We didn't notice when it finally came undone. It had been so long since their economy had had anything to offer us. They had been selling 'unique opportunities' to be a part of their elite haven. But the bubble city was broken enough. We could see that a more limited system would be even less stable. It would be an elaborate coffin. Even the folks wedded to warfare looked for alternatives.

Apparently it came last week. We were planting. Autumn. The swales had settled with the rain. Old wooden furniture, fabrics, bones and prunings were buried under soil. Corridors of green, languid curving byways for water. The groundcovers were starting to come up.

We worked in teams, planting from cuttings and prunings. It was a joy to be out under the blue now that the heat was out of the sky. The world looked hopeful after rain.

We shared lunch, and planned the next suburb to tackle. Took out two thirds of the buildings and uncovered the soil underneath. It was dead and still, but we bedded it down with straw and manure. Built it up and left it for a year. We would come back and check for metals and pesticide residues. The dirt under the houses was usually not too bad. The areas which were most difficult were planted with a range of trees, to see what would cope.

After lunch the last of them came. Some still carried weapons but not as if they were the answer. They were still angry and frightened but seemed to settle down as they were given something practical to do. Something to learn.

We wore shirts with our chosen species on. Some embroidered, some painted or drawn. It was a way to celebrate the possibilities of each new species we found we could grow. Old customs perhaps, but a way to celebrate our individuality and our interdependence. A release from coloured factions.

One group was doing a scrap run. Motors and wiring from old whitegoods were handy. We had plenty of power so now we were looking for materials for new engineering projects. Tools and milling equipment. Smoother ways to process food and fibres. Experimenting with conductive materials and ways to consume CO2; as fuel, in plantings, lichens, algaes.

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