04 February 2009

I, Clone: Part 2

Part 1: Welcome Back
Part 2: The Goodness of Our Heart

Kendar Zek died in April 110. He had been diagnosed with a degenerative disease, and there was nothing that could have been done. No treatment, no med clones, no Intaki rebirth would bring him back. Because he had been a gentle and orderly man, he died as he had lived: he said goodbye to his dearest friends, distributed his considerable wealth and finished his business. He was grateful that death had announced herself in advance, for he would leave a legacy worth keeping alive. Death would be forever this time. Or so he had been told...

And one good night, he passed away in his sleep.

"Please sign here, here and here," said Coat, pointing at forms on the tray. He knew already that his name was Kraak but to Kendar, somehow, he would always be the Coat.

Kendar read the forms, smirked and tried to sign. He tried once. He tried again. After a few more tries he gave up saying "I can't, I do not remember how to sign my name." It was a week after he had woken up in the clone vat and he still had trouble remembering some things. He read the forms again:

I, Kendar Zek, am awake and self-aware.

Coat clarified, "do not worry, this is just a formality. We just need your gesture, the statement is just a legal requirement as you are not expected to posses all your faculties yet. Keep in mind what matters, we have your DNA print and it matches the one in our contracts. We will look after you."

"Why is it that I do not remember?"

The doctor -had he rolled his eyes just there for a second- explained yet another time. "Your situation is special. We went through great lengths to bring you back. We are very proud of it, mind you... medically speaking, you were not supposed to be alive."

A memory stirred within Kendar. "Wait... I was sick, wasn't I? There was no coming back..."

"But you are back. We had a contract with you, and we are on track to meet our obligations." Coat was beginning to sound enthusiastic. "Never give up on technological advance, I say."


"There is a disaster recovery contract to your name."

Coat explained how it was not a regular clone operation. The contract had been triggered the day Kendar's death was announced in the news; how agents had scoured the cluster for material, information and memories. They had found four discarded medclones, assorted biomass, news clippings and -bingo- corrupted snippets of pod emergency comms. A new body had been grown, partial memories recovered, a neural image prepared and uploaded.

Unfortunately, the best material had been three years old and synthesized memories had to fill the gaps in an image full of holes. As a result, the clone would not quite hold all of its former memories, something that was all too familiar to careless capsuleers.

"You are in an imperfect vessel, if you will, so you will find trouble keeping up," Coat had warned.

Therapy would help him recover to a comfortable level and, for the rest, study would have to do.

It made sense.

Coat was clearly enjoying himself with the story by now, a glimmer in his eye telling on him. "We have brought you back to life, we have provided you with learning implants, we have prepared dossiers for you to study your own life and help you remember. Basic quarters and sustenance have been arranged."

Ken felt fortunate. Fortunate indeed that his old self had been so cautious, fortunate to be in such capable hands, fortunate to be alive. "Gee," Ken said, "thank you so very much." So fortunate, that he wondered what the catch would be. He teased Coat with a bit of sarcasm, "I wonder if I will ever be able to repay you."

"There will be enough time to worry about the issue of payment. As you claim back your life we are confident this will be taken care of, so do not worry. Our first priority is helping you get better."

Kendar's eyes opened wide. Resurrection without guarantee of payment? What if he did not pay? What if he did not want to come back to begin with? Well, he did, but he wondered if he could use that in court. Ken smelled money.

Coat saw the question in his mind, smiled wryly and warned, "We did not do this out of the goodness of our heart, Mr. Zek. We have a contract. With you. As a business opportunity this is worth almost half a billion to us, an amount that you can easily afford as you once told me yourself. You made your down payment years ago so we are confident that when, not if, you recover your life and your assets, we will all be satisfied."

"So I owe you money?"

"You owe us your life. What is money in this case?"

Good question. How much? Better question.

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