You might have noticed most references about the extraction of zero-point energy refer to how dangerous the galaxy’s favorite source of energy is. Don’t be fooled, it is dangerous, and in other ways than you’ll have typically learned from galactic densate activists, who will be happy to tell you – and show you – all about the effects of the dark matter pollution created by the anti-entropic fuel that powers the most developed interstellar civilizations.
You see, sticking a spike through twisted, foldy space into an alien universe – or a primordial store of entropically inverse energy as the supersymetrical energy producers say – what you pull out isn’t always, shall we say, clean. And sometimes it’s more volatile than the systems, or even, our universe – usually in isolated realspace pockets – can handle. I’ve been as little as two assignments away from a station that got something they couldn’t handle – couldn’t handle gravitically – as it turned out. Sometimes it’s put out of action, sometimes it’s dimensionally altered, sometimes there’s a spill through a rift in space that required evacuations of inhabitants from light-years around, which provides all those horrible holograms the activists are more than gladly to show everyone they can.
So yeah, dangerous stuff. Most things from other universes are, I’ve been told. Knowing that, the spiel I got from the scaly green reptiloid station clerk was pretty much what I expected, even reassuring.
“If a rupture in the flow happens,” he advised.” Then it’s pretty fast, that’s the good part. You do have a clone outside of the cluster, right?”
I nodded. He should have been decanted and on his way to the station by now. I hoped he was well adjusted. Some of the clones I’ve known have been a bit off, given their awareness of their second-hand nature, even occasionally homicidally psychotic. It made me wonder about how I’d react. Probably not to bad if the second me was anything like the first me.
“Good,” he told me. “Most of the other problems, the siliconoids can handle, If they aren’t the cause of it.”
“What do you mean?” I wondered. Were we back to the crazy Oboloni Hybrid thing again.
He eyed me with one of his three independent oculars. There’s nothing more I hate than beings with independent eyes, those who have more than I’ve got. You know they're always looking at something you can’t.
“Most of them have been on the station for a long time,” he told me. “They’ve gotten a bit strange, even by Silicon standards. Best you avoid them as much as you can.”
That was different.
“Why don’t you rotate them out then?” I asked.
He rolled his three eyes.
“Bit of a glut of Supersym out there,” he admitted. “Cost-cutting measure.”
That was never good. It meant work harder and longer for less. I probably wouldn’t get my bonus then.
“Once we reach quota, they’ll be spun off,” he assured me.
“But they’ll be sticking their appendages in here regularly.” I noted a bit worriedly. It bothered me to think the Siliconoids would have something on their alien minds other than their jobs.
“I said avoid them as much as you can, and as much as you should,” he repeated. “Otherwise, If there’s a normal thing, like a fire or a hole in the hull, just get on a suit and get to the undamaged superglobule.”
“Ok,” I agreed. Sounded simple enough.
But I knew that ‘something simple’ was the least likely of things to occur. Which made me wonder again how my clone was doing back on the satellite orbiting the brown dwarf? Was he upset that he missed his chance out here, or glad he was going to avoid it. He’d be thinking like me, of course, I hoped, but even I couldn’t decide how exactly I would act If I was in his shoes. Or in mine, when it really came down to it, as my lower torso brain decided to chip in.
<<Galactic Flashback: Even in this day of interstellar travel most of the deaths occurring in space are due to the disregard of safety regulations and poor understanding of safety protocols. Don’t get caught in explosive decompression or irradiated by your engine's power source. Read the safety manual, or die!. – A hatchling’s guide to living in space, featuring that adorable brainworm, Mr. Chugba>>