Valley Patroller

“Every life is priceless” was Lucerne Valley’s motto, and Jo’s job as Valley Patroller was to protect them all. In her five seasons working as VP here, she’d witnessed a huge amount of action. These people from the City just don’t think! Coming for a scheduled outing to the Lucerne Valley Leisure Zone was something they looked forward to. It was a rare opportunity to leave the City; get out of their rut; try something new. But why oh why did they insist on going so far out of their comfort zones?

Her Valley Controller said it was related to their playing too many video games; becoming so used to their avatars performing superhuman feats, having special powers, pausing whenever it suited them, finding energy boosts in their paths, and of course, the ability to die and instantly live again, that they had blurred the boundary between reality and fantasy. It was ironic that they came to LVLZ to escape their reality, and some were so careless that they escaped it forever.

This had been a good week though. She had made twelve successful rescues so far with no broken bones. There were scratches and cuts for sure, but as with sex, they were just part of the game.

The VC’s urgent voice by radio: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Water Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“Some guys without Float-Suits. It seems they wanted to try swimming. Never done it before. One of them is in trouble. Head right over.”

Their location was 3 km from her Tech Base. Jo jumped on a jetski and was there in two minutes. A guy was in the icy, fast-flowing river clinging to tree roots on a sand bank. Her first mean thought was, “This is Evolution in Action; the dumbest ones don’t make it.” Then her VP training kicked in. It would be hard to pull him onto her jetski; the best thing would be to jump in herself and haul him out. She left him cold and gasping, but alive, on the river bank, with instructions to await medical personnel.

VC’s voice: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Forest Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“A gang of bears has surrounded a tent. The E-Fencing is keeping them out right now, but they’re picking away. Head over before they’re through it.”

Bear gangs had been a nuisance of late. Smashing, trashing, taunting, and robbing people – where they had picked up their destructive habits was unknown. Her VC again blamed video games. Jo raced to the location on her ATV. She saw a blue tent near the spring, 0.5km off the road. The bears scattered as she approached. The E-Fencing was still good. She instructed the family to return to Main Base.

VC’s voice: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Mountain Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“A family stuck on Camel Mountain’s humps. They say their Auto-Ropes are not working. Have you ever heard of Auto-Ropes not working? They probably don’t know how to use them. Head over there within the hour.”

Jo would have liked to rest awhile before responding. But losing a man last month had been expensive. It wasn’t her fault of course. He was an urban idiot, thinking that drinking and waterfalling mixed well. But he was in her Area so she took the hit. Every life is priceless. $10,000 was a lot off her annual salary, but his worth to the Authority was much greater. Adding up his DNA enhancement value, economic multiplier, consumer infomatics, his voting/lobbying rights, social networking dynamics, racial admixture, socio-demographic balancing, and population growth potential, must stretch into millions. Of course they couldn’t charge her the full amount, but a $10K hit was incentive enough to do everything in her power to keep visitors alive.

VC’s voice: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Snow Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“A group nude-skiing. One of them has fallen into an ice hole. He’s freezing his balls off. Head over within fifteen minutes.” Evolution in Action again came to mind, but her role was to save, not to judge. She hauled him out with the winch on her snowmobile. Mr. Blue Balls.

VC’s voice: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Air Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“Guy stuck up there and can’t get down. I think you know who it is. Take your time. Teach him a lesson.”

Jo spotted the blue parachute immediately. She drove to the low launch and took off from there. The wind was good and she was on him in two minutes. She flew in behind, hooked onto his back, collapsed his parachute, and flew him down on hers. Removing her helmet she said to him, “You have to stop doing this! I’m working. Something could happen to you!”

“But darling, you’re so sexy in action,” said her husband. “I can’t resist.”

He kissed her cold lips. She realized that she would save him anytime, anywhere. His life to her was priceless.


2 Responses to “Valley Patroller”

  1. Bears watching video games?/—/
    I think the purist would say you use too many possessives. “The humps on Camel Mountain” would be much better than “Camel Mountain’s humps”.

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