Edited by: Severe McCald on 20/09/2003 22:25:23Edited by: Severe McCald on 20/09/2003 22:24:21
The following is a continuation of:Born in the flames
andA Phoenix spreads its wings
I observed Doctor Mishima's eyelids flicker open, the sudden awakening, a moment of confusion and then the recollection of what had happened. The realisation that he had died and been reborn, a new clone. He began to smile, a smile that faltered when he saw me.
"Who are you? What do you want?" He asked.
His concern was entirely reasonable, his last memories were of a Moa cruiser locking onto his shuttle; bright lights, panic, sudden death. Now here was his clone, alone in a room with an unknown Civire who, judging from appearances , was of the mercenary line. Not usually the type to enter the medical profession. Except on the supply
"I'm the person responsible for your recent death, Doctor." I replied, looking him directly in the eyes. "I needed to ask you a few questions under, shall we say, favourable , conditions." He stared back at me with a cat's unblinking regard.
* * * * *
It had taken me some months, a considerable sum in bribes and a great deal of detective work to track down Mishima and arrange for his death followed by his, slightly unusual, rebirth. Mishima was a geneticist by training, but was in charge of the cloning facility in Lai Dai at Kamokor. He was also the Doctor who had organised my recent rebirth in a basic clone.
I didn't recognise him and he, obviously, didn't recognise me. Nevertheless, I was convinced he was my best, perhaps my only, link to what had happened to me. I assumed he was merely a tool of my benefactor, my saviour from perma-death and, as such, I didn't bear him any ill will. On the other hand, he had information which could lead to my killer; the person who had robbed me of my years of experience, my wealth and my peace of mind. The person for whom my hatred had grown exponentially. The more 'new' skills I learned, the greater my realisation of loss.
* * * * *
"After a great deal of effort on my part, I obtained access to your clone Doctor." I continued calmly. "And as a bonus I have managed to arrange for it, for you
, to be fitted with a very special implant." He continued to observe me in silence, but (I felt) with less detachment than previously. "Your implant is an experimental prototype. A failed experimental prototype. It was intended to increase perception by double the previous maximum. In a sense, it more than succeeded."
Mishima continued to look at me in silence, the only indication that he was under any kind of stress was the slowly rising pitch of his heart rate monitor. For a Deteis he was very cool.
"At the moment the implant is having no impact on your perceptions. To be of any help to me you need to be able to answer my questions. It is fitted with an external control, which I have here."
The heart rate monitor continued its journey up the scale. The beats moving towards a single, continuous, high pitched note.
"When the implant is operating at full power, each of your senses will become an uncontrolled torrent of agony. Close your eyes, stop your ears, touch nothing, don't even move. It will make no difference. The sound and sensation of your own blood, pounding through your veins will be torture. If you were not tied down, you would attempt to tear your eyes out, your ears off, your tongue from its root. Let me assure you, I have seen the effect with my own eyes."
As he listened to my explanation of his predicament, Doctor Mishima's cool demeanour had begun to thaw. A few beads of sweat glistened on his upper lip, while his heart rate monitor continued to tell its own story. With forced patience he asked again:
"Who are you and what do you want?"
* * * * *
It had not been easy to arrange this meeting, under these circumstances. As head of a medical facility in Empire controlled space, Mishima was subject to heavy security. If he didn't want to see you, you couldn't just march in and say 'hello'. At least, not without a full armada and a battalion of heavy infantry. I had made numerous attempts to contact Doctor Mishima through both official and unofficial channels. Enough to know that he really, really
did not want to communicate with me.