Send In the Clones
by Naia Zifu

Chapter Four: Immortality

Although physically I was sitting in my office trying to conduct an
interview with Quoia, my mind was drifting ever further away. I was t'surai
to be recording her words, as I seemed to be having a little trouble
focusing on them myself.
"...then, suddenly, the ground opened up and swallowed the reporter
as she sat so rudely _daydreaming_ during her interview," I barely heard,
and snapped back to reality.
"What?"
"You weren't paying attention," she said, annoyed.
I felt my face flush, and apologised for my inattention. "I guess
my mind was somewhere else," I explained. "Please, continue. I promise it
won't happen again."
"I don't know what sparked the changes in Khyron and Azonia," she
began, "how their attitudes toward one another reversed so quickly... Maybe
it was just the isolation, maybe kiraats-vei, but they started to...
_experiment_ with micronian pleasures." Quoia lowered her eyes, and blushed
demurely. "There... was a child..."
"A child?" That was something I'd never heard before. "What
happened to it?"
"He was just so small, so vulnerable. They'd never had experience
with children before. He died a few days after his birth."
"Toiisa," I said. "I didn't know."
"Most didn't."
Silence. Neither of us looked at the other. I could hear the
ticking of the clock, the turning mechanisms of the tape recorder, the
sounds of breathing, my own stomach reminding me I'd missed breakfast...
Finally she said, "Well, I guess it doesn't matter now. That was a
different time, a different person."
"Is that how you feel?"
"I feel... as if it happened to me, just a few months ago," she
answered. "The child's name was Clozan. He was so... What is the word the
micronians use? 'Cute, ' So much like a tiny Khyron. They both were so
proud-- Khyron said Clozan would be his immortality. When the baby died,
part of him did, too. He was never the same after that. He became all the
more obsessed with his 'mission', with destroying Zor's fortress. He
started using the Flowers more heavily. He stopped paying as much attention
to my... I mean _Azonia's_ needs... It was like he blamed her for Clozan's
death..."
"It's very hard to care for small children. And they'd had no
previous experience with that. Maybe with the right parenting training and
medical care he might have lived, but as it was, there was nothing you... I
mean, _they,_ could have done..."
"Doesn't make me feel any less guilty," she lamented.
There was another moment of uncomfortable silence. I stared down at
the desk, running my fingers over the Japanese symbols-- names of favourite
anime characters-- I'd scratched into its surface when I was bored or
blocked.
"You have a family, Naia?" she asked, making it sound more like a
statement.
I hesitated, debating whether it was safe to trust her yet. But
since she had told me about Clozan... I picked up the family portrait from
the corner of my desk and wiped the baby fingerprints off from Dhan's last
visit.
"Here is my... husband, Quelt'san," I began.
"That Botoru man I always see you with? I'd thought he was just
quorayin."
"He's multi-talented," I replied with a smile. "Here is our son,
Kaeisuan, with his wife Tracey..."
"A micronian?"
"You get used to it," I said with a shrug. "These are their
children, Zak, Verran, and little Dhan."
"She's cute."
"Tokko," I said proudly. "I think she gets it from me."
"And this girl?" Quoia pointed to the petite teen-ager in the
Cannibal Fish tank top, with blue-black hair cut short in back but long
enough at the front to cover her eyes if not held back in clips, skeleton
earrings, and retro-60s cat-eye glasses.
"My daughter, Nemesis," I replied.
"You sound disappointed."
"Did I? I didn't mean to. Nemesis is a lovely girl, very smart in
school..."
"But?"
I laughed a little. "She's rebellious, strong-willed, opinionated...
just like her mother."
"And just as hard to control," Quoia said with a smirk. "Karei."
The door opened without warning, startling us both. My family knew
I was not to be bothered during work hours except for kalidar, and never
without knocking.
"Nemesis," Quoia said, smiling in a peculiar way. "Your mother was
just telling me about you."
She paused in the doorway and stared at Quoia with saucer eyes.
"Damn," she said. "You really do look like Azonia..."
I rushed my daughter out into the hall, calling that I'd be back in
a moment, and made sure to close the door behind us.
"Don't ever barge in during work like that again," I scolded. "This
had better be onnaii, Nemesis."
"Nah, I just did it to see your reaction," she said sarcastically,
rolling her eyes. "_Of course_ it's onnaii. There's a riot going on
downtown. A bunch of T'sentrati are running around beating up on the humans.
Personally, I'd say, let 'em have 'em, except I'm afraid they're headed
toward my brother's part of town..."


©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 narrative. Illegal T'sentrati words
were removed when the change to narrative occurred, but replaced for
electronic use. Some new ones added to this one, probably to become a
common event in future parts too! 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.