The Harvest

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The Harvest

Postby Miki Yamuri » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:17 pm

:D The Harvest :D

By: Miki Yamuri and Liljennie

My name is Vickie now, and I'm what is known as a Babydoll. My memories prior to becoming a Babydoll are very old, but I will try to tell what happened as best I can.
Way back then, many long years have passed since then, I was a 63 year old satellite specialist with the largest Space Industry on the planet. I had managed to purchase a large place in the mountains, far from most anyplace but a village in the valley about 40 miles away.

I loved the remoteness and the wonderful quiet. The air was always filled with amazingly pleasant odors, not to mention the extremely soothing sounds of the wildlife in the deep woods all around. Not like the always present roaring sound, traffic noises, and that horrible acidic smell prevalent in the city.

I had saved up all my vacation time so I would have several months to get the place in order. I was going to retire here that next year and wanted to insure all was proper beforehand.

The morning was beautiful. Not too hot or cold, and the Jasmine and Honey Suckle were in full bloom filling the air with their aromas. The grasses in the glade still sparkled like small diamonds in the morning sun.

I had one of the local rag papers in my hand, think it was called Valley Over Head, or some such silly thing. Basically was an entertaining paper published two times a month that presented all the many conspiracies and expose in a comical and satirical way. Just about everyone enjoyed it, including me.

One article caught my eye, due to the more serious edge it carried. It told of mysterious deaths that had been happening all around the world. Usually, by the time the bodies had been found, they had begun serious decomposition, so a definitive cause of death was undetermined. A small hole found in what was called the Third Eye location in the middle of the forehead was ruled to have been too small to cause death, although the perfect break in the third vertebra of the neck might have proved fatal.

While I was reading about the many conspiracy theories, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I felt a very sharp impact on the back of my neck. I felt something pop and felt a huge jolt like electric surge run all through my body, then everything below where the hit happened went numb. I knew I was paralyzed completely as I started to crumple to the ground.

Someone had me and laid me on the ground on my back. The person had on some kind of jet black suit that covered them from head to foot. I could only see the individual's eyes through the face-plate. They were actually silver ... or so they appeared through the face-plate.

The person pulled something from the side of the suit and with the flick of a wrist, opened a spider looking device. The six jointed arms of it had very sharp needle like tips. The person lowered it over my face and engaged it somehow. The arms clamped down suddenly. I could feel it as the sharp tips penetrated my skin deeply. It only hurt for an instant before that too went completely numb.

Next thing that happened, something like a drill came from the center of the device over my face, I could feel it as it extended and touched the skin of my forehead. A small whining noise and a horrid smell of burning bone as I felt it drill into my head. This was totally painless. I felt it happening, but it wasn't painful in anyway.

After a few seconds of that, the drill part pulled away, and something else extended into the hole left behind. There were no painful sensations of anything inside my head, but I could tell a lot of some kind of thin wire like substance was entering my head, and by default, my brain.

Next thing that happened was so weird. Something actually took hold of me in a way I had never known before. I could feel it as something literally pulled me from my body to ... someplace. Not sure where I was, although I fully believed I was dead at this point.

A wonderful sensation kept washing all through me. Not sure how much time passed, was hard to tell being totally cut off from external stimuli, and this super intense wave that kept washing all through me until I was lost in a wonderful world of super intense contentedness.



I awoke slowly. My mind was seriously foggy and disoriented. It dawned on me I was sucking my thumb. I sat up and immediately knew something was seriously wrong. The bed I was in looked like some kind of super advanced Crib of some sort. The room ... was surly out of some SciFi geek's fantasy world.

I looked down at myself. I was dressed in a really cute soft peach colored fuzzy footed sleeper of some sort. I could plainly see the snaps up between my legs. I could also tell I was wearing some sort of super thick underwear ... that was also wet. I could plainly see that I had breasts. The cupcake breasts poked through and showed off the hard gumdrop nipples through the garment I wore.

I was incredulous, this couldn't be happening. I reached between my legs and gave a squeeze, it was more than obvious I was in some kind of diaper or something. I also knew my male parts weren't where they should have been.

About that time, a door slid open with an airy tinkling sound, and a rather large and very pretty young woman dressed all in blue outlined in red entered. She smiled brightly as she cooed happily, "There she is." the very large woman came over to me and lifted me from the bed as if I were nothing and patted my butt, "Don't worry your pretty little head about anything. Nurse will have you changed and dressed in plenty of time to meet your Little Girl owner."

She placed her free hand against the back of my neck. I could feel her finger tips as they softly pressed. It was so weird. My whole body tingled in a wonderfully remarkable way and sort of was limp in her arms.

She carried me over to a large padded counter and laid me on my back, then started unsnapping my clothes.

She put her nose to mine and rubbed noses softly as she cooed, "Such a good Babydoll too. I know you are very confused right now. It always happens when you wake up the first time. Your owner will explain everything."

For an instant, my mind was in complete and total disbelieving chaos. The soft musical coo of her voice, the gentle loving tickles and caresses took my mind. I giggled and squirmed and kicked my feet in glee. I couldn't help myself.

The woman quickly had stripped me down and removed a pair of cute plastic lined panties before undoing my very wet diaper. She lifted me by my ankles and started cleaning my bottom with some soft, damp cloth like thing that smelled wonderfully like baby powder. I knew then beyond any doubt, I was either female, or made to look like one.

After it seemed she had caressed me all over and rubbed a wonderfully tingly cream into my skin, the nurse stood me on my feet and cooed in that amazingly wonderful way she did, "Now, be a good Babydoll, and step into your panties. Nurse has picked out an adorably cute Little Fairy Princess outfit for you to meet your owner in." she held out a really lacy pair of super ruffly powder blue powder puff rumba panties and looked at me expectantly.

I had almost managed to get my mind clear enough to think when this happened. I felt a wonderful rush all through me as I giggled helplessly and walked over to the nurse. I put my hand on her arms to steady myself and stepped into them. She pulled them gently up and straightened out all the ruffles before patting me on my bottom once again.

Oooohhh it felt so nice when she did that too. I really wasn't able to do much analyzing. Whatever the thing was with my neck, the pats on my ... I couldn't think of any other word than hinney, and the magical sound of her cooing voice, it made my mind leave and a seriously wonderful contentment fill me.

The nurse pulled open the waistband of my panties and sprinkled a generous amount of baby powder in, then turned and picked up a really adorable powder blue Fairy Princess Babydoll dress. It had puffy sleeves and a very short hem.

Once again, that magical cooing voice of the nurse said, "Hold up your arms, sweetheart, so nurse can put your dress on you."

I couldn't help myself as a tingle of joy ran through me. I bounced slightly in my excitement as I held my arms up and splayed my fingers open.

The nurse smiled as she softly cooed, "Silly Babydoll. Close your fingers so they fit." she then worked my hands into the sleeves and pulled the dress over my head.
My skin tingled with the softness of the fabric as it caressed my small breasts and sensitive nipples. The nurse carefully arranged the built in place within the dress that acted as a bra, then pulled it the rest of the way on. She buttoned it up in back, then tugged slightly on the short hem to even out any wrinkles.

While she had left to gather something, I turned and looked at myself in the large mirror hung on the wall. What I saw in the reflection, wasn't me ... or at least the me I remembered. What looked back was an extremely pretty and adorably dressed young woman. I was very definitely a babydoll.

The dress was very short and showed off the powder puff panties. I turned and looked at my ruffly bottom. It was a very cute round one, and the dress accented my wonderful figure very well.

The nurse returned with a matching pair of slippers that looked exactly like booties. She picked me up and set me on the padded counter, then put the booties on my feet and tied the ribbons. Next thing she did, was to brush my hair, which was shoulder length, and tied it into two ponytails.

When she had finished this, she clapped her hands together and said in a gushing voice, "There we are. Oh my, but you are a very pretty babydoll." she helped me off the counter, then took me by the hand, "Come, sweetheart, time to meet your little girl owner."

My mind had started to clear just a bit when the nurse once again placed her fingers on my neck and squeezed gently. I'm not real sure what it was, but my mind sort of went away again as she cooed in that wonderful way, "Now, babydoll, I'm going to make sure you have cute little potty accidents and wet the bed from time to time. Don't worry, you wont be able to help it."

I felt a chill run through me that somehow centered on my crotch. When my mind cleared, the nurse was smiling down at me. She opened a door and led me into a room. In the room stood another nurse in the same uniform the one with me was wearing, and a very beautiful young woman who was bigger and obviously was older than me and was dressed in a short jumper and black strap on shoes. She too had ponytails and looked just adorable.

My nurse cooed softly as she squeezed my neck again, "Go meet your little girl, Sweetie. Every babydoll is owned by a little girl."

I felt each of her words as they tingled all through me. I noticed the other nurse had the little girl by her neck the same way mine did me. I couldn't help myself as I skipped over and waved, "Hi, my name's Vickie. Imma Babydoll."

The other young woman blinked once, then smiled broadly as she screeched happily, "OMG!! you are sooo cute, and all mine." She took me in her arms and gave me a large French Kiss, "My name's Shelly and I'm a little girl. Come with me, I want to show you our playroom."

Shelly took me by the hand and led me off through another door into a large hall. A very large woman dressed in black and white followed us to another place and helped us into some sort of conveyance.

My mind reeled. I had so many questions, but they remained mostly unformed thoughts. I’m sure you can guess some of them. Where was I? What had happened to me? Why was this “little girl” apparently an adult and older than me? What were all these sensations I was experiencing? It would be some time before I understood more.

The vehicle was black and angular, and it hovered above the ground. The building we were leaving was painted entirely in white, but as we got farther away I saw that it was very large, and some distant parts of it were blackened rubble. We traveled on a strangely mirror-smooth gray road into a countryside that was lit by a somewhat orangish light, as if it were always near sunset. None of the plants or trees were any kinds that I recognized, and here and there the wild greenery was disturbed by a crater in the ground exposing the dark brown soil beneath. There was a shallow puddle of water in the bottom of these; perhaps it had recently rained. But for now the sky was blue with a few white clouds, and the sun, I noticed, was high in the sky, though it was that odd shade of orange.

Soon, though, another building came into view -- actually a complex of buildings, with a large central structure on a hill surrounded by several smaller ones. “Look, Vickie,” said Shelly as she pointed to the large building, “that’s where I live, and that’s where you’re going to be living too!”

It wasn’t until then that I noticed that no one appeared to be driving the vehicle. I had been too caught up in all the amazing sights. And when Shelly spoke, there was even more of that frisson that tingled its way all through my body than there had been for anyone else’s voice. I knew that what Shelly said was true, and I loved it. Suddenly I really wanted to live in that building, even though I didn’t know anything about it and could still only barely see it in the distance.

When the vehicle arrived at the parking area and had stopped, the woman in black helped us from the seats. She took Shelly by the hand, who in turn took me by the hand, and led us into the building. She greeted the doorperson cordially as she turned and inserted a special card into a slot on a plate in the wall. As the door whooshed open she handed the key card back to the woman in black who led us in.

The interior of the place was absolutely opulent. She led us to a couch and had us sit, before she in turn sat in an arm chair across from it.

She smiled warmly as she said in a soft cooing voice that sent wonderful chills all through me, “Ok, girls, you will call me Nana. I’m here to take care of the both of you. I know this is a totally strange situation you find yourselves in, but I assure you, you will be well cared for.” She lifted a device from the table next to her chair and turned it on. After perusing whatever was on its screen for a few minutes she continued, “Now is the time to ask any questions you might have. Please understand -- after this time, no one will recognize or even believe you are anything but a Little Girl and her Babydoll.” She placed the device on the table. “Our world was in the midst of a terrible war. It raged on for several years. The death and destruction is still evident in many places. We had just started developing a life force transfer technique when the other side came up with a biological weapon that escaped containment. Their country no longer exists; the plague is 100% fatal to males and sterilizes females. It hit us shortly after and has spread across the planet. We found a way to create a derivative genetic encoding that is immune, so we now have bio-constructs that can carry on, but we couldn’t make a viable male that survived, and all the females were alive, but had no real life force. Now, we do have a large supply of cryogenically stored sperm, female eggs, and even some embryos. Issue though, if the virus contaminates the eggs, they immediately become unviable, and any offspring are susceptible to the viral contagion. Not a long term solution.”

Shelly asked in her cute voice, “Why comes we had our bodies stolen?”

I replied in a cute pouty voice, “Yea, why comes?”

Nana smiled as she replied, Your bodies weren’t stolen; your living essence was. We needed it to give life to the bio-construct bodies you now inhabit. The virus is still in the wild, and it still kills males and sterilizes females, but not you or your offspring -- if we can figure out how you can have offspring, that is. You and those like you are this world’s only hope to survive.”

“You’re all gonna die?” Shelly asked with concern in her voice.

“Well, not for many years yet, hopefully,” Nana replied, “and who knows what we’ll discover in that time?”

I looked down at myself and asked, “How ... umm ... old am I supposesa be?”

Shelly said, “Yea, how old are we?”

Nana giggled and replied, “You, miss Babydoll, are 18, and you, Little Girl, are 22. Although both of you will act and respond in a very adorable mix of the ages you are being dressed as and will be more or less treated as and those respective ages. It’s a side effect of the genetics that went into your bodies. There is some variation among the two types, but the bio-construct bodies do fall into two categories, the Little Girls and the Babydolls. And, as I said, there are no males -- so far, every male we’ve tried to create has lived for only a few minutes, so for now we’ve stopped trying to create them.”

“I’m never gonna see Earth again, am I?” I asked, tears welling up in my eyes.

“And am I ever gonna see Tilaxuz again?” asked Shelly.

“I … I’m sorry, both of you,” Nana replied, “but that’s not very likely. We realize that effectively kidnapping you from your homes is unethical, but we’ve found no other way to save our world, our culture, our way of life. Our species itself is doomed to extinction unless we find some way to save it, but right now we have no hope of that -- so we’re doing the next best thing, saving our civilization.”

“You no from Earth?” I asked Shelly.

“You’re not from Tilaxuz?” Shelly simultaneously asked me, and we both giggled. “I didn’t think I was gonna meet aliens today, and it turns out I met two kinds -- maybe three, sorta.”

“What we do now?” I asked Nana.

She stood and walked over to the both of us and gently took hold of our necks and squeezed them softly, “Right now, the two of you will come with me to the playroom and .. be your new selves.”

I was suddenly in another world. A wonderful contentment rushed all through me as Nana led me and Shelly to another room. There were many toys, dolls, and other things a babydoll and little girl would love.

We both shrieked with joy. I was unable to help myself as I rushed in and plopped on my ruffled bottom and started playing with the many cars with roly poly eyes that made cute little squeaking noises.

Shelly came up and plopped beside me and started messing with a tea set. I’m not real sure what happened, but before I knew what was going on, I was in a high chair, making a total mess while Shelly and I ate chocolate chip cookies .. or something that very much tasted like them, and drank tea.

Nana sat in a chair close by and read something as she smiled at us making a total mess of ourselves.

When we had finished more or less eating the cookies and making a huge mess, Nana came up and cleaned our hands and faces with a soft, moist cloth, then released me from the high chair.

She checked my panties, I wasn’t in a diaper yet. I knew she was waiting for me to have an accident, same as Shelly as she checked her as well. We were kinda damp, but not enough for her to change us.

She took us into a video pit and put on some kind of cartoon about a silly critter and his misadventures. We giggled and were totally captivated while it played.

What we didn’t know was we were being introduced into this planet’s culture, and specifically the culture of Nana’s nation, the only one that had developed the life-force transference technology that had put us into these bodies. Their civilization couldn’t be continued by aliens who didn’t know anything about it. We had to be raised in it.

Presumably there were others elsewhere who were being similarly indoctrinated. But it didn’t feel like any kind of programming or brainwashing. It felt wonderful and natural. That, of course, was probably by design too. I doubt any of this could be considered perfectly ethical, but … Nana’s people were a dying race, and they saw no other solution. Their actual kids were the last generation there would ever be, unless some kind of breakthrough happened, and it might not -- ever.

Rigglan the Scrump’s adventures came to an end for today, and Nana turned off the screen. “That’s enough vid for now, Sweeties,” she said. “But let’s just check … oh my, Vickie, you’re sitting in a puddle! That’ll never do.”

Nana picked Shelly up first, she was as wet as I was, and carried her off to another room. When she returned with Shelly, all she had on was a cute pullup. Then it was my turn, I too had had an accident and was mind blown that it happened.

Nana picked me up and carried me to the other room. She placed me on a padded counter and removed my soaked panties. I was cleaned, powdered well, and had a thick diaper pinned on me. Nana put a pair of lacy yellow plastic lined panties on me after she removed my dress and carried me back into the other room. Now all I had on were a diaper and panties.

When Nana sat me next to Shelly, my mind sort of cleared for an instant. It was long enough for me to realize ... I actually was in diapers, and was very prone to accidents without realizing it.

Before I could worry over it much, Nana had come up to me, and I found myself on my back. She cooed softly, “Such a pretty girl,” then blew a large noisy raspberry right in my tummy button, “Ahhhh thhhhhhhhhh!”

My eyes got big as I gasped and started screeching, squirming, and kicking my feet. The gentle tickling in my ribs and the bottoms of my feet totally took my mind.

In the midst of that, Nana took my big toe between her thumb and index finger and cooed softly, “This little piggy …”

By the time she had finished, I had not only wet my diaper again, but was totally lost in a complete joy of infantileness.

I’m not going to lie. It was absolute bliss. Sure, most people would probably consider it to be some kind of torture to be suddenly forced into a body that was completely diaper-dependent and treated like some kind of slow child. Well, some out there might enjoy that; I don’t know. But in that moment, in that place, it was the best thing ever.

Of course, I was aware of what I’d seen and heard too. Eventually Shelly and I were put down for naps, and I finally had a moment to think. “Shelly?” I said quietly.

“Yes, Vickie?” Shelly replied.

“Do you think they’re still … taking more people? From our home planets?”

“Probably,” she answered. “But … what can we do about it -- if anything? I mean, here they’ve got all kinds of technology and stuff that we don’t unnerstand. At least I don’t. Do you?”

“Nope,” I said. “But they’re gonna keep Harvesting people, from our planet and maybe others, until they think they’ve got enough. I dunno when that’s gonna be.”

“Me neither,” Shelly said. “Maybe … when they gots enough to take the place of everybody who’s gonna … die?”

“So …” I said, “the only way for it to stop is if they stop dying?”

“I … guesso? But how we gonna make that happen?”

“I dunno,” I admitted. “Gots finda way to cure the disease.”

“Well I dunno how to do that,” said Shelly. “Do you?”

“Nope,” I said, “at least not yet.” I did know that viruses, like any other life form, had to eat to survive, and viruses did that by taking over cells and turning them into virus factories. With all the native men killed and the women sterilized but immune, there wasn’t much for the virus to infect. Maybe it wouldn’t be long.

In a laboratory not far from where our apartment was, many scientists were doing what they could to find a cure. There were many vats and twisty bubbly drippy thingys all over.

One young woman banged her fist on the table with a loud resounding boom, “This is impossible. We can’t even get a clear energonic view of the structure of the darn thing. It seems when we try to analyze it, the observation changes what we see. Sort of like looking at an atom or something.”

One of the other women across the way turned and gasped, “What … did you say?”

“I said viewing the stupid thing seems to change how it looks. We can’t actually tell what the structure is, because the very acts of viewing it ... changes its observational structure.”

The other woman suddenly smiled, “We may not be able to cure the virus, but I think I just discovered a way to make male bio-constructs that .. will turn out like the females. They will be 100% immune though they will require a life force like the others do now.”

Several more of the women gathered around, “How can you make it work? We’ve tried for a long time. The testosterone always kills the developing zygote as soon as differentiation happens.”

The woman smiled as she picked up a pipette and dipped it into one of the vials, “Watch this. I think what you just said is the answer. We can’t use proteins to make the differentiation; we have to use electro-chemical stimuli to cause the catalytic reaction to start.”

With this, the woman placed several drops of the agent on a bio platform, then energized it with electricity. Everyone in the lab was silent and watched the overhead screen with intense interest as the process happened correctly for the very first time. The cells began to divide before their eyes. There was some hope.

“So with some possibility of male bio-constructs, our world might have at least some form of population going forward …”

“Have you heard this?” a second scientist interrupted the first as they walked down the hallway. She held up a tablet and played an audio file. A sweet voice, obviously that of one of the Babydoll bio-constructs, was speaking.

“... but the virus gotsa die out if it gots nuffin’ to feed on,” the voice said. OK, enough intrigue -- yes, it was my voice they were listening to. “An’ is there is eben one boy an’ one girl left somewhere, anywhere, they be ok. Can put the genes from one cell inta another.”

“Who is this?” asked the first scientist, who had stopped walking to listen.

“Bio-construct named Vickie, located in Sector 17. Shows interest in stopping the Harvest, by trying to think of a way to solve our biggest problems right now.”

“Well, she’s correct,” said the first scientist. “No virus can live forever outside an infected host. The plague agent seems to have an uncanny ability to live on inside carriers such as ourselves, however; we’ve never seen anything like it. It doesn’t behave like a virus in many ways. But it also isn’t a nanobot, a prion, or even a viroid.”

“Do you think there could be any uninfected people left anywhere?” the second asked.

“If there are, they’re being kept very secret,” answered the first. “And that’s as it should be. Wherever they are, if they exist at all, they should stay there. If they locked themselves into some kind of isolation ward or suspended animation chamber, their only hope -- and ours -- is for them to stay there until we know they won’t be infected the instant they emerge. And this Vickie is correct about another thing -- we don’t have to worry about inbreeding. Any of our genetic material could be inserted into the nuclei of the survivors’ zygotes. There could be no loss of genetic diversity at all. But it all hangs on purging the environment of the plague pathogen, which we still don’t have any kind of handle on.”

“Work continues,” said the second scientist. “But right now, the only concrete hope lies in bio-construct reproduction -- the bio-constructs are designed to be completely immune to the plague pathogen, and now there’s hope of there being male bio-constructs soon.”

“Yes,” said the first. “Keep an eye on Vickie. She’s a bright one. She may have useful ideas.”

Nana dressed me in a lacy romper. It was lime green and yellow with a large butterfly on the bib. Nana had put me in panties and told me I was expected to have accidents, so don’t worry about it. Of course … have accidents was exactly what I did. I tried not to worry.

Shelly was dressed in a very short peach colored sundress and a pair of cute matching panties. Nana told Shelly she was also expected to have cute little potty accidents.

Nana looked at me for a minute, and a sparkle came to her eye as she gently took hold of my neck in that place. It was electric as her cooing voice took on that wonderfully irresistible sound that tingled all through me. She whispered softly, “A babydoll your age is way too young for panties and much too old for diapers. There’s this monster that lives in the potty that loves to bite little girls on their bottoms. And we all know you are just at the age to start potty training.”

It was incredible. I felt the tingle of apprehension rush all through me when I looked towards the potty. I just knew there was a potty monster in there waiting to bite me. I also knew that Shelly wouldn’t get out of that either, as I heard Nana give her the same instruction.

Shelly took me by the hand the same way Nana took her by the hand. Nana led us out of the apartment. We both looked around in wide-eyed amazement at the many floating vehicles and other devices we saw all around us.

Nana flagged down one particularly small bubble-looking thing. It stopped, and a hatch opened revealing a really roomy and comfy compartment inside. Nana helped us into our seats and fasted the harnesses before instructing the AI to take us to the park. The trip was quick and uneventful. Before we knew it, Nana was taking us from the seats and leading us into the park under the large archway at its entrance.

Needless to say, it was beautiful, with many types of flora and small fauna. The wonderful aroma of many types of flowering plants I had no way to identify filled the air. The grasses were sort of familiar, I suppose, after a fashion, although they were obviously not the same kind of grass I was familiar with.

“Go ahead, girls, play all you like,” said Nana. “I’ll keep an eye on you. You won’t get into any trouble that I can’t get you out of.”

I waddled unsteadily toward some of the flowering plants, which were colorful and pretty and smelled wonderful, hoping to get a closer look and smell. I fell onto my thickly-padded bottom after a few steps, but I got back up and took a few more steps. Eventually I made it to these flowers and marveled at their beauty, but I noticed something else -- this park was large and well-maintained, evidently by robots, but I didn’t see anyone in it other than Nana and Shelly.

I suppose that shouldn’t have surprised me -- we’d been told that all the males on this world were gone, and all the females were probably busy working. Though one would think there would have been young girls around, perhaps they were all in school at the moment. After all, as they were potentially the last generation, their mothers would probably want them to be well educated, in case they had to be their species’ last-ditch effort to cure the plague. And presumably there were more bio-constructs like us, but how many? And how thinly distributed across an entire planet?

“Thinkin’?” asked Shelly, waddling toward me. I guess I had been holding a flower loosely while looking around in thought.

“Yeah,” I said in my tiny voice. “There nobody else.”

“Not yets,” Shelly said. “They say soon there be more like us.”

“I kinna hope so,” I replied, “but kinna not too.”

“Yeah,” said Shelly. “Means more people taken from their homes. I … no really miss mines though. I no had … the bestus life.”

“I kinda did … but kinda not,” I said. “Hadda wonnerful house … byooful land … an’ nobody to share it wif really. No family no more. No married.”

“Look what I brought!” said Nana, holding up a colorful bag, from which she took several colorful orbs. “Onbrill!”

“Oooo whas Onbrill?” I asked.

“It’s a game!” said Nana. “Let me show you.” She showed us how to set up the red and blue balls as goals and throw the yellow and pink ones at them, and if you hit them they changed color. There are several levels of Onbrill, but she was teaching us the lowest level, the one for children, appropriately enough. We had a good time -- it was a beautiful day, and Onbrill is fun.

We played for what seemed like hours -- actually it was probably only about one hour. But just as Nana was putting the Onbrill orbs back in their bag and getting ready to check our diapers before the trip home, she suddenly looked up into the air. “That’s odd,” she said.

We looked up too. All the robots and flying vessels had stopped. Everyone was looking at the one that was still moving. It was an oddly rounded one, a contrast to the more angular flying vehicles that I now recognized as common around there.It was getting closer, although it didn’t seem to be headed directly toward us -- yet.

“That’s a flyer from one of the western island nations,” said Nana. “What’s it doing here?” she wondered. Several of the nearby vehicles turned and moved to intercept it, and after surrounding it they forced it to land elsewhere in the park.

“I wanna see,” I said, toddling in that direction, but of course I fell on my bottom after only a few steps, just as before.

“No dangerous stuff for you two!” said Nana. “Here, we can watch without getting closer.” She released a tiny bot that looked like a dragonfly to my eyes, and it flew off toward the incident. Then she held up a hand, and an image appeared in the air before us, showing us what the camera bot was seeing as it flew.

It finally reached the vicinity of the flying vehicle, which had now landed, surrounded by defense robots and a few uniformed women of this area’s security forces. The vehicle’s front half opened, revealing two women, also humanlike, but unlike Nana they were of a different skin tone, more purplish, and their hair was long and blue. “Definitely from the western islands,” Nana said. “We hadn’t heard anything from them -- we thought they’d all died in the war.”

The newcomers raised their hands to show that they were unarmed. “Please, we’ve come to ask for help, and to offer help too,” said one of them.

The other said, “Almost all our technology was destroyed, but our nations have banded together in cooperation. We managed to barely make this vehicle fly, but it didn’t last as long as we’d hoped. We wish to make diplomatic contact.”

“Very well,” said one of the security officers. “The western islands have always been our allies. We will take you to your nation’s embassy. The diplomats there have been very worried, with no news from home.”

“I see,” said Nana. “Well, that’s heartening. But we should probably go home. We’ll find out more about them later, I’m sure.”

“But I wanna meet the island people!” said Shelly.

“Me too!” I said.

“They’re going to be very busy,” said Nana, “but if you really want to, we can meet them soon.” She recalled her dragonfly-bot and closed the floating screen, which turned out to be made by a device she wore on her wrist.

She changed our diapers before calling another AI vehicle to take us home. She explained that the war had done a lot of damage, completely destroying Planorok, the nation that had created the plague, and its main enemy, neighboring Elzareth. The nation where we were, Melaran, was one of the planet’s leading nations but had mostly focused on its own defense, which was why it had taken damage but hadn’t been wiped out. Still, every nation in the world had been devastated by the plague once Planorok had released it. Apparently the numerous small nations of the western islands had been devastated, but there were survivors.

On the way home, Shelly noticed a large open place. It had a huge crater in the middle and many blackened ruins all around it. She pointed it out to me as we passed. Nana noticed what we were looking at and said, “That used to be where one of our military bases stood. They had many of the newest types of weapons and things. Early in the war, a huge weapon landed there and destroyed the entire base. It’s actually the thing that got us into this stupid war. Nothing anyone could do to end it peacefully, especially once the plague was released.”

We were both quiet until we arrived back at the apartment. Nana took off our outfits and put us in the play room in just panties and diapers. We could hear the comm unit chime and Nana answered it.

“Hello? This is unit 17. How may I be of service? You are who? Yes, Ma’am. Shelly and Vickie her Babydoll. You want to talk with them? They are more or less infants. How can they … ok, sure. In 5 minutes? Ok. See you in 5 minutes.”

We watched as Nana ended the call. She had a very concerned look on her face. She turned and cooed softly, “You girls play nice. Nana has to meet with some people from the Government Science Department.”

The door chimed and Nana took one more look at us, then answered the door. When Nana returned, she had four other very well dressed women with her. Nana said, “I would like you to meet some very important people, Sweethearts. They have brought someone with them they want you to meet.”

One of the women motioned towards the door. In walked a very handsome young man, dressed in a shortall. He was obviously dazed and in a state of confusion … and we could tell he was in a diaper.

One very well dressed woman walked to the young man and placed her hand on his shoulder, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Sweetheart. I know it’s a bit confusing when you first wake up.” She turned and led the young man by the hand up to Nana and us. She knelt down and said softly, indicating us as she made introductions, “This is Shelly. She’s a cute little girl and ready to be your best friend.” She turned slightly and pointed at me, “And this adorably cute one is Shelly’s Babydoll, Vickie.” She turned back and cooed softly in that voice, “Go up and introduce yourself.”

Nana asked one of the well dressed women with a tone of surprise, “How … did you get a male to survive? I was told it failed every time.”

The woman replied, “We’ve made a breakthrough, with some assistance. It appears that some of our allies have so far survived. They had reached the same technique to create males as we just did. Although, the males have the same issue as the females, so the Harvest continues. This one was just born and brought to life a few hours ago. He’s still in that total confusion state.”

“Is he an adult, a toddler, or a babydoll?”

The woman shook her head slowly as they watched the male approach us in a cutely dazed way, “We don’t know yet. He’s the very first male to survive.”

“Me, uh, me Joey,” said the boy, in a voice that was lower-pitched than mine but not by very much. It was clear that he was not an adult. He could be a little boy in the sense that Shelly was a little girl, or perhaps he was a male Babydoll like myself -- at that point I wasn’t fully clear on what the difference was, actually. The truth was that it was a matter of emotional and behavioral development and whether or not they in fact did advance beyond the adorable mix of infant.

“H-hi Joey, baby’s name is Vickie,” I said shyly. “Amma Babydoll. Is youa Babydoll too?”

“I-I dunno,” Joey replied. “Dunno … much really. Was … somewhere else.”

“Yeah,” Shelly said. “We all came fwom different places. I fwom a planet called Tilaxuz. Vickie’s fwom one called Earth. Does you ’member where you fwom?”

“Me fwom … uh … oh! Planet called Erynia. How comes we … can talk ta each ovver?”

I replied, “Think it ’cause they putted us in these bodies … wif brains they growed here. Gots some stuff built in. Like talkin’ tha same language.”

“Me … guesso? Uh … me dunno what ta do …” His eyes welled with tears. “Me sowwy …”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Joey,” said one of the women, walking up to him. “You’ve been through a lot today -- you probably need some rest. Let’s find you a nice soft warm place to sleep, get you a diaper change, and you can catch up with Vickie and Shelly later on, OK? C’mon, Joey. It’ll be OK.” They led him out of the room -- I knew they were headed toward the changing room.

“I think we might have ourselves the first male Babydoll,” said Nana, sounding impressed.

“You could be right,” said one of the remaining others. “At any rate, it’s a process, and we’re always learning more. With any luck we’ll have more males, and thus we’re hoping that’ll lead to offspring, and eventually a stable population for the future.”

“Any other progress?” Nana asked.

“Not really … Dr. Arawan has a theory that we’re dealing with some kind of quantum virus, but by itself that doesn’t help a lot. The research documents we’ve recovered from Planorok are still being decrypted; we’re pooling computing resources with Gelmon, Oreale, and Harola. It could be tomorrow, or it could be three years from now. They say a year and a half is the most likely time frame. Then it’s a question of whether the answers to the plague are even in those documents. They might be about missile guidance systems or troop movements, for all we know.”

“Yes,” said Nana. “Well, thank you for keeping me apprised. I’ll keep taking care of these two, as always. They’re real sweethearts.” I felt myself blush, and I saw Shelly do so as well; we both knew when we were being talked about.

“Well, once Joey’s got a new diaper, we’re going to head over to where he’ll be living,” said the woman. “We’ll see you soon. Let us know if you need anything -- or if this one has any more interesting ideas.” She glanced at me, and I blushed again, confused. “Take care.”

It seemed Joey’s diaper change was done, because the other women were in the hallway again, leading Joey to a hovering stroller chair of a sort that Shelly and I had been in.

“Well, lots of news there,” said Nana. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing Joey again soon, but he needs a nap. Speaking of which, I know some girls who might need naps too.”

“Noooooo!” protested Shelly, but I yawned. I got tired very easily now. I let Nana lead me off by the hand toward the changing room and from there to my crib.

On an isolated island that had many bomb craters slowly weathering away, many miles of burned and destroyed buildings and what looked like they might have been some type of conveyance, a team in heavy level 1 isolation-environment suits exited a small boat. They stood in a loose sort of group and looked around in amazement. They had no idea the war had eradicated this city so completely. It was more than obvious that any survivors they might chance upon would be living very rough and feral by this time.

Scanner Tech Lyonne said through her suit comm, “I’m getting some sort of power reading off in that direction.” She pointed off to the south. “It might be some sort of RPG power unit, not big enough to be much of anything else.”

Commander Ronayne gathered several of the others and said, “Stay close and keep your weapons ready. No one has been on this island since the war. Not real sure what we might find.”

Lyonne lead the way through bombed out lanes and across destroyed highways. Finally, they entered a building that more or less survived the terrible bombing. It took several minutes to find the exact place, but when they got to the sealed door, it said, “Laboratory H-37.” This was the place they were looking for.

“OK, let’s get this door open, carefully -- we don’t want a chance of losing any of the data we’re here for.”

Technical specialists hurried up with tools and soon had the door’s frame dismantled. Shortly after removing the door, they found another room clearly labeled “Data Archives.”

“OK, move, pick up anything with a storage device and get it to the boat,” ordered Ronayne. The team quickly began scouring the room and others nearby, their suit lights sweeping through the darkness, photographing machines before tagging and removing their storage modules and placing them carefully into carrying cases.

“Think I’ve found something here,” said Data Tech Erinior. Commander Ronayne came over to see a reinforced cabinet whose door the tech had already disassembled; there was a computer inside. “This machine -- it’s in this vault and completely offline. If I had secret info, this is where I’d keep it -- totally air gapped. No chance of an online attack compromising this one.”

“Good find,” said Ronayne. “It probably wasn’t even powered on. If the decryption keys are here at all, that’s where they are, in the most secure place possible. Get those storage modules back to the boat ASAP. Red-label them.”

“Right,” Erinior said, and got to work immediately. Once she had the case open, she applied red labels that said “TOP PRIORITY” to the storage modules before photographing them in place and transferring them to her protective carrying case.

By the time the team had finished cataloguing and dismantling everything, the sun had already passed its zenith. They quickly worked all the data containers and equipment boxes onto the awaiting conveyances. Navigation back to the ship was hazardous due to the massive damage.

By the time all had been ferried back to the ship and securely stored in the hold, the sun had begun to set. One of the women on the team, Bio Trainee Tylinene, began to have small cramps. No one really thought about it, as they weren’t severe, until she started getting the telltale purple splotches.

“Tylinene -- what’s that on your arm?” asked Med Tech Dorineth, moving to get a closer look. “No! That’s not possible!” She hit her comm and said, “Infection suspected. Priority Red. Bio Trainee Tylinene and Med Tech Dorineth. Require immediate isolation and examination.”

A med team donned biohazard suits and surrounded them, covering them with an air filter bubble. Everyone had seen those blotches before, and no one could look at them without a heart-stopping shudder, remembering. “But … surely Tylinene was already infected,” murmured Dorineth as they were wheeled to a med bay in chairs, wrapped in plastic. “We all were. And still are. What is this, and where did she get it?”

“Let’s figure this out together,” said one of the emergency techs.

All Tylinene’s clothing and her environmental suit were gone over again and again, but no one could figure out how she might have gotten contaminated, until they found the tiny incision in one of her suit’s fingers. Tylinene realized what had happened. “I’d managed to open one of the smaller cabinets in one of the lab rooms near the data archive. It had been refrigerated, before the power went out. Inside it I saw several neatly-arranged vials, which I picked up and examined, but since our mission was to get data storage devices, I just got some photos and left them. But that must have been when I pierced my suit.”

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” said Dorineth. She was now looking at the photos Tylinene had taken of those vials and the samples of material from around the puncture in Tylinene’s suit. The quantum phase transition microscope was showing some form of viroid pseudo-organism, but its shape was elusive … and every doctor on the planet had seen that phenomenon by now. It was the plague pathogen, or something else extremely like it. “By the Third Tablet,” she swore, looking pale, “what if it’s another Planorok bio-weapon?” At the very least, this meant that when the ship got back to Melaran, it would be under quarantine until it could be determined how contagious the pathogen was and how far it had spread. But at the worst … they might not make it back.

By the time Dorineth and Tylinene had decided they needed a rest break, Dorineth had determined that this contagion behaved much like the lethal Terminor Virus -- it was called that even though it wasn’t a certainty that it was even a virus -- that had killed off the world’s male population and sterilized the female population. “But Terminor is endemic,” Dorineth said. “You can’t be infected by something that you’re already infected with! But these are symptoms of initial infection. It must be something else. Some kind of mutation?”

“We’re both tired,” said Tylinene. “Let’s get some sleep and look at it more tomorrow.” The other doctors who were observing them from outside the isolation ward were in agreement. They took a rest.

The next morning, Dorineth discovered that she too was now infected, purple blotches appearing across her legs and abdomen. She drew and analyzed samples of her own blood now. Signs pointed to the same pathogen. “But again, I was already infected! How can this be happening? It must be a mutation.”

By the time that day was through, Dorineth and the doctors had discovered something amazing.

“These are the results of the HK-001 test for Terminor infection in your blood and Tylinene’s from before the expedition,” said Dr. Valynan. “You were both infected, like everyone else; nothing unexpected. These are the Tri-Serum results -- same conclusion.” Dorineth nodded at the charts Dr. Valynan was bringing up on the screen. No surprises here.

“We’ve just run those tests again on each of you. Twice. We had to double-check. Look at this.” Dr. Valynan brought up the latest set of test results.

“But that’s not possible,” Dorineth said, almost choking. Hope wasn’t an emotion she’d felt for a long time. “Nothing’s ever been shown to cause a drop in pathogen concentration. Not with Terminor.”

“Nevertheless, those are the results,” said Dr. Valynan. “I think Tylinene found something that attacks and kills the Terminor pathogen. A mutation, or a sibling. I’m sending these results to the Institute. This could be a breakthrough.”

“A breakthrough,” echoed Dorineth in a whisper.

“We’ll have to keep you both in isolation for the rest of the trip,” Dr. Valynan said. “Possibly after that, too. And we’ll have to test everyone else on the ship. I’m already running a test on my own blood.”

“Of course,” said Tylinene. “It may seem positive now, but what if it’s got other effects, and what if it’s contagious?”

Soon the medical staff was certain that only Tylinene and Dorineth had been infected with the mutant pathogen. And the data from the storage devices had been sent to the Institute; the red-taped priority drives had indeed contained the decryption keys for large amounts of the data, including some data that had been found elsewhere.

The discovered data showed that Planorok had created a completely new type of virus, so different from a typical virus that it could barely be called that. In fact, it had created two types -- or rather, one type and a mutation. The intent had been to create a virus that sterilized, not killed. But they had accidentally also created another that was instantly fatal to any male and sterilized all females: the Terminor Virus.

Then there had been some kind of terrorist attack. The intruder or intruders had used some new form of explosive with a massive yield potential in a very small container. The explosion from this tiny device had destroyed the containment unit housing the deadly Terminor Virus and had released it, thereby contaminating most of the island. Planorok’s enemy Elzareth had responded immediately by mass carpet bombing the island with protonic weapons in hopes of containing the viral spread. All this ignorance had accomplished was destroying almost everything necessary to solve this problem, and spreading the viral infection worldwide. The data stacks after that last report were nonexistent.

“Apparently whoever made that final record did so as the bombs fell,” said Dorineth, as she and Tylinene read this on the screen in the isolation ward on board the ship. “So there were not one, but two, deadly viruses. The worse of the two got out. The other one didn’t.”

“But either one still spelled the end of our species,” said Tylinene. “Unless … maybe now. Obviously whatever we’ve got doesn’t kill instantly, at the very least.”

“I know, it’s too much to hope that we’ve got a cure,” said Dorineth. “What we’ve got might just be the one that sterilizes both males and females but doesn’t kill either. Or it might be a mutation due to the radiation from the protonic bombs. But whatever’s in our systems … it’s got some very important data locked up in its genes.”

“So neither virus has the ability to affect bio-constructs at all,” said Nana, talking to Dr. Valynan on her screen across the room as Shelly and I played in the playpen.

“That is true,” Dr. Valynan replied. “The mission is delayed a bit, since we went back to pick up those vials that Trainee Tylinene found for further analysis. It gave us extra time to make sure the rest of the ship wasn’t infected. But we’ll be back in a few days, and the Institute has labs ready to go. We’ll keep Dorineth and Tylinene comfortable and occupied while we figure out whether what they’ve got is a blessing or a curse. But your mission -- it continues unchanged, it seems.”

“Taking care of this pair,” said Nana, looking back at us with a smile. “They’re adjusting quite well to their quasi-youthful status -- as predicted, newly-minted bio-construct bodies and brains start out with juvenile physical and mental patterns. But yes, it looks as if our Babydoll will probably retain those patterns indefinitely, although whether Toddlers will mature remains uncertain. With time, at least the Toddlers will be able to reproduce, however.”

“Plan A,” said Dr. Valynan. “Plan B, a distant possibility, will be if we can figure out exactly how this new virus can destroy Terminor without having to infect everyone with another problematic virus. But at least we have a plan.”

“Indeed,” said Nana. “Well, I guess we’re caught up -- best wishes for a smooth voyage home.”

“My thanks. Talk to you soon.” The doctor ended the call, and the screen went to blank white.

“Nana’s doctor fwiend comin’ home soon?” asked Shelly.

Nana smiled. “Yes indeed,” she said. “They found some very interesting things in that island lab.”

“Nother virus?” I asked. “Kills that Terminor thingie?”

“My, you were listening, weren’t you?” said Nana. “Yes, but what else does it do? That’s the question the doctors at the lab will be trying to answer.”

“Gotsa see,” I said. “It gots genes that spells lotsa words. Somma tha words spell how ta kill the Terminor. Maby can just gets those words. Stick ‘em onna virus that no do noffin’ else.”

“My, you must have been a smart one where you came from,” said Nana. “I keep telling them about your ideas, and they’re very impressed at the Institute. We can’t let you work on the experiments, because …”

“‘Cause can’t walk, can’t keep my diapers dry, can’t hold onta a fork ta feed myself,” I said, nodding. It was true. I couldn’t hold a drinking glass without spilling it. Holding a vial full of a deadly virus was out of the question. I had to drink from baby bottles that Nana or Shelly held for me. But I could still think, although every word I said sounded halfway like baby babble. And yet I didn’t find it annoying or frustrating. I felt somehow intensely happy about it. It was like I was able to express a new side of myself and was valued for it, diapers and all.

“Yep, but we all know you want to help,” said Nana. “Don’t worry, Vickie; all your ideas are being listened to, and we’re giving you credit. The Institute is collecting all of this data. It’s groundbreaking work.”

“We dig inna ground?” asked Shelly with a giggle.

Nana laughed. “Not right now, but maybe later we can play in the sandbox, OK?”

“Yay!” we both said as we clapped our hands in glee and bounced on our thickly diapered bottoms.

Dr. Tyri sat at her desk and fretted over all the new data on the mutation of the Terminor virus. To everyone’s amazement, it was Terminor that was the mutation. She had found where the break in the genetic RNA had happened that allowed for the insertion of a new protein. Try as she might, however, nothing she had attempted to do would reproduce the mutagen. It was super frustrating because they couldn’t even get a clear image of what this virus even really looked like due to all the scanning techniques seemed to change the nature of its structure.

She swiveled around to another keypad and brought up some of the newest data on the successful creation of the male bio-constructs. Perhaps with a bit of distraction, she could finally get a different perspective.

From the latest report, the males came in similar mental states as the females. There were Babydolls and Little Boys. However, a new twist to the male genome had manifested that produced what would become an adult. It wouldn’t stay infantile; in a few months to a year it would mature into what was generally accepted as a young adult. It was still difficult to predict which boys would mature, however.

The only issue that remained was whether the females were technically able to reproduce. Thus far, no one had, as of yet, been able to produce a female bio-construct that grew beyond the Little Girl stage. Their bodies were technically 18 years old and 21 years old, but their minds and personalities were more a mix of adorable little toddlers than anything else.

The Little Girls could mature somewhat -- they could be potty trained, and their vocal proclivities would become more normal and less infantile as time passed. The issue that remained, however, was whether the females would be attracted to the males in the normal way. Only time would tell. Still, if they had to, they could always use artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization, so it wasn’t the end of the world -- they couldn’t let romantic notions stand in the way of planetary survival.

The Babydolls weren’t useless at all, of course -- they would probably never be potty trained and would probably always speak and behave in very infantile ways, but nevertheless, they were still intelligent, sometimes highly so, as the one named Vickie had shown. They could still work and even do research, maybe even creative arts. And they were proving to be wonderful companions to the Toddlers and Little Girls.

She sat back in her chair and took a deep breath, watching through the large windows as the newest batch of bio-construct males reached the maturation level necessary for release from the Genetic Nurture Chamber. Dr. Tyri thought about the bio-constructs and what the life force transfer seemed to do to the subjects’ personalities.

No wonder most of her people’s surviving number weren’t interested in having their life force transferred to one of the bio-constructs, even if they died a natural death. Despite the fact that it would be a way to directly continue their people’s existence into the future, the transformation of the personality into a much more juvenile version of itself deterred all but the most determined. Still, there were a few. And perhaps the process would improve with more research.

“Vickie and Shelly, meet Dorineth and Tylinene,” said Nana, indicating the two women on the big comm screen in the nursery. “Dorineth is a medical technician, and Tylinene is a medical trainee. They were both on a very important mission to a Planorok bio-weapon lab. It may have been the one that released the Terminor Virus -- and we now think the release was an accident due to an attack. They’re still in quarantine, because they’re infected with a different virus now.”

“Hi,” said Shelly. “I hope you’re gonna be OK … you look nice an’ I no want you to get sick.”

“Oh, we’re fine,” said Tylinene. “I mean, everyone in the world who isn’t a bio-construct has the Terminor Virus, and this one isn’t doing anything to us that Terminor didn’t do.”

Dr. Valynan appeared on the screen in a small window. “Hi, everyone, I’m in the next room over. Now that we’re at the Institute, I arranged for this call to see if we can brainstorm any ideas for making progress. Vickie, I heard you suggested trying to isolate the genetic sequence for this virus -- we’re calling it the Origin Virus, because we think it mutated into Terminor -- that enables it to destroy the Terminor Virus.”

“Yea,” I said simply. “Can’t just getta sequence of its RNA?”

“Well, that’s the problem,” said Dorineth. “No matter what equipment we use to do that, it’s like the Terminor Virus. Origin seems to shift when we try to scan it. No two scans are alike. It’s like …”

“Is like quannum obsavations,” I said.

“Yes, just like observing a quantum-mechanical wave function,” said Dr. Valynan. “It’s as if they exist in a superposition of several states and measuring them collapses them to one of those states. It’s as if it’s multiple viruses existing in the same place at the same time. Dr. Arawan has called them quantum viruses, because of that property. But we need to know how to sequence their RNA. If we can, we might be able to isolate that gene that kills Terminor -- and create a harmless virus to release into the wild.”

“Ooo if there is no more Terminor, then if you find any peoples lefted alive they might still be able to have babies,” said Shelly.

“That’s right!” Dorineth said. “There’s still hope that some unsterilized survivors hid away in isolation somewhere, maybe in cryostasis or chronostasis. It’s a big world, and a lot happened during the chaos when everybody was getting sick.”

I was thinking. “Well … am notta particle phys … phys … you know. But … they do lotsa ‘speriments an’ build up a ‘stistical profile …”

“... and generate a numerical wave function based on an ensemble of observations,” said Dr. Valynan, scratching her chin thoughtfully. “This could be a new kind of microscope, similar to the quantum phase transition technology but extending it with computational statistics. I wish Dr. Halloran were still alive -- the Terminor Virus killed half our living scientists.”

“Is good your planet thinks it is good for girls ta be scientists,” said Vickie. “My planet … not good that way.”

“Oh no!” said Tylinene. “Don’t tell me that your people thought women should stay in the kitchen and have babies! Only very backwater parts of this planet have those ideas now -- and with all the males gone, thinking like that has vanished out of pure necessity.”

“Whole planet not like that … but lotsa people still think that way,” said Vickie. “Isa very old way of thinkin’ an’ hard ta stamp out. For some … is parta their whole religion ‘n culture.”

“That’s depressing,” said Tylinene. “But hmm, what kind of gadget is that on your screen there, Dorineth?”

“Well this is a quantum phase transition microscope,” said Dorineth, pointing at a diagram, “or a schematic of one, anyway. But if we multiplied the detectors and bombarded the target with quark-gluon plasma instead of just a beam of quarks like we use now, we could build up a very quick picture of the virus’ structure, even when it’s got deliberate quantum obfuscation like Origin and Terminor -- and I’m quite sure it’s deliberate, since they were designed to be weapons. Of course, it would be quite destructive to the individual virus particles, but if we had a lot of identical ones, like a virus beam …”

“... then it would be like a particle accelerator, looking directly into the virus’ structure with high-energy particle beams, and there wouldn’t be any way for it to hide its information anymore!” said Dr. Valynan. “Dorineth, we’re going to get you some more degrees. You’re obviously more than the average med tech.”

“Well, gosh, Doctor …” Dorineth stammered, embarrassed. “I couldn’t afford to go on to get my doctorate …”

“We’ll talk about that later,” Dr. Valynan said. “For now, I’ve got to talk to Dr. Arawan. We have a new microscope to design. Thank you, Vickie, Shelly, Tylinene, and Glyneth too.” Dr. Valynan’s window vanished from the screen.

A heavily iso-suited exploration team had arrived on one of the remotest inhabited continents on the planet. Their specially made heavy lift cargo craft sat off in what was more or less a clearing in what used to be a park of some kind. The buildings and much of the surrounding area showed the same obvious signs of the war visible in all the other places they had been.

This particular expedition was different, though. They had actually been receiving some sort of distress signal for many years since the great die off. Once they had taken notice and begun flyovers and satellite recon of the large landmass, a huge underground complex had been discovered . The interesting thing about it was the huge power indications. It was also obvious there had been massive bombings all over that location and all knew there would be serious damage to any structures.

A twelve-member team arrived at a dome that had been blast blackened by a rather large explosion. The nearby crater showed that it was a near thing the dome hadn’t been hit.

Commander Ronayne stopped at the entrance to the place and said, “Sherri. Come see if you can make this door operate. Be advised this used to be some kind of research facility and we don’t know what tampering might do.”

One of the suited women came to the door and opened the pack she was carrying. Within were many electronic devices and tools. She removed the tool pack and began to tamper with the door and the only panel she could find. It didn’t take but a few minutes before the young woman had the panel, and most of one side of the door frame disassembled. The mechanism was solid, slightly damaged, and totally powered down. The woman cursed as she shook her head.

She said calmly, “Everyone stand back.” She removed from the pack something that looked like a ray gun and attached a tip on one end, then plugged it into a battery pack.

She pointed the tip at the door and pulled the trigger. A large shower of pyrotechnics scattered everywhere as she cut a large arching section of the middle of the hugely thick door and allowed it to fall in with a resounding THUMP!!

Through the dust, it was immediately noted that lights had come on inside. It was true that not all of them were working, but enough that the place was adequately lit. The damage to the interior at this location was minor and mostly cosmetic. Based on the amount of bomb craters above, this place was well built and fortified.

Ronayne pointed to two individuals and said, “You two stand guard here at the door. We’re not real sure if there are any survivors here. If there are, they will be rather feral after this amount of time.”

The women saluted and said in unison, “Yes, Ma’am.” before taking their positions to either side of the opening.

The freight elevator appeared to be working, but since they had found the stairs, they preferred to use them instead. No telling what kind of damage might have been done to the lower levels after the carpet bombings.

To the amazement of all, when they came to the next level, a large sign on the wall, printed in the local language of course, directed whomever had arrived after the war to follow the blue dots on the floor. It would lead them to a location where they would receive a proper explanation of what was going on.

There were many long stairs, and no one still wanted to use any of the elevators, but the blue spots were easy enough to find on each level starting at the elevators. After what seemed like hours, in the flickering light and tight halls, they came to a large door that said, “R E S E A R C H”.

The door was not locked, and all entered. The area was surprisingly clean, and it appeared most of the equipment was working. A small sign instructed them to press the green, yellow, then blue buttons on a console in that order.

Commander Ronayne did that. They could feel a vibration in the soles of their boots … then a huge wall slid open revealing a massive Synchord-Life Force storage facility.

A screen lit up, showing the smiling face of a male scientist. “Greetings to whomever finds this recording. I have a great deal to explain, and there is much data stored within the computer archives.”

“Dr. Rindonal Halloran,” said Ronayne to the others. Everyone knew the name. He was a famous scientist with the reputation for being able to seemingly do the impossible with every project that he turned his mind to.

“I know they say I never give up,” said the recording, “but I must face the facts. I’m showing symptoms of the pathogen they’re calling the Terminor Virus, despite everything we’ve tried to slow it down. We’re not going to cure this one before it’s too late. And I’m sorry. But that’s where this project comes in. We’ve made great strides in a field that everyone thought was a science fantasy: life force transfer. The pattern of a sentient being’s life force, which we’re calling a synchord, can be extracted and stored. In a way a synchord is a person, that which makes them unique. Some might call it a soul, but I’m not going to discuss theology and metaphysics.”

“What I am going to do is what I’ve always done -- turn defeat into victory by finding an opportunity amid the ruins. We’re facing death here, possibly all of us -- though I suspect the women are being affected less harshly by this pathogen than the men, so they may survive, or some of them, but that’s far from certain at this point. What is certain is that many of us will die, and soon. So we’re using this as a final test of our technology.”

“He really did it,” said Ronayne. “By the third tablet. The rumors are true. We’ve continued his work, but we never did find out what happened to Halloran and his team. Some were saying they’d experimented on themselves in the end, facing the Terminor Virus, with nothing to lose.”

“But in case someone should find this facility,” said Dr. Halloran’s recording on the screen, “I have no way of knowing what your technology level will be like, so I would like to direct you to our most valuable asset -- our research data.” A map of the facility appeared on the screen, and a section of one of the levels lit up in green and flashed. “Here, on Level Three, you will find the computer files necessary to completely reconstruct our latest experiments. The data storage cards are fully up to date, and there are terminals capable of reading them in case the technology no longer exists by the time this is found.”

Ronayne said, “Estinal, Gildolan, new assignment: Find Level Three. Retrieve that data. Even if we’ve advanced his research in one direction, he might have developed things we’ve never even thought of. The scientists will know what to do with it.” The two officers saluted and departed immediately, while the map was fresh in their minds.

“And finally, on Level Four, assuming our experiment works, you will find our crowning achievement,” Dr. Halloran’s voice went on, as the screen showed another highlighted part of the map flashing. “In these secure cabinets you will find orbs, precisely manufactured out of solid platinum-iridium alloy, containing the synchords of everyone here who chose to be so recorded. I have no idea as I record this message how many of us will choose this, or whether ultimately it will work. But if it does, there exists the possibility that we may one day live again. We leave behind our research, and our equipment, located here.” Another part of the map glowed and flashed before the scientist’s image reappeared on the screen. “Perhaps one day I will truly speak with you, but in any case, I wish you well in the future. Goodbye.”

As the screen went dark and the three buttons to play the message again lit back up, Commander Ronayne said, “We’re going to find those synchords and that equipment.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” said the others simultaneously. They headed in the direction that the map had indicated, toward Level Four.

It didn’t take them long to find the proper place on level four. The amazing thing about it, apparently the air handling system was still working and kept the storage area and the computer archive room at a constant 50 degrees.

The commander went to one of the control panels and pushed the button the instructions had told her to push. To the amazement of all, many screens came to life and began showing detailed instructions on how the basic Terminor Virus had mutated. They had just started making headway into being able to get a clear picture of the atomic structure of the virus when they all went into storage.

The technique was an interesting one. It was called magneto-gravitic genetic manipulation. A strong specially focused magnetron was built that produced a type of artificial graviton particle. This was passed through a special sensor device that listened for certain frequencies within the atomic structures, then the return signals were extrapolated by a computer program. The result was a very clear and real time image of the elusive atom .. or virus, or most anything else they wanted to view on a quantum level.

Another aspect of this technique is the lensless nature of the scan. With a lens magnifier, you were limited to the visuals obtained by the type and design of each lens and the illuminating medium. With the magnetic lensless, you got a precise energy image of the object scanned on a quantum scale without an alternate energy form adding to or deflecting the item being scanned on the observation stage. It was simplicity itself for the computer AI to create an exact image of what ever sample the readings obtained.

Commander Ronayne made sure that they got copies of all the research data, because although she wasn’t a scientist, she knew that the doctors had been having a great deal of trouble observing the Terminor Virus. But Halloran and his team had made great strides in that direction, and perhaps the Institute could figure out how he had done it if they had his data. But she wanted to move on to the synchord orbs.

She found them exactly where the map had said they would be. Packed in a strange nonlinear material whose restoring force seemed to increase with more than the square of the displacement, the perfectly-polished platinum-iridium orbs were stored in a hardened cabinet, and the equipment for extracting them from the minds of the researchers was nearby … along with the mummified bodies of many of them. The air-purification system had kept the environment extremely dry, desiccating the corpses once they had died. Clearly not all the researchers had gone through with the final experiment, but there was no sign of what had happened to those who hadn’t.

“We need to return these to the Institute with utmost care,” Ronayne ordered, pointing toward the orbs. “We’ve got the schematics for the transfer circuitry -- and besides, the Harvest wouldn’t work if we didn’t have working synchord-transfer tech. But we need to get these secured ASAP.”

“Yes Ma’am,” said the soldiers and technicians who were with her.

“Estinal, Gildolan, how is the data transfer coming?” Commander Ronayne asked over the comm.

“We are at … 70% complete, Ma’am,” came Gildolan’s voice, pausing to look at the screen.

“Commander Ronayne, ship to Commander Ronayne,” came another voice, Lieutenant Pasarine, who was the ship’s communications officer.

“Ronayne here, go ahead Pasarine,” said the commander.

“We’re picking up a fast-moving storm of some kind headed this way,” said Pasarine. “I suggest you either secure the facility against it or hurry back now. We can batten down the hatches, so to speak, and ride it out, but we’re seeing extremely high winds, which can mean blowing debris and highly dangerous conditions.”

“Do you have an ETA?”

“Effects starting in 15 minutes, Navigation estimates. What’s that? Oh no … Ma’am, the Science computer is picking up signs of radioactivity. That’s no ordinary storm.”

“Fallout storm,” said Ronayne. “You need to cast off. Get out of here. This place survived carpet bombing with protonic bombs. We’ll close all the exterior doors and vents, and we’ll be fine. Come back after it’s passed. Go. That’s an order.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” said Pasarine. “I’ve relayed the order, and Navigation is running a solution through the computer. We’ll avoid the storm, and we’ll be back in 16 hours, approximately.”

“Message received,” said Ronayne. “See you then.”

“Yes, Ma’am. Pasarine out.”

“OK, everyone,” said the commander to the room and to everyone on the comm, “we’ve got a fallout storm bearing down on us quickly. The ship is going to leave, circle around, and pick us up after it blows over. Our A-1 priority for now is to secure all entrances and air vents. Then return to your former orders.”

“We dismantled that door on the way in here,” said Estinal. “On my way to reassemble it.” She sounded as if she was running.

“Get it done. Anyone who can help, rendezvous with Estinal at the entrance. Once that’s done, run a diagnostic on air and water systems.”

Reports came in quickly and from all points for the next several minutes. But soon everyone met back on Level Four, where there was barely any noticeable effect, even though the storm was scouring the surface for anything loose to send flying as debris.

“How did you end up fixing the door you cut out of the dome?” asked Ronayne.

“There’s no door frame for the moment,” said Estinal. “Surisma found where they kept their dome repair material, Gildolan cut a piece of the exact right size, and I just welded it closed.”

“We’ll have to cut our way back out, but well done,” said Ronayne. “Do the air and water systems communicate with the surface?”

“Not at the moment,” replied Gildolan. “That’s something they’d already taken care of. We’d turned on the air flow, but I just as easily turned it back off. We never opened the water system to the outside -- at one point I guess it connected to the area’s water infrastructure, but that’s pretty much demolished. It’s all self-contained now.”

“I guess we have plenty of time, then,” said the commander. “Let’s finish securing the data and the orbs. Then …” She shrugged. “Did anybody bring any cards?”

“Commander!” shouted a team member. “We’ve got a problem! We left off transferring the synchord orbs in such a rush that we lost track of which is which!”

“Oh, by the Third Tablet,” said Ronayne. “How many?”

“32. But we can limit the damage …”

“So they’re delayed getting back,” said Dr. Valynan, “but the last we heard from them, Ronayne and her team found Dr. Halloran’s lab. Planorok bombed it, even though they weren’t working for Elzareth, but you remember Halloran -- he always thought three steps ahead. The place was reportedly built like a super bunker.”

“Wasn’t Halloran working on synchord tech?” asked Nana.

“Seems so,” Dr. Valynan replied. “So we’re all very excited about whatever they’ll find -- and they’re out of contact right now, since there’s a fallout storm passing over that area. It’ll be a while before we hear from them. But if that place survived direct protonic bombing, it’ll survive some fallout storm.”

I came to my senses suddenly, in the midst of the best plushy tug-of-war I had ever experienced. My head buzzed with the intensity of the contented infantility I was experiencing. I knew I had wet my diaper; I could feel the cool stickiness of it.

I let go of the plushy just as Shelly tugged on her end. Shelly tumbled backwards, showing off her ruffles in all their glory. I stopped for an instant as my eyes got big in surprise. I couldn’t help myself as I started giggling.

Shelly sat up and blinked her eyes in surprise for a minute, then clouded up and did what toddlers did, she cried.

Nana showed up almost instantly and cooed softly as she picked Shelly up to her breast and patted her ruffled bottom lovingly, “It’s all right, sweetheart. Tell Nana what’s the matter?”

In a cute whipery voice, Shelly said, “She made me faww down go booms.” She pointed her finger at me as she poked out her bottom lip.

Nana laughed softly as she checked Shelly’s panties, “Oooo didums have a small accident? You’re kind of wet, aren’t you?”

Shelly immediately started shaking her head and saying in an adorably infantile way, “Nnnn no! Am not wet. Amma big girl.”

As Nana carried Shelly off to the changing table she cooed softly, “It’s ok, Sweetheart. Nana will have you in a soft and comfy diaper in a jiffy.”

Shelly fussed and squirmed, “Amma big girl. Am no supposesa be in diapers.”

Nana chortled, “Ok, Miss Big Girl, how did these get soaked then?” She held up the very wet panties for all to see.

I pulled myself to my feet and looked down. I knew my diaper was very wet and Nana would come for me next. I watched as Nana cleaned and then diapered Shelly before bringing her back to the play area.

Nana turned to me and cooed softly in that voice, “Hows my little Babydoll? Bet she wet and really in need of a change.” She took me into her loving arms and checked my diaper. It felt so … safe to be in Nana’s arms as I squirmed and kicked my feet in joy.

Nana had me all cleaned and rediapered before I knew it, and soon I was sitting next to the pouting Shelly. She had her arms crossed and her bottom lip poked out over the whole thing.

I’m not real sure what happened much after that as the both of us drifted off into that wonderful place only happy toddlers know. Next thing I knew, I was in a high chair being spoon fed something like mashed potatoes and gravy … “Ooooo, mess time!!” was all I could think of as my mind went away and I became a happy little baby playing with her food.

I sort of came back to my other mind and heard Nana cooing softly as she gave me a bath. “From what the scientists are telling me, my cute little Babydoll is going to have a new boyfriend shortly. They found the research facility where Dr. Halloran’s lab was located. Including many hundreds of synchord life forces. They decided to make four bio-constructs, two males and two females.”

“H-hundreds?” I asked. “That musta been a big wesearch facilly.”

“Well, it looks as if they synchorded anyone in the research team who wanted it, along with anyone in the surrounding community who volunteered as well,” said Nana. “The air strikes were on their way. But the exploration team mixed up some of the synchords -- there was a fallout storm just as they were starting to move the recording orbs into carrying cases, and they had to leave to secure the facility, so when they got back they found they’d lost track of the ones they had in the cases. There are lots that we know who they are -- but there are about 30 that are all mixed up.”

“Ut-ohs,” I said. “30 orbie thingies an’ 30 names. Is any of them … ‘portant?”

“As a matter of fact, Dr. Halloran’s orb is one of those,” said Nana. “So they just have to put them all into bio-constructs and ask them who they are.”

“Oh! I just thoughtta somefing,” I said. “The Harvest. No gotsa take people from their pwanets.”

“Well … not for a while, at least,” said Nana. “I know you’re still worried about the ethics of it, but we have to save our planet. But yes, all the bio-constructs we can make are going to be homes for life forces from this planet for a while. No Harvest for probably half a year.”

“Can’t just put people who’re gonna die in them?” I asked. It was unethical, what they were doing, and it was only barely excusable if there was no alternative.

“That’s the problem,” Nana said. “There are no people who are going to die. Our medical science is probably far more advanced than your planet’s. Many people died during the war and then from the Terminor Virus after that -- but synchord technology wasn’t reliable until after they’d died. We’d have to wait decades for people to grow old and approach death from old age -- most women near that age died from Terminor, as did most small girls. Terminor didn’t specifically target them as it did males, but it still killed females with weaker immune systems, and of course everyone who survived is still a carrier -- except Dorineth and Tylinene, now.”

“Is so sad!” I said, my eyes filling with tears involuntarily. It was true, though -- what one or two countries had done to this entire planet was an unmitigated tragedy. But then I realized something and gasped. “But Dowineth an’ Tywinene! If Dr. Haworan is back -- he is ‘posed ta be a sooper genius! Can he figure out how ta kill tha viwus?”

“We’ll see, Vickie,” said Nana.

The fallout storm had finally passed, and the radiation had returned to prestorm levels. The crew worked tirelessly to package, then store all the data and research they had found, along with the many hundreds of synchord orbs. There were those 32 they had lost track of who exactly they were, but the main issue was they would be returning to the land of the living soon.

The large craft settled into its docking berth, and the crew began to offload all they had found. Many scientists were extremely excited about the discoveries. This was the lost research all had been laboring so hard to reconstruct. There was also the fact that Dr. Halloran’s synchord was among the many hundreds.

No sooner did they load the new data into the computer than the immediate solution to viewing the Terminor Virus was now a few short days from being resolved, as all the many began immediate construction.

Dr. Valynan was ecstatic as she sat at the control panel of the new microscope. It was based on a technique totally new to their research. Dorineth had been on the right track, but Dr. Halloran’s team had well and truly cracked the problem of imaging the Terminor Virus. She carefully placed the isolated sample on the viewing stage and activated the device.

The large screen was blank for a few minutes … and then, for the very first time ever, a real time image of the virus, even as it multiplied, appeared on the screen. Multiple beams of unconfined quarks converged on the targets, having no effect on matter or energy until they intersected and interacted with the virus’ atoms, and the computer assembled the data from the detectors into a live image.

As she watched the organism divide and go through its replication processes, she realized this particular bug didn’t come from this planet. Dr. Valynan thought hard about the many pathogens she had studied while in school. Now, she was almost positive where this particular bug came from and why it does what it does on a quantum level.

She turned to the archive computer and began to do some in-depth research on the new planet that had just been discovered prior to the outbreak of the war. She found references to similar Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species, but obviously Planorok had reengineered life forms from the new planet to create the Origin Virus -- and then Terminor had mutated from it.

This personally offended Dr. Valynan, because life forms like this were exactly what her personal research project had been about, back before the bug killed off all the males and made all women sterile, but Planorok had never shared its discovery of the new planet’s virus-like life forms -- of course, now they knew that it was because they’d been making bio-weapons out of it and planning to start a war. Now, since Dr. Valynan had been studying the new planet’s exobiology, she had a basis to work from.

She looked out her window into the bio-construct lab. The four new constructs were coming along well. The two females would be a little girl and a Babydoll. Of the males, one was obviously a Babydoll, but the other was going to be one of those that became something older … like a little boy, but it wasn’t yet clear.

Dr. Rindonal Halloran slowly awakened. His mind was in a total dazed blank. He felt so strange. He started sucking his thumb thoughtfully as he tried to bring up his last memories. Oooo the thumb helped clear his mind and made him feel so good at the same time …

Rindonal’s eyes grew large as he sat up suddenly. He knew beyond any doubt something major had happened and things weren’t quite as he thought they should have been.

He looked down at his body as he held his arms out. He was dressed in a cute babydoll nighty and thick diapers. Over the diapers were a pair of matching plastic lined rumba panties.

Hearing a tinkling whooshing sound, Rindonal looked up. The room he was in was something he had only seen when he had visited his younger sister and their 9 month old daughter before the war.

A large, very pretty woman dressed in a blue outfit outlined in red came up to the crib he was in and lowered the rail. She cooed softly in a voice that sent chills all through his body, “There she is. Such a pretty little Babydoll, too.”.

She picked him from the crib and started patting his bottom softly. OMG!! Rindonal almost totally lost his mind as an infantile contentedness surged all through him.

Now, I want to say that this is my approximation of what probably happened to Dr. Halloran. I know his/her experience was something like this because I’ve talked to Rindonal, and because exactly the same thing happened to me. Maybe it wasn’t precisely like this, word for word, but I assure you that this is at the very least quite similar to what he/she went through. And I’m saying “he/she” because Rindonal didn’t know yet that he was in a female body, though I’m sure he was getting an inkling of an idea.

The woman made a big deal out of checking his diaper as she continued cooing, “I know you are in total confusion. Just relax; everything will be explained to you shortly. Nurse is going to give Baby a bath and change her clothes and diaper so she will be all cute and adorable when she meets the rest of the team.”

The nurse placed her fingers on his neck in a certain way, and a major surge of tingly sensations rushed all through him. He lay helpless in this large woman’s arms as she carried him into another room, all the while continuing with those wonderful intense bottom pats.

Babydoll? Diaper? What was going on? The nurse set him down on a rug next to a tub of steamy warm water and quickly undressed him, and he saw that he was in fact in a thick diaper, which was soaking wet. She removed the diaper too, and gently lowered him into the nice warm bath. Around this time is probably when he discovered that he wasn’t, well, a he anymore, physically speaking anyway.

We’ve been working on pronoun and clothing choices for those who feel as if their identity doesn’t fit the new bodies they’re in, but sometimes it’s difficult to get others to accommodate them. Rindonal could now see that he had what they called on his planet a girl’s “privacy,” and definitely not boy parts of any sort.

Now, many men might be dismayed at this, but this was Rindonal Halloran, the great scientist, and his mind doesn’t work the way that most people’s do -- if it did, he wouldn’t be so legendary. No, he found it fascinating and wanted to know what he could learn.

So as the nurse washed his body, he paid attention to every sensation, trying to determine what precise actions correlated with each wonderful tingly feeling he experienced. He put off until later deciding what pronouns he wanted to be used to refer to him. And that’s why I’m continuing with “him” for now, even though he did switch to “she” later.

After cleaning him up, the nurse explained what had happened, letting her little charge play in the water, which Halloran did, splashing around and pushing some of the floating toys from one end of the tub to the other.

“You probably don’t know about the bio-construct bodies that we’ve created, since that development happened after you all synchorded yourselves. They’re still experimental, but one thing we know is that they’re all immune to the Terminor Virus, and to the Origin Virus that it mutated from. As a completely different life form, they’re not even carriers; the viruses just can’t make head or tail of what they are.”

“Incompatible cellular structure, very resourceful,” said Rindonal.

“Yes,” said the nurse. “The thing is, female bio-constructs were created first; male ones that survived took longer to develop. We’ve got viable male ones now, but not as many. Now, all of them come out of the process as young adults, the equivalent of age 18 or so, but they also have several infantile traits, at least at first. Some of them grow gradually out of them, and we’re calling those the Little Girls or Boys, while others never seem to, and we’re calling those Babydolls. There are both girl and boy Babydolls. We’re hopeful that the Little Girls and Boys will mature and reproduce. Babydolls, well, we’re not sure. Maybe.”

“But they have no life force and thus make excellent synchord recipients?” asked Rindonal.

“Exactly,” the nurse replied. “Now, the Terminor Virus didn’t leave a lot of older people who we could tell would pass away soon so their synchords could be saved and transferred. We had to start a new generation somehow. So we’ve taken to flying to other planets, too primitive for interstellar travel, and extracting the life force of people with few family and friends, few connections to others, to bring here and animate the bio-constructs. This ‘Harvest’ has been quite successful, as the new Babydolls and Little Girls and Boys are mostly happy with their new lives. But now we’ve found your project and its synchord cache. We don’t have enough bio-constructs for them all yet, but we’re reanimating all the synchordings we can.”

“That’s why I’m a girl?”

“Yep, sorry if you weren’t a girl before, but you’re certainly one now. And you’re a Babydoll, so you’re going to have a number of infantile characteristics. You’ve got quite a vocabulary, so I assume you were one of the scientists?”

“Rindonal Halloran,” said Rindonal.

“Oh! Oh my goodness! Dr. Halloran! It’s … it’s quite an honor!” The nurse was flustered. “Let me see, you’re in Melaran, the war is long over, and we’re trying to survive … I’m sorry you’re a Babydoll now instead of something more familiar …”

“Not at all; this is fascinating,” said Rindonal. “I find that my coordination is affected; I assume that won’t get much better, but it’s all right; I can make do. I assume all males other than bio-constructs are dead now, unless there are survivors in undiscovered suspension cells. I imagine this Origin Virus is likely quite hostile to the Terminor Virus -- our studies of it strongly suggested that it was a mutation of an earlier strain, and it sounds as if this Origin Virus was probably just that.”

“Goodness, you have to meet a bio-construct named Vickie; her synchord comes from a planet called Earth, which isn’t highly advanced, but she is quite intelligent. Let me … I have to tell someone that we’ve found you. Due to the circumstances of your discovery, there was some confusion around the identities of the first 32 synchordings discovered.”

“Ah, I see. Some unforeseen contingency. Let’s see, the war is over, so probably an earthquake or superstorm.”

“Fallout storm, and let me just … Dr. Valynan! I’ve found Dr. Halloran!”

There was a boy Babydoll living with us now. His name was Billy, and he giggled a lot, just like us girls. He didn’t wear frilly dresses much, or rather, Nana didn’t put him in them. She usually put Billy in colorful rompers, coveralls and bright shirts that still were made for girls, that is if Nana didn’t have all of us in just panties and, of course, thick diapers, because he wet just as much as any of us. But one day we got a visit from a new Babydoll.

“Vickie, this is Dr. Rindonal Halloran,” said Nana, wheeling the new adorably cute Babydoll into the playroom in a stroller. She had curly blue hair and was in a white lacy dress with a front pocket. “Only she likes to go by Rindy now. Rindy, this is Vickie, and Shelly, and Billy.”

“Oh wow!” I said. “Everybody says you is sooper smart ‘n stuff. They say I gots goo ideas but you are bestest at makin’ ‘em happen.”

“Goodness, I’m certainly very happy to meet you all,” said Rindy. “I’m definitely going to have fun today, and I hope you do too! Of course, fun for me is isolating gene sequences, though I’m quite taken with building the occasional block tower model of a DNA strand. And then knocking it over. It’s oddly satisfying.”

“Ooo like tha Origin Virus genes that kill the Terminor one,” I said. “We gotsa find those. If we can, then Terminor can get killed off and if we find some boys and girls left alive we can save your people. Cause we can stick those genes onna virus that doesn’t do anyfing ‘cept maybe give somebody the sniffles.”

“I certainly hope that’s possible, Vickie,” said Rindy. “And what’s more, if we can kill off the endemic Terminors, we can perhaps clone some cells from some living people and produce offspring with immunity. But even if we can’t, these bio-construct bodies are a real stroke of brilliance -- my hat is off to all the people at the Institute who came up with these. We could be the first civilization in galactic history to transition from one genotype to another. I’m unaware of any precedent.” She reached into her front pocket and pulled out a computer tablet. “I’ve invented this to make up for my lack of hand-eye coordination. We Babydolls have certain limitations.”

She turned it on and showed me a simulated Terminor Virus gene sequence, with an Origin Virus sequence next to it. Though her fingers were just as wobbly and uncertain as all of ours, the computer must have been programmed to compensate for it, because everything worked just as Rindy wanted it to. And at this point we went back and forth, Shelly and Billy just looking on, as we bounced ideas off each other. Rindy’s computer had access to all the Institute’s experimental data so far, and she was able to suggest new experiments right from there. By the time we were done playing in this way, we both thought we’d made a lot of progress, and so did Dr. Valynan, who talked to us on the wall screen before Rindy went home.

I came to my right mind suddenly, Rindy and I were each in a Nana’s arms. The bottle was filled with a wonderful tasting and warm liquid. The more I nursed … the more I wanted to. I heard Rindy start to fuss as she tried to get the Nana to stop feeding her. Nana smiled and gave Rindy a squeeze on the back of her neck ... it was amazing as I saw her turn into the perfect babydoll … before I suddenly don’t really remember too much for a while after that except I was very happy and more contented than I could remember.

My mind cleared just a bit and a very handsome young man in a shortall was led into our nursery. The woman dressed in a blue uniform outlined in red said in a soft tingly coo, “Girls, I want all of you to meet Tommy. He’s not a little boy, at least, not for long.”

Ooohhh he was soo cute too. I asked in a dreamy voice, “Is he noa little boy … noa babydoll?”

The woman in Blue smiled as she cooed softly in a wonderful tingly way, “No, sweetheart. This young man is what we would call a young adult. He will mature mentally beyond the adorable mix of toddler and what your perceived mental age was. We are not quite sure how he came to be different, it just happened in the genetic regen tank. All of the research team are going over the batch data to see if we can discover what made the difference.”

I couldn’t help it, Nana had sat me up and I had to suck my thumb. It was a baby imperative. My thumb was in my mouth and I suckled it thoughtfully. It dawned on me suddenly, I had no clue what it was I was thinking about. I giggled, It did make me feel really good though. And Tommy …

I slipped off of Nana’s lap, of course showing off as many ruffles as I could, and toddled over to Tommy. I tried to tell him my name. I felt very shy and my tongue was even thicker now than ever, “H .. Hewows? Am Vickie Babydaww. Can we be friens?”

Tommy looked at me with his deep blue eyes and smiled. He knelt down and took me by the hand as he cooed softly in reply, “I would be honored to be such an adorably cute Babydoll’s friend.” Then … he kissed my hand softly.

OMG!! I wet my diaper right then and there in total .. I don’t really know what the emotions were that ran intensely though me … but it was really nice, and I really really liked Tommy. I had never had feelings for another male like this and it was sooo nice.

Working in total isolation, Dr. Valynan injected the new virus into a laboratory Brint. These small mammals weren’t susceptible to the Terminor or Origin Viruses, but they were carriers. This was the second step -- the first had been computer simulation -- in determining whether the new strain, which they were calling the Omega Virus, would succeed in its task: wiping out all traces of Terminor in the test specimen without causing any ill effects. Omega was a common but harmless virus, known to cause nothing more severe than some sniffling and sneezing, that had been modified with the hypothesized genes from Origin that created a hostile environment for Terminor -- and for Origin itself, thanks to some manipulation.

“Now, we wait,” Dr. Valynan said to her voice recorder. She left the isolation lab for the clean room where she could remove her biohazard gear.

Commander Ronayne was in her quarters aboard her squad’s ship; everyone else had been granted shore leave, but she wanted to go over some reports she’d just received. A team had found bands of rag-tag survivors barely staying alive in the ruins of the city of Rosh … there were sightings of people on the Planorok mainland, though it was unknown whether they had somehow survived the horrors of war or were scavengers from somewhere else … the people of the frozen polar wastelands had finally been contacted, but they were just as affected by Terminor as the rest of the planet …

Then she saw it. There were local tales from one of the small nations of the continent of Tergia that a group of lab workers in a small town had gone into their workplace before the Planorok-Elzareth war and hadn’t come out again. Had they heard on the global network that hostilities were about to break out? Had they heard about Planorok’s bioweapons? Did their lab have cryostasis or chronostasis facilities? Or had they merely committed mass suicide?

She sent an urgent message to the Institute with a copy of the report. This had to be investigated, by herself or someone else, but she was military and followed the chain of command, even in this changed world. The Institute had far more information than she had and might know of leads that were even more promising. But they had to know about this -- there could be uninfected survivors, and if so they had to be protected until someday they could be revived in a Terminor-free world.

Dr. Maya Tergii sat at her desk and perused the morning reports. Being head of the largest surviving scientific research institute on the planet gave her access to all the latest findings covering all the recovery efforts being done around the bombed out cities of the planet.

As she sipped her cup of hot xunicu, her eye fell on a tag notice of an urgent message sent by the commander in charge of the military research and exploration teams. Maya knew Commander Ronayne personally, and if she thought this information was important enough to red flag it urgent, then it was worth reading.

The data on the screen told of the discovery of Dr. Rindonal Halloran’s research facility and the complete recovery of all his research. A most important discovery was the synchord storage facility that contained many viable synchords.

Maya started to take a sip of her beverage as her eyebrows went up in surprise. From what this told her, they had actually found Dr. Halloran’s synchord and reanimated a bio-construct with it.

Maya smiled and laughed as she read the part about the radiation storm and the several synchords that had gotten mixed before they could be labeled. One of the unlabeled synchords was that of Dr. Halloran. Maya grinned as she read that he had been placed in a female Babydoll bio-construct body.

From the pictures, Rindy, as she called herself now, was as cute and pretty as all the other girl Babydolls, and had the same adorable maturity mix that made Babydolls so loveable. Another note that was interesting, he was accepting the transition apparently without any issues … except he wasn’t real pleased about the toddler part that was infused within his personality. Maya smiled again; she knew he would always be the cute and adorable Babydoll he was now. Unless he were synchorded and put into another body, of course, but that process was risky, so nobody would do it except in a life-or-death situation.

Maya placed her cup on the trivet as the next important report appeared on her screen. There had been many rumors, of course, concerning one of the small nations of the continent of Tergia. According to what this said, a group of lab workers in a small town had gone into their workplace before the Planorok-Elzareth war and hadn’t come out again.

This would have been just another large, deeply buried, and well fortified research installation to add to the list of places to explore eventually -- it was likely full of information and resources -- if it weren’t for the disappearance of the workers. It was a distant backwater area that there had been no reason for Planorok or Elzareth or any of their allies to invade or bomb, although of course the Terminor Virus had spread there too, as it had spread everywhere. But the possibility of uninfected survivors was too tantalizing to ignore.

Detailed examination of the area hadn’t been a priority due to the unremarkable nature of the place, a savannah dotted with small towns. Recently, a satellite flyover had taken readings. A very large energy reading coupled with the local reports about the lab workers meant there might actually be something there.

As Maya started typing on her keyboard making the necessary requests for a large exploration and recovery team to go examine the area, she also made large warnings about avoiding contamination. If the rumors were true, any storage facilities there had to be strictly quarantined. The Terminor Virus was still viable and active. Any contamination of persons there would entirely defeat the purpose of investigating the lab.

Maya was hopeful on another account: the extremely promising reports she had read about a newly constructed virus they were calling Omega. From all the reports so far, it caused a minor head cold in those volunteers who tested it, but completely destroyed Terminor and any of its sterilizing sibling viruses or rendered them inert. All indications showed no residual viral presence of Terminor in any form. All the Institute’s work on Omega could result in a virus that not only wasn’t deadly and destroyed Terminor and its precursor Origin, but also conferred immunity to those other viruses.

Commander Ronayne carefully looked at the scans as her squad’s heavily armored, armed, and insulated recovery craft hovered over the selected landing zone. They had taken off from the deck of the ship and flown over a hundred klicks inland to get here, and there was a lot of open space to set down in, but there was no way they wouldn’t draw the attention of the women who lived here, and they weren’t in contact with these people yet.

The area had degenerated into small city-states since the war, with things changing so fast that nobody from Melaran or its allies knew who was in charge right now. Would they come under attack as soon as they landed? Nobody was shooting at them yet, at least.

She swiveled around and said, “Ok, helm, set us down slowly. There are people living near here, but the buildings around the lab itself are overgrown with plants, so chances are nobody’s going there on a regular basis.”

The craft, looking like a large beetle, came in for a landing in a mostly-empty parking lot, with only a handful of abandoned, looted hovercars parked around the edges, leaving lots of room for the large aircraft to settle to rest on its articulated landing pads. Most of the businesses in this small town seemed to be closed, but there were some inhabited houses.

One of the young ladies at the science console put her hand to her ear as she carefully read the most recent incoming data, “Ma’am, I’m picking up a power reading. I’m not real sure about anything else, but I do think I’ve found the entrance to that underground lab.”

The commander smiled. “Thank you Jeeweail.” She pushed a button on the arm of her command couch. “Exploration team, are you ready?”

“Aye, Ma’am,” came the voice of the team leader, Lieutenant Zorene. “We’re suited up and ready to go on your command. We just got the likely entrance coordinates from Science.”

Commander Ronayne smiled and replied, “Very good. Carry on.”

Lieutenant Zorene and her team of ten soldiers and technicians, wearing their iso-suits to prevent any contamination, walked down the streets of the small town. No traffic passed that they had to avoid; it was eerily quiet. Zorene followed the map projected on her helmet’s display. They went west for a block, then turned north.

“Ronayne to Zorene,” came the commander’s voice in her earpiece. “A number of the locals have just gathered on the street in your path. Watch out. Avoid conflict -- if possible.”

“Roger that,” Zorene replied, and then they rounded a corner and saw about a dozen of the local citizens standing in a group, armed with apparently whatever they could find -- one had a pulse pistol, but others had projectile weapons or just found hand-to-hand weapons of convenience. She held up her hand as soon as she saw them, and her group stopped. The locals did not advance. They were still about 50 yards away.

A young woman’s voice came out loud and clear from a bullhorn’s amplification, “State your business here. We want no trouble from you or anyone else. We didn’t start any wars, nor did we participate in them. We are fully capable of defending ourselves if necessary.”

Lieutenant Zorene and her search and recovery team watched as six very large and heavily armored spider tanks walked on their highly articulated legs into a defensive position, blocking the team’s advance. It was more than obvious that their plasma cannons were armed and energised. The telltale bluish electric glow around the emitters was plainly visible. Zorene doubted that those tanks had much fuel or enough ammo for more than a few shots, but fuel didn’t matter when they were already in position, and at this range one shot could take out her entire team.

Lieutenant Zorene quickly brought out a green flag of truce and waved it as she said through her suit’s PA system, “We come in peace! We’re from Melaran! We didn’t fight in the war either! We’re searching for survivors and any and all research data and materials we can find.”

A woman dressed in an armored battle suit emerged from a tangle of brush, carrying a nasty kind of cryogenic weapon. She stopped and said, “You cannot approach nor enter the facility you were headed for. We will not allow you to contaminate the only hope our world has of surviving this catastrophe.”

Lieutenant Zorene felt a large tingle of surprise rush all through her as she realized the rumors were true. Apparently a large number of individuals and research personnel had retreated to this facility prior to the outbreak of the war and sequestered themselves in an, at present, unknown way.

She said in what she hoped was her very most reassuring tone, “That’s fantastic! We came hoping that very thing, that somehow they had discovered a way to quarantine themselves from the plague. We have data that you will more than want to see. We would also like to know more about what went on here if we could.”

The woman in the armored suit visibly relaxed. “All right,” she said. “I’m still not prepared to let you pass yet, but let’s talk. It caused quite a stir when your big aircraft flew in. Everybody’s pretty agitated, as you might imagine.” She looked back at her people, who were still at the ready, then turned back toward Zorene and her team. “I’m Anizura — Colonel Evimene Anizura, retired, of the Southern Alliance United Armed Services, but after the plague there isn’t a lot left of the Southern Alliance anymore. So just call me Anizura. Welcome to the town of Rell.”

“Glad to meet you, Anizura,” said Zorene. “I’m Lieutenant Zorene, of the 9th Expeditionary Force, attached to the Tergii Research Institute — if there’s somewhere more conducive to conversation you’d like to move to, I can get our commander here to talk to you.”

“Yulina, do you have the keys to the office building over there?” Anizura asked one of the citizens behind her. “It’s unlooted and has a conference room we could use.” Yulina started walking toward a nearby building, not letting Zorene’s team out of her sight.

“Great, OK, let me fill the commander in. We’ll stay right here until you say we can move, don’t worry. Zorene to Ronayne, come in, Commander …” She filled Ronayne in on what had happened.

“Understood, Zorene,” said Ronayne, fully aware that her voice was audible over Zorene’s suit PA system. “If the citizens are amenable, we’ll withdraw your team, and then you and I will meet with Anizura and her people.”

“Roger that, Commander,” Zorene said. “Are you all right with that, Anizura? We’ll return to our craft — you can escort us if you’d like — and then the commander will come out and come with us, while the rest of the team goes back inside and stays there, at least until we come to an agreement.”

“I don’t believe you’re here to start a fight,” Anizura said. “And if you’re from the Institute — half your team looks like scientists and techs, not soldiers — I don’t see why we can’t work something out. Besides … I need to know what’s happening out there. There isn’t a lot of information. Power and communication are down throughout this region; I know that much. OK. Tanks, hold position. Everyone else, let’s escort them back to their craft, meet their commander, and then escort her and the lieutenant to the conference room.”

There were tense moments, but in time Commander Ronayne and Lieutenant Zorene sat across the table from Anizura and Yulina with some of Anizura’s other people standing guard by the door.

“... So wait, bio-constructs? What are those? And you say that Dr. Halloran was found, but only his synchord? And you put his synchord into one of these … bio-constructs?” Anizura was astounded, almost disbelieving.

“Yes, and I’m sure it all sounds unbelievable,” Ronayne explained, “but there’s more. On one of our expeditions two of our personnel were infected with a different virus that ran the Terminor out of their systems. They’re obviously in quarantine, but we’ve called this other virus Origin, and the scientists think Planorok was developing Origin as their bioweapon. It sterilizes but doesn’t kill. They think Planorok’s labs weren’t done developing it yet. But when Elzareth bombed Planorok’s research base, the radiation caused a mutation, and that was Terminor, which began to spread far and wide.”

“Hmm,” said Anizura. “Mistakes happen in war. Small ones … and big ones. Better just to avoid war, if you ask me.”

“A couple more things, though,” said Ronayne. “They’re working on a new virus called Omega at the Institute. It’s meant to put an end to both Terminor and Origin. It’s a harmless virus with some genes that are hostile to the bioweapon viruses. If you catch Omega, you’ll have some sniffles and sneezes for a few days, but when it’s over, or so the idea goes, you’ll have no trace of Terminor left in your system — and you’ll be immune to all of them. And outside of people and animals, we can sterilize environments where Terminor still survives. They tell me no virus can survive for long outside of a body, not even Terminor.”

“Well, it’s good news that they’ve got a plan,” said Anizura. “Let me know when they actually get this Omega virus to work. I’ll believe it when I see it, frankly. But it still won’t unsterilize anybody.”

“No,” said Ronayne sadly. “But the point is, we came here to investigate the rumors of researchers who’d gone into their lab before fighting broke out and hadn’t come out. If they were true, there might be, well, men and women with intact reproductive cells. We didn’t know who was living here or what the status was. Ideally, we’d like to investigate and secure the lab. Contaminating it is … unthinkable. Frankly I’m relieved that the lab is real and that there are people here who know about its importance to the future of our entire planet. If you don’t want us here defending it, maybe we can get you some gear to help you defend it. Perhaps, in time, you might consider joining our alliance.”

“You say Melaran’s allied with Gelmon, Oreale, and Harola? That’s easily more than half the remaining population of the world.” Anizura looked thoughtful.

“And don’t forget the western islands,” Ronayne added. “Their coalition joined with us too, once they made contact.”

“I won’t be making any decisions without talking to our people,” said Anizura. “We’ve basically got a loose confederation going here, no real organization, but when there’s fighting, or it looks like there’s going to be, they all turn to me, because I’m the most experienced soldier around here, and because I stepped up when I had to.”

“Understood,” said Ronayne. “Why don’t you take this comm here, and we’ll go back to our craft, and you can talk to us whenever you need to?” She pushed a comm device across the table toward Anizura.

“Fine,” said Anizura, taking the comm. “If anyone else wants to talk to you, we can call you. But I’ll have to get everyone together so we can talk it out.”

Anizura’s people escorted Ronayne and Zolene back to the aircraft, where they noticed frequent patrols of the area. “Probably making sure we stay put,” said Zorene, watching a patrol pass by on the screen. “It’s what I’d do.”

“Me too,” said Ronayne. “I’d better get a status report from the ship, and report back to the Institute.”

I was playing with my little dolls with Rindy and Billy when the comm chimed. Nana sat at the console and activated it. The image of Dr. Maya Tergii appeared.

Nana smiled and said in a cheery tone, “Hello. To what do we owe this honor today, Doctor?”

Maya smiled pleasantly and replied, “I have just gotten a report back from our research and recovery ship. Commander Ronayne has informed me that there is indeed a facility located on the remote southern continent. It would appear that we have a complete set of uncontaminated genetic material, with several individuals who are, if not alive, at least in suspension of some sort.”

Nana’s eyes got large as she replied in astonishment, “You … mean there is actually some who survived the holocaust of that horrid virus?”

Maya answered, “So it would appear — in a lab facility, though Ronayne’s team hasn’t managed to verify it yet. The local population have the place well guarded and defended. We have made arrangements to get them fuel for their equipment and ammunition in order to defend them more effectively. Also, Lieutenant Zorene and her technical witches managed to get what was left of the Southern Alliance capital city’s electric unit working. They have power now. Several of the technical team have been tasked with insuring all the habitable places are powered and have running water.”

Nana smiled, “Is there any way to determine if there actually are survivors within the facility?”

Maya replied, “As soon as we can get the power stabilized and enough of the grid in proper order, we will attempt to make some type of radio or electronic inquiries to the facility. No one is quite sure if there is going to be any type of response, however. Strict quarantine procedures are being followed to insure that none of the facility’s internal areas are contaminated. Are ... Rindy and Vicky in a close facsimile of their adult minds to talk with me?”

Nana looked over at the bunch of us as we all played with our toys and babbled to each other in the universal language of babies, “I’m not sure. I can find out really quick, though.” Nana turned and knelt down, then held out her arms as she cooed softly, “Rindy? Vickie? Are my babies able to talk with Dr Tergii?”

Rindy and I got up from the floor in the way toddlers do, then toddled over to Nana. We toddled right into her open arms and she hugged us gently before giving us both a kiss on our noses.

I giggled and replied in my cute voice, “We sorta heres. Seems time passin’ makin’ us more better’a blend.”

Nana and Maya’s image grinned. Maya said in a soft cooing tone, “Auntie Tergii has some news for you. Apparently the rumours are true and we do have an uncontaminated genetic resource. The facility is real and well defended by the locals.”

Rindy’s eyes grew large as she clapped her hands and bounced on her toes slightly, “Thass goo news. Now, gotsa make that ol meany Terminor goes away.”

Maya’s smile went away as she became serious, “Miss Rindy, do you think, with the necessary assistance, that you and Vickie could perhaps come to a special place in the lab and aid us in developing the new Omega Vaccine? I know you and your team were on that path before you had to Synchord yourselves. We have revived several of the top researchers from your team and placed them in bio-construct bodies too — as many are Little Girls as possible, but many are Babydolls like yourself. They will be able to assist you as time goes on and they become more accustomed to their new situations.”

Nana interrupted, “Maya, I’m finding that they can only stay focused for a few hours at a stretch without reverting to totally childlike thought patterns. But if they work in their mixed state, they can go indefinitely — until they get tired and need a nap, of course.”

“Naturally,” said Dr. Tergii. “All of Rindy’s team members are in the same situation, which would make it easier. They can all take nap breaks at the same time. We’ll work around it. Anything to save the planet.”

“Yay we getta save tha planet!” cheered Rindy. I cheered too, although I wasn’t yet thinking about the question that would later plague my mind: if we did revive the planet’s original species … would they have a use for us any longer? Would the children of the Harvest … simply be discarded and forgotten?

“Now entering the facility,” said Tech Specialist Estinal within the telepresence helmet. The locals still weren’t letting anyone enter the lab, but they were letting in a sterilized remote robot drone. Packed with sensors and cameras, it would enter the facility and have a look around, while the team recorded everything from the aircraft. Anizura’s people were free to look on; there were plenty of screens that showed exactly what Estinal saw as she slowly steered the drone out of the sterilization tent’s airlock and into the lab facility.

Again, I wasn’t actually there for this, but I watched the video afterwards. I talked to Estinal and Gildolan too, and they explained the capabilities of this type of remote spiderbot drone.

The drone’s spiderlike legs ticked softly on the tile floor as it moved down the hallway. The lights were out, probably to conserve power, but the drone had bright lights. “Detecting power signatures in the lower levels,” said Estinal. “Let’s find the stairs.” That was easy enough; she followed the signs to a doorway and used one of the drone’s eight legs to pull and hold the door open so it could walk through on the other seven. It crawled down the stairs just as it had been designed to do.

Two flights of stairs down, Estinal said, “Yes, this is the level the power signatures are coming from. We’re getting radio and microwave signals with a very strange spectrum. Let’s just open this door … and see what we can see ...” The camera showed the drone moving down another hallway and stopping before a lab whose door was specially reinforced. “Hmm,” said Estinal, giving the door handle an experimental tug but finding it not immediately responsive, “it looks like they’ve got this place a little more secure. Scanning the lock mechanism …” The screens showed data from the drone’s fine-structure sensor array, laying bare the interior of the lock. It looked like it merely needed the proper key.

“OK, we were prepared for this,” said Estinal. She had the drone lift one of its legs, and the tip reconfigured itself into a key of the proper cross-section and inserted it. Within the lock, the sensors showed it further changing shape until it fit the mechanism perfectly. Estinal then just turned the key, and the lock opened.

“They might not have had time for better security,” Estinal said. “At any rate, let’s see what we’ve got …” The drone moved through the open doorway and shone its lights around the room beyond. “Oh, interesting …” she said. “Now this I’ve read about, but I’ve never seen it before.” The camera showed a dozen raised circular pads on the floor around the outside of the room. On each one stood a humanoid figure that looked like a statue made of polished metal. It also appeared there were equal numbers of male and female judging from the shapes. Beside each was a screen showing a readout. Estinal had the spiderbot approach one of the screens, and its camera focused on it.

“Yes, this is a chronostasis device,” said Estinal. “No time is passing for them. There is literally no way for them to be infected as long as the field generators have power. I’m not going to touch anything, but when they are turned off one day, to these people it will be precisely the same second when they were turned on. The field doesn’t allow anything to enter, not even light, so their clothes, skin, hair, everything, is perfectly reflective.”

“Interesting choice,” said her coworker Gildolan. “This effect was discovered years ago, but it wasn’t widely used in practice — technologically, it was sort of a solution in search of a problem. I guess they finally found an application for it.”

“Well, it might have just saved our species,” said Ronayne, looking on. “OK, then, we know what we came here to find out. Get any other sensor readings you need, Estinal, then exit the facility. Lock up as you leave.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” said Estinal, and started scanning the room carefully. Any data could be important.

I woke up in the loving arms of Nana as she carried me into the bathroom, She placed me on the changing table and removed my panties and wet diaper before she started cleaning me with a soft cloth.

Nana rubbed noses with me and cooed softly, “Good morning, cutie pie. Today, you and Rindy have been invited to the Science Institute. Apparently the two of you are very important to their research, and they are in need of your consultations.”

I giggled, “They needs Baby ta babbles for ‘em??”

Nana laughed, “No, Sweetheart. They need that magnificent mind of yours to aid them in solving this virus problem.”

By the time Nana had finished bathing and dressing me and Shelly, Rindy and her Nana had already arrived. Of course, Billy was dressed too and looked more like a little girl than a boy. It wasn’t his fault that we’d only had girls’ clothes before he came along. We still didn’t have many boys’ clothes yet. He didn’t seem to mind much, though.

Several ladies dressed in military uniforms were there with Rindy. The larger woman said softly, “We are here to escort all of you to the facility. Apparently they have discovered something in the research recently recovered that they want Rindy here and Vickie to look over and give their opinions on.”

The two Nanas gathered us up and placed us in the floating bubble thingy that had lots of padding on the inside. It was real comfy. Not real sure what much happened until we got to the Huge white building. The guard at the gate checked everyone over and made sure we was who we suposed ta be, then let us pass. Sorry, it is a bit hard to focus for long. I will take a break before I continue ...

We were carried down a long set of halls and down several elevators deep under ground. When we finally arrived where we were being taken, it wa a magical wonderland of technology. Many large screens showed different viruses in extremely remarkable detail, with labels pointing to all the important parts of them. Other screens showed the viruses’ complete genomes, with substitutions being made as genetic simulations ran.

There were also many devices and lots of twisty drippy thingys all over. One pretty woman in a white lab coat whom I’d only seen before on a screen walked over to us and clapped her hands together, “There they are. I have so waited to meet the bunch of you in person. I’m Dr. Valynan! But you can call me Lyra.”

“Hi Dr. Lyra,” I said, confused by all I was seeing. “I wanna help, and I know Rindy does too! Umm I’m kinda thirsty?”

“Don’t worry,” said Dr. Valynan, “I know your Nanas have everything you need.” And sure enough, Nana gave me a bottle of water, cradling me in a chair and holding it for me while I drank. Meanwhile, Dr. Valynan went on.

“The issue is ensuring the permanent end of the Terminor and Origin Viruses,” said Dr. Valynan. “By basing the new Omega Virus on one that already spreads like wildfire but is hardly life-threatening, we’ll ensure that it will spread through our species. And we even have an Omega-Prime Virus that works on bio-constructs — you’re immune to Terminor and Origin, but this is just in case any of you are carriers.”

“We don’t have to worry about the viruses surviving outside of anyone’s body,” Dr. Valynan went on. “Like all viruses, it doesn’t live long, so its only hope of survival is to reproduce frequently, and we’re trying to put a stop to that. But the real problem is other species. Any kind of animal or plant that can serve as a carrier will shield it from the Omega Virus -- even microorganisms. But we can’t come up with a vaccine that works for every possible species — that would be impossible. So … how do we completely eradicate the Terminor and Origin Viruses so future generations won’t have to worry about them? Without creating a new killer virus to worry about, ideally.”

I drank my bottle and thought. While I drank, Rindy said, “Um well yeah, the problem is that if we make an Omega Virus that can mutate and infect everything, then we have, well, an Omega Virus that can mutate and infect everything, which could be a problem all by itself. So Terminor and Origin can have real carriers? That means the viruses grow and multiply inside ‘em, you know. Just not enough to make ‘em sick.”

“We know,” said Dr. Valynan. “It’s amazing that Terminor and Origin can grow and survive in anything at all, really, considering they’re based on life forms from another planet. But apparently they’re hardy enough to survive and even multiply inside at least some other life forms besides us.”

I was done with my bottle by then. I asked, “If tha Origin Virus comes from anotha planet, how does tha life there deal wifs it?”

The scientists and lab techs looked at each other. They hadn’t thought of this before. What species on its distant homeworld fought off the virus and survived, and what species did the virus infect and multiply in, even just a little? Was there a species that was actually 100% immune? And if there were … how could we confer that immunity to every species on our planet?

I asked, “Ifs this virus is fromma nuther planet, what ifs we go there an does a bitta research ta see is we can discovers what we askins?”

One of the Lab techs picked up a comm unit and made a short call. Then she walked over to Dr. Valynan and said something to her in almost a whisper. Dr. Valynan turned and smiled as she replied, “Well, Babydoll, it would appear we are about to do just that. There is actually a Starliner on the pad as we speak prepped and ready for interplanetary flight for a harvesting mission. We have just repurposed it to return to the planet in question so we can do a bit of snooping around.”

Rindy spoke up in a thoughtful tone , “What ifs …” she put her thumb in her mouth and sucked it thoughtfully for a second then continued, “we needsa be vewy carefuls is we go there. Is therea virus there like Termanor an Origin, gotsa be others more nasty … donchakno?” she looked at Dr. Valynan.

Dr. Valynan replied, “That, is a good observation. I will insure there are super heavy duty level one Iso-Space Suits equipped.”

I said, “Maybe we should send onena thems spider thingys. They can go an come back n kepteded inna quar .. a quar na … kep seperated easier thanna person can.”

Dr. Valynan smiled as she patted me on the head, “Yes, and we even have some whos AI have been specifically trained to do just that sort of mission.”

Several weeks and much preparation had happened. A very large, well equipped, and extremely sleek Starliner was hopping through NR space. The captain and the bridge crew sat in their gravity couches watching the myriad colors of light that sparkled before the ship as it traversed interstellar space, effectively well in excess of the speed of light.

The young executive officer swived around from her console and said, “Captain, I’ve just gotten word from Science. They say the spider drones are ready for launch. We should be able to remain in orbit and have them do the planetfall drops.”

The captain smiled as she replied, “Very good. Navigation, how long until planetary approach and orbital insertion?”

A woman sitting at the control console ahead of the captain’s seat replied, “We should be within planetary scan range within 20 minutes. Orbital insertion another 45 minutes after that.”

“Well, don’t wait for my order — as soon as we’re in scan range, go right ahead and start your scans,” said the captain.

“Noted and so ordered, Captain,” said the XO.

Not long after that, the ship slowed to interplanetary speeds, and the science division began scanning, picking out good landing sites for the drones. They were already making more complete maps of the planet’s surface than they’d ever had before. The four landing vehicles were ready, each containing a dozen drone bots. The robot techs ran one final diagnostic on all systems, and it turned out green like the previous ones.

Soon after that, the ship performed final orbital insertion maneuvers, and the bridge signaled that launch plans were go. The landing vehicles were already in the launch bays, so at the appropriate moment the computer initiated launch procedures. The linear induction drivers precisely brought the vehicles to launch velocity at the planned trajectories. Now all they could to do was wait.

Fifteen minutes after that, the science division had erupted into a buzzing hive of activity once more. The vehicles had landed at their arranged sites, and environmental data was already coming in, even before the bots had emerged.

The four robot techs were donning their telepresence gear and getting into their motion harnesses. Planetary scientists, xenobiologists, and epidemiologists were getting their software ready to begin preliminary analysis of the vast quantity of data that was about to come their way. All knew that the entire future of their species was riding on finding just the right clues here.

The massive data return began. The many techs sat at their stations and opened numerous screens to display their particular field of expertise data. The women wearing the telepresence equipment were astounded at the various sights and creatures they discovered. Most of the time the drone bots’ AI was able to guide them automatically, but at any time the robot techs could jump in and assume control, if the AI guessed wrong or if one of the scientists needed a drone to explore something specific.

Apparently, each of this planet’s creature’s genetics operated on a different quantum frequency than any other creature they had ever before discovered -- except for Origin and its mutation Terminor.

Just like the Origin Virus they had come to search for data about, all the flora and fauna of this world’s genetics were elusive and required the special quantum devices that had just been created to view them.

Much time passed in the search. One spiderbot had found something that resembled a cross between a snake and a cat of some sort. It was about 2 meters long and covered with log silky fluffy fur like a Persian cat. The hair on its tummy was short and very soft and smooth. It was obvious it aided in locomotion. It also had the facial appearance and mannerisms of a friendly kitty wanting affection.

From the samples the spiderbot took from the cat-tail, as it had come to be called, there was some sort of microphage that lived within the digestive system. Several of the genetics techs sat open-mouthed in wonder as they watched this new type of creature under quantum observation.

Basically what the organism did was invade a host body and inject its genetic materials within the cells of the host. The new genetics became part of the genetic makeup of the host through normal replication, then the microphage died and was absorbed by the host.

The important thing it appeared to accomplish was render the host completely immune to the effects of certain viruses, which they had found in abundance scattered about the landing sites, while replicating harmlessly and starting the cycle all over again.

The Origin they had on the homeworld, however, was quite different genetically than the one they discovered here, which they had called Origin Zero. Now they knew what it was that Planorok’s research had modified to produce the changes in the Origin Virus from which Terminor had mutated.

Now they had a fighting chance. They had a real means to make a vaccine that would work universally throughout the planet’s genome without creating a large issue. All that was required now, was more research … and a miracle.

Two of those miracles sat in a playpen babbling adorably to each other and playing with the squeaky blinky toys all around them. Nana looked up from her book and smiled at Shelly, Billy, Rindy, and me. We were so adorable, smart, and a real pleasure to mind. We had no way to know yet what amazing discoveries were being made on the distant planet, but we would find out soon enough when the starship returned home.

How could we eliminate Origin and Terminor without introducing a totally new virus that could mutate to cause an entirely new epidemic, maybe without survivors this time? Rindy and I had been over it time and again, speaking to each other in the language of play.

Building blocks symbolized DNA strands, different colored blocks becoming genes. It was clear that the only way to save the world was if something could spread across the world, genetically modify every creature capable of playing host to Origin or Terminor, and then disappear without killing or harming the host. And just at that moment, on the distant planet, they were discovering the ancestor of just such an organism.

I came to my right mind just as Rindy pushed over our most recent construction of our new style DNA toy. Each color coded block was specially designed to fit neatly into interlocking segments that also represented nucleotides and amino acids.

As the small twisty tower fell over, it basically stayed intact this time except for one minor item. One of the segments representing one of the Origin Virus’ RNA segments had gotten joined within the twists of our normal Helix.

Apparently Rindy’s mind came back as well, since the both of us sat back at the same time and started to suck our thumbs thoughtfully. Slowly, so as not to move anything from the order it fell, Rindy and I circled the new arrangement, of course showing off our cute ruffles to any who happened to be in the room.

Rindy plopped on her thicky diapered bottom and said as she pointed to the new arrangement, “We no ever thunka that kinna thingy. I means … we been tryina makesa change to tha Quantum genome wifs our DNA / RNA snippits.”

I took my thumb from my mouth and said, “Yea, now we tookted a snip fromma Quannums and puts inna a regular.” I looked it over carefully, “It kinna looks likes it gonna select for tha kinna thingy we been wanten. Will invade, leafe tha genetics behind, then harmlessly reproduce spores afore dyin’.”

Rindy nodded, “Needsa makes some Puter models ta checks out what it gonna do when dividen.”

Rindy got up onto her shaky feet like any 3 or 4 year old toddler, then waddled over to Seralah, one of the adult techs sitting at a large computer console. She looked down at Rindy and smiled as she said softly in a cooing tone, “There she is. You are so adorable.” She bent over slightly and patted Rindy on her head. “What can I do to help a pretty Babydoll like you?” Rindy had convinced them to stop calling her Dr. Halloran, at least for now. She treated her Babydoll experience as she always had any other experience, something to immerse herself in and learn from.

Obviously Rindy lost her mind for a second or so as she giggled and acted real silly. Her eyes opened wide and she looked at the woman with a surprised expression on her face, “Needs you ta makes us a sim .. a umms .. a .. simulat ofa division offa custom strand.”

The woman smiled and cooed softly, “Sure. Can baby show me what the variables will be and the suggested protein mix?”

Rindy giggled as she nodded until her ponytails flew. “Sure cans.” Rindy brought out the specialty pad that had been constructed just for us babies and showed the woman how the DNA/RNA interaction protocol should run.

“Now,” said Dr. Giudia, “the next question is, how does Origin Zero itself survive, with this archenemy turning other organisms against it? Why is there still an Origin Zero virus in existence on this planet?” The science team was discussing their findings aboard the starship, which was still in orbit around the distant planet, which they had dubbed Ultima. (It’s true that they weren’t speaking English and didn’t really name it something Latin. They named it a word that meant “farthest” in an ancient dead language of their homeworld’s past, so I decided to translate that as “Ultima.”)

“Well, take a look at this data from Site 5,” said Dr. Lorlan. Several graphs and charts appeared on the large screens. “Origin Zero from the other side of the planet, but still the same organism -- but it’s mutated just enough that its archenemy can’t stop it. Until …” Another set of graphs and charts appeared. “The archenemy organism changes too. It’s a continuous arms race.”

“But wait, we haven’t seen either Origin or Terminor mutate like that,” said Dr. Giudia.

“Perhaps Planorok engineered that ability out of it as part of their weaponization research,” Dr. Lorlan suggested.

“We’ll have to alert the homeworld, though,” said Dr. Giudia, and several of the other scientists agreed. “They need to know. Origin Zero, at least, is even more elusive than we had thought.”

Rindy and I saw the data transmission from Ultima. “How … how Terminor no like that?” I asked.

“I knows!” said Rindy, her face lighting up. Then she looked down. “I wet too. Umm but anyway! Is ‘cause this.” She played on her tablet. “The Plano … Planrok scientists hadda change it a lot afore it would work on our peoples. Issa totally different kinda life. I bet they hadda change this … an’ this … an’ this …” She pointed to different gene sequences on the tablet screen.

“Oh! An’ I bet if this part here was like this,” I said, pointing at a sequence and drawing in an insertion, “it woulda mutated super fastest, but that woulda made it so your peoples couldn’t catch it.”

“Yup,” Rindy said. “It couldna liveded inside our cells. So we luckeded out. They hadda get ridda the way it super mutates or it woulda been no good asa weapon.”

“But wait, I gotsa nother question,” I said. “This says tha Origin Zero thingie mutates sooper fast back home on Ultima. But the other thingie changes right away. And then Origin Zero changes right away too. Is like it … talks to its enemy …”

“It … talks to …” said Rindy. “That … no … possible … wait. No possible for virusies … but … happens wif particles.”

“But … quannum tanglemints …” I said. “Gotsa be stuck together ta start wifs …”

“They maby grow together outta spores?” asked Rindy. “Ask ‘em bout it.” She sent a message to the starship via the tablet.

Back on the Starliner Dugubuhey, the comms officer turned slightly in her gravity couch and said, “Commander? I’m getting a transmission from the Science Foundation.”

The commander replied, “Put it on Bridge channel.”

“Aye, Commander.”

The face of Dr. Valynan appeared on the holoscreen, “Hello, Captain. I’m Dr. Valynan. We have some data that we need your team to investigate if possible.”

The captain smiled as she replied, “Absolutely. This planet is full of new wonders and creatures none of us ever imagined.”

Dr. Valynan nodded as she replied, “It looks to be even stranger. Several of our … lets say, younger members …” both women giggle a bit, “Have come up with a remarkable discovery. From the data they have managed to model, it would seem many of our new-found quantum creatures are somehow bonded together in a strange form of entanglement.”

The captain’s eye got large with surprise as she asked, “Are you telling me that all these quantum genetic critters … are bonded somehow?”

Dr. Valynan nodded as she replied, “Somehow, some way, yes. Our team has discovered the very real possibility that Origin Zero and the Microphage we are calling Felus somehow communicate. One adapts to the other in some kind of check and balance that keeps the mutation rates handled so the numbers don’t run away.”

The captain rubbed her chin thoughtfully, “That would explain why Origin Zero here is so different and hasn't overpopulated this world, but also somehow hasn’t gone extinct, given the Felus organism.”

“That’s our thought too,” replied Dr. Valynan, “We would like your team to look into the very real possibility that many of the creatures on that world are bonded together and somehow communicate with each other.”

The captain replied, “Am on it immediately. Dugubuhey out.” The main screen went dark, and the face of another young woman in a white iso suit appeared, “Science, I want you to start a line of inquiry into a possible bonded relationship among all those quantum creatures on this world.”

The young woman’s face showed surprise as she replied, Yes, Captain. Will start setting up the entanglement tests immediately. Science out.” The large screen went dark once more. The captain went back to reading the latest findings.

“Well, we have some results, anyway,” said Dr. Valynan on our screen. I listened while chewing on a block. It seemed the natural thing to do. “Part of the Felus organism is in fact a mirror-image of the Origin Zero virus. It’s as if Origin Zero reproduces as a pair of viruses, mirror images of each other, like particle-antiparticle pairs. There’s a symbiotic microorganism that one of the pair then bonds with to form what we’re calling Felus, while Origin Zero goes its own way by itself.”

“They … lef ‘n right hand copies?” I asked.

“Yes, Origin Zero and Felus Core are,” Dr. Valynan confirmed. “When Felus reproduces, it makes an Origin Zero virus. When Origin Zero reproduces, it also generates a Felus Core that soon bonds with a symbiote. It’s a pattern that we’re seeing in some of the other life forms on Ultima, but this is the most dramatic example we’ve found so far.”

“Hmm … whassit mean here?” Rindy thought. “We tryinna gets ridda the Origins an’ Terminors … but are they …?”

“No wait!” I said. “Whatif Terminor is notta mutation of Origin? Whatif … is like Felus an’ Zero only Planrok messed wif ‘em?”

“Then anytime Origin reproduces, it makes Terminor Viruses,” said Dr. Valynan. “And whenever Terminor reproduces, it makes Origin? That doesn’t really make sense with what we’ve been seeing.”

“Well Planrok broked it,” said Rindy. “They messed it up. We gotsa be careful though. Is maby that Origin genes can make Terminor genes somehow.”

“Wait, here’s another message coming in … it’s from the team running the simulator of the custom genetic strand you two came up with.” Dr. Valynan frowned at the message. “I think this might support the theory. As it reproduces it generates virus fragments. They’re imperfect copies of Terminor, most of them unviable for survival at all. But if the process randomly generates enough of them, they’ll produce a Terminor Virus eventually, and it’ll just start wreaking havoc again.”

“Oh no!” I said. “But we can change it! Right?” I looked at Rindy.

“If anybodys can fix dis, it’s us,” said Rindy, who started playing with the DNA blocks again.

Tommy was a different kind of male bio-construct and he had come to know it. He had matured a great deal in the last several months and was well in advance of the other toddlers, babydolls, and littles.

The female littles, toddlers, and the babydolls were very much attracted to Tommy, which gave the researchers hope there may be a normal future after all.

All I know is, when Tommy came over to visit, Shelly, Rindy, and me were totally enraptured over him the whole time. Ooooo I really really liked Tommy alot. He also paid us a great deal of attention when he was there.

He was over visiting. Nana had dressed me in a cute sun romper and Shelly in a matching one. I really didn’t know what came over me. He was just so .. adorable I had to.

I toddled over to him and stood on my tippy toes. Before he could react, I gave him a big kiss. OMG!! It tingled all through my body as he gently wrapped his arms around me and kissed me back. By the time we broke the kiss, my head was lost somewhere in orbit, and my diaper was very wet.

Nana came up about that time and made a huge deal out of checking me too ... and Rindy, she had the same attraction I did apparently.

Nana had pulled open the front of my diaper where Tommy could see in as she cooed softly, “Oh, my. Baby is very wet. So is miss Rindy.” she took us both by the hand and lead us to the changing table. Tommy smiled as he and one of the other people there were quietly talking.

One of the techs said, “It would seem, Tommy, that the expected genetic attractants are working. It took a bit to engineer them properly.”

Another of the techs at one of the work stations said, “We will give you a warning too, Mr Thomas, you are expected to act as a gentleman at all times. We will punish you if you over step any proprietary bounds.”

Tommy replied, “I can’t help it. I like girls, and they like me.”

The seated tech replied, “That’s as it’s supposed to be. However, that doesn't mean you have a right, just the ability.”

The first tech said, “With the whole civilization riding on reproducing the next generation, I do think there are going to be some issues. Even we have problems resisting. Tommy is soo adorably cute and handsome.”

Tommy had gone with several of the female techs and left us Babydolls alone. After Rindy’s and my minds had cleared from his overpowering presence, we began to play with the blocks again.

It dawned on me that reverse retrophasing the bonded proteins exactly as meiosis duplicated each strand, would actually produce two types of Felus, and not Terminus or Origin. One Felus was the normal type we had discovered already, but the other was a miracle.

Completely by serendipitous falling of our DNA/RNA blocks, we had found the actual cure. It required the insertion of one of our planet’s Adenine proteins into a key slot between the several unusual bonded proteins within Felus.

What this produced for us was a microphage that inserted its genetics within the hosts cells to reproduce itself, thereby making the host immune to Terminor, Origin, or any other sister pathogen. Then, it would die off, leaving only spores that would pass from the host’s body to be scavenged by other creatures. This in turn created another host for the Felus virus which only spawned the two types we were wanting.

“But … wouldnit change other stuffs about the host tho?” I asked. “Maby it ‘mune ta tha viruses but … what other genes it change?”

“We run tha simmilator,” said Rindy. “We find out.” She used her tablet and sent the parameters off to the simulator supercomputer.

I don’t know how I knew it. I wasn’t even an expert with human DNA back on Earth. I’d just learned a lot about a wide variety of sciences in my time studying for my PHD in Engineering. And here I was on an alien planet where the things I’ve been calling “DNA” and “RNA” in this account are just names for the closest thing I can think of. The planet’s life forms were based on somewhat similar biochemistry, but you couldn’t call it DNA with any degree of scientific accuracy. Still, I knew that if this Felus organism edited one part of the host’s genetic structure and did so organism-wide, there wasn’t the slightest chance that it would stop there.

“Well, rise and shine, time for another day of exciting research,” said Dr. Giudia, yawning and stretching after a sleep break. “A couple minutes in the … what?” Dr. Lorlan was pointing to something on one of the screens.

“No, no, no, I need my morning xunicu, no impossible xenogenetics before xunicu,” Dr. Giudia complained, reaching for a squeeze bottle of the stimulating beverage.

“It’s true,” said Dr. Lorlan. “This is the breakdown of the species of the planet Ultima as of our latest data, about an hour ago.”

“But … where’s species 182? The most prevalent species on the planet?” Dr. Giudia asked. “What about species 79? We were seeing those things everywhere. You’re telling me that they’re completely extinct now, and species we hadn’t even discovered yesterday are now the dominant lifeform?”

“I’m telling you that’s what the data’s saying,” said Dr. Lorlan. “What’s it mean? That’s the question.”

“The disappearance of a species could be due to habitat destruction, excessive predation, or even sudden hibernation,” Dr. Giudia theorized, “but the data isn’t supporting any of that … it’s … here. Look.” She found a continuous stream of data about one particular individual of a species that was now all but gone. She replayed it in real time.

“Here. This individual of species 283. Here it is foraging in the mid-latitude forest of Zone 3. Let’s go forward … still foraging … what? Where’d it go? Back that up … there … now, slowly … it … grew wings and flew away?”

“Wow,” said Dr. Lorlan. “That’s some radical cellular restructuring.”

“But … the whole species? Look, there are other individuals undergoing the same transformations!”

“Almost as if their DNA is somehow entangled,” said Dr. Lorlan.

“Oh, no,” Dr. Giudia said. “No, no, no. Ultima is even more messed up than we thought. That Felus organism … it totally rewrites species’ genetics. And then the Origin Zero virus figures out how to infect them again. And on and on.”

“And we’re thinking about unleashing that back home?” asked Dr. Lorlan.

“No, nobody’s thinking about that,” Dr. Giudia assured her. “We’re looking at simulated strands of genetic material to see if we can confer immunity to Terminor and Origin. That’s all.”

“Well, good,” said Dr. Lorlan. “I wouldn’t want the entire genome of our planet to assume a totally new form every 48 hours.”

Late one night shortly after the Felus Microphage had shown several more of its many secrets, a young woman sat lazily at one of the computer simulation stations and ran yet another possible genetic combination scenario.

As she sipped her cup of hot xunicu, she came from her almost fugue state when she saw the latest results. What it showed was that the women on the planet who had been rendered infertile could possibly bear children after all. Currently, however, the actual achievement of that goal wasn’t reachable under the current model. It wouldn’t be long, just a few more simulations.

About that time, Erienee turned at the soft crinkling sound coming from behind her. It was the Babydoll that had been assigned to her by Dr. Valynan.

Erienee smiled as she clapped her hands together and cooed softly, “There’s my Babydoll. How are you?” She reached out and pulled open the young womans ruffly bottoms and the thick diaper within and checked her. “Nope, baby is still dry.”

The adorable young woman giggled and acted silly for a second before her eyes widened and she asked, “Am .. amma .. girl? Am supposesa bea 56 year old man … a geneticist. Where Dr. Hallowan? Wha happeneded?”

Erienee smiled as she replied softly, “Your synchord was found. Unfortunately, the first thirty were mislocated due to an emergency. The synchords were protected, but the names and the order in which they were found were lost. We did manage to produce bioconstruct bodies to place the mind cores in. Unfortunately, many of the very first of the thirty had to be placed in females … the only bodies we had available.”

The young woman held her arms out and looked down at her very adorably pretty self. “Why comes am … dressed an actin likesa baby?” she looked up at Erienee with her large dreamy eyes.

Erienee knelt down and hugged the young woman as she cooed softly after pressing her fingers on the young woman’s neck in a special way, “It’s because you are now a Babydoll. You are expected to act like a wonderful mix of toddler and who you used to be. The females come in two types, Little Girls and Babydolls. Little girls mature somewhat to just about potty training, while Babydolls remain as you are. You may mature slightly in certain ways, but you will always be a Babydoll. One whose new name is Aylyiea. You belong to me now.”

Aylyiea seemed to shiver a little for a minute. Erienee released the woman’s neck. Aylyiea stood in a total state of euphoria for another instant before she looked up.

Aylyiea squeaked adorably as she hugged Erienee and said in a very adorable voice, “Mommy, baby lov you tons.”

Erirnee almost cried as she hugged her very own Babydoll back. It was a dream come true; she actually had a daughter now.

Aylyiea toddled over to the place a large snuggle toy was sitting and plopped on her thickly diapered bottom. She began to play with the doll while Erienee took notes and made videos. As far as she was concerned, Aylyiea was an infant and would be treated accordingly.

Erienee lookeded dotingly at her adorable Babydoll for an instant or two longer, then turned her attention towards the most recent report on the last genetic model run. To her amazement, she had discovered that the removal or any type of manual manipulation to the placement, arrangement, or timing for activation or disablement, of a particular 3 grouping of atoms changed Felus in dramatic, and more than excessively helpful ways. The most amazing thing to come from this latest study … was that Felus Core/Origin Zero appeared to be part technology and part biology, all quantum entangled in some mysterious way far in the past.

Somebody had made it. Somebody who could manipulate quantum entanglement at will. But somebody who didn’t appear to be around anymore. That was an enigma. But for now, it meant that there was a way to save her world.

“This is Erienee, a quantum biology researcher,” said Dr. Valynan, introducing her to the others. “She’s discovered something very interesting.” Erienee showed her findings to Nana, Rindy, and myself, and Dr. Tyri, Dr. Arawan, and Dr. Tergii were listening in as well.

“Oooo, these is stuffs our DNA blocks no do so good,” said Rindy with a giggle. “Gonna hafta make better ones. But Vickie, see how they outta phase wif each other?”

“They … always outta phase,” I said, astonished. “Always same ‘zact amount outta phase. How they do that?”

Erienee checked her numbers. “That’s … correct,” she said as her eyebrows rose in surprise. “You two are some really smart Babydolls.”

“Well, Rindy is Dr. Halloran, and Vickie is from another planet, part of the Harvest program,” explained Nana. “I’m very proud of my girls.”

“Dr. Halloran?” said a voice behind Erienee.

“Oh, this is my Babydoll, Aylyiea,” said Erienee. “She’s one of the scientists from Dr. Halloran’s lab, but she’s been mostly being a baby lately.”

Aylyiea’s cute face appeared in the view. “Oh! Dr. Halloran! Baby happy you safe! But … me baby now. Hard to think n stuff.”

“It all OK,” said Rindy. “Worstest thing is if you tryn fights it. Makes your brain work gainst itself. Gotsa work wifs it. Then is like your brain is in overdrive. Am Rindy now. But just as smarts as ever. Only lots cuter.”

“As always, Dr. Halloran is treating this as a learning experience,” said Dr. Valynan. “But anyway, what does this tell us, that the three atoms in that one nucleotide are always predictably out of phase?”

Dr. Arawan spoke up. “It means you can’t adjust one without adjusting the others,” she said. “It means there are a limited number of states they can be in. And, more importantly, it means we can more fully simulate the effects of those states.”

Erienee said, “Yes, and the simulator’s results should be on your screens right now.” A number of charts and graphs appeared on everyone’s screens. We all took a moment to examine them.

“Ooo, neatos,” said Rindy. “Lookit state A-33.”

“That would … no, that can’t be right,” said Dr. Tergii. “Can it?”

“I … think it can,” I said. “It mean … not just immune to tha viruses … no get old.”

“Felus would confer immunity to aging?” asked Dr. Tyri. “And … in any organism?”

“So the simulator says,” said Dr. Arawan. “And as I helped develop it, I’ve made every effort to ensure that its simulations are as accurate as possible, with the help of my students such as Erienee, of course. But … an end to aging would imbalance the ecology.”

“Well, there would still be death due to disease, predation and misadventure,” Dr. Valynan remarked. “But it would change things. It would put us in danger of overpopulation, in time, unless we planned carefully.”

“And that’s only one of the states,” Dr. Arawan said. “We have to carefully choose what version of Felus/Omega we release into the wild. It will certainly have a profound effect on our future.”

Due to the amazing discovery the Science Academy's infant scientist’s showed concerning state A-33, it was discovered aging is more related to a viral infection that caused certain types of systemic wide inflammatory reactions. This created undue stress on certain aspects of the physiognomy. It was finally determined state A-33 could also be individually singled out and reproduced using the current genetic replication equipment and devices making eternal youth a reality by actually curing the aging process … but bringing up other major issues down the line.

Rindy and I were looking at the weird out-of-phase bonded atoms and their particular locations within the genomic strand. Besides age, many other things could be manipulated with simple rearranging of the way those atoms interacted and at what times they did. I noticed something and also remembered something we had been working on back at the laboratory before my harvest .. genetic memory cores. I instructed the most recent model to run a pattern recognition, and specified the translations of the peptide and nucleotide locations. I assigned each one either a positive or a null designation.

Rindy sat sucking her thumb thoughtfully as the most current sequence ran. She took her thumb from her mouth and said, “Oooo it seemed you found sompin. Those bianarys corre .. umm .. lations … seemsa makesa logical pattern. Only thingy, what it comeded out .. is no language baby ever seen afores.”

After looking over the results from the last model run, Dr. Arawan said, “It looks like whomever engineered the Felus, left some sort of primer or instruction manual encoded within the genetics of their construct. If only it could be translated -- but we’d have to have some inkling of what kind of language these people used, whoever they were.”

At that moment, a message came in from the starliner in orbit around planet Ultima. “Dugubuhey to Tergii Institute … come in, Institute … we have a report, over …”

“This is Tergii Institute, Med Tech Dorineth, acting communication coordinator speaking.” Dorineth was still in quarantine due to still being infected with the Origin Virus and had been going out of her mind with boredom, so they had found something for her to do that wouldn’t risk spreading her infection: sending and receiving messages. Bio Trainee Tylinene had been put to work compiling the med data into databases.

“Dorineth, this is Dr. Giudia from the Dugubuhey. We’ve got a finding here that we’re frankly not properly staffed to deal with,” said the scientist on the screen. “We had no idea we’d be doing any … archeology.”

“Archeology?” asked Dorineth, astonished. “Did you find … artifacts of a civilization on that planet?”

“It’s possible, but no archeologists came on the expedition, because we didn’t think the planet had ever been inhabited by intelligent species. There’d been no evidence until now. Can you get us in touch with anyone in that department?” asked Dr. Giudia.

“Let me see if anyone’s there.” Dorineth quickly sent a department-wide call to everyone in that wing. A face quickly appeared on screen, a woman with curly white hair and slightly orange-tinted skin, suggesting that she or at least her ancestors hailed from the eastern nation of Oreale.

“Oh! Hello, Dr. Zyllis!” said Dorineth. “I think Dr. Giudia has something to show you. They need an expert archeological opinion.”

“Well hello, Dr. Giudia, dear,” said Dr. Zyllis. “How is your niece? What’s her name -- Andela, wasn’t it?”

“That’s right,” said Dr. Giudia, with a smile. Talking to Dr. Zyllis was like talking to everyone’s sweet grandmother. “She’s doing just fine, last I heard. Er, how are you? What have you been researching lately?”

“Oh, I’ve been having some drones test out some proposed new preservation techniques for excavation in irradiated areas -- so many sites were bombed during the war, as you know, dear. But I’m sure you didn’t call me all the way from Planet Ultima just to chat.”

“Oh -- that’s true, I didn’t. Although speaking of drone excavation in irradiated areas, we might have some contributions in that area now. But let me show you some photos and scans we’ve found. Do you think this object could be some sort of artifact of an intelligent civilization, or could it be a natural formation?”

The screen showed holographic images and scan data of a strange object that looked like some sort of forked, Y-shaped piece of corroded metal. “You wouldn’t happen to have a microwave scan of it?” asked Dr. Zyllis. Dr. Giudia pressed some keys, and the image changed. “Oh, my goodness, that is definitely something that was machined. Look at that plane there -- and that piece there.” A moving pointer appeared on the screen as Dr. Zyllis indicated what she was talking about. “That is clearly some sort of finer detail, probably only preserved because it’s in the interior of the forked section. It’s badly corroded, but that’s obviously an artifact. If only I were there! But anyway, I would excavate near where I found it, if I were you. Or at least used some ground-penetrating radar.”

“I wish we had that equipment, but we were sent to study biochemistry,” said Dr. Giudia. “I’ll see if one of the engineers can rig something up. With your expert opinion, it’s more likely to get done.”

“Well, I should certainly hope so,” said Dr. Zyllis. “I just can’t stand seeing a discovery like this go unpursued. It just isn’t right, dear. Let me know whom to send a strongly-worded memo to.”

“I’ll do that,” said Dr. Giudia, smiling. “Thank you, Dr. Zyllis. I’ll let you know what turns up.”

In the end, they found a number of artifacts near the first, buried more deeply and thus in better condition. And then … they made the biggest discovery of all. Although there was no operational equipment in it, they found what appeared to be a buried building. Dating procedures suggested that it was probably at least 10,000 years old. The drones had excavated parts of it and were crawling around the available interior spaces, taking video of anything they could find.

It had become quite obvious to several of the researchers as they examined the most recent footage of the interior of the building, that some type of major calamity had happened. Most all they had found within this structure were in very poor states of preservation.

One of the spiderbot’s video came across a very strange shape on one of the deep interior walls. From all indications, this was some sort of sealed container, however further examination would require a contructorbot to cut the door from the opening. None on the Dugubuhey were quite willing to open it based on many of the weird bonded genetics that had currently been discovered.

When the spider had removed the many layers of debris and dirt, row after row of the strange alien language was written across the wall. From ceiling to floor, in strips separated by about twelve inches, were many many many inscriptions. It was more than obvious this structure was designed to protect something, although none knew what. Best current dating showed most of the inscriptions to have been placed well over 10,000 years ago.

None of the other artifacts that appeared to be intact, were in actuality operational. Any power supply had long since failed, and corrosion and other major signs of decay were prominently evident.

When Spiderbot 212 Alpha breached a large door that was wedged into its frame and just sitting, not attached, it fell away revealing a room that had been hit by some form of serious energy discharge. Even after all this time, the melted, charred remains within the room told the tale.

There were, however, artifacts that had writing on them, and several others that were intact, but not powered. The bot moved closer and took many videos from all the angles it could muster. It was very obvious that those devices that appeared might be intact if a power source were applied, were corroded and aged beyond belief.

“What happened in that room?” asked Dr. Zyllis later, looking at the videos and other data. “All this radiation data -- I don’t know anything about that! I’m an archeologist, not a nuclear physicist! Oh -- here’s a report from Hilda Parshan, who is one. Let’s see …”

It was another of those network conferences, where everyone’s face appeared on the holo screen. Dr. Arawan had called this one, after the new discoveries proved that there had been at least a presence of intelligent life on planet Ultima. No one knew yet whether they had originated there or had come from somewhere else to establish a base or colony.

Dr. Arawan was going on the hypothesis that whoever had built the ruins had also engineered a message into the DNA of Origin/Felus, and in the same language. The problem? The message must be encoded, and we didn’t know how this unknown species encoded its language or languages into a digital format.

All known examples of the language had been fed into the translation computer, which was even then crunching away at the symbols and groups of symbols that had been found and what they had been found on. But, as Dr. Zyllis said, context was everything.

“So,” she said, “Dr. Parshan says the radiation signatures in that room are consistent with the catastrophic malfunction of a small-yield nuclear fusion/plasma device, if it took place between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago. Now, what I’d say is, that if a device like that were in this room, it would have to be the reactor room of the installation, and therefore the objects in this room would have to be tools or parts related either to the device or to general maintenance work. So let’s put that into the translation computer …” She gestured toward the computer’s virtual keyboard. “What we really haven’t found yet is the alphabet or syllabary, which would tell us the order in which their symbols occurred, but perhaps it will yet be found -- also, their concept of alphabetical order could potentially tell us that …”

The computer apparently told her something. “Ah! There’s some correlation. With the assumption that the words in use are technical, due to this being a reactor room, it’s put together a framework -- and it’s noticed that there are two places where there’s a list of words that are in a similar order based on the lower rightmost symbols of these groups … could they be sentences?”

“Let’s see if the genetic message makes sense given that ordering,” said Dr. Arawan, entering data into her own computer.

Shelly, Rindy, and me were sitting in our “Playroom” with all of our newest toys. Rindy and myself were building strange spiral towers and knocking them over, allowing the many parts to scatter and rearrange themselves in many unthought-of ways.

Shelly played with the tablet device Rindy had made for all of us. Its AI somehow knew what our sometimes infantile attempts at data entry actually were and translated unerringly thus far.

Dr. Arawan shared her most recent attempts at translation with us freely. She knew well who Rindy was, and knew beyond any doubt that Shelly and I were of her caliber … although in Babydoll form … which only made working with us all the more fun.

Shelly said with a tinge of awe, “This genetic strand. It hasa … many differnt lines, aww encoded. Is … isa thingy ta helps whoever finds it deciphers it baby thinks.”

Rindy and I stopped with the tower construction business, and crawled over to Shelly and flopped on our bottoms to look. We each synched our tablets together, so we would be basically on the same page, then had the pattern AI go over the well-ordered lines with an understanding that it may be an alphabet.

The AI was the best around, and had been very recently upgraded with new insights based on Rindy’s and my input. What it came up with took several diaper changes and a feeding.

Shelly said softly, “These lines here …” She pointed to several of the floor-to-ceiling inscriptions depicted on the tablet’s screen, “They seemsa say this wasa test planet of some sort. Not sure what those next 6 say yet .. puter translatin’ ’em.”

As if on cue, all of us started sucking our thumbs thoughtfully. New lines began to appear, although the AI kept rearranging them every few minutes. Each shuffle made the writing more clear.

“Look at this!” said Rindy, pointing. “If this right … oooo!” She bounced excitedly.

I looked too. “We been totally wrong!” I said. “And so was Planorok!”

“They tried ta make this inta a weapon,” said Shelly. “An’ it worked … sorta … but it also planted tha seeds …”

“All we really gotsa do is fix it!” said Rindy. “Tha structions say we just start it and it fix itself! And then … it fix us.”

The simulator results were breathtaking. It was like a key turning in a lock. A single Terminor or Origin Virus, and it didn’t matter which, could start a chain reaction once repaired, now that we knew what a repaired genome looked like. Even the Origin Zero and Felus Core viruses from Ultima were in degraded condition, and the scientists were debating whether to repair the viruses there, because it would certainly transform all life on Ultima. But as for the homeworld … the primary intelligent race was doomed to extinction unless they did this.

Dorineth and Tylinene volunteered to be the first -- they were already in quarantine, and they were the only ones infected with the Origin Virus to date. So Dorineth, working carefully from the instructions we’d found and using a gene sequencer she’d personally redesigned from the ground up, created the first repaired Origin Virus genome, and inserted it into an Origin Virus’ protein framework.

The QPT microscope showed an immediate transformation. The single virus suddenly looked different, more symmetrical, almost artistic in its shape. So then, after looking once at each other and nodding, Dorineth and Tylinene removed the container separating the virus from others in the airborne environment of the quarantine area that had been their home for the past five months.

Dorineth had developed a viral sensor that could detect Origin and Terminor viral load in the bloodstream just by passing an ultraviolet laser through a narrow thickness of skin, such as the webbing between the fingers. She used it now, and she gasped as the virus count dropped to zero before her eyes. Then she recalibrated it to scan for repaired Origin … and that number increased. Invisibly, the viruses within her body were changing from one form to another. She soon confirmed that the same was happening to the viruses in Tylinene’s system.

“I don’t know how to explain this,” said Tylinene on the screen later, “but all the damage the Origin Virus did to our bodies is being repaired. You can see the imagery for yourself. Look at these scans. This is amazing. Dorineth scanned me, and I scanned her. I have functioning ovaries again, and they’ve somehow produced new, viable ova. So does she. She’s working on figuring out how exactly it happened right now. But … she says that cellular changes are still happening to us, and she doesn’t know where it will end. But I feel all right.”

“That amazins!” said Rindy on the screen. “Simulator says the same happen if we does the same ta the Terminor Virus. But … gonna wanna do it in isolation firstus, just in case.”

“Yes, if we create something horrible, we don’t want it to spread,” said Tylinene with a shudder, since she didn’t know whether or not something horrible was about to happen to her. “I wonder what will happen once whatever’s happening to us runs its course. Will we ever get out of quarantine?”

“We all gonna find out,” said Rindy, “prob’ly inna coupla days.” What Rindy didn’t say, but we both knew, was that we didn’t know what the repaired viruses would do to us bio-constructs.

It didn’t take but a few hours for the ultimate results to become obvious. Dorineth and Tylinene viral counts had all dropped to nil. Even the repaired virus seemed to be gone from their hemo scans. Besides discovering their infertility had been cured, most of the biological functions had been reset to youthful status. Both women were now as they used to be. The older found herself at about the chronological age of 18 same as the younger.

Even the minor defects that had plagued Tylinene since she was a little girl had vanished. The very air within the iso-chamber was now free of all viruses of any type.

Rindy, being who she was before and still, opted to be the next test subject. Much contention over that became loudly vociferous until Rindy reminded everyone that all the trial test runs showed no harm should come to the bio-constructs, except they would no longer be carriers of any type of viral infection.

With reluctance, even after voicing her concerns over the remote possibility of losing Rindy, Dr. Arawan gave her approval for Rindy to be the next test subject for the new vaccine. She’d have to be quarantined for the process, but it looked likely that she wouldn’t be isolated for long.

After the injections, nothing outwardly appeared to happen physically. All her autonomic functions were very normal. Virus counts all dropped below detectable levels. One interesting thing did happen: Rindy lost that lingering masculinity of personality she had displayed, and now acted just like the rest of the girls, with the mix of adult sprinkled in for good measure.

I was worried, of course. I called Rindy almost constantly on the holoscreen, except when Nana had me for naps, meals, baths, or diaper changes. I missed my friend and wanted her to be back home safely. “You sure you feelins aww right?” I asked Rindy.

On the screen, she replied, “Yea! Ams fine. They gots my tempature ‘n blood pressure ‘n hemoscan monitored. Says my Terminor load droppin’. Never affected us bio-constructs but can live innus somehow, so we carriers. Guess it can convert a few cells inta Terminor factories but only enough to barely survive. Well, not anymore! Bye bye Terminors! Goo riddance! Here come Repaired Origin Omega!” She giggled.

“They sayin’ the air is showin’ lotsa those Repaired Origin virusies,” I said. “Guess it goo you are in there … but … I miss you tho.”

“Awww I miss you ‘n Shelly too!” said Rindy. “No worries, tho! I back soon. They … uhh … hmm that feel weird …” She looked at the data displays all around her. “Nuffin’ looks wrong … I just kinda feelin’ funny …”

“Oh no!” I said. “I hope nuffin’ bad happenin’!” I looked at the constant scans that were happening to her body; much of this was far beyond anything we’d had back on Earth. Imagine having a constant MRI scan of your whole body without having to be inside a machine -- or rather, the whole room was the machine and you didn’t notice it. “This is … weird …”

“What?” asked Rindy. “Me growin’ another head?” She giggled. “Maybe could think about two things atta same time. Ohhhh I see what you lookin’ at.” She looked at the scans. “Wow … considerin’ it is changin’ me atta cellular level it is amazin’ that’s all I feels.”

“Is this even … somefin’ that can happen?” I asked. “Looks more like … normal cells ‘n DNA than bio-construct.”

“Yea!” said Rindy. “It maybe makin’ me more in line wif the natural species of our planet. This pretty amazin’ stuffs.”

After several hours of intense observations and body scans, the only other thing noticed was that the cells of Rindy’s body were much more similar to those of a natural species of the planet than those of a bio-construct. Aging had completely stopped as all cellular division reproduced exactly the same as the previous. There was no indication of any replicative cellular degeneration as was present in the doctors and technicians. They ran the physiological scans several times to make sure there were no errors.

Dr. Arawan said over the interlink, “It appears that whatever purpose this was originally created for was to correct some major fault within Ultima’s biosphere. We haven’t found enough remnants of who the people were to make any kind of reasonable hypothesis. What we do know, according to evidence from the team on the Dugubuhey, is that almost all the biology on that planet is quantum bonded and changes form on a 48-hour cycle.”

Dr. Valynan replied, “We can send another ship to Ultima. One better equipped to search out more remnants of whatever civilization might have been there if necessary. We can send the most advanced archeological equipment and teams currently available.”

Dr. Arawan said, “From what has been translated, and it hasn’t been terribly much so far, Ultima was a testing ground for some sort of experiment. We haven’t found any hard data as to what the experiment was about, but the more we do get translated, the faster it’s going.”

In one of the large research areas abord the Dugubuhey, Dr. Lorlan sat at the console and watched the translation AI continue its attempts to make sense of the alien language. She sighed. It had been making faster progress, but it had run into a wall and was now getting nowhere. She was out of ideas. She wasn’t a linguist. She was a xenobotanist. She knew she should leave it to the real linguists back on the homeworld.

Then she remembered a wonderful science-fiction story she’d read recently called “The Wisp,” which had mentioned a concept called divestment, no doubt merely an invention of the authors. It was a foreign concept to her and her people, as it referred to a species leaving behind its physical form to become entities of pure energy. Since she had no other ideas, she added it to the AI’s lexicon of potential ideas and ran another translation task. This time, she assigned higher priority to the lesser inscriptions taken from the many on the walls of the ruins on the planet’s surface below, simply because less attention had been paid to them. And the AI began to make a new translation.

The result still had many lacunae but fewer than before. Now, though, it told her enough to realize that Ultima was the very last place these people, whoever they were, had remained in the flesh. The translation still wasn’t complete, but it was starting to go faster again.

“This is … fantastic!” said Dr. Zyllis. “I mean, both in the sense that it’s fantastical, but also that it’s great! In the end it doesn’t matter whether this idea of ‘divesting’ oneself of one’s physical body is really literally possible -- not as a religious concept dealing with an afterlife but as a real scientific possibility. The only thing that matters here, now, is that these people apparently believed it was -- and acted accordingly.”

“This is why we aren’t finding physical remains of any of the aliens?” asked Dr. Valynan.

“Highly probable!” said Dr. Zyllis. “They may have undergone a process that vaporized their physical bodies in the belief that they would become energy beings. Now, perhaps they were right, or perhaps not, but the only thing that matters in our interpretation of the evidence is that they believed it would happen. Now we can understand what motivated them.”

“Wait -- it’s not important whether it’s possible to leave your body and become an energy being?” asked Dorineth. “That seems pretty important to me.”

“And it probably is,” said Dr. Valynan, “but I think what Dr. Zyllis is saying is that we don’t need to know that in order to understand what the aliens were doing on Ultima. We only need to know what they believed was true.”

“So … why they make a virus that makes alla life forms entangle n change?” asked Rindy from her isolation room. “Hmm … maby tha entangle mints gots ta do wif what they wanted ta happen ta their bodies …”

“They … stucked together?” I suggested. “Maby they changed in pairs? They … bonded?”

“They stepped together into the unknown as couples?” asked Dr. Valynan. “That does seem to be consistent with the translations so far.”

“Maby tha virus wasa tool they useded to make it happen,” I said, “and then sometime it escaped inta the ecosystem.” I didn’t really say “ecosystem.” Their word for it was actually a lot simpler and easier to say. I guess it says something about Earth that the word “ecosystem” has four syllables while the word “cash” has one. It shows what we value.

“It could’ve escaped anytime in the last 10,000 years,” said Dr. Zyllis. “The ruins are older than that, but there’s no evidence of habitation more recent than that.”

“But what’s this mean for us?” asked Dr. Valynan.

“An’ for me?” asked Rindy. “Am gonna turn inta a energy being?”

“Uh, let’s hope not, because that would be me too,” said Dorineth with apprehension. “I like having a body.”

No spoilers, but they didn’t turn into energy beings.

“Oh, this is definitely it,” said Dr. Zyllis. “This is a sequence of characters in the alien language that has meaning. It’s just a matter of properly translating it now. Good work, um, computers!”

I giggled, and Dr. Valynan smiled, replying, “Yes, the computers did do the work, but I’ll pass your compliments on to the programming team. They’re the ones who wrote the code to brute-force the combinations of genetic codes and character mappings until something resembling any of the discovered texts appeared. But now it’s up to you. Can you translate it?”

“I can’t, but WE can,” she said. “I’ve managed to corral every linguist I can find, and together we’ll get right on it. I already see some familiar word sequences. We’re meeting after lunch.”

“Good,” Dr. Valynan said. “I don’t want to proceed with the cure until we’ve translated that message, and of course until Rindy’s quarantine is over, which will be in a couple of days. She’s fine, and just as with Dorineth and Tylinene’s test, there’s no sign of Terminor or Origin Virus anywhere in the isolation ward. So … update me when you learn anything, all right?”

“Sure thing,” said Dr. Zyllis.

That afternoon, Dr. Zyllis sent out a message that shocked everyone. Even the initial progress in translation was stunning. According to her and the translation team, it said, and this was partial:

“Greetings to any/all who find this. We admire/respect your persistence. We wish to warn you about this (genetic?) code. It is extremely adaptable and dangerous. There are six (word unknown; perhaps it relates to nucleotide pairs?) in each (quantum?) state, and the (wave functions?) are related by the following equation: (we’ll have to bring in some theoretical physicists to help translate this) The organism was used to transform our bodies in order to release our (word unknown; seems to refer to some sort of life energy), but without alteration its effects are unpredictable on other life forms. By no means should you attempt to modify it without thorough study/understanding. (There follows a formulaic sequence of characters that could be a data table of some sort; we invite others of various disciplines to examine this section.) Match/align the code with that of your species in order to prevent tragic (instability?). May your future be bright/fortunate.”

I came to my right mind when Nana had leaned over the playpen rail and picked me up. She cooed softly, “Does Babydoll think she can listen to a video and maybe read over a few lines of it?”

Shelly had pulled herself to her feet by the side rail and started sucking her thumb. She said, “Bring Vickies back,” she poked out her bottom lip adorably, “We playin tea partys.”

Nana said softly, “Hush, child, Dr. Zyllis is on the comm and needs to talk with Vickie.”

Nana sat with me snuggled in her lap as she adjusted the comm station. The face of Dr. Zyllis appeared and smiled, “Well, now. I had heard of you and the contributions you have made to this virus effort. I must say, you and the others are extremely valuable to us.”

I replied, “Thax, Dr. Wasa tona math n stuffies in what I done afors.”

Dr. Zyllis replied, “That’s actually good. I have some things I need for you to look over if you could. I have sent a copy of this for Rindy to look over in Iso.”

Another screen started to glow, then the partial, and still ongoing translation, appeared. I started to suck my thumb thoughtfully as I watched the translation.

From what I knew of mathematics, and the quantum theory I had studied in college, combined with what I had learned since I was harvested, the basic issue we were being warned about concerned the bonded particles. It wasn’t as if there were pairs, but entire molecular structures. What ever happened to one structure would invariably happen to the next.

The most important aspect, was it also showed the proper pairing to render the quantum bots inert. This was exactly the data they had been looking for. This would rid them of Origin, Terminor, and any other, except for whatever combination they chose to activate. And the virus that Rindy and I had already come up with was surprisingly close to what the aliens recommended. There was a small chance of instability, but that chance would drop to zero if we followed the instructions they had left behind.

“Oh, you are so adorable, dear,” said Dr. Zyllis as I tried to explain it to her. “And I understand you just fine, by the way. I’ve taken care of … 16 babies, total, if you consider all my children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Ah … if only they were all still with us! But the work we’re doing will prevent future tragedies.”

I finished explaining. She replied, “Thank you so very much, Sweetheart! I don’t understand all the math and quantum physics, but what you’ve told me is going to help me so much in polishing the translation.”

“Awww, you welcome Gramma,” I said. That was accidental. The word just kind of slipped out. But somehow my Babydoll brain kind of saw her as the quintessential grandmother. I hoped I hadn’t offended her. “I mean … oopsie …” I covered my mouth with my hands as I looked at Dr Zyllis with big adorable eyes.

“Did … did you just call me … Grandma?” she asked. There was a tear in her eye. “Oh, you perfect little sweetheart. You can go right ahead and call me that whenever you like. Now don’t you fret, but Grandma’s got to go talk to the other professors, OK, Sweetie? Bye bye now. Be good for your Nana.”

“Bye bye Gramma,” I said, waving at her, as the holo screen switched off.

It wasn’t long after that that Rindy was allowed out of quarantine. The new virus was done with Rindy’s system. She didn’t look or seem any different, but from the tests she’d undergone, we knew she was. Her cells were now compatible with the original species. Since she was physically an adult, she could get pregnant and have a child -- the natural way, if there were any non-sterile males around, or via various forms of medical intervention. There were ways to allow two women to have a baby, but the baby could only be a girl, and the other woman would have to have viable egg cells -- the only known women who currently did were Dorineth, Tylinene, and the women in chronostasis in that lab in the Southern Alliance capital. Both the men and the women in that lab would be intensely busy once the viruses were eliminated, I was sure.

After hugging both me and Shelly, Rindy said, “I been seein tha translation of the secret message! Is amazins! Can’t wait to adjust the Omega Virus! We get it perfect now!”

“Um they all waitin on us to do that,” I said with a giggle. “Lots scientists wifs labs n simulators standin by waitin onna data.”

“Really?” asked Rindy.

“Actually, yes,” said Nana. “As soon as you get it done on your tablet I’ll give them a call.”

Rindy and me plopped on our thickly diapered hinneys side by side. Nana smiled as she thought how adorable we were. Her smile faded slightly as a thought came to her mind. Once we had completed this task, would we and the multitudes of Babydolls, little girls, and boys since then from the Synchord storage, have any type of meaningful use? There were far too many stolen from their home worlds, not to mention those being awakened from the Synchord storage facility they had discovered for the planet to not make a major provision for them.

Nana’s eyes narrowed as she thought to herself, “Yes, they will, and do. I know just who to talk to to make it reality.” Nana hurried to another comm station and activated it.

The face of Dr. Maya Tergii appeared and said pleasantly, “Hello, Nana,” both women chuckled, “To what do I owe this honor …?”

Rindy an me had our pads out and were typing furiously. I’m not real sure how Rindy got the AI to be able to translate some of our gibberish, but it did so unerringly somehow.

Both our pads were interlinked and we shared our ideas and changes freely back and fourth until we had reached the proper encoding for our brand new iteration of Omega. We had followed the Alien's recommendations to the letter, although more and in depth translations appeared constantly they still bore out our design specs.

The new approach to viewing Quantum objects aided immensely as attosecond time resolution was achieved without having to produce attosecond laser pulses. Information about the rotating laser-field vector in close to circular polarised light was used to measure time relative to the ionization event with attosecond precision. Very similar to the hand of a clock — only this “clock hand” was rotating through a full circle within one optical cycle of 11.3-fs duration.

This gave us a perfect view of exactly what happened within the quantum ring at all times and we now could view a real time image of exactly what the quantum objects were doing at their superimposition locals without interfering with the natural progression. All indications showed it bonded perfectly.

Eagerly, Rindy entered the current construct into the main computer’s testing model. I sat and sucked my thumb thoughtfully, I had long since given up trying to stop doing it … was impossible.

From the data that began to dance across the main screen, we had finally found a cure for Terminor and all its relatives that was highly stable without any mutations. This, in effect, turned off all the nanobots, repaired any that had missing or broken sequences, then turned totally inert once it had accomplished its task.

There would be a few side effects, such as unsterilizing the survivors, and making all of us Bio-Constructs into biological humanoids like all the female survivors. As another side effect, it cured us of the highly contagious disease of aging. It also guaranteed that all of us Babydolls and certain of the Little Girls would always be an adorable mix of toddlers and infants. There was a certain amount of maturation that would happen to Babydolls and Toddlers, but it would not be in the ways of making them completely mentally adult. For all intents and purposes … they would always be their adorable selves, though cognizant of cause and effect in the world around them.

After running several more tests on volunteers, Dr. Tergii finally signed off on the Omega Final virus. The earlier versions of it that had been tested on Dorineth, Tylinene, and Rindy herself had tested successfully, and this refinement likewise had no discernable ill effects. With Dr. Tergii’s approval, the next stage was simply the release of Omega Final into the environment. This was done by flying a fleet of aircraft over each region of the planet, each one releasing a stream of prepared remote drones as it went. The drones released Omega Final particles into the atmosphere, where they seemed to seek out anyone and anything infected with Terminor, even carriers.

It was weeks later. Reports were coming in from all over the world, the results of tests that were being done on people who had formerly been infected with Terminor. So far there was no sign of the baleful virus -- a medical miracle, considering it had previously been thought to be incurable.

The new world government had convened in what was thought to be a global meeting. The major topic was the new rights of and responsibilities of .. all the new Babydolls and Toddlers. They were in need of supervision, and the current state of affairs had created them.

“Council calls Dr. Tergii to the stand please.”

Dr Tergii rose from her seat and climbed to the speaker podium.

The Prime Minister looked at her and said, “We have come here today to discuss the disposition of our harvest, and our Synchord reanimation subjects.”

Dr. Tergii replied, “If not for Dr. Halloran’s forethought, and the many who became the synchords, including those we harvested, this virus would have eventually killed us all. We cannot, in good conscious, allow any harm to befall these individuals. Please realize they too are as much citizens of our nation as any, if not more so since they did not ask to become the way they are, but did provide a huge assist and even research into the solution.”

The Prime Minister picked up a notebook and read several pages then replied, “I see there has been a petition to create an Island just for them. I also see that there are many places made available for them to contribute research and make advancements.”

Dr. Tergii replied, “Yes, Ms Prime Minister, there are many places made available for them to play. If we would pay attention, we would see that for many of them, this play is actually some very high level research. Remember, we have Dr. Halloran and his entire team, not to mention several exceptional Harvested ones, to thank for the creation and refinement of the Omega Final virus.”

“I ask one fairly simple but vital question,” said the Prime Minister. “Will any more bio-constructs be created?”

“The short answer is both yes and no,” said Dr. Tergii. “By this I mean that there are no longer bio-constructs as we have known them, as the Omega Final virus has erased the distinction between bio-constructs and any other citizen of our world. The bio-construct project was started when there was every possibility that our species would never reproduce again, and the Harvest program was started to produce synchords with which to populate the bio-constructs. Now, however, the Harvest program has been ended, as there is no further need for it, and there is now only limited use for new bio-constructs: as host bodies for those whose natural bodies have been ravaged by grievous injury or illness -- we must not imagine that the Terminor Virus is the only disease to ever have existed. If a synchord can be made before death, it can be transferred to a bio-construct body afterward, and there will be no need for anyone to ever truly die ever again. The fact that all bio-constructs have so far turned out to be Babydolls or Little Girls or Boys was unintentional, a limitation of the technology that will perhaps be overcome with enough research, but considering how beloved they have become, I can’t imagine it will be a high priority. And now, since there is a way to transform bio-constructs into natural inhabitants of our world, there is now little difference between a bio-construct and anyone else. Bio-constructs, or rather those who were once bio-constructs, can reproduce just as can anyone else. So, to bring this back to your question, there will be a very limited need for bio-constructs, but even then they won’t be bio-constructs as we have known them.”

“So this means that this generation of bio-constructs is the only one that will ever exist?” the Prime Minister asked.

“Your question presumes that there is a difference between bio-constructs and other people now,” Dr. Tergii replied, “which there is not. There are Babydolls and Little Boys and Girls, but their personality mixture is now the only thing separating them from anyone else -- and there are some reports that there are, in rare cases, those with such personality traits who have never been bio-constructs at all. I can refer you to the research studies I’m citing.”

The Prime Minister picked up a large binder and opened it, “That won’t be necessary, Dr. ” she looked up, “I have those specific reports here. As far as this nation can see, we owe those individuals our undying respect and attention. From what all the reports have said, due to the cure they have created, ageing has ceased, and they will be with us for as long as our peoples exist.”

Dr. Tergii replied with a nod, “This is true. It is also true that many of the remaining women of this new world have opted to care for them and support them as their own children.”

The Prime Minister smiled as she said, “I understand that you and many of your staff at the institute have taken many of them into your homes and keep them. Are they pets?”

A ripple of mirth ran through the large assembly as Dr. Tergii smiled, “Yes, I can say they are my pets. All of them. No one who has ever met a babydoll or a little can deny they are loveable, and extremely adorable. The fact that they are toddlers with the ability to function in adult ways makes them even more so. Many women have opted to keep a babydoll and a little to fulfill the motherhood instinct. Babydolls and Toddlers fill that role perfectly. With the proper stimulus, they even become more toddler than the mix. I enjoy the potty monster routine when I go through the motions with Shelly, Vickie, and Dr. Halloran. It brings much joy to my heart it is so cute.”

The Prime Minister smiled as she said, “Thank you for this report, Dr. Tergii. You may step down.”

As Dr. Tergii left the stand and was escorted back to her seat, the speaker called out, “The council calls Vickie Babydoll to the stand.”

A soft murmur circulate as I hear my name called. Shelly stands up, showing off her lacy panties to as many as she could in the process, then takes me by the hand and helps me to my feet. Of course this also involved me showing may ruffles to all who now were very interested.

Nana had dressed me in a cute, soft teal colored Pixie babydoll dress and matching powderpuff panties. Shelly was dressed in a soft lilac babydoll dress with matching lacy panties. We looked the inch of a little girl and her Babydoll as Shelly led me to the speaker.

Shelly tugged on the short hem of my dress like she was removing a small wrinkle as she cooed, “No be afraid sweetiekins. Mommy’ll be right here watchin over you.”

I replied in a really cute voice as I hugged her, “Baby no afeareded. No seesa potty monser.”

A round of awws and laughter as the smiling speaker lead me to the platform.

I was in as much of my right mind as was possible these days. I knew I was going to be infantile, and I also knew I was going to be more adult than they thought.

The Prime Minister smiled at me as she said, “Welcome, Vicki. I have heard oh so much about you, it’s a true honor to finally meet you in person.”

I waved and said in my cute voice, “Hi, mizz minster. Isa honor ta bes here.”

The prime Minister said, “If you are able, sweet heart, I would like you to tell your side of the story for the record … “

“Am that’s my stowy. Babydoll plays tons wiffa other babydolls an we make things … like big messes.” I couldn’t help myself, I just had to say that.

The Prime Minister smiled as she banged her gavel, “It is now so ordered and will be written into law as soon as we can do it. From henceforth, the island of Terovio will be known as Babydoll Island. A new monetary fund taken from the Global Resources Bank has established it as the premier city for the care and well being of all Littles and Babydolls. All research facilities are linked to their research center and will provide any and all data as it is discovered ...”

~~ A New Beginning .. never the end ~~
Miki Yamuri
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Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:06 pm

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