11 Protocol UMature

Louise had arrived at the Glad He Ate Her early in the afternoon. The hangout was not as crowded on Saturdays, as it was after school on weekdays. She joined Alyce, who was seated at a table with Jimmy Haskins. 

Alyce asked, "So how'd the College Entrance Exam go?" 

Louise spoke with a tearful tone. "I'm not getting in." 

Alyce and Jimmy both looked startled. 

Alyce asked, "You're not?" 

"No." There was now a tone of bitterness in Louise's voice. "I didn't score as high as I needed." 

"But you're so smart." Alyce told her, "You've done so much studying." 

"It doesn't matter." Her voice shook. "What matters is that I scored two points less than is necessary for admission." 

Jimmy said, "Only two points? Shouldn't that qualify you to reapply?" 

"Forget it! I'm not getting in. After this, the only thing I'm qualified for, is to be packaged sausages or meat patties." 

"Other than that," Alyce asked, "do you have any idea what you're gonna do now?" 

"Yeah. I'll do what any responsible citizen should do, when he or she has no other alternatives. I'll take part in the population trimming and meat harvest. That's what we're all on the Combat Team for isn't it?" 

The other two nodded in agreement. 

"Now that I no longer have to worry about getting into college, everything'll be a lot easier from now on." Louise told them; "During combat games I won't have any reason to hold back. I won't be a shirking wussy any more. I'll fight in every game until I'm killed, and when that happens I'll be as good to eat as the rest of you, and I won't have any regrets." 

Alyce told her, "Then welcome to the Team Louise. You've got the right attitude." 

Louise then sat down at the table, with Alyce and Jimmy. Now she was calm. 

She said, "I thought you two were going on that expedition with Dave and Karen." 

"Sorry." Alyce told her, "I went shopping instead; so did Sarah. Jimmy and Larry went with us. I'm sorry. We've all got a lot to do, and this is the only day we've got." 

Louise asked, "You mean that Dave is alone with Karen?" 

"Oops." Jimmy said, "Looks like this just isn't your day, is it Louise?" 

Louise sighed. Then she said, "I want to check my messages." 

She took out her multi-tasker, turned on the cell-phone function, tapped out the voice mail, put the phone to her ear, and listened. 

Then she said, "I don't believe it!" 

Alyce said, "You don't believe what?" 

"It's Dave Krendell. He and Karen Bennet are outside the City Building!" 

Jimmy said, "Outside?" 

Louise said, "Listen." 

She put the tasker on the table, and replayed the recording, using the amplifier. 

She, Alyce and Jimmy heard the words, "Hi Louise. This is Dave. I'm calling you from outside the City Building. 

"I'm with Karen Bennet, and we're in the land that Karen saw, through that broken window. This is an overgrown, abandoned wilderness. Karen and I are the only people out here--that I know of. There might be a few other people in scattered places, but she and I are the only one's I'm sure about." 

Then Karen got on and said, "For the first time in my life, I'm in a place where there aren't crowds of people. We can see for miles from where we are, and we don't see a single human being. All we've seen are ruins, and they all look uninhabitable. We also see the outside of the City of Manhattan Building, and it's monstrous. 

"There are flocks of birds flying all around us; and there are some creatures in the distance. We hear them roaring and growling. Dave thinks they might be man-eaters, but they haven't come near us yet." 

"Louise." Dave was back on. "There's something I'd like you to look up. When we came through the airlock, it set off an alarm. There was a flashing sign that said we'd violated something called 'Environmental Protocol U', and that some kind of 'Environmental Sanction' had been activated. Could you..." 

Dave hesitated for a moment. Then he spoke again. 

"I'll have to call back Karen. Some people are approaching. Armed." 

The recording ended. Louise shut off her tasker. 

Jimmy asked, "They're outside the City Building? Things are alive out there? Birds? Man-eaters?" 

Louise nodded. "And armed people approaching. That was a recording, so they're probably both dead by now." 

Alyce asked, "Karen saw something through a broken window? Just what the hell was that all about?" 

"Well you see," Louise told them, "After she escaped from the meat packing plant, Karen happened to go past a broken window. She stopped to look out through the window for a moment. Then she saw the land outside the City Building. She believed it was the '...land that the Lord had given'...to her and her children.'

"There is life out there in abundance. She told Dave and me about it. Today they went outside to do some exploring." 

Jimmy asked, "Is that what the big secret was? Is that what they were inviting us to join them for?" 

"That's right." Louise told them, "That big secret's probably got them both killed by now; but that means that Karen wasn't having any hallucination." 

Jimmy said, "But you don't know for a fact, that they have been killed, do you?" 

"Right. Who knows what people out there are like?" 

Alyce reached into her handbag, which was on the table beside her. She took out her edu-computer, put it on the table in front of her, and switched it on. 

Then she said, "Let's see. 'Environmental Protocol U' and 'Environmental Sanction U. ' 

Louise picked up her tasker again, and pressed the return call. She put the device to her ear and listened. 

Then she said, "Dave. It's Louise. I just got your message. What's going on with you and Karen? You're outside the City Building?" 

She listened. 

"You're locked out?" 

They spoke for a few minutes, while Alyce entered the words "Environmental Protocol U" into her edu-computer. 

Then Louise hung up and said, "Dave and Karen are under arrest; somewhere in the wilderness, outside the City Building. They say they're being held in some ruins called 'Weehawken ', and the ruins are in the 'Sovereign State of New Jersey.'" 

Jimmy said, "Under arrest?" 

Louise nodded, "Yes. They not only haven't been killed; they're not going to be killed. The people who arrested them, are gonna send them to some community, that's so far away, that they'll never be able to return." 

"You're kidding." Alyce said, "There's not only people out there in the wilderness, there's an actual 'Community'? I had no idea anybody was out there at all." 

"Neither did I." Louise told them, "Dave said that the people out there don't want any of us to find out that life is possible out there. That's why he and Karen are being sent to where they'll never be able to return from." 

Jimmy asked, "Then why didn't they just kill them? It'd be a lot easier." 

"Who knows?" Louise shrugged. "The people out there are sure to be very different from us." 

She sighed, and was quiet for a few moments. 

"Okay." Louise spoke firmly. "Since I won't be holding back during the fighting, I think I'll become a team girlfriend too, and just as slutty as the rest of you, and I won't have any regrets about that either." 

Jimmy laughed. "Neither will the guys on the team, Louise." 

"And I'd like to start by being slutty with Jimmy here!" 

Alyce said, "What! Now I don't like your attitude." 

"If you don't like it, you and I can have a bare boob chick fight afterward, with all the guys cheering! If you want to." 

"Oh believe me, I want to." 

Jimmy tapped Alyce's edu-computer. "Let's get back to this. We might be able to learn something here." 

"Right." 

They all turned their attention to Alyce's edu-computer. 

She told them, "It says here, that the Environmental Protocols were the laws governing the construction of the City of Manhattan Building." 

Louise and Jimmy then got out their own edu-computers, and the three searched for whatever they could find, regarding the City Building's construction. 

They learned that near the end of the 20th Century, a number of bombs were set off by someone who called himself "The Unibomber". The bombs killed a few people, over many years. When the bomber was finally apprehended, he turned out to be a former college professor named Theodore Kaczynski. He claimed that he was committing the terrorist acts, to protest the destruction of the environment. 

After he went to jail, a Gang of Environmental Terrorists was formed. They called themselves "The Kaczynski Brigade". The Brigade began setting off bombs, in restaurants, food markets and meat packing plants all over the Country, killing hundreds of customers and employees, to protest the eating of meat. 

Then at midnight on New Year's Eve, at the beginning of the year 2012, a nerve gas canister bomb was detonated in New York's Times Square, killing everyone within a 10-block radius of Broadway, 7th Avenue and West 44th Street. More than one million people died in less than one minute. 

The next day, an e-mail was sent to every major news organization in the Country. 

It said, "We of the Kaczynski Brigade take full credit for last night's attack. We obtained the nerve gas bomb, from our own agents, who have acquired thousands of biological and nuclear weapons, from the poorly guarded arsenals of the former Soviet Union. 

"We intend to use them, unless our demands are met. 

"The Earth must be saved from humanity, by removing humanity from the Earth. A single building is to be constructed, on the Island of Manhattan..." 

Louise, Jimmy and Alyce followed the news stories. They read about the enforced construction of the City of Manhattan Building; and the other City Buildings; the forced relocation of all the people of the Earth, into the City Buildings; and their final sealing away from the Kaczynski's Brigade's beloved Earth. 

The Kaczynski Brigade then announced, "Since you will no longer be able to eat the flesh of God's blessed animals, and have refused to eat only vegetables; from now on, you will only be able to eat one another. 

"We, the American People, deserve this. 

"Any attempt to damage any of the seals, which have been put in place, to keep you confined inside the City Building, will result in the activation of bombs, which have been implanted inside the City Building's structure, and will destroy this entire City, and totally annihilate its entire population. 

"How many severely wounded survivors, will you be able to evacuate, when they will have no place to go, and no way to get there?" 

Louise, Jimmy and Alyce sat at the table in the Glad He Ate Her Lounge, not sure what to say. 

Louise finally spoke, "When Dave and Karen went outside, they activated the Environmental Sanction. Is the entire City of Manhattan Building, going to be blown up at any moment? How many people can we evacuate? Is there any place to go?" 

"Relax Louise." Jimmy said, "Krendell and Karen can't be the first people who've ever gone outside. The ancestors of the people, who are living in those communities, might have left the City Building centuries ago; and when they left, the City Building wasn't annihilated. 

"Besides, if this Kaczynski Brigade did plant any bombs, that was 1,322 years ago. By now they've all corroded into duds. After all this time they couldn't possibly be detonated, and if any of them are, all they'll do is go 'poof'." 

Now Alyce said. "You mean there never was any environmental crisis? There was never any real need for us to be confined inside the City Building? Everything we've been taught about our reason for living in here, was a hoax? The reason for us to kill and eat each other, is based on a hoax?"

The End

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