“Well, that didn’t work well…”

“Well, that didn’t work well…”

“Well, that especially went far from planned…”

 These phrases had echoed themselves off the hallway walls as Miranda slunk to exercise class under the watchful eye of Mr. Caretaker, still as dejected and trying to lie low as he had been sixteen hours ago when trying to slip into the dorm room. Someone on the night patrol had caught him, of course, but they had been merciful and allowed Miranda the dignified trip to bed that he felt he deserved.

“What are you here for?” The angel girl that had hypnotized him at their first encounter whispered to him in between stretches, still as pale and mesmerizing as when they met. “This is the shift that only the detractors get transferred to.”

“Going to bed too late- hey, what do you mean, detractors?” One stretch to the toes done too quickly, and a shot of pain to the leg felled Miranda clumsily onto the frosty grass ground. The wind chill didn’t help either, but luckily this part of the state was in a rare pocket of warm air and wasn’t being assaulted by the spare Arctic winds discarded by Canada.

“Detractors.” Angel girl took Miranda’s forearm and righted him up with only one arm. “Slang for those who purposely make trouble for the system. It’s supposed to be an insult, but it really isn’t once you make it far enough to experience the bone-chilling numbness of the sensory deprivation tank. Nobody walks out of that tank without suffering the shudders and the imagined searing from sensory overload and not being able to trust anybody wearing staff uniform anymore.”

“Seems like a lot of things to suffer from just a stint in the void.”

“Yeah, well, what do you expect from people who either think it’s funny to mess with the genetic structure of people for fun or ‘for the betterment of humanity’?” The two of them settled down onto the frosty ground with the rest of the exercise group, almost everybody there wishing that they had been given much warmer clothes. The cold was starting to seep into Miranda’s bones, and for a moment he envied the person who was sitting in front of him covered in fur and not shivering at all. “What’s our purpose here, anyways? Everybody here either sees us as a fellow freak or an object to be manipulated and cast aside when done serving a purpose, and with the slight chance that we ever make it out here in some alive capacity, we’re just going to be envied and have death wished upon us for something none of us chose.” She paused for a moment, letting Miranda gather up his thoughts. He didn’t have strong enough feelings towards the staff to go out of his way to anger them and be thrown into the group of detractors, but yet here he was for a minor infraction. And, speaking of detractors, where did this Rena figure fall into? “Pretty sure none of the world religions know what to do with a soul that was created by human science rather than born.”


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