The Rewards of Virtue

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    Tommy stared plaintively into the doctor’s eyes.

    "Can you help her?"

    The professional shook his head. "We’ve utilized all possible measures. All we can do now is wait."

    "How long will that be?"

    The doctor contemplated. "Comas are enigmatic. It could be a week, could be a decade. All we can do now is wait." He reiterated.

    Tommy hung his head. "I wish I could do something to help her recover, but that’s not probable."

    The man in the lab coat smiled mysteriously. "Actually, there is an opportunity for you to assist us."


    "Follow me." The lab coated surgeon led the young man into a cthonian laboratory. Cameras squinted at them from every corner. Arcane machinery jutted out from the walls. Even the PCs seemed menacing. In the center of the room, lay the most consternating construct of them all.

    "What is this thing?" Tommy asked.

    "Behold! The myotranspositor!" The doctor introduced with a flourish.

    "What does it do?"

    "This opus is the culmination of a half century of particle physics and cytology. It can teleport tissues from a donor, and assimilate them into the structure of a host instataneously."

    "You want me to transfer my brain cells to her?" Tommy’s mouth fell ajar.

    "No, all tests of the central nervous system had ended with fatal results. The transfer involves muscle cells, and you are not the donor, but the recipient."

    "What do muscle cells have to do with head trauma?"

    "Directly speaking, very little. One of the difficulties that such patients endure is rehabilitation. While Maria is lying in bed, we can do relatively nothing for her muscle conditioning. But if someone were to keep her muscle cells active during the hiatus…"

    "Oh!" Tommy began to understand, but the doctor continued.

    "There are also the benefits of reduced metabolic needs and the hitherto unavailable option of recasting torn muscles. However, a minimal risk will be assumed."

    "What kind of risk?"

    "There is a marginal risk that the muscles will not assimilate correctly. That could be very dangerous for you. That is the reasopn we are currently restricting our research to myofibrils; they are not susceptible to cancer. Of course, Maria will be protected by certain override mechanisms, but I cannot guarantee your safety. However, you will have temporary use of her muscles."

    "I’ll do anything to help Maria."

    "Resplendent! I’ll get you the forms to sign."

    Several waivers and a set of restraints later, Tommy and Maria were fastened to two guerneys, electronic probes and wires encircling their bodies.

    "Are you ready?" a nurse stood above Tommy.


    "Now, Doctor." The nurse relayed the message.

    Tommy held is breath, bracing for the unknown. An eerie sensation percolated through his tissues. His hairs all over his body stood erect, static electricity causing minute arcs between them. Soon he felt a foreign heaviness to his frame. Then the process was over. The nurse removed the needles and sensors.

    "Perfect!" The doctor skipped down from the control panel with eldritch relish. "Two thousand rats can’t be wrong!"

    Tommy tried to stand. His body slid easily off the surface. He flexed, and foreign biceps surged from his arms.

    "All right!" He cried but sighed as he saw the atrophied form of his sister. Her once thick limbs seemed so emaciated now.

    "Don’t worry. Take care of her muscle and she will be fine. Maria’s very lucky to have a brother as brave as you."

    "I wonder what that means…" Tommy cogitated as he boarded the subway home.


    I’m really enjoying your ideas Axel3.14. I can’t wait to see what would happen when the doctor transfer back Maria’s muscles back.



    Tommy ran to the street corner to test his new body. "I must have excellent explosivity with these legs. This is going to be great!" He hailed a cab. Outside his residence he had an irate altercation with the driver about cab fare and change. Finally acceding to the man and leaving the car, Tommy fumed, "I shouldn’t have forgotten my calculator…"

    As he walked through the door of his house, his patrents asked a fusillade of questions. Tommy answered them all in a monologue.

    "Maria is fine. She’s unconscious, and they don’t know how long. My clothes are torn because I participated in an experimental therapy."

    "What?" His mother looked incredulous.

    "You know how Maria is a professional bodybuilder? There was this machine that lets me borrow her muscles temporarily and train them so they don’t atrophy. Technically I shouldn’t even tell you this, because I signed a DNA."

    "What about side effects?"

    "The doctor doesn’t expect any."

    "Thomas, has this process been tested on any humans besides you and your sister?"

    Tommy’s spine shivered. "Well, I don’t think so, but I know there was a risk!"

    His father’s face reddened, "You made a decision of this magnitude without telling us first?"

    Tommy stood up, "It was important! Bodybuilding is Maria’s life, and let’s face it: she lacked the mental competance to do anything else before that drunk driver blindsided her!"

    "Enough!" His mother pre-empted. Her voice relaxed. "Tommy, what you did was a dissappointment, but all we can do now is wait, and pray. I know you love your big sister, but you should excercise more foresight.

    Thunk! Tommy’s head struck the table. His mother placed a hand on his trapezius. "You are a considerate young man, and we aren’t angry at you. We also won’t betray your NDA."

    "Thank you." He looked up his mother was smiling, and his father stolidly looked on in agreement. It was a while however, before Tommy said anything.

    "I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?"

    Supper turned out to be an interesting affair that night. After eating most of a turkey and its dressing, Tommy quaffed a half gallon of milk and finished with a Slim Jim for dessert.

    "Wow!" he remarked with a burp. "This body must require far more calories than my normal one." He went into his room and tirned on his computer. His e-mail box was mostly cluttered with spam. Two exceptions came from the college of his dreams. Eagerly he clicked on the first. "Homework…"

    He finished the reading from his correspondence course. It was a long and not distinctly entertaining disquisition pertaining to Bowen’s reaction series. The second one carried much more appeal. Tommy mumbled the message to himself. "Dear applicant this is a reminder that evaluations for sports scholarships will be held tomorrow at your school…"

    "As if I could forget that!" He clicked the back button. He turned off the computer, went to the basement, and eagerly flipped a lightswitch.

    The austere yellow glare revealed an array of training equipment that rivalled some health clubs. He walked over to the leg press and placed his 4rm level on it. He cautiously mounted the machines and shifted the metal handles, releasing the weight onto his leg muscles. After ten of these, he felt he was nowhere near fatigue. With mounting glee, Tommy tested his newfound power on each of the machines. Finally he came to the bench press. He put three hundred pounds of weights on the bar, slid under the bar, and lowered it to his chest.

    "Ok… my 3rm… go!" Tommy lifted the bar with relative ease. He could do this at least five times, but he did not dare test his capacities without a spotter.

    "Ugh…" He sat up and saw a field of scintillating nebulae in a moment of lightheadedness. He shook his head, dismissed it as a result of the euphoric rush of anticipation and went to bed.


    Outside his residence he had an irate altercation with the driver about cab fare and change. Finally acceding to the man and leaving the car, Tommy fumed, "I shouldn’t have forgotten my calculator…"

    "Ugh…" He sat up and saw a field of scintillating nebulae in a moment of lightheadedness. He shook his head, dismissed it as a result of the euphoric rush of anticipation and went to bed.

    Interesting 😯



    At the first suggestion of sunlight, Tommy was awake and showering. He spent so much time lathering his augmented muscles that he used all the hot water. Then he found himself in class, and from thereon, the hours sublimated.

    At length he stood in his now slightly uncomfortable football outfit, waiting for his chance to demonstrate his athletic prowess, best friend at his side.

    "Hey Tommy , you ain’t been this excited since the Bears won!"

    "I can’t wait to show my skills out there. I can almost taste that Geology degree."

    "Don’t get all cocky yet. There’s some tough competition for this scholarship, including me!"

    Tommy snorted. "With all due respect, let’s just say I have a secret weapon for this test."


    "You’ll see, Frank."

    "Starker! You’re up!" A man with a clipboard yelled to Tommy. The trials began. The first was quite simple: shoulder-ram an oversized punching bag that was being secured at the other end by a linebacker. Tommy closed his eyes, started running, and slammed into the bag at top speed. He felt a slight crunching sound when his arm collided with the bag.

    "My kidney!"

    When he opened his eyes, the bag had a tear in its surface and the linebacker was sprawled on the ground in pain. "Sorry." Tommy scratched the back of his head.

    "Starker, not bad! Peterson, stop whining!" The coach shouted his verdict.

    Tommy’s next goal involved catching and making passes. He performed perfectly, but he had to dive to catch the last one, sending shooting pains through his arm. These he suppressed as he continued to his last challenge.

    He had to run a mile in full uniform. His progress would be meticulously traced. The test was almost ludicrously easy for Tommy, who was certain that he was about to finish inside of four minutes, but he never crossed the finish line. Instead, Tommy’s muscles suddenly yearned for absent oxygen, his heart stopped, and his titanic body lay a crumpled mass, hair barely grazing the finish line.

    Some number of hours later, he was sitting relatively comfortably on a hospital bed, a nurse overshadowing him.

    "A heart attack?"

    The nurse nodded. "Yes. You also have a minor wrist fracture, and your humerus is also heavily contused, but not broken."

    "How did this happen?"

    The nurse suddenly eyed him suspiciously. "Football players often incur musculoskeletal injuries. Nothing is odd about that. However, the heart attack is unexpected for someone of your physical prowess. Still it is not unheard of."

    "Have you had any family history of cardiac conditions?"

    "No." The nurse marked this response on a clipboard.

    "Have you been taking any stimulants lately?"

    "I had a glass of Pepsi this morning."

    "Is there anything you could think of that might be pertainent. You can tell me anything at all." She eyed Tommy’s arms.

    Tommy stared the nurse in the eye and allowed only one drop of sweat. "I have no idea." He answered.

    "All right. Okay, I’m going to need a routine urine sample now."

    He complied and the nurse left him alone. The next few days were displeasing. He was confined to the hospital and strictly instructed not to exert himself. Still, he flexed his muscles whenever possible, never forgetting about Maria. His parents arrived to give him company and homework. They never asked about the muscle transplant, but Tommy wondered whether they were concealing apprehensions for the sake of secrecy. After a week he was completely healthy. The heart attack was relatively minor because of his physical condition and rapid medical intervention. The doctors appeared slightly startled when his x-rays testified that his bones were in optimal condition. Tommy was ecstatic when the hospital released him.

    Something far from elation manifested at the coach’s response, however. "Tommy, it kills me to tell you this, but I’m suspending you from the team."

    "What did I do!"

    "Easy boy. We don’t want you getting angry. Policy just demands that you be suspended from games for the rest of the season."

    "But I didn’t do anything!"

    "I know, son, but those gutless suits in the school board are watching us, and they are just begging for a reason to cut our funding. You can come to the practices and watch the games for free, but you just can’t play anymore this semseter."

    Tommy responded quietly with downturned eyes, "I understand. Should I turn in my uniform?"

    "Nah, keep it."

    The young man walked away from the school grounds, ensconced himself in the darkness of a nearby ally, and wept.


    a nurse overshadowing him

    Could be? 😀

    Thanks for this piece. Interesting reactions of his new muscles.



    a nurse overshadowing him

    Could be? 😀

    Maybe, then again, maybe he was just reclining. 😉

    By the way, I added some things to my last post.


    Thanks for the update. How sad that we won’t be able to play 🙁 . He could have score nice records.



    Two weeks later, Tommy was in the school training room, having completely surpassed the weight limits on the machines in his basement. His teammates labored beside him. Some flashed him surreptious looks, others avoided looked at him entirely, but Tommy got the idea that he was being shunned. After ninety minutes of working out, Frank finally talked to him.

    "You’ve got a lot of nerve showing up here."

    "I’m still entitled to it."

    "Get out of here!"

    "What’s your problem?"

    "Whatdoyathink it is? I’m liable to bash your face in!" Frank had stood from his weight machine, and stood a few inches from Tommy, who rose to his feet.

    "Frank, I think I know what this is about. We’ve been friends since our freshman year, and I’ve always been there for you when you suceeded. Are you jealous of me now?"

    Frank’s anger evolved into engulfing fury. "Hypocrite." He spat, and launched an uppercut at Tommy’s chin. Tommy grabbed his opponent’s fist in midair and shoved, sending him back two yards. Frank lept back, ran a couple feet, and bounded into the air, trying to jumpkick Tommy, but his aim was off, and he shattered a three inch thick pane of glass.

    "You need to chill out now! Are you on something?"

    The bloodstained teenager stood up. Tommy was hoping his teammate couldn’t get any angrier, but disappointment descended as Frank rushed at his neck.

    "Come on, What did I say?"

    Tommy, increasing irritated by Frank’s fervid salvo of attacks, finally shoved the taller yet less strapping young man. He flew back against the door, and ignominiously crawled out, holding his bleeding face. By this time a circle of spectators had converged around the combatants, and every athlete in the gym was watching them. Tommy shrugged before his audience. "What! You all saw him coming at me!"

    The boys had various responses. Some fidgeted rapidly, some made an immediate exodus from the door, and others stared in shock. The football players, however, exhibited none of these. One of Tommy’s former teammates stood toe to toe with him.

    "And those baseball players are going to see us coming at you if you don’t leave now."

    "What’s the matter with you? A few weeks ago we were hanging out in the local Pizza Hut, talking about our plans for graduation, and arguing about which celebrity was hottest. What are you thinking?"

    "I tell you exactly what we think of you, you self contradicting pile of-"


    The door made a thundrous noise as the coach entered. "Everyone, shut up and stand down!" The players obediently demurred from further embarcation. The weathered brow of the coach furrowed as he turned to Tommy. "Starker… I’m sorry this happened, but for the good of everyone, I’m letting you go proper."

    "Coach Bradbury! I didn’t want to…"

    "You can turn in your helmet at the front desk."

    "What about my jersey?," Tommy sniffed.

    "Keep it. It’s yours."

    "Yes sir." Tommy’s massive shoulders sagged as he sulked out of the room. Outside the weight room, he did not hear the rest of the coach’s words.

    "As for you all…" The man paced back and forth, regarding his team with the visage of an irate bulldog. "You guys are pathetic! Starker has carried this team through years of tournaments, and this is how you treat him!"

    "But sir, he looked like he was about to smack us all down!" The defensive liner who had challenged Tommy rebutted, more submissive this time.

    Coach Bradbury raised an eyebrow. "Really? He might have slapped some sense into you. A team needs to be unified. You assaulted him over unfounded speculation, and even if it is true, he should be helped, not attacked. Everyone! Get outside and run three additional miles."

    "But coach…"

    "Move! Move! Move!"

    Across town, Tommy sorted through an exotic shopping list. "Whey protein… lamb chops, protein shakes.. Bodybuilders sure eat crap." His reverie was interrupted by a clattering sound. A forklift carrying a number of products for a display rolled forward, oblivious of the toddler in its path. Tommy sprang in front of the vehicle, seized the girl’s arm, and pulled her away with seconds remaining.

    "Lara!" The girl’s mother emerged from an aisle and snatched her up protectively. "What did I tell you about wandering away from me?" The young girl began to cry. "That bad guy hurt my arm mommy! Make him go away!" Tommy now saw a red mark on the girl’s arm. He had even more strength than he reckoned.

    "Pervert! Don’t ever touch my child again." The mother smacked him sharply with her handbag and hastily departed, clutching her daughter.

    "No." Tommy commented. "No!" He exclaimed, picking up the shards of his pocket calculator. "Now how am I going to pay for this stuff? He hulked down the aisles, looking for the last item on the list. "All these muscles have brought me is misery. I can’t wait until this is over. As he strolled down the lane, he moved to one side to give an eldery man berth. His repositioning caused him to brush a heavily stocked shelf. This initiated a domino effect that leveled all the shelves in the store. Then, possibly by coincidence, the power failed, sending the business into darkness.

    Tommy scowled at the tenebration. He thought silently as he headed for the checkout line. Maybe they won’t know it was me. At least no one was hurt by that blunder. I can’t wait for this day to be over.

    In the midst of circumstances that would drive the average person to a debacle of larceny, it is nearly impossible to actually pay for anything. Tommy smiled subtly as a young teenage clerk fumbled with a pen and paper to add all the prices. She faced him. "Sir, do you remember how to get the sales tax."

    "Let’s see. Five percent sales tax, so multiply everything by hm… 1.5."

    "Thanks. Your total is 121 dollars and eighty three cents."

    "I only have one hundred twenty dollars…" Tommy sighed.

    "You’ll have to put something back then."

    "How about this?"

    "Okay, without the diapers, the total is one hundred two dollars."

    "I can afford that."

    Tommy walked out as quickly as he could. Back home, he realized that something bizarre had happened. Although the baby food and lamb meat were there, everything else was different. Tommy pulled out baby wipes, a pacifier, and a carton of formula. "Oh no!" He exclaimed. "Handbag lady took my cart!"

    A while later, Tommy simled at his sister in the hospital. She had filled out since she lost most of her musculature. The staff must have been administering physical therapy. He held her hand delicately as he spoke.

    "Hey girl! How was your day? Wait, don’t answer that. Mine was awful. I got thrown off the football team, I had to fight my former friend over some made up matter, and I lost my calculator. I’m glad I can finally go to college soon. You never went though… Do you ever regret it?

    I got that food for you again, but I’m the one who’s eating it. You’re in for a surprise when you finally wake up. Get up so I can stop eating this bodybuilder junk and go back to the plain old powerlifter junk. Good night, sis!" He bent down to kiss her forehead.

    On the way out he bumped into a specific doctor. "Umm.. excuse me."

    "No, I’ve been wanting to see you. How’s your condition?"

    "I’ve had problems with mild fever, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and a heart attack, but lately I’m alright. What’s wrong with me?"

    "You’ve gained quite a bit of striated muscle, but your bones and organs have to catch up. Nerves, lungs, circulation. All these systems had a sudden strain on them, but they probably equilibrated by now."

    "It would have been nice to tell me that beforehand."

    "You are the first human to receive this procedure. Furthermore, none of the mice had received such a large influx of muscle from a donor before. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll know to alert later patients from hereon."

    "I’m overjoyed." Tommy rolled his eyes. and walked past the doctor.

    Near midnight, Tommy’s room was pitch black except for the glow of his computer screen. He curiously clicked on his e-mail address. His college of choice had sent him an e-mail. The title looked promising: Athlete scholarship. He clicked the link, and read the message several times in shock. Finally, he tore the plug out of the outlet, stood up, and roared.

    "It cannot be!"


    Interesting chapter. Poor Tommy. It seems that having muscles was not a good idea. I wonder what he is going to do now.

    Thanks Axel3.14 for this chapter.


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