Within his makeshift lab, a young man was attempting to create something that he thought would revolutionise the world as he knew it. Rather than being a new piece of technology or a breakthrough in building blocks of life. Instead, it was something that was within the field of chemistry.
More and more he checked and double checked his notes as he was going through test batch after test batch of the chemical that he was trying to create. However, each time he thought that he had succeeded, something would happen that would knock him back a step. This could include the chemical losing its potency within a couple of minutes of its creation or his lab mice dying after being injected with it.
All of this while sometimes a drawback did also help him learn where he had gone wrong and then adjust and improve whenever he could. With each failure, he stepped closer and closer to success, although it was a long and winding road. Even though some people who would look upon the project would state that what he was trying to do was impossible.
His name was Charles Ingram and his makeshift lab was nothing more than the dorm room that he was staying in. He wasn't alone in this dorm room as he did have a roommate but they barely saw or even interacted with one another. Instead, they kept to each other which was perfect for what Charles wanted.
Inside of dorm, he was once more going through some of his notes and seeing where the chemical he was trying to create was going wrong. This research was interrupted when he heard the knocking on the door to his dorm room. At first, he attempted to ignore it but as it continued, he knew that he had no choice but to get up and answer it. Already, he thought that he knew who it was and this did make him feel a little nervous. Nevertheless, he answered the door and was not surprised with what he could see.
Standing there was a young woman with brown eyes and red hair that went down to her shoulders. Her clothing consisted of a plain yellow t-shirt along with a blue pair of jeans and black shoes. The most striking thing about this woman was the fact that she was very short. Charles himself was short as he was below five and a half feet in height. But he looked to be a giant in comparison to this woman as she didn't even reach five feet and was likely to be a couple of inches below it.
This woman was no stranger to Charles as he had known her for more than half his life. Her name was Maxine Martel and was the person that he considered to be her best friend. As far as he could remember, she very rarely wore anything that he thought was girly. There was their prom where she had worn a dress and although he thought that she looked very pretty, she had felt more than embarrassed by it.
Charles had hoped to see a look of friendship on her face, but it seemed to be anything but that. Maxine had a stern look on her face and her hands were on her hips. This made him nervous as he knew that when she was like this that there was something that she wasn't happy with him about. However, he tried his best to smile as he thought that he could smooth things out.
"Hi Maxine," said Charles as he looked down at his shorter best friend. He thought that this might lighten her mood but her expression and body language didn't change. This was exactly what he was dreading.
"Don't you hi Maxine me!" replied Maxine in an annoyed tone. "You know that we have a lecture now, don't you?"
"T-That's right now?" The truth was that he knew all about it but had felt that his research was more important. "I completely forgot." He hoped that his lie wouldn't be picked up by the short woman but he soon realised that he was incorrect.
"Yeah, a likely story, you know if you miss any more of class that you're going to be thrown out! I don't care what you're doing in there, you're coming with me right now before you get yourself dropped out."
"But I'm working on something that could…" Before he could finish his sentence, he felt a sharp pain in his ear. As he looked at Maxine, he could see that she was twisting his ear. There was a stern look on her face as she looked up to him. He had seen this look on more than one occasion and he knew what it meant.
"I don't care if you're working on a cure for cancer. You're coming to the lecture whether you want to or not!"
"Ow! Let go of me!"
Maxine simply ignored him as she forced him to step out of his dorm room. He was able to close the door behind himself though and was forced to continue to walk. A couple of people did see this and they did chuckle for a moment when they saw it. To them it was funny to see a woman as short as her be in such a commanding position over someone who was at a similar social level to her.
Eventually, she did let go of his ear and Charles knew better than to try and head back to his dorm. Instead, he simply followed her as they walked down one of the various corridors in their university. They still had a few minutes before they actually arrived at the lecture so they had a little time to talk, although his ear was still recovering from being twisted for a few minutes.
Charles did look somewhat normal in comparison to the short Maxine. His skin was a tanned colour with his hair being black and his eyes brown. His frame was quite skinny and his clothing was nothing remarkable. Sometimes when he was working on his project, he would wear some kind of lab coat but he wasn't wearing such a thing at this moment in time. His shirt was black in colour with the logo of a film that he enjoyed.
"So, what exactly is this thing that you've been working on anyway?" asked Maxine. She was sure that she had asked him before but she couldn't remember.
"Well, it's hard to explain," replied Charles. As much as he appreciated her friendship, he knew that she wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. He knew that his explanation needed to be simplified but not to the point where it sounded like he was being condescending to her. "Think of it like a super steroid."
"A super steroid?" She knew about steroids and the fact that quite often people used it to enhance their performance in sports. The substance that was banned besides when it came to the field of medicine.
"Yeah, it'll have the positive effects of steroids but magnified without any of the negative side effects."
"That sounds like an impossible task." She knew that he was gifted but even she thought that such a thing was even beyond him.
"Well, I have made more progress than you'd expect. With a few alterations I should have it cracked. And after some testing, I should be able to have some human trials."
"That still sounds like your expectations are too high." As much as she liked him, she preferred to tell him things as they were. "Do you really think that the uni will allow you to do human trials?"
"Probably not, but after I graduate, I can take it to a pharmaceutical company and maybe even get myself some military contracts. I'm sure that they'd be more than happy to have their own version of the Super Soldier Serum."
"You've been reading too many comic books again, haven't you?" She gave a small sigh but she did admire his drive. It seemed that even when she told him that what he was trying to do was impossible, he was still going through with it no matter what. Even though her mind hadn't changed, she was still routing for him to succeed. If he did, then his ambitions have been completed.
Before either of them could carry on their conversation, they had reached the lecture hall and were amongst the last students to make their way inside. There were already many, many other students within the lecture hall and most were talking amongst themselves. Since there weren't two seats together, Maxine and Charles had to sit separately and take notes on the lecture that was about to take place.
The lecture was led by a man named Professor Marsh and he was speaking about something that Charles already knew about. Because of this, he thought that his time was being wasted here and that he should be in his dorm room/lab and finishing off his formula. He knew that if he tried to leave early that he would likely get into trouble with both the university and Maxine.
He had faced her wrath on one occasion before and didn't want to go through it again. Instead, he simply sat there and watched the lecture take place while quite a lot of the other students were struggling to understand what was being said. The lecture in total lasted around an hour before the students began to make their way out of the lecture hall.
It took a minute or two for everyone to get out and Charles didn't waste any time in making his way back to his dorm room while Maxine did the same for her own. After the lecture, there was a lot of work that she needed to do and she wanted to get it out of the way before she could have any free time.
As she walked towards her dorm room, there was a lot on her mind. She was struggling to keep up with her classes and although she knew that she could go to Charles for help, she preferred to do it by herself. She wasn't stubborn enough to think that she could do it entirely by herself, but she still wanted to get as far as she could without assistance.
Due to the pace that Maxine was walking, it didn't take long for her to reach her dorm room and she didn't waste any time in going inside. However, she discovered that she wouldn't be the only one inside. Lying on the bed that wasn't too far from where she slept, she could see another woman lying there.
This woman looked completely different to Maxine as she was tall with relatively short pink hair and green eyes. Normally she would be wearing an outfit that she would consider to be fashionable but right now, she was merely in her bra and pants as she slept above her covers. She was in the exact position that she had last seen her when she left for the lecture. Back then, she had allowed her to sleep, but now she thought that it was getting too late in the day to be sleeping like this.
"Come on," said Maxine as she pushed the taller woman gently. She could see that the sleeping woman was indeed quite pretty but to her it didn't really matter. "You've slept long enough!"
"F-Five more minutes," replied the sleeping woman. She tried to turn over and continue sleeping but her space was completely invaded by light as Maxine opened the curtains. This caused her to groan and turn around once more.
"It's close to midday, if you don't get up now, you're going to miss your classes."
"You're no fun Maxine." Slowly, she sat herself up on her bed and turned herself so that her feet touched the ground. With some difficulty, she did slowly stand up to her full height. Most would consider her a stunning woman as she had long legs and relatively large breasts. It almost looked like she had stepped right out of a fashion magazine. But before she could say anything she staggered a little and she could still feel light headed. "I still don't feel right."
"That's your own fault Trish. If you hadn't of gone drinking last night, you wouldn't feel like shit now." Her tone clearly showed that she had no sympathy for her roommate. But as she looked up at her, she couldn't help but feel a small amount of jealousy. Trish was almost a foot taller than her and was a very beautiful woman. She got noticed wherever she went and didn't seem to have to try all that hard to succeed.
"You should try it yourself one of the nights. You might actually have some fun for once, like I did." She gave Maxine a playful smile as she knew that this would annoy the woman that she had been paired up with.
"I've got more important things to do than to go out and make a tit of myself thank you very much." Her voice was quite dismissive of her roommate's suggestion and she acted as she would rather do anything else.
"Oh, you're no fun." She chuckled for a moment before she stepped a little closer to the door. "You might even meet someone you like, last night I was almost able to hook up with the cutest girl you've ever seen. Too bad she got cold feet in the end." She gave a sigh. "It's been a while since I last had some action." Trish leaned forward towards her shorter roommate who she knew didn't like it when she did this. "You know that invitation I gave you is always open."
"And I told you that I'm not interested. If you wanna go and fuck someone, go fuck a tree or something like that."
"That's too bad, I've been told that I'm amazing in bed." She chuckled for a moment before continuing to step to the door. "I'm going to take a shower and then going to buy some more dye. Is there anything that you need?"
"Get me another multipack of crisps, will you? The proper brand, none of those cheap own brand."
"Ok fine, just give me the money when I come back."
With that Trish walked out of the room as Maxine began to go over the notes from the lecture that she had sat through. Most of what had been said had mostly gone over her head and she hoped that her notes make things easier for her. However, when she looked at it, she couldn't remember writing them down and they might has well have been written in Japanese.
This caused her to grunt and sit back on her bed. The only option that she had was going to see Charles about understanding all of this. She just hoped that he would be able to tell her in a simple enough way for her to understand. There had been a couple of times when he had tried to explain something to her that was complicated in an easier form. But even so, it was still too complicated for her to fully comprehend.
Even so, she got her note together and a couple of text books as she made her way out of her dorm room and made her way towards Charles's. It was a trek that she made almost every day and every day and knew her way there. One thing that she had gotten used to was the fact that every person that she walked by was taller than her. She wasn't the shortest person in the university but was definitely in the bottom five.
As she walked, Maxine couldn't help but think about her younger sister as well. Her name was Rina and she was of a more average height and loved to rub it in every opportunity that she had. When Maxine was at home, they would argue and right now, she was more than happy that she didn't see her all that often.
Meanwhile in his dorm room, Charles continued going over his own notes to see where he was going wrong with the serum that he had been working on. Each time he tested it on a lab mouse, it would have the desired effects for a short amount of time before its heart gave out and they died.
It was frustrating for him as it felt like he was constantly banging his head on a wall as he was trying to figure it out. Already, he had practically forgotten the lecture that he had just sat through and was concentrating purely on the problem that was in front of him. There was a couple of things he thought about trying, but he thought that they wouldn't work and simply lead to the same conclusion.
But at this point in time, he thought that trial and error might be the best step forward. His options were limited and it had worked for other scientists. He wasn't a scientist just yet but he thought that he was well on his way to becoming one. When he was able to work out the kinks in his formula, he would become one of the most scientists that the world had ever seen. Or so he hoped.
Already he had some of the formula and unfortunately, since he lacked a glass beaker since his roommate had accidentally smashed it, he was forced to put it in a regular glass that was within the apartment. The formula itself was thick and white which made it look very similar to milk. It was almost identical to the substance, but thankfully he would remember not to drink it and his roommate wasn't fond of milk anyway. Due to this, he didn't worry about himself or his absent roommate drinking it.
Something else that Charles had noticed was that the formula needed to be refrigerated. If it was left at room temperature for too long, it would lose its effectiveness. Also, it would begin to produce a foul odour that made a person feel sick. He had found this out the hard way and it made him lose his recently devoured lunch.
As he continued to go over his notes, he heard a knocking at the door and a sense of dread came over him. Fairly quickly, Charles made his way towards the door and opened it. Like before he could see that it was Maxine and he feared that he was going to get his ear twisted once more. However, he did notice the books in her arms and thought that she might need his help for something. But she could always have been on her way to class and he had forgotten once more.
"Please tell me that you're not here to drag me to class," said Charles with a hint of fear in his voice. He watched as Maxine shook her head and he was able to give a small sigh of relief.
"Not this time, you're off the hook," replied Maxine as she stepped inside. Every step that she made was with purpose and Charles could do nothing but step aside and allow her to enter. "I need your help; I've been trying to understand the lecture and how everything works. But each time I try, it all looks like a load of gibberish to me. Can you dumb it down so that someone as thick as me can understand?"
"I-I'll try." He was still relieved about this and was more than eager to help her. "And you really shouldn't call yourself thick."
Maxine did respond to this but then sat down onto Charles's bed as he sat on his own chair. She could see some of the equipment that made up his makeshift lab and she was quite impressed. In a way, it somewhat reminded her of what a mad scientist would have if they had to work out of a dorm room.
There were a few glass test tubes as well as a Bunsen burner and other pieces of equipment that she had no idea what they did. Something else that she noticed was a cage which housed a couple of mice that were intended to be used for experiments. It was likely that Charles needed to keep this part of his work quiet as there were a few students around the campus who were animal rights activists and would harass him to no end because of this. Maxine didn't particularly like the idea of this either but she accepted it as a necessary evil in order to make progress.
For the next half an hour, Charles did try his best to simplify the subject for his best friend. Although she was beginning to comprehend some of it. There were still other parts that were completely beyond her. It was frustrating to her as she saw how easy it was for Charles to understand all of this and how difficult it was for her. Since she lacked strength, she had hoped that she could make up for it in her mind. But she had long begun to realise that this might not be the case.
"So, you see, since the particles react in this manner, it means that the reaction is unstable and could lead to an explosion," said Charles as he was still explaining everything as best as he could to his friend.
"R-Right," replied Maxine with some confusion in her voice. She was trying the best that she could but she simply couldn't understand everything that was being said to her. She felt like she could only understand every one of three words that he was saying and this disappointed her to no end.
"Are you able to understand it now?"
"Not as much as I hoped." She gave a sigh of frustration as she was annoyed at herself more than anything else. "How can you find all of this so easy? I try to wrap my head around it, but it's just too complicated."
"You'll get there eventually." He smiled over to her as he didn't want her to feel bad over the fact that she had a hard time comprehending the subject. "I know that when you're determined to do something, you do it. Even if it takes you much longer than you were expecting."
"No every time, at one point I was determined to be taller… As you can see, it didn't exactly work out." She gave another sigh and due to her previous statement, it did give her a small craving of milk. When she had tried to make herself taller, she had drunk a lot of milk, unfortunately her plan hadn't worked and nowadays she could see how foolish this was. "You got any milk at all? Maybe it help me concentrate or something like that." Once again, she knew that it wouldn't help but at this point in time, she was willing to try pretty much anything.
"If there is some, it's in the fridge. You're free to have some if you want."
After thanking him, Maxine did get up from where she was sitting and made her way to the closest thing that the dorm room had to a kitchen. It was a small space which did have a fridge within. The fridge itself was actually quite small and when she opened it, she could see that it was mostly filled with cans of beer and energy drinks.
As she looked at the cans, she thought that they mostly belonged to Charles's roommate as she didn't think that he drank all that much. He was known to drink beer every now and again but it wasn't something that he regularly did. The energy drinks might have belonged to him as he would sometimes drink a can or two when he was working into the night and needed something to keep him awake.
There was some food inside the fridge as well and looked to be mostly unhealthy. None of them were of interest to Maxine as she began to search for any milk. There was no bottled milk that she could find but she did notice something that was somewhat surprising to her. On one of the shelves was what she thought was a glass beaker that contained milk. It confused her for a moment why he would put milk within a container but it was something that did have a simple explanation as far as she was concerned.
It wasn't unheard of for students to use whatever they had for different purposes than they were originally designed for. Money was pretty tight so most students did the best with what they had and Maxine knew that Charles wasn't particularly wealthy so it did make sense why he would put milk within a beaker.
Quickly she took it out of the fridge and began to look at it. Even though she was told that she could drink the milk that she wanted, she was still a little unsure about it and thought it was best to ask Charles first. Although she couldn't see him, she knew that he was in the next room. He was also going over some of the notes from the lecture as he was still trying to figure out if he could simplify it further for his friend.
"Hey Charles, I found some milk in a beaker," said Maxine. Her voice was slightly louder than it normally was, just so that she was sure that he could hear her.
"Yeah, yeah that's fine," replied Charles. He wasn't really paying too much attention to what she was saying as he was looking over the notes.
Now that she had permission, Maxine did begin to drink the contents of the beaker but as she did, she could tell that it tasted different to what she was expecting. It had a sweeter taste than she was used to but to her it still tasted nice. Because of this she continued to drink it until the beaker was completely empty.
In the other room, Charles continued to look over the notes but some of the gears inside of his mind began to turn. Slowly but surely, he began to realise what Maxine had actually said and what she was about to drink. This caused an instant panic within him as he dropped the notes and quickly rushed into the small kitchen.
"Maxine!" shouted Charles as he moved very quickly towards the kitchen. "Don't drink that…" By this point in time, he had arrived at the kitchen and much to his horror he could see that she did have the beaker in her hand and it was empty. "Milk."
"Why what's the problem?" replied Maxine who had never expected such a reaction from him.
"D-Did you drink that?" Shock was in his voice as he hoped against hope that she had not drunk the formula.
"Yes, I did. To tell you the truth it was actually quite…" Before she could even finish what, she was saying, she felt what seemed to be a surge of energy run right through her body. It was so sudden and powerful that it caused her to drop the glass beaker and it completely smashed on the ground below.
Charles quickly rushed towards her as she had a distant look in her eyes as she began to realise that something was very wrong. Nothing she had ever experienced before could prepare her for what happened next as it felt like every molecule of her being was energised. One thing that was for sure was that Charles was about to witness something that no one had ever seen before.