You can find the beginning of this particular tale here. I still don't really know where this is going, and I feel like that lack of map is about to get interesting...
“You’re not as panicked by the situation as I expected you to be...”
She laughed softly, and let out a long breath through pursed lips. She’d never been any good at panicking in front of people, even when she was maybe allowed.
Now, alone for the first time in ages—in the hospital didn’t count, because they were literally always watching—it was really tempting to curl up in a little ball on the floor and let the panic eating at the back of her brain loose.
She pushed away from the door and rubbed the back of her neck. Captain Halliday was coming back in two hours to take her to dinner—the rescue wasn’t over, apparently—and that gave her enough time to shower, call her boss, and see what the hell she was supposed to do about not being a person anymore.
Libby walked across the room and collapsed into the chair in front of the information terminal. She tried logging into her email, even her personal email, and was less than shocked to find there was no record of her email address. There was an email she used that wasn’t connected to her identity, but it wouldn’t make it through the GIG spam filters.
Matt would be in his office already, and he might not answer the direct line, but the alternative was her calling the general office line and then unless it happened to be the one receptionist that knew her by name it was going to be complicated to get them to put her through.
She typed in his direct number, and used the front facing camera to make sure she didn’t look too rough. She definitely looked like she needed a shower, but there wasn’t any bruising or blood. She sent the call, and it rang twice and dumped her into the voicemail.
Libby rubbed her face. “Matt, it’s me. I’m not spilling this all out over voicemail. If you don’t answer when I call back in a second, I’m at the Walled Garden Inn on PacIC, room 312. Call me.”
She didn’t call back immediately. He might have read that as an emergency and answered, or he might have read that as the sort of emergency he didn’t want to deal with and not even checked his messages. Libby waited for a few seconds, gave him a chance to check the message she’d just sent him, and then called back.
Matt picked up immediately, it’d barely made the first couple of notes for the ‘we’re connecting you’ song and his pale face and perfectly shaped goatee were on the screen in front of her. “What in the hell happened? Are you okay? Where are you? What—”
“I’m fine,” Libby interrupted. “Breathe, I thought maybe I’d get to you before someone else did. I’m fine.”
“You got blown up, Libs. That is, by definition, not fine.” He huffed, peering seriously at the screen. “You don’t look hurt.”
“I’m not. The nanite things didn’t their job. I’m tired from the sedative still, but otherwise completely fine.” She rubbed her face. “Who called you?”
“Some lady detective from PacIC, I didn’t write her name down.”
“Dagny Hussein,” Libby supplied.
“She was quite clear on the fact you were involved in an explosion and lucky to be alive, but other than asking me to verify your identity—which was weird—she didn’t say much.”
Libby laughed, and dropped her face in her hands. “My records are gone.”
“Gone. As in I don’t exist. They couldn’t find our arrival manifest, and my email doesn’t work, and there’s no record of me anywhere, apparently.” She sighed. “I called the direct line because I didn’t want to argue with the receptionist over whether or not I was a real girl.”
Matt grumbled, and grabbed his tablet off the desk. “Well, I don’t know how much I can change with records, but I can definitely get you a temporary account that’ll let you feed yourself and get clothes and things. What else do you need?”
“The rest of my things were supposed to ship tomorrow, but I feel like if I’ve been erased from the grid then someone probably needs to check that.”
“We can do that from here.” He nodded to himself. “Do you have an email that didn’t stop existing I can send a Marketplace login to?”
“LibertyWorks at media-mail dot com.” She sighed. “Though if that bounces back undeliverable I’m going to be a little worried.”
Matt puttered around for a second, and then sat back. “Don’t hang up with me until you get the message. Are you really alright?”
Libby logged into her email, and it let her in fine, and everything looked normal. “James doesn’t exist anywhere either.”
Matt frowned. “Do you want me to go looking?”
“No, I think that’s probably a bad idea. I’m sure Inspector Hussein will look well enough.” Libby shrugged. “I just…” She didn’t know how to finish that. James was dead, and everything was weird, and he’d called in the manifest but they didn’t have it?
“I’m sorry James is…gone,” Matt said carefully. “But I thought you didn’t…like him. Not romantically.”
“I didn’t.” Libby rubbed her face, and pushed out a tired breath. “It’s just all really weird right now. I should go, I need to take a shower before Captain Halliday comes back.”
“Search and rescue.” She shrugged. “He’s apparently decided the rescue isn’t over yet.”
Matt cocked a brow, but just let that sit. “Well. Call me if you need anything. I’ll add your picture into my notes and say if you call in they should put you through even if they can’t verify the call. If you need us to go tilting at Records we will. And obviously we’ll push the survey back a couple of weeks.”
“Okay.” She nodded. “Thanks, Matt.”
Libby watched the screen fade to its waiting designation, and pulled up the Marketplace login. Found a package of underwear, a bra, a couple of simple outfits, and a package of socks all available for “immediate delivery”—which meant about an hour. She sent the front desk a copy of her new financial information, and got a system return saying it was all clear and they thanked her for her patronage.
And then she turned the steam shower in the bathroom just past the point of comfortable and set an alarm to tell her when she’d been in for an hour and a half. She felt stretched thin, and she was wholeheartedly holding out for the shower to make her feel human again.