Bawdy Double - Galactic Adventures Book One
The uterpod convulsed wildly, and somewhere, a muted alarm began to ping.
Even from a distance, Fred F4RB8C3 knew the mutaclone was in distress. Not another! he thought. That'll be the fifth this year! Maneuvering his extensile to the uterpod, Fred shoved the catch basket beneath it, and then examined the figure inside the transparent membrane.
Arms and legs akimbo, a fem mutaclone stared back at him, eyes wide with terror. At the sight of her, five thousand copulation positions tried to crowd into his mind at once, his escoriant simumems intruding, nanostimmed into him during his gestation. He pushed aside the memories.
Where'd she come from? Fred wondered, only factory drudges growing in this sector. Mutaclone drudges, like himself. He pulled up her gestation history on his corn. She'd been recently moved from the escoriant sector, where escort variants were grown to order, this perfect-looking specimen flagged as defective.
Doesn't look defective to me, he thought, in spite of her contortions. Even limbs akimbo, she looked perfectly proportioned, her anatomy visible in all its detail.
Fred considered a sedative. Her flailing jostled the mutaclones all around her. The tough uterpod membrane gave at every jab of her limb, the derma designed to contain but not restrict. He had to do something, the uterpod derma too tough, too resilient, and too elastic to escape from the inside.
Fred F4RB8C3 looked both ways. To the right and left, uterpods extended for hundreds of feet, two walls of glistening pods facing each other with just enough room between them for his extensile lift. Above and below, more pods, his sector nearly two hundred yards tall.
Glad no one was near, Fred pulled out his injectile. The needle looked deadly, its fat, menacing barrel ending in a sharp, shiny point.
Her eyes went wide, and she kicked at him violently.
He pulled the injectile back and took the kick on the shoulder. Without backing or force, she couldn't hurt him. He grabbed a handful of derma and stretched it toward him, then put the injectile point to it and tore.
The uterpod retracted as if in pain and peeled away from the mutaclone, dumping her into the catch basket. A spray of amniofluid fell toward the waste sluice a hundred feet below.
She lay there a moment, gasping and glistening. “Thank you,” she said breathily, venturing a glance his direction.
“You're welcome,” Fred said. He tore his gaze away, desire and embarrassment sending blood rushing into his face. The front of his allsuit tented from the bulge underneath.
The specimen in front of him looked just as delectable and healthy as any he'd seen when he'd worked the escoriant sector. Escort variants sold for thousands of galacti on the open market, sometimes tens of thousands. And this one was fully formed, all her anatomical features visible through the transparent derma as she'd struggled to escape the uterpod. He knew what some of his coworkers did in the escoriant sector when they thought no one was looking. Product-testing, they sometimes joked.
Trying his best to keep his eyes off her, he maneuvered the extensile back toward his workstation. “Let's get you an allsuit. Got a spare over here.”
“Nice of you.”
He threw her a grin but tried not to glance. And failed.
“Awful young to be doing this kind of work, aren't you?”
“Born here on the asteroid five years ago. I'm Fred Eff Four Are Bee Eight Cee Three,” he said, spelling out his clone designation. She sounds far too alert to have just aborted from a uterpod, Fred thought, bewildered. He docked the extensile, silenced the alarm at his workstation, and stepped to the locker. He handed her the allsuit, averting his gaze.
She took the allsuit and began to dress. “I'm—”
He waited until the rustling ceased and looked at her.
Fear and bewilderment rippled across her face. The allsuit couldn't disguise her alluring curves. She stood five-eight and was generously endowed, possessing a figure that would turn the heads of either sex. She had wheat-blond hair cascading straight past her shoulders, sported a V-shaped face that took the breath away, had a small smile that was warm and inviting, and had large, wide-set, intelligent eyes, their color as blue as amethyst.
Eyes that searched inside for a name. “I don't know who I am.”
She has a lot of ease and confidence for not knowing who she is, he thought, admiring her composure. “Your designation is KTX552Y, so your name probably starts with Kay. Why don't you know your name?”
“I don't know.” She shook her head. “I know I had one, back when I lived on—” She stared at him.
She's not seeing me, he thought. Her confusion was fairly common, even if her awareness wasn't. “—on Tantalus?” he asked. “I don't think so. You were just aborted from a uterpod. You've never lived anywhere.”
“You see that chute?” he interrupted, pointing toward the floor. A narrow strip of concave sluice drained amniofluid and other detritus that sloughed off the twelve hundred mutaclones in this sector. “I'm supposed to send you down that chute. All aborted mutaclones go down the chute. You think you've lived 'cause the uterpods infuse pseudo-sensory simumems through nanostim tendrils into your brain. But it isn't real.” Although she does seem remarkably alert, he thought, keeping it to himself.
“And the simumems give the mutaclones a sense of past,” she added, “each memory tailored to the environment where they'll be serving. I know because I'm a doctor of—” she stared at him, that bewildered look taking hold of her face again.
“What, rocket science?” He snorted at his own joke. “Look, just have a seat, and when my shift ends, I'll take you over to the escoriant sector. They'll know what to do with you.”
“Escoriant? An escort variant? Do I look like an escoriant?”
The equivalent of calling her a whore. She did have the face and body of a goddess and would fetch a steep price at open auction. What was he supposed to say? “Your gestation history tells me that's where you were transferred from.”
“Oh, I see.” Her ardor deflated, and she glanced around.
“You'll stay put for another hour?”
“Of course,” she said matter-of-factly. “Oh, uh, thanks, Fred.”
He smiled. “You're welcome. All right if I call you Kate?”
“Sure,” she said, giving him a brief smile.