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The site looked like a dome farm. One huge transparent dome housing a network of dozens of smaller domes, each packed with greenery, some of it concealing small, scattered buildings. Next to it a sea of churned earth, home to a new cluster of half-finished domes, surrounded by a foundation trench for a second huge dome. The air was filled with whining, scraping and banging as solar powered excavators and fluorescent overalled ants scurried over the new domes.
Robbie cast a critical eye over the work in progress. "The official name is Stalag Carbon 10," he said. "It's for the guys that have blown their lifetime carbon emission quota. You know, like the coal mining magnates where they're deemed to have burnt every gram they dig up, the economists who bagged renewable energy and the climate change sceptic pollies who are seen as responsible for every emission they should have stopped."
"So this is where they finished up," Kathy said. "We stopped hearing about them, but we couldn't find out why."
"That was for operational reasons," Robbie said. "A lot of them thought they wouldn't be allowed to breathe out any more, and would have their lips sewn up and superglue stuffed up their nostrils, so they tried to run away. Problem was, the places they went to treated them as refugees and did what those guys had been doing to the refugees from those places and sent them straight back. The government wanted someone else to do their dirty work, so they came up with these camps.
"Camps one to nine were hugely successful. Let's face it, when you herd a random mob of pollies, economists, billionaires and vroom-vroom hoons into a dome, give them a bag of seeds, and tell them they've got to be a carbon sink from now on, they're going to self-destruct. Some of them got into the blame game right way, and massacred each other. Others didn't begin to fight until the food they were left ran out, but then they ate the seeds. Two lots tried to dig their way out, but found out too late that the outer dome is full of the CO2 they're supposed to process."
Kathy pointed towards the domes full of luxuriant green foliage. "This one seems to have worked," she said.
Robbie nodded. "That's the bummer. They got their act together, planted their seeds, managed their air and water, recycled their rubbish. They may not be the best of friends, but they're still there."
Kathy looked towards the construction site. "So they need room to expand?"
Robbie shook his head. "No way. Worse than that! The greenies found the place. They're ecstatic. They want to move in. Means we've had to change the name. It's now Chlorophyll Haven."
"How do the current inhabitants feel about them?"
"We haven't asked them. They can see the building work. They can work out what's happening from that."
"It could be awkward," Kathy said. "If they blame what you call the greenies for them being there and the greenies tell them it's their own fault -- it might get nasty."
"Not our problem," Robbie said. "What landlord ever worries about whether the new tenants will get on with those in the next flat?"
Copyright © D.W. Walker, 2015
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