They chose Cebor to undertake the task of rebuilding Firilis. Once they’d helped each other do maintenance on their ships, maintenance that more than one of them had hoped would take place in a fully manned shipyard, it was clear that Cebor’s ship was in the worst condition. If he resumed his rounds then it was all too likely that he would wind up like Sevan or Durcis.
The next step was deciding where to start. The worlds of the diaspora had all begun with their group of experts, specialised equipment and a master plan overseen by a central co-ordinating unit. Cebor lacked the group of experts so, considering how the Firilis they had known had worked, they went hunting for systems that were still looking into the ether for a connection. There were more of these than they’d expected, but they were, in the main, concentrated in a few specific areas and because they still had power, they had belonged to major institutions. On examination, half of those systems were either corrupted, trying to spread malware or both. Half of the others presented a logon interface or required a logon to access more than a certain amount of public information, but lacked the facility for Cebor to create a new logon and to have it activated. The rest either responded to logons he already had, were public access or verified his attempts to create a logon for the system. The entertainment sites could become useful to while away his evenings, especially if all the locals turned out to be hostile, but Cebor and the others agreed that the five university databases, six military command systems and the atmospheric observation laboratory system were most likely to be useful for the task in hand. Several of the systems seemed quite enthusiastic about being involved in the project.
Having gained access to the information resources they thought he was likely to need, they set out to help Cebor select a group or groups of locals to work with. The largest and most advanced groups were tempting, except one was the largest because it was actively conquering its neighbours and enslaving them while most advanced group worked by limiting the use of their best technology to the hereditary ruling caste and destroying anything they came across that was beyond that technology level. Another group was eliminated from the list of best possibilities because the university database in the same location reported that activation of physical library privileges correlated closely with individual physical termination.
Cebor was staring at the map displayed on the wall while the others debated the various merits and disadvantages of groups they were considering for the starter civilisation. “What about this lot?” He pointed at a green dot at the mouth of a river. One of the larger political entities on the planet was across the river from them and desert was on their side. There were blue dots marking active computer systems on a large island off shore and two more blue dots about the same distance away from the green dot but on the mainland.
“It’s a collection of outcasts and outlaws in a river delta swamp,” said Lian dismissively. “The True Man conformists across the river just haven’t gotten around to crushing them yet.”
Cebor manipulated the controls to bring up satellite photos they’d gotten from an orbital system they’d appropriated. It showed a town partially built on islands, partially on piles and partly on boats. “They’re innovative and come up with creative solutions to their problems,” Cebor noted, then changed the pictures on the display to show fishing boats and fields of swamp grain. “They support themselves and don’t live off raiding their neighbours. They’ve been driven into a swamp by a group I find to be ideologically about the second or third most repugnant on the planet but they’re not sitting around wailing about it. I may need to work with more than one seed group to achieve our goals, but I want to help these people.”
Cirian asked critically, “What would you do first?”
“Get them out to Irimdor Island,” Cebor pointed at the cluster of blue dots off the shore.
“They’ve probably already been there,” said Lian pragmatically. “Fishing boats.”
“But they didn’t have me to help them harvest photovoltaic cells to build a generator, get them into the university library and generally kick start an enlightened renaissance.”