|Dreams of the Transformed
by Kim Liu
© Kim Liu -- all rights reserved
I suppose I am a regular at the Blind Pig, though that is mostly out of habit. I had used to stop by the drug store that had been here years previously to get snacks or sodas on the way home from work every week. The bar replaced the store, which annoyed me, then I was introduced to the bar, and decided it made an acceptable replacement.
I was, or am, I suppose, a polymorph, but I had an accident and 'burned' myself out pretty much. I can still make changes, but it's a strain. I get headaches and shakes up to hours afterwards if I push it - or suffer random changes in that time as well. I'm slowly recovering - in a year or so I might have fully over come this.
Hmmm. Interesting story on the television about a politician who just had a permanent change worked on him. So, someone else figured out a method - I wondered how long it would take. It is certainly true that most changes that a powerful SCAB can make to another only last a short time, but those are simple applications of... whatever power this is.
If I were to change into, say, a rattlesnake and bite you, when I changed back, you would still be bitten. That doesn't go away. To create a permanent change on someone else is something close to that - instead of changing them directly, you change through the the effects of the change.
That might not have been too clear. Let me try that again.
When I first realized I was a SCAB, it was when I needed to cut and fit some wires fifty stories up in an elevator shaft in a skyscraper. (Who ever decided to run ethernet through there should have been shot.) I had dropped my wire cutters. (ARG!) I had started trying to use my finger nails and teeth - mostly in frustration - when there was a tingling...
I had blinked at the cut wires, then at my fingers, which looked, well, different. I had finished cutting the cables and installing them, managed to get my fingers back to normal, and, after retrieving my wire cutters, took the opportunity to go lie down. That was the start.
Suppose I change a cell of your into a canary cell. Now, I feed it sugars and proteins and all, and let it divide. Viola! A new canary cell. Now I let the change I made fade. There's still a new canary cell there, too. (Actually, it's more complicated than that, given that each cell would be a mix of the original components, but...) Eventually, every cell in your body dies and is replaced in the course of your life naturally... but a little temporary change at just the right time will cause the cells to be replaced with something else.
Now, it does take more trickery to get all the cells to replicate/be replaced in an hour or so, but that's ... I'll keep that to myself for now, I think.
After I realized I was a SCAB, I experimented with it, finding out that I was what was termed a polymorph, able to change into many things. I suspect I used to be a fairly powerful one, but I pushed things a bit far in my experiments after I was working out methods for permanency of changes.
I was experimenting with transformation of inanimate objects. Obviously, changes were more than just biology - you can't just apparently create or destroy matter with just chemistry - so there had to be more to this ability. With preparation, and about 8 hours of effort, trial and error, and experimentation, I had successfully turned one half of a golf ball into silver. Permanently.
Having figured out the process for this, I turned my attention to the other half of the ball, and tried to turn it into gold immediately, without going through all the intervening tricks I worked my way through earlier.
Big mistake. I probably nearly killed myself. For the next day I was almost blinded by headaches, shaking so hard I could barely move, and spontaneously grew gold scales and other changes.
After getting myself back to normal, I don't change much these days.
But the gold remains gold.
Hmmmm. Listen to those newscasters. Once people realize that permanent changes really can be done, well, there goes the neighborhood...
Oh, yes. The simplest permanent change is to make someone else a SCAB. A temporary fiddling with their immune system for a little bit, and a re-infection... hope no one ever realizes that on a wide spread basis, either. Again, the change to their immune system is only temporary, but the results aren't.
Probably cause riots and all sorts of problems. Some clever SCAB who has already thought of these things is probably working on how to put all these things together to make a person immortal - or at least immune to aging effects. Or learning how to make another person into not just a SCAB, but a polymorph... minor social traumas like that.
Or how to change a SCAB into a more powerful SCAB - able to make permanent changes to anything else.
Now, what really makes me wonder is what will we make of ourselves when that happens? And trust me, it will happen - nothing I have seen so far indicates that it will not someday happen.
I was introduced to the bar when I was doing some more wiring work. I was tracking a faulty cable and had become a mouse into order to crawl into a conduit and trace the cables. I traced it to a break in the conduit where - believe it or not - a mouse had been chewing on the cables.
I followed the trail of the mouse back out, and nearly got stomped on when I emerged into an apartment of the fellow the mouse had been majorly plaguing. Fortunately, he had as much luck stomping me as he had stomping the other mouse, and I changed back quickly. He put off the shakiness and unsteadiness I had from changing due to the trauma of nearly being stepped on, and helped me recover. After that, I explained a little of myself - obviously I was a SCAB - but little beyond that, and he assumed I was a rodent-only morph. Later on, he introduced me to the Blind Pig, which allowed me to resume my normal after work snack schedule there, and have been returning regularly since.
I never told him that I was a polymorph - I don't need people asking me for changes, not until I recover. Besides which, he'll never guess who gave him those skunk glands... serves him right for nearly stomping me into mouse patties.
Oh? The real mouse? He said he knew just the lady, er, cat, to take care of that...
How much of our selves, before the SCAB plague, was based on our physical identity, our physical limitations? A person once asked a mountain climber why they didn't just rent a helicopter to the top of the mountain - a complete missing of the point. It wasn't the destination, it was the journey and challenge. Now a person could become a bird and fly there, or change his muscles, use claws, cling to the side of the mountain like a spider... for now, the novelty of the new abilities keeps us occupied. For those of us who were around before SCABs, the difference of it all may never change, so to speak.
But what of the next generation, and the generation after that? When they can all be anything they want, literally, what will they dream of, what will challenge them?
Ah, well. Enough of this. It is time I left. I'll pay for my milkshake and walk home, looking at the stars and wondering if even those will be enough of a challenge and dream for those transformed.
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