"Buzz, Buzz! Get in here quick!" A shrill, panicky voice rang out, yanking me roughly awake. But I fought back valiantly, keeping my eyes firmly shut and resolving to fall asleep again. Aaah, here we go... "BUZZ!" Something in me snapped as I realized that that was Booster's voice, and I shot up, my eyes snapping open as I stared at him.
"Booster, whoah! What's the matter?" I asked soothingly, trying to calm him down. I frowned slightly at the sound of my voice; all the tinniness was gone from it. Booster's eyes were huge, and he looked terrified. And... he was staring right at me! "Is there something wrong with me?"
His eyes narrowed, his look changing from fear to fury. Yeesh, I thought. What did I do? "Who are you, and what have you done with XR?" he demanded. I gaped at him for a moment, trying to figure out what he was talking about. Why didn't he recognize me? Just as I opened my mouth to reply, however, Buzz stormed in.
"Alright, ranger... what's the problem here?" he demanded, his eyes landing on Booster first. However, they slid over to me, and I couldn't help but shiver as his expression morphed into the same cold mask as Booster's. "Who is this?" he asked. The question was directed at Booster, but his eyes didn't leave me.
"I don't know," Booster responded, his voice as harsh as his eyes. "I came in to wake up XR, and found this guy in his bed, and XR gone!"
That was all it took for Buzz; he advanced towards me, a scowl on his face as his hand hovered above his wrist laser. "You have five seconds to tell me where XR is, space scum," he announced coolly.
"Whoah, hold on there just a minute!" I protested as my voice finally returned to me. "What are you guys talking about? It is me!" I held up my hands in defense, but did a double take as I saw them, my own eyes widening in shock. "What... what's happened?" I asked, my voice a whisper. Slowly, afraid of what I might find, I lowered my hands to my body and let out a gasp as I felt flesh. My gaze shot back up to Buzz and Booster, who were watching me with guarded expressions.
"Is... is that you, XR?" Booster asked. He looked almost fearful as he regarded me, his eyes darting across my features over and over again.
"Y-yeah... I think so," I replied, still roaming with me hands. I tried to meet Booster's gaze, but I couldn't help but look back down at the pale pink flesh that I was now composed of. "I'm human!"
"How do we know that you're really XR?" Buzz asked after a moment, still looking suspicious. I paused, trying to think of a way to prove to my friends who I was. It was hard – I wasn't even sure who I was anymore. I sighed and shook my head, frustrated that I was having such a hard time thinking.
However, that was handled for me as Mira darted in at that moment. "What's the problem, guys? I heard a lot of yelling, so I thought I'd..." her voice trailed off as her eyes met mine. An electric tingle raced down my spine as I felt something unlike anything I'd ever experienced before; a strange, unexplainable desire, an almost animal longing... I was attracted to Mira.
The moment felt like it had lasted for hours, before it was broken as Buzz said, "We're still waiting for your proof." I gulped, my eyes darting around.
"Proof of what?" Mira asked, finally snapping from her daze. "Who is this?"
"I'm XR," I replied hastily. "I- I'm human now, and I don't know why." Mira simply stared at me as she processed this.
"Buzz?" she asked weakly, turning to him.
"We won't know if he's telling the truth unless he proves it," he replied, his eyes narrowing as he turned to face me. "Well, hat do you have for us?"
I flailed mentally, until Booster finally came to my rescue. "I know!" he shouted, his eyes lighting up. "If you're really XR, you'll know the answer to this question. What is supermodel Vicky Vortex's phone number?"
"That's a trick question," I snapped irritably. "You know I don't have that anymore. I had to wipe it off of my memory files, along with all the other Star Command secrets i learned, remember?"
All three of my comrades blinked, none daring to speak for several moments. Finally, however, Booster jumped forward, his arms crashing around me in a massive embrace. "It isyou!" I felt my muscles tightening and my joints threatening to give way in the strong hug – a new experience, but a painful one all the same.
"Hey, not so tight, bug guy," I choked out, my airway restricted a I spoke. Booster grinned sheepishly, relenting his hold. I looked up at Buzz and Mira, anxious to see how they'd take it.
"Well Ranger, I, uh... just wanted to say..." Buzz scratched at the back of his neck. "I guess what I'm tryin' to say here is, I'm sorry for doubting you."
"That's alright," I responded jovially. But I couldn't stop my eyes from flickering over to Mira, hoping desperately that she'd accept the news well. Her eyes troubled, she looked anywhere but at me. I struggled to meet her gaze, and after several moments of eye tag, finally succeeded. We stared at one another for a second, before she tore her eyes away. "I'm sorry," she said, her voice wavering. "This is too much for me." And with that, she turned around and bolted.
None of us spoke for some time, all of us staring awkwardly at the doorway that Mira has disappeared through, and none of us moving to follow her. "Booster," Buzz finally said, his expression thoughtful, "why don't you go see if you can talk to Mira and calm her down?"
"Yes sir." Booster saluted Buzz and left in the direction of Mira's room.
"As for you," Buzz added, turning back to me, "why don't we get you some clothes, and then you can explain exactly how this happened."
It took me a moment to realize what he was saying, but I felt an intense heat creep over my face as I realized I was naked. Luckily, the blanket I'd insisted in having (despite Buzz's insistence that a robot didn't need one) covered most of my body. However, for this whole scene, my torso had been completely exposed. Knowing what I did about modesty, I was aware of the fact that it had been no serious offense, but all the same, I couldn't help feeling embarrassed.
Apparently, Buzz noticed the embarrassment, because he put a soothing hand on my shoulder. "Don't worry, XR," he assured me. "You can wear one of my spare uniforms. It might not be an exact fit, but it should be close."
"Thanks, Buzz," I responded, truly grateful. He got up to retrieve the aforementioned clothes. "Wait a sec," I called out. He stopped in the doorway. "Do- do you think you can bring a mirror? I... I'd like to know what I look like."
Buzz smiled softly. "Sure thing, Ranger."