ran Peters had fallen in love with a world and had even titled it after his first name. It was a lonely desolate place, completely barren of any life. The dog star, Sirius,hung ominously in the heavens with it’s brilliant blue white light shrouding the jagged peaks and wide endless valleys. The red soil flew in the wind, full of stinging rocks that at times could blind one. But there was water and he thought the rich soil might grow anything. At least it was worth a try.

But as Gran’s pretty blonde wife, Julia, had expressed it so vehemently, it was a world fit for nothing--a land of misery and lonely despair and a terrible place to finish against the rocks not over a hundred yards from where

 

they stoodtheir honeymoon.

Gran didn’t see it that way. The air was pure and breathable and rivers and seas spanned great areas of the little planet, not much larger than Earth’s moon. They had come in a small ship. It flew at great speeds like nearly all ships of 2310, moving from one star to another at a fantastic rate. But it did not seem at all unusual to them.

The part that was unusual occurred when they crash landed. Luckily they only had minor injuries; a few bad scratches and bruised spots, but no serious injuries. They had been stranded here two weeks by Earth


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measurement, and their star ship lay smashed against the rocks not over a hundred yards from where they stood. Gran shaded his eyes from the sun and wind. His distressed wife was near him.

“We’ll build it here,” he said.

“Build what?” Julia cried indignantly. “If you think I plan to stay here the rest of my life, you are wrong! “Anyway our food supply will run out in about three months.”

“Never mind,” he snapped irritably. “We are away from civilization now, and you will have to let me see you through this. The niceties of home are gone. We may as well face it.”

“But what can we do?” she said hopelessly. “You can keep trying to contact someone from the ship’s radio set, but we could die before help ever comes.”

“Die?” he said. He laughed stoutly. “Only the weak and helpless die! The strong find a way to live.”

 

“Why waste our energy trying to build something?” she wanted to know. “And what are you going to build?”

Gran smiled. “Our home, my darling! The rocks are plentiful and easy to chisel. The dirt in that depression over to the south is not only sticky but will make good cement. First we can lay a fairly level floor, then start the walls. The long thin slabs of that nearby hill can be chiseled down and form a roof. We may be here a long time before help comes. We might as well have out own house to live in.”

Gran went about his measurements, digging out a place for a foundation with his hands. If help did not come they would at least eventually die in grandeur by leaving their mark on this little world.

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At first Julia stood and watched , perplexed at his activity. “You are working too hard,” she finally said “And it’s foolish, but . . .” She didn’t complete her sentence, but smiled for the first time since they had become stranded. “Let me help you,” she continued. “I’ll cut the rocks and you can lay them."

“Good!” he replied. “I was hoping you would see it my way.” He jumped to kiss her and then went back to work. They could carry very heavy loads in the light gravity.

Later, Gran walked to the nearby overhanging ledge by the wrecked ship and examined what Julia had called his folly. He had planted buds from potatoes, tomato seeds, and seeds from the rest of their food supply. A few sprouts were already beginning to come up from the rich soil that he had fertilized with human refuse. A small spring dripping from the rocks furnished the necessary water supply

Gran proudly surveyed his work. Whistling, he walked over to the smashed ship and entered. Every evening at this time he tried to get a message through on the still intact ship’s radio. Again, there was no answer. Sighing, Gran went back to his wife.

 

They established a pattern of living on this formerly undiscovered world. They worked hard during the coming weeks. Their house slowly took shape until they almost had it finished. It looked a bit rough around the edges, but to them looked lovely. It had a living room, two bedrooms, bathroom and a large open patio. By means of metal pipes from the ship, Gran was able to pipe in water from the nearby spring. They had running water in the bathroom and at other locations in the house. They also took chairs, tables, and other furnishings from the ship to give themselves elaborate furnishings in their new home.

“It’s all nice,” Julia said one evening from the kitchen as she cooked on the stove. "But this is almost the last meal. What can we do now but starve?”

He shrugged. “We’ve got to keep busy. The time will go faster.” He neglected to add that it might merely be until they died of hunger.

Each day he tended the little garden, watching the plants bloom, then grow to maturity. The plants grew faster than they would have on Earth. But the question remained, would it be fast enough? One more week and their ship supplies would be completely exhausted.

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He grew weaker and staggered at times from hunger.

Poor Julia hid her fear of death as best she could, but it was still in her eyes. Only by continuing to work could they hide their torment.

Eventually she caught him by the shoulders in their house and began crying. “What are we going to do?” she pleaded “It’s not just about us dying now! It’s worse!”

“What are you talking about?” he said.

“One of these days, we are going to have a baby if we even live that long!” she answered. She buried her head on his shoulders.

“Are you certain?” he asked.

“Yes!” she replied.

Gran stared into her eyes and knew she spoke the truth. “We will live!” he said defiantly. “Can’t you see, honey? It’s destiny. We’ll deal with this! We’ll live to see our son born on this world.”

 

He grabbed her right hand and led her to examine the plants. Gran dug around the roots of one of the potato plants. He made a startling discovery. Then he shouted, “Honey! We’ve got potatoes!”

“Really?” she asked.

“Yes!” he replied. “This is great! We can eat these and keep planting more.”

They gathered the potatoes in a bucket she brought from the house. Julia stooped to examine tomato vines. “Look!” she cried. “We’ve also got tomatoes!”

They examined the other plants with disbelief. It was obvious now, even to Julia, that the garden was going to pay off and even save their lives. She gathered up the proceeds in delight and rushed into the house. She cooked the potatoes and other vegetables on the stove. Afterwards they both ate with relish, feeling comfortably good for the first time since they had run out of food.

“And to think,” Julia said to him after they retired to the living room, “I had little faith in the garden. Forgive me,

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darling, if you can.”

“Forget it,” he answered with a pleased smile. “As long as we keep working, we won’t die. We can build a store house and stock it full of food. We’ll plant this entire valley full of plants. Why there’s no end to what we can do!”

They eventually finished both the house and the storage shed. Some months later their little baby boy was born. Then finally a rescue ship did come. The ship landed in the valley; it was now fertile and green with plants.

Captain Gates and his crew came from the ship and greeted Gran and Julia in their completed home. “It’s almost unbelievable,” the captain said after Gran told him the full story. “We received your message over three months ago, but couldn’t get back to you. We’d almost given you up as lost, but finally tracked you down.”

“I guess my radio receiver quit working,” Gran answered. “I’m glad you were able to find us despite the trouble. I’m also glad that we were able to survive here.”

 

“It looks like you did well,” Captain Gates admitted. “We came to rescue you.”

“We made a home here,” Gran answered. “We don’t wand to be rescued now.”

“Are you mad?” the captain cried out. “We came to take you back to civilization!” He turned to Mrs. Peters. “Surely you don’t approve of your husband’s decision. This place may have driven him mad!”

She smiled stoutly, holding Gran Jr. in her arms, now apparently forced to make a decision. “My son was born here; the first baby on this world!” she said. “Without Gran’s help, I would have died. Besides, I kind of like it here. Things aren’t ready made for us. We’ve carved life for ourselves out of the wilderness and I think it’s wonderful!”

The captain stared at both of them in disbelief. “Well then,” he boomed. "Just stay isolated here all your life?”

“Things have changed for us,” Gran admitted. “Go back

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to Earth! Tell the people that this world is ready for colonization. There is no end to how it can be if people are willing to work at it. The land is free and open to anyone who wants it.”

“It’s a fool’s paradise,” the captain stormed, scowling. “But I am sure there are others who like to build empires with their own hands. I’ll relay your message,Gran.”

A short time later, Gran and Julia stood on the threshold of the rock house they had built and watched the majestic space vessel return to the skies without them.

“Why didn’t we go?” Gran asked.

“This is our home!” Julia said, smiling knowingly.

The End

Illustrations - S. Tolen

 

Filler illo by Jim Garrison

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CONTENTS