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What Does THAT Machine Do?

Written by Steve the Z :: [Friday, 23 October 2009 14:47] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 08 April 2014 11:50]

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What Does THAT Machine Do?

 

by Marknew and Steve the Z

 

 

"I assure you that my research operation is completely legitimate," Dr. Bosk insisted.

 

"Well, my editor doesn't think so, and neither does the NIH," Linda Moore answered in her slightly nasal, high-pitched voice. She peered up at the scientist through her round glasses and flipped through her notes. Aware of her momentary distraction, Dr. Bosk could not resist taking advantage of the opportunity to peek through the gaps in Linda's blouse made by her firm, large breasts, the only parts of the diminutive young reporter that were not well below average size. "Your grant requests are 'vague', 'formulaic' and 'fail to adequately describe milestone accomplishments'." Also, your disbursement requests are 'far in excess of the average for similar projects' and 'fail to use standard materials and pre-approved suppliers'."

 

Dr. Bosk grew redder and more anxious with each quote she cited from the government audit reports. "Those are outRAGEous and unfair, like every report before it. My experiments demand special materials that are not aVAILable from the normal suppliers. And it's POINTless to try to explain my project to those people. Those fools just won't underSTAND!"

 

"That's surprising," she said, writing down his comment, "since the government reviewers supposedly consist of the nation's top scientists among your peers. Do you wish to comment on anyone in particular?"

 

"No, no! Please don't quote me!" Dr. Bosk said, his voice suddenly switching to a pleading tone. "They'd shut me down if I bad-mouthed them publicly. Please!"

 

"Well, if you cooperate with me, and give me access to the kind of information that would allow me to write an exclusive, and more sympathetic story …" Linda suggested, her pencil poised over the word "fools".

 

"What do you want to know?" Dr. Bosk asked, wiping his brow with his tie.

 

"Well … we could start with the lab tour I asked for initially. What does this machine do, for example?" she asked, her pencil and notebook ready.

 

"That?" he said, suddenly nervous again. "Wouldn't you rather see where we keep our test animals for our behavioral experiments?"

 

Linda underlined the word "fools" twice. "My paper is not interested in animal stories. The machine, or the quote."

 

"I see," he said, his eyes shifting around the room. He took a deep breath. "Well, this, my dear young lady, is my latest, and possibly my greatest, invention. I call it … 'The Relative Strength Intensifier'!"

 

Linda scribbled in her notebook. "That's an impressive name for a large machine. And it does … what exactly? Intensifies the effects of Einstein's Theory of Relativity? Intensifies the strength of related chemical substances?" She suppressed a laugh. "Improves the strength of family bonds?"

 

"You dare mock me! It does none of those things!" Bosk thundered, holding the shiny stainless steel side of the machine protectively. "It generates non-specific proteianic radiation that modifies the genetic and muscular-skeletal structures of the subject, with the effect of intensifying the subject's relative strength in order to attain certain pre-set capabilities."

 

Linda scribbled furiously and then looked up at the six foot three inch scientist through her glasses, which magnified her blue eyes fetchingly.

 

"Really? And what do these drawings mean?" she asked, pointing to a series of pictures posted on the side of the device.

 

"These icons indicate the various intensities of strength that are attained when one is subjected to the proteianic radiation produced by the RSI at different dosages." he said.

 

"I don't understand. How can radiation build strength? I thought radiation was poisonous to human tissues," Linda said, frowning slightly.

 

"Not proteianic radiation, which grafts additional muscle and bone mass onto the body, rather than splitting cellular structures like bullets! Ach! Look here at the first drawing. It shows a pair of hands breaking a board in half. If the subject is exposed to this 'Level One' intensity, he will attain the strength adequate for that task. Consequently, the next drawing, which represents 'Level Two', shows two hands bending a crowbar. This is the strength he would obtain at that level. And so on, all the way down the line."

 

"Oh! I think I understand" Linda said. "Is there some way you can demonstrate it for me? Perhaps you can bring out one of those test animals now."

 

"Are you insane? Do you know how dangerous it would have been to endow a rodent with enhanced strength? Impossible! Those litter critters could rule the world!"

 

Linda looked down at her feet and shivered slightly in disgust. "So, have you destroyed all your test animals?" Dr. Bosk shook his head. "Have you tested it at all?"

 

"My theoretical testing has been completely thorough and appropriate in accordance with normal scientific procedures."

 

"Has NOT tested so-called groundbreaking machine at all," Linda wrote in large letters and snapped her notebook shut. "I think I have what I need. Thank you Doctor."

 

"Wait! I'm sure I could arrange some kind of demonstration."

 

Linda opened her notebook slightly. "Really? On a live subject?"

 

Dr. Bosk looked around the room. "I … I don't know."

 

"Yourself, perhaps."

 

He shook his head. "No. It would compromise my scientific objectivity. You journalists of course have no concept of ethics and the courage it requires."

 

"All right. Well, then demonstrate it on me!"

 

"On you? You mean … you want me to increase YOUR strength?" Dr. Bosk asked dubiously.

 

"Yes, why not?" Linda said. "If you can assure me it's safe."

 

"Oh, it's perfectly safe," he answered quickly. "But won't it compromise your own objectivity? Won't it violate your own set of ethics?"

 

She looked up at him, her eyes steady. "Modern journalism requires the full engagement of a reporter," she said, reciting the fifth of the seven rules she learned in her Journalism 101 class, and hoping that Bosk would not try to kill her. He did seem a little bit like a mad scientist.

 

"Perhaps it would make your article more credible if you experienced the effects of my machine first hand. The initial stage of relative strength is not extreme." Bosk said, thinking out loud. "And it is SO hard to find suitable volunteers these days. Yes, it just may work!" he concluded, rubbing his hands together.

 

In truth, Linda was not sure of the journalistic ethics of her suggestions, and Dr. Bosk's sudden enthusiasm made her suspicious. Still, visions of a front page articles with her by-line danced before her eyes. She was still a cub reporter for the paper, still on probation, at time when experienced reporters were losing their jobs. They had sent her on this interview because this had been considered a 'safe' assignment, a bit of a joke, an easy setup, a colorful article, just something to get her feet wet, so to speak. If she actually brought such a development to public attention, she would have a permanent contract for sure.

 

"Well, all right then." she said. "Uhm, it won't hurt, will it?"

 

Dr. Bosk laughed loudly. "No more than it hurts to grow up!" he said,

ambiguously.

 

"What do I have to do?"

 

"Just stand there and don't move," Dr. Bosk said, pointing to a large yellow 'smiley face' painted on the floor.

 

Linda moved to the 'face', warily eyeing the sharp looking nozzles which protruded from the side of the machine at her.

 

"What are those things?" she asked.

 

"Proteianic ray projectors." Bosk said.

 

"Wait," she said. "First take a picture of me. A 'before' picture," she

explained, handing him her cell phone.

 

Dr. Bosk scowled. "This is completely unscientific. The Relative Strength Intensifier will record all of your physical readings before and after exposure to the proteianic radiation." She tapped her pencil on the notebook. "Nevertheless, if you insist," he said, taking a picture. He looked at it quickly and put the camera down.

 

"Wait, can I see it?" Linda asked.

 

"You're no Kate Moss, okay?" he said.

 

Linda blushed and Dr. Bosk pressed the button under the 'Level One' picture. The machine began to hum loudly.

 

"Don't be alarmed. Everything is working normally and correctly." Bosk said.

"Just don't move!"

 

Linda clutched her notebook as the machine hummed louder, and the tips of the proteianic ray nozzles glowed red for a few seconds. Her hand squeezed the notebook tighter.

 

The machine became silent.

 

"There! All done!" Dr. Bosk said. "And it didn't hurt, did it?"

 

"N-no." Linda said, stepping off the 'smiley face' and approached Dr. Bosk. "That's it? Nothing happened."

 

He looked down at her smiling. "Three. Two. One."

 

Suddenly new, muscular mounds pushed against the sleeves of her fashionable suit, creating stress marks. Her shoulders broadened, stretching the back of her jacket.

 

"That's strange," Linda said, trying to loosen her arms. "You don't seem as tall as you were a moment ago."

 

Bosk smiled and pointed at her knees.

 

"Oh, I'm the same as always." he said. "But YOU are not!"

 

Looking down, Linda gasped. The hem of her modest skirt, at least it had been modest when she slipped it on that morning, hanging right at the middle of her knees, was now a good two or three inches above them.

 

"But what … how …?" she asked, staring down at her shapely, no, make that shapLIER, legs.

 

"In order to be able to break a board in half with your bare hands, you obviously need considerable arm length and leverage from broader shoulders as well as thicker bone mass. Therefore, the proteianic radiation induced growth and thickening of bone and muscle, exactly as I predicted!"

 

"So, I'm taller and stronger!" Linda said wonderingly. "I can't believe it!"

 

Dr. Bosk had gone to the back of the room. He returned with a two foot long two by four board, which he handed to Linda.

 

"What's this for?" she asked, looking at the board.

 

"It's for you to break in two." he said. "The ultimate proof of my success."

 

"You're kidding."

 

"No. I am completing the testing protocol."

 

"Can YOU break this?" she asked.

 

"Of course not! Have I subjected myself to proteianic radiation like you have?"

 

Linda gave the board back to Dr. Bosk.

 

"Try," she said. "For my story."

 

"If I must," he sighed, then glared at her when she took a picture of him trying to break the board. Although his face turned red, he could not even bend it.

 

"I could not break this board if I tried for an hour," he said. "Of course, an average person could not do it either," he said to console himself. "It is good wood."

 

He gave the board back to Linda.

 

"Your turn," he said.

 

Linda took hold of the ends of the board.

 

"I feel silly." she said, but she grabbed it firmly, and began to apply pressure. Her sleeves stretched tauter around her rapidly bulging biceps, and the board snapped in two with a loud crack and an eruption of splinters. "Oh my god …" she said slowly, looking back and forth at the two pieces of wood she held in her hands.

 

"See!" Bosk said. "Instant strength!"

 

"I … I could feel it too!" Linda gasped. "The power in my arms! It was never there before … before …"

 

"Before my machine gave it to you." Bosk finished for her.

 

"Yes! This is simply amazing, Dr. Bosk!" Linda said, putting the board down and squeezing her right bicep with her left hand. "I've always been so small, so weak. Yes! It feels so good! I'm so much bigger!"

 

"Of course you are. And now, I would like your confirmation that you will write a suitable article, defending me against all my enemies, proclaiming that notwithstanding certain procedural irregularities, I, Dr. Daniel Bosk, have made the most magnificent scientific advance in history, the creation of the magnificent, unprecedented Relative Strength Intensifier!"

 

Linda looked at him and then at the machine. "Well, all I know, of course, is that the first setting worked. You've drawn some pretty pictures along the side of the machine, but what assurance do I have that the Relative Strength Intensifier will actually perform as you believe?"

 

"You mean, you need a further demonstration?" he asked, incredulous. "But I've proven that it works. What more can you, a mere newspaper reporter, require?"

 

"'No story can be considered reliable without the confirmation of at least three sources.' That's the third commandment of journalism. You are one source, the demonstration of the machine is another. I'm afraid without a third source I cannot write the story. Although I could still write an expose."

 

"An expose! But there are no other sources! My invention is still a secret."

 

"That's what I thought. This federally funded program is actually a secret project, beyond the control and even the knowledge of our government," she said, writing each word in her notebook. "Yes, two sources are definitely not enough for a story, although … I expect that I could convince my editor that a second demonstration of the machine would count as a third source."

 

"What!? You mean you want a dose that would take you to 'Level Two'?"

 

"Why not?" she said. "What harm would it do? It's just Level Two, out of what, six?"

 

"Do you have any idea how strong you have to be to bend a crowbar? That drawing is exactly to scale. It's solid metal, two inches in diameter!"

 

"Two inches doesn't sound very large to me," Linda said non-chalantly.

 

"It doesn't … Ach! What do you, a mere reporter know about what strength it requires!" he raged, as Linda subtly flexed her bicep and felt with a secret thrill how her rock-hard muscle expanded and nearly burst through her sleeve. "The unprecedented advances in science AND engineering that I have made, the further advances that will be precipitated by the broader application of proteianic radiation and self-adaptive engineering inherent in the Relative Strength Intensifier, all lost on this inexperienced, unqualified junior reporter!"

 

"'Self-adaptive engineering' did you say?" Linda asked, quickly noting the term down in her notebook.

 

"Why of course! The RSI monitors the effect of the proteianic radiation on the subject and adapts the dosage and frequency to the subject's unique physical and genetic make-up in order to accomplish the chosen level of enhancement. You didn't see me pushing buttons or altering the programming during the treatment did you?"

 

"No. Although I wasn't paying attention to you," Linda confessed.

 

"Well, I didn't. I hate making adjustments. That is why I developed the concept of self-adaptive engineering, and the icons – to standardize the development process at pre-defined incremental levels and eliminate endless tinkering and compromise! What's right is right and that's it!!"

 

"I see. Well, just to Level Two then." Linda said, glancing at the third picture and licking her lips.

 

"Very well! You know where to stand," Dr. Bosk said, with a wave of his hand.

 

Hesitating for only a second, Linda stepped back to the 'smiley face', her longer legs swishing her shortened skirt as she moved.

 

"Ready?" Dr. Bosk asked, his finger resting on the button under the second picture. Seeing she was in place he firmly pressed the button. The machine sprang to buzzing life, the tips of the proteianic ray projectors glowed red and began to discharge the radiation. The process seemed to take longer this time and the projectors changed color slightly, becoming orange just before shutting down. The buzzing noise subsided and Linda stepped off the face.

 

"I felt something this time," she reported. "A kind of tingling in my bones. Is that significant?"

 

Dr. Bosk shrugged his shoulders. "Don't know. Don't care. Subjective subject reactions have no bearing on the process. None whatsoever," he said, inspecting the logs of the machine. "Although …"

 

The seams of the jacket between Linda's shoulders and her arm were suddenly straining to hold together as they were stretched well beyond their capacity to stay in one piece. The sounds of threads snapping apart and ripping fabric filled the air.

 

"Oh … my …!" Linda said, her voice a bit deeper now, as she stepped from the 'smiley face', her skirt snug across the thick, corded muscles of her thighs, the hem a good six inches above her knees.

 

As she approached Dr. Bosk, her blouse flew open, the previously breast-stressed buttons popping off as her deep chest thrust forward, her breasts high on the thick slabs of her pectoral muscles.

 

"Whoa!" Bosk said, involuntarily backing away a step.

 

"Huh!" Linda said at the same time. "I guess it takes more muscle to bend a crowbar then I thought!"

 

Linda raised a hand to brush her hair from her forehead, her bicep swelling large enough to split the upper part of the sleeve apart. She looked at her arm, raising one eyebrow.

 

"Yes," she said. "Definitely more then I would have thought!"

 

A moment of silence passed as Dr. Bosk stared unprofessionally at his subject and Linda appraised her subject's reaction.

 

"Well?" Linda said, startling Bosk, who was currently staring at her waist, which the expansion of her now remarkable chest had bared by spreading her shirt apart when it grew. Her waist sported very well developed abdominal muscles, shown quite enticingly by her hip-hugging skirt.

 

"Huh?" Bosk said.

 

"I need a crowbar. Bring me a crowbar."

 

"Gulp! Yes, of course! The … uh … scientific testing protocol."

 

Stumbling over his own feet, he hurried to the back of the lab. Linda laughed.

 

She felt different, more in charge.

 

"Maybe it has something to do with this," she said, flexing the bicep of her right arm. She gasped at the sight of it. "My gosh! It's HUGE!" she whispered. "I'M huge!"

 

Her fingers rose to touch it, but before she could, Dr. Bosk had returned, holding a crowbar out to her in a shaking hand.

 

"Oh, thanks." she said. "But first, can you bend it?"

 

"Of course not!" he said, giving it a quick tug. It's solid metal!"

 

"OK. Just wanted to be sure," she said, taking the bar from him. His hand rose up, relieved of the weight.

 

"Do you think THIS is heavy?" Linda asked, tossing the crowbar up and down with one hand.

 

"Well, yes, but just a little," Dr. Bosk said defensively.

 

"I guess I would have too … before." Linda said in reverie. "It seems as light as a twig to me now!" she observed, waving it around like a magic wand.

 

Dr. Bosk moved quickly out of the way. "Yes, yes, so I see."

 

"But this one's not as thick as the one in the picture," she complained.

 

"What do you think this is, a warehouse? It's all I have!" Dr. Bosk retorted, watching the crowbar nervously as it swished through the air.

 

Linda twirled it back and forth and swung it around, making a loud whooshing noise and forcing Dr. Bosk further backwards to keep away. "Well, this one is very, very light."

 

"OK. OK. But enough of this. Are you going to try to bend it?" Dr. Bosk asked impatiently.

 

"You mean, like this?" Linda asked, taking the bar in both hands and twisting it like a pretzel, veins rising like thick ropes across her huge biceps. She tossed the mangled iron bar back to Dr. Bosk, who barely managed to catch it. "That was much too easy," she said as Dr. Bosk stared at the tied-into-a-knot crowbar he was holding.

 

"Easy?" he croaked, carefully examining the bar and the stress marks in the metal and then looked at Linda as she flexed her mountainous biceps and then twisted her torso around to tighten her solid abdominals. "Y-you're extremely muscular now," he stammered as she flexed her chest muscles next, which caused her bra to stretch, fray and then tear, shooting away from her chest and leaving her large breasts uncovered. "Ga … ga … ga!" he said.

 

"Oh my! Turn around, if you would, while I take care of this!" Linda said, quickly improvising a bikini for herself out of the shirt that previously had covered her entire torso. "Yes, that's quite a machine you have there, Dr. Bosk. I'm very impressed." Linda said. "I'm glad you convinced me of the need for a demonstration!"

 

"Y-you're welcome." Bosk said, carefully setting the useless crowbar on a lab bench. "So, you'll write the article now, telling the world these attacks on me are baseless!"

 

Linda walked over to the pictures, her round butt pulling her tight mini-skirt to the left and right as she moved, capturing and securely holding Dr. Bosk's attention. She put one hand on her hip, and touched the picture which depicted two hands holding a car in the air with the fingertips. Looking at Bosk over one muscle-bound bared shoulder, she said, "Wouldn't that make an exciting picture on the Front Page, to go with my story about your hard work and your amazing invention … I mean, if it worked, if I REALLY were able to lift a car over my head. Right, Dr. Bosk?"

 

Dr. Bosk was staring at the outline of Linda's bust, which jutted out dramatically as she twisted toward him. "The Front … why, yes, if I, I mean, if you … but … is that what you want?" he responded, his hands trembling.

 

She walked to the next picture, showing a man holding a tall building in the air with one hand. "And this one looks just like the Daily News building, where I work. Could I really hold an entire office building in the air, Dr. Bosk?" she asked, stretching her arm upwards while pushing her chest outward and her pelvis forward.

 

He gazed at her extended form, which temporarily left him speechless.

 

"Doctor, I asked you a question, a simple question. That's what reporters do, you know?"

 

"W-why y-yes, of course, but …"

 

"But what? she asked, bending toward the sixth picture and pointing her butt directly at him. She flexed the right and left cheeks alternately, pulling and stretching her tight skirt beyond recognition.

 

"It's just that … for a girl … to be so … so … powerful … so muscular … so

 

"… perfect?" Linda suggested. "After all, I'm not like any other girl, am I Doctor? Just as your Relative Strength Intensifier is not like any other machine," she reasoned. "And you Doctor are not-"

 

"-like any other man." he added.

 

"-going to refuse me when I tell you what you will do." she said, correcting his sorry misapprehension.

 

Dr. Bosk trembled with disappointment. "But … I made you what … you were just …"

 

"… a petite, busty young reporter with a hot piece of news that could crush your little project into oblivion at any moment I choose. And now I'm a hot piece of ass with muscles that could crush you to the size of a pea, at any moment I choose,' she said sweetly. "And what about this picture, Dr. Bosk. What is it, exactly?" she continued, taking the twisted crowbar off the bench and carelessly twisting it like a piece of taffy.

 

"Um, it's a … a … ah very hard to explain," he said, afraid to look at Linda's enhanced, powerful and sexy body and yet wholly unable to look away.

 

"It looks like a man standing next to a series of ellipses, with a lot of balls whirring around them. Are they supposed to be atoms? Why would the final setting shrink a man to the size of an atom, Dr. Bosk?"

 

"Ach, you ninny!" Dr. Bosk scolded, his annoyance at her failure to understand his invention causing him to forget momentarily the nature of their discussion. "Your limited mind is hopelessly literal! How would YOU depict a man possessing the powers generated by atomic fission?"

 

"I certainly wouldn't draw a picture! I would explain it in words, saying how many atoms, how much power, showing by example exactly what the person could do."

 

Dr. Bosk rolled his eyes. "And you would fail completely! Such power cannot be described in words. It is beyond words." Linda smiled and continued twisting the crowbar, turning it into a circle and then twisting it in half again so that it formed two connected circles. She held it over the sixth panel while her body was still twisted, facing Dr. Bosk. "Ach! What are you doing now?! It's the sixth panel, not the eighth! Can't you even count?!"

 

"Oh! Silly me!" she said and rotated it ninety degrees so that it lay on its side. She pushed the metal into the side of the panel, just above the picture. "There, like that!" Dr. Bosk stared at her, then at the panel, then at the machine and then back at Linda once again as she traced her finger gently around and around the infinity sign. As she traced the curves her body undulated slowly from her shoulders to her waist and her hips and then back up again. "You know, and I know, Dr. Bosk, that you're going to push that button, right? So why don't you just do it now, sooner, rather than later. I will remember, of course, just how long it took you to decide."

 

Five seconds later Linda was again standing on the 'smiley face'.

 

"You're sure?" Bosk asked, his trembling finger almost touching the button under picture number six. "Absolutely sure?"

 

"Oh yes, certainly. Fire away, Doc!" Linda said, nodding her head.

 

Swallowing the dry lump in his throat, Dr. Bosk pressed the button, a surge of excited curiosity engulfing him as he did.

 

His machine hummed more loudly this time, and the proteianic radiation projectors glowed brighter than before, first red, then orange, then yellow and then green. The buzzing became louder and louder and cycled to a hum and then a high-pitched whine. The rays themselves were invisible, and, as before, Dr. Bosk could discern no apparent immediate effects on Linda as she absorbed the radiation, except that her eyes closed, her expression seemed to be one of intense enjoyment, and her nipples, initially almost invisible though the dark fabric of her blouse, became increasingly thick and erect, pushing the cloth outwards like rivets and then like bullets. And they seemed to be aimed right at him! Startled, he turned his eyes to the projectors, which were now glowing purple, and then a deeper and deeper purple, until he could discern no color at all. Since the machine was continuing to fire, he deduced that the side-effect of the radiation signature must now be beyond the visible spectrum. Similarly he could no longer hear any sounds, the frequency undoubtedly too high for his ears. Yet Linda continued to stand on the 'smiley face,' her expression even more ecstatic if that were possible. What was he doing? What force in the name of Linda Moore was he unleashing in the world? But it was too late to do anything. The machine was built to prevent any manual mid-treatment "adjustments" by him or anyone else, and would now proceed through its pre-programmed internal logic of self-adaptive engineering to its inevitable conclusion. Dr. Bosk mopped his brow. He could run away, or he could wait and see. Her nipples pushed further outwards, tenting the fabric of her improvised bra. Was there really a choice? He was a scientist, and a man. He couldn't run away. He HAD to stay and see what happened!

 

The machine powered down and Linda stepped off the 'smiley face'. "Whew! That took a long time! But it felt AMAZING!" She shook her broad shoulders. "So, when will it kick in, Doc?"

 

Dr. Bosk was staring at her still very erect nipples. "It's, uhm, hard to predict … so many variables … unknown reactions. Seconds, minutes, perhaps hours, or even-"

 

Linda's shoulders suddenly broadened another twelve inches, and her chest blew her improvised bra to shreds. Her bare breasts uptilted upon the thick muscles of her pecs, and her engorged nipples throbbed larger with each beat of her heart. She shot up eight more inches in height on a pair of legs which resembled tree trunks, so massive had her thighs and calves become. Her skirt barely covered her crotch, and her abs looked like steel plates under her skin.

 

"I'm feeling very strange," she said, in a voice that sounded processed through a synthesizer. Cracks in the floor spread beneath her feet. I … See … So … Much" she said, her voice sounding in dozens of notes and seeming to come from everywhere in the room. A pale white aura surrounded her, shimmering. Her body grew so that it nearly filled the room, then contracted into just half Dr. Bosk's size and then began growing again. She became as pale and insubstantial as the aura, as though she were about to disappear, but then she reappeared as dark as coal and then as bright as the sun, forcing Dr. Bosk to shield his eyes but it was too late, and he felt himself being pulled forward into a vortex, but he didn't dare open his eyes, so bright was the light that he could see it even through his eyelids. The sound of smashing glass filled the room and Dr. Bosk covered his eyes and face with his arms and huddled into a ball to protect himself.

 

Then it all stopped, although it was another ten minutes before he could see again. It took him a little while to realize that the problem was not his eyesight, but rather that his laboratory was now dark because all the lighting had been destroyed when the glass bulbs shattered. He found his emergency candles and lit one.

 

"Well well well, Doctor Bosk." Linda said in a rich contralto when he could once again make out her form. She stood more than a head taller than he was, with shoulders twice as wide as his and muscles the size of boulders in her upper arms. "You have no IDEA the POWER I have."

 

"You, er, look very strong," Dr. Bosk replied.

 

"Oh, yes. Very, very, very strong," she replied. She lifted the metal bench on which, less than 30 minutes ago, Dr. Bosk had placed the twisted crowbar, placed her long arms on each end and crushed it into a flat sheet of metal, crumpled it into a ball and then squeezed the ball until it was so small Dr. Bosk could not see it. She tossed it to the end of the room and although it was invisible to Dr. Bosk it made a loud crash when it landed and shattered the floor. "My strength is far beyond your comprehension."

 

Dr. Bosk shook his head. "Now, if I could just do some tests … determine into what substance the proteianic radiation has converted your tissues. It is obviously one that has never previously existed on this planet. Perhaps not in this universe. Amazing!"

 

He looked up to her now strikingly beautiful face. "It looks as though your glasses broke, along with all the other glass in my office. Can you see me?"

 

"I can not only see you, Dr. Bosk, I can see into you, through you and through these walls, using not only the part of the spectrum visible to you, but frequencies far longer and shorter. I can see the pores on your face, the hairs in your follicles and the smudges of oil in your hair. I can see your cells, the nuclei within, the chromosomes, the genes, even the strands of DNA. I can see individual carbon atoms, and even their atomic particles. And you know what else, Doc?" He shook his head. "I can 'play' with them! I can fuse them, or split them. I can move them and change their state!" She drew a square in the air and a block of ice appeared, which turned into water and then as it spilled to the floor, into a cloud of steam. She cupped her hand and the steam turned into a pile of snow on the floor, which Linda scooped into a snowball.

 

"That's amazing!"

 

"I've only begun. This is the best part!" She passed her hand over the snowball and it began to glow and then the glowing matter leapt onto her and was absorbed through her skin. "That's fusion power, Doc. Trillions upon trillions of gigajoules of power, as much of it as I want, any time I want it." She grinned and traced the infinity sign in the air, leaving behind a glowing image of the sign that shimmered until it hardened into a metal bar and then crashed noisily to the floor.

 

Dr. Bosk's shock gave way to pride. "Unlimited access to energy! Then your strength must truly be beyond limits. And my machine did that for you!" he said. "This is wonderful!"

 

"Yes, isn't it!"

 

"Then you'll surely write that article, and defend me against those mindless bureaucrats who would like nothing better than to shut me down and take my funding and equipment away!!"

 

Linda looked as though she were considering it. "Perhaps. But perhaps not!"

 

"What?!" Dr. Bosk looked shocked. "But I've demonstrated it to you! I've given you the benefit of all I've worked for years and years to accomplish!"

 

Linda looked down at him. "Yes, Dr. Bosk, you have. And don't think I'm not appreciative of that!" She pursed her lips and made a gentle kissing sound, sucking Dr. Bosk off his feet and pulling him irresistibly towards her. She caught him and held him effortlessly at arms' length.

 

He tried to free himself, but with all his strength he could not uncurl even a single finger from her hold on him.

 

"Really, Dr. Bosk. I thought you were smarter than that. Your strength was no match for mine when you gave me the strength to break a puny 2 x 4 wooden board. Now, when my muscles are made of substances millions of times denser than human tissue, and I have access to limitless energy, how can you even think you could resist me?"

 

"B-but what are you going to do to me?" he said, suddenly trembling. "Are you going to shut down my project? Turn me over to the government?"

 

"Why would I do that? Would I want the government to have this marvelous machine for its own purposes?"

 

"Then, then you'll leave me alone?" he asked hopefully.

 

"Not a chance!" she grinned. "Alone to use this machine on yourself? To make yourself as powerful as I am? Perhaps even more so, once you've modified it to take you to a seventh level of power?" She laughed. "I may not be a genius like you, Dr. Bosk, but I'm not stupid! You had the chance for power, but you wasted it and gave it to me. But I am grateful, really."

 

"You are?"

 

"Yes, I am. So grateful that I will write a sympathetic article about you. I'm sure they will let you continue your research."

 

"You … WILL?" he said, amazed.

 

"Yes, with one condition."

 

"Yes, yes, anything!" he said, happily.

 

"You will not work alone."

 

"But … I always work alone. No one else understands my work. I keep late hours. No assistant would ever want to … unless perhaps you intend to be my assistant."

 

"Me? No chance! I have better things to do. After all, I am now the most powerful being in the universe! No, my sister needs a job. She's bright and she likes science. You will teach her everything."

 

"Your sister? But what's she like?"

 

"Oh, you'll see. Would you like to know the alternatives?" She flicked her finger at the wall and a hole opened up to the back of the building.

 

"I … I accept your condition!" he said. "When will she start?"

 

Linda pulled out her cell phone. "Lorna, it's me. Yeah, Linda! Hey, remember that story I told you I was working on? Well, it's more interesting than I thought. Come over, I'm on 74 Powers Drive, Office 2. Yes, now! Yes, it's important! Yes, I'll pay your cab fare. Just get here!" She hung up. "She's a bit of a pain, but I'm sure you'll find a way to get along."

 

Linda let him drop to the ground and walked over to the machine. "Of course, we can't have you or Lorna making anyone as powerful as I am." She held her hand out and a metal plate appeared and attached itself securely to the third through sixth panels of the machine and the buttons beneath it. "Understood?"

 

Dr. Bosk nodded and looked sadly around his lab. "Yes."

 

Two hours later, after Dr. Bosk had replaced all of the light bulbs, there was a knock at the door.

 

"It must be Lorna. Finally!" Linda said with exasperation. A girl closely resembling Linda when she had first arrived, but slightly taller, with wild, spiky hair and a lot more attitude entered, chewing gum and wearing a tight t-shirt that displayed every inch of her overly ample mammarial endowments (which, unsurprisingly, was at least equal to her sister's original bustiness) and blue jeans with holes in the legs and the butt. "What took you?"

 

"I … Hey Linda, is that really you? I thought you sounded funny on the phone. What's with the muscles and all the height? And who's this guy?"

 

"That's Dr. Bosk. I got you a job with him."

 

She looked around the lab. "What a dump! Are you serious? I'm in the middle of some really important personal stuff now, you know."

 

Dr. Bosk was shaking his head in dismay.

 

"Well, this is more important. Listen, Lorna, I'm all-powerful now and I'm trying to do you a favor. Dr. Bosk needs an assistant and I know you like science-"

 

"Science fiction. But actually it's really fantasy, and fantasy games, you know? How come you never get the difference?"

 

"Lorna, this is not a game. Dr. Bosk's machine over there has given me amazing power. He wants to keep working on it, and inventing new things, and I'll let him, bit only if you work with him and keep an eye on him."

 

Lorna looked at her sister, at Dr. Bosk, at the machine and around the lab. "What's in it for me?"

 

"I can't pay her much!" Dr. Bosk said quickly. "And I work long hours."

 

"He seems really sweet," Lorna said, rolling her eyes. "Well, I need lots of money and I don't like working hard. So there!" she said, crossing her arms over her chest forcing more of her breasts to spill through the scooped opening at the top of her t-shirt.

 

Linda glared at her sister. "I'm trying to do you a big favor! How come you never see that!" Linda said in an exasperated tone.

 

"Because you're always trying to control my life," Lorna answered haughtily. "So you're a big shot reporter professional. Well, I'm not like you!"

 

Linda put her left hand on her hip and raised her right fist. "Are you sure you don't want to be?" she said, as she slowly flexed her bicep, which thickened, rose, thickened some more, appeared to turn from flesh to stone, to steel, to titanium and then rose still higher, while glowing with an unearthly power.

 

Lorna stared at the muscle. "Wow! That's a LOT bigger than Jimmy's. And you were always such a wimp."

 

"Well, not anymore. As I said, Lorna, now I'm all-powerful," Linda said, enjoying being superior, "the most powerful in the world, maybe the universe."

 

"I don't get why you got to have all that power! What did you do to deserve it?"

 

"Hey! I'm the one who invented the Relative Strength Intensifier! If anyone should be all-powerful it's me!" Dr. Bosk shouted.

 

"I wasn't talking to you!" she said to Dr. Bosk. "What's HIS problem! Is he always going to be so cranky and bossy?" Lorna said to her sister. "Because there's no way I'm going to work for someone who's always yelling at me!"

 

"Don't get upset. He's really harmless."

 

"Not if you're making him my boss. Just think what he might ask me to do."

 

"Lorna I really don't think he would."

 

"Are you sure? I mean, I'm gonna be alone with him in here. Anyway, all I know is, if you're all-powerful, then I want to be that too!"

 

"I'm not making you all-powerful!" Linda said insistently. But … I will give you something if you do what I want and work here."

 

"What?" Lorna said suspiciously.

 

"Go stand on the 'smiley face'."

 

"The 'smiley face'? Are you joking?"

 

"What are you doing?" Dr. Bosk said, already recoiling in horror. "You're not going to …"

 

"No, YOU are!" Linda said.

 

"There is no way I'm going to give that brainless throwback to pre-civilization one more ounce of strength than she already has!" Dr. Bosk said firmly. "It would be irresponsible and a misuse of the scientific advances I have made."

 

"Then I will. After all, it's just pushing a button. Lorna, now or never!"

 

She looked at Dr. Bosk and decided that if it was something he didn't want Linda and her to do, then she would definitely do it.

 

Dr. Bosk ran toward the machine and stood in front of the panel. "I won't let you!"

 

"Really, Dr. Bosk!" Linda said. "I thought you'd understand". She walked up to the machine and lifted him out of the way with a single finger and then, with that same finger, as he cried out "Noooooo. Not her!" Linda pressed the button under the second picture. The proteianic ray projectors glowed red and discharged the radiation directly at Lorna. As before, they turned red and fired for several seconds, then briefly orange and then went out.

 

"So," Lorna said, still chewing her gum. "Nice colors and all, and I liked the tingles, but nothing's happened. As far as muscles go, this thing's a compete dud, sis." She put her hands on her hips. "And if it gives me cancer, I'm telling Mom," she added, stamping her feet. "You're such a – hey!" Suddenly Lorna's t-shirt began getting tighter. "Oh, something is happening."

 

"The process is starting, of course!" Dr. Bosk said bitterly. "Just as I knew it would."

 

"His whining is so annoying!" Lorna said. Her t-shirt began to climb up her torso as her body grew. Then her pectoral muscles started developing, raising her breasts and the t-shirt even more, along with it.

 

"Ach! Look at those muscles!" he complained as first her arm thickened and then biceps started growing, becoming rounded and separately defined from the rest of her upper arm. "She's getting stronger and stronger."

 

"You didn't have any doubts, did you?" Linda said, as Lorna's biceps became large enough to stretch the sleeves of her t-shirt.

 

"Ooooh," Lorna cooed, raising her arm and flexing her muscle, watching it rise, softball size, forcing the sleeve of her t-shirt back toward her rapidly developing shoulder. "Bet I'm bigger than you are now, Dr. Bosco!"

 

"It's Bosk, not Bosco!" he moaned, unable to stop watching as each time Lorna flexed, her bicep grew even larger.

 

"Bigger and stronger!" she crowed, flexing one thigh and bursting the leg of her blue jeans, and then doing the same to the other, leaving her with shorts that barely covered her crotch, and leaving her thong visible as she lifted her leg high above her head. "Wheeee!"

 

"You like being strong, Sis?" Linda said.

 

"Love it!" she said. "Oooooh, they all seem so solid too, as well as being big! Feel this muscle, Sis!"

 

"Well, I could crush it easily, you know. I'm a lot stronger than you are. And always will be!" she said, casually flexing her much larger and infinitely harder bicep.

 

Lorna frowned. "Yeah, maybe." She looked at Dr. Bosk's sad expression and her face brightened. "Then you do it, Doc." She swaggered over to him. "You tell me how solid it is." She grabbed his hand and put it on top of her bicep.

 

"Aaaii, you're crushing my fingers!" he wailed.

 

"He's such a baby, Linda!" Lorna said, but letting go.

 

"You ARE very strong now, Lorna," Linda said. "Just not as strong as I am."

 

Lorna pouted and wrinkled her nose. "Come on then, Bosco. Tell me how strong I am! Way stronger than you, huh?" The unhappy scientist tried with his injured fingers to squeeze Lorna's bicep. "Come on, I can hardly feel that!"

 

"I can't move my fingers!"

 

"Then use your other hand. Really, Linda, he's not very smart. Are you sure he really invented this gizmo?"

 

Linda shrugged. "I think so, although I didn't actually see him do it."

 

"The Relative Strength Intensifier is MY machine! I created it." Dr. Bosk screamed.

 

"Well!" Lorna giggled. "Maybe you did, and maybe you didn't, but either way it's sure not doing you much good, is it? Now squeeze MY big muscle, Doc, with your 'good' hand!"

 

He switched hands and tried as hard as he could while Lorna watched him with growing pleasure. "I can't! Your muscle is too hard!"

 

"Is it? Good! OK, then, 'Boss'!" She grabbed his shirt and lifted him in the air, effortlessly. "Now how about running and getting us girls a couple of Cokes? And me some more gum? Yeah, and then I'm gonna need an advance on my salary to get myself some new clothes to replace the ones the machine made me break, when I grew." She gave him a little push and watched him fly across the room and then scurry off. "Yes! I think I'm going to have fun, working 'for' you, Bosco!"

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