“You need a clone for this job,” she told me. “In fact it just about the most important thing for a Qulofid brane puncturing station filterer in the Dark Cluster to have.”
Was news to me. I’d never needed one before.
“You need a clone to filter supersymetrical impurities at a brane puncturing station?”
“Your damn right you do,” she chittered flatly. “The entire system is set up biometrically to ensure nine nines of efficiency and interdimensional security. If something were to happen and we need a replacement to hyperspacially torpedo into that inky blackness of twisted space, he has to be the same biomechanically as you. It’s a good twenty light years through twisted space out there. If you are disintegrated or recombobulated or, Zevgan help you, phase shifted, we need to have the ability to replace you with a one hundred percent certified genetic compatibility. . The delay in regenerating the system would be lengthy, not to mention costly.”
I wondered briefly why she brought up the topic of disintegration.
“Oh,” I replied, “in that case, I have a clone.”
My interviewer nodded her antennae in instant acceptance.
“What’s his registration RNA.”
“I don’t know,” I told her.
“You don’t know your own clone’s RNA registration?”
“I’d have to go and contact him,” I said off the top of my forebrains. “He’s independent that way. You understand?”
She was, not really surprisingly, accommodating.
“You go do that then.”
“Is there a risk I’ll get disintegrated if I get this job?” I asked before I left.
“Not it you don’t get me your clone’s numbers.”
I stepped outside and contacted the nearest cloning facility. I cursed my luck. It was half a parsec away. But my luck wasn’t all bad. They didn’t actually need me to visit in being to be clones. They took a reading of my genetics and a telempathic scan for my personality matrix. They told me they’d have a clone duplicate grown for me in the next cycles, faster if I chose the slightly riskier express cloning and artificial aging promotion. Seemed a small risk. I took down the RNA registration number and went back to the War Emperor Clone. Shortly thereafter I was issued a field reduction suit, sensitive region force field generator and induction tubes for my antennae. I was officially on call.
The rest of the local cycle, I spent my time wandering around the spaceports grasping my last sense of freedom (which also involved grasping some of a compatible species of the opposite sex, of course, or at least suitable android replicas.) This was big. I was breaking my primal directive, and a part of me, probably the spare brain I carried in my lower torso, could foresee only disaster.
To make matter worse, I ran across a few bleepholes who knew a friend of a friend who’d worked in that particular brane puncturing station. They said, “a species with my characteristic were likely to have their head explode like rotten fruit,” under the warped nature of deep Dark Cluster space, if I wasn’t chopped to pieces by the cabin fevered Oboloni mechanicals. Great I thought, as if my occupational claustrophobia wasn’t enough, I was going to have to face both possibly warped space and crazed siliconoid co-workers. Or maybe that should be the other way around. I couldn’t decide.
Well, I thought, at least I now have a clone to carry on for me in case things went as those-in-the-know expected.
<<Galactic News Flash: Interstellar lawmakers and celebrities are gathered for the conference and hearings on new cloning laws for the Triumvirate Systems. Many of them are in support of strict laws governing the creation of clones and protecting their rights as individual consentients. There however is a large contingent of citizens who oppose such laws, who stress the idiom, ‘the more of me the merrier.’ That contingent has been accused of advocating mass narcissism, as though that were a bad thing.>>