders from ship one and then lots of congratulatory messages from humans and Taurians alike. All agreed that justice had been swift and appropriate and the mood in Genesis was buoyant. Jenny put it best.

“Not just a pretty face, Mr. Calhoun. Not just a pretty face,” and then she kissed him passionately on the lips. He was smiling for hours.

Now the way was clear for the move to Baltra.