Author's Note: This is the final chapter to this story and I will be continuing on the series and posting on my website at http://www.sdfiction.0catch.com/. I put too much effort into it to let it rot unused. lol.
I'd like to thank the wonderful people of the Academy for hosting my stories all these years. *HUGS AND KISSES*
Cyd left her house just as the sun was rising and headed for the women's barracks. She planned on waking the women first if the others hadn't already then head for the men's tents. She figured the women would need a few more minutes. She pulled open the door to the breeze way then the other door that lead into the barracks. A few of the women seemed to be stirring but the majority were sound asleep. An evil grin crossed Cyd's face as she went to the lift up section of the wall and propped it open, allowing sunlight and cool air to enter the dorm area.
Several groaned and more than one woman could be heard cursing. "It's dawn ladies. Breakfast will be ready soon and we need to get to work."
Cyd began whistling and strolled from the room, taking a shortcut through the other half of the barracks. Most of the local women were already dressing and bathing. None gave her a second glance as they got ready for the day. She headed out the door and towards the west end of the village.
She grabbed a stick from the ground and banged on the row of tents as she passed by them. "Up and at 'em boys. It's morning!" she hollered. She was nearing the last of the tents when one was unzipped and a disgruntled older man popped his head through the opening. "Young lady, do you realize what time it is?"
His anger didn't phase her at all. "Sure I do. It's dawn and we work from sunrise to sunset. You're here to learn how we live, not attending summer camp. So get moving."
"I am the head supervisor in the alpha sector of the supply and recreation department. I do not have to tolerate being treated like a raw cadet at a ROTC camp."
"And I am the second person to see Mother Earth and on the council. If I so chose, you could easily go the next week without a bite to eat."
The man glared at her, trying to make her break eye contact but she knew she had him trumped. He angrily shut the flaps to his tent and she moved on, waking the people in the last tent.
She was going to have so much fun this week.
Three women were in charge of watching the infants and toddlers while the other mothers headed out for their assigned work areas.
Most of the men were working on composting the last two fields before planting. It was dirty, hard work, spreading the smelly compost. Maggie had worked with Eva and Paul to build a steam tractor but it was far from being powerful enough to pull a heavy load. Hopefully it would be improved by the next planting season.
Shane, Paul's partner, and a small crew, were busy building a series of ditches to irrigate the newest fields. Although Mother Earth's summer weather was milder and wetter than on Earth, they still had a fairly dry season and they didn't want to have their crops die off from the lack of water. Once finished with the ditch system they planned on flooding a small section of the stream and planting the rice cuttings they had gotten recently.
The women who were good at construction were busy taking design classes with the cob expert. He was showing them how to improvise and take advantage of unusual pieces of wood, glass, and stone and add them to the cob structure for beauty and strength.
The construction crew had placed a hand pump were the man asked them to and they women were now building the communal building for the mixed side of the stream. he had asked the ladies what features they wanted most for the building, drew out the plans, then supervised the women step by step how to build everything. Once finished, the modest communal kitchen would have ovens, stoves, ceramic sinks, a fireplace to heat water, and an enclosed greenhouse. The women had questioned him on that, stating that the glass blower couldn't possibly make that many sheets of large glass for such a feature.
The man chuckled and said he was having Roberta just make a bunch of mishmash of flattish blown glass. He didn't care if they were perfect or not. They didn't have to be with cob. They would merely fill in around the glass with the mixture. All the room would need is water and a small stove for heat in the winter.
The women stopped for lunch and the instructor wanted to go hunting for bits and pieces afterwards. He wanted the women to look for unusual tree limbs, large flat stones, pretty rocks, and river stones. The students thought it was a great adventure and looked forward to the scavenger hunt. They were almost ready to leave when Cierra and her party returned from the Old World.
"Hey, did you have a good time?" one of the women asked.
"It was alright. Cocktail parties are notorious for being boring."
"That's true. Glad you're back," the woman smiled and returned to her friends, climbing into the wagon.
Robbie headed for the kitchen. "I'm getting a bite to eat."
Tracy rolled her eyes. "How many snacks are planning on today?" she teased.
"A fair few. Want to join me?" Robbie said with a wink. Her mind was on a different type of snack later on. The redhead wrapped her arm around Robbie's waist and smiled. "Sure, sounds like a good idea."
"You two go ahead. I need to pick up Kiona," Cierra told the couple. She took JP's hand and they headed for quad one. They stepped into the active group home and made their way towards Pam, who was chatting with Melinda and Katie. The women were surrounded by cradles and playing toddlers. Most of the infants were asleep although Melinda was nursing her child. Cierra greeted the women with a soft tone and peeked in on Kiona, who was sound asleep and snuggled up next to one of the other babies.
"Guess I won't bother waking her. How is everyone today?" They sat around and chatted until Kiona woke. Cierra changed and fed her before she and JP said their good-byes. JP suggested that Cierra take a nap while she went to help with the plowing. They would meet with the other council members at dinnertime and discuss Janice's idea.
It was a surprised group that looked at the forms that evening. The sheer amount of money needed to begin such an adventure was shocking, even to a group of people who had no need for cash.
Sharon pressed her lips together as she read her sheet. "Well, she does have a list of people willing to donate funds in exchange for advertising benefits."
"Still, the commitment to up keeping the ship is enormous," Jenny mentioned.
"I think each scientist will have to donate money if they want to come along. It's the only way to pay for all this. We have quite a bit in the bank but not nearly this amount. On top of that we had plans for that money for charities. If we buy the ship none of them will get a penny this year," JP said with a sigh.
Everyone nodded. None of them wanted to tie up the money but the chance to buy the ship at a lowered cost was too good to pass up. They'd be in charge of the crews aboard and not the world governments. On top of that they knew Janice would do her best to protect the interests of Mother Earth.
"Any thoughts?" Cierra asked the assembled council.
Paul spoke up. "I have one. If we have this ship making regular trips then they need a safe harbor. We can't ask the BOC to host them every time. That's too much to ask. I think we'd need to form our own harbor for them.
"You mean split our community and form another village," Cierra said stiffly.
"Yes, that or have the crews that work the ship be eligible for immigration. You already said the cabins on board would allow for families to travel on board. Eventually they'd want to settle down. They could settle in the new village. All we'd need is a few established people from here to get the society started, to lead them."
Jenny spoke up. "We could have the construction crew build a few basic barracks to tide us over and a peer. We might also have a few families from the other clans join us. At least this way we'd be able to control how the society developes rather than just let them settle where they want."
Sharon grunted. "It would start out small but would grow fast after a few years. I think we'd have to have at least one bonded couple go as leaders."
The bonded couples all looked at one another. Carey looked at Sammy who smiled. "We'll go. I always liked the sea. We'd miss all of you but we'd be close enough to visit from time to time."
Cierra nodded. "Any other suggestions?"
"How long before the ship can be made ready?" Judy asked.
"Janice said it could be ready in three months but she needs time to train a crew. She'd need to sail the ship around the globe to get it to California since it would cost too much for the shipyard to transport it here."
"Then if we say yes to the deal, we need to have a scouting party set out and find a good place for the village and harbor. Maybe Kelly can find us coastal maps with water depths so we can make sure the water is deep enough for the ship. By the way, it needs a name."
"WaveDancer," Cierra whispered.
The women were silent for a moment before Sharon nodded. "The WaveDancer it is."
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