It hurt. That was the first thing that they were all aware of. It hurt like nothing they had experienced in their short lives.
It wasn’t just the lights, but there was the nausea, and the pain of the actual transformation. When they had been told that these outfits “would be a part of them” the implications hadn’t really sunk in.
They could feel their wings growing, attaching to muscles, feel how their bodies interfaced with the uniforms. It not only hurt, but this first time, felt like the ultimate violation of mind, body and spirit.
But most of all, it hurt.
The tall, moustachioed man looked at the children huddled on the floor in front of him. He would never let it show, but he hurt inside each time any of these children endured pain and injury. They were his children, and even though they were being trained to do a job that he wished wasn’t necessary, he still hated to see them hurt.
His heart broke now, as he watched them. Tears running down their young faces, bodies shivering with pain, curled up as small as they could.
He triggered the response that would reverse the transformation and closed his eyes as they cried out in pain again.
“With each transformation,” he said, “the pain will diminish. With each transformation, the birdstyles will become more and more integrated with you.”
One head rose and piercing eyes met his. “Then you fucking try it”. Joe’s face was pale, his eyes were filled with tears he refused to let himself shed. His voice dripped scarcasm and Nambu smiled to himself. This, the most troublesome of his children, was also the strongest, and his response was typical.
“I have. I used myself to test the technology on.”
“And you still decided it was the best way?” Joe knew he was arguing more for the sake of argument. He found that the rage helped to dull the pain.
“Enough, Joe.” Ken slowly rose, staggering slightly, before turning to help Jun up. He looked around his team and drew himself to his full height.
“Again. And again. And again and again and again. Until it doesn’t hurt.”
“Please, Ken,” said Jun. “Let us recover.”
“No. We can’t afford this to happen when we’re needed to fight.” Ken was resolute. He didn’t care how hard he had to push himself or his team, as long as they were not hampered when they were needed.
He moved to face his team and clenched his fist. “We do it again.” He circled his arm.