A group of humans escape from their enslavers to an unknown land.
Chapters in the interactive story: Planet Haven
Part one - To save my people
A week had passed since we went out to investigate the ship that had crashed on our barren planet. We found 319 humans, alive. And a lot of corpses. They were all in their twenties. Back where my father came from, he told me that everyone was eaten by the time they turned twenty-five, a sort of expiration date their masters had set for them. I had heard the stories and seen drawings of the monsters, but looking at the corpses of the dead werewolves and vampires in the wreckage, these two powerful species that had enslaved human kind. I was disappointed. I was forty-nine years old now, and I have spent most of my adult life leading hunting parties into the dangerous valley below us. I even went toe to toe with Graveclaw and came out alive, maybe it's my own ignorance but these creatures weren't that scary.
"We barely have enough food to feed the 750 people depending on us," I said to my father Joseph, "and now we have 319 more mouths to feed."
"Yes I Know that Caden but you're talking about abandoning our home, " my father responded, "I know that you younger generations see Haven as a wasteland, but for us. It's the only place we've lived where we don't wake up every morning and wonder, am I going to be someone's breakfast today?"
"Father if we stay here we'll starve," I pleaded. We sat at the dining table in the kitchen of his log cabin, one of many that made up our little settlement among the woods. A small lamp on the table cast our shadows about the room. "You don't know that," he replied in a low somber voice. "I know it's a hard decision but the fact is, we don't have a choice. And you are the only one who can convince the people that this is what we need to do," I begged of him. He sat at the table pondering on my proposal. The grey hair that now covered his face was trimmed short, giving him the kind of dignified look my late mother always insisted a leader should have. He turned to me and sighed. "okay, I'll call a meeting" he said, "but I'm not going to try and convince anyone. I'll tell them the facts and they can decide for themselves." It was as best a outcome as I could hope for. After all, my plan may well lead us all to an early grave.
Two days had passed since that night. The sun watched silently from cloudless sky as everyone gathered at Horrison square. A clearing at the center our town, a town my father decided would be called Salvation. People were seated on tree stumps and tree trunks, everyone except for the five council members. We sat at a table on the stage facing the near thousand people in the crowd. My father was head of the council, he was seated in the middle. I sat to his left, at the far end of the table with Mari seated between us. She was older than my father, her dark skin wrinkled and her frame small. To the right of my father was Tadley on the far end with his father Carlton sitting between them. Carlton was also around my father's age, he was just as wrinkled but wore a cleanly shaved face. Looking out at the crowd I could see my wife Julia and my youngest daughter Dayna, she had just turned fifteen. They were trying to get the twins, Kanoe and Kaynen, our seven year old grandsons to sit still.
We were able to salvage some equipment from the Dalconian ruins across the valley. Now, my father spoke into a chrome mic resting on the table before him, "My people, we have had to face a great many challenges since crashing on this planet. And even those of you that have just joined us, I know you have not had an easy life. Now, we find ourselves faced with yet another challenge. I'm sure most of you are aware of our dwindling food supplies." Lewis Wrecler, a stout, chubby fella who arrived with the new group, stood up at the front of the crowd, "If your food stores are so empty, what do you have men guarding at that bunker up the mountain? You're hoarding extra food for your people, aren't you?" Most of the new comers were docile, they seemed lost and uncertain of what to do with their newfound freedom. Lewis was different though, he had sort of become their leader. "I assure you that is not the case Mr. Wrecler," my father stated, "and as for the bunker, there is nothing in there that concerns you."
"You think-" Lewis started but was promptly interrupted by my father. "Mr. Wrecler!" My father's voice boomed through out the clearing, "We have been nothing but kind and hospitable since you arrived here. And I don't see you all as outsiders. You are human, just like the rest of us, and you are all my people. I don't know why you would think such a thing of me but now is not the time for your wild accusations. Now sit down." Lewis shrank back down into his seat, embarrassed and defeated. It had been a while since I heard my father speak so sternly, I guess the situation weighed heavier on him than I thought.
My father took a deep breath then he continued, "Yes, as I was saying. We lost our entire harvest to the Lua bugs. And, to make matters worse, a pack of night wolves came from higher up the valley. Our hunters are coming back with less and less everyday. At our current rate, we'll be out of food in a months time." I could see the worry and panic on the faces in the crowd. Everyone had something to say to the person next to them. "So what are we going to do?!" Eric Needlemon shouted from the crowd.
Now, the only sound to be heard was the wind blowing through the trees. Everyone was silent, waiting for my father's answer. "My son, council member Caden, came to me with a solution. The portal at the Dalconian ruins."
"Ludacris!" Council member Tadley exploded, "We would have to travel across the valley to get there! Not to mention the ruins themselves are infested with greyworms! How much people do you think would survive such a trip?!" Tadley stood up from his seat, his eyes fixed on my father from below his receding hairline, "You and Caden have been dragging us along on your whims for too long! You don't even have the slightest idea where this portal leads! And you think we're just going to go along with this ridiculous idea?!"
My father stood and faced Tadley. "This table is for council members! If you want to act like a child throwing a tantrum! You need to find somewhere else to do it!" My father said as sternly as I had ever heard him.
Carlton held a cold gaze on my father, "Sit down Tadley," he instructed his son. Though reluctantly, Tadley obeyed. My father took his seat and addressed the people once more, " I apologise for council member Tadley's outburst. Though the manner in which he went about it was..... juvenile, it's the reality we face at the moment. Now, I have no intention of forcing anyone to make this journey. But, the fact is, eventually we ARE going to run out of food. And unless someone has a better idea, this is the only way I see us surviving."