01 March 2009

I, Clone Part 4

Part 1: Welcome Back
Part 2: The Goodness of Our Heart
Part 3: The many deaths of Kendar Zek
Part 4: Impostor

Ockham's Razor: The simplest answer is usually the correct answer.

A) Thanks to advances in medical technology, the victim of a degenerative genetic disease can be cloned and cured. In the absence of a full neural backup, external memories can be synthesized and uploaded, giving the patient a new shot at life.

B) It is a scam. Dead people cannot be restored to life without using a capsule.

Kendar had given up on becoming all he was once. It was like trying to become a stranger, the endless study, the neural therapy, the constant forgetting of simple facts. Cloned or not, he would never be whole again. This much he knew.

He had gone back to his old habit of keeping a journal. He found those precious few moments unmonitored and, during those, he tried to keep rack of anything notable. Because it was private, he kept his journal in the same spot he had hidden Coat's wallet.

Then, there was something else, something deeper. He did not know, but he knew that something else had changed. He often found himself wondering if he old Kendar Zek would have done a particular thing the same way he had. Character, was that called character? One thing was his memories and another, his character. How do you save character for later? And, can it be restored? He felt like he had Kendar Zek's memories -some of them, at least,- but not his character.

He felt like an impostor.

Get up, let's go.

On the bright side, he had this treasure trove of memories. If he looked not at how much he had forgotten, but at how much he remembered already, it was fantastic. Flight training, connections in the Federation Navy, a name. He was already privileged to have those. There was no shame in not recovering the rest. He was beginning to feel at ease with himself.

Whatever the holes in his mind were, they were his holes. He would learn to live with them -damned if he couldn't. He already had more than people expect to have during their entire lifetime. He smiled at the thought of steering his life forward rather than back; he would become all he could be -rather than whatever he had been once. He opened the journal at a random page and read.

Who the hell was this 'Ambriel' person? Who had written this in his journal?

His own handwriting stared back at him.


Doctor Kraak was rightly concerned about his patient.

The patient should not have any recollection of those issues after the morning therapy. It was normal for him to have questions every day and he did his utmost to answer them, but one of the questions was out of spec.

He dealt with the fiancée question deftly. The best lie always contained an element of truth, so he did not deny anything: "You may have forgotten, but an investigation is underway."

He would have to erase that again. Maybe there was a technical glitch somewhere. How was he remembering what had been erased? Maybe there was an information leak. External? Security would have to be checked.

The next question was poignant but expected and therefore easy to answer. The patient wanted to know if he was going to live. "Mr. Zek, I am afraid I do not have the answer you want. Our technology has limits. We have restored you but cannot cure your genetic condition. We estimate, based on your biological age, that you still have three years of life ahead. On the other hand, this may be enough for a man of your resources to find a solution." Of course Kendar Zek was going to die, who would expect anything less?

The cloning story had had to be carefully prepared and, bullshit as it was, it walked the fine border between a medical clone wonder and bad science fiction. Kraak was not going to commit himself to a more outlandish claim to a miracle gene cure; he simply did not have the expertise.

Lie as little as possible, as consistently as possible to make it believable. Ockham's razor. "We brought your body back just as you were. We are unable to change things." Done. Things were going well.


Ken did not betray his surprise. Sugar had told him he was going to live. Coat was telling him, to his face, that he was going to die. To say that something did not quite fit would have been an understatement.

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