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-39, interview with G.R., recorded by Beatrice 75C
Refuge Year 100.9.1
You didn’t even want me to be here, did you? The way people are talking, what they’re saying about the new Council. We thought Military was bad. We thought PsyOp was bad. Now there’s something even worse, and you’re erasing our memories so we can’t even tell anyone about it.
[Recorder’s note: Councilor Stray interrupts but Councilor Booth stops his objection, lets subject continue.]
Right. That woman there who’s taking notes, I know what she is. She’s probably gonna delete everything she’s typing now so there’s no record of it once she erases my memory. Yeah, I know that headset she’s wearing is supposed to stop Empaths from doing stuff to your mind but maybe it’s just for show, maybe it’s just to make us think we’re safe.
[Councilor Ethen: Maybe we should let Recorder Beatrice project something at this subject, something to calm her down.]
[I had the sense Ethen was going to say something like this and I almost stopped her. It was funny to hear her say it anyway. The subject nearly bolted. Booth managed to persuade her to stay.]
Alright. Alright. So I’ve been looking at my memories, real close like, trying to figure out if anything’s missing. I don’t think there is. I don’t think so. But my brother, yeah, there’s definitely something missing out of his head. Lots of things from when we were kids, he doesn’t remember them at all, or he remembers them differently. Like times I got in trouble, when some other kid was talking back to me and I had to punch them, and they always started it but Joe tried to tell me I did. Or the time I grabbed some credit chips off this guy’s table in Commerce, he just left them lying there like an idiot and I only grabbed two, but Joe told me I was bragging about how I could steal stuff and no one would know. Okay, that sounds like a memory I’m missing, but that’s not what happened – it’s like Joe forgot what really happened and then made up something. Or all those times I heard our parents fighting, like they were gonna leave each other and leave us, like the whole world was gonna end, and I’d stay up nights terrified about it and Joe would just sleep like a baby, tell me not to worry, it was nothing, everything would be fine in the morning.
And then when we started getting in real trouble, when they started interrogating us about people we knew and where were we when these riots broke out and what did we know about electronics and building jammers. I think they really messed Joe up, those interrogations. That must have been when it happened. That must have been when his memories went missing. He came out of there jumping at shadows and up all night with bad dreams and shaking for no reason. This went on for days and he hardly talked to me at all, just sat on my floor staring at nothing, didn’t eat and barely slept. Then one day I woke up and he was there on his feet in the kitchen making breakfast. What the hell, Joe, I said, what happened? He just shrugged and said it wasn’t so bad, it’s okay now, just like I always told you, it’ll be fine in the morning.
So that’s what must have happened, right? They must have pulled out the memories. Because it’s not supposed to be fine in the morning, it’s not supposed to be okay now. They must have made him forget and messed up his mind. That’s the only thing that explains it.
©2017 Michelle M. Welch