Set in a future where men can no longer be naturally conceived, two inmates escape a sperm production facility known as The Bank, and head off into a Female dominated Earth.
Written by Gregory Patrick Travers
Before meeting Forty-Five Green, or Wayne as he liked to call himself, Twenty Blue had never met another Process that had been outside the compound before, and so he was excited to hear everything Forty-Five Green, or FF as Twenty Blue liked to call him, had to tell about what happened beyond the compound walls.
The “Outside world”, that is what FF called it. The name in itself made Twenty Blue’s head tingle with curious wonder. It was not uncommon for the Process to gather by the walls during free time in the yard and argue back and forth over what was on the other side, and so to have a bunk-mate that was actually there and lived through the 2060 World Revolution was something to be grateful for.
Besides his knowledge of the past, he had also been auctioned off some years back. Few of the Process at the Bank had ever been auctioned off before. FF actually lived among the Females and saw things that only a limited number of Process had ever seen before, as owning a man was very expensive. It was a pleasure only allotted to the very rich.
That was a term that’s existence went unknown to Twenty Blue until just recently. FF said that. “Male” and “Man” were titles given to their kind. It was their birthright, it was their species, it’s what the true creator named them.
“I am a man,” Twenty Blue said. He stared up at the top bunk with a wide grin on his face.
FF continued on, telling him the truth was hidden from them by the “Oppressors”, their masters, the Females.
But Twenty-Blue was told a much different history at the Process Education Center than the version FF was going on about. His teachers even took him and his classmates to see the laboratories in which they were created. It was hard for Twenty-Blue to see his creators in such a hateful way as FF did. After all, FF was created by the seed of a man. Born of a womb, but created by a man. He didn’t owe his existence to the Females as Twenty-Blue did.
“But I do not understand,” said Twenty Blue quietly, after letting his new title sink in for a moment.
“What’s that, Blue?” asked FF from the top bunk, kicking off the thin, rough cotton sheet itching at his leg.
“If we are males and I am a man, then why do you call yourself Wayne?”
“Well, Blue. I’ll tell ya. Wayne is my name. It was given to me by my owner when I was in the Outside World. It’s a title to distinguish me separately from other males.”
Twenty-Blue squinted his eyes and tilted his head, “A name? I thought only Females had names.”
“Once we all had names,” said FF. He rolled over onto his side with a grunt, slowly nodding towards sleep. “Once we all walked together, both Females and Males. We shared meals, we shared ideas and stories… we even shared homes. We built individual fortresses to protect what was called a Family. The man lived with the Female and his child as a unit. It was called Love.”
“Then the Warming came, right?” asked Twenty Blue, eager to show off his knowledge of history.
He had scored very high on that portion of the final exam out of PEC (the Process Education Center) and even though it had been years since those lectures, he still retained the teachings quite vividly.
In 2057, a rise in the global temperature made it no longer possible for a “man” to be born of the womb. This condition was called Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination.
Three years after the Civil War of ’59, the massive architectural wonder known as The Bank was constructed and the first generation of laboratory generated Process were born.
Three years after that, Twenty-Blue came out of incubation and into the compound. Now in his twentieth year, “Blue”, as FF liked to call him, was a month away from graduating to a Second Stage Process and being cleared for reproduction duty.
The “Second Stager’s”, or the “S.S.”, were treated the best out of all the Process in the Bank. They had the freshest vegetables, there were no limitations on water consumption, they had the biggest bunk quarters, they were the strongest, they were the fastest and they were the most physically fit in all of the compound.
It was a great honor for a Process to join the ranks of the Second Stager’s. Most days the S.S. would get to train in the gymnasium all day long, with the exception of Meal Time and Free Time of course. That sounded just fine to Blue.
The only thing that they had to deal with that wasn’t so great was Extraction Time. Blue had heard from FF, along with some of the other Second Stager’s that the monthly extractions were a bit of a pain. The metal tools that removed the necessary sperm needed for insemination were cold on their organ and reproductive sac. The whole actual extraction itself didn’t last for more than a couple of minutes, but after it left the Process confused and sedated. They described the experience as a hard tugging which gradually became more euphoric until reaching a brief climax of pleasure before the automated tools collected the sperm and removed the wrist-ankle locks.
Blue had heard rumors that some of the Second Stager’s, behind the closed doors of their bunk quarters, would put their organ in the mouth of another Process to simulate that moment of extreme pleasure felt during extraction, but FF said he didn’t know anything about that and wouldn’t speak on the matter much further.
Though Blue was not a yet a Second Stager and had yet to take his first trip to the Extraction Labs, he knew of the pleasure of the euphoric tugging that the Second Stager’s gossiped about in the yard. Not from the automated machines, but from his secret encounters with the day guard, Natalie.
On no particular day, usually about once a month for the last year, Natalie would come into his bunk quarters after FF had gone for breakfast. In that time, about an hour or so, she did things to him that Blue had to promise to never speak about. Like the rumors he had heard about the male Process putting their organ in the mouth of another to simulate the sensation during extraction, Natalie let him put his organ in her mouth for the very same purpose. And once his organ was prepped and swollen, she grabbed it with her hand and inserted it between her legs. This feeling, to be able to press inside a Female in such a way, was a discovery Blue wanted to share with everyone. Regrettably, that was something he could not do. To do the things that she had done, to a Process, was considered sick, perverted, unlawful and unforgivable by the Females.
But Blue did not feel that way, in fact, he felt quite the opposite. He imagined, if they had experienced the joy that he had experienced, any other Process would agree with him just the same. If a Process had found out about his warm and wet encounters with a day guard, he would be branded a hero, sent directly to the top of the Process social food chain.
So then why did Blue not tell anyone? He deducted, that it was love, the feeling between a Male and Female that FF had spoken of, in which the man feels certain protectiveness towards the Female, and will go through great obstacles and suffering to make sure she remains safe, secure and content.
“I couldn’t tell you why, though,” FF said, ignoring Blue’s earlier question, “Women are vindictive, crude, calculating creatures…How anyone could love them is beyond me.”
“I am not sure either,” said Blue.
But it was only out of respect and for not wanting to challenge the Process who had taught him so much about the “Outside World” that he agreed with his bunk-mate. Truly, Blue believed that a Female was the only thing he could love.
It was the way Natalie’s face haunted his mind from the first Meal Time of the day to walking the yard, all the way until Sleep Time. It was the tingle that ran through his nerves when she slid her tongue up his neck, her warm breath on the trail of moist saliva. It was the explosion he would feel in the pit of his stomach when the door to his cell clanked open and it was her standing at attention—looking at him, smiling at him whilst she tried to hide it from the other guards. These were the things that hindered Blue from sharing his bunk-mate’s view that Females were nothing but trouble.
The eye slot on the center of the thick steel door slid open, interrupting their conversation, and a pair of glaring eyes peered into the room. Even before the eye slot slammed shut and cell door chugged heavily to the side, the two of them knew who was waiting at the other end.
It was Marideth, the night guard. A stern-faced, heavier framed Female in a tidy uniform stood at the entrance to the quarters. Her stubby fingers clenched in a fist against the black leather belt wrapped snuggly around her robust, protruding belly. Anything above her eyebrows was covered by her guard’s cap pulled tightly over a frizzy ginger mane tied up snug in a bun behind her head.
Beside Marideth was another guard. This one was shorter and much more petite. The boys knew her as Jones, a recent hire at The Bank that Marideth had been training. Jones was about half the size of Marideth but she had just as much, if not more, ferocity and inpatients towards the Process as her heavier counterpart.
“What’s all the noise in here?” she barked at them.
“Nothing,” said Blue. “No noise.”
FF sighed and rolled over, hiding from the hallway light flooding into their cell.
“Don’t you lie to me, Twenty Blue,” said Jones, “Do you think I’m stupid? Do you think we don’t hear you two chattering away in here? You know the consequences for conversation after Sleep Time–eight hours sedation through Serum.”
She put out her hand and Marideth handed her a syringe filled with a familiar pink, translucent liquid the boys knew infamously as Serum; An elixir that once injected could put a Process to sleep anywhere from eight hours to eight months depending on the concentration. Both of the bunk-mates had seen their fair share of Serum being pushed into their arm, FF undoubtedly more than Blue due to his hatred towards the Females, but even still, Blue was not without his moments of disobedience.
Jones stepped towards him and Blue started to panic, retreating to the far corner of his bed, kicking up his bed sheets frantically at his aggressor.
“No! Stop!” he screamed.
But they continued forward. Marideth waddled over and held him still while Jones injected the Serum just above his ankle.
In a moment, FF, who sat silently on the top bunk, felt the bed stop shaking and Blue’s screams slowly come to an end. He stared at the ceiling and bit his tongue, for if he had done to the guards what he deeply wanted to do, the consequences would be nothing short of fatal. If not for him—for them.
“Such a violent species,” said Marideth, straightening her uniform out.
“It’s hard to believe that they used to control us,” Jones added. “They made us cook their food. They made us clean their homes and wash their clothes.”
Marideth chuckled, heading for the hallway, “Imagine that.”
“What about the other one?” asked Jones.
“Leave him,” said Marideth. “He’s got no one to talk to.”
And with that, the two guards slid the steel door shut with an echoing slam, leaving FF in darkness once more.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, though he knew Blue could no longer hear him. “I promise I will get us out of here…we will be men again.”
Blue woke up in his bunk dazed and confused. It took a second, as it always did, for him to remember where he was and what had been done to him. He rose up from his mattress to see Natalie, the day guard, standing at the corner of the cell, watching him.
“How do you feel?” she asked.
He rubbed his head, brushing his bangs to the side, “How long have I been out?”
“Eight hours,” she replied. She sat down next to him and removed her cap, untying her ponytail and letting her cocoa tipped curls fall freely over her slender shoulders.
Blue nodded, knowing it could have been worse.
Then he turned to her and asked, “Is FF okay?”
“Yes, he is at first Meal Time. Listen to me, Twenty-Blue…I have something very important to discuss with you.” There was a pause while she seemed to be trying to best sort out the words inside her head. Finally, she continued on, “…I have become pregnant. It is your child, well, our child.”
Blue didn’t know how to respond. The term “His child” was confusing. He had always been taught that the seminal fluids in his reproductive sac belonged to the State; it was the reason they created him.
Natalie continued, “If the General finds out that I am with child without record of insemination she will know that we have been together. They will arrest me and kill my baby. I’m scared…If I want to keep this child, and I do, I must leave here. I must leave and never come back.”
“I don’t want you to go,” said Blue.
“It is too late,” Natalie replied. “I have made plans to escape this place tomorrow at dawn…I’m so sorry, Twenty-Blue. I never meant to put all of this on you. It’s just that I—I care for you. Dare I say, and Lord in heaven forgive me, that I love you.”
“I want to go with you,” Blue replied.
Natalie’s eyes widened, “You do?”
“Yes,” said Blue. “I believe I feel what you call love. When you are here, I feel great joy. When you are gone, I wait with great pain until I see you once more. When I sleep, you are in my dreams, and when our lips touch I feel you through my entire body. I want to be with you wherever you go. Please, let me go with you.”
She sighed in relief, lent in and pressed her lips against his.
“Then it is decided…” she said. “We will leave here tomorrow at sunrise, as soon as I arrive for my shift, understood?”
“Does this mean we will be a Family?” asked Blue.
Her head sprang up and her eyes squinted, “Where did you learn that word?”
Blue smiled, “FF told me.”
Her eyes drifted to the right as she bit her lip, calculating, “Yes, I forgot… Forty-Five Green…You cannot tell him what I have told you, do you understand? You cannot speak a word of this to anyone, do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand,” said Blue.
“Promise me,” she said.
“I promise,” he said.
And Blue truly did mean not to tell anyone. But he had not counted on how clever and observant his older bunk-mate could be. In fact, FF knew Blue was hiding something within minutes of coming back from first Meal Time. At first, Blue denied the accusations, but FF, as always, was stubborn and persistent. He wouldn’t let it go.
“You are far too happy for someone who just woke from a Serum nap,” he said between a spoonful of rice at second Meal Time. “Come on. What’s the story?”
Unable to contain his excitement anymore, Blue broke and told him everything. FF listened in shock as Blue came clean about his secret meetings with the day guard, her unlawful insemination and the plan to escape The Bank at dawn. Immediately, FF demanded he be allowed to join them.
Blue looked away. “I can’t. Natalie said–”
FF grabbed him by the arm and forced him to acknowledge his plea, “Forget what Natalie said, alright? We are men. We have to stick together. You have a loyalty to your own kind, never forget that.”
“I don’t understand why you would want to go back beyond the wall among the Females. Did you not live with them before and come back to the Bank on your own will?”
FF’s face fell with a solemn frown and he let go of Blue. “I lied when I told you I came back on my own. The truth is, I was arrested by the General and brought back here. Like you, I ‘felt love’ for a Female–my owner, Dr. Julia Penn. And she loved me just much as I loved her, okay?
“It was… It was the happiest time of my life the times that I spent with her in that estate. I worked hard, building and gardening, and she watched over me with great care and compassion. She was the one who gave me my name—Wayne. She reminded me of my mother, the Female of which I was born. I gave her the seed of my entity, just like you have given Natalie and like thousands of the S.S., with the help of the Extraction Labs, will give to thousands of Females that they will never see, meet or love. They will never know what we feel. Blue, I must see her again. Every day I go without her embrace I die a little more inside. I’m dying here, Blue. Please. Help me. Take me with you.”
Blue had never seen FF act so desperate before. It was hard for him to watch. He broke and agreed to take FF with Natalie and himself when they escaped the next morning.
They sat in their bunks that night, too excited to even think about sleeping. But this night they did not say a word to each other knowing the night guards, Marideth and Jones, were just outside the cell—armed with more Serum.
When they woke that morning, the cell door clanked open and there stood Natalie, just as she said. The two men sprang from their beds to their feet and awaited instruction.
She turned to Blue and shook her head, “You promised you wouldn’t tell.”
“I’m sorry,” said Blue. “He made me.”
She rolled her eyes, “We don’t have time to argue now. Come with me—the both of you.”
A pair of cold, stern eyes watched the second hand tick on the large clock above the door out of the General’s office—Her office. A lavish spectacle of architecture she had earned through years of loyal service to the President. She had always stood proudly behind the Banks clean record and reputation of a dominating force over the Process population. But tonight that clean record had been soiled and someone had to answer for it.
With the exception of the clock’s entrancing tick tock bouncing off the office walls the room hung in tense silence. Then came the distinct crunch of leather on leather as she shifted in her seat, one slender leg crossing over the other while the tip of her left boot tapped impatiently on the marble floor.
Her Female instincts told her the news she was about to receive would not be anything short of infuriating. And it would be foolish to deny the Female instinct as everybody knew that the Female instinct is the voice of Mother Nature guiding women on to the right path. A responsibility given only to the Female, so that they may rule all living beings according to Her will.
The chamber doors opened and Section E night guards Sister Marideth and Sister Jones entered, confirming the General’s doubtful instincts by the dry, solemn looks on their faces. All that was left now was to hear it from their mouths.
“And so?” asked the General. “What is your report?”
Marideth, the larger of the two, stepped forward and spoke, “The last surveillance footage shows the two Process entering delivery post C with Sister Natalie. That is the last time they were seen in the compound. The cameras in the exterior capture nothing.”
The Generals shimmering rouge lips dipped into a frown. “I fail to understand how, in a compound secured so heavily, the three of them could waltz from their quarters in Section E all the way to delivery post C without being questioned once for paperwork.”
Marideth continued, “General, it is not uncommon for a Sister to sign out a Section E Process for labour duty when there are larger deliveries and—”
“Silence!” The General screamed, rising from her richly upholstered seat and stepping downstairs to meet them below. “There must be order. There must be record. There must be paperwork. Where is it?”
“Sister Natalie had filled out the proper paperwork for the Process Twenty Blue but no paperwork for the second Process Forty-Five Green. Sister Jones believes this points to Forty-Five Green. Perhaps he ambushed Sister Natalie as she came for Twenty-Blue and, though none was seen on the camera, used a homemade weapon of some sort to threaten her into aiding their escape.”
“Is this so, Sister Jones?” asked the General.
The tiny blonde straightened and clapped her boots together, “Yes, General!”
The General turned her head, “And what say you, Sister Marideth? What do you believe?”
Marideth cleared her throat, “I find it hard to accept that Forty-Five Green would commit such an act of treason towards the State. During the Civil War of ’57 he, along with many other honourable men, fought alongside the Revolution. He fought in favor of the Bank and volunteered himself in the First Wave. It was his loyalty that allowed his purchase in ’82 to…um,” she paused, not wanting to finish but fearing the consequences if she did not. It finally came out in a quiet mumble, “Dr. Penn.”
“Let me tell you something about men,” said the General. “There are no honorable men. It was men who destroyed the rain forests for profit. It was men who polluted our oceans with nuclear waste for their poisonous energy and apocalyptic bombs. It was men who made an industry out of animal agriculture—the most damaging of all! The cause for the Great Warming itself! If we still followed the ideals of man we would not be standing where we are today, my Sister!”
“Of course, my Sister. All that I meant was—“
“Enough!” yelled the General. “We walk on a very thin line. If we do not continue to show diligence in our efforts to heal the damage reaped from our planet we will plunge right back into the chaos of which we came. Look at all we have accomplished without the male race! The creation of Serum has silenced the need for guns and savage violence. We tore down the capitalist system that was bleeding this country dry and we created a Republic for the People! It was the State who funded clean power, reducing 98% of carbon emissions entering the atmosphere. It was the State who put a ban on animal agriculture, restored our ecosystem, cleaning Earth’s waters and even lowering the planet’s temperature to a state it hasn’t seen in decades. All of this accomplished by the mind of a Female—God’s true apprentice!”
Marideth clapped her boots together, “What are your orders, General?”
The General took a moment to cool and then spoke once more, quickly and clearly,
“Assemble a team and search the surrounding areas. They must not be allowed to reach Fem City. No media is to be alerted. Just find them—and kill them.”
“Yes, General,” answered Marideth before turning and marching for the exit. Sister Jones followed right behind her.
“Oh, and Sister Marideth! One more thing!” called the General as they were halfway out the door.
Marideth turned, “Yes, General?”
“Sister Natalie too,” said the General, sitting back in her armchair. “Kill them all.”
“I think it’s safe to come out now,” said Natalie to the dark curtain behind the driver’s seat. “We’re almost out of the Dead Zone.”
Blue’s head poked out cautiously from behind the curtain. He froze, gazing out to the endless desert horizon that surrounded them.
“What’s wrong?” asked Natalie, noticing his odd behavior.
“No walls…” he whispered.
FF pushed Blue aside and stepped out from the back of the van, maneuvering himself into the passenger seat and strapping the safety belt around his waist.
“It’s the first time he’s been out of the compound,” he said. “He’s having a moment right now…Buckle up, kid. It’s going to be a wild ride. Things are a lot different out here than they are in The Bank. Just wait until we get out of the Dead Zone and into FemCity.”
Blue was unresponsive, his eyes soaking the endless blue horizon.
“That reminds me,” said FF. “When we get to FemCity, I would be super grateful if you could drop me off at the estate of Dr.Penn. I remember every road to get there. I know it off by heart.”
Natalie’s eyes drifted down towards her lap, “Um…Okay. First, we need to get to a safe place and make sure we haven’t been followed. My friend will be waiting for us. We can trust her. She is a free mind and believes in a world where both Male and Female can co-exist. We can stay there for a few nights and make a plan.”
“Alright, fine,” said FF, conceding. “But once we know it’s safe—I’m going to find her.”
Before long, dark, jagged pebbles began to appear in the sand. Soon after that, palm trees began to poke up over the horizon one by one. Blue had never seen a palm tree before. Their shape was different and much more animated than the trees in the Bank. They seemed silly to him and he laughed.
Not long after that, FF smiled as the lit up buildings and massive evergreens of FemCity came into sight. He couldn’t help but laugh at Blue, whose jaw flapped open like a panting dog. Even Natalie couldn’t help but smile.
They made it into town just as the sun went down. It put their minds a little more at ease knowing it would be harder for the authorities to spot them in the darkness of the night. And now that they were out of the desert they could blend in with the city.
Natalie’s friend lived on the East Side of FemCity in a modest flat. She welcomed them in and offered Blue and FF some new clothes to get them out of their scrubs. After they had changed into their new clothes, Denise, as she introduced herself, brought them into the kitchen where she had prepared a feast of rice, peppers, and potatoes with herb oil, corn and all sorts of fresh, ripe fruits from her garden in the back.
She raised her glass filled with Merlot; a drink that FF much enjoyed but one that Blue found bitter and unsatisfying.
“Here! Here!” she said. “To the freedom of these two Males, we toast! I pray that one day all males may be freed from the captivity of The Bank and the laws of our Communist State! May all males be free to pursue passion! May they be free to pursue love!”
“Here! Here!” cried FF, pouring himself another generous helping of Merlot.
“Here! Here!” Blue repeated. He looked to Natalie who smiled back at him. Her glass also remained untouched.
“That was very sweet of you. Thank you,” said Natalie. “You have always been such a good friend to me, Denise. I don’t know how to thank you.”
“I am not the State,” said Denise with a proud smile. “I don’t believe in telling people who they can and cannot love. The important thing is that the Female in your belly has a safe and healthy birth into this world.”
Natalie’s eyes sunk towards her plate. “It’s not a Female,” she said softly.
Denise paused from sipping her Merlot. “I’m sorry?”
“The baby. It’s…it’s not Female. It’s a Male.”
The table hung silent off the weight of her words. FF threw his head back and laughed, howling like a coyote and kicking his feet into the air.
“Impossible,” gasped Denise, putting her hand to her face. “What about the Warming? What about TSD? Women aren’t able to conceive Males!”
“It’s totally possible!” laughed FF. “Dr.Penn used to talk about it all the time. The planet is starting to cool. It’s only a matter of time before men start to be conceived naturally once more.”
Denise turned back to Natalie who smiled and shrugged her shoulders, “Maybe the State did a better job healing the Earth than we give them credit for. Maybe things are going to return to the way they were before the Great Warming.
Denise wiped her mouth with her napkin and rested it next to her silverware. She got up from the table and excused herself to the bathroom.
As she exited the kitchen she heard Natalie say to the elder Process, “Listen, there is something you need to know about Dr. Penn…”
The conversation faded as Denise turned the corner and hurried up the staircase to the second floor. She rushed down the hall, passed the bathroom and dipped into her bedroom where she headed straight for the phone on the nightstand next to her wardrobe. She put the receiver to her ear as she nervously punched in a memorized set of numbers.
In a moment there was a click and a Female voice appeared on the other end, “Process Control Center. How may I help you?”
Denise spoke quietly and quickly, “Yes, hello. My name is Denise Wayfield and I would like to report a Process Escape.”
Deep in the desert, Marideth sat at the desk in her tent. She was finishing the day’s closing notes in her logbook when Sister Jones entered.
“Sister Marideth, permission to brief you on my report,” said Jones.
“Permission granted,” Marideth replied, turning in her seat and giving her trainee the full of her attention.
“We’ve just finished setting up camp for the night. The Sisters are looking to get settled in. The Dead Zone gets very cold during the night…”
“And dangerous too,” replied Sister Marideth. “The Orphans come out at night.”
“I’m sorry,” said Sister Jones. “The Orphans?”
“Some of them are escaped Process, some of them are soldiers from the Old State left over from the Revolution. Either way, none of them are friendly to the Sisters of the State. Very well, tell the Sisters to pack it in for the night. We will start for FemCity in the morning. We’ll search door to door if we have to.”
“Yes, Sister Marideth. Before I go, may I ask you a question? Off the record?”
“Sure,” said Sister Marideth, “What’s on your mind?”
“Well, I heard the way you spoke of Forty-Five Green to the General—about his loyalty to the State…”
“It’s just that Forty-Five Green has been particularly troublesome in my time at The Bank and—“
“Your time at The Bank has been limited,” said Marideth, reminding the trainee of her place. “You have not seen all that I have seen. Like Forty-Five Green I lived through the Great Warming, the Civil War, and the Revolution. All while you were just a baby shitting in your diapers. You see things as they are now but I see how things became this way; the sacrifices that had to be made for the greater good. It wasn’t until he was arrested by the General and separated from his owner that he changed into who he is today.”
“My mother told me they killed her on national television,” said Sister Jones.
“A live execution,” said Marideth, lost in the reflections of her past. “It had never been done before but President Harp demanded it necessary to emphasize the importance of breaking our sexual ties with Man. To realize the Female was not created to serve Man but to rule Man.”
“Could you?” asked Sister Jones.
“Could I, what?” responded Marideth.
“Ever love one—A man, I mean,” Jones said, blushing despite herself.
Marideth took a second to sort her thoughts before saying, “I’m not sure if love can survive while we ourselves struggle for survival. I believe that love is a luxury for the secure. In these trying times, all we have is the truth. It is the only thing that can be counted on, the only thing that can save us. I grew up belonging to a group who hated Men. Back then, we were called Feminists. We defied the rules of Man, we defied the government of Man, and we defied the oppressive nature of Man.
“They told us we couldn’t vote, so we became political and protested until finally, we were able to vote and run for office. Slowly, we learned that women too are capable of the same political corruption as Men…
“They told us we couldn’t work in business, so we picketed and protested for equal rights in the workplace. Slowly, we learned that women too are capable of greed, women too are capable of choosing a life of financial gain over the responsibilities of raising a child; something we had always thought was a flaw belonging to Men alone.
“You see, it was only after there were no more males to blame that we realized most of the advancements we had made for the Female species were set forth strictly because Men said we could not. This being the case, are we not still a product of the Male psyche, if all we’ve accomplished was only to prove them wrong?”
“Huh,” said Sister Jones to herself. “I never thought about it like that before.”
Just then one of the other Sisters came running into the tent. She stood straight as an arrow and saluted Sister Marideth, “Permission to speak,” she said. The young Sister was shaking with excitement.
“Permission granted, Sister,” said Marideth, eager to learn what had the Sister so animated.
“It’s Dispatch,” she said. “Someone in FemCity has identified the escapees.”
Marideth looked over to Jones, “Start tearing down camp. We’re leaving tonight…”
“What do you mean she was killed?” cried FF. He slammed his fists violently on the table, shaking the surrounding plates and silverware. “Was taking our child not enough? The State had to take her life as well?”
“I’m sorry,” said Natalie, “I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.”
Just then Denise came back down to the kitchen from upstairs. She sat down at the head of the table in silence while Natalie and Blue tried calming FF down from the rage he was in.
“This child could change everything,” said Natalie. “If the public became aware of the change in our biology than perhaps the laws towards Man could be lifted.”
“You’re blind!” shouted FF. “They’ll kill your child and they’ll kill you, just as they killed Dr.Penn!”
“Then we must leave here,” said Blue. “We’ll get as far away from here as possible.”
At that moment the sound of approaching sirens became louder until the shrill pitch of the alarms and the harsh flash of red and blue surrounded the house. Then a voice came over a loudspeaker.
“This is the General,” said the voice. “You are surrounded. Come out with your hands exposed and no one will be hurt. Our Sisters are armed with a Serum dose of fatal concentration. You have three minutes to comply.”
FF turned to Blue and saw the fear on his face. It reminded him of the fear he felt on the night the General came for him and Dr.Penn. It was all happening again.
“But how?” asked Natalie. “How did they find us?”
“It was me,” said Denise. They were the first words she had spoken since she had joined them back downstairs.
Natalie’s head spun with confusion, “You? But why?”
“We can’t go back to the way things were,” said Denise. “I’m sorry. We’ve come too far to let things fall back into the disorder of the past. Please understand, this is for the greater good of the Female race.”
Natalie’s face burned a bright, flush red. “You…Cunt!”
She stepped forward and threw a hard right fist that connected with the side of Denise’s face, dropping her to the floor like a sack of cold potatoes.
FF grabbed Blue by the arm and pointed towards the back exit, screaming, “Go! Take your woman and leave! Go as far north as you can and then cross over into the Dead Zone. You will find a camp of Men calling themselves The Orphans—they can keep you safe if you tell them I sent you. You must protect that baby. It is the future of our species! The future of mankind!”
“But what about you?” asked Blue.
FF turned his head to the front entrance where the blinding siren lights glared through the curtains and said, “Me and the General have some unfinished business to take care of!”
And with that he darted out the house through the front entrance, slamming the door behind him. They heard the loud clap of the Serum projectors as they fired round after round, the General screaming over the loudspeaker, “Get him! Don’t let him get away!”
Natalie grabbed Blue by the hand and they took off through the back exit into the dark night. As FF had instructed they headed north and did not look back. The world was against them. Their lives and the life of their baby would be tracked mercilessly and sought for its immediate destruction—but they ran anyway.
They believed they could change the future.
They believed in their love.