Thursday, September 25, 2008

Space, Introduction, 603 words

The United Earth Government was precisely thirty-seven days old when they came for me. Fresh from victory over the reticent countries of the Middle East, and with public knowledge of psychic phenomena in mind, the new world order swiftly formed the UGPD, or United Government Paranormal Department, to help regulate such power. As it so happened, my government -- excuse me, my former government, China, had designated me, Yuan Li, as a person of interest. I was actually studying political science and philosophy in Japan when the early UGPD hunter squads broke down my apartment door and took me in.

I was, to be honest, a little surprised to learn I was a psychic. But only a little. You see, every psychic starts with a little... gift, you might say, a special thing they can do, often from birth, that sets them apart from others. Some people move things. Some start fires. I spoke into other people's heads.

It's not as impressive as you might think. Most people, when hearing my voice without seeing my mouth move, would assume that they just hadn't noticed me say it. The human mind works like that. It helped that I could only do it a few times a day without developing a migraine, so it's not like I could carry on my half of a full conversation silently. For a long time, I didn't even realize that I'd been doing anything of the sort, since I still "heard" my own mental voice like my physical one. So while China was taking the firestarters and the telekinetics away when they were children, sometimes just infants, they had no certainty I was worth the attempt until I was twenty-one years old.

And then the American president made his announcement and proposal to the world, and everything changed forever.

Since I had been, until shortly before everyone became a citizen of the world, a Chinese citizen, they decided to hand me over to the Chinese chapter of the UGPD for preparation and training. Despite this New Era Of Peace And Prosperity, as many government officials have declared daily for several years now, had been declaring daily for over a month then, the Chinese chapter was still largely the same pre-Unification organization. Their methods were not gentle.

Suffice to say, the Yuan Li who came out of their training regimen was not the same Yuan Li who went in. I do not state this to be melodramatic, to inspire your pity or sorrow. I merely observe this fact, that I am not the same man I once was. I remember him, well enough to imitate him in front of people he knew.

It only works for casual acquaintances, however. My mother and father discouraged me from returning home a second time. My Japanese friends would sometimes utter the word "bakemono" -- a monster, a "thing that changes," literally, as if I was something that had taken on their friend's form -- when they thought I couldn't hear them. Oh, these things didn't bother me. They didn't hurt. I am... beyond that. Such simple feelings don't exist for me anymore. I can remember them, what it was like to have them, and if I try very hard sometimes I can simulate them.

But at the same time, they are very alien to me. The memories of having those feelings, they aren't mine. They belong to that other Yuan Li, who went to Japan and had a girlfriend and dreamed when he went to sleep at night. I am... not him.

I am the Yuan Li who is going to the stars.

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