“Oh Lotor!” Hagger turned and smiled at him. “You’re just in time!”
“Hagger.” nodded Lotor, noting her smile and grimace looked remarkably the same. “My father said you were to assist me in my plan.” He leaned over a bubbling green concoction, and wrinkled his nose in displeasure. Why must everything in her laboratory reek of dead hyena? “Although I don’t see how. We will not be needing a special robeast to deal with only three lions.”
“I see he didn’t fill you in.” Hagger hurriedly snatched a vial out of Lotor’s hands. “Typical!” She muttered. “Leaves me to not only do all the thinking, but the explaining as well!” She sighed. “Well…I guess he’s ready for you to see this.” She gestured for Lotor to approach the pit where she imbued her robeasts with power.
“I knew it!” muttured Lotor disgustedly. “Another robeast!” He went to stand next to her, and was surprised. “Bubbles?!” He exclaimed in disbelief.
“NO!” She exclaimed indignantly. “They’re not bubbles!” Though on closer examination they did sort of look like bubbles…”That’s DNA strands.”
“DNA?” Lotor frowned. Was he going to have to sit through a science lesson before going to get Allura?!
“You’re aware every living thing is composed of DNA strands?” asked Hagger. “In a way it is what gives you, your identity? Your body is composed of a mixture of your mother’s and your father’s unique genetic codes…”
“I already know what DNA is, witch!” interrupted Lotor. “Skip the boring lecture and get to the point! Will this get me Allura?!”
“Your father is not doing this to get the pretty princess, but to capture her planet.” corrected Hagger.
“Whatever!” retorted Lotor causing Hagger to smile tolerantly.
“Ah, I do know how it is to be young and in love.” Hagger cackled. “Your libido…”
“You mean heart.” interjected Lotor.
“Whatever!” Hagger mimicked his early words. “Your emotions rule everything you do. But, if you put them aside to conquer Arus, you will eventually have all you desire.”
“I thought I told you to skip the lectures!” snapped Lotor.
“Just like your father!” Hagger sighed. She could never find an appreciative audience for her words of wisdom, be it on battles of war, or of the heart. “It comes down to this…the culture I took from you is growing.”
“Culture?” He interrupted. “When did you…” He paused, as a more important realization dawned on him. “That’s MY DNA in there?”
“Yes.” She nodded. “Soon, we will have an exact duplicate. Another Prince Lotor!”
“Another me?!” He exclaimed, aghast. “You’re making a clone of me? Who gave you permission–never mind, I know it had to be my father…but…but WHY?!”
“Oh…” She cackled, refusing to meet his eyes. “Seemed like a handy thing to have lying around. You know…just in case of…an accident…”
“Right.” He said, with a sour expression on his face. It seems he’d have to do some probing to find out if his father intended to replace him with a clone. Better take some preparations in case that was what the mad old coot really intended to do. From the corner of his eye, he spotted activity in the pit. “Something’s happening Hagger!” Lotor suddenly gasped, seeing the water shake and swirl, the current’s so fast, he could no longer see his DNA strands. “What is it?!”
“It’s beginning to form!” Hagger rushed forward, pressing against the glass. “I had to use my powers to accelerate the process. It wasn’t to be ready for another three weeks, at least!”
“You sped up the process?” repeated Lotor.
“Yes. Within a few minutes we should know the results.” Hagger cackled. “Prepare yourself for a shock Prince Lotor!”
As the water cleared, a blurred image of himself appeared. Lotor gasped, stepping forward in morbid curiosity. It was him, and yet it was not. The skin a light purple, with lines and wrinkles all over, red spots with strands floating out of them. “It’s a failure!” He pronounced. “An imperfect clone.”
“SHH!” Hagger concentrated on her magic, smoothing out the wrinkles, the spots vanishing, the skin shade turning azure. “Well Prince Lotor? What say you now?”
“It’s…it’s better now…” He admitted grudgingly. “Of course. I’m much more handsome! No one came come close to the perfection that is I!”
“I’ll say!” Hagger sighed dreamily, openly admiring the nude clone.
“Stop ogling me…er him, and get him out of there!” Lotor shouted. “I want him into a full set of clothes immediately.”
“As you wish, your highness.” sighed Hagger in extreme disappointment
“Unbelievable!” Lotor circled his clone, who was now dressed in one of his spare uniforms. “It’s like looking into a mirror!”
“Yes, sometimes I even amaze myself.” preened Hagger. “He is not yet coherent, needing time to get over being born. But soon he will be twice as strong as you are, and know whatever you do.”
“Whatever eh?” Lotor frowned. “Just how extensive will this knowledge of his be exactly?”
“A dumb clone would be a waste of space.” Hagger explained. “Zarkon does not have the patience to wait for it to be educated in combat experience. Normally clones come to this world, with the barest of rudimentary skills. It wouldn’t even know how to feed or relieve itself. I have used my magic to take care of all potential problems. I even tapped into your mind to give it…”
“Playing with my mind.” Lotor’s sword was in his hands. “I ought to kill you where you stand for that effrontery, witch! My thoughts are private!!”
“Now, now, Prince Lotor…” She backed into a wall. “They still are.”
“But you just said…” He hissed.
“I said, whatever you know, he knows.” She nervously eyed the lazon blade. “I established a direct mind link between you two. So you see Lotor…your thoughts are still safe from prying eyes.”
“Hmph!” He pulled away from her, but did not re-sheathe his sword.
“With this mind link, you can also talk to him through a form of telepathy.”
Hagger explained, trying to get Lotor to look on the bright side of the mind link. “Give him orders within a distance just over 50 miles!”
“Hmm, yes…I suppose that will come in handy.” Lotor agreed. “But I’m still concerned about his thoughts…”
“You shouldn’t be. Unless you’ve got plans to do your father in.” He turned on her sharply, so ful of anger, she instantly regretted making that joke. “Just kidding!” She added hastily.
“Make no mistake about it witch. I do not concern myself with daydreams of killing my father.” He lied convincingly. “It is my clone’s interest in Allura that worries me.”
“AH!” Her eyes widen in realization. “Thoughts of the fair Princess Allura concern you! Fear not Lotor. He will know of your love for Allura, but will not share it.”
“But if he’s an exact duplicate of me…”
“Not an exact.” She interrupted. “I made some improvements. He’s ten times as ruthless as you are, has no compassion or kindness in him…you could say he’s your worse half.”
“I don’t think I like the sound of that.” Lotor muttered.” If he’s so nasty, what if he turns that anger on Allura? What if he attempts to hurt her? It is what my father would wish in a perfect son.”
“That’s why you need the mind link!” Hagger exclaimed. “If she looks like she’s in danger, you can call him off.”
“I dunno…I know how stubborn I can be!” admitted Lotor. “I hate taking orders from ANYONE.”
“Think Lotor! He won’t be in charge of attacking the lions, so Blue Lion will be safe.” explained Hagger. “Unleash him on Keith, or one of the other idiot boys, while you go after Allura. I know if you lose control of him, you won’t shed any tears over the pilot’s lives. Not…” She hastily amended. “…that you will have any control issues.”
“I better not. Or there will be Hell to pay!” He warned her. “Alert me when he is recovered. I wish to leave for Arus as soon as possible.”