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.
“But don’t be worried,” the Warfleet Emperor’s clone offered with a wave of a multi-clawed limb. “The problem has been dealt with. You should survive, at least until the end of your duty shifts.”
“Or my clone will have to finish it for me.”
“Ah, we duplicants learn fast, don’t we,” she chattered amiably. “I suggest, after you arrive for work, you don’t go looking through that porthole. Or any porthole.”
You certainly do, after you’re compelled to undergo the recollection treatment of your predecessors last time in this reality. The memory of tendrils of white hot glass exploring all of my bodies cavities, didn’t really sound like something I’d want to re-experience, regardless of how the first Phil felt at the time.
Thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly, I was only required to maintain the memories until the depositions which were required after I completed the first Phil’s contractual obligations.
Still, when I got to the station, the first thing I did was ensure that the porthole was welded completely shut.
And I discovered that, unlike myself, my co-workers clones didn’t seem to be too bothered by their predecessor’s experiences.
“Got to*blank*imagine that you’re going to be up *blank**blank*sometime,” Blueneck told me. “Otherwise life would be pretty*blank*disappointing.”
He slapped me with a tentaclular arm, laughing his synthetic laugh.
Maybe… but I was still happy to find the porthole welded permanently shut.
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. Apparently, as I would learn later from the corporate lawyers, several of the higher ups fingered me as the culpable cause of the work stoppage. 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 the Dark Cluster minds free run through the entire station.
At least that’s what I kept telling my assigned representatives.
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.
<<Numerous protests have sprung up on several key worlds in the Gibani sector when a study was leaked that suggested that the draining of supersymetrical energy for the nearby Aquos brane was actually destroying the pocket universe within, along with it’s rumored consentient inhabitant. tales of refugees who’ve come from the brane and have pleaded for it’s survival, persist, even though no one confirmed encounter with any interdimensional beings have been officially reported.>>