I’m sure you’re wondering how the story ends. I will state for the record, not altogether happily. As you may know by now, eventually corporate management back on their brown dwarf satellite ultimately determined that torpedoing worker clones to replace the ones that had been eventually dissected by each other out to the brane puncturing station wasn’t having the desired effect of maintaining efficient refining of zero-point energy.
All the replacements ended up falling under the control of the Dark Cluster entities, forcing more clones to be produced and sent to the station, repeatedly. It was starting to cause cost overruns.
Trust the bean counters to eventually figure out that simply throwing clones at the problem wasn’t going to fix it, and decided to go to plan B. Or maybe plan C. They weren’t to clear on that with me.
But then, I had held out fulfilling my part of the arrangement until they made it clear that there was no further threat to my person. This didn’t stop them from using my relatively new set of brains to download my predecessor’s telempathically recorded work experiences as required by interstellar investigatory law.
Yes, the original Phil the Filterer did not survive his work assignment, so I, Phil the second, was required by contract to submit my person to Dark Cluster space.
Yep, we move on to Phil’s successor, who needless to say, is contractually required to fulfill his predecessor’s contractual obligations. But at least with the deaths of all the consentients in the station, the corporation has finally sort of fixed the problem while still maintaining their source of zero point energy. SO pour Phil Mark II not only has to get his predecessors memories downloaded, he also is obligated to finish the contract.
And the Consortium does what little it has to to get things back up and rolling. Typical.
I guess management decided as long as we couldn’t see them, and then the Dark Cluster intelligence wasn’t going to be a danger, and wasn’t going to slip though someone’s consciousness to mess the stations efficiency records and quota requirements up again. It hadn’t before, so they had cause. So yeah, even though things were pretty tense over the period between the fixing of the station and me finally getting off, there was no further station wide violently xeno-sexual orgy happening, at least not that anyone invited me to. Hell, several of the others seemed pretty cheesed at me as though it was somehow my fault. Me, I was just looking out into space. No one had ever told me not to do that. It was the faulty telempathic network that let it through the entire station.
At least that’s what I kept telling myself into my returned transceiver.
But I put up with the ribbing. After all, I did have a job to do, even if I was only going to earn half of what my predecessor had been guaranteed, and I did have to keep up the Balleeni reputed tough skin routine. . Could have been worse, though, he could have lasted until nearly the end. Then my paymark would have started with a bunch of zeros, not ended with them. As a clone, you have to be philosophical about these sorts of situations.
But of course, this being Phil, he too doesn’t hold a grudge, even though he is only going to earn what he will for the remainder of the work. Even if he does understand he has to put up with the consequences of his predecessor’s actions or inactions (at least his perceived actions and inactions.) And where it comes to an interstellar corporation’s bottom line, that’s all that matters. Ain’t capitalism grande. Now imagine it scaled up to a galactic level.