But We Do Not Talk About That
rating: +75+x

People die.
Expendables? Two in three. Per week.
Security? Two in three. Per month.
Researchers? Two in three. Per year.
Doctors? Two in three. Per decade.
Look to your left.
Look to your right.
And wonder, always wonder, which side of the terminal curve you are on.
But we do not talk about that.

Agent Strelnikov aimed his Kalashnikov at the blast doors.

Sweat wicked down his cheek, passing stubble, then separated from his face, dripping to the floor. Seven minutes. Seven minutes he had been pointing his rifle, seven minutes without moving a muscle, going on eight. He had heard the screams, but seen nothing. He could not hold it off any longer. He had to see what was going on.

Strelnikov inched his way towards the doors, then peeked. He saw the thing standing near a pile of corpses, tapping madly on the device in its hands, its body glowing with a dull red heat. Strelnikov recognised beeps of confirmation. He rounded the corner, keeping his sights trained on the figure. His boot squeaked. The thing glanced over its shoulder.

Strelnikov saw red splatter from his chest, then saw nothing at all.

Technical Researcher David Rosen stared at his screens, listening to his boxes hum.

The database, Rosen thought, was a giant brain. A constant influx of sensory data, reaching out and categorising the world. The brain is easily distracted, easily disturbed. A hit to its metaphorical noggin, and a metaphorical concussion would transpire. But there were more subtle problems, and it was one of these that plagued him now.

Requests could be made in the field; transfers, requisitions. The system automated most of these, when reasonable. But here was an order to provide an asset to an unrelated person, seemingly without justifiable need. The system consulted Rosen. Rosen looked at the words, felt himself approve it against his will, then fell to the floor.

Rosen felt his ears buzz with white noise; silent screams, then screaming silence.

Dr. Ellis "Iceberg" Gill looked at the small pill in his hand.

It could cure any illness, they said. He had asked before. Many, many times. And he had been denied just as many. Yet here he held one in his hands. He smiled. Perhaps some administrator had seen fit to ease his discomfort. Empathy was a rare thing in this line of work. Iceberg gulped down the pill. He felt a gurgling, then a wrongness.

The room grew colder, and colder, and colder. Iceberg shivered, and shivered, and shivered, and then the shivers stopped as the water in his cells froze and expanded and popped the neurons that passed on the message that he was far, far, far too cold. The man of cold realised that the pill was not curing the cold. It was curing the man.

Iceberg dropped, then shattered, blue shards of human clattering across the floor.

Sometimes it is more than two in three.
But we do not talk about that.

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