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-7, statement by R.J., recorded by Mary 80C
I used to have a military rank. I’ve been directed not to state it so it won’t be recorded. I’ve had no orders regarding my department. This statement won’t be useful without it. I worked in the Military Council’s technology division. I wrote the programs that were uploaded to the Commanders’ brain hardware. My specialty was Aboveground combat.
The robots did most of the actual fighting. I programmed the Commanders to direct them, to assess threats, and to defend the lithium deposits. I did not collect intelligence regarding the Aboveground bands that were encountered in combat. That was assigned to another department, which downloaded the Commanders’ profiles and deleted memory records.
If I can speak candidly, sirs and madams, this was a terrible way to treat human beings. My orders stipulated that Grays Type 2 individuals are practically comatose without programming, unable to form new memories or learn anything. With the limited resources available in Refuge, every inhabitant has to pull their weight, and only the programming makes the Type 2s worth what they consume. There was some suggestion that Type 2s would have to be eliminated if they were unable to be programmed.
I’m not a philosopher, I’m a military man, and if I’d ever said anything like this before we were all discharged, I don’t like to think about what would have happened to me. But that kind of talk sounds like we’re making enemies of our own people, doesn’t it?
I’m not sure the Type 2s are really incapable of learning things, anyway. I was assigned to write a program for a kill order, on a scientist who’d gone Aboveground and was classified as a traitor. I tried to upload that program to two different Commanders, 5D3 and 7H4. Neither one of them was willing to carry out the order. Both of them refused. 5D3 actually pulled the jack out of her head when the med tech was only about fifty percent through the upload. Both of them had been involved in some firefights, and I don’t know the details since I didn’t download them but there were some human casualties. After that, those two Commanders resisted any orders that had them directly targeting humans. They couldn’t say why and they couldn’t remember any details about the encounters, but they knew what they had done and they didn’t want to do it again.
I ended up bouncing the kill order back to the Council. I got a dressing down and told they’d give it to an Empath, if I couldn’t get my Commanders to follow orders. I never learned who carried it out. I’m just glad I didn’t have to make my people do it.
©2016 Michelle M. Welch