In the depth of deep space near the biosphere system, Dr. Van and I, Dr. Zoo were in an autopiloted probe on the fringe of the universe. Dr. Van and I are clones formed by parthenogenesis in the biosphere lab Century. Parthenogenesian clones were given nominal “human rights”. We are all called “Doctor” not by education but by virtue of being in the exact likeness of Dr. Zinn of the 21st century considered to be the healthiest and most intelligent man alive, living to 160 years 11 months and two days.
Dr. Zinn spent the remainder of his years in a hyper-oxygenated zero-gravity chamber on the ship Galactic in a moon orbit around Europa of Jupiter. The Galactic was so self sustaining- and huge- it became a mother station to ships leaving the galaxy. There ships would dock and primarily load up with hyper-procreative hutu plants whose seed were found and farmed on Mars. This is where the Century left 800 Earth years ago and was sent into hyperspace by Zinn-travel, a travel that alters time and causes crafts traveling unde the speed of light to accumalate achieved distances by creating near-absolute vacuous space by manipulating space particles to disintegrate.
While disintergrating matter space becomes highly relative. The first few ships would move 100 meters then stop. Half the time the taxis would explode. The Century, however, would travel 1,000,000,000 light years in a second. It was first to arrive in the biosphere system, finding hundreds of ships manned by clones such as myself. One such ship, Viejo Maximus took 90 Earth age years, Earth age measuring the experience of time by the crew. Although they all physically arrived in seconds or minutes, the crew aged according to the 22nd law of processes. There at age 123, Dr. Zinn’s 12th generation clone Dr. Vale and his crew had gone mad for about 24 years then actually regained their sanity and began an autonomous mission, turning a moon into a livable planet. I am 20th generation. That world was called Nexus and by the time we arrived, the planet had 56,000,000+ persons having formed small nations with three distinct languages, 40 religions- 4 of which were state-accepted and the planet was also in a state of war worldwide.
Upon our arrival these things were discovered and protocol was unsure. So we sent a probe back verifying the formula for arriving safely. The Masters sent back a battleship in about two minutes. We saw it coming, slowing down. It made no communication with us. It turned and dropped a probe that came to the Century’s dock. Dr. Van boarded and immediately entered our control room.
“Get us out of here!”, yelled Van. “Dr. Zoo, arm all torpedos.” There were no questions. “Launch HALF reserves at that battleship. They will assume the Century blew up too. That battleship is here to kill us ALL and start over!”
We launched torpedos as the battleship launched seismic nukes. Every nuke was detonated by the slow battleship which was destroyed in its own nuclear warheads destruction. I mean “incinerated” really, with its staff of 7000. Except, one probe was shot to alert Earth’s Masters, but it was set off a fraction of degree. And one nuke hit the planet on an uninhabited section of planet Nexus.
No further probes were sent. We did not know it, but the Masters who intended to kill us all illegally according to the Caucas Charter, declared our zone “condemned” due to nuclear waste. We found a way that year to sweep the nuclear problem in surrounding space and on Nexus.
And now, 16 years later, Van and I having removed our “honorable doctoral” status were in a probe. Like I said, on the edge of space. We were looking at a mirror image of our own ship. Only it wasn’t a mirror. The ship was our actual ship. So we connected our ships at the side docks. Meeting us at the dock the doors opened. Standing their in white uniforms (we wore orange) we stood toe to toe making the same physical movents as in a mirror.
Van 2 & Zoo 2 (I’ll call them) spoke. We spoke whatever they said, but it was not our thoughts. Zoo 2 said, “You are in an actual nexus boundanry.” We would take you in, but everytime you try to enter you copy us and be blocked. You have twice our fuel. So dump half of yours and you can push our ship back in to our space if you want to see our space. We know all about yours, so you don’t need to bring us over THERE.”
It was getting wearisome to have both of us talk. I left the dock. Van agreed we’d cross over the nexus. I looked over my shoulder and stopped. Zoo 2 and I both laughed. Then I farted. “Like I said”, we both laughed, “WE are low on gas.” Realized only I farted. “This will work!”, we said. I emptied the fuel halfway and Van piloted the ship into the nexus and through.
Once through we crossed over found Zoo 2 and Van 2… and 12 shape-shifting aliens. Behind us followed ANOTHER 12 shape-shifters that we previously knew nothing of. None of the 4 of us knew. “We are the 24 hours”, said Hourling 24. Van touched his clone and merged with him into one humanoid. Myself and Zoo 2 jumped away from eachother. This was strange.
Then Van disappeared slowly. He was completely calm. What was going on???