Rachel in Infinity City: Part 7

Tara bit her lip, and said, “Let’s talk about it outside.”

It didn’t take long to go outside. We passed the concrete lions without anything weird happening, and found ourselves standing on the grass next to the river again. Tara kept walking until we were out of earshot of any of the other people.

Well, out of normal earshot—Travis could hear every conversation on the lawn, and right then I was grateful for it.

Tara looked both ways before she said anything. “I was going to tell you about them. It’s a standard part of the tour, but with me being who I am, it gets… complicated.”

No one said anything while she paused.

“They call themselves ‘The True’. Most people in Infinity City call them the ‘Blues’ or the ‘Greens’. It’s because of their eye color. Otherwise it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. They’re from alternate universes far enough away from here that the politics and culture issues don’t make any sense at all.

“They were designed to be soldiers and police. Sometimes they were created to protect a group. Sometimes they were created to keep society under control. Either way, they were supposed to be perfect, or at least better than most people. In some worlds, they destroyed everybody but themselves. In others, they took over. The ones in this city are refugees from worlds where their uprising failed, or the last remains of the human race on a planet they destroyed.”

Rod nodded thoughtfully, but then frowned and asked, “What does all that have to do with eye color?”

“Nothing. It only shows a difference. They’re all clones, but they’re a little different from one universe to another. They notice the little differences and don’t trust each other. The Blues and Greens are almost the same, but they’re a little different philosophically, and in… eye color.”

Tara trailed off, not looking bubbly or enthusiastic. To me, she looked like one wrong word could leave her sobbing.

She had green eyes.

Travis put his hand on her shoulder. “If it bothers you, you can talk about it later.”

She shook her head, her eyes glistening around the edges, but not tearing up. “No, I’ll talk about it now, but thanks.”

She did a decent job of faking cheerfulness. Travis took his hand away, and glanced at me, frowning. I knew he didn’t believe her either.

I’d liked that about him. Even if his insight came from better than human senses, he paid attention to people.

“My mother was a Green. My father was a Blue. They ran away after Mom became pregnant with me, and we hid, moving from one version of the city to another until we got here.”

She stopped talking, and took a breath. Her voice became calmer, but unnatural for her–distant and remote. “The Greens caught up with us, and killed Mom, but the government took us in.”

Samita muttered, “That’s awful.”

Tara took another breath, and sounded more normal then she had. “I’m fine. It happened seven years ago. I’m okay now.”

I doubted it.

My next question was a step back from the personal questions. “If we run into them again, what are we facing?”

“It depends on the kind of True you’re facing. Most of them are stronger, faster, and smarter than a normal person, but not all the time. It’s based on a chemical trigger—a little like how adrenaline works.”

“You too?” I asked.

She nodded. Then she gave everyone a smile, and said, “Does anyone else have any questions? I’m supposed to have shown you more by now, and given you a little free time. We should try to catch up.”

No one had questions. Tara said, “Great. There’s a bus stop at the end of the block. Let’s start walking.”

Travis and I fell into step behind everyone else. Samita was asking Tara something as they walked, and Rod walked between the two of them and the two of us.

It felt a little strange. Travis and I hadn’t spent this much time together in years—not outside of practice, or a fight.

“So,” I said, “great field trip, right?”

Travis laughed. “Couldn’t be better.”

“I know.” I smiled up at him. “Are we safe?”

“Can’t sense it if we aren’t. No raised heartbeats. No one smells scared.”

That was saying something because it felt just like any big city. People were everywhere. I counted ten people walking ahead of us on our side of the street, and four were already waiting at the bus stop.

“That’s a relief.” I was about to ask him how the family restaurant business was going when my phone rang.

I pulled it out of my pocket. I had one of the League phones Nick made to pass as normal cell phones.

I checked the caller ID. It was my mom.

13 thoughts on “Rachel in Infinity City: Part 7”

  1. *Pulls out a plasma pistol and a Qualta blade. * I see we’re dealing with the frelling Peacekeepers. I’m afraid I have no wormhole technology, nor do I give a dren about it, but give me a few arns and I can whip up something.

    Are they coldblooded like Peacekeepers (well, any Sebacean)? I have no qualms forcing heat delirium on them with a tanning booth. Ooh, or maybe a tanning ray…

  2. Typo – “the government helped Dad and I escaped from the city.” Maybe either a period after helped or change that to escape.

    Would this be real Mom who wants nothing to do with the league???

  3. funny, Notto Mention, I parsed that as needing a comma:
    “the government helped Dad, and I escaped from the city.” or else: “the government helped Dad and me escape from the city.” but I like your interpretation of:
    “the government helped. Dad and I escaped from the city.”

  4. maybe she just found the phone and due to the block did not know it was league technology. “Rachel Dear, would ou mind reminding me of…” etc. As to the main story of Tara, I think that this idea is really interesting and the exclusionist principle of this people reminded me of Kricket.

  5. Alternate universe mother has superpowers and isn’t afraid to use them to enforce curfew. Actually, ‘real’ universe mother has superpowers too, but due to the block can’t remember how to use them.

  6. Notto/Jeff/Avid Reader: Thanks for the typos. They’re fixed now.

    PG: Farscape is on my list of “Things I Probably Need to Watch, But Haven’t Yet.”

    Mad Ninja/UO: Near the end of the hostage situation with the Executioner, Nick and Rachel’s mom phased her hands and legs out of her bonds. It’s been implied that she remembers now, but it hasn’t come into the story yet.

    Captain Mystic: It’s been a while since I read and Hitchhiker’s Guide books. I think one crucial difference is that the True aren’t intended to be even remotely funny…

  7. As now written, that statement leaves even more questions. The previous version answered what the government did with them.

    BTW, Avid Reader, I really liked your comma version… Dad got help, but I (Tara) managed to get away on my own. Not to mention it suggests that we are often only 1 character away from an alternate universe. (And people think typos are inconsequential!)

  8. Truth be told, the True might just be what you get if thedoctor had finished his experiments that led to the creation of Cassie. Not a fan of imposing order myself. Sounds like there are a bunch of potentially dangerous Earths out there that they wrecked. Also, not sure how well that racial purity is going to work out with them when they start getting all those nice diseases that come from too close of interbreeding. Eugenics and racial cleansing is not really the best way to do things from an evolutionary standpoint. You want as much diversity and novelty as you can get, not as little.

    Peacekeepers are actually more diverse and not necessarily physically stronger than humans. I mean that aside from racial purity, they don’t care about your sexuality, skin color, or gender when you serve. And they’re willing to waive the racial purity for those who show loyalty to their cause. They live longer, have better eyesight, and have some interesting adaptations when it comes to pregnancy. Not sure if the pregnancy part applies to all Sebaceans, though.

    In fact, one episode, the crew could only be saved by the fact that Crichton, the human, was least affected by some light playing nasty tricks on their mind due to his inferior vision. It was intense light that could burn something up, so they had to send him into battle against the person behind it with various equipment they had or could make.

    Which leads us to this clip, showing off their ability to incorporate comedy as well:

  9. @Jim: Yeah, I know. I just can’t wait to see what’s going to happen with that. Nick’s parents (and the whole generational thing) are one of the most interesting parts of the story to me.

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