"Vince! Sandra! Break-time is over! Get in here now!"
The two children looked up at Ray with sad eyes and let out long sighs, no doubt trying to get him to sympathize. He smiled, signaled towards their mother, and raised his eyebrows slightly.
"Your mother wants you, and you have to hit the books! Don't worry, I'll still be here when you're done."
Joelle Driver, Tiberius' wife, had begun teaching the kids in their little village every day a few weeks back, educating them on the history of Haven and how it came to be, as well as important skills such as reading and writing. These days, it was a rare to find anyone with actual formal writing skills, and reading was almost a lost art. With fourteen children around, Joelle had made up her mind that this was going to be a fresh start in every aspect, and as much as the little ones moaned and groaned, the parents all agreed it would be a great idea to get them some basic education.
Given her husband's wizardry with technology, Tiberius managed to pull up some e-books on his last trip to Boulder, using the primitive but working satellite feed just outside the town to link up with the stored archives of Haven, probably stored on a database on one of the thousands of satellites orbiting around the planet. They had records of Haven's history and happenings, as well as bits and parts of Earth's history, and with no centralized protection system against such hacking in place (presumably all were destroyed during the Great War), Tiberius had a field day, gathering all types of manufacturing recipes, technological information, and even farming methods for his good friend Ray. He was careful not to bring any attention to himself, however, only accessing the satellite feed connector at night, and only for the nights he was in town so he wouldn't start getting questioned for lingering. It was during one of those hacking sessions that Tiberius got the recipe on how to build his own solar energy tower, something that would stimulate thousands more EP (Energy Particles) than their beat-up generator. Automatic irrigation systems would be possible, powering motors would be easy...the possibilities would be endless with more EP at his disposal. Tiberius had already started on his project, but it would take a bit of time since he was the only one with the technical expertise to be able to build such a tower.
Tiberius frequented Boulder because he could not go back to Frontier, and Bartlett and Vick Homestead would be shot on sight as traitors if they ever returned to that town. Instead, they did the opposite - they would head to Frontier, where no one knew who they were, to handle their trade and business. They had managed to capture the small herd of cattle (cows to be exact, whose origins on the planet, like horses, can be traced back to the original colonists who had brought the species with them), and were raising them. They were taking diary from them, and as soon as they were of a large enough herd to be able to handle losing a few of their healthier additions without stunting the growth of the herd, they were going to start selling the meat, too. Throw in a little fishing on the weekend, and the Homesteads were turning a nice, tidy profit every time they went into town.
As for Ray, he had his apple farm, which was coming along quite well, thanks to a little help from Tiberius. He had taught him the secrets of manual irrigation, which really blossomed the trees. Before Tiberius had told him what to do, a lot of his trees would simply wither away despite a good amount of rain falling. That was a sad part of life on Haven - no matter how much it rained, the ground was simply incapable of supporting life, it seemed. The space missiles had obliterated the planet, and not even rain and sun could bring plants to grow back, at least in most places.
While Tiberius would head to Boulder, and the Homesteads to Frontier, Ray would stay behind with the women and children as protection. He had no interest in going to either town - in fact, he was more than happy avoiding them all together. Once in a while, he would give a stock of fresh apples to either traveler, and they would come back having sold them all for a bit of currency, of which he would just place in his dresser and save up. It was a quiet sort of life; exactly the type of life he longed for.
Ray moaned - this was the third time this month the generator had died out and the power had gone off. Lucky it was still afternoon time and the sun was still out, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to see anything, let alone get to his front door. He stepped and looked towards the generator, waiting for Tiberius to get there from his home - this time, however, Tiberius had beaten him to the punch. He looked up at Ray, and signaled for Ray to come towards him.
Ray (Walking towards Tiberius): What went wrong this time? Overloaded again?
Tiberius (Smiling): Nope, I disconnected it.
R (Confused): Now why in the world would ya want to do that? Repair work? Didn't you just repair it two days ago?
T (Fidgeting with the generator): Cowboy, this here generator is never goin' to have to be turned on again. No more loud noises, no more break downs, no more expenses tryin' to keep this piece of junk running.
R (Silent for a few seconds, then smiles): You got your solar tower thing to work, didn't you?
T (Laughs): Well, we're about to find out! Come with me, ol' friend.
Tiberius had been working on what he called an EP Solar Tower for the better part of the last three months, slowly constructing it from absolutely nothing. Given how much power Tiberius claimed it could give out, Ray expected it to be larger, much larger than what was currently in front of him. Still, he knew better than to question Tiberius on these sort of things. He had claimed to Ray that once his tower began working at full capacity, it could give out enough EP to power Frontier and Boulder combined, and more importantly, open up a lot of possibilities in terms of development for the little village. He had told him about something called automatic irrigation, some kind of method where water would be forced to flow through a small underground network powered by EP, directly to his apple farm. Ray didn't mind the idea of expanding his farm, or even growing a new one, maybe banana or wheat. He didn't have the man power, but with that automatic irrigation, he would not need it.
Ray stood idly by Tiberius as he fidgeted, pulled, and plugged at what seemed like the central motherboard of the tower, down near its base. Finally, Tiberius got up and turned towards Ray.
T: You ready, cowboy?
R (Joking): How do I get ready? Is there some kind of ritual?
T (Noting to Ray that he had sensed his sarcasm): You'll be thankin' me soon enough.
Tiberius pushed the lever protruding from the side of the tower up, and Ray turned and looked towards his house, then smiled. His light was on.
Note: I didnt realize until after I posted the pictures that the gravel trial was missing in the 2nd picture. Dont know how that happened! Apologies, and I'll make sure to pay more attention next time