Pharoah continued "In the millennia since your departure, I have worked diligently to rule your kingdom well". "I knew you would Jim" replied Sarah. "However..."
Pharoah looked down at his feet, where the cats mewed and rubbed against his legs. "However" he repeated, "there has been some, umm, degradation of the populace over the years. As you know, the portal device we invented works by making perfect copies of its subject, and recreating them at a remote site using subspace communication links - effectively making faster-than-light travel possible". "The messy detail of removing the original person always bothered me", Sarah retorted. Pharoah replied, "A simple solution to a minor nuisance - and what people didn't know wouldn't hurt them".
"But I digress. I said the portal makes *perfect* copies. Well, umm, as it turns out the copies are not quite perfect. With each transport tiny, almost imperceptible changes are introduced. At first we thought these were random, but over time we saw that the cumulative changes were causing a gradual drift towards uniformity, a kind of homogenization of everyone who used it". "Oh my, sounds like a leak of the genetic code between transport cycles" said Sarah. "I thought I fixed that, eep".
Pharoah said "So over many thousands of portals per person, the populace became homogenized into a giant family of nearly identical twins. Beyond the benign effect of making life rather bland, it also rendered us entirely infertile, as the diversity of male and female genders was also dissolved. There hasn't been a natural birth on Gladeus in over a thousand years". "Then how has the race has been sustained?" questioned Sarah. "Cloning?". "In a way" replied Pharoah. "After we gave up on fertility enhancement, we attempted medical cloning but that too was imperfect with many adverse side effects".
"Finally, the obvious realization dawned on us. It was socially difficult to convince people at first, but now it is quite routine. The hardest part was to finally reveal that using the portal meant instant death by vaporization. But then people realized they were already the umpteenth generation copy of their original selves, and the idea gradually became accepted".
"OK now you lost me" said Sarah. "Think about it" replied Pharoah. "We were already identical copies of each other. With a simple switch added to disable the vaporizer, the portal system became a duplicator. Voila, new person on-demand. For population control, this option was activated only for cases where someone died and a replacement was warranted. Of course, this accelerated the complete convergence of our genetic stock, so that we are now 99.9996% identical".
"But Jim, you still seem to be your old self, and certainly quite distinct from the portal technician and guards I saw". "That is true, Sarah my love. As ruler my obligations kept me here in one place, and as co-developer of the portal system I, like you, remained squeemish about its vaporization aspects. So I am the only genetic male left on the world. Not that this did much good to solve the diversity problem. As you know, it takes two to tango".
The conversation came to an uncomfortable pause. Looking up, Jim gazed at the voluptuous Sarah with ravenous eyes. A cat began to purr. Sarah blushed.