Fine Tuning the Bull

Hank couldn't tell if he was having a dream or a nightmare. Being in the middle of it was keeping him from being very aware of where and what was really happening.

He was in the chute at a bull riding competition, sitting on the biggest Bull he had ever seen. All his friends were manning the chute and his best friend from high school, Chet, was in the arena dressed and painted up as the Rodeo Clown.
Hank had the bull rope wrapped just right and nodded to the gate men. The gate opened and Hank was flying into the arena on top of what seemed like three thousand pounds of bull. And Hank was holding his own.

Chet was helping get the bull to buck harder and just as Hank's eye drifted across the timer flashing to three seconds; something went all weird. It seemed like the bull rope got a bit tighter, while the bull seemed just a bit smaller. Then Hank saw a shocked expression on all the men around the arena. He finally noticed that as the Bull was coming back down from a buck, Hank's feet started to brush the ground.

It all went to hell after that. The bull rope snapped and Hank thought he's be flying off in one direction or another. But that wasn't happening. His feet hit the ground at just an angle that he was able to run forward to keep from falling. He kept moving away from where he was sure the bull would be bucking, only to find that he couldn't see the bull over his shoulder. Then he glanced down at his hip level and saw the head of his friend Chet. He stood up straight just in time to give the bull enough space to run through his legs and off towards the closest exit. The bull couldn't have been two feet tall at that point and when he turned to the chute and his buddy Chet, he found out something else wasn't the right size.

Everybody was just staring at Hank in shock. He slowly walked over to the chute and found out that the seven foot tall railings just reached up above his hips. Hank was at least twelve feet tall. And big with it. He took a better look at his body and he was looking like a human version of a big ole bull.

Of course, that's when all the men there pulled out a cattle prod and started to herd Hank over to one of the bull exits in the Arena. For all his complaining, they didn't stop until the buzzer sounded and he was through an exit.

The Buzzer turned into a phone ringing. That's what woke him up. Still groggy from the dream, he didn't look at the caller ID when he answered his cell phone. "Hello!"

"Hank?" Hank couldn't place the deep bass voice and finally looked at his clock.

"Yes, this is Hank. And you are very lucky mid-terms are over with. Otherwise I would be very pissed off at being woken up at three fifteen in the morning. You do know what time it is, don't you?"

"Yes, Hank. I know what time it is. Please, Hank. I need some help and you're the only guy who can help me."

"Greg? Is that you?'

"Yeah. I was.."

"Where the hell have you been? I have tried to reach you at your cell phone for the past three days. You missed your Chem Lab mid-term and the professor says you better have a good excuse for him to let you take it late. And I have been worried you might have been mugged or gotten into an accident. I even called the hospital twice."

"Hank, please. I was in an accident, but it happened in my Lab. I guess nobody thought to check there. But I can't go to the hospital. I need your help with the Emitter Array. I can't work on it in my... condition."

"You're condition?"

"Just please come to my Lab. OK, Hank. You're the only one I can trust to help me with this."

"OK, Greg. I'll get dressed and be over in ten minutes. Make sure the Hall Alarm's off, or were gonna get chewed out by security again."

"It's off. Just hurry, OK?"

OK, Buddy. I'm on my way."


As requested, the Hall Alarm was in standby mode. Hank tried opening the Lab door and found it locked. His knock brought a huge shadowed form to the door. "Hank?"

"Yeah, ya goof. Open the door."

As the door opened the shadow moved away from it. "And why did you have it locked... in.. the.. first place? Greg? Is that you?"

Hank was presented with a massively muscled ten foot tall giant. With an expanded version of his roommates face slapped on it. His muscles were huge and his body was closer to the proportions you'd see on a gorilla. But the fragile smile was still the same old Greg.

"Yep, it's me. Too much of me and with hands that are at least three times as big as they used to be."

"You used the Mass Emitter. And after you promised to let me see it work."

Greg shook his huge head and sat down. "It was an accident. I was adjusting the field sensors and somehow tripped one of the computers activation programs through the interface. By the time I heard the Alignment Coils charge up, the computer had already locked the door to the Emitter Chamber."

"And you still hadn't found a way to make the thing emit the amount of Bio-mass you wanted and then stop."

"Still all or nothing. It's a good thing we only Absorbed eleven hundred pounds of Bio-mass from those three bulls, or I might have grown so large, I'd have crushed the whole system."

"Yeah, lucky. Just how tall are you at your one thousand three hundred pound self?"

"Ten feet tall and four feet wide. I barely was able to get out of the chamber when the computer finally unlocked the door. I didn't want to start forcing my way out for fear of damaging part of the equipment."

Hank noticed that Greg was wearing some strange looking pants and nothing else. "Is that what happens to clothing when it gets a boost of Bio-mass?"

"No, my clothes were shredded by the time the process was over. I had been going over the schematics in the computer, to try to see where I could change the right parts over to Absorbers, when the guy I share the Lab with walked in."

"Benny must have freaked when he saw you."

"Nope. Calm as a cucumber. And I finally found out why he has been so calm and understanding of my taking over most of the Lab for the past six weeks."

"Skunk weed?"

"Yep. You were right. Self medicated mellow. And he even chuckled when he saw I had no clothes. That was when he really sounded like a stoner. He had never talked that way before. He said 'Man you need a new pair of pants if you wanna walk around anywhere.' Like I was gonna go to the Student Union Cafe for a few dozen hamburgers, at ten feet tall and half a ton."

"So where did he get the pants for you. Circus-Giants-Are-Us?"

"His mom makes tents for a small company and she does it out of her house. Benny got my measurements and convinced his mom it was for a circus giant staying with cousins on campus."

"I didn't think to ask before. You must be starving. Have you had anything to eat in the past three days?"

"Well Benny got back here in under two hours and brought back five fried chickens from the Student Union Cafe. But for the rest of the time I've been using my credit card on three of the local Pizza Parlors that deliver."

"How did you keep from being seen when they brought them?"

"Oh, I didn't bother trying to hide. It was really handy knowing which of the delivery guys were gay from previous deliveries the last three semesters. Then I just asked for them specifically, to deliver the order. Present the right gay guy with a lot of flexing muscle and a big tip added to the bill and you would be amazed just how quiet they are. Plus I was ordering ten pizza at a time from the three pizza parlors at least five times in the past few days. That encourages the people to want a happy customer to keep on ordering."

"You've eaten one hundred and fifty pizza in the past two days?"

"Yeah, and don't go over to that side of the Lab. I couldn't fit in the bathroom down the hall, so I had to use the sinks on that side of the Lab. Thank God for good plumbing and Industrial Air Vent fans."

"OK TMI man. But thanks for the warning about that side of the Lab."


"I get the idea that you need me to do the work on the system, cause my hands still fit in to the equipment."

"And you were responsible for fabricating a third of the devices in the system from just my formulas and some pretty vague drawings. I know there's no one more qualified than you, to modify this correctly. I trust your work completely."

"Thanks, Buddy. Nothing like a pep talk from a ten foot tall, muscle bound physicist; to get me in the right frame of mind. So you've already lined up the schematics for me to use in the modification, right?"

"Yeah. That's why I didn't call anybody. I was having a hard enough time getting the computer to pull up the proper spec's and then let me copy and modify them. I just wanted the mods to be ready when I finally brought you in for help."

"And you hate people looking over your shoulder when you fight with the computer."

"I like to think of it as an electronic argument that I have a good chance of winning fifty percent of the time."

"Hey, how the hell did you work with the computer at all? Those monster mitts you now call your hands, are way too big to be punching single keys on the keyboard."

"You're telling me? I had to use two pencils to be able to 'hunt and peck' type into the computer. Lucky thing the pencil was weaker than the keyboard. The first time I got frustrated with the response to my commands, I got a bit more forceful and one of the pencils broke instead of the keyboard. I got a lot more patient with the wee electronic devil after that."

"And who told me that at times our research teaches us more about ourselves than what were researching?"

Greg chuckled. "Guilty as charged."

Their conversation was interrupted by a loud knock on the door. They glanced at the door and then each other. "Hey, Doctor G. It's Troy from Pizza Express. Ten more extra large Pizzas."

"Just a second, Troy."

Hank's frown melted into a chuckle and a shake of the head. "Doctor G? What have you been telling him?"

"I was so big he thought I was a teacher here. He knew my name was Greg, then he started flirting with me by calling me Doc Giant and Doctor Grande."

Greg opened the door to find Troy holding ten extra large pizzas and wearing a huge grin. "Here ya go Greg. Ya know I have excellent hearing, by the way. Besides, it was more fun pretending you were a teacher here and flirting with you that way, then just ogling all your huge muscles. I always like playful banter going along with my staring at some pretty massive muscles; better than just the silent stare. It lets the big guys know I see more than just the huge slabs of meat on their bod. Like those huge blue eyes, or that great big smile on your face."

Hank chuckled. "OK, Romeo, you've made your point. And if I ever hear that' you've stopped flirting with my friend, I'll have to have a word with your employer."

"I will keep that in mind. See ya Doc. Have a good morning."

Hank closed the door and turned to see one whole pizza get rolled up and then sucked down Greg's throat.

"My God. Did you even chew that?"

"I'm so hungry when they get here, I just have to get one down my throat and in my stomach before I can even think of chewing the rest of them."

"Hey. It's close to four in the morning. How did you get a Pizza Parlor to deliver this late?"

"Pizza Express has a deal with the Student Union Cafe around Mid-terms and Finals. For the days of the tests and a few days after, they keep the place open twenty four hours, but only for delivery. They pay the delivery guys extra and it helps them make ends meet." The second pizza was torn in to four pieces by this time and Greg actually chewed most of it up before he swallowed it.

"I'll have to remember that for finals. Do you think you can spare a few pieces of pizza, before I start wading through your modifications?"

His huge mouth working on the next quarter of a pizza, Greg was still able to be understood. "Sure. I'm sorry. You can grab a piece anytime." Greg handed his friend the third quarter pizza, but Hank wisely split in two. "And I'll leave half of the last pizza, so you can have some later."

"Thanks, Buddy." Hank walked over to the computer and keyboard, then rolled the mouse around to get the softwares attention. A screen popped up with the title 'Fourth Stage Modifications ~ Component Specification Charts/3D view of Actual Components and location in System'. A big grin spread across Hank's face. "Yeah! Just like I remember. You make my job easy, Dr G."

"Hey enough with the doctor. In fact, in this case, you are more of the doctor, than I am. You're the one whose going to get his hands into the guts of the machine and fix it so I can be closer to normal again. I just lined up pretty pictures for you."

"I will refrain from commenting on you, you're work here and the concept of normal. But these pretty pictures save me hours of pawing through the printed specs with a typed up Mod Log and figuring out what needs to be done. And this time I am going to insist you let me take two extra hours to finally calibrate that Bio-mass valve you insisted we didn't need. We both now know that your computer could not redirect the flow of Bio-mass back into the Storage Container, after the right amount got to the Emitters."

"I know you'll never actually say it, but I admit it. You told me so. You were right. There was far too much going on for the Computer or the software to be able to actually follow that particular command. And the simulation I used to test the software, didn't have all the proper sensor feedback data it needed to make a proper evaluation of the process. When I got out of the Emitter Chamber, I found ten error messages stacked on top of each other on the Process Complete Screen."

"Well thank you. You're a big, big man to admit it when you're wrong. And thank you for not pounding me over that bad pun. Oh.Here they are. You associated each Error Message with the Modifications needed to correct it."

"And the last fifteen pages of Modifications are for changing the System in the Lab so it can precisely remove a certain amount of Bio-mass from my body. I'm hoping that it will work better than the Mobile Absorption Unit, when we pulled the Bio-mass out of those Bulls."

"That first use of the unit was a shock. I never saw a Shetland Pony sized Bull before."

"Luckily your Uncle believed us when we told him it was a breeding experiment that failed."

"I think my Aunt had something to do with him going along with the story. They love that little guy. Even if he keeps on charging the cat when she's in his yard." Hank frowned and turned to Greg. "Not to be rude, but I'm gonna have to focus on all the things you need me to change on the System. And now as I get a better look at your face, I realize that you haven't had any sleep in the past three days. Why don't you push those two mats together and grab that clean tarp for a blanket. I'm going to go through these Mods to get them organized in my head, then have the computer print them out in order. While it's spitting out paper and you're cranking out Z's, I need to go over to your Ag Locker and get the MAU. That unit has all the components calibrated the way we need them and will save me at least three hours from having to calibrate the spare components you have here in the Lab. Sound like a plan?"

Hank was suddenly engulfed in a very tired, very large friend. "Thank you, Hank. You are my hero."

A muffled chuckle came from the center of Greg's embrace. "Well you're welcome. And thank you for not crushing my widdle body." As Greg released his friend, a sly grin played across Hank's face. "You do know, of course, that you owe me big time for this? And I do mean it the way the bad pun sounds."

"Hank, I will follow what ever you want to do, short of shrinking somebody down to GI Joe size, or blowing them up so big they can't move. I still don't have any idea if the human body can tolerate the pressure from being too big, or what size is a health hazard to the subject. But I promise I will get behind what ever you want to do, as long as we don't hurt anybody. Is that a deal?"

Hank's hand shot out and was engulfed by a hand three times his size. "Deal. Now get some shut eye and I'll get this Modification started."

Greg nudged the mats together as Hank sat back down at the computer. The tarp covered Greg as he told his friend, "Night, Hank."

"Sweet dreams, Buddy."

Greg was snoring within minutes. Hank was glad, as he had an idea about making a new Unit that would be as small as an old style Camera. But his idea included Absorbing as well as being able to Emit Bio-mass, without needing a chamber. He spent only a few extra minutes copying the parts needed for his version of Greg's system. He really had his friends best interest in mind, so that kept him working fast through all the documents of the Modification.

A chuckle popped out of Hank after fifteen minutes of working to Greg's soft snoring. "He's ten feet tall and he snores a lot quieter now." His grin carried through the rest of the day.

Read next part