Marcus walked away from the meeting hall, shoving his hands into his pockets. Before he could get far, someone grabbed at his arm and asked, “Marcus, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine Talia,” he answered, smiling as he turned to look at the spindly woman. “I just wish they paid more attention to our survival.”
Putting her hands on her hips, Talia sighed with exasperation, “Stop exaggerating, you know they’re focusing on our survival. The Western region started breeding the surviving animals.”
“I understand that,” Talia agreed joining his struggle to keep the tree from collapsing.
The two stood there in silence, staring back at the large cabin for a time when Marcus asked, “How were we able to get the animals out of storage?”
“What do you mean?”
Marcus spun to face Talia, “The ship crash landed because of a massive power failure.”
“I’m aware of that, Marcus,” Talia retorted with a stern glare.
Marcus dismissed the look with a wave and continued, “You’re missing the point of my question, Talia.”
Talia took a couple steps forcing Marcus to backpedal as she asked, “Am I?”
“Yes, you are,” Marcus replied as he dug his heels into the ground. “If the ship didn’t have enough power to land, how did it have enough to get any of the animals out of the storage system?”
Talia froze in place and muttered, “I don’t know. Did you just think about that?”
“It’s the first time I actively thought about it,” Marcus answered as he took a tentative step towards the rough-hewn meeting hall. “But now that I’m thinking about it, I’d like to know the answer.”
“It would be nice to know,” Talia agreed. “But ultimately it won’t help us.”
“Why’s that?” Marcus demanded.
“Because the storage system died before we could empty the tanks,” Talia answered without any anger coloring it. “We tried to get it back online, but the power stopped pumping into it.”
Closing his eyes, Marcus protested, “We could try and use similar shielding for our power systems.”
“I’ve already talked to some of the brain trust,” Talia answered thrusting a finger off in a different direction. “And according to them, the only reason we managed to get any of the animals out was that the system was already running.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Marcus whimpered as he lowered himself to the ground.
“You never worked with the storage systems, did you?” Talia asked as she lowered herself down next to him.
“No,” Marcus replied tartly.
“When the system is working, it stores energy in its capacitors. The only drain on them comes when animals enter or leave the system,” Talia replied warmly. “Then once the capacitors died we couldn’t remove the animals.”
“Makes sense,” Marcus replied, hanging his head between his knees.
Jostling his shoulder, Talia asked, “Which division have you being assigned to?”
“I volunteered for the Eastern region,” Marcus answered, lifting his head. “Figured I’d be able to steer clear of all the political backstabbing that way.”
Talia scoffed and then caught Marcus’s grim expression. She reached out and squeezed his shoulder, asking, “You seriously want to be a farmer?”
Marcus climbed to his feet and then offered Talia a hand as he answered, “I’ve done it before, and it’s something that I know I can handle.”
“You were a colonizer?” Talia asked as she grabbed his hand.
Pulling Talia to her feet, Marcus explained, “Yes, at one point in my life, I was a colonizer. But that all changed when Nathaniel caught me longingly looking up at the ship. And to keep a long story short Nathaniel recruited me.”
“There’s no way it was that simple,” Talia objected as they resumed their walk away from the meeting hall.
“You’re right,” Marcus agreed. “But you won’t get anything else out of me,” he winked at her and added, “Not without getting me dinner and a drink first.”
“Flirt,” Talia accused, but her voice softened as she went on, “Not that I’d refuse taking you up on that first. Though it’s good to know that you aren’t a mindless drone.”
Leaning into her, Marcus whispered, “I wouldn’t get into the habit of describing us like that.”
“Fair enough,” Talia agreed before affirming her stance. “But that’s not going to alter my belief.”
Marcus meandered the streets, asking, “Do we have enough livestock to support all five regions?”
Talia reached out and plucked one of the strange orange and purple flowers from a nearby tree. Lifting the bud to her nose, she inhaled the flower’s rich and heady aroma, “You know this flower manages to fruity and dank at the same time.”
“Talia,” Marcus asked as he pulled the flower away from her face. “Are we going to be able to supply all five regions?”
Dropping the bud to the ground, Talia grabbed his hands. “What it means is that the Western region will rely heavily upon the Northern and Southern regions to do their jobs.”
“Do you think the egg-heads will be able to get us off this rock?” Marcus asked as his eyes drifted to the sky.
Ignoring his question, Talia looked around emphasizing just how alone they were. She took a step closer and cleared her throat, “Marcus, we’ll probably be stuck here for our lifetimes.”
“You are a dummy,” Talia said as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Will I always have to be this obvious?” She asked as she leaned in kissing him.
Marcus returned her kiss passionately, and when they separated, he muttered, “It never hurts to be that obvious.”