Author Topic: FF for Rising Seas, Falling Skies  (Read 357 times)

Offline Tygered

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FF for Rising Seas, Falling Skies
« on: March 15, 2022, 01:34:32 PM »
Climate Fiction, or Cli-Fi Not sure what term to use.
I included my preamble to give a little would-building setup.
Preamble

In August of 2035, the U.S. Army and ISIS rebels agreed to a peace treaty in the Syrian War. Americans went home, but not to celebrations and the pursuit of happiness.
The United States had fractured into a patchwork of ministates. Missouri -- along with Iowa, Arkansas, and the western parts of Kentucky and Tennessee -- formed the Heartland Republic. Captain Bryan Abernathy returned from war to find Kansas and Missouri are parts of different countries. Many of his fellow soldiers now lived across an international border.
Kansas refused to join the secessionists. Immediately the Heartland Republic declared war on the state. The civilian government left for parts unknown. A suicide bomber took out the top military leaders. Defense of Kansas fell upon the few base commanders still in control of a system of forts built in the 19th century.
Two long years of fighting had decimated ten square miles of wealthy suburbs in the northeast part of the state. This area of bombed buildings, burned trees, and destroyed roads, became known as the Wasteland. Climate refugees, local homeless people, and white supremacists live among the ruins. So does Captain Abernathy. 
Chapter 1
Strange Fruit
December 2037
Captain Abernathy checked his weather app. “Jason, did you know that today marks a milestone? Officially, our current drought has lasted longer than the Dust Bowl days of the last century. And today’s going to be another scorcher.”
“In other words, a typical day in Kansas. You know, Dad, some people still call climate change a great hoax.”
“I know. Some of them are our neighbors, but no time to waste. Let’s get going before it gets hotter.” They slipped on their full-face respirators and helmets. Jason hopped into the shotgun seat. Bryan unplugged his all-electric truck and climbed behind the wheel. The engine purred like a well-fed tiger as he drove out of the garage just as the sun rose into a cloudless sky.
Major Price, Bryan’s commanding officer, had assigned him the task of patrolling the Wasteland and assisting anyone who needed help. That usually meant clearing fallen trees, clearing the roads, or treating injuries. The morning was uneventful. Lieutenant Jason Abernathy, M.D. treated a few cases of dust pneumonia and one broken arm.
They were about to pull into a small picnic area to enjoy lunch when Bryan hit the brakes. About a hundred feet in front of the truck, a body slowly spun at the end of a thick rope. A short, scrawny man tried to cut down the victim.
The scrawny man’s kitchen knife made scant progress cutting through the rope. When two white men with drawn pistols ran toward him, he ran the other way. His breather mask, made from ground charcoal sewn between two pieces of cloth with a cord to go over the ears, clogged. He ripped it off, and inhaled. but the dust floating in the air set him to coughing and gagging.
As Bryan approached, he crouched in a defensive posture, pointing his small knife at Bryan’s face. Dreadlocks hung around his face like twisted ropes. His black eyes, filled with fear, darted left and right. He wore a tee-shirt of indeterminate color. Bare toes poked out of his shoes.
Bryan holstered his Beretta. His voice sounded muffled. “Easy now. I’m not going to hurt you.” He pulled a bottle of water from his duster pocket and handed it to the stranger. “Don’t be afraid.”
Warily, the man stuck his knife into a thin twine that held up torn brown trousers and took the bottle. “Thank you.”
Bryan helped him to his feet and held his arm as they walked back to Jason.
Jason sliced through the rope with his Rambo knife, as if it were sewing thread. Cuts and deep purple bruises covered the victim’s face. He checked for a carotid pulse. There was none. He closed the man’s eyes.
Bryan drew his Beretta and looked around. “The lynchers might still be around. I need a sitrep.”
The stranger asked, “Sitrep?”
“Sorry, my dad’s been in the army longer than I’ve been alive. He wants to know what the situation is. What happened? I’m Lieutenant Jason Abernathy, a doctor. This is my father, Captain Bryan Abernathy. And you are?”
“I’m Ezekiel Charles. Everybody calls me Zeke. This is… was Isaiah Watson, the gentlest man I’ve ever known. We’re from the South Carolina low country. When rising seas flooded our village, everyone had to move. About forty adults and a bunch of kids, packed into six vehicles and drove west.
“Eventually, we came to a small farm near here run by a man named George McKinnon. He promised that if we worked for him, he’d help us find abandoned houses we could have. The neighbors didn’t like the fact that a bunch of black refugees would be living that close to them. Some neighbors hated the idea so much, they shot McKinnon a few days ago. Black people are often blamed for everything bad that happens, so we fled.
Jason asked, “How was your friend hanged and you weren’t?”
“We had walked all night long and were looking for a place to rest during the day’s heat. I saw the lights of a vehicle about to turn the corner. We hid behind some bushes, but it was too late. They drove straight for us. Isaiah and I split up and ran in opposite directions. They all went after Isaiah, ignoring me. When I realized nobody was after me, I circled back and peered through some bushes. Five men drank beer while my friend choked to death. When he stopped kicking, they drove away. I should have done something.”
“If you had, you’d be hanging up there next to him. We’ll take the body to Fort Leavenworth. That’s the closest funeral home.” Bryan grabbed Watson’s arms. Zeke took his feet. “You better come with us in case those lynchers return.”
Jason brought up the rear, pistol drawn, scanning the surroundings. As they maneuvered Isaiah’s body into the truck bed, a card fell out of his pocket and fluttered to the ground. Jason snatched it up. “Check this out.” He handed it to his father. “It’s a business card.”
A large, red circle filled the center of the card. A black cross divided the circle into a bullseye. A white hangman’s noose draped the arms of the cross. Beneath this logo were the words, Westtown Soldiers of God. Doing the Lord’s Work.
Zeke said, “I’ve seen this logo many times. We call it ‘The Hanging Cross.’ They’re scrawled onto walls. Flyers are nailed to trees and telephone poles. It was painted on the lynchers truck.”
In the distance, tornado sirens wailed a plaintive warning. The men looked at the sky. Dark clouds on the western horizon billowed into the air. This wasn’t a tornado, but much worse. A rolling avalanche of tumbling trash, debris, and tons of dirt ripped across the prairie propelled by gale force winds. This was a major dust storm.
The wind pummeled the men as they forced the truck doors open and fought their way inside. Zeke’s mask, barely covering his nose and mouth, once again clogged. He beat it against the floor, freeing enough dirt to be able to breathe.
Bryan said, “Those masks are useless. We’ll stop at our house and give you a real respirator.”
Bryan drove through a cloud of dust. “This storm’s a monster. We gotta find shelter fast, before the truck is buried.” He flipped on the radar-powered Collision Avoidance System. It showed several small objects blowing towards them.
The nasally voice of the truck’s computer announced, “A minimum of twelve birds, the size of crows, are about to hit the vehicle. Recommend staying on course. There’s a 98% chance damage will be minimal.”
Like a drunken juggler, the wind tossed the birds up, down, and sideways. One slammed into the hood and slid up over the cab’s roof. Another hit the windshield, exploding in a mass of blood and feathers, but the glass suffered no damage.
Bryan inched forward through the black, swirling cloud. The CAS voice barely kept up with listing the myriad pieces of trash, tree limbs, and birds blowing past them. He shut off the audio. A large building, dimly outlined in white, grew larger on the screen. “We found our shelter, but I need the two of you to open the doors. There’s no lock. Just pull them open.”
He stopped a few feet from the doors. Grit peppered Jason and Zeke as they climbed out. The screaming wind swept them against the building. They forced the tall oak doors open and held on as the wind slammed them against the walls.
The CAS image morphed into a new outline to indicate fifty feet to the back wall. Plenty of stopping room. There was one major problem. The doors were twelve feet high, but only eight feet wide. If Bryan didn’t thread the needle perfectly, he would hit either Jason or Zeke.
Just as Bryan positioned himself for the run, the wind speed dropped. Dirt, branches, and trash plummeted from the sky, dropping a mound of dirt into the truck bed, covering Watson’s body. This was his best chance to make it inside, before the wind resumed. He pulled in the side mirrors and put the pedal to the medal. The truck bounced over the mound and shot through the doorway. He slammed the brakes and screeched to a halt.
As quickly as the wind slowed, it picked up again. A vortex swirled around the doors. The wind swept the doors shut, jarring the men loose. They rolled under the tailgate.
Coughing furiously, Zeke crawled out from under the truck and pulled off his dirt-clogged breather. He spat out muddy saliva, thick as a wad of chewing tobacco. Jason snatched his helmet from the floor and adjusted his respirator. He handed a bottle of water to Zeke.
Jason looked around. The headlights revealed scattered pews with animal and bird tracks lacing a dirt-covered floor. A smashed altar and candle holders cluttered the front. The wind howled through shattered stained-glass windows. “We’re inside a church?”
“It used to be.” Bryan rummaged around in the truck bed. Next to Watson’s buried body, he found the lunch cooler. Dust swirled around in the nave. “There’s still plenty of dust. Let’s eat lunch in the truck.” Once Jason took the shotgun seat and Zeke was in the back, he passed out sandwiches.
Zeke hadn’t eaten in three days and wolfed his ham and cheese. He washed it all down with water and finally came up for air. “It’s ironic that I’m here in a church. Isaiah and I had dreams of going to seminary. He was much more spiritual than me and believed that the Lord controlled every part of his life. But look what happened to him. Was it God’s plan for lynchers to hang him while I’m left untouched? I see no meaning in this. Maybe preaching isn’t for me.”
Bryan turned in his seat and faced Zeke. “Those white supremacists murdered Isaiah and they want you to let it slide, to hide in fear, to do nothing. God kept you safe so that you can speak out and demand justice. You can become a man with a purpose.”
“How? I’m not powerful. I’m not someone to make a change. I’m just a poor black man.”
“That is true, but you can change your fate. You might become a leader against the forces of evil, but you’ll never know if you never try.”
Zeke considered the advice. “You’re right. If I do nothing, Isaiah’s death will be in vain. I see that now. I’ll become a minister in honor of him.”
“You should have no problem finding a church. Megachurches are everywhere these days. Big religion equals big money, but I’m sure you’ll find plenty of work.”
“I’m not interested in becoming some huckster. I want to help poor people, the homeless, and marginalized people who will never be welcome in any megachurch.” Zeke looked around. “In fact, I’m going to rebuild this abandoned church as a home for all abandoned people. That’s my goal.”
Late afternoon sunshine slanted through the broken windows. Jason said, “Look at that! The sun’s out. Time for us to get out of here.”
Bryan started the engine and slowly backed up. When the bumper connected with the doors, the electric engine whined, but the wheels only spun in place. He floored the pedal. The tires found some traction and the truck shoved the doors open a bit. Four-foot-high drifts blocked further movement. Bryan shut off the vehicle. He retrieved three shovels, and they shoveled a mountain of dirt, gaining enough clearance to back out.
An unnatural stillness greeted them as they exited the old church. No birds chirped. No wind stirred. Broken tree trunks, like the masts of wrecked ships, poked through an unmoving sea of dirt.
Bryan headed back to the main road. “It’s going to be dark soon and the roads will be impossible to navigate. We’ll stay at our house and go to Leavenworth tomorrow.”
They had to shovel dirt several times, but in some places, the capricious wind had swept the road clean for hundreds of feet. Shortly after sunset, Zeke pointed ahead. “Look at that! There’s a spotlight sweeping back and forth. I’m surprised anyone has electricity.”
Jason answered, “That’s our house. We’re self-sufficient because Dad installed a wind turbine and solar panels. He offered to help our neighbors do the same, but they claim to be rugged individualists and insist on their right to do nothing.”
Bryan pulled into the garage and the three men entered the airlock. Bryan and Jason left their dusters, helmets, and respirators hanging on the wall next to the door. Zeke didn’t have outer protective wear, but at a wave from Bryan, joined him and Jason in the middle of the airlock. Fans blew dust from clothing, while powerful vacuums sucked it out. When the dust became undetectable, a green light came on and the inner door unlocked.
 Jaden Abernathy, Bryan’s wife, welcomed them home. She took one look at Zeke’s old, dirty clothes. “Welcome to our house, but this’ll never do. Dust pneumonia is a killer. You need to shower and get some new clothes. Jason, take Zeke upstairs and find him something to wear.”
In Jason’s bedroom, Zeke prepared for the shower while Jason rummaged around in his walk-in closet. After a few seconds, he dropped a bundle of cargo shorts and shirts on the bed. “You’re welcome to any of these. I have some boots in the basement. You hit the shower and I’ll get them.” He gingerly scooped up Zeke’s clothes and ran to the basement, trashing the rags along the way.
Zeke showered, slipped on a pair of cargo shorts, and dug through the pile of shirts.
Jason returned and opened his bedroom door. His gut tightened and he dropped the boots. “Sorry! I should’ve knocked.”
Puzzled, Zeke glanced behind himself. The dresser mirror reflected badly healed scars, like a tangle of vines, crisscrossing his back. “Oh! You see my welts.” He pulled a Bob Marley tee-shirt over his still damp dreadlocks. “They’re the cost of five apples.”
Jason’s brow furrowed. “Huh?”
“I was sixteen, homeless, starving, and without a dime to call my own. I walked by a fruit stand and grabbed a bag of apples. I ran, but it took the owner about ten seconds to catch me. By the time the sheriff showed up, the owner had already made a noose. He only waited for the sheriff’s permission to hang me. However, the sheriff took pity and spared my life. He still gave me fifteen lashes, three for each apple. Then he gave me the apples, saying I had earned them.”
Jason gasped. “That’s truly horrible. I don’t know what to say.”
“There’s nothing to say. There’s one type of justice for people like me, another for people who look like you. That’s just the way it is.”

Offline Jub666

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Re: FF for Rising Seas, Falling Skies
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2022, 07:21:02 AM »
Hi Tygered

Sounds like this will be an interesting story - a great concept.

I've made some suggestions below.

Jx




Chapter 1
Strange Fruit
December 2037
Captain (Bryan) Abernathy checked his weather app. “Jason, did you know that today marks a milestone? Officially, our current drought has lasted longer than the Dust Bowl days of the last century. And today’s going to be another scorcher.”
“In other words, a typical day in Kansas. You know, Dad, some people still call climate change a great hoax.”
“I know. Some of them are our neighbors, but no time to waste. Let’s get going before it gets hotter.” They slipped on their full-face respirators and helmets. Jason hopped into the shotgun seat. Bryan unplugged his all-electric truck and climbed behind the wheel. The engine purred like a well-fed tiger as he drove out of the garage just as the sun rose into a cloudless sky.
Major Price, Bryan’s commanding officer, had assigned him the task of patrolling the Wasteland and assisting anyone who needed help. That usually meant clearing fallen trees, clearing (try and find a different word - you used clearing twice) the roads, or treating injuries. The morning was uneventful. Lieutenant Jason Abernathy, M.D. treated a few cases of dust pneumonia and one broken arm.
They were about to pull into a small picnic area to enjoy lunch when Bryan hit the brakes. About a hundred feet in front of the truck, a body slowly spun at the end of a thick rope. A short, scrawny man tried was trying to cut down the victim.
The scrawny man’s kitchen knife made scant progress cutting through the rope. When two white men with drawn pistols ran toward him, he ran the other way (Do you mean Bryan and Jason - or are there two additional men who run at him with pistols?). His breather mask, made from ground charcoal sewn between two pieces of cloth with a cord to go over the ears, clogged. He ripped it off, and inhaled. but the dust floating in the air set him to coughing and gagging.
As Bryan approached, he the choking man crouched in a defensive posture, pointing his small knife at Bryan’s face. Dreadlocks hung around his face like twisted ropes. His black eyes, filled with fear, darted left and right. He wore a tee-shirt of indeterminate color. Bare toes poked out of his shoes.
Bryan holstered his Beretta. His voice sounded muffled. “Easy now. I’m not going to hurt you.” He pulled a bottle of water from his duster pocket and handed it to the stranger. “Don’t be afraid.”
Warily, the man stuck his knife into a thin twine that held up torn brown trousers and took the bottle. “Thank you.”
Bryan helped him to his feet and held his arm as they walked back to Jason.
Jason sliced through the rope with his Rambo knife, as if it were sewing thread. I had to reread this a couple of times. I thought the scrawny man had some rope on him. I think you need to make it clear that Jason is with the hanging victim. Cuts and deep purple bruises covered the victim’s face. He checked for a carotid pulse. There was none. He closed the man’s eyes.
Bryan drew his Beretta and looked around. “The lynchers might still be around. I need a sitrep.”
The stranger asked, “Sitrep?”
“Sorry, my dad’s been in the army longer than I’ve been alive. He wants to know what the situation is. What happened? I’m Lieutenant Jason Abernathy, a doctor. This is my father, Captain Bryan Abernathy. And you are?”
“I’m Ezekiel Charles. Everybody calls me Zeke. This is… was Isaiah Watson, the gentlest man I’ve ever known. We’re from the South Carolina low country. When rising seas flooded our village, everyone had to move. About forty adults and a bunch of kids, packed into six vehicles and drove west.
“Eventually, we came to a small farm near here run by a man named George McKinnon. He promised that if we worked for him, he’d help us find abandoned houses we could have. The neighbors didn’t like the fact that a bunch of black refugees would be living that close to them. Some neighbors hated the idea so much, they shot McKinnon a few days ago. Black people are often blamed for everything bad that happens, so we fled.
Jason asked, “How was your friend hanged and you weren’t?”
“We had walked all night long and were looking for a place to rest during the day’s heat. I saw the lights of a vehicle about to turn the corner. We hid behind some bushes, but it was too late. They drove straight for us. Isaiah and I split up and ran in opposite directions. They all went after Isaiah, ignoring me. When I realized nobody was after me, I circled back and peered through some bushes. Five men drank beer while my friend choked to death (at the end of that rope). When he stopped kicking, they drove away. I should have done something.”
“If you had, you’d be hanging up there next to him. We’ll take the body to Fort Leavenworth. That’s the closest funeral home.” Bryan grabbed Watson’s arms. Zeke took his feet. “You better come with us in case those lynchers return.”
Jason brought up the rear, pistol drawn, scanning the surroundings. As they maneuvered Isaiah’s body into the truck bed, a card fell out of his pocket and fluttered to the ground. Jason snatched it up. “Check this out.” He handed it to his father. “It’s a business card.”
A large, red circle filled the center of the card. A black cross divided the circle into a bullseye. A white hangman’s noose draped the arms of the cross. Beneath this logo were the words, Westtown Soldiers of God. Doing the Lord’s Work.
Zeke said, “I’ve seen this logo many times. We call it ‘The Hanging Cross.’ They’re scrawled onto walls. Flyers are nailed to trees and telephone poles. It was painted on the lynchers truck.”
In the distance, tornado sirens wailed a plaintive warning. The men looked at the sky. Dark clouds on the western horizon billowed into the air. This wasn’t a tornado, but much worse. A rolling avalanche of tumbling trash, debris, and tons of dirt ripped across the prairie propelled by gale force winds. This was a major dust storm.
The wind pummeled the men as they forced the truck doors open and fought their way inside. Zeke’s mask, barely covering his nose and mouth, once again clogged. He beat it against the floor, freeing enough dirt to be able to breathe.
Bryan said, “Those masks are useless. We’ll stop at our house and give get you a real respirator.”
Bryan drove through a cloud of dust (some description here would help to build tension). “This storm’s a monster. We gotta find shelter fast, before the truck is buried.” He flipped on the radar-powered Collision Avoidance System. It showed several small objects blowing towards them.
The nasally voice of the truck’s computer announced, “A minimum of twelve birds, the size of crows, are about to hit the vehicle. Recommend staying on course. There’s a 98% chance damage will be minimal.”
Like a drunken juggler, the wind tossed the birds up, down, and sideways. One slammed into the hood and slid up over the cab’s roof. Another hit the windshield, exploding in a mass of blood and feathers, but the glass suffered no damage.
Bryan inched forward through the black, swirling cloud. The CAS voice barely kept up with listing the myriad pieces of trash, tree limbs, and birds blowing past them. He shut off the audio. A large building, dimly outlined in white, grew larger on the screen. “We found our shelter, but I need the two of you to open the doors. There’s no lock. Just pull them open.” (How did he know there was no lock?)
He stopped a few feet from the doors. Grit peppered Jason and Zeke as they climbed out. The screaming wind swept them against the building. They forced the tall oak doors open and held on as the wind slammed them against the walls.
The CAS image morphed into a new outline to indicate fifty feet to the back wall. Plenty of stopping room. There was one major problem. The doors were doorway was twelve feet high, but only eight feet wide. If Bryan didn’t thread the needle perfectly, he would hit either Jason or Zeke.
Just as Bryan positioned himself for the run, the wind speed dropped. Dirt, branches, and trash plummeted from the sky, dropping a mound of dirt into the truck bed, covering Watson’s body. This was his best chance to make it inside, before the wind resumed. He pulled in the side mirrors and put the pedal to the medal. The truck bounced over the mound and shot through the doorway. He slammed the brakes and screeched to a halt.
As quickly as the wind slowed, it picked up again. A vortex swirled around the doors. The wind swept the doors shut, jarring the men loose. They rolled under the tailgate.
Coughing furiously, Zeke crawled out from under the truck and pulled off his dirt-clogged breather. He spat out muddy saliva, thick as a wad of chewing tobacco. Jason snatched his helmet from the floor and adjusted his respirator. He handed a bottle of water to Zeke.
Jason looked around. The headlights revealed scattered pews with animal and bird tracks lacing a dirt-covered floor. A smashed altar and candle holders cluttered the front. The wind howled through shattered stained-glass windows. “We’re inside a church?”
“It used to be.” Bryan rummaged around in the truck bed. Next to Watson’s buried body, he found the lunch cooler. Dust swirled around in the nave. “There’s still plenty of dust. Let’s eat lunch in the truck.” Once Jason took the shotgun seat and Zeke was in the back, he passed out sandwiches.
Zeke hadn’t eaten in three days and wolfed his ham and cheese. He washed it all down with water and finally came up for air. “It’s ironic that I’m here in a church. Isaiah and I had dreams of going to seminary. He was much more spiritual than me and believed that the Lord controlled every part of his life. But look what happened to him. Was it God’s plan for lynchers to hang him while I’m left untouched? I see no meaning in this. Maybe preaching isn’t for me.”
Bryan turned in his seat and faced Zeke. “Those white supremacists murdered Isaiah and they want you to let it slide, to hide in fear, to do nothing. God kept you safe so that you can speak out and demand justice. You can become a man with a purpose.”
“How? I’m not powerful. I’m not someone to make a change. I’m just a poor black man.”
That is true, but you can change your fate. Or you You might become a leader against the forces of evil, but you’ll never know if you never try.”
Zeke considered the advice. “You’re right. If I do nothing, Isaiah’s death will be in vain. I see that now. I’ll become a minister in honor of him.”
“You should have no problem finding a church. Megachurches are everywhere these days. Big religion equals big money, but I’m sure you’ll find plenty of work.”
“I’m not interested in becoming some huckster. I want to help poor people, the homeless, and marginalized people who will never be welcome in any megachurch.” Zeke looked around. “In fact, I’m going to rebuild this abandoned church as a home for all abandoned people. That’s my goal.”
Late afternoon sunshine slanted through the broken windows. Jason said, “Look at that! The sun’s out. Time for us to get out of here.” - I think you need to mention the passing of time here. They were eating lunch a minute ago and now it's late afternoon.
Bryan started the engine and slowly backed up. When the bumper connected with the doors, the electric engine whined, but the wheels only spun in place. He floored the pedal. The tires found some traction and the truck shoved the doors open a bit. Four-foot-high drifts blocked further movement. Bryan shut off the vehicle. He retrieved three shovels, and they shoveled moved a mountain of dirt, gaining enough clearance to back out.
An unnatural stillness greeted them as they exited the old church. No birds chirped. No wind stirred. Broken tree trunks, like the masts of wrecked ships, poked through an unmoving sea of dirt.
Bryan headed back to the main road. “It’s going to be dark soon and the roads will be impossible to navigate. We’ll stay at our house and go to Leavenworth tomorrow.”
They had to shovel dirt several times, but in some places, the capricious wind had swept the road clean for hundreds of feet. Shortly after sunset, Zeke pointed ahead. “Look at that! There’s a spotlight sweeping back and forth. I’m surprised anyone has electricity.”
Jason answered, “That’s our house. We’re self-sufficient because Dad installed a wind turbine and solar panels. He offered to help our neighbors do the same, but they claim to be rugged individualists and insist on their right to do nothing.”
Bryan pulled into the garage and the three men entered the airlock. Bryan and Jason left their dusters, helmets, and respirators hanging on the wall next to the door. Zeke didn’t have outer protective wear, but at a wave from Bryan, joined him and Jason in the middle of the airlock. Fans blew dust from clothing, while powerful vacuums sucked it out. When the dust became undetectable, a green light came on and the inner door unlocked.
 Jaden Abernathy, Bryan’s wife, welcomed them home. She took one look at Zeke’s old, dirty clothes. “Welcome to our house home, but this’ll never do. Dust pneumonia is a killer. You need to shower and get some new clothes. Jason, take Zeke upstairs and find him something to wear.”
In Jason’s bedroom, Zeke prepared for the shower while Jason rummaged around in his walk-in closet. After a few seconds, he dropped a bundle of cargo shorts and shirts on the bed. “You’re welcome to any of these. I have some boots in the basement. You hit the shower and I’ll get them.” He gingerly scooped up Zeke’s clothes and ran to the basement, trashing the rags along the way.
Zeke showered, slipped on a pair of cargo shorts, and dug through the pile of shirts.
Jason returned and opened his bedroom door. His gut tightened and he dropped the boots. “Sorry! I should’ve knocked.”
Puzzled, Zeke glanced behind himself. The dresser mirror reflected badly healed scars, like a tangle of vines, crisscrossing his back. “Oh! You see my welts.” He pulled a Bob Marley tee-shirt over his still damp dreadlocks. “They’re the cost of five apples.”
Jason’s brow furrowed. “Huh?”
“I was sixteen, homeless, starving, and without a dime to call my own. I walked by a fruit stand and grabbed a bag of apples. I ran, but it took the owner about ten seconds to catch me. By the time the sheriff showed up, the owner had already made a noose. He only waited for the sheriff’s permission to hang me. However, the sheriff took pity and spared my life. He still gave me fifteen lashes, three for each apple. Then he gave me the apples, saying I had earned them.”
Jason gasped. “That’s truly horrible. I don’t know what to say.”
“There’s nothing to say. There’s one type of justice for people like me, another for people who look like you. That’s just the way it is.”

Offline Tygered

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Re: FF for Rising Seas, Falling Skies
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2022, 08:54:23 AM »
Love the suggestions. I  do have a technical question. How did you get the blue color? I copied a FF to my word, made suggestions like you did in blue color, but when I copied the whole thing back here, it was all in black.

Offline Jub666

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Re: FF for Rising Seas, Falling Skies
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2022, 11:35:55 AM »
Hi Tygered

You need to edit in the actual reply (or you can type the HTML tags by hand if you like in MSWord).

Whilst you're typing your reply, you will see 'Font Face', 'Font Size' and 'Font Color' (plus other formatting options) just above the row of emoticons. You just highlight the text you want to change and then select the colour / font etc and it will add the tags in for you.

Hope that helps :)
Jx

Offline Tygered

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Re: FF for Rising Seas, Falling Skies
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2022, 05:22:49 PM »
Got it and I was able to modify another document. Thanks