This is an interpreted scene from The Siege of Murphytown. I've quoted dialogue from the episode, so I can't take credit for those bits.

-- by 10K_fever

Consciousness returned slowly to Thomas, and with it came the pain that had been his constant companion since the blue bastard had bitten him. Weeks ago? Months ago? Time was uncertain, memory a tangled string he could not unravel. Wibbly wobbly. A quote from somewhere, maybe a TV show he’d seen back when the world was normal. Stupid memory; there were more important things to be remembered.

But it seemed like an eternity since he’d realized with sinking dread that his free will had been taken from him. That’s when the pain had started; that’s when he’d started to fight the foreign tendrils wrapping around his mind…and lost to them over and over again until the pain was the only thing he knew was real.

Never accept failure as an end; failure is just an incentive to try harder.

Sorry, Dad, I’ve been trying, and I can’t do it anymore.

Losing’s easy; winning takes guts.

But what if his mind was the problem? All the things his father had taught him required the ability to think, quickly and rationally, and then take action; there hadn’t been a homily for that.

However, in some weird way, though, his thoughts – wibbly wobbly though they might be -- were his own. His actions, though, seemed severed from his thoughts. When he bothered to think about it at all, he guessed it was that disconnect between mind and body that caused the pain to radiate through his skull. He wanted it to stop, had tried to make it stop more than once, but every time he was defeated. Yet something always made him get up and try again. He was, after all, his father’s son.

He yearned for it stop.

So he opened his eyes. Blood red, wavering images toyed with his vision, adding nausea to the pain, but he thought he could see Warren, and maybe that Asian lady, and some guy he didn’t know at all. They were crouched in a circle, planning something, but their plans were doomed to failure: Murphy knew everything, saw everything, controlled everything…. While his thoughts might have been his own, he knew Murphy could see them, too.

I am Ten Thousand.

With effort, he turned his head to see more of his surroundings, whether real or surreal. Though a steel guardrail, he saw the roiling waters of the river far below him. Why hadn’t he let the water take him when he’d had the chance? Why had not-Red invaded his thoughts at the moment of release and compelled him to wake up, to continue the struggle for survival against the water that would surely give him peace?

Not-Red. Obviously, a conjuring of his addled brain. A subconscious desire to live, to survive? Why – why was his own mind determined to overrule his struggle toward the oblivion he wanted. After fighting for so long, he’d finally realized the only way to conquer Murphy’s control was through death. Except something deep in his subconscious wouldn’t let him go.

Stupid homilies. You’re gone, Pa. You tried to prepare me for what was coming, but you could never have imagined this. No one could.

He was suddenly pulled from his random communion with dead people as he realized Warren had crouched in front of him. Reluctantly, he tried to focus on her face, but his vision wouldn’t cooperate, the images producing some nightmare from which he could not awaken for the simple reason that he was already awake.

“Who are you?” the distant voice of Warren asked, although her face was only inches from his own. “’Cause you’re not the boy I once knew.”

She leaned in closer as he struggled to speak, but his words had been locked away by a will not his own.

“I can smell the difference in your blood, see the Murphy in your eyes.” Warren’s contempt was clear in her tone, but it was no more than 10K felt for himself.

Kill me! He screamed uselessly. Murphy had clamped his body in a vise, and he was trapped. The louder he screamed inside his head only increased the pain, and there was no indication that Warren had heard him. She couldn’t hear him; only Murphy could, and he would be amused by his cowardly puling.

Why couldn’t she see it in his eyes? Why couldn’t she understand his plea for mercy?

Getting dead doesn’t help anyone.

Shut up, Dad! Please, just shut up! I’ve followed your damn rules, and death is the only way out. It’s my only way out!

“What did you do?” Warren asked angrily, her temper wearing thin. “Run home and tell your savior I’s a’comin’?” When her speech took on that street-smart rhythm, someone was in bad trouble. Not difficult to guess who that might be.

Murphy gave him a momentary voice, perhaps as a way to ward off her fury. “He already knew.”

But there was no stopping her. “Oh, did he send you to kill me?” She grabbed him and hauled him upright. Only the guardrail at his back and her firm grip on his jacket kept him upright. She was furious. “Did he send you to kill me?”

Please, just end it.

Surprisingly, it was the Asian lady who distracted her. 10K couldn’t remember her name. Warren shouted at her. “What? I’m just tryin’ to knock a little humanity into him.”

The other woman didn’t back down. “Ask him where the lab is. He may know about Doctor Merch’s work…the boosters and the vaccine –“

Warren held up her hand, palm out, effectively stopping the other woman. But Warren’s eyes never left him. She poked a finger at his face, then toward the doctor. “You want to talk to the doctor?” 10K was locked in silence. “No?” She looked at the other woman with his answer. “No.”

Looking back at him, he realized her barely contained anger had exploded. “This is for your own good.”

She hit him high on the cheekbone with a closed fist. The blow staggered him, but she wouldn’t let him fall. A new pain rocketed into his head, but for a second, one blessed second, his mind was free. He felt pain from the guardrail pressing against his back, heard the pulsing rush of the river, drank in the beauty of clouds scudding across a clear blue sky.

And he felt fear, something so different from his stagnant obedience to Murphy that he welcomed it. Fear was something Murphy had erased in his disciples. Human survivors had flocked to him, welcoming his “cure”. They didn’t realize they’d given up their free will in exchange for freedom from fear, or maybe they just didn’t care. Feeling fear now was a triumph over Murphy’s control.

It was a short triumph. The power of Murphy took hold of him again, grinding him down into helpless obedience.

Warren dragged him back upright, her face inches from his own. “Look at me!” she screamed into his face. “Hey, look at me!” He was no better than a rag doll in her hands. She threw him to the ground and sat with her weight on one knee driven into his belly, pinning him, but it was Murphy’s thrall that held him helpless.

Warren’s rage washed over him, filling him with shame and defeat. “There’s nobody here to help you, except me,” she said coldly. Her eyes found the note sticking up from his pocket. “What’s this?” She pulled it free and opened it, reading it quickly, and then handed it to the doctor. “I want to hear it.”

The doctor obeyed. “’Find Warren. Bring her to me. If she won’t come, kill her.’”

Warren looked down at 10K and smiled. It wasn’t a nice smile. She patted his cheeks with her hands. “Well, okay then. Come on, why’d you let me beat yo’ ass when all you had to do was give me the note?” Her tone was almost teasing. “I don’t want to hurt you, but you’re not leaving me any choice here.”

10K’s eyes never left hers. Why couldn’t she understand? Why couldn’t she hear the pleading inside his head? There wasn’t much time…Murphy was coming.

And then she said, “Give him the booster shot of the original vaccine.”


The doctor said, “That’s a bad idea. He’s been pumped full of so many vaccines that his immune system could crash or – “

Warren silenced her with a look. “We need to know which side he’s on.”

“Let me examine his blood,” the doctor insisted. “I need a baseline. He’s been bitten, injected by Doctor Merch – “

But Warren was having none of it. She seemed to have lost all control. “I’ll do it myself.” She rummaged through the rucksack holding the injectors and grabbed one. Without hesitation, she plunged it against his thigh.

The response wasn’t very dramatic. 10K simply faded out, but the last words he heard clearly were, “Thomas, your ride is here.”

Murphy. Murphy was here. Warren was here. His last hope for release from his enslavement was about to die.

If there ever had been a fragment of hope, he thought dispairingly. He was too tired, too drugged to make sense of anything. He drifted in a whirlpool of sound, voices speaking but making no sense. He let the susurrus of sound embrace him, but it would not let him rest, although he tried for what seemed like a long, long time.

A gunshot barely registered. Had Warren been killed? Panic flowed through him; the booster must have been exerting some effect. But she wasn’t dead. Her voice was still there. He managed to make out a single word: humanity. Why did she continue to defy Murphy? Why couldn’t she accept the inevitability of defeat?

She’s stronger than you are.

Well, yes, that was probably true, but her strength was something to aspire to. Even if never achieved, the attempt had made him a better person for the effort. Was Warren the little traitor assailing his mind, the voice that wouldn’t let him give up?

If you break, get better and get back in the game. Win or lose, you can live with yourself for having tried.

10K squeezed his eyes shut tightly. His mind felt under siege from inner forces he couldn’t understand. Quit ganging up on me! Get out of my head, all of you!

“Get up, Thomas.”

He snapped back to awareness and looked up at Murphy, who had a hand extended toward him. After the slightest hesitation, he reached up to take it and was hauled to his feet.

Murphy studied him for a moment, then reached up to grasp his chin gently and turn his head to the side to study the growing bruise on his cheek. “Beatin’ up on the kid, Warren? Really? Maybe your friends really are rubbing off on you.”

And with that, he took 10K’s arm.

“Where are you taking him?” Warren asked.

“Back where he belongs,” Murphy responded, “to the future, a future without fear.”

Warren didn’t seem willing to accept defeat. “You’ll never get rid of all the zombies.”

Murphy smiled at her almost gently. “No, but I might get rid of all the humans.” Tightening his grip on 10K’s arm, he said, “Come on, kid.”

10K moved obediently, but a moment of lucidity made him realize Murphy was letting Warren live. He looked back at her, his eyes once more pleading for understanding. But she wasn’t looking at him. Instead, she appeared to be reflecting in somber thought, as if finally accepting that this battle couldn’t be won with words.

He felt a tiny flicker of hope returning.

“Hey, kid,” Murphy said, quashing his thought, “you did good reaching out to me. Come on. We’ve got work to do.”

Reach out to you? I didn’t find Warren for you; you used me to find her, you arrogant prick.

Murphy didn’t respond, or maybe he just wasn’t listening, but he led 10K to a car where two Blends waited. One of them took 10K from Murphy and put him in the back seat of the sedan. The other held the opposite door for Murphy. In moments, they were on their way.

10K stared straight ahead, past the driver and beyond the windshield. There was nothing there, only random images that he welcomed into his tortured mind.

“You did well today, Thomas.”

He turned his head and glared at Murphy. “I did nothing.”

Murphy wasn’t fazed by the defiance. “You did what I needed you to do. You got Warren to me.” He rocked his hand from side to side in an either/or gesture. “Or me to her. Let’s not quibble over the semantics.”

“You didn’t kill her.”

“No, I didn’t. I have other plans for Lieutenant Roberta Warren.” Murphy placed a hand on his shoulder. “Thomas, your muscles are all tensed up. No wonder you’re in pain.”

“Don’t,” 10K grated.

Murphy feigned surprise. “Don’t what?”

“Don’t touch me.”

Obligingly, Murphy removed his hand. “Thomas, you know I can do anything I want with you…to you.” The statement was followed by a dramatic sigh. “But I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Then stop.”

Murphy smiled gently. “I’m not hurting you. You’re hurting yourself. Thomas, all your anger is tearing you apart. You need to let it go.”

10K looked forward through the windshield again. He spoke softly, whether to himself or to Murphy, he would never be certain.

“Get used to it.”

The End

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