As he left the terminal he plugged in the destination code once he was on the major thoroughfare. The trip shouldn’t take more than 22 minutes the computer announced and he would be advised when to take manual control again. The highway was lined with squat buildings in pastel colors. The tops of the mountains just peeked over the roof tops of the buildings. He had never been to mountains before. He had been in the hills around LA but nothing like these. He had been to Boulder often over the years. There was where he went for his initial training and orientation. Then every few years he had been back for special training sessions or updates on new prohibitions. He had always seen the mountains from his window and had wanted to go there to explore, just explore. They always appeared so cool, green and inviting. But he had never even applied for the permit to go there. At his rank he was afraid that G would think he was trying to step up higher than his station in life.
As you advanced down the road he noticed tiny motes reflecting in the sunlight as it cut through the windshield and across his lap. Then he saw the fly on the dash as it crawled along the instrument displays. That sight immediately reminded him of that video he saw years ago. One of the very few times his decision was challenged and overruled by the supervisor. He couldn’t recall the name of the video but he remembered the man’s name–Charles Lindbergh. They called him Lucky Lindy. He liked that alliteration. There was a scene where Lindbergh noticed a fly in the cockpit of his flying machine as he crossed the Atlantic. The fly was his only companion and for a while he used the fly to distract him from his fatigue and boredom. He thought it was a great story and inspiring. But he was reprimanded by his supervisor.
In fact he was very frightened by the whole incident. He had approved the video for general audience use. “This video does nothing but glorify the individual. The team, the group and their collective efforts are what are important and should be held up as examples. You know how G feels about individualism”. He got the message loud and clear. In fact his next evaluation was only “satisfactory” after getting exemplary several assessments in a row. He had quickly gone back and restricted viewing of the video to authorized researchers and G staff that were G-15 or higher in grade.
He could see Boulder now off against the foothills ahead of him. There wasn’t much time left to make up his mind about going through with this. For weeks now he had convinced himself he wanted to do this and that he thought doing it gave him a higher purpose and meaning for his life. But now that he was face to face with the reality of handing over the material he couldn’t help but be frightened by what would happen. He knew they caught people all the time breaking the Rules. He knew like everyone that they were “processed” but no one ever find out what that meant. The offenders weren’t seen any more. Some rumored that they were exiled to the hinterlands down south or way up north but no one had confirmed any of that. It was against the Rules to ask about such people even if they were in the married contingent.
Would handing over this material make any difference to anyone? That was the whole point in doing it but he was beginning to have doubts. After all what did he know about her? She talked well and was informed about much more than he was but she could be an Enforcer as well as anything else. He had had ridiculous day dreams about them becoming a union and maybe even having a child. He didn’t even know her why would he have such thoughts? Besides even if they had a union there was no assurance they would be selected for child rearing. Only half the people were allowed birth rights at this time and that was restricted to one child. He remembered as a small boy the horror stories about the cloning and gene engineering efforts to produce children without the union. The results were failure and grotesque. Even the organs and genes from those experiments were considered to dangerous to exploit. He had always wondered what G did with the ones that were only physically impaired. The Outlet reported that they were sent to special schools and facilities for their care. He remembered though that one of the sites he eliminated was a supposed report alleging that they had all been removed and then killed.
“Take manual control, take manual control” . He hated that monotone when it crackled at him to begin the driving again and to watch for his exit. The vehicle slowed to accommodate his slower response time and he saw the exit for the training center. The package was the same size as it was when he inserted it in LA but suddenly it felt huge in his waistband. He took the street for the training center where he was expected this morning and where he was to spend the next three days. Other than being larger it was not much different from those buildings lining the highway from Denver to here. Who picked those pastel colors? Couldn’t they ever have earth tones, black, whites, grays and red brick even. He had seen many such buildings and houses on the sites he had viewed over the years. He liked that look much better but he wouldn’t know who to make that suggestion to and it would only draw attention to him if he did. He pulled into the rental or public lot and got out of his car. It was time. Either he could go directly into the training center or cross the street to the food and necessaries dispensary and his expected hand off of the package.
to be continued….www.olcrankywordpress.com