Chapter 4:

Nemo Wars(NW) - Entry 4 - The People

Further Tales From The UnderCurrent (Short Story Prequel Series)

Entry 4; 13-07-TA424

Been a bit since I last wrote one of these, almost wasn't going to but here we are I guess. 
Not sure who this 'we' is mind you...

See I started writing because, well I just felt like it but once I described the forest, the town and how I got here - That was kind of everything really, sounds pretty pathetic right?

I mean I could write about life as a pilot, about the battles I've been in but really what's there to say? I mean sure I've seen some crazy shite out there but none of it was to do with me - I've watched those 'Casnel' yokes fly across space like a missile and destroy hundreds of mecha in these amazing light-show battles, anything I've done as part of the rank & file can hardly compare.

Damn, I'd be a terrible grandparent wouldn't I? I mean your meant to be good at telling war stories to grandchildren right, not that I would want kids, but ya know.

As for my childhood, well it was normal enough I guess - My parents fought alot, well really one shouted at the other most of the time but whose parents don't do a bit of that? Well that's if you've even got two these days.
School was normal I suppose, I used to be pretty middle of the road on all my tests, nothing speical. Got into my fair bit of trouble mind you, smoking, drinking, skipping class - Usual stuff for teenagers that age, the army straightened all that out of me before I was even twenty.

I've had my fair share of lovers too, ya know what they say about sailors; 'He's got a Bird in Every Port' - But no particularly serious relationships so to speak.

It all seems so mundane to try and write about, I mean what's there to say?
I was a thug from a kinda' poor household, joined the army, had my fair share of vices - That's it, depressing.
But I keep feeling the urge to write stuff down, its a real pain honestly.

Maybe it's habit, all those years of writing reports as a soldier.
So that's what I've decided I'll do, write about the town, about this third life - It's better then nothing right?

I already explained about the physical place, the giant hexagonal dome hidden inside an abandoned Nation-Satellite, where-in lies this strange country-side picturesque town - So I guess the people would be the next thing to go over.

I mentioned that when I awoke there were two by my bedside, a Scar-faced man and a young girl with blood-red hair. Well since my recovery those two have become regulars I see often enough.
Scar-Face (I haven't asked his name and he's never given it, most call him 'Boss' for what it's worth) is a tall man in late 50s or 60s, his skin is tanned and he is completely bald. What else... Oh ya, he only has one arm, the other is just an empty sleeve - Doesn't seem he was born that way either.

Wherever you see Scar-Face you also see the girl, she did introduce herself - 'Tamai'.
That's all, people don't seem to bother with second names it seems.
Like I said Tamai has this deep blood red hair that she wears quite long. She's around 9 I think, pretty short all considered but something strange about her is her walk. 

She walks like an adult if that makes any sense, talks like one two.

Tamai is also the girl who this town seems to be for.
See I've come to some conclusions on this place and I think this little girl with her strange hair is at the centre of them.

I mentioned before the town's weird political system, it's 3 way - The town Elder has a vote, the town council made up of any adult who want's in with a limit of one from each family, has one vote and finally Tamai the last one.
Well see that ain't as unique as it maybe sounds - On Abhaile, you know that barren rock of dust we call a twin-planet, well over there used to be a similar system.

The King or Queen of Abhaile would hold one vote, a parliament of elected officials a second vote and a group of unelected experts in different fields & advisors to the king, held the third.
The idea is pretty simple as I understand it, none of the three parties can ever overrule the other two - Should the monarch go out of control, then the parliament and advisors could join together to temporarily seize power.
The philosophy is something about the parliament representing the emotions & feeling of the people at large, the advisors representing the hard cold facts & figures and the King being like a referee, picking compromises between the objective and the subjective - I think, I mean how should I know for sure, I've never even been to Abhaile that's just how it looks to me after some thinking...

The idea is to find a balance, to not ever let the extremes of emotions or the cruelty of numbers be in control - I've got to admit I find myself thinking about it alot, I guess it sort of fascinates me - My life has always been one or the other, following the whims of a tyrannical parent or the cold-hands of The States Union military and it's cynical pragmatism.

Of course that system doesn't exist anymore, most of Abhaile is under the occupation of TSU now and the Last king was executed at the end of the War - But here in the town the system seems to of been reborn.
I have more clues then just that mind you! 
Tamai herself being in the position of monarch makes me think she was perhaps some nobles daughter, maybe someone on Abhaile who realised they were losing the war and sent his family and most trusted soldiers to protect her - The royal family was systematically hunted down and exterminated after the war ended, well except for the Duke of Bannerman but he was a distant cousin of the king so that's different I guess?

And like the royal family, alot of noble families were wiped out too, so perhaps Tamai is the heir to one of those families.
The population backs this up too, there's a handful of kids and teenagers, a few more between the ages of twenty and thirty and then nothing until about fifty.

Like I really mean it, there is almost no-one between the ages of thirty and fifty - Loads of people older then that and like I said, some younger but almost none in-between.
Which if my theories right would make sense, after all if these refugees are soldiers sent to protect Tamai, along with those soldier's families - Then all the able-bodied men and women would of been away fighting in the war, leaving only older veteran fighters to come here.

It's been ten years or so since then, so those in their twenties now would of been kids when they first came here see?
That combined with their politics and the fact that clearly some of these people are former warriors and I reckon I'm onto something here.

Huh, now that I write it down that would actually mean Tamai must be a bit older then 9, she doesn't seem to have parents around, so she probably wasn't born here - I guess I should just ask, but that seems kind of weird.

I got brought in front of the council after I woke up proper and the doctor said I was well enough to move again.
Lots of the townsfolk had different opinions, some wanted me shot for safeties sake and I think I'd of suggested the same myself in their boots.

Others were happy for me to stay as long as I pulled my weight, did free labour until I'd payed off my Doctor's bill and then set up shop like everyone else as it were.

Tamai had a different view, I remember how weird it was seeing a little girl sitting at the end of this long-ass meeting table with a super serious expression on her face.
She believed I should be treated as a guest, that my being stuck in the town was hardly my fault and therefore I should be viewed as an honorary visitor.

It was looking like the Elder would get the casting vote between these different ideas but I jumped in myself before he could speak - I got some real dirty looks from those around the table for opening my mouth but I went on nonetheless.
Told 'em I didn't want no pity, that I would work off my debts like any other man. Said that if they didn't like that, they could shoot me there & then. 
I think that actually won me some respect which is something, I know for sure I caught a small smirk on both the Elder and Scar-Face mouths.

I was good to my word, did all sorts of work.
Helped with the lumber mill, cutting down trees, operating the log-saw and so on.
Obviously there was plenty work to be done in the fields and then there were lots of odd jobs around.

Money isn't really a thing, instead it's more like bartering. For helping on the mill I'd get room & board with the other workers and a promise of lumber should I ever get round to building something.
Help an old lady change a lightbulb or a fix a loose slate on someone's roof and you get a 'free' meal.
Farm work was interesting, sometimes the farmers would give you some of the produce and so I would find myself selling it in the open stalls at the market in the centre of town - Because all the main stalls have permanent owners you end up next to kids selling lemonade and that sort of crap. Still honest work for honest pay.

It's a bit mad really, with-in a couple of weeks or months I guess, I was offered land to build on - Can you believe that?
This place is large sure but ultimately the dome is a fixed wall, every house is one less field to farm and not just that. Back home to get on the property ladder was no small task and even if you did, your going to end up with mortgages and house-tax and all that - But these people just offered me some of their precious land with no strings attached.

And its not like I'm a 'friendly guy', I just did the jobs I could find around the place that's all.
But one way or another the people borderline insisted after a while that I should take them up on the offer - Before I knew it I was building a little place for myself, nothing huge a sort of wood-cabin on the outskirts of town, but a place of my own no less. 
People turned up unannounced during the process to help me with plumbing and electrics - It felt... it felt nice, being part of something.

Not like the army per-se, where everyone is obligated to get along to survive but instead these people just wanted to help me, simple because I had been polite and avoided causing trouble I guess?
And the speed! You wouldn't believe how much faster a house goes up when you aren't fighting for planning permission or eternally waiting for supplies and craftsmen to finally arrive.

And now I sit here, in my house that I built, inside the strange hidden town - Writing about it.
I don't know how to feel about it to be honest with you.
That's not to say I've gotten all buddy-buddy, I couldn't tell you the names of more then a dozen or so people but they all wave at me when I pass by, they all ask considerate questions like; 'How's that sink we put in working?' or 'You warm enough out there dear? I have some spare jumpers tucked away somewhere.' - That kind of crap.

And they've left me have it back... I guess that's the weirdest thing of all - Just yesterday Scar-Face told me that if I want to, I can rebuild a mech - He's checked apparently, and reckons that between the three that crashed we should have enough parts to fix atleast one of them, that I should have dibs on fixing them and then after that I can sell the remaining parts to the town, though Hell only knows what they could be used for.

So ya, tomorrow morning I'm going out of the dome to have a look at their condition, see which one is in the best state and drag it back - They've even loaned me an old tow-truck.

Tomorrow I get my mech back....