Transference – Chapter 1 – The Session – by lostandwhatever

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I saw there was a video game called “Transference” released recently. I love the title, but the game seems a bit average. It did give me an idea for a story with some mental TFs, though. Hope you like it.

“We have to do it today,” Julie said.

“No,” Mark said.

“Everything is ready. We checked all the equipment. We just have to do it.”

“No,” he said. “My wife is coming home tonight.”

She rolled over in bed to look at him directly and let the sheets slip off her enough to reveal her breasts to him. “All the more reason to do it now. It could be weeks before she’s out of the house again for this long.”

“Julie…” he said, but stopped when the baby began to cry in the next room. He sighed and got out of bed. “Not today,” he said as he pulled up his pants and left the room to deal with his young daughter.

It was Julie’s turn to sigh now. Mark was brilliant. There was no denying that. He was a respected professor and researcher. No one understood the brain and memories as well as he did. And, even though she was only a graduate student and a research assistant, Julie knew that he was on to something big, revolutionary even. He just lacked the courage to take the next step. It would be up to her, then, to give him the push he needed.

She slipped on her underwear and her tank top, leaving her jeans on the floor. She knew he would be easier to persuade without pants. Then, she joined him in the baby’s room.

“She’s not wet,” Mark said as he set the baby down in the crib. “And, I don’t think she’s hungry yet either. Probably just missing Melissa. Babies need their mommies.”

Julie put a hand on his shoulder and massaged it gently. “We’re running out of time,” she said.

“There’s no rush.”

“It could be years before they give you approval for human testing,” Julie said. “We have the proof that it works.”

He turned to face her. “With rats,” he said. “Sure, we can transfer memories from one rat to another, teach a rat to run a maze it’s never seen before.” He shook his head. “The human mind is hardly the same as a rat mind. The difference in complexity alone…”

“It works,” Julie said, taking his hand in hers. “And, as soon as we can prove that it works, we can get private funding. We can patent the machine we built. We can sell it to the highest bidders.”

“I’m not in this to get rich. I never was.”

“It will transform the world,” she said. Then, she walked up to him and pressed her chest into his, hugging him gently. She whispered into his ear, “Think of the possibilities. You could give a kid a high school education before she even learns how to walk. You could spread the wisdom of every great physicist, every great mathematician, every great doctor alive to every student in the world. You could train an army of green recruits into special forces soldiers overnight. The light bulb? Computers? The Internet? They’re nothing compared to what your idea will do to the world. It will change what we are as a species on a fundamental level. Your impact on humanity will be immeasurable.” She kissed his cheek. “And, it will make us billions. That seems fair. Doesn’t it?”

He sighed, and she could tell he was almost convinced.

She stepped back and said, “I’ll set up the machine. You just bring your daughter down to the basement when you feel ready to make history.”

She walked out of the room without looking back and headed for the basement. She knew he would come. Maybe money was not enough to motivate him, but he had the weakness of all brilliant men: an ego begging for recognition.

He would come.

***

Sure enough, as soon as Julie had the machine set up, she heard Mark walking down the basement stairs to his private lab. She looked up from the control console to see him holding his half-asleep baby daughter in his arms.

Julie smiled at him and said, “Good. You can put her in the right chamber. The machine is primed, the testing equipment is in place, and the cameras are ready to roll.”

He walked up to the machine and looked at the pair of glass dodecahedron chambers with trepidation. Each one was about 5 feet tall. They were connected with a metal box containing the guts of the machine. He paused before putting his daughter inside.

He asked Julie, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Of course,” she said, trying to sound more sure than she felt. “We’ve tested everything. I believe in our work.”

“I do too,” he said. “But, something could still go wrong.”

“It won’t”

He sighed and opened the door to the right chamber. Carefully, he set his daughter down on the pentagonal floor next to a small piano keyboard. Then, he shut the door, sealing his little girl inside.

When he joined Julie at the control console, she kissed his cheek again and said, “Don’t worry. Just follow the testing we developed and everything will be fine.”

Julie started the cameras while Mark double-checked the setup one last time. She stepped between the three cameras, clapped her hands to synchronize the sound, and announced the date, the time, the location, and finally declared, “I am Julie Frank, 23 years old. Running the experiment is Dr. Mark Smith. This is Human Testing, Session 1, ready to begin.”

Julie walked over to the empty chamber, opened the door, and crawled inside. It felt more cramped than it looked outside, but she was hardly claustrophobic, having participated in repeated MRI scans as part of their experiments.

“Can you hear me?” she called to Mark.

“Loud and clear,” he said as he typed on his keyboard. “Prepping the first transference experiment: piano-playing knowledge.”

Julie addressed the camera aimed at her chamber, “Dr. Smith will be transferring a copy of my knowledge of how to play a piano to the girl in the other chamber.”

“Katie,” Mark said. “My daughter, aged 11 months.”

Julie explained, “The girl has no musical training or practice with a piano keyboard.” Julie picked up the piano keyboard in her own chamber, set it on her lap, and played half a minute of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.” “As you can see, I know how to play piano. I have had years of lessons as a child and have kept up my skills by practicing as an adult.” She looked over at the baby in the next chamber and noticed that little Katie had been watching her play, curiously. Julie set her keyboard down and said, “It’s your turn to play now.”

She looked at Mark and nodded. He hesitated a moment and then pressed a button, saying, “Transference One: activated.”

The machine between the two chambers whirred to life, causing a charged field to fill each chamber. Julie knew what to expect from having watched the same experiment done on rats countless times, but the experience of it was something else. It felt as though her whole body was buzzing as the energy penetrated her skin, muscles and bone all the way down to her nerves, and, more specifically, her brain. Then, there was a strange moment, that she realized must have been the machine synching up both participants’ nervous systems. She had a dual perspective from both chambers, as she looked out of two pairs of eyes and listened through two pairs of ears at once. Her thoughts mingled with the simple thoughts of little Katie to the point that it was hard to tell what were her ideas and what were the baby’s. All separations fell away. She was a baby and a woman all at once. Neither perspective felt wrong or right. There was no “me” and “her” or even a “we,” just a combined “I,” a singular perspective in two minds.

Then, there was a feeling of splitting apart. She seemed to be cleaved in two. One half of her pulled away as the other half settled back into the woman’s body in the left chamber. The buzzing sensation persisted gently, but she no longer felt the baby’s mind mixed with her own. Her mind contained only her own thoughts now.

“Wow” was all she could manage to say.

Mark asked, “How are you feeling?”

Julie smiled and said, “That was a wild trip. I could feel the two of us together for a moment. It was… unreal.”

“Let’s see if the transference was successful,” Mark said, as he approached his daughter’s chamber. He knelt down next to her without opening the door and said, “Hi, Katie.”

His daughter smiled and giggled up at him and then gurgled a bit of baby talk, while reaching for the glass between them.

“Can you play something on the piano?” he requested, pointing at the keyboard in the baby’s chamber.

Katie’s eyes focused on the black and white keys, a look of fascination and recognition filled her face. She crawled up to the keyboard and sat herself in front of it. She positioned her hands above the keys and slowly began to play. Mark and Julie both smiled to hear the girl playing back the same Beethoven song. Sure, she played “Fur Elise” slowly and with the wobbly tempo one would expect from a girl too young to even walk a few steps, but she clearly knew the song.

“Success,” Mark declared and turned to address the cameras. “We have managed to transfer a copy of Julie’s knowledge of piano playing into Katie’s mind. Katie now possesses the same skill that Julie possesses after only seconds of transference.”

Julie listened to the girl play and said, “It’s working. It’s really working. Let’s do the next test.”

Mark returned to the control console, and started the program for the next experiment.

Julie addressed the camera again, “This time, Dr. Smith will be transferring a copy of my reading skills to Katie. First, a control test.”

A television screen next to Katie’s chamber began to display a series of single words, phrases, and short sentences:

TOES

TOUCH YOUR NOSE.

CLAP YOUR HANDS.

RIGHT FOOT

WHERE IS DADDY?

HOLD UP A THUMB.

As soon as the words had appeared, Katie looked up from the keyboard to watch them, but she did not react at all. Instead, she went back to playing on the keyboard.

“No reaction,” Mark said. “I will now initiate the second experiment.” He hit a button and said, “Transference Two: activated.”

The low-level buzz picked up in intensity again, and, once more, Julie felt her mind mingle with Katie’s mind until it became their shared mind again. Baby and woman were one, yet she sat in two places at once, feeling all the sensations of each body. She lifted her right hands and opened and closed her ten digits at once. Then, the separation came back again. Woman and baby were pulled apart, and Katie felt herself alone in the right chamber again.

The baby looked up at the screen in front of her and saw the words, “TOUCH YOUR NOSE.” She put a finger to her nose.

“CLAP YOUR HANDS,” she silently read. Then, she clapped her hands a few times and giggled.

“RIGHT FOOT.” She laid on her back and lifted her right food into the air.

“WHERE IS DADDY?” She turned to look at Daddy standing outside of her chamber and pointed at him. She smiled. This was fun! Reading was fun!

Julie had her face up to the glass of her chamber trying to get a view of the girl and the screen, but it was hard to make out what the screen said through all the panes of glass. “Did it work?” she asked. “Is she reading.”

Mark said, “She is! Amazing. She’s really reading the words.” He grabbed the TV and pulled it over to where Julie could see it better. “Look,” he said. “She’s responding based on what she reads.”

Words appeared on the screen and Katie lifted up her left hand. Then more words appeared and the baby covered her ears with both hands. Julie was a bit confused though. The words did not seem to make any sense.

“Mark,” she said. “Did you change the text of the messages?”

“No,” he said. “They’re the same ones you wrote for the test.”

Julie looked at the words again. She could make out individual letters, but they were ordered in a confusing way. None of them appeared to form up into actual words. “Are you playing a trick on me?” she asked. “Is that some kind of foreign language?”

Mark looked at her with concern in his eyes. “No,” he said. “It’s English. Those are the words you wrote for the test. I swear they are.” He approached her and asked, “Can’t you read them?”

Julie squinted and tried to read the words on the screen, but, as hard as she concentrated, she could not decipher them. “I can’t read them,” she said with growing panic in her voice. “Oh, God,” she cried. “I can’t read them. I can’t read!”

Mark ran to grab a book from a shelf. He returned to Julie and knelt down in front of her chamber, holding the book open to the glass for her to see. “Can you read any of the words?”

She looked at the jumble of letters and marks on the page, but she might as well have been staring at hieroglyphics for how much sense she could make of them. “No,” she said. “I can’t read it.”

She closed her eyes and searched her mind, peering deep inside to find the words she knew must be there somewhere. She could remember reading before, hundreds of books and articles over her whole life. She could even remember the cover of her favorite book, but the image of it was all she could see. The words on it were meaningless to her. She imagined a bookcase in her mind and tried to picture a shelf filled with her knowledge of reading. The shelf appeared nearly empty. The many volumes of words that had been there had been replaced by a few children’s books worth of alphabet knowledge.

She opened her eyes and looked at Katie, still following the directions on the screen, lifting parts of her baby body and pointing at things.

“She has my reading,” Julie said, pointing at the baby. “You transferred it out of me into her. She stole it from me!”

“That… That’s impossible,” Mark stammered. “The rats in the tests all showed that they retained their knowledge after the transference to other rats. None of them forgot anything.”

Julie picked up the piano keyboard again. She thought about all the endless hours of practicing she had suffered through as a girl. She tried to play it again, but after touching one key, she had no idea where to put her fingers next. She tried just pressing keys, but only random notes came out. She could not play it anymore. “I can’t play,” she said, horror filling her voice. “I can’t play, and I can’t read. You transferred out my skills into that kid!”

Piano music could be heard again. For a moment, Julie felt relieved and looked down at her hands, expecting to see them playing. Then, the horror returned as she realized that she was not touching her keyboard. It was Katie playing again, seemingly mocking Julie with her precocious musical skills.

Julie looked at Mark, desperately, “You have to fix this,” she snarled. “Give me my mind back!”

“We have to cut the power and get you two out of there.”

“No!” Julie said. “If we disrupt the field now, the transference would be unstable. We’d need to wait a hour at least to let our brains settle. If we do it too fast, there could be damage.” There already was damage, she realized, but that was a thought she would rather avoid right now.

“I know that,” he said. “But, it might only get worse if we don’t stop it now.

“No,” she said. “We can fix this.”

Mark set the book down and started opening panels on the machine that connected the two chambers. “I’ll see if there was some mechanical failure,” he said as he looked at wires and circuit boards.

Julie said, “I’ll check the signal equipment in here.” She pulled open a panel next to a pair of flat metallic discs, where the output and input signals came from the machine and back again. If there were a problem with the signal, then the discs might be the cause. The two of them poked around inside the machine for a few minutes, but neither could not find any problems.

Mark said, “It can’t be the equipment. We would have found it by now.”

Julie crossed her arms and thought a moment. She said, “What if it’s a fault in the signal equipment in the other chamber?”

Mark walked over to Kate’s chamber and said, “I can’t see any problem with the equipment from here.”

“If there were a problem with the signal discs on her side, that might explain the transference problems. There might be something wrong inside the equipment that we can’t see from the outside.”

“I can’t reach it from here.”

Julie realized a solution, but she hesitated to even think about it. After considering as many alternatives as she could come up with, there was only one idea left. She shared her idea with Mark. “I think I know how we can check the equipment in the other chamber.”

“Shut the field down?”

“No,” she said. “We could get Katie to check the equipment.”

“Katie’s a baby,” he said. “What do you expect her to do? Chew on the wires?”

“If she knew what to look for, she could reach the panel.”

“Wait,” he said. “Are you suggesting…?”

“Transfer my knowledge of the machine to the baby.”

“Julie… that would mean.”

“I know,” Julie said. “I know, but what other option do we have? If the baby can find the problem and fix it, then we can reverse the transference, and we’ll both be back to normal.”

“That’s a big ‘if,’” Mark said. “It might not even be a problem with the equipment. What do we do then, when you don’t even know how the equipment works anymore?”

“We have to take the risk,” Julie said. “Do you have a better idea?”

Mark hesitated and said, “No.”

“Then set up the transference,” she said.

“Fine,” he said and went to work on the console. “I’ll do it. I don’t like this, but I’ll do it.”

Julie sat and waited as Mark worked. There was nothing more for her to do but wait and worry over what was about to happen. She thought about all she had lost so far. The idea of losing more of her mind was terrifying, but there was no way she was about to give up now. The machine was working… almost. They just had to sort out this one bug. Simple, really. But, the cost… She would forget the machine, maybe more. The damage to her mind would get worse. She had always prided herself on her mind, and now that was slipping away. If it was gone, what would she be?

Mark said, “I think I have it set. This should work… I hope.”

“I trust you,” Julie said.

“Ready?”

She shut her eyes and took a breath. “Do it.”

Without any announcements or fanfare, he pressed a button. The field intensified, and again, Julie felt her mind pressed together with Katie’s mind. They were one again, and then Katie felt her mind separate from the woman’s mind. Again, Katie was alone in her own body in the right chamber.

“Katie?” Mark said. “Can you hear me?”

“Yes,” Katie said. “I heawr you.” She gasped. “Wait? I jus… spoke. I’m speaking!” She could hear her own high, baby voice as her mouth formed words like it had never done before, like no baby had ever done before. “Dis is so stwange. I know how tuh speak, but I never werned how tuh speak. It’s wike wif da piano. I jus… ged it. Dis is amazing.”

Mark crouched down outside of her chamber and said, “We need your help, Katie. Can you check the equipment in your chamber to see if there are any mechanical failures?”

“Um,” Katie said, looking up at the access panel next to the signal discs. “I guess. Weiwed dat I know whut dat is… or any of dis.” She crawled over to the panel and tried to stand herself up with her arms against the wall. Unfortunately, a few seconds later, before she could open the panel, she lost her balance and plopped back down on her butt. “Oof,” she said. “Dis is hawrd.”

“Try again, sweetie,” Mark said.

“Okay, Daddy,” she said. “I’w’ll twy.” Once more, she got up on her feet, but fell back down again before she could get inside the machine. “Is no good,” she said. “I don’ haf da bawence.”

Julie had been listening from her chamber and had decided to offer some advice. She said, “Ah baweeb owah oobie wah.” She gasped and put a hand to her mouth, shocked at what had come out of it. Frantically, she cried, “Wah ooh yah woo yah?”

Katie asked, “Whut’s wong wif her?”

Mark walked up to Julie. “What is it?” he asked her.

Julie pointed at her mouth and said, “Bah wah mah wabba?”

“You’re asking about your speaking ability?”

Julie nodded. “Yawa.”

“Well,” he said. “I thought that was what you meant for me to do. How else would Katie be able to tell us if she found something wrong if she couldn’t speak?”

“Ah wah,” Julie said and babbled to herself a little. She still felt upset, but she was more resigned to her fate. Mark was right about Katie needing to speak. Nonetheless, she was not happy about being unable to either read or speak now. She retreated back into her memories again as she realized that the other shelves in her mental bookcase were emptying out one by one. She thought of her grandmother after the old woman had suffered a stroke. She had lost the ability to speak as well. That had always disturbed Julie as a girl although it did give her a lifelong curiosity about the brain. She had always wondered what it would feel like to lose part of her mind like that. Now she knew.

“Daddy,” Katie said. “I’m scawed.”

Mark turned to his daughter. “Don’t be afraid, sweetie,” he said. “We just need to help you balance better.” He looked back at Julie. “We need to help her balance if she’s going to get into the access panel. She needs your motor control.”

Julie shook her head.

“Do you have a better idea?”

She thought for a moment and then sadly shook her head again.

Mark went back to his console and started to prepare for the next transference. Julie and Katie waited. They looked at each other, and Julie was disturbed to see the look of recognition in Katie’s eyes. This baby knew what was happening. In fact, this baby was partially her now. It had a good chunk of her mind inside of it, and, in a moment, it would have even more.

Mark asked, “Are you two ready?”

Katie said, “I guess. Yah.”

Julie looked at Mark. She hesitated for a few seconds. She could shake her head, and they could admit defeat. She could still walk away, and they could try again another day although that would mean leaving with so much of her mind trapped in that baby. Could she allow that? No. They had to keep trying.

Julie nodded, and Mark started the transference again.

Katie and Julie locked eyes as the machine revved up again. Their minds joined almost instantly this time. Now, there was one mind looking at itself through four eyes. Eyes reflected into eyes again and again to infinity, like a room full of mirrors. Then, the mirrors fell away, and the two minds pulled apart.

Katie shook her head and said, “That was really intense that time.” She sat up and stood up. Looking down at herself in wonder, she said, “I’m standing. I’m standing?” She held up her pudgy hands and flexed her stubby fingers. They looked weird, fat and misshapen, like inflated latex gloves. She looked down past her baby gut to her stubby feet below. “Wow,” she said. “My body looks… wrong. I feel so short and pudgy. I mean, I know I’m a baby. I just feel… I feel like I should be shaped like a grown up. Strange.”

Meanwhile, Julie lay down in her own chamber and tried to think of something to do. Very few ideas came to mind. She decided she might like to suck on her toes. That was always calming. When she tried to pull her foot to her mouth, she found her leg would not bend that far. Something was wrong with her body. She looked down at herself curiously, and discovered a pair of strange lumps on her chest. She touched them experimentally and smiled when they felt good to touch. Then, she noticed her hands. Her fingers were so long… way too long. So, were her arms, and her legs. Her whole body seemed to stretch on forever, and her feet seemed miles away. No wonder she couldn’t get her toes into her mouth. After careful consideration of her options, she decided to fondle one of the lumps on her chest in one hand and suck on her thumb in the other hand. With her hands and mouth occupied, she drifted off into mindless bliss.

Mark watched as Julie sucked her thumb and played with herself, and then Katie noticed him. She saw the empty expression on his face as he looked at the empty-headed woman in the other chamber. She wanted to help him, but she also worried that there was something going on here that she could not understand. Best to focus on the machine, she decided. “Dad,” she said. “I’m going to check inside the access panel.”

He looked at her strangely, as if he was unsure of who she was. Katie decided that was not an unfair response. Even she was struggling to understand who she was now. Less than an hour ago, she had no idea how to even speak properly. Now, she was preparing to assist in a complex neural experiment involving cutting-edge electrical engineering.

Rather than dwell on the strangeness, she got to work. After opening the panel, she scanned inside the machine, checking connections and looking for damage to the equipment. She jiggled some of the wires and soon found the problem. “It’s the input signal disc,” she said. “The connection is loose. I can feel it. It must be getting only an intermittent signal. Strange that the software didn’t detect that problem.”

Mark cleared his throat and said, “Do you think you can fix it?”

She shook her head. “Not really,” she said. “If I had some tools, maybe. Well, at least we know the problem now. We just need to come up with a workaround.”

Mark returned to the console and gave Julie another long look. The woman had switched thumbs and breasts but continued to play with herself as the baby in the other chamber tried to solve the failure of the experiment.

“I’ve got it!” Katie declared. “We can cut the power to the input disc.”

“How?” Mark said. His mind was not focused on the machine.

“Well, all you need to do it reconfigure the output disc to work as both an output and an input. You’ll just need to alternate between the two functions at the same frequency as the field. It should work.”

Mark looked at Katie again. Then, he stared off into the distance as his mind reviewed her idea. He nodded. “That’s actually pretty brilliant,” he said. “That should work.” He started typing. “Yes, it will work. I’ll have it set up in a minute.” He gave his daughter a smile. “Well done, sweetie.”

Katie smiled. She felt relief at solving the problem, and she was proud to have impressed her dad. Then, she realized what she had done. She had given her dad a way to reverse the transfer. He would turn her back to normal again. Soon, she would be a drooling, mindless infant again. She turned to watch Julie in the other chamber and realized that was what she would look like soon. She shivered.

“Maybe we should think about this for a minute,” she said. “I feel like we’re missing something.”

“No,” Mark said as he focused on his monitor. “You found the answer. I’m sure of it.”

“Really? Are you really sure?”

“Yes,” he said. “And, I’m ready to start the transfer now. You may want to sit down, this will be a big one.”

Katie dutifully took a seat in her chamber. “‘A big one?’” she repeated. “Are you planning on reversing all the transfers?”

“Yes,” he said.

“All at once?”

“The machine can handle it.”

“Maybe,” Katie said. Something was nagging her in the back of her mind.

“Starting the transference in a few seconds,” Mark announced.

“The machine can handle it with two signal discs,” Katie said, thinking aloud. “What if it’s too much for one signal disc? There might be an overlo…”

She was cut off when the machine powered up for the transference. Immense energy once more flowed through the field and commingled Julie and Katie’s minds. Suddenly, the power surged, and the one signal disc in Katie’s chamber overheated. Then, there was silence and darkness, and the minds disconnected in both chambers and lost consciousness.

To be continued in Chapter 2 – The Aftermath

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I write mature transformation fiction: fantasy and sci-fi stories where characters change ages, sizes, genders, etc. For more info, email me at lostandwhatever@gmail.com

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  • In case people are wondering, I’m nearly done with the next chapter of Mary Christmas 2, but I felt inspired to write this story. It should only be about 3 chapters long. I’ll be posting it and the Mary chapters probably one after the other for a little while. Thanks for reading!

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