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-5, statement by Alice Booth, recorded by Beatrice 75C
We need to continue this work. The incident with M.N. and Seth Jones was tragic, horrifying, and inevitable. The incident that nearly occurred with F.L. and Tara Johnson should have left us better prepared. We assigned Empaths to record these interviews for a reason, and not simply to give the new generation of Empaths a job to do that doesn’t involve spying on the citizens of Refuge. Sadly, Jennifer 80B was not prepared for the actual conditions of this work; she was too reluctant to keep herself open to the powerful emotions that arise during these interviews and dialogues, and too timid to act upon her instincts. We’ve kept these needs in mind with our newest recruits. Beatrice 75C will be a valuable addition to our Council, and I believe James 72A will be able to continue his work with some retraining. I cannot guarantee that a similar incident will never occur in the future, but we will do our best to prevent it.
Because I say again, we must continue this work. The Civil Council has discussed shutting us down. Not only is it inherently dangerous to reduce the Governing Councils to a single body – a truth that even the old Councilors acknowledged – but the work of this body is inestimably important. The people of Refuge have spent too many years in silence, unable to speak for fear of retribution. Fear is as great a threat to the security of Refuge as the failure of our air scrubbers.
I am tempted to tell my own story to the Council, but instead I will offer this: Each of the five of us have our stories, six if we include Ana. Each member of our families have their stories, horrors we observed, pain of generations handed down to us. And each of us has been silenced. Each of us has had our mouths shut, our voiced locked in our throats as if we were being strangled, the pain left to build in our chests until we were sure it would shatter us. Think on that. Think about the pain we all shuttered away when we stood up to do our jobs, because it’s still there, and it’s still in the hearts of every person living in these tunnels. And if we disband the Reconciliation Council now, then we are the ones shutting their mouths. We are the ones with our hands around their throats.
©2016 Michelle M. Welch