|Harlow, Lish and Nielthunn Again
||[Mar. 8th, 2006|10:45 pm]
His feet make tapping noises on the metal ground as he closes the distance between himself and the temporary deputy and the girl he thought ... knew to be dead, and yet somehow lived. Nodding to the man with the dark skin, Nielthunn Zagy exchanges glances with Elishel once more, and addresses them.
"Hey,” he begins to say. “Any trouble?"
The man calling himself “Harlow” shakes his head. “Only the morbidly curious and the depraved,” he replies. “They don’t heed to my authority very well, but I’ve kept them back. Or, I’ve kept them back as best that I can manage” He motions to the small circle of onlookers around them, and gives Neil a grim expression. It’s hard to tell if the man looks anything other than grim and serious.
Lish, meanwhile, stared at Niel, holding herself with both arms with all the look of a frightened animal once again. She stood stock still, neither moving away nor approaching, trying to remember where she had last seen him.
"Good," replies Niel, looking to Harlow. A quick display of his polyetherene sheath tells a number of the onlookers that there are other things to be interested in. "Pass me that paper I gave you. The deputization notice."
Harlow does so with little fuss, handing the paper back. Looking to Lish briefly, and frowning as if wishing to be somewhere else, he hesitated a moment, before replying, “I’d ask permission from you to leave, but it looks like the girl wants your company.” And then moving closer, Harlow continues, whispering. “Careful - she doesn’t seem to remember much. Seems like the memory comes in flashes, like heat lightning. You might want to find somewhere private, unbugged.”
"Not my choice," Nielthunn replied, moving away. The OISer's voice was dull, hard in response. "I've been assigned to another action. Top priority. I can't stay."
Niel looks the deputization over quickly, then tears off a third on a neat dotted line. It's quickly pocketed with the "for our records" practice of seven years, and then Niel turns to Lish again.
"Lish. Come here."
Harlow looked as if to say something, but stopped himself, watching Lish as she walked over to Niel. She moved slowly, timidly, like a child afraid of being punished for a wrongdoing, and as she came closer she made no reply, as if struck mute, listening with open ears for what Niel would say.
The man of the OIS took a deep breath, looking to the dead woman and pointing to a line on the paper. A string of numerals. "This is my ID number, Lish. Every Security worker has one. You, or him, can send a message to me from any station." He pauses, a sharp intake of breath passing through his teeth, and then continues. "I can't stay. I have to go."
The deceased Elishel Lotely looked over the ID number on the paper, looked at it carefully, as if scrutinizing it for something deeper, something she that she might be missing. As Niel spoke, she turned up from the letter, staring at him once more, breathing air in and out her decayed lungs, out of habit from the life she once lived. Her tongue moving around in her mouth, as if rediscovering the intricaties of oral communication she asked softly, “Where will you be...” before cutting herself off and saying no more.
All Niel could do at that moment, was say, "I'm sorry," and look away from her.
After a second, he turned to 'Harlow', adding, "If you don't like Machines you may want to leave now." A glance to an artificial sky. "Domedrop. You can almost see them now. Two Forensics and a Drone, if I'm not mistaken."
“We were just leaving,” Harlow prompts, and without saying goodbye, the dark-skinned man tugs at the sleeve of the dead woman, leading her away.
And as they go, Lish looks back at Niel. She looks back, and holds out her arm, reaching out to him, trying to snatch back the one thing she remembers still from a life long gone.
Niel doesn't see it. He's already looking away.
With the dead girl at my side and the strange business concluded with the OISer, I walked her away, away from the worker machines to find somewhere to stay, preferably without the optical spy cameras focusing on me while I pee. On a whim, I look back at the grey, mechanized things that have landed, one of them long and skinny, towering over the other two, which are black and go across the ground without legs. Briefly, I watch the spindly gray thing conversing with Niel in robotic formality, while the other two close in on the dead Gayue body and... and...
I can’t watch. The machines look like they’re eating the dead body whole.