The chattering, the clinking of glass, laughter and cheerful arguments. Drunken nonsense. The stink of filthy, inferiour subhumans. A man too unimportant to even merit description sat down at the table, saying something stupid and annoying.

Aphoxema kept sipping whatever garbage the bartender gave her when she said “surpise me”, a drink that wasn’t interesting in either how good or bad it was and ineffective for intoxication. It wasn’t a surprise, nothing was anymore. She hadn’t taken notice in whatever idiot was trying to get her attention, too lost in her rumination.

Loud boom, bright light, pain, nothing, everything.
Loud boom, bright light, pain, nothing, everything.
Loud boom, bright light, pain, nothing, everything.
Loud boom, bright light, pain, nothing, ever…

What?! You’re too good for me?! Look at me I’m talking to you!

Aphoxema snapped to attention, setting her cup down. She stared at the man, her gaze limp and insincere. Despite possessing a healthy body, a clone of the highest quality that hardly needed any maintainence at all, her appearance was visibly afflicted by her despondance. She sighed dramatically, “Yeah.

You’re that damned capsuleer. I know you lot,” he was drunk to the point of recklessness, lucid only enough to jeer with the eloquence necessary to be understandable, “we don’t need you here, you’re not even hiding it, your crew don’t like you neither they been telling me all about you. What you do, who you work for. You… you’re all scum but you sort are the worst. Using up people like us…

He continued on, his cathartic rambling lost on her entirely. She tried to take another drink from her empty cup, sighing again with disappointment and trying to rub the agitation out of her forhead and face. She didn’t have to be here, places like this never welcomed people like her, but the hateful honesty provided more satisfaction than the fake patronizations of respectable establishments.

His anger intensified, “Don’t ignore me, you monster, you come in here to our place expecting to just fit in? Or just look down on us? Like you’re so much better that…

Aphoxema stood, snapping her empty cup on the table and leaning down to his face with a cruel scowl, “I AM BETTER THAN YOU.” she looked to the bartender and shouted, “Excuse me, hey! HEY!

Whatever Idiot sunk back in his seat, shocked momentarily at her reaction. The bartender looked to them and wandered closer as the conversations throughout the bar dimmed, “Problem?

Aphoxema pointed at Whatever Idiot as he recovered and stood, “Get this guy out of here, he’s bothering me.

The bartender smirked, “He comes here all the time, you don’t. Only trouble I see here is you.

Aphoxema gritted her teeth and closed her eyes, her languor transformed into fury. She drew her laser pistol from under her vest, pressing it to Whatever Idiots neck as the capacitor whined to readiness, “Okay. He’s leaving, and if he don’t I’m going shoot him, then I’ll shoot you

The bartender brought his hands up, trembling as his face became pale, “Okay ma’am you don’t want to do that…

She grabbed Whatever Idiot’s hair and pushed the pistol against him as he weakened with terror, “And then I’ll shoot myself, and I just sent a message to my next self telling me to come back with a fleet of battleships to blast this entire meaningless nowhere station into dust. Then I’ll pay a fine for it” she waved her pistol around at the silent audience she had captivated, “and I’ll probably regret it but I’ll get over it while you and all the little bloody bits and scraps of your families just float in the void forever, forgotten.

She pushed the man away and fell back into her chair, picking up her cup and throwing it at the stricken bartender to clatter on the floor, “And get me another one of that.


Aphoxema’s bruised and broken face stared back at her. She breathed painfully through broken ribs, resisting the urge to cough. Hypersalivating from the latent taste of blood, she gently cradled her mouth with her good hand to blow the pink spit into the sink. The strength in her legs began to fade again, she’d have to attend to her loose teeth when she had more consitution to spare.

She stumbled back into the shower, wearily slapping the controls until it came back on. It was too cold, but she was too exhausted to care. She slipped down the wall, huddling into the corner of the shower as her consciousness waned. She snapped back awake, shaking and her hands pale. Again she awoke, the cold water running into her ears painfully, the water pooling around her face from her head covering the drain. A burst of self preservation overcoming the weight of the soaked clothing to wiggle out of the stall and pass out again on the hard plastic floor.

She woke again, straining to open her burning eyes. She whimpered pitifully for help she knew wasn’t there. She opened her Neocom and deleted her messages to herself. She knew her compelling argument where she made herself sound like the victim in all this would just make more trouble for her. Yet another mistake upon a mistake upon years of mistakes, the least she could do was cut this particular chain of indescretions. She knew she went too far. She knew she was wrong and she damn well knew she deserved the lesson the bar patrons beat into her.

She gazed mournfully at the crumpled piece of cellulose that indicated she was no longer welcome at this station, that her docking rights were permanently rescinded, that the incident was reported to the various authorities who wouldn’t do anything about it. This was hardly the first time she found herself in this situation.

I can’t… I can’t keep doing this…” she rasped to herself. She resolved to survive this, at least long enough for her next backup so the wisdom wouldn’t be lost with this clone. She would survive, she would change, forever was far too long to live with so few friends and so many enemies.


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