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Science Fiction Adventure Thriller

I drank her in as she walked around the bins of spices. From the way she leaned against the wooden post with her hand on her hip, I got the feeling it was intentional. Her murder red dress tried its best to contain those curves. Her long, muscular legs seemed to pour out of the thigh length skirt, showing off her blue, hairless skin. She cocked her head to the side and looked at me with eyes that were a size and a half larger than a human's. They glistened, like black diamonds, laying in pools of cream. I pretended not to notice.

“Have I seen you before?” She asked with lips of deep red, making sure she heard me right. She slowly ran her hand along her blue, hairless scalp.

“That's right. More specifically, has anyone been through here that looks just like me?” I casually rested my hand on the butt of my particle blaster. Not that I thought I would need it. Not with her. But its large size made a good hand rest when you're standing around.

She walked towards me with slow, deliberate steps and put a hand on the side of my face. Her delicate fingers wrapped behind my ear. “You have a clone? You know they're illegal, these days.”

“Not by choice. But yeah. I tracked him here. His name is Samuel. Or at least that's what he's been going by. Have you seen him?”

“I think I would remember a face like yours.” She leaned into my ear and added, “If you have time, I could give you something you'll never forget.”

I pulled her hand off of my face. “So he has been here. How long ago?”

She took a step back and spun around, showing me her back. That dress seemed to hug her hips in all the right places. “I've never seen him, before.”

“Whatever he paid you, I can double it, if you tell me where he is.” That was a lie. Probably. Because of a bad business deal and a supposedly routine blood donation, I've spent most of my money tracking him way the hell out here to this arm pit of a planet.

She slid back behind the bins of spices. “He didn't pay me.” She said as she smiled. “Now, if you're not going to buy anything...”

I took a bag of warug and thanked her for her time. Cloning is illegal in the Interplanetary Federation and has been since the war of 3010. It wasn't for religious reasons or anything like that. Cloning had gotten so cheap and reliable that you could order one of your very own, for the right price. Corporations started to mass produce them as slave labor. The Interplanetary government tried to regulate the cloning process but the big money lawyers tried to justify it by saying the cloned slaves weren't sentient. So of course the government sent people to investigate and of course they found out better and of course that led to war. Since then, anyone convicted of cloning would spend the rest of their life in jail, exactly what I'm trying to avoid.

The market was crowded as it always was, with species from all over this part of the galaxy. A lot of them were humanoid to some extent. Sometimes you had to squint your eyes or use your imagination to see it. A lot of others had the skin of a reptile, encased in a space suit that acted like an exoskeleton and heads with large compound eyes, like insects. Some of them got around on four legs, some with six, while using another pair as hands. Short, thick bristly hairs covered the tops of their heads and trailed down their necks. They all stood on end and gave me the impression they were more feelers than hairs.

Then there were the bird-like creatures. They were the size of short humans and flew over the market on wings of bright greens, blues and yellows. They were awe inspiring when they were in flight, with wingspans twice that of a man's arms. But they seemed to always be in the way, when they were walking on the ground. Even with their wings folded up, they'd still knock into everything.

I took a stool at every bar that I could find to ask around. There's something about them that's fundamental to human nature, like cooking and darts. All it takes are stools and a counter that serves food or drink and people will stop. I know he had to have stopped at one of them. So I did, too.

One of those bird-men worked behind the counter. He barely fit in the little area he had for it but didn't seem to have any trouble serving the other customers. His face was more like a bear, than a bird. He had a muzzle, full of teeth. When he looked at me, he spoke a kind of English that sounded like a man with a broken jaw.

“What's your order, human?” He wasn't being rude. His species just saw pleasantries as a kind of false persona and so found them offensive. I liked them.

“I'll have a Jumping Demar. Extra ice. And can you tell me if anyone who looks just like me has been in here, before?”

The bartender slightly turned and reached under the bar for the needed ingredients. “I thought my drinks were so good, you came back for more.”

“That mean, yes?”

“Yeah. You a cloner? If you leave a tip, I can forget I saw you.”

“Not on purpose. Bad business deal. You know how it goes. But, I need to find him and put him down before someone tells the cops I am, though. All the evidence they need is in his DNA.”

He put the drink on the bar. I handed him two bills. “Put him down, eh? Harsh.”

“Yeah. It's either that or I get to be someone's unwilling love partner for the next eighty years. But, if I can destroy the evidence... Even if I get caught in the act, that I can explain. Why else would someone kill their own clone, right? That's still legal, isn't it?”

“Sure. I get it.” He picked up an empty glass in one hand, a towel in the other and started to wipe off the water spots.

“How long ago was he here?” He looked at me and gave me what passed as a smile on that muzzle. I slid another bill across the bar.

He reached out a hand to pick it up, but blaster fire obliterated my Jumping Demar and a large section of the bar, with it. I whipped around to see where it came from. A woman wearing a black hooded cloak, holding a particle blaster quickly turned around and ran away. I drew my particle blaster and chased her through the market, around stands, and through hallways. I might've knocked over a couple people, but I did yell at them to get out of the way. She was really fast. I tried to just wing her with my blaster to trip her up, maybe hit the back of her leg, but she never gave me a clear shot. Every time I thought I had one, she'd just slip behind something or someone else.

Somehow when I wasn't paying attention, I passed through a set of swing doors. And as soon as I came to the other side, someone knocked the blaster out of my hand. They did it easy and made me feel like I'd never done this, before. I found myself in a small room, no bigger than your average living room. But big enough to be surrounded by that girl and two men, plus my clone.

“Samuel.” He stood just out of reach. I guess he knew better. The woman I'd been chasing walked over and handed him my blaster. “I should have known when she looked back to see if I was still following her. She's a fast one.” He looked so much like me that I felt like I was talking to myself.

“Thanks.” She said as she took off her hood. Bushels of curly black hair seemed to spring out, when she did. Her skin was so fair that couldn't be more than fourteen. “He does look exactly like you, Sam.”

“So, what is this? Are you going to kill me?” I asked him. I looked for a way out, but didn't see any. The other three walls looked solid, with no windows to jump through. One of the men slipped between me and the door. He was armed.

“Yes. With your gun. And then I will take your name and replace you. It's too bad that you spent so much money, tracking me down. I could use the cash. At least I can finally stop running.” He looked to the girl and smiled. “Your ship though, we appreciate that.” The girl smiled back at him.

“Don't you dare touch my ship! You won't get away with it. They'll...”

“They'll...what? See a man killing his illegitimate clone? That someone had made to blackmail him? That's what you were about to do.” Samuel checked my blaster to make sure it was loaded.

“Yeah, but... One look at your DNA will show that you're the clone. They'll know! You can't do this!”

“Will they? Or will they just accept the story and not bother to check?” Samuel pointed the blaster at my forehead and said, “Goodbye, Graham.” Then he pulled the trigger.

November 10, 2020 21:55

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1 comment

Mustang Patty
18:34 Nov 16, 2020

Hi there, Thank you for sharing your reply to this prompt. You did a really nice job with it. I stumbled over a few issues with writing conventions, and so, Just a few techniques I think you could use to take your writing to the next level: READ the piece OUT LOUD. You will be amazed at the errors you will find as you read. You will be able to identify missing and overused words. It is also possible to catch grammatical mistakes – such as missing or extra commas if you read with emphasis on punctuation. (If you use Word, there is a...


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