Parts 22 and 23 of The Tube take a closer look at Clarissa, the young woman who saved Shane’s life by ending the Motivator experiment.
Concept by Michael Winters and Shane W Smith
Written by Shane W Smith
It was possible that if her superiors had recognised the level of discontentment in Shane, they never would have assigned him to as junior an official as Clarissa. The man seemed to hate The Tube and resent OmniTech; Clarissa had been thrown off-balance by that realisation. How could anybody hate what was going on here? An experiment in self-sufficiency, for the benefit of mankind; and with comfortable conditions for its volunteers, no less.
His intransigence and unwillingness to co-operate with her had been surprising, but rather than take it as a personal affront, Clarissa had been intrigued by the challenge he represented to her: a chance to flex her average PR skills.
On orders from her supervisors, she had taken possession of the small phone he had illegally hidden in his apartment; Clarissa did not understand why the phone was illegal (she herself had three), but it was not her place to question orders… not if she wanted to get ahead, and make her parents really proud of her.
And yet, as the days wore on, Shane had not warmed to the idea of living in The Tube at all; instead, he had worked some sort of magic on her, spinning a story that seemed so ridiculous on its face that she had initially concluded that he was insane, that the experimentation he had signed on for must have something to do with treating mental illness. The notion that The Tube had armed guards was just as ridiculous as his assertions that his brain was on fire, both of which he attempted to convince her of.
But she had slowly come to believe his story; he told it with such conviction and seemed otherwise so perfectly lucid, that she took it upon herself to investigate further. Not wanting to advertise her confusion, she had sought out social drinks with a couple of lower-level technicians working on the Motivator project. She even went to bed with one of them; not a big sacrifice, although probably not an action her parents would have approved of.
She didn’t know Shane’s importance to The Tube, though it had been hinted at before. But some moral imperative that had remained dormant her entire life, something Clarissa had never had to call upon before, kicked into action and she began to wish better circumstances for this man, who by all appearances, was being held against his will in The Tube. When she told her supervisor some of what she had heard about the ongoing experiment with the Motivator, the woman had snapped into action quicker than anything Clarissa had ever seen before.
Through the walls in the ensuing hours, Clarissa had caught snippets of phone conversation, including the phrase “The experiment was supposed to be complete weeks ago!”
That afternoon, she had been pulled from her duties with Shane, and for a day or two, had assumed she was in trouble. She spent the nights with a sick, twisted-stomach feeling, certain that she had let her parents down, that she had messed up, again.
After two days with nothing to do, no duties to perform, Clarissa was beginning to feel like her old, average self again, when an expensive bottle of something bubbly was delivered to her desk. The handwritten card said, “YOU HAVE SAVED THE TUBE. THANK YOU.” Clarissa had wept with relief, and was directed to return to her duties the following morning, bearing the welcome news that the Motivator experiment was over for good, and that Shane could begin to settle in without fear of further assault.
When she arrived at Shane’s apartment and found him trembling on the bed, his ears and nose leaking blood, insensible and incoherent, she realised that this wasn’t over. The problem wasn’t solved: it had just been covered over.
OmniTech was up to something, and in a flash, it had become clear to Clarissa that she needed to investigate further, to find out what they were doing to Shane, and what they had planned that had made this all necessary.
Unsure of what she could do for him, she pulled out her own phone and dialed a medical emergency.
Then, while waiting for EMT to show, she withdrew the phone that had been confiscated from this very apartment what seemed like a lifetime ago, and carefully taped it back onto the side of the basin in the en suite.
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