Forge Netting 38: Waking

Waking moments – so often they were a surprise for him. He spent a long time not expecting to be able to assemble anything resembling reality from the pieces that would be available to him – he wished for the dissociative haze he occupied and embraced it when it fogged his mind. Oblivion seemed sweet and oblivion was sought after.

When he had started to wake into an assembled truth and the guesswork was removed he began to hate the process of regaining awareness – it was painful; it was oppressive, and it was depressing. He tried to squeeze his eyes shut and force himself back down into the amnesiac dark.

He lay there for a few minutes and he knew that he was being watched, and he sensed that they knew he had finally woken up. He remembered the pain, wondered whether the fact that he was free meant his captor was going through what he had gone through. He did not want to open his eyes; he did not want to be awake; he did not want to be here.

The leader of his back-up team came up to him and placed his hand on his shoulder – he could have laid there and pretended to still be out of it, but how long would that have worked? And how foolish would he have felt to be found out?

He sat up, looked around. They were all looking at him expectantly, and what was he supposed to do with that? There wasn’t anything to do with them. They weren’t what they once had been and they didn’t mean what they once had meant. He was not the thing he had once been so all those who were created to revolve him around like satellites of his intent, were they perforce changed as well? He didn’t think it was so cut and dried.

He felt like an alien amongst these people and that was strange in and of itself. For a second one of them was speaking to him and he didn’t even register the slightest sound. He wanted to be so far away from all this that none of it was a concern, but he couldn’t physically move away from it just yet, and the mental distance wasn’t going to do anything for him except get him killed.

Something clicked in him and he faced the person he was being talked to by.

‘So, you need to make a decision about what you would like done with him.’

‘Done with him? Nothing.’

‘Well, doing nothing is a luxury you can’t afford. He is a problem that affects your life and therefore ours, and as such he needs to be handled if for no other reason than that. We aren’t that concerned with justice – but we are concerned with survival … and even if you’re not you owe it to us to help with this.’

‘Why this charade? I know you had already decided on a course of action – and this impetus on me to make a decision is designed to do what exactly? Forge us back into some kind of fighting unit? And who are we going to fight? You know what I am; you have some idea of who I am; you know what I have done, and therefore you must have more than idea of what I want to do. In every incarnation of this self I have decided that me being blanked out is the only answer. If you want to do that to him then you are welcome to do it – I cannot wish that upon anyone else. What you seek to use as a punishment would be the opposite for me. So do it; just don’t expect me to endorse it, negate it, or have any kind of opinion on it.’

‘OK, so your position is pretty clear.’

‘It is.’

‘We will help you, and we will deal with him.’

‘Fair enough.

‘I hope so.’

‘So do I.’

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Forge Netting 37: Cut Down

He did not look good hung upside down, drenched in blood, beaten to a pulp, but it didn’t strike any of them as an unusual position to find him in. The man who had been administering the treatment was definitely surprised to find them standing around him – to have them stood about the place yet not cowering or subservient to him because of a word.

They cut him down. Fielding had the bossman in her sights. Teschner was attending to Ensign or whatever the fuck his name was. Pinkerton was hacking into their security systems and trying to get as much information as he could.

‘I thought the pain he was feeling would be crippling you all.’

‘Yes, well, you never were as aware of the truth of the technology used to make us as you claim. There are nerve cell buffers which convert the energy created pain stimulation into something harmless. The system that we constitute allows no negative feedback.’

‘But it allows positive things to travel through us via morphic resonance.’

‘You’re healing him?’

‘Yes, how could you not know this was possible?’

‘I suppose I took more interest in your offensive capabilities rather than the repair functions used to keep you moving.’

‘So your school of thinking was the best form of defense is offense? Well, it works a lot of the time I suppose, when you have unlimited resources, but that isn’t the boat we are in, so we’ve needed to be able to recuperate and protect each other too. He was always a little stronger and a little more capable than any of us, and I suppose that was by design … having to lead the way by example and all that, but with a situation like this we actually get to help him. It’s a novel situation, and one I have to say I am enjoying.’

‘Good, glory in it as long as you can – it won’t last forever.’

‘Good God, you think I don’t know that? I’m not some fluffy airhead getting all touchy feely. I am a veteran soldier who is appreciating a chance to help out a fallen comrade. I can see that this might be an alien concept to you because you aren’t exactly surrounded by anyone that you consider an equal even let alone a friend.’

‘If you intend to kill me please get on with it and put me out of my misery. I am not someone who likes to malinger, even when the threat of death is upon me.’

‘We don’t intend to kill you; we intend to set you adrift.’

‘Set me adrift.’

‘Yes, plagued with the very thing you infected us with – the very thing you used Ensign to transmit into the world at large.’

‘You are very odd for soldiers. I will admit, I don’t exactly understand your thinking. I would have killed me a long time ago if I were you.’

‘But you’re not, and you’re not capable of being that. These thoughts would not occur to you. This strange mix of mercy and punishment isn’t in you, is it?’

‘So, why the delay? Inject me and have done with it.’

‘He has to be awake first. There are things he must understand; things you must understand. Things that those who watch us must understand.’

‘How very curious; how very caring of you – all this closure you are bringing to these creatures, who are little more than assets in an arena of conflict.’

Teschner stepped forward and kicked him in the teeth. Glad to knock him into unconsciousness for a moment. Glad to have a second to think and not have to do it out loud; not having to respond to someone who wasn’t really interested in hearing anything other than his own voice anyway.