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Gwiazda spent hours with thinking things over from all angles. But it was certain: she would not use the gas mask. She did not wish to be part of a horrible crime like that. At some point, she was overcome by fatigue and fell asleep on the sofa.
She did not notice that Holger came back, injected something into her arm, and let two young men with a stretcher into her flat. They carried her down to an ambulance, which held in front of the house, blue light flashing. Her kidnapping was camouflaged as an emergency. Holger locked the door to her apartment, why actually?
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When Gwiazda woke up, she did not know where she was. She had never before seen this room. She felt weak, dizzy, unable to form a clear thought.
Somebody knocked at the door and entered. It was Holger. „You are awake, that’s wonderful“, he exclaimed, „how are you feeling?“
”I don’t know. Where am I? What happened?”
”We all are on Stewart Island, a large island off the coast of New Zealand. Exitus proceeded smoothly. People, animals, food etc. etc., everything has been brought here without a problem. And then we destroyed the boats.“
Gwiazda was speechless and stared silently at Holger.
”I had to drug you, otherwise you would not have used the gas mask, that much was clear to me!“ said Holger, „but we need you as a leading figure for the new mankind. You are the mother of the new people. Persecuted by Mammon’s servants, your parents murdered by them, you are our heroine, who is supposed to keep this group together.“
Gwiazda did not feel very heroic. Never before in her life had she felt as outraged as now. She had been taken prisoner, just like that. Now she was connected to this project, whether she wanted it or not. She pretended to be asleep again. She was simply not strong enough yet to face this new reality.
The next day her grandfather came visiting. He was the ‚lonely Walker‘ and was still dressed in hat and floating coat. He told Gwiazda, how they had prepared this operation for many years, always in the danger of being detected by Mammon’s servants. But they succeeded in bringing 900 people to this island. Families of all nationalities, colours and religions. The aim was to let them mix, so that in the end they were so very individual that they could not be grouped anymore. ’They do not know much about people’, Gwiazda thought, ’categorizing is a vital need in people, it gives them a feeling of security.’ But then, maybe these Walker followers were special.
”We have only two laws, which should suffice for a peaceful life with each other: ‚One for all, all for one‘ and ‚Do unto others as you would have others do unto you‘. Nothing else is needed. Everybody works three hours per day in the fields and three hours in their other profession, if they have one, otherwise six hours in the fields or they help with fishing. Until everything is organized, food will mainly consist of fish and other sea animals. The people are in good spirits and confident. I hope that you will soon be able to talk to them”, her grandfather said.
’Talk to them? Ah, yes, she was the Mother of the Nation‘, Gwiazda thought sneeringly.
From that day onward she was not left in peace. Holger, her grandfather, and an elderly lady came visiting her. She was a Walker as well or would one say Walkeress? She pointed out to her, how important her role was. She should give it a thorough thought, how she would address and motivate the settlers, and, the most important, she should take a new name, one that was worthy of a ‚Mother of a Nation‘. Gwiazda used this expression only in her thoughts though. The Walkers called her ‚our heroine‘.
She was under the impression that she would not be able to leave this room, unless she complied with the Walkers‘ ideas for her. She would not find out anything, as long as she was locked up. So she had to put on a good face on things, and then see what was happening. Well, a motivating address and a heroic name. She could do that, could she not? First the name.
Her name, Gwiazda, was the Polish word for „star“, and friends usually called her „starlet“. The children of the community believed that she was the starlet from the book „Starlet and the Walker“, Holger had told her. But starlet was not a suitable name anymore, with all the responsibility that Gwiazda apparently was supposed to bear.
How about ‚Child of the stars‘ or ‚Starchild‘, but she wasn’t a child anymore. Then she could have kept ‚Starlet‘. ’Madame Etoile’? That sounded like a brothel madam. ’Star Girl’? ’Star Woman’? That could be the names of super heroines, not ideal, but better than the other names. ’Star Queen’? Rather presumptuous, right? ’Orion’? That should get respect, but it sounded too male. ’Pleiada’? Oh no, she could just as well call herself ’Asteroida’.
Why not ”Astra”? Per aspera ad astra, through hardship to the stars. Then Stewart Island definitely still was a part of the Aspera …
One thing was clear, she would have to get out of this room to be able to get a picture of the situation. She had to talk to other people, hear how they thought, why they participated in this crime. Of course she could not express it like that, but she could still think what and how she wanted.
’Astra’ it was, it had a ring to it. She could insert the Latin motto into her motivating speech. It would be best to start with „I am not a great speaker“, as it would lower the expectations and the speech would not have to be that long. She asked for paper and pen and started to draft her inaugural address as heroine of the new nation.
(To be continued)