Nemo Means No One
© Copyright 2020 Samyukta Iyer
Few feelings in life can compare to the chilling sensation of frigid water seeping its way through ratty sneakers.
That was only the first of numerous enlightenments that I acquired during my 18-ish years of existence. As I slipped through the shadows of the alley, a sudden crash broke my steady train of existential ponderings. “Caudex! Total idiots, all of you! ” cursed a rough voice.
Three women were straightening their clothes and arguing unabashedly. Only after ten extremely awkward minutes did they notice that someone was watching them. They turned slowly, eyes widening, and regarded me with a strange combination of confidence and confusion.
I tried my best to maintain composure, channeling whatever patience was left inside of me after a trying day of job interviews and ravenous hunger.
“Ok. So either you guys start explaining why 3 women are in my dumpster, or I’m assuming the worst and calling the cops. I’m Nemo, by the way.”
The formerly aloof woman, who appeared to be the eldest, suddenly looked me dead in the eyes and responded,”We are the Fates, exiled from Olympus to this lowly realm of mortals as punishment for accidentally marring the life of a very powerful, and now, endangered, demigod,” finished Atropos.
“Her name is Naia, and her traumatic life- ”
“Speaking of trauma, I need to deal with those emails demanding my Potia, whatever the heck that means.“
“Scelesti… they’ve returned. And it’s much worse than any of us were expecting” muttered Lachesis. “If we follow this Nemo, we might not be too late.”
“That’s it. I’m done.” I maneuvered around the sisters and head for the door.
Lachesis looks at me, this time her eyes hold a silent plea to seek refuge in my hovel, one that has escaped my own eyes a few times as well.
“Fine.” I grunted with the weight of the empty glass jars in my backpack, which, like everything else in my life, are also falling apart. “You can stay for one night, but wipe your feet on the doormat- I don’t want to know what the yellow stuff on your clothes is.”
The next morning, I woke abruptly to the sound of rattling bones at my bedside and the Fates knitting amicably at my feet. They turned to me, acknowledged my awakening, and returned to their handcrafting.
“Do you guys… realiiiize what tiiime it isss ?” I mumbled. I awkwardly put on my two day old uniform. I stared at the mess in the mirror, but a startling crash broke my morning daze.
Clotho emerged from the bathroom. “Um, I hope you’re not like blind or anything cuz I think Lachesis just broke your glasses. Sorry.”
“It’s fine. Envie gave to me a long time ago for some kind of “roommate gift”, but honestly, they were getting scratched up anyway.”
“Tell me more about this person- Noah right?” I started as we stepped off the bus.
“Her name is Naia.” said Lachesis, lost in thought.
“No one on Olympus really knows her, we all kinda just know vaguely about her. More myth than actual being, you know?” said Clotho. I was starting to wonder if her formerly cold and stone-faced was just lack of sleep manifesting.
“Yeah, I know the feeling.” When people assume your entire personality based on one outward trait.
“So, what exactly are we looking for? Are they like mafia dudes in suits, or homeless people, or -“
Atropos gently tapped my shoulder. “Look up.” She pointed to a towering golden double helix, with the word “SCELESTI, inc.” emblazoned in a sleek, reflective font.
“So how do we plan on getting in? ” asked Clotho dryly.
“Disguises ?!” said Lachesis with overflowing optimism.
“Like Halloween ?” I responded.
We watched carefully as employees scanned a chip and slipped inside.
Clotho stood in disbelief. “So.. about those disguises.”
15 minutes later, we found Clotho in a high security experimentation area that took “alternative facts” to get to.
“Lachesis! Atropos! We may have a minor issue,” Clotho whispered, under her breath. I looked over as she turned an illuminated screen towards them.
“The resemblance is undeniable. We have to face the truth, Lachesis. And tell her, now.”
Suddenly, an ominous siren began to drone as soldiers swarmed the lab, with their faces covered in gas masks. A tall figure stepped forth and turned to me.
“I’m a little disappointed, Naia. We admired your survival instincts, but these idiots led you right to us.”
“What do you want, Scelesti ? What have you done with Naia?” said Clotho.
“Oh, I should be asking that. She is right here.”
Lachesis turned to me. “Oh, no. She’s - .”
“Exactly, little one. Or should I call you Stolida?”
I decided to play along, still confused. “But why are you hunting one girl if this issue is so big?”
“It isn’t a one girl issue, Naia. It never was.”
They press a button on their belt, and all around us, the metal walls slide open, revealing cryothermic chambers with people inside.
see, the issue never really was having power. The issue was who had
it. You’ve seen the news. But I will be the one who ends it.
Once and for all.”
“Do you see this cylinder, Naia? Well, this blue fluid is what we call Potia. There are different stratins of course, but they all-”
“Give the user their desire.” said Atropos.
“How intelligent! By harnessing their wasted potential, we will implant it into the real Gifted, who have worked restlessly to achieve what Beings can get with a bit of sweet talk. Every single time.”
“But, why do you care about me? Who are you?”
They pulled off the mask.
“Envie… I never would have expected that from-”
“The world doesn’t care who my parents are anymore, Naia. We’ve entered a new era. Cadet 230, bring forward the video tape.”
They pull out a plastic bag labeled “NAIA SOLERA - HYPERBEING”.
“Remember those glasses I gave you as a welcome present when you first moved here?”
The camera shakes a little as I login, sigh, and delete the threat emails.
Envie stopped the video here. “And that’s the last of the footage we got from the glasses. I think a certain accident,” she paused, with a pointed look at Lachesis, “may have gotten in the way. “
They weren’t just coincidences. Envie’s glasses, the emails, the Fates. Scelesti and the Fates weren’t searching for Naia Solera.
They had been searching for me.
I saw the Fates materialize their weapons, blindingly shiny gilded daggers and jeweled ropes appearing from thin air.
All my life, I had never been enough. The little power I had made me a monster to be quarantined, dehumanized, and ignored.
Well, if the world’s going to hate me, I might as well go down with a fight.
I searched deep within myself for a weapon and felt something cool and comfortably heavy in my palms. Sharp pointed brass knuckles now adorned my rough calloused hands, looking out of place but completely appropriate simultaneously.
don’t think you understand who you’re playing with,
Scelesti. I am Nemo...Naia Solera. Allow me to educate you, in my own