Doppelgänger Grey Label Artisan Shave Soap | Fomula CK-6
The Saga Continues now 252 years in the future on Planet Gaia Secundus.
Soap Net Wt 4 oz (113 g)
Quarks; Atom Had 'em. ~ D Smythe
Today we leave our collection of Victorian Doppelgänger case studies and leap ahead 252 years into the future, where these strange occurrences have become even more frequent, widespread and still unexplained.
In the dusty, dusky light of the second dawn, Atom’s Data Face struggled to make sense out of the shadowy, moving figure before him. His mirror image in motion, stride and appearance.
Was his helmet malfunctioning? It must be for there should be no other living soul on this side of the planet, this time of year and his helmets internal L-Form Indicator never sounded. Yet there someone, or something was, moving with intent towards him.
Atom stopped fast kicking up more red dust, the approaching figure did the same. This was no helmet glitch. The solar winds died down suddenly and Atoms audible heart rate monitor climbed, sweat dripped down the tinted screen of his Data Face...then, the figure before him, standing less than have a lunar block away, began to charge. Atom froze in pure terror...
It seemed like 5 lunar days before Atom opened his eyes again. His double was gone, or rather, he was gone, no longer standing outside on the planets outer surface. He now stood in silent darkness where only a drop of liquid reverberated every 30 seconds and echoed forever. He scanned from left to right with his Data Face, his helmets night vision automatically kicked on and painted his surroundings in an eery blue/green glow and for the second time in the last hour, Atom's heart skipped a beat.
It took him a hot minute to fully understand what he was seeing. All around him stood men still as soldiers who fell asleep where they stood, but eyes open and staring straight ahead wearing no emotion on their faces and breathing not.
It took him another minute to realize they were him, all of them, dressed in the same, heavy radiation repellent undergarments he was wearing right now under his Spatium Suit. He turned off the night vision and activated the external lights of his helmet bathing the room in a moon like light. He observed ducts and exposed pipework, the room was large and went on forever, as did the replicants, hundreds of them. He was in what appeared to be the Grand Astral Subterranean Port Hangar located hundreds of miles away and 3 miles below the barren dry soil of Gaia Secundus...was he going mad?
A low volume alarm went off within Atom's helmet and he jumped again, reflexively he tapped it off. The alarm indicated there was substantial oxygen levels in the great room and he could remove his helmet.
Atom thought about this. Maybe he was asleep and this was just a dream or maybe he was unconscious still on the surface of this unforgiving planet, removing his helmet meant uncertain death. Then he stopped breathing again as he felt a hand firmly gripping his shoulder...the terror from only moments before returned.
Atom came to in a bright flash of light, inhaling deep and loud, squinting, gasping, panicking. He felt lighter, vulnerable, he touched his forehead and patted the rest of his body, he was out of his Spatium Suit, the oxygen tasted stale, metallic and cold. He was painted in a blinding white light and surrounded by others, silhouettes. The sudden rush of air to his brain made him dizzy and he began to fall forward uncontrollably, reaching out to the closest body hoping someone might catch him.
He touched the shape in front of him as he went down in slow motion, his thoughts jumped in another bright flash and he was still falling but from an upright position again and gasping for breath once more as if the wind had been knocked out of him, as if the whole scene had been rewound. He reached out again touching an elbow or a shoulder in an effort to stop or slow his fall - ZAP! Again the flash and the sudden rush of cold, stale ozone into his lungs and this repeated over and over till in one variation he found himself turning mid-fall in a race to the floor and that's when he saw the faces. Tt was the doppelgängers, the grey and lifeless sea of empty shells of himself, falling like dominos. His consciousness was being transferred from one to the next like an organic series of pulses jumping across a light system: Flash, Breathe, Flash, Breathe, Flash, Breathe, an asthmatic strobe...it was impossible to ever catch his breath and darkness was closing in untill he finally fell for the last time. He had made it to the base of the light source and the front of the line.
The floor was cold and clean, sterile as was his new body, he slowly raised his head still panting and teary eyed. Before him stood a man geared up in a full Spatium Suit, teetering, light exploded from the crown of his helmet washing the room in an eery moon like light with his back turned towards Atom. With a rush of adrenaline, Atom jumped to his feet and grabbed the man by the shoulder - FLASH!
Atom blinked and looked around, he was again suited up and once more kicking up dust on the surface of Gaia Secundus. The alarm in his helmet told him he needed to focus on regulating his breathing and calming down. He slowly sat down on a nearby rock, he was still suffering from mild vertigo and to stop moving felt good, he needed to process all of this and run a full system scan of his suit. He had learned at the academy one can experience hallucinations if the oxygen being used is less than pure or has been contaminated during the recycling process. He needed to get back to base and examine his Rebreathe Unit. He stood up fast and caught himself again, he was still slightly dizzy. Steadying himself he looked up slowly and in the distance he saw someone else approaching.
The solar winds died down...