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-6, statement by Patrick Calhan (Patrick 41A), recorded by Beatrice 75C
You’re going to make me use this name, aren’t you? Trying to equalize us, make all the Empaths seem the same. I was the first Type 1 born in Refuge Year 41, fine. I’m also a Calhan. My family helped build this place. My grandfather was the first Psychological Councilor, back when it was called the Public Health Council. My cousin was the last head of PsyOp, and no, I don’t believe what you told me about what happened to him. Five generations of Empaths, that’s what I come from. My ancestors were some of the first Type 1 Grays Syndrome patients. And we built a name for ourselves even before we built Refuge. The best detectives and private investigators of the last era. You can’t take that away from us, no matter how you try to give us numbers instead of names.
You don’t even think it’s enough to make all the Empaths seem the same, do you? You want to make everyone seem the same. That’s part of what these dialogues are about – not just letting these so-called victims speak out, but making it seem like there’s no difference between them and us. That’s what this sham of a Council wants next. I can feel it on all of you, even if you don’t admit it out loud. You all feel about as insane as Ana.
I was the one who arrested her, you know, when she refused to act against those rioters. I shot her up with her first round of sedatives. That makes you cringe now, every one of you. Pathetic. You weren’t there at the time, when the rioters were coming up the tunnel, destroying everything in their path, headed for the robot storage. What would you have done if they got there? Would you go Aboveground yourselves, out in the poisoned air, facing off against the animals who still live up there and fighting them to get to the lithium fields? That’s what you want to do?
Oh, you’re upset because I called the Abovegrounders animals. Well, yes, I hate them. And I hate the rioters. And I hate the rest of you. I need this hate. This hate is what keeps me alive. It’s what keeps the rest of you ungrateful bastards alive, too. Without it we’d be choking to death up on the surface and trying to fight off people who are barely human anymore.
The only person in this room I trust is the recorder. I’m not picking up a thing from her. She knows how to control her emotions. She’s not going to make stupid mistakes because of her feelings.
We’re done here. I’ve said my peace, not that you’re going to listen to me. You only want to hear one kind of story. Lock me back up. You’re not going to prove me wrong.
©2016 Michelle M. Welch