Unrecognizable, Part 3
Jul 4th, 2013
- My stomach turned to ice at those words. In all my experience with the shady inside info about secret projects run by The Source, I'd never heard anything about a Special Products Program. And that made it utterly terrifying.
- The voice continued, cold and clinical. “I'll cut to the chase, Mr. Davis. This is the end of your old life. You will never see your family again. You will never see your friends again, and you will never see your home again. Today you will begin your...rebirth.”
- My eyes darted back and forth frantically, searching for some means of escape. I strained at the cuffs holding my wrists and ankles in place, vainly trying to break them.
- “I would comfort you, but alas, the customer has made it quite clear to me that he wants this whole process to be uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.”
- “What customer?” I demanded. My mind was whirling out of control. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
- “Now now, Mr. Davis. To breach our client's anonymity would be to betray everything our organization was built on. But if you want an explanation for why this is happening...I suppose I can offer you one.”
- “Miss Dundee was telling you the truth when she said that another worker had fallen ill with the same affliction you have. She didn't tell you the truth, however, when she said that the worker had recovered.”
- My skin began to crawl, and it wasn't just from fear. Something was playing with the nerves in my legs, kissing the skin with jarring pinpricks of pain.
- “What the hell are you doing to me?” I yelled.
- “Isn't it obvious? You're growing a coat of fur. And I'm not 'doing' anything to you. Your disease is changing you; I am merely allowing it to take its course.”
- “I'm not gonna be your test subject, you sick fuck!” I raged. “Let me go!”
- The man on the speaker sighed. “Watch your language, Mr. Davis. It might cause you trouble when you begin your integration.”
- “And what the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
- “All in good time. Back to the worker; as I said, he didn't recover from his illness. We watched in amazement as he slowly, painfully changed into a healthy female pegasus. How was such a thing possible, we wondered. Some strange quirk of the nanites? Yet for some reason, we have been unable to reproduce this phenomenon in a laboratory setting.”
- Suddenly I felt like my ribcage was being crushed by a giant boa constrictor. I howled and wheezed madly, the pain almost enough to knock me unconscious again. Meanwhile an agonizing ache was building in my hips, giving me a one-two punch of suffering.
- “So we just had to wait for the next case. And we were not the only ones to take interest in the transformation: a certain client seemed particularly fascinated in the prospect of attaining ponies that—well, weren't born that species. The client purchased the former human, and offered a truly phenomenal sum of money for any future converts. Especially if the client could observe and assist with the transformed human's retraining.”
- Those words were almost as painful as the spasms that wracked my body. I'll never forget that moment where I realized what I was inexorably changing into.
- A plaything. No...
- A product.
- The speaker fell silent while my body continued transforming. I screwed my eyes shut, my voice rising higher in pitch as I kept screaming and screaming.
- To this day I'm not sure how I managed to stay sane. I have no idea of how much time passed in that one horrible room. I just remember constant, nearly mind-breaking pain, and it wasn't just from the transformation.
- I didn't have a whole lot of people close to me at the time. My friends were mostly best described as “acquaintances” rather than friends, and I wasn't on the best of terms with my family.
- But damn it, they had no right to take me away from them. They took me away from any chance to reconcile with the people I'd offended. They took me away from the people I could've grown closer to once I finally paid off the debt. Maybe if I hadn't been stuck by that one fucking needle, I never would've made any new friends. Maybe I would've sunk deeper into a social black hole. But for God's sake, at least I would've had a chance to do things right.
- To this day, I've never seen any of my friends and family again. And as their faces fade more and more each day, I realize now what the worst part of my change was. It wasn't that they put me through so much pain. It wasn't the humiliation. It was that they took my future away.
- But there was nothing I could do as I writhed and screamed away in that room. I just prayed that eventually it would end, even if it would only bring in some new torture.
- Eventually, the pain began to fade. I was left like that for a horrendously long time. Just panting in sheer exhaustion, my soaked coveralls sticking to my clammy, sweaty skin.
- My throat cried for water. It was almost impossible to concentrate on anything but just how much I wanted water. I don't know how many times I asked those bastards to just give me a little bit of water. They didn't answer. They didn't care.
- It took me a very long time to gather up the courage to look down at myself. The pain of the transformation had caused me enough trauma as it was, so I had put off examining its effects until I was sure I was ready.
- As I quickly figured out, I wasn't ready.
- I suppose I should have been glad I was still mostly human at that stage, but I discovered something that made my jaw drop from shock.
- A healthy, modest-sized pair of breasts were pushing out the chest of my coveralls. My hair now tickled the back of my neck, and when I yelped in surprise, I found that my voice had become much softer and higher.
- When the man on the speaker had talked about the previous worker switching sex, I had hoped it was just an anomaly. But no...it would have been too nice to let me keep my equipment. The fuckers weren't gonna even let me stay male.
- Just then, the cuffs around my arms and legs suddenly released. I fell to my knees, my limbs throbbing from the restored blood flow.
- “Proceed to the next area,” the voice announced.
- The metal door on the opposite side of the room opened, revealing a dusty gray concrete hallway with yet another door on the far end. I stared down that hallway for a long time, desperately trying to decide whether to stay or go. Where the hell was I being led, anyway? What were they planning? And on some childish level, I wanted to stay in that room just out of spite. Just to finally be able to exhibit some form of defiance, however pointless.
- But I was also afraid of what would happen if I didn't obey. These people were monsters, and I was in a place where they could do whatever they wanted and get completely away with it. And if I didn't find anything to drink soon, I was going to die.
- Eventually I found myself walking down the hallway, the sound of my footsteps ringing tinnily down the hall. I walked with an awkward gait: my hips had widened, and I was nowhere near used to the change.
- Taking a deep breath and cursing The Source for the thousandth time, I opened the door.
- I entered a room that stank of unwashed fur and misery. The fluorescent lights flickered nauseatingly, illuminating the crowd that stood before me.
- I was surrounded by a swarm of bedraggled ponies. Just as the lights flickered, their expressions flickered between confusion and fear.
- The voice rang out from another set of speakers, this time with a tone of counterfeit pleasantness.
- “Greetings, everyone. This is Golden Fields. She used to be one of your captors, but she will be one of -you- soon. Take this information as you will. But know that as long as she is with you, she will need your help. We will be training her just as we trained you, but outside her sessions, she will need continual care to emerge from this program a well-behaved and well-adjusted mare. If we are satisfied with the results, we will reward you handsomely. Your group will be slotted into Category A.”
- And now their only hope of a happy life laid in helping “retrain” me.
- I still wonder how I resisted the urge to find the room's speakers and tear them right off the wall.
- “Now, then. I'm sure you're quite thirsty right now. Would you like something to drink, Mister Davis?” the man on the intercom continued, still using that same sickeningly polite tone.
- “Hell yes,” I murmured.
- Immediately a powerful jolt of electricity radiated from somewhere between my shoulders. I cried out in pain, almost falling to my knees from the shock.
- “Disappointing...very disappointing,” sighed my tormentor. “Your conduct is in severe need of improvement. And I suppose I should make it clear that you are -not- Mister Davis anymore. You are Golden Fields. This is the only name you may answer to. Do I make myself clear?”
- I coughed an incoherent swear, reaching for the spot on my back where the electricity had come from. Sure enough, there was a tiny lump—obviously, the device that had shocked me had been sewn into my clothes.
- Suddenly the device buzzed like an angry insect. I jolted my hand away, startled.
- “Don't do that, Miss Fields. It doesn't like being touched.”
- The buzzing slowly faded as I put my arm down.
- “Ah, good. You're a smart girl, Miss Fields. And that means you have it in you to be a good girl, too. It'll help you very much for you to obey a few simple rules. I have already mentioned the first one: you are Golden Fields. Nothing you can say or do will ever change that. The second rule is rather simple. What is it, ladies and gentlecolts? Help your fellow pony out.”
- “The Teacher has the final word on everything,” they droned. It was a chorus of broken, despondent souls repeating something that had been branded onto their brains through God knows what kind of “retraining.”
- “Very good. From now on you shall call me 'Teacher,' Miss Fields. So...ask me again. Is there something you need?”
- “Can I please have a glass of water..Teacher?” I asked, straining to not scream in rage. I didn't want to believe it was my own voice that had just said that. It was unmistakably feminine: soft and almost musical. But just as humiliating was the fact that I had let the man rip another brick loose from the walls protecting my mental manhood.
- No wonder that sadistic freak wanted to be called 'Teacher.' He knew the power that word wielded, and what it symbolized. Fuck, when was the last time I had called anyone that? Third grade?
- I was torn out of my thoughts by another jolt of electricity. I have to admit, I actually squealed.
- “Better,” said the 'Teacher.' “But still not quite there. I am not your friend, Miss Fields. I am above you in every way. Therefore, if you ever ask something of me, I expect you to speak like a proper young mare. The correct way to phrase your question is, 'may I please have a glass of water, Teacher?'”
- My fingernails dug into my the delicate, creamy skin of my palms, almost drawing blood. I had a number of things I wanted to say to the Teacher, most of which were four-letter words. But even in the heat of the moment I couldn't forget the awful, paralyzing pain the device could pump into my nerves.
- So I gave up. Just like a timid little schoolgirl, I gave up.
- “May I please have a glass of water, Teacher?”
- For a moment there was nothing but silence. I tensed my muscles up, expecting another shock.
- But nothing came. Nothing but a sharp, rhythmic smacking sound from the speakers. It took me a startled second before I realized that the Teacher was clapping.
- “Ah, now -there's- a good girl. Starlight, give the poor dear a drink, will you?”
- An exhausted-looking unicorn mare paced over to a rusty sink, shakily levitating a smeared glass under the faucet and filling it up. She returned to me with a look of unmistakable bitterness clouding her filthy face.
- “Thank you,” I said weakly as I accepted the glass. The water tasted exactly like the faucet it had come out of, but I didn't care. It was what my parched, wilted throat needed.
- I was too busy gulping the water down to notice the hoofsteps behind me. Suddenly something hard and heavy smashed into the back of my knees, making me cry out and tumble to the floor.
- The glass slipped out my hands, and seemingly in slow motion I was treated to the sight of it shattering on the hard concrete.
- As the crowd gathered around me, jeering and laughing, I wondered how I could have been so stupid. Just because I was a fellow victim didn't mean these creatures gave a shit about me. They'd do whatever it took to get into Category A, even if they became just as cruel as the teacher. I wasn't sure why I'd ever hoped differently in the first place.
- My mind was very close to utterly breaking at that point. I don't know what I would've done if that moment had lasted a second longer. Would I have just gone catatonic? Would I have turned into some sort of berserk, snarling animal?
- “Take this!” a gravelly voice whispered. “Quick!”
- It took me more than a few seconds to realize that I wasn't hallucinating. An earth pony with matted gray fur was kneeling next to me, offering me a new cup of water. I blinked, baffled as to why the crowd wasn't stopping him.
- “Drink it fast!” he urged. “Before the Teacher gets suspicious!”
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