Chapter Sixty Three- Conclusion
The dawn of Information
Clearly amused, 'White' Priam swung off the table with such impressive grace.
I followed him into the corridor where he stopped at a monitor, spoke in his language, then continued his stride.
The ship, as I'd noticed the first seconds I'd entered, was crowded. Crowded with
Priams. Priams sitting, standing, moving, talking; a nightmare of so many identical
copies of one man.
I had a hallucination of seeing a hundred Doug Hookers.
A hundred men, exactly like me.
That would explain why the Priams were so 'brain dead'.
I wondered how many years Priam, the one I knew, had lived among his clones
as I was led into a meeting room.
I was startled to see the seats full of Not Priams. That was the striking thing.
None of those at the table were Priam.
My eyes crawled over them blinded by the abrupt change from the Priam Template.
"These are representatives of the clone batches," White Priam indicted; "I will tell
them what you have told me."
While he palavered, I noticed a hologram of a unique individual. I stared as if I'd
never seen a Norm before.
The group to whom White Priam spoke put me in mind of Monday morning
freshman, but the holo man listened. I realised everyone in the room was
a clone but the hologram.
Every man in the room was one of how many hundreds/thousands of 'batches.'
I had not 'figured it out, yet' ...but was beginning to catch some of it, when
the holo man spoke to me. "You know nothing of us, do you?"
What was I to say? That I'd passed as a Gennie?
He spoke in his foreign language then White Priam stood, beckoned;
"He will speak with you in private.."
I fidgeted with my watch, realising it was relaying everything to the Terran Mil.
I don't know what this guy would tell me, but I think 'in private' would be right.
I popped the battery and followed White Priam to a room from which other
Priams were evicted.
White P put down a cheap holo player, walked out, the image came on.
I moved to be in the green band, our eyes met, he spoke;
"Suriname was of the most ethnically diverse places on Terra. When Holland
wished to introduce the Eugenic technique, we did not object. At first. They
produced hundreds of clones, similar to the Zal which led you to this cabin.
We had thought Eugenics would look like us, not like Europeans."
Okay, that should be Suriname 101.
"We like diversity, so the technology rarely used. When we migrated to Sagir
as a 'Eugenic' cult, it was more adventure than to live in a closed community."
He waited for me to understand that those who migrated were not in the "Eugenic" mode but Norms, perhaps with a bit of the 'perfect' DNA, but mostly norms.
"During the past century," and he wiggled his hand to signify approximation;
"Dalmar and other groups have attacked our ships, many of our people have
been killed. We have a small population. Unlike those who have a billion citizens
where losing ten percent is unnoticed, there are not two million Sagir. Losing
ten percent is catastrophic. Especially when each person is unique."
He used the word with the portentousness it did deserve.
"None would venture space, contact between Sagir and Suriname which had
been active, died. No one would come, no one could go, because the Dalmar
would fire on our ships."
I didn't know this, but then, the part of space where the Gennie worlds were situated
was out of the way.
Why should we know?
"We decided to take the original batches of DNA we had received from Holland
and create clones...Thousands of clones. Most would have an insertion of
melanin to create a dark skin tone. Dalmar would be led to believe all Sagir were dark."
Someone approached him out of range, I saw his hand disappear, return with
a mug from which he drank.
Perfectly relaxed, he continued;
"We began the creation on ships around Earth. Clones grown in tanks,
created to mature quickly, then..." he paused, I supplied...
He tipped his head, accepting my term, went on.
"We used the names as batch numbers, the first batch OneTwoThreeFour,
the second TwoThreeFourOne ...the last batch, created seventeen years ago...."
I knew about the names, at least that much.
"Ships of clones flew from Earth. Agoutis would use a key containing the pure
DNA in such manner to be perceived by Dalmar. The Dalmar would pursue,
our warships would stand ready."
I didn't catch his use of the word 'agouti' and he appreciated it.
"An Agouti is a lure...his purpose to use the key, be pursued by Dalmar, so
we can destroy their ships in space. Those, as the Zal who led you to this
room will, use the key, go to Dalmar. They will gain employ in the Planetary Shielding System...secret. A method to use the heat of the planet's core to
operate a device to create a force field."
I leaned back in my chair.
The Sags created a 'race' of clones for the Dalmar's to chase, keeping citizens
safe. Those, like White Priam, play Dals, get jobs in this 'secret' installation...and
when the Shield is activated, Dalmar explodes.
"Our plan was then to kill Dalmar in space, track them to whatever planet they
selected, continue until they were all dead. Dalmar have gained succour on
NewFrance. As you have revealed the danger of losing Hawking, we must relent."
My mind reeling I asked; "How many clones are there?"
He turned to someone, spoke in his language, I heard other voices, assumed
he was in a meeting room on Sagir...or maybe Suriname on Earth, I had no way
"About seventy five thousand," and he wiggled his hand to show imprecision, "are still alive."
"If I understand you," I say, "These clones were created for the purpose of ...."
He said it without remorse, without inflection.
Where to Dalmar the 'Firsts' were precious, to the Sags they were common and
meaningless clones of no one they much regarded. Clearly, with such a small
population, they can't absorb the clones....
"Are all clones...male?" I ask.
I suppose my thoughts were betrayed...
"Those on ships are drugged. Among other suppression is sexual desire.
Agoutis, away for long enough periods begin to experience..." and he made
the kind of smile I would have.
It starts to make sense...an Agouti; like Priam, like Pete's Superboy, even like
Madame Rhyse's Gennie; getting a jolt of hormones, and unlike the average
Gennie who'd put his cock in acid before inside of a Norm fem, Sag Gennies are ready.
Considering how Hollywood went sex mad over me when they thought I was a
Gennie, these clones won't have much trouble getting linked...
...I better tell Firebird about the drug so she can adjust her social schedule...
And I realise that everything we know or think we know about Sagir is untrue.
Is crap. Because these Priams and Nals and Gyes are not Sagirs, they are
an artificial form of humanity. Rhyse must know...she must know...and somehow...
Holo man is looking at me. It's time for me to speak.
"I would suggest you keep information concerning Sagir involvement in Dalmar's
destruction secret. The galaxy believes Dalmar blew itself up. Let it stay that way.
No one needs to know..."
He met my eyes with lack of comprehension. Clearly he didn't appreciate how very
damning it would be for him to admit that his people were so cunning and capable
of such cold blooded evil as to spend decades planning how to destroy a planet.
He spoke to those in his room whom I couldn't see, while I mind organised how
to insert the clones into Norm society...grasping the momentary pause, I quickly
texted Firebird so she'd grok the drugs. I hit 'send' just as Holo man turned back to me;
"We will accept your assessment and allow the belief that we were blameless."
"It's the best idea." I say.
After draining the last drop of ego out of it, I continue; "As to the clones...." It was
distasteful to use the term, and I will reflect on it sometime later, for now..
"You need a number of clones in your ships as the Sagir 'army', and must,
somehow, integrate them into society."
He said something to those around his table, then eyes returned to me, I continue:
"I can convince the Terran Mil you can stand down, as long as they deal with
the Dalmar on NewFrance ...confiscate their ships, land peacekeepers to limit
their power, stuff like that. I can convince the Terrans to put most of your Mil
under some kind of Terran jurisdiction, some ships would operate as an adjunct,
others decommissioned, and the clones live on Norm worlds."
He made a puzzled face.
"If the choice is between a dangerous army flying around the galaxy where
confrontation is likely or making a treaty and absorbing some aliens...who
might find wives and settle down and end the threat from Sagir...?"
I had emphasised the 'wives' part, hoping he wouldn't tell me that only the
'agoutis' are virile...he didn't. Good.
"You see," I explain, "that's how I have to 'sell' the idea; the threat of Sagir
can be neutralised if Terrans 'absorb' them 'secretly.'
There was babbling at the table, but I was already planning what I would say
to the Mil, and formulating protocols...
how many 'vintages?' were there...?
have to sprinkle one of each batch into units and ship them around the galaxy,
to avoid over Priamisation...
In fact, 95% of the Priams would have to stay in ships around Sagir; some kind
of plastic surgery would have to be done to alter them....something...and have
to 'educate' the clones before release into 'norm' society...
Then it hit....
"The last batch...is seventeen years...old?" I ask.
"The Priam batch was created, Earth measure, seventeen years ago, the Zal
batch twenty two ..usually we 'decant' once every twenty one years....but the
closeness to our goal caused the early introduction..."
I nodded, seventy five thousand clones....
"Clones live nine thousand days. They were created for a limited purpose with
a limited life span."
...Priam would be dead in seven years.