The Towers' Syndrome – Chapter 2
Written by papayoya1 :: [Sunday, 14 January 2018 15:06] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 14 January 2018 16:03]
Sienna Towers is a biologist working on a classified project around the fragments of a comet. Her bright mind is only matched by her arrogance and lousy social skills, so when she wakes up from a three-month coma after passing out at work, she finds out that there have been some very interesting things happening to her while she was out. Sienna will soon start testing her improvements...
Sienna spent her first hour home looking at herself in the mirror. In the process, she verified that she was close to 6 inches taller. Her former and often ridiculed 5’2” had become almost 5’8”. Her weight was even less understandable. The scale showed it to be over 180 lbs., but the reflection in the mirror proved her to be anything but overweight.
The noticeable bulge of her biceps as she flexed her arm, which contrasted with her former skinniness, provided her scientific mind with a potential explanation for the weight increase. Now, the idea that she had gained over 60 pounds purely in muscle mass was still very implausible.
As implausible as the fact that her myopia had been miraculously corrected while in the coma, she thought.
Sienna looked at her biceps again, then at her flat stomach and her toned legs. She could not prevent grabbing her naked breasts, sizing them and feeling their firmness.
“Eighty-eight days in bed and rather than losing all my mass I come back turned into a fitness model,” she told her reflection on the glass, raising her eyebrows as she finished.
One of the multiple things she could not understand was how Jacobs had missed the transformation. She would have liked to ask him, but somehow it did not feel like a wise course of action.
The image of Mr. Smith’s desk breaking as she slammed her fist on it briefly came back to Sienna.
“It cannot be” she muttered but caught herself walking to the garage and the toolbox. A minute later, she was holding a spanner in her hand.
“Oh fuck” she exclaimed when the solid steel tool started to bend, pulled in different directions by her unforgiving hands. She rationally knew that it was a massive feat of strength, but she had not even had to strain. Sienna pulled a bit more, moaning slightly as the metal yielded to the raw power of her muscles and the spanner kept deforming. It was hard to believe that this was happening. But at the same time, it was so exciting!
Forty minutes later, the entire contents of her toolbox had suffered the consequences of her testing, and she was sitting on the floor, surrounded by a collection of deformed spanners, screwdrivers and hammers.
Sienna knew that what she had done was real, but she still could not believe it. Women did not wake up from a coma suddenly becoming super strong, did they? She was standing back and heading to the house when, in an impulse, she closed her fist and punched the wall. Her eyes opened even wider when her delicate hand easily broke through brick and mortar and reappeared on the corridor on the other side.
It made her pant. What was happening to her was mildly frightening, but it was also delicious! Next thing she noticed, she was holding a knife in her right hand an extending the palm of her left. A few seconds later, the tip of the blade was bent as she pushed it, unsuccessfully trying to see if it would break through her skin.
“Oh my God! I’m like the woman of steel!” she said, letting a chuckle out.
She could still not believe it. She had a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, and there was no rational reason for her to accept it. Apart from the fact that she was seeing it, of course.
She had to find out more. She knew where.
The taxi driver did not do a very good job of hiding his lust when he saw her. It was hard to blame him. After all, her workout clothes were both outdated and way too small. The too young receptionist at the gym also noticed her attire but forgot about it when Sienna waved five hundred dollars in front of him. He was more than happy to give her a couple of hours to herself once the gym closed, which was going to happen in fifteen minutes.
So, Sienna enjoyed fifteen minutes of men’s looks while warming herself up and then started to test herself once the gym emptied.
She beat all of the machines with ease. Even setting their weights to the max, the effort it took Sienna to do so was minimal. So minimal she was not even sweating.
Probably because she had the images of really bulky Olympic weightlifters in mind, the feat that thrilled her the most was that of stuffing as many weights as she could find in a bar and lifting it with one hand as if it had been a 2 lbs. Training dumbbell. Sienna had just grabbed the bar with one hand, flexed her arm and raised it over her head. She had kept it there without too much effort, only bringing it down when she heard the first groans from the bar.
“This is very wild,” she said almost in a whisper as she tossed a 45lbs weight up and down as if it were a coin. “Very, very wild.”
Sienna was now convinced that she was not going to die of a weird illness. Her condition was still peculiar, but her three months sleeping, rather than weakening her had seemed to do the opposite.
The problem with this last part was that it defied all logic and all science as Sienna knew it. And she considered herself one of the brightest biologists on the planet, if not the brightest. Once she had accepted that what she was seeing and feeling was true, her scientific mind required her to find a plausible explanation. And her job and the project she was working on were the best possible starting point.
Sienna decided to jog back home, discovering with pleasure that she could sprint and not get tired. When her sprint led her to take over a car she decided to tune it down a bit, though. There was nothing to be gained by people starting to ask the same questions Sienna had for herself.
She barely noticed that she had been working all night long in front of her laptop by the time the alarm clock rang. She realized that it must have been ringing every day over the last three months, without no one to react to its annoying sound. It marked the time to get to work.
Sienna knew she should have felt tired. She didn’t. She was as fresh as if she had slept eight hours straight. She stopped and prepared some coffee, thinking on what to do.
Ten hours of working on the project files at her laptop had shown her that there had not been too much progress in her absence. She was not surprised, considering her opinion on her colleagues and on Ray’s proven inability to lead the team.
She was as up to date as she could be on the project status, but she had still not found anything that could explain what had happened to her. And she was convinced it should be there. In the end, Occam’s razor applied to what had happened to her too.
She was not frustrated at not having found anything, though. Despite being able to access most files through her VPN connection, Sienna knew that the most sensitive ones were only available inside Eclipse’s intranet, and those were the ones most likely to give her some clues. Which lead her to her next decision: she had to get back to work.
Sienna had never been vain, so she had never invested too long in making her look beautiful before. Trying to make herself look ugly proved to be a harder and more time-consuming matter than she would have thought, though. And it required a visit to the mall. Taking a final look at herself in the mirror of the lady’s room before heading back to the taxi stop, she shrugged and hoped it would be effective enough.
Baggy clothes, bad makeup, a disheveled bun and the nerdiest glasses she had been able to find without correction did their best to mask part of her recent enhancement. Still, the signs were there. And not even the flat shoes she had purchased could do much to hide the six extra inches she had gained while sleeping.
“If it works for Superman, it might as well work for me,” Sienna said, chuckling and remembering the Christopher Reeve’s films where a pair of glasses managed to hide the man of steel in plain sight.
The lab fell into complete silence as Sienna stepped through the door, sauntering towards her computer, looking at both sides in defiance as she advanced. There were murmurs, but no one dared to address her. She had not got any answers to her e-mail, but it was easy enough to see that they had all read it.
Those close to her seemed to be intimidated by her presence, but those a bit further started whispering to each other. Unknown to them, Sienna could hear them with crystal clarity, her mind now trained to filter voices and sounds from the overall cacophony. The comments were anything but positive.
“Who does she think she is to address us like that?”
“Too bad she woke up so quickly.”
She recognized Aaron, Sarah, and Miles and noted their words in her prodigious memory.
Ray got out of his office when she was about to reach her desk.
“Sienna!” he said, his voice more shocked than happy.
Sienna just stopped and eyed him through the thick but useless glass of her fake glasses.
“We were not expecting you so soon! I mean … we were all happy to hear about your recovery, but I was expecting you would take a few days to get up and running before coming back.”
Sienna almost spat the answer to him, raising her tone so that everyone in the lab would be able to hear it.
“Well, as you all have many times pointed out, I do not have a social life. So, I thought I would get back here and help make the project move forward again. From what I’ve seen, you guys got it into a cul-de-sac while I was out. Cannot say I was surprised, though. You already know my opinion about your collective talent.”
Ray was shocked as she walked past him and sat in front of her computer. Turning, she addressed everyone once more:
“Just ignore me. It won’t be hard. It’s what you’ve done ever since I got here, including the three months I spent in the hospital.”
Sienna could feel the looks from her colleagues every now and then as she kept focused on her screen. None of them were well-intentioned, but she did not care. She had not cared before, and she cared even less now. She had a single objective in mind, which was to know what had happened to her. She could not feel more excited about it, but she also knew that she needed to learn more about her new condition if she wanted to make it meaningful.
She invested the first couple of hours in legitimate project work, though, quickly breaking through one of the roadblocks the team had stumbled over the last three months and logging it into the server. This served a double purpose. On the one hand, she would remove any suspicions about what she was doing. At the same time, it was the best possible way to humiliate her colleagues and show them what she meant when she compared their abilities to hers.
She had barely stepped away from her desk on a couple of occasions by the time her colleagues started going home, one by one, leaving her alone in the lab. She did not feel tired or hungry. She had only eaten a sandwich at noon and visited the restroom once, winking at her “hidden” identity in the mirror.
It was already 2 a.m. when she decided to go home, not because of exhaustion but more as a precaution, in case someone decided to check her working hours. It was not unheard of to have people sleep barely a few hours a night, but not sleeping at all would be suspicious.
She had focused her queries on trying to find possible activities where she might have been exposed to an agent that might have triggered the very obvious changes in her. She had had a pretty good idea on where to focus: the rock.
Project Prometheus was easy enough to describe and complicated enough to execute. The rock, as everyone at Eclipse referred to it, was believed to be the only remaining piece of a meteorite recovered from an arctic expedition several years back. It had been stored in a warehouse for nearly two decades before readings of a comet coming from a deep space probe matched with the rock’s composition and NASA decided to investigate it further. The comet had initially been believed to come from the Kuiper Belt, in the outer fringe of the Solar System, so the level of classification was low enough for the project to be outsourced to a partner company like Eclipse. Once astronomers corrected their initial assumptions on its origin and reached the conclusion that the object was extrasolar, Eclipse’s CEO was able to maneuver to keep the investigation and get the funding corresponding to the renewed importance of the project. It had also forced Eclipse to enforce much stricter security policies, something that bothered scientists like Sienna enormously.
The fact that over half of the team was formed by biologists or biochemists was indication enough of what they attempted to find out: traces of extraterrestrial life.
Ray Danvers, with his Nobel Prize, had managed to attract a fair degree of attention when he was named Prometheus project manager. Two years later, and in front of the lack of results, this was starting to turn against him.
Sienna could not have been less interested in office politics than she was, but she was involved in her job, so she had been a bit concerned when she had heard that they might not be given a fourth year if they did not show convincing enough results in the next twelve months. Which meat that, seeing the little progress they had been able to make while she had been sleeping, they had less than nine months to get something.
“Occam’s razor” Sienna had repeated to herself as she looked for potential instances of direct contact between the rock and herself. The idea that a meteorite from beyond the solar system could have made her taller, hotter and insanely stronger would be ridiculous if the rest of possibilities were not even more unlikely.
By the time she had left Eclipse, at 2 a.m., she had narrowed the potential instances down to two cases.
The parking lot was empty, save for the vehicles of the multiple guards in the security detail, by the time she got to hers. It had been waiting for her three months. She cursed when the dashboard sunk at her punch, frustrated as she was when the car refused to start. At some point over the last eighty-nine days, the battery had died.
She was about to call a taxi when she had a better idea. Looking around to make sure no one was watching, she opened the door and took her left foot out. Pushing, she smiled when the car moved following its lead. She repeated the operation, pushing the car a few more feet forward. Her right hand was ready for the contact, turning the key and hearing a new attempt at the car at starting. It was still not enough. Frustrated, she pushed harder. It was too hard. Way too hard. With the engine still stopped, the car speedometer got as high as 40 miles per hour. Had the parking lot not been empty, she would have crashed into several cars already. A new turn of the key started the car a few yards before crashing into the fence.
Sienna’s reflexes were as keen as her new strength since she easily dodged the collision and skidded the car to a tight turn while bringing her leg back in and closing the door. Looking through the rearview mirror once more to make sure no one had seen her, she smiled and headed to the exit, waving to the security guard as she scanned her ID to get out.
The alarm clock was ringing by the time she got home, where she was planning to get some coffee, get a shower, put some new baggy clothes on and leave again to the lab. Not tired at all, Sienna had spent the four hours in between at a junkyard, getting excited every time she pushed her new body a little bit further and got back an encouraging response.
Learning that she was able to lift cars overhead with reasonable effort was astounding. Feeling their frames bend under her unfathomable strength was even better. Sienna loved her new possibilities, even if she still did not understand them.
She admired once more her new figure as she stepped out of the shower and looked at the fogged mirror. Damn, she was hot. And she had to admit that every new finding about her new condition was also very sexually stimulating. She winked at herself, pushed her lips out and reached down to feel the wetness, even if she had already dried herself with the towel.
“Oh,” she said in a naughty tone.
She did not think much as she naturally walked into the bedroom and opened the second drawer in the cupboard, reaching in the back for her dildo.
Sex felt better than ever, even if it was with an inanimate object. She had seldom been able to bring herself to climax with it before, but she got there naturally now. An hour later, a very startled clerk was looking her over the counter of the sex shop she had stopped by on her way to work.
“You’d like twenty dildos?”
Sienna shrugged as she said:
She loved the clerk’s reaction. She felt happy. Happier than she had felt in a very long time. It transpired as she walked into the lab, and it was easy enough for everyone to see, no matter how much effort she had spent on making herself look bad again.
The day was fruitful. She worked on Prometheus until lunchtime, making considerable progress once more. It was shameful to see how her coworkers had barely been able to advance on top of her results of the previous day.
More out of custom than hunger, Sienna stopped to grab a sandwich from the vending machine, looking with disdain to the few other researchers that had gathered in the area.
Her enhanced hearing allowed her to follow the comments that immediately followed her departure from the area. She chuckled when she heard Aaron ask whether she looked hotter than before.
Sarah’s comment was more interesting, though.
“She has been kicking our ass in there, though. I bet she is making it just to make us look bad.”
Miles’ response was more insightful:
“Oh, I’m sure she’s thought of that. I don’t understand how she’s doing it, though. I mean, she was always bright, but her progress these last couple of days is well beyond anything she had done before.”
Was it true? Sienna pulled some logs in her terminal as she ate the sandwich. It was easy enough to reach the same conclusion Miles had. It was unsettling.
Once more, she resorted to Occam’s razor. The results were there. She had made as much progress in two mornings as in the entire previous year, putting the rest of the team’s performance to shame. And she had not had to strain for that. It had just felt … natural. Intellectual feats were a bit harder to evaluate than physical ones, but once she had proven herself that she could lift a car with her bare hands, why shouldn’t she accept that she might have become even brighter?
The afternoon was very productive too, leading her to identify the exact moment where she had been exposed. It had been a fraction of a second, and at most, she might have been exposed to a couple of particles of dust from the comet. It had been in one of the rare occasions where she had been close to the rock itself, her line of work not justifying a lot of exposure to it. Reviewing the report and the footage from the incident it was easy enough to see why it had been missed both by her and by all the security protocols at Eclipse. She had a new level of attention and awareness now, though. And she could see what had happened.
She left the lab back at 2 a.m., investing the rest of the afternoon, evening and night to go through the archives again, to make sure she had not missed anything else. She had not. Which was surprising, since she would have expected another incident, more recent in time. After all, her exposure to the dust happened almost a year ago.
Her mind made the mental connection while she was driving back home. The X-rays! She had had them the day before passing out, as part of her annual checkup. Her theory was weird, but so was what had happened to her. It assumed that after getting exposed to the rock, she had been permanently contaminated by it, only to have the X-rays activate whatever properties the rock had, several months later.
The good news with this theory was that it was easy enough to test. Still, Sienna was now back in control, and the last thing she was going to do was to rush an experiment without having all the hypotheses well formulated.
She stopped by the junkyard again, her body almost demanding her to exert a bit of her new strength.
Sienna broke two dildos the next morning, just before her coffee and shower. She did not drive directly to the labs, though. She had another appointment first.
An hour later, she was looking at the self-proclaimed claims specialist across the desk, in his fancy office of Atlantis Medical, the company that insured her. She had patiently listened to his explanations, stopping him to confirm what she thought she was listening to.
“You’re not going to cover it?”
“Your illness is not on the list of covered treatments, Miss Towers,” he said patiently.
“It’s not on the list of excluded ones either” she responded.
“If you care to read your insurance policy, section 23, it specifically states that illnesses considered weird and requiring experimental treatment are not covered,” the specialist said.
“I did not require experimental treatment” Sienna said.
“It is still a weird illness” the specialist replied.
“Well, the section you so politely pointed me to specifies that both conditions need to be met. It’s the reason why whoever wrote it put an ‘and’ in there instead of an ‘or’” Sienna said.
“I’m afraid that’s now how we see it” the specialist replied.
“There’s no way to see it. There is no interpretation. It’s what the section says” Sienna said. She was getting distraught at the little man.
“We do not think the same.”
“Is there anyone else I can talk to?” Sienna asked, trying to contain her anger.
“No” the little man replied with a smirk on his face.
“So, is that it? You’re saying you’re not paying and I cannot do anything about it?” she asked, on the verge of losing her nerves.
“You are free to retain a lawyer and sue us if you don’t agree with our position. You have all the documentation available, including our final response. Let me warn you that this is a process that may take months. We have an excellent in-house legal team.”
“I need to pay over two million dollars in twenty-eight days!” Sienna protested.
“Let me suggest you go talk to a bank, then,” the man said, his sneer even more insulting than his words.
Every cell in Sienna’s body was asking her to push the desk to the side and crush the so-called claims specialist’s skull. Her stare might have revealed such intentions since the man lost his sneer and felt worried for an instant. Of course, he did not know just how afraid he should have been, had Sienna finally decided to execute on her wishes. She noticed his finger reaching for a button below the table. It was most likely connected with security. Most likely Sienna was not the first person to lose her nerves in that office.
Her anger indeed demanded her to grab the gray man’s head with both hands and squeeze until she felt it bursting like a grape. She managed to overcome the rush, though. It would not help her. There was a lot she had to do, including finding two and a half million dollars in less than a month. Everyone had seen her get into the office. Getting in trouble now was not going to help her.
So, Sienna turned instead and opened the door. Taking a last look at the man, who was back at sneering, she said: “You are going to regret this.”
She meant it.