Note: This story uses background and concepts from the Teenagers From Outer Space role-playing game, Copyright 2001 R. Talsorian Games, Inc. The characters and story are Copyright 2001 Rodford Edmiston Smith.
The four guys - one an Earthling, the others aliens - waited outside the alien goods store. Freddy sat on a bench, Hub sat on the edge of a planter, Ramet leaned back against the planter beside Hub, arms folded across his chest, and Bl'fff simply stood on his eight spindly legs.
"So, anybody know anything?" asked Freddy, getting bored.
"Our large friend, here, mentioned something earlier, about discovering who the strange visitor to yesterday's physics class is," Ramet announced.
"His name is Yehudi," said Hub. "They say he's from the Brassier Nebula. I did a search for information last night, after I got home."
"Huh?" countered Freddy, not sure if he was being had. "'Brassier Nebula'?"
"Earthlings call it the Ant Nebula, because they think it looks like the eyes and antenna on the head of an ant," said Hub, who knew about such stuff. He pulled out his library card, called up a book on astronomy, searched for the proper image, then displayed it. "But it really does look like a brassier. See? Two round white blobs, with white streamers going off either side, like straps."
"That is freaky," said Freddy, vaguely aroused and embarrassed about it. He frowned, thinking of something. "Say, I wouldn't have thought you folks would have bras."
"What, you think we're savages, and let our women run around lose?" snickered Bl'fff.
"You're women are savages and do run around lose," muttered Ramet. "And they don't have boobs, so they don't need bras."
"That was a pun," said the arachnoid, offended. "You know... no bras... running around lose..."
"We got it," sighed Ramet, rolling his eyes, "we just didn't want it."
"Seriously, we do have bras," said Hub.
"I'd'a thought you'd have something more... scientific," countered Freddy. "Karen told me the other day about how she modeled some sort of forcefield thingy..."
"We have the more advanced stuff, definitely," said Hub, nodding. "But some people are traditionalists."
"Say, how come you know so much about bras?" asked Bl'fff, suspiciously.
"I'm an engineer. I've made an extensive study of females' breasts."
"That figures," said Freddy, grinning as the others groaned at his pun.
"So why didn't you wear one, yesterday?" asked Ramet, of Hub. "Miz Klupper was a bit upset at you about that."
"Because there are no females of my species on this planet, or other aliens here with our robust build," the rhino/whale-looking guy replied, a bit smugly. "Besides, our tissues are denser and firmer than yours; our females don't really need support in a one-gee field. Oh, and the bras on our world are made of steel. Or something stronger."
Karen came bouncing up (though not in the way Bl'fff meant, since she did wear bras) and plopped down next to Freddy, giving him a hug.
"Say did you hear? Turns out that bit about us switching for gym class yesterday was to try and get whoever in the school is sniping people to tip their hand," she announced. "They figured since they were doing it to scare or upset or hurt people, they probably think changing genders is a bad thing and wouldn't go through with it."
"Makes sense," said Freddy. "If you're gonna pull a nasty prank, you do something to someone you think they'll hate. Which probably means you hate it."
"Only it didn't work," said Karen.
"Oh, well," sighed Freddy, shrugging. The matter simply wasn't that big a deal with him, so he changed subjects to something which was. "Now that you've finished work, wanna go somewhere?"
"Ooh, yeah!" said Karen, suddenly standing. She grabbed Freddy's hands and hauled him off the bench. "There's a new restaurant over in the next wing, caters to teenagers!"
"I've heard about this place," said Ramet, also rising, but with more dignity. "Calls itself The Evening Club, since it's mostly for high school kids and closes before 11:00. Supposed to have a dance floor."
"Great!" said Freddy, smiling. "I haven't been dancing since I moved here!"
"I thought this would just be us," muttered Karen, as they all trooped off en mass.
"Hey, you didn't specify," said Freddy. "Besides, if Bl'fff or Hub can't find their own girl, I'm sure Ramet will shapeshift to accommodate."
He grinned at the chocolate-skinned alien, who glared haughtily at him.
The Evening Club turned out to be moderately crowded by the time they got there, a bit after 5:00. The public was one big room, with the dance floor at the far end, the dining room in the middle and the bar near the entrance. A notice at the bar warned that alcoholic beverages were served only at the bar and that a selective forcefield barred entrance to anyone under age.
Since none of them had had supper yet, they sat down at a table and checked the menus. Freddy enthusiastically noted that not only did they have some alien dishes which were familiar favorites but some he hadn't tried, as well. A waitressrob promptly hovered over to their table to take their orders. Freddy had a bit of difficulty convincing it that he could safely eat one of the dishes he ordered.
"No wonder you're always broke," muttered Karen, after the waitressrob left. "You eat enough for three normal people, and a lot of it is exotic and expensive."
"Hey, I'm a growing boy!" cried Freddy, grinning.
"Did you get a look at the chest on that waitressrob?" drooled Bl'fff. "Hubba-hubba!"
"If you folks will excuse me," said Ramet, pushing his chair back, "I'm going to have an apéritif."
"A which?" asked Karen.
"Before-supper drink," Freddy supplied. "Hey, you're not old enough."
"Sure I am," said Ramet, with a smug smile, as he shapeshifted into an older version of himself.
"You'll get in trouble," snickered Bl'fff.
"Not unless one of you rats on me," said the alien boy, with a warning glance around.
He sauntered casually off towards the bar, and returned a few minutes later with a bottle and glass, the latter already partly drained. He sat back down in his chair, refilled his glass, and set the bottle by his plate. He then half-emptied the large glass in one long draw.
"My, you Earthlings certainly make strong wine," he announced, when he stopped for breath.
"That's Jack Daniels," said Freddy, examining the bottle.
"I'll certainly remember that name," said Ramet, nodding.
"It's not wine, it's..."
Karen was interrupted by the waitressrob bringing their (non-alcoholic) drinks. By the time she left, Ramet had emptied and refilled his glass.
"Not many aliens here," said Freddy, looking around. "You'd figure this place would be popular with 'em."
"There are only a few hundred of us on your planet," said Ramet, appearing completely sober in spite of having (by now) downed half a bottle.
"You better go easy on that stuff," said Karen.
"Nonsense. My species handles alcohol quite well, thank you."
"Hey, Karen, wanna grab a quick dance before our food gets here?"
"I don't think we'll have time, if the way they brought the drinks out is any sign," she countered.
Sure enough, not long after (while Ramet was at the bar buying another bottle) the waitressrob returned with their meals. All five dug in enthusiastically. As they ate, someone started the disco ball spinning, fixed lights in the edge of the ceiling and floor reflecting off it. Freddy thought this was a bit tacky, but no-one else said anything so he kept quiet.
"This stuff grows on you," Ramet announced, punctuating his declaration with a loud belch. "Think I'll have another."
He stood and weaved his way back to the bar, somehow managing to force himself to stand straight and walk steadily as he approached.
"I'm sure glad we took my SUS," said Hub, referring to his sport-utility saucer. "I really don't want him driving."
About this time, the disco ball gave an odd flash, and cries of alarm and surprise sprang up from several parts of the room. Freddy looked around, puzzled. The ball flashed again, and there were more cries from new areas, as well as additional vocalizations from the first set. Then it flared a third time, and Freddy saw the gorgeous stacked blond at the next table go flat- and hairy-chested.
"Sniper alert!" he cried, as their table was illuminated.
Freddy's Gender Guard beeped, as did those of Bl'fff, Hub and Karen. Come to think of it, he'd heard a few others beep, as well, during previous flashes. Freddy looked quickly around the room, feeling a bit smug about being protected. All they had to do was find who was sniping them before he could get back to their table... only Freddy couldn't tell where the primary beam was coming from. As the reflected flashes approached them again, Bl'fff wrapped himself in his legs and rolled out of his chair, under the table, while the others resignedly braced themselves for a gender switch.
It hit, and Freddy sighed, looking down at his chest. Only something was wrong; they weren't big enough. A cautious feel between the legs told Freddy that his thing was still there, but seemed... smaller. Feeling around a bit more brought a gasp, higher pitched than usual but not as high as when Freddy was female. Because there was what felt suspiciously like a girl thing below Freddy's guy thing.
Freddy looked over at Karen, and for a moment thought she was still a girl. Only she did wear a bra, the cups of which would support her shirt even without breasts. And from the way she was feeling her chest she was without breasts. A quick glance at Hub show him - her - apparently completely female.
Their turn came around again while they were still trying to sort things out. Now Freddy was completely female up top and completely male below, while Karen seemed to be in the hermaphroditic state Freddy had just left. Hub seemed unchanged.
"What is going on here?" Freddy demanded, irately pursing her pretty lips.
Another flash, and Freddy was completely flat-chested, while Karen appeared normal. Hub also seemed to be normal, but was grabbing at his crotch with a look of alarm. Freddy also checked his crotch, and was puzzled to find nothing! Oh, wait; there was a small, sensitive area, just a little hole...
Their table was flashed again, then a couple of other areas, and suddenly the disco lights went out. Somebody had finally managed to hit the switch, if you'll excuse the expression.
Freddy was now back in true hermaphrodite state. Karen appeared male but in a girly sort of way, and Hub fully female. They were sitting there, stunned, when Ramet returned, dropping drunkenly back into his seat. He drained what was in his glass, refilled it a bit messily, then thunked the bottle down on the table and took another deep drink from his tumbler. Only after he lowered it did he notice anything was amiss.
"Hey," he slurred, "where's the spider?"
"Is it safe to come out?" Bl'fff asked, his voice muffled.
"It looks like it," said Freddy, clearing hir throat at the strangeness of hir voice.
The arachnoid crawled out and resumed his seat, looking both rumpled and relieved. Ramet, staring at him in confusion, reached blindly for his bottle, only to encounter Hub's left breast, which extended out over the table just above the plates. Ramet drunkenly fumbled at the huge, inhumanly firm mammary for a long moment, before finally turning and looking at what he was groping. He stared a moment... then screamed, rearing backwards so hard he knocked his chair over, going down with it. Compared to what was happening at some of the other tables, this reaction was mild.
Ramet lay on the floor for a stunned bit. Then he matter-of-factly stood, set his chair back up, sat in it, and stared in confused shock at his tablemates for several long seconds.
"I feel sick," he calmly announced.
He turned, leaned and out of his mouth and onto the floor poured what seemed to be several gallons of purple-grey liquid. After a surprisingly long time of this, he stopped, and turned back to his friends.
"I feel better."
He rolled up his eyes, and passed out in his salmon soufflé.
"I didn't know he could do that," said Hub, in a voice a couple of octaves above his normal rumbling bass, looking quite sick at the mess.
"I didn't know anything could do that!" gasped Karen.
Freddy felt far more uncomfortable entering the herm restroom in the club than sie had ever felt going into a female facility as a girl. Still, sie had to go, and this was the most appropriate room.
Interestingly, there were what looked like urinals in here, which weren't present in the herm restrooms at school. Freddy, uncertain how to select which hole to pee out of when possessed of two, chose a stall. The toilet in there was a bit unconventional by Earth standards, but quite similar to those at the school. Freddy dropped hir pants and sat. Hir caution was rewarded, as pee came out of both holes. Freddy sighed, and let nature - if that's what this was - take its course. As sie sat there after finishing, letting the toilette's automatic cleaning systems do their business, Freddy noticed the Gender Guard dangling between hir smallish breasts, and sighed. The green light was cheerfully on. It's captured charge had done nothing to return Freddy to normal.
Karen's had also failed it, though Hub's had worked just fine. Apparently, the standard charge had no effect on herms and neuters, which wasn't surprising. So how had the beams from the disco ball created this situation? And could those same beams fix it?
Freddy sighed again, stood and pulled hir clothes back in place.
Karen was exiting the neuters' room at about the same time Freddy came out of the herms'. It looked quite disgusted.
"Nothing! Nothing between my legs except this little hole, like the one in the end of a guy's thing! And nothing on my chest! Not even dark circles; just smooth, pale skin!"
"Is that your bra?" asked Freddy, noticing the white undergarment flapping in Karen's waving hand.
"Yeah. You want it? It's not doing me any good."
"I, uh, don't think it's my size," sighed Freddy. "Didn't you say something about the alien goods store have bras which automatically fit themselves to the wearer?"
"Yeah. But I'm not leaving here until Hub figures out how to change us back!"
Shortly after the disco lights had been killed the manager announced over the PA that the police had been called and would everyone please stay where they were and stay calm.
Fortunately, cool heads prevailed. While most of the club's occupants were upset or even frightened, enough kept their cool that a panic was avoided. With a police detective watching, Hub - who, due to his work on the Gender Guard, was the most qualified - found and examined the device which had caused all the confusion. He was opening the case as Freddy and Karen left to relieve themselves, the police-issue rubber gloves stretched nearly to breaking on his huge hands.
"Anything?" asked Freddie, looking over the heavy-planet boy's shoulders.
"This is brilliant," Hub enthused. "This is not some crude mechanical cock-and-fire mechanism. Whoever rigged this used a sophisticated polyonic sensor/control system to run everything. And that's nothing compared to the mods on the Gun!"
"But can you fix us?" asked Karen.
"Yeah," said Freddy, with feeling, "and how come the Gender Guard can't?"
"The first beam must have been a standard Boy/Girl charge," judged Hub. "That was deliberate, to fill the Gender Guards. Then the variant beams started. And those are... strange."
Freddy nodded. The people turned into neuters and standard herms didn't change when exposed to the standard beam. The mix-'n'-match victims, who were male on top and female below, or vice versa, switched to the other arrangement when zapped with the standard beam, staying mix-'n'-match.
"Could you do me a favor? I'm too heavy for the stepladder they brought in. Climb up and check the disco ball for me."
Freddy agreeably complied, though not sure what to look for. As it turned out, Hub handed hir a sensor wand set for what to look for. All Freddy had to do was wave it around the ball and it's ceiling mount.
"Uh-huh..." said Hub, nodding as he read the scan results. "Just what I thought. The mirrors aren't regular silvered glass, which wouldn't reflect the standard beam, anyway. They're fast-glass."
"Sounds like a fast-glassed idea to me," muttered Freddy, climbing down.
"It's a pretty complicated arrangement. As simply as I can put it, the new type of beam has the same destabilize-and-nudge effect as the standard Gun, but when it is reflected from the glass the direction of the nudge goes quantumly random."
"Okay," said Freddy, feeling dizzy.
"With this rig there's no way to determine ahead of time what will happen when the modified beam reflects off the fast-glass," Hub continued. "We can change back people with a simple gender swap easily, with a standard Boy/Girl Gun, a Gender Guard, or the standard setting on this Gun. However, for everyone else we'll just have to keep zapping 'em until they get what they want."
"We'll be here all night," groaned Freddy.
* * *
Having their statements recorded by the police took longer, but since most of the victims' dinners had been interrupted, those not being quizzed simply sat down to finish eating. The mood was helped considerably by the manager announcing that no-one changed by the trap would be charged for their food.
Ramet had by now regained consciousness, but was still quite drunk, and in a rather silly way. At first he did imitations, of famous personages and people he knew. However, at one point he turned into a buxom centerfold, and became distracted. (If you know what I mean by distracted.) Hub was busy operating the changing process; Bl'fff was in the little arachnoids' room; and Karen was in the girls' room, putting her bra back on. Freddy, who hadn't changed back yet, hustled Ramet into the herm restroom and disgustedly shoved her into a stall. Ramet seemed quite happy with this arrangement; as Freddy left, sie heard her squealing with female pleasure.
Finally, everything was settled. Hub was publicly thanked by the manager, to a standing ovation from the other customers, the staff and the police. He seemed rather embarrassed by this, but took it well. After the police left, as the party was getting ready to leave, the manager - an alien male named Fugosh, who looked like a blue-skinned human with grey hair, including a *huge* handlebar mustache - approached.
"Could you modify that thing for safe use?" he asked Hub. "I think it has entertainment value. Maybe I could even host dances where people get changed at random, and have to pick a partner accordingly."
"Uh, sure," said Hub, startled.
"Give me a call Monday," said the manager, handing him a business card.
They were climbing into Hub's SUS when Karen remembered something.
They looked around at each other, confused. Freddy realized all the others had been busy when Ramet was taken to the herms' room. He decided to play innocent.
"Should we go look for him?" asked Hub.
Karen bit her lip, looked at her watch, and fidgeted for a moment. Then got mad.
"No. It's his fault he got drunk. He's a big boy, and can take care of himself. Let's go."
Freddy could barely keep from grinning. With a little luck, the shapechanger was so drunk he wouldn't even remember how he got left behind.
End Part Eight
This story is Copyright 2001 Rodford Edmiston Smith. Anyone wishing to reprint or repost it must have permission from the author, who can be reached at: email@example.com
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