Now about those Dark Cluster entities that infected the minds of my consentient co-workers: maybe they were just having fun, maybe they thought they were at war with us, maybe they were just as insane as the acts they compelled consentients to commit. I certainly can’t tell you, because they were just so alien, and that sort of thing is figured out by lawyers and historians. What started to matter to me was when the station’s alarms started ringing, and I finally was starting to think it might be cool to ask a Siliconoid to put some tendrils up into some of my more sensitive body cavities.
I reiterate, those cybernetic beings have a body temperature in excess to fifteen hundred degrees, so not so much a good idea for my health, should I proposition one of them. Cool, no, not really.
And of course I understood that if I didn’t want to allow myself to enjoy the sort of violation that was going on, I was going to have to keep myself safe and secure, until I could find a way off the station, so I locked myself in and was prepared to stay like that for the duration.
At this point, I tried to inform the crew master, I after all, had some small duty of informing my employer’s representative what had happened, but apparently he/she/it, whatever, was just as vulnerable as the rest, and had started to get in on it as well. And in my position, I had no way of doing anything but sit tight and hope things were going to right themselves at some point. I mean, that’s always possible, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, as the crew numbers declined, the bureaucrats outside the cluster did what they were paid to do. They sent replacements. And while I knew when I saw the approach of a hyperspacial torpedo, that who ever was being sent wasn’t really going to help much, I did see an opportunity to take care of my own interests.
So… I shut down the force field and ran as fast as I could through the twisting corridors of the station, in the hope that I’d avoid the surviving Siliconoids and make a hasty escape on the approaching Torpedo.
And, at the very least, talk the arriving consentient into informing the corporation’s HQ of what was happening.
That however, would have required them sending someone to check what was going on at the station out?
Was this the case? Apparently not.
Which seemed a waste, but it’s really like this the universe over. A particular problem doesn’t exist until it does, and only after if does, are any contingencies get created. It’s the evolutionary plan. If you happen to survive and alien invasion, it’s only then that you defend yourself against it. Most species don’t plan for the time when the artificial intelligences they create decide to annihilate their creator (although handy time travel does help in sorting out those kinds of dicey situations.)
You remember when I was told I needed a clone to do this job, given the biometrics of the station. Well, when they got word that some of the workers were starting to get killed off while under the influence of the Dark Cluster intelligence, they did what they were supposed to do. As it mentioned, they sent in replacements.
That’s what a bureaucracy is like. Universe wide. Just through clones at the problem. That will fix it.
Unfortunately the replacements were just as vulnerable as the originals. And with the entire station now infected with the intelligence and Blueneck’s and Because’s favorite things, sending in the clones wasn’t going to do help things much.
As luck would have it, I arrived in time to catch Blueneck’s clone as it exited the airlock.
“Hey everybody,” the headless clone called out. ”Guess who’s *blank**blank*back. Who wants some *blank* in the*blank*.”
Apparently either him personally, or perhaps his entire species was especially vulnerable to what the Dark Cluster Entities were putting out.
“You’ve got to take me out of here,” I pleaded with the powering up torpedo. “Some kind of entity has taken over the other consentients. It isn’t safe.”
The torpedo, as before, however, wasn’t particularly interested in my plight.
“Not my job,” it confirmed. “I’ve been reassigned to military use. See you again soon.”
I stared out the airlock window at it’s engine’s blasting it back into space, thinking morosely, that’s really the last thing you want to soon to be thermonuclear armed weapon of war to say.
I was stuck, I realized. And even worse, I was stuck thinking that maybe fifteen hundred degrees of Siliconoid penetration wouldn’t be so bad. Just… extra, extra hot.
<<The Gogron Syndicate has cancelled orders for their latest new legion of clone soldiers from Portis Clonifacturing, citing the Corporation’s inability to counter the universal law of diminishing returns. In similar news, According to recent studies by the Clone Advocate General, replicant soldiers have been shown to be less motivated to survive combat when they know that their clones will replace them after they’ve been retired.>>