Comic 327 - Walk into the dark

Posted on 4th Sep 2017, 4:44 PM in Unfathomable Hate
Walk into the dark

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 4th Sep 2017, 4:44 PM edit delete
You take a deep breath... you pull out the lighter... and you walk into the dark.

Like the toy store, the darkness seems to stretch on forever. Your lighter casts no glow upon the walls or floor--everything is just... black. It's like you're the only thing here.

After what feels like many minutes, you begin to see more of the brown, bloody lumps. One, after another, they seem to form a trail that you follow.

"How long?," Michelle asks as she goes to light a cigarette.

"If you take care of yourself," Vasquez starts, snatching the cigarette out of her mouth, "...ten years."

"Ten years from now, or--"

"Ten years," he repeats.

Michelle glances aside, staring off into the nothing. Her gaze roams, as though she's looking for something, but can't find it. "Why?," she finally asks.

"I dunno," Vasquez says bluntly. "'Cuz you're a genetic sprint, not a marathon? 'Cuz super strength has a cost? 'Cuz most tube cops die in the line of duty, so it never comes up? 'Cuz the cats that grow you guys want more money? It's like cars, y'know? They're makin' the parts so you can't fix 'em anymore, they want you to replace the whole engine--"

"BUT I'M NOT A FUCKING CAR!," Michelle screams, her voice echoing across the dark. "I'm a human being!"

"Are you?" His response is cold, calm. It stuns Michelle, her eyes wide. Vasquez takes a long, slow drag of his cigarette. "Who're your parents, Michelle? What was your childhood like? What's your favorite song?"

He lets the pause hang for a moment before he continues.

"You're not gonna take out a loan. You're not gonna vote. You're not gonna get married an' have kids. You're not gonna start a garden, or chisel, or whatever wacky shit you're tryin' out this week. I don't get my rocks off on tellin' ya what ya can't do, Michelle, I just want you to get it. You didn't come outta the tube knowin' how to carve or draw, I was surprised you came outta the tube even knowin' how to read. You shoot people, and you make arrests. That's you. That's what you do. A team of eggheads somewhere tossed good money an' time into puttin' your DNA together, into hand pickin' experiences from field combat and military actions and all that other junk, into makin' you good at what you do.

But that is... what you do.

And one of the things you do--all tube cops, far as I know--is break down at a certain age. Cells start dyin', skin falls apart or somethin', I dunno. I'm just a cop, right? So are you. We're just... cops. You more than me, even. So quit... quit foolin' yourself. Tube cops don't get old. You be a cop and then you die. If you're lucky, you die to a bullet or a bomb or somethin'. Not 'cuz your designers figured bein' predisposed to lung cancer was a small price to pay for another inch on your biceps. Or, 'cuz they stamped you with an expiration date just to make me buy another one.

Y'feel me? They weren't thinkin' about all the great things you could do in a wonderful human life. They were thinkin' about makin' you cop as hard as possible. I paid for your contract because of that. And at the end of the day, Michelle... even if you quit, even if you walk out that door right now, that contract is still in my name. Ain't a single place in this city gonna risk a lawsuit employin' you. You're a cop."

There's a long silence.

"Lemme guess," Michelle finally speaks, quietly. "My contract is for ten years."

"You're damn right it is."

Michelle turns. She doesn't lash out, she doesn't scream at him, she doesn't say anything further... but the way she storms off, the tension in her face, her clenched fists, they say everything. She marches off toward the locker room to go play with her digital pet.

Michelle and Vasquez fade from sight.


Someoneyoudontknow 4th Sep 2017, 5:18 PM edit delete reply
You made a mouth grow out of your arm, what is a mere cancer in front of your powers.

Guess its time to wake up, unless there is more deeper in the darkness.
rufiangel 4th Sep 2017, 5:19 PM edit delete reply

Actually that'd be awesome, if our blood had the power to extend life like that >_> I wonder.
rufiangel 4th Sep 2017, 5:18 PM edit delete reply
You see my heart shattered into pieces here, MM? SHATTERED LIKE MICHELLE'S DIGITAL PET TOY?? ;_________;

Okay, let's take a deep breath. This is Michelle's secret, and it is the saddest thing, I just...

... I have no words. Not now, anyway. Just tears. Loads of tears.

If there's nothing more to this darkness, it's time to wake up.

And give Michelle a mighty hug, a birb and basically the knowledge that she isn't just a lump of meat to us. Not ever.

(Seriously, to see those lumps grow into Michelle just gave me the CHILLS. T____T Gosh dangit, MM.)
Mochi 4th Sep 2017, 5:21 PM edit delete reply
we need to get her to quit smoking again.

we want our michelle to be around as long as possible.

fuck, i'm ready to wake up now.
rufiangel 4th Sep 2017, 5:25 PM edit delete reply
I think the smoking thing, we can leave it up to Michelle to decide for herself. It's something Vasquez forced her to quit because she's a 'product' with an expiry date so I feel like suggesting she quit to extend her life wouldn't have the best associative memories for her; maybe it's better for Michelle to be the one to decide whether she should keep smoking or not? (And we kind of gave her a cigarette in the first place XD we bad girl)
Mochi 4th Sep 2017, 5:32 PM edit delete reply
see, the difference is vazquez made her quit so he could get his money's worth. we'd want her to quit because we actually care about her.
rufiangel 4th Sep 2017, 5:43 PM edit delete reply
This is true. It's all in the wording. :P

But I still think ideally Michelle would be the one to want to quit. (We could give her doe-eyes every time she lights up XD)
Kitty 4th Sep 2017, 5:52 PM edit delete reply
We could also basically use our blood as a nicotine patch :P to reduce cravings gradually. And give her lollipops or gum to satisfy the hand-to-mouth-when-needing-comfort urge.

If we go about it in a way that shows we are offering help instead of giving her a command, I feel like that will help. And show that we want to help her stick around because we like her, and we're gonna do everything in our power to make that happen.
Mochi 4th Sep 2017, 5:18 PM edit delete reply
jesus christ.
Wing Eye 4th Sep 2017, 5:42 PM edit delete reply
Wing Eye
Ow... my emotions...

I hate to ask but we need to know, how old is Michelle? How long does she have left?
Crestlinger 4th Sep 2017, 5:59 PM edit delete reply
Wonder if Caius has the same deal? Probably. Ah well that blood in the basement probably could do with getting out once in a while and better two heads than none.
Kitty 4th Sep 2017, 6:17 PM edit delete reply
Michelle ;_;

Time to wake up and give her a hug and a birb. We should be able to basically pre-load the birb with the things that it would learn over time (where it is okay to poop and where it is not okay, the fact that Michelle is nice and good and will give food and pets, how to step onto an arm from a perch when someone holds an arm out and says "up," that sort of thing) so it can start being a nice companion right away. Unless she wants the experience of training it, but that might not really be practical at the moment.

And so many hugs and reassurances.
Kitty 4th Sep 2017, 6:24 PM edit delete reply
Actually we should probably give ALL the birds that training, so they will all be easier to work with. And then she can pick one to keep as her buddy, and take care of the other two when they're not working, as well.
rufiangel 4th Sep 2017, 6:23 PM edit delete reply
(It just occurred to me by waking up and hugging Michelle in a sobbing mess, Fuse and Caius are gonna be like 'Okay, guess who we're NEVER letting inside our head in a force-sync' XD oh vey)
WalkerOfSorrow 4th Sep 2017, 6:29 PM edit delete reply
Yeah...they're not going to feel great about this if we come out traumatized.
Baeronius 4th Sep 2017, 6:44 PM edit delete reply
It's crude, but it also feels like a form of alienated kindness. Like he doesn't know how to say things other than brutally directly.
I've known some people who will tell you brute things to your face, simply because they don't want to lie to you.
Telling her she has 10 years to live, instead of allowing her ignorance of this fits in that groove.

Both special needs and traumatized individuals can express this behavior. So if he was heavily traumatized, this may just be his way of grinding her face down, so she doesn't have to hit a cliff all at once, possibly like he did. It's horrible, but sometimes you have to wonder what the worst option would really have been.
If someone else had been the first to say these things to her, would she have lashed out, and in turn be executed? Did the things he says actually prolong her life because of the circumstances of her existence?
2FABZ 4th Sep 2017, 7:18 PM edit delete reply