The Talk
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Eli woke an indeterminate amount of time later. Groggily, he turned his head to the side. Stainless steel equipment, wires tied neatly to the vertices where the clean white wall met the clean white ceiling. The sick bay. He groaned.

The noise caught Dictator and Oliver’s attentions. Dictator stood more quickly than normal and went to him.

“You’re up. How d’you feel?”

“Like shit,” he answered. He noticed that Dictator’s hand was moving. So was their foot. Every fibre of their being vibrated with nervous energy.

Dictator took a deep breath, and some of the tension dissipated. “Alright. Eli, listen to me. We have to fix this.” The tension returned. Dictator put planted their hands on Eli's shoulders, looking him seriously in the eyes. “We've got to fix this, there's no way around it. I don't care what they say about that stupid clock but we're gonna fix the universe, got it? We just have to. That's our job, isn’t it? It’s supposed to-”

Eli reached up and put his hand on their mouth. They didn’t even bother to lick it, which told Eli quite a bit about their mental state. “Dictator,” he said. “I got it. We are going to fix this. It’s all going to work itself out.”

He removed his hand, but Dictator launched right back into their tirade.

“But what if it doesn't? Eli, I can't die.” They lowered their voice. “You can't die. If the universe collapses in on us, we'll both be left just floating in space forever. Just the two of us. I doubt you want to be looking at this mug for the rest of eternity, and I’m not-”

Eli hijacked Dictator’s in-between-paragraphs breath. “You need to calm down,” he told them. “We’re going to find out what’s happened, if it even means anything. It might be nothing. But we need to get the whole story before we start losing our shit here, alright? Now, please get off me. I’m an invalid, and some of the aides are starting to look at you funny.”

Dictator nodded, then crossed their arms and sat back down in the chair next to Eli's bed. Their leg started bouncing anxiously again, and they muttered “Gonna fix it, gonna fix it,” at least five times before quieting.

—-

That damn clock. Why did it have to reveal everything? Well, maybe not everything. It didn't say my name, but… now everyone's on high alert. They're ready for a breach.

The unknown doctor strode down the darkened hallway. His footsteps echoed through the empty space, and once he found the door he was looking for, he swiftly unlocked it and walked inside. His hands worked the opposing wall, searching. They found their target, and he watched as the walls folded in on themselves, revealing a modestly-lit room. He looked behind him. No one. He retreated inside and the walls whirred and clicked to his absence, like batter rushing to fill the void where a spoon once was.

No matter what that clock says, I'm going to tear this Foundation down from the inside out. Nothing, not even the end of the universe, is going to stop me. And if I can manage to take down those two abominations, all the better for me. We've all been under the heel of the Foundation for too long. The public — no, the world — deserves to know about the evils that haunt this world.

A dark chuckle echoed through the room.

Yes. My plan will bring down the Foundation once and for all. No amount of cover-ups or amnestics is going to stop what is about to happen.

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