Staying in Shape

On the planet Insula 3 (GSR4149/3), the Insulai enforce as law that every individual must wear the Shape Garment. In their “birthday suits,” to use an ancient Terran term, the Insulai take many shapes, and their shapes slip from one to another to another throughout the day. This polymorphism caused no social problems at all from the emergence of the Insulai as an intelligent species to roughly 1000 years ago (GSY). It was then that a virus swept the planet, causing a genetic mutation in roughly half the Insulai. The affected change shape only very modestly and in quite predictable ways. When it emerged that the affected also had developed a kind of mania, feeling intensely threatened in the presence of unaffected and therefore freely-changing Insulai, the planetary government enacted a law requiring that all unaffected Insulai must wear the Shape Garment, which constrains their shape-shifting to levels that the affected find unthreatening.

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