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-13, interview with Len 54C, recorded by Mary 80C
Refuge Year 100.9.7
I know how it was done. The missing memories. I know how that Empath did it, but I can’t find her, whoever she was. I interrogated everyone in Confinement, all the old-school Empaths you’ve got locked up there. Wasn’t easy. Most of them fought back. You Government people trained us to dole it out, not to take it. Even Richard didn’t want anything to do with what I was doing, and he’s usually up for torturing anyone.
What, you’re going to criticize me? Torturing other Empaths? What the hell did you expect? And how are you going to punish me, exactly? I’m already locked up.
Anyway, most of them didn’t need to be messed with. I just told them I knew how to take away their memories and most of them got scared enough to confess everything they knew, and do it honestly. It was good stuff. A lot of it isn’t even in the files. You people wish you were there to hear it. But no one knew anything about the one who went around erasing memories, and they didn’t know who she was.
And no, I wasn’t bluffing. I figured out how to do it. I got Kay off the sedatives, just for a day, just until she woke up enough but didn’t start getting manic, and I asked her about the worst thing she ever did. Then I projected so much aversion, just as she starting thinking about it, that she couldn’t even answer without doubling up and crying. I tried for hours to get her to talk and by the end she just got confused when I asked her. Then the med techs came in and sedated her again. Okay, it’s not the best experiment, since Kay might have forgotten things because of the sedatives, but I’m sure that’s how it was done.
That Empath isn’t in Confinement, either, not anywhere. You people didn’t catch her. It looks like she really did make people forget who she was.
I had this crazy idea that it was Ana. I actually tried to interrogate her. It would be perfect, wouldn’t it? It would explain all the rumors, that she engineered the whole Revolution from inside Section 5, smuggled people out, and no one knew. She did it and made everyone forget everything, then made them think she was just a crazy paramaniac too strung out on sedatives to put a sentence together. Now you know we can’t actually project thoughts, we can’t project content into people’s minds, just like we can’t actually read the thoughts in there – you know that, right? So it was a dumb idea. But I wanted to ask her anyway. So I cornered her and I took the meds away and I tried to get her to talk. But she wouldn’t talk about herself. I couldn’t threaten her with taking away her memories because she wouldn’t talk about them. She just wanted to talk about me. Tried to use the same tricks on me, get me to think about the worst thing I ever did, the worst thing that ever happened to me. Then she said – like she actually could read my damned mind – she said, “I know, Len. I know about…”
[Recorder’s note: Subject does not continue.]
©2017 Michelle M. Welch