The Atlantis Gene
S. A. Beck
Contributed by Greta Venegas
Chapter 16
Summary

The story moves back to the Atlantis Allegiance. Otto and Grunt are driving through remote county roads near Apache Junction, Arizona. At around one in the morning, they arrive at a rest stop — a quiet place in the desert with nothing but a restroom. All the pickups are parked next to Grunt’s car, and not a single Tohono O’odham is in sight. Grunt informs Otto that they are going to do something dangerous, but he is allowed to opt out. The Tohono O’odham men appear and lead them across a barbed wire fence. It turns out Edward had hacked into the security system to ensure that they would not be caught. 

The land on the other side of the fence is a testing ground for uranium. Grunt informs Otto that the police department was not concerned with the testing, which could produce radiation, because they were carried out on private land. Grunt further advises of their plan to pull up all the survey stakes and wreck the equipment used by the individuals experimenting on uranium. They also pour water and sugar in a gas tank to flood the engine of the machines used on the land. While Otto refuses to take part in their mission, Grunt tells him that although what they were doing was illegal, it was a favor to the Tohono O’odham people to protect the land. Finally, they leave the area and stop at a gas station. After buying coffee and refilling their cars, Otto notices a man looking at Vivian. At the end of the chapter, a businessman reading a newspaper watches Vivian and the rest of the group as he picks his phone and makes a call.

Analysis

The corrupt states of the government can be seen through the experiments conducted on the land. Despite the existence of a restroom within the area, the government has approved the research on uranium, which could expose people to radiation and increase their risk of cancer. Although Otto had become part of the Atlantis Allegiance, he still seems to have retained some of his positive character. He refused to help the Tohono O’odham in their mission because he considered the activity illegal, demonstrating that he was still reluctant to break the law. There is a high likelihood that General Meade had placed Vivian and the rest of the Atlantis Allegiance members in the newspaper to track them, as well as prevent them from getting in the way of his mission.

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