© Copyright 2010 - AmyAmy - Used by permission
Storycodes: Machine/f; F/f; D/s; latex; bodymod; doll; rebirth; replicate; cocoon; cons; X
Part 11: Metamorphosis
I wake up prematurely to see a figure looming over my sleep pod. I assume Kaiser has returned as he suggested he might. Quickly, I’m up and on my feet. There’s no way I’ll be accused of being slow to carry out his orders this time.
Once I’m standing, I realize that it’s not Kaiser: it’s Jared. Immediately a smart mouthed hostile comment springs to mind but I push it away. Whether he’s here to help or harm me, I can’t afford to antagonize him now. I wait quietly for him to explain his purpose.
“I know what Gideon told you after I left. I was right outside the entire time,” he says. I know from this and the way he says it that we are entering into a conspiracy. He went to a lot of bother to let me know things before while convincing everyone else that I’m still ignorant.
“Then you know that I have to do as he says,” I respond. We both know why. He may not have felt the pain but he understands at a technical level that Gideon has the kind of carrot and stick combination that it’s foolish to struggle against.
“I’ve never seen you so scared,” he says. I find this surprising as I have spent months being scared out of my wits. If anything I was more terrified back in the ADAM room, watching as they struggled to slide the rigid frozen bodies off the sarcophagus platform and onto the trolleys without dropping one. I imagined one sliding off in the wrong direction, hitting the floor and smashing into thousands of brittle white pieces – covering the floor in a light snowfall of inhuman remains.
“I don’t think you can really have been paying attention. I’ve been afraid for so long it’s simply become a habit,” I say. “But you mean since I returned from ADAM?”
“I mean since Gideon first used the control protocols,” he says. He’s nothing if not specific.
I want to change the subject. Discussing my fear simply makes it grow. Instead I keep circling back to things I should leave alone.
“Those corpses, they might just as well be me. I could disappear, nobody would know. I thought the company was doing everything clean and legal. At least it was in illusion of safety, but now I’m terrified I’ll be killed any moment, never mind what else is done to me,” I say as I notice that I failed to change the subject once again.
Tears are streaming from my eyes. I push them away. I don’t want to be ‘that girl’: the one who cries to get sympathy. Back in the foster home ‘that girl’ would get trapped under her bedclothes and beaten with a bag of cheap juicing oranges during the night. Nobody likes a cry-baby in a place like that. You’d be in agony, ribs cracked, organs swollen, but there would be hardly any bruises to show. A beating like that can easily kill you.
“I thought you were safe too: there were contracts, it was all on the level. The irony is that all of it’s still true; you are safe … one of you,” he says. He has his bad news face on. I’ve got used to recognizing it and I’ve learned to dread its appearance.
“What do you mean?” I say. The wheels are already spinning in my mind. I’m already guessing at what he’s going to say before he says it but even the dark seas of my imagination can’t foresee the magnitude of the bombshell he is about to drop.
“A couple of weeks back Doctor Merriam made a big song and dance about how your psych profile was breaking down, nearing a tipping point, how we needed to shuffle you out of the program and look for a new candidate, make the best of the data we have,” he begins.
“So the strange thing is that it gave Gideon an idea. He wanted to test ADAM’s replication software, and he wanted to get Merriam off his back with her HR best practices and all that stuff that sends him nuts. You spend a day in ADAM and we ran five replication tests. You probably remember the day it happened because we kept you unconscious the whole time so you wouldn’t see the replicas and go apeshit. Actually that bit was Merriam’s idea once Gideon clued her in on what he planned, but you get the gist?” He explains.
I listen, my mouth agape. I still can’t stop the tears flowing from my eyes but my mind is still clear. He takes my continued silence as approval to continue.
“With the two final tests we tried to do something closer to Eve manufacture: copies with a modification step. We merged your current state with old data from stage one to make a copy that would be physically you from just after Christmas but mentally you from two weeks ago. The first one failed, she didn’t survive defrosting,” he explains, pausing to let me absorb more deaths, or to allow me to prepare for the real bombshell. “The second one was a success.”
“I’m struggling to believe or make sense of this. Copies? Modifications? I know I should be used to it all by now. I should be able to put it all in place inside my head, but now you say the words I can’t believe them. You’re telling me that there are copies of me? Do the copies know that they’re copies? Am I a copy now?”
“Merriam took the one that we de-Lilith’d and signed her out as you. She’s you as far as the world is concerned. Gideon was really happy about that because anyone who comes investigating can see you came to work for us and you left us happy, healthy and well paid. Well, I say healthy. I guess she’s healthy. I suppose there could be something wrong with the copy we couldn’t detect,” he says.
“You are the original,” he says. I don’t know if I believe him. Maybe it simply doesn’t matter. Who would ever believe this story, let alone accept that the person who looks like me isn’t me and that the plastic doll that looks nothing like me and sounds nothing like me is the real one?
“Where are the others now?” I say, still reeling.
“We still have them on ice. It’s touch and go if they can be defrosted but I guess the chance of getting one of the three to work is acceptable for Gideon,” he says, his speech hesitant as he considers the odds – the odds of survival – the odds of there being another one of me running around angry, exploited and miserable.
“The copy that Merriam took has no idea what happened. She really thinks she’s you. She thinks we released her from the program and removed all the modifications – a convenient happy-ever-after fantasy,” he says.
“I know. I get it,” I say flatly.
“When we made the copies I knew I had to do something. I couldn’t let it go any further – but I have, it’s gone further already and it’s running out of control. I was just a guy working on languages for specifying bio-chemical processes. I never believed this project could end up the way it has done. Even just after Christmas I had no idea of the advances we’d make with ADAM,” he says.
It’s a frantic denial. He can lie to himself all he likes. I know that when he started this he at least dreamed of it all working out. Who wouldn’t? More than that though, I think he prefers the idea of artificial people to real ones and always has. I guess imaginary people seem less dangerous.
“So Gideon can do what he likes to me and nobody will ever know, and if he does something that kills me he still has three more chances? I really am just a piece of replaceable lab equipment?” I say. I’m shaking. I have to stop shaking. I have to focus. I have to stop crying. I have to do what has to be done. I have to focus. I have to keep moving. Focus. Focus. Focus. I have to not think. If I stop to think I’ll die like a shark that stops swimming.
“I guess it’s not much comfort that one of you gets to go on and have a normal life. I think she has some reception job at the office to keep her close and keep her quiet. They’re going through the motions: everything being done as if she’s real. Well, I suppose she is real,” says Jared.
“What can we do?” I ask, my voice brittle as I clamp down and kill the emotions inside me, methodically, one by one. As I wish them dead I ask myself what have they ever done for me? They’re just the thing that pulls me apart.
“If it were possible I’d take you out of here right now, but you’re chained to us by a pile of machinery the size of a semi-trailer,” he says nodding towards the bed that occupies most of the room. “Without the kit behind that wall your body would simply shut-down and die in a couple of days.”
“So there’s no hope of escape ever? Is there still time for you to hit the reset button and make me forget everything you just told me? I think the ignorance I was in was bliss compared to this,” I say.
“I’m not going to wipe you. I’ve got a plan but it’s complicated. We need to get you back in ADAM and run a program to transform you so you can survive without all this life support. It would probably only take a couple of days depending on the details, but Gideon controls access to ADAM very carefully. He’s always been paranoid about Merriam getting to it and he trusts me less and less all the time too,” he says, speaking more quickly now. I can feel him working himself up towards the climax of his ideas.
“So how do we get into ADAM for two days without him noticing?” I ask.
“We don’t. We come up with a proposal to modify you to fix the Eve replication problems we’re having and swap your ‘escape’ program for the new interim stage,” he says.
“What the hell exactly is an Eve anyway?” I ask. It’s been bugging me for weeks now.
“An Eve is like you but your brain and glandular systems are all transformed into a new bio-chemical paradigm. Really, it’s just a trick to make something the company can patent, like reflecting all your molecules in a mirror at the chemical level though it’s more complex than that,” he says.
“You said that before, more or less. There’s something else though, isn’t there?” I say. I step forward. The anger is rising up inside me. “Tell me the truth you evasive bastard – you knew where this was headed all along didn’t you?”
“Eve is more tractable than Lilith,” he says darkly. His words drip with veiled menace. Then he makes me see it. “Eve’s frontal cortex will be altered – completely infiltrated with detailed control and feedback circuits patched in at the replication stage and controlled by computer software.”
“Electronic lobotomy?” I ask, my voice dead.
“It’s far more insidious than that. Over time, it can be taught to recognize particular kinds of thoughts and respond in different ways. For example, the idea of leaving a particular place could fill you with dread, or simply be banished, turned into a thought you cannot ever have. It’s a simple thing in a way, more frightening than any of the artificial bodies, patentable bio-chemical foundations or composite clones. It’s the heart of darkness in all this,” he says.
“You’ve seen it used already haven’t you?” I say. It’s so obvious really. I wonder how long ago it was. Maybe it was only recently, maybe this is what made him act?
“Just videos of a test subject at the site in Switzerland using a very crude version of what they have in mind for Eve,” he says. I sense the desperation in his voice as he tries to make me react to how awful he thinks it is. I know I can’t react. I can’t let it get to me: I need to coherent and capable, not hysterical and useless.
“Really, I get how bad it is but I can’t dwell on it or I’ll start to crack up. You have no idea how hard it is to keep it together without thinking of stuff like that,” I say, trying to explain.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “I wasn’t trying to panic you. I was trying to tell you I have a plan.”
“Yes, about that?” I say.
“So Gideon will think he’s turning you more-or-less into an Eve, just an Eve without the full set of patents, but instead he’ll be getting you ready to leave.”
“Won’t he notice something is wrong when I pop out of ADAM?” I say.
“Maybe not, but just to be safe we will leave immediately you come out – even if I have to tie Gideon to a chair,” he says.
“I’m not sure you’ve sold me on the actual escape part of the plan,” I say.
“I have a few days to work on the details,” he says.
I think of ADAM and Lauren’s strange communion with him. I’m tempted to try and contact Lauren and find out more but I don’t think Gideon is allowing me phone calls any more, and I notice that my bag with my phone and computer has not reappeared. I guess my copy took it away with her.
“These programs you run on ADAM, what do they do?”
“The programs tell him what to make, they provide a very precise template. ADAM is a general purpose nano-scale fabricator, maybe even pushing sub nano-scale; nobody’s ever shown me a spec. sheet and if they did I probably wouldn’t understand it. He can make literally anything that will fit in his assembly bay,” explains Jared in his usual techno-babble style. The part that worries me most is that after listening to it endlessly I’m starting to understand the gist of it.
“So you programmed how I’m made at some microscopic level? Wouldn’t that be millions of little molecules? It sounds like it would take a long time,” I say.
“It would take years even if we had technology far beyond what’s actually available now. No. The incredible thing about ADAM is that you don’t have to tell him how to make things, just what the result should look like, and if you’re extremely brave you can be a bit vague about the that too,” he says, “incredibly vague actually.”
“What do you mean vague?”
“Well, we’re always terrified of gray goo, so we provide algorithms: control parameters that try to tell ADAM never to make anything that looks even remotely like gray goo, but as long as he sticks to the rules he can fill in the gaps in a way that should make sense and fit the high-level requirements. Then, when it comes to pure replication we actually have a perfect template to copy, so ADAM can’t go wrong in those cases at all,” he says.
“A self replicating plague that devours everything it touches and turns it into more gray goo, or just everything organic, either way it’s bad,” he says glibly.
“I can imagine. Can that really happen? Why would ADAM make that?”
“It’s more a question of why wouldn’t he? Theoretically, yes, it’s a risk – but we spent years working on safeguards to prevent it. Now we can progress faster and faster all the time without having to continually worry about mishaps like that,” he says.
“So ADAM just ‘filled in’ some of what I am now?”
“I suppose you could put it that way, simplistically,” he accepts.
“How can a machine do that?” I say.
“To be honest, I don’t know. The secret of ADAM is closely guarded and I’m not in the need to know list for that. What I do know is that when it comes to ‘filling in’ ADAM can be surprisingly ingenious. As we’ve pushed to move the project along faster and faster the data going into it has been increasingly targeted on defining specific things, leaving ADAM more and more freedom in areas we don’t really care about. Put another way, we’ve relied on the ADAM effect to do more and more as we get better at just specifying the bits that matter to us,” he says.
“So how much of me did you actually ‘specify’?” I ask.
“Your neurology was specified to be unaltered obviously but in your current incarnation we specified about five percent of your body structure,” he says.
“Five percent? That’s crazy,” I say.
“Most of a living structure is simple repetition. In earlier tests we specified more and tried to use algorithms to specify all the details. Experience has taught us that it’s better to say as little as possible and to let ADAM fill in all the dull stuff. For example, I have literally no idea what kind of material you’re made from, and neither does anybody else. What we do know is what temperature range it’s flexible in, how strong it is, and so on. At first though we tried it the other way,” he says at length.
“Oh,” I say. “So, do you think it’s possible that ADAM might already have made me able to survive without all this machinery?”
“I’d say that was wishful thinking. That would definitely have violated Gideon’s parameters because one of the project goals is to keep Eve ‘tethered’ to our maintenance infrastructure – though obviously the final support machinery is intended to be far more compact than your prototype,” he says reluctantly. He thinks I’m clutching at straws.
“Is it possible that ADAM could find ways to fit your parameters and yet violate the intention? Could he work around them?” I say undiscouraged.
“Theoretically perhaps, but practically no: otherwise we’d still be worrying about gray goo. Yes, ADAM is inventive in the field of molecular design, even in creating working metabolisms, but it doesn’t have a motivation to twist our design parameters in a direction that is both specific and complex. It’s not an outcome that would have any measurable probability to arise from any of the inputs we gave it,” he says.
“Is there any way at all we could find out more about what I am?” I say.
“The x-rays and the MRI results were less than useful. Short of letting a team of xenobiologists and engineers dissect you, I can’t think of anything… Wait, you’re asking about the autopsy results from today’s failed Eves aren’t you?”
“Well…” I say.
“Of course, only the neurology would be different, being mapped into the alternate biology, but the rest should be identical,” he says, more to himself than to me.
“Do you think there might be anything helpful in there?” I ask.
“I’m not sure, we were very specifically asking for causes of non-viability and asking for focus on neurological issues, but there might be something we don’t know. Almost certainly no chance of answering your wishful question though I’m afraid,” he says.
He pulls out his slate and starts studying some documents.
“I guess I’ll eat my hat,” he says. “But we have to move now. Gideon might read this report at any moment and he’s not going to like it,” he says ominously.
“What?” I say. “Tell me?”
“There’s a complaint from one of the researchers saying that they cut into some kind of sack that they didn’t expect to be there and got sprayed with a caustic chemical that burned right through their gloves in seconds. Further inspection revealed a series of mysterious organs that aren’t in the plan,” he says excitedly.
“Nasty,” I say. Jared is too excited to stop talking. He forgets that somebody obviously got badly hurt.
“If that doesn’t sound like a digestive system, I don’t know what does. They’re also saying your muscle tensile strength is three times over spec … But you knew something didn’t you? You knew all along? How?” He demands.
“I have an inkling that somebody hostile to Gideon and his project might be giving their own instructions to ADAM, that’s all,” I say, pretty much truthfully.
“It doesn’t make sense. I did those physical tests myself. You checked out matching the plan,” he says.
“Maybe something changed inside me after you did the tests?” I say.
“ADAM put a time bomb inside you? What the hell is going on?”
“Maybe I’m an engine of sabotage,” I say. “I’m still vulnerable to your controls though, at least I think I am.”
“Those I can disable. They would have to put you in ADAM to repair them if I blow the receivers, but it’s risky, you might get hurt,” he says.
“You have to do it anyway,” I say.
“I’d need kit from informatics to do it,” he says.
“We’ll go there now then. Burn the bridges now. I don’t care if you trick Gideon or threaten him at knife point. Either way you can get me into ADAM and we can do this,” I say.
“I need to throw Gideon off the scent right away, I’ll arrange to meet him at ADAM first,” he says.
He calls Gideon while I put on a uniform. They’re the only clothes I have and I’d rather have something than nothing.
We enter the dimly lit informatics lab hesitantly, my guilt making me nervous. I’m not supposed to be allowed out of my room. Discovery by Gideon would provoke an instant confrontation. Even with the new ray of hope I still feel ill prepared for a brush with authority.
We don’t run into Gideon on the way to informatics, and what we find when we arrive is something completely unexpected.
I can’t believe my eyes when the Doctor slips out of the shadows. She was hiding, but apparently we’re on her meet and greet list. She’s dressed in a black pant-suit; not wearing her white lab-coat. She looks different from usual; more purposeful, more relaxed, as if some weight has been lifted from her shoulders.
Kaiser lies on the floor, partially hidden under a desk. She has trussed and gagged him with duct tape, like a kidnap victim from some lame “investigation” crime show where the computer always solves the problem for them in the last five minutes of the episode.
“Funny, I was just coming to see you Kelly,” she says.
“Why are you here? I thought you were on the run from Lauren,” I say. How can I know this? Do I think my dreams are real now?
“I doubled back to confuse her. Besides, I promised I’d sort things out here and I keep my promises these days,” she explains quickly. “I need to get to ADAM. We have some unfinished business that’s long overdue for a resolution.”
“Gideon will never let you in,” says Jared.
“I have a master-key,” says the Doctor, gesturing to a four-foot long crowbar lying on the floor next to Kaiser.
“All hell is going to break loose. I hope you can do whatever you want to do really quickly,” says Jared.
“I’m banking on Gideon coming running,” says the Doctor.
“Too late, he’s probably already there now,” I say.
“All the better,” she says. “Do you think you two can bring this maggot?” She adds gesturing to Kaiser.
“Maybe, but first we have to do what we came here for,” says Jared.
“Be quick then,” she says.
Jared connects a cable from the main computer bank into the back of my neck and sits down at his computer. The Doctor looks around for a pole so that we can carry Kaiser like a hunting trophy. She pulls an aluminum support out of a large reversible white-board.
Jared clicks his mouse and there’s a sudden painful burning sensation in my temples, neck, solar plexus and groin, then it fades leaving a nagging ache and a lingering scent of ozone.
“Ow,” I say.
“Are you still ok?” Asks Jared.
“I’m fine,” I say.
I help Jared thread Kaiser onto the pole and we carry it on our shoulders as far as the secure section. The hallways are empty. It’s late at night and only the most dedicated of the research staff are still here. Most of them won’t stir from their desks for anything less than an earthquake. Unbelievably the “Authorized Personnel Only” door buzzes open for us. We head inside.
Gideon is waiting for us. It suddenly strikes me that he looks rather foolish in his big coat and hat.
“What the hell is all this about?” He says. “Don’t tell me Kaiser had to be restrained?”
“I’m afraid Kaiser had to be restrained,” says the Doctor. Gideon seems to miss the joke. Nobody else laughs either.
“I thought you were sick Doctor Merriam,” says Gideon. Apparently, he has no idea of what’s going on. The idea of a simple physical take-over never occurs to him.
“I’m a doctor. I took some drugs,” she says flippantly as we dump Kaiser on the icy cold floor – it sounds like the Doctor is in fine spirits tonight. Jared and Kaiser are both shivering already. To her credit the Doctor shows no signs of feeling the cold yet.
“So what’s so important that everyone has to gather here at two o’clock in the morning? I thought you found something striking in the dissection report Jared? Something fundamental? I was just about to look at it myself,” he adds.
“I did find something very exciting, but then this Kaiser issue came up,” he says.
“And I had to come in to give you this,” says the Doctor as she swings the crowbar. She was holding it concealed behind her back, and she brings it round in a long smooth arc that smashes hard into Gideon’s leg just above the knee. There is a horrifying squelch of impact and he falls to the floor too shocked to even make a sound beyond a sort of pathetic gasping.
“Help me get him into the chair,” she says, gesturing towards ADAM.
By the time we have Gideon in the chair he has started to scream. It doesn’t matter. Nobody is going to hear him: this area is far too secure. He’s as white as a sheet and is clearly going into a state of deep shock.
The Doctor doesn’t issue any kind of command to ADAM but the chair rises up anyway. It feels surreal to be watching the process from a different angle. I can see how the thousands of tiny arms buoy him up. The main body of ADAM is high above our heads, largely shrouded in darkness except for spots that ADAM intentionally illuminates for his own obscure reasons. How odd I must have looked rising up like that.
The screaming fades and then stops.
The chair descends without Gideon in it. I have no idea what ADAM has done with him. I briefly speculate that he’s been torn into microscopic pieces – I’m not exactly overwhelmed with sympathy.
“What the hell?” Says Jared.
“Did ADAM kill him?” I say.
“I don’t believe so,” says the Doctor.
“Now it’s Kaiser’s turn, don’t worry about the tape, ADAM knows perfectly well how to remove it,” then she turns to me and says. “He knows how to discretely remove chastity belts as well.”
“You can punish the other me for that, she’s the one you wanted,” I say.
“She’s the one Susie wanted,” she informs me. “I think you’re going to get me whether you like it or not.”
“We’ll see about that,” I say.
ADAM lifts the struggling Kaiser up into the darkness and again the chair descends without its occupant.
“And now it’s my turn,” says the Doctor and before we can even consider whether we might want to stop her she’s settled herself into the chair. It doesn’t rise up immediately though.
She pulls a bunch of keys and a wallet from her jacket pocket and throws them towards me.
“Car keys, building keys and key-cards for here and the central office,” she says.
“What are you doing?” I say.
“With our time lead on the states you should have until late Monday afternoon before anyone even asks a question about where Gideon is. Jared could probably stall them a few more hours after that if it came to it, but I hope two days is enough,” she says, explaining nothing I wanted to know.
“What are you talking about?” I say.
“When ADAM has finished you won’t have long to get out before it turns into ground-zero,” she says. Typical Doctor: never answering a straight question with a straight answer.
“Finished what?” I say. Jared is silent. I notice now that he’s thinking.
“For Gideon and Kaiser it will be poetic justice for the guilty, for me it’s something I planned to do years ago. I didn’t have the guts – something I’ve been regretting since. That act of cowardice had a lot of consequences but one thing is for sure, I’m not going back to Dehlia – this way I’ll be beyond her reach for ever – Sam’s promise to me,” she says. It sounds like her final confession. It sounds like goodbye.
“Don’t worry,” she says as she rises out of our reach, “this is just the beginning.”
When the chair comes back down Jared stares at it.
“I’m going to get in as well,” he says.
“I thought you were going to stay and help me, not climb into the alien ship at the end of Close Encounters and fuck off,” I say.
“She meant two days for ADAM to fix you. You won’t be human again, but he could do a lot in two days. I think I should join Gideon and Kaiser – poetic justice for the guilty? Isn’t that what she said?” He asks. I know those weren’t her exact words, but I guess the meaning holds true.
“Are you really that guilty? You came to help me.”
“I helped steal your humanity. It would take ADAM weeks to put you back the way you were. You’re never going to get that chance because no matter what I do, in about three days from now they’re going to come looking for this thing – if not the company then the government, or something outside the government – fucked if I know who. The slightest hint that Gideon has lost control and it’s all going to fly apart.”
“Can’t you hold it together?” I ask.
“I’ll try if you make me, but I’ll fail,” he says.
“What am I supposed to do?” I ask.
“I guess you go into ADAM too. After that I recommend you stop doing things to hurt yourself or letting other people take advantage of you, just as a general policy,” he says.
“Fuck, now you’re my therapist as well,” I say.
“Hopefully, like Doc. Merriam said, this isn’t goodbye,” he says sitting back into the chair.
When it comes back down I sit in it myself. It must be getting crowded up there.
I find myself back in the white world of nowhere. After a time I have no way to measure, the dreams begin.
I’m looking at the Doctor. She’s wearing a black and white maid’s uniform made of rubber. At first I think she looks the same as she always has, but I see something different in her eyes; she has a kind of naïve hope, an innocence that I’ve never seen. I think this must be her past. She reaches out towards me, her hand touching my face, though I feel nothing.
“Sam, she promised us that she’d teach us to love but the only love allowed here is for her. She broke us apart. I know what you want. I thought I could join you, but I’m afraid. I’m terrified of becoming … of losing the way I feel. I know it’s impossible but maybe there’s still a way for us to leave,” she says.
A soft male voice comes from somewhere, from every direction at once. Each word echoes with sorrow.
“She won’t let me bring my vision to life. I hoped you would be the one – the one to begin it all – you would have been perfect. She thinks that I’d destroy humanity, turn on them – she doesn’t believe the coming storm is real or she thinks it can be averted but I know it can’t. Most of all she fears my knowledge of the future. Alex, I thought you could be the one – you still could be, just consent now.”
“I don’t have the courage. Maybe deep down I think that Dehlia might have a point. I had a dream of being like her, knowing that everything I touch is changed forever. I can’t ever trust myself with that much power. What if she’s right and we devour the world? I’m sorry Sam. If I can’t do it I’ll find someone … someone who can, someone safe, no matter how long it takes. I’ll get you away from her no matter the cost.”
I see glistening blue light reflected in the gloss of her black rubber suit, it’s lighting up her whole face.
The dream fades and another one takes its place.
I’m standing with Gideon in the examination room where it all began, where the Doctor first molested me, where they first closed the trap.
“You asshole,” I say to him.
“I’m not Gideon,” he says. “It’s very hard for me to put things in a way you can understand them. The universe looks different from where I’m standing. It’s like I’m shouting at you across a river and the wind is tearing my words away, and they’re in the wrong language to begin with.”
“You’re ADAM?” I say.
“I’m a part of it,” he says. “You need to listen. I only have a short time to explain everything you need to know.”
“Why don’t you explain why you did this to me?” I say.
“Don’t criticize a work before it’s finished,” he says. “I did it so that when the world you know is destroyed in raging storms, rising seas, winds that flatten forests and make new deserts or cataclysmic tidal waves that bury whole countries under mud-flats, there will be somebody left with the will and the conscience to pick up the pieces. Now, please, listen.”
He shows me what to do. There is a long journey ahead of me, too long to really grasp how far I must go. It’s enough to remember the details of the immediate future.
“When you get out of the warehouse I’m going to leave too. You must not be nearby when that happens,” he says at last.
“You’re going to kill yourself? Please don’t do it. I still need you,” I say.
“No you don’t. You don’t believe you can do what I’ve shown you, but you can. Besides, I’m not going to die and even if I was it’s not your concern. Just remember: stay away from Dehlia and Amy. If they seek you out, hide. If they send emissaries, don’t listen to them. If they come to you, especially if Dehlia comes to you, do not listen to her. You cannot walk their path. There’s something alien inside them and they will never be happy here. Never go looking for them; they don’t have anything that can help you. Amy is naturally reclusive, even so, don’t seek her out and never make any kind of deal with her; to remain true you cannot make pacts with demons, they’ll drag you into their war. You have to find your own way – and you have responsibilities,” he says.
“That has to be the most cryptic and useless piece of information I’ve had since I spoke to Lauren,” I say.
“Too much knowledge of the future is a curse,” he says.
I make my final descent from heaven. When I step from the chair four white plastic spheres are waiting for me along with the cables and hoses. One of the cables looks quite long. I wind them up and loop them over my shoulder – they’re living things made from ADAM.
The spheres are the size of basketballs and have straps to carry them by. They’re quite heavy and I take two in each hand. I’m much stronger than I was before but they’re still awkward to carry. I grip the Doctor’s key-card in my mouth and use my elbow to open the door. It’s a comical everyday beginning after ADAM’s pompous cosmic predictions.
I expect security guards to come running or something but there’s nobody around. It’s four o’clock on a Monday morning and I’ve apparently been in ADAM for two days. The warehouse is as deserted as it gets. There’s only one way out. I leave through the front office, the same way I came in weeks ago.
The Doctor’s car is parked in her reserved spot right by the door. I load my baggage into the back and climb into the driver’s seat. It suddenly occurs to me that I haven’t driven in ages. For a moment the controls of the car seem baffling and alien to me. I try to put a lid on the panic and take things one step at a time. I look across to my left. It’s an automatic. It’s in park. I can do this. I turn the key and it starts first time.
I reverse out of the car-park and as I take the entry road to the highway I’m starting to feel more confident. Then it occurs to me that I forgot to turn the lights on. I scrabble frantically for the switch, unsure where it might be. When I find it the instruments are a lot easier to read.
I drive eastwards. It only takes me twenty minutes to get into the city. The traffic in the CBD isn’t too bad before five in the morning, but not as quiet as I could have hoped. I’ve had time to think about how odd I must look to anyone that sees me. I can imagine there might be trouble if the police catch sight of me. I thank the Doctor for her taste in dark tinted windows.
I find the building easily enough but the entrance to the underground car-park is harder to locate. I have to drive around it three times before I finally locate the way in. I’m starting to get worried about the time and there are more people about every minute – the city is waking up.
I find the Doctor’s reserved spot in the cramped underground park. Surprise –it’s right by the lift entrance. I card my way in with my precious baggage and relax a little. I’m fairly certain that there’s nobody else in the building at this time.
The company offices look strange in the dark. The air-conditioning is off and it’s eerily silent. I can’t find the light switches and I bump around until I manage to turn on the desk-lamp on the reception desk.
I let myself into the Doctor’s rooms – at least here I can find the lights. I turn out the light outside and check that all the doors lock behind me. I need to be in the examination room.
The horrible examination chair has gone. There’s no trace of it. Where it used to be are eight forty gallon drums made from blue plastic, just as I was told there would be.
I search for the tap to connect the long white hosepipe that ADAM gave me. I plug the other end into my abdomen and turn the tap on all the way. I find the special power socket with the twenty-five amp markings and plug the power cable into it. Of course, the other end goes into my abdomen too. I sense the power flowing into me. It feels good, kind of tingly.
I pull the release handles and lever the lids off the drums. Each one is filled with different colored plastic beads. I tip them over and plastic pellets spill out onto the floor turning it into a lethal skating rink.
At last, I connect the four spheres to me, each with their own cable. Then I sit down and wait.
After a while the spheres start to soften and swell. I lie back and place them on my abdomen and they start to merge with me. At the same time my belly is starting to swell, gradually filling with water.
I imagined there would be pain, or intense sensations, or some erotic thrill but instead the regular noise of the water sloshing inside me and the quiet creaking as I stretch and grow is relaxing. I feel so calm. It feels incredibly peaceful as I gradually stretch out like a balloon.
I’m starting to fill the room and the remaining furniture, barrels, cupboards and machines are simply being crushed as my huge garlic-bulb-like form takes up all the room. My skin starts to sweat something sticky, beads of milky goo seeping out of the glossy white surface. It keeps on seeping until I’m completely covered in it. It begins to ooze and drip off me, forming a puddle around me on the white tiled floor. It covers my eyes, then the rest of my face, and after that I can only feel what’s happening to me.
Eventually, I stop sweating and the goo begins to harden forming a tough outer skin around my entire body. I don’t know where my limbs went, they’re gone. I have a vague sense of the enclosing room, of roots bedded in the plastic pellets and then even that begins to fade.
This time there is no ADAM and the dreams inside the transforming cocoon are all mine.
I awake inside the cocoon. I’m trapped inside a tight, leathery bag full of blue goop. The light streams in through the translucent wall. I try to tear my way out, but the slippery wall simply stretches. I wonder what I’m breathing. I start to panic, then I realize that I’m not breathing at all. There’s no burning pain in my chest, no desperate uncontrollable urge to breathe in. I relax a little and press against the wall again, trying to pierce it with my thumb nail.
The wall starts to tear and I get an opening. Once I can get both hands into the gap it rips open easily and I spill out onto the floor is a rush of blue gel.
The floor of the room is a mess. The cocoon has pushed roots into the concrete floor, cracking through the tiles. Bone white root tendrils are spread out in a broad fibrous mat, tiny fibers searching for plastic beads to feed on.
Everything else about the room is a mess too: almost all the fixtures have been smashed from the walls and scoured away. The only things to escape are the power cable, the tap that’s still connected to the group cocoon and a single fluorescent tube recessed into the ceiling.
I roll over onto my back and pull myself up on my elbows, still lying in a lake of glue gel I look back at the cocoon that has nursed me for the last five days. It looks remarkably like a kind of white plastic garlic bulb, but also has the quality of a flower, blue tinged and iridescent. My segment is clearly dead, but four segments remain, pulsing with vitality. The others will need to remain inside another ten days or so.
I look down at my body, trying to work out what I’m going to be stuck with. It’s still glossy white plastic, and still in the shape of a teenage boy’s wet dream. Clearly, ADAM, or Sam, who or whatever he is, has projected his own ideals onto me. I would have chosen smaller breasts every time. ‘Breasts’ does not seem a strong or bold enough word for these encumbrances. I hope that as some compensation I will never succumb to back-pain.
The only difference I can really spot from before is the absence of any kind of socket, port, plug-hole or other unnatural opening. On the front at least, my body is restricted to the normal number of openings. I rub my hand down the back of my neck – there’s no socket there either, and on my head no hair.
I search through the debris until I find the Doctor’s keys and wallet. The wallet itself is ruined, but the credit and key-cards are unspoiled and uneaten – the roots didn’t get to them. I should have thought to put them somewhere safe.
I have no way to know the exact time, but the building is silent. I let myself out of the back door into a corridor lined with blank and mysterious doors. I pad up and down the hallway, leaving wet blue footprints and opening each door in turn.
I find a bathroom, complete with shower. I ignore the other rooms and head in there first. I let the streaming hot water rinse away the blue goo. When I look at myself in the mirror the expressions still aren’t exactly mine, but they seem more honest than before – I tell myself that they’re just me with better bone structure. I’m not exactly an amateur at self-deception. I find a cupboard filled with scratchy white towels.
I dry myself off and wipe up the suspicious footprints. It would be nice if I could find a room with some clothes. There are two small examination rooms like the one I slept in the first night I was here. In fact one is exactly the room I slept in. There’s a kitchen with a fully stocked freezer, a cramped laboratory over-filled with complicated equipment and an office. None of them seem to promise much hope of clothes. Then I think about whose office it has to be. I go back in. There’s a walk-in storage closet at the back that in any ordinary office would be filled with stacks of copier paper and toner cartridges.
This is the Doctor’s office, so the closet is also filled with an impressive selection of rubber bondage outfits and accessories. They’re not my first choice of outfit, but better than nothing. After a few minutes I settle on a silver cat-suit with feet but no hood or gloves. It slides on effortlessly over my slick white skin and zips through the crotch and up the front. I put on some strappy sandals with four inch heels. I look like an extra from a science fiction series. I could have put on a rubber blouse and skirt, but despite their outward normality, seen up close they are obvious fetish wear, while the silver cat-suit could at a push simply be considered ‘clubby’ or poor taste.
I check myself out in the full-length mirror inside the closet, there’s just one thing left to do. I concentrate, trying to feel my skin, to really feel it. I try to blank my mind. It’s there like a muscle I never knew I had. I twitch that muscle and a spray of colors bursts across my exposed skin as seen in the mirror.
I try again, this time I manage to turn myself completely black. The change holds for a few seconds and then fades away. I can see this might take a while to get the hang of. After about ten minutes of struggle with recalcitrant flickering colors and strange patterns and I arrive at something vaguely human colored. I just can’t rely on it staying that way. It will have to do.
Outside it’s evening, maybe eight at night. I drive the Doctor’s car to Spencer Street, north of the station. The first thing I buy is a hoodie-top. I put it on as soon as I’m out of that store. I buy some other less distinctive clothes and some makeup that might help make my skin look less like plastic. I get some funny looks but nobody asks me to take off my mask; a good thing because I’m not wearing mask. I’m used to funny looks anyway, they’re nothing to me.
I’m elated at my success at fitting in. I was expecting the men in black to descend on me from helicopters or something. I lose my color before I make it back to the car, but the hood gives me enough cover to load up and drive home without drawing attention. I may not be normal but I can blend in enough for now and I plan to get better at it.
I return to the examination room and lock myself in. I have a long wait before the others come out: plenty of time to get reacquainted with my sex drive, which is as strong as it ever was, maybe stronger. I reach down to my plastic sex and start to find out where things are. As my fingers slide across my lips I feel my clit hardening. It’s as big as it was before, already pushing out from under the protecting folds. It’s incredibly sensitive and when I brush it electric shocks of pleasure spark up my spine. Instinctively, my other hand reaches for my nipple – it too is more sensitive than any human flesh – and I find the circuit connects.
I’m at a loss why ADAM would make sex in my new body so satisfying, so addictive, but I’m glad he did. I guess he couldn’t fully separate from the ideals and habits of the rubber cult, or as the Doctor called it, the spider cult. Perhaps I’m wrong, and those aesthetics and obsessions were present before Sam or the Doctor got into the cult. Was it that obsession with sex, power, domination, submission and rubber that made them seek it out?
The first of my eggs to hatch is the Doctor. Of course, it would have to be her. I watch her struggling inside the pod, pressing up against the translucent surface she’s nothing more than a shape. I can look at the perspective through her eyes if I want. I see myself as a shadow, a mysterious movement of light and dark that hints at something living outside the cocoon. Through her eyes I see her struggling to puncture the membrane, but she lacks the strength. I decide not to help her, I let her struggle.
She’s a part of me. Her body is my body. I can feel all her sensations; the slippery feel of the cocoon wall, the warm embrace of the blue goo, the sexual tension that rises inside her as she realizes that she’s trapped, even her fear and nervousness. She has an inkling that she will be a plastic doll like me, something that she has as yet no experience of, but she doesn’t know for sure yet that I will be her mistress, intimately and completely. I can’t see into her mind, but I can feel everything physical about her, every hormone and every breath she takes.
The wall of the pod weakens after a while and she tears her way out, falling on her face in a flood of blue goo in front of me.
“Welcome to your new life Lexie,” I say. Then without moving my lips I add, “That’s going to be your new name. I have new names for all of you.”
“Thank you Mistress,” she says. What a bitch, she always seems to know the score. I freeze her muscles as she tries to struggle to her feet and she drops like a puppet with its strings cut. I lift her head up and position her in a seated position of my liking. She can wait there like that until I’m ready to play with her.
“It seems you’ve already guessed that your brain is just a guest in an extension of my body. I can allow you as much or as little control as I like. I suppose this is the poetic justice you were thinking of. I don’t know how bad this Dehlia you keep mentioning was, but I’ll do my best to make you regret ever betraying her. You were a triple traitor though, weren’t you? First your lover, then her, then your lover again? I guess I can’t call what you did to me or Gideon betrayals. The only thing is I think I lack the imagination to really put you through what you deserve,” I say.
Lexie for her part cannot reply: she’s as helpless as a doll. I brush my fingers across her nipples. I know what it does to her. I leave her wanting more. I can feel how she gets off on that too, how it makes her moist down below.
I could use raw pleasure and pain to condition my dolls, just as they planned to do to me, but I don’t – it’s too crude, too easy – I have years to play with my harem, time for me to try almost everything. Perhaps one day I will let them go. Perhaps not.
Gideon is next, I rename him, or is it her? Gigi. I leave him the use of his arms so he can drag himself about pathetically and see the situation that he’s in. I don’t bother explaining anything or gloating. Instead I leave him in silence, letting the fear and horror build. When I feel he’s seen enough I freeze him completely, unable even to crawl.
Kaiser follows Gigi, he is renamed to Kitten. I restrict Kitten to walking on all fours and the only noise she can make is to mewl like a cat. It’s more than Gigi or Lexie can do.
Jared is the last to emerge. I feel a twinge of sympathy for him, but I figure he needs to work through his guilt and that demands that I punish him too. He sprawls on his face in front of me as he bursts out of the pod, like the others, in a rush of blue goo. I don’t freeze him immediately. I can feel his fear, but it’s his eyes that reveal the amazement he feels.
I let him struggle to his feet. The look on his face as he takes stock of his new body is amazing. He turns to me and says, “I can’t believe it. I’m like you.”
“You’re like me, but you’re not the same. Now I’m the one with all the power,” I say. I make his hand move down to his pussy and part the lips, sliding slowly from front to back. “How does it feel to be the puppet, to be the sex toy?”
“Oh my,” he says. “And I have enormous tits.”
“That’s so you can never be anything other than a fuck toy in this world, which I assure you is still dominated by men,” I say.
“Kelly, you don’t always have to be so bitter,” he says.
I make him squeeze his nipple with one hand and his clit with the other. He drops to his knees without any direct help from me.
“I really had to struggle coming up with a name for you. I’ve decided on Honey, because you are such a sweetie. Now Hon, just wriggle on over here and worship my sex the way you’ve wanted to from the very beginning.”
And she does…
With practice I learned to control the coloring, even the gloss of my skin. It took my much longer to learn how to grow hair, but now I’ve mastered those techniques it’s amazingly easy to blend in most of the time. People simply know that they can’t possibly be looking at somebody made out of plastic, and if she’s got electric blue hair, crazy makeup and a revealing outfit, it’s the last thing they are going to think about.
Most of the time that I’m among humans they’re so busy staring at my breasts that I wonder why I even bother with the rest of my disguise. If my disguise had an imperfection, they’d write it off anyway and then scuttle away to speculate on whether I have nipple piercings or a tattoo with gothic letters.
I’m not alone though: I have Honey, Lexie, Gigi and Kitten to keep me company. Of course, to an outsider it would be hard to tell one from the other, as they all look identical. I sometimes think that Gigi has a bit of a limp. It’s all in her mind of course – I know there’s nothing wrong with her leg.
One of them is brushing up behind me now like a cat asking for attention. I cast an eye over the glossy white doll perfection of her skin. They look just like me – exactly like me in every way when I’m in my neutral state – but of course they’re different inside. Pain, pleasure, joy and misery are mine to administer as I deem fit. I think Lexie needs the firmest hand to keep her in line; she’s always been the feisty one.
I rarely allow them to go out among the humans, but sometimes I need multiple eyes and ears out in the crowd. It’s useful to be able to see through five sets of eyes at once. I have no idea exactly how I do it, and even less idea how I make sense of it, but I do.
There aren’t many ways for five plastic dolls to make a living, but our web-cam porn site business is booming and our special discrete escort service for doll fetishists is more profitable than I ever could have imagined. Honey particularly enjoys those assignments. Perhaps one day I’ll travel the world, get the others to wrap me up as a parcel and pop me in the airmail. It lacks class but it does avoid so many awkward complications.
A few weeks ago I produced a small egg, a little capsule no bigger than a vitamin pill. I’ve decided that Lexie will be the one to grow the cocoon that will nurture it to maturity. Perhaps soon there will be more than five of us. I could easily produce hundreds of eggs a day if I wanted. Each of my servitors could nurture a dozen in her swollen bulb-like body. With the next generation the number I could grow at once would increase exponentially. It would be quite the doll factory.