Escape from Las Vegas

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The not-to-distant future is painted a place of peace, where all criminals are tagged and moved to their last refuge, Las Vegas. Vegas has become overrun with nothing but criminals, and the President thinks it's time to destroy it. I bet they don't agree.

Submitted: July 01, 2008

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Submitted: July 01, 2008

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Escape from Las Vegas
A short story by Joshua Fraga
 
The Complete Criminal Awareness Act, or the CCAA, was instated late in the year of 2012. It was made to keep law abiding citizens aware of who was living around their rural areas. The very first one was solely to affect rapists and child molesters. You see, everyone cares about freedom and liberty, except when it comes to those who try to take it. In early 2013 it became mandatory for all types of sexual predators to wear a metal wrist band made of a titanium-steel composite which was inlayed with a computer bar code and a color to identify what crime they had committed. Hidden inside the bracelet was a GPS tracker so the government knew the exact location of any marked person.  Also, where ever the sexual predator lived, they had to let everyone know in the neighborhood what they had done. They called it being “marked”, and it wasn’t long before the Marked ones were not welcome where ever they went, although I believe that was the idea.
Most of these people were terrible criminals, but if they were wearing a coded bracelet, it meant they had already been to jail. A lot of them, truth be told, had no intention of changing, but for those who wanted to turn their life around, becoming a respected citizen was impossible. Every place imaginable now had metal detectors: grocery stores, libraries, even the churches. They had not been placed there for the same protection they had been used for in the past, they were there now to alert the inhabitants of a Marked person entering the premises. The steel in the bracelet would set off the detector every time, whether they were just heading to the market to pick up milk, or trying quietly to pray at church. Everywhere they went, as soon as the detector went off, or if someone spotted the bracelet, everyone would turn, point, and whisper.
The perpetrators all believe this to be unfair, a binding of their own freedom, but sadly, no one cares what a criminal thinks. The idea became so nationalized that two years later, in 2014, the CCAA was extended to all types of crime. The BCA was formed, the Bureau of Criminal Awareness, to help police and catalog all the marked perpetrators in the nation. It wasn’t long till anyone who had every committed any type of crime, was not welcome in major cities. Many left to flee to small rural towns, but most of the Marked went Las Vegas, Sin City. The Marked soon took over the city by force, and ejected any unmarked people. It was a safe-haven for criminals of all kinds. If you wore the bracelet, you were welcome. The city became fuller than it ever had before, although no one could see it. You could not go in unless you had a record, and if you entered Las Vegas, you never left.
In the years to come, the U.S. became more and more corrupt, it wasn’t long before the presidency became a dictatorship, although no one acknowledges it. To the unmarked, everything thrived. If you could stay in line, and give up certain small freedoms, you could live in a society with no murder, no rape, no crime. And that’s what most of the nation decided, all except Las Vegas. Three years after they established the community they found a hidden army bunker north of the city, it’s contents would change everything. There they found fire arms, land mines, and C4 plastic explosive. They figured it was hidden incase the need to replenish arms rose for the west or gulf coast. They never used it, so they just left it hidden, hoping they would be the only ones to know the exact location. Once the Marked found the stockpile, they surrounded the city in land mines. They used the entire stockpile. They set them up in some pattern using metal staffs with colored ends as a key. You could not go past them unless you were from Las Vegas.
After that, nothing much is known about Las Vegas. Its protection made it impossible for any type of general law enforcement to enter. The boardering states became victim to high-jacking and robberies. Even with the GPS they were hard to catch with all the fire power they had. They would cross the dessert to rob a Walgreens for antibiotics at the point of an AK-47. Regardless, the GPS was their downfall. Most of the time when they were planning to attack, they can be subdued and ran off. Since the bracelet was made of a titanium and steel composite, it is impossible to cut off. So they were easily monitored by the government. It wasn’t till they saw all the censors joint together they got worried. They knew they had firepower, and the government was afraid they were going to use it. The BCA was turned into force to be reckoned with by President Gerald Wright. The President decides Las Vegas it too big of a nation risk to let go on. So President Wright issues a declaration to destroy Las Vegas. The dropping of 4 tons of napalm will happen in two days time, at 8:15 am. He has the city surrounded just past the field of land mines. The Marked have only one choice: escape Las Vegas. These are the events that preceded the desolation of Sin City.
 
-Thursday: 8:15am: The Oval Office: 48 hours till demolition
 
The oval office is no longer the way it was. It turned from a place to conduct business, a place to lead the nation, even a place to have a brief sexual encounter, to a place dominance and surveillance. The pictures that once graced the walls were replace by two large screens, one of which showed the tracking dots of all Marked individuals. The President sits behind the desk, maps and paperwork scattered on the surface, he sits there thinking. He stares at the computer screen with the little red tracking dots. He watches them group together and form a line. Each one follows the line till they get to a certain dot, then after a moment, they leave and act as normal. ‘What are they doing?’ he wondered to himself. The phone on his desk makes a beeping noise, followed by a voice, “Mr. President, General Mackory is here as you asked.”
He presses a button on the intercom, “Send him in.”
President Gerald Wright, or as his campaign called him ‘The Wright Arm of the Law’, was not a tall man, but still he commanded enormous respect. He stood about 5’9” and had peppered gray hair. He wore an expensive black suit and tie, and he walked to meet the General at the door. “General Mackory,” he said extending his hand for a handshake, “I trust the fly in was okay.”
“Yes sir, Mr. President sir. Thank you.” Said the general as he shook his hand.
‘Take a seat.” , the President said pointing at the large leather arm chair sitting across his desk. “General, you know my views on crime,” the President started as General Mackory took his seat, “Las Vegas is a rat infested cancer on our great nation.” General Mackory nodded, “Now they have weaponry that President Bush let collect dust, and they have become a theat.” The President took his seat. “If I could draw your attention to the screen on your left,” he said pointing at the screen with the tracking dots, “they are mobilizing to do something, we just don’t know what.” He took a deep breath, “I want you, General Mackory to be point-man on the demolition of Las Vegas.” The General nodded quietly again, “I want that scum gone, who know what they are going to do. I have military posted all around Vegas just past their mine field, I want napalm dropped by air plan in 48 hours. Can you do that?”
“Yes Sir!” he shouted standing up, “Thank you for this opportunity sir.” Then he gave the standard salute.
“Good man!” Said the President sure of himself, “I will be there to watch the demolition myself to make sure everything goes on as planned.” He held out his hand again, “See you in 48 hours, General.” They shake hands and the General leaves the Oval Office with the President still staring at the little red dots on the screen.
 
-Thursday: 7:13pm: CIA Conference Room A: 37 hours to demolition
 
President Wright sits at a long wooden table, surrounded by the people he calls his cabinet, but in the day and age, they are nothing but ‘yes-men’. Everyone sits in the room quietly, waiting for the President to break the silence. Other than a few coughs and clearing of throats, not a sound is heard. The President makes a deep sigh as he cuts the silence, “Is everyone mobilized?”
“Yes sir.” Says a man quickly.
“The F-18’s?”
“Ready to go on your command sir.” Says another.
“Look!” one man says pointing at the monitor in the center of the room, the red dots had gone back to moving as normal, “They don’t seem as organized as before. Perhaps they are no threat at all.”
“Of course they are a threat!” yelled the President as he stood up quickly in protest, “These people are criminals, lest we forget.”
“We know that sir,” replies one man quietly, “but there are women and children with them too.”
“If they aren’t part of the solution, they are part of the problem.”, scoffed the President back. “We lose nothing by loosing them! They are rat scum just as much as the others, they need to be exterminated.” Everyone seemed to quiet even more as they were surprised by the President’s comment. “Your either with me or against me. Let me know now where you stand!” he declared to the whole room. One by one he looked at the members of his cabinet, and one by one they replied, “I am with you sir.”
“Good. I’ll expect all of you at the site by 0700 hours, dismissed.”
 
-Friday: 10:00am: The White House: 21 hours to demolition
 
The bacon smelt good that morning as President Wright and the first lady sat down to eat breakfast. They sat at opposite ends of the table, quiet as if in a meeting. Him reading his paper, and her quietly sipping her morning tea. Although no words were spoke, there was an uneasiness between them that they both felt. It would be the first lady the break the silence this time. “Gerry, you know I love you,” she paused to make eye contact with him, “but I don’t know about this thing tomorrow.”
“Why is that Ellen?” he sighed as he turned the page of the newspaper.
“Well, they’re human to. Don’t they have the right to live. Maybe they just want to be left alone.”
“I don’t care what they want Ellen! They’re criminals! All of them! I have my own cabinet second guessing me, I don’t need my wife to do it to!” yelled the President in a ‘fed-up’ kind of tone.
“Honey don’t get mad at me.” She said patiently, “I just want you to think about other options.”
The President stood up, “Ellen,” he paused to look her right in the eye, “to me, there are no other options.”
 
-Saturday: 7:30am: 5 miles outside Las Vegas: 45min till demolition
 
The sun had barely begun to rise when the President arrived on the site with his cabinet. They came directly to the VIP tent, they had a nice view set up to watch the demolition. The table faced and open wall to the tent that faced a smoky Las Vegas, To their left, a small monitor with the all to familiar red tracking dots, all of them moving around like normal. “I wonder if they even know it’s coming.” Says the President to himself. They all take their seats, the show is about to start. They sit and have idle conversation the next 40 minutes, about mundane thing like sports or weather. It was as if they were having Sunday brunch, not completely destroying a whole city. The time was coming up now, and you can see the excitement on the President’s face.
General Mackory walks in the tent and says, “On your order sir.”
“Now. Let’s kill them like the rats they are.” He says with the most hatred in his voice that anyone has heard.
The General yells a command into his radio and the F-18’s make a whooshing noise as they fly above the tent toward the city. The occupants are quiet as they wait for the show. In the distance they can see the jet planes drop large napalm bombs on the Mirage and the MGM grand, right on the strip. The planes fly straight up before the bombs his the ground and consume the whole city in a massive flame that reached to the clouds. Smoke billowed out like a great dark monster consuming the blue morning sky. They all could feel the heat, the fire making the desert all the more hot, sweat was now beading down everyone’s face, including the President. It was over, he had done it, he had destroyed all the criminals Las Vegas had been hiding. He looked at the monitor, all the dots ceased moving. Like rats or roaches, he exterminated them all as if they weren’t even human. President Wright was very proud of himself. He walked around the tent accepting congratulations from everyone inside. He was getting what he felt he deserved, a pat on the back.
But then, from behind the tent they heard a noise, it was the sound of a voice on a mega-phone, calling the name of the President. “Gerald Wright! Come out!” the voice repeated the words over and over again till President Wright and General Mackory exited the tent. When they stepped outside, nothing could prepare they for what they saw. It was the bad citizens of Sin City, surrounding the troops surrounding the city. Apparently there were a few more than the President thought. They stood there, unarmed, watching, waiting for their leader to break the silence. The man with the mega-phone stepped forward, he spoke again into the device, “I bet you are wondering why your little sensors didn’t work out for you as well as you liked.” They all began to laugh, “You might not be able to cut titanium, but battery acid eats right through it.” The President’s face turned red with anger. “You wanted to kill rats so bad, so that’s what we attached them to!” again all the marked one erupted in boisterous laughter. He spoke again into the mega-phone, “Sorry to disappoint you, we haven’t been in the city for a whole day. We made an escape tunnel years ago.” Again, they laughed, pointing and jeering at the angery President.
“God damn it! Get me a mega-phone!” within second one was fetched for him, he put it to his mouth and spoke, “So what do you expect to do, you are unarmed, we can take you down in a second, you have nothing to save you, you have no guns, no weapons, and you used up all the landmines.”
The leader laughed again before he spoke, “You are right Mr. President. We are unarmed, with no weapons, and we did use the whole stockpile of mines,” he paused a moment for effect, “but they weren’t land mines, they were remote control mines, and they aren’t surrounding the city.” He let a devilish grin creep across his face as he spoke once more into the mega-phone, “they’re under your feet.” And he held up a small black remote control, “Goodbye Mr. President.” He said as he flicked the switch on the remote. One second later, the mines destroyed everything surrounding the city, the jeeps, the tents, the planes, and the military. Not to mention the President and his cabinet.
You see, the thing President Wright could never understand, is by exiling them, he set them free. Every unmarked person in every other city in the entire nation forfeited the this that makes us free, our privacy. They allowed the President and BCA to install cameras all over cities, even in houses to monitor any crime. After a while people learned, they became scared. Not scared of committing a crime, scared of getting caught. And so the unmarked gave up their free-will as well. They walked around, free of cages, but all the time, under the thumb money-loving tyrant. So who was really free? And who was really caged? The ones who walk on eggshells, who are free to go where ever they want? Or the ones condemned to a single city, free to do anything they want? President Wright underestimated the Marked, something he will not be doing twice. He underestimated the fact that life, in all its forms, will do anything to survive. The President was gone, with him would go the BCA and CCAA. So the Marked shall be marked no more. But they will always remember, back when everyone called them prisoner, they were the ones who were truly free. The real prisoners had never spent a day behind bars in their lives.


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