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-54, dialogue between L.B. and Walter Newson, recorded by James 72A
I know I’m not supposed to speak first, technically. But I know he can’t, and I know why. So I guess I should get started.
It was Tara, right? I work with her in Medical. We all thought she was nuts, going to these dialogues, and going back again and again. She didn’t really say anything about it, nothing about how it changed her life or how we all needed to go and get forgiveness before we could move on, nothing like that. If she had, I never would have considered doing it. But she kept going and… I don’t know.
There was a riot, of course. You know that – it’s in the records. The same one where Tara hit that woman with the chair. She told me that’s what she talked about last time. I was working in Emergency when they brought in this man here, all banged up, contusions, lacerations, fractured ulna, a pretty worrisome head wound. The bots had gotten at him. I remember we spent a while complaining about bots, how they didn’t understand the way human joints bend, or that our heads aren’t made out of metal. Nothing too extreme, like they’re getting out of control and they had to be stopped. That would have made us sound like insurrectionists and rioters. But when I was trying to get an IV line into his arm, I finally put it together. He was a rioter. The bots had injured him when they were breaking up the riot.
I… You’ve got this in your records, right? Do I really have to say it?
Thing is, that’s what it was like back then. We were so wound up, wondering when the next riot was going to break out, wondering if someone was going to hack into Medical’s computer systems and shut down all the life support on our critical patients, wondering if some crazy person was going to sabotage the air scrubbers and make us all suffocate. So yeah, when I had someone that looked like one of the bad guys, I was sure I had to take action so he never got to do any of those things.
I wasn’t really sure the air embolism would work. You can’t be sure where the air bubble is going to go or if it will block a vein. Sometimes they cause a stroke, but I couldn’t really predict that when I did it.
I sure didn’t think I’d be sitting here across from him, asking him if…
What do I ask him?
[Recorder’s note: I can’t determine what the subject’s output reads like. I’ve never read a stroke victim; I’m not used to the muddled feel of his emotions. I don’t think it’s anger or accusation. I’d like to say it’s forgiveness. Maybe I’m reading that into him.]
©2017 Michelle M. Welch