There were a lot of good reasons to be out this early, but none as wonderful as seeing this first Giant Swallowtail awakening, and John smiled as it moved. Magnificent, he whispered, in awe of this giant as it slowly unfurled it’s Forewings against the sun’s morning warmth. It was, as they always were at this time of day, lethargic and calm.
"Papilio Cresphontes Cramer" by it’s scientific name, John whispered, but only to himself as the relative giant of insects ignored him.
Swallowtail butterflies were large to begin with. Very large when compared to most butterflies, but this one was exceptional, John noted. More than exceptional as he held the ruler up long ways to record the initial span of it’s wings.
Male Swallowtails normally had a wing span of 4 - 6 inches, but this giant at least 10 inches, perhaps more as it extended itself that full span against the tree to warm itself. John smiled at his find, focusing his camera a second before taking several rapid shots. It was, without a doubt, the largest butterfly he'd ever seen in the four years he'd been admiring these beauties.
How strange it was suddenly , that sense of wonder he had. It wasn't for it’s size, which was huge, but because it appeared to be looking back from it’s wings. More so given the grandeur of its size.
“So beautiful,” John whispered to himself over that design inspired by nature herself.
Those colors brilliant, while beautiful, were not just for the sake of beauty. Those colors and designs had evolved to give the impression of an owl’s head. Owls scare off most birds that like butterflies, and for a butterfly that was a good thing.
The ones that looked more like an owl didn't get eaten, and those that didn't get eaten fostered the next generation. Evolution, in this case, enhanced by selection, or better said that lack of selection from birds, and as this particular butterfly evolved so did that look.
This one, because of its size, even more wondrous and intense in those colors. That intensity heightened as the sun glistened off that blend of tiny colorful scales. Colors shimmering in their diagonal bangs of yellow, on the darkest black, trailing to more yellow. He was as pretty as anything John had seen.
So pretty that John’s concentration was intensely focused on nothing else. So focused in those moments that he failed to see the second, even larger Swallowtail, fluttering almost in a hover behind him. It fluttered silently just above and behind only to light on the very edge of John's collar, unnoticed.
That receptive female scent that it had caught on the breeze, the reason, and only reason, it did so.
That Swallowtail on John's collar didn't find the female it was looking for, nor her eggs, but that didn't matter as Nature’s imperative and a chemical compulsion was answered.
That Swallowtail also didn't know that the scent was artificial as it made an attempt to fertilize an egg that wasn't there. There was only the lightest touch at the back of John's neck as the males "claspers" at the end of his abdomen clamped lightly on what he thought was the females own abdomen. John felt a light tickle just at his threshold of awareness.
John swept his hand behind himself thinking, subconsciously, of mosquitos, then stood in awe over an even larger Swallowtail now fluttering off to his left, it's work done. That second easily as big as the one he was taking pictures of and the odds of that were astronomical given natures rules.
There was another Swallowtail fluttering nearby but that first had, along with it's sperm package, left a methyl salicylic which is a kind of anti-aphrodisiac killing the scent for any other interested of his kind. Within seconds that tiny drop of sperm that was deposited on John's neck cancelled out the Pheromones John had applied earlier.
It had been John’s use of that scent that had attracted that butterfly and John smiled as he realized why that male had dared come so close. It was the scent of a female Swallowtail. Pheromones John had applied with a small swab at the base of his neck.
A dab really, just a few particles of it, but enough to bring those males within touching distance. A very cleaver idea, given the growing number of butterflies now within his reach, as he continued taking pictures. He would thank Ms. Everett her suggestion when he'd see her again that day.
He had thanked her on several occasions for a number of reasons, not the least of which her influence which drove him into the forest these days. Her influence and encouragement to forego those other boy’s taunts and teases that he was a sissy for doing what he did.
Watching and cataloging Butterflies were not exactly a masculine past time for a boy, and John paid dearly for that when he first mentioned it in passing to his friend. "You're doing what?" Was the last thing one of his friends had said to him.
John would someday be an Lepidopterists like Ms. Everett. An entomologist with a specialty. A person who studies insects, but who specializes in the collection and study of butterflies, and moths, or, as that friend confirmed in a slightly disgusted tone that day, "you're actually collecting butterflies!”
Meanwhile that small dot of liquid that the male Swallowtail had left for the sake of his species, as it might on a female's egg, slowly infused itself into John’s skin. It was as easily absorbed into John’s upper epidermal, or top layer of skin as it might that egg if there had been an egg.
What was different were those chemicals that John’s body began assimilating almost instantly. Those chemicals and a half dozen powerful proteins were very new to this world and John might have had cause for concern had John known that, but he didn't.
Fortunately what John didn't know wouldn't kill him, but it most definitely was going to change him. There were going to be changes and not too unlike the changes that had caused that Swallowtail to grow as big as it had. It would be a remarkable event given that John's DNA was involved or soon would be.
DNA, the instructions behind that book of life, had changed just before that butterfly had hatched. It nearly killed those first few butterflies within their cocoon, because two more inches of growth was almost too much, and that wasn't too long ago. Actually this change was born of a chain of events beginning only a few months ago.
It started with several tenacious plants growing near the waste center of a nuclear storage facility. A facility just one hundred miles to the North of where John stood. A facility for the Department of energy and quietly built fifteen years ago over the protest of locals and the homes that were razed because of it. Few people, at least nowadays, even knew it was there still, or why if they did. Although nature didn't care and plants still grew.
Those odd plants, as it happens, were native and near the staging area to the underground facility that housed a million pounds of radioactive chemicals already. Radiation, only slight, had been taken in by those plants and, as part of the food chain, so too the caterpillar. A very particular caterpillar that favored those native plants while it fed itself for the incredible metamorphosis it was soon going to commit itself to.
Radiation, but well within government standards, and ignored because of those standards, was still too high for something so delicate as a butterfly. Of course the government’s standards might be a point to argue, because it was the government that set those standards. Although that was neither here nor there as those caterpillars ate ravenously. As always, it would be their last meal.
As it also happens those same plants are the plants that Swallowtails like as caterpillars. Those plants are called the Hop tree or Ptelea Trifoliata, to those in the know. One of those food sources for the Papilio Creshontes Cramer or Swallowtail, but only when it is a caterpillar host and then only until creating it’s chrysalis.
That radiation was high, but not high enough to alarm anyone at the site. At least not until the Geiger counter’s clicks increased one day. A seam, unknown but nearly 400 meters long, allowed a small amount of radiated gas to seep upward and finally outward.
Fortunately, even if it was harmful, that plant was already sealed in a thick yellow plastic bag marked both nuclear and hazardous before it could harm anyone. That plant, in it’s bag, was also now heading into a vast chamber dug out of the limestone and seven hundred feet below ground.
Unfortunately that chrysalis, or several actually, had already hatched, and just as unfortunate it wasn't an “anyone” that received those high doses that didn't alarm anyone. That Swallowtail, as large as it was, wasn't large relative to us, but that radiation taken through the food chain did cause harm of a sort.
A mutation had occurred and rapidly within those caterpillars within their chrysalis. A mutation carried off easily because of that Swallowtail’s own remarkable metamorphosis. Seven of them changed and seven emerged. Seven adult butterflies joined together for the long trip South. Resting, as it happens, in the forest where John was now standing.
A Lepidopterists, or that entomologist like Ms. Everett, might have understood what was happening to those Swallowtails. She understood butterflies in many ways since she specialized in the collection and study of those and other insects. She understood it would be an anomaly.
With a scientific background and a questioning mind, Ms. Everett would have desperately wanted to know what was happening to these few monsters, but she wasn't there. No one was around that morning as John’s body, within minutes, began mounting a silent defense against another microscopic unknown.
John's white blood cells found the first few invading cells of that Swallowtail and a chemical alert within his body was issued immediately. Something foreign had registered and was now under attack. Each cell of that butterfly was identified as alien and the battle began.
Those first few fights, carried on silently by John's own defenses, won easily. For an analogy that battle took the same course as the beginnings of a cold or flu virus. It was and wasn't a virus because nothing on Earth evolved the way these mutated genes did. It just acted like a virus. Something almost like a cold for want of a better analogy.
Unfortunately, like a cold, it was the speed of their alien divisions and that infection which began turning the tide against John's defenses. At first John’s body won those fights handily. Within the first hour that changed and by the time John had ended his morning in the forest that battle would have been called a draw.
By the time John reached home to get ready for school that battle had shifted decidedly in favor of the virus and was well established as John went about the rest of his day unaware. Those radiated nuclei from that butterfly were now passing John’s defenses in easy victories. There were millions now and they were already infusing themselves within John’s own DNA as he made lunch.
That necessity to live and, more importantly, to replicate themselves forced this process. A demand throughout nature and nature, above all else, is very demanding. Nature is also adaptive, and this above all else is Nature's highest calling next to propagation.
Natures adaptive imperative was answered in a number of ways as those changing cells within John’s body began changing John. Alien cells now mimicking John's cells, for protection, were ultimately being accepted within John’s own DNA structure and his own design was changing. What nature also decided to do, what she's done so often, and within those hours, was find a way to make that unworkable design workable.
What was different, besides the two species once genetically miles apart, was that John wasn't a butterfly nor female. He was a male and human, or rather he had been. He was still human, but that male part, or those male hormones constantly battling against those female hormones that men and women share at birth, were shifting slightly in their delicate balance.
The fight, the same as before, went on, but the outcome was now definitely changing. That butterfly, in his attempt to infuse a female's eggs, did so with a genetically defined male - John and John wasn't a butterfly. Under any other circumstances it wouldn't work. Of course all that was really wrong was John being male. Although, one could argue, John hadn't been fully male right after conception and there were still some things nature could do to leverage off that original intent.
That other side, that side hidden when John’s testis formed in those first twelve weeks as a fetus, were suddenly aroused. John didn't feel that either as he slipped into bed that night. And that night John began a subtle but definite metamorphosis. He did scratch some as things changed slightly, and he tossed around a bit over some minor discomforts, but, for the most part, he slept through those changes.
Some of those changes, natural changes even without this new process, would someday be seen when John grew older. Older men lose testosterone, and their masculinity that comes with it, as do women their estrogen during menopause. It’s why men, later in life, grow breast of a sort, and woman on occasion, a mustache. Those natural hormones, had he been born a girl and still carried, were now under new instructions and this time with a new power behind them.
John’s sleep was surrounded by dreams of butterflies fluttering about, and those boys taunting him as a sissy for fluttering about with them. His mind also accepting a portion of a new potion his own body was now making. A potion that science would someday know about when the discussions of what makes males male and females, female. John, like the caterpillar, was changing and it would be striking those changes.
There was a metamorphose underway and like a caterpillar changing into a butterfly it's an incredible change. A change so complete and so striking as to alter fully the nature or appearance of that caterpillar turned butterfly, and now it was John's turn.
John too was turning into something not completely John. Remarkably John's first changes were for the new chemicals his body would need. John's circulatory system began accepting a new fluid similar to hemolymph (also spelled haemolymph). Hemolymph made up of mostly water, inorganic salts and organic compounds (close to sea water) now carried a lot of newer salts and compounds John's new body needed.
John was changing physically and mentally and was doing so within hours of that moment in the forest. It takes twelve hours for the common cold to take hold and give us a hint that we have it. It took about that same amount of time for all of the signals that flow through us naturally to change as well, and John woke to a new world. John woke to the same sun, room and bed, but clearly it didn't feel the same.
In this case it was that dream remembered on his way to his shower and that notice of his skin when he woke. He had moved to scratch and in doing so stopped to notice the texture of his skin. There was an odd texture to his skin that left him slightly aware of it and slightly curious over it. A rough texture just a tad more dry than normal.
Perhaps a rash, John mused, perhaps not - hopefully not.
John thought immediately of those few poisonous plants he was aware of when he was out in that part of the forest. He hadn't seen any of them, and he looked, carefully, but that didn't mean they were not there. He used his scrub brush and his medicated soap for just this sort of thing as he showered. It didn't hurt to be cautious, he mused.
John scrubbed hard. That scrubbing had worked, but oddly so, as he dried himself. It was that sense of touch through his fingertips and a smoothness to his skin he'd never noticed before. Like moist silk if you are looking for a vision of what it might feel like then. It wasn't fully an unpleasant feel. Odd that feeling perhaps, but definitely not unpleasant.
John would have to remember that particular brand of soap for the future, he mused casually as he dressed, believing still it was the soap. There were other things he mused over that morning and some of it in how delighted he felt during his walk to Dr. Everett’s office. His pictures, those wonderful pictures, were in hand as he knocked on her door. He was light headed as his endorphins danced within and around his thoughts.
“Where in heaven’s name did you take these,” Helen asked instantly, standing up in utter surprise.
Ms. Everett, Helen to those who knew her well enough, had been studying the Swallowtails, and other local species of butterflies in that area, for nearly two decades now. Her doctorate came from that study and this particular species, now in John’s photo, but never anything like these.
This wonder, shown sitting above the ruler John had held, was beyond anything she had seen and John smiled. Of course he knew it was Helen’s favorite and some of that was the reason for his smile, and his delight that previous morning taking those pictures. Other thoughts made him smile more as she insisted they go back and find them, together.
Together, John mused, happily.
They searched for hours that day and again that following day before she found one of them laying haphazardly on the ground, dead. This one measured a full eleven inches beyond the seven inch monster she had displayed in it’s own case at her lab. Her own sense of excitement equal only to John's in those moments as she slipped the butterfly carefully into a large plastic bag.
Helen would mount it, describe it’s size and share credit with him. Credit on both his find, and efforts on the new paper she planned. John felt giddy as he made his way to his dorm that evening. That love affair between them, but only known to John, flared as well as he showered again. He had felt so gritty again and wanted to bring back that silkiness he'd had from his previous shower.
John not only felt gritty but his joints ached. His joints ached and his testicles felt warm to the touch and he smiled a little over that. He smiled because he was thinking of Helen Everett as he touched them. Definitely catching something, he mused, as he stepped back out of the shower again. He didn't notice those hairs swirling within the soap and water draining away before he dried. His scrubbing had taken them away easily.
He met Helen early that following morning. They had made love again that night or rather John dreamed of making love with her that night, and he savored that dream as they entered the forest once again. It was a fairy tale morning in more ways than one. A small thin layer of fog hugged the ground forming delicate slow moving tendrils easing, independently, through the trees making the forest appear even more magical.
“Dr. Patter is almost positive it’s a genetic anomaly, and most likely even environmental!” Helen said to John when they met that morning. Their field trip, while shorter this time because of their schedules was still exciting for John. That amount of time they had didn't matter, because John took any amount of time, given his feelings for this woman, as time well spent.
Ironically those same feelings was growing in an odd way for Helen, as well. That notice came about on that second day causing Helen to wonder over it. Helen was behind John following him. John was, and this she kept to herself, actually pretty looking in a girlish sort of way.
Why Helen hadn't noticed that before was not clear to her as they drove back to school, but she did now. She also didn't consciously notice that subtle change in John’s own pheromones or scent, but her subconscious did and those new signals were suddenly growing very strong within her.
John's skin glistened and looked so smooth to the touch, and would have been, were Helen bold enough to do so. She would die for that sort of skin, she mused. She would have loved to touch it, as well, but she didn't dare. John was, after all, a male and a student. For Helen those were two very large taboos. Taboo first because of their individual status, the other because of Helen's gender preferences in partners.
John had his own thoughts in that same distance and time. More between the forest and school and some of it over those panties he wore. Of course they were not really panties if you ignored his father’s opinions on such things. They were Hannes “His Way” and while they might look like panties, and were silky nylon, the company clearly said they were for men.
Which, according to his father, didn't make it so. Besides, his father had said in that knowing tone, Hannes only made panties for women as far as he was concerned. Which all came out one morning when John walked from the shower back to his room during a visit. His mother understood what they were, but his father - never! Men's underpants do not glisten nor shine, nor shimmer, he said flatly.
That had been his old girlfriend’s comments the day she bought those panties for him. Girls nowadays were wearing cotton underwear and boys, some boys, nylon. She smiled over that and before long, thanks to that girl's gift and a light touch of encouragement, John was also smiling over that.
He had only worn those panties dating her before then, and only then because when he did so she rewarded him in such glorious and sensuous ways. She loved the feel of nylon on him, and because he was wearing them when she noted that, so did he. Hannes, he had joked, was “Her Way” and when she had "Her Way" those panties had easily become “His Way”.
His father, on the other hand, made it clear that anything that didn't have ugly slits in the front were panties. Slits were there for a guy to reach into before doing his duty. If you had to pull your pants down to do that duty then they were panties. “Guys only pull their underpants down to sit and do their other duty!” His father had said.
Although, in an odd irony, John’s father had made it very clear that it might be ok for John to wear such things. Even OK to sit for all of his duties, since he was skipping about catching butterflies. Guys that catch butterflies are most often those same guys that don't mind pulling their pants down to do their duty. Or so his father also said.
John remembered those comments as he searched his underwear drawer. His own shorts, those cotton ones, were suddenly feeling far too harsh that morning when he set them in place. He bought cheap soap for his laundry and blamed that harshness on the soap. He also blamed the pain in his joints on the flu. He wore the white silky nylon Hannes “His Way” when he slipped into his jeans.
By that afternoon John felt lousy, and headed for the school’s nursing office.
A fever of 101 was high but not extreme, the nurse said, as she too wrote down the flu on John’s chart. She also confirmed his age again wondering over his nearly pre-pubescence body from his neck down. She too thought he was slightly too pretty for a boy, and most likely a late bloomer besides, as she handed John a “what to do when you've got the flu” sheet of paper fresh off the printer.
John was already doing what was written, he decided, as he paid his five dollars co-pay, and tossed the instruction sheet into the trash outside. That morning was the worse of it anyway as he woke to a damp bed sheet. A very gross very damp bed sheet, he thought to himself. He noted, only casually, what looked like fine grained sand and those few remaining hairs he'd shed during the night.
What was forming, in a biological sense, was a type of chrysalis, or at least, as close as a human might come to making a chrysalis. John’s body, in fact, was attempting to emulate a butterfly each night and each morning, since John was human, was shedding that covering off.
John was actually losing skin cells bathed in a kind of salt that was being fluffed off from John’s own epidermal. Those upper epidermal cells were being joined by way of a silky like mucus before hardening and once John's body was protected it began altering itself or trying to.
John was also attempting to do what was only done in the first twelve weeks of gestation for a human fetus. He was doing what babies do in a mother’s womb, as his body attempted to answer a signal it wasn't suppose to be getting any longer or ever for that matter. A metamorphosis of a sort and most of the reasons his body ached in places that had hinted at the flu.
We are conceived without a sex or, put another way, with all of the material for both sexes or either sex if you prefer. We evolve first with all of the material to make us female or male, and without that signal from our chromosomes or, more specifically, that “Y” that gets attached to the male's, we will simply continue on as females.
Before that signal the genital systems are identical or defined another way - neutral. With that chemical signal given changes begin and testicles form. From those testicles comes the stuff that men are truly made of. The rest is simply our bodies answering all of those instructions that make us into what we will ultimately become.
Occasionally those signals get mixed and, in this case, John’s were mixing again under a new design driven by a new mandate.
If John was still that early fetus there would still be gonads which can become ovaries, cervix and fallopian tubes or, as in his case, testicles. Were he still a fetus that phallus could become either a clitoris or penis and those genital folds either a labia or scrotum. Since John had that "Y" chromosome he'd made the transition to male by his third month in his mother's womb. When his testicles formed they in turn completed that masculine process.
Since John was to be born male those gonads developed into testicles and those testicles began producing the male hormone testosterone. That testosterone led to the development of his penis, scrotum and the internal tubular system that would later carry his sperm.
Another hormone, also produced by the testicles acted as an inhabiter and called the anti-mullerian hormone or AMH. AMH inhibits the development of a uterus and vagina. That inhabiter had all but disappeared by now with John's body under new instructions.
What was happening now, and because John's body was trying to metamorphose his body from male to female he was going to be something for science to consider. John's body was attempting to reverse most everything that John had been through as a fetus and nearly over that same 'relatively short' amount of time. A nearly impossible task given the circumstances, but it didn't lesson the effort his body gave. Mass was moving, shifting, changing and that redistribution of fatty tissue and muscle cells was rapid and constant.
It was constant and becoming relentless, in those first few days. So too even John's hair. His hair, the hair on his head, once growing at one sixteenth of an inch per day, was now nearly a half inch in twenty four hours, and he only noticed that because his hand went further along the pony tail he wore before the rubber band was added on to hold it together.
His body hair had also changed as well. He thought it was growing lighter as it did in the Summer which was coming closer. John noticed that on the forth day. Although, as he thought more about it, he remembered it wasn't quite Summer yet.
An alarm went off then and what to do about it was on his mind as he walked to class. You simply don't lose that much body hair unless something is wrong, although it didn't seem like that much hair when he finally did notice.
Which wasn't all of what was causing his alarm. His pants hanging slightly more lose at the waist and his belt at it’s first hole as well but now more snug at his hips. Not much more snug, but noticeable given it was his own body in his own favorite jeans that no longer felt like his favorite.
He forced himself to eat a bit more and was drinking constantly given what he perceived as his “illness”. Thinking he had the flu was the only reason he didn't run back to the nurse in a full panic.
He also noticed, but only in passing and just for a second, that his elbows now struck his sides more as he walked. That was odd since they hadn't before. In John's case it was those tendons and muscles causing that. It wasn't simply fatty or muscle tissue changing, but tendons as well, and from behind more than a few guys at school noticed.
Some muscles were tightening, some growing more loose. Just a slight tightening of his tendons on one side and a bit loser on the other was all that it took to draw his elbows in. A purposeful design in women so that arms hanging at the sides did so properly. Properly over jutting hips if you were a girl that is. In this case his hips began to enlarge and for the same reason as a girl's in spite of John’s gender.
It would have also seemed odd for the two young men walking behind John who admired the girl they thought they were admiring as they did so. They looked, but with that casualness almost all males share in recognizing someone of the opposite sex. Their thoughts would have been far different had they known who they were watching walking before them.
More fatty tissue had formed around John’s thighs, both inside and out, and his bottom was shifting slightly from his waist at the back. Fatty tissue, designed to cushion a woman's bottom, was now being added to cushion John's bottom as well.
That was what the guys had noticed first. Not much as it happens, but his pants fit slightly differently as did those so called men’s panties he now wore again. They had gathered on those thighs sooner than before or so it seemed.
John’s lips, as well, had also gathered a few more fatty cells and puckered a tiny bit more that day. All of this relatively small as changes go. Nothing dramatic and not noticed when John faced the mirror, but, again, it was constant. Slowly, and unfortunately ceaseless. Ceaseless but slowly.
So slowly that those individual changes didn't show individually, but taken together as a whole, there were enough changes to show overall. Finally John's pores had tightened, smoothing his body and face and to a casual observer it was decidedly becoming a girl's face.
That was what Helen noted as she greeted him and the rest of his class in Biology that morning. John was looking very female or so she mused, and why that was so wasn't clear, but she liked that look. She liked those lips as well and wished, to herself, that he wore something kissable. Something with a bit more shimmer and perhaps a little color in it. Helen shook her head to clear it because she wanted desperately to kiss those lips as she began her days lesson.
There were those, according to a dear friend of Helen’s, who found being bi-sexual an advantage. Until that morning Helen hadn't. Although that thought stayed with Helen for most of that morning. She had never thought of being with a male till now, although not fully male, she mused.
John would look so lovely in something Summery, silky and flowing, she also mused, as she sat behind her desk. She fought to concentrate on her lesson while she in turn moved her knees together slowly.
It hadn't gone well, that class, because Helen wasn't thinking of that class as she sat in her office correcting papers before calling it a day and that was when her day changed. Helen got the call from her own mentor, Dr. Patter, that evening. An emergency he'd said and it related to that butterfly she had given him to study. Helen was alarmed when he told her why, and John too, soon after that call from Helen.
John was greeted by two men in white environmental suits after he realized he wasn't dreaming over that banging on his door. That butterfly Helen had mounted was now in a container marked “nuclear material” as was that small oak case she used. At John’s room they carried yellow suitcases in, and there were clicks from the Geiger counter as they began their work. Helen stood there with an understanding look at John's confusion.
“John, what were you wearing on the day you found those butterflies?” Helen asked from the door and from behind a paper mask behind the two men in those suits.
John told her, then the men in the white suits, before actually showing them. Fortunately and with the exception of one minor spike from the collar of his shirt, everything was within “high” norms. His shirt went with those two men in a thick plastic bag marked with the nuclear hazards logo and the panic ended as quickly as it began.
John’s panic ended, but his fear was still there. Although his fear changed from shock to surprise after finding out that the butterfly they'd found, and the one he most likely touched, was radioactive. It wasn't much, but enough to alert the authorities who took an interest in such things. Wind patterns were discussed out of ear shot, and checked, and a source for that radiation guessed at within hours.
John was requested, at CDC’s expense and the schools permission, to undergo test. As a routine, they had taken a blood test. Nothing serious or heavy duty, and simply a precaution to which John quickly agreed. If John had taken on some of that radiation it was more than likely equal to a normal X-Ray, nothing more, they said. There was no reason to be alarmed they also said.
As it happens it wasn't even that much of a level, radiation wise, and John, after being poked, prodded and scanned was released. John was released after those few tests, and the butterfly in question was now seven hundred feet below the desert. As were those others those Geiger counters found within minutes after Helen showed them where the first had been laying.
John also met Dr. Prox as he was dressing at the end of his test. She was with the Center For Disease Control or CDC and an expert in radiation poisoning and while everything appeared normal, Dr. Prox wanted to be absolutely sure. She hadn't liked the notion of John's so called "flu".
Dr. Prox wanted to do a full and more complete physical that following day. John agreed again, and instantly, since his flu like symptoms hinted at something other than the flu. Radiation, John knew, caused the body to shed hair.
Why Dr. Prox wanted to know if he was on any sort of hormone treatment wasn't clear. That came when she read his new blood test, but it was suggestive, and he worried over that for most of his dreams that night.
John had left, albeit with some difficulty, a sperm sample. Only it wasn't sperm in his dreams because he was a girl this time. He was a girl, he dreamed, and rather than chasing butterflies he was simply running in a field full of them.
John was in a yellow Summer dress of see through chiffon over a light nylon lining of white and his father was hollering, off in the distance, that those panties he was wearing were really girl's panties. Helen was running alongside telling him to ignore his father and that he looked good in her clothes. All that he needed, Helen said between breaths in that dream, was a bra if he was going to run around in something so pretty.
John woke with mixed emotions that morning and concern as he padded his way to his shower. His breast did hurt slightly he noted stepping under the warm water which, he mused, was the cause of such an odd dream. His shower hinted at why he'd dreamed of a bra, as he ran his soapy hands down his chest. He slowed at the nipples and stopped when the little mounds ended.
Aside from the fact his chest was smooth and hairless there were now two nearly perfect little breast. Not breast per se but buds that hinted at breast. Dr. Prox's comments about hormones came back to him as he stood sideways in front of his mirror. That question of hers suggested that Dr. Prox also knew something. He was now guessing at that same thing.
His breast, and they were breast, were perhaps half a “B” cup if that, but still more than you'd see on a guy or him just a week ago, and that brought focus to his hips and thighs. His shape reminded him of a girl not far from puberty and that unnerved him. Not fully a girl’s shape yet, but definitely not that of a boy’s either.
Oddly enough it didn't scare him as much as he'd thought it might, and wondered over that as he thought it. He only dressed then because he was running out of time and again wore the panties and this time for the sake of wearing panties. He wore his tee-shirt and jeans again, but they were decidedly more feminine than before, as his jeans flowed outward below a narrow waist to fill over his hips. There was a hint of breast that were now just pushing at the cotton of his tee.
Some guys like girls that don't look all that much like girls, or put another way, some guys like guys that don't look much like guys either. The guy in the guard's uniform, that guard that held the CDC door open for John, smiled as he did so. He smiled then and continued smiling all the while watching that young thing moving across the floor. For this man it wouldn't have mattered either way which gender John was.
The test took eleven hours and the questions were endless as John wondered through the mysteries of medical science and his history. Oddly enough the technician, in the far reaches of that same building, reading the results of his second blood test with the doctor, could find nothing out of the ordinary and she noted that right off.
That last comment, the one right after that, was what made the doctor laugh so hard.
That technician, by the way, hadn't met nor seen John as she stood with the doctor. She had simply run some normal test on some normal blood. John, she said, and that was an odd name for a girl, was extremely healthy for a young female. She also guessed, based on her readings, that the girl, given the level and mix of hormones, was near the age of ten or so.
That comment, for obvious reason, made Dr. Prox frown and smile, then laugh within seconds of that remark. It was those chemical traces, as spikes on his blood gases, that interested her.
More so when she got a call from one of CDC's entomologist who was doing skin sample studies of John. They'd been taking skin samples, scrapings, every hour on the hour on John and there was an anomaly with those earlier samples.
"It appears to be human skin but it's formed a kind of structure not too unlike a chrysalis," That technician noted. It was the combinations of comments that caused Dr. Prox to call her boss and it was her boss that brought up the file under John's name.
That man, a long time employee of the CDC, read John's file. Alarms, in his own brain, were going off as he did so. There was too many little things that all led to something bigger, he mused before typing again. A series of passwords were entered and a code was given. That code changed things instantly. It changed things throughout all of the CDC computer systems, and John's file became "Classified, Secret, Level 1, Eyes Only".
Questions arose for that entire day. It would be the same following that battery of psychological test. Those test were conducted by three different doctors. One at first, who then called in the other two. The second two had not met nor seen John either which was also on purpose. However, according to all three, John’s thought processes were definitely female and, in fact, more so even than most females.
It wasn't simply his thoughts that were changing as the small biopsy needle was pulled carefully from a stainless steel casing that was used to tap into John's spine. John's brain chemistry, they discovered, was not male even slightly. Scans also confirmed that.
In John's case, as in most females, there was decidedly more neurons and dendrites when the first electronic slices started to form to show John's brain. Not too unusual for some men, but decidedly more than unusual in this case because of everything else.
It was the scans that shook everyone sitting in front of those CRT images that evening. John's Cerebral hemisphere or more importantly that corpus callosum was showing new growth. The corpus callosum is the fibrous tract connecting the left and right sides of the brain.
That tract was inherently larger in females. John's 200 million or so axons appeared to a number of surprised faces to have nearly doubled and in just a few days. An MRI was ordered and those magnetic resonance imaging results only confirmed the original diagnosis.
Another MRI was ordered on John's hypothalamus. Focus on this scan was those two areas decidedly different in males and females. Remarkably John's preoptic area as well as his suprachiasmatic nucleus were again and definitely judged female.
That would explain the headaches John was having one of the doctors noted. There was one other voice, coming from the back. A voice that caught everybody's attention then. That voice was from a noted Neuroscientist who read the shape of John's suprachiasmatic nucleus.
"That elongation is definitely a female's shape! A male's is shaped more like a sphere," she said with enough conviction to leave everyone without any doubt as she added, "my guess is your patient's cramps and his hormone level changes are most likely a result of this young man trying to have a period and since he is a young man, therein lies the difficulty."
There was a snicker from someone.
"You're not serious," Another voice said with another snicker. It was a man's voice and that snicker wasn't humorous. He sounded nervous.
"Obviously it's not a true menstruation but as you can see, both his estrogen and progesterone levels have peaked during the luteal phase. That's clearly in support of his pituitary hormones," That voice said as the others looked at the chart she was now pointing to.
"Could be an anomaly," another doctor argued, another male.
"It could be, but I'm guessing it's not based on all the other evidence. If it is his body trying to menstruate, his corpus luteum will produce progesterone in addition to estrogens for approximately the next 2 weeks. If it doesn't then I'll agree it's an anomaly," the first doctor argued and added, "although I'm willing to bet it does."
"That might explain the discharge we're seeing," Another voice spoke up.
"Discharge," the woman asked.
"Not urine nor semen but something decidedly liquid," that voice noted.
"It could. Have you seen any changes in his brain waves since this all started," the woman asked.
"Discharge," A male doctor asked before an answer came.
"Not menstrual, but clearly there is fluidity and again, it's not urinary," The doctor making the original comment added.
"On those brain waves? Actually yes. His neural firing during his last MRI showed a frenzy of brain activity in both sides of his amygdalae suggesting a strong emotional reaction. Almost a constant so far," a voice in the dark said.
"How interesting this is going to be," that woman's voice said.
"How so," a male voice asked.
"No erection, due to the high levels of estrogen, while he experiences an almost constant, albeit a slow, ejaculation," the woman answered.
"Ejaculation," the man said in shock trying to understand what the woman had just said.
"Ejaculation! It's the only thing his body can use to emulate his period," the doctor noted smiling as she added, "sort of like an on-going wet dream."
"Orgasms," someone asked.
"For seven days," another added with a touch of envy.
"Seven days of orgasms," another male said slightly in awe.
"He's going to be very sensitive," the female doctor noted and added, "and if this is his pattern it's going to be monthly."
Someone else asked her if she was serious, and she went on, "the suprachiasmatic nucleus is that portion of the brain that defines our circadian rhythms as well as our reproductive cycles. All you've got to do is look at the spikes - it's all there."
She smiled at the mystery she faced simply because this really was a mystery. She also kept a couple of other thoughts to herself. John, she mused, would be the first male that could fully and quite literally, understand what a female goes through month to month but for John it would be far more pleasurable than for a woman.
John was still under the effects of a light anesthesia when they tapped him into a disposable diaper and began monitoring his new "period". It was for his sake when the nurse did so although he wasn't fully aware of it till later.
John wasn't discharging anything like a female, but he was discharging uncontrollably and the problem was, the doctor noted to a CDC nurse when the diaper was ordered, "It's got to be a diaper because they just don't make a Kotex designed for males trying to be female."
John, the doctors also noted when they finally convened again, was decidedly more girl than boy. According to his latest scans and hormone levels, a girly girl as one of the doctors, a medical psychologist, put it.
If she was looking at a patient, she said, without knowing that patient was male and with those results, she'd expect to see mostly pinks, ribbons and bows with a strong above average taste for Barbie. It was clear, by the tone of her voice she didn't much care for girly girls the other two doctors decided as she talked of her results.
When those who didn't know that it was a male were told John was male they all agreed that he was definitely not 100% male. Perhaps, at best, half that. A hermaphrodite, someone suggested, most likely misdiagnosed at birth, given his newly forming attributes and those chemical structures.
Perhaps even something of a evolving hermaphrodite although that wasn't clear either because it wasn't clear where John was headed. In any event with his test concluded, it was noted that John, at the very least, could easily set the standards for a classic and budding young transsexual on a very aggressive hormone treatment. A transsexual on some very heavy doses of hormones besides.
One of the nurses, the one that tapped John into his first disposable, could have told them that, she mused, as she rolled John's ample hips towards her for a fresh diaper. There are some boys, she noted as she tapped John's second diaper closed, simply destined to become girls...
She paused, taped the diaper closed and smiled.
...if they were smart that is, she also mused as she patted the front of his diaper before lifting the sheet to cover him.
That was also the thoughts from the doctor brought in to consult on such things. She mentioned in her brief that she or one of her colleagues would most likely be performing a feminizing genitoplasty on this young man one day. As that doctor also noted, when she was told that the young woman she'd tested without knowing he was a young man.
"This young man could easily go either way although, if I were asked to make a recommendation, I'd suggests doing so in a dress. A dress only because it would be less stressful and more easily adaptive for him," the doctor noted.
Fortunately that wasn't said directly to John.
CDC contacted two leading hospitals for consultation and John again agreed to further test. The fact that his body was changing was most of the reason and, why that was so, was still unknown.
Although that doctor working for CDC and now in charge of this case believed it was somehow connected to that butterfly. She was looking at a fluff of skin taken from under John’s arm at that moment.
“It doesn't look like skin or skin cells. Too dense and to hard!” She said to a colleague who was sharing that image.
That colleague agreed and yet it was skin, human and that too was noticed as he adjusted the electron microscope feeding that image. There were five other doctors hovering near that image within half an hour of that comment and again Helen got a call from her old advisor.
Dr. Patter, Helen's advisor, was an expert on butterflies, but he deferred to Helen’s knowledge on the Swallowtail and he, along with Helen, met those other doctors in a conference room at CDC.
Helen referred back to her class notes as well as her field study notes to detail as much as was possible on what she knew about John's discovery.
A forensic pathologist and an expert on insect bites, was brought in to help identify, if possible, a physical contact with that Swallowtail. Helen helped when she noted a single minor passage that she had jotted down in her field book.
That was the notation she made when telling John to use a touch of an artificial female Swallowtail Pheromone. That pathologist, within ten minutes found a small almost invisible minor bump at the base of John's neck. A bump that hinted at something out of the ordinary and a biopsy was taken.
The pathologist found a sperm packet, called a spermatorphore, within John with remnants of Swallowtail sperm. Now that they knew what to look for, that Swallowtail had clearly passed on part of his altered genetic material, including a small amount of residual radiation. John's DNA was again being intensely viewed.
No one really knew what the evidence suggested but the "hints" of it were clear enough. A mutated Swallowtail had an encounter with John that day and somehow John, with new DNA coding, as impossible as that sounded, was now mutating in similar ways as a butterfly might.
When that mutation was firmly established John was classified "risk unknown" which is actually the highest risk classification for the government. That risk classification triggered other actions immediately. John's medical files at school were instantly taken under a secret judicial writ and that information was merged with the material already on file at CDC.
A chronology of symptoms and changes were roughed out in that conference room and John's metamorphism outlined. There was very little scientific information on John's transition, but there were enough doctors with enough disciplines to provide the path John was on from what was already known.
With the exception of how John might feel about such things he was, without anyone doubting it, becoming more girl than boy. It was also clear that trying to counter what was happening might not be medically sound or even feasible since it wasn't clear yet how those chemical mechanisms were actually working.
Problem was, as one doctor noted, changes were happening at the cellular level and everything that was happening was under instructions from John's own body. The consensus was leave John to become whatever it was he was becoming and in the meantime, keep that information and him quiet.
Ironically that meeting was in parallel to another just a few miles away in another building. That second meeting was being held at and by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission and while John's condition was of equal concern, almost, that wasn't their focus.
John was, at the very least, a publicity risk and very negative at best, and the issues were obvious if John-Q-Public came to believe that exposure to nuclear material might somehow turn men into women. There was no doubt that even a rumor of such a thing would put most men into a panic and kill whatever hope they had for atomic energy in the future.
Might not scare women all that much, someone noted with a chuckle, but the men in that room shuddered at the prospects, however ridiculous that might seem. What to do with John and the information surrounding him kept that meeting going till well into the next day.
The National Securities Act was finally cited, after an attorney for the justice department was called in. That attorney cited half a dozen passages within that Act that could be useful to their cause before the meeting broke up.
There was precedence for what was about to happen to John and what was about to happen was that John was going to be sequestered under legal authority as a potential national securities risk. Under that definition, they didn't need a writ of habeas corpus.
What kept those men in black suits at bay was simply John's good fortune that Dr. Prox and Helen were with John when they stepped into John's hospital room. The risk of public disclosure or exposure to what had happened to John was the only reason John was now under guard just hours after his warrant was issued and in protective custody.
There was another meeting held at the AERC with NSC attending.
Under the United States Secrecy Act, information pretraining to this case and disclosure of any information, now sequestered, once it was classified and it was now, would make it a federal offense were it disclosed. That meant that anyone doing so, did so at risk of federal indictment and prosecution.
That was at least one side of the conversation and while potentially threatening to most average people, Helen wasn't average. Helen cited her own notice of "intervention" as her own lawyer called it. She too had talked to an attorney with the ACLU.
Helen was a woman with balls one of the NSC agents noted with a snicker. This came after Helen gave them her own warning. There were forty seven packages of information on John, and what he was going through, sitting at forty seven separate locations. Most of those locations news agencies with "all" of the information.
Information, Helen noted, pulled together before it was or had been classified. Helen also noted that she had not been bound by that United States Secrecy Act when she mailed those out. Five of which, she also noted, were now outside of the U.S. and even it's formidable control.
There were also twelve people that Helen knew, she noted as well, who would call for the release of that information. That is if she or John did not physically appear to those same people within twenty four hours of this meeting. John was not about to be taken away to simply disappear, Helen warned.
It could be said within a few minutes of that conversation, that there was an impasse formed as both sides finished their posturing. Remarkably, it was Helen again that proposed a shift of balance, and to the surprise of those in the dark suits, that shift would be in the governments favor.
A slow calming fell over the room as Helen paused before talking again.
"Why not allow him simply to become the girl that he is becoming," She said in a matter of fact tone as she added, "that is clearly where this is heading."
It wasn't clear who spoke first urging her on, but it was clear that Helen now had their attention and enough time from that statement to note the rest. Helen had thought long and hard on this as she formed the words in her head first.
A transistioning transsexual, Helen noted, has a process clearly defined for how he or rather she, John, will ultimately emerge. That process covers both the physical, mental as well as the legal aspects of a transition and Helen noted that she would help handle John's awareness of this.
Moreover, once the government was satisfied, they could, under the United States Marshall's Service, provide both her and John the necessary identification changes to allow them out of this known and possibly hostile environment. Perhaps into another less known and obviously less hostile.
Helen was, of course, talking about the witness protection program or at least part of it. There were murmurs, nods and finally a consensus. A representative of the U.S. Marshall's Office was brought in and another meeting was held.
John, fortunately was recovering from his bout with an unknown flu type or so he was told by the CDC doctor. The guard, she noted, was simply to ensure there was no physical contact with anyone else till they were sure he was past infecting anyone else. They feared, she said, a possible pandemic.
Meanwhile, that Marshall they called in was both giving and taking information. The Witness Security Program was created by the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. It's original purpose meant for the protection of witnesses by way of relocation and new identification.
Fortunately, from the legal aspects it was already being administered by the United States Marshals Service as a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. It would be up to the United States Attorney General to make that final determination on behalf of John, but that was simply a technicality since it was the NSA that would be asking.
The real problem wasn't so much placing John and Helen under that protection act, but what to do with John when he was entered. He was male, going on female so the obvious choice would be to change his identity to female. Helen, of course, pushed for that as well.
Helen, as she sat there talking and listening, also realized with a startled awareness that she was in love. No one noticed that smile or if they did it's connection, but Helen felt the warmth spreading from inside as John's case and a solution was being mapped out.
Under the Marshals Service, John and his intended legal guardian, now Helen, would be relocated to a new city in a new state. The Marshal promised to bring back a list of those cities for Helen to review. It would be a small list because she wanted a college that included Lepidopterists in it's curriculum.
It was fortuitous as well that John's metamorphism would assist in this deception and, ironically, Helen's background would only add to it. Helen was orphaned at the age of seventeen when her parents were killed. There was no other family. Changing her history, slightly, and adding a sister would be easy.
The Marshal, attending, suggested she have a step sister ten years her junior and that would require changing only several databases. That would also put John, as Helen's step sister, at the tender age of seven when their parents died.
That would make John legally fourteen now to Helen's twenty five. Helen, would have a sister, but Helen wasn't thinking sister as she imagined John laying next to her in a new bed somewhere happily in a new home.
John would get a new name, identity and a solid history with enough authentic documentation to include a new Social Security card. Helen's identity would not need to change and her academic credentials would remain intact.
Housing and medical care, job training and employment would also be included if needed. There would be two levels or phases of funding with the first supporting John's transition and the second in support of their relocation till he and she were once again self-sufficient.
Unlike a true witness under the protection program, John would not have to break contact with his mother. His father, Helen mused, might be a different story. Helen knew that John's father was homophobic to a fault and already believed John gay. John's mother simply didn't care one way or the other.
Helen was wondering, to herself, what might happen were John simply to confirm his father's suspicions. It wasn't without a precedence she mused, since John was, in fact, more like a transsexual now. That would definitely have to be part of the discussions with John, she decided.
John was reaching the third day and his forth diaper of that day when Helen joined him wearing a surgical mask. John was still led to believe he was contagious, and while being diapered unnerved him, the fact that they were soiled at each change made it clear they were a necessary evil.
Helen also now knew John was wearing diapers and why, having calculated, with the CDC doctor's help, that John would have his 'period' for another two days at least.
"You don't need that mask," John said smiling. A mischievous smile Helen realized and with that realization she took a second to remove it.
"How did you know that," Helen asked.
"My changes are genetic and not disease related," John said.
"And you know that because," Helen asked.
"Another guess," John said and added, "the breast mostly, but other things as well. You know, hips and the like."
"They've gotten bigger. Your breast that is," Helen said in a voice as casual as John's was but there was a trace of a smile.
"Yes, but they've stopped growing," John said.
"You know that," Helen asked.
"It's more like I can feel it," John said and added between snickers, "and it's nothing like a cold or the flu."
"No, I suppose it's not. Not by a long shot I suspect," Helen said with her own snicker.
"So, what have the doctors said. Am I more girl than boy now," John asked.
It was an odd question, but given the circumstances not as odd as it might have been. Five weeks has passed and with it, according to the last scans and blood test, most of what everyone believed was John's metamorphosis.
John had stabilized, if that was reasonable as a prognosis. Although Helen wasn't sure a prognosis, any prognosis would be accurate. They really knew very little about what John had gone through or why.
The doctor was sure his changes had slowed, perhaps stopped, suspecting John had reached some sort of balance. That was another of nature's great constructs - balance however one sided it might be.
"I suspect you can answer that better than they can," Helen said as she added, "they honestly don't know much. I mean they know a lot, but it's your mind I'd like to understand."
"Feels different! Everything feels different," John said as his face changed.
He was considering his answer, internalizing it. He knew the changes, while subtle, were dramatic if seen without the context of those five weeks in-between. He also knew he was viewing things differently.
"A good difference or bad," Helen asked cautiously.
"Mostly good! Not sure why that is, but it's mostly good," John said.
He paused long enough for Helen to speak and she was about to, but the changes in his face made her hesitate. John was considering something else and a resolution had been reached if Helen was reading his face accurately.
"What," Helen asked softly as she fidgeted with the mask in her hand. She was now holding it, but nervously.
"My dad... I was thinking of my dad and how shocked he was when I said I was helping you collect butterflies. I didn't mention this to you but when I'd gone home for last break... Well, he thought I was becoming a sissy," John said and laughed, "he had no idea how right he was."
"Not sissy! Feminine," Helen said.
Effeminate, to my dad, is sissy," John said.
"Feminine, in your case, is female," Helen countered.
"But I'm not," John said.
"As close perhaps as any man has ever been," Helen said and added, "right down to what is happening to you 'down there' at this moment."
"My period? Now isn't that funny coming from a guy," John said as he lifted his nightgown up to show Helen the diaper he wore.
"Did they tell you that," Helen asked.
"Didn't have to Helen. Although I asked a nurse when the symptoms started. Cramps, irritable, uncomfortable at first, and then this incontinence or whatever it is," John said pointing to his diaper.
"Not incontinence as much as a kind of menstrual flow, so it's not as if I can't relate," Helen said laughing.
"But that's not all," John said laughing.
"What," Helen asked.
"It's like living in the middle of a constant wet dream for want of a better description. I can't think, move nor imagine without ejaculating a little each time. Hell, it happens when I'm not imagining anything at all," John said.
"Definitely not a true period," Helen said and added, "but I understand and I do envy you a little."
"Wish that wasn't so," John said sheepishly as he added, "that's the worse part I think."
"What's that," Helen asked not understanding the change in John's voice.
"You relating. If I do have any regrets..." John started to say and stopped. He was feeling flush, embarrassed, vulnerable. His true love, or the chance at it was now gone.
"About you and possibly me," Helen said understanding instantly those pauses and the change in John's eyes.
"What," John asked a little surprised.
"About your crush on me," Helen asked.
"You knew," John asked back feeling his face flush.
"Of course. Trouble was it could never have worked, at least not as it was then," Helen said.
"I understand," John said and added, "because I'm a student."
"There was that in the beginning, but that wasn't all of it," Helen said as her own face flushed.
"My age," John asked.
"Your age is fine," Helen said.
"Then I don't follow," John said.
"You are... or rather you were a guy," Helen said and added, "a very nice guy John, but a guy nonetheless. Do you understand what I'm saying?"
John looked at Helen for a second trying to figure out what it was she was saying when suddenly, like a mild shock to his brain, a thought flashed.
She was gay! Helen was gay! She didn't like guys, John mused with a mixture of emotions till another thought struck him with almost equal force. She said 'or rather you were a guy'.
"What about now," John asked throwing caution to the wind but his toes and fingers were crossed.
"Now? Now there is hope. Definitely hope," Helen said blushing as she added, "for me, perhaps, the best of both worlds. For you? I'm not sure. I suppose you'd have to answer that. If that might be something you'd still be interested in?"
"Are you kidding? Interested? Helen, I've been chasing butterflies for you," John said laughing.
Helen felt the passion rising, the warmth already there suppressed for so long, and out of necessity with that necessity now gone as she said, "we would be a very odd couple."
"Not so odd," John said feeling the pit of his stomach churning as he added with a laugh, "same sex relationships are common nowadays."
"Takes me back to your original question then," Helen said.
"Which," John asked.
"The one you asked me? If you are more girl than boy," Helen said and added, "What would you answer?"
"More girl than boy," John said feeling his face warming, but it changed again as he added, "but still a boy."
"Not enough to matter," Helen said as she added, "at least not to me."
"You could accept what I've become," John said.
"I could have accepted you for what you were then, now, it's more like icing on a cake. A cake I've wanted for a while now," Helen said taking John's hand within hers.
"Even if I'm not sure I can take this any further," John asked and added, "medically that is."
"You mean remain ambiguous or androgynous," Helen asked.
"More or less," John said before adding, "it's just that I'm not sure. I mean it's pretty obvious what I've become, at least to me, but I don't know what I need to become for the world not to care."
"John, no offense, but if you tried to pass yourself off as a male now, it just wouldn't work," Helen said and added, "and that goes even if you were naked - more so if you were naked."
"So the world is going to see a sissy," John said sadly.
"The world doesn't need to know," Helen said.
"Right? And the moment I step out of here, they're going to see a sissy guy," John said.
"Or a very pretty young girl," Helen noted.
"The world is going to know! Hell, Helen, I'm news. Can't you imagine the headlines: "Boy bitten by butterfly, almost turns into a girl."
"You weren't bitten," Helen said smiling as she added, "Butterflies don't have teeth, remember."
"I know, but it makes a better headline," John said sadly.
"What if I told you there is or rather there won't be any news, nor headlines," Helen asked.
"What do you mean," John asked back.
"John, you've been put under a legal blackout first by the CDC until they were sure of what this was, then by the NSA when it was sure they more or less understood what was happening," Helen said.
"What's that mean," John asked.
"John, you are, at the moment, top secret. No one outside of those two agencies, plus a few individuals on a need to know, and me, actually know about this," Helen said and added, "there is a pretty complete and legal blackout.
"But that's not going to last," John said still sad.
"That can last for as long as you want it to last. If the government has it's way, it will last until you are long gone," Helen said.
"I don't follow," John said.
"You ever hear of the witness protection program," Helen asked.
"Like for the Mafia," John asked.
"Sort of but not quite. John, the government wants you to go underground as it were and for obvious reasons. The CDC would like to continue watching you while trying to understand what has happened and, most of all, you need a life," Helen said.
"What kind of life can I have now," John asked.
"Well, that life, while it might seem odd, would be better if you happened to be, or at least appear to be, something closer to a transsexual... or a girl actually," Helen said finding it difficult to get that last out.
"Like a guy that wants to be a girl," John asked.
"More or less. Although it doesn't have to be a full commitment if that's what you are thinking," Helen said and added, "it would simply make it easier."
"Running around like a girl wouldn't make it so," John said.
"No, there would be some other changes as well, like your identity," Helen said.
"And where are you in all of this," John asked with some amount of reluctance.
"Are you kidding. I'm right there at your side. If that's something you wouldn't mind," Helen said squeezing John's hand as she added, "for me it would be almost perfect."
"Perfect how," John asked.
"Well, I'd have a girlfriend, perhaps a boyfriend and, if a boyfriend, one that would at least keep the toilet seat down," Helen said laughing.
John laughed. John laughed and stopped.
"What," Helen asked.
"My dad," John said.
"Obviously he's already suspected something, even if he's been wrong about you, he's got it in his mind that you're already something else," Helen said.
"A sissy," John added.
A sissy then. But, if that's the case and to my way of thinking then maybe that's a good thing," Helen said.
"A good thing," John repeated.
"No surprises as it were," Helen noted.
"Just that one where his son want's to suddenly be his daughter," John said smiling lamely.
"Or not," Helen said reminding John of the alternative as she added, "you could just continuing allowing him his thoughts. If you do that nothing really changes."
"That's true enough and he might not notice most of what has changed, although I'm sure he'd notice some of it. On the other hand, my mom would notice all of it," John said.
"So what if we have lunch with her and her alone. What if we tell her the truth," Helen said.
"I thought we can't talk about this because of the NSA or something," John said.
"We can't talk about the butterfly stuff, but we can talk about you becoming a girl," Helen noted, "or wanting to be?
"You mean tell her I'm a transsexual," John asked.
"Yes. How would she react," Helen asked.
"Mom? She already thinks I want to a girl," John said smiling and then correcting himself added, "maybe not a girl, but she's made it clear more than a couple of times that whatever I am, or want to be she would still love me."
"Do you think she thinks you're gay," Helen asked.
"Sometimes I get that impression.... I mean I've never really said one way or the other and she's never really asked," John said.
"OK, so that doesn't change things yet and I don't see any reason for things to change all that much. At least not right away. Mostly we've got to focus on making the Men In Black feel comfortable so that's our first steps," Helen said.
"So how do we do that," John said.
"Convince them you actually don't mind becoming a girl," Helen said.
"How do I do that," John asked.
"Hello," Helen said.
"What," John asked.
"First, pick yourself out a girl's name and we tell them you're good to go," Helen said making it sound so matter of fact.
"Just like that," John said.
"Pretty much," Helen said and added, "these are the guys that actually control all of those buttons others push. If they are comfortable with you, then everyone else, by default, has to be."
John was sitting there in his hospital gown still hiked up, diaper exposed and looking at that as he realized what could be seen and more importantly what it meant as he said, "what about you... and these things?"
"Your diapers? You are kidding right? I mean you are talking to a girl," Helen said.
"I don't follow," John said.
"Honey, I've been wearing something to that effect since I was eleven. Precious, you adapt and what are we talking about anyway? A few days a month," Helen said and added, "it's something I can definitely relate to.
"So this doesn't bother you. I mean the doctor said I might have to do this every month," John said.
"So what? Heck, I might find a reason to tape you into those anyway and for no good reason. Makes you very cute looking. Cute and vulnerable. Submissive in some ways and that makes me the top in this relationship," Helen said as she took up John's hem and covered him again.
"Top," John repeated.
"In this context the dominate. Considering our individual personalities it's more like opposites attracting. Helen said.
"But me being female or more like a female wouldn't exactly be opposite," John said.
"No, it wouldn't. What I'm talking about is something that already attracted me to you and I suspect you to me which is my extroversion and your introversion. We are naturally attracted already by those traits," Helen said.
"So you think I'm submissive," John said not sure if he liked that notion or not.
"I know you are, but it's not a bad thing. I mean it wasn't even before this," Helen said.
"It isn't," John noted.
"And shouldn't be. At least not to me," Helen said.
"Seems I've got to do all kinds of adapting," John said.
"Not so bad. I even wear pants sometimes," Helen said laughing as she added, "you don't even need to own a dress right off."
"Or a bra," John asked blushing.
"Now that wouldn't be wise. They'll sag if you're not careful so yes, I would recommend a bra," Helen said.
"And you are going to help me with all of this," John said not daring to beach what he really was asking.
"Only if you want me as a partner and yes, I do want to become your partner," Helen said.
"I'd like that more than you know," John said.
"I know more than you can imagine," Helen said.
"I can imagine all sorts of things," John said smiling.
"Me too, but none of that is going to happen till we get you out of these digs," Helen said.
"So the answer is yes to anything that's going to get me out of here," John said.
"Good enough. I'll get the right people together since they are already waiting anyway," Helen said with a light laugh as she patted John's hand.
"I'm ready," John said.
"Actually, you're not, but we can change that easily enough," Helen noted.
"How so," John asked.
"I'm thinking that a little shopping and makeover might go a long ways in our arguments with the powers that be," Helen said.
"Like wear a dress," John asked feeling his face flush a little.
"One, at least. Something pretty for the sake of our arguments. Just for the sake of our meeting with the men in black," Helen said.
"I don't know how to be a girl," John said.
"We'll work on that but frankly, it's not going to be all that difficult," Helen said.
"So what sort of clothes is going to make this work," John asked.
"Perhaps something closer to mother and daughter or big sister, little sister? That was their suggestion anyway but I'll tell you more about that later. Meanwhile I'll even give up a bit of my own independence and go the pretty dress route along with you," Helen said making her sacrifice sound equal.
"Gosh, you'd do that for me? You'd dress like a girl," John asked making sure he sounded as sarcastic as he could.
"Hey, what are sisters for," Helen said with a shrug as she added, "so is that a yes?"
"Why not. I'd rather know sooner than later," John said.
"Know what," Helen asked.
"If I'm going to like dresses or not," John said.
"Well, if we start with the panties, and take it from there I'll bet the rest gets easier," Helen said smiling.
"According to my dad, I'm already wearing panties," John said.
"Really," Helen said.
"Hannes His way," John noted.
"Willing to try on Helen's Her Way," Helen asked.
"Only if you explain that," John said.
"Well, the doctors, the ones that have analyzed you physically, suggested you appear to be at the tender age of fourteen," Helen noted.
"Not even sweet sixteen," John asked.
"Not yet," Helen noted and added, "but even so, if we go with fourteen, we can make you pretty sweet looking and the sweeter you look, the lest likely you are to scare those Men In Black."
"Will we have to move," John asked.
"Yes," Helen said.
"Where," John asked.
"I'm thinking of San Francisco," Helen said and added, "with the government footing the bills we could do pretty well there and when the time comes, perhaps we can even tie the knot."
"Same sex marriage," John said laughing.
"Key word is sex," Helen said laughing.
"So how does this work," John asked.
"Sex? Well, it's going to begin when I un-tape that diaper you're wearing," Helen said.
"Not that! This change for program," John said smiling with another flush.
"Oh, that? OK! We need to get you looking less risky for the MIB and then present our plan to those that have to buy this off," Helen said and added, "which should take all of about two hours after I've gone shopping."
"Two hours," John asked.
"Honey, I can't shop in under four hours but I can rush it," Helen said and added, "Besides, we need a little time, however slight, to add a few more feminine touches to an already pretty face and those nails could use some attention."
"Doctor says I'm going to be in these diapers for another two days," John said.
"OK, so, for now, we get you a pair of ruffled panties to cover them," Helen said laughing.
"Ruffled panties? Why," John asked.
"In case those Men In Black lift your dress. Sweetheart, the devil is always in the details," Helen said smiling and added, "when you meet them, you've got to be pure sugar and spice. We don't want to miss a trick for this meeting."
"Seriously, you think they might lift my dress," John asked.
"They might get a female to check and see what you are wearing! You know, panties instead of pants," Helen said.
"So now what," John asked.
"So, I'm going to go and get permission to step out of here, so you can step back as... We're going to need a name honey," Helen said.
"Mary! Yes! Mary Elisabeth," John said quickly.
"Wow, so you've been thinking about this haven't you," Helen noted with surprise.
"Not really. It's the name mom picked out for me had I been born a girl," John said.
"Think she'll like that," Helen asked.
"I do. I mean I didn't until now, but I've been thinking and yes, I think that's been her hope, as odd as it seems," John said.
"Really," Helen asked and added, "why?"
"Something that happened a long time ago," John said.
"Want to share it," Helen asked.
"Sure. It was Halloween and she and I were at my aunt's house. My cousin, a girl, and I were the same age and size coincidentally and mom suggested I dress as a girl for that particular night," John said.
"It was her idea," Helen asked.
"It was her idea," John answered.
"One time," Helen asked with a little doubt in her voice.
"One time, but it was after I was dressed and while we were having lunch that she brought up that name," John said looking pensive.
"While you were having lunch? Dressed as a girl," Helen asked smiling.
"Mom, my aunt, cousin and I went to a beauty parlor to get a kind of makeover for me. I was already dressed but after my makeover mom changed a little," John said and added, "it was such an odd day. I've only just realized why she was acting the way she did."
"Because you were dressed as a girl," Helen asked.
"I think it was because she got to see what I'd be like as a girl," John said.
"She said that," Helen asked.
"She did," John answered.
"Interesting," Helen said and added, "so, are you up to doing that again?"
"Definitely," John said.
"Then I'll get back to you," Helen said patting John's arm. She paused a second, bent down and kissed John fully on the mouth. John kissed her back. They broke free, blushing as Helen added, "Definitely not like kissing my sister."
"That's a good thing," John said.
"Damn good thing," Helen said moving off towards the door. Helen greeted John's nurse as she left.
"If you want to wait, I won't be that long, just going to change him," the nurse said as moved past and into John's room.
"Her," Helen said smiling.
"I'm sorry," the nurse paused.
"Nothing. Just thinking outloud," Helen said and added, "anyway, I've got some shopping to do."
John no longer had to endure the change all of a sudden as the nurse pulled his covers down before slipping his gown up. She had closed the curtains after laying the fresh diaper down on John's bedside tray.
"And how are we feeling," the nurse asked as she methodically tugged at the tapes holding John's diaper on.
"Wonderful," John mused as the sensation grew more intense with the movement of the diaper. He had discovered that all he really had to do was move his legs just a tiny bit, moving his diaper, to reach another orgasm.
"This won't take long," the nurse said slipping the wet diaper out from under him. A medical wipe took care of the moment and John closed his eyes to the pleasure of that while imagining it was Helen doing this. The nurse was right, John mused as the pulse of an orgasm swept over him. It hadn't taken long.
The fresh diaper went under him before she applied the baby powder. She took a few professional steps to seal the diaper closed before carefully positioning John's gown down to cover it. Lunch was behind the curtains when the nurse pulled the panels open.
John was sitting at the window wondering what the world was like since he had arrived there. He knew all of the changes had been within him but it felt nice believing the world had grown brighter.
"Hey," Helen said coming into his room. The sun was just an hour away from setting.
"Took long enough," John said nervously as Helen laid the packages on his bed.
"Get use to it honey. I like shopping and shopping for you, was... how shall I put this... a real pleasure," Helen said.
"How so," John asked sharing that mischievous grin on his face.
"First time I've actually shopped for a sissy," Helen said and added, "submissive sissy besides."
"So I'm a sissy," John asked. It was slightly unnerving for Helen to use that word.
"Honey, that will be between us and never offensive because I like the notion of you still being male and me turning you into something more female," Helen said.
"Some sort of kink in your character," John asked.
"Big sort of kink," Helen said.
"Great," John said laughing at her ease.
"Ready," Helen said slipping the large box open before she pulled the dress out.
"What am I getting ready for," John said.
"Well, besides being your first dress, I thought it was also very appropriate.
"Appropriate? For a five year old maybe," John said looking at the dress coming out of the box as Helen draped it over the bed.
"Hey, I'll have you know that a lot of girls your age still wear Daisy Kingdom," Helen said.
"Daisy's Kingdom," John asked and added, "that looks like Cinderella."
"It is Cinderella. Daisy Kingdom is the manufacturer. They make fabrics and some of the cutest dresses, and I fell in love with this one," Helen said.
"Seriously, isn't that just a little too juvenile," John asked.
"Honey, those men from the NSA, at least the ones I've met, are trained to assess threats. Now think about it, how much of a threat do you think they'll see with you wearing this," Helen said.
"Not much," John said as Helen continued pulling stuff out of bags. There was a purse to match the dress, a box of shoes that she had John test for fit and if the dress was juvenile, the shoes only made it more so, John mused.
"Black patent leather straps. Classic Mary Jane shoes. Even I wore these as a little girl when I wasn't climbing trees," Helen said as she tugged a pair of ruffled bloomers dyed to match the dress from another box.
The rest, besides two large wide pink ribbons, was makeup.
Helen did John's toes first so they could dry. His nails followed in the same light pink and she began his face while he held his hands out to the sides.
"You don't really need a foundation, just a little color and very little at that," Helen said stroking John's cheek with the makeup brush. John's eye shadow was almost the same color as the blush which hardly showed but when she added the mascara it clearly feminized him more.
Small images of Cinderella dotted the material with a larger version of her sitting center at the bodice. Cinderella was framed by a soft pastel pink heart edge in blue roses and leaves. Below the bodice, at the waist, a wide sash in royal blue. As it happens the dress was in two parts when John was ready for it.
"It's really a pinafore style with the blouse attached to the slip, and yes, the slip is suppose to show," Helen said after helping John into the ruffled bloomers first. John stepped into the slips and waited quietly as Helen buttoned the back.
The pinafore part, what John thought was a dress went over the slip and blouse so only his collar and puffed sleeves showed. Actually so did about four inches of his slips ruffled hem as well, he noted which is why Helen made that comment.
"So why Cinderella," John asked slightly amused over what he was doing but also noting how little stress there was in doing so.
"Hello? Why Cinderella? Are you kidding? Honey, it's a classic story of a transformation or could be. OK, granted, we're twisting it a little but it's you. Poor young man, bitten by a butterfly, turns into a beautiful young princess," Helen said buttoning the back of John's pinafore as she added, "and lives happily ever after with a naughty and sometimes very wicked step sister."
"Definitely twisted that one a little didn't you," John said smiling as he felt the sash move around his waist.
"Perhaps a little," Helen said as she fussed with the sash. She felt like she was dressing a doll and in some ways John was. He knew nothing about being a girl, Helen mused as she tugged at the ends of the large bow she'd made.
"And no Prince Charming right," Helen said.
"No Prince Charming? Oh, right, no, no Prince Charming. Although maybe a queen," John said.
"Queen? How do you mean that," Helen asked.
"Queen, as in royalty silly," John said laughing and added with a blush, "as in, you know Queen and princess.
"Oh, OK, I can live with that," Helen said fussing with John's dress.
John looked down at the dress flowing outward from his waist. A soft pastel powder blue highlighted by the Cinderella motif, right down to that exaggerated hem of eyelet lace just above his Mary Jane shoes. He lifted the skirt slightly edging it upwards to the end of the lace allowing it to drop again.
"Pretty isn't it," Helen asked.
"It is! What am I saying," John said quickly.
"You're saying what you feel, and keep that thought," Helen said.
"I'm thinking about what those guys are going to think," John said suddenly aware that he was about to present himself to a group of very macho men dressed as a little girl of all things.
"It doesn't matter what they think when you go in honey. What matters is what they think by the time you leave," Helen said and added, "and trust me, whatever else they think, you're already cute enough to at least make them consider the possibilities that you are what you appear to be, or should be."
"Possibilities," John asked.
"That you becoming female is as natural as you look," Helen said taking John from the back to wrap her hands around his waist.
"Do you like the look," John asked softly, worriedly.
"Precious, if we had the time and a little more privacy, you would be in the middle of being ravaged by your very wicked step sister," Helen said.
"Something to look forward to," John said.
"Exactly. Remember, you are under new management now," Helen noted as she gently patted the back of John's dress. With the diaper, bloomers, slip and skirt he hardly felt it. That pat was a reminder of what was happening as Helen picked up a hair brush.
She parted his long hair to either side holding the right with one hand as she picked up a long ribbon. She fashioned the soft bow allowing the ends to stream down with his first pig tail. She did the same with the second.
"I could definitely get use to this," Helen said as he brushed and gather the second side.
"Me too," John said blushing again.
"And look at you," the nurse said coming into the room with another diaper.
"We'll wait on that," Helen said and added, "but you can leave it here. I'll change her when we get back from our meeting."
"You are very pretty honey," the nurse said sitting the disposable on John's tray.
"Thank you," John said as Helen twisted open his lipstick. The nurse left smiling. She had known all along, she mused.
"You did that already," John said holding himself still as Helen held his chin.
"Get use to it honey," Helen said moving the waxy pink across his upper lip then again on the bottom. She closed the tube and slipped it into John's new purse. A cute patent like plastic in pink with Cinderella decorated it.
"What do I say to these guys," John said when it became obvious they were about to walk out of the room.
"Just answer their questions as honestly as you can. I have no idea what sort of questions they are going to ask but I'll be there if it gets too weird," Helen said taking John's hand.
There was a flurry of activity outside of John's room and a few nurses behind the long counter who stopped, smiled and tried to appear not to notice John. John's blush only made him look cuter Helen noticed as she squeezed his hand for reassurance.
"First time I've walked about in this diaper," John said making a face.
"Feel odd," Helen said.
"Odd yes, but it's like I'm being... can't describe it," John said.
"Can't or don't want to," Helen said smiling.
"Mostly that I don't want to," John said blushing even more.
"Like pleasure pearls honey," Helen said.
"Pleasure pearls? What's that," John said.
"Ben Wa balls honey. Women insert them into their vagina for the pleasure. Those subtle moments against the most sensitive internal spots can be very relaxing," Helen said and added, "use to help women get past the tedium of repetitive work. Some of us just like playing with them."
"I wouldn't say it's exactly relaxing," John said smiling.
"I understand," Helen said as they walked down the long hallway.
"Ben Wa balls," John asked.
"Rin No Tama in Japanese or, in English, Tinkling Bells. A wonderful invention and something I picked up on when I was an undergraduate," Helen said.
"Sorry I asked," John said and added, "it's not helping me focus."
"Me neither," Helen said as they came up to the door as she added, "you ready,"
"No, but I don't think I'll ever be," John said.
"Remember, it's Mary Elisabeth. I mean that's how I'm going to introduce you," Helen said.
"Got it," John said trying to moisten his mouth.
There was mumbling from a half dozen voices that all went silent as Helen entered first. John followed hardly able to walk.
"I rest my case," A woman said that John didn't know. It was the doctor that had noted John was having his period. She was convinced already that he was a more girl than boy and seeing him this way simply confirmed what she already knew.
The most senior looking male, sitting across from the doctor nodded.
"This meeting was intended to discuss the viability of putting John into a program that would facilitate his transition, if that transition was being considered. Frankly, I think it would be a waste of time discussing that. Helen, let's cut to the chase, have you considered a city yet," the man asked.
"We have. We'd like San Francisco to be considered. It's not that far from here, nor from Mary's parents. If that is acceptable," Helen said.
"It is. I'll get the ball rolling at my end. Meanwhile, I want to remind both of you that you are still under the National Securities Act and will remain under that act till this is declassified, if it ever is," the man said.
"We understand," Helen said.
"Then I see no reason to keep you any longer. My office will be in touch with you Helen and you can coordinate with Mary when the time comes," the man said closing his binder after making a notation in it.
"Do you have any questions," Helen asked.
"Not now," the man said.
"Thank you," Helen said taking John's hand.
"What just happened," John asked when they were back in the hall.
"You passed," Helen said.
"Passed what," John asked.
"Being a girl," Helen said and added, "congratulations."
"They didn't ask any questions," John said.
"They didn't need to honey, I mean look at you, and am I good or what," Helen said.
"So that's it," John asked.
"That's it," Helen answered as they walked back to his room. The doctor was there, the one that had been in charge of John's stay and with it the papers needed to release John. He was gone the instant John signed.
"Now what," John asked.
"I'm going to change your diaper then we're going to get out of this place and get a bite to eat," Helen said.
"Shouldn't I change first," John asked nervously.
"Into what," Helen said and added, "I'm pretty happy with the way you are."
"Me too," John said as he laid back on the bed.
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