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After her speech, Gwiazda, now Astra, the ”Mother of the nation”, got full access to the island. She was also let in on secrets. She had asked herself, and finally also her grandfather, where all the people had disappeared to, who had lived in Oban (Stewart Island) before the new settlers arrived. Apparently no dead bodies had been found. He explained to her that out of concern for the children, the dead bodies had been removed. But, if the distribution of the sleeping spray and Exitus had happened at the same time, how and when had the bodies been removed? She kept this thought to herself though.
The Walkers and their followers had over many years collected material and food, to make the project possible. There wasn’t anything they had forgotten: mobile homes, durable comestibles, machinery, tools, seeds, plants, animals, almost like Noah’s arc. How had they collected all this unnoticed? Mammon was strong and had many supporters. She found that odd. But also this thought she did not mention aloud.
There were even computers, but only for the Walkers, and the rest of Stewart Island’s new population was unaware of their existence. Naturally Astra asked, why that was the case, but the answer to that was so vague and at the same time so complicated that she was not able to figure it out.
She was strictly forbidden to talk about it, and she did not get access to the computers either. When she asked, where the electricity for the computers came from, and apparently there also was Internet connection, she received a technical reply, which was completely incomprehensible to her. Of course there was electricity on the island; naturally one had not forgotten to bring generators, but it was only sufficient for the daily demand. Later they wanted to erect windmills in the sea and on the uninhibited neighbouring Codfish Island, as even those they had thought of. Astra could not imagine why the Internet should still exist, if everybody was dead. Maybe some of them were online when they fell asleep? But at a point the electricity production must stop and everything would be disconnected? She had also seen lights on the coast of New Zealand, which her grandfather waved off with a remark about automated street lighting, which finally would stop working.
Astra made contact with the other citizens and found out that they were serious, dedicated people, who, on the other hand, did not see a crime in the devastating genocide they had committed, but a necessity, if the planet was to be saved. She was, of course, very careful when talking to other people. As „Mother of the nation“ she could not utter anything traitorous. It was also dangerous in respect of the Walkers. She understood that these people were not to be underestimated, and their patience with her would not be limitless. They had proven their unscrupulousness, had they not? Being related to a Walker would not make her completely untouchable.
One day she had asked her grandfather how they had avoided to be infiltrated by Mammon’s spies. „That was easy“, he had answered, „everybody wishing to join us had to read a chapter from ‚Starlet and the Walker‘. Mammon’s servants cannot bear that.“ Her, again silent, thoughts to this were that a dedicated spy could certainly try to get immune to the „poison“ of the book.
Contact with the mainland was also strictly forbidden. For that very reason they had destroyed the boats. But were they all destroyed? Astra sometimes thought to have heard the sound of engines out on the sea at night. But she did not want to mention that either. She had already appeared too nosy and did not wish to be locked up again.
During the following years, during which the community became stronger, the number of colonists increased slightly, the melting pot idea seemed to work, and everybody or, better, most people were happy about the project’s success, it happened from time to time that individual settlers – strangely enough all of them men – built rafts and sailed for the mainland. The majority was never seen again. One or the other did come back, but would not be allowed to come ashore, as they could be bearer of the virus, which the Walkers and their followers had let loose on mankind. Those, who insisted to get ashore, were shot. Yes, of course they had not forgotten to bring weapons …
Astra did not understand, why they did not just set up a quarantine centre, instead of shooting these people, as the number of returners was negligible. How terrible was this virus? And why a virus all of a sudden? Had they not told her that they had used a poison, people fell asleep and that was it? If it really was a virus, where they not in danger too, now that they did not wear masks?
Had these people discovered something on the mainland that the Walkers did not wish to be known? Had the Walkers told Astra and everybody else a fantastic fairytale? But why? What was behind all this? What really was the situation on the mainland? Maybe people were not all dead at all?
Gwiazda would never talk to her grandfather about these musings. He had already shown suspicion because she was so interested in the computers. But she had landed one success: the Walkers had indeed planned for Astra and Holger to marry and act as the hero of the people pair, and then produce small hero of the people children. Astra had categorically refused to do that. She wanted to choose her partner herself, if at all. She had threatened to try and swim for the mainland, if they did not drop the plan. The Walkers had been furious, but in this case they had not insisted. She had to be careful now, until the troubled water had calmed down again. Holger was, of course, deeply offended and at present ignored her completely, which she only welcomed.
She felt very unsettled. On the one hand, the populating of the island and the supply logistics apparently worked impeccably; on the other hand she had doubts about the background of this project. Had they really saved mankind? Or had they saved the world from mankind? Had they incapsulated the pathogen so to speak?
Had she done the right thing, when she agreed to play the „Mother of the nation“? Had the Walkers maybe lied to all of them? The future would show. She had to remain alert and ready for whatever would show itself.
Here, again, the story was supposed to end, but some of my readers were not satisfied. They wanted a real end with more explanations. And that they got; it follows as part 9.