Chapter Ten: Life in Veggieville

A pack of remnants tried to take down the guards last night. They were promptly executed. The guards disemboweled the one they claimed to be the leader. They left the poor man out there in the rain, content to let him die slowly, and he howled for help for most of the morning.
Life in camp is hard.
We eat three times a day, if you can call it that. A breakfast bar in the morning—another at noon. We eat warm “food” at night. If they’re trying to fatten us up for the canneries, they sure aren’t doing a very good job of it.
Last night was boiled cabbage and boiled chicken.
The trucks come in the morning; they take people away. It’s terrible, and there is a lot of crying around camp.  
But the place isn’t utterly without hope. I’m writing this out here on a technology that hasn’t ever appeared on the market before. It’s a brand new deal, a prototype, and the blighted won’t be able to confiscate it because they’ll never even be able to find it.
That’s right, you idiots. I know that you’re out there reading this, and I know for sure that you’ve tried to hack my site. I know you’ve tried to block the X-NET feeds into Veggieville.
You might have captured us, but you can’t silence us. The world will know, and one day they will come for us. It’s only a matter of time.
According to some figures coming out of the green colony in Salt Lake City, there are an estimated four million blighted now living in the I-5 corridor, from Salem up to Vancouver, B.C., in Canada.
Four million may seem like a lot, but when things go south, I think they’ll go south pretty quickly. There are more than twice as many remnants living in the green colonies, and they are building a war machine.
Things are about to get very interesting.
So will we be around to see it?
Well, let me tell you about Mom’s letters. The first was a request for us to join her. A simple blood transfusion would ensure the deal, and then we could all be together again.
Simple as that.
You see, Dr. Camille’s treatment didn’t quite eradicate her illness. Sure, she won’t rely solely on the products of the canneries on Lombard Street for her survival anymore, but it turns out that, at least in the short term, she actually prefers her new period of “enlightenment.”
That’s how she put it in her note to Dad. “Cliff, I feel stronger than I ever have before. I know it sounds bizarre, but this virus has given me a new perspective. I feel…enlightened.”
Dad wrote her back, of course, begging her to come to her senses. Begging her to use her influence with the Red Rising to get us out of here.
He begged her to come back to help us. To save us.
Her reply was very short.
It was simply a goodbye.
And I can’t accept that, Mom. I can’t accept goodbye. Not me—not your Allie bird.
Not from you, damn it. You’re our mother!
We came back for you, Mom. We came back to bring you home.
Can’t you see how you’re hurting us?
I…wait just a sec. There’s some kind of commotion over at the far gates. The guards are shooting.
That’s never good, but hopefully it’s just a minor deal. They always seem a little bit testy in the morning, and there’s been a little more push back from some of us here in the stadium lately. Clearly, that attack last night didn’t leave them in good spirits.
Ambrose keeps making promises, and nothing ever gets done…it’s no wonder that folks are talking about revolution. It’s that, or it’s the trucks. What would you do?
Something’s definitely happening out there. It’s chaos, even from my perspective in the back of Miller’s tent. It looks like the blighted are actually here—there are soldiers in red, and they’re not shy about using their rifles. Remnants are surging for the walls, scrambling over each other in an attempt to get out of here.
I’ve got to go find Dad and Billy. I’m not sure if I will be able to finish writing this, as it looks li
My name is Marjorie Keane. Perhaps you’ve heard of me.
My Allie bird has been quite the busy little bee, has she not?
That kid! What a good little girl she was. She always has been a bit of a scribbler. I’m glad that she was able to get so much accomplished here. I think, for the most part, that her accounting has been quite thorough. Her beloved Mrs. Cranston would approve.
With that being said, I think it’s time to finally conclude this little journal here. No doubt you’re wondering where my little Allie bird and her brother and my dear husband have gotten off to.
Why, a truck took them away about an hour ago.
Let this note be a lesson. Those standing against the tides of progress will be met with terrible force.
Such is the new reality of survival.
And what of love, you might ask? What place is there for love in the world that is now emerging?
Oh, don’t fear—love remains. It persists. I think I shall love my dear Allie bird and her noble brother William and my fine husband Clifford forever. They will, as a point of fact, be with me for all the rest of my days.
In fact, I think it’s very likely that I’ll never have a better family—not a one in all of these many years still ahead of me.