36,046 / 50,000
The two of them stood there motionless for a long while, just watching the now empty space between them. After what had seemed like an hour, with both standing motionless like an old police show where everything has been freeze framed for the final shot as the credits roll, the only sign that some cosmic force had not hit the galactic pause button on them being their blinking eyes, Brendan finally broke the silence.
"I so can not believe that worked."
If the argent glow that had filled the room earlier, before Brendan's transformation had been bright, the light shining from their twin smiles would have dwarfed that a thousand fold. Alphonse's source of excitement was clear. Standing before him was the proof of everything he had ever believed in, and in a non-fatal form at that. For Brendan there was that, as well as helping his mentor and friend succeed after so many failures, but mostly there was the sheer amazement at having superpowers. A lifelong dream had been fulfilled for both of them.
Brendan formed another orb, smaller this time, and several others, making them all float in the air between them. They still remained connected to his glowing hands, until he started making them all merge into one larger orb.
Alphonse watched as the ball slowly moved throughout the air, seemingly propelled by nothing, if one didn't inspect it closely enough, or know what to look for.
The orb's transit through the air was not perfectly steady, instead resembling something more like a car with a drunk man behind the wheel. Given time, Brendan's control would strengthen.
He made a little squeak of glee, a srtange sound to be hearing from Brendan, but not from a pretty woman. He made the orb disappear like its predeccesor, then looked at Alphonse inquisitvely.
"Now comes the hard part," Alphonse said in response to Brendan's silent question. "Now comes training, and introducing the new you to the world."
Chapter Four - Training Day
The explanations and introductions to the committees in charge of Project: Lightbringer had gone much smoother than Professor McKenzie had ever imagined. While there were many questions, as expected, they were all easily answered. Except for the one on exactly what had happened.
The laptop's hard drive had been determined to be a total waste. While some data was recovered from it, a large gouge had been carved in some of the platters by the drive's armeture, damaging several critical sectors. Technicians made long attempts to try and reconstruct the lost data, but too much of it had been destroyed.
Alphonse had tried to fill in the rest of the data as best he could, but he knew it wasn't right. The math just wasn't adding up, and even with what they could fill in from the last backup to the mainframe, it still only created an incomplete picture.
Unless and until the simulations ran as expected, no one wanted to risk any further casualties. At least, not yet. With one success, the people in charge would eventually force more tests, thinking things were good enough. For now, though, they were more than willing to give the project a chance to get the kinks worked out in a relatively corpse-free environment.
The hardest part to get them to accept was the new Brendan. As expected, they didn't believe it was truly Brendan underneath that long main of honey-coloured hair. The chairmen and suits assumed just as Alphonse had predicted, that it was some trick to keep the money flowing.
Any and all doubts were quelled when Brendan demonstraed his ne gifts. It had only been a few days since his body was altered, and his control was still very rough, but the 'man behind the wheel' when he floated the orbs through the room was quite a bit less drunk this time. They still wobbled considerably, but the demonstration was enough.
There were likely still some who still doubted Brendan's claims to his identity, but the powers were indisputable. Other than First Strike, no one had ever exhibited anything even remotely similar, so unless the professors had found the one other person on the planet to do so, and replaced Brendan with her, then they were inclined to agree that the device was at least sound in it's claims to grant powers.
With the informal hearings concluded, phase two of Project: Lightbringer was set into motion, training of the newly created superhuman, and in Brendan's case, setting up a whole new identity for his new self.
An entire week had gone by since that fateful day. Brendan had been moved from his cramped little hospital room, into some temporary quarters elsewhere in the expansive lab facilities. The area had once been a military base before it was decommissioned and most people believed it to still be closed down. Some homes remained on base, though, and served well to give Brendan a place to stay until something else could be figured out.
When he arrived in his new home, he shuffled up the stone covered walkway in his old sneakers that no longer fit, much like the rest of the clothes he wore. Old hand me downs from himself, as it were. Nothing fit right, but it was the best he could do for now. He was wearing an old, grey pair of sweatpants that were baggy enough before, but now hung about his legs like a cast off pair of MC Hammer's parachute pants.
They were snug around his hips though, his new skeletal structure, and added layers of fat over it, and giving him his new, bulbous rear, filled them out more than his own original one had done. And while they were lose over his slender, yet toned legs, the few inches of height he had gained in the transformation because of them kept his sweats cinched snug a few inches above where they normally should have been around his ankles.
His shoes fell and flopped about his feet with each step. Brendan had thought about replacing them the entire ride over here, and every thunk of a shoe against the ground followed by his foot sliding into it only increased that desire.
The entire stay in the hospital room, he had foregone his shoes, since they were so ill fitting now, and he could get most everything within the complex, without needing them. He did find it disconcerting to look at his small feet all the time, but all the better to get used to them.
Once he was on his way here, he wished again he had replaced them, as none of his shoes fit right, and he did not want tow alk across the ground, and stones in bare feet.
His shirts were no better than his pants. Brendan had tried his usual pull-over shirts with a few buttons around the neck at first. They were so loose around his waist that he felt like he was swimming in cotton, but the new added bulk of the soft breasts he now found himself with caused the opposite problem of not having enough space, even with the buttons undone. The fabric compressed his breasts within its confines, making him quite uncomfortable, and the snugness of the garment only highlighted ever inch of his newly feminine upper torso.
He had tried such shirts for awhile, in spite of the discomfort, but after long, lingering stares from some of the male staff in the facility, he quickly decided to forgo those shirt.
With his next attempts, he tried several of his more regular t-shirts, with similar results. They managed to not be as restrictive in the chest, but still compressed his bosom in uncomfortable ways, and also continued to show them off for all the world to see. He would almost rather not wear a shirt at all if that was the case. More comfortable, and essentially the same affect on the male populace.
The other difficulty he encountered with his t-shirts, was that on his new body, they were too small. While Brendan's body had remained the same height, his legs had shifted in length and his torso had been slightly compressed, the girth of his upper body, straining within the fabric hiked up the hem of the shirt several inches above his waist line, revealing his slender waist, flat stomach, and showed off his belly button for all the world to see. Although that style may have been very attractive on many women, including his new self, Brendan was far more interested in keeping as many of his new sexual characteristics and shape hidden from the world. Tugging at the hem of the shirt to try and cover his tummy up only caused it to constrict his breasts more, and the shirt only snapped back up above his navel when he let go and the breasts resumed their former shape underneath his top.
The ample size of his breasts - 'his' breasts, the words still jammed up his brain every time he thought it - were also stretching out his t-shirts as they fought to contain his chest, and he did not really want to do that.
With a pile of stretched and ill-fitting shirts growing metaphorically in the corner, Brendan had moved on towards sweaters and the like. While those fit him much better, especially the larger ones he had, they were all too coarse against his skin, and kept causing annoying reactions with his new equipment, especially the sweaters. They were his best option so far, so he opted for them part time, until he could aquire proper replacements.
His final option, which he had very few of, were some dress shirts, fully buttonable up the front, large, and loose.
The fit was far from perfect, but the best he had found. The shoulders were ill-fitted to his new structure, and he kept tugging at them, trying to seat them properly, but with little luck. The shirts were long enough, and only the barest hint of flesh from his waist was seen when he moved. Having so many buttons, it was quite trivial to leave the top mostly unbuttoned, to allow him a chance to breathe normally, and to let the shirt hang as naturally as it could, without squeezing and bunching up around his chest.
The sleeves were a little shorter on his arms, due to their length being a little longer after the changes, but with those and the shoulders being the biggest issues with that style of shirt, these were more than acceptable.
Aside from one major problem, the dress shirts were a perfect solution until he could arrange for better clothes. Keeping as mnay buttons as he did from the neck down served to keep the shirt nice and loose around his chest, and help the overall fit of the shirt, and allowed them to be wearable on his new body. However, he had to unbutton so many, that he was giving everyone a free show to the large swath of cleavage that now lay between his twin orbs.
Nothing indecent was visible, for the most part, but what was being shown served as nothing more than a tease, and made people stare almost as much as the other options.
However, with the options of remaining covered up and comfortable, yet showing off his cleavage to anyone with a pair of eyes, and being uncomfortable, squeezed, squished, and compressed within the confines of a shirt while giving everyone a covered yet clear look at what his breasts looked like, in spite of being covered, the choice was clear.
Covered up and comfortable was definitely the way to go. Flashing the guys around the facility a little bit of cleavage was far easier to deal with than the show he would give them of the precise outline and shape of his nipples.
The stares were disconcerting either way, but he would gladly take one over the other, especially with one coming with comfortable, wearable shirts.