Monday, 7 January 2013

Chapter forty


“Sup Grace.” Duncan said, landing himself on the chair next to her.

“What are you doing here? You’re not due for another 6 hours. I’ve barely arrived myself.” Grace asked.

Duncan leaned back on his chair and flipped open a magazine.

“I was bored and had some time on my hands so thought I might as well be here.”

Grace gave him a sceptical look.

“You know you can act as nonchalant as you want, but we all know you’re here because you like her.”

“Well done Sherlock. You’ve cracked the code.” Duncan said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He flipped a page over in his magazine, pretending to skim over the contents. “You might want to use those keen observational skills on people a little closer to home though. When I left the bar a minute ago, Chloe was practically humping Scott.”

“Damn it!” Grace said, her mind immediately pre-occupied. “Fine, have the sodding shift, she’s being boring anyway.”

With that, Grace grabbed her bag and ran out of the room.

As soon as the door was shut behind her, Duncan threw the magazine aside and walked to Daniela’s pod. He checked her vitals and ensured that her drip was in place. Once he was satisfied, he made his way back to the monitor, picking up a tattered and used diary on his way. He sat down at the monitor and turned the mic on.

“Hey girl.” He said.

“You’re early.” She said. “I’m too busy to talk to you at the moment.”

“I had some time to kill and figured, what better way than to come here and annoy you.”

“I don’t get annoyed.” Daniela answered.

She was standing over a woman, asleep on the bed in front of her. The glass box she was now in was much farther into the room. Duncan checked the remaining occupied boxes. She had only four more people and she would be out.

“You’re almost done.” He said.

“And I’m nowhere near finished with my research. Have you had a chance to run through my idea with the others?”

“Surprisingly enough Daniela, no one out there was particularly interested in sacrificing themselves in the name of science.”

“I’m beginning to see why.” A woman said this, not the one in the cube with Daniela but in the next one along.

Daniela appraised the woman. She was crouched on the floor in the corner of her enclosed space. She was shivering and seemed to be using most of her concentration on keeping her arm still, which at this present moment seemed to be unsuccessful as it was frequently shooting up in the air.

“Are you feeling any pain?” Daniela asked.

“Only every time the arm moves.”

Daniela looked confused by this. “That shouldn’t be, I adjusted your medication to eradicate that.”

“It helped but it didn’t get rid of it altogether.”

Daniela walked to her computer and started entering things in.

“I thought I had it.” She said, “Subject 94 didn’t report any pain. Perhaps he had a stronger pain threshold than you.”

The woman scoffed, “Tim? He’d complain for two days if he stubbed his toe.”

“Perhaps it’s gender related,” Daniela said. “It wouldn’t be the first factor that brought different results between the two.” She thought got a moment and then nodded her head. “I’m going to have to wake Subject 97.”

“Even if it worked for him, the results would be too inconclusive. He’s the last male.” The woman said.

“It’s better than nothing at all.” Daniela answered and started to move towards the last sleeping male left.

Even though he had been spending most of his time watching Daniela with these people in this room, he still couldn’t get used to how relaxed most of the volunteers had been. They were scientists and researchers, all eager to find the same result. There had been some exceptions however, people who had woken up and decided that they didn’t want to be a volunteer anymore. They had wanted to get out, they had wanted to survive. Those had been the hardest to watch, Daniela couldn’t understand the change of mind and so had deduced that she was going to get better results with these people if she sedated them. Duncan could still hear the screams of one woman who had been desperate to escape but had been cornered with a sedative.

There had been nothing that they could do. They had been stuck in this lab watching it, completely useless. Daniela had severed the control of her link from this machine perfectly. She had tampered with every frequency and disconnected any chance of opening the door to the lab. She really was a genius and she had been proving this regularly with the results that she had been coming up from her tests with her live subjects.

Daniela went to wake the man up but stopped herself and turned to the camera.

“Are you going to be entering into another of your unending monologues?” She asked.

Duncan grinned. “Afraid so. I’ve got the book in front of me and everything.”

Daniela seemed to weigh her options. Eventually she nodded and moved away from the sleeping man.

“Probably best to wait until you are finished then. The subjects don’t seem to like them all that much and it will be harder to work with him if you are talking the entire time.”

As if to prove this, the shivering woman groaned loudly.

“I can sedate you for the time being, if you like.” Daniela said to the woman. “You have another couple of hours before your next injection and I don’t need to monitor you at the moment, I’ve seen your symptoms plenty of times before.”

“Please!” The woman said. “I’m finding it hard to keep sane as it is.”

“Very well, on the bed.” Daniela ordered.

The woman did as she was told and Daniela entered into her prison and sedated her. She fell asleep instantaneously and Daniela went back to her computer.

“You know, I find it hard to concentrate when you are constantly talking at me.” She said, addressing Duncan.

“So you keep on telling me,” Duncan said. “But I’m an eternal optimist. And besides, this diary has to be my favourite. I’m dying to find out what’s going to happen between you and Josh."

“What does it matter?” Daniela said. “He’s dead now, so you already know the ending.”

“It’s not about the ending, it’s about the story that gets you there.” Duncan said.

Daniela sighed. “Fine, go ahead, just keep it down. There are people asleep in here.”

“A joke?” Duncan said. “That’s new.”

“I thought you would respond well to it.” Daniela said, and started typing on her lap top.

Duncan grinned and opened the diary to where he had last left off. He read the first couple of words and his grin grew.

“Oh good,” he said. “You’re angry in this entry. I always like those.”

Daniela didn’t respond, but continued to type on her lap top.

“Okay,” Duncan said. “July 17th, here goes. ‘Today I’m pissed. Josh was supposed to take me out last night but had decided that he had something more important to do and blew me off. I really can’t be arsed with people like that. If he’s not giving me his complete attention then I don’t want to know. I wanted to tell him that right there and then but the bastard cancelled with me over text and I didn’t want to waste what I had to say to him on a reply, I want him to hear the tone in my voice when I tell him he needs to do better to stay with me.’”

Duncan raised his eyebrows at this and smiled even more. He stopped reading and addressed Daniela.

“You’re pretty high maintenance aren’t you?” He said.

Daniela shrugged, she was still looking at her screen but she had stopped typing. “I’ve always known what I want. When people don’t want the same thing, I just think they’re stupid for not getting it right.”

“Well, let’s see if Josh turns out to be stupid then.” Duncan cleared his throat and started reading the diary again. "‘I rang him to give him a piece of my mind but he didn’t answer. Bastard. I knew it was too good to last. In his text he said that he wanted to meet up with me tomorrow at the coffee place by work. I’ll go, but only to give him a piece of my mind. If he doesn’t change soon then I’m going to end things, I can’t be arsed.’”

Duncan got to the end of the page, however when he turned over to continue, there was nothing else written in the book.

“Huh.” He said. “That’s it for this diary. What happened between you and Josh?”

“I can’t remember Josh.” Daniela said. She looked genuinely perplexed about this. “That’s strange. I’ve only just realised this. I have no memory of him. Are you sure that that was my diary?”

“It’s in the same handwriting as the other ones. Hold on, let me check to see if there’s another one after this one. I’m dying to know what happened next.”

Duncan realised that he actually genuinely meant it. If he was honest, he found the diaries hilarious and really entertaining to read. She was just so… so… weird. She would come out with the strangest and funniest phrases in reactions to things that he had not thought strange until she mentioned them. Her genius also seemed to drip into the way that she saw the world. The way she assessed other people and their mannerisms, the way she saw nature and mechanics, it was so unique, he was hooked. And then, there was the other side of her, the side that had no genius attached to it whatsoever. It was usually built into the social side of her life, and there were things in the way she interacted and dealt with people that made the whole thing seem so alien to her.

Duncan must have read about three years’ worth of diaries to Daniela, sitting at the monitor night after night as she worked. He was pretty certain that should Daniela have the ability to feel embarrassed then she would have banned him from ever opening the books in the first place, but she didn’t, which was precisely why he was reading them in the first place.

He placed the diary back in the empty slot in the bookcase and reached for the next in line. This book was not in the style of the others on the shelf. The others had been in standard notebooks. Nothing fancy about them, just your standard A4 work journal. However this next book was a deep purple with gold tinted pages and a felt cover with a golden design threaded into the front. He walked back over to the monitor.

“Looks like you went all fancy from July 18th onwards.” He said. “I’m guessing this was a present.”

He opened the book to the front page and saw a small note in the top right hand corner, confirming his suspicions. It read, ‘Dear Daniela, because writing allows you to say the things that your voice can’t. Keep smiling, Lisa.’

“Who’s Lisa?” Duncan asked.

Daniela sat back in her chair, thinking hard. “An old friend I think.” She said. “I met her at a spa I stayed at. Why do you ask?”

“She bought you this diary.” Duncan turned the page and saw the date in the corner; it was the same year but it was dated 3rd September. “I guess you took a break for a couple of months. It’s dated September.”

“I must have been busy.” Daniela said.

“Doing what?”

“I don’t know.” Daniela answered. “I was 19 years old, I can’t remember that far back.”

“Yeah, that must be a real stretch, the whole four years and all.” Duncan said.

Daniela simply shrugged and began tapping away at her computer again. Duncan rolled his eyes and settled in to start on the new diary. Just as he was going to start however, someone knocked on the door.

“Hold on.” Duncan said.

He jumped up and opened the door a fraction. It was Katie. He sighed and let her in, shutting the door firmly behind him.

“What are you doing here?” Duncan asked.

“I was going to ask you the same thing,” Katie replied, throwing Duncan a judging look. “You’re not meant to be in here until tonight.”

“So shoot me.” Duncan said. “Being here beats sitting on my arse doing nothing all day.”

“And whose fault is that?” Katie asked. “You were the one who was insistent on staying behind rather than go with Connor.”

Duncan groaned loudly and sat himself back down on the chair. “Don’t start Katie. I just didn’t feel like going, okay?”

“Duncan, this whole thing is weird!” Katie said. “You spend every moment in here talking to a woman who is practically a robot. You sit and read to her in this strained attempt to connect with her. You don’t even know the woman!”

“I have three years’ worth of diary entries that beg to differ.” Duncan said, waving his latest diary in the air.

Katie rolled her eyes and sat opposite Duncan, forcing his eyes to meet hers.

“And you don’t see how unbelievably creepy that is?” She asked. “Do you honestly think that if Daniela ever gets back into her body, she’s going to thank you for taking advantage of her in this state by reading every one of her most inner thoughts?”

“If it’s what brings her back, then yes. She’ll thank me.”

“No Duncan, she will take each book and smack you over the head with them. You have no right to do what you’re doing.”

“Duncan?” Daniela’s voice came over the speakers. “Are you done? Because if so I’m going to wake up Subject 97.”

Duncan turned the mic back on. “Sorry Spock, not done just yet."

“Calling me Spock is inaccurate.” Daniela said. “He was part human, therefore able to access some of his emotions.”

This you remember but you don’t remember what happened for three months of your life?” Daniela just stared expectantly up at the camera. Duncan sighed and omitted. “Fine, sorry Spock’s dad.”

Daniela accepted this with a nod and went back to her typing. Duncan turned the mic back off.

“Seriously, my jokes are wasted on her.”

“Your life is wasted on her.” Katie said, taking the diary out of Duncan’s hands and putting it back on the shelf. “Go and do something productive and a lot less stalkerish, I’ll take over for now.”

“I honestly don’t mind…”

“I don’t care.” Katie interrupted him. “You can finish off your creepy little one on one tonight when you are meant to be here.”

Duncan threw Katie an icy stare and turned on the mic again.

“Sorry babes,” he said. “I have to go, I’ll pick up where we left off at our normal viewing time.”

“I’ll try and get as much done as I can before that then.” Daniela said. She immediately jumped up and made her way towards the sleeping ‘Subject 97.’

“Have fun watching her kill another one.” Duncan said to Katie and sauntered out of the room without looking back.

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