Protection and Preservation, Book 10
Chapter 10

Once in the air, SJ approached us. "Guys, there is another airport here for general aviation. It's well north and called Parafield. We could stop there for the night. Otherwise it will be almost dark when we land in Melbourne."

David looked at me and then said to SJ, "Do it."

We read up on the airport from SJ's notes. It had been the main airport for the area at one time. We had an easy time landing. With Myra and Tom in front, we rode in the Humvee to check out the area. It seemed clear. SJ taxied close to the terminal and turned the Duck around. David and I were laying out sentry positions for the night. We would have six in the Duck all night. The rest filed out and into the terminal and prepared supper for all. David, as with so many things, helped cook a wonderful meal.

Sophie watched him while with George. She was wide eyed that he could do so many things seemingly without effort. I overheard George say to her, "My mom used to say that David is a true renaissance man with no ego. He just does everything well without any seeming effort. I want to be like him as I get older."

I gave George a hug. "You could pick worse to emulate. He's the only man for me."

George smiled. "He's the only man who can outdo you in most everything."

I laughed. "I don't compete against David. I like to win."

We ate an excellent supper and settled in for the night. David and I woke early to check our sentries. We found everyone fine and that all had been quiet through the night. While breakfast was being readied, we walked around holding hands and looking things over. We had found the fuel stores and would top off before leaving. It looked like there was plenty of jet fuel for our bird and it was in good shape.

We were called to breakfast when we saw a small cloud of dust from an approaching group. We delayed breakfast to ready our guns. Duck was spooled up [always wanted to use that line.--ed.] so we were ready to fight or fly. Myra and Tom drove over to us in the Humvee. We had about ten people out to watch other possible ways of approaching us.

What we could now see was two buggies with two people in each. From the colors worn, I decided that each buggy had a man and a woman in it. They slowed as they neared the Humvee and we could determine that I was right. None of them had guns in evidence. They pulled up about twenty feet away and all four came toward us with nothing in their hands.

One man said, "G'day. I'm Ben Hadaway and this is my wife, Janey. They're Ricky and Mona Mason. We saw you come in last night but it was too late to come over. Where're you from."

David said, "I'm David Lewis and this is my wife, Bobbi. We're from the old USA and are exploring on behalf of the new communities there."

Ben said, "Wow! That's a fair distance! One of our other families thought they heard you earlier yesterday. We surmised that you might be flying into Adelaide Airport. That's too far for us and there is a dangerous gang down that way led by Mick." I chuckled. He continued, "Mick and his cobbers came in up here and we let them have that area further south that we don't use. Our mates and families stay north. We do keep a loose watch and are willing to fight to stay free. We've been bloody lucky over the years. My folks were in some bad battles and lost some good mates."

David said, "Mick and his gang ran into us. Bobbi took Mick out when he attacked her. We left them thinking about who their next leader would be though forced them to haul Mick's body away from the airport."

Janey looked at me and said, "You took out Mick?"

I said, "Yes. I've killed bullies before when they attacked me. We at both Protection and Preservation are very serious about equal rights and consent for women. Mick didn't believe that included him. I made him slip and have a fatal fall."

Janey paled a little but said, "I can't say that I'm sorry he's gone. It's just that he was a big, powerful man."

I nodded. "He wasn't a very good fighter and didn't know how to defend against someone who knew how to fight."

David said, "People make the mistake of seeing Bobbi's rather considerable physical attributes and ignoring the muscles, agility, and ability she has until it's way too late."

I said, "Ben, Janey, tell us more about your setup here, please."

Janey looked at Ben. After a quick moment, he said, "There are about four hundred of us. We are farmers and live as close to each other as reasonable. Our compound is typical. We live in one corner of a square. Three other families live close where our property edges are close. It gives us a bit of community. We get together about once a month to talk about any decisions we need to make as a big group.

"We haven't had contact with anyone else for many years. We gave up on anything that required gasoline years ago. We have electricity in our homes due to wind and solar with batteries to back us up. It's not enough to power anything big and fancy but keeps us with some light in our homes. Field work is horse and oxen.

"Our bigger community meets are pretty loose. We just try to get along with each other without too many rules. Bobbi, I like what you say about equal rights and consent. We've never had a problem with those issues but, if there had been more people around, we might have had to be more formal."

Janey said, "We are starting to be concerned about teaching our children. We don't want them to be illiterate or ignorant of their heritage. Our last two meets have focused on that issue. We will gradually lose skills that we need."

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