Bailey and Ephraim made sure to be out of their pod for two meals out of three. They did accept one meal a day, promptly throwing out the food and returning the empty trays to the food dispensary. They made sure to weigh themselves down with whatever they could find to outwit the health center diagnostics. For all practical purposes it appeared they were perfectly immune to what had been added to the rations. They saw fewer and fewer people – except for three other couples that showed up in the gardens regularly. Bailey and Ephraim ate right from the garden, making sure to not rinse anything in water, scraping off the dirt from the potatoes as best they could, and using their fingernails to peel off as much skin as they could manage. The eight people in the garden never spoke to one another – they merely eyed each other with distrust. After two weeks, two Commanders showed up in the garden.
“Please, all of you – come with us.”
Bailey glanced at Ephraim as she put down her basket of potatoes. She brushed her hands onto her work apron, then took it off. Everyone filed out between the Commanders; one leading and one picking up the rear. They were shepherded into the Command Center, where sixteen of the community’s leaders stood waiting.
Major General Pinnock, standing on a small platform, spoke.
“I want to congratulate you on the strength you have shown in tolerating the additives that were mixed into your rations. Very few in the community have your resilience. It is for that reason that you have been invited to head to Silo Six with us to board the last outgoing shuttle.”
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