My life is fucking weird by josette grover

The school adjusts to having to close again. 

Categories: Non Buffy/Angel Crossovers > Eureka, Non Buffy/Angel Crossovers > Other Characters: None
Genres: AU
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: Live from Mutant High, It's Bookworm
Chapters: 4 Completed: Yes Word count: 90964 Read: 3540 Published: 2022.04.30 Updated: 2022.04.30

1. Chapter 1 by josette grover

2. Chapter 2 by josette grover

3. Chapter 3 by josette grover

4. Chapter 4 by josette grover

Chapter 1 by josette grover

A couple hours later David nudges Josette for lunch. She gets up, uses the bathroom, and follows the others through the hallway to the dining hall.


"How was the tour?"


"Good, except for the morons sneering about fantasy books." David rolls his eyes. "Yeah, what the fuck did he expect would be signed at a comic book store. . .war and peace?"


"In the original Russian." Alexander snorts.


She detours to the front room. "Expect some swearing from Granda in the next couple of databursts. Some asshole who doesn't like how he's doing things is suing to get the school shut down immediately."


"He'll show them." one of the teachers nearby snorts.


"Yep. They had all these plans for the future. . .what are they going to do when the rug is yanked out from under them. . .hmmmm?"


"What they were planning to do anyway?" President Bartlett snorts. "And of course they're wailing about that?"


"Yep, laying on the floor kicking his heels fit about it not being fair. How can they continue on with their plans? Because god knows the school is only a portion of Granda's businesses. One snag isn't going to stop everything."


"Yep, just like one business closing here for a while doesn't bring everything else down to a grinding halt."


"Quilting books?"


"Started print yesterday. Six this year and six next year with hopefully more ready to print a couple years after that."


"And your old books?"


"Ten of the last eighteen debuted."




"Me Granda, the boys Mom. I go last this year."


"Your special orders?"


"We took in the first batch when we went out after Thanksgiving."


"Sooo, when do you think Doc and the others are going to start dropping hints about your books?"


"Tooo laaa-ate." David says in a sing-song voice in the back room.


Professor Druid giggles. "Yeeessss, they debut in another year out there my time. And we've got a show next year. I was having students and teachers coming up to me asking if I was the same Josette Takahawa for stuff I hadn't even done yet. 'Why didn't you tell us you were an author? You never asked?' My life is fucking weird."


Her loving family sniggers at her hangdog look.


"Anyway, I've got four months worth of stuff to sort through over the next few days."


"How long until you're in the same time period?"


"About four years give or take a few months."


It takes about three days to get everything put away and she sniggers at Calvin's choice words about foolish people when the lawsuit is filed. She heads off to the first planet to plant the raised beds, coming back and stiffening.


"Storm?" David asks, grabbing his PADD.


"Bad one, three weeks snow and nearly as many to dig out. Coming in in a couple nights." Alexander heads downstairs to add empty batteries to the rack for charging as David sends out the notice. The triple beep has everybody who can looking at their PADDS and those who can making the announcement to those who can't.


The commercial replicator is turned on and pallets of wood start appearing, people ducking in when they can and buying a few armfuls as part of their storm supplies.


"That takes care of our overstock of candles." One of the women sighs. "When the storm blows over we'll have to ask Josette to bring out more supplies for us." Her companion nods as they shut the building up until after the storm.


The storm finally blows over and everybody is busy digging out as Josette heads to Archimedes for her tests.


"How is Haven?"


"We're digging out but that allowed me to slam out the classes on Granda's system. David's pouting but he's over a year into his degree now.


"And yours?"


"I'm going to be nine classes into the last year for the first comics degree this semester and I'm going to be two years into the tv degree. Susan and CJ are looking at degrees since they're finishing theirs this year."


"Your comic degree?"


"Is actually one of seven, I've already signed up for the second one." Dr. Cross chuckles. "David's looking to pick up a second degree when this one is finished."


"I am so glad calmer heads prevailed and all this wasn't just tossed aside as it was in our world. Did the storm delay planting on the first planet?"


"No, I'd just come back when I felt the storm. I'll go off to green pick tomatoes and peppers tomorrow."


Josette slumps onto a couch the next day.


"Green tomatoes?"


"Everything that didn't sell is in the stasis unit." Josette yawns. "Tomorrow I'm heading off to pick up the supplies for the school and drop off the recycling. I might stay out there a couple days. The last of the orders from the Great Britain supplier should be in and they've got a sale at a supplier in Vegas."


"Money, money, money." David chants.


"More getting to see some shows and whatnot."


Josette leans between Principal Madison and Professor Druid the next day. "Dropped off the supplies at the cooking school, they've got the suggestions on what to pack first pinned up everywhere." Professor Druid chuckles and nods. She looks at Frances and Elaine. "I already sent out the announcement but the supplier that I ordered from from Great Britain is opening a site in the states, they're having a special grand opening sale."


"We're in." Principal Madison makes a sound like a hit to his wallet and everybody chuckles.


"Did you talk to Madison?"


"I'm still on the tour, she'll talk to me when I go out after finals."


After lunch Josette starts replicating supplies for three more comic book classes, putting them upstairs after putting away everything from the last six classes.


The weather starts getting warmer several weeks later and windows are opened to start airing out rooms. David moves the last of the books from his classes to the building and looks at the partial shelves of DVDs.


"I am not taking classes this summer." Josette makes a 'poor boy' noise and pats him on the shoulder in a there there gesture and gets flipped off with a grin. "You only took classes last summer because Dr. Blake threatened to beat your fool ass like a rug." David sniggers.


"How are you on your degrees?"


"Lack three of finishing the comic book degree and I'm two years into the other one."


"You'll finish it this summer."


"Yes, and this is the first of seven. And yes, I've already signed up for the second one. The degrees bring us up to the comic code that nearly destroyed the industry. That's about twelve degrees since it's from multiple sources."


"Just like people were up in arms about music lyrics." Alan says as he comes into the room behind them.


"Exactly, there's always going to be people sticking their noses in none of their business because they think they're better than everybody else in the world."


Calvin smiles as the familiar lights of the tesseract appear and students and employees start walking out into the parking lot of the school.


Madison waves Josette into her office. "Okay, so we're now in the same time period, how was the tour?"


"Long but good. I got a lot of pictures and listened to some fools who were whining about 'fantasy' books being sold in a comic book store." Madison rolls her eyes. "Always going to be mental midgets who open their mouth only to change feet. What the hell they were doing at a comic book store in the first place they probably don't know."


Several weeks later the tesseract opens on Haven and everybody starts walking through, students heading to the auditorium to have their bags checked just as a matter of habit, they've all been there long enough to know not to bring anything back they shouldn't. Josette puts up the latest pictures of the city-ship as she's delivering everything, flying back to the dorm.


"Fucking idiots." Pat is saying.


"What do you expect from short-sighted morons." David snorts. "Ahhh, the buildings in the news."


"Yep. Morons didn't want large buildings going in there because they're hateful bitches then whine when the business in the community that would have come from the same buildings didn't magically appear anyway. Or the tax money the city council was rubbing their hands together in glee over.


"So now they're whining about their taxes going up to make up for the shortfall and tried suing to force them to buy the land and put up the same buildings. . .'welll, we'll let you have them now."


"I'm glad they went somewhere else, those assholes deserve what they're getting. Both higher taxes and the ridicule and scorn of everybody else."


"Always going to be somebody making trouble for everybody else trying to make themselves feel superior." Josette says as she comes in. The others sigh and nod.


A couple days later Josette starts replicating the supplies for the last three classes for the first degree, three classes to start the second degree, and to start the second year for her tv degree. Everything goes upstairs, Pat moaning when she looks at the full tables.


"Your other classes?"


"I'm nowhere near finishing any of the others, I'm only taking fourteen classes, one to finish the second year for a degree and the eight I was taking on the school computer this spring."


"Did you start any new degrees? Beyond this one." Pat drawls.


"Two, the Mechanical Engineering degree from MIT and starting the five degree set on plane crashes from the history school."


"Are you close to finishing any? Besides this one."


"Next year, I'll have the first of the subs in war degrees done but there's three more degrees."


The next day they fly back off to Calvin's Earth, coming back an hour later talking about the new supplier, checking the order they had placed, and making a list of what to order next. Josette delivers their purchases and flies back to the dorm.


"The others put in a big order?"


"Yep, Principal Madison's going to feel the pinch to his wallet again." Everybody snickers. "Not to be greedy but . . ."


"We've got a lot of money in the school's account on Earth, more than enough that if we never reopened we'd be good for couple hundred years worth of supplies like we're getting in now. And we've still got twelve years of tuition and whatnot to go into the account. That includes the dual education money too, everything but Oxford and Cambridge." The others nod in satisfaction.


"How is the colony dimension coming along?"


"Good, they've got their homes built and after a winter in them are starting on improvements they need. They caulked the logs to keep out breezes after the first storm and might end up buying the panels to put on the walls for added insulation. Even if they don't buy the solar panels in the future."


"I hope they have floors, I know some were bare dirt floors but that would be miserable cold in the winter." Pat says. The others nod. "Damn linoleum is cold on bare feet, bare ground in the middle of winter would be worse. I hope they have the well pipes protected."


"I'd have it in a lean-to attached to the house." Monk says, coming out of headquarters. Everybody nods again.


"Becka has a well house around hers with a heater to keep it from freezing in the winter. She has a sink and one of those old wooden tubs in her porch but she has to shut off water to those in the winter since while it's enclosed, it's not heated." Pat nods.


The first crops start coming in and everybody's busy canning, drying, or storing everything.


"Is the mushroom building open this year?" Bethany asks, leaning in the doorway from Headquarters.


"Yeah, they were inoculating the spores when I walked through from smashing glass." Josette says. "I'm going out to grow mushrooms on the first planet in a couple days."


She comes back from the first planet after selling the mushrooms to the others, what's left going in stasis. It's a pouring piss from a boot rain that had Josette putting up a shield as she'd flown, the others sniggering as she flies through the door Alan holds open for her.


"Sell a lot?"


"A good bit, everything else is in stasis for us until I plant again." Heading upstairs she looks in the library, finding one of her other selves in the middle of a class. Down the hall to her workroom she goes eeny meany miney mo and grabs a kit from the quilting box to start. Laying out everything on the table she goes in the other room for fabric for the back and cuts batting off the roll. Copying the instructions she pins a set to the corkboard and cuts out duplicate pieces from plastic after she brings up another box. She'd emptied a pallet with this box and puts it on the pile to take back.




"Yeah?" She looks up at Pat in the doorway.


"When is the boys show?"


"Next week, I gotta take the special orders to the ship in a couple days. The boys are getting crowded again."


"Are you taking back stuff from the large special order?"


"Yep, as well as our regular special orders. Which seems to be finally slowing down."


Josette leans back on the couch as the door opens in the rooms and she grins at Professor Xavier.


"The others?"


"The boys are with Dexter talking with the group that have us the big special order. David and Alan are shopping for socks and underwear, the girls are at a special fashion show."


"And you flatly refused to go?"


"Not like they have anything in my size." She snorts. "I had a meeting with M'Lynn anyway."




"We started printing twelve of the new ones this year but were delayed by a major storm so we'll only print four books this year. By the time the last ones are done we should be reprinting some of the older books. Either that or some of my fiction."


"Calvin's world?"


"Settling, by the time you guys come out for the Lights Festival they should not have anybody under the age of seven, at least six and a half. Some fool tried suing to force the school to shut down because he didn't like their plans for the future. If the school was going to shut down what would they do?"


"Same thing they already planned because the school isn't the be all and end all for Calvin?" James asks, coming into the room.


"Exactly, he whined like a baby when the judge told him to grow up and stop being a fool."


"Those type can't stop being a fool." Mary says.


"Exactly." Josette rolls her eyes. "It is your god given right to make a fool out of yourself but some people abuse the privilege." Clarinda sniggers. "So did Clark and the others take your books to an agent there?"


"Yes and they debut my senior year out there, I knew it was coming because the students and teachers would come up to me with one of the books and ask 'Is this you? Why didn't you tell us you were an author? Ummm, you never asked?' I actually talked to an agent when we went out last year."


"How much longer will the school be open?"


"We're planning on twelve more years, not counting this one. The cooking school teachers are leaving this year, the student numbers should start going down and in about three more years when the second batch of teachers and employees head home we should have no new students."


David makes a buzzing sound like a wrong answer on a game show.


"Nope, Calvin and Principal Madison are talking less than that. He's also figured they'll be closing earlier than expected." Josette does the math and nods. "Four years is about six and a half on Earth, so by the time this group of teachers leaves there won't be any children younger than nine on Earth."


"Closer to ten." David says. "If we have a third batch of teachers it might only be for a year. They're going to talk with the teachers and employees about staying out until the school closes."


"From what some of the others said they were expecting it." Alan says as he comes into the room.



Later that afternoon when they return to Haven Josette slides into Principal Madison's office, getting a nod as she repeats what David had said. "I was going to talk to you this afternoon when Dad arrives. We're already seeing more students graduating than are enrolling. Any other time our figures would have been right on the money but this time there seems to have been fewer births longer before Earth hit the plateau."


Calvin nods when he arrives and the two men head to the auditorium where the teachers and employees are waiting after dinner.


"We've already talked, the schools are getting less students than usual for a zero-population period and the schools going to be closing earlier. . .right?"


"Yes, we're looking at seven additional years instead of twelve."


"Damn, I knew we were getting less students but not that it was that bad."


"In two more years Haven time there shouldn't be any students under the age of ten left on Earth."


"With six and a half years to four on Haven that will have everybody through school by the time the second group of employees was ready to go home."


"If not it would only be a year after that. . .two at the most to get a fifth grade student who enrolled this year or next through high school. And before you ask. . .no there are no fifth grade students this year. It's high school students and they're all dual-enrollment."


"Okay, show of hands. Who needs to head home in two or three years?" Everybody looks around. "I think that's your answer Calvin. We're staying until the end. We all know we'll have jobs waiting on us when we finally get back to Earth."


"I'll make the arrangements for your mortgages or rents to continue to be paid." Calvin chuckles as the meeting breaks up.


"We've got good people." Principal Madison says.


"That we do, your employees didn't think anything of picking up and moving to another planet, mine don't think anything about staying an extra five or six years to see the last of the students through school."


"Is it just our schools not seeing students in a grade?"


"No, there's multiple schools around the world that are looking at 'whoa, where's the next grade?' even beyond the lack of students starting their classes. Where there are students they're seeing smaller than normal class sizes."


Josette repeats the talk when she gets back to the dorm, the others shaking their heads. "How did the . . ."


"numbers go so wrong? Less younger students. We have no fifth year students enrolled for next year. Granda just said it's not just parents not wanting to send their kids off, other schools are seeing years where there are no students beyond the kids starting school. Where there are students they're seeing smaller than normal class sizes."


"Not that that's a bad thing." Anna snorts. "So only high school students enrolling for the next three years?"


"Looks that way. And all the newcomers are dual-enrollment. Now Christmas?"


"Next week. Granda's heading back to Earth after dinner."


"Offworld harvests?"


"Ditto. I'll have them all in by the Harvest Festival though."


"Seven more years. It doesn't seem possible."


"Are you going out for midterms?"


"No, I'll be picking everything up while we're gone."


Principal Madison makes the announcement at dinner, students stopping what they're doing and staring at him. The news quickly is sent out to the others who aren't eating right then.


Calvin then stands up. "Students, I have a special treat for everybody. I'm sure you've all heard of the hit musical Hamilton. Thanks to the producer, we were allowed to tape one of the shows. That has been put on the server and you will be allowed to watch it. ..but you've also got questions you'll need to answer and there will be a discussion in your classes." Moans from the tables around them and on the screens. In the back room everybody sniggers. "And yes, students in the other school also have the same questions when they watch it."


David opens the tesseract when they arrive on Earth, students and employees walking through to be met by family and friends. The news of the school closing early is on everybody's lips as Josette fills containers in the office and heads to the manor.




"While I'm here actually, this keeps us from having to make a second trip out."


"Expect long, long, long lines."




"How many books?"


"Nearly twenty five thousand." Marcus says a couple days after the show. Josette is inhaling a mug of coffee and it's David that asked.


"I was signing all night and into the morning." Josette says. "I know the owner of the gallery wanted to go home but there were too many people still waiting."


Marcus snorts. "She made a number of sales after the gallery would otherwise have closed so she's not complaining too loudly."


Several weeks later the students and employees walk through the tesseract as the Josette that had been on an offworld harvest lands her ship. David opens the tesseract and they walk off the ship as Josette starts bringing out food as well as the containers of supplies she'd picked up.


"Is that everything?" Anna asks when both of them return to the dorm.


"For today." they say in unison while merging with the Josette who'd been on Haven.


Doc and the others shake their heads when they come out for the Harvest Festival and hear the news.


"How are you doing?"


"We're dealing with it. It's hard to think how long we've been open, it will be nearly 45 years when the last of the students graduate. We knew it was happening but not this quickly."


"Josette, are you taking out belongings?"


"Yes, I'm running out and dropping them off when I pick up the mail."


Jane looks over as Josette appears in the doorway, waving a hand and piles appearing. She nods as she gets the files. She points towards the other room and Josette nods, grabbing the mail carts and heading off.


"Are we going to be in the same time period soon?"


"Yeah, we're leaving . .. tomorrow I think." Josette checks her PADD. "Yeah, tomorrow. Jane was at the school getting everything ready for the students to return in a couple days.


After the Festival Josette heads off to pick up the students.


"Is that everybody?"


"Yep. A good number for one grade but . .."


"Not the numbers we've been getting. But I know other schools are in the same boat."


"Do we have empty dorms yet?"


"No, but everybody who wants a private room has one."


"Which since the students are taking basically eight years of classes in four isn't a bad thing in their minds."


"Nope, and they're paying more for the privilege." Joyce snorts. Josette sniggers and heads to the replicator, getting her supplies for the classes.


"How far are you Josette?"


"Going to be three years in one and three classes into the second year on the other. David should be two years into his when he's done."


Josette finally finishes replicating all the supplies for their classes and heads back to the dorm, putting everything in the library.


"Thank you Josette. Still planning on getting the stuff for three more classes after midterms?"


"Probably. I'll see how far I'm into the other classes then."


"This is a dumb question but what's going to become of the school library?"


"Monica's still going to be running it, it's going to be a private library for the school employees until the school reopens. We're still going to be getting shipments, even if I have to go to Vegas to pay for them." The others snigger.


Midterms Josette takes the last of the containers to the school.


"Is this everything?"


"But what the students and cooking school teachers are bringing back with them after Thanksgiving." Josette's eyes grow dark a second. "We knew it was coming." Jane nods and pats her shoulder. "I've lived through this three times before now, we will get through this."


"I know. . .and the sad damn part is this isn't the first time the school's closed because we'd be graduating the last of the students. Anyway, to get the hell away from morbid moods. . .I'm going to be down for at least a week to talk to Madison and the others about another book tour." Jane snickers at Josette's hangdog look. "Yeah. This one looks to be overseas."


Three weeks later her time Josette settles on the couch in the dorm.


"How long were you gone?"


"Three weeks, talked to Madison, Joanne, and Jessica about a tour since the books are being reprinted in different languages, hit a number of drop-off sites to make a little extra money." She looks out. "Are we expecting rain?"


"Not according to the weather satellite but it wouldn't be the first time you caught a storm coming in before they did." Alan says. "We need rain anyway."


"Otherwise we'll have to water everything. And we need to check the cisterns before then." Susan says, coming out of the storeroom with a package of toilet paper.


"They need filling, I was looking at them a couple days ago." David says from the stairs.


"I filled them yesterday." Josette says, looking over the back of the couch at them. The others look at her. "I was out and got both the Kent farms and Wayne Manors, both Headquarters, plus Mom and Dad's and Tim's farm."


"How are you on the degree for clocks?"


"Finish the second degree of the history of clocks next year and then we start the hands-on classes."


The next couple of months pass quickly, the crops are coming in and Josette heads off to Archimedes to take her finals. The first planet raised beds are picked and the plants tilled under for two years before she heads off to sell the tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. The last of the recycling is picked up on the other planets for the year and after Thanksgiving students, employees, and the returning cooking school teachers walk through the tesseract.


"Josette, are you going to clean the cooking school buildings and apartments?" Jane asks.


"Yeah, if we find anything I'll bring it back to the lost and found. We'll be checking the furniture and the mattresses will probably need replacing. That way the apartments can be used for a late class and people don't feel like traveling. I don't see many needing it with the tesseract links but the option's there for them." Calvin nods in satisfaction. "Probably need painting too."


"And carpets replaced." David says.


"Oh definitely after thirty years." Calvin says. "Even with cleaning them routinely they wear out. We've got to work on our dorms here when the school closes. Do you have any empty floors yet?"


"No, but we will next year unless more of the high school students want their own rooms."


A few weeks later they return to Haven, the students walking to the auditorium as Josette delivers containers.


"Are any of the orders from the supplier in?"


"No, we're expecting them next spring."


They head to the other dimensions the next day, Josette busy with book signings and tours that would have been happening while she was back at the Tower the summer between her graduation from university and starting grad school.


Back at the dorm a couple months later for them they start unpacking, Josette settling on the floor in the Albatross Nest.


"Josette, how delayed are your books going to be?"


"First semester year after next now, but that isn't any hardship since we're going to start reprinting some of the older quilting books after that." The others nod in satisfaction. "We can take a break from those when I have new books ready to go."


"How many books to go?"


"I have six books of the last eighteen yet to debut over there."


Agatha whistles. "I remember the backlog of books."


"What happens when you debut two a year." Josette shrugs.


"Changing the subject, how is construction going on the city-ship?"


"Good." Josette puts the latest pictures up on the screen in the building, the others looking at it and nodding in satisfaction.


"Takes a while to build a city but that's what this is going to be."


"Any new quilts?"


"Eight." Josette brings them out and they look them over.




"I got the three nearly finished and four more started. They'll sell just as well as the others at the shows, I was signing all night after the show and into the morning when we were off for Christmas with the students."


"I can't believe people are that . . ."


"Foolish, stupid. . . any of a dozen other rude words to buy books they'll probably never use? Oh yes, I once said out loud I could put out a book of baby babble and they'd line up to buy it because it was at the shows." Agatha nods frantically, cackling too hard to say anything. "Yeah, that was everybody else's reaction because they know it's the damn truth. I know everybody here will actually read the books they buy, not put them on a damn shelf as a status symbol."


"Are we getting the books Principal Madison and President Bartlett are writing?"


"Yes, they're going to be printed here before the old books are reprinted."


"Are we going to have any more cookbooks?" Somebody asks.


"They're working on them."


"What's happening with the buildings?"


"Assyrian's taking them over for their cooking classes after we give them a good scrubbing." Josette says. "The apartments are going to be used for people taking late classes. Yeah I know with the tesseract links it's only a few minutes to get home but we'll have them there for that option."


Josette puts the cookies and kits away when she returns home, finding the others cutting the plastic on new pallets of yarn. Susan looks up from finishing filling the last tote. "Pat wants you to bring out some stuff for her."


"I'll go right now then."


Josette brings out stuff for Pat, moving now empty containers to the ship to take back before joining the others.


"Get everything done Pat needed?"


"And moved the now empty containers to the ship."




"Double what we had been getting since the school is closing early. We're going to have containers coming out our ears until everything is put away. Granda's already doubling all the commercial freezers. . .including ours."


"Stasis buildings?"


"Yes, two are going up next year. And ours is going to be enlarged again." The others shake their heads but nod as they walk into the dining hall. Josette is waved to the front room.


"Josette, can you . . ."


"I already told Joyce I'd help her run the replicators when the students start getting their books for their first class. The twins are going to be running them to her and taking the receipts back to me. I already brought out boxes of bags to put in the room with me."


"Thank you and thank the twins. Even at the students having days they can pick up their books and supplies, it's going to be a lot of work."


The others begin coming out for the Lights Festival, Calvin sighing at the long lines. Though they're moving faster than he expected.


"Josette's running the replicators and the twins are running the bags of supplies to Joyce and taking the receipts to Josette." David says. "With all the new students in dual enrollment plus the older students, they've got days to come in and get their supplies." Calvin nods in satisfaction.


Josette and the twins slide into their seats in the dining hall that night.


"Is this everybody?"


"Three more days."


The last day Joyce sighs in relief as the last student heads off with the books for their first two classes of the semester. "Thank you girls, I never would have been able to handle all this on my own."


Josette slides into her usual seat at in the board room. "Did Granda get all the buildings enlarged he wanted?"


"No, he's coming out before the Harvest Festival to get the others. Did he talk to you about the orders?"


"Yes, they're doubling since the school's closing early. We're going to have containers coming out of our ears by the time everything's said and done." President Bartlett chuckles but nods.


"Not quite that bad but if we don't keep on top of emptying the containers and putting them on the ships to return it will be."


"I'll deliver everything in the winter, easier to leave them on the ship." The others nod.


"How are you in your classes?"


"I'm finishing the tv degree this summer and I'll probably be finishing the other one this fall."


"I understand that's the second of seven for the set?"


"Yes, this is timely comics. . .which will be marvel in the future. I'll start one for the national comics. .. which will be DC comics after that. There's another set for the other smaller comics."


"And the brouhaha with people up in arms about the violence in comics?"


"Yes, that's an even dozen because it deals with all the comics. Just like there's people who were up in arms about video games, music. . .you name it there's an old biddy with nothing better to do than decry about protecting the sanctity of childhood from the violence. Same way they bleat about the people who went out and shot somebody, they're the damn victim instead of making them take responsibility for their own actions."


"I blame coddling parents there, for every parent who tells a child you have a serious disease that you have to take responsibility for, there's a dozen who'd rather the world bent backwards to take care of him. How dare students be in their classes learning, how dare people be watching a movie in the theater. . ."


"Anytime anybody acts out. . .'ohhhh, I'm a victim of my disease, you can't blame me for that'."


"So how many degrees are you looking at?"


"All of them?" David and Doc say dryly and nearly in unison. Josette calls them annoying men in Kryptonese.


"Okay, with Josette taking care of the containers in the winter and maintenance concentrating on stuff that can be quickly put in buildings, the containers shouldn't pile up too badly. Now, the cooking school building?"


"We cleaned it before the others came out, they've looked over both and 'waved' it for Assyrian just like we waved the dining halls, school buildings, and dorms. When the school closes we'll do the *major* cleaning and whatnot needed." The others nod as the meeting breaks up. Josette stops to the bakery before returning the the dorm, finding her other selves taking classes, working on quilts, working on stuff for shows, or in the woodworking building.


The next few weeks pass quickly as everybody settles into the rhythm of winter classes, spending a few hours on the island or first planet to get some sunshine and warmth in their old bones.


"Are you planting the raised beds?" Alan says as he finds her looking at the beds.


"Purple Krim and cayenne peppers, both that I don't pick green." He nods and helps her fill the watering system.


The crops in the growing area are coming in and Josette looks at the full shelves. "Are we picking on the islands?"


"Yes, it needs it."


Josette looks at the bushels of oranges and bags filled with cacao and coffee beans a couple weeks later before she heads to the first testing week on Haven. Sheriff Carter is finishing the first year for his latest doctorate and shaking his head as he thinks that if anybody had said he'd be a doctor three times over back when he first moved to Eureka. . .


"Oh I know, when I remember telling Doc that my twenties was old to be starting a doctorate."


"Or you didn't have the temperament to be a medical doctor." Dr. Cross says with a chuckle.


"Yes, now I really am Dr. Takahawa." She sighs. Shaking her head as the others laugh. Dr. Stark looks at his mate.


"Oh no, nope, nu-uh, no way, no how. And in case I forgot to mention it . . .fucking hell no."


"You should have somebody in the sheriff's office who can render first aid."


"So hire somebody on each shift. . .beyond me going to med school."


Josette chuckles as the argument goes on and Vincent puts down plates in front of everybody. "Vincent I'm growing Purple Krim tomatoes and cayenne peppers on the first planet. I'll send out the message when I'm picking them."


"Thank you Josette, I'd hoped you'd plant both soon." Vincent smiles.


The next couple of weeks pass quickly and Josette finishes her midterms, picking up and dropping off recycling on various planets before she heads to the school. Looking at the containers she fills everything and drops the totals on Jane's desk since she's on the phone. Calvin's door is shut and she grabs the mail and supplies for the graduating students, picking up the supplies and heading back to Haven. Looking over the inventory she starts opening containers and moving everything to various buildings, Principal Madison nodding as maintenance thanks her.


"Is that everything Josette?" Principal Madison asks an hour later.


"Yes." Josette's voice says next to them though she's still on the ship. "Everything's in the buildings, maintenance can move it to where it's needed by everybody over the next few days. The mail is in the office along with the supplies for the graduating students."


On the ship she merges with the ten other selves that had been moving everything and flies back to the dorm.


"Get everything delivered?" David asks as she comes in for a landing after flying through the door Abby had held open.


"Yep, the empty containers are on the ship and Principal Madison is going to go over the list of what's in the containers to see if any of it can go in the buildings to be taken back in a couple months."


"Rather than stacking more on top of them and bringing stuff out as it's needed."


Josette snorts as she reads the databurst a couple days later. "Hey guys, celebritwits are suing to be allowed on the first trip into outer space on the city-ship. Because it should be a party. . .not anything serious."


Susan moans as she grabs her PADD. "They really said that. What a bunch of morons."


"I'm sure the judge will tell them to grow the hell up."


"But it's a city." Josette mock-whines. "What do you mean there's no paparazzi, night clubs, hotels, and bars? How can people live like that?" She reads further down and snorts. "Oh it's her. . .figures. She must not be able to sell enough books advertising them herself so she's looking for more publicity."


"And of course she'll write a tell-all book about her harrowing journey through space." David snorts. "Because a day without frying what few brain cells she has left is just awful for the poor dear. Thank god her stupidity won't breed." In the doorway Principal Madison snickers. "Josette, Frances and Elaine have a list of stuff they need from the containers." She puts her PADD on her belt and follows him outside, being shoved back inside and her outside clothes pointed at firmly.


"You know, I don't really need winter clothes. Invulnerable. . .remember?"


"Too bad, so sad. Wear them anyway.


"I could walk around naked on the sixteenth planet and not feel the cold."


"Please don't, I can just see you trying to see if pee will freeze solid in 40 degrees below zero when it hits the cold air."


"Body temperature, no it wouldn't." Josette snorts. "And no, I didn't try it for myself. Arctic worlds in the Legion's dimensions, some of them have temperatures that cold and sometimes you just gotta go when you're outside if they don't have the bodysuits that handle waste." They walk to the containers, Principal Madison reading off items on the list and Josette bringing them out then emptying the rest of the container and putting it on the ship.


"Frances, Elaine. Josette brought out everything you asked for and a little more to empty the container." Principal Madison says as he finds them in their offices.


"Thank you James, we'll thank Josette at lunch."


The weather finally starts warming and Josette is off spreading manure on the garden and fields.


Inside David is looking at Alexander and Michael. "How can you guys be two years into a degree and the twins and Alan only three semesters? You started the same time?"


"We picked up extra classes every semester to finish earlier when we got this big order. Just like you picked up extra classes to be five semesters into your degree when you were finishing your other degree." David nods. "Of course you didn't continue to take the extra classes."


"But annoying Grammy Allie is fun." David mock-whines. Then grins. "We can't all get in fifteen classes a semester on one system, eight on another and eighteen on a third."


"Yeah, but I'm going to be finishing my third degree to your first." Josette says smugly from her spot on the manure spreader. "And I'm finishing four degrees this year if you count the clockmaking history degree."


Windows are open in nearly every room on Haven to air everything out after winter and the new crops go in before Josette heads off to take her finals. Dr. Blake comes over and whispers something in her ear and she smirks.


At the dorm she brings out a pool noodle, whapping David over the head and shoulders with it a few times before putting it away as the others laugh. "Grammy Allie?" he asks with a sigh.


"Dr. Blake." She agrees with a smirk. "She's a leeetle bit upset with the men in her life right now."


"Ohhhh really." He purrs.


She holds up three fingers and he falls off the couch howling with laughter. "Of course Dr. Stark is smug and Sheriff Carter is just praying he lives through the mood swings until she delivers."


"Did you make her a bag?"


"Two of them."


The tesseract opens on Earth a few days later and students and employees are greeted by family and friends. Josette joins the others at the mansion a few hours later.


"Get everything delivered?"


"The supplies picked up and the empty containers dropped off." She settles on the couch and takes off her shoes, wriggling her toes in the rug under the coffee table.


"Some of your order arriving?"


"Yep, everything will be here by the time I come out for the new students."


The next four weeks pass quickly and David opens the tesseract back on Haven as Josette starts delivering containers various places, including Albatross. Back at the dorm she adds a few things to the building before joining the others walking to lunch.


She detours to the front room. "Frances, Elaine. the orders from the supplier are beginning to come in. Do you want me to keep yours on the ship until we have everything in or bring them out? Here's the list of what's in so far." She sends it to them. "The rest should be in by the time the new students start arriving."


"The others?"


"Got the room so I already brought them out."


"Bring them out Josette. The others are going to give us room for everything." Josette nods and her eyes grow dark a second and she nods. "There, everything's out now. Let me know if you want help moving stuff inside."


"Thank you Josette. Now your shows?"


"Me Mom's dimension, the boys Calvin's. I go second again this year. The boys show is next month, I'm taking out two ships because I got a book tour afterwards."


"How many books?"


"Four more of the last eighteen after this year. Oh, and the party for the last two new books is eighth day." They nod in satisfaction. "Did you pass along the new books to that woman who came out with the reality show people?"


"Yep, I signed them for her and her mother and gave them to Granda when we were out, he's sending them out a couple days before the show."


Eighth day everybody comes through the tesseract link or the open door for the party, everybody eating then lining up to buy the books and have them signed.


"How many books do you have finished?"


"Four done, three more just waiting for one or two more quilts, and two more started."


Josette is busy cutting the potato vines when the ship lifts off for the boys show, the tops going on the compost pile before she puts the machine away in the garage. Another few days and she'll be harvesting the potatoes, putting them in the potato cellar until needed. The seed potatoes had already been harvested and were in a second cellar until they were needed for planting.


Principal Madison looks up as Josette walks in the dorm.


"Cutting the potato vines before we harvest them." He nods and passes her the information on the next student numbers and supplies.


"Three more years and we'll start seeing the huge graduation numbers with the extra high school students."


"And floors empty if not dorms. How many students do we have for the last year?"


"Six thousand and two. All the other students that year were for the older grades."


"Are all the incoming freshman dual enrollment and have their own rooms?"


"Yes, Dad says they're paying through the nose for it."


Josette snorts. "Always going to be somebody who pays good money for feel sooooo much better than anybody else."


The others come back to find the two of them in the living room talking about the school plans.


"Josette, is that a fabric warehouse in the dorm and a supplier?"


"Yes, and no it's not the one I brought. This one I copied when an uptight little asswipe pissed me off sneering at me because he was sure I couldn't afford anything I was buying. He was taking over his daddy's businesses and looking down on the little people. . ."


"Who were the ones who kept him in business?" Principal Madison asks dryly.


"Yeah, he was sneering the entire time he ran my card and blinked when it went through without a second's pause. Because this way he couldn't have me arrested for trying to steal from him. He'd already had me banned from ever entering his business again. Then he lowered himself to attend a show at a local gallery and recognized me and realized he might have offended somebody important in the industry."


"Moron." Alan snorts as he and the Josette that had been away move boxes to various rooms.


"Yep, Daddy was not happy when he had to admit what he'd done. He very loudly and publicly called him several kinds of fool, making sure the news that he wasn't in charge anymore and the old man was taking the business back over would make the rounds and his former customers would return before the business. . ."


"He'd built with his blood, sweat, and tears was lost. Hopefully he's got other kids who can take over the business."


"Yep two younger daughters and a son. In fact. . ." Josette grabs Principal Madison's PADD and looks at the list of incoming students. "Hah. I thought that was a familiar name. His younger son arrives after the Harvest Festival and the girls already attend. One is graduating this year and one is in ninth grade."


"Second marriage?"


"No, the mother went for a masters and doctorate. The first baby was an oops from celebrating her finishing university. Something dumbass is going to have to do now to get a good job."


"Something he's wailing about?"




"How big is this fabric warehouse?"


"Big. Ten floors just of fabric. This was for serious seamstresses. Be they quilters or not. You didn't buy by the yard there, you brought by the bolt."


"That's got to be more convenient."


"Until you have all these remnants you can't use." Elaine says from the door. "Josette, can you come move stuff for us?"


"Sure. But I remember seeing tables full of remnants at expos."


"Yes, and most people had their own remnants, they didn't want anybody else's. They usually advertised in trade journals for other crafters and sold them cheap to get rid of them. Or donated to second-hand stores."


Josette nods, remembering all the fabric remnants on the shelves in various stores she's walked into as they walk to the containers. "It's only places like Sue and Agatha's store where you get a good turnover in remnants." Suzie, who'd been walking past talking to her Mom after lunch at the chicken place looks at them. "Josette copied a fabric warehouse that only sold by the bolt and we're talking about all the leftovers."


"Ah yes, I remember the tables of them at expos. I used to buy them at the very end and would get all of them for Assyrian for a good price because they just wanted them gone by the end of the expo."


"Yep, a few expos before we left Earth I made a announcement I'd buy everything left over for Haven. Everybody was glad not to have to take anything back home." Sue nods vigorously. They talk quietly as Elaine reads off items and Josette moves them into the textiles buildings.


"This is nearly empty, bring the rest inside and we'll find a place for it."


Josette shakes her head as she reads the databursts over the next few days when she's not harvesting or planting.


"I'd say I can't believe people are that damn stupid but my teeth would explode at that lie." David snorts when he reads of the absolute fit the dumbass suing to go on the city-ship has in court at being told no.


"Probably the first time somebody told the damn fool no." Susan snorts. "Did you go to the first planet?"


"Yep, everything I didn't sell to the others is in stasis or in wreaths."




"Picked them up when I took out the returning students belongings."


"Where are the others?"


"Enlarging the textiles buildings for the rest of the order that was in when I went out."


"Larger storerooms?"


"And a big room for the containers like we have. They're talking tesseracted warehouses for the others."


"Didn't they plan on expanding the stores anyway?"


"Yeah, everybody's on top of each other working on quilts at Sue's. They also need more room on the shelves and racks for supplies. Especially when they've got the layers put together and there's a wait on the long-arm machine."


"The other places are going to need expanding soon."


"Yeah, I'll make a list for the next meeting." Josette splits off a duplicate and heads into town. She walks through every building, looking in every nook and corner and talking to the employees.


She finds Bronwen talking with Sue and chuckles as she grabs a few items from the shelf. "I don't have to ask you if you need to enlarge and what you want."


"No, not us or either Albatross Nest." Sue snorts. "Though we need more old clothes."


"I'll bring them out next week. Do we need more room or containers up there?" Bronwen leads the way upstairs, looking around and nodding.


After dinner that night Josette goes up to her studio, looking at her supply of old clothes and realizing she needs to bring out some for herself too. Opening one of the boxes she ducks as the clothes shoot out into piles.


"I'd wondered if you needed some yourself." Bronwen says from the doorway.


"Yeah, it's not something you really think about until ..." Josette sighs. "I gotta check my thread supply." She leans into Headquarters the next morning, Renny looking up at her from the table.


"Tell Pat I'm making a trip to the thread complex next week, I'm not low low but I want to get in an order before I reach for a spool and only find an empty box." Renny nods and Josette heads off, people signing in before the ship lifts off for the offworld harvest.


"Josette was just here, she's making a trip out to the threads complex next week." Renny tells Pat when she comes into the room. Pat blinks and moans. "She says she's not low low but she wants to get in an order before she reaches for a spool and only finds an empty box."


Pat sighs and nods. "Better to have too much on hand than not enough. I really need to do an inventory of everything."


The next week Josette brings the flyer in for a landing, Frances, Sue, and Agatha getting out with her and Pat. She's got a wagon attached and can put anything that doesn't fit there in subspace.


"Are we going out to Ellis's?" Frances asks as they walk to the door.


"I thought we'd make a special trip this year or next if there's enough interest."


"If there's enough interest she says. I think everybody goes out those trips since you've got the room on the ships and you warn Ellis so he has all his employees there to help us."




Josette snorts as she reads the latest databurst after they'd come back from Christmas. "Dumbass didn't get her own way about getting a trip on the city-ship when it's finished, the court flatly refused to hear a case about us taking the useless twat and her butt buddies in, now they want their own colony dimension. But they're stunned that the government won't pay for everything for them. 'You mean we have to buy our own supplies? Put up our own homes, there's not going to be running water, heat, nobody's going to cook and clean for us? There's no MALLS? How can we live like that?'"


Everybody in earshot sighs, rolls their eyes, says a prayer for the future of humanity, or laughs.


"Are all the offworld harvests in now?"




"Do we have two Christmases the year everybody graduates?"


"The year before, Principal Madison and I were checking everything on the schedule. The year the school closes I'll have two offworld harvests."


"Is this the last year for new students?” Doc asks as he comes in from Headquarters with Doc.


"Next year, the freshman arriving next year or eighth graders if they're already here will be graduating a year before the school closes."


"How many students will be left?"


"Six thousand and two. They're sixth graders right now."


"How are the schools. . .?"


"Elementary schools will be closing end of next year, the year after that at the latest depending on how many older students there are. There's no students under the age of seven in the schools now and there's either small classes in other years . . .smaller than normal classes anyway or no students in a grade. Depending on how many grades middle schools have I'd say no later than a year after that and by the time we go out for the second Christmas the year before we close doubt there will be any schools left open. Granda says they'll be out of students the year before that, their youngest students are all seventh graders."


Josette heads off to Mom Clarinda's dimension with the others, a second ship heading off for the book tour. A third Josette is flooding the cranberry vines after she'd put up barriers around it, the floating cranberries being knocked off and float up into a container. Some will be dried, some will be put in brine then dried, while the rest go in stasis. After a good chunk of it is sold to the other planets.


She joins with her other selves late that night when everything's been harvested and the water pumped back into the cistern.


"Get your tv degree finished?"


"Yeah, and I'm six classes from the second comic book degree now." Josette says, putting the last of the DVDS and books away in the tv building.


After the Harvest Festival Josette is busy bringing in the new freshman and their belongings.


"Are you only taking the last semester for the comics?"


"Yeah, I'll start the new degrees next year. Relax this semester."




"The new ones have days to sign up for their classes and get their books and supplies as soon as we get back from Thanksgiving, first them, then the other dual-enrollment students. It's only at the beginning of the year that's everything's hectic, other times they can just sign up for one or two classes and get their supplies from Joyce."


"Just like when they're getting their books and supplies before the new semester."




Josette drops off the last of the graduating students belongings at the office when she comes out for midterms. "Do you want me to keep making the socks and stuff?"


"Yes, we'll have them for sale at the spa if you can add a few items." Jane says.


Josette sends her pictures and a list. "What I've been working on, yarn prices, a breakdown on what I can get from each skein, and what you can charge for them from what I've seen in various places."


"Do it. Are you going to need more machines?" Calvin says, looking over Jane's shoulder.


"Unfortunately yes." She sends him the cost breakdown with them and he nods. Josette sends out the order. "Ellis was going over the different yarns with me when I took out more books for him."


"How many more books?" Maria asks.


"Four more old ones yet to debut, four more done and edited, they'll be finished printing next year with the second six. Three more nearly done, I got one more quilt to finish for one of them and two for the other two. Two more started. When these last four are printed we gotta start reprinting some older ones, I'm running low. Which I wouldn't have thought was possible when we first started printing them."


Maria chuckles as Josette grabs the mail and heads off.


She leans in the open door of Principal Madison's office. "I talked to Granda about continuing to make the socks, scarves, and whatnot. He said yes, approved the new designs, yarn, and more machines. It's all been ordered, I'll probably have the machines by the end of the year, possibly some of the yarn, and be making them next spring." Professor Druid nods in satisfaction.


Sue nods when she comes in the next morning and finds the tables covered with piles of fabric and Josette putting a bolt in the partial bin as she grabs another one.


"I'd wondered when you were going to get more supplies."


"Got the money now." Sue just gives her a look and helps her go over the list. They measure the remnants and bring out replacement bolts. Sue looks at the getting bare shelves. "I've got to do inventory and make a list of what we need to bring out."



The last crops start coming in and Josette heads to Eureka to take her tests, picking up and dropping off the recycling a couple days later.


A few days later David opens the tesseract for the returning students and employees, the graduating students either heading inside for their graduation ceremony if they're in the first batch or heading home with family and friends.


Josette arrives at the mansion a few hours later after having moved shipping containers to and from the ship.


"Get everything taken care of?"


"Except for anything we buy while we're here."


David sniggers and turns up the television, Josette staring at the screen then swearing at the whining fit a celebritwit is having about not being able to go to another planet because everybody's being mean to her. They expect her to work. . .work is for little people and her Daddy's rich.


"Yeah, he's rich but you're going to be out on the street on your cute little pierced ear little girl if you keep embarrassing him. Oh please tell me she didn't just fall down and flash everybody because she's too stupid to wear underwear."


"Yup." Alan changes the channel to a comedy channel and shuts it off when they shake their heads.


A couple days later Josette sniggers as she listens to the radio. "Dumbass is going to rehab after Christmas or Daddy's cutting off her allowance."


"Huh, didn't know too fucking stupid to live was an addiction." David snorts.


"Or spoiled brat?"


"It's the alcohol talking she says. Or should I say a publicist Daddy paid for says."


"Ah yes, that old devil alcohol. It's always at fault. It can't ever be them."


"Yep, the old alcohol bottle grabbed them by the throat and poured itself down their throat."


A month later Earth time David opens the tesseract and the students walk to the auditorium. Josette is busy moving containers here and there before they lift off to go to the other dimensions.


"How is everything?"


"Good, we just came back from Calvin's dimension, that stupid woman who was suing to go on the city-ship had a drunken fit on tv, everybody was being mean to her by not letting her go to Haven, we expected her to work and work is for little people. . .her Daddy's rich." Pat rolls her eyes. "And of course rich people don't work." She waves her hand at everybody.


"Or wear underwear obviously because she drunkenly fell down and flashed everybody." Alan snorts.


"A few days later there was an announcement that she was going to rehab. Because oh god she wasn't a spoiled brat. . .it was that old devil firewater talking."


"Oh of course." Andrew snorts. "God forbid they take responsibility for their own actions."




Principal Madison and Doc look over as they walk through the dorm doors several months later for them. The Josette who'd gone out to Thomas and Doc's worlds joins with her other self.


"Did you get everything delivered to the seventh planet?"


"Yep." Josette stretches and yawns. "Note to myself. . .spread these trips out over a couple days. It won't kill me . . .Doc might." Principal Madison sniggers.


"Get all our stuff?" Abby asks her brother.


"Yeah, Josette's other selves on the ship is delivering everything here that we didn't put in the boxes on the trips."


"How was the trips?"


"Nice to see young people who have some common sense and know how to act in public." Anna says. The others nod. "Josette and the boys had a show while we were out. How far are you in your timeline?"


"Into my first year for my masters. I got the whole 'you're an artist too?' then."


"How are you going to handle being at the Tower your last year?"


"Staying on the ship the trip or spending some time exploring the land they brought. We'll come to that when it happens. I was in the lab a lot that last year, you could have locked the door and I wouldn't have known anything happened until Doc dragged me away for a shower, some food, and several days sleep." Doc and Principal Madison chuckle, they've both had to do that many a time when Josette was in the middle of something.


"Are all the knitting machines here?"


"Yes, And a good chunk of the new yarns. I'll take care of everything over the next couple weeks, it's not like they'll be needed right away."


After lunch Josette goes up to her studio, looking at the tables the boys had made for her. Bringing out the power strips she starts setting everything up, bringing out the boxes of knitting machines before dinner.


Over the next couple of days she opens the boxes and registers them, bringing out pallets of yarn and filling containers.


"Books?" Agatha asks in the now much enlarged Albatross Nest. Josette even has a chair to sit on instead of the floor.


"Four ready to print next year after the last six are done. Two that are being edited and one that just needs one more quilt. I've got two more started and hope to get three more started next year."


"Did somebody say you're starting more stuff for Calvin?"


"Yeah, better quality stuff for when the school out there closes. Sweaters, hats, gloves. . .stuff like that that can be sold at the spa or in the office because there's going to be somebody cooing they gotta have it because it's from another world." Agatha snorts. "I see that fool woman is going into rehab."


"Yes, because of course something else has to be the root cause of her problems...not that she's a spoiled stupid little brat."


"Who must believe only poor people wear underwear."


"Oh . .. lord." one of the women whines. "She flash everybody?"


"Yep, she fell on her ass during that drunken rant and showed off her diseased self. I guess the bad publicity was the last straw for Daddy, he was going to cut off her allowance if she doesn't go to rehab."


"She'd be poooorrrrr . ..and have to get a job." Sue mock-whines.


"Exactly. Living proof that people can still live without a brain."


"Nah, she's got a brain. . .it's just pickled with all the booze. Even those people who drank Granddaddy's white lightning never got that bad." One of the other women says.


"That's because your granddaddy's white lightning usually killed anybody who drank it it was so potent." Agatha snorts.




"Eight, and I'm nearly done with a ninth, that's the last one I need for my book." She brings them out and the others nod as they're looked over. Josette puts them back in subspace and the boxes of kits and cookies are passed out. Josette's elbow deep in hot soapy water cleaning everything after the leftovers are packed up. Everything is shoved on her and she heads to the dorm, Susan shoving her back out the door. "You got a call a few minutes ago from Pat in Doc's world, there's a fabric warehouse going out of business sale going on." She flies off and Pat nods in satisfaction as she arrives a few minutes after she'd sent out the message.


Josette comes back an hour later, boxes full of stuff she puts in her workroom until she can go through everything.


"What was it?"


"Some asshole wanting the land for their business. . .why should somebody who's been there for years keep the land even if there's plenty of land elsewhere I could build on. I want that land and I'll have a friend on the board grab it by eminent domain."


"Ohhh Christ. . . Don't people learn this never goes the way they want it?"


"Oh who are you to tell me it's going to go bad? I'm the big bad moron here. Of course it did go bad, they were suing the city council and asshole. He's whining that they should have given him that land. . ."


"Business as usual with whiny assholes?"


"Yep, the guy's building outside the city limits, the publicity means more business. The city council's whining because they're getting bad publicity as businesses realize it could have been them. So they're all up in arms and the asshole who caused this entire mess is blubbering that he's going to have to go out of business, nobody is buying from him now. The little bastard's done this before."


Everybody rolls their eyes. "So anyway. . .yeah. The bad guy is hip deep in shit and only digging himself deeper, the victim's rolling in clover, and the city council is praying that this bad publicity blows over soon. The sad thing is. . .moron could have had the damn building if he'd fucking waited a year, the business was already planning on moving to the land outside town because they needed the room."


"Those type wait? Never going to happen. They think their money makes them soooo much better than anybody else." Michael says dryly.


"Not everybody. . .remember Barbara?" Alexander smirks.


Michael laughs.


"Lemme guess, had to prove herself because the parents favored a brother?"


"Yep, and her father kicked her out of the house when she dared to want to go to a good university. She took all her knowledge and business dealings and was richer than him in five years. He came begging her when the boy was lost in a car accident, drunk and stupid and wrapped it and himself around a telephone pole. Idiot was driving on a suspended sentence from previous drunk driving arrests. They'd lost a good bit of money keeping him out of prison and sending him repeatedly to rehab. . .which never worked."


"Parents like that need to be beaten. Every child should be allowed to reach their full potential. . .or lack of it in some cases." Pat says from the doorway.


The others begin coming out, helping with the last few decorations as Josette heads to the office with the twins. There's a steady stream of people coming in and out of the office with books and supplies for two or three classes. Josette comes back the first day and waves a hand, two piles of books, DVDs, and other stuff appearing on the tables in the library.


"Are these Timely comics?"


"No, I started the National comics this time, I'll get in one or two before I start Timely again."


The Lights Festival is bustling and the table with grab bags is empty by the end of the first day.


Josette slides into her seat in the boardroom the first day of the new semester. "Okay, this is from talking to everybody in town when we were enlarging buildings last year." The file is sent to the others and they nod.


"This is reasonable, it's hard to think it's been over a hundred years."


"What everybody thought was enough back then has changed over the years." Principal Madison sighs. The others nod. "Okay, is there a priority one?"


"No, they're all handling everything. This is all dream renovations. We can easily add additional floors to some of these or expand backwards."


"Or both. . .with maybe a dumbwaiter to bring boxes down from upstairs, you can turn the handle to crank it up or down." They make plans to have somebody from Sanders come out to talk to everybody this summer before the meeting breaks up.


Back at the dorm she checks on her other selves and settles on the couch, feet up on the coffee table as she checks over the list of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs that she's getting low on to plant on the first planet.


"Are you planting?"


"Not this year, we've got good supplies on everything I'd normally plant. I'll go out and check on the building with the others in a couple weeks."


"And add compost to the beds beyond when you tilled under the plants."


"Yeah, I don't want to destroy them." Josette sends out the message she's not planting on the first planet this year, getting nods from the others. A second message to a few people get more nods.


"Get the last book finished?"


"Yes, it's being edited right now and I'll start printing next year after the others are done. Then we'll start reprinting the older books. ..especially if we're going to be having more shows in Doc's world and offering them for sale there."


"You're going to have to increase the orders."


"Already did. Half again the old print run." Pat nods in satisfaction as she comes out of Headquarters. "Josette, can you move some containers for me? We just emptied them."


"Sure, I gotta empty some of mine and rearrange what's left. The rest of the yarn is due in when I go out midterms." Josette says as she follows Pat into Headquarters.


"Josette, are there such things as yarn warehouses?" Bethany asks.


"Yes, I got online and found some addresses I'm going to have to hit when we go out again. Including a greenhouse and nursery."


Pat nods in satisfaction.


The next couple of weeks pass quickly and Josette arrives at the school after picking up the supplies. Jane is reading something online and shaking her head. "Useless wretch."


"Do I want to know?"


"That stupid woman who whined about not going into outer space to colonize a new planet. She left rehab and is already causing trouble. She got slapped into virtual reality to show what would happen in space and she's whining about having to build her own house, farm,. . .and dig a outhouse. They stink. Can't we just buy our food? What do you mean there's no store? I've got to cook my own food? Every day? Okay, where's the microwave? There's no electricity? NNNNNOOOOOO!!!!!"


"Damn fool. She expected it to be just like Earth where everybody bows, scrapes, and kisses her ass for existing." Calvin says from the door of his office, waving Josette inside.


"Are you going to be here long?"


"At least a week. The court case for that stupid brat who was trying to drive through our gates is tomorrow. Dumb bitch just stood there flapping her hair to make herself look good and saying that Daddy says she can do whatever she wants. How dare we have our gates shut when she wants to use our house for her drunken sextapes. Who cares what we want? Dumb bitch got her ass kicked up around her shoulders by her father for her stupidity at the station, her mother was wailing at the indignity of her good name being drug through the mud like this."


"Obvious where she gets the attitude." Maria snorts.


"Yup. So the police is looking through her sextapes trying to match them up to home invasions. She's looking at serious prison time because 'do you mean breaking into people's houses is a crime?'" Snorts of disgust. "Yep, I'm expecting a huge wailing massive fit in the courtroom when the judge sides with me in the civil case. Because Daddy's washed his hands of her, she's got to pay any judgments herself now instead of having Daddy throw money at it to make it go away. She's going to have to work, both to pay off the judgment, in prison, to pay off other judgments, and afterwards."


A few days later Josette slaps down the stupid woman who tried going after her and calmly tells her exactly what she thinks of her before she's drug away.


"How long did you stay?"


"Four weeks, for that stupid bimbo's civil trial. . .moron tried throwing herself at me when she lost. . ." The others shake their heads. "Those type of people need to be shot."


"Repeatedly. . .or kicked in the head repeatedly. There's no possibility of brain damage. . .you need a brain to damage. I stopped at Ellis's and a yarn warehouse. Ended up saving a small sheep farm that was going to have to declare bankruptcy." The others snigger.


"Gonna have to sell more books?"


"Yep, but I've got a steady supply of good yarn coming in. Technically I'm the partial owner but once they have the money they can buy me out. A couple bad years they're recovering from, some work that needed to be done on the farm after a storm and you know insurance doesn't cover everything, and a car accident took away the money they had put away. Bronwen knows them, she'd have stepped in if I hadn't and when they contacted her saying they had somebody who was offering money she was worried until she realized it was me. I'm thinking that one of us is going to bring them out to put up a table at the Harvest Festival. They'll certainly sell out here." The others nod. "Bronwen's friends that had the business I brought the yarn sitting in the warehouse is back in business, they went to court and the insurance adjusters and everybody else was told to grow up children and play nice." Alan sniggers, he recognizes who Josette is mocking. . .somebody from a series of annoying commercials that make you change the channel if you have the remote handy or want to throw something at the tv if it's not. They're gods, they already make the tvs unbreakable.


"Found a book warehouse, a lot of overstock stuff and went to town. Same with a music and DVD warehouse." Josette sends a file to the others. "Latest pictures of the ship, they're looking to be done with the infrastructure in a few years then start working on the buildings. With multiple crews working on five or six buildings at a time it should go fast."


"And as buildings go up they'll start filling them. . .either with supplies or furniture. It should be about a year after the last buildings are done and everything's tested before they get in the last of the supplies and lift off."


"How far is Becka's city-ship in their mission?"


"I think her last message said nearly a year into the five year mission, they're making plans for the second tour when they're back on Earth."


Josette heads to the office to pick up the books and supplies for three more classes a couple weeks later, getting books and supplies for three students while she's there.


"Thank you Josette." Joyce says when she brings out the bags and the students head off. "Are you finishing any more degrees this year?"


"No, I'm only two and three years into most of them." Putting everything away in the library she finishes putting away everything she purchased at the warehouses and the 'temporarily' going out of business sale.


The weather starts getting warmer and Josette is busy spreading manure on the fields and garden, tilling it under a few days later and planting a few days after that. After her finals she takes care of the recycling, the students walking through the tesseract David opens.


At the mansion Josette snorts as she she reads the whining 'apology' from the bitch who'd tried attacking her.


"Sorry you're a miserable human being who wouldn't let her do what she wanted?"


"Yep, she's going to get a lot of that in prison, seems this uncovered a major theft ring. Since she's part of little miss 'but Whhhhhhhhyyyyyyy won't they take me into space? Don't they know I'm spe-shul' group she's keeping her head down and being good when Daddy dearest told her just what she could be charged with for not doing anything to stop her. She finally figured out people aren't putting up with her bullshit anymore."


Josette and the others drive past the buildings on the school's new land a couple weeks later. "Looking good." Alan says, pulling up next to Jane.


"The local town is pouting. They're losing business and we're going like gangbusters."


"Because they haven't realized yet you need to spend money to make money and they really need to so some maintenance all around town. If they did that they might be able to entice businesses to come back."


Jane, the man she's talking to, and another man at a table all nod vigorously. "That's why I went to all the stores in Town last year to see what they needed and wanted."


"Is the paint factory opening?"


"Next year, Sanders is coming out to tell them how much paint and whatnot they'll need before they order. Suzie was tormenting Agatha about how they'd paint the store light purple with a darker trim like the Victorians."


"Agatha just look at her and remind her she's not too big to spank?" Abby snorts.


Josette sniggers. They park in the lot and split up, Josette or Alan putting the bags in subspace.


A month later on Earth David opens the tesseract on Haven, the students and employees walking off the ship as Josette starts delivering containers.


"Is everything delivered? Here anyway?"


"Yeah, I gotta deliver to the seventh planet tomorrow."


"Are the orders staying with the schools closing?"


"Yes, at least for five years after the school closes. After that we'll see but everybody can use a break. And the factories need to be checked."


The others nod.


The next couple of months pass and Josette's busy bringing in the offworld harvests. The crops start coming in on Haven and everybody's busy canning, drying, or otherwise storing everything.


Josette chuckles as she sees a couple of familiar people with Bronwen.


"I'd wondered if you were going to bring them out."


"Where were you?"


"Buying a few farms that butt up to our land before the vulture realtors brought them then tried grabbing ours.. . .bleating they didn't know it was our land. I basically just doubled our land." Richard moans as he comes by, saying a few words. Josette nods. "I was going to have you talk to them."


"You're going to get more morons suing to make you sell. Cheap of course or better yet force you to give them the land. So they can build McMansions. . .because of course millionaires and billionaires will flock to them to be seen by the right people."


"And make them money and have their names in the spotlight. Where they become the right people." Josette snorts. The others nod.


Calvin looks at Principal Madison later that night.


"Who's your high priest or priestess?"


"Joyce, I couldn't run the school without her. Though Jed is a close second."


"No reason you can't have both since they're over different areas."


"Damn dumb fucking assholes." Josette grumbles a couple days later as she reappears in the dorm. "One of the realtors who wouldn't take no or even HELL NO for an answer sued to get control of my finances. .. everybody's taking advantage of me. I can't possibly know what I'm doing . . ."


Snorts of derision and cackles of laughter.


"Moron was stunned to realize how old I really am. . .he thought he was talking so some kid with a little money. Of course if he had control of my finances. . ."


"He'd snap up the land, sell it out from under us, and have us arrested for trespassing no doubt." David snorts.


"He was stunned to find out you're only a year older than me. . .well except for the dirty old man over there." Alan snorts. "His whole flimsy story collapsed like a house of cards when he saw how many years I've been attending mine or the boys shows. How long I've been selling the quilting books..."


"Whine like a little kid? And throw a tantrum in court?"


"Yep, especially when the judge threw his ass in jail for ninety days for contempt of court for using the system to his own end like that. Of course he's whining louder since I'm very publicly suing the bastard for all this. He was very loudly fired from the company he works for. . .the boss didn't want the bad publicity of one of his employees trying to steal land to make himself rich. . ."


"More like cover his own ass and deny, deny, deny that it's a common business practice." Anna snorts. The others nod. "And pray he keeps his mouth shut so nobody digs deeper into the business."


The Harvest Festival comes and the people that had come out from the farm are stunned at how everything seems to fly off the tables.


"Does everybody knit, sew, or quilt?"


"A good portion of us. Those that don't replicate or buys it at the stores."


"No acrylic?"


"The school gets in supplies of woolease for socks, hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves for the students since they can't wash them out by hand sharing a bathroom with at least one other person." Nods from everybody she'd brought out. "We've got stocks of it in the stores but most of us have the room to wash them out by hand. . .even if it's just a tote of water and lay them out to dry."


Josette settles next to David on the couch.


"Is that it for the students?"




"How was sales of the yarn at the Harvest Festival?"


"Good. I think they enjoyed seeing everything out here."




"The last two of the old ones to debut next year. I picked up number seven and eight from the printers after the festival."


"Signing party?"


"Next week."


The others walk into the store, either through the front door or through the tesseract link. . .finding tables loaded with books and more loaded with food. Josette rolls up her sleeves after the party along with the others and soon the building is put to rights.


"How many books?"


"Not quite five thousand of each. I took out 6000 of each."


"How far in your masters will . . ."


"We be when we go out? I think just finishing it. If not I've only got a few weeks left. I didn't come right back to the Tower after graduation. Now I know why."


"Is this the last of the student belongings?" Maria asks when Josette comes out midterms.


"Except for anything the students are bringing back on the ship with them."


"How long are you here for?"


"At least a month, Richard's going to be walking through the farms I brought to see what they need beyond a year or so to rest the land and doses of manure and compost. Bronwen's already done that for the others. . ."


"Vegas? Comicon?"


"Yep, and talking to Madison, Jessica, and Joanne about another book tour."


Josette walks into the publishing house past the wailing man standing outside. "Bad review?"


"Stupid hotel manager wailing because he's not getting our business now from conventions and book tours after he canceled the reservations of a group of authors and refused to give us back the money we'd paid so we had to sue. He's horrified at how much publicity and money his competition is getting now and was stunned when we refused to use his hotel anymore." the receptionist snorts. "But that shouldn't matter now. Let bygones be bygones. . .I need the money."


"Twit." Josette snorts.


"Joanne's out with the kids getting school clothes and Jessica's in a meeting but they left you envelopes since they knew you'd be in soon." She digs through her desk and hands them over. "Madison's holding the hand of a new author right now but . . ." A man walks through with Madison who nods her head toward her office at Josette. "She should be through any minute."


Madison comes back to her office to find Josette reading everything in the envelopes. "Jessica okay?"


"Yes, she's just got a cold and wants to stay home and sulk. She hates being sick."


"I'm the same way. I just want to be alone, piss bitch whine and moan until I annoy myself let alone anybody else. A cold won't kill you. . ."


"You just wish it would." Madison nods and they settle in to talk.


"Do you know anything about realtors getting their own dimension?"


"I suggested it to Granda. Of course I also said they'd whine when they realized they had all this land but nobody to buy it because they had nothing there. They won't take NO for an answer about selling my land to them, one's gone as far as try to get control of me and my money because I can't possibly know what I'm doing. He's facing serious charges because everybody knows he would have stolen everything and left me penniless. And that he didn't come up with this idea on his own."


"People like that give good realtors a bad name. The industry tries to police itself but there's still some bad apples who only see the money they can make no matter who they hurt." Madison nods. "Thanks to word of mouth and the internet, those type of people never last long. They were looking for the quick money fast, not having to work for it over time. The agencies that make the big money work for it."


They talk about books, tours, and other stuff for a couple hours, making plans for the next year and Josette goes back to the mansion. A couple hours later a beeping from the gate has her turning on the camera.





"They've finally passed a law to protect people from unscrupulous realtors. You're allowed one attempt, by certified mail to contact somebody about buying their land. If they refuse to accept the letter it's a no and you cannot contact them again. They can contact you if they want to sell in the future. If you try again it's harassment and you can get fined. Of course you have to have a record of it, but with phones with cameras everywhere anymore you can easily take a picture of the letter's return address and postmark. The school is already going to be doing that for us since they handle our mail anyway."


"And if they continue to bother us we can show off all the pictures and they'll get their butts handed to them by the court?"


"Yep. Of course they're up in arms over that but we're not the only people they've used heavy-handed tactics to get the land. Nor was I the only one they tried getting control of to steal the land. We were just able to fight back. And make the bastards pay through the nose for their greediness."


"What brought this on? Not that they haven't needed it." David snorts.


"The wife of the asshole who tried having me declared incompetent went bleating to the police that we'd stolen the land from her when she was in the hospital. She couldn't tell the police what the inside of the house looked like. . .they were stunned when a bungalow turned into a mansion with multiple outbuildings. She had five acres. . .we have over seven hundred and fifty thousand. . .she finally had to admit she was doing this because we dared not accept the pittance the agency would have given us for our land. We needed to be punished for that. She was stunned when she was thrown in jail and the news hit the media. The agency ended up closing down after being investigated and the head is facing charges of his own for not reining his employees in. The employees who were cleared of any wrongdoing had jobs waiting on them."


"Good, no use everybody being hurt for a few bad apples."


"Ohhh, the realtor dimension opened." Josette smirks at Pat.


"They realize that they got all the land they want but nobody to sell it to?"


"Yep, and are wailing because they got what they want but . . ."


"It wasn't the be all and end all they thought it would be?" Bethany smirks.


"Exactly, they have to set up ways for people to get there, either as employees or to shop there. It's going to be a lot of work and years before they see the profits they were expecting." Sniggering from the doorway. "People with brains knew it would be hard work and not the profits they were expecting and didn't get involved?"


"Exactly. Oh, we're going out to Doc's world early. . .like next week. And you're coming with us." Josette tells Bruce. "I got the call when I was coming back from Granda's world."




"They've got their own Bruce Wayne they you to talk to about stuff." He nods. "Was there one on Calvin's world?"


"Yes. He retired to start a family. His grandson is in charge of their Wayne and his great-grandson is being groomed to take over the reins."


"We gotta think how long ago it's been on Earth. The boys are fifty-three now and they were six months old when we went out there. What's it been out there? Seventy-five?"


"Closer to eighty-five years probably. Is he still alive?"


"Yes, he's on his second identity since Dr. Cross gave him golden apple extract when he was hurt bad one time. Yes, there was a Superman too, he sent them a message when they came back that first time so what happened on the ninth planet couldn't happen there. Kryptonians don't really age age, even on their home planet. Even less so with their powers."


"The older you are the slower you age?"


"Sounds like it. And with invulnerability, cells don't really age or get destroyed. Immortality the same thing, you get exact copies of the cells instead of the damaged cells that happen as you grow old."


"Oh. . .I was wondering. With all the new people on Thomas's earth, is Wayne, Wayne, Dayton, and Drake staying open?"


"Yes, people that had come out had their own discoveries and quickly slotted into the group that was still there."


"How is their old world?"


"Pouting, they didn't realize that with getting rid of the 'undesirable' orphans it meant that people would have to do the scut work they'd shoved on them. And they took their discoveries with them, a lot of stuff they had taken for granted was discovered by former orphans and they couldn't use it anymore. Now they have to do without. . ." Josette mock-whines as everybody around them smirks.


"They're too good to get off their asses and rediscover it themselves?"


"More along the lines of 'only orphans take those classes." Josette snorts. "Morons didn't realize that they went to better schools, took harder classes, and got better jobs than the people who thought having parents made them better than that. And now those classes are gone because it was at schools that came with the orphans. They've got a lot of knowledge to regain. Or learn to make do without."


"Like any other natural or man-made disaster. Thomas's Earth is going through the same thing, so would ours if everything hadn't happened."


The next couple of months pass slowly, the crops coming in and Josette heading off to Eureka to get in her finals.


"How far are you in your new comic book degree?"


"Twenty-four classes. I'm three semesters into the new tv degree. David's three years into his tv degree."


"Not bad, a degree every two years. I'm sure there's tons of degrees at the school."


"Nearly a thousand and they add to them yearly. Including some sets that concentrated on ones you already took. Case in point. . .superman comics... were they set in Earth one, earth two, or another earth entirely. Were they Golden Age, Silver Age, or something else entirely? Alternate Universe, what-if, or time changed?"" The others nod.


"Dallas." Vincent snorts.


"Oh yes, the whole season was just a dream. Bobby was in the shower." Josette rolls her eyes. "But the damn soap operas were just as bad. . .and let's not forget prime-time shows were just as bad with disappearing children nobody ever mentioned again." All the older men smirk.


"Rapid aging children. One day they're kids and the next they're adults." Sheriff Carter snorts as he walks up to the table. "And their parents are the same age."


"Not just soaps, at least Family matters did that. One season the sister's baby was a baby the next he was a kid? To make the show more interesting. of course this is the same show that had the younger daughter go upstairs and never be seen again."


"Happy Days did the same thing, in the early episodes there was an older brother."


Josette looks around the empty library. David had cleaned up his area after his last class and Josette had cleaned up her area before she went out for her finals.


"Get all the recycling done?" Alan asks, coming up behind her.


"Yep, I picked up the last from the school to drop off. Probably take care of the recycling while I'm out there." She snorts.


"Probably." Alan agrees. "Going out to Vegas?"


"Yep, come to Momma nice little money. There's a comicon while I'm out there sponsored by the school I take classes from, I'm sure they're going to be getting a lot of publicity from this."


"Do they have the room?"


"A new hotel opening up in the next town, the comicon is their first guests."


"And probably make enough money for them to last the year even if they never get another customer again."


"Yep, the 'Official' opening will be a couple weeks after the comicon. By that time everybody should stop twitching and see if they want to do it again next year." Alan chuckles and they walk downstairs.


"Wasn't that the moron who was wailing last time I was here?" Josette asks walking into the publishing house. She looks at the receptionist, the man outside, and back.


"Yes, he tried suing demanding all our business be given to him instead of another hotel. We told the judge why we didn't use his hotel anymore and he was told to grow the fuck up and leave us alone."


"Lemme guess. He didn't wike that?" Josette snorts.


"Nope, he's going to go out of business. It's all our fault." The receptionist whines. "He's going to sue again. He tried and got laughed out of court, the business is sound. . .the little prick's just not making the profits he wants."


"Own damn fault." Josette snorts. "He thought he was soooo much better than everybody else and got his ass kicked up around his ears for his stupidity."




The comicon is well attended and Josette and some of the teachers from the school snigger as every employee seems to take a deep breath when everybody is settled in their rooms after the last talk of the con.


"So I understand you work at a school?"


"Yeah, I'm the librarian slash second in command of the school with one of the teachers. She handles the class stuff, I handle the non-educational stuff."


"How long are . ..?"


"We're closing in five years. Our youngest students will be starting eighth grade when the school reopens after break."


"Are we getting double orders of supplies for the graduating students?" David asks when they return to the dorm.


"Starting year after next when we have the first batch of freshman graduating. We've been getting larger batches as we graduate more students but the last four years we'll have double batches of supplies."


"If we run low we can let them know."


"So they know they have to buy more for the next year." Principal Madison who'd come into the room nods. "Supplies?"


"Delivering them from the ship, it should be another couple of hours. I'm just moving them to the buildings like usual, maintenance can put everything where you want it."


"Thank you Josette, are you going to the other dimensions?"


"Over the next couple of days.


"Did you take out some of the new stuff?"


"Oh yes, they'll have it for sale in the office by the time our school shuts down. And in the spa."


"Did we get another shipment for the library?" Alan asks on the way to the dining hall for dinner.


"Yeah, I'll take care of it over the next couple weeks. After we decorate the dorm and come back from the other dimensions.


"Last two of the books next year. I wouldn't have thought it." Anna shakes her head. "How many more books?"


"Nine with the last two from the original twelve. Next year and partway into the year after that for my quilting books, Principal Madison and President Bartlett's books will finish the year with the third printing for the first book and second printing for the others after that."


"Do you see much need for them?"


"No, that's why these printings are only going to be half of the others. I already have boxes of the others on the replicator, these are just in case. . .or for Doc's dimension." The others nod in satisfaction. "I don't see the demand that great when I'm not debuting new books." On the screen to the front room Professor Fletcher is nodding as Professor Druid repeats her words.


Clarinda agrees with Josette's thoughts when they go out the next day. They stay out there a few weeks before coming back.


"Anything on the databurst?" David asks a couple days before the lights festival.


"Whining from realtors who don't wike the new law. This is going to make them go out of business but since they're among the worst of the bunch everybody's ignoring them."


"D'Awwwwwww. Poooo' babies." Abby coos as she walks through. "They can't use their usual high-handed tactics and have to work to sell homes."


"Yep. The stupid bitch who tried claiming we stole the land from her sued to get her judgment overturned. The judge heard the case and doubled the judgment against her so she's wailing."


"Own damn fault."


"But we didn't get the land away from them. . .I shouldn't have to pay her money." Josette says in a whiny fingernails on the chalkboard voice. "Whole damn family needs their asses beaten for their stupidity. Their daughter had a wailing fit against the school she attends, she'd made sure one of the other girls in her class got a bad assignment when they had to spend a few days at a local business for some class project. This way she got a cushy assignment where she could lord it over everybody. The girl got involved in something that made the national news for a week straight and she's wailing that that attention should have gone to her."


Everybody rolls their eyes. "Yeah, the other girl's going to a good university and wants to make something of her life. This one just wanted to sit on her ass and have somebody else do the work. Now she's got to work with her parents in prison for years. If they get out they'll be working menial jobs too. Just like her."


"Are the realtors still wailing about not getting everything they wanted in their own dimension?"


"Yessssss." Richard says in disgust. "They tried suing and got laughed out of court. So they have to put their big boy pants on and make roads and bring in the other services they'll need before they can start selling the land. They're wailing that they won't make as big a profit that way and trying to make the government do it. The government told them to shove it and threatened to pull the dimension from them and give it to somebody else."


"Wail like the little babies they are?"


"Well hell, only the ones who wanted to make a quick buck and not work for it went for that, everybody else knew it was going to be a lot of work and they'd have to have a way for the mythical businesses that were lined up waiting to build to get there."


"That's why you don't have a mall in Death Valley." Josette snorts.


"It's not just land. . .it's location, location, location."


Josette moans and grabs Simone. "A casino on the land the school brought."


She blinks and grins. "Ohhhh yes, that would make them scream."


"Can you do it?"


"Calvin." Simone bellows. "Josette just gave us the perfect way to piss off the town." He walks into the room with Principal Madison. "A casino on the land the school owns." He blinks then laughs. "Not the land we own now but the government is selling a parcel that would be perfect." He sends off that information to Jane and puts the PADD away. "What brought that on?"


"The realtors whining about having to bring in roads and other services in their dimension for the mythical businesses they expect to be lining up to buy land. That morphed into why there's no malls in Death Valley."


"Or in the desert between California and Nevada." Anna says. "Because lord knows there was enough land there for anything they wanted to build. On the senior trips to Vegas we drove through the desert and there was nothing to see for miles around."


"Except for the brothels." Josette snorts.




Jane looks at Calvin as she gets the message. "The land the government wants to sell?"


"Look into it for a casino, mall, and hotel complex." He'd been sketching out ideas and passes them along to Jane. She looks at everything, smirks, and adds a few features. "Josette?"


"Josette. Brought on by the whining of the realtors dimension and Why you don't buy up huge tracts of land if there's nothing there to bring somebody there. That's why there's all that open space between Nevada and California in the desert and no malls in Death Valley."


Maria brings up a website and sends it to them. Calvin looks at it and nods. She gets on the phone to make an appointment to look at the land. "Did Richard look at the kids new farms?"


"Yes, and this way they can take a year off and grow other crops. They couldn't have before. .. now they have the money."


"Same with the sheep farm Josette gave the money to."


"That's the problem with commercial farms, they're often run on a shoestring and if something happens they go belly up."


"Farm market?"


"And selling at the school."


"And the casino complex. Especially if they have a separate restaurant besides the casino and hotel?" They sit down to make plans.


"How is the school?"


"Good, Josette has been running the replicators for Joyce for the students, both the new ones starting their classes in a week and the students already in dual enrollment. They have days to come in and get their books and supplies for their first classes of the year. Next year the last of the students will be starting dual enrollment and it will start lessening when the graduating students go home."


"Do we have all the supplies in to clean and paint the dorms when the last students graduate?"


"Just under half, the last supplies should be here just as they're needed." Maria says, checking a file on her computer. A glow heralds the arrival of Josette. Calvin looks at her. "Some asshole trying to claim they own the house and land, we're just squatting and he wants us evicted. I'm going to beat his stupid ass to death with a baseball bat."


A few hours later she drops into a chair.


"Get everything taken care of?"


"Yes, the little prick's in for a world of hurt. He finally blubbered that . .. noooo, he didn't own the land but a management company reallllllllyyyy wants our land and they promised him all sorts of money. The judge is not happy and I'm destroying the management company in the media. I dropped a dime and the government is going after them. . .and I'm suing the bastards for billions of dollars for trying to steal my land. Because surprise, surprise this is the same management company that has been contacting all the realtors. The housing court isn't happy since they brought this case up without any evidence, there was no papers drawn up. . .nothing. It just appeared on the cases for that day. The only reason I knew anything about it was an e-mail notice I got."


"I was going to say no paperwork came to us."


"Yeah, the judge is demanding a thorough investigation of all this people to find out how this happened. I'm leaning towards a hacker myself. Either somebody who isn't really that good since the paperwork was real bad or somebody working for them but they're also working against them."


The news is on every station that night with the footage of people being led off in handcuffs making the news the next day. A government agency is tearing their offices apart and horror stories about how they'd stolen land from other people start emerging.


"So anyway, they're in a shitload of trouble with the authorities." Josette says when she comes back to Haven. "As in never seeing the light of day except through prison bars ever again after centuries paying off judgments against them. They're keeping very quiet since citizens are demanding accountability and the government's listening to them instead of the 'right' people."


"Meaning they can't bribe 'em to ignore irregularities anymore." Alexander snorts.




"You know. . ." Alan says slowly. "There were instances of houses going up in foreclosure sales that didn't have loans. They swore it was an accident and people were just rubberstamping them but now. .."


"It might have been an attempt to steal them? Wouldn't surprise me in the least. Hell, they could have used the whole mortgage problem to do whatever they wanted."


Josette snorts. "There's tons of empty streets in big cities all over America, if they'd get off their asses and clean them out they would have all the land they wanted. They complain about some places not knowing where their food is coming from, bring in grocery stores and other places."


"Not enough profits, they want the big money of multiple stores in a mall. Not one monthly rent from a store that's actually helping the community."


"Welll yah," Anna snorts. "A feel good feeling doesn't put money in our pockets."


Josette slides into her seat in the government building the first week of the new semester. "Anything new we need to talk about?"


"Not on Haven, are people pouting on Earth?"


"Yes, whiners who were bitching that we should have given them the land were asked if they would have. They blustered of course they wouldn't have then went 'ooohhh' and shut up." Principal Madison sighs.




"We were talking about this after we came back Thanksgiving. We've been getting extra every year as more students graduate. Next year we'll get double when the first of the three years graduates. If we run low they'll buy more. And so on until the last year when the last students and employees head home. We shouldn't need them, they've been good about checking the numbers and sending out enough." Principal Madison nods.


"How long is the school out there going to be open?"


"Three years, including this one. They stopped getting younger students before we did because we got all the university classes."


"Are all the elementary schools closed now?"


"A good eighty percent of them, the rest don't have sixth grade as part of their middle school. I know some elementary schools are K-2 but that's just stupid." President Bartlett rolls his eyes.


"That was overcrowding, that's why you had third graders in middle school and seventh or eighth graders in high school."


"And some schools needed to be torn down." David snorts. "That one school by the Tower." Josette nods. The others look at her. "Sideways tuning fork, k-5 in the handle. . .cafeteria and gym in the middle, seventh and eighth grade in one prong and high school in the other with the high school library between them. They were trying to pass a millage because the elementary section wasn't passing inspection now. They didn't have room for sixth grade in the elementary, they had them in portable classrooms outside." Principal Madison moans. "They'd put up a new middle school years ago for sixth through eighth grade but for some reason they were going to tear down the elementary section and bring back the middle school students, putting them back in that other prong with the elementary students going to the other school."


"If they didn't have the room for them to begin with, why bring them back?" President Bartlett moans. "And what about the high school classes?"


"No clue. . . they want to put up a new gym in the school yard, making it open to the public so they can get grant money from the state."


"That doesn't fix the problems, that just moves them around."


"Exactly. If you need a new building, put up a new building." David snorts.


"They tried that several years before according to somebody, the millage didn't pass. They're hoping all these changes means this one does."


"I can't see it passing. . .yes, you're taking care of the elementary but you're hurting the other grades."


"Exactly, they've only got ten classrooms for three or four grades? Something's got to give."


"Ten? For the entire high school?"


"Maybe twelve? Plus the shop class and one used as a study hall." Principal Madison shakes his head. "That's why so many public schools are failing. Dad said something about a textbook expo?"


"University classes this time. They're getting in a section on texts about the zero-population period. There's rumors of texts about the realtors and the management company too."




"Either history for punishing them for their shit or psych to see why they went so bad."


"Mommy and Daddy said they were special and could do whatever they wanted." David coos.


"Or their parents wanted to be their best bud and not their parents?" President Bartlett says dryly.


"And sometimes they just don't grow out of the terrible twos stage."


Back at the dorm Josette looks at the shelves of bags for quilts, empty bags ready to be filled again and then the remaining quilt ideas in the notebook and the number of books she can make yet.


"Heading to the stores to get stuff for more quilts?" David asks, coming up behind her.


"That's what I was trying to decide."


"How many more books?"


"Seventeen, I'm just over halfway through them. I've got five started but they're nowhere near completing."


"What about the ones from the last set?"


"Those are the ones I started first."


The next morning Sue walks into her store to find the tables full of piles of fabric and the remnants bin full of partial bolts with more piled beside it. She looks around and smiles as she sees Josette coming out of the back room with replacement bolts that are piled on the counter.


"I was running out of quilts for the books."


"How many yet to go?"


"Seventeen. I'm just over halfway through the books. And I started with the quilts from the last batch."


"I thought you were getting them out quicker than usual." Josette starts putting everything in the bags as she scans labels, sighing at the total even with the discount before they start measuring the remnants, putting them in the bin, and putting the new bolts out. The store officially opens and Marilyn chuckles as she walks in. "Josette?"


"Running out of quilts for the books. She finished the ones from the last set first."


"Is this all your quilts now?" Agatha asks a couple hours later when Josette pays for her purchases there.


"Until the damn bunny jumps me again."


"Got any more books started?"




"Last of the old books?"


"Debut this year in the other dimensions."


"Are you going to start with the new ones right away?"


"No, I'm waiting at least a year." The others nod. "Those in the know know I have more books that I'm holding back. I'm not the only one. Even if it's a niche market we don't want to glut it. And see how many books are brought in to be signed even with no books debuting." Nods from everybody in earshot.


Back at the dorm Josette fills the shelves and nods in satisfaction.


"Is this it for the quilts?" Alice asks, looking over everything.


"Until the damn bunny jumps me again."


"How many more books?"


"Seventeen, I started with the ones I had completed from the last batch."


Josette snorts as she reads a databurst a few days later. "We knew that was going to happen when you base your economy on one thing."


"Saudi economy take a shit because they depended on oil for everything and the rest of the world isn't buying it anymore with alternate power?"


"Yep. They're going from owning a large chunk of other countries to other countries owning them. The colony dimension was their last hope in getting back on top and they're not buying any. Drying cow and horse patties for fuel to supplement the wood is the wave of the future there."


"Do they use the fake wood?"


"Yes, the government has brought tons of it since it works both in cookstoves and fireplaces."


"Are they heating barns?"


"Very. . .very carefully. A stove put away from possible hoof strikes."


"Better that then the houses that were one or two rooms with the animals in one room and the humans in the other."


"That would be miserable. The dorm is bad enough over the winter with the air scrubbers and enough room to spread out in. And opening a window a crack for five or ten minutes for fresh air when it gets too bad."


"And fans when the bathrooms are used."


The next few weeks pass and Josette snorts as she reads the databurst after coming back from taking her first tests in Eureka.


"Don't think so dickhead." Josette sends a scathing response to the asshole demanding they stop paying women and men the same pay for the same job, then carbon copies that to his boss and the media, smirking as the uproar in the media over the next few databursts has him desperately trying to form a response that doesn't make him look like a 'total' women-hating bastard.


"What a moron."


A couple days later Josette rolls her eyes. "Oh god, isn't that the standard excuse for bad behavior?"


"Lemme guess, blubbering about how he doesn't know why he says these things? Even though he had plenty of chances not to write down and send that e-mail demanding we stop paying men and women the same amount for the same job?"


"Yep, women's groups are up in arms. They've been getting 75 cents to every dollar a man makes for years, idiots like this is dragging them back to the days when women were barefoot and pregnant in the home. . . ."


"Always going to be somebody who only opens their mouth to change feet." Susan snorts. "I'm sure some new moron will knock him out of the top spot soon enough."


"How was the comicon?"


"Good. The school is getting a lot of interest from the academics and those who thought they were too good to read comics." David snorts. "Those people who thought it was a fluff school looked at the degrees and whimpered. They're planning on opening a limited number of online classes in the next couple of years as well as limited online ordering of the books and comics. They gotta pay about ten percent more than a student though."


"That will keep the school in business for decades." Alan snorts. Josette nods. "I noticed you looking through the catalog."


"Yeah,I might pick up the Harvey comics set. I remember reading Richie Rich, Casper the friendly ghost. . ."


"Wasn't that a movie?"


"Yeah, but like a lot of movies made from comics and movies it didn't do it justice. The movies from Josette's books were different since they made sure they stayed true to the source material and had good plots."


"Most of them were like that first asswipe in M'Lynn's office, just out to make a name for himself and hadn't even bothered to read the books." Josette snorts. "Then they're stunned when the expected money doesn't start rolling in."


"Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows. Green Lantern, Man from UNCLE. . .


"The new Fantastic Four." Susan rolls her eyes. "I don't even wanna know how they got around the Sue's white and Johnny's black thing if they were still brother and sister."


"His father was black too in the movie so maybe he adopted her."


The others nod and look at the time then walk to the dining hall through the tunnels.


Calvin looks up as Josette comes into his office a few weeks later. "Filled the shelves at the spa and the containers out here, the totals are on Jane's desk. Picked up the mail, supplies, and supplies."


"Thank you Josette. Are you going to be out long?"


"A couple months, I've got a book tour and I'm doing some shopping."


Josette comes back to Haven several weeks later. "God. . .people are stupid."


"Amen, but what brought that on?" Doc looks at her since the others are in the middle of classes.


"You remember that damn fool hotel manager I was muttering about, the one that canceled the reservations of the authors on that one book tour. . ."


"Then refused to return the deposits. The publishing house had to sue and he came whining when he realized how much money another hotel was making from the authors and convention."


"Then he wanted the money for himself, sued, lost, sued again, and lost again." Pat snorts.


"Yes, now he was picketing every hotel and business the publishers were using because of course the bad publicity would bring them to him."


"The only bad publicity was on him?" Alan snorts as he come through. Doc looks at him. "I just finished a class and they're grading the final."


"Exactly, he got arrested every time he tried that shit and the sales went through the roof. Now he's whining because he's got all those charges to face and his own lawyer is calling him a fucking fool. He was told to grow the hell up but of course he couldn't be bothered."


"Those type never do, they think they're soooooo much better than the rest of humanity then start whining when things don't go their way." Alan snorts. "But this means 'you can't pay men and women the same wages for the same job' should be kicked off the top of the 'you dumb fucker' mountain."


True to Alan's words the story is all over the media for the next few databursts.


"How many times was that moron arrested?"


"I believe the record is five times in one day. The hotel, each of the stores where authors were signing books, then the hotel again. This is what. . . day three? You've got another two or three weeks yet to go."


"Why did they keep letting him go?"


"Because this is a grey area in the law. He's not on their property so they can't have him arrested for trespassing, there's still freedom of speech even though he's picketing the wrong targets, and he's letting people in the buildings. I think he figures if he bothers enough people of course they'll tell the publishing house to give him business again. Moron doesn't realize the more people he pisses off the less business he'll get. Of course the hotel has disavowed any knowledge of what he's doing like in the MI movies."


"Why the fuck doesn't he picket the publishing company?"


"They have a restraining order against him since the little bastard kept standing outside the business wailing because they wouldn't do what he wanted. That should be talked about in the next databurst." The others shake their heads. "Well you know humanity, some of them still haven't grown up past the 'me, me, me, who are you to tell me no? Don't you know it's all about me?' stage. Unfortunately those are the ones that keep hitting the news because they need the attention and do stupid shit to get it."


"That's why there's so many 'reality' shows on tv." Principal Madison snorts from the front room."


"And so many drunk and stupid people on TMZ."


Josette goes into the replicator room and gets the supplies for the last three classes of the semester, putting everything on the tables back in the library when she's done.


"How are you on the second tv degree?" David asks, coming into the room with Alan.


"Four semesters with this one. I figure three years for a tv degree and two for a comic book." Josette disappears and reappears a few seconds later. She grins as a sphere appears next to her, a light spilling out of the opening that appears. Both boys can see inside and neither is surprised to see books as far as the eye can see.


"Another library?"


"Something like that. An artificial planet that was all books. . . .inside and out. Huge sucker, the planet is in it's own dimensional space. . .this is just an opening."


David just shakes his head. "I know. I think every civilization has had stories about a place like this."


"Library of Alexandria times a hundred million billion trillion zillion?"




"How big is the library you inherited on Thomas's world?"


"I don't think anybody's ever found the end of it. If it has one." Josette shrugs. They walk to the dining hall for dinner.


The next morning she finds Thomas and Alex in the library at the compound.


"Has anybody ever explored the library fully?"


"No, though I know all the protectors have kept journals and maps of what they explored." Thomas looks at her.


"Yeah, we found that room."


"I'm not sure if there is an end to the library." Thomas says. He looks at Josette. "Why?"


She waves a hand, the sphere appearing next to her. Alex pokes his head in before his father can pull him away and whistles.


"Have you told the doctors about this?"


"I sent out messages asking if they had anything on . .." around them TARDISES start appearing. Various versions of the Doctor and Doc look at her, then the sphere, then back at Josette. Alex bites the back of his hand to muffle the cackle that so wants to escape him. That's the 'what did you do now?' look of a parent. His own father nods.


"I thought that 'do you know anything about this mythical library' was a little too innocent." the doctor from Momma Clarinda's dimension says.


"Oh yes." Says the doctor from Mom Clarinda's dimension. They turn identical looks on Josette. The Doctor and Time Lord Doc are already looking through the opening. Josette sighs and waves everybody inside.


"Why you?"


"The ships? The fact I'm been selected by Earth's library? Or the fact that I have Mara's book gift? Which I think is more important than she let on but since I've got my own secrets it's not that big a deal." The others nod as they look behind them. The opening is now in the middle of a large room filled with books. "I'm going to have to start working on my languages. Once I figure out what languages they are."


"How big is this?"


"An entire planet according to the stories. An artificial one like the moon the islands are on."


Josette nods. "The entire planet is hollow, they started on the inside once they ran out of room on the exterior. They put the entire thing in it's own dimensional space for safekeeping, that's why there's only been rumors of it." The doctors and Thomas nod. "Because small minds would have tried to destroy it since they couldn't control it."


A couple months later Josette slumps onto the couch.


"Get everything done?"


"Finals. Took care of the other planets recycling. The last of the school's recycling will go on the ship right before we leave. The orders are on the ship to take out along with the stuff for the school."


Josette is waved into Joanne's office with a grin. "Did they ever get that twit hotel manager taken care of?"


"Yes, the judge strongly suggested he seek counseling after he was told to grow the fuck up and leave us alone. That includes staying away from the stores our authors are signing books at and the hotels where they're staying."


"Oh I bet that went over well." Josette snorts.


"As well as expected. He had a howling wailing fit in the courtroom. The court had him examined by a psychiatrist and they agreed with everybody else. . .he's a whiny fool." Josette sniggers as they talk over the tour and book sales, upcoming books, and other stuff before she heads back to the manor.


Calvin is there and lays out all the information on the land where the hotel, casino, shopping center, restaurant, and farm market is going, the others making suggestions.


Josette blinks when they come back and find Doc, Mara, and the others at the dorm talking to Doc.


"Josette Kiriko Takahawa." A familiar voice purrs. Josette looks behind her and grins at the fifth doctor from Momma Clarinda's dimension. "Awwwwww." David laughs. "That's the 'I just found out what you were doing young lady' voice and since they already know about your new toy I'd say somebody found the DVDS in the building." Josette sniggers then looks at Doc and the others. "We want to add some things to your Dorm, are you in the middle of anything right now?"


"No, the summer semester doesn't start for a couple weeks and I'm only one taking classes anyway. . .unless Dr. Blake is talking to David about being an annoying brat and making him finish his degree."


"You might need to stay at the ranch for a few weeks."


"I got a place I can take classes there." Josette shrugs. "Not like I'd planned on getting in many this summer with the offworld harvests coming in hot and heavy in a couple weeks."


"How many did you get in last semester?"


"41 between the three systems?" Josette counts off degrees. "Yeah, I picked up an extra semester to finish a degree. Otherwise it would have been twelve classes on teacher, eight on the school computer, and fifteen on the one from Granda's school."


"What degree did you finish?"


"Apartheid from the sosh school. I'm finishing a degree from the history school on plane crashes this fall but it's a three degree set. There's a set on the history of aviation I plan on signing up for next."


"What was Calvin grumbling about?"


"Some asshole trying the same shit with him that they did with me, getting the land away from them by any means necessary. Legal or otherwise. Then whining like little babies when the judge tells them no. Some moron doesn't wike the plans for the new land. . .or rather doesn't like the idea of anybody but him having the profits from the casino, hotel, and whatnot."


Everybody rolls their eyes. "Sour grapes."


Chapter 2 by josette grover



"Exactly, they had the chance to buy the land, the government's been trying to sell it for years according to Granda. But it would have been too much money to clean everything out. They figure to have everything up and running by the time their school closes in two more years. They've already got a list of stores for the shopping area."


"Which is why they're pouting."


"Yep. . .we didn't want it but we didn't want you to make money off it."


Doc shakes his head as Josette brings out the supplies for her classes.


"Is this everything?"


"No, I'll pick up the supplies for three more classes after midterms when these are finished. I'll lack a semester for the comic book degree after the Harvest Festival."


"This is. . .?"


"My third degree, the first two were from Timely comics."


"Marvel before they were Marvel." Richard says walking through and shaking his head. "Two sets of everything. One to read for the classes and one so you can have mint copies of everything when the degree is over. They added a ton of new degrees last year."


"This is the first from National . . .DC comics. Each set is seven degrees, there's another set for smaller comics. These will go up to the hoopla about violence in comics that nearly destroyed the industry. That's twelve degrees. Then we get into the super-hero explosion. And stuff like Archie comics and Harvey. Where the main comics weren't superheroes."


The next few months pass quickly, Josette taking out belongings midterms and bringing out supplies for the school. She'd been busy with the offworld harvests and yearly crops, a group going out to the first planet with her to check on the building when she goes out.


"Is that it for the offworld harvests?"


"No, I have half a dozen more."


Bushels of potatoes and other vegetables start coming in from the farms, being put in the bins down in the basement. The mushroom building had opened and Josette puts mushrooms in the stasis room. The last of the bulk crops are put away and she brings out flour from the seventh planet.


"Is this everything until the second crops start coming in?"


"Yep. Then the third crops go in and after Thanksgiving the food we've been working on in the big building will be passed out."


"Are the crops from the tropics starting to come in?" Alexander asks as he walks through.


"The first ones, they won't be ready to sell for a while though." he nods and brings out a new pail of litter.


"Ha!" Josette looks up from the databurst from Doc's dimension. "In your face twit."


"Do we want to know?"


"That stupid woman who threatened to sue because the millage didn't pass for their master plan for the school. She didn't get her way there either."


"That was stupid." Pat snorts. "They built the middle school because they didn't have the room, what the hell did they think moving them back would do? You're just hurting the middle school students."


"Bu. . .bu . ..but you could use the school gym for disasters." Josette mock-bleats.


"If they have a disaster they'll take the damn school over anyway." Susan says, walking through.




The others start coming out before the harvest festival.


"How are you coming on your books?"


"I've got fourteen of the new ones printed, I've got five more that's in the printing line, then President Bartlett and Principal Madison's books. I've got five of the last seventeen started, and brought everything for the rest of the quilts."


"I thought the shelves looked a little crowded." Hannah says dryly.


"Yeah, I've been busy this summer with my classes, the offworld harvests, and Doc and the others adding to the dorm to get in many quilts."


"Do you have two groups graduating this year?"


"Next year, then the following two years for all the high school students that came out the last three years, then the youngest students and employees."


"Then you gotta start inspecting and cleaning all the dorms and school buildings."


"Yep, then painting and replacing mattresses and linens beyond what we've been doing."


"Didn't you say you had a university textbook expo?"


"Yeah, next week. I'm hitting a few places while I'm out there."


Josette comes back and waves boxes to various places.


"How was the expos?"


"Good, I picked up a lot of stuff. Granda's got copies of all the books for the library. I picked up a new shipment for ours. Went to Vegas for a few days. Got the judgments against the assholes who kept trying to steal the land from us."


"Are they settling down?"


"HELLLLLLL no." Josette drawls. "Every damn day I was out there there was another realtor in the news getting fined for not taking no for an answer. Some of them were facing jail time for their stupidity."


"What about the dimension?"


"Oh they're wailing about that too. We had to have known this would happen when they gave it to them."


"Yeah, anybody with half a brain would have." David snorts.


"Which lets them out since they're only in it for the big bucks." Alexander rolls his eyes as he opens the first box of books. "Isn't this the stupid twit that tried taking your books?"


"Yes, she's tried it to other authors, both claiming she was their agent then in one case claiming she was the real author. The other person was just an actor hired by the publishing house. The judge read the files on what else the stupid bitch had done and told her to grow the fuck up."


"I bet she didn't wike that." Abby cooes.


"Oh not at all. Had an absolute fit in the courtroom. Who are you to tell me what I can and can't do? Don't you know who I am? Thankfully her stupidity won't breed with the zero-population period going on."


"Maybe that's why it happens, to weed out the morons." Alan says as he comes in. "Anything new on the zero-population period?"


"Not after they've weeded out the psychotic rants, the sky is falling wails, and the they're doing this to me deliberately huffs." Josette snorts. "There's a good few books on the realtors and the management company. Of course they're wailing about slander but since everything is true. . ." Josette smirks as the others laugh.


The books are sorted out and put in shelves in the library to be read later before they head to the dining room for lunch.


After lunch Josette heads up to her workroom, going eeny meeny miney mo to select a quilt, opening the bag and copying the drawing and notes, pinning a copy up on the corkboard as she starts cutting out pattern pieces.


"How is Dad coming along on the casino?" Principal Madison asks when she comes back midterms to deliver the last of the graduating students belongings and orders.


"Pretty good, the buildings will be up by the Lights Festival and they'll have everything in by the harvest festival next year. With everything opening before they come out for the lights festival. They're having a big opening with a portion of the profits going to different charities. When they start having kids again they'll start scholarships, both to their school and universities."


"I'm sure people will be showing up with their hands out bleating how they should be getting the money."


"Oh yes, anytime somebody makes money there will be somebody else whining that it should be theirs." President Bartlett snorts. "Because they're too good to work for it themselves. Now, library?"


"I finished everything I got when I went out for the textbook expo, the next batch won't be arriving until the first of the year."


"Did you go to Vegas?"


"Yes, and ignored the whiny brats who were wondering why anybody would buy fabric. . .until they realized their favorite designers did the same thing." The teachers in earshot sniggers. "Ehhh, always going to be some fools out there." Josette snorts.


"Are you going out to Doc's dimension after Thanksgiving?"


"Yes, we went out early last year. This year I've got interviews for the books, a show, and a couple of the quilting books debuting. And the fabric warehouse that dumbass took the building from will be opening again." Principal Madison looks at her and Josette tells him what happened, the teachers sighing or rolling their eyes. "Idiot."


"Yeah, he got what he deserved. . .not what he wanted."


"Anyway, with all the new room they're getting in a lot more stuff for the grand reopening sale."


Josette puts the books away for the first airplane crashes and apartheid degrees she finished this year upstairs.


"Are the students getting their supplies already?" David looks towards the administration building.


"The new freshman, this way everything's not assholes to elbows when the other students get theirs. Since they're all dual-enrolled too."


"How many students are graduating next year?"


"Not quite thirty thousand, next year after that thirty-three thousand, and the following year thirty-five thousand."


"It seems like more."


"All the students who can have rooms to themselves. We should start seeing dorms emptying next year."




"At least another year since this was the major color choice, then smaller batches of different colors for a few years after that."


After Thanksgiving David opens the tesseract for the students and employees, the graduating students either going inside for their graduation ceremony or heading to vehicles waiting on them.


Josette arrives at the manor a couple hours later.


"Get everything delivered?"


"Yep. Checked over the new land. Listened to the whiny bastards who won't take hell no for an answer and told them to shove their oh so important paperwork up their bloody asses. They still think that I'm some kid who will turn over the land to them for as little money as they can get away with. They're pouting because the government won't listen to their demands anymore. They can't have the land taken by eminent domain because too many people used that excuse to get what they wanted."


"So the government's cracking down on that shit. About time." Alexander snorts.


"Yeah, and tossing out stupid lawsuits before they ever get to court. And fining people for filing them. And making sure that celebtritwits who are arrested don't bleat that they're a victim of their disease and actually punished for their bullshit."


"Awwwww." Alan coos.


"What's the death toll?"


"Population is just under four billion. It will be even further down by the time they start having kids again."


Josette yawns the next morning as she waits for the coffee to finish brewing, looking out the window at the rain.


"Who's working on plans for the new additions?"


"Granda, he's been working on them on and off when he's not busy with the school and the other businesses. Once the school closes in a couple years he'll have more time to work on it."


"What do we need beyond more room for your stuff?" Alan asks.


"The wish list is on the server."


"Where's David?"


"Downstairs checking on the mechanicals. We probably need to update some things."


Josette starts delivering stuff to various buildings back on Haven as David opens the tesseract for students and employees.


"Get everything delivered?" Principal Madison asks, waving Josette to the front room at dinner.


"Yes, maintenance is going to be moving it over the next few days since I just put it in buildings to get it out of the containers." President Bartlett nods in satisfaction.


"Seventh planet?"


"I'll take everything out tomorrow when we come back from Doc's dimension."


Pat smiles as Josette and the others arrive at the Tower.


"How's Haven?"


"Quiet, the students knew that schools were closing but going out and seeing everything closed is making it all real."


Josette smirks as she and Pat head off to the grand reopening and the others are talked to about starting university classes. She gets a traitor look and throws them a mental raspberry /I already went through all this, your turn. And you shouldn't be boarding like I did./


"Behave Josette." Pat doesn't know what Josette's saying but she's well aware that she's taunting the others mentally. "Do I even want to know?"


"Telling them that they probably wouldn't be boarding like I was." Pat chuckles as Josette inputs the address in her vehicle and it pulls out on to the road. "Did you deliver the supplies to the buildings instead of just taking out containers?"


"Yes, this way maintenance doesn't have to dig them out during the winter. They've already got in everything they'll need over the winter from the other containers and I took a good number of empty ones back to Earth when I went out."


"Are the deliveries going to slack off when the students leave?"


"Yeah, that's why Granda's sending out so much stuff now. Every four months instead of every two months probably or even twice a year."


"What's the population out there?"


"Just under four billion with under three when they start having kids again. The population will be slow to start building again, from the records of the last times."


"Are the realtors settling down?"


"Yes, after figuring out whining isn't going to make the government change their minds and they can't just snatch anything claiming eminent domain anymore."


"The government is putting massive restrictions on it here. Local governments can't do it anymore, they need to send in a request to the state and federal governments. They've both got to say yes now for it to happen. And they have to pay full price for the land." Pat chuckles as they pull into the parking lot much sooner than they should have been and they walk inside.


Josette puts the last of the purchases in two rooms and they have dinner and see a movie before the vehicle takes them back to the Tower, Pat chuckling as she pulls Josette to her room instead of letting her sleep in the vehicle. Not that both of them don't know Josette wouldn't be sleeping for a while. The others are poring over university catalogs, Josette snickering when she sees Hamberg and its sister school Berlin's catalogs.


"Are you going for more degrees?" Susan asks the next day.


"As soon as I'm in the same time period." Josette checks the clothes in her closet, shaking her head as Pat calmly comes in, selects something, and puts it in her hands. Susan sniggers in her chair in the corner of the room.


They return a couple months later for them, detouring to the seventh planet so Josette can deliver supplies there.


"How was Doc's dimension?" Professor Druid chuckles at Josette's sour look.




"And book signing. Not as many as the other shows since we're not as well known there."




"A short one. . .nine days." Josette stretches and yawns, then looks out the window and sighs.


"Yes, it's already snowing and they're predicting this will stick." Principal Madison chuckles. "Maintenance is busy moving everything in the buildings, very glad they don't have to pull everything out of containers in the middle of winter anymore. Did you get your deliveries?"


"Yes, I moved everything to my studio or the yarn buildings yesterday."


Josette puts an extra quilt on her bed later that night, looking out the window at the dark sky.


Josette settles in her usual spot at the Albatross Nest.


"Books?" Somebody asks after everybody's eaten and the dishes put in basins to be washed later as babywipes are passed around and the tables wiped down.


"Party next week eighth day, Josette is bringing out the boxes the day before."




"Doc and the others were working on the dorm this summer, I didn't get as many in as I normally do. They're all going to be in the books." Josette waves a hand and five quilts appear on the tables.


"How many more books now?"


"Three to start printing the beginning of the year and then Principal Madison and President Bartlett's books."


Over the next couple of weeks buildings start to be decorated for the Lights Festival and Josette runs the replicator for the students.


"The students ready for the new semester?" Doc asks when they start coming out.


"Yep, the last of the students have the books and supplies for two to three classes, when they're done with these they can sign up for more classes and get more supplies."


"How many...?"


"Most of the students get in four a semester. Some might get in six a semester and take the summer off. Some might take a couple extra classes with the idea of getting a second degree in the future after they return home."


Josette and Calvin talk for a few hours, Richard, Hannah, and some of the others coming into the conversation. Back on Earth they talk to various government officials who nod that this should have been done before now.


"What were you talking with the others about?"


"Remember me talking about whole streets in big cities that need to be cleaned up."


"And . . .bringing in stores in areas that need it?"


"Yep, Granda is talking to the government about it. Lord knows the local governments won't get off their asses and do it. If the governments own the stores they'll stay in business, have food at good prices, and won't have to pay the cities taxes." The others snigger.


"Which the whiners with their hands out saying they could have done it will pout about."


"Yep." Josette smirks evilly.


"Did you bring out stuff for the superstore in Albatross?"


"Yep, I emptied the containers there from the ship. They're bulging at the seams in the back but it means no tromping out to the containers to bring stuff inside during the winter."


"You sign up for another degree?" Josette smirks at David when she heads to the office one day for supplies.


"Yeah." David rubs the back of his neck. "Grammy Allie insisted I get in more than six classes this year." Josette sniggers.


In the office she replicates the supplies for their degrees, putting them up in the library then joining the others in the dining hall for lunch.


Josette sniggers as she listens to the wails of big business in the databursts over the next couple of weeks.


"They howling at not having the money from everything?"


"Yes, more are threatening to sue because this means no competition. . .ignoring the fact that they could have opened stores if they wanted." The others snort. "And a lot of people are hoping they do open."


"Just like the morons whined about the affordable care act."


"Yep. They don't want to do it but if anybody else does they'll whine. No matter how many people it helps."


"They don't want to help people, it's all about what's in it for me with them." David snorts.


Josette goes out midterms, being waved to a seat since Calvin's door is shut and Jane's on the phone.




"Dealing with inspections for the everything on the casino and hotel grounds. Dealing with businesses wanting to go in on our land, ignoring whiny fools who don't like the idea of the government coming in with stores in poor neighborhoods so people can have affordable food."


Josette rolls her eyes. "Thankfully the courts told them to blow it out their old wrinkled asses, in nicer terms of course, and the miserable old fools should be dying off soon. They're the same morons who whined about community gardens going in open lots."


"Lemme guess, they can afford to drive miles out of their way to get the best. . .why shouldn't everybody else?"


"Oh yes. We've also got people petitioning to bring them into smaller towns where there's no grocery store."


"Like that place in California where the Walmart drove out the local grocery then went out so they have to drive miles to go grocery shopping."


Jane nods as the door to Calvin's office opens and she's waved inside after somebody walks out.


Josette spends a couple hours emptying containers on the ship, moving everything to the buildings. Joyce sends out the notice when carts of mail appear in the office along with the supplies for the graduating students and David looks over as mail appears in the dorm.


"Is that everything?" David asks when Josette appears in the dorm.


"Yep, everything's in the buildings. Mail and supplies are in the office, the whiny bastards who don't like the government bringing in stores got told to blow it out their old wrinkled asses and they walked off pouting." Alan sniggers as he walks in. "They're also taking requests from smaller towns that don't have grocery stores."


"Albatross. . ."


"And that place in California where Walmart drove out the local grocery store then went out."


"How's everything going in the casino?"


"Good, they're having their inspections. Once everything's checked they'll start bringing everything in."


"They still planning the special thing around the Harvest Festival?"


"Yeah, then the official opening later. Like the hotel did the comicon."


"They having another one?"


Josette nods, sniggering. "With a special day long event at the school. They're going to be allowing people to buy stuff but they gotta get in their orders early. Like starting now early. And they gotta pay at least half of it in advance. So they have everything boxed up for them when they arrive." Alexander nods as he walks in, grabbing a container and starting to sort it out.


Most of the mail goes in the recycling bin unopened.


"Are realtors trying to get around the new law?"


"Yep, they tried suing to overturn the law citing it was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court laughed at them. They tried sending letters with private names but the morons still used the realty's address and got their hands slapped for that too. Then they tried using no return address but people still complained."


"How dare they complain about us trying to get your land away from you?" Alan hisses as he grabs his mail.


"Yeah. Granda says he's come across a couple dozen 'letters' from so-called private individuals who want our land as a 'retreat' but there's so many clauses in the contracts 'using' the land that it's a clear case of trying to steal it that they're wailing in prison about how we shouldn't have seen through their cunning plot. They've tried this same shit with the school."


"Gods, people are stupid!" David sighs.


"Amen. But you know the old saying, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Or in this case the thieving bastards get all the bad publicity while the rest of them keep their heads down and make good profits."


"How are they coming on tearing down abandoned houses and buildings?"


"Good, they've needed to be taken care of for years but nobody ever bothered. Some people are whining at the loss of tax income but they didn't have any coming in from those buildings anyway so everybody's ignoring them."


"And some people huffing that they could have done that."


"Then why didn't they?" Susan snorts.


"That's what the others said. So they're pouting about not being the big heroes." Josette rolls her eyes.


"Did you get in a batch of supplies?"


"Yeah, the next batch will be arriving either by the time we come out for finals, midterms, or Christmas."


"Calvin's school closes next year doesn't it?"


"Yeah, that's why they're dealing more with the businesses."


"Are we going out for the special event?"


"Yeah, Jane's working on a list of the movers and shakers in the community for the party. They're going to be paying five hundred dollars a head for the privilege." The others snigger.


"In addition to the hotel rooms, money they spend on the machines, and food."


Josette smirks. "I'm also going out to Vegas while we're out there."


"So you can win as much as you want without feeling guilty." David sniggers.


"And the buffets."


"And see some shows and whatnot, it will be a while before Granda gets those at the casino."


"Not too long once he makes the news."


"Yeah, I expect a lot of publicity at the special event."


Josette shakes her head as she reads the databurst a couple days later.


"More whining?" Mom Sanders asks, coming up behind her. She'd come out from Archimedes for a few hours since Dad was talking with Principal Madison about something.


"Yes, people are idiots. They're trying to make private schools toe the Department of Education guidelines when they reopen despite suing multiple times before and being told no. Because of course this time they'll have to do what they want. Since all the schools are closing, they'll have plenty of time to get rid of the classes they don't want them offering and only have the ones they approve of."




"Every other time the schools were still open, that has to be why their lawsuits failed before. Not because they're fucking morons."


Everybody rolls their eyes. "Yeah, so the twits will walk off pouting because they can't be the big man around town anymore. They've already got a list a mile long of schools that won't be reopening, low enrollment to begin with or needing too many repairs to be feasible."


"Killingmesoftly." David says.


"Exactly, private schools keep up on their maintenance because it brings the students in. Most public schools don't have the money or don't care."


"Or like that school by the tower, the elementary section was built years ago and isn't up to standards now. They can't pass millages because they ask for too much money and it brings up taxes too much."


"That's why that millage failed for the school."


"And their plan was stupid. It was just moving the students around instead of fixing the damn problem." Mom looks at them and they tell her about the school millage and plans. She rolls her eyes. "If you need a new school. . .build a new school instead of trying that."


"They'd tried several years before that and it failed miserably."


The educational difference between private and public schools is all over the next few databursts, along with the wailing when they don't get their own way. Josette shakes her head at their stupidity as she fills containers in the office. Jane snorts as she turns the television on the wall to another channel. "They had a special announcement for that whiny fool?"


"Her daddy's big in the government." Maria says in a sing-song voice. "Daddy's going to be kicking her ass for embarrassing him. Did you get the list of sizes and colors from the spa?"


"Yeah, they passed me the list as they were unpacking the new order. I asked them where they ordered from so I can get in an order for us."


Jane nods. "I did the same thing. They have a store. . ." She finds the information and writes it down for Josette.


"How's the list of schools not opening?"


"Getting longer every day. We're looking at at least sixteen years before any kindergarteners after the schools close and only one school per town for years. Which people are wailing about. . .they should keep all the schools open and the teachers sit in empty rooms all day." Josette calls them ten different types of fool. "Yes, the court quickly disabused them of that notion. The state governments are not going to give the schools money to sit empty."


"That type of person is living proof of how bad a public school education can be." Josette mutters. Jane cackles and nods.


"Are you staying long?"


"Yes, I'm visiting several places while I'm here."


Richard shows Josette around a rooftop farm he started and she nods at everything.


"Is this the only source of fresh food?"


"Except for backyard gardens where they have the room. Of course people complained about it but the courts told them to blow it out their wrinkled asses to quote you." A woman nearby sniggers.


Josette gets the last of the trees she'd purchased settled on the ship and adds extra nutrients so they settle in well as the boxes of seeds go up on shelves. She'd already planted everything else she'd brought for the ship, the other trees and plants are in stasis, and they're taking the scenic trip back to Haven.


"How was Earth?"


"People are fucking stupid." David looks at her. "Instead of shutting down private schools they want them to take in kids from public school at no cost."


"Yeah. . .that went over real well I'm sure."


"'Wellllll, I'm sure the state can give you some money. . .' they bleated. That court case got thrown out as the stupidity it was."


"You hear about parents getting vouchers."


"'Ohhhh, I'm sure that will be more than enough for your troubles'." Josette drawls. "It doesn't cost that much to put a kid through school."


"Yeah, that's why so many schools are having budget problems." Alan snorts.




"Did you stop the places you wanted?"


"Yeah, I nearly doubled the trees on Ulonda and we stopped to the first planet so I could plant there too. I've got tons of stuff in stasis on the ships to plant in the spring. And that's after I sent what the others wanted to them."




Josette waves a hand and boxes appear in front of them, they go through them all and nod. "Granda was interested in the agriculture dimension like Becka has."


"So's Richard. He took me to some rooftop farms that he helped set up. And speaking of Becka, I just got a message she's pregnant again. ..I guess 50 is old." she says her lips twitching. The others cackle. "The others are pregnant too. And it's multiples again. The twins and Idina are having triplets, Becka and Danita are having twins, while Benton and their friend Kelly are loudly thanking god it's only one baby."


"How are the stores coming along?"


"Good, they're cleaning up whole areas in large cities for them. Multiple stores are going up everywhere as there's a construction crew to handle it. That place in California was the first one to have one started, they had the old Walmart building and it didn't really need that much work beyond adding some more freezer and refrigerated foods sections. They started filling the shelves, hiring employees, and opened the store. Of course they had some whiners complaining and threatening to sue but they were told to go away."


"Pouting because they said they didn't need a store no matter how far they had to travel?"


"Exactly. Some people are miserable bastards who have to try to spread it around to make themselves feel better."


"Did you talk to Madison and the others while you were out there?"


"Yeah, the sales are good. The first of the 'prequels' is debuting later this year so I gotta do another book tour." The others snigger. "Some nasty old biddies had a fit about 'smut' and tried suing, the judge told them to go away. Since they probably read the damn things but pretend they're soooo much better than everybody else . .." The others snigger.


"How is the work on the city-ship coming?"


"Good, they've got several crews working on various sections."


"How long do they figure the first test?"


"Six months on the moon, then five years on Mars."


"Is Becka's back on Earth?"


"Latest message says a few more months. They'll be on Earth for at least a year while they go over everything, clean everything, restock, get in a new crew, and lift off again. This second trip they plan on being out by the sun."


"Hmmmm, take at least six months to get out there."


"Huh, I don't think they've thought about that, I'll have to have the ships figure out how long it would take to get to the various planets."


"They'd need a longer mission."


"Yeah, at least ten years. Especially if they start looking at other planets."


"Get your second tv degree finished?"


"Second semester." Josette says as they look at the time and head to the dining hall. Clark Kent is in the front room talking to one of the teachers and she motions him into the back room when he's done.


"What did you need Josette?"


"You know the engines on the city-ship. How long would it take to get to the sun? They're talking about a mission there in Becka's dimension once they're back on Earth in a few months."


"They'd need a longer mission."


"They're looking at ten years."


Josette can see him doing the math in his head. "It would take them at least a year to get to the sun with their regular engines, we took the ships in tow when we moved them."


"So did the 9th planet." Josette gets the figures from the ships later and sends them off to Becka. She gets a 'thanks, nobody had thought about that and they'll need to know that when they start looking at planets to colonize.


Josette looks over at the beep on an incoming message on her PADD, moaning and banging her head against the table. David catches the PADD that had gone sliding across the table, reading the message, blinking, reading it again and cackling.


"Do we want to know?" Principal Madison asks from the front room.


"Message from Becka, bunny about a group of 'senior' prostitutes at a nursing home." Principal Madison moans as President Bartlett sniggers. "I was right, I didn't want to know."


The snow begins melting and Josette and the other farmers are out spreading manure on the fields and gardens. It's tilled under a few days later and they plant before Josette heads off to her finals on Archimedes. She picks up the recycling on the planets over the next couple days, moving it various places. The last of the recycling from the school goes on the ship and David opens the tesseract for the students and employees.


The spa workers sigh as Josette comes in, waving containers out of subspace. "Go through everything with me. I made extra."


"Bless you Josette, we're down to nothing." One of the workers says as they open the containers and start counting everything. The shelves are filled and the extras go under the counter. Josette fills the containers in the office before heading off to the manor.


"Meeting with Madison and the others?"


"Yeah, and touring the casino buildings with Granda."


They head back to Haven a few weeks later, the students and employees walking through the tesseract as Josette delivers containers.


"Is that the last of the supplies?" Joyce asks as Josette comes into the office.


"Yes, if we run low we'll replicate and let them know so they can increase the orders next year. We shouldn't though, we've got about a quarter more supplies than normal." Joyce looks at the numbers and nods.


"Josette did you order more yarn and knitting machines?"


"Yes, I doubled both yarn orders and ordered another twenty machines."


"Thank you, Dad said the orders were picking up."


"I made extra beyond what the spa had requested." He nods in satisfaction and walks back into his office. He then turns around and looks at her.


"Was that you going mad black woman on that idiot realtor in the news?'


"No but I would have been doing the same damn thing if it was me."


"Do I want to know?" Joyce asks dryly.


"Some stupid asshole has been repeatedly told no that the land this family had in the family for years wasn't for sale. The family came home from a day shopping to find them in their house moving everything out."


"Oh Christ." Joyce moans.


"But we're moving you out, you should be glad to sell us the land now." Josette says in a mock-whining voice. "The mother went off on the realtor, grabbing a shotgun and cussing him out while the father called the police. The assholes had to put everything back in the house including stuff they'd 'misplaced'. . ." Josette does a fingers quote.


"Misplaced to their own cars no doubt." Joyce snorts.


"Wellll it's too good for them." Josette mock-whines again. "They'd also tried throwing away anything they didn't want so they had to bring everything out and replace anything damaged before they faced charges. The government is not happy and is talking about shutting down all realtors and putting them under government control because they obviously can't be trusted to do their damn jobs legally. The human rights groups don't know who to support. . .if they support the realtors they're proclaiming it's okay to steal the land of hard-working people. . . if they support the people who are being harassed . . ."


"The realtors whine. It's the damn rotten eggs that is spoiling the industry for everybody. The good realtors will go on same as usual whether they're under the control of the government or not."


Josette looks in the yarn building, counting the pallets she has left and absently enlarging the building both up and out.


"Did you need it?" David asks behind her as he looks at all the new room.


"I doubled the yarn orders because the demand is hot. Alexander." He stops in the hallway and walks backwards, looking inside and moaning. "More knitting machines?"


"Yeah, another twenty. I'm going to move them to a room down the hall." He nods. "One table or two?"


"Three, I'm sure I'll be buying more in the future."


Alexander sniggers. "Michael, we're on tap for more tables for Josette." he calls.


"More machines?" He asks from the first floor.


"Demand for the stuff at the spa is hot, I took in more beyond what they'd requested and the demand will just go up when the school closes in a couple years."


David sniggers as he listens to the databurst a few days later. "Whiny asshole, 'but whhhhhyyyyy won't you arrest her? She yelled at me. Welllll yes, we were in her home and taking everything out. . ..but that's no reason to threaten me. WHAT? What do you mean theft? We didn't take anything .. .oh yeah, there were some people moving stuff to their cars. . .but it was just for safekeeping. But they should have been happy to have us moving them. After all, that's got to be why they haven't accepted our offers on their house and land.' Not that their offers were a fucking joke and they didn't want to sell their land."


"Of course not. . ." Josette drawls. "They're pouting since they can't subdivide huge tracts of land for McMansions, malls, and other shit nobody needs. They want it but nobody needs it. They just need it to lord over people. Which people pouted about when the colony opened up, nobody could rush out and buy up large tracts of land, they had to show they were working it instead of having a huge mansion. Of course, finding out there was no electricity, running water, flush toilets, or heat didn't help either." The others snigger.


Josette slumps onto the couch a couple months later.


"Is that it for the offworld harvests?"


"Yep." Josette sighs and closes her eyes, getting in a power nap.


The yearly crops start coming in and then the second harvests. Josette puts the last of the food away.


"So how long until you're in your right time period in Doc's dimension?" Alan asks as they walk to the dining hall.


"Year after next. This year I'll be mostly through my doctorate, next year I'll be at the Tower doing research."




"Another couple of days and I'll have everything in the system."




"Picked up the last quilting book and Principal Madison's biography yesterday. President Bartlett's will be finished in a couple months since both shifts are printing it. Then the machinery will be shut down, inspected, cleaned, and the building shut up until I have more books ready to print."


"Paint factory?"


"Another two years?" Josette says. "I need to check the requests to be sure. Everything will be done a year before the school closes."


"Is Calvin getting in supplies?"


"Yes, everything should be in to work on the buildings by the end of the year. Then they'll do the same thing we are, a thorough scrubbing, painting what needs painting, replacing mattresses, putting in new linens, and opening the dorms to spa patrons who buy the extended packages."


"Are they going to replace the twin beds?"


"Maybe, the fancy bedding doesn't come in twin sizes." Josette sniggers and nods. "Since they gotta share bathrooms anyway I don't see them changing the bedrooms. No matter how much the old biddies whine."


Josette puts the last of the books on the rolling carts, Tara grabbing one, Alex a second, and Dawn the last one to start shelving them. Hannah nods in satisfaction from the doorway. "Is that it?"


"Yeah, until the new shipment comes in the end of the year."


"You added onto your yarn building?"


"I ended up doubling the yarn orders since the demand is so good at the spa and it will just go up when the school closes." Hannah sighs but nod. "More machines?"


"Twenty. The boys are making me three new tables since I'm sure I'll be buying more machines in the future." Hannah sniggers and nods. "They'll whine when the school becomes a school again."


Everybody looks around the casino and hotel, restaurant, shopping area and farm market selling food. The special event lasts three days and makes them just over fifteen million dollars. Josette heads off to Vegas, making a good one hundred and thirty million over five days.


The Albatross Nest is hopping for the last book party.


"Josette, how long until you start printing again?"


"Probably not until the school closes in three more years."




"I had a tour when we went out for the students and Granda's special party at the casino. The government is trying to pull shit but they got their asses kicked by their superiors since he had all the paperwork needed. Tried claiming there was something illegal out there but somebody from the gaming commission was there and kicked them in their balls for their stupidity. They're pouting since they were looking for either a bribe or had accepted a bribe from somebody to make sure it didn't open. They were removed from the local office and everything they'd done is being investigated."


"Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of assholes." Suzie snorts. "Always got to be somebody out to cause trouble because they're miserable human beings."


"Who want what somebody else has. . .because they worked for it but they don't want to."


"Yeah, some morons from gamblers anonymous were threatening to picket and were told to grow the fuck up. Isn't part of the program taking responsibility for your own actions?"


"And apologizing to the people you've hurt."


"Never going to happen with some of them."


"Didn't I hear about a comicon and the school you're taking classes at?"


"Yeah, I'm off there right now. Nobody sleeps or eats at a comicon anyway so it won't look weird."


Josette sniggers when she merges with her self that had been at the comicon, the others just looking at her when they hear on the databurst some starlet whining that somebody was being mean to her, she was just trying to help the poor dear. The video footage calls her a damn liar and she loses her latest guest spot on a 'reality' show and has to work for a living.


"Can't afford the two thousand dollar shoes on minimum wage." Josette smirks. "Maybe she'll stop sneering at everybody she thinks is beneath her now because they can buy and sell her worthless ass a thousand times with pocket change."


"Stop to Atlantic city?" Some of the bags she'd brought out had been from that area.


"Yep, made another few hundred million in a day." The others look at her. "Daddy owns a couple casinos out there. That's why she's a starlet."


"Ahhhhh, gotcha." David smirks.


"Poooo' baby, she's going to have to learn what it is to be a human being, which means paying your own bills, buying your own groceries, cooking your own meals, and balancing your checkbook. Everything she left to the little people before now."


"People like that should be drowned at birth. At least her stupidity won't be passed on to a kid.


"Nope, she'll be in her thirties when they start having kids again and isn't that like 'old'?"


Snickering from everybody.


"Start a new tv degree?"


"I'll start it next year. Otherwise I'd finish a semester into the year."


Josette takes out the last of the student belongings to the school, making various piles. Jane and Maria starting to send out messages.


"Is that everything?" Calvin asks from the door to his office.


"Anything else the students will have to shuffle home on the ship with them. But everybody's good about making sure the kids have everything sent home before they leave." The others nod.


"How are you on supplies for the dorm?"


"Good, we should have the major paint color by the end of this year with another for the other colors. We'll definitely have everything by the time the school closes. . .you can't paint or really inspect buildings with winter coming on, so it will be the following spring at least."


"How is everybody coming on their classes? I see David started another degree."


"Alexander and Michael picked up an extra class spring and fall and took classes this summer to get in the last year of their degree. They plan on signing up for a comic book degree but want to take the year off to knock down special orders. Susan's three semesters into her degree, the others got a year to go for theirs. Alan was talking about signing up for the Harvey comics degree."


"How was the school during the expo?"


"Making money hand over fist. They couldn't order as many as they wanted . ..still limited orders for non-students, but people were filling the backs of vans, trailers. . .anything they could fit the boxes in. I can see more people signing up for the limited computer classes they're offering in a few weeks."


Josette's handed a thick file by Calvin. "We had your mansion and the grounds inspected when some realtor tried getting them condemned so he could swoop in and take everything. He's whining to anybody who will listen that it should have worked." Josette snorts and rolls her eyes. "Expect the morons trying to steal your land to very quickly go away. Now they have to pay you the worth of your land in damages if they try anything." Josette looks at what the land is worth and whistles. "This is more than some national budgets."


"Yep, they can't get that kind of money from investment groups so they are very quickly backing off." Josette, Jane, and Maria snigger in unison. "They got the whole damn dimension, work on that."


"They're going to have to, once they sit down and start on a plan on what they'll have to bring in in the way of infrastructure."


"Awwwwww, they gotta work for their money." Josette coos. Everybody sniggers again. "Are you down a while?"


"Yeah, I gotta talk to Madison, Jessica, and Joan about book sales since the other book came out."


"They're flying off the shelves at the stores." Jane says. "I pre-ordered my copy online." Maria nods.


Joan repeats Jane's statement, handing over the numbers and contracts to have them printed in a second language and put on audio. Josette looks at the thumb drive in her pocket then Joan, pulls it out and tosses it to her. "I got the basic idea from a friend, you'll see in the dedication." Joan waves her off and starts reading, blinking through the first couple of chapters then howling and sending it off to the others.


"When is the school closing?" David asks when she returns to Haven.


"Mid-second semester, they're going to be starting the fall semester in a couple weeks."


"Is the comic school offering online classes?" Alan asks. "Regular online classes. . .not our systems."


"Yeah, only twenty-five students per class. Only three classes in a semester. If they keep up their grades and don't blow off the classes they can sign up for another semester. Next year more people will be allowed to sign up for classes, they've hired more teachers to grade the students tests and will be hiring more if everything is good." David nods. "If the students grades are good, they'll be allowed to pick up more classes their second year. But I'm not seeing it right away, the classes are a good bit of reading."


"Are they coming in to pick up their books and supplies?"


"Fed-Ex. They put a distribution center down the road from the school and have two to three trucks a day picking up orders."


"Are they still doing mail-order?"


"Yes, the online students pay about five percent more than the students taking classes at the school. Mail order is ten percent over what the students taking classes at the school pay. Not counting the shipping."


"How's Calvin coming along on the casino, hotel, and whatnot?"


"Pretty good, the last of the stores are due to be in by Thanksgiving. Including the green grocer that's going to be selling a lot of the stuff from the commercial farm they took over. The 'grand opening' date is a few days before they come out for the Lights Festival and all the hotel rooms are already booked. . .for nearly a week." David sniggers as he walks through, it had already been a good sized hotel and they'd 'expanded' it when the casino and shopping area went in.


"The party got them a lot of attention, everybody who wanted to be movers and shakers in the community who couldn't get an invite to the other one are determined not to miss this one. So they can say they were there. . .not realizing everybody already knows who the movers and shakers in the community are and everybody is going to be there anyway." David sniggers but nods.


"Are you going out?"


"Yeah, but I'll hit Atlantic City and Vegas too. They've got a convention out there I'm attending. A few actually." David sniggers. "Did Daddy take over the business?"


"Yep and the old customers are beginning to return now that the kid isn't in charge. Dad is ordering more stuff in too, something dumbass cut out because. . .oh nobody wants all this to choose from. . .they'll take what we offer them and like it."


"Christ, was he trying to destroy the business?"


"Oh you know stupid kids who take over family businesses. They have all these ideas how everything should be run but because they never had to work for it in the first place they don't listen to people who actually went through it and screw it up to hell and back." The others snigger and nod. "They think they're so damn special and nobody can tell them no because they know best. The girls and younger boy are going to be working with Dad to learn how to run the business."


David opens the tesseract for the students and employees after Thanksgiving. They walk off talking to friends and family. Those who are up for the first graduation ceremony head to the auditorium while the rest head to vehicles.


Josette empties a couple warehouses of containers, putting them on the ship over the next couple of days. The opening for the casino and other stuff happens and people pout that they're not getting all the profits as they see money being made hand over fist. Josette heads various places, moving more stuff to the ship.


A few weeks later David opens the tesseract back on Haven and the returning students and employees walk through.


"Are they inspecting the now empty rooms?"


"Yep, checking for anything major beyond the inspections when they graduated and handwaving it until they can come in and do a thorough inspection and cleaning after the school closes."


"Was there many books to be signed at your shows?" Agatha asks at the party."


"A tenth of what we get when there's new books debuting." Everybody nods. "New books?"


"Three of the five finished with two more started. That leaves ten."


"Is Calvin's school closed?"


"Mid summer, they're all seniors out there now. The only reason we still have students is dual-enrollment." Everybody nods. "It's going to be another eleven years out there before they can start having kids. . .and even then it will be low birth numbers."


"The old one room school house. Even if it's just in a larger school."


"Yep. A lot of schools won't be reopening, those that can will be held back until needed and the ones that are in bad shape torn down. Your school didn't have all that money but you kept yours in good shape."


"Where Killingmesoftly's school was one of them that had to be torn down because the principal didn't bother with upkeep."


"We all took pride in our school and had volunteer weekends during the summers to work on it. If they could pay for the supplies, we'd offer the labor."


"Same thing we're going to do when we start working on the buildings in town." Somebody says. Everybody nods.




Josette waves a hand, bringing out the quilts and putting them on the tables.




"They're starting the smaller batches next year, everything should be done this time next year."


"Not like we can paint in the winter anyway." Suzie shrugs. Everybody nods.


Josette puts everything away back at the dorm, stretching as she gets up from putting stuff on the bottom shelf. She looks around with a smile. What had started a normal dorm room is now it's own building.


The others begin coming out for the Lights Festival. They look outside to find it storming.


"Will this cancel the festival?"


"No, it will end in a few days. Not the first time we've had to dig out before a festival." David says from the couch.


"Where is everybody?"


"Anna, Abby, and Josette are at the office helping Joyce with the students books and supplies for their university classes. The boys are either in their studio working on stuff for a show or the woodworking building working on special orders from Mom Clarinda's dimension. Alan and Susan are in Headquarters helping Pat empty containers." Josette comes in and waves a hand. "Ours is up in the library."


"Thanks. Signed up for a new tv degree?"


"Yeah. We're gonna hafta expand the buildings if all of us start taking the classes."


"You went out while you were out before?"


"Yeah, I showed off the school to the others. While David's taking the classes he never actually visited the school before."


"It was a nice campus. Be a bitch to carry all your books to classes though." The others snigger as they come from Headquarters or down the stairs.


"No, they tell you ahead of time what books you will need for which class." Calvin says dryly. "Not everybody has the room Josette and David have to spread out."


"We gotta enlarge the library if Alan's taking classes."


Calvin looks at Alexander and Michael.


"We're taking a year off to concentrate on the special orders. We're just under halfway through everything, a year will tip us over and the last half is always longer than the first." Everybody sniggers and nods.


"How is the 9th planet Earth?"


"The radiation level is going down thanks to it being so long on Earth and converting it into energy. They have a city on Earth doing experiments and they're making plans for when the nuclear winter ends. Similar plans to what Earth would have been doing when the ice age ended." Nods from everybody. "They're all out on the 9th planet right now."


Josette disappears and reappears a couple seconds later.


"People are stupid." She rolls her eyes and starts swearing.


"Not a lost world?"


"No, a world people picked up and left everything behind. . . because they're fucking celebritwits and debutantes and starting a new world was hard. Their home planet washed their hands of them and they died in a ship back to the planet when it got hit by an asteroid."


"Yes, that would have happened if some of the braindead patrol made it to Haven like they wanted." David sighs. "Was it a real colony or . . ."


"they wanted rid of the idiots and chose this way." Josette snorts. "I still think the ships are getting bigger with all the supplies I'm picking up."


"Do you need the others?"


"No, they didn't make it more than a week on the planet. They were sleeping in a shuttle because nobody had unloaded the ships or started putting up buildings. I just have to put the ships in tractor beam. They took the shuttle back to their planet because the ships were only programmed for a one-way trip. If they'd bothered to read the damn plans, they could have landed the ships on the planet." The others roll their eyes and she heads off, returning an hour later.


"Where are the ships?"


"One on the first planet, one on Haven, one on Archimedes, one on the 9th planet, and one on the 10th planet. Each ship could have easily held 900 people and their supplies for a real colony, some of it was real supplies but some of it was just 'shit' they wanted. There was only ten people in the 'colony' All girls 18 to 21."


"That wouldn't have lasted." David snorts. "Not just because there's no guys or families, the fucking catfights would kill them all off."




Principal Madison lays his head on the table as Professor Druid pats him on the shoulder, her lips twitching to beat the band. The others aren't as nice, they're cackling so hard they're nearly falling out of their chairs.


"I'd have sent them on a one way trip to the sun." Professor Ziegler snorts as he takes a drink of coffee.


"How much money did they spend to get rid of the fools?"


"I'm sure they considered it money well spent to get rid of them."


Josette moans, grabs her PADD and starts making notes.


"Get bunnied by all this?"




Josette writes down everything, making an outline that night after dinner. She looks up when the switching station opens and first Doc from the 9th planet and then Doc from the 10th planet arrive. She holds up a hand and finishes saving the file.


"The ships?" They nod. She tells them what had happened and both men moan.


"Do you have a list of supplies?" Josette sends it to their PADDS and they shake their heads. "Some of this. . ."


"Is shit they whined they couldn't live without."


"They would have learned. . ."


"Or ended up killing each other when stuff ran out and it didn't magically reappear." Josette rolls her head on her shoulders, her neck cracking. Both men head back to their planets, the others waiting on them. The story is told and they stare at them then moan.


"Josette, can you bring out old clothes, we're running low." Sue asks at the Lights Festival.


"Yeah, second week of the new year?" They settle on a date and send out the announcement.


Josette slides into her seat in the government building the first day of the new semester.


"David's not going to be attending, he's talking with Doc about something or other." She tells Principal Madison and President Bartlett. "Then he's headed to GD. Doc's about five minutes behind me." The two men nod. "Have you started going through the ships?"


"Doc and Doc are on the 9th and 10th planets, they're checking to make sure nothing's going to go bad without being popped in stasis. I'm on Archimedes, here, and the first planet checking the other three."


On the tenth planet Buckaroo and Doc are walking through the ship, checking the inventory on their PADDS and shaking their heads.


They finally come to the real colony supplies and start looking around in appreciation. "Do we have the plans for some of this technology?"


"Yes, they're supposed to be on the ship servers. The ships themselves?"


"Solar and chemical powered. They were meant to become meeting halls and emergency shelters on the planets, taking off if there was a natural disaster." Doc looks at the PADD again. "According to this. . .the engines are continually producing power. For space travel or use planetside."


Josette comes out to Calvin's dimension in the middle of the first semester for a comicon, doing some sightseeing and then visiting casinos. The money is deposited into her account before she comes back to Haven and starts delivering stuff.


"Are we getting more supplies?"


"Yes, I'm picking up another batch at the end of this semester and possibly a third when I go out for midterms our second semester.


"Is the school going to be shutting down then?"




Josette looks up from finishing the last quilt for a book at the darkening sky. The alerts about the incoming storm had gone out yesterday so everything is buttoned up and she looks over at David in the doorway.


"For a book?"


"Yeah, this is the last quilt I needed to finish one of the two books I have started. I'll finish it by the end of the week." She holds it up to look over and take pictures for the file. Looking at the time she follows David downstairs so they can go to dinner with the others.


"Get your quilt done?"


"Yeah, it's the last one I needed to finish the book so I'll do that week. That leaves the one I have started and the remaining ten."


"When are you going to start printing?" Frances asks from the front room.


"Year after next? I want to get a couple more books done before I start." She nods in satisfaction.


The storm passes through after a few days and everybody starts digging out, Josette clearing the worst of the snow off the solar panels at the school and the major buildings in town before heading to the other continent. . .finding Clark clearing off the others. Grinning she heads back to the school after checking the ranch, opening the doors of the barn to let the animals get some air as the ranch doors open and David comes out with the snowblower.


"Was that the last storm of the season?"


"Yeah. . .should be. They were predicting a lot of snow but a mild winter otherwise."


The tesseract opens at the school after the first semester finals, students and employees walking through and being greeted by family and friends. Josette drops off containers and picks up more before heading to the mansion.


"Did you pick up supplies for the students?"


"Yeah, I figure on another batch after the school closes."


Josette heads off to the ships a couple days later when she receives a message. Doc looks at her when she returns.


"I had to go harvest a couple planets, one that had been destroyed by the core exploding, the second being knocked from orbit by it's neighbor's explosion."


"Krypton and Argo."


"Or the planets in the 2nd Star Trek movie though survivors were able to live on the second planet even with it knocked from orbit." Josette says. "So I'm good on ores and other raw materials for years." Josette shakes her head. "I swear I heard one of the ships belching as we were moving everything." David sniggers as he walks past. Josette puts pictures up on the screen.


"Damn." He whistles. "Speaking of Krypton that reminds me of the Man of Steel DVD. It's own asteroid field."


"Yeah, if the planets hadn't been a danger to the shipping lanes it would have been left to see if it might have come back together like in the comics. That one piece was big enough to hold a colony if they'd had supplies of the necessary raw materials."


"With that much debris around them if they had the ships they certainly would." Susan says as she walks past. "Are you going out midterms?"


"A couple weeks before then. Expo and staying out for the last students graduating. I should have some stuff to bring back for the students."


Josette tosses the thumb drive on Madison's desk since she's on the phone and ducks out of the office, not at all surprised to find her, Joanne, and Jessica at the gate a few nights later when she returns from an expo.


"That was evil." Jessica complains.


"She cackled so loud she scared everybody in the office." Joanne sniggers. "Can we ask . . ? Oh no."


"Yep, a planet had enough and shipped off celebritwits to another planet for their own world. Unfortunately it didn't end up as well as the book did, they spent a week on the planet in a shuttle because they couldn't be bothered to read the plans to bring down the ships and start bringing out supplies. They went whining back to their planet in the shuttle complaining it was hard and got their asses handed to them. They were sent back to their new planet in the shuttle but an asteroid hit them on the way there."




"Yeah." Josette says quietly.


"Why didn't they take the ship back?"


"It was only programmed for a one-way trip and none of them could be bothered to read the instructions to bring the ships down to the planet. The ships had the equipment to take care of asteroids, the shuttle didn't because it wasn't meant for long trips in space."


"I'm sure some moron will whine that you're making fun of her." Madison snorts.


"If the fucking two thousand dollar shoe fits. . ." Josette rolls her eyes. The others snigger. "Parody is still covered by freedom of speech."


"They'll pout until they realize it's bad publicity and then do something else to try to get in the spotlight again. Probably go running to Dr. Phil or some other talk show about how everybody's being mean to the stupid puke." Joanne snorts. They go over the new contract for the two books and Josette returns to Haven a couple days later for her.


"Is the school closed now?" Principal Madison asks when Josette comes into the dining hall for dinner after spending the last few hours moving stuff.


"Yeah, I attended the graduation ceremony while I was there."


Joyce smiles in satisfaction at the full shelves of supplies for the graduating students the next day when she gets to the office, trust Josette to have filled them when she brought out the new supplies. There's enough boxes in the next couple of rooms to keep them from having to empty the containers until after the Harvest Festival.


Alan takes the gun for the recycling unit and begins shooting the garbage in the dumpsters, maintenance coming up behind him and cleaning them as one of Josette's other selves moves the recycling to the ship. She's emptying the boxes the makeup containers are dropped into once they're cleaned, dropping them into the replicator so the plastic can be used again.


"Do you have paper ends?"


"No, but I'm expecting to be picking them up when we bring out the students after finals."


"Are the employees starting to pack up stuff?"


"Not yet, I expect them to start doing it after the Harvest Festival next year since they've got more stuff than the students." One of the teachers nods as they walk past her.


Josette makes piles of containers in the office, Jane and Maria looking over the list of what goes where and starting to send out messages.


Joanne waves her into the office, handing over the sales reports for all her books and printing out checks. She signs the new contracts that she also prints out and Joanne drops them on the others desks later that day. Boxes are handed to her and she spends a few days shopping before she returns to Haven, delivering the containers of supplies before flying to the dorm.


"Sales good?"


"Yes, the first of the bimbo colony books is due out Thanksgiving. I'm going to have to take two ships out for the book tour. I'm sure people will be wailing at how I'm mocking the poooorrrr celebritwits. They're gonna sue."


Josette looks at the double beep of a message coming in. "Guys, Becka and her ladies adopted three sets of hermaphroditic twins, the state remembered her grandparents adopting the twins and that Danita and Idina are hermaphrodites themselves. Two girls and four boys. All three sets identical."


"Awwww. . . so don't expect them this year."


"Nope, probably not until year after next."


"Did Granda contact her grandparents about them taking classes on the teaching units? I know she was looking at the comic books."


"Yep, she's nearly three years into her first degree. But she's only taking two or three classes a semester." The others snigger at her. She halfheartedly slaps her ass.


"Taking a lot of stuff back?"


"Yeah, 33,000 students will be a lot of containers. Even more since a good chunk of them have had a room to themselves for four years and were able to spread out." The others nod. "It's been half again the normal amount I've been taking back. I expect to have to empty the room five times before I go out for the last time midterms."


Principal Madison nods as he walks into the dorm. "Next year will be even worse."


"I'm figuring on going out monthly after the first semester. The year after that should be back to normal even with the employees heading home." He nods and goes over the list of what Josette brought out and what they can expect over the next couple years.


"Fabric and other supplies?"


"We're still getting our regular orders. . .Granda already said so though they'll probably be going to every other year after the school closes. We'll still make the trips out to Ellis and the other suppliers every few years, probably after the school closes since it's been a few years."


"Next year is two Christmases?"


"Yep, and two offworld harvests, which means I'm going to be busy as hell the last semester the school is open taking out belongings and having offworld harvest weekly."


Josette leans against the counter in the Albatross Nest and whistles, getting everybody's attention. "How are supplies? I'm thinking of making a special trip out to Ellis's year after next when the school has shut down."


Agatha taps her fingers on the counter as Suzie grabs the PADD. "Hmmm, between Thanksgiving when everybody's gone and the Lights Festival. How are we on supplies?"


"Not low low but we will be in a couple years." Suzie flips through screens as Josette sends a message off to Alex Wayne. He looks at the message then checks a couple of rooms and nods, sending back a message. His dad looks at him as he comes up to him.


"Josette is putting together a special trip out to the supplier after the school closes. By then we'll be getting low even with the supplies we're getting in from manufacturers." Thomas looks in the rooms and nods. "We should. .."


"We're getting fabrics, thread, yarn, and batting in the order arriving after Thanksgiving, the e-mail just arrived before Josette's message." He brings up the message and hands the PADD to Thomas who nods and pulls him off for a breathing treatment. . .which is why he'd gone looking for him in the first place.


After the Harvest Festival Josette looks through her own supplies, making a list of what she has to order and what she can possibly get during the book tour.


"Did Dad say anything about some of the other schools?"


"Yeah, they're all being inspected now that the schools are closed. A lot of them didn't make the grade and are being torn down, others are being turned into small businesses."


"Jeez, I thought that was just a dream where the schools turned into stores overnight." Alan mutters.




"More like a nightmare if you were trying to find your class because you missed one damn day. Speaking of. . .how are you coming on your comics?"


"I'm not quite halfway through my second degree from National. I finished my third tv degree this summer along with the colonizing the west degree from the history school and the mechanical engineering degree from MIT. Those were the only ones I'm anywhere near finishing, I've got another year for the plane crash degree from the naval academy and while I'm close to finishing some of the megadegrees, I'm flipping through the degrees." The others nod.


"Sign up for your masters?"


"Yeah, a few days ago."


Josette puts everything away a few months later when she finishes the comic book degree, looking around the empty tables but knowing she'll be filling them in a few weeks.


"Damn, I forgot what an empty library table looks like for a moment." Alexander says, looking in the room. "I'm so used to seeing them covered."


"You starting a degree next year?"


"Yeah, both of us are. Alan and the twins are finishing theirs. How's CJ coming on his masters?"


"Good, he finished the classes and presented his thesis this summer. He's taking a couple years off before he starts the doctorate, they want to enlarge the lab on the second planet next year. It's been years since they did."


"Is GD doing anything with the lab on the eleventh planet?"


"Yeah, I'm taking a group out after the first of the year from both Eureka's for a ten year mission."


"Haven ten year. . .Archimedes ten year or?"


"The eleventh planet year."


"Did the city-ship on Becka's world lift off for their ten year mission?"


"Yeah, they're filming the trip to the sun. I've been getting copies of it in the databurst and passing it along to Calvin."


"They should be nearly finished with theirs?"


"Yep, they're going to have all the supplies on board by the end of the first semester and they plan on lifting on midterms our second semester."


"Where are they landing?"


"Mars after they drop off supplies to the moonbase. It should take about six months to get there so they'll have four years to map the planet and run tests before they start packing everything up and come back. With the information from Becka's world they know what to expect and they've been adjusting some supplies."


Josette takes off the next morning after breakfast, returning an hour later. "Where were you?" Doc asks. "I got the notice one of the ships lifted off."


"I was investigating the water planet where we found the structures. I spent about ten years under water trying to find information one way or another if it was originally an underwater civilization or if they had a catastrophe that sunk everything. Everytime I found information that made me think one thing I found something that made me go the other way." David sniggers at her hangdog look. "Send the information to GD?"


"Yeah, Brigadoon is doing it right now, as well as passing it along to the other ships."


"What brought that on?"


"I've been meaning to do it for a while and they're talking on Becka's world about building another city-ship and exploring the oceans."


Doc makes a hmming noise as David blinks. "Makes sense, most of the Earth is covered with water and it's not been explored."


Josette nods. "They found planes from the machines going off but there's centuries of lost shipwrecks on the bottom of the ocean. And a city-ship can both lower than a submarine and stay down longer."


"The drawback is they can't maneuver like a submarine can."


"No but since they can stay down lower they can move to multiple areas."


Madison waves Josette into her office, passing along information on the tour and something else.


"I've heard about these special cruises. . ." Josette says slowly.


"Yes, they went away for a while but they're making a comeback now."


"Because the children are grown and away from home?"


"Yes, now people have time to travel." Madison passes all the information after they talk about the books. "Pre-orders are good. . .we put up an excerpt on the website and word of mouth. . ."


"But they're making 'fun of me'. . ." Josette says in a fingernails on the chalkboard whine.


"Exactly. They threatened to sue and walked away wailing when people told them go grow the fuck up and get over themselves." Josette sniggers.


True to Madison's jokes whining women come up to Josette and scurry away at a glare and a 'get the fuck over yourself, if the truth hurts good'. They'd tried looking for support from the 'little' people who laugh at them. Them! The real fans have a website where they're trying to recognize all the people in the books.


The second ship returns to Haven, Josette having visited several places while they'd been out and she starts moving containers to the dorm.


"Is this your orders?" Pat asks as she looks at the containers.


"No. .. that shouldn't be arriving until the city-ship lifts off. This is a lot of stuff that was being marked down to get rid of it. A woman had ordered it then when it was ready they. . ."


"Fluffed their hair and changed their mind?" Susan drawled. Pat rolls her eyes.


"Yep, they were stunned when they got sued to pay the suppliers. Of course it was their god-given right to say 'sorry, we don't want it now and of course we're not going to pay for it. . .who do you think you are anyway? And this isn't all of it by a long run."


"That's not a designer. . .no real businessperson would do that."


"No, this was some damn fool using Daddy's money and influence to become an 'arteeste'. She were stunned when Daddy laid down the law and not only did she have to pay the manufacturer for what they wanted, she had to pay him back for everything they'd purchased with his money. I got everything for next to nothing, they were giving it away to anybody who had the room for it. Of course dumbass is wailing because she can't live off Daddy's money and influence anymore."


"Living proof people grow old but they don't grow up. They expected to be instantly rich and successful instead of working for everything."


"Exactly. When the money didn't start rolling in she wanted a do-over and real life doesn't work that way."


"Do you have a list of stuff?" Pat asks.


"They tried making an inventory but they kept finding stuff because got forbid she make a list of what she has. 'I didn't know I already had it'."


"Or had her workroom clean with everything either on the table being worked on or put back away where it belonged." Pat snorts. Josette nods. "I have buildings on the ship full of just boxes with stuff in them. . .not counting the fabric and other stuff they'd ordered but hadn't even opened." Pat moans. "Or the machinery."


"We won't lack for time to go through everything." Bethany says, coming up to them.


"Nope, I'll empty a container, we can mark each box and start an inventory then put everything away until it's needed. And put stuff together." The other two women nod.




"Buildings. Literally. Not bolts. . .rolls. I have it all in stasis until we need it."


"Christ. not even the top designer in the world would need that amount of fabric."


"Amen." Josette mutters. The others make similar statements when Josette repeats the story at the Albatross Nest. Especially after Josette puts a pictures of some of the rooms on the screen.


After the first of the year Agatha, Sue, Frances, Elaine, Pat, Josette, and Bethany start opening the boxes Josette brings out of the first container. Once a box has been opened it's placed in various areas so Josette can repack the container more efficiently.


"So how long did it take you to win back however much you spent on all this?" Frances asks during a break. Everybody chuckles.


"Two weeks?" Josette pretends to think. "No, that was for everything. . .a week in Vegas and a week in Atlantic City." The others snigger.


"First Christmas?"


"Three weeks."


"Christ that's early."


"Yeah. Second Christmas is midterms third semester."


"How many students will we have after Thanksgiving?" Bethany asks.


"Six thousand. . .. and. . .and . .. and" Frances says, looking at Josette.


"And two. Thirty-five thousand are graduating this year. It seems like more students because most of the students have their own rooms. Once they're gone this fall, we'll see more dorms closing."


"Fifty cases of seed pearls?" Bethany asks, looking at a receipt in her hands. She'd found the folder of them in a box and was looking through them as she took a break from opening boxes.


"Please tell me you mean boxes of seed pearls, the ones with bags of seed pearls you'd find in stores." Agatha begs.


"Nope." Josette sighs. "I just opened one of them." The others look at the box nearly as big as she is she's next to. "Does the receipt give you any information?"


"Nope, just fifty cases seed pearls."


"Christ, there's got to be a hundred boxes in this case." Frances says, coming over to look at it.


"144." Josette says, counting them with her x-ray vision. "Twelve dozen boxes and each box contains ten bags of a thousand pearls."


"Tell me you didn't count those. . ." Pat looks at her granddaughter.


"They're marked." The others shake their heads at the foolishness of some people. The boxes are moved to a corner as they're found as everybody gets back to work.


"Oh . . .Christ." Bethany says as she looks at the box in front of her then flips through the envelope. The others look at her.


"Swarovski crystals. . .but only twenty-five cases this time."


"What the fuck . ."


"She's an arteeste," Agatha says dryly. "Even if she couldn't use them right away she'd find a use for them. Jewelry or something else."


"Josette, Pat from Doc's dimension just called. She needs you to come out." Josette splits off a energy duplicate to take over what she'd been doing and heads off.


Josette leans her head on the dashboard in front of her and moans as Pat has her pull up in front of a familiar place. "Me, Pat, Bethany, Frances and Elaine, Sue, and Agatha are going through five containers of the stuff I picked up from this nutjob in Calvin's dimension. And that's just what I brought off the ship in the first trip." She says at her look.


Pat cackles despite herself then makes a solemn face. "It's not nice to insult people Josette, even if they are damn fools." She says chidingly.


"Oh pardon me, the stuff from this 'Arteeste' I picked up in Calvin's dimension. Did she refuse to pay for the fabric and supplies she ordered here too? The court made her pay for everything anyway even though she wanted a do-over and Daddy is making her pay him back for everything she brought with his money?"


"Oh yes, I take it you swooped in and got stuff?"


"Yeah, I got tons of stuff we just started sorting through. I filled five shipping containers on the ship that I use for this kind of stuff to bring it to the dorm and that was just a couple rooms, not counting the fabric."


"How bad?"


"Fifty cases of seed pearls according to the receipt Bethany found in a box. Not boxes. .. cases. Twelve dozen boxes in each case and ten bags of a thousand pearls each in each box. We'd found five cases when I left."


"Christ." Pat moans.


"Bethany found the invoice for twenty-five cases of Swarovski crystals just before Susan told me you'd called." Pat switches to another card before they walk inside. There's men and women following people with flatbed carts and two more follow them as they start walking through the full tables, with cases against the wall. Josette makes multiple trips out to the vehicle with the flatbeds, moving everything into various rooms when the people lifting everything into the back of her vehicle aren't looking.


Pat moans at the rolls of fabric. "Do you have the room for them?"


"Yes, but not enough racks."


"I'll make the racks, I gotta make some for me anyway. Are we taking what's left?"


"Yes, what I can't use you can."


Josette moans when she realizes there's more than the three warehouses she'd emptied before. It's stuff they can all use though and she'll make everything back up in Vegas. Pat chuckles, she's familiar with the look on her granddaughter's face.


"Vinetta would like to talk to you too. She just moaned when I told her how many other books you had in backlog."


A couple days later Vinetta looks up at the tap on her door and one of the pains in her backside grins at her from the door. "Pat said you wanted to talk to me and you'd found out how many books I really have."


"Yes, I knew you had a backlog but . . ."


"I do a lot of traveling and sometimes the damn bunnies jump you."


Josette parks her vehicle in a corner away from everybody and walks into her first casino in Vegas.


Charles chuckles a few hours later in the Tower. The others look at him. "Josette must be at the casino, a quarter million dollar check was just deposited into her account."


"That was quick even for Josette."


"That wasn't the big jackpot."




A few hours Pat nods at another deposit. "That was the big jackpot."


"Josette's going to replace every dime she spent, won't she?"


"I can take some of this off on my taxes as a business expense, she can't. She hasn't had enough big shows to need to get in the supplies she purchased. She probably could in Calvin's dimension."






The others look at her when she returns.


"Guess where Pat took me?"


Bethany is the first one for the penny to drop, falling on the floor cackling then waving a hand around them when the others look at her. They laugh too.


"How long were you gone?"


"About six months, I was talking with Vinetta about the books and visited a few places while I was out there."


"Vegas." Agatha mock-coughs.


"And Atlantic City." Josette says with a nod. "I visited a few places after I replaced all that money. . .and that's the same look Pat gave me. And has anybody ever gone on one of those special cruises that are geared. . ."


"To knitters or other textile people? I looked into them. .. Lord knows February was raw and it would have been nice to travel to someplace warm." Agatha says, her face growing dark. "The downside is they're usually put on by one manufacturer. . ." Nods from Sue, Frances, and Elaine. "You're stuck with their supplies and their viewpoint, the teachers were hired by them."


"But on the other hand you don't have to attend the classes, I'm sure there's plenty of other stuff on the ship you can do."


Josette nods. "Madison passed along brochures for a sci-fi/fantasy one. The big brass are over the moon about it but. .. "


"Those with common sense realize it's not the be all and end all they're hoping for?" Agatha snorts. They look at the clock and head towards the basement. Josette nudges Alexander and Michael. "We do not need wood for centuries, I got a call from Pat in Doc's world. . ."


"The damn fool did it there too?" David snorts. Josette sighs and nods. "Either she was more a fucking fool there or they sold a lot before I arrived. There's tons of wood drying on the ships. She wailed like a siren when she realized it couldn't be used right away. WWWWWWHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYY sell it if we have to wwwwwaaaaiiiiiitttttt?" Alexander rolls his eyes but nods. "I've also got tons of metal, not counting the stuff that was just for jewelry making. Not one, not two, but three large looms to make fabric for her to decorate. And clay, wheels, and kilns. Pat and I went out for the sale and picked up tons before the sale ended and we purchased what was left since I had a way to quickly empty the buildings. I was moving rolls of fabric into stasis for two weeks straight once they put it on a room." Josette shows them a picture of Pat's new fabric room and the buildings of fabric on the ships.


"What was that woman thinking? All that fabric would have been rotten by the time she got to it." Bethany asks.


"She wasn't thinking." Frances snorts. Elaine, Sue, and Agatha nod in near unison.


"She was an arteeste and the people would instantly fall in love with her, fighting for her stuff so she needed all that." Josette snorts.


Josette's waved to the front room where Principal Madison asks a question. Josette nods and joins them in the back.


"Asking about supplies for the graduating students?"


"Yeah, we're getting four shipments this year, that should be enough for both years of students and the returning employees. If we need more we can replicate it."


"The bookstore?"


"Will be nearly empty by the time the last students and employees leave except for basic supplies."


"How are we on food?"


"Good and we're getting in supplies every other month until the school closes. Yes, the same size even though the student number has been halved. Granda wants us to have years in stasis." In the front room Principal Madison nods.


"Are you planting on the first planet this year?"


"Yes, I'm going out next week."


Josette comes back from planting on the first planet the next week, finding the sky dark when she returns.




"No, a few days snow and a couple more blowing everything out." David says from the couch where he's taking a break from a class. His godmother had given him the look and he's taking classes on both systems. Josette settles in a chair, one of the cats jumping in her lap.


"Are you in the same time period now? In Doc's world?"


"Yes, and yes I've got a list of . . .Michael, tell Alexander that Pat's hinting about another show now that we're in the homestretch on the special orders."


"I've been expecting it, they check the status of them whenever they come out." Michael says as he comes out of the studio. "This is one of those days that nothing will go the way you want." The other two nod as Michael and Alexander settle in the living room. Almost as soon as they finish a lesson the others join them in the living room.


A couple weeks later everybody goes out for Christmas, Josette joining the others at the manor a few hours later.


"Get talked into a cruise?" There's only one reason for that look.


"YYYYYeeeeesssssssss." She drawls. The others snigger.




"Mid-February. And Ellis is renting out a ship the end of February for his own cruise. I've got the information for both cruises."




Back on Haven Josette makes copies of the information on Ellis's cruise, putting them up in various buildings and calmly walking away at the same time. She can hear the screams and Agatha cussing her out through the shutting doors.


She leans back in the buildings. "Ellis is sponsoring it."


"Good, means more than one company's products." Agatha says. "Did you get tapped for a literary cruise?"


"Yeeeessssss, just a book signing though. . .no talk like some of the other authors." Everybody in the building laughs as they pass around the brochure and start a list of who's going. The fund for their purchases in the other dimension is good and they'll have two years of offworld harvests to replenish it before they go out after the school closes next year.


Midterms Josette goes out to pick up the first batch of supplies and walks into her cabin on the cruise ship, not the most expensive one but not the cheapest either. She can't complain though, like the book tours the publishing company is paying for it. Unpacking she pulls on a bathing suit, shorts, and a t-shirt. Wandering the deck while waiting for the ship to pull away from the dock and the lifeboat drills, she smiles and nudges various people she's met at signings or conferences.


"They got you too?" One of them asks with a sigh.


"Yes, though I'm just holding a book-signing, I'm not talking like you guys are."




"Same reason you are? Publishers think this will bring them more exposure and more sales?" Everybody in earshot nods vigorously.


"Richard, this is Josette Takahawa, she writes sci-fi/fantasy books. Josette, this is Richard Castle, he writes mysteries."


"And is one of the featured authors for this. . .crapshoot." He says sourly.








Josette slumps into the control seat of Aztec ten days later after she's stopped to the manor, took care of the empty pens, and did laundry. They detour past the city-ship, taking pictures of the trucks delivering supplies before they take off. Aztec sniggers as she turns around to find Josette asleep in the control chair. She'll take the slow route for a few days, let Josette recover from the cruise and work on the recycling she brought back.


The trip back from the other cruise is much more exciting as people talk about what they'd purchased, the new products coming out that were introduced on the cruise. . .everybody has grab bags of samples, and new books beyond Josette's.


"Did Ellis have you take what was left?" Agatha asks, standing next to the command chair where Josette is devouring a large sandwich. She nods and pops the last of the sandwich in her mouth.


"Yes, I've got about two and a half buildings of stuff that had to be moved off the ship I'll sort through . . .eventually." Agatha snickers. David opens the tesseract and she and house elves move purchases to various homes and buildings before she flies back to the dorm.


"Is that it for a while?" Doc asks as she lands outside the dorm. Pat's purchases had already arrived at Headquarters so he knew she'd be arriving soon.


"Yeah, I'm done until I have to go in finals to take in the recycling and pick up supplies." She brings her own stuff out of subspace.


"Laundry?" Susan asks as Josette takes her bags upstairs.


"We did it on the trip back. Everybody's going to be busy putting stuff away. And looking at how much money was spent on the account and seeing what they can put back with the offworld harvests. At least what they put on it."


"And then some." Alan snorts as he walks through. "I moved the school's recycling to Ulonda."


"Thank you, I figured we'd have to in a few days, it was beginning to stack up."


"Garbage?" Doc asks.


"We're going to be taking care of it finals. After next year we should be able to go back to handling it twice a year. With just the two dumpsters it won't take but an hour."


Josette puts the books away in the building for her classes, looking at the filling shelves.


"What degree are you taking now?" David asks, putting his own stuff away.


"Third one from Timely, I have four degrees on that one and five from National before we start hitting the comics code 12 degree section."


"Is the school still getting a lot of purchases?"


"Oh yes, even the serious collectors are ordering from them. They always have at least flyers at comicons and the comic book stores. If not tables."


David opens the tesseract for the returning students and employees at the school. A woman wails as she's dragged away from the school grounds.


"What the fuck is her problem?"


"Stupid woman claimed we had to be lying about the last of the students being offplanet, we have to have killed them and are just stealing money from their parents."


"The parents see them four times a year. Five times this year with the dual Christmases."


"We have to be funning her."


"Fucking fool."




Josette settles on the couch when she returns to the manor, opening her eyes when a mug is pushed into her hand. Opening her eyes she finds Lady Simone smiling at her. "Get everything moved here and there?"


"And everywhere." Josette sighs and sips the hot chocolate.


"Was Marcus there when you delivered the stuff for the show and the special orders?" Alexander asks as he walks through.


"No, he's off with a broken foot. His second in command is in charge and he had people moving stuff for the show and making calls as they marked off the special orders."


"He finally kick that damn door?" Marcus had always threatened to give a sticking door a good swift kick.


"No, some woman came in with her yappy lap dog and the leash got tangled around his leg. Of course she huffed off at being so disrespected. . .her precious poochie couldn't possibly have caused the accident. She screeched like a opera star when she got her ass sued for his damages and ten people who have been damaged by the fool woman and her dog came to the court. Since she had a history of this shit she got slapped with a fine on top of having to pay his damages and was told to leave the damn dog at home."


Hannah moans. "I know which woman you're talking about, she howled at being told that. Who are they to tell her what to do. Stupid bitch took the dog in to court to prove it couldn't possibly be poopsie's fault and it started humping the bailiff's leg."


The others howl with laughter.


"Yep. So she's traumatized that everybody knows she's a damn fool. She's taken to her deathbed."


"And none of this would have happened if she'd trained her damn dog?"


"But only common people train their pets." Calvin drawls as he walks through.


"That stupid woman get taken care of?" Lady Simone asks.


"Yes, she wailed that we have to have been hiring actors but the judge recognized both some of the parents and the students so she got her ass handed to her and told to leave us the fuck alone."


A few weeks later David opens the tesseract back on Haven, students and employees heading to the auditorium as Josette delivers supplies to various buildings.


"Get everything dropped off?" David asks after lunch.


"Yeah, maintenance will be moving everything to various buildings so I can take the empty containers back in a couple months. With the buildings we're not having containers stack up." The others nod in satisfaction.





Josette brings out two ships, one with everybody from the school to watch the liftoff of the city-ship live and in person as it were while the second is busy picking up supplies. She moves everything off the ship when she returns, flying back to the dorm when she's done.


"Did you get your supplies?"


"Yeah, I left it on the ship for now. I wasn't expecting all this stuff from dumbass when I put in the order." Susan sniggers. "I delivered the supplies for the stores, Agatha was already opening the containers before I got them all dropped off." The others snigger. "So was everybody else."


"Are the students dropping off belongings yet?"


"Yes, I dropped off some while I was out to pick up the supplies. Even if the drop-off areas aren't full I want to keep ahead on it since we've got so many students returning home this year." Principal Madison nods in satisfaction as he walks through.


"Is this it for the supplies for the graduating students and employees?"


"Two more shipments, one before the Harvest Festival and after Thanksgiving. We should be emptying the building then."


Josette grins as she gets a large databurst from Becka, settling in to look it over and passing it along to Calvin.


Calvin looks up at the beep and sees the massive attachment, reading the message and starting the download. Jane looks over at him. "Josette passing along information from Becka, their city-ship is on their second tour, this time ten years around the sun." Once the download is completed he looks everything over and passes it along to the proper authorities who moan and make plans for their future trips.


The others begin coming out a week before the Harvest Festival, Calvin finding Josette bringing out the last of the moving supplies for the students, filling the shelves and putting the partial boxes left over on the floor.


"Looking good."


"It will be empty by midterms when the students should have everything sent off except what they absolutely need for the last two months of school." Principal Madison says behind his father. Calvin nods. "Josette, the other room?"


"I'm filling it right now and putting everything else in the basement."


"Students books and supplies?"


"Working on them right now." The two men nod in satisfaction.


Josette moans a couple days later.


"David, the comic book school is sponsoring a comicon cruise. You interested?"


"No, but don't let me stop you." he chuckles as Josette fills out the form and sends it back with her payment. "I'm sure they'll have people there who had never been to a con before wondering what the hell is going on."


"Probably." Josette looks through the databurst and cackles, holding the PADD over her head. Whoever had walked up behind her takes it, the moan tells her it's Richard.




"Some damn fool woman whining because she couldn't get the city-ship run the way she wanted. But you've got to have cars .. .you can't have them walking everywhere? What? What do you mean no. You've got to have cars in a city. WHAT? What do you mean fumes would poison everybody? Open the damn window people. WWWWHHHHAAATTTTT!!! What do you mean that would kill everybody. Everybody knows there's air in space. . .you're just funning me. She was gonna sue, they'd have to do what she wanted."




"And she sued?"


"Yep and the judge told her she was too fucking stupid to live. So now she wants her owncity-ship so she could prove they could do what she wanted. But she whined at how much it would cost. . . wasn't the government going to build it for her? She was special."


"Fucking fool." Somebody mutters.


"Amen. Anyway she's going to prove you don't need oxygen to run a car."


"Good riddance to bad rubbish." Lady Simone snorts. "She'll probably argue with god that she's right. . .she can't be dead."


"Oh please, somebody will save the damn dumb bitch." Hannah snorts. "Then she'll whine about being saved. . .they did it to keep from being proved wrong."


"Yes, I can see the damn fool doing just that and getting her ass handed to her by the courts for being too stupid to live." Bronwen says. "Josette, what did you bring back from Ellis's cruise? We're looking at a second one." Josette finds the list on the server once Richard's handed the PADD back to her and she hands it to Bronwen.


"Hmmm, not bad compared to how much I know he took out to the ship." Bronwen says as she looks at the list. "Thank you for taking that, I know you were already overloaded with the stuff from that fool woman."


"Did you pass some of the jewelry making supplies to Becka?" Pat asks as she walks through.


"She attended her own sale." Josette looks over her shoulder at Pat. "Or 'I'm sorting through everything I brought there' is what she said when I e-mailed her."


"Oh jeez, was that woman stupid everywhere?" Bronwen looks at her.


"God I hope not. But she, Paddy, and Melissa went out to the sale and the house elves emptied the trucks ten times. And they were already fifteen times larger on the inside. They brought everything that was left, it's on Mars since Becka had the empty buildings they could put everything in until they sort everything out. Becka said Marilyn woke her up moaning about everything she brought, she told her not to look at the other stuff and she showered, brushed her teeth, dressed, and was waiting at the kitchen table with the others before she stopped calling her a damn fool." The others laugh. "She calmed down when Becka explained her, Melissa, and Paddy had brought everything that was left over. . .it was just up there because she had the room."


"While Paddy had the room but you can't just leave this stuff outside." Bethany says. Josette nods as she looks at the time and gets up to join the others walking to dinner.


"Did you debut some of your new books?"


"Yes, I took out two books for the boys show and I'm taking out the same two books for my show in a few weeks." The others nod in satisfaction.


"Was the demand good?"


"Oh yes, I was signing books for hours. Not so many old books, they've seen to have gotten those signed already."


"Wait until the crowing starts about how they got the first two new books, I'm sure you'll have new people coming out to have books signed." Bronwen snorts. The others nod.


"Are you doing it every year still?"


"Every other or maybe even every three years." The others nod in satisfaction. "How many books do you have?"


"I've got seventeen printed and ten more finished but not printed. The remaining nine are all in the working on them stage."


The next day Josette looks in her studio and sighs, bringing out piles of worn out clothes for patchwork quilts in two boxes.


"I thought you must be running low on them." Pat says from the doorway. "You need some?" Pat nods and Josette's eyes glaze over, two more boxes appearing in the room set aside for old clothes in Headquarters. "Do you need any more stuff for braided rugs?"


"Not right now, do you have fabric put aside?"


"Yeah, I have about eight boxes of stuff that's just above 'toss it in the replicator' stage."


"We can have a day where you bring out a box and people buy what they want for rugs." Agatha says later that afternoon. Everybody nods around them. "Lord knows we don't lack for time to braid them during the winter and we can buy time of the machines to sew them."


"Hell, we could even rip them and braid them here during quiet times." Marilyn snorts. "Make them up and have a pile of them for sale." The others nod.


A few days after the Harvest Festival Josette fills a container from the ship, taking it out to the dorm and putting everything away.


Faster than she would have sworn she's taking the students out for the second Christmas that year, a few students taking belongings home with them as she drops off stuff at the office.


"Is this everything?" Jane asks.


"Should be, the floor monitors are good at having the students pack up their belongings. And the later in the year the more they realize 'oh shit, I gotta heft all this home with me if I don't get my ass in gear." Maria sniggers and nods.


Several weeks later for them they return to Haven, the students and employees heading off while Josette is delivering supplies to various buildings before they lift off again to visit the other dimensions for Christmas.


Josette looks at the screens, more empty tables now that the seniors had graduated and went home. The school had been empty before when they had taken students out for graduation or after semesters for snacks and whatnot but the quiet had been different knowing that the school was closed closed. Even though the spa had been doing brisk business and they'd seen people moving in the other buildings.


"Are all the supplies in the administration building now?"


"Yeah, the supply room is full, the extra room is full, and the overflow in the basement is full."


"Is the basement of the bookstores empty?"


"Yep, the few extra supplies that had been down there are now in closets on each floor. What they do get in the shipments will go in the closets or on the shelves." The others nod in satisfaction.


"How many dorms do we have open now?"


"Two. The rooms have been looked through for anything major in the way of damages before the students left but they'll start the major work next spring now that they're empty." The others nod.


"Did you start bringing your order out?"


"Yeah, I brought out a container of stuff after the Harvest Festival. Even with all that shit I brought back I was running low on stuff." The others snigger.


"Josette, are you bringing out more stuff?"


"Yeah, I'm bringing out three more rooms of containers this week. This way I have a list of everything in the rooms, I can put stuff together as needed, and if I find I need something in the containers it can stay at the dorm."


"And as you do bring stuff out you can update your lists."


Josette nods.


"We'll be out seventh day." Frances call from the front room. Elaine nods. Josette sends out a message to the others, getting responses back before the meal is over.


"How many rooms have you sorted through?"


"Eleven, not counting these three."


"And how many do you have to sort through?"


"Too damn many, both from that sale, the other sale, and what I picked up after the cruise." Josette sighs. "If need be I'll sort through everything next year during the second offworld harvests. This way though everybody has a chance to look through stuff."


"You never know you need anything until it's there in front of you?"


"Or seeing it brings the muse howling." Frances and Elaine nod in the front room as Principal Madison repeats what Josette is saying.


Principal Madison looks at the latest databurst from the other dimension, blinks, reads it again, and passes the PADD to Josette at the first government meeting of the new year.


"Do I want to know?" President Bartlett asks.


Josette reads the message, sighs, then laughs. "I'm sure Granda is calling them ten different kinds of fool." David, President Bartlett, and Doc look at them. "Some damn fool wanting Granda to open a credit union at the school . . .all the cool schools are doing it."


"The school is closed." President Bartlett says slowly.


"But you're helping young people with their future." Principal Madison bleats.


"There are no young people."


"But this way you're on the ground floor when they do start having children again." Josette crows in a fake 'seeee' voice.


"Doesn't Calvin already have a bank in town and a credit union in the school?" Doc asks dryly.


"A branch of the bank at the school, not a credit union. Which they're wailing about. A credit union is sssssoooo much better because they're not for profit. The school is going to turn the students into miniature Gordon Gecko's or whatever Michael Douglas's character's name was in Wall Street." Doc sighs as President Bartlett rolls his eyes. "Yeah, I'm sure they'll be a blubbering 'but they should do what I want in the next databurst."


"Offworld harvests?"


"Should be starting our third testing week, I'll put the lists up on the servers after midterms."


"Special day at Ellis'?"


"After Thanksgiving, we'll make the date final later this year."





Josette unpacks her bag in the cabin then signs in at the tables for the con, smiling as she sees the school president.


"Good morning Ms. Takahawa, I'm glad that you were able to join us."


"I love cons, it's always interesting to see newbies wondering what the hell they walked into." The woman behind the table laughs and nods.


"Oh my godddddd," A high pitched male voice shrieks. "You're Josette Takahawa."


Josette turns around and grins. "I am."



Three weeks later Josette collapses onto the couch at the mansion, falling instantly asleep. A couple hours later she's eating pizza and salads after starting her laundry. A few days later she returns to Haven,


"Spend too much money?" Alan chuckles as she returns to the dorm. She nods and waves a hand. "Stop to Vegas or Atlantic City to get back all the money?" Another nod and waved hand. "You should look into the gambling cruises."


Josette makes a rude sound. "Overrated, you're not actually going anywhere, if I want to sit and gamble I'll do it in a casino. Same reason I don't want to go on a Disney cruise."


"This was a con for your school, a double reason for you to attend."


"Exactly." Josette spends the rest of the morning and that afternoon sorting through everything.


"Are we seeing belongings beginning to be packed up?"


"Yes, Joyce says we're getting people getting packing supplies as they take stock of everything they have and what they need to send back first. I don't see any containers going out until the end of the semester at the earliest." In the front room Principal Madison nods.


The offworld harvest start coming in, Josette emptying the drying tables on the first planet until the weather warms enough so they dry instead of freeze being put outside on Haven. On the way back from a harvest she fills more containers from the rooms, bringing them out when she returns to Haven. Pat sighs when she walks past the room, finding it full of containers.


"Josette. . ." she says in her best patient voice when Josette returns to the dorm. Since everybody is sniggering she knows it's not very patient.


"This finishes a floor. That's the only reason I brought so many out. And some of them are machines." Pat nods in satisfaction. "I'm not opening them right away, I gotta work on my thesis this summer."


"I was going to ask how you're coming."


"I'll be three semesters in Thanksgiving and figure on presenting the thesis next summer when I finish the classes." Pat nods in satisfaction.


"Comic book school?"


"I'll be finished with the third Timely degree this fall, I'll start the third National degree next year. I've got five from National and four more from Timely before I start hitting the 'comic code' degrees."


"Were some of your teachers on the cruise?" Susan asks as she walks past, chucking her garbage underhanded into the replicator.


"Yes, and some big names from the comics. Think the big comicons but on a ship instead of a hotel. The lectures were well attended and they were all taped and are for sale at the school. They're also going to be guest lecturing at the school, students get in free and they'll have a lottery for tickets for non-students. Again with DVDS sold at the school." David snickers. "Sounds like President Bartlett's lectures before he started teaching here."


Josette snorts. "Even after he taught here." The others laugh and nod, Pat joining them as they walk to the dining hall for lunch.


"How many containers did you bring out, I didn't bother to count."


"Fifty-two." In the front room Frances sighs. Josette grins. "Relax, I've got the offworld harvests yet and I'm working on my thesis this summer. And part of those are machinery." She nods in satisfaction. "I finished a floor, that's the only reason I brought so many out."


A few weeks later the last of the offworld harvests are in and Josette slumps onto the couch. Closing her eyes, she gets in a twenty minute power nap until Doc's quiet chuckling makes her open one ey.


"Are the offworld harvests done now?"


"Yes, now it's just taking out the students and employees belongings until the second harvests are ready to pick up."


"Are you letting Buckaroo in on the plants?"


"Yes, I'm sending off messages to them, Lee, and Harry in the morning."


Doc nods in satisfaction.


Buckaroo stares at the pictures of the plants, Lee and Harry moaning at the information on the submarines the ships had found in the records. The other plants that go into ship operation are also moaned over. The talk turns technical and even with being bonded to spaceships and TARDISES it quickly flies over her head. A bunny latches onto her ankle and she mumbles something rude, grabbing her PADD and making notes before heading out into the other room.


"So are universities shutting down too?" Bethany asks.


"Some, mostly the schools that the adult students are only a fraction of their student population so once they got their degrees they shut down too. The schools with larger adult student populations weren't as badly affected. The larger the school. . ."


"The less it's affected. Oxford would be business as usual." Pat says behind them. "Just like Calvin's school is going on without a problem."


"And my comic book school is a niche school. Assyrian and Edinborough would be unaffected too."


"Where's Doc? I thought he was with you?" Pat looks around.


"I introduced Buckaroo, Lee, and Harry to the plants. I might be the one bonded to TARDISES and spaceships but their scientific talk went right over my head." Bethany and Pat snigger.


10th planet Buckaroo walks out of the switching chamber. "Josette introduced me to the plants." Doc smiles. "She says yours should be producing seeds. She also sent out some more." they go over the list, 9th planet Buckaroo doing the same in Eureka with the others. Between all of them they have some duplicates but they also have a good selection of plants.


Calvin smiles as Josette walks into the administration building, waving a hand and bringing out piles of boxes and containers.


"Students who need shipped, students who can be picked up, students who need to be sent to embassies, employees who can be picked up, and employees to be shipped." Maria smiles at the files that are sent to her. "Socks. .." a much smaller pile of containers, "And I already stopped at the spa." Jane chuckles and starts opening the containers. The news is on the television and Josette moans and shakes her head at a story.


"Yes, the towns are wailing that they're not getting as much money as the state allows them, the traffic stops are all legal. .. but nobody's believing them and they're either losing their jobs because people are voting them out in special elections or they're losing their jobs after being arrested. And the police are howling as every traffic stop for years is being investigated and 99% of them over the last five years have been thrown out. The same names are on the stops and they've been put on unpaid leave. . .not by their own departments of course, but the state who took them all over."


"Oooohhhh, of course." Josette drawls. "And they wail that they're not getting the reputation they want in the communities.


"No, they're getting the reputation they deserve." Calvin snorts as he comes into the office.


"The lawsuit?"


"Dismissed with extreme prejudice and they went off wailing at not being given the new complex we're putting up. They can't compete. . .once the schools start filling up again everybody will already know our school and they'll come here instead." He mock-whines.


"And the fact that even if they do apply it's not an automatic acceptance?" Jane drawls.


"That's not the point. . .they'd be second choice."


"Idiots should be used to it by now. Anybody with half a brain is using this time to work on their courses and add more classes if possible." Maria snorts. "At the very least doing work on the buildings."


"You said it yourself. .. half a brain. Which these whiners don't have." Jane snorts as they empty the first container of socks. "They're in it for the quick money and power, let somebody else do all the hard work for me while I reap the benefits."






That weekend while the menfolk are looking over the rough draft of Josette's thesis and even more rough dissertation Josette brings out everything from the first container after the others have counted how many containers she brought out and moaned. Agatha had given her an evil look until learning some of this was machinery and Suzie had sniggered at the look on her mother's face.


"How damn foolish was this woman?"


"Damn foolish, from the databursts she spent a week whining and threatening to sue to get everything back, pouting when everybody laughed at her. She was also whining about being poor, having to work, and paying her own bills. Her father had told her to put aside some money in the work dimension because she'd need it for rent, bills, and groceries until she can start getting a paycheck."


"And of course she didn't." Frances says, rolling her eyes. "Because Daddy has to have been funning her."


"Yes, she waltzed right back into the house and got waltzed right back out again by the police. She howled when she realized Daddy wasn't wiping her ass anymore, she ended up at a homeless shelter and they helped her find a job and a cheap, cheap, cheap place to live. As in five or six people sharing it."


"Hopefully the dumbass realized she's a goddamn moron and went back to the work dimension." Agatha snorts.


"From what I heard . . .yes. . . after spending days cleaning out cans in the drop-off centers. Of course she still thinks she's an arteeste who's going to show them when she becomes instantly rich and famous. . ." The others roll their eyes.


"Offworld harvests?"


"Midterms third semester, I'll start picking them up after I take the last of the students and employees belongings back to the school." Josette empties three containers and they start opening boxes and starting another list. When she returns the containers to the ship she'll sort them into new buildings and update the list there.










Josette sighs as the last of the teachers and employees hug them before they walk through the tesseract David has opened.


"It doesn't get any damn easier." She sighs.


"No it doesn't but we knew for a while it wouldn't last forever." David pats her on the shoulder. They head off to the mansion, Principal Madison and Josette attending various meetings over the next few days.


"How long?"


"At least ten years before we start seeing births, fifteen years after that before we have the need to move beyond a one room schoolhouse type learning situation. By then we might have more classes for each year."


"And probably a dozen years after that before we see the need for more than one school in the larger areas." Somebody else says and the others nod. He looks at Calvin and Principal Madison almost apologetically. "And decades after that before we need a boarding school."


"I don't know, there's always going to be damn fools who have kids and shove them off on somebody else no matter what." Somebody else sighs. "At least you two aren't putting all your eggs in one basket."


"No, the school is just a fraction of what we have." Principal Madison says, his father nods. His phone rings and he excuses himself to answer it. "No, we're not putting up a credit union at our school because you don't wike the idea of us having a bank here. And we're sure as not doing it at our expense. Go. Away.Now! Go ahead and sue you stupid . . ." The phone is taken from him and the other man . ..who is his boss pins the little shit's ears back.


"I told you to leave them the hell alone and I fucking meant it you little shit. That doesn't mean call them threatening to sue the minute I'm out of the office. Did you really think I wouldn't learn what you were up to?"


"But wwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyy won't you make them build a credit union on their school grounds?" He wails in the other man's office the next day.


"Because they don't fucking want or need it. Now get the hell over it. . .and yourself."


"But it will help the students." he whines.


"There aren't any students you goddamn stupid sack of shit."


"But people will have to flock to the credit union to support the school." He wails. "I'll go over your head, they'll have to build the credit union or I'll have the school shut. . ." The rest of his threat trails off as security drags his useless ass out of the office as he's summarily fired. His belongings are packed up and a very quiet man picks them up the next day, rumor has it his father had cussed him out long and loud the night before for being to damn dumb to live. Especially when it was revealed that he was getting kickbacks from the owners of the credit union that he was insisting be put in schools.


"Yeah, I figured there had to be a reason why the asswipe was so gungho about getting a credit union on the school grounds. Not for profit doesn't mean there aren't any coming in."


"Worse than that, I've heard stories about money laundering." Jane says as she settles in front of Calvin's desk as Josette floats in midair and Principal Madison leans against the window for the last meeting before they head back to Haven.


"Wouldn't surprise me at all. They were expecting members to come swooping in and by the time it made the rounds of the credit unions nobody could say anything." Josette snorts. "Why else would they want to have multiple branches of credit unions at schools that aren't open?”


"Nobody would expect a school to be laundering money."


"Buffalo chips, we've had agents here fucking monthly like clockwork when the branch opened along with people investigating the bank until their bosses told them to grow the fuck up." Jane snorts. "Josette, are you still keeping the yarn orders the same?"


"Unless you need more, I swear people must be eating the damn socks as often as I refill the containers." Maria cackles from the front room. "Wouldn't surprise me at all."


"The newest diet craze, eat all you want and never gain an ounce. . . but you won't like it when it comes out the other end."


"Gives a whole new meaning to fiber and cleanses."


Calvin sighs. "I'm sure some fool would try it until somebody with sense knocked them even stupider."



Chapter 3 by josette grover


"Well hell, look at all the eating disorder clinics there are out there because people can't be bothered to eat a healthy diet because they want to be size triple zero. . .anything over a two is fat." Josette sneers. "I got tagged by some fucking debutante fools for being fat because I'm not skin and bones and eat actual food. Because eating disorders is fashionable in some circles." Calvin and Principal Madison roll their eyes. "It doesn't help that the 'recommended serving size' on some foods is pure crap, I remember when a can of pop was nearly three servings when they first started doing it to try to make them look low calories." Principal Madison sighs and nods. "After enough complaints they had show actual servings and calorie count. We had whiners in the school who didn't like our recipes because we weren't trying to starve the students, they threatened to shut down the school until we kicked their asses."


"Is this the same group who tried wanted everybody to only be allowed one tray of food and limited seconds. With the kitchen people serving us?"


"A different group of morons."


"Limiting food to one tray?"


"Yes, they also wanted us to stop serving breakfast and dinner, and only offer one snack if that. We had to remind them we're a boarding school and the students don't go home for the other two meals. They hated that students could fill their trays multiple times but we had the studies showing mutants new to their abilities can lose too much weight. Even if they don't have metabolisms stuck permanently on high like Josette. They finally walked off pouting because they couldn't make us do what they wanted." Jane rolls her eyes. "Yes, that sounds like some of the morons we've had to deal with over the years. Anything else?"


"Why do you have so many dining halls? They wanted us to only use the original two rooms until they realized how many students we had at that time. 'ooohhhh, I guess you do need the other rooms."


"Yes, that's why you built them." Calvin says dryly as Maria cackles in the other room again.


"Anything else?"


"You spend too much money on fresh fruit and vegetables, canned is cheaper."


Jane moans as Calvin shakes his head. "Yet the government wants more fresh fruit and veggies in the school menus."


"We were able to ignore most of their requests, though some of the smaller stuff I did implement. . .like adding orange juice with pulp to breakfasts."


"One of the whiners told me I should be drinking it when I got a bottle of the other, I told him I didn't feel like picking the pulp out of my teeth all morning." Jane sniggers behind her notebook.


"You drank it when you returned from the senior trips." Principal Madison chuckles.


"Yes, it wasn't so bad because we were home. . .especially after the damn trip that moron so-called efficiency expert fucked to hell and back."


"We never did that again for all that we were able to see more sites." Principal Madison sighs. The others look at them and he repeats the story, his father wincing as Jane and Maria nod. "Yes, I can see some of the morons doing exactly that. Was that the only problem you had?"


Josette sniggers. "One year we had a hotel try to make us come back the next day, some 'debutantes' that were supposed to have checked out hadn't so they couldn't give us a block of rooms together. I pulled out my inner badass and told them if we left we wouldn't be coming back. . .and we'd be suing for the return of the deposit we'd made for that trip. I got us five rooms on another floor at 40 percent off and we kept the rooms the entire week we were there. The clerk didn't like it but the management knew we had them over the barrel because we'd called earlier that day to confirm our reservations and they didn't tell us about any problems."


"Which they should have." Jane says.


"So anyway we took up three groups of students who could take care of themselves, me and Professor Fletcher, Amanda and another teacher to keep an eye on them and settled in. Of course the dumbass debutantes caused problems, whining about us hiring a caterer for our meals at the hotel while they had to leave the hotel to eat since it didn't have a restaurant. And of course they didn't wike sharing a floor with students."


Maria snickers in the front room. "They tried claiming the students were making noise and the police found all our students asleep in their rooms when management opened their rooms. They were told again to leave, the police had to come to the hotel again because they had a fit about that and tore up their rooms."


"If we can't have them, nobody can." Jane sighs.


"Yep, we ended up getting another ten percent off our bill for the problems they caused. The only other real problem we had on the trips was the one time there was an accident on the interstate that blocked the road so the busses had to back up to get off the last exit. We were able to go around it but it would put the drivers over their limit so we had to sit in the parking lot of the local greyhound station for a couple hours. We got home six, seven hours late with stopping in Boston to do laundry and eat lunch at the mall."


"Nine hours. That was your first senior trip and back then we still had a week of overview before the finals. Later on you were coming back before breakfast the first day of finals most of the time. You couldn't be coming back late those trips."


The others shake their heads. "That had to be hell."


"That's why we had drop-off boxes though students knew they'd be returning to their finals so they should have had everything but the clothes they'd need for that last week and toiletries already packed up." Principal Madison says. "The only difference here and there is they're not tripping over boxes after midterms."


Josette delivers the containers when they return home, returning to the dorm.


"Are we heading to the first planet?"


"In the morning, I figured we'd stay out there a couple weeks." She leans in the door of Headquarters and passes the invitation along to the others. She'd already invited Principal Madison.


Josette is the first one pulling off her shirt as they walk to the beach but she's by no means the last.


President Bartlett shakes his head as he watches the beach ball match in the water. The ball goes flying and stops in midair, snagged by Abby's tk and tossed back.


"We needed this." he tells Professor Druid as she comes up next to him.


"Yes we did." She opens the cooler and pulls out a water, draining half of it in one gulp. "We knew the school would be shutting down but when the last student graduates it still takes a few days to get over."


"No matter how many times we've done it before." Principal Madison settles down next to them.


"What are the plans?"


"The buildings are going to be looked over over the next couple of weeks with a list of any major repairs needed put together."


"With the work started come spring when we can open windows."


"And the buildings shut up until they're needed again. The only ones that will be permanently open is the administration building, library, textiles, fine arts, bookstores, and the laundry."


"Did we sort out all the old sheets and towels?"


"Over the last couple of years. The remaining supplies from the dorms are going to the administration building to be used as needed, Dad will supply us again when new students start arriving. . ."


"No use letting them sit in empty buildings."


Principal Madison nods. "Josette's taking the remaining sheets, linens, and blankets because they'd be useless by the time the dorms were opened again."


A Josette comes up to them nodding. "Yeah, I'll do that after everything is washed when we get back." Professor Druid nods. "I'll stick them in stasis until they're needed."


"Use them as you see fit, like I said Dad will resupply us when we start getting students again. Dad will tell you the same thing when they come out for the Lights Festival."


Back on Haven a few weeks later their time they head to the dining hall for lunch, Josette and the twins heading to the dorms to grab the overflowing carts of laundry afterwards, Josette checking the buildings with her x-ray vision before they head to the laundry, working for a couple of days to get everything washed, dried, and folded.


The others start coming out for the Lights Festival, Calvin coming early to walk through the buildings. . .nodding at everything Principal Madison has been doing.


"Did you replace the mattresses and box springs?"


"Yes, thankfully we only had the two dorms to do but we still had five people with disintegrating guns working two weeks to get rid of them. We'll bring out the new ones in the spring when we've cleaned the buildings and inspected the rooms."


"Did you get all the supplies out?"


"Yes, Josette has the sheets, towels, and blankets on the ships for now while everything else is in the administration building."


"Where is Josette?" Doc looks around.


"Picking up the last recycling from the other planets for the year." Anna looks at the clock. "She should be back any minute."


True to her words Josette walks through the pocket doors a couple minutes later.


"Thank you for passing along the files from the other planets, our government is already making plans for a second trip. Is yours still wanting to explore the oceans?"


"Yes, but they're hitting the roadblock of paying for the ship, building the ship, and paying for the supplies for the ship. They had all the benefits of the first city-ship without having to put the effort into building it. Now. . ."


"They're looking at all the hard work and whining. . .instead of pulling on their big boy pants and making plans for the future." Calvin sighs.


"Oh yes, one young punk was stunned I wouldn't build him a new ship . . .out of the goodness of my heart since I could have it done quicker than they could have the materials ready. He was stunned when I told him no and the reason I was able to do it so quickly was people working round the clock who had extra abilities and I already had everything there. Oh yeah, and I own the city-ship, the government is just leasing it from me."


"Awwwww. . .poooo' baby." Josette coos. "I'm sure he was heartbroken at hearing that."


Becka smirks. "Eventually people in the government will realize trying to cut corners will just make things longer and will start coming up with a real plan for their own city-ship."


"I can see a group of scientists or even big business pooling money together to build a ship for experiments." The others nod.


"That would make the government get their heads out of their collective asses and come up with a real plan." Thomas says from the door. Nods from everybody in earshot. "Because it would be showing them up and proving what everybody knows, the government is incompetent." Half the people in the back room vanish then appear a few seconds later as the others were starting to get up. Josette just waves a hand and heads off.


"She'll be back in an hour. . .more or less." David chuckles. He looks at Becka and the others.


"If it was the idiot who couldn't believe school busses didn't have showers, it happened for us months ago." Becka says, waving a hand. "It was just before our Christmas, I was feeling my age and wondering where the hell the years had gone."


"Been there, done that." Anna sighs. "Usually when we look at the kids who are taking high school classes."


"In my case it was realizing I'm 61 years old, feeling it was yesterday that we announced we were pregnant with Suzanne and Emily and they're halfway through their sophomore year of university, the horde will be descending on Huntington and Golden Arrow in a little over four and a half years, the second sets are in the second grade, and the real babies are nearly two."


Ray shakes his head and sighs. "You weren't the only one feeling your age. In my case it was Maxwell being born before you moved to Mars and he was a senior at Golden Arrow. And I'm the father of quadruplets while we already had eight children still living at home."


"Isn't that why you're the father of quadruplets?" Idina asks with a smirk, Marilyn pushing her head with a grin since Ray was too far away. "We'd expected them a few months earlier after that fool woman at the mall." The others stare at her and the story is told, people either moaning or laughing.


"Was the first road trip like that?" Doc asks.


"More or less, we didn't have a schedule on the first trip, so it was a lot more downtime. Though we kinda shredded that thing." Anna snorts as she looks at Principal Madison. Who's shaking his head and sighing. "Much to the dismay of that fool man." The others who hadn't vanished look at him. "Think the two week bus trip without hotels. . .multiplied by six months . . .at the very least. And have somebody in the government pushing supplies on you because of course a school bus has showers, bathrooms. . .tons of storage space. . ." Sighs, moans, and a few scattered swear words from the others. "Everybody had five flatbeds of containers of supplies that he wanted us to take with us for the trip. . .people were lying on top of them on the school busses. Somebody with a brain wouldn't let the other busses leave. . .we were on a private bus that's been . . ."


"enhanced?" Professor Ziegler smirks.


"Indeed, since we had room to sit and the drivers could see behind the bus with the help of cameras we were allowed to go on the trip, the government had to buy coaches for the others. The little fool broke into a bus garage in town, he was sure somebody had taken the bathrooms, showers, kitchen. . .off the school busses because of course they had to have them."


"Even with all that shit they'd have been running low on supplies by the end of the trip."


"Just like we did at the end of the senior trips."


"That's why we had the cards for warehouse stores and had money coming in weekly beyond what we were getting for the trip." Nancy says with smile.


"Just like we had the school cards and stopped at warehouse stores while the students were at a museum." Josette says. In the front room Principal Madison nods.




David looks at the message on his PADD the next day.


"Peter's going to beat you when they come out for the lights festival. You delivered the movie to them?"


"Yep. I could hear Peter moaning before I even got down the path. Though I gotta agree with Josette, somebody has to be writing a Ghostbusters/Avengers crossover. Hopefully a good one."


"Have Kevin be the mortal form of Thor like Donald Blake was in the early comics?" Abby asks, walking through. "We need a library just for scrapbooks and photo albums."


"Yeah, especially after that trip." Susan says as she comes out of one of the storerooms with a package of toilet paper. "Everybody took pictures then put them on the server for the others to print out."


"And the video from the cameras."




"Duplicated and put in the library upstairs. The originals that we got for ourselves are with our stuff. Which we'll go over a little bit at a time, Lord knows we've got plenty." The others nod. "Anything we needed right away we already took care of."


A knock on the panel doors has them looking that way and grinning. "You made it." Josette says, looking at Josette Grover. "We didn't hear the bus."


"We're parked by the administration building, the others are just staring at everything and whimpering that this was a school?"


"Yeah, that's been the reaction from a lot of people when they see 75 story dorms. And realize. . .'oh shit, if all these rooms were occupied. . ., you had how many students?"


"We'd have brought the hall of War but with it being winter on Haven. . ."


"There'd be no place to park it that wasn't snow covered. You can bring it out if you come out for the Harvest Festival. Sometimes you just have to get away from your normal life. . .even if you're only gone an hour."


"We traveled to Sheriff Carter's dimension for a while. And we visited Xander and his brother Peter. And we brought them out with us since they wanted to see Haven."


"I'm glad we're staying in touch with the others beyond e-mails."


I nod. "How long has it been since the trip?"


"Yesterday. Though it's been a few months for Becka, her family, and friends."


The others start arriving after a tour of the school. They'd added rooms to the third floor for anybody who didn't want to stay on the bus even with it moved to the parking lot behind the dorm. Mostly it's people who'd been in the middle of something or other at the end of the bus trip and were still working on it.


"Do you take all your meals here?" Somebody asks when they walk to the dining hall. Josette had ducked in and let them know about the extra visitors, hand waving extra food for that meal.


"Most of them, Josette and the twins each have kitchens in their first floor rooms while we have another in the basement. Then of course there's the kitchens in the ranch."


"We usually eat at home eighth and ninth day, those days are quiet at the school. The dining hall offers brunch those two days, with the school closed lunch will be buffet style all afternoon during the week so people can can come when they're not working on something. Between semesters on Earth all the meals would have been buffet style as the teachers and employees were busy getting ready for the next semester, especially between summer and fall semester when the new students would be descending on the school."


Principal Madison nods from the front room.


"Which is why you didn't have any problems with buffet style lunches."


"That and offworld harvests." The others look at Josette and she explains, moans and swearing at the pictures of rooms full of food waiting to be offloaded. A picture of the pantries after the food has been passed out and the last garden harvested is shown next and they sigh but nod. "And that will be empty come spring even with us eating most of our meals here."


"How long did it take the students to arrive?"


"When we were in school it was one day. When Adam and later Aaron started it had grown into three days. . .then the week between classes. When we started getting the huge incoming class size it was the entire month of August, class starting the day after Labor Day."


"Huge classes?"


"When we left Earth we had nearly five thousand students per year, three of the last four years the school was open we were graduating over thirty thousand students." Whimpers from the others. "This last year was our smallest, six thousand and two students graduated."


"You must have had not only had every room occupied but . . ."


"Two students per room except for the last few years of students since they were the youngest. With all the rooms full we had over three hundred thousand students in grades five through twelve, a good half of the students in grade nine through twelve were dual-curriculum, getting a bachelors while they were taking high school classes. The closer to the school closing, all the students were dual-curriculum. Most of the students had enough classes to get a second bachelors or Masters when they returned home."


"Which some parents no doubt crowed about." Sandra mutters. Nods from most everybody in both rooms.


"How did the students arrive?"


"Before we lost Earth we'd go down for the graduating students, allowing them to pack up their rooms and head off and the new students to arrive before the new semester started. That also allowed our younger students to stock up on supplies, be they clothes, feminine stuff, or snacks beyond what they could pick up at the school bookstore. After Granda started sending us students I'd go over several days to pick the students up after the Harvest Festival, they were off until the new school year started the first week of the new year, that gave them all time to get settled in, talk to their advisors. . .especially if they were dual-enrolled, and join study groups."










"Josette?" Peter's purring voice says behind her. Josette tips her head back and smirks, pointing. "The Ghostbusters from the roadtrip we went on years ago, in their dimension Peter's the older half-brother of Xander. They weren't on this second trip but they stopped in their dimension to pick them up since they wanted to visit Haven." Peter looks at the other version of him who's shadowing a younger man. He catches his gaze then stares . . .blinking. The Egon who'd been sighing follows his gaze.


Ray comes over and musses with Josette's hair, pulling her hood back up at her complaining. "Then keep the damn hood on." He snorts as he walks by, the others laughing.


"I take it that is a common occurrence?"


"Oh yes, Josette is forever pulling her hood off and everybody will walk past and pull it back on, telling her to keep it on."






Josette waves a hand a couple days later, her supplies for her new degrees settling on the tables before she moves the rest to the other building, putting the boxes of comics on shelves.


"Ready to start classes in a couple days?" Alan asks as she joins them downstairs.




"What are you working on now?"


"Starting my fourth degree from National Comics and a fourth on tv." Josette says. "I'm going to go out for graduation sometime next year."


"Did you look over the looms you got from dumbass in Doc's dimension? You said you were going to?" David asks as they walk to the dining hall for lunch.


"Yes, and put in a large order of thread at the complex for them. I was running low on supplies for my loom anyway."


"Can you only use it with thread?"


"These since that's what she purchased. I've got a few looms for different yarns on the ship. And we've got one of each in the textiles buildings." Susan nods in satisfaction. Josette detours to the front room and talks with Frances and Elaine.


"We'll check our supplies, thank you Josette. With the school closed we'll be turning our attention to projects now."


"And it's not something you tend to think about until you reach for something and find you're out. I know you guys were turning your attention to your art instead of classes your last few shipments, but . . ."


"It's something we've got to check." Principal Madison looks at them. "Josette put in an order at the threads complex for the looms she brought from the other dimension, she was asking how we were on supplies."


"Josette, when is the trip out to Ellis's?"


"Week after next, third day. I was going to send out the reminder this afternoon."


"Thank you."


Ellis and his second in command smile as the tesseract opens and women start trooping through. His employees pair off with the women, the two of them walking with Josette and Pat.


"Anything in particular ladies?"


"I need to put in orders of yarn for a loom but after that anything goes."




"I put in a huge order on Haven for the ones that take it." Ellis nods and they start off, everybody trooping through the tesseract on Haven nearly a week later for them.


"How's the fund?" Alan asks back at the dorm.


"Emptier than the dorms, I'm going to be moving stuff for weeks. Once everybody has made room for their purchases." The others snigger but nod.


"Did you stop to Vegas?"


"Yes, they had a special sale at a nearby manufacturer. . .so no, it wasn't just to replace everything I spent. That was just a fringe benefit." Pat sniggers behind her.


"We'll have a few years to replenish the fund before we go out again."


"Yep, everybody's been adding extra money with this trip in mind." Josette says.


"Book tour?"


"Couple of months, I'll be out nearly three weeks for the tour then picking up the shipments that should be arriving." Principal Madison, who'd been coming in the front of the dorm, nods. "Dad sent a message saying he'd probably have something for you to bring back when you return from your book tour."


"Then come spring we'll be working on the dorms and other school buildings."


Josette drops backwards onto a couch a couple months later, waving a hand to bring stuff of out subspace before falling asleep. David chuckles and pulls a blanket from off the back of the couch and drapes it over her.


"Eventful book tour?" Susan asks after she's woke up for lunch.


"God save me from whiny assholes who think they're sssssoooooo much better than everybody else. I had one sneering across the room at a hotel function during the tour, then when they found out I was richer and more important than they were they pouted and tried sucking up to me."


"Fucking fool."


"Always going to be people like that."


"Do you have more stuff to bring out?"


"Oh yes, I went all over during the tour. I'll be bringing stuff out for days." Josette stretches and yawns as they walk into the dining hall. She detours to the front room and leans between Frances and Elaine.


"Your one order was delayed for a few weeks," Josette sends them the receipt and the pair look at her. "The factory was shut down for a while thanks to a problem with a manufacturer. They were shut down for a couple weeks thanks to a flu epidemic." Frances smiles. "If we run out of something we can work on something else for a while."


"That's what I told them when they tried apologizing for the delay, that and you can't help being sick. Some damn fool was wailing because they'd had a fit about their order not being ready right then and all the other people were giving them disgusted looks. Don't we know we were supposed to take their side?"


Snorts of disgust from everybody in earshot.


"Yah. . .pooo' baby didn't get what she wanted. She was hoping to get them in trouble and all the customers were placing extra orders." Sniggering from the others this time. "Yeah, so she was having a lying on the floor kicking and screaming fit until she was escorted off the premises. They'd already refunded her money so her attempt to sue was laughed out of court and she was told to grow the fuck up and get over herself."


"Fool woman never went to a store to find out what she wanted wasn't in stock?" President Bartlett drawls.


"B. . .bu . .. but daddy said I'm spe-shul. . .only common people have to wait. Since it was one of Daddy's factories that was the holdup on the orders. . ." Cackling from the others. "Yeah, he wasn't the least bit happy about her giving him bad publicity. She was gulping and stammering she didn't know it was his factory that had shut down due to the flu. The manufacturer is sitting pretty, her oh-so-special order wasn't that damn big anyway so losing her as a customer didn't bother them a bit."


"Which no doubt hurt her all the more." Professor Druid snickers.


"Yep, anyway I'm delivering stuff. . ." Josette sends Principal Madison the list of what she's bringing off the ship.




"Next time I go out. Everything should be in by then."


"How are you on your degrees from the comic book school?"


"Starting my fourth degree from National. . .pre-DC, then I'll switch out and get the last three from Timely. . pre-marvel." She tells Amanda. "I'm in my fourth tv degree and even though we enlarged the building I'm already running out of room." The others snigger. "Yeah. . .world's smallest violin, own damn fault. Once I get the last three from National I'll start the mega block of degrees that handle the comic code and many smaller outfits going under because 'oh my god, they're tainting our children." she says in a sing-song voice. Snorts of disgust from everybody in earshot.


"Isn't that the excuse they all use to try to shut down something they don't like?"




"Are they still doing well on the mail-order comics?"


"Oh yes, you know the damn fools . . .if they can get mint copies of something they will so they can crow about it to their friends. Whether it's something they're interested in or not, it's . . ."


"I've got something you don't." Frances says in a sing-song voice.


"Exactly, which is why my quilting books sell so well at the shows."


"Speaking of shows?"


"Me Mom's dimension, the boys Granda's. I go first. I'm debuting two of the new books."


"Are you graduating from there soon?"


"Yes and no, I'm going out sometime next year for graduation, but since I'm going to be taking more degrees it's like Assyrian and Montague. . .just the first of many visits." The others laugh and nod before Josette heads into the back room.


The next morning Josette swears as she looks at her rapidly emptying shelves, she cannot be getting low on quilts already. Yes, she's nearly finished with the books but still. . .she shouldn't be out of quilts already, should she?


"Josette, quilting books?" Frances asks at lunch.


"Start print next year, I'll be done with all of them year after next."




"Yeah, I can't believe it. I was looking at the shelves and realized I could get all the bags on one. . . and have room to spare."


"Been a while since the muse hit you." Principal Madison chuckles.


"Don't give the damn thing any ideas." Josette mutters as she heads to the back room.


"It's not like you don't have anything to work on." David chuckles, patting her hand in a there, there gesture.


"No, but still, I didn't think I'd made that many quilts."


"How many books do you have left?"


"Five, all mostly done . . they just need two or three quilts then edited."


After lunch Josette heads to GD, leaning in the door of Dr. Stark's office.


"I'm heading to Earth to download probe data next week."


"Thank you Josette, I'll make a list of people who will need the information once you pass it along."


"As opposed to people who just want the information?" Josette snickers.




"When do you want me to upload my thesis for the Mechanical Engineering degree?"


"You're . . ."


"Three semesters in this semester."


"Your second semester then."


"Josette, are you finishing any degrees?" Doc asks when Josette comes out of the switching station.


"The Mechanical Engineering degree, I'm three semesters in this semester and asked Dr. Stark when he wanted me to upload the thesis while I was over there to tell him I'm going to Earth next week to download the probe data."


"Are you going out to the 9th planet to check on their Earth?"


Josette shakes her head. "I asked during the Lights Festival since it had been so long. They know the radiation levels are falling but even then it will be decades before Earth can be habitable again, we all know how long radiation lingered on Earth thanks to Chernobyl, three mile island, and the Fukushima plant." Doc nods. "They're keeping an eye on it."


"Are the others out there permanently now?"


"Yeah, they keep in touch with their Earth but since it had been so long for them somebody would notice they weren't aging as quickly as they should." Doc nods and heads back in Headquarters while Josette heads to her room, pulling on a sweater since it's turning colder. Looking out the window she nods when she sees snow, even though the weather had been good it is still winter and they have to expect snow. More heat starts coming out of the registers and Josette smirks, one of the other had just tossed a fireball in the second furnace.


Alexander can be heard muttering about hibernating during the winter as he comes down the hall.


"I'm sure some of the outlying places do if they don't have jobs or other duties to make them have to get out of bed in the morning." Anna chuckles from the stairs.


"Hell. . .can't even do that. Needing to piss usually drags me out of bed in the morning."


"Wear a bodysuit that takes care of that or sleep in a fully functional medbed?" Josette snickers.


"I hate those bodysuits. . .damn things make me itch. And no matter how comfortable you can make a hospital bed. . .it's still a hospital bed." The others nod as they look at the time and head to the dining hall for dinner.


"I wonder how many quilts people sleep under even with heat?"


"Probably four or five. I'm sure more than one person is working on them in the textiles buildings now that the school is closed, easier to reserve time on the machines. Yeah, they could use them during the breaks but. . ."


The others nod as they walk in the back room.


"Anybody check the weather?"


"Below zero as far as the weather probes are predicting. Thankfully all our buildings have been insulated to a tee by now and the large-scale replicator was turned on so people could stock up on extra wood."


Josette sighs and grabs her PADD, working for a few minutes before heading to the front room, leaning between Frances and Elaine. She asks something, both women nodding frantically.


David looks at her when she returns to the back room. "Those damn designer purses that cost thousands of dollars and don't hold more than a cheap purse does. I had a few pop in my head for the show."


"Oh god, I can hear the squealing now from the old fools now. And the middle aged ones."


"Yep, Frances and Elaine are sure they'll be a big hit."


"Oh yes, they will. Because of course people will spend oodles of money for designer since it's so better than off the rack. I know Paddy made purses to go with his outfits, Becka worked there whenever she was needed."


Josette's PADD beeps. "Speak of the devil." She opens the message, viewing the attachments and heading off. She's grinning as she slides into her seat a few minutes later.


"Don't tell me you went to Becka's dimension just to talk to Paddy."


"Nope, she told me about a small manufacturer who had sent out a message they needed help."


"So you put in an order?"


"Yep, and once the others see what I'm getting I'll be putting in another order."


"Did you talk to Paddy?"


"Yep, and got patterns and whatnot. I'll make a couple examples and have them to show for my show. . not this year but probably next."


"Did everybody get extra wood?" Principal Madison asks the next morning at breakfast.


"Yeah, the building was hopping as everybody came in, got a few to a couple dozen extra sticks of wood and headed off. Not just the smaller sticks either."


Josette sends off copies of the probe data various places the next week, laying on the pier of Ulonda and soaking up solar energy since it's still so damn cold at the dorm. Doc chuckles as she comes into the building an hour later.


"Josette, did we ever send the data to the other dimensions?"


"Yes, Becka has copies of everything, those in the know in their government is making damn good and well nothing like that ever happens there. Doc and the others have copies too, along with information on the Mars colony and everything else they'll need." Doc nods in satisfaction as he heads back to Headquarters.


"Have we seen any interest in land outside town?" President Bartlett asks at the next government meeting.


"Yes and no, we have requests more land and to build houses. . .but they're all around Town. Anybody who wanted to buy land outside town to farm has already brought the land." The others nod as Josette puts up the information on the screen. "Nobody's buying land to lord it over anybody else, anybody can make as much money as they want." Nods from the others again. "If you want the land it's because you want more children or you've got a hobby you need the room. Did Sue's niece ever expand into the other floors of her condo building?"


"Yes, so did the others who came up in apartment buildings on Archimedes. I know you and Clark are still expanding Headquarters into the other areas of the Empire State Buildings, so is Doc on the 9th and 10th planets."


"As we need the room."




A few weeks later after the third testing week and the weather starting to get better Doc gets the alert that Josette has headed off. Josette comes back to the dorm, Doc looking at her. "Becka sent me a message about a small manufacturer that was making 'retro' prints, she and some of the others were using them as backs for quilts, I put in a large order while I was there and told them to expect more in the future when the others saw the fabric. I just came back from picking up the order, Silas let me put it in one of the warehouses they use for supplies to Mars."


"Knowing you'd have it picked up within a day or so."




She calls the others a couple days later and they run to the rolls of fabric on the tables.


"I got three different weights, one lightweight, the second slightly thicker, and then the thickest. Becka showed me skirts made of the lightweight fabric, some fool was whining in the media that her 'couture' outfit was based on common fabric."


Agatha snorts as her daughter giggles. Pat is nodding vigorously. "Lightweight skirts?"


"Yeah, you know the long flowing ones that look cool but are absolutely useless because unless it's like a hundred degrees out they won't keep you warm."


"Keeps their stupidity out of the gene pool." Elaine snorts. "Since they usually freeze to death because it's not cool to wear warm clothes. I shouldn't say that though, fabrics like that were used a lot in the motion picture industry because they kept the actors comfortable under the hot lights." The others nod.


"Is this all you have?"


"Hell no, this is just a sample I brought off the ship. I told them to expect more orders when I showed this to my friends and they start running lines of more retro prints."


"Where did you find this?"


"Becka says a small manufacturer put out this line, some small houses are using it and there's some quilters using it for backs like they used to in the old days." The others nod. "The manufacturer put a notice out on the list for the expo she attends saying they needed customers to stay in business. Becka put in an order, she sent the message along to Paddy and Melissa, then sent it along to me."


Frances snorts. "Our orders will keep them in business for years."




"Do you have. . ."


Josette puts a file up on the screen, the others nodding at the patterns and notes of when they'll be ready to start printing. They start a file of orders, it grows by leaps and bounds as the news about the fabric is relayed to the others. Josette ends up flying out again to make another order and put in standing orders for when they start the other runs. She smirks as the stupid young fool who'd pouted about her 'couture' outfit being based on oh god the horror common fabrics is ignored in the media for being a spoiled little brat and her tantrum not shutting down the operation like she'd wanted.


"How is the second city-ship mission on Becka's world coming along?"


"Pretty good, they've settled in well around the sun."


"How much longer do they have to go?"


"Not quite eight years, with the return trip so long they'll be able to work on experiments up until a couple days before they land on Earth again."


"Have you heard anything about a colony dimension in Dad's world?"


"Yeah, some old fool went wailing when she found out she'd have to work the land she was interested in buying, that was for the little people. And there was no malls, cars and drivers, beauty salons. . .everything she needed in her life. The government told her to grow the fuck up, what the hell did she think would happen when they left Earth?"


"But. . .but won't it all be waiting for us when we arrive?" David says in a whiny, hiccupy 'too fucking stupid to live but haven't managed to get my fool ass killed yet' voice.


"Yeah, she howled when she found out that the city-ship didn't have any of that either."


"Do we have any records from the colony worlds in 9th planet's dimension?"


"Yes, and I've passed them on to Granda, that's more what a real colony is like. . .having to spread out from the ship and build from scratch. We were lucky in being able to move everything in one fell swoop." The three older men nod. Doc looks at her and she finds the files on the server, passing them along to the others.


Josette slides into a seat after the planting and moans, her loving family snickering at her.


"Susan, are you finished with your degree this year?"


"Next. David?"


"I'm only five semesters into mine this year."


"We're only a semester into ours this semester." Alan says. The twins nod.


"We're only partway through ours from Oxford."


"Granda wanted to talk to us about our degrees, why I asked. But since none of us are finishing any, he'll hold off for a while."


"How long until they start having births?"


"I think this year or next. Of course this doesn't mean they will be having kids right away.' Nods from the others. "People are busy and they'll have to start making baby supplies and whatnot again." More nods from the others.


"Did they close a lot of schools? or rather decide not to reopen them?" Susan asks.


"Thousands, usually they were poor preforming or the buildings needed way, way way too much work so they tore them down. It will be decades before they need more than one school in a community again."


"Speaking of schools, has maintenance started going through the buildings?"


"Start next week now that the crops are in. Anybody from Town who wants to make some extra money has signed up to come out, grab a bucket of hot soapy water and start scrubbing."


Abby snorts."Lord knows there's enough rooms that they can make extra money all year."


"Yep, if not scrubbing walls cleaning carpets or even painting while we can have windows open."


"Hell, this summer, next summer, and maybe even the summer after that, it's going to take a while to get everything done. And we need to start thinking about what we need to do to the dorm."


"And the ranch, we keep everything clean but we need to do a major cleaning and see if we need to paint. At least all the major appliances are nearly new."


"When is the next shipment of books, music, and DVDS?"


"Next week, I gotta take in socks and spa stuff in."


Josette returns to Haven the next week, delivering containers of supplies various places before flying back to the school.


"Get everything?"


"Yeah, stayed an extra week and listened to some stupid woman whining about how it wasn't fair that she couldn't have the gallery the night you have your show. . .she's an arteeste and sssooooo much better than you. . .until she got her ass handed to her by the court and realized how much money we all make from these shows."


Snorts of disgust and rolling eyes from everybody.




"One for the school library, one for the town library, and one for my library."


"Awwww, you're going to expand them . . .again." Josette rolls her eyes at the snickering from the front and back rooms.


"Josette, did our order arrive?"


"Yeah, I'm bringing everything out now." Josette yawns and stretches before filling her tray again and sitting back down.


"Did you get your yarn?"


"Part of it, the rest will be waiting on us when we come out for the show."




"Went while I was on the book tour. Oh. . ." She looks at the front room. "Ellis is talking about another cruise next year."


"It will be that long before the fund is replenished." Elaine snickers.


"I'll let the others know so they can start putting extra money away towards it."


"Thank you Josette, any idea when?"


"Tentatively after our Thanksgiving. Ellis will have more information when we go out for the boys show."


"That will give us two offworld harvests to put money away."


"And two Harvest Festivals."


Agatha and Sue say much the same thing when she tells them and she knows the news will be all over the planets by dinner.


Josette returns from GD with a file she sends Doc and a container.


"What's that?"


"Somebody at GD is experimenting with artificial spider silk."


"I knew somebody had tried to replicate it."


"Yeah, they succeeded and now a bunch of us are working on it."


"Figuring out what to do with it now you got it?"


"Yeah, I remember somebody saying if they could make the strand large enough or combine enough of them they could use it for ropes and whatnot."


"Are you the only one looking at it? You and Doc?"


"9th and 10th planet, Clark and Thomas, Thomas and Clark. . ." David sniggers. "And Dr. Kane."


"You know if we were on Calvin's world and it was during a population period. . ."


"Some damn fool would be trying to make fabric from it? Yeeessss, I had the same damn thought."


"And it came from the same source. . .Wild Kratts." Alan says as he comes through. "Josette, are we opening the paper factory back up?"


"Next year, I'd planned on growing cotton offworld for a couple years for that and towels."


"Have it operating a good three years?"


"Between the toilet papers and other stuff. . .yeah."


"Josette?" Doc asks, finding her on one of the ships a few days later.


"An experiment. Farro. It's not something we normally grow. . .or eat. For all that you could find it on store shelves as part of the Bob's Red Mill brand line."


"And a small crop won't be wasted as much if it's not something people like." He says with a nod.


"And if it is something we'll grow in the future somebody can write a cookbook." He nods and follows Josette back to Headquarters in the flyer.


Josette and Alan spend most of the day replicating supplies for hers, the twins, Alan, and David's degrees, one set of books and comics going into buildings while the other is set up in the library.


Josette squeals suddenly a couple weeks later, handing Amanda a printout at dinner.


"I'm in." she says, looking everything over.


"I'll send out the money tomorrow."


Principal Madison looks at her. "Comicon being held by my comic book school."


"Another cruise?"


"Yep, the first one was good so they're holding it again."



David opens the tesseract and Josette and Amanda walk through.


"Enjoy yourself ladies?"


"Oh yes, we stayed an extra two weeks so Amanda could talk to a lot of other teachers about this, that, and everything in between. Amanda has tons of books from various schools and Granda's arranging for more to come out."


"We can make a library for you." Principal Madison says.


"You'll need it." She grins as she brings a familiar bag out of subspace. "Jane handed it to me before we left. All the schools that we talked to are on it." Amanda smiles and takes the bag.


"Are all the schools on the system now?"


"Most of 'em, it's mostly the larger or niche schools, like Oxford, Cambridge, and my comic book school. If they offered a specialty degree it went on the system. Most degrees though were generally the same, they might use different books. . ."


"Teachers might take it from a different direction. . ." Amanda says. Principal Madison and Josette nod. "We've been updating the servers as schools close, there's not that much that needs to be added unless they come up with new degrees. . .which they've been doing thanks to having all these years to concentrate on their curriculum." This time Amanda and Principal Madison nod.


A few days later Black Jack looks up at the beeping from the alarms on the rooms. Checking the cameras he snickers as Josette waves at him from her spot face first on one of the couches.


"The kids?"


"Yes, Josette's planted face first in the couch but still waved at the camera. The others are just laughing at her as they walk past."


"Clothes shopping for the show." James chuckles.


"Yes, Alan just dumped the bags on top of her as he walked past. She just tossed a pillow at his head."


They arrive back at the rooms an hour later to find the kids putting meals down on the table. They can see the bags and containers from restaurants vetted by them and the government.


"How are you handling having the school shut down? I know. . ."


"It's not the first time we've closed, everybody's had plans for this time almost since we found out about the zero-population time and everybody seems to be settling back into retirement. Winter being over so we can get outside without ten layers of clothing on since it was so damn cold for a couple weeks helps." Abby says, everybody nods.


"It's still going to take time to get used to."




"Did you grow on the first planet?" Before they'd left Josette had been looking at the lists of what they normally grew on the first planet to see if they needed anything.


"Not this year, we didn't need the food." The others nod.



Josette sits down on a stool in the Albatross Nest after the boys show and moans loudly.


"That good. .huh?" Suzie sniggers.


"God save me from whiny fools. We had an old fool who was pouting at the boys show, she'd tried suing to make the gallery cancel their show so she could have the building that night. . .she's an arteeste."


Ooo la la sounds and gestures.


"Yeah, she went off whining when she found out how much money one of our shows makes the gallery, it wasn't fair. . .that should have been her. What do we have that she doesn't?"


"Talent?" Somebody says dryly, making the other laugh. "Couldn't get a spot selling at a flea market?"


"That would have been beneath her."


"How was the book sales?"


Josette moans again, getting more laughs. "I was signing books for hours."


"How long were you out there?"


"About two weeks." She waves a hand. "More information on the cruise." The brochures are passed around, a sign-up list already starting.


"Did you send this to the other planets?"


"Yes, I know that the representative for the Amish will be coming at least. They'll have a good sized order for me to pick up before the cruise." The others nod in satisfaction.


"Josette, books?"


"Starting printing next year, I've got five left .. .two or three quilts for each one then editing before they print."


"Shelves empty?"


"Yeah, I've got half a shelf of bags left. Of course that's not counting any of the kits." The others snigger. "Nobody's going to be running out of projects."


Josette cusses and creates notepads and a half-dozen duplicates who all start working. Agatha and Sue chuckle as the 'original' Josette starts wandering the aisles, bringing out items she piles on the counter.


"Frances and Elaine told me you had an idea for designer purses for your show." Marilyn says.


"Yep," Josette waves a hand bringing out half a dozen examples. "I worked on these while we were coming back from Mom's dimension. If the interest is good I'll talk to Ellis to find out where to order the clasps." The others nod as they look them over.


"They'll sell . . .for all that. . ."


"You can get more in a cheap purse at the store. It's the 'oh my god, this is designer. . ." Josette drawls, rolling her eyes. The others nod. "A big name has to be better than off the rack."


Three hours later Josette's duplicates. . .who all have a good dozen filled notepads in front of each of them finish and look up. Waving them into subspace they stretch and rub sore fingers.


"Major bunny attack?"


"Ohhhhh yeah, I'll be making them for years."


"Two purchases?"


"Seven or eight. . at the least."


Josette joins with her other selves when they return to the dorms, putting the notepads in a cabinet. Looking at the full cabinet she replicates three more for that room and another half-dozen in the other room for her finished projects before joining the others.


"What were you replicating?" David had got the message about a heavier than normal use.


"More cabinets for my quilt designs, three more for the not started yet room and a half-dozen for the other room." Alexander smirks at her. "Yessss, I got a massive dump at Agatha's complaining about that fool woman at the show. It will be a couple years, I gotta finish this batch first before I even think about making these or more books."


"Did you show them your bags?"


"Yeah, and I'm going to show them to Pat and Paddy when they come out." The others nod.


A few weeks later the second harvest is in and Josette looks up as the others start coming into the dorm. Paddy looks at her and Josette waves a hand, bringing the bags out before turning her attention back to the PADD in her hands. "What do you think of taking plain reusable bags and painting them?"


Ray and Becka moan and make notes. "Kids projects."


"Yep, I'd suggest painting plates too if they had a kiln handy."


"Yes, that's the downside of that project, though the potters could have a special day for kids." Becka makes a note of that on her PADD and puts it up.


"I'd see that at a day-care or after school program." Principal Madison says. His father nods as he makes a note.


"Josette, is this all the quilts you have left?" Bronwen asks a couple days later as she looks at the empty shelves. The half shelf of bags looks so . . .so small.


"Yes, but I got dumped on by the muse a couple weeks ago. As in I split off a half-dozen duplicates to get them all down and each of them had a dozen filled notepads by the time they were done."


Bronwen whistles. "Yeah, fool me was complaining that I didn't have any quilts left. Own damn fault." Everybody sniggers and nods.


"Josette, are the sales of your books good even with the lower populations in both worlds?"


"Yes, there's always going to be buying them because of the show, unlike here and Ellis's where they buy them because they'll actually make one or more of the quilts." Everybody sniggers again and nods. She looks at both Pats and Paddy, "Yeah, I know.. . those people have kept you in business for years." All three of them laugh and nod.


Josette chuckles as she sees a couple temples by the school as she walks to town, doors and windows opening to get air into the buildings. Greta and Josette Grover walk over and they follow her into town where tables are being brought out of buildings.


"So how is your original dimension doing?"


"That moron Trump is doing everything he said he'd do if he was elected, people are stunned that he would."


Agatha looks over at us.


"In Josette's original dimension they just elected Donald Trump president."


"Oh Lord. . ." more than one person moans.


"Yep, he's already announced he's building a wall with Mexico. . .which they're going to pay for either voluntarily or by him imposing a 20 percent tariff on anything they export to the US, the peso is going to collapse. He's already announced he's dismantling Obamacare. . .the health plan the president before him passed because he doesn't wike it. Because the damn bigoted Republicans can afford health care, anybody else can go spin in the wind. He's closing the borders to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries. . . because like Mexicans they're all crooks or terrorists. Oh he's sure there might be honest citizens . ..but they're all rapists, crooks, or terrorists."


"Asshole. Guilty until proven innocent. . .and even then they're guilty because he says they're guilty."


"Oh yes, he already tried claiming he had the largest inauguration in history. . .pictures showed him a liar but oh the media has to be lying because they don't like him. He won the damn presidency but he's claiming voter fraud because he didn't win the popular election." Swearing from everybody in earshot. "The only damn reason he did win was Russia was hacking the election databases and whatnot and sending out Clinton's private e-mails. Of course the damn FBI would not shut up about that. And he couldn't believe his good friend Putin would interfere with the US election."


"E-mails?" President Bartlett asks, coming up.


"She used a private server, who knows what she did with the information." I drawl. "Oh my god, she could have had national security secrets unprotected. . .even though the only documents the government did find that were classified were classified long after she received them. Of course it wasn't a smear campaign. We're just worried about her use of a private e-mail server, even though our own guy did the same damn thing. We're just bringing it up multiple times after she was cleared was because we're worried. The last time was ten days before the election. Of course she was cleared again but by then the damage was done. The only good thing is now he's being investigated for that and may face charges. Of course the previous President ordered that, not Trump."


"It's our world all over again." Ma Hunkel says.


"I fucking hope not, they don't have other dimension, colonies or places on the moon or Mas to escape to in case of a nuclear war." I shudder. "But yeah, they're bracing in for hard times. Of course the bastard's already making plans for his next four years. Because of course he's going to be re-elected." I growl something rather rude.


"Dad will be complaining."


"Who do you think I learned that phrase from? I hope everybody who voted for the bastard lose everything thanks to his stupidity."


"Yeah, but he's still complain."


"Bu . .bu . .bu . .but I didn't mean for it to affect me." Josette bleats. "Just those evil people who use government programs because they *need* them."


"Oh of course not, god forbid the government help its citizens."


"Yes, this is the same asshole who would not shut the fuck up about Obama not possibly being a citizen because he was born in Hawaii. . .two years after they became a state. Kept demanding he show his birth certificate. . .not the short form. . .the long form. Of course this is the same asshole who kept refusing to show his taxes because he was being audited and he couldn't release them. . . not because the asshole was cheating on his taxes for years."


"Oh of course not." Agatha drawls from the crowd around them. "And I'm sure the Republicans are rallying around him."


"Oh yes, even those people who spoke out against him. They're already telling the Democrats not to even think about blocking his candidate for the Supreme Court since they wouldn't allow Obama to replace a justice who died his last year, it was the job of the upcoming president even though they've done it in the past. And they're already putting out commercials accusing the Democrats of politics for not rubberstamping his candidates for his Cabinet." Rolling eyes and rude sounds. "He said he wouldn't act like this after he was elected. . .anybody with a brain knew it was a lie."


"Of course it was, but his supporters thought they could control him." Ma Hunkel says quietly, getting hugged by everybody around her.


"I'm sorry, didn't mean to bring up bad memories."


"You didn't, it's just a reminder of how easily things can go to hell. Our world could have been lost so many times before that."


"So could ours, and we didn't have megalomaniac villains out to rule the world with their gadgets. . .ours are just crooks out to rule the world. Or bigots out to destroy it in the name of religion. Or idiot celebritwits and debutantes off doing stupid shit." Ma Hunkel chuckles despite herself.


"Did you have a show called quiz central? It would have been on PBS." I ask Calvin since he's walked up behind us.


"Yes, it was local schools answering questions. And some of the missed questions made me wonder what the hell the schools were teaching the students." Nods from everybody in earshot.


"Bu. . .bu. ..but if you have hard classes, my precious darling daughter or son will have to think." Principal Madison drawls behind his father. "That's the kind of parent that ended up suing when I turned their darling child away."


"And then they wonder why the kids turn out stupid little shits who end up in prison." Somebody snorts. Greta and I are busy helping set up the tables and bring stuff out, conversation moving to small chitchat about quilts, patterns in magazines from various dimensions. .both good and bad, and stupid shit celebritwats had pulled in the other dimensions.


"Some people never learn."


"Nope. They still believe there's no such thing as bad publicity and don't know or care that all they're doing is making fools of themselves."


"They only want the damn power rush the publicity brings them."


The newcomers stand in the middle of the street, staring at everything. It seems so like the Lights Festival, but so different. The tables are the same but filled with more items and there's more people there.


"There's more to do during the Harvest Festival, people will stay over in the temporary housing dorms because with the day difference between planets they might miss something. Each table will have different things on it all three days."




"Yo!" Josette Takahawa yells somewhere in the distance.


"Are we putting together a trip to the holiday planet?"


"Yes, it's scheduled for mid second month next year, that will give us time away from all the winter we'll be sick of by then." Sniggers from everybody in earshot. "The sign up will be going up on the server after Thanksgiving. After we come back I'll be green picking tomatoes and peppers on the first planet again.


"Holiday planet?" I ask.


"Disneyworld. We copied it before we lost Earth, when the school was in session we'd take students out."


"I'm staying after the Lights Festival then .. .or coming back out." I say with a grin.


"You've been to Disneyworld. . .multiple times." Ares says, looking at me.


"Yeah, but never when it's been so empty. No waiting in lines."


"Even with no children in our world, the amusement parks still do brisk business." Calvin says behind them.


"Sometimes you just need to relax." Principal Madison says. "Our parks were still open even during the war."


I nod vigorously. "After 9/11 some of them shut down thanks to Bush and his yellow, orange, or red stages of alertness but they soon reopened. And after attacks in the name of 'religion', they reopened after a couple days . . .saying 'in yo' face' to the assholes who attacked."


"Religion has always been the excuse of little-minded people to cause trouble." One of the priests from Albatross says, walking through. The people with him, who Josette introduces as other religious leaders nod and smile. "We've learned from our mistakes and grew up, hopefully the rest of the multiverse will as well." Nods from the others around them.


"Ooohhhh." I look at the picture of the kits on the wall in the Albatross nest a few days later. Chuckling some of the women start cutting fabric and making up bags. I gladly pay for them and drop them in my bottomless bag along with copies of Josette's new books. The yarn store is next and the women chuckle as I buy more stuff.


"No good yarn stores near you?"


"Nope, it's all acrylic red heart. I could order it online but. . ."


"It's nicer being able to actually look at the yarn you want."


"And be able to talk with people if you're having problems."


Everybody starts heading off after the Harvest Festival and Josette slumps onto a couch.


"Get everything taken care of?"


"Yes, beds were already stripped upstairs and remade. Everything was tossed down the laundry chute and they even cleaned." David chuckles. "The boys are doing the laundry and I'm upstairs working on the quilt I need to finish a book."


"Offworld harvests?"


"Coming in hot and heavy in a couple weeks."


"How's the fund coming along?" Anna asks, her lips twitching.


"Growing steadily. I expect it to start growing by leaps and bounds when the offworld harvest bonuses start coming in."


"Did Amanda's library get finished?"


"The exterior, the boys are busy making bookcases for her."


Josette brings out the supplies for the others the next day, duplicates going in the buildings. Anna looks at the shelves and whistles.


"Four degrees from Timely, three from national. . .I'm just counting the ones I have finished. . .and four tv degrees. This building would be a hundred times this size for all the degrees. . .and by then I'll probably have a second one for the tv degrees."


"More power to you, I doubt I'll ever need that big a building." Alan snorts as he puts his 'mint' supplies away. "Are you still picking up original comics?"


"Yep, both at expos and stores. That building will probably end up just as big some day. Dad's already got plans for adding elevators and whatnot." The others snigger as they look at the time and head to the dining hall for dinner.


"How is the building cleaning coming?"


"Good. It's going slow but we don't need to hurry, scurry, worry over this." in the front room Principal Madison nods. "We've got plenty of time to do it right the first time, once a building is cleaned and then painted it's shut down until it's needed again."


"The furniture?"


"Still good, the only things that really needed to be replaced were linens, blankets, pillows, and the mattresses and box sheets themselves because they eventually wear out. Everything we can bring in in bulk if and/or when the buildings are needed again."


Principal Madison nods again. "We'd be getting in large batches of those and other supplies before the school reopened again."


The next week people are waiting for them at the big buildings when David opens the tesseract for the returning harvesters. Josette starts bringing out food and as soon as containers are put on the ground it's moved various places.


Josette slumps into her usual seat when the buzzer sounds to end the morning testing session on Archimedes their second testing week.


"How are the offworld harvests coming?"


"Hot and heavy, I've got a duplicate on one right now and a second harvest in a couple days. But they should all be done in a couple weeks."


"And cleaning and painting the dorms and other school buildings?"


"Fast and furious, we've got about five buildings be worked on at once, even with the dorms so damn big they're coming along well."


"You didn't make thousands of gallons of paint did you?"


"Yes and no, not individual containers but rather large vats of paint on their sides like wine barrels. They fill individual buckets there and with the special coating nothing is wasted, any dry paint peels right off and can be put in the replicator for raw materials. Maintenance brings out about. .." Josette thinks a second. "I think about fifty gallons a day? When the containers are empty, they'll be shot and turned into raw materials again."


"Ahhh, that makes more sense than thousands of individual cans of paint."


"We've got to look into it for GD." Dr. Stark sighs.


"And individual houses, we keep forgetting how long it's been since we've redecorated."


Josette sighs and nods. "Yep, even with regular maintenance it gets old. The others did a lot of work over the years when they come out but . . ."


Josette yawns as she looks out the window. "You're going to have snow."


"Yes, it should be the last of the winter."


"And we're going to be looking at our winter in a couple months."


"Did you finish your masters?" Professor Eppes asks a couple days later as he and a half-dozen Josettes work at getting the latest shipment of books, music, audio books, and tv shows ready to go in the system. They'd already finished the shipment for the library in town and were now starting the school's shipment.


"Yes, I got the last three classes I needed when the semester started. I'm taking a year off before I start the doctorate though."


"You don't need it right away."


"Exactly, we've got enough engineers thanks to everybody at GD cross-training."


"Did Calvin's world do the same thing?"


"Yes, in limited quantities. . .mostly older people training younger ones before they retired. Unlike Thomas's world they knew they'd be having children again . . .eventually. Thomas's world did a lot more cross-training. . .to keep everything running."


"What's the world population?"


"Hovering around two and a half-billion. A lot of urban renewal happened over the last couple decades there, schools like you used to see on tv that were falling down around the students ears were torn down. More schools were sold, they're in use now as stores and whatnot." Professor Eppes shakes his head. "Yeah, I had the same thought because I probably had the same dreams, schools that had stores in them and trying to find your classrooms because everything changed overnight." Professor Eppes chuckles and nods. "Did any of the schools remain schools?"


"Yes, at least one school in the larger cities. . .they won't need more schools for decades. Unless it's like ours or Granda's, a school in town and a private one outside school." Professor Eppes nods in satisfaction.


The next month passes quicker than Josette swears is possible and soon the gardens and fields are harvested, she's taking her finals, and townspeople are busy getting in extra supplies of the fake wood for the winter and making room for the extra food that would be delivered in a couple weeks.


"Fields and garden?"


"In and put away. Everything that could be tilled under for the winter was, the other fields got compost or manure."




"Drained, cleaned, and ready for winter. Are you planting on the first planet next year?"


"Yeah, I've got a few requests. Storerooms?"


"Full, they should last the winter. If not we can replicate or start opening the new containers upstairs."


"Are you going to be making candy?"


"Yeah, after Thanksgiving. It's been a few years. I got a list started but if you want anything special put it on the list. If we need to we'll get in more supplies and you can help me make it." The others nod and they look at the time.


"The candy factory?"


"Starting new orders year after next, the poll is going up Lights Festival. After that will be toothpaste."


"Did you pick up the cotton?"


"Yeah, it's on the ships until needed. Same with the scrub trees."


Thanksgiving comes and goes, they head out to the other dimensions for a visit. . .coming back loaded down with stuff that is moved to various rooms. Josette, Alan, and Michael look over at the door opening in the candy factory, finding the others looking around and moaning.


"Josette's got a bad habit of adding the factories that are being brought out to the dorm to make sure they work before they come out."


"Makes sense." More than one person says.


"It's been a few years since we made candy and we had a couple requests so we've been working with her on and off for a week."


"What all do you have added to the dorm?"


"What doesn't she have added to the dorm would be the better question." Doc says dryly as he walks through. "Are you nearly done?"


"Another couple of weeks but we can stop until after the Lights Festival."


Doc from the latest dimension just looks at her and she lists off the factories and whatnot she's added over the years, even Calvin and the others moaning at some of them.


"What would be your next addition?"


"Probably a pet food or kitty litter factory?"


"That makes sense. . ." David says slowly. "it's not anything that would go to waste."


"Nope. It's been something we've been talking about on and off for years. Right now we either get the food from other dimensions or replicate it. Same with the litter."


"Would the additive be part of the food?"


"I've been thinking of one run with the additive, one without."




"It chemically neuters dogs, cats, and smaller animals like ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters. . . if you want to breed them you stop giving them the additive. We have barrels of the additive to put in the food, most of the replicated food already has it added."


"Not larger animals?" Doc asks, looking over the information.


"No, we generally separate them when the females are ready to breed if we don't need more."


"How do you . . .?"


"Keep the inbreeding down? When we do breed them we tend to spread them out, so one of our stallions might breed Ma and Pa Kent's mares. . . Pa's stallion might breed some mares in Albatross or even the other worlds." Nods from everybody. "We keep records to make sure they don't breed back together and we've got *tons* of frozen sperm and ova in the genetic banks."


Josette's waved to the front room at dinner. "Josette, is there a need for the glass factory?"


"Lemme check the supply, I know the last time we made tons to have on hand for years."


"Glass factory?" Doc asks in the back room.


"We have two, one that makes bottles and jars. . .the other makes sheets of glass. Not just plain but also colored for the stained glass workers and specialty glass. We make huge batches every ten years or so for the glassworkers. I think it's been fifteen years since the last time it was open?"




Josette looks at the supply list after dinner.


"No, we're still good for a few more years." She says the next morning. Principal Madison nods in satisfaction. "Good, saves me bringing it up at the meeting."


Josette and Alan bring out the containers for the Lights Festival after breakfast, including the three new trees that would be going up in various rooms.


"How are the school buildings coming?"


"With at least three buildings being worked on at a time they're coming along. We can't paint now but we've got groups of women cleaning the rooms."


"Lemme guess, with part of the money going to replenish the fund for purchases in our dimension since Ellis is holding another expo cruise in a couple years."


"Yes, the fund was growing steadily it doubled, doubled again, and doubled again as people put part of their bonus money from the offworld harvests in the fund."


"And it will be doubled again, again, and again by the time everybody's done next year?" Calvin chuckles.


"Oh good lord. . ." New Dimension Doc moans as he walks into a building.


"Yep, this is Josette's building of books taken for degrees from a school in Calvin's dimension." He looks at the two walls then back at Doc. "Yes, they're the same books. The school specializes in comic books, pulp magazines, tv and radio shows, movies. . .one of the perks of the degrees is that when you are done you will have mint copies. To do that, everybody gets two copies of everything when they sign up for the classes. One set you work on during the class, the other is the mint set that you put away. Josette takes so many classes she has more than the others."


"Barely." Josette snorts as she walks in. "David is finishing his third? degree next year? The twins and Alan are nearly two semesters into theirs."


"These are . .. comics?"


"Yes, yes they are. The school's name is on them so people can't try selling them as mint copies. The school does brisk business, they have limited online classes apart from the systems Josette and the others use. And they offer limited sales to non-students. Online students pay ten percent over what students taking them at the campus do, people who are just buying them, not taking classes pay fifteen percent over what the online students are paying. Even so Josette has said they put in a fed-ex facility nearby to handle all the shipping. Which is extra."


New dimension Doc shakes his head. "I can't understand it though I *know* there are expos for collectors."


"Yes, comics, dolls, baseball cards. . ."


The other man nods. "Where is Josette?"


"The Albatross Nest in Albatross. Every year Agatha and her friends put out monthly kits for various crafts. Today they're having a potluck dinner and going over details of all the kits available next year. They're also trading cookies. Josette should be coming back in an hour with over forty dozen various cookies, boxes of kits, and probably all the leftovers after they wash everything up."


True to his words an hour or so later Josette arrives back at the dorm, her eyes glazing over momentarily as she moves everything various places.


"How are you on worn out clothes for patchwork quilts? I gotta bring out some for Sue in a couple weeks." She asks at dinner.


"We can use some too. As cold as it is we've been making extra quilts for the beds."


"Has anybody ever thought of electric blankets? Not in the homes with limited power but here?"


"The damn prongs get damaged too easily and then they don't work." Anna says.


"That is the downside of electric blankets."


Josette pokes a fork her direction. "What she said." The others nod. "Quilts or wool blankets work just as well. . .Yes, you can't turn them on to warm the bed before you get in but a hot water bottle or other heating device can do the same Lights Festival Josette is approached by one of the glassworkers. She listens and nods her head.


"Need the glass broken up?"


"I already did that. . .no, they're experimenting with making glass buttons. I'll work on them in my workroom this year and we can compare." The others nod.


New dimension Doc trills as box after box after box come out of the replicator, going in piles as Josette gets the books and supplies for the next semester's classes.


"Is this just for your classes?"


"No, before the school closed the students who were dual-enrolled would be getting their books and supplies at the beginning of the semester. They could only sign up for one or two classes at a time though, so they'd be coming back to the office and getting the books and supplies for the next class from Joyce. The twins and I would help her before the semesters started, I'd be running the replicator and the twins would be running back and forth with bags and receipts for their class. Even then the line was out the door. Especially at the end when all the students were dual enrolled."


"Did you always get the books for the students?"


"From the time we were in school, when the students first arrived they'd go to the bookstore for supplies during orientation and when they were ready to sign out they'd get their books for the first year ready for them since they couldn't sign up for their own classes until the second year. Then they'd hand over their receipts for the semester's classes, get their supplies, and workers would fill their book orders. It kept the lines half-way short. Especially when we started getting so many students."


"You did this?"


"Yeah, before the job was turned over to temporary workers we'd be putting together boxes of first year books, a laptop, printer, and computer programs for the first year students. That was generally after the girls and I had been opening boxes of sheets, towels, and blankets and putting together sets for the new dorms."


"Yes, and we were very thankful when the school did turn that job over to the temp workers. It was a lot of work for the four of you."


"Yes, but that was a good two to three months pay for the girls before they started working."


"Only the girls?" New Dimension Doc asks quietly.


"The boys were usually busy working on the new construction during the summer. Josette was the only one officially employed by the school at that time but they'd check the hours she'd worked and cut checks for the others. . .the boys always helped them out in the bookstores. ..either getting their books, bringing up more textbooks when they ran low, or shelving the books."


"Why was Josette . . ."


"Josette had been working at the laundry all but her first semester of high school, washing the sheets and towels for the dorms. At first it was only five hours a night twice a week but her sophomore year it went to five hours four times a week as more students on the second floor of the dorms meant another night of laundry. Her senior year it went to six hours a night and she picked up an eight hour shift in the front of the laundry Sundays. Nobody stepped up to take the laundry job so she continued until the school started sending the laundry out. That was just before the school went from two dorms to four."


"That's a lot of work."


"Yes. . .which is why we were so pleased when the school started sending out the laundry. Josette had a semester before she got her library science bachelors and started working full-time at the library, before then she was covering the library finals when the teachers were busy and buying books, DVDS, and music for the library."


"No wonder Josette isn't bothered . . ."


"by a little hard work? If she's not working hard she's bored. Let me tell you about the times the government screwed her over." The stories are told and new dimension Doc moans as Pat cackles at Josette 'fwightening' the guy from the Department of Education.


Everybody in Sue's store looks over as the door opens and Josette walks in, waving a hand and bringing out piles of clothes. Seam rippers are grabbed and they start taking off buttons and zippers, putting them in boxes that Josette moves upstairs once it's full.


"Did you bring out clothes for yourself and Pat?"


"Yeah, and the 9th world. Everybody was running low on old clothes."




"I finished two last year, I'm a quilt from finishing a third and I'll get the other two done by the end of this year. The printers have already started on the remaining books and should have everything printed by year after next."


Josette replicates a few cookie tins when she returns home and starts working in her kitchen. Alice. . .who'd come in to pick up a few things, looks in on her. "Ahhh. . ." she looks at the fruitcakes in the tins. "Grandma would have used an old coffee can."


"Nobody used the metal cans before we left Earth. Same with paint cans."


"Yep, it was all plastic."


Josette looks at her PADD later that night, making a note to look into putting in a few orders before she goes to bed.


She's waved to the front room at breakfast.


"Josette, how are we on raw materials?"


"We have tons on the ships, in the crystals and in the raw state." Principal Madison nods in satisfaction. "Printers?"


"Started working, we've got plenty of supplies for the books. . .mostly because most of them will be sold in the other dimensions." Professor Druid sniggers but nods.


"Josette, were the offworld harvests early last year?"


"A little, not the first time this happened. It just means the interval until we can harvest twice in a year will be shorter."


The next few weeks pass and Josette comes back from planting on the first planet.


"Do you have a tour this year?"


"Cruise, our second testing week this summer. I'm a speaker this time. . .there was a hoopla with some fool at the publishing house trying to fire all the authors who oh god the horror write fiction." The others mock boo and hiss in the back room. In the front room Professor Fletcher is nodding as Principal Madison sighs. "He only wanted a line of textbooks and scientific stuff . . .but then he realized with the zero-population period going on for so long and so many schools closed .. .nobody was buying them. Old fool quickly shut his mouth but the damage was already done as authors got up in arms and threatened to leave the publishing house for greener pastures if this is the way they were going to be treated."


"Some people are born fools." President Bartlett rumbles.


"And have to prove it every time they open their mouths." Josette snorts. "He's sulking because it's the fiction lines that keep the house open. . .the ones like he wanted have already shut down. Because it would be years if not decades after people started having kids again that schools would need to buy more books."


"Are Joanne, Madison, and Jessica retiring?"


"Yes and no, they're down to working only with special clients. . .I'm one of them."


"Just like the others basically only deal with us in the other dimensions." Josette nods.




"Me Granda's dimension, the boys Mom's. . .and we got a dual show in Doc's dimension."


"Do you have enough stuff for two shows?"


"Yes, Josette's already took a shipment of stuff to the ships." Alexander says absently as he starts sketching something. Michael looks over his shoulder and grins.


A few weeks later Josette raps her knuckles on the Cafe door on the 9th planet. "I know it's early Vincent, but I got green-picked stuff from the first . . ." The door opens and she walks in, waving a hand and bringing out bushels and bags. Vincent smiles as he looks everything over and Josette helps put everything away.


"Am I the only one getting these?"


"Nope, I dropped off deliveries just as big to Doc, Dr. Cross, and Dr. McNider. I grew extra since they came up permanently."


"Get deliveries to everybody?" David asks when Josette comes back.


"Yep, and got tons more in stasis. And we'll have just as much when the rest start ripening." Josette looks at her PADD and sends off a message, getting instant responses back. "Purple Krim. . .I can't pick them green but that means more ripe tomatoes."


"Are you going to be planting a separate crop?"


"Yeah, probably. . .or planting them hydroponically on the ship again."


"Or both." Principal Madison says dryly in the front room as Professor Druid giggles. Josette checks the supplies again and sends off another message. . .getting more responses back. "Vodka, bourbon, and near-beer, it's been a few years since I made batches." The others nod. Josette sends a message to the offworld areas to grow another batch of potatoes, corn, and hops before putting her PADD up and starting to eat.


The end of the semester finds Josette bringing the ripe tomatoes, herbs, and peppers from the first planet.


"Did you plant again?" Principal asks as she comes into the dining hall.


"Yeah, after adding compost to the raised beds. And planted on the ship."


"Did Grandpa Nathan talk to you?" David asks when she sits down with her first tray of food.


"Yes, I'll grow the peppers for GD next year. They don't need them right away."


"Maple syrup and sugar?" President Bartlett asks from the front room.


"Boiling the sap right now."


The next couple months pass quickly and Josette heads to Calvin's dimension, returning three weeks later for her. She falls face first on the couch. "Duplicates delivering containers to the school and the library in town. More coming upstairs for my library. Stopped to Ellis's and some other suppliers, spent a week in Vegas. . ." the others snigger.


"When is your show?" Principal Madison asks with a chuckle as he walks into the dorm, finding Josette face first on the couch.


"Two weeks. The one to Mom's is just after the Harvest Festival and our combined show in Doc's dimension is midterms. We'll be done with our tests before the show." Principal Madison nods in satisfaction. "How was the cruise?"


"Oh god, spare me from fools. He's still whining about how it isn't fair that his grand scheme got derailed by that nasty old reality. He was at the cruise and wailing because this wasn't his authors making money. Or should I say it wasn't his authors making him money."


"Ummmm, most people don't buy textbooks unless they're in school?" Principal Madison snorts. "Josette is the only person I know who reads textbooks for fun."


"Yeah, he's missing the massive purchases from schools. This means he's going to die poor and alone. . . mostly because his stupidity pushed his family away."


"Fucking fool, but that's humanity for you."




"How is the school buildings coming along?"


"Good, we'll be finished painting them by next year."


"The money will go back to refilling the offworld fund after the cruise." Abby chuckles.


"Amen. And I'm sure most of them are looking at their own homes and going honey. . .we need to paint ourselves'." David drawls. Everybody laughs and nods. "Did you pay for the cruise?"


"Yep, while I was out there earlier this year. The money's already been replaced."


In various homes and businesses, people start looking over the updated information on the cruise Josette had sent out before she went to the dorm.


At the show a couple weeks later Josette gives a whining fool saying that it wasn't fair, that could have been his money a disgusted look.


"The moron from the publishing house?"


"Yes, he was going to be magnanimous in allowing crafting books. . .as long as they weren't that evil fiction. He was rubbing his hands in glee when he found out how many books I sell. . .until he realized I don't have a contract with the publishing house for those. How can I do that to him. He was gonna sue. . .at least until the house's lawyers told him to sit down and shut the fuck up. Even his own authors had contracts with other publishers for books he didn't want."


"I heard rumors that the blacksmith is doing sandcasting again?"


"Yeah, we start after the Harvest Festival, working all through next year."


Josette wraps her hands around a mug of coffee the next morning.


"How long were you signing books."


"Most of the night, Marcus is going to have the total when he comes out this afternoon." Her PADD beeps and she reads the online newspaper while eating.


"How was the show?" Principal Madison asks as they come back into the dorm an hour later for him.


"Sold everything, signed books for hours. . .ignored the wailing old fool from the publishing house who was pouting because he wasn't making any money off my quilting books. He was magnanimously going to allow crafting books since they weren't that nasty old fiction until he found out they didn't have a contract for my books. He's devastated. . .absolutely devastated." The others snicker.


"Did you pick up new supplies for your art?"


"Yep, everything's being put away now. I'll pick up more supplies in Mom's dimension and probably more in Doc's for their shows."


"Do you have bookcases for Amanda?"


"Yeah, we have five more sets, Josette was going to deliver them as soon as the protective coat is dry. Probably tomorrow since we put it on this morning."


"I'll let her know, thank you boys."


Josette slumps onto the couch, three cats immediately jumping on various parts of her body.


"When are the tomatoes ripe?"


"I'm going out in a couple weeks after our crops are all in. I'll be out long enough to harvest them, the yearly crops, and plant the raised beds again."


Several weeks later for her Josette returns to the dorm.


"Get everything taken care of?" David asks from his spot on the couch.


"Yep, the tomatoes are harvested and I sold tons to the others with more in stasis. All the yearly crops are in and either sold or put away until we eat them. I've got seven barrels of olives in the basement since we still have a good stock of oil left from the last couple years. I picked up the hops, corn, cotton, and potatoes while I was off Haven and the last of the grapes have been harvested."


"Ice wine?"


"Yeah, I left some grapes on the vines for it."


"Do you have bottles?"


"I will . . .I put in a huge order for bottles when I decided to make vodka, bourbon, and beer this year. They'll be finished before the Lights Festival."


The others start coming out, Bronwen shaking her head at the empty shelves in the room Josette is straightening and organizing. Not that it's empty empty, there's boxes of kits from the Albatross Nest, sorted by year and craft.


"Taking inventory?" One Josette's calling out numbers and another is typing on the PADD.


"Yeah, now's as good a time as any." Pat, Pat, Bethany, and Paddy nod nearly in unison.


"Is that a treadle sewing machine?"


"Yeah, I got it at Ellis's. . .a small company is experimenting with various machines. . .including knitting, embroidery, and long-arm sewing machine. The government is thinking about stuff like this for a colony that won't have electricity right away."


"Do you have any information. . .that's something that our colony dimension is going to have to think about. They can bring in stocks of clothes but eventually they'll wear out. They'll have to be able to make more." Josette's eyes glaze over a second and a folder is in Silas's hands. He smiles and makes copies, settling down to read them. The others take them after he's done.


"Do the Amish use them?"


"Not really. . .I've heard of them having sheds or outbuildings with electricity. . .of course that was in a book." Josette says. "Ellis is going to have samples on the cruise, if they do use them their helper will see them and put in an order."


"And if we don't have somebody experimenting with them in our dimension I'll see if there's interest."


"The larger machines they'll probably need to have a building for them and set up times for them to use."




"Yes, those too. . .those are the original non-electric textile machine."


"They'll probably have to put up something like a mill."


"Keep everything in one place. ..that makes sense. Not many people will have room for a sewing machine at the beginning."


"And not many people would know how to run one." Nods from everybody. "But they can either buy them at a store like the Little House books or take lessons."


"I can see people who make clothes having a good business."


Nods from the others. "Back then girls learned from their mothers. . .not many make their own clothes on Earth. Even in Albatross clothes were generally from a store unless it was something special."


Bronwen nudges Josette. "That old fool at the publishing house tried his shit again and got his ass handed to him. The brass finally had enough of his stupidity and gave him the old heave ho."


"Finally. What did the old fool do this time."


"Ended up firing a number of authors for daring to have outside contracts or like you sell on your own. Well. . .as you imagine the authors weren't too fucking pleased about that and turned around and fired the publishing house by refusing to sign new contracts."


"And they didn't like that." Josette drawls.


"Nope, the publishing house is taking all the judgments for breaking contracts out of his hide. He's wailing that they should have done what he wanted. He would have let them come back to the publishing house. . .once his section started making him money."


"Moron doesn't realize that the type of sales he wants won't happen for decades?" Calvin drawls."He won't see the massive sales he was looking for."


"B. . .bu. . .buh . . .but every school in the world has to open their doors the second the zero-population period is over and buy massive supplies for the students. . . Who cares if it will take decades*before they're needed. . .if they're ruined in that time they'll have to buy more."


"I didn't get anything . . ." Josette says slowly.


"Nope, the receptionist was suspicious about why he'd be sending you a letter since he's been howling about your quilting books and grabbed it out of the mail before it went out. She gave the letter to Madison who opened it and let him have it with both barrels."


"Fucking a-hole."


"Well that's people who believe their own shit and have to push their opinions down your throat. Look at that fool woman who had Jasmine Snyder fired because 'oh she has to be making fun of me by only eating a few bites of food, I think having an eating disorder is cool. Then went wailing like a banshee when she found out there was a medical reason why Jasmine only eats a few bites of food several times a day."


"Miserable woman." Everybody looks at them and the story is told. "Fool woman kept petitioning the court to be allowed to come to Haven. . .demanding that she be allowed to show us how our diets were all wrong. The judge told her hell no and to grow the hell up. She was sure she'd be one of those overnight celebrities with the next hot diet and be instantly rich and successful. Yes, many young people need help with their diets. . .but fools like that won't be able to teach them how to have a balanced diet. I'm sure having ready sources of healthy food so they're not eating fast food thanks to all the stores going in and access to fresh fruit and vegetables in community gardens helped."


"Fad diets come and go. . .as Jasmine could probably tell you since her mother tried all of them instead of pulling on her big girl panties and loving her daughter the way she was. She kept trying to change her instead of taking her to the doctor and seeing there was a medical reason for her weight gain."


"How is her health?"


"Reasonably good, gets most of her nutrition from her feeding tube since so many years of malnutrition at her mother's hands thanks to those fucking fad diets and the tumor meant she was never able to eat normally again."


"Like a patient who underwent gastric bypass."


"Exactly. At least it's not like those people who are on the tv weight loss shows who lose 21 pounds in a week because all they do is exercise then when they get home they can't keep that up." Everybody rolls their eyes.


"The other one was halfway good. . .they took an entire year to lose the weight and were on their own after the first 90 days."


"That was a much better premise. .. they had to make it or break it on their own."


"They were doing it for themselves not for the chance at money and throwing their teammates under the bus for not losing enough weight."


After the Harvest Festival Josette goes to the publishing house, walking past the old fool wailing outside on the sidewalk. He grabs her arm and she glares at him. . .making him gulp.


"Get your hand the hell off me before I take it off at the shoulder." she hisses.


"But wwwwwwwhhhhhhhyyyyyyy wouldn't you let me be your agent." he wails.


"Because you're a miserable old fool who hates fiction? Dumbass."


"But I would have let you keep your quilting books." He wails as the police drag him off.


"Effing moron." Josette snorts as she walks into the building.


"Yyyyeeesssss. . ." the receptionist drawls. "If he whines enough out there they'll have to hire him again. . .so he can start his shit all over again."


She stops at Ellis's to bring out older books and goes through details on the cruise and picking up information from the company working on the machines, picking up the machines themselves.


Agatha screams like a little girl as she runs across the room. "Is this treadle powered?"


"Yep, you can either charge a battery pack to run the machine for three hours or operate it by the treadle itself. I don't know many people who could move it fast enough to sew . . .at least at first."


Sue and the Amish representative nod as they come over. "Did you make this?"


"No, a company in Granda's dimension is experimenting with them."




"I've got a knitting machine and long arm sewing machine on the ship yet. I sent copies of all the information on the other machines to Silas, colonies are going to have to make their own clothes after the stock they bring out wear out."


"And they might not have access to unlimited power right away."


"Yep, even if they do have solar panels it would drain them rapidly."


"And unless you grew up with families that made their own clothes. . ."


"You wouldn't know how. . . thanks to the schools getting rid of stuff like home ec. Now. . .any of our students would just sit down and go to work."


"Exactly. . .even in Albatross where everybody starts quilting at their mom, aunt, grandma, or other adult's knee I don't know many people who could make their own clothes. . .especially stuff like underwear and bras."


"Okay, how do the Amish handle sewing machines? Sheds with power . . ."


"They did back on Earth, now it's communal sewing machines they can sign up for time on. ..some families might have an older treadle machine passed down in the family."


"How long does it take to power the batteries?"


"About 90 minutes, you can set your kids taking turn pedaling if you need to do something. Keeps them out of trouble. . .same thing with husbands." she glowers at David smirking in the doorway. The other women chuckle.


"How long for the other machines?"


"About four hours but the batteries last two days. No, I didn't sit down and pedal for hours to find out. . .that's part of the information I got." She sends them the files and everybody starts going over it when they reach homes or businesses.


"Did you finish your quilting books?"


"Yes, they're being edited right now and will join the others in the queue waiting to be printed."


"Have you talked to the publishing house in Calvin's dimension?"


"Yeeesss, the old fool was wailing outside the building. . .grabbing my arm demanding to know why I wouldn't accept him as a client. He'd let me keep my quilting books. . .once he started making money on his line. Old fool is sure that if he keeps whining enough they'll have to rehire him. So he can start his stupidity all over again."


"Are they out of the zero-population time?"


"The experts think another six months? But even then they're not going to be popping out babies. .. they gotta get in supplies. ..which means factories what were working on other stuff starting to make that again."




"Yep, and formula. . .baby clothes. . .baby furniture. Even if they had some stuff put away everybody's working one .. .maybe two or even three jobs it's going to take time."


"And make sure there's enough teachers."


"Yep." Josette talks to Vinetta after the show, visiting a couple manufacturers and Vegas. Doc had got her a guest pass to a textbook expo and she gets three copies of everything, Jane thanking her as she drops one off at the school.


"Did you get more?"


"Two more sets of everything. . .one for the school and one for our dorm."


"How was the show?"


"Sold a lot of stuff. . .so in a few years I expect to have a show on par with the other dimensions. Brought out four more of the oldest quilting books and was signing books for hours. Not as many books as the other shows but still a good number."


"Are you going to be able to have shows next year. . .your year?"


"Yeah, we've been working on stuff for a while since Doc told us about the show in his dimension.


Back on Haven Josette takes inventory of what she has made up and starts making a list of what she has to work on. Filling the cart with sheets and dye she heads to the laundry.


"Oh good, I wasn't sure if you were back yet." Suzie's voice says from the doorway of the back room she has blocked open to air out. Josette looks over her shoulder. "What's up?"


Josette nudges David and waves Principal Madison and President Bartlett into the back room as she comes into the dining hall with Doc. "This is only going to take a second, Assyrian wants to start a fruitcake making operation at the old cooking school."


"They probably have all the machinery they'd need for a large-scale operation." President Bartlett says slowly.


"Yep, and we don't lack for people who can make them."


"No we don't, do they need anything?"


"They're going to be making a list of supplies they'll need and bring it up at a meeting in a few months. I know I'm going to have to put in an order of tins. . .I had to replicate a couple when I made fruitcakes earlier this year."


"Cookie swaps?"


"Yes, we'll need to order there too."


Several weeks later she heads to the first planet, harvesting everything left in the raised beds and after drying a third of the peppers into wreaths she heads off.


"Get everything taken care of?" David asks when she slides into her seat at the dining hall.


"Yep, everything that didn't sell is either dried or popped into stasis." Josette stretches backwards and yawns. "Just in time for our crops to start coming in."


"Yep." Josette disappears and reappears a few seconds later. "Goddamn old fool."


"That miserable old bastard who only wanted his line to be part of the publishing house?"


"Yes, the fucker wanted me to take care of him for the rest of his miserable life. . .it was my fault he'd been fired because it was Madison reading his letter to her author firing me for daring to write fiction got him terminated. The judge told him to grow the hell up and get a life. He'd tried suing Madison too for daring to read his letter and got no satisfaction there either. He tried suing for wrongful termination and got his ass handed to him then too. The judge had ordered a psychiatric exam for him, the consensus was he's not mentally ill he's just a miserable old man who's pouting because he can't control the world like he wants. He was drug off to the work dimension to pay off his fines for frivolous lawsuits still wailing that he'd have let me keep my quilting books when he took over the publishing house. ..why won't I accept him as my agent?"


"Miserable old fool."


"Yep, he's howling that it's not fair that while the zero-population period is ending. . .his sales aren't magically soaring into the stratosphere."


"Ummm because schools won't need new books for decades?" Principal Madison snorts in the front room.


"Amen. . .but he was expecting to wake up one morning and crow 'see, see I told you my line was the only one that mattered' when books started selling again."


Josette wipes down her table in the library after putting away the supplies for the classes she finished.


"Eight comic book degrees?" Susan asks as she shelves the books from her latest finished degree.


"Yeah, four from each school. . .six more and I'll be hitting the comic code 'oh god, they're harming our children' hoopla bullshit that happened with the music industry too. That's the huge sucker since it covers so many publishers. . .many that went out of business because of that bullshit."


Susan snorts. "If parents were actually parents, they wouldn't worry about their darlings running wild. They would probably still listen to music their parents hate, but that's human nature."




"Did you finish a tv degree?"


"Next spring."


"Finishing anything else?"


"At least four, but they're all degrees that are more than one in the set. I'm one semester from seven degrees from the sosh school but these are all the mega sets, seven degrees and up." Susan shakes her head. "I'm three years into a degree from the naval academy about submarines in war but that's the second of four degrees."


"How many degrees does that make?"


"Fifteen bachelors and a masters. There's not that big a demand for a graduation ceremony yet, I'll have at least one more before then. . .might even have the doctorate too." David sniggers as he walks through to take care of his books and supplies. "And you'll have nearly as many degrees from the comic book school when you attend their graduation ceremony next year."


"Only a baker's dozen, the Doctor who degree, the four general tv degrees, and the four degrees each from DC and Marvel."


"Are they going to have degrees about the movies based on the comic books?"


"They're talking about it. . .they might have a dual degree with another sosh school .. .them handling the comic book aspect, the other school handling the movies aspect."


"Sounds interesting ...I'll look into it when I'm finished with the lit degree I'm starting next year."


Two long weeks later they slump into seats, their finals taken and all the crops in for the year. The offworld harvests had been passed out and Josette and the others having come back to Haven from the cruise.


"Damn fool."


"Your dear friend from the publishing house?"


"Yes, he came back from paying off his fines and was wailing his life was over. . .he was going to kill himself. We'd all be sorry for the way we treated him, then walked off pouting when nobody came rushing to stop him." Principal Madison facepalms in the front room.


"So anyway. . .he may have finally figured out he's not all that." Josette drawls. "Like a kid having a tantrum if you ignore him he'll either stop or go away."


"Or be like that damn fool kid throwing a tantrum on America's funniest Hollywood videos and follow you around the house throwing himself on the floor crying because nobody's paying attention to him."


"A good slap on the ass would stop that nonsense in it's tracks." President Bartlett rumbles in the front room. His wife nods vigorously.


"Did you pick up much stuff that wasn't sold after the cruise?"


"Some. . .Ellis learned from the last cruise and if it didn't sell well the first time it didn't come on this one. We had a *lot* of demonstrations and talks. It will take me a few days to go through everything. . .when I get around to it." Everybody snickers.


"Comic expo?"


"Yes, I attended one while I was out there. . .nobody sleeps during them anyway so me not needing to eat or sleep wasn't all that unusual. I got lots of stuff on the ship. I also hit Vegas and visited a couple new to me manufacturers."


The cruise is talked about a lot at the Albatross Nest a few days later. . .after Josette is congratulated for finishing her books. They'd had a book party for the last two before they'd left on the cruise. Everybody eats and the cookies are passed around, then the boxes of kits. Josette helps wash everything up and returns to the dorm, putting everything away before looking out the window to see the decorations going up all around the school grounds.


"Oh that goddamn fool." Josette moans a couple days later when she reads the databurst.


"What is . . .Oh that fool!" Bronwen snorts, reading over her shoulder.


"Do we want to know?"


"Dumbass from the publishing house. . .he's demanding the city-ship return so he can go into space and write about his harrowing journey into space. He'll write a book that every school in the world will want to buy. He'll show the publishing house . . .they'll come begging to be allowed to print is book. He'll let them down easy." Josette puts her wrist up to the top of her head, her fingers moving in a damsel in distress 'oh la, I fear that I shall faint' imitation. "And best of all . . .it will be real."


"That old fool wouldn't know real if it hit him upside the head with a clue by four."


Josette cackles as she reads the databurst a couple days later. "Dumbass pouting?"


"Yes, the government told him not just no but hell no. No he's going to write about his harrowing adventures in colonizing a new dimension now."


"Why doesn't he just write about being a total dumbass who can't get a life? That would really be real life." Bronwen snorts.


More wails when he finds out how much money it would take to open a dimension to a colony. . .how many supplies they'd need. . .having to build his own house by hand. . .with no toilet, running water, or ready source of heat at the turn of a dial and having to grow his own food. Howls of how that's not fair is greeted by snorts of derision and 'too damn bad'.


"I wonder if this is the last we'll hear of the old fool." Calvin asks once they've returned to Earth and are in the same time period as the databursts they'd been reading on Haven.


"Probably not. . those type of people never go away peacefully. When is Josette's graduation?"


"September 21st. The school is already planning on printing out a diploma for the tv degree Josette's going to have finished in a few months."


"How many degrees will that make?"


"Thirteen, not quite the 'it will take them fifteen minutes to list off all your degrees and the pretty papers will be yay thick' Alexander said about Montague. But she'll get there eventually."


"Is Josette still taking classes at the other schools?"


"Of course. . .they're her second home as she's said more than once. They're already back to adding more classes."


"You know. . I'm sure Cambridge and Oxford started out the same way." Maria says. The others laugh and nod.




"The boys here, Josette in her Mom Clarinda's dimension."


"Is Josette premiering two more books?"


"She'd planned on it."


"Are you god damn retarded you miserable old fool? Hell NO am I going to take your oh so special lawsuit demanding the woman you tried having fired buy you a damn new house because you were too lazy or stupid to pay off your house when you knew that the zero-population period was coming and you should pay down your bills since the textbook sales would be dead for a few decades. . .even after people starting having children again."


"But you've gotta!" he wails. "I . .I have to work to pay my bills now."


"Too damn bad. That's what the rest of the world does."


"But they're threatening to foreclose on my home."


"Then run your miserable little ass to the courthouse and file paperwork freezing the foreclosure while you go to the work dimension and pay off your mortgage." He walks off wailing. "Miserable old fool." His legal secretary calls once he's gone. "Want me to call the courthouse?"


"Yeah, let them know the old fool is going to be making a scene. If he's too stupid to get off his ass and work. . .he deserves to lose his damn home. Probably had one of those damn McMansions to lord it over his neighbors."


"Madison, how big is your home?" The boss of the publishing house asks as he leans in her door.


"Twenty-five thousand square feet. Eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms for the big house. Why?"


"That old fool Flannery had a two hundred fifty thousand square feet home . ..and he added onto it again after the zero-population period started."


"For god's sake. . .why? The only reason my house is so big is because of all the kids. Now that they're out of the house Jessica, Joanne, and I were rattling around in it before we moved back to our smaller homes. Hell, the only house that I know even bigger than ours is Josette's .. .and that's the main house and several outbuildings."


"Because he had to lord it over everybody that he was soooo much better." Jessica snorts from the doorway of the office. "I hope the old fool at least had the sense to pay for everything upfront?"


"Of course not." Joanne sneers behind Jessica. "Lemme guess, he was trying to sue to make Josette pay his mortgage? Because he blames her for everything that goes wrong in his world because she won't accept him as an agent. He'd let her keep her quilting books once his precious textbook line took off. Out of the kindness of his heart."


"Worse . . he wanted her to buy him a whole new house. . .because his bank is threatening foreclosure."


"Of course. . .the little bastard couldn't be bothered to pay his bills?"


"But he wasn't making the kind of money he used to. Moron couldn't cut back on expenses or get a second job because lord knows there's not a lack of them." Madison snorts. Jessica and Joanne nod. . .all three women have picked up second jobs over the last decade and all their kids worked during school. They could build ten houses the size of their big house . . .but they don't need to.


"Moron needs to be put in a home because he's too fucking stupid to live."


"Well. . .not quite that bad." The boss chuckles. "But he had a fit because a lawyer wouldn't take his lawsuit demanding Ms. Takahawa buy him a house. He was sent to the work dimension to pay off his mortgage, make enough money to live on the rest of his life, and is being put under conservatorship."


Guffaws from everybody. "People telling him what to do instead of him telling them how to run their lives. He'll hate it."


The news soon makes the round of the building and 'couldn't happen to a nicer old fool' is the general consensus.


David nudges Josette at dinner. "I saw all those ads on tv saying Corn oil is helpful at lowering cholesterol."


"Because of plant sterols. Yep, GD has been looking into it and we can use the same machines for the olives and vegetable oil if we ever want to start using it. Same with peanut and coconut oil, there's not that big of a demand for it. Though I plan on getting some coconut oil from the other dimensions for soapmaking."


"All the fresh food and exercise means nobody has high cholesterol." Alan says. In the front room Dr. Hazlitt nods.


"Frances, Elaine. . .we're having a dyeing party in town next week."


"I thought we'd be running low on pretty soon."


Josette nods. "We can all dye small batches but. . ."


"The mega batches means room to spread out and a lot of hands."


"Do we have supplies of dye and vinegar?"


"Yeah, I got batches in from Ellis's."


A couple weeks later a rainbow of color is hanging in the dyeing building. In addition to the yarn they'd died fleeces and cotton and the shelves are full of those now that they're dry. Josette had been taping the work with cameras in different areas of the room, Paddy and both Pats in the other dimensions had wanted video when Josette said they'd have a massive dyeing party.


"Oh . . .wow. I'm not a crafter and I can say that's beautiful." Alice says as she looks at the building on the screen. "That's what they mean by dye lots on yarn." She points to one section where you can see it going from darker to lighter.


Pat nods. "It doesn't matter with mass-produced fabric, woolease, or acrylic yarns but you can see the difference in home dyed fabrics, fleece, cotton, and yarn."


Josette takes out the 9th planet's part of the work, Ma and the others looking at the full shelves in satisfaction as the others whistle or whimper at the file showing how much work they did.


"Yes, while we could have made many smaller batches. . .it was much easier to bring everything together and work on it together."




"Yes, they added extra to the building when they put it up. Beats having to open a door in the middle of winter."


"Is that the only . . .?"


"One they have? No, Assyrian and Edinborough each have their own operations. I think the school might have one . . .or just Josette for her art. I think the cooperative outside Albatross might an operation too."


"Will the school building finish being cleaned and painted this year?"


"Yes, Josette says the offworld fund is slowly growing again. Not only was it tapped for the cruise and our purchases, there were a couple orders in there too."


Josette slides into her seat at the government building the third month of the year.


"Get the GD peppers planted?" President Bartlett asks. They're the only two people in the room right now.


"Last week." Josette stretches in the chair. "I stayed out the entire time, giving them green picked, ripe, dried, and the plants. Sold some and the rest is either dried or popped in stasis. Dr. Stark thanked me for growing them before he had to go deal with the explosion of the day. The botanists thanked me for everything as they fell on it like a pack of wolves." Doc chuckles in the doorway.


"What was that in the databurst about that fool old man?" David asks, looking at Josette as he pours himself a mug of coffee from the wall unit.


"Ohhh, that miserable old bastard was incensed that the court would tell him what to do with his life."


"Yeah. . .he's supposed to tell others how to run their lives." David snorts.


"The court told him he was too fucking stupid to live and he'd better shut the hell up before they toss his ass in a jail cell for 90 days for contempt of court."


"Oh I bet he didn't like that."


"Oh not at all. So his useless ass is sitting in a jail cell whining about how it isn't fair. How can they do that to him." Principal Madison snorts as he joins them in the room.


"Any news on the zero-population period?"


"It should be done by the end of the year. . .factories are gearing back up to start making baby stuff. Of course that doesn't mean they'll start popping out babies. . ."


"Look how long it took us to start having kids after we moved to Haven." David says. Josette nods. "Same reason except they didn't move to another planet."


"Anything new?"


"Yeah, I was thinking of growing yucca as a test?"




"It's used to make tapioca." Doc says.


"Yeah, it was largely grown in the US for that, but in Mexico and Central American countries you could find it in stores."


"It would probably cost more to grow and process it . . ."


"Than buying it from the other dimensions? Yes, that's one of the bad points I wanted to talk about. And not many people would know what to do with it."


"People ate what they were comfortable with." President Bartlett says.


Josette sticks a donut in her mouth and puts the bag with the rest in the refrigerator before going upstairs. Looking in her workroom she closes her eyes and blindly reaches out to select a kit to work on, opening the package and laying everything out.


"Do you have everything you need?" David asks in the doorway.


"Yeah, I brought out a lot of supplies from the ship after the Harvest Festival once I knew what I was running low on." Josette covers her mouth with her arm as she yawns. "More snow coming in."


"Yep, the probes already let us know. Nothing that we can't get outside for. . .just weather you want to curl up in a blanket and read or nap."


"Yep. . .sleeping weather."


"You know. . .somebody on Earth would be wailing at you filling the entire wrap with food." Susan chuckles as she sees Josette making one for a snack in her room.


"Of course they would. . .you wouldn't have all that tortilla left over after you eat the food." Josette snorts. "Just like there's stores that sell subs where one end of the sub is just plain bread."


"Because god forbid they add a couple more slices of meat and cheese to cover all the bread." Abby snorts as she comes into the room. "Josette, did you grow for GD?"


"Yeah, I stayed out there the entire time so they had records. After delivering to GD and selling to the others I have tons of dried and fresh in stasis."


The snow starts melting and windows open for as long as they can until the furnace starts running to get rid of the 'lived in' smell of the dorm. They're shut but everybody knows this is the turning point and in a couple weeks they'll be able to keep the windows open.


"Thank god for replicators." Susan says when she drops a baggie of cat crap in the recycling bin and watching it disappear.


"Yes, I've seen people carrying buckets of crap to the replicator. I'm sure in the farms they probably have a place set up where they can dump buckets year-round."


"It's giving back to the land that way." Josette smirks. The others laugh and nod.


Josette heads off with the boys for their final tests.


"Are you going to be done with the tv degree in time for your graduation?"


"Actually, I just finished it. Once I heard about the graduation ceremony I picked up an extra semester over break." Dr. Stark nods in satisfaction.


"Aside from that, how many degrees are you looking at finishing?"


"Four, three of them the massive mega-set degrees that I've been running through taking a semester for each degree. I've got three this year, three next and one the year after that. I'm finishing the submarine in war degree this year and the plane crashes and my doctorate next year."


"Are you replicating your cap and gown?"


"Yeah, in a couple months."


"When is your graduation?"


"Midterms second semester, I have a book tour after our Harvest Festival and I'll have books for Jessica, Joanne, and Madison when I go out for graduation."


"Did I hear rumors of graphic novels or computer games from your books?"


"Yes, but the first scripts were like the first script for the movie."


"Absolute crap written by somebody who couldn't be even bothered to read the damn source material but thinks since he's all that and a bag of chips everybody will be falling over themselves to accept it?" Dr. Cross snorts.


"Yep, they're quickly going back to the drawing board and actually reading the damn books."




"The boys Granda's dimension in three weeks. . .me Mom's dimension just before our finals third semester."


"Have you been able to get back a supply. . .?"


"We spent a few weeks in time dilation on the ships to make sure we were caught up."






A beeping has Josette disappearing. She arrives at the mansion, checking the security system and grabbing a shotgun before calling the police.


Josette cusses the old fool trying to break through the gates, the police dragging him away.


"But the people you put over me won't let me add onto my home. She can find another home. . .I want that one." He wails before a judge the next morning.


"Get the hell over yourself. . .you don't need to add onto your home. You just want to add onto your house to Lord it over your neighbors. That's what got you under conservatorship in the first place. You having a fit in the courthouse because you might be losing your home for not paying your mortgage."


"But . .but it's not fair that she has that big and beautiful a house. If I can't have the home I want. . .neither should she. She can buy another house. . .that one should be mine." He wails as he's dragged off again.


"Didn't that old fool just get out of here?" One of the jailers asks another as he's tossed in the cell he just left less than a week ago.


Chapter 4 by josette grover


"Yeeeessss, miserable bastard tried breaking into the house of the author he tried firing. . the conserver over him wouldn't let him add onto his house. If he couldn't have the house he wanted. . .neither should she. She can buy another house. Now he's telling a psychiatrist that if wanting to add onto his house is a sign of mental illness. . .her having a home that large means she should be put away. Little bastard's busy plotting about what he'll do with her home. . .because of course the courts will give it to *him* once she's locked away."


"And his client?" The psychiatrist called in to examine him asks a few days later.


"Josette Takahawa never has and never will be a client of his. She's a successful author and artist. . .she shows under the name Jakahawa. Her husbands show under Madison and Jalex."


"Oh Christ. . .I was at their latest show. The quilting books were flying off the tables."


"Yes. .. the old fool was graciously going to be allowing her to keep her quilting books once he turned the publishing house into what he wanted. She self-publishes those books so all the proceeds are hers."


"Something he was wailing about."




"Does she have a large home?"


"Yes, but she also has a large family and they all have multiple hobbies that need all the space. She doesn't have a large house to show off how important she is. . .she has a large house because it's their home."


"Exactly. Now Madison has a large home. . ." her boss snickers.


"Yes. ..because Joanne, Jessica, and I had three sets of twins before the zero-population period started. Once the kids had left home the three of us were rattling in that big house and went back to our little ones. He just wants a big home because he's a . . ."


"Fucking idiot who wants to lord his importance over everybody else." Joanne snorts from the doorway. "Josette dropped off a thumb drive for each of us, she's off attending the graduation ceremony at her comic book school."


"How are her quilting books coming?"


"The last of them will be printed this year."


"How many quilting books does she have?"


"Nearly seventy. With Josette getting all the money."


"No wonder the old fool wanted her books."


"He doesn't stop to think that the only reason they sell so well is because she offers them at their shows. The sales at Ellis's aren't a fraction of the sales there and they'd still be a thousand times better than any sales he could make."


"Amen. . .the only reason they sell so well is because she's an artist and the morons at the shows just gotta have them to say they were there and had them autographed." Jessica snorts. "Dumbass should have learned from that fool girl who wanted to step right into the big leagues here and was so sure Josette would accept her as a her agent over the three of us and turn over her quilting books. She'd double the number of books Josette sells. . .it can't be more than five or ten." The other two women snigger. "She and her daddy dearest came to one of Josette's shows to try and talk her into bringing the books under the publishing house and were stunned when they saw the books flying off the tables. Daddy dumbass asked if his darling daughter could double Josette's sales. . ..'nnnnnoooooo, she had thought Josette was funning her when she says she sells over eight thousand books at a show. And usually has two books premiering . ..and has nearly that many old books being signed."


"And of course that old fool would give her some of the money from her books. . .while greedily rolling in his profits." The receptionist snorts as she comes to the door. "Not that the old fool will ever get the chance now. . .the police just arrested him outside when he tried to shoot Josette."


"Is she okay?" Madison jumps to her feet.


"Yes, the old bastard didn't realize he had the safety on." She sniggers. "He's wailing about Josette hitting him while he was stupidly standing there pulling on the trigger. He then threw it at her, she ducked and cococked the moron before threatening to kick his ass up around his ears like his momma should have done before security grabbed him."


Josette is interviewed for a couple minutes before being allowed to leave. . .all the witnesses and security cameras backup her statement that he had attacked her.


"How the hell did he get out of his cell?" One of the jailers asks as the cell door clangs shut behind him.


"Some bleeding heart group got him out of jail under his own recognizance until the trial. It had to have been some mistake. . .he's an old man who's just confused. He doesn't know what he's doing . .the charges should have been dropped."




Josette arrives at the school and brings her cap and gown out of subspace, Hannah and Bronwen helping her dress as the others get settled in the auditorium.



"Are you goddamn stupid?" A judge roars at the whining fool in front of him. "You tried attacking that woman and got your ass handed to you like you deserved."


"But she hit me." He whines.


"And you tried shooting her but you were too stupid to realize the safety was on." He snorts. "Twenty-five years to life in the medium-security dimension." He bangs the gavel.


"But you can't do that to mmmmmmeeeeee." he wails as he's dragged off.


"Fucking fool. . .why wasn't that old fool reined in before now?"


"Because the others thought he'd finally figure out he's a goddamn moron and grow up. For everybody who's been through conservatorship and came out better for it on the other side. . .you have somebody like him."


"What are we doing with his stuff?"


"I'm all for giving it to his victim as payment for his bullshit. If she doesn't want it, sell it to help pay for his upkeep in the other dimension."


Josette moans as she looks over the grandiose mansion. "He must have been rattling in here like a dried up old pea in a pod."


Madison nods. "Why the hell did he need eight bedrooms with its own bathroom. On each floor? Three bedrooms that you'd call maids quarters plus one for a live in cook or housekeeper? Two kitchens?"


"And he wanted to add onto this again?"


"Of course he did. People might forget about him otherwise."


"He was looking for the power, he lost it when the zero-population period started and he missed it. He was so sure that schools would keep on buying books. . .because he said so."


"Just like those fools who wanted schools to stay open even without any students. The teachers should just sit in their classrooms and molder."


"What should we do with this . . ." Jessica waves a hand. Josette had been awarded his house, land, and bank accounts. Something he'd be howling about if he knew anything beyond working ten hours a day at menial labor.


"How is this zoned?"


"Residential mixed commercial. He wanted it that way for a home business that never happened."


"Can we turn this into a bed and breakfast?"


"Nope." One of the local police officers who'd been tapped to escort them says. "Dumbass got his buddies in the city council to outlaw it. . .saying it would bring the wrong kind of people into town."


"People spending money?"


"Exactly." He snorts. "Damn fool. Both of them."


Josette snaps her fingers. "Quilting and knitting retreats. Have them come in for a week or so for intensive training since we're close to a textiles school?."


"Oohhhhhhh yessss." the officer moans. "My wife owns a store here in town." He calls her and Josette grins as she can hear the yell.


"So that's what happened." Josette says when she returns to Haven three weeks later her time. The others shake their head at the sheer stupidity of the man.


Josette returns for the book tour after the Harvest Festival, detouring to the house to find baskets of yarn being put on shelves while bolts of fabric are being sorted out. One of the women starts to open her mouth but the other woman grins.


"Ms. Takahawa, how can I help you?"


"I'm in town to go over last minute details for a book tour. I wanted to stop in and see how you're doing?"


"All the spots for the first retreat are already booked. They arrive Sunday." Josette grins and heads off.


"Who is that?"


"The woman who owns this house and had the bright idea to use it for a retreat? Google Jakahawa."


"Oh my lord. . ."


"Yeah, I'm hoping she'll let us put up an area for her books."


"She tours with those books?"


"Nope, she tours with her other books. Google Josette Takahawa fiction." The other woman whistles when she reads the list of books. "No wonder that old fool was so damn determined to get her books whether she wanted him as an agent or not."


"Yep. Ms. Takahawa self-publishes her quilting books so she gets all the profits."


Josette slumps into the couch when she comes back.


"How long were you gone?"


"Seven weeks. Five of it was for the book tour then a special manufacturer sale. A comic book expo. . .and making money hand over fist in Vegas and Atlantic City."


"How are the plans coming for using the house as a retreat?"


"They had the first one while I was there, I'm getting a portion of everything. I'm just letting it sit in the account."


"Did you give them the option to buy the house from you?"


"Yep. It all depends on how successful the retreats are whether they do it or not." The others nod as Josette looks at the time and forces herself to her feet, bringing stuff out of subspace.


"Is this new?" Susan picks up one of the skeins of yarn.


"Yes, it's a new line being introduced by the manufacturers. I was able to get in a good sized batch of it at the sale and more coming with the other yarn orders."


"Lemme guess, your large orders got you that spot at the sale?"


"Yep." Josette puts everything away and looks out the window. "Have rain by dinner."


"They just predicted the storm before you arrived back home." David says. "They're also predicting an early winter, snow on the ground before we harvest and turning cool."


"Lovely, people finding room in their homes for more wood earlier than normal."


"Too bad there's no easy way to add leantos to the homes for wood."


"They've have to add another door to get in there unless you filled it and brought in the wood from the outside."


"Hell in that case just put a shed up for extra storage."


"And it wouldn't work in apartments."


"How is the news about the treadle machines coming out in Granda's dimension?"


"Some people are just seeing it as a fad. . .you know reducing your carbon footprint until they realize how useful it would be in a colony where they might not have electricity on demand and need to make clothes because they ran out of the ones they brought with them."


"Even if they had tons of clothes in storage, they're going to wear out. Which you didn't see on Gilligan's Island."


"People still think that they're going to be able to go on life as normal on a colony world."


"Why not? We did." Josette smirks as she looks at the time and they head to lunch.


"Yeah but we have to make do with limited power, heat, and people would howl at having to grow and cook their own food. Oh yeah, and they'd hate our small houses."


"And no heat at the turn of a dial? Oh god the horror." Susan pretends to faint.


"Must be talking about people on Earth expecting life as normal in colonies." Professor Druid says in the front room.


"Welllll yeah, having to do without anything would traumatize the poor darlings." One of the women in the kitchen snorts.


"I take it people are poo-pooing the battery powered sewing and knitting machines?"


"But why do you need them? You're just being green and reducing your carbon footprint? What. . .what do you mean in a colony world you would have to make your own clothes after what you brought with you wore out. Buy them at the . . .there's no malls?" Josette mock-wails.


"How long until the city-ship returns?"


"Next year. I'm planning to go out with one of my ships and take footage of the return trip for Granda."


"Put it on the server too." Principal Madison orders. The others nod.


"What are the plans?"


"Airing the ship out .. .winters are bad. . .five years without any fresh air will be ten times worse."


"Yep, they don't have the air scrubbers my ships do." Josette says. "Which is why in sci-fi where space travel was common they'd get new air on planets. And grew food."


"Be even worse if they do start colonizing worlds and they have to muck out behind animals if they don't have something like stasis or coldsleep."


"Something else the nitwits on Earth will complain about."


"Airing out the ship?" Professor Druid asks.


"Airing it out. . .cleaning it. Debriefing everybody, removing all the garbage if they didn't have a replicator for it. . .The whiny fools who were wailing about how nobody could survive time in space will no doubt be pouting about no disasters they could point at and say 'see, this is why you should have listened to me'. After that's done they'll start going over the list of supplies to see what they did or didn't need and make plans for another trip. . .probably to Mars since they had the information on our failed Mars colony."




Josette comes back from Becka's dimension a few days later, filling shelves in the warehouse with the fabric that had been ordered. She sends the message to the stores and detours to the plant building to gather some yarn, fabric, and thick batting for a few winter quilts.



They head off to Mom's dimension a couple months later.


"Are all the buildings clean and painted now?" James asks after dinner in the rooms.


"Yes, we ran out of paint just as the last wall was finished. We couldn't have got it any closer if we'd tried."


Josette sniggers. "All the women who were looking at their homes and realizing they needed painting will have to wait a couple years as we put up the poll of colors again."


Alan looks over at Josette. "Is the paper order done?"


"Yeah, I'm bringing it out when I pick up the recycling. The pizza and burger places have been replicating a few things."


"How are the retreats coming?" The others look at Josette. "What a damn fool."


"Yes. . .he's wailing at the loss of his oh so special home and all his shit I cleared out of it before they could start using it for retreats. I looked at the account they're putting a portion of everything in and it's growing steadily."


"Dumbass doesn't realize he's going to be there for the rest of his life?" Clarinda snorts.


"B . . .bu. . .buh . . .but you have to let me out of here." Josette mock-wails. "People are being mean to me."


"By making him work? I'm sure at his age he's not involved in hard labor."


"Any labor is hard labor in his case." Josette snorts. "He's missing his six floor house. . .with eight bedrooms each on three of those floors."


"And the moron wanted to add onto it again?" David stares at her.


"Yeeesssss. . ..because he's special. Just like that fool woman who was suing to get back everything she'd paid for the stuff she brought at our shows .. .but still be allowed to keep it. We forced her to buy everything. . ."


"I take it her case was thrown out of court?" Mystique drawls.


"Yeessss, the poor dear had to either get a second job to pay her card off *sooner* or go to the work dimension to pay them off. Or not buy stuff she can't afford."


"God forbid the woman take responsibility for her own actions." Professor Xavier drawls. The others laugh and nod.


They arrive on Haven several weeks later for them, Josette waving a hand and bringing out the boxes that hold everything they brought out.


"Recycling from the other planets?"


"Tomorrow." She stretches, yawns, and looks out the window. It's dark from the storm coming in.


"Thankfully we got everything in already."


"Yeah. . .this is going to be a long winter."


"Josette, four degrees?" Principal Madison asks dryly a couple days later. "Not counting the tv degree?"


"Three of them were ones I'd been skimming through for years, getting a semester in at a time in one then going on to the next. And I'll be finishing just as many next year." The teachers around her chuckle but nod. "And these were all the mega huge degree sets, seven degrees per set on up to twenty-one or twenty five for comics."


"And the last?"


"Submarines used in war from the Naval Academy. I've been taking that one from the last four years. But again, it's a multiple degree set. It's the second of four degrees."


"Have you started any new ones?"


"Yeah, I've got two or three I'm only a semester in."


"Did I see you getting in an order from a food supplier?"


"Yeah, coconut sugar. . .it's sweeter than other sugars but lower on the glycemic index." The cooks in the kitchen look at them in interest. "It's in the food replicator." They grin. "And coconut oil for soapmaking and GD for their lotions section. . .it's not used all that much in cooking. That's going in the large-scale replicator and I copied large batches in limbo while I was on Earth, along with large shipments of pomace and lye for soapmaking." Principal Madison nods in satisfaction.


"The so-called experts kept going back and forth on whether it was good for you or not." One of the cooks snorts.


"Please they all hate us eating whatever we want and still being in good health because it makes all their health predictions nothing but hot air." Josette waves a hand. "We eat milk, butter, eggs. ..real food. Everything they tried saying was bad for you. Pooo' babies are pouting." Everybody sniggers.


"What are you finishing next year?"


"Three more degrees from the mega-sets, that leaves one, a degree on plane crashes from a history school, and my doctorate. This will leave me either starting all my degrees or just halfway."


"So the only reason you're finishing so many is you're a semester from finishing one in all the mega-sets?"


"Most of them. I'm only a semester in two more."


"Not the first time you were finishing degree after degree after degree in a short time."


"And it won't be the last."


"Dissertation and project?"


"Been working on them nights offworld harvests." Everybody nods in satisfaction.


Josette puts away the books and boxes of comics from her last classes, the others coming in and doing the same so they can clean the room before they start their new classes after the first of the year.


"Grief. .. even with only taking four classes a year everything adds up." Anna says. "Are those new?"


"New old." Josette smirks as she looks at the new shelves.


"You know what I mean." She rolls her eyes.


"Yes, they're part of what I got from dumbass. He had massive libraries to show how important he was. . .not because he enjoyed what he was collecting." Hisses and boos from the others.


"Of course not. . .only common people enjoy hobbies." Professor Druid drawls from the doorway. "Miserable old fool. Are we still on for the cookout?"


"Hell yes, I want to sit in the sun for a few hours. Without needing to wear winter clothes." Susan says.


"What she said." Josette laughs. "Day after tomorrow."


More than one person is moaning as they soak up the sun. Bottles of sunscreen are passed around and people settle in the sand as the food cooks.


"Did you pick up the shipment of new lights?"


"Yep, they're on the ship for now since we don't need them." Principal Madison nods in satisfaction.




"Rolls and already made up in packages. I also brought out tons of recyclables. . .We can open the mill next spring to shred it and start it soaking. I've got tons for my paper and more dye and fabric paints." Everybody nods in satisfaction.


The decorations for the Lights Festival start coming out a couple days later. Josette disappears and reappears a few hours later. "Goddamn moron."


"Whining about you getting all his stuff?"


"Yes. . .how dare I use his home for knitting or quilting retreats. The judge told him it's not his home anymore and to shut the fuck up. He's wailing about having to work, he only has a small bed to sleep in. . .he can't order his own meals. . .he has to eat what everybody else does. He has to wear a prison jumpsuit. . .they're treating him like a common criminal."


"Isn't that what he is?" Bronwen snorts.


"He was stunned when he found out he wasn't going to get out of the medium security dimension and be able to take my home. He'd been working forever. Surely one of the bleeding heart liberal groups that petition courts to overturn prison sentences is going to take his case." Rolling eyes and snorts of disgust. "So he's working to pay off another judgment in my favor. .. maybe he'll finally figure out he's too damn stupid to live."


The others look at each other. "Nah."


"Yeah, he was stunned when he found out nobody was buying textbooks yet. What are we doing?"


"Working and going on with their lives until they can afford to have children. Even then it would still be years before the children attended school." Bronwen drawls.


"B. . .bu . .buh . . .but the schools have to reopened by now." Josette mock-wails. "Useless old fool." She says in a normal tone of voice.


"Is he still thinking he's going to have money start rolling in?"


"Of course, the publishing house has to be funning him about firing him." Josette snorts. "Madison says that section is shut down until it's needed again. When it is somebody will take it over."


"B. . .bu. . .buh . ..but all my authors have to be writing new books now. . .aren't they?"


Calvin snorts. "The only books that would be being written right now might be history textbooks."


"Amen. Or texts in the other areas that he didn't cover like textiles, art, music. . .stuff that was still happening even without kids." The others nod. "Stuff he'd never lower himself to accept."


After the Lights Festival Josette is busy replicating books for the twins, Alan, and David. She'd already got the books for the four classes she was taking on the school system.


"What are you taking?" Alan asks, finding her putting the books up.


"The last year I need for the plane crashes degree from the history school, I decided to finish that one rather than starting another degree right away." He nods in satisfaction at the nearly empty shelves over her desk now that all the other books are put in containers in her closet or moved up to the library.


"Do you need more room for your books?"


"We doubled the room when I started the massive degrees, it's been doubled twice more since then." Alan laughs and drags her out of the room.


"Did you finish a comic book degree last year?"


"Nope, this year, this will be five from National, I'll get in two from Timely next, then the last two from National and last one from Timely."


"Ten years?"


"Eleven with this year. I'll have at least three tv degrees in by then. . .maybe four if I'm attending a graduation ceremony."


"Are they still adding new degrees?"


"Yep, I can see buildings just for the degrees from that and my comic book sosh school degrees if they'd continued adding classes the way this school is." The others nod in both dining rooms.


"Boys, how far are you on your classes?"


"Be three years in this year. Granda's talking to us about degrees when we're done." The teachers snigger. . .especially when Josette smirks and says 'it's not another damn boring ass history degree anyway, you can't really top Oxford'.


"Yes, thank you god for small favors." Michael snorts.


Josette snorts a couple days later as she reads the databurst. "Dumbasses wanting to know why the schools haven't reopened yet."


"Ummmm, there's no fucking students?" Michael says dryly, waving a arm towards their own school buildings.


"But that shouldn't matter. . ." David says in a whiny, hiccupy voice.


"Exactly." Josette drawls. "They have to listen to them now. . .they wouldn't keep the schools open during the zero-population period but that's over now so they have to open the schools. .. who cares if there's no students and won't be for years."


"You know. . .I'm sure some fool judge will order them reopened and then the states will go whining when their precious budgets take a dump. Because even though they should have been putting money away for schools they knew they'd have to be funding, they didn't."


"Yep. Because that money can be put to better use in their pet projects instead of sitting in a bank somewhere."


True to their words the next databurst is just that. Josette arrives back at the school . .sniggering as she listens to the complaints about school districts and states and the judge who'd started all this blustering that he thought they'd be ready by now.


"But the schools are empty." the dumbass who'd sued wails as they walk through empty buildings.


"What the hell did you think would happen dumbass? It's going to be at least six years before anybody's old enough to attend school. . .if people become pregnant right away."


"But where are the teachers?" She wails.


"Working either jobs or retired during the zero-population period."


"B. . .bu . .buh . . .but shouldn't they have come back to the schools once they reopened to go over books and lesson plans?"


"Why? There's not going to be any students for years."


"But don't they want to be ready for the students when they arrive?" Jane says in a fake oh god the horror voice when Josette comes out to deliver socks and stuff for the spa.


"That would take maybe a couple weeks. . not six years." Maria snorts from the front room. "It could have been worse."


"Really?" Jane drawls.


"Yeah, if that old fool who kept going after Josette had gotten in this nonsense. . .not only would the schools be open but they'd be buying thousands of school books too." Maria says from the doorway, handing letters to Jane and Calvin.


"Yearly if he got his way." Josette snorts. "I hear rumors that you're offering classes?"


"Yeah, adult education in stuff like textiles, languages, jewelry making . . .It's keeping us in practice until we get students."


Principal Madison sighs when Josette returns to Haven. "So they're just leaving all these schools open?"


"Yes, and most of them don't have any employees. There's rumors about getting fast-food restaurants in the cafeterias to try to make them self-sufficient. . ." Professor Druid moans.


"I had dreams about schools having stores in them."


"I think all of us have had that dream. . .and missing a day and trying to find your classroom since everything changed overnight. How is Dad handling it?"


"He's offering adult education classes. .. textiles, languages, jewelry making. . .and plans on opening a bookstore like Barnes and Noble on the school grounds. And a store for yarn, fabric, and jewelry making supplies . . .with each having their own buildings in the future."


"Ten bucks schools whine 'but we can't compete'."


"Of course they will. Even without students yet."


True to Josette's words the wailing is all over the databurst.


"Aren't there supposed to be laws keeping fast food restaurants away from schools . . .so the students have healthy meals?"


"Oh we gotta get rid of those. We can't make a profit if we do that. . .and let's toss out free and reduced lunches too. If they can't afford to eat there. . .too damn bad. Let them starve. Ohhh. . .and you can't eat in the cafeteria. . .you'll bother the paying customers. What do you think this place is anyway. . .a school? Ohhh yeah, it is your school."


"EWWWWWW! You're offering healthy food. That's wrongidy wrong wrong wrong . .we're gonna sue." Josette says in a snide sing-song voice.




The next databurst is full of wails when people realize they can't have fast food places in the schools because they want the students to eat healthy. And nobody's going to pay to put in a second cafeteria for the students.


"Fucking morons."


"They're seeing schools sitting empty for years until kids are old enough to have children and being a drain on state budgets. They were frantically trying to find a way to make them self-sufficient instead of saying . ..ummm whoops, we made a mistake listening to this fool."


"The government can't have that."


"Oh Christ. . .here we go again." Josette moans at a databurst a couple days before their first testing week.


"Oh don't tell me they're wanting the damn credit unions again." David says.


"Of course. . .with schools not open yet we're on the ground floor. Students will be automatically enrolled as they start school and so will employees as they're hired. We'll have the money rolling in. Money, money, money. . ." Josette rubs her hands together in a greedy manner. "Fucking morons won't have any better response now then they would then."


"And of course they'll have people flocking to the schools. Morons." Susan snorts. "Just quit making all these damn plans and shut the schools back down until students start arriving. Morons."


"Oh good god." Josette moans, reading further in the databurst.


"Asswipe suing to make all the schools buy textbooks so he makes money?" Alexander snorts.


"Yes, and he's whining that he didn't think the publishing house would really fire him. If he was just gone for a while. . .he was sure they'd come to their senses and come begging him to come back. The authorities will have to let him go then .. .won't they?"


"Fucking moron." Susan snorts.




Drs. Cross, McNider, Stark, and Blake shake their heads hearing all the nonsense about schools in Calvin's dimension when Michael, Alexander, and Josette come out.


"Bu . . .but there's credit unions and fast food restaurants in the other buildings that used to be schools." Josette mock-wails.


"But they're not schools anymore, are they?"


"But they're making money. . . and we're not." Michael mock-pouts.


"And of course they're not talking about the schools that had to be torn down because they were in such bad shape."


"Oh nooooo. that would be mean to school districts. Reminding them that sometimes they fail." Alexander drawls. "Any word on the stores Granda wants to build?"


"The other schools are wailing they can't compete but the courts told them to grow the hell up. Granda's got the land. . .the town sold him a good lot that they didn't have the need for anymore and he's got architects drawing up buildings."


"Are they getting their supplies from Ellis?" Dr. Cross asks.


"Yup, and Ellis is going to be offering classes at his place. Granda is stocking up on supplies from him. . . including knitting and sewing machines now that they've got the new building up. Instead of just one room like most buildings that still had home ec had." The others nod.


Josette looks through a notepad of quilt plans when she gets home, Marilyn chuckling when she opens the door at Sue's the next morning to find tables full of fabric piles and Josette bringing out new bolts of fabric from the storeroom.


"We were wondering when you were going to be buying for the new quilts." Marilyn and Josette measure the old bolts and put the empties on the pile to either reorder or fill again. Josette scans the card she'd been putting everything on and winces at the total even with her employee discount. "Are you planning new books from these quilts?"


"God I hope not right away, these would easily put me over a hundred books."




"Me Granda's, the boys Mom's. I go first this year."


Agatha chuckles as Josette looks over her notes and brings out bags, everybody jumping in to cut fabric that goes in the bags. Josette double checks everything, waves the bags into subspace, pays her bill, and pours herself a cup of coffee. Leaning back against the counter she tells the others about the plans Calvin has for offering classes until he gets students, the new businesses he wants to put on the school grounds, and the school in town wailing they can't compete.


"Well of course they can't compete." Agatha says briskly. "Even at schools that had home ec, it was only one room . . .two at the most with room for the ovens. Albatross didn't have home ec, everybody already learned all this stuff at home. It's only a school like yours that allowed students to really learn what they needed to know."


"Do you have examples of the former schools turned stores that . .."


"The morons on Earth were trying to turn others into so they were self-sufficient? Yeah." Josette looks through the files and puts up a couple examples on the screen.


"No wonder they wanted them in the schools . . .but where would the students go?"


"Yeah, they didn't think about that. They'd probably whine there wasn't any room for the students in the other buildings and have to be reminded the buildings were sold, they're not schools anymore."


Snickering from the women around her.


"Are you growing on the first planet?"


"Not this year, we're not running low low low on anything."


"Not with the something coming ripe on the other planets."




"Sleeping weather." David says the next day when Josette is yawning on the couch in the living room in front of the fire.


"Yep, we're warm, full, and got no place we have to go and nothing we have to do." Susan says, snuggling into a chair and getting a cat in her lap.


Doc looks out the door of Headquarters, chuckling when he sees three sleeping figures. Four if you count the cat.


"We're not the only ones napping." He tells Pat when he shuts the door. She grins and smothers a yawn. "I really should be experimenting with some of that winter weight material for outside clothes but going back to sleep sounds good too."


Josette cusses as she's suddenly summoned back to Earth.


"No I am not related to that fool man. I was awarded the house as part of the judgment when the bastard tried to murder me but was too stupid to realize the safety was on Ranger Walker."


"Do you know anything about his family? We're hoping to find somebody to deal with . . .with the estate."


"Let me contact somebody."


"Madison Sinclair." Madison puts the phone between her shoulder and ear and continues typing.


"Madison, it's me."


"What's up Josette?" She stops typing immediately. Josette doesn't normally call her.


"Do you know anything about that old fool's family? I've got a pair of Texas Rangers at the school, his son died in a 'blaze of glory' stunt and they're looking for family to take care of his remains and his estate."


"Let me talk to the bosses, I know there was a daughter but . . .oh good, just the man I was thinking of. Boss, in here."


"If there are no other family members it would go to his father. . .and from this judgment it looks like it might come to you." Ranger Trivette says, reading the legal papers.


"I've got his father's money, even if I don't get the estate I'll pay for his burial."


"So that's it Alex, the body can be released to the funeral home and if your friend can fax up the paperwork for just a plain burial, plot, and headstone." Walker says on his phone.


"I'll come up with him, Cordell. CD has offered to fly us up. A friend is wanting to visit a supplier so he's taking a larger plane with plenty of room."


"Okay, that was strange." Josette snorts when they've driven off. The others look at her. "Walker, Texas Ranger was a tv show in my dimension. Josette says it was a tv show in her dimension too."


"Really, do you have them?"


"No, but Earth put all sorts of DVDs on the servers to save when they found out what was going on. We've got the factory to make them and figure on slowly making them once the stock of what's already made up runs out."


Josette returns to Haven, finding Doc and Principal Madison waiting on her when they got the alert about an unexpected departure. She tells everybody what had happened.



"Apple didn't fall far from the tree then." Susan snorts.


"Sure sounds like it." Josette says before she flies to Salem.


Calvin smiles as the gate opens a couple days later. "No wonder he wanted this house." Trivette says, looking around the grounds. They'd detoured past the house that Josette had received in the judgment, shaking their heads at the news that the old fool had wanted to add onto the house again.


"This. . ."


"Is a home. . ."


"Not a showcase like that other place was until Josette turned it into a retreat for knitting and quilters."


Josette is yawning as she opens the front door.


"You were up all night, weren't you?"


"Most of it, the bunnies howled and I was drawing most of the night." She pours herself a mug of coffee that Trivette swears is big enough for her whole head. Calvin snickers. She waves a hand towards the living room.


"I've got coffee for anybody who wants it."


"Can I ask what you do for a living?" Alex asks.


"What doesn't Josette do is the better question." Calvin chuckles. "Officially Josette is the librarian at the adjunct school my son runs. She's also a successful author and artist. It's her quilting books that caused this problem in the first place."


"This isn't the first time somebody from the publishing house that handles my fiction has wanted to bring in the quilting books I self-publish because I make oodles and gobs of money from them that they could be taking." Ranger Trivette muffles a snigger. "It's not even the first time one of them wanted to kill me for not doing what they wanted, it's the first time it got that far though. The morons don't seem to realize the only reason my books sell so well is I'm offering them at mine and my husbands shows, everybody who thinks they're somebody has to have the books and get them signed to prove they were there. The supplier who also handles my books don't have near as many sales. The only reason I got the house, money, and possessions when he went to the medium security dimension is the old fool would not stop harassing me demanding my books. . .then my house when the conservators he was put under dared to tell him he couldn't add onto his house again."


The funeral home director brings out the options and Josette chooses one. "Was he told about his son's death?" Josette asks as she sends the payment from the account his money went into.


"Yes, he was wailing about his precious baby. . .he'd been murdered and he was going to sue the city. . .the money would go to making sure he lived the life he was accustomed to because he's wasting away in the medium security dimension. He's not getting the food he likes and he has to work. This time they'll have to do what he wants. . .he's traumatized."


"He'll me more traumatized when everybody ignores him. . .as usual." Josette snorts. Josette hands Calvin a bag as they walk outside, he looks in it then at Josette. "I replicated them before I came back."


Josette returns to Haven several weeks later for her. "So that's it. The courts are determining whether or not dumbass gets his son's estate. . .he's sure this will make him big man on campus in the medium security dimension. If so. . ."


"It would all be sold to pay for his upkeep anyway. He wouldn't see a dime of it." Susan snorts. "It could also be taken by the state to pay damages for his son's stupidity."


"Yep. And if he does get it, he's open to lawsuits from the victims of his son's stupidity. . .which would mean more of the money he's making being taken from him.


"Awwwww, poo' baby." The other coo.


"Is that more quilts?" Pat asks as Josette puts several dozen more notepads in the filing cabinets.


"Yeeessssss." Josette drawls in disgust. "The damn bunnies jumped me one night while I was there."


Midterms soon arrive and Josette heads off to Archimedes with Alexander and Michael.


"You have a show?"


"Week after next." Josette yawns. "Early enough in our year so that we're not in the middle of anything. Even with the offworld harvests coming in early this cycle."




"Midterms thirds semester."


The next couple weeks pass quickly and Josette dresses up for her show, smiling as she finds a familiar figure in line for signing books. Ranger Walker introduces his old partner CD Parker who has a box of books for a friend.


"Can we talk?"


"Sure, contact Calvin and he can bring you out to the house tomorrow. I'll sign the books for your friend while I'm there."


"Thank you Ma'am." CD tips his hat and they get out of line.


Josette is yawning over another mammoth mug of coffee the next morning when Alexander opens the door for their visitors.


"What was the woman who runs the retreats wanting to talk to you about?" Anna asks after they've gone.


"She wants to put up a space for my books, she's getting in a bunch of books. Both from guest artists who've been to the retreats and others. She feels that the woman who owns the house should have an equal opportunity." Josette rolls her eyes. "I'm letting her have ten each of my first five books, but I'm not holding my breath on sales."


They return a couple weeks later.


"Has Dad started construction on the new buildings?"


"Yes, despite the wails of the school in town. They opened a credit union in the school in a 'seeee, we know what to do. . .in yo' face' move then pouted because nobody has joined."


Principal Madison rolls his eyes as Professor Druid and some of the other teachers snigger. "Meanwhile the bank branch is doing brisk business?"


"Yep, despite the wails of the morons who are convinced we'll taint the children by having a for profit business on the school grounds."


"What the hell do they think most private schools are?"


"But real schools aren't for profit."


"Yes, and so many of them were so far in the red. . ." President Bartlett snorts.


"How is retreat business going?"




"Book sales?"


"I already told the printing operation they'd be printing a second run of four books this year, I'm going to be out otherwise. And a third printing of the first book."


"Even with printing 50,000?"


"That's the sign of a good author." Frances says. Elaine nods.


"That's the sign of idiots who just have to have it because 'OMG, she's famous and if I have it signed by her it proves I was here'." Josette snorts. Sniggers from some of the teachers. "When those are done, we'll start printing more of my books since the store put up shelves for them." The others nod.


It starts getting warmer and Josette is outside spreading manure on the fields while the others are washing windows, airing out the dorm, and washing curtains. Both Ma Kents come out by tesseract and nod in satisfaction when they see all the work going on.


"Nothing better after a long, cool winter than opening windows and cleaning."


"Yep, it means winter is over and spring is here."


Josette opens the containers of books for her teacher classes when she comes back from picking up the recycling on the other planets. The books for her finished degree go upstairs and she clears out the books, comics, and DVDS she's been reading and watching for her degrees from the library, the others doing the same.


They're full again a week later when Josette brings out her supplies for her second semester classes.


"So Dr. Blake talk to you about getting in a real degree next time?" She sniggers when David comes in with a cart of supplies, half of which go on the tables.


"Yes, I'm starting a degree in history, getting at least a semester in this fall."


Josette snickers. "It's a new degree, concentrating on building the moonbase and city-ship."


Josette heads off a couple weeks later, filming the return of the city-ship and sending the raw footage to the school.


There's an almost audible whoosh as the shields come down in the city-ship, every window and door that can be opened opening to get some much-needed fresh air. Josette sends the footage to the servers when she returns to Haven, the other planets sending requests so she sends it along to them too.


The databursts are full of the doom and gloom predictors wailing that everybody survived the five year mission with life and limb intact. They skulk off when a new mission is announced in a few years . . .to Mars this time.


"Did you pass along the updated supply list to Calvin?" Doc asks at dinner that night.


"Yes, and he passed it along to the government. . .it pretty much matches what they're finding from the mission's records. It took three large semi-trailers to get rid of all the recyclables and garbage even with flattening all the cans they could."


"That's the problems with cans. . .the damn corrugated bottoms." Professor Eppes says.


"It makes it easy for stacking. . .but it means they don't flatten and fill up bags too quickly." All the others nod in both rooms.


"Recycling?" Principal Madison smirks.


"They'll have to install a replicator for it and garbage."


"Not what I was asking. . .and you know it." Principal Madison says dryly.


"They were already baled. . .just had to be shipped off to recycling facilities. Same thing they do on aircraft carriers. Except they had a lot longer trip so they had to shove stuff in rooms."


"Are you still hitting recycling centers?"


"Every time we go out. For every bit I run through the machines or tear apart. . .I bring out just as much. Mostly clothes, paper, and glass." The others nod.


"It's wrong finishing a degree in the middle of the year." David mock-pouts, putting up his books and supplies after finishing his degree. Josette leans against the doorway and cackles. "Is your degree finished even though the city-ship just landed?"


"Yeah, it's actually a multiple-degree set, the city-ship is going to be the second degree. They're still working on that one."


Josette leans back in her chair after taking the finals for her last class, stretching and yawning as she starts the update Calvin had told her about running. Pushing herself to her feet, she starts putting the boxes of comics, books, and DVDS in subspace, shelving everything in the building and making a mental note again they'll have to split off a building for the tv degrees eventually as she joins the others in the living room.


"Start your download?"


"Yeah, just now when I finished my last class."


"Project and dissertation?"


"Sent them to GD yesterday. It will be a few days to go through everything, so I'm not expecting to hear anything until I finish the last classes."


The others start coming out for the Harvest Festival, Doc and New Dimension Doc spending a few hours looking over the information on the moonbase and city-ships from Calvin and Becka's dimension, passing it along to people in their dimensions.


Josette slumps into a seat in the living room, closing her eyes. She'd been to Calvin's dimension with Principal Madison.


"People whining because you won't do what they want?"


"Yeeesssss, some fool sued to stop the construction on the new buildings because oh my god, students at other schools don't have that. You're trying to get all the students to come to your school. The judges told them to grow the hell up, every school is different. Every student is different."


"Little ticky boxes."


"Exactly." The newcomers look at them and Josette snorts, singing the song. Sighs and nods from the others. "Expect some grumbling. . .a special interest group went to their butt buddy the president and got a law passed demanding credit unions in every school. And every employee and student has to join them. And put in money every week. Supposedly for retirement and education funds. Because of course nobody had the brains to already have them started."


"Good grief."


"Yeah, I'm expecting the courts to slap the stupidity out of them if Congress doesn't veto the damn thing."


True to Josette's words the president is whining that he thought this would help students in the next several days.


"But they'll be owners of the credit union, isn't that soooo much better than a bank?"


"Really, does anybody ever make money from owning a credit union?" Somebody asks dryly.


"Weeeellllllll. . . .nooooooo." they finally have to admit.


"So there you go. ..the president is wailing that this should have helped the students. . .but it won't now because that evil old Congress vetoed his law instead of the other way around." Sniggering from everybody in the front room as Principal Madison finishes telling the story of what had happened.


"Are the new businesses back on track?"


"Yes, the damn fool who wanted them stopped wasn't able to stop construction and walked off pouting because everybody knows what everybody already knew. . .he's a miserable old fool who can't handle change."


"Did you finish your last degree this semester?" David asks in the back room.


"One of them, I'll get the other one in as fast as I can."


"At least the offworld harvests will be finished by midterms."


"Yeah, the offworld harvests and our harvests coming in at the same time is a little too much."


Josette slumps into a seat three weeks later.


"Is that the last of the offworld harvests?"


"Yes, and everything is either delivered or waiting in stasis on the ships until the other planets need them." Josette stretches in the chair and closes her eyes for a twenty minute power nap.


"Sooooo, is the offworld fund picking back up?" Alexander asks as they walk to the dining hall.


"Yeah, it started growing again as people still put money in it after the cruise, it's nearly at normal levels now. I expect it to be ready to go again in another year and the money that's going in it now will be put to paint for homes." The others snigger and nod as they walk in the door, shaking off their umbrellas or slickers and putting them up.


"Josette, did you ever hear about the estate of dumbass jr?" Principal Madison asks, waving her to the front room.


"Yes, that's part of what Ranger Walker wanted to talk to me about after the show. Some fool in the government there wanted to sue me for his stupidity and got his ass handed to him by the media. He walked off pouting because he couldn't use the case to be somebody. The old fool got his son's estate. . .though everything was sold to pay damages and medical bills plus judgments for wrongful death. He didn't get a dime to lord over everybody in the medium security dimension. . .Instead he still owes them money. He's howling at the injustice and is trying to sue to get that money back. They owe it to him."


"Dumb fucker."


"Yes, he also tried suing me for using his money for his son's funeral. Or rather not giving the little bastard this grand funeral he had planned."


"And where was dumbass going to get the money for that grand gesture of a funeral?" Professor Eppes snorts.


"Suing the victims of his son's stupidity no doubt." President Bartlett says.


"Exactly. He doesn't owe them money. . .they owe him money for killing his son. The judge already threw out his lawsuit for wrongful death."


"Lemme guess, he's wailing about his darling son. . .how he died too young and he misses him though it's been. . .?"


"Over forty years since his family left him."


"His wife and daughter?"


"His daughter had a medical condition that caused her to die young, the records are gone and people who knew her have differing ideas of what it was. Everybody who knew her said she was a wonderful young woman who had her whole life ahead of her. Her mother was killed in a car accident several years later."


A few weeks later Josette grins as she opens the door of the rooms, Clarinda looking over and getting up to hug her. "The others?"


"Either shopping or talking to Dexter. I had a meeting with M'Lynn so the others grudgingly agreed I had an excuse not to go shopping." James sniggers at the grin on Josette's face.


"Are more of your books premiering in Doc's dimension?


"Yes, four more. I've got a book tour there next week."


"Did the estate ever get settled?" Professor Xavier asks. Josette tells the story and the others sigh or snort in disgust. "Yeah, so he's pouting about not being able to be* somebody in the medium security dimension and he still has to work. He is still so convinced he's going to get out of there and go right back to his life even though the courts have told him he's going to be there the rest of his miserable life."


"Bu. . .buh . . .but you're just saying that to scare me." Michael mock-bleats from the doorway.


"Exactly. . .everybody will come to their senses eventually and the old fool will be back on easy street like he wants. Every day it doesn't happen he pouts."


"As Agatha has repeatedly said, some people grow old but they don't grow up."


Josette leans between Principal Madison and Professor Druid when they return to Haven several weeks later for them.


"I got a ton of books from Mom's dimension that you might want to go through, tell me when you want me to bring them out." She looks at the other teachers.




"Yeah, I attended an expo just like I did Doc's dimension. One set for the school and one set for us. Since so much of it is different I didn't bring out a set for the library." The others nod.


"Speaking of Doc's dimension?"


"Book tour next week." They chuckle at her hangdog look. "And New dimension Doc was looking at everything I have on the server. Pat was howling at some of them."


Josette flops onto the couch, waving a hand to bring everything out before falling asleep.


"That good a tour?" David snorts when he nudges her awake for lunch. Josette just looks at him and he chuckles.


"God save me from flaming idiots who either hate the type of books I write because they don't wike that genre or think they're sooooo much better than you are until somebody with some brains shuts them down. 'Oh, I sold fifty books today. Whoop de fucking doo, I sold five hundred. . .each'. And that's nothing compared to one of my shows'."


"One upmanship at its worst."


"Yes, I'm a successful author but that doesn't make me who I am. I'm an artist, a wife, a mother. I have a job I love. . ."


"You're happy and they're miserable. . .that's why they're trying to shove their shit down your throat." Susan snorts as they walk to the dining hall, hanging up their winter clothes.


The fall crops start coming in and a half-dozen Josettes are busy with the others harvesting or cooking while she, Alexander, and Michael head to Archimedes for their finals.


"So this makes five degrees this year?" Dr. Blake asks after giving Josette the okay on her doctorate.


"Yep, I figured finishing a degree would be better than starting another one."


"Your others?"


"I'm three semesters from finishing two degrees, five from finishing two more, two years from finishing a fifth, and a semester into two others. That's not counting the one I'm finishing first semester next year. That one is the last of the seven degrees I've been flipping through so they all were finished bing, bang, boom." Dr. Cross and McNider nod in satisfaction. "So you've been finishing degrees right and left but . . ."


"They're not ones I was working on finishing except those three."


"They're just all coming due at once."


Josette looks down a couple weeks later from putting another string of lights as the twins bring out another container. Abby starts floating the lights up and Josette clicks them into position.


Bronwen looks up when Josette comes into the book room and starts bringing out boxes of books in various areas.


"I was going to say you were running low on books. Is this everything?"


"No, they're going to be starting a third printing of my first book next year. Then start printing my fiction." She nods in satisfaction. "The other books?"


"Good for another couple years yet."


"No, you can't sue the woman who paid to have your son buried because she didn't spend the amount of money you wanted her to spend. There's nothing wrong with the stone she selected and she kept him from being buried by the state in a potter's field. If you want something different get off your ass and start putting money towards another headstone. . .and while you're at it you'd better put money away for your own burial if you don't want to end up in one."


"But aren't you going to make her pay for it?"


"Why the hell would she pay for your burial? She was being nice by paying for your son."


He walks off wailing.


"Dumb fucker."


"Yes, he can't believe everybody's not bowing down and kissing his useless ass. He saw all the money that young woman was making and wanted it. . .she'd only be doing all the work while he rakes in all the profits. The publishing house pays their authors too much money . . . when he takes over those damn authors will know their place."


"Moron doesn't realize without authors there would be no publishing houses?"


"Details." the first speaker waves a hand.


Josette slides into her seat at the government meeing the second week of the new year.


"Anything new? Josette, books?"


"The printing operation is starting the third printing of my first book today, after that is some of my fiction. Now .. .I do have something new. Meeting Ranger Walker last year . . .yes, as in Walker Texas Ranger," She says at their looks. "I replicated the DVDS for Granda when I came back. But anyway, do we see the need to bring out a factory to make all the DVDS we have on the servers?"


"Not for a while." Principal Madison says slowly, the others nodding. "We've still got tons of DVDS in the stores and can replicate special ones." The others nod. "Okay, just thought I'd bring it up since I was telling Granda about how they sent up servers with all the DVDS as well as the ones already printed."


"We don't need to make that large of a batch of DVDs for right now."


"Hell for years probably." David snorts. The others nod.


Josette disappears, cursing fluently in a number of languages when she returns.


"Do we want to know?" President Bartlett asks when she stops cussing.


"That goddamn stupid bastard. He promised my quilting books to his butt buddies, they sued demanding I honor his contracts with them for my books. They walked off wailing when the judge gave them a disgusted look. If they want money, sue dumbass. 'But he already had judgments against him, we'd have to wait to get paid. Why won't you make her let us print her books'. Morons wanted to charge me three times as much as we pay now for the printing."


"Lemme guess, one third of that a kickback to their good buddy?" President Bartlett drawls.


"And there was a clause stuck in there no doubt taking your books." Principal Madison sighs.


"Yep. the judge was not happy. Only the fact that this wasn't their contract, it was something dumbass had written up kept them from getting in trouble. But all their contracts are being looked over now to make sure he hadn't slipped anything into any of them. Dumbass is facing more charges and he's losing all rights to the internet and contact with the outside world, he's got to go through the authorities now. Who aren't putting up with any more of his shit."


"Should have cut him off long before now."


"It's the morons who'd tried breaking into the dorm all over again. They should have lost their phone privileges but still had to have contact with their lawyers. Anyway, I'm suing the bastard again for this and if they're really victims of him and not crooks like he is they'll be doing the same damn thing."


"And if they don't it will prove they're in on it and everybody will soon know not to be trusted."


"How's the city-ship coming?"


"They're busy scrubbing everything down for the next mission. They hope to have the supplies in and a new crew by the end of next year. . .our year."


"Are they planning on expanding the crew and making it longer?"


"They'd almost have to, it takes about four months to get from Earth to Mars?"


"Somewhere around there. A five year mission would still have over four years to do experiments once they landed. Though adding a couple more years would be better."


"And they'll have to have determined a landing place before they head off to make sure something like our Mars doesn't happen." Nods from the others.


Josette stretches and yawns as she walks into the dorm with Doc and David.


"How are classes at Assyrian and Edinborough?"


"Good, it's all self-paced and the teachers have plenty of time to give everybody one on one attention. And it's easy enough to find help if you can't contact the teacher between classes."


Upstairs in her workroom Josette grabs a bag and looks at the copied notes, turning it into a proper pattern as she cuts pattern pieces out of the plastic, starting a couple blocks before lunch.


"Are you goddamn stupid?" A man roars in the medium-security dimension later that day. "No, you can't fucking sue her for not giving your butt buddies the job of printing her books. You're not her damn agent and you had no business making a contract for her."


"But . . .but . . .but I'm not making any money off her."


"Asshole, you have no reason to be making money off her, she's not and never has been your client."


"So that's it," Josette says the next morning. "Dumbass is facing more judgments and the company did sue him for pulling that shit. Which doesn't mean they weren't in on it but. . ."


"People will look over their contracts more closely to make sure they're not crooks, just stupid."


"Members of the old boy network, trying to make as much money as they can." President Bartlett says from the front room. Everybody else nods.


Josette smiles as she comes out midterms and sees the construction going up by leaps and bounds on various buildings.




Jane points to one. "That one's going to be fabric, yarn, and jewelry-making supplies. Eventually we want to expand each one into a different building if . . ."


"The sales warrant it?"




"How are classes coming along?"


"Good. How are the retreats going?"


"Good, they're talking about adding scrapbooking if they can find somebody to run one. They've got a revolving list of people who want to run quilting, knitting, and sewing retreats."


"Books?" She chuckles.


"Yes, I took out ten each of the first five and they already sold." Maria chuckles behind them.


"What's that?" Maria had just handed Josette a letter.


"Ooooohhhhh, aren't I special? The publishing house is suing. . .demanding my quilting books. Because they have proof I signed a contract with them for them."


"Lemme guess, that stupid, miserable old fool."




"Are you fucking stupid? This is so bad a forgery it's not even funny." A judge snorts.


"But he told us she'd signed it." the head of the publishing house wails as he sees millions of dollars in profits he'd been promised slip out of his fingers.


"He lied, just like he lied when he gave a contract for the printing of her quilting books to a friend's printing operation." He wails as he reads that lawsuit. "Now why would he add that contract giving him her books if he had a contract. . .hmmmm?" the judge purrs before slapping him upside the head with a huge judgment that essentially gives Josette the publishing house unless he gets off his ass and goes to the minimum security work dimension to pay it off. Josette slaps dumbass in the medium-security dimension with a lawsuit, she swears she can hear him wailing as he gets the news.


He's wailing when his former boss starts cussing him out when he's dragged into a room in the medium security dimension visitor area.


"You stupid little sack of SHIT! What the hell were you thinking?"


"But. ..but didn't the court give us her books?" He whines.


"No, not only did the court not give us her books, I'm working my ass off to keep her from getting the publishing house. The judge was not happy at your damn fake contract. . .both the one she supposedly signed for her books or the one you created for your friends at the printers giving you her books."


"B . . .bu . . .buh . . .but I didn't tell them to try to enforce the contract." he howls as he's dragged away. "I can't get the money from it in here!"


"Fucking fool." Josette snorts as she returns to Haven.


"How long were you gone?"


"Not quite four months, long enough to be given the publishing house. The head of it's still in charge and plans on going back to the work dimension to try to pay off the judgment this time because he screwed around. . .the judge wouldn't really give me the publishing house, would he? Dumbass was stunned the judge didn't believe his fake contract and give them my books. The fucking contract he wrote for his butt buddies that gave him my books might have been a problem."


"Why would he put that clause in that contract if he already had your books." Johnny snorts.


"But I didn't tell them to enforce that contract!" Josette mock-wails. "Anyway, management finally figured out that trying to get my books would only result in bleeding more money. The buildings are finished at the school and stock was going in them while I was there."


"And the school in town is wailing they can't compete?"


"Yeeessss, why the hell can't people just pull their damn big boy pants on and work for what they want instead of wailing because somebody else is actually working for what they want?"


"Because that would mean they were grown ups." Something suddenly shimmers around them. . .Josette and the others screaming and throwing themselves at Sarah and Jason.


"Whoa! That was strange. . ." Sarah says, holding a hand to her head. "Okay, hear us out. There was an accident on the vampire planet several decades ago that killed the boy who killed us and his mother days after her daughter was born. This was supposed to be the correct timeline but dumbass wailed in the afterlife that she shouldn't have died, she had her whole life ahead of her. . .so what we lived through for the last several decades happened. She died on the sorting planet hated and alone because of her attitude today and the timeline changed back because she was supposed to have learned things. But didn't. Because she was a spoiled, stupid brat."


"And now? Her daughter?" Principal Madison asks, holding Jason to him.


"The girl went to live with her father and stepfather and grew up healthy, happy, well-adjusted, and is a credit to Global Dynamics. Only those who were intimately affected by our deaths, our family and friends. . .including everybody here at the school, know that we died. Oh Mom? Harvey cussed for hours when he saw the dedication in your first book." Josette cackles. "Your parents love you and would be here if they could be but they're happy for their other selves, that they've got a second chance with you. . .even if you are the queen of stubborn little shits." The others snigger.


Sarah and Jason get settled back into their lives over the next few days, getting caught up in their new memories.


Josette picks up the last batch of her quilting books, putting them away and looking out the window at the snow falling.


"Not the first late winter storm we've had." David says, leaning over her shoulder.


"And it's not going to be the last. It's helping the water table and it won't stop us from planting."


"Yep. Are you super low on any other books?"


"Getting low on some but I can replicate boxes of books if need to. I can't believe I've sold so many books, I swear it seems just yesterday when I thought 500 was a large batch of books. And no, we're not having sex so don't even think about wrapping your arms around me and kissing my neck." David laughs. "Go bother the others, I'm busy."


"Really?" He drawls.


"Yes, I'm off to the other dimension in less than an hour to pick up a batch of DVDS and books Doc is sending out. Then I gotta go to the other dimension for a meeting with Vinetta about more books."


"Vegas." David chuckles.


"Of course. I'm also staying at the Tower at least a year, Doc wants me getting more degrees." Alan laughs from the doorway. "You know, there may be a way to pick up television channels through the databursts."


"Do we really need a hundred channels with nothing to watch?" Susan snorts. Behind her in the doorway Professor Druid rolls her eyes.


"Noooo, but people would be horrified about not having tv on colony worlds." Josette drawls. Professor Druid rolls her eyes again but sighs and nods. "They're able to pick it up on the moonbase thanks to satellites, same with the city-ship while it was in space."


"And Becka can pick up channels from Earth on Mars."


Josette returns to Haven nearly ten years later, her time.


"How many degrees did you get in?" Principal Madison asks when he joins the others in the dorm.


"Eighteen." Grabbing one of the remotes she turns on one of the tvs and starts scanning channels.


"No." Professor Druid moans as she sees the list of channels on the screen. She'd thought Josette had been kidding but had stuck around anyway.


"Yep, they figured out how to do it. I've got satellites in orbit on every world. We're getting Granda's satellite, so is Archimedes. The 9th planet has the other dimension's tv, 10th planet has their tv. We can also get the others if we want."


"We don't need that much tv."


"No, that's why just us know right now. People are going to start getting outside as the weather starts warming up and we're going to be busy until next winter."


Josette puts the new diplomas on the walls in the room set aside for Hamberg.'s the entire floor for now so she has plenty of room and puts the new books away before joining the others walking to the dining hall for dinner.


"Are you taking over the publishing house?" President Bartlett chuckles.


"Hell no, I do not want the fucking headaches. As long as the stupid fuckers leave my quilting books the hell alone I'm good. If the boss has the money he can buy it back, otherwise it's going to be like the retreats, a percentage from everything is sent to me."


"If money's coming out of their pockets they might straighten up?"


"Doubtful, but the knowledge I won't put up with their shit and they'll be gone* if they try anything might make them straighten up."


"What you said, doubtful. They saw money rolling in that wasn't theirs. That's why so many people are arrested for embezzlement." Professor Ziegler says. "Is anybody updating textbooks?"


"Some university level, not so much the others unless it's history or government."


"Which probably would be the only textbook we'd be writing on Haven."


Josette stretches against a wall when they return to the dorm, yawning as she pulls the curtains on her windows, there's nothing to see outside but snow and the glass is a little chilly. She doesn't have to check the weather probes to know the temperature is falling.


It finally begins warming and Josette spreads manure on the fields and garden when the snow melts, checking on the others and finding them doing the same thing. Walking into the dorm she finds Doc, Charles, and Dr. Cross in the living room.


"Are you done?"


"For now, in a few days I'll till it under and plant."


"Good, we need you on Earth."


"Are you fucking stupid?" A judge hisses a couple hours later. "It's obvious that you're not the young lady in question, that's her right there." He waves a hand at Josette. "And it's just as obvious she did not sign that fraudulent contract you're trying to get damages on. Get out of my courtroom before I slap you stupider."


"But he promised us that contract." the moron who'd tried suing wails.


"It wasn't his to promise, he's never been her agent."


"B. . .bu. . .buh . ..but we could print her books." He wails again.


"And take the same books thanks to the clause that old fool wrote into the contract? Which is illegal." The judge snorts. "I don't think so."


"But we can print her books!" If he says it often enough, the judge will *have* to change his mind.


"I just got a third printing of 50,000 for my first book. ..the same size print run as all the other books and it cost me a fifth of what you want to charge. Hell no." Josette snorts. "Now run along little boy before I sue you ass for this stupidity. Trying not only to steal my books but steal my land? I don't goddamn think so."


He tries charging her bellowing that she has to use his printing operation and is dragged off by the bailiff before Josette can slap the stupidity out of him as Dr, Cross starts the paperwork to sue that stupid bastard again.


The news that any contracts dumbass created are now void thanks to fraud and will find anybody trying to enforce them jailed has many people howling. . .not least of all the dumbass in question who's now stuck in solitary confinement for 180 days, food and his work pushed into an airlock in the room.


"So that's it, every contract that bastard every wrote is now null and void, anybody trying to enforce it will be slapped in jail by the court. Any real contracts he made were already replaced with new ones when he lost his cushy job at the publishing house. Meanwhile he's now stuck in solitary for 180 days in the medium-security dimension and is wailing that they shouldn't have tried enforcing the contracts, he can't get the money in there."


"God, people are stupid."


"Yes, and all his other dealings are being looked at and we've got people lining up to write about his stupidity for sosh and psych classes."


"Awwww.. . the little bastard will be famous. . .but not the way he wanted." Susan coos. "Couldn't happen to a nicer asshole."




The manure is tilled under and the crops planted. David and Alexander are busy filling cisterns for the others, getting looks from Ma, Ma, and Mom. Alexander sniggers. "The others told him to go away and go do something besides annoying them. I'm here because I needed a break from a project that's annoying the crap out of me."


"Ahhhhhh." Martha Kent laughs. "Let that go for a few days boys, I've got some work you can do in the house."


David and Alexander come back to the school at dinner. "Ma had us moving stuff for her since Clark, Jonathon, and Kara were busy."


"Has Clark expanded into his entire apartment building?"


"That's what they were working on. Kara's looking through buildings they'd copied for a place of her own."


"Everybody needs a place to call their own, no matter how loving a family you have."


"Yes, because you just have to get away from them."


"Or have a place for them to go." Professor Druid says, giving her husband a look. He just smirks at her.


Josette puts the books away for her last finished degree away in the library.


"This your first new degree from the comic book school?


"Yeah, though I'll have a tv degree this summer. I figure on having five more comic book degrees and two more tv degrees before I sign up for graduation again. Or should I say Granda tells me it's time to graduate again." David sniggers.


"How are the others on their degrees?"


"The twins and Alan will be two years into their degrees, Michael and Alexander are gonna be seven semesters into theirs, and Susan's going to be three semesters into hers."


"And I should be three semesters into mine. Did you start the new update?"


"Yeah, just now. Granda said it would be a couple days, with the zero-population period over the open schools are adding more degrees. . .especially my comic book school."


A few days later Josette is busy bringing out supplies in her workroom, looking over her shoulder when Alice and Andrew look in.


"Josette, we just found something interesting on our tv. . ." She says dryly. Josette laughs and tells them what happened.


"Of course they couldn't live without tv on colony worlds." Andrew says dryly. "Until they realized how long they'd be working to build their new planet and didn't have time to sit around in the evening because they went to sleep after dark. Because they were tired."


"Oh please, Miranda Baxter." Alice waves a hand as she opens a box and starts shelving what's inside. "The woman could not have lived without her damn soap operas. She died a few years before we left Earth." She tells Josette.


"Did you bring back anything else?"


"Yes, tons of books and DVDS, including a lot from the channel stores like A&E, Discovery. . .all places I'd have ordered from for the school back on Earth."


"Are the factories ramping up baby stuff?'


"Yep, and it's flying off the shelves."


"Are the schools still open?"


"No, people with actual sense realized they can be shut back down until students start arriving. Which the fool woman who'd wanted them open is wailing about."


"Miserable fool, was she expecting people to start flocking to them the second they opened to throw their arms against the buildings sobbing how they missed them?"


"Yeeessss." Josette drawls. "State governments are wailing because now they have to start putting money aside for schools when they open, instead of all that money going to their pet projects. Meanwhile schools like Granda's are going on business as usual."


"And old fools are going on business as usual?" Andrew snorts.


"Oh god yes, not just that old miserable bastard who can't believe I wouldn't give him my books. The damn government is still wanting credit unions in schools and are stunned that Granda is telling them no. .. who does he think he is?"


"The head of the school?" Andrew says dryly.


"Yes, they tried pointing to the credit union at the school in town to prove why he needs a credit union, walking off pouting when they found out there's no members."


Alice leans against Andrew, cackling.


"And the town council is grumbling, they were expecting all this business and now have to tighten their belts to pay for that damn credit union sitting empty at the school."


Principal Madison sighs but nods in the doorway. "Lemme guess, they're seeing all the new construction at Dad's school and wailing because it's not theirs."


"YYYYYeeeeeeppppp." Josette says dryly. "Meanwhile if they put in a little effort to getting new businesses in. . they could have more tax revenue coming in."


"That is common sense Josette, something most town councils never have." Andrew snorts. "Are you in the same time-period now?"


"I will be in two weeks. I gotta go out not only to pick up the new supplies. . .and no, I don't know what Granda was chortling about either. . ." Principal Madison sighs but nods. "And I've got a meeting with Madison about my new books.


"How is the publishing house?"


"Cleaning house left and right, they've got a new person over that old fool's oh so precious textbook line who's talking to the authors that didn't die during the zero-population period. A lot of upper management lost their cushy jobs too, they're finally realizing they're there for the authors, not to make as much money as they can off them."


"Are you going to Ellis's?"


"Yes, the new seasons of the textiles shows you see on PBS are available. I'll pick up a few copies of each of them and look at the 'hot new fabric' that's not worth a plug nickel. Elaine and Frances are coming with me, it's not a massive shopping trip."


"It's more a research trip." Principal Madison says. Josette nods. "We're also going to be looking at machines, there's supposed to be improvements coming out."


"Whether they're actually improvements or just a cosmetic change to make people buy new ones is something else."


"Yep. I've looked at everything in Granda's new building because it is new." Principal Madison laughs and heads off.


Josette, Elaine, and Frances head out a few days later, coming back a couple days later their time.


"Get everything looked at?"


"Yes, and while we should look at getting new machines in the future. . .it's because they're old and might fail. . not because the manufacturers came out with new ones."


"And the new hot must have fabric?" Josette makes a gagging sound like a cat hacking up a hairball. Frances and Elaine make faces. "All hype, no hope."


"They're hoping for mega-sales to prove to the nay-sayers they know best. Which they won't get. Their oh-so precious fabric will go in the bargain bin." Josette brings out a few yards and Pat, Agatha, Sue, and even Principal Madison moan.


"That is so far beyond garish."




"Did you talk to Madison?"


"Yeah, I split off a duplicate to do that while I was at Ellis's." Josette brings out her copies of the contracts and books and puts them away.


"What were you mumbling about? Auditioning?" Frances asks as they all walk to the dining hall for lunch.


"Oh some stupid agent was demanding one of his authors audition to read for a new release of one of her books on audio. He ended up getting his ass handed to him by management at his publishing house. He didn't want to release the book in audio, she did. Because she knows there's a demand for it."


"And he's sulking?"


"Oh yes, because that was the last insult she needed and she dropped him like a bag of garbage. Moron is in deep now because that means he's lost a lot of revenue. And he can lose more if more of his authors leave."


"Is stupid settling down in the medium-security dimension after all the fake contracts he made were brought to light?" President Bartlett asks in the front room.


"Hellllll no. . .the old fool is still whining about them trying to enforce them now. . .he won't see a dime of the money in prison. It took him a couple weeks to straighten up in solitary, he was refusing to work and got mighty hungry when they told him no work, no food. And since he's being punished, he's not getting the few cents an hour he was receiving*."


"D'aawwwwww!" David coos as he settles down at the table. "I see you started a new degree?"


"Which one?" Josette asks. "If you mean the school computer. . .yes. It's part of a three degree set from Oxford on the Titanic, the first degree is about the problems they had with the other ships, the second degree is building the Titanic, how it was a grand masterpiece, and some of the people that were on it, the third is the accident and the various theories about what happened. Josette was telling me about the theory on the news recently in her old dimension, how the fire in the coal bins made that area super-hot and brittle, so when they struck the iceberg. . .bang."


"Just like dropping a piece of plastic that's got brittle from age and having it shatter."


"Exactly. Or dipping something in liquid nitrogen and having the same thing happen."


The crops start coming in and everybody's busy canning, drying, or storing the first harvest and planting second crops. Josette finishes her tv degree and puts the books, DVDs, and supplies away when she finishes the comic book degree. As she'd said, most of the update had been for the comic book school and she'd added a good half-dozen degrees to the list she had started.


The second harvest and yearly crops come in sooner than humanly possible everybody thinks and Josette looks over at Calvin.


"How is things settling down with dumbass's contracts?"


"People are coming to the courts with his contracts and he's getting his ass handed to him by the courts. He'll be paying off judgments for centuries . . .and those are just the companies that came forward instead of throwing the contracts away because they knew if they were investigated they'd be in cells of their own."


"Because those are the type of people who would listen to the old fool instead of saying 'hey, why is he offering me this contract, if he had the right to them wouldn't he have the publishing house print them? Something isn't right here' and doing some looking."


"Yeeessssss." Calvin drawls. "Interestingly enough, most companies are honest."


"Are morons still wailing about people not magically popping out five year olds ready to start school?"


"Yeeeeessssss," Calvin drawls again. "Then they go looking at the records from the previous zero-population periods and deflate when they see this is all normal. Even if it was a longer than normal time."


"Has there been any interest in a colony dimension."


"Yes, and people realize this is going to be hard work and not lording it over everybody while the little people do the actual work."


"The old fools wanted it to be a recreation of Downton Abbey with them as the lords and ladies."


"While the young fools couldn't understand why everything they have on Earth wouldn't be waiting for them in a colony."


"Josette, did I hear something about a comic con?"


"Yes, it's a week after one expo I want to attend and the week before another one so I've got a hotel room for three weeks. Almost as easy moving stuff the the ship as it was putting it in a truck during our old expos."


"Easier, you wouldn't have to empty it multiple times a day." David says as he walks past.


"True. . .and pay for parking."


"Which is fucking stupid. Hotels should have their own parking lots or comp your parking if you have to park off-site."


Josette looks around the school when she returns to Earth, there's a sharp bite in the air that signals fall has arrived. The new stores are open and Josette sees people moving around inside. Taking socks and others stuff to the spa and office she heads off for a meeting with the judge.


"But. . .but. . .but money is going into the account daily." The head of the publishing house wails in a courtroom a couple hours later.


"The only money going into the account daily is interest." The judge snorts, looking at the records for the account money was supposed to have been going into to pay the judgment.


"But . . but. ..but the interest will pay for the judgment, I was told it would just take time."


A couple days later the head of the publishing house is wailing about losing the company to Josette.


"Own damn fault, did you really think the judge was going to believe you were going to pay her off with the interest on the money you'd already made? You should have got off your useless ass and gone back to the minimum security dimension, if you'd made the good faith effort of putting money in that account repeatedly the judge would have let you hold off on turning the business over to her."


"But interest was going into the account regularly." He whines. "Duncan told me it would work."


"I wouldn't believe anything that old fool had to say, even if he told me it was raining in the middle of a monsoon." One of the board snorts. "What the hell were you thinking listening to the man? He's a damn fool."


"Never should have listened to him about the so-called contract in the first place, you knew he wanted her books and had tried killing her because she wouldn't give them to the house. . .or should I say give them to him. Did you really think the magical contract he had was real?"


"But he told me the judge would give us the books. We'd have been making millions in extra profits."


"Dumbass, the only reason her books sell so well is because she offers them at the shows. People buy them because they're there."


"But. . .but . . .but wouldn't they sell as well in a store?"


"No moron, they wouldn't."


Several weeks later Josette returns to Haven, her other selves delivering containers to the school and the Kent apartment building and her purchases to the dorm.


"How was Earth?"


"People are fucking stupid. Some asshole in DC was suing trying to force Granda into putting up a credit union until he arrived at the school and saw all the business. 'I guess you really 'don't' need a credit union.' He went to the school in town to see how a school with a credit union has to bring in the business he was looking for and was crushed when there were no members."


Everybody in both rooms roll their eyes. "Yeah. The oh so fantastic hot new fabric fell like a proverbial lead balloon, I picked up tons of it from Ellis. ..other suppliers were happy to send it off to get rid of it. We can use it in something, even cutting it into pieces for a quilt." Frances and Elaine nod in the front room. "Of course the designer was wailing her life was over because she didn't become an overnight sensation but that's just human nature." Josette looks at President Bartlett and Professor Ziegler. "Granda got me advance copies of a few textbooks written about the aftermath of the zero-population period, I'll put them on the server."


The two men nod in satisfaction.


Josette's other selves arrive back at the dorm.


"Get everything delivered?"




"What's Clark doing at his apartment building?"


"He's putting in a growing area, not as large as what's in the compound but it will be more food in the winter. Herbs, fresh fruit and veggies, everything you need to just be able to walk in and pick whatever you wanted."


"Did Kara find herself a place?"


"Yes, she found a design she liked and is looking for land next year."


"Are they going out to their dimension?"


"After Thanksgiving to see how Earth is recovering."


"Oh jeeezus, what a fucking moron." Josette snorts a couple days later as she reads the databurst.


"What's going on now?"


"Some asshat is suing to get Granda's school shut down because public schools don't have all that." She says in a sing-song voice.


Everybody cackles when dumbass is handed his ass in the next databurst, he walks off wailing about how public schools can't compete. Weeeeellllllll nnnnnnnoooooooo, he doesn't have anything to do with schools . . . but still it's the principle of the thing.


"They could, if they took this time to actually work on their curriculum instead of sitting around on their asses."


"But that's what people with sense would have done, they can't have that." President Bartlett drawls.


"Yep, the morons who wanted private schools brought in line with public schools are crawling out of the woodwork again. This time the government has to do what we want." Josette says in the back room.


"And they're still not getting any luck."


"Nope, schools should have been working on their classes. . .even if they do use the same books they'll have different classes."


"Exactly. No two teachers teach the same."


"Are they starting having children?"


"Yes, there's reports of pregnancies. That's why the fucking nonsense starting up again."


The last crops start coming in and Josette, Alexander, and Michael head to Archimedes for their tests. Back at the school she puts the books and boxes of comics away and looks out the window at the threatening rain. Thankfully it had held off long enough for the harvests.


"Did dumbass come out of solitary?"


"Yes, and he's whining about having to work an extra two hours a day to pay down his judgments and fines sooner." Josette mock-sobs. Everybody in earshot hisses and boos. "And how putting him in solitary was mean to the stupid puke." More hisses and boos. "He's wailing about how he's never going to get out of the medium-security dimension, about how everybody will be sorry when they come to the grand funeral he wants. .."


"They'll come to make sure the bastard's actually in the coffin."


"Amen. He's wailing about having to pay for that self-same elaborate funeral, wailing about not getting the money from my books."


"How many books did you sell at the show?"


"Ten thousand each. . .the publicity from dumbass trying repeatedly to steal my books meant some people came just to buy them. Marcus had a sign with Ellis's website where they could buy others."




"Wailing about if he wants a more elaborate headstone for his son's grave he's got to pay for it.. . . it will be years before he can get everything he wants. It's not fay-ay-ay-ay-urrrrr."


"Miserable old fool."


"Yep, he's the type of person who was miserable from the second he was born."


"And made everybody around him miserable."


"Does he have a chance at parole?"


"He's got to meet some strict guidelines, which include being a model prisoner, owning up to his crimes, and paying off his judgments."


"And he's not doing any of it."


"Nope. He's continuing to rack up judgments, gets charged with more and more crimes, and is a miserable bastard to be around. Not even the people who would normally be bleating about his age want to touch his case after listening to him."


After Thanksgiving Josette and the others start heading out to the other dimensions, returning a few good years later for them. Josette delivers stuff to various rooms and drops onto the couch, getting a cat in her lap.


"How long were you gone?" Pat asks from the door of headquarters.


"Which dimension?" Susan snorts.


"Ignore them. . .Doc and the others talked them into more degrees while we were gone." Pat chuckles and puts out her hand, the others digging into bags for their diplomas.


"Did you cross your own timeline?"


"Yes and no, I had notes of where I was so I wasn't meeting myself." Josette chuckles. "Doc and the others came out while we were there."


The diplomas are put on the walls later that day after the others have found their textbooks and shelved them. The decorations start coming out and going up over the next couple days.


"Josette, quilts?"


"Working on them, I'll have a good stockpile when I finally start writing more books."


"How many do you have yet to debut?"




"Yeah, it will be a while."


"I understand sales were brisk at the show?" Agatha's lips twitch. Josette just gives her a look. "All the moron's attempts to steal my books made people who'd normally never come to a show come and look at just what was so damn important he'd go to prison for it. Marcus put up a note with the website for Ellis as a place where they could order more books."


"Speaking of books?"


"The printers will be open through next year, that will be sixteen books total. By then they might be printing more quilting books."


"Speaking of printing, do you own the publishing house?"


"Yes, after the third time the head tried getting my judgment delayed without making any further efforts to pay it off the judge had had enough and let him have it with both barrels. He. . .he. . .he couldn't believe that the judge wouldn't let him keep dragging it out, he swore he was making an effort to pay me. Wellllll . .. no, he wasn't going to the minimum-security dimension to pay it off, working on recycling, or going to the work dimension. . .but he was still trying to pay it off. The interest on the money he had put away already would pay me off eventually, right?"


"Oh Christ, was he really that stupid?" Agatha moans.


"Yes, the judge told him instead of waiting for that magic interest to appear, he could have been putting more money in the account. He hemmed and hawed and admitted that yes, he could have done that tooooo. . .he supposes. But as long as interest was going in that account. should have been enough. . .shouldn't it?"


"And how long would it have taken?"


"Only 1280 years." Josette drawls. "I could wait, couldn't I?"


Snorts of disgust and rolling eyes. "He could not be that damn stupid."


"No, that was some half-assed excuse from the dumbass in the medium security dimension that he was sure the judge would accept. After all. . .they were making a good faith effort to pay it off. There was money coming into the account daily, right?"


Rolled eyes from the others. "Yes, the dumbass was wailing about that when his former boss told him the judge wasn't as stupid as he was. It took him a few minutes but he huffed about being insulted."


"Moron should be used to it by now."


"Oh he's so full of shit, he still thinks everybody is going to do everything he wants because he told them to." Josette says, rolling her eyes. "Moron is making all these grandiose plans for when they finally have to let him out of the medium-security dimension, you don't mean they're actually going to keep him there do you?"


Josette puts everything away in her workroom or pantry, the leftovers going in the kitchen.


"How many degrees do you have finished from the comics school?" Calvin asks as Josette brings up their supplies from the administration building.


"One tv, one comics. The twins and Alan are two years into their degrees, Alexander and Michael are finishing the degree they're taking next year . .." both he and New dimension Doc smile at that. "Susan will be halfway through her degree, so will David if he only gets in six classes."


"Allison made him get in more classes?" superhero James asks with a smirk. Mom's James grins as well.


"Yes, he has to take the three classes he needed to finish his comic book degree last summer and he started a history degree concentrating on space travel from Granda's dimension. He's nine classes in but it's two degrees, the first one on the moonbase, the second one on the city-ship mission that just ended last year. Have they finalized the details for the next mission?"


"Yes, and should have all the supplies and personnel aboard for lift-off the end of your next year. I'll let you know closer to the time they decide on so you can take video footage like you did the takeoff and landing. And the footage of the full moon lunar eclipse and comet."


"Does Josette and the others always get degrees from your dimension?"


"Yes, and I understand that they just got more degrees from Clark's dimension?"


"Yes, they're all out there right now. . .our time."


"And it was a few months ago for me my first trip and a couple weeks ago for our other trip."


"Josette got two bachelors in four years at a private university, plus picked up enough classes for a third while taking a dual masters and a doctorate the first time. I don't want to know how many degrees you got this time."


"Nope, you'll start giving Josette that look again." David says with a chuckle as he walks through.


"As opposed to the look you get for being a slacking brat." Josette sniggers. Principal Madison laughs as he comes in. "Josette, sorry to bother you. Mushrooms?"


"I planned on growing again next year, both in the growing building and the first planet since it's been a few years. I also figured on opening the smokehouse and growing on the first planet again." Principal Madison nods in satisfaction. "That was everything I was going to ask about after the Lights Festival."


"Soooooo, is dumbass still wailing about losing the publishing house?" Josette asks Bronwen. She rolls her eyes. "Oh yes, and how he can't believe the judge wouldn't accept the interest coming into the account as a good faith attempt to pay you. He lost his cushy position as head of the publishing house, his great-nephew took his spot. He's got the brains in the family. Dumbass was wailing about all his work was for nothing. . .his life was over."


"Never should have listened to his gooooooooddddd buddy in the medium security dimension then."


"Oh yes, the rest of the publishing house felt the same way, he was stunned nobody at the publishing house would take his side in the matter. And his great-nephew taking over, the boy's just a boy. .. he'll ruin the business."




"Nope, the boy's got a good head for business and has been raised knowing he'd take over someday. He's making his great-uncle get off his ass and add more money to the account so they can buy back the publishing house eventually."


"Which he's wailing about?"


"Yes, he felt that money should have gone to him for all his hard work in saving the business." The others snort around them. "Exactly, the publishing house is better for him not being in control anymore. Did Calvin pass along the new textbooks?"


"Yes, I put them on the server when I got home and I think everybody downloaded them."


"A sociology teacher wants to talk to you about dumbass and what happened."


"I'm sure that's going to be a big topic in sosh and psych classes."


"And in some law classes no doubt."


Josette slips into her seat at the government building the second week of the new year.


"I understand you've got a book tour?"


"Yeah, midterms."




"I picked up a couple extra, I'm taking eight classes on the school computer but that's because I picked up a degree in metallurgy and I'm going to be working a lot with GD." Doc nods in satisfaction. "The announcement that the smokehouse went out and we've started a list of what we're going to be working on, expect the smokehouse to be open at least three months."


"And people in the big buildings making sausages, baloney, and sauerkraut just as long?"


"Probably." Josette sniggers.


"First planet?"


"I'm going out to plant next week."


"Has anybody notices ages sliding?" President Bartlett chuckles.


"Yes, I'm turning 161. Sarah should be turning 141 but she's claiming she's only 138 since Jasmine and Sebastian swear they're only turning 135. Ages are really just a number and nobody pays that big attention to them anymore. Especially with all of us on different planets with different years." The others nod.


"There's no magic numbers anymore. Nobody is retiring at 65, you don't graduate school at 18 anymore. . ." More nods.


Josette puts up the bag of doughnuts and snacks she's got at the bakery when she arrives back at the dorm.


"How many more degrees do you plan on from the comic book school?" Alan asks as Josette looks in the library where the others are starting classes.


"I'm partway through the fifth National degree, that will leave two more from them and three from Timely before I hit the hoopla about the comics code. I want to sign up for graduation again when I have them finished and maybe three more tv degrees depending if I pick up semesters during breaks."




"The printers are going to be printing through the end of next year, that will be sixteen books."


"Smaller runs than the quilting books?"


"Yes, because the store doesn't have the room for boxes upon boxes upon boxes of books."


"Yes, most bookstores only get a box of each book." David says dryly as he walks past the library.


Josette walks into the workroom and goes eeny meeny miney mo to pick a bag of quilting supplies, looking at the notes and starting to turn it into a real pattern. Looking at the box of plastic she sighs and walks to the storeroom, rummaging through a container until she finds the pallet of plastic and digs out more boxes, making a note on her PADD to order more. Looking around she grabs a carton of boxes filled with x-cto blades and handles, adding those to the list too.


"Do you have a list of . . ." Josette asks, leaning in the door of Pat's studio.


"Stuff we didn't think about when we went to Ellis's? Yes." She sighs.


"I'll stop when I'm out for the booktour. And see if Pat on the 10th planet has a list started." Pat nods in satisfaction. Josette looks at what she's working on. "Is that the winterweight fabric?"


"Yes, I've been experimenting with it with Pat. It keeps them warm on the 10th planet under a lighter jacket. This way they're not . . ."


"So bundled up they can't move when they have to go outside."


"Yes, and pulling up your hood is not the same thing." Pat chuckles at her look.


Pat leans in the doorway of the 'briefing' room on the 10th planet. "Josette has a book tour in a couple months our time, she's stopping to Ellis's since we both have lists of. . ."


"Stuff we didn't think about when we were there but we're running low on?" 10th Pat chuckles. "Let me know a couple days before she goes and I'll pass along my list. I'll work on a large order later."


Josette returns from the first planet the following week full of energy after having spent several days planting.


"Everything on schedule?"


"Yep, I'll be harvesting mushrooms when I go out to green pick tomatoes and peppers." Josette stretches and yawns. "I've talked to my advisors about my metallurgy degree, they're of the mind I probably know more about the raw ores than they do." David sniggers.


"You've had a few decades harvesting them." He pets the cat that just jumped on his shoulder.


"Josette, shows?" Elaine asks at lunch.


"Me Granda midterms this summer, the boys Mom dimension two weeks later. Some sneering woman was having a fit about me bringing out dollhouses since there was not children old enough to play with them until she saw it and realized it wasn't just a plastic or cardboard toy." Professor Druid rolls her eyes.


"Well yah. . .always going to be somebody who thinks they're special and just end up making a fool of themselves when they open their mouths." Professor Parker snorts. Everybody else nods.


"Josette, this is a stretch but would you pay for a funeral for that old fool's similar to his son's. . .?" Calvin asks as she's introduced to somebody from the medium-security dimension.


"If he doesn't put aside the money for his grand masterpiece of a funeral that will have everybody weeping at his loss? Yes, it was his money after all. But he doesn't know about it."


"Yes, this way the old fool is still putting money aside for it. He's terrified he's going to die alone, unwanted, and unremembered."


"Well, he's got the first two right but nobody will forget that old fool." Maria snorts from the front room. She brings in the mail already sorted for Calvin as the two men nod and laugh.


"How are the sales for your books?"


"Leveling back to normal as all the people who'd been to the boys show to see what was so damn important about the books that the old fool would not stop trying to steal them brought them. Marcus had a sign up with Ellis's website so they could buy more if they wanted. . .there wasn't that much of a demand. Certainly not the millions of dollars that old fool and the former head of the publishing house expected in sales if they had my books. . ."


"Because the only reason they sell so well is because of your shows." Jane drawls.




"How are sales at the retreats?"


"Steady, but on par for the sales at Ellis's. People are buying them because they want to make the quilts."


"How many more books do you have to release, not counting this year?"




The other man whistles despite himself. "I get slammed with ideas for quilts and when I make them I sort them into areas that later become books. Since I have the quilts already made. . ."


"It's not that difficult to work on books."




Josette is introduced to the new head of the publishing house, who apologizes for the abject stupidity of his great-uncle and his friend in trying to steal her books. After a meeting with Madison, Jessica, and Joanne she takes the manila envelope with all the information on the tour and heads back to the mansion to pack bags and replicate pens.


Josette slumps onto the couch several weeks later, ordering food after a nap. Picking up the food the takes care of her laundry and tosses the empty pens in the replicator, putting the partial boxes away to use later.


"How was the tour?" Susan asks when she returns to the dorm and has dropped of Pat's order on the 10th planet.


"Hopping, the new head of the publishing house has a lot new ideas that his great-uncle would be wailing about but are making money."


"So he's whining instead?"


"Yes, especially since he's got to get off his ass and add money to that account by working. The way the old fool's going at it, it's going to take that selfsame 1280 years for him to get the money."


A knock on the door has Vincent looking and smiling as he walks over to unlock the door. Josette waves a hand and brings out baskets of green tomatoes, green-picked peppers, and mushrooms.


"You know people would be poo-pooing green tomatoes back on Earth."


"Of course. . .not realizing the stuff they get in the stores in winter might as well be green it's picked so damn early." Vincent snickers and nods. "And what do they think green peppers are anyway?"


"Y . .you. . you mean it's not a different pepper?" he mock-wails.


"Or that chipilotes are smoked, dried jalapenos. Ancho peppers are dried poblanos, or that most of the stuff you find in the stores is flavorless compared to fresh picked."


Vincent nods. "There's nothing better than being able to walk out your back door and make a salad from your own garden. Or growing building."


After her other stops Josette puts the rest of the food in subspace before joining the others in the dining hall.


"Sell a lot?"


"Yep, and the rest in in stasis."


"Josette do you see growing portabella mushrooms?" President Bartlett asks, waving her into the front room.


"For burgers? Not commercially, the vat meat is just as good. Now. . .I can see people growing them in the kits more. . .for their own use."


"Just like any other species of mushroom we don't normally grow." Professor Druid nods. "Now, while they'd sell like gangbusters on Earth. . ."


"They wouldn't do well here dried like a lot of the mushrooms are now."


"Exactly, and while you can put them in stasis. . .that's a product you'd rather buy fresh and eat that day." Everybody nods. "Which is why growing your own seems the way to go."


"Eaten on a piping hot fresh bun slathered with whatever topping you want." One of the cooks says. Everybody nods.


It begins warming up finally and windows are opened to get some fresh air into buildings, being shut when furnaces start running or it gets too cold. Josette once more firmly reminds herself that they can open windows for fresh air. . .it would have been much worse on the city-ship even with the air scrubbers.


"When should you be in the same time period in Doc's world?" David asks when Josette comes back from spreading manure on the fields, the boys having taken a break from their art to do the same to the garden in the hope that a little work would knock the muse loose and let them finish a project.


"Harvest Festival next year will be close. . .I remember Doc and Pat heading off a couple months before I left."


"So Doc should be giving you a look about how many degrees you got by Lights Festival."


"Probably." Josette sighs as she pulls off her boots.


"Those aren't going to last much longer." David says, looking at her.


"Nope, I'll have to replicate some this fall. There's still enough stock that we won't need to open the factory for a few more years."


"No, not with shoes and boots coming in in the supplies for the school." David agrees. Josette puts her workboots up and pulls on shoes before walking through the ranch into the dorm.


"I haven't heard any messages about that old fool. Is he finally staying out of trouble in the medium-security dimension." Josette cackling tells him not hardly.


"Oh he's gutted, absolutely prostrate in desolation. His oh so magnificent plan to shaft me by 'oh. . .surely the interest will pay her judgment' got his ass handed to him by his former budddy-buddy. He's finally figured out he's never going to get his job back now that the great-nephew's in charge of the publishing house. Letters to his old 'friends' are being sent back unopened because they're all frantically pushing him back to try to keep from being tarred by the same brush. All his begging letters to various special interest groups that try to get prisoner's sentences overturned aren't getting him the attention he wants and he has to work twelve hours a day or more if he wants anything. He finally figured out his stupidity is only hurting himself. Or so he's loudly claiming to the authorities. . .whether he's just trying to run a scam. .. " Josette shrugs. "As long as he leaves me alone."


"How are the retreats going?"


"Pretty good, there's usually at least two a month, that gives them time to give the building a good cleaning after the guests leave. They're expanding it from just knitting and quilting to other textiles and even scrapbooking. I've been asked to look at plans to add onto the building. . .this time there's really a reason for it. There's money in the account for it and I'll give the permission if the plans are good."


"Do you have the room?"


"Yes, the houses on either side have been empty for years, the city council is giving them to me to get them off their hands."


"Because nobody wanted to live next to him?" Susan drawls. "And now with the zero-population period ended there's a lot of empty homes and apartments."


"'Xactly." Josette looks at the time and walks to the dining hall with the others.


"How are the classes going at Calvin's?"


"Good, each one has a waiting list. The bookstore is doing brisk business. .. and yes, Granda had me do a book signing there when it opened." The others laugh. "Madison and the others are taking select authors out there for signings beyond book tours. Granda's advertising those days on the school's website."


"And Ellis's?"


"A waiting list there too and he's got an agreement with a hotel in the area for people to stay at while they're taking them."


Frances grins. "Do you see retreats at the school?"


"Maybe in the future, I know Granda's in talks with the textiles school near my retreat house to offer special classes. Having a store on the school grounds and being able to order special stuff from Ellis seems to be a tipping point in the schools favor."


Josette, Pat, and Pat fly to Ellis's on Haven in a flyer, filling a wagon with purchases from there, the thread complex and the other supplier's before heading back to the dorm and sorting out bags.


Pat looks at her workroom on the 10th planet in satisfaction, there's plenty of old clothes for patchwork quilts for anybody who wants one, her shelves are full, and she's got a dozen projects to work on this winter. While it's early spring on Haven it's late fall on the 10th planet and beginning to turn cool.


Josette walks into the cafe, waving a hand to bring out bushels of tomatoes, peppers, and bags of herbs.


"Done?" Principal Madison asks when Josette walks into the dining hall.


"Until I go out this fall to plant again. Everything left is either dried or in stasis and the recycling is taken care of. I gotta deliver containers to the 10th planet this year."


"How is their world?"


"Getting used to the new normal. The flooding's stopped with the temperatures back to normal but the ocean level is staying high. Everything that flooded was either replaced or if too badly damaged torn down. Subways are a thing of the past in a lot of places but they were able to replace water and waste treatment plants."


"They're on track on what our Earth was without the permanent gloom in the air from the rockets."


"Yes, they learned a lot from our experiences. Every building that can has solar panels to help with power needs. All this gave humanity the kick in the ass it needed and there's no poo-pooing about climate change. Big business had to clean up their act and recycling is mandatory. They're still keeping an eye on the increased volcanic activity, hoping it will settle down. People are still hoping they might eventually be able to return to where there homes were. . . if only to show their families."



Josette sniggers as she reads the latest databurst. "Dumbass's desolate condition lasted only until he realized that that wouldn't get him out of there." She tells David. "Now he's back to causing trouble."


"Is the former head of the publishing house still dragging his feet?"


"Yep, he's wailing about the family losing the business but he's not making any attempts to get off his ass to make money to buy it back. The remaining family members are about ready to lynch the stupid fool. He wants them to help put up the money to buy back the business while he sits on his ass counting all the interest coming into the account on the money that he already put into the account."


"And they're telling him why should they do any of the work involved in buying back the business, they're not the ones who listened to dumbass and lost it in the first place?"


President Bartlett moans but nods when Josette passes along that news at lunch. "Yes, that sounds like big business. . .I don't wanna have to take responsibilities for my actions . . .let somebody else do it."


"Big business Hell, a good percentage of humanity." Professor Parker snorts. "That's why TMZ didn't have any lack of celebrities acting stupid."




"I'm moving most of my stuff to the ship next eighth day, that will just leave a last few items. I'm running out of room and my stuff takes up a helluva lot less than the boys stuff."


"Yeah, Josette's already took one batch of stuff out for our show and will have another after we go out for her show."


"Are you taking more books out?"


"Yes, but I don't see the need for them. The sales at the boys show was because more looky-loos were there wanting to know what was so damn special about the books that supposedly grown men would keep trying to steal them."


"Like the sales for the Salman Rushdie book took off because the fools ordered a hit on him." President Bartlett rumbles.


"Or when it was leaked that that one book was written by JK Rowling under a pen name." Susan snorts. "Cynic in me says the news was leaked because it wasn't selling."


"The cynic in me agrees with the cynic in you." Professor Druid says with a grin.


"And the motion passes in the cynic town council." Josette says with a smirk.


Josette walks through the houses the town had sold her, looking over the different plans the architect had come up with.


"This one." She points to the plans that everybody seems to agree is the best and sends off the first payment.


"Thank you Ms. Takahawa."


"Good plans?" Alan asks, looking up from his book when Josette comes into the mansion.


"Yes, it's going to incorporate the two other homes. They're still in good shape, just needed some cosmetic work. This will give them more workrooms and selling space."


The show is a couple days later and Josette hears Charles chuckling where she's sitting eyes half-closed trying to inhale a mug of coffee.


"How long were you signing books?"


"Hours. Both the looky-loos at the show and serious quilters who'd purchased books at the retreats or at Ellis's. Marcus is going to have all the numbers tomorrow, I told him to go home and sleep."


"Where are the boys?"


"Going through everything from the new houses to see if there was anything that needed to be tossed out right away. We'll still sorting through everything from that old fool's house. These were homes where generations lived. . ."


"And had stuff stored in basements or attics?"


"Yep." Josette finishes the mug of coffee.


They return to Haven a few weeks later their time, Josette moving boxes various places.


"Stop at Ellis's?" Principal Madison asks as Josette walks into the dorm.


"Yes, beyond taking the books in. I picked up stuff Pat, Pat, and I were running low on during my book tour but we'd all had lists of stuff to get. I visited a new to me supplier too."


Josette brings out envelopes of information she hands to Frances and Elaine at lunch. "New supplier. . .or rather new to me. I passed along this information to the others too."


"Thank you Josette, we'll look them over later. Has the increased business at Calvin's causing more whining?"


"Oh god yes, it's not fair they have their own store. . .their students would have to go there or another store for their classes. They'll see the school, like it, and decide to leave. They had to be reminded they don't have home ec classes anymore. Wellllll, we could offer it. . ."


"I could hop up and down, patting my head and rubbing my stomach but it's not going to get me students." President Bartlett snorts. "Is it just the thought of not having students pouring into their schools that are making them act like this. . ."


"Or they're normally this stupid? Six of one, half-dozen of another." Josette snorts. "They're so damn scared the school might take one of their students ignoring the fact that Granda doesn't take students until fifth grade. . ."


"And no parent is going to want to start paying for their kids education starting at pre-school, no matter how good a school it is unless they have no other choice."


A couple weeks later they lift off for Mom's dimension, beeping making Professor Xavier look at the computer in the meeting room. "The others are here."


"I think sooner or later somebody will come up with their hat in their hand asking Calvin to take over the school in town." Clarinda hears Alan saying when they walk into the rooms, sighing in relief when they see food on the table, bags from one of the restaurants vetted by the government on the counter.


"Yeah, Dad and I've been having the same thought. But like we said, nobody's going to pay for their child to attend pre-school though I know there are schools that had waiting lists for kindergarten. And the cynic in me says it would be an attempt to take over the school."


"Yep." Everybody says when they find out what they're talking about.


"Did the former head of the publishing house ever add to the account?"


"Oh yes, he made an over the top melodramatic showing of working at one of the drop-off centers one day. He added a whole twenty dollars to the account. The poor dear was so proud of adding that money to the account. . .now the interest should really start rolling in to pay me off. He walked off pouting when the family just gave him a look. Dumbass is still looking for a miracle that will allow him to buy back the business and get it back under his control again.







Josette finishes the last question in her last comic book class to finish the first Timely degree, stretching and yawning before moving the books and boxes of comics into subspace. Putting everything away she checks the grading of the test, smiling when she sees the degree in her finished section.


"Done?" Doc asks from the doorway.


"Yep, just finished the degree from Timely. That leaves four more degrees before I figure Granda will start hinting for me to attend graduation again." Calvin nods as he walks past.


"That will get you just before the next large group of degrees you wanted to start." He says with a grin. "Is the turbine spinning?"


"Yeah, we started it running before the storm hit, it should be good for another week. If we need it running longer, we'll start it running again. This isn't this bad a storm. . .we've got food, heat, and power."


Josette is cleaning off the shelves in her desk when a hand plucks a book from the pile.




"Yeah, my advisors at GD agree that I probably know more than they do about the raw ores with all the harvesting I do."


"Are you going to be putting all the dorms together?" New Dimension Doc asks Calvin after dinner.


"We're going to have six dorms with eight hallways and one dorm with six. This way we've got all of them in case they're needed again but the buildings aren't cluttering up the school. The same way the temporary living dorms were put together years ago."


"So it will be . . .building one, spoke E if mail was being delivered?"


"Dorm one, Room 112E. Each building would have their own mailboxes instead of having them all in the front of the dorm."


"While the basements would be one big one with separate areas for each building. That way there's only one link to the tunnel system. There will be signs in the basement so students know which area is their dorm and maintenance can deliver supplies."


"We'd planned on doing this as soon as the school closed, but waited until the rooms were all cleaned and painted before we started work. We told everybody we'd take care of the buildings once we started adding onto them to handle the massive influx of students that usually forecast a zero-population period."


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