Tiberius: What's that you got there, cowboy?
Ray (Fidgeting with some currency): Hey Tiberius...Listen, I want you to connect with them Janneh City folks. I'm buying up all the land surrounding my piece of property.
Tiberius (Surprised): Wow. Didn't think you wanted anything to do with them after what we saw in Boulder.
Ray: I ain't stupid, Tiberius. All these small settlements...they don't have a chance when those Janneh City boys finally get their act together and start rolling out the cavalry, claiming these lawless lands. They will, and they won't be nice about it...that Drake, he doesn't play nice.
Tiberius (Bit confused, but nods): I don't know about all that, but alright, cowboy. I'll set up the link. You got the fees? I assume they're going to ask for the same as last time.
Ray (Hands over the currency): It's all there.
Ever since the Homesteads' opened up their store, the movement into the small settlement had begun steadily increasing, almost to the point where they would be someone coming from out of town nearly every day. Most of the travelers were from Frontier and Boulder, but every now and then, someone from a more distant town would show up. Tiberius had given some of the more frequent visitors from both Boulder and Frontier satellite com-devices, so every time they wanted to come down to Wildbank, they would let him know and he would tell them what to bring with them for trade.
Wildbank: that is what they were calling the small settlement full of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and whatever Tiberius was creating. Ray had bought all the adjacent lands around his original plot, and even though he had offered Tiberius to go half, he had respectfully declined. Ray was spending all his currency on fees for all the land he was buying, but secretly, Tiberius felt he was just throwing it away. The only way to mark you territory these days was with a gun and some ammunition - he could not ever visualize a day where there would be an operating central government.
Ray, however, thought otherwise. All these little settlements scattered across Haven were almost a carbon copy of each other; each run by a small time crook who had a few henchmen around him to scare the local population into submitting. In other words, not exactly fearful armies. Hans Drake, however, controlled the largest and most prosperous city in all of Haven - one which had a population in the millions and most of the Haven Republic's wealth. He was a greedy son of a $%&^!, and Ray was certain was already fantasizing about seizing and controlling power over Haven once more. He was not a young man, which gave him all the more reason to do things quicker, before his eventual death. He had no doubt in his mind that Drake was amassing an army to start rolling out of Janneh City and begin "reclaiming" the land belonging to the Haven Republic. When they do come, Ray would have all his legal documents in order - land officially signed off to him by Republic officials themselves.
While Ray was the owner of all the land that comprised of Wildbank and its immediate surroundings, Tiberius was the unofficial acting mayor. He had already allowed, with Ray's approval of course, for a few families to settle on the outskirts, and organized paid labor for the heads of the households on Ray's farms. Given Ray's fondness for keeping things legal with the Republic, he got Ray business licenses for his farming and fishing activities - Ray Food Co. and Ray Fisheries Co. He had quite a few people working for him on the farms and fishing in the river, and Ray insisted they all get official employment contracts notarized by Republic officials.
It was not only Wildbank that was developing, however - news out of Frontier and Boulder suggested more trade activity than ever before. It seemed for the first time since the end of the Great War, people were venturing outside their habitats and exploring their surroundings. Currency was being exchanged at a greater rate, re-discoveries were more common, and lots of the olden machineries and equipment was being fixed to work again. In Frontier, for example, Benstrike had fixed up a primitive cement mixer and was constructing a new town hall using the product. Not only that, but he was selling it at a premium to outside traders who were interested in the product. It seemed, finally, the human race on Haven was ready to put the hardships of the last 30 years behind them and begin the process of rebuilding.
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