Once the initial shock wore off as to who the alien being was, we were offered a tour of the ship. Along the way Mr. Cameron said he’d explain everything, including why he sent the signal to earth.
“All will be revealed in due time, my friends. Now stay close. This ship huge and you can get easily lost,” James softly spoke.
We followed him in a single file line with Tom pulling up the rear. He hadn’t spoken a word since we exited our ship. A blank and shocked look adorned his face as he stumbled around like a robot. I tried to ignore him and take in everything around me. Once the room was illuminated, I could see we were surrounded by thousands of movie props from James’ films. There was a scale model of the Titanic, the Queen from aliens, and a bunch of the Cyborgs from the Terminator franchise. By now I wasn’t sure what to be more in awe of – James Cameron having a spaceship and possibly being an alien or all of this cool shit! I never wanted to leave. Not only was I in a room with millions of dollars worth of props from my favorite movies, I was able to see them with two eyes. James interrupted my sense of awe and I jumped.
“I have so much to show you, but I need to get Tom sorted out.”
As we followed James out of the room, I began to ponder what that last statement could mean, but suddenly my attention was diverted. There was something moving around behind a cluster of props. It couldn’t have been human, as whatever it was clocked in around ten feet tall. James followed my horrified gaze.
“Oh, don’t mind him. That’s merely Perry, our maintenance guy. He keeps the props in order. Follow me to the elevator.”
We entered a long hallway with elevator doors on both sides. James stopped in front of an elevator door labeled ‘I.T. Department’ and pressed a button on the wall. Then he said:
“I’m sure you have a million questions, I’ll try my best to answer -”
He was cut off by his cell phone’s ringtone; it was Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” He looked at the screen to see who was calling him.
“Ugh, it’s Spielberg again. That guy calls me a million times a day. He’s such a hack. I keep telling him to stick with Indiana Jones and leave the alien stuff to me. I’m letting it go to voicemail.”
The doors opened and we walked into the elevator. Tom was no longer silent. He was mumbling under his breath with his eyes closed. James told me to worry about it, that Tom was downloading. I looked back at Tom who just stood there sputtering. And that’s when I realized that this Tom was a clone himself.
“I was hoping both units would be returning,” James said. “The other one is an older model and should have been processed a year ago. This Tom kept him around as a safety net in case he was ever captured. But I usually prefer to have only one of these goofballs running around on earth at a time.”
James followed that by saying he’d deal with the other Tom in due time, that the mission we were on was still critical. By that time, we had reached our floor within mere seconds. James told me to prepare myself for what I was about to see. By now, I felt nothing could surprise me. But I was wrong, because when the doors opened my jaw dropped. His so-called I.T. Department looked like a control room set from one of his films, and the beings at the controls were blue, had tails, and were about ten feet tall. James tried to put my now overloaded mind at ease.
“Don’t be afraid. They will not harm you. They are merely clones I’ve been developing for a movie I’m working on. I call them the Na’vi. They are a proud warrior race and really quite good at networking solutions.”
Just then, one of the Na’vi lumbered over to us with a box full of cables and devices. James introduced him to me.
“This is Eric. He’s head of IT and the hardest working alien this side of Jupiter!”
Eric didn’t acknowledge his employer’s compliment. Instead, he shot him an annoyed glance.
“James, I’ve been trying to reach you all day. I need to know where you need this router installed!”
Mr. Cameron apologized and explained that he had been busy guiding our ship into the cargo bay. Eric responded:
“James, we have an Operations Department for that. Now please tell me where this router goes so I can take my lunch!”
James Cameron excused himself to deal with his employee. I looked back at Tom. He must have finished downloading because he stopped muttering codes and his eyes were again open. I asked him if he was okay.
“Yeah dude. That was hella weird. All I could see was numbers in my head. I don’t know what happened, man.”
His train of thought was interrupted when he noticed the Na’vi.
“Whoa… who are the blue dudes?”
I gave him the quick rundown and he laughed because they were only dressed in loincloths. Clone or not, Tom’s personality was intact. When James finally returned, he saw that Tom was awake. They embraced like two friends who’d been apart for a long time.
“Tom, it’s so great to finally have you back so I can view your status report which just downloaded to my ship’s mainframe.”
Tom nodded in agreement while I stood there completely bewildered. I needed one of these lunatics to offer some clarification as to why this Tom is a clone, exactly what was he downloading, and where the real Tom Delonge was at this point in time. James smiled and said he’d be happy to oblige. But first Tom needed to be processed.
Mr. Cameron escorted Tom to an open area of the control room. He told Tom to step into a white square that was on the floor. He willingly did so and asked what he needed to do next. James said to just stand there for a second. Then a trapdoor opened into what I assume was some kind of incinerator. With that, the Tom Delonge I thought was human was now a pile of ash somewhere in the belly of James Cameron’s spaceship. I feared that I could be next, but James gave me reassurance that this is what happens to all of his clones once they serve their purpose. As he finished that sentence I heard a familiar nasally drone behind me enter the room.
“Hey dudes! When do I go to Earth? I’m sooooo bored up here!”
It was Tom! Well, it was ANOTHER Tom. Instead of a t-shirt and baggy shorts, this Tom had a different look, almost like a uniform some kind of space cadet would wear. James introduced me to “the new Tom.” Once pleasantries were exchanged James proceeded to finally explain what he was up to.
“As I stated to explain, I’ve been working on this new movie about an alien race fighting against human tyranny. I wanted to create something that was both action packed but also had a socio-political message underneath. At a certain point after wrapping up Titanic, I broke down. I locked myself into my studio compound and proceeded to use whatever technology I had access to at the time to build this ship and to begin my clone program. The purpose of the program was to gather information from youth culture, finding out what is popular and what will put asses in movie theater seats. I chose Tom Delonge after extensive research into popular culture showed that he had influence over a large part of the youth market in which we were trying to gain a foothold. His interest in aliens was also a huge selling point. So with some coaxing, we had a meeting with the original Mr. Delonge. After a few months, we processed enough of his DNA to create several clones and what was left of him was frozen. The plan was that I would be up in orbit on this very ship working on my new film while my team placed our clones on Earth to collect data whenever Blink-182 would play various Warped Tours.”
I was puzzled as to why there were two and how they didn’t know they were a part of this. James explained that their memories are wiped of any knowledge of Mr. Cameron’s operations in the event the government captures them. He added that the first clone couldn’t find the parts to build a return craft. Each clone has a shelf life before their internal memory starts to destroy any saved data. So in a panic, Tom 2.0 searched for and found the other Tom so they could partner up and built the ship together. Neither knew why there were two of them, just that they had to answer Cameron’s beacon. Not totally satisfied and completely baffled, I gave James a look like I was totally on board with his batshit sideshow. One of James blue workers walked over to us.
“Mr. Cameron, we have one hour until return window.”
James nodded. He said we’d have to cut our tour short because Tom needed to get back to Earth. I was told that miraculously Tom’s name never came up in regards to what happened at the ranch. But his friends and family did contact the F.B.I. to help find him because they were worried about him going missing. We needed to get back to Earth to the predetermined landing site, which was a splash down in the Salton Sea, located a few hours north of where we launched. By now Tom 2.0 should be on his way there with the van… that is if he didn’t die.
Struggling to keep up? Feeling a bit lost? Perhaps you’re wondering how a snake can wear a vest or be a band roadie? The answers to these questions and more are in CHAPTER 1, CHAPTER 2, CHAPTER 3, CHAPTER 4, CHAPTER 5.1, and CHAPTER 5.2! (Editor’s Note: Bad Copy does not guarantee answers to any questions in these chapters).