Dinner was brought to them in their room—an odd meal of questionable meat that Leila wouldn’t touch and some hard flat things that looked like fried oatmeal. They were given a water ration which Cassie sterilized with the UV sanitizer she kept in her pocket, and after they had eaten and cleaned up so as not to provide temptation for rats or roaches, Galahad returned to take them downstairs.

The girls were led before a motley group of children ranging in age from three-year old Bethany who was related to the girl in charge of housekeeping assignments, to nineteen-year old Alex, a former college ROTC student who was leader of the guards. Mundo asked Cassie and Leila to go before the group and tell about their qualifications and reasons for wanting to join.

Cassie gave a quick description of her survival skills and interest in herbs and plants. When she fell silent, David and Galahad recounted how she had helped defend the shuttle. With their endorsement, she was unanimously voted on.

Leila, who could only muster up a few vague accomplishments and assurances that she was a hard worker, was given provisional status.

“What happened to this ‘two for one deal,’ she demanded once they had been shown to their new room on the third floor, a few doors down from the deck and outdoor pool.
“You were voted on,” Cassie said. “They’ll take you off provisional at the next vote. And if they don’t, I’ll quit.”

“That’s not what you promised before.”

“I said I wouldn’t let them kick you out altogether, not—”

“Oh, forget it.” Leila had finished hanging her clothes in the closet and went to wash her face, using nearly half their water ration.

In no mood to argue, Cassie lay down. “The beds are pretty comfortable,” she offered, hoping to change the subject.

“That’s good,” Leila said in a tone that implied she didn’t care one way or the other.

“I wonder what’s for breakfast in the morning.”

“As long as it’s not pets, I don’t care.”

“Think they’ll give us good assignments?”

“Maybe they’ll ask you to kill some more children.”

Cassie resisted the temptation to call Leila a bitch and went to sleep.



Anonymous said...

I love that last line. It makes me smile and I think it tells you a lot about Cassie.

Anonymous said...

Ooow, trouble in paradise??

I am still on the edge of my seat.

Yiehtk said...

At a time like that even if you were angry at your friend, you wouldn't want to part from each other.

Alice Audrey said...

Nice bit of story development and a hint of a character arch. Not bad.