CHAPTER 6: The man titled Mem could not be like that.
"Your father, Mem, was a slightly
slow man. He was not fully there mentally speaking. Sometimes he appeared fully normal and others he was a little off beat. He was a good man, though. Do not forget that, Juilliard."
My father was a Flaw because his brain didn't work properly?
"I can see that you are trying with great difficulty to comprehend how the Superiors could have fixed him. Let me explain. The Society used the same military procedures on Mem. They changed his brain so it would function properly all the time. By properly, I only mean how the Superiors wanted it to function, not how we would mean it to.
"What they did to Mem is the same thing they do to all Flaws when they go to be 'trained' for the military. But Mem's irregular brain function caused the Superiors' methods to not work like they should. To the Superiors, your father was fixed, but Mem was a good actor, too. For those precious moments when he was himself again, he pretended to be the Superiors' most prized possession.
"No one knows why he was only partially immune to the methods, but were he not, we would never have gotten you here. You see, I believe your father was much more normal than he made himself out to be. I think he used his acting skills to play someone much more Flawed than he was. He probably did this to infiltrate the Society. My personal theory is that his mind was partially immune to the methods because he was not completely slow.
"The Society creates individualized 'medicinal treatments' for each Flaw. I believe that for your father, the treatment was too much for his mind and the machines picked that up so his treatment was cut short, unbeknownst to the Superiors. You are lucky to have such a smart father, Juilliard."
My mentally ill father was smart. He reminds me of a Traveller, just much cleaner. It seems the Travellers are not as they appear, but I just couldn't put my finger on it.
"Hinge? Was my father a Traveller?"
"He was born of a Traveller, yes."
"Are all Travellers like my father? I mean, are they as crazy as they are made out to be? I've spent time with different Traveller clans and they all seem just slightly saner than most people do these days
I was just thinking out loud at this point and then it hit me that since entering the tree, I hadn't seen the smallest hint of the pack that had escorted me to it. "And Hinge? What happened to the pack that brought me here? Did they make it in?"
The dog's face grew serious and he looked around thoughtfully as if trying to remember who brought me here. When he seemed to realize he wasn't going to get anywhere like that, he called for Pandora. Before I knew it, a human being had materialized directly in front of me.
She was tall, taller than anyone I'd ever seen before, and had long black curls. She had eyes that told of secrets she would never let go of, and her face, albeit beautiful, was strained and aged beyond her years. Her skin was fair and pure of blemishes, and her perfectly formed mouth sat pursed on her thoughtful face. Her immediate appearance was shocking, though, because I knew not of a human ability to materialize in a different location.
When she spoke, her tone was kind but her voice was garbled as if she couldn't properly form the words she was saying. "I am Pandora, the once proclaimed ruler of Arcadia Silentium. Don't worry, though, I am on your side. I was exiled to Earth as a criminal and a Flaw because I refused to follow my advisors' plans. They were unhappy with my planet's quality of life; They wanted a pure world with no imperfections.
"They wanted control and they wanted followers. With me there, they couldn't get any of it. In all this purity They desire, They are the most impure of all. You may know them as the Superiors. They are vile creatures who desire nothing but power. With my planet in ruins and your own going to the same horrible state, I came to the only place I could think of for assistance, and that's where I found all of thisthis Underground rebel clan.
"All we need is a strong leader, someone who can lead the rightful back into power. Hinge spoke highly of you and your parents, and I believe you may be the one Juilliard."
I don't understand how so many know of my family, but they must have been wonderful people, especially for this cause. Of course, I'm still not as trusting as Hinge and Pandora seemed to expect me to be. "I have a few questions, first. Where is the pack that brought me here?"
"They are safe here in the Underground. Anything else?" The kindness Pandora had appeared to possess at first was now replaced by an eager impatience to hear my answer.
Just for that, I came up with a few extra inquiries, "You say you were condemned as a Flaw. But you're beautiful. I see nothing wrong with you."
Hinge answered with yet another immediate response, "Juilliard, you have to understand that Flaws are not always visible, just as beauty is not always only skin deep. Pandora cannot hear words. That is her Flaw. She is forced to read lips when one speaks to her, but she can hear almost anything else. These strange things are unexplainable, but they exist and we use them to our advantage as best as possible."
Another invisible flaw
The Superiors are worse than I thought. Somehow they know when someone is a Flaw, even when it's not visible.
"I'm sorry, Pandora. I'm not too trusting of everyone I meet, as you can obviously tell. This world isn't a place made for trust. I wish it were different, but your people came and changed that." I'm not a mean person, but everything about Pandora made me want to reply with an unnecessary attitude.
She was kind, but her kindness apparently didn't have the desired effect on me. It just made me angrier. Her patience only made me more impatient. She made me want to get away from it all that much faster. I saw nothing about her that wouldn't be trustable, but I still couldn't bring myself to fully put my faith in her.
I kept on with my questions to avoid continuing my hateful thoughts, "How did you find me? After my mother disappeared, I haven't stopped moving. So how did you manage to track me down and continue following me?"
I actually was interested in the answer to this question, so I put aside my thoughts and waited as patiently as I could for the answers to the meaning of life