A Decent Land — Chapter Five (PREVIEW)
NOTE: This is merely the opening “introduction” section of Chapter Five. The full piece will publish soon, and act as a final part to the ongoing “Maian Tiger Trilogy”.
A Decent fortnight lasts — by our current calculations — for a further eight days than its cosmic counterpart. A week in space might seem asinine to measure, but we consider timekeeping vital to society. Throughout The Syndicate — a catch-all term for arkbound working classes — operatives rely on regular breaks from smog production (or whatever manual trade their family taught them). Even Office workers drift t’ward refreshments in their scheduled Hour of Sustenance, when rumours are conceived. Politicians need a clock to time their questions, and all is subtly synchronised by Right Side Eye.
Each morning, during the fortnight we remained about the hut, I sang a song of prayer to our mechanical deity. As the Captain of the first manned scout crew to finger the fjords of a prophesied paradise, I have concerns beyond societal minutiae. We lost a number of my people to the Maian Tiger, and all surviving science specialists are currently missing. Islā and my second-in-command have been invaluable; preparing salve to treat the injured, and leading the fit through hunting efforts.
We dine — for breakfast — on a leaf filled with scavenged nuts, provided by Leguminous Shrubberies amongst the trees; the garden of the chimps, with evidence of harvest. Many beans, peas and lentils seem to grow independently, together in a tangle of their vines. We hold loose leaves at an angle — pointing downwards — against our bottom lip, then we “drink” the solid contents. It’s a satisfying way to start the Maian day, though possum roast sustains us in the evening with meat.
Possums are — according to historical data — lowly marsupials. They swept the warmer climes of our forsaken planet, gliding with loose flaps of skin between the vegetation. Others wrapped their spotted tails ‘round supporting branches, to reach for seed and fruit beneath them, hanging from the bark.