My trip to the tour the local research laboratory had been a lot more interesting than I’d thought going into it. I’d been picturing a bunch of empty corridors with stressed out researchers gazing at algae under microscopes behind closed doors. Instead, they had a spacious atrium absolutely packed with astonishing projects that I didn’t even think was possible. There was an invisible jet, headphones that wirelessly beamed music straight into your head, and a giant tractor beam elevator straight out of Star Trek. I was blown away by all of it. I was even able to take home some of their defense serum.
Well, I guess technically I stole it. But they had such a cool demonstration, and all those vials were just sitting there, what did they expect? It was designed to alter the users body to respond to any other threatening creature. Mice that had been exposed were shown camouflaging perfectly into their background, when a hawk flew overhead, developing impenetrable skin and unbreakable bones when pounced on by a cat, and growing much larger and stronger when confined with threatening rats. They went on to describe how it was designed to work preemptively, and could even read human social cues to tell if somebody was being threatening before you were in any danger. Your defenses are up before any attack, and you aren’t exposed again until the threat recognizes they can’t do anything to you.
I often found myself the subject of bullying, so I had to have it. It’s not like I was stealing the formula or anything, and with all the vials they had it clearly couldn’t be that hard to make. I got home and downed it immediately, but was a little disappointed. There was no threat to me right now, so it was like nothing had happened. Well, I wasn’t going to go looking for one, that’s for sure. Knowing me, I’d screw it up and wind up getting somebody way too angry. I settled for a quiet afternoon playing Overwatch.
It was the same old same old. Win a couple games, lose a couple. Well, after we lost one round, a teammate of mine lost his cool. We hadn’t done our jobs, and apparently that was my fault personally. “I swear, if you can’t manage to keep the flankers off us, I’ll fuck you up for real!” That wasn’t great to hear. We usually lost when people said stuff like this, but my spirits changed when I felt a chill run through my body. He’d activated the serum.
I looked down, trying to catch the changes. They were designed to happen as fast as possible, but obviously things like muscle growth still took a little bit of time. The changes started at an amazing pace, my body fat melted away and I saw muscle mass build in my chest. But then they stopped. “What the hell?” I froze. That was not my voice. Taking a closer look, I realized a was done changing, not into a huge fit man, but a spry toned woman.
What I hadn’t bothered to read at the serum demonstration was how far away they were from successfully implementing human behavior into the mix. In most animals, the presence of a stronger male would not make the previous male’s aggression go away. In fact, it amplifies it. However, they are unlikely to show the same aggression to a potential mate. In humans, however, this change was deemed undesirable.
I did realize that I could maybe reverse things at least. If I could find my mic and get him to acknowledge my changes, I might go back. I plugged in and sent a chat request, only to be hit with an automated reply. “Request failed, user banned for abusive behavior.”
My last hope is to find somebody to bully me into a new change. But looking at my new body, it could be significantly harder finding somebody who wants to.