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Plotting Plots

Posted on Sun Feb 9th, 2020 @ 7:00pm by Ensign Jane Sinclair & Erich Kirkland (Ret.)

Mission: Between the Pages
Location: Golovin Colony
Timeline: Between “Safe Return” and “Temporal Knowledge, Part Three”

Jane Sinclair had done all the work. She had detailed plans -- on paper, no less -- and examined what legal documentation was available to her regarding how the Golovin Colony worked. She had been aboard the Shanghai for some time, and spent a lot of it planetside. She had thought long and hard about getting this just right, and she was confident that her approach would work.

And so, dressed in a nice floral printed dress and comfortable black wedges, she waited on the roof landing pad of the Golovin Colony administrative building for her meeting with Mr. Kirkland.

"I hope you haven't been waiting long," Erich said as soon as he saw her. He gave her a warm smile as he approached. He chuckled. "My daughter likes to tell me that I'm never late, I always arrive precisely when I mean to." He stopped in front of her. "So," he said, standing with hands clasped behind his back. "Where are we off to?"

“You’ll see,” Jane answered. She gestured into the hatch of the shuttlepod. “It isn’t far though. After you.”

"I did skim over the details earlier," he said as he climbed into the shuttlepod. "Not the specifics, mind you." He settled himself in the co-pilot's seat and made himself comfortable. "Just your preliminary proposal."

Jane strapped herself into the pilot's seat and closed the hatch. "By the way, I'm recommending to the Captain that this shuttlepod and a few others be transferred over to civilian control. We're getting a new batch from Starfleet Command in the next few days." At a light touch of Jane's fingers, the shuttle lifted from the pad and began taking its passengers to the outskirts of the colony.

"That would be greatly appreciated," he said, nodding. "Golovin's been expanding lately. There's a bit of a waiting list for the use of the shuttles we have. Mostly, that falls on colony operations to prioritize." Erich looked around the cockpit before he looked over at Jane. "I flew a few times during the war myself. Necessary circumstances, I suppose."

"We do what we must," she agreed. "We're getting close. Ah, here it is." She slowed the engine and angled their shuttle downward so that the vista before them could be seen more easily.

Ahead of the shuttle was a large plot of unclaimed land. Most of the land was open, covered in tall grass that would need to be cut, or replaced with something else. A few trees helped break up the landscape. A river carved through the plot, a nice shade of clear blue, moving but not too fast.

"We're about two kilometers from the outermost building of the Golovin Colony proper," Jane explained. "The specific plot I'm looking at is a rectangle one kilometer wide and five hundred meters deep, with the beach along the river defining the Eastern border. Most of the land is fertile, and I have plans to make most of it available to the colony's farming community. The river itself will remain public, of course."

"A community farm? That's an interesting idea. I know some of the farmers have been talking about expanding past the current borders. Perhaps I can get them in touch with you?" he asked. "What other plans for the area are you proposing?"

“Well, I plan to put a house for myself there,” she replied, pointing to an area about fifty meters from the river edge. “Or about there, anyway. I need to figure out how high the river floods in the spring first. Next to it will be a building bigger than the house, to serve as my garage and workshop. I can’t be relying on Starfleet or colony resources for my personal tinkering hobbies anymore. I’m almost done the schematics for both the house and the garage.” She looked to Erich and smiled. “Shall I set us down?”

"Sure," Erich said as he looked out at the landscape. "It really is a nice piece of land. I'll have to tell those farmers they're going to have to come to you." He looked back over at Jane and grinned, a flash of white teeth amidst a mostly gray beard. "I didn't see you as the farmer type at all."

Jane kept her eyes on the landscape and her instruments as she set them down softly a bit away from the river. She couldn’t hide the flush of colour in her cheeks. “I’m more of a builder than a farmer,” she admitted, “but my grandparents had a farm on Proxima II. When I was a girl, I spent a lot of time helping in the fields. Though eventually Gran moved me from field work to fixing up the equipment. As for the farm here...I know someone who really wants to develop some land here. And I want to help the colony, and making land available, putting up some infrastructure to support food growth, that all just makes sense, Erich. Don’t you agree?” The shuttle landed, and Jane deactivated the engines, opened the hatch, and unbuckled herself.

Erich chuckled, noticing the blush. He had a daughter and chose not to comment or make a statement that would cause embarrassment. "Sure," he said, nodding as he unbuckled as well. "Infrastructure needs support, and a colony all the way out here can't rely entirely on shipments from off-world. Being self-sustaining, that's important for a colony to thrive."

The air by the river smelled clean and fresh. Only a couple of kilometers from rest of the colony, there was no sign of any pollutant at all. The river flowed into Shune Bay; Jane would need to see if Wale's homestead was at the river delta or a bit further out. A little boat for going up and down the stream might be a fun project early on, once the buildings were built.

She stood among the tall grass and began pointing to some specific parts of the plot. "House. Garage. Barn with everything the farm would need. I'm thinking a little transporter platform to facilitate the commute. But that might come later. If you approve the plan, I'll have a small team come and survey the land and come up with concrete development ideas." She leaned in closer to Erich. "Do me a favor though and don't tell them yet?"

"Oh, I won't," he reassured her, "But before it is approved, it needs to be laid out in detail before the council. More specifically, the operations part of it. As far as I know, someone else doesn't have their eye on it but I don't speak for the council... I'll arrange a meeting when we return. But I am in favor of your plans. It's a good start."

Jane nodded. “I understand. I’m thinking the actual farm specifics may take a while to develop. The soil needs to be surveyed thoroughly. But operationally, I can have a plan on your desk in the next two days. Most of it is drawn up already, I just need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. But yeah. Diagrams for where the buildings will go and their footprints. Layouts of necessary infrastructure, like for power and water. Timelines for construction. Initial soil surveys done from the air. All for council consideration within two days, unless Shanghai is pulled away, of course.”

"Of course," he said. Erich clasped his hands behind his back, looking out across the landscape. "It really is a nice area, isn't it? Here represents the potential we all have to put aside our differences and work together for the greater good. Unfortunately, the galaxy is full of conflict. I've been through two galactic wars. Both left devastation in their wake." He shielded his eyes with one hand as he looked across, not just the immediate area but beyond that. "Who knows, in a couple of decades we may be looking at an entire farming community settled in this area. The roots of that start here, with you." He took his hand down and turned to Jane with a smile.

“I’ve been fortunate not to have to fight, aside from a battle or two aboard Shanghai,” Jane said. “I remember Alpha Centauri being threatened but never attacked. Worst it did was cancel the Grand Prix for two years. I won the one before the War.” Jane grinned at the memory. Fast craft, perfectly responsive under her fingers. Holding up the trophy. Not the youngest to ever win it but among the youngest. Sharing the joy with mum, aunts, and cousins so close as to be sisters.

“Erich, you’re from Centauri, right?” she asked. “As it ever been attacked in your experience?” It was a bit of a double question, she knew. Erich was much older than her, and also had experienced two years of Jane’s future. And Jane also knew that devastating attacks, anything beyond a murder here or there, were basically unheard of. If he did remember something, it was likely he was remembering the thing she read about.

Erich turned towards her with a questioning look. He searched her face, perhaps looking for some sign as to why she brought this up so suddenly and out of the blue. "Can I ask why you brought this up?"

She bit her lip as she considered carefully her next words. "Concern," she finally said. "Fear for my home and those I love, brought upon suddenly by extenuating circumstances that I'd prefer not to get into."

"Ah," he said, nodding once. He had a feeling. He wasn't telepathic by any means but in his previous career as both chaplain and counselor, he knew when someone was directing a conversation. "Would you like to talk about it? It's quiet and open here."

She took a deep breath. The cool and crisp air filled her lungs and she knew with utmost certainty that she would make this place her home. But that didn’t take away the pain of her burden of knowledge. “What would you do if you knew something bad will happen, or that someone you loved will get hurt, but you couldn’t stop it?”

"It's only natural to want to protect those we love. To shelter them from a cruel and harsh galaxy," Erich said quietly. She didn't give him much to go on but he had an idea. He thought back to the Breen attack on Earth and his own loss. He hadn't the knowledge or foresight then to stop his wife from leaving the house that day. If he had, would he? The older man let out a sigh. "What you ask is a perfectly valid question, Jane. I could give you an answer if that was really what you wanted. But in my own experience? Death is the only inevitable thing in this galaxy and the one thing we are least prepared for."

Jane nodded. "I understand, but I would still like to hear your answer, please."

"I could give you an answer if that's what you really wanted," he repeated. Erich turned his head to look at her, reflecting on what she said. "But I'm not going to. Some things...some things perhaps are just meant to be. Don't reflect on what could have been, or worry about trying to stop something that may never come to be. Tell me, Jane..have you ever seen an old science fiction film called The Time Machine?"

"Once," she answered, with a smile. "Old science fiction is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. Mostly books, but that one I saw a few of the film adaptations." She wondered why he brought up an old movie, until she thought back to the story. "The protagonist's fiancée died no matter what he did, because if she didn't, he'd have no reason to make the time machine." She nodded sagely. "There are some things we just can't change."

Erich smiled and nodded. "I don't know what set your mind on this nor do I want to know. But my advice is to take each day as it is. Enjoy it. Spend time with those who mean the most to you because we never know when they might be taken from us."

“Good advice.” Jane looked around at the land she hoped would soon be hers. “Let’s get back in the air. I’ll bring you back to the admin building. Unless there’s something else you’ll want to see?”

He shook his head. "I've seen everything I need. I'll need to start preparations soon for receiving the Cyen so I better be heading back. Thank you, Jane. This was a wonderful trip."

She gave him a warm smile. “Thank you, Erich. For everything.” She gestured towards the open hatch of the shuttlepod. “After you.”

:OFF

Ensign Jane Sinclair
Chief Flight Control Officer, USS Shanghai

Erich Kirkland
Council Chairperson, Golovin Colony

 

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