15 February 2009

I, Clone: Part 3

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

Part 3: The many deaths of Kendar Zek

Kendar had died before, several times. Like many capsuleers, he had been killed in space, safely awakening as a pre-arranged clone with his memories intact. He had also, like many of Intaki descent, been reborn a new man, to the mixed blessings of pain forgotten. But unlike many people, he had found fiery death in a sun and ultimately, peaceful oblivion in his sleep.

Death was not new to him.

His answer was always the same: get up, let's go.

Kendar switched the desk off and straightened up. Enough for the day. He had recovered fifty million ISK already, mostly from the DNA-authorized deposits. He had spent eight hours plugged in dreaming and studying his own life, passion and deaths. Apparently he had a knack for getting killed and losing his mind, so in some way it was comforting to know he had gone through the same recovery ordeal before, and survived. Sort of.

It was a month already since waking up as a clone, and Kendar had dutifully followed his daily regime. Morning therapy, a couple of hours at the machine, then study the dossier, lunch. An afternoon nap to let his brain rest and sleep to weave his newfound memories back onto his rag of a brain. After the nap, he would work until evening therapy, dinner, free time, sleep.

Now, work entailed putting his frayed memory to use. He would interact with the outside world based on what he remembered. Baby steps, had recommended Coat.

The impersonal was easy; talking to banks and people who did not care whether he was Ken Zek, King Khanid or the Spirit of Emperors past. He would just provide DNA proof and they would be happy.

It was harder to talk to people who cared. Secor, usually as together as two peas in a pod, almost broke down at first when he saw him on the holo. That was shortly before becoming impossibly defensive -who could blame him, anyway. He had not spoken to Takashi yet. Maybe he had read the news on the forums, but talking face-to-face was what mattered.

The hardest part was the unexpected. People that Ken was supposed to care deeply about: there were none that he remembered, nothing in the dossier. Yet names of strangers kept popping up as he talked to people he knew.

"Have you talked to Ambriel?" had asked someone.

Ken did not have a clue who that was. Her name was not in the file, not a single reference and -surprise, surprise- he did not remember. So he got her contact and tried calling her next. Five minutes later, an uncontrollably sobbing woman had hung up on him.

Fiancée? How could they have missed that?


Doctor Kraak looked at the monitors, then back at the call reports. Kenny was progressing as expected. Of course he would hit a snag here and there, something unexpected would pop up once in a while. Nothing that next morning's therapy could not fix.

For Kendar's peace of mind, they had had a Talk. Not unlike a father-son talk, he smiled, the child needed careful guidance. He had warned Kendar that not everyone would receive him with open arms; some would be distrustful, some openly hostile. He should keep in mind that his recovery was supposed to be distressing for others. Very.

Now, there were unscrupulous people in the world. Some would even go as far as to try to get advantage over him, claiming some sort of privileged relation of friendship or, god forbid, love. He should beware of any long-lost cousin, flame, attorney, fiancée or wife. Oh, one had popped up already? And not in the dossier? It could be real or it could be a scam. Better be careful about that. It would be investigated, of course, he promised.

And promptly forgotten, tomorrow first thing in the morning.

Kraak's attention went back to a more mundane issue; where had he put his wallet?


Kendar had spent too much time without a drink. He needed a drink.

Heck, he needed a woman.

He had been disappointed not to find 'Kendar Zek's little black book' in the dossier. That would have been grand, not just because of the fun but because it could probably help him remember. He noticed that small shift in his priorities and welcomed another piece of himself back home. In any case, not all was lost. He called out to the comms and asked for the 'S' screen - Sugar...

No, wait. 'M' screen, Martens.

She had turned him down already so many times, saying she could be Nurse Martens, honey, and nothing else. But unruly patients happened once in a while. Kendar would not take 'no' for an answer, the next day he would be back and be twice as charming. By now, he had a feeling he was getting really close...

"Call Martens."

Get up, let's go.


They laughed as they reached her door.

"That was fun!"

"Yes. I can't remember when was the last time I had so much fun. And I mean it," he grinned, as he pulled her closer to him.

She looked at him "I think I should go now. Goodnight, Ken, and thank you."

No night cap? No way. "You heartless woman, you are killing me. I don't think I will survive," he said in mock pain.

"Of course you will, silly..."

It suddenly hit him. "Actually now that I think of it, I am dying. I was ill, I am only back for a while, am I not?" he asked, this time honestly.

"No, you are not. Did he not tell you? You are not going to die on us," she replied with a smile.

It was an innocent statement and, while technically true, she would not realize the seriousness of the mistake until too late. He would not die.

He was surprised.

She then stood on the tip of her toes and kissed him.

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