Xmas Presence...

"I want Martin in my Xmas stocking."
       "So do the rest of us!"

Simple words, you might think, but they struck a deep chord in the labyrinthine convolutions of 4-2's singularly warped brain...
asking. But nothing seemed entirely appropriate. It was no use asking 6-9 for his ideas: he'd already voiced his opposition to the plan in no uncertain terms (which was why 4-2 was working in the basement. 6-9 had no idea it existed: 4-2 had had it constructed one frantic weekend when he was away on a business trip ghost-hunting in the West Country. Yes, seriously. Only the ghost failed to put in an appearance. On that occasion, anyway...)
       Inspiration struck in the sauna. Of course! 1971, a mugging after a night out, a plastic plate to replace a shattered cheekbone....
       'If Jehovah can do it with ribs and dust, I don't see why I can't with a cheekbone', muttered 4-2 to the rack of test-tubes fizzing quietly on the bench. And after all, there were precedents: Adolf Hitler's finger, for one, and the Carry On team had also used a finger to re-create another, far less deadly monster. But was it really likely that there'd be any of the original bone left? How long do hospitals actually keep that sort of thing, anyway? Well, only one way to find out....
       37 hours later, cackling in the approved mad scientist manner, 4-2 returned to the Safehouse clutching a tiny box in which reposed a little sliver of the precious bone.
       12 hours later half of the sample, suitably pulverised and centrifuged, lay safe in a sterile jar while 4-2 sat back and pondered what to do next.
       Obviously the usual cloning method wasn't much use - there'd probably be no shortage of egg-donors, but by the time the clones were fully grown the people for whom they were destined would all be too old to enjoy them! No, something much easier, less complicated and, most importantly, faster was called for.
       4-2 frowned as remembered words surfaced from the depths of what passed for her mind. What had the robot head said? "...a complex organic neuro-reactive compound, consisting of human deoxyribonucleic acid in a nutritive jelly, designed to initiate and sustain the re-growth of excised body tissue... I don't know how he did it, but that biochemist has somehow found a cure for death." Tarrib and the Rottingham Science Satellite were long gone, of course, but the miraculous gel was still on board the most powerful destructive weapon ever constructed - that seven-mile-long living spaceship known as the Lexx.
       4-2 grinned. It was the sort of grin that would get most people locked up, so it was probably just as well she was alone. Pulling her crystal ball from a safe that was cunningly disguised as a safe (on the assumption that anyone breaking in would never guess it could actually be what it purported to be), she gazed deeply into its heart, searching for the co-ordinates to the Dark Zone...

To cut a short story even shorter, 5 hours later the Lexx was missing its vial of super-protoblood, another fractal core had closed forever, and a lean, long-legged figure was slowly taking shape in the bottom of the old bath 4-2 had rapidly improvised into a progenerative tank.
       4-2 paced, and hovered, and drank some more coffee, and paced some more. She'd decided 33 was probably the best age to stop the initial growth - and (for the first clone, at least) she'd suspend ageing there. She'd remembered to insert the plastic replacement cheekbone (and chip the front tooth - very important, that) at an early stage of the process, and the face looked right - what she could see of it under the pinkish ooze half-filling the bath. Electrodes at the temples, and earphones over the ears, played old Professionals DVDs into the emerging consciousness (4-2 had decided the complete Encyclopaedia Britannica could wait until a little later). But the process seemed to be taking forever...

"'Ullo."
4-2 struggled awake and lifted her head from where it was slumped on the lab bench, groping automatically for coffee. Cool strong fingers handed her a mug. She took a slurp, focussing blearily on the hand in front of her face. It was a familiar hand, with long, lean fingers... Suddenly breathless, she looked up.
       Into slanted green eyes, and a chip-toothed smile. As she ran her gaze up and down the naked figure in front of her, eyes and smile widening, she had to conclude that the experiment was obviously a complete success. Time to start taking orders...
       As she put the clone (her own - she was keeping this first copy, and in any case she'd need some raw material for later...) away for the night and went back upstairs to announce her success and arrange for the delivery of several more baths, she paused thoughtfully. There must be at least as many Lewis Collins as Martin Shaw fans out there. And why stop there? What about Mel Gibson, or whatsisface - Leonardo DiCaprio? The opportunities were practically endless!
       Rubbing her hands (and blithely ignoring any ethical considerations) with glee, 4-2 started planning her new career - Santa Clause: Clones to Order.
       It looked like being a pretty good New Millennium....


© Dec 1999, Joules Taylor

See Greenwood for the full story. (Back)


© 1999 WordWrights.


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