Episode 7 - Govern a family as you would cook a small fish - very gently.

We had chicken for dinner! Roy caught the wild fowl on his way back from Camp Muskogee. He said he saw many more, probably descendants from a flock kept by Dr. Kawamoto in the mid 1970s at the MR National Laboratory; this means we can even get eggs if we look hard enough. Roy thought he had a great surprise for all of us when he shot the fowl, but it was him who got surprised when I gave him his guitar. It was dropped this afternoon by Captain Scheneider along with some spare parts for Professor's broken Electromagnetic Field Gaussmeter. Roy was stoked. We also got our first mail delivery. Ben had over 10 letters from his Aunt Ann. Roy got a letter from his sister Joleanna telling about his mom, who is still in the hospital. - She's doing much better - he said. And Sgt. Palmer got a strange silver briefcase. Since I got no mail I heard everyone's stories from back home while eating the roasted bird I prepared. It's no surprise, Abey was the only one I kept in contact with. Now she's with someone else. Am I sad? Absolutely not. For some reason tonight felt like being home. Ben is here, the professor is becoming a great friend, Roy and his guitar crack me up. The sarge is a hardhead, but I don't dislike him as much as do Dan. In the past week Dan disobeyed orders and took off without an escort around the ridge. It made the sarge furious and even got some of us in trouble for not being on guard. He's really obsessed with the "giant" reptile. He believes radiation has changed the DNA of the unknown animal. He justifies his escapes by saying - This is a major discovery in biology, the biggest in the last 20 years! Dan sat by himself tonight at dinner. Hardly spoke a word; nobody would talk to him anyway. Sgt. Palmer helped Professor Evgeny fix his equipment, then the sarge organized a meeting after going through the papers in the oddly looking briefcase. Sgt. Palmer informed us about our next task for the week; a visit to the ruins of the Mulberry Ridge National Laboratory. Apparently there is an old boat lodge around there, where we should find some small vessels to use in our rounds by the pond and even in the Abrams River. Professor Evgeny then said sarcastically - Do I have to go too? - followed by a cough attack. Obviously, he has to go. The Professor worked at the MRN Laboratory for the last 4 years until it was dismantled. - I hope we find some more wild chickens on the way. Ben said - We can fill up a boat with them. - making everybody laugh. Tonight's dinner got me thinking: we share a lot of the same goals and values, we have commitments to one another and reside all in the same place. What can I say: Like it or not, this is now my family.

by Corporal John Harris, October 13, 2005