The Korinthidon Pre-Cognition Team: Part Two

Meanwhile, on the island of Maddon, there was an upset tea plantation owner. In his own eyes, he was doing everything he could do to grow tea to sell for the imperial capital market. This should not, in theory, be a difficult task. The imperial capital and the port cities immediately near it were in the temperate zones, on a far northern peninsula within in the northern continent that was warmed by a warm current, and on the other side of that current, at the northern reaches of the subtropical zone, sat the island of Maddon, where some Scottish folk had settled who enjoyed their cuppa tea. One of these people enjoyed the tea so much that he thought that a tea plantation would be appreciated, and it was true that tea was considered a mandatory element of the imperial planting regime assuming there was tropical or subtropical areas suitable for the crop to be found on the planet. And this was one such place that was easily accessible to the capital region that could grow tea, only the plantation owner had simply not been able to make a profit off of it.

At first, he thought that he might be doing something wrong himself, but other people, including imperial agronomists, and it was determined that the terroir for the tea was excellent and that he was clearly doing a good job encouraging the tea to grow, it is just that the problem was that the tea was not being properly harvested. When it came time for the tea to be harvested, all of the buds and first and second class leaves were gone, and at best some of the lower quality leaves were left. On account of the massive market for tea of any quality, the plantation owner still made enough money to stay in business, but he missed a lot of profits selling the higher quality material. He suspected that there was a thief around, and he wanted to know who was involved in taking advantage of his plantation to line their own profits by smuggling tea, and this led him to try various methods of seeking to harvest all of the tea he worked so hard to grow.

He was greatly confused at first, because the most obvious weakness of a tea plantation was the workers, but his tea plantation was harvested via very intelligent robots, since the income of tea growing could not be sustained paying the prevailing rates for agricultural labor in an area where everyone who wanted to grow crops was able to obtain reasonably large tracts of property for their own farms. Without a class of landless agricultural workers who could be exploited, there was correspondingly no one who could be suborned by those looking to line their own profits. So it was that with a relish that the plantation owner installed a camera system around his plantation to see who was coming into his plantation, but despite many hours of footage, he could not see anyone trespassing into his property to steal his crops, and yet it was that the most desirable part of his crops that was continually being destroyed, and the local police forces were unable to do anything about it, and he was unable himself to see what was wrong, and was at his wit’s end trying to make more money off of what should have been a lucrative tea crop.

It was a chance discussion with one of the members of the local government on the island, of which the plantation owner was a part, and a frequently discontented part, that led him to think of a way to solve his problem. There was a survey that had come from the imperial university asking if anyone on the island was bonded with korinthidons, and must be admitted that most of the people on the island had never seen them and some had never heard of them despite the fact that the island was only a few hundred miles away from the southern continent where the korinthidons were able to roam freely and where human settlement was expressly forbidden on pain of gruesome death enforced by the korinthidons themselves. It is unclear why it was that the islanders were so lacking in curiosity about dinosaurs, but for whatever reason the korinthidons had never traveled to their island, not too surprising given their general lack of technological development on their own, and because no one had thought to introduce an intelligent group of reptiles capable of self-defense to the island in the first place. When the imperial university found out that the island itself was entirely bereft of korinthidons and that obviously, as a result, no one on the island was at all bonded with them, it was thought that the island would be a suitable place for an experiment on the development of relationships between human beings and korinthidons from no historical relationship or mutual conduct.

At first, the plantation owner was hostile to the introduction of such creatures, as he was in general a person who disliked change and was a temperamental conservative. Of course, the more experimental and open elements of the government had one argument that proved to be a winning one for him and for a few others who had similar problems, and that was the fact that korinthidons were known to be both intensely loyal to the empire like they were and also that they were known to be of interest to the empire as a whole in the increase of security as well as the lowering of crime. The plantation owner and others, to be sure, could not see at this time how it was that these reptiles could lower crime, but to be honest he felt rather desperate and figured it would be worthwhile to examine all options.

“Do you really think that these blooming lizards can reduce crime?” asked one of the members of the farmer’s caucus.

“I’m not sure,” the tea grower said. “But I’ve had my tea stolen for years now and I have tried everything I knew to no avail.”

“I suppose we can give our conditional acceptance for a trial to be done, and if the dinosaurs are a help to us and not a problem then of course our approval can be permanent,” another farmer piped up.

“Do you think that we can accept for a trial run and then if it doesn’t work out that the dinosaurs would simply be made to leave?” another farmer asked.

Conversation along these lines continued for a while. The farmers were traditionalists but at the same time many of them faced the same problems, in that crop yields were nowhere near as good as they should have been given the conditions of soil and their own care for their plants and animals. In the end, the farmer’s caucus decided to give the plan a cautious and temporary approval and their approval was enough for the measure to pass, to the general surprise and pleasure of the island’s government as a whole, who figured it might be harder to convince the farmers of a fair trial and that it might have been tough to pass the measure without the approval of the yeoman whose farms made up the entire countryside of an island that was not at all heavily urbanized except for a moderate amount of work near the island’s ports. When the approval of the trial of the korinthidons as crime fighters was announced in the capital, it was decided that the graduate assistant who was among the most noted experts on the relationship between korinthidons and human beings would be a good point person, and she chose as her assistant one of her undergraduate researchers in the field, one Hephizbah Schmidt.

“Why would I be chosen for such a thing?” Hephizbah asked modestly. “I am only an undergraduate, after all.”

“Well, you are bonded with a korinthidon, right?” Lisbeth asked.

“That is true,” the young woman replied, with her equally modest dinosaur nodding beside her. “It’s just that given my background we aren’t used to pushing ourselves forward for advancement.”

“That’s certainly true,” Lisbeth said. “You are very modest, to the point of timidity. But at the same time there is something that you can offer our studies that no one else in the program can.”

“And what’s that?” Hephizbah said.

“What can you can offer us is experience with how it is that korinthidons deal with rural populations, and the island of Maddon is made up mostly of traditional-minded farmers who have no experience in dealing with korinthidons and aren’t the most friendly towards outsiders.”

“That sounds a lot like my own people sometimes,” she said, “Or at least how they are viewed by English society.”

“That is precisely why I chose you, because you would be able to relate to them and might be able to explain to them how it is that your own people have been able to connect with korinthidons for the last few generations,” Lisbeth replied.

“I can see how that might be helpful, then,” Hephizbah replied. “When do you want us to leave?”

“I think we will head out, the four of us ladies, as soon as the term is done, and that the initial trial will take place over the winter term,” Lisbeth said. “I have already made sure that neither of us have any courses that will be affected, as this is an optional term and you will be getting full credit for field research.”

“That should be a good thing, to have that much field research credit as an undergraduate,” Hephizbah said with a smile.

“Yes, very much so,” Lisbeth said in agreement. “I do not know if you want to work in your community or somewhere else when your studies are done, but either way you will be well equipped to continue your studies or find a very excellent job since you will have work in the field. And I am confident you will do a very good job.”

“I appreciate your confidence,” the shy undergraduate said, bobbing a bit of a curtsey and leaving Lisbeth’s office.

Lisbeth turned to the dinosaur besides her and pondered a bit, somewhat to herself. “What do we need to do? It looks like we need to find korinthidons who are as unfamiliar with people as people are with them to see what happens when two novel populations are joined together. Do you know any connections with any tribe on the Southern Continent that have never been in contact with people?

Her associate thought a minute and shook her head.

“Alright, so we are going to need to communicate with an unreached tribe before we stop at Maddon Island, and then we are going to have to arrange the trial. That should be exciting,” Lisbeth said.

It had been some time since the Multipians had dealt with the unreached tribes of the South Continent. Since the initial visit all those years ago, it was mainly the relatives who had bonded with people who found themselves to be transported to the Northern Continent or to other planets, and the spread of the korinthidons had correspondingly been limited so far, since quite a lot of people, even among Multipians, found the dinosaurs to be distinctly scary as a species, and that hindered the sort of good relations that many would want.

And yet, it was clear that some sort of positive relations needed to be made between the dinosaurs and mankind, at least if humanity wanted to gain the benefits of having korinthidons around. It was clear that there were major benefits to people who were bonded to the dinosaurs, and that the dinosaurs regularly sought out those who were bonded to other beings, to create large networks of connections. It was therefore possible that the establishment of a bond triggered some sort of change in the way that people and dinosaurs were that carried on through the generations. And this would require large amount of study, as the number of multi-generational families where these bonds carried on generation after generation was very limited indeed, and the royal family was widely judged as being off-limits to intensive study as it seemed likely that there would be massive state secrets in uncovering the lengthy relationship between the royal family and the korinthidons whose status clearly also increased from the bond.

Lisbeth smiled to herself and thought about what she needed to do and what sort of permits she needed. She wrote a research proposal, replied to the request of the authorities of Maddon Island for more information about what the trial would involve and who would be conducting it, and also sent a letter to receive a rare security clearance to travel to the Southern continent where a group of dinosaurs who had never been bonded to people in all their generations, at least as far as could be known, would be recruited to travel to Maddon Island for security. And she also wrote a message to the head of the korinthidon pre-cognition group, letting her know that an excellent opportunity to check on the role of korinthidons in stopping crime had become available and she was welcome to send someone to supervise an experimental effort. With that, Lisbeth was satisfied for the moment, and she returned to her normal work.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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