6 – 8 – 21
My name is Chase Davies, I am 17 years old and I am a resident of Angel Grove. If you’re reading this, then something has happened to me. I suggest that you read my other journals, but here is a quick history of my life so far.
I was born on Earth Bet, but there isn’t much to say about that. My parents divorced when I was young, so I bounced between them. I was a punk kid who dreamed of being an astronaut, but I had no idea how much work goes into that. I was an idiot and a slacker, not worth my weight in anything. I think back at the person that I was back then, and I’m disgusted with myself.
When I was 8 years old, a portal opened in front of myself and my mother. I ran through, and she followed me. It might be the second best thing that ever happened to me. Over 80 of us stepped through those portals, out of a possible 250. It saved us from Scion attacking the Earth, but we were alone. We had things to help us, at least.
Within 3 years, we were down to 26 people still alive. Animals that were both like and unlike what we had back home, accidents, and sickness killed the rest. I’ll be honest, I don’t like to think about living in that settlement. When you only have 82 people, it’s easy to get close to someone who ends up dying.
Fortunately, another settlement found us. They only had fifty or so, but they’d lost a small fraction of that, and they were in a much better place than us. They offered the chance to join them, and we did. Strength in numbers.
They were nice to us, but there I was, 12 years old, and I was bored to death. I’d been reading the same education books for 3 years, and I wasn’t learning anything. Fortunately, I’d gotten smarter in different ways. I saw 1 of the 3 most important people in the entire village only had 1 assistant, and I did everything in my power to convince Mr. Yost to take me on.
Miss Kwan didn’t like it, but he did. And that’s when I learned what real work was. Filling your brain with too much knowledge 1 moment, then working until your body was in agony the next. Mom worried about me, but every day I would come home full of wonder and excitement over what we did.
It also helped Mom out a huge deal. Mr. Yost and Miss Kwan were incredibly respected by the community. People would sit me down and tell me about how he saved the village, or how they came up with something that took the village out of the dark ages. All of the original residents owed Mr. Yost their lives several times over, and now that I was 1 of his assistants, both Mom and I got treated with a little more respect.
For a brief period of time, I was in heaven. People were eager to talk to me and ask me questions about what I was doing. I was 12, and I was treated with respect. I was learning so much cool stuff. Stuff that was making the village better. And the things that we did were amazing.
And then they came.
Angel Grove had always been on the lookout for more villages, so when Amber Beach sent a ship and wanted to set up trade, it was an amazing moment for everyone. We were all thrilled by more survivors, especially ones who were successful. It meant a scramble to set up an economy, and I got to design the coins based on what Mr. Yost and Mr. Frank said, but I was thrilled.
Until after the ship from Amber Beach left, and we had another meeting. We got only a few things settled beofre we passed out the root beer that Amber Beach had left us. Mr. Yost got 1 sip in before he started bawling.
He’s been giving 110% for so long that something in his head went “Let go.” He’d been carrying all of us in his heart, being so supportive whenever something went wrong, and taking every problem that people faced personally. So when he let go, 4 years of problems finally took their toll at once.
I love Angel Grove. Even us newer people understood. Nobody got upset that he collapsed right then when we needed him. They’d needed him so many times, and he pulled through. Some people said that they were amazed that he didn’t do it sooner. I finally heard the story about how he made pennicilin when he was so sick that he could barely sit up straight.
I hadn’t known him for all that long, but he’d left an impression on me. He was brilliant, but simple. He’d often come over to me while I was working and would say something. It would be a little awkward, but it was always so helpful and comforting. I think within a week I was looking at him as sort of a dad figure.
We hoped that he’d bounce back. He didn’t. It’s been a long road these past 5 years, and while he still isn’t the man that I remember, he gets a little closer to him again every year. He spent so long supporting all of us, and at least us old timers are more than willing to support him in every way possible.
Unfortunately, Amber Beach keeps throwing people at us. Their getting flooded by people from Bet and other ruined realities, so they try and throw people at any other community they can.
Those people disgust me. They don’t see Mr. Yost and Miss Kwan as heroes. They see them as having a monopoly over the village. They give them respect for that but also talk about them behind their backs. They don’t see everything that we do here. I hate the new people.
I also hate how every time we think that we’ve got everything in a row, a new wave of people show up that makes us scramlbe. It’s been 5 years since we met Amber Beach give or take. In that time, we’ve jumped from around 80 people to just under 550 people. We can’t handle that many people that quickly!
And some of them that we hire at Yost-Kwan Industries don’t respect me at all. I’ve spent years being Mr. Yost’s right hand with Miss Kwan as his left. But they don’t see that I have infinitely more experience than them. They only see that I’m 17 and their older than me, so why should they have to do what I say?
Because I speak for Mr. Yost and Miss Kwan. Even if I didn’t know as much as I do, that would be enough.
Yost-Kwan Industries now employ fifteen people besides the 3 of us. 10 of them are becoming okay. 5 are annoying.
We all rite in journals regularly. Some of us detail our daily tasks. Others like me just prefer the overview.
This is my newest journal. If I’m dead, then I hope it helps whoever takes over my place.
6 – 20 – 21
Happy Founding Day!
We really outdid ourselves on the fireworks this year. We thought that Amber Beach would buy more, but they didn’t, so we got to set off alot more. Mr. Yost and I were in charge of launching them. I would have preferred to watch, but it happens. Mr. Yost wasn’t having a good day. He wasn’t as fast as he usually is, and at one point, he spent a good long while just watching the explosions with this sad look on his face. I feel bad for him, so I’m glad that I helped.
6 – 25 – 21
Today was a good day for Mr. Yost. I stopped by his house this morning and he was already gone. He was at the shop and had already made some tea for all of us. Miss Kwan showed up next with some bread. I kicked myself for not doing that but I wanted to make sure that he was here.
Today we began to lay out how we’re going to make a vacuum pump. Unfortunately, we’re running low on rubber, and they recently cleared out the grove of trees that we were using on accident. We set aside a couple of employees to help for that. After that, we assigned six into working on new HVAC units. This year has been brutally hot, and we’ve been getting alot of people asking about them for homes.
After that, I informed them that Damon Rolle is willing to perform the universal food edibility test. Like many of the people that Amber Beach sends to our city, he was absolutely useless in his old life. He was a computer programmer who played video games in his spare time. While he picked up a few skills before going to Amber Beach, they all were geared towards life in Bet, not here. There’s huge differences.
Fortunately, he’s one of the eager ones. We normally only hire the people who have skills during the warmer months, but he asked to watch for a week to see if he could help. He spent part of that week helping out, working for free. While he may not have skills, he’s still eager and willing to learn, and willing to do anything we ask. He also volunteers.
He reminds me of myself when I first started. Only older.
The last six are going to be working on tuning up the truck and wagon. Miss Kwan is leaving with the miners next week. They tried another mine nearby and struck not ore but coal. They aren’t sure how much is there, but they want to clean it out ASAP so she is going with to help. Especially since we won’t let them use explosives for obvious reasons.
While we were working, Mr. Yost got some chalk and went at the blackboard. I always make it a point to stay nearby him whenever he works on it. Everyone just accepts that he knows what he’s talking about, but asking him why and how is important. He comes up with so much more when you do that. I probably should train someone else to do that but I enjoy it. I learn alot, and he really appreciates the company. Plus, on his bad days, it helps him alot.
Today he was doing some more about the titanium we found. It isn’t alot, but it’s enough that he has a few ideas on what we could do with it. Unfortunately, both of our attempts at refining it have turned out badly. It was alot of time asking him questions and him thinking, but he came to the realization that we’d made titanium carbide in our first attempt to smelt the tungston.
It’s going to take alot more time to figure out how to extract the titanium but that’s alright. The titanium carbide can be used to make tools, which is important. Though we might not ever find any more, we’re alright with that. Keeping our tools in good repair and replacing them is important. Maybe more important than making new stuff.
After lunch, I checked in on the HVAC guys. Ufortunately, Eric was cutting corners. He and I got into an argument. He said what he was doing was fine, and that it would hold up. I said that we had to do things properly. He got uppity and tried to intimidate me. He tried to use my age against me. That’s fine. He could try as much as he wanted.
We got loud, and all of the sudden Miss Kwan was there. She left helping with the truck to see what the yelling was about. Long story short, we have a help wanted sign posted again. There are reasons why people dont intimidate me at work. If I’m wrong, Mr. Yost or Miss Kwan will explain it. If I’m right, they will defend me.
She reminded me that I’m officially the foreman. I can fire people myself. But I get that a guy in his 40s may take offense to me telling them what to do and how to do it. Sometimes if I just let them bluster and remind them that it’s how things are and the way that I say to do it comes from Mr. Yost or Miss Kwan, then they back down. A ten minute argument is better than having one less set of helping hands.
After that, though, Miss Cahill came in with the trencher. We’ve had nothing but problems with that thing, I swear. I’d like to just rip it apart and start from scratch, but I don’t know quite enough about how to make an engine, let alone one that small. Fortunately, it was only a three hour fix, so I was able to get it back to her by the end of the day.
Shes one of the first settlers, so she doesn’t ever complain about the prices. She understands that she may very well be putting a down payment on her own wages this winter. Our employees explode during the winter when the farmers can’t work. Plus, she’s happy that we can fix it at all. That lets her get more irrigation, which lets her get a head start for expanding her fields again next spring.
The fact that she’s hot is only a bonus.
Other than that, it was a strangely quiet day. Nothing much broke down, nobody else came in to see us. Nobody worked on any chemistry. It was very quiet. Very nice.
Once 4 rolled around, we sent the workers home, and the three of us just got to work on the truck. We spent a while on that until Mr. Jones showed up with that homemade guitar thing of his and started playing some music for us. Mr. Jones works just as hard as we do. He mainly cuts trees and helps build and expand the city walls, but he goes the extra mile for everyone. I am told that he did something bad early on in the city and has been trying to make up for it ever since. I like to think that he’s doing a good job of it.
But he said that we deserved some music while we work. Eventually, Mr. Frank showed up with his harmonica. The mayor, helping play music for us. Imagine that! And then more people showed up. Some because they heard the music and thought that we were having a party and some because they wanted to add to the music.
By the end, we stopped working and just enjoyed the company. There were almost 30 people in the shop enjoying ourselves. Miss Kwan got Mr. Yost to dance, and I had to keep from laughing. He isn’t good at it, but he was smiling and having fun. It was good for him.
Eventually, Mr. Frank pulled me aside and we talked. He’s really approving of the vaccum pump, and he’s going to send a few people out to find more of the trees that we use for rubber. He’s going to see about maybe setting aside a little land and seeing if we can grow some. I hope we can.
Eventually the party ended and we all went home. Mom thought that I should write this down, since it was an exceptionally good day. She also says that I should start thinking about getting my own place, but we’re out of the prefab houses. I don’t want to have a house built for me. It seems like a waste. We’ll see.
7 – 6 – 21
During our breakfast meeting, someone stopped by the shop. They had a strange bark that they found. People are always doing that, partially because we give them a bit of money if it turns out to be helpful. It seemed to be peeling off a tree. Mr. Yost did some quick work, and realized that it’s similar (but not quite) cork. That’s wonderful news! Miss Kwan is a little confused, because cork comes from Portugal, but different dimensions have different rules. If the animals aren’t like Bet’s, if the plants are different, why should this be any different?
We barely got settled in for the day when the ship from Amber Beach showed up. 23 more people! I’m so angry that I want to spit! We’re going to have a thin winter at this rate. We can’t keep growing this fast. Mr. Frank is at his wits end.
Angel Grove won’t turn people away, but we need to slow down. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll explain that later.
The good news is that all of the businesses had tons to put on the boat. Vinegar, ammonia, iodine, bleach, cheese, beer, vodka, salt, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, baking powder, and more. Amber Beach begged for more washable sanitary napkins, and one of the new immigrants admitted that the ones we make have been getting sold in New Brockton.
Amber Beach is screwing us, and we know it, but there isn’t much that we can do about it. Besides, we’re helping alot of people.
They did bring us alot of stuff, too. Potatos, lemons, aluminium, toothpaste, honey, glue, graphite, acids, dyes, razor blades, other stuff. We really made a huge order. Hopefully, we can grow the potatoes.
They spent almost four hours loading and unloading before leaving. Mr. Frank showed up with the owners of the farms to talk with us. We all agree, we need to slow down. We can’t keep up at this rate. We’re overtaxing our ability to grow every two months. When the ship shows up, they always leave around twenty people behind.
If it were every six months, we could handle it. But every two months? People are running from Bet and a few other realities. I get that. But we can’t keep going like this. We just can’t.
Mr. Frank got real quiet for a moment, then asked Mr. Yost if we could survive without having anything delivered for a while. Everyone knew what that meant. After the next shipment, he’d ask them to skip the next one. To wait four months instead of two between shipments.
Nobody liked that. We don’t absolutely need everything that they bring us, but it’s handy. The graphite, for example, lets us build more electric motors, which lets us do more stuff. The power cables that came are a huge help with how much we’re expanding. But do we really need that? No. We can manage without it. Things will be harder, though.
The other problem is our exporting. We have alot of industries, industries that we founded here at the shop before literally giving it away to other people, that exist mostly for exporting. We have enough here, but elsewhere, people really need it.
Mr. Frank didn’t like to be reminded of that but he understood. He’s going to go around and talk to everyone. The weavers, the brewers, all of the business owners. He needs their opinions before he brings it up to the community at large.
The farmers are all for it. Their having to expand faster every shipment.
After the meeting was done, the shop was quiet. The employees heard, and they knew. Miss Kwan walked up to one of them and said that nobody’s job was in danger. We had enough work to keep us busy for the next decade, and if we got some of our projects done we’d need them more than ever.
That improved the mood of the shop considerably. But at the same time, the three of us are worried. We’re going to have to work that much harder again.
7 – 11 – 21
This weekend has been a good one. The shop was officially closed. None of the employees were here to help us but they also weren’t here to distract us. That let us work on chemistry a bit.
One thing we’ve been needing for a while now was matches. It sounds like such a simple thing but it’s really important. Alot of times we really work to keep fires burning for as long as possible even if its a waste of wood. Starting the gas from the gassifer is easy but a wood fire takes a bit of work to get going. Everyone wants an easier way to do it and I can’t blame them.
So we were working around with a bunch of stuff, including some of the reagents that came on Tuesday. In the end, we did it! We made about 20 matches and the stuff to strike it on!
Mr. Frank was thrilled but he guessed that we wanted more time to refine the process. He’s right. But forward progress is forward progress. And peeing in jars on Wednesday was totally worth it, if a little gross.
7 – 16 – 21
Two pieces of news in one day, neither of which directly affects the shop.
One does I guess. In two different ways.
The first is that there was this rich couple who came in on the boat. I say rich, but I mean they brought a ton of stuff to barter. They were renting a few storage units, it was so much. I hear that when they decided to leave Bet, they found enough to load up a semi, then found enough diesel that was still good. Wow! So, material rich I guess? We’ve been going crazy trying to figure out what all they brought.
We’re not wondering any more.
These people were smart. They hit up hardware stores, industrial supply stores, everything that we couldn’t easily get on our own. When they showed Mr. Yost the list, he played it really cool. I’m so used to him being that quietly expressive. It’s all little things, nothing grand. A small smile from him can often be like a huge grin from Miss Kwan. It always takes me by surprise when he shows just how good of a poker face he has.
He had them take the three of us to see their stashes. Their legit. Tools, crucibles (which we’ve desperately needed), graphite rods (which we’ve needed just as bad), crydite, the list of helpful stuff goes on and on. They sat on their stuff for ten days before coming to us to observe our economy and figure out just what all they could get.
They had more than what they were offering us, but alot of that was either for themselves or for other businesses.
They wanted to trade it for a certain parcel of land that nobody is using. The issue is that it’s more clay than soil, and so far we’ve only needed a small parcel of the land. They want to start up their own farms. We tried to explain the issue with that, but they say that it’s entirely possible to farm in clay soil. Mr. Yost tried to explain that it’s true but it takes a long time. They weren’t listening. Idiots.
We’ll pay for a really nice house to be built, a barn, and hook both up with electricity. Their idiots but we’d be idiots to turn them down. Mr. Frank just rolled his eyes. He says that they’ll learn in time, and while he hates to see some screw themselves over like that, he can’t do much if someone won’t listen to reason.
Which leads into my next bit of news.
The animals here are really weird sometimes. The animals that attacked us today are weirder than even that. It was like their faces were turned inside out, and they had six legs.
Eight people were hurt, two extra bad. We aren’t sure if they’ll pull through. The issue is the guns. We’ve made some flintlock rifles but not enough apparently. After the things were killed (their called wildlings apparently) Mr. Frank came to see us. He wants us to make more guns. If possible, he wants us to make better bullets so that they aren’t flintlock.
Mr. Yost says that it isn’t as easy as that. The bathrooms collect and save the “black water” waste, somehow evaporating it quickly. The poop is collected and used for fertilizer, and the walls are scraped down once a month for salt peter. This is used to make gunpowder.
However, procussion caps used in old school bullets aren’t gunpowder. He’s taken bullets apart, trying to figure out how to make procussion caps. He has no idea. He asked for two weeks before getting to work on the guns so that we can hopefully come up with something. Mr. Frank agreed to that. He sees the wisdom in waiting for a better gun rather than making a bunch and having them all be absolete a week later.
Mr. Jones is taking the deaths expectially hard. He feels like its his fault for not getting the walls expanded fast enough. Miss Kwan and I want to do something nice for him.
7 – 26 – 21
This is why I work here. Miss Kwan and I were working on making some more matches while Mr. Yost worked on the gun problem. I was testing some of our matches and I noticed the way that act when they flare up. I went to Mr. Yost and asked him about it. He said it was only natural because
He trailed off without answering my question. He had that look on his face when gears start hitting each other. His eyes flicker back and forth ever so slightly as his eyebrows pulled towards each other just a bit.
All of the sudden, he asked me if we had any powder mixed up at the moment. I said no, and he asked me to get him some match heads then. When I told Miss Kwan what he said, she scraped off some red phosphorus from the strike strips we made and brought that just a few minutes before Mr. Yost excitedly asked for that, too. And she says she isn’t smart.
He carefully powdered the match heads, then so carefully added the red phosphorus. When he hit the mixture with a hammer, it gave a nice bang and blew apart the piece of paper.
It took us almost twenty minutes to rig together a test that we were happy with. Yes, it does set off the black powder. The entire shop exploded with whoops of joy. Not all of the employees understood, but a few did. That was enough for us.
I sprinted out of the shop, tracked down Mr. Frank, and dragged him back. He was thrilled. Mr. Yost warned him, though, that this was just a test for a primer. It would take some time to do the dangerous procedure of making a proper bullet using this. It would also be a little expensive until we improved the process.
Mr. Frank was fine with that. If we could make better bullets, things would be better all around. He said to develop something called a percussion rifle before developing proper bullets. The cap would set off the gunpowder like a flintlock, instead of a bullet. After we got the kinks worked out of the cap, we could work on how to integrate the cap into a bullet.
All because I asked Mr. Yost a question. I didn’t even know that it was going to lead to this. I was just curious, and asking Mr. Yost questions keeps his mind active. When his mind is active he doesn’t get depressed or all vacant and stuff. And when his mind is active like that? He comes up with all sorts of cool stuff.
Now that we have a starting point, he is sure that he can come up with something better. I’m sure he can.
Chase, you keep using “their” instead of “They’re.”
Mom stop reading the journals! They’re for work! And see, I spelled it right this time!
8 – 18 – 21
I know this is supposed to be for work, but this is kind of involved for work.
I wish that Mr. Yost and Miss Kwan would hook up. Everybody can see that they would be perfect for each other. People ask me about it all the time. They both are perfect for each other. And it’s obvious that they care about each other alot. I don’t understand why they haven’t taken that jump. It just seems so natural.
Everyone that I’ve talked to about it agrees. But everyone that I talk to agrees that they don’t want to push them. Mr. Yost is still sensitive, and Miss Kwan apparently was really into a guy a long time ago, and they thing that it might be a sensitive subject.
Today, Mr. Yost was sitting and Miss Kwan walked up next to him. He ended up leaning his head against her side and she wrapped an arm around his shoulders. Gemma saw it too. She didn’t say anything, but the way that she smiled at me said it all.
We have to get them together some day, if it’s the last thing that we do.