The train pulled into New Canaveral on time and without a hitch. Chong and Malinao had been ready for a search of the train in Chang-Ngo but it hadn’t happened.
“So what are we going to do now?” Malinao asked.
“The announcement is happening in one hour at the official plaza.  We’ll get there and look for an opening to talk to Lawrence.  If I show Lawrence I’m really with you, I think I can convince him.”
“You’re not going to walk around looking like that are you?”
“Like what?”
“Like the President of the freakin’ Moon.  You won’t get ten feet like that.”
“Good point.”
They went to an Army surplus store and got a coat and hat to keep Chong under cover. The clerk started speculating that Chong looked familiar though, proving Malinao’s point. They left in a hurry and walked over to the public plaza.
“Not much of a crowd,” Malinao noticed.
“The President talking on cloning isn’t likely to draw folks in person,” Chong replied. “But they’ll all see it on the news.”
They found it easy to position themselves close to the stage and kept a lookout for the staff and especially for Lawrence. It was about a half hour before the staff arrived.  Lawrence was accompanied by Ford and Ford Junior.
“Who’s that?” Malinao pointed out Junior
“I have no idea.  He looks like Ford, though.  Did they find Ford’s son maybe?” Chong wondered.
Malinao decided to take the initiative.
“We’re going about this all wrong, Chong.  I’ll approach Lawrence alone.  He’ll be thrilled.  I’ll get him to meet us over at that cafe across the street.  Go wait for us there.”
“Brilliant.” Malinao walked towards the staff members and started introducing herself. They looked at her a little strangely.  She hadn’t had a chance to clean up, but they still took her over to Lawrence.
“Madame Speaker!” Lawrence looked more than thrilled to see her.
“Lawrence,” she said tenderly. “It’s so good to see you.”
“I’m so happy to see you alive.  We thought you were dead. Have you heard from the Vice President?”
“Look Lawrence, can you break away for a few minutes.  There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
“Of course,” Lawrence said. “There’s something I need to talk to you about too. I just need to take care of one quick thing.”
“Great, meet me over in the cafe across the street.”
Malinao went back and sat down at a table with CHong.  Lawrence appeared a few minutes later and tenatively approached the table.
“Who’s this?”
“A friend.  Sit down Lawrence.”
Lawrence looked suspicious but sat down anyway.
“Hi Lawrence,” Chong blurted out. Malinao shook her head.
“The clone!” Lawrence almost shrieked standing back up again.
“Sit down Lawrence, this is not a clone.  It’s me Malinao.”
“What if you’re a clone?”
“What if you are, sit down!”
Lawrence had no real suspicions that Malinao was a clone so he decided to sit after all. He kept his eyes on the stranger with Chong’s voice.
“Now Chong, shut up an dlet me talk,” Malinao chided him.
“Lawrence, when we got separated on the train we went on to Tranquility met up with the Vice President and attempted a rescue mission by drilling under Cana.  We arrived too late.  On the way back there was a cave-in that killed the Vice President and several other men. We survived and got back to Tranquility only to find an imposter has taken Chong’s place as President. I’ve been with Chong the entire time.  You haven’t.  This is the real President.  You have to trust me.”
Lawrence looked at Chong and Chong removed his sunglasses so Lawrence could get a better look.
“It is you isn’t it Mr. President?”
“Damn right.”
“I’m so sorry I didn’t believe you.”
“So how many people are on the lookout for a duplicate Chong now?” Malinao asked.
“None,” lawrence said. “I couldn’t bring myself to put out the alert.  Something in me has known that this other Chong was the clone.  I could even tell you were the real President over the comm line from Tranquility.”
“Funny way of showing it,” Chong said.
“That’s just the thng though.  It goes against all logic.  I was suspicious of the clone Chong from the moment he arrived in Armstrong.  But I sat talking to him for hours.  And he remembers everything we, you and I, ever did together.  How is that possible.”
“I don’t know.  I imagine they must have somehow been able to scan my brain in Cana and transfer memories ot him.  I don’t know how that’s possible, but it’s the only explanation.”
Malinao leaned in. “What’s his version of the story?
Lawrence told them about Chong showing up in Armstrong and how he explained his arrival and separation from Malinao.
“And the young Ford you’re with?” Malinao asked.
“It’s a clone that Sira’s group liberated.  He’s a young version of John.”
“I doubt that.” Chong shook his head. “My bet is he’s another plant.  The Fundy faction is very good at all this.  I’m starting to wonder if the Narang leading them is even the real one.”
“So how do we do this?” Malinao asked.
“I’ll lead you two into special VIP seats behind the stage. After the speech, we’ll–”
“Before the speech,” Chong said. “I can’t let an imposter delvier an important policy presentation.”
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing binding, sir” Lawrence said. “I already have a spin draft prepped in case we need to backtrack and change our minds.”
“You’re the best Lawrence.” Chong smiled.
“So you sit in the VIP seats.  After the speech, Chong is scheduled to have a reception with some one on one meetings with Cabinet members and Assemblers. I’ll put Speaker Malinao top of the schedule and get you in alone with just him and us.”
“Good work Lawrence,” Malinao patted him on the back.
“Don’t thank me yet.  I’ve got some juggling to do.  Give me fifteen minutes then come on over and I’ll see you to your seats.”
Lawrence left and Chong and Malinao soaked up the bright lights of the New Canaveral Plaza.
“The black sky above,” Chong pointed out. “That’s the sky I grew up with.  You wanted to see it.  There it is.”
Malinao looked up and felt the incongruity visitors from Earth always commented on. Bright sunlight filled the plaza but it came from sunlight concentrators that took the natural light of the sun, collected it, mixed it with extra machine-generated light and delivered a balnced white that was attuned to the perfect mix for human and plant life. But past those lights was the black starlighted dome of space beyond.
“A couple of the domes, like Avalon and Septendecim give a false blue, but it doesn’t look like Earth. I don’t like it.  I grew up here in New Canaveral.  This is where I feel at home.”
Malinao held his hand and looked up into the black.
They eventually got to the plaza where more of a crowd was beginning to gather. Chong got a first glimpse at his clone double and felt a lurch of something close to vertigo.  Malinao noticed him too.
“He’s not as cute as you,” she said. “They got the jaw all wrong.”
Lawrence greeted Malinao and paid almost no notice to her companion.  They were seated in the VIP section at the rear of the stage. Malinao made small talk with some surprised looking Assemblers and Cabinet Members and refused to introduce the real Chong no matter how hard they hinted.  Eventually all the commotion settled down and the clone Chong took the stage and began to speak.
Chong watched him.  Watched his mannerisms and saw what Lawrence saw.  It wasn’t him.  How could this double fool people.  It looked like him and maybe had false versions of his memories, but it wasn’t him.  He had led the UMC through the war.  He had toiled in the mines right below his feet.  He had watched his Father die.  This Chong now pretending to make policy for the UMC had done none of those things, even if he thought he remembered them.  His personality had not been shaped in the same way.  It disgusted Chong.  He knew Lawrence had a backup policy plan that would work.  He knew the safest way to accomplish this was in a closed room after the speech.  But he couldn’t let it go on.  He couldn’t allow someone to speak for him. No mater how irrational it was he couldn’t help himself.  He stood up, threw off his hat, galsses and coat and yelled.’
“That is not the President of the United moon Colonies.  I am!”
The crowd gasped and then cheered.  They thought this was a ploy. A demonstration of cloning at its most dramatic. Chong boggled to think if they’d planned something so outrageous how it might have worked.
The clone Chong swiveled and saw Chong.  Rage filled his eyes.  He forgot his speech and leaped over to the real Chong.
“You will die,” the clone said.
Chong punched him and decked him.  The crowd’s enthusiasm waned.  This was in poor taste.  What was the President trying to demonstrate.  They still didn’t get it.
The clone started to crawl back to his feet and Chong kicked him. Ford Junior started to race towards Chong but Chong saw him and socked him as well.  This was really too much for the crowd.  Hadn’t that young boy been the whole point of the speech?  That’s what all the press releases said.  Why was he hitting a young boy.
John Ford was outraged and started to join himself, but Lawrence held him. “Don’t interfere.” Ford raged at him but held back.
By now Chong had kicked the clone again and was about to go in for a knockout.  The clone Chong scooted away to buy extra seconds. He reached inside his suitcoat and pulled out something metal. Blood spilled out his lips and he could barely speak.  A tooth fell out as he rasped at Chong. “I can be made again.  You’re going to die.” With that he leaped up and his Chong prepared to deflect him he realised what the metal thing in his hand was.
Malinao did too. “Chong, it’s a detonator!  A bomb!”
It was too late, the handheld flesh-tearing personal detonator went off as soon as the clone Chong touched the real one. The difference between the two became hard to distinguish as they were torn apart by the explosion.