Within a few minutes Matt reached the forward airlock, after the air cycled through the hatch slid open and Matt stepped outside the ship. He wondered how he was going to navigate his way to the end of the tunnel when Sam’s voice sounded like it was right beside him. Matt whipped his head back and forth until he realised that the voice was coming from inside his ear.
“Sam, how am I able to hear you?” Matt asked.
Sam replied, “When you were placed in the learning machine a nano-transciever and sub-spatial locator beacon was attached in the subcutaneous fat layer of your inner ear. This device is commonly issued to special task force personnel but I calculated that our current situation was unique enough to warrant it.” Matt chewed this down for a minute before saying.
“So, where’s the way out?”
Sam didn’t respond, instead a series of lights flickered into existence, showing a path which he followed. After a good half hour of walking Matt came to what looked like a hole bored into a rock face. A maintenance drone stood by the entrance. The light was rapidly fading so Matt hurriedly ducked out through the hole. He recognised the terrain immediately. What was the rock face from the tunnel perspective was actually the initial marker rock that his father had carved the trail markers into all those years ago.
He shook his head in amazement at the co-incidence and remembering the rapidly oncoming night he bounded up the trail towards home.
Matt knew when he’d crossed the unmarked boundary between the scrub that led to the trails and the edge of his backyard. The angle had eased a little and the grass was fairly well trampled here. A minute later and the house came into view in the fading twilight, no lights were on. He reached the back door, opened it and crossed the threshold into his house. All was quiet, so he took his shoes off and turned on the laundry light. Expecting to find Ian having forgotten dinner and still on the computer.
As Matt walked into the lounge room he was surprised to find that his friend was not on the PC or passed out on the couch. Instead there was a note waiting for him as he went into the kitchen. “Matt, sorry about bailing, but Becca is demanding some Ian time and she won’t take no for an answer. There’s a plate of Apricot Chicken and Rice in the fridge for when you get back from your jog. Ian”
Matt snorted, so much for trying to get Ian to cook a stir-fry. Still didn’t mean he was going to pass up a nice Chicken and Rice dish though. Matt took the plate out and removed the glad-wrap and opened the microwave. He set it to a slow reheat and then went into the bathroom and after taking off his clothes he had a quick shower. After he got out, and towled himself dry, he shrugged into a fresh pair clothes. They felt quite loose, must be old and stretched. He went back out to the kitchen just as the microwave finished with a shrill beep.
He got a spoon and retrieved dinner, suddenly very hungry as the aromas wafted over him. He went into the lounge room, turned on the light and the TV and began to wolf down dinner as the world news displayed scenes of Israeli’s storming boats. He chuckled to himself as he looked up from dinner still stuffing food into his mouth. People never learn do they. Israel survives only by being bigger and meaner then the entire Muslim world. Any let up on that policy and the floodgates open. He looked down suddenly as his fork came up empty, he’d already eaten all that food? It felt like he’d barely eaten anything.
The door knocked and Matt startled from his revelry dropped his spoon. It was probably just Ian, though the fact that every covert agency for every government on the planet would kill him for what he’d discovered this afternoon had not totally escaped his mind. Matt stood up and smoothed his clothes down, checked to make sure his skrill was concealed. He opened the door and there was Anna. The last person he had expected.
Anna took one look at Matt and gasped, shock written all over her face. Matt almost dashed to the mirror, surely he didn’t look any worse then when he’d gotten out of the hospital. What he had failed to take into consideration was that the ship’s med-bay hadn’t just fixed the damage in the fall, but had repaired every injury he had ever suffered as if it had never happened.
Anna’s eyes rushed towards the ceiling as she collapsed. Matt stared at her for a moment in confusion before he positioned himself so he could pick her up. After a few false starts he managed to pick her up and slung her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. He moved her over to the lounge and carefully laid her down. He then took his dinner plate into the kitchen, washed and dried it before putting it away. While he was doing this his mind whirled on why Anna would have feinted at the sight of him. Matt then cautiously ventured into his bedroom to look in the full length mirror.
What he saw caused his eyes to bulge, the man in the mirror was alien to Matt. He hurriedly stripped off his shirt and fingered the now well defined muscular structure that started at the top of his neck and went all the way down. Matt had been about 10 kilo’s overweight, not bad for a third year student who only did 2-3 Kilometres running three times a week. Now he was literally a gun, not a ounce of fat remained on his frame. Not only that, but all his muscles were toned and defined. As he looked at the changes in the mirror he also noticed that every scar he’d ever received was gone. It was like someone had taken the general undefined clay that was his body and sculpted it into the image of a god.
“Sam” Matt whispered, “what did you do to me?”
“I am unable to answer you Matt, without further data.” Sam’s voice replied through the communications device implanted in his ear.
“My appearance Sam, I’ll never be able to pass for what I used to look like now. Why did you do this?” Matt groaned.
“Muscle strengthening and general conditioning is apart of the sick bay’s protocol. It takes any injured individual and restores them to the peak of their physical capability as written in their Genetic Code Matt. I did not realise this would cause you distress.” Sam replied.
Matt silently groaned, there was no help for it. He would just have to stay as he was now. “Very well, but can you alter the sick-bay’s protocol to simple return them to healthy status without causing such fundamental alterations? At least not without consulting the patient?”
“Very well. Is there anything else Captain?” Sam inquired.
“No Sam, goodnight” Matt signed off as the comms’ device closed down.
Matt walked over to the recliner which was close to the couch. He moved it so it faced the lounge and the passed out Anna. He sat down and waited for her to regain conciousness, which would happen all too soon.
Anna stirred in the couch, her eyes opening as she took in her surroundings. This wasn’t her house, she looked around confused until she saw Matt and in a flash she remembered . The door opening and her very own Apollo standing before her. She feigned disorientation for a few more seconds as she struggled to look around the house, her eyes zeroing back to Matt as she hungrily devoured his new body with her eyes.
A flutter in her stomach and then a tingling spark of electricity which arced lower warred within her mind as she tried to make sense of how Matt looked before the incident and now. She couldn’t reconcile the two images, but she definitely approved as the tingling spark which was rummaging around down below was causing all kinds of interesting warmth.
“Matt, what’s happened to you?” Anna asked in a voice that was subtly sultry and almost a shade off husky. She mentally cursed and nearly blushed bright red.
Matt glared at her and Anna shrunk in on herself as he said in a very tight and controlled voice. “What do you mean what’s happened to me, I had the living crap kicked out of me by your idiot boyfriend and his moronic mates. I spent nearly a week in the hospital with cracked ribs being the least of my problems and I’ve spent every moment since I got out working on my fitness……”
Anna sat still for his verbal tirade, remembering the last time they’d argued before this. That was the night she’d told him Scott had asked her out. She remembered the hurt and the outrage on his face as he’d told her what would happen if she dated Scott. They hadn’t spoken since then.
Anna looked down towards the floor and said in a quiet voice, “I know it was Scott. I knew the next day.” Her quiet words and her almost ashamed tone of voice halted him completely as he collapsed into the chair, the wind knocked out of him by that one statement.
Anna walked over and curled up in his lap as she hugged him and sobbed into his chest, “I’m so sorry Matt, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you when we first started dating. I knew he had a temper but it was always hidden. I’m leaving him.” She cried herself out on his chest, and Matt was taken back at this level of closeness, so he put his arms around her to still her sobbing.
As Anna reached the end of her tears, she realised where she was. She fit perfectly in the arms of this sculpted version of Matt. She looked up from his chest, a mess of emotions and hormones at war within her. As she gazed into the eyes of this angled and muscled god. She gave in to the maelstrom of confusion and desire and reached up and kissed him tentatively on the lips.
The explosion of power from within him as she sailed back through the air to land on the couch startled her. As he reached his feet and stalked around the lounge room cursing. Anna was at first bewildered and shocked that he’d refused what she’d offered him. This then turned into shame and grief as she realised she’d left Scott for nothing. The grief racked through her as the sobbing which had only just abated returned in full force.
“What the hell!” Matt growled at her, “You can’t just do that Anna, all through high school we were friends. You made it very clear that night you came to tell me you were dating Scott that there would never be anything between us. You can’t break my heart and flaunt it in my face for three years and then walk in here with a few tears and break me inside all over again……” Matt ran out of words as he stalked around in a agitated state.
To Anna even though she was hurt and grieving, he looked like a lion on the plains. A predator contained by nothing more then his own will. The violence leashed behind an iron wall of self control. His raw masculine power was dominating, and yet she felt serenely safe. The wonder she felt dried her eyes, and her desire for him rose another notch as she felt her panties soak with apprehension. She needed him, and she knew he needed her but they were both stuck behind barriers of past hurts and old mistakes. She knew what he needed to hear, but the thought of saying it froze her tongue. What if he rejected her, no more then she deserved after all things were considered.
“I was scared, that day you asked me out. I knew how you felt about me, and that you didn’t want to push me into anything. Especially with my dad two steps away, a constant scream in the background. I was too scared of loosing the one safe thing I had then….” She trailed off, thinking that she had blown the one chance she’d ever had with the only person who had ever known her for who she really was. Who had cared for her during the long years of her father’s drunken rage at the world. Lost in her own internal process she didn’t notice Matt kneeling in front of her until he touched her cheek with one hand. Then it didn’t matter any more as they kissed fiercely and passionately.
Lost in that first embrace, which broke off only for a second every time one of the two needed air, they stumbled and giggled and murmured apologies as they groped and grappled with each others clothing as they moved side long towards the bedroom. By the time they hit the bed they were down to there underwear, and very quickly that too was gone as they lost themselves in the fire of their passion.