Topic: "Remembering My Own Death", The Tale of Lucas McCoy
They say that clones sometimes do. One moment I am jarred to life with a shockpad, feeling the crisp air of the room fill my new lungs, the next I can hear the explosions. Questions fill every synapse of my brain.
Did I make it?
If so, who else made it out alive?
The chaos from my last moments before the emptyness in my memory overwhelmed me.
I opened my eyes for a moment but the glare of the medlights forced me to raise my hand to shield my vision, but my hand made contact with the smooth bacta tank glass in front of me. I looked down to see that I had no clothes and had more wires coming out of my body than a dismantled servodroid.
Inspect your surroundings.
Try and calm your breathing.
My years of fighting battles and Mandalorian training were starting to kick in.
Start simple. Who are you?
I am Lucas McCoy, son of Mandalorian Darin McCoy.
Good. Who is your family?
My brother, Myles, working somewhere on Kessel. My wife, Braeden. What has happened to my wife?. Nytalia, my adopted daughter. Haven't seen her in years. My son, Taylor, just a boy. Kir'ra, my little girl. I need to get out of here, I need to find my family.
Goals are good.
I reached to my side and started to disconnect a very large nutrition cord in my abdomen when things started to become more clear. My scars. They were gone. The strongest bacta in the world couldn't heal that. Examing closer, my skin had no pigment. I had never been a man for walking around without armor on, but at least I was white. I tried to dismiss that it was the blue fluid in the tank making my skin look grey, but I knew otherwise. It started to make sense. I never made it out of the bunker. I died.
A shabla clone.
I'd read that some clones suffer from severe depression. They can't accept the fact that they were not born, even tho they may remember their predecesor being born before. No matter. I can make this work. I'm a Mandalorian, and I've dealt with plenty so far, can't let a thing like dying turn you sour.
I want out of this tank.
Whoever had taken the time to clone me either missed me, or wanted something from me. I was inclined to think it was the latter. Unhooking the tube from my side the alarms outside the tank started to blink and whistle. Company would be coming soon. I tried to swim, but having brand new muscles and tendons that had not yet begun to move, I didn't have the strength. My brain knew what I needed to do, but my body couldn't move like that.
I brushed my hand over the top of my head trying to collect myself once again. No hair. Some things never change I guess. I unhooked everything from me except the respirator. More alarms. I pressed my face to the front of the tank, looking to either side of me. Good. Looked as if this was the only vat. Last thing I need is a dozen Lucas McCoy's running around the galaxy. Looking up I caught sight of the emergency release valve on the tank, and pulled it. The front of the glass slid open, spilling the water into a resevoir below the grated floor. My frail arms, unable to catch the fall, hung weak at my sides as I slid to my knees. Pulling myself with my fingers across the cracks metal floor, I came to a medgurney with some towels. I felt uncovered enough already without my armor on, and now my skin was both hairless and seethru.
Guess I wasn't done cooking.
As I sat on the floor, the blast door of the medlab opened and a handful of doctors poured in. I grabbed A sharp instrument on the tray near me and held it outstretched. What a sight I must have been. The doctors all spoke Ryl, and it made my head hurt trying to comprehend the harsh rasping language. The man that came in next made me realize I was going to be alright. He wore blue Mandalorian armor, and he pushed his way right past the medics to me, regardless of my weapon.
"Mereel." I said, beginning to laugh. Which was difficult enough, having never used this throat and vocal chords before.
"Thought we might have seen the last of you down there McCoy." He said to me, throwing his arm under mine to lift me on my feet.
"I have questions." I handed the instrument in my hand to one of the doctors. "How long have I been gone? Where are we? Who besides you made it out?"
"Let's get you cleaned up and I'll explain everything." He replied.
Jaster Mereel II leaned up against the cold metal wall of the medical examination room as the doctors poured out of the room. Though my clone body had not completely finished incubating, nor developed the melanin needed for any kind of daily sun exposure, it was still functional enough to not need another.
Let's not make a habbit of this. "Next time I go, don't bring me back", I said to my old partner.
"I didn't bring you back." Here it comes. "There has been a new Mand'alor named. It's been two years since we went down into that Death Watch Bunker."
Two years. Could be worse. "Who's the chief?" I asked.
"Fella by the name of Dose Ordo." Replied Mereel.
"Descendant of Mandalore Canderous himself. He has pulled the scraps of us left in the galaxy together. Now that the call has been given, they are coming. All that was left, is you." Jaster raised his hand in gesture to where I was sitting.
"Hard to answer anyone's call while you're dead."
"They call him Mandalore the Bold, his camps are near Kaadara here. We can start out towards there once you're ready." He started towards the door but was stopped when my hand reached out and grabbed him by the arm.
"What happened down there Mereel?" My grip was getting stronger, but not hostile. He turned and sat back down.
"What do you remember?" He asked.
Pain. Darkness. For the first time ever...
"I remember the team went in to fight the Black Sun and rescue an associate of Soul's." Two years before and Imperial Officer named Soul Tilak had funded a small strike force lead by three Mandalorians, Jaster Mereel, Gaidden Leveth, and Lucas McCoy to go on a 'rescue mission' into the mines of the Death Watch Bunker. Soul's associates that accompanied us were a force user named Craysom Kerzeck, two storm trooper brothers named Pines and Oakek, and a Corellia news operative.
"Turns out while we were busting into the room supposedly holding our hostage, Soul was uploading schematics for the Death Watch's Mandalorian armor into his datapad. His plan was to use the schematics in the Imperial military and collapse the mines around us."
A crushing sensation came over my entire body. My eyes squeezed so tightly closed that I instantly feel tears welling up in them. I had no control.
I was staring thru the visor of a dark helmet. The air smelled of thick alum minerals. I was in the mines again from years earlier, no longer sitting safely in a Naboo medical center.
I could hear panting close behind me. I was carrying someone. I'm running for a doorway. Lights flickered and bulbs burst as rocks and piping came crashing down all around us. A man in the exit doorway, holding it open with his shoulders. It was Jaster. There were shouts all around us from technicians and the panicked screams were nearly as deafening as the rumble of the collapsing mine around us. The light from the doorway spilled over the blue armor of the man wedged between its frame.
"COME ON!" He yelled. The thin air made it hard to run for any length, even when running for your life. He backed away from the door as I close in on it, preparing for me to dive thru to safety. Then it happened.
Something was pressuring the top of my helmet, bearing down on me. The light from the door in front of me has a dark shadow slam down in front of it. My knees buckled and the man I had slung across my back fell to the ground near me. It wasn't instant. The supports along the walls gave way slowly, making the gap between ceiling and floor small and smaller every few seconds. Slow enough to acknowledge what was happening to me. Slow enough to realize that within moments, I would be in excrutiating pain. My bloody hands began tearing into the rocky earth below me, pulling myself along the narrow space towards the door.
Survive. Just survive.
It overwhelmed me. Panic over my whole body made my bones shake.
Crawl faster. Use your feet.
I dug my steel toed boots into the dirt and used them to push forward. I was meters from the door at this point. Jaster was on his hands and knees, looking towards me. His helmet was off, the first time I'd ever seen his face. I threw mine off when the sensor antenna on the top was crushed as the tons of rock creeped farther down pinning me on my chest. I could touch the door frame with my outstretched hand, but I couldn't move any farther. With my head turned sideways I could see Jaster reach his arms towards me, grabbing my hand and pulling with all of his strength. The sound of metal on rock became the sound of hope, but only for a moment. Another give and I could feel my spine crack from the weight. My arm went limp, and my visioned blurred. The shrieking pain in my skull was enough to kill a man flat out. I could taste the blood in my mouth already.
Not like this. It was all I could think. Not like this. I looked at Jaster, I could see the horror in his face. "Look away." I managed to say, but he didn't move. "LOOK AWAY MEREEL!" I yelled. He stood uneasily until all I could see were his boots. Blood trickled down into the edge of my eye.
Some people say, in the moments before you die, you see your whole life flash before you. Others say you see a white light. Others yet, say that time slows down to a crawl.
Thankfully, none of that is true.
The final groan from the mine's support bars giving way. Within milliseconds I could feel my knees break, my jaw crack sideways, and my shoulder blades snap. Just enough time for a pain filled scream to build up in my mind, but not enough time for it to be vocalized before...
I was on the floor of the medical center panting. Jaster was sitting in front of me. I pulled myself up, the throbbing in my head beginning to subside. He handed me a towel so that I could brush the sweat from my brow. After a moment he spoke.
"After Soul's cronies took out the pressure stabilization units, the mine started to crumble. You and I took out towards the exit but you stopped. I braced the door from closing and you dissapeared down a side corner. Turns out Gaidden had just killed the Overlord, but was bleeding out from a vibro-wound in his gut. You wouldn't leave him. After the mine...collapsed, I took the armor bracer off of your arm that made it through to the doorway. We used the DNA from that to make you. Dose wants you to come and help him gather the clans. The time has come at last for us to resurface united. Plus, he has something waiting for you, call it a 'birthday' present."
"No jokes." I said to him, eyes narrowing.
"Of course not, my apoligies." Jaster said, helping me back to my chair. He turned towards the door and it opened as he neared. For a moment he stopped and turned his head. "Welcome back to the living, Lucas McCoy."
A second chance. Better not waste it.