Camping Out Tonight

The first day of the 57th Annual Jr. Planeteers Jamboree had been both eventful and a success. Hundreds of Jr. Planeteers had arrived safely, started setting up their camps, mingled a bit, marched in the opening ceremonies, mingled some more at the evening picnic dinner, and were about to settle down for a good night’s sleep as “night cycle” was about to begin for Hawking colony. 

During the day, a uniform grid of towering gemini streetlamps shined down on the ground below, casting even pools of light from their first face; while their second face blazed up at the other side of the colony and simulated daylight throughout the world. Now as the ten-hour night cycle began, the streetlamps began to dim to a dusky glow and the tiny lights on the far side of the colony began to come out like strangely regimented constel­lations in a black sky.

“Isn’t that a beautiful sight?” George Dimbleby said with a smile as he stared up at the darkening “heavens”. The rest of Bear pack 1641 sat in a circle around the ruddy glow and warmth of their camp oven, and rubbernecked at the amazing view. But it had been a long day and they struggled to both keep their eyes open, and keep from putting the back of their hands to their mouths to stifle a yawn. George assessed his young charges and said, “Well, maybe it’s time for you kids to get some shuteye. You’ve got a big day tomorrow. Competitions begin and you’ve got to get ready.”

Of course the Bear pack, being kids after all, protested that they wanted to stay up a little longer. But Dimbleby insisted they go to their tents, wash up, and get a good night’s sleep. Their standard khaki-colored tents were rigid hexagonal structures that unfolded from a compact package like origami. Two small, solitary tents for Dimbleby and Becky; a medium-sized one for the boys; and a big, garage-sized work shed for their competition project, fit together in a cluster like cells in a honeycomb. In surprisingly quick succession, the snickering and laughter from the boys’ tent ended, shuffling inside each tent ceased, the jack-o’-lantern glow of tent lights faded, and the sound of soft breathing and snores joined the rest of the Jr. Planeteers campground. 

But Tommy Tomorrow had trouble sleeping as visions of a big, bad Wolf kept intruding on his dreams.

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