Tag Archives: Refuge

Stories from Refuge – 79 – “Can’t do anything about the nightmares.”

(c) Svedoliver | Dreamstime.com

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-67, dialogue between L.J. and Emma Black, recorded by James 72A
RY 100.11.2

I was… I don’t know how to talk about it. You spend your whole life not talking about it, not wanting to be targeted as one of those insurrectionists, one of those rioters they’ll send the bots after, break their bones and lock them up. Better to keep your head down and pretend it didn’t happen. Now I’m supposed to talk about it and it’s supposed to make me feel better?

No use crying over spilt milk. My mom used to say that. I don’t know why, I don’t even know what milk is. But I know what she meant. We can’t do anything about the bots, or the arrests, or the Empaths patrolling the tunnels listening for people who sound guilty, or the Commanders coming to your office or your school room and taking someone out who you’ll never see again. Can’t do anything about the nightmares that wake you up. Might as well roll over and try to get back to sleep.

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Stories from Refuge – 78 – “I pretty much had to stay alive if they did.”

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-66, dialogue between C.P. and Della Goldsteen, recorded by Beatrice 75C
RY 100.11.1

I was lucky. I know I was lucky. I really don’t have any reason to feel like I do. It’s not like what happened to my friends. They’re the ones who actually got hurt, they had a reason to feel bad. They got interrogated, when the Empaths showed up, got their heads filled with nightmares that they never woke up from. I got knocked out before then, when the bots showed up, and I was still out cold when the Empaths got there. I never got interrogated. I woke up in Confinement and never got anything put in my head.

I still woke up with nightmares, though. Bots marching in my sleep, not even seeing them but hearing them, those clanging metal feet, those…

Yeah, I’m okay. Well, no, but I can go on.

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Stories from Refuge – 77 – “I don’t know why it isn’t better.”

(c) Serjio74 | Dreamstime.com

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-17, interview with Della Goldsteen, recorded by Mary 80C
RY 100.10.31

I thought it would get better. I don’t know why. When we work in Government, even some insignificant job like I had, filing records in a Military procurement office, and the Government is the way it was, we have to expect things are going to get bad. That’s what I told myself, that’s why I felt so bad, because of where I found myself. But everything was going to go to hell any day now and then it would all be over.

I expected to get killed in a riot, when things were really heating up. It was the start of the Revolution, although we didn’t know it at the time. Rioters broke into the tunnel where I worked, down at the end but so close I could hear them. They broke into bot storage, disabled a lot of units, and killed a guard. I was upset that it wasn’t me.

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Stories from Refuge – 76 – “But we just came up with new things to fight about.”

(c) Radist | Dreamstime.com

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-65, dialogue between N.G. and Van 48C, recorded by James 72A
RY 100.10.28

I broke into Media Production once. I knew a guy who worked there, he was going in after curfew to work on some music of his own, and he said he’d let me in, too. He wasn’t really interested in what I was doing there, he just pointed me to the recording booths and then disappeared into his own. I didn’t really know what I was doing, I had to punch a lot of buttons to try to get the transmission going, and then I had to figure out how to plug in the cartridge where we’d recorded the music. I was sure I didn’t get it right, that I wasn’t transmitting at all, that no one was hearing it, or that I was just sending out white noise or an alarm siren or something.

But then the Empath came in and I knew someone had heard me, at least.

It was this one. I wasn’t really sure when I first walked in. You’d think I’d remember that, the scariest day of my whole life, you’d think every little detail would be etched on my brain. But I can’t even remember the name of the guy who worked in Media and let me in. I can’t remember what songs we sang on that recording. And I didn’t really remember this man’s face. I just remember that he made me sing those songs. He pulled out the cartridge and made me sing what I was trying to transmit, and I didn’t know why. I could never figure out why he made me do that.

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Stories from Refuge – 75 – “They can’t get a read on you if you’re angry, if you fight back.”

(c) Svedoliver | Dreamstime.com

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-64, interview with C.L., recorded by Beatrice 75C
RY 100.10.27

We used to say this thing about Empaths, this thing that was supposed to protect us if we ever got interrogated. They can’t get a read on you if you’re angry, if you fight back, if you distract them with a lot of screaming. I guess it was a saying or a story or a myth, something from a hundred years ago before we came down to Refuge, this idea that mind readers can’t penetrate primitive emotions. No one knew exactly where it came from, and we all knew Empaths aren’t mind readers, exactly, but we also knew people who had done it, or people who said their friends had done it. Scream and fight until the Empaths gave up and stopped interrogating them and let them go.

Then one of the Empaths must have heard that saying and decided to try it out.

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Stories from Refuge – 74 – “People say they want to get closer to the ones they’re in love with.”

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-63, dialogue between G.L. and Mary Hernand, recorded by Beatrice 75C
RY 100.10.25

A long time ago I was going to run away, find a way out, go Aboveground. I thought that would be the perfect way to get back at Refuge for everything that happened here, even though not much happened to me, not directly. But I was younger and I was silly, and even worse – I was in love.

Ben was amazing. I mean, he was amazing to a teenage girl who wanted to do big things but didn’t know how. He would make these speeches like he was some kind of back-tunnel preacher, like he was turning the world upside down, like he was leading a revolution. Even if I was the only one hearing him, he’d stand up and wave his arms and shout so loudly his voice would echo around the tunnels. I don’t really remember anything he said, and I’m not sure much of it made any sense, but he said it in a way that I believed him. I believed everything about him.

I heard, later, that those things he said actually came true. That he really led the Revolution. That it was called Ana’s Revolution but he was the one really in charge. I’m not sure if that’s just a rumor or not.

I never ran away with him. At some point I found out he’d been hiding something from me. He’d been hiding it from everyone his whole life. He was an Empath. I guess I should be amazed, looking back at it now, thinking about how hard it must have been, how scared he must have been, how desperate he must have been to keep it a secret. If I was really in love, I guess I should have helped him keep the secret, and worked even harder to help him get out of Refuge. But the minute I found out – and I can’t even remember how it came out, if we were talking about something or fighting about something and he told me what I was about to say, or something like that – but I got all cold and all I wanted to do was get away from him, as fast as I could.

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Stories from Refuge – 73 – “But she made me her deputy anyway.”

(c) Serjio74 | Dreamstime.com

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-62, dialogue between B.W. and Mary Hernand, recorded by James 72A
RY 100.10.24

You’re really her, aren’t you? You’re really the one in charge? Ana used to talk about these dialogues happening, she had plans for it even before the Revolution, back when none of us could even imagine being free. I tried to tell her it was crazy, that no one would come out and cop to the things they’d done. You’d all stay in hiding, locked up in your special tunnel where you could keep operating in secret. But here you are.

Are you scared? Do you worry that someone’s going to do something to you? Because I’m an Empath, you know. I could make you grab the riot baton from that guard over there and beat your skull in with it.

All right, all right. I know you’re all getting riled up. You don’t have to escort me out. You already put these things in my ears to block me from projecting, like that guy making notes has. You already know I’m not actually going to do it. It’s funny, though. The Civil Councilor is the only one who didn’t get worried. Maybe she deserves to be in control after all. Anyway, she wasn’t actually the head of Civil Council before the Revolution, right? She didn’t actually order any of the things that happened, and she couldn’t really have stopped them. She’s not really guilty.

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