For a little animal, he sure eats a lot!” Tony was watching Tie Li feed the
chipmunk from a doll bottle filled with warm milk. “He’ll probably grow up to be
a rhinoceros.” Tie Li giggled. “Maybe he grow up to be Simon!”

“I heard that.” Simon entered the workshop and closed the door behind
him. “He could do worse.”

Tony rolled his eyes toward the ceiling and turned back to his computer.
The day before, he had completed a new set of commands for Voyager and
wanted to run them through a simulation program before leaving on the next

“So, Captain, where we headin’ today?” Simon picked up a piece of
equipment and looked at it absentmindedly. Tony grabbed it away from the
boy and placed it back on the desk. “You’ll know soon enough,” he said with a
frown. “Just keep your hands to yourself, and Don’t call me Captain!”

“Yes sir, Captain,” Simon said, saluting.

Tony closed his eyes and sighed. Of all the people in all the world,
Simon had to choose him to pick on. Oh well, he thought to himself, it could be
worse, maybe.

After completing the simulation, Tony asked his sister and Simon to join
him at the table. “I’ve programmed Voyager to take us to a city that was built
on one of the plains near where Eden was. We’ll visit a construction site
where a man named Noah is working on a rather unusual project.”

“What is it?” Simon asked. “Some new condo?”

“No, it’s a boat,” a very big boat.”

“A boat! Simon raised his eyebrows. “I thought you said this guy lived on
the plains.”

“There no ocean or lake near Eden,” Tie Li joined in. “Why he make

“Let’s go find out.” Tony motioned the two toward the machine. Tie Li
put on her football helmet, looked up at Simon, and took her place inside.

Tony’s calculations placed Voyager on the outskirts of the city. As the
children stepped out of the machine, they couldn’t help noticing that a change
had taken place on the earth. It was still beautiful, very beautiful, but it was
different. There was a tension among the animals that roamed the fields and
forests, an awareness that had not been a part of Eden. It seemed that nature
was holding itself back a bit–the flowers were not as rich and colorful as
before, the trees not as vigorous, the birds less generous with their songs. Tie
Li noticed that the animals hid themselves behind trees and rocks, seemingly
afraid of open spaces.

“What happened to this place?” Simon asked. “Everything seems a little

Just then a group of men on fast horses came riding along the road
behind them, waving long sticks above their heads. As they sped past the
children, Tie Li noticed that the last horse carried no rider. Instead, a deer lay
draped across the back of the animal, its feet tied together, a tightly bound
strap holding it on the horse. With a shout the hunters disappeared in the trail
of dust thrown up by the horses’ pounding hooves.

“Well,” Simon said, “there goes supper.”

“How can you say that?” Tony’s voice was angry. “That deer was one of
God’s creatures, a beautiful creation. He didn’t bring it into existence to be
supper. He made it to be free, just like everything else.”

“Hey, I didn’t kill the deer, all right?” Simon sounded hurt.

“I’m sorry,” Tony said. “I just don’t like to see any animal destroyed just
for food. God said He made the plants and herbs for man to eat, not animals.
Adam and Eve got along very well with fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables.
Seems to me that’s the way it should be.”

Tie Li kicked at a stone lying beside the road. “I don’t like evil world.
Nothing safe.”

As the three rounded a bend in the road, they heard a man’s voice in
the distance. They followed the sound. Others around them seemed to be
moving in that direction too.

“Brothers, sisters, listen to me! The Lord is going to destroy his wicked
world in a great flood of water.”

A man standing on a pile of lumber was shouting to the crowd that
gathered. “We have become an abomination to the Lord, an embarrassment
to the universe. God has told me that this world must be destroyed!”

“Hey, Noah!” a voice called from the crowd. “Did God speak to you in
person, or did He pass on this information through your wife? I hear she talks
all the time anyway!” The people erupted into great shouts of laughter.

“Don’t make fun of God’s words,” the man on the lumber shouted above
the commotion. “He means what He says. Save yourselves! Join me in the
ark!” He pointed toward a valley to the south. “It’s not too late. There’s still

An old woman cried out, “Forget it, crazy man! I don’t have time to listen
to some fool ranting about floods and arks. You go live in your big drafty ark
and leave us sane folk alone. Destroy the world? He wouldn’t dare! What
kind of God would destroy a whole world?”

“The same kind of God who would save anyone who believes what He
says!” Noah shot back. “It’s wickedness He’s out to overthrow, not wicked
people who don’t know any better. You all must decide whether you want to
stay outside the ark and die, or come inside and live.”

“The only thing I have to decide is what to fix for supper,” the old
woman retorted. “Now you get out of here and leave us alone, you and your
voice of doom. Go on, get out of here! You’re scaring my grandchildren.”

The man slowly climbed down from his perch and started toward the
valley, leading the team of horses that pulled the load of lumber. Tony, Tie Li,
and Simon followed at a distance. Cresting the brow of a hill, Tony took in a
sharp breath. “Look!” he said, pointing into the valley.

Before them, surrounded by an assortment of lumber, tools, and tents,
rose the enormous bow of a boat. It was made of timber. The framework held
upright by wooden braces that encircled the ship. The spaces between the
wide boards had been carefully filled with pitch, sealing the hull against water.

“Wow!” Simon exclaimed. “Now that’s a boat!”

Tie Li continued a few steps, then looked back at Tony. “That boat
really big, Tony. Noah build that?”

“With a little help from his sons and whoever they could get to lend a
hand. The Book says they worked on that thing for 120 years before it was

They could hear the sound of hammers striking against wood, and the
shouts of men. Great lengths of timber swayed in the breeze, dangling from
the end of long ropes, as men on deck hauled load after load of lumber up the
side of the boat.

Children played among the piles of shavings that lay like a wooden
snow at the base of the great ship.

“Will everybody fit inside?” Tie Li asked, sitting down on a log laying by
the road. “It big, all right, but can everybody go inside?”

Tony sat down beside her. “Everybody who wants to, I guess,” he said.
“But you heard the woman back at the city. She didn’t seem too excited by the

“And who would be?” Simon retorted, throwing a stone into the grass.
“Show me an ocean, or even a lake. Hey, I’d be happy with a stream. But
there’s nothing here–no water!”

“So?” Tony looked up at the bully.

“So, a boat goes on water, right?”

“Don’t you think God knows that?”

“Look”–Simon sat down on the log–“I know that, you know that, and
even Kung Foo here knows that.”

Tie Li leaned forward and glowered at the bully.

“But these people, they don’t know that. To them, the idea of enough
water to float that boat is ridiculous, crazy, totally off-the-wall.”

“But God said the world would be destroyed by water,” Tony countered.

“He’s the one who told Noah to build the ark.”

Simon jumped to his feet. “Yeah, but what if everybody–I mean
everybody–decided to accept Noah’s offer of free lodging on that boat?
There’s not enough room!”

Tony stood up and pressed his face close to the bully’s. “So they’d build
more arks!”

Tie Li burst out laughing.

Tony and Simon stood glaring at each other until a smile played at the
corners of Tony’s mouth. Tony looked at Tie Li. “I sound like Noah, don’t I?”

Tie Li held her stomach. “Yeah, and Simon sound like that crazy old

Even Simon smiled at Tie Li’s evaluation of his actions. “Well,” he said,
trying not to laugh, “it just doesn’t make sense.”

Tony turned to Simon. “That’s what the serpent said in the garden,

The bully hesitated, then grew thoughtful. “The serpent was right,” he
said slowly. “What God said then didn’t make sense either.”

“Yeah, but look what happened.” Tony swept the air with his hand. “It’s
just the way God said it would be, isn’t it?”

Tony glanced at his watch and then toward the city. “Come on. We’ve
got to get back to Voyager. Our time is about up.”

Simon didn’t speak as they made their way to the machine. His mind
seemed to be elsewhere.

* * *

The next day Tie Li and Tony hurried through their after-school chores.
They were eager to get back to their machine, to Noah, and the big boat. “You about ready?” Tony stuck his head inside his sister’s room.

“All ready, Tony.” The girl closed her dresser drawer and followed him
down the stairs and through the kitchen.

“Chores all done?” Mrs. Parks called after the pair.

“All done,” they chorused.

“You two better take your raincoats if you’re going far.” Mrs. Parks
glanced up at the sky from the back door. “Looks like rain!”

“OK, Mom, we will.” Tony and Tie Li entered the shop. Flicking on the
light, they turned and stopped abruptly in their tracks. Simon’s bike leaned
against the workbench. Voyager was gone!

Voyager! Debriefing

1. What are some other changes you imagine happened in the world between Eden
and Noah’s time?

2. What was the Creator’s original plan for our diet?

3. Why didn’t the people believe Noah when he said a flood was coming?

4. Do you think you’d be tempted to laugh at a boat being built on dry land?

5. Is God giving a warning message to the world today? Who is preaching that

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