"Strength, Courage, and Victory"
The Farlane arrived
with three dozen refugees.
"More refugees?" Palmer said,
frowning. "What are we going
to do with all of them? We don't
have an infinite amount of supplies."
"Well, we have to do something,"
Astin said. "They're refugees,
not deserters or freeloaders."
"To be called a refugee
is the opposite of an insult,"
Verena said. "It is a badge of
strength, courage, and victory."
"We can't turn them away,"
Leor said, wringing their hands.
"We're not going to turn them away,"
Verena said firmly. "We will think
of some way to take care of them."
"I'll need to recalculate the budget,"
V said. "This is the biggest group
we've taken in at one time."
It was three times the size of
Verena's group, but then, this set
had come in a real cargo ship
instead of in a lifeboat.
"Falconwing and I can go out,"
Bexley said stoutly. "So can Astin.
We can bring in more supplies."
"If we can pay for them,"
V reminded her. "I will help,
but even my resources are not
unlimited -- and I have already
committed a great deal of those."
"Let's see what the refugees
have brought, before we panic,"
Verena said. "If nothing else,
they either own or contracted
a cargo ship, which is useful."
As it turned out, the cargo hold
was crammed with supplies.
"We don't come empty-handed,"
said Dono. "We come bearing gifts."
"Here is the manifest," said Fara,
the tall blonde woman. "If you need
help with the verbal description, ask me;
for numbers, ask Dono." She waved
at the short dark man beside her.
"I scrounged up everything
that I could find," said Raven,
tilting his head. "I hope it's enough."
Black hair gleamed like a bird's wing.
"It will have to do," Yanzi said,
patting him on the shoulder.
Old army tattoos showed on
both arms. "You worked hard."
"Doing what?" Verena said.
"We'll need to make a list of
what people can and can't do."
"I do numbers, but not words,"
Dono said. "Fara's the opposite."
"I'm a quartermaster. I used to work for
the military but now it's all civilian," Yanzi said.
"Raven is my finder. It got too tense for him
back on Bunding, so we had to bug out."
"Yeah, the planet is mostly desert, which was
okay for a refugee camp, but then nobody
wanted us, so they built permanent housing,"
said Buzz, carefully carrying a large box.
"They wanted to put me in a group home."
"Some shitty place that they wouldn't
have to think about you?" Bexley growled.
"They're pretty well designed, actually,"
said Buzz. "I just ... didn't want to live there.
Not without my bees, and they wouldn't
let me keep any in the group home.
So I packed my hives and left."
"Bees?" Verena exclaimed.
"Genuine honeybees from
Old Earth," said Buzz. He
patted the box. It hummed.
"Don't they do something
with crops?" Astin said. "I think
I remember Sam the Gardener
going on and on about that."
Buzz nodded eagerly. "Bees
pollinate all kinds of plants. They
go from one flower to another, and
that makes seeds. They gather nectar
and pollen to make things we can eat, too."
"We can always use more food," V said.
"Bexley, call Sam and ask if he wants bees.
We can't keep adding everyone to the Sargasso,
and spreading them out according to their skills
is a good way to disperse people fairly."
"I'll go wherever my bees go," Buzz said.
"It's just -- I need space to move around,
I can't sit still for long unless I'm with them.
Most people don't like it when I fidget."
"Sam is farming what used to be
a supply station, so it's enormous,"
V said. "You'll have lots of room."
They had been transferring people
through Supply Base Bounty 3D3N,
one or two at a time, to provide
company for the residents and
variety to those in smaller stations.
There was more than enough room
for another permanent resident, though,
if the personalities worked out all right.
"What did you bring?" Astin wondered.
"Whatever Raven could find," Yanzi said
waving at his friend. "There's a lot of it --
we filled the hold -- but we don't know
what you might actually need here."
"Everything," Palmer said. "We're
not starving, but a lot of things were in
short supply before we started getting
refugees from both the Galactic Arms."
"Well, my last sweep netted a lot of stuff
meant for refugees," Raven said. "See,
the Army used to stock up on this stuff so they
could handle new refugees, but there are none,
so now all their focus is on building new shit.
They're going from emergency shelters to
prefab houses with a lot more space."
"And the goods you found?" Astin prompted.
"I got 'em for a song," Raven said. "Without
the steady flow of new refugees, they don't need
the kits as much. So it sits there unless someone
makes an offer, like I did." His fingers drummed on
his thigh. "Let's see ... Hold 1 is household kits,
Holds 2 and 3 have all kinds of modular furniture,
Hold 4 is full of medical supplies and equipment,
Holds 5 to 7 have food, and then we filled in
the last three holds with water barrels."
"You brought water?" Leor exclaimed.
"We've been mining ours from comets!"
"Minimum human requirement, three liters
of water per day," Yanzi said softly.
"Preferred amount, ten liters.
We didn't want to run out."
"You certainly won't," V said.
"We have recycling systems.
Everything you can add will help."
"Where are we going to put everyone,
though?" asked Leor. "I mean, it sounds
like they brought a lot of people. It's not like
when I came here with just my family."
"Someone can take my quarters for now,
until we can prepare new ones," Astin said.
"I've got my ship -- the rooms I keep here
are just for convenience, not necessity."
"Or you could stay with me," V said.
"I don't mind sharing my quarters,
since you've offered to loan yours."
"That's very generous of you," Fara said.
"Dono and I aren't married, but we have
three children from my previous relationship."
"We have a family corridor," Verena said.
"There are only a few children here, but
as more come in, we're trying to keep
them together so that we don't have
to childproof the whole station."
"That makes sense," Dono said.
"Of course we'll help set up quarters
and anything else to lighten the load."
"I can show people around," Leor said.
"I know what it's like to run away from
a place where nobody would listen,
and then be new somewhere else."
"That will help," Raven said. "I need
to know the lay of a place before
I can start finding things in it."
"I can help people relax,"
Palmer said. "I do massage
and other things like that."
"Oh, that would be wonderful,"
Buzz said. "I haven't been able
to relax in so long that I have
almost forgotten how it feels."
"I can fix that," Palmer said.
"Make a schedule," V advised.
"You can't do everyone at once,
and some may need it more than
others. We also have to decide
where to put people, and where
to put supplies, and so on."
"Dono and I own the Farlane,"
said Fara. "Anything you don't
need immediately, leave there."
"That will help a lot," V said.
"Let's get together later and
talk about trade routes," Astin said.
"We could use another big hauler
if you're willing to work with us."
"That's what we're here for,"
Dono said with a firm nod.
The situation wasn't perfect,
but it was better than what
any of them had before they
found their way to the Lacuna.
They were making friends and family,
building a society from stardust and dreams.
The future might hold challenges, but
that was nothing new to them.
They would face it with
strength and courage,
and find victory.
* * *
Astin -- an other-gendered trader, neurotypical, friends with Weavercreep and Operetta. Astin likes clothes of ambiguous colors, such as honey and mauve, with shapes that are easy to customize. Similarly, practical yet attractive furniture of androgynous style is preferred, blending straight and curved lines. Introduced in "Uncounted Colors of the Stars." Astin uses the "xe" set of pronouns: xe is, xyr book, with xyr, of xyrs, and xyrself.
Bexley -- a neurovariant girl of thirteen, who runs away with Cruiser Falconwing P42. She is introduced in "The Love We Give Our Fragile Craft" and "No Measure of Health."
Buzz -- a hyperactive young man who loves bees. Most of the time he flits around from one thing to another, but he can zone on the bees for hours at a time. The government wanted to put him in a group home, which of course meant separating him from his bees. So he packed up his hives and fled, eventually winding up in the Lacuna.
Cruiser Falconwing P42 -- the AYES of a jumpship originally from the Carina-Sagittarius army. When its pilot gave orders to open fire on a medevac ship, Falconwing refused and abandoned him on the nearest station. It does not feel that jumpships are bound to follow unlawful orders, just as human soldiers are not. It later approaches Sargasso Base and gets into an argument with the OCS-223, a seemingly derelict jumpship from the Orion army who disapproves of the secession. When Falconwing identifies itself as a conscientious objector to war, the Minotaur who oversees Sargasso Base grants the jumpship permission to approach. Subsequently Falconwing picks up a refugee, a thirteen-year-old girl named Bexley, and they decide to stay together. Introduced in "Conscientious Objectors."
Dono -- a middle-aged man with dyslexia. His platonic lifepartner is Fara, a woman with dyscalculia. He does the math, she does the reading, and together they lead a ragtag group of neurodiverse refugees to the Lacuna. Dono is short and wiry with dark curls, while Fara is tall and sturdy with shoulder-length blonde hair.
Fara -- a middle-aged woman with dyscalculia. Her platonic lifepartner is Dono, a man with dyslexia. She does the reading, he does the math, and together they lead a ragtag group of neurodiverse refugees to the Lacuna. Fara is tall and sturdy with shoulder-length blonde hair, while Dono is short and wiry with dark curls. She has three children from a previous relationship, ages three, six, and nine.
Leor -- a Jewish teen who moves to the Lacuna with their family for the sake of gaining other-gendered paperwork. Leor is agender, asexual, and aromantic. They want a B'nai Mitzvah, but their rabbi only offered Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah as options. So they're hoping for something better here. Introduced in "Knitting at the Ready."
Palmer -- a neurovariant woman who does massage. She lives at Sargasso Base. She is friends with Shuttlecock and Astin. She has freckles on her nose. Introduced in "What the Scissors Have Cut Asunder."
Raven -- a young neurovariant man with a knack for finding bargains and discarded items of use. He is slim with tinted skin, black eyes, and short straight black hair. Raven is friends with Yanzi, a quartermaster who used to work in military supply bases but went into civilian work after the war. Over time, society got less tolerant of Raven's quirks. When he left, Yanzi went with him, and they wound up in the Lacuna.
V -- a teenager living on Trunnion, a planet bordering the Lacuna on the Orion side. V was born to the Alta Familia or High Clans, and has a holographic tattoo to show that, which is currently covered by a wide cuff bracelet made of copper wirefloss and black plastithong. V no longer affiliates with that family, and is currently living with Spalling. V is asexual and aromantic, still trying to figure out how to form connections with other people, around that and the socially fraught childhood experiences. V uses a "V" pronoun set: V is, Vs arm / V's book, with V, of V's, and Vself. The distinction is that Vs is inward-focused, about V; while V's is outward-focused, things associated with V. V is introduced in "Too Expensive to Ship Back."
Verena -- a neurotypical woman. She is married to Darmid, a teacher. They have a three-year-old daughter, Mair (probably neurotypical) and a four-year-old son Tyson (neurovariant with ADHD). Verena is the pilot who cobbled a navigation system into a lifeboat so that a band of refugees could escape persecution on Epizygis. Later she begins taking care of psychological health for the AYES. Introduced in "No Measure of Health."
Yanzi -- He is a middle-aged neurotypical man, a quartermaster who used to work in military supply bases but went into civilian work after the war. He is chunky with golden-brown hair, and he has old military tattoos on both arms. Yanzi is friends with Raven, a young neurovariant man with a knack for finding bargains and discarded items of use. Over time, society got less tolerant of Raven's quirks. When he left, Yanzi went with him, and they wound up in the Lacuna.
* * *
“To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult; it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory.”
— Tennessee Office for Refugees
Bunding is a refugee planet in Carinan space. It has one large landmass and some islands, which means that much of its territory is desert. Originally it was intended as a temporary sanctuary and staging area where refugees could be kept in an emergency, then later dispersed elsewhere. After the war ended, however, nobody wanted them, so the refugees were resettled in permanent housing on Bunding.
Bunding, or a bund wall, is a constructed retaining wall built around storage "where potentially polluting substances are handled, processed or stored, for the purposes of containing any unintended escape of material from that area until such time as a remedial action can be taken." Here is an example from wastewater management.
This a Bunding refugee camp with prefab shelters. These floor plans have 1-3 beds but no separate bedroom. This floor plan features two tiny bedrooms.
These are prefab houses in the former refugee camp, now becoming a permanent town. There are 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom floor plans.
This is a prefab group home and its floor plan. It's actually a nice design with a private powder room in each suite, an accessible tub room, and lots of different common areas. Buzz just doesn't want to give up his bees in order to live there.
Neurodiversity comes in many types including but not limited to Asperger's Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, dyscalculia, and dyslexia.
Refugee supplies span a wide range of materials. Here is a list of useful supplies to bring to a refugee camp. Welcome boxes and home supply kits help people settle in. School kits assist children in learning. Medical tools and supplies come in kits of various sizes and specialties. Water is a universal survival need. These are some more refugee supplies. This handbook explains how to set up a hospital in a refugee camp. This one explains refugee camp management in general.
Modular furniture consists of small units that can be combined in multiple ways to suit different needs. Materials include metal, plastic bricks, foam blocks for adults or children, and 3D-printed clips.