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“All right, guys and gals… I hope you all have at least some idea of what’s going on here, but for the sake of any spouses who haven’t been paying attention, I’ll still go into the nitty-gritty details.”
Dave looked over the table. He was sitting by the short side with his (beautiful as always) girlfriend Jane on his right side. The other nine were seated by the long sides, looking at him. He pressed a few keys on the laptop in front of him and turned the ceiling projector on by pressing a button on the remote.
“Well, as you almost definitely know, we decided a couple of months ago to attempt to create ‘Pokémorphs’, which means, in the unlikely case you haven’t read all that pseudoscientific crap like ‘The Life of a Morph’ or the ‘Sarah Hooter’ series, a human being spliced with a Pokémon to create… well, something like this.”
He pressed a key on his laptop. On the smooth, white wall behind him appeared the cover illustration of ‘Sarah Hooter and the Rocket Experiment’: a sexy teenage girl with Vulpix ears, a tuft of red hair that organized itself into unnaturally orderly curls on the top of her head, and six curly, reddish-brown tails fanning out behind her as she struck a pose. A couple of people snickered.
“Ridiculous, isn’t it? Well, it’s possible. We proved that here at Heywood Labs – of course the whole thing with Team Rocket suddenly turning an ordinary girl into half a Vulpix is bullshit and the real method is a lot different, but the end result is the same. We even specifically created a Vulpix morph who is likely to look very similar to Sarah Hooter here when she grows up. Of course,” he added with emphasis, “we never intended for her ever to grow up. She’ll be made fun of like all hell at school. But outside pressure and… some inside goofs have forced us to raise the Pokémorphs, and that’s why we’re here. We are all responsible, and thus we need to fairly distribute the morphs between us for rearing. Any questions?”
“Good. Well, in the past weeks we have observed that the fetuses, which are currently growing in an artificial uterus in the lab, are developing at slightly different speeds, usually a little abnormal for humans. This was to be expected, as Pokémon grow a lot faster than humans, but it is different for each one how much influence the Pokémon is having and of course exactly how fast the Pokémon grows. We have also seen how they appear to be turning out and compared it with what we were going for when we created that morph to give the best idea possible of what you’ll be getting yourselves into if you adopt each one. Any questions now?”
It was Cheryl Jones, a woman in her thirties that Howard, a research assistant for Heywood Labs, had been seeing recently. She had also, according to Howard, always been passionately interested in the Pokémorph project. She was one of those intelligent blondes who wore glasses, liked to protest and did volunteer jobs.
“If the Pokémorphs are developing at abnormal speeds now, does that necessarily mean they keep developing like that after they’re born?”
“We’ve been able to calculate fairly well how fast they’ll age after birth and that’s what we’ll be telling you,” Dave replied. “We compare how fast the fetus is growing with the normal fetus growth speed of humans and that Pokémon, and then assume their Pokémon half will influence their later growth to about the same extent. It may not be entirely accurate, but it should be accurate enough.”
Cheryl nodded and Dave scanned the room for any signs that somebody else had a question.
“Okay, let’s just get right to it, then,” he sighed and pressed a key on his laptop to go to the next slide; Sarah Hooter disappeared from the wall and was replaced by information about the first morph to be discussed.
“First up, Meowth morph. Male. It is presumed that he’ll be around twelve years old physically at ten human years of age. We’re not sure exactly how much we influenced any instincts or what, but be warned that at worst he’ll be marking his territory around the house by the time he’s a teenager and you’ll be morally restricted from getting him neutered.”
A few of them laughed.
“I meant that,” Dave said. “His appearance should be mostly human; it’s mainly the head. He’ll probably have fangs, and we’re beginning to see the development of Meowth ears and tail… and although it hasn’t started appearing yet in the fetus, he’ll almost definitely have whiskers and a gold charm on his forehead like we planned. I won’t guarantee he’s not going to be any cattier than that, though, since sometimes it’s a bit shady how those genes end up influencing one another. Any volunteers to take him?”
There was silence as the researchers looked nervously at one another. He saw Joe McKenzie’s wife Pamela, a plump woman with curly brown hair, whisper something in his ear and he whispered something back. They waited for a few moments.
“Okay, we’ll take him,” Joe said finally.
“Great,” Dave said, writing it down. “It’s probably a good thing, since you’ve raised two kids already. If anybody can toilet train him, it’s you.”
Another round of nervous laughter. Joe nervously wiped his glasses with his sleeve and put them back on.
“Right,” Dave sighed. “Now… that lovely Sarah Hooter-clone I mentioned. Damn, I must have been on crack when I thought of that.”
Nobody said anything.
“Oh, yeah, forgot the details. Well, it’s a female Vulpix morph, obviously, and basically she’ll look almost exactly like that Sarah Hooter picture I showed you,” he put that slide back up, “except I can’t guarantee she’ll look that hot. And I don’t know if her hair will really curl like that. Like the Meowth, she’ll be around twelve physically in ten years.”
Jane leant in at him. “Maybe we should take her, honey.”
He turned around. “Why?”
She shrugged, and Dave was momentarily captivated by the smooth movement of her wavy, red hair. “I always liked those books as a kid, and at least she’s mixed with a cute Pokémon. We’ll have to take one, won’t we? At least it’s better than some of the others you’ve been telling me about.”
“Whatever you say, sweetheart,” Dave replied and kissed her before writing that down. Man, he’d do anything for that woman, even if she read stuff like Sarah Hooter.
“Two down, six to go,” he said. “Okay, this is one of the really fast-growing ones. Scyther morph, female. Likely to be physically around sixteen in ten years. Don’t worry; she won’t be a cripple with no hands who murders people every time she waves her arms. Her hands are already beginning to develop, but sometime after birth, the bone in her forearms will grow out of her skin in a sharp blade going from her wrist to her elbow which then transforms to be metallic if how the process works in actual Scyther is any indication. We don’t know how far out it will go exactly, but I think it’s safe to say you shouldn’t hug her too much. She may have fangs and will almost certainly have wings, although she’d be way too heavy to actually fly on them. Her legs also look very weird right now, although I don’t know what will become of them later, since this wasn’t really planned. Any takers?”
“Let’s take her, Howard,” Cheryl said almost immediately. “I’ve always liked Scyther.”
The slightly chubby, dark-haired man beside her winced. “Eh… are you sure we…”
“Oh, come on,” she said and smiled. “We’ll be fine.”
“Anybody want to argue with that? No? Good. Then she’s yours.”
Howard still looked a little skeptical, but shrugged. “Well, nobody will be able to say I had an uninteresting life.”
“Next up, Taillow morph,” Dave said. “It’s a male. Growing just a little faster than a human, might end up maybe one year ahead for every ten human years…”
“One other question,” Cheryl interrupted. “Kids grow up at different speeds, start puberty at different ages and stuff like that, so…”
“This is just an approximation,” Dave answered in the middle of her sentence. “The odds little Taillow guy here will have started puberty at ten will be the same as the odds of a normal boy having started puberty at eleven. That’s all it means. Can I continue now?”
“Great. Well, I think this is the most human morph of them all. It’s pretty much just that he might grow feathers instead of hair in some places, and he’ll have a pair of wings too small to carry him, unless we missed something. We realized when we were making them that it would be too difficult to give him a beak as we were first planning. Of course I can’t say anything about behavioral effects.”
Daniel, a blond-haired man with glasses who Dave knew was the husband of lab researcher Martha Harrison, suddenly raised his hand. “Wait. Are they going to be like… able to use Pokémon attacks?”
Dave sighed. “Maybe. If at all, then only to a very limited extent. I think I could make out a fire sac beginning to form in the Vulpix, so I’m getting my hopes up that she’ll at least be able to use Ember and stuff like that. For the others, I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. Of course some things are just a given – everybody can tackle.”
“What about the Pokémon language? Will they speak it?”
“No idea. Can I continue?”
Daniel sighed disappointedly and nodded.
“Where was I…” Dave muttered, going over the points on the slide that was up. “Right. Yeah, he’s the most human of the bunch, but I can’t promise you he won’t demand a bowl of earthworms for breakfast every morning or something. Who wants him?”
Daniel shrugged, twisting a lock of his wife’s curly black hair between his fingers. “Didn’t you say you were mostly handling that one, Martha? Maybe we can take the kid…”
“Sure,” she replied and smiled. “Unless somebody else wants him…?”
Most people just shrugged. Nobody protested, even though Dave could tell some of them would have wanted that boy. He had been kind of hoping for him himself, but if Jane wanted the Vulpix, that was it.
“All right, then,” Dave said and wrote that down before switching slides. “So… Chinchou morph. Male. He’ll be physically around thirteen after ten human years. The most noteworthy unhuman thing about him is that he’s blue, and he’s got those anglerfish antennae starting to develop too. His hands and feet are a little odd and may end up kind of halfway between fins and digits or something, I don’t know. As in webbed with weak fingers. Otherwise he’s pretty humanlike – he hasn’t got Chinchou eyes or anything. Volunteers?”
“We’ll take him,” Bill Ray said. He had shoulder-length black hair and was sitting at the far end of the table with his red-haired fiancée Sharon. From the sound of it they had decided on the Chinchou together before they had come there. At twenty-five, Bill was the youngest person working in the lab, two years younger than Dave himself. Dave had always liked the guy, but couldn’t help being a little surprised that he’d picked the Chinchou of all things. He’d thought Bill would be more of a Scyther person.
“Well, okay,” Dave just said and wrote that down. “Now… after this there’s a Pokémorph assigned to every home except Brian’s, correct? Well, he can’t breastfeed, so now some of you – us, I mean – will have to take another one. Only do it if you think you can handle two freak kids in your home in addition to whatever you might have already, okay?”
“All right. Only three morphs left. Next,” he pressed a key on his laptop to go to the next slide, “the only one who’s actually growing slower than an ordinary human. Only take her if you really like young children, because she’s going to be one for a while. Misdreavus morph, female, will probably grow at only about 80% the speed of a normal human after birth. She’s unnaturally pitch-black but otherwise the fetus looks, well, entirely human at this stage, aside from growing slowly. She is going to have creepy hair and eyes when she grows up and will probably do some ghostly shit, though.” He looked between the couples around the table. Cheryl looked excitedly at Howard.
“Well, we already took the Scyther,” he said and sighed. “Won’t get a lot more messed-up than that. We’ll take her.”
Cheryl leant in and kissed him. Howard seemed thoroughly puzzled at himself, but didn’t say anything to indicate a change of mind, so Dave shrugged and wrote it down.
“Okay, great. Two left, and then we can all go home.” He switched slides. “Roselia morph. Female. She’s the fastest-growing of the bunch; she’ll be physically around seventeen when she’s ten. She is a little problematic, because we actually got stupid enough to give her roses instead of hands.”
“Oh, dear,” he heard Daniel Harrison mutter.
“Then she seems to grow faster in sunlight. That’s pretty much it about her, although she may turn out to have some other Roselia or generally flowery traits in the end. She does grow rather ridiculously fast, though. Don’t know what they’ll do with her at school, although that applies to the Scyther as well. Who’s up for it?”
“Let’s take her, Daniel,” Martha said to her husband. “I had a big part in making her, too. The Taillow boy probably won’t be too hard to deal with.”
“But we do have Sarah…” Daniel muttered. Sarah was their baby daughter.
“The Roselia girl is going to grow fast. She’ll be an adult in no time at all. We’re both parents and breeders, so we’re the best-equipped here. Dave and Jane and Bill and Sharon are so young and have never raised kids before. They shouldn’t need to have two Pokémorphs to worry about. And the McKenzies have two kids to deal with in addition to their morph.”
Her husband finally agreed to it, and then that was settled. Dave breathed in relief to himself; he had been worrying that he and Jane would have to take another one.
“Well,” he said. “The last one. The Slugma boy. The bad part is that he’s pretty much a total failure; it’s lucky – or unlucky, depending on how you look at it – that he’s survived at all to this point. For one thing, his skin is looking to be liquid – as in some kind of thick ooze. This ooze appears to slowly harden at room temperature, which would make him immobile unless his skin is rubbed or heated or something. In addition to that, his blood is far too hot, so he’s really just begging for some sort of organ failure at some point. The organs do seem to be developing some resistance to it, and we’ll have to hope that’s enough. Oh, and we had to take him out of the artificial uterus and put him in a heated glass cage. Somehow he’s already self-sustaining, although if something attacked him at this stage he’d obviously be completely helpless. We don’t even know if we should consider him already born or what, and we have no idea how his physical age is going to change. Basically we’ve got some sort of a human blob and we have no idea what is going to happen to it next.”
The spouses stared at him in horror.
“Yeah, his life is going to suck,” he agreed. “If for any reason you are ever going to try to mix a human being with a blob of lava in the future, don’t. But regardless, we can’t kill him, so somebody needs to take care of him if he survives.”
Nobody volunteered. Dave took a deep breath. He hadn’t expected anybody to.
“I think Brian should take him.”
The man to his left stared at him. “What? Me? But…”
“This is the only one that’s not actually a mammal and won’t need to be breastfed,” Dave said, sighing. “Look, Brian, you were the one who messed up the talk show. It would be very unfair if you could avoid raising one of the stupid things just because you’re single. No easily accessible breast milk? This one doesn’t need any. From what I’ve heard about Slugma, they eat nothing but rocks throughout their lives. Feeding him sand has worked for a couple of months, so that appears to be it. You can raise him.”
Brian looked wildly around for some supporters, but found only the others’ looks of pity. Of course they wouldn’t switch with him if they were paid for it.
“Fine,” he sighed hopelessly and sank back in his chair.
“All settled, then,” Dave said, closing his laptop and turning the projector off. He had assigned the Slugma kid to Brian before they had even sat down at the meeting.
“Vulpix morph,” he muttered to himself. “This will be interesting.”
Page last modified July 14 2017 at 16:44 GMT