“Bitch, get ready to bend over and kiss your ass goodbye” Cat said, anger and frustration bubbling under her words.
Christina had gone still, like the calm before a titanic thunderstorm. She scoffed slightly, a sneer pulling at her lip “Heh, have you ever stuck your dick in a beehive. You don’t even know. But you will soon enough.”
On one side of the room Coach Helen looked from one combatant to another and nodded.
The buzzer sounded loudly to announce the start of the match, but neither girl moved.
“After you. I want to see what you’ve got.” Christina said, her tone light and mocking.
Without saying a word, Cat rolled her head, slight pops sounding from her neck, and flexed her shoulders and after a breath, she changed.
It wasn’t anything like Peter’s transformation, where his angelic form took hold in a flash of light. Instead a sickening sound filled the cell as first one arm lengthened, then the other. Her legs lengthened and feet grew as well. As her frame expanded, nearly doubling in size, it began to thicken, growing heavy with muscle. Her shoulders bulged and her body started to resemble an oak barrel, or maybe a vending machine. Cat’s HCP uniform was quickly shredded by her expanding physique, briefly revealing a skin-tight leotard before dark brown fur sprouted all over her body.
After a second or two, where a college freshman once stood was now the tattered remains of a HCP freshman uniform, and what any hiker in the deep woods would swear was a sasquatch.
“Come at me bro.” The beast that was Cat said. The words were recognizable, but Cat’s girlish voice was replaced with a basso rumble, slightly garbled by a heavy jaw and large canine teeth.
A smile split Christina’s face “Oh, this is gonna be fun. I think we’ll just start out with the basics and go from there.” Suddenly her hetero-chromatic eyes began to flash a kaleidoscope of colors, seeming to shift between blue, brown, and green.
After a second or two they settled on brown. The chords on her neck stood out, and she took off her uniform jacket to reveal the muscles of her arms bulging slightly beneath her tatooed skin.
“I was hoping this one would come up.” Christina said “Let’s see if you can take a punch”
Cat beat her chest and let loose a bell-like howl that shook the cell as Christina darted forward and threw a jab. The image of the lean Christina charging to throw a simple punch at a beast easily two feet taller and almost six times as massive as she was almost comical. But when the blow landed, it was Cat who reeled backwards with a deep grunt of surprise.
“Oh, you must be tough. That punch would have shattered concrete.” Christina said
“Wait, I thought you said she was a blaster? Where does the super strength come from? ” Max said, glancing accusingly at Victoria.
“I said no such thing. What I said was that when she beat me she used energy blasts.” she answered “I never said that that was the extent of her powers.”
Max grumbled something else which was probably insulting, but kept it below his breath. “Life would be a great deal less interesting if we all got the answers to our questions as soon as we asked them.” Victoria said. “The fight hasn’t stopped, maybe we might learn more by watching Christina than talking about her.”
Indeed the fight still continued inside the cell. The two combatants circled each other as Cat watched her opponent with a new wariness and respect. The jab hadn’t hurt her, her bestial form was far stouter than a human, but Christina’s speed and strength had taken her completely by surprise.
“What’s with the dancing around. Don’t tell me that little love tap actually hurt.” Christian taunted.
Cat chuffed, pulling her top lip up to reveal wickedly shaped and gleaming canines. With a growl from deep in her massive chest Cat knuckled forward a step before her stout legs launched her through the air toward Christina. Landing with a thud, Cat transferred her momentum into a sweeping backhand blow with one lengthy arm. The blow caught Christina on the side of the jaw, ger head snapped back as her body hurtled toward the far wall. She hit the wall a heartbeat later, leaving cracks in the reinfoced concrete from the force of her impact, but she was on her feet almost immediately, only a small trickle of blood leaking from her bottom lip.
Christina wiped the blood from her lip with the back of her hand and regarded it for a moment before once again curling her lips into a wolfish smile. “Oh, this is definitely gonna be fun.” She said before running back across the cell floor to resume the fight against her massive opponent.
“What do you mean ‘how my power works’? I concentrate, make a couple portals, toss them against flat surfaces and then connect them.” Tom said “What else is there to know?”
“There is so, so much more to know, and understanding it will help you to make sense of what you experienced.” Dean Smith replied. “I shouldn’t expect a freshmen to truly understand the mechanics of teleportation. It is a subject that isn’t widely understood, and the underlying scientific principles aren’t covered in a high school course. I can explain the concepts though. Are you familiar with the General Theory of Relativity?”
“Umm, I’ve heard of it, but other than that… Nope.” Tom said warily.
“It is how Albert Einstein described gravitation. Among a great many other things, Einstein’s theory fundamentally changed how we think of space and time. If you picture all of space as a flat sheet, we visualize gravity a heavy ball deforming that sheet.”
Pausing for a moment, the dean reached into a drawer in his desk and withdrew a sheet of paper, and drew a pair of circles on opposite ends.
“Now, let’s keep visualizing space as a flat sheet, like this one. If you are this circle, what is the fastest way to get to the circle on the other side of the page?” Dean Smith said, setting the paper and pen down in front of Tom.
“Well, the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line” Tom replied, drawing a line connecting the two circles.
“And for most people you would be absolutely correct.” Dean Smith said. “Whether you walk, run like a speedster, fly, or are a tech genius and build a hypersonic plane, that line is still the fastest way to get from one point to the other.” The dean then reached across his desk and gently slid the paper back over. “Teleporters, however, have another option.” The dean picked up the paper and folded it in half, so the two circles were almost touching.
“Teleporters have the ability to briefly bend space and time and hop from one point to another. For a normal person standing at the first circle, the second circle is just as far away. But for the teleporter, the two places are right next to each other. You, Tom, are a very rare form of teleporter. Most teleporters can only bend space very briefly. Your ability, on the other hand, lets you anchor the two points together for a time, creating a stable path.” Emphasizing the last point, Dean Smith stabbed the pen between the two circles, pinning them fraction of an inch apart.
“Okay. That makes sense, but why did I see all those weird things? Like, why did I see Max’s insides and his skin and clothes at the same time?”
“When I changed how you perceive space and time, you were looking at reality from the fourth dimension through which you were bending space and creating for lack of a better term, a wormhole. Since you were looking a three dimensional objects from a higher plane, you could see more than your senses evolved to experience.” Unpinning and opening the paper again, the Dean put it back down on his desk. “Imagine that you are on the paper, looking at the circle. All you would be able to see is the outer edge. But we aren’t two dimensional beings. We live in three dimensions, so we look down on the page and see both the inside and outside of the circle at the same time. It isn’t disturbing to us because we evolved to experience life in three dimensions. Does that make sense?”
“Yeah. Yes, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, now I know how and why I saw what I saw. It’s not so scary knowing that I wasn’t going insane and it was actually pretty normal. Sorta. I had no clue that that’s how teleporting worked either. I thought it was just… Bam, you’re somewhere else. But I have one more question.”
“Go ahead, that’s what educators are here for” Dean Smith replied
“How did you do it? How did you… Take me over the paper?”
“I’m afraid that is one quesiton that I cannot answer. I survived a very long time in the field by keeping as much in the shadows as possible. So not only is not spreading information about myself around a long-ingrained habit, but There have been incidents that I was invovled in that are still classified. If I spread any informatin about my ability around, it could potentially have dire consequences. Is there anything else?”
“No, thank you. I suppose that’s it for now.” Tom said
“You are quite welcome. And I’d like to say that I am truly sorry that you had to go through that. I don’t know how much this session will help you, but knowledge and understanding are powerful things. Talking about problems like this is very useful for helping to sort it out as well.”
“Yeah. I do feel better. Maybe I’ll be able to get some sleep tonight. Have a nice afternoon Dean Smith.” Tom said, grunting slightly as he got out of the chair. He did feel a certain relief after talking to the dean. Of course, now he was also really curious about Dean Smith as well. As he walked down the hall to the lift, and hopefully toward a much needed nap, Tom Porter resolved to pay close attention to the dean and see what else he could learn.