by Jamie Rosen

      The first thing I saw when I woke up was Chris's face.  There was another in the following chamber, and another behind that.  All told, there were a half-dozen iterations of Chris, each sitting perfectly still --standing, really -- in its own chamber, each sporting the same impassive, unconscious expression.
      Whose idea had it been for me to spend the night in the clone banks anyway?  Sure, Equal Rights for Clones had been making a lot of noise lately, and their violent offshoot Doppelganger had issued some threats. . . but what use was one bespectacled lab assistant going to be if something should happen?
     They should have just hired real security -- except that those companies were all stocked with clones, and the ERC had made sure it was impossible to find one willing to work for us, especially to guard the banks.
      The door opened and Samantha came running into the room.  Sam's another lab assistant.  "Jimmy," she said.  "Jimmy, turn on the news."
      "What?  Why?" I asked, rubbing my eyes.
      "You have to see this."  She switched on the one television we kept in the banks and fiddled until a station came through.
 "-- about three hours ago.  No word yet on who the hostage-takers are, or what their motivation is, but there is speculation that members of Doppelganger are responsible.  Once again, this branch office of Gemini Genetic and Medical Industries Incorporated has been taken over by unidentified masked men and women --"
      The signal cut out again.
      I was about to ask Sam to fill me in when the door opened and our boss, Doctor Ecchs, entered.  "Have you heard the news?" he asked.
      "We were just watching it," Sam said.  "It should come back on soon."
      Indeed, it was only a couple of seconds before the audio came back, followed soon by the video.
      On screen, a lone man wearing a ski mask and a jacket that bore the Doppelganger insignia came out of the building.  He had a megaphone in his hand, and spoke through it so the television station could pick up his voice.
      "We are Doppelganger, and we have a list of things we want you to do if you want to ensure the safety of those who work inside."
      Beside me, Dr. Ecchs scowled.  "It's just as I feared," he said. "The clones make demands."

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