6 Dec

As Fuaie Maquin stepped out of the amaxa, he gave an order to the autremon driving the street vehicle.

“I cannot say now how long this meeting will last, so I will find you in the parking building, Oje.”

With that, he climbed out of the car and made for the hyalic structure to which he had been summoned by official invitation.

Leaders of the diploid citizens of the city-state of Tannyhalt were gathering there to discuss their trouble with the personal doubles who served them.

An historian was the first to address the audience of over four hundred.

“We all know how our replicated ancestors came here eight generations ago with their autremons. At that time their doubles spent very little time in their spirit stage. They were available to our human kind most of every day and night. There appeared to be an inner control over their transpositions from the natural state to the spirit one. No one had reason to make any complaint about a little time for privacy and rest.

“It is our present age that witnesses lengthy malingering in invisibility by autremons. Humans in need of services suffer absences at important moments and situations. They find that it is impossible to recall their servant back to our present world.

“The problem I describe grows ever more serious.”

The next diploid to speak was a famous lawyer with decades of experience with his autremon. He described the large losses of labor and attention suffered by him caused by excessively long stays in the spirit form. There was a grave lack of legal remedies for the bad behavior of their doubles, he argued.

Finally, a politician who was member of the City-State Assembly dealt with the loss of power and influence by the human beings of Tannyhalt. “We diploid make up over 40% of the population yet our control is almost non-existent. If only our people were able to organize and mobilize for action!”

Fuaie felt an inner boiling and bubbling from these last words.

He sought out that politician after the meeting adjourned, eager to enroll himself in a movement to remake and correct the relationship with the autremons.

Ciset Bulom, who had been the final speaker, was on his way out of the glass building when a tall, willowy young man came up to him and spoke.

“I find your talk extremely interesting, sir. Could I treat you to a late dinner and have a long conversation with you about the ideas you discussed?”

The stout, middle-aged politician eyed the stranger with rising curiosity.

“My autremon is scheduled to pick me up at the entrance in my cruiser car. Where do you wish us to go and eat?”

Fuaie explained that his own double was waiting in the amaxa parking deck. “I will go to my vehicle and have him drive me to the Menu. Do you know where that is, sir?”

Bulom grinned. “My driver will find it for me,” he said with a nod.

Each human diploid went his own way to a different vehicle and driver.

Eating terrapin steaks, the two men freely exchanged ideas and viewpoints.

“We have to do something about the deteriorating situation,” maintained Fuaie with emotion. “Our secondaries are running wild, out of control.”

“But what can anyone do about this mess?” asked Bulom.

“I see no alternative to us organizing ourselves and going into politics on a wholesale basis. The laws of Tannyhalt have to be entirely changed and rewritten.”

“In what way?” demanded the politician. “What do you mean?”

Fuaie proceeded to outline a plan for legislation regulating autremon actions taking them into any spirit stage of thought or existence.

In the parking lot of the Menu restaurant, two doubles were becoming acquainted with each other and conversing about common concerns.

Mims, the autremon of Ciset Bulom, was surprisingly candid about his personal attitude toward the human who owned him.

“My diploid is a harsh tyrant who thinks only of himself and no one else. Certainly not about me,” he muttered with unconcealed anger.

Oje gave a long sigh. “I sympathize with what you say. My diploid is not really a cruel man, but he wants to know everything I do and even think. It seems that I can never enjoy privacy except when I isolate myself as only a spirit.” He paused for a moment. “None of us autremons can say that we are free persons. The human diploids are our owners with total power over us, except for our invisible spirits.”

Mims frowned. “My hope is to find a remedy for the slavery I am in,” he said in a controlled rage. “I have grown more and more desperate.”

Oje gave a nod of agreement to this statement by the other autremon.

Since there was no human diploid political organization in the city-state of Tannyhalt, Bulom and his new ally had to start with the few social groupings already in existence.

Fuaie took responsibility for the enlistment, recruiting, and formation of diploids of all kinds into a single united league that would represent their common interest in relation to the autremon doubles who served them.

Surprisingly, Fuaie found out that he was an effective, naturally gifted speaker able to sway audiences of humans. He visited scores of diploid social, sports, and hobby clubs with his message of political mobilization over the autremon problem. Everywhere he went with Ciset Bulom as his manager and advisor, Fuaie was able to energize the owners of the doubles.

Throughout Tannyhalt, tens of thousands gathered under a common banner in favor of the regulation of the autremons and their use of time.

Ciset found and recruited new candidates for positions in the city-state’s assembly and won support from incumbent human office-holders and politicians.

His network of influence and affiliation grew ever wider and stronger.

But, unseen by almost anyone, something else was happening.

Mims invited Oje to go into the spirit condition together with him.

A series of conjoined, simultaneous transfers out of materiality occurred for the pair. The two of them became close friends who trusted each other.

They talked about what their human owners were up to.

“Our lack of ordinary citizen rights enjoyed by our owners makes it impossible for us to do anything to counter the rising movement of the human diploids,” declared Mims. “None of us can vote or participate in politics or the government. We are deprived of education and can only be employed by humans, never by others like us.

“What miserable creatures the autremons of Tannyhalt are! And now we are threatened with severe limitation of our spirit life and activity!”

Oje grew sad and pensive. “There is nothing that anyone can do, then.”

Mims seemed to grimace. “You and I have a last, final alternative available,” he murmured. “Who are the leaders of this drive for radical change? Your owner and mine. They are the principle instigators of the political movement to limit what we may do in our time of rest. But there are defensive actions that you and I can take.”

“What are you saying?” gasped Oje with sudden apprehension.

“You and I could stop this whole movement by decapitating it,” answered Mims.

Though having made no definite promise of cooperation, Oje’s silence indicated his internal dilemma. How could he betray the human diploid to whom he had been assigned as a small child? His self-image and personal morality were at stake. Did he dare go against his own conscience, the way it had been trained and formed?

Oje slept little on the nights that followed. He thought endlessly about the thoughts that Mims had expressed to him. At meetings together, the two autremons discussed the desperate plan that had been conceived.

“What if no one follows our example because of fear of the possible consequences should it result in failure?”, worried Oje. “We would be labeled as criminals, not as genuine rebels. If we were prosecuted for murder, that might sink the hopes of all the autremons of Tannyhalt for all time.”

Mims gave him a sharp, withering look. “Do not think so negatively, Oje. We must plan and prepare well, and take action only when everything is ready.”

“You mean that a delay is possible, then?”

Mims gave him a cryptic nod of the head.

The truth dawned upon Oje just before he and his owner went to bed one evening close to midnight.

Mims intended to do away with Ciset Bulom as the first step in his campaign of direct action. That would then be followed shortly by Oje himself killing his own diploid human.

Such a terrifying scenario shook the autrmon who was considering this to the core.

Was he also so brutally desperate? he asked himself.

All of a sudden, Oje realized what he had to do in order to prevent a murderous disaster.

A signaler clock was set to awaken Fuaie Maquin at dawn to get ready for work.

The autremon servant rehearsed in his mind what he was going to tell his owner at that time.

It was in the human diploid’s bedroom that the extent of the conspiracy was revealed and described.

Fuaie, sitting on the edge of the bed, listened in awe, absorbing every word with total attention.

His face was a paralyzed mask of ice.

“There is an immediate danger to the life of Ciset Bulom,” finished Oje, sighing with dread.

The owner furrowed his brow in deep, rapid thought.

Oje stared at him, waiting for what he would decide to do.

“I am going to radiophone Ciset at once,” announced Fuaie. “He will be informed that I have decided to quit the movement that he and I started together. My intention is to end the human crusade for limitation of autremon transfers into the spirit state. The immediate need is to reach mutual accommodation and agreement by both our breeds. That is the only way forward for any of us.”

“But what about Mims and his threat of killing Ciset?” anxiously demanded Oje. “The threat is still present and ominous, is it not?”

Fuaie considered these questions briefly, then spoke to them.

“It is best that you and I go speedily to his apartment and tell him of the danger he faces. I will announce to him that our movement is ending in order to avert violence and mayhem.” His eyes fastened tightly on the face of Oje. “It will be up to you, Oje, to control and restrain Mims.”

“I believe that I can do that,” stated the autremon. “If necessary, he can be knocked unconscious with a blow to the head.”

Fuaie gave him an arch smile. “You are a true model of what a double ought to be. I marvel at your loyalty, Oje.”

The latter shyly looked away. “I will bring the amaxa to the entrance, sir. We both have a mission to accomplish as soon as possible. It is an important one that should clear the ground for the restoration of harmony between human diploids and their faithful autremons.”


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