By Sean P. McCoy

I guess it was a Tuesday, or perhaps a Wednesday that I noticed that there was something odd about the regular clicking from the basement. I stopped staring at the ceiling, and proceeded down two flights of stairs to the basement of my house to follow the unusual clicking. It was then I concluded that the continuous, rapid undulating clicking was due to the fully charged capacity of the flux capacitor invention in the basement attached to a glass encapsulation with wrought iron trim.

Relieved that my lab science project was now completed only hours before it was due, I proceeded to terminate the power to the rack-mounted power device, and move it off of the rack and into a lead casing. Upon conclusion, and after much strain, I moved the lead casing onto a dolly, and proceeded to attempt to move the casing up the basement staircase. Unfortunately, I was not able to do so.

I just noticed that perhaps I haven't introduced myself. I'm Chase, your typical run-of-the-mill, 24 year old nuclear chemistry student at U-Conn. If you didn't know, that is short for the University of Connecticut, of which I have spent the last 5 years of my college studies working on my graduate degree. I guess I've always been run-of-the-mill with some regrets, but always felt helpless and unable to made any inroads into making any changes to my 6'3" 170# frame. I often heard from my roommate, Ken, of some strange occurrences happening at the bio-chemistry lab just down the hall from my lab at school, but I just refused to believe them. The various occurrences I heard about included lab professors ingesting high risk formulas and turning into super-bodybuilder type studs. Its not that I didn't believe the guy, but one would have to agree that it would extend past a realm of credibility.

You know, if such formulas did exist, I sure could use one right now to help me move this object up the stairs. I guess the more I try to move this box, and struggle to hoist it up the stairs makes me wish I had been a bit more athletic in college and before. After about ten minutes and two bouts of total exhaustion, I decided to give up trying to move this 125# case when I noticed that the old wooden stairs to the basement creaked to the doubt of being able to support both myself, and this lead casing simultaneously. Just then I heard the door close upstairs, and Ken's resounding voice bellowing down the stair case with an inquiry about my current whereabouts. All of a sudden I could think of nothing else but the distasteful cold medicine in the upstairs bathroom cabinet, as when I heard Ken's voice, it seemed deeper than normal. After doing the best I could answering Ken from the basement. I proceeded out of breath up the stairs to greet him. On the first floor, I yelled, confused about his present location, of which he answered that he was upstairs in his room. I had known Ken for several years before I ever became his roommate. Heck, he was my first gay lover upon coming out.

As I proceeded up the next flight of stairs to the second floor I heard the door to Ken's room shut. I guess he was going to take it easy today due to his cold and all, so I proceeded to walk down the hallway to the bathroom at the end of the hall, and get myself ready for my first class. After I finished showering, I continued down the hallway to the staircase, so I could get to my bedroom on the first floor, and dress myself for class. As I passed by Ken's room, I heard Ken's teeth chattering. I didn't think much of due to his cold, and it being November. I backed up to the thermostat on the wall, and it was set 90 degrees. I yelled into Ken's room to ask if everything was fine. He didn't reply. I asked again more forcefully. I heard him just then clear his throat between the chattering of his teeth. Frustrated, I tried to open the door to inquire further, but as I turned the knob, and cracked the door, the door dramatically slammed close as if pushed from his side with great force.

"Ken we can talk about this man, can't we?"……No answer…… "What's going on in there Ken?"……pause…..

On the other side of the door, a bass voice not at all resembling Ken's said weakly "I'm fine"….

"Ken, have you got someone in there with you? Do you need help? Should I call the hospital?"

The answer in the same bass voice replied the word "No, I'm not myself today"

I would have to agree, this secrecy from me was unusual, but I disregarded it for the time being. I proceeded downstairs to clothe myself and then to the kitchen to pour myself a coffee, and light up a cigarette. I proceeded to go outside to the alley in the back due to a respect to prevent damage to the antique furniture in the house, and also to Ken, and have drag after drag from the cigarette. While finishing my cigarette, I heard a loud crack of wood coming from the basement, and a yell in that same bass voice requesting help. I dashed inside hastily dropping the last of my cigarette on the pavement, and rushed to the top of the stairway leading down to the basement where I saw someone that vaguely resembled the 5'11" 150# Ken that I knew, but was at least 190# of solid male muscle. I paused as my jaw dropped open, but came back to my senses quickly as I noticed this person's foot had busted through the fifth step while balancing my lead case on his shoulder, and reaching out with his other hand to balance the weight in an awkward position motioning for me to grab his arm, and help him. I rushed halfway down the stairs to reach out and help him. After balancing himself with the other arm not balancing the case, I stopped and said, "Ken?????"

"Help me", he said with a look on his face like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car

He then reached out his arm which was no longer his arm, but that of a bodybuilder's. The arm must have been at least 22" around. I instructed him to carefully back down the stairs and put the lead case down avoiding any other catastrophes. As I helped his foot out of the broken stair, he backed up slowly, and after reaching the bottom of the stairs he said, "I was going to try and help you get this case up the stairs, but I guess I failed the graceful test."

I said, "First things first Ken, what in the heck happened to you? You're huge! How did all of this happen?" Ken replied with the occurrences he had heard of down the hall in the bio-chem lab, and how he wanted to pursue the rumors he had heard from his fellow bio-chem students about ordinary men becoming musclemen. He had gone down there in my vague recollection, because one of the fellow students had mentioned a research study they do there late at night on the first Monday of each month. I stopped to ponder that I couldn't recollect the last time I saw him home, and mentioned that it had been some time since I had seen him.

Ken said, "I just saw you last night. Don't you remember I said I would be back in a little while, and I was going to go down the hall to the bio-chem lab?"

I said "That must've been weeks ago Ken, in fact I'm almost sure it was!"

Ken chuckled in reply and said, "We're you drinking last night or something, because you looked pretty sober when we first got to the lab. You're not hiding any vodka in the first aid kit at the lab are you?"

I sneered, and said "I thought I told you I gave up drinking four years ago after the occurrence I told you I wasn't going to talk about any more. Back to the subject here Ken, how in the world did you get these muscles?"

"These aren't permanent, in fact I should be going back to normal anytime now. You see, when I left you in the nuclear lab last night, I proceeded to the bio-chem lab. The lab was dark, and smelt of an odd sulfur, rotten egg smell that almost knocked me over as I opened the door. The only thing I could hear is the halogen lights outside the lab buzz in their ballasts. I continued into the lab trying to fumble for the light switch. In the process, I knocked a bottle over of something that was being demonstrated during the lecture part of the class earlier that day. As I squinted my eyes to locate either a light switch or now a paper towel, my hand grazed the table, and I touched this acidic feeling liquid that I spilled on the table. My hand began to burn as I fumbled around to find the nearest sink trough. I did my best to neutralize the acid the best I could, and found the light switch, and then a box of baking soda in that order. I poured the baking soda on my hand as a loud booming bass voice was approaching me from an unknown direction. I looked up from my aching had long enough to do a double take of a man that was nothing less than perfect. As he continued, I noticed that he all of a sudden paused to grab his hand in pain, he began to sweat profusely as his muscles quickly melted away. I continued to stare at him watching his reverse transformation take place.

As I gazed into space I all of a sudden heard Ken say, "Aren't you paying attention?"…… I stammered for just a moment, and said, "Y- Yes" with a sound of skeptical amazement. Ken continued, "What this does during the expanding and contracting process is that it affects your homeostasis."

"Homeostasis?" I asked in curiousity

"Yes, homeostasis is the part of your brain that affects how you regulate temperature in your body. Each transformation process as you see only takes seconds, but I am the normal Ken you see before you for a period of about an hour. I then transform and become the musclestud you just saw before me for a period of about," he paused to look down at his watch, "about twenty-eight minutes that time. The period of time I become the musclestud seems to be longer each time. Maybe I'm being a bit convoluted about my story though, where was I," as he tapped his finger against his chin, "Oh yes, I remember, I looked up after treating my wound with the baking soda, and saw the man that was nothing less than perfect."

I asked, "Who was this man" licking my lips

"That man," he replied, "was one of the staff instructors that teaches the night classes in bio-chem. His name is Dr. Konstanopoulous, which with a last name like that meant that of course he's greek."

My dick began to harden as I pondered a greek stud having the same body as Ken with rich, handsome Mediterranean features.

"The Dr. said, just call me Dr. K, that's what everyone calls me around here." Ken paused with a sparkle in his eye as he sighed about him, which made me even more excited to meet Dr. K. "Are you here for the research study?"

"Research Study?" I said, "Dr. K began to have a look of concern in his eye, but before he got suspicious, I interrupted, and said, What research study? Oh, you mean the one that I've been hearing about?"

The doctor replied, "I'm surprised you haven't seen the sign on my office door or recall it from the syllabus that I handed out at the beginning of the semester, but wait, you're not in my lecture class are you?"

Ken hastily replied, "Of course I am, I'm the guy in your 10:10- 11:05 class that sits toward the back of the room up about twenty rows or so."

With a dazed look on his face, he said, "Of course, I think I remember you, you sleep in my class don't you?" I replied sharply with, "I think you have me confused with someone else."

"Chase this whole time, I was lying to his face saying I was in his class, when of course you know I won't take his class for another three semesters." I then interrupted Ken and said, "Dr. Konstanopoulous? I had Dr. Konstanopoulous two semesters ago when I had to take him for a research studies class in human anatomical muscular development. I have to say that when I signed up for the class it sounded intriguing, but I don't really remember anything that notable about Dr. Konstanopoulous or really about that class. One thing that I do remember about Dr. Konstanopoulous's class is that he constantly repeated that he was going to be teaching a lot less, because he a breakthrough in his research was imminent. At the time, I doubt I would have had the patience or general understanding of bio-chem to be able to understand the pending breakthrough that he was about to discover."

Ken said, "Well, his breakthrough was successful, and he said that he needed to run trials for a new formula he discovered on humans, because the physiology of lab rats wasn't sufficient enough to process the formula effectively or with the results that he anticipated. I asked the doctor what the deal was with the sulfur, and he replied that that unfortunately was one of the key components of the formula's success. He looked down at my hand and noticed the acid burn, in which he urged me to stay put for a moment. He went up the stairs of the lecture hall, and out the door. After returning only moments later, he had a large adhesive bandage in his hand, and a sterilized, packaged syringe in the vest pocket of his lab coat that wasn't there before."

"He gave me the bandage that I applied to my wound, and took the syringe out of his pocket, and proceeded to the lab room adjacent to the lecture room, and returned only seconds later with a syringe full of a reddish-brown liquid."

"I asked the doctor what was the injection he was going to give me as he rolled up my arm, swabbed an area in the bend of my arm with a cotton swab of alcohol, and applied a tourniquet." The doctor gazed back with a puzzled look, and asked, "You are here for the clinical trial aren't you? For future anonymity in respect to the project, let's call you subject four." He proceeded to put the syringe down, and with a pen, made a notation of "4" on his clipboard. "You see, the other three that have taken this haven't had the desired effect that I know I have now perfected. I won't go on and bore you with the results since I know the formula has been perfected." He stopped and said, "What happened the last times was that I forgot to put the test tube in the centrifuge to separate the solid and liquid parts of the formula, so the previous subjects had some adverse reaction to the formula when they received the solid/liquid mixture, when it was supposed to be purely liquid." I hesitated, and said, "Are you absolutely sure you have it right this time doctor?"

He plunged the needle into my reluctant arm and said, "Absolutely"

"The injection was quick and painless, but as I hopped up from the stool I was sitting on, I fell back onto the stool from the dizziness I was feeling."

I asked the doctor, "Should I be feeling dizzy?" He said, "Yes"……. I held my head with my hands and said in a disoriented voice "really dizzy?" He said, "Yes" I then began to feel a sharp chill run through my entire body, an intense pain throbbed in the hand I had burned earlier.

The doctor said, "I see you are shivering, this means the transformation is about to begin." With him saying that, my T-Shirt began to tighten across my pecs and inflated to fill my T-Shirt. My shoulders and arms began to tighten in my shirt, my abs were all of a sudden becoming rigid, and a six-pack was beginning to form. My lats and back began to inflate as I noticed that my shirt wouldn't be able to hold much longer. I tried to stand up to release my growing body from the confines of my shirt when I fell back too dizzy to concentrate on anything, and moments later, the arms and chest busted right through the fabric of my T-Shirt. My baggy pants began to not feel so baggy as my thighs and calves began to inflate and fill up the legs of my pants. "With as much concentration as I could muster, I asked the doctor, should this pain in my hand be returning as a result of this?"

He replied and asked, "Did you touch anything when you first came in the lab room?" I said, "Yes, I was looking for the light switch when I knocked a vial of yellow liquid over and my hand touched it." With a panicked look in his eyes, "He said, I don't know what type of effect that is going to cause, but I see that you have completed the transformation as planned." He added, "If it should cause any unusual effects, please give me a call, here's the phone to my office. I have to return to my research now, and start producing more of this formula."

I didn't think too much more of my hand, as the pain in my hand went away quickly after the transformation concluded and I walked out of the lab. I'm not sure if it was the formula or me hyperventilating from the reluctance of the injection, but as I left the sciences building, the dizziness returned, I began to sweat profusely, and then passed out and collapsed on the school grounds.

I was awoken by campus police as they nudged me around 3:30 this morning, and I noticed that I was the same old Ken I was before I went in the lab. I then concluded that when I get chills I'm about to make the transformation to the muscleman, and fever and sweats right before I go back to normal. I didn't want to cause any more suspicion than I had caused with the campus police, as they nudged my naked chest with their nightstick, but I guess with as many students that get drunk on campus, it's a common occurrence to jostle unconscious students that have had one too many to drink. I made it to my car when the chills began, just in time to start the engine and fire up the heater to counteract the chills. I grabbed my cel phone out of my glove compartment, and found the number to Dr. K's office. I waited a couple of rings, and was anticipating leaving Dr. K a message when he answered the phone in a groggy voice.

"Dr. K?" I asked, "are you alright?"

He replied, "I just tested the formula for a second injection on myself, and I ….. I …… AAAARRRGGGGGHHHHHH." I heard fabric ripping over the phone, and then the phone banged as I concluded that he must've passed out and dropped the phone. Moments later, as if the paramedics had been monitoring our cel phone conversation, an ambulance raced by my car, and headed onto campus toward the sciences building. I jumped out of my car as the ambulance passed, and noticed that it wasn't an ambulance in the respect that you might expect to see an ambulance, but a truck the size of an ambulance in black with flashing lights whizzed by me at eighty miles per hour. I noticed that there was some sort of writing on the side of the truck, but due to the high speed of it when it passed by, I was not able to read it in time. As I ran toward the sciences building two other dark cars passed by me doing about the same speed, but I was concentrating on getting to the building as fast as I could to aid the doctor. I ran into the building and got halfway down the hall, when a foreboding man tried to halt me.

I asked him hastily, "Is the doctor okay? Is Dr. K. alive?" I then saw the gurnee returning to the ambulance-like vehicle as they attended to a very large animal or human under a white sheet. I could barely make out what looked like Dr. K's hair coming out the top of the white sheet as the men in lab coats whizzed by heading as fast as they could back to the ambulance. They loaded what I thought might've been an augmented Dr. K. into the ambulance, closed the back door when I noticed the words "US Govt" inscribed on the back of the ambulance vehicle. The foreboding man glazed back at me and said, "Dr. K.? There's not a Dr. K. that works here. What are you talking about young man?" A sense of panic shot through me as I just realized that the project that he was working on was sponsored and overenthusiastically protected by some department of the US Govt. In a futile effort, I began to ask the foreboding man where they were taking Dr. K, but he only replied with silence.

I rushed into the lab down the hall, and went into the lab room, and grabbed eight glass test tubes out of the centrifuge with the reddish-brown liquid, corked the tubes, and grabbed a lab coat. I struggled to put the lab coat on as a feverish feeling and sweating were beginning to overtake my body. I reverse transformed back to my usual self, and began to walk out with the lab coat on, and the vials of the formula in my pocket. As I was walking out I noticed a torn piece of paper on the floor with the following passage, "As per the earlier three subjects, one being myself of course, I noticed that subject "4" for some reason could not permanently stabilize his muscular state. I just noticed that upon the first reverse transform process that he underwent, he passed out on the campus grounds. I further postulate that his transformation processes will run in cycles. Each time the transformed state will be somewhat longer than the last time, but will revert to his normal state for periods of about an hour each time he reverts to his normal self……The way to completely stabilize the formula, and perhaps augment the process deals with the nuclear reaction of ………" and the rest of it was missing since the torn part of the paper that represented the nuclear reaction was torn diagonally across the nuclear reaction's instructions. I stuffed the paper, and left the lab in haste. As I was leaving, I passed by the foreboding man again. He paused, looked at me closely, and used his radio to call fellow agents. Before I thought twice about asking him why he had a suspicious look, I dashed to my car. I got back to my car just what seemed like moments later, and began to drive back here. "Chase I wasn't really sure how I was going to explain this incredible turn of events, so I pulled out to a residential area for a couple of hours, trying to get up enough confidence to begin to explain this to you, and underwent the transformation a couple more times. I don't know if they were able to follow me, but Chase, I was kinda hoping that there would be some way you could read this, and try and figure out a way to complete the formula from the partial sketch of this nuclear reaction."

Chase said, "I think I understand part of this reaction. Biologically, if you are not able to stabilize this in a matter of eight days, it could cause your cardiovascular system to shut down."

"In English", Ken said

"You will have a massive heart attack"

Ken looked at Chase with a gravely concerned look on his face.

Chase said, "I don't think it'll be much of a problem, I can make out deuterium here as bombarding a polonium ion. I can make out what type of energy is necessary to complete the reaction by this symbol here." as he pointed to the formula scribbled on the paper, "The only thing I'm not sure about is where the paper is torn off, this formula indicates, that a third reactant is used in the formula, and unless we have the other half of the paper, your guess is as good as mine. I'm sure that's not what you want to hear right now, but I will try my best to work all necessary variables."

"However Right Now", he said, "I have to prepare how to further disassemble my project for the lab. I need to run it up to the lab really quick, somehow, and then get back here after I drop it off to try and determine what that third chemical is."

Ken asked angrily, "What type of machine could be more important than my well-being?"

Chase said, "I have invented a high-power photo-electric particle accelerator, due to the gaps in my memory, I believe that what it does is allows time travel. I've been having some memory problems as you can tell this morning, not due to drinking, and I keep on having images flash before me of historical places and events, almost as if someone were taking a flash photograph inside your brain of some historical place or event in which all I get is a fleeting glimpse of where I've been and what has happened to me."

"Don't you need miles of underground tunnels in order to have a particle accelerator?" Ken asked

"Not in this case, I am using a nuclear reaction that causes the flux capacitor to self-contain an area in which particles and objects within the device can be accelerated past the speed of light. I was going to go down to the patent office next to patent my device, but I am having a great deal of moral and ethical reluctance to fully document the construction of this machine."

Ken asked skeptically, "What about all this sci-fi stuff that I hear about scientists postulating that there are in infinite number of universes based on the everyday decisions that people make?"

Chase replied, "No, I think you've been watching too much television, this device only travels on a linear time frame on the history we know, and the future that is yet to come."

Ken was about to ask another question, but just then there was a powerful knock at the door. Ken proceeded to the door, and looked through the eyehole. Ken pulled Chase away, and said this is the federal agent that was looking for him up at campus. Ken and Chase ran from the door, and headed down the stairs toward the basement. As Ken got half way down the stairs a rush of chills ran through his body, and he underwent the transformation into the muscleman. This made him slow down for just a moment, but he regained his concentration he heard a booming sound come from the front door.

Chase said, "I guess they've knocked down the door."

Ken said, "What are we going to do? We're surrounded by federal agents that want to cut me up and run tests on me."

Chase said, "Fold up the basement stairs and put a padlock on the latch up there. We have no choice, Ken, help me open this lead case, and attach the flux capacitor to the rest of the machine. We haven't got much time."

Chase and Ken hurriedly attached the flux capacitor, and Chase powered on the machine from a control panel full of knobs and buttons within the glass and wrought iron case. Ken said, "This isn't going to be big enough for the both of us, especially the muscular state I'm in right now."

Chase said, "We'll have to wait until you transform back and hope they don't get to this section of the house before your revert back."

As they stood in silence in the basement, the machine began to cycle-up, and the lead-encased nuclear battery also attached to the machine began to charge. They heard what must've been twenty agents run around the floor above. Various yelling was going on, and as they were thumping around upstairs the battery began to charge to the point where it was making its clicking noise. All of a sudden the upstairs went silent. A muffled voice said, "Does this place have a basement, can anyone tell me how to get into the basement?" Another voice answered back rather clear and near the door, "I think I found the entrance to the basement. I can't open it, I think they have it locked in some way in the basement." Pounding began to encompass the door as the agents began to make an effort to break the wooden planks that covered the door.

Chase said, "Can you feel it wearing off yet???"

Ken replied, "No, I think it's going to be another 3 minutes before I change back"

Another voice from above yelled, "They're down there! Hurry up men, we have to get to them."

Just a few moments later Ken began to feel feverish, "I think I'm about to change back. Hurry up and set the time where we're going to go, and get ready to execute the command to energize the battery."

Chase hopped into the glass machine, hastily twisted a few knobs, flipped a few switches, and yelled, "Is the transformation back to normal almost done" as he feverishly adjusted knobs on the machine's control panel.

Ken replied, "Yes, let's go"

Just then the padlock restricting access to the basement flew off into a corner of the basement, and the basement stairs began to be hurriedly extended by the lead agent. The lead agent tripped over one of the stairs from the close advancement of other agents behind him tripping him up.

Ken jumped into the machine, the door locked, and right as the lead agent drew his gun, and pointed it at Chase's face ordering him to step out of the machine immediately, Ken reached over and hit the button marked energize. During this whole time Chase was frozen in fear as a gun pointed at his face began to disappear in an intense flash of light. The machine's glass case looked like it was melting away, and both passengers were totally paralyzed as it appeared that the machine was passing through some type of wormhole with a speck of light at the end of the hole. After a few moments, another blinding light flashed before their eyes.

Ken was blinded as he sat paralyzed in the seat, "Where are we Chase?"

Chase replied, "Don't you mean, When are we? Right now, I can't see anything, but I think this will wear off shortly."

After sitting rubbing both of their eyes for a few moments, Chase was at last able to focus his eyes. He looked outside the glass machine, and saw… •

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