Make My Mindo A Double
Location: Secure Quarters
When word reached Ixelom that there was another Mindo aboard, the Tellarite had at first wondered if the XO was joking. Perhaps Caradan got drunk and was fantasising in the bedroom. Perhaps it was "Tease the Tellarite Day". Perhaps Ixelom accidentally ate some dodgy Andorian food and was now high as kite. Anything made more sense then Mindo somehow duplicating himself.
Still, against all odds, that was exactly what had occurred. Thus Ixelom found herself leaving her quarters, walking up a few doors and meeting the tall security officer on guard outside another door.
"Can I help you, Counselor?" the yellow-shirted woman asked politely as the much smaller Ixelom approached.
"Is this where the other Mindo is?" Ixelom asked, scratching her snout. "Not our Mindo. The other Mindo, the one who just turned up."
The security officer nodded, bemused. "Yeah, he's in there. The other Mindo...I mean, the real Mindo, our Mindo, is just a few doors down. Do you want me to come in with you? He's unarmed, but he could still be dangerous."
"No," Ixelom said, shaking her head. When the security officer opened her mouth to protest, Ixelom smiled placatingly. "Dolores, really, I'll be fine. This is my job, okay, hun? Now open the door, please."
Reluctantly, the security officer did just that, and Ixelom promptly stepped inside before she lost her courage.
Inside, Mindo nursed a bottle of something called "Risan Sunset." Not the strongest drink in the world, but it sure tasted nice. The first Mindo, the one some were now referring to as "Minduno" had been nice enough to give him a few drinks, for medicinal purposes of course.
Upon seeing the Tellarite, Mindo, or "Mindos" as he was called, sat up in his bunk and set down the drink.
"Are you the entertainment?" he asked the stranger.
"Entertainment, hm?" Ixelom mused as she entered, smiling toothily at him. This second Mindo really did look astonishing similar to his counterpart, and she found that the smile came naturally, despite the uneasy feeling in her stomach. "I suppose I've been called worse, hun. You don't know who I am, do you?"
"No, hun, I don't," Mindos replied.
"Ixelom Vejeem, ship's counselor," she said cheerfully, seating herself without invitation next to him. She gestured at the bottle. "Pour me some of that, will you?"
Mindos grabbed a glass on the dresser and proceeded to pour her a cup.
"When did we get a counselor?" he asked.
"Obviously it was sometime after you left, you oversexed little idiot," Ixelom said with a toothy, far-too-cute grin that defused her words. She sipped her orange drink with appreciation, smacking her lips at the flavour. "So when exactly did you leave, sweetie? Before Captain Takato was captured, or after?"
"Before, I think. To be honest, I don't remember ever leaving. I remember a talk in the corridor with Greep, and then getting some message in my quarters... but the next thing I remember is waking up in some kind of cell. I didn't know where I was, or how long I'd been there. I heard a thrumming noise coming from some kind of generator. I remember people in white robes and masks looking at me, poking and prodding me. I couldn't talk for a long time. They fed me, but through tubes. There were lots of tubes. Then I was outside somewhere. A woman was putting me on some kind of shuttlecraft... smuggling me on it. She was telling me something... something important. I remember it was important..." Mindos trailed off, trying to think. "The shuttle was attacked... I was the only survivor. I didn't know where to go, so I came here. I spent months going through Klingon space dodging patrols here and there. All I could think about was coming back to Caradan and the Tornado."
Ixelom listened patiently, sipping her Risian Sunrise. “That really does sound awful. I’m sorry, Mindo, we had no idea. The test results support your story, and based on your body language and voice inflection, I believe you’re being truthful. So don’t worry, dear, I believe you. There were minute traces of some powerful and illegal drugs in your system which account for your memory difficulties as well as other substances that we haven’t identified yet, but the important thing is that you’re safe now.”
"How safe?" said Mindos. "No one here trusts me. I'm not even sure they think of me as me! I don't know if I do either."
“Nor does he,” Ixelom said gently, as she poured herself another glass. “Mindo, all the geeks downstairs are working hard to figure this out, but the key part of this is what you believe. Nobody, not even Caradan, can tell you who are. Your self-identity at its most fundamental comes from within, not from without.”
"So does his," replied Mindos. "And right now our self-identities disagree. Like it or not, we are different people. My memories of the past few months don't line up with his, even though our memories of the past twenty-five years do. Doesn't that mean I'm not the same person? He and I have had different experiences, and so we see the world in a different way, even if that way is so minute. When someone is a twin, they may look exactly like the other, but they are still different people. Doesn't it stand to reason that it's the same for a clone or double or replicant?"
“Exactly,” Ixelom said gently, her beady eyes focusing on Mindos with unusual intensity. “But that doesn’t make either of you less real, less alive or less Mindo. The whole “who is the real one” debate is ultimately irrelevant, and more often than not, self-harming, because you know what? I like you, you, because you demonstrated extraordinary courage in getting here. Going to such lengths to get back to Caradan is one of the most romantic things I’ve ever seen. Just now, here, you’ve treated me kindly, shared your booze, even when you had every reason to tell me to go away after all the horrible things you’ve been through. All of this is you, Mindo, all on your own. Who cares if you’re the original, or if the other one is? I like you fine as you are.”
Mindos was quiet for a moment, considering Ixelom's words. He had to admit, she had a good point.
"I guess I've got a lot to think about," he said. "But one thing I know is, you're a good counselor. I hope the other me is good to you."
Ixelom smiled, finishing her second glass. “He’s a good friend, so I am hoping that you and I will be too. If nothing else, you Fesarians really know how to enjoy yourselves.” She paused, plainly coming to a realisation. “Greep was your friend, right? He worked for you?”
"Yes," said Mindos. "But I don't think he's here anymore."
“No,” Ixelom said sadly, “he got reassigned somewhere not long after I arrived, about the same time that Ziara was reassigned to the Venture. It’s a shame, really. He seemed like a really interesting guy from what I’ve heard, and a looker to boot, but I have no idea where he was reassigned to. I kept meaning to ask the other Mindo about him, but I keep on forgetting. Oh well. He could be in the Delta Quadrant now for all I know.”
Then Ixelom shook the errant thought, smiling apologetically at Mindos. “Oh never mind me, sweetie, I go on odd tangents sometimes.”
Mindos chuckled. "I think you and Greep would have gotten along perfect. He's a great guy with a good sense of humor. He'd have liked you too."
“Oh, that’s nice of you to say,” Ixelom said with a smile. “Well hun, is there anything else on your mind? Besides all of the obvious stuff?”
Mindos shook his head. "I can't really think of anything. Are you going to talk to my other self after this?"
“That’s the plan,” Ixelom said brightly as she stood up, scratching one of her large porcine ears. “Do you want me to pass on a message?”
"Tell him I'm out of tranya," said Mindos. "And ask him if he has any Saurian brandy."
“Will do!” Ixelom said cheerfully as she walked out of the door. “See you later!”