Jon found himself being hurried onto the stage with no chance to duck out, his attempted protests quickly being shushed by the faculty directing him onto the transfer pad. He was absolutely certain this sudden program, using technology that should be science fiction, was the result of his errant wish, but that did little to help him now; he'd left the stone at home to avoid another accidental wish. Now, it looked like his mind was going to be flung very far away from the stone and any chance of trying to wish himself out of it.
"Please step into the middle of the platform," the technician instructed Jon, who reluctantly complied. It looked like four groups of three, 12 students all together had been selected, but he'd only be sent to the same school as the two in his trio. Karyn, who was waiting with a petulant Sarah on the edge of the platform waiting for their turn, was staring daggers at him, clearly upset about his careless wish and what was happening. Jon started to give her an apologetic smile, but then, after a flash of blue light, everything went dark.
Jon felt like some sort of hook was tugging him out of his body, slowly at first and then more urgently, until with a final yank he felt like his insides were pulled free. There was no pain but he felt incredibly odd, like he was now a shapeless, formless liquid, uncontained by its previous vessel. That didn't last long as the tugging turned into a sucking sensation and suddenly it was like he was being compressed into a tube and shot through it at high speed. He couldn't see or hear, or even feel in the conventional sense, but he got the notion he was moving rapidly across a great distance. Then, after a minute, he began to slow somewhat, before reaching the end of the tube, feeling his liquidy self pour out the other end. However, he wasn't just pouring out, he was pouring in to someone, a new vessel, changing shape to match the confines of his new form.
Everything became less surreal as a new nervous system asserted itself upon his consciousness and he was suddenly barraged with new physical sensations. The first thing he noticed was he felt soft in places, both from the clothes he was wearing and the new skin beneath them, and yet supple and powerful in others. His new leg muscles reflexively tensed as he tottered forward and backwards momentarily, making it feel like a large weight connected to his chest was swinging. Looking down he, or rather, she saw the obvious curve of her breasts and realized her totally new center of gravity had come from a new body shape; Jon's partner was a girl.
"Ms. Kobayashi, if you would step back from the pad please, the next pair needs to go" A voice said beside her, making Jon turn to look at her, long black hair swishing a bit as she did so. The speaker appeared to be a professionally dressed Asian woman in her early 30's, who Jon could only assume was a teacher, looking at her expectantly. Jon nodded hurriedly, and walked off the platform in a daze, only noticing after she'd complied, that the teacher had been speaking Japanese and, more startlingly, Jon had understood it perfectly.
She was beckoned over by another member of staff, a somewhat younger, in her 20s, friendly looking teacher wearing a loose comfortable looking sweater and a long dark red skirt. Unlike Lakepoint, this school's transfer pad seemed to be set up in a disused classroom, and Jon was quickly lead through an adjoining door to the next door room by the woman. As she stepped through the door, still trying to avoid stumbling with her new legs, she heard the first teacher say "Mr. Sato, onto the pad if you will."
"Don't worry, Sayaka," the young teacher said as she and Jon walked passed the empty desks to the front of the unused classroom. "I realize the shift must have been confusing, but you'll acclimate quickly." Jon realized with a start that the room's large window was dark, before putting together she'd crossed several timezones. If she was in Japan, as she seemed to be, it would be like 2-3 am, no wonder there weren't students around. The young teacher gestured to a floor length mirror that had been set up in the corner of the classroom, "why don't you take a look at your host body?"
Jon took a deep breath, a little disturbed by the new sensation of her breasts rising and falling as she did so and turned to see who she'd become. Staring back at her was a beautiful Japanese girl, with long glossy slightly wavy dark hair, wearing a school uniform. It consisted of a dark navy single breasted blazer, currently undone, with brass buttons and the school crest on the pocket. Under that she wore a loose, partially buttoned cream colored sweater, and below that a white button up, a red silk sailor bow sitting atop the sweater and shirt. She wore a blue and white plaid skirt that showed off her long legs, knee high black socks and simple black mary jane shoes. She seemed to wear no jewellery, though, reaching up to feel them, she found her ears were pierced. "W-who, who am I" Jon asked haltingly, but in perfect Japanese, taken aback by both the automatic language change and her new alto voice.
"Oh, of course, introductions," the teacher replied, tapping her palm to her forehead, "I'm Ms. Kanade and you're Sayaka Kobayashi. Welcome to Henshin Academy."
Jon looked back at her reflection, running her hands softly over her new figure; she didn't want to be disrespectful to her host, particularly in front of a teacher, but she was admittedly curious. She momentarily cupped her left breast, feeling it's weight. They weren't as big as some of the girl's back home, like Sarah McMillan or Tiffany Saunders, but they certainly filled out her new uniform. Her long svelte legs, on the other hand, would easily be the envy of any of her old female classmates. She met her own gaze in the mirror, lovely almond eyes staring back at her; she wasn't an expert but she was fairly sure she wasn't wearing any makeup. Despite that, Sayaka was incredibly pretty and Jon felt herself blushing at the odd sensation of being attracted to her own reflection. Jon turned back to the teacher, "why can I speak Japanese?"
Ms. Kanade smiled as she explained, "in order for the exchange program to work smoothly, certain knowledge is retained in the hosts for the transferees to use, with language being the biggest one, given the global nature of the program. The original Sayaka will similarly be able to use your command of English."
Jon bit her lip, "so you separated parts of our minds for our partner to have?" She wasn't sure she liked the sound of that; switching bodies across the world was insane enough, having bits of her mind chopped out along the way...
"Oh, no no no no no," Ms. Kanade said quickly, "nothing was removed exactly. The exact science is quite complicated, but it's more like a copy of certain essential information is retained for your use and some of your own knowledge is suppressed but not gone. For instance, you should still be able to speak English if you try, but Japanese should some more instinctively."
Jon frowned before trying to say a phrase in English, "<So, like this you mean?>" It was English, though with a definite accent, so it looked like Ms. Kanade had been telling the truth on that front, which was comforting. That said, she was pretty sure she was even thinking in Japanese, so she wasn't lying about her original language knowledge being dampened either. "Is it just language?" Jon asked, switching back to her host body's mother tongue.
Ms. Kanade shook her head, "that's the main part, but there will be a few other packets of knowledge so to speak; it's unique to each exchange participant based on need. You're going to be student council president and captain of the swim team after all, and will need to avoid making your host look like a fool."
"Wait, I'm-" Jon began to ask before her teacher cut her off.
"I know you have a lot to ask, Sayaka, but let's wait for your other two classmates to join us so we can go over everything once, okay?" As she said it the door behind them opened and Jon, suddenly reminded that Sarah and Karyn were making this strange journey as well, turned to see what had become of her best friend and her rival.