Vortians, they all look alike. They should, they are all clones. So this Vortian walks into my office. She has a cigarette hanging in her mouth, cheap sunglasses, and smells of cheap booze. Apparently Vortian quality control let a bad one slip through. She gives me one look, a sort of rude glance down her nose, over the tinted lenses. "Are you the guy?"
"That depends. What guy are you looking for?" She doesnt look impressed, she slumps down in the seat in front of my overloaded desk. "Are you the guy looking for additional labor for the Nassik mines?"
"I am, no one wants to work in those mines. Can’t pay enough to keep the workers, and if I do pay enough, I’m out of business." She pulls on the cigarette. I imagine her mouth tastes like an ashtray, but she also seems like the kind of woman who lets a man do anything he wants to her. "I can make you a deal then." She dabs out the smoke and smiles at me. "Worker drones, 2,000 credits a head. No complaints, they heal fast, and don’t get bored or scared of ghosts."
"You’re here to sell me?" I feel my eyes trying to bulge from surprise. I had heard rumors, rumors about Vortians selling Vortians, both sides willing. It was insane. "I’m here to sell you labor. They are all female, but it doesnt take wedding tackle or giant biceps to drive a auto-miner, sled car, or drill-dozer."
"Two grand a head?" It is almost too good to be true…
Marla (Fight Club) - as the salesperson whose species reproduces by cloning or similar technology.
Being clones, Vortians do indeed, all look alike. They are five foot five inches tall, and depending on occupation can be as thin as 95 pounds, or as heavy as 140. The soldier and miner types tend to be stockier with thicker muscle, while the less physical types tend to be more waif-like. This genetic identity causes most Vortians to express themselves in any way they can to stand out. Clothing is almost always unique as is hair styling and color.
Vortians are easily addicted to caffiene, tobacco, and alcohol. As such, it is rare to find one that doesnt drink coffee, tea, soda, beer, liquor, dip or smoke.
Vortia is a special world, terraformed nearly a millenia ago. Following that project, the planet was turned over to genetic engineers and agriculturalists. It was planned that within a century Vortia would become a breadbasket world. There were some problems, the process was rushed, corners were cut, and the biosphere mutated. While life, in a guise, exists, it is hostile and poisonous. The colonists suffered at first, but soon figured out how to survive. Cloning. Those genetic variations that were resistant to the local poisons were cloned invitro, and later in Vortian Creches. It wasnt long until the population had a very limited genetic band, and that was when the Inviro-Eigo plague hit. The plague affected certain people, based on their chromosomal pattern. Within a few weeks every man and boy on Vortia was either dead, dying, or sterile.
Life continued, the plague survivors continued operating the creches, replacing their dead with more clones. The plague remained viable and resisted removal, so after a few failed batches, the Vortians only produced female clones. With the failed biosphere, contaminated ecosystem, and stillborn industrial sector there were few viable options for the foundering colony.
An Unexpected Solution
Doctor Helena Singer, one of the directors of the Cloning Department came up with a novel solution. They could produce clones for sale. Genetically modified, sterilized, socially conditioned humanoid automatons. There would certainly be an outcry against such a practice, but with proper procedure and PR it could be done.
It wasn’t long till the first batches were created. These were listed as K-level, minimal intelligence, almost non-existant ambition, and a lemming like desire to follow instructions or any leader. The K-types didnt work well, and were generally only suitable for pushing mops and brooms. The next groupings, the L and N types showed remarkable progress. The L and N types could maintain a semi-skilled job, could operate machines, and in the case of the L type, could lead other clones in complex tasks.
Aside from the K,L, and N types, Vortia expanded to create two more tiers of clones. The M type clone was aggressive, but able to follow orders, bred to be soldiers. While these clones fair poorly in close quarters combat, they do very well as parts of gun, tank, and ship crews, as well as holding good discipline and coordinated tactics. The final type of clone, the X type is biologically unmodified human, and has the exact same rights and privelages as a human born from another human. The X type maintains Vortia’s population, while the M type makes up the bulk of the clones it sells.
So, you never told me your name," She doesnt miss a beat, her fresh cig twitching on her lips. "Singer."
"Are all of you named Singer?" It sounds like a rude question, but she gives me a look that I can’t read. "Does it matter?" She asks me. I guess it doesnt.
Most Vortian Agents carry the same basic gear, data slates a few recorders and a secure and encypted date coder. They can use this to make deals, order product and handle financial matters as they come up. Most agents will also carry some sort of hold out firearm, with thigh holstered pistols and small knives being the most common.