“I was working on paperwork when Joyce tapped on the door. . ."
//"The kids are up to something." Joyce says, walking into her boss's office. He looks up at her. "David and Josette had been standing at the dumpster between this building and their dorm for at least ten minutes. Or I should say. . .he's standing by the dumpster, she's standing on his shoulders and I can swear I see something in her hand."
James sighs. "I'll go see what they're plotting to give me gray hair." He walks out to the dumpster, finding Josette leaning against the edge of the dumpster and whatever is in her hand making a whining sound.
"Okay, bring me down." Josette says a few minutes later. "I'm only half through but the gun's reading full." Principal Madison places a hand on her back to hold her in place. Neither of them look upset at being caught at doing something they shouldn't be.
"Do I want to know?" Principal Madison asks dryly.
"Portable recycling unit, we've been disintegrating garbage for energy to fuel our replicator."
"Uh-huh." Principal Madison says slowly. Even for Josette that's out there.
"Here Josette, hand it down. I've got an extra crystal in my pocket. We can finish disintegrating the garbage. Save the school the money of taking it to the landfill." Josette hands Principal Madison what was in her hand, he looks at it and then hands it to David.
David takes the gun, pulling out the full crystal and sliding it in his other pocket before putting the new one in and handing it up. Josette takes it and 'shoots' the remaining garbage, Jolt stares as the last bag disappears, leaving an empty garbage bin.
"Can you do that again?" He asks. If they can empty even just one more dumpster it would be more money for the school.
"As soon as we empty the crystals into the replicator." David says as Josette jumps to the ground. Joyce had been watching them and when she saw the now empty bin she calls maintenance to clean it.
"That would save the school quite a bit of money." Principal Madison says as he follows them into the dorm. They enter a room and David slides first one crystal, then another in a slot. A humming sound starts and a dial starts moving up slowly. The crystals are spit out and David replaces one in the gun, the second going back in his pocket then grabbing a third.
"Anything else you want us to take care of?"
"Yes." he says. Motioning for them to follow they walk to the dumpster by the classrooms, Josette again accepts a hand up from David, settling on his shoulders to take care of the garbage. It takes three crystals to empty the dumpster and she sees maintenance coming in to scrub out the garbage bin with disinfectant. Joyce had watched where they were going and sent them when James had given her a high sign.
"Can you get the others tomorrow?" Principal Madison asks.
"Easily, the replicator takes a hellish amount of energy. . .that's why it was rationed on Star Trek Voyager." David says.//
"Even back then it was a couple thousand dollars to have the dumpsters emptied. . .when the school started getting more and more students it would have been triple that." James says, shaking his head as he remembers that day so long ago. Doc should be upset that he'd have thought Josette was up to something. . .if he didn't know his granddaughter. In the back room Josette is snickering herself.
A couple weeks later the sky is light when Josette and the others go to breakfast.
The next day Josette flies out of a window on the second floor with a shovel to start clearing around the doors after she splits off a dozen duplicates to start clearing off the solar panels at the school and the major buildings in town. This is wet heavy shit, blowing it away won't work. She digs trenches on the roofs until she hits the solar panels and then uses her heat vision.
"Josette's up." David says as he comes up from the basement. "The solar panels are charging the batteries and the area around the doors are cleared.
"So does the new colony have a winter?" Alan asks the original Josette who had joined them in the dining hall. Her other selves were now clearing the doors and solar panels for the others.
"Yep, and the poor babies were wailing about having to warm their homes with dried shit they brought from the other colony dimension. I don't expect many of them to have survived their first winter."
"More like any of them to have survived their first winter." Principal Madison drawls in the front room. Josette nods. "Now the trees dimension is somewhat like that, they have limited power in their main building and a 'wash building' like you'd have seen in the old west. The bunkroom didn't have power. . .they had to go to bed by candlelight."
"Awwwww." Susan cooes. "Poo' babies."
"Yep, they whined about that. But they supposed they'd have to rough it for the oodles and gobs of money they'd be getting from the trees." Josette drawls. "They lowered themselves to accept the electric chainsaws. . .even though they complained they wouldn't cut as much or as fast as theirs."
"Yep, they were stunned that there were no gas stations." Josette snorts. "They had to cut the trees then drag them to a second clearing to be worked on."
"I want to look at the trees later this year."
"You and Hank as soon as everybody's dug out." Josette says. Everybody nods. "Thank god for the new snowblowers."
"Yep, I'm sure there's more than one house totally blocked in."
"Yep." One of Josette's other selves says as she comes into the front room. "Just a heads up, We've got all the homes unburied enough they can open their doors and get out. They'll have to slide over the snowbanks until they meet up with crews." Nods from the others. "At least being able to open doors and see sunlight is making everybody feel a thousand times better. I checked on all the animals, they looked out the cracked open doors and almost seemed to moan." Everybody sniggers. "Everybody's okay in the other continent, it's going to be days to get paths blown out but Clark and Kara can bring them out if they need something. Yes, I know Ma and Pa are old farmers and used to storms that could leave the farm blown in all winter but you still gotta get out sometimes." Nods from the others. "Get out and remind yourself other people actually exist." President Bartlett rumbles, the others nod again.
"Is this going to affect the crops this year?"
"No, it's still time for even all this . . .stuff to melt before we plant." Josette says in unison in the front and back room. "Any later and it would have been a different story though, either planting a week or two late and having to harvest the last gardens late or even not planting a third time again."
"At least everybody would have learned from their lesson and planted full gardens." Professor Druid sighs. Everybody nods.
"How's Haven?" Maria asks when Josette slumps into a seat. She hands over her PADD already drawn up to the pictures and Maria moans as she looks at everything.
"Yeah, it stopped blowing a couple days ago. . .this would have been a blizzard. The storm of the century."
"Yeah, we had one that just dumped. . .Oh hell, your school would have been right in the path of it." Jane sighs. They'd been to Boston on some trip and Josette had driven them out in the middle of nowhere one day, looking at empty land. Calvin had been the first to realize why she looked so quiet for a moment, patting her on the shoulder. "This is where your school was on Earth?"
"Yeah, the education center/daycare center, bank, mailbox store, megastore, and dollar store would have been out here." She points at five different spots. "Across the road would have been the college, mall, warehouse store, and multiplex. About where that tree is would have been the main driveway for the school."
"Yep, we had one that just dumped on us for a month, the forecasters all kept saying it'd be moving out of the area. . .it'd be moving out of the area. . ."
"four or five times before finally saying we have no idea when it's going to leave?" Calvin sighs.
"Oh yes, we've been comparing the storms. This time we knew the damn thing would be lingering for a month. . .back then. Wellll, we didn't have replicators to throw garbage in, we just tossed it in a front room until the storm ended and either put it out by the front door or in the tunnel for maintenance to deal with if the front of your building was snowcovered because there was no damn way we'd be getting out. . .even if the dumpsters weren't buried. Unlike this one it wasn't a blizzard but the National Guard was busy delivering supplies to the school and taking people to warming shelters."
"That would be a miserable place to wait out a storm."
"Yep, we were stuck inside but we were in our rooms, we had heat and food, we could. . .weeelllllll.. .we could get away from each other when we got on each other's last nerve."
"Was that the year the flea market. . . ?"
"Building in town collapsed. No years before. . .that was a 'normal' winter for after the shit went up in the air, just a lot of snow that lasted forever. It was a few years before we moved to Haven and a few years after that there was snow on the ground year-round in some areas. Professor Eppes had made a joke that it wouldn't melt by July, it was May when the building collapsed and Killingmesoftly was moving snow trying to clear parking spaces for the flea market to open." Josette takes her PADD and finds a picture showing it to the others. Jane moans as she sees the huge snowdrift outside the sliding glass door.
"That was our dorm about a week before that happened? Yeah, somewhere around there. It's the picture I sent Doc when I made a comment about being glad to have been on the island for a week between semesters. He asked if it was too cold to do anything. . .I took my computer out since we were on Skype and showed him and Bethany. . ." she waves a hand at the picture.
"Are you going to be here for a while?"
"Yeah, at least a week. I gotta talk to Marcus about the show, delivering books to Ellis and the retreat house, get information for Maxie on what machines she wants for her new workroom, look and see what I want to have in my new work room. . .do I need to talk to anybody about orders?"
"Yes, I know you won't be anywhere ready to start making socks again."
"We're a little ahead and I told Dad I'd replicate it if we had to." Calvin nods. "Now. . .our socks?"
Josette snorts and waves a hand, bringing out containers. "Being stuck inside for four weeks meant I had a lot of time to make socks and other stuff. Not even going to the ranch was an option since it was socked in there too. I was on the first planet at the time. ..growing food and another pepper for GD."
"Anywhere else would have been only a few hours away. . .even the ships."
"Yeah. Ohhhh, the dumbasses in the new colony."
"Actually managed to survive the winter, they wailed the entire time about the smell of shit or having to wind the generator for the heater but they lived through the winter. They're being made to plant their gardens and learn how to can food for the winter. They'll be planting crops for sale to the other dimension for their supplies."
Josette walks into a room in the mansion, looking at the garbage bags full of money and brings out a double handful she puts in her purse. Getting in her vehicle her first stop is to the warehouse store and she fills the back with stuff, then going to the mall. A couple bags of fresh fruit and vegetables is added to the stuff and she puts some money in the container by the register.
Six weeks later her time she settles in her usual seat in the dining hall for dinner.
"Get everything done you wanted?"
"Yeah, I dropped off all the information on machines for Maxie at the Albatross nest, took in the socks and stuff for the school and Eureka, took in my books. .." Josette yawns. "Talked to Marcus. Since that little punk isn't involved in running the gallery anymore we're having my show there. Dumbass is wailing that he's got to work a real job now, his family told him it's his own damn fault. He's done his duty to have a kid, they're raising the girl to make sure she doesn't turn out as stupid as he is, he moved across the country for work and is living in a studio apartment. He tried suing the stupid woman who took the boys night, she tried suing him for not advertising her oh so special show. She's heartbroken. . .absolutely prostrate with grief that nobody is kissing her ass anymore, she lost her spot at the flea market and can't find a 'better' venue to sell her shit." Ooooh la la sounds.
"Yeah, she's working too. Ohhh, Granda says everybody survived their first winter in the new colony."
"Really?" Professor Druid purrs. "Yeah, though they whined about the smell of shit they were using for heat and to cook over. And having to wind the generator for extra heat. They're planting their gardens, learning how to can, and having to plant commercial crops to sell to the other dimension for their supplies."
"Awwwww. . ., poo' babies. They'll have to learn how to cook as well as can." Professor Fletcher laughs at a table. Everybody nods and laughs.
Hank arrives at the dorm a couple weeks later and David opens the tesseract to the ship and they walk into the building that is full of trees. "Oh god. . ." Hank moans as he looks at all the trees. "Can we get more?"
"Oh yeah," Josette drawls. "Like I told the others, the trees grow like weeds. Legitimate lumber companies give the owners of the dimension a percentage of the money from the trees." Josette says. "I'm going to be getting another load of trees and letting the Amish woodworkers make what they want with them. . .either to sell to the other dimensions or for their homes."
Hank nods, he's worked with the Amish woodworkers many times over the years.
"This room . . .
"Hank, it's the entire building, . .and three more just like it."
"Oh dear god."
"Yeah, the sawmill will be working for years on all these trees."
"Have you worked on any yet?"
Josette leads the way to another building, full of wood in various thicknesses and lengths. "The trees are from two different trips. . .so this batch is dry and cut to various lengths while the second batch is still drying."
Hank immediately starts looking at the lumber and smiles. "Yes, I remember everything you and the others told me when I cut everything."
"Quality over quantity." Alexander says as he starts looking over the lumber.
"Exactly. Though I say I have both here." They look around and nod in agreement.
Josette yawns as she straightens up from assembling the larger loom she'd brought off the ship, waving a hand as she brings out boxes of thread. Looking at everything she yawns again and decides she'll set it up tomorrow. Shutting off the lights she walks out of the textiles building.
She's waved to the front room at dinner by Elaine.
"Yes, I put up the loom but I haven't got it set up yet."
"We can do that tomorrow." Elaine says. "It's for us anyway. And we still want the other machines." Frances nods firmly. Josette chuckles and looks out the window at the darkening sky.
"Is this the last storm for the winter?"
"Gods I hope so." Josette had told everybody the day before another bad storm would be coming through and everybody who doesn't live and work at the school was battened down until it blew through. Unlike the earlier one though it would only be two weeks of snow and a week to dig out.
"It keeps the water table high anyway." Josette sighs as she walks into the back room. "Anybody read the latest databurst from superhero dimension?"
"That fool girl wailing in jail about how she didn't know putting all that shit up bullying a classmate would get her in trouble? Stupid bitch is getting what she deserved." David snorts. "The cons in prison won't put up with her special girl shit and knock the stupidity out of her. She might bleat mental illness but the psychiatrists just said she's a whiny fool trying to get out of being punished for her shit."
"About time some of the brats started getting their asses beaten for being stupid." Alexander snorts. "What's the latest on that other girl?"
"Bawling her eyes out that her darling Mommy wouldn't have let them be so mean to her but since the little shit murdered her Mommy and Daddy nobody's listening to her shit. The older sister is starting Hamberg in their fall under a full scholarship." Everybody in both rooms clap.
"Get up you miserable little brat, I don't care how damn tired you are. . .you're not sitting on your ass all day." The guard snaps. "Get out of your cell and get to work or be dragged out of the cell and get another write-up." Bawling the entire time she shuffles out of her cell and heads to her first job at the prison laundry.
"Yep, every day she's convinced this will be the day she doesn't have to work, she can sit on her ass doing nothing."
"Oh, she'll get that." the warden says firmly as he walks over. "The next write-up she'll be locked in her room twenty-three hours a day for three weeks, her meals coming to her cell. The only time she'll be out is to shower. See how long she'll be happy getting what she wants. Sitting on her ass doing nothing."
A week later the dumbass is howling as she realized that getting what she wanted isn't exactly what she wanted. The meals shoved through the door are even smaller than what she'd be getting if she was working and staring at the same four walls is boring. Gods. . .even sitting in a room doing schoolwork would have to be better than this.
"Think this will be a wake up call for her?"
"Nope, she's never going to get it through her damn skull that she's not the goddamn victim. Sounds like her damn Mommy needed a good swift kick. Enabling bitch."
"Yep, may she rot in hell. The father too. . .for all that he stopped her misbehaving every once in a while. He could have put his foot down a hell of a lot more often."
"Yep. Daniels, quit your damn screeching. I don't care if you don't like being in your room all the time. . .it's called punishment for a reason."
"But you're starving me to death." she wails.
"We are not, you could live off that blubber for a hundred years without starving, you're eating smaller meals because you're not working. If you work you get more food, you don't work you get less. It's that simple. We want you to lose weight, not gain it."
She wails again. How can everybody be so mean to her to make her work and lose weight?
"Damn fool. What's the other girl like?"
"Got a good head on her shoulders, poor girl basically had to raise herself because the parents kept giving this bitch all her attention. Case in point. . .the girl never went on vacations with the rest of the family, there was no room in the car for her. Fatass there took up the whole back seat."
"I'm surprised the back end of the car wasn't dragging on the ground with all that weight back there."
On Haven Josette sighs as she shoves the door open after the storm to slide out with the boys who all have shovels to start cleaning the area around the doors and front of the dorm. . .at least enough to bring out the snow blower to clean the path from the front of the dorm to the sidewalk.
Pat looks out the front door of the dorm and grins as she sees Josette, tapping on the door and getting her to look up. She walks back inside.
"How soon are you going to be done?"
"A few more minutes, we're just clearing enough room. . ." David comes out with the snowblower and pushes it out the door, turning it on once he's handed Josette the shovels and shut the door. "for the boys to come out with the snowblower." Pat chuckles. "I need you to move some containers for me."
Josette follows Pat into Headquarters and moves five empty containers. Moving them to the ship she looks around. "Nope, I already put together stuff. But I want one of the handcranked knitting machines."
Josette chuckles and heads to her studio and brings one out, putting it where Pat shows her and leaves Pat charging the battery pack. Putting more in subspace she walks to the textiles building, Frances and Elaine showing her where to put them.
The weather starts getting warmer and soon the piles of snow begin melting. Josette heads off to the ship and starts working on connecting the four containers together into one building, Maxie grinning when she gets the call to come outside and sees the containers have been delivered.
"Ohhhh. . ." she heads for the door.
"Just the exterior, I haven't worked on the inside yet. The buildings are connected and there's a rough opening for the stairs but that's it so far. I'll put the roof up over the next couple days and make it smaller. I'll paint it then too." Maxie nods. "The first batch of supplies?"
"Going to be picking it up in a couple days. That will be the roof, the insulation, flooring, wall panels, windows, and the lights. Talked to Hank and Alexander about your tables?"
"Just heading that way when I got the call. This. . ."
"Makes it real? Oh yes."
Josette returns from the other planets a couple days later, Maxie squealing again as she sees the roof trusses going up over the much smaller building. Grabbing her PADD she sends off her first payment. Josette's not surprised to find a group of the others in the building when she works on the roof, lights going up inside so the insulation panels marked for each wall and precut for the windows go up. A Josette goes in and cuts out the windows with a fingernail, tossing the metal in the recycling bins across town as the wall panels start going up and the windows being put in by some of the men in town. A ladder is put up so they can go up on the second floor once everything is finished on the first floor. Josette comes up and cuts the openings for the windows on the second floor and they get everything set up there. Lights are being installed and the link to the alternate power.
"That was quick." Agatha says as she walks through the first floor.
"Ohhhh, there's a few things yet to go. . .more lights, the stairs and lift for the second floor. Railings to go around the opening so nobody falls down the stairs. The tables and the shelves and hooks for the walls." Maxie says. "And the stoves of course."
"Of course. You'll have to order more wood."
Josette is busy out at the ranch, setting up the floor and walls for her workroom, putting up the walls up to the second floor then pulling a tarp over it until the rest of the logs for the walls and roof arrives.
"Josette, what is going up at . . ." Ma asks a couple days later. Josette grins and pulls up the plans for the cabin workroom.
"Oohhhhhhh," she moans.
"Let me know if you want one too. The others demanded I put this one up when they saw the plans." Josette sighs. Ma chuckles at the put upon look on Josette's face, she knows she's enjoying every second of it.
Marilyn hugs her niece one last time as she looks around her dorm room a few months later. "I wish your parents were here to see you going to university."
Natalie snorts. "Please, they wouldn't have wanted to leave Maddy." The last word is sneered. Marilyn hugs her niece again. "Now, I know it's cliche but you're only a phone call away. You'll be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas."
"Fuck no we don't owe that little brat a damn cent. She murdered her parents and tried to murder her sister because the goddamn brat doesn't want to fucking stop stuffing her damn face and the psychiatrists are being mean to the stupid bitch because they wanted her to make an effort in losing weight before she could have her stomach stapled. The little brat does not want to lose weight, she wailed the entire time she went to a 'fat farm' that was her first step in the surgery. Moron thinks that she can eat anything she wants after the surgery and it would just melt off." Marilyn scowls as she throttles her phone and wishes it was the neck of the whiny fool bothering her. "The stupid brat tried having her sister's education fund taken away from her because if she pays cash for the surgery, she won't have to talk to the psychologists. . . .they're mean. My idiot brother tried saying if they had to wait for insurance to pay for it. . . it would have been two days later."
"But the prison is starving her." He bleats.
"They are not starving her, they're not letting her stuff her face all damn day like she wants."
"But she can't even buy pop at the commissary."
"No, because the doctors are wanting her to lose weight, not drink a damn twelve pack of pop every day. . .and none of that diet crap either. And yes, that's a direct quote from the idiot."
"Oh god, she didn't say anything like that. Her schooling?"
"The bitch didn't want to go to school. . .or do the work the school sent home with her sister. Now the prison is making her get a GED and she's miserable. She's working three jobs and will be working those jobs the rest of her damn life." She listens some more. "GOOD! The stupid little brat deserves what she's getting. No I'm not going to give you Natalie's number so you can try to bully her into sending that bitch money, leave us alone before I report you to your superiors." She slams the phone down and then sighs.
"You okay?" One of her coworkers asks.
"Stupid moron who works as an 'advocate' for prisoners is wanting me to send money to Maddy because everybody's being mean to the useless bitch in prison. . .they're starving her because they won't let her eat ten meals a day. They're making her work. . .she can't even buy a pop at the commissary. . .because the doctors want her to lose weight, not because she doesn't have the money. She's being made to work on classes for a GED, the prison punished her by leaving her in her cell for twenty three hours a day for three weeks. . .she found out being in her cell wasn't what she wanted after all. He wanted me to give him Natalie's number so he can 'talk' to her about her sister, more like bully her into sending the brat money. I told him to leave us alone before I reported him to his superiors."
"Stupid bastard." Her coworker snorts. "Is she losing weight?"
"Yes, but slowly. . .the doctors don't want her to lose it as fast as you'd see on biggest loser and be left with all the stretched skin they'd have to remove. She's lost over forty pounds so far but since the brat weighed nearly seven hundred pounds when she went to prison it will be a while."
"Is there anything wrong medically to cause the weight gain?"
"Nope, my idiot brother took her to multiple doctors. . .she just ate too much. She's miserable because she's got to sit up or sleep on the floor because the prison won't put a king-sized bed in her cell. Her fat falls on the floor otherwise. The prison is making her take daily showers. . .not only does she stink she's got infections and sores because she couldn't wash. Mommy always helped her wash . . .they had to build a handicapped roll in shower because even with a big shower like you'd see on tv she couldn't get in it. She's got the whole prison shower to wash herself in now."
"How's Natalie doing?"
"Good, she's settling in well at her school. She's got a full scholarship. . .the woman I talked to said that the publicity was a factor but her grades are excellent. I put money in her account for her monthly for expenses."
Josette walks outside the dorm and takes a deep breath of the fresh air, the others joining her a few minutes later.
"Well, we know we'll be harvesting offplanet before we harvest here this year." Susan can be heard saying as the group walks into the dining hall.
"Yep." Josette says with a sigh. "Are we growing other items in pots again this year?"
"Might as well, if this winter is anything like last winter we'll need the green to deal with all the white outside."
"Yes, but on the good news side, this should be the last of the bad winters." Josette sighs. "Both weather sections at GD and anybody else who's got the degrees all agree."
"Have they started on the satellite?"
"Yeah, they're building it in orbit around the ninth planet and should have it done in three years. There's a waiting list of people who want to go up. Dr. Stark is already veto'ing some of them." Almost as if her words has summoned him a glaring Stark and a sighing Fargo walk into the back room.
"You knew. . .about Fargo's parentage."
"Duh, I've been at how many boring ass meetings with him?" She snorts. "Yo guys, Fargo is Lord Strife's youngest kid, at GD to make sure the explosion of the day aren't worse than they are."
"Yes, I was stopping one of those worse explosions when Dr. Stark finally realized what I was doing." Fargo snorts. Josette grins and summons one of her TARDISES.
A few minutes later in another dimension Jonathon looks up at the sound from the corner. Henry and Jo are worried but Jonathon recognizes the sound.
"Josette." He smiles. Then frowns as the other figure. "Fargo?" Then he blinks and stares at him. "Really?"
"Yeah, he's Lord Strife's youngest in our dimension, at GD to keep the explosions of the day from being worse than they are."
"Dr. Stark found out and. . ."
"He's venting?" He snickers.
"Yes, and it didn't help that everybody at the school just went 'yeah, so what' when I announced his parentage and job." Jo can't help it, she's laughing along with Henry. Because they both know the look that must be on Stark's face.
"Are you a student at Tesla?"
"No, I didn't meet any of you until I was already in my first semester of college. No, my school is a former boarding school. . .it's shut down right now because of a lack of students but most of the school employees still live on the grounds."
"Josette lives in the dimension where Eureka colonized their own planet." Henry nods, he's seen the information Jonathon brought back.
"Yes, we came up to the sixth planet in the system a year after Eureka settled on the eighth, it made taking classes on the school system easier when we didn't have to worry overly about the time difference."
"How is Calvin's dimension doing?"
"Good, they just split up classes into separate classrooms in town, the new high school students will start getting more classes so they'll need the room. The classroom would be full by the time they graduated as more students are being born everyday but it will be years before Granda opens his school to boarding students beyond Michelle. . .let alone ours again. Everybody on Haven has other jobs and interests so nobody's too bothered about the school being shut down. Not like Calvin's dimension where people who don't have a damn clue expected students to come flocking to the reopened schools the damn second they started having kids again. Who cares if the schools won't be needed for years, we want them open now. Where's the teachers, don't they need to work on their lesson plans?"
"What, they expected women to give birth to five year olds?" Jonathon drawls. Jo winces, that would mean no children at all. . .ever.
"Probably. I had to deal with a damn fool who didn't like the school library offering fiction, it would 'warp' the children. . .of course the moron couldn't explain how the public library wouldn't be doing the same thing." She snorts. "Fucking fool didn't want children, he wants robots who don't think for themselves, just do what you tell them."
"Started having kids again?" Henry asks.
"For some reason their Earth has periods of no children being born. . .they can last twenty, twenty-five, or at the latest twenty-nine years. This last zero-population period was twenty-nine years. Both our schools closed when there were no younger children."
"Just so you know, the last year of Josette's school being opened they graduated six thousand students."
"Six thousand and two, the year before that we graduated over thirty-five thousand."
"Oh dear god. . ."'
"Oh yes, I remember when I saw a story about a university graduating on the mall in DC, it was a sea of cap and gowns."
"Josette's school offers dual enrollment, by the time the students graduated high school they also had a bachelors degree."
"Yeah, a lot of the fools on Calvin's world were crowing that their kids graduated from Oxford in the same time the other one's kids graduated high school."
Jonathon rolls his eyes as Jo snorts. "Figures. So you went through GD's continuing education program?"
"Yeah, one of my husbands is Dr. Blake's godson and he got us in touch with his godmother when the school we'd been attending went to hell in a handbasket." Jo looks at her and she quietly tells the story, the others shaking their heads or rolling their eyes. "So anyway we started taking classes on the system and never looked back."
A couple hours later Haven time Josette arrives back at the dorm, finding Dr. Stark patiently waiting for them. Fargo just gives him a look as they walk to the switching station and finds pure bedlam at GD when they return.
"Still don't think I need to be here at GD?" He smirks. "Know what, Dad's been after me to take a vacation. Later!" He grins. . .proving that he is Strife's youngest and leaves.
"So where were you?" David asks.
"Visited Jonathon for a few days."
A few days later the crops start coming in and everybody is busy canning, drying, or otherwise storing everything. Fargo had returned to GD and the lab incidents had dropped dramatically. Fargo sighs at his father's cackling as Larry takes to following him around with what in a cartoon would be stars in his eyes.
Stark is still muttering rude words but Fargo's channeling his father and patted him on his head, nearly being deafened by the cackling of his father.
"Josette, did you look through the information Jonathon and the others passed along to us?"
"Yep, most of it is similar to what you've been working on but some things are different." She sends him the list. "Talked to the Stark there during the lull between explosions and they're working on plans to move dimensions, making the town a link."
"Like the other dimensions."
"Exactly, Jessy's just got the one growing dimension but Becka and Calvin's got the other dimensions and it's not that hard to adapt plans. Since Calvin's got that scientific dimension and I passed along plans for the alternate power sources. . ."
"It will give them a fallback."
"Especially if their governments have the same problems as ours and the others."
Josette nods. "They moaned at the first batch of supplies that you guys brought up with you but nodded that it would be needed. I know Eureka had truckloads of supplies coming in nearly weekly but you need to learn to make do with what you have if things go to Hell."
"Or if they do find a way to way to colonize their own planet."
"Josette, Calvin's order?" David asks when she comes back from the other dimension.
"I replicated about half of what we had made up and took it in. While we could have kept operating business as usual if we lived in a building like on the first planet. . ." The others nod. "We wouldn't want to."
"Exactly, while the others keep as much green space as they can in Mom's dimension, there's probably one where it's all those buildings and the train is enclosed in a covered tunnel because of weather, either massive storms or flooding."
"Probably easier that way, you can't dome it if it's all spread out." The others sigh but nod. "No windows, the pressure of the water would blow them in or they'd be covered with insulation to try to keep everything warm."
"Pictures everywhere to remind them of what they lost and praying that one day they'll be able to restore their world?"
"Or be like that one movie and everybody lives on that damn train that circles around the world since everything's frozen and where you live on the train is your caste?" The others shudder. "Yeah."
"Would have been bad enough living under a dome and seeing nothing but snow if you were close enough to the dome to see out."
"There'd have been nothing to see, the snow would most likely have covered the dome." Doc's voice says from the doorway of Headquarters. Unbidden is the thought. . .even worse. "Josette, any news on the orders?"
"Expected to be increasing this time next year." Josette says. "We'll have the official paperwork by the Lights Festival as well as the first shipment of new machines." Josette sends off a copy of the estimated machines and Alexander winces. "I've already made one table and I can replicate it since I know you two are busy with the show and Maxie's tables."
"Thank you Josette."
"Once I get the official papers I'll put the second shift jobs up." She stretches and yawns. "The large-scale replicator will be opening after the Harvest Festival and I expect it will stay open through Thanksgiving at the earliest. So people can get double what they normally get in wood so they shouldn't have to get any in before storms.
"Yes, everybody knows we'll be having a bad winter again and are making plans. Did you get the second batch of supplies for your cabin workroom?"
"Yes, and I'm finishing putting up the walls and roof over the next couple of days." Josette yawns again. "Damn it, rain already." she scowls at the dark sky outside the window. "I'm tired of yawning every damn five minutes." The others but Doc chuckle.
Josette waves a hand and the rest of the supplies for Maxie's building appear, the men in town grabbing the parts for the stairs and starting to work. Meanwhile Josette waves the stove up to the second floor and she can hear it being muscled into position. The remaining lights for the first floor are brought out and start to be assembled. Josette grins as she leaves everybody to work.
"Get your cabin finished?" Principal Madison asks a few days later.
"Just now, including the solar panels and hooking it up to the alternate power at the ranch. I'll turn them on when I get the panels installed."
"Next second month, we'll be glad to get away from the weather." The others nod.
Maxie looks around her workroom in satisfaction, it's bare for now. . .the tables will be arriving after the Harvest Festival. Once she's got the tables she'll be filling the workroom with the other supplies when she goes to Ellis's. . .either here on Haven or their next trip to Calvin's dimension. The building isn't empty, she's been moving her books from the house into the shelves here and a rap on the door heralds the arrival of Josette.
"Got the hand machines here, where do you want them?"
"Knitting machine here, I'll have my yarn on this wall." Maxie says, walking over to an area. Josette grins and waves a hand, bringing out the machine. Frances and Agatha fall upon it. "Quilting machine?"
"Upstairs." Josette follows her up and the second machine is brought out, Suzie and Marilyn falling to work on it as Maxie sends a second payment to Josette. Josette grins at her before she flies off and brings out identical machines to her new building, leaving the cardboard on them for now until she can get the wire panels up and connected. Shutting the thick door behind her. . .best to keep the warmth in come winter, she flies back to the school. Checking on the crops she walks into the dorm.
"Get everything delivered?"
"Okay, I know Alex and the others have a quilting machine, but. . ." Susan says.
"They brought a knitting machine and loom with them in their supplies when they came up from their Earth." Josette says absently. "Then there's what we picked up when we were harvesting the lost areas."
"How is their Earth coming?"
"Good, except for the heroes who got hit by something during an adventure there's nobody left on Earth from before the incident. Growth is slow, they don't need to repeat Earth's mistake of getting too big too soon. It's not the 'town' that they'd been talking about before the orphans but it's not major sprawling cities either. Most every building that can have it's own septic unit does, a lot of the plants have to be replaced." Nods from the others. The largest unit would only be handle something as big as the Empire State Building.
"Are they still on Mars and the moon?"
"Yes, Clark and Kara were out a couple weeks ago to check on everybody."
"How is their original world?"
"Slowly recovering everything they lost when they sent the orphans away. The old fools who tried to look down their noses on people were given the dirtiest jobs. Which they have to do by hand now since they lost a lot of technology."
"I'd say they learned from what happened but that type never do." Pat snorts. The others nod.
"Have you been working on the thread?"
"Yeah, we have the large spools in various colors. . .including ones we used both plant dyes on."
Clark Kent walks through the cabin workroom with the two Ma's and Josette. Even just seeing the bare bones allows them a glimpse of what it will be like when finished.
"Are those the hand-cranked machines?"
"Yes, cranking them for about ninety minutes on and off will give you two and a half hours on the battery packs. I passed along the schematics to the other dimensions, Superhero Doc replicated three. .. one of which is in use at a prison." The whole story is told and Ma moans. "Little fool, she deserves what she gets then. Not everything she wants. . .but everything she gets. I'm not a doctor and even I know they wouldn't have okayed the surgery without a serious effort at losing weight. And she doesn't want to make an effort."
"Yep." Josette sighs. "Her parents basically ignored the older girl as they kissed her ass and they paid the ultimate price for it."
"She's an addict."
"Yep, food, drugs, alcohol. .. or magic, it doesn't matter if you have that kind of personality and don't watch yourself. Some might say all the land I own on Calvin's Earth, the books, DVDS, or fabric I buy. . ."
"People are stupid. You're no more an addict than any other person. Everybody buys or does things because they like it. . .some people take it to extremes. . .they're the people with problems."
Josette and the two Ma's look over her plans and Josette grins as she sends a set of plans to Clark. He mouths thank you to her.
"You've got solar panels and it's linked to the alternate power?"
"Yeah, the next shipment will include the battery packs. I'd add a power box but if the weather's bad. . ."
"You won't be out here."
"Yep, I'll caulk the cracks and then put up insulation panels and then the wired panels."
"Much easier than having to run wire afterwards."
"I understand you're not the only one building a workroom this year?" Ma looks at her.
"Nope, Maxie in Albatross is doing the same thing. She's having one like the 9th planet though, shipping containers put together." She sends pictures of the nearly finished project. "She's waiting on the tables and then will start getting in supplies.'
"Now, I understand the knitting buildings are going to be offering more jobs?"
"Yeah, the orders for Calvin's dimension are going to basically double over the next couple years. We're going to be offering a second shift. We're looking at least at five years of jobs, most likely permanent."
"We're in." Both Ma's say in unison. Then look at their son. .. and yes, he's both their son. "It will give us an excuse to get out of the house during the winter."
"I'll set up links so you can either come out right at the building or at the dorm. When you want to go home you can just trigger the link, it was how we got around on Earth. Mom's already told us she'd be part of the second shift too. She's saving for something or other, I don't know what but her and Mom, Mom, and Mom have all been in talks." Sniggering at the hangdog look on Josette's face.
"Josette, do you have a home theater in your dorm?"
"Three, a copy of one I had in my home in another dimension the others didn't come too where I was Hollyweird's darling. A regular movie theater, and a dive-in theater. . .it's a screen by the pool." She says at their looks. "I buy DVDS for all three of them whenever I get in massive batches of DVDS. During the storms last winter they were in use a lot." The others nod.
"How's the satellite construction going?"
"Good, we're working on sections and putting them in orbit."
"Each independent life support systems?"
"Yep, and a small growing area beyond the big one. And speaking of growing areas Kara and I will have it finished in a couple months."
"We don't need a growing area." Both Ma's say firmly.
"Tough." Clark says, Josette turning her head to hide her twitching lips. Once she has her face under control. . .and both Ma's are giving her looks she looks at Clark. "Give me the coordinates when you're done and I'll input them into the units I'm giving Ma, this way they can arrive right in the building and don't have to take a flyer.
"Thank you. Make it three though. . ."
"The Drake farm? I didn't think he lived out there over the winter."
"They don't but this will give Alfred another growing area." Josette nods and sends a note off to David, getting a 'yeah, we'll do that' response. "Okay, once you have it set up, we'll come out and set up the links."
"How many links. . .?"
"Each unit can hold up to fifty links, we started out with eight links and added more over the years."
"Why did you start having the links?"
"It was a way to get to Eureka for my tests summers when the others weren't taking classes. This way David didn't have to stop what he was doing and open a tesseract for me. Because the boys were busy working on the construction at the school." The other three nod.
"And the girls?"
"Back then we were making up packages of sheets and towels for the new dorms. That usually took about six weeks and then we switched to making up supplies for the incoming students for another six weeks." They look at her and she rattles off what they'd be doing, either making everything up or getting books for the students. They shake their heads. "It was good money for the others, I had a check coming in weekly, they didn't while they were going for their degrees. The school checked my hours and cut checks for the others for the same amount. A couple years later Principal Madison gave the jobs over to temp workers, the twins were working at the school as student teachers and Susan had a job at the law office. By then we were getting thousands of new students every year and the job was just too big for us."
"Clark." Ma says firmly after Josette has locked up the cabin and flew off.
"I already planned on the eight of then coming and getting fresh fruits and veggies, so will the Covingtons." They nod in satisfaction. The flyer lifts off and Clark settles into position next to it. He detours them to an area and they can see the building going up. "The others are helping with the interior parts. I have the feeling it will be a good seven or eight times bigger than it should be when they're done."
"Did you enjoy yourself looking over Josette's new building?"
"Yes, and I have the feeling Clark will be building two over the next couple of years." Jonathan sighs. He knows they don't need them but he's glad Clark and Kara are taking care of the others. And the others took the pair into their home and hearts just like they did.
"I wasn't sure about coming here with the others but. . ."
"It's becoming home. And nobody cares that we're not aging, the others are all 'so? Isn't everybody older than they look here?'."
"And thank god Josette was there to stop the tractor from falling." Unbidden Jonathan's thoughts fly back to that fateful day.
"Noooo." he yells as the tractor tips. Oh god, he didn't want Clark and . . .the tractor stops falling, held in place by a small hand. "Thank you Ka. . ." His voice trails off when he sees it's not his beloved daughter holding the tractor up but Josette.
"What happened Pa?" she asks.
"The front tire. . ."
"Blew. . .yep." She puts the tractor up on solid ground, the mud from recent rain had made the tractor tip when otherwise a blown tire wouldn't have sent the tractor sliding. Taking off the lug nuts once Pa is off the tractor she removes the tire, finding the blown area and fusing the rubber back together with her heat vision. Looking over the tire she shakes her head. "You should replace this."
"I'd planned on doing that this winter but. . ."
"The best laid plans of mice and men. . .Oh yes, I'm very familiar with old man Murphy and his 'gotcha' moments." Pa nods as Josette blows the tire back up and places it back on. "Okay, can I ask. . .?"
"Momma Clarinda was born on a planet called Krypton in her dimension. The kids don't automatically inherit the Kryptonian gifts but there's a serum that will give them to them if at least one parent is Kryptonian."
"And you took the serum?"
"It was me or my next oldest brother, the others had been captured. He was only in his teens. . .I was already in my thirties."
"Best you took it then." He nods. "Wait, at least one parent is Kryptonian? Does this mean. . .?"
"Krypton wasn't lost in their dimension. Yup. We were going to tell you sooner or later since Lord Jor-El has learned about Clark and Kara and plans on adopting them into the family just like Momma and I were. As was CJ." Clark and Kara had arrived by then and were staring at her. She rolls her eyes. "Clark, you'll probably be getting teaching disks. CJ and I did, so we can learn everything we'd have learned if we'd either been born on Krypton or like the two of you not been sent off as babies. Kara will be able to brush up on her schooling. . .having your planet be knocked out of orbit and slowly freezing kinda put a damper on your education." Kara giggles despite herself. "You'll probably both get the crystals that do everything so you can either build your own fortresses or make them bigger. CJ had his own and while the crystals can do everything it takes time if you don't have enough of them." Both of them nod. "I've got my own fortress on the first planet, CJ's is in the arctic here because it was in the arctic on his earth."
"The first planet is your planet and his is in the arctic because that's what he's used to." Clark says as he lifts Pa into his arms and Josette and Kara fly the tractor to the farm. Martha comes out when she sees the others, staring at a flying Josette. Then slapping herself as she remembers all the times she and Pa thanked Josette for clearing the solar panels.
"Yeah, you just 'passed over' the flying and other stuff even though you knew I was doing it." Josette says. "It's not deliberate, it's. . ."
"It happens but you can't explain it. When somebody sits down and actually thinks about it it's 'oh yeah'."
"Just like when Ma cuts herself and the injury heals within seconds?" Kara says absently then quickly shakes her head. "Damn."
"Same thing. Though I don't think there can be only one?"
"No, that . . .abomination was got rid of years ago when the people behind it was dealt with. And there's no Highlanders either." Ma had found the tv show and movies and alternately laughed and cussed. "Yes, we can die. . .we just come back except for a few events."
"Nobody comes back from having their head cut off. . .or being atomized in a nuclear blast or a planet exploding?" Josette smirks.
"There can be only one?"
"In our dimension and most of the others there's a series of movies and a spinoff tv show about a group of people who if they have a traumatic death come back to life. They don't age after that, the main character in the movies is a man named Connor MacLeod. The Highlander. The first movie was about a 'prize' the immortals get if they kill each other, being the last one standing. There can be only one is kinda a catchphrase for the battles, when you cut off their heads there's an energy called a quickening that the winner absorbs. There was three more movies and a tv show starring a Duncan MacLeod, a distant kinsman to the first one. . .they call each other cousin and that's that. The fourth movie happened after the end of the tv show and the second and fourth movies should never have been made. The third movie really shouldn't have been made either but it ignores the second movie completely."
"The fourth movie because damn near everybody dies?" Ma snorts.
Pa shakes his head as his thoughts come back to the present. Ma gives him a smile, she'd been thinking the same thing.
The second batch of crops start coming in, they'd managed to make up the time they'd missed being unable to plant the first crops so everything's back on track.
"Any word on the colony?" Principal Madison asks in the dining hall one day.
"Wailing like hyenas about having to grow and cook their own food. They're too fucking stupid to raise their own animals so they have to buy everything. A dairy is going to be going out in a couple years in both areas." The others nod. "There's a second dimension that's really scrub trees, they're trying to cut them for wood but they don't burn long enough so they still gotta keep warm with crap. But they can cook over it and it is good wood for toilet paper, paper towels. . ." Calvin had come out early to talk with Kara and Clark about the growing building and nods in agreement. "And like the other trees they're renewable."
"Do we have any?"
"Yep, I took them out to the paper factory and they're falling over themselves. We don't need it right away but this way we'll have it on hand." Josette looks at her PADD. "We don't need to grow cotton for the charmin-style toilet paper for a few years." Principal Madison says calmly.
"Nope, we've got a good supply left."
"Don't burn long enough compared to our wood or. . ." Doc asks.
"Don't burn long enough period. A log the size of one of ours would last. . .two hours?" She looks at Calvin.
"If that, it makes it ideal for cooking but impractical for heating. While your wood is denser than normal, that wood is lighter, which makes it easier to make into paper."
Josette and the others head out for her show, spending a few weeks in Calvin's dimension. The third city-ship trip had finally been decided on. . .not a trip out to find new planets to colonize like some morons had wanted but a fifteen year trip to investigate Jupiter.
"Are they working on ftl?" Doc asks when she comes back.
"The scientists and engineers are working on it, but it will be years before they have the capacity in ships. It's not needed right now, they're working on colonizing dimensions when they are working on colonies." The others nod.
"Sooooo, somebody's turning the big 170 this year." David purrs.
"I wouldn't crow too loudly Methuselah, you're older than I am." Josette snorts. The others chuckle.
"Definitely not having as many kids as how old you are anymore." President Bartlett chuckles. She gives him an 'et tu' look.
"150 years married."
"Yes, and there are still days I wake up and wonder if it was worth it." That makes everybody laugh.
Josette comes out after the Harvest Festival with the last of the supplies for the cabin, spraying the caulk on the inside of the logs to seal the cracks before starting to put up the insulation panels. The windows are put in and framed out and Josette nods in satisfaction at her work.
Meanwhile another Josette is bringing out the tables for Maxie's workroom, Maxie looking around and nodding in satisfaction when she comes back from the large-scale replicator with the first of three loads of wood for her house and the building. She sends off the last payment and nods in satisfaction. "Now I just need to see how much wood will be needed to keep the building warm and then start getting in supplies."
"Oh. . .that reminds me. Send a note to the Albatross Nest, tell everybody to be at either store in a couple days, morning here in Albatross, the afternoon in Town."
"Why?" Agatha says giving her a look as she walks into the building and nods in satisfaction. She looks at her heartdaughter and moans when she hears about the fool woman who'd wanted to take over her planet because the government treated everybody the same and she was 'spe-shul'. She moans louder when she sees all the *]shit Josette had picked up.
"It would otherwise have been recycled and we can use it." Josette says. Agatha nods vigorously. "Not clothes, it's too light a color but in quilts definitely.
"Ohhh, but she was a girly girl and had to wear light pastels and swish her skirt with every step. Who cares if it would show dirt too quickly. . .she wouldn't have to worry about washing it." Josette drawls. Maxie and Agatha snort but nod.
By the time she arrives with samples of the fabric everybody knows what's going on and they fall on the fabric. "Definitely too light for everyday use but we can use it in quilts and other stuff." One of the women from Edinborough says.
"I'd suggest good outfits if we had a need of them." Josette says. The others nod. "How much do you have?"
"Tons. And I mean that literally. Thousands of rolls of fabric. . .each. And each fabric had different weights. Because the whole damn planet would be draped in her colors. That doesn't include the thread, ribbon, lace. . .and other stuff in her colors."
"We'll use it. It will be a while, but we'll use it. Oh, we need more fat quarters of the other fabrics."
"We can make them on the offworld harvests. And make bolts out of this . . .stuff." Josette nods. The others nod.
One of the women slaps her forehead. "Contact the 4th planet, see if any of the communities allow their women to wear these colors."
Agatha nods and sends off a message. A representative of the Amish arriving a few minutes later and running into the store. "Oh yes, we'll wear it." She says when she looks at the colors.
"Is the second cotton crop ready to pick up?"
"I'll pick it up a couple days before the offworld harvests start."
They head to Mom's dimension a couple days later for the boys show, returning six weeks later their time.
Josette looks at the lean-to attached to the building filled with wood. If she needs to she can just throw a fireball in the stove so she isn't too worried about it lasting the winter. The homes and other buildings that need a steady supply of heat over the winter is first in line for the wood as it comes out of the replicator. Almost as if that had summoned them, Josette hears Clark and Kara flying overhead with wagons full of wood for the Kent farms.
Josette grins as she sees Maxie in the group of people waiting for the first offworld harvest. "I got that big building just sitting there, I gotta make money for everything I want to do in it. Not to mention the other stuff. My refrigerator, stove, and hot water heater are all old and on their last legs. I did have to replace the furnace and I'm tapped into the alternate power for the house now too."
"Yep, I know when everything goes up at once. We have crews from GD and Sanders come out to look at everything every few years."
"Oh yes. . ." David rattles off Josette's lament of everything that could happen, leaving everybody in earshot giggling. The last call goes out, a couple people yelling to hold up and David opens the tesseract, everybody tapping their PADDS to Josette's as they walk through. Josette gives David a hug and kiss before she walks through and he closes the tesseract for an hour, walking to the library to sit until he gets the call to open it again.
Josette whistles in his mind an hour later and he opens the tesseract, everybody walking through and heading various directions. Josette starts delivering the food and everybody that had been gathering starts grabbing the containers and head various directions.
David and Josette walk to the school, enjoying the fresh air that's going to be turning cold much too soon but this promises to be the last really bad winter for a while. The large-scale replicator has been going every day since the Harvest Festival, wagons being filled with wood for the winter since the probes had already forecast multiple storms. Clark and Kara had been flying off with second loads of wood for the farms. If the weather is as bad a they've forecast one of them will be going out every other week to spin the turbine for unlimited power during the winter.
"Ma?" Josette asks at the comm unit a couple hours after they got back to the dorm.
"Tell Clark and Kara to expect to go out to Krypton this winter, I just got a message from Momma." She gives her the date and she marks it on her PADD.
"Thank you dear, I'll let them know."
"Tell CJ we're going to Krypton, Momma just passed along the message." She gives him the date and he marks it on their calendar.
"Thank you Josette, if the winter is as bad as they're forecasting I'm sure all of you will enjoy the chance to get away for a while."
"How are they coming in the growing building?"
"The outside is done, the others were. . ." David's lips twitch.
"Whomping it up a few degrees?"
"Yep. They're getting the mechanicals in over the winter and hope to start growing by the time we're planting next year. When they're closer to being operating, I'll add the links to the tesseract controls. I already told Ma and Ma I'd give them a couple so they can come either to the dorm or right at the building here on the school grounds when the second shift starts." Josette disappears.
"Are you goddamn stupid, I don't care if you don't like me being able to protect my land. . .there's no way in hell I'm paying the damages to your vehicle since you were stupid and tried driving on our road. The whole damn area is posted private property, no trespassing."
"But I didn't think you'd destroy my car." she wails from the other side of the room.
"You had no damn business being on my property in the first place."
"But I wanted to talk to you about getting rid of some of your trees. . .they block my view."
"You don't live anywhere near us."
"Weeeelllllll, no. . .but isn't having so many trees the sign of mental illness?"
"No, being a stupid bitch like you and trying to drive on posted private property because you think you're all that is signs of mental illness." her own lawyer snorts. "Now shut the fuck up and grow up, I don't care if you don't like her having so many trees, it's none of your damn business."
Dumbass wails as she's tossed in a cell for her 90 days sentence for filing a frivolous lawsuit. After she'd been in the medium security dimension to pay off the fines she'd gotten.
"Maybe this will finally convince people that they can't just try to use the court to steal property from the rightful owners." Josette's lawyer says to the other one later that night over drinks.
"Is she connected with a tree company?" A court employee who'd been at the bar asks.
"Distantly, I'm sure they would have come running to her in thanks for getting all those trees . . .at least she thinks they'd come running to her. They have some damn sense and want nothing to do with the fool. They're on the list of 'good' companies and have a contract to come in and take trees from the other dimension for big lumber companies." Her lawyer says, the other two men nodding in satisfaction.
"Get the fuck away from me you miserable old bat." A man yells. "No, you weren't doing it for me, I have a good business and don't need your help* in getting trees. You did it to lord it over me and it blew up in your face. Now get the fuck out of here and don't ever bother my employees again." The dumbass woman runs off wailing and he sighs. "My in-laws second or third cousin. She tried suing a woman for damages when her car was destroyed when she tried driving on a private road. . .all the land was marked private. She wanted her to cut down some of her trees. . .they blocked her view but since she didn't live anywhere near them. . ." Snorts from the employees in earshot. "Yeah, she tried blubbering that isn't having so many trees the sign of mental illness."
"No, it means you take care of your land." His second in command snorts. "I know the land you're talking about, the trees are beautiful. . .and crooks like that have been trying to get it for years."
"What's the status of the order from the lumber company?"
"The government okayed it yesterday, we head off next week. I got the list of who's going out here. I know you don't want Jenkins going because his mother's sick, but he's saving money for a house and he'll only be gone a few hours real time." His second in command says as he hands over a folder. His boss . . .and college roommate nods. "Are you sure about Sampson?"
"No, but he's got the skills we'll need."
"Do we have all the supplies we'll need?"
"He's going with Jenkins to various stores to get in all the supplies the government isn't delivering."
"Are we going to have somebody who can cook?"
"Yes, that's one of the government employees. He's used to cooking for a large number of people and this is his 'second' job, his first job is a prison cook. We'll meet him and his assistants a couple days before we go."
"So he's used to making large amounts of food?"
"Yep. The only difference is it's going to be all you can eat and he doesn't have to worry about a fight breaking out in the kitchen."
Josette ducks into the dining hall, sliding out of her slicker and hanging it up to drip in containers.
"Are the offworld harvests in now?" Principal Madison asks from the front room.
"Yes, this was the last one."
"Are we going to be able to harvest our crops?" one of the teachers asks.
"Yes, this should be the last 'oomph' needed. The rain will end by tomorrow morning and we can start harvesting the day after that. The rain is late. . .hopefully the extra moisture won't cause the tomatoes to crack."
"If they did we'll eat them anyway."
"Josette, are you making a trip out to Ellis's?" Elaine asks.
"Here or there? Yes for here, after Thanksgiving for Maxie and I because we both got new workrooms to kit out. There, probably not for a couple years. The cruise is in a few months. . ." Frances and Elaine nod. "And we'll see how the fund is after that. I'll be going out anyway. . ."
"We want a ride to both stores."
"I'll let you know when we plan on going."
Principal Madison moans at the hit to his wallet, everybody else sniggering.
Josette looks over her shoulder at the opening door a couple days after Thanksgiving. The crops had been brought in and the offworld harvests handed out.
"Oh dear lord." Pat moans.
"This is a copy of the growing building on Mars, not the one Becka's family copied from Warrick and updated, but the larger one they put up on Mars when they went up for all the families." Josette looks over her shoulder. "I didn't add it, they did last time they came up. They're also adding one to the administration building."
"Well, it won't go to waste." Doc sighs.
"Yep, not this winter." Josette sighs. "They've got experience from bad winters on their earth.
"Maybe one bad year every few years, nothing like they saw we were going to be hit with the last couple years." Josette sighs. "Being in contact with Earth all the time they can move to the other planet if things get too. . ."
"'Get me the hell out of here' moments?" Susan snorts as she comes into the building. She's not too surprised at finding everything, she'd thought Becka and her grandparents were up to something.
"Yup. It's not very often when it's storming on both planets and all you can do is wait it out."
"Josette. One, here's the seeds." She waves at the cart beside her. "And two, got a call from Jonathon. He wants a ride so he can bring out his Stark and Blake, Jo Lupo, Fargo, and Henry. . .basically everybody who knows about Eureka being on the 8th planet and that he's a god. . ."
"Can come see Eureka for themselves?" Josette grins and splits off a duplicate. "Are they staying here or there?"
"Here, I've already put up a new hallway."
Jonathon grins as he sees a familiar ship shimmer into view over Eureka. Motioning everybody to stand around him in the middle of the deserted street they're lifted up into the ship and it vanishes as it flies up.
"Good day Lady Hanover." Jonathon says, greeting the holographic image waiting on them.
"Good day Jonathon, you charmer you." she giggles. Stark rolls his eyes as Dr. Blake giggles. "Josette thought you'd probably want to show off. . .prove we're actually moving offplanet."
Jonathon chuckles and they walk to the control room, Josette sitting up and switching the shields so the others can look outside.
"You should try it in a bus where you can look out the windows the entire trip." Jonathon chuckles. The others look at her. "Our friend Josette Grover travels by bus, either through dimensions or through space."
"Switching dimensions now." Josette says. Everybody who hasn't seen Earth in the middle of an ice age hiss. They lift into space and after seeing space though the window as it were she switches the shields back, leaving the screens showing the view of space around them as she tells them what had happened to Earth. That story takes them up until they land on Haven, David opening the tesseract for them to the school grounds.
"Are those. . .dorms?" Dr. Blake asks, looking at the buildings in the distance.
"Yes, and yes, each is 75 floors tall. We put together the buildings after the school shut down since we have 54 of them, either 40 or 60 rooms per floor. Six of them are eight dorms put together, the last one is six dorms. It's similar to how we put together the temporary housing."
"Think regular college dorms with the toilets and showers at the end of the hall." Jonathon says. Everybody shudders. "Half of the buildings have solar panels, the others just had batteries that everybody took turns taking in to be charged. The batteries handle everything but lights after dark, most of Haven is used to lighting candles after sundown. If it's a tossup between lights and heat. . .they'll take heat."
"Can solar panels. . ."
"be added to the buildings that don't have them? Oh yes, but people are used to what they have and during winter storms the solar panels wouldn't be charging batteries anyway. Since we usually have a day's warning thanks to Josette's weather magic people take in extra batteries to charge." David says as he walks past.
"How do you heat?"
"Buildings that came up from Earth have furnaces. . .you still got to be careful not to drain the batteries though. The other buildings have ceramic heaters like you'd find in stores. Run it a couple hours and it would make a room warm enough for sleep. In the houses mothers would bake bread at night and leave the oven and kitchen doors open to let the heat circulate. Now we use the fake wood GD created."
"Of course." Dr. Stark sighs. Jonathon looks at him. "It's a fake wood, heavier than real wood and burns a week straight. It can be doused with water and an hour later it is ready to burn again."
Josette nods. "A single stick in a chimney pot like you'd find on a patio can keep a four or five room house in the sixties for a week if you leave doors open if you don't have vents. During bad storms they'll add a smaller log to the fire to give off more heat or pedal the exercise bike every building has to charge the batteries once the solar panels stop charging the batteries to run the heater for a couple hours for extra heat, or both. Usually it's keep everything warm for a few hours and try to get some sleep."
"And the other buildings?"
"Tap into alternate power sources that kick on after the solar panels stop charging batteries and they fall below a certain level or you're going to be doing something that would drain them below that same certain level. GD runs strictly on alternate power, most of the homes run on solar panels then kick over to the alternate power. . .you can't even tell you've switched most of the time."
They're in Town and Josette smiles as she sees wagons of recycling being emptied and wood filling them.
"You don't have cars?"
"No, not unless they were in garages when we came up and even then they were switched to alternate energy years ago. Flyers and wagons are used for large loads, you can go anywhere on the planet in an hour with a flyer and a fully loaded wagon." The cover is tied down over the wagon as the last items are put in the flyer and they both lift off, Fargo whimpering as they quickly move out of sight.
"Josette, metallurgy masters?" A man Dr. Stark is stunned to see walks up to them.
"Finished the last class this fall and and our Dr. Stark said I got it. It's just a formality since the school didn't come up and I've been doing the work for years." He hugs her and walks off.
"You know Doc Savage?" Dr. Stark asks.
"Yeah, he's my grandfather." Josette says, looking over her shoulder. "That was Clark, he's one of the four Docs who live on Haven and the other planets permanently or semi-permanently. Clark and the one from this dimension live here on Haven, one from another dimension lives on the 9th planet, and the last lives on the tenth planet. In addition we have five more who come out yearly or nearly every year. Momma's Doc. . .their Sheriff Carter is his son and is a genius too." Jonathon grins. "Doc who's a time lord, Doc from Calvin's dimension, him and my parents are doing. . something or other and don't know if they'll be out for the Lights Festival or not. Superhero Doc, and Headmaster Doc."
"Superheroes exist in their dimension, he leads a group. And headmaster is the principal of a school for mutants and magic users along with his professor Xavier."
"This is our power production building, the exercise machines are charging batteries. Most people either work out here a few hours to charge their batteries or pay to have it charged."
"Josette, can you bring out stuff from the warehouse?" A woman calls from a store.
"Yeah, give me the list and I'll do it before the Lights Festival."
"You are in for a treat, don't forget to show them the other warehouse." Jonathon chuckles.
"I was afraid I wouldn't be able to live like this but you can see the difference in technology between the school and town. And those factories and warehouses. . ." Stark shakes his head.
"Haven was meant to be agricultural. As Josette said once, they could bring out a power building and everybody could have unlimited power but they prefer to live life this way."
"I can see how the town has grown over the last hundred years." Dr. Blake says as she looks through the book for the first hundred years since Haven's founding.
"Yes, not as much as it might have anywhere else but all the construction here has been needed."
"Just like Eureka."
"Do you always eat meals here in the dining hall?"
"Yes, it gives everybody a chance to catch up on what they've been doing or what they plan on doing. Case in point Josette," David points to the screen that shows the front room. "plans on going to one of the outlying businesses with Elaine, Frances, and one of the women from Albatross, the other main settlement on Haven. It's a textiles supplier, one that came up decades years ago from Calvin's dimension when a local government tried taking their land. . .they wanted it for a air force base. . .even though they weren't even in the running. But if they got the air force base it would bring so much business to the area everybody would be happy. Look, you can move into this empty store in . . .ooohh yeah, your business was over a hundred acres."
Everybody in the back room snorts. "In the same area we have a 'thread complex', they make thread for us. We also have a rug yarn manufacturer, Josette took a large batch of cotton she grew offplanet and they'll be spinning it into yarn. The threads complex took the batch of cotton she grew last year and turned it into thread for the weavers."
"Are they the only suppliers?" Henry asks.
"No, we have another supplier complex on Haven and a couple on Archimedes and the fourth planet. Those three came up from our Earth before we lost it and have grown over the years."
"Yeah, Josette was teasing our Stark their first testing week after they moved to the eighth planet that they still hadn't came up with a name for the planet. when they came up a month later they'd named the planet Archimedes." He looks at the other Eureka natives and snickers. "It fits."
"Does the fourth planet have a 'real' name?"
"No, neither does the fifth or seventh, ninth, or tenth planets." David says. "None of the others have been interested in officially naming them, it took us decades to come up for a name for Town."
"Your town is really named Town?"
"Officially it's First Town but we figured we wouldn't need the official name for decades, of course that was around the time Albatross moved up to Haven. And Haven is named Haven because after all the shit that had been happening on Earth. . ."
"It was a safe Haven."
Jonathon takes them to Archimedes via the switching station and they look around the building. It looks the same but they can see it's bigger. Getting in a couple flyers they fly over the town, Archimedes Stark pointing out new buildings they've put up since they moved.
Josette shakes her head when she comes back from Ellis's with a full wagon for Maxie and everything else in subspace. "It's going to snow by nightfall, and it will stick."
"We had to expect it."
Henry is looking over the adaptions to the farm machines and other equipment, shaking his head. "People on Earth would bitch that 'electric' isn't . . ."
"the same quality as gas-driven? Oh yes, they were bellyaching about that in another dimension on Calvin's Earth. Ask him about the tree dimension." Josette snorts. "Meanwhile we've proven that electric works just fine."
"Now Jonathon was saying something about a power building. . .and from the way he was talking. . ."
"He wasn't talking about the building in town? No, he was talking about this." Josette shows him an edited file and he whistles.
"Does it work?"
"Yes, Becka's world uses it for their primary source of power thanks to that damn machine. . ." Henry moans at the story and Stark swears. "Jessy. . .about thirty percent of her US uses the boxes thanks to massive failures of the power grid. They're building new sections but it will be decades before they're all linked up."
Josette shakes her head as she reads the latest databurst from superhero dimension at dinner.
"That stupid woman?"
"No, some con artist 'offering' discounted trips to Hawaii. They got to the airport or hotel and found out they didn't have reservations despite all the paperwork or having the actual physical tickets in their hands. They found the people at the hotels and airlines who worked with him but they were . . ."
"just middle-men and left holding the bag?" Henry drawls. The others sigh but nod. "For the most part, a woman has been arrested, but because she deliberately brought the tickets so she could 'claim' she won them in a contest and 'give' them to two of her coworkers, because she didn't like the girl. . .tried claiming she didn't respect her mother but since the girl doesn't have a mother and she knows it nobody's buying her story. The rest of the people they worked with claim they had no idea the trips weren't real but since they 'only' managed to get them to the airport less than an hour before the flight, the bag she'd packed had been replaced by one of those 'going to grandma's' bags you see in catalogs for little kids, and her purse with her id and money was 'mysteriously' left in the truck and they drove off waving? Yeah, nobody believes their stories and they've been 'regretfully' let go by management despite all their blubbering that it was just a joke, the purse and real bag would have been rushed in before the flight."
"Some damn joke." Fargo says sourly. "That's something the mean girls in school would have pulled. . .except they wouldn't have brought back the purse or real bag."
"Yep, everybody in town is talking bad about them now and they're having to do the same jobs they foisted on the other two in other locations. The hotels and airlines are getting bad publicity at not having honored their reservations, their employees did create the paperwork. . .even if they didn't put it in the system. In most cases it was . . .okay, you can stay. . .if you grease my palm."
"Yep, the people who were saying that are now fired along with the others. The hotels were trying to claim the people who brought the packages could have been in on it and got their asses sued by the victims, one of whom was a young woman who wanted to go to Hawaii before she died of cancer. They quickly tried backpedaling but by then the damage from all the bad publicity was too great.
"Way to be assholes people, just admit you had a crook in your system and offer them real discounted hotel packages. . .you'd have come up as the big hero and got a lot of reservations from people who might have gone elsewhere." Jo snorts. The others nod. "Yeah, the poor girl died never having got to Hawaii and the hotel saw a massive drop in reservations, the only people who did come were because they would have lost money if they canceled their reservations. Corporate removed the management and put people with some damn brains in their place, they didn't get moved to other properties. . .they're doing scut work at the hotel and blubbering about how they never should have lost their cushy positions."
Laughter and nods of satisfaction.
"How much snow do you get?"
"Usually a hundred inches during a good winter, it really helps the water table. Because all of us still remember the years of droughts and the damn wildfires in California." Nods from the others. "Now some years we get pretty bad storms coming in from the other direction and those will dump a good ten feet of snow on the area by the time they go through. Thankfully we can get the animals inside and dial up enough food for however long the storm will last and then time to dig out on the automatic feeders in the barns. Now years ago we had a couple bad years where the orbit of the second sun was settling and like wakes from motorboats we got jostled around as we hit that area. That year we had numerous bad storms and we had. . ."
"Not quite three hundred inches of snow. And that's not the year we had one last storm come in when we would have been planting." David says. "It wasn't a bad storm but it delayed our planting and while we can harvest a week or so late depending on if we get an early storm, we'd have been harvesting in real winter, that year we only planted twice. Everybody was told to plant full gardens. . ."
"But they didn't?" Jo snorts.
"Welllll, not everybody. Everybody in the outlying farms, on our continent, and in Albatross planted full gardens. The restaurants planted full gardens, those in towns who came up first and were able to plant their own gardens instead of having a communal garden planted full gardens, but shelves were a little bare come winter and people had to wait on the growing buildings for ripe fruit and veggies when the canned ran out."
"Growing buildings?" Dr. Blake asks. Josette passes along the information and she nods. "GD has something similar."
"Yeah, both GDs grow year-round, for the most part ours only start planting before Thanksgiving, we try to plant at different times so something is coming up ripe. It helps now that the other planets have commercial gardens and somebody is picking ripe daily."
"Much better than the stuff picked green and shipped across the country."
"Yep. Our dorm, Headquarters, and any other people who can afford it will have their own growing areas for the winter. Goes back to the bad shit in Earth's atmosphere meaning everybody who could grow something did. . .even if it was just a couple pots because the growing seasons were shorter and the tropical areas couldn't feed everybody."
"These last few years have been somewhat bad winters, the first one, last year, and looking at this year will be wet, heavy snow. Last year we got nearly four hundred inches of snow but we had a blizzard come in and just dump on the area for four weeks, and our weeks are nine days long. It took another three weeks to dig out because this is wet heavy shit, shovels won't touch it. Even the snowblowers had to take it a few inches at a time."
"Thank god you'd brought out so many new snowblowers last year." Principal Madison says from the front room. The visitors blink. Alan chuckles. "This is common, having somebody in either room interject into a conversation. Usually it's Josette and Principal Madison. . .because there is nothing more powerful than parent hearing." Jonathon and Dr. Blake chuckle but nod. Jonathon already knew that Principal Madison and Professor Druid were Josette's all but official adopted parents, the others had seen the loving interaction between the three over the last couple days.
"Are you going out to ninth planet Eureka tomorrow?"
"We'd planned on it."
"A word of warning then. . . Jo?" Jo looks at Susan. "You're married to Fargo, Zane, and Taggart out there." She just blinks then moans. "Yeah, and you have at last count. .. eight?"
"Eleven kids, the oldest a set of triplets born before you came up to the 9th planet. And Jo wasn't looking too happy with her husbands again when I picked up the recycling." The others look at Josette and then lay their heads on the tables and cackle. "Oh, like we're ones to talk. ..we've got 140 kids."
Fargo is staring at them this time. "140." Dr. Blake moans.
"Eleven sets of twins, fourteen sets of triplets, ten sets of quadruplets, one set of quintuplets, and the rest single births. The Covingtons have a 'thing' in their family, the experts think it's a family mutation but anyway it means multiples pop up more often in the family. And there's the 'new planet gotcha'."
"New planet gotcha?"
"It's a new planet, in the beginning of a colony there's more births than normal. . .twins being commmon." Jonathon says. "Josette and the others get a double dose some years."
"Yes, our births have settled into two cycles, one baby per momma and 'oh shit, we're having how many children'?" Abby snorts. "You met Sarah, Jasmine, and Sebastian Covington-Sanders in Eureka, didn't you?" They nod then blink, looking at first the twins and Alan then David. "Yes, they're our oldest three, we have more there but those three are the ones you'd have been most likely to meet in GD. Once the kids finish their first degree. . ." Abby looks pointedly at Josette who just looks innocent, don't you see the halo over her head? "they generally head to GD on the 8th or 9th planets for internships or Wayne or Stark on the fourth planet for internships. Our youngest batch of kids broke with tradition and stayed here on Haven to work with the Wayne, Dayton, Dayton, or Drake when they came out from Thomas's world. The older kids have 'retired' and moved planets and companies when they got bored."
"Yep, everybody goes in a bidding frenzy when our kids are looking for new jobs."
"Covington-Sanders?" Dr. Blake looks at them.
"We gave all the kids the combined last names because those were the real last names. Josette's mother changed her name when she found out she was pregnant, Susan changed her name when she ran away from home when her father killed her mother and tried to kill her. . ."
"And Matthew and Amber are much better parents than my original ones." Susan snorts.
"Alexander and Michael are foundlings, the orphanage where they were raised named them."
"Yes, they had a set of last names they'd use per year. . .that's why I'm an Addison and Alexander's a Jackson though we were found only a couple weeks apart."
"Josette, speaking of jobs?" Professor Druid says from the front room.
"Yes, I put the jobs up last night and we're already getting in workers. Ma and Ma, Mom, and Maxie already got positions. Maxie because she's got all that stuff we brought yesterday to pay for and her home's appliances need replacing, Ma, Ma, and Mom want an excuse to be out of the house this winter. I have the controls linked to the dorm and passed them out last night."
"First degree?" Stark asks.
"Stark, even the most rabid person in Eureka about getting degrees is a piker compared to Josette. Have her show you her diploma and book buildings when we get back to the dorm." Jonathon smirks. Stark glares at him. He hates that look, just like he hates the 'Ohhhh, they're not fucking like bunnies. . .yet' looks from their other selves.
Stark blinks and Dr. Blake moans as they see the walls of diplomas. "Each floor is a different dimension. . .this floor is this dimension, the second floor is Clark's. The next floor is Calvin's, then the last floor is Superhero's. That's just one room so far because Josette's only taken classes from one school there."
"Then each hallway is a different school?" Fargo asks, looking around.
"Yes, each room is a general area. Yes, there's diplomas that seem to be duplicates, they're either from multiple degree sets or they come at the same area from different directions and usually different schools. And yes, Josette graduated with honors from each school." David says with a grin. Josette just snorts. "My gifts make it easy for me, you guys work hard for your grades."
"How do you handle diplomas. . .?" Fargo asks.
"Every several years GD prints diplomas for employees who finished degrees since the last ceremony. Those schools that came up will have somebody hand out the diplomas, otherwise our Stark makes a huge presentation of it." The others snigger as Josette pulls up the one ceremony and puts it on a wall screen when they're out of the building. Dr. Blake gives her ex a 'yes, that's exactly what you'd do' look as he smirks.
"If Josette was in my dimension, I'd have her as my High Priestess in a second." Jonathon smirks.
"I absorb knowledge, usually from books. I can download the contents of any book and. . .wellll. . ." Josette puts up images from the server. "I thought I was just a fluke, but in superhero dimension my great-grandma can do the same thing, she says it's a family gift only the girls inherit and even then not everybody inherits it." She waves a hand at her loving mates. "Yeah I know, I'm still a freak of nature." Dr. Blake looks at her but soon sees it's a long-standing joke in the group. "And I am your High Priestess Jonathon, the others made me yours during the first road trip when they realized our areas coincided." Jonathon blinks, looks for the connection, then moans as another necklace becomes visible around Josette's neck before fading away.
Jonathon looks up at the ceiling and swears.
"Oh please, like King Ares and Lady Aphrodite wouldn't once they decided you were theirs." Josette snorts. The others snigger.
"Schools that came up?"
"Cambridge and Oxford are on the fourth planet. We've got four universities here on Haven. . .Assyrian is a textiles school, they and Montague both came up with us when we came up to Haven. Montague is a pretty much everything school even before they brought in so many schools that had closed on Earth. We'd been friends with both schools for years, they're in the GD continuing education system and Montague was one of the schools Dr. Blake first brought out to the school to talk to us about our degrees. Balaclava is an agricultural school and came up before we did."
"An ag school would be needed on Haven. As would a textiles university. And the fourth?"
"Edinborough from Scotland, again a textiles school. They came out a year after we did, along with Hank and his co-workers and Sherlock and his friends."
"Sherlock. . .as in Holmes?" Dr. Blake splutters.
"Yes. . .think the BBC show Sherlock. That's their current lives. Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade and his group of bunglers as Sherlock refers to them, and Mycroft and his assistant at the time all came up. John works shifts at the medical center and the store, Mrs. Hudson works at the fabric stores. . .They've all got jobs here in town and work on their land."
The next morning the group goes to the 9th planet.
They walk the streets of the Lights Festival, Josette had gone off to the warehouses to bring out supplies for the stores. The snow had stopped for a couple days for the Lights Festival but there's already piles everywhere. The snow forts are already in use and a dramatic monologue is met by a barrage of snowballs from both sides and a dramatic death scene. Fargo snickers despite himself.
"Yeah, the Lights Festival is like that." Susan snickers.
"Lights Festival? Grew out of Christmas?"
"Yes, because we could have two in a year thanks to the difference in calendars. When the school was open they would go home for both Christmases. They'd also go home after a semester was over so they could see their families and stock up on snack foods and other stuff. They'd go to the auditorium and have their bags examined so they couldn't bring in anything they shouldn't have. Even if they did manage to get stuff through, the other students would tattle on them if they had something they didn't have because they're teenagers. Something that a good bunch of GD employees haven't grown out of." Jonathon and the others laugh and nod. "The Lights Festival is the last day of one year and the first day of the next."
"Do you have a planetary government?"
"Yes, we hammered out details for that and the planetary laws before we came up. And settlers knew what the laws were before they came up. We only had to deal with one fool kid who hated the fact there was no internet here. . .he couldn't play his damn online games." Fargo snorts as the others roll their eyes. "He kept acting up and got in trouble, the second time he broke a law he was sentenced to six months working forty hours a day on the sorting planet. He thought if he acted up enough his family would go back to Earth. His parents told him if he didn't straighten up he'd be going back to Earth but this was their home. And if he did go back to Earth the vampire council would make him finish getting an education. . .but he'd have to do it with a paper and pencil in front of somebody. . .and have to work to pay back the cost of getting him to Haven and back. He soon straightened up having to work so long and realizing people wouldn't kiss his ass. He apologized to his parents, finished his education, and ended up buying one of the ships that we'd had harvesting the asteroids when the previous owners retired after a few decades of work and the two of us handle any asteroid harvesting the planets need. We might go out once every few years now, unlike back in the beginning when the ships harvested the asteroids and sold the ore to Earth." Jonathon's lips are twitching to beat the band so Stark and Dr. Blake know there's a story there. They give her 'spill' looks and she tells the entire story, everybody nodding and snickering. . .especially at the 'mine it and refine it, can't we just pick it up off the ground' lament.
"Me, David, my Doc, Principal Madison, and President Bartlett. We meet once a month, next week will be our first meeting of the new year. Most meetings last less than an hour, it's only longer if we're bringing out something. Now next week we'll be talking about the new larger orders for the knitting buildings and how many people are signed up for the second shift. We see each other daily since Doc's Headquarters is linked to the dorm. . ." Dr. Stark nods. He's already looking at linking labs in town that way. "And the rest of us live on the school grounds if it's bad weather we won't even have a meeting that month. Any other time it's like when Sue asked me to pick up stuff for the stores from the warehouse."
"Most of the time it's just an excuse to get out of the house." David snorts. Josette sniggers but nods.
"Can anybody get on the government?"
"Yeah, anybody can join the board if they want to. . .they just don't want to because they don't want the damn headache. The morons in the other dimensions who wail about how we're 'dictators' usually walk off pouting when they realize anybody can get on the board if they want, we're not keeping them under our thumbs." Dr. Blake rolls her eyes. "Because they want to be the ones in charge." Stark snorts. "That's why so many fools try to take over GD and Eureka by telling us what to do."
"Yep, Granda and Dad dealt with the morons trying to tell them how to run the school, I deal with the buttholes who want to take over my land. . .it's human nature to see somebody successful and try to tear them down to make them feel better."
"Just like it's human nature greedy bastards and crooks join the government to try to lord it over others."
"Exactly. Or in the mall's case greedy assholes who could have brought it whine because they see it turning around and making profits and they want to cause trouble for the owners so they can get the mall for themselves. . .now that all the work has been done and all they have to do is rake in the profits."
Jonathon snickers but nods.
"Hank!" Josette calls.
"In a couple weeks I'm going to be cutting the second trees. Want me to bring them out here for the sawmill or do them on the ship?"
"Sawmill, you can bring the trees out so they don't get wet waiting to be cut." He calls. Josette nods. "Are you going out for another batch?"
"Will be by the time the snow starts melting next year."
"I'm an artist as well as writing fiction, the books are quilts. . .I sell them at my shows. The printers are going to be finishing up a batch of twenty-four books next year, it would have been done this year but we had a couple bad storms that had the printing shop closed for nearly two months. I have six books from my old ones yet to debut in Mom and Calvin's dimension. Mom's dimension is. . .'yeah, you're older than you look. . .isn't everybody?'." Fargo sniggers despite himself. "But it's going to be nearly eighty years I've been showing in Calvin's dimension, I had to 'retire' though my fiction is going to be published under a 'house name' with just the head of the publishing house knowing that 'Josette Takahawa is Josette Takahawa, she just lives in another dimension'." Jonathon snickers. "Yes, you know what a bitch it is having to come up with a new identity, in a few decades I'll pull a Highlander and be my own grandkid."
"That's why I usually have five or six 'main' identities and several more lesser ones I can decide to become. Because Eureka would probably be the only place somebody not aging normally wouldn't be talked about." Jacar, who'd been coming up behind them, sniggers and nods.
They return to Eureka an hour later for the rest of the town but several weeks later for them and they shake their heads. "There's a difference between reading about it. . ."
"And actually seeing it. Yes." Jonathon says. He'd talked with James Carstairs Savage when the man had came out with the others, talking over what they'd worked on. . .their personal interests, and dealing with the explosions at GD. Stark and his other selves had been talking about how people had started aging slower as their bodies adjusted to the longer years and how it probably wouldn't happen in another dimension if Calvin and Becka's work dimensions were anything to go by.
Calvin and Silas had nodded as they'd joined the conversations, passing along the information on their dimensions.
"Get everything delivered?" Principal Madison asks as she slides into her her usual seat at the dining hall.
"Yes, one good thing about picking them up in the middle of the night, even in Eureka nobody's going to be wondering where they were for an hour. And they didn't see the ship either. Yes, I know. Nobody would blink in Eureka, they'd figure it was video footage from a lab." David laughs.
"Anybody heard about that stupid girl who killed her parents?"
"Oh yes, she's still blubbering about having to work. She's too young to get her GED but the local school is allowing her to take her classes at the school, she's wailing about that but the prison is firm. She's. . .I want to say starting the eighth grade in a few months their time. She should be at least a sophomore. Natalie's going to be a sophomore at Hamberg. She's got good grades and has plans for the future. Unlike her sister."
"How much weight has she lost?"
"Last update was over fifty pounds? Of course she's wailing she's 'wasting' away, the advocates call the prison and when they find out how much the fool girl weighs they ignore her whining letters. She's being starved because they have her on a 1500 calorie when she's working, 1000 when she's not diet. She's been locked in her cell twice more for her attitude problems. The courts are making her work yet another job, this one will be used to put money aside for her funeral. . .the morticians are already saying at her weight she'd need a custom-made casket. . ." Josette's voice trails off and she grabs her PADD, sending off a message to two dimensions. Principal Madison looks at her. "Seeing if there is a way that they could ship the girl and a couple guards to the medium security dimension in Calvin's dimension, making her work for years to pay off her judgments and pay for her funeral. Working that length of time and living on the food pills should make the weight fly off. If she loses it so fast she has the stretched skin left, she can make enough money for the surgery before she goes back to prison."
Everybody in earshot grin evilly.
A couple days later Josette slides into her usual seat in the meeting room for the first meeting of the year. She's drinking a mug of coffee when the others arrive.
"Everybody started yesterday, we've got ten people working the second shift and can easily hire twenty-five more. I expect more people to take up jobs once the printers are done."
"And this winter is over."
"True, I expect more jobs to be picked up then."
"Are we going to be able to handle the orders . . ."
"If we don't get more employees? Easily. I figure on keeping the jobs open ended on both shifts, you just decide what shift you want and come to work." The others nod in satisfaction. "And if the other factories open they can work there then come back if they don't do shifts at both."
"Because they would." Principal Madison sighs. "Our 'part-time' jobs pay more than a full-time job on Earth would. And they keep their entire pay. But the payoff for that means no social security, 401ks, pensions, or stock options."
The next week Josette heads off to the cabin workroom, lighting a piece of wood in the stove and warming the building with heat vision as she starts working on the interior of the cabin, putting up the last of panels and connecting them before bringing out the towers of batteries and connecting the solar panels, watching them beginning to charge as she looks around the building and then the time.
"How are you coming at the cabin?" Principal Madison asks at dinner.
"Got the last of the wall panels up and the towers of batteries installed and charging." Josette says with a grin. She shows the picture of before and after and everybody nods. "Putting up the railing for the second floor and the staircase is next, then putting up shelving and hooks."
"Tables?" Michael and Alexander ask.
"Made them when I finally decided to put this up, they're in the studio for now."
"I notice you have a bathroom in there." Frances sniggers.
"Yes, I could add them to Maxie's building and the building on the 9th planet but they chose not to have them. I also plan on putting a replicator in and a bedroom." The others snigger. "Frances, Elaine, when do you want to go to Ellis's? I'm going out before the cruise to pick up the order."
"No, the next hot mess seems to have not materialized yet. Or else designers are learning what they think is gods gift to humanity nobody else wants." Josette snorts. "Which probably means there will be two to pick up next time." The others snicker but nod.
"Next week." Josette yawns.
"What's the supply of wood?"
"Good, the building is full of wood and so's the container I brought out to fill with the wood when we found out how bad the winter would be. This way we shouldn't have to restart it again. I know more than one person is still buying wood, Maxie brought a couple more wagons of wood for her workroom." The others nod.
"My lean-to is full. . .and yes it's expanded." Josette yawns.
Several days later Josette and the others fly to Ulonda, settling on the ship as she puts her shields up and lifts off. Several months of intensive training for all of them later they arrive back on Haven, Josette moving containers of stuff from Krypton to various buildings before they all fly off.
"CJ?" Clark asks as his son comes in yawning.
"All of us sat on the piers on the first planet and soaked up solar energy before we came back to Haven. We were cramming for months on Krypton. There's a difference between cramming on Haven or even Earth and Krypton."
"Our bodies are used to the solar radiation from Earth's yellow sun and Haven's white suns. . .living under Krypton's red sun would be like trapped in darkness."
"And coming back to Haven is like being pulled from the rubble."
Clark and Clark find Josette in her cabin workroom putting the last step of the circular staircase in place.
"Are you done now?"
"Except for the last few things, putting the hooks where I want them and putting everything up. Need anything?"
"To install some of the things we brought back from Krypton. All our hands are too big to hook stuff up."
"Okay." She spends the next few days installing everything. Ma and Ma go out to the completed cabin and nod in satisfaction as they go up the stairs and look around.
"Now she just needs to bring out the tables and her supplies."
The second month David opens the tesseract and everybody walks into the ship for the cruise. The Josette who'd been at Ellis's with Frances and Elaine arrives before they take off. Moving everything various places she starts bringing out the rest of the stuff for her workroom and starts putting everything away.
Video of Maxie's completed and filled workroom and Josette's cabin workroom are put up on the servers and sent off to Bronwen in Calvin's dimension. She nods in satisfaction at both of them.
A couple weeks later Josette adds a link to the growing building Clark and Kara had put up for Ma, Ma, and another device that is handed to Alfred. "I know you probably are already growing all this." Clark says as he walks him through the building. Josette is here since she'll probably be doing most of the picking for the others and can share what she sees.
Josette snorts, holds up a hand, and puts a video on the screen. "From Becka's grandparents. This is a copy of the one they put up on Mars when they moved." Alfred sighs and Josette nods. "Yup, and they added one to the administration building for the school. Between these three we'll be able to grow pretty much everything we'll need."
"What are you growing right now?"
Another list comes up on the screen. The screen splits. "And this is what the school is growing."
"Between the three buildings and our own growing areas. . ."
"Yeah. Unless it's something basic, I say we tell the others what we're growing so we don't duplicate." Alfred nods. Looking at the darkening sky Clark shakes his head, flying Alfred back to Wayne Manor as Josette flies to the dorm. They'd been expecting a storm and everybody was battened down. David nods as Josette flies in through the door and they walk to the dining hall for dinner.
"I told Clark and Alfred about the growing buildings here. we're going to be putting up a list of what we're growing so we don't duplicate unless it's something basic." She tells Professor Druid. The other woman nods. "Are they growing yet?"
"Just planted. Since all of us are at different growing stages. . ."
"Something should be ripening most all the time."
Josette pushes the doors open again the snow piling up over the next couple of days, digging out the doors when the sky finally starts clearing out so the boys can come out with the snowblowers. Flying up she clears off the roofs at the school, the solar panels starting to charge the batteries again. Looking towards the other continent she finds Clark and Kara taking care of everything on the farms.
Flying out to the ranch she cleans off the solar panels on the buildings, the boys coming out after breakfast to clear paths to the barn and her cabin. Checking on the wood she settles in an easy chair she brought out and looks around, waiting for the muse to jump her.
A few days later the knitting buildings are open again and Ma, Ma, and Mom talk as they walk in and sign in. Maxie comes in a few minutes later.
"Did you find the refrigerator you wanted?"
"Yes, but the kitchen needs work before it can be installed."
"Yup, know that feeling all too well." Ma, Ma, and Mom say nearly in unison. "Too big?"
"Yes but Hank is building me new cabinets since the ones I have are old and while I can't say they were cheap. . ."
"They weren't the quality Hank's work is?"
"Exactly, I'll need a water line added for the refrigerator's water in the door feature. While he's working I'm expanding my pantry and having a chest freezer put in so I can make meals up ahead of time and freeze them until needed."
Ma, Ma, and Mom nod. Maxie starts putting together boxes as Josette comes in with pallets of yarn, moving pallets of finished products to the ship.
"Get everything moved to the ship?" David asks as Josette slides into her seat for the meeting the next day.
"Yeah, and brought out more yarn. Okay, I got something to bring up." The others look at her. "Do we see the need for more community gardens or adding more individual garden plots? It's been a few decades since the garden plots were created."
"It has. Have we seen the need for more garden space?"
"No, but I thought. . ." Josette puts a plan she'd been working on on the screen. "It's about three times the size of a communal garden. We can open it up to a different garden every planting season."
"Not right now. . ."
"No, but it would be a good step in growing more food."
"We've still got a good supply of them and the wine bottles. . even before bringing out any from the ships." Josette says. "The whiners in Granda's world are still bellyaching about having to break up and melt recycled glass. A business popped up that's breaking the glass. . .all they have to do is shovel it out of the containers and put in the melting pot."
"Probably still be too much work for the whiners." David snorts.
"Yep." Josette drawls. "They're doing good business though."
"Yes, because big business is lazy. . .and stupid." President Bartlett drawls. "Are the students in high school yet?"
"Started just now, we should be seeing the first graduations end of next year. Michelle already has a short list of schools she's looking at. Calvin introduced the crank knitting machine to the prison where Michelle's mother is being held, she's working another six hours a day to make money."
"Did she have to pay for the other kids education?"
"Yep, no use favoring one and the others feeling left out just because it was her money the bitch was running through. Her cousin walked into the school one day, hugged the hell out of Michelle, told her it wasn't her fault her mother was a lying, useless bitch and tried paying off her schooling. Michelle refused to take her money, saying she could handle it herself. . .Calvin ended up having her teach classes."
Principal Madison snickers despite himself. "She just looked at Michelle and said that if she's anything like her and her father's family. . ."
"She's working not because she needs the money, she'd be bored to tears." President Bartlett rumbles. Josette nods.
"Due to be increased when the boys go out in a couple months for their show."
"Two more years after this one."
"Yep, I can't believe it's been nearly eighty years some days."
"And other days it feels like nearly eight hundred?" President Bartlett snorts.
"Due to be finished week after next. I can't believe it's nearly spring already. Winter flew by for all that it was miserable for all the damn storms."
Josette walks into the Albatross Nest. "Books are due to be finished week after next. Give them an extra week to be checked over."
"So three more weeks and I can schedule the last party." Agatha chuckles and checks the calendar, settling on a date and sending out the notice. "Can you come out tomorrow, it's an Amish day."
"I'll be here. Do we have enough of the fabric?"
"We've got ten bolts in every weight of both colors plus the thread, lace, and ribbons. They'll be at Sue's in the morning and here in the afternoon."
"And the yarn store in between."
Josette is at all three stores the next day, helping cut fabric, bring out bolts and other supplies from the back, measure the remnants, and whatever else needs to be done. The Amish women all smile at them and head off back to the fourth planet and their homes and families.
"How was it?"
"Good, it's probably the same as when we descend on Ellis's en masse." The others snicker but nod.
"Was any of that fabric from the fool woman sold?"
"Yes, they have four full bolts and a remnant in the bin." Josette says. "Everybody who had the room took at least one bolt. . .that reminds me." Walking into the front room she talks to Frances and Elaine. Who both nod.
"Making bolts of the fabric in the building."
"Yeah, I probably have blossoms to pick."
"Should be done in a couple months, we'll dye it in the building this summer." The others nod.
Josette shakes her head the next day when she sees all the fabric that needs to be picked. Sending out the call she soon has a half-dozen people coming in the door. "Oh dear lord." Agatha sighs.
"Yep. I'll pick and rack, you start bringing out the bolts and start cutting."
"Sounds good to me, bring down. . ." Agatha points to three rolls and Josette brings them down. "We'll see about others after we cut these."
"Ha. . ." Josette picks the rolls and sees they're ones they're getting low on. Agatha nods in satisfaction as Josette puts them in the openings, there's room for the partial rolls in front and when they're gone the new ones can be pulled into their places.
Josette shuts the door behind everybody, flying back to the school.
"Get everything done?" Principal Madison asks at dinner.
"Yes, we've got a few hundred bolts of fabric put up and I picked more rolls of fabric and yarn." Josette yawns. eeps, then disappears. "God damn retarded whore." She mutters when she returns. Principal Madison looks at her. "Some fool woman trying to get me investigated because I have to be hiding something illegal at the manor by not throwing massive parties to be seen. . .like she would have done." Snorts of disgust from everybody in both rooms. "Yeah, the old fool is wailing because now everybody's talking bad about her, because her Daddy didn't make his money legally back in the day. She's wailing everybody should be talking bad about me. . .not her."
"Serves the stupid woman right then." Professor Druid snorts.
Josette slides into her seat in the back room and points a fork at David. "I got some stuff from Eureka to look at after dinner." She disappears again and goes off on the stupid woman who comes after her with her nails and getting dragged off by the bailiff.
"Stupid bitch! If you don't like people talking bad about you maybe you shouldn't look your damn nose at others because they don't have to be the goddamn center of attention all the time like you do. Some people actually have lives of their own." The man at her own table snickers as Josette goes off on the stupid bitch.
"And leave her alone you miserable fool." The judge says icily. "Just because you want to be the center of attention doesn't mean the rest of the world does. Grow up. If people are talking bad about you it's because you're a damn fool."
Josette checks on the b and b houses and watches in satisfaction as the stupid woman's family puts her in a home. . .they've had enough of her stupidity.
"That stupid bitch." Josette says when she returns back to Haven. "She tried suing me because it's my fault people were talking bad about her." Professor Druid says something scathing that would have had her mother cackling like a hyena while her father sighs. "Oh yes, the judge told the bitch off after she tried coming after me with her nails. . .after I got done telling the stupid bitch if she didn't like people talking bad about her. . .quit looking down her damn nose at everybody."
"That's never going to happen." President Bartlett snorts. His wife is frantically nodding because she's laughing too hard to speak. "Yes dear, I know DC was full of them."
"So was Hollyweird." Josette snorts. "Her family had enough and put her in a home. I checked on the b and b houses and came home."
"How are they doing?"
"Very well, most rooms are in use every night except during storms. Dumbass and his brother are wailing because they're not seeing any of the profits from the houses and the renewed businesses. They're huffing they could have done the same thing."
"Then why didn't they instead of trying to destroy the land?"
"Because they were looking for quick money, not honest money. Their names are mud in the business community and they're wailing. The damn realtors are wailing their lives are over because the government is making them stay with the papers they signed so they can't go after areas of land on Earth. People with brains are snorting and telling them serves them right."
"Did dumbass try getting back on the land after being in jail?"
"No, he just spent hours wailing by the security barrier that his life was over because all the experts agreed that his plans were pure shit and would never have passed code. And if people were paying the money he wanted for his masterpieces they wanted land to go with it."
"But if the houses come with land, we can't sell more houses." Alan mock-bleats. "I know that Calvin would have passed along the plans for a power facility if they had real plans."
"Hell, I'd have sold them a building if they had a real plan. Or leased them the building and boxes so I had money coming in monthly. But fucking morons plans are crap. . .they expected people to flock to them but there's no damn way to make money in the dimension. The other dimensions they sell what they grow or whatnot."
"Here every planet has a way to make money if they need to."
Josette uploads everything to the dorm's server after dinner and walks up to her quilting room where she grabs a quilt and lays the copied notes out, turning them into a real pattern as she works. Pat looks in the room and nods in satisfaction. "Got any more books done?"
"No, but I got about eight at the 'one quilt left, then I gotta finish them' stage. By the end of year after next I'll have eighteen ready to start printing."
"Then three more years shut and you'll be ready to print the rest."
"Yeah. It's going to seem weird not to have a backlog of books to debut in the other dimensions." Josette sighs. "But it's been eighty years."
"How are you going to handle books already out?"
"Ellis can contact me if they're running low. . .the retreat house can contact Calvin and I'll bring out books. Once we're not doing shows, the demand will drop dramatically." Pat nods.
"Show in Superhero dimension?"
"In a couple years, probably the year after we stop doing shows in Granda's dimension. Pat's looking at a place that can sell my books there." Pat nods.
Josette disappears and reappears a few seconds later. Sighing she looks at Pat and waves her to come along. "David, I need a tesseract to Jamestown." Once on the ship Josette splits off duplicates that fly to Quetzatlan and Vallejo.
"Oh dear lord." Pat moans as they land on a planet. Jamestown sends off a signal and container after container after container are loaded into buildings and onto the piers.
"What is all this?"
"Fabric, lace, ribbon, thread. . .stuff that would otherwise have been destroyed." Josette sighs. "And this isn't our only stop."
"Dear god. . .how much?" Pat asks when she sees there's no end to the containers in sight.
"Tons, literally. Think that one world where dumbass had all the factories making stuff but planets."
"People are fucking stupid?"
"I'd say so."
"This isn't our only stop."
A couple hundred years later Josette taps on the door of the Kent farm, Pa opening the door and Josette bringing bags out on the table and counters. Ma blinks and moans as she takes a bite of a ripe fresh peach.
"I was called offworld to a number of places . . .one of which was the planet that grows extra food to donate."
"Grow an extra row. . .we always did it on Earth." Pa says. Josette nods. "I picked up tons, I already delivered containers of food to the other planets, this is your share. I know Clark added a stasis room to the house for you." Pa nods and opens a door, Josette waving the bags into the room. "Tell me if you want any of this . . .stuff." Josette sends Ma a file and she moans. "Yeah, that was my first stop. I've got buildings full of little boxes that are in turn full of shipping containers. The recyclers couldn't touch this. . .planets that were nothing but recyclers couldn't make a dent in this. Not when they were dealing with other recycling." Nods from both Kents. "I'm seeing if Bronwen wants some of this shit. . .it's all stuff that can be made on Earth so. . ." Ma nods.
Alfred is moaning over the bags as they're split between the manor and the compound. This late in the winter the food is either already picked or not yet ripe. Josette passes along the file and Alfred sighs, Thomas and Bruce moan, and the boys just shake their heads as they empty bags.
Agatha, Sue, and the others shake their heads and cuss at the pictures of everything. "Yeah, I know." Josette snorts. "Earth wasn't the only planet to make stuff just to make stuff."
Josette slides into her usual seat at the government building. "Okay, got a question for you."
The others look at Josette. "Is there any interest in expanding the offworld coffee plantations?"
Principal Madison makes a 'hmmm' sound and brings up the files. "It's been a few years. Are the tea plantations growing?"
"Yes, they usually add a new row or two of plants every few years. Both to replace bushes that have died off and to expand it."
"Are you going off?"
"Yeah, I'm going to be attending a few expos in Calvin's dimension and bringing out another load of trees. Or two. . ."
"Or three?" Doc asks dryly.
"Granda's been in talks with the Amish woodworkers to buy furniture and sell it at the school along with quilts and stuff." The others nod in satisfaction, it's good money for the Amish.
Bronwen moans as she sees the file of everything Josette sends her. "Ohhh yes, a planet full of recyclers couldn't handle all that. I have the feeling every damn factory on multiple planets was working decades for all this crap."
"Probably. . .though I'd say more like centuries." Bronwen sighs. "I don't need any right now but I will later this year." She nods and heads off.
Josette returns to Haven several weeks later her time. "Okay, went to the expos, did a little shopping. . .people with some damn sense are working on malls and other properties to bring in businesses."
"About damn time." President Bartlett rumbles. "That's why Calvin's mall took off, he did a lot of work. . .had a lot of events. . ."
"Actually did something to bring in customers and stores." Josette snorts. "Cynic in me says the zero-population period was just an excuse for them not to work to bring in businesses."
"Yes, because we've been doing it for years." Principal Madison snorts. "Are people still whining about you being able to keep your land?"
"Of fucking course." Josette snorts. "Some stupid bitch with a car full of stuff she 'claimed' wasn't what it was tried getting on the land to talk to me. . .she's in prison for the rest of her life because she's got a history of 'talking' to people who ended up dead after she left." President Bartlett snorts. "She in turn turned on the people who hired her. . .surprise surprise it was the damn realtors and that fool asshole with the house designs. If I left them my land they weren't stealing it, were they? Of course they're trying to claim they have no idea what she's talking about but nobody believes them. She's got too much proof. They're going to be going away for years. . .and not to club fed."
"Need to weed a few dozen idiots out." Principal Madison says sourly.
"More like a few million idiots." Josette says before opening a bottle of Haven Dew, drinking some and covering her mouth as a rumbling belch comes out. "Ohhhh, I talked to Granda who heard from Superhero Doc. . .The girl is being sent to the medium security dimension out there to pay off her funeral bill and whatnot. As big as she is the morticians told the prison she'll probably need two burial plots. Once she's out of the medium security dimension they'll know for sure. The prison also wants her to put money away in a fund. . ."
"She gets a certain amount of money for the commissary every week or every other week?" Josette nods. "Because no matter what how much the bleeding heart advocates blubber, neither her sister or her aunt are going to send her money. Even then. . .she still will be kept on a strict diet and won't be able to buy all the shit she wants at the commissary."
"No use losing all that weight just to let the fool girl put it back on again. Because she's the type of user who would go right back to her bad behavior."
"Yep. . .the fool doesn't want to admit she's the problem."
Josette chuckles nastily. "Hell would be surrounded by all the food she wants but being unable to eat."
Nods from the others.
Maddy wails as she is shoved into a room barely big enough to turn around in. . .even here she has to sleep on the floor. She thought this would be better than the prison, yes she's got to work but she's out of that cell. A large collar is around her neck and if she steps out of line she'll be getting a massive electrical jolt.
Seven centuries later for her she's led out of the work dimension, blubbering as she's led back into the prison and to her cell where new prison uniforms are waiting for her. "Get dressed and get to work Daniels."
A large file is sent to her Aunt's e-mail and after making sure it's nothing bad she opens the file and laughs. "Natalie, your sister was sent off to the medium security dimension, she spent centuries there to pay for her funeral. She's actually thin now. . ."
"And absolutely miserable?" Natalie snorts. She looks at the pictures. "Oh dear god, I don't think I've ever seen Maddy weigh less than four hundred pounds."
"Neither have I. . .she won't need a special-made casket and be buried in two graves now." Marilyn snorts. "I'm sure the doctors are happy with her weight loss."
"And she's miserable about it. Serves the little shit right." Natalie snorts. She walks back to the table set up in her aunt's office and settles back to work on the 'stuff' she'd been working on to earn the paycheck she's getting from her grandparents company.
Josette laughs and shows off the before and after pictures of the fool girl to the others who shake their heads. "That fool girl would have died in her twenties of a heart attack or stroke." Dr. Hazlitt sighs. Doc nods.
"Yep, the doctors gave her a clean bill of health and she's miserable because now she realizes she's got sixty to seventy years of working two or three jobs behind bars and still having to finish school. No early retirement for her, the only way the prison would make her stop working was if she was really badly hurt, had a major medical event, or death."
"Serves the little brat right."
"Oh yes, and she can't use her weight against the other prisoners now. . .she could have suffocated people in her fat folds. . .now she's getting her ass beaten by the others and wailing about how can people be so mean to her. . .not realizing . . .or caring this is what she put the older girl through."
"Of course not, thinking about other people would make her a grown-up, she's a stupid selfish brat."
Professor Druid is looking off into space. "Katrina?"
"I'm wondering if she wasn't like the Blob."
"What. . .a mutant? Possible, because she was getting around pretty well even with all that weight." Principal Madison actually thinks a moment. "I don't know what health problems she had aside from sores and infections. . .but actually bathing took care of that."
"And anybody else weighing that much would be bedridden." Dr. Hazlitt says. "Once the prison made her be active instead of letting her sit on her ass all day she was walking around without getting out of breath. . unlike when her parents let her sit on her ass all day."
"Which is another tick in the 'she might be a mutant' slot. But losing all that weight is a tick in the 'she's not a mutant' slot."
"Yes, I remember Josette telling us about a comic where most mutants lost their powers and he was one of them, having to have surgery to remove all the stretched skin left over from his weight loss."
Josette walks onto Quetzatlan with Agatha, Sue, Frances, Elaine, and Pat, bringing out a box and then three containers, sorting out stuff with them and moving stuff into subspace. Josette delivers everything and takes her own batches to both her workrooms.
"How was it?" Principal Madison asks at he finds them opening containers in the textiles room.
"If all the boxes in the buildings are as full as the one Josette opened for us and if each container is as full . . .they must have been making stuff for centuries." Frances says. Elaine nods. "I don't know what Josette plans on doing with all the containers. She's got hundreds of thousands of boxes and each box holds. . ."
"a shitload of containers?"
"Josette, the containers?"
"I could drop them back off to be recycled on the planets or do it myself. Probably the second because it will take us just as long to empty them as it probably took them to fill them in the first place."
"Have you thought that . . ."
"Humanity is fucking stupid everywhere and I'm nothing more than the cosmic garbage man? Oh yes. But even garbage has it's uses." Josette sighs. "We should be able to plant in a couple weeks."
A couple weeks later true to her words Josette tills the manure under and a couple days later plants the fields and garden. Alfred looks at the list of materials he needs and sends it off, Josette grinning and taking him off to the ship. He looks over all the fabrics and other materials, filling the wagon. He looks at some more almost longingly. Josette chuckles. "I can put anything else you want in subspace. And we got room in the wagon yet."
Alfred gets several more items and she takes the wagon and flyer back to Wayne Manor, the boys unloading everything under Alfred's calm gaze as Josette flies off. Over the next couple of days others contact Josette about picking some stuff up, Ma and the others on the 9th planet smiling at the new workrooms. Pat shakes her head at Doc's assertion that they could put one up for her on the 10th planet, telling him she didn't need one. . .yet.
"Neither did I but now look at me." Josette snorts as she flies back to the dorm and moving everything to the 10th planet for Pat.
"Is the new growing building. . ."
"Things are ripening everyday." Josette says. "which is nice considering everybody's running low on the canned food from this winter." Josette leans against the open window and takes a deep lungful of fresh air.
"Josette, Doc wants you in Superhero dimension." David yells.
"Huh, wonder what's up?"
"Anything important?" They ask when she comes back.
"Special fundraiser for alumna from Hamberg. I spent a few days in Vegas after the party." The others snigger at the smirk on her face. "I showed off the stuff I picked up from the other planets, they agree that humanity is stupid no matter what and that I won't go through all that for centuries. They really didn't want to agree that I'm a cosmic garbageman but. . ." Josette shrugs. "It has to be done. Ohhhh, Mara's a Kryptonian god."
The others blink and laugh. "Well, now you know why you inheriting the family gifts was more important than it seemed."
"Yeah, my family. . ." She shakes her head.
Josette leans back in her chair, Abby snorting as she keeps the chair from falling over backwards until she straightens up. "What plans do we have for this summer? Besides the boys show in a couple months."
"Nothing much, how are you on degrees?"
"Finished the Metallurgy masters last year along with a degree on plane wrecks from the Naval Academy. This year I should be finishing the degree on subs in war. . .one of them anyway. Starting the last degree on the Titanic. I'm going to be three out of twelve degrees on the comic code hoopla, right now . . ." Josette 'looks' to the course catalog in her mind. "I should have one or two more degrees about companies that went out before we get to the actual nitty gritty about the code."
Josette guffaws a few days later, looking at the front room from where she'd been eating and looking over the latest databursts.
"The morons who were trying to tell us how to run Haven are coming out of hiding on Granda's world. . .trying to tell the colony dimension they need cars, cell phones, all the buildings need to be torn down. . .some fool doesn't like how they farm. . ."
"Oh dear lord."
"Yeah. . .the colonists are telling them to shove it up their ass, their colony has been going *how* long without all that shit? Morons are trying to get them declared incompetent so *they* can take over the colony and run it the way they want. They ran off wailing when their case was thrown out of court and they were told to grow up."
"And the other area?"
"Wailing about how hard life is on a colony. . .they don't wike having to cook and heat their homes with shit." The others lips twitch. "It's a long hike from the outhouse to the house. . .why do they have to cook their own food, where's the little people who will cook and clean for them? The first winter was a fluke, I expect to see some deaths this year. . .they told people to get in extra supplies because this was going to be a bad winter. . ."
"And they didn't."
"No, no doubt last year they spent the whole winter wailing about how hard life was and only got up when they had to add another shit brick to the fire or get something to eat."
"Wailing about having to grow their own food?"
"Oh dear god yes, nobody grows their own food anymore."
"Bullcrap, even on Calvin's Earth there were many families with gardens."
"Yep, they wailed that weren't community gardens just for show? People actually ate food grown in the ground?"
Moans from the others.
"Well we all know there's morons who can't believe food doesn't magically appear at the factory." Professor Parker snorts. The others nod.
The next couple databursts find the morons wailing to anybody they can that they need all those things in the colony dimension and getting ignored like the morons they are. They finally walk off pouting after proclaiming they're going to build their own colony. . .a better colony.
"Don't those morons ever learn?" David sighs.
"Nope. So many fools think they need all this crap."
Ma shakes her head as she finds Clark and Kara installing something in a room. A room that hadn't been part of the farm. Josette is outside bringing stuff out of a container.
"Whoa. . ." she says when the replicator immediately starts humming at full power.
"Yours weren't full power immediately?" Kara asks.
"No, even with the solar panels and shooting garbage it took a few months before it reached the replicate anything level. you could tell the difference when the alternate power was installed and it had a steady source of power."
Kara grins at a small box.
"Hhhhhoooooo-kay, maybe I'll get around to bringing one of mine out then." Josette sighs. "I'd been planning on adding a bedroom and replicator to the cabin workroom."
"I'm still taking in the recycling, it's another excuse to get out of the house."
"And if you're like us, you can fill a bag every other week? Just as easy to toss it in the replicator here as it is in town."
"About three weeks for all that there's two of us."
Both Ma's are flew out to the ships, going through the containers. They shake their heads when they realize just how much stuff Josette must have brought back. They fill the wagons and Clark and Kara fly them back to their homes.
"Okay, we've tabled this before. . ." Josette says at the next government meeting. "Factory for animal food."
"We don't need one. . ." President Bartlett says slowly, the others nodding. "We can replicate bags at the large-scale replicator just as easily."
Josette nods. "Or bring it in among the other supplies." The others nod. "Okay, we'll table it again. Okay, the growing area in the administration building?"
"Going well. . ." Principal Madison's voice trails off as Josette disappears.
"God damn retarded sacks of shit." Josette is swearing when she returns. "Some asswipes who didn't get arrested in the attempt to steal my land decided to get drunk and stupider and swore that since they couldn't have my land I shouldn't be able to either."
"Oh dear lord." President Bartlett sighs. "Yep, drunk and stupider decided to start a fire. . .all my trees and whatnot would be burned up since fire trucks couldn't get on the land to put out the fire. That would show me. Unfortunately for dumbassholes, the shields stopped the fire and they couldn't get it put out when it turned around. They're wailing in the medium security dimension to pay for all the damages for the fire stations and everybody whose land or buildings were damaged or destroyed. Then they're going to be going to prison for the rest of their lives. Because their little fit destroyed over one hundred fifty thousand acres, eight thousand homes because entire towns were wiped out, and killed a hundred twenty-five people when busses that were full of evacuees was overrun by the fire. And they've still got a list of missing people that they don't expect to find alive." Josette shakes her head. "A bunch of them had just voted to dissolve their fire stations they shared with others because they didn't think they needed them, this proves they made a mistake in that. . .if they'd had the fire stations, they might have been able to save some of the homes."
"Serves them right then." Principal Madison snorts. "Yes, the morons are still wailing that only that evil person who wouldn't kiss their asses land should have been destroyed. They didn't mean to hurt anybody else." Josette rubs her eyes, mock boohoohooing. "Oh David, there's a massive update coming for the computers from Granda's dimension, he's going to have it ready for us when we go out in a couple days for the boys show."
"A lot of books about the goddamn whining nonsense of fools like these. I expect more books after this nonsense. Sosh and other degrees. A shitload of new degrees from the comic book school. . .sosh degrees. One of 'actual things that happened in the comics'. They're talking about stuff like concentration camps, HIV, AIDS, child abuse, spouse abuse, alcoholism, mental illness. . ."
"What were you mumbling about the other night?"
"I found out the degrees I was taking are just the tip of the damn iceberg. Case in point. . .plane crashes. . .it's not four or five degrees. . .it's fifteen. The more. . .intensive ones were hidden on the servers until I got to a certain spot." Sniggering from everybody but Doc, his lips are twitching. "The degree on concentration camps is 21 degrees, there's about five degrees talking about each kind then individual degrees on more famous camps. And yes, that includes prisoner of war camps but no, I don't think it includes Hogan's Heroes." David is snickering.
They head out for the show. Josette settles in to sign the books and the talk between the art is aaaalllllll about the asshats whining in jail that they shouldn't be punished for being drunk and stupid and trying to destroy property because people would kiss their asses.
"But everybody's talking bad about me." One of them blubbers in a 'court' hearing in the medium security dimension.
"And you deserve it you little shit."
"But why aren't you punishing her? It was her shields that sent the fire off in other directions."
"And it was you setting the fire in the first place that caused the shield to send it off in other directions."