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WHEN THEY MADE JASON...
28 August 2004
"We're setting up a poker game tonight. Do you think you'll be able to come over and lose your money? You're such a great mark," Jason joked, his normally muscular bulk made even larger by the spacesuit. Dale looked up from his work and sneered at Jason.
"Lose my money? Lose my money? Look who's talking… Last month you lost so much money that you begged a flight from one of those fish-men from Betelgeuse," Dale harrumphed. Betelgeuse Prime was a water world populated by fish-like humanoids.
"Hey, I can't help it that they had four ports of call. Besides, those guys know how to party. I couldn't spoil all that drinking and whoring with a gang of drunken sailors, could I?" Jason laughed and pretended. He hoped Dale wouldn't see through his lies.
"You spent a week with those fish creatures and all we got to show for it is a bill for filters to get rid of THAT smell," Dale grouched.
"Aw, write it off as selling expenses. Eventually we'll sell a robot to Betelgeuse Prime and I have the parameters. I know. I studied their bodies up close and personal-like. Besides, they served caviar. Who was I to refuse their hospitality," Jason defended himself. Both men laughed.
"Eeeeuuw! Isn't caviar like fish eggs, mate? And aren't the denizens of Betelgeuse Prime hermaphroditic egg layers that exist under water?" Dale asked rolling his eyes at Jason's trumped-up fish story. They laughed.
"They have a sunny beach with Margueritas and grass shacks," Jason laughed.
"Wasting away again? No poker for me… Go enjoy yourself."
"We're going to Oliverio's Livery and Gastronomique when we finish. I'd hate to leave you alone," Jason mentioned. In reality, Dale loved the food at Oliverio's Livery and Gastronomique. He just felt like giving Jason a bad time.
"Oliverio's? Oliverio's? Aw, fuck! I hate that place. Last week when we were there you ordered fish head and tails soup, didn't you?" Dale grabbed his throat and made gagging noises.
"That was bouillabaisse, you barbarian, fancy French fish soup, an elegant dish," Jason shrugged off Dale's jibes.
"Well, you can lose your money for me," Dale answered.
"Me… lose MY money for you? Wow, last of the big time spenders," Jason teased. Dale waved as Jason closed the airlock.
"Good luck, my friend. Don't hate me for what I've done," Jason said sadly, and then he climbed into his shuttlecraft. He didn't have the heart to tell Dale about his deal with the Prince Gregory of Aldebaran. Dale though Jason would become a robot tomorrow but Prince Gregory was arriving tonight and Dale would be stuck to fulfill the terms of the contract. Jason had sold his body for illicit, cross-species experiments. He entered the coordinates for the Concordia, a cruiser from Betelgeuse Prime into the computer and blasted away from the main ship.
As the air locks cycled around him, Jason could see Flannery waiting for him. The interior of a Betelgeuse ship was like nothing else in the universe. The guest area looked like a sandy beach with artificial sunlight, a barbeque pit, beach chairs, a Margarita bar, and a grass shack. As Jason walked out of the airlock, his boots crunched and skimmed the sand. The incongruity of the beach matched the occupant of the spaceship. The denizens of Betelgeuse Prime lived half-in and half-out of the water. They had evolved from fish.
"I'm glad you are honoring your debt, Jason Eberling," Flannery's normally deep voice sounded thin and metallic over the spacesuit's intercom. Jason unlatched his helmet and lifted the faceplate. He looked at the handsome face of a fish-like humanoid then he looked at the fish-man's body. Flannery had an exceptional build; smooth and sleek with heavy muscles bulging beneath a skin covered with fine green scales, fins on his arms and legs, and He had handsome markings in red, purple and gold around his fins and gills.
"Flannery Concordian, headmaster of the Sea of Concord, it's great to see you again. I've been counting the days and minutes," Jason replied in a formal tone. His voice echoed out of the intercom. He deactivated the communications networks and lifted his helmet completely off. He carefully set the helmet in what appeared to be a twentieth century beach locker from Earth.
"And I, too, have waited patiently for you, also… Did you arrange everything with your business partner?" his host asked. He helped Jason pull his spacesuit off his shoulders.
"Naw, I didn't have the heart to tell him the truth. I did get him a great gig as a robot to the Crown Prince of Betelgeuse. The Prince has his brother's memories preserved on nanomachines. Dale doesn't know it but he's going to be the human host to a robotic body. He'll be a companion to the Crown Prince and the nanomachines will keep him happy," Jason's face turned red at his duplicity. Flannery crossed his arms over his massive chest and pretended to scold Jason.
"Naughty as ever, naughty as ever, you should have explained that you lost your business and your ass in a poker game," Flannery said half-serious, half joking. He helped Jason climb out of the lower half of his spacesuit. Two servants stowed the suit in a locker. Cold water dripped off Flannery's body as they embraced. Flannery's body, however, was hot, amphibian and sexy.
"Prince Gregory doesn't think anyone knows. You can hassle him we meet at the Hyades Space Station. I wonder what story he'll make up to explain a robot named Dale on board his ship," Jason said as he struggled with his wet T-shirt. It was stuck to his broad back. Frustrated, he ripped it off in one movement. He shrugged and dropped his pants and jock to the floor. Naked, he knelt subservient before Flannery.
"Even Naughtier, slave, I'm glad you are thinking of my amusement. Pose for me," Flannery ordered. Jason's His muscles bulged as if they would burst. Jason wanted the most muscular body of any human in the entire universe. No steroid, growth hormone or exercise ever satisfied his need for size, definition or sheer bulk.
"You're such a big and powerful man, all those muscles, all that strength. It's a shame that your people never returned to the water. You'll be a magnificent swimmer. I was so lucky when I won you in that poker game," Flannery said.
"You know, Flannery, I never told you but I deliberately lost that poker hand. I had triples one the deal and you only finished with two pair. I would never have bet everything - my life, my body, my business, my partner - on anything as foolish as poker hand unless I wanted to lose. You sat there so sensuous and so erotic. Those big, red gills of yours, your green fins, your golden scales, all of you, everything about you excited me. I took a chance and pushed the bidding up as far as I could. When you pushed it even higher, I almost fainted. My only fear was if you might fold the hand and I would have become master and you the chattel." Jason ended his little speech with a lowering of his shoulders and a submissive pose.
"And you did this just to become Aquarian? You deliberately lost your freedom so you could become a fish?" Flannery smiled. His gills flared and his scales glittered in the light, a sign of immense happiness on his part.
"I've dreamed of swimming in the ocean as long as I remember. I was a teenager when they discovered an empire of water worlds with fish-like humanoids. Ever since, I've been trying to get to one of those worlds. It looks like today I succeeded. I want so badly to become a fish," Jason gushed with emotion.
"And you acknowledge that you belong are my property and I can remake your DNA into that of a fish," Flannery said. He must be recording this, thought Jason.
"Yes, I do. Here's my body. It's no longer mine. It's yours to do with as you please," Jason almost pleaded.
"The Sea of Concord and the house of Concordia need an infusion of DNA, human DNA. You will be more than just my sex slave will, more than a body sold into servitude. You will become a legend to my people as we blend your DNA into the genetic stock of Concordia," Flannery flared his gills and let his scales glitter again, a rare display of emotion by Flannery. This human was the perfect subject for his genetic research. He was healthy, willing, and eager participate in the experiments.
"I've worked extra hard this past month to get ready, longer exercises, more weight. I could feel that special diet working inside me, building me up, making me bulkier, stronger, preparing my body ready for the changes. I want to be big, Flannery. I want bulk. I want muscle. I'm willing to do anything for it," Jason said.
"Did you tell anyone about our little endeavor?" Flannery asked.
"No, of course not, I told Prince Gregory that I had a deadly Betelgeuse Tropical Fever and came here to die. There's no reason for him to doubt me. He's got his own secrets to hide," Jason answered.
"Good, we will start our adventure, so to speak, when we reach independent territory. Some people on these worlds object to indenture and other object to cross species experimentation. We can take this time to have some food," Flannery said. He signaled the pilot and his servants. The spaceship lurched and began a gentle curve up and out of the solar system.
"In the water or on the beach?" Jason asked.
"Here, on the beach, where your human body is most comfortable. At least until you grow gills and can stay underwater without equipment," Flannery said. They sat on a large blanket with their legs crossed underneath their bodies. A large umbrella shielded them from what appeared to be a bright sky. Two slaves appeared from the water and opened food containers.
"Ah, my favorite… fish balls and snails," Flannery rubbed his hands together. He quickly ate one of the fish balls savoring its slimy, translucent smoothness. Jason picked up one of the snails. It was nearly three inches long and an inch thick. Its eyes swiveled and it looked right at him.
"My snack is looking at me…" Jason observed. He sniffed at the snail and then stuffed it into his mouth. He chewed once or twice and then bit really hard. His eyes bulged as he swallowed it as fast as he could. Flannery broke out laughing and the two slaves giggled.
"What?" Jason blushed and picked up another snail. "It actually tasted good, if you don't mind. I'm just not used to my dinner being alive… with eye stalks… and staring at me." Jason swallowed several times to make sure the snail blood was out of his mouth. Flannery pointed to the fish balls. Jason smiled, picked on up, and shoved the stringy, shredded fish ball into his mouth. Despite the slimy texture, it tasted good. He eventually swallowed it with a gulp. Flannery regarded him with great pleasure.
"Give my regards to the chef. This slimy fish was really savory and mouth-watering," Jason said.
"Ain't no fire down in, what did you call it, 'David Joan Lock' or 'Blackbeard and his sunken chest'. All of our food is alive, raw and very tasty. Sometimes, it even looks at you." Flannery said. Jason wanted to correct him about Davey Jones and Bluebeard but he didn't. This man is my owner and anything he says has to be sort of right, Jason thought.
They talked about small things - muscles, sex, pop culture, spacecraft, alcoholic beverages, sex, muscles, and all that. The pilot gave a warning and they braced themselves as the hyperspatial, interdimensional drive engaged and took them away from this solar system and into the Hyades Cluster. A bunch of cowboys settled the Hyades and just like the old west of legend had no laws at all. Jason knew that this was the place.
Flannery took Jason through the water to an air-filled compartment. Two Doctors and four nurses stood in a well-equipped laboratory. Two metal tables with surgical equipment sat in the middle of the compartment. A young and very muscular Concordian was strapped spread-eagle on one table. The front of his body was devoid of scales from his neck to his knees. Everybody stared at Jason. He stared back at them for a long moment. Then he walked over to the table that held the young Concordian. Jason could see fear on his face. He put a hand on the young Concordian's shoulder.
"Well, it seems we both have a date with destiny, young man" Jason said. He noticed the room had mirrors all over the ceiling.
"Dr. Ronald Schnittman, I presume," Jason shook the hand of one of the doctors. "It's time for you and me to do what we are going to do. There's no time to lose, you know," Jason said.
He jumped up onto the other metal table and lay on his back. He let two of the nurses strapped him to the table so securely he couldn't move. The table split and they spread his arms and legs outward. He lay there helpless as the doctors and nurses paired off to the tables and prepared for surgery.
They began screwing a semicircular clamp to the back of his skull to hold his head in one position and when they finished, they attached electrodes to his skull making his head hum with enough energy to maintain his brain function regardless of what happened to his body. The doctors and nurses hovered with scalpels waiting for Flannery to give permission to proceed.
"We're going to transplant your internal organs into this young man and his organs into you. As you say. This will only hurt for a little while, Jason. The doctors tell me about eight hours," Flannery said. Before Jason could answer, one of the doctors slit open his windpipe and cut off his speech. Jason tensed but the straps held his body tight against the metal table. They gave him no pain medication, no anesthetic, no suppressants. Jason lay there fully aware and feeling every cut and slice of their knives into his body.
The doctors made a long, lazy incision down the middle of his chest, across his stomach and down toward his crotch. The doctor moved around his leg and continued the cut under his balls returning to the top of his dick. They sawed Jason's ribs apart and worked to remove all of his internal organs - heart, lungs, liver, stomach, intestines, kidneys, and genitals. His internal organs floated up above him on a force field. As he lay there gutted, the doctors cut holes into his necks and ribs for gill slits.
The internal organs from the young Concordian floated above Jason and the Doctor slowly lowered them into his empty body and began to attach them to his human body. They stitched the Concordian organs into Jason's human body and his human organs into the young Concordian's body. Every stitch echoed pain through Jason's body and the new lung with gills and gill slits felt creepy. It took hours for them to finally stitch up his stomach and chest. They irradiated him with a special frequency of gamma ray to promote healing and then submersed him in a clear nutrient fluid. Emitters maintained the healing field within the fluid. They placed the young Concordian into a similar vat of liquid. The difference was that the Concordian was now attached to a breathing machine. He had lost his gills to Jason. Jason heard the doctors say that they would have to spend a week in the healing vats.
As Jason healed, he realized that his gills worked and a new and very different hearts beat triple time within his chest. Jason's skin had achieved a greenish tinge thanks to the green blood of the Concordians. He could feel scales growing on his body covering his skin. Fins began poking their way out of his forearms, back, and thighs. His feet grew larger, broader and flattened out. The muscles in his forearms grew in size and strength to help move his larger, webbed hands through the water. Jason could see his Concordian counterpart healing and changing. His body retained all of its fish-like appearance but his coloration had turned from green to red signifying the incorporation of human hemoglobin into his body. Jason's once human genitals looked impressive on the young Concordian's body. Jason's old human cock got thicker and longer on the alien. His once human testicles grew to the size of eggs.
The Doctors let Jason touch his body after the incisions healed over completely. Jason explored his new pink gills and gill slits. He could feel the watery fluid flowing into the slits, over his gills and out of his body. Scales replaced most of his skin. Where they didn't have scales, a tough, rubbery skin replaced his soft human skin. A fin grew out the top of his head to help break the water as he swam. Thicker, tighter and stronger muscles filled out his body. He didn't lack bulk and muscle mass. New transparent eyelids covered his eyes. His jaw widened and lengthened to accommodate new rows of teeth and stronger muscles.
His male equipment was big and impressive and he was more than satisfied with the loss of his once human cock. He explored his alien genitals half-afraid to hope that they even worked. He found more than he bargained for on close examination. He now had egg-producing organs and egg sacks. His new body was hermaphroditic just like the Concordians.
By the time both men healed from the surgery, the spaceship was orbiting one of Betelgeuse's artificial moons composed completely of water. The entire spaceship landed on the surface and sank into the depths of the watery world. Fascinated, Jason watched this maneuver on screens in the cabin. The doctors came around shortly afterward and opened the tops of the healing vats so that Jason and the young Condordian could climb out. It felt strange to walk around on finned feet. Breathing was even stranger. When the water drained out of his gills, they closed tight and he had to think about sucking air into his lungs. The Concordian simply removed the mouthpiece and breathed through human lungs. His body didn't develop gills. They both tried to speak. At first, their voices were rough, hoarse and soft, eventually they the doctors had a few words of warning and instruction for both men.
"Both of you are healthy and should live many years. However, not everything worked out as planned. Jason, you never grew navigation organs so you will be lost in the water most of the time. Slave, you need a constant supply of air. Flannery has decided that Jason will be responsible for keeping you alive. We have compressed air in strategic locations. You'll be living off air tanks when we get to the home world on a beach. Also, slave you'll have to talk for Jason because he doesn't understand our language yet. As for reproduction, we've set up several small seas of egg farms for both of you to fertilize. Jason, you have an additional duty of producing masses of eggs for fertilization by males from the planet. There will be signs to guide you every all along the way. You'll get used to it in no time. One last thing, in about an hour, we will release this compartment from its mooring and when we do it will fill with water and sink to your quarters. Good luck, half breeds." The doctors left the chamber and sealed the hatch behind them with a loud clang.
Jason and his Concordian counterpart sat next to each other in the room alone. The doctors were right. They were neither human or fish but experimentally created half-breeds. Jason spoke first.
"Did you volunteer for this assignment?"
"Volunteer? No, the pod master just came down and picked me. He said the doctors wanted to perform surgery on me and that was that. They brought me here and then you arrived. Now I have part of you inside me and you have parts of me inside you. Why did they do this to us? Why did they mix our genetic structures this way?"
"To improve the species… So you didn't know what was going to happen to you?" Jason asked.
"No. But it's an honor to be chosen by Master Flannery. Did you volunteer for this?" the young Concordian asked.
"Sort of yes. I lost my freedom in a poker game. I wanted the honor of participating in illicit, cross-species experiments" Jason joked. The young Concordian didn't laugh.
"We don't see our assignments in the same way," the young Concordian said sternly. His sense of duty impressed Jason.
"To tell the absolute truth, I always wanted to swim with the fishes, big fishes. Not only that, I wanted the muscles, the bulk, the sheer size. I'm a muscle freak."
"I wanted to get away from the slave pods. This is an opportunity to improve myself," the young Concordian smiled. He rested his hand on Jason's shoulder.
"So here we are, just the two of us, waiting for the water," Jason said. He put his arm around the young Concordian's shoulder.
"My name is Jason. What's yours?" Jason asked. The young Concordian explained that he had no name other than slave. Jason decided to call him Ulysses.
"Well Ulysses, we aren't quite completely fish, you and I," Jason said. He laid a large, webbed hand on Ulysses' cock.
"Your human body grew a nice set of scales," Ulysses said. He grabbed Jason's new genitals and massaged them. Jason felt waves of pleasure radiate through his body. Ulysses' strength surprised Jason. Jason reciprocated and explored the alien's body even to each other's scars.
"I always wanted scales when I was a kid. I like these scales. IT looks like I got some extra sexual equipment. That's going to take a while to get used to," Jason said. Ulysses giggled and snickered.
"My egg sacks might be strange now, but they are infinitely more pleasurable than a cock," Ulysses answered.
"Oh really, Give me a chance and I'll show you just how much pleasure my big uncut cock can give you," Jason laughed. He licked his lips seductively. Ulysses blushed.
"You know, you did get the better deal. You received my gills and I didn't regrown gills. Without gills I need a breathing apparatus or I'll drown," Ulysses replied.
"As long as I'm near you, you won't drown. I hope that the gills can supply both of us. You have human lungs and if necessary we can suck face and I can supply you with oxygen through what was my gills and lungs," Jason explained.
"I didn't realize that we could do that," Ulysses replied, "We're paired up for life, it seems."
"Now that you say it, yes we are. Two big, brawny men that have a joint venture to lay and fertilize eggs, don't we," Jason said. Both men laughed and leaned on each other.
"How do you communicate under water?" Jason asked. He picked up a breathing device and examined it.
"Motions, signals, gestures, hand waving" Ulysses said. He took the device from Jason and showed him how to activate it. The lighting in the chamber changed from white to red. They could hear metal clamps creeping and squeaking against each other. Half a dozen portals opened inside the chamber. They could hear the roar of water rushing through intake tubes.
"Hold onto me. Submersion is rough. We will end up in open water," Ulysses yelled over the noise. He put the breathing apparatus into his mouth and grabbed Jason. Water gushed into the chamber. It filled quickly and then it released from the spaceship dumping the two men out into the water. At first, Jason couldn't breathe. He was holding his breathe trying not to get water in his mouth. Ulysses realized what he was doing and gave him a good smack on his back. As soon as Jason's mouth filled with water, his lungs closed down and his gills opened. Oxygenated blood filled his body immediately. He locked his arms around Ulysses and they both let the currents carry them away from the spaceship.
A variety of underwater breeding structures greeted them. Thanks to signs and lists and arrows and they figured out the uses for everything. Most days Jason found a rack waiting. He would deposit his eggs so that other Concordians could fertilize them. Ulysses set about fertilizing racks of eggs that others had been left overnight. Jason learned to sleep floating in the water and Ulysses learned to live with his bottled air supply. When the bottled oxygen ran out at inopportune times, Jason would blow the water out of his mouth and use his gills to supply Jason with sufficient air to survive underwater. On rare days, the two men could visit a floating cabin, dry off and relax out of the water. Schools of small fish, cephalopods and crustaceans inhabited the same structure and became their supply of food and sustenance. They didn't know it then, but this would be their way of life for the next twenty-five years as they populated several worlds with a new, genetically enhanced race of human-fish hybrids.
4280 words more or less
FUTURES YET UNKNOWN
Ten Stories by Dave Fragments
*An Alien serial murderer and a furry detective with fleas.
*Murder on a world with altered humans.
*Disturbing apocalyptic visions *Monstrous dystopian societies.
*A man on trial for betraying the human race to robots.
*Devils, demons and ghosts.
*Survivors of a plague war.
*Cyborgs trying to be human.
*Six friends in a strange sinkhole.
*The truth about a world drowning in rain, without sun, without hope.
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