From New Dreams
Source: It was in the book stores on Elysian Dawn
Significance: It was something practical the orphans might have needed but which later proved unusable
She picked one up and straightened the crumpled pages. “Boats and Ships.”
Marianne and Edsen, two survivors of a vicious condition that killed almost all the adults on the crashed starship Elysian Dawn, were hunting through the books in the stores for something to help them to deal with the revived animals they’d just released from stasis tanks. Marianne found a book called Boats and Ships. Having been born on the starship, neither she or Edsen knew much about this subject.
“What are those?” Edsen was confident she’d know, and she did.
“Ships are things people built to use when they cross the water. Do you remember the story about Helen and Paris?”
“The one where Paris wanted Helen even though she was married to someone?” he said uneasily.
“Remember, they had ships? They had to go over the sea to get to Troy. I expect they work the way woolwood moves on the pond when the wind blows it. Remember how we used to float bits of stem down the stream in the gardens?”
Edsen tried to imagine enough water to need ships. The washing pool was big enough for him. “Are there pictures?”
Marianne turned some pages, and gave a jolt of excitement, just as she used to, back when she was happy. “Look! This shows us how to make them.”
Edsen pored over the pictures.
“If this book shows us about building ships if we need them, there might be other books showing us things. Maybe the animal books really are here.”
As it happened, the information about boats and ships was of almost no use to the new Elydians. Fresh water on the planet was limited to wells, pools and small streams fed by springs. None of these bodies of water were big enough for boats to be necessary. The sea, when they discovered it, turned out to be so lethal almost no organic substance could survive its water.
Nevertheless, some of the woodworking techniques would come in useful to adapt for building shelters once they ran out of prefabs. That would take a while since the survivors of the racking condition were far fewer than the original numbers planned for the colony.