They both share a common origin. Genetically altered by the government funded SPLICECO, they now find themselves mutated freaks. Greptile, who is part man, part bird, part amphibian and part reptile and SPLoTcH! who has the powers of galvanized Mister Potato Head. To maintain something close to sanity they have only one man to thank, now join them on their vacation which they call 'The Lithgow Quest'.

Genetics: What Are We?

by Jesse N. Willey

Lucas Thompson sat in what passed as a driver's seat in their mocked up minivan. Not that it needed to be driven, it's internal computer could handle any major emergency or even basic driving for that matter. Which was good, since Thompson didn't have his license. He, as the metahuman super hero SPLoTcH!, had government clearance to go to every science fiction convention in the country to look for John Lithgow. True, he and his friend Ronald McIntyre could have had him flown him into their Washington headquarters. It was more fun this way, plus Fringers command had demanded that teammates get to know each other during their inactivity. Ronald, who no longer looked human in appearance but more like a bird monster lizard amphibian creature, was the most humane person Lucas had every met. In fact, Ronald was his best friend and they hardly knew each other. It was just they way you made friends in this business. I guess they owed their friendship to a common origin and a mutual love of science fiction movies.

"Hey," Ronald replied. "Yo! Freak boy! What's the matter, you been staring out the window for twenty minutes now. What's the matter? You want to stop at the world's largest piece of fudge?"

"I was just wondering...," he said. "... do you ever wonder about what they did to us?"

"Whoa! Hold it! You're getting serious here," he said. "Come on, lighten up. We're supposed to be having fun! We're on our way meet the man inspired us to do what we do. The man, who stands between the coolness of Kevin Bacon and the nerdiness of Jeff Goldbloom."

"It's just that...." SPLoTcH! said.

"Come on, we could really go for a fudge break," Greptile said. "Computer, change course for the giant piece of fudge."

As they drove past a puddle, the window between what is and what once was blurred. His mind turned back and he had to face the past. A past he'd rather not have. He though he had no excepted it. He didn't know how Greptile dealt with it. They had been transformed into freaks. Ronald was even more of a freak than he was, and yet he seemed happy. Of course so did Lucas, but that was beside the point. They weren't normal. Those scientist had done things to them, and they could never be the same again. Only he, Lucas Thompson knew what. At least the dark particulars. The true reason they were transformed. It went some thing like this.

"Jackson, Lucas sample 0010 is showing signs of resident nucleic acid mutation," said one of the other scientist. "It even looks like our recumbent splices are initiating in the right sequence this time. Which is good, because god knows what would come up this time. Gates would kill us if we didn't get it work. How's the McIntyre sample?"

"Prefect on the prime. I guess the stronger muscle tissue of the track star made him more likely to survive the transformation that the pudgy Lucas kid. How'd you get it to work this time?"

"Wait, you experimented on the prime? That's insane!"

"Like cloning the sample ten times isn't, Michaels," Jackson replied.

"Actually, this time, since we preserved the whole nervous system of the prime, we added our recumbent genes and the grafts caused a new body to grow from there," Michaels replied.

"I thought you said experimenting on the prime was dangerous?" Jackson said.

"Actually, this was hardly experimental. It's the basis for Felndenmeyer's work downstairs on creating a chimera, and also for any genetic bonding with nonanimal genetic material," Michaels said.

"Good fudge, huh pal?" Greptile asked. He still saw the grim expression on his friend's face. It wasn't normal. "Wait, the talk earlier really was serious, What's the matter?"

"I may not be unique. I think I was cloned, at the project I mean," he said. "But, actually it is still good fudge."

"So," Greptile said as he paid Granny Felndenmeyer for a piece of her fudge. "That doesn't stop you from being unique. The trick is to become different. Thine own self and whatnot."

"But what if one of my clone is well, evil," SPLoTcH! replied.

"Evil twins? Unggh! How droll. Would never happen. You have about as many evil genes as I do cuteness genes," Greptile said. "Hey, look, Granny Felndenmeyer gave me a scavenger hunt list. Maybe when can work on it to keep your mind out of the deep stuff. Angst doesn't suit you pal."

"You're right. So, what's our next stop before the 'Buckaroo Banzai' convention in Houston?" SPLoTcH! asked. "And chance to meet any cute girls on the way?"

"Hey, you MIGHT be able to catch a few and at Carhenge, but I doubt any girl would go anywhere near the Kermit from hell," he said.

"Y'know pal, that's what I like about you. Always the optimist," SPLoTcH! replied.

And as they walked away a pale white faced duplicate of SPLoTcH! walked by, asked for directions to the 'World's Biggest Ball of Twine' and left. They didn't notice.

"Thanks," he said as he walked off with evil grin on his face.

The End?

Copyright © 1997 Jesse Willey, all rights reserved.
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