“Welcome to my citadel,” the High Evolutionary gestured from his position at the door towards the inside of his fortress. “Here is where the magic happens. Well not magic, of course. It’s science -- super science.”
I stepped in and was immediately awed by the sight before me. Giant computers, tanks full of bubbling liquid, and all kinds of laboratory equipment filled the place. He even had one of those two antenna things with the electrodes where the zap of electricity would work its way up just like in the old movies.
“Wow,” I whistled. “Unbelievable.”
“And you are Jan O’Mega, also known as Jan the Intergalactic Aviator.” He placed a comforting, almost paternal, hand on my shoulder. “In you I can see so much potential. You may not be the pinnacle of human evolution but you are certainly on your way there.”
“Aw, I bet you say that to all the ladies,” I replied a little sheepishly.
“Question: do you not have a partner?” I was expecting a duo this evening.”
“Do not get me started on that guy,” I replied back in a huff. “Unus the Untouchable? Untouchable is right. Oh he was disgusting, he smelled like he hadn’t showered in weeks and those red long johns that he wears are all grimy and filthy. I tell you, it wasn’t that personal force field of his that kept me repulsed.”
“So where is he?” the High Evolutionary asked.
“Weirdest thing,” I said. “We were riding in the balloon together and he fell out.”
“Fell out?” the scientist repeated with a surprised gasp.
“Yeah, fell out,” I confirmed. “Right over an active volcano, too. I guess he’ll be OK because of his force field and all, but I don’t know how far underground he went. Who knows if we’ll ever see him again.”
“Well no matter,” the mad geneticist smiled. I think he smiled. He’s got that armored face plate thing you know. “You are the one I am interested in. Very interested.”
“Uh yeah,” I said kind of wary. “So, what’s the plan here Doc? I’m not much of a scientist, but I’ll assist you however I can.” I guess.
“Let me show you my latest invention,” he ushered me into another, giant sprawling laboratory. “Here is my new Genetic Improvement and Mutation Personal Simulator.”
“You know that spells out GIMPS, right?”
“The name of your machine. As an acronym, it makes GIMPS,” I said.
“No it doesn’t.”
“Yeah,” I insisted. “G-I-M-P-S, GIMPS.”
“But there is an A in there,” he replied. “GIAMPS.”
“GIAMPS?” I repeated. “You don’t count the A and even if you did, what the heck is a GIAMPS?”
“Well no matter,” he replied gruffly. “I can rename the device later. Perhaps something more cool to your liking.”
“I’m just saying,” I shrugged.
“Anyhow,” he growled, and then composed himself. “This machine is designed to simulate the genetic improvements that I can make on a volunteer before the actual modifications are implemented permanently. If you would please step into the chamber, we can begin our work.”
“This won’t hurt will it?” I asked.
“Of course not,” he answered. “I am a scientist, a highly evolved scientist.”
I stepped in and felt the energies surround me. They bathed me and penetrated my body; I could feel my body changing, like on a genetic level. I suddenly felt unable to stand on my feet, I swayed back and forth until a flopped to the ground like a fish – or a mermaid.
“Fact: over Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water,” the High Evolutionary lectured. “And that is not counting the ice at the poles. With the ozone layer depleting, the water levels will rise so high that the perfectly evolved human will need to exist in the water.”
“I don’t think this will work so well,” I replied. “People will still need to stand, whether it’s on land or inside high rises above the seas or inside mighty zeppelins, floating above the Earth like giant, bloated kings.”
“Perhaps you are correct, Jan O’Mega. Perhaps you are right.”
“Although I would have loved to have this thing a couple of challenges ago,” I swished my tail back and forth. I felt the energies flow into me again. My mermaidish tail sloughed its scales and split into two, then split again and again forming long, sinewy tentacles.
“Tentacles,” the geneticist stated.
“Very well.” I felt the almost pseudopod-like tentacles reform and solidified into legs again. I then felt something sprout from my back. I looked and giant, feathery wings stretched out from my shoulder blades.
“Perhaps winged flight would be better,” the High Evolutionary surmised. “With urban overcrowding and the ever increasing need to burn fossil fuels, soaring high with one’s own wings would be for a true, highly evolved human.”
“This might work,” I said as I looked at my right wing furling and unfurling. “I do like them, but they do feel a little cumbersome. I assume you can genetically get rid of acrophobia as well, right?”
“Perhaps, Jan O’Mega, perhaps. Perhaps, however, the key to reaching the fullest of human potential lies gaining the abilities of another animal.”
The wings shriveled up and were reabsorbed by my body as I felt a certain warmth tingle over my skin. Warmth, like a layer of fur.
“I’m a werecat?” I looked at my claws. They made one of those metallic glistening sounds like in the movies. “Cool.”
“Ah yes, much like the hero Tigra,” the High Evolutionary sighed wistfully . “I could have created her instead of some odd Cat People magic. Too bad.”
He flipped the switches again and I felt my body change once more. The fur quickly disappeared
“In the movie the Fifth Element. Leeloo represents the genetic perfection,” the High Evolutionary stated. “Perhaps that is the direction that we shall go.”
“You saw the Fifth Element?” I asked.
“Of course, I have Netflix,” he replied. “I’m not always working on my experiments, you know.”
“Yeah, but how do you get mail down here? How does a mailman get through the Savage Land?”
“A highly evolved mailman can.”
“Yeah, OK,” I said. “I don’t know about making this experiment based on a character from a movie.”
“Are you sure? Perhaps the peak of human genetics could be found in an undead creature of the night.”
“I can’t even move in this thing,” I muttered acidly as the leather on my arms and legs made squeaky noises. “Try again, High.”
“Very well.” He threw some switches again. I felt normal. Almost normal. “A highly evolved woman should look awesome in a sweater.”
“What? All this genetic manipulation so I could look good in a sweater?” I looked down then spread my arms out. “Well, I do look good. But still… Hey, wait a minute, you’ve been making me up to for some kind of weirdo sex thing, haven’t you?”
“What? No I wasn’t,” he answered quickly.
“Oh yeah, I got you figured out now.” I ticked off the altered forms on my finger. “Mermaid, creepy tentacle thing, angel, furry cat thing, Leeloo, leather dom, that sweater thing. You’re getting your kicks off on this aren’t you?”
“What? Don’t be ridiculous,” he replied defensively. “I wouldn’t do something like that, I’m highly evolved.”
I crossed my arms and stared at him.
“Oh all right, you got me there,” he admitted. “It’s just so lonely down here. What’s a highly evolved guy to do, heh heh, right?”
“Please,” I rolled my eyes. “You men are all alike. All women are are objects of your desire.”
“All right all right, I’ll make a deal with you. If you go through one more form for me, I’ll give you a pass on this detour and personally fly you to Ka-Zar’s base in my hovercar.”
“Just one more? Ok, what is it? I’m not going to have huge breasts sticking out of my back am I? Or turn some kind of cow woman. I refuse to be turned into a cow woman.”
“Sexy librarian? Of all the crazy and creepy fetishes you could have…”
“Well I am highly evolved,” he answered. “I have highly evolved sexual desires as well. I like the thinking man’s sex symbol.”
“Oh fine,” I said exasperatedly.