Posts tagged epsilon.
ichidou asked: "on an evening such as this it's hard to tell if i exist"
Epsilon had these doubts, sometimes, and it came to Wash to reassure, “you know, humans themselves are just collections of memories.”
Anonymous asked: "I can't always just forget her/but she could try" Pick a pairing.
Tex tried to separate herself from Allison in Wash’s mind (moreso Epsilon’s, but that line had blurred long ago) every time he mentioned the two names together under his breath, but in a sea of memories, “forget” was a far off, unattainable hope.
ichidou asked: "We're miles adrift, we're inches apart" - Wash/Tex
Wash started eating with his left hand, because when he sat down at the dinner table next to Tex, their elbows would always be a breath away from each other, which made Epsilon happy and busy at the imminent contact, and gave Wash the time to remind himself that Tex was not this Allison Epsilon stressed over, she probably never was, and he most certainly did not love her.
RvB Drabble: Invasion
The first time Wash fully felt Epsilon’s presence was the moment he saw Tex after implantation.
It had only been a day since the procedure. Yes, the AI would be stored in the armor. That’s what they were all told. But the armor was merely a real-time backup. There was a part of the AI that would be stored in you. A part they had to add with the use of a scalpel. A part that can never really be turned off.
They kept everyone for a day after the surgery. Wash could feel Epsilon exploring his brain, and it mostly made him uncomfortable. There was another mind in his, and that mind was hiding from him. He was told that it was normal. That the AI would adjust. That he should report the first conscious activity for their records.
That night he was sitting on the couch in the common room, staring at the random movie that North had dug up from his collection. He was there so he could be looking at something and not have to think. He heard the others joke that he had post-implantation sickness. It had become a common phrase lately, ever since Carolina walked into the room with bags under her eyes and a pale complexion months ago after her implantation. It was the first time anyone had seen her look less than healthy. It lasted three days.
North’s lasted an entire week.
When Tex walked in, Wash looked at her through his haze. He had a moment to register that it was one of those very rare times when her helmet was off. It had initially surprised people how attractive she was. York commented on it and spent the next few days apologizing for his comment to Carolina, who pretended she wasn’t offended. Tex looked at him and nodded.
Wash gripped his head with his right hand and the back of his neck with his left and closed his eyes as his mind exploded in a foreign memory. He could instantly tell it was Epsilon. It was the intruder, come out of hiding, marking his territory and showing just how large his span was, his command of his host was. All other thoughts, all of Wash’s thoughts, were put aside in the face, in her face, in this memory.
The AI wasn’t a partnership. It was an invasion.
All he saw for a few seconds was Tex. Only it wasn’t Tex, not really, it was a memory of someone who looked just like Tex. A woman who smiled the same way and had the same tired expression. The woman’s laugh rang in his ears and he remembered hearing Tex laugh like that, once, just when North had said something stupid and Maine had come in with a terse quip. The memory’s eyes looked at him, and he knew they were looking at Epsilon but it still felt like they were looking at him, and he wondered if all morning Epsilon had been looking at Wash’s memories, looking into the eyes of CT, or the friendly gaze of York, like they had been looking at the AI. Wash wondered if Epsilon had felt displaced, if it had felt like it was intruding on something intensely personal, because that’s the only way Wash could describe this scene. This memory. This woman. This Tex. Allison.
"What?" a voice said and Wash thought for a second that the memory had been talking. But when he opened his eyes, he realized it was Tex. This Tex. She was looking at him, something between confusion and annoyance on her face.
"Huh?" was all he could manage, shaking the image out of his mind as Epsilon retreated back into its hiding place.
"I didn’t know you knew my name." She had crossed her arms, which gave her confusion a slightly impatient look. Tex was good at making every look carry an edge of impatience.
Wash froze for a second as he realized he must have said the name Epsilon whispered into his brain out loud, too. “Oh, I must have just read it somewhere,” Wash said with a forced shrug.
"Sure," Tex said, sounding skeptical. "But call me Tex."
"Yeah, sorry." Wash relaxed into his seat again, turning his attention to the movie. "I will."
He waited another thirty-two hours for Epsilon to say something. Something that Wash could report as his initial appearance. Something, anything, other than that woman.
This time it was much more cordial. The AI manifested itself in the air next to Wash’s armor and corrected three statistics in the lock picking field manual he was flipping through. Epsilon also took the opportunity to personalize the probability of success given Wash’s experience with certain locks.
Epsilon called it past data. Wash knew it was his memories, no longer private. Epsilon had access to everything Wash had ever experienced. And it seemed to be a non-negotiable two way street.
RvB Drabble: Alive in Death, Dead in Living (post s9)
Wash awoke with that one thought being chanted in his brain. She’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead. He put a hand to his temple and shut his eyes against Epsilon, with no avail. She’s dead.
York stirred in the other bed and turned to look at his roommate. “Everything ok, man?” he said sleepily.
"What happened to Tex?" Wash said clearly.
"Tex." Allison. “What happened to her?” Allison is dead.
"Nothing," York said confusedly, sitting up in his bed. "No one’s on mission right now. Not Tex, not anyone."
Wash turned his head and York heard the urgency in his voice as it traveled through the dark room. “Are you sure?” She’s dead.
They sat in silence for a few minutes. York didn’t dare lie back down until Wash did. “I’m going to get a drink of water,” Wash eventually said.
"Sure, man," York said as he stared after Wash’s footsteps. "I’ll be here."
Wash walked briskly to her room. Epsilon chanted his mantra in their mind and after every tap on her door. She’s dead. Knock. She’s dead. Knock. She’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead. Dead. Knock knock knock kno-
She’s dead. “You’re not dead.”
Tex stared at him for a moment. “No. I was up reading.”
Allison is dead. “Allison is dead.”
She stood there, in full armor, door half open, looking at the mess of a sleepy man in front of her. “You know…another Allison?” she slowly said, humoring him.
"You." You’re dead. Allison is dead. You’re Allison, and she’s dead, so you’re dead. Why are you standing?
"I’m the only Allison I know. Wash. Is everything alright?"
"No," Wash said firmly.
"Do you need me to get someone?"
You’re dead. You’re Allison and you’re dead. You’re her and you’re dead yet you’re still talking but I remember when I heard you were dead. It was night and the other memories of you are so blurry and tactile and never visual but this is clear on all fronts, clear in every way, clearer than any memory I have is the memory of your coffin. You’re dead.
And yet you’re here, still talking.
"Wash," she said and put her hand on his shoulder and Epsilon’s thoughts exploded. He reeled back and put a hand against the wall as he doubled over with a cough. "Wash!"
"No, stay back!" Wash said, staggering back from her. "Stay back." She touched us. She touched me. She touched me and she’s dead but she’s not dead because she touched me and she’s not touching me but I know she can, because she’s dead but she’s here and alive but her coffin, I remember her coffin, I remember the service and lowering it into the ground but without a body because there was no body and she was dead but she’s alive, alive in death, dead in living.
"Do you need me to go get someone?"
"No," Wash said, forcing himself to stand up as Epsilon’s mantra changed in his brain. "No, it was just a bad dream. I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me." Allison is dead. Allison is alive. Allison died. Allison is right here. “I’m sorry. Good night, Allison. Tex. Good night, Tex.”
Wash walked the halls for the rest of the night, his steps in rhythm with the four sentences that swam through his mind.
He knew, as long as Epsilon was in his brain, he’d never be able to sleep through the night again. Not with Tex a few doors down. Not with Allison dead, yet alive.
He knew his only reprieve from the torture that Epsilon remembers just became the biggest source of pain for the AI.
Wash knew he was going insane.
RvB Drabble: Human Contact (post s9)
She was always the first one he’d come to. He could tell she was confused by this and he knew he should really have more self control, but Epsilon was screaming for her more and more until he finally gave in and would corner her in the lounge. She was sitting at the table this time, away from everyone else, reading one of the field manuals.
"What’re you reading?" he asked and cursed himself at how forced that sentence always sounded as he sat down next to her.
He saw her first glance around the room and he knew she was looking for York or Maine, or, hell, by now she might even make due with Carolina or CT. When finding herself surrounded by people she knew he couldn’t really trust, she seemed to resign herself to having this conversation again. “Nothing,” she said and impatiently put the book down.
"It’s Tex, Wash. I don’t call you David."
No, but she called me Leonard, not so long ago. Look at how she moves, deliberately, just like before, just like before when she moved and she had her hands on me and I was touching her why am I not touching her now, touch her, feel her, look at her, why is there space between us? Touch her. "Sorry, Tex," Wash said hurriedly and put both of his hands firmly flat against the table.
She looked at the hands for a second longer than Wash felt comfortable with it. “Is Epsilon giving you trouble?” she eventually asked quietly, making sure not to be overheard. “Do you need me to get someone?”
Yes. “No.” Yes. Get yourself. Get yourself and see me again as I see you, here. “No, he’s fine. It’s just one of those days, you know?” How can she know when she doesn’t see me?
"Yeah. Yeah, I know how that is," Tex said, and if Wash tried enough he could convince himself she actually sounded understanding. She seemed to be thinking her next few words over and she leaned in closer to him to be able to whisper them. Every hair on his neck stood at attention as he felt her breath against his ear. "I don’t get it, Wash. Why do you come to me with this?"
Because you’re her. "Because you’re…" Her. You’re Allison. You’re her, you’re Allison, you’re the only person I’ve met that I cared about more than myself and admitted it to. I remember your apartment and your scent, your laugh and your sarcastic smile, the way you used to poke fun at me. It’s all a bit blurry, all of these memories, but what’s not blurry is that it’s you. It’s always you. "You’re discreet." Wash finally settled on the word, never breaking eye contact with her face. "Somehow York and Maine and Carolina all tell each other when I have an off day, and you just let me have them and deal with them. Thank you."
"Sure," Tex said after a moment. "Anything you want to talk about?"
"Talk? No." Take her and slam her against the wall, she liked being slammed against things, she’d never let me keep at it long enough to assert my dominance because she was always the dominant one. But that initial slam was always mine, that initial motion, the start of condoned violence and bruising, that’s where I lived. That’s where I want to live again. Slam her. Touch her. Slam her, touch her, kiss her. "No. I don’t want to talk."
"Sure," she said after a moment and leaned back in her chair again, picking up her book.
Every inch of not-Wash’s brain was screaming at him. Every inch was begging for human contact with her, every bit of Epsilon focused on replaying memories of her as she stood over him, as she pinned him to the bed, as she took control. Wash had to keep his hands flat against the table, keep his eyes scanning the room and not looking at her. He had to do this because he was scared if he moved, Epsilon’s desires would overwhelm him, and he had more self control than that. He had to.
But he still sat there and endured it because every moment Epsilon was fixated on Allison, it was a moment Epsilon wasn’t fixated on every other memory he had. Memories of pain. Memories of torture. Memories of fragmented thoughts as Delta left his brain, as Gamma and Beta all escaped, as Alpha was fractured. This maddening, all-consuming desire was the one way Wash found to keep Epsilon tethered to normalcy. This pain over Alison was the only normal, expected, human pain Epsilon had to express. It was the only one Wash could process.
It was the only one Wash could stand.