The post-genome family relationships are not strictly governed by historical gender roles.
Jane had to admit that her boss was right. Her work had reached a stage when she needed someone to take care of her home and provide her with the necessary rest and rejuvenation when she returned to it everyday. These thoughts were running through her mind as she waited on the ground floor of her Institute of Genetic Resolutions. She felt a bit impatient as she waited for the transport department of her institute to clear the trajectory for her return home. Actually her impatience was unjustified. The systems were known not to take more than three minutes to process requests for transportation. It was just that her concerns about balancing work and leisure in her life were bugging her.
A lot of things had changed in the last hundred years since the genome project had been completed. The way of managing disease had largely moved from the use of chemicals to use of genetic resolutions. Jane was one of the upcoming young scientists and had quite a few e-publications in the international database.
"Jane Alpha! You are requested to move into the transfer cubicle", she received the message delivered to her inner ear by her personal message system. She covered the fifty meters in her purposeful way to reach the cubicle while a ubiquitous personnel monitor recorded her energy consumption. She would receive an output at night, about the net energy balance calculated out of the total food intake and energy used during the day. That will determine her exercise needs of next morning.
In the new society, the transport systems of the cities had undergone tremendous change. Oil powered personal transports had been banned fifty years ago. State owned nuclear air-ferries were in use to move people. Ferry stations were located at important public places and in large institutions. Computerized requests were combined to take people in groups of five to ten per ferry across the metropolitan area. Smaller places relied on electric trains and on very rare occasions electric buses. This had totally freed the roads for pedestrians and cyclists.
In keeping with the manners of the new society, Jane greeted the co-passengers and took up the vacant seat next to a school going child. As she sat down, the child's public profile automatically flashed to her brain. She turned and smiled at the child, "So Lorraine! What have you recently painted?" The child smiled back and said, “Gee! Thanks for asking. Can I show it to you?"
The surnames had been replaced by three merit-names in the new society. These were Alpha, Beta and Gamma. People, regardless of age differences, used first names to address each other. Numbers and genetic imprinting met legal needs for clear identification. The first name and the three merit-names served the social needs adequately. If there were common first names among friends, they created nick names for calling each other!
It took Jane all of fifteen minutes to reach her suburban home ten kilometers away from her workplace. Lorraine got down with her and Jane decided to walk her home as she was still pattering about many things.
As they approached Lorraine's home, the front door flew open. Lorraine's daddy came down the walkway, picked up the little girl and kissed her. Jane laughed as the little girl squirmed. Her attempts at being an adult with Jane were nullified by her daddy's behavior. Robert put down his daughter and turned to Jane and thanked her for walking his daughter home. Jane assured him that she enjoyed every moment of that walk. Robert invited Jane to join him for some tea before she went over to her own place in the next street.
Jane accepted and went in. While Robert went into the kitchen to get some tea for them, Lorraine walked around the parlor with Jane, continuing to talk about her school and friends. When Jane halted to look at a picture, Lorraine piped up, “That is my dad and daddy".
Gay and lesbian couples were well integrated into the new society. They could even give birth to their own children by moving into genetically produced temporary bodies. There was legal restriction on marriages within same merit levels. This was scientifically ensured by genetic modification of pheromone producing cells of individuals at the time of classification into alpha and beta. Gammas were those who refused to be classified. They were then genetically contracepted and legally prevented from marrying. This created some social strife but most people were unconcerned about it.
The classification into alphas and betas took place at the age of twelve. Scientific and objective methods were employed which most people accepted. Those who did not accept the results were classified as gamma with two more chances at reclassification at the ages of 18 and 24.
From the time of classification, alphas were trained to run the society and its institutions. Betas were trained to be homemakers and child rearers. Pheromones of alphas and betas were adjusted to make them feel attraction towards each other. But neither of them would feel attracted to gammas, who were anyway in a minority.
When the first natural children of the same sex parents were born, there was a major debate among the community elders as to how the child will refer to the parents. This was resolved by passing the rule that all alpha mothers would be referred to as 'mom' and all alpha fathers would be called 'dad'. The beta mothers were named 'mommy' and all beta fathers came to be called 'daddy'.
"Whom do you love more", Jane teased Lorraine as she smiled at the little girl. "I love both", the little girl said and added a caveat, "In the morning I want my daddy and in the evening I want my dad". Robert, who was walking in with the tea laughed along with Jane at what Lorraine was saying. The little girl felt shy and rushed towards her daddy to wrap her arms around his legs, making it difficult for him to hold on to the tray with the teacups. Jane rushed to balance the tilting tray.
Jane studied Robert as they sat opposite each other sipping tea. Robert was quite a handsome and well-built man. He was dressed in a silk kimono, a favorite dress with most betas while at home. Lorraine's obvious love for him and the tasteful manner in which the house was being maintained made it clear to Jane that Robert was a well-adjusted and happy beta. His husband was obviously a lucky guy. Jane wondered whether she would be able to find a wife like Robert.
As Jane went up the walkway to her house, the main door opened up to welcome her. As she entered all the necessary lights were switched on automatically and all domestic systems were at go. A disembodied voice spoke up as she entered.
"Hi Jane! Hope we had a nice day. Ain't we a little contemplative today?"
"Oh! Shut up Dome and cut out all that 'we' stuff."
Dome, her personal artificial intelligence, whirred for a while to respond to this somewhat unusual statement from the boss. After two seconds 'he' found the response.
"Hey Boss! What are you touchy about?"
Jane did not bother to reply. There was more whirring as Jane took off her overcoat and shoes placed them on the rack and wore her lightweight house shoes and walked into the kitchen.
Dome had meanwhile scanned Jane's mental processes and found out what was on her mind.
"That is not a big deal. I am sure we can find a suitable wife for you".
Jane scowled and said "Hey Dome! I think I need to place access restrictions on you. You are reading too much of my mind. Also it will be nice if you had a physical form so that I kick your underside at times".
"Now; that is not a problem. My manufacturers have already offered you a robotic interface. It might however dig a deep hole into your pocket."
"Subject closed for discussion." Jane could not help smiling at this exchange between her and Dome.
As she collected her special berry brew from the dispenser and made her way to the living room she thought of Robert and felt turned on. She imagined how it would be to lie on top of him and slip herself over his warm and erect cock. It made her feel warm all over. Fortunately there was no response from Dome for her latest line of thinking. He had been programmed to shut up ten minutes after her arrival. She would activate his voice only when she felt like it.
Jane wondered why she had given Dome a male persona. May be it had something to do with her own heterosexual orientation. Even before her sexual orientation test at the age of fifteen she had been quite clear that if she ever chose to marry someone it would be a man. The new order had made it customary for teen-aged alphas and betas to be placed together for some of the school courses. This was done once their sexual orientation was confirmed. This allowed them to experiment a bit in keeping with their own sexual preferences. Contraception was genetically programmed and would be revoked only when a couple desired conception. So there were no risks of teenage pregnancies. Also it was not possible to marry until the alpha of the pair had settled into a job.
Most betas were into homemaking and child-care. But it was not compulsory for them to be domesticated. The society recognized that talents like music, dramatics, creative writing, painting, sports and games could run across the merit classifications. Many alphas and betas had formed their own talent groups and competed with each other. These competitions also served as meeting points for alphas and betas and many of them ended up as couples.
There were many who failed to procure partners by the above social methods. The state organized weekend gatherings for such citizens in many places to help them make their choices.
Jane had nearly settled for Pat during their cookery course at the school. She had been quite pleased when their teacher pair had selected Pat as her partner. Pat was a muscular guy with wavy hair and ever-ready smile. He was a bit shorter than Jane. At that time Jane had been a thin virtually shapeless girl. But she already had a reputation as an exceptionally brainy one.
The incident had happened while the two had been experimenting with baking. Jane was doing a clumsy job of mixing the batter and some of it splashed and landed on her nose. Pat had laughed and had used his tongue to lick off the offending deposit from the tip of her nose. The closeness of Pat had turned on Jane's new secretions and she was soon hugging and kissing him. The warning bell that the baking oven was ready for the batter had brought them back to reality. Though they did joke about the happening, the same magic did not happen later on.
Jane wondered if Pat was still unmarried. She activated Dome and fed in the dates of her cookery course and added Patrick Beta and student pair in the search field. Dome read out the summary output for her benefit.
"Patrick completed his required courses and went on to specialize in aerobic dancing. He has made a name for himself in training people in this graceful art of relaxing. Courses run by him are immensely popular among all. He is still unmarried."
Jane commanded Dome, "Request contact with reference to cookery course."
Dome could not resist a wisecrack as he was transmitting the request, "Are you planning to make a cake."
Jane put out her tongue and made a face.
Within five minutes Pat was live on her living room screen.
"Hi Pat, hope I did not pull you out of anything. How have you been?"
"Hi Jane! I keep reading about you in the "Must-Know" bulletin. You are a great scientist now, but how about making cakes."
" Now Pat! That is neither fair nor polite.." Jane laughed.
Pat laughed with her. Jane could see Pat had grown to be even more handsome. There was still the same twinkle in his eyes and upward tilt in his lips. His well-toned body seemed to dance with every small movement of his.
Jane was reminded of that time when she had hugged him. Her heart started racing at the thoughts of that event. She felt tongue tied looking at him now. She got a reprieve by the ringing of Pat's intercom.
By the time he was back with her, Jane had collected her thoughts and controlled the pounding in her chest.
"Tell me Pat! Are you seeing someone?"
"Is that a leading question Jane?"
"Could be... Hey Pat! Don't say anything now. Tell me when we can meet over dinner."
"OK Jane! I think I can guess what the great scientist has in her mind... Let me reduce your stress. I am not seeing anyone and we can meet this Saturday, if you are free."
"OK Pat! I will pick you up at six."
As it was an out of city journey, Jane fed in her request one hour before her departure. She was unusually well turned out for her meeting with Pat. Her long pleat-less tweed skirt with jacket and her sparkling white formal shirt were just in keeping with her social position. But the fact that she had spent time to have her hair and hand attended to by a professional added to the nattiness of her appearance.
The availability of her public profile to her co-passengers did draw them to her. She could have denied access to it, but normally she did welcome these interactions. She sort of liked the way her fellow citizens looked at her with awe. She simply loved the children who accompanied the parents on such interactions. Parents always held her up as an example to follow. But today her mind was filled with thoughts of Pat. She did make polite conversation with many of the passengers. Most of them took her slight distractedness to be a normal thing for her extra-ordinary mind.
As the meal service started halfway during the journey, others left Jane alone. She found some time to reflect on her forthcoming meeting. Pat had called up a little before her departure and asked her to meet him at the "Green Lungs" of his city instead of his home, as he would find it difficult to make it back from his dance school well in time. He hoped she would not mind his being dressed a bit casually.
Beta men and women were specially trained in fashion and make-up. Though technology was available for improving appearances, excessive use of it was frowned upon. The healers were expected to heal and corrective surgery or modifications could be done only after an ethics committee had done proper screening.
When Pat had called up on the videophone, Jane had noticed that he was wearing a tight multi-colored leotard. As he walked around his dance hall speaking into the remote unit, the camera in the wall unit turned itself to catch his smiling eyes and lithe movements. His well developed body and the movement of his dancing muscles were charming even on the two dimensional screen. Jane had been excited at the sight of his image. The thought that she would soon be with him was turning her on.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a beautiful girl who was trying to interest her in some nourishment. She smiled at the pretty girl and apologized for not responding to her earlier. Just out of politeness she asked for her favorite brew.
As the girl rushed off to fulfill the request of one of her VIP passenger, Jane suddenly realized how she was smitten with thoughts of Pat. She decided Pat would be her wife. She felt Pat too was very much interested in her. Was there anything else, which would come in their way? Jane hoped there would be no such thing. She would be heart-broken if that was so. Even her superior knowledge of genetics and body chemistry could not prevent her from being hurt if things did not work out with Pat. She was far too gone not to experience a reaction. She knew that at that moment she wanted to marry Pat more than anything else in life.
Jane settled on an interactive bench in the middle of the "Green Lungs" and waited for Pat to reach her. Pat was late but that did not bother Jane too much. The interactive bench would be transmitting her presence and he would be able to log on to her. She sat watching the mommies and daddies who were around with the kids. Maybe it would be nice to have one's own children; she thought to herself as a little boy sat next to her and dared a friend to go over and catch him.
"Hello Jane, This is Pat reporting...." Jane was startled out of her thoughts as she heard the voice of the person for whom she had traveled a great distance on her free time.
Pat was dressed in a lavender colored satin shirt and blue tights with a loose fitting embroidered jacket casually slung over his shoulders. He was smiling in his usual attractive way. He seemed to be fully conscious of the fluttering that he was causing in Jane's chest.
She got up a little unsteadily and opened out her arms. Pat slid into her arms and she engulfed him. As she felt his firm body against her own and as her nose detected some of the wonderful smells emanating from his body, she leaned forward and planted a gentle kiss on his lips. Jane realized that in the intervening years she had grown taller than him.
"Hey, are you guys going to get married"; the little boy piped from the bench. Jane had totally forgotten his existence. But the question strangely relaxed both Jane and Pat as they burst out laughing and came out of their embrace.
Before they could give the boy any reply, his mommy reached them and apologized to Pat and Jane on her son's behalf. Jane assured the mother that the little darling was doing exactly what a child was expected to do.
After flashing a smile to the child, Jane and Pat moved away. They could sense that the eyes of the betas in that area were on them as they moved away. Though many things had changed in the world, the basic curiosity about human relationships had not changed!
As they moved away from the group of betas and their children, a couple of alphas passed them. Jane could feel that most of them were eying Pat appreciatively. She sort of felt good about the fact that her companion was adjudged attractive by others.
Pat was certainly a treat to the eyes. His tights allowed everyone to see how the muscles of his shapely legs moved with each step. As his jacket flapped in the gentle breeze there were tantalizing glimpses of his front bulge, fashionably shaped and restrained by his designer thongs. The rims of his underwear could be seen through his skin hugging tights, and the passing alphas did not fail to notice it!
Jane felt good to be walking with such a fine man. She was, for the first time being looked upon with envy rather than awe. She possessively placed her hand on Pat's shoulder and drew him nearer.
"You took a long time to make up your mind", Pat said with mock anger as he moved closer to Jane. Right after the cake incident Pat had hoped that they would get involved and become lovers. But it had not happened. He had been very disappointed and even thought some mistake had been made about Jane's sexual orientation. It was inconceivable to him that someone with the right orientation could resist his charms. Until then he was only used to rejecting propositions from both men and women.
Pat had been so taken up with Jane that he had resolved not to marry until he found someone of equal stature. Somewhere in the back of his mind he had hoped that, one day, Jane would come looking for him. He had got involved with dancing in an attempt to forget her. He had worked long hours with people so that he would not be alone and start thinking of her.
As years went by, Pat realized that many Alphas could be very passionate about things other than loving human relationships. As he worked at his calling, he kept a close watch over the developments in Jane's life. Jane, being a public personality was not too difficult to track. He had just worked out a plan to move into her city and possibly her life, when, out of the blue, the call from her had come through.
Though he had chatted with her in a carefree manner, he had been unable to sleep that night. His patience was at last paying off. At last Jane was with him and he felt as if he was walking in the air.
He looked at her proudly and wondered what had attracted him to her in the first place. Despite all her erudition, Pat could see that his sweetheart was free of guile or pride. She seemed somewhat nonplussed by the requirements of day to day living. He gently propelled her away from the crowded areas and found a secluded seat for them to sit down. Betas were well trained in the art of making the alphas comfortable, particularly when a proposal was desired!
Pat had lead Jane to a spot near a parked refreshment cart. He went to the cart fetched some of Jane's brew for both of them. Then he started asking her about her work.
Nothing was more relaxing for an alpha than talking about work. Jane took pains to explain to Pat the nature of her work. The Institute of Genetic Resolutions was working on many ailments, which had defied cure for centuries. Techniques had been found to bypass body's defense mechanisms and repair genes inside the body. Jane's work was in the area of cloning bodies for homosexual reproduction. In the new society, one partner of each homosexual couple was allowed to transfer his or her brain content to a body of the opposite sex. These bodies were actually clones of good looking citizens and were maintained by the state in hibernation for purposes of reproduction. The now hetero-sexualized couple was encouraged to follow natural methods to conceive and deliver the baby. Artificial insemination was used to create an embryo if the couple were unable to accept intercourse because of their own sexual preferences. Thus it had become possible for homosexual couple to have their own children and revert to their original bodies after the birth of a child.
Pat was listening intently to Jane's monologue. He could see that Jane was at last beginning to relax. Suddenly Jane stopped her lecture and smiled. "Is this what we should be talking about now?" she said and took Pat's hands into her own. "Pat! Can I say you are looking very nice. You seem to have filled out very nicely since we last met." Pat realized things were on a roll and complimented Jane. "You too look great Jane. You are looking better than you do on the video phone..."
"No! No! That can't be true. Anyway tell me Pat; would you mind shifting base to come and live with me."
Pat thought, 'Here it comes...but said so unromantically!' That perhaps was part of Jane's charm. Pat wanted to tease her a bit.
"But why should I shift.."
Jane was taken aback for a moment." But I thought you were quite willing..."
Pat drove home his advantage, "Willing to do what?"
Jane realized that Pat was playing the fool. She leaned forward, gathered him in her arms and kissed him fully on his lips.
As they separated she said, “I thought you were willing to kissed like this everyday."
"I find it agreeable to kissed like this and not only once in a day. What has that got to do with my moving?"
"Enough of this nonsense." Jane said with a smile, "My dear Patrick Beta, I want you to be my wife. Will you take me as your husband?"
" I do! I do!" Pat said and placed his arms on Jane's shoulder. Jane pulled him over and sealed their relationship with one more kiss.
Jane had never thought that love could almost make her feel 'sick'. She had the scientist's knowledge about what bio-chemicals could do to people in love. But experiencing the surge in her own body was totally a new experience for her.
Her distractedness was the 'unspoken' talk of the Institute. Her fellow scientists would smile knowingly whenever she passed them, without acknowledging their greetings. So it came as no surprise to anyone when the President of the Institute granted long paid leave to Jane starting from the day of Pat's arrival into the city.
One month had passed since Jane and Pat had declared their love for each other in the 'Green Lungs'. Pat had made alternate arrangement for his dance school and had decided to take a break from work for a while. There were already offers for him from dance schools in Jane's city.
On the appointed day, Jane could have gone to the air-ferry terminal to receive Pat. She decided against it lest some ubiquitous news camera picked up a few intimate pictures and decided to make a story out her private moment of happiness. She wanted no one but the two of them to be present, when they met. Even Dome- her personal artificial intelligence had been silenced for a while.
Pat had indicated that he would leave his city early in the morning. His luggage would follow an independent underground route and be delivered to Jane's house by afternoon, using an overland electric van for the last leg of the trip. Dome had exchanged information with Pat's system and had contracted a resettlement company for the creation of suitable space in the Jane's house to accommodate Pat's things. The reassignment of the luggage would be carried out in such a seamless fashion that within hours, Pat should have almost the same relative locations for most of his stuff.
This quick settling-in was needed considering that the signing in of their relationship was to take place the same evening. Being the bride, Pat would need some time to look his best.
Jane waited for Pat at home, dressed in her denim shorts and a full sleeved loose t-shirt. As the day passed into mid-morning hours, she started feeling bad about not having gone to the ferry terminal. Maybe Pat would have felt better if she had gone there to welcome him. She knew she was being irrational but she could not help that. Actually she had already discussed that with Pat. He had agreed with her and said he had no interest in dealing with the media on such a personal matter.
Even as Jane agonized over her decision to keep away from the terminal, Pat had reached her house. The house door had identified him and let him in. He had tip-toed to where Jane sat and stood watching her from a side.
Soon the pheromones traveled the intervening space and reached Jane's nostrils. She got up in a huff, slipped her feet into the flip-flop slippers and walked over to the edge of the open kitchen from where Pat stood observing her.
The hearts fluttered as lovers embraced each other. Hot kisses punctuated their gaze into each other's eyes. They just laughed without anything funny being said by either.
After that hailstorm of emotions a little calm returned to both of them. Jane held Pat at an arm's length and admired him.
Pat was dressed in dark blue bloomers, which were once again in fashion. On top he wore a sparkling white Italian shirt.
"You look lovely," Jane said. Pat looked at her mischievously and replied, "I hope you will say the same after many years."
"Of course I will," Jane promised.
"Hey Jane! This house is lovely. I think I will love being here."
His remark about the house reminded Jane that Pat's luggage would be reaching any moment and she had to activate Dome's voice to organize things with the re-settlers.
Before that she thought it fit to brief Pat about Dome.
" Pat, I just live here, the actual in-charge here is Dome. Though he is efficient, you will have to learn to deal with his wisecracks..." saying so, she activated Dome.
Immediately 'congratulations'- an old song from the 20th century reverberated through the house. Pat started laughing and broke into a jig. Jane stood by watching the combined performance of Dome and her sweetheart. She realized that her house would no longer be the same!
"Welcome Jane! Erase all that you have heard about me from my boss. As they say, behind every successful alpha there is a machine! Of course there is also a beta... I am just fulfilling my destiny here... I am also your friendly, devoted and absolutely ubiquitous house-keeper and if you will excuse me, I have work to do. You may both leave the main area and move into the guest room so that I can let the movers do their job. They are just five minutes away from the house."
Pat and Jane burst out laughing at this soliloquy. They moved into the guest room and closed the door behind them. The pheromones started their work once again and the two of them hugged each other and kissed passionately.
Genetic programming of alphas and betas had roughly equalized their sexual drives. Foreplay was necessary for both to become fully stimulated and many more erogenous zones had been created on both the male and the female. The best part was that, except for the penis and the vagina, these e-zones were neither fixed nor easily identifiable. This gave rise to unexpected peak stimulation as partners explored each other's bodies. The side effect of this programming on the male, was the permanent semi-erectile state of his penis. On the female there was a reduced sensations in the nipples except during the months of lactation.
The semi-erectile state of the penis led to designing of a special garment known as penpouch(known among youngsters as peepee!), which had band/bands going around the hip with a pouch in the front to hold the upward pointing penis, close to the abdomen. This invention started a trend of fashion statements, with experiments in pouch design. This was particularly true with peepees worn by betas. Peepees were made of different materials including lace and silk and they revealed or concealed as much of the organ as fashion dictated. Clothes worn above the pouch were loose or tight-fitting depending on the whim of the wearer. This also meant that male pants had now to be worn around the waist rather than the hip.
The other change, which was caused by this semi-erectile state, was the need to redesign toilets to catch the male stream!
As Jane took off Pat's bloomers to feel more of his lovely muscular legs, she noticed that he was wearing a peepee made of fine netted lace. She placed her palm over the lace and squeezed him. He squirmed in delight and moved to take off her t-shirt. As lovers continued to explore each other's bodies, the rest of their clothes came off. Jane pushed Pat playfully on to the bed and got on top. As she slithered over Pat's body, she felt his fully erect manhood gradually disappearing into her. Pat was moving under her in uncontrollable passion. She asked him to steady himself a bit as she rode up and down on his shaft. She soon received the reward for her efforts as his juices sprayed her insides and lubricated her steady, frantic and rhythmic movement over him.
The spent lovers hugged each other and went into a nap almost immediately. After all they had a long day ahead with parents, friends and relatives during the formalization of their relationship.
Life was now full of fun, lovely surprises and unexpected tiffs for both Jane and Pat. They were particularly watchful of the tiffs. They made sure that all their misunderstandings were resolved before the next sunrise. Then for the next few days both of them went that extra mile to make sure that their emotional bank account with each other, which the tiff had somewhat depleted, was once again strongly positive. One thing which both of them joked about was the intensity of their love making after a tiff. Dome was a great help to both of them in minimizing misunderstandings.
Jane and Pat found Lorraine and her parents to be good neighbors and wonderful friends. Robert’s husband Stephen owned a construction company. He was a large burly man with a loud laughter and unending stream of jokes. The couples spent most of their weekends together and Lorraine found she had two more adults to pamper her.
“She is a lovely child,” Pat remarked to Robert as they were trying out one of his recipes in Robert’s kitchen. Robert glowed with parental pride as he looked at his daughter sitting with the pieces of a mechanical puzzle scattered all over the floor.
“ I hope she becomes an alpha,” Robert said. Pat looked at his friend in surprise. The state had laws which prevented parents from developing such expectations in children. But parents did prepare the children secretly while all along telling them that being either alpha or beta was ok.
Pat had different views on the matter. He had never felt handicapped being a beta. But then he did not wish to start an argument with Robert and spoil a good friendship.
Robert nevertheless understood what Pat was thinking. Because Pat was now close to him, Robert decided to open up with him. He admitted it was unfair to harbor such expectations about his daughter. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he was the one who had given birth to Lorraine.
Pat hugged Robert and said he could understand Robert’s emotions. Robert laughed in an attempt to suppress the tears, which were trying to cloud his eyes. He suggested to Pat that they go into their living room so that he could show him his pictures when he was heavy with Lorraine.
Most homosexual parents found it difficult to explain to the children how they were born. Lorraine being very inquisitive and intelligent, Stephen had told her quite accurately that daddy had to become a woman for a year so that he could find space for her in his tummy.
Pat could see that Robert was beautiful as a woman. His well-chiseled features, nice globular breasts, narrow waists and wide hips were quite attractive enough to turn on any alpha. He was also dressed in alluring clothes. Pat looked up from the photographs to find his friend blushing from the memories of those days.
Pat playfully tapped Robert on his cheeks and asked him how things were between him and Stephen during those days. He had assumed that the couple must have used natural method for conceiving. Pat could see that he had touched a raw nerve with his question.
Stephen had not been able to make love to Robert after he had become a woman. Stephen had expected this, but Robert had been rather disappointed. He wanted his child to be a product of an intimate moment. The doctors had had to resort to artificial insemination to help him become pregnant.
Though Robert bore no grudge towards Stephen for what had happened, he did feel a bit sad. He did not want to dwell on the matter and put up a smile quickly and wanted to know how things were progressing between Pat and Jane.
It was Pat’s turn to feel uncomfortable. It was never easy to share some private concerns with best of friends. There were several reasons why Pat and Jane had not moved towards removing the contraception programming from their bodies. Jane was into too many important projects, which needed her personal involvement. This was not an issue with most women as the state had mandated that a married female should be moved to less critical tasks when conception was planned. But in case of Jane, the President of her institute was unable to find a suitable replacement for her. Jane herself was amenable to working till she developed labor pains, but her boss would not hear of it because her work involved exposure to radiations which would have proved harmful to the unborn child.
Robert was sympathetic to Pat’s plight. He said quite innocently and spontaneously, “Things could have been much easier if you had been a woman.”
When he heard it, Pat just laughed at the remark. But as he made his way back to his house, the remark seemed to make a lot of sense.
Dome was quick to sense what Pat was thinking. “Of course it is possible! If Jane transferred to a hibernating male and you transferred to a hibernating female it is very much possible.”
“Oh come on Dome! There are other things to consider beyond science,” Pat responded.
He was thinking of the existing laws, which allowed conversion of only one of the partners and that too only if they were a homosexual couple. The state had no intention to extend this facility for whimsical use by its citizens. Even if the state did permit, would it not mean bringing back sexual mores of the twentieth century through the back door? In effect the betas would fall into the earlier female roles. But weren’t they already into it to some extent. Why was it that Robert had to give birth to Lorraine? It could very well have been Stephen. Perhaps intellectual merit was no better as a yardstick for creating classes compared to the erstwhile system based on gender?
Pat hoped Jane would be back soon from work. He really wanted to talk it over with her.
“Top woman scientist shuns pregnancy.” Screamed a headline one morning. This is exactly what Jane and Pat had wanted to avoid. Now they were right in the thick of the controversy.
After protracted discussions and deep soul searching Jane and Pat had decided that changing their gender for conceiving a child was a practical solution to their special situation. They had discussed the matter with the President of Jane’s institute. He had given them his wholehearted support and forwarded their request to The National Committee for Unconventional Propagation. While approval of such requests was a routine matter in case of homosexual couples, there was no precedent for what Pat and Jane were requesting. The matter had moved up along the corridors of the government and had been referred to the head of the state for her advice. Somewhere along the path the media had ferreted out the story to create the headline.
There were quite a few scientists who had been consulted on the advisability as well as the feasibility of what the couple wanted to do. Jane knew that a few of them were either jealous of her or simply could not keep their lips sealed on most matters.
The President of the institute along Jane and Pat had planned to hold a press briefing as soon they obtained necessary legal approvals. But the headlines forced their hand. A press briefing was arranged the same evening.
The ideal, which media through generations strove for, is that all lives should be open to them for scrutiny and reporting. They also grudgingly show admiration for those who manage to accomplish something without taking them on board until the end. But they could be merciless with those who get ‘caught’ half way to their goal.
The threesome did manage the media well enough that evening but their lives became the subject of national debate. Jane and Pat received equal number of emails lauding or condemning their efforts. The National Committee for Unconventional Propagation closely monitored the national mood and recommended to the head of the state to allow Jane and Pat to carry out their plan.
The head of the state called them for a personal audience with him and after being satisfied that this was no whimsical decision on the part of the couple granted them permission to conceive a child as per their desire. He also went on the national network to explain to the citizens that this was not to be considered as a fundamental right by them but it would be subject to a case-by-case review by The National Committee for Unconventional Propagation and a personal interview with a committee consisting of judiciary and people’s representatives.
With the way cleared for their conversion, Pat and Jane approached the Facilitation center for reproduction. A detailed genetic mapping was done for both Pat and Jane. Samples were collected from their parents and siblings as well to ensure that genetic modifications could be carried out on hibernating bodies to make both and Jane resemble their other gender siblings. The final body to which Pat transferred bore a striking resemble to his own elder sister. In case of Jane, she had no brother to compare with but she definitely looked a younger version of her father!
At the facilitation center, Jane and Pat had been under observation for two days as their new bodies intermingled with their memories and created a unified human being. Though the procedure was quite safe, idiosyncrasy was not unknown. Even as the memories were being transferred, infusions of hormones and enzymes took place to create a proper internal environment for the bodies. Pat and Jane did experience temperature changes in their bodies as hormone levels changed. They also felt hunger and nausea from time to time. Within one day of solitary confinement things began to settle down. Pat and Jane were allowed to observe each other over closed circuit television. Since the observations took place with time-tables determined by administration, neither knew when they were under observation by their spouse.
Pat saw that Jane had become a tall lanky man who definitely had some of Jane’s features. To avoid confusion converts were referred to with a double name. Pat had chosen the name John Jane for the new man. Pat noticed some of Jane’s mannerisms in John. He would, occasionally and absentmindedly, rub the thumb of his right hand against the first finger. Pat was quite amused to note this as he observed his husband.
Jane coined up the name Patsy Patrick to refer to her wife’s feminine form. Patsy had turned out to be beautiful woman. He still had mischief in his eyes and upward tilt to his lips. Being a beta he had supplemented quickly what science could not provide him, immediately. He used a shoulder length wig to give himself nice looking hair and essential cosmetics to highlight his beautiful face. As he slipped the figure hugging dress over his full breasts and ample hips he had no doubt that he looked quite attractive. As he danced around the room in his new form, John Jane was observing him.
“ Oh no! This is not fair. Why do you have to remind me of your father with your new body,” Dome protested as Jane and Pat came home from the Facilitation Center. John senior had often been critical of Jane’s reliance on Dome. He felt that Dome exercised expensive, though risk-free options, in running the house and Jane could save money if she took a few decisions herself, even if they were a bit more risky. Whenever he came visiting Jane would reduce her interactions with Dome and take decisions herself. Dome’s operating temperatures would go up during those times but he had little choice.
But soon enough, Dome realised that except for changed outer appearances, the couple before him was the same loving one that he had always served. As they hugged each other in the privacy of their home, the emotional intensity was not any different. As Patsy’s soft shapely breasts pressed against John Jane's muscular chest, John was conscious that she was hugging a sexually attractive person who could make many a head turn. Her feelings were the same as the ones, which she had experienced when she had walked with Pat in the “Open Lungs” Park. Until now she had doubts whether she would find a woman attractive as a sexual partner, but being in a masculine form with required hormones running through her system she found she was experiencing unfamiliar but an all consuming attraction towards the lovely creature before her. She slowly moved her large hands from Patsy’s back to his ample buttocks, encased in a short silky skirt. She found it pleasant to pass her hands over that firm and round part of Patsy’s new body. Patsy squirmed as John's hands started their exploration. He, on his part, was trying to come to terms with the kind of new sensations passing through his body.
John kissed Patsy repeatedly even as she continued with the exploration of his curvaceous new body, which would carry their child. She found that in her new form her muscular strength had increased multifold and she could comfortably carry Patsy into their bedroom. The lovers disrobed each other and continued to fondle each other. Patsy found John’s cock to be quite large and was dismayed by the thought that it would have to be fully accommodated in his new body. But when they actually coupled it all happened very naturally.
As the couple rested after the event, Patsy wondered if John’s sperm was already creating the new life within him. John on her part thought they might end up continuing in their changed state for many years if Patsy had periods of lactation and pregnancy following each other in quick succession. In that case, would they ever switch back to their former selves? Will the state allow them to grow old in these new bodies? These questions had to wait for another day. At the moment, the wonderful feeling of hugging her lovely wife with all the masculine strength at her command was all that mattered to John Jane Alpha. Patsy Pat Beta, on his part, had no complaints about the new arrangement!