Forge Netting 20: Old Story

A big question? A small question? It could lay claim to both – it had a personal element but it had wider ramifications. What was the question? Well, it was the question on the lips of everyone who had suffered from the fallout of the actions of that man. What did Ruebeau want to forget?

There was a file on him that would give a man a hernia were he to attempt to lift it unaided. He sat there and he began reading. It was a pretty unremarkable story – typical childhood, average family, usual disappointments and successes. The only thing which marked Ruebeau out was his unusually photographic memory – his retention was off the index as far as all the other subjects that they had on record.

It was discovered, so the file said, during an investigation into abuse allegations regarding the father and the mother. They started asking questions of Ruebeau and it became obvious that there was not a detail that he had missed – literally not a single detail. That was when they began to test him.

They took him into custody and they began to groom him for a government post – initially placing him in a position that analysed data for the intelligence services: troop movements, code-breaking, whatever they needed doing he seemed able to pick it up. There were rumours that he was being moved into position to take over as manager of both the intelligence divisions. And then he disappeared.

He realised how many people had died because of the things he was doing and he couldn’t stand the idea of it. He seemed to have a facility for being invisible back in those days – hiding came so easily; creating a story that other people could not penetrate came easier. He subsumed himself in fictions and for a while built himself into a maze of mirrors that fooled even himself. The lines disappeared – the outlines, the fill-ins, the meaning substrate. He was working on making himself disappear even then.

She came as a surprise – something that he wasn’t looking for; an answer to a question he hadn’t even realised that he was asking. She sprung the locks and something in him that he hadn’t let out in all the years since he had been taken from the place where his family had died was released.

She was not viewed well by those who had an investment in Ruebeau, but what to do about her? He had found a happiness that he had thought was impossible – a happiness he expected to crumble into oblivion almost as soon as it learned to walk.

He was a memory experiment already – he was a way to leave no loose ends. Carry out the perfect kill and bury it. They didn’t give him an option; they gave him an instruction. He arranged a meeting in a place where no one would see them adnd just as she was about to say something, which replaying this incident later, he knew he would have liked to hear, he shot her between the eyes. That was the first domino to fall.

It took him a couple of days to emerge from the stupor he fell into, and then the anger flared. The precision which he had brought to that kill was now levelled at the people who had been using him. One after the other he tracked down and disposed of an entire team of intelligence agents; following this he took out his handler and then his superiors. He disappeared so deep inside a fake identity after this that they had no idea where he was or how to trace him.

When he heard about LEthe he saw the potential of it to erase himself and all the fake personalities in one fell swoop. When he walked through the doors he was not recognised – that came later as the world crumbled around him. He became an object of interest. An eidetic turned amnesiac.

The same old story as far as more than one was concerned – boy loves a girl and the world dies for it.