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Something Feels Strange - 2

Something Feels Strange…

Something Feels Strange…

By Tiffany B. Quinn

“You are right Marla, but he's much better than most men so cut him some slack,” Mom replies. “We don’t have time right now to settle scores. Why don’t you go warm up the register so we can ring things up as we make our selections?”

There is that time issue again. What is up with that? I know better than to ask as the only answer that I am likely to get is I’ll find out later.

Chapter 2:  Confusion

Island Adventures: The beginning

I'd just arrived at work that morning, and the place was still deserted. I walked from the parking lot to the door, ready to get down to another day of troubleshooting remote networks. My boss was mad at me, and I wasn't looking forward to our meeting later this morning.

I was a little surprised when she greeted me cheerfully, and then had a sort of strange feeling as she introduced a beautiful woman, explaining that I was to have a series of physical examinations in order to clear me for a promotion to a new post, much higher in the company.

Since the required exams could only be done in a very specialized facility I was to be flown to a high-end clinic on an island in the remote Pacific where all of this could be kept secret. I was encouraged to treat it as a vacation, so I packed very lightly for the trip, only one suitcase so I would be able to check it and just enjoy the trip without worrying about luggage and such.

The Nova Party Line has closed.

I'm sorry to announce that the Nova Party Line has closed at least temporarily. The spammers have discovered the site and the software that was used doesn't provide any tools to deal with them. If the software does get an update I'll try to get the site back online.

Until then, the chat rooms are available. You can use the "Stardust Chatroom" link in the right hand column to access them.

Bob Arnold

Gentle New World

Gentle New World
by Terry Volkirch

"This is Charles MacIntosh, broadcasting from the Quantum Engineering Department at the University of Washington. It's Halloween night and scientists here have invited the crew of 'Sincerity TV' to demonstrate a new device that they say will change the universe as we know it. Scary, isn't it?"

The host and camera crew operated just outside a large university building that looked like a random stack of square boxes. The architects meant to create a statement about making order out of chaos but they failed miserably as far as Charles was concerned. He thought of it as nothing more than a trash heap, and gratefully kept his back to it as he spoke.

As soon as they finished video taping the opening sequence of the show, they entered the lobby of the building and met with the lead scientist, Doctor Maxwell Von Bonn.

The doctor was a short, slender man with long blonde hair tied back in a pony tail. His clean-shaven face and fine facial features made him look much younger than his years, possibly even feminine. It was only his intense eyes and poise that gave him away as a force to be reckoned with.

"Doctor Von Bonn, thank you for giving us this exclusive opportunity."

"Please, Darling," the scientist purred with a slight German accent. "Call me Doctor Max."

"Uh ... right. Okay. Doctor Max, first off, I have to say that I'm a little puzzled. Why have you chosen us to broadcast your discovery? We're a reality TV program. We have nothing to do with science."

"That's easy," the doctor said, slowly and deliberately licking his lips. "We've developed a device that can affect reality, so I thought you'd be best suited to handle it."

"Have you considered publishing your findings in a scientific journal?"

"Oh no. They'd never believe it. You've got to see this to believe it."

"Okay then. If you're sure ...."

"Oh I'm sure," Doctor Max said, staring longingly at the interviewer.

"Uh ... yeah. So what can you tell us about this amazing discovery?"

"We've developed a device of incredible potential. We can use it to change the world in ways you won't believe. The quantum dynamic forces from the collective consciousness of billions of brains will overcome the consensual inertia of the universe. It will be glorious!"

"Uh ... right. What does that mean exactly? Can you simplify for our viewers when we get you on camera?"

"I'm not sure I can. Perhaps it would be best to just show you."

The doctor began walking down a hallway, calling over his shoulder. "This way, please."

Charles hurried to catch up, leaving the camera crew trailing close behind. With the rest of the group lagging for the moment, he thought it time to dig for a little more information.

"Come on, Doc. What's this really about?"

"Charles, Darling ... may I call you Charlie?"

"Uh ... sure."

"Well Charlie, I've watched you on television and I just knew you were the right man for the job. I wanted you to be the first to see me create a wrinkle in reality by changing myself. Being Halloween, it's a good time for a new look, don't you think?"

"Forgive me, Doc, but even if it's possible, are you sure it's wise?"

"Don't worry, Charlie. This will be a controlled experiment. My calculations show a negligible chance of bleeding over into the general population. Even if it did affect a larger area, I wouldn't worry about it."

"What kind of changes do you mean? How are you going to change yourself?"

The doctor stopped a moment and gave Charles a thoughtful look. "You'll see."

Charles MacIntosh ran out of things to say at that point, so he lost himself in thought. Whenever anyone wouldn't answer a question and told him not to worry, he couldn't help but worry. His instincts screamed at him to turn and leave, though his more rational self told him it probably wouldn't matter if he did. He doubted he'd be beyond the reach of something that promised to alter reality.

The group walked for several minutes down a maze of white corridors until they arrived at the research lab. They filed through the double doors single file, and while the camera crew set up the cameras and lighting for the new location, Charles had a good look around.

An air of excitement filled the large room, perhaps due to the emanations from all the equipment, or possibly caused by the presence of the doctor. The small scientist had a certain charisma that couldn't be denied. In the far corner stood a large tangle of twisted metal strips that looked more like giant wind chimes than scientific equipment. A series of fine wires led from the metal structure to a small, gray metal box and cables connected several computers to the front of the box. It didn't appear to be very scientific or very impressive but that was usually the nature of prototypes.

Everyone chatted away while the doctor fiddled with some controls and hovered in front of the monitor of the main computer. The lights and camera just had to wait for some final adjustments and then the show began.

"Here we have a device," Charles pointed to the scraps of metal, "that can change the world, or at least our own little corner of it. Is that right, Doctor?"

"Thank you, Charlie. Yes, I will attempt to change my body with this prototype of what we here at QED call the Trans-Reality Image Manifestation Machine, or TRIMM for short."

"TRIMM," interrupted Charles. "Does that mean it'll help you lose weight or something?"

"Not quite," said the doctor, smiling indulgently.

"Can you explain a little bit how it works?" Charles stubbornly asked. He still had a very bad feeling about the experiment and he wanted some answers, as much for himself as for the viewers.

"Well ... like I told you earlier, I'm not sure I can, but if you insist, I'll try."

The doctor went on to explain how he selected and downloaded stories from a certain set of web sites. He automated the process and used software with artificial intelligence to filter out all but one particular type of story. The software also converted the stories into a special kind of template for TRIMM.

"I required a certain number of stories for the template to reach a kind of critical mass, shall we say. Twelve days ago, that number was reached and has been climbing. I left the template building process going to achieve a reasonable safety margin."

"Right," Charlie said, smiling. "I think I actually understand most of that. Thanks. So how will TRIMM use the template?"

"That's a much more difficult question to answer. Let's just say that it can tap into the consciousness of every living person on Earth and change everyone's perception of reality to create a new reality."

"Wait a minute, Doc. Are you saying that we'll all be part of your experiment? And we'll all be able to change reality simply by thinking it's different? Come on. That can't be possible."

"That's what many say, but I still maintain that it is possible. The device will resonate with our consciousness and broadcast the thought pattern in the template. Once that pattern takes hold in our minds, we'll all make it real."

"Well forgive me, Doc," Charles said as he winked at the camera. "But I'll have to see that to believe it."

"As you wish," smiled the doctor.

"Now we just have one more important question to answer. What exactly will this device do to you?"

"Ah. For that, I insist you wait until TRIMM works its magic. I want it to be a surprise. All I have to do is press the Enter key here and you'll soon have your answer."

"Okay, but I'm afraid it'll have to wait because it's time for a commercial break. I suppose a little suspense is good though. It is Halloween after all. We'll be right back."

The cameras switched off so the crew could take their own break and Charles felt relieved. After hearing the doctor's explanation, he didn't believe the device would work. Here's just another crank, he thought, and I'm stuck on Halloween interviewing him. There was really only one thing left that bothered him, and it was more out of curiosity than anything else.

"Hey Doc!"

"Please, Charlie. Call me Doctor Max," the doctor said with a pout.

"Uh ... right. Sorry. So what web sites have you been accessing? What kind of stories will you be using?"

"My, but you're a nosy one. I like that. But can't you wait for the demonstration? I'd really rather you wait and see. Seeing is believing, and I hope to also show that believing is seeing."

"Hey, that's good, Doc. Let's use that in the next segment."

The doctor watched his latest obsession turn back to the camera crew and sighed. Why do I always fall for men who don't listen, he thought.

Break time ended and everyone snapped to attention. Charles wasn't the only one who wanted to get the show over with as soon as possible. The crew all hoped they'd have time to make it to a late party and salvage what was left of Halloween night.

All eyes, as well as the camera, focused on the keyboard and Doctor Von Bonn's hand as he pressed the Enter key. The key clicked and a slight hum immediately filled the air, getting stronger as the seconds ticked by. The deep hum was felt more than it was heard, but nothing else seemed to happen, at least not right away.

"Well? Is that it? I don't ...." Charles couldn't finish his sentence because his jaw fell open in shock.

There, before camera and crew, the air shimmered and the doctor started to change. His features became softer and even more delicate, and in the span of about 30 seconds, the doctor changed into a woman. What's more, not only did her body change, but her clothes changed too. She'd been wearing black slacks and a gray dress shirt under a white lab coat and now she wore beige slacks and a white blouse with that same coat.

"I did it! I'm a woman! I told you! I told you all!!" She shrieked with tears of joy streaming down her face. Then she laughed hysterically before slumping slowly and quietly to her knees.

Charles reached deep down inside and forced himself back to reality, or some semblance of it. What he just witnessed was impossible, yet he saw it with his own eyes. If the doctor was right, he even helped make it happen.

"Doc? Are you okay?"

He got no answer from her but she looked okay. Actually, she looked fantastic, but he had other matters to attend to, so he turned to his stunned crew. "Did we get that on tape? Please tell me we got that."

With the doctor lost in her own little world for the moment and Charles and his crew chattering amongst themselves, no one noticed the doctor's device as it continued to run. It pulsed with power and that power built up a second time until it too was released into the universe.

The first time it worked, the output from TRIMM radiated around the Earth like a giant tsunami and quickly reflected back to one tiny location that centered around its creator. The second time was different. The device sent out a very broad wave of energy that enveloped the entire world and settled over it. The effects took longer but they were felt soon enough.

The excitement that Charles first felt when he walked into the lab was back. The unbelievable demonstration he witnessed truly would change the world. He talked excitedly with his crew while occasionally stealing glances at the doctor, and after the fifth time checking out the new babe, still kneeling on the floor, he turned back for a new surprise.

All three of his crew slowly changed before his eyes. The air shimmered around them, just as it had with the doctor, and after another 30 seconds, what had been three men were now women.

According to Charles, the new women weren't as attractive as Doctor Von Bonn, but the transformation itself was still quite shocking. If that wasn't bad enough, the disturbing stares they returned added to the tension. It appeared as though the Doctor's concern about TRIMM affecting a larger area had become part of the new reality.

"Hey Doc!" Charles shouted ... and abruptly stopped and changed course after hearing a very feminine voice. "What the fuck?!"

TRIMM hadn't just changed the doctor and camera crew. Charles looked down and zoomed in on two large breasts pushing out against a blue satin blouse. There was a great view of some cleavage but unfortunately, the situation had changed far too much to take advantage of it.

The host of Sincerity TV tottered over to a table in high-heeled sandals to grab her small bag of personal effects and wasn't surprised to see a large woman's handbag with circular wooden handles waiting for her. She rummaged through it with slender, beautifully manicured hands to find her wallet with identification and read that her name was now Charlene MacIntosh.

Five men had entered the research lab at QED on Halloween and five women would leave it.

***

Doctor Von Bonn felt overcome by happiness. She'd realized her life long dream using the power of science and beauty of mathematics. It truly was a glorious day.

The new woman remained kneeling with her head bowed until she heard women shouting. She looked up and frowned. Something was wrong.

Her calculations had to be correct but were they complete? The possibility of an error, even one of omission, concerned her more than anything else so she gave the matter serious thought while ignoring the chaos around her.

TRIMM continued to operate.

***

An oppressive silence fell over the research lab, until a cell phone chirped. It took awhile for Charlene to realize the sound was coming from her handbag.

"Hello?" she said timidly and then quickly held the phone away from her ear. The person on the other end shouted too loudly for comfort.

"It did?" she asked. "It changed everyone here too."

"What?! Okay. We'll get back to the studio as quickly as we can. Bye."

"We have to go," Charlene snapped at her crew. "The whole world's gone mad. It seems every male on the planet except young boys has changed sex."

While the crew packed up all their equipment, Charlene approached Doctor Von Bonn.

"Hey Doc. You should know that your experiment didn't work so well. It not only affected all of us here, it changed every man and teenage boy on Earth. You've got some serious shit to answer for."

The doctor looked up, slightly annoyed to be interrupted until the words registered. Then she noticed a low humming just before her device released another pulse of energy.

Charlene suddenly had a strange look on her face. She reached into the handbag she was carrying and pulled out a compact to check her face in the mirror. When everything seemed to meet with her approval, she smiled.

"Thanks for the interview, Doc," she said. "I'm sorry things didn't work out. Maybe next time, huh?"

Charlene turned back to her crew and shouted. "Hey girls! Are you ready to party? I know I am. Let's go!" Then she gracefully trotted out ahead of everyone.

"Slow down!" shouted the former man holding the camera. "This thing is heavy ... and my feet are killing me!"

"Stop complaining. You shouldn't have worn heels in the first place!" Charlene yelled.

"But they make my legs look so nice!" the new camera woman shot back.

"Yeah, but you're wearing pants! No one can see them!"

The shouting and clicking of heels on the tiled floor faded, leaving the doctor alone with her thoughts.

She'd changed practically every male on Earth into a woman. What a disaster. The only saving grace was that it looked like none of them remembered. The new reality affected their memories along with their bodies. History would show only that they'd all been born female and had always been female. Hopefully, they wouldn't have problems with gender dysphoria. According to the transgender fiction she'd downloaded and filtered for the template, all the changed men either accepted their fate or reveled in it.

No one would punish her but it didn't matter. She'd punish herself with guilt. She just wanted to be a woman, and wanted a nice looking guy to take her in his arms and love her. Was that so bad?

In all her musings, she didn't notice that TRIMM was still running. The source of all the trouble released one more pulse and came to a halt. It had finished its work.

"Well, I'll never get a man now," she muttered. Then the German-born doctor smiled and hefted the new assets on her chest. But at least I have these, she thought.

"Brüste über alles *," she said, giggling to herself just as the last ripple of altered reality reflected back and made her forget she was ever anyone other than Doctor Maxine Von Bonn.

* Boobs above all else.

*** The End ***

Unpresentable Heroes

main book page for

Unpresentable Heroes

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

by Dru

I sit here as I do every year and wonder why. Why did my friend have to die. Wasn’t there another way. Lord, there should have been. I miss my friend every day, but I only visit her grave site on Memorial Day. It seems appropriate that I visit on the day our country honors those who died in war. Cassie died in a war fought by many, won by some and as with Cassie lost by others. She died at the age of twenty after fighting a war of wills for over twelve years. She wasn’t a hero in the normal sense of the word, but she was a hero to me. I will always love and admire her.

Where Is Big Closet?

I hav just tried to access Big Closet, but I was not able to.

Bob, BC is down as of 7:07AM CST Thursday 04/24/08

I had just gotten BC up and was logging on when it went down for some reason.

I get ...

>>Unable to connect to database server
System may be undergoing maintenance, try again in ten minutes.
>>
I hope it is a minor issue.

John in Wauwatosa

Duty Honor Country Family Parts 6 and 7 notes

A recent commenter wrote-

"This is quite well done. do you live in Japan? You seem so familliar with the culture and the criminals anyway."

I've never lived in Japan but have visited the country. The occasional bits of Japanese in the story are being provided to me by a friend.

From 1987 to 1989 while serving in the Navy, I was stationed in the Philippines at Subic Bay. I've also traveled to many parts of the region. Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau in addition to the Philippines.

For this story I relied on my travels and internet research on the locales and customs I write about.

Sephrena Update

Sephrena has posted a blog at Big Closet explaining her recent hospital stay. Please go there to read her blog. AS before, please refrain from calling her as she is still very weak from surgery. She still needs our prayers and support.

May your light forever shine.