By AbsMan420

Yet another Author's Note: There's no denying the fact that I'm "borrowing" -- maybe a more accurate word is "re-working" or better still "re-weaving" -- some common themes from other muscle-growth stories. Although this is my first "needle" story ever (Thanks, FanTCdude!), it's certainly not the first time I've introduced mind-control as an element. However, in an effort to give credit where I believe credit is due -- especially in light of what happens in this chapter -- I would be remiss if I didn't mention the influence of Wrestlr's

"Accelerated Takedown" on me. One of my favorite stories, one of my favorite authors. This element of "Apollyon" has always been intended as an homage -- I hope he takes it that way! Enjoy, Tom

I'd been sitting on the stoop of Woody's building for nearly two hours - I'd had enough foresight to bring my laptop with me, so I was able to fill the time by blogging in my e-journal about all that had happened to me in the last couple of days - when my cell phone rang. My first thought was that it was Woody, calling to check up on me, to make sure I was here, where he'd ordered me to be, but the screen flashed "ROOK" instead.


Well, how 'bout that? I was wondering what had been going on with him. The last time I'd seen Rook, he was heading off to the locker room to try to flirt with that gym-bunny Romagna. He'd been feeling a little cock-sure of himself after all the success he'd had lately in the sex department - which apparently he'd never had before he joined "Apollyon" - and he'd wanted to see how he compared to the "big-time" boys. No doubt improving one's body as much as Rook had would have some affect on his ego.

I mean, look what twenty-five pounds had done for me! (And I was bigger than Rook now, if only by three pounds, and I'd gotten there faster.)

"Rook!" I said as I answered the call. "What up?"

"Strong, what's goin' on, man?" Rook's voice all right, but something... something in the tone - sounded like he was high, fucked-up somehow. Different.

"Really, Rook, I was just thinking about you. What happened to you up at the gym? I didn't see you after you went off in search of that pretty-pretty Romagna-guy."

Rook giggled - giggled, I swear! - then sighed, saying, "I found him. Oh, Strong, you have GOT to get fucked by him. It's unbelievable! I mean, don't get me wrong, I liked working out and all, but I never knew sex could be so... Seriously, best of my life."

"So, you geared up and got fucked instead of working out?"

"Yeah," he said, dreamily. "Oh, yeah! Everybody talked about how amazing it was, but I didn't believe 'em. Then I'm standing there faced with the opportunity, and I figured, what the fuck, I'd try it once. Nothing could hurt me once."

"I don't know, man. They were pretty clear about the rules. They said not to do that."

His tone became a little annoyed, a little defensive. "What, who said? Those big muscle-freaks said? Those guys who are all into denial and substitute weight-lifting for sexual inadequacy said? They're just afraid, Strong. They're afraid of TRUE masculine power - sexual power. Romagna showed me all about that."

"I thought you wanted to get big."

He snorted, as if dismissing the idea. "Hell, dude, I'm two twenty-five. I'm big enough. What's the point of exercising myself out of the job market?" Then he was quiet, confidential. "And ever since I got Romagna's cum inside of me...? Well, I've changed. My body... dude, you gotta see me."

I chuckled a little, remembering my encounter with Prince. "If you're like me," I said, "you got a nice set of abs out of it."

His laugh now, low and dangerous. "I got a lot more than a nice set of abs," he said. "A lot more. I got NEEDS now. How soon can we get together?"

"Well, I'm busy tonight," I said, in my "polite brush-off" voice, "but maybe we can work out together tomorrow. I'll call you."

"You're busy tonight? Who are you busy with? Dude, tell all."

After a moment, I said, "With Woody. I told you about that, didn't I?"

"Woody?" he asked, sprinkled with attitude. "Atwood? THAT caveman? Come on, Strong. What are you THINKING?"

"What are you talking about?"

"He's a fuckin' FREAK!" Rook continued, melodramatically repulsed. "Why would you want to be with one of those three-hundred pound morons? All they can do is thrust - thrust and thrust and thrust - that's all they fuckin' know. You're a bottom, Strong, same as me. You should be hanging out with guys you got something in common with, guys you can learn something from. You come talk to Romagna, and he'll open up your eyes, same as he did with me."

"I don't need my eyes opened that bad."

"No, you'd rather they transformed you into some mindless fuck-machine without your knowledge. Yeah, remain ignorant, Strong, that way you don't have to take responsibility for it."

My temper started to rise. "Well, gee Rook, maybe I could be like you. Maybe I could get fucked once and then have all the answers."

"Way I see it, that's all it takes. One guy fucks you and you become who you really are, or the other guy fucks you and you're turned into something you're not. Sounds like a choice between truth and fantasy to me. Which is it gonna be, Strong?"

"I'll take Woody over Romagna any day. No wait, let me amend that. I'll BE like Woody any day. And if that turns me into a mindless fuck-machine, so be it. At least I won't become some judgmental little fag who gives his opinions when they aren't wanted."

"Ooo, temper, temper," Rook mock-toned. "Sounds like I struck a nerve. Maybe we should get together and we'll see if I can strike a second one."

"Rook, what the fuck is wrong with you?"

That little giggle again. "Nothing," Rook said with a sigh - I could HEAR his smile. "There is nothing wrong with me - not anymore. My body is just about perfect, my ass is permanently tight, and my technique is incredible. You'll see, Strong. You'll see. And maybe then we'll talk you into joining us."

"Fat chance."

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Okay, go get fucked by the Neanderthal a few times and get it out of your system. When you're finally bored of the same thing over and over again, look me up. T-T-F-N, Strong!"

And the line went dead, confirmed a few seconds later by the "lost-signal" beep from my cell. I didn't speak. I didn't half-call his name and hold a confused look like a soap-opera character seconds before the commercial break. As a matter of fact, to see me, I'm not sure you'd get any emotional read at all. I was pissed, for sure, but confused - I was lost in thought. Was there any truth in what he'd said?

I mean, emotional manipulatives aside - he CLEARLY had an agenda behind his call - he also inadvertently supplied quite a bit of information. Without meaning to, he confirmed a lot of what I already suspected. While I had my laptop open, I took a moment to jot my thoughts down. I probably had ten minutes before Woody showed up.

Okay, on its most basic level - when a guy was geared up, he had two choices: he could work out, denying his orgasm as long as possible, growing in direct proportion to the length of that denial, perhaps going so far as to enter the "second stage," where emotional and physical prowess were magnified, almost to the point of madness - or, as I just learned, instead of working out, instead of getting huge, a guy could give in to his sexual urges, where, apparently, heightened by the gear, he'd achieve whole new levels of ecstasy.

I suspect that the cum of the initial orgasm is their prize - my guess is they're addicted to it somehow. Remembering what a few drops of Prince's energized cum had done to my abs, I could only imagine the effect on a guy who took a whole load! No... I only had to picture Romagna and ANY of his nauseatingly physically-perfect cronies to realize the effect - and now ROOK would be in that kind of shape - and I remembered how they all kept saying they hadn't worked out in years and all that, yet they still looked the way they did.

It all made sense.

Except the whole top/ bottom thing. I mean, come on, all the big muscle-freaks were dumb-ass tops and all the pretty fitness-boys were manipulative bottoms? How clichˇ was that? Were there no massive bodybuilders who took it up the ass, or smaller guys in such great cardiovascular shape that they could literally fuck for HOURS in this organization?

Organization...? What an interesting choice of words.

Come to think of it, I hadn't really stopped to consider "Apollyon" itself. I'd been so caught up in the cogs, I was completely ignoring the wheel. What was "Apollyon" as an entity all about? A hidden gym in the middle of the city that altruistically sponsored ordinary guys to become unbelievable muscle-freaks for no obvious reason? What did the gym get out of it?

And did it have anything to do with where Woody was NOW? I mean, if "Apollyon" was as good and noble as it appeared, why would Woody have "sponsors" in the first place? Why would he need them? Unless...

Unless my suspicions were correct, and "Apollyon" was nothing more than a training ground for muscle-whores.

Seeing it in print on my desktop was the first time I considered it a cohesive thought. And it looked ridiculous. Could an escort service specializing in over-sized bodybuilders really exist on a scale that would necessitate an entire building in Upper Manhattan? What kind of conspiracy-theory bullshit was that?

Still, Rook had planted a seed - at the very least, I'd have to dig for some information from Woody. Even if what I suspected WASN'T true, and turned out to be an erotically-based delusion, there was still something more going on at "Apollyon" than met the eye.

But as crazy as it seemed, all the evidence pointed to Bodybuilder Proving Ground. And let's face it, that notion could have been just as much part of my fantasy as any of the rest of it.

What on earth was I caught up in?

The time for speculation ended with the sudden appearance of a taxi-cab, screeching to a dangerous halt in front of the building. When Woody emerged from the street-side back door, he greeted me with a smile and a slight wave, playing up the difficulty he had navigating his shoulders through the opening. I chuckled and slipped my laptop back into my knapsack, closing the lid instead of turning it off.

When I looked back, Woody was squatting by the driver's side window, his back to me, chatting it up and handing the guy a couple bills. Then he did something that was so typically Woody that I shouldn't have been surprised - he held up his left arm and flexed his biceps for the driver, popping that massive muscle up to its melon-sized peak. Even from my angle, I could see the driver's hand feeling it, its round, hard contours. Woody was saying something to the guy in a low voice - and I bet I knew what that something was, something encouraging and sexual - then slowly stood up, so the driver had a clear view of Woody's package filling the window before he drove away.

"Sometimes, they tip ME," Woody said, stepping up onto the curb in front of his building. "Why are you outside?" he asked, with that teasing smile of his. "Couldn't get past the doorman?"

"Not on duty," I said, standing on the stairs before him. "It didn't bother me - it's a nice night."

As he passed me, he said, "I didn't ask you if it bothered you," while tossing me a look and a wink, a small grin to show he was kidding. Well, kidding a little. "I got an extra set of keys upstairs I'll give you," he said, opening the main door, then the inner door of the breezeway. "Did you do everything I told you? I see you shaved - and I like those shorts! Did you go back to your old gym?"

We walked across the main lobby, lined with mailboxes on one side and the empty security guard's station on the other. There were mirrored walls around the elevator and I found it impossible not to look at myself, to keep stealing glances to make sure this body was for real. I smirked at his question, snorted, and took a second before answering, "Yeah... yeah, I did go back."

"That doesn't sound very positive," he said, ringing for the elevator. There was one waiting at the lobby level with its door closed, and once Woody had pressed the button, it opened for us immediately and we stepped inside. "What happened?"

I ducked my head a couple of times, like I was ashamed, unable to meet his eyes. "I, uh... I got in a fight." I shot him an embarrassed smile, a little chuckle, too.

He laughed. "You did not!" His great smile, his wide, wide grin. "You got in a fight? Well, you don't look banged up, so I assume you got the better of him. Tell me about it."

"It didn't come to blows," I said quietly, as if confessing. "They tossed me out before it got there."

"They tossed you out?" Woody laughed. "Stop teasing me, bro. Tell me the whole story."

So I did. While we rode to the twelfth floor, I gave Woody the "Reader's Digest" version of my experience at the gym, how it felt to wear spandex in front of my buddies, how we argued about steroids, my "mysterious" gains in strength and size, and how I wouldn't back down, how the "always do what the bigger man says" philosophy of "Apollyon" gave me a backbone that I'd previously lacked.

That was perhaps the reason Brian and I had fought - not because of steroid-ridden side-effects, but rather because he wasn't used to me having a backbone.

At least, that's what I speculated while riding the elevator with Woody.

He just found the whole thing amusing. "See? I told you there was an aggressive little top hidden inside of you!" He playfully poked me in the chest, then wrapped a big arm around my shoulders. "You didn't believe me, but I knew it was in there. We just gotta work on bringing it out more."

"Well, I guess that's MY question," I said, turning to face him while his arm was around my shoulder, pressing my body against his, wrapping my arms around his thick, thick torso. "Are those the only two options? Are you either a big, bodybuilder top or a little fitness-boy bottom? Is there no room in your world for versatility? I mean, why does it have to be one or the other?"

"Because when you're as big as me - when you're as big as you're about to be - you're gonna discover that sex isn't about satisfaction. It's about dominance. There's nothing like the feeling of besting some cocky dude and then fucking him into submission, eliminating his threat and making him yours. That's not just being a top - that's being a man. You can't fight what's there instinctually."

"I'm not entirely sure I agree with that."

"What's to disagree with? Let me put it to you this way: when you were fighting with your buddy, were you excited? Did it turn you on a little bit when you realized how easily you could take him? Did you get a little chubby?"

I pulled back from him a little bit, exposing the chubby I'd just gotten from leaning against his hulky thigh - not unlike the one I'd had when I was arguing earlier with Brian. What had I called it - my pre-fight hard-on? "I did," I said to Woody, like I'd just realized it. "I DID start to get hard."

He shrugged and pushed me off him. The elevator had slowed to a halt and began to open on the twelfth floor. As he walked past me, stepping off the lift, Woody said, "See? You're a man. Why does that surprise you?"

A small hallway, barely more than an excuse for the stairway, led to his apartment. I only noticed two doors - two apartments on this whole floor! Boy, was I used to living in mid-town, where there'd be at least five - hell, the hallway alone would qualify as an apartment in my building. How on earth could Woody afford this?

Hmmm... sponsors, maybe? Compensation for training new recruits, perhaps? Working as an escort for a new kind - a twenty-first century kind - of whorehouse?

Maybe Rook was right - maybe I WANTED to remain ignorant. It was so much easier to go along with them before I suspected what they were doing to me.

My whole apartment would fit in Woody's bathroom. As a matter of fact, it was the first time I'd been in ANY apartment in the city where I could extend my arms out to my sides and spin around without fear of hitting anything. High ceilings, too. An old building that had been spared the fate of becoming condos. Not terribly well-decorated - Woody had expensive taste, for sure, but not good taste. There were a few nice pieces, but no feeling of cohesiveness. I spent more time being wowed by the size of it instead of the furnishings. Hmmm... sort of like Woody.

An airy kitchen with a breakfast nook. Two bedrooms, although one bedroom had been made into a "play room" - mats on the floor, a "pumping" area with a small, little bench and a bunch of dumbbells. Mirrors, mirrors, everywhere mirrors, a heavy bag, casually discarded boxing gloves lying there. The whole scene.

He tossed me a bottle of water from the fridge, then got one for himself. I followed him into the living room as he continued to talk. "Listen, I need to take a shower soon. I always feel kind of dirty after I see that guy - he freakin' lives in Jersey, man!" He pulled off the sleeveless t-shirt and tossed it in his bedroom as we walked by. I was again taken by Woody's colossal size, the width of his back, the mass of his traps - really, unbelievable.

In the living room, he dropped his gym pants, revealing the scant pair of posing trunks he wore beneath. A metallic silver, they barely, barely covered his package - he looked more naked IN them than out of them. In them, he looked like what he was - a big ol' muscle-slut home from a job, nipples red and raw, disheveled, unkempt.

Not that that stopped my cock from responding. Unfortunately, cocks know very little about morality. They only understand need, and satisfaction.

"Wow," I said quietly, my dick growing. "Look at you."

He hit a couple big poses for me, though he was clearly on auto-pilot - his head was already in the shower. "Yeah," he said, hitting a "most-muscular," "everybody likes these trunks. We'll get you a pair."

I smiled, adjusting my uncomfortable cock beneath my spandex shorts. I tried to sound sexy. "Do you... do you need someone to wash your back?"

He met my smile and took my head in his hand affectionately, a mildly out-of-character gesture for him, and said, "Maybe next time. There's something else I need you to do right now."

"What?" I asked, in a willing tone.

He took a second before answering, as if formulating his answer, as if trying to find the best way to start. "Strong, you know what's goin' on around here, don't you? I mean, you've figured it out, haven't you?"

I took a moment deciding whether or not I wanted to continue playing ignorant, but - fuck Rook - I finally 'fessed up. "I haven't figured out all the particulars, yet," I said quietly, looking Woody in the eye, "but I've got a good idea about what's goin' on generally. I admit I'm a little scared, but also VERY intrigued."

He nodded slightly. "That's natural," he said. "But you don't need to be afraid. We're not gonna hurt you. And we're not gonna make you into something you're not - do you understand? We're not gonna change your personality, Strong. We're gonna ENHANCE it - the same as your body. And I think you should do it voluntarily."

"Do what?"

And Woody walked over to the bottom of the entertainment cabinet and pulled out what looked like a VR-helmet connected to a game box - exactly like the "retinal scanner" that Brad had used on me when I first entered "Apollyon" last week. At the time, I'd thought it was a mind-control helmet, and joking tone or not, Brad had actually SAID it was, but still I brushed him off. It was a retinal scanner, not part of some juvenile muscle-fantasy. I refused to believe it.

My God, Rook was right! I WAS in denial!

"Is that what I think it is?" I asked as Woody set it down on the coffee table.

He nodded, looking me dead in the eye.

"This is your fantasy come true, Strong," he said quietly, matter-of-factly. "You've always dreamed of being 'turned into' some big huge muscle freak, but the truth is, you don't need to be 'turned into' anything. The truth is there's always been a big huge muscle freak inside you, waitin' to get out. He's always been there, because he IS you. And I want you to become him voluntarily."

"You'd force me?"

He shook his head. "No. Not force, exactly. Though Dr. V's already encoded several 'trigger' words in you, so I could make you THINK you're doing it voluntarily."

"You're kidding?"

Woody gave me a confused look. "I thought you said you figured it out," he said. "How do you think Dr. V gets all the three-hundred pounders he gets?" Woody tapped his forehead. "Psychology, my friend," he said. "A little bit of good, old-fashioned hypnotism - a little bit of extra motivation. I'll prove it to ya. Listen..."

And then he said something. I didn't know exactly what it was, but the moment he said it, I collapsed, blacking out immediately.

Somewhere in the darkness, an indeterminate amount of time later, I heard Woody's voice say, "Okay, wake up" and I was suddenly aware, as if I'd just woken from a deep, healthy sleep, refreshed and re-invigorated. Completely relaxed and content, I found myself sitting on Woody's sofa, leaning back in it, rather, my head lolling over the back cushion, my arms to my side, one resting on the arm of the sofa.

That one, the one resting on the sofa arm, that was the one that had the IV in it, dripping whitish fluid from a bag suspended above me - just like the one in Dr. V's office.

Why didn't that scare me? I knew I should be scared - instead, I was relaxed and peaceful, groggy but happy, sort of stoned.

"Don't be scared," Woody said, sitting on the coffee table opposite me. Holding the helmet in his hands, he indicated the IV line. "That's nothing that'll hurt ya. It's just... protein. No worries. I just wanted to show you how easy it would be to do this against your will. Do you see now?"

I nodded, and did nothing to stop either him or the IV - or was that programmed, too?

He leaned forward, putting his big arms on his big legs, and quite seriously said, "Strong, you can choose to have your fantasy come true, to be the kind of man you've always dreamed of being, and you can enjoy the process completely, or I can just black you out until it's over, and then you wake up and you have no appreciation for it, or really ever understand how you became a big, dumb muscle-fuck. It's your call, but I say be a man and accept responsibility for it."

I looked at him silently for a second, and then, very slightly, I nodded. "Okay," I said, giving in to fantasy. "Let's do it."

He smiled, that big, clumsy, dumb-luck smile, and said, "Good call."

He slipped the VR-helmet over my head, blocking out the light from the room - most of the sound, too - but I heard him say, "I'm gonna leave this on while I'm in the shower. It'll probably be over before I get out, so when you're done, just take it off and wait for me, okay?"

I took a deep breath. I wasn't frightened, exactly - I had a feeling he'd already taken care of that - but I was still nervous. I was taking a big step. "Okay," I said.

He turned it on - I heard him turn it on. The screen came alive with a sharp hiss, a distortion - a little red dot appeared amidst the white noise. It was the only thing I could really focus on.

I heard the shower come on in the background. At least, I think I did - it might have been the static that covered the screen, not the water in the bathroom.

There was no picture. Was there something wrong? A little red dot. Just a little red dot.

And then I realized I couldn't move - my limbs weighed too much to move. Like when my foot fell asleep, except my whole body...

And then the erection. And the inability to touch it. And the joyous pain of denial.

It was never anything more than a little red dot.

And I happily gave in to it. •

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