Short Story: Broken Identity
The first time I encountered clones I didn’t notice. I wasn’t paying attention. Not so anymore.
Book: Energy Lords
One of his distant ancestors was born on the day that the speed of sound was broken. So the legend goes. The baby’s birth cry sync’d with the sonic boom from the jet flying overhead in the clear desert sky. But that couldn’t be — the hospital was in Chicago, Old Earth.
The legend also said that another ancestor was born on the day the speed of light was broken. Well, sort of — a message was sent faster than the time light would have taken to go from Old Earth to its moon.
Yet another, born on the day that contact was first made with another space-trotting species. Cosmic meet-and-greet day.
There was nothing special about his birth, however. At least according to current legend.
It always came down to the equations. When someone wanted to do something “magical” somewhere, the equations had to be balanced. The ancient saying, “There’s no free lunch,” eh. You couldn’t fool Mother Nature, so to speak. Oh, if you did something fast enough, you appeared to cheat. But that was virtuality. Serious energy conversions were another matter, literally.
But the priory had its own rules as well.
The priors didn’t view themselves as cosmic guardians. They just believed that truth wasn’t the highest value, the most important factor in the scheme of things. There were higher priorities. There was the Codex, their sacred knowledge base.
But the Empire had its own agenda.
The Emperor didn’t view himself as ruler of the cosmos. He was the current Chief Executive, in a long line of Chiefs. It was all about the Marketplace. He also believed that truth wasn’t the highest value — it created PR problems, legal issues. After all, there was the Nexus to contend with, the forum for all social exchange.
And the stakes were high, as usual. Something was coming. He could feel it. Rumors of a wanderer, a truth-seeker, not loyal to any of the tribes.
Perhaps the agent was another rogue System Engineer. Maybe an overzealous pilgrim or prior. Outliers. In either case, he could deal with those.
The System Engineers
The System Engineers were legendary. They arose to save Old Earth. They established New Earth and many other worlds. The great hope was to avoid the excesses of narrow thinking, failure to connect the dots, negative unintended consequences and remediation costs.
But they couldn’t think of everything, encompass an ever expanding “system” eluding their imagination, beyond complete definition. But what really ended their epoch was simpler — basic psychology. The center couldn’t hold — rationality wasn’t the highest value in humanity’s affairs.
An ancient story told of “Monsters from the Id.”
In fact, few survived. Their Guidebook was myth.
Tagline: Some say they aren’t human (no Old Earth pedigree) or perhaps not even humanoid. Their history is a mystery. Their “business” is clearer.
Tag line: What’s the good news about habits? (They’re hard to break!) What’s the bad news about habits? (Ditto!)