A Meeting of Minds
BACKGROUND NOISE: General cafe noise. Busy road. Occasionally aeroplanes fly over-head. TV on the background, news report. Sudden noise of crashing tables, screams, general confusion.
NV204(very hoarse): Miranda.
Miranda: Jesus. SOMEONE CALL AN AMBULANCE…What happened?…
NV204: Long story. Ow! That hurts.
Miranda: Sorry. Is that better?
Miranda: I guess not. DID SOMEONE CALL AN AMBULANCE?
Australian Male: Yeah. They’re on their way.
NV204: Would you mind not shouting, my ears hurt.
Miranda(Whisper): Sure thing. You want to tell me what happened?
NV204: Oh fucking hell!!!
Miranda: I think your finger is broken.
NV204: No fucking kidding Really? Oh…Oh…damn… and a couple of ribs.
Miranda: Some of this…Your injuries…they’re a few days old.
NV204: Yeah I know.
Miranda: What the hell is going on? You look like you’ve been tortured.
NV204: Help me up. I gotta go.
Miranda: Shut up. Sit still. SOMEONE BRING ME SOME WATER!
NV204: Ow! My Ears! I shouldn’t come here.
Miranda: The ambulance will be here soon. RIGHT?
Australian Male: The operator says they are just around the corner.
NV204: Ambulance? Don’t want an ambulance.
Miranda: Listen to me you’re not making any sense.
BACKGROUND NOISE: Someone brings some water.
Miranda: Sit still and drink this. Thanks Mike. That’s it…Just sips.
Stop. That’s the last thing I remember.
-We know. Why did you go to the cafe?
I don’t remember. You can tell from the transcript I was delirious.
-Why not the safe house?
What? The place was ransacked and the backup was over two miles away. Besides, I wasn’t thinking straight.
-So it would appear. NV204.
I’d prefer it if you called me by my real name.
-NV204. You say you then woke up another two days later in Charring Cross hospital, reports indicate that you had suffered extensive injuries over a week long period, a couple broken bones, severe bruising and lacerations, and you were extremely dehydrated.
You checked the records. So yeah.
-Yes we did check the records and they confirmed your story…
-Yes. Your story. We have a report you filed marked NV204TX/2203, you say you immediately filed this report after the alleged incident involving council inquisitors.
-Yes alleged. We found no evidence of this ITD unit at the location you specified.
Yeah well you fellas are meticulous. I’ll give you that.
-NV204. This is a fair and unbiased review of your allegations of council abuse and the events that led up to the murder of Miranda Kieslowski. I just want to understand what happened.
Ha. You know who you’re working for?
-NV204 I will not get into social-economic principles that are the foundation of our society,
Your society, chump. Not mine.
-…but you know the laws regarding employer/employee relations pursuant to criminal investigations. You know you’re not helping your case.
My case? Let me tell you about my case. I am a convicted criminal sent across three universes to hunt down and eliminate “terrorist” organisms that threaten the stability of our economy. I am currently serving three consecutive life sentences for possession, manufacture and distribution of unlicensed acoustic narcotics pursuant to the 1832 penal code of Tampa bay, Florida. As part of my “rehabilitation” I am required to perform certain duties to compensate the council for it’s loss of earnings plus interest of cause. As a result me and my DNA has been melted down, blasted through a microscopic wormhole and recombined with some local genetic material down here, on this Earth. Where I am supposed to not only track down these dangerous elements, gather Intel, and stop the end of time, I am also required to calmly sit down, ingest and chat with you – my parole officer. Who I might add, doesn’t even believe a fucking word I say. Listen you feel this? You know I believe this. You have my transcript. Just look up the torture. Poke around.
-I can’t do that.
-It’s not there.
What do you mean? It’s not fucking there? Everything’s there. Every conversation, every crap, everything I have ever experienced is in there.
-It’s not foolproof. It can be tampered with.
-The hospital. It’s the only thing that makes sense. The human mind is a strange and perilous storage device. From time to time there are gaps in the transcript, but there are always fragments. In your case two big black holes. One around the time you say you were being tortured…
I was tortured.
-and the other…
When I was in the hospital.
-When you were in the hospital. Where does this Miranda Kieslowski Work?
In the hospital.
-and your assigned target was?
Miranda Kieslowski. Listen, the board fucked up. She didn’t have anything to do with anything. She’s a fucking innocent.
-All indicators pointed to Ms Kieslowski being the access point to the group, if not the leader.
That’s rubbish. She was just a girl.
-A girl with whom you had sexual relations. A girl known to the council as harbouring known terrorists.
Our terrorists, not theirs. No-one here knows what we’re up to. Hell I don’t know what we’re really up to. Miranda knew nothing. Period. She didn’t know anything and I found no evidence of any terrorist involvement. No Sleepwalking, No excessive consumption of water, no mucus discharge, no unusual activities…she was just a normal girl.
-Whist romancing the target did you investigate her associates? Her family? Her friends?
Yeah I already told you. Nothing.
-What about her husband?
She wasn’t married.
-She told you this? She shared an apartment with a Jack O’Neil?
That’s her flatmate. A little weird…
-Her husband. We checked the records. We always check the records. She married two years ago and has been living with him ever since. Kept her maiden name though. The records suggest a green card arrangement, but nothing was ever proven.
-Accept the truth! Miranda Kieslowski is dead. You’re in line for her murder and more importantly you are no closer to the terrorist cell. In fact you’ve probably blown the best chance we had of breaking this group. My guess is these inquisitors were in fact the cell in question, trying to figure you out.
No way. Then who killed them?
-I don’t know yet.
You, my friend, are talking shit.
-NV204, I am not your problem. I believe you, but the council isn’t so sure. I have to say that from the council’s point of view this whole situation…your situation looks…well…compromised…It looks like you have switched sides.
Well Fuck them! I’m tired of their bullshit.
-You don’t get it. You are a couple of clicks away from liquidation. Permanent liquidation.
It’s more than they dare. Financially it doesn’t make sense.
-It does if they shift your sentence to your children.
I don’t have any children.
-Yes you do. You have a little girl. She’s three. Your wife didn’t want us to tell you.
Ex wife. She wouldn’t. You’re fucking with me now.
-No. The genetic match is right. She tried to pass her off as someone else’s, but everything’s connected. It didn’t take long, or a lot of money to get the reports.
Motherfuckers! Stupid bitch! I told Fucking told her! Oh God! I’m a fucking idiot! Fuck!
Fuck you! Damn. No. It’s not true. What’s her name?
Jesus. You bastards.
- I am truly sorry. She’s cute as a button, so they tell me. Blonde like her mother, strong like her Father.
Oh you fuckers. I’m so fucked. So very fucked. Krystine.
So Miranda was involved with this cell?
-Yes. There is no mistake. She is…or was…I’m sorry.
And I missed it?
Then I’m totally fucked.
-Not totally. I’ve been sent here to assist you in your investigations.
-Yes I’m here to help. You did request backup and your injuries prove that despite your lack of objectivity you were close to the cell. Clearly you were getting too close. You’ve had some experience with our species before?
Yeah. Knew a man once. Lived with one of your kind for twenty years.
-Then you are well aware of the benefits of this kind of symbiosis.
Yeah it cured his cancer, but I could never figure out if I was talking to him or the squid. The sleepwalking used to freak me out. I’d get up in the middle of the night for a piss or something and he’d be standing there in the hallway or by the window…always somewhere really weird…obviously it wasn’t really him standing there…surprising really how little sleep the body needs really.
-Sleep is not just for the body.
One day I woke up and he…this bloke was standing over me… The man’s body was a motionless as a statue…just staring at me…mouth wide open, squid hanging almost all the way out I swear it was stretching…
Then it turned and I swear it, the squid looked me right in the eye and smiled. Climbed back into the man’s mouth and like an automaton the man just walked out of the room.
-Some of my kind are…shall we say unenlightened.
To say the least.
-What happened to your friend?
His squid outgrew him. Literally. Split him open like a ripe melon. He was a good man. I think.
-You were close?
Not really…He was my Father.
-I’m sorry. What happened to the Symbiote?
Don’t know. When I found my Father, it had gone. Found another host or swam off down the toilet, I don’t know. I was eight years old. Put a downer on my vacation… So you’ll excuse me if I’m a little mistrusting.
-I can see your point of view. Trust is a hard thing to come by these days.
How can you see my point of view – you don’t even have eyes?
-I don’t need eyes to see.
So… What the fuck are you here for?
-I told you – I am here to assist you.
What’s the real reason? What did they get you for?
-Illegal Cable hookup.
-No. I’m kidding. I’m a political, a convicted Terrorist. I have my own debts to pay.