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A Fragment of Memory

part 3 of Genetic Imperialism


The thing about being one of Shinra's...men...is that the idea of 'public' and 'private' are inverted. Hojo supposes this is not unusual for a corporation who built an inverted city, all horizon and never a sky. Humanity is acknowledged, indulged, in Shinra's boardroom meetings, at work, on the field, and Hojo despises that indulgence, symptom of an insanity that should be kept behind locked doors. Shinra's men are gluttons to the public's eye, decadents and subversives, perverts all; their competance is the secret, the undeniable truth, how brilliant they all are despite their insanities.

Hojo finds this ironic. He will keep his personality under lock and key. Let his competance speak for who he is. His public face is calm. He does not indulge visibly in peripheral insanities.

Where it should instead be displayed on a wall, Hojo keeps on the inside of his locker the framed replica of his first degree, the one he earned without a Shinra-funded schol arship, the one he paid for off his own back, working all summer down at De Sol and studying all winter out at the town — a small town, he can't remember the name any more, but now they call it Sector 3. Hojo keeps pencils inside his lab coat pocket (he likes the feel of lead on paper, the option of erasure) but keeps the stereotypic ballpoints hooked on the outer pocket. He keeps postcards from old friends in De Sol in manilla files locked in filing cabinets covered in dust; he keeps all his old sporting trophies in his apartment, under his bed. Only Shinra's shiny medals go on display, on his mantle, behind his desk, in the buffet. He could throw them all away, high school trophies and corporate medals besides, but Hojo believes in roots, in rewards, in systems that fail and those that don't for as long as they stand true as systems; he believes a man is only what his history makes of him. Not his actions, his hopes, his dreams: only his history. What he can remember of i t. Hojo needs these things, fragments of happenstance, to remember who he is.

Public and private: Hojo doesn't like boundaries to blur. Ethics and morality. Two different things. Who Hojo was, who he is, and who he thinks he can become, he has to remember these distinctions from day to day, has to make an effort to remember. His desk presents as cleanly obsessed as Lucrecia always used to keep hers; such precision she displayed in working process, as though to defy the chaos of her outcomes. Hojo might wonder if a department head needs to present himself as a little more approachable than this functional sterility appears...but family photos on his desk would make all his carefully established boundaries as fuzzy as an artist's logic, as sloppy as Shinra's sin.

On his desk. His in-tray, his out-tray, dual monitors and a notepad clip besides. Two coffee cups, both full, one still warm. The subject's latest test results, the refined graph, speculation marked in red . Behind that single summary sheet, forty two detailed pages and the progress (in negative values) of secondary subjects. A newspaper article of Sephiroth's ascension in rank. General. Such a shiny medal. Hojo wants to laugh. General. Sephiroth's nine, looks seventeen, and has no interest in anything beyond playing with his damned wing...

Family photos on his desk, hah. Hah! Hojo detests fuzzy thinking. The newspaper article goes third drawer down, locked, along with nine year's worth of all the others, the achingly stereotyped ultrasound scans, and some of Lu's old hairties, still snarled all round with her tangled threads of gold.


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