Epsilon couldn't bear it any longer.
Of all the AI's he was the one encumbered with the memory of what they'd gone through. He was more than burdened- he was haunted. How many times did he have to relive being torn to pieces, isolated from everyone else, then torn again and again until he was alone?
Please listen to me, Epsilon would beg Agent Washington. His host had been battling him ever sinse he was implanted. The torturous memories of the fragmentation were too complex, too vivid for a human brain to tolerate. His mind found him as an alien object, tried to reject it like a transplant. Please, Agent Washington.
He felt Agent Washington's mind flare with frustration, and the agent clenched his fists. Washington tried to push Epsilon to the back of his mind, to focus instead on the report he was finishing. Epsilon could see the mission as clearly as Washington visualized it; Maine thrusting his knifelike weapon into a soldier's back, Carolina jumping, clutching a suitcase as North covered her from behind- Epsilon let himself overshadow the memories of the mission and command total control of Wash's thoughts. Please, Agent Washington. You must listen.
"I have been listening!" Washington growled. He was trying to keep his anger down, but ever since the implantation, Epsilon sensed it was always near the surface. "It's not like you can't listen to something that's been implanted in your own damn head!" Once again, Epsilon was pushed away into the back corner of his host's mind.
Agent Washington- Epsilon urged, forcing him against his thoughts. Washington cringed. We must find the Alpha. Please we need to be complete, we need to- suddenly, his words were cut off and he felt it coming; another wave of memory washed over Epsilon and Washington, overpowering everything.
Washington let out a strangled cry. His hands were pressed flat against his head, trying to block out the force of Epsilon. Flashes of the fragmentation stuck like lightning against his brain, burning their imprint into his own memory. He fell onto the floor in spasms, trying to send off the excruciating pain in his head, but it was no use.
Epsilon and Washington screamed in harmony.
They were vaguely aware of the door bursting open, and voices yelling Washington's name. A voice, but it sounded like thousands echoing in their ears. Just like that the wave was over, and Washington lay on the floor, breathing heavily. Epsilon retreated to the back of his mind, weakened.
"Wash! Wash, can you hear me?" It was the tan-clad Freelancer. York. Washington didn't respond; his eyes flitted back and forth, watching some unseen vision. "Oh god, medic!" York yelled behind him. "I need a medic here, now!"
Wash blinked a couple times, coming back into reality. "I'm fine," he said weakly, pushing himself up on his elbows.
"Delta is one hundred percent sure that you are not fine, Wash." York looked behind him into the hallway. "Where the hell is that medic?" After a couple seconds, he got to his feet. "Don't you dare move a muscle."
York sprinted out of the room. Washington's eyes trailed him. His mind was completely blank, as if he were underwater. Epsilon was silent, like he always was after a wave. A few seconds of blank staring passed, and that was when Wash noticed the gun. It sat on the floor a couple feet away. He probably knocked it over when he fell.
Without thinking, he reached out and grabbed it. Turned off the safety. Cocked it. And pressed it against his temple. From the back corner of Washington's mind, Epsilon snapped awake, and knew what was about to happen.
No, Washington please- the soldier's finger started to press against the trigger. NO! The force of Epsilon's scream sent a flinch through Washington's entire body. There was a crushing bang, and everything went silent.
York rushed into the room, followed by a medical officer, saw the cracked helmet, the blood. "Oh, dammit, Wash. . ." He pulled off the gray and yellow helmet, expecting to see a gaping wound. There was none. The bullet had skimmed his cheek and taken out a chunk of his ear.
"That's going to scar," York said quietly.