Dareen had never been into jogging, because of her endowments. They always hurt, bouncing up and down. With their new firmness, though, it wasn't that bad. It was a good feeling, actually. At least that what she kept telling herself to put down her sense of shame as she trotted along on the treadmill, wires taped to her forehead, to the top of her chest, and to the sides of her lower back. She had seen women on treadmills but never totally naked, with bare feet bumping dully against the black rubber tread. And up on a platform for better viewing by the people who were watching her from every possible angle.
Her super powers had not yet arrived and after a while she felt a sweat breaking out and then she started getting winded. NakedGirl might be incredibly strong but the regular Dareen was still in need of some body conditioning. She had always wanted to exercise, but everything she had tried in the past had been defeated by her large breasts, even swimming, which would have been the perfect exercise but she could not find a suit that fit unless she bought a very big two-piece and a very small two-piece and juggled tops and bottoms. But of course two-piece suits drew too many stares and sometimes, rude comments.
Despite her protestations the researchers encouraged her to run through her exhaustion until she reached her second wind. But it never came and finally she was allowed to stop. "You're a real trouper, Miss Alkaras," Colonel McNulty said as they all looked up at her. She stood on the treadmill, obligingly turning her nude self this way and that as Dr. Vanaver disconnected the wires. There was a large mirror on the wall that she had been trying not to look at but the glint could not be ignored. That is, the glint of the bright lighting hitting the sheen of sweat that covered her entire nakedness. She was sweating like a pig. Maybe like a piece of livestock, she told herself again, a being apart, while all around her were fully clothed. What made it even worse was the musky sweaty smell that exuded from her in hot waves and filled the whole room.
To her relief she was told she could shower if she wanted to and she gladly accepted. Too bad she was denied privacy even in this. The reason was clear -- contact with a towel might delay the onset of her powers, so she had to be blow-dried -- but did they really have to march with her to that big shower room? As Dareen walked with them, feeling her arms slipping against her slick smelly armpits, she felt engulfed by the huge space. It was like the showers in gym in high school, except way bigger. And there were nozzles coming out of the floor as well as from every level of the walls.
"Sorry for the overkill, dear," Ms. Danby said, "but this used to be part of the decontamination facilities from the bio lab. Now, it's a two million dollar shower."
The nude Dareen was handed soap and a scrub brush and shampoo. Ms. Danby went to where there were rows of switches and some dials. She threw one of the switches and a nozzle along the far wall started spraying. She turned a knob and said to her naked subject, "90 degrees... unless you like your showers cold."
Dareen smiled and walked her bare feet across the clammy tiled floor and into the spray. It was nice and warm but not scalding. Intensely aware of being stared at, she kept her back to them as she lathered up. When she was finished she stood under the stream, watching the water cascade down her legs, delaying the inevitable. Then she turned around, signifying she was done. In that moment she felt like a nude fountain statue, water running to the ends of her breasts as if down a ski slope, only to jump off her nipples, shooting forward in streams that arced out two feet before heading downward. Fortunately this comical display lasted only a second before Ms. Danby turned the water off.
A low hum indicated to Dareen why everyone had been watching her. Apparently the action of water over her body was being monitored too. Every motion, every activity of her naked body was being intensely watched and recorded and analyzed. She looked forward to the end of this day when she could once again put on clothes.
But right now her clothes were miles away and there was more to endure. Dr. Vanaver and two of the others approached her with battery-operated blow dryers and told Dareen to turn this way and that, put her arms up, even open her legs as each inch of her was slowly and carefully dried. "Sorry for the low tech drying devices," the colonel said loudly over the din that echoed through the big shower room.
She was made to turn around and bend over and even spread her buttocks. It was terribly shaming but she figured it was necessary. She wondered if she should express some feeling of modesty but decided against it. She wanted to leave no doubt that she was fully cooperative and eager to help her government find the secret of her powers.
Then she was asked to walk back into the treadmill room. She proceeded there in the middle of the little group of people who were allowed to wear clothes. Her feet were dried; upon request she spread her toes, she stood on one foot and then the other so that the blower could go over each sole. All very exposing and all very necessary, so that she wouldn't collect dust on wet feet as she walked about.
Time for more questioning. The naked young woman sat on a stool, hands clasped unassumingly over her crotch, facing the team sitting behind a table as her medical history was taken.
"Have you or any blood relative had diabetes? Heart disease? Asthma?" No, no, no, except Dareen mentioned her grandmother who had hypertension. Dareen came from a healthy family.
"Any surgery, now or planned?"
"Just a breast reduction operation," Dareen said hesitantly. Yet another flushed feeling in the face as attention was focused again on her bust. Did she have to suffer these feelings of embarrassment over and over? Couldn't she get used to it?
"When is that?" the colonel asked with some concern.
"The insurance company okayed it, I think it's supposed to be in late September. They haven't given me a date yet."
The colonel and his crew exchanged looks. Finally in a low voice the pale, gray-haired man said, "Ms. Alkaras, given the national security interest, we strongly recommend that you give up that idea; at least for the time being."
Pungently Dareen paraphrased the colonel's words in her mind, "The United States needs your nipples!"
"O.K.," she said, "then I'll tell them to cancel." This was a quick response but still not easy to say. Dareen ventured a quick glance downward. Good-bye spaghetti strap dresses. Good-bye wearing regular clothes. Good-bye having men talk to her face for a change instead of always stealing glances further down. She gulped, and sighed as if in sorrow and loss.
"Any other diseases we haven't mentioned?"
"What family member was that?"
"Me. I'm recovered though." She had long since decided to phrase it like this when asked. The approved word was "recovering", used by the types who dominated AA, who had merely replaced their addiction to alcohol with an addiction to meetings. And to an authoritarian mindset and an addiction to Jesus, and not in a good way.
"Do you color your hair?"
"No, it turned this purplish color after the lightning hit me. Before that it was just black." She knew that to be totally truthful she had to lift her hands, part her legs and show her equally violet-tinged pubic hair. "See, I'm all natural," she said, while trying to hide her shame. Friendly smiles behind the table.
"Finally, Miss Alkaras, any dietary restrictions?" the colonel said affably.
"I don't eat pork, but that's just a Muslim thing, not for any health reason." It was so clear that none of these folks were Muslims that she felt the need for this explanation.
"Well fortunately we have lots of other stuff. I bet you're hungry. Time for lunch."
Dareen exhaled and her stomach growled. Unmuffled by clothing, echoing in the sterile room, the growl was easily heard. Everyone laughed. Dareen smiled and patted her flat bare tummy.
"Can we call you Dareen? Call me Mike," Colonel McNulty said. "Dareen, this is Roger Moody, he runs this place." Dareen leaned over, making sure her breast didn't push into her mashed potatoes, and shook the hand of the friendly-looking heavy-set white guy in shirtsleeves with captain's bars pinned over the front pocket.
Dareen hunched her shoulders a bit and tried to eat inconspicuously. Not that this was at all possible. She expected a cafeteria in this building but this one was pretty big. Four long double tables with perhaps three dozen people eating and chatting, some in lab coats. She knew her nakedness on display as she waited on that serving line, and felt all awkward breasts and pubic hair and bare feet as she followed her team and plopped her bare butt onto the long bench.
The food was good, as Mike -- she felt like she could call him that -- remarked to Roger. "This meatloaf is very good. I can actually guess what's in it." Roger chuckled. "We switched to a different supplier. Also Jose is getting more patient with making gravy." Jose, apparently, was the cook. And Roger was in charge of the nuts and bolts of the place, keeping the lights on.
Dareen looked up and considered the crowd. Occasionally someone looked over at her naked skin. How could they not? And hoped they would see only her bare shoulders, as if she were wearing a tube top, not that this was something Dareen ever could wear, or ever would be worn here. She wondered what the people stationed here did. It couldn't all be for studying NakedGirl and her powers. It also seemed like a friendly place. People appeared to like working here. Hardly what she imagined from a secret military installation.
She needed her lunchtime coffee, and fortunately Dr. Vanaver offered to get her some, relieving her of the exposure attendant on going up for it herself. Perhaps unsurprisingly the conversation around Mike and the crew involved small talk. Nothing about their research on her.
"The two hours are almost up," Colonel Mike said. "We've got to get ready."
And with that, suddenly and abruptly, the entire six-person crew stood up. Dareen stood up with them and they all walked out, behind Colonel Mike clip-clopping on his wooden foot, the naked and barefoot woman trailing on silent bare feet, her beautiful brown back and butt cheeks and legs providing a visual treat for Roger Moody and his friends before they got up and applied themselves to some serious blueberry pie.
It was a converted operating room, though now empty except for its sole occupant on her strange bed. Above, in the observation booths at the tops of all four walls, the team members peered down. Along with a number of other staff. Charts were checked, dials adjusted ever so slightly, TV monitors showing the bright brown "X" shape in vivid detail, one screen on her nipples, one on her face, one on her feet, one on her pubic region.
It was really the same arrangement as before in the dark room on the cross bars, but in consideration of the subject's comfort, she was placed in a lying down position as she waited for her powers to generate. She lay under the bright, bright lights on the smooth cold metal of the white table, her arms and legs spread out as instructed. There was the low hum of the electromagnetic detection screening. This was the great moment, perhaps as important a moment in the history of the nation's security as the liftoff of the first military satellite. Perhaps even more important. They were about to learn the secret of incredible powers. Or at least begin to learn.
Every crevice of the young woman's nude body, every last pubic hair, was brightly lit and on display and being closely watched. And recorded.
Her eyes were closed. Perhaps the busy researchers paused in their racing thoughts to consider what she must be thinking. Was there a kind of meditation that preceded the powers?
In fact, under the intense lights, Dareen's mind was retreating to some familiar prayers.
The prayer for help.
"I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn, from the mischief of created things, from the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads; from the mischief of those who practice secret arts, and from the mischief of the envious one as he practices envy."
And now, perversely, she could not help thinking of the prayer of putting on a new garment. It had been taught to her by her grandmother and since she was a little girl she had always said it when putting on something like a gift dress or sweater or shoes for the first time.
"All praise belongs to Thee, Oh Allah, as Thou hast bestowed this garment upon me to wear, I beg of Thee all the good that pertains to it, and all the good that pertains to the purpose for which it has been made; may it protect me from all harm."
This prayer brought Dareen almost to tears. Spread out motionless, feeling her nipples stiff and hard in the chilly air, feeling her shamefully exposed pubic hairs seeming to stand on end, she tried to think of a better prayer.
"Lord, grant me the favor that I may be grateful to Thee for the bounty that Thou hast bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may act righteously so as to please Thee. I am one of thy obedient servants."
She pushed aside thoughts of her bountiful breasts and thought of her true bounty, her super powers, and thought of bringing honor to her parents and to her country.
And then she felt it. The low hum got a little higher pitched. Up in the booth there was much motion.
And down below, the nude woman opened her eyes, stretched her legs, spread her toes, clenched her hands. Her flat tummy became concave and her twin brown mountains heaved up as she inhaled, then exhaled. Still in an outspread "X", her body levitated off the cold white table and rose up and rose up, the lustrous violet-black hair trailing below her head, giving more prominence in the bright light to her beautiful brown Arab-American face.