A Sum Of Memories


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Scene Title A Sum of Memories
Synopsis Some stories are told, other stories are written.
Date November 22, 2010

What we need from you is important…

What we need from you is important…

What we need from you is important…

CIA Headquarters

Langley, Virginia

January 3rd, 2009

"What we need you for is important."

The voice echoes, loudly, the resonant voice of General Sebastian Autumn thundering in the room. The bald old man stands with his hands folded behind his back, brows furrowed and bald head tipped towards towards the man seated in the metal chair ahead of him. "You're doing a great service to your country, soldier. A great service."

Behind the General, a darkly dressed figure in a wheelchair watches the preceedings, his salt and papper colored hair swept to one side, gray brows furrowed and coal-black eyes settled squarely on the muscled soldier seated in the metal folding chair of the tightly confined concrete room. Doctor Simon Broome is an observer to the proceedings, his unique assistance only needed when things are through.

"When we're done, you'll be a new man. A killing machine, and when we're done with that…" General Autumn furrows his brows, "you'll have your assignment. Whatever information we get from you, soldier, will be for the benefit of the country. You should be back with us in time for the fourth of July, son."

Autumn's hand claps down on the young soldier's shoulder. "I'm proud of you." Following on the heels of Autumn's words, the whirring electrical noise of Doctor Broome's wheelchair draws closer to where the soldier sits in his chair.

"Please step aside, General…" As Autumn steps away, Broome wheels in and the soldier looks up, brows furrowed, inspecting the old man with a thoughtful expression and a tilt of his head to the side. "I'm going to need you to look into my eyes," Simon explains, his pupils beginning to dilate, flickering red light starting to gutter behind his pupuls as they grow.

"Look deep into my eyes," the old man reiterates as he leans forward in his wheelchair, "and — "

The Commonwealth Institute

Cambridge, Massachusetts

November 22, 2010

A wheezing breath is sucked in sharply as his jaw parts and a wet breath is drawn in through tired lungs. It feels as though he's been holding his breath forever. But when he finally pulls his eyes away from the infinitely dark pits of Simon Broome's impossibly deep stare, Lieutenant Curtis Autumn finds his fingers curling tightly into the metal arms of his chair, back stiff and jaw rigid. His mind reels with a flood of memories washing against him like a sudden, crashing tide. Memories of his grandfather, General Sebastian Autumn, memories of the clandestine CIA project SOMNIS he had volunteered for.

Choking as if he'd been holding his breath for what seems like several minutes, Lieutenant Autumn is unaware of just how much time has passed. It only begins to dawn on him when he sees the cuts on his bare arms, arms cold from the chill of the concrete room he is in, dressed in a tanktop and camouflage pants, no shoes.

Simon Broome is a familiar face, and the weathered old Doctor sits in his wheelchair just as Lieutenant Autumn remembers.

But his grandfather is nowhere to be found.

Curtis blinks his eyes, slowly, the ticking of the clock within his mind sounding ever so slowly, a life time passing before his eyes, two of them actually, twisting and writhing within his brain, tangling and then untangling until he's not sure what is his and what isn't. It all whirls through his head, a tornadoe shredding what he thinks is reality into tiny little bits and pieces, until finally, it all settles back into place, his memories returning and taking their place, the old life pushed to the back of his mind. What a name: Ashley Williams. Who was the geek who thought up that one? Evil Dead, haha, very funny. His eyes open, and that breath is sucked in, those eyes flaring wide open as he takes in his surroundings.

His gaze darts wildly, an almost animal look in those eyes before they find the face of Simon Broome. A heavy exhale leaves him, his eyes closing, then opening again, breathing great gasps of air like a bellows, in and out, chest heaving before his pulse and breathing slowly start to come down from the state of trying to hammer thorugh hsi chest. He doesn't try to speak, just stares straight ahead at Broome as he processes … everything… that has happened to him, running through his memories as Ash, what he did while in that deep cover.

Eyes flicker lightly, closing one more time before opening, sanity, and understanding in the soldier's eyes as his head turns, regarding the room around him with a cool gaze.

"Take it easy," Simon urges, wheeling himself back in his chair just out of arm's reach, just out of reflexive reach at the least. He trusts Curtis to otherwise behave. "There have been some, ah, unfortunate circumstances surrounding your deployment, Lieutenant Autumn." Simon's dark brows furrow together, lips sag in a frown. "We lost track of you when an attack happened on the Moab Federal Penitentiary in April…"

Simon's dark eyes flick down to his lap, then back up to Curtis. "April of last year," is a somber clarification. "It will take some time for the implanted memories and your original consciousness to come to terms with one another, but…" Simon's voice takes on a hopeful tone. "How do you feel?"

Curtis lets his gaze wander up to the cieling, and along the walls before going down to the floor, meandering about, studying intently his surroundings. When he hears that voice his eyes snap upwards, levelling on Broome. His lips remain closed at first, listening to the older man speak as he adjusts. His fingers curl and flex against the metal arm of the chair testing his strength a bit before those hands settle on his thighs, the soldier going somewhat still.

"I remember bits and pieces of what has happened." He offers in a soft voice and tone. "I feel… disconnected." His voice remaining soft spoken, none of the heat and fire it's grown accustomed to in the past year and a half or so. His shoulders lift, rolling, back flexing, all of him going rigid for a few seconds before relaxing.

Curtis tilts his head to either side, popping his neck, then pauses, his lips dropping into a frown. "That's not something I do." He murmurs softly, reaching a hand up to rub his fingers against his neck a few times, the soft rasp of skin on skin heard before his hand settles around the back of his neck. "Where am I?" His voice questions at Broome in that same tone. Legs flexing a touch before he tries to stand if he's able.

"You're in a secure facility for the Institute in Cambridge. Construction was completed while you were on extended assignment." Simon's voice tightens some, brows furrow and his head tilts to look towards a mirrored window in the concrete room, then back to Curtis. "I'm sorry that what happened, happened the way it did. We couldn't help it, though. By the time we found out where you were… you were already in deep with Adam Monroe's gang."

Simon's chin tilts down, brows furrow, "We couldn't risk exposing ourselves then, especially with the limited resources we had at the time." Wheeling back over to Curtis, Simon's chair whirrs softly, then comes to a slow stop. "When we finally located you again, during the storm…"

The old man's brows furrow together, lips curl and a look of disappointment crosses his face. "We underestimated the connections you had made in your time on the inside. Risking sending more good men after you, proved to be… an untenable situation."

He breathes in, breathes out, breathes in, breathes out, the steady cadence of his breathing helping Curtis to calm his mind and keep it calm as he listens to Simon Broome. Curtis leans forwards, his legs pushing as he rises from his chair. He turns, and walks, a bit stiffly, towards the mirrored wall. "Why the mirror? Afraid you wouldn't be able to restore me to me? That I'd attack whoever is behind it?" He asks over his shoulder in a very casual sounding tone as he stands at attention in front of the mirror, peering at it as if he can see through it to the people beyond. Nostrils flare as he inhales, then turns his back upon the mirror.

His eyes wander a bit again as he sifts through the memories of a made up man, or at least, he thinks it's a made up man. "Who was Ashley Williams?" He asks, his head turning and his eyes focusing on Simon once more. "I'd just like to know who's life I was living. Was he real? Or was he made up just for me? Is he dead? Alive? Or is that information I can't have?"

His bare feet scuff on the floor as he walks back to his chai rand takes an easy and tenative seat in it. "If the memories I have are anything to go by, you vastly underestimated both the connections I made, and my own capabilities. I believe there are quite a few movies about underestimating your creations doctor." He settles in, leaning back and looks towards the other man. He sits there, waiting expectantly for… something, though what that is isn't really very apparent.

"Well it seems your language centers weren't damaged," Broome jokingly explains with a lopsided smile. "Williams was real, that much was necessary. He was critically injured in a car accident in 2008 and left in a vegetative state in a hospital in Fort Worth, Texas." Broome's chair wheels around, heading for the metal door to the cell, slowly. "I took his consciousness before he passed away and utilized what I withdraw to create your alternate persona." The chair stops short of the door, and Brooms looks side-long to Curtis.

"I'll have a medical technician in shortly to check you out. Be mindful of your ribs, they're still healing. You'll be confined to quarters for a few days while we assess your mental state, and then… likely mandated to this facility for a few months for observation…" Simon's eyes drift down to the floor, then look back up to Curtis.

"I'm sorry about what happened to your grandfather. There… was nothing we could have done." That much, Simon is woefully apologetic for. "Sebastian was a good friend. Your father will be able to speak to you after you clear your psyche evaluation."

A very slow tilt of his head acknowledges the mention of Ashley Williams existence. That seems to put Curtis somewhat at ease. Knowing that the hardships he lived with for a year and a half were real, they happened to someone, and weren't just made up. His eyes roam around the room again, slightly restless before he locks them down and focuses them upon Simon. "I highly doubt seversl months is necessary doct…."

Curtis trails off as Broome's comment rips a memory ot the fore, of his grandfather's death. The soldier's eyes flare, anger filling them, but a cold, burning anger. He goes quiet, sitting still and silent in his chair, a statue watching over the director of the Institute. His hands tighten around the arms of his chair, gripping, and then squeezing before relaxing and breathing a long slow exhale, tension leaving his body when he does. "I would question whether I'm really Curtis Autumn, but that would be pointless wouldn't it? If you wanted my memories as Ash then you would simply take them." He stands again, walking slowly towards Broome, his head tilting forwards, and hsi eyes focusing down upon him, looking him in the eyes. "And when this is over? What is to be done with me?"

Broome's brows furrow, worriedly. "If you have to ask whether you're Ash, or Curtis…" Brown eyes cast askance to look to the mirrored window, then back to Curtis. "Well, you may need that time to sort yourself out." Swallowing awkwardly, Simon looks back up to Curtis again, his brows furrowing for a moment as he considers something that goes unsaid.

Not long after, he finally addresses the question at hand. "We haven't decided yet. We will, but… I think right now you deserve a vacation, away from New York City, away from the carnage and away from all of the trouble that has been your life for too long now. You deserve to see your family, mourn your grandfather, and find yourself again."

The cell door opens, and a slim man in a gray and black military uniform on the other side offers Curtis a look, then opens the door for Doctor Broome. "Rest," Simon urges, "there'll be plenty of time yet for soul searching…"

Curtis arches an eyebrow slowly, a gesture that he very much picked up as Ash, as it's not something he ever did much in his life before that. "If I need to ask? Doctor. I've spent the last year and a half as another person entirely. I would be insane if I didn't question who I really am. But as I deduced for myself, if you wanted my memories you would simply take them. And, if I was Ashley Williams, and you were turning me into Curtis Autumn, you would have stipped my mind of everything Ash and left me with only Curtis, leaving me without question as to who I am. Since you have done neither, then that leaves me with the only logical explenation. You are telling the truth, and my memories ar enot a lie. My memories as Curtis. My memory has been left intact so that I can provide intelligence while keeping the memories for myself for future use, and more than likely, future masquerading as Ashley Williams."

A smirk touches to his lips after he finishes his little tirade, and he crouches down some to put himself on eye level with Broome. "You wouldn't have retrieved me and given me back my memories without a purpose already in mind doctor. You'd have left me sedated and drugged somewhere until you reached a decision. But, I can wait to find out what it is that will be required of me next." He rises back to his full height, then glances down at himself, running a hand over his chest, his stomach, then up along his face. "I see I picked up some souvenirs in the last 18 or so months."

He walks up to the mirrored wall again and looks at it, standing once more at attention, only to glance to the side as the door is opened. "I deserve…" He murmurs, letting it trail off, only to look at the soldier on the other side of the doorway. "Soldiers don't rest doctor. They do what needs to be done until it doesn't need doing anymore, or until they're no longer capable of it. Only then do they rest."

"Wise words," Simon admits with a dip of his head, being a man of far fewer of them than Curtis is. "A man I greatly respect once told me," the doctor admits as he looks back over to the young soldier, one gray brow up high, "that we could rest when we were dead…" There seems to be some amount of dubious tone in Broome's voice at that, however.

When he next speaks, though, it is a conclusion to this particular chapter. "Goodbye, Lieutenant Autumn. I expect we'll see each other again… when it's necessary." As he wheels himself out of the cell, the officer at the door watches Curtis for a moment longer, then slides the door shut.

Curtis gives a laugh at Broome's comment, and his head shakes slowly, a smirk once again dawning on the soldier's lips. "No doctor, even the dead don't rest anymore. Not even the dead…." He steps back from the mirror, standing in the dead center of the room, and there he waits, at attention, for hours, as he mulls through his mind, and his memories.

Staring at his own reflection in the mirror, Curtis sees the lines on his face, the scars on his shoulders and arms. Badges he attained while in the field, badges of merit he can't quite fully appreciate anymore. Not without a twinge of guilt.

But then, that just reminds him he's human.

More than just a sum of memories.

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