This had better work Mr. Brink.
At first, the cold and female voice is unfamiliar and the words don’t really make sense as she slowly surfaces from unconsciousness. There’s a dreamlike quality to the words and she ignores the meaning of them as she lingers in the state between wakefulness and sleep.
Of course it’ll work, have I ever let you down in the past?
This time the voice is male and arrogant and oily to her. It irritates her for no reason and she’s not sure why because it is as unfamiliar to her as the first voice was. She whimpers as her body is suddenly moved into an upright position.
Brink, Ms. DeWitt, I think she’s coming to.
The third voice makes her feel safe despite its detached sternness. Before she can really process why it would make her feel safe, she whimpers again as she slowly wakes up. Her head hurts and she’s still confused about everything. She can’t quite explain it but it is almost as if her body isn’t hers and she feels out of sorts and clumsy.
She opens her eyes and the scene in front of her seems so familiar yet at the same time there’s something undeniably wrong about it. She can only place the female voice and for a moment or two she weighs the woman who clearly is in charge with her stiff posture. When she turns her attention to the two men, she automatically feels an intense hatred for the man in the sweater vest, yet she can’t really recall if she knows him.
The voice this time is full of warmth and greeting. And she turns to face the woman and she blinks in response. Is that her name? She tries it out in her head and wonders how it could be until just a moment ago, she didn’t even know her own name. However even after repeating it in her head, the name seems hollow, as if it belongs to someone else.
“We really should stick to the script.”
Her head snaps to the younger of the two men, the one that she has already decided to hate. She can’t help the glare on her face despite the fact that his face is warm, friendly and kind. She feels that there’s something false about him, that deep down inside he’s mocking her.
“Did I fall asleep?”
The words seem to tumble off of her tongue unwanted and bulky. There’s a part of her that is fighting at what those words mean but it’s still all confusing to her. Before she can even process the enormity of those words and what they really mean for her, he answers her in a gentle and solicitous tone of voice. Her stomach churns, bile coating her tongue, even though the words make her feel safe and seem to calm her racing heart.
“Just for a little while.”
Alarm bells seem to clamour in her already sore head at those words and the phrasing yet she can’t piece it all together. It’s as if the knowledge of what they mean are walled in and she can’t scale that wall, not yet, maybe not ever.
This time it’s the woman again, Ms. DeWitt her brain suddenly supplies, and she turns her attention from the object of her hate. Little things seem to be coming to her now; random little snippets of information that seem out of place. Ms. DeWitt is British, always impeccably dressed, enjoys very expensive jasmine-infused green tea and is very much in charge of the organization. And suddenly she starts to realize that her name is Claire Saunders, she is a doctor for this organization and something horrible happened.
Yet despite the knowledge that seems to be flooding her mind, everything seems slightly off-kilter.
“Dr. Saunders, are you alright?”
Claire turns to face the second man, the one who has been quiet for so long, the one that she realizes that she trusts with her life. He seems to be an uncomfortable voyeur in this room that seems to be pressing in her. Claire shakes her head; she’s numb and overwhelmed.
“What’s going on?” Claire asks.
Even her voice sounds odd to her as if her voice should sound differently. She can’t quiet explain it but it seems too soft, too high-pitched, too feminine. Suddenly she has a memory of being someone else, of being a man in his first year of medical school. And she suddenly grabs at her face. This isn’t who she’s supposed to be.
He grabs her, his grip firm and strong and reassuring. His name comes to her, Dominic, the head of security, DeWitt’s right hand man, nothing happens in the Dollhouse that he doesn’t know about. But something did because this isn’t her body.
“Topher!” DeWitt spits out.
“It’s just the rush of memories, I had to keep some of his memories in there, she’s just adapting.”
The words don’t make sense to her but they do in some strange way. A thought comes to her mind that scares her:
I am dead and they put me in a doll. A woman and not a man. I am dead, dead, dead, dead…
“Claire, do you trust me?” Dominic asks, his voice soft and calming and it pushes the other thoughts out of her head.
“With my life.”
He smoothes her long hair off of her face and he tells her that it’ll be safe that she’s just upset because there was an attack on the house. One of the actives went insane and attacked her. She’s lucky, he tells her, she lived. So many others died tonight.
And the thought rings off the recesses of her head again: I am dead, dead, dead, dead…
It seems to loop over and over again and she can’t process anything else than that one thought and the fact that she can feel Dominic’s steady heartbeat when he presses her into a hug. She somehow knows that he would never do this under normal circumstances but this is definitely so far from normal.
“Mr. Dominic,” DeWitt commands and before Claire can do anything, a needle is in her arm and slowly everything becomes soft and muted and she’s wrapped up in a golden glow. The thought that she’s dead fades away. After all how can she be dead, Dominic wouldn’t lie to her.
“Alright so it wasn’t as smooth as I thought it would be, but you really didn’t give me much time.”
Topher’s whine is irritating but it doesn’t anger her as much as it had earlier. She wonders why there was such a rush on whatever project he had been assigned. Claire can remember how he’s normally given as much time as he wants within reason.
“Will she lapse?” Dominic asks, his voice cold as he directs his attention to Topher.
Claire thinks that she likes him just a little bit more. Anyone who seems to share her feelings on Topher can’t be all that bad.
“She shouldn’t,” Topher offhandedly replies.
“Shouldn’t or won’t?” DeWitt demands.
“In a perfect world she wouldn’t lapse. As long as she receives her monthly treatments, she’ll be fine.”
Claire sighs at his answer. Always so smug and vague and she hates him. She’s not even aware that the doll they’re talking about is her; instead she thinks that it’s some other doll. She’s too busy floating in the soft golden haze to care.
“Claire would you like to go to your office?” Dominic asks.
She nods enthusiastically, anything to get out Topher’s domain. She hates him and she hates how he gleefully destroys souls.
As the door closes behind her, she doesn’t even register Topher’s last words to Adelle.
Do you think what we did was right? She was damaged and we just shoved a doctor in her. Probably for good.
Leave the thoughts about what’s good or not to me, I don’t pay you to worry about ethics.