Cleaver Reject Stuff

Miles did not know many things


"The brighter the light, the darker the shadow," Miles said.

"Poetic," said Eiler, "I take it your dad taught you that, too?"

Miles snorted. "He's having too much fun in the light for that, I think."

Eiler tipped the vial upside down and started filling the syringe. "You know something, Miles? It's a damn shame you hate me for no reason. I almost feel like under different circumstances, you and I could have had a good thing going here." He'd start with a low dose and increase, something he remembered from an old Foundation course in first aid. He estimated a sixth of the tube and slid the needle from the foil. "A very good thing, actually," Eiler said, eyeing the meniscus.

"I don't know what you mean by that, but I can promise you I disagree."

"I haven't been taking my medicine," he said.

"Why the fuck not?"

"I promise you it made sense to me at the time."

"I cannot believe you. I cannot believe that's it. I thought you were gonna kill yourself! Jesus!"

"Kilroy," he said, "I promise you that if I'm going to kill myself I will do it on top of a trash bag so it's easy to clean up."

"Miles! Oh my god!"

"I'll do it like one of those ostriches that know it's gonna die. I'll just dig a hole out back and put my head in."

"That's not funny!"

"Kilroy. Think of the options here," he said. "You still get my tax benefits. You can sell my laptop and use the money to buy brand name cereal. The single father thing might be a challenge—"

"You can really be a dick sometimes, you know that?"

"Like, you realize that it's fucking terrifying to hear you joke about that sometimes, right? Like, I get that you could die and be fine with it. Hell, I could die and be fine with it. But when you get really fucking deep in all that stuff and you're in a really bad place, I think you forget people love you and you just say shit like that, and it's really fucking scary," he said. "It freaks me out. I start thinking about, like, what I would do without you and all that, and I don't want to think about that. I don't want that to be a possibility, you know?"

"That's always a possibility."

"It fucking shouldn't be. Holy shit."

"…I'll always come up for air, Kilroy."

"You will until you don't," Kilroy said. "You can't see it when it's happening. It doesn't happen as much as it used to, and I know you just… you have to go out there to be Miles, and that's how you've always been, and god knows I've been in closer brushes than you have in || but I really, really just. I want you to come back.

[x] regarding charles gears

Overseer Jack Bright, the eternal patriarch of the Foundation and the Bright clan, proceeded down the corridor of the Ethics Committee headquarters in Geneva only to round the corner and find a short, fat man in a ridiculous Hawaiian shirt standing at the end of the hall by the entrance to the main chamber, passively scrolling through his phone.

Jack sighed. And walked forward, wondering who the fuck let him in here, only to find he had a visitor badge over the left breast. Wether or not it was real or had materialized there through uncertain means, he could not discern.

“Four-two-three-one,” Jack greeted him first. The shorter man looked over the bridge of his flamingo sunglasses and raised his eyebrows, then put away his phone. Here we fucking go, Jack thought. He was so goddamn jet lagged.

“Nine-six-three,” the other man responded.

“Well, Nine-six-three-dash-one, technically," Jack corrected.

“Four-two-three-one-dash-bee, technically," Alto said, sarcasm mixing with some degree of scorn.

“That’s not what it says in your file now,” he said. “You have a slightly different designation now that you’re retired. Four-two-three-one-dash-bee-dash-dee. Declassified. The addendum was added the month you left.”

Alto shrugged. “I’ve never read my file,” he said. “Nothing in the database should be that fuckin’ long. You need to cut those people off or something. Like, from now on you get two hundred words and that’s it. Twitter rules.”

“They were…unorthodoxly thorough,” Jack said.

“I got that,” Alto responded. “But you’d think the report writers would have better goddamn things to do.” He gestured to the big wood door at the end of the hall. “Like assassinating Charlie for the sole purpose of acclimating more power, for instance.”

Jack punched him. Hard. It was something he’d wanted to do for the past 62 years. It cracked his stupid fucking flamingo sunglasses that he had been wearing indoors for no other reason than to piss him off, and sent him reeling.

“How fucking dare you,” he snarled, “how dare you accuse me of—”

“—sending someone to kill him so you could choose a new 05-1?” It didn’t surprise Jack that he was able to pick himself up immediately, “That’s exactly what I’m accusing you of, Jack. Astute observation.”

“Gears was in his nineties. Or maybe you forgot that, seeing how you seem like you’ve done fine keeping yourself young.”

“One of the few perks of being a Green,” Clef grinned. “And, of course, the last time I saw Charlie he was reaping the benefits of overseer age enhancement, and was still walking around sharp as a tack. But sure. Seems like it would be completely normal for him to up and die, especially because he disagreed with you on this whole Orange ordeal. I disagreed with you on Korea, and you forced me into retirement. But he was too far up the ladder to retire, wasn’t he, Jack? Wasn’t he?”

Jack stood motionless. Alto took a step forward, still smiling. “And so close to such an important vote, too. He knew too much, didn’t he? Everyone who knows too much…Bright family values, I’m sure. Mikell was the same way, I recall. Was plenty happy when Ben offed himself. Saved him from getting his hands dirty, he told me, last time I saw him. That’s a shame. And here I was thinking that you might be different.”

“I have no idea what the fuck you’re going on about.”

“I saw him on TV a couple days ago,” Alto said. “It had been a long while since we last talked. He was talking about the national Orange containment protocol. Answering questions. Unnerving the reporters with his demeanor, of course. He’s always loathed news crews—”

“—get to the point—”

“—but he was saying he was going to vote against it. Said the disaster in Portland meant he felt the Foundation needed to seek out more conservative options. I’m sure you saw that interview, it made quite a splash.”

Jack said nothing.

“I suppose I'm trying to say that you are one-hundred-fucking-percent not the person you used to be, Jack. The Jack I knew would have never touched him. I heard about it through my own channels last night, and wondered for a second why you didn't just kill me off back when I disagreed with you if you were so goddamn set on it, but what I think about the vote doesn't matter, and hasn't mattered in something like fifty years. What Charlie thinks, or thought…well.”

Jack said nothing.

“They’ve been organizing in Portland, I hear,” Clef said. “Not just teenagers. They want to make something happen to stop the procedures in the city. I never knew Gears to be a benevolent man, but I have known him to be a very intelligent man, and someone who sees the bigger picture of his decisions. And I believe, if you watched this interview, he was asked about those organizations, and I believe he said that he couldn’t blame them, and that the Foundation misstepped. That couldn’t have possibly been good for Foundation image, could it?”

Jack said nothing.

“And of course, the core of the Foundation is image,” Clef said. “Always has been image. Gotta look like the good guys. Gotta say all those kids in Portland are just looking for attention. What say to they have? They’re not people. They have a disease, see. If they don’t like the Foundation, they have a syndrome. Jack! A sickness. Something that has to be cured. And there’s only one way to cure it, I hear.”

Jack was trembling with rage.

“Containment,” he said. “Show them the light, the benevolence of the foundation. Show them that they were wrong about us killing their families and friends and a billion people in Korea. Lock them up in a solitary confinement cell and torture it out of them, that’ll. Show. Them.”

As he spoke the last words, Jack thought he almost saw a jarring glimmer of something in him; something so intensely infuriated with these circumstances that it bordered on vulnerability. Something not wise in the slightest, but very old and strangely well-developed in nature. Someone, nearly, impossibly, faintly…

But as soon as he thought he perceived it, it was gone. And it was Alto Clef looking at him, the man with the oscilloscope eyes, passive and well-trained, carefully reserved in his limits and reaches, the only version Jack had ever really, truly known, and for a moment he was forced to face something that had always been at the edge of his consciousness: that the two of them were both inhabiting existences within themselves that had not always been theirs to take; that these existences had become theirs through measures they could not control; and that said measures had been horribly, intolerably cruel.

But he pushed that away swiftly. And his own perception of this alien hate turned to fear inside himself, and then back to rage, and he started:

“Give me one example of the Foundation torturing someone,” Jack said. “Go on. Right now. Tell me where it’s written. We’ve had our share of controversies, sure, but that invalidate our mission. Half the people in our sites are there of their own volition to begin with. We help people, Alto. You of all people should know that.”

Clef raised his eyebrows. Bright smiled.

“I know this should come as a surprise to you, considering what you did before coming to the Foundation, but we’re not, in fact, here to torture people and isolate kids. We’re here to serve humanity. We have always been here to serve humanity, and there are things in containment that would not, in fact, be open to benign talking about their feelings. Things that really could destroy the world. I can think of one house in particular, for instance, that would not do well outside of the Foundation’s jurisdiction. We need to exist, and we need to do our best, through whatever means possible, for the rest of humanity. That means sometimes doing morally grey things out of the light of the public. But it’s an end to a means. That’s what the phrase, ‘we die in the dark’ means. It’s understanding the context of it all that matters, and if you don’t understand that—”

The big wooden door swung open. A clerk, dressed in black, gestured silently inside. Jack nodded a resignation.

“That’ll be the vote on Charlie’s replacement,” he said. “I don’t think you’re allowed in, unfortunately. But I wouldn’t worry about Portland.”

Jack turned to enter the counsel room. Clef put a hand on his shoulder and turned him back around.

“Jack Bright,” Alto said smoothly, calmly, “second only to your brother, you are the densest Foundation administrator I have ever met.” Before the older man could reply, he took Jack’s left hand and pressed something flat and square into it. Jack accepted it, slightly confused, and looked. It was a singular condom. Alto nodded his head towards the door.

“I thought you might need this in there. Y’know, for when you suck your own dick,” he said, very sincerely.

Without another word, he turned and started to walk back down the long hallway. The big wooden door slammed shut behind him. His nose had started to bleed.

[x] For 250,000 years we huddled in caves and did not understand them

[x] and so we called them 'gods' and 'demons',

[x] begged them to spare us, and prayed for salvation.

[x] But in time, their numbers dwindled and ours rose.

[x] The world began to make sense when there were fewer things to fear,

[x] yet the unexplained could not be eradicated.

[x] Mankind must not go back to hiding in caves.

[x] We must protect ourselves or perish,

[x] and so it was brought about that while the rest of mankind dwells in the light,

[x] we must stand in the darkness to fight it,

[x] contain it,

[x] and shield it from the eyes of the public,

[x] so that others may live in a sane and normal world.

[x] We secure. We contain. We protect…

[x] …forever and ever…

[x] …so help us gods and demons.

[x] Amen.

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