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2 Awakening

 Ivan felt like he woke up the second he was frozen, but this was merely his misconception due to being in stasis. With no brain activity during the past unknown amount of time, he didn't so much as dream.

Ivan felt weak all over and his limbs couldn't respond properly. He splutteringly coughed as gasified portions of the preservative compound were ejected from his lungs. The feeling in his limbs slowly strengthened, but he was overwhelmed by terrifying coldness that caused him to shiver uncontrollably.

Ivan's vision slowly cleared up and he saw a strange metallic ceiling with thin vertical strips in which light is emitted. He struggled to turn his head and have a look around the room he was in.

The entire room was made out of metal with some sparadical rust marks detailing the age of the metal and lack of maintenance. Thin groves lined the ceiling at regular intervals and emitted a warm light which filled everything with a warm light. The only furnishings were a bunch of medical utensils, needles and a range of unknown machines installed against the walls which judging from the rest of the tools, are probably related to medicine.

Ivan wasn't just lying down but strapped to a medical table with strange carbon-grey fabric straps which were stronger than steel. What alarmed Ivan the most, however, was the five men standing around him. Four of them stood about seven feet tall and had explosive muscles bulging out of their bodies.

Despite their oversized bodies, they each had a gun pointed at him. This weren't the types of guns Ivan was used to seeing, but something straight out of a sci-fi novel. These guns were similar in shape and size to a modern rifle, but the barrels were two inches wide, and a dim glow emitted from deep within the barrel indicated they didn't fire lead bullets. He didn't know what kind of weapon these were, but he knew that being hit by them wouldn't be a simple as treating a bullet wound.

The fifth man looked normal and he wore a pristine lab coat, only when he looked at Ivan's open eyes, Ivan also noticed that the man had an alien-like double pupil in the shape of the figure eight.

The scientist-like man stuck a needle into Ivan's arm and drew a full vial of blood much faster than Ivan anticipated. He then split it into several samples, one of which had an unknown additive added before being installed into a centrifuge. Another few samples were tested in various chemical reactions, one was installed into slides and placed under an electronic microscope while the final was entered for DNA analysis.

"@#@#% #$%#^%$, @#$ &&&%," The scientist spoke to the large brutes surrounding Ivan with the strange weapons.

The four men looked somewhat disappointed, but Ivan was even more alarmed. It was because the language the man spoke was not any language he had heard before. He should have been in stasis for 200 years and had expected speech to change somewhat, even to the extent where he may sound like Shakespeare to the modern person, but this was different. He had heard every language on the planet, so even if he couldn't speak it, he could at least recognize it, but this language was completely alien to him.

The scientist spoke a few words with the begrudged tall men before they came to some form of an agreement. They lowered their guns and one who seemed to be in charge pulled out an "L" shaped device. The device projected a holographic display from the horizontal and vertical.

One of the oversized men, who seemed to be the leader among the group, argued with the scientist in the incomprehensible language. The seemed to be haggling over something but the scientist could only helplessly shake his head before the two parties seemed to come to some sort of agreement. He took out his own holographic tablet and overlapped the projection with the scientist's one. Several short chimes sounded from the devices before the leader of the brutes grunted in discontent but still took the lead and led the rest of them outside of the room, leaving Ivan alone with the scientist.

Ivan wanted to revolt at this moment and regain his freedom, but not only was he completely out of strength just coming out of stasis and his body still recovering, the straps holding him to the table were truly stronger than steel and prevented all resistance.

"##$^afv&%{&," The scientist said to Ivan, a cold grin forming on his face which wasn't present while the brutes were present.

The scientist pulled on the table and caused it to stand upright before taking a strange ring shaped device which had more than one spots of rust on it. Ivan didn't know what the strange ring was for, but he could only grit his teeth and assume the scientist wasn't planning on killing him.

The metal ring was placed over Ivan's head. Moments late Ivan screamed out in agony as the ring suddenly contracted and tightly enclasped his head before sharp protusions dug into his flesh and attached themselves to his skull. The pain wasn't over though as a needle protruded from the rear of the ring and dug into his skull. He didn't feel any further pain after that as his entire consciousness entered oblivion.

*****

Within Ivan's mind, he felt himself waking up yet found himself to be in a completely new yet equally strange room. He wanted to look around, but his body wouldn't listen to his mind. Ivan's mind was trapped within a body which moved like a puppet by someone else.

Ivan felt like he was in a dream. He was a baby at first, but days began to flash by as he learned to walk, talk and all other basic functions. He was a passenger in this body with no control as days began to flash by.

At 6, Ivan went to school, a futuristic twelve story building with twelve floors and fully interactive learning by pseudo artificial intelligence teachers. Despite how out of place this school was with Ivan's memories of what going to school was like, he felt all of this was completely natural.

Ivan learned about his planet, Edelith IV, along with the Andromeda Federation, the government body which controlled the entire galaxy. He gradually moved through high school, made friends, even several girlfriends before he graduated and applied to the Galactic Fleet.

The Galactic Fleet was a massive armed force flying interstellar spaceships through the galaxy maintaining law and order while destroying any pirates. The pirates are incredibly bold, in order to be able to land their ships on planets for resources and to sell off war spoils from their raids, they would register as interstellar courier companies in order for their ships to receive proper identification codes. This caused the profession to come under heavy disrepute, but there was nothing the federation could do other than increase restrictions on the registration process and keep a close eye on couriers. They also did their best to arrest any exposed pirates before they scrubbed their ship's identification code and registered a new company.

Ivan completed a full officer's course and was commissioned as a second lieutenant straight out of the academy. A Captain served as the person in charge of the ship, below him were several first lieutenants, and below them were numerous second lieutenants much like Ivan who controlled the non-commissioned officers, or NCRs for short.

For a total as twenty years Ivan continued to fulfil his duties and managed to become a captain in control of his own ship. New memories replaced the old, and he began to doubt who he truly was. He didn't get to experience much more as his consciousness was abruptly cut off

*****

Ivan opened his eyes and found himself back in the room with the doctor. He felt a sense of incongruity due to the overlapping of two memories.

"How do you feel? I assume you must be having an identity crisis right about now."

The scientist spoke in a monotone voice as if stating a fact. With the extra set of memories overlapping in Ivan's brain, he could now understand the words the man spoke.

Will sheer force of will, Ivan pushed back the new memories and forced himself to focus on his memories as Ivan from Earth, not Ivan from Edelith IV.

Taking another look, he also got a better look at the scientist. The man had messy silver hair stretching down to his shoulders and a pair of heterochromatic eyes. The eye on the left was a deep blue, while the one on the right was a feline yellow.

The scientist appeared to be in his late 50's, but Ivan knew he was nearly 500 years old as his identity was revealed within the memories implanted into him.

"Mazur Ral Vendick," Ivan said while eyeing the man cautiously.

"The one and only, I guess every ship commander of the Galactic Fleet knows me so at least that saves me explaining who I am," Mazur shrugged his shoulders blandly.

"Of course, the head researcher for one of the federation's confidential research facilities. A hundred years ago, you betrayed the federation by stealing all of the research data on the project and fleeing."

"It's their fault, they didn't want to pay me until I produced results. I would rather sell it to someone who doesn't care about that."

Ivan looked at Mazur who didn't seem to care about anything before calmly asking, "Are you planning on untying me any time soon."

"Once a few questions have been answered, sure," Mazur stuck a few wires to Ivan who was still tied up and took a seat before continuing, "So am I talking to a Captain of the Galactic Fleet?"

"Of course not, governments are two-faced scum," Ivan snorted while remembering back to how his life on Earth came crashing down.

"Who are you?"

"Ivan Storme."

"Impressive, you're telling the truth. It's seems you truly have already sorted out your identity crisis. Still, I wonder how much the implanted memories will affect you."

"I guess my willpower is stronger than you anticipated."

"Willpower? That is nonsense in the way of science. Your memory is your source of identity, planting foreign memories within that will always lead to side effects. It's precisely why I had to find someone else to take on these memories."

Ivan didn't plan to continue the issue as he truly did feel like he was still in a foreign body and instead asked, "Who was he? Despite living as him, I can't recall his name, or anything specific about his identity."

"That is a result of the subconscious. Your psyche is naturally resisting the memories which it considers foreign. For such a powerful psyche, as expected of an original human."

Mazur nodded his head with admiration, showing emotion for the first time before Ivan who widened his eyes in surprise.

"Original human? What do you mean? Wait, you haven't even answered my first question."

"No problem, although I'm the one asking questions, I don't mind answering a few to solidify a future cooperation. I will start with the first, the identity you absorbed is a man named Lazerul Ons, human specie; Drumal, D-grade bloodline originating from the ancient Drumal Wolf. When he finally became a Captain and took over his own ship, half of his life had already gone by. He wanted to undergo genetic scrubbing in order to rejuvenate his cells and live longer, but the Andromeda Federation has a lengthy process to go through before it is approved and he couldn't wait. Instead he came to a shady place like this space station and wanted to get it done illegally. How unfortunate he had the training and knowledge of commanding a ship that I wanted so I interrupted the process. I removed his brain while he was under anaesthesia and extracted his memories."

Ivan understood after the lengthy explanation combined with the memories of Lazerul and nodded slightly. Genetic scrubbing was a technique for restoring youth and extending lifespan by nanobots emitting controlled small amounts of electromagnetic radiation at the nucleus of every cell simultaneously. Poison is the best antidote in this case as it successfully will rejuvenate a person's life, but every time it is done, a person's genetic coefficient will lower. The DNA structure is treated like stretching a rubber band, after too many times it will cause the structure to collapse on itself, resulting in a rapid death as cells lose their function to replicate. One of the greatest problems is a person's genetic coefficient is inherited by their children and can take several generations to fully recover, so the federation has extremely strict regulations on the treatment.

"So what do you mean by original human?"

"I will have to give a quick history lesson on this one. Original human refers to how humans grew through natural selection decided by nature. This is back when we existed on our homeland, Earth. Once we branched out into space and began to discover new lifeforms, we discovered how weak humans were. Technologically, we were superior to most, and those we didn't we outnumbered in people, but our foundation was weak."

"We developed the technique to take the genetic sequence of those animals and other species and incorporate them into our own genes. It became a species wide change, we formed enormous groups depending on the source of genetic data we incorporated to ensure the human race were capable of giving birth, which lead to the different human specie you see today."

"The alteration made us stronger, faster, smarter, and for some, lengthened their lifespan. However, while we gained much, some things were lost. As our consciousness became stronger by these enhancements, the subconscious began to disappear, devolving into a rudimentary function that would only maintain basic body functions. Our psyches became much weaker as such. There is no effect in daily life, but recovering from brain injuries became much more difficult, and death or psyche mutation is much more likely."

"I guess I can understand that. So you could tell by my DNA?"

"Indeed, as a researcher, I've seen some historical models on what the human genetic code used to look like. I was greatly surprised, naturally your genetic coefficient is still 1.0, a maximum value as well. Although you are incredibly weak in comparison to the rest of us, you have a massive amount of potential lifespan. I'm truly surprised for something to exist back then that could put you in stasis for approximately 50,000 years."

"What?!" Ivan was greatly surprised at this. He knew he was frozen longer than a couple hundred years like originally planned, but a timespan of fifty millennia was beyond anything he could imagine.

"No need to be greatly surprised. You were preserved like an ancient beast and sent drifting in space in order to preserve your state. More importantly, now that you've been revived, what do you want to do?"

"Naturally, I plan to build another company, this time one that the government can't destroy once they no longer require us," Ivan spat out his contempt for the government as if voicing his frustration.

Mazur held his tablet display and monitored data on Ivan's body before nodding and saying, "You speak the truth again. Well, I am in need of your assistance. I will make an agreement with you, if you agree and aid me in my desire, I will even work for you and help you rebuild your company."

"...Based on what I know of Mazur Ral Vendick, he is someone who will stoop to all kinds of illegal means in order to accomplish his goals. What are you playing at?"

Mazur looked at Ivan with his deadpan expression, but Ivan could see the hint a smirk at the corner of his lips.

"If this was a hundred years ago, I would simply implant a remote controlled bomb into your neck and force you to do what I needed or I'd detonate it. However, I am now old and dying. My genetic coefficient has fallen below 0.2, so I can no longer scrub my DNA or face an eighty percent chance of partial genetic collapse, such a thing would be even worse than dying. I simply don't have enough time, so I have to make some concessions. Now tell me, will you work with me?"

"What if I say no?"

"Then I'll have to wring out those new memories from your brain and find the next person."

Ivan grimaced thinking about how exactly memories were extracted from a brain, but he knew that the person who was the patient in this operation would not survive the process.

"Very well, I will agree then. What do you need me for, I assume commanding a ship?"

Mazur pressed a button on his holographic tablet and the straps tying Ivan to the table were released. Ivan dropped to the ground and stumbled due to difficulty maintaining his balance.

"You'll get used to it quickly, come stretch your legs. I'll show you my ship. Well, I bought it, but you'll be commanding it, so I guess it comes under both our ownership. You're incredibly lucky you know, after being frozen in stasis for so long, the chances of being defrosted on some barren rock and enslaved to a mining facility are over 99.9%."

Ivan didn't say anything back to him but shakily stood up and followed Mazur out of the small dull room. He stumbled every few steps, but Mazur paid no attention as he continued on.