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78 - Tomorrow is a Mystery (part 1 of 2)

(Part 1)
My friends asked for short stories. I’m not sure why. I only hope this will help.
They told me I should start at the beginning, so I suppose I should explain. I have vague memories of a blurry view I still don’t understand. Looking back with some history in mind, I believe these were memories formed while I was an undecanted clone. Everyone at the cloning centers says this just doesn’t happen and that I don’t understand how the Amyg-chip functions.
Well, from my perspective, it doesn’t.
At least not for me.
Throughout my first few cycles, as I struggled with mixed images that flooded my mind, most of which were quite clearly someone else’s thoughts and dreams, I quickly discovered that the officials we should all be able to trust with our lives are all too often malicious, manipulative, unprofessional, avaricious control freaks and treacherous thugs while perfect strangers, entirely unconnected from my own destiny, can be the finest people in the galaxy.
Once I had learned how learning is done in this day and age, I began to try to ignore all the “Collie” jokes and defiantly use my strength as a Colonist to work my way through the unforgiving ranks of the shipyards. Otherwise I would have spent most of my time in brig for fighting.
While working at the ports of Taungoo, I accidentally built one of the best friendships I can imagine with a person who doesn’t seem to matter to anyone else outside of his own family. I am certain he has lived a wild and gallant life and holds more far more skill and experience than I at exploring the galaxy and fighting to rescue and preserve what is good and proper, yet he is content to cook noodles and serve them to the rude, crude, narcissistic bullies who call themselves the Kyarr.
This is quite different from the first person I thought was my friend, one who wears a creepy mask and a hooded gown and hates anyone who is a clone (That’s me, but thankfully he hasn’t figured that out)… That “friend” makes the Kyarr seem like good nurses and caring social workers. I was shocked to find an entire station controlled by a strange cult of people, the Prometheans, who speak the same terrifying narrative as he does. Oddly enough, this was not the strangest cult I have found in my travels.
My journey among the stars (where my friend at Taungoo said I belong), most of which I believe is my own and not that of the other occupant or occupants of this infernal chip in my head, has shown me things too bizarre to imagine. I thought I had seen it all when I helped a murdered woman pursue her killer and the career that had been stolen from her. That now seems mundane.
I have taken it upon myself to try and save as much as I can of the past, the Before, with its wheeled ground transports, water-borne vessels….. and fish. For reasons I can’t fully explain, I am searching for a creature called a chicken, which I have only seen in holo-vids. I believe that chickens may be vital in my efforts to preserve the goldfish species, although I am trying to teach my chosen fish about our society and spacefaring.
So far, I have taken Junior with me on public and private shuttles, to coffee and noodles, to the theater, the lounge, even out for a hamburger and fries at the psycho jumpgate (how can such deranged people make such good food?). He really doesn’t seem to care for this hyper-sweetened, carbonated beverage called soda any more than he does coffee. Although I haven’t allowed him to experience the bar, I did make a point of taking Junior along for each foray into combat, though I am grateful that the Kyarr kept him from being overly exposed on that first incident where I entered battle without dressing for the occasion. I was so proud when I saw he had my spatula. I am hoping, once I show him the galaxy and how we run it, that he can communicate his experiences to the colony I believe I established in the swamp area of the Amazon station.
I can’t tell if he has understood any of my attempts to teach him about the Catastrophe and mankind’s long path to recovery, but I believe he resents his captivity and dependency on my daily care. That can become quite an obstacle to learning. Again, I should know.
At least one doctor has been intrigued with the possibility that Junior and his kind might have a useful role in agriculture, one which would actually be quite symbiotic. If it is successful, not only would I have a new means of building mutual wealth, but literally everyone would be interested in helping the goldfish population to expand and thrive. Whatever I can do to help his species to re-establish themselves as more than prisoners in glass vats (I totally sympathize with them, especially after my frequent stays in Sick Bay), I intend to do exactly that.
Meanwhile, all just the same, I am trying to avoid Amazon in the hopes that the face-slappers will stop calling me their god. A lesser man might be flattered, but I am quite disturbed at the notion that such a broad swath of people might expect me to do the things a god would be expected to do. That could truly get ugly. How do you really even speak to such people?
I was chatting about it on the Mesh when someone said the Amazonians weren’t calling me anything but an idiot and were using a reference to deity as emphasis. I told her I appreciated her input and wished it were all that simple, after which she never spoke to me again. I’m sorry if I offended her, but truth doesn’t change just because we want it to.
I have preserved, whenever I dare to acquire them, many of the artifacts which are trafficked, stolen, re-stolen, bought, sold and delivered by (or on behalf of) the plastic scroll cult. I even have several of the scrolls, though experience tells me that they don’t hold up well once they have been opened. Thus their contents remain a secret.
In all of this, I have done quite well for myself. Where so many of the Ruins Rats squander their lives scraping and scrapping about in the derelict buildings and ship hulls of the Ruins on their native stations, I, a “defective” clone which “should have been destroyed,” with no idea as to my origins, am now an accomplished shipwright and own a small fleet of ships, one of which is resting in place at Kobnhavn as part of an advertising effort for Tau Syndicate, the first syndicate . . . MY syndicate, founded and led by the first person who ever genuinely helped me to rise up out of the rubble. I wish I could truly honor him and all of my friends by doing the same for others.
I was trying to build inroads with Tomas, better known as El Bandito Peteo, but after that incident in the brig on Taungoo, I fear that was all in vain, and that I will never be able to help him out of his misery. Perhaps eventually, when I find the unlawful cloners who have made so many copies of him and others, . . . perhaps then I can persuade him to sit down for civilized conversation. Until then, I have to be ready for whatever crazy, violent thing he does. The quandary remains, though, which one is the real Tomas?
Are they all?
As for me . . .
Are there others?
Which one am I?
Right.
(Continues)