Stories from Refuge – 11 – “That made him blame her when she wasn’t responsible?”

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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-11, dialogue between F.L. and Tara Johnson, recorded by Jennifer 80B
RY 100.3.20

Yeah, I want to tell my story, it’s about time the Councils listened to us, but who the hell is she?

[Recorder’s note: Councilor Stray tells subject that Tara Johnson is a technician in Medical, who worked on Commanders. Since Commanders aren’t available for dialogues she has volunteered to speak in their place. This is hard to do but I’m only supposed to write the words of the dialogue speakers.]

Huh, so this is how it happened? Someone like you gets those machine-heads working? So what was it like? Did you open up their skulls like a cabinet? Do they even have skulls under those helmets, or do you take them off and it’s just a computer inside? Like bots with skin?

[Recorder’s note: He doesn’t say anything else for a while. Councilor Booth tells Johnson to answer.]

I… I worked with the wetware. The brain, I mean. There were other techs – mechanics, I guess I should say, who worked on installing and maintaining the hardware implants, but they needed us to make sure they integrated right with the brain. We usually put plates in the skull to cover a permanent opening, behind the right ear most of the time, so we could get access to the implants. They went in near the hippocampus, that’s the area that gets damaged in Grays Type 2, that’s why they can’t make memories on their own, so we upload them to the hardware. Someone from Military would do it, anyway, or they’d give us the files to upload. Commanders have a jack in the base of the neck we plug into. We could download memories, too, when their mission was over, so Military could get complete records, or especially if it was something traumatic that the Commanders didn’t want to remember. That’s how it worked but that’s probably not what you wanted to hear from me.

[F.L.] Traumatic. I’ll bet. Like the time one of those machine-heads tore the door off my living unit, did it himself, didn’t even send a bot to do it, and beat up my brother. You should’ve seen George’s face. Couldn’t see out of his left eye after that. Died a couple of months later and you people in Medical said it was probably due to brain swelling from some kind of injury, but you wouldn’t even admit that you had anything to do with it. Because you did, didn’t you? You probably uploaded the orders into that bastard’s head, sent him to our unit to punch my brother in the face until he died. That was you, wasn’t it?

[Recorder’s no…]

[Recorder’s note: F.L. removed from interview room when he stood up from the table and kicked a chair. Tara Johnson escorted away once Councilors were sure she was safe. Records indicate the Commander involved in F.L.’s incident was 5D3 – a female, even though F.L. said “him” – and in her report she said she broke open the door to make sure the bots didn’t destroy more property than was necessary, and she hit George – sorry – G.L. with a club to disable him when he tried to attack her. Later autopsy reports on G.L. indicate the wound that led to the fatal brain edema was not the wound sustained to his eye five months earlier but a separate head wound that was unreported.]

[This is hard to note. I don’t know what to say. F.L. was angry, so that made him remember things wrong? That made him blame Tara Johnson when she wasn’t responsible for anything he accused her of? I’m not even supposed to interpret anything in these notes.]

[Recorder’s note: This is all hard.]

©2016 Michelle M. Welch

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