A voice calls to Nayra in tube C-51. It’s the operator who green-lighted her appointment earlier.
“13-25F wake up. 13-25F are you conscious? 13…Nayra!”
Nayra opens her eyes and sees Terry looking down on her from the screen. She blinks and drifts off again.
“Nayra! Get up! They’re in the lobby. Nayra, please!” Terry has his hands around his console and his face pressed against the camera lens. “You have to leave NOW!”
Nayra finally wakes up and stumbles down the latter onto the corridor between the walls of sleeper tubes. She flips open her tablet and answers the call. Terry’s anxious face pops into view. “I sent them to an empty tube in the B-section to buy you some time.”
The hallway is deserted. There is not even a section nurse on shift and Nayra is confused. She is still woozy from losing a half litre of blood. “Sent who where?”
Terry is frantically shoving stuff into a back pack as he gets straight to the point. “Listen carefully. You have 2 minutes until they realize I sent them to the wrong pod. And so do I.” He reaches for a stack of storage devices and shoves them into the bag. “The 3 children you fostered are from the same woman. She’s rich. She’s connected. And she is not too keen on dying of cancer.”
Terry pauses, searching for the most delicate words he can find but he comes up empty. “She put a bounty on your organs.”
“Are you NUTS? The Institute does not—“
“—Nayra. Get to the lobby and run into the west tunnel. There is a trap door half-way down. I’ll buzz it open. Grab the survival pack hooked on the wall and head for the blue light. Wait there for me.” He whips his head around and swears. “Frack! I have to run. I need to open the hatch right now. Get there before someone else finds it. Go!”
Nayra is stunned. What if he’s right? She won’t take that chance.
The lobby is clear but there are screams coming from the B-section. Nayra follows Terry’s escape route, finds the hatch, and runs for the blue light marking the edge of an underground river. She collapses, exhausted, and downs a few iron supplements as she tries to make sense of what just happened.
She sits there quietly realizing that what Terry is suggesting, no, insisting that she does is to leave the safety of the Institute community, all she has ever known, and to follow the current of this river to wherever it leads. That was not part of her life plan.
What will she eat? Everything outside is infected with BPA. She has not spent all this time building up her rating just to throw it away. And worse, to throw her life away to a certain cancer demise.
“Where did humanity go wrong?” She mutters to herself. “Why didn’t we listen and take action and save our oceans when we could have?”
Good question, Nayra. Why didn’t we?
A great topic to discuss in Are We Burnt Toast?
I’m not waiting for more plastics to leach BPA into our environment.
What about you?