*** Chapter 6 Part 3
Panda eyeballed the Forvar jar holding Annie Anderson’s ashes and felt a real pang of guilt for how she had ruthlessly swept away the ashes of her homeowner. There was such a disconnect between the world as it was and how they were living now. All those billions of piles of ash were the connecting point between the ‘before and after’ but that world was gone forever and the idea of acknowledging and mourning each person as if they were friends was impossible. And what did it matter, after all? They were dust in the wind. Blending together and blowing away.
She then told Paul and Sorrel Bay about the animal release project, and how they had cleaned up stores and food courts for future needs. She hesitated to talk about the zoo but decided it was safest for all to have that out in the open. Paul was not happy about the zoo predators being released and, considering the chimp event, even less happy about there being another person out there as such an unknown element.
“Just meeting up with you guys makes me relax and takes a huge weight off my mind. The burden of being totally alone in the world has been lifted off my shoulders now said Paul, “and yet projecting forward this means statistically there could be a dozen others in this area alone; competing for resources and behaving god-knows-how.”
Dell said, “But we lived with millions of people up till just a few days ago and we never thought of them as all that dangerous. Why should just a dozen of them seem like so much more dangerous?”
“Consequences!” said Sorrel Bay. “You know, like when you don’t want to get into trouble for something so you don’t do it if somebody is watching because they will tell on you. Now if you get in trouble like robbing a bank, there won’t be anybody to call the cops and there won't even be any cops! So no consequences”
Paul nodded. “That’s right. Millions of people kept millions of people in check. Now we have a few rogue warriors out there with no accountability factor. But hey, probably they will be just as scared of us as we are of them.”
Dell asked, “Then shouldn’t we be searching for other survivors so we can do the ‘meet and greet’ and get them on our side? I mean, Panda said people alone by themselves will start to go crazy after a while and as time goes on we’d need to be even more cautious. Wouldn’t it be better to find them now instead of later when they’ve gone ‘round the bend?”
“I don’t know,” said Panda. “I don’t want them knowing about us. I don’t want anyone knowing where we live or scouting out our vulnerabilities. Who knows who survives up in the foothills where all those meth labs are? Sooner or later people are going to come down from the Sierra’s in search of whatever food and resources are still available down here. Such as electricity. Canned goods. Water.”
Paul replied, “I agree with Panda. I think we should let sleeping dogs lie. However I do think it would be a good idea to get to the top of the Wells Fargo Center with a telescope and scan around for a while looking for signs of movement.”
“That is exactly what I had wanted to do!” said Panda eagerly. She felt so happy to have Paul on board. He had a good head on his shoulders and no axe to grind. Just as he had said, the burden of feeling alone in the world had ended since meeting the Andersons. Now it was time to hash out how they were going to create their own little community.