Author : Luis Barjo

“It’s not a scam,” Robin explains as he plugs the cloning tank into the wall. “It just grows in there for a few hours and, when it’s ready, just hop right in. They proved it, man, they proved it with science and we’re gonna be rich.”

Picture a hallway with an infinite number of unmarked doors. Well, it took a few years to get there and a few more to find someone willing or capable of conversation. And, would you believe it, the very second we did, a couple of scientists became millionaires. Whoever is out there wants what we know, and knows plenty we don’t; all we had to do was ask.

I’m sitting here memorizing equations. I just have to run them in my head at the right time, with some provided variables, and I’m back on terra firma. At least that’s what the box claims. You can find these kits anywhere: a few hundred dollars, an empty basement and a friend a big brain and balls to match and you’re an official member of the TransGalactic Couriers.

“How’re you coming along with those numbers?” Robin is busy plugging what seems to be a large gas canister into the tank. That little box on the side, the one the outer controls are wired into, shocks the gases just the right way. Amino acids turn into DNA turn into a functional body. Sure, it’s practical immortality in a sense, but after the novelty wore off no one bothered. This isn’t the most exciting of galaxies.

“I’d be a little better if you’d shut the hell up for five minutes. Why am I the one going through all this trouble again?”

“Because I flunked Holonomic Calculus more times than I could count. In fact, I think you were the only one in that class that made any sense of that blackboard after two weeks.”

When he’s right, he’s right. I read over the documents I need to ferry; they compute out into a series of equations that become the variables to the one I’ve memorized. You’re not supposed to remember anything when you come back, when you wake up in that homunculus body the tank is welding together out of thin air. Thanks to the calculus, I’ll remember a few numbers. Feed them into some more equations and we’ve got a chunk of data TGC will pay a bundle for. Sounds easy enough, right?

“Okay. It’s all set. You remember what to do, right?”

I sit down on the stool. Behind me is a foot-thick slab of concrete. Beneath, some bunched-up plastic sheeting. If this goes well we’ll rent out somewhere with a drain next time. I inhale deeply and try to remember: they’ve done this a million times before. It’s perfectly safe and more than worth the money. It’s just like a photo booth.

Robin aims the revolver dead at my third eye chakra.

“Feelin’ lucky, punk?”

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