In the After

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Before the Council and the Captains

The council room is on the security deck, at the very top of the ship so high-up that going off the side will kill you. Mickey is looking around his eyes are drinking on the deck. Toby is looking down he knows that information like this could be is very dangerous. We all know that tonight we might find ourselves in one of the rarely used cells.

The deck while being above the water line are sealed no windows or comfort to speak of. Cold steel walls so unlike the fake wood on the main desk and pods. The floor is metal to our feet echo as we are led down the long hall. I look at the doors we pass. Unlike most of the pods on the ship, these are rarely used and for good reason. Spending a week in 9x10 cell with no privileges not even a Tab to entertain yourself it’s enough for most people. A second offence means you walk the high deck, if you’re lucky the fall kills you if not die feeding the sharks.

“What’s gonna happen to us?” Mickey stutters the question his whole body is shaking.

“We haven’t broken any regulation.” Toby says in a tone so full of rage I worry he might see the wrong end of a guard's weapon.

The guards stop at the door most people who go through here are only seen again as they fell down the side of the ship. “You go in now.”

Mickey and Toby stay in their place rooted into the metal floor I look at them. “I’ll do all the talking.”

I lead them into the room. It’s not large like the meeting hall where everyone is on the same ground. Here there is a raised platform for the council and guards armed with guns not the Prods. Still, given the choice, I would rather be back on my deck not here.

The council is made of twelve people six men and six women each voted in or out of their seat every year. Each of them is the head of a vocation. My boss is here, he’s a thin man named Liam Rush. They look down on us a trio of dirty engineers one on the way to a full panic attack the other working himself into a fine rage and me cool and calm.

Jonah reads off from his Tab. “Delia Wicks, Michael DeMarco, and Tobias Jones you stand before the 55th council of Trygg Havn. You have may address the council.”

I look up the man and woman most of them are old like Gran, the years of wisdom etched into their skin. Clearing my throat, I start. “Our home is in great danger. The ocean Turbines are failing, it’s the reason that lights are failing and the automatic systems are slowing down.”

“We are aware of the failures young lady.” Council Woman Grace of the medical vocation says.

“Of course you are.” I say my tone, staying in the respectful range. “But, I wonder if this council knows that we have no way to repair the damage on the ship.”

The head of the council turns to Liam, the head of the engineering vocation, my boss. “Is this true Council man?”

He turns to us. “The inside of the turbine may be reprinted but if the colors are damaged, then what this girl says it's true.”

“I’ve seen them myself, councilman, their holes in the coils and we don’t the copper to repair them. We can buy some time with stainless steel, but within a few years they will fail to.”

An arrogant voice asks me. “You are young why should we listen to you.”

“What is your vocation Council man?”

He seems to be offended by the question. “I am the head of the agricultural Vocation.” Growers, they grow, harvest, and distribute all our food its one the most important jobs you could have. Also, it means that the councilman is a very important man.

I nod in respect to him. “An important job in knowing. But, that must mean that you know all about plants. If may be bold to ask?”

He smiles at my request. “Ask child.”

Pompous old fart. “What would you do if one of your crops was failing?”

“Naturally, I would try would try to keep it alive till we could cultivate enough seed to start over.”

“And if you had seed?”

His eye seems to cloud “Then that line would end never to be grown again on this ship.”

“Our turbines are your seed we only have them.”

The start to mutter to each other now I can’t hear the words, but the general tone is heavy with fear. I look at my companies Toby is still upset and Mickey is catatonic.

Liam looks at me. “If you are right and our turbines are failing how would go about fixing them?”

“I would replace the copper coils.”

“How?” A council woman ask.

My eye shift to the east in that direction about forty miles is dry land a place that no one in this room has seen since they were twelve at most. “These ships were meant to be out here, but there never meant to be cut off from land support.”

Jonah speaks in his deep voice. “There is no support on land, it’s ruled by savages now.”

“Yes, sir.” Now this is what I’ve been going over in my head the whole walk here. “I know that, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t spare parts anywhere. The original builders must have planned for this the parts we could be just sitting there waiting. All we need to do is find them and bring them back.”

(*)(*)(*)

“I knew this would happen.” Toby says, pacing the small room. After telling the council what needed to be done, we were rushed into a cell. The council was fighting amongst themselves. Mickey had a full out panic attach and is seated on the bed. I’m sitting in a far corner trying to collect a thought it’s not easy with Toby exploding.

“They’re scared to let them cool off.”

“COOL OFF!” Bad choice of words. He comes over to me kneeling down these fingers interlaced. “Dee, they could kill us.”

They could, but they, won’t they need us. “Toby, calm down.”

“It’s been hours.”

I close my eyes, willing myself out of this cell into a happy memory. Breathing in I smell the sea air. I’m on the recreation deck, I’m seven years old again life is perfect.

“What’s out there Gran.” I ask, leaning on the railing, looking to the East all I can see is water. But I know that beyond it there is another place, a place different my home.

Greene looks down at me, her long silver hair in braids. “The dry land that I was born on.”

“What’s it like?”

“It doesn’t move like the ship its solid and it comes on for miles so far that it takes a day to reach the end.”

“Wow.” Our ship is tall not long only a mile long it takes twenty minutes to reach the end. “Are there people like us there?”

Gran’s blue eyes cloud over and I see a tear forming. “There used to be.”

“What happen to them?”

She pulls my hand walking down the deck I see a tear in her eye as she says. “They died. The dry land is full of savage people now. People who aren’t like us.”

My eye stay on the east were dry land and the savage people are. “Have you ever met a Drylander?”

“No.”

“Then how do you know they’re savage?”

“Because I do,” She says getting down on her knees so that we’re at eye level. “Delia.” She takes my hand in her wrinkled ones. “There is nothing for us on dry land. We all we need is here.”

My mismatched eyes stay on the horizon line I feel it deep inside of me a pull to the east. I don’t know how I know it, but there is something on dry land that we need very badly.

(*)(*)(*)

It’s another hour before the guards come back they enter three of them. “Wicks, come with us.”

“Where are you taking her?” Toby demands.

“I’ll be fine.” I say over my shoulder.

“DEE!”

The guard pulls me out of the cell. “Toby just stay calm.”

They are walking me back into the council room this time the air is different it’s heavy with fear. And the council is going in their place is a woman's dark brown skin the color of creamy coffee is standing before me.

“Captain Barns.” I greet the woman. While the council has great authority they handle most of the criminal and civil matters on the ship, the captain has final say in everything. Also, present are captains of the other ships. There holograms are in shades of green.

The leader of the Great Hope, another woman says. “Delia Wicks you told your council that our home is in danger that the whole of our society is in danger.”

“I have and it’s true.” I look at every Screen making eye contact with at least one member of the council. “Our turbines and yours most likely are failing. They need to be replaced.

The Captain of the Iron Seat address me. “You also claim that the only solution is on dry land.” Iron Seat is a tough ship its primary function is the defense they make weapons and house the guard school. Every guard on any ship was trained there.

“Yes, sir.”

My Captain looks at me. “You know our way we cut all ties the land.”

“With respect Ma’am, this isn’t about some promise our grandparents made years ago. This about our survival if the turbines fail, we no power, the desalination systems will fail we’ll die.”

The Lucky Day’s Captain speaks next. “You want to go to Dryland find something that might not even be there and then what if you find it?”

“Great Hope must have a record of where any spare parts are stored if could see this information I would go dry land and find the part.”

While each is an entity of its own there certain specializes in keeping sheep. Trigg is known for its medical school, Great Hope is the information ship. They are rumored to have all the knowledge of the whole world stored on their giant servers.

Iron Seat they Pilots. They fly to me, take me and copper for coils back to the Riptide.” Riptide is where large scale production takes place any new part is made there shipped out on schedule delivery runs.

“You would go alone?” the Iron Captain asks.

“If I had to yes, but, a small team of Iron Seat guards would be helpful I would love protection.”

“Why would go at all?” The man ask me his hologram rippling the power is flickering again.

“I know what to look for.”

My Captain agrees. “This plan is dangerous and failure is an option but there is no back-up we all know what will happen if we fail.”

“Return Protocol?” I ask in awe. Before our grandparent cut the ties to dry land there was a plan to go back. Most people said is was myth that there never was planned and if there was we’d never use it. We are after all children of the sea now.



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