Feel of soft materials.
She felt these things as she looked down at herself. Smooth skinned, a perfect lightly tanned color with a nice shine in the soft light, obscured only by dirt and splattered refuse. A powerful, muscular body with graceful movements, now covered in filth and rubbish.
Observing her surroundings, she determined this place to be a garbage bin of some sort. How she had come to be here she knew not. Gently lifting herself out of the trash and on to her feet, she observed now that she was in a dimly lit alley. She seemed vaguely aware of the fact that it was 4:29 P.M. Central time. Carefully avoiding the broken bottles and sharp concrete rocks on the ground, she exited the alley and looked out upon the city.
Noise. Faint sounds of construction in the distance somewhere, cars speeding by at frenetic pace, the incessent chatter of a million conversations in a city. These things tuned themselves down gradually until only the most present sounds filtered their way into her conciousness.
Footsteps approaching. She turned to look at their source. A young man in the casual trappings of city life. She caught the scent of deodorant, cologne and a hint of perspiration.
He looked about twenty, of medium build, slightly overweight. His posture seemed bad, and his glasses spoke of myopia, while his clothes were of good quality, yet wrinkled. A slight whine in his breathing gave away the fact that he was not used to walking great distances, or that he was mildly congested.
The awareness of the high temperature produced by the sun filtered into her mind as he stopped in front of her. The sight of the amazon standing in front of him stunned him as he took her in.
He looked up quickly and was nearly frozen by what he saw. She must have been over six feet tall and muscled like a professional bodybuilder, but without the tell-tale veins standing up on her body, as if she'd developed that way naturally. Her breasts were two solid, hard, globes of flesh with tan nipples. But if her body was impressive, it was her face that caught his attention.
Penetrating blue eyes, slightly slanted upward and seeming to glow slightly, staring from a face with gentle round lips and a beautiful nose. He blinked, as he could have sworn that he'd seen a red light in her pupils for a moment, Her face was lean and clean jawed, but not massive-seeming like most female athletes. Long blue-silver hair framed her face, and poured down her shoulders. Blue hair?!
"Miss? Are you alright?" he asked. His voice soft and almost a little effeminate.
She blinked as she formulated a response. "I don't know...where am I, sir?"
"This is the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. You're in Addison", he replied, looking her up and down. She was beautiful, though covered in garbage and reeking of stale urine and fish-heads. Her accent was very unusual. British?
He noted that not only was she nude, but she seemed strangely unaware or comfortable to be standing in the buff like this. His eyes roamed over her hard belly with its lines of muscle and to her round and full breasts, then proceeded Southward to look upon a completely shaven pubic mound. He felt an erection building and squirmed and fidgeted in what were once fairly comfortable jeans a few moments before.
"Huh? I'm sorry what'd you say?" he said quickly, broken from his lustfulness by her question.
"I asked if you knew why I was here", she said.
"I don't know why you're here, miss", he finally replied, "You look like a weightlifter or an athlete of some kind".
She frowned, pouting a little. "I do not know what I am....or who". Looking down at her feet for a moment then looking back at him: "Can you help me?"
He frowned as he thought it over then nodded. "Sure I'll help you. C'mon, you'd better get some clothes and a bath".
She smiled, and he felt a warmth spread through him as her eyes thanked him also, "What is your name, sir?"
"Eric," he answered, "Eric Penning".
She nodded, "Thank you Eric-san".
He grinned, "Naw, just Eric". He laughed a little as he remembered Yuki at the store was always calling him Eric-San. But she was Japanese. This girl looked about as Asian as a Swede!
He had her wait in the alley while he got his car and pulled up to it. She got in and the two sped off through the busy downtown streets of Addison.
Arriving at his modest apartment, Eric led her quickly to his bathroom and showed her where everything was.
She noted that there were markedly contrasting things in the house, almost as if more than one person lived here. Bars of feminine scented soap and bath gelées next to male colognes and deodorants. Two small clothes hampers stood against one wall. Curious, she looked in both and found a greater mystery. One was clearly Eric's as it had a his scent all over the clothes, but the other contained a mixture of male and female clothing, both bearing the same male scent on them, but not Eric's.
She shrugged as she stepped into the hot water and began to wash her body carefully, scrubbing the grime and filth off of her, and shampooing the disgusting scent of vomit and rotten vegetation from her hair.
Afterward she toweled off and found a mostly clean brush which she ran through her hair. Looking at her reflection for the first time she marveled at the girl staring back at her. The soft, reddish light in her pupils, the fine lines of....circuitry?, in her irises. Why did she have circuitry patterns in her eyes?
Eric flipped through the phonebook unitl he found the number for Joe's Pizza. Picking up the phone he dialed the number and called.
"Joe's Pizza, can I help you?"
"Yeah, is Tony there?"
"Tony? Yeah hold on one sec."
Tony was Eric's housemate and Eric figured that Tony had a right to know that there was a 6'6" amazon staying in their apartment (and maybe get him a pizza in the process).
"Yo dis is Tony."
Tony Micarelli had moved to Dallas from New York because of the "wonderful" job opportunities that supposedly lay in the huge metroplex. Dallas indeed had jobs a plenty, but nothing that paid better than before. Stuck in the Dallas area, Tony's goal these days was to earn enough money to go to Austin.
"Tony", said Eric, "We've got a houseguest."
"Aw man, izzit oneaya familee membahs again?" snarled Tony who was still stinging from the way Eric's mother had preached and chastised him about his "special" lifestyle.
Eric said, "No man, I promise. This is a girl. I found her on the street".
Tony's eyebrows raised, "Aw man, Eric NO! Ya ass brought in a fuckin' bum? Whaddashe promise ya? She tell ya she'd putout or somethin?"
Eric laughed, "No Tony, you got it all wrong. This girl is different. I can't explain it, but she's different."
"Yeah I done heard dat befo. Look it's half my apartment and half yo's. Just keep her in yo half".
"OK, OK, Tony. I promise", laughed Eric a little more. Tony was in for a BIG surprise.
As he was about to hang up Tony added an afterthought, "And yo, ya keep her ass outta my clothes. I don' wan' no skanky bitch off the streets stinkin' up my stuff, you unnerstan?"
Eric nodded (even though he was on the phone), "OK, Tony, I promise".
Eric hung up the phone and sighed. Tony and he had been sharing the same apartment for almost three years now. They had become good friends but Tony's "alternative lifestyle" had sometimes brought Eric into embarrassing situations. Still, Tony had always paid his share of the rent on time and he'd always stuck up and helped Eric out when he'd needed it.
He sat back, then slapped his head in irritation. He'd forgotten to order the pizza...
The hot bath made her feel more relaxed as she sank in. Taking a washcloth she scubbed her skin vigorously until all traces of the garbage were gone.
In the soapy Heaven of a hot bath she spied something unusual about herself. On her arm she spotted a seam. So thin that she had to get right next to it almost to see it, but it was there.
She pulled at it but it didn't part. Blinking in concern she picked up a thin needle from the countertop and tried to pry at the seam to no avail.
Then she noticed that her other arm had a seam, and another.
Panic struck her as she leaped from the tub and ran to the mirror.
Her body was covered in tiny, almost invisible seams! They crisscrossed her body at certain points and intersected at several others.
Feeling strange she noticed that one was even around her neck and face. Was she some kind of Frankensteinian monster?
Eric found some of his clothes that he thought would fit her. A pair of sweatpants and a XXXL T-Shirt (Eric had always been a bit portly). He knocked on the bathroom door,
"Miss? I have some clothes for you".
The door opened and she smiled politely as she took them. Moments later she stepped from the bathroom in her new wardrobe. The sweats were a bit short (rising up to the knee), and the T-shirt was too large (but the neckline was wide enough to permit a generous look at her ample cleavage), but she had clothing.
She walked around a bit reveling in the interesting sensations of the cottony clothing against her bare skin. Eric smiled,
"Well, sorry it's not the best fit, but it's what I had"
She looked back at him and nodded, "It's very comfortable. Do you often wear these?"
He grinned, " Yeah I like stuff like that. You feeling hungry?"
She blinked as she pondered the question, " I...don't know. I think I should...but I don't feel hungry"
He laughed, "You really are out there aren't you? Don't even know if you're hungry?"
She smiled sheepishly at him and he laughed, "OK, let's go out and get a bite. If you still don't know if you feel hungry when the food comes, I'll eat yours. Deal?"
She nodded, "Deal".
Mythic Burger had a nice Greco-modernistic feel to it. A simple one-owner business, the owner prided himself on his Greek heritage and proudly displayed native Greek dishes (gyros and the like) right alongside more standard American fare such as the "Minotaur Burger" which must have weighed about two pounds in all.
Eric munched at his own "Zeus Burger", and watched his table guest tentively munching on some "Mercury Onion Rings".
"This place is great isn't it?" asked Eric between bites.
She nodded and smiled as she savored the deep fried taste of the onion and the curious tang that accompanied it.
Eric frowned a minute then said, " You know we really need to call you something. Do you have a preference in names?"
She thought about it and shrugged, "Nothing comes to mind".
Eric sighed and looked over the menu, " Uhm, Howabout Athena?"
She blinked, "I think I used to know someone named Athena".
Eric frowned and looked at the menu, "Helen? As in Helen Of Troy?"
She shook her head, " No...I don't think I'm that beautiful."
After a few more minutes of picking through other names that were refused (Hera, Aphrodite, etc.), Eric felt tired and went back to his Zeus.
She could see that he was frustrated and she wanted to please him, so looking out a window she tried to make out a storefront in the distance. As if by magic her vision zoomed in on the name of the place and she could swear she knew the exact distance to it (543 yards precisely). Bethlehem Movers.
"How about Bethlehem?" she asked.
He raised an eyebrow, "Bethlehem? That's kind of a long name. But come to think of it, you look like you might have some Middle-Eastern blood in you."
She smiled, "Really? What is it?"
"The nose", he smiled.
Beth frowned. "Okay, I was just kidding!" he responded, "Actually I think it's the eyes, they have a peculiar slant to them. Not as extreme as the Asians I work with but more noticeable than most people."
She smiled, "Bethlehem it is. I guess you can call me Beth for short."
"Pleased to meet you, Beth", he grinned.
She smiled and bit into her "Apollo Chicken Nuggets".
Beth and Eric were giggling and laughing as they entered his apartment. Beth was startled by the appearance of a tall, somewhat muscular woman with a large amount of makeup and a dress that looked as though it belonged on a movie starlet.
The woman smiled and batted her eyes at Eric who rolled his eyes.
"Tony, don't you think it's a little inappropriate for you to shock our house guest so soon?"
The woman laughed in a very masculine voice, "Eric honey, it took me 15 years to figure out who I am and I'm not gonna change that for anybody."
Eric sighed, "Beth this is my roomate Tony -"
The woman cut him off, "EXCUUUUSE ME! I'm in costume dearie. It's Antonia!"
Eric shrugged, "Beth this is my roomate Antonia."
Antonia stepped forward and extended a hand in a limp wristed gesture to Beth who shook it and blinked, "You are a man dressed as a woman."
Antonia laughed and smiled at Eric, "Darling, you really know how to pick the bright ones don't you?"
Eric frowned, "Give her a break, Antonia, she's got amnesia or something."
Antonia harumphed in a most un-ladylike fashion and tossed her boa around her neck, "Well, that's not my fault. I didn't give it to her."
Beth smiled, "I am pleased to meet you, Antonia. Would you prefer to be called Tony when you are not in costume?"
Antonia nodded and replied facietiously, "Yes dear. That would be fine. Now if you two kids will excuse moi, I'm off to a par-tee."
Antonia sashayed out the front door pausing only to blow a kiss to Eric and giving a sly wink to Beth, who returned it unassuredly.
Eric thudded down a couch and sighed while stuffing a handful of corn chips in his mouth, "Well, that's my roommate. He's a little showy but he's basically a nice guy."
Beth nodded and sat down on the adjoining seat, "I see. You two share the apartment. Have you been lovers for long?"
Eric's eyes bugged out of his head as he began to choke on his corn chips, necessitating Beth to hurridly bring him a glass of water, and his recieving several hard slaps on the back.
Coughing and choking a little he lay against the headrest gasping for air.
"Lovers?! Me and HIM? For christsakes Beth Tony's my roommate and friend, not my sex-partner!" spat Eric between coughing fits.
Beth frowned, "I see. He prefers an alternate lifestyle and you are a heterosexual male. I am deeply sorry to have offended you."
Eric coughed once more then waved her away, "No, no. I'm not offended, but you sure caught me off guard with that. No actually I think Tony's straight too, but he just likes to play dress-up with his friends out in the theater district."
Beth nodded and suddenly a flash struck her and she was frozen in place.
Eric looked alarmed and quickly jumped up and ran to Beth's side, "Beth? You OK? What's the matter?"
Beth stood completely still with her mouth slightly open as if to say something and her eyes staring sightlessly into the far wall. Her hands were slightly raised as if they wanted to move but couldn't and she teetered slightly in mid-step.
Eric wrapped his arms around the gargantuan female and tried to ease her to the couch. To his shock it was like trying to move a car. She was seemingly rooted to the floor and weighed thousands of pounds.
Eric looked into her face and gasped as he saw a small pulse of red light in her pupils, then spied the tiny circuitry in her now softly glowing blue eyes.
"Beth?" he murmured somewhat hopelessly.
Beth stood helpless in a straight posture, arms at her sides and head looking forward and straight ahead.
Two men in technicians' lab coats were preparing what looked like an operating theater, except this theater had electronics gear including robot arms and micro lasers.
One of the men casually walked up to her and fiddled with her firm belly and the soft indentation of her navel. A moment later there was a loud click and a soft hiss as wisps of steam came from somewhere directly in front and below her.
She couldn't even look down as something began to move and tickle her in her stomach. She felt slightly dizzy and light-headed as she saw him attatch cables to somewhere down in front of her body, but attatch them to what?!
The technician said a few words to the other and both of them walked up to her and bgan to put their hands on her face and neck.
Beth's vision was obscured by their hands and she kept feeling strange sensations as they touched and felt at her face and neck. Strange clicks and whirs, then one of the techs grabbed her face as if to squeeze her cheeks and pulled hard.
Beth wanted to gasp, scream, do anything as she saw him pull her face off. Circuitry and wires lined the face. Some of the small lights in it could still be blinking.
I'm a robot! she thought to herself, Why? Why are they doing this to me? Did they make me?
The technician sprayed her face with some sort of cleaning solution and adjusted a few things inside her face while the other man probed, poked and tickled her head.
Finally he put his hands on both sides of her neck and a few more clicks were heard. Beth screamed inside her mind as her vision distorted then went black as her head was pulled free from her body.
She was alone in the darkness.
Eric had stood examining Beth as she stood totally still. She hadn't moved except for an occasional twitch or flutter of her eyes. He noticed the almost imperceptible lines that crossed and marked her skin, like subdermal tattoos.
He nearly leaped as she suddenly turned her head to face him and looked at him with her eyes still glowing softly.
"Beth? What the Hell's going on here?" Eric said, trying not to let his voice crack with fear.
Beth blinked and looked down for a moment before fixing him with her gaze again.
"Eric...I'm not human."
Eric rolled his eyes, "Well no shit! Like I hadn't figured that out by now! Give me some credit Beth!"
Beth frowned and looked irritated, "Eric, I'm a war machine. Designated NVX-14. I'm designed for frontline combat and shock missions."
Eric gulped, "So...what are you doing here? Does the government know about you?"
Beth shook her head, "I don't know...I don't have any data on who built me or who I work for."
Eric sat down on his sofa, "Well...I guess that's that. You going to kill me now?"
Beth sat down next to Eric, "No. Why should I do that?"
"Well because I know your big secret now. If word ever got out to the government, they'd hunt you down and take you apart", said Eric sincerely.
Beth blinked as she processed the answer. "Can I trust you to keep my secret?"
Beth fixed him with her glowing eyes and nearly paralyzed him with fear, but strangely he found it compelling.
"Yeah, who am I gonna tell?" he sighed at last. "I don't know anyone in the goverment anyway. No one who'd believe me."
Beth smiled at him, "Thank you Eric."
He sighed and nodded as he thought, And besides, it might be useful having
a 6'6" war machine built like a brick shithouse around...
CONTINUED IN FANGS OF STEEL