Adira stepped through the department store with wide eyes. She had always avoided the superficiality and advertising, but she finally had to go to them for help.

Her cheeks flushed as the clerks stared straight at her. She felt so embarrassed and ugly.

“Can I help you madam?”

Adira jumped at the voice from behind her.

“Sorry,” the clerk apologized. I didn’t mean to scare you.

“I just have never been here before.”

“I can tell. You are here about that scar I presume?”

Adira touched her forehead, her finger rubbing against the slight mark.

“I went hiking last weekend,” she explained. “While they managed to stop the bleeding quickly, they couldn’t do anything about the scar.”

“You’re in luck, we offer all kinds of dermal regeneration techniques. Step over to my counter.”

Adira followed nervously.

“You already have excellent skin. We can take a graft and regrow enough to cover the scar…”

Adira frowned. It was clear that the woman was alluding to something more.

“Or?” she prompted.

“Well, we can offer you so much more. You already look a bit like Chloe. You have her eyes. We could give you a full makeover and you’ll look a lot closer.”

“The pop star?”

“Or if you would rather a more sophisticated look, we could use a graft of Diana. A British look would suit you well.”

“I don’t have a British accent though.”

“But you’d look so beautiful. And beauty is only skin deep.”

“No thanks. I’d prefer to just fix the scar.”

“We can do dermal regeneration of anyone you want. Who do you want to look like?”

“Just myself.”

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Jun 17, 2023Liked by Ben Reinhardt

My parents told me they wanted to live on through their grandchildren, but I always misinterpreted their meaning. I became an ectogenesis researcher, developing the first reliable generation of artificial human exowombs.

As biotech advanced, exowombs were used to grow brain-dead clones for spare parts. The procedure was fairly simple, and aging could be artificially controlled, so a year old, artificially sustained clone body might be a functional adult. I commissioned clones for my parents. They floated in life-support tubes, waiting the day they’d be needed.

It was fortunate the paramedics got both right after the car accident. Their bodies were ruined beyond repair, but not their minds. Grafting the brains into cloned bodies was still a novel procedure, but it was still their only chance. So, we transplanted each of their brains into their waiting clones, which were identical to their teenage selves.

They’ve since made an almost full recovery, save in one way. I am now their legal guardian until they re-reach legal adulthood. Now, I understand how much of a nightmare I was as a teenager. I am just going to opt for a cyborg body next time.

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