Saturday, November 22, 2008

Carrie Park Talks

Carrie Park Talks

I'm laying in a makeshift sick ward cut out of one corner of the Palace. A morphine drip seeps medicine into my arm, calming the agonizing pain of my burns. Fortunately I hadn't gotten scalded too deeply, so most of my wounds are superficial, like a severe suntan. Still, it hurts like hell.

This morning, I woke up, groggy and a bit loopy. I could feel the vibrations of the Singularity Matrix Drive pulsing through the floor, and the gentle sway of the boat. From the frequency I deduced that we were cruising again somewhere near maximum speed. I sensed a presence next to my bed and opened my eyes. To my surprise Carrie hovered over my bed.

"Hey," she said. "You awake? Can you hear me?"

I nodded a little bit. Carrie pulled up a stool to sit next to me. For just a moment, when I first opened my eyes, I might have caught a look of concern on her face, but it had been replaced with a dark mask.

"I just wanted too...I just wanted to say..." She seemed to struggle for words, and pushed back a lock of her fake golden hair. "Um, what you did the other day, well, it really was phenomenal. I just wanted to thank you for saving the boat. You and Rod are real heroes."

"Did Rod make it," I asked, realizing I hadn't seen him return to the Palace before we zapped the invaders.

"Yeah, he's banged up, back over there behind some curtains. He should be good to go in a few hours, I'm sure he'll stop by." She pointed in a general direction, but they had hung privacy curtains around all the beds. "I gotta run, but--"

I don't know why, but my heavily bandaged hand shot out and stopped her from rising. "Hold on, I want to talk to you about something. Close the curtains some more."

Carrie nodded, "okay, just a for minute." She looked around and closed the curtains, then scooted the stool over so we could talk quietly.

I don't know what came over me. I think it was mostly due to the morphine, but also partially due to how close I had come to death. I needed to say some things.

"Carrie, you know, this whole thing. It's not too let to get out. It's never too late."

She scowled at me and shook her head. "Alex, you know I can't stop. There are people--"

I snatched her hand and held it, and looked straight into her eyes. "Carrie, I don't know if I've ever said this. I wish I had, a long time ago, when you were in a bed like this. I am so sorry for what happened to you. I know I wasn't the one who started it, but I was there and I could have, I should have stopped it."

Carrie frowned and tried to pull away. "Alex, I--"

"Please," I begged, "hear me out. We've been working together for the better part of two years, and we went to school together for a long time. We grew up together. I remember you from third grade, you were a real nice girl back then. I might have had a little kid crush on you even. Then something changed. You grew distant, mean, and started getting in trouble a lot. You picked on me a lot, made fun of me and my friends. Then in High School, you kinda blew up big, and began getting teased a lot. People knew to stay away from you, you always seemed to be in a bad mood. God, I wish I had gotten to know you better back then. Maybe I could have said something to help you or something.

"I just want to say that what happened to you, the accident, all the surgeries, losing your uterus and spleen and guts, the rehab, you know, it was a terrible thing to do to you, and you definite didn't deserve any of it. I think back to how you were way before, growing up, and now I realize something terrible must have happened, even before the accident. Something made you really mean and unfriendly, and I don't think you started out that way. Whatever it is, I'm so sorry about it. I really think you deserved better."

Carrie stared at the floor, memories flooding into her head, the hint of tears forming in the corners of her eyes. "Goddammit Alex. God fucking dammit. What the fuck? want some kind of forgiveness or something? You and your fucking asshole friends who turned me into this...freak? Look at me! You think I can live a 'normal' life? You think that saying sorry will make everything better? You think you have any idea at all what I've been through, what I've had to endure, what a complete fucking shit hole my life was?"

I tried to sit up a bit. "No...I don't. I didn't know, back then how could I? How could anyone? I know you've suffered more than anyone should. Carrie, back then, we were scared to talk to you, because you'd bite our heads off. No one visited your hospital room for the same reason. I just want to say that this path you're on, that we're on, is only going to lead to more pain and suffering, for everyone. Some country will get pissed enough that they'll finally drop a bomb or a nuke on us. No good can come of this. You've got more money than you'll ever need. You could just call this off, and live our your life in peace. No one has to suffer anymore. You've got the power now to make it all stop."

Carrie sighed. "You know there's no place on Earth that will take me in. Not even Al Qaeda. I've got to see this through. You have no idea what's going on around us, the people involved. I've got all kinds of mobsters and crime families backing me, as well as some rogue governments who want to take a step up in the world. My only shot is to take control, to win. I can't escape this thing, it's too big. If I step out now, they'd hunt me to the ends of the Earth. I'd never be safe, never have a normal life."

"You could change your appearance and hide somewhere. I'm not saying it would be easy. But thousands of people have died already, and thousands more will keep dying while we continue. You are probably the smartest person on Earth. We have this brilliant technology sitting next to us. Instead of using it to take over the Earth, we could use the power for good. We could eliminate poverty and hunger. We could clean up the environment. And you could be the catalyst for all of this. Somehow I don't think running a murderous pirate ship was what you really wanted for your life, at least back in grade school. I know you've had so much taken away from you. I know you've suffered a great deal. But as someone who was once your friend, I'm asking you to reconsider what you're doing. It's never too late to change."

Carrie stared for a minute, contemplating I don't know what. Then a hard look crossed her face and she glared at me. "My chance to change vanished the moment you idiots caused the wreck. I'm not stupid Shelly White any more, maybe I never was. That stupid girl died a long time ago, forgotten and buried. Now I'm Carrie Park, and I'm going to take over the world and rule it my way. Enough chit-chat, Ross, I think you need a nice, long sleep. See you on the other side." She grabbed my morphine drip and shot a good dose into me. I passed out before she even passed through the curtain, not know if I'd ever wake up again.

Posted: Saturday, November 22, 2008 @ 11:31 AM

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