Bunny Shell: Volume 1-Issue 5

Jason’s eyes fluttered open. A bright light caused him to try and cover his eyes, but he couldn’t lift them. He could hear and feel Velcro restraints being removed from his ankles. “Just sit still for a second, sweetie. I’ll have you out of these in a moment. Just let your eyes adjust. You’ve had them closed for three months. It’ll take a minute or two for them to adjust.” It was Dr. Masami Winters’ voice. That’s right, she was supposed to fix him. Undo the damage. He didn’t feel very different. Although he was a little cold.

“Now, I need to let you know up front, that I’ve injected you with a mood stabilizer to help calm you down. The changes can be a little shocking.”

Jason tried to ask Dr. Winters what changes she was talking about, but was met by a fit of coughing. His throat felt clogged. “Oh, right.” He heard the sound of something metal scrape a counter-top. “During the metamorphosis process your coughing mechanism had to be disabled. We manually had to induce coughing but it just isn’t as good as natural coughing. Turn your head to the right and spit out what you need to.” Jason did as instructed and coughed up the phlegm in his throat. It didn’t sound right though; it was too high pitched.

“Now, just lay down for a minute. Here, sip on this to help clear your throat.” He felt the tip of a water bottle pressed up against his mouth. As he swallowed it felt like heaven. How long had it been since he had put something down his own throat? “I need to see how the mental changes went to be sure everything went according to design. I’m going to ask you a few questions and I need you to answer. Okay?”

Jason simply nodded his head and swallowed another mouthful of water. “All right then. Tell me your full name.”

Jason cleared his throat. With an unfamiliar dulcet, voice he answered, “Aurora Brighthart.” That wasn’t right. He sat upright. “What the…” The former Crescendo sniper felt a slight, alien bounce to his chest and soft hair resting on her shoulders.

Her whole body felt different. As she opened her eyes she was met by golden strands obscuring the view of a smiling Dr. Masami Winters. “This… this… can’t be… no. No. No! NO! What have you done to me? You d…”

Dr. Winters grabbed Aurora’s hand and stroked it softly. Soothing concern filled her eyes, something Aurora could only remember in the eyes of her own mother so many years ago. “Aurora, please, calm down. Calm down. It’s going to be all right. Trust me. I‘ll explain everything, but you need to calm down first.”

Her heart was racing and was struggling to keep her breathing at an even pace. But something in the voice of the Doctor alleviated some of the panic she felt. She slowed her breathing down, trying to get her heart under control. Dr. Winters pushed herself onto the medical table besides Aurora, “I’m sure you have lots of questions. Let me try and answer some of the obvious ones. I assume you first want to know what I did to you?”

The blonde bombshell nodded her head as she looked down and examined herself. There was something about these curves that made the young woman feel like she had seen them before. “I wasn’t completely forthright with you when I said that I would, ‘make you into the person you’ve always dreamed.’ You see, the two biggest problems we have when recruiting former special-ops members of the SOC is that each one has their DNA on file as well as a brain scan. Beating the genetic identifiers is simply, but expensively, solved with a DNA makeover. But the brain scan is a different story.”

“You see, every person has brainwave patterns that are unique to them and them alone. They are very complicated to understand, but if you have a computer as powerful as the Wall you can scan a brain for a couple of days and understand how the brain of that individual works. Once you know how it works they can mind-peel you, forcing your brain to start telling them what they want to know. If you ever fell into their hands again, you’d be immediately hooked up and mind-peeled. No delay. No hope. So they only way to prevent that is to, well, give you a new brain.”

Aurora stopped looking over herself and raised an eyebrow. “A new brain?” She touched her forehead, trying to feel if there were any stitch marks around her cranium.”

Dr. Winters laughed. “No, nothing as crude as that, sweetheart. Besides, that would never work.” She sighed, “The SOC has done experiments like that unfortunately. Minds just don’t work outside the body that they started in.”

“So then how did you give me a new brain?”

“Well, as I studied the human mind, I came to the realization that in every human, they have an ideal female or male residing in their head. It’s the standard by which they relate to the opposite gender. For men, it’s a so-called ‘dream girl.’ For women, it’s the oft fantasized ‘perfect man.’ Either way, as I studied this trait of the human mind I found there was much complexity in this thought of the ‘ideal mate.’ It had form, personality, interests, talents, motor functions, and identity completely separate to that of the actual individual. A person within a person, if you will.”

“At the time I was conducting this research I was having second thoughts about what I had done as a member of SIM. I guess I had always known what I was doing was wrong, but had found a way to push it aside. To ignore it. To pretend the end justified the means. But as…” She paused and bit her bottom lip. “… as I saw people get mind-peeled, a project I collaborated on, I couldn’t deny that what I was doing was wrong. I needed to find a way to defeat the mind-peel process, at least temporarily. If for no other reason so that I could escape with my spouse.”

“Spouse?”

“Yes… I’ll explain on that in a moment. Anyway, it took a year to get the theory down. It was difficult because I couldn’t let SIM know I was working on something else. All my free-time was consumed with this. I submitted the paperwork to SIM requesting to work on a project that had the stated purpose of allowing our agents to impersonate any individual in the world given the right genetic reworking and mind conditioning. They granted me the tools I’d need. My spouse, who is a mechanical genius, then set about recreating a replica of all the lab equipment they granted me. One piece at a time, we replaced the lab equipment with fake equipment. We moved the real stuff, part by part, to a secret lab in our basement.”

“Once we moved it all, I started using my position to request coma patients to test my process on. I regret the lives that were lost in the trial process, but I had to perfect this. Maybe I’ve never truly learned the lesson of whether ends justify the means, but this time my ends were the right ones. Finally, with the process perfected, we set about to fake our own death.”

“We used our positions in SIM to figure out which resistance group was the most principled. Unlike many of the other groups, the Eremmian Independence Militia didn’t participate in any of the drug trafficking most of the others relied on as a source of funds. There was also evidence that showed that the Militia had used its resources to put an end to some human trafficking and prostitution rings. We were confident we could trust them. We made contact with them and they helped us smuggle the lab materials we had stolen out of our basement and into a storehouse they had. Then they snuck into our lab and set up explosives. Using the help of a talented hacker they had, we made it look like we went to the lab that day, then blew the lab up.”

“And SIM fell for it?”

Masami smirked. “All the propaganda is designed to make everyone think that SIM is all-knowing. But when it comes down to it, they are still a government agency with all the inefficiencies that go along with it. SIM is only as smart as the individuals who do its work. They fell for it.”

Aurora nodded. “And then you started working with the Militia?”

“Yes, but not before I took care of one large problem.”

“That being?”

“The fact that if anyone ever saw me or my wife and recognized us, they’d know we were alive, would apprehend us, then mind-peel us.”

“But then… wait wife? But…”

“Yes Aurora.” She pushed a few strands away from her face, blushing. “I used my own process to transform myself into my dream girl and my wife into her perfect man. The change allows us to go out into the open without fear of being exposed as traitors… plus it’s only fair that if I do this to others that I do it to myself. What’s good for the goose and all that.”

Aurora scratched her head. “So, you turned yourself into your dream girl. Is that what you did to me?” She examined herself again. “I recognize this body. This was the girl in my–I guess it wasn’t really a dream but this was her. I saw her during this… process.”

“Yes Aurora. You are her now. It’s how we nullify your old brain scan. The process is a bit technical, but essentially Jason Lightfoot, or rather, who Jason Lightfoot wished he was, is now your perfect man. Although to say you are an exact replica of your dream girl isn’t exactly correct. You are an amalgamation of her and Jason. I’m not going to lie, the next few days are going to be a little weird for you as you get used to being, well, you.”

The blonde bombshell buried her face into her hands. “I should be freaking out over this. I should be out of control. Yet I’m only mildly terrified. Is… is the new me calmer?”

“I’d probably guess you’re a bit calmer, but I’d probably more attribute your lack of ‘freaking out’ to the mood stabilizer I injected you with.” She put a reassuring hand on the young woman’s back. “But don’t worry. I’ll be here when the mood stabilizer wears off, as will your sisters.”

“My sisters?”

The sound of a door opening got Aurora to pull her eyes from her palms. Walking in through the door was a tall cocoa-skinned woman who looked to be in her mid-20’s. She was an absolute knockout. “Heya, Sunshine. Glad to esee dat you’re finally awake.”



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