Friday, January 2, 2015

Being more than a Simulacrum (A Kim Possible fan fiction) (part 5)

[Link to part 1]

“Ok,” Place said, “that was definitely fun.”

“Until the adrenaline high wears off and we're just left exhausted and icky,” Shego said.


“Don't even pretend you're not, I can smell you from here.”

“Ah,” Place said as if that explained everything, “icky.”

“But you've got something else on your mind, don't you?”

“No idea what you're—”

“You can't lie, princess,” Shego said. “You never could-- she never could. Gah!”

Place smiled at the way things were sliding off topic. “You created the situation, you know.”

“Yeah, I know,” Shego said with a sigh.

“Still not going to tell me why?”

“What I'm going to do is make sure you head off to the shower before you stink up the whole lair.”

“I do not smell that bad,” Place protested.

“Sure,” Shego packed concentrated sarcasm into one word in that way only Shego could.

“And you smell like a rose,” Place responded. “What ever possessed you to spend so much time in that jumpsuit?”

“First off, I have more than one. Second, they're jumpsuits made out of …” Shego trailed off. “That's not important. They wick moisture really well.” A beat later she asked, “What was bothering you earlier?”

“It's nothing,” Place said, looking away.

“When it really is nothing, people generally don't feel the need to avert their gaze,” Shego said.

“It's just, I throw a punch or a kick and it doesn't land as hard as it should,” Place said. “As hard as I expect it to. As hard as it would if she threw it.”

“You've got a new body,” Shego said. “It needs to be conditioned. I thought we covered this.”

“I know,” Place said. “It's just that I have these memories of how my body should work and it doesn't, and every time it doesn't it reminds me that I'm not 
her.” Place looked at the floor. “Even though I remember being her.”

“Do...” Shego sounded uncertain, maybe even ashamed and regretful as she trailed off. It was enough to make Place whip her head around to look at Shego so fast she worried she'd give herself whiplash. “Would you prefer I hadn't had you made?”

“What?” Place asked in genuine shock. “No.”

Place watched as relief washed over Shego's face.

“It's just strange,” Place said. “That's all.”

“I can imagine,” Shego said. “I'm not a big cloning fan in general.”

“But you like me?” Place asked playfully.

“You're one of the good ones,” Shego said, playing along.

For a bit they walked in silence.

“Why do I even have memories?” Place asked.

“I have no idea,” Shego said. Shego got a distant look in her eyes, “Drakken explained at one point, but I only pay enough attention to skim off the meaningful bits.”

“You look like you're going to pull out your nail file right now,” Place commented.

“Yeah, you would too if you listened to his explanations. It takes the man five hours to deliver information that could be done in three sentences because he's so proud of himself that he has to cover every single detail, in detail, usually multiple times.”

“That does sound infuriating.”

“The only way to survive is to learn to filter most of it out.” After a pause, Shego said, “Anyway, if you're interested, you should ask Drakken about the memories thing. Just be prepared to gnaw your own leg off to survive the experience of hearing his explanation.”

“I might do that.”

“After you shower,” Shego said forcefully.

They'd reached Place's quarters, and Place went in without comment, but she did roll her eyes.

* * *

“That doesn't mean anything. It's just a bunch of technobable strung together in a way that vaguely resembles a coherent thought,” Place said after Drakken's third explanation.

“Ok, fine, I don't know,” Drakken admitted.

You don't know?”

“I don't know,” Drakken said. “Don't rub it in.”

“You can duplicate a person right down to their memories and you don't know how it works?”

“All I know is that, for some reason, if you make an unmodified clone of a living being, and age it to the same age as the being was when the sample was taken, the clone will have the memories of the original,” Drakken said.


“No short cuts, no synthogoo, no mind control, no enhancements, no conditioning,” Drakken said. “I was planning to create a copy that would set off no red flags. Loyalty would have to be based on training; which is slow, but it would have been worth it.” Drakken seemed to take a moment to reminisce about his failed plan. “But then Project Mole-rat Mole was ruined when the subject had the same memories and, worse, morality as the original,” Drakken finished angrily.

“Project … you tried to copy Rufus?!”

“And the rodent almost destroyed the entire lair,” Drakken snapped. “I'd only just paid it off.”

Place tried not to laugh. She failed.

“In the end we had to bribe the little vermin with cheese and find him a home of his own just to stop the place from coming down on our heads.”

“Where is he now?”

“The rodent is currently living with a twelve year old girl who lives two blocks away from Bueno Nacho headquarters,” Drakken said bitterly.

Place snickered. Then she noticed how crestfallen Drakken appeared and decided not to rub it in too much. She changed topics by asking, “So what is your evil plan for me?”

It didn't seem to lighten Drakken's mood any. Instead he threw his hands in the air and said, “It's Shego's plan, and she won't tell me.” He walked away and added, “I try to keep her happy,” he turned to Place and said, “I think of us as an evil family you see-- but sometimes I feel like she's forgetting which of us is in charge.”

Place thought, “She is,” but chose not to say anything.

Drakken continued in his, Place thought, overly deep self-pity, “So right now we're all just sitting here doing nothing!”

“You do your best when you have time to think,” Place said.

What?” Drakken asked, genuine surprise in his voice.

“Your best schemes have always been the ones where there was a plan no one managed to guess until it was, almost, too late,” Place said. She considered that she probably shouldn't be helping a villain, but then reminded herself that she was talking to Drakken. He'd never take over the world. “When you spend time doing nothing but thinking, you're always more formidable.”

That's an interesting observation,” Drakken said.

* * *

Place reflexively jumped back into a fighting stance and then said, “Sorry,” to the henchman.

“No problem,” he said in a shaky voice.

I'm just used to seeing, you know, one of you meaning that there's a fight.”

“Right,” he said.

I mean, doesn't seeing my face, which looks just like her face, put you on edge?” she asked.

Absolutely,” the henchman said, his tone becoming more comfortable and casual.

“So how do you deal with it?” Place asked.

“Mostly by reminding myself that Shego would do unspeakable things to me if I gave you trouble,” he said.


“Probably not actually unspeakable,” the henchman admitted, “but likely experiences that I wouldn't want to revisit by speaking them.”

“Do you know why I was created?”

“No, but the going theory is that it's a straightforward attempt to balance things.”

“Balance?” Place asked, confused.

“Now that Stoppable's stepped up,” the henchman said. “I mean, he still bumbles more often than not, but everyone knows what he's capable of. Rumor has it Shego was sick of facing that and Possible.”

“So I'm just a way to balance the scales?”

“Well, there are two to one odds on that theory, so if you think it's not true... Well, actually, you probably couldn't place a bet because of the possibility of inside knowledge.” He paused, obviously thinking. “So if you want to put some money in the pot, feel free to do it through me, and if you get any inside knowledge, please give it to me.”

People are betting on me?”

“People are betting on 
everything,” the henchman said. “Since I've been here there's been an ongoing over-under for how long until Shego next flings plasma at Dr. D. There's usually a pool on the nature of the next scheme, with eighteen well defined categories. There's currently betting on how long before Robert, he's one of the henchmen, proposes to his girlfriend. The one on how long before Michael proposed to his boyfriend just paid out--”

“You bet on people's relationships?”

“Yeah,” the henchman said. “Not well, mind you. I had Michael taking another three months to propose.”

“You don't think that's...” Place found she didn't have the right word, “intrusive or insensitive or in-something.”

The henchman shrugged, “It's just the culture. I can tell the guys to stop making bets that involve you, if you don't feel comfortable.”

Place thought it over for a while. She quickly got side tracked by thinking about whether or not the popular reason for her creation was right. Did Shego create her just because Shego didn't want to be outnumbered two to one when Ron finally got control over his monkey power?

No. That didn't make sense. There'd be no reason to keep that a secret from her, much less Drakken and the Henches.

Finally, Place said, “I'm putting my money on it being something else, not the going theory.” And then she remembered, “As soon as I find out if I have any money to put on it.”

“Ok?” the henchman said. The word implied statement, the tone implied question. Place wasn't sure what to make of it.

“It was nice talking to you...” Place said.

“Andrew,” the henchman said. “It was nice meeting you...”

“I don't have a name yet,” Place said. “We're using 'Place' as a placeholder.”

“Well, nice meeting you, Place.”

“You too, Andrew.”

* * *
Place found Shego on a couch in a lounging room. Place plopped down beside her.

“So, did Drakken have your answers?” Shego asked.

“He doesn't know,” Place told her.

“He doesn't know?!”

“It took listening to three, mind numbing, fake explanations--where he tried to dazzle me with so much technobable I wouldn't notice he never actually answered the question—to get him to admit that he didn't know.”

“Ouch,” Shego said.

“I think I finally understood the urge to be evil after he was half an hour into the first one.”

“He does give one the urge to break things and hurt people.”

“I may need to invest in a nail file of my own.”

“For the uninitiated, I also recommend ear plugs.”

“You can get away with that?”

“You can get away with a lot; the down side is that sometimes it comes back to bite you in strange and unexpected ways.”

“Like what?” Place asked.

“Listening to music while he ranted ended with him trying to rap.”

“I remember that.”

“I wish 
I didn't.”

“I can understand that,” Place said. Then she thought for a bit. She was no closer to understanding exactly what she was or why she was the way she was than she had been before talking to Drakken even though Drakken was responsible for the process that created her.

“You're disappearing into your head again,” Shego said softly.

“Where does this leave me?”

“Where does what leave you?”

“Drakken doesn't know why I have memories, and he designed the process that made me, so why do I have memories?”

“If Drakken doesn't have a theory then the answer isn't science.”

“What does 
that mean?”

“Magic,” Shego said.

“Magic?” Place asked, unsure if Shego was joking.

“If Drakken doesn't know something, that doesn't mean much of anything. If Drakken can't even come up with a theory after looking into something, and he did look into it, then science can't answer things. He's incompetent at taking over the world, but he's pretty good at science.”

“I know I said--she said, 'Mad Scientist,' when I--she first met him, but I've always felt he was more of an upset engineer.”

“Kim only ever saw the application side because that was all she cared about or had to deal with, but you can't just say, 'I want to make a really small bomb,' and then have one that's ready to put on a techno-tick. There's a lot of science that has to come before the engineering and even when Drakken was stealing technology he usually had to have at least a cursory understanding of the theory in order to warp it for his own uses.”

“Ok...” Place said, unsure of what to say.

“Evil scientists just have a hard time getting their work published in traditional peer reviewed journals and evil peer reviewed journals never work because everyone ends up afraid that the peer reviewers will steal their work.”

“So... magic?”


Place made a sound that resembled, “Ugh.” Then thought a bit and said, “So tell me about Project Mole-rat Mole.”

“Do you have a week?” Shego asked.

“I've got all the time in the world.” Place told her.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, pronouns. This is a fun, fun story.

    Hadn't considered how blurry the line was between science and engineering, but Shego's take on it makes a lot of sense.