To See The Fallout- An Original Group Story
In the distant future, a steel factory operates to create weapons. Overworked, underpaid workers slave away in the hot, dusty, unsafe warehouse known as nothing more than "The fac". But history repeats itself. Soon, the ordinary workers will band together, so their voices ca be heard. Unionize to strike. But with the acquisition of basic labor rights, lies turmoil and danger that no one could predict.
Red- Two Steps Ahead
The factory was sleeping but the source of the footsteps was wide awake; sleep had eluded her for the past twenty-four years. She who had risen from the ashes into the position of authority to command the line and its operators loathed the very halls that she now paced.
"Twenty-four years and not a day more," she said, a wicked grin flashing across the angular features of her face. Leaning against the wall, carefully so as not to soil her denim jacket covering her grimy uniform, she settled in to wait.
The factory itself radiated the aura of a sleeping monster, waiting to awaken. She chuckle quietly to herself. A dragon with consuming fire, but in this case, the victims entered its jaws willingly.
"Sometime the clearest visions happen at night," a man's voice said, permeating the darkness. She jumped to her feet, the moonlight catching and casting a shadow of her tall, bony figure on the cold concrete.
"And sometime there is no clearer picture that what's right in front of your face," she responded in a calculating voice, "This place. Right here."
The man, emerged fully from the shadows to where she could see him. His face was unshaven and showed the beginnings of wrinkles that he was much to young to get. He was tall, well muscled, and wearing a factory uniform just like her.
"Why here Mark?" she asked sharply.
"I wanted you to see," he replied, scratching his arm absentmindedly, "I wanted you too see it in its purest form, Red."
"I see it everyday," she responded, "You don't know what it's capable of until you wash blood off it;s gears."
"You're not the janitor Red."
"Someone has to do it."
A machine rumbled softly in the distance, settling in for the night. No one hated the factory more than Red.
The two strode down to the furnaces, the only place where cameras and recordings couldn't reach. She knew that they were everywhere, in her apartment, on the streets, and in the factory. Anything to keep track of the workers.
The furnace room was alike to an oven; it nearly baked the workers everyday laboring in the grueling heat, puddles of sweat draining in rivers from their brows. Red could feel the humidity weighing in her lungs.
"So this is where the great and powerful Mark works every day?" Red chuckled sarcastically, her voice cutting with the sharp edge of a knife.
"For slaves wages and life of a pig," Mark shot back, taking the joke more seriously than Red had meant for him too. "Red, we're like maggots too the big boss. If one of says anything, we're expendable."
"Yeah," Mark replied slowly, his hand reaching up to tip Red's fedora so that he could see her eyes, "But if all the maggots grow into flies, we can swarm the master."
Red's eyes widened in surprise, and she took a step back only to crash into a stack of scrap metal. The idea was historical. A dead inspiration. Crazy.
"Red," Mark said, shushing her harshly, and then saying gently, "I know that look on your face. We can't do anything rash. These things take time."
"I know," she replied, with a toss of her hair, "I'm well aware of what it takes to strike."
Morning came sooner than expected. Red rose from her cot, flexing in the artificial light that illuminated the apartment. Making herself an egg on the campstove that was propped up on a pile of crates, Red shook off her groggy state and let the thoughts of what was coming permeate her mind. It was if the word strike were going up in plumes of fire within her head, and beating a drum in her heart.
For the first time in a long time, Red felt something.
No one knew about the strike, and no one would know until the time was right, like delicately balanced tipped in favor of labor. Mark's idea was to stay locked away between the two of them until enough distress was felt amount the workers at the factory. It wouldn't take long.
Red finished her breakfast and joined the stream of walkers in the street, blending in with the empty faces and crooked walks. Tired adults and dirty children alike trudged the same path.
"Morning Red," said a man's voice, "How are you this morning?"
"Morning Steve," Red replied, "I'm as usual. Another day, another dollar. Found yourself a wife yet?"
Steven laughed, but Red knew better. His wife had died a few years back from sickness that Red assumed was caused by the braze the factory emitted. Inhaled, it could be deadly.
Upon reaching the iron doors of the factory, Red slipped away from the group of workers, down a dark corridor and into the managers office. She was one of forty-two who managed the line. Quickly, she scanned her card and made her way down the less crowded tunnels to the underground assembly line.
Eight hours later- it happened.
One of the watchers, Antony Miller, with his wandering hands and foul breath began to bother a young girl, no more than fourteen years. The girl worked the line screwing bolts into an unloaded gun. She was awfully skinny, Red assumed that most of her paycheck went to feeding siblings instead of herself, poor girl.
Antony ran his grimy fingers through the girl's hair; the girl shot him a piercing glare, her hands focused on her task. Antony gave a toothy grin and tried again, this time reaching for the girl's collarbone, his hand searching for what was below it.
The girl screamed, but didn't stop there. She clamped her hand around his, pulling him forward, throwing off his balance just enough so that she could deliver one swift punch to the nose.
"Don't ever touch me again," the girl shouted,kicking the man in the shins, " and don't be try'n it on the other girls in the fac either! Hmmm? How's that goin' for ya!"
Red stood, watching the scene play out.
"You'll be fired for this girl," Antony growled, "Look at all the work you're missing."
The assembly line continued rolling but the workers had all stopped to watch. Red approached the scene with the aura of authority, even though Antony technically outranked her.
"No she won't." Red stated.
"Sure she will," Antony hissed, "She's guilty of intentionally harming an officer."
Red looked the man up and down, her eyes falling on his bleeding and broken nose.
"Not if you got your nose caught on the tipping hook," Red replied slowly, as if Antony were too dumb to understand.
"I said, not if you got your nose caught on the tipping hook."
"Damn you girl!"Antony scowled at the child, who promptly slammed her boot heel down on his foot, shutting him up for the time being.
"Get out," Red said,"Now."
Antony went silent then, realizing the number of eyes boring into him. His authority and dignity thwarted, he shuffled out to the bathrooms. Murmurs erupted throughout the warehouse, and Red knew that soon a slew of rumors about Antony would spread like wildfire.
"What's your name girl?"Red said, looking down at the child, who stood dignified, at her position on the line.
"Amelia Smith," the girl replied, her eyes glinting a bright green, "But call me Mia."
"Okay, Mia," Red said," You did a brave thing today. Not many workers have stood up to the wretch."
Mia shrugged, as if standing up for herself were a daily thing.
For a moment Red paused, and then went back to work. If there were more people alike to that girl- Mia, then were would the factory be? Would there be fair treatment, better pay? Shorter hours? If more people said something about their misery, then maybe,just maybe- Mark's idea could work.
The rumors would spread throughout the fac easily. If incidents and accidents like this one weren't hidden from view, if they were exposed to the sunlight, then people would be angry. Angry enough.
Maybe Mia was the spark that set off Red's determination for the strike. Maybe it was the weariness of daily life at the factory or maybe it was the haunting scenes burned into her memory of machine taking human life and limb.
Or maybe, Red had been in love with the idea of revolution all along.