Actions

Work Header

Magnet

Work Text:

48.

You have returned to the place you left.

You are no longer the same, and this is no longer your home.

You tell yourself the Data Surge dislodged too many memories. You tell yourself your husband deserves a whole beauty. That he will finally be happy – and isn’t that all you ever wanted?

There are leftover habits from your service. Some of them are good habits: you are very good at dictating instructions to yourself.

You leave the traditional Departure Note, a mirror to the Dear Husband letter that was on file in case of your demise. The two documents are more similar than your once husband will ever know.

These similarities may cause you to become uncomfortable; looking in a real mirror may make it better or worse.

 

49.

You will go to a new place.

It is imperative this place is entirely new to you. A small town in the midwest is recommended.

Somewhere you have never visited, seen, or even thought of. (There are over a hundred such places in Nebraska alone.)

You are no longer young enough, a fresh start needs to be completely clean.

 

50.

It’s easier to think in the form of Field Instructions. This way you do not have to engage with negative emotions like fear or insecurity or ignorance.

Ordinary Men do not know how to interact with those who are no longer beauties. In this way, you will still be invisible.

Do not rely too heavily on this comfort: fellow past-beauties and beauties alike will see you.

 

51.

Once you have grown accustomed to your new life, once you can look up at the moon and recall your childhood rather than your ex-husband, it will be time for the most trying test of this new place.

You will find yourself ranking the men in town. Each of them will come up short for a variety of reasons.

A therapist would say it has to do with previous physical violation and an overuse of the Dissociation Technique – there is no need to see a therapist.

We understand how you are feeling, for the good of country, there can be no discussion.

You may have trouble sleeping, nightmares fragmented from truth and imagination, flashes of memory you thought were lost.

You will never forget, but on lucky days, your mind will not remind you.

 

52.

Now that you have settled in, you may choose to purchase a pet. This way you can engage in dialogue again, rather than dictating to yourself.

This is progress.

 

53.

You may find certain enhancements breaking down at this time. That the camera flash no longer blinds, that there is no hum when you tap your ear, that the recordings are jumbled when you play them back.

This is natural.

Do not attempt to remove any parts, you will likely cause further damage. Instead, you should sit on the couch with your new pet and pet them until their purring or panting relaxes you.

You are becoming volatile, this is a bad sign.

You will attempt to engage in breathing exercises, yoga, baking, running, knitting, and other activities that are suited to a woman your age.

 

54.

Alpha Beauty is teaching the yoga class in the next town over.

You are not convinced she is real until she looks at you. She has not aged a day and her smile does not falter: but her eyes, she recognizes you.

She will offer to get coffee and catch up after all the craziness before, she will say something horrible about her Previous Mate in an attempt lower your defenses.

You do not know if she was sent here, you do not know why she doesn’t seem to remember how you turned into a Monster, how very loud your roar was.

You will join her for coffee that is more milk and sugar than caffeine, surrounded by other beauties in yoga pants.

You will feel immeasurably out of place, but this is important: you must discover why Alpha Beauty is here.

She will say nothing of use during this first meeting. It is far more difficult to get a beauty’s defense down than a Designated Mate. She will however agree to coffee the next week after yoga class.

This is good.

 

55.

A pet unexpectedly crawling into your lap and falling asleep will remind you of your capabilities.

You, too, can love.

 

56.

You will learn more about Alpha Beauty all out of order.

How she was a pageant queen, how her child was taken from her, how she was left behind on the island, how she likes her eggs, how her scholarship didn’t cover enough at college, how her favorite color is purple.

You still have not learned why she is in a small town in the middle of America. It will be easy to ascribe her as yourself, to imagine her as a fellow spy.

It does not matter if she is or not: you must never hint at what you once did.

 

57.

At some point, the neighbors will consider you one of them. They will arrive on your doorstep demanding petty supplies in a weak attempt to do reconnaissance.

For future dissuasion, we advise you always have cheap flour and rotten eggs on hand.

There is no way to have complete information on all living in your new town while remaining off the radar. A past spy’s greatest weakness is stillness.

Nonetheless, you must master it to remain undetected.

 

58-67.

Deleted due to emotional nature.

 

68.

If you graduate the top of yoga class, Alpha Beauty will kiss you. It does not matter that there are no grades, nor how others have touched you before this moment.

If you ask, Alpha Beauty will move in with you – the start of a global recession is an excellent time to consolidate. A less excellent time for everything else.

You have been married before, you have both been captive before, there are no vows exchanged.

Each and every day is a decision to stay.

While it is unlikely, Alpha Beauty may still be a threat; ongoing personal surveillance is advised.