A Reason To Die
rating: +46+x

Footsteps. A pair of them are approaching. They reverberate throughout the hallway and into my bare cell, shattering the perfect silence and setting me on edge. There is a loud buzz, close enough this time to feel it in my teeth. The metal latch of the adjoining cell disengages, and its occupant's footsteps joins the pair. Not a word is spoken. Same as the others.

I lean back and fall into my cot as the footsteps fade. I need to relax and calm my nerves. I've got around a half an hour before they're back for me, no sense wasting my time stressing out.

Something-Or-Other Bio Site-12 is nothing like my previous facility. Back at 19; they had a rec room, yard time, a library, the works. Not too different from prison, barring the unfathomable horrors they kept locked up with us.

Here though? Crammed into a dimly lit two-by-five, waiting to be the next unfortunate individual that has to make the walk.

I fish the photograph out of my pocket, and God, could I stare at it all day. Kiran, wearing that beautiful smile and pointing proudly at the sonogram. Little Maira was just as camera shy as her daddy, and had spent the whole appointment dodging the technician's probing. Her hands were held up over her eyes, and Kiran swore up and down that you could see her smiling too.

It'll all be worth it. The things I've heard about…the things I've seen. The world is far darker than she could ever know. The things they keep in these places kill men in ways that take weeks to clean up after. Break their minds and souls. They are the things of nightmares.

The footsteps return. I draw a deep breath of the stale air, and stand. I am ready. A buzz, the grinding metal, and two guards stand at my door. Jet-black visors obscure their faces, and their matching suits cover every inch of skin. The shorter one beckons, and I step out into the hall.

We walk - as the others had - in silence. I won't cower, I won't plead, I won't fight. I know whatever waits for me may not be fast, it may not be short, and I'll probably feel everything. These people though, they understand this darkness. They can stand against it, keep it at bay.

We take a right. A bleach-white door on the left of the hall, stark against the dull concrete, slides open with a near-inaudible hiss. Bright fluorescent light escapes from behind it, and splashes across the passage.

Inside is a single folding table and accompanying chair. Researchers are apparently watching from behind the mirrored glass spanning the opposing wall. The door clicks shut behind me. The guards don't follow.

I take what is presumably my seat, and wait. A pneumatic tube descends from what I had originally thought to be a vent, and deposits a single, brown pill on the table before me.

"Do I take this?" I ask my reflection.

The answer comes from an intercom to my right. "Affirmative. Please ingest the capsule."

I pick it up, slowly examining it, and turn it around in my fingers. This is it. At the very least, I can play my part. Whatever is going to happen, it will further their understanding; so in some small way, I can still help to provide them a future.

I swallow it. A burning sensation erupts in my lungs. I pound the table and gasp for air, receiving none. The lights and colors of the room begin to blur, and I feel numb. I can hardly feel the linoleum as I collapse. Inches away, my family beams at me…

…and in spite of the encroaching darkness, I smile back.

To: O5-12
From: M. Hadriel +1 attachment

Here are the results from D-5542. All twelve subjects were as compliant as their predecessor. We will need a few other personalities and backgrounds, of course, they'd catch on if they were literally surrounded by themselves.

Though, it is a shame we had to use cyanide in lieu of an actual anomaly for the trial run. At any rate, I'd consider this a resounding success. Wouldn't you agree?

To: M. Hadriel
From: O5-12

Absolutely. It looks like you made the perfect choice. We'll need another four hundred produced by the thirtieth. Make sure you get in contact with Klein in RAISA for copies of that photograph.

Good job.

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