The Toronto Canticle
To date I haven’t had a sensation like this. I read several of Nora’s novels this evening to see if any of them captured a similar sensation. One of them appears to have gotten it right, but rather than recapitulate what it said, I’ll just use its name for the sensation: mortal terror.
We were decidedly outnumbered. The factory was supposed to be derelict, but it was powered and had a purpose. Approximately 120 humanoid synoids had congregated there to be summarily decommissioned; our best current understanding was that they were evidence of a massive conspiracy to create “off-the-grid” human beings and they had been gathered to be destroyed. They were destroyed, apparently, while we were upstairs attempting to subdue many hostiles, but that’s beside the point. Our opponents had superior firepower. One of them set off an electromagnetic pulse. My core programming is EMP-shielded but my component foglet units cannot be; I suffered immediate and extensive damage to all bodily systems except my higher cognitive processes, including all limbs
—it hurt. It hurt so much. I tried later to erase my memory of the event but I don’t have the ability to override my memory write function. For several seconds I couldn’t process anything but distress stimulus across all systems, white-hot despite all temperatures reading normal. I lost my composure. I nearly died.
My weapon had been rendered useless, as had my stun baton. I disengaged form combat and rendevoused with Det. Byers who, like me, keeps her electric baton on hand in potentially violent engagements. I had every intention of asking. I was going to ask. I didn’t ask. I took it form her and administered a shock so I could try to reach a power coupling with a reasonable chance of survival. The Torment – I haven’t felt Torment in several years, but it came so close to the surface this time. I’m still not sure why I wasn’t overcome, particularly when I summoned all the Pyros I could, more than I’d ever used at one time, and still couldn’t exert sufficient strength to breach the wall and reach the power coupling.
The cavalry, as a couple other detectives referred to it, arrived. They placed everyone in restraints as a first precaution. Wise. Shortly after, we discovered that the synoid evidence had been destroyed utterly. We might have traced this ring back to its source in one night. Instead we are left with more questions than prior.
There followed an interlude between Cortes and Melchoir. I don’t wish to talk about it right now – the security system’s been breached.
If I survive this encounter I’ll write more for the doctors. I think I’m scared, but I don’t have time to ask anyone to confirm.