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In Endless Times

“You know… Most of your species would be on their knees in prayer right about now.” The man said as he took a seat in the bunk across from me.

“They think there is a god to hear them. I know there isn’t.” I replied.

“Hmm, I suppose. Still, even if there weren’t you’d think you’d want to hedge your bets before the end, right?” He asked.

“A god that would allow me to hedge my bets isn’t worth praying to.” I said.

“I see your point.” He said.

I want to ask him why he’s here, what he wants. I don’t. He will either tell me or he doesn’t want me to know. If the former then he simply needs to get around to it, if the latter then I can’t force it out of him.

“He was right. You do have a beautiful mind.” The man observed.

My eyes locked on the man’s face. It was concerning that he’d know that much about my recent life. Even the prosecutors of my trial hadn’t been so well informed. “Was he? I had thought that was merely a manipulation.”

“You let him manipulate you. Why?” He asked.

I shrugged. “I was hurt… Broken. I didn’t mind striking back at those who caused me pain. Besides it was… Amusing to see someone convince themselves that they were in control of me just because I didn’t disagree with them.”

“Did you know that the common theory was that you were scapegoated? It seems people are rather convinced that he must have come up with everything himself and just told people you’d developed it.” He watched, looking for a reaction.

Pride is a difficult thing to swallow. That people would honestly believe my intellect to be lesser than that moron’s galled me. Still, they didn’t exactly matter to me. My work had cut a bloody path across three continents. If I was fine with their deaths I could hardly complain of their idiocy.

“No.” Was all I said out loud.

He didn’t say anything for the next few moments, just watched me. I simply kept my breath even and tried to continue my meditation. Clearing my mind was impossible. I’d learned that long ago. Instead I simply allowed the constant flow of thoughts to wash over me.

“I’d like to give you another chance,” He said. “Another universe, some resources. I’d like to see what you can build.”

I raised an eyebrow. “That’s quite an offer.” I mulled it over. Questions like his ability to deliver were immaterial. He had somehow transported into an isolation cell in a high security women’s prison. Resources far beyond what I was used to were a certainty. Lying was also immaterial, he was either telling the truth and I had something to gain or he was not and I had nothing to lose. Instead the more fundamental question was whether or not I should take such a chance at all.

I could hardly argue that my present circumstance and coming execution were anything other than just recompense for my actions. But they were so because I had denied the common order of this world in the first place. Simply lying down to die for the peace of mind of those I hated made no sense.

While I may have been a monster, I was the monster they’d made. The karma of their ignorance and hatred consolidated in a single being that happened across the means of striking back. Would they truly learn if they felt the matter concluded? Would they think, change, and correct themselves if they believed justice had brought the matter to conclusion?

For better or worse I’d walked this road. I would not see it end now if I could help it. Let them hurt, perhaps they will eventually learn.

“I accept,” I told him with a nod.

“Excellent.” He replied. A pad of paper and a pen appeared on the bunk next to me. “I’ll let you leave one last message.”

————————————————————

Cynthia Reynolds sat down to check her email. Covering the recent trials had been tasking. There was something fundamentally draining about dealing with fanatics. They had their beliefs and they stuck to them no matter what and in the face of all evidence. Still, they usually liked to talk. It irked her that her articles had a single noticeable hole in their coverage.

She raised an eyebrow as she realized that one had been forwarded to her from an anonymous drop email. Such things were typically thought impossible, but more than a few cryptography experts had bent their mind to the problem. With enough data points to cross-reference they could still be broken, but her sources were very careful to use it as rarely as possible.

The body of the text said little, simply directing her to the attachment. With her laptop’s out of date capabilities it took a moment to load the image file, but once she did she almost dropped the pen she’d had in her teeth.

It took her almost half an hour to read the entire document. The logic was labyrinthine but followed from one point to the next building its case like the trial lawyers she’d been listening to for the last three weeks. Each point held alone and proven in isolation, then smaller groups brought together and interconnected.

A chill ran up her spine as parts of it had her nodding in agreement. Something written by a woman compared to Himmler shouldn’t make so much sense. But she did… Awful, horrible, bone chilling sense that made her nauseous as a matter of course. She barely noticed when her husband entered the room.

“Cyn? What’s wrong?” He asked as he noticed how pale she was.

The woman took a moment before answering. “I… I’ve been dealing with these fanatics for so long I forgot.”

“Forgot what?” He asked resting a comforting arm around her shoulder.

“Fanatics make it so easy to spot it. So easy to sit down and say this is us and that’s them. We’re good, they’re evil.” She said.

“Well, from what you’ve been telling me it is pretty clear that these wackos are evil.” He replied.

“Yeah, I know. That’s why I forgot. It was so easy to forget… Evil doesn’t have to be obvious, doesn’t have to be insane.” She shook her head. “Sometimes evil people make themselves sound so reasonable. Like it was all so obvious and the rest of us just haven’t figured it out yet.”

“This.” She said pointing to the document on her screen. “This is evil.”

He nodded and held her tighter. “Well, it’s not much but it’s not like she can hide forever. They’ll catch her eventually and when they do she’ll burn with the rest of the heretics.”

She gave him a slight smile. “Yeah… Yeah you’re right. Someday she’ll burn.”

“Great, now what do you say we go catch a movie? Something to cheer you up.” He smiles and gently drags her towards the door.

“Sounds great.” She answered and followed along with a light chuckle.

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