The Newfounders

Published March 31, 2013 by sojournerjorgenssen

panstarrs_cook_960Once upon a time there was a spacefaring race called the Newfounders. After five generations on board their star vessel, they finally arrived at the planet that would become their home.

Alas, not all was well. Sickness and the unforeseen issues that come with spending a hundred years in space had left them frail and vulnerable. Most of the Newfounders only lived long enough to see their children reach adulthood, but never long enough to meet their own grandchildren. The elders did their best to teach their young everything they needed to know, but the youth, being young, believed they knew everything they needed.

The new planet was everything they’d hoped it would be. Not a single Newfounder had ever set foot on a planet, but from the descriptions of their forebearers, the new land was a paradise.

Growing seeds for food crops came naturally. They’d done that on board ship. Yet there were many other seeds stored away that were labeled as food, but no one had ever tried growing them. The elders said they were kinds that should thrive on the new planet, but would not grow well in space.

Bathing on board ship had been a simple matter of sonics. But the level of filth produced by actual dirt and rocks and who knows what blowing in the wind required a more thorough cleaning process involving immersion in water. The children rebelled against this, and in the end their parents had to simply demand “Do it because I tell you to do it!” because so many of the children refused to believe there could possibly be any benefit from immersing themselves in water.

The oldest Newfounder, knowing he would soon die, took in all the data he possibly could about the new world. There was a river that had a certain contaminant that needed to be avoided, but within a few generations they could probably make it usable. There were many aspects of the land that were completely strange and unexpected, but he did his best to figure out a way for his children to deal with them. He wrote out a book that was a guide he was certain would lead them into a way that would keep them and their descendants safe and healthy, and he died hoping that they had enough tools to learn for themselves how to make their new world a thriving environment for them to live.

There was much to do on the new world, so much that within a generation, much of the reasoning behind the things they did were lost. Most still bathed by immersion, but they were laughed at by those who used a new form of sonic that seemed to produce the same result. The contaminated river was labeled off-limits, even after a hundred years of running clean.

Some Newfounders had only one or two children each, as had been the custom of their ship-bound ancestors for a hundred years. Others had many children, citing the fact that the planet had more than enough room for dozens of children from each parent.

Many Newfounders followed the writings of the last elder, although they each interpreted his words in different ways. It was hard to understand someone whose choice of words and life experience were so different from their own.

And they fought.

A thousand years went by, and they were able to reach the stars again. They found the star vessel their ancestors had arrived in, even though many had ceased to believe it had ever existed at all. To their surprise, they were unable to prove any one group wrong in any way. Certainly, there were misconceptions along the way, and a few fringe groups with made-up ideas that had nothing to do with anything they’d either been taught or learned on their own, but the descendants of the original Newfounders were all doing what they were supposed to do… growing and learning and making the world a better place. Some did it in vastly different ways, even contrary ways, but in the end, they all had the same goal.

And they stopped fighting.

And they continued to go their separate ways, but they respected each other, and they learned from each other, and they were able to reach not only the stars, but beyond.


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