Disclaimer: This story takes time to develop and as such, the sex scene takes place toward the end of the story. Just a heads up.
"And we're back, live here in the Channel Six studio; joining me now is Dr. Johan Bukowski, lead surgeon heading the SAFE project. Doctor, thank you for being here."
"Thank you Sarah, it's a pleasure."
"Just to clear the air for our viewers at home, could you tell us what 'SAFE' stands for doctor?"
"Certainly, it stands for 'Securing A Future Eternal'."
"And what exactly is the aim of this project?"
"I don't want to give away too much as we're still in the infant stage of application, but what I can say for certain is that we've found a safe and viable means of repopulation through DNA extraction and manipulation."
"I see. And when could we expect to hear of this officially in a health magazine, on the Internet or in the news?"
"I'd say in a couple of years. Very soon now, Sarah, I will personally see to it that this world is repopulated and flourishing as it was before the Change."
"There you have it folks; Dr. Johan Bukowski, giving us his word to secure a brighter future. Doctor, thank you for your time."
"Thank you, Sarah."
~ Two Years Later ~
Stasis Dome Alpha, Sector 10, Location Unknown
May 12th, 2037
I peered curiously out the window from inside my room, delighting in the artificial sunshine and yearning for the freedom that was denied me. Such beautiful people frolicked before my eyes, smiling and laughing and enjoying their lives without a care in the world; how nice it must be for them, having achieved their purpose in life.
I was two days old but twenty years of age and although I had experienced a successful creation, I had yet to be instated. I turned from the window with a soft sigh, my eyes casually roaming around the room. To be locked down twenty-four hours a day after receiving all of my classes and briefs was torture; I had learned more knowledgeable facts, history, politics, mathematics, physics, religion, and assorted languages in two days than most humans could aspire to in a lifetime.
The only issue I had now was being genderless.
I ran my hands over my smooth head again while glancing into the mirror on the wall, my gender-neutral self looking back at me. I was nothing but a placeholder, a work in progress, but to put it officially, a Template.
Dr. Johan Bukowski had achieved his dream just the way it was imagined: he had developed a process of extracting DNA from prime test subjects and manipulated it in a way to not only clone an entirely new person, but to allow for customizable appearances and traits as if the impending human were an accessory. Seeing as how customizing a Template individually upon the day of their human birth would be time consuming and otherwise unsettling, they locked in thousands upon thousands of combinations and stored them in files upon their mega computers; this is where the name Template came from.
And now I had to wait one more night to see how my physical, emotional and mental trifecta would pan out; at this point, I wasn't even aware of my impending gender.
What was most infuriating was that this project strictly produced clones in pairs for the purposes of superior reproduction. My counterpart, the person I was to mate and multiply with, was being held in the room next door, where they too were on lockdown. After all, we had to be kept safe until we were instated or else risk defect.
I flopped upon my bed helplessly, wishing the day would end so I could finally make it to the outside world. I curled up into a tiny ball and placed my ear to the wall, my internal connection to my counterpart taking over to bring me closer to them. I couldn't say for certain, but I had a feeling that whenever I placed my ear on the wall, they were doing the same from their side.
I closed my eyes, satisfied for now with this moment of shared solitude, and willed myself to sleep.
Dr. Bukowski's Log, November 5th, 2035
Audio interview with first-ever SAFE cloned pair, code named Adam and Eve.
"Good evening you two; how are you feeling?" asked a calm voice.
"Fine, doctor," said Eve.
"Fine, doctor," mimicked Adam.
"How do you feel now that you have your own identities?"
"I am happy that we have our identities, doctor," Eve stated monotone.
"I am also happy, doctor," Adam repeated.
"Please, call me Johan."
In a hushed voice, the doctor's voice said, "Note that test subjects are socially inept and show signs of irreversible damage. Rest assured, it is an easy fix: increase social receptors and individual molecular thought processing by fifty percent, minimum."
A few seconds passed, then he addressed Adam and Eve once more:
"So what are your plans, now that you two are free human beings?" he asked casually.
"I want to travel the globe," Eve said.
"I want to eat new and delicious foods," Adam added.
"What about reproduction?" Johan asked curiously.
"But of course doctor; I plan on reproducing with Adam as much as possible," Eve said defensively.
"I share the same sentiment, doctor," Adam chimed in.
A brief silence is heard, followed immediately by the sounds of saliva being swapped rather lewdly.
"Test subjects are reactive in sexual advances, not proactive as expected; another easy fix," Johan said quietly, before continuing, "initial analysis is flawed, as I thought it would be; this interview will now be terminated."
"I wish you two the best of luck; the interview is over now, you're free to go."
"Thank you doctor," Adam and Eve said in unison.
Before the tape comes to an end, two very loud gunshots are heard.
Stasis Dome Alpha, Sector 10, Location Unknown
May 13th, 2037
The dining facility was deafening and disorienting, but alive and wonderful.
So many Template conversations being held at once always kept the staff uneasy, but they understood our position: a bunch of colorless, featureless, cookie cutter beings jammed into a section of the dome and cordoned away from real interaction would cause such a ruckus.
I for one was no exception and I took breakfast for all it was worth.
I spoke quickly and ate without desire, discussing quantum physics with a group of Templates that looked exactly as I did. With our vast amount of knowledge, we could discuss virtually any topic without leaving anyone behind and we would all take something away from it. The most peculiar thing about Templates at this stage was that, despite not having a single feature that separated you from the clone sitting next to you, we somehow managed to form opinions and ideas of our own; we were, after all, the youngest generation.
My counterpart sat close to me, their right and my left hand intertwined. Sporadically throughout the conversation we would turn and look into one another's eyes, gazing longingly without a word being spoken between us; it felt special and meaningful, sure, but the same sentiment was being mimicked throughout the entire cafeteria.
Before we had finished eating our meal, a female doctor approached us, clipboard in hand.
"Subject number 4581 and subject number 4582?" she read off the clipboard, before looking at the both of us.
We nodded in silent unison.
"It's time to assume your identities; if you would, follow me."
We exchanged glances, smiles rising to our lips; without a word, we stood up and strode after the female doctor, hand in hand.
Dr. Johan Bukowski swept into the observation center in time to watch subjects 4581 and 4582 step into their transformation pods. The machines would house the Templates in a comatose state until they had completely assumed their new identities.
Some of the technicians were surprised to see Dr. Bukowski on site; by now, Template transformations were so common and easily executed that his presence meant something big was happening, either now or soon to come.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I have excellent news. I just got off the phone with the President himself, and the grant we've been hounding after for the last year straight was just put into effect moments ago," Dr. Bukowski said, breathless but nonetheless excited.
All of the employees within earshot looked noticeably impressed and even halted their duties to hear more as Dr. Bukowski paced the room.
"With this money, we can afford to start the SAFE Superior program, and those subjects there are going to be our test group. I want full-scale trifecta—increase their supplements and enhancements by one hundred percent and eliminate all impurities. This is the beginning of a new age, ladies and gentlemen; welcome Adam and Eve 2.0."
I cannot contain my excitement as I stare at myself in the mirror; although I realize I am conceited for thinking it, I don't care: I am flawlessly beautiful.
I am now a dark skinned female, at above average height and a desirable weight; my eyes are mysteriously hazel, the flecks of forest green shining out against the backdrop of my chocolate skin. My hair is long and wavy and black, falling in borders to present a portrait that is my face: full cheeks, a defined jaw, even a noticeably enhanced chin and a cute up-turned nose.
I pirouette before the mirror many times, completely nude as I continue to explore my new body. Although the entire overhaul is impeccably impressive, my womanly assets are really what I am intrigued by.
I cup my full breasts platonically, observing their shape and testing their suppleness; they are more than a handful but not obscenely so, and are deliciously perky upon my chest. The revelation makes me smile, two rows of perfectly aligned, pearly white teeth beaming back at me; two small craters dug into my cheeks are evidence of dimples, and I grin harder.
Before I have a chance to venture further, a voice comes over the P.A. system:
"Get dressed Eve and be ready to mobilize in five minutes; you are scheduled for your post-transformation meeting with a very special guest."
I gazed longingly at myself a few moments longer before heeding the call and donning a new set of clothes.
Dr. Bukowski's Log, May 13th, 2037
Audio interview with first-ever cloned pair of the SAFE Superior program, code named Adam and Eve 2.0
The sound of smacking lips and wet suction are prevalent, amidst the many giggles and hushed voices.
A door opens and then closes, followed by a chair being slid across the floor, and silence fills the air.
"Good evening you two; how are you feeling?" asked a calm voice.
"I feel excellent doctor! I'm so excited that we now have our identities!" said Eve.
"I have to agree, this is the happiest day of my three days of existence," Adam pitched in, and the three of them broke out in laughter.
"Well that is just wonderful you two, thank you for sharing; and I see you haven't wasted any time in getting to know one another on a more personal level," Johan said coolly.
"Of course not! I mean, this is what we're meant for, isn't it? Might as well enjoy it at every opportunity, right Adam?"
"You're so right darling, and so beautiful..."
In a hushed whisper, the doctor's voice said, "The results of the SAFE Superior program are beyond expectation—I am fully convinced that, with proper research and development, we can recreate such beings as Adam and Eve 2.0 on a vast scale for a fraction of the cost. Initiating phase two of SAFE Superior upon termination of this interview."
Adam and Eve were conversing amongst themselves until the doctor cleared his throat politely.
"Well, I must say I am pleased you two are happy and want to wish you a happy life together; however, there is one minor adjustment to plan that I must inform you of."
"What do you mean doctor?" Eve asked suspiciously.
"You two were the first in a long line of superior Templates that were created solely for the experimentation of the 'perfect' being. Seeing as how it was such a success, it would behoove us to keep you here in the facility to study your DNA and molecular make-up in hopes of reproducing more beings such as yourselves."
A stunned silence fills the gap between the two parties and a moment later, the door opens again, and many pairs of shuffling feet overwhelm the recorder.
"Wait, what is this? Hey, get your hands off her!" Adam yells suddenly.
"Adam! Adam, help me!"
Sounds of a wild struggle takes place as Dr. Bukowski shouts orders; a heavy object hits the floor, followed by Eve's desperate screams and Adam's barbaric yelling.
"Take them to the underground holding cells!" Johan is heard shouting over the chaos.
I awoke in a daze, my mind fuzzy and my muscles non-responsive.
It took several long moments before I could finally muster the strength to sit up, but the blinding white starkness of the room made me queasy and forced me to close my eyes. From what I had caught a glimpse of, the room was completely bare of any object or furniture aside from the bed I had awoken on. The walls, floor, ceiling and far door were all an overwhelming hue of white.
I rolled over and slowly made it to my feet, a hand clutching my forehead as I stumbled about. As memories of my last state of consciousness returned, I realized the predicament I was in. The superior logic I was gifted with told me that I was now a prisoner and lab rat to be tested upon, but the human will within me didn't want to believe it.
I bumped into a wall and cursed its existence, opening my eyes only to find that the wall was not a wall, but a vast mirror that gave me an unhindered view into a room belonging to my counterpart; seeing Adam lying upon his bed unconscious elicited an emotional response from me that caused my fists to frantically bang upon the glass.
I saw him stir for a few moments, and I rationalized that he too had been drugged; when he finally fought the after effects and made it to his feet, I directed him to the mirror with more pounding, my breath catching as he drew near.
There he stood, inches away but miles out of reach; what was even worse was that, even though I could see him, I instantly realized he couldn't see me. I was transmitting a thousand watt smile in hopes it would lift his spirits, but he remained emotionless and squinted his eyes, peering desperately into his lover's face that he couldn't see.
Distraught, I felt my smile melt away into nothing, and I placed a hand upon the glass, fingers spread wide apart.
To my utter amazement, only seconds later, his hand found mine, his fingers matching mine perfectly, albeit they were a bit longer; the smile not only returned to my face, but also inhabited his as he realized whom he was silently communicating with.
Suddenly, and to my dismay, I saw the door in his room swing open; a guard filed in and rapidly approached Adam from behind.
"Adam! Adam, behind you!" I screamed, frantically banging on the glass.
He didn't seem to get the message until it was too late, as the guard was boring down upon him with a poised syringe. My screams of horror didn't go unnoticed, and I whirled on the spot, just in time to watch the door to my room open. I wasted no time in sprinting across the room, summoning all the fury I could muster and placing it into my shoulder, ramming the unsuspecting guard that had breached my door. He hit the floor hard, skull bouncing off the unforgiving surface.
I couldn't be bothered with him and tore down the hall in a panic, adrenaline having replaced the blood coursing through my veins. I flung myself into Adam's room and didn't pause there, streaking toward the guard who had subdued my love on the floor; the two were still struggling, but I leveled the playing field with a well placed kick to the skull of Adam's assailant. I flung a hand in Adam's direction and he took it, vaulting to his feet.
"We have to flee Eve; we can't stay here," Adam said calmly, and with a tone of finality.
We turned and ran, exiting his room and entering back out into the hallway; as if on cue, alarms began to sound off and a monotone voice alerted the sub-division of the dome to our current location.
Following the exit signs above us, we ran at full tilt, our peak physical conditioned bodies carrying us as if we were currents within the wind. We couldn't hear the pursuers after us as we delved deeper and deeper into consuming darkness, but we assumed they were there and kept running.
We ran and ran and ran until the exit signs disappeared and the high-tech walls, floors and ceilings of the sub-division faded away, replaced by cracked cement and worn brick; even the blaring alarms were a thing of the past.
We ran until we hit a steep incline at the end of the tunnel that led us up to the outside world, and what we found stopped us dead in our tracks.
"What do you mean they escaped?"
"Sir, they were contained in separate cells and managed to overthrow the guards that were keeping watch on them," Dr. Bukowski explained lamely.
"What a fuck up," said the angry voice over the phone.
Dr. Bukowski was silent as he listened to the man fix himself a drink; he placed his eyes on the ceiling in dismay.
"I have not told the President about this yet, so I'm giving you a window of seven days; that's about how long I can keep this quiet," the man said after a long pull of his drink.
"Thank you Mr. Vice President, you can consider it done," Dr. Bukowski said eagerly.
"Don't fuck this up doctor, or I'll personally relocate you to one of the many radiation zones at our nation's capital."
The motor roared proudly as Adam maneuvered the vehicle around obstructions on the highway; debris and strewn cars and things of the like littered the cracked cement.
I gazed out at the barren countryside, my hair whipping rapidly as we zipped along; Adam was an excellent driver and I was an excellent observer, so it worked out for the both of us.
"I've been thinking," he started slowly, and I turned to look at him.
"I've been thinking we should rename ourselves; Adam and Eve are a bit cliché, don't you think?"
I pondered his thought for a moment before nodding my agreement.
"Ok, let's think up some names and surprise one another once we reach town," I suggested.
I resumed my silent vigil on the barren wasteland that slipped past us and caught briefly a shredded sign that said 'Washington D.C., twelve miles'.
Washington D.C., Maryland
May 13th, 2037
We arrived at the nation's once-upon-a-time capital just as the sun was setting and confirmed that it too was not only devoid of life, but a sight for the sorest of eyes.
Collectively, the buildings were either completely destroyed or dilapidated to the point where it would be unsafe to seek shelter within them. As for the atmosphere, the stench of death clung to the air like heavy vapors and bodies, charred and beyond recognition, littered the streets.
We waded through the rubble and the gore as best we could, abandoning our vehicle and huffing it on foot. We were silent as we progressed through the night, our footsteps echoing off what remained of the buildings surrounding us.
"Ella," I said suddenly while we were turning onto a new street.
"Drum," was his response as we exchanged a quick glance.
Our new names were settled at that point.
I managed to secure us a map at a kiosk at the end of the street and we studied it for a brief moment.
"I think we should try the mall; there's food, clothing and shelter, all in one," I said, my eyes scrutinizing the fine print.
"Let's do it," Drum said in agreement.
We followed the map's direction for the better part of an hour, guided by the moon's light, and finally came upon the building we sought. Although a huge hole gaped within a side of the upper level, for the most part, the structure was intact.