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July 04, 2022

Anachronocity v9p7

By Josh Brown

Mama's Pride - Part Seven

To Alex's pleasant surprise, Katlyn moved from the chair and sat next to him on the bed. In silence they remained, hands locked together for what seemed an eternity.

Alex's body reacted to the closeness. Katlyn's alluring natural scent didn't help matters much. He debated crossing his legs before anything potentially embarrassing arose. But before he could, Katlyn sighed and drew his attention.

"Franky's wife loved peanut butter," she said. "By all accounts, she ate it practically every day and had a hobby of collecting various brands and flavors."

"Explains a lot." Including Katlyn's reaction when he attempted to joke about it.

"Things started to happen fast after that incident."

***

Katlyn sat in the dining hall a few weeks after the hand-crushing situation. Across from her, Doctor Cindy Laroque savored her early-morning coffee.

"There's this one show," Cindy was saying. "Used to come out with new material every day. Now we're lucky to get a new run once a month. Anything, this show -- it was supposedly about the dawning of the twenty-first century."

That woke Katlyn up from her blindingly bored stupor. She'd never told Cindy about her unusual arrival to this time period. For all Cindy knew, Katlyn was just an ordinary passenger on the road of life.

Cindy took Katlyn's sudden interest as a sign of familiarity. "So you've seen it! I was beginning to think I was the only one."

"No. I'm just surprised there'd be a show about the twenty-first century." Why she was surprised, she didn't know. Given all the poorly researched fantasy stories about the "grand mythical time of the twenty-first century" written in this time period, it should have been expected.

Cindy started to say something, her face then contorted to confusion. "You know, you look a lot like one of the characters I saw in an early stream."

"That's strange. I've never acted before." But she had been on television -- news stories, mostly.

As Cindy creepily ogled Katlyn, Sela came over and saved the day.

"I need to speak with you -- privately," she said to Katlyn.

They found themselves in Katlyn's room. Sela deftly slipped past all of Katlyn's attempts at conversation on the way there. Now Katlyn was curious.

"I don't believe," Sela said as soon as she locked the door, "that I'll be in charge of the League much longer."

Katlyn blinked, unable to respond to that.

"Ever since we heard the Elder's side of the story, I've been thinking a lot about the League and its tactics. I'm not saying I believe the Elder's version of history. I'm sure his 'truth' is as biased as our 'truth.' However, I'm not entirely sure that the reality of things is not, in fact, somewhere in between."

Katlyn remained silent. All the lies bouncing back and forth between these two people proved one truth to her: they both had to be human.

Sela took a seat on the sofa. "My concern," she said slowly, "is that the others -- mainly Yerik and Horus -- will see what I'm about to do as traitorous."

"What are you about to do?"

"That depends on you."

Katlyn didn't like the sound of that.

"Where do you stand, Katlyn?"

"I don't understand."

"You've heard both sides. Who do you believe?"

It's never good to be in the spotlight. Truth was, Katlyn didn't know what to believe, and she was starting to not care. While not condoning some of Sela's actions, Katlyn did respect her. All she wanted any more was for Alex to wake up and get them the hell out of this future time.

Finally, Katlyn said, "I'm trying not to get involved. As soon as Alex fixes his machine, we won't be here. It's not our battle."

Sela frowned ever so slightly. "What happened to 'live our lives while we're here since we don't know how long we'll be here?'"

"Things are just getting too complicated. Maybe we feel we're just... too far out of touch with humanity anymore to be able to step into a new life here."

"While that may be true, you are here and you are involved. Alex is in a coma. He may never wake up. You need to think of this as your new reality. That means being involved. At least until Alex is back."

"Are you saying I'm not safe?"

Sela quickly shook her head. "No, not at all. Mama is in charge here. She has the captain's ear and his bed. No matter what becomes of me and the League, you and Alex will be safe on this ship. Mama is very fond of you both."

"So what's the deal? Why the pressure to participate in this game?" Katlyn was starting to feel trapped. Sela seemed to be pressuring her into action whether she wanted to or not.

"I need your --"

"Wait," Katlyn interrupted. "Did you say you were concerned about Yerik and Horus? The two people that can't get along to save their lives?"

"They may not like each other, but don't be fooled. If my plan goes forward, they'll both be up in arms against me. So tell me, Katlyn. Will you help me?"

"I can't answer that honestly without knowing what you want from me."

So Sela told her. "I'm going to turn the League over to the authorities."

Once again rendered speechless, Katlyn could only stare.

"Not without concessions, mind you. We have recruited far too many people with blatant lies. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure those that are victims of our propaganda are protected. There are very few people in the League that are privy to the inner-workings of the League. They will be the ones held accountable -- myself included."

"Why? Why now? What has changed to make you do something so drastic?"

"Were fighting an impossible war here. Not only that; the war isn't real. Do I believe the Elders are really humans from the future? Yes, I do. And that is in large part because of you. Yes, you. I found it more than a little odd that you and Alex showed up from the past just in time for us to find out about the Elders being from the future. I think -- and this is pure speculation -- that you two ended up making a big impact being here and the Elders were aware of it. So they used your arrival to try and stop us."

"And it worked."

"That's not my only reason. There are many. My parents died for this cause. I was raised by this cause. And yet, I seem to be the only one having doubts about what we do."

Sela turned toward the porthole looking out into space. "Katlyn, I think the League is doing more damage than good. The school was just another in a series of incidents that have taken human life and not Elder. It has to end."

***

"So what did you do?" Alex asked.

"I agreed. And she told me her plan."

"You're still here. Things must not have turned out too bad."

"That's because 'things' have just begun. You woke up at the wrong time, Alex. And unless you can recreate your machine and make it work in the next few days, we are going to need to think about our situation and what we can do to survive."

Somehow, Alex didn't think that meant a nice cozy roll in the hay.


To be continued...
Article © Josh Brown. All rights reserved.
Published on 2006-01-16
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