Archive-title: Bluebox, The - 6
Cheryl walked over to Kevin and patted him on the shoulder.
Jeffrey had changed her again, this time in ways not quite yet
visible. "Kevin, it's not THAT bad... Really. Half the people in
the world are female, right?"
Kevin's face was still red. He was crying a bit. "No...
... It's not possible. I'm dreaming. I CAN'T BE THIS WAY FOR
THE REST OF MY LIFE!"
Jeffrey fired off a mental communication to Cheryl. "He has to
stay convinced that this is real. Otherwise we'll lose him."
Cheryl put her hand on Kevin's forehead. "You're burning up.
It's the virus. It always does this. We have to get some water and
food into you. Many of your cells are being replaced with new ones--
that's why you're so hot."
"I am really hungry. I've got lunch in my drawer. But I have to
use the bathroom first."
Cheryl whispered loudly enough to Jeffrey that Kevin could hear.
"She's got to get rid of all the stuff her body doesn't need any more.
She'll be alright afterwards."
Cheryl took a towel that she had brought with her, and wrapped it
around Kevin's shivering body. They helped him through the quiet
hallways to the ladies' room. He cried out again when he realized
where he was. Sue took him inside and waited for him while Cheryl,
outside, was supposedly at the cafeteria getting something for him to
eat. She was, in fact, just waiting outside the door, holding the
lunch that Jeffrey had materialized.
They all returned to Kevin's office a few minutes later, and fed
Kevin the mean that Cheryl had "bought". He'd be very hungry for a
while and would eat his own lunch later. Kevin, though still upset,
felt better. "I still can't believe it. You've ruined my life. How
am I going to live like this? I can't face my friends."
It was time for the final act to start. Cheryl spoke. "Kevin,
you're not alone here. You'll make lots of new friends. You're very
pretty. Isn't she, Susan?"
"I mean, just look at the way you've developed. You'll have
everyone here after you. Except the women, but that was the idea,
Kevin nodded silently.
"Look at all you get to do now. You can have children. You get
to see life from both sides, where the rest of us won't. Not until
the virus goes into full production, and even then it only works once.
Besides, there's one very good benefit... The REAL reason you're a
Kevin was almost cheerful. "Why?"
Cheryl, all of a sudden, had a masculine voice. "Because you
wanted to make love with me, and now you can. I can't believe you, of
all people, didn't know."
"You're a... man? But how?"
"I can't believe I had you fooled all this time. I was a victim
of the test of a reversible virus a long time ago, and it didn't work.
Only changed me enough to sound female and look it from a distance.
They're supposed to change me back eventually, though. For now they
gave me a new identity and lots of money."
"And... you're STILL working here?"
"Of course. Lets me monitor the progress and help out with my
own cure." She unzipped her pants, and pulled her penis from it.
Kevin's towel fell away. "You ARE male..."
Cheryl advanced towards him. "Good thing, huh? Come on..."
...her penis grew hard, and she started to undress. Kevin backed
Cheryl had breasts, but they were extremely underdeveloped. Her
clothing was padded to make her look female. She disrobed. Kevin
shook his head. Seconds later she was on top of him. Kevin was too
weak now, Cheryl overpowered him, rolling him on his front, climbing
on his back, and recklessly plunging her penis into him. It was
difficult at first. Kevin wasn't ready. He hadn't asked for this.
He struggled for a minute. Cheryl clasped Kevin's breasts, and worked
her penis inside from behind him. Her other hand went to the front of
Kevin's pussy, and her touch excited him. Jeffrey sat on the desk and
watched with interest. Cheryl slid her cock into his cunt easily now.
Kevin couldn't say a word. It was over quickly, Cheryl squirting her
come inside, and pulling herself from him before he could learn what a
female orgasm felt like. She got off of him, and got dressed before
he could recover, stuffing her penis back into her pants and tucking
it in so it wouldn't show. She and Jeffrey helped Kevin to his feet,
and into his chair.
"Sorry to be in a hurry," Cheryl said, "but we haven't eaten yet
and there's only a few minutes left to lunch." Kevin looked at the
clock. "Sue here brought some clothes for you, and I even think we
got the right size."
Jeffrey took, from Cheryl's bag, some clothes. "Now here's your
panties, and I think this bra should be about right..." He handed the
bra to Cheryl, who started putting in on Jeffrey. Kevin grabbed it
and angrily threw it down. "I can't wear girl's clothes."
"Now now, Kevin, it's only appropriate. You're a girl." She
took the clothes and put them in the drawer. "You'll have to start
learning a lot of new things. Clothes are one of them. You can't
just sit here naked. Put the stuff on when you're ready, it's right
here in your drawer."
Kevin didn't look up. Cheryl and Jeffrey headed for the door.
Jeffrey looked at the clock once more on the way out.
The door clicked shut. Jeffrey and Cheryl ran back to the
maintenance room, changing to their original forms on the way. They
sat down where they were before, leaning against each other. The
Device, red, reappeared in Jeffrey's lap. He looked at the timer.
"Almost perfect. There's about ten minutes left before everyone gets
back, like the clock said. Here goes." He pressed the STOP button,
and suddenly they were sitting a slightly different way, eyes closed.
They opened their eyes. The box was blue. They hurried out of the
closet. The halls were still empty, thank goodness. They went back
to Jeffrey's lab.
Kevin opened his eyes. He sat in his chair for all of five
minutes pondering his fate; worrying about whether or not he was
really pregnant, how he would learn all the things he now needed to
know, and so on. It wasn't until he looked at his feet, trying to
decide what kind of shoes he would have to buy, that he realized that
his own shoes were still on his feet. In fact, he was still dressed.
He checked himself-- no breasts, and the cock that he was so proud of
was still there. What a realistic dream! He was overjoyed that none
of the events he had just imagined had happened.
Meanwhile, Cheryl was hugging Jeffrey. "We did it!", they both
told each other.
Kevin's bubble had just burst. He was hungry, and opened his
drawer to get lunch. Sitting there, in the drawer, were the bra and
panties that Sue had given him. They were EXACTLY the same as the
ones they were about to outfit him with just minutes ago. He never
had put anything into that drawer except lunch. He sank back into his
chair, having lost his appetite.
The Boss walked into the Lab. An imposing man in his 40's, he
was officially called the inter-department coordinator, but was
responsible for most everything, and thus everyone called him The
Boss. He was friendly, but very firm about people doing the work
they were being paid for. Cheryl started slinking towards the
doorway, then realized that the Boss had brought two sandwiches.
"Missed you at lunch, Jeffrey. I figured you had to be doing
something important." He handed one sandwich to Jeffrey and the other
to Cheryl. Jeffrey looked at his sandwich, and set it down. The boss
had forgotten that he didn't like ham sandwiches. Well, he MIGHT eat
it if he was hungry, but later. Cheryl bit into hers. "Thanks," she
mumbled with a mouthful.
The Boss hadn't left, so Jeffrey decided it was time to show him
some of the latest developments he'd been working on. He had almost
finished a sort of recording machine that could record everything in
an enclosed area at once. There was a camera under development in a
different department. Together, you could record a place for a while,
and then, at any time in the future, you could use another system to
play back any view at any angle. By manipulating controls, you could
move a "virtual camera" to any point in the area. It would produce
perfect 3-D images. Of course, Jeffrey's dream at that time was to
hook the recorder up to the Device-- HIS device. IDT's version didn't
have the interface for the recorder, but his did. That's why he made
sure he was involved with the recorder project, so he could build his
Jeffrey showed the boss an optical cartridge. "It DOES have some
recordings on it now," he claimed, "but we can't play them back quite
yet. That's why we don't know if the bugs in the original camera
affected it or not."
Suddenly, the doors to the lab burst open. It was Kevin, who
stormed in. He was mad. "You're out of here, Landers. You and your
girlfriend here set me up with the Device. That's the only
Cheryl, to Jeffrey's surprise, was the one to answer. "But
Kevin, YOU said I HAD to have sex with you."
"Yes, but with you as a girl..." It was the wrong thing to say.
The Boss' eyebrows were raised. Cheryl baited the trap, and in his
anger, Keven fell right into it. The Boss had heard occasional
allegations of Kevin's wrongdoing, but even with the influence he had
with the CEO, refrained from testing that relationship over hearsay.
The Boss now sounded much less friendly.
"Is this true, Kevin?"
Kevin remained silent.
"Kevin, if you've anything to say about this, I'd say it right
now. I wouldn't want any unfriendly legal actions going on."
Kevin still didn't say anything. The Boss excused himself from
Jeffrey and Cheryl, and took Kevin out of the Lab. Kevin would quit
the next day. Jeffrey walked to Cheryl and shook her hand vigorously.
"Fantastic. You knew he was still frazzled."
"Thank you. Wouldn't you have been frazzled if you were him?"
"No," Jeffrey replied, "not any more. I'd be savoring the
"But he thought it was for REAL."
"As you said before, Cheryl... What's the difference?"
It had been three weeks now, that they had been together. The
only magic that had faded was Jeffrey's lovesick feeling. That queasy
feeling, he had decided, was beneficial ONLY in that it heralded the
love that followed, much like one's first dive into a swimming pool.
He was comfortable with Cheryl; she was comfortable with him. Each
cared more about the other than anything else. They were quite an
item at work, and a lot of people were surprised when, after only a
week, Cheryl had invited him to move in, which he did after a few days
of discussion. Jeffrey's parents didn't like the idea at first.
Cheryl's parents were happy that she had found a mate. Deirdre had
given them their privacy, for the most part, but they had seen that
she never felt left out. Anyway, it looked like she was getting
serious about a friend of hers that she'd known for a while.
They hadn't used the Device that much. Cheryl and Jeffrey were
too busy getting to know each other, and fooling around in real life.
They had let Deirdre run it once with her boyfriend-- she seemed to be
proficient with it-- after all, her boyfriend enjoyed the experience.
She hadn't even rushed sex on him-- he seemed to appreciate that.
He'd get enough once Deirdre was familiar with him.
The one thing that Cheryl and Jeffrey had done with the Device
was prompted by Cheryl's experience as a golden retriever. On the
weekends, Jeffrey would take a few hours with his computer and program
the Device with the characteristics of a number of animals; then over
a few nights they'd spend ten or fifteen minutes as a pair of animals,
in the environment that was most fitting, experiencing sex each way.
The least exciting were birds and fishes. Although birds mated in
mid-air, the transfer of sperm happened without much contact. They'd
press belly against belly, and Jeffrey would squirt semen from an
opening near his tail into the same opening on Cheryl. That was it.
Fishes had no contact at all, though Cheryl found it intriguing to be
able to lay hundreds of eggs in one spot in a few minutes. She could
feel each egg leave her body through the opening that neurologically
corresponded to her vagina. Jeffrey would then swim up to the eggs,
and seconds later would disappear in a white cloud of semen. He
didn't think it was exciting to him at all.
Insects weren't terrific either. They had looked forward to the
praying mantis, which copulates for half a day at a time. Cheryl
promised not to devour Jeffrey afterwards. But, once they got into
position and started the sperm transfer, it became boring after only
one or two hours. They didn't try most of the others.
The reptiles and amphibians were better, but it wasn't
comfortable. The sex was alright, but everything not directly related
to intercourse wasn't as much fun. There were no soft curves, no
quiet giggles, and no moans.
The mammals had it the best, they decided. Dogs (which they
tried first, golden-retriever style) were fun; because they locked
together in real life, just like Cheryl had locked Jeffrey's penis
inside the first time they made love using the Device. His penis
would grow, and her vagina would shrink, and they couldn't pull apart
until Cheryl came.
The best part of the experience was that neither could talk until
it was all over. They compared all the things they had done. The
best, of course, was as humans. THEY could stimulate desire with
their voices and the images those voices could create. Over the three
weeks, they had made love in real life many more times than they had
with the Device, animals included. Deirdre had gotten quite used to
them being together. And Cheryl and Jeffrey had gotten very
proficient together. They could make love in any position-- as
Deirdre found when they were watching television in the Living room.
Cheryl just quietly unzipped Jeffrey's fly, lifted her skirt and sat
in his lap. Deirdre wasn't sure anything had happened until she heard
the distinctive sound of Cheryl and Jeffrey coming; they always seemed
to come together.
The day after Deirdre finally made it with her boyfriend, Cheryl
demonstrated a new invention of her own. She liked the idea that men
could have sex without even taking off their pants. But she didn't
like wearing a skirt just for that purpose-- sex without undressing.
Even with men's-style, front-zippered jeans on, Jeffrey's cock
couldn't reach her pussy. Cheryl held up a pair of jeans identical to
the ones she had on. They were clearly women's jeans, with no fly,
and two zippers on the side that held them snugly over Cheryl's
shapely hips. "They can be any slacks, not just jeans", she said.
The crotch of the jeans had been modified-- with some elastic added,
and plastic eyelets with a cord weaving through where the original
stitching was in the crotch. The original stitching in part of the
crotch area was gone. The cord and the elastic together held the
She held them up to Deirdre, inside out. She pulled the cord
out, and showed her how only the elastic now held the opening shut.
The opening had a plastic-film liner so the rough denim wouldn't be
uncomfortable to Jeffrey-- he had suggested that part. She threw them
to Deirdre, who took a closer look.
Cheryl walked to Jeffrey, and lifted one leg. Jeffrey tapped the
fabric around the opening as Cheryl stretched. The cord held it
"See, Deirdre, the cord goes into one pocket. There's a cotton
liner that I didn't put in that pair you're holding, yet. You can't
pee through it, but it is good for something..."
Cheryl reached into her pocket and pulled the cord from it. She
unzipped Jeffrey's fly; pulling his penis from it. She rubbed it, and
even licked it. It grew quickly. She kissed him once, deeply, with
her hands still on his cock, and his hands on her tits.
She turned around. Deirdre was watching. "Oh, yes, you have to
wear crotchless panties," she said. Deirdre nodded.
Cheryl lowered herself carefully onto Jeffrey's lap. The tip of
his rock-hard penis touched her pants. As he pushed against them, the
elastic opening yielded, and his cock sank into her pants. It slid
through her panties, past her already-most pussylips, and into her
warm wetness. Her buttocks settled down onto him. He held her
tightly, and bounced her slightly with his knees. The real action
wasn't visible to Deirdre. The design was working. He was deep
inside Cheryl, and both had their clothes on. They came, with the
usual noises, and Cheryl got up, the opening in her jeans closing
tightly just as the opening in her body did. The plastic liner kept
her fluids from leaking to where they were visible, though some had
leaked onto Jeffrey's jeans.
Cheryl promised to make a pair of the jeans for Deirdre, who said
she'd use them to pleasantly surprise her boyfriend one afternoon in
Jeffrey took Cheryl down to the drugstore after the jeans
demonstration, for it was now time to renew the SBC between them. It
went normally. On the way home, Cheryl remembered something she had
promised to talk about a long time ago.
"Jeffrey, I want to know if you've been feeling something
"Well, all the times we've made love, as humans, men, women,
animals... What's been in common?"
Jeffrey didn't know what she meant. "A lot of things. What do
"Well... Let me put it this way. What have you STILL wanted,
even at the peak of our passion, no matter which way we've done it?
That you want all the time and isn't satisfied just by sex?"
"Well, I want to be even closer to you than I am..."
Cheryl was pleased. "Exactly. You want to be ONE with me, more
than you can just by having sex. Right?"
"Yes, very much. You know, we SHOULD probably talk about
marraige sooner or later."
"Well..." Cheryl said, "Yes, we should... But that's not what
I'm talking about. I'm talking about leaving this body and sharing
yours. Or the other way around. Fill the empty hole inside me."
"Well..." Jeffrey scratched his head. "YES! I COULD program
the Device to do that. Let's do it!"
"Alright!" yelled Cheryl.
Jeffrey spent the rest of the afternoon working on the computer
attached to the Device; programming the Device to tie together neural
lines (he called them "ports"). She'd join him in his body; he'd hold
the box. For once, they'd share the exact same experiences, and would
be able to mentally communicate. Either would be able to control all
of the muscular actions; and both would feel the results. It was
actually quite a simple program, since the same basic pattern of
combination was repeated over and over.
Finally the time was here. He got Cheryl, went with her to the
bathroom where they both relieved themselves, and sat her down next to
him on the couch. "If there's problems, tell me. I'll stop it."
Cheryl nodded. "Here goes!" Deirdre looked over at them, then
returned her attention to the dinner that was cooking. Jeffrey, with
the device in his lap, pressed the start button.
What happened was not what either expected. After the last beep
of the Device, they were together. They were one. Jeffrey's mind
started wandering through Cheryl's. She started wandering through
his, examining the memories that were stored there. Neither was
conscious of the outside world, or tried to open Jeffrey's eyes or
even move. She met, in his mind, his first love, and the awkward
activites of his first sexual encounter. Jeffrey looked at her own
memories of him. He suddenly was aware, without thinking about it,
how lonely Cheryl had been before she approached Jeffrey on that
Friday afternoon. She met his parents, his brother, knowing instantly
all that Jeffrey thought about them. Jeffrey reviewed Cheryl's
childhood; her first training bra, the anxiety as her classmates
developed ahead of her; frustration and success at school, and HER
first sex partner and the awful events that followed. He didn't have
to think about them; as long as he let his mind wander inside
Cheryl's, he KNEW.
Something was definitely wrong. He didn't know what; the
experience was fantastic. He was going through years in seconds. The
frustration while she waited for her first period; the bother that she
put up with now, knowing that her next period would start tommorrow or
the next day. It was all too much to put into words.
But, something in his mind told him he had to stop this. Now.
He summoned all his willpower to get out of Cheryl's mind. He
concentrated on the word STOP. His eyes flashed open, catching
Cheryl's attention while she was exploring his experience with her.
She watched as her own hand, or Jeffrey's, reached for the STOP
button. She didn't stop it. The button was pressed.
Deirdre was startled by the sudden irregular breathing coming
from her roommates. She rushed over; their eyes were open, but they
weren't saying anything. The display on the box read "IMAGE STOP
00:01:13", nothing wrong with that. They weren't talking, though.
Deirdre started to panic. She grabbed Cheryl's hand.
"Cheryl! What happened??"
Jeffrey now realized what was wrong. He had made a programming
mistake, somehow connecting EVERYTHING, not just the nerves leading to
and from the brain to the rest of the body. He had connected them
together mentally. It wasn't supposed to be possible. He had to get
the words out to Deirdre. Reality seemed a bit foggy. He was having
"Deirdre..." he said in a raspy voice. Cheryl parroted him, word
for word, at the same instant; though not as clearly.
"I connected... us... together inside. We've been in each...
other's... minds." He knew very well the textbook theory, which was
what he realized gave him the will to stop the Device. Cheryl was
still speaking along with him, missing a word here or there. "We
have... to sort ourselves out from each other. We don't know who I
are... we are... no..."
Deirdre looked Jeffrey right in the eyes. "Jeffrey. You're
Jeffrey." He told Cheryl of her identity, and returned to Jeffrey.
Jeffrey shook himself. He seemed better now. Cheryl wasn't
repeating after him anymore, but she didn't say anything at all, now.
Jeffrey turned to Cheryl, hugging her tightly. After a brief
delay, Cheryl hugged him back. "Oh Cheryl," he said, looking into her
eyes... "You're perfect. I can't believe what I saw inside you.
Everything I've always wanted. No wonder I love you so much."
Cheryl, still silent, squeezed him tightly and they went into a long
kiss. Deirdre, who had seen enough of this sort of activity over the
last few days, was getting impatient.
"What happened?" she repeated.
"Imagine," Jeffrey said with suddenly perfect clarity, "that your
mind is a deck of cards. We just got shuffled together. I've got
lots... not all... but lots of Cheryl inside me. It's fantastic. You
wouldn't believe it. I'm so different! It feels kind of like she's
right here inside. I don't know if... No, I'll be okay. I can handle
it. I CAN handle it. Cheryl..."
He turned to her. "Cheryl?" she answered. "Jeffrey? What am I
doing here? In this body?"
"Cheryl... You're Cheryl. You'll be alright."
Jeffrey turned back to Deirdre. "I think she got a bigger dose
than I did. She absorbed more of my mind than I..." He looked at
himself, reassuring who he was; "...than I did. She'll be better with
Cheryl echoed again. "Better with time." Then she added, in a
purely ethereal voice, "Yes, Jeffrey. We're one now. What can we
Jeffrey's eyes pleaded to Deirdre for help. "It's a disaster...
What can we do like this? We're in two bodies... Apart but together!"
"Together...", Cheryl whined.
Deirdre had good advice. "Nothing now. You're tired. Sleep."
She helped them into Cheryl's room, where they disrobed. They got
into bed at the same instant. Jeffrey curled up around Cheryl. They
Deirdre was right; the morning did make things a little better.
Some things seemed clearer now. Cheryl and Jeffrey both knew who they
were; they even said "good morning" to each other, and kissed as they
always did. They got up. But it hadn't been a dream. Jeffrey and
Cheryl both realized that when Jeffrey told Cheryl that her period
would be starting today, probably.
"I know, Jeffrey. Today, probably. I have some pads in the top
drawer there. Darn nuisance sometimes. Get them for me, OK?"
Jeffrey got them from the drawer. It seemed familiar, somehow,
and he didn't like the feeling that it would get worse over a few
No. It wasn't him. It wouldn't happen to him. Just Cheryl. He
had gotten more of a share of her than he realized.
Cheryl dressed herself while Jeffrey did, and sat him down on the
bed. She was fully rational now. "Tell me, once more, what
"Dreamsharing, they call it. It was only a theory about what
would happen if two people's minds are linked directly. We each could
recall each other's memories as if they were our own. Like sharing
dreams together. Problem is, after a while, we lose our own
identities. I stopped it before that happened."
"That's right," Cheryl said. "It wasn't supposed to be possible.
You gave the Device commands to link your ports with mine, using a
repeat command. It took longer to set up than it should have, because
somehow it set itself up to link everything, not just ports."
"There's almost no use talking with you," Jeffrey said. They
finished the rest of the sentence together. "...because you know
everything that I know."
Cheryl added to that. "Well, almost everything. You didn't
explore me fully. Let's see... you learned about my puberty, my first
period, dating, parent, school. But you took yourself away before you
could learn it all."
Cheryl was right, of course. She kept talking. "It was
incredible. All this time I've WANTED YOU so much-- and, for a minute
and a half, I HAD YOU. Inside me. Inside you. One. Together. And
now we're apart. I'm empty inside, again. I NEED you, Jeffrey.
Let's do it again."
Jeffrey sounded sad. "We can't. We can't ever do it again.
We'd never recover. We'd lose ourselves in each other."
Cheryl looked him straight in the eyes. Jeffrey knew what his
eyes looked like through Cheryl's... he knew exactly how she felt with
him. He wanted to be one with her, too.
"Think of it, Jeffrey. Together. In the world. Twice the
experience. Your technical knowledge. My business experience. Every
bit shared between us. We'd be unstoppable. And we'd be together."
The idea that Cheryl had was, indeed, very tempting. Their lives
could never be the same now. In one minute and thirteen seconds, they
had learned things about each other that they couldn't have done in a
lifetime without the Device. If Jeffrey hadn't stopped the Device, it
would have gone on to completion. They would have been mentally
identical in just few more minutes. They were becoming different,
now, because they were apart, and were having slightly different
The idea was still inviting. But, they had a problem NOW, after
only 01:13. Jeffrey explained the root of it. "Cheryl, no matter
WHAT we do we can't really be together. I want it more than anything
else. But we have separate physical bodies. Making our hearts-- our
minds-- one, will just make us want it more, and we can't have it."
"Jeffrey--- I've seen too much of you. I know your feelings,
your thoughts, and most everything else. You didn't explore me as
well. You're perfect for me. Nobody else can take your place in my
life, Jeffrey... YOU'VE GOT TO BE A PART OF ME!"
Cheryl searched through the technical knowledge she had absorbed.
She found what she was looking for. She held Jeffrey by the
"Jeffrey... There IS an answer. You know it. The GenMod Lab."
The Genetic Modification Lab was developed primarily as a
possible cure for cancer. Using a computer modeling program, the gene
structure of an individual was reproduced externally and modified to
exclude the genetic code for cancer. A "carrier" virus was produced,
which would, much like the "virus" Cheryl had made up to scare Kevin
with. She didn't know, before she read Jeffrey's mind, that it
really existed. Jeffrey had learned of the secret project
accidentally, before they involved him in the development of one of
the electronic modules. The "carrier" virus carried its own code plus
the corrected DNA for the subject. It would invade a body much like
any other virus, but instead of replacing human DNA with it's own, it
would replace it with the "carried" genetic code. For that reason,
the virus wouldn't reproduce itself; that had to be done outside the
body by a machine. The genetic changes resulted in many entire cells
dying as others grew to replace them. That was too much for any
animal to withstand. All but one test animal had died in the
experiments-- even the control experiments where no real cancer was
Cheryl was still talking. "We can do it. We could create a new
body for us."
"The test animals died, Cheryl. There's no hope for us."
"Jeffrey-- you're WRONG. The answer's in your mind. What
happened? Think of WHY the animals died..."
"Not enough matter. Protein. Other stuff. You know. Half of
the animal's body was destroyed in the process. Even with the
nutrient solution, there wasn't enough left for the body to rebuild.
The other half was excreted as waste, or decomposed." The previous
results really were quite grisly. Without enough cells remaining for
the body to continue functioning, it died. The cancer WAS
eliminated, but nobody was going to be recommending THAT therapy for a
"Wait a minute." Jeffrey found what Cheryl was talking about.
"There's two of us. Twice the matter to build a body out of. That's
what you mean, isn't it?"
Cheryl smiled proudly. "I know I can't go on THIS way. We can
melt ourselves together." This raised a new question.
"Into what?" asked Jeffrey. "If we used my body, or yours, it
wouldn't be fair. You could be part of me, or I of you, but after a
while, we'd be either Cheryl or Jeffrey again, depending on whose body
we were in. Of course, we'd still be together. That would be worth
it either way."
"Yes," said Cheryl. "Either way. Flip a coin. Let's just do
"We should wait a day. We wouldn't rush into marraige. Cheryl,
this one is INFINITELY more permanent. Wait forty-eight hours."
"Okay. Two days. We have to try to explain this to our parents,
and Deirdre." Cheryl pulled a quarter from her pocket. "Okay. Tails
and I move into you, heads and we're female for the rest of our life."