Stories from Refuge – 47 – “Because it will let us forget what we wish to.”

(c) Svedoliver | Dreamstime.com

(c) Svedoliver | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-42, submitted from Section 5 South

F.Y. 100.9.5

Memory is written in the body –
the fear that presses down the shoulders
the lungs irritated by chemical-burned air
the hairline scars in bones fractured by metal hands
It remembers when we wish not to:
dreams haunted by thoughts we did not put into our minds
nerves strung breaking-tight, until fear translates to anger
and bursts out of us in an unextinguishable fire
This, this we might turn our minds to
this fire searing us from inside our eyes
this will to fight, this drive forward
Because it will let us forget what we wish to.
But still we walk with shoulders pressed down
because the body remembers

Indira Kan

©2017 Michelle M. Welch

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Stories from Refuge – 46 – “We wanted to be brave like she was, but we were really cowards.”

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-41, dialogue between F.J. and Len 54C, recorded by James 72A
RY 100.9.4

I forgot for a while. It’s ironic, right? The whole point was so that people wouldn’t forget, and then I did.

I worked with… You know who it is, I don’t know why you want me to use initials. I.K., the artist. You know who she is and you know what she wrote. You know why she’s locked up in Confinement now. I don’t know why she still is, with the old Councils supposedly disbanded. I’m sure she’s writing something about that, but I can’t help her smuggle it out anymore. They fired me after this Empath interrogated me. I used to be on guard duty in Section 5. That’s when I found her, the artist. That’s when I remembered being in school, the group of us who wrote poems and plays and passed them around and pasted them to the walls but made sure we didn’t get caught. We wanted to be brave like she was, speaking out against Government and corruption, but we were really cowards and we weren’t willing to do it out loud. Until I found her in my cell block and I knew what I could do.

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Stories from Refuge – 45 – “This is what I tried to forget for years.”

(c) Serjio74 | Dreamstime.com

(c) Serjio74 | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-40, submitted anonymously
RY 100.9.2

How could someone forget? There are so many things, terrible things, memories to ruin sleep and haunt waking hours. Who wouldn’t want to forget, just for a moment of relief? But can it be done? Is that yearning for peace to be forever unattainable?

How could someone forget? It seems impossible, but so many say they have. We must admit that we live in impossible times. Poisoned air followed by cancer, treatment followed by brain damage – and that doesn’t even account for the impossible world that preceded these things. Surely it is impossible for children born without the ability to form memories to survive, to live and function and obey. That we would fit their brains with hardware arrays to enable it, that we would plant metal inside their heads – what fantasist would ever have devised such a plan?

Perhaps it is better for them, the Type 2s. We dispatch them to do their terrible things and then download the memories out of them. Their sleep need never be torn apart by nightmares. No shadows haunt their waking hours. At least I hope this is true. We’ve turned them out now, and we can’t ask them even if we wanted to.

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Stories from Refuge – 44 – “They must have made him forget.”

(c) Radist | Dreamstime.com

(c) Radist | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-39, interview with G.R., recorded by Beatrice 75C
Refuge Year 100.9.1

You didn’t even want me to be here, did you? The way people are talking, what they’re saying about the new Council. We thought Military was bad. We thought PsyOp was bad. Now there’s something even worse, and you’re erasing our memories so we can’t even tell anyone about it.

[Recorder’s note: Councilor Stray interrupts but Councilor Booth stops his objection, lets subject continue.]

Right. That woman there who’s taking notes, I know what she is. She’s probably gonna delete everything she’s typing now so there’s no record of it once she erases my memory. Yeah, I know that headset she’s wearing is supposed to stop Empaths from doing stuff to your mind but maybe it’s just for show, maybe it’s just to make us think we’re safe.

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Stories from Refuge – 43 – “Do you know what kind of rumors are going around out there?”

(c) Svedoliver | Dreamstime.com

(c) Svedoliver | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report C-12, interview with Kent Nuwen, recorded by Mary 80C
Refuge Year 100.8.30

I don’t know why we’re doing this here. I could’ve just made an internal report to one of you, we didn’t need to be sitting here in the gallery with all these people watching and this Empath keying in everything I say. I don’t have anything to say on the record. I don’t have some sob story to tell about how awful life was for me and how bad Government was. This is the whole problem, that’s what I’m saying. You’re making this big show, here with your Council and your dialogues, and even when you shut the dialogues down you’re still getting people riled up. Do you know what kind of rumors are going around out there? Empaths erasing people’s memories? It’s public hysteria, that’s what it is. It’s time to shut down the Reconciliation Council for the public good.

You know what it’s like? It’s like the time when I was working down in Equipment and Maintenance West, a few years ago before they reassigned most of the people who worked for Government. As if I was more dangerous as a manager making sure the trash got out of Refuge, and it’s better to have me in an office cleaning dust out of computers. There was this rumor going around that someone was opening the hatch in Maint West, going out there and not just to move refuse. Running contraband, bringing down weapons, letting poisoned air in to kill everyone down here – they were saying all kinds of crazy things. It was everything I could do to keep my people from spreading those rumors but it didn’t do any good. People outside were talking, their friends and their families and their neighbors. It got out of control.

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Stories from Refuge – 42 – “It was like I didn’t even want to think about you.”

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-38, dialogue between H.S. and Julie Corzon, recorded by James 72A
RY 100.8.29

[Recorder’s note: Council was reluctant to hold another dialogue after the incident with D.S. openly lying. Discussion about whether current subject should be examined to determine truthfulness was eventually rejected. Subject requested dialogue with Corzon specifically.]

[Subject begins.]

Do you remember me? I forgot you for a little while. One day I woke up and suddenly you were there in my head, like I’d misplaced you or something. I know it was a long time ago, we were teenagers then, but still, I’m surprised I forgot you like that.

It was weird, though. As soon as I thought of you I had this awful feeling, like I was choking, like I was going to be sick. I don’t know why. It’s not like we fought, or that things ended badly between us. It’s not even that I was ashamed or embarrassed. Sure, my dad wasn’t happy when he learned I liked girls but mom talked him down. She said at least I wouldn’t get in trouble for having too many babies, and she said didn’t Empaths go around sometimes and make people gay to control the population? And I’ve dated women since then anyway and I never felt sick about it. But I still forgot you, and it was like I didn’t even want to think about you. Did you forget me?

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The Swap – or, what to consider when you want to change a character’s gender

What do you think about this swap? Image from BBC.

What do you think about this swap? Image from BBC.

(Note: very slightly spoilery if you have an interest in the newest rendition of a certain classic detective.)

My husband was deeply upset with the second episode of Sherlock. Apparently there’s an extremely brief mention of a third Holmes brother in the source material, and Moffat and Gatiss have introduced this character to the new season. Just one thing, though – they’ve changed the brother into a sister.

This is the kind of thing that starts my dear husband off on a rant, as is just about every creative decision that Steven Moffat makes, especially on Doctor Who. He was extremely annoyed at Moffat’s hints that he would regenerate the Doctor as a woman, and wasn’t too happy with the Master’s reappearance as Missy. I’d attribute this more to his being a source purist than any sort of anti-female feeling (I wouldn’t have married him if he had that), but it points to an underlying question that’s relevant for writers: when to change a character’s gender, why to do it, and why you might not want to.

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