Freefall d0170

Freefall 1701

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What do you remember?

I remember starting the psychological test, then waking up in bed.

You don't remember anything in between?

Hmm. No. Nothing.

What about your college training? All those drunken parties must have taught you something about reconstructing a lost weekend.

Sadly, I don't react well to alcohol and thus wasted all those opportunities studying.

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You were with me. Your memory wasn't blocked.

If I found out something, shouldn't you know what it is?

You… kind of got away from us for a while.

I ran off?

No, it was more like Varroa and I took a ten minute break and when we came back forty minutes later, you were gone.

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The guard retrieved you from the robotics building. I think you found something there.

When we took you to a different lab for a treadmill test, all your stuff disappeared. And an order came through to put you into cold sleep.

If it weren't for me and two thousand and one heroic crickets, you'd be a pup-sicle right now.

Why is it that whenever you try to warn a company about one of their products achieving sapience, it never goes smoothly?

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There's supposed to be a five to seven year wait between cold sleeps. Did they really try to put me back when I've been out less than a month?

They did. The order came from Mr. Kornada.

Mr. Kornada? I've met Mr. Kornada.

He didn't strike me as being the sharpest crayon in the box.

True, but when you talk about damage radius, even atomic weapons pale before that of an unfettered idiot in a position of power.

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If Mr. Kornada tried to put me in cold sleep early, he violated safety regulations. We can request the site surveillance files.

Except he thinks he did it in secret.

I told him I froze you and replaced you with a clone so perfect, no one could tell the difference.

That… doesn't work. Even identical twins have different iris patterns.

Don't tell me things like that. My stories are much more convincing when I have no idea of what's impossible.

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So as far as Mr. Kornada is concerned, I'm a secret clone. As far as everyone else, it's business as usual. Am I correct?

That's about right.

I still can't remember anything. Did they say what they did to my memory?

They stopped the hippo camping in your brain.

Hippos can't be very big if they can fit in your head. I've seen videos, but earth videos always assume you know enough of what you're looking at to get a sense of scale.

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Hippocampus. Plays a role in conversion of short term to long term memory. That lines up with what you said earlier.

Hmm. It's near the olfactory cortex. Not sure if that's good or bad. It's possible some scent memory got through.

I still smell of yesterday. I must not have taken a shower.

If that's all it takes, I could be the ship's archivist.

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Tell me if you know these scents. Human. Plump. Emits gas on impact.

That's Varroa Jacobsoni. He was assigned to test you.

Glue. Sticky notes?

You had some notes that were stolen. Only one I can remember is “Give Varroa a wedgie.”

Welding jacket. Cutting torch.

Cutting torch!? Why am I never there when you find the fun toys to play with?

Варят и режут металл двумя разными горелками. Но пахнут-то они одинаково! (KALDYH)

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Let's go outside. I need to walk away from my scent for a moment and get my nose cleared.

Okay, let's try this again.

SNNERRK!

Anything?

Yes. I think I inhaled a bug.

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Nothing from yesterday. It's bringing back a memory from when I was a pup.

It was at night. A neighbor was cutting up metal pipes to make a scarecrow. I still don't know why he didn't wait until morning.

Maybe that's it! Maybe Mr. Kornada is making an unstoppable army of killer scarecrows!

Or maybe it's time to just go back to bed.

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