Economics 101, a Novel, ch_24 -- Their Parents Help Search

[The almost-final draft of this chapter is here:]

 (The story starts here:
The previous chapter is here:

This chapter can't help being rather sombre.

The Church District President and his second counselor met Professor MacVittie and Brother and Sister Whitmer and Brother and Sister Pratt at the airport when they arrived at their last layover early Thursday morning.

"Professor MacVittie?"

"Yes. Are you President Brown?"

"James Brown. I'm the District President. This is my second counselor, President Hale. My first counselor was not able to come."

"The Pratts, and the Whitmers."

President Hale said, "I'm glad everyone made it this far okay."

"Thanks for meeting us here," said Paul.

President Hale asked, "Did you get any sleep on the night flight?"

"Does anyone?" Mary answered with a rhetorical question.

"Well, I'm sorry to hear that," President Brown offered his sympathy. "Hopefully you can get a nap before the final leg."

All five murmured, "Thanks." or something similar.

President Brown continued, "Wed like to have good news to give you, but there are still no useful results in the search efforts."

"Well," said Paul, "No news is at least no bad news. I guess it may take a while."

"May I start this meeting with a prayer?"

They concurred, and President Brown offered the prayer. Then he proceeded to explain: "I've been asked to inform you of the Church's and University's involvement. As you know there are funds being made available to help make sure you can get a proper search effort going."

"That'll be a great help," said Bob.

"Students and others are volunteering to participate in the search."

"I hope this won't interfere with their studies." said Anna.

"They are being interviewed by their bishops, and will only be allowed to come if they can sufficiently handle the time and other burdens of volunteering."

"Is this all necessary?" Mary asked.

"I know that the four of you say that you have the strong impression that your children will be taken care of."

Four voices chorused, "Yes."

"But you still want the Lord's help, don't you?"

Bob was the one to respond. "We have been assuming that they already have the Lord's help."

"Indeed, they do. But, per D&C 24, we are not to require too many miracles, are we?"

No one really knew how to respond to that.

He continued, "We need to do our part."

Tentative nods.

"For the next several weeks, you will be wanting to hold your meetings here on the islands, I think?"

There was no disagreement here.

"So I'm authorizing each one of you brethren to hold meetings and administer the Sacrament. If you can hold them together, it would be best to do so, of course. But if the need arises, any of you three can hold meetings independently."

Professor MacVittie was given a packet of materials relating to coordinating the search efforts in the islands and bringing the donated funds in where necessary.

Then President Brown said, "The Brethren have asked me to tell you one last thing. The impressions you have received are from God. They have been impressed that it will take a lot longer to find your children than we all would like, but they will be found, healthy, and faithful."

After President Brown and President Hale left, Bob kept watch while the others took naps, waiting for their flight.

Zedidiah was waiting for them outside the airport when they got to the main island.


"Ah, Zedidiah, Thank you for contacting us and keeping us advised. May I introduce Bob and Mary Whitmer, and Paul and Anna Pratt," and the professor indicated each in turn.

"I'm glad to meet you. I wish the circumstances were better."

And Anna said, "We understand."

"This is investigative officer Kei Paalo, from the police force here. He has been participating in the investigation."

"I'm sorry to have to meet you in such circumstances, but I also extend our welcome to the island." Officer Paalo said. "May I explain now about the course of our investigations and search?"

"Of course."

After hearing that the island had been searched with no results, Paul asked, "How about the plane? Can it be made airworthy?"

Zedidiah said, "You wouldn't want to trust it in the air. You'd never know whether something important would break. It would need to be completely rebuilt."

Professor MacVittie asked, "Has the sea between where the plane was found and the island been searched?"

"No, it hasn't," Officer Paalo told them. "That would take quite a bit more resources than we have."

"How clear is the water in that area?"

"Very clear. You can see down to the ocean floor pretty much everywhere out there.

"How deep is it?"

"About twenty to forty feet."

Paul and Bob nodded their heads, then suggested to Professor MacVittie that they pray about the next step. He concurred, and they did, asking whether they should trace the line from where the plane was found to the island.

They were impressed that they should, so Professor MacVittie asked, "Can we rent a fairly large boat and three skiffs? We think we would like to trace that line."

"That can probably be done, but I suggest we wait until the morning to try to make the arrangements."

Officer Paalo and Zedidiah helped them make arrangements for hotel rooms for the night. Then they had some dinner and got some sleep.

In the morning, they talked with the hotel owner, Den Kelai while eating breakfast. He told them a bit about the island, and about the charter pilots. He told them that Wycliffe and Zedidiah had many friends there, that Wycliffe was especially known for being maybe too helpful at times, but a true friend in need, as well. He said that everyone on the island wanted to find Wycliffe and their missing children.

After they had finished breakfast, Officer Paalo and Zedidiah took them to meet some of the charter pilots and boat owners, and several groups who might help when they needed volunteers. They were able to arrange for a boat large enough for three skiffs, and Officer Paalo and Zedidiah accompanied them out to the cache island.

They arrived fairly late in the afternoon, and spent some time looking over the island and the plane. Paul, who was a mechanical engineer, thought the plane was in good enough condition to consider repairing, but they decided not to do anything about it for that day.

They decided to put the skiffs in the sea, Paul and Anna in one skiff, Bob and Mary in another, Professor MacVittie and Zedidiah in the third, and Officer Paalo with the boat's crew, and search in swaths parallel to the beach until it was too dark to continue. With the boat in the center, one skiff on the outside, and two on the inside, spaced about 50 feet apart, they covered a two hundred foot swath of sea. In about twenty-five passes, they were able to search out to a half mile before dark, but found nothing of interest.

Then they camped on the beach for the night.

They continued on Saturday, searching out to three miles while it was light. On Sunday, they called a day of rest, and the Zedidiah and Officer Paalo and the boat's crew observed with interest as they held their sabbath meetings and spent the day reading, taking walks around the beach and other rest activities.

On Monday, they were joined by another boat and more skiffs and a crew of volunteers, allowing them to search a broader swath.

When they found Wycliffe about six miles out, Zedidiah broke down in tears, and they stopped for an hour, bringing the body on board and covering it, radioing for a plane to get the body, and searching the area more carefully, but not finding anything.

Then they continued the parallel swaths. When the plane came, they sent the one boat to the island to transfer the body to the plane, and Zedidiah went back to the main island with his friend's body.

Wycliffe himself, did what he could from the other side of the veil to comfort his friend, going back with the plane.

The rest of the searchers continued their searching until dark. The parents' group camped for the night, but the volunteers returned to the main island.

The next morning, another boat arrived, with volunteers from the islands and student volunteers from the University. By Friday, with fresh volunteers coming out each day, they were able to search all the way to the buoy marking the spot where Zedidiah and Matt had found the plane, and a bit beyond. They found Wycliffes trousers where he had removed them to swim faster, but nothing else.

[JMR201606210920: Someone else was at the funeral, and joined their sabbath meetings, and needs to be mentioned.

Then they returned to the main island, where the professor and the parents joined the funeral, paying their respects to Wycliffe, then observed another sabbath, which Zedidiah joined, and started planning for the next step in their search.

Then they returned to the main island on Saturday morning.

Wycliffe's funeral was held that afternoon, following the island traditions. Many of the islanders came, from all the islands where Wycliffe and Zedidiah had worked, and Bobbie's and Karel's parents, and Professor MacVittie, also attended.

Some of those at the funeral knew Bobbie and Karel, and made it a point to offer expressions of concern to their parents.

On Sunday, the professor and their parents observed another sabbath, which Zedidiah and and some of the islanders joined. They kept the meetings simple.

After the meetings, they talked about Mormon beliefs concerning the afterlife and the eternal nature of families.

Then they started planning for the next step in their search, including Zedidiah in their plans. Many of the islanders also offered to help, including a man named Nazoru, whose daughter we shall meet shortly.


Wycliffe, of course, was present, on the other side of the veil, for the funeral and for the sabbath meetings.


He knew Nazoru and his daughter, and was a bit surprised to see him there. He wished he could inquire after their situation, but did not attempt to breach the barrier between worlds.


Notice the references to things of value that money can hardly touch, and other things of value that money can't touch at all. There are many things more powerful than money in this economy.

And give notice to how Wycliffe is considered on the island, not a perfect person, but not a bad person, at all, really.

(The link to the next chapter will be here when it's ready. Here is the next chapter:

(The chapter index is here:

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