Chapter Description: The process begins.
The sudden suffocation of light was jarring. For a moment Jonathan, in a whirl of blind panic and hope, thought that whatever this was, whatever procedure was about to commence, had failed. The power must have blown. A fuse must have popped. Anything to halt or at least temporarily delay whatever what was supposed to be happening.
Maybe this whole thing would end up being a dream and he would wake up in his bed.
But the realization of reality set in almost immediately. In the darkness he heard the click-clacking of fingers against computer keyboards. Nobody spoke. If there were some problem, if the building had suddenly lost power, if the process had been shot, no doubt there would be calls of distress or confusion. But the people behind him remained silent and kept clicking away at their computers. Jonathan knew that this process, whatever it was, was a-go.
For a brief moment Jonathan sat there, still struggling at his bonds in silent fear.
Then, he began to feel something creeping across his mind. A tangible feeling of numb relaxation was spreading throughout his body. Jonathan could only feel the barest sense of something changing, and it took him a few more moments of struggling against his restraints to realize that the numbness was permeating throughout his brain.
As he tugged in vain to free his arms and legs, he soon began to feel the numbness become more apparent.
It was not the familiar feeling of a few hard shots or deep meditation. He felt solid and whole, but lost. He felt as though reality was disconnecting from him. Time felt distant and hazy; his body felt more and more present, more and more physically there. Every inch of skin felt unfamiliar and new, like he was the driver of a brand new bodily vehicle. Every twitch of every muscle reverberated against his brain, exploding out neurologically, making his mind completely aware of every fragmented jerk and pull.
The detail of his movements intensified. His mind shot messages back and forth between muscle and nerve and sinew and tendon so tangibly that Jonathan could almost feel the neurons firing individually. Something about this “new-ness” was wrong. The tidal waves of mental information from the simplest restricted movements were simply too much for his brain to handle. His mind worked overtime to calculate and get used to feeling every molecule responding to his movements.
So against his better judgment he allowed himself to stop struggling and sit there, strapped nearly naked to that chair waiting for whatever heinous punishment was being placed upon him. The onslaught of information passing between his brain and his body clouded all focus, and he knew he had to keep his mind clear.
As soon as he ceased his struggles his mind too slowed down and relaxed. Frightened though he was, he felt as though he were slowly sinking into a warm bath or drifting lazily off into the twilight phase between "awake" and "asleep".
The darkness pressed upon his eyes. His breathing became heavy and pronounced. His hands became limp.
But he did not lose his head altogether. From behind him he heard a voice say “Chemical induction active. Receptor unit active and on standby for sync. Ready to begin neural transmission.”
The voice, though soft and professionally business-like, entered his ear and rang around his head for a minute. The sounds of the clicking and tapping behind him had faded from his consciousness. Lost in the darkness he had almost begun to forgot where he was, and didn’t realize that his ears had been taking in the sounds from the room around him all this time. The realization frightened him.
The woman’s voice flicked his eardrums back on.
“Activate,” said Dr. White.
The loud clack of a single keyboard key being snapped rang out in the room, and the hum of some large electrical object began to stretch through the air.
Then, quite suddenly, Jonathan felt... something. He didn’t know what or how, but he felt it. It was only the briefest of moments and hardly enough to make any kind of observation of. But he definitely felt something, something happen to him.
It jarred him.
He looked as best he could through the darkness in front of him to see any sign of… anything but the darkness was complete and absolute.
It happened again. This time for a little bit longer. He still couldn’t tell what had touched him or what had happened to him (if anything) but he could feel it. Something slight and barely there, but there nonetheless.
He started to struggle again, and it was only then that he realized that, to him, the rest of the room had seemed to drift away into nothingness. The sudden impulses of feeling this unknown force had caused him to almost forget about the people behind him all working away at their keyboards. His mind seemed to automatically shut out the sounds dully drifting around the room. He almost forgot, until he once again started to struggle against his situation, that he was still strapped to a chair in some odd laboratory.
Then, Jonathan’s ears pricked up as he heard someone speaking to him.
“Come on. You can do it!”
Their voice was so distant and so subtle that he wasn’t even sure he had heard it at all, like a whispered uttered from the end of a long tunnel.
“What?” he tried to say. “What did…”
But his voice felt odd and synchronized with his own body. He almost didn’t recognize it as his own voice at all. The air in his lungs reverberated powerfully in his chest.
A woman behind him spoke. “Subject’s neutral patterns are still intact. Continuing with procedure.”
Jonathan tried to speak again, but before he could he felt the something again, this time more distinct and it didn’t waver and dissipate as it had before. Jonathan was able to identify something within it.
For the shortest moment in time, Jonathan thought he felt as though gravity had realigned itself. He thought he felt the world pulling him forwards, as if he was lying on his stomach. But… he wasn’t. He was still sitting bound to the chair in the pitch-black room. But at the same time he had the faintest feeling that gravity had slid upward and was pulling him forward toward the wall before him.
Confusion gripped him. “What the hell…”
Then again he heard the voice again, unsure whether or not he could hear it. Like a soft whisper reaching him from across a dark and silent desert, he heard someone, a woman, talking to him. “Come on. That’s it!”
The voice was soft and warm and encouraging. It was both barely audible and clear as crystal in his ears, like a loud statement that had the volume turned town and spoken through cotton.
Then the influence of this new point of gravity began to grow ever so slightly. The two forces worked on his body and he could feel each one independently. Although his seated-position was the more powerful, the second “sense of gravity” was starting to advance on him.
Then, to his amazement, his felt his hands moving.
But they weren’t moving.
He could feel his hands still bound to the chair he was sitting in. But he could ALSO feel them moving as well. Did he grow a second pair of arms? They seemed ghostly and in-solid.
Then, he felt his legs do the same. A second pair of legs, transparent and misty, were moving as well. These new, “other” limbs were moving up what felt to be a long, hard surface, as through climbing a vertical wall. Or were his hands and feet traveling sideways across the floor? The second force of gravity seemed to be connected with these two strange sets of limbs that he couldn’t comprehend having.
He was sitting, strapped to the cold metal chair. He was crawling on hands and knees across a floor. But, no, he was sitting. Not, he was crawling. He could feel his body sitting in the same bound and seated position as he was in. But somehow he also felt some second body crawling across an unseen carpeted surface.
Yes, upon concentrating on these four new limbs further he could distinctly feel what felt like strands of carpet and string in front of, or beneath, his fingers and knees.
Then the voice spoke again, this time more clearly than it had before. It felt closer to him yet still distant.
“That’s it. Keep going! You’re doing so well!”
The voice filled his ears. The sounds of the room he was sitting in were nothing to him now. He couldn’t hear them at all. And, as the keyboards dimmed and fainted, making more room for this new voice, he heard the slight gurgle of some language-less creature.
It was only after this new noise had reached his ears, that he realized that… HE had made the noise!
His mind cracked into a new wave of perplexity as he accounted what had just happened. He had felt his lungs expand and shrink. He heard the noise escape his own lips. But it wasn’t him who made it. He had made no conscious effort to make any kind of communication.
Then the voices of the scientist far, far behind him spoke again and this time they felt very distant as though THEIR volume had begun to slide down and become fainter. But Jonathan could still hear them.
“Neural crossover at 47% and climbing.”
“Transference imprinting onto recipient still synchronized. Status, doctor?”
Then, the newer, slightly familiar voice spoke out again, this time neither near nor far. It was like these two sets of sound were being heard from BOTH ends of Jonathan’s mind, and he was located at the very center of wherever his perception was.
“Levels holding on this end,” she said.
On this end? What could that mean?
And now Jonathan felt his hands and feet moving across the carpeted plane of gravity with more substantial awareness. But… no… he was still sitting there bound to the chair, but at this point he was so unaware of his own reality that he simply sat there, helpless and confused, not able to tell what was real and what wasn’t.
Then the new voice spoke again, and this time he was not at all unsure that it was aimed directly to him.
“That’s it! Almost there! You can do it!”
He felt his hands and knees walk across the floor. As he did, he felt some strange alien fabric moving across his body and between his legs as he did. He crawled, and he felt his head tip backwards through the headrest of the chair… or was it upwards to look forward… as he crawled.
Then something new penetrated his mind.
A warmth was beginning to spread around him. A comfortable, calming sort of warmth. It was centralized near his legs and was growing upwards and outwards around him. Still his new body crawled while his real body, now beginning to be the one that felt ghostly and intangible, remained seated.
The warmth began to spread down his bare legs until it reached his feet. The PLINK-PLINK-PLINK-ing sound of water droplets whispered into his ears. The scientist spoke again from the opposite shoreline of his mental ocean, far away from his mind which was now adrift at sea.
“Bodily functions crossing over. Bodily functions becoming blended. Neural transmissions are beginning to seek stabilization between the two entities. We are now entering the last phase of copying.”
Jonathan had no idea what those words meant in this case. His body still sat there, now weak and motionless, almost asleep. This new, crawling body now felt more real and active than his old one.
Then, like a flash of dim lightning against his eyes, Jonathan saw for a moment, a bright light in front of his blackened eyes. It was bright and warm and yellow. But, just like these other sensations, it faded into some record of other-worldly memory. But Jonathan concluded, to his shock, that this new sight might become more prevalent and solid the way the other sensations had done…
The strange new woman spoke again. “Convergence at 76%. Set to proceed on.”
Again it happened. A scene flashed in front of his eyes, more clearly this time: a tall, massive figure. A woman… a woman he thought he could barely recognize… was towering above him though she was stooping down almost to the ground. He arms were stretched out towards him. Then the scene began to recede from his sight once more.
It had not yet faded into the darkness of the science lab completely when the woman spoke again and his eyes were filled with this new scene around him.
“Almost! Almost! Come on, baby. Come on!”
This woman’s voice was pulling him further and further into this new reality. His crawling quickened, but he could still make out the faintest feeling of a seated position somewhere in the back corner of his mind. His hands fell again and again on the carpet. But, no, they weren’t on a carpet! They were bound to a chair in a dark room… right?
His knees pressed against the floor as he crawled to this gigantic woman in front of him. But they weren’t. They were still and motionless like the rest of him… wherever he was… weren’t they?
His eyes swam around in the dark, trying to find something to latch onto, to focus on, but there was nothing. So again, he felt his mind dip into another sight. He was close to the woman now. So close. He was almost near her. He didn’t know why he was crawling to her but he was.
He was closing in on her, crawling and moving towards her. The room around her started to swim into focus. Then, before he could take in the environment, he was there at her feet.
“That’s it baby! Good job!”
And then he felt two large hands under his armpits and gravity went for a roller-coaster ride. He was lifted into the air by this massively tall woman and the ground sped away from him so fast that he could barely make out how he could be sitting down anymore. It was only after the world around him stopped moving through space that he was able to look at her in the face…
Her face was huge and she was holding him out at arm’s length with almost no effort. How could she hold him like that? He was over 170lbs! He was taller than she was! How could she be so strong and so tall all of a sudden?
Jonathan looked down at his feet, dangling in midair. He must have been 40 feet off the ground! Or at least that’s how high it seemed to someone as small as him…
As small as him?!
He looked back at Dr. Henderson, and against his will, without his permission, he heard a sound escape from lips. An illegible an incoherent high-pitched gurgle. “Gaabaa..doogaaba!”
He heard the scientist a million miles away say barely louder than the faintest whisper, “communication skills depleted. Biological coordination at 15% and dropping steadily”
Jonathan looked at Ms. Henderson, who smiled back at him. She looked dream-like and hazy, but clear enough in the brightness of the room around her. “Aww that’s a good baby. You are quite the little scuttle-bug aren’t you!?”
Then she rubbed her nose against his and he felt the warmth of a baby’s gurgle bubble up within him and he cooed again against his will.
Jonathan’s mind began to race with fear. Understanding had washed over him like some great blanket of dizziness. Somehow they had managed to alter his mind. He was a baby!
Ms. Henderson then brought Jonathan closer to her, nestling him against her chest with one hand. Her massive breasts cushioned him and he felt his body relax. He saw her free hand move up and two fingers pressed to her ear. He saw an earpiece and microphone hanging against her cheek. Then he heard her ask in a voice which contrasted her motherly tone remarkably, “Status?”
A voice came from within the room, magnified against his small ears. The scientist said, “Convergence at 87%. We are now entering the last phase of mental translocation. Subject must, I repeat, MUST be entirely present on your side once the convergence completes. We don’t want this one slipping into the neutral zone.”
“Understood.” Said Ms. Henderson. Then she looked down at Jonathan and completely changed her tone back to a motherly sing-song chime. “That’s my good baby,” she said again, “I bet you just love to crawl don’t you? And what’s this? Ohh… did baby have an accident?”
To be continued…