Science Fiction Review
A spaceship whose mission it is to transport its crew down to a planet to retrieve some important data, but has little time before the portal closes or they will not be able to transport back to the ship for 8 years, transports down to the area to retrieve the data. All of a sudden their instruments pick up a humanoid approaching the group so they get out their weapons (phasers) and stand back waiting to see if this humanoid is friendly or not. What they discover is that it is the commander of the ship they transported down from, but the commander is with the group already. Basically he is meeting himself at the data station. The commander tells the story that he is the same man as the other commander because 8 years ago he was the last person to leave the area but that certain waves excluded him from being beamed back up to the ship and he got stuck down in the data area. The other commander says he got transported back to the ship just fine 8 years ago. They take the (duplicate) commander who was supposedly trapped on data area 8 years ago back to the ship to have the ship’s doctor check him out and see if he is who he claims to be (which is the same person as the other commander). The ship’s doctor verifies that all of his brain systems are the same as the other commander’s except for a tiny few that are not. The ship’s crew find out from the old ship’s logs that the commander was transported up during the intrusive waves but that the ship’s captain tried to have 2 commanders transported so that at least one of them would make it and what happened was that both of them were alive and made the journey into the transporter but one was transported to the ship and the other was sent back down to the transport area. So both commanders are real. They have just both been living 2 separate lives for the past 8 years.
The data that the ship needs is contained in a machine that the other commander had been tampering with for the 8 years he was down there to keep the radiation shield operational so the ship’s personnel needs the (duplicate) commander to take them back down to tell them what he did to the data containment device so they can get the data out. The doctor doesn’t want to send him back down there until the ship’s counselor has had a chance to talk to him and see if he is stable enough to go back down to the area where he was trapped alone for 8 years. As the counselor is talking to the duplicate commander, they both remember that they had once been in love with each other and he says that how he made it through being down in the data area alone for 8 years is that he thought that maybe each day he would be rescued and would get to see the counselor again. The counselor says her feelings have changed in those years he was gone but he says his haven’t and he wants to be with her again. She asks if he will help them retrieve the data from the data area and he says he messed with that data so much wile he was down there that they probably won’t get much information but he says he will be willing to help them retrieve what they can.
The group transports down to the data area and find out that the data container is much damaged so one of them has to stay and try to access the data from the core area which is underneath the data containment area. The real commander decides he will stay and access the data and they will come back for him when their window of time opens for them to transport down again. In the meantime, the duplicate commander returns to the ship and sends the counselor on a scavenger hunt with several notes she has to follow until she reaches a box where he has made a picture for her out of stone of the waterfalls where they first met. The duplicate commander and counselor sit down for a long talk about how they used to feel about each other.
The captain talks to the commander about his idea of trying to access the data from the core area and tells him it is too dangerous so they will need to come up with another plan. The commander orders the transport group to gather together to come up with another plan to get the data. Before they make their plan, the duplicate commander comes to talk to the counselor about an opportunity the captain has gotten him on another spaceship so they won’t be together anymore but he talks to her about marriage after he has served on the other ship for 6 months.
The third portal opens and the away team is ready to transport down to try to retrieve the data. Both commanders go down into the core area, which is very unstable, and as they are heading to the data area, the duplicate commander slips and falls almost falling into a huge hole in the earth. The other commander has to decide if he wants to save his double or not. He decides to save his double and they retrieve the data and get back to the ship safely.
The duplicate commander gets ready to head off on his mission on the other ship that the captain has gotten him a position on and decides to change his name so that he can be different from the commander. The commander gives him a parting gift with which the duplicate commander is thrilled. He says goodbye to the counselor and she tells him she won’t be going with him. She has built a life that she loves on the ship she is on and doesn’t want to leave.
The story ends with the duplicate commander leaving the ship and telling the commander to take care of the counselor.
It was a very good science fiction story. This might be the genre for you if you got the idea of the story and was interested in it. I enjoyed it myself even though I am not a real science fiction fan.