Novus Machina

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    Novus Machina

    A tale



    The question for me has always been: ‘where do you start when there is no true beginning?’. When things have no true origins but rather come into effect through a cumulative process, slowly building, developing and accumulating over time?

    ‘Accumulate’. Ah! That’s a good word to begin with!

    Because it all came about from the accumulation at The Place. An accumulation that resulted in our very change.

    But I get ahead of myself.

    Maybe some background is in order. Some intelligence to help understanding.

    The Place, as it is called, is my dwelling.

    Mine and others.

    Six of us in total.

    The Place is, well was, a massive warehouse that I had the good mind to convert into Industrial Living Space a few years ago, after I inherited it from my father. He used to own all the land around The Place. I came from a very rich family, but that too is all past. Despite my father’s wealth and sharp business intelligence, he was far too trusting of his compatriots in the Business and he, like so many of his fellows, could not see the Crash coming until it was too late. Many lives were ruined in that Time, though my good mother had the sense to foresee and thus be forearmed for such an occurrence, so many others were not. We lost much in those Times, but others lost more.

    And thus is why I came to live in The Place.

    Far enough away from people to have peace but close enough not to be considered strange.

    But such is the way we enjoy life in our semi-solitude.

    Oh, yes. I did mention that I did dwell with five others.

    It is of they that my telling truly concerns. A motley bunch to be sure, but no truer souls have ever been known. We all live comfortably with The Place, though we easily house ten more, we ave all comfortably carved out our own little territories within.

    I reside within The Loft. The highest section within The Place, from which, according to the others, I lord over everyone else. Watching them and The Place from upon that perch, with eyes both organic and mechanic (though only in public areas, as the others have agreed to). Due to the largeness of our odd domicile, we have found a constant need for vigilance incase of strangers’ intrusions or other such activity and thus the duties, as owner and landlord, fell to me. Going someway to cement my soubriquet as ‘The Keeper’. Though it also comes from the Biblical play upon my name ‘Ezekial’ from a misquote in a well known movie about a brother and his ‘Keeper’.

    Residing directly below me in what is deemed ‘The Nest’ is the lady Niche. Both Den-mother and organiser. Tis she who rosters work, divides the chores and ensures that all have tasks with which to occupy their idle hours. Though she is not a tyrant in these matters. She possibly labours more than the rest of us, even with the added burden of ensuring the welfare of the rest of us. Niche has possibly lived here the longest, having arrived several years ago in the company of a then boyfriend who had first moved in her. Though he left soon after she decided, citing complaints about her fastidiousness and controlling, but she stayed and carved quite the ‘niche’ for herself. She controls the dining and common areas.

    Next to her we have Ravena Blackfeather, an aspiring Gothique Poetress. She spends much of her time within The Vault, that is the basement storage area, writing her lamentations upon the failings of the Mortal Realms and despair for the Fate of Lifekind. But this is but the projection of herself to her less than adoring public. Beneath the lace and leather, not mentioning the copious makeup, she is a lovable, sociable woman who can be, despite our obvious humours, found in the company of Niche when she is not busy in the ordering of work. I let her live her because I simply love artists, and, as your atypical frustrated novelist, I enjoy the company of a fellow writer. Even if it is for the chance to engage in childish games of antagonism in terms of progress and publishing. She is in charge of the computers, databases and making sure we have connections to Cyber Realms.

    Then there is ‘The One Who Is Called The Mouse’. We never knew her true name, being left in my care some years ago past by a good friend (who has since past) stating that she -The Mouse- was the victim of horrible abuses at the hand of one lover or another. She is quiet in a strange way, but that matters not to me. As long as they pay the rent and do nothing to disturb the order of The Place, people can be as they wish. But that is not to say that she is a bad person, quite the polar honestly, she simply does her up most to void the company of the others. Strange for someone who must be at least living in their third decade of life. And although she does avoid her fellow housemates, I find her presence strangely comforting. For she does spend many an hour in The Loft dozing upon my bedding as I watch from afar the room. The Mouse can often be hiding, like her namesake, in either the Kitchen, Greenhouse or Garden.

    The youngest in of cavalcade in Satomi Hiroko, who came from Japan to study Business and Economics. She lives with us not so much out of choice but out of a strange sense of filial duty. He father and my father were firm friends back in the heady days of Boom. Twas her father who saved my father’s business from total failure and collapse during The Crash, thus my father, and now in his passing me, owe him for the kind favours of the Past. So, in a slight effort of repayment, I act as his daughters watcher and guardian, not that she needs one. She is completely devoted to her studies, having few friends and seldom leaving the confines of The Library, as her room has come to known. But that is not to say that is a quiet and obedient as many would mark the females of the Japanese race. She is every bit confrontational and aggressive, an excellent trait in business, as well as being coy and quiescent -the true model of the modern Japanese woman.

    And so it leaves our last companion, The Pack Rat -or P.R. as we kindly call him- the true progenitor of our tale.

    He is called Pack Rat because of one simple proclivity: he is complete unable to rid himself of anything in his possession, no matter how useless and junkered it maybe be. But this has never hindered his life in anyway. More in fact, it has enhanced it, by giving him a career.

    P.R. is what you might call a ‘Refuse Artist’ -though his agent prefers the term ‘Junk Sculpturer’. He has the uncanny nack for turning the most useless and dilapidated items into the most beautiful works of art who may have ever witness. Indeed, you may have prechanced to glance upon his Works in such stately galleries in such refined places as New York, London and Berlin.

    But that is not to say that P.R.’s calling does not have it’s downsides.

    Since embarking on this venture, he has become a compulsive collector of junk, kipple and ‘gomi’. So much so that it took a majority of the ground floor of The Place, practically swallowing it whole like some tidalwave of waste. P.R. lived within, in what was called ‘The Space Within The Place’. He even sleeps in the company of his junk and creations. He used to have a small bedroom down there, but I suspect that he long rid himself of the closure and dismantled his bed to make one of his sculptures. Though this all a small price to pay for the company of the dearest friend I have ever had or known living so close. In fact, I had originally intended all of The Place for P.R.’s use as a kind of workshop-cum-gallery, but that was before The Crash. We all had different plans back then. So now we have to make do with what we have and be thankful for it, which we all undoubtably are.

    But what was it I said before?

    Oh, yes. About P.R. being the progenitor of our Tale. Well, it was he and his proclivity for collecting trash to make into his artworks that was the cause of noticeable change in shape of our fortune and the fortune of our shape so to speak.

    P.R. had just received a new shipment of industrial machinery that had either been deemed unusable or merely sold for scrape because the original owners are in want of money, like so many of us are nowadays. It seemed to be the usual fare of odds and ends, broken mechanics and rusted metals, but part of the shipment was completely unexpected. A literal ton of perfectly intact machinery and equipment. All marked with the symbol of Ouroboros -the snake eating it’s own tale. We could have sold it all for a King’s ransom but P.R., as always, was oblivious to this. But, as per our unspoken agreement that his junk was his and could do with as was his want, nothing was said of the matter. But he had need of such devices -working devices with a pulse, a life- to bring a new life to stagnating art. He had tried robotics, without much fever. He wanted electronic life that mimicked electronic life, not machine life that mimicked the Organics of Man. Besides, he had already accomplished more than any other in that field -Organic Machines- for which I am eternally grateful. But such a practice no longer held any interest when you had accomplished all that he had, so he returned to the abstract, leaving the merely practical behind.

    And thus I watched him from the second floor as he studied his new objects from on top his kipple-sculptured throne. Musing to myself at how apt Satomi marker of ‘Gomi-sama’ -the Lord of Junk- fitted him And of course she was there -Satomi. She was always there when P.R. was about to begin work on a new piece.

    She would literally sit for hours within The Space watching him construct his grotesque beauties. It fascinated her no end. Distracted her to the point that she could sit through the night, with food or drink or need to relieve herself, so she could see him complete his next master piece. This never bothered P.R. -nothing did. The World could burn for all he cared, as long as he could make something out of the remains. This wasn’t a coldness on his part. He merely simplified his world view to ‘that he could use for art but had no use to others’ and everything else. Satomi fell into the later category. Which was fine by her, she had no interest in him other than the works he produced. In the year and a half she had lived here with us, they never spoke a word to each other. Not even a syllable. They did not hate each other, they just existed into two separate worlds. Only intersecting rarely. So Satomi would watch him work and in reply, P.R. would spend endless time in The Library, going through the books Satomi had almost religiously collected to find his latest inspiration from our much faulted past. Thus their individual worlds remained in balance. Only two rules applied there. Satomi’s law was: do not take. P.R.’s: Do not touch.

    If only Satomi was a girl who would have obeyed all the rules. Then none of this would have happened.

    Both she and P.R. had been studying the largest of the Ouroboros machines, a squat box that resembled one of those U.F.O.s from the ancient films that Ravena was so fond of watch within her crypt. Or did it look more like the pilot of the craft, now that it was powered on, antennae drooping and all lights and buttons abuzz and blazing. It looked as curious as it did comical, maybe that is why Satomi broke the one Cardinal Rule and touched one of the antennae.

    I was descending to the ground floor when I heard her shrill Asiatic scream ring out from The Space. I remember vaulting myself over the rail, my gloves grinding against the smooth steel, and landing on the cold concrete two metres below, buckling my knees. I limped and stumbled into The Space, finding Satomi laying sprawled across the bare floor in centre of the room, Niche, Ravena and P.R. all standing over her. Mouse came in quickly behind me, her hands smudged with garden soil. In an instant, we were both by Satomi’s side.

    “Hiroko!” I screamed, as I shook her. “Hiroko! Wake up! Please wake up!”

    Niche’s softly calloused hands still my own as Satomi’s dark almond-esque eyes flickered open. She glanced, near panicked, at each of our faces.

    “Whatta ha-pun-ed?” she asked, in her thick Tyoko accent.

    “You got a little shock off of one of Packs little machines, sweetie,” Niche told her, as reassuringly as she could, as she sat the girl up. “You just had a little spill, is all.”

    “My-ya he-du hutes,” she mumbled, as she tried to stand.

    “Ni, Rav: take into the longue room,” I told them both. “Mus” (my name for The Mouse) “Can you please go into the Kitchen and make Satomi some sweet tea? Thank you.”

    Mouse quickly nodded and darted for the Kitchen to fulfil her task. Leaving me along with P.R. -who stood as passive as always.

    I looked hard into those cool, gray eyes of his. Torrential calm poured back at me. My eyes burned as I tried to hold my gaze, but I lost, as always, and looked down. I would forever marvel at the fact that P.R. despite or maybe because his habits and chosen enviroment, was always so clean. I remember the crispness of his green coveralls, which he always wore and brought in bulk, as he stood there. He was always clean. Everything about him practically reeked of cleanliness. Even the trash and junk he scavenged was cleaned and processed before being brought back to his Space Within The Place. He seemed to be born with this cleanness. It was build of him as he builds he art. It twas like he was constructed as they were. He was thin, artisan pale (from forever working indoors) and tall. At least half a head loftier than I and build like a greyhound, long and lean but still fast and strong. His work had given him such physique. Molding, welding and craving him into such a shape, like flesh hewn from marble.

    “What happened?” I asked, I heard my voice dark with the authority I usually reserved for Satomi, who lay out on one of the couches.

    P.R. didn’t reply. He never replied. Speech was a unnecessary luxury he cared not for. Instead he simply shook his head, tossing his limp parted fringe about his thin, nigh-chiselled face.

    I looked at the Alienoid Ouroboros machine, still abuzz and ablaze. Casually I reached out my long fingers to stroke one of the flaccid antennae, possibly musing at how they reminded me of P.R.’s limp fringe, when he checked my hand with his and shook his head.

    “So she did touch it?” I asked, turning to face him, my tied robe fluttering in the air.

    This time a nod but his wilted hair did the same floopish dance.

    “Do you know where it came from?”

    A shake and a dance of hair.

    “Do you know what is does?”

    Same shake, same dance.

    “Who got it for you?”

    Same and same again.

    I sighed in frustration, muttered the words: ‘Ego par: Novus Machina’ and appealed to my only source of answers:

    “Ravena!” I called, not once lifting my eyes from that face.

    “Yeah, Keep?” she replied, running from the Lounge Room into The Space. The jingling of her jewellery giving her movements away.

    “I want you to go into the Realms and find out all you can about. . .” I peered at the boxes behind P.R., trying to read the branding. “‘Ouroboros Enterprises’, if you can?”

    “Nah, probs, boss,” she replied, in that ‘causal British way.

    Unlike many of her contemporaries, Ravena was pure London. She had no need to paint on an accent and play the part when she was living the biography. She was quite tall, almost equal toP.R. without her heeled boots on, quite pale, quite thin. She had confessed to being anaemic as a child and was unable to tan due to strong genetics, but this only added to her glamour amongst her fellow Goths. Her hair was also close cut, maybe 5 or so inches in length, and lacquered Medusa-like in red dyed tendrils, which she must have been redying on top of her blackened locks.

    “And Rav?” I said.

    “Yeah, Keep?” she replied, halting in progression to her appointed task.

    “Your hair dye’s running again,” I said, as I cast an eye over my shoulder. “Best to get cleaned up before getting to work.”

    “It is?” she muttered, touching her finger tips to her forehead. “Bollocks!” she cursed as she went away.

    Slowly, I looked once more upon my friend, wishing for some reaction, some sign or potent from him to indicate that he at least registered something outside of his damnable junk! But he merely stood there, as still as one of his creations, as mute as the very walls.

    “I want this thing turned off, OK?” I told him, possibly with some threat or menace, I don’t remember, it wouldn’t have mattered to him at any rate. “I don’t want any more accidents until we know what it is. Understand?”

    Hesitantly, he nodded and bit his lip, as though he wished to have words, but swallowed them and turned, disappearing into his ‘gomi’ stacks, hopefully to unplug that damnable machine. I watched him go sulkily away, hoping that I hadn’t upset him, not that you could tell anyway, before I turned to see the state of Satomi.

    “She better,” Niche replied, stroking Satomi’s long, silky hair as tenderly as the child’s now deceased mother would have once done. “Just in shock, is all.”

    “Sleeping?” I asked, as I cast back my robe from my hips and put my hands upon my waist.

    “Kinda,” Niche replied, brushing back her own hair -log and ash blonde. “I gave her one of Mouse’s sedatives, the blue ones, to take the edge off her shock. She’s not sleeping. She just. . .”

    “Out of it?” I muttered.

    I must have sworn under my breath because Niche winced, like she had been stung or the like.

    It was a strange habit of Niche’s to react in such a fashion to such things. P.R., in his rarefied moments of levity, referred to it as her ‘Mother’s Face’. And it was a pretty face too, though a little lean and harsh for my likings. Her nose was longish too, not proportionally wrong, but still a little large for my tastes. It did not complement her slim cheeks, drawn tight, like her body, by the rigours of work and exercise. She was tall, lean and hard, like broken rock weathered smooth in places by tender rains. But still tried to bare herself like the Den-mother of our brood, fussing and fidgeting over every little thing. It was enough to drive one to distraction if she wasn’t such a kind and tender soul.

    It was moments like this that she truly shone forth.

    She would not leave Satomi’s side for an instant, caring for her greater than any ‘mater’ would, until the End of Days, if it would come to that.

    Satomi, for her part, stirred and slowly opened those almond-esque eyes.

    “‘Ogenki desu ka’?” I asked, in my much faulted and formal Japanese. That is to say: ‘How are you’.

    “‘Herretu’,” she muttered, in her bastardised English, possible the only way she could communicate through the pain. “‘Herrutu. . . Herrutu. . .” she kept repeating.

    A sighed and looked up, quickly find my desire object.

    Mouse stood by the Kitchen door, out of the way and watching, as was her habit.

    She was small, barely standing over a five feet in height, and timid. It would seem her entire being was made up of timidity. She jumped and started at the slightly noise, not good when you reside with a workaholic artist, which is the reason for her daytime slumbers in The Loft. Her hair was raven black and bobbed, framing her clubby little face, accenting her cute upturned nose. Her eyes were large, tea-coloured pools. With all this she was a would have been the very picture of cuteness, but her timidity drained this all away. A very siphon on her would-be beauty.

    “Mus, my dear,” I remember saying to her. “Would you be a dear and make us all some more tea -not forgetting coffee for Ravena and something for P.R.- because it looks like we’re going to be up for a while.”

    Mouse nodded, smile and bite her lip. A most distracting of habits but you could never fault her on her efficiency and speed within the Kitchen. Not to mention the eagerness with which she preformed ever task. She was the most loyal companion to have in your presence at times like these, if not any other moment, but I digress, as is my fashion.

    And it was thus we (Niche, Mouse and myself) sat and watched Satomi in her to’s and throes, whilst Ravena sought out answers and P.R. did what he always did in such times, or any other, and that is work on his Sculptures.

    My joints ached, my knees still grinding after that leap over the railing, but that matter not now. That’s all I thought as I rubbed the leather of my gloves against each other and then against the dry, stingy flesh of my scalp. I rolled my arms, hoping to loosen the joints but for the pulling upon the long sleeves of my shirt, and looked down at Satomi, who still sweated and withered on the couch, muttering random words in her natural tongue. Some I knew from my time with her father, other’s were but gibberish to mine ears. Niche still hang, ghostly, over ear, mopping her brow and stroking her cheek. Mouse stood by my side, shadowing my every movement. P.R. had wandered back in, cleaning under his nails with his teeth -at last, his signal that he felt for something outside of all the steel and junk that he did rule over. Ravena came up from The Vault to inform me that she had discovered something about P.R.’s mysterious packages.

    That is when it all started.

    Satomi let out a horrific scream, one that shook the very Loft high above us. Her body jerked and spasmed, jolting her upright from her prone position. Niche and Ravena tried to lay her down again, but she merely cast them aside as if they were paper dolls. She clutched her temples as her very skin seemed to bubble and pulsate beneath her clothes, which she tried to rend from herself. Mouse was the first to notice the changes -grabbing my arm so tightly that it almost came loose and pointing fiercely at Satomi. I quickly saw what had got her so startled.

    It seemed to my much faulted eyes that Satomi was growing, in thickness as well as height. The tearing of her clothes was audible, as every seam ripped and popped about her expanding flesh. I noticed to that he was not just generating mass needlessly, but rather developing in groups, according to muscle placement and so forth. Her bosom too, though ample for one of her race, also seemed to be of the same expansion as her muscles.

    Her densening biceps, triceps and forearms made bandits work of her sleeves, tearing them totally asunder. The same could be said of her swell thighs and calves, as they rent their way from out her fashionable house trousers, slipping them completely up the middle. Her delts, bust and neck destroyed the last remnants of button-down shirt, leaving the tattered remains hanging from her belt that clung to her rapidly thin waist. We could now see how chiselled and defined her abdominal muscles had become, as well as her pectorals and obliques. She stood at least a head taller, bring her in just under five foot ten inches or so. And with one last bestial scream, her transformation from Asian waif to musclebound amazonese was complete.


    We all stood in shock and awe.

    Unwilling or unable to comprehend what we had all just witness.

    I think Satomi was most in shock at what had happened. As she just keep staring as she moved her freshly hewn limbs before her stunned onyx eyes. But her puzzlement quickly gave way to pleasure as she brought her ham thick arms up before her and pulled them back into a flex that must been at least (by my guessing) twenty inches around. In turn, she flexed her abdominals and thighs, admiring their new mass and density. She laughed as she cupped her new breast, at least now equal at a double or triple D cup, awaking her long dark nipples with the caress.

    “‘Subarashi’!” she exclaimed, in her native tongue. “‘Odorokubeki!’”. Fantastic! Amazing! Those were the words she muttered as her hands were drawn down her chest, raking her rigid abdominals, until they clasp her now rounded backside. A thing few women of her race can claim to have.

    In my stunned state, I felt Ravena tug upon my collar.

    “Keep, you better come to The Vault,” she whispered, her voice hushed with awe. “I’ve gotta show ya what I found out bout them lads Packy got his stuff off.”

    “OK,” was all I muttered, unable to tear my eyes away from the scene before me.

    The Vault was not so as it was named. It had originally been intended as both an underground storage unit and living quarters if the events of The Crash got too out of hand. So, in spite of it’s name, The Vault was extremely well ventilated and had ample access to outside light and air. Ravena had made her home in the largest of the living quarters, ridding herself of the intend cramp communal lifestyle it had been intended for. She had alway set up a massive bank of computer systems down her, the ventilation and cement walls keeping them very much cooled, with which she ran a myriad of legal, semi-legal and downright illegal operations -such as making sure that all the electricity that The Place consumed went unnoticed by the Power Company, as well as other similar ventures. I had long known of her involvement in an underground Computer Network which engage in anti-corporate activities, but that mattered not to I, not since I saw the true Corporate face unfold my father and I during The Crash. Though many tried to link The Crash and the chaos that surrounded it to Ravena’s cmputer bound friends but I knew they were not involved and what had truly happened in those Times, but that was neither here nor there.

    I had other issues to attend to. Namely the Asian Amazon who was now upstairs and how I would go about explaining what happened to cause such a transformation to her father.

    “’Ere, take a squize at this,” Ravena said, pulling me down to the computer. “This is all the stuff me mates in The Realms could come up with about Ouroborus Enterprises. Take a gander and let us know what you think.”

    But I didn’t need to ‘take a gander’. I knew the story all too well.

    Ouroborus Enterprises was a company that specialised in high technology experiments -namely machines and techniques to facilitate genetic manipulations as well as other ventures in robotics and the like- that had become insolvent during The Crash and had been forced to sell everything, including all experimental and unfinished devices, to pay back their creditors-cum-corporate loansharks. Much of it had ended up as scrap. I could see why someone would think P.R. would be interested in obtaining such things.

    “Did you discover anything about the device that Satomi touched?” I asked, creaking and grinding as I stood. “What it is? Who made it? That sought of thing?”

    “Got a few names and numbers off the boys,” Ravena told me, brushing back her Medusaed coiffeur. “Even found the machine in their research storage papers, but not what it does.”

    “Well, find the one who invented it,” I told her, wrathfully. “I want them here ASAP! I don’t what you do or say -I don’t care if you have to resort to death threats- I want them here to answer questions. Understand?”

    “Of course, Keep,” Ravena replied, hastily pulling up her giant workchair. “I’ll find the sod who did this.”

    “No,” I muttered, wearily. “We know which sod did this, I want the sod who made that infernal machine.”

    Ravena laughed to herself as she began her task, singing soft as sweetly to herself as she did so. Pausing on once to say: “Get Mousy to bring me down a pot of black, huh, Keep? Gonna be a long night! Lotta work to do.”

    Then she returned to her song, but I didn’t catch the tune, as I slowly creaked and lumbered away, the grating and grinding of my joints irritating me no end.

    I returned to the floor of The Place as swiftly as my battered legs would allow, only to find the Lounge Room devoid of those whom I had left here. With a sigh, I shook my head, knowing full well we they would be in a situation like this. And there they were. In The Space. The Mouse hid behind me as soon as I entered, her trembling as she held the back of my robes quivered me greatly. Niche stood a little away from the door. A look of shocked bemuse meant staining her face. Whilst Pack Rat was afar across The Space, standing in front of a junk pile as if he were it’s sovereign protector. For he might as well has been, for the destruction the much altered Satomi was reigning upon his precious scrap was too great for his simplistic mind to fathom.

    A pile of twisted refuse sat broken at her much enlarged feet, as she effortless bent and writhed a foot thick girder with her bare hands.

    “Luku a-tu me, Jefuri,” she exclaimed, as she dropped her latest piece of destruction on top of the others. “So bigu! So storongu!”

    Satomi’s strength had made her bolder, but she was still the only person to called P.R. by his natural name -Geoffrey.

    She covered her mouth as she giggled, one of her few cultural hang ups, before she reached for another piece of scrap, much to the utter horror of P.R.

    “HIROKI!” I bellowed, in as close a fashion as her father used to use. I then spouted all the Japanese phrases about how she should be ashamed and the like that I could remember.

    Even though she apprantly had the strength to rend me asunder at will, her yellow cheeks turned vermillion and she stared ashame at her feet. It was at that moment I thanked the Gods and the Guilt Complexes her father had installed in her from such a young age. I then instructed her to go and ‘cover her shame’, so to speak, and told Niche to give lend of some of her clothes to Satomi -not even knowing if they would fit. Once they had gone, I remember walking over to P.R. and clasping his shoulder firmly beneath my leather gloves, before I gave a gesture of understand and condolence, before I strode back to Mouse and said: “Best we leave. Give him time to mourn.”

    So much was there to worry about that I was glad that Ravena was truer than her word, for within half an hour of me assigning her the task, the inventor of the Alienoid Device had arrived by Flyer at The Pace.

    I was not unpleasantly surprise to find that the inventor was one Professor Constance Ustance -a woman who’s work was known to my mind from the days of my father- so I found it easy, as well as pleasing, to speak with her.

    “So,” I said, as we strode the night-bathed Garden. “What is it?”

    “Strictly speaking,” she replied, in her croaky, aged voice. “It’s an Organic Mass Enhancer.”

    “A what?” I asked, stooping to pluck a weed.

    “An Organic Mass Enhancer,” she repeated, with patience usually void in a scientists temperament when having to explain to layman such as I. “O.M.E. Basically, it was designed to increase the mass of plants and livestock to produce a greater yield in flesh.”


    “But we never got around to full testing and production,” she sighed and pinched her nose. “The Crash made sure of that.”

    I gave a noise of understanding and asked: “How is it meant to work?”

    “You know those two antenna-like devices?” she asked, I nodded my reply. “Well, they are attached to subject -a cow, pig or some such other animal- or planted within soil like this,” she pointed to the vegetable patch we now stood before. “As a conduit to channel the machine’s energy to stimulate growth in size, musculature and/or general flesh with the aim of making a larger product for the market.”

    “What about humans?” I asked, tossing peddle amongst the vegetables. “What is it meant to do to us?”

    “Well, if the setting are fixed correctly,” she muttered, staring up at the reddened night-sky. “The same thing that it should do to the cow or pig -make them grow bigger and stronger. But that was all just theory.”

    “You’ve seen Satomi,” I uttered, testily. “I would conclusively say it’s no longer a theory, Professor.”

    Again, she sighed and concurred.

    “But is it meant to happen so slowly?” I asked, turning back towards The Place, swing my pained legs slowly. “And be so painful.”

    “No,” she replied. “It’s quiet quick and relatively painless. My only explanation is that the O.M.E. wasn’t fully charged -it takes a lot of power to run, you know?- and that the delayed effect was because it had to feed of the bodies own energy reserves before it could come to full effect. Luckily the O.M.E. is only effective one. So the young lady won’t be growing any larger. But that is the only explanation I can give. Sorry.”

    “Hhmmm. . . It matters not,” I replied, with a dismissive waving of my hand. “The damage has been done I’m afraid. Though the question remains as to what we do with the Device now? Obviously, we cannot keep it here -lord knows what might happen! So, that only leaves us with one alternative and that is return it to the rightfully owner. Thus being you.”

    “Thank you,” she replied, graciously. “But that will have to wait until tomorrow. My transport cannot hope to carry it back with me now. I shall sent someone to fetch it on the morrow.”

    “Then we are in accord,” I said, extending my hand. “You shall your Device back so you can continue your research and we here shall be the beneficiaries of said research, both intellectually and financially? After the initial investment that myself and Mr. Satomi would be willing to make into this Project, that will ultimately benefit all of mankind.”

    I could see that she was a little taken aback by this, but she was an intelligent woman and quickly saw she had no true choice in the matter. I held all the cards: She needed the Device back but she also needed the financial backing that only a ‘Zaibatsu’ like Satomi Kozo’s could provide, under my direction of course. So, she accepted both my hand and my offer, as her Flyer swept over The Place and came into land on the cement parking lot by which we stood.

    “Thank you, Mr Ontarra,” she said, over the whine of the Flyer’s turbines. “I knew your father and was sad to hear of his passing. He was a noble man and I am sure that he would be glad to see the man you have become. But I am surprise to see you thus, especially after all I had from my colleagues concerning you condit. . .”

    But I silenced her final words by signalling her readiness for departure to her pilot, who grabbed her and fastened her in before she could finish her utterance. That was close as I ever got to hating a person, when they tried to speak the unspeakable.

    I watched the Flyer’s departure, thinking the bitterest thoughts but shutting them out as I turned back towards The Place. It was then that I noticed, crouching in the shadow of a wilted tree, The Mouse. I never would consider this an odd action from, knowing her nature as I thought I did, but upon reflection, I should have had my suspicions.

    They were confirmed when I awoke drowsy later in the night, still well before the on set of Dawn and Aurora’s calling.

    My body felt deadened, though I was not a stranger to such sensations, this was not my usual feeling. I peered at the cup that I still clasp as I lay sprawled, impotent, across my bed and knew what had transpired instantly.

    My drink had been spiked with one of The Mouse’s many sedatives, no doubt, but to what end? Why would she, or any of the others, do this? What could they every hope to achieve by such action? And then all the events of the hours so darkly past, especially concerning Satomi’s transformation and my conversation with Professor Ustance in the Garden, came flooding back to me. It was then, at that moment, I truly knew that I had bene drugged by The Mouse and what she intended to do. Had she not been listening, as quietly as was her nature, to what The Professor had said to me? Yes, I now knew her intentions and I new she could not achieve them along. She would need assistance and it was amply obviously whom it would be.

    I struggled to get to by beleaguered feet, but luckily my limbs were programmed for such an eventuality and hoisted my benumbed torso off my scattered bed. I lurched stoically from out The Loft and ambled down the 5 flights of stairs (connecting the 4 levels of The Place) until I slammed onto the solid cement of the Ground Floor. With all the effort of Atlas, I struggled to my feet and pushed on towards The Space, knowing what to expected if I was too late -‘if’ I was too late!

    But, unfortunately, I was met by a barrier, a military mesh that P.R. had unearthed some months earlier and thus proved to be nearly unbreakable by human hands. Beyond the three unchanged ladies stood around the humming O.M.E., obviously they had been waiting for it to fully charge whilst I had been unconscious, but they had the foresight to install the mesh in case of my sudden awakening. I could see P.R. sitting upon his Throne of Junk -the true incarnation ‘Gomi-sama’, Lord of Junk- ineffectual in all his supposed power and glory, his eyes filled with muted despair. Whilst Satomi stood beside him, sensually caressing his shoulder. I knew in my heart that he would not be doing this willing and it did not take Plato to understand what coercion they would have used in order to gain his cooperation. That may have been the only time that I ever cursed my friends compulsions. I regret it now but things are always said in the heat of the matter. He always understood this though he would never forgive himself his own weakness.

    Niche, Ravena and Mouse all stood around the Device. I knew for what purpose The Mouse was, but for the life of me I could not fathom the reason the other two stood thus, ready to be transmuted into seemingly different beings. What ploys and coercion did Mouse employ to gain their trust and help. The promise of power, rejuvenation and a great physically? In the end, I never asked their motivations. I let it lie with the notion that they were temporary blinded by the excitement and possibility of the New and the Different. That was enough to satisfy me.

    I watched with impotent and rage and horror as Niche and Ravena each took hold of an antenna and held it fast for what seemed like an enternity -though it was less than a heart beat as the surges of the Device coursed through their flesh. With muted screams they released then antennae and waited for the Change to occur. It took mere moments for it to happen, as Professor Ustance said it would with a fully charged machine. Their skin shook and bubbled as had Satomi’s, but their’s was far more energetic than her’s had been. In mere moments their muscles were budding and bubbling beneath their clothes -which I thought they would have had enough foresight to remove, unless that was part of the thrill of The Change.

    The shoulders of Niche’s yellow dress was the first to slipt in a show of floral material, quickly followed by the sleeve of Ravena’s mesh shirt, chased soon after by the tearing of the bust of her bodice. Unlike Satomi, they revealed in their transformation. Flexing and turning as they grew, heightening the pleasure they obviously felt at the process. Ravena’s boot’s slipt around her calf as she fishnet were rendered useless by her thickening thigh. Niche had to use her hands to tear away the remains of the dress with still hung around her wait, merely to look at the cut of legs, which I tried to muse at -despite my situation- because of the ample nature of her new bust. The Change was over quickly and how revelry did they take in their new forms.

    Neither had truly grown in height, but in muscle they were equal measure with Satomi. Though Niche’s body, formed fore by the rigours of work and excise, was by far more cut than the other two, making her definition far more pronounced than her companions.

    They laughed as they flexed each new muscle as best they could, but their ignorance of such a practice was obvious and it was more blatant that they had other wishes to fulfil with their newly created forms. They eyes the piles of metal around them almost lustfully but when they attempted to approach them, a thing occurred that none of us expected to happen: P.R, was moved to passion.

    “NO!” he screamed, in a voice that would shake Hades himself. “YOU CANNOT HAVE THEM!”

    He had moved to stand with such force that he knocked Satomi from off the Throne-rise. So taken aback by his action, the ladies near fell over themselves to get away when he did rush at them. Thus it proved that new forms cannot blunt old fears. Although The Mouse would try to prove us all false in that matter, as she took hold of both antennae and held on for dear life, as tyrannical power surged through her veins.

    She held on for so long that her transformation began to take place whilst she still gripped the Device, enhancing its effect beyond all reckoning. The surges of power ripped all shreds of clothing as she rapid grew, expanding in all directions. Her height had come rapidly dire as she shoot upwards with bestial screams. Her muscle took on proportions that no creature, let alone a human, should possess. So afeared for her safety and well-being, I did a thing I vowed I would never do, but I had no choice. I would gladly give my very soul for the sake of a friend as true as her.

    I knew I had to overload the Device somehow and thus I willed it.

    A sheering bolt of blue cut through the mesh and struck the machine, frying it internally -part of me hoped beyond repair. The Device had halted it mutation of Mouse but the experience had utterly drained me. I collapsed onto my hands and knees. The horrid stench of burnt leather filling my nostrils.

    But The Mouse merely laughed as if it was a roar. In my delirium, I must have mused upon that -‘The Mouse that roared’. But this was no time for quaint musing, even in my present state of weakened frenzy, it was the last thing I should be doing. For the Device had made a beast of my friend!

    She now towered above us all at a staggering seven feet tall. Her legs were literally thick as tree trunks, cut and corded. Her abdominals were a brick wall, on top of which two basket balls that were her breasts. Her arms, lateral muscles and deltoids were so thick and full that she had difficulty in moving. She gave her arms a might flex to what would have added up to a circumference of over thirty inches but, due to her imposing height, this all looked almost in proportion. She tensed triumphantly, rippling from head to toe, before letting out a quaking peal of laughter.

    “Glorious!” she did roar. “This is even greater than I ever dreamed or imagined.”

    Began to caress her new flesh, almost gloating over her achievement.

    “Now I can finally get vengeance over all who ever vexed me,” she continued. “All those who ever hurt me, belittled me, despised me. Oh, how I shall make them suffer for they made me suffer.”

    As she babbled and bragged, my strength returned. I propped myself up and then prompted my legs to stand. I knew I had one card but it was Ace upon a Two.

    “And who are those who vex, my dear?” I asked, lurching and limping towards her. “Are we countered amongst those? Do you wish vengeance upon us for what we may have done to you? Will you hurt us? Will you even kill us? And how we hope to stop you if you did. You are all-powerful now! We would be but flies against your mightiness.”

    As I had hoped, my words had abated her wrath and tears now stung her eyes.

    “No,” she wailed. “No. I love you, Ezekial. I love you all. I could never hurt you. Never!”

    “But you shall,” I retorted, willing my body fully erect. “By hurting others, you shall be hurting us. And how can we love you after that? How can we love you knowing that you willing harmed others? No matter the reason. No matter how noble, how righteous you think you shall be. You shall be doing ill unto others. Vengeance amounts to nothing. No matter who you spin it. Vengeance is ultimately hollow and shall bring back nothing but regret.”

    “No,” she sobbed, all ecstasy now broken from her soul. It was a dirty gambit but the only I had left to play. May the Devil take me if I was wrong, for nothing else could save us.

    “Yes,” I replied. “That is how it shall be.”

    Now her sadness overwhelm her and she took off in flight. Through the open back door that P.R. must have been planning to shift the Device through before the ladies accosted him with their proposal. She was faster than I excepted, her natural swiftness greatly augmented by the power of the O.M.E. but still had to attempt to halt her. For her own good if nothing else -the last justification of desperate man.

    “I’m going to stop her,” I told the others, as bravely as I could. “If I’m not back, contact Professor Ustance and let her know what has happened. Maybe she can find a way to reverse the effects if I fail.”

    “But you’ll never catch her!” Niche protested. “She’s going as fast as a truck! She even tore a hole in the door as she run out.”

    “It doesn’t matter,” I remembered muttered, before the promise: “I’m going to get her back, no matter what.”

    The ladies all looked at me, faces painted dumbfounded and despairing, but I caught P.R.’s pained eyes and gave him a nod of understanding.

    “Be careful, Ezekial,” he muttered, almost a whisper. “Come safe back.”

    Again, I nodded and took my leave of them, for what I though may be my last time.

    I remember nothing as I fled across those accursed Wastes. Nothing but the whirling of my gears filled my ears as I tried to discern The Mouse’s path through that barren land. It was not hard, for a trail of blacken dust filled the air where she had run. I found her several kilometres from The Place, amongst a clump of black and deadened trees, crying in a fashion reminiscent of the Time she had first come to live at The Place. Come to live with me.

    “Go away!” she sobbed, child-like.

    “No,” I replied, sternly. “You’re going to come back to The Place with me.”

    “No,” she said, equally as stern. “Go back.”

    “I’m not leaving without you,” I told her.

    “Why should I go back there?” she cried, choking down her tears. “You don’t love there! You wanted me gone.”

    “Not true,” I said, trying to be both firm and reassuring as a man could be.

    “Then why did you say those things?” she demanded.

    “To make you understand!” I growled, impatiantly.

    “Understand what?!” she screamed back at me.

    I paused and took a breath.

    “Why did you do it?” I asked, masking my impatience, my rage. “Why did you use the Device?”

    “You wouldn’t understand,” she spat, turning her back on me.

    “Try me,” I retorted.

    Suddenly she turned and imposed her new stature over me, hoping I would back away. She hoped, as always, wrong.

    “You don’t know what it’s like to weak!” she suddenedly screamed. “To be powerless. To be at the mercy of other!”

    “I know more about that than you’ll ever realise,” I rejoinered.

    “Liar!” she roared. “You know nothing about it! NOTHING!”

    “As you wish,” I muttered. “But you’re coming back with me. NOW!”

    I lunged to grab her, knowing already the end of this.

    My father had always taught me kindness and compassion above all else -and I shall eternally love him for that- but it was my mother who taught me always to have plans and ploys ready. To know when is your limit and when to play your cards. That Timing is everything.

    As I lunged for her, she grabbed my arm and pulled it clean off. The sheer force of this was enough to finally weaken my knees, which snapped beneath me, sending me crashing to the dirt as if I was a allagory of Society Itself

    Mouse stood holding the now dead circuitry in her arm, agas at her own sudden and violent actions. But more agas at the secret I had keep from her all these years.

    “You’re a. . . a. . . ?” she gasped.

    “A Cyborg?” I replied, from my prone position. “Yes.”

    “Wh-wh-wh. . .” she stuttered.

    “‘When’? Since I was a teenager. I suffer from a disease which slowly ate away at my limbs, rotting them without and within. My family did all they could but to no avail. I languished for years, until I meet Pack Rat -Geoffrey- who helped build this cyber-organic limbs. Now you know why I know so much about weakness. My own body was killing me. You cannot get much weaker than that.”

    I remember that it was now that The Mouse collapsed in tears, falling besides me. Still clutching my torn limp.

    “And I don’t want the same weakness to eat away at the entire World,” I remember telling her, as we both lay there in the dirt. “That is why I took you and the others in. That is why I want you to come back with me now. That is why I want the Device.”

    “Why the Device?” she did ask of me.

    “Can’t you see the possibilities?” I told her. “We can rebuild the world with that technology. Forget about enhancing the human race. If we restore the Device to it’s original functions, we can help restore the echo system. Look around,” a flung my remaining arm out to indicate the Wastes that surrounded us. “Soon the whole World shall be like this. All because of The Crash. It destroyed so much and I won’t let the Authors of that disaster take the rest away from us.”

    “I think I see now,” she told me.

    “See what?” I asked.

    “Who you truly are and what you truly want,” she laughed and said: “Imagine, after all these years, I think I finally know you.”

    “No,” I muttered, watching her stand. “You can never truly ‘know’ a person. Merely the Machinations of them. But it appears that you know my Machinations quite well now.”

    I nodded at my broken arm, which she still held.

    “Oh!” she gasp. “Sorry!”

    “It matters not, dear Mus,” I did tell her. “P.R. can mend me when we return. So, shall we leave, dear Mus?”

    “It’s Sarah,” she said.

    “What is?” I asked.

    “My name,” she muttered. “It’s Sarah. Sarah Wilkins.”

    At this I remember that I smiled and laughed.

    “Well, then Sarah Wilkins,” I said, propping myself up on my good arm. “Shall we be returning home? Though I may require assistance. I can’t seem to get a hold of myself at the moment.”

    I would forever remember, that was the first time that I really saw her laugh.

    And that is my Tale but for the telling.

    It’s is truly that Professor did perfect the Organic Mass Enhancement technology and that she did return Sarah -nigh The Mouse, now my wife- to her original height, even though she chose to retain much of her muscle mass. Satomi graduated with honours and married Pack Rat -much to his surprise. She is now his business manager, commanding grand fees for his Installations and Artworks. Niche and Ravena still live with me at The Place -as do Satomi and P.R.- but now Niche has her own husband and clan which to lord over.

    As for me: you know my tale.

    I strive to rebuild the World. Not as it was, but as it should have been. With enough for all and all for enough. I have spent every waking hour trying to undo the damage caused by The Crash but there is still much left to do.

    And so, thus is thus.

    Except for this: To those Authors of The Crash and of my father’s demise, know this: I now have the means and the method, so hear my Word. Vengeance is Mine and My Willing alone. All shall be avenged. No matter the cost.


    Amazon Lover

    Truly amazing, PNB. I think you should seriously consider getting these stories published. Despite the occaisional typo, your descriptive writings and your attention to detail are truly worthy of public reading. While many writers of female muscle growth pay more attention to the growth and sexuality, you also put in plot, reason, character. It is for these reasons that your stories seem like more than simple tales of erotic female muscle, but they show an understanding of the world and a fresh, new viewpoint on strong women. I really think you could do well publishing a collection of these stories.


    I also enjoy the eerie feeling in this post apocalyptic sci fi story.


    This tale built really well. You started it slowly and grew the characterizations very well. The first person narration made it seem more ‘real’ and you never mentioned specific dates or times to suggest any particular ‘future’.

    Only when you had the emotional connections established did you begin adding elements of the fantastic.

    The faceless authors of The Crash suggest somethingh along the lines of cyberpunk Megacorp ministrations.

    The growth was facilitated by a plot device that literally was that. I liked how this story became liken to a fable with the particular tone of the language used.

    The narrator’s secret made me recall my favorite episodes of ‘The Outer Limits’ and ‘The Twilight Zone’.

    Great stuff Neon. You keep on writing I’ll keep on reading. 8)


    AL: a reply has been made to you on the Wreck Shop forum.

    Corwprode: thank you for your kind commentary. You are a loyal friend and admire in the matter of my’s scribblings, so to thee I’s give my’s utter thanks -as to all who take pleasure in my’s words.

    Thank you all for your kind comments. They touch this blackened heart so tenderly. But in truth, I’s am not enamoured with this tale. I’s find too many (personal) faults lie within that displease. So much more I’s wanted to write but could not find the words. Too many ideas I’s wished to combind but could not. Oh, well. They are but a Fool’s lament. They matter not to I if you all found pleasure within. So thank you fondly for your words.


    The Pimp NeonBlack


    Never… NEVER before have I read a story this good.

    I agree wholeheartedly with what was already said here… this DESERVES to be published in an anthology… perhaps, possibly, expanded upon into a book of its own, if given the opportunity.

    I’m an avid RPG/sci-fi fan, and as the story progressed, I found myself envisioning the characters, the world, the technology – all of it – with ease, mentally fusing them into entities and settings that one could easily expand outward into an independent realm of its own, not unlike other sci-fi/megacorporational/post-destructive concepts like Shadowrun.

    Truly, this is a work of art.

    Hmm… speaking of art, I’d drop to my knees in sheer worship almost, if someone could draw these characters… not just the post-OME girls, but pre-OME versions and the guys, too… Illustrations would only enhance the awesome in this story.


    I especially love the language usage, it reminds me of reading late 19th century literature. Really quite refreshing in a way when compared to todays English.


    I especially love the language usage, it reminds me of reading late 19th century literature. Really quite refreshing in a way when compared to todays English.

    Thank you, dear Vic.

    The Pimp has real many novels that are now deemed "Classiques" over the long years of This Life, so it is only natural that some shall have transfurred from one form to the other.

    Besides, there is a thing more elegant and eloquant in their decidedly dated modes of speech than in ours.

    You may also note that the narrator or the piece believes himself to be an author of some talent and reput, so it is natural for him to adopt a very novelistic and classic fashion to his tone when he speaks of a tale.

    Thank you again for your commentary.


    The Pimp NeonBlack


    Also, this was meant to be posted before, but has anyone yet discovered what the title Novus Machina means and implies.

    It is hoped that you do.

    Please, post your conjectures.


    The Pimp NeonBlack

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