[FanFic] ...like the back of new hands.

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Herko Kerghans
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[FanFic] ...like the back of new hands.

Postby Herko Kerghans » Wed May 15, 2013 8:04 am




Palms up…

Palms down…

Palms up…

Exactly as Stoic remembered them. Maybe the lines were a bit smoother? And the small scar was missing… the small cut on the back of the right hand just below the little finger, from when they had to manually open the airlock of the Brimstone and he had smashed the glass of the emergency button with his bare fist.

“Dumb move”, he chuckled, “should’ve used the elbow.”

That had been… year, year and half ago? Couldn’t quite place it, a minor anecdote after all. But now the scar was gone; only memories left.

Stoic prodded lips, cheeks and nose with fore and middle fingers, and examined the results on the mirror. An awful job of a haircut for sure, but you don’t pay clone stations for stylish hairdos, and the image he saw was his face alright. He traced fingertips along the upper cheekbones, stretching the skin taut. Some wrinkles… some wrinkles were gone, the ones around the eyes, and those around the corner of the lips. As a matter of fact, all wrinkles were gone.

Smiled…

Frowned…

Faked a laugh, an angry look, took out the tongue... Yes, Stoic´s face alright, but fresh and terse as if he had done nothing but sleep all his life.

“Which it is what my new me has been doing, come to think of that”, he though. Not bad so far this cloning thingy, and old Haiko had been right, the cloning hadn’t hurt at all.

Stoic had been a virgin until then, and quite proud of it: cold-blooded under fire, level-headed even through adverse odds, he had seen a fair share of tough gunfights during his tour of duty in Cheruvia yet had come back unscathed while everybody else in his squadron had visited the cloning vat at least once. Such track record had earned him a promotion to join the Crow´s Wing unit.

“Be sure to mind your language from now onwards, gentlemen”, Sargent Gonzal had said when he introduced him to the rest of the Crow´s crew. “We´ve got a maiden in our ranks”.

The announcement had been received with cheering and applause.

“Two years in Cher, and not a scratch? Now that´s something to stick your chest out for, kid!”

“Really... never seen a vat from the inside?”

“Ever seen a fight from the inside?”

Most of his gang mates had already been through half a dozen clones; a few through a couple of dozens.

“I stopped counting them after thirty”, Haiko had told him. Stoic soon learned why: the old Auxilium had a tendency to kick into berserk mode and launch himself into the fray all guns blazing, never mind the enemy bullets, and if Doc Kourailen was to be believed, Haiko had seen more clones from the inside that the rest of the whole Wing combined.

“Just couldn´t be arsed to keep track of them”, Haiko had said. “The novelty kinds of wears off, and all your clones are the same, after all. Like you keep buying the exact same T-shirt, over and over and over, same old thing every time but every time brand new”.


***


The Marla tattoo over the left pectoral was missing; so was Marla, anyway, but it had been great fun while it lasted. The belly, on the other hand… now that was a pleasant surprise. Stoic made a point to keep in good shape, but the guy on the other side of the mirror was downright perfect, just like right out of a Starsi add. He had been told clones were kept fat free and electrostimulated, but seeing it firsthand was something else.

Made a fist and punched the belly muscles.

Niiice… rock-hard!

He took a deep breath knowing what was next. He felt his palms slightly sweaty, loosened the towel around his waist, dropped it to the floor and looked at the mirror. He sighted with relief: everything between the legs was okay: right place, right size, right shape.

He examined his image from head to toes.

“It´s good to be back”, he though. “All in one piece.”

And he was feeling great, really really great! Wrinkle-free smile; sculpted muscles; and the fatigue of the last months and contracts gone, evaporated as if it had never existed. He rotated the head to the right…

… then to the left…

… backwards… Nothing! Zero, nada, not a hint of tension on the neck, back or shoulders.

Wow. Care-free, brand new; his new body didn´t know how it felt to be scared, or sore, or dead tired and still have to push forward. Guess that’s why Haiko had lost track of how many selves he´d been into, and still loved the vat every time… And the old Auxilium had been right about the cloning: it hadn´t hurt one bit.

“The dying, well... that´s a bitch, of course. *Pop* to the head, you don´t even feel it. Bleeding your guts out... now that´s a tough mother fucker, I´m not gonna lie. But the cloning, the vat itself, is nothing. It´s like you´re very, very tired and very, very cold; you fall asleep, then you go somewhere deeper and darker than sleep: some weird timeless instant of no-space in between. And then there´s a sharp light and a pull and *blam*, there you are floating in the vat. You claustrophobic?”

Stoic had said no.

“Good. Squirrell is, and he has no problem telling you that he´s scared shitless about it; that´s why he kicks ass in the open, but will stay outside and never join us in an indoor sweep. Anyway: once, when he woke floating inside the vat, he started kicking and banging at the glass, like a fish gone mad. He bit his inhaler so hard he crushed it; fucking half-torn his own tongue in the process. Had Doc Kourailen not gotten him out in time, he might have died right there. That would have been ironic, right? Death by cloning! Whatever: Doc got him out in time, and now every time we gear up, Doc sedates Squirrell´s clone, just in case.”

“But it doesn´t... hurt, does it?”

“Nope, kid. Take it from me: the cloning don´t hurts. Heck, mark my words: you may even learn to like it. Everything tastes and feels brand new, because for your new you it is new. Like getting laid for the first time, but only better ´cos this time you know what you´re doing.”


***


Palms up… lines a bit smoother.

Palms down… little cut gone.

He inspected his smile on the mirror again. No wrinkles at all: he had never laughed. Never laughed, never cried; never had a care in the world.

“I know you”, he whispered to himself. “I know you… like the back of these hands.”





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WSFMigo
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Re: [FanFic] ...like the back of new hands.

Postby WSFMigo » Wed May 15, 2013 8:18 am

I would like to see you write a day by day story of this guy. It's interesting so far!

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Herko Kerghans
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Re: [FanFic] ...like the back of new hands.

Postby Herko Kerghans » Thu May 16, 2013 5:25 am

Thanks for the encouragement, mate! :D

We still need the whole body of the Lore to flesh our fanfic right, but let´s see what we can come up with from the margins. :)


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