Archive-title: Bluebox, The - 7
She tossed the coin into the air. While it was in the air,
Jeffrey yelled out; "No... Wait..."
The coin landed on the bed. It came up tails. Cheryl sighed,
glad that Jeffrey had called it off.
"Cheryl, I know you better than that. You'd never be happy to
have your future decided by a coin flip." Jeffrey was right, of
"Now what?" asked Cheryl.
"We need a better way of deciding. Neutral. Consistent.
"How about if we combine our genes ourselves? We hop in the
sack, and... and whatever the baby would have been, we'll be. The
GenMod tank will accelerate us to whatever age we choose.
"Only if you don't mind waiting two months for the SBC to wear
off. We just got it, remember?"
"Okay, here's a better idea. We'll use the computer. I have a
software cartridge for GenMod that I can use here. We'll design a new
body out of what we've got now. We can do it! Create a new body with
whatever we want. I can fix all the problems that most humans have...
perfect vision and hearing, immunity to disease, anything like that."
Cheryl nodded. "I can get you into IDT at night now that I'm a
supervisor. I've got the right card. You can get us into the GenMod
Lab on... Wednesday evening. That's two-and-a-half days from now.
We'll work on the body tonight."
Jeffrey looked at the clock. "Holy cow, we're LATE!" They got
up, and bolted out through the apartment. Deirdre, who was in the
living room waiting for them, asked them how they were. "Better",
they both yelled, running. "We'll tell you tonight."
They got to work, Jeffrey running into the electronics lab, and
Cheryl to her office. Both got reprimanded by their work-mates for
being late, and both promised that it would "never happen again". It
wasn't until mid-morning that they both realized that this job was no
longer really important; they'd only be at it one more day. Then
they'd either have to explain what happened, or just disappear and
maybe apply for a job as a new employee.
All their friends were around at lunchtime, and sat with Cheryl
and Jeffrey so they didn't have a moment alone. The couple had been
quite an item recently. They had a number of friends in common now;
it was a great way to meet new people.
Cheryl and Jeffrey rode home together as always.
"Still want to do it, Cheryl?"
"You bet, Jeffrey. You do too. I can see it."
They started discussing the body they wanted. By early evening
they had settled on something novel; a primarily male body with some
female parts inside. They could live easily as a man. But inside
there would be complete ovaries, a uterus, and a small passage that
led to a hidden opening on the outside. They would be able to ovulate
voluntarily, so there would be no telltale menstrual periods unless
for some reason they wanted one; and a duct would lead from their
testes to the uterus. They could silently, invisibly engage in self-
fertilization, and would bear normal children-- the ovaries and testes
producing sex cells with the same genes as Jeffrey's and Cheryl's were
now. They would be able to enjoy sex with women if they really wanted
to. The decision came from the fact that they had to LOOK like one
sex even if both were inside. With that concession made to Cheryl,
she agreed to the male body.
Jeffrey was up very late, using the GenMod software to set up the
genetic patterns. The new body would be very attractive. It would
have superior strength and endurance. When the time came, the vaginal
opening hidden behind his scrotum could expand easily large enough to
deliver a baby; and once pregnant, breasts would develop on his chest,
and would disappear once the baby was weaned. He spent the midnight
hour reviewing the design with Cheryl; she seemed less interested in
her future self than he did. She kissed him and hugged him, and they
went to bed. They made love this time; realizing that it was probably
the last time it could ever happen. Unable to get the new body and
unknown future off their minds, they couldn't sleep easily.
The next day went by surprisingly quickly. Hanging on to their
last day apart made it go fast. Both Cheryl and Jeffrey were a bit
nervous, especially in the last hour before five o'clock. They
couldn't say anything to their friends yet. Cheryl mentioned to
another department supervisor that she might be in for a while after
dinner, having some work to do. That was an infrequent practice at
IDT, but for supervisors was necessary once in a while when work piled
up. The other supervisor nodded approvingly. That would add at least
SOME credibility to the trip she would be making later.
Back at home, Deirdre was making dinner as Jeffrey and Cheryl
arrived. They hadn't explained to Deirdre what they had planned.
They did that over dinner. Deirdre took the news surprisingly well
once they finally convinced her that what they wanted REALLY WAS
"Okay. I won't tell anybody," Deirdre said. "But you'll HAVE to
tell the world of this after you do it. It's not fair to keep it to
yourself if others might benefit."
Jeffrey still had some explaining to do. "We're not sure it's a
benefit, Deirdre. Not yet. Cheryl's idea to become "one" using the
Device had merit, but-- you saw what happened-- the trip itself did
something to us. I found that Cheryl was just what I wanted..."
Cheryl took over. "...And I found that I had to have Jeffrey.
We're too far entwined. I couldn't live without him. It's hard for
us to be apart. Now we won't have to be."
"Why didn't you just marry each other?" Deirdre asked. "That's
what people have been doing for years."
Cheryl answered her roommate. "Yes, but we're the first ones to
have been united mentally, not just physically or legally. We have to
take the last step."
There was a minute or two where nobody said anything.
"I'll miss you," Deirdre said. "I've gotten used to having you
both around. And I guess I'm kind of jealous of what you two are
doing. Especially after I broke up with my boyfriend..."
Jeffrey and Deirdre were both shocked. "YOU broke up with your
"Yesterday. He called. I feel so rotten-- like there's so much
good stuff inside me, but nobody can ever see it."
Cheryl answered. "I can see it, Deirdre." Jeffrey, who now knew
Deirdre as well as Cheryl did, knew that Cheryl was telling the truth.
She always told the truth.
"I don't know. It's just that I feel... that if it looks like a
relationship is going well, there's no REASON not to sleep together.
If two people can make each other mutually happy, physically, they
should be willing to do so. They can always stop if everything else
doesn't work out. But it's so... UNIMPORTANT compared to everything
else, and sex still gets in the way of so many things."
"You mean you were too forward with him?"
"No, Cheryl. I didn't do ANYTHING! I thought I wasn't doing
enough, so when HE brought the subject up, I talked about it. I guess
he didn't like what I said."
"Deirdre," Jeffrey asked, "what DID you say?"
"Nothing specific. I just told the truth about what I like, and
what I've done."
Jeffrey was surprised. "And THAT was too much for him? In this
era? You ARE uninhibited, Deirdre, but I thought the world always
looked UP to people like you."
"Don't ask me. Really there's nothing to talk about. I'm not
too discouraged. Cheryl gave me some hope."
They had finished dinner. Cheryl sat with Deirdre at the
computer terminal to show her the new body they had designed. Deirdre
was impressed. She went into Cheryl's room with Jeffrey to put some
things together-- some towels, a jogging suit that they figured would
fit their new body. They picked out some different sizes of sneakers
from a boxful of old ones, figuring that some size would have to fit.
Meanwhile, Cheryl sat in front of the terminal pondering the new body.
She touched up a few things that Jeffrey wouldn't mind, and removed
the cartridge with the new genetic code on it. They were now ready to
go. Deirdre, who had agreed to help, drove them to the IDT building.
Cheryl opened the fingerprint-controlled outside door to the IDT
building. Jeffrey and Deirdre followed her to the personnel
department, which again only she could open. Deirdre carried some
other supplies, in a large shopping bag.
Cheryl authorized the change that would let Jeffrey open the door
to the Genetics lab after hours. That was one ability that she had at
her clearance level. They went to the Genetic Modification Lab.
This room looked even less like a laboratory than the other
areas. It was very modern-- with diffused lighting, and even
carpeting on the half of the floor. The other half of the room was
taken up by the tank and the machines that supported it. The tank, of
a black acrylic-like material, was far more formidable than the
haphazard-looking machines connected to it. The machines would
exchange the fluid in the tank several times a minute, replacing the
"dirty" solution with a fresh supply. The solution had most of the
characteristics of human blood in that respect, in that it carried
everything that blood did, but would not easily support certain kinds
of life, and was perfectly clear.
The other machines would manufacture, and add to the solution,
the "viruses" carrying the new genetic code to be installed. As the
virus could not reproduce itself, there had to be a continuous supply
of it. There were a number of stages in the genetic modification
treatment, each having its own genetic code. The stages allowed the
changes to happen in an orderly manner. You couldn't just dissolve
everything and rebuild it at once, for the creature inside the tank
It only took a minute for Jeffrey to set up and insert the
cartridge including the design of the new body into the computer. He
switched on the machines connected to the tank. It would take only a
few minutes for the genetic material to be created for each stage.
Then the machine would wait until the subject was in place.
Those few minutes weren't long enough. There was too much to say
and too many feelings to express in the short interval before the
machine was ready for them. They were all rightfully nervous, Deirdre
especially so, because she didn't know what she'd do if something went
wrong. She'd stay there, in the Lab, for the few hours the process
would take. Jeffrey pointed out the displays that Deirdre could watch
to see how far the process had gone, and reminded her that under no
circumstances may she open the tank until the computer said it was
okay to. Either they'd make it or not. There was nothing inbetween.
Cheryl and Jeffrey both gave Deirdre a long hug. Jeffrey gave
her a kiss. They undressed. For the first time, Deirdre was a little
embarassed in seeing them naked.
Jeffrey turned to Cheryl. "I won't ever see you again."
"You'll be with me always."
"I'll never be able to look into your eyes again, to feel your
touch, or hear your voice. I only hope we're doing the right thing."
They kissed once again. Cheryl planted the moment firmly in her
memory-- so she'd remember his chest pressing against hers, the firm
grip of his hands around her, the way his breathing sounded...
"Okay, Deirdre," Jeffrey instructed, "Remember to get those milk-
shakes ready before the time runs out. They have some stuff in them
that the new body will be hungry for. And don't touch the the machine
or let anyone else interfere with it.
Jeffrey opened the tank lid. It was dark inside, and the clear
solution filled the tank to the top. Cheryl looked inside.
Deirdre still didn't understand fully. "You just... both climb
in? How will you breathe?"
"We won't have to," Cheryl answered. "Not until after we get
out. All the oxygen comes from the solution."
"Oh." said Deirdre. "Good luck. See you in a few hours."
"Okay, Deirdre." replied Cheryl. "Thanks."
Cheryl turned to Jeffrey. "I have to get you hard so we can
start." With all that was going on, it seemed that this would be a
problem. The program they had developed depended on it, though, for
the first stage. It was cold with no clothes on in the Lab. The tank
would be warm. Jeffrey's penis was quite tiny at the moment.
Cheryl knew what to do. She held her body close to him,
squeezing them together. She, too, was too scared to be physically
excited. One hand went between Jeffrey's legs. She whispered some
words into his ear, which were obviously effective...
When she stepped away from him, his penis was fully erect. She
smiled, proud of herself. She dipped a hand into the tank, and
moistened Jeffrey's penis with the solution, sliding her hands
sensually over him. He closed his eyes once and sighed. Deirdre
didn't know why they were doing this now. SHE was impatient.
"Come on, Jeffrey," said Cheryl. "Time to go. We're really
about to become...one." The words had a nice ring to them-- erotic
and frightening at once-- like when Cheryl's body swallowed Jeffrey's.
That wasn't real. This was.
The scared feeling was replaced by anticipation. Jeffrey stepped
into the tank first. It was long, but not very deep. He lay down on
his back, splashing under the surface for a moment and then bobbing
up, floating, shiny and wet. He blew out enough air for a bubble. He
was still erect. Cheryl's behind was facing him. She had a terrific
rear, he thought.
She backed into the tank, stepping over Jeffrey's floating legs.
She pushed on her muscles, opening her anus. Her bowels started to
settle over Jeffrey's glistening penis. He had never had sex with her
this way, even though they had done virtually everything else
imaginable in the last month.
She stopped her approach at Jeffrey's words. "I love you,
"I love you too." She sat down, her anus gently taking Jeffrey's
penis inside. It felt good. Her bowels spread as they touched
Jeffrey's body, letting her down onto him as much as possible. She
faced away from him still. Her weight pushed Jeffrey's pelvis
underwater. She lay down on top of him, facing the ceiling. Deirdre
started closing the lid on the tank. She set her legs on top of his,
and her shoulders pushed his under the surface. Bubbles came from his
mouth as her weight pressed him to the bottom of the tank. Two wet
arms came from the solution and wrapped around her, under her breasts.
She felt his penis send her a message, which she returned. She let
the air out of her lungs, and she sank into the solution, bubbles
coming from her also. Deirdre closed the lid, which locked shut. It
was completely dark. The sound of a motor outside the tank got a
little louder, and another motor started. The new genetic material
started flowing into the tank.
Jeffrey tightened his grip around Cheryl. He could hear their
hearts pounding. It was uncomfortable and claustrophobic, the two of
them motionless. Physically, it was fine, but the sensation of
drowning underwater was disconcerting.
The first-stage changes seemed to take forever to start. Jeffrey
felt a tingle in his penis. Cheryl's anus tingled also. The two
openings joined together inside her body. It was one of the shortcuts
they had taken with the program to save precious living tissue.
Cheryl's skin became soft and pliable, as did Jeffrey's. His
arms started to sink into her. Her body was becoming soft and
pliable, as was his. He squeezed her, until his arms sank into her
body and disappeared. The separation between the two bodies was
dissolving. New skin formed around the two, sealing them inside the
shell of the new body that would soon be theirs. Cheryl's pelvis sank
into Jeffrey's as her bowels joined his pelvis. Their bloodstreams
interconnected. Their digestive systems connected together; the new
body used the first part of Cheryl's, and the last half of Jeffrey's.
The new skin sealed them together part by part-- two legs fastened
together, pelvis, torso, and head. Within, they dissolved as new
parts formed. Urine and feces passed from opening in the new body.
As the old matter left them, the new body grew smaller. This stage
took the longest. The new combined body, as the new parts formed,
would shrink from its previous size, which held both Cheryl and
Jeffrey's original selves, to the ordinary size of only a single
human. Inside that body, the structure they had designed was taking
shape out of a nebulous form.
In the second to last stage, most of the internal organs, now
unified, were solidified and started to function as normal. There was
one heartbeat. The last of their old selves was eliminated into the
tank and washed away by the machines connected to it..
Finally, the skin around them became tight, taking its final
shape, and started to insulate them from the nutrient solution in the
tank. This was the most important step-- if it wasn't finished,
they'd die of infection or exposure when the tank was opened. The new
body was hairless except on the head, and between the legs. It wasn't
exactly as Jeffrey had designed.
A beeper sounded in the Lab. Deirdre, who had been watching the
clock, literally, for the last twenty minutes, already had her hand on
the tank's lid. She waited about five seconds, and opened the tank.
At first, the glare on the surface of the solution prevented
Deirdre from seeing anything at all. Her friends' new body was still
submerged, lungs full of solution. She waited over a minute before
Cheryl and Jeffrey coordinated themselves.
A head came bobbing out of the tank. Liquid spurted from the
mouth; and a few seconds later, it was coughing, and finally,
breathing. A hand reached up out of the solution. Deirdre took it,
and helped the person out of the tank. The person who left the tank
looked very much like Cheryl, but was younger. Deirdre looked into
the tank, to see if Jeffrey was inside. The tank was empty.
Cheryl looked pale. She was decidedly skinny, and had no
breasts. The dark pubic hair between her legs prevented Deirdre from
seeing if anything was underneath. She didn't say anything. Clearly,
something was wrong.
"Cheryl?" she said to herself. She answered her own question,
"Yes, Jeffrey, I'm here." Both had the same, high-pitched
Cheryl looked at herself. "Cheryl! What happened?? We're
"You'll know in a few minutes," she answered herself. She was
still dripping wet.
Deirdre was concerned. "You're both in there? Two, not one?"
Cheryl answered. "Yes, for the moment. I'll let Jeffrey talk."
Deirdre shook her head as if she didn't get it. "W-what happened?
"Yes?" squeaked Cheryl. "No, Jeffrey. Try again. You can make
your voice lower." And, suddenly, it was. "Like this?"
Deirdre gave Cheryl a towel. She started to dry herself off.
"Your minds are separate?"
Jeffrey's lower voice answered. "Only for the moment. Once we
enter each other's minds we can't come back. Cheryl, what did you do?
I have no... penis!"
Cheryl's voice was high-pitched again. "That's right, Jeffrey.
I changed us before we left. It's the last surprise I could ever keep
"You mean... We're a girl?" Jeffrey's voice asked.
"You'll know in a minute. Come on. Let's get it over with."
Jeffrey's voice answered. "I thought you'd never ask. But let's
have a shake first. You get it. It's your body and you know how to
"No, silly, it's OUR body. You know as much about it as I do."
"Will you just drink a shake, please? I'm hungry!"
Cheryl walked a few clumsy steps, picked up the shake, and drank
"What are you doing?" asked Deirdre.
Cheryl's voice answered. "Finishing what we started, Deirdre.
We've got to learn the rest of everything about each other. Then we
can stop talking to ourselves. We'll be one. I feel like-- he's here
with me and we're about to make love. It's so exciting... so
"I am with you, Cheryl. Come on inside."
Cheryl sat down on a chair. She closed her eyes, and was
She opened her eyes about four minutes later, and sighed once, as
if in ecstasy. "It's done."
"You mean Cheryl and Jeffrey are gone?" Deirdre asked.
"Well, they're still here, kind of. But we... or *I*... think as
one now. I can hardly describe it. I've learned so much about...
"What happened to you? I thought your body would have a... well,
you know, male parts."
"Cheryl changed my body before we left."
"But..." Deirdre asked, "...How could she do that without asking
Jeffrey? You both told me that you had agreed on a specific body, and
she made you into a female!"
"She didn't have to ask Jeffrey. She knew he'd agree. And she
was right. Remember? She knew most of his thoughts. It was the last
surprise she could give him. We're perfectly content this way.
Besides, I'm not completely female."
"Yeah... You don't have tits. And you look kind of young."
"I don't? And I do? I've got to see..."
Deirdre gave her a mirror.
"You're right. The changes Cheryl made took up more of us than
Jeffrey's plans would have. She made more changes, added more... I
have some growing to do."
Cheryl looked between her legs. Deirdre looked too. There was
what seemed to be the standard female genitals present.
"I'm past puberty... Maybe 14 or 15."
"Then where's your tits? You should have them by now."
"Yes and no. I don't have enough, yet, for them to show. I have
to start eating to finish growing. And..."
Deirdre cut her off. "Here, drink this." She handed Cheryl the
second of the three containers of milk-shake-like stuff that Jeffrey
had prepared. Cheryl drank it, hungrily. More color returned to her
Deirdre continued. "What happened to your plans of being
Cheryl answered. "I am, but in a different way. Cheryl's idea
was very good."
Cheryl put a hand between her legs, feeling inside a bit. "Yes.
Come here." She stood up, and Deirdre walked over to her.
"Feel. Here. Inside an inch or so, in back." She took
Deirdre's hand, and helped her get a finger inside.
"I don't feel anything."
Cheryl grabbed Deirdre's hand, sliding it around a bit. "There.
"A little depression... No, it's like a slit inside. I can push
on it... hey!"
A smooth, slippery structure came from the opening, into Cheryl's
vagina, and then pushed Deirdre's finger out. It extended from
Cheryl's body, wet and slippery. It was stiff, and would have looked
exactly like a penis, only it was smoother and had no foreskin. It
extended from her body to the length of about seven or eight inches,
and as it slid out, tilted upwards a bit. Deirdre stood back, afraid
to touch it. Cheryl's voice was much lower, and sounded, again,
suspiciously like Jeffrey's.
"It was a good idea. Cheryl hid the penis inside, behind the
vagina, and made it long enough to... Well, you see."
"That means you can do it either way, with someone else."
"Well, if I did it right, I can do this, too..."
The penis slithered back inside, disappearing. Cheryl squeezed
her legs together.
"Ahh...." she sighed. The penis had extended again, but this
time into Cheryl's vagina instead of out of it. It could slide back
and forth inside. Any constriction outside the body would force the
penis in, instead of out. She'd be able to, literally, have a good
time by herself even with pants on. Without even starting towards
orgasm (she was too tired anyway), the penis retracted and disappeared
Of course, Deirdre couldn't see any of this, so Cheryl had to
explain it. "It can go INTO me too. We can have our own children, or
have one with someone else. I can still ovulate voluntarily and can
start or stop sperm production. Cheryl thought ahead there-- because
binary contraception can't work on us (well, me) anymore."
Deirdre understood. "And you've done one very good thing,
Cheryl, Jeffrey. You not only have each other, forever, but you can
have anyone else, male or female. There's twice as many people out
there for you. You can LOOK kind of male, and obviously can sound it
if you like. And you could pass for a female with the voice...
except... where's the rest?" Deirdre pointed at Cheryl's chest.
Cheryl put on the bottom half of the jogging suit. "Give me the
next shake. I'm hungry again. We're going to do some hefty shopping,
because I'll grow a year or two's worth in only a few months, and I'm
going to have to eat a lot, or I'll stop growing and it'll take me
five years before I look old enough."
Deirdre handed her the next shake. They weren't cold, and didn't
really have any ice cream in them. Lots of carbohydrates and protein,
which Cheryl would be able to pack away at amazing rates for the next
few months. She drank this shake all at once, then panted a few
"Amazing", said Deirdre.
"When I'm finished I'll be stronger than Jeffrey was."
"Even more amazing", Deirdre replied.
"Okay. I should have enough now." Cheryl took a deep breath.
Her breasts seemed to inflate, as though with air, but were heavy like
normal breasts were. It took more than a few minutes for them to grow
to a moderate size. They bounced, but didn't sag.
"Good enough?" Cheryl asked, showing herself off. "I can make
them bigger. I don't know if I can do it now, though."
Deirdre, shaking her head, answered: "No, no, that's enough.
You'll make me jealous. Are they permanent?"
"No, I can make them disappear again. It will probably take a
"Sounds like you've got the reproduction business sewed up. But
what would your children be like?"
"Just like me. Even if the other parent is normal, the child
will still have all this. And their children too. If we went to all
the work to create a terrific body, I should be able to pass it on.
Besides what you see, I fixed most everything else. I can't get most
diseases, my bones are stronger, I have terrific eyesight and hearing,
and so on."
Deirdre handed Cheryl the top of the jogging suit, which fit
"Come on... Next you'll be telling me that you'll live to 300."
"Well, I guess I'll have to wait to see that one."
Cheryl helped Deirdre pack everything up, and clean up the
machine. They giggled a lot.
"We really did it, Deirdre... We really did it. It wouldn't have
been possible without you. You're terrific. If Cheryl was a man, you
would have been her first choice."
"Thanks..." said Deirdre. "It's been fantastic for me too.
You've shown me, and shared so much. You showed me the impossible.
Maybe, someday, I'll get to do it too, if I have the guts. Oh-- you
ARE going to stay in the apartment, aren't you?"
Cheryl laughed, this time in the low, male voice. They left the
building and headed for Deirdre's car.
"Of course, Deirdre. My name sounds so funny now. I understood,
though, that it was easier to keep an existing identity. After all,
*you* and *I* both know that I'm not only Cheryl. And that's all that
matters. Hey, if you're nice and feed me, we can..."
They got into the car. "What?" asked Deirdre.
"Well, something that's much easier now that I'm in one body..."
"I've got some equipment to try out and all this extra room in my
bed now, you know?"
They both started laughing, and drove off towards home.