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Five Cycles

Five cycles ago, I left the Ruins of Tau Station for good. I decided to make more of my life.

And I did. By all metrics I can think of, I'm beyond successful, compared to the poor sucker me from 500 days ago. Two ships, enough in the bank to buy a few more, enough equipment stored for a medium-sized army, achieved mastery in two careers, over 90 University courses finished.

But I must ask if I've lost something important in the process.

The local government of Sprit of New York City had asked my syndicate for help, they had an incursion that needed fighting off. An armed mob of 360 was making their way through The Wilds, and we were to... "stop" them before they reached the more densely habited parts of the station.

I took four of my TAU comrades with me, and we mowed them down within less than four segments. All of them unconscious, all of them injured badly enough that would would've died without medical support. Which the authorities assured me they got.

My CORETECHS invents villain names for them, to make it easier for me to fight them. Perp, Rascal, Blade Girl, Looter, Bandito, Buccaneer, Bully Boy it calls them.

Ruins Rat.

Just like me, a mere 500 days ago.

Despite their villain names, they were people, just like you, dear reader. They just weren't trained as well as I was, and their weapons didn't penetrate my armor.

I hadn't even bothered learning about their side. Why were they marching?

I don't believe in easy explanations, like, they were all bad people, and wanted to bring down every order just for the sake of chaos. They knew about the risk, and wouldn't have done anything without good cause.

Maybe they were malnourished, and wanted to protest for more food. Maybe they had tried before, and hadn't been heard, and so they armed themselves to not be ignored a second time. Maybe they wanted to give their kids a better future.

Who knows?

I don't. I just accepted the government's commission, and shot them down. In exchange for a box of stims.

Five cycles ago, I have started gaining wealth and prestige and knowledge, and lost my humanity.


  1. Truly, Ser Moritz,
    I haven't nearly the experience you have, but I have pondered the same issue regarding the interstellar gangsters in the ruins areas. I too would like to know their reasons, but I think I have pointed out that these are people who have been cloned from other still-living people and perhaps from still-living clones of still-living clones.
    Someone out there has a rogue cloning enterprise and is manufacturing an army. If we don't fight them now and stop them while they are still untrained and "green," then we will face extermination at the hands of marauding hordes of battle-hardened soldiers equal to your abilities (YOU might survive an attempt at reasoning with them, but what about me?).
    Of course, they are human, as all clones are, but just as I am not the man from whom I was cloned, so they are not each other.
    No. I fear we have all lost our humanity.
    All of those clones are people. The ones in the tanks, the ones bought and sold as merchandise, the ones offered to us as our replacements if the medical profession fails to work its miracles . . . This is the truth of it.
    We make humans.
    We build them in factories.
    We dispose of them as garbage.
    Those are people.
    Those (of us, I might add) who are purchased and survive to emerge from the centers struggle on with someone else's memories, as I have, trying to discover who they are, and when they find themselves, they are more lost than ever before.
    That, my friend, is where our greatest loss has occurred.

  2. In conclusion we create humans in factories with memories of a chosen individual. What hinders organizations to take an innocent child, brainwash it into a soldier, an agent, a vagabond and create hundreds of clones?

    Maybe this is whats happening, the so called ruins rats might be agents of foreign powers trying to destabilize our civilization, to keep us busy and limit our progress by wasting our scarce resources without us noticing anything suspicious.

    There might come the day those powers gathered enough strength and reveal themselves while we stagnated due to infighting and thus can do nothing but bow our heads.

  3. So how would you go about rooting out the real troublemakers?
    Perhaps we might find the rogue cloning facilities? Then what?
    The best we could do there is to free all of those innocent clones and counsel them to sort out their own memories from those of their captor/purchaser . . . while they are still innocent. But on both fronts, how?
    Meanwhile, the larger problem, as you noted, is still out there, lurking in the depths of space.
    We can't even find, much less stop, the Smiling Gentry. What about these other groups we have encountered? While we are at it, I am quite afraid of something else I encountered while running errands and missions for various groups.
    Someone IS taking the children.
    What might they be doing with them?
    What you suggest appears to be happening, but we only see a small number of different sets of clones, so what about the rest of them?
    Secret agents?
    Hidden armies?
    Farms for cannibals?
    "Spare parts?"
    Many possibilities here, . . . none good.


  5. ALL of them?

  6. There are surely more.

  7. Exactly.

  8. All I can think to say is that this truly deserves an F in the chat. I apologize for my chronic writer's block.