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Chapter Fifty Seven; Douglas K. Hooker
When Dalmar blew up...when the planet of Dalmar blew apart, everyone cursed Sagir. The more stupid cursed Sagir for about two hours, the less stupid for about fifteen seconds.
When Dalmar blew up there was not a Sagir ship within a lightyear.
I have taped the reports, cause I'm going to write a book. I'm going to open with this chunk of bigotry. This belief the Sagirs were savages, which was held by the Universe, without particular reason.
Dalmar blows up, everyone claims the Sagirs did it. How, no one can say, but as Sagir and Dalmar are at war, it's obvious Sagir did it.
When clear the entire Sagir fleet is protecting it's home world, now what?
I was listening to normal broadcasts, but also Gennie channels. Gennies, unlike normals, were asking the question; How?
Gennies are very concerned about the 'I'.
Their kids and clones are the 'I'.
Interestingly, but not unexpected, Wives aren't.
Wives are 'others'.
Just like anyone who doesn't share their DNA.
The basic Gennie response to the Sagir/Dalmar war was similar to the average normal; let them kill each other.
When Dalmar blew, other Gennies were wondering where the Dals would go. As
there were no women on the Dal ships, meaning no Dal fems anywhere, the
concern of Tellur and Molbe was the Dals spreading genes on their worlds.
It's not exactly the same genes.
In my research I map about five hundred 'Adams'. About five hundred different
batches of genes which created the First generation. Of course, this was in
Europe, as what happened in Korea no one can be sure.
Of the five hundred Adams created, their genes were modified in various ways.
Each of the Adams had about one hundred different versions which were the Seths.
The 'Seths' were also modified, other genes added, it is said from non-humans.
To maintain strain purities, each batch was labeled, so the first four generations,
from Adam to Cainan were distinct blends. Something like good whiskey.
Blends of genes, not random, not the result of sex but the result of scientists
creating life in labs.
Creating perfect soups of genes and inserting them into neutralised eggs, so that
there was a true begetting. A true Adam begetting a Seth out of an egg which
I had passed as KrimValdonParnScoto. There were probably
KrimPriamGyeScotos, ValdonScotoTomakalGyes, etc.
Each saw himself as a different tribe, despite the fact they all had the
genes of Scoto, whoever he was.
Me, I was thinking about all this as I was writing about my time passing as a
Gennie. Well, writing is not exactly what I did. I talked. I talked and talked and
figured I'd hire someone to put the sounds into a readable format.
I couldn't trust artificial intelligence because I needed inflections and descripts
a human would poke, a machine would imply.
I'd puzzled about where to begin...should I have done an autobio starting with
my birth? Should I come into the story when the chance to pass was offered?
Then I heard Dalmar had blown and having a smattering of education saw a
globe flying apart, which was the way it played.
I start my book with the remarks of the most respectable commentators and
leaders. All the foul things said about Sagir. Then, facts. Then, without
apology, the new story.
I want my readers to start with the knowledge they don't know one shit.
And everything they think they know is bullshit.
Once I get that down, I go into how I passed as a Gennie. I think, if I do
it right, it'll be a best seller.
I'm puttering along, sort of en route to Smudge. What I'm flying looks like a
wreck to start with, so I shouldn't get much attention.
And right now, to be on Smudge, to be where at least some facts might filter..
From space I can see this is
not a regular Tuesday.
I don't see anyone.
No ships lining up to jam the ports and those filling the berths, seem to be there because they couldn't leave.
I search the dock, empty berths show signs of more wear than normal.
I patch into a CCTV by the dock and the place looks even more subhuman that usual.
"Hey Good Buddy," came an unknown voice over the com, "I should warn you..."
"Well Good Buddy," I reply, "now's the time."
"I was nutcracking by Pier Three..."
"Good explanation, you know what's going on?" I ask.
"Well, ain't hard to catch. Soon as the Gennies got into war mode, traders
planetside started getting druthers, buying low, selling high, Smudge wasn't
all that worthy. Then when the Hollywood boy got bumped, most folks stayed
home. So, they got riot, mayhem, starvation and other forms of anti-social
conduct broiling down there."
"I noticed," I droll.
"Meet me over the BarrelBottom by Pier Three..." he says.
I didn't have anything else to do, nothing to protect, so I took the bounce.
Three was fairly empty, looked like some old time tropical laze about.
There were lots of cops. First I'd seen them in their pale blue uniforms,
big guns, and bad attitude.
The BarrelBottom was directly across from the pier. A dive as expected.
I walked the empty road, saw someone in rags and a mask with a broom
and pan scrapping up the corpse of a new born baby.
There was a lot of blood pools
in the road, guess they'd had
their riot yesterday.
It was a bit cooler inside the
bar, the mist told me they
were letting frozen gases melt.
The guy at the bar who'd been
eyeballing the door was as big
as me, but fatter. I had the
Gennie look, though I sported
a well trimmed beard. I nodded
to him, and despite my
'health fad' ordered some really hard liquor, just in case.
"Well Good Buddy, they call me Jack." Big Guy gave.
I wasn't going to toss any clever repartee, I didn't know how low his I.Q.
"I'm Doug," I give.
"Anybody ever tell you that you throw a Gennie shadow?"
"Yup." I reply, tossing the liquor down my throat. Medicinal purposes.
"Well, here is okay. Pier Four is okay, but One and Two...no way." he reports.
"Looks like they had their festivities," I mutter.
"Yup, come yesterday the cops told the scum to get off the street come dusk, they
didn't, the cops got to find out which of their weapons worked. I was upstairs
nutcracking, got to watch the show from the balcony...more interesting outside
than in. They got some really ugly whores 'round here. Suppose you wouldn't
be interested..." he tinged, testing my manhood.
"Well, free pussy is free pussy. I don't like paying for what isn't worth snot."
I was going to tell him I owned a whorehouse by Pier One, but saved it, asked;
"What do you do otherwise?"
"This and that..." he gave, ordering another round for us.
"Yah, me too." I flipped, not wanting the next drink, but planning to nurse it.
There were a few others in the bar I noted, as I gave the place a scan, an old
guy hunched over a mouthful of beer, at a near table; a non-descript who could
be a middle aged fem, a fag or a guy gone seedy, who hid in the darker corner.
"War's over, yah?" Jack gave.
"Yeah, but I don't know what comes next. I'd of figured the traders would be out."
"Yeah, so did I, Doug, but, seems it is going to take a little time for the toilet to flush."
"I can think of about nine hundred other places to wait." I give, my back to the bar,
"Why ain't you there?" he asks.
"Thought Smudge would pop back fast, figured bargains...but guess that shows
you how little I know. I'm surprised the cops haven't cleaned out Pier One."
"Well, They did and they didn't. They got cleared. Seems some locals got their
hands on weapons...probably after they killed a few visitors, cause you know
locals ain't allowed to have a weapon without a permit...and those are hard to get."
Why would I have thought Smudge would 'bounce back' when War was the best
excuse Smudgees had for chaos?
"There ain't any cops around Pier One right now. I think the basic idea might be,
let them kill each other."
"Ain't that the basic idea?" thinking of how we felt about the 'Gennie War' and
how Molbe and Tellur felt about the Sag/Dal war.
"Way of the worlds..." Jack offered.
"I don't know...I hope they correct their little confusion over by Pier One...soon." I mention.
"I'm dead if they don't..." Jack gave, "I'm using my cargo to survive."
Now that's the difference between us. I actually had a job, a real pay tax job on
Earth...two of 'em actually. Smudge being closed meant I had to live on my
income...now, if Wife One and Wife Two accept my terms, that means I don't
have them or their kids to support anymore...so I might be able to squeak by.
One thing tho', staying here with Jack was as big a waste of time and depletion
of resources as drinking this cheap booze.
"See ya," I say.
"Where you going?" he asked.
He shouldn't ask me that, so I say, "I think I see something I might have a use
for..." and point vaguely towards the whores who are giving me the eye from the road.
I move, knowing he is watching me, and I don't know what he has in mind,
so I move nice and easy, then, fast, up the pier, into my ship and out.
Trusting another is never much sense. Trusting anyone on Smudge is suicide.
If you know Smudge exists, you're no good. If you go there, you have to be no
damn good. And if you spend time there, Evil is your middle name.
I pull out and decide, war is over, I'll go back to Earth and I'll make a go of it
until such time as Smudge is back on line.
Hasn't been a total waste. Got rid of two wives, working on a book. Cops can
stop this boat twelve ways to Sunday, ain't nothing illegal on it.
Once I get the Spuck out, I go into the toilet and puke. Try to get as much of
the rot gut out of my gut. I set myself to drink a gallon of water in the next
All I need, to make my life livable, is a sensible female. I thought of Firebird.
Now that was my other half. She didn't know it, enamoured of a Sagir, but
she was my kind of fem.
A bounty hunter, meaning she wasn't trapped in morality, who traveled alone,
and could take care of herself. I like that in a woman.
I checked my mail, the divorces were as desired. My wives got the houses, the
cars, the furniture and complete custody in return for forgetting I existed.
They got stuff, I got me.
I thought about wife three, but figured Earth the better choice. I'd get my job at
the museum, and be ever so good, teach a few classes at the University, write
my book, and give interviews about my time passing as a Gennie.