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A Delicate Machine
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Cass should've let the issue die with Trav. He was calm as ever, doing an admirable job at defusing the argument. Practically speaking, Cass agreed with him, too. All they would have had to do was nod like usually, mumble some vague affirmation and be content with that. However, for the first time in a long while, Cass felt irritated. Not the usual fear, or resignation, or self hatred; just a simple conviction that what had already been said couldn't simply be ignored and implicitly accepted.

They weren't even sure what it was that set them off. Maybe it was Irene's implication that Cass was anything other than totally aware of the reality of their situation. Maybe it was Wade's continual insistence to adhere to some sort of plan. Digging deeper, maybe it was the way both of them had already decided to start thinking in categories, not individual people.

"What's the point, Irene?" Cass snapped, instantly regretting their outburst but unable to stop themself. "Why do you want to think of people as evil? Like, humans are pretty shitty! I get that! But, okay, lemme follow you for a second. We're gonna listen to a guy who might as well have just blown our bus up and trust that he's telling the truth about everything. We'll take the names that he gives us and try to draw up a list of 'evil' people. The fuck happens then? Do we just assume the worst and shove a gun in their face because it's the easiest way to keep ourselves safe? Are we supposed to be judging people?"

Cass was trembling, now; with adrenaline and rage and no small amount of fear for what the immediate aftermath would be. Their eyes flickered back and forth between Irene and Wade, Irene and Wade, desperately shooting an apologetic glance at Trav and hoping he'd realize that this wasn't his fault, Wade and Irene, and thus Cass continued to rant, carried by momentum alone, voice raising to just below a shout.

"And - and what's the fucking point of planning all the time, Wade? You know there's only one way this is gonna end, right? You're not trying to be the last man standing, right? You do realize that if you wanna live, we're all gonna have to die, right? Then why are we sitting around and trying to guess what the fuck's gonna happen to us like there are any good answers? Why the fuck we trying to figure out how to stay alive when no one deserves to live any less than we do? When - we're going to fucking die, what's the point in taking it all out on the people who didn't have anything to do with why we're here? What, is it - is it just 'cause we can shoot them but we can't shoot the terrorists? Because it's easier that way?" By the end, Cass's voice was starting to falter and fade as the enormity of what they had just done caught up to them.

They looked around the room. Weren't sure what they saw on everyone's faces. Weren't sure what they wanted to see. They wanted to die. They wanted to run away and find somewhere where they wouldn't trouble anyone and shut their stupid mouth forever and just be forgotten, entirely. They hated that they were crying, now, collapsing back down to their knees, violently clutching their arms. Unforgivable. They didn't deserve to show any weakness, didn't deserve to be viewed with anything other than justifiable hatred. Didn't deserve to have any hope of being worried about when they were the one who exploded in the first place.

"What the fuck is the point?" Their voice was barely a whisper.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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