Chapter 9:

Nemo Wars - Entry 7 - Reality

Further Tales From The UnderCurrent (Short Story Prequel Series)

Entry 7; 10-08-Ta424
Been a little bit since I wrote one of these but now felt like the time.
It's also been a while since I found out, that this town isn't real - That out there somewhere is someone who once a month or two brings supplies to keep this place 'a-float'.

Every day I feel more and more stupid about the whole thing, I mean it was so obvious right?
There are cars here, cars!
There isn't a manufacturing factory here, nor any oil & metal reservoirs - So how could there possibly be cars?

I have hens in my garden, three of them - Now sure hens make eggs that make more hens or some crap, but that doesn't explain how the forest is full of wildlife, insects that propagate pretty flowers and rare types of tree not used for lumber but simply there to look nice.

Maybe I just wanted to believe the townsfolk had brought all that stuff with them.
That in my theory these people had run away from the war, to protect something or someone of importance - And had been so prepared in advance that they had brought 10 years worth of solar-panels and lightbulbs with them.

I know, it's absolutely pathetic that I allowed myself to be so damn deluded.

It's like I can't un-see it now, how fake this place is.
I spot a child with some new looking toy and immediately question if the outside force brought it here, I mean the town can't make plastic - Every patio-chair and kitchen utensil either has to of been here since the beginning or was brought in by the outside sponsor.

It's fake, it isn't real.
You know those articles you sometimes get on a slow news day? Where a magazine proudly says a test has been conveyed where-in a rat chooses to protect its spouse rather then eating a big block of cheese - This town is like that, one of those trite little experiments where under super-specific circumstances something good can be tangentially proven.

I wanted to believe it, that when you reduced people to their barest essence, forced them through extraordinary events - That ultimately they band together and support each other.
That this town, where the kids learn useful things, where no one ever goes hungry, where the only currency is trust in one another - I wanted to believe it was naturally real.

But its just a science experiment - And me, I'm an outside influence, corrupting this sterile testing ground.
I see it more and more often, when I pass someone on the street, the sidelong looks they give me when they think I ain't watching. They even have the gall to sometimes come see my progress on the mech!
Like they're watching me, checking to see I'm doing my job properly.

That's all it is to them right? They want me to fix the mech and then who knows what.
Maybe with it fixed they'll no longer have a reason to keep me around, maybe I'll be cut loose, I am a risk after all!
Would you trust someone from a foreign planet?

Doesn't matter if I'm pro TSU or IAFS, my accent, my skin colour, everything - They must know I'm from Bhaile, from the place they hate so much.
They don't trust me, they're just waiting right?

And the mech, that blasted bucket of bolts!
For all the armour has needed repair and I've had to work on the hydraulics - The computers, the AI circuits that make 'Button A' raise 'Arm 1', those still god-damn work.
So well protected with-in the cockpit, I reckon the machines computers had a better survival chance then us bloody pilots.

Well once I realised it I made sure to take out the blackboxes - Two were easy to get at, the third from the Ogre with the smashed-in cockpit...That was messy... And sticky... but I got there.
Smashed them all up in the dead of night, then set them ablaze. To think for all these months the townsfolk could of found the blackboxes - They would know everything if they did, my name, country of birth, age, everything.

No its good I got to them in time.....

I think....I hoped maybe, that after the fall, after I shot that other pilot in cold bold staring him right in the eyes, my fellow man - I think I wanted to believe I died that day, in a pool of my own blood, caused by shrapnel from my own bloody machine.
That I had died and then been reborn here, in this new world, a paradise where Objectivity and Subjectivity are held in balance and trust reigns supreme in a loving community surrounded by the beautiful forests on all sides.

That out beyond the dome, past the walls of this abandoned Nation-State, out there was nothing - That this new world was just the town, and only the town.

But that isn't true is it?!

Out there somewhere IAFS and TSU are still at war, a war I'm a part of.
I should be out there, fighting-- No dieing for my duty.
I have an oath to uphold don't I?
What right have I to hide away here, to run from the war?

I'm a coward, I know it. The people here can see it, sense it - That's why they stare when I'm not looking, its why they're watching me.

I shouted at Tamai today, she was sitting in the Vijaik chair I put out the front of my house, on one of her usual visits accompanied by Scarface. She started asking questions, like she always does, and then... Then she asked if the seat was comfortable when 'fighting'.

I snapped, started shouting at her, shouting at this little girl who was just being curious.
And Scarface, well he didn't shout back, tell me to shut up - No it was worse, he just looked at me with this face of pity, no scorn!

He's a soldier, or was, I'm sure that's how he lost his arm - And he was looking down at me -Why shouldn't he!? Him and all his friends have settled here, have lives here but I don't, I'm nothing like them.
I'm pathetic, I'm an animal - There the real soldiers, I'm just a thug who had nothing better to spend his life on!

It's my fate to die at war, I had accepted that a long time ago.
I don't have any dreams or ambitions, I just exist. I survived two bloody wars by sheer luck, I didn't have any good reason to come back alive!
I'm not even any good, I'm as mediocre a pilot as you can find - I've never saved lives as a soldier only taken them.

The others I've known always had families, or some sort of 'duty' - Like the people in this town do, but me?
I've seen fathers, brothers, sisters and girlfriends - People with drive and goals to strive for - I've seen hundreds of them die alongside me, while I have nothing to live for, I've never even owned a pet!

It is my destiny to die in battle, and yet I haven't even managed that much.

I think I knew when I dropped out of school, when I walked out on my folk's incessant arguing, when I signed on with the military because it was that or join a gang - I think I knew then I'd never go home.

I haven't returned once, I don't even know if my family are alive or not, if I even still consider them 'family' - The townsfolk here don't want me, I don't want me.

This isn't a utopia for me, but them.

I wrote before that this is my third life, that my childhood was one and my time as a soldier two - But that's wrong, I'm still in that second life, sooner or later these people will either send me back to the endless warring, or shoot me themselves.
Heck its all just one life, from birth to when I'm finally freed of it - Born just to die.

Heh, we all die, some of us sooner then others....

......I thought if the Vijaik's computers were broke then I would be stuck - I can engineer a little but I ain't a programmer, then again for all I know there could be an astrophysicist hiding in the town...

Either way, with the computers working the mech should be finished in just another couple months - Heck I recon it might even be able to get it walking again in just a week or two.

Just a week or two till its ready....