Stories from Refuge – 57 – “I guess I’m here to ask why the Commander did that.”

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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-49, dialogue between L.O. and Tara Johnson, recorded by Tee 76D
RY 100.9.25

My brother got in trouble. That’s what I’m here to talk about, I guess. It was a long time ago, I was only twelve years old, but I remember the Commander breaking down the door. People try to tell me no, it must have been the bots who broke down the door, that’s what they did, and they roughed people up because they didn’t understand humans and how we don’t keep working after you punch us in the head or pull an arm off. But it wasn’t a bot. I remember it was a Commander, he had a human face under his helmet, and he looked me in the eye and asked where my brother was. I was too scared to say anything but my brother came out of the back room swinging something, it must have been some kind of weapon but I remember it being something stupid, like a broom or a lamp. The Commander turned on him and shot him right in the chest.

So I guess I’m here to ask why the Commander did that. Why did he kick down the door instead of sending his bots in? Why did he shoot my brother? But all I can…

[Recorder’s note: Subject unable to continue. I read overwhelming fear but cannot determine a cause.]

All I can… That’s not the question I… This woman doesn’t know anyway, right? She was just a technician, she didn’t write the orders. She just uploaded them. That’s the kind of job my brother used to do before he got in trouble, he did something with computers, and then he said something about a new program he was going to upload to the maintenance grid and it was going to… everything was going to be different…

[Councilor Booth asks me to determine whether Subject can finish the dialogue. I say she is probably distraught trying to remember her brother.]

[But I’m wrong. Oh no, I’m wrong.]

I can’t do this anymore. I can’t just sit here in a room with him. I didn’t really recognize him when I first came in, didn’t really look at him, but it’s him, isn’t it? The Empath that everyone’s saying erased all those memories. Like he’s been hiding all this time, pretending to be too young to have been working before the Revolution, maybe making people forget him. I don’t care if it was supposed to be a woman, maybe he messed with people’s heads to make them think that, or maybe there was more than one of them. I don’t know, but I never trusted him and I can’t stay here.

Addendum, recorded by Alice Booth

Subject and Tara Johnson were dismissed. Tee 76D removed for questioning. I am debating with the other Councilors about having him make an official statement to the Council, and soon. There has been enough of this derailing already.

©2017 Michelle M. Welch

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