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[personal profile] last01standing
Title: Only Sleeping
Rating: PG
Characters: Topher
Notes: for yuletide
Summary:Topher falls asleep in the chair sometimes.

Only Sleeping

He falls asleep in the chair.

It’s not something he ever expect to do and it gives him the willies but sometimes he wakes up in the chair and blinks only to find that there’s no one else in the room. The computer screens all glow blue and he’d think of the ocean only he’s afraid of drowning or the sky only he’s afraid of falling.

“Did I fall asleep or something?” he asks the empty room. He starts to laugh. Then he stops and thinks of Sierra, no Priya and remembers this isn’t a joke.


The brain is a fingerprint. Everyone’s thought patterns are unique. The electrochemical make-up, the receptors, the patterns, he’s got thousands of them like baseball cards stashed up in his computer and he can mix them at will to make thousands more.

He can read defects in the programming with the best in the business. He diagnoses autism, forgetfulness, Alzheimer’s and a few other mental illnesses no one’s ever identified before.

He looks at his own brain scan sometimes. Not because it’s perfection but because it’s a random mishmash of chemical signals that shouldn’t work but does. He lays out a transparency over it and pulls out a red pen so he can circle the areas. Topher Brink, narcissistic, pessimistic, sociopathic, claustrophobic...

It’s all cobbled together, limping along with little hope of success but it works and it’s him and he knows he’s a genius but he also knows there are bugs in his programming.


Sierra keeps him up at night—no, he’s doing it again—Priya keeps him up at night. There’s blood everywhere he can see. He can’t get it off and it’s eating at his insides. Conscious Boyd calls it. Adele hired him because he didn’t have one. But he keeps thinking of his hands covered in blood and Priya covered in blood and he wonders if this is a new algorithm in his brain’s wiring. Connections made to fix him. Connections he doesn’t want made.

The brain wants to make itself better. Give it the basic skill set, the identity builds itself. His brain is defragging, churning up things he wants buried again.

He’s built a person before. Built a friend for himself. Built Sierra into something she didn’t want to be. And how does that make him any better then the rest of them? How does that make him better then Nolan?


“I try to be my best,” the actives say. “I want to be my best. He is not his best.”

They never say it coming out of the chair.

After Bennet, Topher starts dreaming of senator Perrin.

The programming isn’t that hard. Making an overlay isn’t that hard. He can retrosynthesize with the best of him and he could make it work.

If he wanted to.

“I try to be my best,” Sierra tells him, smiling absently and he flashes back to Priya and blood and guilt and knows he’s not his best. There’s always room for self improvement.

He works on the project in his spare time just to prove to himself that it can be done. That Bennett isn’t smarter than him.

He uses his own brain patterns for the template.


He falls asleep in the chair sometimes.

Sometimes he wakes up in it.