The Cimalian Princess: Clone
by AJ Marks
Trina walked aimlessly around the streets trying to shake the conversation she had with Ewa and Carl out of her mind. Nothing worked and she even had been stopped by enforces twice, but doing nothing wrong she was allowed to continue on.
Revolution would destroy the empire more than anything else. Such actions might also push the state of the empire back decades or more. She paused looking at the last rays of sunlight on the town and the lengthening shadows stretching across the town. This time of day is when the more undesirable parts of society came out, hidden in the darkness.
The Epsilons who managed to avoid capture by the enforcers lived in this area. Of course since moving the number had decreased, you either moved as the government wished, or you died, no middle ground.
“ID?” a rough voice said causing her to jump slightly. She had not seen this third group of enforcers. Pulling out her ID once more she handed it over watching as they scanned the card, then looked closely at her. “Continue on Gamma.”
Trina sighed in relief again and quickly made her way down the street more watchful of her surroundings. Turning the corner she noticed a shadow come out of the alley. Her first thought was robbery, but the clothing and posture of the two was different.
She looked the two over carefully, noticing a guy and girl and thought maybe it was a liaison between two lovers. That was her thought until she noticed the girl’s face and gasped slightly unable to believe what she saw.
The young woman’s eyes turned her direction, and this close she could see their color, a blue. That was wrong, they should be green. The hair was right, so was the face, it was looking into the face of a ghost from her past. Even as she looked she noticed something different, the young woman was shorter. Suddenly the guy dragged the woman away leaving her alone.
“It couldn’t be,” Trina said suddenly. She moved in the same direction but was unable to catch up to them. They were faster, but did not seem to know where they were going. She caught sight of them running into a dead end alley.
For some reason they were spooked by her appearance. It was not the normal attitude by people, then again if they were of different classes they would run away from others. She waited for them to reappear knowing they were trapped. It took only a few seconds for them to appear.
“Who are you,” she asked stepping forward startling them both again. For several seconds neither spoke.
“Who are you?” the woman asked.
“Trina, Gamma class citizen,” Trina replied, hoping not to intimidate the two, especially if one was an Epsilon.
“Meia,” the woman finally replied.
Trina sucked in a breath at the name, almost stumbling backwards as if the word physically struck her.
“Impossible, you’re dead,” Trina said, trying to regain her sensibility and realizing this woman was not who she thought she was. “No, Meia is dead, you’re someone else. I’m sorry for startling you, you looked like my best friend when I was younger.”
“I haven’t been planetside in years, perhaps you can help me?” Meia asked.
The phrase raised alarm bells in Trina’s mind as things did not seem right to her. She looked at them again, normal, yet their eyes had a different look in them. The look of defiance, and something else she was unable to place and yet, the woman had the look of an Epsilon class citizen. Where they difference classes trying to keep a secret, like so many years ago. Shaking her head she focused her thoughts on the present.
“Perhaps, with what?” Trina asked, curious about them now.
“Information,” Meia said, and for a second Trina wondered what the truth was before making up her mind.
“The rumors, follow me, we should head inside away from the enforcers,” Trina said, moving away and towards her apartment.
Meia followed the woman alongside Victor keeping an eye out for any enforcers who might be around. She thought the woman seemed a bit strange especially considering the way she spoke at first. Why would she be dead? It almost seemed like the woman was rambling with questions and phrases as they walked, but they needed information.
Reaching the apartment they made their way inside and to the woman’s apartment. Meia glanced around that even heading to a new planet the living space had not changed at all. The lower classes still lived in poverty.
“What a dump,” she heard Victor say.
“Its home,” the woman replied defensively.
“Victor, be polite,” Meia chastised. They were visitors in another person’s home and while it appeared small, it was about the same size Meia lived in during her academy days. “Besides, it’s larger, and nicer, than the accommodations on the battle-cruisers.”
That seemed to get the woman’s attention even more. Now Meia knew she might know what was going on, and perhaps even a bit more.
“You were on the battle-cruisers? Why are you not there now?” the woman asked.
“Long story, but what’s this about a rumor?” Meia asked, wondering if the story about her made it back.
“Answer a few of mine and I’ll answer a few of yours,” Trina replied back to Meia. She gave it a bit of thought before answering.
“All right, but the answers might not be what you are looking for,” Meia replied back to her.
“Yes, I served on board one of the battle-cruisers of the empire, the Kitakim, to be exact of the 3rd CF,” Meia told her.
“Then civil war is coming,” Trina stated.
“Civil war, I don’t’ know anything about that,” Meia replied honestly. Talk of rebellion among the lower classes, perhaps the empire was at a tipping point, or would collapse.
“There is rumors that the fleets are fighting each other, the rightful ruler is to return and overthrow Emperor Henry,” Trina said, glancing around at the door and windows.
Meia went quiet at that statement. Somehow the rumor filtered down about her even though it was not exact. How had the rumor become so twisted? She had no fleet and joined up with the Alliance and wondered how people would react to the news.
“Is that not right?” Trina asked, almost pleading for it to be true.
“Not really,” Meia replied deciding on a more direct approach to the rumor. “The fleets did invade the Alliance, but lost.”
“Y-You’re from the Alliance, then the emperor is right, there are spies among us,” Trina said, standing up quickly.
“It’s not what you think,” Meia replied, moving quickly to intercept the woman. “The truth is the Alliance did not know about the empire until the invasion. During the fighting many of the lower classes switched sides, the Alliance is nothing like we’ve been told.”
“Somehow I doubt that, you’ve been drugged,” Trina stated emphatically.
“No, my own u-, ah, my own empire drugged me,” Meia said having stopped herself before saying uncle. She had no idea how Trina would react to the fact she was Emperor Henry’s niece, and rightful ruler. She watched to see what the other woman would do next.
“You’re serious,” Trina finally said, relaxing a bit and sitting back down.
“Yes, the empire, the same one I served loyally for years betrayed me,” Meia said to her. “They don’t care about anyone.”
“But they’ve always taken care of us. They drove us away from our home to make us safe,” Trina said, confused.
“They left because the invasion failed and the Alliance started heading to Cimalius,” Meia said. “All we’re doing is looking for information.”
“So, you’re a traitor,” Trina said.
“No, it’s complex,” Meia replied back to her, not wanting to get into the fact she was the right ruler. If that part came out things would really get confusing and probably would lose Trina’s trust.
“Then perhaps you can explain it,” Trina said.
Meia looked over at Victor who had a bored expression on his face before she went into a short explanation.
“The short story then, I had a feud with one of the other pilots on board the Kitakim. During the battle for Pacifica he betrayed me on orders. He was a Beta and jealous of my abilities and I am an Epsilon, they shot me down. I crashed on board an Alliance battle-cruiser. It was on board it that I learned the truth about the Alliance, and have been living among them ever sense,” Meia said, giving Trina an abbreviated version of the story.
“Sounds a bit, fanficful,” Trains stated. Meia noted the woman’s tone changed a bit and hoped it was for the better.
“No, only the truth,” Meia replied back to her.
“Any reason why I should trust you?” she asked Meia.
“No, only my word,” Meia said hoping honestly would prevail in this conversation. The woman seemed lost in thought once more taking a long time to look at her making Meia feel slightly uncomfortable.
“Can I ask, who was your mother?” Trina suddenly asked surprising Meia. What would her mother have do to with this especially considering she was an Epsilon.
“Well, she was an Epsilon, and I can recall her name being Didi,” Meia finally replied watching the woman’s face show shock.
“Then, it really is you, Meia?” Trina whispered. She seemed to be trying to figure something out. “We were told you both died in the explosion.”
“I had turned five and was at the academy,” Meia replied logically seeing the woman seem to understand.
“Five, of course, why didn’t I put it together. But why did they lie about your death?” Trina said frowning at the question which for her had no answer.
“Many reasons,” Meia said, knowing the largest was her father. “We need information about the planet.”
“Isn’t much to say, the enforcers keep a close watch over us, and the upper classes keep us busy. Most of the homeless and undesirables were killed in the move. There are no places to hide anymore,” Trina replied.
“I see, but I know the lower classes have more power than they realize. The uprising within the fleet that stopped the invasion, not military might,” Meia said. She knew what the ability of the lower classes was like.
“The enforcers are too strong Meia,” Trina said, giving that same fear.
Meia glanced at her watch, knowing she did not have much time left. “Henry is still the emperor?”
“And you probably don’t know much about the military,” Meia asked knowing the lower classes rarely had such information about the movement of the ships or fleets.
“From what my son said, the military is expecting an attack, and soon. They also commissioned a new warship recently,” Trina said. “From what he says, its different than a battle-cruiser.”
Meia gave that some thought knowing that the empire would not rest on one warship design. It was not surprising that a new class was already ready with the single focused determination it had. She also knew the information would be useful to the Alliance. Depending on its abilities it could be devastating to the Alliance.
“We should probably be going,” Meia said, looking back down at her watch.
“Before you go,” Trina said, leaning closer to Meia. “You’re mother always said her life was forfeit, do you know what she meant?”
Meia gave the statement some thought and thought she knew. “Yes I do,” she said.
Trina looked shocked but Meia said nothing else except saying her good-byes to the older woman. She and Vicor made their way out of the apartments and hopefully would avoid any enforcers while heading back to the shuttle.
Jezic walked up to the emperor at the end of a long day for everyone. So much had happened and yet still needed to happen. He had a lot of unanswered questions and now waited for the emperor to motion for him to speak.
“Admiral, it is time. You should receive word on a capture, once that happens order the 1st CF to attack the Alliance fleet near the moon,” Henry said to him.
“Sire, I’m afraid I don’t understand,” Jezic said, hoping to gain some information about what was going on.
“It will make sense soon, head back to the command center. Once you’ve received word of the capture begin the attack,” Henry ordered.
Jezic made a career of following his orders, even the strange orders.
“By your will sire,” Jezic replied, bowing and headed out of the throne room pondering the recent events. He would wait to see what happened next.
End part 9