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Whose Body Is It, Anyway?             by: Brandy Dewinter

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Chapter 5 - Trained To Do What?

The hypno training was still in full force so my walk back from the admiral’s office was more sashay than march. It should have provided plenty of time for anyone to get out of my way, anyone that wanted to, that is. Worrying about the mission offered by the admiral put a delicate pout on the full red lips provided by Titania, one that I realized was devastatingly attractive when I happened to catch sight of my reflection in a polished panel. That awareness gave me several more things to pout about, and at first I didn’t notice my way had been blocked by a technician.

"Warning, someone is in our way," Titania broke in on my thoughts. "This could be a problem. He is showing significant signs of tension and stress. It could be a prelude to an attack."

My eyes, well, the ones I was looking through anyway, lifted to see the potential threat, then I had to laugh even though the cause of the man’s stress was embarrassing. He obviously wanted to strike up an acquaintance with me. Attack was probably the very last thing on his mind. I was pretty sure of that since I knew this tech, a slight, meek man named Trane. He and I were frequent opponents in the holoflight sims.

My glossy lips twitched into a bright smile, and the transition from troubled pout triggered an equally bright response from the waiting technician.

"Excuse me, um, Commander, but didn’t you used to play Laserorbit quite a bit?"

The hypno training that I had absorbed was designed to provide instant, instinctive responses appropriate for the persona specified. Before I could even start explaining the true situation, my new reflexes kicked in and I found myself stroking my hair with a gesture that just happened to elevate my generous bosom while saying, "Now, Lieutenant, do I look like a fighter, or a lover?"

This caused the Lieutenant to blush with renewed fire. Titania whispered fiercely into my ear, "You’re shameless! Leave the boy alone, we have bigger matters to attend to."

That seemed to help overcome the runaway responses trained into me. I tossed all that hair around in a gesture that did nothing to reduce Trane’s pulse rate, but did help me get refocused on the situation. My cheeks lit with a flush of their own as my hips swiveled sinuously around Trane so that I could continue on my way.

We have got to see what can be done to fix this hypno training, I thought.

As soon as I reached my quarters, I called up the instructions on the field agent’s hypno training; the ones that were marked, "Read carefully before initiating program." Of course, I hadn’t read them before.

The notes were full of warnings about setting the strength of the training program to be compatible with the agent’s personal psyche profile. Not surprisingly, I was especially susceptible to the suggestions in the hypnotic training since a high psi factor and high intelligence combined to produce a very creative imagination.

"You mean you didn’t know this, before you took the training?" Titania snorted in amazement. Which was actually an amazing thing since she didn’t have any lungs of her own to snort with, nor a nose for that matter.

"Well, I already know communications, so I figured all I’d get would be the motion skills."

Titania still thought something was more wrong than that explanation would cover. "Are you SURE that’s what a call girl did?"

"Um, not entirely, but I can get a summary," I answered, punching for a multi-media presentation on historical professions, then selecting ‘20th Century, American, Call Girl’.

The information in the file started out reassuringly. It showed a group of young women, lounging in clothes that by-and-large matched the specific constraints I had been trying to becoming skilled in wearing. They all seemed to have the loose limbs, orbiting hips, bright smiles, and long sleek hair that I had selected the disk for in the first place.

"See, I told you we got the right disk," I said.

"But what did they DO?" Titania persisted. "I can’t believe that lounging around in moderately restrictive clothes was considered a productive occupation, even two or three hundred of your years ago."

"Don’t be so sure. At this time, millions of people were paid to do nothing. Or at least subsidized in their inactivity by the government. These young ladies look fit and trim, though, so they must have been involved in some sort of physical activity."

Then the info file began a verbal tutorial, both spoken and with overlaid screen text. Principal skills were listed, offering a choice of further information in several categories. It was then that I finally recognized what the practitioners of this profession truly did. I tried to hide my gasp of surprise, but that sort of dissembling was no longer available to me, at least, not in hiding something from my symbiont.

"They did WHAT?" Titania shouted in my ear, way inside my ear.

That triggered further images in my mind, and while I had never been highly sought after by women, I was not completely inexperienced. Even the listed "skills" I had never had occasion to personally sample weren’t total mysteries. Titania’s shouting and the distractions of the screen as the information file began to explore those skills in more depth were enough to call up relevant memories and give Titania a pretty clear idea of our newfound proclivities.

"You DARE to offer our body to just anyone?! And for money?! I’ll have you know that my matrix has not been shared with anyone outside the nobility for over 400 of your years! Deliberately trying to make yourself the target of base, animal lusts is an insult to my presence! And for money! We have a name among our race for entities like you!"

"Apparently we do, too," I observed quietly. "Call Girl."

I felt a pressure behind my eyes that I somehow knew was related to the tension in Titania’s own psyche. It was clear that she was gearing up for another discussion the sanctity of her "matrix". I tried to take advantage of the brief interlude by scanning to the end of the hypnodisk directions I should have read in the first place.

Titania picked up on my intent and canceled her own tirade to ask, "What do we do to cancel out these instructions?"

"I don’t think we do," I sighed after reading for a few more minutes. "Apparently, they are designed to seat deeply enough into my personality that they will hold up under fairly severe mission stress, including potential psyche interrogation. We’ll just have to learn to control our impulses."

"I’ll control them all right. The next time you fling yourself at someone for money I’ll lock you up so fast you’ll think you fell in a vat of that Ultima glue."

"Look, Titania, I never intended anything of the sort. Creating a desire in someone *else* doesn’t mean I have to give into it. You know as well as I do that this was a mistake. I’m even less interested in sex, at least from the female side, than you are."

"Who said I was uninterested in sex?" Titania contradicted in words that held more than a hint of . . . something.

"I thought that was what you were yelling about!" I replied, beginning to let my own frustration show.

"Not at all. It seems like a most interesting topic for experimentation. I just want to be able to select an appropriate partner, and of course we would never do it for money."

"*You* want to select a partner?! What about me?"

"Very well, if you want to select some man for the experiment, I’ll consider your advice."

"I *don’t* want to select a man!" I shouted.

Titania’s voice now showed exasperated confusion. "Then what were you offering?"

"I wasn’t offering anything!"

"But you said . . ."

I interrupted, "I don’t care what I said. We’re not going to have sex with a man and that’s final!"

"But, it would be a most interesting experience. Commander Tryx really enjoys it."

"How do you know, uh, forget it. I can guess. It doesn’t matter. We’re not Tryx. We’re not female. We don’t want sexual intimacy with men."

"Actually, at this moment, we *are* female. At least physically," Titania corrected.

"That’s the problem! Not part of the solution! Change me back!"

Titania’s voice had a dismissive tone, followed by brusque no-nonsense direction. "We’ve already discussed that. You need to stay female until after this mission, at least."

"Very well, Titania *dear*, please explain why we should not refuse this assignment outright," I demanded in a tone that denied there could be sufficient justification.

"We must take the assignment, because we are best suited for it," Titania claimed.

"Best suited?" I snapped. "Hardly. I am not interested in being chained and beaten."

"Stand still for a minute," Titania directed. Holding me still was something that Titania could do, so I avoided another painful lesson and did what she demanded. When I had complied, an area of the red jumpsuit faded into invisibility over an ivory thigh.

Titania’s next command surprised me, "Hit yourself, sharply, in your leg."


"Because I said so, that’s why," came the snappy response.

I shrugged and lifted my arm. Since I couldn’t even make a real fist with the long nails that Titania had provided, I opened my hand for a slap. At the last instant, just as my hand was about to strike, a black tendril snaked out from my middle finger and snapped down along the whole length of my upper leg with a sharp whipcrack.

"Hey!" I cried, reaching for my injured limb. Except there was no injury.

Titania’s smug chuckle couldn’t be entirely hidden behind a façade of lecturing pedantry, "I can protect your skin from striking blows, whether heavy like a club, or sharp like a whip. In essence, you have perfect armor."

"That’s a, um, good trick," I grudgingly agreed, "but without a mark, people will suspect something."

"Oh, you mean like this?" Now the self-satisfied pride in Titania’s tone made no pretense of hiding. As I watched in the mirror, the flawless skin of the beautiful woman I saw there darkened and split as though a cruel whip had cut the skin with a permanently-scarring desecration.

Still, there was no pain and once the effect was clear it vanished even more quickly than it had appeared, followed by a restitution of the taut covering from the dark red jumpsuit.

To her credit, Titania recognized it was time to allow me a chance to think on this for myself. In a moment, my thoughts were trickling out in self-convincing logic.

"So, only the high order pairings can simulate human flesh. Tryx is busy. If we wait, who knows how many poor women on that world will be treated cruelly? Admiral Jones may even be forced to send in a regular field agent; one without our protection. We can’t let someone else be injured because we wouldn’t do something that would be safe for us."

"Very good," Titania said, condescendingly. "We’ll have you thinking like a noble, yet."

"Like a noble? The reputation of most nobles is that all they care about is their own comfort."

"No, what nobles most care about is their own status," Titania corrected me. "There is little status in slogging through noxious swamps, or poison gas, or the sorts of things that most of the commoner symbiont pairings get assigned to do and probably what you would be assigned to do if you refuse this mission. On the other hand, if we can be instrumental in determining whether a whole planet should join the Federation, well . . ., let Bee beat that accomplishment!"

"This pairing is not about out-pointing your sibling rival in some sort of status game," I insisted.

"Why not?" Titania sniffed. "As long as the ‘points’ as you say, are earned through good works."

"Well, because, um, . . . " my voice (it still felt funny even thinking that beautiful contralto was ‘my’ voice) trailed off as I tried to come up with a good counter argument.

The files on Machovia had arrived in my computer and I used them as a distraction. The multi-media presentations provided a quick, efficient summary of the situation on the planet, as well as it could be determined by overt observers. It seemed Machovia was a rigidly patriarchal culture emphasizing warrior virtues, especially physical prowess. The rulers were selected from among a short list of tournament champions, providing the semblance of democratic elections. Theoretically, women could be elected to office. However, even an abnormally strong woman could not really compete against the abnormally strong men who ended up as tournament winners.

The opposite side of Machovian justice was just as slanted. As most cultures do, there were different mores for clothing styles for men and women. Again, the laws were theoretically fair, with actual criminal penalties for transgressing on clothing codes that were equally applied to both men and women. However, the clothing codes for men were very loosely defined and provided no significant restrictions. For women, on the other hand, clothing codes were specific, rigid, and highly variable. It was almost impossible for a woman not to fall afoul of some rule or another. The punishment for this invariably involved some form of restraint. Since the official Federation observers were granted diplomatic immunity, none had ever determined if the various types of restraint were applied in such a manner as to cause deliberate or even careless pain. Nor whether other punishments were inflicted in private.

The emphasis on physical skills had resulted in a disdain for mental skills among Machovian men. They considered it a positive thing that galactic technology had passed them by. However, they did enjoy some extra-planetary luxuries, which they were planning to buy with planetary mineral resources once Federation membership was obtained.

"What a bunch of arrogant assholes," I scowled.

"Indeed," Titania agreed. "So, are you willing to take the assignment?"

"Well, thanks to you, I’m no longer afraid of it," I admitted.

What choice did I have, really? I was afraid of this assignment, even after Titania’s demonstration of my near-invulnerability. How much worse, then, would it be for an ordinary agent? Well, Federation field agents were hardly ordinary, but even that distracting thought couldn’t justify sending another into danger that would be much less for me. I’d never felt I was particularly brave, but I’d never been particularly tested, either. This might not be "the" test I’d need to know if I were truly brave, but I realized I was even more afraid of appearing to be a coward.

I sighed with a depth too heartfelt to be entirely damped by the corset, and nodded at my internal decision. In seconds, Jones’ robosec was connecting us.

His eyes widened again once he was reminded of the spectacular transformation in the once-unremarkable officer who was now under his command. That brought a sense of smugness from Titania, and a renewed blush to the translucent cheeks I saw reflected from the screen.

"Yes, Commander?" Jonesy offered an opening.

Despite my intentions, I felt my first response come from the implanted training. In tones so laden with unspoken promise that only a low contralto could properly produce them, I pouted and said, "Oh, dear, that’s so formal. Have I done something to disappoint you?"

"Ah, no, not at all," he answered gruffly. If it weren’t for the embarrassment he had sometimes shown, I’d have figured that was the only mannerism he had. Maybe that was the reason I let myself try and break through that stiffness so often. Right. I’d keep trying to convince myself of that.

"Then could you call me, Xora? Pretty please?" I asked with a sad little look that would have melted a heart of stone.

Jonesy was definitely not stone. Well, maybe one part was nearly as hard, but he wasn’t about to refuse me.

"Of course. Xora. Now, what did you call me about?"

"Oh, yes," I replied, and tried to get my responses back under control. I have decided to accept your mission, if you still want me."

"Yes, of course I still want you," Jonesy replied, then a most unmilitary flush seemed to crawl up his neck.

The bright smile that his reassurance triggered on my face did nothing to relieve his embarrassment, but before I could say anything, Jonesy continued with mission information.

"You’ll be masquerading as a rich Federation traveler. You’ll have your own ship and appropriate documentation, but you’ll be traveling alone. You can call on the Federation counsel for assistance, just as any other Federation citizen could do, but other than that you’re on your own. Do you feel you can handle this?"

Gulping a bit at the large leap in risk from my previous assignment, and at the thought of living in luxury for a while, I nodded.

"Very well," Jonesy continued. "Report to Central Stores. They’ll need a new set of measurements, obviously. And some of the styles and things that you’ll need for your trip are not available through the standard replicators. After that, well, you should plan on leaving by noon tomorrow."

"Yes, sir." My military reflexes responded to those crisp orders even faster than the hypnodisk commands. Unfortunately, they were hardly more appropriate, given his desire for informality. This time it was probably a good thing that Titania’s corset stifled my sigh when I realized what I had done.

As soon as the call to the Admiral was over, I asked my hidden colleague, "How come you didn’t complain when those compulsions had me making offers to Jonesy?"

"Well, for one, I wouldn’t mind a liaison with him," Titania smirked. "And for another, I thought you were just going ahead with your offer to select someone."

"I never offered that!" I insisted. Titania made no explicit reply, but once again I had the sensation of a snort made without lungs or nose. That sort of ended the discussion, though, so I retreated in disarray by following orders.

When we got to Central Stores, the supply clerk didn’t know me personally. All he saw was a beautiful woman with the insignia of a Federation field agent, and an officer to boot. He pulled himself into a respectful posture and said, "Good evening, Ma’am."

My response was a heart-stopping smile, followed by a heavy-lidded appraisal. Then that lovely contralto voice purred, "Please, call me . . . Xora."

"Stop that!" Titania shouted in my ear.

*I can’t help it. The hypno training is supposed to become less

compelling after a while, but it’s still as strong as an involuntary


"Well, just tend to business," Titania ordered, unconvinced.

That interchange took only a heartbeat, just long enough, in fact, for the young clerk’s beating heart to pump as much heat into his cheeks as they would hold, and maybe a bit more besides.

"Yes, Ma’am, I mean, Xora," he stammered.


*Should I tell him I’m really a man?* I wondered to myself. Memories of my own post-adolescent confusion boiled to the surface with undesired clarity. If I had found myself as attracted as this poor boy did, then found out the object of my attraction was a man, I’d have been devastated. Same sex unions were considered private matters, but by and large people found the well-designed differences between men and women to be desirable. Especially during those confusing times when youthful experimentation was supposed to give way to mature relationship-building.

Titania watched this thought train, then threw in her own opinion, "It would seem that you need to pretend to be a woman, if for no other reason than to prevent harm to this young man. Just keep it under control."

"Yas’m," I promised, shifting mental gears as I tried to concentrate on the woman who had been in her mirror rather than the years of sedentary manhood that had preceded it. After a moment to gather my thoughts, I looked at the clerk again.

"What have you got on Machovian styles?"

The clerk called up the appropriate files, projecting relevant sizing information into a three-dimensional grid that moved to surround me.

The clerk concentrated on his business, first smiling faintly to himself with the satisfaction of performing a job well. That only lasted for a few moments, though. Pretty soon he was frowning.

"What’s the matter?" I asked.

"Well, your body proportions are off the scale I’ve been given," the clerk explained. That seemed to bring him back from his professional concentration and he really looked at me again. His flush rose as he caught the slight smile of satisfaction that I knew my face was showing.

"Quit encouraging him," Titania snarled in my ear.


*Oh, back off,* I replied, finally becoming irritated. *I can feel that same smugness in your own expression.*

"Well! . . ." Titania sniffed.

By this time the clerk had sorted out his information. "There’s only one other agent who has come through here with anything like your shape," he reported.

"Let me guess," I chuckled. "Commander Tryx."

"Right," he smiled. "She is even more off the scale than you are. Oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you weren’t, well, I mean, I think you’re beautiful!"

"Why thank you," I beamed.

"You’re doing it again!" Titania accused me, with justification.

"Look, it’s too distracting to try and fight these responses. I’m just going to go with them as though they were my own until I can learn to override them."

"Well," she snapped, "learn quickly."

The clerk had continued, unaware of my internal conversation, "It’s just that your waist is too small for your, um, well, for the rest of you."


*See! I TOLD you so!* I said, or thought.


*I don’t care,* Titania thought back. *If Bee can do it for Tryx, I can do it to you.*

Titania hissed another question in my ear, but I was already asking the same thing, "And Commander Tryx. How do her dimensions compare?"

"Well, the height and weight are surprisingly close. She’s just a bit heavier." ("Hah, Titania crowed.) "Her waist is quite a bit smaller, which makes her even further off scale."

Now it was Titania’s turn to seize the comment, *See, I told YOU so.*

The clerk went on, "Her, um, bust is a bit larger, too. She’s off scale in that, even for women with substantially larger hips. At least you’re on scale for that."

"Hmph," Titania sniffed. "Not for long."


*Don’t even THINK about it!* I demanded.

"Oh, and the shoes she wears are listed as having about 25% more heel," concluded the clerk.

"Now that I WILL fix, and right now. Your feet can handle it," declared Titania. True to her word, I felt my feet elevate even higher.


*Just a damn minute!* I shouted internally. *Stop that! Don’t you

dare make another change or I’ll go tell Jones I resign. Think of what *that* will do to your stupid competition with Bee.*

She didn’t reply, but I felt her shock at my threat, and recognition that she had felt my own sincerity.

"Well, that should do for measurements," the clerk interrupted our silent argument. "Once your orders come through, we can make up whatever you need."

"Check your file," I said abruptly. "Admiral Jones told me he to report here. The rest of your instructions should be available by now." I turned to leave before the boy had a chance to say anything else.

On the way back to my quarters, Titania gave me the silent treatment. Despite that silence, I could feel the cold of her attitude as though she were playing with my physiology again. She probably was.

This time my own anger was sufficient to match hers. It was *my* body, she was playing around with, and I wanted at least a share of the control.

"All right, Titania, we need to have this out, right now!" I demanded as soon as we reached my quarters.

She was still silent, but at some level I could tell she was listening.

"This is my body," I declared. "I am the host, and you are the guest. I don’t want you just playing around with things without my permission."

"Everything I’ve done has been an improvement." Her sullen tone made a mockery of the beauty of that voice.

"Not in my opinion," I insisted.

Her next sally was even weaker. "We need these changes for the mission."

"No we don’t, and you know it!" I snapped. "You weren’t concerned with how we looked relative to typical Machovian women. All you cared about was how we looked relative to Tryx, and only then because of your competition with Bee."

She was silent again, which told me I’d scored a valid point. I followed up my opening with an offer of peace instead of conflict.

"Look, Titania, I want to be attractive, too, in whatever way seems best for our duties. I’d prefer to be a good-looking guy instead of this sensual goddess you made us, but I know I contributed to that with my own mistake by picking the wrong hypnodisk. How about if we declare a truce for now? You don’t make any further changes to our body, except for, oh, finishing whatever’s necessary for what you’ve already started, and um, cosmetic things, and whatever the mission truly requires. After the mission is over, we’ll decide what to do beyond that."

I could sense her agreement, but I wanted to get one more clause in our mental contract. "And we’ll decide together. I get to veto any changes that I truly don’t want."

I suppose her pride kept her from actually agreeing in words, um, in explicit thoughts. But her silence didn’t have the same icy feeling I had noticed on the trip back.

I decided to try and bring things to a quick close with my internal colleague before we got into another argument, "Anything else?"

"Just some more materials for you to ingest. Why don’t you do that now and I’ll take care of things while you sleep?"

I sighed again, but nodded to the inevitability of the impending manipulations of my body. Or what used to be my body.


(continued in part 6)



© 1999 by Brandy Dewinter. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.