The hologram flickered. “It was a simple enough process,” said the spectral Quaoar. “I was responsible for maintining the gene registry for this world. To keep it pure and on-code, naturally!”

“That seems a little like letting the fox guard the henhouse,” Eris said, recalling the monstrosities she’d seen earlier.

“Or a child to monitor the playground,” Quaoar laughed. He continued: “I added my own genetic code to the mitochondria of the population. Not the whole thing, of course; even the fools upstairs would have noticed a change like that. I added a bit of the code to millions of individuals, along with a delightful snippet of my own design which led the pieces to seek each other out after a time as viruses.”

“So you infected the entire human genome like a disease.”

“Nothing so crude, I assure you!” said Quaoar. “It was a slow process, and a subtle one, but given enough time my genes hidden safely in mitochondria would form complete gametes that would then take over ova and sperm for reconstruction. Voila! You.”

Eris raised an eyebrow. “I think there’s a little flaw in your plan,” she said, crossing her arms very slowly and deliberately across her bust.

“Yes, that is a bit of an…unexpected element…in the plan. I had thought that the gametes’ design would not allow for such variance, but no matter. Flesh is flesh, genes are genes. All that remains is the genetic memory I have painstakingly prepared.”

“If you think I’m going to let you overwrite-”

“Child,” Quaoar said. “If I wanted to rewrite you, I would have done it the moment you entered that door. No, I need you to succeed where I failed. The memories I have to give will no more erase who you are than remembering a dream the morning after waking will.”

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