Spacer From the Jaws of Victory 67
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    "You want anything to drink? Soda, coffee, a beer?"
     "No, thank you, I don't have a digestive tract," Scott declined politely.
     "No, thanks," I murmured numbly.
     "So what've you been up to? I didn't even know you were on this side of the country. And—a superhero? Needle, of the Revolution?"
     "I think you've mistaken me for someone else," I said, mustering all of my determination to look him in the eye as if I'd never seen him before in my life.
     He stared at me for a moment. "Sarah Blake, right?"
     "No." My voice sounded unnaturally cold. Those initials again. Damn.
     "Oh." He shook his head apologetically, still looking a little stunned. "You look..."
     "A lot like her," I finished.
     "Just like her."
     "When did you last see Ms. Blake?" I inquired, recovering a veneer of professionalism to cover my own shock. At least he'd handed me the perfect opening. I hadn't even had to ask what her name was.
     He shrugged. "A little over two years ago, maybe more. 26, 28 months. It's gotta be, because I stopped getting the royalty checks exactly two years ago."
     "Royalty checks?"
     "Residuals, actually."
     "From?" I needed a direction to take this in, and I didn't want him to know how little I actually know about what's happening.
     "The show." He said it as if I should know what he was talking about.
     "I'm sorry, I'm a little bit out of popular culture, what show is this?"
     He was looking at me a little oddly now. "OK, I have the feeling that I've just wandered into something really weird. Am I under arrest, or in trouble or anything?"
     If you only knew. "Not in the least. No, you're not under investigation. I was just hoping you could answer a few questions."
     He sat back a little and contemplated the two of us, shrugged. "OK, shoot."
     "So, you're an actor?"
     "Yes." He gave me that peculiar look again, shook his head and apologized, "Sorry, I—just—"
     "I understand."
     "You—is she your twin, or something? Sarah never mentioned anything... You even have the same voice. I'm sorry, I mean it's just eerie."
     "Where did you last see her?"
     "Los Angeles. Is she missing?" he asked with sudden concern.
     "I don't know." Would they kill her? Probably not, I found myself thinking. Why waste a perfectly good clone body when they could just rewrite her mind? I shook myself and tried to focus on the conversation.
     "What—hold it, then why are you asking, is something wrong? Is she OK?"
     "I was hoping you could tell me that." Silence. "You want to know what's going on, don't you?" I asked, smiling a little despite myself—though it wasn't a good smile, mind. You and me both, Trav.
     "I would love to know what's going on. We might not have separated on the best of terms after the shoot, but we were friends, so.... what happened?"
     "I don't know," I said honestly, looking into those bewildered blue eyes.
     "Who are you, why are you here?"
     "I'd like to be able to explain this, but you're probably happier not knowing." To my own ears I sounded more robotic than Scott ever has, and I must have looked unnaturally pale, holding myself under shiveringly tight control, but if he noticed he didn't say anything. A brief quiet fell; I could see the confusion in his expression, watched him take a mental step back to reassess the situation.
     "You're coming here to ask me what happened."
     "We did a show."
     "OK. What show?" I breathed a mental thank you. This wasn't going to be a struggle after all. I honestly don't know what I would have done had he refused to talk. Sicced Albert on him, maybe.
     "About four years ago I was looking for work, and this thing came up—"
     "Four years ago?"
     "I think four. It was a long shoot, well 'shoot's' really the wrong term. I had to sign a lot of confidentiality agreements, I'm not going to get into any trouble for explaining any of this, will I?"

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson