Whatever Higher powers held court on the new planet, they seemed to favor the Ascensionist cultists right from the start. The fall of the acorn and our subsequent settling in around the immense trunk of The Oak was followed, around the fall of our first night, by a sudden downpour of rain and drop in temperature. Being furry we don’t mind cold–though not accustomed to it from our home–but find rain rather annoying. So as we realized that The Oak, with it’s huge, spreading canopy of large, sturdy leaves, provided more shelter from the weather than the more slender trees we had known, it became easier to accept what Underscore and Comma were ranting about: that we had found a favored spot and should count the blessings of the day.
You will have noticed that I capitalize The Oak. Though not the acorn: that’s based on superstition while The Oak is a fact of history, similar in many ways to a place you refer to, also in capitals, as Plymouth Rock. It was our Settlement; home for the most homeless beings in the history of your planet.
We were immediately fortunate in the favorable setting of the massive tree, which was even more fortunate than we had yet discovered as we completed our first meal in this place. Sorry we have no name or colorful traditions for that meal, it was merely supper on the first Arrival Day. Freed from immediate fears of starvation, clear of the doubt over where to go or where to stay, located (perhaps with supernatural destiny, depending on whom told the tale) in a secure and scenic spot; we turned our considerable energies and gifts to the matter of making ourselves at home. The first step in that direction was getting underway before we even knew it, as we squatted on the dry leaves, looking out at the dark rain and listened to it dimpling the surface of the pond.
Point picked up two of the empty acorns and walked down to the water alone and returned with both of them full to their brims. He set them down carefully, leaning against the tree, then picked up several more and walked back out into the rain to set them down upright, twisting them down into the soil to stand erect by themselves. As he came back under the canopy to find more he gave us a crooked smile: No he didn’t think of everything in advance.
Immediately Semi and several of the Ascension males followed suit, setting up a formation of vessels to trap the rain with no need to walk to the pond. I saw him motion to the two full acorns and speak to Semi, who immediately walked out into the deluge–her luxuriant chest fur immediately matting down flat–grabbed two of the containers, and headed for the water. At immediately followed her into the darkness, picking up two containers as he passed them, an obvious afterthought to his protective instincts.
Point shook water from his soaked fur and surveyed our position under the sheltering canopy. He chose a spot and picked up four of the huge leaves, leaving bare ground beneath them. He started breaking the leaves up and tossing the pieces into a pile, then crumbled some of the pieces into dust. As Semi and At returned with more water he walked around picking up twigs and adding them to the heap. We watched in polite puzzlement as he selected a larger twig, as big around as his arms, broke it in half over his knee and laid a piece on each side of his carefully prepared little heap of trash.
He shook off again and smoothed his pelt in what I interpreted as a pause before taking some plunge. And I’d read it well, because he then walked over to the black survival cabinet and opened it. He didn’t reach inside, just stood there holding the door open while Greater Than jumped up and lunged over to him. Before the big Trinchan was in reach, however, Point put a finger on a crest embossed into the door: the Stand naval crest and “Toward”, the name of our perished ship. It would have been very difficult to deny his claim to access.
I watched Greater Than’s sullen retreat from the confrontation, but was occupied in wondering why one of our ships, which only moved in our own completely inhabited and civilized system, would need elaborate survival packs on board. I made a note to ask Point, but doubted I would get much satisfaction.