The Green Moon of Sterrett-5

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Penelope, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    You don't need gods, or God, to have a religion.
    You just need a strong affirmative belief.

    & & &

    But where does the sense of the Divine - sense of being touched by the Divine - come from?

    I'm thinking ... from communication.
    (but not ... just any old communication)

    Communication with the incommensurable ...


     
  2. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    01. The Green Moon of Sterrett-5



    01.001

    I cannot hate you, Leila.

    I have every right to hate you.
    You can see that? Can you not, Leila?
    Every right!

    You say you love me.
    But how can I know what that means?

    Yes. Perhaps I loved you once.
    But I cannot now. Given what has happened.
    You see that, don’t you?
    I cannot!

    I cannot.


    01.002

    JULIAN:
    Look at the sky, Maris. Me’i is out tonight. And Pacz is just rising. That is a good sign. Is it not?

    MARIS:
    Don’t be so romantic. This is dangerous, Julian.

    JULIAN:
    I will kiss you, Maris. I will kiss all danger away.

    (Julian kisses Maris, in the light of the two moons. Behind them is bristly texture of rolling fields, dry from recent harvest.)

    MARIS:
    I am a stranger, here. It is dangerous to trust so quickly.

    (Maris walks away from Julian, up over the crest of the hill, and on toward the next crest. The harvested fields seem to go on forever. Julian follows.)

    JULIAN (calling):
    There is no evil in you, Maris. Only the blind could fail to see that.

    (Maris turns and faces Julian.)

    MARIS:
    You believe that?... With all your heart?

    JULIAN:
    With all my heart.


    01.003

    Foundation Beliefs.
    This is what sustained our ancestors.

    The Passage was 80 years, in Homeplanet cycles.
    That’s 121 Green lunarcycles.
    300,000 departed Homeplanet on this expedition.
    300,000 arrived here.
    They were disciplined in the Green beliefs.
    They saw the Passage through.

    And today, 118 Green cycles later...
    Those beliefs sustain us still.


    01.004

    (Maris and Julian are running hand-in-hand. They are beyond the plowed fields. The grasses here grow wild, up past their knees. Yet the two dash easily through these grasses, the grasses shimmering silvery-green in the twin moonlight. Laughing, Julian and Maris descend into a hollow cut in the rolling hills, one with a view all the way to the distant lake-sea.)

    MARIS (pointing):
    Look.

    JULIAN:
    Yes.

    MARIS:
    Ever been to other strales?

    JULIAN:
    Twice... But never to the Capital.

    MARIS:
    It’s freer out here on the frontier strales. But the Capital... You always bump into people from the Libraries. With their mysterious smiles.

    JULIAN (disgusted):
    Huh. Their know-it-all smiles... Telling us what to do. Like they know the future.

    MARIS:
    Julian. You should respect them. Because of them, we are the Fortunate People.

    JULIAN:
    Them with their secret knowledge.

    MARIS:
    Knowledge from Homeplanet, Julian. Good and bad. They don’t want us to make the same mistakes that Homeplanet did.

    JULIAN (bitter):
    Sound like my father. You a Foundation Purist, too?

    (Julian stands and walks away, up the swell, his back to Maris. He gazes out over the rise. The grasslands roll on, forever in the two moons’ light.)

    MARIS:
    Julian...?

    (Julian continues to stare outward. Maris grabs a clump of grasses, pulling them out, sod and all. She hurls the clump at Julian. The sod explodes against Julian’s back. Julian sighs, and reluctantly turns. He stares at Maris, defiantly. Maris stares back. Then she quickly peels the clothes from her body.)

    MARIS:
    Does this look like I’m a Foundation Purist?

    (Julian smiles, undressing too. Naked, he descends again to the floor of the swale.)

     
  3. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    01.005

    5ive Great Barges...
    Carried our forbearers here.
    At near the speed of light.
    A dangerous slingshot maneuver round Homeplanet’s star.
    Which all Barges survived.
    But the last through, was damaged. Arrived 26 cycles late.

    Sterrett star-system had looked promising.
    Right metallic spectrum.
    Small star.
    With one visible planet, probably frozen.
    But it wobbled, over time.
    Indicating four small planets.
    Orbiting between Sterrett and this big frozen planet.

    Naming the four of them...
    Xandrea, Athenea, Romea, and Parea.
    Believing the second or third planet might support life.

    But imagine the disappointment.
    For some, the sheer despair...

    Many had been born and then died on one of the 5ive Great Barges.
    Before destination.
    Not 20,000 pioneers would feel gravity of both old home and new.
    Now, at long last, to arrive...

    To find the small planets Athenea and Romea.
    Uninhabitable.
    As dead as the big frozen planet, Sterrett-5.
    Which the pioneers long-ago named Atalantea.

    Starrett-5, with its large moon Pacz, also dead.
    But in-between was a small green moon.
    And...
    The pioneers saw that it had atmosphere.

    They named it Nor’Agon.

    But...
    Long before colonization began.
    The 300,000 were calling it Green.

    Good fortune had been with this expedition.
    All felt it...

    We are a Fortunate People.


    01.006

    CALEB:
    It is your fault, Erhnhardt.

    ERHN (unperturbed):
    Now how do reason that, Caleb?

    (Erhn is dressing while Marge, Eben, and Nathan stand behind Caleb in the entryway, each already dressed. Eben carries a harvest sickle in his belt, Nathan a canteen on his belt and a rolled tarp under his arm. Caleb is staring hard at Erhn. Eunice enters, bundled in a robe, clearly shivering. The room is simple, the walls and furniture all made of clay and woven grasses.)

    EUNICE:
    Caleb?

    ERHN:
    Julian’s run off.

    MARGE:
    We think, with that Maris transient.

    EUNICE:
    You’re thinking, she...?

    CALEB:
    You’re fault, Erhn. For encouraging the boy... You and your Reformist ways.

    ERHN:
    Caleb. You know perfectly well, I am no Belief Reformer. I support the Capital in what it decides. And more vigorously than you... When I marry, I will marry outside the Coulee. Unlike some.
    (Marge’s and Caleb’s eyes drop)
    Yes. There is risk. But such behavior is good ecology. It is a Green task. Supported by the Foundation Beliefs... I only encouraged Julian to seek a bride outside the community.

    MARGE:
    We do not blame you, Erhn.
    (stepping forward and looking at Caleb, who finally nods)
    Julian is impressionable. Has not yet learned to look deep. Like we.

    ERHN:
    (grabbing two lengths of rope)
    If your worry is warranted, we must hurry.

    CALEB:
    We will find them near the shore.
    (Marge, Eben, and Nathan nod)
    Will they head down toward the Bay? Or up toward the Point?

    EBEN:
    Bay, most likely.

    NATHAN:
    More caves up near the Point.

    (Frantic, Caleb and Marge look to Erhn.)

    ERHN:
    No. If your fear is true. They will avoid the shore... An inland swale. Which holds the fog in the morn. And traps the dew well into the day.
    (Erhn moves with purpose toward the door)
    Eunice. Apprise the community, as they wake.

    (Eunice gravely nods. Caleb, Marge, Eben and Nathan follow Erhn out the door.)


    01.007

    Nor’Agon exhibited no sign of volcanic activity for millions of years.
    The pioneers saw a green globe.
    With thick atmosphere. Oxygen rich.

    Great jigsaws of green grasslands.
    These island-continents. Strales, we would call them.
    Grasslands. In rolling hills which never reached high altitudes.
    Intercut by great fresh-water lake-seas.
    The four syllable lak-e-se-as, as we call them now.
    This green moon, Nor’Agon. 73 percent land, 27 percent water.

    800 million marsupials roamed the grasslands, then.
    Large, unintelligent social creatures. Part bison. Part kangaroo.
    Supials. Grazing the thousand variety of grasses.
    Egg-laying creatures, which gestate their young in pouches.
    Hundreds of subspecies. All herding together.

    Evolution turning inward...
    Each supial subspecies looked the same as the next.
    Behaving the same as the next.
    Each evolving the...
    Most perfect symbiosis with its terrain.

    Except for a few insects...
    There were no other creatures to be seen.

    And the thousand species of grass...
    The only plant-life to be found.

    This whole Green world, an ecology in perfect stasis.


    01.008

    (Starrett has risen, bringing sunlight, turning the sky blue-green. But the swale is still in the shade. Morning fog is now retreating from the grasslands and, more slowly, from the swale. Dew remains heavy on the grasses. A stiff, translucent silver web covers Julian. Julian is still naked, and is suspended by his heels from the top of this web, hanging upside down. A slow trickle of blood drips into a pool, on the ground beneath his head. Maris, similarly naked, is crouched on her haunches, head low, drinking methodically from this pool of blood.)
     
  4. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    01.009

    The pioneers saw an ecologically perfect world.
    A world in perfect balance for hundreds of thousands of years.
    A balance they hated to destroy. But knew they must.

    Three long years in planning.
    Before colonization began.

    Nor’Agon’s atmosphere is more delicate than the Homeplanet’s.
    Needs constant monitoring.
    And safeguarding as colonization progresses.
    This is their greatest concern.

    Because of the atmosphere...
    The climate is mild everywhere on Nor’Agon.
    Tides? From Nor’Agon’s three miniscule moons of its own.
    Ra’i, Me’i, and Do’i.
    Stronger tides, yes...
    When Sterrett-5’s large moon, Pacz, passes close by.

    No rain.
    Not anywhere in this world. So unlike Homeplanet.
    No wind, to speak of.
    Only gentle breezes.
    Which brings morning fog off the lakeseas onto the land.
    And heavy dews in the morning.
    End to end of each strale.
    But dryer, the farther inland.

    Then a dry breeze each evening.
    Off the land. Outward toward the lakesea.

    All climate found to be local, to each strale.
    But hardly distinguishable from strale to strale.

    The atmosphere of Nor’Agon is thick.
    To capture and hold the precious heat.
    Of sunlight.
    From a star so small in the sky. So far away.

    The nights are amber, beneath one or more moons.
    The days on Nor’Agon hold a dry clarity.
    Beneath a turquoise sky.
     
  5. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    01.010

    (It is daylight upon a hillock, amongst cut fields. No dew on the ground. Marge and Caleb enter, somberly. They are carrying a body wrapped in a tarp which is secured by rope. The two look exhausted.)

    CALEB:
    It is safe here.

    (Caleb and Marge gently set the body on the ground. Marge sits, peeling open the tarp at the head end and gazing at Julian’s lifeless face. Caleb, remaining standing, turns away.)

    MARIS (snarl):
    Aarrhhrr!
    (louder)
    AARRHHRR!!

    (Eben, Erhn, and Nathan enter, carrying Maris. Maris is face downward and naked, with hands and feet loosely tied, and is thrashing about as they carry her. Erhn, with one strong arm securely around her waist, holds the bulk of Maris’s weight. Nathan hauls her legs. Eben merely yanks on her arms, guiding the way, bearing none of her weight.)

    CALEB:
    There.

    (Eben, Ehrn, and Nathan set Maris down atop a bundle of chaff at the crest of the hillock. Maris’s feet and her head lapse over the back and front edge of the chaff-bundle. Erhn removes a length of rope slung over his shoulder and efficiently feeds it under the chaff-bundle. Nathan grabs the rope and, with Ehrn lifting Maris’s legs, Nathan circles her legs with the rope and hands it Erhn, who cinches it tight. Erhn then feeds it under the chaff-bundle again, further forward. Maris thrashes about even more menacingly.)

    MARIS (snarl):
    AARRHHRR!!

    (Marge, remaining seated, turns and looks over. Caleb watches from a distance. Eben yanks on Maris’s arms, to keep them out of harm’s way, while Erhn calmly lifts Maris’s torso. Nathan wraps her twice about the stomach, then Erhn cinches the rope tight and feeds it under the chaff-bundle a final time. Erhn nods to Eben, who pulls the sickle from his belt. Eben, in a quick, sharp slice, severs the rope tying Maris’s hands. Erhn and Nathan each grab an arm, tying them down just off the ground. The three step back and watch, as Maris struggles futilely for a moment, then goes starkly calm.)

    NATHAN (looking at Caleb):
    Pa? What do we do with her?

    (Erhn walks along and puts his hand, comfortingly, on Marge’s shoulder. They each gaze down at Julian’s bloodless, empty face. Marge, without turning, places her hand on top of Erhn’s. Caleb’s eyes are on the ground, somewhere between Julian’s corpse and Maris’s bound torso. Caleb’s sturdy legs look planted in the soil.)

    NATHAN:
    Pa?

    (Maris turns her face outward, shaking the hair from her eyes, trying to make eye-contact. Eventually everyone looks, wary and curious. But, seeing the blood about her mouth, eventually revulsion enters everyone’s eyes.)

    MARIS (matter-of-factly):
    Clean my face.

    CALEB:
    The hell...?

    ERHN (looking at Nathan):
    Wash her face.

    (Nathan looks a Caleb. Caleb stews a moment, then nods. Nathan pulls a cloth from his pocket, dribbling water on it from his canteen.)

    CALEB:
    But that Deceiver. Don’t let her drink.

    (Nathan and Erhn nod at the same time. Eben grabs Maris firmly by the hair.)

    EBEN:
    No tricks.

    (Nathan dabs with the damp cloth at Maris’s face a couple times, then jerks his hand reflexively away, fearing Maris might try to bite. When she does not, he, more workman-like, finishes the job.)

    MARIS:
    Thank you, Nathan.

    (Nathan steps back. He tosses the cloth as far away from himself as it will fly. Eben continues to hold Maris by the hair, taking a slightly sadistic pleasure in it.)

    MARIS:
    I’m an Intelligent Creature.

    MARGE:
    You will not con us, like you conned my son.

    CALEB:
    I say we kill her now. Before she works her wiles on someone else.

    MARIS:
    Think of your Foundation Beliefs.

    CALEB:
    Ba!

    ERHN:
    She’s right, Caleb. The Capital should be informed.

    CALEB:
    Erhn. You and I are practical people. We have to be, out here on the frontier. Capital be damned. Let’s just kill the beast, and be done with it.

    ERHN:
    The Libraries could learn a lot more from her alive than dead.

    MARGE:
    Erhn. One of Libraries’ Investigators may arrive in three days. May arrive in thirty. Lot can happen in the interim. I wouldn’t want this creature to do more damage to the community.

    ERHN:
    I will guard her the whole time, Marge.
    (Erhn kneels and looks Maris, disinterestedly, in the face.)
    Yes. She may fool the ignorant. She has not the power to fool me.

    (Maris breaks eye-contact with Erhn, unnerved, and turns her face downward. Erhn stands and paces. Maris, hair over her eyes, shakes her head about.)

    MARIS (discreet moaning):
    Uhm... Uhm.

    NATHAN:
    Book-learning didn’t save Julian.

    MARGE:
    Nathan. Don’t bad-mouth your uncle. We need to consider what he says.
    (thoughtful pause)
    We’ve heard the stories. Vengeance by her kin?

    ERHN (ironic grin):
    Just tales, Marge. No basis in fact.
    (pacing)
    Should call a Meeting. Bring it to a vote.

    MARIS (more discreet moaning):
    Uhm... Uhm.

    MARGE:
    Thinks she can gain our sympathy?

    CALEB:
    Dehydration.

    (Erhn and Nathan nod. Maris shakes her head back and forth, beginning again to struggle against the ropes.)

    MARIS (moaning more vocally):
    UHM!... UHM!

    CALEB:
    Our business. Before it’s the community’s.
    (nodding at Eben)
    We shut it down now!

    (Eben is still clutching Maris’s hair. Eben raises the sickle high, pausing at the top. Maris’s head, eyes downward, still shakes back and forth, moaning, body fighting against her bonds. Eben thrusts the sickle downward. It sings through the air. The sickle severs Maris’s head from her body, with a slight snap-sound as it cuts through the neck. Maris’s body jumps, visibly. Her head falls toward the ground, as Maris’s hair slides free of Eben’s fingers. Maris’s head rolls and settles on the ground, as a spray of blood geysers from the neck-opening onto Eben’s pant-leg. Eben shakes that pant-leg and smiles at his work. Maris’s arms and legs and torso shake reflexively, within their bonds. Marge turns away. Eventually, Nathan does too. Eben, Caleb, and Erhn each watch till the shaking jerks to a sudden stop. The stillness is gripping.)

     
  6. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    01.011

    From the beginning of colonization. Foundation year zero.
    Till today. 118 lunarcycles later.
    The 800 million supials are now less than 1,200,000.
    Most in preserves. And inoculated against our diseases.

    Only two supial subspecies could be domesticated.
    The supial-E as draft animals.
    The supial-Jh variety, unfertilized egg production.
    Cattle and sheep needed to be introduced. For milk production.

    While Foundation Beliefs encourage vegetarian ways.
    These tenets also stress egg and milk proteins.
    As acceptable source of amino acids necessary to health.
    In lieu of ingesting animal meat.

    And this seemed right. This being a vegetarian lunarworld.
    Except many years into colonization. The rumors surfaced.
    Of a meat-eating marsupial.

    The Libraries investigated and discovered that these creatures.
    These ghost-marsupials. Were not marsupials at all.
    They were reptiles.
    Shaped like supials. But with a tough, scaled hide underneath.
    That even a full supial herd trampling it, might not kill it.

    50,000 to 60,000 ghost-marsupials.
    Was the Libraries’ best estimate.

    Reptilian. But not reptiles like on Homeplanet.
    These are asexual creatures. Epicenes.
    With proactive chromosomes.
    Able to hijack the reproductive chromosomes of a supial.

    The supial lays its eggs.
    The eggs hatch.
    The hatchlings crawl into the pouch.
    Feed on the milk.

    Except these hatchlings are ghost-marsupials.
    Inject narcotic into the host’s bloodsteam.
    So the mother-supial becomes disoriented.
    Wonders off from the herd.
    Toward the lakesea. Toward caves and hollows.
    The hatchlings eat the host-mother. From the inside out.

    The ghost-marsupial tissues dry-out easily.
    Must stay close to water.
    So while they can run freely with the supial herds.
    To separate out their meals.
    And find good genes to rearrange. To, in their way, procreate with.
    They dare not run too far inland.

    An intelligent creature.
    With strong defenses. And limited defenses.

    Only much later did the Libraries realize.
    As the supial herds shrank.
    And the 300,000 pioneers doubled in population.
    And doubled again.
    And new rumors arose. From various frontier coulees.
    Of outsiders arriving.

    Then...
    Community members disappearing.

    Those proactive chromosomes.
    Took on more than Academic interest.


    01.012

    (The train is puffing steam. Erhn stands looking at it, a small bag over his shoulder. Townfolk, more fancily dressed, pass by. Erhn eyes them but they do not look back, hurrying off to someplace they have to be.)

    LEILA:
    Handsome gentleman like you should not look so lonely and lost.

    (Ehrn turns. Behind him and off to the side, stands Leila. She is handsomely but not ostentatiously dressed. She smiles. Erhn surveys her but does not return the smile.)

    ERHN:
    With respect. I am not a townperson. I am a countryperson. I do not respond to flirting.

    LEILA:
    You find the towns forsaken of the Foundation way?

    ERHN:
    With respect. I conduct frivolous conversations only with intimates.

    LEILA (amused):
    If you think this of the nearest town... What you must think of the Capital!...

    ERHN:
    Regarding the Capital. Do not try to bait me. I am no Breakaway. My coulee could not prosper, were it not for the metal implements provided by the Capital. The food credit in lean seasons...

    LEILA:
    The disease-resistant grain?...

    (Erhn eyes Leila, suspiciously. Then his eyes twitch.)

    ERHN:
    You’re from the Libraries.

    LEILA:
    You are Erhn. From the Blue Marsh coulee. On the E43N10 strale...?
    (Erhn nods.)
    I’m Leila. I was lecturing at Rippling Waves on the other coast, when I intercepted your telegraph to the Capital.
    (They shake hands. Leila nods to two bags, sitting on the platform a few steps behind her.)
    Can we still catch the steamer to 43-10?

    ERHN:
    If we hurry.

    (They each grab one of Leila’s two bags, and walk off, hurriedly.)

     
  7. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    01.013

    Since Foundation...
    There have been 453 rebellions.
    Some from banditry but most were principled.

    Either Breakaways by Foundation Purists.
    Wanting to return to the original Green ways.
    Agreed upon, way back on the barges, pre-colonization.

    Or Breakaways by Belief Reformers.
    Wanting to adapt and advance Green ways.
    To the realities encountered on this new moonworld.

    296 Breakaways asked to rejoin within five years.

    6 rebellions were put-down by the Capital.
    Either for raiding neighbors for supplies.
    Or large-scale poaching on the preserves.
    Or extreme cruelty to its own coulee’s members.

    The remaining 151 Breakaway communities died out.
    Mostly due to crop and livestock infestation.
    And eventual starvation.
    But often, in the end, joined by Radicals.
    Outcasts, each from their own community, they claimed.
    Who were in fact Reptyrs. Deceivers.


    01.014

    (Leila and Erhn both stand at rail of the steam-ferry, ignoring the spray and looking out at the water as the steamer puffs through the waves. Their bags sit on the deck behind them.)

    LEILA:
    You know them as Deceivers. But we, in the Libraries, refer to them as Reptyrs.

    ERHN:
    I’ve heard the term.

    (Leila give Erhn a curious look.)

    LEILA:
    Were eggs planted in the boy...?

    ERHN:
    Julian?... Yes... His parents were desperate. They removed the eggs. That’s actually what killed him.

    LEILA:
    And the Reptyr?

    ERHN:
    She called herself Maris. We thought it too dangerous to the community to let her live.

    LEILA:
    Shame. To date, we have no Reptyrs in captivity, to study... Shame too about the boy. It would have been touch-and-go, but I might have been able to save him.

    ERHN:
    On the frontier, we assume we are left to our own devices... We assume the Capital will be slow to respond.

    LEILA:
    True. I just happened to be in the neighborhood... Lecturing. The Libraries try to keep the populous informed.

    ERHN:
    Oh?

    LEILA (smiling):
    Well... Informed, as to what is prudent... For the populous to know.

    ERHN:
    Not about dogs and horses.

    LEILA (bemused):
    How do you know of Dogs? And of Horses?

    ERHN:
    I read literature. From the Homeplanet. What is allowed... Dogs might have sniffed out a Deceiver. Horses would quicken our travel... I assume the Libraries have the ability to recreate such domestic beasts.

    LEILA:
    You surprise me, Erhn.

    ERHN:
    For a frontier person, you mean.

    LEILA:
    No. Homeplanet literature is sparsely available. And surprisingly unpopular amongst townfolk, at that. Even little-read in the Capital.

    ERHN:
    Except at the Libraries.

    LEILA:
    Except at the Libraries... Yes. We have that ability to recreate these Homeplanet beasts. We have that technique... But there are reasons.

    ERHN:
    And trees? Why have you not introduced trees?

    LEILA:
    Do you need them for wind-breaks?
    (Erhn shakes his head, in the negative.)
    For building material?
    (Erhn again shakes his head.)
    Making paper?

    ERHN:
    Dried grasses work fine.

    LEILA:
    Actually, we have introduced trees on two isolated, unpopulated strales on the far side of Nor’Agon. As an experiment. To see how well they adapt to, or disrupt, the grass-based ecology of this moonworld.

    ERHN:
    Why does our knowledge of Homeplanet history stop at Homeplanet-year 1900ce? The Capital and the Libraries, it seems certain to me, have done so for a reason... Did technology outstrip morality after that year?
    (Leila smiles, but won’t respond.)
    Outstrip ecologically-sound judgment?


     
  8. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    01.015

    The Capital is not jealous of these principled rebellions.
    Good things have come from these New Beginning experiments.

    Ezra was leader of the Purple Sea coulee Breakaway.
    Their first five years were prosperous.
    Then blight hit the crop.
    But they had three-plus years of grain, in storage.
    Both seed for new crop, and enough to feed the community.

    Each season they would plant new crop.
    But very little grain survived the blight.

    The Capital had engineered blight-resistant strains.
    In the laboratories of the Libraries.
    And distributed new seed to all the coulees.
    All except the Breakaways.

    Many in the Purple Sea community wanted to rejoin the Capital.
    But Ezra insisted that their own natural grain was better.
    What little grain survived the blight was stronger.
    Stronger than the blight-disease.
    Stronger than the engineered grain of the Libraries.

    Then Deceivers arrived, first one then many.
    And the community started losing its numbers.
    Five remained when they abandoned the Purple Sea homestead.
    Ezra and his young son Caleb survived, alone of his family.
    Surviving also, the child Marguerite-Elizabeth.
    And young couple Ellen and Tripp.

    All worked in a coal mine for a year, as required by the Capital.
    Ellen and Tripp learned trades, after, joining the Riff-tee Township.
    Ezra found supporters and took a new wife.
    With Caleb, Marguerite-Elizabeth and others.
    Ezra soon homesteaded a new coulee.
    And remained, thereafter, adamantly loyal to the Capital.

    When Ezra abandoned Purple Sea.
    He had brought out with him the seed-grain.
    The grain which had survived the blight.
    He donated this to the Libraries. Who tested it.
    Found it stronger, more resistant than their engineered strain.

    It is now the strain which most farming coulees use.


    01.016

    (Erhn points to the thin but growing green outline of land on the watery horizon. Leila nods.)

    LEILA:
    I talk about your late father in my lectures, you know. Ezra, the leader of the Purple Sea coulee...?

    ERHN:
    That all happened before I was born. He may have lead a Breakaway. But in all my youth, I never heard him utter a foul remark against the Capital.

    LEILA:
    The Capital is tolerant of Breakaways. Because it needs them.

    ERHN:
    Even though they all fail...?

    LEILA:
    Yes. You are correct. They all fail... But things are learned.

    ERHN:
    Aids the moonworld, as a whole. Promotes the survival of Green...?

    (Leila’s smile has turned into a thin appreciative grin, as she stares over at Erhn. Spray moistens their faces as the steamer approaches the thin green outline of land rising only so slightly above the blue-green of the lakesea.)

    LEILA:
    Ever thought of moving to the Capital?

    ERHN:
    Never. It is no real world. The real world is here...
    (Erhn gestures to the thin green land stretching before them.)
    Here on the frontier.

    LEILA:
    You are your father’s child... But... From your book-learning, tell me you have never thought of applying to the Libraries?

    ERHN:
    The Libraries take you as children. I am too old to apply to the Libraries.

    LEILA:
    You are a person with questions. Deep questions... No one is too old to apply to the Libraries.


     
  9. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    01.017

    It was in your eyes.
    I saw the fascination and pleasure there.
    Even before you took out your pad and began to draw.

    We walked up the coast. Then inland.
    To the Blue Marsh coulee.
    It was dawn and the sweepers were out.
    And you marveled at the efficiency of its organization.
    And how it fit with our habitation.

    How we built our communal habitation.
    In the bowl at the base of the hill.
    And how we preserved the native grasses.
    And how we swept the dew off them each morning.
    Around and down the bowl.
    Sweeping it into the clay cistern ringing our habitation.

    And as you stopped to sketch it all.
    Your eyes marveled.
    At how our long, low habitation seemed to fit.
    Fit naturally into the flow of the hill.
    Built entirely of sod and woven grasses.
    With no scrap-metal from the dismantled barges.
    Except copper-wiring running from the coal generators.

    What seems self-evident to me.
    Just good sense, Leila.
    Was a revelation, of marked efficiency, to you.


    01.018

    (Eunice with Marge’s help is preparing a place for Leila to sleep. The lighting is dim, the room is spare yet cozy. Leila is sketching the room and unpacking her bag.)

    EUNICE:
    You should have slept when you and my brother arrived. I marvel at your energy.

    LEILA:
    You think all people from the Capital are lazy?

    MARGE:
    The sole visitors from the Libraries we have had, come to inspect our Clean Burn equipment. Make sure it is working properly.

    EUNICE:
    Then they lecture us anyway on the fragility of Green’s atmosphere. As if we were children. And did not understand the Foundation Beliefs.

    LEILA:
    Nor’Agon’s atmosphere is still our principal worry at the Libraries. It ever gets too far out of balance. Even our hidden knowledge at the Libraries might never save it. Then we are all doomed.

    MARGE:
    What Eunice means, is that they inspect the equipment, then leave. You might have just inspected the Deceiver’s corpse, then departed. I marvel too at your energy, Leila. Spending the long day, watching us work. Working with us. Eunice is delighted by it. But I can see that you are trying to understand our ways.

    LEILA:
    Yes. That is true.

    MARGE:
    Why? What can the Libraries learn from us?

    (Leila puts down her sketch-pad and pours water from a pitcher into three mugs and places them on a low clay table. The three women sit on pillows around the table.)

    LEILA:
    Most of the valuable innovation comes from the frontier coulees and from towns furthest from the Capital.

    MARGE:
    Places like here, with no ready access to recycled scrap materials. Yes.

    LEILA:
    And you may be surprised at my saying so. But Blue Marsh is one of the most efficiently organized coulees I have encountered. Some marvelous Green innovations.

    EUNICE:
    That was my father. Ezra. And Erhn, too. He has carried on what Father started.
    (Eunice glances, guiltily, at Marge.)
    Caleb and Marge, too.

    MARGE:
    Caleb and I were born at the Purple Sea coulee. And...?

    LEILA:
    Yes. I know its history.

    MARGE:
    Ezra was a young man, full of enthusiasm, when he pioneered the settlement. Some were sound practices. Some were folly... When he pioneered Blue Marsh, he put all the folly behind him. But Caleb and I are not so strong willed. We are oft-times burdened by old habits, which we could not shuck aside. Not so disciplined as Ezra willed himself to be... But Erhn... Erhn, like Eunice, was born here. At Blue Marsh... Erhn is disciplined in the Green ways, as Ezra saw them. He sees with a clarity that Caleb and I cannot... But do not repeat this to Caleb.
    (Eunice puts her hands on Marge’s.)
    Nor speak thus to my surviving sons, Eben and Nathan... I mourn the loss of Julian, as his mother. But Julian was like Ezra at Purple Sea. Full of enthusiasm. But also skeptical and undisciplined. Had Julian lived and matured in the Green ways, he could have lead this community in the way that Ezra and Erhn has.

    EUNICE:
    Or pioneered a new coulee on a more distant strale.

    MARGE:
    Or Julian’s lack of discipline...

    LEILA:
    Yes. Pioneer coulees, unprepared for the hardships, have seen many tragedies.

    EUNICE:
    Marge. Do not blame yourself. Julian, in time, would have matured.

    MARGE:
    Caleb blames Erhn.

    LEILA:
    Why?

    MARGE:
    Erhn lent Julian books from Homeplanet. Caleb reckons it made Julian too much a free thinker. Unpractical. A romantic.

    EUNICE:
    Caleb should not be so hard. Nothing wrong with being a romantic, Marge.

    MARGE:
    Isn’t there, Eunice? It is a weakness. It’s what killed Julian.
     
  10. Penelope

    Penelope weak force testosterone

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    { ... to be continued ... }
    (hopefully)

    { Comments welcome. }
     
  11. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    I liked it.
     
  12. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    Hi Penelope, I personally prefer your stories that have some connection with history. This one, if I understood it, was pure sci fi. Even though your history based stories are pretty far fetched, at least they have some connection with reality. I also think the plot was a bit weak but the characters were well developed. The setting needed some work, but I liked the style, it showed clear voice. The theme needed further contouring.

    In terms of the genre, I think the age group you were trying to bring in was early 20's, the form was nice, and the length a bit long, the content was fine.

    So I have to give this one a 3 on the "Penelope scale". But keep the works in progress coming, we will provide critique. :)
     
  13. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    In other words Penelope, Avi would like more car chases and sex scenes.

    He's a dirty, dirty, man.
     
  14. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    Woof, woof, grawwwl..........snap !!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    (Incommensurable? :confused: Did you mean ineffable?)

    Perhaps it's just because I'm an atheist, but I don't see why communication must be involved. It seems to me that this sense can simply be the product of some sort of cognitive context that creates in one a sense of connection to something greater than oneself.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     

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