Forge Netting 35: Fluxpoint

He sat across the table from him. He smiled an empty smile. There was a gun placed on the tabletop between them. His instinct was to seize it and make sure that this dangerous individual had no access to it, but here sense over-ruled instinct and he kept his hands to himself. In all likelihood he wouldn’t have to defend himself because if Ensign had wanted him dead he would most likely already be dead.

They sat there, each waiting for the other to speak, neither expecting it to happen. A stalemate. No, they had to have a conversation. Ensign hadn’t manouevred his way through all this security just to sit in front of him with his gun on the table.

‘So, why me? What makes me so special?’

‘Hmm, well, you might say that I have been a little confused of late, and I am seeking to end that confusion.’

‘Confused, about what?’

‘Who and what I am?’

‘And you believe that I can help you somehow?’

‘Well, you sought to help me once before, back when you were searching for me.’

‘True, but things have changed.’

‘And yet we remain frozen in time, all of us in this drama.’

‘You are suggesting that something holds us all in place while the world moves around us?’

‘Why not?’

‘Who do you think you are?’

‘Well, I am still thinking of myself as Ruebeau, but everyone else seems totally willing to believe that I am Ensign.’

‘And you aren’t?’

‘Hmm, I am not entirely sure. It would be easy if I were, eh?’

A confused look passed across his face – a few tics which Colin didn’t remember from before; but then who was he looking at? Ruebeau or Ensign? Or was it possible that there was someone entirely different in that chair, someone manufacture out of all the personality templates clashing together?

‘What do you want? Do you know?’

‘To be wiped clean; to be tabula rasa. I know you have read all about me – about the programming, about the program, about all the things I am supposed to have done and all the things I am likely to do, but I have wanted to disappear for so long, and no one seems willing to grant my wish. Is it so unreasonable to want some quiet?’

‘No, that seems perfectly reasonable. You will understand that it is somewhat hard to believe given who you are; given what you are.’

‘Why would this be any easier for me?’