Koh opens her book, pen posed for writing. She looks at Amon from over the top of the pages, “We decided on one last session. Just to tie up loose ends.”
“Correct,” he sits in the now-familiar chair, waiting for her question.
“Okay. I wanted to talk a little bit about clones,” she says. “I haven’t formulated these questions very well… but… Cloning of people happened in your time. In fact, you’ve said yourself that your current physical form is a clone.”
“Yes. This body is a clone. The mind is 100% original,” Amon gives a brief grin, as if there was something humorous about that. Then he pauses, gathering his thoughts. “In your time, cloning appears to have a rather negative connotation. But for us, cloning was very common and used for all sorts of medical and technical applications.”
“Allagans sought to perfect themselves. Defects… injuries… old age…” he shrugs. “All you needed was a clone and you could reverse just about anything. Need a blood transfusion? Clone has your exact blood type. Lost a limb? Clone donation. Failing internal organ? Clone harvesting.”
Koh wrinkles her brows as she writes, trying to swallow down her distaste.
“We could experiment freely and advanced so quickly without the need to conduct those experiments on real people. We just used clones.” Amon taps his chin with a slow grimace. “And when Xande started to sell the Empire out to the Void, we sent clones as the sacrifices.”
“Like a clone of Xande?” she asks.
“Yeah. Xande. Scylla. Pretty much all of us had some clone or another.”
“Obviously, you did.”
“Well,” he purses his lips. “I made very few clones of myself. They were highly specialized. They were also well guarded and preserved for situations such as this. I was not as frivolous as others with my personal duplication.”
Koh tilts her head and asks, “Now that you’re practically living in a cloned form, does that change the way you feel about clones as people?”
“Clones as people?” Amon frowns. “I don’t follow your question.”
“I mean, clones are a replication of a person. Which makes them, physically, at least, a potential person,” she points the tip of her pen at him.
He laughs somberly. “I’ve had this conversation many times before.”
“Clones are not people. They are biological creations that can contain a consciousness, but only if their maker grants it,” Amon tells her with a gentle finality.
“But they’re still alive…”
“To some extent, aye,” he debates. “But what defines life? Is it the systems that keep the body functioning, or a mind and soul? A machine has systems that keeps it running, but you wouldn’t consider it alive.”
Koh huffs and brushes her hair out of her face. “I won’t win this discussion with you, will I?”
“No,” Amon tells her. “I’m far too set in my ways. I’ve seen too much of what goes into the creation of clones to think of them as something living.”
“Even though you are one now.”
“I’m not a clone. I’m simply inhabiting a copy of myself. My mind remains my own.”
“Alright, fine.” Koh gives up. “I’ll agree to disagree.”
There’s sadness written on his face a moment, but he doesn’t say anything.
“Come on, I saw that look. What were you thinking about?”
He leans back from her, the sign that he’s uncomfortable to talk.
“Amon,” she prods. “If this is my last chance at a research session, at least give it to me straight.”
“Not all Allagans thought the way I do. Many of them would side with you. Even ones with brilliant scientific minds.”
“So why the sad look?”
Amon looks up the ceiling. “’Tis a very long story.”
Koh laughs softly, “Doofus. I’m here because I want to listen.”
This makes him smile a little. “Very well. Perhaps ’tis time to tell that tale.”