“That was quick,” said Chong, looking down at the body of Friedrich on the floor. Malinao had delivered a kick to the head just as Friedrich had finished his last sentence. He had fallen to the ground in a heap.
Malinao was holding her side. “I think I pulled a muscle.  I haven’t really been stretching lately.”
Chong was on his knees examining Friedrich.
“Who was he?” Malinao asked.
“His name was Friedrich. I saw him briefly when they had me in the shed.”
“He’s dead,” Chong said.
“Oh,” Malinao had never killed anyone.
“Good kick.”
“I– guess so.”
“Look, you did what was necessary.  You saw what he did in that room.”
“You’re right it’s just that–”
“Never mind that. Let’s get to the communication center.”
Chong led them back downstairs and into a large locked room full of electronic equipment.
“I need to get a coded message to New Cav right away,” he paused. “Um– would it be weird if I asked you to wait outside?”
Malinao laughed, breaking the tension she’d felt since she drop-kicked Friedrich.
“Of course not, Nr. President. I guess I’ve sort of forgot our roles there for awhile.” She moved closer. “Don’t be long.” She kissed him lightly on the cheek.
Chong could only manage a whisper. “Yes, Madame Speaker.”
He turned back to the equipment hearing the hush of the sliding door lock behind him. He found the emergency coded line to New Canaveral and activated it with his personal code.  He was hoping they hadn’t revolved off the previous formula because of his capture.  The line activated and he heard Lawrence pick up.
“Tranquility this is New Canaveral. It’s about time we heard from you.  The President’s been worried.”
Chong found this rather odd. “Yes I have been worried, Lawrence,” Chong replied.
“Who is this?” Lawrence snapped.
“It’s me Lawrence. We just got out of a mining tunnel between here and Cana.  Hashimoto didn’t make it but the Speaker’s OK.”
“I repeat, identify yourself.”
Lawrence sounded scared and confused. “Lawrence, this is your boss, the President of the United Moon Colonies. Richard Chong.  What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know who you are, but the President is with me here, so it’s not going to work.  I’m going to cut the channel.”
“Wait! Chong yelled. Lawrence, you furball, what do I have to do to prove its me, remind you of why you don’t want to be President? All those eyes you see in your dreams? Or should I finally break my word and tell Laurie at the Station Stop in New Cav you have a crush on her!” Chong had thrown out as many of the secrets only he could know as he could come up with on a moment’s notice.
“How do you know that?”
“Because I’m Rich Chong, that’s how. Who’s pretending to be me?”
“I don’t know what’s going on, but the real President Chong is here in New Canaveral and he knows all those things you just said.  So however you got your information, I commend you, but it’s not going to work. Investigators will be there shortly, stay where you are.  Channel cutting now.”
Chong received nothing but static as the channel protocols were refreshed.  That also meant all his security codes would be changed in moments. He needed to get out of the building before he got locked in. He ran out of the communications room and grabbed Malinao by the elbow.
“We have to run!”
She didn;t ask why, trusting him and sprinted along with him. They made it outside in time to see samll group of museum security coming up the street.
“They haven’t spotted us yet, around here.”
Chong dragged Malinao into a side alley next to the building.
“Care to tell me what’s going on?” Malinao asked in a whisper.
“Shhh.” Chong listened to the footsteps as they came up the street.  Once they went inside he risked looking. One guard stood in front of the building.  If they came out and turned left immediately, they could get away unseen.
“I’ll tell you in a minute, just follow me fast,” Chong hissed.
They raced out and around the corner.  Chong didn’t hear anyone shout after them so he guessed they hadn’t been seen.
“We have to get over to the train station and get to New Canaveral as fast as possible.”
“What happened?” malinao asked.
“Someone has tolen my identity I guess,” Chong wasn’t so sure himself. “I tried to contact Lawrence and he said I’m already there in New Canaveral, and he didn’t believe me at all.  Even the things only he and I know, he claimed the me that’s already in New Cav knew too.  Thats one hell of a clone, if that’s what it is.”
“So you’re not you anymore.”
“Not in the eyes of the government. As soon as Lawrence cut the channel he would have to change all the codes and put out an alert for an imposter.”
“Why aren’t we going to the Capitol in Serenity?”
“During the war we opened a Presidential office in New Canaveral because it was closer to the military.  We really haven’t moved out yet. Shh.”
Chong pulled up short and ducked down behind a corner.  They heard the man from the airlock talking coming towards them.
“I swear it was him.  He was a dead ringer.  And he had someone with him he claimed was the Speaker of the the USA or something,” the airlock manager said.
“Possibly another clone.  We’ll check into it. They murdered the Vice President and possibly more.  We’re getting reports of a slaughter at headquarters here,” said another voice
“I can’t believe I let him in.”
“Not your fault. You couldn’t have known.  Don’t worry.  We’ll catch him.”
They passed and Chong raced off in the other direction. They made it to the train station and Chong blessed the inefficiency of the private train lines.
“Better hurry folks,” said the woman at the gate. “I’m hearing they might shut the trains down for some damn reason.  I’m going to make sure the next line gets out but that may be it.”
Chong thanked her and kept running hoping she didn’t look to closely at him. They jumped on a Lunar Link train waiting for them. “Thank god it’s an L,” said Chong. “It only has one stop in Chang-Ngo. An M would have at least three stops.”
“Your train system needs work,” Malinao needled as they borded.
“Thankfully.  Let’s hope they don’t stop the train in Chang-Ngo for inspection.  My guess is they won’t.”
The train lurched forward, taking Chong towards a meeting with himself.