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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
This tale owes a debt of thanks to Shirly Jackson’s 1948 short story called The Lottery.  It is well worth the time to check out.

La Tombola - 13. Chapter 13

Raise up your hand not in supplication, for one does not ask or demand a boon or favor from the gods, for it is their will to do as they shall please.

Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!”

Herman Melville, Moby Dick


Ned Boone 11

Sitting around the dying embers of the campfire, Ned looked towards the sky, the electrical storms had been raging ever since they had communed with Mithras. He felt as unsettled as he had ever felt. In a way, it was nearly too much to ponder, it seemed impossible but, here they were.

It was real, not an abstract possibility, there were others from earth that would be here shortly, it was information all of them were finding hard to digest. If Mithras was correct, they would not be leaving, the impact, the disruption was mind-boggling. There was something he was trying to recall, one of the lessons he had learned as a child, and like every father could not fully explain it to his children when asked.

The old books of his ancestors told of a world where humans had grown past the simple life they enjoyed now. That they had machines and devices that did wonderous things, that could fly, talk to each other and travel to and beyond the stars. And yet, despite the advances they had made, they managed to destroy the world his ancestors left. More puzzling till now, were the reasons that despite all the advances, tools, machines, and devices they brought failed.

It was Mithras and this world they now called home, as best he could understand, it was in the air that they breathed, the atmosphere that surrounded this world, it sensed the danger and simply neutralized it.


The order to launch from the doomed spacecraft had been given and as they approached orbit around the planet Orion-24ZFX, one they would call their new home, they saw the darkness of space around them light up as their craft, the Mayflower 2, simply cease to exist. Sitting there in that black void was a blue/green water world, one of twelve planets orbiting that system’s sun. Similar to earths, a moon revolved around that world and they matched their path to follow that moon, as they circumnavigated the planet, hoping to gather information that had been previously denied to them.

What they found stunned them.


There was an intensity to the storms swirling around them Ned noticed, if anything they were growing stronger. Looking over to Thery he saw a smile on the Gnos’ face, eyes closed as he sat cross legged looking out to the turbulent skies. As if he could sense Ned looking towards him, he opened his eyes and simply said, “The storms will be over soon, shortly after first light and Mithras asks, that we gather at the site of the first landing, she asks that James Bishop accompany us to welcome them.


Captain Reynolds would not have believed it if someone else were to tell him, that after more than a millennium, that what he was looking at was a world bereft of the technology the first settlers arrived with. Ground penetrating scans identified the rusted remains of several large lumps of what could only be the decayed remnants of mechanical equipment.

They were able to identify at least six, possibly active communities and the remains of possibly a half dozen more. The only comparison he could make was to earth’s agrarian society of the eighteenth century. There were no factories, or bulk users of raw materials. The atmosphere was pristine and from what they could tell, no pollution.

They saw unidentified beasts of burden hauling carts as well as working in the farmyard fields. Rudimentary paths and a crude network of, for the lack of better words, dirt roads that connected the different villages. Their houses and outbuildings looked sturdy and well made of wood and stone. The outlying farms were connected to a central town square with several buildings of differing sizes. The only quirk was that it appeared that the central square appeared to be paved with stones.

There were indications that they had at least harnessed water power, nearly every farm had irrigation ponds. In addition to irrigation, scattered among the different settlements were what appeared to be waterwheels, and in a few communities, what appeared to be sawmills.


Thery and Ned were up before the breaking of the new dawn, this day would be unlike any other. The storm had abated, the angry clouds were scuttling off across the valley, looking out across the old town square Ned could only wonder what changes were coming. Thery had brewed a pot of tea and handed him a cup. Joining them were Peter Miller and James Bishop as they were brought to Mithras.

She greeted them, thanking them for their selfless service and the danger poised was nearly abated. Asking them to look up into the last of the night sky, they saw a fireball streak across the darkened sky. They saw through her the explosion of the spacecraft and the shuttle approaching the surface of their home. They understood now, that those aboard the smaller craft would be not returning to their homes and there was still much to do.

James Bishop would greet and welcome them, clothed as he would have been on the day of the first landing, his appearance would be familiar. It would be up to Ned to provide the necessary background, to invite them to break bread and share some of the original journals and history of their ancestors.


Looking up at the early morning sky, Captain Matt Reynolds found it hard to believe that two full years had passed he thought to himself, with a chuckle, two full cycles of the days since they had landed on this new world. With a minor twinge of regret, he recalled a fleeting sense of hopelessness as he watched the unmanned shuttle take off with all their electronics and powered devices, and the resulting fireball as it exploded far above the planet’s atmosphere. The streaks illuminating a fiery path as the larger pieces burned up and fell to their doom.

Yet despite it all, he was happy and content, he and his crew had assimilated without any issues, starting families, and integrating in the community of New Boston. There had been a few steep learning curves and adjustments made. As he looked out over the pastures and crops growing in his fields, a sense of satisfaction washed over him. A cry from his hungry son broke his reverie, he could hear his wife stir and hoped she wouldn’t be mad when she found little James Peter Reynolds in his arms. He was growing quickly, no longer would one bottle suffice, as his messy diapers attested to.

Already Sarah was with child again, if he could believe the doctor, little James, or as everyone was calling him JP, was going to have a couple of siblings come planting season. He heard Sarah come out the kitchen door and smiled when she wrapped an arm around his waist. With the other she gave JP a breakfast bread stick assuaging his hunger pangs. As he stood there in the cool, early morning dawn with his pregnant wife and child, he couldn’t help but feel gratified and content.


Elsewhere that morning others were up or stirring. Ned could hear Thad and Evan getting ready for the day. These days the boys were as thick as thieves, where you saw one, there was the other. They had come to the decision that they would split their time between the farm and down at Evan’s grandfather’s store and warehouse. There were doubts at first, but the boys were committed to making it work. They had become a little more judicious in the places they loved each other. The early days of indiscriminate coupling, once their union was accepted, had moderated. Down at Grandfather Tom’s, a lock was placed on one of the storeroom doors. Up here at the farm, Ned quietly reminded them that the walls were thin, not everyone needed to know what they were up to.

He needed to pay Matt Reynolds a visit later today to see how he was doing. It had taken the better part of what Matt and his crew, would have called a month to fully understand their place here. Reading the journals of his ancestor, learning how he came to accept his new life was instrumental. It was his visit with James Bishop to Mithras that cemented his acceptance. In that meeting, Mithras let him sit with his ancestor, the original Captain Reynolds.

And then, there was his last meeting with Mithras, the details still vividly clear in his mind. “You have done me great service Ned Boone, not once but several times. I have not forgotten the gift of what was most precious to you, nor the promise that you would be together again, for your unselfish sacrifice and service.”

Continuing, “Yet you have something that is mine, and as you say, I have something that is yours, what is it you seek in exchange for that cloth you carry always?”

It was with temerity Ned thought that he had asked, it had to be, the shear boldness…audacity of it all, as he remembered the rest of that engagement with Mithras. One does not bargain with the gods after all, and yet as he ran his fingers through the few graying hairs on a sleeping Peter’s chest, watching it rise and fall with his sleepy breathing, his plea had been listened to and granted.

While no longer carefree, callow youths or in the last decades of their lives, Peter had been returned to him, and in that gift of thanks, was the promise of decades to come, as they traveled whatever path that lay before them.

Thanks for reading, it is appreciated and your thoughts and comments are most welcome.
Copyright © 2022 drsawzall; All Rights Reserved.
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Thanks for reading, your comments and thoughts are appreciated. Please take a moment to let me know your impressions.
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

6 hours ago, CincyKris said:

The previous chapter, we all speculated that it would be difficult to for the space crew to adapt to a pre-industrial society.  I think that's because most of us would find it difficult.  However, if you are left with absolutely no other alternatives, you adapt pretty quickly or you die.  It's a little different than going camping for the week!  Great story!

Thanks CincyKris!!! Your comments as always are insightful and spot on!!

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Thanks for this story. I was thinking that Mithras was aime kind of advanced AI for a while, but in the end some other form of higher powered sentient being, maybe even the visible interface of the living planet itself.  Great ending  where there is new life and acceptance of the boys, and the reunion of Ned and Peter to live out their lives.

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I often think about whether with all our technology and medical advancements we are any happier as a society compared to 300 years ago. There’s no certainty in my mind that we are. Certainly people live longer lives, but whether they are more fulfilled I just don’t know. 

Maybe that’s the trade-off the new arrivals made. They saw the happiness and contentment of the planet’s inhabitants and realized their technology gave them nothing they needed. 

I was also surprised that Ned’s reward was having Peter back. I had assumed he would go live an ageless life with Peter in Mithras’ domain. This is nice too. Nothing wrong with aging together! It’s sweet. 

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Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I'm sure that Ned and Peter's service to Mithras isn't over. 

There is much to be said between the world of Ned and Peter contrasted to the world Captain Matt Reynolds left and never to return.

More to the point, I am reminded of the poster of the little fish being followed by a slightly bigger fish and so we see all the fish lined up, ready to eat each other. As pointed out much earlier in the story, as a sentient being, Mithras expends much of her lifeforce so that the Gnos and later on the settlers, so that they can prosper in a world that provides for their needs and good health, bereft of the technology that would cause grievous harm.

I think Herman Melville had the right of it to some extent...in describing the world left behind.

 Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began. 

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3 hours ago, Al Norris said:

Despite my criticism about the computer virus, this was a good read. It was definitely a good story!

Thank you, @drsawzall

Thanks, I deeply appreciate each and every comment and reaction!!!

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:thankyou:I just loved this story it was well written and well thought out! I was so happy to see that Peter and Ned were reunited and together again  and all was right with the world! What is next on the plate for me to read?

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8 hours ago, Albert1434 said:

:thankyou:I just loved this story it was well written and well thought out! I was so happy to see that Peter and Ned were reunited and together again  and all was right with the world! What is next on the plate for me to read?

Either Unintended Consequences or Breaking Point 

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