The latest problem is an attempted robbery. The thieves broke into the Cruz house and killed Mrs. Quintanilla, a seventy-five-year-old grandmother. Hector and Rubin Quintanilla managed to kill two of the thieves, but the third escaped.
This is the seventh incident since Keith was killed. In less than two months, there have been seven intrusions in the 11-household community.
Yep, that definitely sounds like a problem.
Three of the break-ins were successful thefts.
Lauren turns eighteen next year, and that will be old enough to start standing a regular night watch. She wishes she could start now. She obviously wants to help out.
Lauren's parents have been using some of the money from Keith to help the robbery victims. Half of the money is hidden, buried in the backyard. Hmm...maybe that will come in handy for the story later?
Tuesday, October 20, 2026
A company called KSF has taken over a nearby coastal city called Olivar.
KSF has basically privatized the town: the people get jobs and help and defense from the company, but it's basically company town slavery.
A radio documentary about the takeover says KSF is looking for credentialed teachers to move to Olivar and work for room and board. Cory thinks it's a good idea and calls them, but Lauren and her father are suspicious. There wouldn't be enough income, and it would be slavery to the company.
Lauren's family discusses Olivar. Marcus thinks the rich people in the town won't let themselves be slaves, and that Lauren should want to go because there'd be less pain to share there. But Lauren says the guards KSF is bringing in will exert their power over the employees working for room and board.
Cory asks Lauren why she always expects the worst, and Lauren says suspicion is what's needed when it comes to strangers with guns. Cory is disgusted by this; she says that Lauren thinks she has all the answers but in fact knows nothing.
Lauren's father says that KSF probably isn't looking for Black or Hispanic families, anyway.
Cory tries to convince Dad to apply. He thinks they'd return to Robledo jobless and penniless. And at least in Robledo they're free.
Saturday, October 24, 2026
The Garfield family considers going to Olivar. Lauren hopes they stay in Robledo.
Lauren wonders if Olivar is the future, or one face of it. There are jobs there, and more people are applying, such as Susan Talcott Bruce and her husband. Lauren thinks about how in science fiction stories, there's often a hero outsmarting or overthrowing a company, but in real life, people fight hard to get taken in and underpaid by those companies.
Lauren wonders about her own prospects. In less than a year, she'll be eighteen, an adult. She has to pick between life in her disintegrating neighborhood or going outside to spread Earthseed.
Lauren decides she'll leave Robledo when she turns eighteen. Big decision.
Saturday, October 31, 2026
Now that she's decided to go north once she's turned eighteen, Lauren packs some road maps of California, Oregon, and Washington that are left over from her grandparents into her emergency kit.
Lauren wonders if people will pay her to teach them to read or write, or to read or write for them.
Lauren definitely plans on spreading Earthseed once she leaves Robledo.
One of Lauren's verses says that all successful life is adaptable and tenacious.
Lauren decides to call her book of Earthseed verses The Book of the Living.