By Corwin

Tim heard numerous footsteps above him. He grabbed a robe and put it on, not wanting to expose himself to the intruders. Hal had constructed the robe a few days before, and it was already tight on his massive frame. Tim signaled the Derek android and the drone to remain behind.

The house was dark, and Tim approached cautiously. He was greeted by someone shoving a metal rifel barrel into his chest. The someone with the gun shouted, "Halt!" Instinctively, Tim grabbed the gun and twisted the metal up as if it were a pipe cleaner.

"Let's not hurt anyone with these toys," said Tim authoritively. "Now, who the fuck are you and what are you doing in my house?"

A voice from behind him said, "U.S. Army Special Forces. We're here to investigate a national security breach and possible kidnapping."

Tim turned. From the shadows, he saw the frame of a large man approaching. The man was nearly as tall as Tim, maybe six foot ten or eleven. He had broad shoulders and a wide chest.

The voice shouted, "Lights," and a second later Tim was blinded by a spotlight shining in his face. Tim raised an arm to shield his eyes. Squinting, he began to make out 4 men surrounding him. Tim focussed on the man giving the orders. He wore camouflage and looked familiar. As Tim searched his memory, it dawned on him. This was the soldier that Hal had shown him. The one who was part of the experiment and won the armed forces bodybuilding title. He looked much bigger now. Scanning the room, Tim recognized another of the competitors from that picture. The two other men were smaller, but still large and muscular.

"I'm Sargent Detrick," said the African-American man. He looked over Tim. "My, you are a big boy, aren't you?" He looked to the solider with the bent rifle, "and strong too. Looks like our suspicions were right."

"What are you talking about?" demanded Tim. "And what give you the right to break into my home."

"We had a report of a breach of a highly classified Army computer system. We were able to trace that break-in to this area. We were also contacted by a Derek Conroy about a hostage situation. We were sent in to investigate." The sargent's eyes once again scanned Tim. "Looks like a good thing, too."

"I don't know what you're talking about, and I think I want you out of my house." Tim heard scuffling behind him. Derek appeared, a gun at his back as the third man from the picture emerged.

"Found this guy hiding downstairs," said the blonde haired soldier.

"What's your name?" demanded the sargent.

"Hal," said Tim quickly. "And I'm Tim Hunter. This is my house and as I said, I want you out. Do you have a search warrant?"

"Don't need one," said the Sargent. "National security."

Tim heard people coming down from upstairs. They were carrying his computer equipment.

"What are you doing with my computer," Tim cried. "Hey, be careful. That's expensive equipment!"

"Evidence," the sargent said matter-of-factly.

Tim began to notice that each of these soldiers were huge guys. Not in his league, but obviously bodybuilders, or something else.

"Evidence of what? How is this national security?" Tim demanded. "I haven't done anything."

"Oh, we think you have. You might eat all your cheerios, but that's not how you got that body of yours. I bet you know a lot about projects you shouldn't," said the Sargent. "My boys and I are that project."

The sargent stepped forward. He flexed into a crab most muscular pose. There was the sound of ripping as his muscle bellies stretched his shirt beyond its limits. Sargent Detrick's chest pumped as he flexed, expanding and ripping his shirt. The man's traps and delts burst the seams, and his bis and tris split the sleeves. The flare of his lats grew as the large man sustained the flex for a couple minutes, until the shirt was no more than shreds. He slowly relaxed the pose, bouncing his pecs as he raised his arm to rip the shreds of fabric from his body. "Does that ring any bells to remind you of what I'm talking about?" asked the sargent.

"No, not particularly," lied Tim. "Was that suppose to impress me?"

The black man sneered. He raised his left arm and flexed his bicep. A football-sized peak rose from his upper arm. "36," said Sargent Detrick, "and solid."

Tim yawned. Now, it was his turn. He raised both his arms and flexed. The fabric had no chance of containing his 45 inches of dense muscle. Fabric bunched in his pit and around his delts and traps, then ripped as the hard muscle overwhelmed it. "I haven't been as small as 36 for a while," said Tim flattly. He twisted his arms and pulled them below his pecs, flexing his chest and flaring his lats. His powerful body exploded outward, the cloth having no chance of containing its size. Tim posed into a praying most muscular. He looked down to his right, turned his head slowly to his left, then looked forward. "Now, THAT's impressive," he said, returning the sargent's sneer.

The sargent stepped forward. Tim relaxed and took a step forward. The two men's pecs were now forcing into each other. Sargent Detrick was an inch shorter and clearly less muscular than Tim, but he refused to be intimidated. He pressed into Tim, trying to force him backward. Tim felt the man's strength, which surprised him, but it felt as if a child were pressing into a grown man. Tim raised his leg and stepped forward, pushing the muscular black man back. Detrick grabbed Tim's wrists and squeezed. Tim slowly raised his arms, feeling the sargent's body temperature rise with the exertion of trying to contain his power.

In a quick move, the Sargent released Tim's right hand. Holding his left, he jumped behind Tim, using his weight to twist Tim's arm backward. It didn't work. Tim's arm refused to move. The sargent found himself bouncing off Tim's unmovable arm, and landing on his butt under it.

Tim bent over, placing his arms in the black man's pits. Tim's face was in Sargent Detrick's and he smelt the black man's breath. Effortlessly lifting the black man, Tim said, "I told you I wanted you to leave."

"Soldier's, subdue him!" Sargent Detrick ordered. Within seconds, nine solider's descended on Tim. Each was big, but not nearly as big as the sargent. Tim tried to isolate his attackers, but they had been trained to attack as a team. When Tim would concentrate on one, four would attack from behind, grabbing his arms, punching his lower back or kicking at his knees. Individually, he could take any one of them. Even as a team, he fought them for minutes. Punches that would bring down walls were easily deflected by Tim's granite body. The tide began to turn when four soldiers grabbed Tim's arm in unison and stopped it. Four more grabbed the other. Tim struggled, but the combined strength of the eight soldiers equalled or surpassed his. The Sargent and a huge dark latino began pummelling his abs and torso with punches. Tim tried to kick away, but couldn't. Seconds later, another man appeared with a syringe. Tim fought, but the man put the needle in his arm and injected the drug. Tim passed out.

Tim awoke in a strange setting. He was on a couch or small bed, and he seemed to be moving. The Derek android was with him. Tim noticed something else. He felt his erect cock and swollen balls. He had had another treatment.

"You're awake," whispered the android. "You almost missed your treatment. Luckily, you responded to sensory stimulation and I was able to administer it while you were under the influence of their drug."

"I... I don't remember. Where are we?" asked Tim, trying to clear his mind.

"The drug they gave you was some sort of truth serum. You didn't tell them anything, so they put us in this vehicle. The men who abducted you are behind that door and in the front. We have been travelling for eight hours," said the android.

Tim tried to rise, but found that there were thick metal shackles around his arms and legs. He tried to break them, but couldn't.

"The metal is a titanium steel alloy. I'm not sure you are currently strong enough to break it."

Tim thought, then whispered "Well, I need to work out, right?" Tim flexed, straining against the metal. He felt the formula kick in. He felt himself growing. The cloudy haze of the soldier's serum was replaced by the euphoria of the muscle growth. He flexed his bis, delts and pecs, feeling them strain against the metal. Deep in the muscle, he felt the cells divide and strengthen. He felt surges of strength and power as his muscle struggled against a new foe, determined to crush it as he had crushed gravity. He would bend this metal to his will as he had bent the laws of physics. He knew his muscles were unstoppable, and their continued growth was assured. Wave after wave of energy battered into his muscles as they pumped larger in their winnable struggle against metal. Tim could feel the metal begin to bend as he felt the serum begin to be depleted. Tim flexed his legs, using their larger, stronger muscles against man-made metal. As with his arms, he felt currents of energy flowing into them. Lifting his head, he could see the pump reflecting their new growth and strength. Tim struggled and flexed continually for an hour, stretching the metal and deforming it with sheer muscle power. At the end, the growth serum had been depleted and he was still captive.

Tim was about to suggest another treatment to Derek when he heard the door open. It was Sargent Detrick. Tim could see he was still shirtless. The sargent checked out the shackles and scowled. "Told them these wimpy things wouldn't hold you. Another half inch and you'd be out. Well, too bad you won't have time for that. We're here."

The other nine soldiers filtered into the room. All were now shirtless. Had Tim not been their prisoner, he might have found the situation erotic. Each was as big as any Olympia competitor, and probably bigger. He already knew that they were damn strong. Several had boyish good looks. A few others had a rugged masculinity that Tim found appealling.

Four soldiers took up positions on either side of Tim, and one behind him. Still shackled, they lifted him with the platform he was laying on and carried him into a garage of some sort. Derick and Sargent Detrick followed. They proceeded into a building that might have been a hospital, into an elevator, and onto a hallway with no other people. Finally they entered a room and lay Tim on a bed. The room was filled with lab equipment and several computers.

The four soldiers grabbed Tim's arms and held them down. Sargent Detrick unlocked the shackles and threw them to the floor.

Tim tried to raise his arms, to get away. The arms of the soldiers bulged resisting Tim's might. Tim's arms moved up an inch, and were then forced back down. Tim struggled and again his arms rose. "Hurry Sargent," panted on of the men holding him. "Don't know... how much... longer we can... hold him." Tim's arms see-sawed up and down, gaining ground to the four men only to have them contain the power of his guns. The Sargent hurried and lowered two beams from the ceiling. The soldiers struggled to get Tim's arms into position, and then locked them down with a "thwunk." The men released his arms. There were sweating. Some were massaging their triceps which had cramped.

Tim tested the new restraint. He flexed his arms and pushed as hard as he could. There was no give at all.

"That's a magnetic hydraulic lock. You can't get out of that. The clamps are closed by powerful electro-magnets and pressure applied by these hydraulic beams." Sargent Detrick pointed to the beams. "Fuckin' Superman couldn't get out of that."

Tim remained silent. He watched as some soldiers carried in his computer equipment. Derick was told to sit and was hand cuffed to a chair. The soldiers with the computers were assembling the system, but seemed to be having trouble getting it to boot. One left and returned with another man. The new man seemed to be in charge. He approached Tim.

"Detrick, hand me those scissors," said the man. "I'm doctor Perkins. I'm in charge of this project. Now, this won't hurt." Perkins took the scissors and began cutting off Tim's shorts, leaving him naked. "There, now I can get the whole picture. Hmmmm..." the doctor sighed. "yes, definitely not what I predicted." He turned to the Derick android. "You must be Hal?"

The android looked, "Yes. Hal C. Clarke," it said.

"This is your work?" Perkins pointed at Tim.

"Yes, I am responsible for Tim."

"We will need to talk," said Perkins, eyeing Hal with suspicion. He walked to the soldiers working on the real Hal.

"It won't boot," said one. "Starts to look for the network, then freezes. We tried the normal overrides, but it always looks for the network."

"Well, hook it up to the network," Perkins said.

"Can't. This isn't a secure system."

"I don't understand 'can't'," said Perkins, clearly irritated. "All I know is that whatever this Hal person did to our serum to create Tim is on that computer. I need that information. Now, it is your job to get it for me."

"We could take the disk out and try it on another system."

The android shook its head. "It's encrypted to that processor."

"Look, just hook it up. Create an isolated network, but get me that information."

The soldiers ran off.

Perkins walked over to a cabinet and got out a syringe. He walked over to Tim. "I'm just going to draw a little blood," he said as he stuck the needle in. It filled with the red juice of life. Perkins removed the needle, and took the blood sample to a strange looking machine. He put it in, then pressed a button. There was a whirring sound for several minutes, then it stopped. The doctor walked over to a computer terminal as the soldiers came running back in.

The soldiers had brought with them some cables and a box that Tim recognized as a router/firewall. They hooked the system up, and plugged one end into Hal. They hooked the other end up to the computer Perkins was working on.

"Interesting," said Perkins, ignoring the soldiers. "Your blood contains ten times the amount of serum that we've been able to induce in any other subject. Mr. Clarke, you will have to tell me your secret."

"I think we got it now, Dr. Perkins," said one of the soldiers. Tim watched as Hal's screen came to life. The solider read the words on the screen, "Network found." He sounded excited. "System enabled." There was a definite sense of anticipation by the soldier. "Wait. Failsafe initiated." Suddenly, there was the sound of metal scraping together and the smell of plastic melting. "The disk is crashing!" the soldier screamed, trying to stop the process and rescue the system. There was the sound of circuits shorting out as Hal's motherboard overloaded. Just before the screen went dark, the words, "I'm sorry Tim" flashed on the screen.

Tim felt a sudden loss knowing Hal was gone forever. •

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