|The Transformation Story Archive||The Other Sex|
It ripped out of hyperspace leaving a mile wide hole in reality. Had the most sensitive instruments on Earth been aimed directly at it, they would not have seen it, but they would have detected that something wasn't right. They would have, perhaps, seen a mild, blurry distortion which was slowly repairing itself, re- knitting reality from the edges to the distinct center where a star far older than the sun burned faintly from tens of thousand of light years away.
It was invisible to the optical telescopes which, like the humans who had created them, were blind to the part of the spectrum in which it existed. Even if it had been in the optical spectrum, there would have been debate among the humans who saw it as to the nature of its very existence, for it had no discernable mass, existing as it did slightly beyond normal space and time.
It "talked" to itself as it drifted above the surface of the Earth, although not in the sense of a human talking to himself. "Self" was a multiple concept to it, defining it in ways which humans could never imagine.
Its autonomic systems deployed filaments of braking thought, causing it to fall through the atmosphere at unbelievable speeds toward the dark desert directly below. It felt nothing in the physical sense, but as it neared the surface of the planet, it felt thousands and thousands of primitive impulses and thoughts. Not all of them were pleasant. It modified itself to filter what it could out the most primitive of the impulses, leaving only the impulses emanating from four of the most advanced entities encased in archaically refined metal not far away.
"Coach will kill us if he finds out about this," Lanny Wilmore said from the back seat of the car. There was a mostly full bottle of cold beer in his hand, growing warmer by the minute. They were parked on a little-used dirt road ten miles from the nearest town, lights off and radio speakers thumping to the beat of the Smashing Pumpkins.
"Football season is over, you pussy," Don Marshall said from behind the wheel of the parked car. He had borrowed his father's Buick for the evening. There was more room for him and his friends, and if they had gotten lucky and picked up a couple of girls... well, there would have been room for that, too. Unfortunately, pickings had been slim in that department. Coach Masters wouldn't have cared if they had found a little nookie, but he would have had a cow if he had known they had split a case of beer. Even after the season, the coach hated booze, even beer.
No luck at finding girls, they had settled for the next best thing - a case of beer and a quiet desert road.
"Yeah," Kevin Sloan agreed. He was riding shotgun and had already polished off three beers in short order. But then again, he was the biggest of the four of them, so he could handle it the easiest. He had complained that they had only bought a single case.
"Quit worrying, Wilmore," Jay Kipling said from the back seat, giving Lanny beside him a playful punch on the arm. I'll drink your share."
He could probably do it, Lanny mused, taking a shallow drink from his own bottle. Jay was an offensive lineman, shifting back and forth between tackle and guard. Jay would probably get a college football scholarship. Texas - El Paso and Fresno State were both interested in him, but he would probably end up at Arizona State, less than a hundred miles to the west. Kevin, a tackle, might end up there with Jay. He was bigger, but a little less versatile and considerably slower. Still, he was a fine player who had helped the Desert View Junior College Raiders come within a game of the conference finals.
Lanny envied them both. He knew he and Don had little chance of getting picked up by a major school. Both were too small to play backfield positions at a larger school. Oh, there had been polite inquiries from a couple of smaller schools, but playing at one of them meant little or no chance at the pros, especially since they would never be more than third string at any large school. As it was, both were only second string at Desert View.
The four would have been unlikely friends had they not all grown up together in Desert View. Kevin and Jay looked almost like brothers. They were related, but were only cousins. Both were tall, broad shouldered with short dark blonde hair. Don was a little larger than Lanny, with a slender build and light blonde hair. Lanny, the smallest, was a shade under six feet tall, with nondescript brown hair, blue eyes, and a fair complexion. Neither Don nor Lanny looked hardy enough to play college football, but what each had lacked in size, they had made up in speed and agility. But those attributes wouldn't carry them to the next level where all three qualities would be required.
The unexpected loss in the previous week's match-up had been devastating. They had all planned to be spending the day in a post-season game, but a last minute fumble in the final game of the season had cost them the game and the championship. None of them was drinking to celebrate. Rather, they were drowning their sorrows.
A sudden loud boom shook the car. Lanny looked out into the cloudless sky, expecting to see a small thundercloud directly overhead, but there was nothing but stars.
"What in hell was that?" Don asked.
Kevin was about to reply, but out of nowhere, a sharp, high pitched sound came out of nowhere. "Ouch!" Kevin yelled, suddenly, nearly spilling his beer.
"Watch it, man!" Don exclaimed. "This is my dad's car. If you spill, he'll know we were drinking in it."
"But that noise," Kevin protested. "Don't you hear it?"
"Ow!" Jay yelled, covering his ears. Don was next, leaving Lanny to look at his friends in confusion. Then he, too, felt a painful sensation in his ears. It cascaded downward into a high-pitched whine. Then, suddenly, all was silent.
"What the fuck was that?" Jay asked, but no one had an answer.
It processed the sum total of all the boys' thoughts in a fraction of a second, reading them and compartmentalizing them with ease. They were, after all, a primitive species.
...Is it there?... it asked itself.
...Confirmed. Begin Phase One...
All four boys piled out of the car into the cool desert evening. There was nothing to be seen that could have made the noise. It was a moonless night, and except for a light breeze from the west, there was no sound or movement. For some reason, even the car radio was silent.
"I don't like this," Don said, inching back toward the car.
"Don't like what?" Kevin asked.
"There's nothing out here that could have made that noise," Don explained. "I'm wary of something that has to be there but that I can't see."
Lanny saw something first. It was a shadow, moving through the desert brush. But as he watched, it began to resolve itself into... "Judy!" he yelled. "What are you doing here?"
Judy was the girl Lanny had fallen for the previous year. She had not felt the same way about him, however, and had transferred to Northern Arizona her second year. Yet here she was, her long blonde hair cascading down her back, her figure even more perfect than Lanny had remembered. She laughed and said, "Lanny, it's good to see you. Come, meet my friends." Lanny then realized he hadn't actually heard her say the words. It was more as if she had thought them to him.
"Isn't that Judy Kendall?" Kevin asked. "She's a fox! Did she say she had friends?"
"I'm not really sure she said anything," Lanny remarked cryptically.
"Let's go!" Jay shouted. "Girls!"
Don put out an arm to hold him back. "Wait a minute. What is she doing out here in the middle of the desert? Where's her car?"
"Come on, Lanny," Judy cooed enticingly, "and bring your friends. We're so lonely out here."
Lanny felt compelled to follow her. Concerns about something not being right seemed to fly from his mind. He could hardly believe his good luck. He rushed to her side and put an arm around her. She felt wonderful. She turned and smiled at the other boys. "Are you coming or not?" Again, it wasn't really said. It was more like a concept which his mind gave words to.
Jay pushed Don's arm aside and followed Lanny. Kevin fell in line behind him. He turned and looked at Don. "Are you going to stay here by yourself?"
Don shuddered. There was something terribly wrong. Judy's voice didn't even sound right. Voice? It was like she wasn't even speaking; it was almost as if the voice were coming from inside his head. His first impulse was to run to his father's car, but he knew he had to go with his friends. Something inside told him he would never make it back to the car on his own. Besides, if there was something out there, they would have a better chance facing it together. The four boys walked about twenty yards when Judy suddenly stopped.
"Why did you stop?" Lanny asked her.
She smiled and looked at him, slowly fading away. "Because we're there, silly," she said, walking away from him.
"What the hell?" Lanny said. Then he looked up and screamed.
It didn't really say "damn," but it was the nearest equivalent.
...Modifications may be required...
...No. Very minor...
They called us Mulder and Scully, like in "The X-Files." Andy didn't mind it so much. He even looked a little like Agent Mulder. He was tall, lanky, and had a boyish face and a dry sense of humor. If his hair had been straight instead of naturally curled, he would have been a credible Mulder.
Me? I minded. I had red hair, but that was the only thing that Agent Scully and I had in common. I wasn't skeptical like Scully, and I wasn't a Catholic like she was. Most importantly, I wasn't female and had no wish to be, so I got very tired of being called Scully by the other members of the FCT.
At least, there were only twenty of us in the FCT. The First Contact Team had been brought into existence after the rash of flying saucer sightings in the forties and fifties. It was highly classified since the government didn't want to set off every flying saucer nut in the country. The FCT would systematically investigate the most promising sightings, but only if there was a suspected landing. All of us believed there was something out there, and if we were just patient enough, that something would come to us.
Now, half a century later, we were beginning to wonder. All of the original team had retired many years before. We were just the latest generation of men and women who joined the team in hopes of being the first to contact an alien life form, only be to disappointed time after time as we traveled across the country investigating one false lead after another. In spite of our best efforts, we were no closer to proving the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life than our predecessors had been half a century earlier.
Dr. Andy King had been on the team for five years. He was one of our biologists, or I suppose xenobiologist is a better term since it was his job to look for biological evidence of extraterrestrials. He had been picked because he had done some advanced work at Stanford postulating non-carbon based life forms. At thirty, he was probably second in biological knowledge only to Dr. Widmark, the senior scientist on the team.
Me? Dr. Tony Winter - Staff Linguistics expert. I had only been on the team for two years, just four years after receiving my Doctorate at Yale, but at twenty-eight, I was considered one of the top world experts on the origins of language. A linguist who was quick on his feet was considered essential to the First Contact Team, and although junior to Dr. Wendy Van Buren, our senior linguist, my credentials were every bit as impressive.
Andy and I were often teamed up. We had become good friends in the two years I had been on the project, often arguing until late into the night about the biological basis for language. I don't just mean the obvious physical structure of creatures which might communicate through a true language, but rather, how those languages would differ based upon physical characteristics. The most obvious, of course, was a numerical base. Base ten made sense for humans since we had ten fingers. A creature with eight digits (such as Mickey Mouse) would probably be more comfortable with base eight, and so on.
Andy and I had one of those arguments going on the night the call came in from Desert View. By all rights, we should have been gone from the project headquarters in St Louis for at least two hours. But neither of us were married, and we had caught a late lunch, so there was nothing pressing to leave for. I was showing him the latest computer model I had created hypothesizing a race of beings who might communicate by touch while Andy was arguing that such a species, unable to hear or vocalize, would have become extinct since it could not be completely aware of its environment.
"But what about a species which developed on an airless world?" I argued. "No species would be able to hear, so it would be a level playing field."
"True," Andy conceded, "but it couldn't happen. Advanced life forms couldn't develop in a vacuum."
Andy shrugged. "It's too hostile. You might find a primitive life form which manages to adapt, but complex life forms depend upon the development of systems which can't normally exist in a vacuum."
"Normally?" I challenged. He was hedging. I didn't hear the answer, though. The team director, Del Winchester interrupted us.
"We may have something of interest," he said, plopping his overweight body into a chair at our table. Del looked like an out of shape bureaucrat. His suit always had a disheveled look and he was balding and seriously overweight, but he was one of the brightest men I had ever known.
"Verified?" I asked.
"No radar verification," he replied. "No visual either."
"Then why would we be interested?" Andy wanted to know. So did I. It wasn't like Del to bring us a case without verification.
"Take a look at this," Del suggested, placing a manila envelope on the table, allowing its contents to spill out. There were two satellite photos. I looked at them. They both looked as if they were pictures of the same section of a desert. The only difference was a dark object on the picture time stamped twenty four hours after the first one.
"It looks like a car," I ventured, squinting at the dark object.
"It is a car," Del confirmed. "A late model Buick, to be exact."
"And is this Buick carrying a middle class family of four from Deneb-4?" Andy quipped.
"No, Andy," I told him. "This is like that old song line from Blonde. What was it? 'And the man from Mars is eating cars.'"
Del shook his head. "Widmark and Van Buren are somewhere up the Ganges looking for a saucer supposedly sighted by ten thousand pilgrims and I get stuck with Abbot and Costello."
Well, I suppose it was better than Mulder and Scully.
"Okay Del," I said, stifling a laugh. "What is it we're supposed to be seeing?"
He took a pudgy finger and pointed at an indistinct line a few yards from the car. "See this blurred area? It's on the newer photo, but not on the older one. I just got this one," he went on, sliding a third photo from the envelope, "just a few minutes ago. Take a look."
I squinted at the new photo. "The blurred area is gone."
Del stared at me and sighed, "Tony, don't ever go into aerial reconnaissance. Look over here on the other side of the ridge."
I saw what he was referring to. About a hundred yards from its previous position, there was a blurred area. I looked up. "You mean to tell me it's moving?"
Del nodded. "It's definitely changing position. Whatever it is, we think it caused four local boys to disappear. They were reported missing this morning, and the car you see belonged to one of their fathers.
"Maybe it's some sort of dimensional rift," Andy suggested.
"Those exist only in theory," I pointed out.
"So do flying saucers," was his rejoinder.
"Whatever it is," Del said, breaking in before we could start another long-winded discussion, "it's moving and it appears to be dangerous."
"Has anyone else disappeared?" I asked.
Del looked at me sharply. "Why do you ask?"
I shrugged. "Just a hunch. Have they?"
"They have. Just a little over fifteen minutes ago, I got word two airmen from Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson disappeared. They were part of an Air Force security team dispatched to find the boys."
I looked at Andy. He had a worried look on his face. There was something we weren't being told. The Air Force didn't just send a security force to hunt missing boys without a reason. They would leave that to National Guard or Air Guard personnel. Security teams were dispatched in case of aircraft losses where there was danger of something falling into the wrong hands. What did they suspect was out there anyway?
To make matters worse, our job just got harder. The military seemed to have its own agenda when it came to UFOs. There was usually a distinct lack of cooperation from them. They refused to share satellite data with us, forcing us to use civilian birds, primarily from Interior or Agriculture. Most of our tracking data came from either NASA or foreign tracking stations. With the military, a sparrow flying over a popgun was enough to rate a Top Secret clearance.
"Have they cordoned off the area yet?"
Del shook his head. "They haven't and I don't think they will. If it were military equipment out there in the desert, they probably would. But what we've got is four missing teenage boys and a couple of missing airmen. At this point, I think they're content to let the local sheriff handle it until they come up with something concrete."
"But what about this distortion?" Andy asked. "Haven't they noticed it?"
"No," Del replied. "For once, we've got them over a barrel. There aren't any military satellites crossing over at exactly that point. They haven't figured out that one of Interior's birds crosses right over the area."
"I wonder what alerted them to begin with," I pondered.
"There was a sonic boom reported in the area. The Air Force sent out a two-man team to investigate it. When they got to the area, a search was on for the boys. They got roped into helping."
"Look, Del," Andy said slowly, "is there any chance that the distortion is just a problem with the bird? Maybe these kids just wandered off into the desert, and the Air Force team got lost or something."
Del shook his head. "You might have a point with the boys, but the Air Force team disappeared less than fifty yards from the car. Nobody else has gone in that area since."
I saw where this was going. Andy and I weren't going to learn anything out there unless we walked into that area. Whatever caused the other six people to disappear would cause the same thing to us. The difference, of course, was that we were trained for extraterrestrial contact. Of course, since we had never actually met an extraterrestrial, it was hard to say how good our training was. Oh well, I thought. When I joined the team, I knew there would be risks. "So when do we go in, Del?"
Del favored me with a tired smile. "A plane is fueled and ready at Lindbergh Field right now. We even packed your bags for you." FCT Field Teams always had a bag at headquarters for immediate departures.
I sighed. "Then what are we waiting for?"
After two years on the FCT, I was used to disappointments. I had examined data stream after data stream of impulses, looking for some sign of intelligent life without success. I had interview countless "witnesses" who had heard aliens speak only to determine that what they had heard, if anything at all, was gibberish. Still, I was excited. This sighting was unlike any other we had seen. Maybe it would be the real one.
I managed to get a little sleep on the plane, but Andy could never sleep in the air, so he caught up on his professional reading during the three-hour flight. The crew had also provided us with some little sandwiches that passed for dinner. It was nearly midnight by the time we rolled up to the service hangar at the Desert View airport.
Desert View Airport wasn't exactly Chicago O'Hare. It consisted of a combination service hangar and office and two small open sheds which each held half a dozen private planes. The office was closed, so only the security lights on the hangar cut through the darkness. As the whine of the engines on our government Lear Jet faded, I could see the runway lights being extinguished. A man in what looked like a sheriff's uniform had thrown the switch outside the hangar to cut the lights.
The pilot unloaded our bags for us as the man in uniform strode over to meet us. "Winter and King?" he asked.
I extended my hand. His handshake was firm and friendly. "I'm Tony Winter. This is Andy King."
Andy extended his hand as well.
"Bob Gates, Aztec County Sheriff," he replied. He was a big man, perhaps six three, without an ounce of fat on him. His western hat and silver badge on his khaki shirt made him look like my image of a Texas Ranger out of the last century. His neatly trimmed hair and mustache gave him a very professional air. I had the feeling Sheriff Gates was a professional. That was a relief. In my job, I had seen enough of small town law officers who were only competent to issue parking tickets. "Do you fellas want to get settled in first, or go right to the sight?"
With the prospect of the Air Force breathing down our necks, that was an easy decision. We had to get out to the site before they managed to shut it down. "If it's all the same sheriff," I told him, "let's go to the site."
He seemed to like that. We were all business, and so was he. I could tell he wanted this mystery solved as soon as possible. Since the boys were all local, there was probably quite a stir in town. Incidents like this one could cost a sheriff the next election.
"So what can you tell us?" Andy asked as the sheriff lifted our bags into the back of his Ford Explorer.
The sheriff shrugged. "Not much to tell. I'm sure you know the basics. We found the boys' car about noon. I sent two deputies out to look for them, but they weren't able to find anything. Then, that Air Force team showed up. My deputies sent them out in the one direction they hadn't checked. While they were watching, the airmen disappeared about thirty yards from the car."
"You said the deputies had been searching for some time," I clarified, getting into the back seat while Andy rode shotgun.
"That's right," the Sheriff said, starting the car.
"Were they out here alone?"
"Yep. What are you getting at?"
"Well," I continued, "were there any footprints or any sign of which direction the boys had gone?"
The Sheriff thought for a minute. "Well, I guess there couldn't be. If there were, they would have known which way to search."
That was true, I admitted to myself, but something didn't seem quite right. "Are the deputies still out at the site?"
"I sent 'em home right a few hours ago. I told them to get some sleep and meet us out here around midnight. They should be there now," the Sheriff explained.
It only took about fifteen minutes to reach the site. The deputies were there and had set up a couple of small floodlights. Bathed in the glow of one of them was a fairly new Buick, but beyond it, the light just faded off into the still desert. There was nothing to indicate to where six people had disappeared.
When we got out of the car, the Sheriff performed the introductions. "Tony Winter, Andy King, meet Rice Daniels and Tate Baxter. Folks around here call 'em Rice n' Taters."
It was even worse than Scully and Mulder, I thought as I gripped Tate's beefy hand. He was six four if he was an inch, and looked to be built out of concrete blocks. Desert View might be a small town, but it had to have a gym to produce a specimen like Tate. He gave me a big farm boy grin. Rice was about my size, with black hair thinning on the top and dark skin that hinted at a Mexican ancestry, in spite of his last name. He was a little more formal than Tate, but still smiled and welcomed us to Desert View.
"Did either of you find any footprints around the site?" I asked.
Both shook their heads. "Just around the car," Tate clarified. "It looks like them boys was just millin' around drinkin' beer until they got lost."
I wondered if he knew how naive that sounded. One minute, they were drinking beer, and the next minute, they were lost. I'd hate to have to explain that to anyone. I decided to let it go for a moment, though. As bright as the sheriff was, his deputies were proving to be a disappointment. It didn't take much to realize they were frightened. They hadn't really searched the area at all. Of course, given what had happened to the two airmen, maybe not searching had been the wisest choice after all.
"So where did the airmen disappear?" Andy asked.
"Right over there," Rice replied, pointing out into the blackness of the desert.
I started in that direction, looking down at the ground as I walked.
"Be careful, Tony," Andy cautioned. I planned on being cautious. I had seen the satellite photos. I knew there had to be something out there in the desert, but I couldn't see it. Whatever the distortion we had seen on the satellite photos was, it didn't appear when you looked straight on at ground level. If we weren't careful, we'd walk right into it.
There were footprints around the car as the deputies had said, but they clearly struck out into the desert. How could they have missed them? They must have been so frightened that they hadn't even come in this direction, I thought. I looked at Tate. "Did you know there are footprints over here?"
Tate looked embarrassed. "Well, we did see 'em, yeah."
""Then why didn't you check them out?" I asked.
"Well, Dr. Winter," he began slowly, his head bowed, "I reckon Rice and me ain't afraid of much of anything we can see, but whatever's out there is like ghosts. We kinda decided between the two of us to wait for the experts to show up."
I actually couldn't fault their reasoning. Andy and I were used to the concept of facing the unknown. These local deputies weren't equipped to handle much more than a traffic offense or rousting a Saturday night drunk. If I had been in their shoes, I might have done the same thing,
My thoughts were interrupted by the approach of two large, loud vehicles with lights bright enough to light up a football stadium. They were approaching us at high speed, throwing a dark cloud of desert dirt and sand high into the air.
"Oh shit!" Andy exclaimed. "It's Roger Ramjet and company."
This, I knew, was Andy's shorthand expression for the Air Force. It was indeed our boys in blue, blundering through the desert in two Humvees. This was bad news, I thought. Standard operating procedure would require them to lock down the site at once, and our investigation would be up in smoke.
"We've got to go now, Andy," I yelled over the roar of the approaching vehicles.
"Go? Go where?" he yelled back.
I pointed into the desert. "There. We have to follow the boys if we're going to have a shot at this one." Andy couldn't believe I was saying that, but I had a feeling this was The Big One. There was something out there in the desert - something intelligent. It could be a sentient species from the stars. The First Contact Team had been in existence since before I was born, and this might be my only chance, I realized.
Suddenly, Andy understood. I could see he was starting to think the same thing. As the Humvees came to a halt, he said, "Okay, let's do it."
"Wait a minute," the Sheriff called, suddenly realizing what we were about to do. "We don't know what's out there. Wait until we - "
"Sorry, Sheriff," I called over my shoulder. "We've got to go in now. Stay here and coordinate with the Air Force."
I really just wanted him to slow them down until we had a chance to walk out into the desert. Whatever had taken the boys and the two airmen was bound to take us, too. I just hoped it happened before the Air Force could stop us.
"Stop where you are!" a voice called from the direction of the Humvees. We kept walking. What were they going to do? Shoot us? It wouldn't look good on their reports.
A few yards away from the Sheriff, things got unnaturally still. Now, the desert can be that way, but not when you have several Air Force personnel running through it yelling at you to stop. But we couldn't hear them, and suddenly, we couldn't see them either. We were swallowed up by a blackness unlike anything I had ever experienced. It wasn't just an absence of light; it was more like an absence of everything. I couldn't see Andy, or even myself for that matter. I also couldn't feel anything under my feet. It was like the experience you have where you are floating in a dream, standing up and using no effort to move ahead.
The blackness didn't disappear all at once. Rather, it began to fade into a pale gray. Through the gray mist, I could see Andy just standing and looking about. I was doing the same thing.
"Where are we?" Andy said. His voice sounded as if it were a hundred yards away instead of the few paces away where he actually stood.
"I don't know," I replied. Even my own voice sounded muffled and distant. It was like a landscape after a fresh snow, before the sun comes back out, where the world is a collage of whites and grays without a discernable sound. Even the temperature was "gray," being neither hot nor cold with no trace of air movement.
"Do you hear something?" Andy asked suddenly.
"No, why? Do you?" I turned to look at Andy. He was holding his ears, a grimace of pain on his face. "What is it, Andy?" Abruptly, I felt it, too. It was a high-pitched sound, causing a sudden ache in my ears. It was as if hot needles had been jammed into my ears, crawling into my brain and slicing through it like some sort of ghostly knife. Oddly, I had no sense of personal danger. It was more like the painful irritation I would have felt from an earache. It lasted perhaps thirty seconds and then was gone.
But the silence had not returned. There was now a gentle hum coming from an unknown source. The grayness had resolved itself into corridors and doorways, and there was soft lighting from above which cast gentle shadows along the walls. The floor was solid as well, and I realized it felt good to be back on solid... something.
The most interesting sight, though, was more familiar. From one of the rooms, a girl emerged, perhaps eighteen or nineteen. She had a fair complexion which was absolutely flawless. Her lovely face was set off by high cheekbones and sparkling blue eyes and framed by a luxuriant mane of shining brown hair. She wore a blue camisole whose satiny material did nothing to hide the exiting shape of her perfect body. Her breasts were a full C cup, proud and tipped with large nipples which could be seen through the thin material. Her waist and hips were a medley of curves that moved with a fluid grace as she walked. She wore nothing on her feet or legs, but her long legs were as smooth as silk, without a blemish. Her makeup was subtle, understated, and very sexy. Long nails, frosted pink capped the most graceful hands I had ever seen. I felt a hardness in my groin straining at my pants. I hoped she didn't notice.
"Who are you?" Andy asked. I was supposed to be the language expert, but one look at the girl and I couldn't think of anything to say.
Suddenly, another girl about the same age stepped out of a further doorway. She was blonde, wearing a red thong bikini, but she was equally as beautiful as the brunette. Her breasts were even larger, certainly a D cup, and as she walked toward us, her hips thrust in a motion that was almost a dance.
I was confused. We knew of four boys and two airmen who had been trapped by whatever this thing was, but no one had mentioned any girls disappearing.
"Can you speak English?" I asked the brunette.
"Y.. yes," she managed. "I'm Lanny Wilcox and this is Don Marshall."
"Lanni, Donna," I acknowledged, "I'm Tony Winter and this is Andy King. We weren't aware that you girls were taken. We had expected to find four boys and a couple of Air Force men."
The blonde shook her head. "It isn't Donna. It's Don."
"Oh, D-a-w-n," I clarified.
"No. D-o-n. I'm a man. Or at least I was. So was Lanny."
Neither Andy nor I could say a word. We didn't know what to say. Here were two near perfect specimens of womanhood standing before us claiming to have been men.
"Jay and Kevin are still asleep," Don explained. "So there were four of us. You were right. And Norm and Vicki - they're the two Air Force types you were mentioning - are in a room down the hall."
"Vicki?" I repeated.
Don nodded, her blonde hair bouncing as she did. "That's right. She was female when she got here, although they've enhanced her quite a bit. You didn't know that, did you?"
I shook my head. "No, we didn't. We just had a rough idea of what had happened, but it was enough to pique the interest of our people."
"Who are you?" Lanni, or rather Lanny, asked.
Andy and I took a few minutes to explain what the First Contact Team was and why we had come. As we were explaining, we were joined by the Air Force woman. She was as beautiful as Don and Lanny. Her name was Vicki Romero. She claimed she had been very plain when she had arrived.
"But look at me now," she said, almost not believing it herself. Her olive skin was sensational, and her large breasts were completely uncovered, displaying large, dark nipples. Her straight black hair hung all the way to her ass and shone with a brilliance that was almost unnatural. She wore only a tiny pair of French cut panties and heels which were at least four inches high. "Actually, I'm pretty happy about this, but poor Lanny and Don really got screwed."
Lanny let out a sardonic laugh. Vicki looked at him, her large brown eyes wide with alarm. "Oh, I'm sorry, honey. I didn't mean - "
Lanny waived a delicate hand. "I know, Vicki. I realize you didn't mean anything by it."
I looked at Lanny in puzzlement. Before I could ask, she suggested, "I'd better start from the beginning. It's complicated, but you'll understand better." With a look directly at me, she added, "You especially need to understand."
We were seated on comfortable couches in Lanny's room. Jay, one of the boys, had joined us. He was a big lad, clad only in boxers. Kevin, who looked and dressed very much like Jay joined us as well. Finally, Staff Sergeant Norm Bennet joined us. He was a tall black man wearing a small robe that barely fit him. When the introductions were made, Lanny began her story.
She began by telling us about their little excursion out into the desert. They had been drinking for only half an hour or so when they heard the sonic boom. She told me about Judy, her old girlfriend. I listed with rapt attention as this very sexy young lady told me about her girlfriend. It was almost impossible to imagine such a vision of feminine beauty talking as if she were just one of the boys. She told us how the simulacrum of Judy had lured them out into the desert
"Then, she told us we were there," Lanny continued, "and she just sort of... melted in front of us. I thought something terrible had happened to her, and I screamed. She got all gray and just became part of the landscape, her features melting like candle wax." The girl shuddered at the thought of what she had seen. Then, with a sigh, she continued.
"Suddenly, we were on a featureless plain. I imagine you saw the same thing. Did you?"
I nodded in response.
"Well, the plain began to resolve itself into this system of rooms you see here. Each of the spaces is like this one. The room we're in is a living room, if you will. Food appears out of nowhere on that table along the wall. It's pretty good, too. If you lie down on that couch or any of the chairs, it becomes a bed. They didn't bother with much else as you can see."
It was true. The room wasn't much for esthetics. There were no pictures or other decorations in sight. "Then what's the other room for?" I asked, pointing at the dark entrance which seemed to lead to a second room.
"We call it the play room," Lanny told me, a catch in her voice. "I'll get to that. We explored the place as best we could. It just consists of what you see here, room after room like this. Even if you do get to the end of the corridor, you find yourself right back where you started."
"But the corridor is straight," Andy pointed out. "How can it curve around on itself?"
"It doesn't," Don chimed in. "As you walk down the corridor, another room appears for every one you've passed. By the time you walk past about a hundred rooms like this, all on the same side of the corridor, you find yourself standing back at the point where you started. We experimented by leaving a beer bottle right in front of this room. When we walked past a hundred rooms, the beer bottle was in our path."
I began to wish I had a better foundation in physics. The team had put me through a crash course on the subject, but there was nothing in the course which would have prepared me for this.
"We were in this very room," Lanny continued, "when it began to happen. Don and I felt an odd tingling sensation. It wasn't unpleasant, but it felt... different. Then, we began to notice changes. We became shorter at first, and we could see our hair starting to grow longer. Our clothes literally fell off our bodies, and we could see everything changing at once. Our hips and breasts began thrusting outward while our waists contracted. We didn't have to bother with makeup. It just appeared along with earrings and the outfits you see us wearing now, or something similar to them. The outfits keep changing. In maybe ten minutes, it was over. Kevin and Jay were unchanged, or at least not changed much. Don and I became the girls we are now. The next thing we knew, we were walking into the play room."
"But this is impossible," Andy commented. "Cellular disruption and change like that would be extremely painful. It would kill you almost instantly."
"But we're proof that you're wrong," Lanny countered, motioning at her feminine body. "Whatever controls this... place knows more than we can even imagine."
"It's like a science fiction writer once said," I added. "If a highly advanced race suddenly encountered a primitive race, their science would appear as magic to the primitives."
"Well, this primitive certainly considers it magic," Andy replied. "I can't even begin to imagine how they did it. For that matter, who is 'they?'"
"We don't know," Kevin answered. "We haven't seen anyone except the people you see here now. We don't even know if there is anyone else here. For that matter, we don't know where 'here' is."
"We're in some sort of spaceship," I told them. "We don't know what it is, though. We've never encountered anything quite like this. We don't know who they are or what they want."
Lanny asked hesitantly, "But can anybody get us out and change us back?"
"No," Andy replied bluntly. "Even if we managed to get out, there's nothing in our science which could even begin to change you back. I'd have to do genetic testing, but I'm certain your chromosomes are now XX instead of XY. Transsexual surgery had gotten pretty good at the male-to-female conversion, but female-to-male surgery leaves a lot to be desired."
"I think I could stand to stay this way," Lanny said, "if I could just get out of here. I'd rather change back to male, though."
I looked at Lanny and Don. They were embarrassed, not just about their sex change, but something they hadn't told. They were holding something back - something that was even worse than the physical transformation. "Lanny, why is getting out of here more important to you than changing back?"
Her face reddened. "I... that is, Don and I..." She broke down in tears. "See? It's happening again. I just can't control myself. I never used to cry. Now, I cry as much as my little sister does."
Jay looked as if he wanted to put a comforting arm around her; then looked embarrassed as he sunk back down into his chair. It was up to Don to explain. "More than our bodies have changed, Tony. Lanny and I have... urges now that we never had before."
"And mine have grown stronger," Vickie chimed in.
Andy scowled. "You mean sexual urges? You've developed sexual urges?"
"Uncontrollable ones," Kevin confirmed. "I mean, they made Lanny and Don into beautiful women, but they're still our friends. Jay and I wouldn't have, you know, taken advantage of them if we could help it. But we've been changed, too. We're... well, bigger, and we just can't stop ourselves."
"Neither can we," Don added, eyes downcast.
The true horror of what was happening had become apparent. Two normal heterosexual males had been somehow changed into females, resulting in artificially induced sexual drives too intense to control. Their still-male friends had been forced into overriding their natural inhibitions and ignoring the fact that the available females were their once-male friends. But why was this being done? Our two Air Force members were proof against the necessity of performing the sex change. Why not capture only existing males and females instead of wasting energy changing them to fit?
Wait a minute. What had Lanny said earlier? I thought. Something about the fact that I would especially need to understand. Damn! I had been so wrapped up in the stories of the other captives that I had forgotten that Andy and I were subject to the same rules as everyone else. I looked at Andy and he looked at me, obviously with the same thought.
"How long were you here before the transformation began?" I managed to ask.
Lanny shook her head. "It's hard to say. All our watches stopped and are gone now. All I can tell you is that we've had these orgy cycles four times since the transformations. The changes seem to happen within minutes of the next cycle."
Four times, and they had been here just a little over a day. That meant the cycles were six hours long. We had been here - what? - an hour or so, so in a little less than five hours, either Andy or I would be changed. I couldn't imagine what it would be like. Andy and I had been friends for a long time, but the thought of making love to him, either if he was the female or I was, seemed repugnant.
"Is there any way of predicting which of us will change to female?" Andy asked, daring to ask the dreaded question.
"We think so," Don answered. "Vicki was already female, so she's out of the sample. Lanny and I were the two smallest males, though. Maybe it assumes the smaller of a pair should be the female."
"That would make sense," Andy mused. "In most advanced species on Earth, the female is the smaller of the two. It might be universally true. If so..."
His voice trailed off, but he didn't have to finish. I was shorter than Andy, so odds were I would be in line for the change. Oddly enough, I wasn't frightened by the prospect. I didn't want it to happen. I was happy the way I was, but the intellectual curiosity had surfaced. It was a puzzle to be solved, just like a new language. First, I had to determine if there was a way to stop the transformation. If I couldn't, I would have to figure out how to avoid becoming a slave to sexual desire as had happened to the others. Even if I was able to do that, I would have to solve the puzzle of how to live in a female body. Of course, there was a chance that body size wasn't the actual determinant, but even if that were true and the process was random, there would be a fifty percent chance of my sex being changed.
I looked at all of them. They believed size was the determinant, for they were all looking at me with pity, even the women. "You all believe I'll change, don't you?"
"It's not so bad," Lanny said unconvincingly. "I mean, I wouldn't have chosen it, but..." She couldn't think of anything to add.
"Look," Vicki commented, "we're all puppets here. I've been female all my life, and I wouldn't want it any other way. They've even enhanced me. I was Plain Jane before, but now, I'm hot and I don't mind that at all. What I mind is that I don't have any control over what I do. I mean, Norm here isn't such a bad lover. I just wish it had been our idea and not some... some thing's idea."
"Me, too, Babe," the big sergeant agreed.
"You mean you have no control at all?" I asked, fighting down a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"None at all," Don confirmed. "You'll just be minding your own business and suddenly, you'll have the urge to go into the back room of your apartment."
"What's back there?" Andy asked, looking back at the dark room over his shoulder.
"It seems to vary," Lanny explained. "One time, it might be just an ordinary bedroom. The next time, it might be a grassy knoll. The time after that, it might be beside a swimming pool. The only common denominator is that you'll be so horny you can't stand it. You won't even be able to think. You'll just want to... make love in any way you can think of." There were tears forming in the corners of her beautiful eyes. "The hell of it is, you'll love every second of it. It's like nothing I've ever known before."
"Afterwards," Don said, picking up the explanation, "you'll fall asleep. You'll wake up back in a room like this one. You can eat, sleep, whatever, until you're called again."
"Always with the same partner?" Andy asked.
"So far," Don replied.
Andy and I decided to make the most of our time before the next calling. We systematically inspected every room along the corridor, finding them to be absolutely identical. Each contained the comfortable living quarters and each contained a darkened entrance to another room. We tried to enter the rooms, but each was blocked by some sort of force field. As we tried to enter the darkness, something would gently push us away. We could see nothing in the rooms. It was as if they absorbed all visible light.
There was nothing along the corridor except the identical rooms. We could find no engine room or control room or any of the things that we would have expected to find on a spaceship. Eventually, we reached the last room. When we entered it, to our surprise, we found all of our fellow captives.
"You went all the way to the end?" Lanny asked.
"Yes," I replied. "But let me guess. None of you have moved, right?"
"That's right," Lanny confirmed. "Look out in the corridor now."
Andy and I did, and as we had been told to expect, we were back at the beginning again. Somehow, the interior of the ship had folded over itself. I wished I had paid more attention in physics, but I suspected nothing in human physics would have done much to explain the phenomenon.
"Lanny, how...?" I was not able to complete my question. Everyone in the room except Andy and I suddenly stiffened as a glazed expression settled over their faces. They rose as one and filed out of the room.
"Wait!" Andy called, trying to hold Kevin back, but he easily slipped out of Andy's grip. We tried to follow, but the exit to the corridor was suddenly impassible, hampered by the same force field we had encountered before.
Then it began. I dropped my hands away from the door although I hadn't willed them to drop. It was as if some agency had taken control of my movements. My skin began to tingle, almost as it feels when a limb falls asleep.
"Tony, are you okay?" Andy asked, a worried expression on his face.
"I don't think so," I managed to respond in a voice that didn't sound quite right. I knew what was happening. The others had been right. I was the one who was going to change. "What's happening to me, Andy?"
"You're changing," he confirmed. I could see that in spite of himself, he was fascinated with what was happening to me. What biologist wouldn't be fascinated? My DNA was being rewritten as he watched. I could feel myself becoming shorter and weaker. Hair was tickling the back of my neck and was becoming longer and heavier. My torso was rearranging itself moment by moment. As I looked at Andy, I was beginning to have strange urges, wondering what he would look like naked, what he would feel like...
...I was suddenly aware of loud rock music with a heavy beat. I opened my eyes and saw a dark room with flashing lights. Then, I became aware that my body was swaying to the beat of the music, and I could feel something bouncing on my chest. I looked down at my body, illuminated by a soft spotlight. I was nearly naked, with only a shining silver g-string covering my swaying crotch. Long red hair draped over my shoulders, swinging back and forth across large breasts. I was standing in place as I gyrated, balanced on silver heeled sandals that showed the bright silver polish on my toenails.
I licked my lips unconsciously, feeling the waxy perfumed taste of lipstick. Fluttering long lashes, I looked out into the darkness, making out a single table just below the runway I was standing on. There was someone there - a man. He was dressed in only a tight-fitting pair of briefs, outlining a very large, erect penis. It was Andy, I realized, feeling myself getting warm and wet between my legs. I wanted him. My God, I wanted him!
He climbed up on the stage, entranced by my movement. With a gentle hand, he pulled away the thin material covering my new sex. Neither of us were thinking, at least not in the normal sense of the word. I could remember who I had been, and I could remember that Andy was my friend, but I couldn't resist the aching need to have him in me.
I knelt on the floor which had become soft and pliant. I caressed his manhood gently with long red nails. He lovingly pushed me down on my back and slipped his penis into me. I gasped with pleasure as he penetrated me. I could think of nothing but the joy of having him in me.
As a new female, perhaps I should have counted the orgasms I experienced, but I couldn't. They came in waves, one after another, forcing my mind into spasms of ecstasy. I wanted it to go on forever.
I awoke slowly, sensing something was wrong. Then, I remembered. I was lying on a bed in the living quarters, my bare breasts just outside the satin sheets. I could feel something tied around my slender waist, and realized it was probably the g-string back in place. I turned over, feeling my ample breasts shift uncomfortably. Long red hair fell in front of my eyes, causing me to pull in out of the way with delicate hands. Andy was sleeping peacefully beside me.
Now I understood why the other transformed women were so reluctant to talk in detail about their experiences in the other room. I felt what they had felt: extreme regret and embarrassment. I was a man on the inside and a woman on the outside, but I had been forced to think like a woman in that room. No, I thought to myself. I hadn't just thought like a woman. I had thought like a bitch in heat. No woman of my acquaintance would have thrown herself at a man as I had. It was a male fantasy, like you would expect to see in an adult movie or read about in a skin magazine. I had seen films like that myself, but I had never expected to be an active participant in such an event, particularly from the female side.
I sat up and slid out of bed, mindful of the way I was dressed. Yet, there was nothing else for me to wear. I supposed I could wrap a sheet around me, but none of the other new girls had done so. If they could walk around like that, so could I.
I heard Andy stirring. He groaned softly and opened his eyes, staring at me. "Then it wasn't a dream."
"I wish it had been," I replied softly.
"Tony, I'm so sorry," he began, looking at me with pain in his eyes. "I just couldn't control myself. I didn't even really realize it was you at first, although I don't think it would have made any difference. I just had to have you. I've never felt a need that strong in my entire life."
"No apology is necessary," I assured him, sitting down on the bed next to him as I heard my sweet alto voice clearly for the first time. "I wanted you every bit as much as you wanted me."
He shook his head in disbelief. "What's happening to us? I just sort of woke up, and there I was, back in that place we went into in Memphis to interview that stripper. What was the name of it?"
"The Kitty Kat Klub," I replied. "They spelled it with K's instead of C's."
"Sure," Andy said brightly. "That way the redneck who ran it could have the initials KKK on everything and there was nothing anybody could do about it."
We were rolling now, forgetting for a moment what had transpired between us only a short time before. "And the stripper," I continued. "Her stage name was Candi Clit, and she had those silver fingernails and..." I suddenly looked down at my fingernails. They were silver - just like on the stripper in Memphis.
"Whatever it is, it's picking up scenes from our memories," Andy speculated.
"And maybe from our fantasies," I added. "Did you ever think about making it with Candi?"
"Of course," Andy replied. "I'm a red-blooded American male just like you. Oh, sorry, Tony. I wasn't thinking."
Very uncharacteristically, I patted his hand. It seemed right to do it somehow. "That's okay, Andy. Inside, I'm still Tony, all evidence to the contrary."
Lanny and Dawn came in. This time, Lanny was dressed like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and Don was completely nude. I guessed having just a g-string wasn't so bad after all. Vicki was next, dressed in a short leather skirt and halter top. the look each of them gave me was a "now you know" look.
"Are you okay, Tony?" Vicki asked me with an arm around my bare shoulders.
I did my best to smile. "I'll be okay. It was just a little overwhelming."
"Damned male fantasies!" she growled. Poor Andy had to take it, being the only male in the room.
"So you think that what it is, too?" I asked.
"What else could it be?" she replied. "Every time we go into that... that play room, we're dressed like something out of an adult movie. Then, we have sex every way you can imagine. You didn't have to give him a blow job, did you, honey?"
I shook my head. I hadn't even thought about that possibility. I didn't want to think about it either.
"The real question," Andy said as the other men came into the room, "is why are they doing this?"
"That's easy," Vicki laughed. They're the Perverts From Space." She said it as if it were the tag line from a preview for a B science fiction movie.
"No," I countered. "It's not that easy. If they were doing it for cheap thrills, all they'd have to do is pick up some of the movies or visit a sex club."
"Maybe they're breeding us for some zoo in space," Don suggested.
"I doubt that," Andy replied. "It would have been a lot easier to pick up real females instead of making them. Why go to this much trouble?"
The other men joined us, and we kicked the idea around for a while but got nowhere. It just didn't seem to make any sense. They could use real women if they chose to do so. Vicki was proof of that. They were using her the same way they were using the transformed males. But why? Were they breeding us? It made sense in a way. Why else would they force us to have sex. But if they were breeding us, why go to all the trouble now? There were billions of people on Earth ripe for the taking. If they could get into our minds so easily, surely they knew that it would take nine months to see a result of the breeding. None of us thought the spaceship was going to sit there in the middle of the desert for none months while we produced babies.
After awhile, the group split up, each couple going back to its own room to get something to eat. I got a cheese Danish from a small silver tray which had suddenly appeared on a counter and a cup of coffee which had appeared with it. Both were very good. Whatever agency was doing this to us knew human tastes. Feeling almost normal for the first time since my transformation, I remarked on this to Andy.
"I don't think so," Andy said, munching on a cruller. "Frankly, I don't think any of this is here."
"Then what are we eating?" I asked. "Whatever this is, it takes the hunger away."
"True," he admitted. "But think about it. I doubt if they go down to the local bakery for this stuff. And what about the coffee? What flavor is yours?"
"Amaretto," I told him. "It's my favorite, too."
"Right. But There were two cups over there and you picked one at random. It just happened to be your favorite. I hate Amaretto, but I love a good French roast. Guess what kind of coffee I got."
"French roast," I replied without hesitation. I thought I knew where he was going with this. "So whatever they're feeding us becomes whatever we want it to be."
To my surprise, he shook his head. "I don't think they're feeding us anything at all. Think about it. Have you had the urge to go to the bathroom?"
I shuddered a little at that thought. No more standing up to pee for me. No more aiming. Now, I would just release and void. Or would I? "No, I guess I haven't."
"And when the others were showing us around, nobody mentioned where the bathrooms were. I don'' think there are any. None of this is real."
I was suddenly hopeful. "You mean, maybe we're not really here. Maybe this is just an elaborate dream?"
Andy sighed and dashed my hopes. "Sorry, Tony. I'm pretty sure it's not a dream. Whatever these aliens are doing with us, they need us to be physically here. You are as much a woman right now as you would have been if you were born that way. In fact, just looking at you, I think you are probably the most attractive woman your genetic history would have allowed for."
"So if I had been born female, odds are good I wouldn't have been Miss September here," I concluded, motioning to my feminine form.
"Exactly," Andy agreed. "You might have been this beautiful, but odds are good you would have been at least a little less sensational."
"Okay, but we're digressing," I remarked, getting excited. This was like old times with Andy and I working through a problem after hours at the office. For the moment, I could almost forget that I was now a beautiful woman showing more flesh than a Baywatch episode. "How are they keeping us alive, and why don't we need to defecate?"
"That's two questions," Andy pointed out, "but the answers are related. I think they're infusing the energy we need to live directly into our bodies. Then they get rid of the 'wastes' the same way. They're not real wastes, of course, since most of the energy is directly absorbed into our systems. What is left over probably becomes our rather limited wardrobes. Nothing is wasted."
I was about to answer when my entire mental processes went haywire. My mind just blanked out, and I realized as the light dimmed, then suddenly returned, that I was back in the play room. I was on a beach, a warm tropical sun beaming down on me. In the distance, I could see a warm sea rolling back and forth against a smooth white expanse of sand. There was something between my toes. As I looked down, I could see that they were now painted a delicate pink and were surrounded by fine sand that wedged itself up between the toes.
I was actually wearing clothing, I realized with some relief, but it wasn't like anything I had ever worn before. I was wearing a silky blouse, torn in several strategic places, allowing my full breasts to poke through. I seemed to be lacking a bra. A tattered short navy blue skirt covered a little of my bare legs, and the soft tropical breeze which flowed under it told me I was wearing nothing else. I looked like a shipwreck survivor.
I could hear footsteps behind me muffled by the sand. I turned, feeling the sway of my hair and the pull of large earrings as I did. It was Andy, of course, his own clothes in tatters, displaying a manly chest and a bulge in his torn pants. I shuddered in anticipation as we embraced...
I woke up in our living quarters again. There wasn't the shock of being female I had experienced before. It was becoming normal if not natural to be female. Also, as a reminder, my right nipple was still a little sore. Andy had gotten a bit exuberant and nipped at it. It felt almost as if there was an earthquake when he had done so. I had felt the ground move under me. That wasn't a sexual allusion. I really had felt the ground move. Of course, when he entered me a few minutes later, the ground moved in a sexual way as well.
I looked over at Andy as he slept peacefully. I knew we were being forced to do this, but I thought how fortunate I was that Andy was such a gentle lover. When he entered me, there was never any pain or discomfort. It was as if we were a perfect fit. If I had been born a woman, I would have wanted a lover just like Andy.
If I had been born a woman. I mulled that over in my mind. I hadn't been born a woman, but here I was, changed into one, and a very beautiful one at that. I giggled to the thought of walking into the First Contact Team headquarters dressed as I was right now. At least when they joked and called me Scully now, the name fit. Although, I thought looking down at my new form, if anything, I was better looking than Gillian Anderson.
Things were changing in my mind. I could understand that now. No wonder I had originally thought that Lanny and Don had always been girls. It wasn't just the unlikelihood of the transformation they had experienced. They were slowly but surely becoming female in mind as well as in body. As the new hormones flowed through their bodies, they would move and think and act more and more like natural women with each passing cycle through the play room. So would I. Mrs. Winter's little boy Tony was going to be sugar and spice and everything nice within days.
Unless we found a way out.
We were still on Earth, I was sure. There were many empty rooms still to be filled. Would the ship wait patiently for more men to fall into its trap? I suspected it would. Experience had taught it that man's natural curiosity meant that there was always someone out there who had to experience the unknown. I wondered who would be next, but I didn't have long to wait.
All of us gathered in the corridor at the sound of voices. We were greeted by the sight of two men in camouflage fatigues. Both carried side arms at the ready. They gaped in awe at the sight of the semi-nude captives. "Who are you people?" the shorter of the two men demanded.
We all introduced ourselves at once. The fact that the two men were armed was hopeful. Perhaps we were about to be rescued. I'm sure all of us who had been changed into women even had a momentary thought that perhaps we could get changed back into men again.
"All right, people!" the officer, for we could now see he was an Air Force captain, yelled.
We were all quiet at once.
"First," he said, "where did all you people come from?"
Andy and I waited as each of the captives told their story briefly. The captain looked incredulous at the idea of sex changes, but he listened, then went on to the next person. When it came to be our turn, I told the captain, "This is Andy King and I'm Tony Winter of the First Contact Team."
He frowned. "The FCT is Top Secret! What are you doing discussing it in front of these civilians?"
I was reminded of a younger version of Colonel Flagg on MASH. "I don't see any reason to keep the FCT a secret from these people," I said dryly. "I think they know there are aliens on earth by now."
"You guys think you're so smart," he growled. "Well, it looks to me like you weren't so smart after all. I believe I read that Tony Winter was a male."
I blushed in embarrassment. He had me there. Of course, he was a good three inches shorter than the sergeant who was with him. I had a feeling he wouldn't be laughing for long, unless he knew a way out of there.
He didn't. As we exchanged information, we realized they were trapped as well. They had waited for us until mid morning. Then, the captain and the sergeant had gotten too close for their own good. They found themselves trapped.
"Then we heard that terrible sound," Sergeant Pete Caldwell said. He was a tall man with a ruddy complexion and hair almost as red as my own. "I thought I was going to go deaf."
"Then we woke up out there in the passageway," Captain Dan Yale added as he finally pocketed his weapon. I would not have been surprised to find that it didn't work in the ship anyway.
"Then we've all experienced the same things," Andy concluded.
"Not quite," Vicki said.
We all looked at her with surprise.
"You mentioned a loud, uncomfortable sound," she continued. "I didn't hear anything when I was brought in here."
I knew her hearing had to be normal. It was something for which all military personnel were checked regularly. How could she have not heard it? As I was pondering that, Lanny said, "Wait a minute, Captain. You said you came in here mid morning?"
"That's right," the Captain said. "We entered the perimeter at 0900 hours."
Oh no! I thought. We had been through two cycles in the play room in less than nine hours. That meant the cycle was getting shorter. We all looked at each other with the same thought. Now, instead of four times a day in the room having unbridled sex, we would be there perhaps six times a day. Would the cycle compress still more? Probably, we all realized.
We didn't have any time to discuss it, though. Everyone in the room stiffened and began their robotic walk back to their own rooms. My last thought before I entered the play room was to wonder what Captain Yale would look like when we were done...
...This time, I awoke to find myself wearing a very revealing black cocktail dress, high black heels, and black seamed stockings. I knew I was wearing a garter belt, but no panties. I was in a ballroom that looked vaguely familiar, with large windows open to a veranda that overlooked a moonlit sea. I was dancing with Andy, who wore a black tuxedo but no tie. His shirt was open half way down his chest. I ran my hands over his hairy chest, thinking about what we were going to do on the dance floor while the invisible orchestra played on...
...Phase One complete?...
...One more cycle...
I awoke suddenly. I was lying on top of the bed I my dress and heels. Well, at least my breasts were covered for once, I thought, although the dress showed more cleavage than I would have liked. At least the material was soft, for I had no bra. I had made love as a woman in three different scenarios and had yet to wear a bra, I realized grimly.
I jumped up to the sound of a scream in the next room. I rushed in to find a new woman lying in bed beside Sergeant Caldwell. I suppressed the urge to ask our new female captain if she felt like laughing at me now. Captain Yale had become a very small woman, not over five one. She had long brown hair, more vibrant than it had been when she was a man. Her breasts were unusually large for such a small frame. She was wearing a French cut bikini which stuck out in all the right places. She was also hyperventilating.
"Just take it easy, sir," the sergeant was saying.
"This can't be real!" she gasped, her breasts heaving. "I can't be a woman. I just can't be!"
He - or rather she - who laughs last laughs best, I thought uncharitably. I knew what she was going through, though. The whole idea was a little overwhelming, especially since she had probably just awakened from a little rendezvous on some romantic beach with the sergeant.
Don went over to her and put a comforting arm around her shoulders. I couldn't help but think of what a feminine gesture it was, and he had only been a girl a day more than I.
We had all gathered in the Captain's room. We were starting to look like guests at some sort of costume party. There I was in a skimpy cocktail dress with Andy in his tieless tux. The Captain was in a bikini while the Sergeant was in tight-fitting trunks. I had to pull my eyes away from his substantial crotch. Don was wearing a black bustier and black mesh hose and Lanny was wearing nothing at all. Jay and Kevin were clad in boxers which did nothing to hide their sex. Vicki and Sergeant Bennet were actually wearing outfits that looked like Air Force uniforms which had been designed by a porno movie director. If the consequences for all of us hadn't been so serious, it would have been laughable.
But the consequences were very serious, I realized. Those of us who had been changed were becoming more female by the minute. I couldn't look at any of the men without looking at the bulge in their pants. If this kept up, I wouldn't need to go into a trance to go to the play room. I would go there willingly, dragging any man I could find in with me. I felt a tingle between my legs as if in confirmation of my thoughts.
Watching Lanny and Don and the entirely feminine way in which they moved and talked, I knew I had only a few hours before I didn't care anymore. I would be too comfortable in my new womanhood to seek escape. What would happen to all of us then? Would we just be happy little sex slaves? It was obviously what our captors had planned for us. They would make us as comfortable as possible and...
Two insignificant incidents suddenly linked together in my mind. "Vicki," I asked at once, "did you say you never heard the painful sounds?"
She looked at me as if I were crazy. "No, I never heard any loud or painful sounds."
"None at all?" I pressed. "None just before you got here, or right after you got here?"
"No means no," she confirmed, a little irritated. "Is it important?"
"I think so," I replied slowly, still trying to put the pieces together. "Is there anyone else who didn't feel the sounds?"
There was only silence. So that meant all of the men had heard them while our one woman did not. But what were the sounds unless...
Andy saw where I was going. "Sergeant Bennet," he began, "the experiences you're having with Ms Romero - are they your fantasies?"
"What are you saying?" Sergeant Bennet boomed.
"Look, Sergeant," Andy said in a soothing tone, "we're trying to put all of this together and we don't have much time. In another hour - two at the outside - we'll all be back into another fantasy, unless we can figure out a way to stop them. Now tell us: are they your fantasies?"
"No," he said softly.
"What are your fantasies?" Andy pressed.
Sergeant Bennet shifted uncomfortably. "I believe the official policy now is don't ask, don't tell, Dr. King."
Captain Yale's beautiful eyes widened. "You're gay? That's still against the rules, Sergeant. I'll -"
"There's nothing to be done, Captain," Andy said with authority. "We're trying to solve our problem here. The military's petty regulations don't count for much right now, do they, Ma'am?"
The other Air Force personnel snickered at Andy's use of the term "ma'am." Captain Yale, realizing her accusation would not be supported outside the room, had at least enough intelligence to shut up.
"Are they your fantasies?" I asked Vicki.
To my surprise, she laughed. "No, Tony, they aren't mine either."
"They're mine," Lanny said suddenly.
"All of them?" Vicki blurted.
Lanny shook her head. "No, just the ones Jay and I are living and apparently, the ones Vicki and Norm are going through."
"I thought they were my fantasies," Jay said suddenly.
"All normal males have the same fantasies when you get right down to it," Andy explained. "All boys grow up reading the same magazines and looking at the same pictures. It stands to reason all men have at least some of the same sexual fantasies."
"Then you're saying the fantasies are coming from those of us who were changed into women?" I asked. Then, after a moment, I answered my own question. "Of course! Andy, the ballroom we were in?"
"It's in a country club out on Long Island. When my parents were still alive, they used to take me there. So it was based on my memories - my fantasies, if you will." I found my face flushing. It was one thing to be turned into a female version of myself, but it was something else again to be subject to my own male fantasies of how I should be acting. A look at Don and even Captain Yale told me they were thinking similar thoughts.
"So how does knowing any of this help us?" Lanny asked.
"My guess," Andy speculated, "is that we were probed to find scenarios which would maximize pleasure for the females. These creatures have no way of knowing that to maximize pleasure for females, you have to ask a female. The question we need to answer is why Vicki wasn't probed like we were. That would have been the easiest way for them to learn."
"I have an idea." Everyone looked at me expectantly. "Look, Andy, do you remember during the shipwreck scenario when you... when you nipped my breast?"
"Uh, yes," Andy said. I had to admit he was cute, looking so embarrassed and all.
"Well," I continued, "I felt a quake then, as if the scene was unraveling a little bit. You know how it is when you're in the middle of a dream and the scene begins to break down? That's the way it felt there."
"So?" Captain Yale said. "How does that help us?"
"A couple more questions first," I replied. "Have there been any really kinky S&M scenarios?"
Everyone shook their heads uncomfortably.
Again everyone shook their heads.
"Doesn't that strike all of you as strange? Surely someone here is into that sort of thing." To my surprise, it was Captain Yale who reddened. I let it go by, though. "You see, nothing can happen to us that interferes with the pleasurable feelings of the female."
"I see," Andy said slowly. "They're using - maybe even feeding off of women's emotions during sex. That strengthens them."
"Yes," I agreed, "and unpleasant, painful sensations disrupt that flow of positive energy. That even explains why they set up shop out here in the desert. Here, they can control us in small numbers as they build up their strength. If they had landed closer to a population center, they would have been overwhelmed by the violence and fear. They can read everyone's emotions, but they can only feed off the emotions of females. Every battered wife or girlfriend, every woman undergoing childbirth, every physically painful experience of every woman would be open to them in a city. It would probably be enough to destroy them."
Andy shook his head. "I should have seen this. They're using some combination of pheromones and mind control to cause us to act this way. I should have seen it."
"Possibly," I allowed, "but at the heart of the matter, Andy, it falls in my area. It's a communications problem. You notice they aren't doing anything to control this conversation? I doubt if it even occurs to them that these sounds we're making have anything to do with communication. Either they consider it too primitive a form of communication to deal with, or they lack the ability to hear at all."
Andy's eyes lit up. "You're right! When we're in the play room, we never speak. They haven't bothered to give us a script. We just see each other and react."
"Okay," Sergeant Bennet said. "Let's say that you're right about this. How does it help us?"
It was a good question, but I thought I had the answer. I slipped off my heels. "Andy, come over here and step on my foot."
"Just do it," I said between my teeth. "Only don't make it too obvious that you're doing it on purpose. And try not to break my foot."
Andy followed instructions to the letter. He walked nonchalantly to my side and stepped carefully but firmly on my foot, bringing a grimace of pain to my face. As he did, the walls of our room shimmered and momentarily disappeared before reforming. Everyone gasped in shock as they saw it happen.
...Delay Phase Two?...
...No. Thousands waiting. Energy required...
...Confirm Phase Two after next cycle...
"So how do we stop them?" Lanny asked. "And how do we get away?"
"First, we need to understand one thing," I warned everyone. "This isn't a rescue; it's an escape. That means we'll get out of here as we are now. For some of us, that's fine, but for the rest of us, we'll be stuck as women for the rest of our lives. Does everyone understand what that means?"
Everyone managed to nod, even Captain Yale.
"Now," I explained, "what we have to do is endure pain. Whatever has done this to us can't tolerate pain in females."
"So what do we do?" Lanny asked.
I stopped to think it out for a minute. There would probably only be one chance to do this. If it didn't work right, the aliens would probably find a way to prevent us from ever doing it again. The pain had to be real and intense, and delivered at the moment in which our captors were most receptive to our attempt. "I think they are most vulnerable as we are having sex," I told them. "They must open up somehow to take in the full impact from our emotions, so that's when we'll have to do it."
"But we're like zombies then," Vicki pointed out. "How will we be able to control ourselves?"
"You won't," Andy said, "but we men may be able to."
"Why? Because you're bigger and stronger?" Vicki sneered.
"Andy replied, "No, because they don't care if we're in pain or not. If we're in pain, we may be able to focus long enough to cause pain to you women. That may be our only hope."
"But how will we do that?" Don asked.
"Simple," Andy answered. "When you start to feel yourselves falling under the hypnotic influence, kick us in the balls."
"What?" almost everyone yelled at once.
Andy looked at us all seriously. "Listen, we probably don't have much time to discuss this. As women, you're all too weak to do much physical damage to any of us. But most of you were men once. Weren't you ever kicked in the balls?"
I had been. It was hard to imagine now. In just a few hours, the void between my legs had begun to feel normal. I tried to remember what it had been like to have a penis and testicles. With a little imagination, I was able to do it. I remembered a pickup soccer game back in college. I was charging at the ball when my opponent did a high kick catching me right on the nuts. I crumpled to the ground, gasping in pain. I was out of action for the next ten minutes or so, and my balls were sore for a day. Andy was right. It was the only injury we could give them that might overcome the hypnotic effect.
We broke up into pairs and waited outside our respective play rooms for what seemed like hours. I don't know who was more uptight, Andy or me. I was uptight at the thought of once more being forced to make love to my best friend. Andy, on the other hand, looked uptight over the idea of getting kicked in the balls. Returning to the memory of being kicked in my balls versus the unexpected pleasure of making love as a woman, I finally decided it was Andy who had more reason to be concerned.
The feeling started again. It was a feeling of slipping into a trance. I had only moments to react. As I brought my foot up in the arc toward Andy's crotch, I heard a masculine scream in the next room. Lanny had connected, so Jay should be in control.
I felt my new, smaller foot connect with Andy's crotch. I thought the poor man was actually going to pass out as he grunted and bent over...
...It was the cabin of an airliner - First Class no less, and I was wearing a parody of a flight attendant's uniform with a low cut jacket that did nothing to hide even the tops of my nipples. My skirt was so short that my garters were visible, attached to sheer, almost black stockings. I was balanced on long four-inch heels as I approached an occupied seat. I was carrying a little china cup filled with coffee on a small serving tray as I swiveled up the aisle. A little voice in the back of my mind told me this was going to be a "coffee , tea, or me" fantasy.
Andy was sitting in one of the large leather First Class chairs. I smiled at him, but to my surprise, he didn't smile back. Provocatively, I opened my jacket wider so he could see my full breasts. I expected him to get up slowly and massage my tingling nipples. Then, we would sink back down into the leather seat and -
He jumped up, his face contorted in pain, and slapped me hard across the face, causing me to spill the hot coffee all over my hands.
He threw me back against the next row of seats, twisting my back, his face still in pain, but with a determined look. What had I done to displease him? I felt a pain in my ankle as he pushed me to the ground. Before I could stop him, his hands were on my throat. Then, something strange happened. The cabin began to shimmer and disappear.
I was starting to pass out, but I was regaining control of my mind. I was lying on the ground in the desert, the hot afternoon sun beating down on me as Andy continued to choke me. I was naked, as was Andy, and looking about, I could see several other couples in a similar condition.
"Enough!" I managed to croak, just before I passed out.
It was cool when I awakened, but that was the only pleasant sensation. I felt pain in a foot and ankle, my back was sore, and my neck felt as if someone had tried to twist my head off. Still in a drugged stupor, I managed to move my hand between my legs. There was only a slit there, I realized. Whatever had happened, I was still female. I guessed I would have to learn to live with it. I groaned.
"She's coming around," a familiar voice called. It was Andy. I felt a woman's hand feeling the pulse in my neck. Then, she opened one of my eyes into the dim light and called for a doctor. The first sight I really focused on, though, was Andy standing behind her.
He smiled. "You're in the hospital. You're going to be okay."
"Did you have to choke so hard?" I managed to rasp.
"I'm sorry," he said, taking one of my hands and enclosing it in his now much larger one.
"It's okay," I managed before passing out again.
That was the last I saw of Andy for more than a month. By the time I was awake and coherent, the FCT had moved me to a little private hospital in Northern California. It was pleasant enough on the surface, but in fact, it was a government operation. Anyone who got past the gated entry half a mile from the main building would have believed it to be a haven for the well-to-do, nestled as it was in a small valley only a few hundred yards from the ocean. Inside, though, were labs, examining rooms, and offices and one of the finest teams of psychiatrists and psychologists in the world.
It was there that I and my fellow female captives had been taken, and it was there that we learned how to be women. Vicki, although a woman from the start, was allowed to join us. I think it was mostly to let us know that being a woman was normal, and to give us a real woman to bond with.
It must have worked. After a couple of weeks of therapy, no stranger would have ever believed that four of the five women sunning themselves in revealing bikinis every afternoon by the pool had ever been men. We tanned, swam, read romance novels, drank wine coolers, traded makeup tips, and giggled and gossiped as if we had been female forever.
They taught us to dress, do makeup, select jewelry, and all the other things our mothers would have taught us if we had been born female. They taught us about our bodies, helped us through our first periods, and treated us like the women we had become. Even Captain Yale got into the swing of things.
They debriefed us as well. The pain had done its work. When we appeared there on the desert floor, all traces of the alien ship had disappeared, like dust blown on the wind. We would probably never know who or what they were, but we all had the feeling that if the creatures had succeeded in their experiments with us, the Earth would have been in considerable danger of enslavement. I don't know why we all thought that. Maybe it was just women's intuition.
When the government had learned all they could from us and given us the information we needed to live as women, they began to disburse us back to normal lives. In the case of Lanny and Don, the new Lanni and Dawn joined their friends Kevin and Jay at Arizona State. Their families had been moved and given new identities and careers so that no one could ever connect them with the two boys who had disappeared. Vicki and Norm returned to their Air Force duties, as did Sergeant Caldwell, but Captain Yale was now too short to be an Air Force officer. I learned from one of the doctors, though, that she had accepted a new assignment in the intelligence community.
That just left me, and I knew where I was going. I had already talked to Del, and my old job was waiting for me back at the FCT. So on a warm, sunny California day, it was Toni Winter who stood in the lobby wearing a tailored navy suit with a fashionably short skirt, two-inch heels, a silk blouse, and tasteful gold jewelry. My hair had been trimmed and styled, and I'm sure that none of the men in the lobby who were casting appreciative glances in my direction had any idea that a couple of months before, I had been as male as they were.
A man I recognized walked into the lobby looking around. I was happy to see it was Andy. He looked at me, his face brightening. "Tony? Is that you?"
I smiled at him. "Yes, but it's Toni with an 'i' now." He looked surprised as I leaned up and kissed him on the cheek. As I said, our training and therapy had been very good.
A chauffeured government car took us the short distance to the small airfield that serviced the facility. The same corporate jet which had taken us to Desert View a few weeks before stood at the ready to take us both back to St Louis. We had said little to each other before takeoff, but once we taxied out and the engines roared to full power, Andy broke the silence.
"I've got to warn you, Toni," Andy said as soon as we were airborne, "the guys in the office are planning to greet you with a big cake that says 'Welcome Back, Scully' on it."
"Sounds like fun," I replied from behind him. I knew he was surprised. I had always hated being called "Scully" before, but now, it seemed to fit. He swiveled his seat to see me standing there, a cup of coffee in my hand held out on a little serving tray for him. His eyes went wide as he looked first in my eyes and then at my breasts where I had carefully unbuttoned my silk blouse to display them to their best advantage. He could say nothing, so I continued softly, "The last time I tried to serve you coffee like this, you weren't very nice."
I sat down on his lap, not at all surprised to feel a large bulge beneath me. I put my arms around him and smiled. "Are you going to be nicer this time?"
Trap copyright 1998 by Anonymous.
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