In my first three years of my life I barely learned anything. In the last three years I learned all kinds of things. I really made up for lost time. I learned about pain and exploitation. I learned about the simple joys of food and drink and killing the people that made you feel pain and exploitation. I learned so many things about the world and the way it works.
The number one thing I learned is that there’s no limit to people’s capacity for self-delusion.
Ela Prime is a perfect example. She never shuts up about her past life experiences. Which are also my past life experiences. She should know better. If she lived a past life where she was a soldier why didn’t she know how to fire a gun? She knows now because she learned to do it, but why didn’t she know before? If she was a deadly karate assassin bikini champion why can’t she fight worth a damn? Where are the sweet ninja moves she used to defeat the Master of the 69th Chamber? Why didn’t she use the Forbidden Technique on Warlord Gone instead of . . . what happened to her instead?
If she was an ace pilot in some antique military why doesn’t she know how a plane flies through the air? If she was a rogue computer hacker why doesn’t she understand basic electricity diagrams? If she saved the world why is the world not saved? If she was in ship in outerspace why is she here instead of in outerspace? If she was the Black Witch of the Woods why isn’t magic real?
None of these questions bother Ela Prime. You ask and she just doesn’t remember everything she always says. That’s her answer. There’s an explanation for everything you confront her with, she just doesn’t know what that answer is. She takes it on faith that what she remembers is real. Can you believe that? That’s like saying, well 2+2 actually is 5, I just don’t know why.
I figured out all our memories were bullshit the first day we were outside. When they came for us I wasn’t worried. I thought I’d just beat the Christ out of the guy trying to grab me. He was half my size and he was ugly and weak. In my memories I beat up attackers much bigger and stronger than me all the time, often by jumping up and wrapping my legs around their head and flipping them to the ground. That one move would often knock them out cold in my memories.
Try that shit in real life and see what happens. What happened to me is I got bashed in the face with a rusty hook. That’s why they call me Ugly Ela. Somehow my Tiger Crane skills from my memory deserted me in that moment. One time, according to my memories, I defeated an eight-foot-tall cyborg with rocket-fists for hands with nothing more than a thong and a purse strap. Also, where are all the cyborgs Ela Prime? Where?! If there were cyborgs before why aren’t there cyborgs now?
Case in point, if she (and I) were demolitions experts with nunchakus and ESP why did we have find to find a bomb guy to blow our way back into the facility? And also why can’t we read minds?
After bomb guy blew open the hatch Extreme Ela stabbed him in the back of the head. Nice work bomb guy, thanks for coming, via con dios. After three years out here we’re a lot more like the Elas in our fake memories. Only with much worse clothing and much more goiters. Also we kill people dead instead of just flipping them to the ground with our cotches where they just kind of lay there “defeated”.
Since the facility was still sealed up we figured they’d still be in there if they were alive. Unless they had run out of resources there would have been no reason for them to have left. And we were right about that, there were still a few of them in there. They tried to put up a fight. We were out here for three years though and they were in there, they didn’t have a chance. The drones weren’t working, that was the only thing we were worried about. Nothing we could have done about that, if the drones were online and had ammo we would have been dead. But they were offline. Say one thing about Ela Prime, she’s lucky like that.
Ela Prime had wanted to capture whoever was left so we could question them and figure some stuff out about the facility, about our memories, about how they made us, things like that, but Extreme Ela and I had decided ahead of time we’d kill them all. It’s no less than they deserve. So that’s what we did while Ela Prime was dealing with the remaining clones still inside. They barely even seemed to care that they were dying. I guess they knew they had it coming.
We weren’t sure how many of the clones there would be left, if any. I would have bet that they would have gassed them all to preserve resources. And they did cashier (and cannibalize) a bunch of them, but there were more clones left than I expected. There weren’t even twenty real people left in the facility but they had almost thirty clones they had trained to be their servants.
A couple of the clones had even been outside, to trade with the wastelanders on behalf of their creators. If we had known that we wouldn’t have had to waste half a year looking for a bomb guy to blow the hatch open. We could have just sneaked back in as one of the traders. The remaining clones told us that they would occasionally still pop out some new clones to send out into the world because generally speaking they wouldn’t come back. Talk about lambs to the slaughter.
When Extreme and I were done slaughtering the facility staff we walked in on Prime giving the clones a rousing speech. They were staring at her like she was a god of some kind. I bet if she plays her cards right she should turn herself into a religion.
“A new power rises in the north!” she declared dramatically, I give the girl this much she has a real knack for dramatic announcements. Even though we have the same body she has a special way of throwing her chest around that really draws the eyeballs. “Duke Eagle in his vanity believes that he and his followers are Invincible! His hordes thunder for across the land and stain the ground with innocent blood! And who shall stand against them? Who I ask?! We shall my sisters! We will bring light to this benighted land as is our destiny!”
Extreme leaned over to me as Prime was carrying on “Do you think they even understand her?”
I shook my head “No, but she’s really getting into it, why ruin her fun?”