Mar. 11th, 2007

[identity profile]
At home in Switzerland

Watching and remembering was good and necessary. He was good at that. He could do that well. But someone had to analyze and act or all those memories meant nothing. Someone had to do something with all that knowledge. Someone had to make choices. He'd always trusted that those above him would do the right thing. That they knew what they were doing. When he was a boy he'd questioned Andre about them and Andre had always reassured him by saying, "we are their eyes and ears, they are the brain, as long as we do our job right they will be able to do theirs". He had always done his job well.

Until now.

His pacing threatened to wear a hole through the floor of his lab. Too much was happening too fast. He didn't know what to do. He had to figure out what to do before... Too late. He could hear her footsteps coming down the stairs.

"When were you going to tell me?"

"Eventually... soon... when I knew..." his voice trailed off.

"You are poor liar, husband."

Ettienne slumped against the wall and slid to the floor, the stubs of his amputated wings digging into his back.

"I'm sorry."

"Ja, you should be." She crossed her arms and glared at the repentant man slumped on the floor at her feet. "Did you inform on us hunting?"

Alarmed Ettienne's head snapped to attention, "NO. No, I didn't... wouldn't... do that.. wasn't then... didn't.."

She softened slightly, "Heir Professeur?"

"yes", he answered so softly she could barely hear him before she launched into a stream of explitatives that hung in the air between them even after she stopped swearing.

"He said he was helping you," Ettienne whispered miserably.

She growled deep in her throat.

"They want me to go to the Oracle. To be initatied as a Controller."

"And what does that mean husband?"

"I don't know. They just said... It will be your decision." Ettienne shrugged helplessly, "Andre said the controllers analyse and act. They use the information we Watchers give them."

"All information?" Her tone changed but Ettienne didn't notice.

"I think so. That's what Andre said. I've never met one." Ettienne looked up into his wife's eyes, "I will refuse if you want me to. I'll even quit. Anything. I'm sorry."

"Shush." She kissed her husband's head and ran her fingers through his curls. "I forgive you. We will deal with this."

"What should I do?"

"Whatever is necessary to make a good world for our children. I will help you." She paused and looked him straight in the eyes, "but if you lie to me again I will gut you and make sausages from your entrails. Ja?"


Hotel Room - After the initiation (alone)

He felt different somehow. Like something small was missing. Staring blankly at the ceiling of his hotel room he couldn't remember what it might be. His initiation had gone well, or so he had been assured. It hadn't been what he had been expecting. It had been stranger.

He pushed himself up onto his elbows. He never had to report again. He never had to do anything again. There were no rules anymore. He was on his own. For now and ever. His to analyse and act. His to use and choose.

And he remembered things that he had never known.

He pulled himself to his feet. The world blurred in and out. Between dry heaves he saw the equations again. Leaning against the patio door frame he watched children in the park across the street. He didn't even notice that he hadn't put on his shirt. He didn't remember to care that all his secrets were on display as he watched the children play. Without even considering it he calculated the chance that they would be alive this time next year. Low probablility, large error bar, the worst case scenerio was not zero. That made him smile.

What had she said? What had his wife said? His job was to protect the children. To give them a good world to grow up in. That was his job. To protect them and be the father they had lost. In his mind his step sons' faces blurred with those of the boys outside his window. They were his responsibility. He couldn't fail them. With that thought consuming his mind he turned away from the window, drew the blinds, and settled himself into lotus postion in the half light. Time to start work.

By the time he finished his meditation he had examined and discarded a dozen simulations in favour of two. The first ensured at least partial success at low risk but that success would be fragile in the long term. The second was high risk which, if it succeeded, would result in a high degree of success that would be stable in the long term. But if it failed, there wouldn't be a future.

Ettienne made his decision and opened his eyes.

Picking up the hotel phone he dialed the first of many numbers.

A male voice answered, "Luigi's dry cleaning."

"I am looking for Antonio Micallinas," Ettienne responded.

"You found him."

"I speak for the Oracle."

"I'm all ears... I mean, I watch and remember."

Ettienne gave the man a few quick orders then hung up and dialled the next number.

It took him all night to finish his calls and by the next morning he had never been there.

May 2013


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