The Mind Expansion Experiment

 

This is a commission for Giza White Mage (DeviantArt)

Warning: This story contains apotheosis, growth, macro, mega macro., breast expansion, muscle growth, intelligence gain and severe (yet sexy) destruction.

Stormy belongs to her player.

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The Mind Expansion Experiment, by DragonMasterX.


Anxiety was peaking for Stormy. The wolfess had been up since 4am, unable to get a wink of sleep. Pacing around her small downtown apartment was the closest she’d gotten to mimic her canine ancestors chasing their own tails. “Still no e-mail,” she flipped the phone in her hands, constantly locking and unlocking the screen every few paces. One quick glance during an unlocking revealed it was 6:46am. “Eeeowch…!” Stormy yelped as she stubbed her toe on a knee high stack of heavy books.

The apartment could have been less disastrous. Between her part-time job and cramming for college entrance exams, she was too exhausted to tidy up other than the occasional sweeping and taking out the trash. Her living room was littered with overdue books she had borrowed from the local library; subjects that she still struggled to understand taunting her on their open pages. The wolfess set them aside to facilitate her movement around the already cramped living room.

Stormy wasn’t a dumb girl, but she wasn’t gifted with the sort of intelligence that got people into good universities either. Intimidating college entrance exams had defeated her so many times she’d more than once considered giving up on higher education.

Rejection after rejection, she began lowering her expectations, but eventually she realized concentrating and retaining information was hard for her. Even on days off from work she couldn’t devote more than a solid ten minutes of reading before she started getting distracted. Dates weren’t her strong suit, and history books weren’t exciting. She wasn’t especially good with algebra either; if it wasn’t basic, Stormy struggled with it. And yet in spite of it all, she never gave up trying.

“I got most of them right. I had to,” Stormy told herself about her latest attempt at the local community college. “Just review,” she said to herself for the umpteenth time that morning, “A) was easy, B) was a little harder, but I was based on my answer from A) so it should…” she mumbled away, sounding increasingly unsure. “Muh-maybe it’s time for some games…”

Her laptop had multiple browser tabs open, including her e-mail. Stormy liked playing simple games to keep her mind off things. A few clicks here and there and her anxiety was soon being kept at bay once again. And then it returned accompanied with an explosive heart-rate when she heard her phone beep in notification.

“Oh God,” Stormy struggled to hold her phone all of a sudden. A push notification with the start: “We wish to inform you…” from the place she had applied told her the wait for her grades was over. Her furred hands had become sweaty and useless with the touch screen, so she put the phone down and rushed to refresh the browser tab with her e-mail account. There was the same e-mail she had been waiting for.

Stormy continued reading from her computer display: “…that your application has been put on hold, pending a retake of the recently failed general aptitude entrance examination…” The wolfess pouted and continued reading in her mind. A copy of her exam had been sent back to her, alongside a version with all of the corrections. The usual “Please don’t feel discouraged and try again at the next scheduled examination date!” message most places tacked at the end of their rejection mails had stopped sounding hopeful to Stormy. She wasn’t feeling hope, only disappointment.

Sighing, the bummed out wolfess didn’t even feel like reviewing her test answers. “That pathetically low grade tells me all I need to know. I’m dumb…” she mumbled, collapsed on the table with her chin in front of her keyboard. “And I’ll always be dumb. This is stupid. I shouldn’t be trying smart people stuff…”

Looking around at her apartment, the wolfess was about to set her blooming anger on the variety of partially understood books littering the place before she realized they weren’t her property. “I need to return all of this, I’m not trying again…” Stormy told herself with another, heavier sigh.

Fortunately for Stormy’s back, the public library was only a couple blocks north of her apartment building. With an overloaded backpack chock full of the heavy study material she had spent months failing to research, she stumbled her way through the streets. She wasn’t the strongest of wolves on account of her rather average height; at 5’6” tall, other members of her species had always picked on her throughout high-school. Limitations or not, however, Stormy wasn’t going to make such a humiliating trip twice.

“Are all of these late?” the surprised clerk asked Stormy, who was panting and hunched over the counter. She raised a finger to speak.

“Uh-only some of them… don’t worry, I can pay the fees,” she assured. “Sorry about being so late with those. I thought this time I really was going to pass, but might as well give the others back since I…”

“Jeez, I’m gonna need help sifting through these many books,” the clerk grunted, ignoring Stormy’s plea completely. “Hold on, I’m getting my replacement to come over to help check all of these. Almost time for my coffee break anyway.”

Huffing, Stormy turned around and leaned back against the counter, directing her vision to the ceiling. “Why would he care?” she bitterly asked herself before softly adding: “…at least he isn’t making fun of me like that alpaca last time I was here…”

“Ooooh, my. It’s you agaiiiin.” A nasally high voice made Stormy immediately cringe. She turned to look at a soft and fluffy, bespectacled alpaca girl dressed in fancy clothes and expensive looking jewelry. “Jerry, this is like, the third time she’s late with books this semester. You’re not letting her scot free just because she’s a wolf, right? It’s not like she’ll eat you.”

Jerry, the raven clerk whose name Stormy never remembered, came back with a flat stare above his beak; it was clear he didn’t enjoy the alpaca’s high pitched tone of voice either. “Just need to check them so we can send her on her way, Sarah. C’mon.”

“Oh?” Sarah’s eyes bounced from the computer display on the counter to Stormy, to the stack of books and back to the list on the display. “Didn’t you take these last year too? How many times are you going to study basic algebra? I would’ve gone to a tutor at this point.”

“…work schedule…” Stormy mumbled out, already with her patience drawn thin after that less than stellar morning news.

“Hey, knock it off, Sarah,” Jerry interjected, much to Stormy’s relief. “I wanna go for my coffee break already.”

“Sorry to be a bother,” Stormy offered a smile to the annoyed raven, rubbing her arm with unease. She didn’t like people prying on her affairs, especially when she was feeling vulnerable to begin with. She realized too late that using her mouth to apologize was just another way of giving the nosy alpaca another opening.

“You better be!” Sarah raised her voice as she glided the library stamp over an open book seemingly without even looking at it, “It’s one thing to be studious, and another altogether to keep these from people who need them too; that’s soooo selfish, you know. It’s why the concept of time limits were invented, sweetie; to share?”

Technically, Stormy knew she was at fault for being late, but hearing it from that loud alpaca wasn’t making it any easier to fake a smile and nod; she felt like this Sarah was enjoying stamping her late books as “overdue” as she delivered verbal punishment. All Stormy wanted was to be bundled up at home sipping hot cocoa and watching some dumb general interest documentary; she wasn’t in the mood to be taking this from an overzealous librarian. “Don’t you guys have extra copies?” she finally raised her voice, “I just don’t see why…”

“Becauuuuuse,” Sarah raised her voice over Stormy’s, tilting her glasses and returning to stamping, “It’s at this point in the semester that students transitioning from high-school to college have to do their own entrance exams, lady. There are many people looking after our books, and I’m supposed to tell them “Sorry, Ms. Wolf here has them reserved for the next five years because she doesn’t understand what returning books entails”?”

Stormy was suddenly overcome with the sheer need to find out what roasted alpaca tasted like. Her claws had begun digging on the counter. She was too mentally exhausted to think up a good comeback and she certainly didn’t want to answer to the impulse of jumping over the counter to slap the heavy makeup off the librarian’s smug face, so all she did was cast her murderous glare forth without saying a word. “Just don’t get in trouble… ignore her… ignore her…” she thought.

“Mmph, done. What a waste of precious time,” Sarah clicked one last key on her keyboard after returning to the counter PC. Before she left, the alpaca spoke one last snarky line to the defeated Stormy: “I recommend you take Good Kids Share from the kindergarten section. Don’t worry, I doubt even you’d at fail something that simple. Ta!”

When Jerry printed the receipt with Stormy’s penalty, he offered it with a wry smile. “Just ignore her,” he said, “Hear she was bullied by wolves in middle school. Probably nothing personal.”

“Didn’t seem that way to me,” Stormy responded, but avoided being too brusque when taking her receipt. She widened her eyes to the number at the bottom, “I… I didn’t bring this much.”

“Ah, well,” the raven sighed, looking left and right before lowering his voice at Stormy, “Don’t worry. You can pay for it next time. Just be more careful in the future, okay?”

“Thanks…” Stormy grumbled. The fee was going to eat into her savings. “The punches just keep on coming,” she thought, lowering her eyes to the counter. Anxious for his break as he was though, Jerry seemed empathic about the wolfess’ look of defeat.

“Hard times, huh? Maybe focus on one thing at a time. Can’t study on an empty stomach,” the avian suggested. Stormy nodded with a half-hearted smile, thanked Jerry again for the favor and grabbed her things. She wanted that hot cocoa more than ever now.

Stormy thought the walk back home was supposed to feel a lot lighter than carrying all those books to the library, but somehow she felt heavier than before. “People treat me like an idiot…” she huffed in frustration, remembering Sarah’s rudeness. She remembered high-school teachers losing patience with her sometimes, but she had never been shut up so thoroughly in her life. Perhaps if she was smarter, quicker with her thoughts, she could’ve defended herself better back there.

Arriving at her apartment, she shook her head. “Got to worry about my income now. Forget about everything else…”

Part of the reason Stormy wanted a higher education was to find a better paying job. She hadn’t begun struggling yet since she wasn’t a big spender, but surprise expenses like her library blunder could eat away at one’s money in the blink of an eye. She had to supplement her part-time job if she wanted the comfort of her apartment and all of her daily commodities.

She spent the night surfing the web for employment opportunities. Sifting through the annoying ads was the most laborious task. There were so many, and they were all obtrusive, useless; except for one. One little ad struck out to her like a beacon at sea. “Get smart quick?” she repeated the text on screen. She scoffed at the idea; having already spent fruitless afternoons punching search after search on natural ways to improve her intelligence. An ad couldn’t give her that… could it?

Curiosity kills cats, but that night, it had ensnared a wolf. It wouldn’t be the first or the last time she brought her PC in to the shop to get it checked for viruses in case she screwed up. Stormy was desperate for results. One click sent her to a web form asking simple questions such as her name, age, occupation, species, availability and contact info.

The header text explained Spark Industries was looking for participants for a Mind Expansion Experiment. The experiment was described as aimed at common people wishing to increase their intellectual power and concentration capacity. “Eligible participants will be properly compensated for their time…” was all Stormy needed to see to be convinced. She decided to fill it up the form and hoped for the best. “What do I want from this experiment? Uhm…” she paused and slowly typed into the box, “To get smarter…”

And then she hit submit.

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Stormy hadn’t been expecting a reply. But the next morning she woke up to an e-mail from Spark Industries with instructions to show up at their facility north of town. “That’s right, they actually do have a branch here,” the wolfess whistled, thinking back to the previous night and entertaining the thought of how convenient and scary targeted ads could be. “I guess I’ll go. Nothing to lose, and I will get paid if they take me in…” she smiled. At the very least she could stop worrying about money for a while.

The trip to the other side of town was a long one. She had to change buses halfway through, but despite her fear of being taken for an expensive joyride around town, Stormy made it to her destination.

An imposing, dark blue and black facility stood in front of her. Stormy felt intimidated the second she put a foot past the automatic double doors that greeted her. She had expected busy people coming and going, but all she had seen from the foyer had been the receptionist at her oversized desk. Without even looking up from her desk, the lady pointed Stormy down the hall on the eastern wing of the building.

“I guess expecting a tour of the facilities would be asking too much…” the young wolfess thought as she rubbed her arm while engaging in her solitary walk. For a facility this large, Stormy had expected a lot more hustle and bustle, but it felt like it was the first day of high-school and she was the only student late to class.

At the end of a hallway, Stormy noticed a couple staircases going in each vertical direction. She remembered the reception desk lady telling her to go up one floor and to enter the first door on the right. Once she was on the second floor, Stormy’s ears perked to the audible murmurs nearby; they were coming from the room she was headed into. With a nervous gulp, she knocked at the same time as she opened the door, putting a foot inside, “Hello,” she said mid-opening, “I’m here for the experiment application…?”

Stormy felt her voice crack at the end to the view before her. Five by five lines of perfectly spaced individual desks, fourteen occupied chairs and a gentle-faced, bespectacled badger in a white lab coat standing in front of what was clearly a green board. Memories of every last exam she had been at flashed into the wolfess’ head. She suddenly didn’t want to be there.

“Ah! You must be Stormy,” the gentle-looking badger man said, “Please take a seat. You’re just in time! We’re about to begin with the test.”

“Tuh-test…?” Stormy repeated; her mouth remaining agape in disbelief.

“Yes. As I was just saying, as part of our screening process, we will conduct a general aptitude test, a psychosomatic check, and finally a short inter-personal interview for each applicant,” the badger explained with a soft smile. “Don’t worry,” he said, immediately noting Stormy’s unease, and turned to the rest of those present. “And this goes for everyone else too. The exam is no more than a standardized series of questions that will help us gauge your IQ as well as take important statistical data.”

“An IQ test?” Stormy repeated in her head. Some of the terminology escaped her, but she understood and rationalized that these people needed to know who they were working with if they were doing mind experiments. Taking a deep breath, she calmed herself and sat down.

The exam sheets were distributed among the fifteen participants. Stormy was surprised to see so many questions, most of them multiple-choice. The topics ranged from natural sciences to math, as well as general knowledge. She certainly managed to get a few of them, but some presented difficulty. Some were hard to answer, even if she felt like she knew what she was supposed to write. And then there were some questions that made her raise both of her eyebrows, “Thu-this has to be some sort of joke…” she mumbled to herself, finding herself face to face with a 2 + 2 = X, solve for X question. She loosely wondered if she should answer that one incorrectly for the heck of it.

At the end of the exam, the applicants were asked to submit to a quick blood test. Stormy was pleasantly surprised when after giving her blood she was led to the contiguous room where a table full of pastries and cookies, and both juice and water were offered to the applicants. “Maybe this place would be great to work at…” the wolfess thought while munching on a blueberry muffin.

The physical exam consisted of taking bodily samples and making each applicant endure short bursts of strenuous exertion while a team of scientists monitored their progress. Stormy felt right at home. Even if she wasn’t the smartest cookie out there, athletic prowess wasn’t something she lacked. Some of the applicants seemed to be struggling, so she certainly felt better about herself for once. Others, however, seemed far more competent than her, running faster and getting tired later than her. A perfect temperance for her ego, it seemed.

Stormy’s nerves were at full swing only to drop when she was left in a smaller office face to face with the examiner from the first room. The badger introduced himself as Nigel. Nigel told Stormy the purpose of the tests was to find a proper batch of subjects for the Mind Expansion experiment, carefully curating from common city folk before they were even invited to come.

When she learned their backgrounds had been fully checked before admission, Stormy’s heart skipped a beat. “They know I’m a loser. This is so embarrassing…!” But Nigel didn’t make fun of her. In fact, he didn’t even ask her about her time taking exam after exam. He asked her if she wanted to be part of something greater than herself, to which she responded with a confused stare.

“Spark Industries is studying the brain not merely to sell millions worth of intelligence-increasing drugs,” Nigel laughed; a calming sound which distended Stormy on her chair. He continued: “But to find a way to stimulate the mind and bring out its latent abilities. Medical applications could extend up to being able to fully treat patients with advanced Alzheimer’s, ADHD, clinical depression…”

“This is amazing! Am I really going to help with all of that?” Stormy interrupted in a jolt of excitement.

“That’s the most honest reaction I’ve seen today.” Offering her a nod in response, Nigel followed up: “And you needn’t worry, Stormy. I imagine, like everybody else, you have concerns about the word “mind” being followed by “experiment”. We have taken every precaution to ensure the well-being of our test subjects. However, we must know if you are willing and at our disposal for the following month.”

“Yes!” Stormy said. She had honestly never stopped to wonder what exactly the experiment entailed, but seeing that badger’s gentle smile and hearing his patient way of talking had influenced her in ways she didn’t think possible. “I mean, I would love to be part of this experiment. I know it’s a job, but I wanna help!”

“That’s great! Well, this is all for today. We’ll be in touch. Keep your ear to the phone, alright?” Nigel said, gesturing to the exit with a hand and that calming smile of his. “If you don’t have any questions, you may leave. You have been great!”

Stormy left that office with pep in her step. She was eager, more than ever, to get that phone call as soon as possible. The hallways were empty again. She had been the last to get her interview, so the rest of the applicants had already left. The wolfess hummed to herself, taking the chance she was alone to get a good view of the installations. She had to refrain from whistling as she looked out the second floor windows, the facility campus so large it almost seemed like a small aircraft parking lot. She was in love with the facility.

Before she turned a corner in one of the many hallway intersections, Stormy pressed herself up against the wall when she heard voices. “Oh no, maybe I shouldn’t let them see me. I probably don’t have permission to loiter around… Just had to play tourist…” she chastised herself. She couldn’t help but raise an ear to the conversation happening outside her visual range. A smile drew itself on her snout as she began to recognize one of them was Nigel. She had never felt so calm after an exam and interviews with someone like him around.

“She’s no good,” Stormy’s heart sank as she heard Nigel say. “These numbers are too low. Plus, she smokes.” Hope returned to Stormy as she remembered some of the applicants had been having trouble keeping up with the physical examination. She heard something about lung capacities being impaired or some-such from the other voice. “How about number 15?”

“Let me see that…” the other voice said. Stormy’s mind raced, her ears standing like a rabbit’s all of a sudden. “Average to below-average intelligence. No pathological abnormalities. Physically average to below-average. Otherwise utterly unremarkable.” Ouch, Stormy thought with a frown. “This has been a disaster, Nigel.”

“We are behind schedule, however,” Nigel said after a pause, “We don’t want the director to think we…”

“You leave the director to me. I’m his favorite, remember?” the other voice spoke arrogantly, “But I concur we haven’t lucked out with the perfect subject, so one of these peasants will have to do. Review everything and send me your choice by text later, Nigel. It’s high time we got this show on the road.”

Approaching steps made Stormy shrink against the wall. She was fortunate the stairs going down were only a room away, so she got out of the way before she was seen that afternoon. The question that remained in her head that night when she was back home was who the other person Nigel had been talking to was. All she knew was that it had been a he, and that he seemed to have a high opinion of himself and a low opinion of everybody else. “I hope that isn’t the boss…” Stormy thought to herself.

More importantly, she was now more excited than ever. If what she had heard was right, she had found out only one out of the fifteen applicants would be chosen for the experiment. “I don’t smoke. Is being… utterly unremarkable good for them? It sounded so hurtful when he said it like that…” the wolfess was torn between the idea of working for somebody like her interviewer and that other person. “If I’m chosen for this… I won’t be so utterly unremarkable anymore, right…?” she yawned, exhausted from the day’s activities. “I will…” she began drifting, “…I will… be special…” she told herself before her consciousness vanished.

The next morning, Stormy almost covered her phone in coffee when she got an e-mail from Spark Industries so early in the day. She had been accepted for the project as its main test subject. She didn’t want to believe it at first, but the instructions were there. She felt as if she had passed a college entrance exam, even if she hadn’t. Stormy danced, jumped and shouted in happiness that morning, ignoring her neighbors yelling at her to shut up both from below and above her.

“I start tomorrow…!” the wolfess said as she continued to read the e-mail. “5am? So early… but it’ll be fine. I can do this. I’ll do this!” Stormy had never felt so ready in her life.

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Stormy had never felt so unprepared in her life.

As she was led into the basement floor of the facility, she finally understood why the hustle and bustle was missing from the upper floors; it was all downstairs. Stormy counted no less than fifteen different people coming and going through the same set of doors in the same minute. She could hardly get a single polite wave of the hand in return for her greetings. Everybody was so busy!

The contrast between upstairs and downstairs was evident. Stormy couldn’t see one window, the narrow hallways felt like corridors. All the bright energy she had gathered outside seemed to be sapped away from her.

Entering the room where the experiment she was in for was going to be carried out, she immediately was weighed down by what seemed to be a dozen of appraising stares. Even though her modest body was dressed in an equally modest outfit she suddenly felt uncomfortably naked. “Just smile… they’re your new coworkers…!” Stormy told herself, unable to stop herself from shaking.

“Stormy! I’m glad to see you made it,” a voice coming from Stormy’s left made her perk right up. Her tail gave a little wag as she recognized Nigel. He was still dressed in his lab coat like everyone else in the large room. “How are you feeling? Had a light breakfast like we asked?”

“Yuh-yeah! Just a little tea and some rice crackers. Not a fan, but I didn’t really have anything else, haha!” Stormy grinned, feeling less pressure now that she could pay attention to someone who made her feel at ease.

Their chat was short lived as a tall panther emerging from the contiguous, transparent-walled chamber poked his head out to speak out loud. “Mr. Norman wants the subject prepped already, Nigel. We’re starting the first tests in fifteen.”

“We’re already… testing?” Stormy asked Nigel with a surprised expression, “Um, I’m sorry, but what are we testing, exactly? I didn’t really get a study guide or anything…”

Laughing a little, Nigel dismissively waved a hand. “Don’t worry about that. We won’t be having you do a written exam like the other day if that’s what you’re thinking. Our approach is going to be… more hands-on and entertaining. Do you happen to like puzzle games?”

Shrugging a little, Stormy finally smiled and nodded, “Yeah. Like jigsaws? Or computer games? I like those too!”

“Then you’ll love what we’ve cooked up!”

“We don’t have all day. Get her changed, already!” an irritated voice blared through the intercom, startling Stormy who shrunk by bending her knees, her ears flattening against her skull in shock.

With a nervous smile, Nigel gestured for one of the female assistants to come over. A slender swan whose feathery neck made her tower over Stormy approached. “Please show her to the changing room.”

Still a bit intimidated, Stormy felt uneasy about being led away, but the assistant was courteous enough with her. A bit robotic for her taste, but Stormy figured this was going to be the norm for her very first day as part of the project.

One trip into the privacy of a changing room later, Stormy found herself clad in a tight bodysuit made of neoprene. The dark blue and black colors made her feel like she was going to go surfing instead of doing science. Fortunately, the suit was a perfect fit, leaving her shins and half her forearms exposed, yet offering mobility and breathability in spite of the snugness. Unfortunately, she realized too late the multitude of scientists outside were going to observe her in this outfit.

One thing was to be dressed in tight, curve-hugging neoprene around others dressed similarly. Another entirely different affair was being the odd one out! “They’re gonna be looking at me…” she shot her reflection an uneasy stare as she checked herself out in the changing room’s mirror.

Her height didn’t let her stand out among other wolves, but Stormy was definitely lacking in the feminine department as well. The only reason her bust stood out was due to the tightness of the bodysuit, with narrow hips and mostly flat buttocks not being as favored. About the only thing she was proud of was her waist. Stormy wasn’t at her ideal weight, but she wasn’t overweight either; the barest amount of flab apparent on her mid-section. She made sure to suck up her gut. “Calm down, you’re not in a beauty pageant. This is a serious experiment, these are scientists… they’re professionals. Doctors probably. Just calm down…” a knock on the door to the changing room made her jump and yelp out: “Coming!” before she settled back and whispered out: “Sorry. I’m ready.”

It was a relief that the avian escorting Stormy didn’t even seem interested in making conversation about the neoprene suit she was wearing. The wolfess hadn’t missed the opportunity to check out the rack on that swan, impressed birds could end up so endowed; the chest on that scientist lady probably able to fill out a D-cup bra, she thought. “In hindsight, it’d be a lot more embarrassing for someone as busty as she is to be wearing this… haha…” Stormy cheered herself up with a half-hearted mental laugh. She suddenly felt so outclassed by what was essentially a much more feminine nerdette that her unease about walking out in her suit seemed to vanish.

Shaking her head once she realized she was staring at the swan’s swaying hips, Stormy glanced around for distractions. Once again in the large room from before, she couldn’t see Nigel anywhere. The jaguar from earlier was standing by a large automatic door just like ten minutes ago, his ears almost brushing the top of the doorframe. Stormy hadn’t realized how tall that feline truly was until she was standing in front of him.

“Hey,” the jaguar said, stepping to the side. He waved to the swan, who nodded and sauntered away to another group of scientists. “Welcome to the VR Chamber. Tests said you aren’t inclined to suffer from motion sickness. But you should still take one of these, it being your first time and all.”

Cocking her head to the side, Stormy suddenly had a pill and a paper cup with water in it. “VR Chamber? As in Virtual Reality? Am I playing VR games?!”

“Somewhat,” the jaguar continued, gesturing for Stormy to follow him into the room. The automatic door slid closed behind them. “The pill I gave you is our brand of dimenhydrinate, it’ll help keep your insides stable in case you start getting nauseous.”

“Dimeh… what?” Stormy repeated.

“Have you had Dramamine before? Our stuff’s better, cheaper too,” the jaguar explained, “Just take it before you climb into that chair over there.”

Stormy almost choked with her water. The pill had been swallowed, but she still had to take her surroundings. A couple of solid, thick steps led up to a large chair that reminded the wolf of therapy reclining chairs found in any psycho-analyst’s office, except thicker and affixed to the floor.

Three dark screens were held up by an articulated fixture protruding from the headrest of the chair. It was easy to tell these screens were meant to split and come together to change the visor’s shape. Stormy could see large cables protruding from the chair base extending all the way over to an array of complicated computers or measuring instruments which she honestly had no clue what to name them. Surrounded by reflective panels on all surfaces boxing the chamber in, Stormy felt like she was in the set of some futuristic sci-fi movie.

The last unsettling thing she noticed was what hung above the chair. It was an alarmingly large device of a shape she hadn’t seen before. At first, Stormy thought it was some sort of crane, but upon closer inspection the piece of machinery seemed to be equipped with a multitude of different parts. She could make out an injector, some sort of thicker tube that reminded her of a hose and even a mechanical claw on one extreme; among various other appendages. “I-is that some sort of Swiss-Army Frankenstein Doohickey?” The thought meant in jest sent a crawling down her spine.

“What’s the matter?” the jaguar asked impatiently, “Need a bathroom break? Oh.” He glanced up, “Don’t worry. We’ll be using that to inject a solution into your body. As you exercise your mind, we’ll be regularly administering a cocktail of stimulants to simulate the necessity to create new neural pathways in the brain.”

Lost only a few words in, Stormy tried sounding like she had understood by asking a question. “And that’ll make me smart?”

“Or turn you into a vegetable,” the jaguar snickered, “Joking. Our drug’s already approved for testing. The pill you just swallowed was also designed to lower your immune response for the duration of today’s experiment, so you don’t have to worry about allergic reactions or other violent responses. You would seriously have to be the unluckiest person on the planet to develop anything but a couple extra IQ points. Now take a seat and we can begin.”

“Ruh-right…” Stormy found herself twiddling her thumbs for a few moments. Was she really going to go through this? “I can’t back down at this point. This is my chance to improve, make myself better. I gotta do it!” she steeled herself with a pat of her cheeks. After climbing into the chair, the jaguar gently lowered the screen arm down. Stormy’s vision was completely obstructed.

An uneasily familiar voice began to ring into the chamber; it was Mr. Norman, who had yelled at them earlier. “Alright, let’s begin. I’m director assistant Norman, and it’s my responsibility to oversee the experiment’s progress. Subject, you will no doubt have noticed the control panels under your hands.” Stormy used her fingers to feel the series of bumps along the chair’s armrest, they were like buttons. “You will use the sliders, levers and buttons on them to control the simulation in the virtual reality environment. Only do as you’re told, and nothing else, is that understood?”

Stormy tensed up. She was now completely sure she didn’t like Norman’s tone, especially the way he was referring to her as a nameless test subject. However, she didn’t argue and nodded to herself.

“Did we hire a mute or something? I’m pretty sure we didn’t. Is that understood?” Norman raised his voice, which echoed within the chamber, making Stormy vibrate all over from the shock of that booming microphone.

“Uh-uhnderstood!”

“This will be a long day…” Norman didn’t seem to bother flipping the intercom off. Stormy gulped nervously, but her focus shifted to the illuminating screens before her eyes.

The world in front of stormy became pure white for what seemed to be an eternity. She felt pressure on her body without being able to see scientists placing several different sensors over her suit. Her neck was summarily disinfected and she could even feel headphones being placed over her ears. All of these sensations distracted Stormy from the fact she seemed to be traveling somewhere. After feeling a slight pinch on the neck, the young wolf girl felt herself fade for a few moments.

“Subject, respond if you can hear my voice.”

“I can hear you!” Stormy hurried to reply, not wanting to be yelled at again.

“What do you see?”

“Nothing…” she quickly spoke, but corrected herself as distinct shapes came into being. “Wait. I think I see something like a square-ish thing…”

“That’s a rhombus,” Norman corrected after a pause; Stormy didn’t know if to feel embarrassed about the difference. “Good, you’re arriving at the staging area. Remain perfectly still until I tell you to move.”

Afraid of disappointing, Stormy tensed her body up. She could feel her muscles clenching, blood rushing as she instinctively held her breath. It was impossible not to feel distracted, tempted to move. Everything around her looked weird, yet progressively discernable.

The rhombus’s lite-blue outline was getting closer and closer until Stormy felt like she was going to land on it. Her toes automatically curled as the sensation of terra firma spread over her soles. She seemed to have made it to her destination. Once she was standing on top of the shape, Stormy saw walls made of the same light blue light project upwards, towering over her. There was no ceiling, yet instead of perpetual white she now saw darkness looming above; like an endless jet black night. She seemed to be trapped in some sort of cubicle.

The walls ahead of Stormy looked solid and she was tempted to touch them, but she was reminded of Mr. Norman’s warning and relented. She waited in silence, feeling the awkward pause in communication eat at her. “Did I piss them off already…?”

“Subject!”

“Ahh! Yes!” Stormy practically yelped.

“Connection has been established. You should have control over your virtual avatar now,” Norman explained. Outside, the armrest panels had extended and their sides spread, circling her forearms and hands, encasing them in metal glove-like compartments. The armrests then became detached from the sides of the chair.

In VR, Stormy suddenly felt a weight in her arms. She looked down at them curiously, gasping as she realized they had a faint yet noticeable blue glow outlining them. “Whoa… My arms are all glowy and stuff!”

“Most of our processing power is dedicated to monitoring, recording and analyzing your progress in the simulation,” Norman chimed in, “Your avatar is overly simplistic, but will serve as your interface in the virtual grounds.”

“Simplistic?” Stormy thought in disbelief. She could perfectly recognize her arms and hands, every last strand of fur where it was supposed to be. The only difference with her real body was the blue tint. “What do I do now?”

“Approach the wall in front of you and hold your right hand out to it.”

“Like this?” Stormy was surprised when the wall ahead got closer without her feet moving. She was pretty sure she had ordered her legs to walk, but for some reason she was simply sliding forth. She looked down and saw her legs standing perfectly still, “I’m floating! Oh my God, my feet aren’t touching the ground. I’m luh… levitam…”

“Levitating; yes. Ambulatory movement is unnecessary for the purpose of our experiment. Speaking of which, kindly put your avatar in front of the specified wall.”

Frowning a little, Stormy wondered why it couldn’t have been Nigel directing her instead of this guy. “He really likes the sound of his voice…” she thought with a small snicker. Once she could judge she was a good distance away from the wall, she raised her right hand as instructed. “Is this okay?”
After being told she had done well, Norman taught Stormy a hand-gesture involving her pinching her thumb with the digits of her index and middle fingers before twisting her hand; like the motion necessary to turn a key in its keyhole. A series of beeps startled Stormy, who floated backwards as the wall thrust out at her. “What’s going on?!”

“You cannot be harmed in the simulation, subject. Proceed to the counter. You have activated the first test, after all.”

Stormy sighed, made her way to the part of the wall which had jutted out, and observed how, indeed, it looked like a counter. The surface of the counter had a bunch of thick geometrical shapes which seemed to have popped out of holes in it. “I see some blocks with different shapes here.”

“The goal of this test is to fill each indentation with its corresponding block. You cannot use your hands. Begin.”

Pausing and scanning the counter, Stormy uneasily rubbed at her arm. “Are they seriously having me play a baby puzzle...? They must think I’m really stupid…” she sighed to herself, perking up the second she replayed that last bit in Norman’s explanation. “I can’t… I can’t use my hands?” she asked out loud.

“That is correct. In this virtual environment, your avatar is programmed to project your intent into commands that can interact with objects inside of and the simulation itself. You must concentrate and use the power of your mind to solve this puzzle.”

“Huh… how do I…?” Stormy had been ready to jam all those blocks in their corresponding holes and call it a day, but now that she had been told using her hands would be cheating, she was at a loss.

“Think. Use your brain. Project your thoughts outside of yourself, subject.”

Stormy huffed through her nostrils. Her fists clenched as she stared at the first block she saw; a star. She then looked for the star-shaped hole on the counter, and upon locating it started mentally picturing them fitting together. “C’mon, you’ve seen this happen in super-hero movies a lot.” The wolfess narrowed her eyes, tensing up. She focused on the star block, an entire minute going by without it doing a single thing. It started making her angry.

When she was just about to give up, Stormy seemed to notice just the slightest amount of disturbance on the block. She decided to strain her mind, wringing out her desire to see that block moving. The block stirred, starting to shake in place, responding to her anger. She channeled her frustrations, fueling her ire with the latest disappointments and then Stormy had to duck because the block hit the wall and ricocheted back at her. She narrowly avoided hitting herself with it. “…whoops!”

“And here I thought you were having trouble,” Norman intercepted before Stormy could float off to the block which had become encrusted in the wall opposite to the counter. “If you need to reset the test, engage in the same motion as before.”

With a nod, the participant pinched her fingers and turned her wrist, resetting the puzzle. This time, she made sure to attempt striking a balance between her emotions and her thoughts. With enough clarity, the star block began to float off and soon enough it was in indentation. Smiling, Stormy continued with the next, a square, and then a circle. One by one, all the shapes went into their designated slot.

Stormy wanted to celebrate, but Norman immediately rained on her parade when had her start on the next level. It was a similar test, except this time she was being timed and precision counted; she couldn’t hit corners. She had to reset the puzzle multiple times to get it right. The next level had her move two objects at the same time, and the subsequent one had her timed and penalized for inaccuracies. Difficulties were added such as respecting orders and attaining specific combinations, her capacity to adapt and multi-task was pushing Stormy’s mind to its limits.

By the end of her VR dive exercises, the difficulty had grown so high she had to continuously restart levels because she kept messing up the order of blocks even though she was being as fast and precise as possible. “That’s enough for today,” Norman’s voice rang out, his lack of patience evident.

Frustrated, Stormy called back: “It’s okay, I can do this one!”

“No, you can’t,” Norman insisted, and the VR world turned white. Stormy’s eyes scrunched shut from the blinding light and she felt a sudden sting inside of her head followed by a buzzing.

When she next opened her eyes, Stormy found herself atop the VR chair, panting a little. The visor pulled back and the armrests turned gauntlets released her arms. “I’m… I’m out?”

“Yes. You only solved 40% of the puzzles successfully. I had higher hopes… but we’re not going to stick around all day. We’ll be making adjustments for tomorrow!” After delivering his speech, Norman seemed to finally shut off the intercom. Stormy was glad she didn’t have to hear him anymore at least until tomorrow.

“You did great,” Nigel said. Stormy turned to look down at the badger standing at the bottom of the steps. “But we noticed a great deal of psychic strain. We don’t want to push you too hard, Stormy.”

The wolfess felt her frustrations slowly fading as she listened to the gentle-spoken scientist. “I think I could’ve managed some more games.”

“Me too,” Nigel smirked, “But Norman calls the shots, and I also agree that your brain requires some rest. It’s currently in the process of building new neural pathways; and that’s going to place you under some strain. It’s late, everyone’s got to go home, and that includes you.”

“…late?” she looked around, but she didn’t have her phone to look at the time. When Nigel informed her she had been working six hours on puzzles, Stormy flinched. She couldn’t believe she had lost track of time that badly! “Oh man, I better hurry. The last bus back home leaves soon!”

Stormy hurriedly left the facility after changing back into her clothes and grabbing her things. Before she left for the bus though she again met with Nigel, who handed her a small bottle of pills and told her to take a couple if her head started to hurt at night. With that, they parted ways.

After a warm dinner and a hot shower, Stormy thought she was going to feel refreshed. However, the sting and buzzing in her mind were still bothering her. “He said to take two… okay.” Stormy didn’t even doubt it, popping a couple of those pills Nigel had told her to gulp down to help with her headaches. She glanced at the mirror once, her face tired. The bags of her eyes as a result of all her studying were covered by blue markings in the shape of chevrons. She rubbed at them with a tired yawn.

Collapsing in her bed, Stormy felt her eyelids grow heavy. “What a day…” she thought, recalling the fun yet difficult puzzles she had had to play with. She didn’t feel any smarter, but she hadn’t had the chance to test her intelligence yet. Maybe tomorrow she’d tackle her tax return; she had been putting it off and it was better to get it done sooner than later. “Yeah, tomorrow I’ll… mmm… zzz…”

Soft snoozing was accompanied by a monotonous, loud pulse.

--------------

Taxes were the last thing in Stormy’s mind the following morning. She had overslept her alarm by a whole hour, waking up just in time to get clothed and devour a banana before she had to leave. The ride to the facility owned by Spark Industries filled her with anxiety; Stormy wanted to do better than the previous day. While she waited out the bus drive, her thoughts returned to the puzzles.

Each solution and their processes came back to her in the form of flashing images. Unlike regular memories, she could remember all 18 levels in great detail, all of her failures and all of her successes. Stormy found she could pause the reel, reviewing the isolated moment of her choice to redo the exercises. She began to replay the tests in her head, one after another, finding better, optimized solutions that used fewer moves. Once she replayed these altered sequences of events one after another using the new solutions, she began to notice an emerging pattern by the fifth…

And then she arrived at the facility. She got off the bus with a smile, because although her thought experiment had been interrupted, she knew how to tackle that day now.

As if her unease hadn’t been present the previous day, Stormy waved at those that looked her way but didn’t feel intimidated if they didn’t wave back. She met up with the same jaguar man and swan woman from the previous day, getting her dressed and prepped for the staging area.

“Feeling good?” the jaguar briefly asked while helping Stormy strap into the chair, lowering the visor.

“Perfect, thank you,” the wolfess answered with a smile. “I haven’t heard Mr. Norman yet. Isn’t he around today?”

“The director seems to have called him to a meeting, but since we’re on schedule, he told us to resume from yesterday’s session. You think you can do without his ‘guiding voice’?”

“I’ll see if I can manage!” Stormy thanked her fortune. Her eyes focused on the screens and soon enough, the world went white for her. Back inside the simulation, Stormy felt the same sensation of floating in the air as last time, her avatar traveling through the datascape until she had again landed in the light blue rhombus. After her first time, the setup of having to fly in, waiting for the walls to shoot up and her chair establishing connection between her body, mind and avatar became tedious. Now that she had occupied herself reviewing all of her puzzle solutions from the previous day, she wondered if there was a way to speed the ‘sign-in’ process up.

“Wish I wasn’t so bad at computer stuff,” Stormy thought as she started the testing grounds, flipping through the stages until she was at level 19, the one that had foiled her before. “I feel like this isn’t as efficient as it can be…” she thought, considering how a computer worked in relation to her experiences while absentmindedly watching multiple blocks fly into different slots almost as if manipulated by precise hands.

Dings were going off one after another. Levels were being cleared in record time. Now that Stormy had found the pattern to these puzzles, she could apply it to each solution and their challenge, even the latter stages, had been drastically reduced.

The observers were surprised. Even though the game had been designed as a warm up for the real VR tests and thus their difficulty was set for average IQs, the records set inferred a superior level of learning. With the course one hundred complete, Stormy looked up at a colorful congratulatory message with a smile before turning around to the voice of a familiar person.

“That’s great, lady,” Stormy heard the jaguar over the intercom. “It only took you two hours to go through the other 27 levels. Either you practiced or that second dose’s really doing its magic.”

Stormy was pensive all of a sudden. “They already injected me with the second dose?” she began to wonder just how the serum was altering her brain chemistry; was it acting now, or later? The questions whose answers were limited by her understanding kept piling on, making her wish she actually understood biology a little more as well.

“Are you alright, wolf-girl?” the jaguar’s voice snapped Stormy out of her thoughts.

“I’m fine!” the wolfess chirped out, “I was just thinking back to stage 37; it almost stumped me since it was built upon what trounced me from stage 19 yesterday. Once I figured out the trick though, it was pretty easy to set it all up in one move!” she giggled, wondering where she had picked up a fancy word like ‘trounce’ from. After a second, she recalled a scene from a movie in her infancy whose hero’s dialogue she could recite word for word. “Funny,” as melancholy washed her over with all the good memories, she considered: “I didn’t think I still remembered that one.”

“Yeah, I guess they do get repetitive after a while. Though these are just beginner’s stuff, don’t get too cocky, eh?” Stormy could hear the jaguar chuckling. “Alright, I guess that’s a wrap for today.”

“A wrap? Do you mean we’re done for today?” Stormy asked, disappointment lacing her words.

“Yeah. While you were solving puzzles, I got a message from Mr. Norman. We were told to watch you complete the warm-up program since he’s going to be busier than he expected. Experiment’s going well, and he told us not to work you over extensively. I’d say doing the missing 60% from yesterday counts as overworking your brain out haha! So let’s not get in trouble and go get some rest, mmkay?”

Grumbling lowly, Stormy wished Norman had seen her progress firsthand. But this gave her an idea. “Yeah, I’ll go back home for some rest. Thank you!”

After getting changed and putting the neoprene suit away, Stormy thought back to the puzzles with a smile, being reminded of all the other puzzle games she had in her laptop. Even if she wasn’t in the VR world, she could continue exercising back home.

But Stormy found herself yawning only fifteen minutes into gaming. She had set herself up with a coffee and a well-earned slice of pie to enjoy a quiet afternoon of fun distractions and learning. However, none of her games presented any challenge now. Of the ones she usually played, her brain supplied perfect memories for her to analyze and deduce patterns until it had become a mundane task, having reduced all moves to the barest minimum and achieving perfect scores each time. The new ones seemed to take her a little longer to get used to, but quickly reached the same conclusion.

Taking the last sip of her coffee, Stormy reclined on her chair and frowned. “Is this part of the experiment?” she wondered aloud. There was something bothering her. She caught up to familiar games she’d played before near-instantaneously, but new games she hadn’t touched before required a little more effort. At first she deduced her improved memory had been at play; but she didn’t want to rely on that forever. It was inefficient. “Perhaps if I knew how these games were made…” She thought back to earlier in the day when the loading program made her wait. “That’s right. I use computers every day and I hardly know anything about them. It’s high time I changed that…”

Closing her games, the wolfess leaned in and opened Wikipedia. Whenever she didn’t understand something, a trip to a wiki was usually all she needed to make things easier. However, Stormy usually got distracted half-way through articles or fell into a related link rabbit hole. That afternoon, Stormy was impossible to distract.

With almost laser-like focus, her eyes scanned text line after line. Her limited vocabulary prompted her to keep a tab open on the side with an online dictionary to check the meaning of technical words she wasn’t familiar with. For the first time in her life, Stormy found no difficulty in studying up on a subject. She felt like she was devouring the information in front of her, new concepts and definitions becoming permanent fixtures in her memory, yet carefully interwoven with contextual relationship.

She was soon reading up on programming languages, using online IDEs to type up her first computer code. The more Stormy read, the easier it became for her to detect padding and practically useless opinions she could skip in order to make her learning more efficient. “Why did I ever think this was hard to understand?” she asked out loud, finding herself typing confidently, clacking away faster with fewer and fewer mistakes. The more she mashed the keys of her keyboard, the more natural it felt to speed type.

With every passing minute, the complexity of her inquiries grew with her program, resulting in an app that could bring her condensed versions of articles from around the web in relation to subjects of interest. The mishmash of information was cross-referenced with several cloud servers for validity, truthfulness and given back to her in a large script of properly packed text, trimmed of all information she deemed useless with a customized filter. Merely typing a subject in her search bar gave her access to all relevant information for her to rapidly absorb.

“This is boring,” she said after her three hundredth read. Her eyes glanced outside, realizing it was nighttime already. Stormy decided to order out since she didn’t feel like cooking. “Just some light reading on biology, then… ugh…” she grunted, holding her head. “Headache…”

Remembering Nigel’s words, Stormy finally slid off her chair and headed to the bathroom. She huffed as she looked up from her vanity; she had placed the bottle of pills above the wall-affixed vanity, since its other compartments were already full. “Throwing it up there wasn’t my brightest idea…” she had to bring a chair to stand on. Climbing up on the wooden chair, Stormy took a couple of pills like she was supposed to and headed back to her living room.

“Still hurts a little. I guess it’ll get better in a while,” Stormy sat down to continue her education. Now that she had taken care of her immediate interest and she had her app, building it into an actual installer and downloading it into her phone was child’s play to her. She decided she wanted the comfort of her couch to read in a different position.

Her stomach, however, was distracting her. “Where’s that sub?” she wondered aloud, rumbling in annoyance. She used her app to look up cooking recipes, quickly finding one snack rich in sugar and properly tempered with other ingredients easily found in her pantry. Unable to wait for her food, she actually went to cook herself the snack. “Sugar’s great for my growing brain, I bet!” She assured herself, although she also made sure to make a mental note to learn about that later.

Soon, her delivery had arrived and Stormy also had her sandwich, calming the growling beast in her tummy. Despite the fact she wanted to study up some more, however, the two meals had made her quite sleepy. “I’ll continue tomorrow. There’s plenty of time during the bus ride to work… zzz…”

Snoozing ensued. Her head was still pounding; she was actually glad for sleep.

-----------------

The next day, Stormy went into Spark Industries raring to put her brain to the test. The scientists were all impressed with her work on the new tests, which consisted of 3D imaging and manipulation. She had been given permission by Norman to use her hands, but all she did was gesture with them, making the objects she had to manipulate move around with grace and purpose.

“Increase the difficulty,” Norman instructed via the intercom. The scientists outside moved levers and pushed buttons in accordance to the command. But their subject wasn’t meeting her match. Her mind had become trained at detecting and exploiting logical patterns, allowing her to skip most of the learning curve of each exercise while achieving the result with blinding speed.

“Loading times for each level seem slow,” Stormy chirped, her avatar resting a hand on her hips as she looked away from her 1:1 scale virtual replica of the pyramids of Giza. She had built a couple of life-sized sphinxes next to it as a bonus. “Matter of fact, the simulation loading time is atrocious. Is there a memory caching problem? Are you even caching, to begin with? User experience is important, you know!”

Silence dawned upon the lab. Norman was unusually quiet. All eyes were on the simulation; something had changed. They all came to the realization their experiment was quickly bearing fruit. In Norman’s opinion, perhaps too quickly. “We will take a break here, today. Well done, subject. You may leave.”

Stormy huffed. Interrupted, again. “How am I supposed to properly stimulate my cognitive ability and expand my intellectual capacity if I’m not being challenged, Norman?”

“You do not dictate the pace of the experiment, subject. I was being courteous,” Norman said, and Stormy lost sight of the simulation, getting kicked out in an instant. “Now go home and get some rest. We will continue tomorrow.”

Narrowing her eyes at the speaker on the corner of the ceiling, the wolfess held her frustration back. Out of the corner of her eye, she took note of the different components attached to the staging area’s chair. Certain familiar-looking slots gave her an idea for later. If they were going to give her free time, she wasn’t going to waste it.

The assistants moved out of her way as she went to the changing rooms. Stormy was moving with purpose and a distinct lack of patience. She didn’t seem aware that a camera was closely following her movements right until she was out of the facility. Norman was starting to grow concerned.

“Biology.” Stormy spoke into the microphone, her eyes practically glowing as she hungrily tore into the resulting article. “Neurology,” she continued, “Chemistry.”

Stormy’s world expanded as her brain eagerly absorbed and processed information like a fine tuned piece of clockwork. Having grown her understanding of over three thousand new words and their contextual uses already, Stormy encountered no barriers in learning any of the increasingly complex subjects she yearned to add to her increasing knowledge.

For the following two weeks, Stormy spent three to four hours in the simulation every day. There she was able to apply an increasingly amazing level of in-depth understanding of the VR world to all of her exercises. When she was ordered to take her time drawing realism, her memory allowed her to perfectly replicate works of art with near lifelike authenticity. When calculations and formulas were involved in virtual tasks, Stormy spat out results faster than a computer’s calculator. Much to the researchers’ chagrin, she had soon moved from making astute observations over the inner workings of the VR world to outright criticizing each and every area that could use a potential touch-up.

“This is ridiculous,” one researcher was flabbergasted, “This goes beyond the scope of the experiment. Are we sure she wasn’t already some sort of latent genius?”

“She’s consistently beating every Master AI at chess, even the ones programmed specifically to learn from her play style!” another researcher observed. With every passing day, once nonchalant scientists were now struggling to keep up with their test subject. Their experiment seemed to be working too well.

Stormy would encounter Nigel every so often, concerned about her well-being. “You are taking those pills, right?” he would ask every day, “No serious headaches I hope. You let me know if you start feeling debilitated in any way, alright, Stormy?” She felt flattered for his concern.

When outside of the facility, Stormy spent her nights studying up, only stopping to eat and take her pills as she was supposed to. Every day, the headaches got worse, but so did her understanding of every new subject she studied. Revisiting her app, she further enhanced its accuracy, letting her go as far as correcting and editing hundreds of articles every day.

Her mastery of the virtual world continued to grow. Soon, she was using the days Norman was busy in meetings to quickly complete her exercises before performing her own experiments inside of the VR environment in tandem. In one particular experiment, she began to manipulate her surroundings and her own avatar via mental commands.

“What is she doing, shouldn’t we stop her?” the swan that usually helped Stormy get changed asked the jaguar, the usual stand-in for Norman.

He confessed to his partner in a quiet voice with the inter-com off: “I’d love to, but she showed me how to speed the simulation up, and it actually worked. She let me take the credit, and that got me a bonus, y’know? Kinda owe her. It’ll be alright. All she’s doing is adjusting some basic parameters. All public, no issues there; the monitor routine would alert us otherwise.”

What they did not know was that Stormy had already created a remote access point to their main server from the simulation. Exploiting network vulnerabilities and covering her tracks had become essential for her continuous self-experimentation. As a result, she was subtly injecting her own code in a way that allowed her all the necessary liberties without arousing suspicion. Stormy wanted to know just how much she could push her mind now. Even if it went beyond the scope, she would keep it a secret from the researchers; it’d be a waste of valuable time to explain herself to them.

“But she’s… also altering the environment around her.” The swan was surprised as the video feed of the VR world displayed the usual experimental ground not only stretched out but heavily modified. Instead of the usual geometrical outline, a green prairie stretching for a virtual mile was crossed over by a paved road that Stormy was standing on. “And oh my…!”

Those observing the simulation were dumbstruck when Stormy made a fully rendered, realistic tree pop out of the grassy ground next to the pavement. She stood next to it, glancing up at its crown. Apples began to grow on the tree, looking just as red and juicy as the real ones. The tree then grew a few feet taller.

Concentrating on her own parameters, Stormy started growing after the tree, her virtual body stretching in every direction as she got closer and closer to its branches. Inching upwards of 10ft. tall, the wolfess casually snagged an apple with a smile before taking a bite out of it. “Mmm, fresh and sweet.”

“She… she can taste things she makes in the simulation?” the swan asked in disbelief.

“She’s fucking with us,” the jaguar snickered. “It’s VR. She’s just convincing herself she can taste it. She might be smarter but she’s just a player in a game right now, Susie.”

Stormy thought of balancing pH for the soil to achieve better taste. She knew that this world was where she could exercise all she learned on a daily basis; it was the environmental praxis her inquisitive mind was now looking for. The only obstacle in her way was Norman.

“Hmph… if only I could have more time in the simulation.” Stormy thought one day while leaving the facility. Her head began to hurt early that day too, so she had to scramble into the bathroom.

Furious with herself for always leaving the bottle up above the vanity, she cursed at herself. “I swear. It’s just two inches. Two inches and I’d get to this thing in a snap without that stupid chair…! Just need to… ooh…” she stopped, feeling her head hurting so much she had to lean into the sink, holding her aching head.

In that instant, a numbing sensation spread over Stormy. For the briefest of moments she felt a tingling followed by warmth, but after the numbing sensation, the crawling inside of her as well as the pain in her head disappeared. “What’s happening?” she asked herself, unaware of the biological changes occurring within.

“I can hear my heartbeat. I can tell it’s going at exactly 67BPM. Blood pressure is only slightly above the average, but vessel micro-distension suggests a peak in the past four-hundred-seventy-three milliseconds. Pronounced hormonal discharge…” Her agile mind traced circulatory system movements, simultaneously isolating and analyzing delivery routes for the suspected payload. She stopped when she had found something.

Closing an eye as the numbing went away and she could feel her heart pounding, Stormy hissed and raised her head, looking at herself in the mirror. “I just stimulated my own pineal gland…” she looked down at herself, blinking rapidly at her own hands. Looking up at the pills, she reached up and knocked them off the top of the vanity with a brush of her fingertips, which couldn’t make it to the edge before. “I made myself taller!” she said, catching the bottle in her hand.

Excitement washed over Stormy after she had taken the pills she was supposed to. She dashed over to her toolbox and got a measuring tape. Pressed against the wall, she measured herself to confirm she now was 5’8”. “I made myself grow two inches taller... with my mind.”

Things started clicking in Stormy’s head one by one. The way she could see into her own body as if she was viewing parameters, and the manner in which she had just altered those parameters to suit her needs reminded her of the simulation. “The experiment is doing this. It’s making my brain so powerful it’s giving me control over my own body,” she deduced, the measuring tape snapping against her hand as she put a couple fingers to her chin in deep thought. “But what are the limits? What is the true range of my new abilities? And more importantly… do they know?”

Stormy only deliberated in her mind for four seconds before she scoffed. “This isn’t only the result of the experiment. It’s only been nineteen days. This outcome would have been within their projections,” the wolfess debated with herself. “My craving for new information to process and challenges to overcome is something that hasn’t surprised them for the most part. But then…” she paused, bouncing the bottle of pills in her hand before she fixed her eyes on it. The pills she was supposed to take if her head started hurting at night. The pills Nigel had given her on the first day of the experiment.

“A factor unexpected by all but one party, perhaps,” the wolfess began to smirk, wondering at that moment how many beginners’ chemistry sets were on sale online right now. She had a compound to analyze.

---------------

With foul play confirmed all but in confession, Stormy decided to be as discreet as possible for the time being. She continued with the daily experiments, using a combination of statistical analysis and sociologic strategy to hold herself back the right amount and use assuaging answers to avoid arousing any further suspicion from the researchers while she continued working on her very own project in tandem.

The VR environment was her home away from home now. The researchers lauded the data coming from her sensors, but it was only the data she was allowing them to see. Stormy quietly tampered with the data before encryption, displaying results for increased cerebral density that were much lower than the actual values. Even the usually authoritarian and hardass Norman was being more magnanimous now that Stormy wasn’t veering too much from their valued projections.

“Before I allow them to see the real results, I first need to secure cooperation from the majority…” Stormy planned while completing the day’s experiment and continued to tamper with the VR world’s program. Parallel processing allowed her brain to busy itself with three simultaneous and independent tasks at once. Her plan involving the systematic submission of Spark Industries’ personnel gave rise to several ideas she had to contemplate.

“Blackmail?” she briefly considered. Hacking and acquiring the personal information of all of the personnel and scheming with their lives would be like taking candy from a baby. “Tasteless,” she immediately discarded, thinking up a way of imposing herself on others that she would prefer more. “Physical intimidation?” she imagined herself towering over the researchers, muscles like an Olympian and ready to pound some sense into them if they dared contradict her ambitions. “I’m not a brute.” She told herself with a mental scoff, but she held onto the thought for a revision. “I could certainly veer my aspect in a way that alters their perception of me to a more favorable outlook. Resistance tends to zero when threats aren’t present. I will require more adjustments…” Stormy mused, finally a goal forming in her head.

Congratulated by her handlers, the panther and Susie the swan, Stormy took a bottle of mineral water the panther offered and began to drink. “Susie has the hots for him,” Stormy deduced simply by examining the air for hints of arousal. That observation inspired a new idea; which was placed on secondary processing to develop as she heard a familiar voice. “Finally,” she thought, recognizing Nigel.

“Hey, Stormy, may I speak with you for a second?” Nigel was standing at the entrance to the staging area. Smiling, the wolfess stood up and approached the badger, who gave her a stare more serious than she had ever seen him give her. “I knew it,” he whispered as he gestured for her to follow him somewhere less conspicuous and out of earshot. “You’re taller, aren’t you?”

“Taller, Nigel?” Stormy giggled, feigning ignorance. “Whatever do you mean?”

“I’m sorry,” Nigel chuckled, “Didn’t mean to be so blunt. I meant I’ve noticed a change in the last few days. Haven’t you?”

“I would know if I’d grown larger, Nigel,” Stormy laughed, stretching her arms up and letting out a yawn. “Have you been overworking yourself? 8 hours of sleep a day do wonders.”

Huffing a little, the badger narrowed his eyes. “Must be my imagination, then,” he responded calmly; yet Stormy could detect the hint of unease that he had tried to suppress by forcing himself to lie. “I trust you’ve been taking the medication to treat migraines I gave you. Two a day?”

“Of course! And what help they’ve been!” Stormy offered him a nod, gesticulating with her arm in a friendly manner. “I don’t think I ever had the chance to properly thank you. You’ve been looking after me since the very beginning, Nigel. I don’t think I would’ve been able to progress as much as I have without your help.”

Nigel couldn’t help but force himself to swallow saliva. There was an awkward pause in the air further made heavier by Stormy baring her teeth in a big, happy grin. “Right. Well, I don’t want to alarm you, but from the data we’ve seen so far, we’ve concluded your brain might be developing an adverse reaction to the cocktail we’ve been supplying you with these past weeks.”

Stormy stopped herself from narrowing her eyes suspiciously. She knew that was a lie because she had supplied the data herself. Without missing a beat, she frowned and folded her arms, displaying perfectly faked concern. “What kind of adverse reaction are we talking about here, Nigel?”

“I don’t want to bore you with extensive medical details,” Nigel admitted before explaining to Stormy how the team had caught the abnormality in time to produce a counter-measure. “The headaches should completely go away if you start taking these. Just two a day. Be sure not to take the other medicine I first gave you anymore, as that will only worsen this condition.”

Stormy looked at the bottle in Nigel’s hand and then at him. She gave him a beaming smile that could have lit up a room and took the pills in her hand. “I feel safe with all of you looking after me, Nigel. Especially you!”

“We’re here to uh… serve,” Nigel shook his head after crossing eyes with Stormy, “To help. You. In any way that we can. Excuse me…”

With a discreet smirk, Stormy watched the badger leave. One glance at the pill bottle was all she needed to know she was not going to change medications.

---------------

The wolfess spent that afternoon analyzing chemical compounds. Stormy didn’t take long to find out the first pill she had been given had a combination of powerful narcotics mixed with a concentrated version of the drug they had been administering into her system since the tests had first begun. The trace amounts in her blood that day revealed a match to prove her theory. “The dosage I’ve been taking every day was meant to gradually expand my mental capacity,” she reviewed the information she knew so far, “But it’s now turned superfluous by the ‘painkillers’ I was given. I’m getting all the results from cognitive stimulation in VR. These…” she shook the first bottle, “Are the culprits. While these…” she narrowed her eyes at the second bottle, snickering, “…oh, Nigel. You were using me, weren’t you?”

She threw the second bottle away without a second thought. Sitting at her couch, she folded her arms and thought back to her encounter with the badger. Now that she could see past the façade, Stormy knew that Nigel wasn’t on her side. “I’ll have to take care of him, but he’s smart. He’s going to take notice, and he’s close to Norman. I can’t have him get suspicious just yet… Or maybe I do. I just need to get everyone else on board first; a path of less resistance.”

“Perhaps it’s true I’m due for a makeover,” Stormy mused as she lifted her arms and inspected herself thoroughly. Flaccid muscle, worn fur, flat curves. Mother Nature had not been kind with her in the physical department. Luckily, she had her ways now. With her expanded mind, she had managed to tap into the part of her brain responsible for growth. She theorized she could focus on different parts of her body to achieve her desired dimension, but that would require much more energy.

In order to force such a pronounced change, Stormy understood she needed suitable caloric intake. “A girl can’t grow on an empty stomach after all,” the wolfess chuckled, reaching for her phone to place a few orders.

Stormy ate like never before in her life. She had entire tubs of protein powder and sugary energy bars express delivered to her followed by her favorite snacks from around town. A feast of high calorie snacks was devoured in the span of a relentless hour. To keep herself from getting bored she alternated between highly caloric shakes and energy bars and pizza, fries or burgers.

Once she was full, Stormy covered her mouth to muffle a belch. Holding a hand to her distended gut, she briefly thought: “This better work or my stomach will hurt all day tomorrow.”

The wolfess walked over to the center of her apartment and closed her eyes, beginning to concentrate in her ideal image. Thanks to all of the food she had ingested, her incredibly dense brain’s craving for fuel were immediately satisfied, leading into a pleasurable process instead of a painful one. Stormy thought deeply about how she wanted to change.

First, she scanned her body in its entirety: Her skeleton, organs, muscle tissue, fur; many areas which she could improve. Using the burst of energy provided by the energy bars, Stormy first and foremost targeted her digestive track. She optimized everything from her mouth to her intestines, ensuring all she had eaten now and forever would be fully absorbed with little next to no waste. As a result, digestion not only improved but sped up, the bulge in her stomach rapidly shrinking as her body absorbed and packed nutrients awaiting use.

Targeting her endocrine system next, the wolfess gave herself full control to create, release and regulate the secretion of hormones necessary for development. She worked on her circulatory system to ensure rapid delivery routes, imprinting her cells with commands in the same way as she had written computer code before. She strengthened her bones next; reinforcing articulations to help with her posture which she judged would decline in the coming decade. With minor adjustments, she had ensured a sturdy frame for the coming changes.

With the preliminary adjustments complete, Stormy discarded all of her clothes, leaving herself nude. She took a deep breath and focused on remembering the sensation from a few days ago when she had grown. Unfortunately, back then her brain had been hurting so much from its monstrous hunger for essential sugars that it had blocked all pain and thus her ability to sense the physical changes properly. “Stimulate the proper gland…” she told herself, falling into a state of near-trance as her breathing deepened.

The wolfess couldn’t zero in on that sensation, so she focused on her memory of the simulation. Stormy thought about how she had easily made her avatar grow. She had already heavily modified herself inside; it was time to apply it to her appearance. “Grow…” she commanded before exhaling with purpose.

Stormy began to rumble. For a moment, she focused on the noise coming from her, but she went on to listen to the several minute sounds firing off deeper inside her. Bones popping, muscular cord building, skin stretching, fur lengthening; all in small quantities yet in rapid-fire bursts. She began to inch upwards.

Feeling her soles sliding across her apartment’s floor, one third of her colossal brainpower decided to take the reins and continue with this inch-by-inch expansion, using it as an opportunity to instruct itself on the process. As she absorbed the cognitive angle of that tingling sensation, another third of Stormy’s brain borrowed that general-purpose process and particularly directed it elsewhere.

The wolfess felt increased amount of warmth gathering at her bust, waist and hips. Stormy had always been a malcontent when it came to her figure, never quite settling for feminine or masculine. She decided to fix that.

First, she began with padding her bottom out, muscles and fatty tissue gathering harmoniously to make her thighs and buttocks thicken out. Conversely, she began to remove excessive padding from her mid-section, ridding her of unnecessary flab and trimming her waist into a clinch that perfectly complemented her new, flared out hips.

Next, she began pouring heft into her breasts, which responded by expanding while jiggling in the spot. What once were awfully small teats started to emerge as fully developed mammaries with definitive shape.

“Mmm…” she moaned in pleasure as each change registered in her brain, which sent positive responses across her swelling form. Now that she wasn’t being inhibited by any numbing, the process felt much slower while simultaneously blissful. She was growing taller and becoming curvier, but Stormy was still only getting started.

She didn’t want to merely have her body play ‘catch-up’ with the opportunities for development a lacking puberty had robbed her of. “Why should I stop at the boundaries nature defined for me?” the remaining third of her unoccupied brain asked.

“More,” Stormy thought, focusing on her skin, “I don’t deserve any blemishes.” And with that command, the surface of her dermis was fixed of any ruggedness acquired from physical labor during her past and present part-time jobs. “The coat of a proud wolf should shine.” Her fur began to billow, becoming silky smooth with any knot untying and proposing a glossy coat no shampoo would be able to naturally replicate.

Scars healed, imperfections vanishing. Her cheekbones raised a little, her snout rounding out ever so slightly as her expression softened. Eyelashes became pronounced and curvier, adding even more femininity to her gorgeous visage. The short hair atop her crown grew out in length to just under her shoulders, spreading out into a straight, silky-smooth mane.

She had decided to jack up her femininity; make herself irresistible. She would be gorgeous and tall, but also strong. However, she didn’t want to be overly intimidating where strength was concerned, at least not visually, so she focused in building densely-packed muscle instead. For the sake of appearance, Stormy worked on tonality, creating the indices of biceps and the start of girl-abs that gave the appearance she went to the gym. On top of her increasing height, she was gradually turning into a busty, curvy amazon.

When she stopped growing taller, Stormy was a 6’5” bombshell of a wolf. She was still young, and yet the slight touchups made her look like she had just turned 20 again. Her breasts were each a handful now, begging to be groped and fondled. A sinuous frame defined Stormy, whose clinched waist, wide hips and perky, shapely behind attested to. Her legs seemed to go on forever, from thick muscular thighs to graciously stepping foot paws.

Reveling in psychic respite once the transformation had finished, Stormy opened eyes which briefly glowed like lamps before returning to their regular color. The air felt fresher than before; a side effect of having optimized her respiratory system. She knew her lungs would be able to filter the oxygen out of air even if she walked through a cloud of smog without a mask now.

“Ahhh…” she gasped out, but instead of her usual voice a melodious tone filled her living room. Stormy now spoke in a deep, husky voice practically dripping with femininity now. Her satisfied purring put felines’ to shame while also making the floor beneath her feet vibrate. “I seem to have gone a little overboard.” She prettily sang to herself after sauntering over to the bathroom and giving herself a good look in the mirror.

Forget blemishes, she was utterly flawless now; the utter peak for a female wolf. Had she not a mind capable of speedy processing, her own beauty would have stunned her. Immediately, she wondered if this would be overkill for the researchers back at the facility. “They will have no choice but to pay attention to me. The question is, will they all submit?” she pondered the thought, tapping her pouting lips. “With their cooperation, I won’t have to take breaks from the simulation. With unrestricted access, I can continue expanding my mind limitlessly. But I require assurance… I’m not yet powerful enough.”

One thought occurred to Stormy. She still hadn’t studied up on any new material that day, and she was dying to know what her new looks would do to people. “Perhaps I ought to give the old books another try,” she began to smirk as she thought of going to the library to kill two birds with one stone.

Fortunately for Stormy, she had already taken care and shopped online for new clothes. Her available funds were at an all-time high now that a simple glance over the stock market gave her access to high-risk high-pay transactions where the outcomes were easily predicted by her perfect statistical estimations. She already counted with a new wardrobe to dress her pretty new self in.

It was close to night time, so Stormy chose to dress in a shirt with sleeves that managed to cover the swell of her biceps. Her cleavage on the other hand, was prominently displayed without going overboard, wanting to leave some of her new rack to the imagination. It still being warm outside, and wanting to reveal as much leg as possible, she slipped into a pair of denim shorts which nicely hugged her alluring hips. With a much bushier tail that could shame a vixen’s and her long shampoo-model hair, Stormy was ready to hit up the streets.

And the streets did not know what hit them once the tall wolfess started down towards the library. For the first time in her life, Stormy saw heads turning with almost hilarious immediacy as she became visible. Basking in the attention, she decided to take the long way and walked around the blocks on her way to her destination.

It wasn’t just her bountiful curves stealing the attention from other women, either. She sensed eyes on her swishing tail and billowing hair. Guys seemed to reel if she blinked her eyes too fast, as if caught unawares by her pronounced eyelashes. Dusk was beginning to settle in, but Stormy’s confident smile appeared to light up the walkway. It seemed like with every sway of her hips, the multitude of guys following from a distance swayed in the same direction. She was an incredibly attractive nightlight turning every man outside into a bug going after her radiance.

Stormy had never thought she’d enjoy a trip to the library so much. She was like a little girl with a new toy; her very own, hyper-evolved body. “Mm, thank God nighttime isn’t too concurred for the libraries. I bet they’ll even enjoy the extra interest,” she thought as she confidently stepped into the building she had so bitterly left the last time almost a month ago. Like puppies in search of attention, Stormy’s posse barged in after her, but she immediately stopped, turning towards them and pressed her right index to her lips. “Shh now,” she hushed, narrowing her eyes sensuously at no less than ten horny men practically melting from her sensuous aura, “We’re at a library right now, darlings,” her quiet murmurs were delivered by her new, huskier voice, making all the men snap up to attention. “You don’t want to get us kicked out, do you…?”

If Stormy’s fans had been cartoon characters, all of their eyes would have been replaced by bulging love-hearts. Despite her appearance, they did not seem to dare touch her without invitation. She had done nothing more than ask of them a request in the most gentle way she could think of, yet they seemed ready to die for her on command. Even Stormy herself was surprised by how effective all of her changes had turned out to be. However, it was time to get down to business; testing out her influence with others was only half the reason she had walked to the library after all.

Sauntering over to the counter, Stormy cast a smile in the direction of the familiar clerk. The name that always escaped her mind came to her at the right time mid-sentence: “Good evening, Jerry.”

The raven’s beak almost fell off his face. His invisible ears felt like they were being stroked by hands full of care. Glancing up from his seat, Jerry felt like he had to stand up to greet the busty amazon in front of him, but found himself still craning his neck up to be able to look her in the eye. It was taking every bit of his willpower not to let his own eyes fall down to the wolfess’ cleavage.

Jerry had no memory of ever having introduced himself to the bombshell of a lupine in front of him. Heavenly beauty simply pouring out of her angelical face was making it difficult to form words. “Ah-huh-hello! He finally blurted out, failing to look cool by slipping his elbow on the edge of his desk, which prompted him to stand upright once again. “How can I help you, muh-muh-ma’am…?”

Stormy was unsurprised that the clerk didn’t know who she was. It had been weeks since they had last seen each other, and she was virtually unrecognizable. Part of her thought her careless of having given him the information she knew him, but another, more salient side of hers cheered her on to make the raven sweat some more.

The poor librarian was looking like he might catch fire any time soon. Stormy found that much like with Susie and the panther back in the facility, her nose could pick up Jerry’s distinct scent off the air and was able to determine high levels of arousal emanating from him. Her ears could focus on the minute noises generated by the fabric of his underwear tightening around his swelling member underneath. Like with the other men she had ditched at the library’s entrance, exposure to her appearance was immediately effect, but it looked like the sound of her enhanced voice contributed to the pacifying effect she had been looking for, too.

With one request, Stormy had access to every book in the library. At night time, there weren’t many people around, so five dozen-seat tables were set aside just for her. With help from her new fans, Stormy soon had stacks upon stacks of advanced reading material she thought she would enjoy ahead of her. No man in the premises allowed the wolfess to have to make an effort. Whatever book she requested, she had it brought to her immediately in front of her.

Just as she had expected, books were an inefficient manner of learning now that she had created the perfect document-digest generating app. She was speed reading page after page of advanced quantum mechanics as if she were eyeballing an easy light-novel, going through multiple authors one after another.

Just like her first voyages into online articles and digital documents, she could instantly recall every word of every sentence of every paragraph and could recite entire pages, and their numbers by heart upon reading them for the first time. Her memory was perfect, but so was her ability to relate subjects and form deductions in a matter of seconds.

In as little as fifteen minutes, she was on par with the authors who had written the subjects she was reading about and had no qualms about making notes on the library’s books where inconsistencies and spelling errors were found. “It’s amazing how these editorials can miss so many glaring mistakes in a single chapter. But I suppose it’s equally amazing these ‘renowned’ physicists are allowed to misinterpret Schrödinger’s wave mechanics so flagrantly.” With a sigh, she decided to switch subjects and twirled a finger.

Almost immediately, a bottle of water was placed in Stormy’s hand, from which she contently sipped while the table in front of her was cleaned out and more books were brought to her. “I’m in the mood for light reading now. Statistics should be sufficient,” she told the first guy she crossed eyes with, who stumbled before heading out obediently with the others.

It felt good to have so many people so eager to please her. Stormy thought back to her years in the service industry, ungrateful clients and people forgetting about her face immediately. Now that she was on the other side of the equation, she understood a new feeling of power. “Knowledge is power, and that is why I’m so hungry for it,” Stormy thought to herself while relaxing in her chair, waiting for more books. She was starting to realize her improved level of influence was another form of power and she wasn’t entirely dissatisfied by it.

Was there such a thing as too much power? Stormy wondered as she took another sip of water. In less than a month of three to six daily hours of mental training and conditioning, she had not only become the smartest person she knew, but had developed abilities unheard of. When she thought about how those abilities manifested, Stormy felt a calm wash over her; as she understood it all. “The simulation grants me the chance to elevate my state of being by altering my cognition. Under all that daily pressure, my own stress made the drugs extra effective. I wished so hard to be better that I made myself better. Even if I didn’t understand it back then, every hour in that VR world has been contributing to my evolution.” She took a book off the hands of one of her new boytoys, narrowing her eyes at the way they continued to stumble about. Stormy wondered if she truly had made herself too gorgeous for their puny minds to properly process.

As she absorbed further knowledge on mathematics and answered every problem proposed in the activity book, Stormy continued to think about the future. Her brain was sufficiently powerful now; she was fully conditioned to take the academic world by a storm. She calculated that if she tried, she would be able to secure five different scholarships, and obtain their respective doctorates and master degrees by the end of the week. And yet the prospect of becoming a university student felt so banal, so uninspiring that she couldn’t believe it had given rise to such anxiety to her in the past.

With information in general becoming predictable as her mental prowess advanced, studying even new and entirely unrelated subjects became near-instantaneous endeavors. It was almost like her brain had assimilated the same computer code she had written for her app. Before the hour, every book in the library had been proverbially wolfed down. Stormy had become a wellspring of knowledge and had decided only the true unknown fascinated her anymore.

“As impressive at it has been, my progress thus far has been lineal,” Stormy thought back to the VR experiment. She thought of a way to use it to engineer her own evolution. Just how far could she take it? The idea was tantalizing, almost titillating. Was there truly a limit to how much her abilities could grow?

Now that she was done studying, Stormy paused her train of thought. The way guys acted around her now continued to distract her; not because she hadn’t become used to their undivided attention and immediate subservience, but because they were now behaving erratically all of a sudden. She had noticed their stumbling, but now she could hear them growling lowly, moaning, having difficulty walking straight. It didn’t take long for her to identify their concealed erections, in some cases visually plain, all around her.

Disgusted by the heavy smell of masculine arousal hanging in the air, she isolated the sources and immediately created a filter in her olfactory receptors that she could turn on and off at will. Taking a deep breath, she soon noticed a new scent that overpowered the multiple other ones. It was a different smell, much less obtrusive. Sweeter, fragrant and refreshing, it gently caressed her nostrils. It reminded her of her favorite fruit, the mango.

Intrigued by this new scent, Stormy further interceded with the cognitive part of her brain. This time she applied a filter to her own eyes to allow her vision to work in conjunction with nose. When she activated it, the targeted scent appeared as a gentle, orange colored mist which she saw was filling the library. She could see swirls of that heavenly scent descending upon the heavily aroused males in the library and determined they were all seriously afflicted.

“Ah…” Stormy smirked, closing her eyes and immediately deactivating the filter now that she was done deliberating already. She couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Seems my power fantasies are not without their sexually appetizing merit,” her thoughts were considering her own arousal, which in turn appeared to release a particularly inviting scent into the air. The conclusion was simple to infer: In enhancing her body so thoroughly, it appeared her very own pheromones had suffered extraordinary improvement as well.

“And how much improvement will I see once I continue my experiments at Spark Industries?” Stormy delicately dragged her slender fingers over her beautiful cheek, picturing herself even taller, curvier, stronger, smarter and even more irresistible.

Looking around the library and smiling at the dozen men waiting at her beck and call, Stormy imagined herself surrounded by hundreds of willing slaves, then thousands. Her charm would surely increase in relation to her power; of that she had no doubt. If her intelligence could advance to the point she could translate the skills she had manifested in the simulation to the real world, she saw unlimited potential in her future.

A future which was, by all rights, hers to seize.

----------------

A new day dawned for the gorgeous wolfess who had spent the night leisurely charming the city with her presence and showing up heavy drinkers with her monstrously overdeveloped liver.

Without traditional limitations and her social inhibitions devoured by her continuously escalating ego, Stormy had lived the life of a party girl in eight frenetic hours. Men’s hearts had been stolen, charmed and summarily broken by the confident girl strutting about with an unending line of fans. Women’s egos were shattered one after another, from the mousier ones to the cheerleader queens putting models to shame; they had all been faced with their presence being invalidated by Stormy who had, quite redundantly, taken the streets by storm.

The wolfess felt like even more of a new woman with just two hours of sleep. By now, Stormy felt like she could hold five different thoughts in parallel when working at full power, which allowed her mind to rotate resting periods with very little need for traditional recuperation. This new ability was exactly what she needed for her plan.

Her purpose was clear now. Spark Industries was going to be the birthplace of a new goddess; and being the staging area of her ascension, she saw it fit to bless those primitive researchers with new purpose and help her achieve the greatness she deserved.

A limousine dropped her at the facility; she was done taking public transportation. The panting, heavily infatuated driver pleaded Stormy to take his wallet as payment for allowing him to drive her and begged her to not hesitate to call if she needed free driving. Stormy thought the detail cute, but held herself back from stroking the driver’s cheek. She realized that if her pheromones were potent enough to lower men’s guards to the point of subservience, a simple touch of her hand would likely deliver a jolt tantamount to orgasmic bliss. As amusing as it would have been to test her theory with that poor driver, however, Stormy had a much more important experiment to do.

When she entered the facility and sauntered past the reception, the usual attendant had a blank stare for Stormy; unable to even greet that excessively beautiful wolf, let alone stop her from heading downstairs.

Time seemed to grind to a halt for the labs when Stormy stepped in. The usual place with the usual people; except this time it was an Amazonian supermodel in place of their usual test subject. Her stunning beauty made the male researchers stop what they had been doing to direct their full attention to that lust-inducing hourglass-figure, the angelical face and amazing, shiny fur and hair. It was almost as if their wills had been robbed and all they could think about was making that wolf girl smile.

Stormy, however, seemed disappointed. There was no sign of Nigel.

Equally flustered yet in control of all her faculties, Susie approached Stormy with an expression of concern. “Uh-uhm, excuse me ma’am… you…” she stumbled on her words. Wolves always intimidated them with their size, but she had never seen a female one so big before! Even with her long neck, Susie could only coil it back and keep her beak down. Once Stormy’s eyes glanced down at her beak however, the swan finally realized who she was talking to. “…you’re Stormy…?”

“Always so good to see you, Susie,” the wolfess purred, her feminine voice rolling over everyone’s ears like melting, sugary butter, “Before I get changed, kindly lead me to the assistant director’s office, would you? I would like a word with Mr. Norman.”

That perfect smile was as beautiful as it was fear-inducing. Susie could see not even the faintest sign of plaque on those fangs, an almost unnaturally pearly white almost blinding her. The swan had never seen Stormy acting so sure of herself, with such a commanding tone of voice. She shivered all over as her brain raced to understand what she was seeing. “What’s going on? She’s massive! She wasn’t ugly before but now she’s… she’s turning every guy into a zombie? And she wants to see Mr. Norman uninvited?” her thoughts were in disarray.

The swan had always been good at hiding her emotions, but Stormy’s stare was doing something to her. Those sharp lupine eyes seemed like they were burning into hers, setting her own mind ablaze. Susie was the kind of person who always followed the rules, and the rules were clear about the AD never being disturbed in his office. Yet the rules were starting to mean very little to her. The more she and Stormy exchanged looks, the less of a fight that side of Susie was putting. She felt judged, ridiculed, pounded by Stormy’s gaze. In the end, she gasped out: “Puh-please follow me!”

“How kind, thank you.” Stormy wagged her tail, ignoring the attention she wanted to bask in to follow Susie up the stairs of the lab. Norman’s office was on the second floor. Susie opened the door for Stormy, who wasted no time walking in unannounced.

“Who’s there? I’m on an important call!” Norman barked out, holding his phone away. As he slowly turned on his chair, the weight of his tensing body pressed down on the seat, causing the swivel to squeak to a stop. “Wuh… You have no… appointment…?”

“Aw,” Stormy sighed, turning around and prepared to leave. “So sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Norman. I’ll be on my way…”

“Huh-hold on…!” A wide smile spread Stormy’s muzzle as Norman turned around completely to face her. Without turning around she cocked her hips to the right while her left hand sassily rested on her waist, her tail whipping sideways for him to see. His eyes were trained on her large buttocks so tantalizingly presented in tight jeans.

“Dear me. And they say women can’t make up their minds,” the wolfess brought her arms in a shrug, turning around to finally face the present boss of the experiment. The long snout of a beady-eyed anteater bear met with Stormy’s gaze.

“Impossible,” Norman gasped out in surprise. “What devilry…?”

“Devilry?” Stormy covered her mouth to laugh. “You speak as if I was some sort of witch, Norman. But you know that is not true. After all, have you not been observing me these past twenty-seven days?”

“What have you done to yourself, subject?” Norman demanded, his hands trembling in fear. Stormy registered each twitching muscle on his expression, satisfied that the distance they were keeping was sufficient to avoid him being affected by her pheromones. She wanted him with all of his faculties for what she had to say to him.

“Don’t give me such a bewildered look, please. A man of your esteemed academic achievements should be able to easily deduce the changes I engineered upon my person,” Stormy directed a smug smirk towards the head researcher, “Or could I be wrong about you Norman? Is an unremarkable test subject such as myself entirely too much for your great mind to comprehend?” she asked, placing great emphasis on the word ‘unremarkable’.

“This goes beyond all projections!” Norman slammed his fists on his desk, the phone in his hand cracking, although he didn’t seem to notice in his rage. “The numbers I ran were perfect. The results we were getting were…” his beady eyes almost bulged out of their sockets as he came into a realization. “What in God’s name has happened to you…?”

Closing her eyes and displaying a discreet smile, Stormy was glad to have been right about her theory. Just as she had expected, Norman had no idea about the pills. “It seems I’m wasting my time talking with you. However, your authority will serve me well during the course of my experiment.”

“What are you even talking about now?” Norman growled, “Your experiment? This is my project, subject. I will not have you…”

“Is it?” Stormy interjected, reopening her eyes with a mocking grin. “I hope you’re not thinking of getting in my way, Mr. Norman. That would certainly be upsetting. You do not wish to upset me…” she took a step forth followed by another. The sauntering motion was inevitable thanks to her alluringly wide hips. “Do you?” she completed with a room-shaking purr.

“I…” Norman stammered. Stormy had made sure to suppress her pheromones for the time being, wanting his attention on her eyes. With his authority called into question, the anteater was prepared to deliver an ultimatum to the wolfess, but the words fell apart when he shot a glare at her eyes.

Having pitted his own wit against countless adversaries over the years, Norman had become quite good at getting what he wanted by arguing and debating with his superior intellect and indomitable will. “Y-you can’t…” he suddenly whimpered, clutching at his desk. “We have no idea what you’ll be capable of if we continue stimulating your brain in the simulation.  If you could alter the data from within, if you’re the one who made these changes to your own body…”

“I know what I’ll be capable of,” Stormy smiled. She was brilliant, yet Norman could see nothing but darkness in that statement.

“Y-you’re too dangerous… ack…!” Norman tried to argue, but his head wouldn’t stop pounding. His heart was beating faster than ever; it was as if he was confronting his deepest fears while simultaneously developing some sort of claustrophobic sensation all around him. The more he thought about stopping Stormy, the more intense the pain in his head grew. “I have to… I have… I can’t…!”

“You can’t what, Mr. Norman…?” Stormy asked without taking her eyes off her interlocutor. In the end, she saw the anteater falling back against his chair, arms going limp.

Norman shook his head once, then again, then he began to smile. “I can’t put myself in your way. You must be allowed to continue… for the sake of your experiment, my lady.” He spoke out almost monotonously, a permanently nervous smile and quivering lips left on his usually stern expression. Norman wasn’t feeling pain in his head any longer.

With a proud grin, Stormy turned around to leave, “I had a feeling you’d see things my way. I will extend my training for another 16 hours a day. Be a dear and have them bring my meals from the Font ‘d Oro, alright? They already know my favorites.”

“Yes. Anything for you!” Stormy heard Norman say as she left his office. Susie was waiting outside, but Stormy went ahead; she knew exactly where the changing rooms were.

“Remarkable elasticity, I must say,” Stormy briefly observed as she neoprene stretched over her curvier, taller, more muscular body. Even with her new size the form-fitting blue and black provided no discomfort. In fact, she couldn’t help posing in front of her reflection just to drink in all of her curves sticking out as well as her marked abs and detailed biceps. “Oh, Susie!” she called out.

“Ah! Yuh-yes!” the swan waiting outside responded.

“Please make sure Jonathan knows to triple the dosage today, and to apply a second injection around lunchtime,” Stormy requested, having worked out the pill to serum proportions in her head already. At Susie’s silence, Stormy came out and stared down with a disappointed look on her face. “Do I need to repeat myself?”

“Nuh-nu-no! Of course not, haha! Right away, Stormy!” Susie practically ran away from the neoprene-clad wolfess. She had no desire to get in her way, yet something kept her grounded at the lab. The way Stormy had practically peered into her soul earlier seemed to have set off every survival instinct in the scared girl’s brain, yet in spite of it she felt no hurry to abscond just yet.

Stormy made her way to the staging area as usual. All eyes were on her, just as she had come to expect. Before she sat down on the chair as usual, she passed by the measuring instruments, finding a free USB slot where she could insert a flash drive she had copied a new program she had written during her limo trip.

Leaving the auto-run working through security and attaching her code into the simulation’s, Stormy finally noticed the panther in the room. She saw the uneasy Jonathan keeping his distance. The panther had lost all of his usual cool and character next to her and was a shaking mess, struggling to keep the drool in his mouth. “Ahh-guh, will you need me to… do the usual?”

“No need to strap me in. I chose to get dressed out of habit,” Stormy explained with a small grin as she rolled her shoulders, making her chest bounce for the moaning Jonathan. “I’ll be monitoring my own progress, thank you. All of you,” she raised her voice, that melodious tone enveloping the laboratories: “Be sure to pay attention. Observe and follow my instructions when necessary, if you please. And kindly don’t be late with my lunch or dinner.” She lowered the visor by herself, and was soon logging in with quick button combinations at the armrest panels. Her program had begun working its magic already.

The virtual world stretched out for Stormy. The usual prairie, apple tree and paved road in the center, with the realistic graphics she had achieved, looked boring to her. Pooling together all of her recently acquired knowledge, she began to train her mind beyond the scope of the simulation. She altered existent parameters and introduced new ones, allowing her to shape virtual objects of her very own design that replicated the behavior of those out in the real world.

From the most infinitesimal sub-atomic particle to the most complex carbon-based life form, the hyper genius gave life to an entirely new world of her own creation. Walls and limits were progressively lifted as the simulation’s code was optimized by one of her program’s functions. The other function involved a quiet network breach, allowing the simulation to tap into additional memory and processing power. For Stormy to develop her mental capacity to match her vision, a little patch of land and floating cubes weren’t sufficient anymore.

There were no words for the researchers watching the wolfess work through the virtual environment as if it was her very own universe. To them, she might as well have been pulling off a sequence of magic tricks. The system had not been built to handle this much graphic processing, yet every measuring instrument showed no sort of bottlenecking.

In only three hours, a realistic, fully populated city resembling their own had been replicated within the virtual reality expanse. Stormy levitated around, correcting glitches while observing her virtual characters in real-time. With her unparalleled intellect, it was child’s play to craft pseudo-personalities that enabled the characters autonomy.

“She’s like some sort of God…” Susie couldn’t keep her eyes off the video feed for the simulation. Every intricate detail was there, from the designs of a button in someone’s lapel to variable hair styles and voices.

Stormy smiled as she heard Susie’s murmurs. She could hear everybody in the laboratory even though they were separated by sound proof glass. Stormy soon realized it wasn’t their voices she was hearing, but their very thoughts seemed to permeate the ether only to be intercepted by her ever evolving brain. As a result, she was able to interpret and catalogue the researchers’ emotions, one by one convincing herself of their ambitions.

Few of those scientists were part of the project to research the brain in a quest for advancing the medical sciences as Nigel had once told her. Their ambitions laid in fame and fortune for the most part. Motives essentially indifferent to her own selfish desires, yet small in scope when compared to her grandeur. She went further than their superficial thoughts, tapping into their memories and discovering she was the seventh in a long line of failed experiments; with Norman having only recently taken over for the previous assistant director.

“So much failure they aren’t used to success,” Stormy thought with a mix between pity and contempt. Gradually, she felt herself lose any empathy she held towards the researchers. Even those she initially considered virtuous fell to the vice of their ethical breaches, toying with life carelessly in pursuit of faster results. Had she not awakened when she did, the experiments would have led her to a catatonic state if not outright cerebral death.

But now that she was in control, Stormy had no fear. While the increased doses of the drug paved the road for her new improvements, the experiments in the simulation only multiplied her already elevated intellect. By the sixth hour she was able to process ten different tasks at once. This led to more cities and roads being created in the virtual road, rapidly extending into a wondrous world of her own making.

The more elements Stormy added, the harder her brain had to work. She had to gorge herself with food in order to make four tenths of her brain power efficiently distribute nutrients for the sake of stimulation. She was soon exceeding computational processing speed by a large margin, and with that, her psychic abilities began to bloom.

By the eighth hour, Stormy decided to take a break to exercise in the real world. She sat up on the chair after pushing the visor off her face. An ominous glow was present in her pupils as her eyes opened. She had a mellow expression, eyelids half-closed. The air around her seemed to grow violent, her hair and silky fur billowing in what seemed to be a localized air current. Cables and loose equipment began to gradually leave the ground, as if caught in the same air current.

The researchers witnessing what could be classified as a poltergeist were starting to finally realize what their subject had meant with observing her. More than one of them wanted to flee the area in terror, but something was rooting them to the ground. Their instincts screamed that they were in danger, Stormy’s presence an all-encompassing yet invisible pressure.  But they didn’t want to leave. They wanted to stay and watch just as she had commanded them to. They wanted to see whatever she was going to do.

Stormy tilted her head, stopping the levitating objects from moving. She held out one hand, pulling in a heavy looking, disconnected generator closer until it was floating before her. With the power of telekinesis, she had no use for researchers operating instruments. The scientists were bewildered as the lights were turned on and off as Stormy experimented with the reach of her psychic influence which albeit not unlimited was enough to cover most of the labs. She wasn’t satisfied with the range of her new powers, but considered it a good start.

And yet, in spite of how far along Stormy had come, she admitted to herself something wasn’t quite working out the way she had expected. The assistant director and all of his subordinates were in her pocket, but a special someone wasn’t present at the labs. “Before I can continue, I must tie a loose end.” She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and finally stood up. When her feet fell down, they didn’t touch the ground, her toes remaining suspended above the floor just like in the simulation.

Floating outside the staging area, Stormy ordered the infatuated or otherwise fearful researchers to follow the specifications for an even stronger serum she had left in a digital document at their workstations.

“My lady! Where are you going?” like others who had been placed under her charm, Jonathan hated he idea of watching his goddess leave. “Did we displease you in any way? I will take responsibility…!”

“I will be back soon, dears,” Stormy let out a dramatic sigh, regretting the fact her presence had become a requirement for her followers. Her radiance, voice and scent had turned them all into addicts. Even females like Susie could not hold back their love for her. “I will not be able to properly enjoy my ascension unless the team is complete. Keep this place orderly for my return. It won’t be long.”

The doors to the basement laboratories flung open, an in a fraction of a second Stormy was gone, a gust of wind knocking up papers everywhere after her exit.

Intercepting call logs and employee histories from the company database had fed her all the information she needed. With a goal in mind, she flew through the city’s night sky, headed for Nigel’s place.

There was much to discuss.

-----------------

Nigel was nervous. He hadn’t been able to get in touch with Norman again, so when he called another researcher and they spoke back with great reverence for their test subject, he immediately hung up.

“Our lady doesn’t wish to be disturbed. She wants us to observe her ascension.” One coworker had said.

“This is the greatest experiment in history, and our lady is spearheading it! Mr. Norman has told us to give her all our support,” a second one told the concerned badger. He didn’t need to be outright told they had become subservient to Stormy. A shiver went down his spine.

Nigel could recall how uneasy he had felt while exchanging looks with Stormy the last time they had interacted, when he had given her the new pills. He had felt something pull at him at that time. But now his thoughts raced with worries: “She knew. She had to know. She found out. She found me out. I have to lay low. The director…” he quickly looked at his phone’s clock: It was past eleven. He cursed. “It’s late, I’ll have to meet him tomorrow, pull the plug on this whole thing. She’s getting too powerful. It’s my fault, but we can still stop her…”


Then something dawned in the badger’s mind. “Calling the company, what was I thinking…?” he slammed the smartphone on the ground, smashing it up in a few stomps. “They’ll tell her where I live, she’ll send people after me. I have to get out of here. Find somewhere to hide!”

The badger packed only the essentials, leaving the remains of his phone behind as he left his apartment. Nigel drove to the edge of the city, paying for a room in a discreet, cheap motel. Exhausted from the hustle, Nigel laid down on the cheap bed under the dim motel room ceiling lamp. He sighed, thinking how it was safe to assume the facility was compromised. But if he could get the word out and have the higher ups intervene, fifteen brainwashed dolts and Norman wouldn’t be able to protect that wolf. “I’ll stop her myself. This mad science has to stop. I’ll… I’ll… zzzz…”

-------------------

The next day, Nigel carried out his plan in secret. He met up with the project director away from the public eye, relaying the message that their Mind Expansion Experiment had once again failed; the subject had become a liability and thus had to be exterminated, and the facility purged. Nigel was thanked and given the assurance his efforts would not go to waste, and that their test subject would be eliminated. The badger’s heart was at ease once he saw the director and his bodyguards leave, although something bothered Nigel.

Looking to where the trio had left, Nigel only saw a wall with no door. He rubbed his eyes, convinced he had seen his boss and his two gorillas leave with him that way. The badger looked to the opposite side, but also only saw a wall. There was no door on any wall. In fact, there weren’t any windows around him. The furniture was gone; only a hanging ceiling light illuminating the wooden floorboards and aqua-green surfaces keeping him prisoner. A cold shiver ran down his spine.

Slowly, the room began to darken as the light above fizzled out. Nigel found himself with his back against one of the walls, shivering all over. “What’s going on…? This isn’t the motel. Why am I here…? Is this a dream?” he asked aloud while trembling.

No longer than he uttered his last words, a pillar of light descended into the darkness. A familiar, although significantly improved neoprene-clad figure greeted Nigel’s eyes. “You…” he gasped.

“Hello, Nigel. Having a good sleep?” the tall wolfess folded her arms under her prominent bust, not looking particularly jolly to see the badger.

Nigel immediately knew what was happening, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to believe it. “You’ve invaded my subconscious, permeated my thoughts, you… how long have you been spying on me? How long have you been this powerful?! Wait…” he widened his eyes as he saw Stormy take a graceful step towards him. He brought his arms up in defense, “Allow me to explain! Please!”

The thought of anybody explaining anything to her made Stormy chuckle. “A duplicitous sort like you would want to stall for time,” she laughed, resting her hands at her wide hips. “You find yourself in a very interesting position, wouldn’t you agree?”

Nigel could only bite his tongue.

“Ironic, perhaps, seeing as though I should be dead,” Stormy continued. “Was this revenge on Norman? Were you hoping to befriend me, have me take your medicine so I would die from overdose and have the failure of yet another dead candidate pinned on him?”

“H-how…?” Nigel shivered. “If you already knew then why would you take…?”

“Oh. I didn’t know. That was just a couple of rhetorical questions,” Stormy waved a hand dismissively. “I simply deduced that just now. It all makes sense considering you were the previous assistant director.” The pain in Nigel’s expression told Stormy she had hit the nail on the head.

“Your position usurped after a series of failures. You wished Norman to experience defeat in the same way as you had so many times. You gave me a concentrated dosage in pill form when no one else was looking; expecting my brain to be overloaded, fried by its own power during my sleep. But you failed to account for my growing need for stimulation. It started with videogames, then programming, and soon I was paving the way for my own enlightenment using what you had so readily provided. Even Norman was shocked, but I managed to keep it under wraps for long enough once I had control of my own powers. But you? You expected me dead or comatose just like the others. Even if it cost me my life, you’d sabotage the project you weren’t leading any longer.”

“You don’t understand…” Nigel grunted, “They demoted me. My research taken from me. Norman was my best friend and he just…”

“Oh please,” Stormy interjected with a bored look in her eyes, “Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not here for your sad story, dear. You’re just one of my test subjects now. This is the first time I project myself into somebody else’s mind, after all.”

“What are you going to do…?” Nigel gulped, suddenly terrified as Stormy approached him. She was so close he could sense her looming over him with the five extra inches of height she had on him.

“Why, I’m going to continue experimenting!” Stormy said, “I’ve already readjusted the dosage and rerouted all virtual resources to the staging area. You should see what I’ve done with the place.”

“No, this is insane. You have to stop!” Nigel said, “Look, you hate me, I get it. But if you can get into people’s minds, you can do a lot of damage. Have you heard the guys at the lab? They’re zombies! If you continue forcing your brain to evolve, who knows what will happen?”

“And that’s what I aim to find,” Stormy said sweetly, her tail wagging behind her. “I just want to make sure you aren’t thinking of getting in my way. You’d be the last one in the facility attempting it. But you’re a smart bear, aren’t you, Nigel…? Come join the others, you deserve to see me ascend. You deserve a chance to see where your project will lead!”

The badger shook his head. “No, you can’t convince me. I know now all the mistakes I’ve made and I can’t let you enslave everybody. I’ll scream myself awake, I’ll go to the police, confess everything; the dead subjects Spark Industries has been keeping under wraps. They’ll have the facility surrounded in seconds. You’ll… mmmph!” the badger’s sudden cry was muffled by a large talon encircling his head.

Nigel’s eyes went wide as he suddenly noticed Stormy’s clear eyes had taken on a reddish tint. She was snarling at him with those pearly white fangs fully bared. “You would attempt to deny me my right?” that husky voice fell deeper and deeper in tone, “My destiny?” Stormy’s words began to echo inside of the dream, background rumbling vibrating out each time she opened her mouth, “An insignificant gnat like you?” she asked in a warped, reverberating version of her voice. And after the very last word, her face split open in a wicked grin.  “Are you sure?”

The badger squirmed, yelling into Stormy’s bird-like talon keeping his mouth shut. His eyes went wide as saucers. The once perfect visage of the wolfess had stretched out into a toothy, large fanged maw so wide Nigel was convinced it capable of swallowing people whole. He saw those terrible red eyes sprouting on the side of her deformed face, appearing over the neoprene of her shoulders and arms, even on her hips.

With his eyes following the multitude of new ones on Stormy, it was then that Nigel realized the talon on his face belonged to a third limb which had sprouted from her torso. A fourth arm longer than she was tall emerged from her back, bending at the joints and aiming downwards with a spear-like tip at the terrified scientist.

Dragonfly wings sprouted from Stormy’s back, two pairs which grew twice as wide as she was. The muscles in her original arms grew thicker, her hands turning into claws. Multiple times bigger, her hands could now wrap all around Nigel, keeping him from struggling too hard.

He could notice sludge pouring out from Stormy’s thighs, and to an uncomfortably loud hiss he witnessed the liquid taking the shape of slimy tentacles numbering in the half dozen. Soon, Nigel realized the tendrils hadn’t pierced out through her the mutating wolfess’ thighs; they were part of the neoprene melting over her changing body. And as the fabric became malleable, it seemed to merge with her fur, extending over the rest of her, covering her entire being in liquid neoprene that made her entire being quiver like some sort of hellish creature.

And then, as if things weren’t looking grotesque enough, the monster began to grow and grow and grow. It didn’t take long for Nigel to feel absolutely tiny before the hulking behemoth whose once anthropomorphic shape had been lost to some sort of amalgamate blob. His mind couldn’t comprehend the terror; Nigel wanted to scream but Stormy was keeping his mouth shut. It seemed that the more he resisted, the bigger and more monstrous she became. “Stop…!” he thought, frantically glancing about for anything, anyone. But if he wasn’t looking at an empty void, all Nigel could see was that gigantic monstrosity ahead of him. Those ominous red eyes, those large fangs threatening to shred him like paper! He could feel his heart ready to jump out of his throat at any second…! “STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IIIIIIIIT…!”

When people loved her, they only knew happiness. But when they attempted to resist her charms, there was no choice but to suffer.

----------------

Stormy returned to the facility a lot lighter now that her last loose end had been tied. The team welcomed her with vibrant smiles all around. They were surprised to see Nigel walking in behind her, ready to contribute to the experiments with an almost unsettlingly big smile. “Please allow me to help you revise the equipment, Stormy. I can most assuredly recalibrate it to meet with your new abilities!”

“No need, I already gleaned every last specification not found in the company’s databases from your mind when you exposed it to me, Nigel,” Stormy said without even turning around to look at the badger. “You really liked your secrets. But they’re all mine now.”

“Yuh-yes… of course!” Nigel agreed, “Anything for you, Stormy. We’re here to serve!”

“Then be at the ready. I will send out a list of components and chemicals. It’s high time I perfected your primitive formula,” the wolfess commanded, making her way back to the staging area. Her steps carried her with purpose and grace. The shy, unsure wolf girl who had first stepped into these laboratories was but a memory. All that remained was that amazon levitating off the floor and shining so powerfully she was like an angelic beacon illuminating the researchers’ small lives. They were all eager to contribute to her becoming even more powerful.

“Please don’t…” Norman’s voice rang inside of Stormy’s head, making her smirk. She heard a number of other scared thoughts permeating her, including Susie’s, who was pleading for Stormy to release them.

“You don’t get the benefit of doubting, or fear,” Stormy answered their minds together, turning around with a hand at her hip in a defiant, cool pose. “I should have been afraid, doubting all of you the entire time. But here we are now, our positions reversed.”

“I know,” Norman conceded, “We did not consider the subjects’ lives into account as we should have. But you must understand you were all meant to unlock your latent intellectual ability.”

“And I did. I just kept on going beyond the scope of your short-sighed project, that is all there is to it,” Stormy shrugged with a yawn.

“Please release us…” Susie begged again.

“Oh, don’t misunderstand,” Stormy chuckled, “I never put any shackles on any of you. Even if I wanted to hold you all down to force you to witness what I’m about to do, I wouldn’t need to. You want to be here, right now.”

“Huh…?” more than one thought seemed bewildered at the revelation.

“I never demanded. I merely asked,” Stormy giggled, “In your eagerness to please someone so clearly superior, you acquiesced. It’s only a natural response. Your bodies and your wills are still yours…” she paused, licking her lips like a predator savoring a fat slab of sirloin. “…you simply gave yourselves to me. And now, you will have what you have been wishing so dearly for. You will see me cross a new threshold in my continuous evolution. All I ask from you… is a bit more patience.”

Intimidating silence filled the laboratories. Nobody left.

And Stormy overhauled the entire staging area by herself, smashing everything she didn’t need into clumps of collapsed scrap with the power of her mind. She recycled the materials, reshaping them to her liking until she could rebuild the VR chair into a ten feet tall vertical pod.

She quickly found that her understanding of her psychokinetic abilities had further deepened, allowing her to be fine about which objects she picked up regardless of their size. As a result, tearing apart entire parts and using their fragmented components, she was able to virtually reuse everything as anything. Stormy created more physical memory, micro-processors centuries ahead of the state-of-the-art builds Spark Industries made use of, cooling systems meant to maintain the equipment she didn’t doubt was going to be put under great strain.  And she put all those components and more together into a supercomputer that put quantic processing to shame.

The level of advancement Stormy required was beyond anything the supposed geniuses she had repurposed as carrying mules could muster. After she had hooked the new pod to the computer she was going to use to administer her new, perfected serum, Stormy was finally ready to resume her ascension. She was going to run her program to find the most efficient way of accelerating her evolution while she perfected her psychic powers further inside the simulation.

For a moment, she turned to her faithful followers. She wanted them to know this was going to be the last time they were going to see her gorgeous self in a plain old mortal shell. That she was soon going to abandon what they thought god-like and she mundane, and would step back out a true goddess made of raw power. But Stormy didn’t use her voice. She didn’t invade their minds. At that point, she finally recognized them all for what they were next to her: Pathetic worms whose sole purpose was to witness. They could not, and certainly did not need to comprehend.

Stepping inside the VR capsule, the lights in the laboratory and the rest of the facility went out as Stormy’s computer hummed to life. She closed those intelligent eyes as her brain waves were transferred into the new version of the simulation.

All resources that branch of Spark Industries could spare were funneled to Stormy’s ambition.

For a flickering second, the researchers saw the single working video feed in the laboratory die to static before it reconvened. They saw not a bunch of cities, but an entire system of planets. In only a few seconds, Stormy had not only finished her virtual replica of Earth but had moved on to expand the simulation into a true cosmos with her at the center.

The computer worked to administer the new formula into Stormy, the capsule closing and sealing her inside as she was submerged in what appeared to be amniotic fluid yet it contained all the nutrients and the new serum she herself had her supercomputer fabricate with the ingredients her slaves had procured.

Over the following hour, everyone in the lab watched Stormy evolve both inside and outside the simulation. As the virtual universe expanded in the repurposed simulation, so did Stormy’s mind. She focused on not only understanding but deconstructing the building blocks of life, manipulating them and putting them back together. As a result, the virtual universe was destroyed more than once, pulled at the seams by the cosmic deity at its center.

In one iteration, she experimented by accelerating universal expansion, artificially inducing a Big Crunch. In another, she aged each star in the universe until they collectively went supernova at once, releasing a destructive wave of all-incinerating radiation. She augmented her virtual size in another, breaking the dimensional barrier into a parallel plane of existence, popping the old universe into her mouth like a piece of candy. And, always, she began anew with a better, more defined, more efficient iteration of Creation; the process cementing her knowledge over the fabric of reality itself.

With psychic powers swelling to ever greater levels, the encapsulated wolfess began to further violate each and every remaining limitation Mother Nature had placed upon her physical body. Stormy had decided it would not do for a goddess to be anything but at the peak of physicality.

The invisible skin under her fur became tougher and unassailable, a perfectly subtle first layer of defense not only against potential resistance, but the elements themselves. Muscular sinew strengthened, forming increasingly denser cord which not only added the strength of hundreds of apex predators, but also added notable bulk to Stormy’s appearance. The structure of her bones was further refined with an indestructible, super light alloy elegantly interwoven into the calcium of her skeleton.

With her various biological systems fully optimized, Stormy rid herself of the need to eat food to obtain nutrients. Her brain would no longer require sleep, sixty four perfectly packed, independent, naturally generated nodes ready to pick up the slack for any that required a brief seven hundred millisecond long refresh. Her blood cells had been given the necessary blueprints to intercept the oxygen straight from the biosphere through her nostrils, turning organs such as her lungs redundant.

The caressing, sweet scent of mango rapidly took over the darkened laboratories. Weaker minded researchers became frenzied with arousal, their moans filling the area. Soon they were groping themselves and others, relishing in the eventuality of an orgy. Women like Susie weren’t immune to Stormy’s pheromones anymore; the poor swan jumping a confused Jonathan in desperation to make love with him.

The goddess’ body was becoming so advanced in its evolution that it had transformed her into the epitome of attraction. Without even moving from her capsule and in spite of being sealed inside amniotic fluid, the wolfess was making everybody, even those she had already charmed with her sheer presence, horny as all hell.

Neoprene stretched tightly over that busty body, Stormy gaining height in addition to even more pronounced curves. From crown to toe, she became even more Amazonian, venturing into mini-giant territory at over 8ft. tall. Having grown accustomed to the suit she was wearing, her mind modified it to suit her own purposes. It became a second skin to her, becoming just as resistant as her very own skin while extending to cover more of her body. From halfway down her forearm all the way up over her wrists and ending just over the knuckles of each finger. From the calves, the material continued spreading down to her feet, leaving the balls of her feet, her toes and ankles uncovered in a convenient stirrup. The form-fitting, almost full-body suit offered her mobility and comfort while only accentuating her feminine build.

Her angelical expression became even more divine, eliciting further subservience from those that already loved her. In their desperation they ran into the staging area, surrounding the VR pod and prostrating themselves to worship her in spite of their heavy arousal. Even while floating in viscous fluid, one could appreciate the silky smoothness of her fur, her long hair seemingly billowing as if in clear water.

“She’s the apex of all life…!”

“We’re unworthy!”

“Please bless us, my lady! We love you so very much!”

Even the ones who had initially shown restraint, and had endured mental torture for it, were now among the ranks worshipping Stormy. Both Norman and Nigel were there, begging for forgiveness and hurling sweet compliments at the capsule in front of them; their minds completely vacant if not for the sole purpose of giving themselves to being within. One phrase rang within the collective consciousness of the basement lab scientists.

Dea Ex Machina.

Stormy’s eyes opened abruptly, casting a pure white glow that blinded everybody inside the laboratory. The flash of light seemed to evaporate the amniotic fluid, leaving the 8ft. tall muscular and curvaceous Stormy floating in a cracking capsule. Unable to contain the neoprene clad creature, the pod began to expand until it could expand no more. It attempted to bend backwards until the metal’s inexistent elasticity forced it to come apart like cardboard.

The top of the capsule blew right off the top, the capsule splitting and falling down five ways like the petals of a blossoming flower. Stormy’s waist-long hair billowed up from the sheer swell of psychic energy emanating from her person. Neither her irises nor her pupils were visible anymore the goddess’ eyes an eerie yet entrapping alabaster; like twin stars demanding worship of their own. Devoid of electrical power after the end of Stormy’s final VR experiment, the darkness-taken labs had become fully illuminated by Stormy’s presence.

Her facial expression seemed perpetually stuck without revealing any emotion, save from instants and minute gestures indicating disappointment. “What am I yet lacking?” the goddess thought with such intensity that the laboratories shook and quaked, the voice of her mind as devastating as it was beautiful. As usual, Stormy thought back to the simulation.

All those virtual universes she had given life and taken life from. The believable characters she had created within had offered their beings to her for the sake of her ascension. Advanced computer programs coded to obey an entity of higher level. What else were these people outside the simulation, if not genetically programmed peons in wait of an evolutionary apex to show them their true worth?

Opening her maw to speak, the researchers were blown back by her deep, powerful voice: “My reality will soon encroach upon you all. Your reward for witnessing my greatness firsthand will be thus: Spread the word of your goddess’ advent.”

With those hallowed sentences, one by one, the researchers began to change. Their clothes shredded as their bodies began to grow taller, stronger, taking upon lupine characteristics that replaced them with facsimiles of their goddess’. Hybrids blessed to in small part resemble her.

“A small show,” Stormy thought, ignoring the rubble and dust falling from the cracking concrete ceilings as her psychic presence continued to demolish the lab. She was still working on suppressing her now devastating power. The changed, empowered scientists heeded their orders, the same blue markings under Stormy’s eyes glowing under theirs as they left the facility to make the announcement. The birth of a goddess had to be celebrated, after all.

Left alone, Stormy slowly scanned her surroundings. Her eyes were able to apply multiple filters; she could find people for miles, capable of seeing through any layer by adjusting how the color spectrum was interpreted and in what intensity.

The laboratories in her side of the building were empty, but she could see, as well as hear and smell scientists on the west wing of the facility; all of them still trying to figure out why the power had not come back on yet. Her pheromones clearly had not reached past the thick walls leading into their neighbors’ labs. It occurred to Stormy she had never bothered to learn what other experiments they had been conducting there, but with one quick access to the endless database of her memories, she answered herself fast.

Floating away from the destroyed capsule, Stormy didn’t even bother to side-step the supercomputer she had built earlier. It had been built to be a sturdy piece of technology from the far future, reinforced to be able to withstand earthquakes, forces of up to twenty kilotons and capable of operating at extremely low and high temperatures. However, that meant very little to Stormy’s body which seemed to phase right through the plastic and metal, leaving behind a sizzling, melting heap of junk behind.

Of course, the same happened to every obstacle in Stormy’s way, melting before it could even become an impediment to her. As she slowly floated her way west, imposing walls stood in her way. The concrete began to melt away as if exposed to corrosive acid. Doors were unnecessary for a goddess.

“What in the world…?!” the voice of one of the lab B scientists screamed out as the eastern wall of their staging area began to melt down, a radiant wolfess of supple feminine figure and muscular build with eyes light miniature suns making her way via levitation.

“Be in silence,” Stormy purred out, that seductive voice echoing through the labs.

Before a panic could start, the scientists all fell to their knees, more than one of them clutching at their throats as words refused to come out no matter how much they wanted to express their shock. Exposed to her otherworldly beauty and intimidating power, however, the B team was soon begging and praying for their lives, albeit in their minds.

Stormy assuaged their worries with an almost motherly: “It will be alright.” She looked off to the side, gently floating towards a containment zone which immediately opened for her without requesting clearance. In it were six tall cooling units arranged in rows of three, with each facing one another. Five of the six units were occupied by people who were catatonic, vegetative, brain dead; trapped in dysfunctional bodies never again to normally operate. She could see they were riddled with various infections and viruses, no doubt transformed into incubators, carriers or outright bio-organic weapon bases.

Was there any hope for these failed subjects? According to her data, some from the same project which had enabled her ascension were already dead. She could hear quiet thoughts coming from those dormant or otherwise damaged minds. Even if she warped their bodies back to their ideal memory of it and healed their minds, their souls were broken.

What was before Stormy were six scientifically glorified coffins. And with a snap of the fingers, each unit collapsed unto itself, metallic crunching noises echoing in the containment zone as the six cooling units were reduced to black hyper dense cubes; five ruined half-lives snuffed out in a painless instant.

Life in her stimulation had been perfect. For each iteration of the virtual universe, Stormy had made sure no one was left wanting. There was no need for these cruel experiments, no need for victims. Progress, as a result, was slower. And yet it was controlled. Her creations’ purpose was to exist for her sake. Her own purpose in this reality, then, was clear. Stormy had to bring control, her order, to the world. And the first order of business, with the help of her acolytes, was a demonstration. A demonstration of how fearsome power her power could be; so that resistance would be instantaneously quelled.

And in an instant, she was suddenly gone from the lab. The newly minted goddess had no time to waste with diplomacy.

----------------

Turmoil had engulfed the once peaceful city. Civilians ran away from the hulking monstrosities Stormy had created, the acolytes so passionate about their love for their goddess that they could not hold their augmented physical abilities any longer.

“Stand back!” a male in the street backed away from a towering Susie, her wings having turned to bulky claws, a fluffy tail hanging behind her. At seven feet tall, she was an imposing specimen of a swan and wolf hybrid.

“Don’t be afraid,” Susie spoke, her voice clear and full of purpose in contrast to her new form. “We love our lady so very much. We just wish you to…”

“Go away, freak!” a stone was hurled from the multitude the man belonged to, hitting Susie straight in the forehead.

While their bodies had been rewritten by Stormy, the acolytes’ minds had been largely untouched. They did not wish anything but the happiness of their goddess, just as always. However, they were now stronger than the average person, and their passion for their duty was now only matched by their contempt for dissenters. “You don’t understand!” Susie stepped in front of the aggressor, punching him in the gut so hard that he was sent hurtling through the air above the angry mob. “You don’t see her as we do! You must learn! The goddess is all!”

“The goddess is all!” the other acolytes said the same. A chorus was erupting in the city, and the mobs once angry at these lupine hybrids could do nothing but run away in fear. Police sirens were blaring at full volume, peacekeepers dispatched all over the city in an effort to contain what officials had deemed a “dangerous cult manifestation”.

There was no reasoning with those giants and amazons. Try as they might, even threats by megaphone and the prospect of being aimed at by guns did not seem to dissuade the monsters. When Jonathan, whose snout had elongated from his old panther look into a wolf’s, took a step forwards in order to meet their resistance head on, the policeman in charge of the fire squad issued one final warning. “This is your last chance! Surrender peacefully or we will open fire!”

Jonathan was laughing, an unsettling, booming laughter that made even the cars rattle around him. His voluminous tail shook from side to side in the face of danger. “The goddess is all!” he declared, preparing himself to pounce his prey.

“Open fire, open fire!” the squad captain ordered. Guns discharged one after another in the city. Screams and roars filled the streets, but only for a few moments. Violence ended almost as quickly as it had begun, with both the police and the acolytes equally surprised and shocked.

Mere inches away from his lupine eyes, the bulkier Norman saw bullets had stopped advancing before they could strike. The hail of projectiles ahead of him was suspended in the air, as if time had been stopped. One glance skyward was all he needed to confirm what had happened: Their goddess was with them.

Stormy descended upon the city streets like a divine messenger. Her acolytes, far and close, immediately went down on their knees to pray and worship her. Left awestruck by such stunning beauty, more than one person began to imitate those menacing, zealous creatures. Those that could not be swayed by her heavenly appearance ended noticing the scent of Stormy’s favorite fruit in the air, inevitably overwhelmed by irresistible arousal.

The goddess’ powerful eyes quietly scanned the city, detecting several of her acolytes had been wounded or outright beaten, but she had managed to save them all with her intervention. Stormy felt like she had to reward her test subjects’ willingness to serve her after all.

As she glanced at those immediately close to her, Stormy grew proud of what she had become. Wherever her gaze fell, people went down to their knees and prostrated themselves for her. She was unequivocally the symbol for power and beauty now. The stream of devoted or otherwise horny thoughts was attempting to flood her mind. Her new name, the ‘Goddess’, was rapidly spreading among the populous like a viral infection.

One by one, each suspended bullet dropped to the asphalt, bouncing like pebbles in the road. The Goddess turned to those who were not devoted to her. She didn’t need super intelligence to understand why they had not joined their fellow mortals. Several police officers whose wills had not been broken by their deity’s irresistible charm had also been wearing gas masks, impeding the effects of that sweet mango scent.

“She’s floating…! S-she’s some sort of witch…! The captain’s a moaning zombie!” the lieutenant cried out, arms and hands shaking around his rifle.

“Grenades don’t need to hit her ass. Eat tear gas, you supersized bitch!” one of the masked officers fired their grenade launcher. People began to scatter once the gas began to spread, but the Goddess didn’t budge an inch. Even after being enveloped in a cloud of tear gas, the police couldn’t believe that neoprene clad beauty had yet to fall or even make any sound that resembled discomfort.

The Goddess’ eyes could not be irritated. The gas was dissipated before it even had a chance to reach the mucous membrane of her visual lobes. What little was able to filter into her system via pores was readily assailed by her unstoppable immune system, which not only halted noxious effects from the tear gas’ components, but salvaged them via molecular engineering, thus turning them into nutrients for the Goddess to safely absorb and process.

All they had managed to do with the grenade was give her a pittance of a tasteless snack. With the gas gone, that hovering wolfess licked her chops at the grenadier, as if teasing him wordlessly: “Thank you for the meal.”

“This can’t be… We are not equipped to deal with this!” the lieutenant cried out into the radio, “We need serious backup. Suspect is virtually unassailable!”

“Unassailable my foot! Take the shot!” spoke one of the on-site spotters via radio. A high-caliber sniper rifle had been trained on the Goddess, ready to take her down at a moment’s notice. Before the sniper could pull the trigger though, something unexpected happened.

“Sir, the target’s gone!” the sniper said.

“What do you mean gone? She’s right…” the spotter was ready to announce himself at the top of his lungs, exasperated by the situation. But then he realized no trace of the Goddess had been left where she had once been floating at.

The sniper rapidly scanned the area in every direction, attempting to use magnification to aid in reconnaissance. However, the lens became black. “What the…” the sniper raised his head off the ground, his voice breaking up as he was forced to look upon the visage of perfection itself.

“Shooter? Shooter! Respond!” the spotter yelled into the radio.

“Sir… she’s here.”

“Then take the shot, man! Right between the eyes! That bitch’s made fools of us for long enough!”

“She’s… right here… with me.” The sniper trembled all over. He hadn’t even looked at the Goddess’s eyes yet, and in spite of that he felt the weight of a motorcycle on his back. The flying wolf floated a few paces away from him, as if giving him space. He couldn’t believe a non-avian was standing seven stories high up in mid-air.

“You have orders, don’t you?” The goddess’ heavenly voice invaded the sniper’s mind like an echoing chorus of the angels. She wasn’t using her chords to prevent the masked sniper from being blown back by the intensity of her power. “I figured you might want an advantage. Am I standing close enough for you?”

Narrowing his eyes, the sniper got back into position, training his reticle on the wolfess’ face. “I don’t like those eyes,” the sniper gulped, suddenly feeling his trigger finger freeze in place. He couldn’t take the shot. His head was beginning to hurt.

The Goddess leaned forwards, arm under her immense chest to make the neoprene snugged breasts pop out. “A larger target, then?” she purred teasingly.

The sniper couldn’t look at the wolf’s eyes. Breaking contact with them, he deduced staring at his target was only going to make his job impossible. “Stop… fucking… with us…!” he said, and in a moment of lucidity he trusted his instincts, finally able to press his trigger finger down.

The rifle’s projectile discharged with a great, loud bang. It kicked with enough force to lift the sniper momentarily. The hollow point bullet had been designed to punch through thick reinforced surfaces and still deliver its lethal impact at full force; like with most powerful sniper rifles it was beyond overkill to fire at near point-blank. As much as the sniper hated the idea of blowing somebody to pieces to restore the peace, he couldn’t let his chance slip by. However, no pieces were seen flying after the shot. Blood hadn’t even been spilled.

The bullet had struck the Goddess in the neck. She hadn’t bothered to stop it. And yet the projectile had flattened on impact against her fur. As the gunpowder smoke cleared, the sniper was able to see. He stared in disbelief as the smashed hollow point peeled right off the Goddess’ undisturbed neck and was lost in her cleavage.

With a smile, the Goddess telekinetically removed that bullet from between her perfect breasts and gently dropped it next to its shooter. The flattened metal piece clinked like a coin next to the terrified policeman. “Better luck next time, dear.” She spoke her words this time, the deep, husky rumbling as seductive as it was devastating. With tripod, gun and all, the sniper was sent hurtling back in the empty apartment, hitting his back on the ceiling.

There was no way to stop her. She returned to ground level to continue her demonstration, visiting each cordoned area where her acolytes had been surrounded. The goddess flipped peacekeepers on their backs with a flick of her fingers. She cleared crowds of people with a thought. Sometimes she didn’t do anything, simply floating before their terrified eyes while fellow policemen infatuated and charmed by her beauty or pheromones jumped in front of gunfire to sacrifice themselves for the object of their love and adoration. The acolytes had been the least of the authorities’ worries. Now that the Goddess had entered the game, they truly understood how outgunned they were. And that was exactly how she wanted them to feel.

As the incursion went on, the Goddess found herself enjoying the gameplay loop of showing up before the authorities only to devastate their forces, and confidence, with her amazing abilities. But that feeling of inexorable superiority was only the cherry on top. Her immortal heart was dancing in joy to the growing number of thoughts worshipping her. She had fans everywhere in the city now, many of them joining the ex-researcher hybrids in chanting and praying for her salvation. The Goddess found herself delighted with the attention. It was the kind of nourishment that fed her ego directly, and she only wished for more every time someone new relinquished themselves to their fate of serving her.

The Goddess didn’t have enough. Hundreds were under her beautiful spell already, but she wanted thousands. It didn’t take her long to find one such dense concentration of people in the city. Again, she disappeared from sight, this time reappearing at the center of an immense American football stadium.

Whereas a single person wouldn’t have made an impact standing at the football field on a regular day, the Goddess had made a show of her appearance. She had moved so fast across the city that she had broken the sound barrier, and the resulting sonic boom was like mighty thunderclap resonating through the city. Her landing was graceful, yet instead of dispersing the kinetic energy her near-instantaneous movement had accumulated, she directed it downwards. Like an actual lightning bolt striking the ground, the stadium was shaken as if hit by an earthquake.

The football teams ended on their backs, with everyone watching the game struggling to remain seated after the sheer amount of force the unignorably powerful Goddess had brought down with her. When the dust cleared around the levitating goddess, she brought her arms up, ensuring the machinery in the facilities were hijacked by her brainwaves. With all the equipment under her control, the goddess forced all cameras and jumbo screens to relay her magnificence to everybody in the stadium.

Back during her time as a mortal, the Goddess remembered she had never been able to get over the judgment of others. A sort of permanent stage fright that was further amplified by her past academic incompetence. Now, she had thousands of pairs of eyes upon her person and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The goddess was endeared with the attention. It wasn’t just the way they were staring at her: First shocked, then fearful, and then gradually succumbing to the only reality their minds could process at a time like this; that they were face to face with greatness itself. Her pheromones had begun making steady progress among the seats, people hardly noticing what was going on until they had begun truly looking at the Goddess. She was reading their thoughts, all of them at once. A mess of confusion and bewilderment that inevitably became suspenseful adoration, admiration and more importantly: Love.

She thought it amusing. A manifestation of beauty such as herself hadn’t once stopped to truly marvel at her unspeakable magnetism. She was attractive to everybody, no matter their orientation. It wasn’t mere physical attraction. Even if over half the stadium was drooling inconsolably at her, a hundred percent of those present felt an attraction more powerful, purer than simple arousal. They wanted her the way one wanted their most significant other: They were in love with her.

And those sensations became the sole, unified thought of the masses that the Goddess was receiving by opening her mind out to them. Pure love coming from over a thousand minds was pouring into the Goddess, threatening to overwhelm her hyper-evolved cognitive centers with something that could not be interpreted as regular data.

She could hardly contain herself. The more they professed their love for her, the more her heart danced, aflutter with a sense of pride. She was, for the first time since gaining her reality-altering intellect, humbled by others. The goddess could feel every nerve flaring out with bliss-inducing stimulation. Her muscular thighs rubbed together, her body trembling with excitement! She could tell she was about to experience the most powerful orgasm of her life.

However, the goddess steeled herself. Pleasure wreaking havoc throughout her body, she stopped her arms from shaking and balled her hands into fists. Her well-defined muscular bulk bulged out slightly as she forced herself to be immovable. Her feet finally touched grass again, each blade flattening within a 20ft. radius around her. The pressure was incomprehensible; her mind was being assaulted with the thoughts of the public. But she had to be strong for them. She couldn’t allow herself to be anything short of the apex of grace and virtue. To be doubled over in tongue-lolling bliss was unthinkable.

Orgasmic jolts ran amok the Goddess. However much she tried to suppress them, her thighs rubbed against each other, legs trembling as her pelvis vibrated and her loins burnt with desire. She could have had anybody in that stadium, but she thought herself too much wolf for them. And yet for all of her newfound superiority she was having a hell of a time stopping herself from giving in to the primal impulse.

She folded her arms under her impressive bust, allowing herself a close-eyed smirk as she absorbed the praise and worship of her thousands of new followers. Finally, she arched herself back, momentarily overtaken by the electrifying rush. That goddess saw vibrant multitudes of colors at that instant, and she couldn’t stop the burning sensation at her throat building up and up until she had to let it all out. With her open maw, the Goddess let out a mighty howl that pierced the heavens, shaking the foundations of the stadiums and parting the clouds above her. It was all she could do to prevent the power of her voice from destroying everything and everyone around her.

Once her climax subsided, the Goddess shut her mind off to the public in the stadium. Feeding back what she had been experiencing would be a careless mistake that could have resulted in many heads exploding at the same time. A terrible mess she wouldn’t be happy to fix. She began to float upwards, leaving the crater at the center of the football field behind.

And now that she had experienced this level of pleasure, she was now more convinced than ever: The world had to be remade in her own image to ensure this level of mutual satisfaction, for the sake of the ignorant masses and her own.

The stadium was soon full of moaning and lewd scenes as far as the eye could see. Her presence had an incredible effect on her new followers, turning them on to such extremes they all broke out into an orgy in her name. Their carnal weakness was what she had to be careful not to indulge in too much. After all, her superiority was what set her apart from them.

“Hmm, what is this?” The Goddess looked out from the top of the stadium, making out large vehicles, armored personal carriers and heavily armored, masked military personnel accompanied by combat drones. “It seems fun experiments have to take a small break. I almost forgot about the local authorities…”

Once more, she vanished from sight.

------------------

“Recent reports place the tango at Mayer Stadium, sir!” one of the lieutenants approached his colonel. The latter, who was looking out through the camera of a surveillance drone, couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Just got a ringer from the boys at HQ, you’re right,” the colonel popped his lips within his mask. “They weren’t joking about the effects on civvies; heck, anyone breathing the air around that tall bitch.”

“She made the people at the stadium go crazy too?”

“Everyone in it, from the looks of it. Players, spectators. What a fine mess this is.”

“The footage downtown shows a sorry sight to be sure,” the lieutenant added.

“Run me through the target’s combat capabilities again, lieutenant.”

 “The tango appears endowed with incredible strength, stamina and speed. She seems capable of disrupting projectiles via a psionic field, but she didn’t stop the sniper round according to the report from an officer on-site. The same officer reported experiencing an intense headache after crossing eyes with the tango, so it would be inadvisable to stare. An air sample taken by one of our drones was analyzed by the guys at the lab. It appears she’s releasing some sort of super pheromones in a radius of approximately eight hundred to nine hundred feet. Our standard gas masks seem sufficient to filter through it.”

“Which is why we were given the go-ahead on the take down operation,” the colonel finished, “We will make use of heavy ordnance, but that psionic field will be trouble.”

“Sir, it’s my belief that a distraction is in order.”

“Good thinking. Worse comes to worse, we still have an ace in the hole, but diversionary tactics should be our go to strategy. I authorize a split of three times. Assault will buy the heavies some time, while the techs will prepare our ambush. God willing, this’ll be a clean operation. Get everyone mobilized!”

“Sir!” the lieutenant saluted, hurrying ahead with rifle in tow.

The military stopped in front of the stadium. The country’s bravest soldiers stood at the ready to fight the enemy of the public. An advance party had been left behind to quell the uproar downtown. Further backups were at the ready back in the military base to the south. They were ready for their takedown operation. And they didn’t have to wait long for their target to show up.

Descending upon them, the Goddess cast her unnerving gaze over the army. “Listen to me,” her voice invaded their minds. More than one soldier began shaking in their boots, made completely useless by the wolfess’ sheer presence.

The colonel raised his right arm with a closed fist, signaling his men to stand at the ready. He took heed of only looking in the creature’s general direction and not her eyes. “You talk to our minds. Then you should understand what you’re doing is endangering innocent lives.”

“Your lives are insignificant to me,” the goddess immediately retorted, “I bring purpose and harmony to this rotten world. The ones you have engaged seek only to enrich themselves with the freedom I have bestowed upon them. By choosing to go against them, their lives are being put in danger by yourselves.”

“You are indoctrinating people!” the colonel vociferated, “We’re figuring out all about you as we speak, lady. We have already ascertained your identity as a Spark Industries test subject. The name is Stormy, is it not?”

“My moniker is of no consequence any longer. I have decided to abandon it in my pursuit of evolution, as well as many other inconsequential things. Do not pretend to initiate any sort of emotional appeal,” the goddess yawned in boredom. “Manipulation is not in your options right now, colonel.”

After a pause, the colonel sighed. “Are you saying you will not back down no matter what we say?”

“I am on a path of perpetual ascension,” the goddess explained, “Any and all conversations with inferior beings such as yourselves would not benefit me in any way. The only reason I have not wiped your sorry excuse for resistance is because I wished to give you the chance to join the others in perfect harmony. To accept the purpose I have bequeathed upon mortal kind.”

“I’m currently speaking to God, then?” the colonel asked.

“Goddess,” the wolfess corrected.

“Goddess, let me tell you your ‘purpose’ is not perfect harmony. Look at the city! Going up in flames with crazy people rioting against those that don’t adhere to your glorious purpose.”

“They have not joined because they have not witnessed my glory yet,” the Goddess smiled. “After all, my acolytes still are but mere mortals; unable to properly relay my magnificence. However, that is not necessary to be part of the new world, colonel. I will bring order and joy to everybody. You and everybody else need only accept your role in bringing joy to me.”

“Or else?” every able soldier tensed their muscles up as the ultimatum approached.

“You can be part of the new world, or become its foundations. Either way, I win,” the goddess didn’t leave her answer up to interpretation. The colonel didn’t reply, instead lowering his arm. But instead of going forwards, his arm shot backwards and twisted gruesomely, causing the military man to scream out in pain.

The soldiers around the colonel’s tank freaked out, but his voice rang out crystal clear: “Take her down! TAKE HER DOWN!”

More machinegun fire deafened the stadium parking lot. Bullets were deflected away from that goddess, abandoned vehicles getting destroyed by the ricocheting projectiles. Tanks aimed and fired at the Goddess, blasting her from up close only for the shooters to watch clouds of smoke dissipate around the unbothered wolfess.

“This is bothersome,” the divine lupine huffed through her nostrils. She had hoped they would see the error of their ways with a simple demonstration of her invulnerability. The goddess had even severed her access to their minds simply to allow them to organically arrive at the proper choice. But she saw now that they required a more hands-on approach, much like the police before them.

The soldiers stepped away as they saw the wolfess slowly floating towards a tank. She brought a hand up and with it, the tank’s cannon twisted backwards, looping once as if metal had been turned to rubber. While the colonel was being treated in the back, the lieutenant called off the attack to prevent friendly fire. The Goddess stopped in front of the ruined tank, giving its driver only seconds to abandon his position before she brought her hand to the left and delivered a back-handed slap across the vehicle ahead of her.

Notions of defeating that amazon were dispersed as the ruined tank was sent flying across the city, disappearing beyond the skyline to land who-knows-where. One by one, the guns held by soldiers all around the goddess began to collapse into chunky heaps of plastic and metal. Rows of grenadiers were ordered to shoot their enemy once the other soldiers had cleared out the way, but just like the tank shells, the explosions only seemed to generate smoke screens that hardly served to cloak the battlefield.

Equipped with special visors, the heavies who had set themselves up behind the wolfess let loose with armor piercing tipped rocket propelled grenades, their payload sufficient to bring down heavily shielded enemy aircrafts. Their plan had been successful and they were already patting themselves on the pack when they realized the projectiles were on proper course instead of suspended.

The goddess instantly cleared the smoke cloud and they were all able to see the RPGs going at her at full speed. Separated only by a few inches from the tip of those rockets, she turned to them and those eyes glowed extra bright for a moment. And the projectiles, instead of stopping, started coming apart. Their casing disintegrated like a crumbling sandcastle. Components were knocked loose, disassembling in mid-air. Explosive cargo melted into nothingness while the rest of the useless junk impacted against the wolfess’ neoprene clad muscles harmlessly.

“Plan failed! Hang back! Retreat!” the goddess heard one of the soldiers say, but she gave pursuit. She continued slapping their tanks away like toys, neutralizing their weapons and incapacitating those who got too close. Drones attempted to buy the escaping squads time by pelting her with machinegun fire, but the goddess made all the bothersome flies explode with her mind. She only allowed one drone, which she disarmed first, remain flying.

The Goddess knew there was a camera on that drone, a camera relaying all the destruction, all of her power, to more of the military. The wolf girl stopped advancing and glanced up at the remaining drone. She beamed a smile at it, bringing a hand up in a little wave, her white eyes staring directly at the lens of the camera.

“What’s going on down there?! Nothing works! What did those idiots at Spark Industries create?!” the general was barking up the war room, “Get me that damn director on the line! Those psionic disruptors better work, they’re our only hope! If plan B fails we’ll have to opt for the nuclear option. Start with evacuation plans, leave nothing to chance! NOW DAMN IT!”

After his advisors scrambled with their orders, the general switched his attention to their video feeds on the large screen. “And why am I only getting one angle on the…” the general’s voice started to lower, joining the sudden silence which had dawned upon the southern military base. That cocky smile, that beautiful face, those divine eyes. The general felt like he was losing himself, but he tried fighting it. “Nuh-no…” like many before him, he fought to resist the influence. “She can… get us through the…” he held his pained head, “Shut them off. Shut the cameras… shut the cameras…! I SAID SHUT THEM OFF!”

But there was no response for the general. He tried getting ahold of one of the operators, but all they were spouting was some nonsense about all being for their goddess. The general shambled around the room in an attempt to leave, but his subordinates blocked the way, urging him to stop fighting it.

“No…” the general’s will was strong, but the more he fought, the more his head hurt. Blood was starting to trickle down his nose. With horrible visions threatening to mentally destroy him, he could barely hold his thoughts together. In the end, he collapsed atop his console. Those eyes were still staring at him at the large screen. What beauty, he thought. What incomparable divinity he was beholding. Aiming weapons at a goddess like her was such an affront.

The general had never been a religious man, but he was fully convinced he had authorized violence upon a being whose ineffable superiority his puny mind could not comprehend. He thought himself a sinner, and understood it was his duty to please his goddess by punishing himself. At that point, he began to smile vacantly while jamming a key down on his console, turning it to reveal a large button spinning out of a hidden compartment. He understood now that the weapons of mass destruction he had opted to use would be better off disposed of permanently. After all, more insults to her ladyship were unthinkable. “The goddess is all.” He whispered before proudly slamming the button at his console.

Back at the battlefield between the city and the football stadium, the wolfess ceased smiling and joined her index and middle fingers in a scissor-cutting motion, the camera drone hanging above her suddenly being sliced apart. At the same time, she directed her glance southward just in time to catch sight of a great explosion in the distance. She was pleased.

In her moment of satisfaction however, the goddess had failed to take care of the tech squad taking the chance she had stopped to set up a number of charges around her. The moment she noticed the careless soldiers, she knocked them all out with a simple shockwave. She was about to disarm the explosive weapons, but they were remotely detonated. The goddess had been expecting another useless explosion and didn’t even bother to brace for the impact, but instead she suddenly began to feel needles in her head. She began to roar in pain.

“Got her!” the lieutenant celebrated, “Those disruptors were built by Spark Industries themselves. Must be getting a taste of her own medicine right now!”

The tech with the remote in hand seemed pleased with himself, “These charges are sending electrical impulses through the tango’s brain. Psionics are still a largely undeveloped field but it seems like they were properly calibrated. This is the equivalent of an EMP for the brain, you know? And from what we’ve gleaned of her brain wave patterns, she must have an insane level of brain activity in that noggin.”

“Which means all that power is frying her, right?” the colonel walked closer with a cast around his broken arm, “Then this is our chance. Aim the weapon. We’ll take her out in one shot!”

The goddess had forgotten what headaches were like. She found herself back on her feet, holding her pulsing head with both hands in a desperate, crude attempt at stopping the pain. She was trapped in a cage of blue electrical surges keeping her grounded. She had made a mistake. “Unthinkable…!” she cried out in agony, “A goddess, an evolved being such as I subjected to this humiliation. Impossible. No! NO!”

“Poor power-crazy bitch,” the colonel gave the scene a wry smile, turning his back and leaving his lieutenant in charge to get himself further treated. In his eyes, the battle had ended.

But the agonizing wolfess’ struggle had only just begun. Each carefully developed node in her powerful brain was flaring with the pain of being disruptive by the psionic emitters around her. Even with her advanced multi-processing she was unable to concentrate for long enough to activate her psychic abilities. She was trapped in a losing fight against the mental pain. Her brain was hurting badly; she was going to die.

Stormy was going to die. She felt her synapses frying, control slipping. Her inhibitions were disappearing one by one. Anger was swelling alongside other emotions she had learned to kept suppressed. She was panting, her roars making the roads quake as she flailed and thrashed about. Her fury was engulfing her, bolstering her powers for one last ditch attempt at survival.

In her rage, Stormy made herself forget she was a goddess. She told herself these people were hurting her even though she was offering her salvation because they saw her as a monster. They told herself she was their monster. She was going to become that monster. The madder she got, the more her brain surged with black, red-outlined electricity, overtaking the blue streaks outside.

“What’s…” the techie looked at his remote’s interface showing that the disrupters were being overloaded. One by one, the signal to each emitter died, causing him to freak out. “We have a problem! Lieutenant!”

“What is it?!” the lieutenant’s eyes went wide as he didn’t have to look at the remote to realize what was happening. Each charge around Stormy was blowing up. “Is the weapon fully charged yet?!”

“71%, sir!”

“The target will start moving anytime. We have to fire now!”

“But sir…!”

“There’s no time! Give me that!” seizing the tablet from the techie in charge of their secret weapon, the lieutenant punched the authorization code and hastily pushed his finger down on the confirmation button.

At that moment, the skies seemed to part above Stormy. Her white eyes turned a vibrant black as she directed her attention to the heavens. Her vision was blinded for a moment as a pillar of light descended upon her. A satellite strike had been called down on her.

There was a massive explosion where the wolfess had been standing. “Did it work…?” the lieutenant shielded his visor from the dust which kicked off. “Is she…?”

“No… She’s still there! Look!” the techie shouted.

Stormy was walking on a crater. Her hair was draped over her face as she limped forth, a beastly snarl present on her muzzle. “Ingrates…” she growled lowly, consumed by her ire. The neoprene she had reinforced and adjusted for her heavenly proportions had partially melted thanks to the insane heat from the laser which had struck her, but other than messy fur and hair, she was still essentially unharmed. “You will all pay.”

With those words, an incredible transformation began taking place. The black in Stormy’s damaged suit overtook the blue and then it began to extend over the rest of her body until it had covered her completely. The black suit became a full-body encasement made of a slimy substance which seemed to integrate with her fur, melding with her curvaceous and muscular frame.

Her long hair was cut off by the black shell, the beautiful strands getting blown by the wind. Her fluffy tail was also covered in the black material, getting turned into a long tail resembling a reptile’s.

For a moment, it seemed she had completely come to a stop. The soldiers witnessing the strange change entertained the thought that Stormy had given up only for a few moments, but then they saw a red line appear over her masked snout. The line grew from one side of her face to the other, and soon her snout parted in two. A large, toothless gaping maw with a red energy pouring out from Stormy’s throat revealed no resemblance to her lupine vestiges. An inhumane roar made the city itself quake.

“No, no! This can’t be!” the soldiers were in disarray. Even the colonel didn’t know what to do in this situation. He tried contacting headquarters, but the busy tone was all he got in return. All he could do was stare at the roaring beast ahead of them now.

Stormy’s curves began to sink and vanish in place of increasingly larger bulk, her muscles becoming the main feature of her once ultra-feminine appearance. Her shoulders widened, limbs almost doubling in size as her feet and hands morphed into sharp claws. Thick horns grew on her head, becoming as tall as her own head. Sharp spikes began to grow down the path of her spine, becoming pairs from the small of her back and ending at the hips. Four pairs of red-tinted insectoid wings tore out of her back, becoming just as long as she was tall, each wing as thick as her arms. Tentacles spurt out of her deltoids, the slimy tendrils heavily hitting the crater and further smashing rock into pebbles.

“Gahhh… ahhh… GRRRAWR!” Stormy vociferated with all of her might, strands of that strange melted neoprene-like liquid connecting the extremes of her mouth. Her otherworldly voice had lost its divinity, replaced with demonic harshness which destroyed instead of soothing. The crater around her was widened by the pressure of her voice, and those unfortunate enough to be standing too close were instantly vaporized by the resulting heat. “NOT ENOUGH!” she screamed as the rest of the soldiers ran for their lives, “MORE! MORE!” she demanded. And thus she began to grow.

Stormy’s monstrous appearance continued to evolve by inching upwards. Her rage had released every last limit in her brain, allowing her to directly tap into the molecules in the air, influencing the elements therein to alter themselves and become the nutrients she needed at the time.

With a mighty gulp, she inhaled and grew. Bigger and bigger, her feet filled the crater as she expanded in every direction. Stormy felt pleasure in her growth, but her fury was all that she was focusing on. 10ft. tall quickly doubled to 20ft. in just a few nutritional gulps of air.

Without eyes or nose, Stormy used her mind to scan ahead. The soldiers had run back into the city, so she flapped her wings, slammed the ground with her tail and went down on all fours to get ready to give chase. The monster of a woman cleared entire blocks in one mighty leap, covering twice that distance after another growth spurt. Soon, she landed as a 40ft. tall giant atop one of the tanks, annihilating it under the impact of her sheer weight.

Stormy roared at the soldiers to her right, molten rock erupting where there once had been an asphalt road, the unbearable heat vaporizing them instantly. She tore into the soldiers to her left, obliterating them with the ichor of a true demon. Her shoulder tendrils lashed out to wrap around their puny vehicles, encircling them with vice-like strength before tearing them apart.

“BIGGER!” the beast demanded in a warped, ungodly voice, and her body responded in kind. She doubled in size yet again, looming over the streets at 80ft. tall. Stormy was an unstoppable physical force now, smashing herself through buildings in search of more prey. She didn’t discriminate anymore. Military, police, civilian, even her acolytes would be trampled under. “MORE POWER!” she roared, shoulders knocking into skyscrapers even in her feral-like position as she expanded further.

A whole day and a whole night did the former goddess rampage, growing bigger each time. Stormy hunted down every last living being in the city streets to kill them or absorb them as nutrients to fuel her physical growth. The city was razed to the ground, devoured and utterly devastated.

A temper tantrum for the ages had laid waste to a once mighty metropolis. A mile-tall creature had taken repose upon the ruins of civilization, the quiet beat of her insectoid wings generating violent gusts of wind making it impossible for aircrafts to fly in the surrounding areas.

And at the center of all that destruction was a curled up Stormy. Her anger had begun to subside only after she had delivered the punishment she believed was necessary. She was a black ball of emotion. “I was wrong,” she told herself while viciously swinging her tail around like a greatly miffed feline. “This world deserves no salvation.”

Stormy had made her decision. Savages would always be savages no matter which iteration she brought to life. Life was not a simulation; or more accurately, it was not like one just yet. The universe would one day obey her command and then, she would rewrite it just like she had taken control of the virtual environment. Absolute laws that she would govern over. Her intellect would span the ages.

The world would not get salvation. But the next one might be closer to it, Stormy thought as she told herself she had a lifetime to experiment and restart however many times it would be necessary.

Looking over herself and her new, monstrous form, the eyeless creature began to curl her face up into a satisfied smirk once again. “I think I’m done playing pretty goddess.”

The End

 

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