Angel's Tale: A MORFS Universe Story
As they all relaxed and talked, David raised a point that had been bothering him. "Have you ever tried using your powers on yourself?"
"A little. I can change my skin tone, and somewhat change my features." She demonstrated, taking on her Afam persona. After giving them a good look, she changed back.
"Impressive." David acknowledged. "But what about something more substantial?"
"A fundamental change, like giving yourself more power or something."
"I don't know. Never tried it. Remember, it's all pretty new to me." Angel was intrigued. She agreed to give it a try, and see what happened. She went inside herself, asking her subconscious resources to put together the necessary patterns and make her aware of what she needed to know.
Then it all went wrong.
Angel suddenly felt sick. Worse than anything in her life. Physically and mentally, she curled up into a little ball. She knew that she had gotten some information, but she was too sucked up into the maelstrom within her body to pay any attention.
To pay any attention to anything.
After an eternity or ten, a voice reached in and started calling her name. She latched on to it like a lifesaver, and allowed it to bring her back up out of herself. As she started to emerge, she recognized the mental voice as Lena's.
When she started noticing her surroundings again, she saw that the others were looking at her with worried expressions.
"Tha... that was interesting." She smiled weakly. The looks eased a little. A drink found its way into her hand, and she barely noticed what it was as she drank it. Her mind and body started to settle, and she found herself better able to think and talk.
"There are some limits I didn't know about."
"Limits?" David asked.
"Yeah. I can change things like skin color and fat distribution in myself, and even change the rate and color of my hair growth anywhere. I can heal myself, prevent or cure infections, and control my fertility." Angel stopped to draw a breath, then continued. "But I can't make my powers any stronger. They will grow a little as I age, and maybe with some exercises, but my range will never get beyond about two inches. I can't make myself bigger or smaller, or younger or older." Silently, she added *And I can't turn myself back into a boy.*
*I'm sorry. I know you miss it sometimes. But you really do make a good girl.*
*I don't want to think about it now.*
The mental exchange was very quick, so the others barely noticed a pause. When she started talking again, it was much like her earlier pauses. "I can't cure MORFS, in myself or others. If I catch it early enough, I might be able to keep an infection from triggering the changes, and I can create a virus to rewrite someone's genes and then trigger the change. But even that has limits. The first part of MORFS, the old terrorist weapon, is so thoroughly integrated into our bodies and genes that trying to remove it would kill the person. Or animal."
She looked around at the others. "In a way, it's a relief. They're not a matter of power, but something more fundamental. Even a powerful bio elemental, like that Wilson woman, would face the same limits. And the very fact of such limits makes the world seem a little safer. I might be able to seriously hurt or kill someone - heck, any one of us can do that. But I would have to work both hard and smart to cause any sort of widespread damage."
*Like AMORFS?* Lena asked, silently.
*That was working hard and smart. Just not consciously.*
They both let that drop.
While Angel recovered some more, they talked about the Pope Hill project. They had a variety of ideas for the "payoff", but rejected most of them in the end. They decided that it would be something they decided later, based on new circumstances. Penny brought up a good point, however.
"It will provide a good cover for some of the MORFS changes that Angel makes. I can see a significant danger otherwise, when the pattern of changes slews too much. Angel - all of us - could be on the receiving end of some very unpleasant attention without such a cover."
"Voice of Cassandra?" Angel asked.
"Voice of Cassandra." Penny confirmed.
That was good enough for them. They went into brainstorming the details. Of the four of them, Cassie would have the smallest of the critical roles. Once they had the necessary information about a candidate, she would let herself notice whether there were signs of trouble either way.
When the hill was "open for business", Lena and David would watch for approaching candidates. They would also check for hidden watchers, and Lena would watch for thoughts of electronic recording or transmission devices.
Angel would get a preliminary pattern on the candidate, preparing for the creation of the change agent. Lena would read hir intended request, and relay it to Angel. Angel would take that information and see whether she could create the change.
Lena would also expedite a quick discussion of the worthiness and risks of the candidate and hir goals. They wanted to screen out malice, world domination fantasies, and the like. With David, they set the precedent for allowing motives that were socially unacceptable but generally harmless.
They also wanted to screen out the really unstable types.
Lena and David would set the stage when the candidate approached the hill. Lena would read the final form of the desire, then send the image to David and the details to Angel. If Angel could accomplish it, and everything else checked out all right, David would create a small visual effect to cue the person that the change was a done deal.
Angel, looking different either because of her self induced changes or because she was cloaked by an illusion compliments of David, would make contact and transfer the "packet".
They would do things a little differently each time, to disrupt anyone trying to figure their pattern.
If the request was unacceptable or undoable, David and Lena would create an experience that made it clear that the request would not be granted. If the request was particularly malicious or the like, they might impose a punitive change.
Penny brought up the issue of when to make the Hill available. They didn't want to have the plan running every hour of every day and night, and they wanted to be able to schedule around it. They decided on at least twice a month, and no more than once a week, the pattern to be determined later.
David came up with a justification for randomizing the date somewhat. They could let it be known that the Source needed time to recharge, which varied depending on the strains the requests caused. But nobody would be sure what sorts of things caused more or less stress.
Angel suggested one or two more trial runs, and nominated Robin. She pointed out that they needed someone they could trust, someone who they could confide in later and could get feedback from. Robin fit those criteria, and was the only one of their inner circle who had not changed yet.
Penny nominated another candidate. Although the rest of them didn't know her, Penny knew and trusted her. Pat was about to be a sophomore at Penny's school, and was very much a boy inside. She couldn't afford the very expensive reassignment surgeries, and her parents were divided over the issue. And even if she could afford the surgeries, it would be years before she qualified.
Angel could certainly sympathize with a physical girl who was a boy inside. Her own inner boy was starting to slip away, but the torments of that dichotomy were still fresh in her mind. She suggested that Robin go first, and that they use the feedback from her to refine their approach for Pat. The others agreed, with the caveat that s/he had to go through the full screenings.
That left only the timing for the tests, and how to approach them. Angel suggested they approach Robin almost immediately, so she could go through the change over the holiday weekend.
David could let slip to Robin the part the Hill supposedly played in his own transformation. If necessary, Lena could amplify Robin's curiosity and desire. They wouldn't tell her about that part.
While they were talking about what they would tell, and to whom, they decided they would not tell their parents about the plot. But they could talk about the Pope Hill rumor all they wanted. Angel and David had already done so, and Cassie and Lena could easily work it into conversations.
In fact, Lena was sure she could arrange for various adults to "remember" the rumors as being from more than a decade before. And seemingly old and well known then.
When Angel got home, there was a message from her mother. She had some plans for them, so Angel didn't need to start dinner. But she did need to be at home and available when her mother got there.
Since she had gotten home a little later than she had planned on, it was a relief that she hadn't delayed dinner. That relief was tempered by speculations about her mother's mysterious plans.
Whatever the plans, she suspected she was underdressed. And after tramping around the State park, she decided a quick rinse off was a good idea.
As she rinsed off, she reflected on some of the trivia of her new life. Like shower caps. When she was a boy, he never saw the point of the things. Even when he styled longish hair, he didn't mind if a little got wet at the ends when he showered. Now she understood.
Since her mother hadn't said anything about appearance, she put on one of her plainer - and less daring - skirts and a polo shirt. She briefly debated about shoes, and bypassed her sneakers for a comfortable pair of flats.
By the time her mother got home, Angel was relaxing in front of the tube. Her mother took a quick look at her, and nodded her head. Soon, they were on their way.
"First, a little bit of shopping." Her mother said. They headed for the mall, and went right to the swap shop. Her mother quietly checked her balance, then they were off looking at clothes. Within minutes, Angel's mother had handed her two blouses and two skirts to try on. They were nicer than what she had on, but not too nice for school or somewhere special.
They didn't like the fit of one of the skirts, but the blouses were both fine. Angel got even more suspicious when her mother removed the price tags from the skirt and blouse she was wearing, grabbed her clothes and the other blouse, and all but dragged her to the register. Once Angel was in the process of thumbing for her clothes, her mother went to put the other skirt back.
Angel had seen her mother surreptitiously check her watch a couple of times. That, coupled with the unusually short shopping trip made Angel certain something was up. Angel carried the bag with her old clothes and her other new blouse as they power walked to the car.
Her mother drove for some time, finally arriving at a very fancy looking building. It seemed to exude an air of wealth and privilege. A valet took their car, and they briskly walked inside.
"All right, Mother. Where are we, and why?"
"I thought you might like to see the place you are considering working." Her mother had a twinkle in her eye. "And your prospective boss has offered us some complimentary services while you do so."
Her own mother. Taking advantage of her situation as shamelessly as Lena had. Or as Angel had done to Lena. Ah, well.
While the potential services didn't excite her the way they did her mother, Angel was interested to see the place.
As they approached the front desk, the receptionist rose and smiled at them. "Mrs. O'Connor. Miss O'Connor. Welcome." She gestured to one of the neatly dressed and groomed young ladies standing nearby. "Cindy will take care of you. If you have any questions, or need anything, be sure to let her know."
Cindy introduced herself, and told Angel that she hoped to have her working there soon. She seemed genuinely excited at the prospect.
At her mother's urging, Angel accepted a hair and nails styling, which her mother would also have. Then, while her mother enjoyed some of the other services on offer, Angel would tour the facility.
It was like something out of a movie. While everything was elegant - and spotlessly clean - different areas had different subtle themes. Angel walked by an area with hints of southwestern decor, another she interpreted as East Coast Old Money, and even an unmistakable, if subtle, California theme. Nothing garish or overt, just combinations of subdued colors and hints of architectural elements.
They were lead to a room with two fully equipped hair and nail stations, and left in the care of the operators, Gina and Leslie. The two young women were, of course, immaculately groomed and looked every inch the professionals. They invited Angel's mother to change into a robe in a small changing room, and settled Angel into one of the chairs.
Angel was surprised at what Gina asked. Instead of asking what look she wanted or the like, she just asked how important things like ease of care, flexibility, and formality were to her. Curious, Angel asked what she knew about her.
"I know you start tomorrow as a junior at Cherry Creek, and it is your first year there. You might be joining our happy little family here, as some kind of a specialist. You also work at a management level for one of the theater chains. You have some sort of morf derived power or powers that make you very useful. And that you're sixteen, and still finding yourself."
"As a more direct observation, you're an attractive, pleasant, and well behaved young woman who is not used to the trappings of wealth and privilege. You have nice coloring, and probably shampoo your hair a little too often. What else can I tell you?"
"How do you know all that?"
With a wink, she picked up a tablet and showed Angel the display. It had a picture of Angel, and a few paragraphs of information. She touched an icon, and saw an image of the corridor outside.
"We get such a briefing for each of our guests, and watch them on their way in for clues about what they want and what mood they're in. It saves time, and adds to the experience for them. Normally, we let it seem like magic. But you'll be doing the same thing yourself, soon. Trust me, you will like it here."
Angel gave a half smile at the assumptions, but let them pass. "So, what now?" she asked, as her mother settled into the other chair and started talking with Leslie.
Gina looked a Angel a moment, then replied "We will wash, treat, and condition your hair, to begin with. Then give you a low maintenance style which both compliments your appearance and allows you to fit in at school, on your other job, and here with minimal effort."
"All that from a haircut?" Angel grinned.
Gina smiled back. "All part of the magic. Wait till you try some of the other services here."
Gina fastened a protective cover over Angel's body, then tilted the chair back and rotated it a little. Angel noticed a quiet whirring sound as she was being moved, and found herself leaning the back of her head over a large, ornate sink.
As Gina was washing Angel's hair, two other girls came in and set up next to the chairs. Angel was startled to find her fingertips soaking in some sort of soothing liquid. Glancing at their mother without turning her head, she saw that her hand was similarly immersed in a bowl of liquid.
She felt her shoes and socks being removed, and her feet were lowered into a pleasantly warm soak.
While the hairstyling and manicure were broadly similar to the experience the one time she had gone to a salon, there was something a little more... she didn't know what, just more, about it this time.
Time drifted by, and she found herself styled, shod, and standing. Gina gave her some suggestions about washing her hair less often, and some products to help keep it clean and fresh without washing.
Cindy appeared, as though by magic. She took Angel on the promised tour of the facilities. There were a mind boggling array of services and facilities available, for women and men. Angel had to ask what some of them were for, and Cindy cheerfully explained each. In a few cases, she candidly said that the benefits of something were dubious at best, but that it was something some of the guests expected. And the place was all about service.
After showing Angel the women's facilities, and most of the men's, She took her up to the residential and social areas. As a full service spa, they had provisions for some of their clients to spend the night - or several nights - there. They also had meeting and recreation rooms for those residential clients.
Cindy took Angel back down to the employee area. While not as distinctively decorated as the customer areas, it was just as clean and unexpectedly large. In addition to smaller versions of most of the guest facilities, there were class rooms, locker rooms, and a service bar and cafeteria.
Cindy explained that the service bar prepared drinks for the guests, as well as herbal tonics and the like. Employees and contractors were emphatically not allowed to drink alcohol or other intoxicants on site, even when off shift. However, they could get soft drinks, smoothies, and non alcoholic herbals there.
Their versions of the facilities served double duty. They were used for training and certifying employees, and also used by the off duty (or on break) staff for their (real or imagined) benefits.
While they were walking around back there, Angel noticed several obvious morfs. Still... "What are the policies regarding morfs?"
"It gets a little complicated. There's no discrimination in terms of general hiring and promotion. Those of you with special abilities might get preferential hiring for specialized functions, but otherwise it's a wash. But we are sensitive to guest attitudes. Those who have an aversion will not get obviously changed operators, unless their ability is necessary for the service. Those who prefer morfs, get them if at all possible."
"Some people prefer morfs?"
"It's kind of an odd mix. A lot of the people who are morfs themselves like the idea of using other morfs. Some of the more bigoted non morfs actually like the idea of seeing morfs in what they think of as 'inferior' functions. And some people just have a fascination, or even a fetish, for morfs. We don't allow improprieties, but the fantasies are a part of the experience for some guests."
"Yeah. Some of the guests can be pretty creepy or abusive. Another of the things we have here for the employees is counseling and support services. Entire teams have been known to show up after some of our more... difficult guests. Remember that. You are never really alone here, and we all support each other."
"That part of the sales pitch?" Angel grinned.
"Actually, part of the new employee orientation. A lot of people start out with the attitude that using those services makes them look weak or unworthy. It doesn't last."
"How do you keep the morf guests separate from the bigots?"
"The only place there's any real chance of that is in the lobbies. We have people who do nothing but quietly direct traffic to keep guests from encountering each other. Even the group areas are choreographed. Each guest gets a feeling of having the whole place for hir own. But not abandoned. There is someone obviously nearby at all times."
"We have a whole system of what we call secret passages, so we can go from room to room without the guests seeing us. All part of the illusion."
"So that's how you magically appeared. I was wondering." Angel smiled.
Cindy took Angel back to the service bar and offered her a smoothie. She got one for herself as well, and they sat and talked some more. Cindy turned out to be a shift lead, and had been chosen as Angel's escort for the purpose of answering her questions. The only things she wouldn't discuss involved money. Most of the operators and specialists worked for a commission on their services and any tips they got. The regular and administrative employees got salaries, but she wouldn't discuss numbers. She also wouldn't discuss the prices guests paid for the services.
She noticed something on her pad, and got up. She guided Angel through some smaller corridors, and suddenly they were in the room they started from, watching her mother get up from the chair. They escorted her to a room with two small pools. One of the pools steamed and smelled vaguely of sulfur. The other... didn't.
"We get the water from a famous mineral spring in the mountains," Cindy told them, as Angel's mother discarded the bathrobe and slid into the steaming water. "State of the art systems keep the water clean and hot. Because of the heat, we have to limit the time you spend in the water at a time, and how much time overall."
As her mother luxuriated in the water, Angel followed Cindy to what appeared to be a small cupboard. Inside were Angel's half finished smoothie, and a murky green beverage. Cindy gave the latter to the soaking woman, explaining that it was a special herbal preparation. Angel's mother took a tentative sip, then a larger drink. Whatever it was, it apparently tasted good.
After what seemed like a few minutes, Cindy urged Angel's mother into the cool pool. As she cooled off in the clear water, Cindy asked whether she had any questions or reservations.
"What about Angel's age? Will that be an issue?"
"It shouldn't be for any of the staff. We have two operators here who look even younger, but are actually in their late twenties. We also have a number of other high school students here part time. If anyone here so much as thinks twice about her age, I'll be surprised." She thought a moment, then continued.
"It is possible that it will be an issue for some of the guests. If so, we will deal with the issue then." Her expression made it clear that she didn't consider it a problem.
As she eased back into the hot pool, she wistfully asked "Will I get to come back?"
Cindy laughed pleasantly and assured her that arrangements could be made.
When she was finished with her soak, Cindy directed her to a small side room with a shower. She opened a closet and showed her that her clothes were there, cleaned and ready for her. Her purse was there as well. "All part of the service" Cindy assured her, with a wink at Angel.
On the way home from the spa, they picked up some take out chinese. When they arrived, Angel adopted an air of conscious virtue and went up to take care of her clothes before eating. Her parents were clearly unimpressed, but they did offer her indulgent smiles when she came back down.
After eating, Angel spent some time making sure she had everything ready for school. Including her outfit, down to the underwear. She checked her theater email, and read the routine messages there. Then, she wished her parents good night and got ready for bed.
Angel didn't recognize the classroom she was in. All but one of the desks was filled, so she sat there. She looked up, and the Board said Final Exam. She wasn't prepared. The teacher was somehow both Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Tabor. She turned and addressed the class.
"I assume everyone has the required materials. Get out your composition book, Pencil, pen, and references. Do not open the question packets until I tell you to. Mister O'Connor, why don't you have your materials ready? And WHY ARE YOU NAKED?"
He was. His body, completely male again, was completely exposed. He was paralyzed, unable to cover himself. Or to flee.
"Well, Miss O'Connor, What do you have to say for yourself?"
Her breasts were back, and she couldn't tell for certain without moving her head to look, but she was pretty sure she was female down below as well. Either way, she was still stark naked. In front of everyone.
Someone threw a net over her, and she was tangled in it. She could move a little, and she struggled to get free. No matter what she did, she couldn't get free. As her struggles increased, the Voice of God intoned "Wake up!"
And she did. Her body was tangled in her covers. Her pillow was on the floor. And she was only physically alone.
*Damn. When you dream, you don't go half way.* The Voice of God was Lena, sounding a little groggy and annoyed. *I don't know about you, but I need my beauty sleep if I'm gonna knock 'em dead in school.*
*Sorry. I don't know what that was.*
*It's called a nightmare. And that one was a doozey. Bad enough that I had to share it, but I had to be you in the process! Ugh!*
*Yes, I know it was a nightmare. I just don't know what it means.*
*Just go back to sleep, and make sure you put some clothes on before you go to school.*
The rest of her night seemed dreamless. Or, at least, she didn't remember any more dreams.
In the morning, she showered with the water cooler than usual, to help wake her up. At least she had her clothes picked out. Per Lena's earlier advice, she was going with her longer denim skirt (the shorter one wouldn't pass the dress code) and a pale blue blouse. She dressed and carefully but quickly did her hair and minimal makeup.
As she was finishing, she recognized the smells of bacon and toast. Knowing her parents, it would be the typical First Day breakfast. Far too much food, with far too much fat and carbohydrates, and wonderful all around.
The breakfast was all about encouragement and preparation. She would do well, she would like her new school, which was a great school, she was ready... all the usual.
Her mother gave Lena and her a ride to the school. After a quick goodbye and a deep breath, she plunged into her first real day at her new school.
For the first couple of classes, everything went well. She had no trouble finding her locker or the classrooms, right where they had been before. She noticed that whenever she saw David, someone was calling him "Captain", "Cap'n", or "CP". Apparently, word spreads as quickly at this school as it had at her old school. Other friends were met with "Radar", "Otter", and so on.
First period was Spanish 2. It was immediately apparent that they handled language classes somewhat differently than at her old school. In this case, she thought the difference might work in her favor. Despite her heritage, and her pride in that heritage, she had unexpected difficulty with that language class. She also thought that the teacher suspected her former self of slacking off, and expected him to already have a significant background. This class would be hard work, but she was confident she could handle it.
Second period was an eye opener. Morfs Awareness, a State required class, was mostly full of freshmen. The other older students seemed, like her, to have come from out of state. The teacher, a tall, muscular man covered with rust colored fur similar to that of Angel's cousin, got everyone's attention with his first statement.
"Everyone in this room has MORFS. Everyone in this school has MORFS. To all intents and purposes, everyone in the world has MORFS."
After the reaction died down somewhat, he briefly sketched the two part nature of the condition, and the history of the first part - the terrorist bioweapon. By the end of class, she realized that she had been operating on some faulty assumptions. She had a slightly better idea what she had been doing, and figured that she would have a much better idea by the time she finished the semester.
Third period started out with a notice on the door that the class had been moved. To the other end of that building. The good news and the bad news were the same: it was just a couple of doors down from the class she had just come from.
After class, she witnessed a confrontation. She was headed toward the girls' room, when she saw a crowd around the door. A knot of Pures were confronting a young looking, vaguely ursine girl. They were telling her that the restroom was a "No Freak Zone", and suggesting that she go outside like the animal she was.
She was about to try and intervene when Lena stopped her. As she watched, the Pures were suddenly surrounded by a somewhat larger group of distinctly larger morfs.
"You got it backwards, 'pillar." a tall, furred and muscled girl said. She moved in, forcing a gap in front of the door. Another of the new arrivals ushered the frightened freshman into the restroom, while the tall one continued.
"It's 'pillars that belong in the bushes, until they can get their silk together and change. Maybe we should show you the way. Wouldn't want you getting lost."
"You wouldn't dare!"
"Yeah? Why? Now that ole' Reverend Dick is one of us, how much power do 'pillars like you think you have any more?"
*Pillars?* Angel asked Lena.
*Short for caterpillars. They are calling them children, and implying that they were nothing more than morfs who haven't changed yet. Technically correct, but very rude.*
*Don't they get in trouble for the name calling?*
*When the school tries to act, they just point out that the Pures call themselves pillars of the community, and then claim that they were just throwing their own claim back. The school can't prove otherwise.*
Angel watched the Pures back down and slink away. *Don't the others get in trouble for calling morfs freaks?*
*Politics. While the Reverend was active, he could throw a ton of pressure and legal talent at the school if they tried to raise a fuss. Now, though... I don't know.*
As they headed toward their next class, Angel asked *Who were those morfs?*
*Morf supremacists. As bad as the Pures, but in the opposite direction. And a lot stronger, in terms of direct power. With a few key players on the Pures side out of the equation, it would seem that the MS's have the upper hand. For now.*
They settled in for their English class. Angel didn't think it was possible, but the teacher managed to bore her almost to sleep on the first day of class.
*It's a trick. Some students will drop their guard, and slack off on the homework. I can guarantee that class will be a lot more interesting in a couple of days, when she lowers the boom.*
The next period, they had lunch. They were joined by Robin and (much to Lena's delight) David. After getting what passed for food, they found an empty table near the middle of the room.
Angel noticed a familiar pattern. One corner was taken by the Pures. The opposite corner included some of the morfs from the bathroom incident, and a number of other obvious morfs. There were a few other theme tables, but she noticed that they weren't as exclusive as they had been at her school. What appeared to be the jocks table had a few apparent non-jocks, and she didn't see anyone turned away. Definitely different. Outside of the two polar groups, it seemed to be a matter of chosen association rather than cliquish territoriality.
Lena confirmed Angel's observation. There were a few such cliques, but they either had the other lunch period or ate off campus.
David commented that the militants had already tried to recruit him more than once. Unsuccessfully. He had no more use for them than he did for the Pures. Since they were still trying to get Lena, who had morf'd before most of them, to join, David doubted they would drop it any time soon.
Angel sniffed theatrically. "Why don't they want me?" she was unable to keep the edges of a smile out of her attempted pout.
"You don't look the part. They see my wings, or Lena's eyes, and start drooling. Plus, our powers are better known than yours. Even your high publicity stuff was anonymous."
As though to prove him wrong, a large, furry boy came over to their table and spoke to Angel.
"Are you Angel?" He asked. It seemed a simple question, with no obvious emotional overtones.
She looked briefly at Lena, who nodded. "That's me. And you are...?"
"Frank. Frank Donnelly. I hear you were the one who got rid of that SOB theater manager a couple of weeks ago."
"Where did you hear about that?"
"My sister works there. She wasn't there when it happened, but she saw you there later. Then she pointed you out. Thank you. You made her life a whole lot better."
"You're welcome. But I really didn't do all that much."
"That's not the way she tells it." He grinned. "You're welcome at the MLF table any time. These two," he indicated Lena and David, "already have their standing invites. Nice talking to you." He walked back over to his friends.
"That was... interesting." Angel said. "I noticed that he left someone out, though."
Robin nodded. "Probably deliberate, but not intentionally rude. Unlike some of the others, he's really not that much of a jerk."
Angel quirked a small smile. "Have you given more thought to coming over to the dark side?"
*Keep her talking. She's ready.* Lena advised.
"Yeah, for all the good it does me. No use wishing for something I can't get. With my luck, I'd get green hair and spend the rest of my life looking like a ten year old boy."
David got a sparkle in his eye. "If you could find a wishing well - one that really worked - what would you wish for?"
"Yeah, right. Still, it's fun to dream. I'd want to look human, so people couldn't tell. No offense."
"None taken. Go on. No limits at all. What would it be? Flying? A really cool zap? Mind powers, like my love?"
"Please, not while I'm eating!" Robin mimed gagging. "Anything? No offense, but I don't want to go through what you did when you woke up."
"I don't blame you." He shuddered at the memory. "But after a few days of hell, I got some really cool stuff."
"I'm not sure I could take it. Let's see... I'd like to be able to become invisible and/or intangible. And control it. So I could be visible and intangible, like one of your illusions. Or I could be invisible, but have my hands and feet solid. Like the Twonkeyville Ghost."
They all groaned at the reference to the briefly popular children's show.
"As long as I'm dreaming, I'd like to be able to teleport, through space and time. And to move other things and people the same way. That could be pretty useful."
"The joke potential alone would be world class." David grinned. He looked at the others, especially at Angel.
Angel had let the special parts of her mind process the conversation. The unwanted outcome would be trivially easy, but she ruthlessly cut it off. The other was more difficult, especially with the parameters she added. But she could do it. She nodded at David.
"We should tell her." He said to the others.
Angel looked at Lena. "Is anyone else listening?" Lena shook her head. "Then I guess it's ok."
Robin looked from one to another of them, suspiciously. "Tell me what?"
"Didn't you ever wonder how I got exactly the mix of powers I wanted?" David asked her.
"I didn't know you wanted that mix in the first place."
"Well, I did. And I got it. It isn't a wishing well, but it's a place." He looked around again, then dropped his voice. "Pope Hill."
"What? I don't believe it. I've been there plenty of times."
"It only works sometimes. I heard rumors going back to our parents' time and earlier. Lena and Angel felt something, and talked me into trying the rumor. And it worked."
Angel took up the narrative. "It seems to take some time to recharge or something, in between the days it works. Different times, it takes different amounts of time."
"I think it's also tied into something, like phases of the moon... something like that." Lena added. "Angel and I both notice something there, but it's something different for each of us."
"And by this afternoon," Angel continued, "it feels like it will be ready again."
Still not quite buying it, Robin asked "What would I have to do? Some embarrassing ritual or something?"
"I just walked up to the place they showed me, felt something wonderful, and thought hard about what I wanted. I felt something shift, and this little glowy thing appeared. It looked kinda like I look now, but small. It hung there for a moment, then came and merged into me." He looked directly at her. "And that was it. Later that day, Angel saw I was getting ready to go through MORFS. She told my folks, and the rest you know."
"How would I know it's going to work?"
"Well," Lena said, "if you don't feel anything special there, it's probably not ready. If you do, go for it."
"An hour or so after school, it feels like. Unless someone else tries it before you."
"And this isn't one of the Captain's set ups?"
"I would do a lot of things for a laugh," David replied, "But this, I don't joke about."
"I suppose I could try it. It beats taking pot luck for when and what. What do I do?"
"We'll all go to the hill after school, and talk on the way."
Angel's final class of the day was a disappointment, in a way. The Athletic Challenge class did not dress out. The time was taken up with locker assignments, paper work, and a general orientation to the class, the equipment, and the procedures. All that build up and anticipation, and nobody so much as changed her blouse. The closest she got was two girls changing their shoes.
After school, the four of them met at the agreed on spot, and walked toward the park.
Angel told Robin "It's probably a good idea to go over what you want in your mind, so you have it clear by the time you get there."
Robin nodded, and they walked in companionable silence. Lena monitored Robin's thoughts, without intruding. When she briefly considered additional powers or aspects, Lena relayed the information to Angel.
In the end, Robin came full circle to her earlier description. Angel was relieved, because she was fairly sure the change could be timed to start Friday afternoon, and finish by the end of the long weekend. Robin should miss little, if any, school.
When Robin started feeling something unfamiliar, Lena and Angel stopped, looking toward the hill. David urged her forward, smiling encouragingly. As she moved closer to the hill, the feelings grew stronger. It was similar to the sense of awe she had felt on a family trip to Europe, when they visited an ornate cathedral. There was also what she could only call a sense of being welcomed.
As she reached the marker, she stopped and waited. She went over what she wanted from the change. After all the rehearsal, that was easy. She sensed some sort of approval, and had a feeling of something important happening. As the feeling grew, a small, translucent figure rose from the ground in front of her.
After it reached about chest height, it pulsed a little then formed a six inch, idealized image of her. The figure smiled, spread her arms, and floated toward Robin. As it reached her and started to sink into her, she had an impulse to hug it. Her arms came up and in, then met her chest.
Suddenly, it was all gone. The feelings, her miniature self, everything. She was left with a sense of something important having happened. After standing there for a moment longer, she turned and walked back to her friends.
"Well?" Angel asked, grinning.
"It was... interesting. It felt like something happened."
"Let's see." Angel grabbed her arm and turned her, so that neither of them was looking into the sun. The suddenness of the contact startled her, but she wasn't alarmed.
After a moment, Angel rendered her verdict. "Yep. You've got it."
"When? What? How?"
"I would guess you'll start showing symptoms sometime Friday afternoon. It's too early to tell what you will end up with. I don't know how. I've heard everything from a religious miracle to morfed prairie dogs."
"Of course you are," David soothed. "It's a big step, and you're just along for the ride. You tend to prefer to have some control over things. I won't tell you to relax and enjoy it - they have drugs for that these days."
Robin couldn't help it, she smiled.
"You have good people looking out for you. Us. Your parents. Your parents' money. Good people." David deadpanned.
She couldn't keep from laughing.
"Hey Captain... When do I get a sky ride?" She giggled, trying to change the subject.
David looked at Lena for a beat, then turned, grabbed Robin up in his arms, and took to the sky. She shrieked, half in laughter, half in startlement.
Angel and Lena laughed themselves silly, watching him give her an aerial roller coaster ride. They were just landing when Angel's eCom rang.
It was Mrs. Tabor. She kept the conversation simple, asking Angel to come to the spa that evening. She had something to discuss privately.
She suggested that Angel have her father take her, and then he could enjoy the men's services while they talked. Angel agreed, and told her friends she needed to get home.
Angel called her parents, and found out that they would be home on time. Angel used the time until then to snack and get most of her homework out of the way. She sighed, knowing that it was probably the smallest load of homework she would have for months to come.
Her mother got home first. Angel gave her the paperwork that needed to be signed, like the "If my kid gets hurt, I won't sue the school" disclaimer for Athletic Challenge. They signed in all the right places, then she put them away. By the time they were done, her father was home.
Angel decided that a quick shower and change would be a good idea, before they went.
When she arrived at the spa, freshly showered and neatly dressed, A male attendant appeared and escorted her father to the men's area. As soon as he was out of sight, Mrs. Tabor appeared by way of one of the hidden doors.
"Thank you for coming, my dear. If you would come with me...?"
Mrs. Tabor lead Angel to her well appointed office, and offered her a comfortable chair. Unsure of the nature and formality of the occasion, Angel perched on the edge and sat up with her best posture.
"I appreciate the gesture," Mrs. Tabor smiled gently, "But you might as well get comfortable. This discussion may get uncomfortable enough as it is." She waited, as Angel settled back into the chair.
"Before we begin, can I offer you something to drink?"
"I'm good, thank you." It was not really a pro forma response. She just wasn't thirsty.
The matron nodded, at the spoken and unspoken reactions, drew a deep breath, and began.
"I called you here to ask a very large favor of you. You are free to decline, and I will not think any the less of you. To be frank, I'm not even sure that what I will ask is possible. I need your honest reaction."
"Right now, it's nervous and curious. What is the favor?"
"There are a few parts to it, and I will need to give you some background first." Angel had never seen the woman so ill at ease. Had never imagined seeing her that way.
"One part of the favor is fairly simple. For reasons I will explain in a moment, I would need you to delay the start of your employment here for a week or longer. You will not lose money because of it, but the payment will be described differently. Are you with me so far?"
After Angel's uncertain nod, she continued. "Despite that, I have a request that I would ask you to undertake tonight or tomorrow." She looked at Angel again, briefly, then seemed to switch gears.
"How do you feel about handling the genitals of other girls and women?"
Angel knew her thoughts would be read, so she opted for honesty. "Mostly curious. I don't have anything against it."
Mrs. Tabor seemed to think for a moment, then nodded.
"As you may be aware, there are still people in this world who feel that wedding day virginity is very important. And among such cultures, it is especially important for dynastic weddings. In some places, it is enough that she hasn’t had children or STDs, but some take the older, less reliable approach."
"Her cherry." Angel blurted, then froze when she realized what she said.
"Indeed," the older woman nodded, with a slight smile. "And in cases like royalty and certain prominent families, they take it very seriously, indeed. And in these days of bio elementals and nanosurgery, they even go so far as to create and preserve records of the form of the hymen."
"Yes, it is stupid and barbaric. But it is their way, and we need to respect it. Up to a point."
Angel pulled a face, thinking that she still didn't like the whole idea.
"I'm afraid that you will be faced with a number of things you don't like while working here. That is why we offer the counseling services Cindy described. However, just now we find ourselves faced with something we do not need to respect or accept. Sabotage."
Angel perked up.
"A young lady, a long time client and friend, is due to be married this week. There are those who oppose the marriage for political reasons, and some of them have acted. A doctor, who was paid off by some of the opposition, destroyed her hymen under the pretext of medical treatment of an infection. Even more barbaric, the infection was apparently induced deliberately, by way of contaminated sanitary supplies."
Angel shuddered, remembering what she had seen at one of the theaters.
"He has notified his co conspirators, and they are insisting on a thorough examination."
"Isn't there a record of what he did?"
"Yes, but it doesn't matter. As appalling as we might find the idea, such a medical procedure does not excuse the condition. Nor would the kinds of childhood accidents which are altogether too common."
"So you want me to regrow her che... hymen."
"Yes and no. And this is where it gets delicate, and perhaps impossible. These people are not isolated from the world. They are fully aware of elemental regeneration and nanosurgery. But they also know that such procedures create records and leave traces. In particular, bio elementals leave a sort of energy signature when they impose changes on bodies. The more energy they use, the stronger the signature. And the longer it lasts."
That matched some of the things Angel had read. "Ouch. So, what can we do?"
"We will get to that. Another aspect of the records is also a problem. There is clearly a record of her visits here, and there will be a record of your association with us when you begin that association."
"That's why you want me to wait. No records I was here yet."
"It may even work to our advantage in another way. Once they raise the issue - and they will - I will be able to claim that their doing so convinced me to recruit you. While they may be able to show that I considered such an association before now, there is no available evidence that I have acted on it."
"So, what can I do?"
"I was reminded of the help you gave that little patient of Thomas'. In particular, the way you were working hard to keep from drawing on her energies any more than necessary. Are you able to do the opposite?"
"Draw more heavily on their energy than mine? Yes. I tried it out recently. So, you think that by using her own energies to regrow her hymen, I wouldn't leave such a signature?"
"Or if you do, it would be faint and quickly fade." Mrs. Tabor looked thoughtful. "At least, that is what we hope. It may well be her only chance."
"What's to keep them from saying they see a trace when there isn't one?"
"There will be two elementals examining her, and neither has any stake in the outcome. The elementals will be monitored by similarly impartial telepaths." She allowed a slight, grim smile. "As I said, they take it very seriously."
They were both silent, thinking. Then Angel remembered something more from what she read. It might work.
"What is your idea?" While she could read Angel's mind, too many of her thoughts were references to things the older woman was unfamiliar with.
"First, I need to know a couple of things. When does this have to be done?"
"She is here tonight, along with her entourage. She will leave tomorrow afternoon."
"I wish I had more time."
"I'm afraid that is the one thing I can't provide. But anything, and anyone, here is at your disposal."
Knowing Mrs. Tabor would read it anyway, she plunged ahead. "Do you have anyone you can really trust, with a busted cherry, a bit of a taste for other girls, and a streak of exhibitionism?"
Mrs. Tabor raised her eyebrows, then allowed a smile to show. "I believe I know just the girl." She typed something on her keyboard, then returned her attention to Angel. "Would you elaborate?"
"I think I know a way to do this, but I'm not comfortable trying without some practice. I need three things for this to work: readily available materials, a strong flow of energy at or near the site, and another flow of energy to obliterate any traces I leave behind. If I understand it correctly, some research I read points to something that could provide all three. Masturbation."
She hurried on. "The arousal will bring a plentiful supply of blood and nutrients to the area, swelling her lips, clit, and hole." she winced at her own choice of words, but saw no reaction other than interest. She continued.
"I can get her body to use some of that to create the new tissues. The research also said that there is a significant concentration and flow of bio energy in that area when the woman is turned on like that, peaking at orgasm. I can draw that energy more easily, and use the burst when she cums to wipe out my traces. In theory. If I read it right."
"You're not sure?"
"Not really. I want to observe and try a few things with someone for whom, frankly, it won't matter much, before someone's whole future is literally in my hands."
"That would seem sensible. I take it you are willing to do this, then?"
"Of course. Hmmm. I'll need to talk to Lena a moment. About my parents."
"Do you want to call Miss Morgan from my phone?" An interesting look of irony crossed the older woman's face.
"Got it covered." Angel grinned. *Hey Lena! You busy?*
*Just doing homework for the rest of my life. What's up?*
*I've got something going on at the spa. Could you talk to Mrs. T. and relay some things to my folks?*
*Sounds interesting. Hang on.*
Mrs. Tabor made no effort to hide the conversation she had with Lena. She smiled and nodded. She opened her mouth to say something, when her screen pinged.
"Come in, my dear." She called to the door. An attractive young woman, who looked to be in her early twenties, stepped in with an air of coming to attention. Her boss smiled and invited her to take another of the comfortable chairs.
The young woman's eyes twinkled. "Oh, no. Not the comfy chair!" Angel got the feeling she was quoting something, something funny. But she didn't recognize the quote.
"I'm afraid so, my dear. We would like to ask you for... a rather unusual favor."
"Another kinky client?"
"Something much more serious, I'm afraid. And delicate."
"As your employer, it would violate several laws, and our own rules, for me to ask you to have anything to do with this. Something very important is happening, and this young lady is a part of it. I will only ask you to show her to room T 15, and make up your own mind about what she asks you to do." She typed something. "The monitors are off."
"O... k..." She got up, then smiled at Angel. "C'mon. I'll show you the way."
"She really likes you." Angel observed.
"It's mutual. I owe her more than my life, and she has always been good to me."
"You're not asking anything."
"Not here. You'll tell me what I need to know, when we get there. Then, I'll do what she said, and make up my own mind." She turned to Angel and grinned. "Besides, I bet it's gonna be something interesting."
"Probably." Angel returned an ironic smile.
The room was in the training area. Angel had assumed that was what the letter indicated. Inside was a table, which reminded her uncomfortably of a medical examination table. Also, some chairs, a small rolling table, a tiny sink and counter, and some cabinets.
"What is this room used for?"
"Sometimes, for minor medical examinations and procedures. It's also used to train for things we do in the similar client rooms. Everything from waxes and pubic trims, to piercings. We've even delivered a few babies, over the years."
Angel winced at the idea of piercings there. She had heard of such things, but the thought was just a little bit too unpleasant. Her guide closed and locked the door, then flipped a switch labeled "In Use".
"We're private now. Nobody can see or hear what's going on. So what do you need?"
"Well," Angel stammered. "I will need you to masturbate some, while I watch with my extra senses. Then I will ask you to stop, and I will try to regrow part of your hymen. Then, I will need you to bring yourself to orgasm." Angel's face was bright red, but it was from embarrassment, not excitement.
"Ok." she replied simply. "Anything else?"
Angel was surprised by the casual answer. But she thought a moment, then realized there was something she needed to try first. "Yes. Do you have any small scars or stretch marks you'd like to get rid of?"
"I have this one," she said, indicating a small pale mark on her arm.
"Perfect. Just a moment." Angel put her finger over the scar and convinced it to heal. Then she matched the coloring of the new area with the rest of the upper arm. She barely noticed the effort.
She stepped back for a moment, then looked at the arm with everything she had. She could see a discontinuity in the energies of the tissues there, and recognized it as her own. So that was what the signature looked like.
Nodding to herself, she turned and said "Ok, Let's begin."
Her subject carefully removed her skirt and panties, folding them neatly onto a chair. She opened a door in the table's pedestal, and pulled out a couple of white, fluffy towels and a small pillow. From another opening, she pulled a pair of OB stirrups, and attached them to the foot of the bed. She was smiling as she did so, as though amused by the whole thing.
Finally, with an amused look of her own, Angel had to ask. "Ok, what?"
"Do you have any idea how long I've wanted to jill off in this place?" she laughed. "The only thing that would make it better would be doing so in one of the client rooms. So pull up a chair," she indicated the area between the stirrups, "and enjoy the show. Let me know when to stop, and if you need anything special."
With that, she dropped a small portion of the table, leaving two short arms leading to the stirrups, spread a towel over the end of the table nearest that spot, and climbed into place. With her legs up, she was positioned so that her vulva was right at the edge, in clear view and accessible.
The situation wasn't perfect. She was already somewhat aroused, so Angel couldn't get a complete idea of her rest state. But as she fingered herself, and her clit and labia engorged, Angel saw what she expected.
When she felt like there was enough of an energy flow, she said to stop. The heavily breathing girl complied, after a couple of last strokes. Angel asked her to spread her labia, and she did so. Angel reached up and put two fingers near the entrance to her vagina. She started pulling and moving the energy flows, being careful not to pump any of her own energy into her subject. She focused the flows, and got them to tease growth from a part of the minimal remnants of her hymen.
"Do you want it completely regrown?"
"No thanks. It was a pain to get rid of the first time. Fun, but a pain."
Angel nodded and made sure the growth would not interfere with anything. She found a clear cellular memory of the original form of the hymen, just as she hoped she would. She stopped, and pulled away. Looking carefully, she could see faint traces of her energy signature. "Go ahead and finish. Stop after one good cum, and we'll go from there."
For the next few minutes, Angel was little more than a voyeuristic spectator. She had to admit, seeing a girl - another girl - get herself off like that was turning her on. The disturbing part was that her fantasies involved someone - herself or a decidedly male someone - doing that to her own pussy.
The girl arched up for a moment, then collapsed. Angel took a close look. There was no sign of her energy. This could work.
"I'm done. Thank you." Angel grinned. "Feel free to continue, if you like."
"Please stay and watch. Somehow, I like it that way."
Angel nodded and sat there, fascinated. It didn't take long for the excitement to build again, and again. And again. Finally, she collapsed, with a big, tired smile on her face.
"Thanks. I needed that." she grinned. She staggered to her feet, and Angel helped her put things away. The towels and pillow went into a chute in the wall. The girl typed a simple message into her tablet: "We're done."
*It works. What now?*
*Rest for a little while, and I'll let you know when all is ready. You seem to have made a new friend.* Angel was about to respond, when she went on. *Your mother is bringing you a change of clothes and your school things for tomorrow. we'll put you up here for the night, when you're done.*
*Probably a good idea. From past experience, I'll be pretty wiped out by the time I'm done.*
The girl smiled at Angel. "Apparently, I need to take you to wardrobe, and then have a drink with you. And a snack, if you want."
"Sounds good." Angel smiled. "I just realized... I don't know your name."
"I know." she grinned, cheekily. "I'll tell you if and when you come to work for us."
Angel stuck her tongue out at her, then grinned. "So, what are we going to wardrobe for?"
"A lot of the time, the right clothes are a big part of the experience. A beautician's smock, a lab coat, even a uniform can be a part of setting the mood. Rather than making us buy and take care of all that, we have a whole wardrobe department. You will be getting a medical smock. They will also have a standard issue tablet for you."
Angel nodded. When they got there, she noticed that her companion thumbed for everything. Thinking about it, it made sense. Again, no records of her.
They went to the service bar and ordered. Angel got a shake, and her companion got an energy drink.
"How are you going to keep that figure, if you keep drinking things like that?"
"I'm a bio elemental. And I'm going to be using a lot of energy."
"You want some food? It's on the house."
"Honestly, everything but the health food." A girl who was walking by stopped, stuck her tongue out at them, then continued on her way. "Just yanking her chain. How hungry are you, and for what kinds of stuff. They can do just about anything."
"I need a good bit of protein, preferably red meat, and some carbs."
"How does a steak sandwich and fries sound? They do a great one."
"Ooh, that does sound good."
Her companion put something in on her tablet. "Salad?"
"No thanks. I need raw materials rather than just filling space."
A moment later, their tablets pinged, and displayed a message saying "Soup's on."
They went to the end of the service bar, where a large plate was waiting. The sandwich was the fanciest, and one of the largest, steak sandwiches Angel had ever seen. And they didn't exactly skimp on the fries.
As they carried it back to the table, Angel offered "Wanna split it? It's more than I need, and it would be a shame to waste any."
"I thought you'd never ask." she grinned.
They ate and talked, mostly about what it was like to work there and what it was like to be a bio elemental. Even a weak one.
The next time the tablets pinged, they said "It's time." Angel's companion showed her to a "secret" door, wished her luck, and left.
Angel glanced at her tablet. There was more text than before. It said that her client had been briefed about the preparation, treatment, and post treatment necessities. Angel need only say "Phase 1" to have her start, "Phase 2" to have her stop, and expect Angel's ministrations, and "Phase 3" to complete the earlier process. Angel had a respect for the indirect nature of the language.
The room she stepped into was more elaborate than the training room. In addition to the fancier decor, there was a beauty chair in addition to the examination table. The sinks, counter, and so on were larger, as well. There was a closet, but no apparent door to the outside. Her subject was on the table, with her legs up in the stirrups and a warm, moist towel over her face. She could probably see a little from under the towel, so the smock made sense.
She couldn't help but notice that the woman was a morf - a powerful elemental, with other features, who looked completely non morf. She didn't want to pry, so she didn't try to notice anything more.
Angel sat as before, then said "Phase 1." The woman started exciting herself. It was interesting to see the differences in the ways her two subjects did effectively the same thing. This one was much less inventive, more businesslike than the other. All things considered, that was hardly surprising. It was also not surprising that it took her longer to get to the necessary level.
"Phase 2" The hand motion stopped. One hand was withdrawn, and the other reached down to spread her lips. Concentrating for all she was worth, Angel moved two fingers in as before, and carefully drew out and used the energy. After what seemed like hours, she was done. She was tired, but far from exhausted. Looking at her handiwork, she got an idea. She moved her fingers to the side, to the part of the left labia that would normally cover the vagina. Pulling on the other energy again, she created a small line of scar tissue, and a little, healed nick.
That done, she withdrew and looked. There was a little more of her signature, but still not much.
"Phase 3" She watched, as the fingers explored the new tissue, then got to work with renewed vigor. Angel had not only regrown the tissue (in the configuration it remembered), she had aged the new growth, so there was no sign that anything had been done.
When the client was fully involved with phase 3, Angel slipped away and pressed the icon on her tablet that said "Done".
"Turn in the wardrobe and tablet, and come to the office." That seemed clear enough.
At wardrobe, the woman behind the counter was shuffling some paperwork, and told her to just leave them on the counter. She didn't even look at Angel. Angel wondered whether that was part of the plan.
When she got back to the office, she was starting to feel her energy expenditure. And what she recognized as the beginnings of adrenalin crash. She stood in front of the desk, afraid that she might fall asleep in the chair.
She reported that all seemed to go well, but suggested another round of masturbation before the exam. If possible. She also described her little added touch. "It looks like a recently healed cut, about the same age as the destruction. Maybe some of them will believe he missed."
Mrs. Tabor seemed quite pleased with that notion.
She then told Angel that her things had arrived and were waiting in her room. She also assured her that she had the thanks of her subject, her subject's fiancé, and her boss-to-be.
Cindy appeared, and guided her to her room. It was the fanciest bedroom she had ever seen in person, outside of a museum. She barely noted that fact while she slipped out of her clothes and into bed.
End Part 13
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