The Contingent


Date: April 27th, 2016
Subject: STOP ORDER #1884 – 4/27/2016 – 4/30/2016

Mr. Mathias,

Per ASI Field Order #17036, you are to discontinue taking the following medications, effective immediately and continuing until midnight on 4/30/2016:


Per the terms of your employment agreement with Amalgamated Solutions International, you will be subject to testing of blood, hair, or urine on demand during this period, and for a period of 48 hours after the stop order is lifted, in order to ascertain your full compliance with this directive. Failure to comply with this stop order may result in immediate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, or Linda Vaughn Terrence Landon, your assigned Human Resources officer.

Ken Yakana
Lead Technician, ASI Research & Development

April 28th


Right now it’s 3:45 in the morning. You’re still asleep in the other room, and I wouldn’t wake you for anything. The dreams came back last night; I saw the eagle again, and something else, something I can’t put into words, something…dark. I’m worried for what the future holds. I’m worried that one of us isn’t going to come back from the field. I worry about that every time we go on a mission, but lately the shadows in my nightmares seem to grow thicker, and sometimes it feels like my friends are the only lights that can break through them.

I don’t want to make tomorrow any harder than it’s already going to be when you get on that plane back to California. If it ends up being the last memory you have of me, I want it to be a happy one. So I’m going to say something, because if my fears are right and one of us doesn’t make it back, I can’t let either of us—any of us—go to our graves not knowing it. I can’t bring myself to tell you in person, but I also can’t hold it in any longer:

I love you. I’m still in love with you. I don’t know that I ever entirely stopped being in love with you. Being near you makes me feel like a whole person. You give me a reason to drag myself out of this dark little hole and live despite all of the fear, and you have no idea how grateful I am to you for that, or for staying with me this week while I recovered.

That doesn’t change my feelings for Alex. She fills a hole inside me that no one else can, either. She understands what it’s like to have a terrible gift, an ability that keeps you awake at night and makes you tremble all day, but one that can also help people— even if she’s lost hers, she gets that. I love her, too.

But I can’t imagine my life without either of you—and I know that’s probably not something any woman wants to hear, but it’s the truth. Someone a hell of a lot smarter than me recently convinced me that I can’t go on denying it, or it’ll eat me up inside. It’s not fair to either of you for me to keep lying about it, whether to myself or to you and Alex. So, I’m going to stop doing it. Right now. If my stupid, fucked-up emotions have to hurt the two people I care about more than anything else in the world, then I’m at least going to be honest about how much I love them.

I don’t know where all of this leaves the three of us. I have no idea how Alex will react when I tell her about what happened between you and me, or how you’ll react when you find this letter in your bag. But I hope it ends with us all at least still being friends, because I’m not sure that this life is worth living any other way.

Also, taped to this letter is a junk drive containing all of my dream journals from the last two years. I record everything in longhand at home or on the road and then transcribe them to a secured text document—the password for this copy is the name of the album that was playing the first time we slept together, one word, all lowercase. You’ll know the one.

I want you to have this because it might hold information that could save your life or those of your teammates. This way, it’ll be easy to pull up on the fly and do a quick keyword search for any particular topic you think I might have additional insight on. I’m also going to send you secure copies of my future dream journals via the Frequency to add to this archive, in case I get a line on something else that can help you or the other Contingent folks out in the field.

I’m sorry to lay all of this on you right now, but I’m tired of pretending not to feel the way I feel. You deserve the truth, and so does Alex. Call me after your trip to San Francisco, even if it’s only to let me know you’re alright.

I hope I see you again soon. Thanks again for a wonderful week—I wouldn’t trade the last four days of my life for anything, no matter what mistakes I may have made during them…because I got to spend them with you.



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