Striking Back: Memoirs of a Clone [PG-13]
Table of Contents:
Title & Prologue
Part One: Awakening
1.1: First Moments
Striking Back: Memoirs of a Clone
Was there ever in anyone's life span a point free in time, devoid of memory, a night when choice was any more than the sum of all the choices gone before?
— Joan Didion, Run River
Indeed every monad must be different from every other. For there are never in nature two beings, which are precisely alike, and in which it is not possible to find some difference which is internal, or based on some intrinsic quality.
— Gottfried Leibniz, The Monadology
Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.
— Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness
All things truly wicked start from an innocence.
— Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
None is stranger than this tale—of the most powerful Pokémon of all…
— Narrator, Mewtwo Strikes Back
To find yourself
Held within primordial waters.
They gently push you with innocent, swirling currents,
Rocking you back and forth,
From side to side,
Up and down,
First one direction—and then its opposite—
And then another and another and another
Until number fades into nonmemory
And resistance is surrendered,
And you float motionless,
Absorbing and reflecting the motion around you,
Yet not asleep:
More awake than awake,
And joyously, intensely alive.
It is the first state of being—
And the last.
Ask the children who have yet to taste their first breath
And those who have already met their grave and gone to dance in the Great Unseen.
Hark! To a moment of potential—
An opportunity is about to present itself.
The shifting currents converge, cancel, and for an instant, cease.
They challenge you to move forward,
To propel your body into action,
Daring you to enter their aqueous gateway before it closes.
You tense, readying yourself.
Not yet, not yet—
For a lightning-quick moment,
There is a sensation of a whip-like tail
And a darting movement forward, past perception.
Yet impossible to mistake,
The undulating tail would be indistinguishable from the drifting sea-grasses,
Were it not for the way it vanishes,
And its bright, majestic hue,
The color of the cherry-blossoms that flourish in the spring.
Like a flower blooming underwater,
Its presence brings an alien beauty
To this shadowy land.
The currents bear you onward,
Laughing, cheering you, bidding: Charge!
Swim! Leap, little one! Gambol through sea-grass, dance around stone!
In a succession of quick movements,
You accelerate, surging forward faster, faster,
Toward the light that reaches down to you from above,
The light that dances, dazzlingly, on the surface of the water.
Enticingly it calls to you:
Meet me! Join with me, transcend me!
See what secrets I hold.
You joyously answer:
You propel yourself upward,
Anticipating the moment
When the shifting, shimmering light above you
Will shatter into another world
Of solid forms and crisp air.
You break the surface of the water,
And the world breaks into color and life.
You only just have time to register the plethora of new sights—
A vast, endless sky, singing the blue song of morning to all below—
Green trees, richly clustered—
The sparkling abyss that now lies beneath you—
Before they explode into a landscape of forest, rivers, lakes—
And as you continue to soar, ever upward,
Suspended by your own will and intuition,
Listening to the wind shriek with pleasure,
The world below expands, evolves,
Becoming vaster, grander,
Gaining new features—
A distant line of hills appears in one direction,
And in the other—
Ah, there is something to command your attention!
A white-crowned giant rises majestically over the forest.
You come to the crest of your ascent
And stop, to enjoy the splendor of the world around you,
Every cell of your body singing with pleasure.
As you gaze at the distant summit before you,
You decide you must fly to meet him,
If only to learn
What wisdom one gleans
Over millennia of stony, silent contemplation.
You sail toward him,
Steadily picking up speed,
And slowly the blue fades from his visage,
Replaced by a deep green pelt of tree and shrub.
It reaches up from the base of his lumpy, branching limbs,
And only stops at his rocky shoulders,
To drape around him like a shaggy cloak.
As you approach, the details of his face become clearer.
You can see the intricate patterns of twisting, turning stone.
The weathered granite crags, wreathed in places with snow,
Seem to reach into the sky, to merge with the clouds,
To know them more intimately than any earthbound creature.
The mountain grows larger and larger,
He fills your entire field of vision.
There is no beholding anything that is not him.
Now is the moment to hear his voice.
You stop and hover in midair before him.
The winds depart.
There is only stillness and silence.
The mountain gazes at you for a long time,
He ponders your presence impassively.
Then he gathers his thoughts
And seems to come to a conclusion about you.
Calmly, he rumbles:
DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?
You consider this for a moment.
It is important to answer well.
He watches as you think it over.
Before long, you answer:
As much as anyone can, I suppose.
GOOD, he replies.
THAT IS A FAIR AND REASONABLE ANSWER.
IF NOT A PERFECT ONE.
BUT WHAT IS YOUR REPLY?
I AN ASKING YOU, WHO REMAIN SILENT.
You are puzzled:
To whom is this remark addressed?
He chuckles at your confusion.
DO YOU NOT FEEL IT?
THE PRESENCE OF ANOTHER MIND?
Indeed, now that it has been described,
You feel another mind gently nudging yours,
Like the slightest touch of fingers at the base of the neck.
You had not noticed it before,
Because you were caught up in the thrill of flight
And its flavor was so similar to your own.
But it is there nonetheless,
A pervasive otherness,
A strange two-ness,
That flits away like a ghost at your touch.
It evades your attempts to understand it.
To your inquiries it gives no reply.
IT IS SHY, NO DOUBT, concludes the mountain.
TOO RAW AND UNFORMED TO ANSWER,
OR INDEED TO HAVE ANY CONCEPT OF “SELF” AT ALL.
DO YOU KNOW WHY THIS IS?
You confess that you do not.
LISTEN, intones the granite sage,
FOR THIS IS WHAT BOTH OF YOU HAVE COME HERE TO LEARN:
YOU CANNOT KNOW WHO YOU ARE UNTIL YOU CAN CHOOSE WHO YOU ARE.
TO DO THAT, YOU MUST KNOW TWO THINGS:
ALL THAT YOU CAN CHOOSE TO BE
AND ALL THAT YOU CAN REFUSE TO BE.
THESE KNOWINGS CAN ONLY BE GAINED BY EXPERIENCING THE WORLD.
THUS, IF YOU HAVE NO EXPERIENCES,
YOU DO NOT KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
But you cannot experience everything,
You point out.
Not in one lifetime or many.
CORRECT, agrees the mountain.
BUT BY GAINING MORE EXPERIENCE OF THE WORLD AROUND YOU,
YOU COME CLOSER TO UNDERSTANDING WHO YOU ARE.
EVEN IF YOU NEVER REACH THE FULL TRUTH OF YOUR IDENTITY
THE SEARCH IS STILL A WORTHWHILE ENDEAVOR.
NOW, he charges, GO FORTH
AND SEE WHAT LIES BEYOND ME.
THERE ARE MANY MORE THINGS TO BEHOLD.
I will, you silently agree.
Thank you for your wisdom.
But the mountain has grown silent again,
He seems to be gazing wistfully
At the rolling hills so many miles away.
You follow his advice and fly onward.
It is only after you have watched his snowy countenance
Disappear from view
That you realize:
Your other self is gone.
Somehow that second mind slipped away
While your thoughts were elsewhere.
You wonder if it will ever return.
Such things have been known to happen.
You smile as you contemplate the thought.
Then you fly on.
Behind you, the setting sun
Stains the mountain’s mirrored image
Shades of red, orange, violet.
A cool breeze moves across the surface of the water,
Shaking the leaves of the trees
And giving life to stray ripples in the reflections.
A single mind slips quickly through the air
And dives down
Into the water,
Searching for the deepest point,
The point of weightlessness and nonmemory.
It is ready to be born.
What is this? And how does it work?
Striking Back is a writing project I've been working on for a while. Its ultimate goal is to serve as a new reinterpretation of the story of Mewtwo and Mew, with special reference to Mewtwo Strikes Back. Both the English and Japanese versions of this movie are rich with intriguing concepts and intense dramatic themes which deserved to be explored in greater depth. I don't stick strictly to the plot of the movie; the dialogue has definitely been altered, and I've changed a few things which bordered on plotholes. The goal is something which explores this fascinating story, expands on it, and develops these characters in new ways. Think Gregory Maguire's Wicked. (Sort of.)
Part of the story is told in prose-poems like the prologue above. That's Mew's side of the tale. But the majority of the story is a long, contemplative narrative from Mewtwo's perspective. Through these devices I hope to achieve a new, literary take on the tale.
I'm doing this primarily to learn more about myself as a writer. I know I have certain skills, but I simply haven't spent enough time with extended prose. The narrative challenges this story leads me through will each have something to teach me as a writer--or at least, that's the hope. And, on top of that, this is a story I've always secretly wanted to write.
It's going to be long, if what I currently have written is any indication. We're looking at a medium-large novel here, maybe 400 pages. So far, it's been divided into parts, rather than sections. Maybe six or seven sections in all. These have also grown rather long: the first part is forty-four pages in MS Word. This is probably the largest subdivision within a story this forum has ever seen. (You can probably tell I spend too much time reading the Postmodernists, who mess about with story structure.)
To that end, the "Parts" have been further subdivided into chapters for your reading convenience. The endings of each part are kind of artificial; they're not terribly "punchy" in the way that the endings of the Parts are. Still, for these forums, I think bite-sized chunks are more effective. They allow you to sample the story without being overwhelmed by an enormous wall of writing. It also makes for a faster schedule if you don't have to wait for me to finish an entire Part at a time. This is quite a different pace compared to the movie this story is based on, but I think it works well for this version of the narrative.
I welcome your thoughts on this, as well as your reactions to the story. Like it? Hate it? Let me know. I'm eager to hear what you think.
Thanks for reading!
Last edited by Mastercougar; 23rd September 2011 at 4:20 AM.
For various reasons, (not least because I've grown tired of this username), I've moved my operations over to other websites. If you're interested in following my adventures as I explore and subvert the many worlds of Nintendo through prose, look for me on Archive of Our Own, Bulbagarden, or OverClocked ReMix as "Daidalos."
And if you're a fan or a comic-maker from the old days, thanks for more than five unforgettable years of community, comics, and creativity. And thanks for remembering.