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Summary: Who is returning to the Harding Building and what could it mean for the Agency?
A handsome dark haired man of perhaps thirty-five sat in the rear of an emerald green sedan, absent-mindedly playing with the hem of his jacket. He was finding the long drive through the streets of San Diego to the Harding building interminable. They'd been on the road since first light and now it was almost midday. With every passing mile he felt the panic rising within him as he was being relentlessly propelled towards the unknown and farther away from the remote desert complex and the only home he truly remembered. Which path his life would take from here no-one could foretell.
He squirmed around, hands beginning to flutter nervously in his lap as he rode the wave of emotional turmoil cascading in his mind. Part of him wanted the journey to be over, the other part begged to return to the sterile calm of the facility. Once he arrived at the Agency the potential for confrontations and recriminations was high and he didn't know if he was ready to face that yet – if ever.
The man sighed deeply. He had enough questions and worries about his own existence and place in the world without the concerns of his friends and family clouding the issues. Ah, but then that was a point; could they even really be considered to be his friends and family? He simply didn't know, nor could he be certain whether they would welcome him into their lives. This would be strange and unnerving for all concerned and acceptance was far from a foregone conclusion. If he was rejected, where did he go from here? Was it even possible to return to any part of his old life?
However, if he was totally honest with himself, none of that really mattered. The most pressing issue and the one that he tried to compartmentalise and contain in the darkest recesses of his brain was whether he still possessed what Christians perceived as a soul. He needed to talk to his friend Father Tom, try and come to terms with the more theological aspects of his continued existence. The problem was, he was unique and technology had once again superseded religious and ethical concerns. Perhaps there were no answers to counteract his fears.
The journey to this place and time had been a long one. His first memories had been in the moment, with no recollection of the past, no thoughts for the future. Learning to walk, to talk, to feed himself - skills once possessed, but now having to be clumsily re-acquired. Then, with the treatments, had come memories, flooding into his brain, filling the black, soulless void he had sensed, but had no way of understanding. Images flashed through his mind; a mother, a father, a brother, friends and colleagues. Once again he felt their loss, like a knife ripping through his consciousness. The missed opportunities to build a strong and lasting relationship with his brother were perhaps the greatest regrets.
With developing consciousness had come snippets from overheard conversations - strange words and phrases - "clone", "viable host body", "memory RNA", "transfer of consciousness". All had caused confusion at the time, but had later come to have meaning when the doctors at the facility explained all that had happened.
"We're here Sir," came the voice of the driver as the car eventually came to a stop. Pulling his mind back from its musings the man stared up at the imposing building in front of him. Yes, he 'remembered' this place. Meetings pertaining to the QS-9300 project had regularly been held here.
"Ready to reclaim your past son?" Charlie Borden asked quietly.
"Ready as I'll ever be," came the shaky response. As he opened the door and stepped from the sedan, the loud and intrusive bustle of the city street hit him like a physical blow. He staggered backwards and was grateful for Charlie's steadying hand on his arm. "Thanks," he murmured. "Guess it's going to take me a little time to get used to urban living again."
"Come on. They should be down in the Keep," Borden told him with a paternal smile. Steering the younger man through the main doors of the building and down the dimly lit corridors, they soon found themselves at the door to the lab. As the metal obstruction swooshed open, the four people within turned in surprise at the unexpected interruption.
"Hello Darien," the new arrival said softly as he stepped from the shadowy hallway into the much brighter lab.
A stunned Darien Fawkes took an uncertain step forward, his brain momentarily unable to process what his eyes were seeing. After a heart-stopping pause a single strangled word escaped his numb lips.