Do Not Go Gentle
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She counts out the un-bullets in the monstrosity of conceptual circuitry that's replaced the magazine on this gun: it takes a lot more than just steel and a prayer to hold an anticoncept in one piece for much longer than thirty seconds and she doesn't want to have to deal with the fallout of having a gun that's leaking ideatic ammunition all over the site.

Satisfied that she's got enough to finish the job for all the retirees arrayed against the wall, she pauses as she passes by one of the elderly academics – a face worn rugged by the scars of time and framed in hair gone too grey and thin for a woman who can still stand this tall. "You're retiring after all?" the executioner says with a faint trace of disbelief. "I thought you'd take the next job they gave you, Lanna."

Alanna Ellis, Dr. three times over, is old, but not old enough to have the same twitching hands as the rest of her compatriots: her work hasn't had the same amount of time to eat into her myelin sheathes as it has for the rest of the former personnel, and so she's still at least left this small shred of dignity. As the executioner looks her over, she can't help but think she still looks regal even as she sits out the last moments of her life: the suicide queen smiling for the photo on the card. "It's a mutual split, Darcie," she says, with a not-insincere smile. "I suggested it would be best for the team if I went along with the rest of the Class of '03: Five agreed, and when Five says 'jump' you jump, whether that's off a cliff or not."

"Mutual's one way of putting it," the woman murmurs, checking and double-checking the indicators on her pistol: are the crystals dulled? are the petals withered? is the gasket sealed? All of this maintenance is kid's stuff in theory, the kind of thing they let you know about six months beforehand and give you a fully workshopped course on, but it's always harder in person and she finds her own fingers faltering as she struggles to power the damn thing on.

"Hey now, a 'yes' is a 'yes', especially from an Overseer. If they'd have said 'no', Lord knows what they'd do when they found out what we're doing here."

"They'd bring you back, is that what you're saying?" She secures the restraints on Alanna's hands: even if her ears are filtered, her eyes still have to be wide open just to aim: they're prime targets for the kind of semantic weaponry Alanna could unleash through sign-language.

Not that she seems like she's going to put up any resistance to this: "That's why we're here, aren't we? The be-all end-all of a peaceful journey to wherever's next, no?"

"That's what I'm hoping," the woman murmurs.

"Hoping? I checked the calculations myself, thank you very much," Alanna cackles, wriggling her fingers inside the confines of the clasps they've been placed in: the black cube of gelatinous material gives no sign of movement from the outside. "Now, are you going to get this over with or are you giving me one last look-over like old times?"

"Don't." She swallows. "Don't- just don't bring that up right now."

"What are you so sad about? Worried I'm not going to leave a pretty corpse?" Alanna grins. "I mean, if this fucks up, you still get to see me: won't be physical or anything, but edits to a bunch of documents are good enough, right?"

"Lanna." The woman places gloved fingers underneath Alanna's jaw: traces the bone, pushes her head up. "I said don't."

"Right, right," Alanna grumbles. "Old dead woman needs her laughs… got any rites you want to read us, or is the bullet the only sanctification you need?"

"I'm not part of Theology," the woman answers, tight-lipped. "Though if we're really lucky, maybe the ECRG might pay us a visit: surely they've got a couple exorcism machines lying around, if that's what you're worried about."

Alanna bursts out in more laughter. "Why would they bother with the corpses of a bunch of randoms? Think they're going to really waste the last auto-priest machines they've got on what could just be a weird cult of oldies?"

"Right." The hesitation in her voice is just covered by the murmur of conversation from the rest of the group, and it's quickly forgotten when she places one last kiss on Alanna's cheek. "Best of luck wherever you, um, end up then." She swallows, straightens up, and returns to her ministrations on the rest of the group.

Once she's satisfied that the rest of the occupants in the conference room are properly secured, she backs up, lines up her shot one last time and smiles weakly at the assembled crowd of memeticists long-passed.

"Here's to the black void of the afterlife," Alanna calls from her spot at the center of the row of chairs.

The rest of the retirees get to "Chee-" by the time the un-bullets find their mark in their foreheads.

It acts fast: when the anticoncepts hit, the doctors' ontological presences unspool like a loose thread's being pulled, and when it's all said and done Darcie lets the gun drop from her hands because she's got no idea why she's here: is that an anticoncept stabiliser strapped to the Beretta she was toting just a second ago? Who are these people she's standing in front of, and oh God are those bullet holes in their heads, has she just–

She panics, because she doesn't know anything. And then she calms, because she doesn't know anything.

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