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|Rob was a totally unremarkable college junior. Average height and weight, brown hair, brown eyes, middle class background and mediocre at best social skills. He did, however, have one thing that nobody else (that he knew of) could imagine.
As his decade-old hatchback careened down the highway at well over the posted speed limit, Rob wasn't too concerned about what might happen if he was spotted by a cop. He'd been in just such a situation before, probably more times than he could count. And he'd always navigated it without too much difficulty. He had no reason to believe tonight would be any different.
He was actually pleased to see the brown and white cruiser whip out from the speed trap and begin flashing its lights. Rob wanted some action tonight.
Rob did as always and pulled off to the shoulder of the more or less deserted interstate. He tapped away at the steering wheel with what could only be described as boredom as the trooper emerged from his vehicle and began to walk up to him. Rob rolled down the window, but didn't meet the officer's stern (he could only guess) gaze.
"Do you have any idea..." the officer began. Rob, without so much as a blink, took control of the situation.
All around him, throughout the known universe, time came to a complete halt. The tiny drops of rain that had been falling were completely frozen in place, the strobing lights of the cruiser's light bar suddenly stationary.
"Select object. Edit."
And there before Rob--and only Rob--appeared what could only be described as a completely unique computer graphic user interface. In essence, Rob's mind housed a supercomputer capable of manipulating the beings that populated the world around him. He had no idea how he came to receive this gift, and as a youth he had practiced on squirrels and insects in his backyard. Now, though, he couldn't be bothered by woodland creatures. The game was to be played with real life pieces.
Turning to face the officer for the first time, he examined the would-be enforcer of law and order. His subject this evening was another more or less unremarkable man in his late twenties, from the looks of it fresh from the academy. He was relatively tall and had a toned musculature that was enough to make him look fit without being overly intimidating.
Rob examined all the variables he had to work with and decided to work from the top down. "Hair: shoulder length, shaggy, dirty blonde." And just like that, the officer's high and tight haircut became exactly what Rob commanded.
"Eyes: blue. Nose: broken twice. Lips: increase thickness 30 percent." And so it was. Before his eyes, the cop's face rearranged to become the image he desired.
"Ethnicity: caucasian. Skin tone: increase tan 80 percent. Body hair: none."
Now that most of the cosmetic changes were taken care of, Rob had some choices to make. Just how radically would he alter his subject's physiology?
He was feeling pretty live tonight. "Musculature: increase 120 percent. Weight: adjust to 225 pounds. Height: increase four inches. Age: 19 years. Genitals: increase dimensions 100 percent."
The man who just seconds earlier had been a nondescript police officer was becoming a massive hulk of a teenager. Now all that was left was the psychological adjustments.
"Occupation: skateboard instructor. Recreational activities: skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding, video games, running, bodybuilding - all activities skill level expert. Area of origin: Northern California. Name: Nate Green. Speech: load speech template Skater8. Adjust mannerisms, clothing and thought processes to match."
Rob could have been finished there, but he was having too much fun. "Sexual orientation: Bisexual. Sexual activity: frequent. Finances: wealthy. Selecting other options. Alcohol consumption: social/heavy. Drug use: marijuana, twice daily. Tobacco use: cigars, 50 ring gauge or higher, three times daily. Vehicles: 100 skateboards, 2004 Jeep Wranger, black, no doors."
Finally satisfied, Rob examined the newly formed Nate Green. No longer a cop, now a musclebound skater from NorCal, Rob hoped Nate could go on to a carefree, worriless existence.
"Auto-fill subject's memory based on selections and save all changes. Load object Nate Green and resume."
The rain began to fall again, but it was no longer refracted by spinning blue and red emergency lights. Instead, it crossed into the white glow of a Jeep Wrangler's headlights and onto the face of Nate Green, bodybuilder/skater.
"Hey bro, can I bum your lighter?" Nate said, still leaning on the side of Rob's car as the officer had been before the procedure. Rob smiled and reached into his glove compartment to procure a cigarette lighter. He moved to hand it to Nate as the larger man reached into the deep pockets of his baggy jeans to procure a large, dark cigar. "Thanks dude," Nate said, taking the lighter and flicking it on. "You mind if I lean in? This rain's pretty gnarly." Rob nodded, and Nate stuck his head, protected by a brown hoody, into the window of Rob's car. Nate put the cigar into his mouth with one hand and activated the lighter with the other, turning and stoking the stogie as if he'd been doing it forever. When it was all lit, Nate took a deep pull on the cigar and blew it expertly into the misty night. He handed the lighter back to Rob with a vacant look on his face. "Hey, thanks bro, appreciate it." He locked his right hand with Rob's and continued to blow smoke as he moved to walk away. "Peace, man."
Rob sat quietly in the car as he watched Nate walk up to his Jeep, climb in the doorway and drive past him, a stream of thick smoke emanating from his mouth as he held the cigar between two stubby fingers.
Still smiling, Rob started the car and took off down the highway. His fun was just beginning.
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