Chapter Sixty Three- Conclusion
The dawn of Information
Clearly amused, 'White' Priam swung off the table with 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 second 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 was about to disconnect when I noticed that the static blocked the signal.
The 'privacy' wasn't to prevent me from relying data to the mil. It was to block the Clones on this ship.
I 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. I met the eyes of the holo.
Sort of History
"Suriname was of the most ethnically diverse places on Terra. When Holland would 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, with a bit of the 'perfect' DNA.
"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."
He paused, seeing that I grokked the fact that the Clones were as 'human' to them as Firebird's avatars are to her.
Then he dropped a large blob of information.
"Those, as the Zal who led you to this room will, use the key, go to Dalmar. As 'perfect' Eugenics they were trusted."
He made a brief smile.
"Dalmar was working on 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. This kept citizens safe. Those, like White Priam, would play Dals, get jobs in 'trusted' areas. Such as this 'secret' installation.
I realized what I had just been told. When this Shield was activated... Dalmar explodes.
I was overwhelmed by the realization. Obviously, my shock was noted by the holo.
"Our plan was to kill Dalmar in space, track them..." he didn't need to grant subtitles.
"We did not expect them to gain succor on NewFrance, a non-Eugenic planet. As you have revealed the danger of losing Hawking, we must relent in our attack."
My mind reeling, confused 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. They were clones of no one they much regarded, no more to them than a robot.
Clearly, they had no intention of absorbing the clones for with such a small population, their diversity would, in a few generations, be gone, and they would be as the clones they despised.
"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...unlike the average
Gennie who'd put his cock in acid before inside of a Norm fem, Sags 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.
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 organized how
to insert the clones into Norm society... then 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.
I explained; "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...then it hit me; 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 fourteen years...old?" I ask.
"The Priam batch was created, Earth measure, fourteen years ago. Usually we 'decant' once every twenty one years....but the closeness to our goal caused the early introduction..."
I nodded, seventy five thousand clones....
He saw my face, met my eyes; "Clones live nine thousand days. They were created for a limited purpose with a limited life span."
Then it was clear, integration was unnecessary ...
He'd just told me the most repulsive truth and all I could think about was Firebird's Priam.
That the Sagir, the real Sagarians created a population of clones for the purpose of distraction. Thousands of Priams and Gyes and whoever else to keep the Dalmar busy, while they smuggled other clones; 'white' ones, onto Dalmar, to blow it up.
And they did blow it up.
They blew up an entire planet. Blew it up using clones they created in laboratories who had as much importance to them... probably less... than robots have to us.
And all that filled my mind was that Firebird was in love with a clone who would be dead in seven years. Dead, because he had no value to these Sagirs.