We came here eleven years ago to learn.
The interconnected domes glowed brighter tonight than ever before. The inhabitants of the settlement of Inspiration, on the planet Writtenword prepared for the evening’s festivities.
“Did you see it?” Gabe asked Tisha as he walked into their dome.
“No, did you—has it arrived?” Tisha looked up from preparing the gift for the Domemaster.
“Only a glimpse, through the roof in the tube." All the settlers domes were connected by tubes, enabling them to interact with each other.
“But it’s there…it has arrived?” Tisha’s eyes filled with excitement. She wanted to see the special gift.
“Yes, it’s there, hon.” Gabe smiled.
“Is it time?”
“I think they’re ready to get started now. Let’s go.”
Tisha placed the Domemaster’s gift on the cart and pushed it ahead of her as she and Gabe walked into the tube connecting them to the Assembly dome. Others joined them as they passed the domes of other settlers. Before long they were part of a large crowd snaking their way into the largest dome on the settlement. Once inside, they found seats so they would have a good view of the biggest present of the evening.
“Settlers,” the Domemaster said into the miniature microphone, “ladies and gentlemen, please, can I have your attention?” He paused and looked around the large, domed pod. “Ladies and gentlemen…it’s nearly the best time for the viewing.”
The excited settlers turned to the raised podium and the noise began to abate, like water flowing into a drain. The air was charged with anticipation.
“Thank you,” the Domemaster said, smiling now. “I want to take a moment to say Happy Birthday to all of you. Imagine, it was eleven years ago most of us arrived here, and since then our number has swelled to what you see assembled here tonight. It was a barren, desolate place back then. But every one of us gave a little, and now look at all we’ve accomplished. You have all worked hard, and tonight, as promised, you will be rewarded.”
A loud murmur of approval rippled through the assembled crowd.
Someone shouted from somewhere in the dome. “And we have brought gifts for you as well, Domemaster.”
Everyone’s eyes turned to the hundreds of brightly wrapped gifts stacked beside the stage. “But it’s the gift that you have given to us that we all came here to see, to bask in, and to enjoy,” another voice shouted from the gathering.
“The time is not right just yet,” the Domemaster said as he held his hands up to request silence. Let’s eat, enjoy the food that has been provided, and then we can dig into the beautiful birthday cake.”
The massive cake stood in the corner. It was a tasty recreation of the settlement of Inspiration, and each settlers dome was colored grey, yellow, red, or blue. The Domemaster cleared his throat into the microphone.
“The cake shows how we are all connected into one body, one effort, one purpose—one goal. This settlement has become a place where each settler has come to realize the importance of helping each other. A place where cooperation, assistance, and caring for each other helped each of us attain the common goal we all strive for. A purpose shared has become a purpose realized.”
Thunderous applause vibrated throughout the dome.
The party was now in full swing. Groups of settlers sang, some recited poetry to small groups, still others told stories, real and made up, to anyone willing to listen. And as each settler finished with their recital, they were rewarded by the listeners who gave their opinion about how the story might be better, the poem made more emotional, and any incorrect words corrected—they called it a review. All felt the pleasure of not only helping, but of being helped. It was a friendly crowd that turned back to the podium when the Domemaster strode back to center stage and tapped his finger on the microphone.
“Settlers…” he said, “settlers,” louder this time. As the crowd turned to him and fell silent, he walked to the edge of the stage where a giant lever stood out from the floor.
He placed his hand at the top of the red curved lever and turned to the crowd. “I have prepared a few words, if you will permit me.” Silence filled the dome.
“Thank you,” he smiled at the assembled settlers. “I said to my wife, some of you know her as the domemistress, that I hoped I could give a gift celebrating our eleventh year together that would mean something. When I saw her eyes light up I knew she had an idea. ‘Something special, domemaster?’ she asked. And then she told me what I should do. And so tonight I will show all of you the gift I give.
“When we arrived here eleven years ago I said that I would give the moon if I could. Many of you just smiled and said it wasn’t necessary. All of you came here to grow, to learn, to be with others who wanted the same. It warmed my heart as each of you signed on for another year when your annual contracts expired. With so many remaining here with us, I could give no less than the moon.” He pulled the lever.
The dome floor began to vibrate and the walls began to expand. The settlers looked up in surprise and watched as the top of the dome began to separate and expose the grey-green sky above. Suddenly the moon passed over, but then a second moon appeared in the open, cloudless sky. A collective gasp, followed by silence filled the dome as everyone watched the new moon arc across the dark sky.
“I bring you Muse, the moon of Inspiration. Long may the eyes of the settlers of Writtenword follow its path in the heavens."
Word Count 982
Writer’s Cramp entry for 9/4/11