Illusion Of Life




Addendum 341-74.g: After-Action Report


After confirmation of the file’s presence on the home computer of RPC-341-2-2883 (Zachary Reese), teams reported to the “Westwood Madonna Hospital” as the wife of 2-2883 (Eliza Reese) was in the process of giving birth to what was believed to be an instance of RPC-341-3, a hostile semi-organic entity created via the electronic infection of 2-2883 and the subsequent insemination of his wife.

Agent [REDACTED] (Name expunged by personal request) entered the ward and quickly neutralized the instance before it could emerge via a coat hanger.

Due to difficulties in reaching the potential RPC-341-3 carrier, 2-2883 was neutralized.

Agent [REDACTED] received the Protection Division’s Distinguished Star of Service for his quick thinking and elimination of a potential anomalous threat before it could harm Authority personnel and/or civilian life.

Subject has been moved to RDS Area-981 for medical treatment and reconditioning via Class G-3 amnestics and SRT (Specialized Reconditioning Treatment) personnel. The process has been underway for 6 days.


The thin man stretched the glove across his hand. “Last job for today.” A snap. “Are they real?”

A taller man struggled a little more with his garments. “The gloves? They’re fake, James. They’re always fake. Why would they bother with actual nitrile gloves?”

“The glasses.” James adjusted a mask over his nose. “You usually don’t wear glasses.”

“Oh- yes, yes, they’re real. I just forgot my contacts.” Leo rubbed the lens with his doctor’s jacket (coat? He forgot the term) to wipe away accumulated fog due to the professional-looking medical mask.

“You forgot your contacts, but remembered your glasses?”

Leo sighed. “Alright, I dropped my contacts. Earlier. Got my glasses from the car.”

James chuckled as he went out into the hallway. “I really had no idea you needed contacts. Whenever I saw them I just assumed it was part of your getup.”

“It’s because we don’t see much of each other when we’re not in a getup.”

“It’s hard to go out with people from work when work is so…” James waved his arms a little as he struggled to think of an apt description. “This.”

Leo sighed. “Yeah, working in our field makes it all that much harder.”

“Not just our line of work, you know? The Authority, in general, is just impossible to be properly social in.” James spoke at a volume and tone so precise that it was just loud enough to be heard as a casual conversation to Leo, but quiet enough to be beneath the subconscious perception of others in the hall- to them, their words were simultaneously indecipherable and uninteresting.

Leo responded in a similar tone. His voice lacked the refinement of James’ expertise but was still beyond anything civilian psychology could muster. “We should get drinks or something. Dinner, even. Talking to each other when we’re at work is bizarre since we’re always-”

“What? Disguised?” James was clearly grinning under his medical mask. “I was about to say the same thing. We need to see each other in our actual clothes, yeah? I wonder if your fashion sense is any good when Command isn’t telling you what to wear. Bring your wife, even. You talk about her all the time but I’ve never seen her.”

“I- sorry, I shouldn’t mention her so often, I know you-“ He paused. “Ah, I dunno, what would I tell her? She hasn’t met many people from “the office” yet.”

“You’ve been in this line of work for how many years and you don’t know what to say about this sort of thing?”

Leo rubbed the back of his neck. “Using it on your wife instead of some stranger is different, James.”

“Come on, you can just do it the old-fashioned way. You don’t need any chemicals for that. Tell her I’m the plumber or something.”

Leo held back a chuckle as they approached the hospital room. “Don’t make me laugh right now, the patient might hear us.”

James wiggled a finger and pointed towards the door. “No worries, Mrs. Reese's room is all soundproofed. We’ve got tiny speakers all over the place in there to produce the exact hospital hallway ambiance we need for a successful procedure.”

Leo rapped his knuckles on the wall. “That sounds like an awful lot for one patient.”

“Oh, it’s not just for her. They’ll reuse it for someone who’s going to have schizophrenia later.”

“Mhm.” Leo adjusted his mask one last time. “How do I look?”

James nodded. “Good. Let’s get this over with.”

James went in first, clipboard in hand. “Hello, Mrs. Reese.” He pretended to be referring to the papers for her information. “How are we today?”

He reached his hand out to the woman lying on the hospital bed. Her hair was only somewhat greyed, yet her eyes spoke of some sharpness that was now muddled. “I- oh, oh…” Bewildered, she shook his hand, and despite how foggy everything seemed to be, somewhere in her mind, his presence made her uneasy. Had she seen him before?

Leo walked further along to examine the drip attached to her forearm, and applied a little pressure to the unlabeled transparent bag affixed to the pole. He took a mental note of how the tablets at her bedside had gone untaken.

“Why are…”

James interrupted. “Everything seems to be in-“ “But-“ “-order with our record. We’re here to-“

“Sir, I, I…” Her gaze became distant and her voice somewhat flustered, before she managed to focus on the unknown man standing in front of her bed, who had gone quiet. “I don’t understand why-“

“Yes, Mrs. Reese, I’m here to explain. You may experience symptoms of delirium and possibly memory loss as the medicine begins to wear off.” He made simple hand movements as he tried to draw her attention. “And as it fades, there may be a fugue state and amnesia, but not for long.”

Leo exchanged one pouch for another on the IV stand as James talked.

“It’s not the medicine, sir, I-“ said the patient, before she was interrupted.

“None of that should concern you as of now, Ms. Reese. You won’t have to stay here for very long.”

“But my baby.”

James went quiet. Leo looked at him with somewhat worried eyes.

“Ms. Reese, we want to discuss your prescription. Your current medication is no longer required, but a smaller dosage is-“

Mrs. Reese tried to draw herself together and managed to raise herself against the wall so that she could face the men.

“I want to know about my baby.” She became composed, a confidence that was unexpected given the contents of her IV. “Who are you?”

James sighed as he drew a chair. “Ms. Reese, there is no baby. We were hoping to be more subtle, but-“

“I was pregnant. I know, I know, I carried him for-“

“Ms. Reese, please let us explain.”

“No, you’re going to tell me where my child is.”

James crossed his fingers together. “Miscarriage.”

Her lower lip quivered. She began to slowly shake her head as her eyes looked down. “N-no, no, that isn’t…”

“I’m afraid that there were complications during the birth that compromised the health of the fetus, and you.”

Mrs. Reese tried to move forwards in her bed but stumbled somewhat, and Leo gently laid her back down, almost flat. She felt increasingly frustrated, but somehow unable to express any emotion, her reactions muted.

“The pregnancy was compromised in the second trimester. We are aware of a certain drug you were taking for your kidneys- that was the likely cause.” He flipped to another gibberish page on his clipboard.

“You said the birth had…” Leo drew her attention to offer a pair of tablets and a cup of water. She took them almost automatically, without thinking.

“The miscarriage was very early on.”

“It was… very early on?”

“You are going to need to take a certain medication now.”


“Yes. Continue taking the medication.”

“The medication?”

James nodded.

“And… my baby?

“There was never a baby. A woman in your condition simply cannot be pregnant. You are completely sterile.”

Leo walked towards the door. James uncrossed his legs and stood up, to put a hand on Mrs. Reese’s almost limp arm.

“I am sorry for your loss, Mrs. Reese.”

She looked at him. From the corner of hers, she looked into his eyes to see the faintest flicker of sympathy lying there. She realized that all that she had lost was known only to him.

He blinked. The cold veneer returned. “Goodbye, Ms. Reese.”

“What are-“ Her voice was weak, distant, hardly cognizant. She swallowed. “What are your names? I don’t believe y-“

“You don’t remember? We introduced ourselves when we came in.” And with that, the man shut the door.

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