"Welcome to the Freedom of Form Foundation. Please stay calm. Here you will be able to create the new you." The sugary voice continued. The white light became brighter and engulfed my awareness. The light started to take form and I looked around as a coffee table in front of a fireplace faded into definition. The orb of light continued: "Welcome to the definition table. Here you will be able to customize your appearance. Let's make the 'new you'!".
I reached out to touch the "start" button and saw that my body was a glowing bright blue. I looked over myself and saw only the bright blue instead of myself. The voice piped up: "There is no need to panic, in order to make this process easier we have masked your old you. Would you like to see the old you instead of the placeholder?"
A mirror formed in front of me and a yellow ring formed above me and slowly worked its way down, replacing my appearance with an image of my body. It was painless. I reached out and hit the start button. A few menus appeared and I flicked through one of them labeled "species". I looked at it confused for a moment and the voice popped up: "Different species options let others see you as something completely different. Here are examples of a few of our most popular options, however you can spend as much time as you want creating something completely new if nothing works as is."
I flicked through the options and tapped the "Shark" one out of curiosity. The mirror changed to show what I would look like as a shark. I moved and posed, making the figure in the mirror move and pose too. A button called "try it on" started flashing, so I hit it out of curiosity. The yellow ring showed up again and reformed my appearance to the one in the mirror.
Now I went to town, playing with option after option until it came to the genitals. I hit the female option and there was suddenly an absolute babe in the mirror. Her purple skin complementing her bioluminescent purple tiger shark stripes. Her tail swung in her steps, accenting her curvy struts. I hit the "try it on" button and after the ring descended, I felt a release I had never felt before. It was as if a feeling of something not belonging suddenly lifted and I was correct. I had never felt this correct before. I was...me. The me I dreamed of, the me that I was meant to be.
The voice kicked up again: "I noticed that you haven't changed your name or pronoun settings. Part of your gift includes a free name and pronoun card that will make you only ever experience being called by a new name and set of pronouns. Right now your name is registered as 'Micheal Smith' and your pronouns are he/him. Would you like to change these?"
A keyboard manifested in front of me and I typed in "Nikki Brennan" and "she/her". Looking it over once more, it felt too good to be true. I had dreamed of this moment for years. The feelings of dread as puberty hit, the bullying in school, the videogames, the fiction, the art. It all made sense now.
That was the gift that the Foundation had given me. The gift of choice.
I hit "save" and "done". A confirmation popped up and I hit "confirm". The interface faded into the table and the voice spoke up for one last time: "Would you like to rest until your body is ready or would you like to explore the metaverse?"
"I'll rest, thank you"
"It's no problem." A bed manifested near the fire. "Just lay on this bed and close your eyes, we will take care of the rest. Thank you for choosing the Freedom of Form Foundation. Be well and enjoy your 'new you'."
I laid down, found a comfortable position and closed my eyes. I faded into a dreamless sleep and when I woke up, everything was as correct as it had been.