Josette puts her feet up on the computer panel, reaching into the hood of her cloak and releasing the clasp on her hair. The clasp goes into a pocket and she shakes her hair loose in the hood. Stretching her fingers, she starts tapping out orders on the wireless keyboard in her lap.
"The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on my snout." she warbles off-key, the voice changer around her throat making her sound like Bart Simpson.
Josette rolls her eyes, dumping out the paper recycling and slams the large garbage can over the head of the man talking, grabbing various things from him including a token on a ribbon and shoving him, garbage can still over the top of him into a closet and putting a thick beam across the door to keep it closed.
"Idiot." Everybody stares at her as she limps to the chair, throwing back her hood before her hands start flying over the keypads. A figure appears on the main screen.
"Josette Kiriko Takahawa I am going to beat you half to death."
Josette snorts as she removed the fried voice changer, chucking it across the room in a container to be either fixed or torn apart for recycling. "You'll have to stand in line behind about three dimensions worth of family and friends, not counting anybody in this dimension." She scans the token.
"Where?" He asks, suddenly serious.
"Trying to get out of the large trash can I jammed over his head before I shoved him in the closet, then blocked the door."
"We'll be right there. And Josette, do you have to keep hopping dimensions?"
Josette mutters some rather rude words. "I'm the multiverse's fish on a line, yanked out of my realm and plopped in another then sent home."
"Are you alone?"
Josette grabs a box off her belt, looks at it, blinks, rubs her eyes, looks again and grins. "No, not only are the others here, so's Principal Madison and Professor Druid." Figures appear in the middle of the room and the man in the closet is stunned and taken away. Josette puts the paper back in the garbage can before being given a few bags of stuff she pops into subspace before changing her clothes and heading off as people start unlocking doors and letting the others out of the cells.
"Why was she threatening Joshua?" Mary Sanders asks. Josette had been repeatedly overheard muttering dire threats against an annoying Sanders man. And while they hadn't seen her face until she'd taken off the hood, she'd seemed amused by James.
"She wouldn't have, she normally leaves that to you." One of the men says absently. "Did she call him by name?"
"No, but . . ."
"She was threatening David then." Another man grins. "As usual."
"Davey's alive?" James holds his wife.
"Not for long if the annoying one doesn't keep looking at our youngest children, then the girls and sighing about how the babies are getting sooooo big, we need new babies." A voice drawls from the doorway as Michael comes into the room. "Lemme guess, I just missed her."
"Yeah, she says that Principal Madison and Professor Druid are here too." The man who'd answered her call says.
Michael looks at him then collapses laughing into a chair. "I can see it now. 'Josette, just because I told you that just because you flit off to other dimension at the drop of a hat that doesn't mean the others can join you and most certainly does not mean bringing me or Katrina along for the ride." He gets up and scans a card as the beeping from the computer annoys him. "There, happy?"
The computer blows him a raspberry. Everybody blinks but Michael. "We're talking Josette, of course any computer that she's been on would have an attitude." They're escorted outside and Michael looks around, they appear to be in an industrial area but it's deserted.
"Where is everybody?"
"This area was condemned in an Earthquake several years ago, the city government has been arguing with the state and federal government about coming in to take down the buildings. They were supposed to have . . ."
"Been up to Earthquake code and everybody's pointing fingers at each other about whose fault it is the damage is? Meanwhile everything is falling apart?"
"Mary?" She's striding towards a building.
"I'm going to see if the crystal in this area can be removed."
"We don't know if it's even intact. That area was pretty smashed. There's not that much room in there." James says. Not that it keeps him from following along behind her.
Mary is looking at the ceiling in dismay.
"What are you trying to do?" Josette asks. She'd been located by the others and drug inside.
"There used to be a safe area in the ceiling that held a large crystal used as data storage. It was . . ."
Mary nods. "In the earthquake. There looks to be an opening over there but. . . Josette, what are you doing?"
"Seeing if I can get up there." Josette starts climbing up on stuff until she can look into the opening.
"Be careful." Josette accepts a flashlight up from somebody.
"Egg shape, about the size of my head?"
"Yes. Don't touch it with your bare hands, the oil on your skin might damage it."
"It looks pretty dusty in there." Josette turns off the flashlight and pulls on gloves she pulls from a pocket.
"Which also might have damaged it but we won't know until we . . . be careful." She says again as Josette starts squirming into the opening. James and Dr. Cross watch her as her upper body disappears into the debris. She's beginning to speak but nobody can make out her words as a sound has them turning.
Meanwhile outside Joshua had been looking at the door when a hand reaches over and grabs a tool out of his belt. He turns to say something and stares at the ghost standing there.
David starts pulling on the frame, whole sections coming loose and being put aside. Joshua shakes himself like a dog coming out of the water.
"David?" He reaches out, touching solid flesh.
"Yeah. Dammit, I need something to . . .ahhh thank you." He gets on the ladder and starts working again. He looks at Joshua who's still staring at him. "Dad's lazy construction worker?"
"Take out the frame, don't try to move the door. If you remove enough, it should fall out." He grins and starts to work. They look at each other across the door once it's on the ground and nod in satisfaction. David hands back the tool he'd borrowed from his brother and takes a belt of them handed him by the workers that had started arriving.
They look to the wall where the door that hadn't worked for years is now laying out on the ground. Joshua walks into the building and grins.
"How?" His father asks. The engineers have been trying to open that door for years so they could bring out everything that wouldn't fit through the smaller door.
"The lazy construction worker story?"
James facepalms. "Instead of trying to move the door, you picked at the frame until it fell."
"Yep." a familiar voice says that has Mary and James moaning. David walks in behind him brother with more tools. They start taking out the inside tracks for the door as people outside start taking the door apart. A burst of language from the ceiling turns James and Mary's attention back to Josette.
"Are you stuck?" David looks at where Josette's partway in an opening muttering in a number of languages. The others haven't been able to understand her mutterings but from the way his lips are twitching he can and she's not saying 'I love you'.
"No, it's just out of reach." David comes over and repeats Josette's climb up to the opening, bracing himself and giving Josette a lift onto his shoulders.
"Got it!" Josette slides out and David swings her to the floor, climbing down behind her. Without a word he and Joshua start working on the frame for the door in the other wall. Josette hands the object she'd recovered to Mary, who carefully puts it in a box one of the workers had just brought in. It looks like a big hunk of crystal but she knows it can hold more storage than a building full of servers if it's not damaged. The box is hurried off and Josette peels off the gloves she'd worn to touch it, putting them back in subspace.
"Be careful boys, this building has been empty for years." James says.
"Yes, but we should be able to recover everything on this floor at least." Joshua says. "The council finally decided that this block needs to be cleared." A group of people are outside moving the door to a vehicle to either be reused in a different building or recycled along with most of the parts of the building.
"I'll start on the top floor and work my way down."
"I'll take the one under her. Easier for us to move stuff than you guys." Alan says as he comes into the building, following Josette to the staircase. A few minutes later stuff begins appearing outside. The others squeak.
"Alan's got the gift of being able to put stuff in subspace pockets." David says absently.
"Which is why he said it's be easier for them to move stuff." More stuff begins arriving outside, including large doors that are moved to the truck. Once the truck is full of the doors it takes off and a new pile starts.
"Somehow managed to start doing the same thing, which made it easier when we had to stock up on supplies. Easier to put everything in subspace and bring it inside in one trip." Everybody's who had to make multiple trips out to a car nods in agreement, even if that car is in an attached garage.
"Especially our restocking trips every other month where we'd fill between ten and twenty carts at each store." Everybody blinks as another young man comes into the building and starts picking up the thick plastic framework the boys had been removing, putting it in a container outside that is filled by Alan and Josette. David leans against the door, laughing. "That one day we went without Alan was bad enough. Oh, this is Alexander Jackson."
"Alan was busy that day?"
"Yes, he was in the middle of a three day shift at GD for his residency. After that we stopped going certain days and made it when Alan was home so we could put everything in subspace in the parking lots."
"Alan's a doctor?" Dr. Cross smiles.
"Yeah, worked at GD's infirmary during most of med school. He and Susan were able to finish a year early by working at GD summers and taking classes with medical and legal." A tractor-trailer type vehicle arrives and file cabinets, furniture and everything else that's being brought out by Josette and Alan is put inside as more large containers arrive.
"Yo, one of you want to grab this?" He calls towards the ceiling and the door appears outside to be taken apart. "Thankee."
"They can't possibly have heard you." Mary says.
"We've got a telepathic bond, half the time we're talking aloud and mentally and getting strange looks from everybody who doesn't know us."
"Half the time you're getting strange looks from people who do know you." A male voice that has some of the people blinking while the others laugh says from the doorway. "And Josette, just because we tell you the others can't dimension hop at the drop of a hat like you do, doesn't mean to bring us." Michael and Alexander lean against each other sniggering.
"Everybody, I'd like you to meet Principal James Madison, the head of the school we live at and most of us work at. Dad, do you want us to take the windows out too as well as fixtures?" Most of them don't have any glass left, the safety glass having broken in the quake.
"If you can without destroying them? If we get them out in one piece we can install new glass. If you can just get the pieces out in one piece that will be fine."
"We've all done construction work." Alexander says. /Guys, windows and fixtures that you can easily take out or take apart./ He opens his eyes. "The other stuff you can take out. I notice this is a mostly industrial building so you should be able to reuse everything?"
"Most of it. Some of it will be recycled. Some of it though. . ." They look up at the ceiling that has fallen down in some places thanks to the 'quake that had declared that entire area condemned.
"Josette, go get a ship." David bellows. "We can take what you can't use."
The others nod as Josette comes downstairs. "Upper floor is clear." she waves a hand and brings everything out as Anna and Abby grab belts as they and Susan arrive with Professor Druid. "We'll start working on the frames for the windows, Alan can move them for us." The others stare at Katrina for a second. "Everybody, I'd like you to meet my wife Katrina." Mary looks at James, he's already taking the pictures and sending out the messages.
Josette nods and triggers her dimension hopper device. Joshua checks the blueprints for that building as his brother and the other two young men start bringing out what they can. A crew starts dismantling the large stuff and Alan comes down to start moving everything to trucks.
More than one person blinks as Josette comes into the building about five minutes later.
"Who'd you bring?"
"You just left."
"Josette's adopted by thirteen sentient spaceships that travel under time dilation." Alexander says absently. "Top two floors are clear, the girls are working on removing windows and fixtures."
"I'll start on the fourth floor then since Alan's probably got the third." The others nod.
"The school employs most of you?" Mary asks as two fuming men come into the building. They stop, stare, blink, stare again, then come over to James.
"Is it really them?"
"I think so."
"Anna and Abby are teachers." Katrina says. "Alan works at the health center at school and in town. Josette's the school librarian and second in command with me."
"Among with the two and a half million other things she does." Principal Madison chuckles. "David handles all the construction for Sanders Construction around us and is busy pissing off his godmother by ignoring her 'gentle' hints about going for a doctorate." David sniggers. "Alexander and Michael are artists and make furniture. While Susan's a lawyer in Town and manages the government building." They're busy quietly taping the two talking, elsewhere in two different rooms more than one person is crying and touching the faces of children lost to them for so long.
Principal Madison hurries across the room, grabbing Joshua and pulling him away from a opening. "No, I can feel live wires in there."
"Can't be, they shut off power to this whole neighborhood." James says.
"I have a 'gift' of being able to touch electricity." One of the men nods. That's the family gift.
David grabs a checker and starts touching wires, a loud buzzing making everybody shudder at the third wire.
"Thank you." James says quietly.
/Everybody, don't touch anything./ Alexander calls mentally. /Principal Madison just stopped Joshua from touching a live wire./
/On our way./
"Alexander just told them, they're on their way down." Susan says absently.
"Where the hell is the power coming from. . .and is it just one line?" James pulls up the blueprints on his computer and calls in an electrical crew. Without a word the others start heading to the next building. Principal Madison closes his eyes to search for electricity then gives it the all clear and they start to work.
Several hours later. . .it's hard to tell time inside but it's dark out when they're drug out of the building, they're put on a shuttle bus and driven to a hotel and conference center with a mall. . .thankfully closed. . .attached to it. The others snigger at the look Josette gives it and she makes a semi-rude gesture in their direction.
"We had to guess on some of your sizes." Bags are handed out along with keys. Josette drops hers onto one of the full-sized beds, pulling everything out and finding toiletries as well as a nightgown. . .underwear, slippers, and a couple outfits. Stripping off her clothes she gets a quick shower and crawls under the covers.
The next morning a knock on the door has her opening it for Dr. Cross.
"You should still be asleep." He has a keycard and hadn't expected anybody to be up, knocking to be polite.
"Ahhhh, I never sleep beyond six in the morning." Josette says, waving a hand. "Where are we, I don't recognize the city." They're out in the sitting area of the suite to let the others sleep.
"We're outside of Baltimore."
"Ahhh, not that far from DC then." He's got a number of newspapers and Josette busies herself reading them. He looks at her and Josette recognizes that look.
"I take it Clarinda didn't give birth to me in this dimension?"
"Clarinda James? No, she died before I found out I was pregnant. I take it men don't give birth in your dimension?"
"No, this is only the second one I've come across and I had a different mother. That dimension my father Charles gave birth to me. That was only the second dimension where he lived."
"Well, this makes three, we're not as close as we were. . . are there any worlds where you. . ."
"Lived? Only one where Clarinda went to Pat and Doc and told them she was pregnant. I grew up at Headquarters in New York. At least I think that was a vision of a real world and not a funky dream. Every other dimension I've visited has me either dying at twelve or never existing because my father wasn't born."
The others are getting up a couple hours later, nobody's the least bit surprised to find Josette up already so her bland statement that she never sleeps beyond six no matter what time she goes to bed is the truth. Dr. Cross shakes his head, as a growing girl Josette needs her sleep. Then he sighs, he's the same way and so is Charles so she comes by it honestly.
There's guests waiting for them when they come down to a large banquet room set out for breakfast and Principal Madison and Professor Druid whimper.
"Mom, Dad?" Katrina asks, seeing a man and woman staring at her across the room.
Josette sighs and shoves her parents at their parents, seeing the embraces and tears as lost children are returned out of the corner of her eye as she grabs a tray and starts filling it with plates from the buffet.
"Are you sure you can handle all that?" James asks when Josette puts it down and grabs a bottle of juice and box of milk.
Principal Madison looks over and snorts. "And at least three more trays just as full. Josette can eat nearly her own body weight in food at every meal and still grab snacks to eat an hour or so later."
"And never gain an ounce. . .I just look at food and I'm five pounds heavier." Abby moans, setting down her own tray.
Josette snorts and starts eating. Like they'd said she goes back three more times and fills her tray again.
After breakfast Josette and the others are taken to the mall now that it's open and given complete wardrobes and other stuff. That afternoon they head back to the condemned buildings in overalls this time and start working again as Mary washes their clothes.
"That saved us tons of work." The head of the work crews says a few weeks later as the skeleton of the first building starts coming down. "Once they knew how to take apart the walls and everything, they gutted the buildings, just leaving us the plumbing and electrical to take out."
"Where was the power coming from, did the electrical crew ever find out?"
"Yes, somebody put together a jury-rigged thing in the basement, it was collecting power from the grid even if there wasn't supposed to be power coming to the building. It was only enough power to run one system, Joshua was lucky that Principal Madison felt the power and David trusted him enough to grab a line checker." James Sanders nods.
They take a train to another city and are settled in a large mansion. It's got a medical section that wouldn't look out of place in a large hospital and other areas. There's a library of congress sized library they frequently have to pull Josette out of despite her claims she doesn't need that much sleep.
"We did." Josette says absently. The others look at her. "Yeah, we lived together nearly three years before we married. We live in the old girl's dorm at school, our first semester of university Anna, Abby, and I were dorm monitors for the girls while Alexander, Michael, and David did the same thing for the boys. But Sanders had put up a new larger dorm for the girls since the first two floors were full and students were living on the third floor. It was the middle of the fall semester when the girls started moving to their new dorm and we had it to ourselves. The boys had always planned on moving in, two teachers were taking over their duties as dorm monitors over Christmas break. But there was an electrical fire at the apartment building where the single teachers lived. . ."
"Lemme guess, no real damage except to the apartments of the two teachers who were scheduled to take over the dorm monitor jobs?" James sighs.
"Yep. So the boys had to move out so they could move in. The hallway was full of the boys furniture since the girls had all new furniture in the new dorm, boxes and totes shoved everywhere and Principal Madison took the boys into town to buy new clothes since theirs were shoved. . .somewhere."
Principal Madison, who'd come into the room with the men who were his father and brothers, sighs and nods. "That was a mess. Everybody was up all night moving stuff, Josette was up all night working in the laundry on their stuff since everything reeked of smoke from the fire. They had university classes the next day and I hated to do it but I asked Josette and the others to pick up supplies for the school, there wasn't anybody else free who could do it. And when the fire department released the building, Josette and the others had everybody else's stuff to wash. How long did it take you to get everything moved around the way you wanted it?"
"Months, because we still had our university classes. And you know what happened there."
"God yes." Everybody looks at them. "Their university was under attack by a hacker sending out fake letters to students. Josette got a letter saying that she was academic probation for failing three tests in a class she'd never signed up for, Alan was losing his football scholarship since he'd tested positive for drugs."
Snorfles from some of the younger people. "Yeah, the school didn't have a football team. Abby got a letter saying there was complaints about nudity in the dorm. Anna got a letter saying she was being asked to leave the dorm because of noise violations. None of them lived on the university grounds. . ."
"That was just round one, the letters got worse and the story was leaked to the media by a student who got a letter supposedly from their teacher saying they were wasting his and the class's time and should find a new major. Michael got the same letter, then Michael and Alexander were recognized as award-winning artists by the media. The only slightly humorous part of that couple of weeks was their teacher was supposed to be some modern art expert and he hadn't recognized them. Principal Madison agreed to letting a news crew on the school grounds for an interview. That led to flying to New York for more and being asked to leave the school since talking out against them was 'disruptive'."
Sounds of disgust from the others. "Our grades were altered by the hacker and the other students affected held a protest on the school grounds. The administration set the school police on them and on TV crews that had been filming the protest from across the street." Sighs and the others rolling their eyes. "Finally the state ended up taking over the school, we were given our correct grades, and enrolled in GD's continuing education program."
"Okay, not to sound nosy but. . ."
Josette sniggers. "We all have our own rooms. Only the twins, Alexander and Michael share rooms. And that's because they were already used to rooming together from before they came to school. The boys sometimes get up when they can't sleep and work in their studio. I'm one of those evil people who are instantly awake and on the go no matter what time they wake up. And I never sleep beyond six, no matter what time I go to bed. Anybody sleeping in the same room as me would be considering homicide within a week, let alone the same bed."
"And half the time you just don't bother to go to bed." Principal Madison snorts.
"Was it as bad as Josette said?" Mary asks when Josette had headed off.
"Worse, Josette glossed over a lot of the stuff they pulled. It started out annoying but soon escalated, Josette and Michael had to prove they didn't have student loans before they could take their finals. We got orders from the court that any correspondence from the school had to come to the lawyers office. Didn't stop them from using their lawyers to send harassing letters telling them to drop the court case they had against the former administration, they'd find out what schools they were enrolled at and have them expelled."
Mutters from the others. "When they got their hands slapped for that, they tried to hire an undercover officer to have the kids killed. They were positive that if the kids went away, they'd get their cushy jobs at the school back and could go back to embezzling money from the school. Never mind that their lawsuits were only some of those against the school, they had dared to speak out against the school even if they'd been polite and never said anything bad about the school, there were others saying a helluva lot worse stuff about the school than the kids were saying but they'd ignored them when they told them to stop and they couldn't have that."
"Morons." is the nicest thing the others say. "How big was the dorms? Josette said that the first two floors were full?"
"Three floors, twenty rooms per floor plus two what the realtors would call studio apartments at the back on the first floor where Josette and the twins live. When the new dorms were built they were five floors of twenty-four larger rooms with a floor monitor room at the end of the hall. They were also ADA compliant, bigger doorways and an elevator."
"A bathroom between two rooms?"
Principal Madison nods. "When the school really started taking off the new dorms were ten floors, thirty rooms, sixteen on one side, fourteen on the other with storage on each floor for towels, sheets, and other supplies in the space that would have housed two student rooms and their bathroom instead of two storerooms on the first floor like the old dorms because we needed the extra room. As the school situation on Earth got worse we started adding floors onto existing dorms and school buildings instead of building new. We still ended up with 40 dorms twenty-five floors tall each with double occupancy."
Everybody shakes their heads. "I've heard of universities graduating that many students, but not private high schools."
Principal Madison nods. "Josette said she'd seen a graduation ceremony held on the National Mall in Washington, it was a sea of caps and gowns. We had nearly four hundred students a day arriving for most of August to keep orientation, getting settled in the dorms, and getting their books somewhat manageable, talking to their advisors for classes after their freshman year took just as long, and graduation was nearly two weeks, it started after their last final and lasted through the week of graduation, one or two a day since there was no way we'd be able to handle them all at once." Everybody nods.
Josette sighs and looks at Mary. "Does pretending you don't know them ever work?"
Mary looks at her husband and son currently dressed up as native tribesmen shaking spears at them. "Nope."
"Didn't think so."
"Everybody who knows you knows them and just laughs." Sniggers from various people around them.
"Steal woman and have wicked way with her." James says in a bad accent and grabs Mary around the waist, kissing her. David sniggers and gooses Josette, getting swatted lightly on the back of the head. "Get everything done you wanted?"
"No steal woman and have wicked way with her?" His father asks in mock disapproval.
"Already did, that's why we have nearly six month old triplets at home." Alexander snorts from behind a paper. Everybody else laughs.
"And a good chunk of our family and friends developed empty arms and have babies in the chambers or were just young enough to get pregnant." Susan says. "Or were pregnant the same time we were." Professor Druid sighs and Principal Madison looks smug.
"You two?" Their families ask.
"One of them who have babies in the chambers."
"And a pair of teenage girls at home."
Dr. Cross nods. "The implantation could cause the possibility of the embryo splitting just like in vitro fertilization."
"Kids, not to be nosy but how do you handle your finances? Or should say handled your finances."
"We have a joint checking account we all put money into, but we also have our own checking and savings accounts in more than one bank. Josette has the most since Doc put her name on her parents accounts he had control over in New York, she's got two linked checking and savings accounts in two different branches of a bank that we had in megastores back on Earth, the girls all opened accounts at a bank in Vegas when a branch opened at the shopping area that's part of the hotel that was our first choice to stay at, she's got two accounts and CDs in Eureka, and multiple accounts in the bank that came up with us from Earth."
"What did you use the joint account for?"
"Mostly our bimonthly trips into Boston to stock up on stuff, furniture, stuff for home renovations when we lived on Earth and before it was lost. . .Susan and Josette went into Vegas for money to pay the nannies and for large purchases like the bus we brought when we needed more room to take the kids into Boston."
"Josette." Everybody smirks at hearing a news story.
"I'd have told them to shove their eating disorder theory and if they tried telling me to leave, I'd have called every news outlet and very publicly sued. I never gain weight and you've all seen how I eat. The doctors told me when I was younger that I had a very active metabolism and if I eat less than four thousand calories a day I lose weight." The doctors in the extended family nod.
"Sometimes being thin is just genetic."
"You have a pacemaker."
"Yeah, my gift involves electricity. I can absorb and release it but I'm not immune to it."
"A strong enough jolt would stop your heart."
"Did once, that's why I have this."
"What happens if this gets burned out by the electical jolt that stops your heart?"
"Beep beep boooppp." Principal Madison makes a flatlining sound. The other two men shake their heads. They get him settled on the table and a sedative injected into the line in the back of his hand before he goes in the medical scanner.
"Ancient, it's going to have to be replaced sooner or later." Walter heads off and comes back a few minutes later, nodding. They have a replacement.
Dr. Cross smiles as he looks across the room. Principal Madison had been sleeping off a sedative from the procedure, now he's settled in a chair across the room from the hospital bed, Josette laying on his chest and they're both sound asleep. Katrina looks over his shoulder and smiles. Dr. Cross looks at her.
"James and I brought Josette to the school after the earthquake and the 'loss' of her mother. . ." Dr. Cross nods, the others had told him of how Josette had come into her gifts. "I lived in the next room the couple of years until she started school, we both had similar experiences, our gifts emerging to a traumatic experience that left us with phobias, in my case fire." He nods, he'd seen Katrina taking a deep breath and James grabbing her hand when they'd driven past a controlled burn. "We always had a soft spot for Josette."
Dr. Cross looks at her and waves at the pair across the room. "That's not a soft spot, that's a parent."
Katrina nods. "We think of her as our oldest daughter, everybody else does too. That's either a 'there's a low pressure system coming through knocking my ass out, I don't have to be anywhere and do anything so I'm going to sleep' nap or a 'You didn't bother to go to bed last night, sit your ass down and sleep for twenty minutes. Yes, I know you can go without sleep one night. Tough. Do it anyway. Because I said so. Oh, all right' nap." Sniggers from the others behind them.
The others stare at the large spaceship hovering over them. A beam envelops their bathysphere and it begins lifting from the water.
"Welcome to Jamestown everybody," Josette says, opening the hatch and hopping out once they've stopped moving. She leads the way though a few hallways and everybody stares at the wall of windows. "There's showers and replicators for both food and clothing that way, along with bunk rooms if anybody wants to get some sleep." Josette heads the opposite direction.
"She's got her own room on all the ships." David says. "We all do since we spend so much time on them traveling, either in space or dimension hopping. Those areas are used by the picking crews when we harvest offworld. With the time dilation, they can pick for months and be off Haven only an hour."
The adults settle on beds and in chairs after showers and food, wearing replicated clothes.
"Here, there, and everywhere." Jamestown chuckles. Pictures appear on the screen. "Josette's in her workroom." They see Josette working at a large loom. David is in a library with a book, and Anna is laying face down on a bed with a pair of headphones listening to something.
"Do you make your own fabric?"
"No, Josette does because she says working with her hands relaxes her." Another picture appears on the screen. "That's what she's currently working on."
"That's going to be gorgeous but that's really a lot of work. Can you show me . .." One of Professor Druid's sisters heads off following the blinking arrows. Josette looks up when she comes into the room.
"That's going to be a lot of work." Josette nods, her fingers never stopping moving the tiny shuttles filled with thread for the design. A foot pedal brings the board down to move everything together as she starts on the next row. "Are you sure you're up to it?"
"You're a textiles person?" Bronwen nods. She pulls up a stool and they talk about the classes Josette's taken and the work she's done as she works.
"Holy. . ." Mary says when David absently opens a tesseract and the others come through. They'd been off shopping and had missed the last bus. Dr. Cross is blinking as Josette's eyes had glazed over momentarily and the opening had appeared in front of them. Josette had taken his arm as the others had walked through.
"Yeah, that's my gift. Tesseracts that allow me to travel anywhere I've been or anywhere I have a good enough image. I think that's why you let me head across the country to a boarding school, I could easily head home breaks."
"I was wondering why we'd allowed you to leave home, you have to have just recovered." James says. David nods. "Remember old Mrs. Quandy? I swear she had to be a hundred if she was a day." The others can't understand why the kids cackle at that comment. "Yes, she's only in her fifties." 'fifty hundreds' he thinks with a chuckle.
"Damn, she always seemed older to us kids. The old crazy lady that terrorized the neighborhood."
"The one that if it was a TV movie the whole neighborhood would have motives to kill her?" Principal Madison chuckles. "Exactly. Anyway she swore up down and sideways that I had to go away for high school. The two of you didn't like it at all, like you said I had just recovered. But she got her way and I was hustled off to school." Mary nods. If anybody would know somebody had to be at a certain place at a certain time, it would have been the Fates. "Josette had already been living at the school a couple of years but she met the other girls the day they arrived at school, the twins sat with Josette at breakfast the next morning and asked if boys could share tables since Alan was in line. She asked if that was their brother, when they said yes they waved him over. All of us had English with Professor Fletcher the first afternoon of school and got put together for a paper, we moved the tables together so we could look at each other, introduced ourselves, and . . ." David says. "that was all she wrote. We had two other classes that all eight of us had at the same time while Josette, Alan, and Michael had another together. Susan, Josette, Michael, and Alexander stayed at the school that first year over Christmas break, the boys to work on stuff for a show in the studio the school built for them while Susan headed to Atlantic City and bet on a few races to makes enough money for the next couple semesters of school but when Mom Covington found out they didn't have family she insisted that they come home with her for breaks, I'd split them back at home and with them. By the time we were sophomores the bond already existed. You could almost say it was Fate that brought us together."
'Oh David, if you only knew how true that was.' his mother thinks.
"David opening tesseracts meant that Mom and Dad didn't have to drive from Tennessee to pick us up." Alexander says. Michael nods. "And we only drove into Boston twice for classes, that first day when we found spots to 'commute' from and when Principal Madison needed us to pick up supplies for the apartments after the fire."
"You brought clothes? Beyond underwear and new socks because yours are religious?" David pretends to faint as Josette and Alan start bringing out bags.
"Ahhh, bite me." Josette says sourly, rolling her eyes.
"Religious socks?" Mary's lips twitch.
"Because they're holey." Principal Madison says dryly. "Josette loathes clothes shopping."
"Well if they'd make quality product instead of the cheap shit that wears out after a single season. . ." Josette snorts. Mary sighs and nods. "That's big industry, they want you to buy new every year."
Principal Madison looks at Dr. Cross. "I suspect Josette had a little encouragement to shop." David leans against his Dad, cackling at the sour look on Josette's face. "But buying new every year meant a good supply of old clothes for quilts."
"Yes, I've got literally tons of old stuff on Jamestown. They were giving it to me, that, paper for recycling, plastics, and glass." They'd seen the drop-off areas for the recycling on the rides and when they found out people could be paid for running the recycling through sorting machines so it could be shipped off everybody had started grinning at each other. Principal Madison's father had looked at the ship, started asking a few questions and soon shipments of recyclables that couldn't be used there was being put on the ship for their use on Haven and the other planets.
"They can't find a use for it but we can."
The eight kids bring in bags of deposit cans and bottles, taking turns running them through the machines.
/How lazy are people? Free money and they can't be bothered to take it? Not even the charities who are bleating about how they need money?/ Susan shakes her head as she runs cans through the machine. The slip shoots out and she goes to cash it out as Josette brings in bags of metals she starts shooting through the recycling machines. Unlike the machines that read the bar codes for the deposit cans and bottles, these weigh the recycling going in the slots and give you a penny or so for each item. It takes a bit longer, but you can get just as much money from those as you can the other machines. Alan brings in a bag of glass and it starts falling into the large bin on the other side of the machine.
/Aren't you taking some of this stuff?/ David asks. Josette cackles mentally as she continue to put the stuff through the machine. /Yeah, but what I'm taking is a drop in the bucket compared to what else there is./
"How much money did we make?" David asks three days later when they're laying around on couchs and chairs.
"A few hundred dollars apiece. not counting the money I got taking apart the old appliances so they could be recycled. I'm going to start spreading out in a bit, there's ten other drop off areas in the city. Jamestown has been sorting out the garbage in the closed dumps she's been mining. What can be used is being sorted out, the rest is going into crystals for raw materials or energy." The next several weeks finds them with healthy wallets and purses beyond the money the others have been giving them for their needs. Even at only a couple cents a can or bottle, it all adds up. Josette nods in satisfaction as she sees the containers of metal and other recyclables filling trucks and heading off for the next step in being recycled.
"What's this?" Josette asks at the bag next to Susan.
"The labels for education things, they have drop offs in various places for specific schools and projects. I cut them off, otherwise they'd just be recycled."
"And the schools are always asking for money." Josette grabs scissors and they start cutting them out, dropping them off in various places including Calvin's school office over the next few days.
"Whoa!" More than one mutter as they look around their surroundings.
"Hello everyone," A familiar voice chuckles as Principal Madison comes out of a building. "Welcome to Haven." His family hugs him.
"Katrina?" her mother asks.
"Still has classes for a few more hours. Let's drop your stuff off at the kids home and I'll take you on a tour of the school, we'll show you around town tomorrow."
The school takes an hour, Katrina nodding from a classroom in the science building. Excusing herself to her class, she comes out and gets hugs before they continue the tour. Bronwen looks at the textiles buildings in satisfaction.
"Are these used over the winter?" Dr. Cross asks of the greenhouses, growing building, and hydroponics.
"Oh yes, we'll start planting in about three months, the building in town and Albatross will plant around the the same time. We offset the crops so something's always coming in over the winter. Josette and the other have similar areas in their home, ours was smaller but we've enlarged them over the years."
"This is a dorm?" Dr. Cross looks around the large living rooms past the pocket doors.
"It was, we've done a lot of remodeling and expanding over the years." David says, coming out of his room. His parents immediately hug him. They look around and David chuckles, opening a door to show a group of toddlers playing under a couple women's calm gazes.
"We're having a play date with the other kids from the school and family." Principal Madison picks up a girl who had just been changed. "Samantha, this is my family from another world."
"Hiiii." She waves and kisses everybody. Even Lady Simone, not Principal Madison's mother on that world either, smiles and kisses her.
"I think so but then I'm a little biased."
"And these are our youngest Anderson, Samuel, and Albertson." David touches three heads that are busy hugging their 'gwampa and grammy's' knees. They head back to the others and continue playing.
"Are the boys finished with the orders for the sorting planet?" Principal Madison asks when they're back in the hallway.
"Yes, they finished the last one today. Josette will move everything to the ship and deliver everything after the Festival." He nods in satisfaction as David takes everybody up to the third floor, showing them rooms to the end of the hallway.
"The others will be arriving soon."
"Yeah, you're not the only family members we have coming in from other dimensions, plus we have family and friends coming in from the other planets."
"What is . . ." Dr. Cross asks when they come back to the first floor.
"Our home on the other continent. We linked the two buildings when the school closed the first time. One of us is out there at least once a day to take care of the livestock and to check on the crops." David leads them that way and they walk outside. Professor Druid's family heads to the garden they can see in the distance.
"Ten acres. We just planted."
"I thought we were coming out for a harvest festival." Her father frowns.
"We have three growing cycles, we're busy harvesting the crops that only grow once a year here and the first planet where Josette has a growing area. This is the third crops." He shows them the kitchen and pantry filled with canned food that will be filled to bursting by Thanksgiving. Professor Druid's mom looks at the shelves and nods in satisfaction. "Do you grow besides the garden?"
"Yes, we grow other crops. Wheat that Josette takes to the manufacturing satellite, the factory on the sorting planet, or the mill in town to be made into flour, part of which is made into pasta, rice for flour. . .made into noodles, potatoes get made into flakes or potato starch, corn gets made into cornstarch, cornmeal, or grits. . ."
"Do you grow over the winter?"
"Yes, we have growing areas upstairs in the dorm to supplement what we've canned and the food we receive from the offworld harvests. Josette sometimes heads to the ships or her satellite and grows special crops."
"Which is Josette's room?" Dr. Cross asks.
"The one on this end of the hallway. The first door on the left wall goes up to her second floor bedroom, the circular staircase there goes up to her third floor library. They're also linked to doors on the second and third floor. Josette's workrooms are on the second floor, her studio, and the rooms for the 3D models. The boys studio was linked to a room here on the first floor when we added it to the dorm."
"This was a studio apartment?" Dr. Cross looks around the rooms.
"It was, we've expanded it over the years by tesseract and by adding the old boys dorm that was a duplicate. Our rooms we incorporated that extra room, the others we just added the rooms and renumbered everything."
"Is this the only kitchen you have?"
"No, the twins room has one and we have one in the basement, all the dorms have them so that the students could cook beyond microwaves in their room. They had to mark containers in the refrigerators with their room number and date, they had two weeks to finish something before the floor monitors had them check them during the weekly inspections. If it was still good, they had another week to finish it before it had to be disposed of."
"And anything not marked and sometimes if it was it was fair game?" Dr. Cross chuckles, remembering his times at school.
"Exactly. If it smelled before the two weeks the student was called down. Sometimes it had gone off, sometimes it was supposed to smell like that and the nosher had gotten a rude surprise." More chuckles from the others.
"What's this door?"
"It goes to Josette's dressing room next door, Pat insisted on Josette having a good wardrobe, including underclothes and sleepwear. Josette insisted she didn't have the room in her closet here." More laughter. "So we ended up clearing out the next room for her, that way Josette didn't have an excuse not to dress up when she had to."
"Oh this is gorgeous." Mary looks around the second floor bedroom.
"Yeah, we started moving away from the twin beds when we started having kids. Since we all gathered in Josette's room to talk after work almost from the beginning, Dad made this room for her so she'd have a separate sleeping area."
"Oh my god. . . This is Josette's library?"
"Josette is a vicarious reader, you probably saw her with a book in her hand whenever she had a few minutes." The others nod, looking around the large room that seems to go on forever. "Tesseract?"
"Yeah, Dad expanded it because our evil genius was running out of room." They come out into the third floor hallway, more than one person shaking their heads while James and Mary just 'look' at David. They know his sense of humor.
"What do you do with your textbooks once you've finished classes? Or don't you get them?"
"We do because we're part of GD's continuing education program, the students graduating high school make do with e-books." David leads them down to the second floor and opens the door to the library. "This used to be the school's library, non-fiction on the first floor, fiction on the second. . .more when Josette took over the duties of buying books, DVDs, and music for the school after she graduated, and the computer labs on the third floor. While the hoopla with the university was happening, Principal Madison let it slip that there was plans for a new, larger library and a separate computer building. We added it to the dorm after the new library was up and use it for our textbooks, high school and university classes."
They're out in the hallway when what looks like two British police boxes and a tall locking cabinet appear in the hallway. The doors open and people start walking out, James and Mary blinking when they meet . . .themselves.
"David?" The other James asks with a sigh.
"Yes, we went dimension hopping again."
At dinner Lady Simone and Calvin meet the twins as they duck around their parents and hug them before heading to seats.
"This. . .is similar to your school library." James looks around the library in town.
Principal Madison nods. "Josette had a hand in designing them both since she'd be spending so much time there."
"You have a farm market?"
"Yes, about ten years ago we started planting commercially on the other planets, before that it was communal gardens or individual plots. Now whatever is being harvested that day beyond what they're putting aside for their own planet is brought here to sell. With the extra growing cycles and each planet having it's own seasons, we've got food for sale nearly year-round. Archimedes has a similar setup. The building isn't heated though so we move it into the big building over the winter."
"Is that your recycling area?" Principal Madison's father asks as they see some of Haven's population emptying wagons.
"Yes, everybody recycles on the planets. The garbage goes into the replicator's recycling unit and gets disintegrated, being turned into energy. The metal goes to the seventh planet to be reused, Josette breaks up the glass for the glassblowers."
"Goes to a mill we have nearby where Josette makes paper. Plastic gets popped into crystals to be made into stuff as we need it. Josette picks up the recycling on the other planets twice a year."
"Ohhhh." the women smell the samples of soaps and start filling baskets. The lotion and sunscreens join the soap and the woman behind the counter chuckles as she checks them out on the account Josette had set up for them.
"Do you use these?" Dr. Cross asks of the candles, both scented and unscented that are filling baskets at the next stop.
"Yes, a good half of the houses in town and the temporary housing dorms don't have solar panels. The batteries handle everything but lights after dark. During winter storms when the solar panels are covered we bring out the candles to save the batteries for heat. Every house has an exercise bike to charge the batteries, though most people crawl into bed to stay warm."
"How are they heated?"
"Those houses that were built on Haven or came up from Earth have furnaces, the rest have ceramic heaters. As temporary houses they were meant to be the stepping stone to larger places on their own land. We also have fake wood that burns a week?" The people from Eureka nod. "In the small stoves like you'd see on a patio they can keep a five room house somewhat warm if you keep the doors to other rooms open. During cold snaps they might be running the heaters and the stoves or adding a second smaller piece to the stove, but normally the stove with the heater run an hour or so before bed is enough to keep the houses warm. Those houses with furnaces can turn up the heat but if they don't have the alternate power sources they have to keep an eye on the batteries after the solar panels aren't producing electricity."
"Temporary housing dorm?"
Principal Madison waves at the buildings in the distance. "Based on college dorms where you had the showers and bathrooms at the end of the hall." All the former college students who lived in them sigh and nod. "The batteries handled everything but lights after dark so people got used to showering by candlelight and running the ceramic heaters a couple hours to warm the rooms for bed. Now that everybody's in houses or apartments it's used for naps and showers by those who'd been harvesting offworld or by visitors to the Lights and Harvest Festivals so they don't have to head home and miss anything thanks to the time difference."
"Ohhhh," the potters and glassblowers also get good purchases and Principal Madison puts everything in a wagon to take back to the school. Bronwen falls instantly in love with Sue and Agatha's stores.
"Does everybody quilt?" The work areas are in full use.
"Mostly, even those who poo-poohed quilting started after their first year when they realized that quilts kept people warm in the temporary dorms. There's the whole 'quilts are warmer than wool blankets because I did this' mentality." Bronwen nods. Her family chuckles and drags her out of the fabric and yarn stores, though the mothers in the family coo at the baby clothes in the baby store.
"Does the mall get a lot of business?"
"Yes, mostly nights and weekends though as Josette said after the mall opened many people on Earth would have been heartbroken because once everybody had wandered the floors it was 'meh, who cares. . . got other things to do'." More than one snicker from the others. "Of course, these are the same people who would have been horrified that nothing is open 36/9 and if they ran out of something at two in the morning they couldn't send out their people for it, they'd have had to wait." A couple people lean on each other they're laughing so hard.
"Does everybody use the laundries?" They can see people coming in and out with containers of clothes.
"Unless you had your own machines when you came up from Earth or added them when you built. We brought out the second laundry when the larger student classes started graduating, when they left the dorms they'd be using them instead of the school's laundries. The apartment complexes have some washers and dryers but unless you're doing it at the middle of the night, it's easier to drop them off here like the fifth and seventh planets people do when they go shopping, eat, or catch a movie. Everybody who has the room hangs their laundry out to dry during good weather."
"You have TV and radio?"
"Yes, the fourth planet has one, we have one, Eureka on the 8th planet has theirs, Eureka on the 9th planet has theirs, and the other newcomers on the 9th planet brought out second ones. They also have plans to bring out a movie theater."
Alan, who'd been walking to the school from the health center in town sniggers. "Another thing people on Earth would have been horrified about, there's no commercials." More than one person is rolling on the ground cackling. "Oh god, the advertisers would have been up in arms screaming at the injustice."
"Because god forbid the shows be the main attraction to TV viewers." One of Principal Madison's brothers snorts.
"But if there's no commercials we can't tell them what to do, they might buy somebody else's product!" One of Professor Druid's sisters says in a 'oh god, the horror' voice.
The visitors try not to let the others know they're startled as they feel another god approaching, one that's not Josette. They're not even sure Josette knows she's a goddess.
"Alice." Principal Madison says. A blonde woman who's obviously the Mom Covington the kids told them about chuckles and kisses him on the cheek. She and Andrew had been a little startled when they'd felt the other gods but from the resemblance between Principal Madison, Professor Druid, and the newcomers they have to be the families the kids told them about. Interesting.
"Josette's on her way." Andrew says as he comes in behind his wife. He sniggers. "The boys are trying to make a big production out of bringing her over, Josette just rolled her eyes and said that the 'surprise' party isn't that big of a surprise anymore."
"You're 98 years old?" Mary asks, blinking at the candles on the cake. "No wonder everybody was laughing when David said Mrs. Quandy was a hundred if she was a day."
"Yeah, if we'd kept Earth's calendar after we lost it we'd all be in our hundreds. Not just Alan." Everybody looks at him. "I'm two years older than the others but Josette. Josette made the cutoff to start school even if she wasn't five yet because she was already reading and writing and went right into the first grade while I missed mine and started a year later. Now on Earth a lot of people was doing it to give their kids an advantage in the classroom, but back then I was the biggest kid in my grade. My school also didn't have the classes I needed to get into high school here straight from 8th grade so I studied independently for a year and took the entrance exams. The twins studied with me so they could go in straight from the 8th grade."
"We chose the school here because of their excellent academic standard. It meant having to pay for our high school but even back then the state had our old school under a hiring freeze. The teachers did their best but here we'd have had better chances of getting scholarships so we could go on to university." Abby says. "Nobody did at our old school, not even sports." More than one set of twitching lips.
"There's a story there."
"Yeah, back in the prehistoric age the school in Killingmesoftly. . ."
"Killing me softly?" More than one set of twitching lips. "Yeah, I'd say the US had some screwy town names but our town is actually named Town." Without even having to ask James and Mary look at their son who's sniggering. "Aww come on, everybody called it town anyway. Officially it's First Town but it will be centuries before we have to call it that. 'Course that was just after Albatross came up. The Covington hometown." he says at their questioning looks. "They're about a hundred miles away, but between the flyers and a link between the two Albatross Nests it's easy enough to commute."
"Anyway, the principal was one of those people who thought sports would get the school noticed and pushed them to the detriment of the academics. He didn't realize that even if one of his kids did get a sports scholarship, they'd lose it because they couldn't keep up in the classroom."
"Or if they did it would be the university that got the notice, not the high school." Principal Madison's father snorts.
"Exactly. They ended up failing all their tests and were put on notice."
"And instead of taking the advice he kept on going the way he wanted." Principal Madison's father sighs. One of Professor Druid's sisters winces.
"Yep, he was stunned when the state dared take over the school Memorial day one year. What did they mean academics was more important than sports? The school ended up closing a few years later since he still couldn't be bothered to get the test scores up and we hired the cooking staff and teachers for the school and the education center since we were expanding the classes again. He was one of those puffed up peacocks that are all 'who are you to tell me what to do'. His school wasn't being shut down because he said so, the other schools had stolen his students, the school had stolen his teachers and cooking crew, the school's furnishings hadn't been sold, they'd been stolen but the police wouldn't take his report, Susan's law office wouldn't take his case against the state for saying his school was being shut down, the other schools for stealing his students, the police for not taking his case, our school for hiring away his employees, the law office itself when they refused his oh so reasonable suit." More than one set of twitching lips. "He got drunk and stupider when nobody else showed up for the first day of school in town, he was there to greet his loving students. He started shooting off his mouth and ended up being arrested and thrown in the pokey. He finally got in trouble for willful neglect and endangering the students for skimming off the slush fund for what him and his coaches had wanted instead of spending the money for the necessary repairs the building needed. He couldn't claim he didn't know they needed them since he'd signed off on the reports saying they needed the repairs."
"That's when the town began to notice our school, the stories put out about how they couldn't keep up with a real school was shown as bullshit when we were shown to have a better curriculum, 98th percentile test scores, and our students went to the best universities. We also had over 500 students a year plus a waiting list and they didn't have 500 students in the entire school. We had a 24 hour day-care and education center, we were building the mall and movie theater, we had a mail center and a superstore, and we had plans for building a community college. That's also when the town started pouting since we were growing by leaps and bounds. They wanted to control us but we were outside town limits, hell we weren't even in the same county."
"Didn't stop them from trying." Josette rolls her eyes. "Yes, the town finally got tired of the town council's nonsense and replaced them with people who wouldn't cause trouble. Half the problem is the council was trying to keep the town quaint and refusing requests to bring in new business, then whining because they didn't have a good tax base. When they lost the school they lost a good chunk of state money. They saw our area was thriving and didn't like it, so they kept suing to stop us from opening businesses. Of course these were the same idiots who tried suing because we had three week Christmas breaks. It wasn't fair because they didn't."
"Depending on what day of the week the holidays fell on. If they were Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday they had three weeks off, that way the students didn't have to come back, start class, then be off." Nods from the other educators. "That's why we didn't start until after Labor Day. After a while we just decided to keep the break three weeks no matter what day the holiday fell on, the school closed the third week of December and started the second week of January. That way we didn't have to change the weeks of the other two semesters so school started the same time every year."
"You went year-round?"
"Yeah, we had a week off between winter and summer semesters and between summer and the new school year. When we lost Earth we changed the year around so the school year starts the first of the year." Nods from the others. "We still have three semesters but they're twenty weeks now, back on Earth it was fifteen or sixteen weeks."
"What do you plan on doing with the education center, you said there wasn't any classes after the students who'd be starting in a couple years." Lady Simone asks.
Professor Druid nods. "The education center is closing next year, it's been open continuously except for breaks for nearly 80 years. That will give maintenance the chance to give the buildings a good cleaning, replace carpeting if it's needed, paint, and do what other repairs they hadn't been able to over the winter breaks when it was closed for five weeks."
"You can't really crawl around the outside of a building in the middle of winter." James says. Principal Madison nods.
Professor Druid nods. "Education has been changing over the years on Haven."
"This is the same store?" There's subtle differences but mostly it's the same. But looking out the windows they see they are somewhere else.
"Yes and no, Agatha's an old friend who came up to Haven when we came up. We brought out copies of Albatross Nest, Sue's store, and the glassworkers when we came up. They've all grown over the years. When Albatross came up, the original store came up. Sue's original store came up when her niece who'd taken over the store when Sue moved came up. We brought that out in Eureka on Archimedes with women helping Nicole run the store there." Nods from the others. "This one has been expanded over the years too."
"As I said, Agatha's an old friend. When I first got interested in sewing and knitting the twins called their aunt Sally and spread the word, bringing home boxes of stuff for me and I met everybody here when I came to the farm for Christmas that year. It was about a year later than we found I had another connection to the store, my knitting teacher from Assyrian is Agatha's daughter. Suzie nearly died laughing when she figured out that I was the Josette her mom and the others had been telling her about because she'd been talking about me too."
"You do when you get that special student." Bronwen says as she looks at the stained glass windows backlit by the regular windows. "Are these some of the stained glass workers in Town work?"
"What will happen to the apples after the festival?" They can see the bushels lined lined up behind tables.
"Some will go into stasis to eat until the next harvest, some will be made into pies and frozen, some will be sliced and dried for apple chips, while the rest is made into applesauce. That's why we grow different varieties. Nothing goes to waste."
"Dr. Cross, your guest just entered the back door. She's heading upstairs to put away her bags."
"Thank you Door, please have her come in here after she's done."
Doc and Charles wonder once again why Pieter had asked them to come today at a certain time. They stare stunned at the ghost that just walked into the room.
"Well, the school is officially closed until further notice." Josette says when she comes into the living room of the Cross home.
"You were expecting it." Pieter says as the other men in the room blink at her. Josette nods. "This isn't the first time that it's closed, just the only time we didn't have at least twelve students taking classes at the education center that would have been attending in a few years. Everybody has had plans in place for this happening, it was just a matter of time."
"And you don't need to repeat Earth's mistakes."
"No we don't."
"Principal Madison and Professor Druid are with their families. The others are in Eureka. Dad's talking to Alexander and Michael about the same setup we have with Mom's dimension for furniture. They're also trying to get us talking to an agent about shows." Dr. Cross's lips twitch at Josette's eye roll. "Yeah I know, world's smallest violin. Sucks to be me. I gotta dress up and play nice with the idiots who are at the shows for the publicity and not because they actually give a rip about art."
"And speaking of which, I saved you some things." He hands her fliers. Josette looks them over and grins. "Perfect." Kissing Dr. Cross on the temple, she heads upstairs. Charles and Clark stare behind her, then at Pieter.
"Josette Kiriko Takahawa, our daughter from another dimension though Clarinda gave birth to her in her dimension. Her Earth had a drastic climate change that was leading to another ice age when they left Earth to colonize another solar system. But instead of the ice age, solar radiation wiped everybody out." He sends them files filled with information and they start reading, shaking their heads. "They have people from three dimensions on the six permanently settled planets, one dimension their Earth was also lost thanks to a natural disaster, that's in the files too while the other their earth still exists but it's in the middle of a world war thanks to a megalomaniac. They're already been fighting a decade and they're down over two billion people. And more left their Earth to settle worlds in ten multi-national colonies. They had already made plans for it, when he took office the plans just got pushed up. Others have left the planet also, settling on the moon or Mars. Their dimension Mars has an atmosphere but was mostly desert with only a single growing area around the equator and most of the native population had died from an epidemic. Josette said on her last visit that they were talking about terraforming moons for either growing areas or bringing out industries."
Charles shakes his head as Josette comes back downstairs, grabbing a set of keys and pulling on a helmet. Shaking hands with Doc and Charles she heads outside, getting on a scooter and heading into Portsmouth.
"The others she mentioned?"
"You might recognize some of them." Pieter says quietly as he sends pictures of the latest get-together a few months ago to the screen. "This was about six months ago for me. Four months for them. They would be starting their last 20 week semester before the school closed."
"James Madison, Principal of the school and his wife Katrina. Second in command along with Josette. Josette's the librarian. David Sanders, one of Josette's husbands along with the Alexander and Michael mentioned before."
"Four, the blond Alan is her fourth, the identical twins are his sisters and two of her wives along with the brunette with short hair. They met when they started high school and have been together ever since.”
They spend a couple hours looking over the files until Josette comes back. Dr. Cross looks up at her.
"Joined the charity weavers group to make baby blankets and ordered yarn. Signed up for the group making bowls for the empty bowls event. I don't think my bowl will get the interest the local artists do."
"Give it a few years and you'll be one of the celebrated artists."
Josette shrugs and settles in a chair with a hand loom. "Believe it when I see it. Which I shouldn't say from the shows the boys and I have had where everything flew out the door." She pulls a skein of yarn from her bag and starts setting it up.
"You have a real talent, even if you can't see it."
They talk for hours about Haven, what happened in the various dimensions. How humanity has learned from their mistakes in some dimensions and not in others, how everybody was settled into their permanent homes and in three more years the animal planet apartments would be fully furnished. Some of what Josette's been working on has them shaking their heads or chuckling.
"Are the twins starting new degrees now that they're off work?"
"Possibly, it's been a few years since they finished their last degrees. Right now everybody is dealing with the 'this is it, the school is closed closed, not just shut down until the students at the education center start ninth grade'. We knew this was going to happen but when the time came it still hit people hard."
"A drastic change in your life generally does." Charles says quietly. Josette nods.
Charles and Doc watch Josette sleep from the doorway of her room later that night.
"I've done the same at least once a week, more often when I've had a nightmare and I need to reassure myself." Dr. Cross says as he comes down the hallway.
The next couple of weeks are busy and Josette delivers eight baby blankets and six bowls to the organizers. She gets some sniffs and looks from them.
"Old biddies." one of the others says as they leave. "They're only doing it to make themselves look better, they could care less about the people they're supposed to be helping. They're looking for big names to bring in big money and are above the people actually doing the work. When they try this again next year and nobody steps forward they'll start calling begging for help. There's two types of volunteers, those who do it for the publicity and those who do it because it needs to be done."
"What do you mean none of the people who made the bowls are here?" A woman hisses a few weeks later.
"But why do we need them, it's not like they did anything." The organizer whines. "I worked my fingers to the bone. . ."
"Sitting on your ass sneering at the people who did the actual work. They're the ones who made the bowls people are taking home as souvenirs."
"But they're just local artists, nobody cares about them."
"I'm not familiar with this brand." Doc says slowly as the three men work in the kitchen. He sniffs the bottle of olive oil and tastes some on grilled bread.
"It's one of the varieties that Josette bottles from her own trees. She produces a second limited run of olive oil from trees on the first world that's tropical and has a permanent growing season. The government has more trees and bottles under a different label. Josette also grows grapes for wine, there's five different types of wine using four varietals, including an ice wine from grapes produced offworld."
"Does she bottle the whole crop?"
"No, she checks to see what's needed first. If they're running low on oil she'll bottle more, if they're good for another year she puts more of the olives in barrels filled with brine. They grow a larger variety that they stuff and Josette leaves some of the first planet olives on the trees to ripen fully that she slices and puts in barrels, bringing out jars as needed. She puts the pressed olives in brine, bringing out containers to spread on sandwiches."
"They save the pits?"
"Yep, that way they can grow more trees."
"Heading to Vegas to gamble with Susan now that they have identities in this dimension." David says. "Josette's got a knack for knowing what machines are going to hit."
"Been a while since she had to gamble with her own money." Alan sniggers. Everybody else laughs. The others look at them. "Josette had a favorite casino in our Vegas, she won so much there they kept giving her comps, including for free tokens. Oh, she always put aside ten dollars of her own money to gamble with on the trips but she always stayed at the hotel and gambled on their dime."
"Yep, while Susan and sometimes the twins went in the betting room. That's how Susan paid for her schooling, playing the ponies." James has to laugh at the looks that cross Lady Simone's face. Principal Madison chuckles. "We 'pretended' we didn't know how Susan paid for her schooling, she was one of the students who arrived at the school without any family and with everything she owned and the government set her up with a new identity. She's not the first student to start a new life at the school."
"Josette was a ward of the state, they'd set her up with a scholarship loan when she came to the school at the age of ten since the state didn't cover all the cost of keeping her at the school. Alan and the twins also had scholarship loans while Sanders Construction paid for David's costs and the boys shows paid for theirs."
"Similar to student loans but the students got debit cards attached to their accounts and 20 dollars allowance while school was in session when the kids graduated. Tuition, room, and board was put on the loan every semester. Students could use the cards for expenses that weren't covered by anything else, Josette used hers for her glasses and dental."
"Josette wears glasses?"
"She used to, she had her eyes fixed the first time she was yanked out of our dimension." David says.
"When Josette was a sophomore we got a decent social worker at the school who told us that as a ward of the state Josette was eligible for a fund that would have paid for her dental and vision since the state had got rid of that on their medical plan a decade ago." The others sigh and nod. "Josette should have also been told she was eligible for a food card and a phone the state would have paid for until she either turned 18 or graduated beyond the tracfone that she'd had to purchase and pay for the minutes out of her paychecks since her social worker told her that leaving a message at the office wasn't good enough for them. It took months for her to come in and fix the mess with others from her office that our previous social workers had caused by doing as little as possible. She took three vans of students to the phone store in Boston to pick out new phones they should have had, including Josette."
"Yes, and we hated that damn phone, I'm so glad it went up while Bruce was using it. We'd been trying to get Josette to buy a new one but you know the high queen of stubborn. She could have got a different phone when it was time to reup her plan since she hadn't graduated yet but that would have meant a large bill after she graduated." Professor Druid giggles. "Josette pinches pennies until the face is on the back of the coin. Too many years of 'I've only got myself, I need to pay down as much money on my scholarship loan before I graduate as I can."
"Do I want to know?"
"A hundred thousand dollars by the time we graduated, room and board was 1200 a month since Josette had a dorm monitor room thanks to her claustrophobia. The regular room rate was 900 dollars a month. Tuition was 5000 a semester after the government paid first 75 then 90 percent, plus school books and other supplies. When the girls moved to their new dorm, their room and board stayed the same but new students paid 1200 a month since the rooms were larger. It was about five years after we graduated that the students had to start sharing rooms." Principal Madison nodded. "Our classes sizes exploded after the interviews you had."
"Their scholarship loans rolled over since they'd applied for pre-admission to the schools. Dr. Blake brought in representatives from universities GD works with to talk to the kids when their old school told them there's the door, don't let it hit you on the way out. They also talked to our students. This continued as our school grew. And they made time to talk to the kids too, it was nearly 500 school representatives by the time we lost Earth."
"How could your students listen to all those people. . .?"
"They stayed the entire month of November. And they came back in July to talk to the new seniors who had applied to their school, setting up housing and part-time jobs for those students who didn't. . .or couldn't go home for the summer after they graduated."
"What happens when a student finishes high school or university if their loan rolled over."
"They had twenty years to pay it off interest free." Smiles from the other adults in the room. "By then they should have paid a good chunk of it down if not off thanks to templates they got when they closed out their accounts showing how much money they'd have to put towards their loan monthly to pay it off in that amount of time. If they couldn't pay it off in 20 years, they were charged ten percent interest monthly until it was paid off, more than a mortgage but less than a credit card." Nods from the others. "Those who could prove hardship could petition a fund the school had set up and have their loan frozen for up to five years or paid off completely. The boys put money towards the fund from their shows, so did Josette and a portion of what the school sold online or at the flea market in town went into the fund. In their senior year, two students got their scholarship loans paid off, whether they were going on to university or not."
Everybody smiles. "Those students in turn sent money to the fund to help others as they'd been helped."
"You said Josette's paycheck?"
"Yes, students are allowed to start working part-time jobs at the school starting their sophomore years. Most of the students put part of those checks towards their scholarship loans if they have them. Josette started earlier both because her gift of absorbing knowledge meant her grades wouldn't suffer and the student who was handling the school's laundry was graduating the winter semester of her freshman year."
"How many hours do the students work?"
"Only 20 hours a week their sophomore and junior years because they had to keep up their grades to keep their jobs or take night classes, when they're seniors they can pick up more hours if they want. Josette picked up another hour at night, working six to midnight instead of six to eleven four nights a week and picked up a shift covering the front room of the laundry Sundays. Nobody wanted the job after she graduated so she continued to work there until I finally found somebody else to take it, a commercial laundry in Boston. By that time we had students on four floors in both of the dorms and we were building a second set of dorms. I continued to pay Josette's wages for the school year and she took over the library as soon as she finished the last class for her bachelors in Library Science."
"That's a five year program here, students have a Masters when they complete it."
"Oh Josette went on for a Masters, but ours are four years." Everybody blinks. "I take it they're two years here like every other dimension Josette's been to?" Nods from the others. "Four years?" Mary squeaks. Principal Madison nods. "Two years classes for the degree and two years of basic classes geared towards the papers that are the same for all degrees. Though Josette has said that our Masters are more like their Ph.Ds but that could be just talk on their part."
"Again their sophomore year students could start taking electives. Many of our students scheduled their classes nights and weekends since it was a boarding school and in their sophomore year students could choose what time they wanted to take the classes."
"Two to four hour blocks, just like university classes. Universities were pleased that our school offered classes this way, the students paid for their books and supplies, and they lived in dorms for the most part meant they were well prepared when they started university and wouldn't be off getting drunk or stupid their first time being away from Mom and Dad." Nods from all the parents in the room.
"Three years. Josette's in a special pilot program through GD for geniuses where she's taking three classes in one." Everybody shudders. "Everybody else takes one or two classes a semester. Josette usually takes classes during the summer too, the others don't."
"You've all got doctorates?" Mary grins.
"We've got ours in education and business, Alan's got one beyond his medical degree, David finally got his in business, Michael and Alexander have two in art history and business, Susan has one in law, and Josette. . ." Everybody sniggers at Anna's bland tone. "Josette has thirteen doctorates, not counting her medical degree."
"Josette has a medical degree?" Pieter, Charles, and Doc say in smooth as silk tones that has everybody cackling. "Ahhhh, lemme guess she just grinned when you all started dropping hints about med school? Yeah, Josette holds things close to her chest, it's just how she is. Josette has doctorates in lemme see. . ." David starts ticking off items on his fingers.
"Mythology which was her first one actually, Literature--specializing in pulp fiction and popular fiction from Oxford, yes that Oxford. The popular fiction degree is new since the loss of our Earth. The Loss of Earth and History specializing in military history from Cambridge. . .she's a big proponent of those who forget history are doomed to repeat it." Every adult in the room nods. "Business and political science, a lit one from a school that specializes in comic books." Everybody blinks. "History, sociology, and Literature from Montague, Art History even if she complained that it was boring ass shit," Michael and Alexander are nodding frantically, they're too busy cackling to say anything.
"Botany and is a semester and a half into her chemistry one. She finished a bachelors in herbal medicine with plans to go on for the Masters and Doctorate. that's another one from Oxford. She has a bachelors in it from Johns Hopkins but they don't have a Masters or Doctorate in it like Oxford. She also started another 'boring ass shit' art history degree from Oxford thanks to hints from the other dimension about how it would look good and they could get it recognized. Josette tends to go for multiple degrees in some areas since each degree goes at it from a different direction. She's still wobbling about whether or not to go on for her electrical and chemical engineering degrees."
"What are you going for?"
"I'm a year into my Mechanical Engineering doctorate, though I've actually been working on it for three years, taking two classes a semester."
"Yeah, Dr. Blake wouldn't let him wait 30 years between his Masters and Doctorate this time." Alexander snorts.
"30 years?" Mary sighs as she looks at her son. "No wonder Allison and I pretended to faint when you graduated with it." The others cackle.
David's lips tremble in mock-hurt until he laughs too. "But pissing off Grammy Allie is fun. I'm also six semesters into a bachelors on the Shadow, I've been taking three classes a semester for that for a while."
"Before that it was a comic book degree and before that, it was a degree on Westerns. He was going for two Masters at a time, a lit degree on comic books . . .Alexander and Michael finished the other two from the same school a couple years ago and the Mechanical engineering masters. He got to piss off Dr. Blake for not signing up for the Masters right away."
"Speaking of people acting up during graduations. . ." David says.
"Yes, I have it." Alexander says with a grin, pulling his PADD out. "This was taken about six or seven years Earth time after we moved to Haven. This is Assyrian, it had moved up to Haven with us but it was still open on Earth. We'd been tormenting Josette that it would take the Dean of the school fifteen minutes to list all her degrees when she finally graduated and the pile of paperwork would be yay thick." Giggles at the graduation and outright guffaws when that's followed up by the latest graduation at GD and Josette's yelling 'gimme a second, the zipper's stuck' during her quick changes on the stage.
"Josette, your medical degree?" Dr. Cross says when she returns to the Cross home.
"Ahhhh, I'd wondered why the menaces to my sanity were hovering." Josette blows them a mental raspberry and they laugh as they turn back to what they were doing. "Blabbermouths."
Josette's not surprised when she finds the others filling bags of cans and bottles for recycling.
"You know, the drop off areas in Vegas are bare." Susan says.
"That's because everybody uses the money for gambling." Josette snorts. Susan leans against a machine, cackling. "Probably." She starts emptying the bag of flattened cans and their ends as Josette empties her bag and grabs the ticket, sticking it in her pocket before going to fill the bag again..
"Who are they?" A woman asks coming over. She's from the main recycling group.
"A group that comes out every year or so and really knocks down the recycling. While we can get people to recycle, taking care of it once it's here is another matter. They flatten the cans that they can and run them, the ones they can't, plastic, and glass though the machines to get it ready to be picked up and clear out the deposit cans and bottles. The brunette with the ponytail who just went outside even tears apart appliances for recycling, getting anywhere from five to fifty dollars for each one. We keep getting requests for donations from charities but when we tell them they're more than welcome to come in and work as much as they want in the recyclables they suddenly decide they don't need the donation that much."
The other woman snorts. "Yeah, the old saying we help those who help themselves seems to have been forgotten. Now it's gimme gimme gimme and they're asking more money every time they send you a letter."
"And it's not just here, I've got calls from the other drop-off areas in the city and they clean those out too."
"Everybody, welcome to Atlantis." Josette smiles.
"As in . . .the lost continent of Atlantis?" Doc asks, looking around.
"I am." Atlantis says. Her usual image appears and smiles at them. "Josette, botany is a jungle. Go do something before I put on a pith helmet, grab a machete, and start hacking my way through the underbrush."
Josette sniggers, grabs Professor Druid's elbow and heads that way. She waves the rest of the family along behind her. Josette heads to a different door than she'd been expecting.
"You have the zero gee hydroponics section going?"
"Yep." Josette hands out the booties with the suction cups to the others. . .Atlantis had 'innocently' passed along Professor Druid's words and the other appear.
"Oh my." Dr. Cross says as they walk into the room, Josette and Katrina helping the others get used to moving in zero gravity. Grabbing bags and baskets that float next to them they start picking.
"Do you harvest everything?"
"Yes, Earth might leave crops in the fields because they have a blemish but if it's just ugly we make it into something." Nods from the other gardeners in the room. "If there's a bad spot, cut that off and use that one first."
"These are beautiful." Professor Druid's mother ducks between plants growing everywhere to harvest. A light leads her to a hidden area of ripe veggies and she smiles as she picks them.
"Yeah, I generally either leave the plants free to spread out or contain them when I plant in zero gravity, the others hate that."
"Have you thought of the same plants contained and loose and seeing what the difference is?" One of Professor Druid's brothers, a professional gardener, asks.
"Did it for my botany doctorate." The others smile. She looks up.
"Yes, it's on the servers along with your thesis. Yes, I'll release copies to the others." Atlantis says in an amused tone after they bring out bags and baskets of food. "And there'll be just as much coming in in a few days."
"Yeah, I figured on selling some at the farm market stand and donating some to the shelters and soup kitchens." Dr. Cross nods in satisfaction. "I'll can a lot and pop others into brine. Drying and finally just putting everything in stasis until it's needed."
"We're not taking anything from you are we?"
"No, this is extra I planted, we'll plant for the winter at the dorm after we head home." Josette says. "My other crops we plant when we're off dimension is in there." Everybody heads that way and nods in satisfaction as they see neat rows and beds of crops.
"Do you have hydroponics running?"
"Yes, I'm experimenting with some more crops we don't grow on Haven yet." Josette sends that file to the PADDs Atlantis has been handing out and she sees her thesis and dissertation are on them as they start checking everything over in the large kitchen area before sorting it out.
"90 Black Krim tomatoes from one plant?"
"Yeah, that was my first test. Each about as big as my fist and the plant itself weighed nearly 20 pounds when I turned it over to GD after harvesting. There's plants in the aquaponics unit that's produced over 200 pounds of tomatoes, but those were sweet 100 cherry tomatoes." The others nod.
Clark and Charles look at Pieter as he grabs their elbows and walks into a shimmering light. They stare around them, they're suddenly somewhere else. . .a school it looks like but nobody's there. Then they remember what Josette had said about their school closing. Pieter is smiling at them, then they follow the finger he has pointing upwards.
"Oh my. . ." Charles says, seeing the two white suns in the sky.
"That's why I told you two to slather on the sunscreen and wear hats. Everybody does here, even those people who have been here from the beginning. Especially if they're going to be out in the fields for hours." Everybody starts walking towards a building in the distance.
"This is their school?"
"A good size school."
"Josette and the others said they've added onto it over the years, the school was both here on Haven and their own Earth so they could add onto buildings there and when the school came down for Christmas or for the graduating students, the new work was incorporated into the school."
"Oh yes, it kept the complaints down." Principal Madison chuckles as he comes over. "Which was not the case while the school was taking everything off propane in preparation for the move to Haven."
"No hot water?"
"Yes, as Josette said. . .they may be mutants, but they're also bitchy, whiny, moody, hormonal teenagers. . .and those are just the boys." Chuckles from everybody.
"This is a dorm?" Clark asks.
"It used to be the original girls dorm, when Josette and the others were seniors the dorms were three floors with twenty student rooms a floor. The girls had the first two floors full with students on the third so we started building a larger dorm. The kids got the original dorm when the students moved out their first semester of university and added to it over the years.
"What kind of work?" Charles asks.
"The first few things they did was checking the electrical system so they could add a backup generator. Until the new dorms, the only buildings that had backup power were the ones that had recently been renovated by family of students, the medical building and the first dining hall. Once a generator was added to the dorm, either stand alone generators or those smaller ones powered by gasoline were added to all the buildings. And those were replaced with standalone ones in later rounds of renovations. The kids checked the insulation in the walls but during a bitter storm a switch that turned on the blowers to the first floor trunk went up. They didn't know it because they were getting some heat and thought the first floor being colder than the other two was because the front of the dorm was open to the hallway at that time and cold air blew right down the hallway. Allison heard that water in the hallway was freezing and sent out probes to check the temperature in the rooms. Once she was the temperature difference between the floors she realized something had to be the matter. They checked the furnace and found the problem."
"We added spray film to the windows to block some of the cold from coming in and when it was warmer put in the pocket doors and opened the vents in the hallway." Alan says, coming down the hallway. "Replaced the hot water heater, doubled the size of the dorm when we added the boys dorm to ours, tore up the old flooring in the hallways, front of the dorm, stairs, our rooms, and Josette's workrooms. Added the original school library on the second floor, Josette's studio on the second floor, and the boys studio. Painted the stairwells and hallways, replaced the carpet on the stair with tiles, renovated the basement kitchen, replaced the roofs, then started actually adding onto the dorm beyond tesseracts."
"Original school library?"
"Most school libraries are a single room, ours was three floors when the kids were in school though the third floor was our computer labs and classrooms. The interest in the school after the nonsense with the university of Massachusetts and Josette taking over the job of buying for the school meant we had to have more room. The new library was five floors tall and we built a separate computer building for the school. The last major renovations before we left Earth was adding the solar panels, the alternative energy. . .which is when we took the dorm off propane, and the septic unit."
"Effing idiots." Josette says as she comes into the room. The others look at her. "You're wich." Josette says in a sing-song tone, batting her eyelashes. "You need a car and dwiver, it's beneath you to drive yourself or take public transportation. You're making the rest of us look baaaadddd."
"Bullshit. Their own stupidity makes them look bad."
"That's what I said. They walked off pouting when I told them not only do I drive myself, I have a job Daddy didn't give me, I do my own laundry, clean my own toilet, buy my own groceries, and cook my own meals. Debutantes and starlets are stupid."
"You should know." David snorts. The others look at him. "I got dragged to another dimension by a 'mad scientist' and Doc was only a pulp fiction hero. I ended up being noticed and was Hollywood's it girl. Though I was more an Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, or Sandra Bullock than Lindsay Lohan and the other trainwrecks."
"Actually. . ." David smirks. "Considering everybody thinks of Principal Madison as your father, Daddy did give you your job."
"Ahhh, bite me." Josette says as everybody laughs. "Unlike their jobs, I actually work for a living."
"Three over the next two weeks, one for private school schoolbooks, one for quilts, and one huge one like we attended in DC. They'll all in the same hotel though so I don't have to move."
"Like Vegas when you had the knitting expo one week and the quilting one the next." Susan says. Josette nods. "I've got trucks for the expos, that way I don't have to try to ship anything and I can talk with the big manufacturers while I'm there."
Josette sighs and shakes her head as she shuts off the news. "Idiots."
"Do we want to know?"
"Somebody blubbering about how they're shocked, stunned, appalled, and heartbroken about losing a court case against a dairy. They didn't like having animals near their homes. They couldn't enjoy their land because a cow might fart in their direction."
"Wasn't the dairy there first?"
"Yeah, and the land is zoned agricultural, not residential. But you know people, they gotta have their own way. They brought the land for McMansions and are trying to shove their opinion down other people's throat with hobnailed boots. They figured 'hey, my land's worth a million dollars, I should be able to do whatever I want' and got their asses handed to them by the court."
"Because the dairy makes that much money in a week."
"Yep. But we'll have to mooo-oooovee back to the city and live in an apartment. Our land is worthless." David sniggers. "Yeah, somebody actually said that then was incensed when everybody laughed at them."
"Josette, what's this?"
"Information on the Mars Colony from our dimension, the plans for the colonies and moonbase from Clark's world before the meteor took out the moon, and the plans for the colonies from the 9th planet dimension. Like ours they were the only ones to actually move to other planets before the loss of Earth."
"Thank you Josette, we'll look everything over. This should keep us from any major mistakes. Do you have plans on a permanent settlement on one of the moons?"
"We don't need it yet."