#26 Jack

| November 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

At some point in his past, Jack had gone by another name.  He didn’t doubt this, as he was only one Jack of many, and it was understood that the name was more of a title than a proper name.  There were numbers attached to it to add specificity when necessary, mostly with admin, and the meds didn’t even bother with the name, just went with the digits, since a med tech with clearance to treat a Jack no longer had clearance to do a damn thing else, given the sort of work they were doing.

Among each other, the Jacks and Jills tended towards nicknames, if they knew each other well enough, or they just went by call-signs, if they were on a basic op that required no deep cover.  Not that they really socialized all that much, down time being rare.

Most of the time when they weren’t on an op they were training, calibrating all the nifty bio that had been implanted in their high performance bodies, and spending untrackable hours in deep trance, prepping for whatever op came next, learning whatever it was they needed to become, completely repressing what didn’t fit the profile they needed to match, exaggerating the characteristics necessary to create whatever persona they were to become once the op went green and they dissociated completely with who they were and became that profile so completely that it took very specific triggers to pull them back into their own minds.

Supposedly they came back from that shit, supposedly they integrated back into themselves fully, but no Jack was stupid enough to forget that once upon a time they had another name, and this upon a time they, none of them, had a clue what that name might have been.  Sure they had memories, after all, memories were a part of what informed one’s self, but they had been burned into a vague collection of events, with all specificity of faces, locations, even languages erased somehow.

If one were a wise Jack, (and no Jack survived long that was not wise) one never asked how the forgetting had occurred, and one prayed to whatever powers he wished that none of those details ever somehow surfaced.  Those were the sorts of details you couldn’t hide in debrief, the sorts of slips the techs looked for, and when you were as fucked to high heaven as you were in debrief, you couldn’t lie, not even to yourself, not about a damn thing.  And remembering the details of your buried past was one of those things that led to retirement, which, when you were this damn deep down the interplanetary special ops rabbit hole, only meant death.

But since one was a wise Jack, one had long ago come to terms with the idea that one lived in a state of perpetual mindfuck.  You sort of lost the need for a well defined identity that went beyond whatever parameters were required of you at any given moment.  You sort of lost the need for a specific name, having taken on so many with so much conviction, only to realize, in the end, that the name signified only some small part of a whole, some sort of self-created caricature, a very well-played imitation of reality.

He took it on faith (mostly because he had no other option), that at one point, when he had known the name his mother had given him, he had signed up for this.  And Jack could see why.  He was a killing machine.  Death in the night, an undetected surgically precise plague, and hell, who wouldn’t find that kind of power damn sexy?

He’d recruited a Jack or two in his day, they all had, so that they had some sort of comfort in the legitimacy of the process (and let’s not be virgins here, that wasn’t an act of kindness, that was just killing off whatever fight they might have found themselves having when doubts began to surface.  Nothing like doubts to fuck a mindfuck, as his favorite psych tech used to say).  He could see himself in the young men he had pulled under, or at least he thought he could.

Hard chargers, one and all.  Prone to hitting hard when and where it counted, with no need to give off warning shots.  Not exactly interested in asking a whole hell of a lot of questions, either, taking it on faith (even before they’d signed the dotted line), that greater minds had already pondered the whys and wherefores, painting green dots on the innocents long before they entered the room.

And Jack could understand the need for men such as himself.  Space was just too damned big, with too many dark corners for a man to get stuck in and caught out on a lie.  Too many damned substances floating around that could rip through any conscious deception like water through tissue paper.  And one hell of an organized and easy to hide black market.  With way too many ties in legitimate worlds keeping the predators afloat.  So if you wanted to put it in a pretty frame, you could say that a Jack was a pirate hunter.

But for himself, even if you had to sneer, he’d prefer to be called death in the night.


Category: 2011, Scifi

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