The Blending Effect - Part 1: The Voyagers
By Max Ryon published October 3, 2016
SummaryTwo students explore other worlds thanks to their professor's device. But their travels come with risks. Visiting other dimensions can have a strange effect on one's body . . . and mind.
“Xander? Where are you? It’s almost time to leave!” Scott called out to the seemingly empty air. “We only have five minutes left and I would really hate to explain to Stephanie that I left her boyfriend in another dimension!”
Scott looked down at the device he held in his hand. The device, which to his eyes appeared to be suspended in midair, showed the remaining time in analog red numbers: “4:35, 4:34, 4:33 …” Every thirty seconds the device would make a loud beep.
“Xander, four minutes!” Scott yelled as the device beeped again. Damn, it was hard to keep people together in this dimension! Thank goodness it was just him and Xander on this expedition. Any more and surely someone would have gotten left behind. What would you expect from a world that renders you invisible?
“Here I am Scotty!” called a voice. “Sorry, I got a bit turned around!”
“Thank God!” Scott said. “Alright hurry over here, follow my voice. Let’s get out of here.”
“Sorry man,” the voice said, closer now. “These invisible bodies seem to come with easily distractible minds.”
“Yeah, I kinda noticed. But remember the rule. Remind yourself of who you are. Use your anchor.”
“Yeah, I know Scotty. How do you think I found you? Started thinking of Stephanie. And how pissed she’d be if she had to wait eight years to see me again.” Portals between dimensions tended to appear in twos: one there and one back, separated by anywhere between an hour and a week. After that, another portal pairing would not appear for an average of eight years. Bottom line, their expeditions came with a very strict time limit.
“Alright, here it comes,” Scott said as the device started beeping every second, signaling that time was short. “Let’s try not to cut it so close next time.” Silence. “Xander? You there?”
“Yeah, I’m here. Sorry, I nodded but you couldn’t see! Guess we just weren’t here long enough for me to get used to this invisibility thing.”
“Maybe that’s a good thing,” Scott said. He held the device up as the counter reached zero. The end of the device began to emit green sparks, followed by a bright beam of green light. The beam shot forward and suddenly, a shimmering green portal appeared. “Okay Xander, let’s go. I think it’s best if we hold hands.”
“Aw, how sweet. Didn’t know you felt that way, Scotty,” Xander said.
“Ha ha, funny guy. You know why. Now come on,” Scott replied. “Follow my voice. Here’s my hand.” He reached out. He felt Xander’s hand graze against his once before it homed in on its target and grasped. Scott immediately moved forward into the portal, his friend in tow.
The sound of strange, buzzing electricity filled his head and he felt the bizarre pulling sensation of entering the portal. Once inside he felt as if he were in freefall.
Seconds later, the green energy field seemed to dissipate and give way to familiar surroundings: the university laboratory where he worked. He looked down, expecting to see his own body, and experienced a momentary shock when he still saw nothing but air. Calming himself, he recalled that it often took several moments for the body to align with the dimension it had traveled into. Sure enough, his hands gradually began to fade into view. At the same time, the strange airy sensation in his mind began to clear up.
“Scott!” a voice called. Looking up, he saw his boss, Dr. Wade. “Good God! What happened? Can you hear me? I couldn’t see anything coming through, I thought you’d missed it!”
“Yeah Dr. Wade, I can hear you,” Scott replied. “That world turned us invisible.” He glanced back at Xander, who was similarly fading back into visibility. “We cut it a little close, had trouble finding each other.”
Xander gave a triumphant shout. “But we did it! We made it back! Awesome job, man!”
Nick smiled, allowing himself to finally relax a bit. Yep, they were back, safe and sound. He turned back to Dr. Wade. “Can we get something to cover up, by the way?”
Dr. Wade’s eyes widened. He had been so surprised to see the boys appear out of thin air that he hadn’t realized they were naked. “Good lord, I’m sorry! What happened to your clothes?” he rushed over to a cabinet to get some towels, throwing them to Scott and Xander, who quickly draped them over their lower bodies.
“Everyone has invisible bodies in that world,” Scott replied. “Suffice it to say, clothes made us stick out like a sore thumb. So we dumped them somewhere. I lost the notebook too, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to take notes while we were there. Sorry … it was hard enough just to remember how to work the device. That place makes you kinda … spacey.”
“Well, what are you waiting for then? Go get dressed and start writing while it’s fresh on your memory!”
Scott Quinn was a PhD candidate in the physics department of the university, and Dr. Arthur Wade was his mentor. The two of them had spent the last several years perfecting Dr. Wade’s device, which allowed its users to visit alternate dimensions. Visitations to those dimensions came with several catches. One was the strict time limit. The other was the temporary effects on the user. Each dimension followed its own rules and would impose the rules on any visitors. Sometimes this resulted in amazing experiences. Scott’s personal favorite was the reality in which humans had the ability of flight. Not many other people in his own universe could claim to have actually been able to experience flying like Superman!
Of course, sometimes the alternate dimensions imposed less desirable changes. Especially terrifying was the dimension populated by giant insects … but the less said about that one, the better. Scott knew there was a risk of traveling to a dimension that would make it difficult to get home. What if they ended up in a world where they had no limbs? How would they operate the device?
Scott was just glad that he, for one, thought of such things. Xander, his travel companion for the last several voyages, was still in such a state of wonder that such details did not often cross his mind.
Alexander Brandt, Xander for short, was a graduate student from the Department of Sociology. He had been recently recruited to work with the Wade Lab in order to help study whatever societies they happened upon on their expeditions. He had a knack for picking up on the customs of other societies, having spent his entire undergraduate career studying abroad in various countries. His expertise, coupled with the “Blending Effect” (what they called the bodily and mental changes brought on by a new dimension), allowed them to blend in fairly well on most of their journeys.
Scott was just about finished with his summary of the “Invisible Dimension” expedition. The sound of classical music played in the background as his fingers danced across the keys of his laptop. He felt like his descriptions of his travels were getting better and better. He had really been working on his writing skills to try to capture the feelings and sensations he experienced on each voyage. Depending on the Blending Effect of the dimension, sometimes the feelings were truly foreign, not comparable to anything he had experienced back on Earth.
Scott was excited by the good that could come with this technology. What they could learn by visiting other worlds! Perhaps other dimensions had experienced similar problems to those of Earth, and had found solutions that could be emulated! Or what if they discovered a way to visit particular dimensions at will, instead of having to wait for a portal to open? They could use it to build empathy in people by taking advantage of the Blending Effect. Talk about walking a mile in another’s shoes!
A knock on the door interrupted Scott’s thoughts. “Hey Scott, are you in there? It’s Xander.”
Scott saved the document he was typing and got up to open the door. Xander appeared on the other side, beaming. “Guess what, man? Dr. Wade has already detected another portal opening!”
“Already?” Scott asked. He felt like he’d barely had time to unwind since the last journey. “When does it open?”
“What, are you nuts? I’m not ready! I need to shower, shave, eat something …”
“Not necessary, Scott. None of that matters, remember? Once we get to the other side our bodies change anyway. It doesn’t matter how you go in.”
Admittedly, Scott was just making excuses. He was not the spontaneous type. He preferred having a good long while to mentally prepare for things. Especially trips to alternate realities. But Xander was right, he didn’t have much of an excuse. Plus, who knew when the next portal would open? Sometimes it could take weeks in between.
“Alright, fine. Let’s go,” Scott said.
“Awesome. Don’t forget your notebook!”
“Right.” Scott grabbed a blank notebook and pen off of his desk, stuffing them into his jacket pocket.
The two students walked down the hall from Scott’s office into the main lab to see Dr. Wade busily typing.
“Oh good, you’re here! Are you ready?” Dr. Wade said.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Scott said. “I can’t believe another one’s opening already!”
“I know, no rhyme or reason to it. At least, not yet. Predicting these things is a work in progress. But we do what we can for now.” He fiddled with a few knobs and switches on the control panel. “Okay, are you boys ready? The portal is going to open shortly.”
“Let’s do this!” Xander said.
“Alright, let’s go,” Scott said. The familiar butterfly sensation was in his stomach. He was always nervous at this point. There was no telling what lay in wait on the other side of that portal.
“Here’s the remote,” Dr. Wade said. “No indication yet about when the exit portal will arrive. I’ve calibrated the device to start the timer as soon as the exit portal is detectable. You should have about an hour warning. Be careful, as always.” He handed the device to Scott, who then turned to face the far wall.
The shimmering green portal began to materialize before them.
“Alright, wish us luck!” Scott said as he stepped forward.
“Good—” Dr. Wade’s voice instantly faded away as Scott’s head was again filled with the sound of buzzing electricity. He felt butterflies in his stomach as he felt the freefall sensation. This was not his favorite part. Scott had never been a fan of drop rides at amusement parks. Then, as quickly as it appeared, the green portal began to dissipate and give way to a different shade of green. The green of a forest. Sunlight appeared in patches on the ground. In the distance, a bird was singing.
“You alright, man?” Xander asked.
“Yeah, I’m good,” Scott replied. “Brace yourself. Who knows what form we’ll take here.” He opened his notebook and took out his pen, ready to record the changes as best he could.
“As long as I can see myself this time, I’ll be golden,” Xander said with a grin. “I think I feel something. Do you feel it?”
Scott took a moment to become attuned to his body. There was definitely something. A feeling. A tingling, almost. With every second it was becoming more noticeable. He felt it all over his body. His arms, his chest, his back, his legs. Then, a new sensation. Almost as if he were slightly constricted. He jotted down some notes in his notebook.
“Scotty, I feel like my clothes are shrinking!” Xander exclaimed. “What the heck man, is this the world of tiny clothes are something?”
Scott looked at his friend. His shirt was definitely tighter than it was back at the lab. But it wasn’t the shirt that was changing … “Xander, you’re growing! We’re growing!”
The tingling had now grown into a deep burn that seemed to permeate every muscle in his body. He looked down to see his arms swelling, beginning to stretch the fabric of his sleeves. His chest started to become more prominent, his pecs protruding outward as if someone were inflating a couple of balloons under his shirt. His jeans began to feel uncomfortably tight. He wrote a few more notes, then tossed the notebook and pen aside. There would be time for notes after the changes were finished.
He looked to Xander. Xander was beginning to look like a football player. Seeking to save his shirt from an untimely demise, he had discarded it, exposing his widening back which had begun to develop a V-shaped taper.
Seeking to follow his friend’s lead, Scott reached up to pull off his shirt, but he had already grown too big. The movement caused his shirt to rip at the sleeves. “Screw it,” Scott said and, clutching the front of the shirt with both hands, ripped it off. “Hulk smash!” he said with a grin.
“Nice one, Scotty,” Xander said, his voice getting deeper. “Oh man, this might be my favorite dimension so far. We are getting freaking ripped! All those hours wasted in the gym when we can just come here! Ha ha! This is fucking hot!”
The last comment would have normally struck Scott as a little odd, but at the moment he was lost in enjoyment of his transformation. His next act was to rip his jeans off, leaving him clad in only his boxer-briefs. Xander followed soon after.
Finally, the changes seemed to slow down and stop. Scott marveled at his new physique. It seemed he was nothing but bulges all over. Even the bulge in his boxer-briefs seemed to have grown significantly. He looked at Xander.
Xander had become a perfect specimen of masculinity. Even his facial features had changed. His jaw was more pronounced, and a few days’ worth of stubble had grown in. He even seemed to be several inches taller! Clearly this world was one worthy of the Ancient Greeks! “It’s official,” Xander said, “This is my new favorite dimension. Wish we could bookmark this place!”
Scott flexed his arm, watching the satisfying bulk of his bicep. A dopey grin spread across his face. “Yeah!” He chuckled. “Listen to my deep voice Xander, I sound like a total jock! Man, I wish Trevor Jenkins could see me now. I’d teach him for shoving me in that trash can in the fifth grade.”
“For real, man! I’d totally hold ‘em for you so you could whale on him” Xander flashed a grin. “That’d be so hot.”
At the last comment, Scott felt a strange sensation, and began to notice a distinct tightness in his briefs. Suddenly, it was like he was seeing his friend with new eyes. What had a second ago just been an impressive physique now seemed … sexy. The prominent pecs, the powerful arms, the rock-hard abs … that voice …
“Scotty? You okay, man?” Xander’s concerned voice sounded almost far away. He had stepped forward so he was directly in front of Scott, looking at him with curious eyes.
Scott shook his head, snapping himself out of his daze. “Whoa, sorry Xander. Do you … feel okay? I think I might be experiencing the beginning of the mental changes.”
“Does it have to do with … the way you think … of me?” Xander said cautiously.
“You could say that,” Scott replied.
“Like, this place is making you feel a little … gay?” The volume of Xander’s voice dropped at the last word.
“Like, more than a little,” Scott said. “I can’t even barely take my eyes off of you, to tell you the truth.”
“I feel the same way,” Xander said with a nod. “Guess there’s always a catch, huh?”
“I feel like it’s amping up my libido too. I have never really been what you’d call … sexually driven. But right now it’s all I can do to not jump your bones right now … And I cannot believe I just said that.”
Xander gave a slight laugh, but his intense glare suggested Scott’s feelings were mutual. Scott felt a level of tension between them like he’d never felt before. With anyone. Girl or guy. The fact that he had never had any sexual interest in a guy before didn’t even cross his mind. Actually, not much at all was crossing his mind. He closed his eyes and leaned forward.
They kissed passionately, their hands beginning to explore each other’s bodies. Scott moaned with pleasure as the bulges in their briefs rubbed together. Before he knew it he had instinctually reached his hand into Xander’s underwear and grabbed his dick. Xander pushed him up against a nearby tree, kissing up and down’s Scott’s thick neck and pecs while Scott began to stroke his hand up and down his friend’s shaft. He felt Xander’s hand on his own package as he began to return the favor. The two muscular men gradually increased the speed of their strokes, grunting animalistically. Scott’s eyes rolled in ecstasy as he orgasmed, shooting his load onto his friend’s washboard stomach. A few seconds later Xander finished and Scott felt the warm, wet product of their lovemaking hit him in the chest.
The two colleagues turned hulking lovers stood near the tree, panting. Scott looked at Xander, a feeling of warmth spreading all through his body. Had he ever seen anything so beautiful? All he could do was muster a single word: “Hot.”
Xander nodded, his panting subsiding gradually. “Hot,” he said. He smiled seductively at Scott. To Scott’s surprise, he felt his dick begin to harden again, ready for action once more.
Scott took a step toward Xander, a lustful grin spreading across his face as he prepared himself for Round 2. Suddenly, a sharp pain hit him in the right side, spreading quickly throughout his whole body. Scott dropped to his knees, his thoughts of sex replaced by fear and confusion. Xander looked at him blankly, not comprehending what had happened, only to cry out in pain and fall to the ground himself. The world began to spin.
Before the world turned dark Scott heard a voice say, “Got them. Quick, let’s get them to the station. Looks like someone hasn’t been keeping up with their regimen.”
To be continued …