Fucker was selling Alphas. Goddamn Alphas. I don’t care where you stand on the Jackson Clone issue, you don’t sell citizens.
I radio HQ, I’m taking this Grey down, I don’t care about promises.
Kitty picks up, “HQ, what’s the situation?”
”Hi Kitty, it’s a 13-6, some nasty piece of shit is selling Alphas. Jackson Clone workhouse in Kolingwood, you’ll notice it when you get there.”
”Ten four Abdi, we’re on our way.”
She hangs up and I walk back into the workhouse. The Jackson Clones look up at me from their sewing. These idiots aren’t Alphas, just regular Clones. Regular, stupid, impressionable, Clones.
There are benefits to living forever; downsides too but you try not to think about it. I’ve made a lot of friends in my time, and friends, whilst only ever temporary, are useful. I take out my phone and punch in a number.
”Hey, I need a favor.”
There is a crunch on the other line and then, “Howdy motherfucker! What can I do for you?”
”I need some clones to exit a building, and fast.”
”No worries hombre.”
I put my phone on loudspeaker and hold it to the sea of Jackson Clones, their idiot faces look up at me with half witted wonder.
A screaming, abusive, angry voice bullets out from my phone, “ALRIGHT FUCKNUCKLES! GET YOUR STINKING ASSES OUT ONTO THE STREET! DON’T MAKE ME FUCKING ASK YOU AGAIN.”
I hang up. Like magic the Jackson Clones rise from their seats and begin heading toward the door, I’m swept up in the ocean of sweaty clone and jostled onto the street. I casually step away and light up a cigarette. In the distance I can hear the sound of a police siren. This fucker’s going away for a long time, and I have lead in the case.
I’m in a Jackson Clone Workhouse. It stinks, they always stink. The working conditions are deplorable, but who cares, they’ve got less rights than the rats in the walls.
A skinny looking Grey with a nasal voice stands nervously too my right. He’s wringing his hands and looking persecuted. Fuck him.
”I hope everything is satisfactory.” he whines at me, I hate him. In that second I hate him with every fiber in my body.
”Yeah, it’s fine.” it’s not, if I was here on inspection he’d be in the slammer before I could say: day old meat.
I step over a dead Jackson Clone, and light a cigarette. Of all the Jackson Clone Workhouses in the city, this was the only one under suspicion of selling. Selling was a bad thing, unless you were a supplier, you didn’t sell.
I ask it plainly: “You selling?”
He freaks, his brain getting torn between running and fighting. I get a mild headache, greys are like that.
”You’re not in trouble, calm down.” I grab his shoulder, “just answer the question. Off the record.”
He’s still nervous but he answers, “…yes. Yes we are. We sell them at half retail price.”
I sit down on a bench next to a Jackson Clone, he’s cutting fabric. “Hello!” his idiot voice grates, “I’m making pants!”
I light a cigarette on his face and turn to the grey.
”You ever sell Alphas?”
Contrast is at least half of the universe. Night and day, black and white, dead and alive for example. Contrast exists on a smaller scale as well, such the inky coldness of deep space and the firey warmth of a tavern, at tavern known as Marcelline’s Neck.
Marcelline’s Neck exists because pirates exist, even in the emptiness of space. Pirates, whilst not having the most colonial of minds, still often find it within themselves to colonize. In this instance they colonized SET 1332, an asteroid more commonly known as Old Beluga. And on Old Beluga Mercelline’s Neck was erected, so that wraps that up.
Inside a Spacebear and a Hologram share a pint of Hourly Ale, a colony brew. Perhaps shared isn’t the correct term here, however, as Holograms can rarely drink anything they do not sell, rest assured however, if asked she would have declared the Ale as belonging to both parties, because deep down she hated the Spacebear in question.
“Pretty sure it’s a myth,” the Spacebear says, his long ursine tongue lapping away at their drink, “from what I know there hasn’t been a king for centuries. Plus, you know, who cares.”
The Hologram shakes her head, “it’s not a myth, and you know how I know that? Because the whole time I was locked up in that cell on C2 I was reading what little there is written down about the early years. Still haven’t really forgiven you for that.”
The Spacebear grizzles, “well when you’re caught commandeering a Cracker Tanker with a mouthful of Zirconium and Opalate there is bound to be backlash. That’s just sense.”
The Hologram does not seem convinced, “well even ignoring all that, we still have this.”
With a flourish the Hologram empties her backpack, a piece of glass the size of an eye falls onto the table with a tink.
The Spacebear drums his claws on the table and rubs his muzzle, “now that,” he says slowly, bringing the Ale to his mouth, “is something to think about.”
It is the nature of Christmas to be ever changing; what began as a way of keeping the sun rising is now an excuse to drink Willcorp Synthesized Eggnog and open gifts, the slaughtered pig becomes a roasted Jackson Clone and the whole thing changes once again. And if you brought one of those early warriors trying to keep the rising sun across time to the twenty first century and showed them the bright green, red, and white of a Christmas tree, they would long for the smell of blood and their own Christmas. And it is that same want for Christmas that sent John, displaced Time Traveller and emissary for the President both, on a quest through the snowy white streets of Atrox in search of a Christmas Goose.
A weak sun shone through the fluffy clouds, and John, hands in pockets, strolled down the empty early morning streets of Footzgrey. If you listened to rumour and stories then this was the best place to get waterfowl, a rare commodity in this day and age.
As a light snow began to fall, a chipper, lilting voice called out from the shadows of an abandoned building, “hey squire,” the voice sounded youthful, “you lookin fer a shelduck?”
John had not the slightest of clues as to what this meant, and so he replied: “Uh… what? I’m looking for a Christmas Goose. For Christmas.”
With a bang as loud as cymbals crashing, and the swiftness of a proud hare, the youth in the shadows had grabbed John and violently pulled him into the dank, musty smelling alleyway.
“You wanna get busted fuck ‘ead?” the delightful youth questioned our hero, “geese is illegal what’s wrong wif you?”
John lamented once more his station in life, and with a heavy sigh said aloud: “I’m sorry man, I don’t want trouble. I’m just a guy, looking for a goose
They called it sheeping. From the phrase: “as easy as finding shit in a sheep”. It meant selling to the colonies, and it was used because doing so was so easy. Colonies are always desperate for Homeworld product. Whether this was because their own produce wasn’t up to scratch or because of a certain misguided nostalgia I couldn’t say, all I know is that this was what I was meant to be doing, and that the crowd waited.
I step out from behind the steel curtain and into the centre of the stage, the crowd watched me with wide eyes, like frightened and slightly furious cows.
“You might think you know Jackson Meat. You might think you’ve tasted the best. Well I’m here to assure you that you have not.”
Behind me two giant gleaming carts are brought out, covered in the finest cuts of a Jackson Clone. I stroll over to the one on my left and pick up a nice juicy rump steak. By this point a large nova grill has been wheeled out to the centre of the stage. I place the juice steak down and hear it sizzle. The hot oil spits and crackles, moving harmlessly through my hologram body as I keep the steak moving to stop it burning.
“Did you know nine out of ten colonists have never had a good piece of quality Jackson Meat?”
The steak has begun to cook nicely, and the smell wafts over the watching crowd.
“Can I have a volunteer from the audience to come at try this delectable meat?”
A young man raises his hand. He’s twentyish, skinny, sideburns frame his chin. He tentatively approaches the stage and is brought next to me by my two human assistants.
I pick up the perfectly cooked steak and put it onto a plate, its oils and juices spreading out and creating a powerful delicious aroma. A knife and a fork are provided and the youth is encouraged to eat.
Things always go the same way. The meat is delicious, the volunteer is impressed, and more meat is provided. The entire town or village becomes hooked. I flash them a smile and finish with:
“If you want a meal, go somewhere else. If you want quality, try Butterbie’s.”
As easy as finding shit in a sheep.