299 Days: The Visitors

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Authors: Glen Tate
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who achieve need to give most of it back to the community. Given how indoctrinated the past few generations of students were, Jeanie was actually surprised the Collapse hadn’t happened sooner.
    “Collapse,” Jeanie said to herself when no one was around her. There, she said it; to herself, at least. That term was not the one she was supposed to use; “Crisis” was. Oh well. She would start being honest…at least silently to herself. That was a start.
    A collapse. That’s what was needed, she thought. It was inevitable. It was horrible and no sane person wanted it. It’s just that sane people had to acknowledge it was necessary, even if horrible.
    But, Jeanie realized, if government hadn’t become so big, a mere correction would have been enough to fix things. A huge collapse would not have been necessary. However, as things got bad, the efforts to prop up the system went into overdrive. The worse things got, the more government was used to try to fix all the problems big government created. And, of course, more government actually just made things worse, which then necessitated more government to cure the effects of more government. It was a vicious cycle.
    Maybe the Collapse was a good thing, Jeanie was starting to think. No. It couldn’t be. How could people starving, dying of easily treatable medical conditions, and people shooting each other be a “good thing”? There were so many innocent kids nearby who were scared of all the bad men and guns around them. There were kids who didn’t know where their parents were. There was no way this was a “good thing.”
    But, it was entirely predictable. In fact, people like Jeanie had warned that it was coming. Not too loudly, though. There was no need to have people think you’re crazy. Don’t talk about “collapse” because that’s alarmist talk. You don’t want your friends to think there’s something wrong with you, so you keep those concerns to yourself. Besides, there had never been anything like a collapse in America. It hadn’t happened before, so it could never happen.
    Jeanie forced herself to quit with the big thoughts and concentrate on her work. She headed off to start the tour she was giving of Camp Murray to some city officials from Seattle. They were gushing about all the good work the government was doing for them. Semi-trucks of food were rolling into the grocery store in their Seattle neighborhood. Jeanie knew which store they were talking about. It was near where she lived briefly in Seattle before getting her job in Olympia. The store was a hoity-toity high-end organic foods supermarket. Everything there cost a lot more than anywhere else. They had several hundred kinds of cheese before the Collapse. That store had all kinds of signs up about how they were doing “green” things for the environment. Five dollar lattes. At least that’s what they cost a few years ago. She could only imagine what they’d cost now, but guessed that people were still buying them – assuming that store had any lattes to sell.
    Jeanie realized she was being negative about all this “collapse” and “reset” stuff. She needed to be positive to get through another day there. She thought about all the free lattes she could get at the cafeteria at Camp Murray. She had everything she needed. She was well taken care of and that was something positive.
    A few seconds after trying to be positive, Jeanie realized there was plenty of scary news, too. Even though she was not receiving the daily briefings, scuttlebutt around Camp Murray described some troubling developments.
    The Governor had issued a “declaration of insurrection.” This was a bigger deal than the previous “declaration of emergency,” which gave emergency powers to the civilian state government. The declaration of insurrection went further. It allowed the Governor to declare martial law and totally suspend civilian government, like the courts and the Constitution. Fortunately, Jeanie knew

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