Sibilius had the first project ready for installation.
Béla didn’t make any suggestions about who would get what body. She’d only met two of her sisters inside the Praetor; Elisabeta and Melinda. She was still a little annoyed with Melinda for torching her boyfriend, Raul, and also for Torquemada, although Melinda swore that she never let Dear Tomas feast on her blood. As for Elisabeta, she was just plain scary! She looked at Béla like she was lunch and Elsa had missed breakfast! Plus, she was the one who had passed on the secret of immortality to Melinda.
Did she have any idea how much trouble that had caused, making Torquemada immortal?
Hmm, maybe Father would choose his son to be first! Then she could actually fuck Jesus for real! But the first project completion was female, which shot down her private little jest.
‘Are there going to be any male bodies?’ she asked hopefully.
‘Not for awhile, Child,’ her father thought back to her. ‘They take longer to develop. My son will probably be the last to be transferred.’
‘It figures,’ she thought, radiating her frustration. ‘I wonder how many of my sisters are lesbians…’
‘Het… Béla! I am not creating sex toys for you to play with!’
‘But they will be sexually functional? Like me?’
Sibilius frowned in disapproval at his unhappy and obviously frustrated daughter, then shielded his mind, blocking her thoughts out along with those uncomfortable feelings she was broadcasting.
The birthing process was a lot different for her first sister than it had been for Béla. The body Béla was using had been carefully reconstructed, reconstituting one cell at a time from her ashes and grafting it to the previous one. It had required constant immersion in nutrient fluids to keep each recreated cell alive over the years as her father carefully grafted on progressive layers.
With Béla, there had also been the problem of her reconstituted cells wanting to grow haphazardly in an attempt to heal her unfinished body. Sibilius had found it necessary to constantly inject fresh DNA into her cells so that they would maintain her proper form. Even then, he had found it necessary to cut and graft her cells back into the desired form several times over the years, and he was always grateful when the grafted cells healed without leaving any scar tissue.
The projects her father was currently working on were being created the same way Béla’s original body had been created. They were simply grown from splicing human and alien DNA together and letting it grow, with special modifications to the human DNA forcing the body to form full size instead of as an infant.
Her father used different human DNA for each project, so that his hybrid children wouldn’t all look exactly alike. The alien DNA was all donated by the same being. The reason for that, her father had explained, was because the special metamorphosis that Béla used to create her wings was part of her alien DNA. In addition, he had designed her digestive system in such a way that it was almost impossible to kill her, as she could simply ingest any weapon or projectile that penetrated her body. Using just one crewmember’s DNA saved him the effort of having to find and modify those special traits thirty times.
‘Does that mean that I have an actual father, too?’ Béla inquired. ‘Do my sister’s have the same father?’
Béla found out that her own biological father had died of old age over a thousand years ago. He hadn’t wanted to continue his existence in a Martian Drone body, therefore, according to the law as determined by the Praetor, his soul was permitted to leave their society and find it’s own way.
So as it turned out, Béla wasn’t actually related by blood to any of her sisters or her brother. They were still her siblings, though, because Sibilius was the father, the creator, of each one of them, including Béla. She was satisfied with that.
At the time Béla’s biological father had passed on, Sibilius had been finishing up an artificial moon orbiting around Jupiter. He had spent the previous thirty five hundred years overseeing the development of the environment inside that hollow shell.
Once the shell had been completed, the biggest challenge was creating an atmosphere inside it. That alone took several centuries of collecting asteroid sized chunks of ice and hauling them inside the hollow moon with a tractor beam, then warming them enough to melt them.
Making dirt was much easier. There was an abundance of plant life on Earth that could break down rocks. In addition, they used hydraulic pumps from their ship to blast the rocks with the water from the ice asteroids. For almost a thousand years, the inside of the hollow moon was one great low-gravity ocean. While the inner surface of the hollow moon was covered with water, Sibilius was forced to slow the moon’s rotation, as the weight of the water kept rupturing the comparatively thin metal shell.
Eventually, and with the help of the great sun-collecting crystals located at each axis of the moon, most of the water evaporated into the vacuum which still existed in the center of the moon, creating a breathable atmosphere and leaving a lot of mud caked against the moon’s inside surface.
For the last thousand years, the alien ship had been transporting more dirt, water, plant and animal life from Earth up to what was going to be their new home, which was already being shared with some humans – those few who had stumbled upon the great ship during its animal, plant and mineral collection phase. Whether or not more humans would be transported en masse was to have been determined by the hybrid species that Sibilius had created to succeed both the aliens and the more primitive humans.
The hybrid project was a complete failure in every aspect. It was intended that the hybrid species would introduce an evolutionary advance into the human population, making humans the beneficiaries of the dying alien culture. Instead, the hybrids had gone insane over the centuries and had to be destroyed.
During that period, not a single one of his projects had procreated. Thus, he created one final hybrid – a male, this time – to introduce the desired gene modifications into the human species. That backfired, too, mostly because his ‘son’ sought out one of Sibilius’ sterile hybrids and chose her for his lifemate because they could mind-link with each other so well. Disgusted and discouraged, Sibilius had that project terminated as soon as it returned to the great ship.
The one partial success was Béla. Not only had she survived her own project termination by Sibilius, but she had discovered how to become pregnant. In addition, with her father’s help, Béla overcame her destruction by the insane Earth people, and enabled the entire hybrid project to be newly reinstated.
Once again, and with new hope, the hybrid project was Sibilius’ main concern. With the demonstrated success of his recreated daughter, Béla, his dead dream could be brought back to life and their civilization could thrive, using newly created hybrid bodies as hosts for members of the old race as they died off. The being Béla thought of as her father had been more correct than even he had realized when he abandoned her into the human world with the words, ‘You are the future hope of both our peoples! You must survive!’
Béla was completely unaware of how she had influenced the incredible circumstances that culminated in the successful salvation of two intelligent species in this solar system. In the eons to come, because of an amazing companion she had yet to meet, she would be regarded in future mythology the way that Adam and Eve had been regarded during the Christian era on Earth.
Almost a week had passed. Béla anxiously awaited the transfer of Elaine’s lifeforce into her new body.
To Béla, it was a complex process. Elaine, in her Martian drone body, had to return to the ship’s ‘rehab’ station and lie down in an empty sarcophagus that had been prepared for her. There, she would be electrocuted; her lifeforce driven out of her body. The Praetor would then ‘catch’ her life energy with a tractor beam and absorb it into a ‘holding pattern’. Once in Sibilius’ laboratory where Elaine’s new body waited, the Praetor would release the trapped life energy into an electromagnetic ‘tunnel’ that would guide her into her new form. When she awoke from being ‘killed’, she would be alive again, in a brand new body!
This was really frustrating for Béla. The process was taking too long! Béla left the lab, ignoring the looks and adoration she got whenever she left the sanctuary of her father’s lab and went down to the cargo hold. Once there, she strapped herself into her tether, then savagely beat her wings against the air to release the built-up tension she had accumulated over the last several hours.
After about twenty minutes of furious exercise, she unhooked herself and went down to the communal baths. There was no one there to complain about her sweating into their precious bath water, so she hopped in and waded over to the waterfall. She spent ten minutes bathing under the falls before she felt relaxed enough to return to her father’s lab to find out if she had a sister yet.
When she anxiously reentered the lab, there was a lot of commotion over on the table where her father was preparing his first project for animation. Béla stepped up to the back of the group and pressed forward. As people in the group recognized their wet and naked princess, they made room for her to get closer to the table.
As she reached the table, her eyes met with her sister’s. Elaine raised her arms to greet her. Since her new body hadn’t spent years floating in a tank, her muscles were more toned that Béla’s had been at her rebirth, and the movement was easier for her. They hugged, greeting each other physically for the first time.
“I can feel you!” Elaine cried ecstatically.
Her discarded Martian Drone body had possessed a very limited nervous system, having been designed for work, not sensation. Béla was fascinated with the way her body was responding to Elaine’s touch – except for her blond hair, Elaine was Béla’s twin; especially the way their minds and nervous systems merged together.
After another moment, Béla had to withdraw. Their touching each other was starting to turn into a lovemaking session right in front of everyone. They both knew was sex was like, and now Elaine had a body that was capable of sex for the first time in many centuries. The intensity of the flow between the two sisters made Béla weak in the knees. It felt like they already knew each other and had been waiting to reunite for a long, long time.
“Later, I promise,” Béla whispered as she shakily withdrew from her brand new sister.
Her body tingled with desire as she left the laboratory and headed back down to the cargo bay. As she released her sexual frustration, flailing her wings wildly against the pull of the wire tether, her mind was flooded with erotic images of making love with Elaine; kissing her on the table where she was born, caressing her in the communal baths, embracing her under the waterfall, showing her how to shift her shoulders to form her wings and being wrapped in those silky wings in free fall in the cargo hold. Everywhere she thought of was a place to make love to her new sister.
After almost an hour of beating her wings against the air, Béla collapsed down onto the cold steel floor and passed out from exhaustion and dehydration. She woke up the next day on the table next to Elaine. As she sat up, she made eye contact with Elaine again. The erotic flow returned instantaneously, just as powerful as before.
They reached for each other. Then their father was there, standing between them. He held Béla in his arms as she trembled with sexual desire. As he held her, Béla felt the Praetor cause Elaine to go to sleep, keeping her from injuring herself trying to get off her table. The erotic flow faded in Béla’s mind, no longer reinforced by Elaine.
‘I should never have let you touch her so soon,’ her father said, profusely apologizing inside her mind.
Images explaining what was happening to her flooded Béla's awareness.
‘The original purpose of the hybrids, of course, had been to create an evolutionary step forward in the human population. To expedite that, the hybrid bodies had been designed to be incredibly sensitive in a sexual manner. Many of the hybrids tactile nerve endings were routed through the sexual center of their brains. That could have been one of the design flaws that had driven the original hybrids insane.
‘With her increased telepathic abilities, Béla was going to have to learn to filter out what she received from others’ minds. Especially, minds inside bodies like her own, where telepathic sexual feedback could easily overwhelm them both.’
“You mean I can’t make love to her?” Béla cried, desperate, disparate and distraught over losing Elaine already. “Please, Father, I’ve got to!”
She blasted an image into her father’s mind of sexual overloads she’d experienced before, with humans, with the knowledge that they had similar nervous systems, that it wasn’t fatal, and it would soon mellow out!
‘The entire purpose of sensation is to feel exactly like this!’ she cried in her mind, becoming even more distraught.
Her father showed her the images she’d broadcast throughout the entire ship yesterday as she’d worked off her sexual frustration. That was how he had been able to find her and bring her back to his lab. Elaine had even received the images, agitating her so much that he had found it necessary to have the Praetor electronically put her to sleep.
‘The psychic feedback from your lovemaking would shut down operations all over the ship. Yesterday, no one was capable of even thinking until you had exhausted yourself.’
‘I don’t care!’ she screamed into his mind.
She tried to wrest herself from her father’s grasp. Sibilius was certain that at least half the ship’s complement was aware of what was happening right now. Things were about to come to a flaming head.
The Praetor touched her mind with the high-frequency sleep command it had used on Elaine. Béla savagely responded by blasting a wave of psychic energy back down the beam, knocking the Praetor offline.
‘If this is what happens when hybrids are around each other, the entire project is in jeopardy!’ Sibilius realized.
He tried to work this problem out in his mind while he held Béla tightly in his arms. Still frustrated, Béla allowed him to hold her, smoldering at what she considered to be an attack from the Praetor. Despite her agitated mental state, she was following her father’s every thought closely.
She felt the Praetor complete it’s reboot sequence.
‘Touch me and I’ll do it again!’ she warned it.
The Praetor remained silent. It had determined that Béla was now insane, but was unable to act due to the proximity of the Regent. It waited patiently for a clear shot.
Sibilius could feel the roiling emotions in the mind of his first daughter as he held her close. He knew that she had just disabled the Praetor and understood, sadly, what that meant in regards to her status. The Praetor represented absolute order among his people. The only reason she was still alive was that he was holding her in his arms.
He regretted that now he would not be able to test what his daughter had just revealed to him about how the human nervous system responded to sex. Had he realized they were that sensitive, he would not have needed to modify the nervous systems of his hybrid children.
What he had done had effectively destroyed his children’s ability to control their sexual desires. Béla and Elaine’s incredible sexual appetites were actually his fault. That was what had driven his children insane.
Feeling that Béla had her emotions under a little better control, he began to let go of her, prepared to let the Praetor do what needed to be done.
Holding her at arm length, he gazed into her eyes. Béla gazed back at him sadly, their minds linked together. As he dropped his hands from her shoulders, they both noticed the Praetor arming its electronic beam. Sibilius, suddenly deciding he wasn’t ready to lose Béla again after all, reached for his daughter. It was too late.
The Praetor electrocuted Béla with an instantaneous bolt of energy, blasting her out of her body. Even before the Praetor activated its tractor beam to pull her life energy inside itself, it realized its mistake. Béla had already relocated herself inside the Praetor’s command center. She had been there before and was there now, completing a psychic circuit and electrocuting the Praetor by redirecting it’s own energy back into it’s command center from her body as it fell, shaking violently, to the floor of her father’s lab.
Permanently fried, this time, the Praetor ceased functioning. When Béla regained consciousness a few seconds later, she was back in her own body, lying twisted and smoking, on the floor. She opened her eyes to see her father sitting next to her. He was actually sobbing in grief.
She could feel her body regenerating. As she noticed it, her father noticed it, too. Surprised, but relieved, he looked into her face as she gazed up at him.
‘Peace, Father,’ she radiated at him, still weak and numbed from the short, fierce battle with the Praetor.
She glowed love at him and touched his cheek. ‘I’m not insane, Father. Maybe we can make a room someplace where this feedback would affect others less.’
She watched as he thought about that for a moment, then she felt joy radiating through her from her father as he made up his mind about her.
'When Elaine is strong enough,' he told her, 'we will declare a holiday, so you both can rejoice in life, together! In the meantime, I shall begin preparation of a shielded area to house you!'
‘What! A prison?’ Béla asked in his mind. ‘You would lock me away? Are you that afraid of me, Father?’
‘You would have the same freedoms you enjoy now, Child!’ Sibilius replied, hurt that his first daughter believed that he feared her. ‘The shielded housing is for your…’
‘For us to make love!’ Béla shouted happily into his mind. ‘Oh, Father! You’re wonderful!’
“Wait! She is not ready!’ her father interrupted. ‘You must wait until she is stronger! She can’t even walk, yet!’
Béla was satisfied and agreed to stay away from Elaine until she was stronger and on her feet.
Elaine, upon finding this out, exercised harder than she had ever done anything before in her entire previous existence. She could feel Béla in her mind constantly. Neither was able to break the psychic contact. Sometimes, they exercised together; Béla, in the cargo bay, wildly flailing her wings against the resistance her tether provided, and Elaine, working her body on the footpads and arm pulls of her birthing table.
Elaine, having been reborn with a more toned body than Béla when her body had been reanimated, beat Béla’s record for taking her first steps by three full days.
Sibilius watched his daughters' psychic relationship develop while he helped Elaine with conditioning her body. Once more, he realized, Béla had come up with a solution to a problem that could have been catastrophic to their survival – a place where they could love and not flood the crew with their psychic broadcasts. It was almost ready.
In the future, the bodies he designed for members of his dying race to occupy would have less altering done to their nervous systems. Béla and her sisters, and probably her brother, would, most likely, be strongly sexually oriented for the rest of their lives in their present bodies, but in the later models of his hybrids, they could be more comfortably content with their sexuality.
Or perhaps not; it has been fifty centuries since any of his people, including himself, had been able to have sex. The Praetor helped by directing their thoughts away from that sort of emotional turmoil. Once capable of sexual activity again, they might want to splurge on it for awhile.