Doctor David Merk was sitting at one of three round tables in the rather modest employee breakroom. He carefully ripped the foil topping from his cup of yogurt and mixed up the contents with a small plastic spoon. He took a bite and gave a friendly nod of acknowledgment to a lab assistant on his way to use the microwave.
Doctor Tanya Andrassy walked into the room holding a small Tupperware container in her hand a folded up newspaper under her arm.
“Doctor Merk,” she greeted in a way that was both as formal as it was familiar.
“Doctor Andrassy,” David replied.
Tanya sat opposite David and laid the paper out flat on the table. She pointed to a picture of a remarkably handsome young man.
“Remember him?” She coyly asked.
David wiped some strawberry yogurt smattered in his mustache's snow-white hair and studied the photo for a moment.
“Oh, that’s a second-generation Kyle S series,” David said. “He got into Yale? Good for him,” David said nonchalantly.
“Do you ever wonder if we might be making them too perfectly?” Doctor Andrassy asked.
“Well, the Kyle S series is very attractive and smart. It makes sense they’d do well in the game of life,” Merk said, dismissively pushing the paperback to Andrassy.
Tanya scoffed, “Did you know a 4th Generation Zoe is running for Congress in New York?” she asked. “And a modified Zach R-Type is going to be ambassador to the UN.”
“Well, maybe when they take over the world, they’ll keep us as slaves, so we’ll keep making them,” Merk said indifferently.
Tanya smirked, “All hail our genetic overlords.”
“C’mon, we can think about human extinction latter.” David said, “let's get back into the lab. Our batch of wunderkinder is almost finished.”
David tossed his cup of yogurt towards the open garbage can. The container bounced off the rim and landed on the floor.
“Damn,” David muttered. He walked over and picked up the cup. There was a loud bang, and all the lights cut out. It was pitch dark in the windowless facility. They stood there, muttering in the lingering darkness. The chattering was cut when the crimson glow of the emergency lights filled the room.
“What’s happening?” Tanya asked nervously.
There was the sharp clatter of a submachine gun followed by screaming.
“Oh my god, there’s a shooter in the lab,” David choked.
“Quick under the table!” Tanya panicked.
They huddled under the table, their trembling bodies convulsed at the sporadic sounds of gunfire. There was the echoing click of running feet on the tile floor. “Please, no, don’t!” a voice shrieked before being silenced by a muffled burst of fire.
There was the light tapping of footsteps outside the breakroom, and they stopped at the door.
“Oh my god, this it,” David whimpered.
Tanya closed her eyes and began stuttering through a half-remembered prayer.
The door opened, and two pairs of combat boots crept into the room.
“Under the table,”
The boots stomped over to the table the doctors were hiding under and flipped it over. David and Tanya were sobbing and pleading for their lives. Two black-clad figures loomed over them.
“David Merk and Tanya Andrassy?” One of the assailants asked.
“Please don’t kill us!” David wailed.
“Come with us. The Queen requests your presence in the courtyard.”
Along with a heard of men and women in expensive suits, David and Tanya were rounded up and lead outside the building. It was dusk outside. The light of the descending sun colored the smog saturated sky, a gritty blood orange. There were two parallel rows of evenly spaced gunmen standing at attention alongside the stucco columns. Standing below in There were two columns of masked gunmen standing at the far end of the courtyard beneath the gaze of the seven dwarves that held up the roof of the temple stood a figure in a long flowing cloak of ebony silk. Thick, bouncy blond hair poured out even from under the hood.
She was flanked by four bodyguards. On her left was a slender blonde much like herself, the other a young woman with silky black hair possibly of Asian descent. On her right was a very toned and slightly tanned blond young man, and at his side was a long, lean lad with dark curly hair. They were all impossibly attractive despite their hardened gaze.
The doctors and their fellow hostages herded past the bronze statue of their founding father, holding hands with the creation that outlived him. They were lead to the center of the courtyard. The figure in the cloak looked them over silently for a moment before pulling back her hood.
There was a collective gasp from the hostages.
“Oh my god, it’s Kylie number 1,” Tanya shuddered.
A breeze swept through Kylie’s gorgeous hair as she surveyed the scene with silent satisfaction. She was a breathtaking vision. Her eyes as serene and blue as the sea, her lips full and slightly glossed, and her skin was lightly bronzed by the California sun.
“Hi-Ya!” she finally said.
There was no response.
“I said, Hi- ya!” Kylie said grimly.
“Hi-ya,” the confused hostages muttered back.
“My name is Kylie. Some of us have already met, but if we haven’t, don’t worry, we’ll totally get to know each other after you’ve all pledged your undying loyalty to me!”
Two of Kylie’s masked soldiers dragged over a suit whimpering into the sack covering his head. They pushed him to his knees, and Kylie sauntered over and pulled off the bag. The crying man was Brett Carmicheal, CEO of the company.
“Mr. Charmicheal, I just need a favor from ya,” Kylie chirped.
“A-a- anything,” Brett sobbed, “please just let me go.”
“In a minute,” she shrugged.
“Now Mr. Carmichael, you’re CEO of the magic kingdom, is that right?”
“Please don’t,” the executive begged.
“Right?” Kylie repeated.
“Yes, yes, that’s right,” Carmicheal cried.
“Ok, now loud enough so everyone can hear I want you to name me the queen of the magic kingdom,” she demanded.
“You’re the queen of the magic kingdom,” Carmicheal said, wiping away the tears streaking down his cheeks.
“Can you say that again louder?”
“You’re the queen of the magic kingdom!” Carmicheal squealed.
Kylie curtsied, “thank you,” she said.
The blonde on Kylie's side handed her a pistol, and Kylie causally hushed the crying man with a single shot that sprayed a crimson mist that splashed across the marble floor.
“Don’t worry,” Kylie reassured her captive audience. “If you all are good, he’s the only one I’ll to kill today. “Now for the pledge.”
Kylie looked into the crowd. “Let's just do this alphabetically. Doctor Andrassy, you’re up first!”
Taya was dumbfounded. “M-me?” she stuttered.
“Kylie playfully rolled her eyes. ‘No, the other Doctor Andrassy.”
Tanya’s legs wouldn’t move. A soldier came and took her by the arm and lead her to Kylie.
“Hey, doc, it’s been a long time,” Kylie said playfully.
Tanya composed herself. “Yes, it has,” she muttered. “I’ve seen some of the work you’ve been doing lately. You’re really good!” Kylie said with a tone of genuine praise.
“Thank you,” Tanya said, clenching her trembling hands in the pockets of her lab coat.
“Kylie, how you get soldiers?”
Kylie giggled, “Oh man, I’m glad you asked. Check it out!”
Simultaneously all the soldiers pulled off their masks. Each one of them was an identical version of Kylie’s four bodyguards. “Turns out my I’m physically linked to the first 3 generations of clones they made here. And that got me to thinking I was already a princess, so it’s only natural I should become a queen!” Kylie declared triumphantly. “And this is just the start. I have subjects all over the country now all doing my bidding! Just like you’ll keep doing doctor.”
“Why should I help you?” Tanya asked with rising defiance.
Kylie giggled, “Doc, there’s no stopping me. I’m the very embodiment of perfect and everlasting youth.”
Tanya held out her hands and took a step towards Kylie. “Your Highness, would it be ok if I took a closer look at you?”
Kylie shrugged. “Whatever.”
Tanya stepped to the queen and looked her straight in the eyes. “What’s that?” Tanya murmured.
“What?” asked Kyle.
Taya held out her hand. “May I?”
Kylie shrugged. Tanya reached for Kylie’s golden hair and plucked a single grey strand.
“If your highness ages, then your highness can die,” Tanya said flatly.
Kylie’s cheeks flushed with boiling blood. “Kill her!”
The waifish curly-haired kid next to the muscular blond one quietly stepped out from the line, pointed the barrel of a gun at Tanya, and pulled the trigger before she could utter any last words.
“Alright, that’s it!” Kylie roared, “Take everyone to the conference room and await my orders!”
The beautiful clones lined up the hostages and brought them inside. One of the blonde clones picked up the white hair and stared at it for a moment. She then turned her empty blue eyes to her queen then back to the colorless strand of once honey-blond hair.