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-47, dialogue between M.C. and Jay 59A, recorded by Tee 76D
It’s funny how you never imagine things will happen like they actually do. I never thought I’d be arrested that day. We planned everything perfectly. We’d been planning it for at least ten years, since all of us were in school. The biggest strike of the resistance, we said it would be. We’d get all the way to Section 1, bomb the Councilors out of their beds, and get away so cleanly that no one would ever find us. We had people embedded in Maintenance and Media Production and on the computer systems in Credit Processing. It was going to be perfect and it was going to take down everything we’d hated for years.
That really kept us going, all those years, that hatred. And we had the big plans that would justify it all.
Not that it worked, of course. Someone lost their head on the way to disabling the door controls on bot storage, and they started a riot. One of us got killed in that one. Then a few more people, the ones who were supposed to open the doors to Media, they got scared and dropped out. A few of us got so mad about this and tried to salvage the plan by rushing Sec 1. Obviously they didn’t get very far. I tried to sneak into Credit Processing and use the code I’d gotten to mess with some numbers, get some disruption done at least. I thought I was sneaking away really well, blending into the crowd there at the top of the Commerce section, acting just like any other shopper, but then this Empath started following me. I guess they made a point of not announcing the riots, not sounding the alarms, to keep people’s outputs really normal and quiet, and the Empaths went around looking for anyone who was unusually stressed to figure out who knew about the plan.
It’s funny, sitting here across from that Empath. You’d think I’d be mad at him, for what he did to me, getting into my head to figure out what I knew, making me break my fingers until I talked. But things don’t work out like you think they will. All I can think about now – all I’ve thought about for the last few years I’ve been in Confinement – is how mad I am at everyone from school. How young we were, and idealistic, and so convinced that we were right that we never bothered growing up. We were going to act out this plan we’d been dreaming about since we were kids and nothing was going to stop us. We didn’t even see when it started falling apart – we just kept stubbornly pushing through. All I can think about now is how stupid I was.
[Recorder’s note: Jay takes several minutes to respond. His output is mixed: defensive, confused, angry, then something like amusement.]
You’re right, it’s funny. Funny how we build ourselves up to be something. It’s what keeps us going. It’s what our whole identity is made out of. If we didn’t have it… what would we have left? I sure as hell don’t know. I’ve been sitting in a cell staring at my feet for over a year trying to figure out who I am now, and I don’t know.
©2017 Michelle M. Welch