'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

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'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:34 pm

A Case of Mind Over Matter.

David Lloyd, November 2013.

A warm breeze ruffled her hair and danced across her bare skin. As it passed through the grass and the boughs of the nearby trees, the breeze also created a gentle swishing and whooshing sound; the only sounds she could hear in this near silent world. She stood there, swaying with the trees, her eyes closed, arms outstretched, as the bright sun dressed her in warmth.

ÔÇ£Are you coming to join me?ÔÇØ she called, back over her shoulder to an approaching male.

ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre not telling me that you heard me coming?ÔÇØ asked the man, as he wrapped his arms around the young woman, from behind, and pressed his nude form to hers, laying his right cheek against her left.

ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs funny, but I could almost feel you on the grass, as if each blade was calling out as you passed over it,ÔÇØ she replied.

As she turned her attention to her partner, neither of them noticed the nearest tree shudder and snap back to an upright stance.

Thats curious, said the man. I too have been feeling a a, oh I dont know. But it seems that recently, I have almost been able to sense the world about me, trying to tell me something.

They turned, together, and regarded the vista for some time, as if trying to see what had been speaking to them. The view was not all that different from any that could have been seen on Earth. The trees were the same, the grass was the same and the sky was the same, but every living entity, including the thousands of humans, were alien to this planet. Only a trained exo-geologist would have been able to tell in an instant that this, indeed, was not Earth, but Terra.

ÔÇ£Come on, Oscar. WeÔÇÖve got to go eat, or weÔÇÖll not be ready for the community meeting.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Sure, Trish. Though I look forward to the day when the food and energy supply can be increased so that we can eat together, as a family.ÔÇØ

The couple turned and walked the short distance to the entrance of the domestic centre. A few steps down took them to the solid metal door, half buried in the ground. Oscar lifted the grab handle, twisted and pulled, and the door swung easily and smoothly outwards, with slight assistance from servo motors. Once inside, Trish pulled on an internal handle and the motors moved the door back into place, sealing the aperture with a hiss.

A few paces onwards, they stepped into a circulating pool of water, with a vibrating bristle base, which scrubbed any outside debris from their feet. Stepping to the side, Trish and Oscar ran their hands through a mist spray and rubbed in soap from a dispenser. They then ran their hands back through the mist, rubbing them as they did and finally passed then through a narrow blade of warm air. The time taken in hand washing was all that was required for the foot bristles to do their work. Beyond the pool, an absorbent mat took care of most the moisture. Warm air emanated from the remaining entrance corridor floor, so all feet were clean and dry before entering the communal dining hall.

Trish and Oscar were not on catering duty when there was a meeting arranged, so they collected their meals from the serving counter in the hall. Up until five years ago, the diet had consisted of the pre-packed rations that had been launched with the mission. These ration packs were still available for the hungry, if they could put up with the bland taste and texture of the infinite shelf life packs, but produce grown by the colonists was becoming increasingly available and could cater for all, given planning. Registered couples, such as Oscar and Trish, could take their meals in their own quarters if they so wished, since it was recognised that such time together was important for emotional bonds. On meeting days, however, Trish and Oscar didnÔÇÖt have time to spare, so they ate in the common space, with just a little conversation shared with those around them.

The space of the dining hall was a Spartan and metallic, and betrayed its origin as the load bay of an inter-galactic colonisation vessel. What little natural light there was entered by the openings cut in the side baulks. It was utilitarian, efficient, and more than slightly grim. It served a purpose.

Many decades had come and gone between the arrival of the automatic terra-forming installations and the coming of the first outpost personnel. The same time passed before the full colonisation started; time enough for the atmosphere to thicken and warm, and for seas to fill the deep canyons. It was a matter of history that the first people to breathe the free air of Terra celebrated no longer having to be encased in pressurised enviro-suits by stripping them off to go swimming, nude, in the shallow inland sea, near to the site of the first colony. This mode of dress persisted as tradition, as most of the new colony saw no reason to tie themselves to the irrational customs of a distant solar system.

Still, resources were scarce, and the washing and maintenance of clothing came to be seen as inefficient; requiring water, chemicals, machinery and time. Enviro-suits were still kept for any urgent outside excursions in the cold nights, the colder seasons or bad weather, but in the warmth of a benign sun, any outer covering was seen as superfluous.
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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:50 pm

Oscar and Trish finished eating and deposited their plates, cups and utensils in the returns slot. The walk to the committee room was only short, as was the walk to any destination within this community, and they could see others gathering ahead of them. Each level of the community had representation on the committee, with voting powers equal to the number of adults on that level. These representatives were not chosen by vote, but by a general consensus, with the person most capable at communicating the committeeÔÇÖs business tending to gravitate into the role. It was fortuitous that Trish had proved capable in the role before she needed to cut back on manual work, seeing as it was going to be her first child. Oscar accompanied Trish as her observer.

As the meeting gathered, the representative logged in at the desk terminals and activated their personal notepad programs. A man of approximately forty five earth years took the chair; another position agreed by informal consensus. His name was Sean, and he knew how to keep meetings to time and yet allow all parties to feel that they had had their input. Off to SeanÔÇÖs right, away from the ring of representatives, sat a woman of early middle age, who seemed familiar to Oscar, although he was sure she wasnÔÇÖt part of that community.

There was no voting to be done in this committee session, but there were reports to be received. The growths in hydroponic and aquaculture production were ahead of their projected targets, meaning the next batch of applications to start families would be approved come the next vote. Energy harvesting from waste materials was growing, with the final solid matter being added to the humus for spreading oxygen generating plant into the otherwise rocky landscape. Pre-school activities for the first of the communityÔÇÖs children had been going well, so it was time to recruit the first teacher from amongst the colonists. Several other housekeeping items were covered, including the failure of a laundry machine. This caused little concern, as there was plenty of capacity going spare until a repair could be made.

Finally, the meeting reached the section for any other business. Sean stood up and cleared his throat, as he took to the rostrum

From all the reports submitted by our section officers, it seems that everything is running to plan. However there is a dark cloud on the horizon, which Ive recently been made aware of. Some of you will remember Suzanne Temple, Sean looked across to the visitor, as the missions psychologist, who arrived on Terra in the first phase of colonisation. Please give her you full attention, as what she has to say is very troubling. Suzanne, please Sean waved the woman forward to the rostrum.
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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:56 pm

ÔÇ£Thank you, Sean. Yes, indeed what I have to relate is troubling. As part of my function as mission psychologist, IÔÇÖve been monitoring the interaction between communities, to see what factors help or hinder the growth of fledgling societies. It was not long after the founding of the Ohio community that I noticed that they had rapidly reduced their visits to other communities. IÔÇÖve also been hearing tales of people from other communities being told that Ohio didnÔÇÖt have the resources to support them and being turned away, despite the long journeys.

ÔÇ£Lancaster community reported the most members having experienced this treatment first hand, as Ohio are on a direct path between them and Central. I had wondered why Lancaster had taken to making bicycles, to enable the journey to be made in one hop. This prompted me to ask questions of the Lancaster arrivals at Central, at which point the stories of the inhospitable ways of Ohio station started coming to light.

ÔÇ£In conjunction with Gironde, the third of the four communities surrounding Ohio, Lancaster and Central set about discretely surveying OhioÔÇÖs agricultural practices, to see where things were going wrong. We had previously proposed to OhioÔÇÖs directorate that we undertake such a study together, but our advances were rebuffed.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Directorate?ÔÇØ interrupted Trish.

ÔÇ£Yes,ÔÇØ continued Suzanne, ÔÇ£unlike at all the other communities, which have adopted a loose, unelected model of democracy, Ohio have, or rather had, an elected directorate which was intended to serve for a fixed term. However, four years ago, Ohio elected a somewhat inspirational leader, who set about changing the laws to his own benefit, including banning criticism of the leadership and abolishing voting.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£HowÔÇÖs he managed to get away with that?ÔÇØ asked a man to the right of the circle.

ÔÇ£Well, hereÔÇÖs where we get to why it is important to you, here at Newfoundland station. Not only are you the fourth community that borders Ohio, but you are upstream of them along the River Premier. He, that is Marcus Fallon, has seduced the population with a vision of ease and prosperity, and has whipped up a patriotic fervour, for the want of a better term, against Newfoundland for an excuse as to why they are not already living the good life.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£This is madness,ÔÇØ called a woman to Trish and OscarÔÇÖs left, ÔÇ£what could he have against us, and how do we know all this?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Please,ÔÇØ called Sean, raising his hand to prevent the meeting running away. He then noted an older gentleman just to his left had his hand raised.

ÔÇ£Professor Ennis.ÔÇØ Sean waved the man to stand.

ÔÇ£As you know,ÔÇØ began the Professor, ÔÇ£I was a political historian on Earth. The evangelical style and patriotic rhetoric that is being alleged is nothing new. The protagonists create a vision and seduce the electorate. Then when a problem does come along, most likely of their own deliberate making, they find a scapegoat to pin it on. In this case, IÔÇÖm guessing that they are presiding over a fall off in food and water production and are blaming it on Newfoundland because we have a water supply in common, even if it has nothing to do with the situation. We are just convenient.

ÔÇ£What I expect to see develop is an expansionist policy on the part of Ohio, with Newfoundland as the target. More power is always the overriding aim of a megalomaniac. With regret, I suggest we need to look to ways to defend ourselves.

ÔÇ£Still, this is all hypothetical until we know how what is known, is known. Perhaps Dr. Temple can enlighten us, and maybe confirm my line of thinking.ÔÇØ With that, the Professor retook his seat.

ÔÇ£Thank you, Professor,ÔÇØ continued Dr. Temple. ÔÇ£Yes, I can confirm your line of thinking; Ohio does have an expansionist policy, with Newfoundland as the focus. As to how we know this, two weeks ago, one of our survey teams came across an escapee from Ohio station. I am not exaggerating when I use the word ÔÇÿescapeeÔÇÖ, either. He was barely alive, having made a break for it without food or water. Thankfully, our teams only ever go out with provisions for three days. He had been imprisoned for speaking out against Fallon, and had been beaten and tortured.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£This man, by the name of John Castle, was a land management specialist, and believed the failure in food production was down to too much land and irrigation being turned over to the production of cotton, for the manufacture of clothing. There was also a shortage of labour for agriculture because all the young men were being recruited into FallonÔÇÖs Fighting Force, the FFF, to train for taking back resources from their enemies.

ÔÇ£It had become part of FallonÔÇÖs rhetoric that nudity was only ever sexual, and clothing had become mandatory in public. This can be seen to be contrary to the truth, because ever since the enforced cover up, the instances of rape against women has increased, although no official records are kept. The members of the FFF seem to be cited as the main culprits in this. This has been corroborated by other ex-members of Ohio community, who have since come to us requesting asylum.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£To conclude, the councils of Central, Lancaster and Gironde communities do believe that it is in Newfoundland communityÔÇÖs best interest to prepare to defend yourselves. To this end, I was accompanied here by a team of people familiar with self defence and archery. WeÔÇÖve also supplied bows and arrows, which we have had to make from wood, in secret, here on Terra. Ohio is already building such an arsenal. We believe that Fallon intends to invade sooner than later.ÔÇØ


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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:09 pm

It had already been a long and restless night, and any prospect of sleep seemed distant to Trish. Oscar, too, hadnÔÇÖt been at ease, and with them both turning over in an attempt to find the most comfortable position, they had kept each other awake for some time. Still, it seemed to Trish that Oscar had settled now. She snuggled up close, subconsciously seeking the assurance of his presence.

ÔÇ£Are you alright?ÔÇØ Oscar was evidently still awake.

Yes..., no, its this thing over Ohio station, replied Trish. Its this kind of manipulation of hatred that persuaded my parents to bring the family away from Earth. Now its infecting the colonies. I dont want to be roaming space, trying to find somewhere safe to raise a family and build a community.

ÔÇ£That is why it is important to make a stand now. We need to take OhioÔÇÖs political system apart and return control to the people rather than the hierarchy. Ohio may have the drop on us in preparedness, but we should have superiority, with help from just the three other communities that surround them. They could do some serious damage if they destroy the crop before we get it in. We just donÔÇÖt know if weÔÇÖll have enough trained men or weapons.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£What about women? DonÔÇÖt they count?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Anyone who can draw a bow should be trained. YouÔÇÖre right; I fall back into the old language too easily. Of course women count, itÔÇÖs just that you are doubly important to our future.ÔÇØ Oscar ran a hand gently over her midriff. ÔÇ£Also, academics should be guarded to defend knowledge and learning.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Well, youÔÇÖre not stopping me from training. I donÔÇÖt want to have to stand idly by as an aggressor smashes our society.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I wouldnÔÇÖt dream of stopping you, but the priority has to be on those who would face an attack first, like the field workers assigned to harvest the furthest fields.ÔÇØ

Thats true, I suppose Listen, what Suzanne said about surveys of Ohios agricultural production undertaken without Ohios consent; whats to stop them from sending spies to discover our defence plans?

ÔÇ£Well, being a relatively small community, everyone knows almost everyone else. If we assign training schedules and work rosters for the surrounding areas according to which level people live on, then people will know those who are meant to be with them for sure. If we base training in the quarry, we can easily surround the perimeter with the usual work groups, except in the coppice; it will look strange to have so many people on woodland work.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I have an idea for that,ÔÇØ said Trish. ÔÇ£It looks like we need an artist. Just leave it to me.ÔÇØ



In the morning, after breakfast, the committee met again to feed back any ideas that had been suggested by the occupants of each level, after they had been informed of the situation by their representatives, following the previous eveningÔÇÖs meeting. There was a resounding commitment from the general population, to be available for training. Some had volunteered to lead physical fitness training, as even the more physical labour was no preparation for the fitness required in a fight. OscarÔÇÖs and TrishÔÇÖs views on training and security were warmly received, although arranging work groups by accommodation level was seen as being too disruptive to specialist tasks.

One representativeÔÇÖs observer was an ex-marines sergeant, and had been co-opted to give an experienced view of military matters. He saw a need for observers, stationed out into other areas that were not greatly populated by workers, to prevent an attack approaching unseen. The committee concluded that the personnel for this could only be provided after the needs of training and the security thereof were met, and that it should be restricted to direct paths to the communityÔÇÖs main facility.



It was just after 10:30a.T.m that the meeting concluded, with a review of training and security needs arranged around the quarry for 11a.T.m. Trish and one of the pre-school workers, Sally, accompanied several men out to the coppice above the head of the quarry. Some of the men were dressed in the requisite personal protective equipment of woodland workers, whereas the remainder were nude, like Trish and Sally. Trish requested that the sub-committee formed for the security review should arrive at the coppice after midday.

Each work group around the vicinity of the quarry was informed of the need to be familiar with everyone within the group. Anyone who was unfamiliar to them, passing through an area on their own was to be challenged. With the number of people assigned to each area from the various accommodation levels, any genuine community member would probably be known to someone within a group.

Come midday, the sub-committee, lead by Sean, arrived at the coppice. Sean checked around, but was slightly confused. He could see the small number of coppice workers, but where were the two ladies and the rest of the men?

ÔÇ£Where is everyone?ÔÇØ Sean asked one of the coppice workgroup.

ÔÇ£WeÔÇÖre here,ÔÇØ came a voice, a few paces away towards the thicker woodland.

Sean turned and looked, but he could see nobody. Then there was some movement, and Trish appeared, as if from nowhere, her hair obscured by a leaf pattern bandana and her body totally covered in body paint, formed to mimic the shape and colour of the tree trunks and surrounding undergrowth.

Sean moved on, up through the trees, followed by Trish and the rest of the sub-committee. As they went they came across more camouflaged bodies, either given away only by blinking white eyes or by a deliberate movement. By the time the party had reached the limits of the woodland, eight extra people had joined them, and there was not a gap left between where a spy could creep up and observe the goings on in the quarry.

ÔÇ£O.K., guys,ÔÇØ called Trish, ÔÇ£clean your faces off, and you with the coveralls, take them off and pass them to those with the body paint. I donÔÇÖt want this stuff seen outside of this woodland.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£That was very impressive, Trish,ÔÇØ said Sean, ÔÇ£but what is to stop someone dressed in protective equipment from sneaking into the group?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£ThatÔÇÖs easy. They come here as a group and they leave as a group. Anyone approaching or leaving on their own will be spotted. Plus, at every break they will remove their face shields, just so everyone can see that they are still who they are meant to be.ÔÇØ

Before heading for lunch, the eight camouflaged woodland sentries stripped and cleansed themselves of the body paint in the communal showers. The talk amongst that group, as elsewhere, turned to speculation as to why Fallon would want to press ahead with an attack, and why he needed to ban nudity. One theory about FallonÔÇÖs timeline was that in two years time a replacement for the failed geostationary communications satellite would arrive, making it easier for Central to coordinate action against him. If he was the type of megalomaniac that was set on planetary domination, he would have to have control of the majority of the thirteen stations before then.

Discussions in the dining hall and other common areas cast no light on the reason behind OhioÔÇÖs nudity ban. One view from someone in Dr. TempleÔÇÖs psychology team was that it would be easier to create a schism between parents and children which would be useful to FallonÔÇÖs cause. A band of disaffected youth may have been easier to seduce into the ranks of the FFF in the future, but nobody could see how it would be useful in the shorter term.


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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:10 pm

The next morning started cold. Terra had been selected for its many similarities to Earth, including its axial lean away from the solar plane, and thus its seasonality. Autumn was upon the colony, persuading Trish to select a light robe to head to the aquatics lab, after breakfast. She noticed that she felt a little numb, as if half her senses were anesthetised. She concluded that she was either in need of more sleep or that she was coming down with a cold. Either way, it was passed off casually.

On entering the lab, Trish found that Maxwell, the other technician assigned to the lab had made it in ahead of her, accompanied by his eight year old daughter, Lucy. Lucy was one of the oldest children in the colony and was mostly tutored by her parents, but with so many educated people around Lucy was not stuck for someone to answer a question intelligently. With so few children of LucyÔÇÖs age, Maxwell and his partner made great efforts to make her feel included, so she often came to the lab with her father when it was feeding time for the fish.

Trish set about checking the recorded pH levels in the many tanks and verifying the particulate content of the water. These fish were important for recycling food waste and turning it into nutrient enriched water for the hydroponic growing bays. They were also bred to provide protein for the communityÔÇÖs diet, either as plain fish or, when processed, as beef or lamb substitute, as a reliable way to transport larger farm animals had not been devised.

As Trish finished checking on one tank, she could see across the lab to Lucy, who was stood in front of another tank with her eyes closed. Strangely, where the fish would usually be drifting about randomly, they were static, in a fan pattern, all facing Lucy.

ÔÇ£Lucy?ÔÇØ asked Trish.

Lucy snapped to, and as she did so, so did the fish, flicking their tails and creating a splash as they settled back into their usually manner.

ÔÇ£I was just talking to the fish,ÔÇØ said Lucy, in a matter of fact way.

ÔÇ£How do you mean ÔÇÿtalkingÔÇÖ?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£CanÔÇÖt you hear them humming? I hum back. Sometimes, they swim in circles for me.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£But you were being very quiet.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Perhaps I only hum in my imagination.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Is she talking to the fish again?ÔÇØ called Maxwell.

ÔÇ£Daddy, I can talk to the fish!ÔÇØ cried Lucy, indignantly.

ÔÇ£Max,ÔÇØ said Trish, ÔÇ£I donÔÇÖt know what I was seeing, but it seemed like the fish were reacting to Lucy in an extraordinary way. The way they took off when I interrupted Lucy was just too exaggerated to be chance.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Perhaps you startled them with your approach.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£But they were so still beforehand.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Trish, you and I know that if we sit still for long enough, the fish in the tanks settle down. Anyway, as scientists, we should know not to get carried away and get all excited over something we thought we saw. If there is anything to it then weÔÇÖd need to set up a study and record the phenomenon.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre a born cynic, Maxwell Fleischmann.ÔÇØ

Just then, there was a shout from out in the central atrium. A runner had arrived with news of an attack on one of the harvesting teams in an outlying field. Maxwell was a trained medic and had to attend the wounded, so he left Trish to take Lucy back to her mother. The runner didnÔÇÖt have numbers of casualties, as he was sent to get help as soon as the attack started. All that was known was the number of the team, and the fact that it was supplemented by children of several of the harvesters.

The defence advisors from the other communities, along with the ex-marine, all had field medic training. They also had the best chance of driving off any attackers, if they were still around. Oscar was also medically trained, so abandoned his archery training and joined the party. The field was half an hour away by foot, so the communityÔÇÖs only two electric buggies were commandeered and loaded with medical supplies and collapsed stretchers. Once the trained men had collected their bows and arrow laden quivers they departed.


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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:14 pm

It was eventide before the harvesters and the defence team arrived back at the communityÔÇÖs domestic hub. There was a mix of emotions swirling around the halls and common areas. There was simultaneous concern and relief at the small number of casualties, accompanied by a large sense of wonder at why the outcome wasnÔÇÖt worse than it was.

ÔÇ£They were dressed all in black, just like fascists of centuries ago.ÔÇØ Everyone heard from Tony, a big bear of a man. ÔÇ£Armed with bows, they were, so that they could attack us from distance. Lucky for them, too, ÔÇÿcause if any of them were in swinging distance of my scythe, I tell yerÔǪÔÇØ

ÔÇ£It was lucky for us, too, Tony,ÔÇØ cut in a younger, slimmer man, by the name of Frank. ÔÇ£We donÔÇÖt know if they were also armed with knives, or not. Hell, we should never have taken the kids along! WeÔÇÖd been warned! We were fortunate that their aim was to destroy the crop. As soon as we had retreated with our injured, they went back to set the wheat alight.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Poor job they made of that, though, wasnÔÇÖt it?ÔÇØ returned Tony. ÔÇ£I mean, the fire barely took hold.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Now, donÔÇÖt you think that strange?ÔÇØ asked Frank. ÔÇ£You saw the vigour of the first flames. The wheat was dry, and with the direction of the breeze and where they started the fire, it should have burnt the whole crop.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£It was very strange,ÔÇØ said Oscar. ÔÇ£After we reached you and treated the wounded, I went down to where the fire had been set, to take a look at the damage. Usually with a crop fire, the flames spread up the stalk and then, as they reach the ears of wheat, they are driven across the field by the wind, thus the whole crop is quickly engulfed.

In the field, however, the ground was sodden, just as if the irrigation stream had flooded and the stalks of wheat on the edge of the fire affected area were bent to the ground and wet. I tell you now; that is very, very strange.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£IÔÇÖll tell you this for nothing,ÔÇØ said Frank, ÔÇ£I was glad that the defence guys hung around, or weÔÇÖd have never got the harvest in. I hope I have my training done before IÔÇÖm next up for the harvest.ÔÇØ



Training resumed in earnest the next morning, with Oscar and Maxwell taking turns in the range. The entrance to the quarry was guarded by mothers and expectant mothers, who were running a kidsÔÇÖ activity group. Trish was amongst the mother and kids group, and was keeping an eye on the handful of seven and eight year olds, who had taken a keener interest in the archery.

Looking over to the range, Trish could see that Max was becoming frustrated.

ÔÇ£I was consistently hitting nines and tens yesterday, so whatÔÇÖs wrong now?ÔÇØ Max could be heard complaining from some distance.

Trish then spotted Lucy looking intensely in her fatherÔÇÖs direction and wiggling the fingers of her outstretched hand at him.

ÔÇ£Lucy, what are you up to?ÔÇØ asked Trish.

ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm just talking to the wood in the arrows,ÔÇØ replied Lucy.

ÔÇ£You can do that?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Sure, itÔÇÖs easy once you can hear them.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs almost as easy as talking to the stream, like I did yesterday,ÔÇØ said Peter, TonyÔÇÖs son.

ÔÇ£Or the wheat,ÔÇØ added May, FrankÔÇÖs little girl.

ÔÇ£How did you learn this?ÔÇØ ask Trish.

ÔÇ£I dunno,ÔÇØ replied Peter. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs kinda always there. DonÔÇÖt you feel it?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I feel something,ÔÇØ replied Trish. ÔÇ£It must be something to do with this planet. When I was growing up on Earth, such things werenÔÇÖt possible. Since youÔÇÖve all lived most of your lives here, maybe it is second nature to you.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Here, itÔÇÖs easy,ÔÇØ called Lucy, ÔÇ£just close your eyes and listen.ÔÇØ

Trish did as she was told. She didnÔÇÖt hear anything at first, not with her ears, anyway, but there was a noise, a humming, in her mind. It was indistinct and confused, as if several voices hummed together, at a level just above a whisper. As Trish concentrated, the humming became more discernible, with several different pitches and sounds. There were many vowel sounds mixed in with usual hum, making it more like singing.

As she turned her head, Trish could experience the full stereoscopic effect, picking out one low ÔÇÿuÔÇÖ sound to her right. She slowly opened her eyes and found that she was looking at the trestle which was holding Oscar and MaxwellÔÇÖs target.

ÔÇ£Have you found a song?ÔÇØ asked Lucy.

ÔÇ£Yes,ÔÇØ replied Trish, ÔÇ£I think itÔÇÖs from this nearest stand.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Now, just sing the song in your head and imagine what you want the stand to do.ÔÇØ

Trish focused on the trestle and matched it with the sound in her head. She then turned the single voice into a duet of ÔÇÿuÔÇÖ sounds and began to picture the trestle collapsing. Just as she brought the image to mind, Maxwell loosed an arrow, thus distracting her. The trestle merely shuddered.

ÔÇ£Whoops, that stand hasnÔÇÖt been set up securely,ÔÇØ called Oscar to Max, in the distance. He then went to ensure that all the trestleÔÇÖs feet were grounded.

ÔÇ£Concentrate,ÔÇØ Peter said to Trish.

Oscar stepped up to take his next shot, but this time Trish was prepared. As Oscar loosed his arrow, Trish clearly envisaged the legs of the trestle going floppy, and the target fell to the ground with a thud.

Oscar and Maxwell clearly hadnÔÇÖt fathomed what had happened, and Max could be heard jokingly mocking Oscar for his target setting abilities. Trish needed a bigger target. As the two men were resetting the trestle and target, Trish tuned into the voices of all five target trestles and waited. Turning the five voices into a chorus of ten, Trish struck, taking all five targets down as one.

The training stalled, with all the trainees and their instructors standing around, bemused at what had just happened. Trish approached the rear of the range with the three children in tow.

ÔÇ£Gentlemen,ÔÇØ called Trish, ÔÇ£I think I know why Fallon has banned nudity at Ohio station.ÔÇØ

The men gathered around Trish and the kids, still lost in their uncertainty.

ÔÇ£When nude on this planet, humans have more of their senses at work. When we pull on a robe, it is as if those senses are muted. These senses connect with every organic thing around us. It must be something to do with this planet, because it doesnÔÇÖt happen on Earth. What just happened to the targets was me.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Yeah, right,ÔÇØ came a cynical voice from the crowd.

Lucy tugged on TrishÔÇÖs arm and whispered something in her ear.

ÔÇ£O.K.,ÔÇØ called Trish, ÔÇ£itÔÇÖs demonstration time. Each of you, take an arrow and hold it, tip to flight, between your two index fingers.ÔÇØ

The three children stood away from the group of men and closed their eyes for a moment. In the next instance, the men found themselves dumfounded, as the arrows went limp in their hands and fell to the ground.

ÔÇ£My God,ÔÇØ said Sean, who was amongst the group, ÔÇ£Fallon probably worked this out and banned nudity to prevent anyone using this power against him. His push to train and arm his force was probably to limit the chance of anyone else discovering this power. If the kids can show us how to handle this, then we will neutralise FallonÔÇÖs threat.ÔÇØ


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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:13 pm

It hadnÔÇÖt taken much training before it was concluded that a contingent of guards was ready to be sent out with the harvesters. Not only were they armed with bows, but also the mental ability to render their enemiesÔÇÖ weapons useless. The guards were sent out ahead of the labourers, in the dark hours, dressed for warmth and to hide their camouflage, which was designed to mimic the dust and rock of the pre-terraformed landscape beyond the fertile fields.

The band of Ohio raiders passed the sentries a couple of hours after full sunrise. This had been predicted as their time of approach, as it would time their arrival at the nearest field to when the warmth would have driven the dew of the stalks, making it easier to set fire to the crop. The sentries held their positions, waited and then followed, stealthily.

There was a large boulder field at the edge of the fertile plane, to where the obstructions to ease of cultivation had been displaced. The raiders readied themselves at the last line of rocks, with the guards closing on them through the boulders. The aggressors managed to get one volley of arrows away before the guards mounted the rock to take a superior position. It didnÔÇÖt matter as those arrows fell impotently from the air. The attackers readied for another volley and loosed the second arrows only to find that their bows had taken a permanent set, with the string hanging listlessly between the bow tips.

One loosed arrow from the guards, speared into the dust at their feet, alerted the raiders to their predicament; they were surrounded, out-manoeuvred, captured. The tension in their captorsÔÇÖ bow stings mirrored that of the captivesÔÇÖ situation. The harvest team advanced to reinforce the guards, sickles in hand. One by one, the intruders were liberated of their weapons, bound at the hands with rope, and then tied together at the ankles, to reduce the risk of lone escape attempts.

The prisoners were not marched back to the stations there and then, as the risk of depleting the guard was considered too great. The ex-marine sergeant did question his captives as to whether reinforcements were likely, to which the reply was negative, but he couldnÔÇÖt risk acting on their word. In the meantime, however, they were told to help load the cut wheat into waiting carts in return for their food and drink.

Come dusk, the harvesters, the guards and the prisoners traipsed into the stations compound, weary from the dayÔÇÖs work and the hike. The prisoners were housed in another shipÔÇÖs cargo bay, which usually served as a sports hall. They were fed and watered again, and assigned a bunk and bedding. A guard detail was posted and the access doors to the hall were locked. It was understood that once the conflict was over, the colony would have to be reunited, so prisoners were to be treated with respect.



The next morning started with a new routine for the Ohio prisoners. They were given fresh coveralls to wear as their own uniforms were sent off for washing. Despite the Newfoundland community membersÔÇÖ preference for nudity, this was not offered as an option to the prisoners, partly to distinguish them from the people around them, partly to avoid them developing a link to the environment and thus making it possible to untie their bonds by telekinesis. Once redressed, they were lead in small groups to have breakfast in the dining hall, all the time watched over by their guards.

Once breakfast was completed, individual prisoners were taken to be interviewed by Dr. Temple, Prof. Ennis and a defence advisor by the name of Masklin. Masklin knew that the primary purpose of these talks was to establish how the political and social situation at Ohio station had deteriorated to the extent that it could be overthrown, so she waited to the end of each talk to glean any information on fighting strength of FallonÔÇÖs forces.

Suzanne Temple noted that although command of the group rested with older members, it was the younger, more naïve members that exhibited any political zeal for the operation. From what had been said, it was clear to Temple, and to Ennis, that the population of Ohio station had indeed been cowed into compliance by treats and intimidation, with the fear of informants being everywhere, and fear of the consequences of being found to have not informed on any other non-conformist.


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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:41 pm

Perhaps it was the shock of having lost an entire squad of men without any indication as to why they had gone missing that caused a pause in OhioÔÇÖs assault. Maybe they were taking time to reassess the situation. Whatever the reason, the next three days passed uneventfully for the harvesters, even though they were still protected by unseen guards. They still wouldnÔÇÖt leave the cut crop to dry out in the fields, bringing it back, instead, to be dried at the heart of the community, where it was safe.

Those three days was all it took for a raiding party to be trained for an assault on Ohio. This party was made up of archers and the most skilled telekinesists. Most of the archers had found that humming with their bows increased the range of their shots. Others hummed with their arrows, gaining pin-point accuracy. Whilst the archers were to concentrate on their own bows and arrows, the specialist telekinesists were there to take out the opponentsÔÇÖ weaponry.

Scouting missions had successfully pin-pointed the best approach to Ohio, through a woodland, between two steep cliffs, beyond the dividing boulder field. The route was still patrolled by OhioÔÇÖs forces, but evidently they hadnÔÇÖt been aware of NewfoundlandÔÇÖs rapidly growing strength, or they surely would have put up more than a symbolic showing.
The pure psychics of the Newfoundland raiders were covered in the rock camouflage body paint, to obscure them against the rocks as they exited the boulder field. Beyond them lay a canal, a vehicle path, and a narrow, raised bank of grass and shrubs, before the start of the woodland.

Despite Oscar trying to persuade Trish otherwise, she was at the head of the raid, as a pure psychic. In the tree line, Trish could clearly see OhioÔÇÖs first line of sentries; more concerned about a show of force than stealth, evidently. The trees told of other guards further into the woodland, so defeating the guard wouldnÔÇÖt be simple. The first guards would have to be silenced to prevent them from alerting those further in.

Trish saw that the guard nearest to her was passing close to a tree. Trish sang to the tree and it grabbed the guard and held him to its trunk with its branches, muzzling him as it did so. The next guard was whacked on the back of the head by a swinging branch and fell down the bank, out cold. The third guard was lassoed, gagged and dragged down the bank by something akin to poison ivy.

This created a gap in the cordon great enough to get some of the Newfoundland assault force across the canal, due to the bend in the canal, the shape of the bank and the presence of the shrubs. Someone of greater tactical knowledge would surely have had the bank cleared and positioned the defence personnel better. Still the telekinesists continued to use the flora of the opposite bank to dispose of the remaining visible Ohio guards.

Once the first guards were dealt with, the first wave of Newfoundland archers advanced to the canal side and threw their bows and arrows across. They had to make it across before anyone deeper into the woodland spotted that the canal was no longer guarded. Slipping into the water of the canal, the first archers swam swiftly to the other side, protected from attack by the psychics. As they hauled themselves out, the water ran off their bodies, denied a hold by the waterproof body paints.

Taking the caps of the Ohio guards, the first of the Newfoundland party impersonated the guards, standing at the top of the bank, silhouetted by the daylight against the darkness of the woods. The next of the attackers across took the indisposed guards from their floral captors and bound them tightly.

After the Ohio guards had all been secured, a second wave of telekinesists, covered in the colours of the woods, advanced through the undergrowth, accompanied by the archers. They were on the perimeter of an encampment before they were spotted. A cry went out, and the Ohio guards in the camp grabbed their bows and took aim, only for the weapons to be rendered useless in their hands.

The arrows of the Newfoundland archers, on the other hand, sliced through the guy ropes of the several tents in the camp, collapsing them all to the ground. Oscar spotted one of the Ohio forces picking up a radio handset and run away. If at all possible, Oscar didnÔÇÖt want to hit the man, but he didnÔÇÖt have the power to accurately control an arrow, so he pointed out the target to one of the psychics, directing them to target the handset only. The man was just on the edge of OscarÔÇÖs natural range, but Oscar tensed the bow in his mind and let go of the arrow and the thought simultaneously.

The Ohio soldier was running, but it made no odds. The Newfoundland psychic acquired the arrow and turned it in flight, like a guided missile. The man had been holding the radio close and screeched as the arrow nicked the tip of his ear and a finger as the handset was smashed from his grasp. There was no doubt that the game was up, so the soldier raised one hand in submission, as he held the other to his ear in an attempt to stem the blood. He was soon waved back to join the others.

The leader of the Newfoundland squad didnÔÇÖt want to risk escapees by affording them the cover of the boulder field when escorting them back to the Newfoundland compound, so the enemy encampment was reset as a holding camp for the prisoners. The reinforcements that were arriving would take over the guarding of the captives, giving the most capable archers and psychics a chance to strip their body paint and to re-camouflage for passing through the Ohio crops, beyond.
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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:45 pm

It was harvest time for the people of the Ohio community too, so they had harvest teams out in their fields as well. These fields needed to be traversed without the alarm being raised. The first fields, as far as the eye could see, were full of cotton; inedible and only used for making textiles. The cotton bushes were next to useless for coverage, growing only to waist height. The group from Newfoundland couldnÔÇÖt pass themselves off as being Ohio personnel, either, since those from Ohio were dressed and sweating in the warm sun, whereas those of Newfoundland were nude, apart from the body paint. A distraction was required.

As the Newfoundland party crouched down and crept along the edge of the field, a few of the psychics took to disrupting the cotton picking. A broken rope shoulder strap here and a failed wicker basket there saw the cotton harvest fall to the floor; each incident being repeated at set intervals across the field. This kept the harvestersÔÇÖ attention on the crop, rather than on what was going on about them.

Having verified that there was no activity in the neighbouring fields, the advance party stood up, revealing themselves, and swept back into the first field. Whilst being ushered towards their captivity, one of the younger harvesters took flight, in order to escape. However, he soon found that the path through the cotton bushes soon disappeared, and he discovered that the bushes themselves formed a cage around him. Two archers pointed him in the right direction.

Once the first field was cleared, a new squad of psychics and archers took over the lead. Food and drink were carried to where the first squad had taken their rest, and Trish and Oscar settled down to share the al fresco meal with their comrades. It was already turning midday, and they had a long way ahead of them, the objective being to get a sizable Newfoundland force right up to OhioÔÇÖs doorstep and to divert the attention of OhioÔÇÖs forces away from there.

As the afternoon wore on, more Ohio captives were sent to the rear camp. The raid had advanced so far that they had reached the end of the cotton fields and were in sight of the Ohio domestic hub, the goal, across the smaller expanse of un-harvested wheat fields. Fallon had obviously prioritised the cotton harvest; an error, people couldnÔÇÖt eat cotton. With so much cotton under cultivation, it was evident that Fallon intended to live up to his rhetoric of clothing the wayward and debauched naked perverts. No one had felt able to challenge his view by stating that nudity was natural, and that it was dressing that was the perversion.

Eventually it was Trish and OscarÔÇÖs time to move back to the front. The squad marched swiftly through the cotton fields, cleared of their workers. Without the need to crouch, the ten miles of cotton was traversed in two hours, leaving five miles of wheat and corn. The wheat wasnÔÇÖt tall enough to conceal the advancing army, but they were still far enough out for their camouflage to be effective against the wheat, when viewed from the steel guard towers that surrounded Ohio Station.

Wheat coloured head scarves were distributed amongst the Newfoundland advance force, to break the silhouette of human heads and shoulders, and to mask the various colours of hair. The regular movement of a marching army would have been a give-away, too, so the line of people across the wheat field was staggered, with each individual told to set their own pace in crossing the field.

As the force began to amass at the edge of the corn field, an arrow was sent skywards and it landed with great precision, at the foot of an archer stationed at the start of the last wheat field. The archer took the arrow and again loosed it in the direction of the start of the preceding field. Archer after archer passed the arrow onwards, until, at the start of the cotton fields, the archer sent three arrows in a dispersal pattern. The message arrow spread and multiplied, until the wave of arrows reached the middle of the cotton crop.

It was barely six minutes before the response to the first arrow was seen; a broad front of smoke across the middle of the cotton fields, as Newfoundland torched OhioÔÇÖs precious crop. Sacks of the already picked cotton made ideal fuel for the flames which were ignited by touching a handful of iron-wool across the terminals of a D cell battery, a common power source throughout the colony. The response from Ohio was immediate, as the wailing of alarms on the guard towers rose into the air.

The flames in the cotton fields were too far away for Ohio Station to send defenders up on foot. This was something Newfoundland was counting on, as they had been informed that Ohio had taken to making many electric buggies, despite the restricted generating capacity of OhioÔÇÖs solar panels. The civil population of Ohio Station would have suffered severe power and material shortages to support the production and charging of so many vehicles. Now those buggies would sweep the Ohio forces past the point of the Newfoundland attack, leaving nothing but a token force to stand in the NewfoundlandersÔÇÖ way.
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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:08 pm

There were two and a half miles to go, through the corn fields. The stalks, leafs, tassels and ear sheaths all took on a dry, sandy colour as the crop waited to be gathered; the height and colour of the plants shrouding the Newfoundland advance, as if allied to their cause. One half hour would see them on OhioÔÇÖs doorstep, with the bulk of the FFF chasing shadows, miles away.

The tracks through the corn and wheat fields that the buggies had to follow were straight and well defined. Unbeknownst to the riders, they were being watched closely, whilst they were still some distance away from their target. At regular intervals, each column of buggies became shorter, as the last buggy in line was taken out with a well placed arrow to the power leads. Coming quickly to a halt, the six personnel on each buggy were immediately surrounded and disarmed.

By the time the FFF had reached the fires, their numbers had already been halved. This still left a considerable fighting force, but they still had to divide themselves to fight the flames. A number of guards were posted, leaving the rest to bail water from the irrigation channels to douse the fire. The guards were soon putting out the fire, too; their weapons useless, and them captive.

The alarms at Ohio Station had been silenced when the FFF left to confront the attackers and extinguish the fires, but they sounded again as the nude forms of the Newfoundland advance squad headed towards the compound from the fields which surrounded the living quarters. Having spread throughout the fields, the Newfoundlanders swept in from all directions. From one hundred yards out, the power archers loosed their arrows and silenced the alarms.

At first, an air of confusion drifted around the compound, for it was the seemingly unarmed and defenceless psychics, mostly comprised of women, who lead the way. Ohio compound guards, finding their bows inert, pulled knives from their waistbands and advanced, but their enthusiasm evaporated under the threat of the now emerging Newfoundland precision archers. One of the Ohio defenders couldnÔÇÖt take defeat with grace, so made a dash to stab one of the female psychics. Trish, however, had acquired a new sound from the cotton of the would-be assailantÔÇÖs slacks, and quickly landed him, face first in the dirt, with his slacks binding his ankles. The nearest Newfoundland archer, a large, powerful man, landed himself on the prone knifeman, and relieved him of his weapon.

Having already seen the velocity of the Newfoundland archersÔÇÖ arrows and what had happened to their comrade, the members of the FFF knew they didnÔÇÖt stand a chance of getting up close enough to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Slowly, with a resigned shake of the head, each of the FFF disarmed themselves and stood back.

The FFF members were corralled in an equipment compound and the non-combatants ushered to their quarters, out of harmÔÇÖs way, as a hunt for Fallon was begun. Open questioning as to FallonÔÇÖs whereabouts produced little, only furtive glances between people wondering who would dare to be brave enough to speak up. People were more forthcoming when in their quarters, out of earshot of everyone else, and the location of his executive suite and an accurate description were soon obtained.

Oscar and Trish joined the party in search of Fallon and quickly located the executive suite. Around the entrance were more members of the FFF, but they offered no resistance, but just stood in stunned silence. The marine sergeant lead the way, armed with a confiscated knife. They passed through an outer reception, with small offices and toilet facilities off each side. They checked each vacant room before moving on.

The next room appeared to be an inner reception. It was not large; the only furniture a desk and related chair. Both doors had electronic locks, but the entrance had been jammed open. A quick search of the desk revealed the switch to the lock of the inner door, which opened with a buzz at the press of the button.

Beyond lay a large audience room. Panels of Terran stone had been quarried and polished to line the walls, and the floor was carpeted. Trish wondered at the floor covering under her bare feet; so impractical on such a dust laden world, and so wasteful of resources. There was no furniture, expect for the single, high backed chair, set on a stage, or maybe it was a throne on a dais. There was no conferring or consulting done here, only commanding and demanding.

Behind the throne was a door, partly hidden by a curtain and covered by the same stone as made the wall panels. The sergeant led the way, slowly. Just on from the entrance were a sumptuous bathroom and toilet, facing closet space across a short corridor. As he passed into an expansive and opulent lounge, the sergeant came to a sharp halt and turned back, indicating to Oscar and Trish to hold position. On his return, he pushed one of the FFF guards ahead of him, into the lounge. The FFF guard was reluctant to look.

ÔÇ£Is this Fallon?ÔÇØ barked the sergeant.

Trish and Oscar moved forward, to see what was happening. Hanging from roof truss, in the middle of the room, was the corpse of Fallon. Trish shied away from the sight.

ÔÇ£Suicide?ÔÇØ questioned Oscar.

ÔÇ£No, it canÔÇÖt be,ÔÇØ replied the sergeant. HeÔÇÖs hanging above any surface from which he might have jumped, and look at the noose.ÔÇØ

Oscar didnÔÇÖt need any more information. The body wasnÔÇÖt hanging by a rope or anything manmade. A skylight, above, had been smashed from the outside, and a vine tendril had reached out along the beam and strangled Fallon.

ÔÇ£It looks like the vines got to him first,ÔÇØ said Oscar. ÔÇ£How they could perceive his threat will need to be studied.ÔÇØ

Trish rejoined Oscar, still visibly shaken. ÔÇ£We should take this as a warning,ÔÇØ she said. ÔÇ£All the other stations live as lightly on the land as possible, but if we were as careless with our resources as Fallon has been, then who knows what the consequences could be.ÔÇØ


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Re: 'A Case of Mind Over Matter', by Sirius631

Postby sirius631 on Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:13 pm

The evening soon set in. The raiders from Newfoundland station had spent the remainder of the day rounding up stragglers from the FFF and returning them to OHIO, where they could be watched and disarmed. Now though, the victors set up camp, in preparation for the work ahead. They were mindful of not wanting to appear as a threat to the civilian population of Ohio Station, but it was too late in the day to be setting about destroying the Ohio armoury, and it was also premature to be returning to Newfoundland.

Although Lancaster Station had provided the supplies and logistics for setting up a base at Ohio Station, a ready supply of volunteers had appeared from the Ohio population, making light work of erecting tents and preparing meals. Much gratitude at the lifting of the repression was expressed by the Ohio civilians, as they worked, served the food and ate with the Newfoundland and Lancaster station members.

One man became lost for words when speaking of the threat under which they lived. The only expression his could find was to tear off the tunic he was wearing and to rip it to shreds. There was another man nearby, evidently the first manÔÇÖs partner, for he too tore off his garments and joined the first man in a loving embrace. A joyous song rose from the ensemble, as the reality of liberation dawned on all present, with each person searching out their other halves, to share the feeling of freedom. There would be many who shared their first embrace that night.

Relief would be arriving from Central in the morning. Then the job of picking through the paperwork, to find those complicit in FallonÔÇÖs dictatorship and bring them to justice, could begin. Dictatorships could not be run by one person, the coercion required co-conspirators and underlings to be effective. These people would need to be routed out.



It took many months to rebalance the ecology of Ohio Station. The cotton fields were mostly turned over to growing food crops. Since the majority of this work had to be done over the hungry months of the Terran winter, in order to be ready for spring, Ohio had to be supplied from the small surpluses produced by all the other stations.

John Castle, the first Ohio refugee, returned home to be with his family, who had been imprisoned after his escape, and to assist in the renewal of the agricultural systems. Trish, too, had been seconded to Ohio, in order to increase aquaponic production, but this didnÔÇÖt suit her entirely, due to approaching motherhood. Still, once the tanks were installed and stocked, and the staff trained, Trish was able to return to Newfoundland Station and monitor the Ohio system remotely.

Politically, it was simple just to turn control over to the people. Visitors from Ohio had been made welcome at Central, Gironde, Newfoundland and Lancaster stations, in order for them to observe true, non-hierarchical democracy in action. The way Fallon had usurped control had been studied and documented, and become required study for all citizens, lest anyone forget and make the same mistakes.

The anniversary of FallonÔÇÖs over-throw was first celebrated as Liberation Day, just a couple of months after the birth of Trish and OscarÔÇÖs first child. Although the idea had started as a low-key opportunity to mark a moment in history by the peoples of Ohio Station, someone had found the time and resources to light up the night sky, in a display that could be seen at Newfoundland, Central, Lancaster and Gironde stations.

It was not more than a year later when Trish, with daughter, Una, in arm, and Oscar stood watching the glow of the descent rocketsÔÇÖ on the final colonisation ship, as it touched down in the wilderness beyond Newfoundland Station. This ship, the Transvaal, had deployed the final communications satellite into orbit, before making its descent, meaning instantaneous, planet-wide communications would soon be possible.

Trish and OscarÔÇÖs lives, and those of their growing family, were rooted in the soil of this planet. These five hundred new colonists hadnÔÇÖt experienced the years of thin atmosphere, nor celebrated the freedom of the first swim in the ocean. How would they adapt to the Terran traditions? Could they adopt the body freedom, which was seen by Terrans as everyoneÔÇÖs birth right, or would the later arrivals stick doggedly to EarthÔÇÖs clothed doctrine? It would be up to Newfoundland, as the nearest of the established stations, to support the new-comers, until they reached self-sufficiency.

Given all that was to be gained by the connection to the planet and other people, Trish couldnÔÇÖt see any reasonable person rejecting nudity. But, would these newcomers be reasonable? Was Fallon reasonable? Were the five of FallonÔÇÖs cronies, who were being packed off back to Earth, reasonable? Individuals were, by definition, individual, and everyone has the right to be treated as such. Some may see five hundred problems, but Trish could only see five hundred opportunities.

THE END.
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