Source: Moon caused it to be drawn up
Significance: It was an attempt to occupy three friends and also to impose order on chaos
“I have a job for you three. Find something to write with and start taking a ship census.”
After the colony ship Elysian Dawn crashed on an unexplored planet, Hanaka Moon, the ship’s healer, was at her wit’s end. She did what she could for the wounded, but it was difficult to get a clear picture of the situation. She gave three ambulatory friends the task of making a census.
As Moon explained it…
“It will be hard and sad work for you, but we need it done. In my cubicle is a list of families. I need you to seek out the members of each and make a note of the status.”
Marianne raised her head from her contemplation of the spiralling bandage. “What status?”
Moon, who was making it up as she went along, spoke clearly. “Divide people among the following notifications. W. That means well. This is for those with no obvious injuries beyond bruises or superficial cuts, who appear to be functioning normally. D. This is for deceased. That means the person is dead. In between, we have I-one, I-two and I-three. This is for injured. I-one people are obviously injured, but capable of functioning. I-two have worse injuries, but they are alert and able to eat and communicate. I-three are those who are badly hurt and who need someone else to help them with everything. Include those who look unharmed but who are unresponsive.”
The job was particularly difficult for Edsen and Jeremiah, who both had close family members in the D category, but they set about it.
Marianne located Moon’s family list in the cubicle. It was quite a large document, with each group of families set out on connected sheets. Paper aboard Elysian Dawn was recycled, as was just about everything else, but for this purpose Moon used permasheets, which could be amended and updated multiple times.
“We need a system for this,” Marianne said, leafing through the stiff document.
“Let’s start by putting in the ones we already know,” Jeremiah suggested.
“Arcadia, then.” Marianne located her family close to the beginning of the list, and she tagged her parents and brothers with W and herself with I-one. “I haven’t seen Mia and Olivia or my uncle and aunt, so I’ll leave them aside for now. Or should we look for them?”
“I think we should just enter people as we find them at first.” Jeremiah took the R sheaf and entered himself and his mother as W, his father as I-two and his brother Japh, sister-in-law Suki and baby niece Lilly as D. “I haven’t seen Jeb and his family, so that will wait.” He passed the B sheaf to Edsen, who inscribed a hasty W, I-one and D and passed it back as if it had burned him…
…The census took a great deal of time, and it was still not done when Marianne, worn down by others’ grief, suddenly sat down and crossed her arms over her face.
The work continued, but unfortunately, it was an ongoing task which became unimaginably difficult for Marianne.