Lineage

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lineage
ˈlɪnɪɪdʒ/
noun
BIOLOGY
a sequence of species each of which is considered to have evolved from its predecessor.

The good news is that they were wildly unprepared. The bad news is that we're now holed up in the records office with every exit barricaded and a squad of particularly angry and armed people waiting just outside. Looking on the bright side, this is the room we wanted to be in.

"Found anything yet?" Marv was stalking around the perimeter of the room, glaring out past the walls and blocked-up doors, reading every heat signature buzzing around outside.

I slammed shut another filing cabinet. "Not yet!" This task seemed to define the concept of needles in haystacks. Finding records of the orphanage fire should have been easy, but there was nothing. Cal had managed to uncover the names of some other people born the same day as him but they'd seemingly been erased from history as well. The room was huge: an octagonal archive of everything that had ever happened and been recorded in the country, and possibly the world, organised onto hundreds of thousands of microfilm rolls. Everything was labelled and categorised perfectly but it would still take a month to go through everything.

"Did you really expect them to leave a paper trail?" Marv shouted over the banging from outside.

"I was hoping for something," Cal said, pushing a stack of shelves over in frustration. He was wearing the same clothes as Marv, who had brought him a spare set of cleaning overalls. "Everything I've seen and heard indicated that orders always came from here. All the kill orders."

I found myself sitting on a fallen bookcase, head in my hands. I knew this was going to be dangerous, and that we'd end up in prison, or worse, but I'd expected to at least get some answers. For there to be some kind of heroic point. But for it to just end without any resolution - I couldn't even think of it. What a waste.

My dad's face popped into my mind. It did that, from time-to-time. I hated him my whole life, until he was dead, and now I just wanted to talk with him. There was no changing him, sure, but there was so much unsaid. I don't think he quite understood how much I loathed him.

I used to be so uncomplicated.

Moral of the story? Don't find weird men in your shed.

"There's something else here," Marv was saying from the other side of the room. "This wall is different. Everywhere else we're surrounded, but this wall is different. There's another room back here."

My stupor evaporated and I ran to where he stood, passing row after row of shelving and filing. The room was a maze of curated history. "Anybody back there?"

Marv shrugged. "There's something there, but it's vague. Dunno what I'm looking at."

"Not a problem," Cal said, dropping to his knees as he genoshifted, brown fur pushing out of his skin even as his body bulked up, pushing at the seams of the overalls. His jaw and nose became more pronounced, his features heavier. Standing once more, now a clear foot taller than Marv, he picked up a filing cabinet, hefting it carefully, then pivoted forwards on one foot, swinging the metal cabinet forwards and into the wall. The force sent cracks spreading out from the impact point and plaster fell to the floor.

"Five more ought to do it," Marv said. "How many more of those you got up your sleeve, anyway?"

Cal ignored him, retreating with the cabinet then burying it back into the wall. As he bashed his way through I watched his single-minded focus, unaware of what was around him, oblivious to our presence and the hundred-or-so pissed off people beyond the walls. I guess he'd been building up to this his whole life. Gotta give you purpose.

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