A Brief Colony History...

 

NOTE--Years are given in Mictlanian years, which are 1.365 Solar years. Dating is from Year 0, the year in which the colonists found themselves orbiting the planet which would become known as Mictlan.

Year 0:

The Ibn Battuta (the culmination of a multi-national scientific effort, and crewed by approximately a thousand men and women, most of them in LongSleep compartments) arrives in the Tau Ceti system and parks in orbit above the fourth planet. The planet is largely water, with two large land masses, one mostly in the northern hemisphere, the other nearly opposite and mostly in the southern hemisphere. Once it is determined that the planet is within acceptable Earth standards, the artificial intelligence that runs the ship--named "Ghost" by the crewmembers--awakens those in LongSleep. The first survey shuttle sent down returns with the surprising news: another intelligent race evolved here. The first ruins of the Miccail's civilization are found in the southwest corner of the continent in the northern hemisphere (though not in the southern hemisphere's continent), but there seem to be no surviving members of that race. Dating of the ruins shows that none are more recent than 1,000-1,500 local years.

Following established procedure, the crew of the Ibn Battuta sends a message back to Earth via tachyon packet impulse, letting them know where they are and what they have found.

There was no answer. For whatever reason, there would never be an answer.

Year 1:

Two bases are established on the planet's surface, and are rapidly growing, supplied from the Ibn Battuta stores via shuttlecraft. One of the two shuttles is beginning docking manuevers with the Ibn Battuta when a fuel relay bursts. The resulting wild acceleration slams the shuttle into the Ibn Battuta's drive units. The shuttle and drive units both explode, sending shrapnel flying, which holes the living quarters of Ibn Battuta in several places. Nearly everyone there dies in the next few seconds. The drive units are crippled, the Ibn Battuta is sent reeling from its geosynchronous orbit into an elliptical, tilted one. The other shuttle, which was already docked on the Ibn Battuta for repairs, is destroyed. On the ship, the remaining crewmembers work to save the ship's computer and its links to the small colony below--they manage to maintain power to the computer and some of the ship systems, though the ship remains airless and unrepairable. The crewmembers aboard Ibn Battuta do not live long, though Ghost continues to operate the crippled computer network.

On Mictlan, there remain some twenty four people on the two bases. The majority--six women and nine men--are located at the base in the southern hemisphere. The southern base stays in contact with their northern brethren and Ghost only for another ten months. A huge storm system slams into the southern continent during that winter; when it passes, all contact with the southern base is lost. It is never regained again.

At the northern base there are only nine people: four women, five men. Akiko Koda and Shigetomo Shimmura had already formed a relationship; Rebecca Allen and Guy Levin quickly became a couple as well, as do Maria Martinez and Antonio Santos. Gabriela Rusack, while a friend to some of them, never formed another sexual relationship--she had been involved with a woman who died on the ship, and remains celibate and deliberately childless (despite considerable and growing pressure from the others) for the rest of her life. Jean Delacroix and Robert Schmidt are temporarily left outside of any relationships.

The first children of the colony are born late this year, Kaitlen Allen-Levin and Shigetomo Koda-Shimmura.

Years 4 to 10:

Monogamy never particularly worked on Earth, where adultery is common--it doesn't work here, either, and it's much harder to hide... Rebecca Allen and Shigetomo Shimmura become lovers, and the pressure splits apart the Allen-Levin and Koda-Shimmura relationships. It's also obvious to the colonists that from a strictly biological point of view, monogamy dangerously limits their genetical diversity. A few point out that the storm of four years past may have destroyed only the southern colony's computer and radio links to the Ibn Battuta and that the people there could well be still alive: they argue that there is no need to do anything drastic, but as the months continue to go by without contact, their protests are increasingly weak. Gabriela steadfastly refuses to reproduce, but Robert and Jean are (unprotestingly, it should be noted) drawn into the task of survival.

Rebecca and Shigetomo have a child in Year 6. So do Akiko and Robert. The breeding program is put into the virtual hands of Ghost, whose holographic image can be transmitted down to the colony from Ibn Battuta whenever the ship's new orbit takes it overhead. This is not an easy decision, and there are many emotional, angry confrontations in succeeding years as the program solidifies. Still, they all realize that the next generation will find whatever arrangements they make 'normal'. Chemical birth control is impossible--the technology doesn't exist. The only effective birth control measures are barrier methods, and the production facilities for these are limited. It hardly matters--to allow humankind to survive, reproduction is paramount. With the continuing silence from Earth, for all the colonists know they may be the only remnants of their kind left anywhere.

Despite this, the four women of the first generation will produce only 15 progeny.

Year 11:

Gabriela becomes the first person to be shunned, ostensibly in punishment for her refusal to participate in the breeding program. This first shunning was for six months; afterward, she still refused--angrily--to participate.

Year 16:

The first of the third generation is born to Adari Koda-Shimmura: Tozo. Given the breeding program, it's obvious that the old method of naming children with the paired names of their mother and 'father' is ludicrous, given the fact that--without blood typing or DNA tests--the identity of the father is questionable in many cases. The birth of the Families is in the decision to give only the maternal name to the offspring of any union: children 'belong' to the mother alone, and to her extended family.

Year 21:

Gabriela is declared shunned once more, this time for establishing a relationship with a younger woman in the colony, Adari Koda-Shimmura. Gabriela is banished from the colony altogether, living apart from the rest on The Rock and having little to no contact with them. The rift between Gabriela and the others (with few exceptions) would never be closed.

Year 23:

A furious storm much like the one that struck the southern base rakes the settlement and six of the original nine colonists (Akiko, Maria, Jean, Robert, and Shigetomo) are killed, along with three of the second generation. The sudden population decrease is frightening. Any last remnants of the old social structure are swept away with the furious winds. The first of the Family compounds arises: the Koda clan builds what will eventually become the Koda-Schmidt compound. Long ago, the shuttles' lasers had carved out a series of interconnected caverns with several entrances in a large hill alongside the river--the hill was actually one large rock, much like Ayers' Rock in Australia. The Koda clan partioned out one cavern as their own; the other new Families quickly followed suit. Over the next several years, a complex series of buildings were erected: mostly underground, some above, but all connected to each other in a warren of passages.

Year 39-41:

A disease, evidently mutated from some Mictlanian virus, runs through the group, killing mostly those 8 or younger: the "Bloody Cough." The illness devastates the new fourth generation in particular, and leads to another drastic reduction in population. In the next few years, nearly everyone who shows the symptoms which gave the disease its name die. However, the virulence of the plague eventually lessens. Some who catch the Bloody Cough survive. Still, through succeeding generations, almost two of every five children born will succumb to this plague.

Year 50:

Kumar Allen-Levin and Kemeul Koda-Levin embark on an ocean voyage to reach the southern continent and find any survivors of the lost colony there. They are never heard from again.

Year 66:

The skeletonized body of the last of the original colonists, Gabriela Rusack, is found in her cabin several kilometers from The Rock.

Year 96:

The last of the second generation, Robert Allen-Delacroix, dies.

Year 101:

The well-preserved body of a Miccail mid-male is found in the bog near the Rock.


 

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