Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Chapter 24

I've quarantined Isolation. It is the only thing I could think to do. Those that weren't sick screamed and cried and demanded to be let out but I couldn't do it. There are rules. Those that were staff before they become the Director's people were shocked. But rules are rules. If you go into Isolation you have to take care of yourself the best you can. When they yelled at me that I was giving them a death sentence I told them I was not, that I was giving them the same chance they'd given us over the years. Even better I explained that we'd heard on the radio that even if you didn't have a full clade vaccine not everyone who got X13 was dying. Yes, a lot of them were but not everyone. The more clades of X13 that you had antibodies for the better chance of survival you had.

Maybe I should let them out but the risk is too high that they'll attack us even if some of them are sick. They've already proven themselves to be violent too many times. I was surprised so many of them were worried and told them so. I would have thought the Director would have given the vaccine to those in his group. I should have kept my mouth shut. I woke up this morning to find that they'd killed him during the night and in a not very nice way. Mr. Waverly said that it was inevitable because he was such a blankety blank. I have to write blankety blank because right before Mr. Waverly said it Peterson put his hands over my eyes and starting going la-la-la really loud. When he stopped Mr. Waverly and Ms. Carol laughed. It is not funny. Mr. Waverly said not to worry about it though because Peterson was right and that Johnson wouldn't want me to know that word anyway. I told them to stop doing things for my own good because I wasn't a baby.

Ms. Carol said, "Pot meet kettle." After she'd explained what she meant - because it sounded really stupid - I had to give them their point but I still don't like it.

The other reason I'm not going to let them out of quarantine because not all of us are here. Johnson did what he said he was going to do and he, a couple of soldiers, and a couple of the Staff have gone to the railway station to Check Things Out. I wish he would have taken more soldiers and no Staff. The two men he took are the biggest complainers during the meetings. It has gotten to where nothing suits them. I don't like it.

**********

Nela told Georgie, "You need to let Johnson be the LT. He knows his job."

"I know he knows his job. I just wish he would have taken two more soldiers and not the two crybabies."

Nela smiled and then said, "Georgie, sit down and let me explain it." After they sat down, Nela relieved to take some of the weight off of the prosthetic the Janitor had fashioned for her that looked surprisingly lifelike, she looked at Georgie and shook her head. "Roland says you understand people but, sometimes ..."

"Is this about me, those men, or Johnson."

"Huh?"

"If it is about me, I know. I don't always talk like I'm very grown up even though I know I'm not a kid inside anymore. I can't just change the way I am overnight though because it will confuse the rest of us ... and I don't want the attention if could bring."

"Er ..."

"If it is about those men, I know they are thinking about trying to take over and be the bosses of Pickering like they were almost before. Their biggest complaint about the new Director was that he replaced them with his own people. I don't know what Johnson plans for them but I don't want him or the other soldiers to get hurt in the process and I don't like them exposing themselves to something we don't understand yet."

"Uh ..."

"And if it is about Johnson. I get it. He doesn't like that ... doesn't like that when he thinks about sex sometimes it might be with me because he thinks of me as a little kid which really, really creeps him out. Only it isn't really about actual sex with me, it's about him worrying that at some point he might look at me like that which creeps him out even more. Because he's just as worried about there not being enough adult women as the rest of the adult me are worried about."

"Oh Chica, you ... you ..."

"Yeah. I know. So which is it?"

Nela laughed for a really long time before answering, "I think you've covered most of it. Look ... don't get upset with the LT."

"Why would I be upset with him? About the almost but not quite sex that only might be in the future or about how he nearly swallows his face if anyone even says the word sex?"

"OK, instead of me guessing how about you tell me how you feel."

"You and Roland don't talk about me do you?"

"Not like that. Roland is almost as bad as the LT where you are concerned."

"Roland doesn't want ..."

"No. He sees you as a little sister."

Georgie snorted. "News flash. I'm older than he is by almost five months. I'm older than almost all of us that are left."

"You are freaking kidding me!"

"Uh uh. I was one of the first born in quarantine."

"Wow. I never would have guessed. You're smaller than most of them and you ... um ... look younger."

"I didn't know either until Nurse Cassie told me. It's no big deal, birthdays never meant much to us. Not even Nurse Cassie celebrated them. I asked her one time and she said it was because it focused too much on time passing and she didn't want to upset any of us. I think it was more about her seeing time pass. Nurse Cassie wasn't always the easiest person to understand."

Nela just shook her head. "So ... you're ..."

"Almost seventeen and a half if you want to measure it in years. My brain feels a lot older though."

Nela just blinked. "Okay then. Uh ... do you think of Roland as ... er ..."

"You mean am I jealous or want his attention like you have it? No. Roland has always just been Roland to me and me to him. There was never time for it to be anything else and even had there been we always knew what was important."

Nela looked relieved and Georgie tried not to smile about that. Then Nela asked, "So, do you want the LT to ..."

"No. I don't think either one of us is ready for that particular responsibility. Our jobs are too important and we both have our own issues still to deal with. Maybe someone else can help him with his human condition and ..."

"His what?!" Nela laughed.

"It's what Waverly and I wound up calling it when we were discussing the problem that there are a lot more adult males than adult females in our group."

"Madre de Dios, you've had this figured out all along haven't you?"

"Understood the problems we are facing? Yes. Have figured out how to deal with the problems we're facing so no one gets hurt? No." Georgie scratched the stubble on her head only to realize it was no longer stubble but thick, springy curls that she hoped went away as her hair got longer because it made her look like that silly dog in the show Caro used to like that was called a poodle. "Some of it can probably be dealt with by hard work and long hours. That's the consequences Nurse Cassie used to deal out when someone started to go To Far. But these men are adults, I'm not sure how long that is going to work. And I'm not sure the adult women are really all that interested in some of the men that will make the most noise about there not being enough women. Like those two that Johnson took with him. None of the women really like them."

"You caught that part of it have you."

"Yes. What is Johnson going to do with them? We can't just send away people because they don't agree with the rules. And we can't just lock them in Isolation either. I don't want to go down that path. People shouldn't have to be scared into following the rules. Isolation is a good place to die but not a good place to learn to the reasons for following the rules."

"Hmmm. While I agree with what you say mostly, people are people and we'll always have to deal with those that aren't rule followers, even when those rules are for a good reason. As for the LT, I think what he plans on doing is trying to show them some reality. Those two talk like the trains are going to start running again before the supplies give out."

"Well, technically we don't have proof that they won't. We are hypothesizing based on the things we are hearing on the radio. It is bad out there."

"You're right and that is one of the other reasons the LT took them two in particular. By seeing it with their own eyes they can't say the messenger is lying. And if that doesn't work the LT may find a way to leave them someplace they can't make their way back from."

Georgie thought about it. "They aren't in the greatest shape. Waverly calls them Tri-V spuds."

"Yeah, they aren't exactly easy to motivate when they are on the duty roster, that's for sure." Nela stood back up gingerly. Sometimes getting back on the prosthetic was harder than getting off of it. "I gotta get back. But ... between you and me ... just cut the LT some slack. He's doing the best he can."

Georgie let her go without saying anything else. She still didn't understand why Nela thought she was blaming Johnson for anything. Maybe it was like those Tri-V movies where everyone always seemed to blame the men when there were problems. Didn't make sense to her in the movies and it didn't make sense in real life either. After all she was just as free as Johnson. Besides, at least she could say the word sex without looking like she'd eaten too many green apples.

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