“There is nothing that can be done”
Eechius is Ubar (†), a man of immeasurable wealth and intellect, but a man for whom the serum (†) has failed. Though he’s younger than many people around him (possibly even his companion Hereena), he looks much older. Currently, he’s dealing with the realization that he is dying of “wasting disease”(†) and only his dearest friend has a very unconventional solution.
Chenbar the chief Physician of Ko-ro-ba sat at the bedside of his dear friend. “You are dying, Eechius. I can do nothing more to reverse the damage to your body.”
“There is nothing that can be done,” the physician continued. “It is your natural time.” The Ubars limbs were skeleton-thin beneath the warm covering of Larl furs. “Where is she?”
“In the pleasure gardens, weeping.” The physician leaned close, pleading. “You must let me do the procedure! I cannot bear her grief, though I know she never shows that to you. She is grieving, dear Eechius. And,” Chenbar added in a hushed whisper, “I, too, am grieving! I, who have lived a lifetime upon liftetime and will live many more because of your generous funding, find it impossible to believe an intellect as sharp and vibrant as yours will soon perish.”
There was little strength in the collection of gnarled bones and tissue which was all that remained of Eechius’s body, but there was enough that he turned his face to the physician. “We have spoken of this day many times, my friend. You know how I feel, you know my beliefs. I—”
Chenbar laid a gentle hand upon the withered shoulder of his friend. “I do know and understand and I have worked day and night to find a solution.” The physician leaned close to urgently speak. “I have found a way to save you!”
Eechius’s trembling claw-like hand reached up to grip Chenbar’ neck. “What do you mean?”
Chenbar took Eechius’s hand in his, gripping firmly with his conviction and excitement. “I have perfected the cloning of bodies from ordinary cells. I can—and have!—created physically perfect specimens which do not have brain or sentience. I can give you a new body as, your body would be more perfect than mine,” the physcian said with downcast eyes, “because no living brain and life experience would be unjustly terminated.”
Chenbar held his emotions in check, though his voice was an urgent whisper: “Eechius. I have done it! The body into which I might transplant your brain is human in all regards except that no brain or spark of life ever animated it!”
For a long moment Eechius lay with eyes closed, his breathing shallow. “Why do you do this? Why would you risk breaking the rules of the Priest Kings?”(†) the fragile voice asked.
Chenbar’ eyes misted. “Because only you have been my friend and understood my scientific madness—and because you have forgiven my insanity of that time. I treasure our friendship beyond words. I cannot let you go!”
A thin smile touched Eechius’s frail face. “You told me many extraordinary things. Though I initially hated you I came to understand your intellect and bizarre experiments, even those which put human brains in animal bodies, or animal brains in human bodies. Your life, since Ar, has been exemplary. All Gor has benefitted from your knowledge and dedication. I have been very proud! But,” Eechius struggled for breath, “it is my time to depart the mortal coil and—”
Chenbar gently shook his friends bony shoulders with anguish. “Your light must not perish, Eechius! Gor itself will diminish if you do not take this chance. Worse,” the Master Mind said in a choked voice, “I would not see Hereena take her own life rather than be parted from you. Poor girl! A lifespan means nothing to her because the last moments of your life have meant so much.”
Chenbar narrowed his eyes. His voice was unrelenting. “She has watched you waste away as few other Gorean have aged with as much frustration and sorrow as I have endured. Listen to me! Your determined acceptance of Gorean biological destruction because of a ‘serum’s life span’ will affect the lives of many who love and depend on you—and may take the life of your companion! Can you peacefully expire with all that hanging on your head?” Chenbar forcefully repressed his distress, though his emotional strain was obvious.
“Chenbar?” Eechius’s weak voice stilled the physicians mind’s outburst.
Hope surged through the physicians mind. “Yes! No brain! A perfect cavity for your precious intellect! The functions are—”
“Tell me later,” Eechius sighed. “Tell me after you have done the procedure.”
Chenbar, the most prominent mind on Gor, knelt by the bedside of Eechius and openly wept. Cradling the fragile gnarled bones of his arms he said, “Tomorrow your life will be different. I promise!”
“I don’t care if I am ugly, but perhaps Hereena might—”
“You won’t be, my fine fellow! This is not some average body but is cloned from a true son of Gor, a body that will carry you forward for thousands of lifetimes. Ho-Bar of Ar supplied the cells. You will be handsome!”
Eechius’s raspy breath echoed in the room for several moments. “He is a handsome man. Will I look like him? Will Hereena look upon me as she has these many lifetimes?”
“Eechius, please trust me. Ho-Bar supplied the basic material, but I have done all that I could to engineer this body to be as close to yours as I could. There are some differences—such as green eyes rather than brown, and blond hair rather than black—but the strong nose, square chin, the high brow—that came through. As for Hereena, she, will love your heart and mind. That which is your heart will shine through regardless of what body you might wear. Tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day for Eechius.”
Chenbar smiled at Eechius as he waved to his aids to enter the room. “Tomorrow!
(†) The High Council names a Ubar, usually the Ubar will be one of the Caste of Warriors. Or, one can presume to name himself Ubar and hope the people will accept him.(†) Disease is almost unknown on Gor except for a very few horrible diseases such as Dar-kosis. Dar-kosis is a virulent, wasting disease and is similar in many ways to leprosy. (†) The effect of the Serums is an eventual, gradual transformation of certain genetic structures, resulting in indefinite cell replacement without pattern deterioration. It affects all people differently and on some rare occasions doesn’t work. (†) The “Laws of the Priest-Kings” seem intended to discourage humans from inquiring into certain forms of knowledge, for example, those leading to technologies by means of which, eventually, after a cascade of steps, a planet might be rendered unlivable, the Priest Kings are highly advanced insectoid beings who rule the planet.
©Lunacaleengpanthers/Adaption from a fanfiction by David Bruce Bozarth