Defense Authority

Defense Authority

Stephen was beginning to walk upright. The notes in his chart were vague, though anyone in a Decommissioning Ward knew the signs of a Zom’b. No one thought it odd that there wasn’t a transfer order from the Defensive Authority to the Civilian. People in the Ward stopped asking questions long before or – perhaps more clearly – those who remained there for any length of time found ways to address curiosity … addictive personalities usually sought numbing, financially strapped employees rationalised not seeing what they ‘saw,’ and others just did what needed doing …

In one random moment of recognition, one of the orderlies recognised a physical similarity with Stephen and another patient from the Zone. Recognition, however, did not translate into interest. All it meant was that at one moment, during some non-descript day, someone said something to Stephen like, “Your kin is okay son …”

And that’s when Stephen started to awaken. No one ever has – well, that is documented – awoken from the Decommissioning. Even less clear is that if anyone has, whether or not they were allowed to or whether they let anyone know. Whatever the truth was in a place like the Ward, Stephen knew that drooling and dragging his feet Zom’b style was what he had to do … for now.

Decommissioning Ward

Decommissioning Ward

He hated the sanitised antiseptic smell that pervaded the Ward. The cleansed surfaces sometimes reflected light too sharply and the first time one of the ‘bots cleansed him he was certain that the charade could not go on … but then he remembered the voice. Not the orderlies – though he was grateful to have been drawn from the fugue by knowing his kin was no worse – but the one that spoke to him during his interrogation with the Delver in Isolation.

He was breaking in Isolation. Of course – he was remembering this more clearly – he had done nothing to warrant Isolation. That didn’t matter. They would learn he had been innocent … hell of a lot of good that would do him. Isolation and Decommissioning might be different processes, but the result was the same: the Ward. Of course nothing was ever proven that there was a connexion. But the peace mantra was enough to pacify the middle class and those who were not pacified, well they stood out enough to eventually be Isolated.

Stephen, however, at the height of the violation of Isolation knew to his core that he had not been Compromised. As the Delver also noted this revelation, his mind began to fragment … all thanks to the interrogation Stephen swore to himself. So, living the ruse in the Ward, he dragged his feet and made water in public to make sure he was an ideal Zom’b until the right moment.

Civilian Authority

Civilian Authority

Playing the part, however, was becoming more difficult. A week or so after he began to awaken, he finally remembered what had stopped the fragmentation. In the shared epiphany between himself and the Delver, as sanity receded much too quickly, he heard his name and felt his essence held in an embrace that his normal cynical barrier would have dismissed … but this was not a tabloid-story and he knew it …

“Stephen, breathe deeply and feel the Light that you are. You have been avoiding and hiding and that’s okay. You might have done it longer, perhaps never had to dig to hold on, but the Universe unfolds and now you have a choice. The Way is before you and should you choose to begin the journey, you will awaken – of this I am certain. I am also equally confident that – at this very moment – you must choose that which you have avoided. The Isolation is about to Compromise your very being … so, slumber or awaken, choice is now unavoidable …”

As the ‘bot cleansed and redressed him in the openness of the Ward, as he stood naked to the world in all appearance a Zom’b, Stephen had chosen and now he waited once more for the voice …

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