Arc stared at his brother in his stained overalls as he ate about is much as was possible one of the p’Tang t’Iki t’Iki could as fast as possible in preparation for their ultimately shared meal. He sighed, knowing even though he loved his brother deeply, there had always been a problem with his existence and problem which needed to be fixed, and could only be fixed if he could find a priest of the Holy Re’Gurg who could provide his brother and himself the kind of dispensation that would allow them to remain together, a release from the Demand of Ending Arl must face according to the tenets of their secretly guarded religious beliefs, if Arc remembered things right.
Knowing that Arl would not notice for some time his brother wasn’t present since the food he was inhaling would take some time to be properly pre-digested and wouldn’t need to be a receiver for a few hours, Arc quietly slipped away, already having checked out the asteroid hive directory, confirmed the data with his ‘Zos and determined yes, there was a priest of his species occupying one of the nearby asteroids in the cluster in an ordained chapel. He figured he would have time to get there and back before his brother would even stop eating. Arl had never been a perfect creation, after all.
He made sure to keep himself in the middle of any transport tube he took between the asteroids, in order to combat the agoraphobia he experienced, no longer being comfortable with open spaces, having lived within the comfy confines of the Transient Void for such a long time. But he endured the discomfiting journey with the hope it would result in a satisfying conclusion. So he distracted himself with pleasant memories such as how he and Arl always celebrated the conclusion of games, such as odd Earther game of checkers with Arl.
Ah, good times. He calmed down picturing the violent imagery of a game of checkers in his mind.
The holy church was a kind he was familiar with, a crudely curved pyramid, the main columns coated in sparkly stardust, whereas the main walls were transparently open to the stars. He entered the seemingly rickety structure, a bit of an initial surprise given how social his species was, but then it wasn’t a holy day and they were far from the center of p’Tang t’Iki t’Iki culture. Arc made a beeline for one of the confession eggs set in the center of the chapel and rolled in, feeling it surround him as comfortable as the egg he’d been hatched out of. Ah, home.
“What is your confession, Kiklik?” he was quickly asked. “I do not have all day.”
Priestly responses always confused him, as they always seemed put upon, but Arc was ready so he offered his confession to the female of his kind.
“I created a duplicate of myself. His name is Arl. He has been my brother for many years. I ask he be accepted into the brood.”
“You did what?!” the priest shrieked so loudly the speakers in the egg crackled with feedback. “That is heresy, it is an abomination any of us is not born from the egg. You know what you must do!”
“What?” Arc reeled. “But he is my brother. He’s part of me.”
“Did you lay him?” the priest asked.
“Not exactly... maybe in a kind of way,” Arc struggled to explain. “I don’t really know how he was created, not technically. He’s not too smart and he’s not a threat to the great brood. What is the problem?”
“Please tell me you are lying,” the priest said. “Or the punishment that must befall on the abomination must befall you as well.”
That wasn’t good, especially what Arc remembered of how crimes of the kind he had committed were treated by the p’Tang t’Iki t’Iki.
“No,” he said quickly. “Please, I was lonely, trapped on a spaceship. I needed a brother. Yes, I created him for myself, but even when he came out he wasn’t perfect, and now he’s a very different being than me and is and will always be a different being. I am requesting he is provided proper brood identity so we can remain brothers for as long as we shall live.”
“You know that is not and never allowed,” came the withering reply.
“Can’t you make an exception,” Arc begged. “I love him he loves me.”
“Brood child Arc,” the priest started again evenly. “That thing you call your brother has no soul. All it is is meat. You must end it, and in the proscribed manner before some very bad things happen.”
“But I don’t want to kill my brother, or... do those things to him,” Arc whined in distress.
“Well, there are a lot of things I don’t want to do either, or at least didn’t want to have to deal with today,” the priest complained right back. “I didn’t want to hear the fact one of our glorious species created a meat puppet which could stain all of us forever and the stardust we were created from and will all return to. But here we are, thanks to you. The best I can possibly offer is since he is a duplicate of you, he might not be hunted down and returned to the grill is my command you end yourself instead. But, you’ll have to tell him he’ll have to call himself by your name forever afterward. That is all I can offer. Otherwise not only will you be made pariahs to your own kind, our great layers will instruct all of our race to hunt you down and perform the ritual of roasting so we all can be saved from the grill ourselves.”
“But, there are trillions of us,” Arc tried. “How could we be all face roasting by letting Arl exist?”
“Do not question the faith!”