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-58, interview with B.C., recorded by Beatrice 75C
Refuge Year 100.10.14
What, I don’t get anyone to talk to? No one to sit here and listen to me accuse them of all the things we had to live with? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Didn’t think anyone wanted to hear my story.
It’s not really mine, that’s what people are telling me. Why the hell should I go do one of these interview things when I never even got hurt by bots, when I was never in a riot, when I never put my ass on the line trying to fight back? No one in my family was even killed. It’s someone else’s story I’m telling and I’m trying to get sympathy for that, acting like I did something. That’s what people keep saying to me. Well, they never had to clean up the bodies after those riots, did they?
You people came to me, looking for someone involved in that thing ten years ago, in the tunnel that doesn’t have a number, that thing where the bots killed a bunch of kids. You really want to hear what it was like to pick up the bodies of dead kids? And it was this woman here who wanted me, this Empath with the things in her ears to make us all think she can’t hurt us, the one taking notes, writing down everything I’m saying. Why the hell did she want me to come in and talk about this? What kind of freak wants to hear about dead kids?
[Recorder’s note: A pause. Subject is irritated but not about to lash out in any violent action. Councilor Booth speaks. Does not ask me why I wanted to hear from this subject. She prompts: What else did you see in the tunnel?]
Right, the machine-head. This woman crumpled up at the end of the tunnel, losing her shit. She was so small – now, I’m not a big woman, and it drives me nuts that they always make me do the heavy lifting, but this girl was littler than me – she was so small I thought she was one of the kids. Sitting on the floor hunched up and wailing like she’d gotten shot or something. Her helmet was off and she took off that big pack they wear on their backs that’s connected to their guns, so I didn’t notice what she was at first. I went over there to try and tell her to quiet down, and that’s when I saw the plate in her head. Her hair was shaved real short and I came up on the right side and I could see it, behind her ear. I had a Commander right in front of me. I had a broom in my hands – the big heavy brooms with the metal bristles we have to use to clean up a real mess, the kind of brooms you people never have to use – and I could have bashed her head in with it. I could’ve picked up that big electrical gun of hers and shot her with it, if I could have figured out how to use it. Nothing she could’ve done to stop me. But I didn’t. I don’t even know why. Something about how she was crying over those dead kids just like I wanted to but couldn’t, because I had to pick the pieces of them up off the floor.
[Recorder’s note: I ask the subject if she saw the male Commander. She did not. No one asks me why I want to know.]
©2017 Michelle M. Welch