County General Hospital
New Hebron, California
Everett cursed under his breath as his hands reached up to touch his breasts and dropped them. For the last hour he’d been alternating between staring at his hands and touching his new equipment. It made him feel like a damned pervert copping a feel inside some young girl’s dress, but he couldn’t help himself, his whole body had become so alien that every movement reminded him how different it had become.
The office they had shunted him off to was small and windowless and given it bore so little decoration and had collected enough dust he doubted the hospital staff used it on a regular basis. He had been waiting for hours and his curiosity had gotten the better of him. Looking through the lone file cabinet and desk had done nothing to make the time pass and given that none of the documents he found were the least bit interesting or informative he had gave up on that pursuit.
So he spent the time, turning in the less than comfortable office chair and staring up at the ceiling as he fought his growing curiosity to strip naked and have a look at his voluptuous new form. The only thing that stopped him was the police guard outside the door and the impending return of the AEGIS agents. That didn’t mean his hands didn’t wander. He slipped a hand inside his shirt or down his pants and each time it only took a few seconds before he forced it back out again.
Though would live another fifty or sixty years, all he could do was scowl. His transformation had stripped away his manhood and that humiliating enough, but finding himself a member of the race of people who’d spent the last twenty years hating which was the harder pill to swallow. As he sat there alone, he couldn’t help but think it must be a punishment.
He whispered the name, his light feminine voice, still sounded so alien to his ears. An image of her face so terrible, so beautiful and so fierce flash through his mind. She had been like a force of nature given human form and had he not witnessed her passing with his own eyes he would never have considered she would be extinguished. She was responsible for his transformation he knew it as sure as his name was Everett Benedict Howard.
Everett heard a thump on the other side of the doorway and turned in time to see the door swing open, revealing the officer guarding the door before two figures stepped inside the room.
“About damn time!” Everett exclaimed jumping to his feet as Matthews and Van den Broeke stepped inside, the latter dressed for a night out on the town while the former looked much like someone about to enter a buisness meeting.
“Mr. Howard,” Matthews said putting more than a little emphasis on the first word. It grated on Everett’s nerves, but he supposed it could be worse. He didn’t look like a mister anymore. It wouldn’t be long before people started using female honorifics and pronouns.
“My apologies for the delay. I hope you understand. The hospital was in shambles after the attack from those creatures and as the only representatives of AEGIS on scene it was our duty to work with local officials to get things under wraps.”
Van den Broeke nodded taking a seat across from Everett on the other side of the desk. Everett grimaced and slumped back down into the office chair at about the same time that Matthews seated himself beside Amelia.
The young agent shivered, pulled her coat tighter, but left it unzipped as met Everett’s gaze. “By now, I’m sure you’re aware of the implications of your transformation. So, I won’t go into great detail. The Agency for Exemplar Governance, Investigation, and Security or AEGIS as it’s more commonly known, was formed in response to the growing concern over vigilante justice and so called mega-criminal activity within the exemplar community.”
“And as a newly minted exemplar I now fall within your agency’s purview.” Everett folded his arms across his chest and dropped them with a long sigh. Damned breasts.
“Right,” Matthews said. “Make no mistake AEGIS is not just a policing agency. We provide aid to people, such as yourself, whose awakening have resulting in drastic changes, cope and when necessary create for them a new identity, but–”
“It sounds too damn good to be true. What’s the catch?” Everett finished thrumming his fingers against the cold metal surface of the desk.
“All things come with a price, Mr. Howard. The point is we’re here to help you. Matthews and I are both exemplars. We wouldn’t be working for the agency if there was an agenda contrary to our best interests. Some exemplars are very powerful and frankly all AEGIS asks is that people like us live and act within the constraints of the law as any good citizen would,” Amelia replied shifting in her seat as Everett’s eyes narrowed.
“And the price?”
Matthews nodded a smile touching the corner of his lips before he spoke. “In exchange for a new identity and help adjusting to your new circumstances, you will sign a non-disclosure agreement. As far as anyone else is concerned Everett Howard died today. You will never disclose your original identity to anybody.”
“That’s it? You can’t expect me to believe that’s the only catch there’s gotta be more to it.”
“From time to time, AEGIS has been known to seek assistance from those exemplars we’ve helped adjust to their new lives. It’s an addendum to the non-disclosure agreement you will sign. Call it a… consultancy clause.” Agent Van den Broeke smiled reaching a hand across the desk to touch Everett’s fingers as they danced across the surface of the desk.
Everett jerked back, almost slipping his hands away from the agent, but instead allow her to clasp her fingers around his palms. She had a sweet little smile and as Everett looked into her eyes, he saw real compassion looking back at him. “It must be hard. Adjusting to exemplar abilities is never easy, but you’ve undergone an incredible physical transformation which makes it so much harder. Let us help you.”
Everett’s cheeks flushed, and he felt a sensation he accepted he’d never again experience again, sexual arousal. Van den Broeke was quite attractive even if her figure leaned toward the boyish side. As his nipples hardened, he smiled back at her and nodded. He had the libido and sex drive of a healthy young woman and if his attraction toward the agent was any indication it would be one hell of an adjustment.
His smile melted into a frown as took in several deep breaths. He was a woman now and still attracted to the fairer sex. Did that make him a lesbian? It turned his stomach, and he scowled at the agent a new sense of revulsion settle in.
“Something wrong?” The agent blinked and cast a furtive glance toward her superior.
“Everything!” Everett closed his eyes and took another deep breath letting the revulsion and sexual tension slip away. “I’ve been thinking. This consultancy clause you spoke of… What will it entail?”
“We wouldn’t be expecting you to put on tights and jump across a building in a single bound if that’s what you’re worried about.” Amelia replied. “From time to time, we may call on people with certain abilities to assist with an investigation. For instance, I’m what’s called a psychometric retro-cognizant. I can view the past by touching objects present during those events. If you had that ability AEGIS might call you in to get a read on a crime scene. That’s just one possibility, if you happened to have powers similar to someone who was struggling to control theirs we might call on you to help them master them.”
“I need time to mull it over.”
“We can give you a full copy of the NDA before you sign it and help put you in touch with legal council so you’re aware of the ramifications,” Matthews said.
“In the meantime we need your help. If you could tell us what happened. My retro-cognizance wasn’t particularly helpful this evening and there’s some concern that whoever or whatever was at work here may be planning something big.”
Everett bit his lip and tightened his grip around the agent’s hands. There was something soothing about her touch and it helped him to still his raw nerves as he told his story. He spoke glancing around and paused between sentences, influenced by a faint fear that the creatures might return and attack. Nothing happened and as he continued, he grew more confident.
He had only been at it a few minutes when a random thought popped into his mind as he leveled his gaze at Agent Van den Broeke. ‘This woman can help me.’
‘Yes.’ A voice responded. It did not belong to him, nor either of the agents. He blinked and looked around before something tugged at the back of his mind. Amelia tried to pull away, but without even trying his hands clamped down onto hers and her eyes widened as the world around them twisted and turned, before everything washed away. Matthews called out their names as the darkness consumed them both, but he was already too late.