Stories from Refuge – 15 – “Someone has to actually pay.”

(c) Svedoliver |

(c) Svedoliver |

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-17, dialogue between M.N. and Seth Jones, recorded by Jennifer 80B
R.Y. 100.5.30

[Recorder’s note: Subject says nothing for a long time. Everyone gets uncomfortable. Councilors ask her to identify herself – not by name, of course – say who she is and what sort of encounter she had with the bots or the Commanders or the Empaths, but she only gives yes/no answers. Were you hurt by someone employed by the Military Council? No. Were you hurt by someone employed by the Psychological Council? Shakes her head. But we all have the report and we all see what happened. Her daughter, age 15, tried to sabotage a robot, capture it or disable it or something – I guess we’ll never know. H17745 was the ID of the unit. Its self-defense mechanisms kicked in and it killed the girl. Seth Jones was the mechanic who maintained H company. He was interrogated to determine whether he’d messed something up, made the bot too violent, made it exceed its orders. He was cleared. H17745 and the rest of H company checked out, although 17745 was reassigned to do exclusively Aboveground assignments after that, working the lithium deposits, not any more domestic security.]

[Councilor Booth] We know you wished to participate in this dialogue. Please be assured it’s entirely voluntary. There will be no penalty for

[Oh no. I felt something. I caught something coming from M.N. That’s why they wanted Empaths to record, so we could

[Oh no. She has a weapon, or something, I don’t know what. What do I do?]

Addendum, recorded by Alice Booth

Jennifer 80B interrupted the dialogue. We told her to be quiet. We should have listened to her instead. While we were distracted, subject M.N. stabbed Jones in the neck with a blade fashioned from a hair clip. M.N. was removed to Confinement. Jones was taken to Medical. Jennifer tendered her resignation as recorder for the Reconciliation Council.

M.N.’s sole statement was delivered as she was being removed from the interview room:

This isn’t reconciliation, this is just talk. Someone has to actually pay.

©2016 Michelle M. Welch

<- Previous story: “I don’t know who to forgive.”

Next story: “We are the ones with our hands around their throats.” ->

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