Coca-Cola is an American soda available throughout much of the world. Since 1891, the Coca-Cola Company has offered their product in bottles, and started their bottling company in 1899. The current plastic bottles available in stores today are relevant in Norman Boutin's Empress Theresa, where they are used to save Theresa from her execution.
Role in the Story Edit
Coca-Cola becomes an important plot device in Chapter 4, where Theresa is kidnapped by government officers and told of their intention to kill her with a nuclear bomb, in order to eliminate any potential threats by HAL. She is taken to a helicopter and begins a long journey to her death. Along the way, they make several stops in different military bases. One of them, "Builiding 39" turns out to be a cafeteria.
Surprisingly enough, Theresa is allowed to eat tuna sandwiches, chocolate cake, 8 oz (~30 ml) of milk and a cup of coffee. Theresa comes up with a plan, so she grabs a trail and acquires twelve Coca-Cola bottles, each of 20 oz (~590 ml). That Theresa wants to bring 2 gallons (~7 liters) of Coca-Cola to her execution spot does not surprise officers at all, merely dismissing it as "the irrational behavior of someone who knew she’d die in hours." She puts all the coke in a plastic bag from a nearby bin.
The following day Theresa is taken away in another helicopter and she is allowed to carry her bag full of Coca-Cola. Along the way Theresa thinks of her family, Steve and God. She is given a protective suit against the cold, tightly cushioned against impacts and told how to position to avoid g-forces from injuring her (quite illogical from officers, since they are going to kill her anyway). She meets more officers, who are baffled by her bravery, and gets into the cockpit of the fighter plane loaded with an atomic bomb. Even though she is about to die, Theresa is provided with an oxygen mask and is allowed to carry her bag.
Theresa manages to unleash her hands and grab the bag. She begins pouring the Coca-Cola onto the floor, because all she wants are the empty bottles themselves. Now is when Theresa's plan is revealed: when she opens the cockpit using her super-strength and falls to the ocean, the eleven empty coke bottles within her jumpsuit will provide enough bouyancy to keep her afloat at sea. Naturally she gets out just in time and her plan is a success.
The coca-cola bottles are part of the one of the biggest plot holes in the story; certainly one of the most controversial ones.
To begin with, there is no logical reason as to why executioners would allow Theresa to carry 2 gallons of coke. It is also likely that Theresa would be fatally sedated first, much less given an oxygen mask, because it would be unnecessarily cruel to make someone to experience the tension of having a nuclear bomb about to detonate in their backs.
There is also the issue as to whether 11, 20-oz bottles would adequately fit in a jumpsuit. In order to provide as much buoyancy as possible, bottles would have to be intact to contain as much air as possible. Twisting them to fit the suit would reduce the amount of air they contain and make them less bouyant.