05-06 The Lost Ones

by Ernest Bywater

Tags: Drama, Politics, Workplace, Extra Sensory Perception, Royalty, Young Adult, Vignettes,

Desc: General Story: In March 2010 a clan is about to have its annual meeting of the whole clan when a disaster strikes that threats the clan's very survival. They have little to fight with, but fight with all they have - their courage and determination to survive as a clan. Will the lost ones be found?


Because of the very hard times under the generals much of the lands belonging to the clans of the now defunct tribes in northern and central Berant are no longer used or owned by them. Some is due to the clans ceasing to be, like the tribe they were part of. With no living owners the ownership goes to the King and is later handed onto various citizens to use and work as part of one of the various programs to rebuild the country. Some is because the clans sold the land to generate income they needed to rebuild their other properties. And some because they were sold to the government or King for various reasons of state. The end result is the lands owned by the clans become much less than they were prior to the time of the rebellion. The lands the clans do have are now much smaller or much less used.

New Home

In early March, 2010 the remaining members of one central Berant Clan are happy because some much needed new construction is nearing its finish. Many of the clan buildings and houses were destroyed during the rebellion. They'd been making do with the few that remained while they rebuilt the clan and its resources, like many of the surviving clans have done. For many years they didn't need a large residence to hold their annual clan meeting, because there weren't that many of them needing to attend. But now, over sixty years later, the clan has grown big enough to need a larger meeting residence. The year before last they approved constructing a new one. It's now nearing completion.

The first two stages are completed and are fully fitted out with hotel suite like accommodations for all the current adults with enough spare suites for many years to come. The adults in permanent residence have moved from the old building beside it while they're helping with the furniture and fittings of the rest of the building. The dining and cooking facilities are finished and fully fitted out while the work crews complete the large entertainment and recreation areas which include a large conference room. There's still some fit-out required in these areas.

The old residence is already being refitted to give the clan children more room to themselves and the old entertainment areas have been redesigned to more suit the needs of the clan's children. All the facilities are nearly empty, because only twenty adults and seventeen children live here at present. Soon the annual gathering will be held and the full clan will be present, all two hundred and twelve adults and ninety-four children. All the children, except the youngest babies, will live in the old residence as a group, to their great delight, and the adults will be living in the new residence with an enclosed walk way joining the two buildings that are only twenty-five metres apart.

The new residence has many modern conveniences, including a system to treat and recycle all the waste products. Water is used for drinking and washing then treated for use on gardens and in the toilets, the toilet wastes are then processed to be turned into fertiliser for use on the attached farmlands. New type solar panels are attached and provide the energy to power the new building, while the old building will be converted in a few months when enough new panels are available. The panels heat up the water and run the house during the day, they also charge new style batteries to store enough power to run everything flat out for a few days: to ensure there's enough power for the longest and coldest night. They also operate a new style heat exchange system to keep the house temperature level regardless of the outside weather.

To simplify access for maintenance and conserve on energy usage all the plant equipment is in the building basement under the conference and entertainment area; this is to minimise operating noises disturbing the sleeping residents. The whole new building has a basement under it, but it has a very strong dividing wall making two areas. Because the side under the sleeping area is used for the storage of family archives and heirlooms it's built like a huge safe and includes an alarmed three metre earth coffer-dam area between the two basements as well as the two strong reinforced cement walls of both basements.

The completed building makes the residence seem like a lower case 'h.' The long upright is the new building with four zones. When you face the building from the old residence the new adult sleeping area is on the left and takes up the full depth of the building for about half its length, in the middle and taking up about a third of the building is the full depth main entertainment and recreational area with the kitchen and dining area on the right taking up half the depth of the building, the area on the other side of the kitchen and dining area is the conference and meeting area, the plant basement is below the right hand section. The enclosed walkway leaves the middle of the central zone and goes into the top of the old residence, entering into the main recreational and entertainment area which is now set up for the children. Running back from that, and parallel to the adult sleeping area, is the children's sleeping area. This has a hall running the length of the building with a quarter of the building width on one side and the rest of the building on the other; there are thirty small rooms with en suites on the side nearest the adult's side and twenty-five medium sized dormitories on the other side of the hall; the small rooms used to be the adult sleeping quarters and haven't been refitted for the older children yet, so all the children are still sleeping in the dorms they're used to using until all the renovations are finished.

Due to delays in the delivery of the new energy management and recycling gear the work is late, so the building company has a lot of the installing work done by apprentices and checked by qualified senior staff who're fully trained in the new systems. The company owner is more of an accountant and landscape artist than a builder. The business has been in his family for several generations, but with the recent death of his father, uncle, and two brothers in a motor vehicle accident it's left him running everything until his sons and nephews and nieces obtain enough experience to take over. He's very reliant on the older senior staff for the building work quality at present.

March, 2010

The new residence is finished three weeks ahead of the annual clan meeting, there's still work to do in renovations for the old residence, but the Clan Father, Deebarlee, is happy all is now ready for the coming meeting. The regular adults have been living in the residential area and using the old kitchen for the last week while the meeting area and kitchen are finished. Clan Father is walking through the building with the company owner, Charles Barneal, and checking it over prior to signing for the completion of this stage. Rapidly moving about in front of them, and closely checking everything is perfect, are the four senior foremen. Each has a list of everything in his area of responsibility and is having a very close look at every fine detail, these men are extremely experienced and old in their trades; but they're all perfectionists and nothing gets passed by them unless perfectly correct, nothing.

Foreman Peter Markel comes up from the basement and is looking a bit red faced from climbing the stairs. Charles says, "I really must stop Peter from going up and down the stairs as fast as he does, he's no longer a twenty year old and isn't as fit as he was then."

Deebarlee just smiles, because he used to play with Peter when they were small children. He's now seventy-one and Peter is only a year or two younger than him. He says, "Surely Peter is due for retirement!"

Charles replies, "Yes, well overdue, actually. But I can't force him to retire. And since the rest of his family died a few years ago while in Amarant he's nothing else to live for; but his work keeps him alive. So each year I let the industrial relations people talk to him and I pay higher insurance premiums to keep him on. He's worked for the family since he was an apprentice, so he's like family and we don't force family out of their jobs." Deebarlee smiles, and nods at this.

Peter charges off in the other direction while he yells for a particular apprentice. They smile when they watch him go through the swinging kitchen doors like an unstoppable tank. They continue their inspection of the kitchen and find all is perfect. A few minutes later they hear shouting from outside, and rush out through the same exit Peter took.

Two doors and several metres later they find Peter lying on the ground while one of the apprentices applies artificial resuscitation and another is calling for an ambulance. Also, the site first aid officer, a well-trained medical technician, is racing to the scene with two large medical kits, one in each hand.

Arriving at the scene the first aid officer gives Peter a quick check and starts swearing while he breaks out a bottle and mask to give Peter direct oxygen, and then injects him with adrenalin. They continue with the external heart massage until the paramedics arrive and they take over. After getting a full briefing they use their defibrillator, but to no avail. They continue to treat Peter while they load him up and rush him to the hospital. He's pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. No one has the heart to do any more work today, and all operations cease when the staff go home. Being a Thursday Deebarlee suggests they not return until Tuesday, so they can all attend the funeral. Charles agrees and tells the staff that while they pack up.

Late March

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