DIZANG. Seriously, you guys, I have NO IDEA what’s going on here! I mean, I figured we were just being dragged into this revolution, but it looks like maybe we had a part in all of it before? And Cain is, uh, familiar with us in a sexytimes way? YES! I love it when hot boys are familiar with me in a sexytimes way!
After last week, you guys pretty overwhelmingly chose B. Say “Before we do anything, I need to know what’s happened to me.” It’s time for some explainin’!
WORD. After all this action, I’m ready to sit back, catch my breath, and do some telling-not-showing. Exposition for the win!
Chapter 08: If I Could Turn Back Time
“We need to contact Cain. Find out where they are and meet up with them now that you’re safe to go.” You look up at Rolex.
“What about Chase? Have you made any progress with him?” Eloise asks. “Is that still a priority?” Rolex looks to you, and you realize it’s decision time.
“Stop. Enough,” you spit out. Rolex and Eloise both look at you, eyebrows raised, surprise and—maybe?—approval all over their faces. “I think, before we do anything, I need to know what’s happened to me.”
Rolex and Eloise exchange a look. “You know what Cain said,” Rolex warns Eloise. “She has to remember on her own. No—”
“Forcing, yeah, I know,” Eloise puts in. “But, Rolex, I don’t know how much longer I can take this.”
“Take what?” you ask. “Maybe if someone told me what the hell was going on, I could actually be some help.”
Rolex shrugs, looks over to Eloise and raises his eyebrows, as if to say, “This is up to you.”
And Nurse Pinkerton, the sadist with the hypodermic needles, sighs and turns to you. And then asks you the dumbest question ever.
“What do you remember from when you were four years old?”
Four years old? Who can remember anything from back then? “I don’t know… I remember skinning my knees on the sidewalk outside of my house. And my mom and my dad. Yelling at each other, a lot. And…and oranges.”
Eloise looks up, her eyes wide and brimming with unshed tears. You look at her, and can almost feel tabs clicking into place in your brain. Words, scents, memories, hazy with time, flood your brain. “Aunt El.”
Eloise smiles softly, but it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “You came out to stay during the summer, when your mom and dad were having problems. You liked helping me make fresh juice in the morning.”
“You let me eat popsicles for breakfast. And we had real bacon. Mom never let me have real bacon at home.” It comes to you in flashes, a dream film reel from what feels like someone else’s life. “And you would find dried locust shells, and we put them on our shirts and wore them like badges. But I don’t—how did you end up here? And why don’t I remember anything? Just flashes, really, and even then they don’t make any sense.”
“We’re not really sure.” This comes from Rolex, who shrugs his shoulders. “Cain hasn’t told us everything that happened that night—and he said we shouldn’t tell you too much about yourself. He wanted you to remember it on your own. He thought maybe if we just told you about, well, you, that it might make you crazy.”
“But I don’t remember anything!” you cry out in frustration. “Or not much. Can’t you just tell me something?”
Eloise sighs and turns to Rolex. “You’re right. And I know this isn’t fair to you. But we don’t know the long-term effects of a memory wipe, which is what we presume the ‘droids performed on you. And we’re not exactly sure what it is they actually did to you, or how. Cain is worried, rightfully so, that if we fill in the details of your life, it could cause you to, well…”
“What?” you cry out in frustration.
“Short-circuit,” Rolex fills in grimly. “We’re worried your brain will fry.”
“Rolex!” Eloise reprimands him sharply. “Your Sensitivity 101 class clearly was missing several key topics.”
“Okay, okay,” you say, trying to take in the fact that your brain could melt if someone told you what your favorite book was. “Let’s try this—can you tell me just what is going on here without telling me about myself?”
Rolex smiles humorously. “That would be kind of difficult, seeing as how before your little amnesia parlor trick, you were leading our charge. But I think we could give you the general gist.
“About a year and a half ago, I showed up at this school. On my second day, I met Cain, and you. And about a week later, you guys were making me sneak out of the dorms to help you investigate this school. Things were easier then—we didn’t have trackers in our arms, and security was lax. No Sentries, no bioscans. The ‘droids never thought we’d be smart enough or foolish enough, take your pick, to try and defeat them, but you were determined. The three of us, plus Dr. Artemus, weren’t accomplishing much, though, until you discovered—well, whatever it was.”
“Dr. Artemus?” you ask. The name sounds familiar, but slightly wrong, somehow, and vague tremors of excitement and guilt flash through your mind, tailed by the brief memory of the feel of a beard scratching against your neck. You can feel your cheeks turn red and somehow you know that your relationship with the mysterious Dr. Artemus was a little more friendly than you had both let on.
“He’s the math teacher,” Rolex answers casually, unaware of the turmoil inside of you. “Or was. He disappeared, the same night as your memory wipe. No one has heard from him in almost a year.”
Great. In one night, you’ve learned you have a more-than-friends relationship with Cain, an aunt who enjoys torturing students with lectures about yeast infections, and you were possibly—probably—carrying on a secret affair with your math teacher. Oh, and that you apparently had the guts to lead secret missions against your robotic overlords. And that you have robotic overlords.
And yet, you still can’t remember much of anything about your actual life.
“Okay, let’s move on from past secret plots to overthrow authority for a minute,” you say. “Let’s switch to the here and now. What is the plan? Why is my roommate a robot? And I don’t understand why you’re here, Aunt El. And posing as a nurse.”
“First of all, I am a nurse. And someone needed to look out for you after your memory wipe. The position was open—it just worked out. And that’s one of the reasons why we need to get to Chance.”
“Yeah, that’s another thing,” you shoot off, standing up to pace the room. “What does Chance have to do with anything?”
“He’s the only one who can help me keep my cover and help the mission. As the President’s son, Chance is above reproach. We need him, his clout. Or else all of our work is for nothing.”
Just as you are about to open your mouth to ask what, exactly, the “work” is, Eloise looks up, startled. “Chance!” she breathes.
You look behind you. Speak of the Devil. Chance is leaningin the door frame, his hair falling over one eye, looking surprised and suspicious to find this little meeting happening after hours.
A. Look to Eloise and Rolex for guidance. You don’t know WHAT is going on, and you don’t want to make the wrong move.
B. Tell Chance to step inside, close the door, and tell him everything you know.
C. Ask Chance what he’s doing roaming around the halls after dark.
D. Make up an excuse for why you and Rolex are in the Nurse’s office after hours and then beat a quick path back to your dorm room. You don’t know whose side Chance is on.