Authors Note: This story is a collaboration between Derek (muscledrain) and YoungTrevor.
“What the fuck? You said I would be safe!”
“What the fuck? You said I would be safe!”
Will yelled at the phone. He couldn't believe what he just heard. It was Deputy U.S. Marshall Max Richardson. He said Will's son Tyler had accidentally revealed his real name and now it was necessary for them to be relocated to another state again.
Will's troubles had started years ago when he had witnessed, along with his son, the murder of a con man in charge of the company Will worked for. Although he had managed to convince everyone he didn't know about his boss's shadier deals, he was a marked man after that. The assassins had chased after him but he had gotten his son to safety, speeding through traffic and to a local police station. Ever since this had happened, they had been to a number of small towns where Will worked menial jobs. None of them were up to his ability. He had worked in a warehouse, a deli, a thrift shop. He took it out on Tyler as often as he could. Tyler just had no idea how hard he worked for so little. And how his life been absolutely ruined. Tyler didn't care about anything but himself. He never stopped to think about Will's hard work. No, it was dad I need a skateboard. Dad, I need a laptop. Dad, you don't make enough money.
He often yelled at the kid and grounded him. And raised absolute hell the last time this had happened. Tyler complained that he couldn't get close to anyone. So he talked. To girls, mainly, ones that he wanted to "get close" to. Will was infuriated by these "slip ups". The entire school Tyler went to went wild when one girl told everyone there. So they had to move. Again. Last time he'd taken a belt to the kid and he thought that was enough incentive but it looks like Tyler was being willful and defiant. There was no other explanation.
An hour later, Will was led to an interrogation room where Tyler was already waiting.
“Tyler, how many times did I tell you? You are grounded for life!”
“Dad, I'm so sorry...”
They were cut short by Richardson. “Will, you are in a bad situation. It seems Petrofsky already got some information about you. He got wind of it and sent some of his men to snoop around. Now, Will, you happen to know some very sensitive information about our government. Back when you worked for your boss, rest his soul, you read classified documents he had obtained about military secrets and contracts unknown to the public. You also aided us in capturing at least one of the men who killed him. And you handed all of the paperwork you had. This is why we've been so interested in helping you avoid such a possible calamity as getting caught. In spite of the fact that I have always suspected you knew more than you said you knew, I like you Will. You have a mind on you and now you're working shit jobs. Well, so are a lot of people. But my point is, you have potential. I think you know how to help your country. That helps us. We help you back. And we can help each other out yet again. So this time, we're going to do something a little different."
"What, ship us out to Alaska?" I said drily.
"That would be so cool!"
"Tyler, shut up! You're grounded. Don't talk."
"We're not going to provide you a whole new identity. We're going to give you both a new body.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“We're going to swap your bodies with someone else. It's a recently developed technology but we have a couple of successful cases.”
“I can't believe this.”
"We realized during certain cloning experiments that we could take tissue from a sample donor and grow a body for it, but there's nothing upstairs. It's just empty brain matter, waiting to be filled. We'll record your entire mind and download it into those bodies."
"You're telling me that you actually have the technology to do this? Like Avatar?"
"Actually...we've had this technology since the 1960s. But you didn't hear it from me," Richardson smiled a dark smile. "And you young man. What are we going to do with your big goddamn mouth?"
"I...I don't know."
"Well I do. Come this way." They followed Richardson into a room where a few photographs had been spread out. "These are possible recipients for your mind's data. Now, we have had the technology to do this for a while but we only recently...learned how it works, how it operates. We need volunteers so we can gather as much information as possible. It helps us in our...endeavors. These are the potential bodies for you, Will, and for you, Tyler."
“Jeez, what the hell? These are all toddlers!” Tyler yelled, getting freaked out, his eyes darting for some escape.
“I'm sorry, Tyler. We can't provide you an adult body and I don't think you would want to be a girl, right?”
"So give me a body my age!"
"The pre pubescent and pubescent stages have some difficulty transferring. You could be downloaded and not download properly. If that happens you would essentially die, and we can't risk that because the percentages are against it. If you download into a grown adult body or a boy 5 or younger you have a very high success rate."
“But this is so not fair! I'm 12 and half! This is crazy! I'm not gonna do this!”
“Shut up Tyler! I think this is just desserts for you recklessness.” Will barked at his son. "Maybe you'll learn something from being much younger all over again. And maybe this time you'll keep your grades up. You'll be the smartest kindergartner in your class!"
"I hate you so much!"
"Yeah well, I am your father. You don't have to like me. As long as you do what I say and keep your mouth shut. And I'm guessing no one would believe a 5 year old who claims to be the witness to murder involving alien UFO cover ups, am I right?"
"Right you are!" Richardson replied. "So sign these legal waivers and vows of silence and sworn testimonies...here, here, here. Tyler, I don't require your signature as your father can sign for you."
"I'd be more than happy to!" Will signed all of them with flourish. He looked eagerly at my son. Soon he wouldn't be half the problem he had been and he'd be ten times easier to discipline. He could just carry him up to his room and lock him up whenever the mood struck me! How he'd longed for the ability to do that lately!
"Now, Will, if you can just make the choice for yourself..."
"Him. How about him? He looks huge!"
"That would be model J9. Now we can't make too many copies of any of these so you'll be getting the only one. He was a soldier who volunteered his DNA in the mid 1980s."
"He's the size of a truck. Did he die?"
"Yes, recently. That's why we cloned a younger version of him. There will be no one recognizing you, or associating you with him even on the faint possibility that someone thinks you look familiar, due to the age difference."
“Well, I guess I could get used to being in that body. What is he, 6'2"?"
"6'4" and a whopping 240 lbs of pure muscle. The cloning vats tend to work ideally on the human frame if there's little fat ratio on the finished product. And your new bodies will be very hungry when you wake up."
“It's not fair! Dad is gonna be this tough looking guy and I'm gonna be a freaking toddler!” Tyler screamed and tried to run away in vain. A few military men caught him effortlessly and held him between them.
Soon they were escorted to a room in which there was what looked like some sort of machinery with lots of wires attached to a few conical domes. Before they realized what was happening they got a shot on the arm and everything went black.
I blinked a few times. There was a man in a green camo shirt in front of him. He looked familiar. It was the man he was supposed to become!
“What the hell?” Will stopped short. His voice was weak and high pitched. He felt oddly energetic but something was off. In fact, everything was off.
Everything around him looked too big and tall. He started to get scared. He ran to a nearby mirror and a little boy was staring back at him.
To his relief Richardson came into the room and started talking. “I'm sorry Will. There was a mix-up and the bodies are assigned in the wrong way.”
“Why don't you fix it already?” Will shrieked. He was disgusted by his new voice.
“Unfortunately we can't fix it." Richardson looked very guilty. "We can't try this again on the same person because it's too dangerous. You could both easily die if we transferred you for a second time. We've learned that the hard way. It's a (ahem) bug we haven't worked out yet."
“But what about me? I'm a fucking kid now! I can't live like this!” Will screamed frantically.
“Shut up SON. I think this is just desserts,” said Tyler with a smug grin on his new rugged, handsome face.
“What? I'm not your son!” Will yelled.
“Actually, you are legally his son now. Your name is Dylan Walker Jr. and he is your father, Dylan Walker Sr.” said Richardson.
“Well, did you hear that, son? Don't worry buddy. I'm very happy to be your dad and I'll try to be the best dad for you,” said Tyler, flexing his new arms in wonder.
“No, no, no! This can't be happening!” Will started crying heavily, unable to control his childish emotion.
It was explained to Will over the next few hours that he had signed every legal waiver. He and his new "father" would be transported someplace isolated. Dylan Sr. would have a nice new office job and get a few months training beforehand at the military base, where they would stay until it was ensured Tyler could pull off his new role. They would coach him and Will would be placed with other toddlers to get him used to being around children.
As for Tyler, waking up had been a dream come true. He had been awake a bit longer than his father and the sensation of waking up in an adult man's body for the first time flooded him with new hormones and feelings. He enjoyed the weight of his body, of walking around and feeling so incredibly powerful! After they took him to another room to talk to him, and told him to spend some time thinking about how to talk to his father and not abuse the situation, it dawned on him that he was now in charge of his father. He was really going to be the parent of the family and his dad had absolutely no choice about it. They did some tests on him in his new body and took him to the gym where he tested his strength. He could live hundreds of pounds now! It was the most amazing moment of his life!
As the military police left their new temporary apartment on the base, Tyler walked up behind his father, who ran into the next room, but Tyler was too quick for him. He scooped up his new son and held a hand over his mouth.
"Boy, someone up there must really like me, huh dad? You weigh nothing at all!" He placed his former father down on the ground and said "Don't even think about going anywhere. I'm like five feet taller than you now."
"What are you going to do to me?"
"I'm going to be a good father. That's what. And I want you to fall in line. You will do everything I say or I will beat the living tar out of you. Okay...SON?"
THREE MONTHS LATER...
As the military escort drove away, brought the last of the heavy boxes inside and yelled for his son to come inside for lunch.
"Junior, get in here! It's time for lunch!"
"Yes, daddy." Junior came running. He was wearing his stuffed animal backpack and his overalls.
Dylan gave his son some sandwiches and cracked himself open a beer. He gave Junior some lemonade.
"To the new us!" He toasted. "Now your dad has got a lot to do, son. You're going to go to a new school tomorrow. Don't let any secrets slip out, alright? Like, don't mention how you used to be an adult or that I used to be a kid or there might be a belt that meets your ass. Okay, sweetie?"
Junior gulped. Dylan had been stern but fair so far but he had had military escorts around. Now they were alone for the first time, and Dylan was now used to being an adult.
"Yeah, I think I'll find you a babysitter soon so that I can go into town and have some fun every now and then. Check out the bars, meet some new guy friends. Adult friends. Maybe bring home a friend. I want to try this new dick out, ya know?"
The former Will's cheeks burned with resentment and humiliation.
"But that's okay with you, right? Oh wait, I don't care what you think. I'm the adult and you're not."
"Yes, daddy." He replied.
"I'm gonna go outside and have a cigarette. You can watch TV when we unpack all your things in your new room."
Dylan went outside and lit up a Marlboro. He had taken up smoking while playing hoops with a lot of the guys on the base, most of whom knew nothing about why he was really there. All he was allowed to say was that he was a consultant. And of course they introduced him to the gym and taught him how to take care of his new adult body, and he relished lifting weights with all his heart. He loved it, and he loved having facial hair to shave. He relished everything about Witness Protection. They had finally found the last town they would move to! He was going to love going to a job and he loved that his father would be going back to school. He was smart enough to do this and besides which, the military had provided him with a guide in Richardson, who he could call anytime he needed help.
This was the best identity he'd ever had, he thought, as he finished his cigarette and went back inside to help his new son.