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-30, interview with D.S., recorded by James 72A
They’re lying, right? They’ve been lying to us this whole time. When my father died, they came and said that he was killed during a riot, but that’s not true. He would never get into a riot. He stayed out of them, stayed away from trouble, and he taught me to stay away from it, too. Don’t hang out anywhere longer than you need to, don’t go into the sub-tunnels, and get home way before curfew. Not worth the trouble, none of it. He worked in Maintenance, and he had to clean up after those riots. Mop up the blood, pick up the things that the medics left behind, shoes and glasses and things people dropped. Dad would never have gotten involved.
So here’s what really happened.
Someone asked him to open one of the hatches to smuggle something in. I’ve been looking into it, asking around. The Aboveground bands, they have weapons, right? Big weapons, worse than the Commanders and the bots had. Someone down here wanted to get their hands on some. And do you know who the order came down from? Not the drug smugglers in sub-16. No, it came from somewhere up top, someone in command, maybe even the Military Councilor.
[Councilor Stray interrupts:] That’s ridiculous. No one in Military ever gave that kind of order. And do you know what kind of weapons they have Aboveground? They’re nothing like-
[Recorder’s note: I’m asked to make a statement by Councilor Booth once she gets Stray to quiet down. I hate to do it. The subject is so clearly upset by his father’s death. The pain is flooding right off of him. But there’s something else in his output, too. He’s lying.]
[I pull the medical records on the subject’s father and Booth asks me to read them into the record.]
D.S. [senior], age 53, date of death Refuge Year 98.3.7, cause of death myocardial infarction, signs of coronary artery disease and widespread blood clots, no other complicating factors.
[Subject resumes. It’s hard for him to speak but the tension associated with lying is gone.]
It shouldn’t have been that. Dad was good, he played by the rules, kept his head down, didn’t get in trouble. He shouldn’t have died so young. It shouldn’t have been a heart attack. Something so ordinary, so pathetic… It shouldn’t have happened that way.
[Over Stray’s objections, Council votes not to refer the subject’s case for criminal investigation as conspiracy to undermine Government.]
©2016 Michelle M. Welch