Send In the Clones
by Naia Zifu

Chapter One: The Rebirth

_Merry merry Christmas, happy happy Christmas, merry merry Christmas
and Happy New Year..._
The music was happy and upbeat, well in keeping with my mood that
morning. I was just completing work on an article about "Newspace," though
I still didn't quite understand where or even what it was supposed to be,
even after having researched it as far as I could and having interviewed
nearly everyone who claimed to have been there. It still seemed rather like
a mass-hallucination to me, and I said as much in my writing.
"I'm waiting for Santa Claus, he's riding on a bison sleigh. I'm
waiting for a Christmas gift, I want to get a spaceship..."
I hadn't even noticed I was singing until I heard laughter from the
doorway. I felt my face redden and stopped immediately.
"Ah, 'Space Christmas'-- truly one of the great holiday classics,"
teased Quelt'san, a fatuous smile playing across his handsome face.
Trying to sound angry, I demanded, "Did you come just to torment me,
or is there some particular _reason_ for your being here?"
"Is that any way to treat the bearer of glad tidings?" he laughed.
"I just thought you'd want to know that the clones have finally reached
full maturity, and they escaped Ghoti Neogenics Labs during the night."
"Oh, that _is_ good news."
Coming to my desk and leaning in to read over my shoulder, he
reminded me, "Yes, my love, but you know Ghoti will be searching for them.
I sent out a detail as soon as I learned of their escape. I only hope our
men find the clones before _they_ do."
"They will," I answered with more certainty than I felt.
"Quelt'san, I'd like to be the first to talk with the clones once they've
arrived."
"Usai," he said absently, immersed in his reading. "Naia, what is
this 'Newspace?' I know the individual words, but I don't think I've seen
them used together that way before."
I tried to explain, "Newspace is a phenomenon purportedly caused by
the Invid transubstantiation... a different dimension, I suppose, where
whatever one thinks of comes into existence... Toiisa, I don't know how to
explain it any better than that."
"Sounds a little like that old Star Trek movie we saw last week."
"Sort of..."
"You don't believe in Newspace, do you?" Quelt'san noticed.
"Not really..."
"I can tell." He indicated the computer monitor. "This article of
yours is brutal."
"Thank you. Now I have only to proofread for typos, and then I'll
be finished."
He smiled. "I'm glad. You know, I've hardly even seen you all
week. I missed you."
"Does this help?" I asked playfully, kissing him with an ardour
_stored up_ for a week.
"It's a beginning..."

My hands shook so that I could hardly fasten the jacket of my
cerise officer's uniform. Why was I so nervous? They _were_ only clones,
after all...
Nonconformist that I am, I'd always hated the idea of uniforms. But
being T'sentrati, I of course felt much more comfortable in one. The
miniature replicas were easy enough to acquire, and specialty shops were
inundated with requests from micronised warriors who, like me, felt somehow
_less T'sentrati_ out of uniform.
I took a moment to scrutinise my appearance in the full-length
mirror, finding it adequate, and tried not to fidget as I started for the
interrogation room where the clones were being temporarily detained.
I had never met the original Khyron and Azonia, but over the years I
had watched every available piece of footage, read nearly every word ever
written about them, and indeed had written quite a bit myself. There was
something rather _Shakespearean_ about their relationship, something both
tragic and romantic, that still fascinated me even after so many years. I
wondered how much of that had survived to be reborn into the clones? Did
they have any sense of their archetypes at all?
"You're fidgeting," observed Quelt'san.
"Toiisa," I apologised. "I hadn't noticed."
"Try to relax," he advised. "They _are_ only clones, after all,
remember?"
"So are we..."
"You know what I mean. Naia, you know more about the _real_ Khyron
and Azonia than almost anyone. I don't see how you could feel so
intimidated by mere clones."
"Tokko... You're right, of course." He usually was.
"And I'll be right beside you the whole time in case you need moral
support," he promised.
"Thank you." I kissed him, tattooing his lips with my "transfer-
resistant" red lipstick, then took a deep breath and tried to clear my mind.
"Okay, I think I'm ready now."
"T'sen Laplamis! T'sen Kravshera! _Or reasonable facsimiles
thereof..._" I announced, giving a half-hearted T'sentrati salute.
"Tan yar!" demanded Azonia's clone.
Pulling myself up to seem as tall as possible, I replied, "Jhiri tan
T'sentrati Naia Zifu, formerly captain of the thuverl-salan _Isa Tanari,_ of
the Quadrono Battalion."
"Captain Zifu?" she repeated. "The _odd_ one?"
I couldn't have been more pleased. The clone seemed to have
Azonia's memories. And what's more, it seemed she had _heard_ of me.
"The very same," I answered proudly. "My reputation precedes me...
I must say I'm flattered. So then you _do_ retain memories of your prior
existence? Intruiging."
Khyron's clone spoke up. "This world is quite unlike any of those
memories. For how long have we been dead?"
"It's been forty years since the deaths of the _real_ Khyron and
Azonia," I told them. "Earth has survived attacks by the Masters and the
Invid, and has since returned to a prosperity it hadn't known for centuries.
There is no more protoculture anywhere in the quadrant. Consequently, the
Shapings have ceased, and the age of Robotechnology has passed forever.
There hasn't even been a major _war_ on Earth in fifteen years."
"How _boring..._ So why in the name of Haydon have you brought us
here?"
"Do you know what Ghoti would have done to you if we _hadn't?_"
"I am not afraid to die," he snapped. "I am _T'sentrati._ I
_welcome_ death with open arms." The clone spread his arms wide in
demonstration, chuckling dementedly.
"I'm afraid it isn't so simple, _clone,_" I said with a pretentious
laugh. "Had Ghoti been allowed to recapture you, you would have been
subjected to a fate _far worse_ than death."
The clone wondered, "So what exactly is our purpose in this
_frightfully boring_ future world?"
"Come now, you're a bright enough lad-- I'm sure you'll be able to
think of _something,_" I said condescendingly.
"So you've got a _sense of humour,_" he observed happily. "Quite a
rare quality among our people. But then, you _do_ seem to be quite the
bundle of anomalies, don't you?"
I took that as the compliment it seemed to have been intended as.
"What is this place?" wondered the Azonia clone.
I was glad to explain. "Our city is called 'Baza Godai'-- pun
_intended._ 'It was meant to be an oasis of peace for humans and T'sentrati
alike,' _or some such rot..._ The first Godaians settled here from
_underground,_ eager for the sunshine and fresh air of the surface again. I
promised a dentalla-intao I'd watch out for them. Emigrants, displaced by
the Invid War and in need of food and shelter, began to arrive by the
truckload, and of course I couldn't just turn them away... At last census,
we numbered close to a hundred thousand."
"Is there any particular reason your city looks like _Macross?_"
"That wasn't my idea," I asserted. "It was merely a condition
insisted upon by my _eccentric_ dentalla."
Quelt'san stifled a laugh. _Who was I to call anyone eccentric?_ I
glared at him angrily.
Azonia's clone sighed. "This new life is certainly going to take
some getting used to..."
"Tokko," I said sympathetically. "Toiisa. If you two would
like to be left alone for a while to talk it over..."
"Usai."

"Negronta _micronians_ can't do _anything_ right," I complained,
feeling so angry that I punched the wall as hard as I could. My hand was
hurt more than the wall but I refused to show it.
" 'Humans,' Naia," Quelt'san reminded me. "You mean about the
clones?"
"They aren't at all what I expected. I thought they would be... I
don't know... more dangerous? But these clones actually seem _friendly._
Ugh. The least they can do is form some _evil plot_ or something..."
Quelt'san looked confused. "You _want_ them to be evil? After some
thirty-five years of trying to convince the world that Khyron and Azonia
were heroes, you're disappointed because their clones seem nice?"
To hear him put it that way, it _did_ sound rather silly...
"Okay, I'll stop complaining... I was just thinking, maybe there
_is_ something positive about this. If they're friendly clones who remember
their archetypes, perhaps they'll consent to a series of interviews."
"You think so, eh? I must admit, it _would_ be nice to finally know
what made Khyron Kravshera tick..."



©1996-1998 Naia Zifu, all rights reserved. Written originally in script
form, changed to narrative a bit later. My apologies for all the material
left out in the switch to first-person and narrative. Illegal T'sentrati
words were removed when the change to narrative occurred, but replaced for
electronic use. Robotech and all borrowed ideas (and basis for the clones'
characters) are trademarked by Harmony Gold. Again I am not trying to
infringe on any trademarks or copyrights, or profit from anyone else's
ideas.