I was feeling rotten. I often felt that way in this sort of heavy maths lecture, as if my brains were being slowly cooked from too much thinking. This time was different though. I felt physically unwell, and I hoped it wasn't something serious. As I tried to focus on the task at hand, I reflexively pushed my glasses back up my nose, and tried to ignore my headache.
Thirty dreary minutes later when the lesson was over, my headache was worse than ever. I packed my things up and headed out, following my friend Natalie.
Though we were both 19 years old, Nat was everything I wasn't. She was a gorgeous sexy blond with a killer figure. I was the lank haired, brunette, bespectacled girl, with a bad complexion and the figure of a twelve year old, the ugly shy nerd girl to her blond bombshell.
Despite appearances Nat was far from a dumb bimbo, like me she was in the first year of studying for a four year masters engineering degree, which has some fairly tough entry criteria. Since we were on the same course and there were relatively few girls. we were roommate Initially it seemed we were poorly matched, but somehow we had hit it off and became best friends.
Since then we’d done a lot together, and Nat was always trying to help me be more sociable. I found going out with her could be depressing, as the only reason guys would talk to me was to get to her. They seemed to be operating under the assumption that if they could befriend the ugly roommate they had a better crack at my sexy friend. Once we’d tried double dating. The guy her date brought took one look at me and then ignored me, he just sat there drinking for the rest of the evening. He got so drunk he called me an ugly troll and threw up on me. I cried myself to sleep that night and refused to go out like that again. That experience had recently put me off going out on dates at all, even without Nat there stealing all the attention. It seemed none of the people I dated understood me, plus I couldn't seem to find any spark of attraction for any of them. I was resigning myself to becoming a crazy old spinster lady. I figured I might have to get myself a pet cat to be my only love to complete the image.
Despite all that, I liked Nat, I had been relatively shy at school and had few friends. Nat was a good friend to me and someone I could open up to. She also got all the techie stuff that made people think I was a geek. She was probably one of the brighter people in the course. Most of the guys thought she was sleeping with someone to stay on, or using me to get by. Truth was she probably helped me more than I ever helped her and she could go toe to toe with any bloke on geek stuff. Mostly she played the ditz, but every now and then she would completely take some smart arse apart with her fairly formidable intellect.
"So straight off to Dr Smith's electromagnetics course? Or you wanna grab a quick coffee first?" Nat asked.
"I think I might just skip this lecture," I said.
"That's not like you Em, bunking off.” Then she took a good look at me, “Hey you feeling alright?" She was suddenly looking at me worriedly. She always seemed to know how I was feeling. She told me once she was just really good at reading body language, but even so, it was uncanny.
"Feeling a bit off, headache and such," I replied.
"Well in that case you head off home. You can borrow my notes later. Go get yourself wrapped up warm, and have a lie down."
"You gonna be OK to head back to hall? I can come with if you like?"
"No I'm OK."
"Right ho, well I'll see you a bit later babe," she said. giving me a hug. She suddenly stiffened, "Uh oh! Don't look now, but your stalker is here."
While I had trouble finding guys that took an interest in me, there was one who wouldn't leave me alone. Mark Bishop had become obsessed with me. He was a bit of a weirdo, even more of an outsider than me, an odd quiet guy who sat at the back of a room on his own. He kept following me around and used to stand across the street from our house in the mornings, waiting for me to come out. That was till Nat threatened to call the cops on him.
He was a royal pain in the arse. It had started innocently enough. I went on a date with him after he asked me out at a hall of residence event. He had seemed nice enough, a little shy maybe, but I wasn't one to judge on that score. The date had been OK, but I found I just didn't like the guy, and had very few interests in common. It wasn’t anyone's fault; I just didn't think we were likely to be friends. I explained this and, as far as I was concerned, we’d gone our separate ways amicably, except he wouldn't accept it was over. He kept turning up, trying to call me, and sending me little gifts. It was annoying and a bit scary.
"Don't worry we'll pull a fast one on him. You know the ladies in the maths block with the two exits?” I nodded, “You go in one and head out the other. I'll wait outside so he thinks I'm waiting for you," Nat said.
"Thanks Nat, last thing I need is him following me home when I'm ill."
"No problem, Emily. What else are friends for if not to deflect creepy stalkers? You really should speak with someone about him, he's getting weirder."
"I know Nat, maybe once I'm feeling better, K."
"Right ho, time for some subterfuge," she said with a big grin.
We made our way to the ladies, with Mark in tow. As we got there, Nat said, “OK I'll wait for you here don't take too long,” in a fairly loud voice
I nodded and she gave me a sly wink, I swiftly dodged through to the other door and off into the building, exiting the other side away from where Nat was distracting Mark. I made my way home reassured that I was not being followed. I was feeling increasingly lousy, as by now, my head was pounding, and my muscles were aching. I staggered back to in St. George Hall, which consists of a main hall building, with a canteen a student bar and various other facilities. It had grown to include a few houses along the street next to it. These were separate from the main block and had their own feel. Nat and I lived in one of these houses. It was an older redbrick house dating from early in the university’s existence, called Lilyvale. There was a small kitchen downstairs and maybe a dozen rooms, each with two people in them. There was a roughly equal mix of boys to girls. I used my key and staggered up to our room, number six, on the first floor.
I opened the door shuffled in, slammed it behind me, then collapsed on the bed, strewing my stuff at random across the room on the path to bed. I crashed there fully clothed, clutching my throbbing head.
I lay there for a short while and managed to get some sleep for a bit. I woke up a while later my head still pounding, my muscles aching, suddenly nauseous. I bolted out of the room for the bathroom, managing to get to the toilet where I threw up voluminously for quite a while.
After I was done, I sat there for a bit recovering. I heard a voice behind me, “Dude, you been drinking vodka again?”
It was Tom Winters an art student in the room across the way from us. He and his roommate were always out drinking late into the night and never seemed to go to lectures. I wasn't sure how he managed to stay on his course. He was a reasonably nice guy though, unlike his roommate who sober, was a right tosser, and worse when he was drunk.
“No Tom, I haven't,” I replied.
“Right, I jus remember that party back ... when was it ... you were wasted back then, can't hold your vodka ... anyway gonna get me some breakfast,” Tom said as he shuffled off.
It was 3:30 in the afternoon, a bit early for him and a bit late for breakfast. He was right about me and vodka though. I had been so sick that time, the very thought of it made my stomach clench and I was sick a few more times. When I seemed to have stopped throwing up, I flushed the toilet and washed my face. The pale sickly looking girl I saw in the mirror looked awful. I staggered back to bed and wrapped myself up warm, trying and fight the shakes.
I slept a bit more feeling totally worn out and woke once again to throw up, the same cycle repeated several times till I had nothing left to throw up, ending up retching painfully. I was in quite a state when Nat's key in the door woke me from my delirious slumber.
“Dude,” I heard Tom say, “Em's been chucking up loads, it almost put me off my breakfast. She been at the booze again?”
“I don't think so, Tom she was feeling a bit sick earlier,” Nat told him. My head felt all fuzzy like everything was far away.
“Well she's in pretty bad shape then, I haven’t seen anyone that sick since Brown challenged me to that turbo cider drinking contest and he ended up in casualty.”
“Thanks, Tom. I'll see if she's OK, maybe get her to the med centre.”
She wandered in and was soon over by my bed side. She was just a fuzzy shape without my glasses and I was pretty sick. My perceptions were way off.
“You OK Em?” She put her hand on my forehead. “Oh, honey you're burning up. Come on, let's take you over to the student med centre.”
She helped me out of bed, I was pretty far gone by this point shaking and fading in and out of consciousness. Nat put one of my arms around her when it became apparent that I could barely walk by myself. I could have sworn she lifted me up all by herself, but it must have been the sickness as I heard her call for some help. “Tom!”
“What is it?” he was just a fuzzy figure by the door.
“Oh for goodness sake, put some trousers on around the house, will you? Anyway, I need you to help me get Em to the doctor’s. She's in a bad way.”
I faded out a bit and, next thing I knew, we were outside. I was being more or less carried between Nat and Tom. I tried to say something, but it came out as a series of unintelligible moans.
“Hold on, sweetie, we are getting you to the doctor’s,” Nat said.
I faded in and out from time to time, getting a snapshot of our trip to the universities medical centre. My periods awake became less and less frequent and even then I was only barely conscious. One of my last conscious periods I was in a bed somewhere.
Two shapes were talking. One was Nat and I assumed the other was a doctor.
“... in a very serious condition, I've not seen many cases with as severe a reaction as this,” said the doctor.
“Will she be OK?” Nat said.
“Too early to say, we’ll hook her up to an energy I.V. and keep her sedated. It's the safest course of action,” the Doctor said.
I faded out and this time I was out for the count.
I came to some time later. I didn't know how long I had been out, but I no longer felt ill. I did feel a little strange. I as a matter of habit, I tried to reach for my glasses and found I was restrained. I blinked my eyes to clear them a bit and the room came into focus, sharp focus.
“That's odd,” I thought, “I shouldn't be able to see without my glasses. What's going on.”
I glanced around and saw I was secured to a bed with a sheet and duvet over me so I couldn't see myself. I could see various bits of medical equipment around me. The room looked too well equipped to be the med centre. I seemed to be in a hospital room somewhere.
I was glancing around when Nat walked into the room slurping away on a drink. “Hey, look who's up! They said you would be coming out of it today, typical that you should wake up when I'm off getting a drink,” she said.
“What happened? Why can I see without my glasses? why am I tied up?” The questions just poured out.
“OK, now keep calm, sweetie. They had to restrain you so you wouldn't hurt yourself. You had some pretty bad episodes where you were thrashing about,” Nat said, “As to the eyes, well, now stay calm. You've had MORFS, been out of it for a week. It was a pretty bad case, they didn't think you were going to make it at one point and had to airlift you to the local intensive care ward for a bit. They tried to get your parents here, but there was some sort of mix up with the computers and your records. Anyway, your eyes must be part of your changes.”
“Part of my changes! What else? Let me up!” I was panicking a bit, making the heart rate machine bleep faster and faster. I had thought I was past the time that MORFS would be a risk for me. At 19, I was at the far end of the possible age group. Now, just when I had begun to think I was safe, it had got me.
“Now calm down, there is no need to panic. You are going to be fine. Take some deep breaths and try to relax.”
I did my best to calm down, it wasn't easy but eventually my heart rate returned to normal and the bleeping slowed.
“Good girl I'll call the doctor so they can talk you through it.” She stepped out the room for a bit and returned a few minutes later with an earnest looking man in a white coat.
He examined me a bit ,shining a light in my eyes, and listening to my heart and so on, as he asked me a few questions and eventually started to lift back the sheet covering my body.
“Remember, stay calm, Em,” Nat told me. Her repeated encouragement to stay calm was not helping any more. That she wanted me to remain calm seemed to indicate that my not needing glasses anymore was the least of my problems, and that I had a lot to be not calm about. All sorts of horrific images of what I would see flashed through my mind.
Maybe I was a giant slug from the waist down, or half donkey, or a man!
My heart started to speed up a bit as the doc drew back the sheet and then the duvet. I looked slowly down my body, the first thing I noticed were breasts. Not huge ones, but for someone who previously, as one unpleasant boy had put it, had a chest like two aspirins on an ironing board, they were something of a surprise. I continued looking down and saw my hands tied up below my new bosom, I continued down, below them was another set of hands!
“That can't be right!” I thought to myself.
Below that set was another, I seemed to have 6 hands, and presumably, arms as well by the looks of it. I continued looking down and saw nothing else of note. I returned to staring at the extra pairs of hand.
“You're taking this very well,” said the Doctor, at which point I let out a scream that probably rattled windows on the other side of the hospital, then passed out. Yeah, all things considered, I think I took it well, too.
I woke up a little while later and almost immediately began to cry. Nat was waiting in a chair by my bedside, the duvet and sheet was back over me. She stood up and came over when she saw I was awake and began stroking my head gently.
“I'm a freak!” I wailed.
“No, honey don't say that,” Nat cooed.
“But I have 6 hands!” I sobbed.
“You'll get over it, Em, you're stronger than you realise,” Nat said.
“I want to get up, I want to see it all, I want a mirror,” I said.
“OK, But wait’ll I go get the Doctor,” She dashed off, returning a few moments later with the same doctor as before.
“I want to get up,” I said.
“Now Miss Owen I'm not sure you're ready for that yet.”
“I need to see it now!” I insisted.
The Doctor looked at me and eventually capitulated, “OK, but take it easy, one step at a time.”
He pulled back the covers and began to undo the bindings that held my normal hands. Then I felt the odd sensation of him freeing my four new appendages. I could feel them shift oddly mostly hanging down lifelessly, their weight pulling at me on my sides. I moved to get out of bed using my normal arms my new limbs got in the way a fair amount. I felt them twitch and move, sometimes in concert with my normal limbs copying their movement, sometimes randomly moving without any obvious cause. It was a bizarre sensation.
Nat helped me up, putting her arm around me, and I put my arm round her shoulder for balance. My new arms poked her as I did this, one in her back, the other embarrassingly in the bottom.
“Sorry,” I said.
“No problems, Em.”
She helped me over to a full length mirror. All the extra weight of two additional pairs of arms, plus my having been asleep for some length of time made me very unsteady on my feet. I staggered and swayed my way over to the mirror.
When I was there I stared in horror at my reflection.
“Um Doctor, can we have a little privacy?” asked Nat.
“Certainly, if you need me call. I'll be right outside,” he said and was out the door.
Nat gently closed the door giving us some privacy. I barely noticed I was still staring at the 6 armed girl in the mirror, I couldn't believe it was me. I looked pretty different, not just from my extra limbs, I was a little taller than I had been maybe 5 foot 9 or 10 to my old 5 foot 5. I had long thick silver grey hair down to my waist that shimmered like it was metallic. A brief tug confirmed it was still hair, though it felt really soft. My face looked lovely. It hadn't altered amazingly, but some subtle changes and overall improvements to my complexion had taken me from ugly or plain, to quite pretty. My skin was smooth and flawless, my eyes had the same silvery grey colour as my hair. My lips looked fuller, and my nose smaller. I reached up and undid the hospital gown, letting it fall to the floor. My breasts were handfuls, they looked similar to Nat's, and I knew she was a B cup. I cupped them, feeling my larger pale pink nipples with my palms. I examined my arms, my normal set attached as before, but under my original armpits a second set of joints stuck out, and beneath them a third set, giving me six identical arms. I tried to move the new hands, they sort of flopped about, responding but not in any controlled fashion. They also seemed to get cross wired with my normal arms a bit, often moving at the same time as my original arms. My abdomen seemed more muscled, probably due to all the extra musculature required to move my new limbs about. As a by-product. this made my tummy washboard flat.
I ignored these unwanted limbs and continued my examination. My waist seemed slightly smaller, my hips slightly wider. Not much, but enough with the breasts to give me a pretty nice figure. I ran my normal hands over my flat tummy, feeling how smooth my skin was. I examined my genitals, my pubic hair matched the shade of the hair sprouting out of my head but other than that, things seemed normal. I seemed to lack most other body hair. My legs seemed to have the same smooth flawless skin as the rest of me.
Stepping back to look at the overall picture, my upper body had a slightly triangular look to it. My shoulders were slightly wider to accommodate my extra arms under my normal ones. It served to make my figure look more hourglass and my waist smaller in comparison. I turned around, my back was more muscled to allow for my new limbs, my bum seemed firmer. All of me seemed to have got a slight tune up, tighter, firmer, smoother, sexier.
If it weren't for my freakish extra arms, I would look pretty good. A little odd with my hair and eye colour, but a fairly attractive girl next door look. As it was, I was a six armed freak. No matter that the package the had attractive wrapping paper, it was still a freak inside. I started crying again, Nat came over and pulled me into an embrace. I cried on her shoulder, not even caring that I was completely naked.
“There, there, come on get it all out. You'll be OK,” Nat rocked me gently.
I cried for quite a while, eventually calming to the point that Nat let me go and helped me get my gown back on, as I was getting cold.
“How can I live like this? I'm a freak!” I asked, sitting on the bed trying to work out what to do with all these extra arms hanging off me.
“Don't say that Em! You're a little different sure, but you'll get over it,” Nat said stroking my cheek.
A sudden thought occurred to me and I brightened, “I could have the doctors cut them off!” I said excitedly.
“No sweetie, I asked them already. Surgically removing the limbs, because of the way they are attached would likely leave you badly scarred, maybe deformed, and quite possibly lead to a lot of pain, even phantom limb pain in all the removed limbs, which can be horrific. Your new arms are also tightly linked to your spine so there would be a risk of paralysing you. There is a chance that a really top grade bioelemental could manage it and leave you OK, but since it's not life threatening, you are not going to get help on the NHS for that, and those cats cost loads of money. I'm sorry, Em.” Nat said looked sad.
I cried for a bit more, eventually running out of tears. I ended up just sitting there with Nat holding one of my now many hands. My new arms seemed almost to have a mind of their own, almost constantly moving about and twitching. I could sort of feel what they touched, but they seemed almost like dead weight on me most of the time. They didn't feel like they were part of me, they felt like they had been grafted on somehow. They were nasty alien things hanging off my torso, pulling me down, getting in the way, making me feel sluggish and unable to move.
Eventually the Doctor returned for a set of test to check my condition, I was poked and prodded and scanned and so on. I asked about my new arms and why they just did things at random.
The doctor explained that my brain was still in the process of rewiring my motor cortex to cope with my new limbs. He told me that with practice, they should eventually be as functional as my original arms. He recommended trying to use them as frequently as possible to speed up the remapping of nerve connections that would allow me to integrate them into my body image.
I scowled at that a bit, not wanting the damn things at all, still I decided having them controllable would be better than them flailing around. Several times during the exams they suddenly moved out and slapped or poked one of the nurses or doctors. I was very embarrassed by this, but they were very nice to me, even the young lady doctor I caught right across the backside as I was turning to sit in a scanner she was operating.
At the end of it, the Doctor said I was free to go home and to take things easy for a few days. He also recommended I go to a post MORFS facility for an assessment that would more thoroughly document my changes. I flat out refused, not wanting to be poked and prodded some more, especially as I knew what happened in those places, with telepaths prodding around in your brains, something that scared me witless.
When the Doctor found I wasn't going to be moved on the subject, he eventually gave up. Nat had found me some clothes to fit my new shape, an old tracksuit one of her boyfriends had left behind. In order to prevent my new arms flailing about, she bound them to my tummy with some bandages we got from one of the nurses. It made me look fat, but at least I looked like a two armed fat girl rather than a slim six armed freak.
Nat helped me home. I was still a little wobbly on my feet, but I was gradually getting used to the extra weight I was carrying around. We caught the bus back to the hall and went into the house. I sat down on my bed and was soon crying again, Nat came over and hugged me.
“I know how you feel, Em, but it will get better,” Nat said.
“How could you know!” I shouted angrily, “Look at me! I'm a horrible freak girl no one will ever want!” I burst into tears again.
“Well...” she paused looked over at the door making sure it was shut then turned back to me and hesitantly continued, “I went been through MORFS too, years ago. It changed me, I was a plain nerd girl before it, and over the course of a week I became this. You might think it was a blessing, and it was in some ways. But it ruined a lot of my friendships. They couldn't see me as me any more. People look at me and see dumb blonde, they hardly ever take me seriously. Girls treat me like I'm some sort of slut out to steal their boyfriends. Boys treat me like ... well, you can imagine.”
She paused again seeming to work herself up for the next bit. She looked at me intently, her eyes looking a little scared and worried, “It also made me an empath, I feel the emotions of those around me. I’ve never told anyone about it before. I was too afraid. You've come close to guessing though, and I was working up the courage to tell you anyway. I’ve felt the hate and jealousy of those around me, the lust and dark impulses of what people wanted to do to me. It made me sick and afraid. I refused to go back to school after the first day back, but my parents forced me. After a while I got used to it, learnt ways to shut out most of the bad. You told me how much you dislike the idea of telepaths, so I was always scared if I told you what I was, something so similar, that you wouldn't like me any more. I hope we can still be friends.”
She stared at me with hope filled, slightly teary eyes, I hugged her tight. She was my best friend, and I wasn't going to let her go now, not when I needed her the most. She hugged me back.
“You'll find a way to adapt, too, and I'll be here for you every step of the way Em. Why don't you get yourself some sleep, you're probably still tired from the change. I'll wake you at dinner time.”
I smiled and she helped me into bed. I dozed off pretty quick and was soon dreaming weird dreams about trying to tie my shoe laces with multiple hands all getting in the way.
I was awakened up by voices at the door. Natalie was talking to Dave, the jerk who was Tom's roommate.
“So, is nerd girl all changed now?” Dave asked.
“Shut it, Dave!” Nat said.
“She got a tail now or what? I hooked up with some chick from over in St David's Hall she had a tail and was a real wild cat, if you catch my drift,” he said.
“Gah! You perv.” Nat almost spat it at him.
“Come on, let me take a look see. She might be just right for a guy with exotic tastes like me,” he said.
There was crunch and then a thump against the wall and a moan of pain from Dave, “If you upset her, I'll cut you in ways that will make you useless to a woman! So you stay the hell back. You don't want to mess with me, Dave,” Nat said menacingly.
I heard the door open, then Nat came in and shut the door behind her. I sat up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes, my restrained arms stirring, once again reminding me of their presence. I reached for my glasses by instinct before realising I didn't need them.
“Oh, did I wake you Em? I was just coming to get you for dinner, babe,” Nat said.
“Did you just beat up Dave?” I asked.
“A little,” said Nat with a sheepish smile, “Something else I got from MORFS, I'm a lot stronger than I look. I can't bench press a truck or anything, but enough to make sure some little man can't try to strong arm me and upset my best friend.”
I smiled at her, until she asked, “So fancy coming down for a bite to eat?”
I looked at her nervously. I was pretty hungry, but I didn't want to go outside. I didn't want people seeing me.
Nat, feeling my discomfort and anxiety came over and sat next to me, putting an arm round me, “I know you're scared of going out, but I'll be there with you. There'll be jerks like Dave, but you have to come out sometime. Better to get it out the way so you can get on with things.”
“OK,” I said quietly.
“That's my girl. Let's get you a wash first. You could do with a bath, but we're short on time,” Nat said.
She put my bathrobe round me and then helped me out to the bathroom, “Do you want me to stay or can you manage?” she asked.
“I think I'll be OK.” I didn’t want to feel like a complete invalid.
“OK, shout if you need help.”
I gave myself a good wash down. Nat was right, I could use a bath. The hospital had obviously given me some sort of cleaning, but I needed a good soak. Still it would have to wait for now. As I washed my face and chest, I gasped a bit when the cold water hit my new nipples, they seemed more sensitive than before. Then I moved to the arms. My normal ones were OK, but with them done, I still had four more to clean. I used my normal arms to wash down the new ones. They didn't make it very easy for me, twitching and flapping about like demented sock puppets. When I was more or less clean I tottered back to the room. I was getting a little more steady on my feet, but my new shape was still very strange in terms of my balance.
“Now then, let's see if we can get you properly attired,” Nat said.
We rummaged through my clothing, finding the things that still fit me. The extra arms were a problem, as was my increased height. Eventually Nat managed to find an old halter top that covered my front, and with a little modification allowed my myriad of arms to poke through. I wasn't that keen to go out with my new arms on display so Nat secured them with the bandages and then I put on one of my baggier jumpers. It was a whole lot less baggy now. I was a good 4-5 inches taller, but it still fitted me reasonably well and buttoned neatly over my arms, hiding them. I realised I would have to go out and buy a whole load of new clothes, probably even custom made ones, to cope with my additional limbs. I wondered whether my parents would help out. That was a point I had not let myself think of before. What would they think of me now that I was a horrible freak.
I fought down the tears and tentatively followed Nat out. We walked down the road to the main hall and out the back to where the canteen was, where we joined the queue of people waiting. I fidgeted nervously, but most people didn't seem to even notice me.
“You'll be fine Em. See? No one is bothered,” Nat said.
I smiled and relaxed a little, then heard, “Hey nice do!” said a girl who came and joined behind us, “Where'd ya get it done?”
I turned and tried to think of an answer, I said the first thing that popped into my head, “I just woke up with it this morning.”
The girl nodded, “I hear that a few month back I woke up with a navel piercing and a tattoo of a unicorn on my bum. Man, I was really wasted. The hair suits you totally, it goes with your eyes,” she said before she went back to talking with the girl next to her. Nat gave me a wink and I shrugged my shoulders, which caused my other shoulders to twitch up, which was a very disconcerting experience.
We slowly shuffled towards the canteen, getting to where they were serving up. I grabbed my tray and found they were serving moussaka, one of my favourite dishes, though they always cooked it to the point that the aubergines were mush, spoiling it somewhat. Still, it was a nice surprise. I got a nice big portion, feeling a little hungry. We made our way over to a free table and began eating. At some point we were joined by a few of the other people from the house, Laura and Jenny, girls who were on the top floor, John and Steve from downstairs, and Tom.
The all did their best not to stare. Natalie had obviously filled them in, at least in broad terms, about my changes.
“How are you doing, Emily,” asked Laura, “I like your hair.”
“I'm OK,” I said, brushing a stray hair out of my face causing my captive arms to twitch, attracting everyone's gaze for a second, before they all looked away and back at their dinner.
I munched my food, trying to just get on, when someone grabbed me by the shoulder. It was some guy named Gary. I knew he was one of Dave's friends, but nothing much about him.
“Hey you got hot! Little flabby, but I like a big girl. More to hold on to,” He said with a leering grin. Dave was standing behind him, sneering.
“Leave me alone,” I said, pushing his hand off me causing my new arms to move about.
“What you hiding down there? Tentacles? A tail? Wicked! You're one of those animal freaks!” he shouted. By now the whole room was looking my way.
“I am not!” I said, angry and scared.
“Get your hands off her!” said Nat.
“Or what, bimbo!” Gary sneered.
“Careful man, she's scarily strong,” Dave warned him.
“Pah, just because some little slut can beat you up, doesn't mean I should be scared!” Gary scoffed. Nat gritted her teeth at that, looking likely to rip him apart.
“Your funeral,” said Dave.
Gary leaned back to Dave and whispered something, Dave grinned. Suddenly Gary leapt at Nat, catching her by surprise and knocking her down while Dave grabbed me, pulling at my jumper, ripping the thing open.
Tom rounded the table, towards Dave, “Hey man, that's not cool,” said Tom, “Leave the girls alone!”
“Crawl back in the bottle, booze hound!” shouted Gary.
Dave shouldered him, knocking him over a chair, then he turned back to me and grabbed me again.
I squealed as I was pulled off my chair and scrambled to my feet, trying to hold my jumper shut. Dave grabbed it again and tore it so I couldn't close it. All this pulling and tugging must have pulled my bandage straps loose and my new arms swung free.
“Sweet! She's like a six armed chick! A right freak!” Dave said.
He tried to grab at me, but I grabbed his arm and squeezed as hard as I could. He cried out in pain and threw his other fist at me. I intercepted that too and pushed him away, being fairly surprised when he went flying backwards over a table with a crunch, scattering people left and right. I went over to where Nat was still wrestling with Gary. She was stronger, but his surprise attack had allowed him to pin her so she couldn't get any leverage. I grabbed him pulling him off her. I was surprised when he went sailing a good couple of feet across the room. Nat leapt to her feet.
“Thanks Em ... LOOK OUT!” she cried.
Gary was swinging a chair at me! I reacted by flinging my left arm up to catch it and was a little surprised when my two other left arms also latched on, giving me a lot more grip. He struggled for a bit, his two arms to my three, but I had a better grip. I wasn't sure how, but I held on as hard as I could. He eventually let go when Nat kicked him square in the groin while he was distracted trying to wrestle the chair from my grip.
At this point someone began cheering. it was Tom. A fair few people joined in, as Dave wasn't well liked, and it seemed, neither was Gary.
“Nice going, girl! Looks like I'm not the only one who got a little strength boost from MORFS,” Nat whispered to me.
I put the chair back down on the ground and tried to let it go. My normal hand did this just fine, but my new hands didn't want to let up. It seemed now they had gripped something, they didn't want to let it go. I slapped them with my normal hand and eventually had to pry their grip off the chair.
“Damn thing's wouldn't let go,” I said to Nat.
“Don't worry you'll get it. I think I could use a drink, and I know you need one. Come on, let's go to the bar. I'm buying,” said Nat.
We tidied up our trays and we went to the hall bar. Nat ordered us two bottles of some sweet fairly alcoholic concoction and we took a seat in a corner. Soon we were joined by the people from dinner.
“Wow, you girls were kick arse! You took that guy and then there was that chair and the thing ...” said Tom.
“It was quite something,” said Jenny who was sitting next to me. I went to take a drink and one of my hands then slapped her on the leg, “OW, what was that for?”
“Oh I'm so sorry, Jenny,” I said, gripping my offending hand so it couldn't do anything more. “I don't have control over them, they sort of do random things at the moment.”
“It's OK,” she said, but scuffled a bit out of reach. “Are they always going to be flailing around?”
“I hope not. The doctor said my brain should rewire to cope with them,” I replied. “I hope it happens soon, because they are sure a nuisance at the moment.”
I fiddled with the bandages trying to tie them up again, we settled back to have a chat and a drink, relaxing with friends. It was really enjoyable just to sit there, get a little tipsy and chat with friends.
Steve asked, “So what does your stalker think of the new you, Em?”
I shuddered and my new arms twitched a little, “I haven't seen him yet, and I don't want to.”
“You should report him. He's not right in the head,” said Laura.
“He's creepy,” Jenny added.
“Yeah,” I said. “If he follows me again I think I will have a word with someone. I have enough to deal with without some weirdo following me around.” Everyone at the table nodded and Nat tried to move the conversation in more pleasant directions from then on.
As the evening wore on I began to feel a little tired. The alcohol, combined with the fairly traumatic change had made me fairly sleepy. I began yawning and almost dozed off at one point.
“We boring you Em?” asked Jenny jokingly.
“No, I'm just having trouble keeping my eyes open, for some reason,” I replied.
Nat stood up. “It's been a tough day, it's probably catching up to you. Come on, let's get you home, Em.” I sluggishly moved to get up and was a little unsteady falling back into the seat again. Partly from the booze, and partly from just being completely shattered.
“I'll help her,” said John, who swiftly put his arm around me and tried to help me up. He tried several times, and had no luck shifting me, “Damn girl what have you been eating you weigh a tonne.”
“It's increased skeletal mass,” I said sleepily, “I'm big boned.” I managed to flap my new arms in a fairly uncoordinated manner, then burst out laughing, finding my own wit hilarious.
“Come on then, let's get you home sweetie. John, you take one side of her and I'll take the other” Nat suggested.
She made the pretence of lifting with John, but I could tell it was her that was doing most of the lifting. Even after our little display in the canteen, she didn't want people to know she was different. I did my best to appear to be leaning on John. Somehow my new hands got loose, whipping out and gripped round John and Nat's torsos.
“What” said John, “Oh it's just you Em. Ow! Easy with that grip. I want to breath, you know.”
“Sorry they've got a mind of their own,” I said, just as one of my hands grabbed his arse.
“Bet you say that to all the guys,” he said, laughing. I blushed like crazy, I was so embarrassed.
I managed through force of will to reposition the offending hand further up, but it was tough to make it do what I wanted. I hoped I was going to gain some control soon, or I would end up getting quite the reputation for mauling anyone that came near me, man or woman. Just the sort of thing I didn't want to be known for, some sort of weird bi-sexual six armed serial groper. I'd get all the wrong sorts of attention then.
As we made our way back to the house, I was so tired I nearly fell asleep on the way. “Stay with us, Em. just a little while longer, you are too heavy for us to drag back unconscious,” said Nat.
I fought to remain awake and help by walking myself, and eventually we made it into the house, up the stairs and into our room. When Nat and John managed to disentangle themselves from my grip, they put me into bed. I was asleep almost immediately. I must have looked a right state wearing a torn jumper, still wrapped with bandages, my long hair all around me, and arms everywhere.
I woke up to the smell of fresh coffee. Nat was sitting at her desk reading something, drinking down a cup fabulous smelling fresh coffee. My motions, or maybe my emotions, made her notice me.
“Hey Em, how's your head?” Nat said sipping her coffee.
I sat up and checked, the room wasn't spinning, neither was my stomach, and there was no headache in evidence, “Fine, I feel pretty good,” I said.
“I was a bit worried you had drunk too much last night. You were out like someone had cracked you on the head, but I guess you were still tired from your change,” she said. “How about some coffee?”
“Oh that'd be super,” I said.
“I made a pot, so help yourself,” Nat said.
I first got out of the crumpled clothing I had slept in and slipped on my bathrobe. I grabbed my mug from my stash of kitchen stuff, and poured myself some coffee, then padded downstairs to the little communal kitchen and grabbed some milk before taking a hit of the coffee. It was heavenly, Nat was a coffee lover and always made great coffee. While most students would make do on instant, whenever possible, she went for the good stuff. She could make a mean espresso, When we were up late studying, her spoon meltingly strong brews kept us awake till all hours. I turned and saw that Jenny and Laura were sat having some toast at the table. My focus on getting coffee had made me blind to all outside stimulus.
“Hey, guys,” I said.
“Morning, Em,” said Laura.
“Hey,” said Jenny.
“Did you guys stay much longer after I left last night?”
“A little while, it was a shame you were so tired. We missed you,” Jenny said.
“Yeah, there was a big table football game later on. I bet you would have been awesome at that with all those arms,” said Laura, then she slapped her hand over her mouth, “Oh I'm sorry. That was really insensitive.”
“That's OK. I know you didn't mean any harm by it. I doubt I'd be any good at it, I suck at it with two arms, I doubt having four more will help,” I was trying to smile. “Anyway, I'm gonna go have a bath. See you guys later.”
As I made my way up the stairs I made out the two girl’s voices, “Nice going Laura. You know she's a bit sensitive about her new arms,” Jenny said angrily.
“I didn't mean to hurt her. I was just trying to be friendly,” Laura said.“Well try and engage that brain of yours before you upset her again! Can you imagine the sort of
spanking Nat would give you if she heard you upset Em like that?”
“Oh, if only,” said Laura dreamily. “Er ... I mean, yeah I'll try to be more thoughtful in the future.”
I wasn't sure if Laura was being sarcastic or maybe she liked girls, or maybe she just got off on people spanking her. Either way it was a slightly odd thought. It did seem that there were a lot of things I had been missing about my house mates. Nat's empathy and strength, Dave's weird tendencies beyond him just being an arsehole, and then what ever was up with Laura. I wondered what else I had missed. I had tended to be a bit closed in and shy. I went out with Nat and the rest of the house on occasions, but I was not what you could term a party animal.
“Maybe I should try and let my hair down more,” I thought, then glancing at my waist length silver locks, “figuratively speaking of course, if my hair was any further down I would be constantly tripping over it.”
I returned to the room and drank my coffee. I sat on my bed sipping the exquisite liquid and relaxing. As I sat there one of my new hands, obviously taking offence at the fact I was feeling relatively good and at peace, began flailing about slapping my legs.
“GAH! Stop that!” I exclaimed, grabbing it with my free hand only to cause the motion to move to the arm below the one I was holding, “Damn you, keep still!”
Nat had looked up and watched me wrestle with my own arms for a bit, “Do you want me to help you tie them up again?” she asked.
“No,” I said downing the rest of my coffee, “I need to have a bath, so they may as well flap about a bit, it will stir the water.”
“Well shout if you need any help,” said Nat, going back to her reading.
I grabbed my wash kit and wandered over to one of the house's bathrooms. What with the number of people in the house, there were quite a few bathrooms, with several baths on the middle and ground floor, and a wash room, with sink and toilet, on the upper and middle floors as well. I selected my favourite bath and then proceeded to fill it. I locked the door and then disrobed. I checked to make sure the temperature was ok, shut off the taps, and paused for a bit to examine my freakish new body in the mirror.
“It wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for these damn arms,” I thought, “Couldn’t I have just got one extra set? Why two to make my life extra miserable.”
I shrugged 3 sets of shoulders and clambered into my bath, letting the warm water sooth my troubles. Since I had picked this bath specifically so all my additional limbs would fit, it was a nice old big tub which had plenty of room. I lay there just enjoying a nice soak for a bit, until eventually my new arms got bored and began splashing about. Damn things were like hyperactive animals or something, they wouldn't sit still for 5 minutes.
I reluctantly began cleaning myself off with some soap. My new hands found a new game to play, rubbing my body, mimicking my normal hands. Due to the way they were positioned they were doing some really naughty things, dirty little minxes. I checked to make sure the door was locked. I didn't want someone walking in on this. I managed to get them sort of under control and resumed cleaning myself. I washed myself off and soaked a bit more before finally deciding I had been lazy enough. I let the water out and began drying myself off. I wrapped the towel round me, which was a futile gesture, as my new arms freed me of it almost immediately. I guessed I should be grateful that they didn't do that when I was out in the open, leaving me naked.
I re-wrapped the towel around my middle and flung my bathrobe on again, then made my way back to the room. I hooked up my hair dryer and began to dry out my long hair, brushing it to avoid tangles. Some seemingly huge amount of time later, I was considering cutting off my long hair. It might look fabulous, but it was a pain to dry out, there was just so much of it.
Now I was clean and dry, I realised I had very little in the way of clothing to wear. This required desperate measures. I would have to phone my parents for money for a shopping trip.
I grabbed my phone and rang my Dad at work.
“Mr Owen's, Office,” his secretary's voice answered.
“Hello, can I speak to Mr Owen please?” I asked.
“Who shall I say is calling?”
“This is his daughter.”
“Oh, Alice. I'll put you right through,” said the secretary.
“No I'm Emily,” I said.
“Oh I'm sorry, I didn't recognise your voice. dear, I'll put you through,” she said. I doubted she had ever heard my voice before. I couldn't recall phoning my Dad at work.
Obviously my sister phoned Dad a lot. It didn't surprise me. She was always daddy’s little girl, not that my parents had played favourites. But I was the quiet nerdy girl and Alice was the outgoing sporty dynamo. It was easier for them to relate to Alice. I didn't really take after either of my parents. My dad was a salesman for some big business, he was a larger than life character who always had a story to tell of some adventure or other. I'm pretty sure most were fabricated, or exaggerated to the point they might as well have been. He was also a keen sportsman, spending his spare time playing rugby, football, or any game that took his fancy. My mum was a sportswoman, she was an athlete at school and local athletics champion who had gone into being a physical trainer and ended up running her own gym. Alice took a lot after her. Mum was always full of energy and running around doing sports, seemingly always dressed in Lycra. Her body toned and well muscled, she looked several years younger than her age. She often joked she and Alice could pass for sisters.
I was the black sheep of the family, quiet and uninterested in sports. When the extended family gathered for the World Cup or the Cricket Test Matches or the Olympics, and shouted at the screen, I stayed in my, room reading a book. I had no interests that intersected with theirs. I found all sports boring.
Mum tried to interest me in things, but I didn't take to them, despite genuinely trying. In the end they stopped trying and let me just do my thing. They still loved me and I loved them, but we were always slightly distant from each other, not knowing what to say. I often envied Alice her close easy relationship with both my parents.
“Don Owen,” my fathers gruff voice echoed on the line.
“Hi Dad, it's me, Emily.”
“Oh, hello, pumpkin, how are you? It's not like you to ring me up at work. Is something wrong?” he said slightly concerned.
“Well nothing is wrong as such, but I need some help. You see I just had MORFS, and I need a load of new clothing. So ... I was wondering ... if you could send me some money?” I said, I hated asking for money.
“My word! MORFS you say? I thought you were too old for that. This is a bit of a shock, are you OK? Did it ... Did it ... Do anything to you?” he said hesitantly.
“Well, it did change me, I'm more or less how I was but well ... I,” I wasn't sure how to say it.
“It's OK, Emmie you can tell me,” he said gently.
“I've got six arms.” I blurted.
Silence was the only reply, which made me so nervous I tried to fill the silence.” I’m taller too, and have silver grey hair and eyes … oh I don't need glasses any more,” still silence, “And I've got bigger boobs.”
There was a spluttering cough noise at the other end and my Dad said, “I ... see. Six arms you say,” then almost to himself in a musing tone, “make you good at volleyball.”
“Daddy!” I said a little outraged. Was that all people thought about, how good extra limbs would make me at sport?
“I'm sorry pumpkin you just surprised me is all,” He said.
“Well none of my clothes really fit any more, what with the new appendages, so I was hoping you could help me.”
“I can see how that could be a problem. You need all new clothes you say ...”
“Well I think I'm going to have to talk to your mother on this one.”
“Oh pumpkin, if I were to let you go out and buy yourself a whole new wardrobe and your mother found out you went for that magnitude of shop without her, I'd never hear the end of it.”
Damn! could this get any worse! Not only did I have to buy all new clothes, but I would have go shopping for them with my Mum, and no doubt my little sister. No way she was missing that sort of shopping trip.
“But Daddy, I need clothes now! I'm down to bathrobes and old t shirts with holes cut in them.” I was hoping my urgency would sway him.
“Well I'll transfer you enough to get a few outfits, then your mother can come up on the weekend and sort out the rest. It's Saturday tomorrow and I'm sure she can make time to re-clothe her eldest daughter.”
“Rats!” Now I would have my weekend occupied by running round all the stupid fashionable shops with my Mum and Sister trying to put me in pink frilly frocks. Well I guess I had a figure to show off now and looking on the bright side ,my extra limbs would make most of the stuff they liked impractical. It had to be the first time I was glad to have my new arms.
“Bah! Fine, I'll see them tomorrow.”
“That's the spirit pumpkin,” Dad chuckled, “I'll transfer you some money straight away. It should be in your account shortly.”
He went quieter and gently asked, “How are you doing though Emmie? Are you OK?”
“I'm not sure yet it's all too new. I'm still working it out.”
“Well, if you need to talk, call me any time. That goes for your mother, too.”
“I love you, Dad.”
“I love you too, Emmie,” he said as he rang off.
“BAH! Now I'm going to have to go shopping with my Mum and probably Sister. Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse,” I said to my now disconnected phone.
“What's up Em? Shopping with your Mum can't be that bad.” Nat looked amused.
“You've never met my Mum and sister, the skin tight Lycra twins. They have these fabulous sculpted bodies that they love to show off and then I'm there with the shapeless physique and bad skin. They tried to get me to dress more like them back in school, it was a total train wreck.”
“Well Em, in case you hadn't noticed, you've got a pretty nice physique going now. So you have something to show off.”
“I guess but who's going to notice, with these damn things,” I said, indicating my new arms.
“You never know till you try, girl.”
“I guess. Do you fancy helping me find a few outfits to cover me up meantime?”
“Sure thing Em, we've no lectures till the afternoon. Let's go shopping!”
Once we were both dressed, which for me took more creative rummaging, we headed out to the town centre. I hid my arms under a jacket so that no one would see them, as I was still quite self conscious out with all these people. Nat gently guided me through the shopping centre, looking for stuff that would fit me. First things first. I checked my accounts. My Dad had been pretty generous with the money, so I had some leeway in what I got. First Nat insisted we get me a new set of underwear.
This was very embarrassing, as the woman had to measure me, something I had never really had to have done before. I hadn't really had breasts as such, so I never really needed a bra. I kept my extra arms tied up in the hopes it would keep them out of trouble. The woman sorted out my size and found me a bra that would work with my oddly arranged chest. It was lucky my bosom hadn't grown more. Some of the more hefty bras had fairly thick straps that would have had likely been a pain what with my extra shoulders. I also got some new panties. My old ones just about fit, but my slightly larger bottom meant some new ones would be less of a squeeze and more comfy.
With a few unmentionables in the bag we went hunting for the rest of the things I would need, Nat joked that it was a good job it wasn't winter, as I would need a six pack of gloves. I gave her a dour expression at that and she told me to lighten up, so I stuck my tongue out at her. I got a couple of pairs of trousers, and then we went looking for the most difficult item, tops that would accommodate my extra limbs.
We hunted around without much success. There were a few things that would do at a pinch, but nothing that didn't need some tweaking to make it fit. Then Nat had an idea and led me out of the centre down a side road, where she had heard about some specialist place that did items for people like me. After a few miss tries and dead ends we finally found the place, a shop called “wings and tails”. It was reasonably busy. There were girls with tails shopping for miniskirts, and guys with wings buying suits. It seemed like the sort of place that would have stuff for six armed girls. I didn't see anything obvious on first glance and our poking around seemed to attract one of the shop assistants.
“Can I help you girls find something,” she asked. She had a tail that flicked around seemingly at random, it was kind of like what my arms did. She saw me staring and gave me a look, so I looked away and tried to think of what to say.
Nat leapt in first though, “I hope so, my friend here needs some tops and has rather special requirements,” she said.
I fidgeted uncomfortably, “What sort of requirements,” asked the sales girl. When I hesitated, she tried to set my mind at ease, “I assure you, there is no need to be shy we see all sorts here.”
“Well ... I'll show you,” I said and tentatively undid my jacket.
She stared for a bit and said, “I don't see ...” then my arms twitched and she spotted them, not having noticed them with the bandages holding them in place, “AHH! Ahem sorry, yes I see your problem.” she said trying to compose herself. Then under her breath she whispered, “and I thought I'd seen it all.”
I shuffled uncomfortably a bit, not liking being treated like some sort of weird freak, even in a room of weird freaks!
“I don't think we'll have anything off the rack that will suit you, but we do have some tailoring facilities that may be able to help,” she said, recovering her composure.
“I don't have a lot of money,” I said.
“Not to worry this is fairly affordable, we have an automated process. It can't turn out much in the way of variety, but it is reasonably good for basic garments with special modifications such as you require. Follow me and I'll see about getting you a quote.”
She lead us into a back room where a small woman, maybe a few years older than me and Nat, with wings sat typing on a computer, “This is Charlotte, the genius behind this contraption, I'll leave you in her capable hands,” said the girl.
The girl turned and offered her hand to us. “Hey, I'm Charlotte but everyone calls me Charlie.” We shook hands and she continued, “Now, what can I do for you girls?”
“Well my friend here needs some tops and we were hoping you could help us,” Nat said.
“Right ho, let's take a look see what we are working with, slip off the jacket and let’s take a gander,” said Charlie. As she stood up I saw a tail flick out from behind her, it curled over to the desk and wrapped around the grip of some device, then flicked it forward so Charlie could grab it. Then the tail curled round the young woman's, waist out of the way.
“How do you control your tail like that?” I asked.
“Practice, honey. When I first got it, it was up to all sorts of mischief, but I eventually worked out how to get the thing to play ball. Now it's like having another arm. I wouldn't be without it, you wouldn't believe how wonderful having an extra limb can be,” Charlie said, beaming.
I paused stiffening slightly at her comments and then said ruefully, “Well, I have some idea.” I slipped off my jacked and handed it to Nat, “I have four of them. Mine aren't very useful though, up to mischief is right.”
“Oh dear you got it bad,” said Charlie, “Well, I can see why you need my help, as for controlling them, it'll come with time. If you keep trying to use them your brain will learn how to wrangle those things into order. Now let's just untie them for a bit so I can see what we are dealing with.”
She undid my bandages and freed my additional limbs. They flailed around a bit and eventually seemed to settle down, only twitching occasionally. Charlie took the device she had picked up and began using it, it seemed to be some sort of measuring device. She measured me at various points and around my new arms which got all excitable and in the way, much to my annoyance. Eventually we were done and Charlie began tapping away at the computer.
“Now for the magic,” she said with a grin. “After I changed I found trouble finding clothes that fit me. Sure I could have stuff made, or modified, but it was pricey and sometime not quite custom enough. So being somewhat of a technical person, I designed this. It's a program that, given the required dimensions, designs clothes to fit them in a few styles. Then I coupled it with some mechanical stuff to automatically make the clothes. All it needs is a ream of fabric, a bit of shifting stuff about, and it can turn out custom stuff quick smart. I'm not much of a fashion designer, so it's a touch utilitarian but I'm gradually improving it. Pretty neat huh?”
“Cool,” said Nat, “Is it some sort of Cartesian robot then?”
“Yeah pretty much, the clever bit is assembling the fabric, that took a load of head scratching I can tell you. A few groups had mastered it a few years back, so I used some of their ideas and a few improvements of my own to make it work. Automated clothing manufacture was always somewhat of a holy grail of the clothing industry. The whole industrial age was kick started by automation of weaving and the like. Load of peeps tried it and eventually mastered it, but it was much more pricey than traditional mass production techniques, so it never got off the ground before. Now what with the requirement for much more custom stuff cheaply for MORFS survivors, it's a viable technology again. So, you girls techie types then?”
“Yeah, we are both doing an engineering masters at the uni.”
“Nice! Oh, here we go,” she said, tapping the screen.
Displayed was a shirt with six arms to it and a sort of exploded diagram of how to make it next to it.
“This is the basic shirt shape, but I can do you variants with shorter arms, more t-shirty types of things, or something with a lower neckline for a night out on the town,” Charlie said.
“How much will it cost?” I asked.
“Well depends on the amount of material and the type. For that shirt there, this is a list of prices for the types of materials we have in stock.” Charlie handed me a print out.
The prices were surprisingly reasonable. They were a bit more than really cheap clothes would cost, but not a huge amount, “OK, that looks affordable, I only need a couple of things now, but I may well come back at these prices.”
“Repeat business is how we make our money here,” grinned Charlie, “We like to think we offer a service you can't get anywhere else. So, what sort of thing do you fancy?”
“I guess maybe one shirt type of thing and maybe a t shirt sort of arrangement,” I said.
“Cool, OK what sort of material do you want? Hold on, I'll grab my samples so you can get a look.”
She handed me a book of fabric swatches and we flipped through the various materials, Charlie commenting on what the materials were best for. In the end I settled on a thin light yellow fabric for the shirt. For the t-shirt, Nat spotted this wonderful sparkly material that seemed to have silver metal added to it so it shimmered. The underlying fabric was deep red so it had a nice contrast. It was fairly pricey, but Nat insisted that it was the one for me, as it would match my hair and I quite liked it, so went for that.
Charlie keyed in the choices and produced some designs for me that looked pretty good. She then set the machine up to make them. I paid up and she gave me the paperwork, as well as a little card with the shop’s address and phone number.
“Anytime you need something more, feel free to call. I've got your measurements stored, so I can run you off stuff no problem. I've got a few other things in the pipe, so it'll be about an hour to finish this lot up,” she said. We thanked her and headed off to kill some time.
We went for a coffee and some cake, and while waiting, we sat chatting.
“So you coming to lectures this afternoon?” Nat asked.
“I guess I better, I've missed a whole weeks worth. Even if I want to just stay inside and hide away, I can't afford to get that far behind,” I said.
“Yeah, don't worry too much, you'll be fine,” Nat said. I gave a weak smile.
I was curious about some of the new things I had learnt about her, so I leant over and whispered so no one would hear me, “So what's it like feeling other people’s emotions?”
“Good and bad. It nearly drove me mad to begin with. I couldn't go out without being bombarded by stray emotions from all sides. Plus the way I looked, I got guys checking me out and feeling their emotions made me feel really icky. It meant no one can lie to me any more which is a plus at some times. After a while it just became part of who I am. To tell the truth, the strength thing took longer to adjust to. I was this reasonably little girl who was suddenly stronger than any of the big guys at school. It frightened me a little. I had to learn a lot of control so I didn't hurt anyone ... well unintentionally,” she said with a wink. “I think you may well be a fair amount stronger than before, judging by yesterday. We should go to the uni gym and check out what your capabilities are now.”
I thought for a bit then said, “I guess that makes sense. I'll need some sports wear, but no doubt Mum will be happy to pick that sort of thing out for me tomorrow.” I wasn't too thrilled about the idea of going to a gym, but I could see the advantage in learning about my new body. It might even help get my wayward arms in check.
We sat sipping our coffee for a bit, watching the world go by. Eventually it was time to pick up my new shirts. We finished our coffee and wandered back over to the shop. The sales girl took us into the back where Charlie was sitting, fiddling about with some bit of machinery.
“Hey, girls just perfect timing. The last item finished a few minutes ago. Let's see how they fit,” She handed me a bag with the two garments and showed me to a changing room.
I selected the t shirt and slipped it on. It was slightly stretchy fabric and clung to my new figure. The small sleeves fit perfectly once I had wrestled my new arms through. I came out and showed it off for Nat who thought it looked pretty good on me. I moved about to get the feel of it, the fabric seemed to fit pretty good. It didn't pinch anywhere and I had enough space to move around. I manipulated my extra arms just to check they seemed OK. I decided to try the full look and slipped one of my outfits from the shopping trip, swapping the t-shirt for the shirt. That which took some more arm wrangling to get on, but seemed to fit pretty well. Now that I had properly fitting clothing, I was much more comfortable. I also didn't look like I had just grabbed items at random when dressing in the morning and inadvertently got some from the fancy dress box. I came out and gave Nat a turn in my new outfit.
Charlie looked in on us, “How's it fitting? Pretty fine by the looks of things. I did you a little modification to the shirt free of charge for until you get the hang of these things,” she said indicating my arms, she reached down and pulled two strips of cloth on the shirt free. They attached with poppers and secured my lower arms out the way. She fastened the grips that held my lower arms and with my jacket on, it looked pretty normal.
“Cool!” said Nat.
“Thank you, Charlie, these are great! I may be back later for more stuff,” I said.
“No problem, kid. See you around.”
We left and made our way home, just managing to get back in time for lunch. We dumped my purchases in our room and made out way to the canteen. We were a bit late, so we had little choice of what to eat. We grabbed what there was and sat down to eat.
We had to get up to campus fairly sharpish, so we didn't have too long to hang around chatting. We wolfed down our meal and were about to head off when we were accosted by one of the administrative staff, a smartly dressed woman who was accompanied by one of the student union people.
“The Warden would like a word with you two,” she said.
“We have lectures to go to, can't it wait?” complained Nat.
“I'm afraid not, follow me. please!” The woman led us out of the canteen into an office somewhere, where a middle aged man was sitting behind an old wooden desk.
“Please, take a seat,” he said. “I have heard some disturbing stories about the two of you fighting in the canteen with two other students. In the interest of fairness, I thought it best we meet and you tell me your side of the story.”
“Are you referring to the incident yesterday, where Gary and Dave attacked us after verbally abusing Emily?” Nat said.
“Yes, though they didn't phrase the event in quite those terms, as you would imagine. They are known trouble makers, but they made a complaint, so I have to check it out. Tell me what happened from your perspective.”
“We had just got our dinner and were sitting, eating with our house mates. Gary came up and grabbed Emily, making some fairly unpleasant comments,” Nat said.
“What sort of comments?” the warden asked.
“He called me fat and made several suggestive comments, then called me an animal freak,” I said.
“He demanded she take off her jumper so he could get a better look at her changes, at which point I asked him to leave,” said Nat.
“What changes?” asked the Warden.
“I've just had MORFS and ... well,” I hesitated then deciding I just wanted to be out of here blurted out, “I've got six arms!”
“I see,” said the Warden.
“Then Gary jumped on Nat, holding her down,” I said. “Dave ripped my jumper, I pushed him, and he tumbled over a table. Then I pulled Gary off Nat.”
“When Gary tried to hit her with a chair, I persuaded him to drop it,” said Nat.
“How did you do that?” asked the Warden.
“She kicked him in the ba...,” I started.
“Somewhere sensitive,” finished Nat.
“Right ... I see. Do you have any witnesses to these events?” asked the Warden.
“Our house mates saw, Jenny, Laura, John, Steve, and Tom. Plus most of the hall," said Nat.
"Well it certainly sounds like you girls were acting in self defence. I will confirm your version with your house mates, but right now it seems like there is no need for any action against you two. As for your assailants, well, I will be having further discussions with them. We don't stand for this sort of personal attack. They will be properly punished, you have my word. If there are any further problems, don't hesitate to inform me or my staff. It's about time we stamped out this nonsense once and for all. Now then, I've kept you long enough you'd best be off, I'm sure you have lectures," he said.
We wished him farewell and raced back home, grabbing our bags and ran up to campus. We thundered into our lecture hall a few minutes late, breathless from exertion. We mumbled an apology and grabbed our seats, then began scribbling feverishly to catch up on our notes before the lecturer wiped the board clean.
Once we got caught up, we were able to focus more on the lecture and absorbing the concepts. It was one of the more interesting subjects about the history of computing, the design of early microprocessors, and peripheral bus systems. There wasn't too much in the way of dry maths, so it was fairly enjoyable and passed quickly.
Soon it was time for our next lecture, a programming practical session. We wandered over to the labs, found ourselves some good seats, and after a little intro from the lecturer we got stuck in.
It was basic stuff, a little maze solving program that used recursive algorithms. We had to load in a maze file, draw it, then traverse the maze start to finish. I spent most of my time on the graphics, which was a bit silly, as the assignment was not really about them, more on the algorithms. Nat was almost done with her cheap and cheerful maze solver with simple line graphics, while I hadn't even got to the solver part, having gone for a fancy display with a little mouse that walked the texture mapped maze, leaving footprints. The goal was a little wedge of cheese.
I found typing a little uncomfortable. I’d always tended to type with my arms in tight against my sides. Now, this caused my lower arms to get in the way. Maybe if I could use the bottom set of arms to type, I could go back to my old technique. In the meantime, I adjusted my arms so the new ones weren't in the way.
I decided I’d better get on with the actual work and leave further prettification till the end. A bit of tip tapping away and I had my program working. It successfully solved a new maze they used to check our work. With that done, we used the rest of the time idly surfing. We could have left, but we took advantage of the opportunity while we had access to the better equipment in the computer labs.
Soon it was time for our next lecture. It was a pretty hard math one, so we headed out to stock up on coffee to have some chance of staying awake. As we left the computer block, the creep, Mark Bishop was waiting.
He saw Nat come out and looked about for a bit, obviously not immediately realising who I was. This didn't last as his eyes locked on me, going wide with surprise, his jaw gaping. Nat rushed us past him leaving him staring.
We got to the physics block where our next lecture was and headed to the nearest coffee machine. We got ourselves two cups of the hot brown muck that passes for coffee, and suitably fortified started to make our way to our lecture, only to find our way blocked by Mark!
"Emily, you look beautiful," he said.
"Please, move out of the way!" I said, trying to be nice, but unable to help the edge on my voice.
He didn't move so I tried to push past him, and he grabbed my wrist. "Don't you see! Now, more than ever, we are meant to be together?"
"Let go of me!" I cried.
Nat moved like a flash, grabbing his wrist, making him let go. He gave a cry of pain and stared down at my diminutive blonde bodyguard, "Hands off, creep! She told you to get lost!" Nat said, squeezing tighter to make her point, "I see you bothering her again, I'll kick your arse!"
She kicked him away, knocking him backwards over a table. He staggered to his feet, clutching his abdomen. Maybe she’d caught him in the stomach, as he then threw up in a near by bin.
Nat gave a final ‘Hmmf’ noise, nodding to herself, then taking my arm, led me to our lecture.
The lecture was fairly uneventful, an hour of maths, and somehow, I managed not to doze off. When that was done I needed to go speak with my tutor to make sure I didn't need to catch up on anything, so I said goodbye to Nat and wandered over.
My tutor was a nice man in his fifties. He is one of those people who seem not quite anchored in the real world. Once he remembered who I was, which wasn't unusual, as he hadn't been able to remember me before my change, he welcomed me back. Hopefully, now I was somewhat more distinctive, he would have a chance of remembering me, though somehow I doubted it would make a difference. He told me I hadn't missed anything he knew of, but to ask my fellow students. I had already asked Nat, so I had notes for all my missed lectures, so I knew where I had to catch up there. That I had not missed anything else was a relief.
I left my tutor’s office and headed over to the library, as I needed to get some books out as part of my catching up. The library was a five story, fairly old building packed with books and the more field specific journals. It also had extensive computing facilities to allow access to the wealth of information out in the web, as well as several special academic databases.
I found the books fascinating, the vast tiny corridors made by the huge shelves, stretching to the ceiling and most of the length of the building. Row after row of books on every subject imaginable, from the esoteric books like research into how to robotically shear sheep, to the more practical volumes on new advances in programming languages, and all this was just in the small area of one floor specific to my interests. The idea that there were all the same sorts of things on a huge variety of topics, all around me, always made me giddy.
I was searching the shelves for what I wanted, finding most of the books I was after. As I was kneeling on the floor scouring the bottom shelves for the last few things, a shadow fell across me. I looked up and saw Mark. I scowled and decided to ignore him.
“Emily, we are meant to be together, it is destiny,” he said. I glanced up to scowl some more, and saw he was looking a little ill. I guess Nat hit him pretty hard.
“Leave me alone!” I said.
“Don't you see that manipulative lesbian roommate of yours is trying to poison our relationship, so she can have you to her self? I won't let her ruin our love!” he ranted.
I felt appalled at his aspersions, blaming it all on Nat and accusing her of being a lesbian. She was my friend, and even if she were a lesbian, which I can't see would have anything to do with anything, it was me that had decided to dump him with no input from her.
“How dare you! She has nothing to do with this. I dumped you! Get away from me!” I said louder, trying to attract some attention so he would go. I stood up, wanting to be ready to get away.
“She's brainwashed you! You don't even see it!” He grabbed me by one of my normal arms. He was getting increasingly disturbed, was sweating profusely, and he looked unsteady on his feet. But his grip was painful and strong, his madness imbuing him with a sort of manic strength.
“Let go of me!” I tried to pry my arm away with my other normal one. He grabbed that too, and held me.
“This is for your own good! I'll break you of her influence. You will be mine again. Our love will triumph!” He was practically shouting now.
“HELP!!” I shouted, “Get this nutter off me!”
I struggled in his grip as he tried to force me down onto the floor. I'm not sure what he had in mind to do when he got me there, but I knew I didn't want to find out. I couldn't get free of his grip, I might have gained some strength, but he was so determined to hold on, my efforts to shake him free did nothing. In desperation, I tried to fling out my lower arms as hard as I could. To my surprise, and probably Marks, since he probably didn't realise they were there, they did more or less what I wanted, all four slamming into him at speed. He let out a cry and let go of my upper arms, tumbling backwards in a heap. By now, my shouting had attracted several people, some of which were hefty rugby players who had seen Mark’s attempts to manhandle me.
“NO! You're mine!” Mark screamed.
“Look fella, she doesn't want you anywhere near her, and she has made that abundantly clear. I suggest you get lost,” a guy wearing a university rugby team shirt told him.
Mark looked at the grouping of people now positioning themselves between him and me, staggered to his feet and ran off, knocking into a few people as he fled.
I sort of sagged down after he was gone, feeling drained.
My rescuers gathered round me. “You OK honey?” one of the girls asked.
“Yeah, thanks for the rescue,” I replied.
“No problem,” the rugby player smiled. “Always wiling to help a damsel in distress.”
“You should report that creep to student services!” a small redhead said. She had cat's ears and a tail that was thrashing about angrily., At one point it whipped across, hitting one of the guys behind her.
“OW! Careful with that thing, that's a tender area!” he said.
“Sorry it gets like that when I'm agitated,” she said sheepishly, grabbing hold of it to keep it out of trouble.
“I probably should report him, he's been practically stalking me for months. Will anyone come with me as a witness? it would probably help if it's not just my word,” I said thoughtfully.
“Sure,” the red head the rugby player nodded.
I said a final thank you to all my helpers, grabbed up my stuff and quickly checked out my books, then with the two of them in tow went to the student services office. I got to see someone fairly quickly when I explained the nature of the incident. She was a councillor of some sort. She took down my version of events, as well as the history, then confirmed the with my two witnesses their take on the recent events. She also made sure they could identify the guy in question from his university file photo. That done she said she would put the incident on record and talk to Mark. If he did anything more I was to contact her immediately. She handed me a card, and also a leaflet on an on-site psyche program in case I needed to talk about the incident.
I left the office feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Hopefully I would soon no longer have to worry about Mark badgering me. My two witnesses introduced themselves as Shaun and Caitlyn, and offered to buy me a drink in the student union bar to steady my nerves. I accepted and was soon laughing away with them all thoughts of Mark gone.
Shaun was in the second year of a business degree, while Caitlyn was in the same year as me, and doing foreign languages with German as her speciality. We had a laugh and more drinks to steady our nerves. Caitlyn even got me trying to play pool. My new arms constantly got in the way, but I still had a lot of fun. We then had a tournament of me and Caitlyn versus Shaun, who actually knew how to play and beat us easily.
We retired for more nerve steadying. By now our nerves were so steady it was becoming difficult to stand up. Caitlyn and I discussed the issues of limbs that didn't respond to what we wanted them to do, then tried to play an old kids game that involved slapping the palms of the hands together and clapping while singing a song. I had lots of hands for clapping and so forth, but was very uncoordinated and I could barely get them to do what I wanted. It didn't matter much, as Caitlyn'd had as much to drink as me and was just as bad by this point. So the game mostly involved giggling inanely and Caitlyn trying to get her tail to stop tickling random strangers, while Shaun watched the two of us with a sort of amused smile.
At some point I realised I could hear my mobile ringing. After some digging around in my bag I located it and answered. “Hello?”
“Em! Where are you? You didn't come back for dinner I've been worried!” said Nat.
“I'm in a bar,” I said, and began giggling.
“You've been drinking then, I take it,” said Nat in a stern voice.
“Yes Miss,” I said and giggled again.
“Are you there on your own?” asked Nat.
“Nope, I got my two new friends Caitlyn and Shaun. They rescued me from Mark and tried to teach me pool,” I said.
“They rescued you from Mark! What happened?” Nat said worriedly.
“I was in the librr...rararary and Mark grabbed me and called you a lesbian. Said you wanted me for your lesbian love slave or something,” I said. I noticed Caitlyn's ears literally perk up at that.
“He called me a lesbian?!”
“Yeah, said you wanted me for your self and were brainwashing me. He grabbed me and I pushed him away. Mark, Caitlyn, and some others came and saw him off. Then my two new friends came with me to report the bastard to student services. Then there was drinking for nerve steadying,” I said with a grin.
“Hmm well I'm glad you finally reported him. Where are you Em, the student union bar?”
“OK, well I'm going to come down and make sure you get home OK. You have your Mum and sister coming tomorrow, so shopping with them with too much of a hangover would probably be unpleasant,.”
“Okies. I suppose you’re right,” I said a bit grumpily. I was having too nice a time and didn't want to leave.
“See you soon, Em.” Nat and rang off.
“That was my roommate. She's coming to get me.”
“You two are lesbian lovers?” asked Caitlyn.
“No I'm not a lesbian, at least I don't think so. I don't think she is either. It was just what's-his-name being a jerk. Why?”
“She's been eyeing you up all night,” chortled Shaun, which caused Caitlyn to stick her tongue out at him.
“That true?” I asked. I really hadn't noticed. I decided I must be more smashed than I realised.
“Yeah,” she said a little shyly, “I like girls. Does it bother you?”
I thought for a second. “Not really, I'm still getting used to the idea of anyone eyeing me up. I wasn't much to look at before these,” I said pointing at my lower arms.
“So what do you mean you don't think that you're a lesbian?” asked Shaun.
“Lack of experience,” I said slightly uncomfortably. Even with the amount of inhibition reduction liquid I had consumed, it still made me squirm a little to talk about such things. A legacy of being the unattractive nerd girl I guessed.
“So you do you find girls attractive then?” asked Caitlyn, her head cocked curiously to one side.
“Sometimes, but in a somewhat abstract fashion. I was always ugly so I envied the pretty girls and would often find myself watching them with longing. I'm not sure if it was for them, or to be like them though. I never thought about it before,” I said.
“Well you are far from ugly now, girl. You are hot stuff!” said Caitlyn eyeing me with undisguised lust.
“I propose an experiment,” said Shaun with a grin, “You think the two of us are reasonably attractive?”
“Yeah,” I said curious.
“I think you look pretty good, and Caitlyn's appreciation is on record. So to determine how you feel, I suggest you try kissing us one after the other and see whether either of us does it for you,” he said with a wicked grin.
“I'm game.” Caitlyn’s flicking tail betraying her excitement.
“Sounds like a good idea I guess,” I said. I could hardly believe I was agreeing to it, I would never have done anything like this sober.
“Relax,” said Shaun moving to sit next to me. “It's for science.”
He gently gripped my face and kissed me full on the lips. It felt pretty good. Stars were exploding behind my eyes as he broke away smiling. “Wow,” I said.
“My turn,” growled Caitlyn, practically knocking Shaun out of the way as she moved to sit at my other side.
Where Shaun had been gentle, she was much more aggressive, attacking my lips with a passion, pressing herself against me. I emitted a moan as she kissed me and broke away smiling.
“Wow,” I repeated, recovering my composure a little.
I tried to work out what I had felt. I had quite liked both. That confused me a bit.
“So which did you prefer?” asked Shaun.
“Yeah, spill it girl! Him or me, who's the better kisser?” Caitlyn asked.
I thought about it. Who had I preferred? Then, alcohol making me brave, I said somewhat hesitantly, “I think ... I need more data ... before reaching a conclusion.”
I pulled Shaun into a very passionate kiss, then breaking that, leaned over and kissed Caitlyn the same way. I continued this for a long time going back and forth, gradually enjoying myself more and more. I had spent so many years as an unattractive girl. The only person who showed an interest in me was a creepy stalker. Now here I was with these two beautiful people, both of whom seemed to want me. That, coupled with the booze and the stress of earlier made me totally let myself go putting my arms round both of them.
I was French kissing Caitlyn for the umpteenth time when I heard an amused voice say, “Blimey Em, when you decide to rid yourself of a guy you really go out of your way to get him out of your system. Arm candy of both kinds, you cover all the options.”
When I pulled back to see a very amused Nat standing at the foot of the table, I blushed.
“Oh cute you made her blush,” said Caitlyn with a grin. She pressed herself against me, hugging me tight and kissing my cheek.
“Nat, this is Caitlyn and this is Shaun. Guys, this is my roommate, Natalie.”
“Hi,” said Shaun and Caitlyn both seeming to eye up my roommate, which caused Nat to cock an eyebrow, even more amused.
“Hello,” she said, “Well I'm afraid I have to steal the six armed kissing and cuddle machine away. She's got a lot of stuff to do tomorrow.”
“Ahhhwww!” said Caitlyn, pouting. “You didn't even answer our question.”
“I think she did,” said Shaun with a grin.
“But she didn't say which of us was the better kisser. I still think it's me,” Caitlyn stuck her tongue out at him.
“I'll definitely have to have her tell me in detail how good you are.” Nat smiled at Shaun, “Then I can tell you in detail, over coffee say Sunday?”
Shaun raised an eyebrow. “Sounds good,” he smiled. Damn she was a fast mover, how did she manage that? Admittedly I had spent the last hour or so doing a examination of his tonsils with my tongue, but I doubted even now I would be able to ask someone out.
“Why don't we join them?” said Caitlyn, then whispered in my ear, “make it a double date.” She nibbled on my ear which made me let out a gasp of surprise.
“Cool, right, then the four of us will go and get coffee on Sunday, and Emily can tell you which of the two of you she prefers. Come by Room 6 in Lilyvale the second house up from St George's.” Nat sealed the deal, “Come along, Em, there'll be plenty of time for that on Sunday.”
Reluctantly, I got to my feet, extracting my arms from round Shaun and Caitlyn with some difficulty, as my lower arms kept clinging for a while. I was a little wobbly on my feet, so Nat steadied me with an arm. I gave Shaun and Caitlyn a goodbye kiss, waved them goodbye and headed off with Nat.
When we got out of the bar, Nat turned to me with a wicked grin. “Well, I say Emily, I never thought I would come down to find you snogging two relative strangers and one of them a girl. You are full of surprises!”
“I don't know quite how it happened,” I said a little fuzzily, “It came up in conversation that Caitlyn liked girls, and I said something about not being sure, Shaun suggested I kiss both of them to find out which I preferred and then, well you saw where it led.”
“Which did you prefer?” Nat asked.
.” I frowned, “I'm not sure, I sort of got lost in the moment and forgot what started it.”
“Well it looked like you were enjoying both pretty much.”
“I guess, the booze probably had something to do with it,” I replied, feeling muddled, and not sure what I was feeling now I was out in the cold evening.
“Come Sunday you can, free from any alcoholic influence, make up your mind whether you want, a hot little redhead girlfriend, or that stud rugby player. Both seemed pretty into you,” Nat said.
“Hmm I'll need to think about it.”
“Don't think too hard, or I might have to steal that guy from you,” winked Nat. “Hell, you could go for both, be a threesome. You've got enough hands to keep two people happy in bed at once.”
“You have a dirty mind, Nat.” .
“Ha! Seriously though, babe, I want you to be happy. I'm glad you got rid of that creep and found yourself two new very suitable good friends. I could sense how they felt about you. Both were really interested, and there was none of that weird vibe I got with Mark. So go for it,” she said smiling.
“You got a weird vibe off Mark?” I asked.
She looked down a little ashamed, “Yeah, I wanted to tell you everything, but I couldn't think of a way without telling you my secret. I wish I had would have saved you some grief.”
I hugged my roommate, “There's no need to feel bad, you did warn me. Besides he was already obsessed by that point. I doubt if it would have made a difference if I had turned him down.”
I kept hugging her for a bit, then gave her a friendly kiss on the cheek and let her go, leaving my arm around her.
She smiled then looked mischievously at me, then smiled before she said, “Now you're trying to seduce me as well. You are insatiable.”
“I'm not!” I replied.
“Then why are you feeling up my behind then,” she said with a wicked grin.
I realised my lower right hand was resting on her bottom, “Ah! You know I can't control them yet,” I said blushing profusely.
“Likely story! You got a taste off your girlfriend Caitlyn, and you just want more!” she said with mock outrage, then burst into giggles, “Oh don't look like that! I'm only teasing. Come on, let's get you home.” She put her arm around my shoulders and we walked the rest of the way home with our arms around each other.
The entire MORFS Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/