"Yes!" John shouted as he received his high school diploma. It had been a trying time getting home schooled; he looked forward to the day when he would leave for college. That is, he was praying his parents would let him go to college. He was tired of being at home all the time. All he ever did was learn, sleep, work out and swim.
John, known to his few friends as JB, lived in his parents' house in the mountains west of Breckenridge Colorado. The house was a construction nightmare for the contractors that had built it at over 50,000 square feet. It had a full size basement that included his parents' computer lab. On the ground floor, it had a large kitchen along with a den, media room and meeting room. The first floor contained two very large master suites and a few offices while the top floor contained the six guest rooms. Outside was an attached four-car garage with a 2,000 square foot workshop in the back. They also had a small solar observatory on the mountain peak about a hundred yards from the house. In back of the house was an enclosed pool and Jacuzzi in what looked like a greenhouse; last but not least they had installed an automated skeet range outside behind the pool room.
Since his parents worked for the government on some energy project, they were a little tense at times and constantly worried about his safety. There had never been any issues with safety or security, but they still planned for that event. Their feelings on this issue were the reason for the home schooling, not that John had problems with the tutors or anything. However, he missed interaction with other kids his age. Luckily, he did have a few that always seemed to come by and cheer him up. They especially seemed to hang around in winter, when skiing was the major pastime.
It was four weeks since his graduation and he was arguing with his parents about college.
"John you know how we feel on this matter, it's just not safe. We will bring in anyone we need to, but going off to college is just not an option." His father said.
He stewed over his father's decision, but he knew changing the man's mind was out of the question. Instead, a new idea played out in his mind, "If I can't go to school, maybe I can bring a school to me." Alex called a few of his friends that had the same interests as he did. He found out that most of his friends had made college plans already, but the twins Jennifer and Trish Williams had not. The Williams twins as they were known by everyone were totally identical. They were both a little over 5 feet tall with red hair and hazel eyes. They usually went for the frizzy hair look but not always. They had great bodies and voices that could calm the worst storm.
"We planned on college, but after Dad's accident Mom could really use some financial help. So were going to find work for now and look into college later, so we can work now and help with the bills," Jennifer said.
"What type of work are you looking for?" John asked.
"Actually it don't matter, anything that pays decent."
"What if there was a way that you could work and get college credit at the same time, without actually going to college?"
"That would be great, but how would that be possible?"
"I'll tell you what, if you ladies have any free time to stop by in the next few days, and then I can fill you in on the details."
"Sure we have just been handing out apps. We can stop by in the morning tomorrow."
"Great, try to make it in time for breakfast. I'm cooking."
That night John worked on a way to tell his parents that he was going to hire two college girls to take care of the house. He decided it didn't matter as he was staying home and that is what they wanted.
As John was making breakfast the next morning the chime sounded announcing that someone was at the gate. He looked at the monitor and saw the girls sitting in their car. "Computer open the gate," he said. Another chime sounded and the gate opened. He watched as the girls drove up the drive and parked out front. He walked up to the front door, greeted his friends, and then invited them in for breakfast.
As they were eating Jennifer asked, "So what were you talking about yesterday?"
"You said you were looking for any type of job correct? I wouldn't want to seem degrading with what I offer you."
"Well any job within reason. I don't think I'll be out walking the street anytime soon," Trish said laughing.
"OK then, here is the deal. My parents will not let me go to college, just like they wouldn't let me go to school. They are going to hire anyone I need to take any kind of course I want, it just so happens it will be courses in electronics and computers. That is to start with anyway, there will be more down the road. I happen to know both of you want to be in similar fields of study. So I was thinking that both of you could take the same courses I do here at home. That will get you started on your college courses, and you will get credit for it as well. While doing the courses you will get paid to take care of the house. The cooking will need to be done, the cleaning, the gardening and pretty much any other chores around the house. I will offer you both a salary of two thousand dollars a month, plus the cost of schooling and expenses. You will also get the use of two of the guest rooms upstairs to stay in as an option."
They both sat there staring at him trying to understand what he just said to them. Trish was the first to respond, "You want us to move in with you?"
"I said that is an option, you are both in an apartment now right?"
"Yes," they both said.
"Well you could move into the spare room and live rent free as a benefit to taking the job, that's up to you."
"So you're saying, you will pay us each two grand a month, plus expenses, and pay for our courses, and give us a place to live, just for taking care of your house."
"Yep, that sums it up. I talked to some of the others and they were all ready signed up for college. I got you two because you were not set for college yet. The main reason for this, as you can suspect, well I don't want to be alone anymore. I want some people my own age around, and if I can't go out to them I will bring them to me."
"I hate to ask this but I need to, you aren't expecting any special services from us are you?"
John laughed at that one, "I figured that would come up and the answer as you suspected is no, absolutely not."
They discussed the offer at length and John showed them the bedrooms they could use and then the rest of the house. They had been at the house before but had not had a formal tour; they really loved the poolroom.
"Can I assume we get access to the pool area and the other recreational areas?"
"Sure, you have access to the entire house, except for my parents' lab. They don't let anyone down there."
They looked at each other for a minute then nodded, "Ok, we will take the job."
"Great, you can move in whenever and get started. If you need help moving let me know and I'll get some movers to help you."
They discussed the arrangements and then took off to pack and talk to their parents.
The next morning John was talking to his parents on the phone, and was informing them of their new employees. Surprisingly his parents said that it was a great idea, and they were happy he found an alternative to going away to college. They had no problems with the girls moving in and working around the house. They also agreed that they could take his courses along with him. Their salary was no problem, he could pay them whatever he thought appropriate. John couldn't help thinking how unusual his parents were.
The girls showed up two days later driving a U-Haul truck with all of their worldly possessions in it. They all spent the rest of the day unloading the truck and hauling everything up to the top floor. Luckily, most of it was clothes, the furniture and appliances were part of the apartment. Since the guest rooms all had furniture and the house was equipped with the most modern appliances, that was no problem. That evening John went through the kitchen with both girls and showed them where everything was kept. John was happy he wouldn't have to cook for himself anymore.
The next morning John could smell breakfast as soon as he got to the bottom floor. He made his way to the kitchen and was met with two, "Good mornings."
"Good morning girls, I forget to tell you every Friday Sensei Taki comes over at 11:00 and I have practice. After that around 4:00 a special weapons officer comes by for my shooting lessons. We usually spar in the meeting room. There are mats in the closet and we do our shooting out back. You are more than welcome to join us if you like."
"Thanks, we may watch for a bit."
After they finished eating, he showed the girls the laptop they had in the kitchen that they ordered all of their supplies on.
"You don't even go out to the store?" Trish asked.
"They don't want me to even leave the property if they're not along." John said sadly.
"You know I hate to say it but, well, is it possible your parents are spies or something?" Jennifer said laughing.
"No I'm sure they're not spies, but I know for a fact they have never told me the truth about what they do. The energy thing is just a cover but I have learned not to ask about it."
"Well then it's possible they have a valid concern for your safety. It seems they get paid well for whatever they're doing." Trish said.
"I know they believe that but it sure makes life suck."
As they were talking the chime sound and the computer said, "Sensei Taki has arrived."
The rest of the day passed in a flash. The girls watched John spar with Sense Taki but didn't get involved. They were the same way with the shooting they watched and commented but didn't get involved. They did decide to barbeque for dinner and they found some great steaks to throw on the grill.
During the next few weeks as the girls were getting used to working around the house, John was negotiating with some different professors and engineers to start their courses. He had decided on a retired professor who was the most qualified. He figured with his teaching and the courses that they could take online they would be set. They agreed to meet the first of the month and work out a schedule for the courses they wanted.
It was a few weeks yet before the meeting with the professor and everyone was enjoying the pool. In John's case, it was the sights as well as the pool he was enjoying. As they were relaxing by the side of the pool, the computer started to beep.
"Protocol 17 activated communication and trace lost, notifying proper individuals." The computer said.
"What the hell did that mean?" Trish asked.
"I have no idea it's never said that before? Computer what is protocol 17?" John asked.
"Protocol 17 is enacted when communications are lost with John and Melissa Brown. The attorney Ronald Sutton is notified as well as security personal. Lockdown of the perimeter is then done and the residence is placed on high alert."
John got a really bad sinking feeling in his stomach, "Computer turn on the news."
The news came and there was an emergency broadcast on with some guy talking " ... reports are still sketchy about what actually happened but I do have a few facts. There was a very large explosion in Nevada near the old military test sites, the explosion appeared to be non-nuclear but was big enough to register as a 6.5 earthquake in Las Vegas and was felt as far away as Los Angeles. We have no word so far on any deaths or damage but considering the area the explosion covered, deaths will be a sure thing. Although the government has yet to comment on anything, confidential sources claim the explosion came from a government facility near the test site. The informant also stated that Senator Thornton from Nevada was at the site when it exploded. That is pretty much everything we have at the moment we will update you when more information comes in."
John sat there in a trance not knowing what to do; he finally got a few words out, "That's where my parents worked."
The girls got up and sat next to him and hugged him, "They may not have been there."
"No, they were there, the computer knew they were. When it said it lost communication with them it meant they were dead."
They sat there watching the news for hours, but the government had not said a thing about it yet. Everyone had speculation and some facts but no actual statements from anyone that knew anything. As they were watching the news, the computer chimed again.
"Helicopter inbound, clearance received, landing in progress."
"Well girls, I think we're getting company. I guess we should get dressed."
They had finished getting dressed and were coming down the stairs when the doorbell rang. John walked over to the door and opened it. Standing out front was a man in a suit and eight men that appeared to be soldiers or mercenaries of some type. John invited them all into the living room and sat down.
"John you don't know me but my name is Ronald Sutton. I am an attorney. I represent you and your parents in all legal matters, as well as the transfer of titles and assets. Have you seen anything on the news about the recent happenings in Nevada?"
"Yes I watched the news after the computer gave me some interesting information. I have come to the conclusion that my parents were killed in the explosion."
"While I can't personally be certain of that, I was told if I ever got the message that I received today we should proceed as if they were dead. I was also informed upon receiving the message that the government would more than likely come to this house and take all of your parents' equipment. Your parents informed me that the government should be allowed to retrieve the items in the vault, but that is it. They also told me you could open the vault. Is that correct?"
"Well I was told never to open it so I haven't tried, so I don't know."
"Well we should wait to open it until the feds arrive; I will be staying in one of the guest rooms until then, if it's OK of course."
"Sure I wouldn't mind the company, please make use of the office on that level if you need it as well. What about your friends?"
"Your parents requested they come as security if this ever happened, you know how they were. They assumed that when they died it would be from a deliberate act, they didn't take any chances. So these guys are here as long as needed, the contract might even be permanent."
Post Apocalypse /