Chip Off the Old Block (mm mc bd hum)

Copyright © 2002

DISCLAIMER: The usual applies to those who may have arrived here by some surfing accident. This is and adults-only story with gay and sexual themes. If you're a kid or if it's illegal to read this kind of stuff where you live, scram. Spare us all the headache.

FOR THE REST OF US: Be warned. This isn't my usual fare. This story and its characters took on a life of its own as I wrote it. There's plenty of sex and mind control early on, but around halfway through, it turns into a genuine love story and a tale of personal redemption. If you're looking for strictly one-handed reading material, you're gonna go away pissed by the last page of this one. Just thought I'd warn you going in. But if you want a real story, you've come to the right place. Enjoy.

Synopsis: A gorgeous but homophobic bully is forced to change his ways when a microchip is implanted in his body. (mc, mm, bd, hm)

View the dream cast for Chip Off the Old BlockBailey Sims was drop-dead gorgeous. He was tall, muscular, confidant, and charming. He had a youthful face, golden brown hair, and dancing eyes. He was the kind of guy that could make any young woman-or man-fall in love with him simply by walking into the room.

Unfortunately, Bailey Sims was also a complete asshole.

Bailey was attending college at a rather beautiful, historic university. The buildings, the grounds, even the hallways were simply beautiful. At the moment, Leonard Brandon was having trouble appreciating the beauty of those ivory halls, as Bailey Sims was shoving his face into them.

"Tryin' ta make me look stupid, smartass?"

"Not...much of a...challenge", grunted Leonard, as Bailey twisted his arms behind his back. Leonard was a typical science geek. He wasn't really that bad looking, except when he had the misfortune to stand beside someone who looked like Bailey Sims. Leonard had dark hair, a slightly oblong face, and a slim, somewhat gangly build. His college career was being paid for by more than one scholarship he had earned through his feats of scientific genius. That sounds cliche`, but for all intents and purposes, that was the case. Again, unfortunately for Leonard, his genius did very little to help him when a muscular demigod a head taller than him was forcing his face into a wall.

"Goddman brain trust!", Bailey snarled. Then, with the ease one might display when shaking out a beach towel, Bailey flipped Leonard around and bashed his shoulders against the wall. "You just had to go running off at the mouth and make me look clueless in there, didn't you, shithead?"

"A-all I did was answer the professor's question!", Leonard protested. "It's what we're in school for!"

"He asked me first, but you had to jump right in and answer it for me. Then, you had to go on and elaborate. 'Lookit me, lookit me, I'm smart and the big jock guy is a dumbass!' You little fuck--"

"You're out of your mind, I wasn't trying to make you look--"

Bailey grabbed Leonard by the shirt collar and yanked him close to his face. "Oh, so now I'm crazy AND stupid, huh?" Bailey lifted Leonard off his feet by several inches and planted him once again against the wall. "You just watch yourself when you're around me, you got that?" All Leonard could do was nod vigorously. He felt as though his heart was lodged in his throat.

Bailey let Leonard slide back down the wall to his feet and lightly slapped the side of his face. "Good boy." The large young man turned and walked away from the small science major, easily stepping around the large column which had concealed their confrontation. Leonard watched him as he was joined by three other well-built students, who greeted him with smiles and slaps on the back. Leonard straightened out his shirtfront, his hands trembling. He had so been looking forward to college. To get away from the small-minded musclejocks back home, to pursue his advanced scientific pursuits. But this whole exchange with the popular Mr. Sims; it was all high school.

Leonard gathered his books and backpack from where they had fallen on the floor when he was assaulted. If this was a one-time transgression by a creep with a brain the size of a chick-pea, Leonard was willing to shrug it off. But if this were to become a regular event? Leonard started back to the off-campus, ground floor apartment he had rented with some of his scholarship funds and was using as a personal lab. Leonard decided he had a new subject to study in addition to his already considerable classload. And the subject was Bailey Sims.

For the better part of the next term, Leonard kept a careful watch over Bailey Sims. He usually traveled around with at least three of his buddies, or as Leonard recorded in his notes, with his "pack". Typical of most bullies, Bailey would stick to harassing those who were smaller than he was, and would rarely stray from bullying more than one kid at a time, unless his pack was with him. Leonard also took note that Bailey had a few "favorite" victims, whom he would even go out of his way to humiliate.

Bailey was engaged in one such pursuit when Leonard came across him one morning between classes. Bailey had cornered two freshmen. Small and slender, the two boys were apparently the best of friends, as one was never seen without the other. Bailey and his pack had decided the two were gay lovers, and as such needed to be kept in their place--that being a place of fear and humiliation.

Bailey had the two boys backed into a wall behind the quad, with three of his pack hovering just over his shoulders. Bailey flashed a malevolent grin, as he stared the two horrified boys down. "You little fags just don't get it, do you? We don't like your kind walking all over campus, showing off your faggotty love for each other."

One of the boys tried to deny the accusation. "D-dude, we're not gay! W-we grew up together, man! We're just buds, like you and you're--"

Bailey slapped a powerful hand over the boy's mouth to silence him, smacking his head against the wall in the process. He let out a muffled cry beneath Bailey's grip. "Mff!"

His friend reached instinctively to free his friend. "Phil!", then to Bailey, "Man, let him go!"

Bailey held up an admonishing finger to the boy's friend and fired a threatening glance his way, which was sufficient to silence him. The friend took a step back, young Phil's frightened eyes looking at him with a silent plea not to try anything brave.

"Now", said Bailey with a voice of authority. "As far as I can see, you two little faggots are just that--faggots. You go walking all around campus together, you're in the same classes, it's pretty damn fuckin' obvious you're just a couple'a homo lovers. But you see, you INSULT intelligent people like me and my buds by thinking we won't notice." Behind him, Bailey's pack murmured agreement.

The friend whispered back, "Man, what do you want from us, anyway?"

"What do I want? I want a confession. All you gotta do is admit you're a couple'a fags, boys. It'll be a cleansing exercise, I'm sure. Just tell us fine upstanding people what pervert you really are."

"But we're not!"

Bailey's hand clenched young Phil's face. "MMHFF!" Phil moaned beneath the pressure squeezing his jaw, his hand clutching Bailey's wrists in a pathetic attempt to pry the powerful student off of him.

"Phil! God, don't!"

"Just say it, gayboy."

"But we're not, I swear to God--!!" Bailey applied crushing force to his victim's face, and he began to slide down the wall, his legs failing him under the rush of pain. His moans had receded to pitiful sobs beneath Bailey's grip, and he flashed a look to his best friend that conveyed one certain message: "Surrender."

The boy, eager to do anything to free his friend, complied. "Okay, I admit it, we're fags! Now let him go!"

"So, you're like, cocksucking lovers, then?", Bailey asked, not releasing Phil.

"I just said--"

"Repeat it, fag. What I just said." His grip tightened under the squirming freshman. The pack began to giggle at the spectacle.

"We're cocksucking lovers! Now let him go! Please!"

"You're bend-over buddies?" Bailey raised his eyebrows, indicating he required his words be repeated.

The boy knew he was at Bailey's command now, and replied as ordered. "We're bend-over buddies."

"Sorry? Didn't quite catch that." His grip tightened. Phil writhed on the ground, fingers clawing ineffectually at Bailey's hand.

"We're bend-over buddies!!", the boy shouted. The pack was chortling with delight like hyenas.

Bailey locked eyes with the frightened boy. "You are no-good, worthless fudge-packin' homos who should behave like lowly slaves before your betters--like us." His gaze went hard, and he shook poor Phil slightly to encourage the boy's response.

The boy was crying, but did his best to shout back his recitation between sobs. "W-we're no-good, worthless f-f-fudge-packing homos who sh-should behave like lowly slaves before our betters--people like you!"

Bailey stood up straighter, looking at the boy with moderate approval. "Very good, faggot. Doesn't it feel better to have that off your chest?" The weeping boy remained silent, looking at his friend. "Doesn't it?!"



"Yes, sir."

"Good boy", Bailey said, releasing Phil, who gasped for breath, his hands cradling his aching face. Red marks left by Bailey's grasping hand were indented on the boy's cheeks.

His friend turned to tend to him, "Phil? God, you okay? Phil?"

Bailey leaned forward, his hands upon his knees, and surveyed the scene. "Now, then. We," and he nodded toward his pack, "are seriously inconvenienced by seeing you two little self-admitted fags around campus. So we've mapped out a special plan for the two of you, which routes you through secluded paths and long walks on the outskirts of the college so we don't need to see your homosexual faces again. Rick here will lay it all out for you."

The boy who had been forced to recite Baileys filth sneered at him, his face stained with tears. "We're gonna report you, dammit! You're gonna get expelled so damn fast--!"

"Yeah, yeah", Bailey said dismissively. "But all those mean ol' school board members and chancellors won't be of much help to you when me and my boys show up at your dorm room at 3am to kick the asses of two faggotty narcs."

The boy paused for a moment, then, "You don't know where we--!"

"Room 311. Dana Hall." The boy's eyes grew wide at hearing the identification of his dorm room. He would have to abide by the dictates of this psychotic, it would seem, to preserve his well-being and that of his best friend.

"Is it possible to be a bigger asshole than you are, Sims?"

Bailey and his pack whirled around to see Leonard standing nearby. "You little fucker. I thought I already told you to stay away from me--"

Leonard ignored him. "You're so concerned about the infection of this campus with rampant homosexuality, and yet it's you who always travels everywhere with your burly entourage. Any reason you prefer to surround yourself with obedient, musclebound men?"

"I will kick your sorry little pencil-necked ass." Bailey's voice came in a low, measured tone through clenched teeth. But as he approached Leonard, the meek boy seemed anything but as he stood defiantly, unmoving.

"Oh! I almost walked right into you. Forgive me, there's usually no one around here."

Everyone present turned to see a tubby, balding professor standing there. His arms were loaded down with books and folders. He looked at the clustered students through his wire-rimmed spectacles, never realizing he was looking at a scene of attackers and victims.

"Professor McCauley", Leonard said. "I thought I would catch you here. I figured you had to come this way to get to class from your office." Then, turning to look at the pack, he added, "This secluded little path, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday."

The two freshmen boys needed no further opportunity, and fled the scene with all speed. The cluster of bullies began to step slowly back.

"Why, yes, that's right, Leonard. How very observant of you. What can I do for you and your friends, here?"

"Well, it's mostly for me, really.", Leonard corrected amicably. "About your lecture on Helmholt's Theory of Thermodynamics. I had a hypothesis I wanted to share--oh, here, let me help you with those." Leonard took some of his professor's burden and the two proceeded to the lecture hall together.

Bailey fumed with rage at having his moment disrupted. One of the pack approached Bailey. "Um, the two little fags bolted. You want us to go after 'em?"

Bailey made no indication he'd heard the pack member. He was busy boring holes in Leonard's back with his eyes. "Next time I see that bastard, he dies."

Over the next several weeks, Leonard took great pains to make sure that he was not seen by Bailey Sims. Conversely, Leonard saw everything that Bailey did. His behavior with the two defenseless freshmen was par for his course. Like any predator, he liked to prey upon the weak and frightened. Like the smaller and more nefarious predators, he preferred to hunt with his pack. Leonard never learned the other pack members' names--not that it mattered, as they were virtually indistinguishable from one another in behavior and dress.

Leonard observed something interesting about Bailey when he was around his pack. Bailey had no trouble putting his arm around his buddies' shoulders or playfully grabbing them in a headlock. On occasion, he'd meet the gaze of one of his pals and linger there for a minute, saying nothing. Perhaps he was just listening to his buddy rambling. But Leonard felt it could be something else. Especially due to the way Bailey angrily slapped away any hands that dared to make physical contact with him, even by accident, when the boys were out in public. Despite his open aggression, Bailey felt an affection for his pack he was unwilling--or unable--to express in mixed company.

Something else soon became apparent to Leonard. A new pattern. At regular intervals, Bailey and his boys appeared wearing identical clothing. The quartet was dressed in tans and olive drabs; military attire. Bailey led the group in a commando sweater and camo pants. The foursome clomped through the halls in army boots, clearing a path wherever they went, looking more like a strike force than a cluster of classmates. Bailey wore decorative dogtags proudly around his neck. The engravings on his tags reading "STRAIGHT AND NARROW" and "REAL MEN ONLY".

That night, there was a gay bashing outside the Dimensions gay night club. Not surprisingly, all of Bailey's pack could provide alibis for each other.

The following weekend, it was the same thing. The boys appeared at school in military attire, that night there was a gay bashing. But there was never any proof of who did it, or evidence left behind. The attacks were fast, sudden, and brutal. The victims were all hospitalized, but no fatalities. Yet.

Every Monday found the pack exchanging high-fives and gruffly shouted "Yeah!"s as they marched in their civvies down the corridors. Anyone wondering what inspired their celebratory behavior was met with icy stares and a "What're YOU looking at, faggot?"

Leonard decided it was time to put a stop to this. It was no longer simply a matter of personal revenge. It was a question of safeguarding the community. Leonard wasn't gay, but he certainly had nothing against those who were. Taking down the pack leader would in all likelihood dissolve the pack. And to do so, Leonard decided he was not going to hurt Bailey. He was going to help him.

That Friday there was a party. It didn't matter who was throwing it or who was invited. It was college. When the doors were opened, people crowded in. Bailey and his cronies marched in to some fanfare, mostly from the ladies. The smaller kids cringed and moved to the far corners of the room. The pack was dressed in their trademark military gear, giving the impression that the party was to be only the beginning of their evening's festivities.

Leonard entered behind them, unnoticed, staying close to the wall and blending into the background. Growing up as a genius science geek had taught him nothing if not the art of invisibility. He watched Bailey carefully, waiting.

The pack huddled around Bailey, taking their lead from him. "And that time by the quad, man, with the two freshmen fags? It was too fucking cool, man", one of the boys jeered.

"Yeah, how'd you know to tell 'em they were from Dana Hall, dude? Their expressions were priceless!"

"Saw it on their books when I decked 'em in the hall the week before", Bailey commented blithely. "Frickin' frosh, they label everything."

One of the pack took on a sinister look, and said in a lower voice, "So, we still on for tonight? A little visit to a certain fruit & nut stand?"

Bailey was scanning the room for either younger students to harass or girls to pursue. He didn't look back at the pack member who'd spoken. "Why else do you think we're dressed for it, Einstein?", was all he said. This brought jeers and shoves down on the speaker by the other two. Bailey silenced them by holding up his hand. "Wait, wait. Look. Target acquired. Two o'clock." The boys all looked to where Bailey had indicated and saw a couple beautiful young girls off by themselves, giggling."

"Bet I can have her in bed within the next half-hour.", Bailey said.

One of the pack moved close to ask, "The blond or the redhead?"

Another one slapped him. "The redhead, dumbass, she's hotter. Duh!" The boy looked embarrassed that it had to be pointed out to him.

Bailey leaned over to the pack record-keeper. "How far ahead will this put me? When I nail her?"

"Well, if you nail her--", he started.

"When.", Bailey corrected.

The boy went on, "--it'd put you two up on a couple of us, like three or four up another one we don't need to name." He looked at one of the pack, who squirmed at the implication of his lack of sexual prowess.

"Then watch the master at work, boys", Bailey, said and began to make his way across the crowded room. One of the pack grabbed his arm to stop him.

"Wait! What about--you know, the big "bash" later tonight? This gonna be a quickie with her, or--"

Bailey knew the sexual encounter would amount to nothing, and he'd just as soon get in and get out if only to be done with it. But since selecting a short time frame could serve to indicate a lack of virility on his part, Bailey said, "There's always tomorrow night, fellas. The weekend has two days. Reschedule it for Saturday. Later." He moved away before they could protest.

Within minutes, Bailey had the young girl enthralled by his charm, so much so that she was providing the direction to her dorm room nearby. With a smarmy grin, Bailey steered her away from her companion, who looked a bit crestfallen for not having been the one chosen by the handsome lad in the military garb.

"Ow! What the fuck?!" Bailey slapped his hand over the seat of his pants, having felt something sharp prick him there. He turned to see Leonard standing there, a small metal tray of hors d'oeuvres in his hands, hovering near Bailey's behind. Bailey smacked the tray out of Leonard's hands, sending meats and cheeses into the air and onto the floor. "Watch where the hell you're going, ya ugly fuck!"

"Hey, sorry", Leonard said, backing away.

"I ought'a kick your sorry ass right now--" But the redheaded girl still clung to Bailey's arm and tugged him away, her head jerking toward the door in invitation. Bailey fired a final deadly stare at Leonard, pointing a threatening finger. "Next time, asshole."

As Bailey left with his latest conquest, Leonard slipped the hypodermic needle he'd concealed beneath the serving tray back into his pocket. He knew without a doubt there would never be a next time. Ever again.

Bailey focused on the pattern of the wallpaper, and tried to see how much detail he could make out in the dim light. It was the only thing handy to direct his attention away from the endless prattling of the girl beneath him. She was professing her love, her devotion, and who knows what else she had to give to Bailey--none of which was of the slightest interest to him. She kept saying his name over and over as she clung to him like an unwanted film, pawing his arms as if she were afraid to let him go.

Bailey couldn't even remember her name. That is, if she had even told it to him. He thought maybe she had. Amber. Andrea. Something that started with an "A". Bailey just kept thrusting, anxious to be done with the pointless endeavor. He held her close, so as not to let her see his bored expression. He occasionally murmured flattering nicknames to hide the fact her name had not yet come to him. She had already served her purpose, and all this was simply performance. That, and a quick chance to get off. She was the hottest girl where he was that night, his friends saw her leave with him. That was that. He was now up on his boys by--what was it, now? Seven conquests? Eight? Whatever. One of the boys was keeping score, no doubt. He'd confirm it in the morning, yelling the correct number as he gave Bay a congratulatory high-five.

Now it was just a matter of pumping the girl until she fell asleep, and then slipping out before she woke up. Bailey wondered briefly if sex had become as meaningless for his competing pals, then decided that, like the girl's name, it really didn't matter in the end. As long as someone kept score and he always came out on top.

Before long, whatshername, conquest #7 (8?) for the month was sound asleep, a rather stupid look of bliss on her face. Bailey took some small pleasure in knowing it was his virility that had put her in that state. He actually put his hands behind his head and smiled to himself as a form of private congratulations. Ah, Bailey Sims, you Casanova, you'd done it again. He couldn't quite understand it, but despite the total lack of meaning the encounter had for him, Bailey felt absolutely fantastic.

Then, Bailey froze. Lying there in the girl's bed, hands behind his head, his entire body froze, as if it were no longer his to control. That's because it wasn't.

Bailey felt a tiny buzzing sensation at the base of his skull, and a sharp electric charge flush through his entire system in an instant. His smile was gone, and all he could do in protest was make the tiniest grunting noise. "Uh!"

Bailey sat up, not intending to do so. He slowly slipped out from under the covers and proceeded to gather up his clothes and quietly put them on. He had no intention of leaving this soon, but here he was, doing it. Bailey felt as though he were a prisoner of his own body, watching helplessly from within as it went through motions and actions against his will.

"What the hell am I doing?", Bailey asked himself, inside his head. "Whoa, stop it! Wait up!" His body was moving at full autopilot now, dressed and departing, Bailey's body carried him quickly and decisively across the room, out the door (closing it gently behind him), down the hallway and out into the street.

Bailey walked at a brisk pace into the dark night, his stride strong, his expression firm. Anyone who may have seen him would doubtlessly think this was a determined man on his way to keep an important appointment. However, no one did see him. And Bailey knew neither where he was going nor how important the appointment that awaited him was.

But after more than an hour's walk, he would.

Bailey stood tall in the doorway of Leonard's cluttered lab and surveyed the room. His stance was that of a soldier, having arrived at a predetermined rendezvous point, who was now awaiting further orders. Leonard stood hunched over a microscope across the room, unresponsive to Bailey's arrival. He had heard the other man's purposeful footsteps, but did not turn around to meet his gaze for several minutes. Bailey stood in the doorway, fuming, not saying a word.

Finally, Leonard slowly turned around and looked at Bailey, standing tall and at the ready. But ready for what exactly, he had no idea. Leonard just stared at him for a moment, his face an expressionless mask. Bailey blurted out, "What the hell am I doing here?" He was relived to find his voice still worked.

Leonard smiled. "You don't know? You're the one who came here. I don't believe I called you or anything." Leonard began puttering around with some of his lab equipment on the black countertop.

"Listen, asshole", Bailey spat out, "I don't know what's going on here, but you damn well better spill it now before I-"

"Be quiet", Leonard said in a calm voice.

And Bailey was silent. Just like that. Bailey's eyes widened as he realized that he had stopped talking and his mouth had clamped shut tight at the skinny little faggot's command. His pulse quickened a beat. Leonard nodded with approval. Then, jerking his head toward a nearby stool, he said, "Take a seat." Bailey strode purposefully over to the stool and sat down. His face was registering signs of building panic. He sat straight, shoulders back, arms relaxed, in a posture that indicated all the confidence that he was not feeling. Leonard raised one eyebrow and crossed his arms, s aying, "Guess you'd like to know what's going on now, wouldn't you, Sims?"

Bailey gingerly tried to separate his lips and was relieved to find that he could. Leonard gestured loosely with his hand, indicating that Bailey could speak. "Wh-what have you done to me?", the young man asked in a voice he hoped sounded commanding, despite the tremble.

"How do you feel?", asked Leonard, looking at Bailey as if he were something unearthed on a scientific expedition.

"I can't move", came the response.

"That wasn't my question, Bailey. You mustn't be rude and disregard a direct question like that." Leonard's voice was flat and emotionless, betraying none of the elation he was feeling at Bailey's helplessness.

"Uh...", Bailey muttered. He had no idea what to do next. So Leonard told him.

"Apologize", he commanded.

"I'm sorry-"

Leonard cut him off. "With respect", he growled. Leonard's face was like stone.

"I'm very sorry for being so rude, sir", Bailey said with feeling. No sooner had the words left his mouth than his expression twisted as if he'd bit into an orange peel. He couldn't believe he had actually addressed the little pansy that way. It disgusted him. But he couldn't help it. He had to do as he had been ordered. But why?

"Apology accepted, Bailey. Now, tell me how you feel."

"I said, I can't mov-", Bailey began, then caught the stern look in Leonard' s eyes. Bailey paused, truly considering the question. Well, how did he feel? "I feel perfectly normal", he decided. "I mean, I don't feel sick or woozy, but it's like I can't move my body, nothing works on its own. But when you talk-"

"Yes, Leonard, you have to respond", Leonard confirmed. "And how did you feel when you woke up a while ago?"

Bailey paused. Besides feeling as if his body were not his to control, how had he felt? "Good. Really good. Great, in fact. Like I could take on the world. My body all filled with energy and rarin' to go."

"Very good, Bailey", Leonard said, as if speaking to a small child. "Does your body still feel that way now?"

Bailey's eyes glanced down at his still form and a dim light came on behind them. ".Now that you mention, it yeah. Yeah, I still feel really good. S-so why--?"

"Can't you move?", Leonard finished his sentence. "That's quite the quandary, isn't it, Bailey? Why don't you try to move? There's really nothing wrong with your magnificent body. Go ahead. Try to stand up. All on your own."

Bailey sat there like a statue. He didn't look like he was trying to do anything. He sat perfectly still. No tension in his muscles. No strain on his face. No sweat, no grunts of exertion. He just sat there, unmoving as if he wasn't even interested in standing up. He did wonder what the hell a "quandary" was, but decided not to ask.

"Having trouble, are we?", Leonard taunted.

"What the fuck is this?", Bailey gasped. "What did you do to me, you miser- " Bailey froze as Leonard shot him a penetrating stare. Bailey felt his blood run cold and blurted out quickly, "I'm very sorry for my rudeness, sir, but could you please tell me what's going on please, sir?" He grimaced at the words upon speaking them, but bit his lip to prevent any further outbursts while waiting for a response.

Leonard grinned at Bailey's request. It was wonderful to see how quickly the boy could take to his training. Must be all that time spent on the ball field taking orders from a coach that primed him for this. "Stand up", Leonard said.

Bailey was on his feet in an instant. He stood at attention, arms limp at his sides, head held high and shoulders back. His eyes flashed with terror and his legs felt weak, even though they held him up like steel girders. Leonard walked slowly around him as Bailey's eyes focused straight ahead at nothing. He could not meet his master's gaze since he had not been told he could.

"Do you know what nanotechnology is, Bailey?", Leonard asked as if inquiring about the weather.

"Um, sure", Bailey said, uneasily.

Leonard fixed him with a cold stare and said, "Bailey Sims, whenever you speak to me, you are compelled to tell the truth. If you even attempt to lie to me, you will collapse to your knees and find yourself gripped with a fit of uncontrollable sobbing at the guilt of having attempted to deceive me. Do you understand?" Leonard spoke the last three words very slowly and very clearly. Bailey certainly understood.

Bailey whispered back, "Yes sir, I do understand, sir."

Leonard continued his stroll around the statuesque athlete. "Now then. Do you know what nanotechnology is, Bailey?"

Bailey answered quickly and firmly, "No, I don't."

Leonard added, "Bailey, from now on whenever you are asked about something of which you are ignorant, you will reply 'I don't know because I am a stupid, clueless bigot without a brain.' Repeat."

Bailey stated with conviction, "I don't know because I am a stupid, clueless bigot without a brain." His face remained blank, but inside he felt like crying.

Leonard smiled. "That's going to go over well with your professors in class." Bailey's face remained blank, but his eyes seemed to cloud over with the anticipation of speaking those words in public. He had newfound motivation to do his homework. Leonard continued, "Nanotechnology involves the design and application of microscopic machines released into the human body for medical purposes, Bailey."

Bailey's eyes followed Leonard as he paced the room, becoming more fearful as he listened to the confusing explanation. Were there microscopic machines inside his body? How did they get there? And more importantly, what would they do to him if they were in there?

"The nanotech is small enough that it can be injected into the bloodstream through a hypodermic needle in a solution of salt water. Have anything prick your bottom at a recent party, by any chance, Bailey?"

Bailey's eyes widened and he could feel his breath become shallow. He still didn't quite understand, but he knew it was bad. Something had been put into his body. A machine.

"Despite the miniscule size of the machines, Bailey, they can have an enormously pronounced affect on the entire neurological system. It's been debated whether nanotech can be employed to reverse blood disorders, correct vision impairments, stem the growth of cancers, anything." Leonard stopped in front of his petrified thrall and looked directly into his eyes. "So if, let's say, I were to design a tiny computer chip capable of tapping into your nervous system to manipulate motor functions and emotional responses." he let his voice trail off and walked away from Bailey Sims. Bailey could feel his heart pounding in his chest and wanted to run away, screaming, begging anyone for help. But he remained where he stood, tall and attentive, looking like he was ready and willing to receive orders, horrified that he soon would.

Bailey mustered as much courage as he could and spoke. "Wh-what do you want? What are you going to do to me?"

Leonard spun on his heel to face him. "You mean you don't know, Bailey? You can't guess at my wonderful plans for you? Do you know what it is I want, Bailey?" Leonard stressed the word "know", anxious to hear Bailey's response, which was not long in coming.

"I don't know because I am a stupid, clueless bigot without a brain." The answer came with conviction, almost pride. Bailey's face crumpled, and standing there at attention, he began to cry.

"No!", Leonard intoned. "Not yet, that comes later. You will stop crying immediately, Bailey Sims. All sorrow will leave you and you will await my instructions at full attention. Now."

In a flash, Bailey's sobs ceased. He stood back at attention with clear eyes and eager face. He was overwhelmed by the ease with which Leonard had not only stopped his tears, but had eradicated all feelings of sadness withi n him. All he felt now was anticipation. Dear God, he was actually waiting with genuine anticipation for what was coming next. Because he had been told to. The notion that not only his body's actions, but even his emotional states were at another's beck and call was starting to sink in.

Leonard's voice became soft. "You're mine to control now, Bailey. And you' re going to learn to like it. C'mon, and give me a big smile."

Bailey's face lit up in that beautiful broad smile that melted the heart of many female conquests. He looked for all the world as if he were truly happy. Inside, he was silently screaming for release. Leonard moved close to the handsome young man and with his thumb, brushed away a lingering tear from Bailey's cheek. "Bailey, I want you to know how futile it is to attempt resisting your chip. Oh, and you can test it simply by trying to stop smiling, by the way." Bailey said nothing, but he had been trying to stop smiling ever since his lips parted and he showed his teeth. It was no use.

"I'm going to make you love, laugh, and cry, Bailey", Leonard announced casually. "What do you say to that, my boy?" Bailey remained a silent grinning statue, and Leonard waved one hand, saying, "You can stop smiling long enough to talk."

Bailey's eyes burned with vengeful fire. "You may be able to control my movements, asshole, but I promise you, you can't make me love anybody I don' t want to. That's just the way it is."

"My, my, my, my", Leonard muttered languidly. "Is that right? Bailey, you mean I have no hold on your heart at all? Just your body?"

"That's right, man."

Leonard spoke in a hard, clear voice. "Bailey, you love me. With all your heart. You feel the emotions flood your mind and body. You adore me as you 've never adored anyone before, man or woman. Feel it."

Bailey gasped. What the hell had he been thinking? He truly loved Leonard, he always had. God, just look at him. That head of unruly black curls, those horn-rimmed glasses. Even the cliched white lab coat on him looked so manly, so heroic. Anything he was doing to control Bailey must have been for his own good. It just had to be. There was something about all this that Bailey just didn't understand yet, that's all. Leonard was so much smarter than he was. He was helping him. Helping him to be a better person. Oh, God, it was like a dream come true. That this gorgeous, magnificent genius had taken complete control of him. He would never make another mistake the rest of his life, with Leonard at the controls of his existence. He need never fear a stray thought that could enter his mind and push away for even a second his focus on this paragon of virtue.

Leonard moved right up to Bailey's face. The two were practically nose to nose. Oh, was he going to kiss him? Oh, yes, let it be so. Let this wondrous and beautiful man deign to press his lips against-

"Bailey, return your emotions to what they were", stated Leonard flatly.

Bailey gasped a second time, far deeper than the first. An icy grip of panic clutched his chest. For a moment, he had honestly, completely loved Leonard. Not just acted it out. He felt it. And it felt truer than any infatuation he had ever felt for any girl. And it was all false.

"The heart is part of the body", said Leonard. "And we've already established that I control your body."

"Oh, please. Please don't do this. I don't know what it was that I did, I mean, I do know, but you've made your point. I don't deserve this, no one does. You gotta just listen to me, man. I've had enough, I swear to God. I'll be good. I'll leave you alone. I'll do anything."

Leonard's brow furrowed. "Yes, you will."

He took a step back, and observed aloud to no one in particular, "You'll do anything I want even if I return fundamental control of your body to you. At ease, Bailey." Bailey found he could move. His stiff posture relaxed and he was able to hold his hands in front of him, flex his fingers. Leonard had made a serious mistake. With Bailey's strength and speed, he could take down the geek queer, beat him senseless before he could utter another word, and figure out some way out of this mess. Find another fag science major to get the chip out. Bailey's leg muscles tensed to pounce. He wasn't even paying any attention to what Leonard was rambling on about.

"It's terribly funny that after all the time and effort you've put into conditioning and training your body you can't even control it now without my say-so. It's so funny." Bailey lunged at him. "Laugh, Bailey."

Bailey stumbled in mid-stride, suddenly laughing convulsively. He tried to reach for Leonard with grasping fingers despite the tremendous laughter that surged out of him. "Boy, it is just a laugh-riot, isn't it, Bailey?", Leonard taunted. "Laugh harder than you ever have before." Bailey was soon gripping his sides as he laughed harder and harder. He couldn't stop. It was too much. He had never laughed so hard, so fully. Bailey fell down onto the floor and flopped onto his back, gasping for breath, finding only more peals of laughter.

"N-no, no-" he wheezed between guffaws. "S-s-s-stop it-I give-" Bailey tried to sit up and fell back again, his laughter increasing with each moment.

Leonard looked down upon his victim and said chidingly, "If you're not careful, you'll wind up peeing your pants if you keep that up, Bailey, my boy." Bailey laughed harder, unable to do much beyond surrender to the vicious convulsions that held him down.

"K-k-killll yuuuu-" Bailey gasped out, laughing more and more, flopping around on the floor like a rag doll.

"In fact", Leonard continued, ignoring him, "do so. Wet yourself, Bailey. Stop laughing and empty your entire bladder right now."

Bailey stopped laughing as if someone had flicked a switch. Which, in essence, someone had. Bailey's head snapped up and looked to see a large wet spot growing across the front of his pants, spreading rapidly and soaking his pantlegs and puddling on the floor around his waist. He tried desperately to stop, but the stream just kept coming. Within seconds, Bailey's entire lower half was drenched in his own urine.

Bailey started to scramble to his feet, his shoes slipping on the slick floor, the palms of his hands now wet with his own piss. Bailey looked down at himself, furious and horrified at what he'd just done. "You fucking bastard!", he hissed.

"Bailey, you're embarrassed", Leonard observed.

"You're goddamn right I'm-"

"You're so embarrassed, you're downright mortified. You've humiliated yourself and are so saddened you have to cry. Cry like a baby, Bailey. Cry your heart out and feel how truly worthless you are."

Bailey began to bawl. He couldn't help it. Oh, good God, he had wet himself. Right here, right in front of this damned faggot. Bailey knew it meant that he was worthless, he was nothing. He fell to his knees in his own piss and his body heaved with racking sobs. He was nothing, an embarrassment. God, what the hell was the matter with him? He was so pathetic, so worthless. Tears streamed down his cheeks as freely as the urine had flowed down his legs mere moments ago.

Leonard leaned over the weeping boy. "You see the predicament you're in now, Bailey? How would you like to believe that you're a dog? I could have you down on all fours barking in no time, and you could spend the rest of your sorry existence in a nice, comfy sanatorium." Bailey's sobs increased. No, not that. Please, no. He didn't want to be a dog. "Or how would you like to piss yourself in public every time you're out with a beautiful woman, Bailey? How long would it take for word of that to spread throughout your clubbing circles?" Bailey wailed with fear and remorse. He thudded his head slowly against the floor, mindless of the acrid stench of urine in his nostrils. "Or perhaps, Bailey.", Leonard paused for dramatic effect, leaving only the painful sobs to fill the air.

"Perhaps, you'd like to be gay? How would you like it if I made you gay, Bailey? Hmm?"

Bailey lifted his head and wailed in agony. "NNNnnnnnnoooooo!! Puh-puh-PLEEEEasse! I've had enough! Don't do this to me! Why are you doing this to me?? PLEASE!!" Bailey knelt there on the urine-soaked floor with his head thrown back, crying his eyes out. He had been completely humiliated and broken. But he had not been changed. Despite all Bailey's fear at being powerless, Leonard knew that deep inside, Bailey was still the same hateful homophobe. Changing that would take some work.

Leonard reached out and touched one finger to Bailey's forehead. "Poor boy. Sleep."

Bailey collapsed hard against the floor, fast asleep before he hit the tiles. He lay there, stinking, exhausted, helpless. Leonard looked curiously at Bailey's prostrate form. "Time for a test drive", he said.

"Wake up, Bailey."

Bailey woke up naked in a chair like those in a Dentist's examining room. He was not secured down in any way, but his body was paralyzed, nonetheless. He felt very good, despite his frozen limbs. His eyes darted about the room but saw nothing other than a counter to his left and a pull-down movie screen on the wall in front of him.

Bailey tried to hide his fear with bravado, sneering "What are you gonna do now, give me a teeth cleaning?" He immediately regretted saying it, imagining what pain a man with access to his nerves could cause Bailey's teeth.

Leonard didn't rise to Bailey's remark, instead busying himself with an elaborate slide projector setup and a VCR. "This will be a simple test of reaction/response to visual stimuli. Just to make sure the chip is keeping your natural responses constant."

"If you want my natural responses, what do we need the chip for?", Bailey challenged.

Leonard smiled. "That is assuming that your current responses are natural. Now, please direct your eyes to the screen." Bailey had no choice, and focused his eyes dutifully upon the screen. Before him appeared the projected image of a stunning female bathing beauty, wearing the barest minimum in swimwear. Bailey just stared.

"What the hell is this supposed to do?", he asked, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"Keep looking", Leonard encouraged, flashing the next image. A swimwear model stood beneath a cascading waterfall, he hair soaked, her flawless skin glistening. Bailey thought, "So what? Is this supposed to be hurting me? Fat chance."

A handful or similar images were flashed before Bailey's eyes. One strikingly beautiful woman after another. Bailey gave no response. Until about the tenth photo. He realized he truly was having no response, no reaction. Despite his fears at being in this surreal situation, he should be getting at least a little rise out of these pictures. But these sumptuous girls did absolutely nothing for him.

"Wait a minute...", Bailey said, the light dawning.

"There's more", Leonard said, advancing to the next slide. This girl was a centerfold. Naked, alluring, her shapely form draped over satin sheets, her bedroom eyes seductive and inviting. Bailey grimaced by reflex. It felt as if he were being propositioned by a linebacker, or his cousin in the army. It was just...wrong.

Half a dozen more glorious women flashed before him, each lingering upon the screen a bit longer than her predecessor. Arching backs, licking lips, fingers tracing their bodies in indication perhaps of where they wished a man might go. Bailey felt a wave of revulsion at each image. It was so exploitative, so disgusting, so, so...female.

Another woman appeared, and on a scale of 1 to 10, she was an 11. Thick waves of blonde hair spilled over her shoulders as she lay back, legs spread to the camera--

"Stop it! Turn it off!!", Bailey cried, squinting his eyes against the slideshow. His stomach churned as he imagined the horror of actually being forced again to look upon those...female parts. God, what was going on here? How had the idea of intimacy with, or more accurately, exploitation of, women become so abhorrent to him?

Leonard stood before Bailey. "You can open your eyes now, Bailey. I shut it off. Not quite so appealing now, are they?"

"It-it was like I was being flashed by--I dunno, by someone on the wrestling team or something! Being attracted to that, it's just not right!" Then, Bailey realized what he'd said, and looked more bewildered by his own words than by his unexpected reaction to the slides.

Leonard stepped to the side of the screen, extending a pointer he'd taken from his pocket. "Time to move on to the next portion of our test", he said. "Eyes front, Bailey. Brace yourself."

What appeared on the screen was not what Bailey expected. He was bracing himself for images of hate crimes, of gay bashings, or some other liberal propaganda designed to intimidate him. But what he saw was simply the color pink. It was soft, soothing, and instantly calming. If this was supposed to cause him greater discomfort, then his tormentor had seriously miscalculated. Even the triangular shape of the soft color, with its point directed downward, was somehow relaxing to Bailey. As if he were somehow...connected to it. Bailey took a deep breath, feeling more relaxed. Had he seen this shape, this color, somewhere before?

"What do you think of this image, Bailey?"

Bailey smirked. "Actually, I kinda like it. I think it looks great, really. Whattaya think of that?"

"I think that's very good, Bailey. And this one?"

Before Bailey could question why Leonard would show him something comforting, the next symbol appeared. A purple handprint. Like the pink triangle, this too seemed somehow soothing and meaningful. As if it had some connection to Bailey on a deeper level of which he was unaware.

"I-I like that one, too--", Bailey said, feeling uncertain all of a sudden.

"Fine. And this?"

A six-colored rainbow flag. Bailey instantly felt great peace just looking at the image. "Ohh, yeaahhh..." It was several seconds before it even registered what the image meant. "W-wait a minute, isn't that a gay thing--?"

"And now this.", Leonard announced.

Dual arrow-ring male insignias appeared on the screen. Even in his befuddled state, Bailey knew what this meant. Two men as one. Homosexual lovers. Bailey felt horrified as a feeling of serenity washed over him at the site of the intertwined rings.

"You seem to be responding to the image therapy much better now, Bailey", Leonard said smugly. "Let's recheck your arousal response, shall we?"

Leonard moved away from the screen, stepping behind Bailey to ensure that nothing blocked his view or distracted him from the latest image projected there. With a soft click, the screen was filled with the image of a handsome shirtless young man of about 19 or 20. His arms and pecs were sleek and muscular, his abs like an iron washboard. His brown hair fell over his forehead in loose wild curls, his dreamy, languid eyes shone out with both intelligence and longing. The only clothing he wore was an extremely tight pair of lycra running shorts, which left very little to the imagination and showed quite clearly that the lad was rather well endowed.

Bailey felt a stirring down below. The young man was so attractive, so handsome, so--so hot. Bailey inhaled sharply. This wasn't happening...

"And this one?", Leonard announced.

The next photo appeared. A blond-haired boy in floral jams on a surf-battered shore, his hair filled with sunlight, his tanned shoulders sprinkled with ocean spray.

Bailey's stirrings were now impossible to deny, he felt himself getting hard. God, this one cute. So, damn, fucking cute.

"And again?" Leonard kept the images coming, not giving Bailey a chance to really adjust to any one of them.

Now it was a redheaded barefoot farmboy. He sat in a hayloft, freckled face alive with the most genuine, innocent smile. His baggy, well-worn overalls dangled down below his six-pack abs, the straps twisting past his legs to drag through the hay. It was clear, from the way the side buttons were undone, that the boy wore nothing underneath. He need only stand up to let the faded denim workwear fall to his ankles, revealing himself in all his glory.

Bailey began to sweat. What was he doing? What was happening to him? Why was he now at full erection over this--this kid? This adorable, 20-year-old, muscular farmhand with those firm biceps, those smooth, smooth pecs. God, he was so charming, so sweet-looking, so...God in heaven, he couldn't help himself, couldn't chase the thought fuckable.

Bailey's erection reached into the air, the head bobbing slightly, dripping precum in anticipation of the next picture.

"What's--what's happening to me?", Bailey begged.

"You're looking at the next image", Leonard said clinically.

A football player. Dressed only in pads, his strong hand wrapped around his massive cock, his face bearing a sly grin, framed by an unruly mass of sweat-drenched raven hair.

"Oh, God! Stop it!!", Bailey cried. "I'm not a goddamn fag! I'm NOT!" Despite his protests, his back began to buck slightly, his penis eager to eject its load.

It took a few more images for that. A wiry, cute Hispanic navy recruit clad in only a white sailor's hat and his dogtags. A blond swimmer, his hair slicked back, rising naked from a dazzling azure swimming pool, the light from the water reflected on his fair skin. A sleek, brunette gardener taking a drink from a hose, his muscled form speckled here and there with bits of dirt and blades of grass, wearing nothing but his knee-high green rubber wellies. The gallery went on, each model more attractive, each pose more enticing.

A marine lathering up in a shower. A surfer luxuriating on a rocky breakwater. A British university student sitting atop a broken brick wall, clad only in leather jacket, his spiky hair alive with orange highlights. An angelic gymnast leaning against the doorway to his gym, his tight singlet unable to contain his manhood.

Bailey tried in vain to thrash himself free. "NOOO! Stop it, please! I can't take this! They're--they're too-too--"

A rookie fireman. Just in his hat and boots, fire hose slung over one shoulder. A smooth-faced construction worker, wearing hardhat and tool belt only.

"They're so--SO--CUTE!! Oh, Christ, they're so goddamned cute! I WANT them!!" And that was all Bailey could take. He fired. His penis erupted with a geyser of semen, his balls were on fire and his hips pumped as he sprayed a virtual deluge of jism into the air to cascade down and spatter upon his skin. Surge upon surge burst forth from his member, his mind burning with the images of the extraordinarily beautiful young men. Bailey's orgasm was enhanced by an undeniable feeling that for the first time in his life, he was experiencing a true sensual rush, motivated by feelings more genuine than anything he had ever experienced either from thinking of, or even being with, a girl. His intoxicating thrusts and spurts lasted for nearly two minutes. It was far and away the longest orgasm Bailey had ever experienced. Thus far.

Bailey gasped with elation, having shot his load all over himself. Part of him was shuddering at the thought of what had inspired his orgasm, but a stronger part was alive with the joy that still rippled throughout his body. He noticed a gentle scraping against the skin of his abs.

Bailey looked down to see Leonard scooping the semen from Bailey's abs and chest with a plastic measuring cup.

"Wh-what are you doing?", Bailey asked, his eyes widening.

"Moving on to the next stage, Bailey", Leonard said matter-of-factly, using a small rubber spatula to make sure he'd scooped every last drop of cum into the cup. "Just loving what men look like isn't quite enough for someone like you. For someone newly gay." Leonard set down the spatula and approached Bailey, holding up the semen-filled cup as if he were about to make a toast.

Bailey knew what was coming, and began to shake his head back and forth. "No, no. No, please, you can't."

"Oh, you're quite right", Leonard said. "I can't. But you can. Open up, Bailey."

Bailey's head stopped shaking and his jaw snapped open wide. His eyes silently pleaded for this not to happen, but it was already too late. "Drink it all down", Leonard ordered, pouring the contents of the cup into Bailey's mouth. "Swallow it all, Bailey. Relish it."

Leonard allowed the cum to run into Bailey's mouth with agonizing slowness. He let the oozing jism roll over Bailey's tongue and slide down his throat. Bailey couldn't help himself. He swallowed it all, gulping at first by mere reflex, then greedily. The taste was warm, salty, and bitter. But it was like nothing he had ever tasted before, in that it was indescribably delicious. As his own cum entered his gullet and was consumed by him, Bailey was overcome by alien thoughts. "Oh, my God, this tastes great. I've never drank anything as good as this. It's--it's incredible. It's perfect! Like this is what I'd always been meant to drink, what I was born to drink. And if my own tastes this good, what does other guys' sperm taste like??"

Leonard stepped back after Bailey had licked the cup clean, and watched his reprogrammed subject lick his lips. Bailey took a deep breath, then paused, as if his senses were registering what he had just done. His eyes filled with fear and his lower lip trembled. He had just swallowed a load of cum. And he had enjoyed it.

"Well, Bailey? How'd you like it?"

Bailey was fighting to keep back the tears. "I-I-I--" He clenched his jaw, gritting his teeth against the words.

"Speak, Bailey. Truth only."

"I liked it!", Bailey gasped out. "Oh God, I really liked it! I loved it! I loved drinking cum!" He sobbed, choking back a desperate wail. "I--I want more! What the hell have you done to me??"

"Started you down the road to self-improvement, Bailey", Leonard said flatly. "Eyes on the screen, now."

Obediently, Bailey locked his eyes back on the screen as Leonard started the video images again. Photo after photo of hung young men and beautiful boys flashed before him. All smooth bodies, tanned skin, wide eyes, athletic physiques, suggestive poses. Bailey grew hard instantly, his body alive with a yearning sensation to have any one of these boys, or to be had by them. The images kept coming, one after the other, surfers, weightlifters, gymnasts, wrestlers, swimmers, all so young, all with lithe bodies and fresh faces, bright smiles and dancing eyes. Bailey's body, though still paralyzed beyond his own capacity to move it, trembled with desire for these magnificent male specimens. Bailey's mouth moved spasmodically, but no sound came out of it.

The images changed. No longer showing handsome young men one at a time, they were now presented as couples. Bailey's eyes grew wider--if that were possible--and his heart skipped a beat as he realized what was coming. Unclothed, breathtaking boys flashed on the screen, embracing, kissing, stroking each other affectionately. Couple after couple displayed their affection in the most demonstrative ways; in bed, on couches and sofas, in swimming pools, on the grass. Bailey tried to swallow but found he could not. His mind was racing, and part of him was silently screaming somewhere inside his head, "Yes! This is what true affection is. This is true love! It's genuine, it's real! Don't you see?? This is what you've been missing! What you've been suppressing!! This is what you've always needed!"

Bailey tried to scream his denial, instead only croaking out the tiniest protest. ""

The images came faster and faster, the bombardment seemed never ending, but the speed never increased past the point of perception. Every photo was still registering clearly in Bailey's eyes and held in his mind. Young men sucked each other's cocks, fucked feverishly, their faces masks of delicious torment. Tongues licked and probed everywhere on a partner's body, mouths accepted throbbing members eagerly, smooth virgin asses were plowed by anxious and penetrating dicks. Bailey felt a yearning such as he never had before. He was so aroused, he needed to experience all this so badly. This was who he was, who he was meant to be. Surely any previous attraction he had to women was nothing but some case of genetic confusion.

The images sped up to the point of becoming erotic blurs, all pounding into Bailey's mind, causing his erection to spring up painfully, larger, harder. His eyes wide, his mouth hanging open, Bailey's mind could no longer handle the fierce bombardment that told him relentlessly who he now truly was, who he would be forced to become. Bailey felt that he had been a naked prisoner upon that doctor's chair for hours, perhaps days.

In truth, it took less than twenty minutes before the smooth, muscular homophobic womanizer that had been Bailey Sims passed out. His head bobbed forward, a stream of drool dangling from his lower lip. Unconscious and unaware, Bailey's penis poured out streams of semen, his dreams awhirl with visions of gorgeous young men accepting him into their strong arms. His new life had begun.

Bailey jolted awake in his own bed, in his own room. He was gasping for breath, eyes darting about to take in his surroundings and confirm that he was indeed where he should be. What had just happened? The last he remembered, he was in the lab of that little fruit science geek, Leonard. He was there against his will, due to a chip that had been implanted in his body. Leonard was doing...terrible things to him. he was going to make Bailey into a--

Bailey whipped away his covers and sheets with one sweep of his powerful arm. He had to ascertain immediately that he was in bed alone. He was. Bailey let out a huge sigh of relief. He hadn't been forced to be with anyone he normally wouldn't, he... He hadn't been made anything. Bailey massaged his eyes with his fingertips, wondering if what he had experienced the night before had even been real. Had it been?

Bailey looked at his knees and could see the slight redness still present on the skin from where he had slammed into the concrete floor of the lab to grovel before Leonard. No, it had happened. He could feel that it had. But, what else had happened? Was there more that he couldn't remember? That he was being forced not to remember? He had been naked, in an examination chair, forced to undergo--what was it now? He remembered the slides, the suggestions. He remembered his responses with frightening clarity.

But there was a gap. What had happened from that time to this? Bailey looked down at his naked body and wondered if he'd been made to walk home this way. He always slept in the nude, so his present state of undress offered no clues, really. Gingerly, Bailey got out of bed. he walked slowly across his room, testing the waters, so to speak, to see if his movements were in any way hindered. They weren't. He circled the room, stretched, scratched. He was okay. He was able to do as he liked again.

Relieved, Bailey dropped to the floor and did his customary 200 morning pushups. As he raised and lowered his tense body, he dwelled on Leonard's threats. "There was probably nothing to them", he thought. "Yeah, most likely the whole chip thing was a one-shot deal and Leonard shot his wad having his fun last night. Probably used up the whole thing's memory or something like that." Around his 100th pushup, Bailey ht upon another notion. "Or", he decided, "the damn thing's still inside, ready to do its master's dirty work, only he's too chicken to go through with it." Bailey paused in mid-pump to weigh the idea. "Yeah, definitely", he convinced himself. "The faggot got too scared to finish what he started. Probably because he knew that when it was all over I'd kick his ass. Chickenshit bastard." Bailey's final 100 pushups were done at a very lively pace.

Refreshed in body and spirit, Bailey hopped lithely to his feet and strode manfully over to his closet. He wanted to wear something that would help scrape away the vulnerability he felt last night. His camo pants, he thought. And the army boots and olive drab commando sweater. Just what he needed. Bailey pulled open the closet door and found...nothing. At least none of his clothes, anyway.

His closet had been stripped bare. All that was there was one outfit on a lone hanger. It was something Bailey would not be caught dead wearing in a million years.

Bailey dashed to his bureau and rifled the drawers, only to find them all empty as well. "Oh shit", Bailey muttered. Slowly, and with no small amount of fear, Bailey walked back over to the closet. He reached inside and above to pull down the string of the overhead bulb. With a tug, the closet interior lit up and he took in what was waiting for him there.

On the hanger was a sleeveless muscle shirt. It was black, with a large horizontal white stripe running across the chest and around the back. Upon that stripe was a six-colored gay pride flag. Below the shirt was a pair of what would be very tight-fitting running shorts. Lycra. Pink. On the floor of the closet directly beneath the shirt and shorts was a pair of running shoes. Purple with pink soles, stripes, and accents.

"Oh my fucking God", Bailey mumbled. There was no way in hell Bailey would ever put this shit on. He grabbed the hanger and tossed it across the room in defiance. The moment the hanger left his hand, he felt a tingle run up the length of his arm, from the fingertips to the shoulder, and then back again.

As if and invisible cable had snared Bailey's arm, he was yanked violently back toward the closet, where his hand grasped the closet door and flung it fully open. On the interior of the closet door hung a marker board and Sharpie pen. Bailey snatched up the pen and began to write furiously. He had no idea what he was doing, so he craned his neck a bit to see what he was writing, as his arm and hand seemed to have a mind of their own. Bailey's eyes grew wide as he read his own handwriting:


Bailey stopped writing and he stared at the board for a moment. His arm was frozen at his side. In fact, he realized that his entire body had been frozen, his eyes staring straight ahead. He was being given a moment to read and absorb the message. Then, his free hand ("free" being a relative term) grabbed the small eraser that was velcroed to the side of the marker board and wiped away the message. Then his other hand began to write once more.


Bailey fought the movements of his hand with all his might, but only served to clench his teeth and furrow his brow. He whispered impotently, "" His hand wiped the board clean and wrote again.


Without hesitation, the words came from Bailey's mouth with conviction. "I don't know because I am a stupid, clueless bigot without a brain." Bailey's face crumpled as his hand wiped the message away and he could feel the tears welling up in his eyes. God, no, this wasn't happening to him...


Another wipe of the eraser. Then his pen hand began again:


Bailey stood frozen before the marker board again, this time after replacing the pen in its holder. He expected to mechanically erase this final message, but instead, he took one step away from the board, keeping his eyes upon. It was clearly supposed to sink in. It didn't. "No fucking way I'll ever say that in this lifetime", Bailey sneered.

In a flash, he was across the room, retrieving his discarded running gear. He marched over to his full-length mirror and was forced to watch himself put them on. After he was dressed in the outlandish costume (he thought), he stood tall with his hands on his hips, his face split with a beautiful broad smile. Buried beneath his false smile he burned with indignation. If it was the last thing he ever did, he would get even with this queer scientist bastard.

Bailey began running in place and trotted over to the door. He stayed there, running in place for a few moments, not making any move to exit. His head suddenly jerked around to look again at the marker board on the closet door. It served as reminder that he was now supposed to speak his new mantra. Bailey's eyes burned with fury and he was resolute in his decision to be his own man in at least this. He would not speak the words. He would not humiliate himself that way. Maybe this kid thought Bailey was his puppet now. Let him think it. But before Bailey would go jogging out all over the city in this asinine getup, he'd grab hold of the door jam and take a good chunk of wood with him before he'd let go.

Despite his resolve, Bailey jogged blithely out the door, down the stairs, and out into the street, keeping a brisk pace, but still slow enough that all passersby could get a good look at him.

Bailey spent most of the day running, or trotting, more accurately. It was Saturday, so there was no pressing need to be anywhere. As a result, Leonard took great pleasure in seeing to it that Bailey ran everywhere he felt he should be. Bailey made his wag across campus, jogging merrily along (or at least appearing to be merry, as inside he was seething), past as many people as he could find. Those who knew Bailey remarked on his new running gear, to which he replied with a bright smile, "It's my new look to go with my new attitude!"

For someone in Bailey's physical condition, the light jog was no effort. Emotionally, however, he was being exhausted. He felt himself being guided to the Ionia Street Pub, a favorite hangout of the pack. Bailey jogged to the sidewalk cafe area where he and the pack usually met. He gulped hard when he saw his buddies waiting around, apparently for him.

"There you are, man! We've been waiting here for like--", and they suddenly saw Bailey's attired. "What in the hell are you wearing, dude?"

"You like it, fellas?", Bailey asked, grinning. "It's like I've finally found my look. It's the new me. Can't believe I ever wore anything else!" Bailey kept trotting up and down, jogging in place. Inside, Bailey was trying desperately to fight what he saying, though you'd never know it to look at him. He kept thinking that if he could just get some sign to the pack, fill them in on what was happening to him, give them some hint--they could gang up on the little queer Leonard and force him to undo what he'd done. But his thoughts were overridden by a sudden realization of how cute the boys of the pack were...

"Uhh...Bay, dude, you look like a big fag."

Bailey's face suddenly turned harsh. "So what if I do? Maybe that's what I am, you ever think about that? Maybe I've always been so hostile about homos because I was afraid to admit I was one!" Bailey's stomach started doing a roll-over act. He wasn't saying this. He couldn't be saying this.

All of the pack were on their feet, mouths hanging open in shock, unable to process what they were seeing, what they were hearing. "B-but you can't be queer, man! What about tonight? Our plans--"

Still jogging place, Bailey spoke loudly, "The gay bashing is off for tonight, boys! You're gonna lay off that shit, ya got me?"

The pack cringed as other guests of the pub all turned and stared. "Bay, keep it down, man! Somebody's gonna call the cops or sumthin'--!"

"Listen, I don't have time to hang with you guys anymore. Later." And Bailey trotted off on his way, shiny pink lycra catching the light as he moved. The pack stood there, bewildered and shattered at the sight of their precious leader behaving like a big gayboy. One at a time, the pack broke up, wandering in different directions, muttering things about needing to go, about forgotten appointments suddenly remembered.

Outside the girl's dorms, the redheaded girl with the name that began with an "A" sat on the steps with her blond friend, gushing about her life-altering experience with Bailey the night before. "Oh. My. God. It was like, the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. He was incredible. So sure of himself, so in control. He was a stevedore during sex!"

"What's a stevedore?", the blond.

"I don't know, I heard it on TV once. But it's supposed to be good, and he was like that, I know it! He was gone when I got up, like he'd been called off to perform some mysterious duty, or like he had been some divine dream--"

"Or he had been an uncouth cad."

The girls looked up to see who had spoken, and there stood Bailey in all his rainbow-flagged, pink lycraed glory. "Hello, ladies.", Bailey said gallantly. Then, turning to the redhead, he said, "I just had to come by and see you."

She was on her feet in an instant. "Yes? D-did you want to get together again? Maybe tonight?"

"No, I'm afraid not. You see, the reason I wasn't there when you woke up this morning is that I don't really care about you."

The girl's face fell and he friend's mouth dropped open. Bailey saw their dismay and spoke quickly. "Oh, it's not you. It's nothing to do with you. It's me. You see, I was being a cruel, unfeeling bastard and was just using you last night to impress my friends. You deserve someone so much better than me."

"Why--why are you saying this??"

"Because it's true. Look, Angie--"


"April. I knew it started with an "A". See? That's further proof that I'm an insensitive creep. I didn't even bother to learn your name. I only chose you because you were the most beautiful, sweetest-looking girl in the whole room last night." And Bailey glanced over at the girlfriend. "Except for maybe one other." The blond smiled a bit, looking away. Then, Bailey returned his focus to April. "It all came to me while we made love last night. You deserve someone so much better than me. Someone who loves you for who you are, not just someone who wants a conquest for what you look like. You deserve a real man."

"Bailey, what are you saying--?"

Bailey stepped back and spun around slowly. "Look at me, April. I realized last night that I not only don't deserve someone as wonderful as you, but I was never meant to be with women to begin with. I was meant to be with boys. This is who I am now. Who I was always meant to be."

April just sort of stared, not knowing how to process this. She wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. "Bailey? Did you know you're wearing pink tights?"

"Yeah, I know. Listen," and he gently placed his hands on her shoulders, "a couple of my friends may be by later. They're good guys. You'd like 'em. Please take the time to get to know them, and promise me you won't judge them solely on their looks. I mean, I look pretty good and look how I turned out."

April wasn't sure what all this meant, so she just said, "Um--okay..."

"Gotta run." And Bailey kissed her softly on the forehead. "Be happy, April. I hope you find a boy who's worthy of you." And Bailey trotted off, a smile on his face.

After a moment's silence, April turned back to her girlfriend. "Okay. So, now that I think about it, he wasn't all that great in bed."

Bailey jogged on, waving happily to gawking passersby and smiling amiably at those who would laugh and point. In his mind, he kept repeating a mantra. "I am in control of my body. I am taking back control of my body. I am making my legs stop running. I am directing myself back to my apartment. I am taking back control of my body." When twenty minutes of nonstop mantra-ing provided no results, Bailey switched to, "I will at least stop smiling and waving. I will force myself to stop smiling and waving." Nothing. "Okay, just to stop smiling, then." More nothing. "Dammitt!!"

Bailey found himself jogging toward Dana Hall, where the two freshmen, Phil and Phil's friend (he never did get his name) were kicking around a hacky sack on the lawn. Bailey hailed them as he approached. "Hey, guys!"

The boys stopped in mid-kick, their eyes wide like the proverbial deer in the headlights. "Oh, shit! Run, man!"

"No, no, wait!", Bailey cried. And he put on a burst of speed to overcome the boys easily. Bailey always knew he was fast, but he had no recollection of ever moving so quickly. Bailey put his arms around the two boys, saying, "Easy fellas, easy. I'm not here to hurt you. I'm here to apologize."

The freshmen boys squirmed under Bailey's arms. "Sure you are! What do you want?!"

"Why can't you leave us alone?", Phil begged.

"Guys, guys, I swear to you I am not going to hurt you. Do you see any of my other friends around?" The boys stopped squirming a bit as they realized Bailey was speaking the truth. At the very worst, the others could be hiding nearby waiting for the chance to ambush, but they weren't immediately on hand. "I just want to talk to you, that's all. If I let you go, will you promise not run away long enough for me to have my say?"

The boys looked at each other, and nodded slowly. "Okay", Bailey said. "I'm lifting up my arms now--" Bailey released his hold on the boys and they slipped quickly from his grasp and started backing away at a brisk pace.

"Guys, I'm really sorry for the way that I've--" Bailey saw that the boys just kept backing up faster and faster, preparing to break into a full sprint to freedom. Bailey rolled his eyes and said, "Oh, fer Christ's sakes. Guys, lookit." And right here Bailey fell to his knees, and placed his hands behind his back. The two boys didn't know what to make of it, and stopped backing up. "I'll stay like this until I'm done talking if it'll make you feel safer. Just please, guys, let me talk."

The boys stared. Then, Phil said, "You got five minutes."

"I only need one", Bailey assured him. "Guys, I have been a complete shit to you. No one--and I mean no one--deserves to be treated the way I've treated you. It was cruel, heartless, and inexcusable. And I am not kidding when I say I am very, very sorry and that I beg your forgiveness."

The boys looked at each other, waiting for the punchline.

"Look in my eyes", Bailey encouraged them. "I'm not joking. This isn't a trick." The boys relaxed a little. He certainly seemed sincere, and they didn't think he was a good enough actor to fake that.

"Look, Phil---and, um--what's your name, man?"


"Ryan. I know for a fact you guys aren't gay. The attacks on you were all made out of sexual insecurity and immature fear on my part. You're not gay, but--" and Bailey paused. "I'm gonna stand up, now, guys. Stay calm." The boys took a step back and tensed themselves to run. Bailey stood up, revealing his outfit. "You're not gay--but I am." The boys looked like they were about to fill their pants, if they hadn't already.

Bailey strode over to the shocked boys and gently placed his arms around them, like a friend. "I was so frightened of who I was, I took it out on anyone smaller than me in order to shift attention from myself. I see that now. And while I can see that both of you are pretty cute guys--"

Phil tried to jerk away. "Eeeehh!!"

"--I can see that you aren't that way." Bailey pulled Phil and Ryan close and whispered, "Listen. There are a couple of cute girls on the steps outside their dorm right now." And Bailey pointed in the direction of the girls' dorm. "I just dumped one of the girls when I came out to her. I don't know how she 's taking it, but I bet she and her friend could use the sympathetic ears of two bright guys like you. And maybe more. Promise me you'll go see her and her friend. Would you?"

Phil and Ryan's heads bobbed like car window toys.

"Okay, that's great. I appreciate it, fellas. And I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me." As Bailey let them go, he gave them a tender pat on the back. "God bless, guys." And he trotted off to continue his preprogrammed journey.

Ryan stood there, mouth-breathing. He stared at the departing former bully until he was a speck on the horizon (or actually, until he had rounded a distant corner at the edge of the campus. Then Ryan said, "Phil, what the fuck was that? Phil?" But Ryan would have to wait for an answer to his question. His friend Phil had fainted.

After what seemed an eternity, Bailey returned home. He was utterly exhausted. He had put himself through many more physically draining exercises before, but nothing to match the emotional turmoil of today. Undoing past wrongs, disbanding the pack, winking at cute boys, being generally, if disgustingly, cheerful to everyone. And all the while fighting from inside to stop it, to no avail.

When Bailey staggered inside his room, he could feel his own bodily control returning, though a small buzz at the base of his skull was still present. He had control of himself again, but only temporarily. Bailey collapsed face-down on the bed. "Okay, you fucker", he said aloud. "You win. I get it. You put something in my body and can control me with it, and I can't fight it. You're all superior and shit. So, fine then. I give. "Uncle". Whatever. Now turn the goddamn thing off. I got the point."

Bailey rolled over onto his back. Leonard had indeed proven his point, Bailey had been humiliated. What more could he want? Now it was just a question of damage control. He had to regroup the pack, of course. Come up with some explanation for his behavior. Had he lost a bet, perhaps? That might work. The redhead was sufficiently brain dead that few would believe what she said. No real trouble there. As for the freshman boys, Phil and whatshisname, they needed a royal ass-kicking as soon as humanly possible, that was for sur--

Bailey sat bolt upright, disrupting his train of thought. He then walked across the room and retrieved the pen from the marker board. He watched in silence as a new "conversation" began.


"What the hell?", Bailey wondered aloud. "What more could he possibly do to me?"


"In hell!", Bailey spat defiantly.


Bailey spent the rest of the afternoon carefully pinning up posters around his room, decorating the walls with images of Justin Timberlake and N'sync, the Brewer Twins, Will Estes, and Antonio Sabato, Jr. He was forced to smile the entire time.

In the days that followed, Bailey found himself wearing all manner of clothes that made him cringe. The pink running gear was a recurring favorite. He was made to run at least three times a week in order to be seen by as many people as possible. He also wore baby blue shorts and a purple tanktop when running or simply when "out and about". Bailey's wardrobe now consisted of so many bright and garish colors it could make the average circus clown appear conservative. Brilliant blues, purples, yellows, neon greens, and a great deal of pink. Everything he wore seemed to have some amount of pink. Every day Bailey went to his closet, dreading what he would find there, convinced it couldn't be worse than the day before--and every day he was wrong. Leonard had timed Bailey's schedule perfectly so that he could slip in and deposit the latest ensemble while Bailey was out "on assignment" via the chip.

Today was workout day at the gym. In fact, nearly every day was workout day at the gym now. Leonard had increased Bailey's exercise routine from three to five days a week. He was in his new standard gym gear, a short-sleeved canary yellow singlet with neon pink lightning bolts running down the sides. It worked well with his electric blue wrestling shoes with the bright yellow soles.

Bailey always found himself at the gym during peak hours, always in whatever room was experiencing the most traffic. Bailey was compelled to work out nearest the cutest guys, and always offered to help spot them. He couldn't fight the programmed attraction he felt to all the hunky young men, and his singlet was of no help hiding his arousal.

Bailey found himself in the free weight room, scanning the room for attractive boys, and found one such specimen at the bench press. He was about 19, with classicly handsome features and the build of a linebacker. He was struggling a bit with the barbell which was loaded with an impressive amount of weight.

"Hey, lemme help you with that", Bailey said. His hands braced the barbell so that the struggling lifter could return it to its rest.

"Whoa! Thanks, man. I've been increasing the amount of weight I use, and I guess I overdid--" The young man stopped short as he caught sight of who had helped him, this clownish muscle lad with the obvious erection. The weightlifter, who had been laying on his back on the bench, slid away quickly, springing to his feet. He stepped slowly away from the bench, away from Bailey. "Um, man, if you want to take the bench press, it's all yours. I'm good."

"No, it's cool", Bailey said. "You can keep lifting if you want. I'd be happy to spot you." And Bailey looked the young man up and down. "Real happy. Whatever your regimen is, it's working." And he flashed a bright smile. "You look hot, dude."

The young man just kept backing away, his eyes wide. When he bumped into the butterfly machine while backing up, he spun on his heel and trotted out of the weight room. Bailey felt smaller than an amoeba. What had he just done to that poor kid? What had he done to himself? Bailey looked around and saw that all the eyes in the immediate area were upon him. Some men had stopped in mid-curl with weights still in hand. Others working with weight machines paused halfway through presses and lifts to stare at the bright yellow gay guy who had just made a pass at a frightened young kid.

Bailey shuffled out of the room, feeling humiliated, and tried to keep his mouth shut long enough to get clear. It didn't work. Halfway across the floor, he stopped and turned to the men glaring at him. He shrugged slightly and said in way of defense, "Well can you blame me? He was cute."

It was like that every time Bailey went to the gym. And he kept going. One day on the treadmills, his former trainer walked by and Bailey tried to deliver a courteous hello, but it came out, "Keith! Those are some really nice-looking red shorts ya got there, man. Mm-mmm!" Keith shot him a look that would stop a train and hurried on his way. Bailey's broad smile did a fine job of camouflaging the fact that inside, he was dying of shame.

It wasn't long before Bailey could clear any room in the gym simply by entering it. He had become a pariah, and even the gay members at the gym resented Bailey for being so flamboyant and overbearing. Each day, he would leave the gym alone, still dressed in his bright yellow workout gear, and was usually avoided by everyone. Except for one time.


Bailey looked up to see who was hailing him as he departed the gym. It was the pack. Bailey's stomach muscles clenched when he saw them, horrified of what he might be forced to say. He picked up his pace, pretending he didn't hear anything.

The pack just stepped up their own pace, jogging over to their former leader. "Dude! Bay! Hey man, don't blow us off!"

Bailey knew he couldn't avoid his pack forever. He was just hoping to delay it a bit longer. "Hey. Whattaya want?"

"Bailey, we want to know what's up with you lately, man."

"What do you mean?"

"What do we mean?? Jesus, man! Look at yourself!" And he indicated Bailey's flamboyant choice of gymwear. "You've been acting pretty odd lately, Bay. Me and the guys, we're just worried, is all. Is there...anything you want to tell us?"

Bailey shifted his feet uncomfortably and slung his gym bag over his shoulder to depart. "I can't talk about it, guys. Sorry."

But his former friends weren't buying that. A hand was placed on Bailey's chest, holding him back. "Whoa, whoa, not so fast, man! Seriously, is this some kind of pledge thing, dude? Are you going through a frat initiation and you aren't allowed to talk about it until you're in?" The friend looked around quickly, then leaned in conspiratorially, "C'mon, man. You can tell us. We won't let anyone know you spilled the beans. It's a frat thing, isn't it?"

Bailey couldn't believe his good luck. Here his boys had provided him with the perfect cover. He could say it was all an act, a hazing. Something manlier guys do to show their strength and guts, not a sign of weakness. It was a male bonding thing, is all. Bonding through the time-honored method of ritual humiliation. Bailey opened his mouth to 'fess up that it was an elaborate, extended hazing (hell, he might even get his boys to go along with him as an act of solidarity). But the words that came out were far from what he wanted.

"It's nothing like that, guys. Look, I've just been going through a lot of changes, lately. I've had some moments of--of self-discovery." And Bailey's hand rested gently upon his friend's shoulder as he looked into his eyes with what appeared to be sincerity. "I've been kinda confused, and I'm finally beginning to find out who I really am." Bailey's hand began to brush lightly against his friend's cheek. "Just be happy for me, okay?"

The friend slapped Bailey's hand away. "What the fuck is wrong with you, man?!"

Another pack member tapped the friend on the shoulder. "I know what the Baileymeister needs to perk himself up and get him back to normal. Check it out." He thumbed toward two boys walking up the street toward the nearby campus. It was the freshmen buddies, Phil and his ubiquitous friend. The pack member smiled, and Bailey's pal grinned back maliciously.

The pal playfully slapped Bailey's shoulder. "Now THAT, my man, is what you need. A good old-fashioned faggot ass-kickin--"

Bailey's hand darted out like a viper and clutched the former friend's throat. "Don't.", Bailey commanded, his voice hard as iron.

"Bailey, what the fuck??", a pack member said.

Bailey had always been the strongest of the group by far, and he proved it by lifting his old friend off his feet by several inches. "If any of you ever--EVER--harass those two kids again, or anyone like them, I swear to God I will kick the living shit out of every one of you. Are we clear?"

The friend wriggled under Bailey's grasp, feet kicking slightly, spitting out incoherent sounds and gasping for air.

"Are we CLEAR?!"

"...wheer...kuh-kleeerr..." the friend wheezed.

The other shouted back, "We get it, Bailey! Now drop him, Jesus!"

Bailey let go and watched as his one-time bashing companion fell to the ground like a rag doll. The other pack members hurried to gather him up. Bailey fixed them with a threatening glare. "You stay away from my two boys over there, and everyone else while you're at it. They're off-limits. You got me?" Bailey wanted to shout, to scream, to plead that this was not him talking. These were not his words, they were not his actions. But of course he didn't. He couldn't.

The pack moved away from Bailey cautiously, but quickly. "Fuck you, man! Fuck you! You can go to hell for all we care, faggot queer-lover! Goin' gay on us! Just--just fuck you!" What the boys lacked in eloquence they made up for in emphasis. Bailey saw that there was no way that any of his old friends would do anything to help him now.

He knew without a doubt that he was on his own.

That evening Bailey stood before the closet, dreading what he'd find there. He was actually steeling himself to say aloud that he had to obey his master and it was for his own good. He didn't give a shit at this point whether or not that constituted surrender, he just wanted to get this over with. The incident outside the gym had been the last straw. He would do whatever was necessary not to endure another like it.

"Okay, here goes", he said and opened the closet door. He got as far as, "I must ob--" before it turned into "What the fuck is THAT?!"

Bailey's hands switched to autopilot and he pulled out the garment and held it before him. It looked a lot like fishing gear, except that it had a full top and sleeves, like a sweatshirt. And it was made entirely of rubber. Good God, was it ever made of rubber. A whole lot of rubber. Inside and out.

Bailey unzipped the suit from behind and began to step into it. "Can't believe I'm doing this..." he thought. As he pulled up the lower portion of the suit and the cool, new rubber brushed against his legs and rear, he got an erection. "Oh, Christ, not this. Don't make me hot for S&M gear, for the love of God."

After slipping easily into the sleeves, Bailey reached deftly behind himself and zipped up. He started to move toward the mirror to assess the damages, but his hand took up the marker and jotted down a quick note.


"That's what I was trying to do, ya little prick", Bailey muttered. Bailey stood before the mirror and his jaw dropped. He was clad in a one-piece rubber wadersuit that flattered his physique very nicely. The suit was a highly, highly polished black that seemed to shine even in the soft light of his room. Emblazoned boldly across his chest was a large rubber pink triangle, which matched the stripes running down his arms and legs, around his sleeve cuffs, and edging the soles of his boots.

"Oh, Jesus Christ, no", Bailey whispered. "This is the limit. He can't do this to me."

Bailey's shocked resistance amounted to nothing as he stepped easily over to the marker board, wiped away the last message and then wrote another.


Bailey stood there, staring at the words in disbelief, shaking his head in shock. "Can't do this, can't do this..."

As Bailey mumbled his ineffectual protest, he was barely aware of his other hand reaching into the closet to retrieve another item that he hadn't even noticed was there. It was a man-sized rubber dog collar, with a metal pink triangle where the tag would be. Bailey held it up to behold the engraving in bold black letters, which could be clearly seen from a distance, reading "BOTTOM".

Bailey reached around his neck to fasten the collar firmly in place with preprogrammed expert hands. Bailey was aghast at what he was doing, where he was being made to go, what he might possibly have to do there. "No, no, no, not this, anything but this, I swear I can't take this, you don't understand..." He heard the collar's latch click with alarming finality, and Bailey swallowed hard.

As his arm casually closed the closet, Bailey began to shout, to plead, "Leonard! I must obey my master in all things! This is for my own good! It is! I see that now! Please! It's for my own good!!"

Bailey strode proudly out the door in his rubber suit, his cries dying in his throat, his tears held in check, his face forced into a smile that would appear to anyone to be perfectly natural and genuine. A spring in his step, the newly-made rubberboy trotted to the bus stop for his long ride across town.

Back in his lab, Leonard followed a readout at his console, the one chronicling Bailey's progress. He grinned. "Yes, it is for your own good, Bailey. So glad you're beginning to see that."

Bailey was disgusted with himself.

He was at Club Gummi, a rubber fetish bar. Bailey was gyrating on the dance floor with someone maybe two or three years younger than he was, working up a terrible sweat inside his wadersuit, and fighting to remind himself that the aching erection he had was the work of the chip and not the handsome young man dancing so close to him.

The young dancer had black hair, with the top and bangs dyed red-orange. He wore a skintight rubber bodysuit and rubber cycle jacket. Around his neck was a thin but formidable chain that ended in a small padlock worn like a pendant. He was young and inexperienced, but was looking to make use of Bailey to remedy the latter, as well as take a few notches out of the former.

There were rooms in the back of the club for rent by the hour. The young dancer had paid for two hours. Bailey stood with him in the sparsely furnished room (read: it had a bed and a table) waiting for what would come next. The music from the club came muffled through the heavy door, reduced to a steady pulse of dull thuds. Bailey towered over the boy by several inches, but knew his chip would keep him docile enough that he may as well have been three feet tall. Bay had been trying to make himself run for the door and race out of the club, but his feet refused to move, his mouth wouldn't release the cry for help he wanted to scream.

The young man approached Bailey with a cocky sass in his walk, looking him over as one would an elegantly prepared meal, wondering where to start first. "So, you got a name, buddy?"

Bailey started to answer, when the young man placed a silencing finger upon his lips. "Wait." He slid his finger down Bailey's lips, over his chin, and fingered the pink triangular tag dangling from Bailey's rubber dog collar. "Bottom", the boy read. "That's right. I saw it when we were out on the floor. I like that. How about I call you that?"

Bailey looked at the boy with far more yearning than he should have and said with a voice that begged for approval, "My name is Bottom, sir."

The boy put his arms around Bailey's shoulders, laughing lightly. "God, you really are a total bottom, aren't you--Bottom?" The boy pressed his palm tight against Bailey's throbbing member, pressing the rubber wadersuit tight to his crotch.

"Yes, sir." Bailey's heart was racing. What was going to be done to him? What was he going to do?

The rubberboy led him to the bed. "C'mere." The boy jumped onto the bed, making the cheap springs squeak upon impact. The boy tossed his jacket on the floor and curled his index finger inward to invite Bailey to join him, in what he thought was an enticing way, making the Bailey's stomach churn. On his face, Bailey's mouth formed a grin against his will.

Bailey gently mounted the bed on all fours, feeling the overwhelming compulsion to submit to his temporary master's every command. Bailey was silently praying for some miracle that would release him, but knowing it was not coming, switched to prayers for strength to make it through his ordeal. The boy flipped over onto his stomach and said over his shoulder, "Unzip me."

Bailey looked at the seat of the rubber bodysuit the boy was wearing and saw a zipper that began at the center of his lower back and curved around his butt, between his legs, and up past his crotch. Slowly, Bailey unzipped the boy, exposing his ass and allowing his cock and balls to hang free. Bay was going to keep going, when the boy grabbed his wrist, stopping him. "Whoa, whoa. That's good." The boy then settled himself on his knees and elbows, baring his ass to Bailey. "Go to it.", he commanded.

Bailey was confused. "You-you want me to fuck you?"

The boy turned halfway around with a look of disgust on his face. "Bottom?! Hello, do you think I'd ask you to take Top, boy? I need a good rimming, Bottom. Go on, clean me out."

Bailey had no idea what he was talking about. "Sir? I--" And without warning, Bailey's tongue shout out of his mouth and his body lurched forward, his arms gripping first the bed, then the boy's legs to maintain his balance. Whatever rimming was, the chip knew what to do, even if he didn't.

Bailey's eyes bulged and his heart pounded as he moved in on the boy's rectum. His mind raced. "Oh, please dear God in heaven, this is not happening to me, do not let this happen to me..." And with the chip fully overriding Bailey's body, he set to work.

Bailey probed and traced his tongue in areas he had never dreamed of, even in his worst nightmares. He licked the young man's behind, the outside of his hole, and then inside, so slowly, tenderly, and thoroughly. Bailey had never been so attentive to anything in his life, than as he took his time and tended to the young man in the rubber suit. The young man moaned and inhaled sharply, muttering words of pleasure and approval. Before long, Bailey's face was pressed flush against the young man's rear, his tongue forcing its way inward as far as he could make it go. Once inside, he licked and swiped for as long as he could, until his mouth grew sore.

Finally, the young man began to pull forward, away from Bailey, and Bay let his head drop, relieved that the ordeal was over, and shaking with fear as the sensation of pleasure crept over his body. His dick became hard and he felt an inward arousal over what he had done, just as his mind reeled in disgust and rebellion.

The young man flopped over onto his back and looked at Bailey, who panted slightly, exhausted, as he remained on all fours on the bed. "That was excellent, Bottom."

"Th-thank-you, sir. S-so glad to have pleased you." Bailey couldn't believe the words coming out of his mouth. He felt totally submissive to this young man, even though he knew that if he had wanted to, he could snap him in two like a popsicle stick.

"Time for your reward, Bottom", the young man said, drawing Bailey up to his knees. The young man reached behind and under Bailey's collar and found his wadersuit's zipper. He then slowly unzipped the wadersuit, pulling down the rubber top, drawing Bailey's arms out of the sleeves. The young man hopped off the bed and got behind Bailey, pushing him forward on all fours again. Bailey complied as his wadersuit was pulled down further, past his pelvic area to bunch up around his knees.

Bailey had a feeling what was coming next, but prayed was wrong. "S-sir? Wh-what are we going to do--?"

"I'll worry about the doing, Bottom", the boy said back, feeling superior to the muscular lad beneath him. "You just hold that pose and live up to your name." Bailey felt his bare ass being lubed by young hands and it was all he could do to withhold the tears. His mind was screaming to take control of his limbs and knock the young gay onto the floor and race to freedom. The silent pulsing of the chip spoke louder. Instead of fleeing, Bailey got an erection.

Bailey felt the boy enter him from behind, his virgin ass ached with pain, but he relaxed his muscles when ordered and accepted the boy deeply inside him. "You have got the most beautiful body, Bottom, and the most snug little ass, you know that? Damn, you are hot."

Bailey hung his head in utter humiliation, as the boy began to thrust. "Th-thank-you, sir. Th-thank-you for h-h-helping me be a true bottom." Bailey prayed again, this time that the boy would be done with him quickly. His prayer went unanswered. The boy fucked Bailey hard and deep for the remaining hour and a half of the two hours he'd reserved the room.

As the young man pulled his jacket back on, all smiles, Bailey silently rezipped his wadersuit, wishing it could zip over the top of his head and swallow him. "You were maybe the best I've ever had, Bottom.", the young man said. Bailey whispered a word of thanks. Bailey then stood by the head of the bed, staring at the floor, waiting for the boy to depart so he could do the same. The boy opened the door, letting the pounding music of the club pour into the room. He began to step back out into the din, when he spun on his heel to face Bailey.

"Hey. You wanna come back to my place?"

Bailey's stomach did a flip-flop, and he felt a wave of nausea churn upward into his throat, which he barely kept down with a hard swallow. Please, please, Bailey thought, if there's a God in heaven, the chip will have run the course of it program for tonight and I can go home, I can be done with this, I can be free--if only for a handful of hours. Just let me be done for the night.

Bailey looked up, a smile on his face. "Sure."

Bailey lay naked on his own bed in his apartment. It was well after 3am before his "date" from the club had fallen asleep and Bailey's chip had allowed him to leave. Bailey burned with useless indignation. Hot tears stung his eyes and streamed down the sides of his face to soak into his pillow. What had he become? What was he doing? The fact that he had no choice, that he was a preprogrammed plaything for a twisted, vindictive gay scientist made no difference. Bailey had worn those...those clothes, had done those terrible things. Was he a fag now? Was he some kind of pervert? Had some small part of him, some tiny, miniscule part of him that was not controlled by the chip...enjoyed what he had done? What he had been made to do?

Bailey sobbed audibly, then choked back the sound, swallowing hard. He turned his head to the side, feeling the tear-moistened pillow against his cheek. He saw the wadersuit (HIS wadersuit) where he'd thrown it in a heap in the corner. He knew he should put it back in the closet, as he was supposed to. Neatness counts, Leonard had said. Bailey decided he wanted to put it away, if only to get it out of his sight.

Bailey picked up the rubber bundle and walked to the closet, where he found a note taped to the door in his own handwriting. He plucked it from the door and read:


Bailey couldn't believe it. His heart soared and to his surprise, he actually felt a swelling of gratitude toward Leonard. With a broad smile and bright eyes, Bailey flung open the closet door to return the wadersuit to its hanger--never dreaming that the next day's selection already awaited him there.

There, filling the entire closet, was a vast array of rubber gear. Bodysuits, hazmat gear, different wadersuits, rubber jeans, tees, jackets, knee boots, hip waders, collars and masks. Bailey heard the dull "shlump" as the wadersuit he'd held fell to the floor from his limp fingers.

Bailey staggered back from the closet, shaking his head, his mouth noiselessly forming one word over and over. "" Bailey's eye caught the marker board on the interior of the closet door. He stared at the message there with dread.


Bailey fell to his knees, crying loudly. He bawled, pushing the palms of his hands into his eyes in a meager effort to stop the tears. "Please, no more.", he gasped in between racking sobs. Bailey clutched the sides of his head, trying to slow the shake of hopeless denial of what was happening to him. "No, I can't, I can't keep doing this, I can't live like this", he whimpered. "Please, you gotta believe me, if I could take it all back, I would. I'm so sorry, I'm sorry for everything you think I did wrong, just tell me, I'll find a way to fix it, to make it right...just please, no more of more..."

Bailey opened his eyes and looked down. He had fallen to his knees on top of the dropped wadersuit. The mere contact of his bare skin against the pile of rumpled rubber had given him an erection. Bailey threw his head back and wailed in anguish.

Back in his lab, Leonard monitored Bailey's situation. He was making fine progress. And soon he'd realize what he had done wrong, not just what he felt Leonard "thought" he did. "Soon", mused Leonard, taking a sip of his coffee. "Very soon indeed."

Bailey returned to the rubber club the following night. He was picked up by a brown-haired man in his mid-thirties wearing a rubber vest and jeans. The brown-haired man was attracted by Bailey's skintight rubber bodysuit, his black hip boots with the yellow toecaps and trim, and the yellow hazmat jacket with its black collar and cuffs. (Bailey had truly surrendered the previous night as he knelt before the closet--and as a result had chosen what he felt was one of the most humiliating ensembles offered there.)

For the better part of three hours, Bailey was fucked hard and deep, as he burned with rage and humiliation, all the while begging for more.

"Bay, what the hell is up your ass?"

Bailey was startled back to reality by the strident voice. "Huh?" He looked to see his friend Joe, his face practically nose to nose with him. Joe had never been one of the pack, but had been a friend to Bailey, even after the chip.

"Bay, I've been calling you for like five minutes, man. You were just standing here, zoning." In fact, Bailey had been lost in thought contemplating his situation. He even had begun to wonder if the chip would allow him to commit suicide, which now seemed his only option of escape with any dignity. Joe went on, "I know you've been going through a lot of...changes, lately", and he nodded to Bailey's clothing (a tight pink tee with two intertwined male insignia arrow-rings over the breast and some very snug baby blue lycra running shorts). "But you can't just snub the few friends you got who are still talking to you."

Bailey sighed. "You're right, man. Sorry. Just--thinking, I guess."

"You're not on anything, are you?" Joe looked genuinely concerned.

"No. Christ, no. That'd be all I need right now. As if I didn't have enough troubles." Bailey noticed that two other buddies of Joe's stood nearby. "What's going on?"

"It's another thrill-packed Squeal episode", Joe said, jerking his head back toward one of the guys, who looked pretty worried. Neal Squelchner was the official group mascot, kind of the tolerated tagalong who hoped to be considered cool by association. Very eager to please, but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. The guys called him "Squeal".

Bailey rolled his eyes. "What'd he do now?"

"Science lab mishap. Jabbed himself with something. One of the experiment needles."

Bailey raised his eyebrows. "Jesus. What was in it?"

Neal rushed forward. "We don't know! I-I-I forgot I'd set the needles so close to the lab table, and when I set the burner too high, the flame just scared me, I backed into them. It was an accident! Could have happened to anybody!"

"Nobody sane", remarked the other friend.

Bailey put a hand on Neal's shoulder. "Just take it easy, Squeal. What was in it? What was in the needle?"

"That's just it! I don't know!!"

Bailey looked to Joe with an expression requesting clarity. "Squeal put like a dozen needles on one tray. Along with some from other students' labs. After he poked himself, he panicked and knocked the whole tray over. Could have been anything."

"Not poked!", Squeal insisted. "Injected! I injected myself with something terrible, I just know it! A poison, a toxin, a submolecular foreign object! I felt at least three needles go in! Maybe four!"

Bailey stopped. "A submolecular--what??"

"If it was poison, you'd be dead already, dumbass", the helpful friend interjected.

"A slow-working poison, then!!", Squeal squealed.

"We're taking him to the hospital", Joe said. "Just to get him checked out. Get out of class. Wanna come?"

Bailey could practically feel the light bulb come on over his head. "Yeeeaahhh, I would like to come", he said. "God knows my head's not in the game for class right now." Bailey put his arm around Squeal and led him down the hall. "Don't worry, Squeal. Could happen to anybody. In fact, something not unlike that happened to me only recently."

"Really??", Squeal said, amazed.

"Yeah, he got injected with insta-fag juice", the third friend whispered to Joe. To Joe's credit, he then elbowed the guy in the ribs, hard.

"What say we both get checked out?", Bailey suggested to Squeal, who was ecstatic that someone as cool as Bailey could make an equally stupid mistake and implant something inside his body.

"Whattaya mean there's nothing there?!"

The handsome male nurse exhaled loudly, and prepared to repeat his findings for the third time. "I'm telling you, whatever it was you thought got injected into your body just isn't there. You're fine."

Bailey's frustration was mounting fast. it was bad enough having Squeal do most of the talking in order to get the subject out in the open. But now the chip's safety protocols were going full bore, preventing Bailey from saying what he had to in order to make himself understood.

"There was no trace of foreign substances, no chemicals, no--"

"It's small!", Bailey blurted out. "I mean, really small! Can't see with the naked eye small! It was this smart kid's lab--a really, really smart kid! He makes these teeny, tiny--agh!" His cry was one of frustration rather than pain. Bailey's voice kept disappearing when he needed it most.

"Look, even if you had been injected with something as unlikely as nanotechnology--"

Bailey wanted to shout "Yes! That's IT!!", but his voice was gone. He just nodded vigorously, and gestured that the nurse should go on."

"--even if that were the case, it would have showed up in the tests. You're perfectly alright."

Bailey gritted his teeth, preparing to use charades if he had to, to get his point across. "Lookit--" and Bailey looked at the nurse. Really looked at him. He was gorgeous. Jet black hair, slicked back. Very dark eyes. His skin was a deep color--tan? No, more like olive. Was he part black? Greek? No, he was Indian. No trace of an accent, but he had that swarthy look to him. The tilt of his head, the trace of his jaw. Bailey found himself leaning forward to kiss him.

"Hey, mister--!! What?", the nurse said.

The nurse's outcry snapped Bailey back, and he tried to pretend that he had been leaning forward to read the man's clipboard. Then, "Okay, sorry, I get it. I'm fine. It's just--y'know, I was all worried, and--" Bailey jumped off the examining table and made a dash for the door.

"Look, you can see the test for yourself if you--", the nurse said, offering the clipboard.

"No, I believe you, thanks", Bailey said over his shoulder as he departed speedily. "Sorry!"

Out in the hallway, Bailey bent over against the wall, bracing his hands against his knees. Where had the chip gone? And if it was already out of him, how could it still be controlling him? Was it like some kind of remote control deal, or what?

Bailey stood up, shoulders back against the wall, and let out a deep breath. An orderly of about Bailey's age walked by, pushing a cart filled with various medical paraphernalia. He was well-built, and his short-sleeved scrubs showed off his toned arms. He had a boyish face, with a strong chin and spiked strawberry blond hair.

As soon as Bailey saw him, he said aloud, "Damn, man, you're cute." The second the words came out, Bailey slapped his hand over his mouth, horrified at what he'd just said.

The orderly shot a condemning look at Bailey, saying, "Screw you, queer bait." as he continued on his way.

Bailey was out the door like a shot, leaving Joe and the others behind. He was halfway home before he realized his hand was still clamped over his mouth. Oh yes, the chip was still inside him, regardless what the doctors said.

Back at home, Bailey lay down on his bed, staring at the ceiling and realizing at last that he'd reached the end of ideas for removing the cursed chip. He shook his head from side to side in slow denial, muttering curses through clenched teeth. He moved to place his hands behind his head, but as he raised his arms, he saw that he held the pen from the marker board in his right hand. When had he picked that up?

Bailey sat up slightly, supporting himself on his elbows. He looked over and saw that the closet door was open, and a new message had been written on the board. In his own hand, it read:


Bailey hurled the marker across the room and flopped back down upon the bed. "Yeah, right", he said. "I'm a no-good faggot now, and it's for my own good."

Bailey stood before his mirror, looking at his reflection. He was dressed in a pink mock turtleneck beneath a turquoise V-neck pullover and matching shoes. He wore crisp white slacks. On the left breast of the pullover was 3-inch wide Pride flag with the legend beneath it in canary yellow "Out and proud!"

Bailey hung his head and sighed, all attempts at profanity and thoughts of rebellion gone from him. Why bother? This was his life now.

He looked back up at himself. His mouth moved and his voice said, "Say it, Bailey." He knew that the words were not his own, but that his response would have to be. Bailey mumbled out in a defeated monotone, "I must obey my master, this is for my own good." His voice was that of a child being forced to apologize for his rudeness to an obnoxious relative.

Bailey walked out to his first meeting of the Concerned Gay Students Group. He departed without bothering to close the closet door, upon which hung the marker board with a new message he was made to write before getting dressed.


Bailey leaned against the library counter, trying to look casual in his ridiculous outfit. "Um, where's the meeting for Concerned Gay Students being held?", he asked the student assistant.

The bushy-haired boy with the armload of books to be filed stared at Bailey, taking in his wardrobe. The boy fought to stifle a snort of laughter and was only partially successful. "Over there", he said, nodding his head toward a table at the back of the room, beyond a glass partition. "Group meeting area. Remind them to keep the door closed during the meeting." He walked away, shaking his head and grinning.

Bailey stood in the doorway of the meeting room, looking at the circular table of young men and women. Two of the girls held hands on the tabletop, which was scattered with literature on homophobia, self defense courses, and books by various gay authors and speakers. "Concerned Gay Students?", Bailey asked meekly. He was met with icy stares from the women and expressions from the boys that could only be filed under "D" for "duh". Bailey gulped hard and stepped inside, closing the door behind him. Despite his silent prayer, the floor did not open up and swallow him.

Bailey took his seat across the table from a cute guy with dirty blond hair. He smiled at Bailey, nodding his head slightly toward him. Bailey returned the smile with some effort. He felt terribly uncomfortable being here. In some ways, worse than when he was at the rubber club.

Bailey took in the other attendees around the table; two girls with excessively permed hair who sat a little close together (probably girlfriends), a gangly guy with a slightly oily complexion, a couple other average-looking gals (they were the ones holding hands), and a girl with a high forehead, thick glasses, and stringy hair, in a hideous brown jacket. She was overloaded with books, pads and clipboards. She was also the only one with an overly dour expression. She clearly meant business.

Bailey had never felt so out of place. At least in his other forced scenarios his special costume had made him fit more into his role. Here, even his snappy attire wasn't helping.

He looked at the dirty blond boy again, and noticed that he was still smiling brightly at Bailey. Bailey saw that the boy was wearing an outfit that was in the running with his own in the garish department. The blond boy also wore a pullover, atop a powder blue crew neck. The pullover was cream-colored, with stripes running around the chest and midsection. Bands of carnation pink and baby blue straddled a wraparound Pride rainbow. Boldfaced letters on his sleeves formed armbands that read "GAYBOY". His pants matched his crew neck. Loafers.

Bailey couldn't get over how out of place the boy--the young man, really--seemed, dressed in so absurd a fashion. He had a face and build that would be perfectly suited to a white wife beater and leather jacket, or a rumpled football jersey and jeans. Bailey found himself smiling slightly in return. It was odd. As if there was some kind of connection between the two he couldn't define--

"If we could get the meeting under way", snarled the girl in the brown jacket. Her eyes were shooting daggers at Bailey and the blond boy. "And let's try to remember why we're here, shall we?"

The blond boy looked over at Bailey, rolled his eyes and made a "well, excuse me" face. The meeting was under way.

The group spoke of everything, from ways to prevent on-campus gay bashing to discrimination to reverse-discrimination. The girl in the brown jacket kept insisting on either a free Psych course for, or required classes in, Sensitivity Training. It was a term that made Bailey's skin crawl, as it had always sounded to him like something you'd undergo at a concentration camp.

"And of course", the brown jacket girl said, "we cannot stress enough the importance of staying safe after hours on campus. This is supposed to be a more enlightened age, but there are people out there who still target gays for attacks. Traveling in pairs or small groups is usually a good deterrent." She yanked her hair back with one finger and hung it over her ear. "And let's not give in to excesses in our appearance, shall we? It not only targets you as gay but aggravates the situation by applying stereotypes to ALL of us." This last remark was aimed pointedly at Bailey and the blond boy. Bailey lowered his eyes and the blond boy squirmed in his seat.

The brown jacket girl stood, gathering he books and belongings without bothering to ask for questions or the input of others. She'd said her piece, and it was clear she felt that meant that nothing else of importance remained to be said. "Next meeting is Thursday at ten. Stay smart and stay safe, for God's sake."

Bailey stood up to go. he had survived his first official student meeting which identified him as gay. Not that his new mode of dress left much to the imagination. Bailey looked at the blond guy, who was getting up as if to approach and introduce himself. His smile seemed genuine enough. But both he and Bailey were stopped by the sound of someone clearing his throat in agitation.

They both looked to see Leonard standing in the doorway, one shoulder against the doorframe. His eyes shot daggers.

Oh God, thought Bailey. What did I do now? I came to the meeting, I sat through it all. Was I supposed to say something? To volunteer for some activity? Before Bailey could approach Leonard, the blond guy held up a hand to Bailey, saying, "'Scuze me a sec." And the blond kid walked over to Leonard. What the hell--?

Looking sheepish, the blond kid stood before Leonard. He seemed to cower, which looked a bit surreal, as the blond guy was at least ahead taller than Leonard. Bailey caught bits and pieces of their exchange as best he could from the far side of the table.

Leonard looked cross. "What did I tell you about where you could and could not go--and when?"

"Look, it's not like I went to a frat party or anything--"

"--this is not part of your program. You know what I could do to you--"

"I'm still with your program, I swear to God! Please, don't do anything--"

"New to the group, then?"

Bailey turned to see he was being addressed by one of the other attendees of the meeting. A small cluster of them stood nearby to welcome him. "Uh, yeah", Bailey fumbled, still distracted by the confrontation of the blond guy by Leonard. "Yeah, I'm pretty much new to everything."

The gangly guy said, "You even really out, then?"

"Not totally, no", Bailey said. "Out a bit to some people, not out nearly as much as some people might like." And he shot a hateful glance at Leonard, who was still chewing out the blond kid.

"Well, don't let anyone force you", one of the girls said. "And don't mind Clarise--the one in charge of the meeting. We're not all like that."

"So...", Bailey began, thrown off by the helpfulness of the group. "What do you guys all do? I mean, apart from the group meetings and Concerned Gay Student stuff. You like, go to any clubs?"

Maybe Bailey expected one of them to reveal a membership in Club Gummi or some other fetish nightspot, but he was not prepared for the actual responses. "I-I don't even know where the clubs are around here", the gangly guy said nervously. The two hand-holding girlfriends added, "We usually just study together. We partner on a lot of papers and things." Another girl said, "Most of us really aren't into any scenes or like that." After an awkward pause, came, "I'm way too busy with the ministry work I do with my church, anyway." This from the gangly guy, who seemed a little embarrassed to admit it.

"You do church work??", Bailey said, incredulous.

The boy looked at him oddly. "Well,...yeah." Then, shuffling his feet, "Do you go to church anywhere?"

"Not in a long time."

The group slowly filed out, offering a few handshakes and pats on the arm to Bailey. As they departed, they passed the blond boy who was still hanging around the doorway. Leonard had stomped off, but the boy was waiting until Leonard was well out of sight before he moved. Bailey felt elated. It seemed obvious to him that he was not alone in his "Chips Ahoy" submission to Leonard. He was amazed he hadn't thought of it before. If Leonard was truly so vindictive, why would he restrict his malevolent tactics to only one person? The way this boy dressed, his eagerness to be nice at the meeting, it was not illogical to conclude that this handsome young blond was also one of Leonard's controlled subjects. Bailey approached him, happy to have found a comrade-in-arms.

"Uh, I'm Bailey."

"Gus." The boy smiled, a bit more forced than before. His exchange with Leonard had left him distracted.

"You and I seem to be in the same boat, huh?"

"Um, in what way? Other than the obvious, I mean."

Bailey fidgeted a bit. What was he supposed to say? Gee, it looks like the little psycho you were talking to put a chip in your brain, too. Pain in the ass, isn't it? "It seems we have a lot in common, is all."

"Our taste in clothes, if nothing else", said Gus, smiling wider.

Bailey looked at himself and laughed. An honest, authentic laugh. It felt good. "Yeah, there's that."

Gus gave him a playful slap on the shoulder. "Seriously, you look good. Wear what you wanna wear, right? Fuck 'em if they don't like it. That's part of what this is all about, isn't it? Freedom to be who we're supposed to be, who we want to be. To get out from under...", and he paused. "...other people's control, I guess you could say." And his eyes briefly darted in the direction Leonard had gone. "Yeah, to regain control of our lives."

"Man, I hear that", Bailey said with feeling. Then, "I saw you talking to that little guy, Leonard something, wasn't it?" Brando, or like that? You know him?"

Gus's face took on a serious cast. "I'd really rather not talk about that if it's okay with you."

Bailey held up his palms. "Not a problem, believe me. It's just that, it looked like he was telling you, that, well, you and he--" Bailey leaned in close and spoke softly. "I know him, too."

Gus's face broke into a broad smile, and he said with relief, "Oh, so that's why you brought him up! Wow, you mean I'm not the only one that he--?? Geez, I guess we do have a lot in common at that."

Bailey smiled. "Anyways, I thought we could hang together. Mutual support and like that. Strength in numbers, as they say."

Gus nodded his head a bit, smiling. "Yeah, strength in numbers. Reeeall strong , aren't we?"

Bailey laughed again. Gus extended his hand. "Bailey, I would love to hang. Put 'er there."

Bailey took Gus's hand and they shook on it, which Gus then turned into a full hug by drawing Bailey close and throwing his free arm around him. Bailey was taken aback at first, but then allowed his arm to wrap around his newfound comrade in arms and return the hug. For the briefest moment, time paused and Bailey breathed deeply. He was not alone. In the midst of all of this hell, at least he had that much. Then, another thought came to him unbidden.

"Gee, this guy's hair smells terrific."

For the next week or so, Bailey and Gus spent most of their time together. Bailey was relieved to find that most of their natural tastes had remained intact despite their chip implants. The two new friends were able to enjoy sporting events and see the same kind of action movies they'd always liked. Quite frequently, Bailey and Gus's eyes would meet, and Bailey could feel a connection spark between the two of them. Each time it happened, Bailey felt a stirring in his loins and a slight ache in his breast as he gazed at his newfound pal. He knew it was a surge from their interacting chips and just allowed it to happen. At first it caught bailey off guard, but after a while he began to anticipate it, even enjoy it. The connection was not wholly unpleasant. Something Leonard had not programmed against, Bailey supposed.

Bailey and Gus had spent the afternoon at a ball game. It was easier for two guys to be seen together at such an event and not raise any eyebrows. They cheered and booed together, appearing to be nothing more than enthusiastic fellow fans. Following the game, the two chose their usual back roads for the journey home, in case they found themselves engaged in any embarrassing action. Like now. As the two friends walked side by side, Gus's hand slipped into Bailey's, their finger intertwining. Bailey looked at Gus, who was suddenly blushing. "Oh, crap. I'm sorry, Bailey, it's just--I was kind of compelled--" His mouth moved a bit, but no sound came out. "I'm a little embarrassed. It was just--"

Bailey grinned. "Don't worry about it. I understand perfectly. You couldn't stop yourself, could you?"

Gus looked relieved. "That's right! You really do know what's going on with me, don't you?"

"I know it's not easy to talk about. Trust me, I've tried. I'd say 'I've been there', but it's still more a case of 'I'm still there'. " Bailey pressed his fingers gently against Gus's hand. "All the better for the two of us to stick together. It's not like we're gonna embarrass each other when we get the urge to do things like this."

"Good call", Gus agreed.

It was funny, though. Holding onto Gus's hand felt different than the other times Bailey had been forced to similarly display open affection for other men. It didn't feel as unnatural, as awkward. Probably due to the interaction of two subjects implanted with similar chips, no doubt.

Bailey had become quite the addition to the Concerned Gay Students group. He had gotten into the habit of arriving early, and discreetly passing notes to the other group members which read simply, "STAY AFTER". That way, after the brown-jacketed and sneering Dominatrix Witchy-Poo (as Bailey had so charitably named her) had made her latest proclamation and stormed off, the real meeting could begin. Bailey had already increased the insight of the group into the mind of homophobes a hundredfold, mostly because, as he often stated, "I know how they think."

On this occasion, Bailey had a more involved plan in mind, as he and Gus were proposing a fun night out at the local gay club, Dimensions. The duo had already had success in helping the other gay students accept the "To Thine Own Self Be True" adage in that they should be able to dress as they please, and wear what they want, provided it breaks no laws or is done solely to offend. Bay and Gus also did a fine job undoing Witchy-Poo strident belief that because a person is gay, they must automatically become a militant advocate who confronts all he meets. After assuring the group that going out for a night of dancing and fun was not a sin, nor did it mean alcohol had to be consumed, the date was set.

That night all went surprisingly well. The girls seemed to have the best time, as it seems all girls have no trouble dancing together, be they gay or straight. Everyone elected to go sober, and the strongest beverage ordered was a Cherry Coke. The gangly church-going guy (his name was Joshua, as it turned out) was easily the best dancer on the floor. Who knew? Hanging with this group was so different from Bailey's time spent with the pack. No one here wasted time boasting or putting others down in an attempt to impress. Sometimes they were honest to a fault, really. Bailey found it strangely refreshing.

By night's end, everyone was riding high from the experience. Bailey and Gus got hugs galore--from everyone--as they escorted their friends into cabs to get them home. Bailey knew that most gay bashers (at least in his experience) would prey upon one or two people departing a known gay establishment, so simply sending the group home in pairs was not enough. Bailey and Gus pooled their resources to cover cab fare.

When the last cab departed, Gus looked at Bailey and laughed. "GodDAMN, that was the best time I've ever had with that bunch, man! And all this time I thought they were allergic to having fun."

"It was fun, wasn't it?", Bailey agreed. "But I'm bushed. Let's say we--" Bailey reached into his pocket for some more cab fare, and found nothing. "Whoops. Joshua got the last of my green. Have you--?"

"Got enough to get one of us home, but not both. I was the one buying drinks, remember? The Cokes aren't that expensive, but they do add up." Gus looked at the few remaining bills he had and then handed them to Bailey. "You take this. I feel like walking. I'm not that far. You'll have to go back inside to calla cab, though."

"What's wrong with your cel? Battery?"

Gus shook the phone next to his ear, his brow scrunched. It rattled. "I think it's busted." He put a hand on Bailey's shoulder. "Thanks again for an awesome night with the group, buddy." Then he hugged him, patting him firmly on the back. Gus started down the alley which lead tot he main street. He turned after taking a few steps, calling back, "Call you tomorrow, huh?"

"Count on it!" Bailey walked back toward the club, looking at the cab money. He'd just passed the threshold when he paused. For some reason, even after all the dancing and clowning around, he decided he felt like walking home, too. Or maybe he just felt like walking with Gus. he'd spent the afternoon and evening with him and it still didn't feel like enough. Yeah, a walk with his new best friend would be a fine way to end the evening.

Bailey stepped back into the cool night air and away from the relative noise and confusion of the club. He looked down the alleyway, expecting to see alone figure walking away, and instead he saw four, standing. Gus's silhouette was being backed against the wall by three sizeable opponents. One of them looked scruffy, bearded, and was apparently in charge. Bailey bolted down the alley at a breakneck pace. there was no time to go back inside for help.

The bearded thug stepped dangerously close to Gus. His two minions stood at the ready nearby, forming a loose circle around the young man. The thug snarled at Gus, waving an axe handle. "You a fag, man?"

Gus looked him right in the eye, trying to ignore the feel of his heart working to beat its way right out of his chest. "No, I'm not a fag. But yeah, I'm gay. Why? You need a date for the spring formal?"

The thug's face fell, astonished that his victim would show any bravado in the face of such overwhelming odds. Then, his expression hardened as the meaning of Gus's words sunk in. "You sonnuvabitch--"

By that time, Bailey was on hand. "Back off", he said, his voice like flint.

The thug looked at Bailey, taking in his colorful attire. "You another queer?"

"What if I was?", asked Bailey, his phrasing making it more of a challenge than a question. "I'd still be twice the man you are, chickenshit. Three against one. Yeah, you're reeaall brave." Bailey knew he was infuriating the thug, but he didn't care. In fact, he was glad for it. Bailey had wanted for weeks to let loose on something--on someone--but thanks to the chip inside him, could do nothing to release his frustrations. And while Gus's friendship had provided some relief, he truly wanted to beat the living shit out of something. And here was a gay-bashing creep just asking to have his face rearranged.

"Bay", Gus said, his tone urgent, "just go for help, buddy. Don't try to take them on alone."

Bailey assessed the trio of attackers quickly. One with an axe handle, one with a baseball bat, one with nothing, but pretty solidly built. With the right moves and timing, Bailey felt certain he could take out the other two fairly quickly and then take his time and enjoy putting the leader in his place. He had trained to handle fighting groups. These three would provide no challenge.

"Don't worry", Bailey assured Gus. "they won't give me any trouble. They can try, though."

The leader shouted, "Damn right!" and lunged wildly at Bailey, brandishing his axe handle. Bailey almost laughed. This guy was a complete amateur. He couldn't have more blatantly announced his move if he'd hired a publicist. Bailey knew exactly how to both block his attack and disarm him in one easy maneuver. Bailey's legs struck a defensive stance by reflex, and bailey braced himself to respond accordingly.

And he felt the tiniest buzz at the base of his skull.

And suddenly, Bailey's body was as limp as wet spaghetti. He couldn't move correctly, his legs refused to work. Bailey caught the full impact of the axe handle right in the gut. He doubled over in pain and nearly fell to his knees.

"Bailey!", Gus cried in alarm. The other two thugs held him back.

The bearded thug then brought the axe handle down hard between Bailey's shoulder blades, dropping the large boy down on all fours. Bailey's head was whirling with pain and confusion. What had just happened?

Bailey didn't care what had happened. He was thoroughly pissed now. With some effort, he ducked the thug's next swing and stood up rapidly to take the thug down with two fast, devastating punches.

Another tiny buzz in his head.

Bailey's arms went floppy. It was as if, from the elbows to the wrists, his arms were stiff metal rods, and everything above and below was soggy and ineffectual. His hands flapped at the wrists like a bad gay stereotype and his elbows jutted out awkwardly like a spastic. The thug got Bailey again in the gut and then bashed him upside the head. Bailey went down, hard. His vision was clouded with stars, his brain becoming surrounded by painful fog. He tried to get up again, if only to run away, but a hateful thought seared through his mind like a hot blade.


His head spinning, Bailey spoke of his own free will as he crouched on all fours like a whipped dog. "Yes, master..."

The thug hooked Bailey under the chin with the axe handle, hauled him to his feet and slammed Bailey's back against the brick wall of the alley. Bailey tried to protest, but the only sounds he could muster were weak whimpers and sobs.

The thug glared wild-eyed, his drunken breath assailing Bailey's nostrils. The thug pushed the axe handle hard against Bailey's throat, choking him. He snorted out, "You know why I hate fags??"

Bailey's response was automatic. And even slightly choked by the axe handle, his words were very clear. "I don't know because I am a stupid, clueless bigot without a brain."

The thug's face came alive with rage. "Fucker!!" And he brought the axe handle down mercilessly on the helpless Bailey's shoulder, driving him back down to his knees. Again, alien thoughts bombarded Bailey's brain.


Barely conscious, Bailey wheezed out a whispered response unheard by anyone but himself. "...yessir...fags belong on their knees...must obey...I'm a fag now..."

The other two attackers joined their leader in beating Bailey, kicking him in the ribs, and pounding him to the ground. Bailey had no idea how long it continued. A few minutes, maybe several hours. His brain was a fog of pain and fear.

Then, a beeping noise. And a voice. Gus's.

"The alley off Madison near 45th! Near Dimensions! Hurry!"

The three attackers spun around to see Gus holding up a cel phone. "Cops are on their way, guys. They had a car on Layfeyette Avenue. That gives you what, twenty seconds?"

That was all the thugs needed to hear. With one of them pausing only a moment to give Bailey a final kick, the three of them raced out of the alley and down the street at top speed. Gus raced to Bailey's side.

"Can you move?"

Bailey tried to get to his feet. He could feel something moving around inside him that shouldn't be, and the metallic taste of blood filled his mouth. "...God..." He spat up a swallow of blood onto the pavement. His head pounded.

"Oh, sweet Jesus", Gus gasped. "Take it easy, buddy. Don't move, you're hurt bad. What the hell were you thinking, taking them all on?"

Bailey tried to focus through the waves of nausea. "Thought...thought your cel phone was broken..."

"It is. But they didn't know that." Gus tried to cradle Bailey in his arms, but stopped as his friend winced in pain. "God in heaven, Bay, I am so sorry. You shouldn't have tried to help me, you should have just gone for help. I'm not worth this--"

"No", Bailey whispered, a black veil clouding the edges of his vision. "I needed...this", he gasped, the clouds growing thicker. "It was... for my own good..." And Bailey's muscular, beaten form collapsed in a heap on the filthy ground of the alleyway near the gay club.

He had finally experienced what a gay bashing truly was. From the perspective of the gay victim.

It had been a couple days, and Bailey was able to stay conscious for more than a few minutes at a time now. He was in the hospital. He was still in terrible pain, but somehow he felt it was a small price to pay for his expanded reasoning.

He couldn't stop thinking about that night. Not the night he had been bashed while trying in vain to protect Gus. He dwelled instead on the night in which his buddies had suggested they go out and do some bashing of their own. The night in which he declined in favor of another lady conquest about whom he cared nothing. had the boys gone out without him? If so, who had they gone after? Was their victim okay? How badly was he hurt? Bailey took no comfort in the fact that he had taken no part in his group's hateful exercise that night. He was simply pained that he had done nothing to stop it.

Bailey looked up after several moments of brooding over his past selfishness and meaningless prejudice when he sensed someone was in the room. It was Leonard. He stood with his arms crossed, leaning against the door frame of Bailey's hospital room. He was smiling. He was in no way showing any joy over Bailey's steady recovery after his beating. And yet his smile was not malicious. It was more of a smile of satisfaction. The smile of someone whose project was proceeding apace.

Bailey tried to sit up to say something, but a spear of pain that split through his side wouldn't allow it. Bailey fell back against his pillow. He turned his head toward the door to see Leonard still standing there. Still smiling. Making no effort to assist Bailey, saying nothing.

Bailey tried to readjust himself, and only aggravated his discomfort. He squinted his eyes against the pain, and heard a welcome voice.

"There's my boy!" It was Gus, striding into the room with books and gifts, arms wide in appreciation at seeing Bailey awake. Bailey smiled when he saw him, then noticed that Gus had entered alone. Leonard was gone.

Gus dropped his gifts into the bedside chair and kissed Bailey on the forehead. "How ya feelin', champ?"

"Better for seeing you. What's all this?" Bailey nodded toward the chair of goodies.

"Um, just supplies. The usual fare. Doctors said you might come around soon. Went home and got cleaned up. You were almost coherent yesterday."

Bailey tried to sit up, thought better of it. "Went home? Yesterday--? Gus, how many times have you been here to see me?"

"Every day since you were attacked."

Bailey looked at the bundle of "supplies" Gus had brought. "You got me all this?"

"Oh, well, some of it is from the group. They send their best. I took the liberty of burning the admonishing letter about carelessness from Witchy-Poo." Bailey grinned at that, shaking his head.

Gus sat down on the edge of the bed, holding a hefty paperback. "Comfy? Shall we continue? Jason Bourne was in big trouble when we left off last night."

"What, have you been reading to me while I was out of it?" Gus nodded. "So that's why I have Ludlum going through my head. "Wait. You kept saying something about a mat--"

Finding his page, Gus spoke into the book. "Picture Matt Damon, I said. Y'know, as the hero." Bailey grinned again, laughing lightly. Gus slipped his finger between the pages to mark his place, and turned to look directly at Bailey. "Thanks for saving my life, Bay."

Bailey smiled. "Thanks for saving mine."

Gus leaned down and kissed Bailey, ever so gently on the lips. Bailey kissed back, softly. Might as well allow the warm feelings of affection to flood his system, he thought. As his battered body was in no shape to resist, he would simply allow the chip to do its work. This time, at least, he really didn't mind.

It had been a month since Bailey was released from the hospital, and he and Gus had become inseparable. They were jogging together, as was now their routine. Bailey no longer felt the chip compelling him to go slow, nor to run past his old haunts or embarrassing locales. Today, they were in the park, running the wooded trails, which was not only a nicer locale, but provided Bailey the comfort of knowing fewer people would see him in his pink lycra running gear.

Bailey and Gus had stayed in shape. They often raced each other during their runs with the loser buying dinner, or the like. The duo had just run the entire course of the park's trails, nearly four miles distance. Both boys were drenched with perspiration, and now stood hunched over, panting to gather their breath. Gus looked at Bailey as he stretched his legs and flexed his arms. His tight pink attire hugging his muscular body, the material so wet, so moist, his scent so pervasive all around him. Bailey's hair, damp with sweat, clung to his forehead in matted curls. Bay patted Gus on the back, commenting, "Good run." His words came between gasps. Gus reached up and clasped Bailey's shoulder, not wanting him to pull away.

"Bailey, I can't help it, man. I have to kiss you."

"It's okay", Bailey said. "Go ahead. Do what you gotta do."

Slowly, tentatively, Gus leaned forward and gently kissed Bailey. His lips lingered over Bailey's, hovering for a moment, then brushed softly against Bailey's cheek and down his jawline. Then he kissed him again, a bit more forcefully. Gus's breathing grew more labored. He knew it wasn't because of the run.

Bailey touched the side of Gus's head, bracing him carefully. "Easy, buddy ,easy. It's okay. Just ride it out. Let it carry you. I know how impossible it is to fight it. Go with it. I won't fight you."

Gus nodded, his breathing becoming more relaxed. He kissed Bailey again, his tongue moving inside Bailey's mouth, probing, searching. Bailey held tight to Gus, hanging on while Gus followed through with what he had to do. Bailey was uncomfortably aware of how aroused he was becoming by their embrace. The two chips exchanging signals, he supposed. He tried to let such concerns fall away and simply let go and give in to the actions of the moment. The less resistance they put up against what they were experiencing, the better. For the next fifteen minutes, they kissed tenderly on the dirt trail, beneath the cool, concealing shade of lush overhanging trees.

Bailey and Gus sat on the couch at Gus's place, watching the game. "Oh, man! Did you see that?", Gus said, waving his arms at the screen. "They are just giving the damn game away! Why don't they just play blindfolded or something??"

Bailey frowned. "I think they are."

The game cut to a commercial and Bailey retrieved his beer from the coffee table. He felt good, just sitting and watching the game with his newfound buddy. With his comrade. In fact, it would have felt good just to sit near Gus, even if they were doing nothing.

"Things have been better since I met you, y'know?" Gus gave voice to what Bailey was thinking.

"Yeah?", Bailey said. "I was just thinking that--"

"Like with the whole situation with Leonard, even."

Bailey sneered. "Don't go and wreck the afternoon by bringing up that bastard", he said, taking a swig of his beer.

"No, I'm serious", Gus said, turning to face Bay. "I realize now that he really doesn't have any more power over me than I decide to give him. It's that simple."

Bailey was confused. "So, what are you saying? Are you all 'go along to get along' now or what?"

"No, it's not that. What I'm saying is--"

Bailey cut him off. "Dude, he can still do anything he wants to us. He can make us do whatever he wants." Bailey made a gesture of futility, indicating his bright pink slacks and matching long sleeved t-shirt with its rainbow armbands.

Gus looked more confused than Bailey. "Bay, so what if he threatens to flunk us out. I mean, who gives a shit, y'know? I get the impression he's just a little shit who had his lunch money taken away one too many times in junior high and now he's bucking to even the score by pushing around anyone who's bigger than he is."

Bailey raised his eyebrows. "Flunk us out--?"

Gus put a comforting hand on Bailey's shoulder. "So our grades got so bad we got assigned a math tutor. Big fucking deal." Gus paused, then, more quietly, "Even if he is, like three years younger than I am." Then, collecting himself, continued. "He can threaten to report me on academic probation and hold my grade point over my head as he puts me on all his little study programs, but in the end, does it really matter?"

Bailey was still trying to process it all. On the TV, the game was starting again, and he didn't even notice. "Let me get this straight, Gus. Leonard is--your math tutor?!"

Gus was caught off-guard by Bailey's shocked tone. "Yeah. Well, Trigonometry, technically. Why? He get you with another subject?"

"Yeah...", Bailey mumbled. "He...he got me with science..." Gus did NOT have a chip implanted inside him. He wasn't a former bigot who Leonard had chosen to reprogram. He was just a nice guy who was bad at math. A nice gay guy. A nice gay guy Bailey felt so good around...

"Y'know, though", Gus went on, oblivious to Bailey's shock, "he's been easing off me lately. Did I tell you that?" Gus took the beer from Bailey's hands, took a healthy sip. Then, putting his feet up on the coffee table, "Ever since I started hanging with you. I think he's afraid of you."

Bailey's head was still awhirl. Barely at a whisper, he said, "I doubt that..."

Bailey's head hung low. What did this mean? Was he genuinely attracted to this gay guy? This wonderful, caring gay guy? Or was he just feeling programmed responses? Was any of this real? Bailey felt Gus's finger lightly trace his jaw, then lift his chin up. Bailey looked over at his friend.

Gus held up his right hand, palm facing Bailey. He stayed that way for a moment, until Bay realized that Gus wanted him to mirror his action. He did. Bailey slowly held up his hand directly across from Gus, palm facing out. Gus moved his hand forward very slowly, toward Bailey's. Bailey found himself doing the same. Gently, softly, their two palms touched. The skin of their hands pressed together, their fingers held tight to form twin steeples. Gus spread his fingers and Bailey allowed his to spread apart, too. Gus then curled his fingers down, as in slow motion, to intertwine his hand with Bailey's. Without thinking about it, Bailey watched as his hand did the same.

And there the two boys sat, hands locked together, saying nothing, just looking into each other's eyes. Bailey felt, through that simple contact, a connection unlike any he had ever felt before. It was soft, gentle, yet somehow incredibly strong and resilient. Bailey looked at Gus's eyes, saw their color, their depth, and then saw...if not felt...the man behind them.

This was beyond any programming that had been implanted into him by someone else, he realized. What he was feeling originated from within. As he held Gus's hand, content to stay that way, he wondered silently, "Where is this leading?"

Bailey and Gus lay in bed together, looking into each other's eyes. Bailey couldn't get over the fact that he was unable to look away from the face of the beautiful boy lying beside him. And it was almost as if he wasn't being forced to by the chip. It was as if...he could look away and simply didn't want to.

Gus reached over with one finger and brushed away a shock of hair that had fallen over Bailey's forehead. "I never told you how amazing you were the other night, Bay."


"When those assholes attacked me. The way you stood up for me."

Bailey rolled his eyes. "I got my ass kicked is what I did."

Gus nudged closer to Bailey. "That doesn't matter. You stood up for me. You jumped right in and fought for me. Like my knight in shining armor."

Bailey forced a smile, trying to repress the recurring memory of how close he came to joining his former friends on a night of gay bashing just because there was nothing else to do. "I'm not as incredible as you are.", Bailey said with sincerity.

"How's that?"

"The way you handled yourself before I got there. It was amazing." Bailey lay a hand on Gus's arm, gently rubbing his bicep, up and down, as he spoke.

"I didn't do anything. I just tried to get away. I tried to run like a big puss--"

Bailey didn't let him finish. "When they asked if you were gay, you said yes. Right away. Without pausing, without hesitation. You didn't flinch."

"Hell, Bay, they probably already knew I was--"

"You stood up for your own identity. I-I don't think I'm that strong, Gus."

Gus swallowed hard. He could feel the tears forming as he looked into Bailey's eyes and could see the sincerity of his words reflected there. Gus moved forward slowly, his lips lightly brushing Bailey's. Bailey tensed slightly, but more from anticipation than apprehension. Gus paused then, sensing Bailey's anxiety, and softly stroked the side of his face with his fingertips. Bailey closed his eyes, pressing his own hand atop Gus's. Then he opened his eyes again and gave Gus the slightest nod of consent. Gus smiled. Moving in again, Gus began to kiss Bailey. Softly, gently, lovingly. Just on the lips. The warmth of their bodies spread from one to the other and blended together. Bailey found himself enjoying the moment. Gus truly cared about him, he knew it for a fact. But did he truly care about Gus? Were his feelings--these intoxicating, exhilarating feelings--genuine, or part of some damned program meant to humiliate him? To "educate" him?

If this was part of Leonard's programming, at that moment he didn't care. If this was supposed to be punishment, let it be. To be here, sharing honest affection with someone who cared about him, truly and freely cared about him. To experience the tenderness, the joy. To share the experience in kind. But when the chip finally shut off, or ran the extent of its program, where would that leave Gus?

Gus wrapped his arms around Bailey's smooth, muscular body. Bailey ran his fingers along Gus's firm shoulders, then slid them down his back to caress his lower back. Their smooth, shaved chests rubbed against each other and grew moist with the first dots of perspiration. Gus slowly worked his tongue into Bailey's mouth, which Bailey eagerly allowed him to do. As Gus's tongue probed inside Bailey's mouth, Bailey felt himself grow suddenly and intensely aroused.

Bailey pulled free of Gus and sat bolt upright in bed. "I can't do this!"

Gus looked up from his pillow, bewildered. "What? What is it?"

Bailey looked down at Gus's face. His beautiful, beautiful face. "I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. But I can't go through with this. It's not natural, it's not right." Bailey buried his face into his hands, breathing heavily against his palms.

Gus sat up, gently resting his hand upon Bailey's back. "I kind of expected this, Bay."

"What? Why??"

"You used to be straight, didn't you? It wasn't always like this for yo--"

"It's not just that!!", Bailey shouted, louder than he had intended. He swiveled himself over, dropping his legs off the side of the bed, onto the floor. Softer, he said, "This--all of this, it isn't real."

Gus tried to move toward him again. "Yes it is, Bay. It's as real as we want it to be."

Bailey stood up and turned to face him, not the least bit concerned about standing there naked in front of Gus, a situation that once would have unnerved him. "You don't understand", Bailey tired again. "What I've been going through lately, all these changes. I have this--" And for a moment, his voice was gone. The chip's safety protocols had kicked in, preventing Bailey from speaking of it, just as he was about to.

Gus sat up straighter, noticing something wasn't right in the way Bailey's speech just cut off. "Bailey? You okay?"

Bailey held up a finger. Just a second. Then, he began again. "Gus, you are one of the best people I have ever had the pleasure to know. You're honest, and true to yourself, and open with others, and beautiful and caring." Gus smiled bashfully at the honest praise. "And I'm---", Bailey stuttered a bit, "--God, Gus, I don't know if I'm what you deserve. I have this---" but he stopped himself in time. "I have all these feelings going on inside me lately and I can't tell which are coming from me and which are coming from, I don't know where. I am really, really fucked up emotionally right now. And the only thing that seems to be keeping me from going totally off the deep end is you."

Gus looked at him, confused. "Bailey, what are you saying?"

"I-I'm not sure what I'm saying. I'm not sure what I'm feeling! I just don't want to THINK I feel something intense and powerful for you now only to have it go away tomorrow. You're worth so much more than that, and I truly, honestly don't ever want to do anything to hurt you. Not anything."

Bailey hung his head in shame. What the hell was he supposed to do? How could he tell this wonderful, extraordinary person that he had a chip in his body that could be forcing him to feel love toward Gus for the moment, and it might be deactivated with the flip of a switch at any time?


Is that what he was feeling? Was this part of Leonard's scheme, to make him love Gus, and then dump him to incur Gus's wrath? It couldn't be. It would be so unfair to Gus, so needlessly hurtful. If he was being forced to harm Gus--

"Bailey", Gus said. Bailey lifted his head.

"It's okay to be confused, Bay. It's okay to be scared. I've never actually...gone all the way with another guy yet, either. Honest to God. I'm scared, too. But I can't imagine you ever hurting me."

Bailey bit his lip and choked back his tears. When was this damned torture going to end? Where the hell would it stop?

"Bailey, what do you want right now? I mean, really want? If you want to get dressed and talk, we'll talk all night if you want. If you need some time alone, I can give it to you. If--"

"I would really, really like to make love to you."

Bailey looked Gus right in the eye when he said it. Gus returned his glance, and after a moment pulled back the sheets and gently patted the bed.

Bailey moved over to his new lover, unsure if this was him or his programming in control, and unsure if it mattered. Gus reached over and turned off the light. And for the next two hours, the two men were as one.

It was around three in the morning. Bailey was sitting upright in bed before he was even fully awake. His eyes fluttered, and he felt a compulsion to be on his way. His eyes adjusted to the darkness of the bedroom quickly, and he remembered where he was. He did not want to go. He tried to lay back down, but found his shoulders tugging him forward, as if invisible hands were pressing at his back. He looked over to his right and saw Gus lying there asleep. Bailey felt a rush of satisfaction and peace just seeing that Gus lay beside him. He so did not want to leave him. Bailey tried to move to the side and to his relief found that he could. He leaned over and kissed Gus ever so gently on the side of the head. Gus made a contented noise and snuggled further into the covers, drawing them tight around him.

Bailey rose from the bed and moved mechanically across the room, retrieving his clothes as he went. He felt like he was operating on autopilot, which is exactly what he was doing. Silently, he dressed himself and made his way to the door. As he slowly turned the knob, he wanted more than anything to just turn around and take one more look at Gus. But he was not permitted that luxury. He continued his forward motion, closing the door noiselessly behind him, and walking with purposeful steps to wherever he had been programmed to go.

Bailey let his legs carry him. He could feel the push of the chip's impulses and knew that to resist it would be an exercise in futility. He wondered if this was the moment he had dreaded, that he was being taken away from the wonderful, loving Gus. He almost said aloud, "Is this it? Do I still get to love him? Will he take that away too?" But his mouth did not open, no words came forth. It was not time for him to speak. He continued to walk.

For close to 45 minutes, Bailey walked until he found himself back at Leonard's laboratory. For a brief instant, Bailey tried to resist the chip and turn around, to run back to Gus, to wrap himself around him and never let go. It was no use, of course. To watch Bailey, it looked as though he had made no effort to break stride whatever, and he continued down the back steps and stood before the dirty speaker grate beside the metal door.

A small red light came on above the speaker which Bailey somehow knew was the equivalent of a request for identification. Bailey spoke for the first time since he began his journey. "Bailey, the homophobic reprogrammed puppet.", he said with conviction.

A small buzzing was heard and the door opened a crack. Bailey pushed the door open the rest of the way and entered. He walked into Leonard's lab and stood straight and tall before the young scientist who had summoned him. Leonard looked different. He didn't appear angry or resentful. He made no snide remarks and issued no threats. He looked a little tired, actually. As if he had been awakened in the middle of the night just as Bailey had. But without a microchip implant to refresh and revive him, Leonard had to rely on a large mug of coffee to nudge himself to wakefulness.

Leonard took a sip from his mug, the steam wisping past his unruly hair, which he had not bothered to comb upon getting up. He nodded to a nearby stool and instructed Bailey, "Sit."

Bailey strode over to the stool and sat down. His back was straight, palms upon his thighs, his shoulders back. He awaited orders from his master. If not for an occasional blinking, he could have been a statue.

Leonard peered over the rim of his mug as he took another sip. "Do you know why you're here?"

Bailey answered firmly, "I don't know because I am a stupid, clueless bigot without--"

Leonard waved a hand. "No, no, there's no need for that, not anymore. Rescind command QUES-Alpha 64 and erase", he said cryptically, then gulped down some more coffee. Then, looking ahead but clearly not at Bailey, he asked again, "Do you know why you're here?"

Bailey waited for his preprogrammed response to spill from his lips and was surprised when it didn't. His mouth moved, as if he were encouraging the phrase to come out, but no sound emerged. He looked at Leonard, a little afraid, and began, "I--I--"

Leonard sighed. Into his mug, he said, "Go ahead, Bailey. Just answer the question. Do you?"

"No, sir, I don't."

"You're here because of a trigger response in your chip's programming, Bailey. Something happened tonight, didn't it? Something that made a fundamental change in who you are. Is that right?" Leonard lowered his mug and looked levelly at Bailey. "Is it?"

Bailey couldn't suppress his smile. "Yes, sir. It is." His smile was truly genuine. Not the plastic one driven by the chip, not the one with the hint of malevolence that he displayed long ago. This was a smile inspired by happiness. By love.

Leonard wasn't ready to believe it just yet. "Really?"

Bailey knew he wanted proof. But he didn't want to dirty up what he'd shared with Gus by describing it. He'd sooner die first. "Sir, I'd really rather not go into details, please, if it's alright with you."

Leonard stared at him. Then, he walked over to one of his consoles. He gestured with the hand holding his mug, saying, "This little green light means that you're under retrieval. You see, as long as you were the same old Bailey, the chip would keep functioning as I designed it. But as soon as there was a significant alteration in your personality, in your brain patterns, the chip would cause you to return here. For verification."

Bailey was flabbergasted. Essentially, Leonard was saying this tiny mechanism could tell when he'd had a change of heart. "Sir, h-how--?"

Again, the dismissive wave of the hand. "It's complicated. Don't worry about how it works, just suffice it to say that it does." He turned back to Bailey. "But you've only been on this program a fraction of the time I thought would be necessary to evoke any significant results in your character redesign. So what I want to know now is, what happened to you? What experience caused this great transformation in the formerly bigoted Bailey Sims?"

Bailey cast his eyes down at the floor. "So?", Leonard prodded. "What was it?"

"Not what.", Bailey answered quietly. Then, looking up, "Who."

Leonard set down his coffee mug. "Well, well, well, well, well." He approached Bailey. "And the name, please?"


Leonard smiled. "The one who's so bad at Trigonometry? The blond?"

"Yes, sir. But he's not just "a blond", he's--" Bailey searched for the right words.

"Go on."

"He's like no one I've ever known before, sir. He's sweet, he's kind, he's caring, he's compassionate, he's giving--when I'm around him, it's like nothing else matters. When I'm not with him, it's like part of him is still with me, and when I see a reflection of myself in the mirror, it's as if I can see myself the way he does, as if I'm more, as if I'm not just the person I am, but the person I could be. And he---"

Bailey closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Barely above a whisper, he said, "Please don't make me hurt him."

Leonard took a step back. "What did you just say?"

Bailey looked at Leonard with all the resolution he could muster. "I know you control me. I know you can make me do anything, but I am asking you--I am begging you--please, sir, don't make me do anything that would hurt Gus. I swear to you I will do anything you want me to do to myself. I'll humiliate myself, I'll wear whatever you want me to, whenever you want me to, speak any words you put in my mouth. I'll submit myself to another gay-bashing, anything. Just, nothing that will harm Gus in any way. Please."

Leonard stood looking at Bailey for a long moment. The he asked, "What is it about this Gus fellow that makes you so determined to protect him?"

"I-I think--", Bailey began, then gathering the courage, said the words. "I love him."

"You love him?"

"With all my heart."

Leonard stood there in silence for a while and then returned to his machine console. He called up a readout from Bailey's chip that served as the equivalent of a lie detector. "Can you say that again, Bailey?" Leonard kept his eyes glued to the readings. The slightest spike would indicate any falsehood on Bailey's part, or at the very least, uncertainty.

"I love Gus, sir. He fills a part of me I never knew was missing. Maybe I wasn't always gay, maybe I was and didn't know it. I don't care, it doesn't matter. Gus is a part of who I am now. For what I think is the first time, when I'm around him I truly, honestly like myself. And I would endure anything to protect him."

Leonard stared wide-eyed at the readout. Flatline.

Leonard turned to face Bailey. "Bailey, it would seem our association is at an end. Congratulations."

"You're not going to send me away, are you?", Bailey asked.

"Send you away where?"

"Away from Gus."

"No, no, you have your new life now, and you're welcome to keep it. That was the whole point. But now we--"

Bailey cut him off. A considerably bold move considering what he knew Leonard could do to him. "Just, whatever you do, leave my emotions intact they way they are now. Don't reprogram me back."

Leonard was stunned. "What?"

"These emotions the chip is making me feel for Gus. Don't take them away. Don't make me stop loving him. It'd break Gus's heart. It'd break mine."

Leonard looked into Bailey's eyes and saw only sincerity and devotion. When next he spoke, he spoke softly, and for the first time with consideration for Bailey's feelings. "Bailey, I didn't program your chip to evoke false emotional states. I simply warned you initially that I could, to keep you in line. Any feelings you have for Gus, you developed on your own. If you believe that you love Gus, it's not because I made you believe it. It's because you do."

Bailey's face lit up like a child's on Christmas morning. He started to thank Leonard, but felt himself begin to cry from joy. Still unable to lift his hands from where they rested on his thighs, he lowered his head and blinked back the tears.

"Now what do you say we remove that chip of yours?", Leonard said, returning to the console.


Leonard stopped in his tracks. Spinning on his heels to face Bailey, he gasped, "What was that??"

"No. Don't remove my chip."

Leonard moved back toward Bailey, his mouth agape. "Bailey", he said slowly, "you realize what I'm offering you, here, don't you? I'm giving you back you're freedom."

"I am free."

Leonard quickly checked the readings on his console. According to all his readily-available data, Bailey's mind had not been damaged. But his request made little sense to Leonard. He leaned against the console, arms crossed, and said calmly, "Explain what you mean, Bailey. Speak freely, as you may from now on."

Bailey didn't need further prompting. "I don't want to go back to the way I was. I can see now who I was with a clarity I never had before. My pettiness, my insecurity, my stupid, useless hatred. I don't want to be that way ever again. Ever. The chip...", and he paused here, collecting his thoughts, "it makes me feel safe. I know that I can never be the disgusting lowlife I used to be as long as the chip is inside me. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't, because the chip would prevent it, would override any intention to be cruel, to be hateful."


Bailey began to speak faster, to prevent Leonard interrupting. "As long as the chip is inside me, as long as it's a part of me, I can't--I won't hurt anyone. Not because they're different from me, not because they don't think or dress or act the way I do. Not for any reason. I am a bigot. I am a stupid, clueless bigot, like you made me say. Without a brain. No one with any brain would have behaved like I used to, would do or say the things I did. But now I have a brain, thanks to the chip. I can never hurt anyone again, especially not Gus."

For the first time he could recall, Leonard didn't know what to say.

"Please, sir. I'm begging you. Leave the chip inside me. I'm a better person for it."

Leonard took a deep breath and stroked his face with his palm. He was truly at a loss. He had wanted Bailey Sims as his plaything, as his human puppet, as a bigot made to humiliate himself. He wanted to turn Bailey Sims into a walking, talking, human example. What he did was turn him into a human being.

"As you wish, Mr. Bailey Sims", Leonard said. Leonard flipped a switch on his console and a low humming sound that had been barely audible before was suddenly apparent as it faded away.

Suddenly, Bailey could move. Slowly, gingerly, he rose to his feet, flexing his arms and bending his knees to test his range of movement. He found he could move freely. Like before. Like before he ever had the chip. He couldn't sense any impulses to make him do anything. It almost felt as if he had been...abandoned.

Bailey looked at Leonard, and pointed to his own head. "I don't feel it. Is it still in there? Is it still on?"

Leonard replied, "Yes, Bailey. It's still there, and it's still functioning. Should you attempt to revert to your old behavior, it will kick in as powerfully as before. You can test it, if you want."

"No, I trust you. Thanks."



"Say something. Anything. Now that I'm no longer controlling your speech, I'm curious to hear your first words as a free man."

Bailey paused for only a moment, then said, "I think I'm gay. I mean, I didn't used to be, but---" he paused. "Yeah. I am gay. I really am. And you know what? It's okay. I'm not a pervert or anything, I'm just--I'm in love with Gus."

Leonard looked at the floor. "Then you'd better hurry and get back to him. Lest he awaken this morning and find that you're not still lying beside him."

Bailey's face lit up. "Yes, sir!" He turned and trotted to the door, a spring in his step. Before crossing the threshold, he turned around and took one last look at the lab to which he would never return. "Leonard? Thanks, man. Thanks for everything. You gave me my life back." And with that, he was gone.

Leonard picked up his mug and took a sip of his now-cold coffee. He reached over to his console and called up a flatscreen he had not expected to use anytime soon. He made some vital adjustments with just a few keystrokes and saved the commands.

Looking at the glowing words on the screen, Leonard thought to himself, "Now I've officially given you a new life, Bailey. Enjoy it. And don't waste it."

Outside, the tiny chip inside Bailey Sims processed its new commands, and waited on standby for the circumstances in which to execute them. Blissfully unaware, the smiling, changed man who was Bailey raced with increasing speed along the darkened streets toward the boyfriend he loved with all his heart.

Bailey and Gus whirled across the dance floor of the nightclub, all smiles and laughter. The lights flashed and the music boomed, the two men in constant motion in time with the beat of the song, but never at a loss of contact with each other. Their fingertips reached out and traced each others arms, Bailey took Gus by the waist and spun him around, Gus braced Bailey's face with his hands and kissed him as they turned. They had been dancing for hours, but it felt like only minutes.

For the past months, they had been going out a lot. Dancing, dinners, seeing movies and shows. Bailey had become so accustomed to walking beside Gus holding hands that he could no longer recall what it felt like to move through a crowd without Gus's hand in his. His favorite place for this was the park, especially when it was bustling with activity and more people could see them together. Bailey loved this both because he could show off his lover to passersby and also because even in a crowd, it was as if they were the only two people in the world.

As the song switched to the next selection, Gus took Bailey's arm and led him off the floor. They repaired to the bar, where Gus ordered another drink. Bailey waved the bartender away when asked for his order. Bailey had given up drinking. He preferred to keep a clear head when out with Gus, to better appreciate and enjoy being with him. Plus, he could better protect him while sober, should anything unexpected happen.

Gus leaned over and kissed Bailey lovingly. "You look so hot in purple, man."

Bailey was dressed in a very flattering purple silk shirt and dark indigo slacks. Bailey thought he looked better in army greens and tans, but Gus loved to see him in purples, which was good enough for Bailey. He was just glad to be rid of the pink.

After more dancing and laughter, the two boys left the club to head home for a nightcap of passion. Their departure did not go unobserved.

The two boyfriends walked, arm-in-arm down an alleyway behind the club to where their car was parked, some two blocks away. Bailey held up Gus, who'd had a little too much to drink. As they walked, Gus nuzzled Bailey's neck a bit and kissed him on the ear. Bailey felt light on his feet as he held his lover, feeling that nothing could destroy the moment.

He was wrong.

Their path was cut off by two large figures who appeared before them in the alley. One held a baseball bat. Bailey spun to look behind him, and found there were two more waiting there, cutting off their escape. One of those held a chain which he was wrapping around his fists.

Bailey felt as if a cold iron claw had gripped his vitals as fear forced an icy tendril through his gut and up into his chest. He had dreaded this day. He knew it could happen, but prayed it wouldn't. Stupid rednecks out for a gay bashing. Bailey had insisted that he and Gus take self defense classes in addition to their daily workouts at the gym as a precaution against just this event. Gus had excelled in the classes, but all he had learned would do him little good if he was so soused he could barely stand up.

Bailey shook his boyfriend, trying to rouse him back to reality. Gus revived only slightly. "Hunh? Whuh?" Bailey held tight to him, hoping against hope he could protect him, with his own body if necessary. Bailey gave the thugs a quick once-over. He didn't recognize any of them. None of them were part of his former pack.

"Guys", Bailey said, his voice trembling, "you really don't wanna do this, do you?"

"Been looking forward to this all night", said the one with the bat.

"All fuckin' day, man", said Chain.

The foursome circled Bailey and Gus, clearly enjoying the fear they were creating in Bailey and the easy prey that the inebriated Gus presented.

"Fellas", Bailey started, "just let us go. We' didn't do anything to you, so--"

"You exist!", sneered the tallest, the one beside Chain. "That's enough!" With a signal from him, the others closed in instantly. Two grabbed Bailey, and Chain yanked Gus away from him.

The one with the bat pushed up against Bailey from behind, and held his weapon tight under Bailey's neck. The other squatted down to hold Bailey's arms behind him. "What first?", asked the one holding Bailey's arms. He was speaking to the tall one who was obviously in charge.

"What'd you like?", the tall one asked.

"Hey, Smitty, s'your show, man."

Smitty turned and looked at the drunken Gus, who could barely keep to his feet. Chain held him up for Smitty's inspection, clenching his clinking weapon in his other fist. Smitty announced, "We start with this one."

"No, please!!", Bailey begged. Bailey suddenly regretted his decision to keep the chip inside him. He knew it would override his ability to fight back, as it had before. This was the only situation in which he and Gus would switch roles as protector. But at the moment Gus was utterly incapable. "Guys, whatever you wanna do, do it to me. Just leave him out of it. Kick the shit out of me, I don't care, just don't hurt him!"

Smitty smiled. Then taking the chain from his companion, he pointed to Bailey and announced, "Hold him tight, boys. He gets to watch."

"NO!!", Bailey screamed, and acted on instinct. He whipped his head backwards, cracking his head against the face of Bat. He heard Bat's nose break with the impact, and the attacker reeled backwards, shouting in rage and pain, causing the other to stumble to the side to avoid being flattened beneath him. Bat's back hit the wall of the alley, the impact making his weapon fly free from his hand. Bailey snatched it from the air and with a fluid strike planted it heavily against Bat's head, sending him to the ground like a ton of bricks.

The one who had been holding Bailey's arms, still stunned by Bailey's escape, was struck dumb for a moment as he scrambled to his feet. A moment was all that Bailey needed. He smashed the bat into the man's gut, causing him to double over in pain. Bailey then brought the bat up fast and hard, striking the man solidly in the chin, sending him flying backwards to slam against the pavement.

Bailey felt a slight buzzing at the base of his skull, which he attributed to an aftereffect of his head strike against Bat, and ignored it. Saving Gus was what mattered now.

Bailey turned to Smitty and Chain, pointing the bat forward like a hero's foil. "If you hurt my boyfriend, so help me God, I will kill you and I will kill you slowly."

Chain dropped Gus, and turning tail, ran at a full sprint out of the alleyway.

Smitty wrapped the chain tighter around his fists. Bailey moved around him, slowly, sizing him up. "You can walk away now, man.", Bailey said. "One-time offer. Just go."

"Fuck you, faggot!!", Smitty shouted, and lunged forward, flailing his chain like a whip.

Bailey stuck out the bat and caught the chain, which wrapped around it. Bailey didn't waste a second, as he yanked Smitty forward by the chain, and kneed him angrily in the gut, and as he stumbled, once again in the chin. Smitty growled an obscenity, but Bailey wasn't listening. With two quick flicks of his hand, Bailey wrapped the chain around Smitty's wrists, and then tugged backward fast, yanking the man off his feet and down to the ground. Smitty tried to regain his footing, but Bailey struck him across the eyes with the bat, which was now fortified with the length of chain around it.

Smitty cried out in agony and then in hatred. Bailey grasped the length of chain in one hand and held the bat at the ready in the other. Smitty just kept right on swearing at him. "Kill you, mutherfucker! Fudge-packin' queer pansy shit! This isn't over!"

Bailey knew he would have to knock the assailant unconscious if he ever hoped to get Gus out of here safely. If he did let Smitty go now, Bailey knew the man truly wouldn't be satisfied until one of them was dead. Bailey dragged Smitty forward into the light of a nearby street lamp, both to get a further distance from Gus and to get a better look at his assailant. Bailey's eyes widened at what he saw.

The angry, bloodied Smitty was a well-built, muscular man in his early twenties. He wore an army green commando sweater and camouflage fatigue pants. On his feet were army boots. His hair was set in a severe crew cut. Around his neck were decorative dog tags with engravings that read, "Real American" and "White Power".

Bailey's mouth hung open. He whispered to himself, "He...he looks just like me. Like I used to..."

At that, Bailey felt a sharp jolt in his shoulder. His arm jerked up at the elbow as a bolt of electricity seemed to arc down from his shoulder to his fingertips. He lost his grip on the bat, which unraveled from the chain and clattered against the ground. Bailey had no idea what was happening to him. "Uhh!" His face contorted with fear and surprise.

Smitty might have taken this opportunity to free himself and renew his attack, but the severity of Bailey's response was so sudden and so genuine, that he too was frozen as a spectator.

Bailey's arm shot out at his side, stiff as a rail. His head twitched as he felt a steady buzzing around the base of his neck. His arm seemed to move of its own accord as it reached forward and, fingers together, touched Smitty's forehead.

"Whuh-what the fuck are you doing??", Smitty said. He had no idea these would be his last words as a free man.

Bailey felt a surge of energy, of power, race down from his head and neck, run the length of arm, and fill his fingertips. It was a jarring sensation, one which was apparently shared by Smitty, who moaned quietly beneath Bailey's vibrating fingers.

After a moment, Bailey stepped back from Smitty, his fingers numb, the feeling slowly returning to his arm. There was a kink in his neck, but that was all that seemed to be the matter.

Smitty just knelt there, the chain still binding his wrists, and did nothing.

Bailey looked over to Gus, who was making strange noises as he tried unsuccessfully to rouse himself. With two giant strides, Bailey was at his side. "It's okay baby, I'm here. I'm here."

Gus moaned with confusion. "Bay? Di' someone try t'mug us?"

Bailey reached gentle hands under Gus and lifted him up into his arms. "Don't worry, honey. Everything's okay. You're safe now. No one's going to hurt you. Not as long as I'm here."

Not more than a dozen feet away, Smitty rose to his feet. He did so mechanically, his back to Bailey and Gus. Bailey tensed his legs to run carrying Gus to the car, if need be. It wasn't necessary. Smitty shook off the chains around his wrists, and stepped over them, shuffling up the alleyway, away from the two boyfriends.

Bailey wondered what had just happened, but only briefly. Gus was okay, he was okay. Everything was okay. Gus squirmed in Bailey's arms, muttering, "Holdin' me like a baby, pu' me down."

Bailey kissed him on the forehead. "Shh, shh, shh. Go to sleep, hon. Everything's okay. I'll take care of you. I'll always take care of you."

As Bailey carried his precious cargo to the car, the man known as Smitty continued to shuffle on his way. Eyes glazed, mouth slack, he made his way out into the night, down streets unfamiliar to him, murderous thoughts raging impotently in his head.

Back at the lab, Leonard stopped what he was doing when the buzzer sounded. He walked over to the console which he had not touched in months and read the screen which posted a new announcement.

CHIP TRANSFER COMPLETE. SUBJECT 2 EN ROUTE TO LAB. Leonard put away his current project and began to brew a fresh pot of coffee. It looked like he had a long night's work ahead of him, and he would need the fortification.

Shortly, he stood leaning against the counter, a steaming mug of java in hand, relishing the smell of the fresh brew. As he lifted the mug to his lips, he spoke one word.


If you enjoyed this story, please write the author and let him know so he'll write more, at [email protected]