Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Being more than a Simulacrum (A Kim Possible fan fiction) (part 7)

[Link to part 1]

Kim rushed out the door, hopped into the back the car that was waiting --Place thought she recognized it as belonging to someone Kim had helped find a lost dog-- and was gone. She never looked back; she never looked up. She didn't see Place standing on the roof above the doorway.

Place considered running up the slanted roof, dropping down onto the second story deck, and then making her way inside from there. It would achieve a moment's fun --running on rooftops was always good for a quick pick-me-up-- and it was a way that Kim had never entered the house, but sometimes simple approaches were best.

She wanted to meet with her family, not make them feel insecure about their easy-to-break-into home. They only finished rebuilding a few months ago, after all. Let them think they were safe for a while. If the past few years had been any indication it would be in need of major reconstruction soon anyway.

She flipped down from her perch and entered the house through the front door.

* * *

Ann looked up from the table at the sound of someone entering the room. She didn't immediately register that her daughter was wearing different clothes than the ones she had rushed out in moments before.

“Kim?” She asked. “Did you forget something? When you left it seemed urgent.”

“Yeah,” the young woman said, “about that... I'm not Kim.”

For a moment there was complete silence.

* * *

James never looked up from his paper as he said, “You're going to have to explain that young lady. You certainly sound like Kim.”

“I'm a clone created from Kim's genetic material who happens to have Kim's memories from before said genetic material was harvested for reasons that are unknown but assumed to involve magic or something equally scientifically implausible.”

“That's interesting,” James said.

“Honey, as a neurosurgeon--” Ann said.

“Mom, before you say whatever completely reasonable thing it is I'm sure you're about to say,” the Kim who claimed to be not-Kim said, “I ask that you remember the mind switching sitch.”

“She does have a point,” Jame said. There was only one thing that was bothering him about this situation, and it had nothing to do with scientific possibility. He was about to ask about it, when the girl responded to his concern unprompted.

“No, dad, there weren't any boys involved,” the young woman said. “I was created at the request of Kim's arch nemesis, Shego, who is definitely not a boy.

“Which brings me to the last thing that I think I have to get out in the open before we can start a genuine conversation: in the time since I was created I've been staying at a secret lair with a couple of super-villians and their employees.” Finished speaking she sat in Kim's spot at the table.

* * *

So far Place thought that things were going very well, the timing of the evil scheme had obviously been perfect since Kim had left without touching her food leaving a full plate for Place. “Brainloaf,” she said, “how I've missed thee.”

* * *

“So,” Jim said.

“You're a clone of Kim who was created by an obviously illegal process,” Tim said.

“Presumably without her knowledge or consent,” Jim said.

“And you're hanging out with super-villians,” they said as one.


“Cool.” Jim and Tim said.

* * *

“So, probably the first thing to get out the way,” Place said between bites of brain shaped meatloaf, “is the fact that I don't have a name.”

“What do you call yourself,” her mother asked.

“We've been going with 'Place' which is short for 'Placeholder',” Place said. “It's kind of grown on me, but the entire point of having a placeholder name was that I figured you and dad might want to have some say in what your daughter's name is.”

“What about,” Jim began.

“Us?” Tim finished.

“That depends on your input,” Place said, eyeing them warily.

* * *

“We never considered a name for Kim other than 'Kimberly Ann'” Ann said.

“You could always go with 'Ann',” James said before flipping to the next page in the paper.

“Making Kim's middle name my first name doesn't really seem like having a name of my own,” Place said.

“You could be 'Evil Kim-Clone',” Tim said.

“'The Kimitation',” Jim said.

Ann resisted the urge to shout at her sons. She didn't know what was going through Place's mind, but she was sure that coming into the world fully grown with memories that weren't your own was difficult enough without being mocked.

“Boys, there will be no mocking your sister simply because she's the product of mad science,” James said.

Ann felt some relief at that. James' mind might be half in another world more than half the time, but he had a way of calmly dealing with situations like these. It still didn't help with giving this new daughter a name, though.

To her surprise, the twins redeemed themselves with a good suggestion.

“Kim doesn't even use her full first name, you could use what she she doesn't,” Jim said.

“Leaving me with Berly?” Place scoffed. “I think I'll pass.

“She uses the first, syllable,” Tim said. “You could use the last.”

“'ly'?” Place asked.

“'Lee' is a name,” James said.

“Isn't it a boy's name?” Place asked.

“Not always,” Ann said. “I had a Leah as a roommate my first year in medical school, and I can assure you that she was quite feminine.”

Place made a 'Hmmm' sound as she thought it over.

“With reduplication it would be 'Leela',” Place said.

Ann didn't quite follow that logic, and so she asked, “Wouldn't reduplication make it 'Lalee'?”

“And have those two call me Lolly-pop?” Place asked, pointing at the twins who were suddenly trying, and failing, to look like they would never consider such a thing. 

 “So, 'Leela'?” Ann asked. 

 “Unless someone has objections I guess I'm 'Leela Place Possible',” Place said. 

 “I don't object,” James said. 

 “It's a fine name,” Ann told her daughter.

* * *

The conversation went rather well, Place thought. It would take her a while to start thinking of herself as 'Leela', but she hadn't been 'Place' all that long so she figured it would work out. There was only one, completely expected, problem. 

“You really plan on going back to living with a gang of criminals?” her mother asked.

“It's not a gang, it's a vaguely organized paramilitary security force whose primary job is to protect a compound, containing labs and living quarters, which happens to be overseen by someone dad made fun of in college.”

“I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if we had treated Drew better,” Place's father said, not looking up from his paper.

“Yeah,” Place said in a tone she hoped was flat rather than sarcastic, “If you'd given him the cybertronic armor instead of Pinky Joe Curly Tail then there might be two fewer villains in the world.”

“Oh, Pinky Joe,” her dad said wistfully.

“I'm just not comfortable with the idea of my daughter breaking the law,” her mother said.

“Then you probably should have thought about that before you started letting Kim cross borders without going through customs, order Wade to hack into secure systems, help out in the emergency room without certification, and bring space ships from orbit to landing without filing a flight plan.” Place was originally going to stop there, but then she decided to add, “Not to mention that she wasn't certified for that last one either.”

Her mother looked shocked.

“Not that I disapprove,” Place said quickly. “I mean being a vigilante is kind of iffy, but I totally intend to copy her tax evasion strategy.”

When her mother spoke, it was with the lack of emotion that Place imagined came from being thrown for a loop with such force that your feelings and brain landed in different time zones. She hadn't meant to do that to her mother, and mentally kicked herself.

As for what her mother actually said, it was simply, “Tax evasion?”

“Yeah, you know,” Place said. “Kim renders services and she could accept payment there and then and then use that payment to, say, charter a boat later, but instead she does it for free --wink, wink; nudge, nudge-- and then charters the boat for free later on as repayment of the favor. She gets the same thing as if she accepted payment, but by leaving money out of the equation and 'forgetting' to declare the numerous gifts to the IRS she doesn't pay a cent in taxes.

“I'm pretty sure everyone would work for barter-- sorry, 'favors' if they thought they could get away with the same thing, but not everyone has Kim's contacts in the government to stop people from looking into the undeclared gifts.

“I mean, whenever a member of congress tries to do what Kim does, they end up resigning in disgrace. The smart ones know to declare their bribes, because they wrote the law such that declared ones are legal.” Place had, in fact, taken Shego's advice and looked at some of the congressional record.

“Kimmie's a criminal!” Jim said.

“Hikka bikka boo?” Tim said.

“Hoo sha!” Jim said.

“I'm raising a house full of criminals,” their mother sighed.

“I'm sorry,” Place said. “I didn't mean to bring you down.”

“No,” her mother said, her voice returning to normal. “It's fine. I've gotten used to it actually.” She paused. “It's just that it's usually coming from the boys or being used to save the world.”

“Well,” Place said, “I'm not exactly planning on ending the world.”

* * *

Shego called ahead to let Place know when Kim was on her way back, so Place wrapped up the conversation and said her good-byes while asking her family to let her break the news to Kim when she was ready. She wasn't entirely sure when she'd be ready.

Her mother followed her to the door. “Are you going back to the lair?” she asked.

“No,” Place said. “I'm going to see Wade and have him check me over for any mind control or behavioral modification.”

“I thought you said you trusted them.”

“I did and I do. But I think 'Trust, but verify' is a good strategy here.”

“That does seem smart,” her mother said. “And after Wade?”

“I've got some stuff to figure out on my own,” Place said. “I don't fully understand the process that created me yet. I would very much like to.” Place paused and thought a moment, “Depending on where that takes me I might stop in to see Nana, Joss ... even Larry. Regardless, after that I'm going back to the lair.”

“And you're sure you'll be safe there?”

“Kim's still planning on going to university in Hong Kong after this 'year off for reconstruction' thing she's doing, right?”

“Yes, but I don't see how--”

“Mom, are you sure she'll be safe there? A year isn't that long to rebuild when you think about it, and as I recall the entire infrastructure got taken out in the island, Kowloon, and the New Territories.”

“Are you trying to make me worry?”

“I'm trying to make a simple point: Nowhere is completely safe,” Place said. “I'm not going to say I'm sure I'll be safe, because I'm not going to lie, but I will say that I'm fairly confident I'll be reasonably safe.”

“That's … mildly comforting.”

“Bye, mom,” Place said as she left.

“Bye, Leela,” her mom said.

Place knew that it would take a while to get used to her new name, but at least she finally had a name.


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  1. Hm. Place knew it would take a while to get used to her new name. Leela Place Possible may be the name she puts on her legal documents, but I don't think Leela is what she's going to go by.

    1. I knew that she would eventually get the name "Leela" for a long time, but it's been 11 months since the name "Place" was introduced in part two and about 9 and a half since she internalized it in part three, so I've been thinking of her as "Place" for a lot longer than she has.

      I'm not totally sure how I'm going to handle it going forward, but I'm thinking that it's probably going to end up being something like, "My friends call me 'Place'."

      The people back at the lair already know her as "Place" and she's already internalized it, but when she meets a new person she'll call herself "Leela" or "Leela Place".

      It'll probably be a tangled mess, but that's what happens when you go around cloning people.