Not Quite Myself
Infinite horizons in either direction. The world was its own to explore. And explore it did. The clear blue sky was its roof, the pointy, snow-capped mountains its walls, the vast azure ocean its pool, the lush pine forests its playground. It never ceased to move. Space was fluid; what was up and what was down? It was all the same: an endless world, full of excitement and adventure with which the creature interacted with childlike wonder. That wonder was what propelled it to keep moving, its breath slight as it glided effortlessly through the air, occasionally diving into the saline depths and losing itself among swaying columns of dark green kelp.
It sometimes still experienced these…flashbacks, if one could refer to them as such. These visions of its past self were something it had long since resigned itself to. After all, what harm did they do, these vestiges of that which had long ceased to exist? This is what it was now, not that. It existed here, not then, and it had made peace with the "then."
A mere thought, and it instantly visualized the entirety of that plateau which it now called home. Every contour of the land, every blade of grass, every droplet of water, nay, every molecule, became visible to it in its mind. For a being of its capabilities, to be aware of its surroundings at such a deep, intimate level was second nature. As it breathed and as its heart beat, so did it use its psychic energy. No, it did not use that energy. Rather, the energy flowed within it as did the blood through its veins.
One of many traits it had inherited from the Progenitor.
It knew nothing of care, want or desire. It barely even thought. It simply existed, floating on the currents of this beautiful world and eagerly taking in its surroundings. It did not know why it existed on this earth, nor did such things concern it. It was one with the environment; the natural energy of the trees, the mountains, the ocean, the air, and the Pokémon that inhabited these realms was an inextricable part of it, linked to it by the psychic energy which it could call on subconsciously. It did not simply exist in this world, it was this world and the world was it.
They were different, though. It had lived in another geological time, in what was for all intents and purposes another world. More than that, it was born. I was…created. That, more than anything, outlined how different it was from the Progenitor. That mere fact was a symbol for all the differences between them. A symbol personified by one species, so weak that in terms of evolution it should not have survived to make even the smallest impact on the geological record. But make an impact it did. In just thirty thousand years – a blip in the cosmos – this species had dominated the planet, significantly and irreversibly altering the world's ecosystem. That species had created it. That species had altered it, modifying its genetic structure with the foolish notion that they could make it stronger.
Humans, with their innumerable imperfections and flaws, thinking – oh, the mere notion was almost laughable – thinking that they could improve it. That they could improve on a concept designed by something they couldn't even comprehend. That they could improve on nature's designs.
It sharpened its vision, ingraining each individual subatomic particle into its mind. In that mere instant, it melded itself with the life forces of its fellow Pokémon, becoming one not only with their thoughts but with their wider states of mind. It did so regularly: it had to, being their guardian and protector. It was another legacy that the humans had left it with. The Progenitor had known nothing of responsibility. For instance, it could take on the guise of any Pokémon it desired, doing so for no reason other than to enjoy itself by living the lives of its fellow creatures. That ability was something that had not been passed down to the Clone, a predictable result of the hubris of humanity.
Now was a time when they must be ever watchful, ever adapting. I, and so many others…we are dependent on this sanctuary. Indeed, that was their biggest difference. The Progenitor was carefree. The Clone had purpose. But was purpose an improvement? To have a goal? To believe in something so ardently that you were willing to fight to the death for it? For all its abilities, it had never been able to answer those questions. They had made it think, unlike the Progenitor, which did not think like it did. If the Progenitor was perfect and the Clone damaged, so to speak, from human experimentation, was the Clone's ability to think an imperfection? What did it mean to be able to consider, to assess, and to analyze?
We are the same organism, the same soul, living different lives. These memories are mine, yet they are not. It is as though I have experienced them through a different perspective. And this is what that being that was once myself is.
It is myself, and not quite myself.