Beta Clones - 1
Breathe for me please and open your eyes.
Pressure subsided when they pushed air through their nose.
In the darkness overhead, long fronds slithered down and fused to the tops of the stasis tags dotting their skin. The silver snakes sucked the round patches from their body as cold hardness touched their shoulder blades. Were they falling, or was something rising to shelve their buttocks and cradle the base of their head?
Welcome to life.
They turned and winced at their stiffness in their neck. On the slab beside them lay another Vorta. Turned on their side as if in pain, they too examined them with an equal measure of curiosity.
“How did you die?” the Vorta asked, their voice possessed a comforting lilt.
“A port nacelle overloaded on our shuttle,”
“I’m envious,” the Vorta curled up tighter. “I never visited the stars in my alpha life,”
“That shuttle was my first trip off-world,”
“I suffocated in a fire caused by a lightning strike,” said the Vorta giggling.
This sudden display of humor made Keevan laugh hysterically.
“Welcome to life,” a cheerful voice boomed.
“Go away,” Keevan mumbled.
The other Vorta covered their ears, “Must you,”
“I am Nool,” stepping between their slabs, the short chubby Vorta articulated their elevated mood by moving their body with each turn of phrase. “It’s time to get those newborn molds into the leaching pool,”
“That sounds appetizing,” Keevan sighed and the other Vorta laughed at this. “Something’s amiss, Nool. I’m hopelessly amused at this one’s amusement,”
“I find this entire moment revolting,” the Vorta beside them chuckled, “Yet I cannot stop laughing,”
Nool’s hands came together for a single clap, “You’re enhanced,”
Keevan and the other Vorta looked at one another before turning to regard Nool.
Arms pumped, “Let’s drop down into those tubs, come on!”
The slabs abruptly disappeared, dropping Keevan and the other Vorta just a few inches into a vat of churning hot water.
“An advanced warning might’ve sufficed!” groused the other Vorta.
“I understand that this is your first time being reborn,” Nool pulled a tablet from their long overcoat and read its surface. “Weyoun, but that’s no reason to be salty,”
Keevan stared at Weyoun as chest-high fluid jetted against their body.
“What’s this liquid,” Keevan’s hand cupped some and brought it up for a sniff.
“It’s a solvent,” Nool said. “It removes regenerative impurities from your new molds,”
“New?” Weyoun glanced at the reflective surface on the black tiles behind Nool. “I’m the same Vorta I was when I died,”
Keevan did the same, “That makes two of us,”
“That’s very funny, Keevan,” Nool hooted. “You’re both number two’s,”
Neither Keevan nor Weyoun smiled.
“There are some fundamental differences that we will review once you’ve had a good soak,” said Nool. “Any quick questions I can answer before I give you some alone time?”
“Keevan is it?” Weyoun asked
Keevan nodded, “Yes,”
“Nool,” Weyoun eyed Keevan. “Why does Keevan have large lush lips. I don’t have lush lips,”
“Your design is based on a combination of various progenitors,” said Nool.
“None of them had lush lips?” Weyoun asked.
“Is this problematic for you?” Nool tapped on his tablet as if taking notes. “The look of your face?”
“Yes!” Weyoun raised a hand and then marveled at it. “I have lovely hands, though. Explain to me, Nool, why I care suddenly about what I look like?”
“I’m confused as well,” Keevan’s eyes roamed Nool’s body, “I’ve an appreciation for things I didn’t before,”
“Yes,” Nool clutched the tablet to his chest and beamed. “The sensation of being emotionally affected by what you observe is a new behavioral schematic the Founders are testing on you and various others.”
“Hello Nool!” a familiar voice entered the tile room.
Keevan knew Kilana from their clone clutch on Nubas-Seven.
They filed past Nool without a stitch of clothing on their body, clearly not the Vorta they once were. Keevan glanced down they found two tiny teats on their chest. Weyoun engaged in a similar self-examination.
“What happened to Kilana’s body?” Keevan asked as Kilana walked to toward a tray of towels and robes.
“The Dominion anticipates contact with a sector of space wherein the dominant species’ divide themselves by gender type. Male, female, and intersex are the most common among these space-faring cultures,” Nool explained as if rehearsed. “Biological gendering is now part of your series of supervisors and administrators.”
Keevan joined Weyoun in watching Kilana; she bent over to retrieve a fallen towel and displayed a hairless line between two soft folds of flesh.
“Genitalia,” Weyoun gasped, wide-eyed.
“That’s gorgeous,” Keevan sighed, opening his legs. “Do I have that?”
Weyoun’s hand went into the water and did an inventory.
“My genitals aren’t like Kilana’s,” Weyoun’s eyes burned hot. “They’re hanging appendages,”
Nool cast a closed-lipped smile, “Kilana is biologically female, with a vulva-”
“—and mammary glands,” Weyoun spat.
“Those mammary glands are magnificent,” Keevan nodded. “Can I get those?”
“I’m afraid not,” Nool glimpsed his tablet. “The two of you are assigned male. Your secondary sex characteristics do not include pronounced mammary glands.”
“What’s under this thing,” Keevan asked, touching his newly formed genitals.
“Mind how much you handle those packets of flesh,” Weyoun warned. “You’ll draw blood into the larger appendage.”
“This is enjoyable,” Keevan grinned, taking the appendage into his fist.
Weyoun leaned halfway out of his tub to watch.
“Mine’s bigger,” he bragged.
Keevan’s smile faded, “Does that matter?”
“Feel beneath dangly bits,” his expression turned inquisitive. “Do you have anything else down there?”
“I don’t have a vulva, just an anus that feels no different than the one I died with,” Keevan said. “Touching the skin between them is quite pleasurable.”
Weyoun’s bright eyes glazed over as he looked past Keevan. Following his stare revealed a rotund Vorta with hanging breasts that bounced with each step she took.
“That’s Geriss 2,” Nool beamed. “She’s designed to engage a sedentary species that lives in a low-gravity environment.”
“Her mammary glands are larger than my head,” Keevan declared.
“That’s no exaggeration,” Weyoun added. “Keevan’s head is quite large,”
Keevan furrowed his brow at Weyoun.
“The cellulite on her skin is so detailed, and those stretch marks are exquisite,” Weyoun’s mouth twisted into a downward pout. “I want a body like that, Nool.”
Keevan added, “I want mammary glands like those, Nool,”
“Your design is permanently established. Only behavioral chromosomes can be altered at this juncture,” as Nool spoke, his tablet began beeping. “It looks like you’ve been leached of all amniotic vapors. It’s time to dry and dress,”
After the water drained from the tub, Keevan stood; compared to Weyoun, he was notably taller.
“I suppose overall,” Keevan teased. “Bigger is better,”
Weyoun’s tiny lips formed into a smile and his eyes narrowed. He took a swipe at Keevan’s semi-arousal, knocking it against his hip.
Following the petite Weyoun to a bench, Keevan took the robe he offered.
“I don’t see why you’re so angry, at least your head is proportionate with your body,” Keevan pulled the robe over his shoulders. “My torso is long, and my extremities are gangling.”
“There’s a beauty to being svelte,” Weyoun cinched his robe and crossed one leg over the other. “Though I prefer not seeing my ribs. I’m aware of their existence I need not be reminded when unclothed,”
Keevan sat on the bench and invaded Weyoun’s space,
“What is it, Keevan?”
“If I touch yours, will you touch mine?”
Weyoun’s eyes came to life, “I thought you’d never ask,”
Robes parted, but before they could engage in any serious body exploration, Nool’s saccharine voice invaded.
“There’s my number two’s,” they sang. “It’s time to dress those bodies and trim those head bushes!”
“You know, most caretakers can’t swim,” Keevan mumbled. “We could push Nool into that pool, and no one would know,”
“Someone would hear,” Weyoun whispered. “This one strikes me as a screamer,”
“I can hear you both,” Nool’s grin flatlined. “And I can swim.”
Weyoun and Keevan shifted uncomfortably on the bench.
“Since you’re both raging monsters,” Nool added. “You can stand at the end of the textiles line, and then dress yourselves.”