Disclaimer: Some of these stories will have references to and great similarities to the Manga and Anime revolving around Tenchi Muyo! This is part of the story and I apologize in advance if someone is upset by this. We are not making a profit on this and I hope that anyone seeing this will realize that this is a totally different story. Copyrights to Tenchi belong to A.I.C. and Pioneer LDC. I’m not sure how this fits in but VIZ is also making a comic about the further adventures of the crew done by Hitoshi Okuda. I can recommend all of these if you like Anime and don’t know about them yet.
Also, this is a work of fiction and any resemblance to anyone is possibly a total coincidence. If not...we probably know who you are. Be afraid, be very afraid!
Colorado: March 2, 2006
INTO THE SUNSET
The lowering, red, Fall sun slanted into the small bus station, making it difficult to focus on the bus that was the final leg of my trip to my new life. This bus was the shuttle that would take me to my new school, the Whateley Academy, and if my parents were right, I would also begin a new life free from the complications of my previous life. Not that I had anything to be guilty of. I think, maybe, it was more so I could start my new life free of everyone else and their outdated expectations. They’re right, I know that, but I still have a hard time not feeling a little uncomfortable about their method of solving the problem.
Have you ever noticed how bus stations always smell and sound the same. It wasn’t helping my mood in the least. That combination of diesel, disinfectant, and a smell that means change and separations. Muted conversations and noises, occasionally interrupted by announcements and buses, and in this case, trains, coming and going. It can be exciting, but for me it was just depressing. This was an adventure waiting to happen, whether I wanted it to happen or not.
I’d always expected to have adventures one day. But, they were always comfortably in the future and I would always be prepared for them. Reading about them could give me a sense of the excitement without the fear of loneliness and failure that comes with the real thing. If things got too intense I could always put it down and go get a cool drink or something to eat. I wouldn’t have to worry about the butterflies just throwing it all back up. All I wanted to do now was take any other bus away from here. Run away to some other less threatening place, maybe even home.
Just walk away.
Everyone said I lived too much in my books and comics, but I have more than enough common sense than to think I could get anywhere on my own. This wasn’t My Side of the Mountain and my parents would figure it out quickly enough. They had more than enough resources to track me down and bring me back or send me somewhere else.
I really don’t want to blow a good chance to show them how I can be trusted on my own either. This was my chance to prove to them and myself that I could do this and anything else I needed to do in the future. Dad had always said that we had to learn to make our own way in the world. And, that we would have to do it on our own with only a little, if any, help from anyone else.
But, I really would have preferred to put that decision off for a few more years. Finishing high school while living with my family was high on my list of wishes that simply weren’t going to come true. Happily looking forward to the adventure of heading out on my own under much more auspicious circumstances. But then, a small miscalculation, and my life came apart and could never be put back together the same way again. After what happened in the summer I don’t think that things could have worked out at all. There was too much of my past and too much of my new future to overcome at the same time.
If only things had worked out a little differently, I wouldn’t be here now. I’d have been looking forward to starting my junior year at my old school. Concerned with what I would be studying during the year, and even more importantly, when and how I could get the next issue of Ninja High School and the next book by the Eddings, Wrede, or Mckinley. It’s funny how things can change so quickly.
I was William Meredith Wilson. I am the second son of Larry Wilson and Cherry Lee Wilson-Clymer. Don’t ever call Mom by that name though, not if you want to leave with a whole skin. She goes by Mrs. Wilson or sometimes Cher if you are a close enough friend of the family. I am 16 years old and was not so eagerly looking forward to my junior year at Cascade High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m an A student and an important member of our cross country and track teams. But it would have been another year of, “Oh! You’re Larry’s brother. Where is he going to college? Do you think he will continue to do as well in sports and school as he is now?” Larry is my older brother. An honor student, President of the senior class, All State Football and Basketball, yadda, yadda, etc. It’s disgusting. He is the all-American boy. Tall, smart, witty, handsome, and too good to be true. Except he is, and I had the dubious honor of standing squarely in his shadow.
That’s easy enough to do as he stands six feet two inches and I towered a grand five feet six inches with a lot of promise to one day reach as high as maybe five nine. He never looks down on anyone and was always encouraging me and TB to do even better. You can’t even hate him because you knew he really meant it and expected it of you.
TB is my younger brother, eleven years old, and a real Dexter, genius, pain in the butt. I could swear that he has a hidden lab somewhere but have never been able to find it. According to my parents, Thadeus Bartlett was an accident. I couldn’t agree more, especially as I was the designated watcher over all that he could destroy. I don’t know how I could be held responsible for all the havoc he could and did wreck in his day to day rampages. Just because everyone else was too busy I always seemed to be stuck with him.
A SURPRISE FOR DAD
Even with all of my experience with him I didn’t expect what happened that Fourth of July. I had actually gotten free of him by finally putting up enough of a fight with Mom to get a chance to watch the fireworks with my friends Gordon and Chris without him hanging on to me. For some reason he took it very personally and spent the next week making my life as miserable as he could.
Then things settled down and got quiet. Too quiet. I should have gotten a hint when this happened, but was so relieved after the last week that I ignored the warning signs. Besides, Mrs. Tanaka, my martial arts teacher was promising me a surprise in the near future, and I was certain she was going to allow me to try for my brown belt in Judo.
Mrs. Aimee Tanaka was the Sensei that my parents sent us to train with. She ran her own dojo not too far from where we lived. I could ride my bike to practices and Mom and Dad really respected her. She was over sixty years old but could take any of us down without any apparent effort if she wanted to. Even Larry respected her, which was saying a lot because he was very good himself.
I have to admit that while I had no real experience with girls, being incredibly shy and not knowing in the least about how to relate to them, I still had a bit of a crush on her. She was the only girl I knew besides my mother who I could relax around and not feel a complete fool. I could talk to her about anything and she would give me good advice without being too threatening. Something I couldn’t do so well with my parents as I was too intimidated by them most of the time.
I had just gotten back from Judo and was going to my room to watch my new Tenchi Forever DVD again. Since I had discovered Anime on the Cartoon Network I had found another addiction similar to my books and comics. They seemed to combine a lot of what I liked in both the other addictions of mine. One especially got my attention. Tenchi Muyo.
Oddly enough, while I liked all the characters in the show, the one that I seemed to identify with most closely was Ryoko. Something about her just seemed to be so easy to identify with. I could watch her for hours, and feel almost like I was watching someone like myself. I didn’t understand it but didn’t care anyway. I had even gotten some posters on E-Bay to hang in my room. Larry and TB were always making fun of me by saying I was in love with her.
Anyway, I was looking forward to spending a little more time trying to figure out if Tenchi was going to make up his mind and decide who he wanted to be with. Of course I had my own ideas about who he should pick, but not knowing for sure was at least half the fun. Then TB accosted me as I was passing his room.
“Bill! Could you please help me?”
With a resigned sigh I turned to him. I just wanted to get to my DVD, but he had used the magic word, and Mom would kill me if she found out I ignored it. “What can I do for you TB?” He frowned at me. “You know Mom doesn’t want you to call me that!”
“I know what it means and you better stop it. Mom won’t let you keep doing it if she finds out!”
“OK, TB. I’ll stop.”
“What did you need?”
“I need your opinion on something I made to surprise Dad.” Dads’ birthday was in four days and we were all trying to think of something to surprise him with. I admit to being somewhat intrigued by what Thad had come up with. He really was a genius and could be trusted to have some really good surprises up his sleeve.
“Sure, lead the way Dr. Frankenstein.”
“Mom better not catch you calling me that either.”
“Sure, sure. Just lead the way.”
“You just want to get back to your giirrrl friend.”
“I’m not that hard up Shrimp, and I’ll be taking off if you can’t get to the point soon.” I was a little embarrassed that he was so close to the truth, but didn’t want him to see it.
He grinned and lead the way to the kitchen. He reached into the fridge and pulled out some milk and then pulled a tray out of the microwave. The incredible smell of chocolate assailed my nose. I like chocolate a lot and consider myself something of an expert on it and something about this smell promised to be exceptional. “What do you have there Thad?”
“Something really special.” He said with a grin.
“And you want me to?”
“Give me an opinion on the taste and if you think Dad will like it.”
“Well, if the smell is anything close to the truth, you will have succeeded far beyond expectations.”
“I think I have managed to concentrate the essence of chocolate into a form that will be irresistible to anyone with a hint of a sweet tooth and a desire to use it.” He said with an evil grin and presented me with a small square of brown material that I recognized as fudge of a superior texture, and as I placed it in my mouth a wonderful taste assailed my tongue.
“Here, have some milk with that.” He handed a glass to me and the addition of cold milk only improved the sensations tenfold. Oddly enough, the sensations just kept getting better. I almost seemed to be drifting in a cloud of wonderful sensations.
I became slowly aware that I seemed to be lying on the floor and nothing seemed to be stable and kept moving around me. Slowly Thad’s face came into view. If I had been more aware, I might have been afraid of the look I could see in his eyes. I knew something wasn’t right, but couldn’t find the will power to do anything about it. “You shouldn’t have broken your promise you know. It really made me mad and I wasn’t able to do what I had been planning to do all year. “ Nothing he was saying seemed to make any sense to me and the more I listened the more he seemed to be fading in and out and making less and less sense. I was also starting to feel uncomfortable and somewhat sick to my stomach. Something that he said caught my attention. “The serum I just gave you will make sure you don’t do that to me again. It won’t harm a normal human but will make the suggestions I am going to make seem a lot more reasonable. Let’s see, how can I test it?” I was starting to feel really sick now and the room seemed to be spinning more and more. “Don’t worry Bill, This won’t hurt you at all. It’s totally safe for normal people. You won’t remember a thing after we are done and you won’t make a mistake like that again.”
He giggled. “You like Ryoko a lot don’t you? Think about her. I want to hear you talk like her. How much can you be like her if you try?”
Suddenly, I felt a pain so intense I couldn’t even scream. I wanted to so bad. Anything to release the horrible pain and instability. The world wouldn’t hold still and fire rushed through my soul and body. One of the last clear memories of this moment was a picture of Thad’s face. It was a queer mixture of horror, fascination, and surprise. He seemed to be trying to say something and was shaking his head. I couldn’t hear a thing though and the world was becoming a blinding flare of pain and fire.
I needed someone to help me. I was completely disoriented and in terrible fear. I wanted my mother and father to come and get me. I think I screamed for them but they never came and the pain got worse somehow.
Then I saw a face in the fire. It seemed impossibly far away but I reached for it and it seemed to be pulled closer. A form reached for me through the flames and I knew someone had come for me. As the form touched me I could feel a small relief from the pain and the world seemed to stabilize a little. I clung to the shape desperately and I knew she was protecting me and I pulled myself closer still.
With her came a sense of power and control over what was happening to me. She was security, protection, stability. Comfort, peace, and a friend that I could trust with anything. I suddenly realized that I had never felt so at peace with myself. It was as if something I had been looking for as long as I could remember in my books and comics and other mediums was suddenly there.
The more complete and comforted I felt, the more the pain seemed to fade and a terrible exhaustion set in. Try as I would I couldn’t hold on to consciousness. Everything grayed out and faded away. But I still could feel the comfort and peace that had enveloped me and I somehow knew that everything would be alright in the end.
I don’t remember much after that. Every now and then I would become aware that someone was talking near me, but I couldn’t seem to understand what was being said and it would quickly fade away. Sometimes I was aware of movement, but again it would fade away into nothingness.
Finally I could feel a drawing away from the nothingness. I didn’t want to go. The memories of the pain had me struggling to return to the darkness that was free from the horror I had felt. Slowly it dawned on me that I no longer felt any pain. In fact, I was not sure if I had ever felt this good. Somehow a great sense of well-being seemed to permeate me. Slowly I was becoming more aware of what was going on around me.
I was lying in a bed. There was the unmistakable smell of a hospital. That peculiar sterile smell that you only find in medical establishments. I became aware of a conversation near me. It was whispered but I could make it out.
A hushed female voice was saying, “We’ve got the wrong room. There has to have been a mistake. This isn’t him.”
She was answered by a voice that made my hair try to stand on end. Something about its guttural growl made me sure that I didn’t ever want to meet the one using it. “How could we be wrong? This is the only patient admitted in the last week. I was sure that we could get in, kill that Wilson brat, and collect our fee with plenty of time to make it to San Bernardino to meet Slicer before he gets impatient.”
She answered, “They must have pulled a switcheroo and left a false trail here to distract us. This has the feeling of a trap. Let’s get out of here.”
“What about her? Should we off the bitch to show them?
I could sense a cold dread in my gut as I heard movement and wondered if I could somehow alert someone before these goons killed the person they were talking about.
“No! Like I said, I think this is a trap. Let’s not draw attention to ourselves. If we don’t do anything now, they will not know we have been here, and they might get careless about where he is being kept. That won’t happen if they think we are hanging around here looking for him.”
I let out an inaudible sigh and nearly screamed when he said, “What was that?” I swear I could feel him coming towards me and I almost sprang up to run when she spoke again.
“Forget it Ripper! Let’s move out now before we’re compromised!
“Now! Move it or I’ll leave you behind!” I heard unintelligible muttering as he moved off and suddenly I felt a tug that faded away and I felt alone once more. After a few seconds my heart started to beat again and I got the courage to try to look around. I felt an odd tugging on my scalp as I moved my head. Maybe there was something attached to me. As I reached up to check my head I became aware of many more differences that were becoming more obvious the longer I was aware of them.
To make a long story short, I became quickly aware that I wasn’t myself anymore. What was going through my mind at that time is not easy to describe. I did manage to totally destroy everything in the room and if the room hadn’t been as strong as it was I probably would have made an even larger mess of the area.
Eventually, I tired out enough so that they could get my attention and make it clear to me that I was in a hospital room equipped to handle the more unusual cases that came in. Especially the dangerous ones who might hurt others. By this time I had gathered enough evidence to believe that I fell into that category.
Somehow, in my rage, I had been able to reach out and grab something around me that I could then release with explosive results. Fortunately, the room had screening that diverted the majority of the power safely away.
When they finally got me settled down enough to understand what they were telling me, they lead me to another area of the hospital and cleaned me up. I was in shock at this time and allowed them to lead me around without any protest.
Eventually they moved me to an ambulance. After a long trip they pulled into another hospital with many security points that we had to be passed through until we reached a room they locked me into. It was a small, plain, padded room with only a bed bolted to the floor. I immediately fell into the bed and became dead to the world for an uncertain time.
THE NEXT HOSPITAL:
For the next two days, (if the meals I was fed and the pattern of the lights being on and off were a good indicator), I was able to get a better grip on what had happened to me and was now very interested in figuring out how it had come about. I was also desperately trying to find out what had happened to my family.
No one would talk to me and they wouldn’t let me talk to them. I had a nurse who would escort me to my meals and to the bathroom when I needed to go and clean up a little, but I wasn’t able to do more than sponge off as there was no shower or bathtub.
It was during this time that I noticed that I could see almost as well in the dark as when the lights were on. I was aware that I seemed to be somewhat smaller than I was accustomed to being. At least everyone I met seemed a lot bigger. I had no way to measure myself and mirrors were a no-no in someone’s twisted book of rules. I was dressed, if you could call it that, in a flimsy blue hospital gown that was open to the back. What little I could see and feel of myself left me in no doubt that I was female, and probably fairly good looking at that.
My skin was soft and fair and my hair appeared to be some improbable near-blue gray color that crested back from my forehead in angry spiky locks. Some of them extended all the way to the small of my back, except for one on each side that fell down in front of my ears. They seemed to stay that way even when I was wet. My ears were large and extended straight out from my head and I was sure must have looked somewhat comical. I could also tell that my teeth were definitely sharper and longer than I remembered them being. If I smiled widely enough I was sure I would show fangs.
I wasn’t about to give the voyeurs that I was sure were watching me a chance to see me doing much. So I kept my explorations pretty tame.
My voice was something else again. It was most definitely female, but not what you would call maidenly. If you wanted a female drill instructor’s voice this would be it. I found that I could easily put a very rough edge on it. It definitely reminded me of someone, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember who.
Things might have gone on like this indefinitely except another aspect of my new existence intruded in a very rude and uncomfortable way. Two things actually.
Most of the second day I had been growing more uncomfortable. My stomach ached and I began to feel somewhat out of sorts. A mixture of uncertainty, fear, and anxiousness seemed to dog me all the day. As the lights were turning down before going completely off, I suddenly experienced an extreme desire to go to the bathroom.
I managed to communicate this need to a less than helpful nurse who appeared to escorted me to the bathroom. As soon as I was there I immediately ran into a stall and sat down. It was amazing to me how quickly I had acclimated to this new form and its demands.
Then, to my horror, I proceeded to leak blood. I must have made some kind of noise, because my nurse immediately rushed in to see what was happening. I thought that she would call a doctor and an emergency team in. But, as soon as she could see what was happening, she started to laugh!
I’d had too much. I lost it and jumped up and screamed at her that it wasn’t funny.
“Life isn’t funny bitch, but I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that for long.” She said with a nasty grin.
This was the first time any of my keepers had talked to me and I suddenly recognized this voice as belonging to the person that Ripper had called Warp.
She reached for me with a sickly, green, glowing hand that I just knew I didn’t want to touch me. So I did what any well raised person would do when their life is threatened, and totally panicked. I sent a brilliant burst of red energy towards her that sent her flying to the other side of the room, and partially into the wall. Alarms began to go off and I heard the bolts in the door slam shut as I ran towards it. I couldn’t open it when I reached it and when I looked back I could see Warp starting to get up and she didn’t look in the least bit happy with me.
“You’re goin’ to die real slowly for that!” she snarled, and I thought I could see some of that sick green color in her eyes.
I knew it would take more than a blast to open the door. I needed something stronger. Suddenly I could feel power being drawn into my hand. It was different from the times I had gathered energy for blasts. It seemed more intense and harder to hold. A spot of red light formed in my palm. When I grabbed it, it became a red, glowing rod about two and a half feet long.
Looking back at Warp, who had stopped and was watching me warily, I then swung the rod at the door bolts. The rod sheared straight through them with very little trouble and the door swung open. “Ripper! Get her! She’s getting away!” As I ran out of the room, A large man dressed in white coveralls came at me from the right side. In his hand he held a blue blade that he struck at me with. Reflexively blocking it with my rod, I leaped to the left to get out of his way.
When the rod and the blade collided there was an intense and painful burst of light and both of us screamed. As my eyes cleared I could see that his hand had gotten the worst of the encounter. He collapsed to his knees, and wrapped himself around his mangled hand.
Just then Warp came rushing out and plowed into her partner and they both tumbled into the wall.
I did the smart thing and ran down the corridor. At the end was a door with an exit and stair sign.
I could hear cursing behind me. “Stop her you fool!” yelled Warp.
“Stop her yourself, Bitch! Where the hell did she get that sword? It’s almost taken my damn hand off!”
“You’ll heal! Come on and get her before she gets away again!”
I looked behind and saw her pulling him up off the ground and heading my way. I slammed through the door and paused to decide which way to go. There were stairs going up and down. Down bellow I could hear several someones yelling and coming up the stairs. I decided that I didn’t want to trust anyone just yet and started to run up the stairs.
I was moving fast and had gotten two flights up when I heard the door below slam open.
Someone from below that I didn’t recognize yelled, “FREEZE!”. There followed a sound like aluminum foil ripping, followed by a pained ,”SHIT!”, from the same person. Someone else yelled, “LOOK OUT!”, followed by a burst of gunfire. Bullets started to ricochet up the stairwell and I took off further up the stairs. I lost count of how many flights I went up. I was afraid to stop because I could hear someone behind me. I finally came to the end of the stairs and burst out onto a roof. A quick look around showed that there was a tall fence around the edge and that it was topped with barbed wire. I could see a gate to one side and I headed for that.
When I reached it, I realized that it was padlocked. My sword had disappeared when I hit the blue blade and I didn’t know how to get it back. I wasn’t sure I could blast it either. They couldn’t be far behind me and I was running out of options.
There was a fire escape on the other side of the gate, but I didn’t think I could get over the fence before they caught me. I was going to head back to the stairs when I saw the door start to open. I spun around and leapt towards the top of the gate. As I did this I felt as if some force grabbed me and I kept on going . Over the gate and into the night.
I looked back and could see two figures standing together looking around the roof. I was getting farther and farther away but could still see them as they dashed around to see the whole roof. They moved up to the gate but seemed unable to see me in the darkness.
I could hear them arguing and was pretty sure it was the two who had tried to kill me earlier. I couldn’t make out what they were saying at this distance and didn’t want to draw attention to myself by getting closer.
Just then, the door slammed open and armed men came out onto the roof. Warp grabbed Ripper and they seemed to ripple and fade away. As they did this I felt the drawing sensation that I felt before in my first hospital room. The armed men hurried towards the area where they had been moments before but I knew they weren’t there anymore. I continued to move away. I didn’t trust anyone at this time and wasn’t about to tempt fate by approaching nervous, armed men.
Somehow, I not only had been turned into a girl, but a girl who could fire energy blasts and make swords that cut through doors like butter. I could also fly now. I wasn’t sure what was going on and I wanted answers and my family and my life.
As I looked around I suddenly realized that I knew where I was. The year before we had gone to a Halloween fun house at the State Hospital. There is something really creepy about real, insane people putting on something like that. We had been planning to go again this year because it was such a thrill and the entry fees went to help the hospital.
Now that I knew where I was I also knew that my home was only twenty miles away. This high up, even at night, it was easy to see where I had to go to get home. I just thought about which direction I wanted to go and I started to accelerate in that direction.
It was odd. I was moving fairly fast, I was dressed in a flimsy hospital gown, and I didn’t seem to be uncomfortable or even feel the breeze all that much. It didn’t take me long to reach where I lived with my family. I knew I was in the right area but wasn’t entirely sure where I needed to go.
As I looked around I saw several police cars on one street below me. I could see where my house was now, but could also see that there was a lot of police tape around it. There didn’t seem to be anyone there and the lights were out. Some officers were looking around with flashlights. I couldn’t hear what they were saying so I carefully moved closer. Soon, I could hear enough to get the impression that they had been told to look for someone in this area. I had a pretty good idea that it might be me they were looking for.
I was really worried now. I wasn’t sure how long I had been gone and couldn’t be certain that my family was OK. Something had obviously happened at my house and I couldn’t get close enough to see what it was. After a while, most of the police left. But, a squad car with two officers had been left behind to keep an eye on the house.
I rose higher into the sky to look around and try to get an idea of what I could do next. After the attempts on my life I wasn’t about to trust the police. They might mean well, but, I was certain that they would only give my position away and not be able to protect me from the strange couple who seemed to be after me.
They had figured out that I had become a girl and where I was after the first time they had come looking for me. Only the fact that they didn’t know I was a girl now had kept them from trying to kill me that first time. I had to find a safe place to stay and somehow find out what had happened to my family. I also had to find a place to clean up and get some clothes. I now knew I had started my period, and wasn’t worried about bleeding to death. Something about someone trying to kill me had rearranged my priorities a little, but I was still a bloody, uncomfortable mess and the thought of getting cleaned up was starting to take on greater importance. As I looked around, I could see the whole community. A small, green, neon sign caught my eye. It was the sign over the door to Mrs. Tanaka’s Dojo. Suddenly, I felt a bit of hope. If anyone outside my family could help me I was sure it would be her. I flew in that direction as I considered how I could get in.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Mrs. Tanaka’s Mountain Dojo was a series of buildings, taking up nearly a whole block. The dojo was several houses joined together in a square around the block. The interior was a large open garden area where I remembered spending much time learning to meditate. It had been made to copy a Japanese garden with a small fountain and pond. Several large open rooms opened off of the garden. These rooms were used as classrooms for the training of the various students that would come to learn the mysterious arts of combat and mental control that was taught in this school.
Mrs. Aimee Tanaka ruled over students and teachers with and iron fist. Nothing went on in the dojo that she didn’t seem to be aware of. It was almost like magic the way she could appear when she was needed to settle disputes and give advice and encouragement.
An energetic woman of over 60 years, she had helped found the school with her husband back in the sixties. The couple had a fair amount of money and never seemed to be in need of more. They had bought this block after a fire had damaged most of the houses and no one had wanted to try and do anything with them after that. They rebuilt it into a wonderful school that I had many wonderful memories of.
Mom and Dad apparently knew of the Tanakas and we kids had been welcomed into the school and allowed to participate in the classes that were appropriate for them.
Mr. Eric Tanaka did not participate often, though it was obvious that he was very skilled. His wife was the true leader of the school and decisions of how it was run were left to her. They loved each other greatly and no one could remember a time when they weren’t seen together, happily helping each other with a clear disregard to other people’s concerns about them.
I felt that they were much like my parents and had always wondered if I would ever become a part of couple like them in the future. At this time I was still too uncertain of how to deal with other people to feel comfortable with the idea. The closest I came was reading fantasy and science fiction and wondering if I would ever find someone in the adventures I was sure to have when I was older.
As I looked down I decided that my best bet was to fly down into the garden. From there I could try to figure out how to find the Tanakas and get their help. I was sure that they would know how to find my family and then I could find out what was going on. I settled into the center near the pond and became even more aware of how unpleasant my new crotch area had now become.
There were tears, rips, and stains on the gown and an odd pungent odor became apparent when I stopped moving. My feet were also bare and I moved gingerly towards the Tanakas residence area.
There was a light in the corridor that lead to the residential area and moved quietly towards it.
I stopped and my hair almost stood straight up when I heard Mrs. Tanaka address me in a voice I had never heard her use before. There was a VERY definite threat in the low voiced warning that had me convinced that if I tried anything I would regret it later, if there was a later.
“That’s far enough young lady. Who are you, and what are you doing trespassing on our property? And how did you get past the gates without setting off the alarms?”
“M-mrs, T-tanak-ka? It’s me!” My heart almost stopped as I realized that Mrs. Tanaka would have no idea who I was and would probably not be able to accept the fact that the grungy girl in front of her was really Billie, (she always called me Billie, long after everyone else stopped doing so), Wilson, who spent so much time over here. She wouldn’t know that she was probably one of the last people to see Bill Wilson, the sixteen year old boy, in my old form.
“Oh? And just WHO is me? And, what are you doing here, again?”
I couldn’t stop now. I had to try. It was my only chance, but a deep sense of helplessness settled on me as I realized how unlikely a favorable outcome would be.
“B-b-billie. Billie W-wilson. Please you’ve got to believe me! I don’t know how I got this way, but it IS me!”
“You don’t look in the least like the Billie I know and if you know anything about where he is you had better tell me now or you will regret ever being born!” Somehow the threat in her voice had become much more substantial and I was beginning to think that I had made a crucial error in approaching Mrs. Tanaka. It sounded like she meant business and was ready to put some serious hurt on the person she thought might have information on my where-a-bouts. It was nice to know she cared that much but it was starting to look as if I was going to have to fly out of here if I could. She might be only 5’ 4” and 130 pounds, but no one messed with Mrs. T when she was ticked off.
“Stop!” Another voice I had known most of my life came from the shadows to my right. Mr. Eric Tanaka appeared out of nowhere to and moved towards me. He was 5’ 5” and weighed 160 pounds. I realized that I had seen neither of them until they started talking and this was unusual considering my new eyesight.
“Dear? But why? She may have some idea where Billie is being held. We can’t let her go!”
“It’s OK Dear. He--SHE, is telling the truth. Her mind is hard to focus on, but the way she is projecting right now, I can't miss it.”
“WHAT!?!” I don’t think I had ever seen Mrs. Tanaka surprised and I probably never will again. But I was too surprised myself to really appreciate it at the time. Mr. Tanaka actually believed me! I didn’t know how, but the relief I felt at that time was so great I wanted to run up to him and hug and kiss him.
“I wouldn’t do that young lady if I were you.” He said with a smile. “My wife is the jealous type and I don’t think either of us want to face that right now.”
Then it hit me. He was reading my mind! As I stared at him, the object of his conversation got control of herself and started asking questions.
“How can that be? She doesn’t look at all like Billie!” “Dear, I have known Billie all his life and I am NOT mistaken in this. This person is him, uh, her.” He was approaching closer and inspecting me more closely as he came. Mrs. Tanaka was also beginning to come closer, although I don’t think she was relaxing just yet. If I made a wrong move now I’m sure she would do something about it. “What could have happened to change him so quickly? It’s only been nine days since he disappeared.” She asked.
I had disappeared nine days ago?
Just then they both got close enough to get a good look at me and a good whif. Mrs. T started in on the questions. “Is that blood? Billie are you all right!? Are you hurt?” I love this woman’s priorities, but I was uncertain how I could tell her what was happening to me. I stood there speechless as I tried to think of some way to express my feelings on that particular subject.
Mr. Tanaka came to my rescue. “Uhm Dear? I don’t think this is a life threatening problem at this time and it IS a very personal thing that the two of you need to discuss. Why don’t you take her in and help her get cleaned up while I check the grounds and make sure everything is under control.”
“Are you sure of this Eric?”
“Quite sure. Why don’t you take Billie in now and you can discuss it while she cleans up?”
She gave him an odd look and then turned to me. “Ohhh, I see! Come along then. I can imagine how uncomfortable this must be for you.” As she led me into the lighted area, I don’t think she was surprised again, but something about me seemed to get her attention. “Hmmm... Let’s get you cleaned up a bit and see what can be done for you.”
She then proceeded to lead me into the family area and through that into the back rooms where the bathrooms were. She directed me into the shower and headed off to find something for me to wear. I took a quick shower, even though it felt like heaven, and stood there in a towel waiting for her to come back. The mirrors were misted over and I made no move to wipe them off.
I think she was just waiting for the shower to stop because she came in soon after I had covered my self with the towel. “Didn’t you wash your hair? She asked when she came in.
“Yes Ma’am! I did but my hair seems to stay this way no matter what.”
“That could be a useful trick if you could patent it.” Grinning, she handed a soft pad to me and a pair of light blue panties. She showed me how to put the pad in the panties and then told me to put them on. While I was doing this she pulled out a bathrobe looking kind of garment that was also blue with a yellow sash. After I had put the panties on she helped me into the robe, which I realized must be some kind of kimono. “I couldn’t find anything else on short notice, but this should do nicely. My you do look lovely! Let’s get a better look at you.” And she led me into the other room where I could look at myself in a full-size three-part mirror.
I came as close to fainting as I ever have at that moment . All I could do was stare. I now knew exactly what I looked like and I even recognized WHO I looked like.
About the same height as Mrs. T, the spikey, blueish hair with the two spikes falling in front of my large ears that stood out away from my head, the very large eyes with vertical, oval, golden irises and cat-like slit pupils, the high cheek bones. the small nose, and the hint of canines behind the thin lips. My pale skin went well with the blue of the kimono. My voice, and, I certainly had the young but mature body of my favorite anime character, Ryoko!
My face was made to show emotions and the one on it right now was completely comical. If I hadn’t been the one wearing it I think I would have been rolling on the ground laughing my head off. As it was I have never understood how Mrs. T had enough self control to do no more than smile.
“Someone you recognize dear?” She asked. All I could do was nod my head.
After a few moments I managed to pull myself together and turn to her. “Ryoko. How did he turn me into Ryoko?”
“Yeah, he gave me something that made me sick and I can remember him talking about Ryoko. Somehow he did this to me!” I had become certain that somehow Thad was at the bottom of what had happened to me. This brought my mind back to one of my major concerns. “What happened to my family?”
“Well, we didn’t hear anything except that there had been a fire at your house and that you were missing and presumed to be kidnaped. Everyone was moved to a safe place while the police searched the house for clues and tried to discover where you were. I can probably get hold of them easily enough. Why are you worried?”
I started to tell her about the couple that tried to kill me and she told me to wait until her husband got back. When he did they sat me down and had me tell them everything. They then asked me several questions that brought many more details to mind than I thought possible for me to remember. I think Mr. Tanaka had something to do with that also.
He then asked me several questions about my family and past. He got very interested when I told him about my appendectomy when I was nine. Up until now, I had an eight inch scar to show for that. It was gone now of course. I wondered for a moment if I had an appendix again.
Mrs. Tanaka spoke up after he was done questioning me. “It is so similar. Do you think there is a connection? And if there is, how did he survive?
Mr. T shook his head. “I don’t know. I’m going to have to talk to them and get more details. It’s hard to imagine that they would keep him so in the dark about the whole thing. And there are some other details that I need to look into before I can be sure.” He shuddered and a haunted look similar to that on his wife’s face made me think he and she knew a lot more about this than I would have thought possible. He looked at me. “YOU need to go to bed and rest. We will talk more in the morning.” Suddenly I felt very sleepy.
“Come with me Dear.” Mrs. T led me to the back of the house and into a small bedroom. “I’m sure Colly won’t mind lending you her room for a little while.” I fell into the twin bed and didn’t become aware again until sometime later.
“Laid it on a little thick, didn’t you Dear?” That was Mrs. T. “No. I think that the stress she has been under has finally caught up with her and she is simply resting. She should be waking up any minute.”
“Well, you better get out of here for a few minutes then.”
“Yes. There are a few things we are going to have to take care of before we can continue.”
“OH! Yes, I’d better get going. They said they would try to make it by 10 o’clock. I’d better get ready for them.”
“You do that Dear.” I could hear him move out of the room. “It’s OK Dear. He’s gone.”
I opened my eyes, squinting against the morning sun and asked the most important question first. “Where is the bathroom?”
“Over there.” Pointing towards a door to the left of the bed. “Everything you need will be there.”
I leapt from the bed and dashed to the toilet. I proceeded to do what was necessary and found everything that I needed there with me. I had to ask for help with the tampons but got into the new panties with no problem. Mrs. T proceeded to instruct me in the proper care and hygiene I was going to need to know for the time being.
We measured and weighed me. I was 5’ 3”, 32” bust, 22.5” waist, and 32.5” thighs. I weighed 120 lbs. And had what Mrs. T figured as B cup breasts. I would have to take her word for that as I didn’t have a clue. She then supplied me with a light blue sports bra that she felt would fit me well enough for now. I was then dressed in a brown plaid shirt and feminine jeans with white socks and tennis shoes. Mrs. T said that Colly wouldn’t mind my borrowing them for the time being as this was something of an emergency.
She explained when I asked that Colly, (Columbine), was her youngest grand daughter and had just headed off to collage at Arizona State. She apparently had been staying with her grand parents for a while and I had never been aware of it. She also appears to have been similar to me in my new build and size. At least her clothes seemed to fit me well.
“Now let’s go and meet your parents.”
“Yes Dear. Now don’t you worry. We have already explained what has happened and they know what to expect.”
She hesitated for a moment and then said. “You need to know a few things first though. I am going to tell you a little now so it won’t be a complete surprise as we go over it with them. We did a little follow up on the two assassins who tried to kill you. They are contract assassins out of California and considered top in their profession. You have been extremely lucky so far but we shouldn’t take any more chances. Word is that they were to target any of your family that got separated from the rest.
Apparently your parents are involved in trying to oust some dirty politicians in this area who have some connections to terrorists and the like. They are playing hard ball and it looks like they are trying to use a threat to you and your brothers as leverage. They seem to think that if they kill you they will have made a point to your parents and the others that they are working with. You need to know this because, well... The best answer to this problem may be for you and the assassins to disappear. We don’t think that the assassins have reported to anyone yet. So they are the only ones that know about your current condition. If we can take them out, you will have a much better chance of hiding until this can be resolved.”
“You mean like this?” I indicated my new body. She also seemed really confident that taking out some talented professional killers wasn’t going to be a problem. All I could do was stare at her and wonder what I had gotten into.
“Yes. You have to admit that they probably won’t recognize you now.” She hesitated again.
“We also think that it wouldn’t be a good idea to stay in this area either. There seems to be a lookout for you by the local authorities. It seems that a dangerous girl escaped from the local State Hospital.” Mrs. T grinned. “It also seems that she bears a startling resemblance to a cartoon character.” “There were heavily armed guards there. Not to mention two nasty killers. Anyone happen to mention looking for some dangerous, armed goons?”
“No. That seems to have slipped their minds.”
“This sounds suspiciously like some kind of cover-up. The kind you see on The X-Files.”
“Your parents can probably tell you more about that.” When I looked in surprise at her she shrugged. “That is something they will have to go over with you. It’s not my place to say.” She held up her hand when I started to protest. “This is really something they have to tell you.”
Looking me right in the eye she then asked, “How do you feel about what has happened to you?” Something in the way she was looking at me made me sure that she wanted the truth and wouldn’t stop until she got the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
“I don’t really know. I feel like I should be a lot more upset. Everyone else seems to think so anyway. But somehow I just don’t feel that I am. I feel perfectly normal, except I don’t know the first thing about being a girl. Other than that, I really don’t have a problem with it. It’s not like the family name is in jeopardy or anything like that. I’ve never had anything to do with girls, so there isn’t anyone to feel upset about there. I felt perfectly normal as a boy also. It’s not like I wanted to be a girl or anything. At least I don’t remember anything like that. I don’t know how to explain it.
The only other thing I am worried about right now is that I might blow off a power blast at any time. I know that I did at least once while I was in the State Hospital. It wasn’t much but it did blow my covers off the bed. It took a while to get a replacement for the shredded covers because they didn’t want to open the door to let me get more.”
“I’ve seen the little sparks popping around you. It’s one of the things that makes us think we know how it might have happened to you. Eric is the expert on that though, and I think he is still looking up some information. If it is what we think, then you will begin to get more control over time. But, I don’t think that anyone will be able to reverse the process.” She put a hand on my shoulder. “I thought you ought to know that. I didn’t want you to get any false hopes up.”
I just looked at her for a moment, not knowing how to act.
With a small smile, she said, “It is customary for girls to give each other a hug now, straighten up their clothes , and go out and meet their doom.”
I hesitated for a moment, giggled with her, and gave her a hug. “Let’s go out and face the music then. It can’t be much worse than it already has been.”
“Child, you don’t know what you speak of, but waiting for something else rarely works. Eventually the music searches you out anyway. Let’s go meet your parents.” And she escorted me out to their living room where my parents and brothers were waiting.
MEET THE PARENTS
I’m not sure who was the more nervous of us. Me, my family, or the Tanaka’s. I wasn’t sure how I would be received, they probably weren’t sure about what I was like now, and the Tanaka’s were risking their living room. So, of course, I had to break the ice.
“YOU! You rat! You blight on the face of humanity! What have you done to me?” This was all directed at my younger brother, who seemed to be having some small success disappearing into the cushions of the sofa he was sitting in. I didn’t know it at the time, but apparently when I get upset like this, my eyes go crimson.
Along with the sparks that started to fly off me, I must have been pretty impressive. Mom has had a lot of experience averting mayhem and acted in the one way sure to put the kibosh on my intended homicide.
“WILLIAM MEREDITH WILSON!!! Sit down and behave civilly this instant!” She had popped up and I could swear that sparks were flying off her also. I did the only sane thing any child will do when faced with instant eradication by the most powerful being in his or her world.
I immediately sat down in a chair facing them, pointed at the offending sibling, and whined, “But Mom. He did this to me!”
“That will be quite enough! You will sit and be civil and when WE decide what is to be done you will continue to behave or I WILL know why! DO you understand me?”
“And YOU!” Swinging her deathly gaze over to my brother, while everyone else moved out of the line of fire. You will be quiet and answer the questions we ask. They will be short, correct, and totally truthful. Do you understand?” He could only nod helplessly. Pinned to the couch by the glare of her eyes.
“Now where do we start?”
Mr. Tanaka suggested that we start with my story and they all settled in to hear my version. After I had finished, with only one aborted attempt by Thad to interrupt, we heard his side of the story.
He was obviously miserable and I think he had been living in terror because he didn’t know what had happened to me and he knew it was his fault. Telling us probably did more good for his long term mental health than a ton of prescriptions and doctors.
The little rat believed that I had promised to help him with a huge Fourth of July fireworks project that probably would have spelled doom for a large part of the metropolitan area. My inconsiderate escape with my friends stopped him. He needed someone to drive him up into the mountains and didn’t understand that I couldn’t take him alone with just my learners permit.
I HAD promised to take him for a ride when I could, but that would have to wait until an adult with a license could go or I got my license in about two years. An adult or Larry, (who had his license), would have stopped him as well as my not driving. Anyway, in his sulk and attempts to make me pay, he came across a package that had been sent to my father. It had been partially opened in transit and he couldn’t resist the chance to check it out.
In it he had found a package of a chemical that initial investigations had shown could influence normal people like a hypnotic, making them susceptible to suggestions for a short while and disappearing without a trace soon afterwards. No ill affects could be found on normal people but, tests on mutant animals indicated that it would have fatal consequences if administered to someone with a mutant gift. This was the last of the chemical which had been found in an old laboratory in Canada and was being sent to a lab in San Francisco to see if it could somehow be reproduced.
Attempts to reproduce it so far had proved useless as the method of producing it seemed way in advance of current technology. Some kind of process that combined several types of amino acids into a compact molecule-like substance that had a mind of its own and would perform amazing feats of transformation in living cells. The purpose was unknown and retro-engineering hadn’t helped to find the purpose yet. Bill’s father was to help move this dangerous item safely to its destination. It was thought that no one would be looking for it if they used normal mail and got it to Bill’s father who was going to San Francisco on his normal rounds and would be able to deliver it more safely that way. There was some reason to fear that if they tried to move it in a more secure way that those seeking to use it as a weapon might be able to track it to where they were sending it.
A secure diversion was to be used to test this theory. All this had been explained in the message with the chemical. Thad had been unable to resist this opportunity to get back at me. He took the package with the intension of using a small amount to exact his revenge and returning the remaining amount secretly to his father. The damage to the package could be explained by the rough handling of the mail service.
Unfortunately, It took all the remaining substance to make the fudge he determined to use as bait for his trap. He reasoned that no one would get hurt as he was destroying the last and no evil person could get their hands on it. My snort of derision went unanswered as the rest of his story fit with mine up until I literally burst into flames on the floor and he panicked and ran. He had seen some men outside the house as he ran next door to get help. They had ignored him and run into the house. When he got a neighbor to call the fire department and returned he couldn’t see the men anywhere and the kitchen flames were already starting to smolder out. The fire department showed up and finished putting out the flames. The men and I were nowhere to be found. He made a story to cover his own part in it and now there was a search being carried out to find me and the men assumed to have taken me and starting the fire.
I held my peace as I knew that Thad was going to be in a world of hurt because of the theft and even more importantly, what he had done to me and, then LYING about it. He was soooo dead.
Mr. Tanaka then turned to my father. “And why would you be receiving such dangerous mail my friend?” Dad looked embarrassed and looked at Mom. She nodded and he turned back to us. “We might as well tell the children now. Larry already knows the truth, but we have been holding back telling the other two so as to let them lead more normal lives. We were hoping that this would all blow over and that we could get back to our retirement plans.”
“Both Cher and I are specially trained, talented operatives for the CIA. By talented, we mean mutants. Cher is code named Flashlight. She can use light powers and has limited telekinesis. She is very good at illusions and security systems. She is even better at locks than I am. I am code named Weasel. I am strong, fast, and able to shape and contort my body in all sorts of ways. I think I can safely say that I am one of the best second story men in the world.”
“We met years ago in Europe while assigned to tracking down a missing nuke. We make an incredible team if I do say so myself. It was love at first fight. I thought she needed my help and she thought I needed her help. Together we put a lot of hurt on those smugglers. I had never met someone like her. Beautiful, fast, smart. The list goes on and on. Anyway, we became an item and soon learned why it is not a good idea to mix work and relationships.”
“It was killing us trying to stay together and get our jobs done. I’m afraid that our work suffered during this time and I am not certain how it would have turned out , except we got a real break. Things had slowed down a bit and the Agency needed to place operatives stateside to track and counter terrorists operating out of the states.”
“It was perfect for us. We got married and settled down here and started a family. We ended up becoming a part of the community and have been able to monitor the activities of terrorists operating out of the US in this area. They usually don’t do anything that can be prosecuted here but if we are aware of what they are doing we can usually catch them before they can get very far elsewhere.”
“Recently, there has been an increase in activity in this area and we think some of the local manufacturers are trying to increase their slowing sales by selling biological weapons. We have some good leads now, but I think someone has released some of our more sensitive information and it is putting us in danger. I think that the men Thad saw were trying to obtain the chemical Thad stole. They found Bill instead and took him for a hostage.” “We have received some messages that have lead us to believe that this is what they were trying to do. Of course, since we didn’t have the package we had no idea what they were hinting at. I’m not sure they ever intended to return Bill even if we had complied with their demands. They never mentioned that he was now a girl. Their resources make me think we may be dealing with a rogue part of our government though. They know so much about us. It still doesn’t explain how Bill got changed into a girl.”
“Well. We might be able to help with that.” Said Mr. Tanaka. We all turned to look at him and he shrugged. “I will need a little more information before I can be sure. Can you get me this information safely?”
“It would depend on what you needed. But I am at a point where I might try anything to get to the bottom of this. What do you think Cher?”
“I’m just about at the end of my rope Dear. Lets find out what he needs and go from there.”
Dad turned to Mr. T. “What do you need?”
“I’ll need to know where the laboratory was and I will need to see the medical report on your sons appendectomy.”
Both Mom and Dad were surprised at this request. They looked at each other and then asked together. “Is that all?”
“Yes, that is all I will need to complete my research. Please understand that if this is what we think it is, we already have more information than you do.”
“If that is all you need I can probably get the information by this afternoon. How soon do you think we can get answers after that?”
“Within minutes if the information is what I think it will be.” The T’s didn’t seem too happy about the subject and I started to dread what they were going to find.
“What can we do with Bill now?” Larry asked. He had been staring at me the whole time and I was starting to get a little uncomfortable under his stare.
“I think she will have to stay with us for the moment. We can keep her out of sight for now. Soon we will have to find another solution. The men who are looking for her will eventually think to look here as well. We have some options available to us, but it will take a few weeks to get plans finalized. Billie, I’m afraid that it will not be possible to keep you near here. You will eventually have to go somewhere else. At least for a while.”
“What do you mean?"
“We have connections with a school in New Hampshire.”
“Yes, a school designed to help talented people such as yourself.”
“What about my family?”
“This school is a boarding school. You would stay there and your family will stay here.”
Mom and Dad were looking at each other. Then Dad turned back to us. “I think you are talking about Whateley aren’t you? Would he-uh-she be safe there?” “She will be safer there than anywhere else. There are defenses and a general agreement that no one is to interfere directly. They also have the facilities to help train her to use her abilities and control them. You do realize that she is coming into these powers much more quickly than normal? If these powers that are manifesting are this strong now, it is possible for her to burn out if she can’t control them.”
They had my attention now. “What do you mean by burnout?”
Mr. T answered. “It is possible, if a talent develops too quickly, for it to draw on the energy of the person so fast that they can’t recover quickly enough and they can be killed or crippled as a result. The results can be much more unpleasant than that in some rare cases, as you already know.” When he said that he was looking right at me. For a brief moment, the memory came back to me of the time I had been on fire and I couldn’t help shuddering at the memory.
Dad asked, “Can this be prevented?”
“With proper training it is possible to channel the energies in such a way as to prevent the less desirable outcomes. Billie will have to train hard and I am afraid that it may take several years to reach a point where she could be certain of her safety.”
“It doesn’t sound like I have much of a choice does it? Why can’t I train here?”
“You are a wanted person here. It will be difficult keeping you safe from the searchers and trying to train you at the same time. At Whateley you will be able to pursue your training uninterrupted by the constant need to hide. To truly master your powers you will have to use them full out. You couldn’t possibly do so here without drawing too much attention and possibly destroying things you don’t want to.”
“I’m afraid that your options are very limited in this respect. I do want you to understand that burnout is not certain. I would want you to train as if it was though. You never can be certain in these things but if you can start now you will have a much better chance than if you don’t. I also want you to know that I feel moderately sure that you WILL have to face this problem. Your powers are developing so much faster than normal that I am certain you are courting disaster if you don’t do something about it.” “I don’t like the idea of separating you from your family at this point in your life but I think the consequences are too terrible to not take the risk.”
Dad spoke up again. “I must admit that we aren’t too happy about this either. You seem to be fairly certain about your information though. I’ve heard about burnout, but the last confirmed case that I am aware of was over forty years ago. How is it that you know so much about this?”
Mr. T got that haunted look in his eyes again. “I am Dr. Eric Tanaka, PhD, MD. I was the person who was treating the last case that you are speaking of.” Mrs. T reached over and touched his hand. “She was a very good friend of ours and I couldn’t do a thing for her. I don’t want that to happen, ever again.” They were both obviously remembering something unpleasant and were squeezing each others hands tightly.
Dad spoke again. “That last person was Sherry Henderson, also known as Cirque. She was a part of a group of talented vigilantes called The Mystic Six. They were well known in the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. There were reports of them into the 60’s. They disappeared after the death of Cirque. You are telling me that you are a contemporary to Cirque and that you know something about a technology far in advance of what we have now. Would you mind explaining? It’s not that I don’t trust you but we are putting the life of our s-daughter in your hands.”
Mr. T sighed. “OK. But you will have to promise to be careful with this secret. And I mean with everyone, including your CIA.”
Dad and Mom looked at each other and then us. We all nodded our heads and turned back to the Tanaka’s.
“Very well. Our story starts in 1877. That was when a Dr. Cory Fielding began to gather children from all over the North Americas. I believe that, through his connections, he managed to take over a thousand children and move them to a compound in upstate New York. There he conducted experiments using some compounds that only he could manufacture. I believe he was a mutant whose abilities seemed to be the manipulation of organic molecules on a level undreamed of at the time. I also believe, that is why your scientists have been unable to decipher the problem of how that compound was made.” Mom gasped. “That’s horrible! How could he do that?”
Mr. T continued. “It was easy at that time. There was not the social structure at that time that exists today. Child exploitation was normal, and if the families involved had neither money or influence, nothing much could or would happen.”
“To make a long story short, Dr. Fielding had a particular goal in mind. He wanted to make an elixir of life. Something to make him immortal or at least longer lived. He believed he had found the answer. When tested on animals, he managed to produce a compound that increased the health and life span of the animals incredibly. Sure he was on the right track he increased the potency to its limits.”
“He called the compound Ultra-X-Amine. Then, to be sure, he administered it to the few adults that he could as well as all of the children. The majority of them, being normal suffered only the effects listed in the report you had. The rest, ones we can assume were mutants, self combusted.” The haunted look in their eyes was much worse now and I was sure that Mrs. T was trying to conceal tears.
“Please understand. Some of those that died that way were our families. Only six of us survived the process. Aimee, I, Sherry, Charlie, Nathan, and Lisa. We were all under five years of age. I believe that is why we survived. We did have mutant abilities, but they were still totally undeveloped. When the compound activated the more developed abilities of the others it simply burned them to death. Ours developed slowly enough so that it didn’t kill us.” He smiled at me. “It is not something I would look forward to experiencing again.”
“You’ve got that right!” I said. Somehow I was becoming even more convinced that this compound was the same and was linked to what had happened to me. If what I experienced was anything like what they had gone through then I had to agree that a repeat was not on my priority list. Avoiding it was.
He continued. “Dr. Fielding was somewhat upset by the results of his experiment. It had failed to produce the expected elixir. We didn’t know it at the time, but he was heavily in debt to some who were outside the law. They were also unhappy with the results. The doctor did not survive the reaction to his failure.
Several armed men showed up and proceeded to kill everyone and raze the place. We escaped, due to the fact that our powers allowed us to avoid the searchers sent after us. Aimee and I both had some family near San Francisco and we managed to go back to there. Fortunately, Lisa could teleport and could also see a target area in our minds. A trip that would have been impossible for such young people and would take weeks or months was accomplished in mere moments.
“Our relatives realized that our abilities would be useful and decided not to sell us off again.”
This brought another look of horror to Mom’s face.
Mrs. T spoke up for her benefit. “Things were not the same then. Life was much tougher and the old ways were still in force. People may not think so, but things are better now, at least to some degree.”
Continuing, Mr. T said. “When the inconsistency of our powers began to trouble them, our relatives arranged for us to be trained by various masters who taught us to use and control our powers. We then spent many more years working for them.”
“Eventually we found out that Dr. Fielding had succeeded without knowing it. We continued to be young and healthy while everyone around us grew old and died. About 1915, someone tried to do something about it. Many of our friends died but we survived. We used our abilities to disappear and establish a fortune to support us.”
“We then embarked on a life to make up for what had been done to us. We became The Mystic Six.” Mom and Dad both sat up straight at this statement. Obviously it meant something to them.
“After about two decades of that we began to go our separate ways. Aimee and I got married and started to look for a place to settle down. The others had paired up also. Charlie married Sherry and Nathan married Lisa. We went our separate ways and established our own families. That is when we discovered another aspect of our longevity that didn’t work well.”
“WE are long lived and healthy. Our children tended to be normal in that respect though. We have had to learn to, “pass on,” and allow them to live their lives unencumbered by us.
“You are getting older now though, aren’t you?”
The T’s looked at each other and smiled. Then Mr. T got rapidly older and Mrs. T got quickly younger. We were now looking at an old man of ninety or so and a young girl of about twelve. They then both returned to the age we were used to seeing them as.
“We are not sure. We seem to have the ability to be whatever age it is convenient to be at the time.”
Mom was looking at them and then at me and back. There was a look of extreme worry that I didn’t understand at the time. “Are you sure it is the same for her?”
Mr. T shook his head. “There are some differences that I don’t understand yet. There may not be any connection and we could be wrong. Only time will tell.”
Mom turned to us and said in a voice that I had only heard a few times in my life. The one that promises that there will be no escaping punishment in this life or the next if it is not heeded. “You, none of you, will ever say anything about this, EVER!” Dad was nodding also and I was sure that he was in complete agreement. I still was not sure why, but I wasn’t fool enough to go against them in this either. And, I didn’t want to get the T’s in trouble either.
“That makes you...”
“About 130 years old at this time. We have had the opportunity to do a great many things and study more than most. At one time I was a respected Doctor and researcher.” Larry asked. “What happened to the one that died?”
Mr. T sighed. “Sherry was trying to find a cure for the process that made us the way we are, or failing that, a way to allow people to live as we do.”
“You have to understand. It isn’t at all easy to watch people you care for deeply, grow old and or sick and die. It makes it harder to form attachments that you know will wither away in time or might even lead to jealousy and envy. Sherry wanted to fix it if she could. Her power was similar to Dr. Fielding’s in that she could manipulate living organisms into what she needed. She came closest to understanding what he had managed to do. If we’d had more to work with she might have succeeded.”
“We knew that Dr. Fielding made his compound somewhere other than where he tested it. We had never been able to find his lab though. Sherry went ahead anyway. She was sure she had found a solution. In a way she did. The compound she created had similar properties to the one tested on us. She then did something foolish. She tested it on herself. All it managed to do was destabilize her control of her power. Shortly after that she lost all control and burned up.” With tears in their eyes the T’s held each other.
“There was nothing we could do. Charlie went into seclusion and we have only recently heard from him. He is now a teacher at Whateley and we think he will be able to help train you. Stoney, that’s Nathan, can help supply the necessary paperwork and back ground to get you into school without too many questions.”
“You must not tell Charlie how you came to be like this. I don’t think he has recovered enough from the loss of Sherry and I am afraid that a reminder like that couldn’t be good for him. Promise me that you won’t hurt him like that?
The questions continued for a little longer but we didn’t make much more headway at that time. Dad arranged to get the information to Mr. T and then we had an uncomfortable few minutes while we worked out a few more details. I would stay hidden in the basement for the next month or so and then head out to the school where I would continue my high school training and my training to control my powers.
While I was here I would also begin meditation training and some attempts at learning how to use what I had. There would be limited opportunities to see and be with my family and I wasn’t to happy about that, but everyone was certain that if we changed our schedules it would become obvious where I was
We had a tearful farewell and they left to start up their own lives again and I began my new life by moving down into a small room in the basement that had a concealed door that I could hide in when people came looking for me. It was also soundproofed to help keep people from knowing that someone with occasional load accompaniments was hiding there.
Other than the occasional bed being blown apart I was doing OK. I was feeling pretty homesick at this time and was dreading the time when I would no longer get to see Mom or Dad even occasionally. I was fairly neutral about Larry. I could live with or without him and I wasn’t too upset about not seeing TB.
LIFE IN THE BASEMENT
The T’s saw to it that I was kept busy learning to control my new body by constant training in martial arts. We concentrated mostly on judo and similar small person techniques.
One thing to be said about the change, “That which doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”, held true for me. I was much stronger and faster than I had been before. The T’s still wanted me to concentrate on control though and I really didn’t get to see what I was truly capable of doing. I never seemed to get to sore either. I recovered a lot faster than I remembered from hard workouts.
Female training was at a minimum however. No one seemed to have the time to go over the basics with me and I was forced to get what I could out of some of the magazines they kept in their offices. Somehow I didn’t think I was going to get what I needed from them, but at least it was a start, and you never knew when, “Knowing When He Is Hot For You!”, will come in handy.
Mr. T took two weeks to figure out for sure that he was right about the compound that started this. The lab had been completely destroyed in a warehouse fire in Toronto. Only some of the compound which had been stored in especially heavy containers had survived. A little more research revealed that at one time the building had been rented by Dr. Fielding.
During this time my parents, the T’s, and some friends arranged an ambush for the assassins. No one on our side was hurt and Larry, who got to be there as part of the training he was getting from my parents, (the lucky dog), says that I don’t EVER want to see what Mom and Dad can do when they get really upset with someone.
He said that the T’s weren’t someone to mess with either, and that he thinks two of the other people were the two friends, Nathan and Lisa. They never gave the assassins a chance and he thinks that they got sent to somewhere in California where someone with a grudge was going to hold them for a while. At least until the current situation calmed down.
Then they would be turned over to the police. There was a bounty on them also, that the others were hoping to collect afterward.
Larry seemed to feel that vigilantes had some advantages over regular law enforcement and I think Mom and Dad are going to have a talk with him on that subject. By the way, did I tell you that Larry is a mutant also. It seems his abilities allow him to augment whatever he is doing at that time. That is one of the reasons he does so well in school, etc. It’s not as exciting as my abilities, but then, he doesn’t have to hide and go off to another school either.
Mr. T learned that I should be dead also. He thinks that he knows why I survived too. It seems that my talent may have been as a mimic. He thinks that if my talent, and he thinks it would have been a strong one, had ever become un-latent, under other circumstances, I would have had the ability to mimic other powers.
The Ultra-X-Amine compound when I received it, triggered my latent power and proceeded to burn me out. The fact that my power was latent slowed the process down enough to allow the other part of the drugs effect to take place first.
The way TB had worded his suggestion triggered the mimic ability and it tried to comply. There was no one there like that for it to mimic so it started to use the template I had in my brain from watching the show. The drug was giving me such a surge of power that my ability went into overdrive and proceeded to totally overwrite me completely.
All the power that, uncontrolled, would have consumed me, suddenly was diverted into making me over into the image in my mind. In the process the ability to mimic was burned out but enough of the power was used so that I didn’t die. I was left with the body of a girl who looked like Ryoko and had some of the abilities, or at least some analog of them put together from mutant abilities related to those possibly like my mother’s and father’s.
This shouldn’t have worked though. The template of Ryoko would have had to be built on a female template for this to work the way it did. How could this template exist if I wasn’t transgendered in the first place, and there was moderately good evidence that I was not. At least I had never shown any and couldn’t remember any either.
Thus we found ourselves in a predicament. Either this was the same substance and I shouldn’t be alive, much less a girl, or the substance was different in some way and may have contributed to the change. But why wasn’t I having more trouble with the change either? It didn’t add up.
Then Mr. T found an answer. It was the one he had suspected from the first. The appendectomy I had gotten when I was nine turned out to be, under closer scrutiny, somewhat different than one might think.
While some parts of the report were lost, Mr. T found a report in the insurance files stating that the company should not pay for such an operation on a young girl. Further research turned up the surgeons’ report. It seems that when they opened me up to remove my inflamed appendix, they found ovaries and a uterus with no opening to the outside. Following the accepted practices of the day and since I was already established as a boy they simply preformed a hysterectomy, cleaned me out, and sewed me up. They then told everyone that it took longer than normal because of unexplained difficulties, and promptly filed it all away.
Thus a template already existed and it would also explain why I was comfortable the way I was. This pretty much finished up what we needed to know about the situation as it existed now. The next step would be to start my new life and training at Whateley.
AN UNEVENTFUL TRIP
I wasn’t able to take much with me. I had two sets of jeans and shirts, that I had inherited from Colly, and some sport bras and panties that Mom had been able to buy on the sly as gifts for a cousin. I had my toiletries and these in my carry on. I had a sleeping bag, some camping equipment, and other supplies in some luggage that would travel separately.
The T’s were supplying the admission fees and spending money for books, etc. My parents would pay them back when things settled down. Overall things were going pretty good. The only problem was that I was already missing my parents. They seemed to take the changes pretty well. Of course, Larry said that they were taking their frustrations out on the bad guys.
He said it was very unhealthy to be in the business of supplying terrorists in this area. Accidents seemed to keep happening all over the place. Of course that kind of business has its risks. Safety becomes secondary. It could simply be a run of bad luck for them. There was some indication that the white flags might be flying sometime in the future.
I had a conversation with TB before I left also. It seems that his experiences have taught him a little wisdom and he might survive into his teens at this rate. I made a point of letting him know that I would be watching out for him and if he ever tried a lame stunt like that again I would see to it that Hell would be more pleasant.
Hey, I’m the big sister now. I have some privileges where torturing my younger brother comes in. He even gave me a gift before I left. I’m taking it with me out of sentiment. I’m not sure why. I have a feeling that I may regret it, yet I can’t seem to cut my ties with my past that easily.
There has got to be somewhere I can put it where it won’t draw too much attention. I’m carrying it in my carry-on now. I don’t want someone to find it by accident. Of course, lots of teenage girls have stuffed animals. It just so happens that mine is a cabbit. Lots of young girls have those don’t they?
Anyway, after a painful farewell in the basement, where I tried miserably to be brave and confident, Mr. T took me to the airport. I shook hands with him and set out into the cruel world and onto a U.S. Air jet to Pittsburg and from there to Concord, NH. From there I got a chance to ride a train, of all things, into the Town of Dunwich. A picturesque place just made for postcards and little else from what I could see.
There seemed to be a few people there that I thought might be going to Whateley also. I might have tried to get to know them better but I was too busy arguing with the station master over where in creation my luggage had gotten to.
After having a difficult time getting it through his thick and uncooperative skull that I needed to find out where it was, he finally called down the line to find that my bags had been delayed at the airport in Concord. They would be following me in the morning.- So sorry about the delay but you know how it is and stop bothering us as we have more important things to do than to argue with a girl thank you very much and goodbye!-
They were saved by the bus, or more correctly, by the arrival of Mrs. Shugendo and the vans that were to take us to Whateley. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the people around me at the time. I was still steaming about the way I had been treated by the travel people and trying to use the meditation techniques that Mrs. T taught me to keep from setting off a serious breach of etiquette and wrecking the bus.