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Author Topic: Story: A Test of Metal  (Read 5028 times)

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Story: A Test of Metal
« on: 27. December 2020, 13:06:44 PM »
[Chapter 1] ;)

Just like Mom said, there was no shortage of bright-eyed young women adorned in form fitting blue polos and large enamel pins bearing a unique logo, one resembling the profile view of a woman with a horizontal line starting at her lips and darting into where her "mouth" would be. The minimalist logo might have appeared odd to anyone unfamiliar with Psi Sigma Nu's peculiar history, and it certainly set itself apart from the logos of other recruiters. I decided to indulge the perky soror who wasted no time meeting me at the archway entrance of the quad. She introduced herself, no doubt proud she was the first to bid an expected legacy.

"YOU MUST BE SOPHIA!! I'm Madeline! Please follow me!"

The perky brunette led me through the quad past countless booths populated by boisterous recruiters blasting music and handing out shirts. She strode with her clipboard firmly to her side with the confidence of an empress, only halting to look back as I was forced to stop and wipe the liquid soap stuck to my glasses by a stray bubble cannon atop the Movie Club booth. Upon entering the Student Union, I'm dragged through cold hallways lined with classical furniture and countless awards covered in thin layers of dust, sealed in display cases, straight past a number of doorways to one guarded by two more polo clad members, who, with a nod, unhooked a rope blocking a private auditorium that dazzled me with its intricate workmanship in the woodwork of each and every chair, to the proscenium stage that curved and flowed so naturally at its edge. I thank Madeline as I walk closer to the first row of chairs, already populated by cadres of young women, all very anxious to be here, but some more nervous than others.

As I wait for the Informational to officially begin, I swipe through Mom's texts, instructing me on how best to handle the initiation, and how to land the position I had in my sights. While Psi Sigma Nu was most certainly unconventional in its initiation rituals, and required an odd assortment of pari, I had no doubt that more than half of the women around me knew it was absolutely worth every second for the opportunities offered by this strange sorority. Connections to upper echelons of every stronghold industry in the country were boasted to the few academically elite who qualified. You had an even easier time if you had family that were members. Having met the academic requirements along with my mother's membership, my acceptance was guaranteed. Getting in was gonna be the easy part. Getting what I wanted was gonna be harder.

The coveted role of Vice President was chief among those available to first years, and was locked behind a strange trial that both attracted brave souls and struck fear into countless initiates. It was a test of metal.

Offline jonjon

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #1 on: 27. December 2020, 15:27:25 PM »
Good start im intrigued to read more keep up the good work

Offline Boheme

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #2 on: 27. December 2020, 16:56:45 PM »
Great start! I can't wait for more.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #3 on: 27. December 2020, 17:11:00 PM »
Thank you for giving it a title and a big thank you for adding a chapter heading to it.

I will be adding it to TheArchive as soon as I have a chance if you don't mind me doing so. It is always nice to see new people writing stories and I personally enjoy seeing where each writer takes us. Those of us who have written many stories tend to fall into a rut when writing and I find that new writers help to get me out of it with their fresh ideas.

Braceface2015
TheArchive2018

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #4 on: 28. December 2020, 05:06:16 AM »
[Chapter 2] ;D

The informational begins with the sorority's president taking the stage to the tune of enthusiastic cheers and applause. She dwarfs the other members around her in height as she makes her way to an ornate wooden podium seemingly too short for her. Her strawberry blonde ponytail sways and bounces as she walks, whisking back and forth along the shoulders of her cobalt blazer, its lapel sporting a larger enamel pin bearing the sorority's logo, accompanied by another pin resembling a debater's gavel. She shakes the hands of the other women on stage before reaching the microphone atop the podium.

"Welcome, everyone! My name is Caroline Richardson, and I am the President of Psi Sigma Nu! I'm pleased you all could join us today, and I'll begin by allowing initiates wanting to compete for Vice President to make their way towards our secretary, McKenzie, to receive your contracts!"

She motions towards an exit near stage right where a shorter woman sporting a blue polo raises her hand.

I rise from my seat making my way towards her as I'm joined by a third of the audience, each of us lining up as McKenzie leads us to a smaller room. Our exit is played out to the tune of murmurs and scattered cheers.

As we enter what looks to be a lobby, the line dissipates as a cadre of more women in blue polos hand out contracts to each of us. A shorter member with glasses and a full set of braces grins endearingly as she hands me my copy with a "Good luck!"  ;D

After thanking her, I take a seat near a table along the left side of the room near four other initiates. Their brows furled as they began skimming over their copies. An older woman in full suit enters to begin explaining the trial.

"Welcome, First-years! I am Dr. Ashley. I'd like your attention before any of you begin to sign your contracts. If you're here, it's because you want a chance at our coveted role of Vice President. You all should know by now, that unlike most sororities and fraternities, Psi Sigma Nu does not decide it's Vice President via election. To compete for the position, each of you will participate in a special trial as old as the university itself. Once you've signed your contracts, you will each be provided with a speech inhibitor. This will equip you with a considerable lisp, and make speaking very difficult. Each of you will where this speech inhibitor as you are shown various orthodontic appliances at random, ranging from Herbst appliances, to twin blocks, to tongue cribs, and every kind of headgear. At the end of the trial, each of you will be required to undergo orthodontic treatment, starting out with a full set of metal braces, accompanied by every appliance you failed to correctly name during the trial."

Silence strangled the room, only yielding to the growing ticks of a nearby clock. She continued.

"Worry not my dears! Participants that do not succeed in acquiring the role of Vice President will only be required to wear all of their additional appliances for their entire first year of classes, with the exception of continued use of appliances that are deemed necessary for individual cases by our team of orthodontists. The Vice president, however, will be required to have her appliances permanently locked into her mouth for the duration of her stay at this esteemed University."

Two girls quickly exited the room, leaving only 12 of us to compete.

"You will all stand atop the stage in the auditorium, each with a podium equipped with two buttons, one green, and one red. Your green button is a 'Pass'. If you are shown an appliance you are unfamiliar with, or you don't believe you can pronounce it's name, hitting your green button will pass your appliance to girl left of you, and she will have to attempt it. If an appliance is passed to you, you will not be able to use your green button to pass it yourself. You only get one Pass."

Dr. Ashley smirked.

"Your red button forfeits you from the trial, and you will not have to compete for any longer once you've pressed it. Though you all should do well to remember, that anyone who presses their red button to forfeit will still be required to wear the appliances she fails to correctly name during the trial up until that point, for the entirety of her first year. The only incentive of your red button, is that you may decide when you are out. The last remaining first year in the trial is awarded the role of Vice President. Would anyone else like to leave?"

I see my determination mirrored in the women around me. Some even begin signing their contracts. A smile blooms across Dr. Ashley's face.

"Wonderful! I admire your conviction."

Offline panda777

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #5 on: 28. December 2020, 08:13:29 AM »
Ooh, this one's creative! Can't wait to see what happens the the protagonist, and I get the feeling we may be seeing some unique appliances...

Offline jonjon

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #6 on: 28. December 2020, 14:43:17 PM »
Its getting good i think this storys got real promise I agree with panda777 I think we are going to fet to enjoy some truly unusual appliances can't wait

Offline carking

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #7 on: 28. December 2020, 17:18:06 PM »
Wow, this is great! I'd love to try out for a frat that did that!

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #8 on: 30. December 2020, 11:02:56 AM »
[Chapter 3]  ;)


After signing the last page of my stack, I follow three other girls towards the end of the lobby where Dr. Ashley sat with her chin resting atop her hands knit together, a posh grin still lingering.

"Once you've signed your contract, you will be assessed for your speech inhibitor. Once your inhibitor has been properly installed and approved, you will wait for the other girls to finish. Once everyone has their speech inhibitors equipped, we will take to the stage to begin the trial!"

A few girls grow anxious at the mention of the stage. Not only will University Heads be present to officiate the trial, but however many students are interested enough to spectate. No doubt this news would shake the confidence of a few fellow first years.

As the first girl marches up to the table where Dr. Ashley and two more members are seated, she quickly hands in her contract, likely eager to get the speech inhibitor installed ahead of as many of us as she can, since extra time practicing with the appliance already in her mouth could spell an advantage, a strategy mimicked by the two other girls behind her. Upon being instructed to open her mouth, she complies. After studying her mouth, Dr. Ashley gives the girl to her right a number, and the eager first year is motioned to the next room. This same process is repeated with the next two girls in front of me, while more begin to line up behind. As the third girl exits after receiving a "seven" from Dr. Ashley, I calmly hand my contract to the member sitting to the left. Dr. Ashley's eyes perk up after a brief beat.


"Oh! You must be Sophia! I knew your grandmother, Esther. My, you're a dead ringer, glasses and all! You know, she was Vice president when I first joined. Why even your mother was a member! I'm certain you must have a unique understanding of the innerworkings of this trial.  ;)"

"I certainly do. Thank you!"

"Now, let's see you open that mouth for me..."

I did as she instructed, allowing a small flashlight to be shined at me as my mouth is awkwardly examined.

"Just like your mother, a four!" She giggles.


I'm led into the next room with a smile as I'm placed next to a chair occupied by the third girl, who's now wearing a type of harness with her hair in a high ponytail. I notice another chair where the second girl is getting up to exit into the hallway. A woman in glasses and a mask waves me over to take a seat. My hair already up, she takes my "four" from another girl in a blue polo, before she has me open to confirm the number assigned.

"Hmm... I guess that's four. A little small though."

She reaches for a pristine box sat next to her, producing what resembles two mouth trays, one for each jaw, both connected by 3 piston arms on each side. The pistons are springed, the arms held tightly closed by what looks like rubber bands on the outside of the two trays connected by hooks. Towards the back of the trays on either side are bulky sections of plastic and rubber, that when together, resemble the anchor of a ship. Atop the upper tray and stuck beneath the bottom were globs of a purple substance that looked to be rubbery. There looks to be a metallic mass held between the two trays, but before I can further study it the woman places a gloved hand beneath my chin, instructing me to open as wide as I can. I obediently do so, as she gently guides and wiggles the speech inhibitor into its intended destination, lining my tongue with a hole between the trays. Even with my mouth open as wide as I could manage, the woman had to hold the back of my neck as she forced what had to be the bulky plastic and rubber sections past my molars, where upon barely squeezing past, sat comfortably. After the appliance was in place, I was made to bite down into the purple goop, creating a strange sensation as the substance slinked it's way through and around my teeth to fill my cheeks. In a flash she produces the same harness the second and third girl were wearing, a beige mess of rubber straps and leather. The harness is quickly shoved over my head, and I feel my ponytail gently pulled through an opening as the straps of the harness are tightened. Every inch of leather and rubber is now securely held to my head, neck and jaws.

"That's a good girl. Now try to smile so we can remove the excess."

I obey as she uses a small tool to carefully pick and pull away the extra purple moosh that filled my cheeks. She then produces small blue light and maneuvers it around my teeth, most of them still covered in a violet residue. After a few seconds, she takes a small pair of scissors to the rubber bands holding the springs together, and upon snipping them, pressure begins to build as I gain more freedom to move my jaw.

I find my tongue still confined, and I'm unable to move my jaw from side to side. My mouth feels restricted and full. As I try to close again, I find that angled sections of thick plastic along where the trays meet prevent my mouth from closing comfortably, as where one section sits, another part slides and moves, preventing my jaws from meeting in any way that's comfortable or stable, like it doesn't want my mouth to close. Before I can feel more of what's been installed, my thoughts are interrupted by the masked woman.

"Alright Sweety, you're good to go! Remember, don't try to take the inhibitor out. You'll only hurt yourself. If you'd like to try speaking before you the trial starts, now is the time. You can head out into the hallway and wait for everyone else. Good luck! Next!"

Offline Boheme

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #9 on: 30. December 2020, 17:20:49 PM »
I was in a sorority and I don't know if I would pass this.. ;D

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #10 on: 30. December 2020, 18:33:44 PM »
I've added the latest chapter to TheArchive.

This is getting good. I am looking forward to reading more of our story.

Braceface2015

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #11 on: 30. December 2020, 23:02:57 PM »
For us Brits, the whole concept of a Sorority is completely alien!

At a UK university, you either live in a "Hall of Residence" with many other students (typically several hundred) grouped in 'flats' of 5 to 10 people , or you live in some sort of shared house / room in a house. Yes, the "Hall of Residence" has a social side, but I don't think it equates to the Sorority system of the US.

Offline prahm

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #12 on: 05. January 2021, 18:39:52 PM »
My sorority was definitely not this creative. Looking forward to the rest

Offline Jock1

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #13 on: 06. January 2021, 22:58:23 PM »
Brilliant story, I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #14 on: 07. January 2021, 14:08:16 PM »
[Chapter 4]   8)

I join the first three initiates in the decorated hallway, each of them clad in the same beige harness with ponytails sticking out from the crowns of the heads just like mine, all attempting to examine their mouths with their phones, mirrors, and one of them the glass of the display cases. The first girl, a tall, calculating type with black hair, flexes her lips as she attempts to open her jaw in increments, the little attempts to produce vowels failing.  The second and third, both sheepish brunettes, display their growing anxiety as they resist the streams of drool cascading from their mouths with each syllable.

I begin by stretching my neck, hoping to create a little more room for my jaw to move in my new harness. Using the force of the springs to my advantage, I work against the hold of the harness to open my jaw wider than most could manage, and step close to the pristine reflective display cases lining the hallway along side the second girl. I take a closer look to see my tongue encased completely in what looks to be a drool covered metal ring puzzle, two pieces welded to the inside of the trays, and connecting them a third piece, just as elaborate, bearing rows of metal points that move independently from the top and bottom pieces. On either side on my mouth, behind my molars I spot the rubber and plastic anchor pieces, now parting with my jaws, sat snuggly behind my back teeth. Even if I could dissolve the now solidified purple adhesive binding the trays to my teeth, I wouldn't have a chance removing the inhibitor with the anchor feature. It's design was effective, excessive, and clever.

As the hallway clocks tick, more girls join us. As each of them exit the installment room, they become less anxious upon seeing so many of us wearing the same uncomfortable contraptions. Any advantage the second and third girls hoped to obtain has been squandered in place of the growing anxiety they now possessed with more time to learn just how impossible it was to speak with the appliances in. The first girl still carried her look of determination, her surplus time with the appliance having seemingly done nothing to shake her.

The final girl enters the hallway to the tune of the rest of us sucking back saliva in scattered order, followed by Dr. Ashley, who glides right past each of us to meet a well dressed fossil slowly making his way towards the auditorium. Dr. Ashley politely redirects the frail gentleman towards the 12 of us, and with an endearing look of humble gusto, he begins his long, arduous journey towards our end of the hallway. An aged purple Rollator covered in faded rainbow and hedgehog stickers scoots its way towards us, each scoot accompanied by two careful steps behind it. A laminated picture of 4 smiling young children tied to the rollator's left handle swings wildly with each start and stop. Through my own repetitive sucking in saliva, I can make out his labored, purposeful breathing from a few meters away. He takes the time to proudly smile at each of us individually as he inches closer, no doubt a good use of the ample time. Now at the conclusion of his journey, he reaches with his left hand into his pocket, flashing a bright pink rubber wristband, producing a worn handkerchief which he uses to wipe his nose. After replacing it, he draws his right hand into the left breast pocket of his blazer, and with a proud nod to Dr. Ashley, produces a large bell that appears to be older than he is. His shaky spot covered hand triumphantly hoists it into the air sounding a jagged yet whimsical chime. He rings it twice more, his face gleefully shaped to an endearing grin. The trial has been officiated.

Dr. Ashley motions for two women in polos to escort us to the auditorium's stage via the side entrance. As we shuffle through the old looking single metal door into the dark draped side stage, we're led without warning to the brightly lit stage floor where 12 ornate wooden podiums, each with a microphone, stand eager to receive each of us. The fronts and backs of each podium display our names in bold on placards, each in the order we turned in our contracts from right to left from the audience's view. A larger 13th podium stands off to the side of the 1st, facing diagonally. As we reluctantly take to our podiums, I squint against the dizzying stage lights to see the auditorium's seats full, packed with rowdy frat recruiters showing off their new members, groups of student spectators drawn by the rumor of a strange ritual, and dozens of neatly seated university heads, all vehemently cheering and hollering. Phone cameras flash from groups of students as laughter joins the cheers with equal zeal, shaking the confidence of my fellow initiates.

A towering screen is brought down behind us from above, and a similar one is brought next to the 13th podium. The screens are turned on as Dr. Ashley joins us from stage right's entrance. She laughs as she waves to each of the fraternity leaders and university heads before taking her podium. As both screens play an animation around the sorority's logo, large cameras are directed at the stage, and Dr. Ashley begins the event at last.


"Ladies and gentleman, staff, faculty, and students! Welcome! I am Dr. Ashley Blanchet, professor of Biology, Psychology, and Experimental Orthodontics here at Winterville University. I am both pleased and honored to welcome you to our Fall 2033 semester Psi Sigma Nu's Trial for Vice President!"

The boisterous applause continues.

"Each of these brave young women have been equipped with speech inhibitors developed here at our esteemed university, and will each attempt to name randomly selected orthodontic appliances presented to them. In addition to a full set of metal orthodontic braces, each participant will be required to wear every appliance she fails to correctly name during this trial for the entirety of her first year of classes! The Vice President will be required to wear her appliances for the duration of her time at this university!"

Elated "oohs" overtake the room before Dr. Ashley effortlessly regains it.

"Each participant has two buttons atop their podiums; a pass, and a forfeit. Each can only be used once, so think carefully, ladies! You decide when you're out! Let's begin!"

A light at the front of the first girl's podium shines a bright yellow as she's called on for the first appliance. A set of Herbst appliances appear on both screens as Dr. Ashley calls on her.

"Caitlin James! You are up first. This is your appliance."

Caitlin sucks back saliva before bending towards the microphone, her black ponytail slipping past her shoulder, as she makes an earnest attempt.

"Hurssh Uhffliench..."

Scattered laughter slinks through the crowd.

"Sorry Caitlin, that is incorrect!"

I'm at least impressed she knew what it was. Her confidence was well founded.

"Bella Rose! Here is your appliance!"

The screens shift to what looks to be an automatic expander with vertical flat metal spikes pointing downward covering the entire palate, clearly a compliance device, and one not even I'm familiar with.

Bella is visibly shaken, and a bell sounds as she presses her green button, passing the appliance to the poor girl on my right.

"Our first pass of the night! That was certainly fast! Bad luck Sadie, since this appliance is one that was passed to you, you yourself are unable to pass it. Let's hear your best go!"

Surprisingly, the crowd puts forth genuine encouragement and cheers for Sadie. She musters the courage to part her lips.

"Mmmoihfie Eshhanherh."

"Incorrect! Great try though. Let's give it up for Sadie!"

Sadie slides a glare towards Bella, who tries to keep a straight face to hide her guilt.

"Next, Sophia Anderson! Here is your appliance!"

I'm greeted by a an intimidating "tongue-taming" appliance. Two rows of spikes connected by a third interlocking piece between them, not too different from the set we each had now. Recalling Mom's instructions, I boldly accept my appliance.

"Shhinhlair Shhfikesh."

I spot the faces of university heads eyeing me with intrigue.

"Incorrect! Great attempt though. Next, Sarah Marie!"


There's only one surefire way to win the trial, and it's a secret passed down by Grandma Esther. In the event of a tie between two or more participants, once each girl has cycled through every available appliance, the role of Vice President is awarded to whichever girl did not use her pass during the trial. Anyone who comes into this trial hoping to not have to wear appliances is delusional. The appliances are a guarantee. The purpose of the trial is to show the strength of conviction of it's participants. It's one big game of chicken. It's a test of metal. So many are lured by the status and opportunity that goes to the victor, yet so few lack the commitment and strength needed to overcome their pride. I have no desire to maintain appearances for vanity's sake. This trial is a matter of waiting out the competition, and I will accept every appliance they can fit in my mouth for Vice President. Everything from the stage, to the cameras, to the speech inhibitors, to the harnesses, is all to shake the wills of participants. I have no social reservations to hold me back. This trial is mine.


After the first round of appliances, only one girl chose to forfeit. Number 8, Denise, upon being passed a set of double headgear with a welded biteplate, quickly panicked and nearly broke her red button, unable to look at Number 7, Wendy, who only seemed happy she could dodge such an obvious appliance. The second round, 2 more girls dropped out of the running, each having used their passes only for compliance variants to come their way. After 3 more rounds, I had failed my own set of double headgear (without welded biteplates), a set of full closing elastics, adaptive bite blocks, and lip bumpers for each jaw. After the 4th round, with 5 more girls out, it was down to Caitlin, Bella, myself, and Number 9, a redhead with freckles named Alex. I could tell Bella was about to forfeit, having just failed a Van Been Activator, but Alex seemed to have a bit of fight left in her, and hadn't used her pass yet, and Caitlin seemed to have no intention of quitting. Now that the rounds were going by faster, the audience was growing more anxious, and Dr. Ashley seemed to be just as entertained, having no reservations about feeding their excitement. After having failed an Automatic Expander, I'm certain I'm past the point of no return for my mouth. It all comes down to who's willing to wear their appliances for the rest of their time here at Winterville, and how much more am I going to get before these three quit?

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #15 on: 07. January 2021, 14:33:54 PM »
Thank you all very much for the kind words and encouragement! It truly brightens my day to read all the nice things you say, and it helps more than you know. It's a load of fun to write these, even though it can take a while to find the time to sit down and write. I'm more than elated to continue writing these. Have a wonderful day!  ;D

Offline Sparky

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #16 on: 07. January 2021, 15:09:06 PM »
The thing I'm enjoying is Sophie's determination to make it as VP... she not only doesn't seem to mind that she will be wearing so much in her mouth, she seems to actually relish the idea of what she will get....  as long as she makes VP..... which I am sure she will!

Offline MagnetMouth

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #17 on: 07. January 2021, 21:00:43 PM »
Wow... what a story, i love how amazing your descriptive writing is! Cant wait to see what else sophies got in store for her ;D

Offline Jock1

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #18 on: 08. January 2021, 15:32:43 PM »
That is some story, I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Offline Qwertj

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #19 on: 09. January 2021, 08:16:57 AM »
Such a great story.

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #20 on: 16. February 2021, 09:16:16 AM »
Look alive! It's

[Chapter 5]  ;D

My prayers are answered as Bella's forfeit button is rung in the face of an intimidating twin block. The crowd shows no hesitations in showering her with encouragement for her effort as she meekly exits stage left, the way she came in.

Dr. Ashley coyly commends the audience for their manners before working to rebuild tension.

"What a wonderful trial this has been! Here we are down to our final three initiates! Caitlin James, Sophia Anderson, and Alex Savoir, you've each done a wonderful job, and you've each given us an inspiring display of your strength of will, and your convictions, but only one of you can be Psi Sigma Nu's Vice President! For the rest of the trial, our selected appliances will be narrowed down to compliance variants!"

The spectators erupt. I glance to my left to see Alex's nerve finally cracking, her hand gripping the side of her podium with white knuckles.  Turning to my right I spot Caitlin glaring at the both of us, still unshaken.

Dr. Ashley continues.
"Sophia! You're up next! Here is your appliance!"

A garishly complicated tongue cage is plastered to the screens, a curved web of trays held by pistons connecting to metal bands meant for each jaw.

"pphalshh tchnn cclreeb"

"That is incorrect! Okay Alex here is your appliance!"

The color leaves Alex's face as she's met with a bright red reverse pull facemask, an intimidating metal frame with a litany of straps meant to lock around the wearer's head, not very different from the harnesses we were each still bound in. She freezes. I spot her legs shaking.

A voice from a football player cracks from the crowd like a distant firework.
"How ya gonna kiss with that thing on?"

Alex begins to sniffle, before shakily slamming her forfeit and jetting from the stage near tears. I see her being comforted by two blue polos side stage. They console her as Dr. Ashley rallies a cheer from the audience commending Alex for making it to the final three. The polos compassionately coax her out to the stage for one last wave to the crowd. Poor thing, she could've passed the facemask to Caitlin before pressing her button.

"Let's give it up for Alex! I don't know many who'd be strong enough to stand where she is! Let's hear it!"

I can see Caitlin still launching glares my direction. We both still have our passes, so it comes down to who can stomach the most appliances. She straightens herself in a strange effort to faze me. I meet her with the same composed look I've maintained since we took to the stage.

I'm not held back by social reservations. I never have been. It's easy when you don't have a social life to begin with. What can 8 years with a mess of metal in my mouth hurt?

The audience continues their applause as Caitlin meets my look with a raised eyebrow, as if she'd received a dare. We both still had our passes. Her look spoke volumes to the contempt she held, and now knowing I wouldn't be backing down, there was one last thing she could do just to spite me. 

"Caitlin! You're up! Here is you appliance!"

The hint of a smile skulks in the corner of her mouth. The screen shows an additive appliance, one designed to prevent a patient from tampering with their headgear. Vertically posed metal trays with a row of spikes facing outwards towards the lips and where the hands of a would be compliance case might wonder. It'd be considered a cruel appliance by plenty.

Caitlin turns to me, locking eyes with me as the room swells. With a smirk, eyes locked to mine, and her eyebrow still raised, she passes the appliance to me, and coyly follows with her forfeit.

The crowd explodes into shock and cheers. Dr. Ashley says something but I can hardly make it out. Uniformly, the staff and faculty calmly rise and begin making their way to the stage to congratulate me. I feel Caitlin's eyes still on me as she passes me to stage left's exit. I come to my senses and manage a smile for the audience and cameras.

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #21 on: 16. February 2021, 10:02:12 AM »
[Chapter 6]  ;)

As the crowd started to disperse, groups of recruiters lead their initiates through different exits of the auditorium. After smiling for at least a dozen different photo sessions with members of Psi Sigma Nu's leadership, the speech inhibitor still locked into my mouth, I'm finally led to the exit stage left to join the other girls, most of whom already got their speech inhibitors removed. Dr. Ashley halts me one last time to present me to my fellow competitors as the winner. Most greet me with genuine cheers.

"Great show girls! You were all wonderful! It isn't an easy thing to do, standing up there, making the commitments you've made, but know that you've become apart of Winterville's history today. Be proud, each of you! Come let's take our commemorative photo!

Another picture.

A spry young man wearing a movie club shirt with a hulking camera directs us together along the wall in front of trophy cases bearing similar pictures. Gathered together, I realize most of the girls are taller than me, as there's no issue with having me front and center next to Dr. Ashley alongside Alex and Caitlin, both still with their inhibitors in. I grin for the final set of flashes. At long last I'm led with Alex and Caitlin to get out inhibitors removed. The same woman in glasses and surgical mask unlocks our head-harnesses and uses a pink liquid to carefully dissolve the resin enough to dislodge the trays. She then shoves her index finger and thumb past the sides of our jaws to grip the rubber and plastic anchors, bending them so they slip past our back teeth. With the appliance finally out I'm given a mouth rinse to finally be free of the speech inhibitor.

Alex, eyes still red from crying, manages to congratulate me with a mix of appreciation and sympathy. She even asks for my email to keep in touch, wanting to be friends. I obliged, only to receive a warm hug before she leaves to find her parents. How did someone so friendly end up in the trial?

Caitlin stretches her jaws still eyes me as Dr. Ashley makes her rounds to all the girls, handing out commemorative rings for participating in the trial. One of the girls jokes that we'll already be getting souvenirs for our participation. After catching Alex before she leaves the auditorium to gift her ring, Dr. Ashley runs back towards me to present me with my ring and special instructions to be at the university's orthodontic sciences building for this Saturday to receive my braces and appliances, then gives me directions to the office where I'm to be briefed on my duties as Vice President and have my class schedule rearranged.

The girls begin going their separate ways, some having made friends through the trial, and many going out of their way to congratulate me on my victory. Caitlin brushes past me as she exits through the front.

"See ya Saturday."

Dr. Ashley begins making phone calls and delegating the blue polos to disassemble the stage now that the trial's over. I walk past the group of men operating the cameras, waiting for the audience and blue polos to thin out for an easier time getting their equipment loaded up. I grab a campus map from a cubby by the auditorium's main doors, and plot my path to the sorority's office. Since the quickest way cuts through campus gardens, I decide to take a scenic route getting there. I then locate the Orthodontic sciences building, practically dead center of campus by the quad. I make a note of the time I'm meant to be there as I exit the cold, towering building.

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #22 on: 16. February 2021, 10:25:09 AM »
Don't worry there's more to come  ;)

Stay safe! <3

Offline caster72401

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #23 on: 16. February 2021, 15:29:03 PM »
Great Story. Keep up the writing!

Offline MagnetMouth

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #24 on: 18. February 2021, 01:15:12 AM »
Wow! Thankyou so much for continuing! Love your stuff  ;)  <3

Offline Tin_Grin8444

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #25 on: 18. February 2021, 11:47:34 AM »
[Chapter 7]  ;D

After a lengthy briefing on my responsibilities as Psi Sigma Nu's Vice president, a meeting with our president, Caroline Richardson was scheduled for the Monday after my installation. With a set schedule for my duties emailed to me, and my class schedule rearranged, I returned home to my apartment to see I'd also received an email from Alex. She'd taken place in the trial solely to guarantee acceptance into the sorority, but had promised her mom that she'd do her best to make it as far as she could, all without knowing what the trial actually involved. Astounding.
While the facemask and braces certainly scared her, she was willing to give them a chance, since her teeth weren't perfect. She wanted to get together Saturday before the installation so she wouldn't have to go alone, even offering to pay for lunch. I certainly wasn't used to going out for lunch with other people, let alone being the one asked to go out, so I was a little off guard and didn't quite know how to respond. I'd sat with my hands hovering above my keyboard for at least a minute or two before deciding to consult Mom.

She laughed at me.

She asks me what kind of impression I get from her.

"Well meaning." I can say with confidence.

Well aware I'm not the social butterfly she was, Mom provides step-by-step instructions on how to respond to Alex in both a friendly and appreciative way, encouraging me to take advantage of a great opportunity to make a meaningful friend. She knows this is new territory for me, and suggests I plan ahead to make things less stressful, like where we'll meet, what route we'll take to get to the Orthodontic Sciences building, where we'll go to eat, etc. She also warns me to be ready for small parts of the my plan to change, such as where we stop to eat if the destination I plan for is closed or too crowded. My solution is to have backup plans.

My reply is successfully sent and received.



Saturday arrives and after exiting the parking garage a few block from the Ortho Sci building, I find Alex at a bench near the University's quad. She's sporting a pink shirt covered in small strawberry designs stitched into the fabric with blue jeans. I feel out of place in my usual fitted skirt and sweater. A modest and professional look, it's worked well enough in most outdoor situations. I've thought about trying other styles, even experimenting with more vibrant colors. I realize the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Alex. After exchanging greetings, I compliment her ensemble and ask about how she constructs her outfits, seeing how she made it look so easy.

Her eyes were alight as she began talking my ear off about color science and ways to express mood through color and fit the whole way to the Ortho Sci building. Once there, it was a quarter to 9:00, the time I needed to be in the installation theatre, so we took the time to explore while we waited for the doors to open for us. The building was very different from the Union and it's historic auditorium, instead a modern greyish white exterior, with slanted outer walls that supported a litany of dark wooden panels held together by sheets of metal and screws creating a wide awning. The front of the building was majorly glass, facing the sunrise to let in light for a majority of the school day. Large winding paths of concrete stretch to packs of metal tables and chairs integrated to the landscaping, with a decorative slab of wood and cement commemorating the donors who funded the building, as well as the University's architecture students that designed it.

As 9:00 draws near, more of the remaining 10 girls from the trial assemble at various tables, meeting in some of the same friends groups formed at the event. Some are likely to be here for longer than others. Dr. Ashley informed me that I'd be starting my installation before the other girls, since I had the most work to be done, while others who'd only require a few appliances were set to begin after a majority had finished theirs. 

Alex nudges me as a group of women with blue polos beneath jackets open the doors to the building, allowing us to seat ourselves at the various tables in our same groups, only this time inside the building. All but two of the polos retreat further into the building, as a short stack of papers is organized by the remaining two before my name is called. Before I can go, Alex asks me to wait for her if I get out before she does, and wishes me luck.

After checking in, I'm led to the installation theatre at 9:03. It resembles a large lecture hall, well lit with ample lighting and a row of orthodontic chairs well equipped with a menagerie of tools for installation and maintenance. There are large screens on the back wall above the chairs, with camera feeds showing each of the empty chairs. I'm placed in the first chair at the left. Looking behind me I can see myself seated looking backwards, allowing me to find the camera dangling from the posable light fixture above me. The purpose for this intimate set up becomes clear as groups of regular students start to funnel into the room, each choosing scattered seats before pulling out laptops and various colors of notebooks, as if preparing to take notes. I should've expected this.

The spectacle begins with President Caroline practically startling me from behind, revealing she'll be responsible for my installation. After she's joined by an assistant in a blue polo, she starts by lowering the back of the chair to the quintessential position, before clipping a bib around my neck over my chest. She instructs me to open for her assistant to install lip separators. She then takes her time cleaning and polishing the surfaces of my teeth one by one, all the while her assistant fiddles with a large tray connected to the side of the chair with a blue rag drooping less than an inch over the edges. The smell of chemicals draws my attention back to Caroline as she continues the long process of prepping my teeth for the appliances. All the while I can see my fellow trial participants making their way past my chair to the rest on the row, all of them glancing between myself and the massive screens above me as they pass.

Finally, the soror's president begins installing my first appliance. Her assistant carefully hands her what appears to be a tongue cage with connecting pistons hooked to metal bands for each jaw, but it looks different from the one I was presented during the trial.

Caroline notices my look and explains the appliance.

"Oh! Check this out! Since you were failed two variants of tongue-taming appliances, we had our lab design a compromise that achieved the diverging functions of both appliances, while not sacrificing their common purpose. Pretty clever right?"

I had little chance to respond as she went right to inserting adhesives to all 12 of the metal rings before fitting each of them over the three back teeth of each side of my jaws. Right as she finished fitting the last ring her assistant handed her a sleek curved wand with an orange screen that was inserted to my mouth, producing a blue light to dry the resin. Once that was complete she stated I could let my tongue rest, noticing I'd kept it squarely in the back of my mouth. Upon trying to relax it I realize it's totally incased in the small cage. As I try to feel around it, the pistons flex with the cage so that it moves with my tongue, completely trapping it. There's no way around this thing.

I spot Alex walking by my chair as she waves to me with an encouraging smile on her way to her chair.

Caroline then begins with actual brackets. To no ones surprise, I can tell these are noticeably larger than the regular ones more commonly used this day and age. At least they weren't more metal bands. Once she hits each bracket with the same blue light, instead of arch wires, her assistant produces the neon green adaptive bite blocks I'd failed during the trial, and connected to them were a set of hot pink lip bumpers. No doubt another set of appliances combined to save space and manage to take up even more. I notice a set of thin edgewise archwires integrated between the bite blocks and the lip bumpers. Caroline explains that the bite blocks will be installed directly to my brackets and metal bands along with the lip bumpers. As she takes her time, I slowly feel my cheeks becoming even more full as she fastens each section to its respective position. She used a small set of pliers to twist and clip each part into its indented space. By now my mouth feels completely alien. Everything feels tight and restricted.

By now at least four girls have passed my chair walking back towards the exit, most of them now wearing very visible appliances trying to avoid eye contact with the crowd of students spectating our installations.

"We're almost done! Since you failed a set of closing elastics, we'll use those around your final year to complete your bite, so last thing for you today is your headgear!"

Here it comes.

After removing the lip spreaders, her assistant carefully hands her a set of facebows with strange mechanisms at the ends of the inner and outer bows. Caroline explains these to be the locking mechanisms that'll keep my headgear locked to my braces for the next 8 years at Winterville. She then points out a row of vertically placed metallic trays designed to keep my hands from fiddling with any of my appliances, the spaces between them only small enough for a special toothbrush provided by her assistant. She takes her time yet again sliding each bow into its intended buccal tube, before taking her small pliers and clamping each end at two points creating audible clicks. She then gently wiggles my facebows with her hands to ensure they're snuggly in place. Her assistant then presents a messy set of neon green and hot pink headgear straps to match my adaptive bite blocks and lip bumpers. Caroline has her assistant fix my hair up in high pigtails like horns to fit through the square opening of my headgear straps. Once each strap is properly attached, she clamps each section with a different set of pliers, locking them in place as well, before tightening them each to snuggly hug the back of my head and neck. I feel the arms of my glasses held even closer to the sides of my head. After presenting me with a key to unlock the straps for whenever I need to shower or fix my hair, she warns me to not attempt to fiddle with any part of my braces, since the headgear's additive is an effective compliance appliance with a flawless success rate.

With that I'm presented a orthodontic care kit and a small goodie bag as the back of my chair is raised. After laying back for so long it takes a me a second to find my footing after standing up too fast.

"I can't wait to see you Monday! Have a great rest of your weekend!"

With my lips held miles apart from each other by the ridiculous amount of hardware now cemented into my mouth, I find no trouble managing a smile for her as I start up the stairs towards the lecture hall's exit. I glance back to see Alex one giant screen away from mine, still in her chair, face as red as the strawberries on her shirt with her hands meekly together. While I think lunch might not go as Alex planned, I decide it's only right to wait for her to installation to finish.

Making my way up the stairs past cadres of murmuring students, some daring enough to take pictures, I feel a glob of drool pooling past my cheeks and meeting at my bottom lip before attempting to slink down my chin. With no napkins on hand I can only suck back the saliva loudly, turning even more heads. If keeping drool in my mouth is this much of an issue, talking's no doubt going to be a whole different ball game, and with my responsibilities as Vice president in full swing come Monday, I'm expecting I'll have quite a lisp to get accustomed to. I calmly adjust my glasses and exit the room to wait in the building's lobby. I find my seat next to one of the groups of fellow trial participants, each of whom smile and wave sympathetically with their own appliances, all paling in comparison to the severity of my own. I look to my right out the tall walls of glass to see students walking in different directions, some glued to cell phones, others stepping in beat to music in their headphones, even some professors making their way among them. Above the biology building across from Ortho Sci, I spot a clock tower showing 12:40.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #26 on: 18. February 2021, 19:47:44 PM »
I have updated TheArchive with the latest chapters.

It's an interesting story so far and I am looking forward to more of it.

Braceface2015
TheArchive2018

Offline caster72401

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Re: Story: A Test of Metal
« Reply #27 on: 10. March 2021, 15:20:26 PM »
Love this story, anxiously waiting for more!