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LJ Idol X - Week [1] - Small Change

Threats are motivators, Lou Bingham thought to himself as he breathed a sigh. The State was a threat, always watching, always suspicious, always expecting the worst. A government was supposed to work for the people, or so he believed. But he was from Arid Zone, an area that was one of the last bastions of both independent thought and dry land in the southwest region.

The girl was a threat too, and a much more direct one. She was smart, as smart as anyone he had ever met in his nearly sixty years. Beautiful, of course, but also very aware. Most people wander through their lives, occasionally having a moment of enjoyment, dejection or possibly even anger! Not this one. She of the blue skin, the bald head, the lithe body, she was full on passion. She nearly killed him for filming her while she slept!

Lou placed his hand to his throat, as if he could heal himself by touch, the place where she nearly choked him with her bare hands. Of course he understood. If she was ever found to be a dreamer, and not just that but a Lucid Dreamer, The State would envelope her as they apparently did with a whole generation of young people with that ability. That is a threat that could motivate homicide.

There was an issue of trust. Neither he nor his female companion completely trusted each other, but they were all that they had. Well, that and The State, who they both knew could never be trusted. Still, the unease between them was something Lou was trying to resolve somehow. He hoped that by restoring her friend, that would prove he was both safe and loyal, even as he didn't understand her intentions and desires.

Threats are motivators, Lou reminded himself. They take you out of your comfort zone. They push you into action, doing something to stop it, or at the very least, avoid it. He wondered if The State knew what he was doing, despite all of his fail-safes. Could they already be aware of everything he knew and were just waiting for the right moment to...

"Conroy?" The girl stood at the incubation door, trying to peek through the opaque glass.

"Just place your hand on the pyramid" Lou called to her.

Jailee closed her eyes, took a breath and put the center of her palm on the tip of the sideways inverted red illuminated pyramid attached to the wall by the door. Her fingers gripped around it. The pyramid turned green and the door began to rise with a shush of cool air and a bit of water vapor.

Once the door had raised, the chamber became illuminated. There, inside a tank, was a baby seal. Jailee leaned in to have a better look.

The seal began flapping its flippers excitedly and seemed to smile at her. She turned away.

"What is this?"

"That's your friend. Or my closest approximation," Lou replied, walking towards the chamber.

"This is a baby."

"Well, for the moment he is. But we can age progress him."

Jailee turned back to the tank and watched Conroy doing aquatic somersaults and for the first time since she last saw him, she started to laugh.

"No," Jailee said, "He's perfect as is."

"Well, he seems to know you!" Lou nodded as he approached the tank. "How else can I help?"

"The person who... put that counter... on him." Jailee trembled.

"The counter that blew him into a million pieces?"

Jailee bit her lip. "We have to find him. All I know is that his name is Sam and he works in Local Sector. Can Conroy help?"

"I'm sort of new at all of this, but I would say it's fifty-fifty that he would remember anything related to any previously experienced trauma."

They both looked at the baby seal splashing at the top of the tank. He poked his head up, placing his front flippers on the shelf of the glass, opened and closed his mouth once, then again, looked directly at her, blinked and said "Hailee!"

She paused, then rushed over to hug him, so neither Lou nor Conroy could see her face.

//

This story was written for LJ Idol X using the prompt - "I need the struggle to feel alive."


Also, note: This is Jailee's sixth LJ Idol appearance. Her five previous appearances occurred during Season 9:

Week [3]
Week [15]
Week [16]
Week [23] and
Week [26]

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
lilmissmagic71
Nov. 22nd, 2016 01:09 am (UTC)
Very cool. I'll stroll through the past and connect the dots! :)
penpusher
Nov. 30th, 2016 06:20 am (UTC)
I only list the other story listings as information; there really isn't a need for your to read the other episodes - each of these pieces are meant to stand alone, more or less.
rayaso
Nov. 27th, 2016 04:01 pm (UTC)
I remember Jailee from Season 9, and I'm glad to see she's back. This is a very inventive series, and I hope this mean's there will be more.
penpusher
Nov. 30th, 2016 06:23 am (UTC)
Thanks... I really hadn't had an intention of doing a series out of any of this, but it seems that Jailee is now taking on a life of her own!
mamas_minion
Nov. 28th, 2016 11:23 pm (UTC)
I will have to go back and read the other stories again,hope to read more about this world.
penpusher
Nov. 30th, 2016 06:25 am (UTC)
I'm hoping that the pieces work whether or not you follow the full narrative, so it's a good test to see if they do. The previous entries are just listed for information sake. But thank you!
baxaphobia
Nov. 29th, 2016 01:01 pm (UTC)
I'll have to go back and read your previous stories. Nicely done...and I like seals!
penpusher
Nov. 30th, 2016 06:33 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! Jailee has had some interesting encounters but I think, if she has the opportunity, she may have a few more surprising ones. Certainly it's good for her to have Conroy back.
eternal_ot
Nov. 29th, 2016 01:46 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. Would love to read more about this world. Good work!
penpusher
Nov. 30th, 2016 06:33 am (UTC)
Thanks a lot! Jailee has become something of a touchstone for me so I'm certain she'll appear again in the future.
halfshellvenus
Nov. 29th, 2016 08:34 pm (UTC)
I thought this setting was a little familiar, though it's nice to get this external perspective of the character. That poor little seal. Restoring him (via cloning, I'm assuming?) is one thing, but since he has some of the memories of before, Jailee hasn't fully lost her friend after all.
penpusher
Nov. 30th, 2016 12:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks. It's a bit tricky, this business of taking previously handled characters and choosing to write a new piece with them. The prompt fit what I wanted to do, and it came together! I always hope it doesn't require knowledge of the previous episodes.
encrefloue
Nov. 29th, 2016 09:43 pm (UTC)
An intriguing world that you're developing here! I look forward to learning more about it if you revisit it in future entries.
penpusher
Nov. 30th, 2016 12:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! Jailee I'm pretty certain, will make future appearances at appropriate moments!
tijuanagringo
Nov. 30th, 2016 01:31 am (UTC)
Ah, dreams. Suite dreams ensuite.
penpusher
Nov. 30th, 2016 12:23 pm (UTC)
Dreams are important, and there is no doubt about that. Thanks for reading and rightly noting the crucial element.
favoritebean
Nov. 30th, 2016 01:48 am (UTC)
It's nice to see this story back in action!
penpusher
Nov. 30th, 2016 12:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's intriguing to explore this area, especially since it feels a little more real to me, this season.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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