Becoming The First Chakat
By Joshua Stewart
Prelude: The Accident
I am Chakat Bladerunner, formerly known as Gregory Macintosh. My story, while full of bad luck, good luck, coincidences, and just plain weirdness, is a good one. But before I get into that, I should tell you how I was. Before the accident, I was human male, lean yet not thin. I was a rather successful computer programmer, able to make programs in one week by myself that would take a group a month. I lived in Baltimore, Maryland, in a small, but comfortable, house. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but by many tests, I was considered a genius compared to the average person.
I was just promoted to head programmer of a big firm, and was starting to be rather pleased with my life. But I always thought that I was… missing something; that something wasn't quite right. It wasn't until the few months before the accident that I became aware that it was with my body. I felt like I didn't belong in it, almost like it wasn't what I truly was. With that, I started browsing the web more often, almost like I was looking for something. I just didn't know what, until I came across Chakats.
When I first saw the picture, it almost made something inside me click. I wanted to know everything about them, what they were, where they came from. And the more I learned, and the more stories I read about them, the more I felt a longing to become one. Until one day….
I close the browser after reading Forest Tales #16: Transformations, Part One. I sit back and start thinking. ‘Man, I wish I could be a Chakat. What would it be like? How would people react? I'll probably never know.’
I then start fantasizing that I'm a Chakat. Being able to jump over a car effortlessly, running faster than any human could, being able to lift more then 2 or 3 men… it slowly turns from a daydream to a dream. Suddenly my alarm goes off, jolting me awake, making me fall back in my chair.
"Ow!" I say, "Must have fallen asleep."
I scramble to my feet, and stumble over everything between the alarm and me. Two bruises and a stubbed toe later, I finally get to it and switch it off.
"SEVEN O'CLOCK! SHIT! I'M GOING TO BE LATE!" I yell, and start scrambling. I put on my shoes, grab my wallet, and run out the door just in time to see the bus pass. I stop in my tracks, and mentally kick my self for missing the only bus for the next hour. I turn around to unlock the door to go back inside, only to find that my keys are on the table next to the door.
‘YOU IDIOT!!! You locked yourself out of your own house?!’ I think, as I pound my head against the door. After I give myself a hell of a headache, I walk to the bus stop and sit down.
"What else could go wro…" I begin to say. But before I finish, I hear tires screeching and turn around just in time to see a small delivery truck get broadsided by an eighteen-wheeler. I see a container fly out of the truck, open up in midair, and pummel me with the blue liquid inside, feeling like it's burning off my skin. It seems like I'm standing there for hours, unable to move with the burning all over my body. All I see is some of the blue liquid in my eyes. The pain is like nothing I ever experienced; it made me think I died and went to some type of hell. I soon realize I was just there for a fraction of a second, because then I am hit by the container in the head.
Naturally, I black out.
Chapter 1: What the hell happened?
I slowly open my eyes, to see nothing but blotches of color, and close them again. I try to move, but I can't. I just don't have the strength, or it's just not responding. Slowly pain starts forming all over my body and I moan. My head, my back, my legs, my tail… MY TAIL?! I snap my eyes open, and, with some strength from the shock, roll over and sit up.
My eyes quickly begin to focus, and as they do, I examine my self. First thing I see is my extra long body, quickly followed by my muzzle. I feel it with my hands, then notice that my hands aren't mine! They're covered with fur! I stare at them for a second, scream, and pass out from shock…
When I come to, I find myself tightly strapped down to a table, with what are either doctors or scientists around me. I struggle for a few seconds, but then stop, realizing three things: that it doesn't help, it hurts like hell, and it might make whoever was around me think I was some wild animal. After one of them seems to get a little closer, I say, "What happened to me?" Or I try to. What comes out is "Whad habben do me?"
That seems to startle many of them, and makes the rest look absolutely puzzled. Seeing that they either didn't understand me, or were just shocked that I tried to talk, I repeated myself slowly, and much more clearly.
"What happened to me?"
After I say that, my eyes begin to water. Mostly because of the fear that I had combined with the pain that was slowly increasing all over my body. That is when the man directly in front of me reacts rather surprisingly.
"It's… crying…" he says, "It talked, it shows emotion, I told you it was still intelligent!" He then kneels down and looks right into my eyes. "What is your name?"
Taken aback at his sudden question, I respond even more slowly, "Greg, Gregory Macintosh. What happened?"
"You were exposed to an experimental mutagen when the truck that was carrying it was broadsided. After being knocked out by the container, you didn't wake up. Over the next two weeks, you just laid in a hospital bed hooked up to some machines. We thought it wasn't going to affect you by then, but your body started… transforming… and you were moved here. It's been two months since you arrived, and during that time you slowly turned into this," he says with a wave of his hand, motioning over my body. "As to what you are, your guess is as good as mine."
"And just when I was thinking my day couldn't have gotten worse," I thought aloud.
"Eh?" the man said.
"Uh… nothing. Could you do me one favor?" I asked
"Unstrap me, or at least my head so I can talk easier."
With that, there are some chuckles, some grunts, and some murmuring. The people start talking to each other softly, with me only able to pick out the occasional word. But one thing was obvious, they were arguing if they should or not. Finally the man that was talking to me suddenly turns around and unstraps my head, with someone trying to grab him to keep him from doing it.
"Uh… Thank you." I say, more clearly and a little faster. I then crack my neck a couple of times, with one of them wincing when I do. "That feels a little better. Oh, and when you were strapping me down, you forgot one thing: my tail." And when I say that I slowly bring my tail around to them, VERY slowly. "Not that it could do much with me knowing so little on how to control it. Same with the rest of my body. I would be very surprised if I could even stand for more than a few seconds right now…" I continue.
"You're most likely right, but this is more of a precaution than anything else. We don't know how dangerous you are," he responds.
"Let me say this: The only way I would hurt somebody was if I fell on him or her. The only person I ever hurt in my life was myself, mostly by tripping and falling or by running into something when I wasn't paying attention. The closest I ever come to purposely hurting someone would be on a video game." As I say this, I notice that my speech is getting better by the second.
"Even so, we can't take the chance. You are something we have never dealt with before, and there are too many unknowns to take any chances."
"Then how about this. Put me in some type of cage so I can move around and talk to me from the outside. I need to move; my body is starting to hurt too much from being held still. Add that to the pain I already had, and I'm in agony here!" I then wince as my body tries to get up almost on its own, pressing against the already tight straps. I instantly regain control and stop it. "Whatever instincts I have are trying to get my body to push on the straps, and I don't know how long I can hold them back with this pain."
And with that said, they start talking amongst themselves again. After what seems like hours to me, they finally stop. The same man that has been, turns and addresses me.
"We have agreed to put you in a cell, but only with HEAVILY armed guards escorting you there. Any funny business, and they will not hesitate to shoot."
"The only funny business I'd make would be falling on my head," I say.
One of them laughs and they leave the room, closing and locking the door behind them. About thirty minutes later, something like half a dozen heavily armored and armed guards come in, and one of them proceeds to unstrap me. With each tight strap coming undone, I give a slight groan. After the last strap, the guard quickly steps back and raises his gun like the others.
I slowly try to stand up, with my body cracking at least thirty times. I get about halfway up, but then fall off the table with a loud thump. With my current streak of luck, my head was the first thing to hit the ground.
"Oww… my head…" I groan.
That is when I notice a few of the guards chuckling.
"Shut up! How much balance do you think you would have if you suddenly had four legs and only knew how to use two of them?" I ask, rubbing my head. All but one of them shuts up; he bursts into laughter. "Normally I have a lot of patience, but the recent events has worn it thin, so… SHUT THE HELL UP!!!" The last words I practically roar, which makes them all jump. It also startles me, mostly from the sheer volume of my voice. I cover my mouth with my hand, and after a few seconds, remove it. "God damn, I could never yell that loud before."
After that, I slowly get up, using the table to keep my balance. I try to walk, but don't even make it one step. I fall again, and again, and again. "Damn, I'm getting nowhere fast. If I'm going to get anywhere, I'm going to need some help." I say, mostly directing it to the guards.
One gets the hint, hands his gun to another guard and walks over cautiously. He then puts my arm around his shoulder, trying to have me use him as a brace. Seeing only one do this I don't even try to move.
"Thank you, but unless someone else helps me, I don't think it would be safe for me to try to move yet. I don't want to fall and crush you." I say.
Having heard that, another guard feels comfortable enough to follow suit. With their help, I slowly make my way to the cell. About three fourths of the way there, I start to walk by myself. Slower than with their help, but still by myself. I eventually get there, and the door is shut behind me.
Chapter 2: What am I?
I slowly walk around for a bit, then lie down and start to examine myself.
‘Classic 'taur form, feline paws and (from what I can feel) face, long, muscular tail, breasts… Wait a minute. Breasts?’ for the first time I realize the things on my chest. Quickly I check my groin, and find both a penis and vagina. ‘Hermaphrodite? Could I? Could I be a…’
"Chakat?" I finish aloud.
"What was that?" someone says behind me. Instinctively more than anything else, I jump. And hit my head on the low ceiling. "Wow, that was quite a jump."
I turn around, rubbing my head, and find the guy that seemed to be vouching for me. "How long have you been there?" I ask, wondering why he was smiling.
"Just long enough to hear you say something. ‘Chakat’ was it?" he responds. I then notice my fur standing on end, and start patting it down.
"I was looking myself over, and when I finally noticed these," I say, motioning to my breasts. "A thought crossed my mind. I then looked and found… ehem… both sexual organs, along with many other similarities to something I found on the internet a couple of days ago," I say. "Uh… correction. A couple of days before the accident. They are what are called…"
"Chakats," He finishes for me. "Just how similar are you?"
"Well, I am in a felitaur form, with a strong, prehensile tail, and I am a hermaphrodite. I haven't gotten to everything yet. If I have two hearts, stomachs, and sets of lungs, then I will be absolutely positive that that is what I am, or was modeled after." I say. Then I look down at my forepaws, and see that they are very hand-like. "I also have a set of crude hands instead of forepaws."
"So far everything is matching up, isn't it?" he asks.
"Very well, almost too well. I'm beginning to wonder if this is what the, uh, mutagen was made for."
"I don't know about that, but I think we might be able to see if you have two hearts. Hold on a sec," he says, and leaves the room. He comes back with a guard and a stethoscope. "Come here."
I slowly make my way to him, and he reaches in and puts the stethoscope to my chest. After a few seconds, he removes it.
"Well, unless your heart beats in a very unusual way, you have two of em," He says. "I can't think of how to see if you have two stomachs or sets of lungs off the top of my head without doing surgery, but I will sooner or later."
"I pretty sure I have the two lungs, mostly because of how loud I was able to yell awhile ago. I couldn't even yell half as loud as that before this." I say, and then take a deep breath. "I can also feel something expanding in my lower- as well as upper-torso when I take a deep breath, so I'm absolutely positive now. Also, before I forget, I want to ask you something. But first, what is your name?"
"Just call me Dr. Guy." He responds.
"Well, Dr. Guy, why are you so unafraid of me? It almost seems like you think I am nothing more than some regular guy. Not that I want you to be afraid."
"Well, seeing you cry made me… uh… pity you. Then when I saw that you still had your memory and probably personality, I just… knew that you weren't going to hurt us. Not purposely anyw…"
He doesn't get to finish, because I start getting bombarded with emotions, none of them my own. It was so sudden and so powerful that I was literally knocked back like I was hit with a baseball bat. My head felt like it was about to explode! I grab my head and scream from the pain the severity of the sensation was causing. Me not knowing how to deal with it, and it being a totally new sensation just made it easier for it to cause the pain. After what seemed like hours, even though it was only minutes, I was able to get control of it. I was just lying there, breathing heavily when Dr. Guy and two other men opened and ran into the cell.
"I'm okay now," I say weakly. And with that, they stop in their tracks. I slowly get up, holding my head. "Uhn… Do you have any aspirin? And can you make the room stop spinning?"
"What happened? You nearly made me jump out of my skin!" Dr. guy says.
I shake my head to try to clear it. "Something I forgot about Chakats just kicked in, right in my head with a steel boot," I say. The headache quickly goes away, so I continue. "Psychic empathy, the power to sense other people’s feelings and project your own. At higher levels, that would include physical feelings. Mine came to me with extreme suddenness and with enough force to make my head feel like it was going to explode. I was eventually able to control it, though."
"Psychic powers? This isn't going to make it easier to get you out of here. Just what can you do with that type of power?" Dr. Guy asks.
"Well, right now, not much. I barely am able to control it enough to suppress it. But eventually, with lots of practice, I could communicate partially with my feelings, or even use feelings to, uh, suggest, and only suggest, something to someone without their knowing. For example, if someone was panicking, I could project calmness at them to help them calm down."
"Or project something like anger or rage," one of the other doctors say.
"Most likely only if I was feeling it. Like right now, I couldn't really project it because I'm not feeling it, at least not very well. That is if I knew how to. Empathy can also be useful for detecting when someone is lying."
"I don't know how to react to this," Dr. Guy says.
"You don't know how to react to it? What about me? I'm the one that has to deal with it! Anyway, it all but confirms that I am, or was modeled after, a Chakat."
"Any other information about Chakats that you can give us?"
"I can't think of any more right now, but there is the website that I got this info off of. You can look at that. You have a pencil and paper?"
"Yeah, here." Dr. Guy says as he hands me some paper and a pen. I promptly write down the website and give the paper back.
"When you go there, click on ‘Introduction to Chakats’. Okay?" I say, then give a big yawn.
"Okay. You got same mean-looking teeth there," Dr. Guy says.
"Sorry, can't really help that. I think I'm just going to get some sleep. This day has been anything but easy."
"We'll leave you alone, if you need anything, just ask the guard outside the door. If it is within reason, it will be given to you."
"Thanks," I say. "Oh, one more thing that I just remembered. I will say it now, but we will talk about it later. Chakats are supposed to live to be about 150 years old." Their jaws look like they will fall off their heads when I say that. I give a small laugh at their reaction, lie down, and go to sleep.
Chapter 3: The Press, Old Friends, And New Names
The next two weeks or so, we talk, they run tests, and basically we gain each other’s trust. I am now allowed to walk around freely, but I am still restricted on where I can go. Eventually deciding that I am completely benevolent, and that there weren't any more tests they could do without cutting me open, they decide to let me out into the public. But not before a press conference.
I am pacing back and forth, with my arms behind my back. The conference is in an hour, and I am so nervous, that I literally cannot sit still. Dr. Guy walks in.
"Sit down and relax. There is nothing to be afraid of. They are being briefed about what you are before you go in there, so there shouldn't be that big of a riot when you walk in," he says.
I laugh. "Even knowing you so short a time, you are the one person I trust the most. I think you being the first one showing me any type of compassion so soon after waking up was the cause. Must have worked well though, because the only person I trusted more was my mother. Thank God she passed away eight years ago; it would have killed her not being able to get near me. She was allergic to practically every type of animal with fur…"
"Sorry to hear that, but I'm glad to hear that you trust me. Oh, the reason I came in here was to tell you we were able to contact…" Dr. Guy begins.
"Is Harm coming? He was the only friend I really had before this."
"So you told me, and yes he is coming. He told me that he visited you every day except the day you were brought here. ‘Talk about bad timing’ he said. I almost laughed at that, because it was a good thing he wasn't there."
"Yeah, and by what you're saying, you told him it was about me?"
"Yes, but that is about all I said."
"Good. Now, let's go over what is going to happen just one more time. I don't want to mess this up," I say, and we go over it one more time.
"And here he, err… shi is, Greg Macintosh!" Dr. Guy says to everyone. I walk in, and over half the people jump up out their chairs, some looking as if they were about to run. I smile at this reaction; it wasn't a surprise. I would jump up at the sight of a 5’8" brown and silver felitaur walking into the room, too. I walk up to the mike.
"Hello everyone, you can sit down now." I say, and nobody moves an inch. "Since you already had the briefing, are there any other questions that you would like to ask? I will try to answer them as best I can."
There is absolute silence, until one of the cameramen snaps out of it and takes a picture. The resulting flash from the camera seems to snap everyone out of it, and flashes start going off all over the place. The barrage of flashes makes me squint my eyes for a second. The reporters’ hands shoot up almost all at once. I point to the NBC guy.
"Well, uh… hell. How do you feel about this happening to you?" he asks.
"Quite frankly, I sorta like the end result. But I sure as hell didn't like the events that led up to this. What wasn't in the briefing was what happened before the accident. First, I fall back in a chair I was sleeping in when my alarm goes off. Then I nearly break a few bones trying to get to it. I then miss the only bus for the next hour. And then I realize I locked myself out of my house. Then I walk down to the bus stop and sit down. Then I start saying ‘What else could go wrong’ but get cut off by screeching tires, and then I get the shower of that experimental mutagen, which felt like acid. The instant that stuff was on me, time seemed to freeze. All I could see was blue, I couldn't move, and there was a burning pain all over my body. The pain was so bad, and it seemed to last so long, that I was wondering if I died and went to some sort of place like hell. I was then hit in the head by the container the mutagen was in. You know the rest."
Then, one of the other doctors says, "Talk about bad luck."
"And I was only up for 10 minutes. Anyway, the end result I rather like. While I was only able to test my body a little, the strength, speed, and abilities it has are great. Not to mention the stability, and how high I can jump. I just wonder if my lifespan has increased to that of a Chakat’s. Next question." I point to the ABC guy.
"Just what are your abilities? Could we get specifics?"
"I was able to lift 300 pounds, run like 25 MPH, and I also have the empathy. We didn't test how high I could jump, but I do know that I could easily jump much higher than a human. High enough to hit my head on the ceiling when someone startles me." There are some laughs.
"Just one more thing, what is this empathy you talked about? I know what empathy is, but you seem to be talking about something different."
I look at Dr. Guy, and he gives me a look as if to say, "You shouldn't have said that." I shrug.
"The type of empathy I'm talking about is partially along the same lines as to what you know. But what I'm talking about is the psychic variety. If I wanted to, and knew how to, I could determine exactly what you feelings were right now, or project one of my own to you. It can be used to help cheer some one up, or to help someone calm down. If used improperly, it could also do the exact opposite. It can also be used for something else: to detect if someone is lying. I find that as the thing I like most about it. Oh, one other thing. On the higher levels of power, the feelings that can be projected can also include physical ones. But I doubt if I have that much. And just to tell you, I have plans on using this power as little as I can until I am sure of my capabilities, so don't worry. Well, at least the projecting part. I already know what how to control the sensing, and I definitely don't want to try using it to much until I'm sure of my control."
"If you're wondering why, it is because when it first kicked in, I had no control over it. The amount emotions that were bombarding me was overloading my brain. It hit me so hard, that I was literally knocked back. It made my head feel like it was going to explode! I don't want to lose control over it again."
There are all sort of questions, some irrelevant, some just plain stupid. Then the last question I'm going to take is the one I've was wondering when was going to be asked.
"What is it like to be a hermaphrodite?"
"To tell the truth, I can't really answer that question. Mostly because I don't have the… ehem… ‘experience’ yet." I respond. And there is much laughter to the answer. Everything closes up, and finally I see Harm in the back. I motion to him to come to me.
"Hey Harm! It's so good to see a familiar face! How's it going?" I say.
"Is that really you Greg?" he says.
"I don't know how I can prove it to you. You'll just have to believe me. Oh, and your shoe is untied."
Harm looks down to see to see he is wearing his shoe with the zippers. He then looks up to see the big smile on my face.
"Got you again! That makes number 68!"
"Yeah, it's definitely you. Only you would know how many times you pulled that trick on me with these shoes. It's good to know you're still you on the inside. What is going to happen to you now? I already know what happened."
"Well, there are three reasons I wanted you to come here today. First, to let you know what happened. Second, to tell you that I'm going to be moving right next door! Third…"
"What! You are? Did you ask that or was it a coincidence?"
"Coincidence. When I heard the address, my jaw nearly dropped. I said ‘That's right next door to my best friend!’ You shoulda seen the look on Dr. Guy’s face."
"And what was the third thing?"
"Remember when I said I locked myself out?"
"Just as long as you're there, I can pick the lock. Remember last time."
"Oh yeah. I got home, the door was still locked, and you were at the police office in a cell."
"Yeah, not a very pleasant evening. But probably nothing compared to what you've been through."
"Try getting strapped down to a table so tight that the straps left imprints on your skin. Then falling off the table and having your head hit the ground first. Then having to ask for help walking from guys pointing guns at you!"
"Less than nothing."
"Exactly, not to mention being in a totally different body, that isn't even human! I tell you, the difference is like getting a splinter to getting impaled." And to that, Harm winces.
"Greg, it's time to go," Dr. Guy says.
"Greg, Greg, Greg. It just doesn't seem to fit anymore," I say.
Everyone that heard it stops and looks at me. Then everyone but Dr. Guy and Harm just shrugs and keeps moving.
"What do you mean it doesn't fit anymore?" they say in unison.
"Well think about it, Greg is a name for a male human, I'm a hermaphrodite Chakat. Big difference. So shouldn't the name be different?"
"Like what?" asks Harm.
"Well take a look at my fur pattern, what do the small silverish strips look like?"
They stop and think. After about a minute, Dr. Guy says, "Knife blades."
"And what did I do a lot and enjoyed doing a lot?"
"Running," replies Harm.
"So why not Bladerunner?"
"Works for me," says Dr. Guy, shrugging. "Are you thinking of getting it changed legally, or just a nick name?"
"Legally would be best, because how many people would have a nick name like Bladerunner?"
"I haven't heard of any, but I also haven't heard of anyone with a name like it," Harm says.
"Not in our culture, but how many other cultures have names that mean something similar?" I say.
"Good point." Both say.
"Not to mention that is a typical Chakat type name."
"Okay, you got us!" Harm says, while throwing his hands up in mock surrender.
Smiling smugly, I walk to the garage where a modified van is waiting to take me, Dr. Guy, and others to my new house.
Chapter 4: Conflicting Desires
Two weeks after the press conference, I have all the belongings I wanted moved to my new house. The house was rather big, to accommodate for my increased size. The shower was increased in size greatly; it was big enough for four humans to take showers at once without getting into each other’s way. The toilet was modified, as was a lot of furniture. The dining table was lower to the ground, and the desk was also lower; basically any surface that I would be sitting at was lower. There weren't as many chairs as you would think for a house this size. I also had something more like a large mattress on the ground instead of a bed. But other than things like that, it was pretty much normal looking.
You were probably wondering how I could afford a new house and all the custom made furniture. I couldn't. The government paid for it. It was their stuff that changed me, and they were holding themselves responsible. Unbelievable, but true. They were paying for the house, the furniture, and everything else until I got back on my paws. They also did something that is even more unbelievable than that: they excused me from taxes for 20 years!
While the house itself looked pretty much normal, the government also put up a high steel fence and a security system that was simply amazing! I could not have afforded even a fiftieth of what they paid for.
The first week was nice, nothing too big happened. Harm and Arial, his wife, came over a few times, and I cooked dinner. I also showed them some of the stuff I got from the government. That was about it, other than getting used to my body. By the end of the week, I felt completely natural in it.
The second week wasn't so good. I had successfully passed through my female cycle without having to have sex with somebody. I did have to please myself, but I won't go into that. During it, I started thinking of Harm in a way I never did before, and that disturbed me a little. I'm inviting him over to talk with him about it; I haven't kept anything from him and I'm not about to start.
"Hey Harm. Come on in."
"How's it going buddy? I haven't seen ya for about a week."
"That is one reason I invited you over."
"And what are the other reasons?"
"Still can read me like a book. The other reason is to talk to you about why you haven't seen me for about a week. I was avoiding you."
"Why? Did I do something?"
"No Harm, it wasn't you. It was me. Have you read about Chakats yet?"
"Think to the sexual cycle."
"Yeah? Oh… You don't mean…"
"I started thinking about you in a way I didn't want to. And I didn't want to do something I would regret, so I stayed away until it passed, and until I thought of how to explain it. The reason I am telling you this is that the more experience I had with it, the more I was able to control it. I wanted you to know that it happened, and that it won't happen again."
"Damn. I sometimes forget that you are part female now, with your personality exactly the same." At that I get a strange feeling, but I can't put my finger on what it is.
"If you read any of the stories, then you know about the first heat thing. How it is more severe than all the others are. That is why I think I was thinking that way about you, of all people. And that is why I think that it won't happen again."
"This is a little… disturbing."
"Think about how I feel, I'm the one that had the thoughts and feelings. Think how disturbed I am that I thought of YOU like that."
"Considering I haven't changed in appearance, probably very."
"Why are saying that?"
"I mean, uh, I meant to say, uh… Damn. I was trying to figure out how to say this…."
"I'll just say it. Since a little over a week ago, I, uh… I…" he trails off.
"I-I started getting the hots for you. There I said it."
"Uh…Well, maybe that is why I started to think of you like that."
"You seem to be taking that a little too easily."
"I suspected it for a little while, and almost became sure of it when I started thinking of you that way. Ever since then I sort of have been preparing for it. If you had said it about a week ago, I would have been much more shocked than I am now."
"Your feelings might also have been because I was giving off a more feminine aura during that time, in which your feelings should go away soon."
"I hope so, because I don't think Arial would understand."
"I've already talked to her about it. And…"
I smile "I've already talked to her about it." Harm starts to speak but I hold up my hand. "Let me finish. And she not only understood completely, she noticed it herself. She actually came to me. She helped me deal with my feelings, and, quite frankly, I don't know if I could be talking with you now without her help."
"Damn. Damn. This is starting to get a little hard to deal with."
Then the feelings start coming back; I start wanting him to be with me. It takes me totally by surprise, especially since I'm not in heat anymore. I then realize that for the feelings to be there outside of heat, they are more serious.
"Oh no. This is not good." I say.
"What? What is it?" Harm asks.
"The feelings are coming back, outside of heat."
"And what does that mean?"
"That the feelings are more serious than lust."
"That doesn't sound good."
"To put it simply, that means the feelings got beyond a want for sex. They're deeper," I say, and look in his direction a little more. I then look at his eyes, and almost stare into them. I realize what I am doing and quickly pull my gaze away.
Harm notices me quickly looking away from him. "What?" he asks.
"I just did the eye staring thing. Not good."
"I think I better leave."
"Good idea, we might want to talk about this with someone else here. See ya."
"Good idea, See ya." And with that, he briskly walks out.
For the rest of the day, I do things like lift weights and punch a punching bag. I do this to try to get my mind off Harm. It works for a while, but later that night, I lay in my bed and start thinking.
‘How can I be thinking about him like that? He has been my best friend since second grade! Can it be since I turned partially female that our friendship became susceptible to becoming deeper? Has it become deeper? After over 30 years of friendship, can this be happening? I have a feeling we will either become lovers, or drift apart, and I don't know which I'd rather have happen.’
This entire situation is becoming like a sci-fi soap opera. What the hell am I supposed to do? On one hand, I lose a person that has been in my life just as long as my mother was. And on the other become lovers with my best friend who was the same sex as I was! Not to mention he is married! What am I thinking? Married? I'm starting to think like I'm another woman who wants him!
‘What am I supposed to do? What will I do? What can I do?’
"WHY THE HELL IS THIS HAPPENNING!" I yell. And, for the first time since my mother died, I pray. Not just to God, but to any god, deity, or higher power. I pray for guidance from anyone. I pray until I cry and fall asleep. And that night, I have a dream…
Chapter 5: Is The Answer Harder Than The Question?
I talk to Dr. Guy and explain to him what was happening, and he was genuinely concerned. I ask him if he will be there when I talk to Harm again and he tells me to just give him a little notice. We agree that it can be that day, so I wait until he gets there to call Harm.
"Hello, Harm? This is Bladerunner… I was wondering if you could come over here for, um, a few minutes… It's just to talk, okay?… See you soon." I hang up the phone and turn to Dr. Guy. "He should be here in a minute."
I start pacing, and pacing, and pacing. That one minute seemed like hours. I thought he wasn't going to come when the bell rang. I took a deep breath and opened the door.
"Come on in Harm. Have a seat." Harm comes in, sees Dr. Guy, and relaxes a little.
"Dr. Guy is here for both moral support and to keep use from going where we don't want to. Okay, where to start."
"The beginning is always good," Harm says.
I smile "Well last night I was thinking and nearly went crazy. So I did something I haven't done since my mom died. I prayed. I asked for guidance from anyone and anything that was willing to give it. Then I think I got an answer in my dreams." Harm raises an eyebrow. "Don't look at me like that, I didn't believe it either. Until I figured there was no way I could have come up with the thing that was suggested to me, not even in my subconscious mind. Mostly because I never even thought of this part of me since I first encountered it."
"Correct. I look at what your feelings are, and identify them. Then I compare them to mine. I think it will be much easier to identify someone else’s feelings rather than you're my own. So, I do this and announce the results, and we go from there. Agreed?"
"Agreed. How do we do this?"
"Major cliché time. Look into my eyes…"
And we stare into each other’s eyes, me trying to examine his feelings, and him, I'm not sure what he is doing. I manage to isolate his feelings towards me, and try to classify them. I do this repeatedly coming up with the same result. I then compare it to my feelings toward him, and repeatedly find that they are nearly identical. And with that, I break away from the stare.
"Well?" Harm asks.
I stay silent.
"Come on Bladerunner, say something!" Dr. Guy nearly shouts.
I look at each for a few seconds second and say it.
For the next 20 minutes we just sit there, not moving, not even thinking. How can one word cause so many feelings, and so much of them? After the 20 minutes, I get up and walk into the kitchen.
"I love him, and he loves me. Where did this come from? I… I still… can feel… his feelings… I can't get them out of my head. What just happened?" I say.
"I love…hir, and shi me. It's almost like I can… feel… what shi is feeling. But how?" Harm says.
"What did you just say?" Dr. Guy asks Harm.
"Right before that."
"It's almost like I can feel what shi is feeling."
Dr. Guy stops and thinks for a second, and then says, "An empathic link, only capable when each has strong feelings for the other. In the stories it was only established through an intimate moment, like sex. How did it hap… wait a minute. The time you were looking in hir eyes. Did you try to feel hir feelings?"
"I think… I did."
"Why can't I get his feelings out of my head? What is causing this? What is caus…… An empathic link. It's the only explanation. But how? Did it establish when I went into his feelings? It's the only way it could have…" I say. I then walk back into the living room with Dr. Guy and Harm.
"I think we just created an empathic link, Harm."
"That's what Dr. Guy was just talking about."
"What are we going to do about this? With this link, I couldn't stand to be away from you. But to be with you…" I trail off.
For a few minutes, we just sit there, either lost in thought or not thinking at all. Suddenly, Harm speaks up.
"I've been thinking, what, other than me being married, is so wrong about us being together? I'm a guy, and you are partially a girl. We have the feelings, what else is there?" he says.
I start crying, and say, "Your logic has just pushed me over. Harm, I love you,"
"Bladerunner, I love you," he says, also crying.
And with that, we embrace each other. I don't know how long we were like that, but it was long enough for Dr. Guy to leave, leaving a note behind. When I notice that he has left, I break the embrace to look into Harm’s eyes.
"What are we going to tell Arial? I think she understood the feelings beforehand because she thought it was just something quick, something that would pass. But how are we going to tell her that we love each other?" I say.
"The only way we can, flat out. If she doesn't understand, we will have to try to make her. What has happened can't be changed, and neither can our feelings. We just have to hope she understands." Harm says.
We both get up, walk out the door, and turn towards his house.
Chapter 6: Bigotry, Loss, And Love
Arial took it very well, saying that she practically already knew. She said that she doesn't mind at all, as long as we truly love each other. This shocked us both; we thought she would have some type of objection. Well, after that, we started see each other more. One night I kissed him, and it was so sudden it surprised us both. But kissing is as far as we dared take it.
About a month after the discovery of our love, we went out to dinner for my birthday. It went very well, the restaurant was actually happy to serve me, saying it was an honor. They were so pleased that hey were the first public place I've been to, that they don't charge us for the food. We walked out of the restaurant, having had a really good time.
"That was one of the best times I had in a long time. Thanks again," I say.
"It's your birthday, and you deserve it. Especially after what you've been through." Arial says. "I'm so glad that you are still the same on the inside. After hearing about your accident, I felt like I lost a brother."
"Same here." Harm agrees.
"Thanks guys, I don't know what to say."
Just then, there are tires screeching, and I turn around to see what was happening. The next thing I saw was a car zooming by with a large gun sticking out the window. Then I hear a bang, and everything goes black.
I wake up in a hospital room, bandages on my chest, and a tube hooked up to my arm. I sit up and look around. The only things in here are the IV, a TV, a note, and a small button next to the note. I read the note…
‘When you wake up, if you can, press the button next to this note.’
So I press the button. And in less than a minute, a doctor comes rushing in.
"So you're awake already? I thought you would be out for at least a couple more days."
"What happened?" I say, and wince when I do. Apparently my lungs were injured.
"You were shot by a high power rifle, and be thankful you have two hearts. The one in your upper body was hit dead center. It seems to be repairing itself, but we don't know how well it will."
"It most likely will be fully functional again when it is finished healing… What happened to the people I was with?"
"The guy was the one that probably saved your life. He probably called 911 faster than anyone ever has. Another minute and you would have lost too much blood to save. The woman…" he trails off.
"What about the woman?" I ask sternly.
"The bullet passed right through you, and, um, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She…"
"Is she all right?"
"She was pronounced D.O.S."
I just stare at him, completely dumbfounded by what I just heard. ‘Arial is… dead? Who the hell would do this?!’
"They caught the guys that shot you. Seems like fate didn't want them to get away with it. They got hit by another car just seconds after firing the shot. As for why they did it, I am sad to say it was because of bigotry."
"They killed Arial trying to kill me, because they thought that they were better than me? That I was some type of abomination or something? THEY KILLED AN INNOCENT PERSON BECAUSE THEY WERE STUPID ENOUGH TO THINK THAT I DIDN'T DESERVE TO LIVE?!" I am crying and yelling at the same time. The volume of my voice makes the doctor back away. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone in the building heard me.
"If you can't control yourself, I will be forced to sedate you. And I don't like doing that."
His words snap me out of my rage long enough to get control of myself. I practically collapse and start crying. The doctor just stares at first, unsure of what to do. He then walks over and puts his arm around me. After a few minutes, I stop crying.
"I wondered when human bigotry was going to show up in my life. But for it to kill someone that didn't commit a wrong on any other being… Damn them! She was like a sister…"
The doctor continues to try to comfort me until I fall asleep. He walks out and runs right into Harm.
"Is shi going to be alright doc?"
"She will pull through physically, but I'm not sure how she is going to do emotionally. All of this happening within a few months of her memory is going to be very damaging."
"By all of this, I guess you mean the transformation."
"Can I see hir?"
"She is asleep right now, and I don't think we should wake her up. How are you doing? I know that it was your wife…"
Harm holds up his hand to stop the doctor. "I am dealing with it, slowly. I know that Bladerunner will need me more than I need myself right now. Shi has been through more in the past months than most people will in their entire lives. That is what is keeping me from breaking down. And that is what keeps me from breaking down most of the time, the knowledge that someone needs me."
"Touching, but is that healthy? Keeping your feelings bottled up…"
"Like I said, I am dealing with it slowly. I'm not not dealing with it. Would it be alright if I just sat in there with hir?"
"Just as long as you don't wake her up."
I'm released from the hospital a week later, having made a full recovery, both hearts beating and everything. The doctors were absolutely amazed that my heart naturally healed and started again. They were even more amazed at how quickly. "Advantages to being a Chakat." I told them.
I went home with Harm with me, and we comforted each other. It was slow, but we both were able to deal with our feelings of the loss. The court case was open and shut, they were so upset about killing Arial and not me, that they put their feet in their mouths. Charged with murder and attempted murder as a hate crime, they weren't going to get out of jail anytime soon.
About a month latter, Harm and I were doing much better emotionally, but Harm wasn't doing so well financially. He needed to sell the house because he couldn't afford it with just his one income. So, he moved in with me.
We were moving his stuff to my house, when I surprised him with my strength. I lifted his couch by myself.
"God damn! I never knew you were so strong! Need any help?"
"Just keep me from running into anything." I had my upper torso nearly flat to my lower torso, and had the couch on both my backs. It was a little hard to see where I was going with the arm of the couch right in front of my head.
So he picked up something, and guided me to my house. Where I put the couch down in the living room.
"Ah, it feels so good to be able to use my strength to its potential. Just give me a place to run and I'll be happy."
"Just how much can you lift?"
"The only reason I was carrying the couch like that was because it was so bulky. I could probably have carried two or maybe even three of them like that. And a lamp with my tail."
"Good Lord! I can't even lift one couch! And I was stronger than you before this…"
"Four legs, much more back area, and denser muscles make it much easier to lift more. Not to mention having larger muscles."
"I'm starting to wish I was a Chakat!"
And we continue moving his stuff. After we finish, we sit down and watch some TV. After awhile, I kiss him. It surprises both of us.
"What was that for?"
"Uh, no reason, just to say I love you."
"Well then, come here."
And he pulls my head to his and gives me a long, passionate kiss. When he breaks away, I just sit there, not even moving an inch.
"Oh… wow…" I finally say.
"That's a first."
"Come here!" I grab him and give him a nugie.
"Hey! Let go! Come on!"
Things keep going like that, getting more playful and more intimate. It leads to something neither of us expected for a long time. We have sex.
Chapter 7: The Race And The Unexpected Change
We wake up to find ourselves in each other’s arms. We stare at each other, half in surprise, half in satisfaction. We don't need to say a thing; we can practically tell what the other is thinking by their emotions.
"I think last night strengthened our link, I can almost tell what your thinking," I say.
"Over five months ago, I wouldn't have ever thought of having sex with a man, let alone you. But now, I'm looking forward to next time."
"I would have never thought of having sex with you five months ago, and now I'm also looking forward to next time."
And with that said, we kiss.
Later that day, Harm takes me to a track that he knows of.
"I remember yesterday you said you wanted a place to run. What better place than a track?"
"Thanks Harm. I haven't done any running in months."
"Think you can beat the current track record holder?"
"If it is you, let me say this. You have no chance. If for nothing else, I have twice as many legs."
"Yeah, but you also have over twice the weight. I challenge you to a race!"
"You are going to regret this Harm. You will have to really push yourself to even stay with me for the first quarter. I don't know if you'll be able to keep up that pace."
"Don't worry yourself. And don't try to get out of it."
"Get out of it? Ha! Never! I accept your challenge!"
Everyone gets off the track when they hear what we are going to do. Also, practically everyone on the grounds comes to watch. Someone even comes up with a cap gun and asks if they can start us. Naturally, we accept.
"On your mark! … Get set! …" BANG! "GO!"
I take off like an arrow, running as fast as I can. I am almost disappointed when I get to the finish line. I stop and wait for Harm to cross it. I only took 57 seconds; Harm took 1 minute 14 seconds.
"Even…when…setting…a new…personal…best…I…still…can't…beat…you…" Harm gasps. "You're…not…even…breathing…hard…"
"I told you you didn't have a chance. And I told you you'd regret it. But did you listen?"
"Remind me…to never…challenge you…to a race…again…"
"Are you okay?"
"I think I over…did it a bit…"
"I think I should take you home."
"I think so too…"
I drive us home, and we go inside. I am about to go start making dinner, when I notice something.
"Harm, are you okay?"
"I not feeling as well as I think I should, but it's nothing to worry about. Why?"
"Your…scent is different."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Not that you smell. Everyone has a scent, and with my nose, I can pick them up, unlike humans. And yours has changed."
"What do you think it means?"
"Most likely that you are getting sick. That's the only time someone’s scent changes, perfume and cologne excluded. You might have overdid it more than you thought."
"You're probably right. I think I'll just go lay down for awhile."
"Okay. I'll come get you when dinner is ready."
Later, I go to wake up Harm for dinner. But before I do, I just check to see if I was going crazy or if his scent did change. I determine it did, and then I get a strange feeling, so I put my hand on his head.
‘Goddamn! He's hotter than me!’ I think. I go and get a thermometer, wake him up and tell him to take his temperature.
"On a whim, I felt how hot you were, and you were hotter than me. Normally Chakats are hotter than humans."
So he sticks the thermometer in his mouth, and waits a minute. I check the thermometer, and my eyes nearly pop out of my head.
"What's wrong?" Harm asks.
"God damn! You're running 106°! By most standards, you should be dead! I'm calling 911!"
The ambulance gets there promptly and takes Harm to the hospital, with me close behind in my van. When we get there he is taken to the ER, and I wait in the waiting room. I pace there for probably an hour before the doctor comes out shaking his head. A doctor shaking his head in the ER is not a good sign, so I practically run up to him.
"Is he alright?" I ask.
"The only thing we found wrong with him so far is his outrageous fever. It has me totally stumped. I can't find any reason for it at all. Until the lab results get back, we can't do anything except treat the only symptom: the fever. Considering the severity of the fever, we are isolating him, and are asking you to allow yourself to be isolated too. We are isolating the people that worked with him, so don't feel singled out. We would also like you to submit to some tests."
Considering what was going on, I didn't really have a choice on what to do. I let myself be quarantined, but only with Harm. We talked for a little, until the medicine the doctors gave him made him fall asleep. He didn't wake up.
For the next two weeks, I didn't leave his side for much. It was because of that that I was the first person to notice him changing. And when I noticed, I fell into shock. As for how long I was in it, I don't know; I had no concept of time. I could have been there for days and not know it. When I finally snapped out of it, I refused to leave his side for anything less than to relieve myself.
And so for two months I sat there and watched over him, no, hir. I was scared for hir, because hir mind was void of emotion, and thus it must have been void of thought. I was there when shi opened her eyes for just a second. Then shi started doing exactly what I did when I awoke. Shi snapped open her eyes, and rolled over quickly.
I knew that if I didn't intervene there, shi would quickly pass out from shock. So I quickly grabbed hir, and shi looked at me, then hirself, then me again.
"Whad habben?" shi says. I smile at that.
‘At least shi won't have to go through a lot of the stuff I did,’ I thought.
"Welcome to my species, Harm," I say.
Somehow, through all of hir shock, fear, and utter confusion, a small smile appears when I say that.
Chapter 8: The Second Chakat And New Respect
With some work, I manage to calm Harm down before the doctor comes in. When he comes in, he finds us in an awkward embrace. Harm doesn't have the strength to even keep hir lower body right side up. Neither of us notices him, and I continue talking to Harm, keeping hir calm.
Both of us jump at that. Harm only jumps a little, while I hit my head on the ceiling, again. When I land, I'm holding my head. I turn around quickly.
"Don't do that! Oww…" I say, rubbing my head. And he starts laughing. "What's so funny?"
"Your fur is standing on end!"
I take a look at myself in the mirror, and start laughing with him. I looked absolutely hysterical! I then notice Harm laughing too.
"It's good that you can laugh now, because your fur is just the same!" I say, hoping to keep hir laughing. Luckily shi does. I then realize that it could have seriously backfired, since about thirty minutes ago in hir memory, shi didn't have fur.
When the laughing stops, the doctor says, "Well, it looks like our patient is awake. How long ago did he, er, shi wake up?"
"About twenty minutes. I have been helping hir deal with the situation ever since then. That is until you made me jump and hit my head!" I say. Some giggles.
"How are you dealing with it so far?"
"I undersand whads going on, bud dads aboud id."
"Not so fast Harm, slow down and you'll talk clearer." I say.
"Sorry. I understand…"
"I understood you," the doctor says. "How are you dealing with it emotionally?"
"I'm not sure, I don't really know what to feel right now."
"You're just not trying to sort them out, Harm. I could tell him what you're feeling, and I'm not even trying to read you!"
"Uh, I'm a little scared, shocked, and a little confused."
"I thought you said you understood what was happening?" the doctor says.
"But I have no idea why."
"I might be able to help on that issue. What did we do that we never did before?" I ask.
"Huh? I have no idea what your tal…oh…"
"Uh, could you fill me in?" the doctor asks
"The night before Harm was brought in, we, uh… had sex for the first time."
"Oh…" he says
"It's the only thing that I can think of that might have caused this."
"And what is that?" a voice says, which makes all three of us jump. Then Dr. Guy walks in. "I leave the country for a few months, and you create another Chakat?"
"Completely by accident." Both Harm and I say in unison.
"And this is most likely Harm, right?"
"Yeah," shi says.
"And what is the only thing that you thought of that might have caused this?"
"Well… the night before Harm was brought in, we, uh…" I begin
"Let me guess, had sex?"
"Bingo," Harm says.
"Well, I was kind of hoping there was going to be a way to keep you guys from dying out, but I didn't expect something like this," he says.
"I like how you put it so bluntly," I say.
"Oh. Sorry. It appears everything went without a hitch. How long has shi been awake?"
"About twenty five minutes," I say.
"Did shi wake up before that?"
"No, I managed to lessen the shock enough to keep hir from passing out, like I did. Which reminds me, how long was I out?"
"About an hour, the minute I heard the scream halfway across the building, I knew it was you. And you're probably asking that for the same reason I was."
"To figure out about when hir empathy will kick in."
"From that, I'm estimating another hour and a half."
"Uh… why are you so concerned about that?" Harm asks.
"It was the second most painful part of becoming a Chakat for me. It will be the most for you, because you didn't get drenched with a mutagen that burned like acid," I say, and shiver. "Oh man, I shouldn't have reminded myself."
"How painful is it?"
"For me, it was bad. Try all of a sudden getting bombarded with emotions. So much and so many that it overloads your brain. To me, it felt like being hit in the head by a baseball bat, and then it felt like my head was about to explode, literally. But of course, I had absolutely no experience with it. None at all. I had no idea what to expect, so I couldn't prepare for it. Not to mention I didn't even try to prepare for it, I forgot about it. Because of that, it made it a lot harder to deal with, which made it easier for it to cause me pain. You, on the other hand, have experience with it, from me. And you know it's coming, so you can prepare for it. You will have a much easier time than I did… I think."
"You were doing great until the last statement," Harm said.
"Oops, I just meant to think that… Anyway, you'll do fine. I pulled through it when I was by myself. You have us."
"Hey! I was there!" Dr. Guy says.
"You finally got into the cell about a minute after I got control of it."
"Anyone have a watch with an alarm?"
I set the alarm for about 15 minutes before Harm’s empathy will kick in, and help hir get used to hir body. When the alarm goes off, we take hir to hir room, which was cleared of all furniture.
"Okay, now think about how it felt with the link with me. Now think about how you manipulated it. Were you able to suppress it?"
"Try to do something similar to that for your regular empathy, when it kicks in. Now, try to keep your mind as clear as possible. That will allow it to handle a little more of the emotions. Your mind’s own memory will help you deal with it, so it should be somewhat easy."
"I hope I'm ready fo…" suddenly shi grabs her head and collapses to the floor. I quickly run over to her, and put my arm around her.
"Concentrate on controlling it, not on the pain!" I say. After about a minute, shi lowers hir hands and starts crying on my shoulder.
"I never… was good… with pain," shi sobs.
"It's okay, I know that. It's over now."
"I felt so much hurt, fear, and sorrow…" she continues to cry on my shoulder.
Everyone just stares at us after what shi just said.
"I didn't even think about what shi was going to feel, a hospital was probably one of the worst places for us to do this," Dr. Guy says.
I opened my mind a little, and almost started crying myself when I felt the emotions around me. Realizing what she was feeling, I gave her a long hug, letting her release it on my shoulder.
"I think you're right. The little bit I felt when I opened my mind just now nearly put me in tears."
The others leave us alone, and I just hug hir, telling her it will be okay. Shi cries, and cries. Shi cries until shi falls asleep. I slowly let her down and walk outside.
"How is shi?" Dr. Guy asks.
"Shi cried herself to sleep. I only opened my mind a little for a few seconds, and I was nearly put in tears. I can't even imagine how much shi felt, having her mind fully open for about a minute. This is one of the worst places we could have done this. Damn me to hell! Why didn't I think about that? The pain I put hir through…" I say, shaking my head.
"It's as much my fault as it is yours, I shou…" Dr. Guy begins.
"No, it's more my fault than yours. I am the one who has the experience with it; I'm the one who has the actual power. If only one person thought of it, it should have been me. That amount of hurt and sorrow might have permanently scarred hir."
And when I say that, we all fall silent. We just stand there, heads down, almost in shock after realizing what just happened. For how long we stood there, I don't know.
‘I can't even imagine the hurt shi went through, no amount of physical pain could compare to that. This empathy has more power than I previously thought; the amount of pain it can inflict is incomprehensible. Now I know why whatever created life didn't give humans this power, if was in the wrong hands…’
"I just gained a whole lot more respect for this power I have. The amount of pain it can inflict…"
"I was thinking the same thing, Bladerunner, I was thinking the same thing," Dr. Guy says.
And we just stand there, until…
Chapter 9: Another Beginning And A Big Realization
Harm walks out of the room to find us just standing there.
"What are you guys moping around for?" shi says.
I quickly turn around and give Harm a big hug.
"Are you okay Harm?" I ask.
"I actually feel better. I not only got out what I absorbed, but also a lot of whatever I had bottled up inside."
"Thank god, I can't even begin to imagine what you went through."
"With you there, it made it a lot easier to deal with. I don't know if I could have if I was alone."
"If you were alone, you wouldn't even know your empathy kicked in. There wouldn't be any emotion to register," I say with a smile.
That puts a smile on hir face, and I give hir another hug.
The next day, the hospital releases Harm. I bring hir home, and we start going through hir old stuff.
"Man, there is a lot of stuff I can get rid of. My old bed isn't big enough anymore, I don't think I'll be able to use my recliner anymore."
"None of your clothes are going to fit, and over half of them you don't need at all," I say.
"That too. How safe do you think it will be to go to the mall?"
"Ever since getting shot, I have a special number on speed dial. Hold on a sec." I walk over to the phone, pick it up, and press a single button.
"Hello? Seattle Police Department? … Good. This is Bladerunner… Oh, hey Marge, didn't recognize your voice… A cold, eh? That sucks… Yeah, I need to take my friend to the mall to get hir a new wardrobe… Yes, I said hir… Today would be nice… An hour? That's fine… Thanks, bye." And I hang up the phone.
"The police? But… how? When?"
"When I was shot, they realized that I was just about as big a target as the president, I quote. So they said that if I was ever going anywhere that I thought I would need protection, to give them a call. They have been with me every time I have been out. No one knows that because they are all undercover. Remember our race?"
"The guy with the cap gun was one of them."
"Wow. I was probably the closest person to you, and I didn't even know."
"Now that you rank right up there with me, you also need to know about it. Why bother protecting someone if they don't know you are? They may think that you might be one of the very people you're protecting them against, right?"
"So basically you're telling me for my and their sakes, right?"
"Right. Why don't I give you something to wear for right now."
"This fur almost made me forget I was naked."
"While I don't mind, some other people might. And I don't think that either of us wants to start any trouble. Even though I survived getting shot, it was only because you called 911 so fast. We are very resilient, but there is a limit."
"Yeah, who would believe that you survived getting a hole punched through your heart."
"I wouldn't. Anyway, how about this?"
After we got back from the mall, and buying many different things, I started getting Harm into some exercises. We just finished the things shi knew, and I was about to teach hir the ones for the new parts of hir body.
"Okay, time for the tail. How much do you know about it?"
"Just that it is very mobile and useful."
"It is also a lot stronger than you would think, for example…" I proceed to lift sixty pounds of weights somewhat easily.
"Wow, it is strong. Let me try."
"Hold it. Yours probably isn't as strong as mine is. It is the part I work out the most. I was only able to lift about forty pounds when I first started. I don't want you to hurt it so soon. Remember about a week after we admitted our love that I didn't seem to move it much for a while?"
"Well, what I did was try to lift seventy pounds of weight. I barely managed to lift it, but the second I tried to lower it, my tail gave out and it was squashed. It was sore for days. And stop smiling. Just be glad I'm not letting you find out the hard way, it hurt."
"Sorry, just try to used other terms than things like ‘squashed’, its too comical."
"Here's forty. Try it." He lifts it, but not very easily. He manages to get it down okay, though. "We need to find a weight that is hard, but easy enough to do it more than once. Try thirty." That he manages to do a quite a few times before needing to set it down. "Good, not bad. There are two reasons I am having you work it out. The first, it makes it more useful around the house. The second, if you ever get into a fight, it can be used to hold someone. As you found out that first night."
"Yeah, I forgot about that. It has quite a grip."
"It can put as much pressure in a grip as it can lift."
I continue to go through the each part until all the strength exercises are done.
"Now for a different type of exercise. How well do you think you can hear?"
"I'm not sure."
"If I was to talk to at this volume, at this distance, while you were human, you wouldn't be able to understand me. It is already better than a human’s, but we can hone our hearing further by doing certain exercises. The first and easiest is to exercise your ear muscles. Rotate your ears as much as possible. Good, now the other way. Repeat this about twenty times, making sure to go as far as you can. This not only strengthens the muscles, which make the ear turn faster, it also stretches them, giving you a larger rotation area."
"And if my ears are able to turn more quickly to a direction that they couldn't without the exercises, I'll be able to pick up sounds better?"
"Exactly. The other exercise is more mental than anything else. It is being able to get your subconscious mind to do more of the listening than your conscious. If you can do that, you will be concentrating more on listening than you were without actually sacrificing any concentration."
"And how do I do that?"
"It is different for every person, but what worked for me was trying to listen when I was dreaming. The more I did, the more my subconscious learned that I wanted to do it, and so it started to do it. Weird sounding, but it worked."
"Is that all of the exercises?"
"Yeah, but not all the information I want to tell you. The next thing is more of a necessity to know than the exercises, but I wanted to get the physical stuff out of the way first. It is something that neither of us would have even thought of knowing before this."
"Let me guess, heat?"
"That's one part of it, but I'm talking about how to deal with the female parts. If you read the introduction, you will remember the part about our breast and the milkwater. By the look on your face, I can tell you have no idea what I'm talking about. Well, our breasts constantly create something called milkwater, a liquid very high in nutrients and low in solids like fat. It is basically our body's own natural energy drink. The process of getting it out is obvious, and you probably have already guessed it. Our breasts themselves are made of a different material than that of a female human’s; ours is more sponge-like. This has two advantages, the first being that it all but eliminates the bouncing. It's almost like we have a built in sports-bra. The second is that it is a great way to store the milkwater. This allows us to go without water for longer that a human. But there is a downside, you need to drain them a little every now and again or else the pressure will start to cause some discomfort."
"That was a lot of info. And for some reason I think it just started."
"That was one of the more immediate needs that you're going to face. It is also why I had you get clothes that were just a little too big. You are probably almost bone-dry right now. They will start producing the milkwater within the next day though. Anyway, I think we should talk about heat later."
Just then it hits me; I haven't been in heat for over three months! I start thinking quickly, and eventually realize that the day that I had sex with Harm was about the time I was supposed to be in heat. I must have started to show my panic, or Harm sensed it, because just then he asked me what was wrong.
"I just realized something, I haven't been in heat for over three months. And I was supposed to be in heat the day we had sex…"
"Oh no. Please don't say it."
"I think I might be pregnant!"
Chapter 10: Am I?
"I asked you not to say it!" Harm says. "This is just great, I have absolutely no idea how to raise a kid…"
"Raise it! Uh, hello! What about me? I have to carry and bear it! I was thinking of maybe having one later on, but this is too soon!" I yell.
"Hold it, before we jump the guns, don't you think we should make sure? I don't want to get in a fight over nothing."
"You're right. But I don't feel comfortable going to get some type of test."
"Neither do I."
"What are we going to do?"
"What about Dr. Guy? You are supposed to be good friends."
"That is probably going to be the easiest option. I'll give him a call." I pick up the phone with my tail and take it into my hands. "Hi, could I speak to Dr. Guy please? … Yes, I'll hold. …… Hey, it's Bladerunner. … Well, we kind of have a little problem. … I don't want to say over the phone, would you mind coming over here? … Thanks, see you soon. … Bye" I hang up the phone and sit down.
"So he's coming over?"
"Yeah. I have no idea on what to do, and that scares me. I always at least have an idea, but right now…"
Harm takes me into hir arms, and says "It's okay, one way or another well get past this." And we just sit there; holding each other until Dr. Guy arrives.
"So what's this problem that you didn't want to say over the phone?"
"I think… that I… I-I might be pregnant."
"What! When? How?"
"If shi is, it was during the same time that caused me to change."
"I don't remember being in heat for over three months, and I was supposed to be in heat around when we had sex… It must have started when we were playing around and I didn't realize it. Or during the night."
"Okay, so now what? Why did you have me come over?"
"For one favor, to get a test kit."
"The main reason we are asking this is because we both feel to embarrassed and uncomfortable to do ourselves." Harm says.
"I have also been thinking about other reasons. This type of publicity wouldn't be very good for us. Me getting pregnant so soon after transforming, and just after I transform someone else. The rumors wouldn't be very good. Also, one of us walking into a store and buying a pregnancy test would be like Brittany Spears doing the same, it would be all over the news."
Both Harm and Dr. Guy look at me.
"Okay, how do you think of these things? I've known you for over 30 years and I still can't figure it out," Harm says.
"Remember that I can be classified as a genius?" I say, while pointing to my head.
"Okay, I'll do it, but you guys owe me. I don't feel any less comfortable than you do," Dr. Guy says.
"Thank you!" I say and give him a big hug. When I realize what I'm doing, I let go. "I think I've changed more than I thought. I'd used to almost never give hugs."
He leaves, and the first wait begins. At first, I just sit there, then I start pacing, and I then start lifting weights. When he finally comes back, I'm punching a punching bag. Just as the bell rings, I punch the bag so hard that I put a hole in it. They sure don't make things like they used to. Harm opens the door while I'm trying to get my hand out of the bag. When Dr. Guy sees me, he gives one laugh, and walks over to help me.
"Punch it a little too hard?"
"Not hard to do with our strength. These things sure have one hell of a grip!"
He pushes on a few spots and I finally get my hand out of the damn thing.
"Thanks again. I think I might have to invest in a kevlar punching bag."
"Here's the test kit. Would you mind if I wait for the result?"
"Not at all. We would probably just call you afterwards anyway."
I walk into the bathroom, and after a couple minutes, I come back out.
"It says to wait ten minutes to be sure." I say.
And so the second wait begins. This time I just lift weights the whole time. That is when Dr. Guy notices how much I'm lifting.
"Either I am counting wrong, or you're lifting two hundred pounds right now, and rather easily."
"So? SO? Two hundred pounds is a lot! I can only bench seventy!"
"And I thought you would only be around sixty."
"How much can you lift?"
"Actually lift or lift well?"
"About four hundred, my own weight."
"Four hundred! Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph! I don't believe it!"
"I've seen hir lift hirself for a few seconds, but that's about it." Harm says.
"How about lift well?"
"Depending on what I've done before it, two fifty to three hundred. Two hundred is what I normally lift."
"Dear God! I knew you were strong, but never this strong! Now I know why you said that it wasn't hard with your strength."
"I never try to hide it. But I also don't boast about it, much."
"What about your tail, I read that it was strong too."
"Mine can lift almost as much as you can bench."
"So your saying your tail is almost as strong as BOTH my arms?"
"Yup. Basically, I could beat you in arm wrestling with my tail."
"And I was considered a little above average."
"You still are for a human, but the Chakat average is much higher than the human average."
"There probably isn't a person alive that could stand against you in unarmed combat."
"I don't know about that. Our larger size makes us easier targets, and makes us a little less maneuverable. Also, there are probably people out there that are much faster than us. Not to mention I only know the basics of fighting, like the punch and kick."
"But you also have an extra limb, or three if you used your forelegs."
"Enough about fighting. While I know that I'm built well for it, that is not what I want to even think about using my body for."
I then add another fifty pounds to what I'm lifting. And for the next couple minutes, it is silent except for the sound of the weights. Then I put them down with a grunt.
"I think it's been about ten minutes." And I go and get the tester. To the others, I take a lot longer than I should have. I finally come back with tester in hand. "Sorry it took so long, I dropped it between the cabinets." And there is an audible sigh, in stereo. "And…"
I check it, double-check it, triple-check it, and then make sure that I didn't reverse the symbols. "I'm pregnant."
Chapter 11: Duties Of Parenting And Parents
They just look at me, as if I said something vile. I don't believe I was able to say it without stuttering. I just stand there for a minute, then start lifting weights again, after I cut it down to two hundred again.
"I don't know if I should say congratulations or not," Dr. Guy says. "Are you sure you should be exerting yourself like that?"
"I won't need much special attention until late in the pregnancy. Let's see, it was July 17th when I conceived, and today is September 30th, so the birth date should be… May 24th."
"How the hell can you predict that?" Dr. Guy asks.
"A Chakat pregnancy length is extremely predictable – 312 days. That is why they can plan parties for the day of birth in the stories. Since everything else seems to be the same, why shouldn't that?"
"And how were you able to figure out the date so quickly?"
"I'm a genius, and math is my strongest subject."
That is when I notice Harm hasn't moved at all. I walk over to hir, and put my arm around hir. I then feel the shi is in shock, so I try projecting calmness. It actually seems to work, because she soon comes out of it.
"I don't know what to do, I have absolutely no idea how to be a parent. Not to mention I'm not very good with kids."
"Heh, just wait until you find out how the sire can help with parenting duties."
"I don't know if I want to know."
"Well, since I'm most likely going to be working by then, I won't be able to be around all the time. And that means I won't be able to feed the cub at some points."
"That sounds easy enough."
"Except for one thing, cubs need Chakat milk. And the only way to give them that is to breast feed them."
"So you're going to want me to feed hir my milkwater."
"Not exactly. See, when a Chakat is a few days away from giving birth, hir breasts start creating milk instead of milkwater."
"But I'm not pregnant…"
"But if you drink some of my milk, then a hormone in it will start your breasts to create it."
"I don't know about that. How long will I create it?"
"Until you wean your body out of it. You can't stop cold turkey."
"Great. I don't know if…"
"Don't even say you can't handle it, try actually having the cub. You have it easy compared to me. And if I am be able to handle this, than you should be able to handle that."
"Okay, okay! I get the point."
"Do you have any idea how amusing it is to watch you guys? It's hard to see you as even friends sometimes with how you argue."
We both look at him at the same time, and say, in stereo, "Oh, shut up!"
"That is one thing I like about you guys, you react to things very similarly. Sometimes doing the exact same thing at the same time. Is that from the link, or were you like that before hand?"
"Both. We seem to do it more since the link was established," I say, realizing that what he's saying is true.
"By the way, Harm, have you ever looked at your fur pattern?" Dr. Guy asks.
"Not really, why?"
"Because ever since I saw it, a name has been going through my head. And if I don't tell you it, I'll go crazy!"
"What is it?" we say, again in stereo.
"Well, you are completely black except that one red line down your spine. What does the color remind you of?"
I take a look, think for a second, and say "Fire."
"So what I was thinking of was Firestreak. What do you think?"
"Not bad, not bad at all," Harm says. "I'm actually considering it."
"Bladerunner and Firestreak; they actually go well together," I say. "Not to mention it seems to fit you perfectly."
"I seriously am considering it, but I don't know if my parents would appreci…" shi stops in mid sentence and suddenly gets a very worried look on hir face. "Holy shit! My parents! I haven't told them what happened to me!"
"Uh-oh. This is going to be really hard to explain. Especially the part about why it happened."
"Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit!" Harm, or Firestreak, says. "They won't care much about the why, I already told them my feelings for you. It's the result that they will have a hard time with!"
"That was going to be one of my next questions, if you told people like your parents and friends," Dr. Guy says. "Well, I might have an idea as to how you can break the news, for both things. This is what I was thinking of…"
The doorbell rings and I answer it. "Mr. and Mrs. Shane! It's nice to see you, how long has it been? A year?"
"Thirteen months, five days and…" Mr. Shane looks at his watch. "Two hours. But I'm not sure if it was that or never. Are you really Greg?"
"I still can't figure out how you do that. And yes, but I go by Bladerunner now. Come on in!"
And they come in and turn around when I shut the door, and gasp when they see my whole body.
"Wow, he is even bigger in real life." Mr. Shane mutters under his breath.
"I probably am, and the correct pronoun would be shi, not he."
I startle him when I say that, "You heard me?"
"With ears like these, do you think that my hearing wouldn't improve?"
"I didn't even think about that."
"You said there were a few things that you wanted to tell us?" Mrs. Shane asks. "Sorry if I seem rude, but ever since the call I've been wondering what they were. And frankly, it's driving me up the wall not knowing!"
"I guess I'll tell you the easier of the two things first. I'm pregnant, by Harm."
Their eyes grow big at this, and I read them to see if it is from shock or what. What I read surprises me, it was half shock and half joy. Then they form smiles that go from ear to ear.
"That's great! Congratulations!" They say in perfect unison.
"When did it happen, and about when is it due?" Mrs. Shane asks.
"I conceived July 17th, and it should be born on May 24th."
"How can you be so sure of the date?"
"Well, we only had sex once, and Chakats supposedly have a very predictable pregnancy length of 312 days."
"Makes sense, and what was the other thing?"
"You might want to take a seat." I wait for them to sit down. "Something else happened due to Harm and I having sex that night. Something that was even less expected than me getting pregnant. It's about Harm…"
"Is he all right?" Mrs. Shane quickly asks.
"Some people might say he is great, others would say he's terrible, it's mostly from their opinion. I think he's better than ever. But I've been referring to him wrongly; I should be saying shi. Harm, you should probably come out now." I say, without raising my voice at all.
When Harm walks out, hir parents freeze. They even stop breathing for a few seconds. Shi walks over and sits next to me, practically radiating fear. I can tell shi is scared shitless about the reaction hir parents are going to give. I take the liberty of reading their emotions, and I'm glad to find only shock and slight confusion.
Finally, Mr. Shane says something. "Wha… Is this possible? I don't believe this…"
Mrs. Shane seems to have come out of shock, but doesn't say anything.
"It is quite possible," Harms says, "And you better believe it. I haven't called you lately because I've been in the hospital until this morning. I just woke up from a two-and-a-half month coma yesterday, during which I changed into this. The night after we had sex, Bladerunner called 911 because I had a fever of 106°. Later, I fell asleep from the medicine the doctors at the hospital gave me to reduce the fever. Next thing I know, I wake up like this."
"I stayed with hir the entire time, not thinking about anything but hir well being. I already didn't leave much at first, but when I tried to read hir emotions, and found hir completely void, I never left hir for more than a few minutes at a time. The only way for hir to have been void of emotions was for hir to be void of thought, both consciously and subconsciously. They measured hir brain waves when I told them what I felt. And said that she was practically brain dead, except for bodily functions. They said shi didn't have much hope of recovering. That was the day before I noticed her changing."
"When I noticed that, I fell into shock. The doctors told me yesterday that I wouldn't even respond to them for two days. They had no idea why the first day, but the second day they noticed where I was looking, and noticed the change too. They told me they went into shock themselves for a few moments. When I finally came out of it, I never left hir side for more than a minute. I was right there when shi first woke up."
"After calming me down for about twenty minutes, the doctor scared both of us, and our reactions gave all three of us a needed laugh."
"First, when he scared me, I jumped so high, I hit me head on the ceiling." They smile at that. "Then we notice that both Harm’s and my fur was standing on end. I took one look at myself in a mirror, and started laughing. It was one of those moments you wish had been taped."
The last part seems to have had the effect we wanted: they were visibly calmer.
"Let me ask one thing," Mr. Shane says. "Are you comfortable with this?"
"First off, I don't really have a choice, but yes I am very comfortable with this. I've never felt so good in my life!"
"And why is that?"
"Most likely because shi can now do things like this…" And I lift the two hundred pound dumbbell.
"1, 2, 3, 4, 5… 200!?! Good Lord! Two hundred pounds!" Mr. Shane says
"That isn't the max I can lift, only half. I can lift myself for a few seconds, and I weigh about four hundred."
Mr. Shane’s mouth drops open, and then a voice says, "That was along the same lines as my reaction."
Because I completely forgot Dr. Guy was there, I repeat my performance at the hospital down to the letter.
"Oww! My head! Damn, I forgot you were here." I then notice that Harm had the exact same reaction as me, and Mr. And Mrs. Shane jumped up from their chairs. All five of us start laughing.
"Looks like we got to see the show anyway!" Mrs. Shane says.
I start patting down my fur, and Harm follows suite. "This is Dr. Guy, the one that seemed to fight for me from the beginning." I say. "Because of that, he's my new best friend, since my old one was upgraded to lover," I then put my arm around Harm.
"Why don't we go out for dinner to celebrate this? I know a small place with great food," Mr. Shane says.
Just then, both my stomachs growl. More laughing. "Even if my stomachs want to, I have to check to see if I can get the necessary protection. Hold on…" I grab the phone with my tail, take it into my hands, and press a button.
"This is probably going to get old fast," Harm says.
"What's going o…" Dr. Guy begins. I hold up my hand to stop him.
"Hello? Seattle Police Department? … Hey Marge, I kinda need to have some protection again. … Well, we decided to go out to dinner at the last minute. … I'm also taking hir parents and another friend… uh, hold on… Mr. Shane, where is this place?"
"Ever hear of The Steak Shack?"
"I know where it is, but never been there, hold on. Marge? You know where The Steak Shack is? … That makes it easier. If we leave now, we'll get there in about twenty minutes. … Wait about twenty? I guess we can do that. Thanks Marge. … Bye." I hang up the phone, and put it back with my tail.
"Now, what was that about?" Dr. Guy asks.
"Remember three and a half months ago?" I say. Dr. Guy winces a little. "Apparently you do. Well, when that happened, the police department realized, and I quote, ‘that I was as big a target as the president’ and offered me protection when I go out. I just need to call and give them some warning."
"Wow. How good is it?"
"They tell me they are all over the place, undercover. But so far, I have only been able to pick out one. That says one of two things: that they don't have many people protecting me, or that they are very good. I'm leaning towards the latter."
We continue idle talk for about fifteen more minutes, and then we head out to my van. Dinner was good; we drop Dr. Guy off at home on the way back, and then return to my house. Harm’s parents try to start their car, but the radiator blows.
"Why don't you spend the night, and I'll take you back in the morning. We can get your car towed tomorrow."
And with that, we all go inside and go to bed.
Chapter 12: Finding A Job
It's been about a month since we had dinner with Firestreak’s parents. Yes, shi changed hir name. Anyway, I have basically been working out, and I have started practicing with my empathy. It quickly becomes easy to work with; I can actually project my feelings to someone without being close to the person.
I haven't really been doing too much about my life other than the social aspect of it. This caused the government to tell me that I need to find a job soon, or they would stop the payments. It being our only income, I quickly started looking for a job. I have a rather limited number of options; many jobs would not pay that much and didn't have enough protection.
Others that I was interested in, I couldn't be accepted to; something about being too much of a distraction to co-workers. I was just about to contact the government about how hard it was finding a suitable job when I stumbled across something right up my alley – Head programmer of a game developer. I quickly called them…
"Hello? Inferno Games? Hi, I was calling about your job offer for a head programmer…. Well, I went to University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona and received a BS in Game Programming. I have also much other knowledge I've collected on my own. I know every programming language except binary; still learning that. I have also been a programmer for Dascan Systems, Inc. and was promoted to head programmer there before I needed to leave…. Well, the reason why is the same reason it is hard for me to find a job right now. I'm Chakat Bladerunner…Yes, I'll hold. …………… Yeah, I'm still here. … REALLY?! You actually want to have an interview?!… Sorry, it's just that every other place I've called turned me down because of my form…. Wednesday at two? Sure, that's fine with me…. Yeah, but one more thing. Could I have your address so I can get directions? Thanks! See you Wednesday!"
I hang up the phone and just stand there for a minute. Then I yell "YES!" so loud, that a neighbor calls to se if I'm all right.
"Never been better! I think I finally might have found a job! I'm actually going in for an interview! Head programmer of Inferno Games. … Thanks, I might need it."
I am literally radiating happiness when Firestorm gets back from shopping. When shi walks in the door, I run over and give hir a big hug. I would have swung hir around, but shi's too big for that.
"Hey! What are you so happy about? I felt it two miles away!" Firestorm says.
"I actually got an interview for a job! Even after I told them who I was! And get this, it's for head programmer of Inferno Games!"
"That's great! When is it? And where is it?"
"It's on Wednesday at two, and it's about thirty minutes away, on Keller Street. Remember that short street that we passed by many years ago with that huge construction project going on? You know the place where we got caught playing around?"
"That place? Do they own that who building? It was huge!"
"I doubt it, but I'll find out in two days!"
The two days pass before I know it, and it is Wednesday morning. I'm looking at the different tops I have, looking for something nice to wear. I then decide to just wear a regular, but nicer than usual, shirt. I decide that if they are going to hire me, they will hire me for who I am. I get together all my credentials and stuff, and wait to leave. Firestreak must have sensed my nervousness, because shi didn't seem to leave me alone.
"Bladerunner, will you stop walking around like a lost puppy? Sit down and try to relax, it won't do you any good to worry. They will either hire you or they won't. They won't be able to do anything else."
"I know, it's just that it's the first one that even considered me. I don't know how long it will be until I find another if I don't get this one. What time is it?"
"1:15, why don't you go a little early? It wouldn't hurt."
"Good idea, see ya later, and hopefully employed."
I walk out to the van, and start driving to the interview. It takes me thirty five minutes to get there. I get out and go into the huge office building. I look at the directory, and see that they are in the basement. I go down the stairs after going through a security point. ‘Good, they have adequate security. It will be hard to get to me.’
I walk into an office and walk up to the desk. The girl behind it turns around and gets slightly big eyed.
"Hi, I'm here for the two o'clock interview," I say.
"Just take a seat, and I'll let them know you're here. It should only be a few minutes," she says.
"Thanks, but I'll just pull up a piece of floor." She blushes when she realizes what she said.
It was only five minutes before someone called me back. I walked through the door into a private office. I then see who appears to be the boss of the company.
"Take a se… uh…Sit down. You must be Bladerunner," he says. I push aside a chair and sit down.
"Yes, it's a pleasure to meet you Mr…" I hold out my hand. Surprisingly, he doesn't even hesitate for a second before taking it.
"Falcnor, but call me Don. So, you're applying for the head programmer position. What makes you think that you are the best person for the job?"
"Well, quite frankly, I am extremely skilled at programming. Many people told me that my skill seemed unnatural. I also know nearly every programming language, except binary. I'm still learning that. I'm very reliable, and probably even more so now that I'm in this form. The only reason I ever missed work was from extreme sickness, and like this I'm nearly immune to it. Also, I can get along with everyone, yet be firm when I need to be. I have a BS in Game Programming. The only reason I am not with my last job anymore is the accident. I can also be a help with many other things, such as IT and heavy lifting if needed."
"Okay, slow down. You obviously have the skills and attitude, but there is one problem that I have been thinking of. What accommodations will need to be made if you start working here?"
"Well, the only ones I can think of would be things I can supply myself, such as desks and tables. Unless it is very cramped, the only problem would be with how my co-workers would feel about me."
"You don't seem to be hiding anything, and actually admit to a problem that I didn't mention. I like your attitude. Let me show you around."
He then shows me the various work areas, and then the computer rooms. The one with the programmers in it we go into. He introduces me to everyone, and nobody seems upset by my presence at all. Some are actually kind of excited to meet me. We go back to the front of the room, and Don stops.
"I'd like to make an announcement. Before you right now, is your new head programmer!" And everyone gives a small cheer. My jaw practically drops when he says that. Before I know what I'm doing, I'm giving Don a big hug, lifting him off his feet. I quickly let him down.
"Sorry about that. Acted before I thought."
"No problem! You are rather strong to have lifted me."
"You have no idea."
"Well, so far I the heaviest thing I have lifted was myself for about five seconds, and I weigh about four hundred."
"Four hundred? Not bad!"
"So I am really hired?"
"When can you start?"
"I can probably have everything set up by Monday, only because I have to get a moving truck for the stuff."
"Earlier than I expected. I'll be able to get you a permanent security pass by Friday, so just hang tight till then."
"Oh, can I speak to you in private for a minute." He nods, and takes me back to his office. "I just wanted to tell you something about me, and beside friends and family, you'll be the first to know. I'm pregnant, and I'll be expecting mid May."
"Wow, it's an honor being one of the first to know. Around what time would this begin to effect work?"
"Early or mid May."
"What? That late?"
"Being a quadruped has many advantages, as well as being able to carry a child easier. I'll most likely be taking the 20th and maybe the 21st of May off for the birth."
"How can you be so sure of the date?"
"Chakats have a very predictable pregnancy length."
"I'm going to have to learn more about you. I've been meaning to go to that site, I just haven't gotten around to it."
"Well, I need to go to start getting stuff ready, so if you'll excuse me, I'll be leaving."
"Oh, sure. I'll call you when your pass is ready. See ya!"
I drive home and walk in the door, beaming with pride and radiating happiness.
"By the feelings I'm detecting from you, you got the job. Right?" Firestreak calls from another room. Shi then walks in and sees me with a BIG smile. "No doubt about it, you got it!"
I then give hir a hug, and actually swing hir around a bit. When shi is back on the ground, we're kissing.
Chapter 13: Preparation And New Life
It is now May 1, and I am with no doubt going to have a cub. It is quite visible to the rest of the world now too. Everyone at work is happy for me, and some of the men ask me what it's like. I simply tell them "To me, it feels too natural to be able to describe it." Which is very true.
Talking about work, it has been great. Every one of the people I work with likes me, and none of them cares about my form. In fact, about a third of them are actually jealous. One little problem arouse though, I had forgot about the hour nap I need about midday. That was quickly solved though, Don was very understanding.
As for me and Firestreak, we're married. We never really thought about it until early December, when someone asked what our last name was. Even though we didn't have one, it made us think that it wouldn't have been the same one if we did. So at midnight of December 31, we kissed at the altar.
Well, back to the present. Right now I can easily feel that it is most likely going to be the 20th that our cub is born. Right now, I am considering what we should do, if anything. I was thinking about having something similar to a birthing party, but not have anyone actually watching the birth. I tell Firestreak about my thought.
"I don't know. What will other people think? Do you think they will actually come? I kinda like the idea myself. But as for other people…" Firestreak says.
"I know your parents would come, and Dr. Guy would also come, but others I'm not sure about. I think some of my friends at work might come. Wait, Don would most likely come, maybe even with his wife."
"I think he might like you more than you think."
"No, he doesn't. I made sure of that a month ago. Anyway, stop changing the subject. I think we should try, and if they don't come, they don't come."
"Yeah, so let's start making arrangements."
I call a caterer, tell them what it's for, and book them for the 20th. Firestreak starts making the invitations. I then start looking for a midwife, since neither of us has had any children before. I eventually find one and tell them what's happening, and they agree to come over. By the time I'm finished with that, Firestreak finished making the invitations and we mail them overnight-express.
The next day we are bombarded with calls, every last one saying they will come or asking if they can bring their wife or husband. We tell every one that asks about children that they might want to hire a babysitter rather than bring them. Many people are surprised when we tell them that the birth will most likely happen while they are actually at the house.
The next day I have to call the caterer again to tell them how many people are coming, Thirty one, not including us. They are surprised by the number, and we tell them that we are too. The day after, someone from the caterer comes and looks at the layout of the house to determine how it should be set up.
The days quickly pass, and the next thing I know it is the 19th. I decide to talk to Firestreak one more time about the process after the birth.
"Okay, Firestreak, I want to talk one more time about what happens after the birth. What happens right after the cub finishes drinking?"
"I let you drink my milkwater until I don't have anymore. Then I drink some of your milk. Then we go back out with the cub and show everyone. We've been over this twenty times, I know what to do."
"You forgot the shirts. Even though we don't feel naked because of our fur, others will see us as we are. That is important. I don't want to make people uncomfortable."
"Just because I don't say it, doesn't mean I won't remember. It's just common sense."
It's the morning of the 20th, and the caterers have almost finished setting up. We are walking around, admiring how they were able to use the space so efficiently. It is eleven when people start showing up. By one, everyone is there, including Helen, the midwife. People are talking and having a good time, I enjoy meeting the husbands and wives of my co-workers. It is 6:25 when I suddenly give a yelp.
It becomes silent. "I think it's time," I say, and I start heading to the bedroom. Firestreak is already at the door when I get there. I get another contraction and give another yelp. Firestreak, Helen, and I go into the bedroom and shut the door. I can hear people start talking again outside. I lay down on the bed just when another contraction hits. I don't yelp, but I do wince slightly.
"Okay, you will soon be ready to push judging from how close your…" Helen begins. But another contraction cuts her off, a big one that makes me yelp again. "Okay, on your next contraction, push!"
When I feel it, I push as I was instructed. I repeat it twice and then hear Helen say, "I see the head!" Hearing this makes me realize it is almost over. I push again. "Just one more!" And so one more time I push, and hear something like a cross between crying and meowing. I look back and see my cub for the first time. Hir color is distinguishable even now; she is pure white. Helen cleans hir off and gives hir to me. Hir fur is amazing; it almost seems to shine.
"Bladerunner, shi is beautiful," Firestreak says.
I lift hir up, and shi starts feeding. Helen is cleaning up when our cub finishes, and she knows what we are going to do, but I can still sense it shocks her a bit. I drain Firestreak’s breasts and then she drinks from me. What we do next is the very thing we said we wouldn't. We walk out without our tops on.
No one seems to mind after a few minutes, and everyone starts gushing over our cub. It is about an hour after we come out that I notice I forgot the shirt. I decide not to bother since it doesn't seem to bother anyone. Finally, someone asks, "What are you going to name hir?"
I look at my cub and see the eyes are already open. Their color makes me give a silent gasp. They were the deepest shade of blue that I ever saw!
I look at Firestreak and project something to hir, and then she projects something back to me. I smile.
"Shimmer of the Sea," I say.
To be continued…
This story is completely fictional, and any similarities to people or events, real or otherwise, are strictly coincidental.
Chakats, Forest Tales, and The Chakat’s Den are copyright © 2004 to Bernard Doove and are used with his permission.
All others are copyright © 2004 to Joshua Stewart.
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