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This book is a take off on 'captains courageous' set in space. It is intended for upper children to adults.
People on the planet were not used to space ships, but they were familiar enough with them to recognize the trail that one left in the sky. All the people of the village came out of their houses at the sound and stayed to watch the sight. Even a normal ship left a mark across the sky is it descended this one left an ugly scar.
When the ship trail went over the hill and was no longer visible all the important men of the village mounted their horses and rode off, leaving instructions for others to bring wagons. It was obvious that the ship was in trouble and any passengers might need help.
They came over the hill and saw the scar that the ship had left in the forest and once they had descended further saw the ship itself. They came up to the ship and rode around it. All the doors to the ship were closed, but as they discussed it they decided that this was logical as the ship itself was too hot to approach. They waited, and eventually the wagons came over the hill and join them.
The computer had set many precautions against destruction in the landing. One of these was an instruction sent out to each of the doors not to open until they sensed a safe temperature and atmosphere on the outside of the ship. The doors were not able to process instructions much more complex than this, and the computer itself and been fatally damaged in the landing, and so the doors patiently waited until the temperature outside fell within the parameters it had been given. Then they silently opened.
“Look, the doors are opening.” Several men who had been designated to the task pressed forward. These did not include either the doctor or the minister, as it felt the first of these was too valuable to risk immediately, and the second would be unneeded in any situation calling for a hurry. So instead men were sent in to would be capable of bringing out any survivors, to the area that had been provided for them outside.
The men had been inside only a few seconds, when one of them came out calling to the crowd “there are six of them, one of them has had his legs cut off, there all burnt, but it looks like they’ll do OK.”
Soon the men had all the passengers out and into the wagons. The Doctor had looked them over and was staying with the man with the amputated legs, but even in his case said that the Medical Care already provided was almost certainly sufficient. The wagons rode slowly with their injured passengers and so the meeting was already well in progress when they arrived and the passengers were carried in.
“As you all know, there he is no regular passenger service, or even any regular spaceship service to this planet. We can’t really expect another ship for least two years, and even then they probably wouldn’t want to take these passengers. So we need to find permanent homes for them, or at least plan that the homes will be permanent.” The mayor looked out over the crowd.
“I had asked Joe to go over the passenger records, they each wear them around their necks, and tell us who we have.”
“There are five passengers and one crew. The crew member is an adult male 25 years old. He was in excellent health until he had his lower legs chopped off in this accident. Then there is a widow and her infant. Then an older couple, well past childbearing age, and a young man of about 15 not related to them.” Joe sat down and the mayor stood up again.
“So, who is able to take some of these people into their home?”
The audience all looked at each other for a minute, then a young man on one side of the hall stood up. Next to him sat three young children. “If Joe is sure that that one is a widow, and if the preacher is willing, I will take the young lady and her child into my home.”
Everyone looked at the preacher. “Well, she has no father, and we all know you were good husband before Sarah died. And we know that you have kids that need a new ma. I guess if it’s OK with the mayor, it’s OK with me.”
“Well, that’s two of them settled. Who’s next?”
There was a pause, and some whispered conversations, and then another young man from the other side of the hall rose up. “As you all know, my folks, and Becky’s folks, are both dead. We’d like to take the older couple. If they recover OK, they would have plenty to do in our house.”
Everyone laughed at this, as this couple had been extremely fertile and, only having been married 10 years already had eight children.
“This is going just great,” the mayor said. “We only have two to go.”
However these next two seemed to be more problematic. The crowd whispered to each other for quite a while. Finally after one particularly intense conversation, an older man the middle of the crowd stood up. “Joe, that man with his legs cut off, is he married?”
Joe rose to his feet, “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything about that. No, he’s not married.”
“Well, we talked about it, and it would be awkward, and it’s quite a step. But seeing is a no one else is stepping forward, and seeing as how I have no sons, if the preacher is willing again…”
The preacher stood up, “Well Joseph, you’re asking us all to go out on quite a limb. We know nothing of this boy, this man.”
“I know that preacher, but I also know he needs a home. The good Lord has brought him unto us, and not in a condition to do most of the jobs around here. But if he worked on a spaceship then we know he’s literate and will know his numbers. And the store is about the most important place around here for numbers and literacy, that or being a teacher, and I don’t see the teacher needing an assistant anytime soon.”
“But your daughter?”
“Well, yes, that’s the rub. But he’s going to need a wife regardless. We can’t have anyone his age running around without a wife… Even if he can’t run. The good book says that a man needs a wife. And the good Lord has brought this man crashing down from the sky. I talked to my wife, and we’re agreed. It’s a step, but I think it’s a step in faith.”
The preacher stood for a minute lost in thought and then he looked up at the mayor. The mayor nodded imperceptively and the preacher turned back to Joseph. “Very well, unless anyone else has an objection.”
“Well, that was hard, but we’re still doing good. We only have one more to go. And I don’t see quite why that one is taking so long. Tis a fifteen year old boy. He looks a bit weak, but that’s to be expected in anyone rich enough to fly around in spaceships as a passenger. He should toughen up quick enough. What’s the problem?”
One of the men stood up, “Well, Mr. Mayor, the problem is this. The boy is already fifteen years old. That’s not quite old enough to marry right away for sure, like Joseph did… and a brave man he is too… but at the same time, well, all of us here have daughters in the house, like you do yourself. Older daughters. It doesn’t seem wise to be bringing an unknown boy that age into the house. We know what some of them others are like. Not God fearing, and not respecting a man’s property either.”
“Well, it’s good of you to reason it out like that. I hadn’t thought all of that through.”
There was a pause while they all digested this, and then a man in the back of the hall stood up, “Mr. Mayor, If I may.”
“Your honor, what about the Transons? They probably didn’t see the spaceship land, being on that side of town. You know, they have those seven boys. And they live way out of town. One more boy would be easy for them, and there would be no girls to… create temptation, if the young man is tempted thataway.”
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