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Richard Dawson and James Wilson sat at a wooden conference table in their makeshift meeting room. The desert’s chilled evening breeze came through the propped open windows, disturbing their stacks of charts and reports.

“We’ve done it, Richard. These reports are incredible. These people’s lives really have been changed!” James said while making a note on one of the many spread sheets scattered across their table. He coughed into a tissue, clearing his throat.

He tucked his kerchief in the pocket of his khaki pants, eagerly continuing, “We turned this little town completely around! We are ready to take this beyond Haven. Any one of those people would speak out on the behalf of Soil. The people couldn’t be happier. We have the town’s complete support. Every local government leader has signed Contracts. And this took almost no effort on our part! It’s time to step up our production and start making real change in the world! Not to mention the money we’ll make once we start charging companies for our supply to their employees!”

He glanced up in surprise at Richard’s silence. His hopefulness withered.

Richard’s withdrawn expression did not register the papers shifted at odd angles before him. His eyes fixed on the wedding band on his hand.

Sullen, James set aside his paperwork. He looked across the distance, set his jaw and tried to reach his friend.

“Richard, what that Resident did was just… It’s not your fault…”

Richard shocked awake from his stupor. He bristled at the mention of the incident, images flashing in his mind.

A young man, face down, in a pool of blood.

The angry buzz of the elevator’s inability to close, for the body’s obstruction.

The bewildered faces of the people surrounding him, searching Richard’s face for guidance.

That was absolutely our fault.” He leveled a tormented glare at James. “We settled. For our own ideas of success.” He shoved the papers off his desk in frustration.

“We have to be more, James.” His Hans More than this, for this to work. It’s about time we meet with your business connections.”

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