Driving down the street in her SUV, Gaia Daisuke is looking around for her destination. She has never driven this far into the city of Bridgeport, never having a reason to until today. She is completely relying on her gps for this trip, since she does not want to get lost in an unfamiliar area. While driving she is looking around, all the tall buildings and the small businesses in the area, she knows that she is in the business district. There are several restaurants scattered around the area as well, though most of them tend to be a sub joint.
The Japanese woman glances over at her gps once again, her destination coming up in just under a mile. She runs her fingers through her long, black hair, feeling a bit nervous about where she is heading. She has just started her own cleaning business a couple of days ago and a company had called her yesterday saying it needed her scleaning. She can't help but feel proud about what she is doing, running her own business and being her own boss for once.
When she turned eighteen she found a job as a receptionist at a local company. It wasn't much but the pay did support her lifestyle and allowed her to pay her bills. After three years of a relatively low pay and the early hours that she just couldn't stand, she just up and quit last week.
Making her last turn into a parking lot, she looks at the building she is heading to. It isn't anywhere near as tall as the other buildings in the area, only being three stories high. The only thing that gives it any real indication that it is a business is the sign out front. It reads "Asahi Corporation", and behind the naaction silhouette of an orange sunrise. Gaia can't help but chuckle slightly, knowing the company's name is a Japanese word that literally translates to sunrise.
Parking her vehicle in an empty space, she takes a deep breath, mentally prepping herself for her new job. "Okay, I'm my own boss now, so this should be easy. I can actually do my job how I want without anyone telling me how to do it." Opening up her car door, she swings her legs out, her black flats touching the pavement before she gets out of her car. She has a bit of a professional look about her, wearing a pair of black slacks and a yellow blouse. Her clothes don't look too fancy, but they are adequate enough. Grabbing her bucket full of cleaning supplies, she closes the door and makes her way to the company's entrance feeling quite confident in herself.
Stepping inside the building, she gets a real sense of just how professional this place is. Even though she is in the lobby, the place looks well-kept. The few people who are coming and going even look as though they are in the middle of something important. She receives a couple of stares because most people need to look up to her, literally. At a height of six foot one, she is quite tall, getting this from her father. She doesn't let this bother her, since she is quite used to it, as she steps up to the receptionist's desk.
The receptionist looks a bit busy staring at her monitor. Her fingers busy moving around the keyboard as she is typing away. While her desk has the usual items on it that would be for her job, there are a couple of items scattered about that look like she had brought them from home, adding a personal touch to her workspace.
"Excuse me, Miss Anderson," Gaia says grabbing the receptionist's attention. The only reason she knew her name is because of the name plate that is on her desk. "Hi, I'm Gaia Daisuke, from Daisuke Cleaning Services." The blonde woman just stares at her through her glasses, as if confused by her presence. "I was hired to do some cleaning today."
"Oh, right," the receptionist says, smiling politely. "Sorry, there is just so much that goes on here, I end up losing track of minor things sometimes." She points down the hallway that is to her right. "Go down that hallway and the room that you are supposed to clean is the fifth door on the left."
"Fifth door on the left, thank you." Gaia starts to head down the hall, keeping track of the doors that she is passing.
She becomes distracted when she sees one of the employees walking down the hall toward her. He is on his phone, talking about some big breakthrough so he is so preoccupied with his conversation that he doesn't even notice her walking towards him. But she does notice him. His short brown hair and his glasses that are sitting in front of his green eyes, she can't help but think that he is cute. Not to mention the British accent he has. She would have loved to chat him up, and maybe get a date out of him, but two things are holding her back. The first is that she is supposed to be cleaning, it is what she was hired for. So flirting will have to wait until after she is done. The second is because of the big differences in their heights, his eyes actually being level with her chin.
Gaia is confident in herself, not letting her height dictate who she can date. Unfortunately, her past experiences have told her that most guys can be intimidated by a woman who is taller than them. This is something that does bug her. Most guys she has tried going out with did seem to be uncomfortable being with her, trying to make sure that they were in a position where they were higher up than her. Yes, she has also tried dating guys who are taller than her, but they did tend to be on the controlling side, something that she did not care for.
She turns around as this guy walks past her, her eyes locked onto him as she is walking backwards. After a couple of steps, she stumbles when she trips over her own two feet. Falling backwards, she manages to turn around and catch herself, propping herself up against a door. "I'm okay!" She looks up to see that no one else is in the hallway, something that she is grateful for. Turning to face the door, she talks to herself. "That's nice. Trip over your own two feet while staring at the cute guy who just walked by you. Some first impression I am leaving today."
She looks at the door ahead of her, then leans back to do a count of which door she is at. "One, two, three, four, fifth door. This is it" She turns the door knob and opens the door.
Stepping in, Gaia sees that the there isn't much to the room. It is practically empty except for two small tables that have an item on each of them. "Am I in the right room?" She debates on heading back to the receptionist to confirm where she is supposed to go, but her curiosity is getting the better of her now. Two tables with two items, taking a closer look for a couple of minutes wouldn't hurt now, would it?
She approaches one of the tables, placing her bucket of cleaning supplies down on the floor next to it. She can see that someone has laid a belt down on it, at least it looks like a belt to her. It is a bit large, almost cumbersome looking, made entirely out of a silver-like material. The round buckle itself has an led display on it, looking like it should belong on an alarm clock radio. Looking at it a bit longer, she notices that the buckle actually has a dial around it. She reaches out and rotates the dial, hoping to get some sort of reaction from the display. To her disappointment, it does nothing. Overall she actually finds the belt to be quite gaudy. She isn't into fashion, but she could not see herself wearing it for any reason whatsoever.
Moving on to the other table, she sees that someone has set a glass canister down on it. The canister itself is nothing special, but the contents of it has caught her interest. It seems to be filled with a deep black liquid, with silver specks floating around inside it. If she didn't know any better, she would say that someone had somehow managed to contain the night sky.
She leans in closer, finding the contents to be quite fascinating, it looks as though it is moving, both contracting and expanding simultaneously. She starts to reach for it, her curiosity getting the better of her now. "What are you doing in 'ere?" she hears a masculine voice say from behind her.
Surprised, Gaia turns around and stands up straight, her hand knocking into the canister. She feels embarrassed when she can see that it is the cute guy she saw from before. Before she can even say two words, the sound of glass breaking can be heard coming from behind her. She instinctively spins around, seeing that the canister is now on its side, broken, watching as its contents are oozing out onto the table.
Gaia turns back, facing the guy. "Its okay, I'm with cleaning services, I can get this cleaned up!" She just can't believe her luck. The klutzy side of her is really showing now and it is in front of the very guy she is developing a crush on. She bends down to grab a rag, knowing that she can fix this. But as she goes to stand up, she places her hand onto the table. She can feel that she has placed her hand in something that is warm and wet, not to mention gooey.
Standing up, she realizes that she has placed her hand right in the spilled compound. Before she can even move her hand, she watches in amazement as the liquid is being absorbed into her hand until there is nothing left. She turns back to the guy, doing her best to look casual while he has a shocked expression on his face. She holds both her hands up, with only one thing she can think of to say with a nervous smile on her face. "All clean."
Suddenly Gaia feels a warmth in her hand, the same one that the compound had absorbed into. The warmth starts to spread up her arm and eventually it spreads throughout her entire body until it fades. She looks a bit worried wondering what that stuff actually is.
"Are you okay ma'am?"
"I-I think so," Gaia answers, not really sure if she is actually okay or not.
Suddenly, she starts to feel odd. A feeling of vertigo starts to overtake her, causing her to wobble a bit as she loses her sense of balance. "I do feel a bit strange now," she says, placing her hand over her mouth. "I think that I am going to be sick." She can feel as if the entire room is moving. She leans back against the table, feeling as if it is getting lower to her. She is about to dismiss this as part of the vertigo, when she notices that her clothes are getting tighter on her as well. She looks at her surroundings, seeing how everything is getting smaller around her. She looks at the guy, who is staring at her with this look of both worry and fascination on his face. Yet she finds herself having to look down at him, even more than she should have to. "What is happening to me?" It finally dawns on her that she is actually starting to grow.
Panic starts to overtake her, the tightness of her clothes doing very little to help with her situation. She feels some relief when her feet burst out of her shoes, but this only makes her aware of another possible problem, her clothes. If she keeps growing, she will be naked, in front of a man she knows nothing about. Her clothes start to tear at the seams a bit, a clear sign that she is getting too big for them. The ceiling is almost a foot away from her head and still approaching. She is expecting her head to touch it at any given moment. Then it starts to move away from her.
Gaia starts to feel a bit relieved as she is now starting to shrink. "I-I think it's over now." She looks over at her crush, who just shakes his head at her. She is already back to her normal height, her clothes hanging off her a bit because of how they have become stretched out. She soon finds herself becoming eye level with him and soon having to look up at him.
The room around her is getting bigger, though she knows that it is actually her who is getting smaller now. Her clothes are becoming very loose on her. She shrieks out of embarrassment when her pants fall off her waist, landing around her ankles. Luckily for her, her shirt is keeping her covered, the bottom of it getting lower by the second. She starts to worry if she is going to shrink down to nothing. She is already the size of a child and she is still shrinking. Before long she will be the size of a doll.
Gaia's crush snaps out of his stupor when he sees that Gaia is starting to grow again. He quickly makes for the table that has the belt on it. Grabbing it, he heads over to the distraught Gaia, who is now close to his height once again, who has just pulled her pants back up to cover herself. "'ere, put this on," he instructs, handing the belt over to Gaia.
Gaia doesn't bother to think, she just puts the ugly belt on around her waist. The moment it clicks together the led screen lights up, the number one hundred now being displayed in green lights. She finds herself looking down at him once again, expecting her view to continue moving, but it doesn't. The vertigo has finally stopped, along with her growing and shrinking, much to her relief.
Gaia sits down on the floor, her legs stretched out, relieved that her ordeal is now over. She looks at her bare feet, noticing that the nail polish that she had on is just about gone. A few specks of the red polish remain on her toes, the rest having cracked and peeled away by her sudden changes in size. A quick look at her fingernails tells her that the they are in the same state. She looks up at the man who handed the belt her who is now crouching beside her. "Can you please tell me what is going on and what had just happened to me?"
"My name is Ryan, and I can try to explain it to you in terms that you can hopefully understand Miss..."
"Right. What you came into contact with was a 'ighly unstable chemical compound. Which, from what we both saw, 'as caused you to grow and shrink uncontrollably."
"But it's over now right?" Gaia asks with some hope.
"Not exactly." Ryan points to the belt, emphasizing his next point. "You see, this regulator belt, which is what you are wearing now, is what is stabilizing your 'eight now. Without it, you would continue to grow and shrink uncontrollably."
Gaia glances at the ugly belt that she is now being forced to wear. "I guess I can wear this until you administer the antidote or whatever is going on with me wears off."
Ryan sighs, "Unfortunately, there is no cure, and it's permanent." Ryan can see the look on Gaia's face, his answer not the one she wanted to hear. "Since this compound has essentially fused itself to your dna, it is now a part of you. 'Curing' you would essentially require rewriting your genetic code, which is impossible."
"So you mean I gotta wear this tacky, ugly ass belt for the rest of my life!?" Gaia is sounding really annoyed now. "Great. Maybe this will catch on as a fashion statement or even as a fad if I am lucky." She looks down at the belt, now noticing the display. "What are the numbers for, anyway?"
"It's your 'eight, displayed as a percentage." He can clearly see the confused look on Gaia's face, seeing that he has to go a bit farther into the explanation. "Okay, right now you are at your normal 'eight, or one hundred percent. "But by rotating this dial clockwise..."
Gaia watches as Ryan rotates the dial, the number going up to one hundred and five. She can feel the vertigo return, her body growing once again. This time it is only by several inches before the sensation ebbs away.
"See, you are now five percent bigger, or at one 'undred and five percent of your height."
Gaia looks at the belt, genuinely curious about it now. "So, what happens if I rotate it counterclockwise?"
"You will shrink." Ryan rotates the dial to his left, the number going down this time. Gaia can feel the vertigo returning once again, but this time her body is shrinking. Not only does she lose the three inches she just gained, but she also loses an additional three before she actually stops.
Gaia looks at the belt, reading that the display now shows a different number. "Ninety-five percent."
"Right, with this, you can actually control your 'eight now."
Gaia looks at Ryan, a myriad of possibilities now running through her head, but there is one in particular that really sticks out. She could actually be short enough to ask Ryan out and not have him feel awkward about her towering over him. "So, I can be any height I want?"
"Technically, no. There is a limiter that has been put in place, for safety reasons of course. It would be quite awful if you were to grow to a point that you caused mass destruction or shrink yourself out of existence. Both of which were a possibility before you put the belt on. But back to your question. You can shrink down to as small as one percent and as big as one thousand percent."
Gaia's jaw drops, hearing those numbers. Granted she would never get that big or small, but still she can't help but picture herself at those sizes. Small enough to where a crumb could be a decent sized meal to her. Or even big enough to where an entire city could fit underneath her foot.
"Those sizes aren't as extreme as you might think," Ryan says, as though he is reading Gaia's thoughts. "At one percent you would be... I'm sorry, what is your normal 'eight?"
Gaia is half tempted to tell Ryan that she is only five foot ten. "I am six foot one," she answers, deciding that the truth about her height would be best at this point.
Ryan thinks for a moment, the math for this not very difficult since all he really needs to do is move a decimal point around. "At one percent, you would be about three-quarters of an inch tall, or under two centimeters if we were using metric measurements. While at one thousand percent you would be sixty feet ten inches tall, so you would only be twice as tall as this building here."
"Wait," Gaia says, realizing a detail that has been overlooked. "Won't the belt slide off me or break if I go and change sizes like that?"
"That has already been taken into account. The belt will actually react with your body and either grow or shrink with you respectively. This is because having something stretch or contract has too many limitations."
Ryan sits down next to Gaia, looking into her brown eyes. "Hey, I know this might be a bit sudden, but there is something that I need to ask you."
Gaia is looking into Ryan's eyes, already assuming what he is going to ask. She is already playing out how he is going to ask her out and how she is going to say yes.
"Gaia, I was wondering if you would allow us to do some testing?" Gaia's fantasy is burst right then and there, just by that one simple question. "I mean, you did absorb the only sample, and there is so much we still don't know about it."
"Wait, you want me to be some kind of guinea pig?"
"No, no. I mean, I know how it sounds, but testing is the only word I can think of to describe it. You would more accurately be helping us to collect data on how that compound is affecting your body. Before you jump to any conclusions, everything will be strictly voluntary, so you can always refuse to do something that you are not comfortable with. As a bonus for any inconveniences this may cause you, you will be paid double, no, triple your going rate."
Gaia's mouth is wide open at what she has just been offered. True she will have to be subjected to some testing, but she can always refuse if she wants. Plus the pay she is being offered is better than anything she could ever dream off. Though the one real advantage she can see is that she will be close to Ryan. "Are you serious with this offer?"
"Absolutely. I mean you can always say no if you want."
"I'm not saying no, it's just that I may need some time to think about it, that's all. I mean, after what has happened to me, or is still happening to me, I suppose, my mind is kind of overloaded at the moment."
"Of course, take as much time as you need." Ryan reaches into one of his pockets and pulls out what looks like a business card. "Go home, think about it and give me a call when you have your answer."
"I guess this belt is mine to keep then?" Gaia asks pointing to it.
"You do need it, and it is only a prototype. Janet is already planning out an alpha model."
"So I can use it as I see fit then?"
"I would actually encourage it to be honest. Familiarize yourself with it, learn all its kinks and whatnot. Since it is a prototype, there may still be a few issues."
Gaia had spaced out after hearing that she was encouraged to use it. She has no plans of using the belt for her own personal gain. She only wants to put herself at an average height, and perhaps get a date with Ryan. She looks back up at him, "Yeah, okay. I can do that."
Gaia grabs her ruined shoes, placing them in her cleaning bucket before she stands up. "So I guess I might see you later then?"
Ryan looks up at Gaia, still crouching. "Hopefully."
Gaia turns around on her heels, pulling her shirt down in front of the regulator belt that she is now wearing. Walking out of the room and down the hallway, she fails to notice that she has passed by six doors on her way out. Her mind is still reeling from what had just happened to her, still trying to accept it as a reality. Leaving out of the building, she heads to her vehicle, ready to head home.