They Are Billions ~ Gathering Food for the Future
Grabbing the sphere and shoving it deep into her pocket, Calliope raced back through the bunker rooms and hallways, jumping over the barriers and barricades that tried to thwart her path, and ran up the stairs.
She was in and out in under 5 minutes. The Supreme Commander would be pleased.
"Hey," the soldiers panted at her heels. "Wait for us!"
After dropping the soldiers back off at the city gates, Calliope returned to Caelyra at the small settlement that had been successfully constructed. She strode into the office at the back of the command centre and whipped the sphere out of her pocket.
"This strange artifact and some minor research papers were at the bunker. I have gathered them for the Supreme Commander's scientists."
"Fantastic," Caelyra smiled and pressed a big black button on the side of her desk, summoning a holographic image of the Supreme Commander. "Sir. Calliope has returned."
"Wonderful." His Greatness nodded and the sphere clasped in Calliope's hands vanished, then reappeared clasped by himself in the hologram. "I will have my scientific team get to work immediately."
Suddenly, the knowledge to transform makeshift tents into wooden cottages transferred itself into Caelyra's mind.
The Supreme Commander nodded.
"The team has finished. Once more artifacts are collected, more helpful knowledge will be given to you. Now. To the East is a great patch of fertile land. It will be perfect for growing more food to feed both the city and your new settlements. I want a settlement of 600 people hunting and gathering upon that land within the next 60 days." He waved his hand. "Go."
Caelyra saluted but the man's image had already disappeared.
Caelyra gathered up Calliope and four rangers and together they hopped on a train to the East where huge tracts of fertile land shimmied and swayed beneath the glaring sun. A new command centre had already been built in preparation. How convenient.
Calliope sat in the corner of the new office and pulled her hat over her face. "Wake me up if you need me," she muttered and kicked her legs up, preparing to enjoy her rest after that excursion in the bunker.
Caelyra rolled her eyes and reached out to the rangers that had come with them on this journey.
"Investigate the nearby lands and remove all threats so we can begin building."
The rangers ran off in opposite directions and scouted the land. The immediate vicinity was clear so Caelyra ordered walls constructed around the command centre and first few tents.
Her people would be safe. There would be no zombie incursions in this settlement... or any of her settlements! She had been chosen to lead this most important expedition and she would not fail.
A small stone deposit was spotted nearby. Caelyra jotted it down on her map and nodded. It was a satisfactory location.
They would expand in that direction first so they could make use of the material, and they would always keep safety foremost in their minds. Walls would always be erected first before the people would wander into these new areas. It was paramount that not a single soul die under her watch.
There were a few zombie attacks each time Caelyra demanded their territory be expanded, but that was to be expected. Calliope's highly trained rangers made short work of the zombies and soon there was enough land to house 240 people!
This settlement would be full to bursting in no time.
This small region was becoming safer, more populated, and food was in overabundance!
Caelyra closed her eyes and tapped into the knowledge that the Supreme Commander had transferred to her earlier. It was time to turn these tents into proper houses. Morale was going to be boosted beyond compare! Her people were going to have proper abodes.
Is that not what everyone wants? A safe place to call home?
Soon fancy cottages replaced daggy, derelict tents. People walked the land with a skip in their steps, a smile on their faces, and hope within their hearts.
Over 500 people now called this region home.
And although the lands beyond the great wooden walls were crawling with infected creatures, the rangers protected them.
More and more cottages were built, more hunting lodges covered every available space in order to collect bounteous food for the populace, and when the train next passed through the settlement, a population of 630 colonists had been reached.
The Supreme Commander appeared before Caelyra as she sat in her office, and he chuckled softly.
"I see you're still not dead. You were so pessimistic at the start of this mission, and now... now you have constructed two glorious settlements in my name and the people have never eaten better. It's time to move on."
Calliope raised her hat so she could watch the proceedings, but remained seated in the corner chair, unwilling to move just yet.
A great map replaced the image of the Supreme Commander.
"As you can see, a great horde of infected lies to the East and blocks our path to the old gold mines. I recommend you tackle that as soon as possible, but, of course, the choice is yours. This mission belongs to you."
Caelyra studied the map and rubbed at her chin.
"I think we'll go South, to that area you've marked as The Crossroads. That Village of Doom by the train-tracks seems to be breeding more and more of the creatures. What we learn there could help us tackle the horde that's restricting our access to the Mines."
"So be it."
The holographic map vanished. The Supreme Commander nodded, then he vanished too.
It was time to prepare for the next mission.
Until next time! 🙃