Serial Saturday: The Stolen Man Episode 6-3

The Stolen Man, Victory Episode 6-3

(S.M. Table of Contents)

Your knees buckle and you fall back against Six’s desk…against your desk.  She’s right.  You know she is and yet, it doesn’t make any sense.  Six is still standing their with his irritating smug smile…Your smug smile.   You look at him and then back at Lorelei who is standing, smiling her own strangely disquieting smile, but looking only at you.

You try to interrogate her, but all that comes out is,  “I don’t understand.”

“It’s all you darling, six of one, half dozen of the other, it’s all you.”

“Is he…”  You indicate Six, who you realize is now silent and unmoving, frozen in place as if awaiting your verdict.

“There’ s no one there.  As near as Dan and I can figure it happened when you hooked yourself up to the machine.  to your machine.  You wanted to forget, but even then, even under the machine your un-forgetting brain refused to let it go, at least completely.  It split you, into a remembering you, whom you called Dr. Sexton, and the part of you that was willing to forget, Troy.   But even as Troy you kept trying to get back to Dr. Sexton. “

You feel as if the whole world is just out of the corner of your eye, your entire history on the tip of your tongue, at the edge of your remembering, just waiting for you to catch it.

You sit down on the desk.  She’s completely right.  “Even the part of me that wanted to forget as has done nothing but try to remember ever since.”

“You remember then?”

“No…yes…Well it’s coming.”

The visions are back, but you welcome them now, embracing, rather than fighting, and they feel friendly, full of context now, removed from the nightmare of amnesia.  It’s still like watching a half familiar movie, remembering only as you see it, but it is at least half familiar now.  There was no one else. Just you, sitting in the chair, weeping only to yourself, pushing the button yourself.  The “why” still eludes you, but it was definitely you, making yourself forget.

But there was someone else there…Not Six.  You are Six.  That is certain now, You’ve always been Six…but Seven.  He WAS there.  But who is he?

“Who is Seven?”

Lorelei looks surprised.  “No idea.  Never heard of him until you started mentioning him in the last day.  Does he actually exist?”

Does he?  Dan brought him to you in the glass cage, right?  Dan, who’s Dan?  and Lorelei, why do you know her?  Panic is starting to rise in your chest.  You take a deep breath.

“Ok Lorie.  Let me walk through this with you and you can confirm or deny, and I’ll be able to tell by your truthfulness or not, if I’m right.”

“Well, Einstein that was a bit much for me, but if it helps, I’ll hang out while you talk.  I’ve heard you like to think out loud.”

“Right.  So for one thing you and I, we know each other but not well, right?”

“Not as well as I’d like Moneybags.”

“You worked for me?”  You are surprised at the realization.

“Only just started actually.  Been receiving orders from you/Six for the last week or so.  Still work for you I suppose, so talk away.”

“Ok.  1) I am Troy and I am Six.”

“I was telling the truth before when I said I’d never known you as Troy, but yes definitely Six.”

“2) I’m not the big Boss here, but I do work here at Sunnyvale.  I am an interrogator with a special ability to detect lies.”

Lorelei nods but you didn’t really need confirmation on that one.  You do remember enough of that to be sure.

“3)Helen is my wife and knows next to nothing about my real job.”

Lorelei merely shrugs, but again you know this one.

“My job…That’s a bit sketchy.”

“That’s one way to say it sweetheart.”

You glare at Lorelei, “I mean my memory is a bit in pieces here, so I might need your help a bit here.  Sunnyvale…What do we actually do?  We are an extremely secret private organization, but we’ve done lots of good work…keeping people safe, uncovering hidden enemies for the government, exposing criminals.”

“Well, yeah, I gather we do some of that.”

“It’s in that context I interrogate, but there’s more isn’t there…the machine.”

Lorelei nods, “The Diamond Machine.”

“I created it didn’t I?”

Lorelei smiles and nods.

“Is it a lie detector?  Something to enhance my own abilities?  No, that’s not quite it.”

You close your eyes trying to think.  There was something else about your job.  Not just uncovering things, but also covering them up.  Right, of course, if you could expose lies, then so could other people; but what if you could make a cover for someone so thorough that no one could ever expose it?   What if you could create in people the ability to fool not only you but anyone, any machine?

Witness Protection.

That was where it started.

Deep cover for cops and spies, that was where the real money began to come…but it was controversial, risky, even in this place…why?

You open your eyes suddenly, remembering what Dan had said, “We rewrote memories, we created lives.  The only way to completely sell a lie is to completely believe it.  We gave people perfect cover, making them forget their old lives, and only remember the history we gave them.”

Lorelei giggles and claps her hands like a school girl (a murderous, sociopathic, assassin school girl), “Yeah, as I understand it you started by giving them triggers, key words, that would give them back their memories at the key moment, but ultimately ended up just programming them in such a way they would simply accomplish their mission and return here, all without knowing why…”

“Until we debriefed them with another trip through the machine…right. Did I do that to myself?  Is that why I ended up back here?  Was I only intending to forget temporarily?  But why?”

“I’ve no idea on that, handsome, but I wondered myself why you kept coming back here.”

“Ok, where were we?  I’m Troy and Six, I work here as an interrogator and providing deep cover for law enforcement, in the course of which I invented the Diamond Machine. Helen is my wife.  4) I love her.”

Lorelei looks surprised, but you continue.

“5) We had a son named Dan who disappeared somehow and I had my first breakdown at that time.  So it seems likely what I wanted to forget was in my personal life, not my work life.”

Lorelei frowns, starts to shake her head, then shrugs.

“Well, so that’s a maybe, not a known.  What else do I know? 6) Dan was my friend. 7) I wanted to forget, so I used the machine on myself.  Seven tried to stop me, maybe for the sake of the company, I don’t know.  Oh, and he told me something important, something that’s been at the back of my mind ever since, something I still don’t remember.”

That’s a pretty good list.  Talking it out seems to be helping too.  But there are definitely important questions left.

Why did you want to forget?

What did Seven want you to remember?

What happened to your Son?

“Why was Dan trying to kill you?”  Lorelei interrupts your thoughts.

“What?  Dan, no he was trying to help me.  In fact he said you were trying to kill me.”

“Nah.  I’ve been trying to protect you.  From him.”

“Why do you think he was trying to kill me?”

“You told me.”

(Next Episode)

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