Boone Trek: My Clone's Keeper
The music dimmed. The woman stepped forward. "Call me, Dr. Lorne."
"Didn't she already say that?" Yad asked.
"Dr. Lorne? The expert in cloning Mingo worked with? The one whose call brought us to Ceti Omicron Seventeen seventy five? Dr. Madeline Lorne?"
The tall woman nodded her head. Her blond hair, teased and sprayed until it resembled something close to a minor mole hill, answered, "Yes. What you see here," she spread her arms wide, "is the culmination of years of intense study. This, is my life's work!"
Dr. Yadkin turned in a slow circle. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he had slowly become aware of the fact that the entire chamber was papered with images of Lieutenant Commander Mingo. He scratched his head and turned to look at her. "Now, I may be a doctor and not a psychologist, but I gotta ask you this...."
She pivoted swiftly. Her hair followed a second later. "What is that, Doctor Yadkin?"
"Don't you think maybe all of this," he indicated the images, "goes to show you are a mite obsessed?"
She burst into laughter. The chilling sound cascaded through the chamber. "Obsessed? Of course, I am obsessed. Who wouldn't be obsessed with perfection? You, Daniel Boone? Or you, Doctor Yadkin? If you held the key to creating the master race, would you not use it? Would you not owe it to humanity?"
Daniel and Yadkin looked at the posters. They looked at the wall behind them. They looked at their friend, laid out like a main course, and then looked back at her.
Together they asked, "Mingo?"
"Little do you know, gentlemen, your Mingo is not the Mingo you thought he was. He is really my Mingo. I created him!"
"Now hold on there, doc," Daniel said as he stepped forward.
"Yes! He is mine. As that aberration who escaped and tried to kill your Mingo was mine. Tara was insanely jealous." She suddenly quieted. "I was doing research. I saw those dashing men with the turbans on your primitive Earth, and I just couldn't resist. Perhaps, I thought, I'll just add a touch of Creek for spice...." She shook her head. "Alas, the experiment was a failure. He loved me, but he was rotten to the core. When I rejected him, he broke the disk that would allow me to call him back, and joined those despicable Shawnee." She shuddered. "He intended to be the only Mingo, and by that, to make the known universe his own."
"You mean the fake Mingo? He weren't this one's brother like he said?" Yad came to his Captain's side.
"Oh, in a way they were brothers. After all, I created them both. But the story of his birth was a fabrication." Her eyes glinted. "As was your Mingo's." She walked straight through the forcefield to lay her hand on the unconscious man's chest and then - after a brief moment-she stirred. "If I hadn't chewed through those ropes to free him...."
Yadkin snapped his fingers. "Dang! If that don't explain the red stains on the ropes."
Daniel nodded. "Yep. Lipstick." He took a few steps toward the scientist. "Am I understandin' you right? You're saying our Mingo is a clone too?"
"Yes. The result of tens of generations of perfecting perfection. It was my intention to create the perfect mate, and the perfect weapon."
"Mate?" He and Yadkin looked at one another. "Weapon?"
"Yes." She turned to look at them. Her blue eyes were wide with madness. "I am a student of history. I was studying Earth, the late eighteenth century, the territory of Kentucky in the United States of America. I happened on a specimen who had a curious effect on the female population. I realized if I could travel back in time and find him, I could discern what it was that caused that effect and recreate it, and that once I had tapped that special charisma, that magnetism, that....allure, I would have in my hands, power unlimited." She paused as she looked at the man lying on the table. "Unfortunately, I had no suspicion, I too, would fall under his spell." She shook herself and turned back to them. "I captured him and studied him for years, and through cloning honed my Mingo to the point of perfection. Well, with the exception of Tara-Mingo. Brrrrrrr...." She shivered. "In him I have created a weapon with the potential to bring the universe to its knees! And I, Doctor Madeline Lorne, will do it!"
Yad frowned. He turned to his friend. "Daniel?" "Yes, Yad?"
"You want to rule the universe?"
Daniel shrugged. "Nope. You, Yad?"
He shook his head. "So what is it with these loons that that's all they want to do?"
"Beats me. Probably were deprived as children."
"You laugh," Madeline went on, "but it took genius to do what I have done. First, I studied Continental Starship logs and found a way to return to the past. I took the specimen from a place called - coincidentally, boys - Boonesborough. One day he simply vanished, and no one ever saw him again. This," she laid her hand on the man on the table, "is not your friend you see, but his progenitor; the original. The one, the only, the first Mingo! I used the IDIC to call the Mingo you know here. He was the last in the line created so far. When he rejected me, I knew he was imperfect as all the rest. Now it is his time to 'disappear', and soon a new, better Mingo-with better taste in women-will be unleashed on the known universe! We will join forces and all will come under my dominion! Soon, I will rule it all! "
Yad shook his head. "There she goes again."
"The known universe?" Captain Daniel T. Boone stroked his chin. "Excuse me, Dr. Lorne."
"Yes? What is it?" she snapped.
"Well, I think I see a flaw in your grand scheme."
"A flaw! Ha!" She tried to toss her hair, but ended up stubbing her fingers. "Gotta remember next time," she mumbled as she sucked them, "less hair spray." Then she turned her attention back to the matter at hand. "My scheme is perfect. Complete. Invincible!" She hesitated. "What flaw?"
"Well, Dr. Lorne, I know you-and just about every other humanoid female in the known universe-swoon whenever any of these here Mingos comes near, but, well.... To tell you the truth, he does nothing for me."
Dr. Madeline Lorne frowned. "I beg your pardon?"
"Well, Dr. Lorne, to begin with the known universe ain't full of humans, and the portion of it that is human, is only about half female. The other half is male. Like me. Or him." He turned and looked at the doctor. "He do something for you?"
"What? Mingo?" He glanced at the figure on the table. "Well, he irritates the heck out of me. Does that count?"
Dan turned back to the silent doctor. "So you see, Madeline. Is it all right if I call you, Madeline?"
"Madeline. Unless your scheme to control the known universe involves, say, a clone of the perfect woman as well.... Say, Yeoman Rebecca Bryan. It's doomed to fail."
"I'll second that," Yad piped up. "No offense, Dan'l, she bein' your woman and all."
"None taken, Yad."
Dan took a step toward her. "Now, I'd be mighty obliged, Ma'am, if you would tell me where my friend is."
She stumbled back. "You will never find him. Each of the photon tubes in this chamber contains a Mingo, alike in almost every way to the one you have known. I will never tell you which is your friend. You have thwarted me and destroyed my only hope of happiness. You will stand by and watch while I destroy him And your world-and the entire known universe-will be a sadder and less pretty place, because of you." She pulled a phaser from her belt and set it on maximum overload. "If I can't have them, nobody can!"
Daniel flipped open his communicator. "Cincinnatus, you get all that?"
"Tarnation, Daniel! What with sittin' here in the command seat on this bridge by Ensign Jericho, I'm a little deef. But I caught the gist of it. The woman's a loon and she's about to kill you all."
"You got the high points." His eyes flicked to Dr. Lorne. The phaser was glowing red in her hand. "You got that forcefield figured out yet?"
"That woman lives so far down a hidey-hole, we had to pipe sunshine in to find you, but we got it. Shield is down..................now, Captain!"
"All I needed to know."
Yadkin caught his arm. "Dan'l, be careful. You know what they say."
"No, Yad. What is that?"
"Come between a Mingo-woman and her man, and you'll be carryin' your head home in a sweet-grass-handled basket."
Dan nodded. "Thanks for the warnin', Yad. You look for our Mingo, while I take care of the good doctor." Captain Daniel T. Boone took a deep breath as his friend moved away. It went against his code to strike a woman, but there were times that tried one's most sincere and deeply held beliefs, and this was one of them. He had to rise to the occasion or fall. "Madeline Lorne!" he yelled.
The woman moved to the edge of the circle of light. The weapon in her hand was humming. "What!?" she snapped.
He pointed. "Behind you!"
Dr. Madeline Lorne's penciled-in brows rose towards her well-plastered hair. "Do I look like an idiot?" she said, with her hand on her hip. "Do you really think I would fall for that?"
There was a resounding thud.
And she did.
"Mingo!" He cried. "Good to see you!"
"Captain," Mingo said as he tossed the stray bit of tubing he had bent over Dr. Lorne's head to the ground, "I have only just awakened. I found myself sequestered in a slender white tube. The last thing I remember was lying in the desert in my regulation boxer shorts."
"Er, Mingo, I think somethin' might a gone missin'." At the Cherokee's frown, he pointed toward his legs.
Mingo looked down at his bare legs and raised one eyebrow. What he saw above that, it raised the other. "Captain, I seem to have somehow misplaced my clothes."
"Here, Mingo. Try this on for size."
"Doctor, Yadkin." Mingo turned toward him. "What is this?" In his hand he held a pair of blue broadcloth trousers with a red stripe running down the outside of each leg and a leather vest.
"I think they're his." Yad indicated the dark-skinned man on the table.
Mingo walked over to him. His eyebrow peaked again. "Dr. Lorne explained her mad scheme to me. He is a humanoid of the oriental anthropological genus once mistakenly classified as Indians, and later more properly identified as Native American. By the symbols on the vest, I would calculate the likelihood of his being Cherokee at ninety-nine point nine percent."
Yad shivered. "That's eerie, Mingo. You mean your whole planet might have been created by a madwoman?"
"We will never be certain, doctor, how far Madeline Lorne's insane dreams influenced the development of my home-world. But there is one thing we do know."
"And what is that?"
Commander Mingo held the blue pants out between two fingers. "Without a doubt, this Mingo had decidedly bad taste."
"Were we successful?"
"Yes, sir." The Cher-o-kee was monitoring the condition of their guest as they spoke. They had returned the humanoid male to his home near - coincidentally enough - Boonesborough, Kentucky, the United States of America, Earth, circa seventeen-eighty-three. "We have set the subject four point three five years in the future, Captain, and wiped all but the most significant events of his life from his memory. In this way he will appear to have had amnesia and wandered about lost during that time. This will explain his absence."
"But you set him down where they will be certain to find him? Correct?"
Dr. Yadkin came to the Captain's side. "You didn't leave him in the Boone-docks, did you now, Mingo?"
Mingo straightened up. "If that was an attempt at humor, Doctor Yadkin, it was - as usual - a juvenile one. To have done so would have been tantamount to murder, and as you know, Cher-o-kee do not kill."
"Tell that to Dr. Lorne," Dan said softly.
"I beg your pardon, Captain."
Yad took his place at the captain's right side. Mingo echoed him on the left, and the music swelled to a soft crescendo as the Boone Trek theme song accompanied the Captain's obligatory expostulation.
"It was her obsession with your original, Mingo, that brought about her untimely death. If she had only used her genius for good instead of evil, she might have created an army of Mingos - brilliant, precise, loyal, and strong. Instead she chose to use it for evil, and the universe, in the end is a sadder...."
"And less pretty...." Jemima added.
"And less dashedly handsome...." Yeoman Bryan agreed.
"Place," said Captain Daniel T. Boone.
"Mingo? Mingo!" Daniel Boone had been walking through the forest on his way to the settlement. A shower of stars had fallen in the midst of the trees, and he had run to see what it could possibly have been. Lying in the grass he had found an impossibly familiar form. Dan fell to his knees and raised his friend up from the grass. "Mingo, I can't believe it's you." The native seemed stunned. He didn't say anything but looked quizzically from side to side. "Yad, get Becky and 'Mima! Quick! Tell them Mingo's back."
Yad had come running at the other man's call. "Dad blame it, Dan'l, if'n it ain't him!" He shook his head. "What's it been? Four years?"
"Becky! Jemima!" Yad waved his hand when he saw the redhead and her grown daughter, indicating they should come quickly.
"Yad, what is it?" Becky asked.
"What is it, Pa?" Jemima echoed. Both were out of breath.
"Dan?" Becky suddenly realized who it was her husband held in his arms. "Why it's.... Mingo!"
The Cherokee stirred. He looked up at the two of them. He blinked. Slowly it came back to him. He first met the redhead's bright blue eyes, and then smiled brilliantly and held his hand out to her daughter. "Rebecca? Jemima? I am so pleased to see you."
Becky blinked. She raised her hand to her head.
Jemima fanned herself as she turned bright red. They smiled weakly at each other and then both swooned.
Yad caught one in each arm.
As he did, Daniel Boone helped his long lost friend to his feet. Then he nodded his head. "Yes, it's Mingo all right.
Next week: 'Not in the Stars We'll See on Our Journey to Babel'
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