by Delilah Draken (pen name same)
Some days he envies his silent friend. Envies the dreams, the never wavering conviction that all will be right, all can be made right. But that is probably the only truth Cyrus can never believe.
For too long he has lived in this colony. For too long was he forced to watch those he loved perish in blindingly bright colours, grey matter splattered on the walls. Far too long was the time since he saw the stars, breathed real air and not this filtered and purified stuff they try to put in his lungs.
"It is here that terrible..." The boys voice rips him from his musings, makes him focus on the now. Talent like this, he thinks, is not easily found. A voice to keep in mind, to listen to and never forget. Even if he never became 'great'.
"Of course, it is, grasshopper. The great Emperor, this old toad sitting in his Ivory Tower and gleefully playing chess with Death himself, decides you are not fit for proper society and holy carrots pie, Batman, you are in one of the colonies and nobody remembers you ever existed." This makes him grin, nearly break out in a kind of laughter mostly described as maniac.
There is a certain freedom on succumbing to madness, but, as he once told a little boy who cried for his princess, there is no true freedom but the night. For in darkness the shadows can find your face.
by kleenexwoman42 (pen name kleenexwoman)
Marty quietly moves against the far wall of Cyrus's little room, far from the man. He's pretty sure the man won't hurt him, but that crazy laugh is worrying him and he isn't sure that he wants to be here at all. Maybe if he keeps the guy talking, he can keep him sane for a while. "So…who's this Emperor guy?"
Cyrus gives him an "I can't believe you're this stupid" look. "Our Fearless Leader. The War Pig. The Grey God. The Man in the High Castle." He shrugs. "So many names for such a man. They say he's lived ten thousand years. Nobody knows where he is, only that he exists. He founded the Genos, you know. Some say he died years ago, and there's just a computer where he once sat."
"A computer," Marty says in disbelief.
"Oh, of course. After all, you wouldn't want mere humans running the Galaxy, would you? They might make mistakes," Cyrus says sarcastically. The manic laughter is gone now, and he looks very tired. "I used to know," he says. "I used to work for them, if you can believe it. I was a psychohistorian—an academic politician. But I've forgotten so much…they cut it out, you see." He brushes his bone-white hair from his face. "See, see."
Marty stares at Cyrus's forehead. "What?"
Cyrus makes a grunt of disgust and crosses the room—not far, five steps. He shoves his forehead in Marty's face. "The scar! Look!"
There's a small pinkish circle on his temple, contrasting with the sallow skin. It's perfectly round, sunk into the skin.
Marty touches it, brushing it lightly with his fingertips. "The Genos did this?"
Cyrus nods and lets his hair fall over his face once again. "It's a strange thing, deadly reason. Razors cut with such precision…they left me my memories to torment me, just took out what made me dangerous to them. They don't want you to know too much, you see."
"When was this?"
"Years ago, when I first came here. They do it to every patient. If they catch you, they'll do it to you too."
"If they catch you…shit. Oh, shit…" Marty jumps up. "We gotta find the Doc. Can you help me?"
"Doc? Doctor? He's a physician?"
"A scientist. He invented the time machine I came here in. I don't know where he is."
"Ah, a scientist." Cyrus nods. "Well, they might be merciful in that case."
"They won't do the operation?"
"No, they might just kill him instead."
"Ouch. Marty? Marty, what happened?"
The darkness clears away as Emmett slowly reaches consciousness. It must have been quite a bumpy landing—he obviously hit his head on the dashboard and blacked out. "I've got to install airbags on that thing," he mutters. No matter, the car should still work. He can't wait to see what the far future is like. Perhaps mankind has become more reasonable, stopped fighting and learned to settle their differences through reason and intellect rather than bombs. One can always hope.
He tries to sit up. Something is holding his head back. Panic—has he become paralyzed?
"Please, don't struggle." A calm, neutral voice. "You are safe."
He opens his eyes. Nothing but blinding white as his eyes adjust. "Where am I?"
"You are safe," the voice repeats. It's coming from a…person, standing in front of him. Their head is shaved and their skin is white—he can't tell if it's a male or a female.
Emmett clears his throat. This must be a denizen of the future. He has prepared a speech. "Ahem. I am Doctor Emmett L. Brown, of the year 1985, and I have come to…"
"We know who you are," the person says.
"You do?" He allows himself to wonder if his reputation has preceded him. Maybe he has, indeed, become famous…
"Yes. We probed your mind."
"My mind?" He is disappointed, then furious. How dare they look into his mind, his private self? Even a society of the future should have the basic decency to leave that part of humanity alone. He feels violated.
"As a security measure, you see. A precaution. It was very interesting."
"Interesting? Interesting? How dare you…"
"It must be very difficult," the person interrupts. "What you carry around in there."
"Such a burden." The person's voice is tinged with compassion. "You hold such knowledge in your head. Doesn't it get tiring? Wouldn't you rather not know?"
Emmett tries to look dignified. "Scientific knowledge is a privilege, not a burden."
"But what has science done? You must know your history, a clever man like you. Such abominations in its name. Monsters and madmen. The dead start walking. Time fractures, the world is set on fire. And you…your kind, the scientists. Responsible for such chaos."
"I had absolutely nothing to do with any of that! I don't know how your society…I don't know what happened. I'm from the past."
"…Ah." The person seems almost hesitant.
"Will you let me go?"
"No. This is an excellent opportunity. Things…can be changed. Mistakes erased." A pause. "We hate mistakes."
Panic. "Let me GO!"
"Please, compose yourself. This will not hurt…" There's a slight pinch as a needle slides into Emmett's arm, and the world recedes. He doesn't even feel it as the drill pierces his skull.