The man awoke into an amber haze. He opened his dark eyes slowly, straining to focus them, finding nothing but a blur. He moved a brown-skinned hand jerkily, as if rusted, in front of his face, and found out his eyes worked after all. He struggled to find his bearings, to no avail. There seemed to be nothing but a soft, shimmering glow around him.

Am I dead? The thought suddenly formed inside his head. What happened to me? Where was I before I got here? He had trouble remembering. He closed his eyes, willing the knowledge into his consciousness. There were people moving around him, vague, as if through a mist. They appeared to be doing some procedure to him. Aliens? Was I abducted? The idea popped up unbidden, and he quickly brushed it away, amused. No, his memory seemed to be of something he consented to, though he couldn’t remember exactly what. On the other hand, it seemed to have no connection to his current situation, so he focused on that instead.

He started to move his limbs around. They ached when he did so, a good ache, as if they hadn’t been moved in a long time. He could feel his tendons working under his skin as he flexed his arms and legs. Guess I’m not dead after all, he thought. His arms felt heavy though – he reasoned they were just stiff, but something wasn’t quite right about them. Something that had to do with his face as well, which felt bloated. Pulling his hand up to his cheek, he realized what was wrong – he was hanging face-down.

A jolt of panic sent a surge of energy through his body. He became suddenly aware of restraints on his chest, belly and thighs. He wasn’t certain about before, but now felt like an abduction of some sort. He started struggling against his bonds, which seemed to be some sort of black rope, and soon stopped. Where am I going to fall down to from here? Looking down, he realized the shimmering haze was water. Distorted shapes started to resolve in it – tunnels, spheres set on the wall, which were giving off that amber glow, statues of undecipherable shape, and a large round apparatus of some sort directly under him, inlaid with complex concentric designs.

The man stretched down his arm and managed to touch the water with his fingertips. It was cold. He brought his fingers into his mouth, and tasted salt. They got me to some maritime base, he thought. He looked up and realized he was hanging from some sort of stonework dome. The bricks were some unfamiliar sort of brown stone, and seemed to fuse into one another. He was starting to ponder about how this must be some place off the coast when movement down into the water caught his eye.

“Hey!” – he yelled. Whatever was down there was already gone into one of the tunnels. He managed only to catch a quick glimpse of if – some pale, fluid form, swimming away rapidly. It seemed to be some sort of aquatic animal – some large fish, or maybe a squid. Something with limbs. “Come back here!” – he cried out, only a moment later realizing the futility of talking into water.

Fully alert now, he once again started struggling against the ropes, this time taking care to not fall off from them. He turned himself around, pulling his body up and sitting on the ropes as on a swing. He wasn’t really tied up, he realized, noticing for the first time he was naked. Thinking about who captured him, or why, led the man to wondering who he was. That memory seemed hazy and distant as well. I’m rich, he remembered. That could be it. I’m some sort of big figure. I’m…

He felt a sudden sense of dread. The fact just dawned on him that he had forgotten who he was, where he was, what he did. His name. Amnesia, he thought, but that didn’t seem quite right. After all, he could feel his memories buried just under the surface. He just had to dig a little more. I own a company, he realized, relief gradually seeping into his mind. I meet with people. I close deals. I make things. I… design things. It all seemed to make sense now, like a puzzle whose pieces were just starting to fit together. I’m popular. People talk about me. I see my face on the news. The image came to him – a thin, smiling face, clean-shaven, brown-skinned, with wild and curled black hair. They love and hate me. They argue about me. They call me a genius, or a fraud. They call me many things. They…

They call me Chan.

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