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There Will Be Dragons: Chapter Eight

       Last updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 03:14 EDT



    “I suppose I deserved it,” Rachel sighed and moved her wyvern…



    The three-dimensional chessboard was a large hologram of ascending platforms. Different pieces could move in different ways and all pieces were not equal. Stronger pieces, by and large, could move only horizontally, crossing to higher or lower grids at specific points. Fying pieces, though, like the ascending levels of dragons, could move up or down however many places were available by their movement. However, they could not destroy all “land” pieces. This time, however, her wyvern had stooped upon one of Marquerite’s pawns that was in a strategic spot, and a wyvern could kill a pawn. There was a brief flurry of battle and then the pawn fell in battle and reappeared on her side of the board.

    “That’s stupid,” Marguerite replied, reaching out one ephemeral hand and directing her Mother Dragon in counter. “You’re practically a grown up! You should be able to control your own body. Body control is where all control starts. If you don’t have control over your own body you don’t have anything. Look at me.”

    “But your parents approved changing you into nannites. Mom doesn’t approve of any modification. I mean, she’s really into ‘natural’ you know?” Rachel’s castle moved up a space, leaving it a straight shot to put Marguerite’s Fortress in check. The pawn had been in the way before.

    “What an old fogie,” Marguerite said, looking at the board. “I think I’m going to have to start using a program to play you. You’re getting ready to beat me again.”

    “I’m sorry, Marguerite,” Rachel said. “But, well, you’re so much better at physical stuff than I am it’s only fair that I be better at chess.”

    “I suppose,” the nannite girl sighed. “Frankly…this being nannites isn’t all its cracked up to be. I mean… there’s a lot different you know? Can’t go some of the places I used to be able to. Not really… feeling the same. The emotions just feel… unnatural, you know?”

    “Well, no I don’t,” Rachel said looking up at her friend. “But…”

    “Rach…” Marguerite said, her face tightening. “Rach… something’s happening…” Marguerite reached out her hand to her friend as it started to fade.

    “Rach… help… me… please…”

    Rachel reached for her friends as she faded wondering what could have gone wrong. But before she could get across the oversized board Marguerite had faded fully. In a moment all that was left was a mound of bluish dust.

    “Marguerite! MARGUERITE?! MOM!”




    Donna Forsceen found herself going nearly forty kilometers per hour in a flat dive through the air as the power-ski under her failed. Not expecting to actually hit the water, she was knocked half unconscious by the impact. On flailing back to the surface she looked around at the vast expanse of water and screamed.

    “Genie!” she yelled, paddling around in circles. She had never been a particularly good swimmer, it wasn’t necessary if you used power properly, but at the moment nothing seemed to be working.

    “Genie!” she yelled again, lying flat in the swells and willing a power-up to drive her towards Hawaii a hundred miles to the north. Still nothing happened.

    “Genie?” she said more quietly, looking around. A wave came up and slapped her in the face. She sank again and then clawed her way to the surface looking around in desperation. “Anybody? Help,” she said quietly.




    It was happening throughout the world as in an instant power was diverted wherever possible into the battle between the two factions of the Council. And, as it was, every being that did not have a specific coded quantity of power and that was power dependent found itself in critical danger. Researchers in the photosphere of the sun disappeared before the knew anything had failed as did others working in magma chambers. Swimmers in the deeps of the oceans, dependent upon the personal protection fields for their survival, persons flying wingless under power, thousands across the globe suddenly found themselves in situations in which without power there was no chance to survive. For others, the Fall would take longer.



    “What happened to her?” Rachel asked.



    Daneh looked at the pile of powder and shrugged. “There’s been some sort of power failure. All the force doors are open, the holograms are gone and Genie’s not replying. I can’t even send a message. There’s just…nothing. I think that’s what happened to her. She’s nannites. No power means…no Marguerite.”

    “She’s… dead?” Rachel asked. She’d gotten over the tears but they welled up again at that question.

    “Dead’s one of those things that’s pretty hard to define when you start talking about nannite creatures, honey. Was she alive? Did she ‘die’ when she was Changed? If you’re talking about her soul, you’ll have to ask a priest.”

    “I’m talking about the part that is my friend, mother,” Rachel replied astringently. “If we can find power for her can we… bring her back?”

    “Ah, that.” Daneh’s brow creased in thought. “It depends on the design of the nannites. I think her parents probably didn’t stint so they probably have a fixed memory system. Likely if she gets power again she’ll just come right back to the moment she lost it with no knowledge of the intervening conditions.” The mother shrugged as she looked at her daughter. “It depends why the power went off. I can’t imagine what could have happened to cause this. It’s impossible. I can’t even get ahold of Sheida.”

    “What are we going to do?” Rachel asked, looking around as if finally realizing that something terrible had occurred besides her friend crumbling before her eyes. “Without power…”

    “Where’s the food going to come from?” Daneh said with a nod. “Good question. I suppose we could try to train Azure to hunt for us. But it’s surely going to come back on…”

    “People of the world…”

    The image appeared to every surviving person that had not moved far from their position since the beginning of the war. The Net, of necessity, had to track every person’s location so that it could provide them with their needs. And it was possible for a Council Member to use that information. As, in fact, Paul Bowman had done.

    “People of the world,” he said, each of the avatars addressing person’s personally. “A time of great danger is upon us. A faction of the Council, led by Sheida Ghorbani, has attempted to wrest control of the Net from the rest of the Council in a wholly undemocratic form. The council is now split into two fighting factions. Minjie Jiaqi, Tetzacola Duenas, Chansa Mulengela, Celine Reinshafen and myself constitute the New Destiny group.

    “It is clear that the human race is approaching a collapse caused by declining birthrates and the challenge caused by unlimited Change. When we attempted to redress some of these problems we were repeatedly confronted by the intransigence of Ghorbani and her conservatives. Finally the disagreement reached the point of outright warfare, instigated, need I add, by the evil Ghorbani.

    “Now, due to the intransigence and anti-human actions of Ghorbani and her Changed minions, the power network is in collapse and persons throughout the world are threatened with the ancient evils of famine and disease. All because of one woman and a few beings so Changed as to be nothing but aliens.

    “I call on all right thinking peoples to rise up against this evil and throw down Ghorbani and her ilk, to arise as humans should and support the right thinking faction.

    “I call upon you to do your utmost to ensure a better future for all true humans.”

    “Good day.”

    “What the hell did that mean?” Rachel gasped as the avatar winked out.

    “Oh, holy God,” Daneh whispered in reply. “No. God no!”


    “Read between the lines, girl!” Daneh snapped. “ ‘The challenge of unlimited Change,’ ‘anti-human actions’, ‘Changed nothing but aliens’, ‘it is clear that the human race is approaching a collapse…’” she hissed through her teeth and snarled. “That bastard!”

    “But, Mom, you don’t like Change!” Rachel snapped.

    “I don’t like the damage it does to humans,” Daneh said. “He’s a bigot. There’s a huge difference. And now he’s at war with my sister.”

    “Which is taking all the power?” Rachel said.

    “Right. And Sheida is stubborn as hell…”

    Both looked up as another figure appeared, this one much more familiar.

    “Men, women and children of Norau, I bring you grave news.”

    “As you’re now aware, the power network has fallen, this message is all the power that is available for me to talk to you. My image is appearing in all places that persons were at the time of the fall within the former reaches of the North American Union. Which means not everyone will see this, but it is the best we can do at this time.

    “Paul Bowman and a faction of the council, just a short time ago, attempted to wrest power from the rest of the council. They did so by releasing poison insects, attuned to the DNA of council members opposed to them, into the council chamber.

    “It was the intent of Paul’s faction to establish a tyranny with the intent of… hardening humanity and ‘bringing it back to the path of righteousness’, and I quote.

    “In one way the attempt failed. I, Ishtar, Aikawa Gouvousis and Ungphakorn survived. I regret to inform you that Javlantugs Cantor was killed by the poisons. However, we were not idle and in the short battle seized control of enough Keys to check his direct action through the Net.

    “In another way he was very successful; it was Paul’s intent to strip most of the world of its wealth of energy and throw people back upon ‘work’ as a way on the path or righteousness. In that he succeeded. Until one side or the other submits, or is defeated, all available power is being diverted to the battle among the Council. This battle rages even as I speak and does not look to end soon. It is imperative that you seek such shelter as there is and prepare for a long period without the comforts and support that has become the norm. Because we, Ishtar, Aikawa, Ungphakorn and myself, refuse to give in. The castles in the air have fallen and the dragons are grounded, but I refuse to let him win.

    “Until this is decided, however, it shall be hard. Most of you live in habitations and locations unsuitable to this lifestyle. I urge you to prepare to move to more suitable locations. To those that are better prepared, I understand the burden but you must take it upon yourselves to help those less fortunate. To the extent that we can, the council will aid you. I will be contacting leaders within local communities soon and giving what support I can.

    “To those of you who find yourselves in current peril or facing famine, find a local community that is prepared to survive in these conditions. Do not despair, for despair will kill you as surely as famine, cold or injury. Prepare wisely then move to safety. In time we will start to reclaim this world and all that was once ours. But we will never be able to if we turn over the reigns of power to fascist madmen.

    “Paul’s vision is ancient, as ancient as the slavery of the Hebrews and deaths by the hundreds of millions at the hands of a group called ‘communists.’ He says that it is for the good of all mankind, but then counters that, of course, a small group will continue to enjoy the conditions that everyone else has had stripped from them. Words such as this resound throughout history and in every case they have meant enslavement and death.

    “Our faction of the council could submit to Paul. The power would come back on, some of the normal amenities of life would prevail. For a time. Until he and his council of dictators discovered the next ‘path of righteousness’, the next ‘true form’ of humanity.

    “And all of us would be his powerless slaves.

    “I choose not to be a slave. I choose not to enslave my daughter’s children and the children of my friends. I choose to fight.

    “On the shores of this land, once upon a time, was a great nation called ‘America.’ It is from the seeds of this nation that our present culture derives. The beliefs of the nation were simple: ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”

    “Through their vision, and their beliefs, the people of America, often alone, fought the tides of history and despotism and finally created our society, one in which all of those rights, and more, were protected.

    “Paul Bowman, Celine Reinshafen, Minjie Jiaqi, Said Draskovich and Chansa Mulengela stand in opposition to those beliefs.”

    “I wish that it were possible to take an accurate poll of the feelings of all of you. But I cannot. I can only hope that you stand with me, and the rest of the council, as this black night descends upon us.

    “But I believe, together, that we can win through this night, and create once again that society that we hold so dear. The way will be long, but we will stride it together, one nation, one people, conceived in the concept of liberty and true to those philosophies that we hold so dear.

    “Thank you, good night, and good luck.”

    “Sheida?” Daneh said as the image winked out. “SHEIDA??? Oh, great. Not a WORD for your sister?”

    “I guess she was just a little focused on her problems,” Rachel said then snorted. “Not like anyone I know in the family.”

    Daneh shrugged agreement at the same time as she gave her daughter a quelling look. “Well if she’s in that much trouble, it means that the world is screwed.”

    “It can’t be that bad, Mom,” Rachel said with a shrug. “Could it? I mean, it’s the 41st Century. Things like this just don’t happen!”

    “Well, it’s happening,” Daneh said with a frown. “Right here and right now.” She sighed and shook her head unhappily. “Why now? Why us?”

    “Well… why doesn’t one side or the other just give up?” Rachel asked. “Mom, people are going to die. Some already have,” she added, gesturing at the pile of blue dust.

    “More than Marguerite, and more thoroughly,” the woman said, shaking her head. “I know delving geologists that work in the magma. They’re gone.” She shook her head. “Gone. Just like that. No warning at all…”

    “Mom?” Rachel said after a few moments. “Mom. Why doesn’t one side just quit? Say ‘Okay, have it your way, it’s not worth fighting over?’ I mean, it’s not worth people dying, is it?”

    “Some things are,” Daneh said after a moment. “It’s hard to explain that without understanding history. Sheida does understand history. But bad as fighting is, will be, the deaths that are bound to occur, as bad as that is, some things can be worse. I’d tell you to go look up things like the Cultural Revolution, the Holocaust and the Kmer Rouge, but there’s no way to look it up.”

    “The Holocaust and the Kmer I remember from history reading,” Rachel said. “But people are going to start dying soon. I mean, the war is going to do the same thing that the Kmer did, in its way. We don’t have any farmers, Mom. Without farmers, we don’t have any food. And you don’t just pick it up. It’s a skill.”

    “Good girl, now you’re thinking,” Daneh replied. “But there are some farmers.” She looked at her daughter significantly.

    “That’s the point, Mom,” Rachel sighed. “There were farmers in Cambodia. But the Kmer and that guy… Pol something… he sent people from the cities out to farm. They didn’t know how and they were told how to do it wrong and millions died. Mom, I don’t know what day to start plowing, do you?”

    “Oh.” Daneh thought about that for a moment and nodded. “No, I don’t, but Myron does, and so do his sons.”

    “If you think I’m going to marry Tom or Edward and settle down as a farm girl you’re out of your mind, Mom,” Rachel chuckled. “I’m going to be a…” her eyes widened as she realized how much had been lost. “I was going to be a doctor, Mom. What in the hell can you do under these circumstances? There’s no nannites!”

    “Uhmm…” Daneh said, her eyes widening. “Oh… damn. You’re right. Not only that, no… medicines. Those were chemicals that were used prior to nano-insertion techniques. No medicines, no tools.” She shook her head. “I don’t even know how you… I think the term is ‘suture’ a person, that is sew them up.”


    “It’s how they used to close wounds,” Daneh explained. “But if this is going to go on for some time, we need to get ready to leave. There’s not much food in the house. We… we need to get to Raven’s Mill.”

    “How, there’s no porting!” Rachel said then shook her head. “You’re not thinking of walking are you? We don’t even have horses.”

    “Yeah, I wish now we hadn’t gotten rid of Buck, ” Daneh said. “Well, we might as well get used to it. We need to go find some of the Faire stuff. There’s… sacks and things. I think I’ve got some traveling food around…”

    “Mom, it would take weeks to walk to the Mill!” Rachel practically shouted.

    “Would you rather stay here and starve?” Daneh asked, grabbing her by the arm and shaking her. “Do you think that Sheida is going to just give up? How about Bowman? If they don’t, Nothing Will Work. No food. No water unless we dip it out of the river! We have to get to the Mill and we have to get there before our food runs out! And you’d better hope that the weather holds.”

    Overhead, in the clear sky, thunder started to rumble.



    “This is too complex,” Sheida said, shaking her head as she arose from Dream. “An elf couldn’t keep up!”

    “We need to break it down in such a way as it is less complex,” Javlantugs said, spreading his wings. “We have control of generators but we are throwing groups into them willy-nilly. We need to form teams…”

    “We need to be able to concentrate on one particular area,” Aikawa said. “We are starting to break out into regions again by taking the generators and controlling the power locally. We should start thinking about that.”

    “Are you saying form regional blocks?” Ishtar said, irritably. “To what purpose?”

    “We need to start thinking of the world again,” Aikawa said. “We’re going to have to help people rebuild. And we need to consolidate our power base. If humans are to survive this, they are going to have to learn to rebuild. We need to encourage that. And that is a regional function.”

    “This is a battle between factions of the Council,” Ishtar said. “Not between nations.”

    “Now, it is,” Aikawa said. “Don’t ask me about tomorrow.”




    “We have to make plans!”

    “I don’t have much food in my house, where are we going to get food?”

    “People are going to be coming here, we need to get ready to take them in!”

    “Take them in? We don’t have enough for ourselves!”

    As if by pre-formed agreement, the permanent residents of Raven’s Mill had made their way to the Pub, despite the sudden and unexpected thunderstorm. The temperature outside was dropping and the wind rattled the solid doors and shutters of the inn. What it was like outside was well-nigh indescribable.

    “OYEZ!” Edmund yelled after a few minutes of shouted debate. John Glass and Tom Raeburn looked like they were about to start beating on each other.

    “This is out of control. We’re going to have order here or I’ll start cracking heads.”

    “And I’ll help,” Myron said. “I’ve got food in my storehouses. I’ll not be selling it in penny packets to madmen so we’ve that. The planting season is nearly here. As long as the weather clears we’ll be fine.”

    “But not if we start taking in every person who comes here!” Glass shouted.

    “ORDER! We will have order here!”

    “I nominate Edmund as Speaker, hell, mayor,” Tom Raeburn said. Myron’s bull-necked son had his jaw set hard, but he was managing to keep his temper.

    “We haven’t needed on before but we do now.”

    “Second,” Myron snapped. “There’s going to have to be decisions made.”

    “Mayor, okay,” Glass said. “But not lord. We’re to have a say. And I say that, whatever Sheida says, we’re to turn away refugees. We’ve problems enough of our own!”

    “The vote at hand is whether to elect Edmund mayor,” Maria Garcia-Raeburn said, standing up. “We should keep this simple and straightforward for now. Any other nominations?”

    “Me, I’ll nominate myself,” Glass said. “I like Edmund, but I don’t think that he’ll have the interests of Raven’s Mill in mind.”

    “And what are the interests of Raven’s Mill?” Edmund asked. “I’m not sure I want to be mayor, or earl or lord or any other damned thing. But you’d best understand what I think are the interests of Raven’s Mill. We’re not some damn island. There are about a billion people on this earth. Maybe, maybe a couple of thousand outside of Anarchia have any ability to survive without technology. We are going to have refugees. And we’re going to have to integrate them into the society. We’re going to have to expand. And in case you didn’t understand the messages we got from the council, there’s a war on. I was already asked to come to Sheida’s headquarters to help them. I refused because I’m thinking about the world. We’re going to have to rebuild it. And Raven’s Mill is going to be a part, perhaps a large part, of that rebuilding.

    “We’re going to have to take those refugees in and teach them how to not only survive but prosper. Teach them the skills that we know. Myron farming, Glass glassmaking, coopering, smithing, all the things you have to have if you don’t have replicators or even factories. The first of them will be trickling in maybe as soon as tomorrow. We’re going to have to prepare for that. That is what I think, where I stand. And one more thing…” he paused and looked around the room at the sea of now thoughtful faces.

    “There’s a war going on. I side with Sheida. I understand, in a way that I don’t think that even Bowman does, what his program would mean. Maybe, maybe, simply letting him take over would be for the best. But that’s only because the downside of a war in our situation is the death of up to 90% of the remaining population world-wide.”

    “What?” Charlie Raeburn was the first to speak. “HOW many?”

    “There’s no food. And right now there’s no way to get what food there is distributed. Where will food come from? The farms in the central plains supply the world. There’s no way to move it. The weather that just broke is probably because the weather controls broke down. What is the true weather of the world? Will we even be able to plant this year?”

    “We’ll be able to get something done,” Myron interjected. “Even with weather like this. Won’t be easy, but the seeds we’ve got these days aren’t bulger wheat. It’ll grow in a hurricane. And the output on it… well let’s just say that even with rotten farmers we shouldn’t be facing starvation after the first harvest.”

    “So we can plant and grow some. But if the only people left alive are in Raven’s Mill, what good does that do the world? And as I said, I side with Sheida. The way things look, that might mean we have to fight. Hell, probably we will have to fight if no other group then bandits that want our food. This is not going to be easy.

    “But I’m not going to throw a wall around the town and say ‘no, go away and starve.’ Now, the people coming in are going to think we owe them a handout. That’s not true either. But I want you all to understand that I’m committed to saving every human being that we can. For our species, for the world, for the cause of freedom that Sheida represents. And if you don’t want that than, well, I think you should vote for Tom. Although if everyone’s dead, I don’t know who he’s going to sell his little glass figurines to.”

    “Edmund, can we do that?” Lisbet MacGregor asked. The wife of the innkeeper looked troubled. “It’s hard enough supplying the Faire with everyone wanting period foods. I… we’ve got Elsie to worry about. Maybe other children in time. I’m willing to… to try to help out others. But not at the expense of our own children.”

    “I don’t know,” Edmund admitted. “If we threw a wall up around the town, difficult with it just being us, mind, and turned everyone away and if we didn’t have our crops burned by the bandits that produced and if the refugees didn’t decide to just overrun us and take all our food and goods, then we might be able to survive. And it might be easier than trying to save people. But… I’d have to live with that for the rest of my life.

    “Again,” he added. “The refugees coming to us will have to be shown the reality of life now. Nobody gives you anything but a smidgen of charity. After that you’re on your own. They’re going to have to learn to work. And in a way, so will we. When we tire of a project or a hobby, we go on to something different. Well, you’re not going to be pulling food from the Net either. Right now, the most powerful man in this town is Myron. He’s got all the food.” Edmund looked over and saw the shocked look on Myron’s face. “Hah! Hadn’t thought of that, had you? But if you want your thresher fixed, you’d best be willing to give some up to me. And I need a half dozen barrels and you need even more so Donald’s sitting pretty. I don’t think any of us wants the tavern to go away so MacGregor has a job. Hmmm…” He looked over at Robert and Maria McGibbon and frowned.

    “Falcons hunt food,” Robert said. “Which we’ll need. And I haven’t done bowyery in sixty or so years, but that’s because I got bored when there wasn’t anything else to learn. Call me Huntsman Bob.”

    “Game,” Edmund said. “The hell with sending one fellow out with a bow; the woods are teaming with game. Deer, bison, turkey, feral cattle, goats, horses and sheep. Send a hundred refugees out as beaters and drive the damned things off a cliff. This is about gathering food, not sport.”

    “Save the domestics,” Myron interjected. “We can redomesticate them. The big cattle bulls we can deball and use as oxen. We’re going to need draft animals. There’s wild horses and even donkeys as well. And the horse-flesh on some of them is first rate. Emu, bison, wapiti, all of them can be adequately domesticated. We can rebuild stocks out of the ferals.”

    “There’s not much leather around,” Donald Healey said. The cooper used it in various ways and tended to go through a lot. “We’re going to need the skins.”

    “Meat’s not all you get,” McGibbon interjected. “Bone, horn, hair, all of it is useful.”

    “We can do this,” Lisbet said. “You’re right.”

    “Won’t be easy,” Edmund replied. “Easy just ended. But we can do it and we will do it, so help me God.”

    “Okay, okay,” Glass said, raising his hands. “I see which way this is going and I’ll even say I agree.”

    “We need a vote,” Myron said. “Any other nominations? Edmund, do you accept.”

    The smith looked at the ground and to the others a weight appeared to settle on his shoulders and something old and hard seemed to be in his countenance. But when he looked up his face was clear.

    “I do.”

    “Any other nominations? No. All in favor say aye.”


    “Opposed?” There was silence. “Passed by acclamation, Mayor Edmund.”

    “But no hand-outs!”

    “Well, a bit,” Edmund said, stroking his beard in deep thought. “The refugees that come in are going to be in shock. We can probably last one season with them still in shock but we have to get fields planted, material made. They’ll need to get on their feet and learn skills. But which skills and how? Say we… hmm…”

    “Yah,” McGibbon said. “A training program?”

    “But, they don’t have any idea, most of them, how much work all of this is,” Maria said in exasperation. “And most of them have never worked a day in their lives! It’s hard running a farm, from either side of the kitchen! I mean, just the washing!”

    “And we’ll need tools, seed,” Myron shook his head. “We’ll need farmers, Edmund, lots of farmers. And that’s not just sticking seed in the ground.”

    “We’ll handle it,” Edmund said definitely. “In this room is probably a thousand years of accumulated experience in how to live in pre-industrial conditions. There are people in this room that know things about their skill areas that masters of any other age wouldn’t have dreamed about learning. We’ll feed them and teach them until they’re more or less ready to go out on their own.”

    “Training program, hmmm…” Tarmac said. The innkeeper looked around in thought.

    “Break them down in groups, run them through a few days to a week of each of the things that we’ve got skilled craftsmen to teach.”

    “Yeah,” Myron replied after a moment. “Have them do the stuff that apprentices would do. Give them at taste of the job.”

    “Work them hard but slowly,” Tom Raeburn said. “Build them up to it.”

    “And, remember, many of the refugees that come here are going to be Faire goers,” Edmund said with a nod. “Yeah, most of them don’t know a whippletree from an apple-tree, but they’ve got some experience of living rough. And there are others, guys like Geral Thorson and Suwisa, makers and dealers mostly, who have really useable skills. I don’t know who is going to make it, I don’t know where anyone was on Earth anyone was when the power turned off. But some of them are bound to make it. And when they do, we’ll be as ready for them as possible.”

    Edmund glanced up as a figure glistened into visibility by his shoulder.

    “Edmund, I need some time,” Sheida said, looking around at the crowd.

    “Myron, Maria,” she said, nodding.

    “Sheida, what’s going on?!” Maria McGibbon shouted.

    “Please,” the avatar said, raising her hands. “Please, I don’t have time. I’m… even now we’re fighting and it’s… it’s like fencing mind to mind. They think of a way to attack us, we think of a way to attack them. They’re dropping… rocks, satellites, things like that on Eagle Home at the moment. We’re deflecting them but that’s taking power and that means we can’t attack back.”

    “When is the power going to come back?” Myron asked.

    “I… I don’t know,” Sheida answered. “Not soon. Edmund, we have to talk.”

    “Folks, what I want you to do is break up. Tarmac, you and Lisbet are in charge of figuring out what we need for minimal rations for refugees and where and how to serve them. Get a couple of other people together with you. Robert, you’re in charge of preparing to do large-scale hunting and gathering ferals get with Charlie on how to keep them and setting up a mass slaughter program. You’ve run the Faire the last couple Get to work, people, we don’t have much time. Myron, you’re with me.”

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