"So, Doctor Korgon, tell me about how you got involved in this matter." The young journalist leaned slightly forward over the corner of the table, digital recorder in hand.

Doctor Korgon puffed thoughtfully on his pipe for a moment. "You must understand," he began, with his slight Germanic accent, "this was some years ago -- thirteen, to be exact -- when I was still, well, not so much 'young,' but still an up-and-coming researcher. Before I'd made my fortune and become involved in the advances you've heard about," by which Doctor Korgon meant, before he had gotten wrapped up in those fanciful flights of robotics and unfortunate attempts at cloning.... "I had started my career doing stem cell research for the government, under the direction of the great Doctor Varius. And here is what happened. It was a dark and stormy night...."


The rain came down in torrents along this stretch of highway. A flash of lightning illuminated a compact car wending through the storm, and a sign heralding the passing vehicle's destination:

San Francisco Clinic for Sexual Reassignment

The young Doctor Korgon parked his compact car in a wooded glen at the bottom of a hill, and looked intently up at the building sitting atop it. Even in this storm, its lines were crisp and the lights emanating from its narrow windows set the path.

Inside, the night shift was cleaning up from the busyness of the day -- as he knew they would be. And in the midst of this late hustle and bustle, a sterile cart was being pushed through a sterile hallway; and atop that cart was a steel tray; and laid out on that tray were four items of what the doctors here euphemistically referred to as biological waste: surgically severed sets of male genitalia, removed just that day in the sex change operations which were the center's specialty.

Having purchased access to the building, and shed his raincoat, Doctor Korgon crept quietly down the hallways, until he found the room he sought, where he had been told it would be. He entered -- it was a large room with rows of shelves stocked with specimens in formaldehyde -- but none of those would do, they were already ruined for his purposes; passing between them he came at last to a worktable at the other end of the room. And there was the tray, with a towel over its contents. Doctor Korgon threw back the towel. His source had been correct!! Four gender reassignment operations had been performed today, an unusually large number, and here were the specimens, still on ice, not yet tainted with preservatives.

Quickly, Doctor Korgon opened his small black medical bag, removing a syringe and several vials of fluid. He glided the safety cap off the needle and stared for a moment at the thick liquid within the vials. His formulation was perfect -- a combination of embryonic stem cells, additional introduced DNA, powerful doses of growth hormones, and a serum to facilitate domination of the mind. Naturally, these organs had no minds -- at least, not yet. But by careful calculations he had determined that the formulation, when injected into an organ rich with human reproductive tissue, would cause the organ into which it was injected to take on the characteristics programmed into the DNA matrix with which the stem cells had been seeded. And there was no better source of that required reproductive factor than the testicles still attached to these biological specimens, these severed sets of genitals. With the proper dosage of his serum, these bits of flesh left over from people's unwanted gender of birth would grow and form into new life all their own, a shape and form useful for assisting in additional research. They would become humanoid penises, the beginnings of a penisoid army of laboratory assistants!!

Carefully, Doctor Korgon inserted the first vial into the syringe ane began making injections, mentally calculating the volume of the subject and the necessary dosage. Then the second, and then-- when he reached the third, he frowned. Clearly, by coloration alone, this was the penis of a person of more recent African descent; and though somewhere in the back of his mind Doctor Korgon knew that scientific studies had deemed mythical certain stereotypes regarding relative genital endowment.... well the thing was quite large. He worried whether he'd brought enough serum. He carefully ran the calculations in his mind, and decided that he had no choice but to move forward, injecting the right dosage into the black one before moving on to the fourth specimen. Here the dosage would be a bit short, but it was all he had left in the vial, and he would redistribute the others accordingly. And so in it went.

Methodically, he went about the task, injecting the second vial, then the third. And just as he finished injecting his serum, what was this? A noise!! Someone was unlocking the door. Doctor Korgon threw the towel back over the specimens and hurried behind a row of shelves.

As Doctor Korgon peered out from behind the bottles, his deepest fear was realized. It was none other than his hated rival, Doctor Killcox!! They had gone to medical school together, and although they had briefly enjoyed a friendship, their fierce intellectual rivalry had quickly led to a feud -- one which continued when both were selected for prestigious internships at the same government laboratory, under the tutelage of the inimitable Doctor Varius. Doctor Korgon would have run right out to confront his nemesis, but then he saw that Killcox was not alone; he had brought his large, oafish assistant, Dmitri.

And Killcox was approaching the same tray of organs -- he had a syringe!! His own formula for the same result, no doubt. The formulas would conflict, the results would be unpredictable, potentially disastrous even!!

As Doctor Korgon crouched in silent frustration, Killcox repeated the steps of injecting the penises with vials of a serum. But something was wrong -- Killcox hadn't brought enough serum!! He was stuck giving each one a smaller dose, and then-- "Dmitri" Killcox whispered angrily, "guard the door while I fetch more vials from the car." Dmitri obeyed, stepping out of the room and closing the door behind him.

Doctor Korgon breathed a sigh of relief. But what now? His only hope would be to attempt to figure out Killcox's formulation and somehow neutralize its effects. Doubtless Killcox had utilized the same essential structure, and with the same ends in mind -- and indeed, it occured to Doctor Korgon, surely Killcox had come on this very night because of exactly the sort of tip which had prompted Doctor Korgon's own visit. Doctor Korgon began to wrap the penises in the towel, but he knew that the door was blocked, and as soon as Killcox opened the door, he would see that the penises were gone and would have Dmitri bar any escape. What to do, what to do? Already footsteps were coming down the hallway--


Killcox strode impatiently to the back of the room, preparing to complete the dosages for each penis. When he reached the bench, Dmitri hovering behind him, he stopped short. Something was wrong. He grabbed one of the penises, flopped it around, brought it to his nose-- formaldehyde!! These weren't the same penises at all, and on the floor off to the right were four specimen jars to show for it. But Killcox had no time to ponder these events, for he heard Doctor Korgon rush out the door and into the hall.

Furious, Killcox squeezed past the slow-moving Dmitri and gave chase-- down the hallway, and then another, into the stairwell and out through an emergency exit. Doctor Korgon had made it out of the building and into the downpour, but Killcox caught up, and with a leap, Killcox caught Doctor Korgon around the ankles. The bag in which Doctor Korgon had hastily stowed the penises slipped from his hand. Killcox grabbed at it, Doctor Korgon tried to pull it away, and as the two men struggled to gain purchase on the wet grass, Doctor Korgon succeeded in knocking the lumpy sack away from Killcox's grasp -- into a rivulet which carried it swiftly down the hill and over an embankment -- right into the bed of a passing pickup truck!!

Doctor Korgon sat up stunned. He turned to Killcox. "Those specimens, I injected them with a formula--"

"You injected them!?!? I just--"

"Yes, yes, I know." Doctor Korgon waved his hand. "It is urgent that we find out what effect our combined formulae will have on them. Give me your formula and I'll go to the lab and run the calculations immediately."

"Hah!! You would like that, wouldn't you," Killcox climbed shakily to his feet, brushing off the rainwater which now soaked his clothes. "You'd would love, I'm sure, for me to simply give you my formula, eh?"

"Fine," Doctor Korgon threw his hands up, "I'll give you my formula and you do the calculations."

Killcox sneered. "Forget it. Your formula is no doubt inferior; keep it to yourself."

"But the penises...."

"Undoubtedly nonviable after all this. What a waste of my time." By now Dmitri had made it out of the building, and the pair trotted off, leaving Doctor Korgon sitting on the wet grass, staring through the rain at the long ribbon of road wending its way west.


The driver hadn't even noticed the thump as the bag landed behind him, and kept on keeping on, in the direction of the bright city lights. And in the bag, four vaguely cylindrical lumps began to move....


Doctor Korgon was looking blankly into the distance, over the journalist's shoulder.

"So," the young man interrupted, "that was the last you saw of them? Until...."

"Ah, well there was one incident -- I had all but forgotten, you know...."


A year had passed.


And then another year had passed.


And another.





And some more after that.


Doctor Korgon was at his laboratory workstation, as usual. Today he was integrating sea slug DNA into a wombat, with the hopes of making a wombat capable of living above and under water, and photosynthesizing energy. The telephone rang. And it continued ringing persistently until Doctor Korgon had had enough, stomping up the stairs to answer the phone. Soon, Doctor Korgon reflected, such interruptions would no longer trouble him, for he was about to make a breakthrough in wombatology which would at last enable him to afford a proper laboratory all his own -- and a personal secretary to answer the blasted phones!!

"Hello, who is this?" he snapped into the receiver. He could hear breathing on the other end. "Come now, I can hear you. Who is this?"

There was a further moment of silence, almost long enough for Doctor Korgon to spout some parting words and hang up the phone, but then the voice piped up, almost childlike -- "Peeeenis."

"Pe-- I'm sorry, what was that? Peter?"

"Peeeenis!! Penis!!"

"Oh I see, a prank call is this? Is your father home, young man, let me speak to him."

"You're my daddy!!"

"What? Who is this?"

"Penis!! Penis!!" Suddenly there were several such voices, all repeating the word over and over again. So it was a gaggle of children, prank calling together. Then, thankfully, the voice of an adult appeared in the background: "boys, what are you doing? You should not be making telephone calls!! Return to your training!! Hayaku!!"

Doctor Korgon shrugged as he returned to his workstation.


And another year passed.




And several more.


....until the day....


An elderly Japanese man lay in his simple cot. Four figures huddled around him, shrouded in cloaks, and in uncertainty. He gestured them closer.

"My sons, I have taught you for these thirteen years in the way of my own ancestors-- the last clan of Samurai!! But now my time comes to its end."

"Master, who did this to y--"

The elderly man raised a hand, silencing those words. Streaks of blood from the wound in his side had already dried.

"All my life," he gasped out, "I have fought for justice. As I have taught you to do. And in that fight, I have made many enemies. But all the enemies in the world can not outweigh the joy I have known since you were brought to me as infants, to raise, to train. Today, you are no longer children, and you are no longer students. But you are not yet men, nor masters. Today, my sons, you are adolescents, and you are...." he coughed and wheezed for one final moment "the last.... Samurai!!"


The four figures sat around the body in silence for many minutes. Finally, one by one, each rose. Standing up, they were perhaps five feet tall -- except for one, the leader of them, who stood a good foot taller than the rest. He leaned down and pulled the sheet over the old man. One of the others spoke softly to him. "J-- Johnson, what do we do now?"

The leader's voice was unsteady, but calmer, more certain. "We use our skills, Pierce, and find our father. The scientist who created us, the man whose DNA runs through our veins." The leader turned to the other two. "Polk. Fillmore. Gather our equipment. Our journey.... begins!!"



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