Category: Uncategorized

Written in 365 Parts: 181: Generation Ship

Drick stared at Marsh for a moment before answering. “I can’t be precise. I would imagine it is a courier of some kind. I thought it might be someone from Yee On Kline or one of their subsidiaries. But the information does not support that. I would guess then an independent contractor. However they will be under direct supervision and fiscal control of Yee On Kline, I am fairly sure of that. But distanced enough so that nothing can be traced. The vessels that go out to the location are usually automated and crewless, that I do know.”

“How do you know that?”

“I have some of the scanning information from regular customs checks. I also have enough of the internal documentation from the various agencies that deal with the vessels.”

“You said they were stealth vessels.”

“Yes. That’s correct. The vessels have the appearance of being normal when they leave the planet though. They make a regular run back and forth from the planet to the mining colonies. But once every few months a vessel will also swing out towards this rock. On the way they must visit some location to pick up a stealth generator. It is probably parked on a big enough rock in the asteroid field, or maybe on one of the smaller moons.”

“Why? What could be out there?”

“It’s fairly obvious. It can really be only one thing.”

“Well are you going to tell me. Or do I have to guess as that’s going to start with some vague wrong answers, and descend from there into silly, and then stupid answers.”

“Let me run you past my thinking, just so you understand why I think what I do.”

Marsh leaned back in the chair. “Go on, spin me your conclusions.”

“We know that this is all connected, somehow, to Yee On Kline and their genetics program. We know that you are heavily involved, not you personally, but you, the original you are modelled upon. We know they have enough genetic material from your parents to make an exact clone. How did they get that material? How did they make it? How do they know about you? Those were the most essential clues that lead me to the conclusions I have.”

“Well I have no idea. So I hope to heck these clues have some answer.”

“No. I know you don’t know. But that got me thinking. I am old, very old. I remember hearing about a time, not long before mine, when they used to make clones of people. As spare parts. They would get samples, usually donated at the time of birth or conception. They only did it for special reasons, often if the parents used what they used to call artificial insemination.”

“Yeah. It was common. I was birthed, as you say, naturally. But I was artificially inseminated into my mother, the egg and sperm were introduced outside the womb. It was fairly common. I know they donated lots and they also took synaptic fluid and samples from me. It was common practice for people born in my economic bracket, I was signed up pre-birth for public duty to repay the costs to society of my birth. My parents couldn’t afford private education, or health, so had to get a loan from the authorities. That was my nine year military service. Well, Marsh’s nine year service, the original Marsh.”

“So somehow they got hold of that. Which seems implausible. A lot has changed Marsh. We had a great expansion and everyone left the solar system behind if they could. Then we had a few hundred years of the Expansion Wars. After that mess, well humanity didn’t have much left of the old people and their technology. Terran Space was a mess. That’s when we lost history and records and have been piecing it together since then. Mostly from stories, and sources of the original colonies. That is one of the important clues, by the way.”

“What? Did I go to a colony? I had thought about it. If you signed up as crew you got to work while people slept. You arrived older, but you arrived with land and a clean slate.”

“Yup. I think that’s what you did, Mrsh. I think you went on a colony ship. That’s why they have a perfect record of your brain. Those colony ships took them so they could restore memories after the cryogenic sleep. They took perfect replicas into storage, well as perfect as they could. Which is part of the problem and a small puzzle still to solve. The copies back then were never one hundred percent. They copied a lot, but not everything, certainly not personality quirks. It was mostly a memory dump. It wasn’t subtle enough to capture changes from experience.”

“So I made it to a colony?” Marsh asked.

“No. I checked colony records. Thankfully those did survive as each vessel that made land fall sent back a message of who made it and when. Some of them are ghost worlds, a few colonies didn’t make it past a few years. But none of them had a Marsh who matched your description. However I think I know where you are, or maybe that’s a were.”

“Where I am. Where am I?”

“In this system. Remember what the researcher said. We found a source a few hundred years ago. A source of unchanged humans. Humans from before the expansion wars. Humans from before the time when there was more than just clones and mixed tankers from clones. We were able to re-introduce original material.”

“From a colony?”

“Nope. Even the colonies used cloning and tanks. They took them with them. It was the latest technology. They were using them in your time for spares. Less than a century after you over half the population was a clone. The colonies preferred birthing tanks more than Terra. It allowed them to alter the next generation, adapt them to whatever world they found themselves living on.”

“Then from where?”

“As I said. You never made it to a colony. You did make it to a colony ship though. I think you made it to a missing colony ship. In fact I think you made it to one of the legends. There were twelve Generation Ships. Massive vessels that were intended to help colonise a region of space, not just a planet. One of them went missing. I think you were on that one. I think that’s what is hiding out there and that’s where we get our original sources from.”