She rolled her head to the side, groaning. Her mind felt foggy, thoughts distorted, abstract. Her eyes parted slightly and at first her vision was blurred. Just a sliver of pale light was visible. She blinked several times, trying to focus, forcing her eyes open all the way.
A large window came into view with rain gushing against the other side, pelting against the glass.
Phantom pain ached along her wrists.
Her body felt heavy as she tried to sit up in the bed, aching all over. She looked around the room...a hospital room?It looked sterile and cold, impersonal with bare metallic walls. She started to panic.
Sliding out of the bed, she moved over to the door and found it locked. Fear trickled down her spine. She tried the door again, this time beating her fist against it.
"Goddammit let me out of here!"
She searched the room for another exit and found nothing but the window, and even that wasn't a real way out. As she slammed her fist against it, the hologram rippled.
Her fingers trailed through her hair out of frustration.
She spun around as the door opened. Vlad Cetes stepped into the room looking cautiously at her.
"What are you doing! Why do you have me locked in here? What's going on...I'm not your goddamned prisoner Vlad."
He closed the door behind him and leaned against it. "You tried to terminate your life."
"What?" She shook her head no, "I don't believe you."
"It happened. I found you a few hours after you had went to bed," his voice was ever so calm, void of any emotion, starkly contrasted to her hysterical one.
The memories of the previous night were vague and distorted as they flashed through her mind. She hadn't went to sleep as she told him she was going to do. Instead she started to drink. She had been far too distraught to simply sleep after what she'd been through with Raphael followed by watching Micah die, then nearly dying herself to Kathetel. But had she really tried to commit suicide?
I wish...I wish I could just erase it all.
Well, you can, you know.
The conversation she had with Micah before he died ran through her thoughts. He had suggested that she do it so she could forget, though it wouldn't have been a real suicide, not a real death. Clone jumping, but in the process losing all memory of what had happened since her last brainscan.
Her gaze met Cetes, "Why did you stop me?"
"Because you weren't in your right mind, you didn't really want to do that...did you?"
I don't even remember it...
She absently put her hand to her head, feeling faint, the memories congealed into a mishmash of blurry images and emotion but nothing she could fully grasp. "What exactly happened? How am I here and not in some clone vat in Amarr? How did you stop me?"
"You attempted to terminate your life."
She grew angry, "You keep saying that but I don't remember it! I don't remember anything that happened last night after I left you!" She started to pace the medical room, trying to make sense of it. It was possible he was telling the truth. She had completely broken down, she remembered that much. The feelings of betrayal from Raphael, the anger, feeling used. Micah dying.
But it also didn't seem like something she would do. Not willingly.
"I don't feel right," she said as she moved over to the bed, sitting on the edge.
"A medical drone administered a sedative. You are now recovering from the after affects."
"A sedative..it wouldn't make me feel like this. I don't feel right..." She glanced down at her wrists again. No bandages.
"How...?" She looked at him questionally, "Did I...did I die? Am I cloned?" If she tried to do something and failed there would be some kind of visible mark left behind, wouldn't there be? Had she succeeded? Was she cloned? A million questions ran through her mind at once. "How am I here?"
"Your human body is dead...you have been placed in an artifical one. For the moment."She felt sick to her stomach as she shook her head to protest, "What? I don't understand.""Your human brain remains as your DNA created it. Same with other organic components needed for vital life support...with some upgrades. Your skeleton system has been replaced with a carbon nanotube structure, your muscles an advanced microfiber system."
She paled, "Oh god...what have I done?"
"You have advanced. Thrown away your humanity and embraced evolution."
She rubbed her hand across her forehead, "You should have let me die."
"Negative. Permitting you to die would be counterproductive."
She glared at him, "Why do you even care?" Why do I even trust you?
"You know too much."
"I don't understand." She leaned her head against the pillow, staring at the artificial rain. All she felt like doing was sleeping. "I don't know anything."
"A ...mistake was made."
"A data packet was added to the download."
"What does that mean to me?"
"It means that your mind has data it was not supposed to have. Data that is secret for a reason."
"What data? What are you talking about?"
"I will not reveal what the data is. I do not wish to compromise it anymore."
"Is that why you had me locked in here?"
"Affirmative. I will need to determine if the data is removable...or if not...plot another course of action."
"Fuck you, you're not keeping me here. I have duties to return to, I have a life to get back to."
I have to talk to Raphael..
"An absence would result in questions being asked, that is why I am letting you go when you are capable of flying out of here...however, I will be watching to ensure nothing unusual happens."
She looked at him incredulously, "I wonder how you would measure unusual after everything that's happened in the last twenty-four hours."
A few hours later...
A flash of light was the last thing she remembered before darkness enveloped her.
Gasping for breath, she pulled the breathing tube from her mouth as she came up out of the cloning vat.
Glancing around, she calmed as she looked around the familiar facility, Amarr Medical Center.
Attendants were helping her up as she tried to remember the last few moments before 'dying'. She was flying out of Stain in a ship of Vlad's. It was too easy not to hit the microwarp drive after she jumped through a bubbled gate. So very easy to watch as her ship got locked and do nothing. She braced herself as her display started to flash red.
She remembered thinking about what had happened, how Vlad had saved her from the cathedral only to trap her into a hellish existence that wasn't even human. She refused to live that way, to lose her emotions, her humanity. She would not become like him, existing only for one's self. It was selfish. She needed more, a purpose for living. She needed love...
After a quick shower, she dressed in a typical flight suit with her PIE Lieutenant bars pinned to her collar.
She slid on her boots then picked up her datapad, thumbing through the in-coming messages.
RefID:17590348483332 Your friendly insurance company has transferred..
Clone Activated. So you died? Well you have a Clone Grade at...
My Dearest Shalee,
I know the horrible truth of our origins hurts you. It weighs heavy on my heart as well. I know using you was wrong. I will make no excuses. I only hope that you that you can find it within you to forgive me and return to my arms. These past nights without you have been horrid, the memory of the night I told you haunting my memories, a wraith of guilt that has taken hold of my heart and even now consumes me.
I hope you will remember the love I have shown you, and know that my love for you is both true and deep. All those times I could have turned you away, left you alone, but stayed at your side. It is these times that prove my devotion to you; that I love you dearly.
I have contracted a set of coordinates to you. I hope you will accept them and immediately go there.
She never noticed the half written, unsent message to Saint saved in the drafts tab.
I can't do this anymore. I can't live with the truth of us, knowing that everything was a lie. Even if it is true now, it was a lie then. So many memories of us together. I don't want to know that they weren't real for you. I can't live with that, knowing that you were with her in your mind. Oh god how I hate her and hate you for using me to get to her. It consumes me, Raphael. Every memory of us has now been weighed against this knowledge and I'm left wondering where she ended and I began. It disgusts me to know that, to know that you took my innocence and wasn't even seeing me lying beneath you, but her. I told you from the begining that if I slept with you I would love you. You knew. You had to have known, but you didn't care.
I'm sorry Raphael. You've hurt me and it should be so easy for me to walk away, but I cannot. I love you too much to just let you go.When I wake up...I wont remember any of this.
Never tell me again. I can't go through eternity with you second-guessing you, having some secret part of me resenting you, hating you for hurting me.
I'm sorry, but it's better this way.