They walked in noisily, going over the details of their latest mission and subsequent brush with death. Their target was an arms dealer in the western region who supplied The President’s army, who dared to send a distress signal for the government’s pet monster clad in the national colours.
They didn’t stay too long after that.
As usual, Nkrumah was pointing out the flaws of their strategy while J.B made notes to correct them. Ofori-Attah and Akufo bickered amongst themselves and Obetsebi-Lamptey watched on silently.
And he, Ako-Adjei, was wondering why the hell didn’t he just make another clone to help him carry all this food?
Ah well, it probably wasn’t necessary since he was stronger than the average man, but still. He had pizza boxes, Chinese food takeaway packs, and Ga Kenkey in flimsy plastic bags weighing him down.
Keeping so many clones was exhausting on so many levels, and it didn’t help when they bombarded him with telepathic requests for junk food in the middle of a life or death situation; but, that was the price he paid for it.
“I’m back, you filthy animals!”
The four identical men turned to his direction like bloodhounds
“Great! You got the pizza toppings I asked for?”
“Is this Ga Kenkey? I specifically ordered Fante…”
“The fried rice! You forgot the fried rice!?”
“Hey, can I have some of your pizza? Suddenly I’m not feeling like Kenkey anymore.”
“Hell no! Eat your food in silence.”
“Don’t worry number 4, I’ll share mine with you”
“For your information number 3, I didn’t forget the fried rice… I just put it in the Kenkey bag” he said, dropping the rest of the food on the centre table. “Also, whose bright idea was it to ask me for take-out in the middle of a mission? I had to make complex acrobatic manoeuvres to avoid getting shot while thinking about pork fried rice. That’s…not something I want to go through again.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t have made so many of us.”
He briefly considered reabsorbing the clone of his in thick nerd glasses but changed his mind: he still had a lot of learning to do.
This was how it worked: he could make clones of himself via nuclear fission, who often had their personalities and behaviours. While the alpha was away on missions, he assigned the clones to learn tasks like mechanical work, advanced calculus or simply watching the news to gather the information that the rest of the team might find useful.
Later he would reabsorb the information he needed by touching them, but not long enough to make them forget everything. So far he had learned how to fix a motorcycle, been able to follow the trend of overseas stock markets, and catch up on his favourite show using this.
“Now that you’ve had your fun it’s time to deliver. Line up.”
The experience of absorbing from his clones was always weird. When he touched them on the head or arm, they always got this glazed look in their eyes and became quiet for as long as it took to gain their knowledge. One time, a clone broke out into bloodcurdling, hysterical laughter with his eyes still glazed over. The experience shook him so badly that he quickly retired him.
Closing his eyes briefly to counter the sudden information rush, he looked at the sleeping figure on one of the bunks. That was his special anti-fatigue clone, sleeping most of the time so that the alpha could get an instant energy boost when he needed it. Like right now.
He nudged him gently at first, and when that didn’t work he drew his arm back as far as it would go to –
“Waaaaait” screamed number 4 with a slice of pizza in his hand.
“At least wait for the rest of us to brace ourselves! Waking him up like that near us hurts, you know.”
The other clones murmured in agreement and stopped eating to spread out away from the sleeping clone. They also closed their eyes and winced.
He brought his arm down with the recently acquired force and skill of a pro baseball pitcher and smacked the sleeping clone in the head and held on, performing the exchange.
With the stress and fatigue quickly leaving him, he began to act more rationally, even feeling bad for what he just did. Then he wondered why he had one of the clones learn baseball in the first place.
The sleeping clone didn’t react at first, slowly rising from the bed and rubbing his eyes awake. He then yawned and asked, “chale, why am I so tired all of a sudden?”
Number 2, still expecting some psychic backlash pointed silently to Ako Adjei standing over him.
“Oh hey boss, I didn’t know you were back! How was the missi-” he suddenly pitched forward while cradling his head and shrieking at the top of his lungs.
The other clones and even Ako Adjei looked on in sheer horror as he continued to shriek and babble incoherently while rocking back and forth. When he quieted down, Number 4 slowly approached him to help, when he suddenly jumped up and smugly said,
“Sike! I was just fooling with you guys, that didn’t hurt at all.”
This lessened the tension in the room a bit, as they all started talking nervously at once. The sleepy clone’s smug attitude suddenly turned serious as he faced Ako-Adjei.
“Seriously though, why do you always have to wake me up like that? There are zero benefits to doing that.”
“Eh, what can I say? All that psychic stress does weird things to a person. I’ll try to be careful next time.”
Checking the wall clock and raising a finger to interrupt him, he continued,
“and speaking of time, I’m running late for an important meeting. I’ll catch you guys later.”
With that, he turned around and picked up a plastic bag that had been ignored and walked out of the room. The sleeping clone turned to the others. “By the way, I lied about the psychic backlash; you guys are in for the mother of all migraines.”
His serious attitude slipped away as he grabbed one of the unopened pizza boxes and took a slice.
“So, anything good on TV?”
It was easier convincing the hanger personnel to let him take one of the mini jets out this time; they were all clones of him after all. As he punched in the coordinates and reclined in his seat for the long trip, he felt nervous visiting this last clone.
He was the one who lived away from the city and all its madness, and the one he went to hang out with when the strain threatened to cripple his mind. Landing the plane out of sight and activating a camouflage mode, he changed into civilian clothes, grabbed his package, and walked towards the little house. Number 6 was sitting in a rocking chair on the porch waiting for him.
“I’m glad you could make it, Ben. The others must be giving you a hard time back at the base.”
“You have no idea. The fact that I’m here so soon after our last visit shows it”.
He joined Number 6 on the adjacent chair and took a deep breath, exhaling slowly.
“Have you heard from Number 45? It’s been too long since his last status update. I can’t connect with him anymore.”
Reaching into the bag, he handed Number 6 a bottle of fizzy tonic and grabbed a bottle of orange juice for himself.
“So how have you been?”
“Been pretty good. The lazy lifestyle suits me just fine.”
“No psychic backlash recently?”
“Nope. Been pretty quiet here. The same goes for the normal folk around. Apart from the occasional aid worker and minor construction work for the relief effort, things are slow here”
“How’s the fight going against the President?”
“It was going great until recently. They used PX-17 to create a soldier they could control. Dressed him up like a clown. Since then the fighting has been slow, but we get by. We all do our parts.”
“Like Number 45?”
He sighed and put away his juice.
“I know what you’re thinking and you’re wrong. He’s been undercover for so long but I believe he can handle it. We’ve got you to help take the stress off. He smiled at him and picked up the bottle.”
“There’s only so much I can do here, Ben. I think you need to get Number 45 out of the deep cover before he’s discovered. He’s too close to the danger.”
“I guess I’ll talk to Nkrumah when I get back, maybe we can arrange something.”
Reaching into the bag again, he picked out an Oware set and laid it on the table between them.
“Now, for the other reason I came here. Whose turn was it?”
Emmanuel honestly doesn’t know what to write for his bio. So instead, here are all the places he hangs out: Wattpad, Twitter and Facebook. Happy figuring him out. Read Emmanuel Blavo’s other sci-fi stories on Awam.