Interviewer: So today we are very proud to welcome onto the show a woman whose life and background almost beggars belief, and who has found renewed fame in recent years by being featured as a major villian in the Tomb Raider computer games. Ladies and gentlemen will you please give a warm welcome to one of the last rulers of Atlantis and CEO of Natla Technologies, Ms. Jacqueline Natla.
Natla: Hi there Jonathan. Good to be here.
Interviewer: Is that chair OK? You’re the first interviewee we’d had on the show with wings.
Natla (swivling on her chair): It’s really comfy thanks.
Interviewer: Now you didn’t always have the wings in public did you?
Natla: Well you have to remember that until recently there was been a great deal of prejudice against those of us who are – let’s say – different. Humans are rather programmed to reject the strange from their societies.
Interviewer: I guess it mist have been difficult keeping up appearances whilst being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Natla: You have no idea. Just keeping profile shots out of the news cost us a fortune. Even strapped wings can be seen under a jacket, however big the shoulder pads. I looked like Quasimodo at times.
Interviewer: Now you said a moment ago that “humans” reject the strange. Do you not see yourself as human?
Natla: Well I’m certainly mostly human on a genetic level Jonathan …
Interviewer: And a very attractive one as well
Natla (giggles): Why thank you. But not only am I a throwback several thousand years, but I have other genomes mixed in. These wings certainly aren’t human.
Interviewer: True. Can you actually fly?
(Natla stands and hovers a foot from the ground. Her flapping wings blows papers all over the studio set. The audience applauds wildly.)
Natla (sitting down): Thank you.
Interviewer: Where can I get me some of them?
Natla (smiling): Well if it wasn’t illegal I’d invite you down to Natla Technologies for a genetic alteration free of charge.
Interviewer: OK. Maybe I’ll take a raincheck then. Now, maybe we can talk a bit about Atlantis.
Natla: Go for it.
Interviewer: So your family were the ruling elite of Atlantis?
Natla: We became the ruling elite.
Interviewer: And just so our audience realise what that means – the nation we call Atlantis covered one big continent that included today’s North and South America, Africa, Europe, much of Asia and even Antarctica.
Natla: This is correct.
Interviewer: So you guys ruled the world, more or less.
Natla: I guess so.
Interviewer: Not only that, but you and members of your family became the state religion of Atlantis. You were like the gods and goddesses.
Natla: That is true, at least for a period of time.
Interviewer: So what did that feel like?
Natla (laughs): I suppose it’s a bit like being one of today’s media superstars. I guess the main difference is today’s superstars can’t have the fans and the media executed if they don’t like them.
Natla (smiling): Yes – you lot.
Interviewer: So you were worshipped, as a goddess?
Natla: It’s not like one of today’s religions, where you cannot personally meet the diety or whatever. We weren’t supernatural – we were all powerful. We were responsible for the harvests, the health of our subjects, even to some extent the weather. It was quite logical to worship us, as from us all good things came. Plus a rule of law and a code of behaviour.
Interviewer: I see. Now near the end of your reign you were in a triumverate with Tihocan, your half-brother and a chap called Qualopec.
Interviewer: Without being indelicate, is it true to say that things ended rather badly?
Natla (sighs): It is old news – thousands of years old – but I still can get upset in the middle of the night sometimes.
Interviewer: So what happened?
Natla: In today’s language I was deposed for alleged crimes against humanity and sentenced to be cryogenically frozen for eternity.
Interviewer: What sorts of crimes were you accused of?
Natla (sighs again): What you have to remember was that there was a lot of politics involved, and although I certainly wasn’t guiltless they kind of changed the rules so that they could accuse me of behaviour that wasn’t thought illegal at the time. So, for example, my genetic engineering experiments. What you have to realise is that genetic engineering was common place. Soldiers were made using it. Even my family mostly produced heirs in silico.
Interviewer: So what was it about the experiments that they didn’t like?
Natla: Well I was trying to give the human race a push. I was mixing and matching – half human, half horse – that sort of thing. I was altering the genes for personality and even sexuality. But you have to remember that I thought of it as my duty – as a goddess and a ruler of the world. If Qualopec hadn’t been so severely damaged I doubt anybody would have brought it up. You can’t really criticise a goddess for not following “God’s plan” for the universe.
Interviewer: Tell us about Qualopec.
Natla: I don’t know if you seen pictures of him … (turns to audience questioningly. There a few cries of “yes”.) You’ll notice that he is suspended in a frame: his feet don’t touch the ground. Basically he was paralysed when one of my viral delivery systems got loose. If it had only been a few hundreds of our subjects that had been destroyed I guess we could have apologised and moved on. But he never forgave me.
Interviewer: And Tihocan?
Natla: That was a strange relationship even by the standards of the Atlantean ruling elite (laughs).
Natla: Yes … another rather tricky subject by modern standards. We were half-brother and sister but also married. I believe the Ancient Egyptians had a similar system.
Interviewer: So you had … relations?
(Natla and the audience burst out laughing.)
Natla: Very funny. We were only required to have sex for one particularly unpleasant period.
Interviewer: It’s kind of a well known fact that you describe yourself as gay.
Natla (shakes her head in disbelief): It’s hard to explain, but for various political reasons there was a popular cry for us to produce a baby by conventional means. Luckily before I got pregnant peoples’ interest wained and we went back to the lab as per usual.
Interviewer: Would you not have liked a baby?
Natla: Oh, I have lots of babies, but not in that way. It’s sounds snobby now, but conventional sex and breeding between males and females was thought to be something best left to animals and the poor. Besides, if you are having sex with your brother you have to be prepared to screen the foetuses in utero so that you can weed out any possible genetic mistakes.
Interviewer: So Atlantis was Pro Choice.
Natla (smiles): We tended to regard foetuses as the same as people. Our advanced science meant that once fertilised, an egg was the same as an adult. Both were equally worthless in the grand scheme of things.
Interviewer: Like Catholics.
(Small audience laugh.)
Natla: Not really. We would murder anyone – foetus, baby, child, man or woman – if it was thought to be the best thing to do. It seems illogical to me to be against abortion but for capital punishment.
Interviewer: OK. Moving on. I have here on my cards some quickfire questions emailed in by the TV audience. Ready?
Natla: Quickfire away.
Interviewer: “When is your birthday?”
Natla: 22nd June. 22nd June, 14,004 B.C. by your calendar.
Interviewer: “And how old are you?”
Natla: Let’s see. I was frozen a few days after my hundredth birthday. Then I was thawed out in … was it 1948? … so that makes me about … 160? Ish?
(The audience clap.)
Interviewer: “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” We’ve heard about Tihocan.
Natla: I have a sister called Astarte.
Interviewer: Still with us?
Natla: Apparently. We are estranged, sadly.
Interviewer: OK. “Have you got a boyfriend?” I guess not.
Natla: I’ve only had sex with two men: Tihocan and Elvis Presley.
Natla: What can I say? He was a lovely shy boy with a lovely voice. And there’s something about a military uniform that brings out the submissive in me.
Interviewer: Maybe we can return to that later.
Natla: Oakily dokily.
Interviewer: “Who is your favourite actress?”
Natla: Angelina Jolie.
Natla: It’s not really for her acting abilities as such. I sometimes have a fantasy that she forces me to have gunpoint sex with her whilst she’s dressed as Lara Croft.
Interviewer: Possibly not a conversation we can continue with on national TV.
Natla: Maybe not.
Interviewer: “What is your favorite alcoholic drink?”
Natla: I rather like Beaune, if it’s a good year.
Interviewer: Were the Atlanteans great wine drinkers?
Natla: Oh, yes. After all, we invented brewing.
Interviewer: So what was the most popular Atlantean wine?
Natla: Our most famous drink was called ambrosia. You’ve probably heard of it described as the “food of the gods” by the Greeks. It was half fermented milk, half fermented honey, with curds floating in it.
Interviewer: Sounds like an alcoholic cheesey milkshake.
Natla: It’s certainly an acquired taste.
Interviewer: And I’ve got a quickfire question. Is it true that Stonehenge was supposed to be your tomb?
Natla: Yes that is true, oddly enough. (Smiles) I’d mostly finished it when I was arrested.
Interviewer: And was it designed to align with the stars? People think of it as a temple to the sun.
Natla: Before we became the state religion, Atlantis worshipped a sun god, and rules were laid down about the alignment of buildings. Even after the religion died the rules remained, so I guess “temple to the sun” was a fair guess.
Interviewer: Why be buried in Britain?
Natla: I was Ruler of the Territory that Britain was part of. Kinda boring but that’s the answer.
Interviewer: I’m sure you could never be boring.
Natla: I try not to be. (Smiles.)
Interviewer: Now there’s one person that we haven’t mentioned so far.
Natla: I had a nasty feeling we’d get around to her eventually.
Interviewer: So as most people know, you were planning to reactivate some of the technology of Atlantis that had survived the millennia, and you really you needed to find certain ancient components, and so you hired what are basically grave robbers.
Natla: Indeed. I got my people to assemble a list.
Interviewer: So what made you pick Lara Croft? At the time she was hardly famous.
Natla (blushes): I’m ashamed to admit that when I saw her photo I fell in love with her. She is so damned hot.
(Laughter and applause from audience.)
Interviewer: So she wasn’t even necessarily the best qualified?
Natla: Embarrassing isn’t it?
Interviewer: But understandable I guess. Not very PC.
Natla: I don’t think PC and I exist in the same space.
Interviewer: Now in the game version of your association with Ms. Croft, you order her to be killed at one point. Did that really happen?
Natla: I know it seems really unlikely, but yes, I ordered my guards to shoot her.
Natla: Looking back it seems insane, but at the time I was scared of her. Scared of my intense feelings for her. Scared that she would ruin what I has spent the best part of fifty years working towards. I suddenly had a flashback to the old me, when I was god. I can only say that now I am heartily ashamed of what I did …
(Natla begins to cry. The interviewer hands her a tissue. The audience make sympathetic noises.)
Natla: All I can say is that I succeeded in turning my perfect woman into my bitterest enemy. If there is cosmic justice than I guess that is my punishment for the many things that I have done.
Interviewer: And then Lara destroyed your work, destroyed the remains of Atlantis and left you for dead.
Interviewer: People sometimes ask how you escaped.
Natla: It’s kinda obvious. I was wounded but I just flew out of there before the mountain exploded. Sometimes I wish I’d just stayed.
Interviewer: Do you hate Lara?
Natla: What is hate? I mean really. I want to control her. I want her to love me and to make the bad things between us all right. I want her to respect me. Sometimes I even want her to obey and volunteer to be punished by me. I lust after her. I’m not sure I even know a word that describes all of that.
Interviewer: How about – “a grand passion”?
Natla (smiles sadly): Yes, that’s good. (Turns to camera.) Lara – if you catch this. I am sorry.
Interviewer: OK. We just have time for a couple more quickfire questions if you feel like it.
Natla: Go for it.
Interviewer: “Do you have a website?”
Natla (laughing): I’m on myspace if that helps. And I hang around Second Life a bit.
Interviewer: “Do you have any plans to release a pop song?”
Natla: Lords no! I cannot sing to save my life.
Interviewer: If you could, whose song would you cover?
Natla: Well it’d be sacrilege to do an Elvis number. Um … how about “These boots are made for walking?”
Interviewer: Good choice! And our last question – “What do you think of your look in the newest Tomb Raider game?”
Natla: Well she’s kind of got a longer nose and longer fingernails than me, but then I suppose she is supposed to be the baddie. It is only a computer game after all.
Interviewer: So not very flattering then?
Natla: I’d rather be better looking than her than the other way around. Besides it might stop people recognising me on the street.
Interviewer: Our time is up. Jacqueline Natla or Natla of Atlantis. Thank you so much for being our guest tonight.
Natla: It’s been a real pleasure, Jonathan. Maybe you can interview me again when I return to rule you all.
Interviewer: We await that day with interest. Ladies and gentlemen – good night.