71 year old John Dodge, retired military, now sits in a nursing home, his body riddled with cancer, waiting on the grim reaper to come for him when he is given another option.
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After changing, Kat and Becky explained that they had a some things they had to pick up for gym class after dinner, Kat also gave her mother the permission slip and had her sign it. While they were cleaning up after dinner Becky’s phone rang. Her caller ID showed that it was May, so she answered and placed her on speaker phone.
“Hi May, I was just getting ready to call you and tell you we are on our way.”
“Cool, I told my mother our plans for tonight and she wants to drive me over so she can meet Kat and her mother.” May sighed, sounding slightly exasperated with her mom , “She’s really protective that way.”
Becky and Kat giggled, they both understood the issue of over protective parents. Becky replied, “No problem May, We’ll get Kat’s mom to call the gate and make sure to know to let them through.”
“Oh does Kat live there too?” May sounded surprised.
Becky giggled. Her friend hadn’t changed a bit since last year. She was still the absent minded brainiac, “Silly, I thought we told you she was my next door neighbor?”
“Oh she is?” May sighed with disappointment, “I seriously don’t remember you saying that, but you know me!. I remember how to get to your house, that’s gotta count for something!” She momentarily giggled, “So, which one is hers and are you there already?”
Even though her friend couldn’t see her, Becky nodded. “It’s the white one just past my house.”
“The really big one?” May gasped, “That house is huge!”
“Yeah, it’s kinda big and yes, I’m already at Kat’s. I’m spending the night tonight.” Becky looked over and both Kat and Deb, “You should ask your mom if you could spend the night with us!”
Deb smiled and nodded, signaling her approval of the idea.
Becky smiled with appreciation. “Kat’s mom says it okay, we have plenty of room here and you could ride to school tomorrow with us.”
“I’ll ask,” May hesitated, “but I doubt my mom will allow me to, even if she does she wouldn’t say yes until she meets Kat’s mom. So, I’ll see you when we get there.”
“Okay, but bring your bathing suit in case she says yes. See ya,” Becky turned off the call and put her phone away.
“So what kind of things do you two need to pick up?” Deb asked the dynamic duo.
“Let’s see, Gym stuff,” Kat paused for a beat as she mentally went through her mental checklist, “Ummm, sports bra, school gym shorts and shirts.”
Becky jumped in with a mischievous smirk on her lips. “And the material for Kat’s Ninja outfit!”
“Ninja outfit?” Deb’s eyebrows raised as she looked over her uncharacteristically abashed looking charge.
“Uh yea,” Kat stammered, “Someone started a rumor about that, and the girls thought it would be fun to play a little psychological warfare before the big fight.”
“And ninja is better than the other rumor that is going around about Kat,” Becky snickered.
“What other rumor?” Deb asked.
“That Kat was raised by wild animals,” Becky laughed.
“Wild animals?” Deb laughed, “Let me guess, Badgers?”
“Mom, it’s not that funny!”
“I’m sorry honey,” Deb tried to catch her breath, “It’s just that is so ridiculous, I just can’t get over how that nickname has spread!”
“Nickname?” glancing back and forth between Kat and her mother, Becky tilted her head to one side.
“Kat never told you about the nickname the guards gave her?” Deb innocently asked as Kat anxiously motioned for her mother to stop.
“They call you Badger?” Becky giggled.
Kat groaned, dropping her forehead to the table, causing her friend to grow even more curious. “Come on Kat! Fess up I want to hear the juicy details of this.”
“I sparred with a couple of the special forces guys,” Kat deadpanned.
“You fought Army Rangers!” Becky’s eyes grew wide.
Deb grinned, “Green Beret, and she beat every one of them that stepped on the mat with her. One of them said fighting her was like trying to fight an angry badger because she was small, fast and fierce. They’ve been calling her Badger since.”
Becky’s jaw dropped to the floor. “So, wait, they’re calling Kat, Honey Badger?!?! OMG! That’s even better!” She squealed and excitedly hugged her blushing friend.
“Honey Badgers don’t live in the US,” Kat countered, “We have American badgers here.”
“But you’re so sweet,” Becky cracked, “You have to be a honey badger!”
Twenty minutes later, May’s mother slowed to a stop in front of the house her excited daughter indicated, “Are you sure this is the right house dear?”
May made a show of checking the text message that Becky had sent with the address. “Yes mom, according to Becky this is Kat’s house.”
“I guess it won’t hurt to knock if it isn’t.” Her mother pulled their car into the drive. They had no sooner pulled up in front of the house when the front door sprang open and May’s friends burst out, followed by an older woman who followed at a more leisurely pace.
May had no sooner stepped out of the car when she was pulled into a hug by Becky, “You’re here!”
“I see you found the house okay,” Kat grinned.
“Yep, although it was kinda hard to spot, being how small it is and all, we drove by it twice before we noticed it.” May giggled.
“May!” Her mother scolded as she got out of the driver’s side, “You have better manners than that.”
May sighed, “It was only a joke mom.”
“Hello Mrs. Hudson,” Deb walked up to the car, “I’m Doctor Marlete, Kat’s mother, but please, call me Deb. Would you like to come in?”
“I’d like that,” May’s mother smiled as shook Deb’s hand. “And I’m Lien.”
May leaned over toward Kat as the three followed the two women toward the house and whispered, “You never said your mom was a doctor?”
“Psychiatrist,” Kat deadpanned, “She keeps the mad scientists over at DARPA from going off the deep end.”
“Kat, you know very well that they’re working on cancer research,” Deb chuckled.
‘Cancer research my ass!’ Kat thought to herself. Although she knew the cover story inside and out since they had drilled the story into her before leaving the lab. ‘Curing me was a side effect and honestly it did not get rid of my cancer, it changed it into something else. It changed me into something else.’ Kat wondered if she should talk to her mother about some of the other things she had begun noticing. So far, the fear of being hauled back into the lab for more tests had stopped her.
Matt tapped his knuckles on the door frame before stepping through the open doorway into the hospital room, “Colonel Lurie?” Matt looked toward the elderly man lying in the hospital bed, and IV in his right arm and a nasal cannula under his nose supplying him oxygen.
“What can I do for you boys?” The bed stricken man Looked up at the two men in uniform.
“Mind if we have a word with you?” Jake asked.
“Well it’s not like I’m going anywhere,” The old man smiled, “pull up a chair and tell me what’s on your mind. I’m kind of curious as to what the Army would want with an old washed up jarhead.”
Matt walked over picking up a chair that he moved closer to the side of the bed while Jake closed the door. “Sir we are actually DOD, more specifically DARPA,” Matt explained.
“Alright son,” the old man grinned, “I’ll ask again, what does the DOD want with an old retired Marine?”
“First off,” Matt began, “What I am about to tell you is top secret. Only myself, Captain Wagner,” Matt nodded toward where Jake stood by the closed door, “and a very small group know of this and it must stay that way.”
The older man’s face became staunch, “Major, once a Marine, always a Marine. I know how to keep my trap shut.”
“That was never an issue sir, I only wanted to let you know how sensitive the information I am about to tell you is.”
“Don’t worry son,” The man smiled, “I’ll carry it to my grave, which from the looks of things isn’t too far away.” Matt nodded then began explaining the project.
The retired Colonel listened without interrupting until Matt finally leaned back in the chair. “That has got to be the biggest sea story I have ever heard!”
“Sea story?” Matt asked.
“Yea, whopper, tall tale, bullshit story,” The older man laughed.
“It’s all true sir,” Jake affirmed from where he still stood by the door.
“You expect me to believe that you boys have some magic potion that turns old men into young supermen?”
“No sir,” Matt explained, “Not quite supermen, but the procedure has been proven to enhance strength and stamina.”
“Proven?” the old man raised an eyebrow, “So you have used it on others already?”
“Yes sir,” Matt nodded.
“Well?” the old man demanded.
“Not sure I follow?” Matt sounded confused.
“Son if I am going to volunteer for this I want to know everything,” The old man sounded off, “I didn’t get this old being stupid, you’re holding back something. So tell me about the others that have gone through this.”
Matt looked over at Jake before turning back to the retired Colonel, “You have to understand that we had no idea that the process would regress your age when the first volunteer when through it.”
Jake finished for his partner, when he saw the look on the elderly man’s face, “It reduced his age to that of a small baby.”
“Jesus fucking christ!” the old man spat, “You gotta be shitting me.”
“Knowing about the age regression, the second man to go through it was in his late forties,” Matt continued, “He ended up around the age of fifteen.”
“Well that’s better than having to wear diapers, but I think I know where you guys are going and why you have asked me.”
“Yes sir,” Jake spoke before the question was asked, “We have set a bottom limit of age fifty five for any volunteers.”
“Also only those with no close family ties,” Matt added.
“Yes I can see some guy coming home to his wife, younger than their own kids creating a little a problem.” The old man deadpanned. “So how many others have gone through this?”
“Just one other,” Matt noticeably cringed.
“I take it that did not go so well?”
“There were unexpected complications,” Jake quickly answered.
“Let's hear it.” The old man demanded.
“Um well Dodge had advanced cancer that had spread throughout his whole body,” Jake explained, “from what the doctors told us, between the cancer, all the medicines they had him on and an almost nonexistent testosterone level.”
“Dodge?” The older man gasped, “John Dodge?” Both Matt and Jake nodded. “You fuck-ups killed a medal of honor recipient?”
“No, no sir,” Matt quickly stated, “He’s alive.”
“Then what the hell happened?” The old man yelled.
“He, well it,” Matt stammered, “he’s a she now.”
The old man’s eyes went wide, “You turned that fire breathing, bullet chewing son of a bitch into a girl!” Then began laughing uncontrollably. Several minutes went by, the old man unable to do anything but laugh every time he tried to open his mouth. Finally regaining his composure, “So what are the chances that would happen to me?”
“That would be something you have to ask the doctors,” Jake answered.
“But they believe those same conditions happening again are pretty rare.” Matt added.
“Okay, say I volunteer,” The old man grinned, “conditionally that is.”
“What conditions sir?” Matt asked.
“First, If at any time I change my mind, we stop. Period, dot, dash and no damn question marks, got it?”
“Not a problem,” Matt spoke, “If at any time you want out, just say the word.”
“I also want nothing held back from me, if I have a question I want an answer. And I want to talk with Dodge before they start poking and prodding me.”
The next morning at school, May had ran the material they purchased to Mrs. Woodby, Kat headed straight to the girls locker room to give her certifications to Miss Marchal while Becky began the first part of her mission. Becky had never hung out with the Goths but they were always working on some evil scheme of one kind or another to get over on the pretties or the jocks, they would love being in on this.
Becky and Kat met back up in their English class. Both had already taken their seats when another group of three girls walked in giggling at something on a phone one of them held. Noticing Kat the first one froze causing her friends to bump into her, “Ohmygod, ohmygod, it’s you!” Looking directly at Kat. Rushing over to stand in front of Kat’s desk, “You are so my hero now!” the girl chattered away, “Uh, I’m Lynn and this is Debbie and Ann. We saw the video of what you did to those bullies at the mall, and we think you’re great!”
“What video?” Kat sounded confused.
“The one my brother got of you teaching those jocks a lesson!” Lynn stated proudly.
“Your brother?” Kat still not understanding what she was talking about.
“Yes, my brother works part time, he said he sold you a phone,” The girl couldn’t stop grinning at Kat, “When that one boy started shouting at them to stop, and you ran over he got what you did on video and it was amazing!” The girl restarted the video clip on her phone and held it so Kat and Becky could watch it.
“Oh crap,” Kat breathed.
Leaning to Kat so not everyone could hear her Becky said in a low voice, “This is actually great,” looking up at Lynn, could you send that to my phone?”
“Sure,” Lynn grinned, “what’s the number?” Becky told her the number while the girl thumbed it in at the same time.
Becky heard the buzz in her purse of her phone receiving a message, “Thanks!”
Before they could talk more the teacher walked in and told everyone to get to their seats and began class.
When Kat and Becky entered the girl's locker room Ms. Marchal called Kat aside, “Kat, a student showed me an interesting video clip during first block this morning.”
“Um yea,” Kat’s eyes met the floor, “a girl showed it to me and Becky this morning. I didn’t know anyone got that on tape.”
“Care to tell me what exactly happened?” Ms. Marchal gave Kat the opportunity to explain.
“The jerk grabbed Becky and was fondling her breasts,” Kat continued staring at the floor.
Reaching over to Kat, Ms. Marchal gently pulled her chin up so she could look in Kat’s eyes, “Miss Marlete, I can not condone any violence in my class, do you understand?”
“Yes Ms. Marchal,” Kat tried to look away but the teacher held her firm.
“Okay go on and take your seat,” as Kat began to leave Ms. Marchal called to her, “Kat?”
“That was a very impressive,” Ms. Marchal grinned then followed Kat out into the classroom.
As she sat down Becky looked at Kat, “What was that about?”
“Someone showed her the video.”
“This is turning out better than we could have hoped,” Becky giggled.
“Alright class,” Ms. Marchal said from the front of the classroom, “I want everyone’s attention.” She waited while the girls settled down and all looked toward her, “Many of you know of or have seen a certain video clip that has been circulating around this morning.” Many of the girls were nodding their heads grinning while a few looked around curiously, “The contents of that short video pertain to part of what we try to do in this class. Without proper physical fitness none of what you see in this video is possible.”
Turning the smart board on the wall behind her on, Ms. Marchal waited for the projector lamp to brighten to full power. Touching a file on the desktop that displayed, it opened a media player. The clip showed three boys surrounding a girl, all in their teens. Another boy off to one side was shouting and another girl with a really long braid was running toward the commotion. The clip was less than ninety seconds long and stopped with all three boys on the ground and the long haired girl crouching like some kind of wild predator in search of her prey.
Several girls turned, their mouths hung open, staring at Kat when Ms. Marchal got everyone’s attention again, “Kat would you mind coming up to the front of class before anyone gets whiplash.” Several girls giggled at that. As Kat stood beside the teacher, “Everyone this is Kathleen Marlete, for those that haven’t met her yet, she is new to our school this year,” Smiling at Kat, “Why don’t you tell everyone a little about yourself?”
Kat looked out at the girls in front of her, all their eyes were glued to her, “Um, well, everyone calls me Kat, not Kathleen, that is unless it’s my mother and I’m in trouble,” most of the girls began giggling and nodding at that, “We just moved back from Germany.”
“How long have you been doing karate?” one girl asked.
“All my life,” Kat grinned sheepishly, thinking to herself that it wasn’t really a lie since she had learned it prior to the new life she now had, “I really can’t remember not practicing it.”
“Are you really a ninja?” One girl shouted above the rest.
Kat frowned, “That’s just a rumor someone has been spreading about me.” Kat glanced over to Becky, “Ninjas don’t really exist.”
“That’s exactly what a ninja would say!” Someone shouted. The girls all laughed at the outburst.
The questions went on until Ms. Marchal finally asked Kat to explain the concepts of Tai Chi exercise to the class and finally asked for a show of hands as to how many girls would be interested in learning Tai Chi during class, if Kat was willing to teach them. The show of hands was unanimous among the seated girls.
The Next morning everyone had just taken their seats in Mrs. Whitley’s English class when the loudspeaker crackled beginning the morning announcements. At the end of which several students were asked to report to the guidance office and Kat was asked to report to Mr. Bishop’s office.
Mr. Bishop’s door was open when Kat arrived, so she knocked on the door frame.
“Come in Kat,” Mr. Bishop looked up from where he sat at his desk. One of the two chairs in front of his desk was occupied by Ms. Marchal, Kat’s gym teacher, “Have a seat Kat,” Mr. Bishop motioned toward the empty chair. “Miss Marchal and I were just discussing this exhibition that we have planned for the weekend after next. And this fake video that is circulating around.”
“Fake video sir?” Kat saw Ms’ Marchal roll her eyes at the mention of the video.
“Yes Kat,” Mr. Bishop continued, “The one you and your friends faked in an attempt to scare the boys that will be in the exhibition. I want you to make an announcement that this was indeed faked and never happened.”
“No.” Kat calmly answered.
“No what?” Mr. Bishop glared at Kat, “Are you saying, No, the video is not faked or, No, you will not make the announcement.”
“Both,” Kat remained calm, “I didn’t even know the video existed until a few days ago, neither I nor any of my friends made the video as it was taken by someone with a cell phone that was there when those asswipes started the fight.”
“Kat, we are concerned for your safety in this,” Ms. Marchal included.
“That is true Kat,” Mr. Bishop nodded, “that video has allot of the boys riled up, we are afraid they will try to hurt you during the demonstration. I am sure if you announced that the video was faked, most of them would calm down.”
Leaning forward in the chair toward Mr. Bishop, “No disrespect intended Mr. Bishop, but if you had reigned in that group of thugs when they first began to get out of hand, none of this would have ever happened. I may not like it that what happened was caught on video, but the fact is that video is real and I’m not going to lie just so your precious football players don’t lose face.”
“I have half a mind to cancel this demonstration!” Bishop warned.
“Do whatever you want Mr. Bishop,” Kat smirked, “But with that video going around, no matter what reason you give for canceling, everyone will know that you did it to keep those delinquents from getting their asses handed to them by a girl.”
“Watch your language young lady!” Mr. Bishop glared.
“Kat, we are worried about your safety,” Ms. Marchal stated.
“You may be Miss Marchal,” Kat glanced over at the teacher, “But he only cares about his precious football team.”
“I have just about had it with your insubordination young lady!” Bishop stormed, standing up from his chair with both fists on his desk.
Kat jumped up and leaned over his desk staring him directly in the eyes, “Better men than you have tried to intimidate me Mr. Bishop and it did not work well for them either!” Kat spoke in a clear calm voice.
“I will not be threatened by a student!” Mr. Bishop shouted.
“There you go again, saying I am threatening people when I am not.” Kat smirked, knowing that she had gotten under his skin, “I stated a fact, one that apparently you do not like so you try to say it is something that it is not.”
“HE DID WHAT!” Deb screamed into the phone, “Stay right there I am on my way!”
As soon as she hung up the phone Deb dialed Matt’s office, “Hello Deb,” Deb heard Matt calmly on the other end of the connection, “What did Kat do this time?”
“How’d you know it was about Kat?”
“I could hear you yelling all the way down here,” Matt chuckled.
“She didn’t do anything,” Deb explained, “It’s that Neanderthal vice principal slash athletic director at their school. Apparently someone got a video on their cell phone of that fight Kat had in the mall and it’s gone viral in their school.”
“We knew the possibility existed of someone doing that.”
“Yes but he is demanding that Kat get on their PA system and say it’s faked.”
Matt began laughing, “I bet that went over like a lead balloon.”
“Then he tried to intimidate her by towering over her and pounding his fists on the desk.”
“Oh crap, she didn’t hurt him did she?” Matt gulped, “Do I need to get someone from legal?”
“No, but she is upset enough and I am angry enough to let her!”
“Okay, sit tight,” Matt tried to calm Deb. “Let me make a couple quick phone calls then I’ll come to your office and drive you there.”
“Kat please,” Miss. Marchal continued to try and convince the girl to go along with Mr. Bishop, “I do not doubt that it was real either, but is it worth being suspended over?”
“Marlete, Kathleen E. Eleventh Grade, KM2086493,” Kat said while staring straight ahead.
“Kat stop that and listen to me!” Miss. Marchal begged.
“Marlete, Kathleen E. Eleventh Grade, KM2086493.”
“What is that suppose to be Kat?” Miss Marchal tried to get Kat to talk to her.
“It’s her name, grade and I’m guessing her school ID number,” Karen stated. Kat’s eyes grew wide when she turned to see Karen had walked into the school’s office flanked by two men dressed in business suits.
“Name rank and serial number, it’s something our father would do when he was done talking.” Karen continued.
“Mom called you?” Kat gulped.
“No your mom called Matt and Matt called me,” Karen grinned, “Don’t worry baby sister we’ll take care of everything.” Turning to Miss Marchal, Karen held out her hand, “Hi I am Kat older sister, Karen Sawdey and you are?”
“Miss Marchal,” she took her hand, “Kat’s gym teacher.”
“Friend or foe?” Karen looked over at Kat.
“Friendly,” Kat answered.
“Good,” Karen smiled then knelt down in front of Kat, “I think we have a solution for this that you will love. So while my two friends and I go have a little chat with this Mr. Bishop I want you to think about what dad always said was the best way to lie.”
As Karen walked down down the short hallway toward Mr. Bishop’s office Kat shook her head, “I don’t get it.”
“Don’t get what?” Miss Marchal asked.
Kat explained,”Dad always said the best way to lie is to tell the truth in such a way that no one believes you.”
Miss Marchal chuckled, “I never thought of that before but it’s true.”
“Yea, that way you don’t have to remember whatever story you came up with.”
While they waited on Karen to return from Mr. Bishop’s office Matt and Deb came in. Deb immediately ran over and knelt down in front of Kat, “Are you alright hon?”
“I’m fine mom, just mad as hell right now.”
“Not half as mad as I am!” Deb spat, “This time he has gone too far, I am going to give him a piece of my mind and then let him deal with our attorney.”
“You’re gonna have to get in line, Karen’s already in there with him.” Kat giggled.
“Who called…” Deb peered over where Matt was standing.
Matt shrugged, “What can I say, you play by the rules, she goes for the jugular.”
A few minutes later Karen came back down the hall followed by the two men that came with her and behind them Mr. Bishop. Karen stopped Deb, who had stood up and began to go past her toward Bishop, “Hold up for a moment Deb, I think you will like what I am doing, Karen whispered.
Turning to the secretary, “Could you show me where your public address system is and how to operate it?”
The secretary turned and looked over to Mr. Bishop who was nodding and smiling behind the two men. She then took Karen over to it and showed her how to operate it.
“Thank you,” Karen smiled warmly before turning her attention to Kat. “Kat come over here.” Once Kat was over she looked her in the eyes, “I know this is something you do not want to do, but I want you to put on your best poker face, then read this carefully to yourself. When you are ready let me know.” Karen handed her a hand written page.
Matt walked over to Deb leaning over to whisper to her, “Karen’s got something up her sleeve, she’s too happy to have Kat make this announcement.”
Kat looked up at Karen, her face blank of any expression, “Okay, I’m ready.”
“Sure?” Karen asked, “Do you need to read it again or anything, we don’t want this to sound like you're reading from a script.”
Karen pressed down the talk button on the aging microphone then nodded to Kat.
“Um hi everyone, My name is Kathleen Marlete. Mr. Bishop has asked me to make an announcement about the video of the fight that everyone has been showing around. I am the girl in that video, and Mr. Bishop has asked me to say that the video is faked.” Kat turned her head to looks toward Mr. Bishop, “Was that good enough Mr. Bishop? You said you wouldn’t suspend me if I lied about it like you wanted, right?”
Everyone with the exception of Karen, Kat and the two gentlemen that came with Karen eye’s grew wide, especially Mr. Bishop’s. “You stupid Cun…” He screamed from behind the two men that were now blocking him from getting over to Kat and Karen, “Take your finger off the talk button!”
“What was that Mr. Bishop?” Karen grinned evilly while still holding the talk button down, “You don’t want anyone to know that you tried to blackmail my little sister into lying to the whole school so that you can continue covering up how some of your star football players have been sexually harassing female students?” Karen took her finger off the talk button then smiled down at Kat, “I think we are done.”
Kat wrapped her arms around Karen, “You are so totally awesome!”
“Mr. Bishop could I see you in my office please?” Everyone heard a voice from down the hallway, “And Mrs. Potts would you please give Miss Marlete a pass so that she can go back to class.”
“Yes Mr. McKay,” Mrs. Potts grinned from her chair. “I would be delighted to write one for her.”
“You know it sucks having to spend my Saturday going to the doctor?” Kat sighed
“Yes but this way you don’t miss half a day of school,”
“I don’t have to see Hakim do I?” Kat asked as they walked into the DARPA building.
“No we’re only seeing Doctor Oliver today.”
“Good,” Kat snorted, “I swear if that jerkwad calls me test subject 3 again I am going to put his head through a wall.”
“Doctor Hakim is a brilliant scientist,” Deb commented.
“With the bedside manner of a barbed wire fence,” Kat added.
Deb chuckled, “True.”
The young army corporal looked up from his desk as the pair walked in through the large double glass doors. “Can I help you?”
Deb fished her ID badge out of her purse and handed it to the young soldier, “I’m Doctor Marlete and this is my daughter Kathleen.”
“Yes ma’am Doctor Marlete,” The corporal handed Deb her ID badge back, “I’ll have to check to see if your daughter is cleared to accompany you and issue her a visitors pass.”
“Oh yea,” Kat began to dig through her own purse, “Sorry I forgot.” She apologized as she finally produced her own ID badge that she handed to the corporal.
The corporal examined her badge carefully before looking up at Kat. His gaze quickly moved down from her face to her chest. ‘I hate how men always do that!’ Kat thought to herself realizing she was just as bad if not worse, ‘I wish I could go back and apologize to every woman I stared at or made rude comments to.’ Deb, who also could tell where the corporal’s eyes seemed to be glued, cleared her throat.
“Um, sorry ma’am,” The corporal face reddened slightly as he handed Kat her ID badge back, “I was reading your shirt. It’s pretty funny, considering this place.”
“Yea I thought so too,” grinning, Kat looked down at the shirt she had worn that had a picture of a mad scientist in a white lab coat holding a beaker. The the side of the picture of the mad scientist it read, “Screw lab safety,” and under both those words and the picture in larger lettering it read, “I want superpowers!”
“You and your daughter are cleared to go on in Doctor Marlete.” Realizing that they could tell he was still staring at Kat, “Uh sorry, it’s just that you look so much like that Disney princess.”
“I get that allot,” Kat smiled weakly before turning to follow her mother, who was already walking toward the elevator.
Inside the elevator, Deb held her ID badge up to the control panel before pushing the bottom button marked sub level 1. Kat knew from her own experience in the building that there were more levels below that but those could only be accessed from another elevator and set of stairs once you arrived on the floor they were heading to now.
Two armed guards stood in the small room the elevator opened into. “Doctor Marlete,” Gray sideburns and receding hairline gave testament that the Sergeant was older than his partner.
“Hey master sarge,” Kat grinned at the older man, “You ready for a rematch yet?”
While Master Sergeant Williams had not been fully read into what went on at the lab, he had been told that anything he learned about her was classified when they had asked him to get on a mat with her to determine what fighting skills he could teach the young woman. He had no idea what the girl could or couldn’t do and had determined to go easy on her. That was his second mistake, his first mistake was breaking the cardinal rule, know thy enemy. He had stepped on the mat thinking at most the girl had some minimal self defense training. “Hey Badger,” Master Sergeant Williams smiled at Kat.
Kat giggled quite girlishly at his use of the nickname he had inadvertently gave her after she had beaten him twice. Master Sergeant Williams had commented that it was like trying to fight an angry badger. The name quickly spread around to the military personnel that worked in the lower levels of the complex so much that many in uniform and some of the non-military staff now referred to her as Badger.
“If you do have time for a little fun,” Master Sergeant Williams grinned widely, “We got a noob that thinks the stories are a load of crap.”
“Not today Sergeant Williams,” Deb intervened, “After we see Doctor Oliver, Kat has plans.”
“Yea,” Kat grinned evilly, “I’m going to spar with our football team next Saturday and the sewing club is making an outfit for it.”
“Damn I would love to see that!” The Master Sergeant laughed as the two ladies passed their desk into the hallway beyond, “And by the way, nice shirt.”
Deb knocked on the door to Doctor Oliver’s office. Opening the door, they walked on after hearing the doctor reply to the knock. “Good morning Sofie,” Deb smiled at the woman sitting behind the desk.
“Good morning Deb.” Doctor Oliver smiled, “Good morning Kathleen. By the way I love the shirt.” The doctor chuckled as she read the cute saying.
“Hi Doctor O,” Kat greeting was not as enthusiastic. Turning her head toward her mother, “Told you she would like it.”
“Not happy to see me Kathleen?” The doctor’s eyebrows raised.
“She’s upset that she couldn’t bring Becky along.” Deb chuckled.
Noticing how Deb emphasized the other girl’s name, “So is Becky more than just a friend?”
Kat’s eyes went wide as her mouth fell open at the doctor's question. Kat did not have to answer as her body answered for her with her face turned a bright shade of red. “You, you’re not going to put that in my files are you?”
“Don’t worry dear,” Doctor Oliver countered, “I don’t think your preferences in that area has any bearing on the project, so I see now reason to include that. I was only curious, with all the other changes you have gone through, if that had changed also.”
“I guess that has changed too,” Kat confessed. “I really don’t think about other girls the same way I used to.”
“How has that changed Kat?” Her mother asked.
“Um, seeing a pretty girl doesn’t like turn me on or anything.”
“What about Becky?” Deb thought this was as good of a time as any since Kat seemed willing to talk about this.
“Um, that’s different, I like being with her.” Kat thought how they that could be misunderstood and quickly added, “It’s not about, um, sex or anything.”
“So, has your attitude toward men changed?” Doctor Oliver asked.
“Yea,” Kat sneered, “ all guys are assholes.” Doctor Oliver and Deb both laughed at the statement.
“Since we are on that subject, there is one thing I think we should discuss with you,” Deb grinned.
Kat’s mouth fell open when she realized what her mother was going to talk to the doctor about.
After Deb finished explaining to doctor Oliver about Kat’s reaction to being kissed, Doctor Oliver smiled over at Kat who’s face had become very red. “Given the fact that most of your senses have increased dramatically, this is not that surprising,” the doctor stated. “You should think of that as a benefit dear, there are many women that have a difficult time achieving orgasm.”
Hearing those words from the doctor Kat began coughing. Deb reached over putting her hand on Kat’s shoulder, “You alright hon?”
Catching her breath, Kat looked up at her mother, “Uh yea, I just wasn’t expecting to hear something like that.”
“It’s my experience that women are more open about things like that than men are.” Deb smiled.
“If that is any indication,” Kat looked between the two women, “Then yea, that will take some getting used to.”
Standing up, Doctor Oliver came around from behind her desk, “Lets go get your exam out of the way, shall we?”
Once Doctor Oliver had led them to the exam room, she had Kat go behind a screen and strip down and put on a hospital gown. Emerging from behind the screen Kat walked over and stepped onto the scales the doctor pointed at. Doctor Oliver’s eyes widened when the beam finally balanced out showing Kat’s weight now at 203 pounds. Writing this down on the clipboard the doctor then looked up at Kat, “You’ve gained another twenty-one pounds this time. Have you noticed any changes, pants or bras any tighter? Shoes?”
Kat shook her head, placing both hands at her waist to bring the hospital gown in to show her thin waist, “No, everything fits fine. And I’m not getting a beer gut or anything.”
“Alright, why don't we get your pelvic exam out of the way so you can at least put your underwear back on.”
“You just did one last time, do we have to do another one of those?” Kat pleaded.
“If you were an average teenage girl I would say that no you don’t need one for at least six months to a year,” The doctor stated, “But then you are not an average teenage girl now are you?” Kat sighed and jumped up on the exam table.
Once that was over Kat was allowed to put her underwear on, then her mother took careful measurements while Doctor Oliver wrote down the results. Along with height, hips, waist and bust measurements they measured and recorded every muscle group both relaxed and under load.
While Doctor Oliver was taking her temperature she was talking, “The only explanation I can come up with for the increase in weight is either or both your muscle or bone density is still changing. I would like to do an MRI to find out for certain if that is the case.”
“When can you schedule that?” Deb stepped over protectively placing her hand on Kat’s shoulder.
“Right now.” Doctor Olivier replied, “I planned on having one done on Kat after her last visit, if her weight had not stabilized.”
Not having any medical knowledge further than how to tie a tourniquet correctly Kat worried over this sudden concern, “Does this mean something went wrong? Am I going to keep getting heavier?”
“It’s impossible to say for sure,” Doctor Oliver shook her head, “I’m positive it has to do with bone and muscle density, which would mean that you are really stronger than you look. Something we already know.”
Deb leaned over giving Kat a quick hug, “Yes hon, there are only two ways to make a muscle group stronger, either add more muscles like weightlifters do, or like nature does it in animals by making the muscle cells smaller and more closely packed together.”
Looking up at the doctor, Kat asked, “Did Ben have this problem?” Deb looked over at the doctor waiting for the answer too.
After a long pause Doctor Oliver shook her head, “You know we expected the retrovirus to eliminate your cancer in the process. Bonding and using the cancer the way it did was completely unexpected.”
“Yea,” Kat waved her hands downward across her body, “like this was expected.”
“Let’s go make sure that is the only big surprise we have okay?” The doctor motioned for Kat to follow her.
Leading Kat and her mother a short way down the hallway and into another room that held a machine that had a narrow table with a small pillow. Behind the table a very large donut shaped device stood, the hole in the center appeared large enough to accommodate person laying on the narrow table to enter.
“Hello doctors,” Kat turned to see a young woman wearing scrubs had came out of another door within the room. Holding out her hand as she walked over to Kat, “You must be Kathleen, I’m specialist Houston but you can call me Rena. I’ll be the one giving you the MRI.”
“Um, hi,” Kelly took her hand.
“You’re not wearing any earrings or other piercings?” Rena asked while looking over Kat for anything that would cause a problem for her once in the machine.
Kat shook her head.
“Okay up on the bed and once we start you need to lay as still as possible.” Kat climbed up on the narrow table pulling her braided hair around to her chest. “That’s good, leave you pony tail just like that.” Rena stated as she walked over and helped Kat lay out the long ponytail down her torso and between her legs where it would not get caught when the bed moved within the machine. “Now stay as still as possible, anytime you move the machine will have to reset and start over.”
Kat was no stranger to the MRI, having to have the procedure done once when as John, a stray bullet had destroyed his left knee, then once again several years after John had retired from the military when several visits to his chiropractor failed to relieve his lower back pain like they always had in the past. They had done another one here in this very room the day after Kat work after being in the tank of snot. Laying back, Kat closed her eyes and ignored the noise as the big machine came to life.
“Have a nice nap hon?” Kat’s mother grinned down at the teen laying on the narrow table.
Kat opened her eyes to find her mother, the doctor and Rena, the lab technician all standing around where she lay. “Is the test over?”
“Yes Kathleen,” the doctor announced, “We are done here.”
“So what did you find out?” Kat sat up from the table.
“It will be a few days before we know anything for certain,” the doctor explained. “I’ll call once we know something.” Doctor Oliver walked with Kat and her mother back to the exam room where Kat was able to get dressed back in her own clothes.
Walking out from behind the changing screen, “Um Doc, you aren’t going to write that stuff we talked about in your office in my records are you?”
Knowing exactly what the girl was speaking about, “I wrote that you have acute sensitivity to certain stimuli.” The doctor smiled at Kat, “I think that is descriptive enough to cover that, don’t you?”
“Thanks,” Kat blushed.
Matt came walking down the hall toward them as they approached the doctor’s office, “Great, I caught you guys before you left.”
“Hello Major Sawdey,” Doctor Oliver greeted.
“Hi Matt,” Kat grinned.
“Deb would you mind if I borrow Kat for a bit?” Before anyone could object Matt continued, “There is someone who wants to meet her, it shouldn’t take long.”
Kat stepped back as she folded her arms under her breasts, “This isn’t more tests of some kind is it?” Deb also looked warily at Matt.
“No,” Matt threw up his hands, “honestly someone that just wants to talk to you, ten maybe fifteen minutes I swear.”
“Who is it?” Deb asked.
“Lieutenant Colonel Lurie.”
“Am I supposed to know him?” Kat cocked her head to the side, trying to remember the name.
“He knows you, or I should say he knew John Dodge,” Matt stated.
Kat shook her head, still unable to place the name. “Okay, let’s go meet with the Lieutenant Colonel. The girls are expecting me at the sewing club at one o’clock so this better not take too long.”
Matt chuckled as the vision of Kat sitting behind a sewing machine in a room with other girls busily working away crept into his mind.
“What’s so funny?” Kat peered at Matt.
“Nothing,” Matt turned away to hide the grin that he was unable to stop. “The Colonel is this way,” Matt began walking away from the group.
Doctor Oliver looked over at Deb, “I’ll give you a call soon as I know anything.”
“Thanks,” Deb turned to follow Matt and her daughter down the hallway.
Matt held the door allowing Kat and Deb to enter before closing it behind them. Kat thought the room looked almost identical to the one they put her in after her transformation. A privacy curtain that ran along a rail in the ceiling was open showing the hospital bed sat in the back of the room, the head of it against the far wall. To her right there was another door that Kat knew led to a bathroom. To her left she saw an older slightly overweight balding man with closely cropped white hair sitting in an arm chair. Sitting in a chair near him a middle aged man of middle eastern decent looked up as they entered.
Kat’s dislike of the younger of the two was evident in the cold glare she gave him. Quickly closing the lid on a laptop that was sitting across his knees the man stood up. Looking back at the older man, “There are some thing I need to attend to in the lab, I will return later Mr. Lurie.” Giving Kat a wide berth as he walked over to the door and left.
“Good morning Major,” The white haired man grinned. “Are you going to introduce me to these two beautiful young ladies?”
“Of course Colonel,” Matt waved his hand at Deb, “This is doctor Marlete and her daughter Kathleen.”
Leaning forward the older man held his hand toward Deb, “Pleasure to meet you ma’am, I’m Chuck Lurie.” As Deb took his hand, the Colonel’s eyebrows raised as his gaze lingered on Deb. Noticing he was making the woman uncomfortable, “Uh sorry ma’am, I just can’t believe that you used to be Chief Dodge.”
Kat’s hand flew up to her mouth as she tried to stop from giggling. “That’s good since I never was,” Deb smiled as she turned her head toward Kat.
Realizing what the woman was suggesting, the Colonel’s eyes went wide, “You have got to be shitting me!” Quickly apologizing for his outburst, “Pardon the French ma’am.” Letting go of Deb’s hand he gave Kat his full attention, “You’re Master Chief Dodge?”
“Not anymore,” Kat almost whispered, her face turning red as she looked down at the floor.
“Hey look, I’m not here to pass judgment or anything, I only wanted to find out from someone that went through this what I can expect.” The Colonel smiled warmly, “And I never got the chance to say thank you for saving our bacon back in Nam.”
“Sorry,” Kat pursed her lips, “I can’t remember ever meeting.”
“Oh we never really met,” The Colonel chuckled, “We found out who our savior was from the VC that surrendered. The ones that came were white as a sheet. Our translator said they were begging us to stop the ‘quy ma’ the devil ghost. Later we found out that was the name they used to describe you or at least who you were then.”
Kat sighed heavily, hearing that brought back memories that she would love to forget, “Yea that’s what they called me.”
“From what we heard, the VC thought you were some kind of demon or spirit or something.”
“I’m guessing you didn’t want to see me just to hash out old war stories?” Kat wanted to change the subject.
“Yea,” The Colonel grinned, “Most of what Doctor Hakim told me about this thing they do went over my head. You’ve been through it, what can you tell me about it?”
“Not a lot really. They hook up some IV’s and put a mask on you, you climb into this tank full of stuff that has the consistency of cooking oil and fall asleep.” Kat explained what had happened with her, “I woke up in a hospital bed like this.”
“No pain, no memories of it at all?”
“None, when I woke I thought something had went wrong as it felt like I had just gone to sleep but a week had gone by.”
“The sex change, they said that was caused by your cancer?”
Kat nodded, “That and very low testosterone levels.”
“They told me it cured your cancer.”
“You have cancer too?” Kat saw the Colonel nod, “So you think it’s possible that you could end up a girl.”
“It’s something that has crossed my mind,” The Colonel confessed. “Do you regret it?”
“What?” Kat looked up at the Colonel.
“Do you regret letting them do this to you?” The aged man asked, “Are you happy as a girl?”
Kat sighed as she thought about what she had lost going through the process, her identity, her manhood, her family, her friends. Looking over at Matt and Deb Kat realized that she had not lost her family, Matt, Karen and the kids were still there. Of course their kids now thought she was their aunt, but if anything this had brought them closer together than she had been in years. And Mom, at first Kat had thought the idea of Doctor Marlete pretending to be her mother was a big joke. A smile spread across Kat’s face as she looked over at Deb. It was Obvious now that Kat thought about it, Deb had never pretended to be her mother. While she may not have given birth to Kat, she had as much love for Kat as if she had given birth to her, and Kat loved her in return.
Kat’s smile broadened as she turned back to look at the retired Colonel, “It’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
The Colonel paused as he examined Kat closely, “Even being turned into a girl?”
“Being a girl has some disadvantages but some interesting advantages too.” Kat giggled.
“Care to name some of those?” The Colonel asked.
“People especially guys, see me as a small weak girl.”
“So a disadvantage,” The Colonel stated.
“It would be if I was a small weak girl,” Kat grinned, tapping her finger to her temple, “I’m still me up here and I’m a lot stronger now than I ever was.”
“You think it will change my sex?” The aging man could only wonder if he could accept the changes as well as the young girl that stood in front of him.
Kat pondered the question for a moment before answering, “I think the better question is, does it really matter? Don’t get me wrong, it was one hell of a shock to me. But then no one even thought something like that could happen. All I can say is it does take some getting used to, it’s not bad it’s just different. You know it’s a possibility. The doctors say what happened to me was a one in a billion thing. Between you and I, they could be blowing smoke up our asses and we would never know the difference.”
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