Allison Zero - Book 1 - Part 12

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A dark metallic hallway on a space station, functional and industrial with signs of advanced technology, with a large hexagonal window with a view of a star field. Faint pink text with the words ‘Allison Zero’ are centred on the window to the star field.

Allison found some way of slowing things down at the start of her week; on Monday, the day women mostly had to themselves. Up until then her mind had been racing but a message from Des — delivered to Jenny’s — helped her put things in the correct place. It was right around the same time Dr. Grace said what Allison was going through was normal; the standard effects of the disruption Allison had been through.

Dr. Grace booked an appointment for Allison for the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, saying Allison could see her on any of those days, whenever she needed to, simply walk in. Just to talk, if she wanted. But no later than the Thursday. Whatever she ended up doing it would mean yet another round of fun with doctors on her journey to womanhood.


Allison and Angie sat in Dr. Grace’s exam room, Allison staring at the examining table, knowing she’d have to strip and be imaged again, to assess the changes her body had gone through. By this point she was used to everyone having a good look at her, as naked as they day she was born, or almost as naked. Her stockings, at the least, didn’t hide anything away.

The previous two days had been uneventful, just getting into a rhythm of things; walking, eating, resting, reading.

Prod, in the library, had definitely figured out some decent books for her, certainly based on what she’d read so far. It was quite peaceful, actually. She and Angie sitting somewhere, each of them reading in quietness, only occasionally having to shoo away a man, or two, or three. She was getting better at it, even. And only a sparse few of them had been creeps.

Allison was staring at her knees, hands resting in her lap, when she heard the door slide back as she was mentally preparing herself for the interrogation, with her doctor about to walk in.

“Fucking hell! Wow! Dr. Grace!!” Angie said, looking at the doctor.

Allison thought the exact same thing. And more!

Dr. Grace wore a red dress in what must have been stiffened cotton. It flared out just beneath the waist, on the hips, with folds pressed in in layers, and above that it was in an almost form fitting shirt style, with short sleeves, a collar, beneath which were white, shell buttons all the way down the front, and a neckline that showed Dr. Grace had boobs.

There was no belt to keep the form of it, nothing to cinch it in, but Dr. Grace didn’t need one. The formerly straight up and down doctor had feminine curves. Allison wasn’t quite sure what she thought but she knew Dr. Grace was an inspiration to her. To transform like that just by taking plain scrubs off and cleaning up good in a beautiful dress! And makeup! And tits!

“You have—”Angie began.

Dr. Grace smiled, and offered up a cheeky, mocking curtsy, bent at the waist, interrupting Angie. “Everyone in this room does,” she said, with a hint of slyness. “Allison’s are just the most recent to join our wonderful world!”

Allison involuntarily squeezed her arms against her side to get a view of what were definitely her breasts now, albeit small ones.

“What’s the occasion, Dr. Grace?” Angie asked.

“I’m taking the afternoon off, after I finish with Allison. I’ll be meeting some friends for lunch and I wanted to look nice. I think I deserve it. Your case involves a lot of work, Allison. And you deserve that attention, of course. Anyone would. We all just need a break some time.”

“Whoever he is I’m not sure he deserves you! Woman!” Angie said.

“You’re not getting that information out of me. It could be a man, it could be a woman. It could be an entire group of people. There’ll probably be wine, but whether any more has even a possibility of happening is none of your concern!

“And drop the Dr. Grace bit, too. At this point I think I’m just ‘Grace’ to you both, agreed?”

“Agreed,” Allison said, and Angie nodded, still looking Dr. Grace up and down, as Dr. Grace spun around her spinny doctor chair and sat into it, showing not only did she have boobs but she most definitely had legs.

“How has your mood been, Allison?” Grace asked, leaning in, hands clasped together on her legs in front of her.

Allison rubbed the side of her face, having just enough experience with her makeup to be almost sure her scratching wouldn’t disturb it, and not quite sure what to make of the new woman sitting in front of her.

“Good,” Allison said, quickly trying to pull herself together, and thinking. “No emotional roller coaster, no outbursts that I know of, although Angie will be able to tell you that better. I’ve been quite relaxed really, albeit a bit more tired than usual.”

“For good reason!” Angie said, laughing.

“Shut up, Angie!” Allison said.

Dr. Grace looked inquisitively at them both.

“She went to the cinema, with Robert, yesterday.”

“Ooh, what did you go see?” Dr. Grace said, sounding excited.

Angie snickered. “She doesn’t remember. She was a bit distracted.”

Allison elbowed Angie, hard, but probably not as hard as she would have wished considering Angie was still snickering. “The new one with wormhole aliens,” Allison said.

“Any good? I’ve been meaning to see that. I always like a non-traditional alien film.”

“It was decent. Worth watching,” Allison said, nodding, fairly sure of her answer.

“And how much did you actually watch?” Dr. Grace asked, smirking, but not in the evil way Angie usually did. There was some genuine curiosity to it, and maybe a little dreaming, even.

Allison rolled her eyes anyway because there was still a smirk behind the question. “I suppose you’ll tell me the answer to that is medically relevant, so I watched most of it. And me and Robert both enjoyed it whether we were watching or not.”

Angie and Dr. Grace exchanged a glance which Allison understood the entirety of.

“That’s good. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.” And that statement was completely genuine. “Tell me about your tiredness, do you feel like you need to sleep often?”

Allison stretched her neck to one side, considering what the tiredness felt like; it wasn’t a sleepy tiredness.

“It’s almost like my body is heavier, or involves more effort. I’m not falling asleep but it feels, I don’t know, like there’s more of me.”

Angie snickered again.

“OK. That’s interesting,” Dr. Grace said.

“What is?” Allison asked.

“It’s normal. Your body is going through changes, that could make it feel ‘heavier.’ It’s a term I’ve heard before but what you mean exactly I don’t know. I can’t know. It’s nothing I feel concerned about, medically. And...” Dr. Grace trailed off.

“And?” Allison asked.

“I’m not certain. Please don’t rest everything on this, I’ve already kind of it said to you in a previous chat, but you could just feel more comfortable in your body. More at home in it so you’re experiencing it more. You’re allowing yourself to experience it more. In a way you’re aware of it, combine that with the changes and you’re more ‘present.’ But like I said you’re unique. No-one can really know. We’ll certainly not expose anyone to what you’re going through just to experiment, we have to trust you. And Angie, to a degree.

“But apart from bodies, or roller coasters, or puberties, how do you feel in general? Everything? The whole thing? Anything that pops to mind.”

Allison snapped back from a thought that was beginning to form, not certain of what the thought was going to be. “I don’t know,” she said. “Good. I guess. I’m having fun. I like who I am. I want to be more of me. I want this to continue.”

Dr. Grace slapped her knee and stood. “Well, then we’ll continue it. And you do look more relaxed. That’s good. So I’m sorry for what comes next.”

“I have to strip again?” Allison asked.

“Sorry, Allison,” Dr. Grace said. “Completely strip. Everything. And I’ll be asking Angie to leave. We need to take some samples. It’ll be ‘invasive’ and uncomfortable. It’s necessary. And you’ll want privacy.”

Allison looked at Angie, more concerned with her friend being asked to leave than about whatever tests were coming up. “No, Angie can stay,” Allison said.

Angie stood as well. “It’s OK, Allison. If Dr. Grace says you need privacy then you do. She’ll make it as comfortable as she can. Don’t worry.

“It’s another of the joys of being a woman,” Angie said, finishing up.

Dr. Grace looked from Angie to Allison and nodded empathetically. “Sorry. You’ll be fine though. It’s not terrible, just uncomfortable. No pain.”

And what followed, once the regular scans were completed, was more than ‘just uncomfortable.’ As for ‘no pain?’ That was a lie. Dr. Grace had taken a metal device and seemed to be taking samples from all over Allison’s body, including her face, in her mouth and nose, and finally, well, from actually inside Allison.

Allison was sitting up on the examining chair arranging the towel over herself while wiping away the gels that were used all over her, and between her legs, to get whatever samples it was Dr. Grace needed.

Dr Grace was at her clinical computer logging the various bits of Allison she’d extracted.

“Can I get dressed?” Allison asked, after getting as clean and dry as she could manage, but still feeling off.

“Of course. I’m sorry, Allison. You won’t have to go through that again. Not unless you’re in some industrial accident and if that’s the case you probably won’t be conscious for it.”

Allison slowly slipped her loose, green, cotton dress over her head and let it fall around her. “Yeah... Unique case. I get it...”

“Everyone has had that done. No-one remembers it, though,” Dr. Grace said. “It’s part of your medical profile when you’re a baby. We need something more up to date for you. To see if anything has somehow affected you. I don’t think it has.”

Allison just had one stocking left to put on and then she could slip into her shoes.

“What type of thing could affect me, to make me like this. Make me me?” Allison asked the question but it was more out of impulse, she realised. She hadn’t really thought about it but her smoke with One made everything clear, or at least real. What she felt about herself during the smoke was how she was beginning to feel in herself now.

“Nothing. Well, I believe nothing. That’s only one of the reasons. It’ll also allow us to map out the effects of the medication faster, to get a better idea of how you’ll be in a few months, a few years. When you’re ready to retire.”

Allison nodded, still feeling uncomfortable.

“Are you cold?” Dr. Grace asked, seeing Allison with her arms wrapped around herself.

Allison shook her head. “No. Just, I don’t know...”

“Yeah...” Dr. Grace said, sympathetically. “Anyway, there’s no more tests. Just a few questions, about Angie.”

“Angie?” Allison asked, surprised; wondering what this was actually about.

“How has she been with you? Do you mind what she’s doing? How she’s helping you and me, and linking in on things? How she’s seeing how you’re doing from a friend’s position?”

“She’s been great! I would like her back in here...”

Dr. Grace took a deep breath. “You’ve never felt like she’s over-stepped? Like she’s told me too much, or that she’s not kept things private when she should have?”

“No!” Allison said, incredulously.

“OK. That’s me done!” Dr. Grace smiled. “Time for lunch!”

Allison laughed, and felt a wave of relief this was all over, for now. Not that she'd expected any of this when she arrived.

“You can tell me, I think I deserve it, after what you did to me; so you could tell me who exactly you’re going for lunch with. I’ll torment Angie with me knowing and her not.” And although a little of Allison’s enthusiasm for finding out was to hold something over Angie a lot of it was to settle nerves at actually being asked about Angie.

Dr. Grace took her purse from the drawer in the desk and stood. “I don’t need to tell you. You’ll see.”

“What do you mean?”

“Come on! Lunch! I need a drink!”

Fifteen minutes later, with Angie a bundle of nerves at walking into a voter’s restaurant, they were sitting beneath an awning in a restaurant that had simulated an ocean cliff to its side. It was night time there, with a big moon, fireflies dancing, waves crashing in the distance, wild waves, and it was warmer than regular station temperatures, with a warm breeze, a salted breeze; as warm as the nights both Allison and Angie could remember from the few times they’d gotten beach passes as adults.

Grace had introduced them both to Talia, an older woman in a white linen shirt, dark, loose pants and functional sandals, and with short, grey hair, extremely well kept and swept off to the side. She had just about the first signs of wrinkles beginning to show. It wasn’t just skin getting older through natural wear and tear it was the start of a new stage of life beginning for her. And she wasn’t wearing any makeup to cover it, at least that Allison could see.

“I’ve ordered the beers,” Talia said. “I assume you want one before we eat.”

Dr. Grace nodded as she pulled out her conn. “I do, I just want to message Ayr.”

“How is he?”

“Hopefully he can take some time off tonight. Allison said the sci-fi just released is decent.”

Talia looked at Allison, almost with respect. “What did you think about the different dimension?” she asked.

“Oh! Come on, Talia!” Grace said, in a whine. Something neither Angie nor Allison had heard from her before. And they both realised sometimes she was just plain ‘Grace’ and not necessarily ‘Dr. Grace.’ “You just heard me say I want to—”

Allison laughed, but knew neither her nor Talia had given anything away. “It was interesting, not really sci-fi, though, is it? Who knows what’s really going on inside our minds? It’s possible isn’t it?”

Talia nodded and looked pleased, clicking her tongue. “How are you keeping? Gracie, here, has been messaging me for advice about you, Allison.”

“Are you on my team?” Allison asked, a little surprised, for some reason. She didn’t think she’d ever meet her team.

“Talia was one of my lecturers at university. One of the better ones. She—”

“The best one,” Talia said.

“She’s been talking about retiring non-stop. She’ll never do it. She wants to know everything,” Grace continued, despite the interruption.

“I’m back to having a clinic a few days, that’s like retirement.”

Dr. Grace rolled her eyes and put her conn down. “Did either of you like school?” she asked Allison and Angie.

Allison shrugged, she didn’t really think about it, ever, really. Angie seemed a little put out, however.

“It was far too formal. Sit here, do this, study that. The best classes were always when we were left to actually do something. And there wasn’t enough of those!” Angie said.

Talia nodded, and so did Dr. Grace. “Would you have continued to study if there were more classes like that?”

A man with a thick moustache and jet black hair set four beers down. Men’s beers. Angie had no hesitation in immediately picking up her glass and taking a drink. “Can we get more of these if we want?” she asked, once the man had left.

“You can get whatever you want,” Talia said. “I can get the university to pay for anything. This place isn’t cheap. But I happen to know a lot of people.”

Grace laughed and took a small sip of her beer. “You mean you’ve influenced too many almost-future doctors to give up on medicine and go do something else instead. Such as run one of the most difficult-to-get-a-reservation-for restaurants on the station.”

“And I nearly succeeded with you!” Talia said, as she laughed a really hearty laugh.

“Nearly...”

Allison pushed her beer towards Angie. “You can have mine if you want.”

“Do you want something else?” Dr. Grace asked, concerned.

Talia pinched the bridge of her nose. “She doesn’t! She’s worried. She’s in public, she’s a citizen, she’s a woman. Either she’s thinking about legalities, or appearances, or denying herself something so it’s easier not to have it again in the future.”

Allison dropped her gaze towards the table.

“Or she’s not quite comfortable around us, she doesn’t know you or me in a social setting. This is why I tried to get you to drop out.”

Grace scowled at Talia and picked up the jug of water, pouring Allison a glass. “Allison, you’re nervous, maybe just uncomfortable, but it’s simply dehydration. Your mood is a little up and down from what you went through. Those tests are uncomfortable. They’ll put anyone out. Drink some water, have a few olives. The salt will help you drink water, and retain it, balance everything out, and the quick boost of energy will pick you up in no time. It’s why we’ll usually use the restaurant on the hospital floor after a stressful meeting with a doctor; less need to travel and get worked up.

“Eat, rest, get some exercise. Those are all the keys to health. And sleep. Which you’ve been doing. It’s why I’m so focused on you doing all that. Everything else follows from it. Everything...”

Allison blew some air out her mouth. “Thanks,” she said. “Grace...” Then she took a big drink of water, and grabbed an olive and popped it in her mouth. And another. Then took another drink of water.

That pattern followed a few more times while the other women at the table joined in too, except drinking their beers.

When Allison finally reached for her beer, and took a big draught she thoroughly enjoyed, smiling ever so slightly with a deep, satisfied sigh, she looked over to see Talia offering silent applause, along with a bowed head of acknowledgment, to her former student.

“Grace is a pretty good doctor,” Allison said.

Grace smiled appreciatively at Allison, and rubbed Allison’s shoulder.

“She is. Too many of her idiot classmates saw it as a challenge. An intellectual battle to be solved, mainly by reading journals and studying. Gracie, here, got it. By the end, at least. Which is what I was asking Angie!” Talia looked at Angie again. “Would you have studied more if it was more practical?”

“I don’t know,” Angie said.

“There’s lots of labs at university,” Grace said, plainly, in a very matter of fact way.

“Devices, simulations, getting your hands on things, including bodies, both alive and dead. Following people around at work. Actually working under supervision,” Talia said. “Definitely in the medical faculty.”

“It doesn’t matter, I didn’t make it to the program,” Angie said.

“So?” Talia said, but it wasn’t an annoyed, ‘so.’ It was a challenge to Angie. Like she was telling her to be real.

“So I’m not right for university,” Angie said, and that was with an annoyed tone. “Why would I want to go? If I was I’d be a voter.”

Grace made a noise, almost like anguish, as she rubbed at her forehead. “What’s his name. Bone guy. He helped check Allison’s stuff. You know him Talia, I know you do.”

“Charlie? Yeah! I like him. He’s actually getting near retirement, unlike me, who’s just messing with admins.” Talia turned back to Angie. “Charlie’s a citizen, and a doctor. Fully qualified. He’s very good at what he does.”

Angie made an exasperated sigh and Allison saw on Angie’s face a hint of the same feeling that had been running through Allison herself, ever since all this began. It was the pace of things, of change; the onslaught of new information. At the depth of secrets. Except now it was focused on Angie and not Allison.

Still, it didn’t make it easier for Allison, either in knowing Angie could, possibly, now have a little understanding of it, or even in a plain, ‘Serves the bitch right!’ way.

“So not only can male citizens work, but some can even go to university,” Angie said, dismissal in her tone.

Talia shook her head. “I’ve met a few female citizens at my university. They are older than you, typically, always, in fact. Usually a once off spotted by someone—”

Allison began to speak, latching onto a thought, staring straight at Grace. “Does this have something to do with—”

“Yes,” Grace said, nodding. “Angie, do you want to go to university? You’ll still be a citizen. I’m sure you could find a path to be a voter if you wanted.”

“I’m not meant to be a voter!” Angie said, outraged.

“What about me, Angie? Am I not meant to be who I am?” Allison said. “I took a path no-one really knew was possible. Was that wrong?”

Angie looked outraged at Allison for having said that. “Don’t be so stupid! You know I’m not saying that! What I mean is—”

“What’s this specific program, Talia?” Allison said. “Just listen, Angie.”

Talia nodded. And finally poured the wine, just some for herself and Angie. “We don’t know yet, we want Angie to help us design it. She’s had more experience than anyone, really. It’s based sort of on her.”

“How could I have experience at anything!! I wasn’t meant for university!”

Allison held her wine glass out and Talia poured her a glass too. “It’s what you’re doing for me, Angie,” Allison said, then took a sip of the wine. “Dr. Grace asked me about it when it was just me and her in the room. If I’d had any issues, or any concerns. I don’t. You’re amazing. You’ve helped me in ways I can’t believe. In ways I didn’t know possible.”

Angie had tried to raise her glass to take a drink three or so times since it had been poured but every time it got near her lips she looked like she wanted to interrupt. Or she did say something. This fourth time was no different. “How many people are there like you, Allison? I’m doing this because I care for you. How many people could need anything like what I want to do for you? And I do want to do it for you. Don’t get that wrong!”

“And you’re good at it. You do care,” Allison said.

“Every doctor has met someone who needs someone like you, Angie. Usually they’ll bring a friend. Some of the men will bring a representative from work. Talia wants to figure out ways to trial this, to formalise it. Educate you a little in medicine so you have some knowledge about what’s happening,” Grace said.

“Not too much, just some basic things so you aren’t alarmed, and are prepared for whatever happens. Your value is that you don’t know too much. You are a citizen. But you know what questions are important to ask, you know what things need asking because you don’t know the answer but feel you should. You’re making things better for what I can definitely say is Grace’s favourite patient and you’re making Grace a better doctor. The head of my medical department at the university didn’t need much convincing to investigate.”

Angie snorted. “So I wouldn’t be going to university! I’d stay stupid and be valued because I ask stupid questions.”

Talia laughed while Grace looked appalled.

Allison looked between both realising why one woman was someone who taught it all, and the other was the one who learned from the first.

“That’s one way of putting it,” Talia said. “And it’s a good way of putting it because it is a different way of putting it.

“Imagine a doctor — a voter — had said something like we said to a new patient, or someone dealing with a serious issue, but they didn’t have a friend like you to point it out, that it upset them. They might hold things back, or hide things. Something that could be very important. Vitally important! And equally, with the education you get, because this will involve work and study, you’ll be able to help the patients who need certain things explained in a way they can understand.”

Angie shook her head. “What’s the value in getting just me to do this? A special one of me?”

“She’ll do it, Talia,” Allison said. “She’s on board.”

“Good,” Talia said. “And you'll help us design the course, with your knowledge of what we’re doing. It’ll take a couple of days of talking with us. We already have doctors drawing up lists of patients they think are suitable for this type of education, from their experiences with them. Men and women. There’ll be a small class size at first, we hope. And we’ll refine.”

Angie took a gulp of her glass of wine. “Really? All this? Because of me?” Angie had accepted it, and she realised her outrage had turned to excitement, and nerves.

“Yeah,” Dr. Grace said. “A few of your and Allison’s team started messaging their old professors after I was talking to them about how useful you’ve been. Went behind my back almost.”

Angie snickered. “You were blind-sided! Good! It makes more than me!” And Angie had started cackling in joy until she took a big drink of wine.

“Now exercise that medical brain of yours, Angie. Think about those samples I believe Grace has just taken — I’m 99% sure — from all parts of Allison’s body”

Angie turned and looked at Talia with curiosity. “Like with industrial and kitchen accidents, and organ failure and that?”

“No!” Dr. Grace said.

“Yeah,” Talia said, smiling.

“Please don’t,” Grace said.

“What?” Allison asked, confused.

“Me and Angie agree to tell her, and we're both medical professionals, so you’re outvoted, Gracie.”

“No!”

“Go on, Angie. You got your university news, Allison should get some good news too.”

Angie shrugged, looking totally nonplussed. “You’re getting a vagina, Allison. Congratulations.”

“What?”

“Maybe,” Grace said, shoulders and head sinking. “You might, if you want.”

Angie laughed. “She definitely wants. They’ll grow you one. Plug it in. Few days in hospital. Easy-peasy.”

“Will I be able to...” Allison said, feeling her stomach turn over. Feeling what could be in there, maybe, someday. Possibly? She hadn’t realised one hand was pressing into her belly.

Dr. Grace rested her hand on Allison’s forearm, which rested on the table, Allison looking shocked. “Sorry, Allison. No children. It’s technically possible, and it has been tried a few times in history. It’s too dangerous. Too many deaths. For baby and mother. The research was stopped a long time ago and nothing has changed in that part of medicine.”

Allison wasn’t quite sure what she felt. Thoughts of both — of baby and mother — of a body capable of all of it, thoughts of every part of it had entered her mind once she started seeing the, so far, limited changes in her body. The thoughts were even there when she smoked with One. She’d felt those thoughts. And now she’d just gotten answers. Answers she didn’t think anyone really had available to them.

She wanted to feel more about it. For any of her feelings to be more intense. She took a sip of the wine, but it wasn’t quite right so she lifted the still cool beer and took a drink of that. “Do we get to see menus, here?” she asked, not knowing what else was right to say.

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Comments

A sense of calm

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Allison seems much calmer in this chapter. More on an even keel. She’s able to tune in to what Grace and Talia want for (from?) Angie almost right away, and understand that it is right for her. I wonder if Grace is right about pregnancy, though . . . it may be another way in which Allison is unique. At the end, she doesn’t want to think about it more, she wants to feel it. Interesting.

Emma

How far I pushed her

I'm glad you noticed the difference between this and the previous chapter. And that you pointed it out. I went back and read the previous part and saw how far I'd pushed Allison's distress (distress isn't the right word, but it's near enough.) It wasn't something I was conscious of in the sense of word choice but I was definitely trying to feel Allison's alienation, and tiredness, and "need" as I wrote.

Looking now I see it as extremely present in the writing. Especially how within herself Allison is. At least that's how I see it as the author with the relief of having written this Part 12 as providing something for everyone. Possibly something joyful?

How much all this writing is me reflecting my life in what I'm writing, according to mood and thought, and how much it's what I want to do with the writing influencing me is a scary thought to consider. I think I'll leave it as writing is a very vital thing.