Thursday, May 19, 2005

First Memory

*a memory*

*all sounds are muffled, as though heard through a thick wall*

*footsteps approaching*

"Captain says you can let her out now, Band."

"What?! Are you -- is she crazy?"

"Come on, now. You've served under Death long enough to know she's . . . well, as sane as any of us. If she says let the girl out, then we let her out. She's--"

"Look -- girl? That -- thing's not a girl, Taxes! You heard what it said -- you know what it is--"

"What? She looks like a girl to me, Band. And a young one, too. You gonna keep her in there another four days?"

"It's a fucking Agent! It tried to kill Recoil!"

"I know, Band. I was there. . . . We all have a pretty hard time when we wake up that first time. Hell, you know that. I don't think we should hold anyone responsible for what they do in those first few moments. Your world goes upside-down, you act crazy. Makes perfect sense."

"But Recoil--"

"He's fine. Got a few marks on his neck, that's all. She's a little thing. Just woke up, no muscle strength yet. He was never in any danger."

"It's a fucking Machine, man! You think that's a girl in there? A Human? Hell, it killed that girl! It--it fuckin' overwrote her -- deleted her! A kid! It's the damned Invasion of the Body Snatchers!"

". . . I don't see any aliens in there, Band. I see a Human. I don't care what she says, I don't care what you say -- that's a person in there, and I'm with the captain. You need to let her out."

". . . You looked in there, Taxes? That thing doesn't even know how to live. Threw up the first time it tried to eat, like it couldn't handle it -- and, you know what, that scared it -- you could see it in its eyes. Never had that happen before, I betcha. Never been sick before, in its perfect little world--"

"Band . . ."

"And--and it didn't even know what that bucket we put in there was for! It peed on itself, Taxes! And--"

"Band."

". . ."

"I don't care what you think she is. I don't care what she thinks she is. There's nothing Machine in there. Just Human. And if she was an . . . Agent, well, she's lost more than one world in the past few days. And we all know what just losing the one feels like."

". . . Damn, Taxes . . ."

"Give her some space. Give her some dignity, Band. Let her out. Death's orders."

*a sigh* ". . . And we can always count on Death, huh?"

"Death . . . and Taxes."

". . . Old joke, man. Old joke. You two have been together too long . . ."

*a chuckle* "I know. Will you let the kid out now?"

". . . Yeah. If it's orders. But I'm not going to be held responsible for anything--"

"Of course. . . . She said her name was Heyward, right?"

". . . Agent Heyward."

"Give it a rest, Band." *voice's volume raises, calling* "Heyward? We're going to let you out now . . ."

*end*

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