Friday, May 16, 2014

The Body

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here!

The Body

Thanan looked down at the equipment laid at his feet. The rifle would be quick, the grenade even quicker, the knife not so. However, he would still lose the week. A week of memories. A week of seeing his squad mates die and then being left all alone. Why was he so reluctant to get back to his normal routine if the only thing that he would lose is the memories of that past week.

Thanan was a cloned soldier. An immortal fighter who's brain-scan would be transferred at the moment of death to a waiting clone. However he had a problem. Unlike capsuleers brain-scans who's quantum entanglement method meant their scans could be transmitted over any distance, his was much more short range. There was no way any of his clones were now within orbital distance of the planet, his comrades retreated one week ago. He was not doomed however. Whilst the detailed brain-scan would be lost, his stored consciousness would be burnt into a new clone on the system receiving notification that his latest body had died. That simple signal had a much longer range. However that version of his conciousness stored in the databanks was a week old, scanned before he deployed on this godforsaken barren planet. He'd have the same memories as he had before the deployment. Everything that had happened in the week after would be lost forever.

"So kill myself and lose a week of memories, or...." he asked himself, trying to think of an alternative.

He picked up his gear and slowly made his way back down into the valley. The wrecked Clone Revival Unit vehicle had long since stopped smouldering. The five graves next to it stood as a reminder. He wondered for a while why he had buried his fallen comrades. They were not dead. Their brain-scans might have not made it back to a friendly CRU in range, but that would just meant their older stored brain-scan would have been burnt into a new clone. They were up there somewhere in space,back to their normal lives, with no idea what happened down here other than they came to this planet and died.

Thanan sat on a nearby rock and pulled a protein bar from his pack. His food was running low and on this barren planet there was nothing to forage. He chuckled that he was initially worried about his bodies reduced life-span. 5-years for a typical clone soldier which had a metabolism off the charts. He estimated with the food salvaged from his dead comrades he had a months rations. He sat on the rock and looked at the CRU vehicle. The call for full retreat had been made and they were heading back to the CRU for pick up when it had exploded. In a battle you rarely questioned why something exploded, you were just glad it wasn't you. Looking at the twisted metal Thanan started to wonder now. He was no expert in bomb-damage assessment but looking at the wrecked vehicle, it looked like it had exploded from the inside out. He finished chewing the protein bar and went to investigate. Surely a missile or hybrid round penetrating the vehicle and exploding inside would mean there would be an entry hole.


Thanan sat back down on the rock and started to think. Now he knew it wasn't a missile or a railgun round that had hit the CRU but something inside that had exploded he needed to know why. An enemy operative may have got a satchel charge inside but unlikely. Even if they used cloaking technology to get close, CRU's were sealed. In the heat of battle nobody went inside, they only exited. Then there was the way his five brothers and sisters had fallen. One at a time, taken out by some unseen assassin who had left him and only him. He recalled the order. Gamma 3 and 4 were found dead the next morning after the retreat. The assassin had come from the north and taken them out at their watch positions. Nova knife to the neck. Gamma 2 was next, a single shot ran out. A dead body was found, no killer. Then it was Gamma 6 and his squad leader, Gamma 1. She had gone with Six to patrol the camp perimeter together. When they had not come back Thanan had gone looking. Gamma 6 had a nova knife embedded in his forehead. A blood trail led away from the scene which he had followed. He finally found Gamma 1 five hundred metres away. She had been stabbed in the stomach and slowly bled out as she was crawling to....

Thanan sat upright. Where was she going? Surely she should have tried to make it back to camp for help. She had gone in almost the opposite direction. Was she confused? Had the assassin been approaching the camp so she crawled the other way? Or was it something else. He sprang to his feet and jogged towards the spot he'd found Gamma 6. His mind raced. Why hadn't the assassin come back for him? Why take out five of the six of the squad over three nights and then leave one surviving? Why use an assassin? The enemy had a full force of their own clone soldiers and tanks. Why not just steamroller through them if they knew they were there?

He started to think more wild scenarios. One stuck. The assassin stopped because the assassin was dead. The assassin was one of them. Its the only way the CRU could have been destroyed from the inside out.

He reached the spot where he had found Gamma 6. The rocks were black with soaked blood. He followed the blood trail of his squad leader. She appeared to be heading to a small hill about a kilometre away. Thanan picked up the pace and headed to the hill.


"Vital signs good. Temperature slightly elevated. Heart-rate is a tad high. Clone consciousness transfer was successful. Are you OK Captain Arant? Captain?"

"Erm, yes. Sorry its been a bad few days down there." the naked woman replied.

"I understand." the medic replied "Well you can get dressed and return to your quarters. We'd like to see you in the morning just to check you over again. There was a slight issue with the burning procedure. The AI recalibrated the process and we are not sure why. It might be as you have been gone a week in such a rich environment there was more neural data to burn."

The woman smiled and nodded before rising and opening the locker. She glanced behind her to check the medic had left. When she was sure she was alone she turned and looked at herself in the mirror. A slight groan escaping her lips.

Thanan stared at the pair of breasts being reflected in the mirror.


The door chime went off and Thanan rose from the couch and approached the door. Thankfully the datapad in the locker had guided him back to the right quarters. En route he had to stop himself several times from approaching his own quarters. The small screen showed a Naval officer in full uniform. 

Thanan opened the door.

The officer entered and smiled warmly at her.

"All done?"

"You mean all dead?" she replied.

"Yes. Did you experience any problems, you were very late."

"Gamma 6 gave me some problems."

"Oh, really. I trust he is no more?"

"His body is rotting on Notoras One if that's what you mean?" Thanan replied trying to remain calm.

"Excellent. Now we know the long-range transmitter is effective we can move forward. I will arrange for you to be head of the protection detail on the transport. With the rest of your team killed in action it will now be easy for me to reassign you to the protection detail without arousing any suspicion. Same situation, kill the squad and you'll find the transmitter in one of the crates. Set the charge, get out and Admiral Blie and his staff can go suck some vacuum. Then I'll have access to the blue prints. We're going to be very rich Arant. Very, very rich!"

At mention of the transmitter, Thanan thought back to the planet. At the base of the hill he'd found a small cave. It wasn't deep, some 10 metres or so and the entrance had been camouflaged by netting. Inside he'd found a neural scanning unit. Following cables he'd also discovered a satellite dish hidden outside. It was a set up designed to scan a persons brain and transmit it a great distance. This is how that bitch was going to get off-world. Unfortunately when he'd activated the machinery he'd woken in her clone. Realising this, he knew he had to play the part to find out who was behind this. Now he knew what it was all about, blue prints of advanced tech, he now needed to know why. His guess was the most common reason for criminal acts, money. The rest of his squad, his friends, had been killed simply to allow the Captain to be reassigned.

"But the money. Don't you shudder to think where its come from?" Thanan asked. It felt strange speaking and hearing a woman's voice.

The Officer laughed.

"Who knows where the money actually came from. The Legion have their fingers in many, many pies. You weren't so bothered when we got the first payment for the extended warp disruption technology we sold them the last time. Why worry now?"

Thanan had it. It was the infamous Mordu's Legion who were buying the technology.

"Ah, yes."

The Officer looked worried.

"Are you OK Arant? Is something wrong.

"I'll be OK after this." she replied.

"After what?" he asked.

"This!" Thanan snarled as he slipped the knife from the back of their belt and rammed it into the belly of the officer.

"By the way, I'm Thanan. Also known as Gamma 5. Have a nice death." he snarled in the officer's ear.


The Admiral strode into the holding cell. The woman was handcuffed and sat on a small metal chair bolted to the ground.

"OK Captain. Make this quick. I understand you'll only talk to me. You have 1 minute before I walk out and leave you to be shipped to a Federal Intelligence hearing. You'd better have a good reason for killing that officer or your going to be put to a death from which there is no returning."

The woman smiled.

"Its Lieutenant by the way. I killed that Officer as he wanted me to kill you. Is that a good reason?"

The Admiral looked carefully at the woman and took a seat opposite.

"My information says your Captain Arant not a lieutenant. And why would a Federal Navy Officer want to kill me?"

"This body belongs to the Captain that is true. However, I am Lieutenant Thanan, designation Gamma 6."

The Admiral started to rise shaking his head.

"I assume you think I'm pretending to be crazy to escape the death sentence. However that bitch apparently already sold our extended warp disruption technology to Mordu's Legion and was after some further technology that she and that officer would have had access to if you died in a tragic transport accident."

The Admiral sat back down.

"The fact that the Legion has Federation warp disruption technology is very closely guarded secret. Only a select few know about that leak. The fact I am transporting other Federal high-tech blueprints at the end of the week is even more classified. That you know about either of those things gives you an additional five minutes." the Admiral stated. "Start talking, from the beginning."

The woman smiled and lent forward.

"Well Admiral, before I tell you any more, can we discuss me getting back into my proper body! I want to talk a piss and I'd rather do it standing up!"


  1. I had to scroll back a few times to fully understand the plot - but that is a good thing. And nice touch bringing Mordu's Legion into it!

  2. The idea is interesting, but just...
    I don't know... If the whole team is made up of clone soldiers, why would it make any difference if they were cloned from up-to-date consciousness or from one of a week earlier. Meaning, why wouldn't they just put the team back together from the actual bodies of the old squad.
    Or, if the squad was put together only before the deployment on that barren planet, why wouldn't it be easy to reassign the leader to a different one afterwards?

  3. The squad failed, maybe they split them up to try find members who fit together better?
    The alternative is that all the squad members, apart from the leader, are elsewhere now and on route to or already at the new front lines. With the leader on site, with no squad seems reasonable to make use of her on an important one off transport mission that won't last very long seeing that the last blueprint transport was stolen.

    New clones cost ISK after all and the Navy has a budget so can't just 'pod' -for use of a better term - everyone whenever they are not in the same place as other squad members when it's not VITAL that they be there.