[Author’s note: This story line started off almost one year ago as an April Fool’s joke I intended to post to BC. I couldn’t make a punch line work with 'Nano Nano,' so I dropped it. Rethinking the ending and knowing I wanted to try writing a couple of sci-fi plot lines at some point, I decided to complete it and have a little serious fun with this one. Hope you like it.– AuP ]
Timed to Perfection –
“I have always had a vivid imagination as a kid. I had a fantasy to fit every occasion I couldn’t handle. I would escape into my fantasy and survive to go on another day. And maybe, just maybe, one fantasy I had can now be used to save the world and just maybe me too.” – Terry MacDonald, Personal Time Journal, 22 May 2036, 11:08 am, CST.
That was going to be my last entry, I thought. I had been keeping a journal of my time travels for the last ten years. I am old fashioned enough that I used a spiral notebook to write down my thoughts about the many time travels I had. That would turn out to be a good thing because Lancaster never knew about these journals and could only hack my dry and detail free field reports I wrote up for my boss. Lancaster just thought I never recorded any details about my travels. I put the notebook away in its secret compartment and went back to work in the lab.
My boss, Gerald, rushed into his lab out of breath. He looked distraught and frightened. I had been his assistant for the last ten years coming out of grad school with a PhD in history. My employment was secured back then when Gerald discovered I had a treasure trove of historical facts at my fingertips due to my excellent memory. But, at the moment, he found me charging the batteries readying for the next time jump. Gerald had exhausted all attempts to triangulate the location of a recent employee who had stolen his technology and was threatening to undermine all of our research and Gerald’s work.
With an air of seriousness that masked his panic, he said, “We will have to do something drastic. This time line has to stop. Lancaster doesn’t care if he rips apart the fabric of time and everyone with it. Just as long as he takes you and me out. He is a madman. Not only has he just about stolen my life’s work, he is determined to destroy all life as we know it in the process.”
Dr. Steven Lancaster was someone whom I had known since elementary school. He had gone from my protector during sixth grade to becoming fixated on ruining me because I rejected his sexual advances which then led to his openly stalking me in the last year. Three years ago, I had foolishly recommended him to Gerald because of his skill in physics because he could help calibrate Gerald’s equipment. If only I had known that he had been stalking me since 6th grade, I could have fixed the time line during the last time jump I made.
I began to set the switches and engage the pre-programmed sequences that would take me back to a time before I met Lancaster. “I know. It is already taken care of sir. I know what to do. It will mean major changes though. I will give him what he wants, but not want he is expecting.” Gerald looked at me confused.
“How can you give him what he wants when what he really now wants is you dead?” I was pleased that Gerald was worried about me.
I looked at Gerald conscious of the reality of what I was going to do. “Easy, it is just a matter of how I die to him, isn’t it? What is it that Shakespeare says, ‘ To die, to sleep—. No more—and by a sleep to say we end. The heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.’ So, this the last time you will see me like this, but you won’t remember.” I found myself reflecting on choices I had made in life and wondered about where the new me might be in thirty plus years. I reflected on what I was about to do in changing my life’s direction as I reviewed all the settings on the machine. Before I got scared off by the reality of what I was doing, I switched the subject. “By the way, how come you never married? I know why I didn’t. I was too busy traveling into the past on this project to find someone in the present. But it wasn’t the same for you.” Ironically, it makes my strategy all the easier. No one to leave behind knowing I would destroy them by my present actions.
He responded with a laugh, “Never found a woman who could put up with me.” He realized what I was doing and brought me back to the core of what I was about to do. “What changes?”
I was resolute and calmly fixed on my task as I answered him. “All right, I have to give him a reason not to find me in the past and for me to be able to stop him too at the appropriate moment. I have to make it so all our paths never cross, but at the same time in such a way I can help you stop him for good when it is time for me to seal the time loop.” I stopped on that last phrase and closed my eyes. I went on. “I have analyzed the historical implications and I found the ideal solution.”
“That’s impossible. We have already tried fixing this. Numerous times. Each time gets worse as he out smarts us.” He sounded defeated.
“No, it is possible. I have the means. But I need to intersect my own past to make the needed changes at the right moment. And I must do it now before Lancaster time jumps again and selects an even more inconvenient moment. I need you to sit down and write at least five user names and passwords you used when you first started this project of yours each with full administrative rights. They have to be before you hired me as an assistant so many years ago.” I set the threshold variance to three seconds. That was not good since the tachyon field envelope would strong enough to alert Lancaster to my location in time allowing him to time jump almost simultaneously with me. But, more importantly, it would allow me to repeat events with a margin of error of 1.5 seconds which means that the next time I did this would be the last time jump instead of having to split microseconds and creating a fragile and overheated time loop that could rip time apart. It was a trade off I was willing to make for the safety of the universe.
“Do you understand how dangerous it is to interfere with your own past?” The concern on his face was evident. Nevertheless, he sat down and did what I asked. He was so desperate to resolve this nightmare that he didn’t even question why or how I was going to do it. He handed them to me. I quickly entered them into a text file and loaded them into my nanobot creation.
I patted him on the back. “I know all too well it is dangerous to intersect my past, especially since it will mean that the older me time jumps into my second worst nightmare, my fifth grade year. But, I know that is where he will be headed once I time jump and he tracks me, so I have little choice to do what I need to do. If I return, please destroy everything. Even the secret of time travel.” What was I saying? I entered the time co-ordinates and readied for the jump. I looked at Gerald for the last time and gave him a reassuring smile and nod. I took the nanobots that I had programmed and the tools I would need. I slipped the nanobot cartridge into the drone and attached the medical diffuser unit. There would be no coming back as I am. This version of my time line would end as another time line would begin.
Somehow, back then, I must have known this choice had to be made. Else, why would I have dreamed up a fanciful childish solution in my imagination to cope with the hatred I felt from my classmates. I knew that it would work in my heart, but not my head. I had to trust that I had already given myself authorization to do it. Well, I said a silent prayer that it would work anyway. I took one last look at the mirror as the me that knew me and passed through the event threshold. My head was having a hard time grasping what I was about to do. I honestly didn’t know who was more insane. Me or Lancaster.
I put my gear on, threw on my backpack, and flung myself down into the time chamber. I was instantly time jumped to my elementary school back to when I was ten years old and in fifth grade. Fifth grade was awful. It was when the boys hated girls still and girls started abandoning me as they began maturing and starting on the path to become adult women leaving us boys behind to dream of becoming men and my lamenting their absence in my life. I lost their protection one by one until it became a deep red low tide in sixth grade where I was left high, dry, and a victim ready to be harassed in a small tide pool. I wouldn’t enjoy their diversion until the next few years when the boys in my class started to notice them and left me alone.
The leap was successful. I stood outside the door to my old classroom at Hamilton Elementary. For a minute I would be invisible to this time line as my molecules were merging into this time stream. I easily passed right through the door into my classroom and saw my younger self sitting in the back of the room. The room was as I remembered it. Wooden desks that were hold overs from my parents days at school. They folded up to reveal a dull grey-brown metal bin where our books and supplies sat. The floor was a cold tiled floor from the 1950s. The blackboard, long ignored, had a white pull down screen in front of it with an overhead LCD projector mounted in the ceiling showing power point slides on Roman history. There was a worn pine desk at which Mr. O’Brien would sit to watch us during tests or during reading periods. I suppressed memories of getting teased as I passed by the boys I saw from my past. I quickly moved to the back of the room to stand next to me and give myself my full focus. I pulled out my field inhibitor and set it for a neutral field around us as narrow as possible to maximize the time it would be effective.
My molecules synced up with the time stream and I became solid and visible to everyone. My fifth grade teacher looked back in the room at me standing there. Of course, to him I looked like a forty-year-old stranger in futuristic garb. To me, he was the same portly bald headed teacher I had looking exactly as I last saw him years ago. But, I must have looked like me still I thought. I immediately engaged the field inhibitor.
“Who are you? How did you get here?” Mr. O’Brien ended his lecture coming around his desk and began to make his way over to me.
I ignored him. I called to my younger self trapped in the inhibitor field with me. He, or rather I, turned to look at me. Good, I had the attention of myself. Would my stupid childish fantasy really work? I didn’t know, but it was our last hope to stop this insanity. I spoke firmly and loudly to my younger self. “Command authorization, alpha niner five zero zero one delta, engage.”
My younger self looked at me with stunned surprise and froze at the command. At the other end of the room another figure began to appear. It was my nemesis. The inhibitor field would only last a few minutes. I had to act quickly. “I say again Terry MacDonald. Acknowledge command authorization. Authorization code alpha niner five zero zero one delta, engage.”
“Command authorization granted. Standing by.” My younger self said with a huge smile fully believing his childish fantasy had come true and his life would be changed. Little did he know how much it would change in the next few minutes.
“Prepare for assimilation sequence.” I bit my tongue so I would not laugh at the absurd needlessly melodramatic commands I created in my fantasy. My younger self dutifully got up and laid down behind his desk. He closed his eyes and folded his hands across his chest barely disguising a broad smile on his face. The students around me started to back away. I breathed a sigh of relief. I, he, we fell for the fantasy. The students looked at me and the younger me. I wondered if they could see the resemblance. My teacher tried to get into the field and was blocked.
I reached behind me and pulled out and released the nanobot infusor drone. It flew over my younger self and began to inject nanobots and advanced nanomachines into the younger me. The effect was immediate. It paralyzed the younger me, it took over my younger body and began to erase my short term memory as it rapidly injected nanobots into my body. I looked over to my old teacher. I said gently, “Mr. O’Brien, no harm will come to Terry.”
I issued the final command, but this time it was to the nanobots. “Command authorization Alpha one one one one one niner, erase all command functions. Recode command sequences to alpha delta absolute. Reboot in sixty seconds on my mark and begin program. Three, two, one, mark.”
“Mark, authorization accepted, beginning reboot sequence.” My younger self said out loud. The response showed my younger self was under the total control of the nanobots now and they were fully operational.
I turned my attention to Dr. Lancaster who had come back to alter my existence too. He looked at me as though he had me. The protective field was beginning to fail and he was trying to get in and stop me. He pushed Mr. O’Brien down as the field sputtered and I intercepted him before he could get to the younger me. At that moment, the nanobot infusor drone disengaged and flew back to where I had been standing because its job was done. I needed to only struggle with Lancaster until the revised time line resolved and my younger self rebooted into self-check mode.
A moment later, I watched a faint flickering image of two people fighting on the floor as I finished reprogramming and re-configuring my younger self. I grabbed the drone that had returned to me after its job was finished. Mr. O’Brien got up. I waved to him. “Sorry for the interruption Mr. O’Brien.” I shut down the holographic projector after I pressed the return button which shut down the holographic field used to disguise myself to my younger self as I faded from their view leaving myself to begin our revised story.
A stunned Mr. O’Brien, got up, brushed himself off, looked around for the intruder, and walked over to me. “Terry MacDonald, get up.”
I lay there not knowing how I got there. My mind couldn’t tell my body what to do no matter how hard I tried. I could hear everything, but I was paralyzed. Then I felt Mr. O’Brien shake my shoulders. Out of the blue, I heard, “Reboot completed. System acquisition established. Program initiated. Alpha delta initiated.” Slowly, my body began to respond to me again. I opened my eyes as Mr. O’Brien shook me.
I got up on my elbows and looked around at everyone. I looked at Mr. O’Brien. He looked at me with a weird look and said, “What the hell just happened MacDonald?”
“I don’t know Mr. O’Brien. Why am I lying here? Do you know sir?”
“Some man out of no where ordered you to lie down and you did. What game are you pulling?”
“None that I know of sir. Honestly, I don’t remember any man. Can you tell me what he looked like?”
“He looked a little like your grandpa, but not your grandpa. He appeared out of nowhere and shouted something about command authorizations and you laid down.”
“I am sorry sir, all I remember is you talking about the Romans and that we got our months of July and August from Julius and Augustus Caesar.”
But, I felt different. Mr. O’Brien and the kids looked at me as though I had lost my mind. They also looked at me as though I had done something creepy. “Go to the school nurse Terry. Make sure you are okay. Here is a hall pass.”
I returned about twenty minutes later. “She says I am fine sir.” But I knew something in me was changed. I could feel it. I had a fantasy in the last few weeks in class of being taken over by myself as an older man and told what to do. It was a fantasy to forget that I was being picked on in the class. I would grant control to my older self who would fly back in time and he would fight my battles for me. All I had to do was lie down, close my eyes, and I would awake with everyone liking me. And, now, people were telling me something similar happened. And, the weird thing is, that I don’t remember it happening. I thought about the command code I had given myself for that to happen, beta four four niner four four two sierra. Nobody said that was the code. They all said it was alpha niner five zero zero one delta, an old code. I know, because they tried to use the code on me. Of course, unless it is an adult, forget about it working. No kid would be granted authorization over me. It was just a stupid fantasy to ignore the pain of being bullied by the boys in the class. And now, they were bullying me using my fantasy.
I got on the bus and went home. I heard a voice on the bus say, “Preparing corporal mapping and reconfiguration.” I looked around the bus for who might have said that to me, but I couldn’t see anyone. I forgot all about it.
After a week, the kids forgot all about it too. And, then, funny things began to happen. I dreamed the same dream five nights in a row. It was this stupid dream about a girl getting something called a period. She called it a curse. It was like an animated film too. Maybe from the seventies. It made no sense to me until the next week. The girls in my class were being taken out for a private meeting in the cafeteria and all the boys were left in the classroom.
“Oh, they are going to see the film guys.” The boys all looked at other and winked.
“What film?” I asked. They boys refused to let me in on their secret.
I don’t know why, but I walked over to Marsha’s desk, picked up her pen, held it in my mouth for a second, and then put it down. As she left the room, the teacher told the girls to grab a pen. She picked up her pen and took it with her.
Two hours later, she came back along with the rest of the girls. I was working on an assignment. While she went to the back of the room to collect the same assignment to do at home, I repeated my earlier action. In my head, I heard, “retrieving audio probe.” I sat back down, perplexed.
That night, I had a dream where I heard the voices of the girls talking with the school nurse about what a period was and how they were to take care of themselves. She showed them a film and it sounded like the film I saw in my dreams the night before. The nurse was having fun with the girls talking about how stupid the movie was, but it was all they had. I heard Marsha say, “What is the color code system all about? I have seen it on the boxes in the store.”
The next day, at the lunch table, I heard the girls talking about the colors. “Good thing Marsha asked about the color codes so you would know about them.” They all stopped and looked at me.
“Terry, why did you say that?”
“I don’t know. Last night I dreamed that I heard Marsha asking someone to explain a color code system.”
Marsha said, “You weren’t there. How could you have known it was me who asked?”
It was weird. I shrugged. “Maybe I overheard someone talking about it when you girls came back and I just remembered it in my dream.”
The girls continued their discussion, but Marsha stared at me for a minute.
Later that day, I was daydreaming in class again, and I heard a voice. “Beginning DNA reconfiguration sequence. Initiating gonad reconstruction. Androgen blockers being created and released.” I looked around and no one was talking to me. I had never heard these words before nor even understood what they meant. I knew it couldn’t be anyone nearby who said it. In fact, like usual, I was being ignored if I wasn’t being picked on. Later, I felt dizzy and felt I needed to stay seated. I was grateful that it would be a three-day weekend. It didn’t do much good. I felt sick the whole weekend long. Mom sent me to bed. I had some strange requests though. I wanted pickles and ice cream. And I slept. I mean I slept deeply. I just got up to go the bathroom and eat. In the middle of the night, I heard a voice again. “Beginning facial modifications.”
The strange events kept happening. I had a research project to do that week for school. Mom dropped me off at the university library. I was doing my work when I suddenly found myself standing in front of the mailbox in the library. A librarian stopped me and asked, “Were you able to make the copies you wanted?”
I looked at her not knowing what to say. “I-I think so.”
I went to the desk where I was working and my stuff was still there. I sat back down and finished my work. Another librarian asked if I had returned the reference book I requested. I just nodded. I found myself daydreaming again after I finished work and to kill time until my mother would pick me up. I grabbed a magazine. I started to compare the clothes the women were wearing with what I had seen the girls wear at school. I put it back down wondering why I was in front of the mailbox earlier.
The next weekend, I was tired again. This time the voice said, “Beginning pelvic modifications.” During the next few weeks, every weekend, I seemed exhausted. My body felt weird.
Months passed, and more and more I felt changed. One Monday, in late March, I said to my mother, “Mom, my pants are really tight. I think I need new pants.”
“We just bought you several new pairs at the beginning of the year. Have you grown that much already?”
“I guess so. I can wear them for today, but I need to have pants tomorrow that fit right for recess.”
“Okay honey, we will go shopping after you get home.” She came into my room, “That is why I buy you just a few at a time anyway. So you can grow. That must be why you are so tired. You have been going through a growth spurt. Oddly enough, you don’t seem much taller. But, your baby fat is leaving your face.” She caressed my face and seemed lost in thought looking at me. Then she abruptly said, “Are you going out for baseball?”
“Yeah, I think so. Tryouts are next weekend. Although, I will be just sitting on the bench again. I don’t know why I even bother except that it keeps Dad happy. I throw like a girl.”
“Well, he appreciates that his little man is trying to join in and play with the rest of the boys.” She gave me a reassuring smile hoping it would convince me. It only convinced me that she took his side far too often.
I went down to the bus stop and waited for the school bus. Marsha came up. I found myself rubbing my chest. My nipples were getting very sore. “My chest hurts, Marsha. I think my mother is using a different laundry soap.”
Marsha giggled. “Well, mine hurts too, but for a different reason. I am a girl and I am beginning to grow something on my chest. I’ve already started …” She stopped, looked at me, and didn’t finish.
I looked at her more worried about what she said about her chest than what she started. Pointing to my chest, I queried, “You don’t think I am growing them too, do you?”
“Terry, boys don’t do that, silly!” she poked me with her elbow.
“Yeah, I guess you are right.”
During class, I excused myself to go to the bathroom. Alan Sculley from the sixth grade was standing at the urinal next to me. “Hey Terry, bet mine is bigger than yours.”
“I don’t care.” I looked down, and mine seemed to be growing smaller, not bigger. In fact, my balls seemed quite a bit smaller too.
At the end of the day, Mom took me to the store to buy jeans. Nothing seemed to fit right. I went into the changing room when I started to feel awful. I was soon hobbled by pain. I opened the changing room door and said to Mom, “Something is wrong with me Mom. I really hurt.” I doubled over in front of her and briefly passed out.
She helped me quickly throw on my clothes and she took me to the ER. The pain grew worse. The doctor had me take off my clothes and put on a gown in the ER. He examined me finding a tender spot and a bruise with blood near my penis. My feet were put into strange metal bars on either side of the examine table. He numbed me up and did something. Next thing I knew, he called in my Mom.
What the doctor said to my mother had me and my mother totally shocked, “Mrs. MacDonald, Terry just started her first period. Ironically, I got in the mail a letter from a colleague last year with research he had done on this condition and how to treat it. He wanted to know if I had encountered a case like this in my career. He thought I should add it to the continuing education class I teach. I hadn’t even had a chance to think about it yet. But, it looks like when your daughter was born, she had formed what looked like a penis and was labeled a boy. You treated her like a boy when she was a girl all along.”
We looked at each other with our mouths open. “We will have to do surgery to open up her vagina more so this doesn’t happen again. We will need to make changes to her urethra and remove the faux penis so it doesn’t get infected next or else it could create a urinary tract infection. I need you to sign some consent forms for tonight’s procedure.”
A nurse came in with a piece of paper. I looked at her rather embarrassed to be like I was with my feet up. She didn’t even seem to notice. “Doctor, here are the blood test results.”
He looked them over for a moment. “In fact, Mrs. MacDonald, these tests confirm that Terry has started puberty. A female puberty. Her estrogen levels are normal for a girl her age. There is hardly a trace of testosterone in her system.”
They left me alone while they discussed what was going on with me out of earshot. I leaned back and looked up at the tiled ceiling. Then this voice came on in my head, “Terry MacDonald, this is your future self talking to you. A you that doesn’t exist anymore. You have been changed in order to save the world from destruction. An evil will soon live nearby you. I have determined that the only way to prevent the future from happening and to fix the time lines for good is to change myself into a woman. I used our fantasy to make that change. For the next year and longer, I will be assisting you in becoming a girl. It has to work or the world will come to an end.”
“Why would I do that to myself?” I said in a whisper. What was I really hearing? Was I going insane?
The voice responded and a man’s face that resembled my own appeared on the tile ceiling, “Because, you will have no choice. There will come a day that you travel back in time and repeat what was done to you voluntarily. If you have not been attacked by a man by the time you hear this, then you know I made the right decision. It is up to you to finish the job assisted with the nano implants placed in your body. They will give you additional benefits too. Eventually, you will be told what to do and when you will have to do it. Once you have completed your assignment, the world will be safe. I am sorry that I had to do this to myself. There was no other alternative. You will have to have the courage to make it work. You can adapt and overcome. The implants will help you adjust too. Oh, and don’t lie to me. You know that we have dressed up as a girl before wondering what it would be like. Make it work. The world is depending on you.” He faded from view.
I processed what I had heard my future self say. I knew that I wouldn’t do this to myself unless I absolutely needed to do it. And, only I would know about the secret code needed to accept someone doing that to me.
Mom came in with the doctor. He looked at me and smiled. She was clearly troubled by what he had just said to her.
Mom came up and put her hand gently on my shoulder. She smiled as best she could. It was halfhearted at best. Then, she spoke softly with a quivering voice trying to sound normal, “Honey, how are you handling finding out you are really a girl?”
I just smiled and took her hand and held it. After we got home, I walked nearby my house just chatting with myself while my mother and father discussed the changing landscape of having a daughter instead of a son.
“Are you there? So, how does this work?” I said in a low voice.
Inner me replied, “I will be your shadow for as long as you need me. I can be told to shut up until needed or be asked to be a constant companion. However, I will intercede when I know you are in danger. I can augment your body and take it over if you are incapacitated and get you out of trouble. In addition, I can do other things. For example, I can give you information about someone through your vision if you wish.”
“Really, can you show me?” Now was my chance to see if I was insane or not.
“Look at the home across the street.” Not only could I see it, but data appeared too. The number of the house. The name of the owner. Descriptions of the trees. There was a willow and a Japanese maple. A flowering plum. I knew none of these things. It was for real.
“Impressive. What else?” I was awestruck.
“I will monitor your body and make sure you are healthy. In addition, I can, as you have already discovered, bug someone and you can retrieve the recording later. And, as the Internet becomes more robust, I can access it and download information that you might need.”
“Isn’t that cheating?”
“Only if you aren’t learning. You will find that as you access me, you will learn a considerable amount.”
“What should I call you?”
“Alpha Delta Authority, or Ada for short. You might even prefer calling me Adam.”
I looked up the street and I saw Marsha walking briskly towards me. I would have to stop talking to Ada.
“You weren’t at school today. Are you okay Terry?”
“No, not really. But I am okay. I mean, I am healthy. I had to have minor surgery last night. I am supposed to walk right now and not stay in bed so I don’t develop blood clots.”
“What surgery? Did you break a leg or something?”
“No, um … I don’t know how to tell you this, but … Marsha …”
“C’mon. You can tell me. We’re friends, remember.”
“I-I had my first period.” I grimaced at telling her this.
Her face confirmed I might be right. “What! Are you joking?”
“No, it turns out that I was misdiagnosed as a boy when I was a baby. It happens every so often. It explains a lot. I mean, why I am called a sissy and not good at sports. I really didn’t like playing them. I used to love playing with you when we were younger until my Dad stopped it. Now I know why.”
“So, your chest, is it really growing, you know, boobs?” She remembered my conversation from the other day.
I nodded yes. Marsha asked, “And the surgery?”
“To open up my lady part. They have to do more surgery to fix it, but they needed to at least open it enough for me to use a tampon last night. It was green, by the way.”
“Wow, how does it feel to be a girl?”
“Weird. I won’t be able to stand to pee anymore soon after the corrective surgery. But, it also feels right.”
“Well, it makes sense. You have never acted like the other boys. I remember you getting confused when one of the boys asked you to pull his finger. You never have done fart jokes or treated the girls mean to show off. Guess that means you are one of us now, right?”
“Well yes. Do you mind?”
“No. Oh my, what is going to happen at school?”
“I don’t know. That is what my Mom and Dad are discussing right now. I may just home school until I look more like a girl. Then again, they may send me to another school where nobody knew me as a boy.”
Ada said, “I am programmed to make sure they will send you to another school. This will change your time line and force you to not meet someone who will one day want to destroy you.”
I looked to the home across the street and said, “Oh really!”
Marsha protested. “Who are you talking to? Me?”
“Oh, sorry, I just realized that they will have to send me to another school or I will be picked on.”
“When are you going to start dressing like a girl?”
“Well, I am wearing girl jeans now. But, I guess I could use your help. My Mom doesn’t know anything about fashion. I was looking at a magazine at the library the other day and was wondering where all the girls got their clothes at school because their clothes looked nothing like the fashion models were wearing.”
Marsha giggled, “So, you really are a girl. I mean, no boy would even think to ask that question.”
“And my hair, I have been wanting to grow it long since forever, but Mom insisted that I had to look like a boy. Now I am a girl and I look like a stupid boy. Dumb parents!” I sounded exasperated.
“Well, your face doesn’t. In fact, it looks more girl like than ever. And, we could get you a wig until it grows out. Maybe we should go talk to your folks.”
I liked that idea. Marsha and I entered my house. “Look Eve, he is a boy. The doctor has got to be wrong!”
“I know they can be Al, but boys don’t get periods. The ultrasound showed he has female organs.”
“Dad! Please, I am a girl. I have known I was a girl inside for a long time. I just thought I was wrong. I went with the short hair and baseball to please you Dad. But, now that I am getting a period and have female organs, you have to face the fact that I am going to turn into a woman and I don’t want to change that!”
“We can fix that son. You can have them removed and we can fix your penis. You don’t have to be a girl.”
“I don’t want to fix it, Dad. I wasn’t meant to be your son. All those years of being called a sissy only to find out I was a girl all along. It is not fair to me. Why don’t you ever listen to me?” I was so upset, I ran to my room and left Marsha there. I don’t even know what was said next. I lay on my bed crying. A part of me was waking up. A part that I had repressed and I think my older self knew about it.
I whispered to myself, “Ada, did I know?”
“Yes, you knew. That is why your older self knew he could ask you to do this and do it to you.”
A knock came on the door. “Come in.”
Marsha poked her head in the door. “Hey Terry, can I come in.”
“Yes.” I said through sobs.
“Your Mom says it is okay if I go with you and her to the mall. She wants you to come out and talk to her about your dad. I am going to leave now, but I will be by after school soon and we can go shopping, okay.” She came over and hugged me.
“Thank you Marsha. You are the only friend I have ever had. I really appreciate you.”
“No problem. And, if it helps. I have always known you were a girl. You never minded playing girl games with me. In fact, you seemed to enjoy them.”
After I blew my nose, I said, “I did. I really did.”
I went out into the living room just as Dad was closing the door.
“Son, I mean, Terry, your dad is going away for a while. He is having problems with finding out you are a girl. He needs some time to understand. He has gone over to your grandparents to stay with them.”
I went up and hugged my Mom. “I am sorry Mom. I know he wants a son. I tried to be the best one I could be. But, it has never felt right.”
“What if you never have children, honey? You can still choose to be a boy.”
Ada said, “No worries Terry, you are capable of having children. You have complete organs now. I have seen to that. You will pass the female tests they give you. I was programmed and created to make sure of that.”
Ada gave me a confidence to say what I said next. “No Mom, I feel that I can have children. Dad is wrong. We need to get me tested. Then, what will Granddaddy and Grandmama say then?”
A week later, after an emergency visit to a gynecologist, we sat in my grandparents’ place. “Here is the report Al. She can have children. And if you want her to be a boy, she will become infertile and won’t have a dick that works for getting her wife pregnant.” I had never heard my mother be so crude.
At that point, Granddaddy looked at my Dad. “Al, son, you have to face reality. You said Eve was trying to turn your boy into a girl. Well, now the medical evidence is in. You are trying to turn your girl into a boy. At this point, either go home and accept the truth or not. But, we aren’t standing by you anymore. We are going to stand by our granddaughter.”
Dad was boxed in. “Dad, please, can I finally start dressing like a girl now?”
He looked at me with anger. “I guess so.” Came his curt reply.
“Dad, you don’t have to like it. But, my body is changing now. I am going to become a woman whether you like it or not.” I was angry too.
Granddaddy interjected, “Al, grow a pair. You still have a child. And you will have grandchildren.”
I heard Ada say, “In case you want to know. Your Dad always rejected you during your life as a man. According to our projections, he will do a better job of accepting you as a girl than a boy now. But only after he grieves the loss of his son. So, patience.”
Dad left and got in his car with his stuff. We honestly didn’t know if he was going to be home or not when we got there.
“Mom, why was Dad so disappointed in me as a boy? It really hurt.”
“I know son, I mean, honey. I am beginning to see that now. I think we need some counseling to find those answers.”
We spoke little on the way home. Dad was working in the garage on his car. He acknowledged me and didn’t say mean things. But, at the same time, he was cold and aloof. I went up to my room and sat down. A few minutes later, a knock came at the door. Marsha opened the door with a radiant smile and said, “Ready to go to the mall, now?”
“Oh yes! I am going to need lots of help. How to handle my short hair, how to handle my growing body, and how to be a girl.”
Mom came in a few minutes later, “Your grandparents gave me a gift, so we can do some serious shopping for you. The suggestion is that for the short term, you do home schooling so you can let your hair grow and get girl lessons. When you have changed enough, we can put you back in regular school. What do you think?”
“As long as I don’t go to my old school. I am afraid the boys there will not understand and reject me. If I am going to live life as a normal girl, I need to be in a school where no one knows the old me.”
“Good point. Your grandparents also made a suggestion. We switch homes when you are ready. That will put you in a new school district and with new friends.” She looked at Marsha, “Of course, he will still have you as a friend, Marsha. Thank you so much for helping us.”
Before we were to switch homes, my parents decided to home school me till the end of the year. The school agreed since trying to explain to the students that I was mistakenly identified as a boy when in fact I was a girl could cause all sorts of problems. I was just as happy.
Marsha and I went with my mother to the mall and I started to learn about fashion. “This is a Peter Pan collar and this is a wing collar. Can you see the difference?”
“Oh yes. I like this collar. It tapers down the front to a V. Let me guess, this is a V collar?” I stupidly believed I was getting the hang of it. Thankfully, Marsha was quite the fashion expert.
“No, that is a shawl style. See how one half of the blouse layers over the other half of the blouse. Now, here, look at this one by contrast. It is similar, and you may think it is the V collar. It is called a Chelsea collar.”
Trip after trip to the mall taught me more and more about fashion. Soon, my teacher was grading me. “What kind of skirt is this?”
Wide eyed, I looked at her and said, “This is a pencil skirt. Riigght?”
“Excellent. You are an excellent student. Now, how do you describe a pencil skirt’s curve?”
“Pegging. In a pencil skirt it is important to follow the curve of the female form. A properly pegged pencil skirt will accentuate my curves.”
“Very good Terry. You will soon know more than I do.”
“I am just grateful that your mom used to work in the trade. She taught you a hell of a lot.”
The rest of the trip, I discussed halter, apron, wrap, pouf, and many more styles of dresses. And, oddly enough, instead of getting tired, I found I got more excited and full of energy as we visited more and more stores. Sitting down at the food court, Marsha and I waited for my mother and grandmother to show up.
“You think you are ready to start buying clothes now, Sweetie?”
“Yes, mother. I am glad I just didn’t grab some clothes off the rack and say they were all I would need. Marsha has taught me an awful lot about fashion.”
“Good. Your hair is getting longer, but it will be a while before it hits your shoulders. It really doesn’t make sense that you buy nice clothes until you look more girly. In the meantime, you can work with the tomboy look.”
I smiled and got excited at the thought of being more girly. “I can’t wait mother. I want to look so girly that I can forget all those years of being a boy in boy’s clothes. They weren’t fun to wear.”
Grandmother piped up, “Yeah, I remember you complaining for years about how scratchy your clothes were. I should have listened. You might have been found out earlier. In the meantime, are you ready to be fitted for a training bra, little lady?”
Beaming ear to ear, “Oh yes, Grandmother. I would love that now.” Terry wrapped her arm around her grandmother as they headed to Victoria’s Secret.
As she scanned around the mall, she heard. “Please look again towards the Game Stop.” Heeding Ada’s request, I looked at it and then heard, “See the boy looking at the X-Box in the window?” I tapped my teeth together once to signal yes. “Casually say – Oh look Marsha, boys and their toys. I am so glad I am not over there.” I complied.
“Yeah. Oh, I know that boy.”
“Yeah, his name is Steven Lancaster. He just moved here.” As our group walked by, Steve turned and looked at us. In fact, he looked right at me and smiled. I turned away and looked forward.
“He gives the creeps, if you ask me.”
“Yeah. He had our yearbook out at the end of the year talking about who was in it. He kept saying he just wanted to get to know the faces so he would know who was whom next year. In fact, he was doubly intrigued when he heard you were the sissy of the school. It hasn’t gotten out yet that you are really a girl. Your reputation for years has been that you were a girly boy.”
“Well, don’t let him know anything about me, okay. His look was creepy.”
Later, when I was alone with Ada, I asked, “So, it looks like I was discovered anyway?”
“Yes. But, unlike before, I will be able to keep an eye on him. The important thing is that he doesn’t gain access to technology that can assist him with time travel and with changing you.”
“Good. Because I like being a girl. What I did to myself was the best thing I could have ever done.”
The months flew by. It was the first week of September and our home switch with my grandparents had happened. It was weird to be in the house my dad had grown up in. Now, I was going to his elementary school. Treeland Elementary was a good school. The teachers were thrilled to have a MacDonald second generation and, in many respects, that made it nicer for my dad. He was beginning to get used to the fact that I was his little girl now.
The first day of sixth grade, I was up in the front row of the class. While I was small as a boy, I was average for a girl. And, I was expected to behave like a little lady. And, of course, Ada made sure of that too. “Sit up straight. You are slouching like a boy.” Ada commented. I could do nothing or say nothing in class. However, I had learned to speak silently with my lips closed. Ada could read my nerve impulses as though I was saying something for real.
“Sure.” I mimed.
“I am here to help you, Terry. Being a girl is much more than having the parts. It is about who you will be. You will be a mother, a wife, a daughter, and so much more in your life.”
When It came to me to introduce myself, sitting properly, hands folded on my desk, and acting like a little lady, I proclaimed, “I am Terry MacDonald, an eleven year old girl born and raised here. I recently moved and this is my new elementary school. But, my father went to school here years ago and had you Mrs. Holston as his sixth grade teacher. He remembers you very fondly as being a great teacher.”
“I remember your dad. He was one of my better students. How are your grandparents doing?”
“Very well thank you. They have volunteered to help you on field trips and with the classroom. They are very excited to be helping you again.”
Celebrating at the mall that evening at a Amazon River Cafe, we were laughing when Ada alerted me to something.
“Please look to your left and focus on the couple using sign language.” I did as I was asked. Soon, a little girl came to sit with them.
I mimed, “What are they saying, do you know?”
Ada responded, “Yes, I do as a matter of fact. They are discussing where they intend to spend Christmas. But that is not the reason I am having you watch them. The girl seated with them was reported missing and later found dead. No suspects were ever found. They speculated that the parents being deaf never heard her scream and cry out for help. It was a sad story.”
With a tear falling on my cheek, I asked, “Is there a way we could help.”
“Yes, but you will have to use stealth. I want you to take a moment and go admire the stuffed Kangaroo backpack she was given as a gift by her parents and then ask your parents to get you one.”
Doing as I was told, I went over to admire the kangaroo. “Hi, what is your name?”
“Shannon. And this is my Kangaroo Felicity. She is like Dora the explorer’s backpack.”
“Yes, that is why I came over here. Where did you get it?”
“In the gift shop.”
Ada instructed me next after getting money from my parents to buy one, “Place your cell phone in the belly of the kangaroo good and deep.” Following the instructions to the letter, I went back to the table with the young girl. When she went to translate for me and her parents, I placed my kangaroo down and quietly switched mine with hers.
After making the switch, we went home. About half an hour after getting home, Ada commanded, “Tell your parents your phone is missing and you think it got switched. My Mom got on the computer to have the phone traced. We saw that it was about a mile from where we lived. My dad got me in the car and he traveled to location of the phone. It was just outside the mall. Seeing a security guard, he asked him if he would help him retrieve the phone.
Here is what I heard later. He was informed that a little girl had been kidnapped from the mall. Dad inquired about who she was. When he heard that, he informed the guard that his daughters phone was in the kangaroo backpack she was carrying. Quickly, he used his app to follow the signal.
In the bushes, they found a boy, almost a teenager, who had her bound and gagged. When dad came home, he said that they would return the phone shortly. And that the boy, because he was a minor, was being held in juvenile hall. He didn’t know his name, but he looked pissed. The girl would be fine.
Because I was a minor too, they kept my name out of the press. But, the parents were grateful.
And that is how I became the teacher’s pet and my dad became a hero. It wasn’t just that. The girls in the class accepted me too. The months of work that Marsha did with me helped me immensely. I was able to talk about make up, movies, boys, boy bands, and so much more.
Over the year, my hair grew longer and my skirts grew more numerous. By the end of sixth grade, I was an honor student and a girly girl.
The next few years flew by too. I went to Vanderbilt University and went on to get a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago. I didn’t date that much. I liked boys, but having Ada in my head wasn’t the greatest thing for getting to know someone when it would give me their life story.
Finally, after doing some doctoral work in history, I was directed by Ada to a Dr. Gerald Baldwin. When I arrived at his place, Ada, surprisingly, accessed his network and carefully guided me to answer his questions regarding how I could be used by him. Time after time, I had the right answer. I was the researcher he needed.
“You are perfect for the job. But, I need a field worker. I can’t explain why. I just do.”
“Not a problem. I studied with a gentleman at the University of Chicago who could fit your bill. We enjoyed working together as colleagues. I prepared research for him and he was able to take my research and find evidence in the field to back up my research. We were a tag team dynamo.”
And that was how Phil Roscoe got hired. I did research from what Ada said I had originally done and Phil went into the time chamber and did the mission. Over a few years, we collected enormous information. Then, after a massive solar flare, the time chamber went out of sync and needed to be calibrated. Using Ada’s help, I re-calibrated the machine, programmed a new drone, recreated Ada for an infusor drone, and went back in time to recreate the original infusion successfully.
Upon my return, I was startled by Gerald waiting for me.
“What were you doing?”
Ada took over at that moment and what transpired was incredible. The 4K lit up and a video appeared. It was of a man and Gerald discussing what would happen if he went back in time to his fifth grade class. It stopped just before he jumped into the time portal. Then, the same man came on screen. What caught Gerald’s attention was he could see himself writing down his passwords. He sat down and watch with amazement.
“Gerald, you hired a man by the name of Dr. Steven Lancaster who tried to steal your project for his own means. We tried to stop him several times. It turned out that he had a sexual fixation on me. And he had that since sixth grade. I concluded that the only way for me to stop him from stealing your work was to go back in time and change myself into someone else who he wouldn’t be attracted to and who could assist you in your work in order to recreate what I am about to do for the first time. Done correctly, she will have sealed the time loop. I am going to pause for a moment and let the new me explain the rest.”
Gerald looked at me with astonishment. “Gerald, I have a machine in me called Ada. He was installed in me during fifth grade and transformed me from being a boy into a girl.” I went on to tell him everything I could in the next hour. He asked questions. Then Ada did something amazing. The TV came back to life.
“Gerald, by now you have heard the explanation and have seen the evidence. I want to show you a log entry you made the day before I decided to do this.”
“Video log, May 21st, 2036. Dr. Lancaster has stolen my technology now and is using it elsewhere. I wish I could go back in time to tell myself not to do it. Well, I did. But Lancaster had figured out a solution for that. I am not sure how, but when I was convincing myself not to do it, I was talking to a hologram. The real me never heard what I had to say. Three times I have tried to fix this time line with the help of Terry. I don’t know what I would do without him. But, if I ever get the chance, I must destroy what I have built. The ability to change the past is just too great when you are talking about men and their dark hearts.” The Gerald on the screen looked at his watch and then said, “I have to go. I pray I can stop him. I have to find a way.”
The former me came up on the screen again. “Gerald, you are not the Gerald I know and love. I wish I could order you to follow your own advice and destroy your equipment. But, that has to be your choice. Please take good care of the Terry I changed into. If she is anything like me, she is in love with you. But you are too blind to see it.”
I blushed. Gerald looked at me. “Is it true? Do you love me?”
I stammered, “Umm … well … yes! I knew it the first time I laid eyes on you.”
“How could I have been so stupid.” He shook his head. I started to cry. “No, please don’t. I mean, how could I have been so stupid that I haven’t share the same thing with you. I fell in love with you the first moment I saw you too.”
Before the moment became all squishy, Ada came on screen. “Dr. Baldwin, it is time for you to extract me from Terry and to destroy me along with your equipment.” Gerald looked at me and said, “He’s right. Dinner after we finish?”
I smiled coyly and said, “Yes dear.” I put my arm around him and kissed him on the cheek. Now he blushed. For the next eight hours, we disassembled everything in his lab and trashed all of his files. Ada assisted in everything. And then it came time for him to be extracted. I was losing a valuable part of me. But I was also gaining a friend, a lover, and someone would be the father of my children.
At Ada’s last suggestion emailed to Gerald, he took me to dinner a week later. At the meal, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring. He went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes, of course.
As I hugged him, I mentioned, “This ring looks a little different I said. Very unusual.”
“It ought to. It was made with the remains of Ada.”
That night, I went to my rented home and began to prepare for our wedding. I had just emailed my folks when I heard a noise like glass breaking. Frightened, I picked up my phone to call 911. It wouldn’t dial out. Something was blocking it. Ada wasn’t there to help me. Then, the lights in the house went out.
Scared, I started for the front door and to see if I could get out of the house. In the foyer, was a man. In the dim light I heard, “Hello Terry. I have been watching you. I have been watching you for years.”
“Who are you?”
“Nobody. Just call me Steve. Your dad took something from me. Part of my life. All because I wanted to have fun with a little girl whose parents were deaf. If you hadn’t left your stupid phone in her toy, I wouldn’t have been caught. So, I think you owe me.”
I started to scream and run towards the kitchen. He followed me and pulled out a gun. “Freeze, or I will shoot you dead bitch.”
I slowly turned around. Just then, the kitchen door burst open and I saw my dad standing there. In his hand, to my astonishment, he had a gun in his hand. The shadowy man yelled, “Oh no you don’t!” and he fired a shot. It missed my dad.
My dad then unloaded on him killing him.
A couple of hours later, after the police finished our interviews, I had the chance to talk to my dad.
“How did you know?”
“I didn’t. Don’t ask me how, but a few months back, this voice in my head insisted that I buy a gun and get a conceal and carry permit.”
“But that doesn’t explain why you came tonight of all nights.”
He looked strange as he said, “That voice came on and told me you were in danger. It insisted I come over tonight. And after I got upon call by Gerald asking me permission for your hand in marriage, I was nervous. The voice in my head said that Gerald was a good guy and that someone evil was after you. So, I listened. Or, actually, I found myself driving here.”
Gerald arrived on the scene later. In talking to him, we found out that Ada had installed a version of himself in my father whose only task was to track Steven Lancaster. Sensing I could be in danger, Ada Jr. got my dad to come over and protect me just in time.
Fifteen months later, I was in a hospital room. Gerald was holding my hand while mom and dad beamed. “What’s his name?”
Gerald smiled, “We decided to name him Albert after you. His name is Albert Adam Baldwin”
Dad grinned ear to ear, leaned down and kissed me. Then he softly kissed the forehead of his little grandson.
I looked at my baby, then my happy husband, and finally my happy family. I love my life and am so glad that my dad’s intervention was timed to perfection.
Copyright © 2018 by AuP reviner
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