"To Be A Chakat" by J P Astbury A.K.A. Kit Silva
Chakat Goldfur, Garrek Redfox, Dilenna, Star Corps exploration ship James Cook, Star Corps,
PTV, and the Chakat name all © B Doove AKA Chakat Goldfur, and used with permission.
Quange © Roy Pounds II and are used in the Chakat Universe with permission.
Rakshans © Boyce Kline and are used in the Chakat Universe with permission.
Skunktaurs © Bob Reijns and are used in the Chakat Universe with permission.
Voxxans © Brian 'Silverfox' Miller and are used in the Chakat Universe with permission.
All other characters © J P Astbury A.K.A. Kit Silva.
Any similarity to people/characters alive or deceased, companies, brands etc are purely coincidental.
(Excluding those stated as © B Doove, Roy Pounds II, Bob Reijns, and Brian 'Silverfox' Miller.)
Warning, I have tried to make this story as suitable for all as I possibly can, but cannot guarantee that it is. In fact I would give it a 12 certificate (I think that is equal to a PG-13 in America) and I can state that there are several points where sex is mentioned, be it directly or indirectly and so recommend that this is suitable for mature people only. This version of the story contains NO sex scenes, and nothing that I would consider to be violence.
... Log on... Chakat Isis... Location... Planet Kreyal... Northern Hemisphere... Third Largest Continent... Ancient Ruins Site One... 09:00...
Isis blinked hard a couple of times as shi tried to get the sleep out of hir eyes. Shi had only just woken but as usual for hir shi had almost instantly started to document and file several artefacts that lay on the table near hir bunk.
Shi turned on the datacorder and started dictating hir notes, "Note... pictorial scripts are..." Shi yawned widely, "...reminiscent of Ancient Celtic art on Earth. The bird like picture apparently has the same meaning as..." Shi yawned again and slowly nodded off.
Shi had been working hard and sleeping little for the past eight weeks. In fact shi had barely slept twenty hours in the past two weeks and for a chakat, more than anyone, that was bad news. Isis of course knew shi needed more sleep than the average human for example, or even other taur species. Unfortunately shi had the archaeologists urge to document everything old and interesting shi came across, and, as any true archaeologist, shi was more interested in hir work than hir personal problems, especially lack of sleep.
Michel, a human, fellow archaeologist and the resident first aid rep, popped his head around the tent flap that served as Isis' front door.
"Hey Isis, are you up... yet?" he said noticing hir slumped over the table with the datacorder still running. He walked in and up to the table and switched the datacorder off. He then gave Isis a light nudge. "Hey sleepy bones, Wake up!" he said loudly.
Isis groaned and opened hir eyes before pulling hirself up into a squatting position.
"Oooohh... I need some coffee." Shi said holding a hand to hir head.
"What you really need is the day off... better yet, the week off. You know you chakats need a lot of sleep." Said Michel, a hint of concern entering his voice.
"Yeah, yeah... Just get me the coffee."
"Ok, I will. Just promise me you'll slow down today."
"I'm only two days away from heading back to Earth you know. I'll have a month to rest when I get back, and that's not including the three weeks travel each way." Began Isis, "That's an entire ten weeks to just sit back and relax."
"Yes, but you don't have to test you're endurance before you go you know. And another thing, if I know you as well as I should do then you'll spend most of those ten weeks examining the artefacts you're taking back." Stated Michel, "I'm going to have to seal the crates if I want to be certain you won't start documenting them."
"Aw, don't do that!" Begged Isis, "It's going to be boring as it is, and when my heat begins I'm going to need all the distractions I can get. You know that my work is the only thing besides direct physical contact that can distract me from my needs. I'd go crazy."
"I suppose I could put one or two of the crates on a time lock," said Michel as he thought about it. "Three days from the moment you first open them should be long enough. After that I'm sure you don't need to be reminded what will happen."
Isis put hir hands over hir ears and gently rubbed them as shi recalled the last time shi had misused one of Michel's infamous time lock devices. "Oooh, I know, don't remind me. I still get ringing in my ears from last time. Those things should be band, their way too loud." Shi stood and walked round Michel to a wash basin in the corner next to a small area separated from the main area that served as hir personal WC. Shi paused in front of the basin and turned the cold tap on.
"Right now that that's sorted are you going to finish early today or do I have to get Colderan to force you to have the whole day off." Warned Michel.
Isis turned the cold tap off as the water reached the max level and began to spill down the overflow pipe. "All right, I'll only work until 16:00 then I'll document a few finds until 18:00 when I'll sit back and relax and maybe go back to bed." Hir voice carried a hint of sarcasm, as shi knew 16:00 was the time when Michel needed as many pairs of hands, or forepaws, as possible due to it being the most productive time of day.
"Damn, I forgot about that. You need your rest though; in that case I suppose you'd better make it 15:30 when you finish." He said, grinning as he watched Isis' reaction.
Isis knew when shi was beat, shi decided to accept defeat and showed it by sighing, "Just get me that coffee I asked for before please... black, two..."
"Two sugars," ended Michel, "I know," he said as he headed for the tent flap. "Be back in a mo, ok." He added before disappearing through the flap.
Isis watched him leave and pulled a face at him after he had left the tent. "Hmpff. Treat me like a cub will he," shi mumbled, "I'll show him." Shi looked down at the washbasin for a moment as shi considered what to do next. Shi quickly decided and continued to dunk hir face under the water. Shi soon pulled out, as the water was colder than shi had expected it to be. On the good hand though it had woken hir up properly. "Mmmm. Refreshing." Shi said as shi quickly grabbed a towel and began to dry hir facial fur. Shi paused briefly to consider using a bar of soap that lay beside the hot tap. "Hmmm? Naa, I'll only get dirty again." Shi said to hirself as shi threw the towel over the bar shi had grabbed it from. "Now where's that coffee!" shi muttered as shi went back over to the table and looked at the artefacts stood on it. Shi squatted down beside it and picked up the closest artefact to hir. It was, in fact, a replica of an Egyptian style metallic name band, one of two pieces of jewellery Isis usually wore. Shi lifted hir left foreleg up and slipped the band on making sure to get it the right way up and in the correct position, as it was uncomfortable to wear otherwise. Shi then placed hir foreleg down and picked up a golden serpent that was also Egyptian in style. The serpent was set in a coiled pose, much like the Egyptian serpent bracelets usually worn on the upper arm, it had around five coils and had been specially designed on Isis' request to fit on hir tail near to the base. Isis shuffled back away from the table. When shi was at a sufficient distance to ensure that shi would not knock it accidentally shi curled hirself round to hir left, bringing hir arms within easy reach of the base of hir tail. Shi brought the end of hir tail into arms reach, slipped the serpent coil tail first onto hir tail and slipped it down to hir tail's base. Once finished shi uncurled hirself and moved back over to the table. Just as shi squatted down Michel returned with hir coffee.
"Here you go. One coffee just as you like it." He said as he handed the cup to hir.
"Finally." Said Isis as shi gladly took the steaming drink from Michel's hands. Shi took a long sip of the hot liquid, "You've outdone yourself this time Michel. This is great." Shi praised.
"Sophie made it. You'd better thank her, not me."
"You mean she's been with us all this time and only now she's bothered to show her superior brewing skills?"
"That's about the size of it."
"I think I've just found my new assistant," said Isis with a smile. Shi took another long sip of hir coffee and as shi was swallowing Colderan, a wolf morph and also the head of the expedition, walked in.
"Drinking coffee when you should be working Isis, come on. If you're only going to be working until 15:30 today, if I can believe what Michel told me, then I want you to start work an hour ago." He said in his usual annoyed tone.
"I also explained that shi needs as much rest as possible today Colderan." Said Michel.
"We all know shi's the best two pairs of hands in the camp, even if one of them are paws. That's why I can't let hir rest, and besides, shi has ten weeks of freedom in two days time, shi can rest then."
"That's what I said," began Isis, "but old bossy boots here said otherwise." Shi added as shi motioned to Michel.
"Did he eh? Well I'll just have to see to that." Said Colderan as he winked at Isis. "I think I know what will get you motivated Isis, I've decided we should start work on the temple site today. I want you to get everything running smoothly before you leave."
"Oh!" exclaimed Isis, "Why didn't you say earlier!" shi said in a panic. Shi quickly downed the rest of hir coffee and nearly burned the entire lining of hir throat in doing so. To counter the hot drink shi dashed over to the washbasin and swallowed a litre or so of cold water, dropped the cup carefully into the bowl and finally rushed off out of the tent and off to the dig site.
Both Michel and Colderan couldn't help giggling as they watched hir rush off. The smile from Michel's lips soon faded though and he looked at Colderan in an annoyed fashion.
"I was serious when I said shi needed the rest. Chakats may be superior in most ways to us but they still need more sleep than the average person." He informed him sternly.
"You know, if you weren't the first aid rep I'd send you packing for talk like that."
"Nya nya. You can't get rid of me that easily." Said Michel as he pulled a face and quickly left the tent.
"Humpff." Muttered Colderan. He smiled and shook his head. Under his sometimes-cold exterior he was just like anyone else and did enjoy a joke. He looked at a PADD he was carrying and noted that Isis had started work and when shi was due to end. Pausing before he permanently entered the information he decided to give Isis a little extra time before shi started to have hir breakfast as shi always forgot to have it in hir rush to get started. He made the changes, permanently entered the information and looked up from the PADD. "Damned Isis, Shi'll be the death of me." He muttered as he too left the tent.
Isis had just about reached the temple site when shi finally realized two things. The first of which being the fact that shi had not had hir breakfast, the second being that shi had forgotten hir tools. Shi groaned, turned back and headed off back to camp.
Shi was greeted a quarter of the way back by Michel. He was carrying hir carrysack tool case over his right shoulder, his own tools in his backpack and more importantly a packed breakfast he had prepared before he had first gone to meet Isis that morning in his left hand.
"Aaah, there you are!" He said, "Here quick take this off me," he said quickly as the weight of Isis' carrysack finally registered on his face.
"Thanks," said Isis as shi took the carrysack and put it neatly over hir lower torso. "I think next time I should go back and get my tools myself. My carrysack really is too heavy for you to carry to the site"
"You're telling me," said Michel as he rubbed his aching back. "I've made your usual breakfast up for you." He said as he handed hir the packed breakfast bag.
"Thanks again Michel." Said Isis. Shi took the pack off him and gave him a warm thank you hug. Shi was always game for the traditional chakat thank you and suddenly recalled hir morning coffee. "I'm going to give Sophie a big hug too for that coffee when I see her." Shi said as shi finished the hug, "If you see her first tell her to come and get it."
Michel laughed lightly, "Sure." He replied.
"Right then, let's get there before anyone else does." Said Isis; "I want to get started on that possible entrance site before anyone else gets to the site." Shi continued with a slight degree of urgency.
They both set off as Isis began to eat hir breakfast. Shi had all but completely finished it by the time they arrived at the temple site. Minutes later, minus the remnants of Isis' breakfast, they were at the entrance plot where Isis pulled out hir classic spade, hand trowel, sifter and datacorder and placed them at arms reach to where shi would begin to dig.
"Nothing like classic equipment." Said Isis as Michel produced a more up to date version of the same equipment from his backpack.
"Point taken," Replied Michel, "but if we all used those we'd still be on our first dig back on earth."
"Oh come on," said Isis, "Be realistic." Shi looked over the little area in front of hir, picked up hir datacorder and took a picture of the area.
"Don't forget to do a 3-D scan this time, remember what Colderan said last time when you forgot." Said Michel quickly.
"I was just about to do one thank you." Replied Isis, with a hint of annoyance in hir voice. Shi continued on to do the special scan after altering the datacorder settings for the task. "Anyway, there is nothing wrong with my equipment," shi continued as shi went back to what Michel had pointed out about hir tools. "Rushing this sort of thing leads to damage of important artefacts. Remember how many artefacts you've nearly destroyed compared to me. I think the score now stands at nothing to me and four to you including that one last week."
"Hey, you can't include that one. That was Andraya's fault, not mine." Implored Michel.
"You told her to use your equipment instead of mine, so you're to blame." Said Isis plainly.
"I don't agree to that." Said Michel.
"Live with it, because Colderan put it down on your record." Isis informed him, shi put hir datacorder down and picked up hir hand trowel.
"He did what!" said Michel furiously. "That's it I'm going to see him right now." He said before storming off back to camp.
"Oops, Perhaps I shouldn't have said anything." Said Isis to hirself as shi lay down and began to dig carefully into the soil between hir forepaws.
It was barely fifteen minutes later when the rest of the dig's team arrived. Isis, though reluctant to pause hir work, stopped what shi was doing and stood up to allocate the plots, as was hir job as head archaeologist. Before shi could begin though Sophie appeared, shi dashed straight over and wrapped hir arms around her in a big warm thank you hug.
"Thanks for that coffee this morning, it's the best cup I've had in a long time." Said Isis as shi ended hir hug.
"Ooo, that made it all worth it." Replied Sophie happily.
"Did Michel tell you I wanted to give you that?" asked Isis.
"No, why?" replied Sophie.
"Oh it doesn't matter really." Said Isis. "Anyway, I've got to get this lot into order before I do anything else... err... anyone you'd like to work with today?" shi asked hopefully.
"Geri said he'd like to show me a few things today so if you don't mind I'd like to be in his team today." Replied Sophie.
"Ok then," said Isis with a hint of disappointment. Shi turned to the group who had gathered nearby, "Right then, is everyone here?" shi asked them. A chorus of yes's answered hir. "Ok, Geri, you Sophie and Dominick can take plot five. Starburst, you take Kale and Joanna to plot twelve. Tony you can take Marc and Lisa to plot six. Tessa and Fred are with me and..." Shi looked about for Michel but he was nowhere to bee seen. "Hey, where's Michel?" shi said annoyed. "Oh forget it. Claire and Jay take plot three, you'll have to wait until Michel arrives so I guess you can do what you want until then." Shi looked at everyone. "What are you waiting for, get to work people." shi said. The crowd sorted themselves out and headed off to their appointed plots leaving Tessa and Fred with Isis. They walked over to hir with happy smiles on their faces. It was considered an honour among the trainee archaeologists to be selected to work with Isis. They held hir in high regard even in the worst of times, but being picked by hir to work on the possible temple entrance plot was truly something the other trainees would be jealous of.
"O-the others are going to be so jealous, you know that." Tessa said to Fred.
"You'd better believe it," replied Fred, he then turned to Isis, "Why did you pick us marm... err I mean Isis." He said as he quickly corrected himself.
Isis gave him a quick stern look, as if to say don't let me hear you call me that again, before shi replied. "There's no real reason. In fact to tell you the truth I just went by the order I remembered your names in." Shi explained.
"Wow, even better," began Tessa, "we were picked by luck."
"Yeah, it's great I know." Said Fred agreeing with her.
Isis rolled hir eyes and sighed as shi turned and headed off back to hir plot. Shi just couldn't understand what the trainees saw in hir to treat hir with such high regards. "Come on lets get started eh."
"Oh, I can't wait." Said Tessa.
"Oh, me nether." Added Fred.
"Oh shut up and come on." Said Isis as shi sat back down and picked up hir hand trowel.
Both Tessa and Fred headed quickly over and had unpacked their equipment in a flash. To Isis' surprise they both unpacked classic style tools much like hir own, shi didn't know whether to be flattered or annoyed at their attempt to copy hir lead.
"Do you have both sets of equipment in those bags or do you always use those?" asked Isis.
"We try to use these as often as possible. Whenever we're allowed to anyway." Answered Fred.
"Hmm... Maybe we'll be seeing more of each other in the future in that case." Said Isis with a grin."
"Really? Wow." Said Tessa, shi was close to hysterics."
"If you both keep that up you don't stand a chance." Began Isis. "I'm not that special you know. Please, for god's sake just treat me like you would another trainee."
Tessa and Fred looked at each other as they recalled the way all the trainees, including themselves, treated each other. It wasn't as if they didn't respect each other. It was more of the way they acted, being much like any other group of young adults when far from home. They nodded at each other and looked back at Isis.
"Yeah... sure." They said slowly together. Of course they both knew they wouldn't.
"Good." Said Isis, "Right, lets get digging. Tessa, If you could start just over there and Fred right there please." shi said pointing to the areas shi wanted them to dig as shi spoke.
Both trainees moved to where Isis had pointed and placed their tools down within easy reach before they began to dig. Isis watched them start and decided to continue on hirself.
The day passed surprisingly quickly for Isis. Under the circumstances it was obvious why. What made it even more annoying for Isis was the fact that barely ten minutes before shi was due to end hir work shi came across the entrance to the temple. Luckily for hir Colderan had said that shi could continue the work hirself tomorrow just so long as shi-stopped work at exactly 15:30. Though that too was very annoying shi agreed and headed off back to camp where shi spent the next few hours documenting several artefacts from hir table after which shi went straight to bed and to sleep.
Two days later the runabout Isis was to use to go home in was being loaded and checked over for take off. Isis was in charge of packing the artefacts that shi was taking with hir. Shi walked into the tiny cargo hold and looked at the crates already loaded. Shi read the ident tags on each one and entered them into a PADD that shi was carrying.
"Now where's that TS334 gone?" shi said to hirself as shi searched each crate over for the right one. "Aaah there you are." Shi said with a smile. Shi entered it into the PADD and turned to face Starburst as shi brought in another two crates on a small hoverloader.
"Are those the last two?" Asked Isis.
"Yes, where do you want them?" said Starburst.
"Just over there will do thank you." Replied Isis as shi pointed to the right of the door where there was just enough room for the two crates.
"You know, it's not going to be the same without you." Said Starburst as shi pushed the hoverloader towards the space.
Isis looked away, almost in shame. "Yeah I know. Are you still sure you want to stay here?" shi asked.
"I am. You know I can't go with you. These runabouts are just too cramped and with my claustrophobia... well, it's getting to me being in here now..." replied Starburst.
"I understand." said Isis, Shi put on a smile as shi continued on, "looks like I'll be satisfying myself when my heat comes while I'm out there. Just think what I'll be doing."
Starburst grinned, "Don't forget to give yourself one for me."
"Behave you raunchy Chakat." Said Isis.
"Never!" came Starburst's quick reply. Shi switched off the hoverloader and walked over to hir. "We'd better say goodbye now I suppose." Shi said more seriously. "You'll be off in less than half an hour and I have to get back to the temple site." They gave each other a long good-bye hug before reluctantly separating. "Just make sure your back in time for my heat. I'd hate to miss you by a day or two."
"O give over... Cheeky." Replied Isis with a grin. "I'll be back, don't you worry."
"Good." Said Starburst. Shi gave Isis a quick lick kiss on the nose before dashing off laughing as shi went.
Isis smiled after hir shaking hir head at hir cheeky attitude. Shi then looked down at hir PADD, "Better put the last two in." shi said to hirself as shi walked over to the crates Starburst had brought in. Looking at the ident tags shi smiled again. "Isis 1 and... Isis 2. Great that's everything." Shi said as shi entered the crates on hir PADD. Shi walked out of the cargo hold and locked the door down behind hir. Shi then headed off to the port side-docking hatch and paused as Colderan appeared in the hatchway.
"Everyone's off besides you, and Genessa's given the all clear for the runabout's systems, you shouldn't have any problems at all." He said as he paused too.
"Great, I'd hate to be late home." Replied Isis.
"Well, I can pretty much guarantee that you won't be." Said Colderan. He looked down at the PADD that Isis was carrying, "Is that the cargo manifest?"
"Yes, everything's in there."
"Good, Thank you." Said Colderan as Isis handed him the PADD. "I'll go and do this now and then you can be off. You can lock down the outer hatches now and prepare the engines for take off."
"Right." Said Isis. Shi gave him a good-bye hug. "Tell Michel I'll deal with that new brakeage of his on the return trip ok."
"Ok. He'll be delighted to hear that I'm sure. He's still holding a grudge about that one of Andraya's."
"Oh yes. I forgot to ask about that." Said Isis as shi recalled the incident two days previous. "What did happen with that?"
"Nothing special. I just told him to accept it was his fault or take the consequences." Explained Colderan.
"What consequences?" asked Isis.
"There are non. You know me, all huff and no puff. I just worded it in my special little way."
"Oh, I see." Said Isis with an understanding grin. "Well then. Now that's sorted I may as well get ready to go. See you in ten weeks."
"And you." Replied Colderan as he turned and headed off.
Isis waved after him before walking over to the hatch controls where shi locked the outer hatches securely and headed up to the tiny bridge at the bow of the runabout. Shi squatted down in front of the helm position and powered up the nav COM to lay in hir course.
'Hmm?' shi thought to hirself, 'Now comes the hard part, plotting the course. Darn I should have asked... Oh!' Shi thought as shi suddenly realized the course was already plotted for hir. "Thank you Genessa!" Shi said to hirself. Shi decided to test the engines and so powered them up.
"All systems working at full capacity." Stated the computer.
"Good. Initiate auto power down." Said Isis.
"Auto power down complete." Replied the computer.
'And now we wait.' Thought Isis. Shi looked out through the small bridge windows in front of hir. The Runabout was facing the temple site and shi could see the other archaeologists and the trainees at the individual plots they were working at. Though it was difficult to see exactly who was who as the runabout launch site was several hundred meters away shi managed to pick out Michel. He was wearing his bright orange t-shirt, Isis knew he was wearing it so that shi would see him; shi smiled and decided to contact him via the planet comms.
Shi switched the planetary communications array onto manual and typed in Michel's personal COM code into it. A little light illuminated informing hir that it was ready to send. Shi opened the channel.
"Hey Michel I can seeee youuuu." Shi said playfully.
"Aren't you supposed to announce yourself and wait for me to reply before you begin to talk?" came Michel's reply.
"Aw don't be a spoil sport." Said Isis.
"Yeah I know it spoils things sometimes but you really should use the proper address codes." Replied Michel.
"Spoil sport." Said Isis playfully.
"Oh quit it," said Michel. Though he had a smile on his face Isis was unable to see it. Shi could tell by his tone that he was just pulling hir leg though. "Anyway, I hope you enjoy your trip back." He continued.
"Is there anything you wanted?" asked Michel.
"Yes actually. Give us a wave, please." Michel did so, "Thank you," Shi suddenly recalled something in the back of hir mind. "O-I forgot, have you have set those time locks right? It's just that out in space I might not be able to escape the alarm and that might be pretty serious. I don't want to come back deaf you know."
"Don't worry, I've set them right. Three days exactly from the moment you first open them." Explained Michel.
"Good. Oh err... which ones were they again?" asked Isis.
"TS347 and TS363."
"I thought there were three?" said Isis a little disappointedly.
"They're the two big ones," said Michel.
"Oh great. Thanks a lot Michel."
"Your welcome." The COM went quiet for a few moments; Isis became a little worried that shi might have accidentally cut the connection. Shi breathed a sigh of relief though when Michel began to talk again. "Sorry about that. Looks like Dominick has just uncovered something interesting."
"So that's why everyone's running around." Said Isis as shi watched them. Isis growled, shi was annoyed that shi would probably have to wait until shi returned to see what all the commotion was about. Shi could barely hold hirself back form running off the runabout and over to the site to see first hand. "Just my luck." Shi continued, "I'd better go before you tell me it's a sarcophagus or something even more interesting."
"Ok, Enjoy your trip, see you soon."
"Thank you. And I hope to see all of you as soon as possible too." Replied Isis. "Signing off."
It was literally only a couple of seconds later that Colderan hailed hir.
"Runabout Guillemot, Your clear for take off."
"Thanks Colderan, err... I mean received control, preparing for take off."
"Good luck Isis. See you soon." Said Colderan.
"Thanks again Colderan." Finished Isis before shi signed off.
Shi powered up the engines manually and took the controls for take off. The runabout shuddered slightly on the initial lift off from the ground, it smoothed out though as it became fully airborne and hovered briefly at around two foot. Isis initialised the impulse engines and took them up to quarter power. The runabout gained speed and height, levelling off at one hundred feet as it flew over the temple site. Isis could make out several of the team waving at the runabout, shi waved back but quickly returned hir attention to the controls as the runabout began to drift from it's path.
"Whoops, better concentrate on this." Shi thought to hirself as shi straightened the runabouts course.
The runabout began to climb as Isis concentrated on what shi was doing. It took barely five minutes to get out of Kreyal's atmosphere. As the Runabout entered space Isis initiated the autopilot. It locked on to the predetermined flight route and took over the controls raising the speed up to full impulse almost immediately.
"Auto pilot engaged, Eight hours until departure from the Kreyan star system and warp initiation." Stated the computer.
"Oh is this going to be boring or what." Said Isis to hirself. Shi decided to take a quick catnap and so headed off to the little cabin that would serve as hir living quarters for the next three weeks. Shi bedded down and was soon fast asleep.
...Log On... Mark Schneider... Location Planet Earth... Southern Hemisphere... India... Calcutta... 17:13...
Schneider paid for his cola and headed out of the little shop he was in. He stopped at the doorway and looked out into the hustle and bustle that was Calcutta's Main market street. It was just like any other Indian market street of the time, still much like they were in the late twentieth century with bazaars galore down all the large streets that lead away from the main street.
He looked up towards the busy road to his left full of minivans, buses, taxies and carts pulling all manors of things before rolling his eyes to the right and sighing. "Always the same," he muttered to himself. And it usually was, there had only been two instances he could remember when something had been different, and nether of those were that different. "Oh well, home, here I come," he thought to himself. He turned right and set off.
Moments later the traffic on the road began to honk their horns, even more than usual. Schneider quickly stopped and turned round. Fortunately for Schneider he was a tiger morph, this gave him the height above most of the humans who made up the crowds on the street. He was clearly able to see the traffic, which had come to a non-surprising standstill but he couldn't see what the commotion was about. All of a sudden a male red foxtaur leapt up onto the roof of a bus from the opposite side of the road to Schneider. He was carrying a small brown paper bag that he held to him with his left arm while using the other arm to aid his balance as he took off from the bus' roof and landed neatly on the top of a minivan. From the minivan he simply bounded up onto a truck roof before hopping down onto a taxi and finally down onto the pavement on the same side Schneider was on.
"Wow," thought Schneider, "I wonder what kind of morph he is?" he continued to think as he watched the foxtaur run into the crowd.
Schneider was again impressed though also surprised as he watched the crowd move back as he ran through them. The foxtaur was quick to head to the nearest deserted back alley entrance and soon disappeared down it.
"Wow again, I wonder how he did that?" thought Schneider. As the commotion from the traffic died down to it's usual level Schneider quickly headed off to the nearest back alley entrance to himself. He pocketed his drink and began to run as he entered the alley. He wanted to find out who and what the taur was, and another thing that he had just thought of too. Simply, why had he been making such a commotion when no one was following him?
Schneider knew the back alleys like the fur on the back of his hand. His work took him all around them so he had to, this made it easy for him to work out where the foxtaur would be and where he could catch up to him. He took the second right he came to, he then turned left and continued on for several straits before turning left followed by a quick right and finally another right into a tiny open area. Schneider had known he would catch the foxtaur there, but unfortunately misjudged the timing as he and the taur crashed straight into each other. The small bag the foxtaur had been carrying ripped as it flew off and hit the ground, spilling a multitude of small items and a hand sized statuette of a natural Bengal tiger all over the place. Meanwhile the two morphs ended up in a tangled heap with the taur on top of poor Schneider, who was surprised at the foxtaur's weight as he could barely move.
"Sorry." Came an odd feline like British accent as the taur spoke hurriedly. "Here take these." He continued as he almost magically produced a large bundle of cash and thrust it into Schneider's hands. He quickly stood and grabbed the small items, putting them at considerable speed into several pockets on a shirt he was wearing before grabbing the bag and the statuette and beginning to run off.
"Hey wait!" cried Schneider as he managed to get into a sitting position.
The foxtaur skidded to a halt and looked round. "What? Quick I'm in a hurry." Came the feline like voice. It was almost pantherine like Schneider's own.
"Who are you?" asked Schneider.
"Chaos." Replied the foxtaur as he ran off.
"Hey!" cried Schneider as he stood. But it was too late, the taur had gone. He decided against following him, for one he was going to have a tough time keeping up with the taur's naturally faster pace, another thing was what would the taur think if he did. He sighed and looked down at the wad of cash in his hand. "Oh god." He said as he realized just how much money there was. He quickly counted the bundle and gave a growl of delight as he counted over two weeks worth of pay resting in his hand. After looking the money over for authenticity a wide grin spread across his thin lips. "Yes!" he exclaimed, "Two less weeks of work, two weeks sooner, two weeks less of that empty little room!" he said happily to himself, "Ngorogoro here I come!" he said happily as he quickly set off for the bank.
He had barely moved though when he noticed something glinting on the ground near where the foxtaur's bag had landed, he walked over and squatted down to look. It looked like a broach of some sort; Schneider picked it up and stood as he looked it over. He quickly noted that the broach was in the shape of a letter K, the only other thing to note was that it had a tail on the lower diagonal line. It went backwards at a ninety degree angle to the diagonal line it was attached to and stopped beneath the vertical line that made up the backbone of the K. Schneider decided to try it on but quickly realized there was no fastening device of any sort. He placed it to the right breast of his shirt anyway and was surprised to find the broach locked on somehow. He pulled it off and looked at the back of the broach briefly before putting it back on and leaving it there.
"Neat." He said to himself as he pocketed the cash and set off.
After visiting his bank and depositing the cash he headed home. Less than ten minutes since he found the broach later he was stood in front of his apartment door.
"Damn, where's that keycard gone?" he muttered as he fumbled around in his left jacket pocket. He eventually found the missing card and pulled it out only to find it his work keycard. "Damn, wrong one." He thought to himself as he plunged his hand back into the same pocket keeping the card he had found in his free hand. "Ah ha!" he exclaimed, "That's got to be it!" he said as he found a second keycard. He pulled it out and sighed with relief as he saw it was the one he wanted. He put the other card back in his pocket before slipping his apartment keycard into the slit by the side of the door. A little green light illuminated briefly before the lock clunked and Schneider was able to push the door open. He pulled his card out walked through and closed the door behind him.
Schneider's apartment was a very simple affair, not because he couldn't afford better in his current employment but because he was saving his earnings for a trip of a lifetime to the Ngorogoro crater in Africa. He had wanted to go there ever since he had watched a documentary about it and had planed every last detail of his life up to when the holiday ended at which point he had decided he would go back into Starfleet. It was the closest thing to living his dream job as a captain aboard a freelance starcruiser he could manage, but it was a good substitute under the circumstances. He had always told himself he was lucky that he had been born when anyone was able to become a bridge officer, given the proper training of course, and Schneider had already passed the basic level bridge exam before he had to leave Starfleet.
He sighed as he looked about the almost empty little room that served as his living room, kitchen, bedroom and hallway in one. He took off his jacket, threw it onto the single bed that was set in the corner and sat down on the only chair he had. He had placed the chair in front of his personal mini com before he had left that morning as he usually did. He always went straight onto the mini com when he got home simply because it was the only real luxury he had allowed himself to buy, besides the odd magazine that he bought simply for the novelty of reading from paper instead of a PADD or vid screen. Unlike most times he used the mini com though he actually knew what he was looking for this time, and that was information on taur morphs. He linked to the Net and found his favourite search engine within seconds. From there he selected the "find a morph" option and looked at the categories.
"Hmm? Biped or quadruped?... quadruped," he said to himself before filling out the other categories as best he could. "Red fur... black socks... white tail tip... canine... Hmm? Was he?" mused Schneider as he looked at the next category, "Definitely male... and for "other observations of importance"... err? Oh yeah... pantherine like voice... British... or possibly Australian? Ability to jump high with ease (e.g. onto the roof of a single deck bus.)... Um?" he though briefly about everything he had observed the taur do, "Oh yeah, the crowd thing. I wonder if I should put that in? No, I'll leave that out." He said to himself before touching the onscreen search button. A little egg timer came up onscreen along with a message that read please wait. A few moments later a results page loaded. Schneider quickly read the best-fit morph species. He wasn't too surprised to find that the best fit was a foxtaur morph but the percentage bar put him off slightly at 54.33254%. After reading the little note beside it he was relived to find that the percentage only related to the others section which could be wrong for any number of simple reasons and it was nothing to go by for certain.
Schneider downloaded the entire page to his personal com and set about reading it fully. He was the impatience sort though and so ended up skipping most of the data provided on foxtaur's and went straight onto the other possible results starting with wolftaur. He passed straight over that knowing most physical information about them would be similar to the foxtaurs. He looked at the next possibility and noticed it had been selected with the "other observations" in mind."
"Chakat?" The name sounded feline, this intrigued him considerably. He highlighted the name and the information guide came up. "'A guide to Chakats,' sounds interesting," he said to himself before beginning to read the entire guide.
... Log On... SSV Sutherland... Location... Reality 0172... 18:30...
The Sutherland sped at slip speed towards nowhere in particular. Its command was to head away from civilization and any populated area to a place where it would be alone. In the vastness of space that may seem a simple task, but it isn't always so.
The 800 meter star cruiser came out of slip speed as it neared a known unpopulated star system. It wasn't as unpopulated as the crew of the ship had hoped though, as orbiting one of the systems planets was another vessel. It was somewhat less technologically advanced than the Sutherland, but it was a fine example of the technology of the reality the Sutherland was currently in. Not that it was of any importance. Fortunately the Sutherland was phased, so there was no risk of being detected, as a phased ship is impossible to detect.
The Sutherland manoeuvred into an orbit around the systems sun between the two outermost planets and powered down its sub slip engines as it switched to manoeuvring jets only. That done, there was only one thing left to do, but that would require manual control.
On the Sutherland's bridge a lion sat at the helm. He was the lone crewmember of the ship. He was a Hybrid, capable of many things, but created by his people to be the usual ultimate soldier. That was for a war long since passed though. His current task had been given to him over fifty years ago, to charter the 'other realities', and that was what he was doing. The Hybrid lion rarely followed orders to the letter, who does; he was running late because of that. He had been off doing little jobs to keep himself amused, but he had finally decided to leave the reality he was in though, for more than one reason.
"Oh gods," groaned Kit. He hated log reports and was fortunately coming to the end of over an hours worth of dictating his findings to the logbook. "Alright, resume log..." he sighed. The computer blipped in compliance and started to record. "Note 846, Solice is again known as Earth, the human specie is present on this and all but three of the other planets we inhabit, see planet files 1065 for details. Note 847, Other natural evolution species are also present from their respective planets, for example, the Rakshans, see planet file 3672 for details and planet files listed in index for other species... Oh two last notes, Note 848, the human specie of this reality have 'also', emphasis that, taken it upon themselves to mess around with nature. (Not mentioning anyone from our reality.) They range from Morphs, to taurs. The Morph group are, as usual, similar to Solicians, and the taurs are also logged. Note 849, interesting note, It appears the Chakats have made an appearance in this reality. Though unfortunately, and rather surprisingly, they are the creation of the human specie and have not naturally evolved... End round up log of reality 0172."
The computer stopped recording and Kit cursed out loud.
"Sekhmet!" he snarled angrily. He hated humans. Ever since he had found out what they were really like. Every time he heard the word stuff, he shivered. In his own reality humans had never existed. Not even in fairy tales. This is what made it a rather odd reality, for most of the realities Kit had passed through had always had humans in it, even if they were just the creation of another specie. He shivered as he thought of the strange coincidences that had given his reality a similar history to that of many average human realities. The main difference to note between his and the human realities was that the human realities always seemed to take the war path to deal with disputes, not that Kit's reality hadn't had it's own fair share of wars.
'The sooner I'm out of here the better.' He thought to himself. He powered up the 'jump' drive for the jump back to his own reality. The main reason he had wanted to find and unpopulated region of space.
The main engines powered up and a dark blue light began to pulse from the Aft' to the for'd section of the two main engines. The pulses quickened and soon were a blur. Seconds later, the for'd sections of the main engines began to glow as they prepared to engage. All of a sudden a huge explosion knocked the star cruiser off course. All power to the engines failed and the Sutherland began to drift. Fortunately Main power onboard the main section of the ship was generated separately in a self contained fusion generator near the heart of the ship. Kit routed power to the manoeuvring jets and the Sutherland drew slowly back into its original orbit between the two outer planets of the system.
"What in the name of the gods was that?" said Kit to himself. The computer was quick to reply to his unasked question.
"Sensors show major damage to the for'd section of the starboard main engine." Replied the Computer.
"Bring it up on the mini screen." Said Kid, He used the word mini screen as the main screen covered some considerable dimensions. A mini screen appeared in mid air several feet away from the helm position showing an image of the damaged engine.
"Oh no," he said hopelessly, "Not the crystals, anythin' but the crystals!" he said, almost in a panic. He leapt up from his seat and almost flew into the deck lift. The doors closed behind him as he hastened his destination to the lift itself. "Main starboard engine, Now!" he cried hurriedly. There was a brief whoosh, and barely three seconds later the doors opened.
"I said main starboard engine, not main engine arm," said Kit angrily as he realized he was not as the specified destination.
"Unable to comply. Sensors show lift corridor to main starboard engine is open to space." Replied the computer. "Service ducts are available, Force fields are in place to allow greater access to damaged areas." It finished.
"Damn." Said Kit as he walked from the lift to the service hatch that stood opposite. After opening it he took off his uniform, leaving him in only a silky black body suit. He arched his back before dropping to all fours and morphing into a natural leopard. His body suit moulded itself to fit the new form as he morphed. He hopped up into the service duct that easily accommodated his new form. Not wanting to waste any more time he set off at a brisk pace down the duct that ran along the interior of the engine arm. It was simple affair navigating the ducts as he turned left as he reached the engine itself and headed to the for'd section. One last turn to the left brought him face to face with a force field, beyond which was open space, and the remnants of over five meters of the leading edge of the starboard engine.
"Oh Gods!" cried Kit, "Not a human reality... Why in Sekhmet's name did it have to be a human reality?!" he groaned and swung his head to the right and hit the facia panel of a junction box hard. "No! No! No!" he snarled hitting the panel a further three times. He stopped banging the panel, which was now unrecognisable from its original form and dropped down flat on the ducts floor plate dejectedly. "Just my luck the Midland was lost." He sighed as he thought about the Sutherlands sister ship. He wasn't lost in his sorrows for long as an incoming hail brought him back to the real world.
"Incoming hail from Starcorps exploration ship James Cook. The ship is approximately Nine hundred meters off starboard at grid reference V014, H103. Scans indicate a friendly hail." Informed the Computer.
"It's that ship isn't it?" Said Kit as he stood, turned and headed off back along the duct.
"Affirmative. Star Corps exploration ship James Cook." repeated the computer.
Kit hopped out into the corridor next to his uniform. He morphed back to his Leonine form and had put his uniform back on in the blink of and eye.
"How long da ya think they'll wait until they sent a boarding party?" Kit asked the computer casually as he stepped into the lift. "Bridge." The doors shut and the lift took off
"Two hours, thirty three minutes." Replied the Computer.
"Let me guess, you checked their procedures log didn't you." Said Kit, as the doors opened onto the bride.
He headed to the COM point, located behind the helm position on the upper section of the bridge and sat down.
"Illuminate the main screen an' bring up all tactical data as normal... no skip that," he said as he thought about what he was saying, 'It's a pop gun against a cannon scenario,' he thought to himself as a slight grin spread across his muzzle. "Just the main screen OK"
"And stop saying Affirmative. It gets annoying after 50 years. Use that other personality you have."
"Fine, Be that way." Replied the Computer.
'Great, now what have I done,' thought Kit.
"The James Cook is hailing again Kit." Said the Computer.
"Tenner bet it's a human at the controls." Said Kit.
"Your on," replied the Computer, before opening a com channel. A mini screen appeared in mid air several feet from the com, much like the one at the helm and a wolf morph appeared.
'Bugger.' Thought Kit. There was a muffled giggle from the Computer but before Kit could do anything about it the captain of the James Cook spoke.
"Alien vessel, I am Captain William Lynch of the Starcorps exploration ship James Cook. We recorded a sizeable explosion coming from your ship's location and would like to offer our assistance." Stated the Wolf morph.
'Yeah, whatever.' Thought Kit before replying. "I'm captain Silva of the Solician Starvessel Sutherland, thanks for the offer captain, I'll hav' t' check the damage first t' see if y' can help. I'm afraid my ship's technology is very different to what you're used to y'see."
"Very well. We'll stay here just in case. James Cook out!" replied Captain Lynch.
There was a moment's silence as Kit just stared at the James Cook via the main screen, it was soon broken by the Computer though.
"You lost the bet Kit." It said almost mockingly.
"And what would you do with a tenner?" replied Kit as he looked back at the com controls in front of him.
"Accept my winnings gracefully." Replied the Computer.
"I think I preferred y' the other way." Said Kit as he checked over the damage list on the com controls. "Oh wonderful. The starboard arm won't raise. Looks like we'll have to separate them and find a good planet to land on for repairs."
"It's only the hydraulics." Said the Computer, "I would recommend asking captain Lynch for assistance. I know that they use hydraulics in many of their designs."
"Old technology is always the best eh?" said Kit as he continued to search the damage list. "Quite a few servos are blown in the main engine section. Are the regeneration units up to fixin' them?" he asked the Computer.
"Yes, but you know you would prefer someone living to do them, so ask Captain Lynch for assistance." Said the Computer.
"Pushy, pushy." Muttered Kit. "Alright I'll ask him. If only to get everythin' fixed a little faster." Kit suddenly thought of something he had forgot, he stopped the Computer from hailing to check on something. "Wait, don't hail just yet. I've got to check the phase units." Micro seconds later he was looking at the short damage list for the phase unit itself. "Great, how did that blow a relay? Oh well, at least the secondary units are up and running so they can't scan us."
"It took you that long to figure out that they could see us. You are getting slow Kit." Said the Computer.
"Shut up and hail them." Replied Kit.
"Opening a channel." Said the Computer. The mini screen reappeared in front of the com position and the bridge of the James Cook was displayed with the captain sitting in his command chair.
"It looks like I may need you assistance after all captain." Said Kit.
"We're happy to help captain, how may we be of service?" replied Captain Lynch.
"Umm? Well if it's possible, I'd like to borrow a couple of repair teams off you to service the blown servos and whatever else needs replacing, and if you have a couple of people who know something about hydraulics I could use them to help me repair part of the engines." Said Kit.
"That's fine with me captain." Began Captain Lynch, "The first team are ready now, there's just one minor problem. We can't seem to scan your ship for a place to beam them too."
"Hang on a sec," said Kit as he adjusted the secondary phase unit to allow for beaming in. "There you go. Oh if you don't mind, could you beam the first lot to the bridge. It's just that I'm here and I don't want them beamin' into an area unattended. There's only me aboard y'see. Oh yeah, could I have a word in private before you send anyone across captain?"
"Of course, if you could wait a few moments I'll go to my ready room and we can continue there if that's alright with you." Said Lynch.
"That would be fine. Thanks." Said Kit as the screen went blank for a few moments.
"Let me guess, you don't want any humans aboard do you." Said the Computer suddenly.
"First prize to the smart ass computer." Said Kit just before the screen picked up and captain Lynch appeared in his ready room.
"Right, what do you want to talk about captain?" asked Lynch.
"Well, I just want to ask that you don't send any human crew members across. I know it's not very diplomatic of me but I have had some very bad experiences with them and I don't think I could trust one aboard my ship because of that." Explained Kit.
"I see," said Lynch, "Well, if that's what you want captain I think I'll be able to sort it out. Thank you for informing me of that."
"No, thank you for understanding." Said Kit. "You can send the help over anytime you feel like it."
"Alright captain. They'll be with you in a few minutes, James Cook out." Said captain Lynch.
"Your right. That wasn't very Diplomatic of you." Said the Computer.
"O-shut up. We'll do the standard wipe afterwards anyway. Personally I think I'd prefer them not knowing we were here anyway. Besides it wouldn't do any good to our reputation around here would it."
"Are you actually saying you want to hang out around here, in this quadrant, of this galaxy, with humans?" asked the Computer.
"When put like that, no. But I might go and see what it's like in the Rakshan star empire or something. That'd be cool, all that training with guns and whatnot. It's just a shame their not as strong as I am. I'd really like a proper challenge and not just another REC room sim."
"Good for you." Said the Computer, "I almost thought you were becoming soft." It continued. "Oh and the first team are beaming over now." It announced. "You're lucky. They're both taurs. One male red foxtaur named Garrek Redfox, and a Chakat by the name of Goldfur."
"Oh joy," said Kit in a mock cubbish tone. He turned and looked round to the small open area to his right and watched as the two taurs materialized there. He stood and stepped a little closer just before they had fully materialized and put on a welcoming smile as he looked down at them.
"Welcome aboard the SSV Sutherland. I'm Kit Silva, just call me Kit though, 'cause I hate bein' called captain Silva. Gets anoyin' y' see." He held out a hand and the Chakat took it.
"Hello, my name is Chakat Goldfur, child of Longstripe and Desertsand" they parted hands and Goldfur gave a, not completely surprised Kit, a Chakat greeting hug before he had time to refuse. Shi pulled back and allowed the foxtaur to introduce himself, or at least try to.
"Err... hello I'm err Garrek... Redfox." He seemed bashful, or very shy in the least as he offered Kit a hand.
"Nice t' meet y'," said Kit as he shook Garrek's hand, "and nice t' meet you too." He said as he turned back to Goldfur.
"How can we be of assistance Kit?" Asked Goldfur as shi took a good look around the bridge, "If the rest of your ship is this impressive I'm surprised you need us."
"It gets a little lonely bein' the only one aboard. T' be honest that's why I accepted your captains offer of help. Anyway back t' business. First off, are you two any good with hydraulics or are you two just the advance party?"
"Actually, we are the two that are good with hydraulics," replied Goldfur, "or to be fair, Garrek is. He's a bit of a wiz when it comes to fixing things aren't you Garrek." Shi looked at Garrek and he nodded, almost blushing in embarrassment.
"Yes." Said Garrek in a small voice. "I'm not sure I'll be all that good with your technology though. It looks very... um, different." He continued.
"That's no problem," said Kit as he walked over to the command chair. He picked up two silver strips of metal that were resting on the seat and then walked back. He then offered one of the strips to both Garrek and Goldfur. "Here, put these on."
"Err... I don't mean to be rude, but, How?" asked Goldfur.
"Oh, sorry, There like shades, if y' know what they are. You just hold one end and hold them up over your eyes. The strips'll do the rest." Explained Kit as he mimicked putting on a pair.
Both Garrek and Goldfur looked down at the strips and, a little reluctantly, put them on as Kit had instructed. They were both taken by surprise when the strips left their grasp and moulded themselves over their eyes until they looked like silver sunshades. A large amount of information was thrown up like a mini screen in mid air in front of both taurs eyes as they looked through the now shade like strips. The most noticeable being the words "Log On" followed by their respective names.
"Anythin' y' want t' know, just think about it and as long as it's in one of the computers data bases, or it's not sensitive material, it'll be displayed in front of y' eyes." Said Kit.
"So these are linked directly to the ships main computer then?" asked Goldfur.
"One of them, yes. The ship has three main computers." Said Kit.
"Oh, I see." Said Goldfur.
"Right then," said Kit, "We'd better get started on the engines. Then when the other teams get here I can go and sort them out before I go back an' help you." He continued as he turned and headed for the lift door. "Come on, let's go."
Garrek and Goldfur followed Kit as the doors into the lift opened, they all walked into the reasonably spacious cabin and the doors closed behind them.
"Main starboard engine arm, for'd section," said Kit, there was a brief whoosh and the doors opened again.
"That was fast," said Goldfur.
"Their the latest craze on the cruise liners where I come from." Said Kit as he followed the two taurs out of the lift.
"This way," said Kit as he turned right and headed down a short corridor. As he approached the only door on the left it opened and he walked on through without even hesitating. The two taurs followed him through into a large room that held three huge hydraulic pistons, each one of which was at least six foot in diameter. The one furthest to the right had been severely damaged and to both taurs disbelief, the bulkhead behind the piston was open to space.
"Don't worry about the hole in the wall, the force field won't fail so we're safe." Said Kit.
Garrek, who up until then had been keeping to himself suddenly walked off towards the hole. He stopped directly in front of the hole and slowly raised a hand, put out his index finger and proceeded to touch the force field. He was surprised to find his finger passed straight through and quickly pulled his finger back as the intense cold of space beyond the field hit the tip of his finger.
"Cold out there ain't it," said Kit as he and Goldfur walked up beside him.
"Very." Replied Garrek.
"Sorry t' spoil y' fun but if it's possible I'd like t' get started, no offence or anythin' but it would take about ten years to explain how everythin' on the Sutherland works. And that's only because you're an engineer already."
"Oh, ok." Said Garrek as he watched Kit walk over to the damaged piston.
"Now then, the first thing you aught to know is that the term hydraulics is used loosely as the pistons you see in front of you all use, for lack of a better word, electricity instead of hydraulic fluid. It works in the same basic way though and the shades'll automatically change the information you receive int' words you'll understand so it'll be dead easy t' figure out." Began Kit, he was interrupted though as the computer informed him of another hail from the James Cook.
"Incoming hail from captain Lynch, Kit." Said the computer suddenly.
"Bring up a screen in front of me and open the channel while y'r at it." Said Kit.
A small screen appeared in mid air a few feet in front of where Kit was standing and Captain Lynch appeared on it.
"We have two more teams of two ready for you captain, and I can get a few more ready if you need them." Said Lynch.
"They'll do," replied Kit, "Just have them beamed to my location an' I'll show them where t' start."
"They'll be with you in a few minutes captain, James Cook out." Said Lynch.
"I like that," said Goldfur as shi watched the screen disappear from view.
"Yeah it's great havin' hollow emitters on every deck. Actually I was expectin' them to be offline, well, at least that's something we don't have t' repair." Said Kit as the two teams materialized a short distance away. He walked over them and smiled lightly as he saw that there were no humans amongst them, he gave the small group, which consisted of a vix morph, a wolf morph and two skunk morphs a rather simple yet warm welcome. "Hi, welcome aboard the SSV Sutherland, I'm Kit Silva, Just call me Kit though, if you'd like to follow me I'll take you to where you're needed. Any questions I'll answer on the way." Said Kit, as he lead the two teams out of the room leaving Garrek and Goldfur alone.
"I wonder what their mechs look like?" said Garrek unexpectedly.
"What made you think of mechs?" asked Goldfur as shi headed over to the damaged piston, 'Hmm? I wonder where we start?' shi thought to hirself as shi looked it over.
"When Lynch said he wanted someone who knew about hydraulics, for some reason I had expected to be repairing damaged mechs." Said Garrek.
"Oh, I see." said Goldfur.
Their conversation carried on as they began their work. Both, for some reason, couldn't help but look over their shoulder at the hole in the bulkhead, though they were somewhat relieved to see that two repair bots had begun work on repairing the damage and had to stop briefly as they observed the bots simply scan the tattered edges of the hole and beam in perfectly fitting sections of hull plating that they attached with some sort of invisible weld. Besides that everything went smoothly.
___5.Out and about___
Schneider was out on one of his many trips he made as part of his job. He worked as a delivery tiger, delivering anything that needed delivering, collecting or just needed moving from one site to another. He was proud of his job, mainly because the transportation business was so dominated by Quange, a kind of horse taur much bigger than chakats or foxtaurs, and he had somehow managed to get the job instead of one of them.
Today was like any other day, and Schneider knew it would end as any other day. But he didn't mind the repetitiveness that came with that fact. Just so long as he didn't have to think to hard he was content to be, at least until he finally managed to get enough money together to make it to Ngorogoro.
"Where is it?" growled Schneider as he looked about at the signs at the junction he had stopped at. "Ah, yes, Damn! I'm in the wrong lane. Why on Earth did they have to change the road lay out around here." He flipped the indicator to move left and was relived to find a PTV to his left let him go in front of it. He waved his thanks and quickly manoeuvred into the correct lane. "Great, five more miles and I'll be there." He said happily noting the distance on the sign.
It didn't take long before he was pulling into the loading depot of the Tiberien Companies eastern site, the company that Schneider currently worked for. Jessie Cormorant, a Quange, fellow deliverer and co-worker waved to him as he reversed his van up to a loading window and switched the engine off. He opened the door and hopped down into her arms.
"How's my little kitty doin'?" She asked as she gave him a tight hug.
"Can't... breath!" came Schneider's muffled reply as his muzzle was inadvertently pressed between Jessie's breasts.
"Oh! Sorry honey." Said Jessie as she released him from her hug.
"It's ok." Replied Schneider, he was breathing a little heavy but he was well enough to make a quick comment, "I couldn't think of a better way to die." He said with a big grin on his muzzle, he bared his teeth as he did so causing Jessie to back off slightly.
"Whoa, close that mouth of yours. You know all those sharp teeth give me the jitters." She said in a slightly shaky voice.
"Aw Jessie. You know I'd never use them on anything but dead meat." Said Schneider as they started to walk towards the rest room.
"That's what worries me." Replied Jessie.
"Should we change the subject?" asked Schneider.
"That's ok with me." Said Jessie. "So, what have you been up to recently?"
"Not much really." Began Schneider as they reached the rest room door, Schneider opened it and held it open for Jessie as he continued. "I did bump into a foxtaur the other day though."
"So what's so special about that then, beside the fact that foxtaurs are rare around here?"
"This foxtaur gave me two weeks worth of pay because he bumped into me." Said Schneider as they sat down at a special table designed for both taurs and bipeds to sit at.
"That much just for a simple knock! Where is he? I wouldn't mind getting' bumped for that much!" exclaimed Jessie.
"Actually, it was a little more than a simple knock. He nearly flattened me, I never knew a foxtaur could be that heavy." he said as he started to think about what had happened. "Oh yes, he dropped this to." He said as he pulled the little K broach off his shirt and handed it to her. "Its really neat, it doesn't look as if it has any kind of fastening device on it but it will stick to anything."
Jessie looked the broach over and tried it on her own shirt, "Hmm? I like it. I wonder what it is though. Do you know?" She asked.
"It's a letter K..." began Schneider.
"I know that much Kitty litter brains." Butted in Jessie. "I mean what is it made of and does it have any purpose."
"Oh, sorry. No I don't know, well actually... err?" Said Schneider.
"Spit it out then."
"Well, when I asked him his name he said it was chaos. I was just thinking, maybe he spells it with K, it could be a personalized broach in that case."
"Mmm? It possible if you think of it like that."
"I could be completely wrong."
"Oh well. Anyway, do you want somthin' to eat, or drink?" asked Jessie as she handed him the broach after pulling it off her shirt. "Or are we just going to starve?"
"Erm? I'll have a cola as usual, oh and an American style burger." Said Schneider.
"Right," replied Jessie as she pressed the service button on the wall beside her.
"May I help you?" came a friendly female Indian voice from a speaker next to the button.
"We'd like to order please." Said Jessie.
"Very well, may I take your order please?" asked the voice from the speaker.
"I'll have an Oatmeal special and a black tea with two sugars, horse taur size. And an American style burger with a cola, morph size please." Ordered Jessie.
"Thank you, they will be with you in a few minutes. Please pay at the service bot." Ended the voice.
"You know, that sounds stranger each time I here it." Said Schneider, "The way she says pay "at" the bot I mean."
"I know what you mean. But for someone who doesn't speak English as their first language I think she does pretty well." Replied Jessie.
"Yeah, your right." There was a few moments silence before Schneider continued. "Do you know anything about chakats?" he asked for no real reason in particular.
"Never heard of 'em, but with a name like that I'd bet they have somethin' in common with cats." Replied Jessie.
"Oh they do. I found this info file on them called "A Guide To Chakats" and it's taught me quite a bit about them. They look like cat taurs, and you can probably visualize that, there the same size as foxtaurs and apparently they don't have any specific fur pattern, they can be, quite literally, any colour under the sun."
"Even yellow with pink polka dots?"
Schneider giggled cubbishly at the thought, "Yes I suppose so." He couldn't help giggling again before he continued. "That's not the weirdest thing about them though."
"Apparently their hermaphrodites."
"And that means?"
"Their both male and female at the same time."
"That sounds like fun to me, especially in bed." Said Jessie just before the service bot pulled up to their table.
"One Oatmeal special, one black tea with two sugars, one American style burger and one cola." Said the bot as it put a tray down on the table with the food on it. "Please insert pay card, notes or coins into the correct slot." It continued as it held up a modified arm with the slots to pay on the end.
"I'll get it." Said Schneider as he quickly pulled out his pay card and slipped it into the correct slot.
"Thanks," said Jessie as she took her Oatmeal special and her tea off the tray then moved Schneider's burger and cola off the tray and paced the tray aside just in time for Schneider's card to be returned.
Schneider pocketed his card and the bot left the table on its next errand.
"So, where were we?" asked Jessie.
"We were talking about chakats being hermaphrodites." Replied Schneider.
"Oh, yeah. Really sounds like fun in bed." She said with a grin.
"I'll say." Said Schneider.
"It's great bein' bi isn't it." Said Jessie with a happy sigh.
"Hey keep it down will you. I don't want the world to know." Said Schneider as he worriedly looked around.
"What's wrong with that. If you can't be honest about your sexuality you should really go see a psychiatrist about it..." she was cut off in mid flow by Schneider.
"Ok I get the idea but I'd rather ease this out into the open than go around advertising it." He said
"Right then. Shall we eat?" asked Schneider.
"Fine by me." Said Jessie as they both tucked into their lunch.
Isis wearily tapped in a minor course correction into the helm control. It had been four days since shi had left Kreyal and the boredom was already setting in. Shi sighed and thought of next week when hir heat would finally be at it's peek, shi couldn't help but sigh again as the build up to that period was in full swing and shi was desperate even now for a partner to bed with.
"A female, that'll do," shi said to hirself as shi continued to wish to find and rescue someone in a life pod. "I don't mind, even if I am going into heat. I can deal with being a homosexual chakat. If that's what I would be?" shi pondered the thought for a few moments before trying to change the subject. Putting hir fingers on hir temples shi gently rubbed them, "Ok now, just forget that I'm going into heat, work with me body, just relax... I've still got the artefacts to document, and the special brew, no matter how much I dislike it." Shi muttered. "Oh please let me find someone before my heat sets in!" shi almost shouted as shi pleaded to whatever god or gods might hear her.
Shi eventually decided to have a drink and headed off to the little galley situated just behind the cockpit. It was a cramped affair, which only made sense, as it was a runabout shi was on and not a true starship. The problem was made worse by the fact that it was not a runabout designed with taurs in mind as it was an old ship converted some time ago for use by the archaeological group Isis worked for. Shi quickly poured a cup of coffee and squeezed into the space between the table and the wall to the cockpit. Shi put hir cup down and picked up a PADD shi had left on the table earlier.
"Mmm? Nope, still agitated," shi said to hirself after reading a few lines of a book shi was half way through reading. It would have helped if the book hadn't been an erotic one, unfortunately in hir present state of mind, and with hir lack of other things to do, shi couldn't help it. Shi put the PADD down and downed the coffee in one go. As usual shi lightly burned hir throat, fortunately for hir though shi had done it many times before and hir throat was beginning to get resistant to it. That said shi did move quickly to the galley sink and drank a few mouthfuls straight from the cold tap.
After washing the cup shi headed back into the cockpit and sat back down at the helm. "Perhaps I should try pacing?" shi thought to hirself. "Ugh, what am I thinking, I can't pace about for two weeks in this thing." Shi thought on. Shi looked out of the main window in front of hir and hir spirits lifted slightly as the runabout approached the third planet of the star system shi was travelling through. "Ah ha, something different to do!" shi said happily as shi decided to scan the planet as hir runabout passed by.
Unfortunately for Isis shi was going to get a closer view of the planet than shi had expected as no sooner had shi prepared the sensors ready for scanning the port side nacelle was struck by some unknown object. Before Isis knew what was happening the runabout had veered completely out of control.
The runabout shuddered violently and Isis was thrown hard against the helm control panel. Fortunately hir tough chakat physiology meant that shi received only minor injuries and shi was soon trying to get the runabout back under control.
"What the?" shi exclaimed as shi found the runabout was caught in the planets gravity. "But that's impossible," shi continued, as shi looked out of the window at the planet. An odd blue/green mist had encompassed the entire planet and was also around the runabout. Isis was to busy trying to keep the runabout steady to scan the mist which was beginning to pull the runabout faster towards the planet.
"Come on, steady up!" said Isis through clenched teeth as shi held on tightly to the floor with hir foot claws and tapped furiously away at the helm control panel. The runabout did eventually smooth out as Isis regained control of the manoeuvring thrusters but unfortunately the speed was still being controlled by the strange mist. The runabout was soon entering the planets atmosphere and all of a sudden the mist disappeared. "Thank heaven for that!" said Isis as shi was able to slow the runabout down before the thick upper atmosphere could severely burn the underside as it was already becoming critically hot. Unfortunately Isis could not get the main engines to work so shi was forced to continue entering the atmosphere.
The runabout was easy to control in the planets atmosphere and Isis was soon scanning the rock terrain for a place to land. It took little more than ten minutes to both find a landing area and land the runabout and as soon as shi had powered down the engines Isis almost collapsed onto the helm panel. As soon as shi hit shi yowled and shot back up into a sitting position clasping hir right shoulder.
'Agghh Ouchie, looks like I did more damage than I thought.' Shi thought to hirself as shi gently felt it, shi tensed as another bolt of pain hit hir and soon realized it was broken. Shi stood and made hir way to the medipac locker at the rear of the cockpit. Shi carefully opened it up with hir left hand and had too jump back as the contents spilled out onto the floor. 'Oh wonderful.' Shi thought after the pain had died down from the sudden jolt shi had just given hir shoulder. 'Well at least there's nothing else broken.' Shi continued as shi realized that no other part of hir body hurt to badly. Shi lay down and sifted through the medipac contents and found a hypospray filled with a light sedative and didn't hesitate to use it on hir aching shoulder.
"Oooh, that's good." Shi said to hirself as shi put the hypospray down and looked about for a bandage to use as a sling. Shi found one and had a terrible time trying to put it on with hir one free hand. To make things worse hir shoulder had started to swell despite the sedative that should have also stopped that from happening. "Wonderful." Shi groaned as shi finished tying the sling up and winced at the pain of the swelling. Shi stood up and looked hirself over for any cuts or bruises and was glad to find non. That done shi headed to the helm once again and scanned the runabout for damages. A long list began to run down the mini screen in the console and shi groaned again as the communication array appeared on the screen. "I'd better send a distress beacon up come to think about it." Shi said to hirself. Shi paused the scan for damage and proceeded to launch the beacon. Unfortunately that was something else that was damaged. "Damn! Not now, please not now!" shi pleaded in vain. "Looks like I'm going to have to brush up on my micro electronics." Shi muttered to hirself as shi turned round and headed off to the starboard docking hatch.
Isis quickly stopped before leaving the cockpit as shi decided it would be a good idea to check the atmosphere first. Shi stopped at a mini console just behind the helm and used it to perform an analysis of the atmosphere.
"Hmm. The oxygen level is a little low but that shouldn't matter," shi said as shi looked at the results. Shi then headed off to the starboard docking hatch and was soon standing outside looking at a two meter long gash in the starboard nacelle. "Why me?" shi asked hirself before looking up at the communication array only to find it missing. "Great." Was all shi could think of saying. Shi decided to go and check hir food supply wasn't damage and set off at a slow trudge as shi started to lose hope of being found.
Deep inside the for'd section of the Sutherlands starboard engine Kit and Garrek were hard at work. They had long since completed work on the damaged piston along with Goldfur's help and were now well on the way to finishing the damaged components of the engine itself. Surprisingly Garrek had become rather talkative over the period he had been around Kit to which the computer had secretly accused him of playing with Garrek's mind. Kit had had non of that though and swore that he had not done a thing to Garrek.
"I've never been inside an engine this big before you know." Said Garrek as he pulled out a burnt circuit and replaced it with new one. "In fact I've never been inside an engine before for that matter."
"Shame you won't remember it.' Thought Kit. "Well, there's a first time f'r everythin' isn't there." He said. "Be careful as you put that in, there infamously known for falling apart if put in wrong."
Garrek slowed his actions down as he took great care not to damage the circuit. "It won't damage anything if it does fall apart will it?" he asked nervously.
"Nah, it'll just vaporize the ship is all." Replied Kit casually.
"Eeep!" squeaked Garrek as he let go of the circuit. It dropped to the metal plating he was stood on and shattered in the process.
"I was only kiddin'." Said Kit in and understanding sort of way. "Tell y' what, I'll put that in and you scan this plasma coupling, I've finished repairing it now."
"Right." said Garrek in a more confident tone. He picked up a scanner from the small tool bag Kit had provided for him and swapped places with Kit himself. He looked down at the scanner and smiled lightly. 'Scan the plasma coupling,' he thought, before holding the little devise up in front of the Plasma coupling itself. Garrek had grown to like the scanner for more than one reason, the main one being that it was thought activated and he needed only to think what component to scan and the shades he still wore passed the message onto the scanner, he then only needed to put it at a suitable distance for it to work at and let it do it's job. It was something completely new to him, despite the abundance of technology he was used to, a thought activated scanner of this calibre was unique to him. A mini display suddenly appeared in mid air in front of his face stating that the plasma coupling was in full working order. "The Plasma coupling is in full working order." He said as Kit turned to face him.
"Great," replied Kit. "That's everythin' done then. We just have to start it up now. 'Kit to Goldfur... we're ready for start up whenever you are'." He said to the com.
"Goldfur here, I'll start her up now then, Goldfur out."
"Uh oh," said Kit as he looked at the plasma coil Garrek was stood in front of. "Quick, run for it!" he said urgently as the coils began to glow. He grabbed Garrek's right hand and continued to pull him swiftly towards the service duct hatch they had entered the engine by. In fact Kit was pulling Garrek so quickly that he lifted off the deck plates completely, he took the opportunity to try and look back to see what Kit was running from, his eyes opened wide as he watched the injectors vent the blue plasma and the coils ignite the volatile gas. A huge ball of blue flame exploded before his eyes and rushed towards them. Luckily the hatch was relatively close, and before Garrek knew it he was inside the service duct. A force field quickly came online as soon as they had passed through the hatch and the plasma flames whooshed passed.
Kit moved over to the hatch door and shut it tight. "Looks like the safeties are out too." He said casually to a heavily breathing and quite shocked Garrek.
"Err... um? Err? Eeep." Managed Garrek as he lay partially on his side, wide eyed and staring at Kit.
"Yeah, it was a blast wasn't it." Said Kit, "Anyway, I think I'll overlook the fact that your mate just tried to incinerate us. Besides, I seriously doubt shi mean it, unless what I know about chakats is wrong."
"Err... how did you move that fast?" asked Garrek.
"It's because I'm a hybrid. My species was created to use the full potential of our bodies, speed is just one of the many things that has been enhanced in that way." Explained Kit.
"...Oh, I was wondering what kind of species you really were... you look a lot like lion morphs... so err..." Said Garrek.
"Yeah we do don't we, anyway, now you know." Said Kit, "Let's get back to the corridor eh, then you and Goldfur can get back to your ship and we can all go our separate ways." He waited for Garrek to start moving along the service duct and followed him at an equal pace. They were soon standing in the corridor at the end of the duct and Goldfur walked over from the service panel shi had been working at.
"Well I've finished fixing up the panel," said Goldfur as shi stopped in front of them, "And the engine is running at minimal power... say, what happened to you?" shi asked Garrek as shi noticed he was a little shaken up.
"We were still in the engine when you started it." Explained Kit.
"You were?" said Goldfur almost in a panic, "But the scanners said that there wasn't anybody in there?"
"The safeties need fixin', that's all." Said Kit, "It's nothin' to worry about."
"But I almost killed you, how can you say it's nothing to worry about?" began Goldfur.
"Listen, Don't worry about it. Ok?" said Kit as he looked hir in the eyes.
"Ok." Replied Goldfur in a surprisingly calm voice.
Garrek looked at hir with a confused expression on his face. If anything he knew that what had just happened wasn't normal but he was still a little shaken from being in the engine when it had started to question what was going on around him so he decided to keep quiet.
"Come on, let's get back t' the bridge and see how well we did." Said Kit as he headed off to the lift. Both taurs followed him and it wasn't long until they were all standing on the upper section of the bridge.
"Right lets see," said Kit as he hopped into the com chair and brought up a new considerably shortened damage list with a few taps of the panel in front of him. "Hmm? Everythin' seems ok. Shall we take a run around the galaxy to see?" he asked Garrek and Goldfur.
"We'd love to but I don't think we have the time I'm afraid." Replied Goldfur.
"Nonsense. We could be on the other side of the galaxy and back before your ship left the star system." Said Kit.
"Alright then. I'd like to see that." Said Goldfur. "Clear it with our captain and we'd love to join you."
"Great," replied Kit, "Computer, open a channel." He said to the computer. The Computer complied and the mini screen reappeared in front of the helm as usual. "Hi Captain, I'd just like to ask if it's ok to take Garrek and Goldfur on a little test flight to make sure everythin's workin' right. It shouldn't take more than twenty minutes."
"That's fine with me Captain. And you can take as long as you like to make sure. We can always work a little over time if we're late." Replied Lynch.
"I'll make sure you're not captain. And thanks, we'll be back in around half an hour then."
"Fine, see you then. James Cook out." Finished Lynch, the mini screen disappeared and Kit turned to Goldfur and Garrek.
"Ever wanted to see the Andromeda galaxy?" asked Kit.
"Pardon?" asked Goldfur.
"Do you want to visit another galaxy?"
"Do you mean?"
"Yep. Let's power up and go shall we." Said Kit as he moved from the com point to the helm.
Captain Lynch watched as the Sutherlands engines powered up and fired two white beam of some sort out in front of its bow from two canons that had extended out of the nose of both engine units. In less than the blink of an eye the Sutherland's huge mass was pulled through a white hole that had been opened by the two beams converging about one hundred meters in front of where the Sutherland had been, and disappeared.
"I wonder what type of drive it uses?" he mused before sipping his tea.
Schneider tapped his claws on the dashboard of his van. He sighed and looked at the clock illuminated in the lower left corner of his windscreen and slumped down as another minute ticked by.
"Where are you?" he growled, as he looked out of the windscreen around at the mass of people beyond on the busy market street he had parked on. He soon spotted Jessie's large form coming towards the van and sat up in anticipation. "Finally." He said as he pulled on his belt. The passenger door opened and Jessie hauled herself into the cab. "You must be the world champion if it takes you that long to go."
"Ah, be quiet an' drive. It's hard enough to find a public toilet in this town that caters to quange without people like you tryin' to rush us." Replied Jessie.
"Sorry." Said Schneider as he started the engine.
"Good, cause you still take a long time even if you don't have to find one first."
"I do not!" huffed Jessie, "And can we get off this subject. It's not somethin' you should talk about when you're talkin' to a lady."
"You're no lady, you're a quange."
"And what's that suppose to mean?"
"Nothing. I just mean a lady is a female human, you're a horse taur mare."
"Oh. Sorry, I forgot you were one of those."
"One of what?"
"Nothing." Said Jessie as she pulled on her belt and looked out of the window.
"It better hadn't be," said Schneider before he set the stick to drive, pressed the accelerator lightly, took a quick look around to see if anyone or anything was coming before releasing the hand break and pulling away from the kerb all in one fluid movement.
It didn't take long before they had reached their destination, the Tiberien Company's South city site where Jessie usually parked her company van for the night.
"So where do I park?" asked Schneider, as he paused his van at the gates.
"Over there," said Jessie pointing to an empty bay. "Back it in, it's the same as at your site, just give the go-card to the attendant. Heh, they'll probably give ya my load in the mornin' if your not back quick enough."
"Then I'd better be back, early. I hope they fix your van up before tomorrow, I'd hate for you to be stuck packing or something." Said Schneider as he manoeuvred his van around and backed it into the bay Jessie had pointed to. He switched off the engine and they climbed out of the cab and met in front of the van.
"I hope so too." said Jessie as she continued the conversation on, "Not that I don't need the exercise." She said with a grin.
Both Jessie and Schneider looked over to where the voice had come from.
"Hi Kamali." Called Jessie as she realized who it was.
Kamali joined the two morphs before he continued.
"Mr. Shaw would like a word with you." He said to Jessie.
"Really? You know what it's about?" asked Jessie.
"Just a word, he said it was not serious."
"Aah, Then it's probably about my van." Said Jessie. "Thanks Kamali."
"You are welcome Jessie."
"See ya later," said Jessie as she headed off towards Mr. Shaw's office. She called back to Schneider as she walked, "Come on, Tony won't mind if you come with me."
Schneider quickly began to follow her as she headed through a door into the main building. She flashed her pass card to the security guard as she passed, Schneider did the same and they passed unhindered into a long corridor.
"Is it me or does this look a lot like my site's main building on the inside?" said Schneider noting a few similarities in the lay out.
"It's exactly the same, well, except for the odd desk and chair in the corridors." Said Jessie.
"That's strange. I wonder why they did it like this when the outside looks different?"
"Who knows, it's just one of the many mysteries of life I suppose." Said Jessie as she stopped in front of a door marked South city site manager. She knocked on the door and waited patiently for a reply. After hearing a faint "Come in" from beyond the door she grabbed the door handle and twisted it and pushed the door open.
"Hello Jessie, what can I do for you?" asked Tony.
"You wanted to see me Tony." Corrected Jessie as she walked up to his desk.
"So I did. It's about your van. It can't be fixed tonight, but that's not only what I wanted to tell you. Your lucky your van did break down because it looks like we're bringing in new ones, and you'll be the first one to try one of them out."
"Alright, I've been hopin' for a new van for over two months." Replied Jessie happily.
"It'll be delivered tomorrow at 11am, so you'll get a lie in too."
"Great. Thanks Tony. Oh, y' don't think you can do anythin' to get Schneider here a lie in too do ya?"
"Ooo that depends. Which site's he from?"
"The east site sir, but you don't have to bother getting me a lie in."
"Of course I do. I'm sure you hate all this work, work, working all the time. Everyone deserves a little time off in the form of a sleep in now and then."
"If you say so sir." Replied Schneider.
"And stop with the sir stuff, Tony's the name. And that lie in is as good as covered."
"His van's in my bay, just to let you know. Just in case you get told about it." Said Jessie.
"Right, You've given your go-card to Kamali haven't you?" asked Tony.
"Oh, no I forgot." Said Schneider.
"That's ok. Just give it to him on the way out."
"Thanks Tony, I owe you one." Said Jessie as she walked off towards the door with Schneider in tow. "I'll see ya tomorrow then."
"Yep, see you tomorrow." Replied Tony as they left his room and closed the door behind them.
___9.Not a standard goodbye___
Somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy, the Sutherland flew by a dieing star at full slip speed. Garrek and Goldfur were having the time of their lives as they watched the star, and the other wonders of the neighbouring galaxy from the 3D wrap around viewscreen on the bridge of the Sutherland.
"Could I get a picture of that too please," asked Garrek. The first thing he had asked for when they had arrived was a camera, Kit had kindly offered to download any pictures or information he wanted to a PADD and Garrek was taking full advantage of the offer.
"Sure." Said Kit as he pressed a single button on the helm to take the picture. "That'll have t' be the last one, I think we should get back to your ship now."
"That's a shame." Said Goldfur. "I'd like to see more of this galaxy and what this ship is capable of doing."
"I'd offer both of you a position as part of the crew but I couldn't take you away from your captain. I'm sure he'd miss you too much." Said Kit as he slowed the ship to sub slip and powered up the 'leap' drive that had brought them to the galaxy they were currently in.
"I have to admit that is a tempting offer but you are right. Besides, I like my job in the Starcorps and I'm sure Garrek does too, don't you?" shi asked Garrek.
"Oh well, it's not the end of the world." Said Kit as he expertly brought the Sutherland back to the same location it had left from. The James Cook instantly hailed them the moment they had fully emerged from the hole the Sutherland had created as part of the 'leap' drive process. Kit opened a channel.
"You were as good as your word captain." Said captain Lynch, "Did everything go according to plan?"
"Yes it did, thank you." Replied Kit, "I'm sure you want to get on you're way now captain so I'll transport Garrek and Goldfur back and we can both go our separate ways, ok?"
"If it's not a problem for you captain, could we exchange a little data before we part. It's just that I'm assuming that this is the first contact between our people and it's standard procedure for us." Explained Lynch.
"Err... yeah sure." Said Kit as he looked down at the com pads in front of him. He pressed one of the pads and before Garrek and Goldfur could blink they were back aboard the James Cook. "Freeze 'em." Muttered Kit as soon as both taurs had materialised onboard their ship. The computer complied and fired a blue beam at the James Cook causing the crew that could be seen on the bridge, and everyone else aboard to be frozen in a stasis field.
"Do the standard wipe and fill in the gaps as normal." Said Kit to the Computer.
"I suppose you'll want to tow them back to the planet they were scanning whilst I'm doing the hard part then." Replied the Computer.
"Well, I would scan the information they would have scanned anyway but you can do it so much faster than I can."
"Not that much faster."
"Just do what I asked please." Said Kit as he manoeuvred the Sutherland over the James Cook and locked on with the port-aft tractor beam. He powered up the sub slip engines and headed to the planet the James Cook was scanning before the Sutherland had made its unexpected appearance. The Sutherland had no problem in pulling the James Cook and it manoeuvred as easily as it would if it wasn't pulling it so it wasn't long until Kit released the tractor beam after precisely placing the James Cook where it would have been if the Sutherland hadn't appeared. "Easy." He said before the computer spoke up.
"I've finished, phase the ship then just say the word and we'll be long gone." Stated the Computer.
"Right. Wait a bit, I want to download those pictures Garrek wanted into his personal com, if he has one." Said Kit.
"What about regulation T46?" said the Computer.
"I don't care. Though I won't get to find out for myself what he thinks when he finds them I still can't help messin' around like that. You should know that by now." Replied Kit.
"The fact is in my database but..."
"Look, I'll hide 'em that deep It'll probably be a few years before he finds them anyway, and by that time he won't recall diddly-squat about us. I'm doin' this whether you like it or not so download the info to his personal com."
"I thought you were doing it." said the Computer.
"Do it before I order you to revert back to your original personality."
"It doesn't really make any difference to me but I'll do it anyway." Said the Computer. It took less time than a blink of the eye before the Computer continued. "I've done it."
"Right then. Phase the ship then unfreeze them." Said Kit as he stood up. "When you've done that take us to a planet of your choice and land." He said before exiting the bridge through a door to the rear of the bridge.
"Argh!" exclaimed Isis as what was left of the com array dropped from the top of the Runabout to the planets surface below with an almost sickening clatter of metal. Shi quickly ran to the edge and looked down after it only to find it in several pieces. "Well I tried." Shi said calmly. "Oh who am I kidding? I've just lost any hope at all of someone finding me." Shi said angrily. "Guess I shouldn't have tried moving it with only one hand." Shi said sadly as shi turned and headed back to the runabouts dorsal escape hatch which shi had used to access the array. Pausing shi raised hir left hand to hir head as a sudden rush of light-headedness came over hir. It passed quickly though and shi continued on.
Shi descended carefully as shi avoided using hir right arm as hir shoulder still hurt every time shi moved, once down shi quickly made hir way outside and walked over to the twisted pile of metal that had once been the com array. Shi was about to sigh when a loud thunder like boom sounded from somewhere in the sky. Isis quickly looked up to see what it was and was surprised to watch as a large ship shimmered into view in the sky above hir. Shi quickly read the name that was printed on the ventral for'd section of the ship.
"SSV Sutherland. SSV?" Shi questioned. "Oh who cares, I'm saved!" shi cried happily. As shi watched the Sutherland fly away from hir shi lost a little hope. As it disappeared behind some tall rocks shi headed over and climbed up to a position where shi could clearly see the ship was preparing to land. "Yes!" shi exclaimed and quickly descended from the rock shi was on and headed back to the runabout to get a flair gun. Shi was ready to fire it in what seemed like the blink of an eye after shi had found one and was glad to find that it actually worked as shi fired the green flamed flair up into the sky above hir from the rocks where shi could clearly see the now motionless Sutherland as it had by now landed several hundred meters away in a large flat bottomed valley amongst the rugged terrain.
Shi waited both patiently and hopefully but nothing seemed to happen, there was no shuttle, nobody beaming over, not even a scout bot or landing party. Isis raised a pair of binoculars shi had grabbed along the way from getting the flair and looked at the Sutherland through them. Shi noticed the damage to the starboard engine unit but looked it over as shi searched for any signs of life.
"So I have to come to you do I." Shi said to hirself and turned to make hir way back to the runabout. As shi approached shi noticed movement from on top of the runabout and looked up to see what it was. "Who's there?" shi called out. To answer hir question a head popped into view from over the edge of runabout. Hir mouth dropped open as shi realized it was pantherine shi was even more shocked as it reviled itself to be a natural jaguar as it moved the full length of its body into view. It hissed at hir before jumping down to the ground in front of the runabouts starboard entry hatch where it sat back on its haunches and seemed to start smiling at hir. Isis passed the smile off as the natural curves of the pantherine's muzzle as they sometimes appeared to have a light smile on their muzzles as a result of that.
The jaguar cocked its head at hir and simply stared. It seemed to Isis that it was actually observing hir and hir belief became strengthened as it watched hir even closer as shi put hir left hand into a pocket on hir halter and pulled out a toffee stick shi had been saving. Shi unwrapped it, broke a piece off and was about to throw the piece to the jaguar when shi had second thoughts.
'What am I doing?' shi thought to hirself, 'Oh what the hey, I'm sure it won't kill it.' And with that shi threw the piece of toffee in front of the jaguar's forepaws.
The jaguar looked down at the little piece of toffee for a few moments before lifting its right forepaw, unsheathing its thumb and index claws and picking the toffee up between them. Isis watched in awe as the jaguar looked it over carefully and wiped any dirt it found off on the pad of its left forepaw as it balanced easily on its hind legs. It then popped it into its mouth and began to chew, it soon screwed up its face in disgust and spat the toffee out onto the ground.
"Phya, eww yuckie!" said the jaguar unexpectedly in a plain English male voice as it scraped off the remainder of the toffee from its tongue. "I must remember, never eat food off a strange planet." he said to himself. "And I hate aniseed, why did I put it in my mouth when I smelt that!" he chided himself.
"You... you can... talk?" stuttered Isis.
The jaguar looked up at Isis as he had looked away whist he was talking.
"Non Anglaise," said the jaguar in a Spanish accent, "Par les vous Francais? Spraken sie Deuch?" he continued in French and German respectively.
"Err?" said Isis, now completely confused.
The jaguar burst out laughing, he quickly raised his right forepaw to his muzzle and clamped it shut to try and stop himself. He succeeded easily and had soon calmed down completely.
"Sorry, I couldn't resist." Said the jaguar in plain English.
Isis was speechless.
"Aren't you going to say hello?" asked the jaguar.
Isis was still speechless.
"Hello, anybody there?" asked the jaguar as he rather cheekily raised his right forepaw over his head and waved it about trying to get hir attention. "I thought you chakats were the sociable type?" he continued. "It isn't very sociable to ignore someone it is?"
Isis finally managed to regain control of hir voice and slowly replied, "I'm... sorry."
"O-don't be. It's probably the low oxygen content that's affecting you or something twice as simple." Said the jaguar. "Mmm? Come to think about it, it must be weird talking to a, what do you call them... oh yeah! 'natural' jaguar on a strange planet after a seemingly alien Starvessel landed no to far away."
"Yes... it is a little... weird." Managed Isis as shi recalled several light headed spells that shi had had whilst out in the planets atmosphere.
"So, judging by the state of your runabout I'd say you need a little help." Said the jaguar.
"Oh, yes I do." Said Isis living up almost instantly. "If it's possible could you give me a lift back to Earth. If it's not out of your way of course." Shi asked.
The jaguar grinned and couldn't hold back a quick chuckle.
"You know, it's pretty funny. You know, you, a chakat, asking me a jaguar, sorry, 'natural' jaguar for a lift home. It just sounds so stupid." Said the jaguar. "The low oxygen content of this planet must really be getting to you. If I were you I'd be questioning my sense of reality. Who knows, maybe all of this is just in your head." He raised his left forepaw up to his head and tapped his left temple with his index claw. "Then again I think I'd know if I was a figment of your imagination. By the way, are you feeling light headed?" he asked.
Isis answered his question by raising hir left hand to hir brow. "Yes... I am ... now...oh!" Shi said before collapsing unconscious to the ground.
"Some people." Said the jaguar shaking his head before he stood and wandered over to hir.
Isis stirred. Something felt good beneath hir, it felt soft, warm, so unlike the ground shi had collapsed on which had been hard and cold. Besides that there was a nice smell, like wild strawberries, not unlike the smell of strawberries that often surrounded hir parents home back in the English countryside on earth. Shi smiled and buried hir head into what felt like a pillow as shi continued to rest and shi slowly drifted back to sleep.
Sometime later Isis woke again and sat up immediately in surprise. Shi looked about and found hirself lay on a large bed in a rather luxuriously decorated and spacious bedroom in what shi realized was an Egyptian style decor, though for some reason it seemed different from the Egyptian styles shi had read about. Shi blinked a couple of times to see if shi was still dreaming and pinched hirself just to be on the safe side.
"Ouch! Well, at least I'm not dreaming." Shi said to hirself before realizing that hir shoulder was no longer hurting. Shi looked it over to find in was as healthy as hir left shoulder and there was absolutely no sign that it had ever been broken in the first place. "Wow. Not even a twinge of pain." Shi said as shi ran hir left hand over the shoulder.
Isis climbed out of the bed and began to look at the décor more thoroughly. The first thing that caught hir eye though was the wall opposite the bed. The entire wall appeared to have been painted as a picture of a strawberry field, witch seemed completely out of context with the décor. The amount of detail was outstanding though as Isis could make out everything on the picture, it was almost as if it was a photograph, which shi soon decided it was. The thing was though, the scene looked almost alive as the hedges beside the field gently swayed. Shi was completely taken aback when shi felt the breeze that had moved the hedges with hir whiskers and on the fur on hir body, and at that point the whole picture came to life with birds flying over, rabbits running around in the fields beyond the strawberry field itself, even the songs of thrushes in and around the hedges were all there.
"Well, at least I know where the scent of strawberries is coming from." Shi said to hirself in disbelief. Shi walked up to the scene and touched the wall with hir index finger and found that it was just a wall after all. Shi was a little disappointed at the fact but decided to explore the rest of the room more thoroughly. To hir right, after turning around until the scene was behind hir were a set of long, drawn, white curtains, between them and the bed on the other side of the room was a spiral metal framed staircase leading down. On the opposite wall to the curtains was a door and around the remaining walls of the room were cupboards on top of and on the wall above witch, were small Egyptian pieces of art. 'No dressing table?' thought Isis. 'Odd?'
Shi walked over to the curtains and opened them. Beyond was the planet shi had crash-landed on. "I was wondering where I was." Shi said for no reason as shi stared briefly at the barren rocky landscape.
Shi then turned to the metal staircase and decided to find out where they led. Shi walked over to and descended the stairs and was soon standing in a slightly larger room that appeared to be a living room. Looking about from left to right Isis noticed a large set of curtains running covering the entire length of the first wall. At the end of the curtained wall, as shi turned hir head right, was a passageway leading off, the rest of the next wall was dominated by an elegant fireplace with a miniature obelisk on either side of it. The next wall had a larger set of doors in the centre, Isis smiled lightly as shi spotted a small statue of the cat goddess Bastet guarding the doorway from a table set to the right of the doors. Shi walked over, picked the statue up and began to examine it as shi would with an artefact.
Isis nearly dropped the statue in surprise at what shi found, the statue was of the cat goddess in her human body form and cat head, or that was what Isis had thought it was until shi inspected the hands more closely and turned it around to view the back. Shi was shocked to find that the statue had a tail, and from the look of it, a lion's tail.
"What the? I thought those hands didn't look right." Shi said as shi observed the dress the goddess was wearing more closely. Shi found the telltale signs of the goddess's true body shape by looking at the curves near the base of the statue finding the legs to be more like a morph lions than a humans. 'I'm really going to enjoy this species' culture.' Shi thought to hirself. 'Oh well, I may as well see if I can find someone.' Shi continued as shi turned to the door. It opened silently before hir and shi walked through into a luxuriously decorated corridor with plush carpet that was equal in quality to the one shi had walked over in the room shi had been in.
'Something tells me this is a cruise liner.' Shi thought to hirself, as shi turned right and began to walk along the corridor. Despite the fact the corridor was well decorated, it unfortunately seemed to have the same problem of all ships corridors, and that was the fact that it, and several others that shi came across, looked almost identical.
"Great, now I'm lost." Shi finally admitted to hirself after about ten minuets of wandering aimlessly through the labyrinth of corridors shi found shi was in. It took hir further eight minuets to find a lift which shi only found accidentally as the doors had opened when shi had passed it.
Once inside shi sat back and thought briefly. "Hmm, I wonder where the crew is?" Shi said to hirself, at which point the lift had made an almost silent whoosh. 'What was that?' shi thought as shi walked to the doors. They opened and Isis was happy to find the other side was something other than luxuriously decorated, in fact it seemed much more militaristic somehow. Isis left the lift and looked to hir left to an illuminated panel that was highlighting an arrow pointing left down the new corridor. Shi decided to follow it and headed off down the corridor to a pair of large illuminated doors. Shi walked up to and through the doors as they opened before hir and found hirself in a huge hanger of some sort. The first thing that shi was made aware of was the soft rumbling purr of a combustion engine to hir right at the far end of the hanger. Shi looked right and spotted hir runabout sat at the end of the bay. It appeared to have been repaired as the com array was back in its proper position on top of the runabout. Shi couldn't see if the nacelle had been repaired though as there were numerous vintage cars, and several other types of vintage transportation, set the whole length of the hanger, which shi found when shi took a brief look in the opposite direction. Of the cars shi recognized there was one brand that seemed dominant above the rest.
"Jaguar." Shi said to hirself as shi recalled the natural jaguar that shi had met next to hir runabout. 'I wonder if there is any connection?' shi thought before walking off towards hir runabout and the source of the rumbling purr.
As shi neared the runabout it became apparent that the running car was actually next to it. Shi stopped near to the car and looked at it. It was set up on jacks and there appeared to be someone beneath it as there was a pair of anthropomorphic feline legs sticking out from under the engine section of the car. Surrounding the legs was a multitude of classic mechanics tools and car parts that Isis carefully picked hir way through. Shi stopped next to a decidedly lion like tail which had just appeared from beneath the car and decided to let it find hir feet while it searched for what it had begun to search for.
"Damn, where's that spanner?" came a familiar voice from beneath the car. Isis quickly recognized it as the natural jaguars. Shi didn't have long to wait after that as the tail quickly found hir right foreleg and wrapped itself around it.
"Ah! Your awake." Came the voice from beneath the car. The tail uncurled itself from around hir leg and the feline pushed himself out from under the car revealing himself to be some sort of lion morph. The lion stood up off the dolly he had been resting on and wiped his hands on a rag that was hanging from one of his pockets. "I'll just switch off the engine," he said before nipping over to the drivers door, opening it and switching off the engine, he then returned to where he had been standing in front hir and finally offered hir a hand. "Hi, my name's Kit Silva, welcome aboard the SSV Sutherland." He said as they shook hands.
"Hello, my name is Chakat Isis, child of Sundance and Strongarm." Replied Isis before giving him the traditional greeting hug. Shi pulled back a little surprised as when shi had tried to smell his scent to remember it shi found he didn't have one.
Kit smiled, he knew exactly what was wrong. "I don't have a scent do I." He said still smiling.
Isis nodded, "Err, if you don't mind me asking, how is that possible?" shi asked.
"It ain't," began kit, "I do actually have a scent but it's so light and so obscured that it's near impossible to pick up."
"I bet if y' tried y'd get it. I know for a fact that chakats can pick it up, though that is only when I'm present, y'd never be able to track me."
"Oh. Um, Well I know this is a little off the point but I'd like to thank the natural jaguar for rescuing me if that's possible?" shi asked, as soon as shi had shi recalled the fact that the lion seemed to have the jaguars voice, shi didn't try to correct hirself though and prepared for whatever answer the lion was about to give hir.
"That was me."
It didn't seem to difficult to believe for Isis as they did have the same voice, still, it wasn't everyday you met a lion morph who claimed to be a natural jaguar. "You're the jaguar?"
"Yeah, I'll show y' if y' want."
Kit began to unzip the set of overalls he was wearing as he walked over to a clear space in the hanger. "Y' don't mind me strippin' do y'?"
If Isis hadn't already recalled hir almost imminent heat that certainly reminded hir, causing hir to reply with just a little too much enthusiasm. "Yes please do," shi said as shi licked hir lips in anticipation.
Kit paused and stared at hir briefly before letting the overalls drop around his feet. He stepped out of them and suddenly morphed in front of hir to the form of the jaguar on the planet. "Cool huh?" he said as he sauntered up to hir.
"Err, yes." Shi grinned as shi considered a naughty idea.
"Y' heat is starting to control y' thoughts isn't it." Said Kit as he hopped up onto his hind legs and closed the gap between them. He stopped a suitable distance away to continue the conversation.
Isis snapped out of hir daydream, "Huh? Oh! Yes...no, um, you know?" sputtered Isis in surprise.
"It's not difficult to miss. I'd say you're a little ahead of schedule this time around too from the way y' replied and y' tendency t' lick y' lips." Said Kit. "Well, those and the fact that y' out here alone, I mean, I doubt you'd schedule a solo flight if y' knew that would y'."
"Actually I did know, but I think your right too, I thought it was going to be next week but I sure it's going to be in the next day or so now." replied Isis hopefully looking into Kits eyes. "You don't know of anybody who could help me when it happens do you?"
Now it was Kit's turn to stutter.
"Err... well, I... err." He began, "Well I'm the only one aboard this ship besides y'self."
"Well then, will you help me out?" shi said in a sexy voice. Shi closed the gap completely between them as shi wrapped hir arms around a very surprised Kit and looked deep into his eyes.
"We've only just met, what about getting to know more about... Oh I forgot, y're a very promiscuous species aren't y'."
"Very. But if you don't want to, or it's against your religion or something like that, I think I'll be able to manage on my own." Replied Isis.
"No, there's nothin' about it in my religion, it's just that I could get y' home and then y' could find a friend or someone better."
"I'm happy with you, if you're happy with it." Replied Isis. "Besides, I've never done it with a natural jaguar before."
"I don't suppose many chakats have."
Isis simply smiled back at him.
"Erm, well, if y' let go of me I suppose I could show you what I've done to y' runabout if we could move on."
Isis rather reluctantly let go of him and he took a few steps back from hir. "Ok, I can see you've done some work on it already."
"Yeah," said Kit as he headed over to his overalls and morphed back into his lion morph form before quickly pulling them back on. "I've also refilled the nacelles with fresh coolant to so they should run at a hundred percent now."
"Really. Thank you." Shi replied, "I don't owe you anything for all of this do I."
"Nothin'." Said Kit simply.
"Thanks a lot, we've been meaning to get that for weeks but our budget is pretty slim on anything but the essentials."
"Yeah I noticed that when first saw this thing. It's an old GX class isn't it. Not exactly suited for the taur form."
"You can say that again."
"I suppose with that in mind you'd rather stay aboard my ship than continue on in it then."
"If it's not inconvenient for you, may I?" asked Isis, a lustful tone entering hir voice once again.
"Yeah ok." Said Kit as he looked the runabout up and down. "Y' know, I was this far from putting on some trim to make this thing look the part." He said as he held up his hand and held his thumb and index finger about an inch apart to show hir what he meant. "But I thought it best to just repair it."
"That's a shame. I think I would have liked a hot rod runabout."
"Yeah, I thought you might. Actually, now we're on that subject, I do have two space worthy shuttlecars, they're all right for the work I do. Their actually based on old car designs from the 20th century." He turned around and pointed to the car next to the one he had been working on. "That's the one I usually use." He said as Isis turned and looked at it. "Ok, so it's not exactly a hot rod, but y' can still burn some... hmm? I guess y' can't."
The shuttlecar, as he had called it, blended in well with the other cars in the hanger, so much so in fact that Isis had completely missed the fact that it did not have wheels. Instead it sat on four mini legs that came out from the cars ventral plane.
"Oh I love that." Said Isis with a smile as shi walked over to it and looked it over. "It's just a shame this type of PTV isn't designed for taurs either." Shi sighed.
"Well I suppose they'll be enough time for me to convert one before I get you to where ever your going." Said Kit as he considered the possibility.
"You mean you'd do that for me?" asked Isis in surprise.
"Sure, why not. It won't take more than two hours anyway."
"You must work fast if you're able to do it that quick."
"Not really, I had converted the other one for taur use cause I was tryin' out a taur form. All I have t' do is bolt the chair back in actually. Come t' think about it, it should only take a few minuets."
"Really?" said Isis in an amazed tone of voice. "And you're able to change into taur forms, does that include chakats?"
Kit became a little uneasy at the question; he looked away and muttered his reply so quietly that Isis couldn't hear it before completely changing the subject.
"I'd better get the ship underway. I bet your hungry too, we'll eat afterwards if you want." He said as he walked off towards a nearby set of doors.
Isis, still a little confused at his odd reply, or lack of, followed him without question. No matter how much shi wanted to know what he had actually said shi knew of two thing at least that would prevent hir form asking again, and those were the fact that shi was on his ship and the fact that shi was a chakat. Hir nearing heat had already caused hir to act a little to pushy which was something shi was already chiding hirself about.
They passed through the doors into another military style corridor before taking the first door on the left strait into a lift. The doors closed, a feint whoosh sounded and they opened up again on what Isis took to be the bridge of the Sutherland. They headed out and Isis paused to look at the impressive main screen.
"Incredible." Managed Isis as shi looked up at the sky above, then across at the planets surface.
"Yeah, I've seen many different styles of main screen on a ship but non seem to leave the 2D flat screen boundary..." began Kit.
"Let me guess. Your civilization is ahead of us in technology." Said Isis
"Err... yeah, sort of." Replied Kit as he sat down at the helm position. "So, where can I take you?" he asked.
"I was headed toward Earth if that's ok, I assume you know where that is considering all the classic cars you have from there." Replied Isis.
Kit entered the launch sequence code and turned to hir. "Yeah I do know where it is, but all of those cars aren't from there." He replied as he stood and headed over to the lift. Isis followed him, content to wait until a later date to find out where the cars actually came from, back into the lift, the doors shut, the usual whoosh sounded and the doors opened again, this time into a restaurant.
"There are two things I don't understand about that lift..." Began Isis as they walked into the restaurant.
"Latest technology, and I'm telepathic." Replied Kit.
Isis considered what he had said for a few seconds as they walked over to a prepared table with a raised seating area for hir to use when they sat down. Shi soon realized what he had said answered hir two unasked questions perfectly.
"How did you know?" asked Isis, as shi stopped in front of the raised seating area.
"They were the first things that came t' mind." Replied Kit. "And as for the seating area, well I wanted to make y' as comfortable as possible, y' cabin's all prepared for y' too, though I'm not sure whether you'll be impressed or take an instant dislikin' t, the toilet."
"Why, what's wrong with it?" asked Isis as shi sat down as Kit sat.
"Nothin', it works perfectly. It's just the design you might not like."
"Think of a large litter box, chakat size."
Isis burst out laughing at the thought, "Your not serious are you?"
Isis calmed a little, "Oh, well it aught to be an interesting experience if anything." Shi said as shi calmed down to just a smile.
"Great. Now then, what do y' fancy? I can get anythin' y' want."
"May I ask what you are having, or is there anything you can recommend from your culture?"
"Me? Err... well gazelle is pretty nice." Suggested Kit.
"Sounds interesting. Is that like the gazelle on Earth?"
"You've had it before?" said Kit slightly confused.
"Erm, well no but I was just wondering if gazelle meant something different where you come from."
"Oh, no, it's exactly the same."
"Right. Hmm, well I think I'll have that then."
"Ok. Would y' like a drink or somethin' with that?"
"Yes thank you, Tea please."
"Ok." Said Kit. He looked down at the table as the food materialized before them on it.
"I think I'm going to like this ship." Said Isis as shi watched the food materializing. Shi was a little surprised to find that after it had fully materialized the gazelle meal shi had expected turned out to be a raw hind leg. Shi stared at it briefly and watched as a drop of blood dripped from the neatly cut top end to the large plate that it lay on.
"What's wrong? It's as fresh as it can be... Oh, were you expecting it to be cooked?" asked Kit noting the surprised look on hir face, "I can send it back and get a cooked one for y'."
Isis snapped out of the shocked expression and looked up at him, "It's ok. I'll try it as it is, thank you." Isis was pleased with hirself, shi was managing to control hir lust with surprising ease, shi was unsure of how shi was doing it but that didn't matter. Shi thought no more of it as shi watched Kit pick up his gazelle leg and took a bite out of it before copying him. To hir surprise the uncooked gazelle tasted rather nice.
"Mmm... delicious." Shi complimented.
"It would taste slightly better if it wasn't Rep food but still I have t' agree with y'." replied Kit after swallowing his second bite.
As they continued to eat the Computer announced the imminent lift off that Kit had programmed into it. The take off was as smooth as silk, without even the slightest of jolts and soon the large ship was flying up to space. As it reached the outer atmosphere Isis looked out of the window, shi became a little confused as shi realized that the blue/green mist was no longer there and stopped eating as a result.
"Anythin' wrong?" asked Kit as he continued to eat.
"There was a blue mist surrounding the planet when I... well it pulled my runabout down and now it's... gone?" explained Isis.
"That's weird, when I got here it was as clear as y' see it now." He said as he paused to take a proper look out of the large window that ran the length of the restaurant. "Unless... No... She wouldn't, she's not here..." he mumbled.
"Who wouldn't?" asked Isis.
"Huh? Oh no one." Said Kit as he looked back at hir, "I can't explain the blue mist nether."
"Oh, Ok. That's another mystery I suppose I'll never solve then." Said Isis as shi started to eat again.
"Sorry 'bout that." Sid Kit as he continued to eat too.
"It's not that important. Besides it's all over now." Replied Isis.
They continued to talk as the ship powered up for slip speed and set off at one quarter of its maximum speed towards Earth.
___12.Isis phone home___
It had been a few hours since Kit and Isis had eaten. During the mean time Kit had altered the shuttlecar as he had promised and Isis had had an hour or so practicing the basics of they cars control systems. After that Kit had given hir a tour of the ship showing hir everything recreational aboard, from the Arboretum, which had a forest of ten meter high trees and the hydroponics bay, which currently housed a field of grass, to the Rec rooms in which any environment could be reproduced and fully interacted with. Isis had eventually decided at the end of it all that shi must Vid Phone hir parents to tell them what had happened, so Kit took hir back to hir quarters where he set up the Vid Phone connection.
"Right." Said Kit as he scratched the side of his neck with three claws. "Mmm? I think it's all patched in now." He said with a positive tone to his voice.
"Thank you... Erm, I'm sorry but, how does it work again?" asked Isis as shi walked up to the Vid screen and squatted down in front of it.
"Well, if you ignore the symbols you don't know on this control panel, it'll work the same way any other Vid phone will, all you have to do is enter the right number and the computer will do the rest." Explained Kit as he pointed to a PADD in front of hir.
"Ok. Well I think I'll be able to handle it now." Shi said as shi looked at him. "Thank you Kit."
"S'ok," he replied, "I'll go and do somethin' unproductive then while y'r on the phone then."
Isis smiled at what he said as he turned and quickly headed to the door where he paused.
"If y' need anythin' just ask the Computer ok." He said before disappearing through the doors.
Isis turned back to the Vid screen, then looked down at the PADD in front of hir. It was basically the same as the PADDs used with the Vid Phones shi was used to, except for half a dozen symbols that didn't make any sense to hir at all. Ignoring those symbols shi quickly operated the Vid Phone and waited barely a few seconds before the light blue back screen change to a picture of Sundance, hir mother.
Before Isis could say a work Sundance started to talk.
"Isis, what a pleasant surprise," shi said happily, all of a sudden though hir expression turned from happy to worried, "You're not calling to say you can't make it again are you? Honestly Isis, people will start to wonder about you if you don't start to socialize with people outside of that archaeology group." It was a typical sentence from Sundance when shi and Isis talked over the Vid Phone. Shi was a feminine type and had managed to catch the "nagging mother syndrome" so many females (and in this case half females) contract after their offspring reach a certain age.
"Oh mother!" said Isis almost sternly. "I promised you two weeks ago that I am coming home and I will. In fact I'm going to be a week early, so you can stop your worrying."
"A week early? How, I thought that clapped out old runabout you use wasn't capable of anymore than warp three?" said Sundance a little confused.
"Promise not to panic and I'll tell you the story." Said Isis.
"Ok, I won't, I promise."
"Ok then," began Isis, "Well, Quite simply everything was going fine until I neared an odd planet. As I passed something hit the runabout and I was forced to crash land on the planet..."
Sundance gasped worriedly. After a glance from Isis though, shi did hir best to stay calm.
Isis Continued, "A little while later I was fortunately rescued..."
Sundance sighed with relief, cutting into Isis' explanation once again. "...I'm Sorry..." Shi apologized.
"Right, now, if I can continue..." said Isis, watching hir mother like a hawk for any sign of another motherly outburst. "Well, I was rescued by a new alien species that look a lot like lion morphs. I think their called hybrids, or at least that's what Kit said he was, Kit is one of them by the way. In fact he's the only one aboard the ship I'm on, he's already fixed the runabout and now he's giving me a lift home.
"I wondered where you were calling from..." Sundance fell silent for a moment before continuing. "Are you getting on well with him?" shi asked in a curious way.
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean is he good looking?"
"Yes, he is but..."
"Bag him then. There's no better way to start a relationship with a new alien species than to become mates with one of them."
"I never said I love him mother." Said Isis almost sternly.
"Oh, well in that case."
"I only met him a few hours ago, if you give me a few days I'll see if we're compatible and tell you when I get home, ok?"
"By the way, where are dad and Lightmark?"
"Their visiting that new replica of the original Wembley stadium, they wanted to see what the twin towers look like in real life." Said Sundance with a sigh.
"So it's open now? Gee, last time I heard it was still being planned. Am I really that out of touch with the outside world?" asked Isis.
"I'm afraid it looks that way."
"Oh dear. I think I'll have to get myself under control..." shi stopped in mid sentence as shi suddenly remembered something.
"Isis, what's wrong?" asked Sundance.
"Nothing... It's just that when I said I had to get myself under control, I remembered I'm coming into heat and... well, I don't feel the usual lust for a male anymore. Up until I almost lost my control and nearly tried to bed Kit on the spot in the hanger I felt normal. Now I... I don't know?" explained Isis.
"You'd better ask that Kit to look you over and see if your ok."
"I think I will."
"Well you look after yourself won't you?"
"Hmm, I think I have to go now. I have things to prepare."
"So Snowflake is having hir cub at our house."
"Yes, shi finally decided last week. I was going to tell you. Shi's expecting hir a week before you get back... Oh, well that was before you said you were getting home early. If you're lucky you might make it."
"Oh I hope so, as you know I've only ever been to dads birthing party. It would be nice to see my sisters. I'll have to see if Kit can speed the ship up a bit."
"Well I hope you make it."
"So do I."
"Tail high Isis."
"Tail high Mother."
They signed off and Isis stopped briefly to stare at the light blue back screen that had reappeared as shi thought about hir heat. It was strange that shi had seemed to be able to control it as easily as shi had done and it was even stranger when all the lust flooded back to hir as shi whished it to return. Shi thought about controlling it again and the lust faded.
'What's happening to me?' shi thought to hirself. "Computer, where's Kit?"
"I'm afraid he is unavailable at the moment. Can I help you?" replied the Computer.
"I'm afraid you can't. I'll wait for Kit, could you tell me when he is available please."
"Thank you." Finished Isis, shi stood and walked over to the spiral staircase that led up to the master bedroom and decided shi should take a rest. So shi made hir way up to the bed, climbed on, paused only to remove hir halter and lay down to sleep.
Schneider hung on tightly to Jessie as she galloped along. It was the first horseback, or even quangeback ride he had ever had and he was thoroughly enjoying it. The wind in his hair and fur was nice as it aired it all out and he had to admit, it was better than walking.
"Get ready, there's another tight corner coming up." Called Jessie.
Schneider prepared himself for the turn and leaned into it as Jessie had instructed him to, they easily made it around the corner of the building they were passing before Jessie collided and tripped over a large red and white furred mass. Schneider was thrown from his perch on Jessie's back straight into a luckily well placed cart of fruit softening his landing. Jessie hirself tumbled and rolled forwards head over tail and came to rest flat out on her front.
She groaned and awkwardly stood and after seeing that Schneider was unharmed as he climbed out of the cart beside the angry cart owner who was shouting at him. She then quickly turned her head to see what, or who, she had collided with.
Her mouth dropped open as she spotted a foxtaur sprawled out lifeless on the road. A little crowd had gathered to see what had happened and there was already someone seeing if the fox was alive or not. She span round and ran over to see if she could help but stopped dead in her tracks as the foxtaur stirred, stood up and shook his head with a growl of disapproval. The crowd that had gathered seemed to dissipate as rapidly as it had arrived for what seemed like no reason at all as the fox looked around at the audience. He then turned to Jessie and walked a little closer to her.
"You should look where your going Miss, you could have killed me." He said to her. She couldn't reply through shock, the fox seemed to notice and simply looked over to where Schneider was. He walked around Jessie who could only watch as he interrupted the cart owner who was still shouting at Schneider.
"Hey, leave him alone." The foxtaur said to the cart owner. He pulled out a wad of cash as Schneider looked at him and realized who he was.
"You're... It's you, but..." stuttered Schneider as the cart owner happily received the cash as the foxtaur gave it to him. The cart owner stuffed the money away into a pouch, grabbed the arms at the front of the cart and quickly pulled it away.
The foxtaur turned to Schneider and grinned. "Well, we meet again, and before you ask, I had planned this... well not the getting run over part, but aside from that."
"Chaos?" said Schneider.
"Yep, that's me. I've come for that broach you found."
"How did you know I had it?"
"I don't really have the time to explain. Ah, I see your wearing it," Chaos raised his right hand and whipped the broach off Schneider's jacket. "Thank you. I'll be leaving now."
"But..." began Schneider.
"If you want to see me again I'll be passing through here in two weeks. Just wait where I met you in the alley." Said Chaos before turning and running off. Jessie tried to stop him but he simply leapt over her and disappeared around the corner.
"Was that the foxtaur you were talking about?" asked Jessie. By now she had had time to calm down and was now wondering what was going on.
"Yes, that was him." Replied Schneider.
"Tough little fella isn't he. I probably would have killed him, I should have killed him come to think about it. He must have a hide thicker than a rhino's."
"It seems that way." Said Schneider.
"Oh well. If I didn't hurt him I suppose I don't have to give it another thought." Said Jessie as she brushed a little dirt off her shirt. "Come on, let's get to my pad and I'll sort us out somethin' to eat." She continued as she walked up side on in front of him. "Hop on." She said offering Schneider a hand up.
Schneider took the offer and climbed up on to her back again.
"Hang on." Said Jessie as she started to trot, then to gallop again.
They arrived at Jessie's house ten minuets later. It was a reasonable sized home and not only because it had to be because of her size. She let herself in with Schneider still on her back and wiped her hooves on a large doormat before helping Schneider off and putting his jacket onto a coat hook that was just out of his reach. She then showed him into the living room and offered him a pile of cushions to sit on.
"I've just gotta do somethin'." She said as she walked up to the doorway they had entered the room by. "I won't be a minute."
Schneider was left alone to look around the room as he waited. He quickly spotted a Vid screen and decided to see what was on. "Bet she won't mind." He muttered to himself as he stood and wandered over to the Vid and switched it on. He grinned as he noticed the voice active logo in the corner of the screen as it illuminated that would allow him to simply speak to change the channel. So he sat back down and decided to see what was on the classic channel.
"Classic 1" Said Schneider, the channel skipped to the one he wanted and he smiled as an episode of his favourite soap started.
"Ugh, how can you watch that stuff." Said Jessie as she entered the room.
"What's wrong with it?"
"It's all nonsense, that's what."
"You don't have to watch it if you don't want to you know."
"Watch what your sayin', that's my Vid remember." Said Jessie with a hint of sternness.
"It's alright. I'll go and have a bath while your watchin' that then."
So Jessie left to have her bath and two hours later they were both sitting at a table finishing off their tea.
"Mmm. I never knew vegetables could taste that nice." Said Schneider. "My compliments to the chef." He said holding up a glass of red wine.
"Thank you. We quange may be best known for the transport business, but we're also excellent cooks."
"You can say that again." Said Schneider before he wiped his face with a napkin. "I'm stuffed."
"Me to." Said Jessie with a smile, she looked down at the dirty dishes, or bowls in the case of quange, and deciding not to clean them straight away. "Hmm? What's say we leave all this until tomorrow and head off for some fun eh?"
"You got it."
"Last one there' a slowpoke tiger." Said Jessie as she stood and ran off towards the bedroom.
"Hey wait up, you said you were full!" called Schneider as he ran after her.
"God's, I'm screwed." Said Kit as he considered everything that had happened, and everything that he had brought upon himself. "Right, as soon as we get to the Sol system, remind me that I have about half an hour to think up a good story to put in hir head."
"Very well, but it will have to be exceptionally good one considering you let hir tell hir parents." Replied the computer. "You may need a little more time."
"Maybe." He said as he headed into a lift.
"I am glad that you are keeping to the rules this time. Keeping out of site of the locals and covering up when you have to, for once, that is. Except for..."
"Ok I get the idea, still, now that I'm stuck here I might just get to know a few of the locals. I wouldn't mind getting' acquainted with the Delvinians in the Antari galaxy. Mmm? Good neighbourhood, sexy fems and best of all, no humans." He added happily as he left the lift and headed down the corridor to Isis' quarters. Barely seconds later he was stood outside hir quarter's main door. He pressed the door chime to the right and waited patiently.
He didn't have to wait long before Isis replied.
"Err... hello Kit? Please come in."
Kit entered the room after the door opened and found Isis lounging on a large navy blue sofa as shi watched a huge mid air Vid screen playing a documentary on history.
"Y' wanted to speak to me?" asked Kit as the door closed behind him.
"Yes... erm, pause." shi said to the Vid screen. The Vid screen paused and Isis continued, standing up and walking around to him as shi did so. "First of all I'd like to ask if your religion allows you to talk about the workings of the female anatomy freely?"
"Err? I suppose so." replied Kit, unsure of where Isis was leading him.
"Good, then may I ask if you would like to talk on the subject with me?" Asked Isis seriously.
"Um, ok." Said Kit, still unsure of what Isis wanted.
"Thank you. Shall we sit?"
They headed over to the sofa and sat, when they were both comfortable Isis began.
"Now, I'm sure you know what it means when a female goes into heat," Kit nodded, and Isis continued, "Right, well, if you didn't know, and I know you do, chakats have heats, and as you also know, I am coming into one now."
"Right, I'm with y' so far." Said Kit.
"Good, now I don't know exactly how to explain this to you but for some reason or other something odd is happening to me..."
"Y'r able to control it." Butted in Kit.
"Yes... but how did you know?"
"Well, I kinda sensed y' were comin' into heat when I first saw y' and I thought I'd help by makin' it so y' could control it." Explained Kit.
"I can't say, but I can assure you that as soon as you leave y'll be back to normal with no side effects whatsoever."
"Thank you for telling me, but next time could you ask me before going ahead and doing... well, whatever you did please." Said Isis almost sternly.
"All right, I promise." Said Kit honestly.
"Thank you, now just one last thing. Would you mind undoing whatever you did to me now. I would prefer to get through this like any other chakat." Asked Isis.
"It's done." said Kit.
And it was, Isis felt hir lust rise up and hit hir like a tidal wave, but shi controlled hirself enough to talk to Kit calmly.
"Now that's over with I'd like to ask again if there is anything stopping you from helping me get through this." Asked Isis, shi quickly licked hir lips after shi spoke and smiled pleasantly at him.
"...nothing that I can think of..." replied Kit quickly rolling his eyes away from hir gaze.
"In that case I would like to ask to if you would do me the honour of helping me through my heat. Only if you want to of course." Asked Isis.
"I... suppose I could."
"Thank you again." Said Isis before quickly moving closer to him and lick kissing the end of his muzzle, shi threw in a hug for good measure. "Whenever you are ready then, you already know I am." Shi said as hir best sexy grin slid across hir muzzle.
"I don't have anything planned now if... eeep!" he managed before Isis leapt on him and began to lick kiss him all over.
It was the day after Isis had met Kit and they had already had breakfast, which had consisted simply of cereals, it had surprised Isis though, as shi had expected another 'fresh meat' meal.
After breakfast Isis had decided to sort out a few things inside hir runabout and was currently in the process of deciding whether or not to open one of the time locked crates as shi had originally planned before shi had met Kit as shi stood in the cargo hold. 'Hmm? No... I don't need to...' shi thought to hirself, 'Kit will help me... and besides, I still have to learn about his culture and all that fascinating ancient Egyptian art that he has.' Shi looked about the cargo hold and sighed as shi thought about the artefacts that shi would miss documenting. "Oh well," shi said, "At least I can honestly say when I get back, that I didn't start documenting them...' "Michel will be happy." Shi muttered.
Shi turned and made hir way out of the runabout, then after closing the side hatch shi left by, shi wandered over to where Kit was working on the same car he had been when shi had first met him. This time though, he was working under the bonnet and acknowledged hir presence with a quick wave of his hand as he worked.
"That was quick," he said as he continued his work.
"Yes, I know." Replied Isis, "I decided I didn't want to bother opening any of the crates. I already know a lot about artefacts inside them anyway. Besides, if you don't mind, I'd like to learn a little about your culture... say, is that a wadjet eye on that patch?" shi asked as shi noticed a circular patch on the arm of the light blue t-shirt Kit was wearing.
"Yeah, that one's actually the ships crest." he said as he paused from working and pointed to the Sutherlands name beneath the eye.
"Really? That's very interesting. Tell me, is the dominant religion on your planet similar to the ancient Egyptian one on earth?" asked Isis.
"There are actually four dominant religions on my planet. But yeah, the one that this symbol comes from is 'similar' to the one you're talkin' about." Explained Kit.
"Wow. I'm going to be overloaded with information at this rate." Began Isis, "Four dominant religions, this is highly fascinating. Hmm, I think before we go any further maybe you could tell me the name of your planet and where your planet actually is, in relation to Earth, if that's possible?"
"My home planet's called Solice. Err... Unfortunately all I can say at the moment about its location is that it's impossible for me to get back to anytime in the near, and probably distant, future."
"Oh... I'm sad to hear that. So you mean that you can't get home then?" Asked Isis, feeling a little sorry for Kit.
"Yep, sad init'"
"I'd say it's a little more than that. You're all alone here on this ship, with non of your own kind to keep you company, my hearts go out to you, they really do."
"Ahh, don't worry about it, I'll be fine."
"If that's what you want, I suppose I have to go along with it, but I promise that if you do need someone, that I'll be there for you, and I'm sure that if I'm not around, any chakat would be glad to help out."
Kit seemed moved by hir little speech. He leant against the car and thought briefly about what shi had said before shaking his head and turning back to work on the car. "Thanks but no thanks. Your offer sounds good, and I know for a fact that it's a promise you'd keep but... I couldn't ask that of you. Anyway, I've always gotten through things like this on my own before now, so as soon as I drop you off you can forget I ever existed."
"I couldn't do that. You seem to know about the ways of chakats so you should know that I would never do that."
Kit blew out a breath 'Y' might find it easier than you thought' he thought to himself. "Alright." He finally said. "I understand that, so I'd like to ask that you simply don't feel sorry for me. I'm used to being alone, and it's part of the job that I chose to do because I don't care for deeply for anyone, not even myself. It makes the job a lot easier if you're like that." He added.
"I don't believe you. I can't believe that you don't care for anyone deeply, you must have at some point in your life."
"I did, twice, but they're in the past, and even if I did get back to where I come from, the last of those people would have died over fifty years ago."
"I'm sorry." Replied Isis.
"I know y' are, and I suppose you should know this. My people do not believe in mourning for lost ones beyond the burial ceremony, because by that time they're reborn with a new family to love and care for them so we need not worry." Explained Kit.
"Thank you..." replied Kit, "...could y' pass me that spark plug on the bench over there please." He continued as he pointed to a workbench at the rear of the bay.
Isis looked to where he was pointing and nodded with a smile, "It's as good as in your hand." Shi said as shi trotted off towards the bench, moments later shi returned with what shi thought was the spark plug and handed it to Kit.
Kit looked at the object shi had handed him and grinned. "You don't have spark plugs in your cars anymore do you?"
"I take it, that's not a spark plug then." Replied Isis.
Kit shook his head. "Nope."
Isis waited patiently for him to tell hir what it really was.
Kit looked down at what he held in his hand before using his other hand to twist the top off it, revealing it to be nothing more than a spark plug shaped pen.
"I though it looked a little different to the ones I've seen in books."
"So you have seen one, oh well, I suppose it was an easy mistake to make." Said Kit popping the top back on the pen, "here," he handed hir the pen back, "put this back and try again. If you don't mind, of course." He said utilizing hir accent just enough to make hir laugh slightly.
"Ok, be back in a mo." And a few moments later shi returned with a real spark plug and handed it to Kit.
"Ta... So where were we, oh yeah, talkin' about the religions on my planet."
"Yes." Replied Isis, a hint of hesitation to continue entered hir mind briefly but shi decided to carry on, "Could you tell me a little about the Egyptian one please?"
"Sure, Ask me any thin' y' want about it."
"Is it your personal religion?"
"Yep, I believe, and so do all the others of my religion, in all of the gods depicted in the Earth type ancient Egyptian religion. Of course, we see them as having lion bodies."
"Yes, I noticed that on a statue of the cat goddess Bastet that was in my room. I was going to ask you about that."
"I bet it was a surprise considering what you're used to." Said Kit as he finished putting the spark plug in and took one last look over the engine.
"Yes, it did. I'm afraid to say I nearly dropped it."
"Y' lucky there, if y' had she might've paid y' a visit." Said Kit as he walked around to the right side of the car, opened the door and sat down in the drivers seat.
"I have to say, I think I would like to meet a real life Egyptian goddess."
"Well, they do say good things come t' those who wait. Maybe y'll get lucky someday." said Kit as he twisted the key clockwise and turned the ignition on. "Y' might want t' cover y' ears when I start this thing up. She's got one hell of a sexy roar when she does."
"I'll keep my hopes up then." Smiled Isis. As shi laid hir ear flaps flat against hir hair as low as shi could get them, then held hir hands over hir ear flaps just in case.
Kit twisted the key clockwise a little further and the engine roared powerfully into life. Kit presses the accelerator down few times as he revved the engine, Isis removed hir hands from over hir ears as shi got used to the engine noise but kept hir ear flaps down to avoid being deafened as Kit revved the engine once again. "Oooh, that's good." Growled Kit happily. He looked at Isis who had followed him around before continuing. "Hear what I mean, damn sexy roar or what!" he said over the revs.
Isis nodded as Kit switched the engine off. "It's just a shame they're so loud." Shi said once the engine had had completely stopped.
"S'pose y' right." Kit agreed. "They are a little, aren't they? I do have one or five that are a little quieter but they just don't seem to have the same punch."
"What type of car is it anyway it has the look of a 19th century American car to me, but if you said the cars are not from Earth then I really don't know."
"Actually it is, sort of. I s'pose I'd better tell y' where I really am from 'cause it'll make things a lot easier t' explain later on. Plus I want t' tell some one just for the sake of it."
"Go on." Encouraged Isis.
"Well, in the simplest terms I can think of, I am from what you might call an alternate reality."
"You're from another dimension? Wow, what's it like? Am I there? What's your technology like..." blurted out Isis as shi quickly thought of a few hundred questions to ask Kit.
"Yes, reasonably peaceful, sadly not and about 176 years ahead of yours," he said as he glanced over at Isis' runabout, well, that's 176 years ahead of you're most up to date technology anyway." Said Kit answering all of hir questions at once.
"Have you found yourself in this reality yet? Is that why you're here?" asked Isis, still coming to terms with what Kit had just told hir.
"I'm not from that kind of alternate reality I'm afraid. Y' see our reality differs in the fact that where I come from, Earth, as you know it, simply isn't."
"What do you mean by, simply isn't?"
"Well, the species that evolved to our level of intelligence weren't human, that's what I mean."
"Do you like reading text files?" asked Kit all of a sudden and seemingly for no reason at all.
"It's just that I've decided that tellin' y' everthin' could take ages, and, well, it'll probably make a lot more sense if y' read it."
"I, suggest y' take a visor and find a good spot in the arboretum."
"Oh, yeah, I didn't tell y'..." began Kit.
"I'm sorry to be all this trouble." said Isis "Perhaps I should just go and document my artefacts and leave you alone." Shi suggested. Shi couldn't help but feel like shi was simply getting in Kit's way and though shi sensed that he didn't mind in the slightest, shi didn't want to be a hindrance to him.
"Don't feel like that." Said Kit unexpectedly. "I promise y', that as soon as y' have a visor, y' won't fell like y' in the way any more. It'll tell y' everythin' you want t' know. Hang on a sec." He ended as he climbed out of the car and headed over to the bench Isis had taken the spark plug from. "Come over here," he said as he stopped in front of the bench and picked up a visor from the top shelf. He handed the visor to Isis as shi arrived next to him. "Put these on." He said motioning how to do so to hir.
Isis held the visor up and was a little shocked as it moulded itself to the contours of hir face over and around hir eyes. At first there was no real difference to what shi saw through the visor once it was in place than when shi hadn't been wearing it, shi looked up at Kit. "So, what do these do?" shi asked.
Kit simply grinned and said, "Just let the visor do the explaining." Before turning back to the car and walking off towards it. Isis was about to turn and question his rudeness but before shi could a screen popped up in front of hir. It displayed a complex diagram of the visor itself and was accompanied by the ships voice that seemed to surround hir.
"The visor" it began, "is a piece of technology designed to make interfacing with technology as simple as a thought. Indeed, the visors do in fact work by..." Isis was a little too quick to hear the rest as shi thought for it to stop. Shi turned and walked over to Kit who was now looking over another car in his collection. "That was a little rude," shi began.
"Mmm," mumbled Isis, "well, anyway, about these visors, can they tell me everything about your religion?"
"Yeah. They can tell y' everythin' that isn't classified about my reality and all the other realities I've passed through, and no, I don't mind if you go and spend some time in the arboretum while y' look up a few things." He said as Isis opened hir mouth to speak.
Isis paused, thought briefly and then asked, "How did you do that?"
"With great difficulty considering I vowed never to read anyone's mind unless absolutely necessary."
"So reading minds is another trick of yours."
"Erm... Well, I think I'll go and read up on a few things then. I'll see you at tea time in the restaurant shall I?"
"Ok, see ya later then."
Isis walked out of the lift, straight into the arboretum and took a deep breath, taking all the lush scents that hung in the air into hir lungs. Shi then looked about at the dense foliage and marvelled at the little eco system that grew before hir. It was a recreation of what the Amazon looked like in Kit's reality, though it would have been impossible to tell the difference between the one in Isis' reality and the one that grew in the arboretum. The trees of the little jungle stretched up to the ceiling some 10 meters away and Isis took a moment to look up to their canopies, 'long way up... or down...' shi thought to hirself before looking back in front of hir to a barely half a meter wide path that lead into the foliage before hir, designed to give a real feel of exploring and undiscovered wild jungle as you walked along it. "Here we go", shi said as shi headed on into the 'unknown' along the path twisting hir ears as shi went and listening to the authentic birdcalls and humming of insects that added to the overall effect of the arboretum.
It didn't take long before shi was at the halfway point that marked the centre of the arboretum. It was nothing more than a small open area with an Inca style rock bench to give the right effect. Shi was about to continue on straight through the little rest area when shi caught something move in the corner of hir eye. It was only the slightest of movements but Isis stopped dead and turned hir head to look anyway. "Kit?" shi called, thinking he was playing a trick on hir, but there was no reply. Shi shook hir head, 'Silly chakat' shi thought to hirself and started off again. No sooner had shi taken hir fourth step than a loud roar of some large feline sounded little more than five meters away from hir. Isis stopped dead once again. Shi pinpointed the origin of the roar with hir sensitive ears and looked round behind hir to where shi knew it had come from. "Kit, is that you playing around back there?" Still no reply. Shi shook hir head again and turned back to head on only to come face to face with what appeared to be a natural jaguar who was sitting on its haunches and just staring at hir, it seemed to have an angry expression on it's face. "Oh, Kit! What are you playing at? I thought ..." shi began but the jaguar interrupted hir.
"My name is Mau," hissed the jaguar, in a decidedly feminine voice. "Kit is mine, don't go getting attached!" she continued.
"Oh," replied Isis in surprise, "If I had known I would..."
"Shut up!" spat Mau, she stood and took a step closer bearing hir teeth and claws, she seemed not to know of Isis superior strength as she was not afraid in the slightest.
"Please... I don't mean you any harm..."
Mau, rather surprisingly sat straight back down, sheathing her claws and covering hir teeth, her angry expression remained though.
"I'm sorry... Are you and Kit... together? Are you the same species?" asked Isis, hir enquiring mind was getting the best of hir once again.
"Pah!" scoffed Mau, "No, I am a jaguaress, he is a hybrid, can't you tell?"
"Er, No, I'm afraid I can't, I'm sorry. Actually he didn't mention you at all when we passed through her yesterday..."
"He wouldn't... I told him not to tell anyone about me." Replied Mau.
"Oh... Well that explains that then."
"Your in heat," said Mau unexpectedly, "Tell me, how can you be in heat, yet be male?" she questioned.
"Ah, well, I'm what's known as a chakat and chakats are hermaphrodites. That means we are both male and female in one, and as you can probably guess, we have a heat cycle and a male phase so..."
"You may have your uses then." Mau interrupted before standing, turning and walking quickly into the undergrowth.
"Excuse me, but where are you going?" asked Isis.
"Non of your business." Said Mau simply before disappearing into the greenery.
Isis thought briefly about what had just happened before grinning sheepishly, 'Oh goodie, someone to help me through my male phase.' Shi thought to hirself. 'I'll have to work quickly to win her over though... Heh.' Shi thought before continuing on through the jungle.
Schneider sat in his van thinking about the night before. A bump formed in his pants as he recalled what Jessie had suggested for the night ahead, which was simply to add a couple more people into the bed. It would be the first time Schneider had ever slept with another male before and he wasn't really nervous which surprised him a little.
A horn suddenly blew and he was brought back into the real world as the lights had changed and he was holding up the queue. He selected drive and set off a little hurriedly, and made an impressive 0-30 time considering he was in a van. Unfortunately in the process he caught the eye of a passing police PTV and was quickly called to pull over. 'Oh no.' he thought to himself as the officer driving the patrol PTV knocked on his door. He opened it nervously to be greeted by an Indian human in full uniform.
"English?" asked the officer, it was pretty much standard to ask that in India.
"Please step out of the van." Continued the officer.
Schneider climbed out.
"Come with me." Said the officer, and he walked off around the back of the van. Schneider followed shutting the door behind him as he went. When he finally reached the officer who was stood behind the van he looked to where the officer was now pointing. "This light is not working correctly, please inform your manager immediately and get a replacement for it straight away. We will wait in the PTV until it is replaced.
Schneider could have breathed a happy sigh of relief at not being pulled over for accelerating to quickly, but he held it back just in case the officer became suspicious.
"Yes officer, I'll go and contact the maintenance crew right away." He said finally. The officer nodded and walked back to his patrol PTV. So Schneider headed back to his cab and called up for a maintenance crew to be dispatched.
Schneider reversed the van into the unloading bay, turned the engine off and began to think about what Chaos had said to him. 'Two weeks from yesterday... hmm, I'm surprised he can remember where it was come to think about it, he doesn't make much sense at all. Oh well, maybe I'll be able to ask him a few things when he finally does show up again.'
There was a knock on his door before it was suddenly opened. "Hey, herd ya got pulled by the cops." Came Jessie's unmistakable voice.
"Oh don't rub it in," groaned Schneider, "It was only a burnt out bulb."
"Is that all? Sheesh, I swear these cops are getting more annoying by the day. Just last week I was pulled over just because the old van was too dirty. I, tell ya, I'm sure those human police cops are getting worse."
"Isn't that specist, singling out all the humans?" asked Schneider.
"But it's true, hang on, you mean to say you haven't noticed all the odd things happening involving humans?"
"I don't watch as much news as you do, remember all I have is my mini COM, though I have seen a few highlights along those lines. It's all minor stuff though, nothing to worry about."
"Well personally I'm not to sure about that, I hope your right though. If anything starts to happen though I really don't know what I'm going to do." Said Jessie as shi walked back to allow Schneider to get out of his cab.
Once he was out Schneider closed the door and they both headed over to the rest room.
"Oh well, here we go again huh, One Oatmeal special, one Tea, one American style burger and a coke, a little talk and off ta work again." Said Jessie.
"Yes, hmm, I wanted to talk to you about pay, it shouldn't take long so we should have plenty of time."
"Let's get a seat and talk then." Said Jessie as she pulled open the door and they disappeared into the rest room.
Isis licked hir lips as shi thought about Kit. Hir heat was now at its peek, just two days after shi had met him and shi was now desperate for his company, sadly though the computer had told hir he wasn't available and that was getting hir very frustrated. "He's somewhere aboard... he's got to be." Shi muttered to hirself as shi paced about hir bedroom, "I mean, where can he go? It's not as if he can leave the ship at warp... or slip? Whatever he called it... no wait, he can... but... Argh!" WHERE IS HE!?" shi almost roared in lust.
"Kit is now outside Rec room 1, would you like to contact him?" asked the computer in response to hir own question.
"Huh... oh, yes of course!" replied Isis, a little surprised by its interruption.
"Channel open." Stated the computer.
"Kit, where are you... I need you, Now!" Isis spurted out, hir lust was evident in hir voice to a degree that even amazed hirself. Shi didn't have to wait long for a reply though.
"Yeah, Y' want somethin'?" Asked Kit calmly. He of course knew what, but he enjoyed teasing hir about it so much that he couldn't resist.
"What...You know exactly what I want!" replied Isis almost in anger.
"Whoa there little kitty... who's helpin' who here?"
"Grrrrowwwrrrr, Kit, I NEED YOU, don't make me come and find you. I know you want this as much as I do and..."
"I resent that, I'm not sex cra..."
As Isis interrupted him once again hir voice became soft, sensuous and of course pleading. "Kit please... I'm five minuets away from raping you, I would rather we did this so we can both get pleasure from it."
"Hmm, I don't know... Sounds like an interesting thought to me."
"Wow, you really do need this. Looks like I might have taken a little too much control from you when I put y' back t' normal. I'll be there in half a minute, I promise." And he kept it. The day went well from that point and at the end of it all they both ended up lying full spread on their backs, totally in the fur on Isis' bed just staring up at the 'living' ceiling as clouds drifted slowly by and birds flew overhead in the fake sky above.
"You know... Each time we've done this, I've felt as if it is just the beginning... Do you think that's strange?" Asked Isis.
"It's probably all in the mind, you are in heat, could just be that talkin'." Replied Kit.
Isis rolled onto hir left side to look at Kit before saying, "Maybe... But what if they mean we were meant to be. As you more than likely know already, we chakats have a gift for knowing when we've met our potential life mates." Shi looked down at hir forepaws, "Well... err, I know its only been two days but I... well I do get this strong feeling about you and its something other than my heat talking, I know it." Shi said as shi looked back at him.
'Gods, shi's right' thought Kit as he recalled his first and second mates, and the feeling of knowing something was drawing him closer to them. And now he felt something for hir, but he couldn't, it was bad enough when he fell in love with Sara, his second mate, a normal vixen from his own reality, but to fall in love with a person from another reality, and a hermaphrodite? No, he didn't want to be reminded of... No, he just couldn't... could he?
"Nah, everyone gets that feeling around me, trust me, if it's not your heat, it's the fact that I'm a hybrid, we tend to give off this pleasant um... well, karma I suppose, when we mate, and that's probably what you're sensing." Said Kit, he took a look at hir and caught a shine in hir eyes as his met briefly with hirs. He looked away quickly, trying to avoid their pull and began to watch a bird in the distance on the 'living' ceiling.
Isis didn't believe his story about hybrids giving off some karma when mating one bit. Shi knew he was lying, that he had some feelings for hir. Hir empathy never lied to hir.
"You do feel something for me, I know it." Shi finally said as shi put hir right hand on his arm.
"Maybe, but that doesn't mean it's love." He replied keeping his eyes on the bird as it began to circle.
"Look me in the eyes and say that." Said Isis as shi ran hir hand up to his muzzle and gently turned it towards hir. Kit reluctantly let hir, resisting only slightly, he kept his eyes away from hirs though. "What are you afraid of Kit, Prove to me that this is not love that I'm feeling."
Kit took a deep breath, blinked a few times and then slowly, ever so slowly, he moved his eyes towards Isis'. They finally made contact and Kit instantly saw what he had most feared about looking into them. The glint, the shine in hir eyes that told him shi was the one... how could this happen to him? How could he fall in love with someone from another reality? With a hermaphrodite?
"No. It's not love... it isn't!" said Kit, almost in a panic as he pulled back from hir and climbed off the bed. "Not after last time... It's to painful." He continued as he grabbed his jeans and t-shirt, span on his toes and almost flew out of the door as it opened, disappearing left down the corridor.
Kit headed straight to his room and upon entering, threw his t-shirt and jeans onto the sofa, and made his way over to the cupboards next to a mini 'living' wall showing a wooded area. He stopped in front of the cupboards and looked down at two picture frames that stood on them. He squatted down so his head was level with the pictures and moved a little closer. "I need guidance," he whispered to the picture on his left and looked at the picture of a lioness who was smiling broadly back at him. He lifted his left hand and touched the picture with his index fingers pad and the picture magically came to life.
"Hey buddy, don't you look down. I may be in my next life now but that's no reason mope around." Said the picture.
"You know I'm not grieving for you Helen, just give me a little of that high spirits talk you were always talkin'." Whispered Kit in reply.
"Sorry love, can't do that. Dead fem's rules I'm afraid, but I know you'll manage, see ya." And with that the picture returned to its original pose.
Kit looked to the picture on the right, a picture of a vixen who was simply grinning at him and touched it with the pad of his right index finger and the picture came to life as the other one had.
"Yo Jay, Hey, you're all big and lion lookin' again, let me see ya foxy smile again will ya."
Kit smiled lightly before morphing into the Kit she had known, a folf by the name of Jayger Hood. "Is that better?" he whispered.
"Oh yeah, there's that hansom smile of yours. So why are ya looking so down?"
"Cause I don't know what to do and I need your help."
"You know ah can't Jay,"
"I know Sara, but you've helped anyway. Seeing and hearing you again has lifted my spirits a little."
"Good for you Jay. Oh well, can't yip all day, gotta go, see ya." Ended the picture before returning to its original pose.
Kit breathed deep, and slowly stood. He barely noticed a pantherine hand as it placed itself gently onto his right shoulder.
"Perhaps I can help." came a familiar lioness's voice from behind him.
"Sekhmet, you're here?" said Kit in surprise as he turned around, he grinned as in his folf form he was just tall enough for his head to be level with Sekhmet's breasts. "Well, I prefer the other end but if you're offering..." said Kit as he stared at her cleavage.
"I suggest you morph back to your trueform before you forget what you wish to ask me." Said Sekhmet as she looked down at him. Kit did so and soon she was looking two inches up into his eyes. "And wear something over that the next time or I may end up accepting your offer." She said as she took a brief look down at his naked fur.
"Don't tempt me."
"Oh be quiet."
"So, have y' come t' tell me that this is all nonsense and that I'll be back home just as soon as I've dropped Isis off?" asked Kit a little more seriously.
"I am afraid not Kit."
"Ok, so y' going t' give me a hint, as t' where there's a way back and I have t' spend a little time lookin' f'r it. That's ok by me." Said Kit as he walked around Sekhmet and over to the sofa where he picked up his clothes.
"Please Kit. Do not kid yourself about those feeling that you are beginning to have..."
"You mean?" butted in Kit, in a slightly worried voice, he put his clothes back down and turned to face her. "But shi's, well shi's a shi to begin with, and then there's the fact that chakats aren't a naturally evolved species in this reality, then there's the fact that shi's... urr? Shi's... wait, I'll think of somethin'..."
"I see no problem in that respect, besides if you accept what you are you would be just like hir."
"Oh yeah right, walkin' around bein' happy and nice t' everyone I..." Kit quickly realized it was not hir personality Sekhmet was talking about. "Oh no, certainly not..."
"You will accept it Kit, because there is more than one love out there in this reality for you. You are going to start a pride Kit. I am afraid that is all the information I can give you for now."
"Y' didn't have anything t' do with a blue/green mist that pulled Isis' shuttle down t' the planet I found hir on did y'?"
Sekhmet grinned, "Who me? Never. I don't do things like that and you know it."
"Was it Isis, y' know, the goddess, that did it then?"
"Mmm? She might have lent a claw of assistance, because the nacelle didn't damage itself."
"What happened t' the gods who just give advise and don't interfere in physical matters?" asked Kit.
"You know we know the future Kit. If we play a part in it, we will. Now I must get back, I can hear somebody calling for my assistance back in your reality."
"No, please, don't go..." begged Kit as he took a step towards her. But she simply faded away to nothing before his eyes. Kit sighed and turned around 'so we are meant to be...' he thought to himself as he picked up his clothes again and turned towards a metal spiral staircase that lead up to his bedroom. 'If that's what the gods say is gonna happen..." he thought on as he headed over to the stairs and began to walk up them, "then that's what's gonna happen." He sighed again as he reached the top of the stairway, threw his clothes onto a nearby chair and headed straight into the shower room after which he decided to sleep on what he had just learnt.
After sometime deciding what shi would say, Isis finally decided to see if Kit was alright. Shi also wanted to find out what he meant by it was too painful but shi had a feeling shi wouldn't, not straight away anyway.
Shi climbed off hir bed and pulled on a clean shirt shi had taken from the runabout earlier before running a comb through hir hair and finally walking up to the door and heading off to Kit's quarters. It wasn't long before shi reached them, shi stopped outside the main door and rang the chime. There was no reply. Noting that the door was not locked, and recalling that Kit had told hir that whenever it wasn't shi may enter shi pushed the door release and it slid silently open and shi entered the living room area.
Kit wasn't there, so shi walked over to the staircase, taking a look down the little hallway that led to the other bedrooms before heading straight up the stairs to Kit's bedroom.
Upon reaching the room the first thing shi noticed were that the lights were on, the strange thing was that Kit was asleep in his bed. However, that wasn't what surprised hir the most as shi spotted the most beautiful lioness shi had ever seen, sitting directly next to him on his bed, dressed in an Egyptian style, almost ceremonial looking white robe decked with gold trim and several beautiful pieces of jewellery that made Isis's own look cheap and pathetic.
"Who are you, what are you doing on this ship?" said Isis, a hint of anger, confusion and surprise all mixed into hir voice.
The lioness smiled at Isis briefly before turning to Kit and gently running a hand over, and through his mane.
"My name is Sekhmet. I am happy we have finally met Chakat Isis." The lionesses voice was peaceful, calming and showed no sign of being offensive.
"Sekhmet? How did you know my name?" Isis' voice was back to its normal chakat calm and friendliness.
Sekhmet looked back to hir and bayed hir closer. "Please, come closer. I will tell you all you need to know."
Isis, being the Chakat shi was, and sensing no bad intentions from Sekhmet with hir empathy, moved closer, though shi was still a little cautious.
"You do not need to feel afraid Chakat Isis. I have no intentions of harming anyone with feline blood in them." Said Sekhmet.
Isis didn't like the way shi had said that and shi stopped where shi was. " If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by that?" shi asked cautiously.
Sekhmet laughed lightly. "I would never harm you, and I never harm anyone else without good reason too. That is all you need to know."
"Alright then." Said Isis, convinced with hir explanation. "May I ask, who you are or what you are, what you are doing here on this ship when Kit told me that he and Mau were the only people aboard other than myself. And a little more to the point, why isn't he awake? I know he's not a heavy sleeper, and that he doesn't actually need a lot of sleep." Shi finished in one long chakat breath.
"I thought you knew Kit's religion?" said Sekhmet, slightly surprised. "No matter," she said as she stood and walked up to Isis and looked down at hir, eye to eye. "I am what you would call a goddess. I am Kit's deity to be exact, and I am here, on this ship, to meet you. Finally, he is asleep because I do not wish him to know of my presence." She explained.
Isis took a step back, maybe through respect, maybe through fear, shi didn't know, but to be confronted by a goddess, if shi were to believe her that is, was a good enough reason for either excuse. "You're a... goddess... that's... you can't be?"
"I am afraid I am, and that is how I know your name." Replied Sekhmet with a smile.
"You're 'the' Sekhmet... ?"
"There is only one Sekhmet, Chakat Isis, though it appears my fellow goddess Isis is not so." Grinned Sekhmet.
"...Err?" said Isis, unsure of what to say or do. "May I... ask why a goddess, would like to... meet me?" shi managed slowly.
"Why... to wish you the best of luck with my favourite pupil, Kit, of course. You two will bare beautiful cubs together, when you, and shi, are ready of course." Replied Sekhmet.
"Shi??? But Kit told me he was male?"
Sekhmet just smiled though, before fading away to nothing.
Isis looked about. The cabin was empty besides Kit and hirself though. Shi then looked at Kit, who was still sleeping. 'No... he isn't? Is he?' shi thought to hirself. Shi decided it best to go to hir own cabin and sleep on the subject as shi suddenly felt tired again, so that's what shi did.
The next morning Isis found Kit sat in the middle of the field of grass that currently occupied the hydroponics bay, besides a multitude of flowers, bushes and small trees that lined the border much like a back garden. Kit was sat on the grass with his knees up in front of him and his arms around them. Shi knew he had heard hir enter as shi had seen his ears twitch in response to hir walking in, but he didn't turn to greet hir. Shi didn't blame him though, he always seemed to know what shi wanted before shi asked and he obviously knew what shi was about to ask him as he stared out into space through the huge arboretum window at the front of the bay.
Shi slowly padded up to him, taking hir time and not rushing in too quickly to ask too many questions like shi always did. Shi only had two question that shi wanted to ask, and shi had warned hirself not to ask anymore than that.
Shi stopped beside him and lay down, looking into space through the window as Kit was doing, at the stars whizzing by and a light blue glow from the ship created by the slip speed engines.
"You want to know don't you." Said Kit, his accent had disappeared from his voice. It was a show of how much what he was about to tell hir really meant to him and it was also his trueform voice.
Isis nodded, but kept silent.
"Ask me, and I will tell you." Continued Kit, his voice, a mixture of sincerity, sorrow and honesty.
Isis looked down to hir forepaws that lay in front of hir, shi closed hir eyes briefly before opening them and looking back up to the stars and space as shi prepared hirself.
"Kit," shi finally managed, "are you a hermaphrodite?"
Kit reacted by looking down to his knees, he was reluctant to answer, he had never wanted anyone to know. For the past 178 years of his life he had kept it a secret to all non-hybrids that his species were in fact so. He almost felt as if he were about to betray every hybrid that had ever existed, as bio engineered beings were simply not tolerated on his home planet, and being outwardly hermaphroditic would have most certainly caused problems when hybrids mixed themselves in (in secret) with the naturally created.
"...yes..." he finally replied, his voice little more than a light breath.
Isis couldn't hold hirself from asking an unplanned question, fortunately it seemed a reasonable question to ask but it still meant shi would ask one more than shi had wanted to.
"Why do you fear me knowing what you really are?" shi asked softly. "I am, after all, a hermaphrodite too."
Kit turned his head away from hir in disgrace. Compared to Isis' home world his now seemed barbaric, should he really tell hir about his peoples beliefs? About the way no one is allowed to experiment in bio-engineering, on pain of death... shi would find out eventually anyway, and besides, shi already knew that his species were extremely secretive and that no one knew of their existence in the reality he came from, so shi would finally know exactly why.
"We were always told never to even think about the side effect that allowed us to become our opposite sex, or both in one body. We were not born as true hermaphrodites, you see, but for some unexplained reason we all, briefly, found that we could alter our sex, and that we... could also think... like the other sex. No one knows why, so, like I said we were told to forget it. To only think of the sex we were when we were born and to hide the opposite sex inside us so deep that it would never bother us again.
On my home planet, there are no bio-engineered life forms of any kind, not plant, not lesser-evolved species, and most certainly not evolved species. While that may sound good in a way, we actually believe it's evil to do such things to nature, so being bio-engineered would cause the populous to turn against us if they knew we existed, if they found out we were also hermaphrodites, well, an evolved hermaphrodite, simply not conceivable in my reality. Believe it or not, so far, exploration both in space and, more importantly on Solice, or Earth as you would know it, we have found not one single species of fauna that are hermaphroditic... That is another difference between my reality and this one."
Isis was of course shocked by what he had just explained to hir, but shi now knew and could sympathize with why he didn't want hir to know. With that out of the way though, there was just one question left to ask him.
"Kit, I would like to ask you one last question, please." Shi asked gently.
"What is it?"
"Do you..." shi began; shi willed up the courage to ask him and continued, "Do you love me?"
"You already know the answer to that." His voice was still full of sincerity and honesty, but the sorrow had somehow disappeared.
Isis smiled broadly as a wonderful feeling welled up inside hir chest and made hir wrap hir arms around his body, as shi gave him the most love filled hug shi had ever given to anyone, to him. "Oh, Kit... I love you too." Shi said happily before giving him a big lick kiss on the end of his muzzle to which he wrinkled his nose. And smiled lightly, before giving hir a lick kiss back with his much larger leonine tongue, which wrapped almost easily around Isis' entire muzzle. "Oh, I've got to tell my parents about this, they'll be so happy that I've finally found a mate." That brought Kit back to his usual self.
"Oh no, potential mother in law alert." He said in his usual accent, his voice was still low though.
Isis laughed, "Shi's going to love you too." Shi replied.
"Mmm... More than likely."
"So, Umm, are you going to show me your hermaphrodite form?"
Kit blew out a sigh, "I don't have one."
"But you said that you did?"
"No, Non of us really do." His voice became a little quieter and lost the little charm too "I said we could alter our sex, and that we had experienced the other sex briefly and that we can become hermaphrodites, but we really don't have a Hermaphrodite form as such. To tell you he truth I think that is about as far away from being male as I'd ever go. Though it would take some doing to get me to even think about that..." his voice trailed off.
"Oh," Isis realized shi was now pushing Kit into answering hir, and more to the point, shi was now pushing hir luck with him. "I'll leave you alone for awhile," shi told him softly, "I would like to tell you about a good chakat friend of mine that could give you help if you think you need it..." shi continued before standing and making hir way calmly out of the arboretum leaving Kit alone.
The next week came and went quickly, Kit and Isis made their relationship even stronger, and when Isis's male phase came into play a week after hir heat was at its peak Mau reviled herself to be friendlier than she appeared by spending some time with hir during that time. When the Sutherland did eventually reach Earth's solar system Kit had decided not to wipe Isis' memory of him and his ship, he even felt a little guilty about doing it to the crew of the James Cook, but had decided it was best not to go back and give them their memories back as it might cause a little trouble with the authorities, speaking of which, it was going to be difficult to negotiate Earth's spaceports, at least it would be legally. Unfortunately, since Isis was a chakat, the legal way was the way Kit would have to go.
When the Sutherland did eventually reach the ship docks surrounding Earth, Kit, using a little 25th century technology, and a little Hybrid ingenuity, managed to moor the ship without even a hint of confusion as to where the ship came from and in fact secured a permanent 'legal' mooring area. From the Sutherland Isis suggested that they take hir runabout, Kit decided he would rather follow up in his shuttlecar and so they eventually ended up outside the British spaceport watching the truck that was now carrying the cargo from the runabout, pull out of the PTV park.
"So Einstein, what do we do about my crates." Asked Isis, giving the one closest to hir a little nudge with a forepaw.
"I could beam down a trailer." Suggested Kit.
"Isn't it a little to far to beam something from your ship," making note of the fact that the Sutherland was actually moored several thousand miles from where they currently stood, "and besides, wouldn't it look out of place on a hover car?"
"Nah, the transporters could beam twice as far as this, and it's styled to fit in with the Kitten." Replied Kit.
"Hmm? Well I'm certainly not going to let you break the law so you'd better think of something else." Said Isis sternly.
"Ooo, tough customer." Said Kit cheekily, "I was actually going t' strap them t' the boot top anyway."
"You're lucky I know you well enough to believe that."
"Sounds like y' don't know me well enough then." Said Kit with a sly grin.
"Oh shut up and put the crates on the car."
Five minuets later they were flying over the countryside towards Isis' parents countryside house. Kit, despite some disapproval from Isis, had made use of the phase technology that had been incorporated into the Kitten's systems.
"So tell me, why you called your car Kitten." asked Isis.
"Because it's my little Kitty."
"But haven't you called one of your other cars Kitty?" said Isis, slightly confused at his answer.
"All right then, I just like the name."
"Oh, fair enough."
"Is that it?"
"Well, y' usually start asking a load of questions."
"Nothing. Say, is that your house." Said Kit spotting Isis' parents house through the windscreen, not too far ahead of them.
"It can't be," began Isis, It usually takes well over two hours from the spaceport... and... it... is?" shi said as shi also spotted hir parents house as it came into view.
"We did go the shortest route don't forget. You see, what the authorities don't know, will save us well over an hour and a half." Said Kit with a sly grin.
"I see." Replied Isis slowly, shi, of course was still against his rather light view on the law.
"Oh cheer up misery guts, doin' it the normal way would have us still several light years away from this solar system, and sure to miss your sisters birthing party."
Isis sighed as shi knew he was right, "Ok, ok. I get the idea. Just make sure you don't do any damage to anyone or anything while you do these crazy stunts of yours." Shi said with a hind of a stern tone in hir voice.
"Stunts? Ha, I'll show you stunts." Said Kit as he turned the steering wheel quickly to the left. Instead of turning the Kitten barrel rolled several times causing Isis to tense up in surprise. Kit them pulled the wheel back and the car twisted around until it was heading straight up. "Weee!" cried Kit in his own silly way as he enjoyed the motion of the Kitten as he was pressed into his seat back.
"Ok you've got me, now level out... please!" pleaded Isis as shi hung on to the arm rests and pressed hir upper back into the swivel back of hir chair in terror.
"Aww, you're no fun." Said Kit as he levelled the Kitten out and gently began to descend down toward the house.
Isis breathed a sigh of relief as hir heart rates went back to normal. "I suppose I'm going to have to get used to things like that for the future then?" said Isis, being careful not to mention the 'S' word again.
"I think I'll get used to it anyway, just to be on the safe side."
"Good for you." Said Kit cheekily.
Isis just gave him a stern look; something that Kit had grown fond of seeing hir do. Secretly he enjoyed seeing Isis when shi was annoyed with him, and secretly, shi knew he did, it was the only reason shi allowed hirself to be a, little less, happy and friendly to him all the time, so it all worked out well in the end.
Kit brought the Kitten down just outside the driveway gates to the house and unphased it, nearly frightening a magpie half to death as it watched the Kitten just appear out of nowhere. "Ooops." Said Kit as he saw it fly away in a panic.
"Oh that poor Magpie..." began Isis, but Kit was quick to butt in.
"It'll be fine I promise, and I give you my word I didn't want to do that.
Isis had him, shi had known instinctively that he hadn't and decided to put him right on the matter. "Ha, I've got you this time. I knew you didn't mean to, and you should have known that." Shi said with pride.
"... Nuts..." was all Kit said as he flew the Kitten along the long gravel driveway that led to the PTV park.
"Honk the horn," said Isis as they pulled into the parking area. Kit did, and within a few minutes a tan on white coloured twelve-year-old chakat appeared from the path that led to the front door of the house. "Oh, Lightmark... shi's grown." Said Isis, almost in surprise.
"Cubs have a habit of doing that, don't they." Said Kit as he landed the Kitten in a free space in the quite large, yet almost filled, PTV Park and powered down the engine. But Isis was quick out of the car and was soon hugging Lightmark and hadn't bothered answering him. Kit rolled his eyes, unbuckled himself, something he had done only because Isis had told him to, opened his door and climbed out. The first thing he did was to take a quick look back at the crates that were 'fortunately' still attached before Lightmark appeared before him smiling up at him.
"You're really big." Shi said before introducing hirself properly. "My name's Chakat Lightmark, child of Strongarm and Sundance, You're Kit aren't you... what's your second name?" shi asked, bearing hir teeth in a big cubbish grin.
Kit had to admire the young chakats approach to greeting someone for the first time, even if shi had just challenged him by bearing hir teeth. "Y' want t' know somethin'?" he asked.
"Ok" replied Lightmark eagerly.
"Back where I come from, bearing your teeth means you want to challenge someone to a fight." He explained in a completely non-threatening voice.
"Wow, really? My mom says fighting's bad, So do I but I do think play fighting is really fun."
Kit continued his smile and lightly shook his head. Now he had heard everything, 'A chakat who likes fighting, well, play fighting.' he thought to himself, 'will wonders never cease?'
"Can I give you a greeting hug?" piped up Lightmark suddenly.
"Err... I suppose so." He said as he knelt down. Personally he didn't much like hugs, but he made an exception for Lightmark as he let hir wrap hir arms around him and squeeze him as tightly as a twelve year old chakat could, which Kit respected, as it was quite a good grip as a young chakat is quite strong.
"You don't have a Scent?" said Lightmark in confusion, as shi stepped back from the hug.
"Oh, I do. If you really try you'll be able to smell it." Said Kit.
Lightmark took his hand and held it up to hir nose; Shi concentrated hard as shi breathed in and after some a little searching shi caught a scent. "Does it smell musty?" shi asked.
"Yeah, that's the one."
Lightmark eventually let go and took a step back, "Let's go in the house, then you can meet everyone else." And the realization suddenly hit Kit, for though his trueform was that of a lion, he had never enjoyed being surrounded by more than three or four people. It put his senses out of sync and made him feel nervous, he hated that.
"Err... I think I'd rather, stay... out here." He said slowly.
"Why, I though lions were like chakats, very sociable. Why aren't you sociable?" Apparently the 'ask a lot of questions' gene was firmly buried in Isis' family.
"I'm not a lion, that's why." Replied Kit.
"Oooo, what are you?" asked Lightmark, with all the curiosity of a cub.
Kit couldn't believe his luck, he couldn't wait to say what he was about to say, "Curiosity killed the chakat." He said smugly, and gods, how he had enjoyed saying that.
"Please tell me." Asked Lightmark as shi looked at him through those young eyes in a way that only a cub could.
"O-go on then, I'm what is known as a hybrid."
"You're a cross between a lion and a leopard aren't you? I bet you're a leopon." said Lightmark, thinking shi knew what he meant by hybrid.
"Actually, my species is simply known as hybrid. We're not just a mix between two other species." Explained Kit.
Lightmark was just about to blurt out several more questions when an adult chakat called out to them to come in.
"Lightmark, can you bring...err, Kit inside instead of torturing him with your questions please!" shi called.
Lightmark looked over to the chakat. "Aww, do I have to dad?" shi called back.
"If you want to stay up late tonight you will." Hir father called back.
Lightmark gave a little growl of displeasure, "Aww." Shi said as shi turned back to Kit, "Will you tell my dad your not coming in when we reach hir, shi might not believe me."
"Errm... well... err, I suppose I'll end up inside eventually anyway, so I'll follow you shall I?"
"Ok, I'll show you around." Said Lightmark, as shi seemed to lighten up at the thought.
'Oh gods,' thought Kit, 'Just don't think about the eyes on y' and y'll be alright.' He thought on, and repeated the thought in his head as Lightmark took his right hand and almost had to pull him over to where hir father stood in the doorway.
"Hello, I'm chakat Sundance, child of Hew and Redrose." Said Lightmark's father as they drew to within a few meters of hir. Shi walked out of the doorway and offered him a hug. Kit accepted, though of course, it was only to make a good first impression.
"Hi." Replied Kit just before the hug took place. "I'm Kit Silva."
"It's nice to finally meet my daughters potential mate. And of course, my 'son' in law." Shi said with a smile. "Oh, you don't have a..."
Kit smiled meekly, "I'll explain later."
"Fine, come on in and meet the family Kit."
"Can I show him around dad?" asked Lightmark.
"Aww, don't call me that." Said Lightmark, as hir ears turned red in embarrassment.
Sundance looked to Kit, "Kids these day huh." Shi said with a wink.
"Go on, we'll talk later shall we?" said Sundance as Lightmark pulled Kit away into the rather large hallway. Kit could only nod in reply as he thought about what lay ahead.
"Your really going to love my aunt Panthera, shi really likes lions, if chakats got jealous shi would be of you and Isis." Said Lightmark as shi pulled him into a large living room.
"Eeep." Managed Kit as he saw over twenty chakats talking away in little groups to each other.
Moonlight pulled him straight over to a small group of only three chakats and they were both acknowledged almost instantly.
"Hey, Lightmark, who's the hansom lion you've bagged?" asked a chakat who seemed to look more like a lion taur than a true chakat.
"Hi Panthera, this is Kit Silva, he's a hybrid, not a lion." Said Lightmark.
"Oh, really?" said Panthera with an amazing amount of interest.
"I'm going to introduce him to everyone," said Lightmark.
"Ok, we'll have to get together later Kit." said Panthera.
Kit nodded, "Err... Ok." He said before he was introduced to the other two chakats with Panthera, along with a very young kitten, who belonged to Panthera. He was then introduced to each of the other chakats in turn, thirty two chakats later, including Snowflakes unborn cub, Kit was relived to be pulled out of the room and upstairs to view over twelve large bedrooms, indeed the house was more of a mansion with the amount of rooms it had. There were a further six bedrooms downstairs, including Lightmark's own, which was shown in as much detail than all of the others combined, he was then shown everything else in and around the house and had to give a detailed explanation about the Kitten before being returned to Isis who he was glad to be with again.
The night finally drew in though and after a lengthy tea Kit found himself alone out on the balcony outside Isis' room, just relaxing as he balanced on the guardrail leaning against a flagpole. He swilled a soft drink around the cup glass he was holding and stared out into the pitch black.
"Ah, Isis said you were out here." Came a familiar voice from behind him.
Kit turned his head to look at hir, "Hi Panthera."
"Enjoying the night air huh?"
"Yeah." Said Kit as he took a swig of the drink he was holding. "Ick," he said as he found it was flat. He placed the glass down carefully on the guardrail.
"So, care to tell me a little about hybrids?" asked Panthera hopefully.
"I think the easiest way t' put it is simply, a hybrid is a mixture of all known mammal species that exist on Solice, my home planet, though the high percentage of our DNA is that of our parents, who can be one of four species, African Lion, Snow Leopard, Grey Wolf or Red Fox. I myself actually had a vixen as a mother but that's beside the point. Hybrids are capable of changin' their form at the molecule level, allowin' us t' change form int' any livin' creature, within our size limit, we choose. We're also capable of usin' our bodies t' their full potential and can push ourselves much further than that if need be. Other attributes include a high IQ, Though I'm no Einstein myself and an ability t' use telepathy and much more besides. Hmm... I think that's it in a nutshell." Explained Kit with a light grin curling the ends of his thin black lips. He had worked on that little routine for quite sometime and was almost proud of it, He took a brief millisecond to consider why he hadn't just said that to Isis in the first place but put it down to circumstances beyond his control, which was rare for him.
"Well, that was impressive. Anymore?" asked Panthera.
"More than I could ever tell." Said Kit as he began to swish his tail that hung near to the bottom of the rail, on the balcony side. He was a little surprised when he felt something clamp onto the tuft of fur on the end. Kit quickly looked down only to find Panthera's Kitten firmly attached, via a well developed set of teeth, to the end of his tail. "I think I know, why y' named hir Nipper." He said, recalling hir name from when he had been introduced. He gently pulled his tail and watched as Nipper took hold of his tail with hir tiny hands and began to tug and pull back as shi played.
"Uh oh," said Panthera, with a little concern.
"What wrong? I'm sorry if I've done somethin' wrong." Said Kit.
"Oh, no, you haven't... not really anyway. In fact, maybe I should be apologizing to you. You see, once shi clamps onto something like that, and starts to play tug with it, shi rarely lets go unless shi's hungry." Explained Panthera.
"I guess we're going t' see a lot of each other over the next few hours then." Said Kit as he gave his tail a good pull.
"Yes I think so to. Actually, if you're game, do you fancy spending the night together? I'm sure we could find a bed for two somewhere if you wanted."
"This is because I'm a lion isn't it." Said Kit as his grin grew just a little wider to show hir he, at least, wasn't against the idea. "Actually, if y' can keep y' mind from that sort of thing, I'd like t' know how y' got y' name."
"It's because the first time I saw a natural pantherine I just knew that I wanted to be one with them."
"That simple huh." Said Kit as he felt Nipper pull hard against his tail.
"Yes. I'm afraid so." Replied Panthera. "Actually, when I first saw you above the rest of the family I though your features looked a little odd, A little more natural in a way I suppose."
"Your right there, the species of lion that I was created from was actually and evolved form of what you would know as a 'natural' African lion. I, could actually fit in to a pride and no-one would know the difference between myself and the other lions."
"Err, may I ask where you come from? It's just that you make it sound so much like Earth and then you go and throw me off the scent by saying something a little odd." Asked Panthera as shi tried to get things straight.
"Ah, well, that's a story in itself actually. My home planet is known as Solice, though you might say it was Earth, as I do in fact come from and alternate reality."
"Ah, I think I see now." Said Panthera, in a fully understanding sort of way.
Kit was just a little surprised by hir lack of surprise. It hadn't really been often that he had told someone that without receiving a 'Really?' or a 'You mean your from another dimension?' or something along those lines followed by questions and even more questions. He wasn't complaining though.
"Not that I want to push this," began Panthera, completely changing the subject, "but, have you thought about what I said... about spending the night together?" shi asked.
"I'm game if you are," Replied Kit, "and of course, if Nipper decides t' let go of my tail. I don't really perform well with a kitten hanging onto my tail, though I can't really be sure of that..." he added.
Panthera laughed lightly. "Well I'm sure I could coax hir off you before we do anything." Shi said as they continued to talk for a few more hours before the time finally came to bed down for the night.
Three days later Kit, Isis, Snowflake and hir newborn kitten, Leanpaw (Snowflakes mate) and Lightmark were all out walking in the extensive countryside surrounding Isis', Snowflake's and Lightmark's parents house. Lightmark was off running and playing ahead with Leanpaw, Snowflake was tending to hir, still unnamed, kitten and Kit and Isis were talking about what the future held for them just behind Snowflake.
"Do you think we're compatible Kit? You know, I would really love to bear your cub." Said Isis as shi leaned slightly against his side and he put his arm around hir.
"Oh, I don't know Isis. I mean. Having a cross breed cub is one thing I'd have t' come t' grips with, the other thing is that, a Hybrid cub might not bring the joy you might be hoping for." Replied Kit.
"What do you mean?" asked Isis as shi gave him a nuzzle.
"Well, I suppose I should have said, it might not last as long as you hope. I only had five years of growth at the beginning of my life, and only half a year of that was spent as a kitten."
"You mean, hybrids don't have a very long cubhood? That's so sad. At least I know why you like to act more like a cub than an adult now though. You're making up for lost time aren't you." said Isis caringly.
"That said, I would like to have a cub with you Isis. Who know eh, maybe we'll get lucky and shi'll have a normal cubhood like a true chakat."
"I wouldn't care if shi did or not, I would love hir just as much for just as long. And if we do have a cub, I want you to know, I expect you to love hir just as much as me."
"I wouldn't dream of giving hir any less."
"Shall we try for a cub next time I'm in heat then?" asked Isis even more seriously.
"It's not a case of trying Isis. It's a case of choosing the date. When we're ready we'll make our vows, and consummate our love in the ultimate way."
"So we are compatible," smiled Isis, "I can't wait for the day when we are truly ready."
"Me neither." Replied Kit, they paused to Kiss, and lick each others muzzles and faces as they spent a little time showing their now deep affection for each other.
Snowflake took a brief look back and caught them in the act, shi smiled wickedly as shi thought of how far it could go before lightly shaking hir head and walking on leaving the two love cats alone.
Kit and Isis broke their lick kissing and stared into each others eyes.
"Isis, I've been thinkin' about his hard and I just want t' say, I'd like t' see that friend of yours that could help me with my... um... little problem." Explained Kit honestly.
The smile that Isis was already wearing grew twice as big at his words. "I hope you do your best to sort this out Kit, and though I shouldn't say this, I swear my friend will find out what is going on up there in that big ole head of yours." Shi said raising hir hand and tapping on Kit's forehead with hir index finger.
Kit smiled in return. "I hope so." He said, " and maybe shi could help you with that constant questioning bug y' seem t' have."
"Ooo, why you big..." began Isis as Kit skilfully dodged a light knock from hir by leaping backwards and running off towards the others. Isis gave chase as hir playful side fully emerged and they played a game of tag with Snowflake and Leanpaw as Lightmark looked after the kitten.
"There it is." Said Isis pointing to a large Victorian building.
Isis had arranged for Kit and hir friend to meet after he had told hir he wanted to, and so they were currently on their way to hir office where shi would see to him. Chakat Serenity was a psychiatrist, and a very good one at that as shi owned half of the company shi worked for and shi was only as old as Isis. Shi had arranged several appointments for Kit and had others already planned, as shi couldn't help but help out hir old primary school friend Isis. Though Isis and Serenity were good friends the friendship had been unfortunately neglected like everything else while Isis had been on hir digs and five years had passed them by without so much as a simple word. Still, they were both chakats and that only meant one thing, to arrange a good chakat to chakat session with each other at the earliest possible time.
Kit slowed the Kitten down as they approached the building and turned down a ramp that was posted as the PTV Park. He drove down under the building following a one lane road until they reached a set of barriers where he stopped and opened his window to the little robot that stood fixed to the top of a pole.
"Good afternoon Sir, Madam or Chakat." Said the robot in a friendly manor, "May I ask if you are expected?"
"Yes we are, Chakat Isis and Kit Silva to see Chakat Serenity at 15:00." Replied Kit.
The robot bleeped before replying, "Nice to see you Chakat Isis and Mr. Silva, you have been allocated PTV bay A3, please turn left after the barrier, your bay is the third on the left and has been illuminated for your convenience. Thank you and please enjoy your visit." It finished before opening the barrier for them.
"Please enjoy your visit?" repeated Kit as he closed the window, drove under the barrier and turned left. "That sounds a little sadistic to me, considerin' this place is full of quacks."
Isis huffed, "I'll have you know Serenity is a is a fully qualified in both mental and physical psychiatry thank you." Shi stated.
"Physical psychiatry. Oooo sounds nice." Said Kit as he stopped the Kitten just after passing bay A3 and reversed into the space.
"Mmm? Yes it does... I think I might get a session here." Mused Isis unexpectedly.
"There's naught wrong with you, unless all chakats are suffering from chronic be nice to everyone and never do anythin' bad syndrome... which I wouldn't doubt." Said Kit cheekily.
"Just watch it mate, or you'll see just how bad chakats can be." Warned Isis.
"Oh, I love it when you're angry." Came Kit's quick reply.
Isis smiled in return. "I know."
They both unbuckled themselves and exited the Kitten closing the doors behind them. They then set off towards the lift and Kit set the alarm as he passed the front of the car.
"Is that suppose to be an alarm?" asked Isis.
"What on Earth do you need one of them for?"
"Well, would you leave a 25th century shuttlecar in the car park of a 24th century buildin' without puttin' an alarm on?" asked Kit. "There are a lot of corrupt people out there that would just love to steel technology in excesses of 150 years ahead of their own and I, for one, will not allow that t' happen."
"Ah... good answer." Replied Isis as shi pressed the lift call button. There were two sets of lift doors and the set to the left of where Isis stood opened almost immediately.
"Mmm, bet it's not as fast as the one on the Sutherland though." Said Kit noting its apparent speed.
"There's no chance of that." Agreed Isis, as they walked in before the doors closed with a clunk and the lift set off after Isis pressed the 5th floor button.
"It's nice t' be able t' hear a door open and close loudly once in a while," said Kit, for no real reason. He suddenly realized there was an echo, "Oooo," he began, Echo... echo... echo... echo..." he said gradually fading out as he emphasized the barely noticeable echo.
"You're definitely in the right place." Said Isis as shi looked at him as if he were stupid. Kit just grinned cubbishly in return. There was a brief silence before Kit broke it.
"Wow, I could write a novel in the time it takes for this t' get t' the right floor." he said about half way through the lift ride.
"Do you mind, I've put up with this too much with you constantly putting down my realities technology. I know we're 170 odd years after what you are used to but that's no reason to go on about it." Said Isis just before the lift stopped and the doors opened. They headed out of the lift and down the corridor to the right.
"Sorry." Said Kit as they walked in almost complete silence to a large pair of doors at the end of a very long corridor they had turned into half way down the first one.
"Here we are." Said Isis, shi knocked on the door and waited until shi heard a feint 'come in' from the other side when Kit quickly opened the door before hir.
"Half fems first." He said as he motioned for hir to enter.
"Thank you," smiled Isis as shi passed, giving him a quick slap on the rump as shi did so.
Kit gave an odd little mewl in return before following hir in and closing the door behind them.
Over at the far end of a 20 x 10 meter room a golden brown, cream and black coloured chakat sat squatting behind a large desk that appeared to be the only piece of furniture, besides a chair on the other side of the desk, in the room. Shi looked up from a mini COM shi was reading from. "Isis, Great to see you in the fur again." Shi called, before standing and quickly making hir way around the desk and over to them. Shi and Isis gave each other the usual big greeting hug.
"It's good to see you too Serenity." Replied Isis as they parted.
"And you must be Kit," said Serenity as shi turned and faced him. "My name, as you have more than likely guessed, is Chakat Serenity, child of Greyfur and Skylark." Shi greeted before shi offered him a greeting hug, which Kit, reluctantly of course, accepted. "I've read all the information I asked you to send me and I can say that I will be able to help you out with it."
"Great," said Kit, "I think?"
Serenity smiled and looked at Isis.
"Kit," said Isis, "Could you spare us a few minutes, I think both Serenity and I would like a few words alone."
"Sure, should I wait outside?" replied Kit.
"You could sit on the chair if you like." Said Serenity.
"Ok." Said Kit before walking off towards the chair around what appeared to be a sunk-in bed in the middle of the floor. 'Bet I know what that's for' he thought to himself as he passed it.
"So, how are things?" asked Isis.
"Great, now that I've seen you again."
"So what's new, besides the job?" asked Isis.
"Mmm? Not much I'm afraid, Dune is doing well though."
"I'm glad to hear that."
"So," smiled Serenity, "what is the link between you and Kit eh, I want to know everything, and not just because it will help me help him either."
"Oh, we're becoming very close. We've even talked about having a cub together and..."
"No, no. Tell me how you met." Butted in serenity.
Isis had spotted Kit spinning himself around on the chair and couldn't help from giggling before shi replied, Well, long story short, he rescued me when I crash landed on a planet, and, well we kind of hit it off from the start. You know, the usual sort of thing with us chakats."
"I wouldn't say being rescued by your future mate from a planet you were stranded on was particularly common." Said Serenity. Isis was about to answer but couldn't as shi began to giggle again at Kit as he span himself a little faster. Serenity turned to see what shi was looking at and grinned at the sight shi beheld. Kit suddenly stopped when he spotted the two chakats staring at him. He stared back for a few moments with a slightly shocked expression on his face before smiling and waving meekly at them. "Interesting" said Serenity, very professionally.
"I would have said weird, that's why I like him though, because he can do strange things now and then." Said Isis.
"That should make things a little more interesting." Said Serenity as they turned to face each other again.
"Hopefully." Replied Isis, "Oh well I think I'd better leave you two alone, I would like to look around the shops anyway."
"Ok then, oh, I almost forgot." Said Serenity as shi dipped into a little pocket in hir halter and pulled out a pass. "Here, you will be able to come and go freely from the building with this." Shi said as shi handed the card to Isis, "Just don't go steeling any personal documents or anything ok." Shi added with a smile.
"Thanks." Replied Isis. "We'll definitely have to get together sometime soon, reminisce about the old days and whatever."
"Yes we will." agreed Serenity, "We can talk a little more about it when you get back. Anyway, good luck bargain hunting."
"Thanks. See you in two hours then." Said Isis as shi turned, headed over to the doors and opened one.
"Bye." Said Serenity as Isis shut the door behind hir. Shi then turned and headed over to hir desk and lay down on a raised cushioned plinth that was neatly hidden behind it. Kit watched hir as shi shuffled a few PADDs that lay on the desktop around before shi finally looked at him.
"Well then, shall we begin?" shi asked.
"Yeah, I think I'm ready." Replied Kit.
"Wonderful. Well, as I said earlier I have read all the information you sent me, including the PADD you had beamed directly down to me with the top-secret information on it. Actually, I have to say, it is the first time anybody has done that."
"It's highly classified, Isis doesn't know some of that, though shi will eventually, I'm sure. If my commanders found out that I've passed on this info though, they'd have me court-martialled." Explained Kit.
"Ah, well," began Serenity, not to pleased with what he had told him in the official sense. "At least you see that sorting your life and your sexuality out is more important than a few rules." Shi said. "It is a sign that you really do want to change."
"Why only maybe?" asked Serenity as shi picked up a PADD and a pointer pen and began to write onto it.
"..." Kit shrugged.
"Hmm, thought Serenity as shi scribbled away on the PADD. "Tell me about your thoughts on why you do not think you should become one with your female side?" shi asked.
"Err...Well... First off, I suppose, would be... the fact that my birth form was that of a male, I suppose that's why I've taken to the male sex..." began Kit.
"So you think that just because you were born with male genitalia, and I'm taking this from what I've already read, that you should automatically be a male?" asked Serenity.
"It... seems straight forward enough, I was born a male, I live my life as one."
"Even though it was actually in your, how should I put this, design, may I call it that?" Kit nodded and shi continued, "even though it was in your design to be both, or at least be able to mimic the other sex and, under extreme circumstances, that you as a male hybrid, could be impregnated and give birth to a healthy kitten?"
Kit shivered at the thought of 'being impregnated', "Actually it was just a side effect that allow us to do that, but I suppose y' right... yeah." He waited for the next quick question from Serenity but shi simply jotted a few notes down.
"Ok," shi said finally, shi looked up, "Why else do you think you should not become a female?"
"...Um... Well, I've always been thought of as a male, and I have always thought of myself as male. I suppose those are the main reasons. It's now hard t' think of the female side of me, especially after 178 years of acting as a male would."
"Ah, so you think that time has strengthened your male side, and not made you think that it was time for a change then?" asked Serenity.
"When said like that... I, well, maybe I do... Being honest... there has been a tiny piece of me gnawing at the idea of trying a female form, but... I, when I think of my male pride, my dominance... I... just... can't bare the thought." Said Kit with a lot of difficulty.
"Good," muttered Serenity in a positive way as shi hurriedly jotted more notes down. "That is excellent," shi said when shi had finished. "I can't believe it's that simple. Kit, does your dominance over females mean a lot to you?"
"It's part of my life," replied Kit.
"Tell me, what do you think of mating with another male?"
"I'm not attracted to males, I don't think I could..."
"But you have already mated with Chakat Isis, Shi is half male, did you think about that when you mated with hir?"
"A hermaphrodite doesn't count. It's the female side that matters to me, because I can mate with hir in the way mating is supposed to be... um? Done."
"Would you really be so in love as to consider having a cub with hir if hir male side didn't appeal to you, or you at least liked that side of hir?"
"Shi looks so feminine," began Kit as he thought hard about it, "Yet, I can plainly see the male in hir, and hir personality, so much a mixture, maybe slightly off t'wards the female in hir. Hir sexes, well, who couldn't notice the breasts, and from behind, the raised tails you chakats sport so well let me see that side of hir. Yet I have wondered, when I saw hir sheath, what was inside it. I haven't been able to do much more than gently pass my hand over it as I make my way elsewhere."
"So, would you say, the fact that shi is a hermaphrodite, is beginning to turn you on?"
Kit looked down at his hands, "I know we were meant to be together, my goddess Sekhmet told me. I... I'm to start a pride with hir, I can't help but... start to, y'know..."
"Ok, fine. Now let's try something a little different." Began Serenity and shi continued to explain what shi had in mind to him.
The end of the session dragged itself around and was highlighted by when Isis knocked at the door.
"Come in," called Serenity from behind hir desk. The door opened and Isis revealed hirself, along with two bags from hir shopping trip. "Oh, hello Isis, we're just finishing up here, won't be two ticks." Shi called.
"Ok," replied Isis.
Serenity and Kit turned back to each other.
"I want you to prepare yourself for the next session. I know it might seem a bit sudden for that but I think it will help, and of course, you will tell me if you ..." continued Serenity from the conversation shi and Kit were having before Isis arrived.
Kit had to cut hir off though, "Yes, yes. Of course I will. I doubt I'll rack up the nerves too before the next session though."
"That's fine with me." Said Serenity, "Ok, all over. Let's see what Isis has brought us eh?" shi said with a wink and cheeky grin.
Kit was almost speechless at hir sudden change of personality, "Err, ok." He said as he stood and followed hir over to Isis who met them half way.
"Those look like bargain bags to me." Said Serenity as they all stopped together.
"Oh, they're just a few things I picked up for my sisters new born kitten. I'm afraid I didn't really find anything that you two would like." Replied Isis.
"Aw, that's a shame, because I have something to give to you. We will have to arrange a get together first though." Said Serenity.
"Hmm? Well, I suppose I'm free tonight, if you don't mind going back to my parents alone." Shi asked Kit, he shook his head.
"I don't mind." He replied.
"I could stay in town and have a look around until you've finished." Said Isis turning back to Serenity.
"Oh, you are so lucky Isis, I just happen to have the rest of the day off, We could go out and I could show you around if you like." Offered Serenity.
"I'd say you had that planned all along." Said Isis.
"You will just have to tempt it out of me tonight won't you." Said Serenity with a grin.
"Well, I suppose I'll disappear then shall I?" said Kit.
"You could come with us if you wanted." Offered Serenity.
"Nah, I'll just nip off back t' y' parents house and have a prowl around there if it's all the same t' you two." He said looking more towards Isis than toward Serenity.
"Ok then, Give us a kiss and then you can go." Said Isis.
Kit bent down slightly towards hir and gave hir a big, long lick kiss up the left side of hir face before shi could do anything to stop him, of course shi wouldn't have even if shi had known.
Isis smiled up at him and gave him a little lick kiss on the end of his nose in return.
"The lick Kiss type are we," said Serenity to Kit. "Very interesting.."
Kit looked briefly at Isis and shi caught a little sparkle in his eye, shi nodded ever so slightly in return before Kit turned to Serenity and gave hir an even bigger and longer lick kiss than he had Isis.
Serenity stood in surprise for a moment, and then smiled broadly, "Thank you." Shi said happily, before returning the favour as Isis had done. They all laughed lightly.
"Well, I think I'll go and leave you two t' reminisce on the olden days," said Kit as he made his way over to the door, "See y'." he said as he gave a quick wave, opened the door and walked through.
"See you tomorrow Kit," called Isis.
"See you later Kit." called Serenity.
It was a fairly cool day, and standing in the shadows of the ally made it just that little bit nippier, but that didn't bother Schneider with his fur. He looked at his watch and sighed. 'I wish he had specified a time too.' He though as he paced about, waiting for Chaos to arrive. He kicked a pebble across the little open area before turning to look down the ally Chaos had run out of and into him from. Nothing stirred down the long passageway, so he took a little time to listen to the crowds and vehicles he could just hear in the distance. He turned back only to find Chaos standing in the centre of the open area with his hands in the pockets of a well designed silver coloured garment for taurs which covered his entire front, and most of his upper torso.
"You're here?" Said Schneider a little surprised.
"I always keep appointments." Replied Chaos, "And sorry about not setting an exact time."
"It's no problem..." began Schneider, "Err... so um... why do you want to see me?" asked Schneider.
"You obviously wanted t' see me. Otherwise you wouldn't be here remember?" replied Chaos.
"Oh.... Yes. Um,"
"I suppose y' want to ask me a few questions, so fire away." Said Chaos.
"Um, ok..." said Schneider, as he tried to think of something to ask. "Oh yes. Err, that broach that you came back for, what does it stand for... if you don't mind me asking, of course?"
"That old thing? Simple. It's the first and last letters of my name rolled into one, K and S, don't ask me why though. I didn't come up with the idea."
"So your name is spelt with a K and not a C, I actually thought it might be."
"Good for you." Replied Khaos. "Anything else?"
"Err... why are you so heavy, is it a foxtaur thing?" asked Schneider.
"Oy, are you makin' fun of my weight?"
"No...no, no, I wouldn't..." said Schneider as he quickly tried to apologise.
"Hey, I was only jokin', don't worry about it." Began Khaos, "I think I might be a bit overweight actually." He muttered, "Anyway, I bet y' also want to know why I gave y' so much money, and why I was in such a hurry the last two times we met, don'tcha?"
"The thought... had crossed my, I mean, the thoughts... I err..."
"You have the jitters bad, don'tcha." Butted in Khaos. "Never mind. I'll tell y' simply, for one, I am quite wealthy and don't actually need the money I gave you, and two, Well, I'm almost always in a hurry. It's just the way I am."
"Oh," was all Schneider dared to say in case another attack of the jitters hit him.
"So, now y' know a little about me, what about you eh? What are y' goin' t' spend all that cash on huh?"
"I... was actually going to save it toward a holiday of a life time to Africa." Managed Schneider, with an impressive lack of stuttering.
"Africa, really? I thought y' would have wanted t' go t' America or somewhere a little less rural."
"Oh no. The Ngorogoro crater is where I'm going to, and I really can't wait. Though I'm not too sure what I'm going to do when I get back yet. I was planning on going back into Starfleet, but I don't know." Explained Schneider.
"So you're looking for a job, huh?"
"I suppose I am, if nothing better comes up I will probably end up in Starfleet though."
Khaos seemed to start to think for a while; it was only a few seconds though before he spoke again though.
"I can offer y' a job that y' might find more appeling than Starfleet. Y' don't have t' wear a uniform for a start, unless y' like that?"
"Actually I do."
"Suit y'self. Tell y' what, tell me when you're goin' t' Africa and I'll meet y' at the resort and take y' with me t' show y' what y'll be doin'."
"Err. Ok," said Schneider, with little thought for the fact that the foxtaur might not be as friendly as he seemed. He explained where and when in detail, even noting the exact room he was staying in. Khaos took all the information in on a wrist PADD that he magically produced from under his left sleeve.
"Right, I'll arrive four days before y' leave and explain everythin' t' y' ok?" said Khaos.
"Is there any chance you could give me a hint as to what it might be?" asked Schneider.
"Sorry, I can guarantee that y'll like the idea though."
"Oh, well, I'll have to trust you on that." Said Schneider.
"You do that." Said Khaos with another grin this time showing Schneider a flash of white teeth in the process.
"Just trust me. Ok."
"I suppose I'll be leaving then."
"So soon," asked Schneider.
""Why, what's happenin'?"
"Oh, err, nothing. I just thought you might want to go for a drink or something." Said Schneider.
"So soon after meeting? You do move fast don'tcha. Your really one smooth kitty under those stripes, but I don't think I could without putting aside some time first." Replied Khaos. "I think the next time I will be able t' see y' will be on y' holiday I'm afraid."
"I'll be off then." Said Khaos as he turned to leave, "See ya."
"Good bye." Replied Schneider as he watched the foxtaur run off down the ally in front of him and disappeared left down another alley. Schneider just stood watching the alleyway as he thought of the months that lay ahead until his holiday. 'Hmm...?' he thought as he turned to head off home, 'It's going to be a while until I see him then.' He shook his head and walked off to continue on with his monotonous life and wait for his holiday, and his next meeting with Khaos to arrive.
___23.To be a chakat___
Kit walked out of the lift and into the first of the two corridors that lead to Chakat Serenity's office. It had been over a month since they had started the sessions to help him understand his female side and he had surprised himself more than anyone else by progressing so quickly through them, he still wasn't attracted to males though, and wasn't sure of changing his form to resemble even a hermaphrodite. Things were about to change though.
He turned into the longer corridor and began to walk along it but soon stopped as he listened to a pair of voices coming from a room with an open door.
"No!" came the unmistakeable stubborn cry of a chakat cub.
"Redpaw, please. I only want what's best for you." Came a female voice. Kit quickly worked out that it was a vixen's. Utilising his stealthy skills he silently made his way up to the door side and peeked round the doorframe. Sure enough, a young chakat cub and a biped vixen were in the room in the centre of a large pile of cushions. The vixen appeared to be trying to get the cub to rest but wasn't having very much luck.
"No! Want chakat, no vissen!" said Redpaw, almost forcefully.
"Please Redpaw. I'm sorry but I..." began the vixen.
"Want chakat!" said Redpaw and folded hir arms.
Kit watched in awe. He felt sorry for both of them. He moved back out of sight and though about what he could do. Looking about he quickly moved over to the door nearest to him on the side of the door he was on and knocked on it.
Meanwhile, inside the room the vixen was still having little luck with Redpaw, she bit hir lip and groaned. There was a light knock on the door and she quickly looked up, almost sighing with relief as she spotted an adult chakat standing in the doorway. The chakat had a tiger like fur markings, with black fur generally taking over the areas that would have been white on a real tiger, the pattern told her almost instantly that she didn't know hir as a chakat's fur pattern is like a fingerprint, there are no two alike. The chakat wasn't wearing any clothes either, but that wasn't really anything to note for a chakat. The tiger striped chakat walked up to the cushions and stopped just before them.
"Err, need any help?" shi asked in a voice that seemed more masculine than most other chakats the vixen had heard.
Redpaw held up hir arms to the unfamiliar chakat wanting to be picked up by hir. The chakat obliged by holding out hir own arms as Redpaw made hir way quickly over to hir and almost jumped into them.
The vixen looked on in amazement. It never ceased to amaze her how readily chakats, even ones that haven't apparently met before, can so readily accept each other. Shi knew that was one of the things that made chakats such a nice race, but still, in person, it can be quite something.
"Vissen leave now." Said Redpaw as shi settled into the tiger striped chakats arms.
"Ok then, I'll leave. If it will make you happy Redpaw." Said the vixen softly.
"I guess shi's got a lot of learning to do." Said the adult chakat as the vixen passed hir, "Sorry, about that."
"It's ok. I'll be in the next room if you need me."
"Right." Said the chakat before the vixen left the room closing the door behind her, seconds later another door opened and closed and the vixen was gone.
The adult chakat looked down at Redpaw and smiled, "So, what's that nasty vissen been up to then eh?" shi asked the little cub playfully.
"No like vissen and foss, like chakats" replied Redpaw as shi cuddled up closer to hir.
The adult chakat stepped onto the cushions and made hir way almost to the centre before lying down and putting Redpaw down into hir now upturned forepaws. "So, what's wrong with foxes and vixens?" shi asked when Redpaw was fully settled.
"They different. Not chakat. They vissen or foss, no both."
Something clicked in the chakats head, a click that was almost audible. Shi carried on though, like nothing had happened. "...Oh, I see." Shi finally said. "They're really not all that bad though being different from each other."
"What your name?" asked Redpaw completely unexpectedly. "Is et Backtiger?"
The chakat thought for a moment, shi then took a brief look at hir fur markings before looking back at Redpaw with a smile. "How did you guess?" shi asked.
"Ou got tiger pattern, but they back." Replied Redpaw.
"Well aren't you the clever little one." Replied Blacktiger.
Redpaw looked up at Blacktiger's face with an expression of wonder, "Really?" shi asked.
"Of course." Said Blacktiger.
Redpaw looked down at hir forepaws and shuffled them about a little. "Blacktiger, Ahm hungry."
Blacktiger looked up and around at the room as shi searched for something Redpaw could eat but got the shock of hir life when shi felt Redpaw grasp hir left breast. Shi quickly looked down.
"Want milkwater." Said Redpaw as shi looked up into Blacktiger's eyes with that look that only a cub can give when they want something."
"Blacktiger's eyes went wide in shock, "...Err? I, um,"
"What wrong?" asked Redpaw seeing Blacktiger's apparent distress.
"Oh... Err, nothing... um, go ahead." Replied Blacktiger, in a slightly shaky voice.
"Thank ou." Said Redpaw before taking a better grip of Blacktiger's breast, bringing hir muzzle up to hir teat and beginning to sup.
"Oh, my..." muttered Blacktiger, as shi relaxed, closed hir eyes and a deep rumbling purr began in hir throat.
Suddenly the door opened and Chakat Serenity, and another chakat, entered the room and Blacktiger turned hir head to look at them, a look of horror spread across hir face for the briefest of moments, but quickly turned to a happy smile.
Redpaw reluctantly pulled away from Blacktiger's breast and turned to the second chakat. "Moma!" shi cried happily as shi stood and quickly made hir way over to hir mother. "Backtiger's milkwater taste yummy." Stated Redpaw as shi was lead from the room and turned right, down the corridor closing the door behind them.
"Backtiger eh, I suppose shi means Blacktiger." Shi grinned, "This ability of yours to change forms is quite impressive Kit." Shi added.
Kit blushed, and his ears went bright red to show it. "Am I that obvious?" he asked in a small voice.
"I'm afraid so."
"Oh... I think next time I might call upon a few trick t' cover that then." He said, "I'll go and change back then, are my clothes still in the next room?" he said as he stood and walked off the cushions.
"No, Kit wait." Said Serenity quickly. "Tell me, what did you think of the experience?" shi asked.
"Do you mean being a chakat, or breast feeding for the first time in my life?" he replied.
"Well, I think I could live with being a chakat, and the breast feeding... well, it wasn't how I had expected it t' be, in fact it was somewhat better." He carried on and reached the door.
"Kit, just one last thing."
He turned to look at hir, "I think I know where this is going." He said to hir.
"I'll ask you anyway." Said Serenity, "Since you do not have a real hermaphrodite form of your own, would you spend a little more time in this chakat form. In fact, I would like you to try and spend as long a period as you can in it. See if you can last until our next session."
"I was right." He replied, as he looked briefly down at his new forepaws. "Ok, I'm happy to try this." He said honestly. "I think it will help too actually."
"I'll have to change my name though, as a rule hybrids always give their new forms a name so that we can separate them from our trueforms, if you know what I mean?" explained Kit.
"Well, if it will help I suppose you can. But I don't want you changing your personality. We are working with you true personality here and I do not want you to start treating this as a game and simply feigning your acceptance." Replied Serenity seriously.
"I understand that, and I wouldn't dare. I give you my word that I will not do that." Said Kit truthfully.
"In that case, you should think up a new name." Said Serenity believing Kit without another word.
"Right, well, I think Redpaw was onto something when shi called me Blacktiger, but I want t' be awkward and change the spelling slightly so the tiger bit is spell with a y instead of an I," said Kit, "and that wasn't suppose t' rhyme." He added.
"Hmm, Blacktyger? I think it's missing something."
"You mean chakat?"
"Yes and no," said Serenity as shi thought briefly on the subject. "How about Hybrid Blacktyger?" shi suggested.
"I think I'll just stick with Blacktyger."
"Fine," shi said as shi moved on to another matter. "Now then, I've noticed your little alterations to the form already, and I've just realised how tall you are, are they alterations to make you feel better?"
Kit's ears went bright red again, "Oh, err, the err male bits under my... ahem, female...um bits... back there. Heh, well, yes I suppose, I think they're covered by artistic licence anyway, um? Same with the height."
"I see. But just for reference, how tall are you currently?"
"Five foot ten."
"That is pretty tall, for a chakat."
"Well, I don't want t' go round tellin' people that I am do I now." He suddenly thought of something. "Oooo, the possibilities... Just think, I could ruin the chakat reputation in one easy step... then again I could never do that. I respect chakats too much to do something like that." He quickly added. "Besides I don't have any plans to go around sayin' that I am a chakat, someone might believe me and with my personality that just wouldn't do."
Serenity smiled, "Well put Kit, or should I start calling you Blacktyger until next session?"
"Yeah, now I'm in this form and I've given it a name. Oh which reminds me, I don't want t' be called shi or hir, I prefer hym and hie, y'know, like skunktaurs." Replied Kit.
"Fine, then. Well, Blacktyger, You've passed today's little test so I think you can miss the remainder of this session and go and explore your new body. And that's an order." Said Serenity with a grin.
"My, my, you chakats are horny aren't you." Said Blacktyger as hie turned back to the door.
"I hope I see you next week Blacktyger." Said Serenity, as hie opened the door.
"I'll try. Bye." Hie replied before disappearing out of the door.
Back at Isis's parents, where Isis and Kit had been sleeping ever since they arrived, Isis was on hir veranda looking down on Lightmark and Strongarm who were playing football near to the house in the field that served as part of their back garden. Shi smiled as Lightmark kicked an expert shot straight passed hir mother and into the back of some real life-sized moveable goal posts. Strongarm recovered the ball and threw it out to Lightmark who put the ball on the penalty spot and walked off to a suitable distance behind the ball to get a good run up. Shi was about to start hir run when the Kitten shimmered into view about 50ft above hir as it flew towards the PTV park to land. All three chakats looked up, Lightmark waved and ran off to the PTV park to greet Kit when he arrived, leaving Strongarm to practice some shots on hir own. Isis was already halfway to the front door and easily made it to the PTV park meeting up with Lightmark they waited for the already parked shuttlecar's driver's door to open. When it eventually did, neither of them were ready for who stepped out. They took a step back in surprise as Blacktyger stepped from the car wearing the t-shirt Kit had been wearing before he left.
"God's an audience!" exclaimed Blacktyger and almost fell over with surprise.
Isis took a step forward, shi had heard the accent Blacktyger spoke with but was unsure if it was who shi thought it was. "Kit, is that you?" shi asked slowly.
"Yes and no." replied Blacktyger. "I was him when I left, but now I'm Blacktyger, until next session when I'll probably be back to Kit." Hie explained.
"But you're a... chakat? I thought..." began Isis.
"He's not a chakat, chakats don't have them!" piped up Lightmark as shi pointed to Blacktyger's rear.
Blacktyger looked back, hys ears turned light red and hie turned from being side on to them, as hie had some how managed, to facing them in embarrassment. "Oy, those aren't for you to point at!" hie said quickly.
"It is you," said Isis walking up to hym with a smile on hir face. "I thought you would have some reason for being back so early, and what's all this ' now I'm Blacktyger' thing?" shi asked stopping just in front of hym.
"Hybrids always give a new form a new name. I guess it's one of our traditions." Hie explained.
"So your not Kit Silva anymore?" asked Lightmark who had walked up to hym with Isis.
Blacktyger looked down at hir, "Not until I change back to my trueform, or my lion form to you Lightmark."
"Oh. This is strange." Shi said slightly confused.
"Weird sounds better," said Blacktyger.
"You've got that right." Agreed Isis. "So, when do I get my Kit back?" shi asked.
"I am Kit, just with a different body and name, that's all. I haven't changed my personality, and whilst we're on those lines, just refer to me as you would do a skunktaur, ok." Explained Blacktyger.
"That's ok with me. Just so long as you keep your true personality I don't care what you look like or want to be called." Said Isis, and just to prove hir fact shi quickly took hys head and kissed hym long and hard almost literally locking jaws with hym in the process.
"I'm confused." Said Lightmark after they had separated. "But if you'll play football with me and my mom I don't mind."
Both Isis and Blacktyger laughed lightly.
"Ok, after I've told them both about my new name," said Blacktyger, "and the rest of course." Hie added. "Come on, let's go find them." Hie said as he walked off passed the two chakats.
They found both Strongarm and Sundance in the kitchen, where Blacktyger introduced hys new form and name to them. Unsurprisingly they were a little surprised by the new form but understood without question why hie had changed, and of course accepted it completely. After which they all headed out for a little two on three, with Blacktyger and Lightmark on one side, and Isis, Strongarm and Sundance on the other. Blacktyger surprised everyone by showing just how quickly hie could adapt to the new form and ran one or two rings around them at several points in the game, though unexpectedly the game ended 7-6 to Isis' team, which was a little disappointing for Lightmark who had expected to win by a mile.
"How could we lose?" said Lightmark, slightly disappointed.
"They cheated, I had planned to pass a few good ones t' y' a few minutes before y' dad called time for tea, shi had it planned I know." Blacktyger whispered to hir as they headed to the bathroom for a quick wash before they ate.
"Oh well, next time we'll win by ten at least, won't we." Said Lightmark.
"Definitely." Replied Blacktyger as hie slid open the patio door and allowed the others to enter first.
"Thank you... Kit, err sorry, Blacktyger." Said Isis as shi passed hym. Shi quickly stopped as shi was the last one to go in and looked at hym apologetically before apologising. "I'm sorry, just a laps of memory, I guess I should have known when I had to think what to call you."
"Hey, don't worry about it. It took Mau a while t' get t' calling me Kit. She first knew me as Sever, that's another story though." Replied Blacktyger.
"Is that the name for your natural jaguar form?" asked Isis intrigued.
"You'll have to tell us the story tonight." Said Isis as shi passed through the door, Blacktyger followed hir through and closed the door behind hym.
"Aww, I'm not tellin' another one." Said Blacktyger as hie followed Isis into the downstairs bathroom. "Hmm, this is going t' be fun." Hie said as hie looked towards the toilet.
"Your, not going now are you?" asked Isis as shi pulled the plug stop lever and turned on the hot and cold taps.
"No. But it'll be fun when I do." Replied Blacktyger.
Isis shook hir head as shi stopped the taps and looked down at the, now full, sink. "I don't know," shi muttered, "Small things amuse small minds."
"Don't they just." Said Blacktyger.
"Let's not talk about that anymore, people will think you're... Oh forget it. You are aren't you."
"You know what you are."
"No I don't, tell me, go on, I want t' hear it." Said Blacktyger with a grin.
"You're strange, and frankly, weird." Said Isis before quickly removing hir halter and beginning a light wash of hir upper torso fur.
"You can do better than that."
"I could but I'm not going to, I'm already stretching the boundaries that we chakats have set ourselves and you know it." Stated Isis, as shi grabbed a towel and began to rub hir wet fur dry with it.
"Fair enough." Said Blacktyger. Hie walked over to the sink as Isis moved away for hym and, using the same water, gave hymself a light wash as Isis had done after removing hys t-shirt. It wasn't long before they had finished cleaning themselves, after which they had headed to the table for tea.
The day drew to a close and soon they were all sat in the living room after having showers in the large double chakat sized shower room. Blacktyger told hys story, after which they all headed off to their respective bedrooms.
___25.A new day, a new body___
Blacktyger woke to the sound of a woodpigeon coo cooing outside Isis' bedroom patio door. Hie smiled happily, as hie found listening to woodpigeons on quiet English countryside mornings relaxing and peaceful, and most importantly, tranquil. Hie soon decided, as it was hys first morning as Blacktyger, to go for an early morning walk before breakfast so hie stretched hys new body as far as it would go, then rolled out of bed inadvertently causing Isis to stir.
"...Sorry, I didn't mean t' wake y'." hie said softly as hie looked over to hir.
"It's ok... I wasn't sleeping, I was listening to the woodpigeon." Replied Isis during a half yawn half stretch.
"Peaceful, aren't they..."
"... in the morning." Finished Isis. They smiled at one another, knowing each had the same idea.
"I think you should rest a little longer after last night we were up to the wee hours remember and it's now only 0515." Said Blacktyger, getting a little worried by Isis who, as when on the dig, had always seemed to disrespect hir need for sleep since hie had met hir.
"You sound as bad as Michel." Replied Isis as shi pulled hirself out of bed. "He was always nagging me about that."
"Oh, he's a human that I worked with when I was on Kreyal on the dig."
"Pah, I'm not like any human... that's almost insulting..." hie looked at hir and caught a stern look from Isis, "...but since it's you who said it it's ok by me." Hie finished quickly. "Anyway, you really should get a bit more kip before brekkies." Hie added.
"And miss an early morning stroll through the forest with you listening to the woodpigeons... never." Said Isis. "To make it up though I'll have a siesta, like the Spanish do. And that's not just to satisfy you either."
"What ever could you mean?" grinned Blacktyger sheepishly.
"You know what I mean, of course you also know I don't mind in the least that you do."
"I think we're getting a little carried away here. I think we should get out there as soon as possible, the longer we yip in here the less morning we have t' walk in."
"Good point," said Isis as shi straightened hir fur and hair before slipping hir halter on.
"Hmm?" mused Blacktyger. "Am I forgetting something or... Eeepp!!" hie suddenly realised hie was totally in the fur without a thing to wear. Hie hadn't had time to prepare any clothing for hys new form and had made the mistake of beaming everything else back up to the Sutherland.
"What's wrong...oh, heh heh. Don't feel like going al-fur eh?" shi said as shi looked at Blacktyger who, for some reason was now covering hys breasts.
"I can't go out like this..." hie began hie was quickly interrupted by Isis though.
"Oh now that's a wonderful idea!" shi exclaimed. "Let's both go in the fur, it'll be so much more romantic." Shi said drifting off into a dreamy voice.
"Uh oh, romance alert." Muttered Blacktyger.
"Oh go on... Pleeesssseeee." Shi said in hir best cub voice impression.
"Oh, this is going to be wonderful." Said Isis as shi happily threw off hir halter and almost ran around the bed to hym where shi gave hym a big hug. Blacktyger just Mrrr'ed at hir close proximity before Isis moved back slightly after hir hug and looked at hym coyly. "Well, my shining tyger in al-fur, shall we go?" shi said in the softest most love filled of voices shi could manage.
Blacktyger gave hir a light grin before bowing gracefully. "After you my love." Hie replied in an equally caring voice. Isis nearly squealed in joy as shi gracefully led the way out of hir room and out of the house.
Ten minutes later they were slowly walking through the forest that lay east of the house. Isis was gently leaning into Blacktyger, who held an arm around hir as they walked together listening to the cooing of a nearby woodpigeon.
"Oh this is the most romantic thing I've ever done in my life." Said Isis happily, shi gave hym a quick nuzzle before asking, "How about you?"
"When was your most romantic moment?" replied Isis.
"Err... I um?" managed Blacktyger.
"Be honest, I don't mind if it's not now." said Isis understandingly.
"It's not that. It's more of, well, I just don't know... I've never given that any thought before... besides, my male personality kinda prevents me from thinkin' that way, y'know."
"O-don't be so silly, of course you know... don't you?" asked Isis.
"I guess y' right... hmm? I'm not quite sure really," hie said as hie gave the matter some thought. "I don't think it's possible t' separate moments like this into which is the best and all."
"I never thought about that." Replied Isis. "But I'm glad you see it that way." Shi said as they stopped and shi snuggled into hym a little more and resting hir head under hys chin. "If only moments could last forever." Shi whispered up to hym.
"They can," hie replied softly, "All it takes is a little memory, and a little imagination, and any moment you want can come to life whenever you want it to."
"Is that how you get by without... I'm sorry, I shouldn't have even thought about that."
"It's ok, and yes it is how I got by."
"I hope you remember this moment long after I've passed on." Said Isis almost hopefully, though shi knew hie would. "It sounds so strange saying that." Shi added.
"I'll remember this moment 'till the end of time if I live that long." Said Blacktyger honestly.
"As long as you keep my memory alive I'll be there with you until the end of time too."
"I don't think I could take the pressure..." said Blacktyger in a cheeky sort of way.
"O-you." Shi said coyly as shi gave hys upper tummy fur a tickle.
They stayed together in a warm embrace for some time making the moment last while they were still there. Blacktyger eventually looked over to the sun through the branches of the trees and realised what time it was by it's height.
"We've been out here longer than I thought, It's nearly 07:30, we'll miss brekkies if we're not quick." Hie said quickly.
"Wow, this really was one of those 'forever' moments." replied Isis.
"And if we don't get back we'll remember it for more than one reason, when Sundance finds out."
"Oh-dear. You're right. We can't miss hir breakfast." Said Isis reluctantly pulling away from Blacktyger. "Quick, I'll race you back!" shi called as shi ran off laughing back towards the house.
"I'd like t' see the day when y' could beat me fair and square." Called Blacktyger jokingly as hie began to trot quickly after hir.
___26.Blacktyger, here to stay___
The next session with Serenity shocked Blacktyger, as he had expected to be Kit again after a few days and it had just arrived so fast. Hie had found it was a lot more interesting than he had first thought, but hadn't had the courage to have sex as the female or even to have anything to do with those parts of hys new anatomy. Hie just didn't feel right, like there was someone else who he hadn't met yet that hie felt would be the one who would be hys first for hys female side. The problem was he had met most of Isis' friends on Earth, he had wondered if someone from the dig site Isis had told hym about would be the one, and so had decided check the personal files on each of the digs members but hadn't felt a thing for any of them when he had looked at their pictures. So hie walked along the corridor leading to Serenity's office, swinging a bag that held some clothes, just in case hie ended up going back to Isis as Kit. Hie was wearing a t-shirt of course, there wasn't a being alive that could make hym go in the fur; it wasn't the correct shape for hys trueform anyway.
Hie stopped in front of the doors to Serenity's office and knocked on them once. As usual there was a feint 'come in' from the other side so hie twisted the doorknob, pushed the door open and entered the room.
As soon as Serenity saw hie was still Blacktyger shi came straight over with a large pleased smile on hir muzzle.
"I'm so glad you decided to stay in your present form, it shows your almost there." Shi said pleased with hym.
"Almost where?" asked Blacktyger as hie shut the door.
"I think you know," said Serenity still with a light grin. Shi had tolerated Kit's odd personality and was glad that hie had kept it, but shi didn't like to get involved with it and so always tried hir best not to.
"Oh, ok, I'll be boringly average." Said Blacktyger.
Serenity just grinned and cuffed hym lightly as shi turned and headed back to hir desk. "Come on. If we do this now, instead of messing around I will tell you about something that you might enjoy after we have finished." Shi said.
"Oooo, what?" said Blacktyger cubbishly.
"Oh no. First we get this done, then, if you have been a good hybrid, I will tell you." Said Serenity with a hint of a stern tone in hir voice. Shi walked around hir desk and sat down on the raised plinth behind it.
"Aw." Replied Blacktyger, sounding just like a cub when they can't have something straight away. Hie stopped on the other side of the desk and squatted down with hys hind legs and put hys bag down next to hym.
"Ok, if we can begin?" Blacktyger nodded and Serenity continued. "I think first of all, you should tell me a little about the things you have been doing over the past week,."
"The same as usual really." Replied Blacktyger simply. "Well, actually, everything's been as usual... heh... except for bedtimes of course."
"Ok, and what have you been doing at bedtimes that is different?" asked Serenity as shi picked up a PADD and pen and began to take notes.
"I'm not ready to be err, 'touched' there yet if that's what y' mean." Hie replied as hys ears turned a little red.
"I see." Said Serenity, there was a little silence before shi continued as shi scribbled away on hir PADD. "I want you to know now, that is not important to accepting your female side. As long as you understand and enjoy being a hermaphrodite, that is all that matters."
"That's good." Said Blacktyger with a light sigh of relief. "I didn't feel that anyone I know would be the one for... to... err, y'know." Hie struggled on, "Not even Isis, which is very confusing. I feel I could with hir. But not f' the first time, it's strange."
"Well, when you have, be sure to tell me. I want to know when you have passed on to the next level." Said Serenity as shi scribbled a few more notes down.
"Gods, y' make it sound like a school test or somethin'."
"You could think of it as the most important test of your life if it makes you feel better." Suggested Serenity as shi continued to write.
"Oh that really helps." Replied Blacktyger with a hint of sarcasm.
There were a few minutes of silence before Serenity looked up. "Well, if you can live a week in a hermaphrodite form without any changes then I believe you have now accepted your female side enough to end these regular sessions to allow you to focus on being what you are without being hindered by myself every week. Hmm? Do you intend on staying in your present form any longer, or will you change back?" shi asked.
"Well... I think I'll stay like this, I don't feel like I fit in as Kit anymore. I know its only bin a week but, oh, forget it, I'm not goin' t' cover it up anymore, I like this form and I want to find out all it has t' offer me, when I'm ready f'r it of course." Confessed Blacktyger.
"Well, I am pleased." Said Serenity, even more happy with hym than before. "You may progress quicker than I had anticipated." Shi added.
"Yeah, hybrids are like that."
"Mmm, quite." Shi gave a quiet, pleased, sigh before continuing. "These sessions are becoming shorter and shorter."
"Oooo, finished early again eh."
"O-goody, now y' can tell me what I might enjoy." Said Blacktyger, in the cubbish voice hie had used earlier.
"Ok then. But it is actually more of an offer."
"Well, it is like this. My niece has planned a hike in America, unfortunately hir original partner had a slight accident and is unable to go with hir. Now shi is looking for someone to accompany hir, but shi has had little success so far and is only one day away from leaving. I was wondering if you might wish to accompany hir?" Explained Serenity.
"Hmm? On a hike, in America, with your niece..." hie pondered. "For how long?"
"And your niece is... oh I'd guess, 20 or so?"
"Shi is sixteen."
"Oh..." Blacktyger thought for a few moments about the prospect. "I don't know, what about Isis..." hie began, only to be cut off by Serenity.
"I think shi would be glad to get rid of you for two weeks."
"Charmin... I think I will give hir a break though. We have been together everyday and almost every night since we met, besides I'll lend hir the Sutherland and shi can go back to Kreyal and spend some time with Chakat Starburst."
"Would that be a yes then?" asked Serenity.
"Yeah, it would."
"Moonlight will be delighted to hear that, I can assure you." Said Serenity. "I'll ring hir now, you could talk to hir if you wish."
"I take it, Moonlight's your niece then."
"Oh! Didn't I mention hir name? How silly of me."
"We all make mistakes, anyway, go ahead and Vid hir."
"Yes, of course." Said Serenity as shi turned slightly to hir right to look at a flat Vid screen, shi pressed hir finger to the lower left corner of the screen and it turned itself on. After a few choice moves and presses of the screen a 'making connection' screen appeared followed shortly by connection made and almost instantly after that a picture of a black and white coloured chakat appeared on the screen.
"Did Kit say yes?" was the first thing that the chakat said.
"Your being a little impatient Moonlight, where are your manners?" replied Serenity.
"I'm sorry Serenity, but you know I'm desperate." Replied Moonlight. "How are you?"
"I'm fine Moonlight, and I can see how well you are."
"So, did he say yes?" Asked Moonlight as hir inpatients got the better of hir again.
Serenity understood hir urgency but had to reply truthfully. "I'm afraid he could not make it..." Moonlight sighted out loud cutting into Serenity's sentence.
"Sorry." apologised Moonlight.
"But, I have found someone who can accompany you." Moonlight nearly leapt for joy. "I can put hym on now if you wish."
"Oh, sure let's see him." Said Moonlight almost ecstatically.
Serenity looked to Blacktyger. "Would you like to come around here or should I turn the screen?" shi asked hym.
"Turn it. Its easier." Hie replied.
Serenity complied and turned the screen to face hym. Blacktyger smiled meekly at the now surprised Moonlight who had spotted a couple of odd things about hym.
"Oh, I'm sorry," shi began, "I thought you were a he, spelt H E. I didn't realise you were a H I E hie." Said Moonlight apologetically.
"Don't worry about it, until last week I thought the same thing." Replied Blacktyger.
"Pardon?" said Moonlight, shi was now confused.
"Err, well, you know like, Kit couldn't make it an' all," Moonlight nodded. "Well, I was Kit until last week, I'm a shape shifter you see."
"Oh, wow." Was all Moonlight could manage.
"Yeah, I know the feelin'. Anyway, shouldn't we get things planed instead of yippin', we can do that on the hike."
"Oh, yes of course." Said Moonlight as shi thought of the lack of time that they had to prepare. "Do you think you could make it to my house by three if you left now?" shi asked.
"Well, if I knew where it was I could get there in five minutes, I have a better idea though, but I'll still need to know where you are." Replied Blacktyger.
"Yeah sure." Said Moonlight, before hurriedly blurting out the address, shi was in a bit of a hurry.
"Great, well, I know I shouldn't really do this, but how's about I use my ship's transporters to beam myself straight to y'?"
"That would be wonderful. The more time we have to prepare the better." Replied Moonlight.
"Ok, I'll be there in about a minute."
Right, can I say good bye to Serenity please." Asked Moonlight.
"Sure." Said Blacktyger as hie turned the screen back to Serenity, "See ya later Serenity." Hie said before standing, grabbing hys bag and disappearing into nothingness as the transporters beamed hym away before shi could say anything.
Blacktyger reappeared outside the house the Sutherlands computer had found to be Moonlight's and looked up and around at the pre World War 2 style semi-detached houses that stood before hym.
"Gods, these things can't be original," hie said to hymself. Of course on a quick close inspection the bricks Moonlight's house was made from reviled that the houses had definitely been rebuilt at some point. 'Heh, didn't think so,' hie thought as hie walked up to the door and pressed the doorbell. A few seconds passed before the maroon coloured wooden door before hym was unlatched and opened by Moonlight hirself.
"That was fast, and I didn't give you the co-ordinates or anything," said Moonlight, "oh, and hello, my name, as you know is Chakat Moonlight, child of Bluebeck and Woodharp, and I just have to give you a hug for offering to come with me on the hike," shi said as shi moved close to Blacktyger. Blacktyger gave in, hie had decided a few weeks after meeting Isis' parents that hie couldn't avoid the greeting hug that chakats loved to give, and receive, and so now tried to readily accept them, hie hadn't mastered giving them yet of course. So they hugged and parted, before Moonlight asked Blacktyger to come in.
They entered into what appeared to be the dining room and living room rolled into one, as there was a folded dining table at the end of the room next to a door that led to a small kitchen, and several piles of pillows at the other end set around a large Vid screen.
"Hmm... quaint," said Blacktyger as Moonlight offered hym a pile of cushions to lie on.
"Nah, cramped is the word your looking for, then again living on what I earn I can't complain." replied Moonlight.
"Oh the woes of being a college student."
"Ha, I like that!"
Blacktyger just smiled in return.
"Well anyway I think before anything else I'd like to know just one little detail from you, if you don't mind of course?"
"Let me guess, y' want t' know my species right?" said Blacktyger knowingly.
"How did you guess?"
"I love to anticipate questions, I can almost always answer them now without them being asked. It's pretty fun actually."
"Oh, I see."
"We're known as hybrids by the way."
"Ah, I'll have to look your species up sometime, or I could get you to explain everything on the hike."
"Oooo bossy, I like that in a chakat."
"Sorry about that."
"Don't be, I was serious."
"Erm? I'm not to sure what to say about that." Said Moonlight as shi thought about it.
"I guess I should be the one who's sorry, I've kinda been pushin' Isis to be a little less friendly with me all the time cause I do like that in more ways than one. I shouldn't have presumed you would do the same, I know it's not a chakat thing."
"Ah, well at least I now know what to expect..." shi said before recalling what Blacktyger had beamed over for, "Hmm? I think we must sort out the arrangements for the trip now, with only a day left there really isn't much time for talk no matter how much I'd like to. Well, I think to start off, I should tell you that Serenity is calling Isis at this moment to explain everything so you don't have to worry about that."
"Ok, secondly, I already have a green card waiting for you, so as long as you have a passport we will be fine with the paperwork for getting into America." Explained Moonlight.
Blacktyger shuffled slightly and looked away briefly as hie recalled the fact that hie hadn't applied for a passport of any kind since hie had been in the reality. Hie didn't really need one though, Just so long as hie didn't feel guilty about pulling the wool over the authorities eyes, as hie had done as Kit when hie passed through the British spaceport. Hie couldn't help but grin at how easy that had been.
"What's the matter? You do have a passport don't you?" asked Moonlight a little worriedly.
"Don't worry about it, there'll be no problems," replied Blacktyger.
"Oh good. Now then, I have a list of what you will need," said Moonlight as shi began to search for something under the pile of cushions shi had sat down on. "It's here somewhere... ah! There it is!" shi said before pulling a PADD out from under them and turned it on. "Here you go," shi said as shi passed it to Blacktyger who took it and looked the short list over. "If there is anything you want to take or anything you don't need on there just tell me ok. O-yes, we'll only be taking the bare essentials if that's alright with you?"
"No problem," said Blacktyger slowly as shi looked the short list over. "Hmm... Yep, that's ok by me."
"Great. Now then, is there anything else on there that you think should be changed or added?" asked Moonlight.
"Well, yes and no really. When I pack I'll make sure that I don't miss anythin' on here, though I might add or alter one or two things if that's ok with you?" replied Blacktyger.
"Sure, that's ok. And you're sure you can get everything on there in time?"
"O-there's no problems there, with my ship at my disposal I could get everything on a list that ran from here to the moon and back in the same time we have."
"It's a shame we didn't meet earlier if that really is the case." Said Moonlight with a sigh.
"Yeah, sorry 'bout that."
"O-well, everything's pretty much done then if you can get everything on the list as quickly as you make it sound you can."
"Mmm, looks that way doesn't it," Blacktyger thought briefly, "O-yeah, you wouldn't mind telling me if I'm right when you say that there's only a day left that you mean it's tomorrow that we go?"
"Yes, it is, sorry I wasn't clearer about that. We leave at 18:00 tomorrow from here. Everything's planned from there on."
"Hey, no problem. If that's the case though, you should take it easy and have an early night tonight. I know how much sleep you chakats need. I'll leave now so I won't be in the way if you want to make final preparations and checks."
"That's a good idea, but what if I think of something I need to tell you. How do I get in touch?" replied Moonlight.
Blacktyger raised a hand to the t-shirt hie was wearing and touched a little logo that was over the left breast. Hie then held the same hand out with the palm face up and a little com unit materialised in the palm of hys hand. "Here, just press the little pad on the top and it'll open a channel to me, ok."
Moonlight took the com and looked it over. Shi had a slight passion for gadgets and nik-naks and the com shi held in hir hand was certainly classed as one. "How does it work? It looks to small to be anything but a land based com," shi asked.
"Don't be fooled by its size. That thing has a range that reaches to Jupiter at least, and that's on a bad day."
"But... how? I didn't know we had that kind of technology yet?" said Moonlight in disbelief, "Hmm? I reckon you bought this from a Voxxan didn't you. They're good with technology."
"Nope." Said Blacktyger with a grin. "That's actually a bit of 25th century technology y're holdin' there."
"It's from the future!? But how?"
"I think that's something I should leave until we're on the hike. I could spend a lifetime explaining everything about me, and that's a chakats lifetime too."
"Oh, yes I suppose so. But it's going to bug me now that I know it's from the future."
Blacktyger stood and moved off hys pile of cushions. "Here's somthin' else t' chew on," hie said as hie touched the little logo again. "It's not from 'your' reality's future," hie continued, "see ya t'morrow," hie finished before disappearing into thin air as hie was beamed away.
Moonlight couldn't say a word. Shi looked at the little com and then up to where Blacktyger had been. "This is going to be one interesting hike," shi finally managed, before standing and heading off to check everything over once again.
Mau hissed angrily as she paced about the bridge of the Sutherland. She hated humans, even more so than Kit, and he couldn't even stand the sight of them. Being docked in a spacedock that had been designed and built mostly by humans really wasn't her idea of a good time. The knowledge that a human wasn't far off simply irritated her didn't help either. She wondered just how Kit could manage to hide his true feeling towards humans so well, so well in fact that he could go down to earth and live among them for over a month. She didn't know that he had managed to steer clear of them for the entire period he had been down there. In fact she didn't even know that he was now Blacktyger.
"Hey Mau. Soz about leavin' y' f' so long." Came an oddly familiar voice, from behind her. She span round and nearly jumped in surprise as she found Blacktyger calmly walking over to the helm position.
"... You're... Gods above... You didn't tell me you were like Isis," said Mau after spotting Blacktyger's 'extras'.
"Anythin' wrong with that?" asked Blacktyger as hie padded in a few alterations to a flight plan hie had downloaded earlier.
"... It would have been nice to know you were... when we first met... I could have asked for a male to join us," said Mau as she thought.
"Don't get any ideas about that side of me. I guess I should have come up to see you earlier and explained this, but the real reason I've been down there so long is that I've been seeing a chakat psychiatrist to learn about accepting that I am a hermaphrodite. I'm not comfortable with anyone touching me in those areas as yet, but shi says that now I've accepted this form, and am willing to keep it, that I'm within the boundaries of acceptin' myself and shi's happy to let me progress on my own... So long as I keep hir informed of any major breakthroughs."
"I understand," said Mau truthfully. "So, what name have you given to this form?" she asked.
"Blacktyger, spelt with a y in place of the I should you ever need to write it down. Oh yeah, while we're on that subject, y' can keep callin' me him and using his and all, just remember to spell his H Y S and him H Y M, oh and he is H I E ok?"
"I think I can remember all that," replied Mau.
There was a brief silence.
"So, what were you so angry about when I entered?" asked Blacktyger changing the subject.
Mau huffed, and looked towards Earth via the wrap around main screen. "Humans," she said simply.
"Yeah, it would be nice if we could go back in time and make sure they had never evolved in any of the realities, but unfortunately I'd never have met Isis if that happened."
"Pha! You would choose love over getting rid of them, I can't believe that," spat Mau.
"I can't believe you just said that."
"Hmpff. Maybe you're right," replied Mau as she sat back on her haunches heavily with a little thud.
"Then again, one love could never be worth all the atrocities they've committed, are committing and will commit to the end of their existence," said Blacktyger as hie turned and headed over to the lift.
"Frustrating isn't it," said Mau as she stood and followed hym over and into the lift as the doors opened.
"Ahh hum, o-well. There's nothing we'll ever be allowed to do about it, so let's just think about the good things in life eh."
Mau smiled up at hym before giving hys foreleg a loving rub with her head and a soft purr.
"So the sim's not been satisfyin' y' again huh?"
"Letting a sim make love to you isn't very fulfilling, that's all," replied Mau.
"Why don't you take a trip to the Amazon then?" suggested Blacktyger.
"Be on the same planet as them!? Are you serious? I would end up as a rug..." she shivered at the thought.
"You, The Great Mau of Sansecha? No chance. You'd be the one with a new rug, admittedly not a very good rug, but still," said Blacktyger in her defence.
Mau's ears turned bright red as she blushed and looked away, "Oh please, I can't believe they gave me that honour."
"You deserved it, and I mean that! Now get yourself down there and find yourself a suitable mate! And that's an order from your owner."
"Oh, gods above don't remind me of that too," said Mau as her ears turned an even brighter red.
"If it makes you feel any better even I still don't believe it."
"Well, if you would learn the customs of my reality you would believe it," replied Mau, her tone becoming slightly criticising.
"Hey, don't get your tail in a twist, I'll learn it, someday."
"When I see it, I will believe it. Anyway, are we just going to stand here all day or are we going to head into the lift?" asked Mau.
They both walked in and the doors finally closed. There were a few more minutes of silence, in which they arrived at Blacktyger's, and now also Isis', quarters and were entering before Mau spoke up again.
"About what you said before," she began, "I can't go down there. I don't want to take the risk of getting angry and killing one of 'them' by mistake..."
"Why Mau, you do really have a heart after all," said Blacktyger as hie stifled a giggle.
Mau hissed at him, she didn't have time for jokes when talking about humans. "Shut up! I do not! All I meant was that if I did they'd shoot me. You know what 'they're' like when a predator protects their land by killing one of them. It's an instant death sentence all because they don't understand. It's not something to joke about! I thought you would have understood that most of all," Mau quickly regretted her word as Blacktyger seemed to lose all of hys happy spirits the instant she had finished. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to remind you..."
"Forget it. I shouldn't be thinkin' of her."
Mau knew when Kit, even now as Blacktyger, meant for someone to simply 'forget it.' She quickly changed the subject. "I was wondering if I could borrow one of your shuttlecars, so I could visit Chakona, and if you could drop me off there too?"
"Sure, but I don't think a natural jaguar would fit in, even on Chakona," said Blacktyger as hys spirits rose back to normal.
"I know that, I'm going to use my magic to fit in if you must know," she huffed.
"Your tail's lookin' twisty again."
"I'll take that as a yes then," she almost growled.
"No problem Mau. You can use the Kitten if you want. Just ask the computer to drop you off tonight and return here before 13:00 tomorrow okay."
"Thank you," replied Mau in her own special way as she quickly left the room to fully calm herself.
'I still can't believe they gave her to me,' thought Blacktyger as hie mused over a few memories before heading off up the spiral staircase to begin packing.
___29. Show off___
Isis sat back in the cushions that now took the place of the captain's chair on the Sutherland. Though it was not chakat nature to seek power, shi had to admit to hirself that sitting there, looking out over the bridge and at the huge screen, was a very intriguing position. Shi couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like if the Sutherland actually had a proper crew and shi was in command of it...
Shi threw the silly idea to the wind though as shi thought back to the night before, hir last with Blacktyger for just over two weeks. Shi then thought on to the night ahead, the first night without hym. 'Oh come on,' shi thought to hirself, 'I have two weeks of having Sundance to myself before I introduce them to each other,' shi thought on, 'oh goodie,' shi let a sly grin spread across hir thin black lips at the thought, 'Hir male phase will be in full swing when I get there, and then there's hir heat a few weeks after that!' shi shifted awkwardly as shi felt something beneath hir begin to grow, 'Ah, ah, ahh, there's enough time for that later,' shi told hirself as shi rose, stepped from the cushions and headed over to as close to the centre of the bridge as was possible. "Computer, power up the engines. Let's get going."
"Powering up the engines and breaking moorings," replied the computer, "I estimate we should arrive in five minutes via the Leap drive."
"I can't wait to see this," replied Isis for no real reason.
"Engaging slip," stated the computer after the Sutherland had swing around to face away from Earth. Everything on the main view screen became a blur as the Sutherland set off.
"Hang on, I thought we were going by this Leap drive thing?" questioned Isis.
"Regulations state that the Sutherland's capabilities are not to be displayed within sensor range of any 'other reality' technology," replied the computer, "Disengaging slip," it finished as the blur on screen altered to a crystal clear image of Jupiter to the left, and its moon Ganymede directly above. "From here we will use the Leap drive."
"Ah right, I understand now," said Isis as shi looked up as the both grooved, ridged and partially cratered surface of Ganymede. Shi looked down again quickly though so as not to miss the 'Leap'.
"Engaging the Leap drive," stated the computer as Isis watched two white beams converge in front of the Sutherland's bow. Hir eyes opened wide as a hole was opened at the point of convergence through which shi could see Kreyal easily. The Sutherland leapt forward through the hole in the briefest of milliseconds and before Isis knew what had happened they were orbiting Kreyal. "That was incredible!" said Isis in disbelief.
"Disengaging Leap drive," stated the computer, "Would you like to beam down, or should I take the ship down?" it asked in reply.
"Oh!" exclaimed Isis; shi hadn't considered the idea of landing the ship. Shi smiled broadly as shi recalled how shi had first seen the Sutherland and decided to make a similar appearance. "Plot a course passing directly over the main campsite and main dig site at an altitude of approximately thirty meters after you've scanned for them. Then land as close as you can to the campsite once you've passed over them both."
"Great. Now then, if you could make the ship rumble a bit more for effect as we pass over, that would make it perfect."
"If I shut down the aerial thrust dampeners, that will cause the effect you want," explained the computer.
"Okay," said the ship in compliance. Isis just watched as the Sutherland began to descend towards the planet phasing as it went to nullify the friction that would have been caused by entering the upper layers of the atmosphere. Three minutes later the ship unphased near to the campsite and the computer disengaged the dampeners causing the ship to begin vibrating as its poorly streamlined shape cut through the air.
Starburst paused and lifted hir head from hir work as shi caught a feint hum on the air. Shi looked about only to find everyone else working as normal, 'If my hearing was anymore sensitive I'd swear I could hear hearts beat,' shi thought as shi passed the hum of as nothing and went back to work. The humming didn't stop though causing hir to look up after only a few minutes only to find Colderan next to hir.
"Is it just me or can you hear a feint hum?" he asked hir as he tried to pin point the source.
"Ha, I thought it was just me," replied Starburst as shi stopped working and put hir tools down. Shi sat up, "hold on a sec, I just want to try something," shi said as shi closed hir eyes and began to concentrate on the hum. A few expert twists of hir sensitive ears later shi opened hir eyes up and turned to face the direction the hum was coming from. "It's coming from that... way?" shi said, as shi spotted the Sutherland approaching. By now most of the morphs in the dig team had looked up as they heard the hum and the humans amongst them were following their gaze towards the apparently alien vessel nearing the dig site.
"Have you seen that style of ship before Colderan?" asked Starburst knowing he knew a little more about ship designs than shi did.
"I've seen something that looks similar, but nothing exactly like that."
"Which Planet do you think it's from then?"
"Err? Hang on, there are markings on the ventral plane... It loos like English, Hmm? SSV Sutherland. I know of a USS Sutherland in Starfleet but not an SSV Sutherland. Come to think of it I've never heard of SSV before," he finished as the ship reached the dig site ad began to pass over. The ship's shadow passed over them and soon the sun was completely blocked out by the Sutherlands 800 meter long body. The shadow caused a little chill in the air and many of the dig team shivered as a cool wind blew on them briefly.
After the Sutherland had passed over it began to make its way to the landing site it had selected that lay barely one hundred meters from the main campsite area.
"Its landing, come on, I'm not going to miss this!" called Starburst as shi ran off towards where the Sutherland was beginning to land along with everyone else from the dig site.
Colderan decided he was not going to be left out of the action and followed the rest of the team to the campsite where everyone was gathering and looking up at the ship that was now resting only a short distance away.
Genessa ran over to him as soon as he arrived to report the findings of scans that she had taken of the ship.
"So what have you found out about it?" asked Colderan before she could speak.
"Only that it's either shielded from our sensors or that it's a very big hologram, and I'm edging towards the former," she replied.
"Has anyone been sent to scout around it yet?"
"Yes. The armed unit stationed with us couldn't resist the opportunity as you could probably imagine."
Starburst, who was standing behind them, suddenly felt a hand trailing down hir lower back. Shi jumped and span round only to come face to face with a smiling Isis.
"Isis!? But you're suppose to be on leave?" shi said in surprise. Both Colderan and Genessa, who had heard what shi had said, turned to see what was going on but couldn't quite believe whom they saw before them.
"Hello, fancy meeting you here," said Isis jovially.
"Is that your ship?" asked Genessa.
"Well I know for a fact that you didn't win the lottery so where did you get that thing from?" asked Colderan.
"It belongs to my new mate," began Isis, "hie lent it to me while hie's off hiking with Serenity's niece."
"Your new mate? Wow, so you've finally found someone else, besides me of course. I can't wait to meet him," said Starburst.
"Nether can I, I want to ask him a few things about that ship of his," said Colderan whilst deep in thought.
"I asked hym several days ago Colderan, and hie's happy to let us use it for our work," said Isis as shi realised what he wanted to ask.
"Oh, great! A landing ship, we'll never have to live in tents again!" cried Colderan happily as he ran off happily to decided on what to do next.
"He's going to get a shock when I tell him hie didn't agree to us living in it. Anyway, hadn't we better tell everyone else about the good news?" asked Isis as shi looked to the rest of the dig team who were still staring at the ship.
"Good idea," said Genessa," I'll get on to Hewlett and tell him to withdraw his troops before he goes ahead and tries to enter the ship," and she ran off to the com to do so.
"Meanwhile let's tell everyone else shall we," said Starburst as shi breathed in deep, raised hirself up onto hir hind legs and called out to the little crowd before hir. "Hey everyone! There's nothing to worry about! Its only Isis' new ship, that's all!" to which everyone turned round, spotted Isis, and began to talk amongst themselves. Starburst breathed in again, "Can everyone return to their plots please, we still have to get today's work load completed on schedule! Thank you!" shi called before dropping down to all fours again. The little crown dispersed and headed back to the dig site to resume their work without question.
"You've really got them under your thumb haven't you," said Isis in admiration of the way hir order were carried out.
"Not really, they just know about our next dig expedition and want to get this one over and done with as soon as possible," replied Starburst.
"What's so special about the next expedition?" replied Isis, getting a little exited at the idea.
"Nothing, I was just pulling your leg. I don't know why they went back so easily," said Starburst as shi shrugged and turned to face the direction the others had left in. "Come on, I'll show you that find you just missed as you were taking off and you can tell me why your back so soon," shi said as shi walked off. Isis followed, now even more exited at the prospect of finding out what had been found the day shi had left.
"Okay, but first, do I get any clues as to what was found?" replied Isis, walking up quickly to get beside hir as shi walked.
"Well I could, but wouldn't you rather it be a surprise?"
"It'll be a surprise even if you tell me now."
"Hmm, maybe. I think I'd like to hear your story first though, and no rushing it!"
"Oh okay," agreed Isis. "Basically it's all because of Blacktyger, hie's my new mate, and hie's what's known as a hybrid, they're hermaphrodites by the way, but enough about that..."
"I see," said Starburst, nodding as Isis spoke.
"...Hie and I are now very close. It all really began when the Guillemot hit something in space and I was forced to crash land on a nearby planet..." Starburst gasped as Isis continued, "I met Blacktyger there, though hie was originally named Kit Silva when I first met hym," shi paused to recall the form hie had been in when shi had really first seen hym but decided things might get a little complicated if shi corrected hirself now, "hybrids are capable of changing form, they usually change their names to match, that's why." Starburst nodded to show shi understood, "Well, ever since we met I've had this strange feeling whilst I was around hym, it is a good feeling, just in case you were wondering. Well anyway, because of that I've really been feeling great and I feel as if I could work non stop for a week starting right now..." shi paused again as shi noted the anxious look on Starburst's face. "Don't worry, I promised to not to work until I officially come back and I do plan to keep that promise."
Starburst smiled in return, "I'm relieved to here that!" shi replied honestly.
"Oh give over, you knew I would."
Starburst nodded cheekily smiling as shi did so.
"Cheeky!" stated Isis just as they reached the archive tent where most of the finds were stored. "Now you can show me the goods!" shi said in a stern yet playful manor.
Starburst simply grinned as shi grabbed the opening to hir halter and pulled it open, "Nice set aren't they?"
Isis smiled and shook hir head in return, "I didn't mean 'those' goods smartkat."
"Aww, you're no fun," replied Starburst as shi fastened hir halter back up.
"You and Blacktyger are going to get on very well," said Isis as shi took hold of the entrance flap to the archive tent and held it open for Starburst. "Age before beauty," shi said, proving shi could be a little mischievous hirself.
"Ooo, good comeback!" congratulated Starburst as shi walked through the open gap into the tent. Isis quickly followed hir in and followed hir up to a large safe. Starburst padded in the lock code, pulled open the door and stood back to let Isis see the important find that was stood on a waist high self inside the safe.
"Oh wow... that's unbelievable!" said Isis as shi moved in for a closer inspection.
The important find was really not much more than a carved and painted stone with several depictions marked on it, to most would have seemed insignificant. However, since this was the first ancient painted stone that actually depicted something that hadn't been destroyed over time to be found on Kreyal, it was classed as a very important find.
"Well now we know they did paint depictions don't we," said Isis as shi moved back from it.
"I know, and I bet you won't be surprised by the fact that the Kreyan government aren't going to let us take it off Kreyal to examine it like the other finds back on Earth."
"Nether would I if it was my planet. It really is something isn't it?"
"Yes, but that's all you're going to see of it until you start working officially again," said Starburst as shi closed the door and locked the safe.
"Can't I at least read the report?" asked Isis slightly downheartedly.
"Nope, not for another two weeks, by which time I'm going to be all over you so you'll have to wait until I'm satisfied won't you."
"Well in that case I think I'll be able to survive not seeing it again for two weeks with ease," said Isis as a sly grin spread across hir muzzle.
"Cheeky!" replied Starburst as shi imitated Isis. They both laughed before finally heading off out of the tent and back to Isis' tent to talk more before Isis finally asked Starburst to accompany hir back to the Sutherland for a tour and to show hir where they would be sleeping that night.
Two days later and Moonlight and Blacktyger found themselves out in the middle of nowhere, braving the wilds of North America. Isis was still with the Sutherland and visiting Sundance before shi had to officially return to the dig and Mau was, of course, visiting Chakona.
"There's a cliff and a waterfall not to far from here according to the map," said Moonlight as shi took a good look at the small paper map shi was carrying.
"Cool, How tall's the waterfall?" asked Blacktyger as hie brought up the rear.
"69ft, the plunge pool is deep enough to dive into too," added Moonlight as shi replied.
"Great, Fancy campin' somewhere near the bottom t'night?"
"I was planning to actually," replied Moonlight.
"Neat," said Blacktyger simply.
It wasn't too long until they reached the top of the waterfall. It was a rocky affair with the rocks at the top mostly being granite, it had been split into blocks in places by the freeze thaw effect of water. The blocks were large and the overall level of the area close to the edge of the cliff and the waterfall was a fairly flat affair. Both Blacktyger and Moonlight navigated the blocks with ease, making their way to the edge of the cliff just to the right of the waterfall itself. They stopped and looked at a huge valley that lay before them.
"Oh, wow. I've got to get a Vid of this," said Moonlight as shi twisted hir upper torso round to the right and reached round to hir carrysack to get hir Vid Cam out.
"Hmm, I wonder what that is?" said Blacktyger noticing a plume of smoke rising from a hill on the opposite side of the valley. Hie put a hand back to hys own carrysack to retrieve a set of binoculars. After pulling them free of their restraint hie held them up to hys eyes and took a closer look at the trees surrounding where the smoke was coming from. Switching the Binoculars to an x-ray mode hie found a lone male foxtaur tending a fire on which he was cooking some sort of stew. 'Hmm, boorrriinngg,' hie thought to hymself. Hie put hys binoculars away and looked down the 69ft to the waterfall's plunge pool. "Wiggy."
"Pardon?" asked Moonlight, looking at hym briefly.
"Wiggy," repeated Blacktyger.
"Err, I know that. I meant what does it mean?" asked Moonlight.
"Um... cool, I suppose."
"...Mmm?" thought Blacktyger as hie took a step closer to the edge.
"What's on your mind?" asked Moonlight.
"That carrysack of yours waterproof?" replied Blacktyger.
"Yes. But it wasn't intending on diving into the pool with it on," replied moonlight instantly realising why hie had asked.
"Who said y' had t'. Just throw it down first and dive after it. If it sinks I'll dive after it once I'm down there," explained Blacktyger.
"I don't know, what if something happens to it?" said Moonlight as shi thought up a few ridiculous scenarios about them hitting a rock, ripping open, the contents exploding out and falling into the water.
"You worry too much. Watch and learn," said Blacktyger as hie whipped off hys carrysack and dangled it over the edge with one hand, with a little flick of hys wrist the carrysack was thrown a little further out over the edge before it inevitably dropped down to the plunge pool below. Moonlight moved to the edge and was just in time to see it hit the water and disappear into its dark blue depths. "See, no problem amigo."
"Oh, okay. Just as long as you throw it over. With my luck it would hit a rock or something," replied Moonlight as shi reluctantly slipped off hir carrysack and handed it to Blacktyger.
"Is everything secure on it?" asked Blacktyger, as hie looked it over to make sure.
"Please, don't make me think about it, I'll change my mind."
"Ok," replied Blacktyger, a grin spread across hys muzzle as hie turned to the edge and casually tossed the carrysack over the edge. Moonlight nearly shrieked in horror. Ran to the edge to see if it was all right, lost hir footing and almost fell over the edge hirself. Fortunately Blacktyger acted quickly and caught hir tail with hys right hand and easily pulled hir back to safety. "Sorry about that, I really didn't expect y' t' leap after it like that."
Moonlight dropped to hir lower stomach breathing hard. Being suspended over the edge of a cliff, even one as small as 69ft, really wasn't hir idea of fun and shi could have sworn both hir hearts had skipped a beat.
"It can't be all that bad, surely. Don't forget, we're going t' be jumpin' over that in a few minutes anyway," said Blacktyger plainly.
Moonlight quickly brought hirself together and stood calmly, "Don't you ever do that again," shi said sternly, "The contents of my carrysack could be spread all over that plunge pool's bottom by now and you act as if it's nothing to worry about."
"There isn't though. Look over the edge and you'll see."
Moonlight did as shi was asked and peered down over the edge, only to find hir carrysack washed up at the waters edge intact. Shi sighed in relief and turned back to Blacktyger. "Did you have that planned or was it just luck?" shi asked.
"A bit of both actually."
"Well, in that case... just tell me next time you're going to do something like that please."
"That'd spoil the fun though."
Moonlight gave hym a look that told hym shi really didn't care.
"You're as bad as Isis. Just a big ol' spoil sport," said Blacktyger cubbishly, hie pouted hys lips as best as any pantherine could and folded hys arms just to add effect.
Moonlight was initially surprised by hys reaction but shi soon realised, with a little help from hir empathy, that hie was merely bluffing. Shi smiled lightly before shi replied. "Ok, I think I get the idea, Serenity warned me about your sense of humour. I guess I was a bit out of the ordinary myself too."
"Don't worry about it," said Blacktyger as hie wandered over to a palm sized stone resting on the granite rocks and picked it up with hys left forepaw. Hie then pulled hys t-shirt off and quickly wrapped it tightly around the stone.
"What are you doing?" asked Moonlight as hie walked over to the edge.
"Giving this a little weight so I can throw it down onto the ground. I don't want t' get it wet, guess I should've put it in my carrysack before I threw it, oh well," hie said as hie pulled a red cloth headband hie had begun to wear the day hie had decided to stay as Blacktyger off hys head. Hie then opened the bundle up, stashed the still tied headband inside before wrapping it all up tightly and finally throwing it over the edge.
"Oh, I think I had better do that too," said Moonlight as shi headed off towards another palm-sized stone. Shi took hir halter off and wrapped it around the stone before returning to the edge, taking aim and throwing it down after Blacktyger's. Shi missed the ground by well over three meters and it splashed down into the water below. "Arrgh, it's dry clean only!" cried Moonlight.
Blacktyger looked a little surprised, "You brought a dry clean only halter on a two week hike?" hie asked, not believing hys ears.
"No, I just wanted to see your reaction," said Moonlight with a sly grin.
"Nice one," said Blacktyger with a light grin of hys own.
"Thank you. I think it's time we jumped now, don't you?"
"Chakats first," replied Blacktyger bowing out of hir way.
"Thank you," said Moonlight as shi prepared hirself, shi stood several meters from the edge before running forward and leaping off the edge gracefully. Blacktyger watched as shi sailed down and hit the water, disappearing under the surface. Moment's later shi reappeared and waved up to hym happily, before turning and swimming to shore.
Blacktyger followed Moonlights example exactly and hie hit the water just as Moonlight stepped out of the water and shook the water from hir fur. Hie reappeared seconds later and waved at Moonlight as shi turned and watched hym.
"You couldn't find my halter while your searching for your carrysack could you?" called Moonlight.
Blacktyger lifted hys right hand out of the water and produced hir halter.
"Thanks," called Moonlight as shi turned and walked over to hir carrysack and picked it up. Shi then moved over to a large flat rock, hopped up onto it and made hirself comfortable after lying down.
Blacktyger disappeared under the water again as hie began hys search for hys own carrysack. Hie stayed down a good four minutes before appearing near where Moonlight had climbed out of the water, hie shook the water from hys fur and then made hys way out and over to the rock Moonlight was lying on. Hie put the wet halter down next to hir with a squelch.
"Hello, fancy meeting you here," said Moonlight, as shi looked up at hym.
"Now y' getting' it."
"I'm glad to here that."
There was a few moments silence between them before Blacktyger spoke up. "So, where are we settin' up camp commander?"
"I'm happy to sleep in the opening there if you are," said Moonlight as shi pointed over to a small area of leaf covered ground.
"Ok. I'll dump the ground sheets out, get some wood and prepare a fire then."
"If you're planning to hunt again tonight I think I should do all that instead, so we each do our fair share of the work," replied Moonlight.
"Are you sure?"
"Well, if you want to, I won't stop you."
"Grrreat," growled Blacktyger happily. "Three hours sound good to you?"
"Sure, I'm just going to have a good long catnap if it's all the same," said Moonlight as shi stood and stretched, arching hir back as only chakats can. "Ohhh, that's good." Shi yawned before dropping down and rolling onto hir back. Blacktyger wandered off, into the trees that as hie headed off to hunt.
Jarred tipped the contents of his stew pot into his little bowl, put the pot down and looked at the steaming bowl before him. He had never enjoyed making his own stew as it always seemed to turn out bland and lacking, but he took the bowl and his spoon and took a mouthful all the same.
"Pwah! Yuck!" he said quickly spitting it out, narrowly missing his forepaws in the process. Today's stew turned out to be much worse than usual, sadly his stomach disagreed as it growled, calling to be fed. 'Well I'm not eating that!' he though to himself and threw the stew over the grown beside him. 'If Dilenna saw me now I'd be a laughing stock,' he continued to think, 'oh well, there are a good few years until I have to improve myself.' He shook his head as he thought of Dilenna, a vixtaur he had met from another foxtaur clan not long ago during the last summer festival. 'That's it! I'll hunt a deer down now and prove I'm good at that, at least,' he thought and perked up almost instantly. So he packed his gear into a small carry satchel that he slung over his lower torso, picked up his quiver and put it over his shoulder before finally taking his bow in his hand and setting off into the valley that lay nearby.
An hour or so later Jarred stood stock still as he watched a mature doe from downwind. He had made sure she had no fawn and was currently in the process of selecting the best time to make his move.
Five minutes later he had his bow at the ready. Pulling the string back he lined up his sights, sadly though the doe wandered away behind a tree before he could release the arrow. Cursing in his mind he silently and carefully released the tension in the bow by moving the arrow slowly forward and then took both into the same hand as he shifted to get another shot. He was fortunate to find one barely four paces to his right and set up for the shot once more. Aiming as best he could for the neck bones he finally released his shot knowing if it didn't hit he was in for his stew to ease his hunger.
All of a sudden, in fact the moment he released the arrow, a golden brown on black furred mass leapt out at the doe going straight for the jugular. Jarred's arrow struck the furred mass in the back, there was a feline like yowl of pain as both the doe and what ever had attacked it went down with a heavy thud. Then there was silence.
Jarred, initially shocked by what had just happened, shook some sense into himself and ran to see what had happened, and what he had hit by mistake. He neared the small patch of clear ground where the doe had gone down and finally drew close enough to see what was what. His mouth dropped open at the sight that lay before him. Next to the doe, that had been killed by a claw swipe to its throat lay what appeared to be a feline taur with similar markings to that of a tiger. From what he could see the taur had been struck in the upper back by his arrow and now lay motionless. Quickly looking the taur over for more wounds he noticed the two sets of genitalia he was too scared to think about that though as he drew close to check the taur over properly and to try and help it as best he could.
The moment Jarred approached the feline taur leapt up at him, flicked him over backwards and threw him to the floor pining him, roaring as it did so.
"Oh gods!" cried Blacktyger, instantly calming to hys usual self as hie realised what he was doing. Hie unpinned Jarred and helped the now shaken tod up. "I'm so sorry, I thought y' were... well y' don't need to know that," hie stepped back a few paces before putting a hand behind hys upper back grabbing the arrow lodged there and pulling it out as if it were no more than a splinter. Bringing the arrow around to hys front hie looked at the arrow tip that was surprisingly devoid of blood. "Wow, nasty... here, y' should be able t' use this again," hie said as hie offered the arrow back to Jarred. "Oh not again," hie said almost dejectedly as hie noted the look on Jarred's face.
"But I... you... No blood?"
"I give up, I really do," said Blacktyger now in a downhearted manor. Regretting hys next actions hie simply calmed the foxtaur down with a simple suggestive thought as hie had done to Goldfur, Garrek and to Isis on several occasions. "At least it's good for something," hie muttered as Jarred gained full control of his vocabulary again.
"What did you just do to me?" asked Jarred as he thought about what had just happened.
"I gave you a suggestion to calm down, so you did," explained Blacktyger raising back to full spirits, "Trust me, it's better for both of us that I did that."
"I think I will trust you on that. But I still want to know why there isn't any blood on the arrow," he said as he took it from Blacktyger and looked it over. "Are you and android or something?"
"Nah, I just have very good healing abilities that's all, and before you ask, I'm a hybrid, and that's what my species are called, not just what I am."
"Ah, right. There's just one last thing..."
"I'm a hermaphrodite, we're both male and female at the same time..." hie stated, "though not necessarily both in mind," hie added quietly. "Oh, by the way, great shot! You would have killed her instantly," hie said speaking up again.
"Huh? Oh, thank you... Um..." said Jarred, he looked down at the doe's carcass and sighed. It might have been a good shot but it wasn't his kill.
"I suppose I'd better say sorry for ruinin' your hunt too. You can take the kill if you want. I can find and hunt down another one in no time."
"I couldn't, it's your kill. Besides I can't take it back like that, no offence intended, but I'm suppose to kill it myself with my bow and arrows."
"The old right of passage eh? Fair enough, still, if you're hungry you could join me and my friend, there's more than enough for the three of us," offered Blacktyger.
"If it wouldn't be inconvenient I would like that."
"Great, less to go to waist," said Blacktyger as hie walked over to the carcass, picked it up by the scruff of the neck, and slung it easily over hys lower torso without so much as a grunt.
"Come on, this way!" said Blacktyger as hie trotted off, leaving Jarred to catch up as quickly as he could.
___32.Those feelings again___
Night finally came barely two hours after Jarred had decided to leave Blacktyger and Moonlight's little camp, despite Moonlights best attempts to get him to stay. Shi felt a little exited but shi didn't quite know what shi wanted. Something told hir shi that something good was going to happen that night, besides the fact that shi had decided to ask Blacktyger if hie would like to mate with hir.
Blacktyger and Moonlight lay opposite each other with a small, steadily burning, campfire between them. Moonlight was happily listening to a fold up violin that Blacktyger had brought with hym and was currently playing. The song was one of Blacktyger's own creations, and was a sad slow melody, created after hie had visited a reality in which most of the creatures of Earth had been killed off by man. It was so moving Moonlight had actually begun to cry.
The melody drew to an end and Blacktyger carefully put hys violin down to the right of hys forepaws and placed the bow on top.
Moonlight sniffed back a tear and smiled, "That was very moving," shi said as shi wiped the damp fur beneath hir eyes, "if it's possible, may I have a copy on disk?" shi asked.
"Err... yeah, sure. I don't see why not," replied Blacktyger.
"That's wonderful. Now I can let my friend hear it too... um?" shi recalled Blacktyger hadn't given the melody's name before hie had started, "May I ask what it's called?"
"Oh erm... I think I decided on calling it Regret, or at least that's what I called it when I wrote the music sheets," replied Blacktyger as hie thought about the matter.
"Regret? Hmm, it does sound like a suitable name considering what it's about."
"I suppose so," said Blacktyger as hie picked up the fold up violin and put the bow aside. Hie continued to fold the violin up until it was no bigger than one of hys forepaws before putting it in hys carrysack and picking up the bow.
"I would have asked for an encore but it doesn't matter," said Moonlight as shi stood up and began to make hir way slowly around the campfire.
"Sorry, I should have asked," replied Blacktyger as hie pushed the two ends of the bow together until it was only a few centimetres long. Hie looked at the, now tiny, bow in hys hand before deciding to play another melody for Moonlight, so hie placed the bow aside and took the violin from hys carrysack just as Moonlight reached hym and lay down beside hym.
"It's alright. You don't have to if you don't want to," explained Moonlight, just as Blacktyger was about to unfold the violin.
"Okay," said Blacktyger as hie popped the violin back into the carrysack along with the bow. "Getting lonely over there?" hie asked as hie looked round at hir.
"You could say that," replied Moonlight, "actually there was something I wanted to do," shi said tying to give Blacktyger a hint. Shi continued to shuffle back a foot or two, then stretched hir arms and fingers out getting the creaks out of them before shi moved a little closer to Blacktyger and beginning to massage hys lower back.
"Mmm... a bit of a masseur are you?" purred Blacktyger as Moonlight began to work on several pleasurable spots near the joint between hys upper and lower back.
"I learnt a little from my sire, but I didn't really learn it that well," replied Moonlight, hir voice becoming soft and tender as shi spoke.
"Gods, I'd have said you did learn it well," purred Blacktyger as hie closed hys eyes and relaxed.
Moonlight didn't reply, shi simply continued to massage the entire length of Blacktyger's lower back, slowly making hir way to hys rear. Shi didn't stop there though as shi slid hir hands down and came, for the briefest of moments, into contact with hys female sex. At that very moment Blacktyger leapt up twelve feet into the air in shock. Hit hys head hard on a large branch that was above hym before plummeting down face first into the ground where hie had been lying and ended up lying on hys front with hys hindquarters up in the air. Hie lifted hys head up, "LoOk MoMmie, i'M a bIG GroWn UP chAKat nOw..." hie said in a very confused and dazed manner, before both hys head and hindquarters dropped to the ground and hie fell silent and motionless.
Moonlight lay stunned, hir mouth agape and eyes just as wide as shi stared in shock at Blacktyger and what shi had apparently caused. Shaking hir head shi gathered hir senses before quickly checking to see if Blacktyger was all right. "Blacktyger! Oh no, what have I done? Are you alright?" shi asked quickly, as shi felt hys head and neck for broken bones.
Blacktyger stirred as hie felt Moonlight's hands on hys now aching head, "Ouch, hey!" he pulled hys upper torso up into it's natural vertical position and gave hys head a quick rub, a shake, and then a knock before declaring hymself fine. "I'm okay, really, I am!" he said looking at Moonlight's near distraught face.
"But... Are you sure?" managed Moonlight.
"Yes, Don't worry about it I'm fine. A little bump on the head like that isn't going t' stop me..." he paused as he tried to think up a reason as to why he had been temporarily knocked unconscious but was shocked to find hie couldn't, and that worried hym. "Look, calm right down. Y' don't need t' get yourself all worked up like this," hie told hir in a stern yet soft voice, as hie gave hir muzzle a quick caring rub with hys hand. Before hie could remove it though Moonlight placed hir hand over hys and looked hym in the eye.
"I understand Blacktyger," shi said in the soft tone shi had used before whilst massaging, "why did you jump though?" shi asked.
"I guess I was a little slow when y' mentioned that thing that y' wanted t' do," replied Blacktyger, finally realising what was going on as hie looked back into Moonlight's eyes.
"I'm sorry, I should've asked you plain and simple instead of trying something like that," apologised Moonlight.
"Forget it, I should've mentioned this when I told y' about myself on the flight over here... It's just that I only know y' aunt because shi was helpin' me t' get my female side out into the open, I've lived most of my life as a male y'see. Up 'till now I haven't had anythin' physical to do with... the female me. I was shocked when you touched me but I also felt relived, believe it or not. Up until now I didn't know what was goin' t' happen about it... I think I do now though," explained Blacktyger as the warm feeling of knowing he had found a potential mate hit hym once again as it had done with Isis.
"You mean? You want me to, if I understand this correctly, be your first?" replied Moonlight, knowing the honour of being someone's first, and the trust they must hold for that person.
"I don't know why, but I just feel that it should be you. I think... well... err, I really don't know why but I'll ask y' now. Will you be my... first?"
"In that case, I would be honoured to accept the role of being your first."
Blacktyger moved hys hand from moonlights muzzle and replaced it by nuzzling hir muzzle with hys own to show how pleased hie was. As hie did so hie spotted a glint of gold and white in the bushed behind Moonlight. Hie smiled as Sekhmet briefly appeared out of the bushes only to disappear into thin air as she left them alone for the night ahead.
Moonlight sat gazing at the stars zooming by from the hydroponics bay's window. Both shi and Blacktyger had been picked up by Isis barely an hour after they had arrived back at hir house from the hike and Blacktyger was still in the process of showing hir around the ship. The moment Moonlight had seen the hydroponics bay shi had fallen in love again though, and just wanted to sit watching the stars from there for as long as shi could.
"Ohh," shi sighed happily, "I can't wait to finish college now that I've seen this ship, I just love this giant window. It's perfect for observing the stars through."
"I can't wait t' make y' a part of the pride, it's small right now but it is growing!" replied Blacktyger as hie wandered up to hir and put a hand on hir left shoulder.
Moonlight placed hir right hand over hys on hir shoulder and looked up to hym. "I can't believe we fell in love so fast," shi said softly.
"It happens more times than you'd think back in my reality," said Blacktyger, "The gods say it's just because there are so many couples, and in this case triples, maybe even quadruples, who are simply meant for each other. Then again maybe its just luck that I came to this reality and that we found each other."
"No, we were meant to be. I know it."
There was a brief silence before Moonlight stood, "Let's go and see what Isis is up to," shi said pulling Blacktyger along with hir.
"I think shi said shi was with a friend of hirs called Starburst. Oh speaking of hir, shi wanted to introduce us to hir and generally make sure everyone greets everyone else at the same time, if y' understood any of that?"
"I think I did."
"Good, now can y' explain it t' me then?" asked Blacktyger.
"Silly thing," chuckled Moonlight as they headed off out of the hydroponics bay.
They soon arrived outside the quarters that had been given to Starburst. Blacktyger pressed the door chime pad and quickly received a 'come in' from the other side. The door opened as silently as any other aboard the Sutherland and Blacktyger stood aside to let Moonlight enter first before following hir in.
Both Isis and Starburst were resting on a large pile of cushions that were spread out where the cabin's standard sofa used to be. They both rose from their cushions and closed the gap between the two parties.
"Err... well Should I Start or... oh..." said Blacktyger as hie watched Moonlight and Starburst greet in the usual chakat way, "...never mind..." hie said watching as Isis took hir turn to introduce hirself to Moonlight. Starburst turned to hym with a smile.
"Hello, you must be Blacktyger, Isis told me about you not liking hugs but I want to give you one anyway," shi said before quickly hugging hym tightly before hie could refuse. Shi made it last as long as shi could before finally releasing a slightly miffed Blacktyger. "There now, that wasn't too bad was it?"
Blacktyger opened hys mouth to talk but Isis quickly butted in, "Don't answer that Tyg!" shi said sternly.
"Why? What's wrong with me answerin'?"
"You know what."
Starburst took hir chance to butt in, "Ooo, shi's got you under hir finger hasn't shi," shi said sympathetically.
"Hey! No I don't," replied Isis with a grin.
"Do too!" said Blacktyger in an obviously fake dejected manor, "Shi's such a slave driver, shi won't let me do anythin' fun."
"Oh, you poor thing!" said Moonlight getting in on the act as shi sympathised with hym.
They all fell silent as they looked at one another before all four burst out laughing. After they had calmed themselves they continued their introductions and after a long conversation headed off for Tea before bedding down for the night.
___34.Isis, will you?___
Blacktyger looked deep into Isis' eyes with all the love hie had for hir showing through hys. They lay in their bed facing each other, content with each others close proximity but there was something that Blacktyger had to ask, and so hie had become restless.
"What's wrong?" asked Isis softly.
Blacktyger looked down to hys forepaws as hie tried to think of a way to say what hie wanted to. "Something's been on my mind ever since I became Blacktyger," hie replied, "I was never sure about it until the point Moonlight... Until shi mated me."
"Go on," encouraged Isis.
"Then I asked Serenity for hir opinion. Shi said if I that's what I wanted then that's what I should do, but... Then I think of what I was and how I'm changing... Sekhmet told me she knew I would always love hir, no matter what I though of myself..."
"Tyg? Who's hir?" asked Isis.
"Our cub. The one from me, the one Sekhmet told you about."
"...You mean?" said Isis as shi recalled what Sekhmet had said.
Isis was lost for words as happy feelings flooded through every part of hir body, shi had to keep hir cool though, shi knew how fragile Blacktyger was on the subject. "I believe you know when you want to. I can't make the decision for you," shi said seriously.
Blacktyger fell silent as hie continued to stare at hys forepaws. The biggest decision of hys life was just about to be made barely a month after accepting that hie was a hermaphrodite. Could hie do it? Could hie ask that? "I want this!" hie said truthfully as hie looked up into Isis' eyes. "Chakat Isis, will you sire my cub?"
Again Isis was lost for words. Shi knew that hie was telling the truth though, that hie did want this. If shi couldn't trust hym now shi never would be able to again. Shi knew hie wouldn't deceive hir. Smiling shi licked the tip of hys nose and replied, "I would be honoured to Blacktyger."
They both sat up, lying face to face, barely a foot apart. Blacktyger took Isis' hands in hys and again looked deep into Isis' eyes as hie prepared hymself. Then, with one last deep breath, hie began. "Chakat Isis, will you sire my child and promise to cherish and care for hir?
"I will," replied Isis. "Blacktyger, will you bare my child and bring hir up happy in the security of the family?"
"I will," confirmed Blacktyger. They both finished together.
"In the spirit of love, let our child know joy and fulfilment all hir life."
Blacktyger was close to tear, hie just couldn't believe what hie was about to do. Isis moved a little closer and gave hym a nuzzle.
"You see, you are ready," shi gently whispered into hys ear. "And thank you for doing this the chakat way it means a lot to me."
"Your welcome," replied Blacktyger, hys voice little more than a light breath.
That night was sacred, their union so much more than it had been before. They knew of only one thing that could equal the feelings they felt for each other that night, fortunately, Isis' next heat was only one day away.
It was the morning after Isis' first day of heat, and after shi had become pregnant. Both shi and Blacktyger were in the Sutherland's main medic bay as Blacktyger had wanted to check both of their pregnancies out to make sure that everything was all right.
"So tell me again, why do you need to check yourself over if you can sense every part of your body?" asked Isis. Shi had been curious to know why since hie had first mentioned something about hym not being able to.
"Simple, whilst I'm pregnant, apparently my hybrid abilities go into dormancy, fortunately though, it seems as though I keep whatever attributes I had set before I became pregnant..."
"And what are they?" asked Isis.
"Well, I did make sure that I can still use my strength to my current form's full potential. And I also decided to make it so that I could get hit by... oh let's say a car at 40 miles an hour and no harm whatsoever could happen to..."
"...our first little bundle of joy," finished Isis.
"...Yeah, but do y' have to put it like that?"
"What? Don't you like the fact that you have a bun on the oven?" replied Isis, knowing Blacktyger wouldn't like what shi said.
"Oh gods, don't please!" groaned Blacktyger, "That's so embarrassin'..."
"Oh, give over. Look, let's just get this check up over and done with, then we can go and have some fun... Hmm, it's a shame we had to take Moonlight back... but we can still ask Starburst if shi would like to join us."
"Uh... in a threesome?" asked Blacktyger nervously.
"Yes why?" shi paused to observe Blacktyger's reaction and grinned, "you've never been in a threesome before have you... trust me it'll be great being kitty in the middle," shi teased.
"Well... okay, I'll give it a go..." replied Blacktyger slowly.
"Great, now come on, I know this won't take long if it's anything like the rest of this ship in terms of speed."
"Okay, okay, keep y' fur on. Just stand still a second," replied Blacktyger as hie picked up a medical scanner and passed it slowly over Isis' lower torso, pausing briefly over where hir womb was located. "Right," hie continued as hie looked at a screen that appeared in mid air before hym, "Hmm? Everything looks fine here, normal percentage of growth, equal percentage of our DNA... Your as fit as a fiddle," hie pronounced, "but y' have much better curves and your rump... oh that's t' die for..." added Blacktyger.
"So you do like my rump. I've had my suspicions about that you know."
"Actually I didn't."
"Oh, never mind then. Anyway, now it's your turn. Can I scan you?"
"Yeah, sure," agreed Blacktyger as hie passed hir the scanner. Isis continued to do as Blacktyger had done as hie had scanned hir and then stood back to listen to Blacktyger's review.
Blacktyger looked at hys results and got a little surprise, "Oh no..." hie almost groaned.
"What's wrong?" asked Isis quickly. "Aren't you pregnant?"
"No, it's nothing bad... really..."
"From the results shown here it seems that my pregnancy is progressing at a greater speed than I expected, it also looks as if shi has slightly more hybrid DNA than the kitten you are carrying."
"What does that mean?"
"Basically that our first born is due in six months."
"Is there an echo in here?" asked Blacktyger casually as hie looked around.
"Will it really only take six months?" asked Isis.
"Oh wow. We'll get to see our first born in six months, I can't wait," replied Isis before running off out of the medic bay and off to find Sundance.
"I don't know," mumbled Blacktyger lightly shaking hys head as hie watched hir leave, "Half females... go figure."
___36.A Tyger in Africa___
Schneider sighed as the 4x4 he was in hurtled along the Serengeti plains towards the lodge site he had been staying in for the past few weeks. It was a sigh of sorrow, as he was only four days away from ending his holiday of a lifetime, but it was also a sigh of wonder as he thought about Khaos and what he might be about to offer him. That was, if Khaos 'was' actually going to make an appearance. Skipping that part he thought back to when he had arrived and how high the crater walls that surrounded the plains of Ngorongoro had seemed, then on to when his guide had taken him and the small group of tourists with him into the crater to see the plains inside. He had decided that no matter what he did with his life, he would return someday.
The 4x4 shuddered as it hit a bump in the dirt tract it was following bringing him back to the real world, and, surprising to Schneider, back to the small PTV park just outside the little group of lodges and the main community building that made up the lodge site. Shaking his head to clear it he sat up in his seat as the 4x4 was parked and opened the door beside him. Stepping out he was quick to notice an oddly shaped silver hover PTV parked at the far end of the PTV park that hadn't been there that morning. He smiled as he quickly made the connection between Khaos, who had seemed an odd sort of person anyway, and the PTV he saw before his eyes. 'That's got to be his' he thought as he grabbed a small lunch pack from the seat he had taken with him and began to walk over to the PTV.
"Mr Schneider!" called Neshi, a lion morph who had been Schneider's tour guide for the past several weeks.
Schneider swivelled round on his toes and stopped to look at him, "Yes?" he replied.
"I have a message for you," said Neshi as he ran up to him and stopped several feet away. "You were expecting a Mr Khaos I believe?"
"He sends his apologies but he could not spare the time to visit you as he says something big is happening and he is simply too busy. However, he has sent somebody in his place," explained Neshi.
"Hie says hys name is Blacktyger, hie's currently resting in lodge seven and says you can visit hym when you're ready."
"Right. Thank you Neshi. I'll go and see him right away."
Neshi nodded and walked off to check over the 4x4 as Schneider headed off in the opposite direction to find lodge seven which was fortunately right next to his own lodge as he was in lodge eight. Hie took a brief detour to his own lodge to drop off his lunch pack and was surprised to spot a large tiger striped cat taur resting in the fur on a hammock over lodge seven's veranda ducking down to avoid being seen by the taur he entered his lodge and closed the door quickly and carefully behind him. 'Neshi, that's a chakat!' he though to himself, 'what's with the he stuff?' Then he moved on to the more important things. 'I've got to make a good impression on hir, I can't just waltz in without a decent line to say... arrgghh! What am I thinking? I'm not dating hir. Shi's here to offer me a job... Hmm, that's a good point. I do need a good line to say. First impressions are always the most important... but shi's a chakat shi won't mind...' he stopped in mid thought and closed his eyes as he calmed himself. "No, I'm going over there, and what ever happens, happens." He said out loud, 'but it won't hurt to get a bottle of champagne first,' he added as he opened his eyes and headed for the bathroom for a quick clean up to get most of the days dust that had gathered in his fur out before exiting his lodge via the back door.
It wasn't long until Schneider was calmly walking to lodge seven carrying a small platter with two champagne glasses and an ice bucket, in which was an unopened bottle of the best champagne the bar in the community building had to offer. He was pleased to find the taur still lounging in the hammock and walked up the few steps up onto the deck of the veranda and looked down at the upturned body of the cat taur who looked back up at him and then to where he had begun to stare.
"Hey! I didn't order an audience!" exclaimed the taur and covered hys breasts with hys hands. "And before y' say anythin', don't. I'm not a chakat so I can get embarrassed about it, right."
"Ah, so does that mean Neshi was right when he said you were a he, or should I say hie?"
Initially Blacktyger was a little surprised by his calmness, but he continued on as usual. "Call me whatever the heck y' want, just so long as it's in the male term and NOT the female one, and I'm what's known as a hybrid," hie finished.
Schneider thought for a second on what he was just about to say, then realised Blacktyger had just answered it. "You must get this a lot, I think I'll keep my questions until later." he finally replied.
Again Blacktyger seemed a little surprised, but again carried on as normal. "Good. Anyway, since y're the only tiger booked into this lodge site I'm going to make an educated guess and say your Mark Schneider," hie said as hie expertly rolled off the hammock after uncovering hys breasts. "Nice to meet you, I'm Blacktyger, then again if you intend to look at these any longer it won't be very nice for you at all."
"Your definitely not a chakat, are you?" said Schneider, knowing a real warning when he heard one. He put the tray down on a table beside him that was on the veranda.
"I suppose you were too busy looking elsewhere to notice my little addition to the form then," said Blacktyger as hie offered Schneider a hand.
"Actually, I was wondering," replied Schneider as he shook hands with Blacktyger.
As they ended the shake Blacktyger's eyes wandered down to the champagne bottle, "So what's all this then?"
"Oh, that. Err, well I suppose I just wanted to make a good impression that's all."
"Mmm, fair enough," muttered Blacktyger, personally hie hated the taste of alcohol, but hie wasn't going to offend Schneider as hie knew it was an expensive brand. "Take a seat, I may as well explain what Khaos was offering you as we drink," hie said as he moved to one side of the table that the tray now lay on and sat back heavily on hys haunches with a little thud.
Schneider did as he was asked and sat down as Blacktyger picked up the champagne bottle from the ice bucket and started to untie the wire holding the cork in place. "May I do that?" asked Schneider before hie could fully undo the wire.
"Sure," replied Blacktyger, before passing him the bottle.
Schneider took the bottle and quickly resumed the unwinding of the wire that he soon placed aside and prepared to push the cork out. The usual sudden pop followed as the cork flew out of the bottle's neck. Blacktyger leapt up and caught the cork in mid air as it flew over hym before sitting back again and placing the cork on the table before hym, hie note the impressed look on Schneider's and gave a quick grin, "It's an old party trick," hie explained quickly.
"Very good," said Schneider as he poured a glass full of champagne and offered it to hym.
Schneider filled the other glass and put the bottle back.
"So, I think I'd better begin," began Blacktyger as hie watched Schneider's eyes wander again. He looked up and noticed the look on Blacktyger's face.
"Whatever. Anyway, back to the plot. Khaos explained everything to me about what he was going to offer, so here goes. Basically, he would like to offer you the position of first mate on my ship. Personally I think he's got a nerve offerin' that because he never told me anythin' about it. However I do need someone to look after my ship, and if Khaos trusts y' so do I," explained Blacktyger.
Schneider hadn't quite expected to be offered the position of first mate on a starship. He gathered that it wasn't anything official such as Starfleet but what the hey, it was an intriguing proposition, depending on what type of ship it was of course. "What type of operation do you run?" he asked without thinking.
"Heh, It's nothing too illegal if that's what you mean," said Blacktyger as he swilled hys untouched drink around in the glass. "Basically all you have to do is look after my ship and make sure that we don't breach too many reg's. I suppose I'd better tell you about the ship now, as everythin'll make a bit more sense when I do. Well, simply it's a land class starvessel named SSV Sutherland. She's from an alternate dimension that's approximately 150 years ahead of this one in terms of technology, and roughly 100 or so years out in terms of the time line. That's, quite simply, why one or two reg's have to be broken, because the technology she holds cannot be stolen by anyone of this reality. If anyone did it would damage the true timeline and all sorts of things might happen."
"I see..." replied Schneider slowly as he took a sip of his drink. He had taken it all in and had decided he'd get the job anyway, even if Blacktyger was making everything up. Things like that just didn't happen, or so he thought. "I like the sound of that, do you think I could have a look at the ship before I decide though," he said as he tried to call Blacktyger's bluff.
"Sure, if you like we could go right now. I can give you a short tour so as not to intervene too much with y' holiday if y' like," offered Blacktyger.
"Right then. Just stand up, y' can take y' drink with y' as y' might need it," said Blacktyger as he stood and put hys, still untouched, drink down.
Schneider humoured Blacktyger and stood up, only to be instantly transported to the bridge of the Sutherland. He looked about and then looked down at the half empty glass in his hand.
"It's not the champagne, trust me. Go and touch somethin' if y' want," said Blacktyger motioning for Schneider to do so.
"I believe you," replied Schneider as he looked at Blacktyger. "I have to admit I didn't before though."
"Fair enough, but now you know I'm at least tellin' the truth about the futuristic technology. I don't mind if y' don't believe the rest of it yet. I'll convince y' of that later."
"I'd like that." said Schneider as he thought about it. "And I believe you enough to say I'd like to go back and thoroughly think the pro's and con's and give you my answer at the end of my holiday. If that's ok with you?"
"No problem. Here take this though," replied Blacktyger as hie handed him a visor he had just picked up, "put it on just like a pair of shades," hie mimicked the motion, " they'll tell you everythin' y' want and need t' know," hie finished as they were beamed back to lodge seven's veranda. Hie looked down at hys glass and picked it up. "Can't let this go to waist can we," hie said as hie downed the contents in one go and put the glass back down. "I'll leave y' be until the end of y' holiday okay," hie turned and began to trot off.
"I thought you were staying here though?" said Schneider, a little surprised by how much Blacktyger seemed to want to leave.
"I am, well at least Khaos hired the lodge for that purpose," explained Blacktyger, pausing in mid stride, "I'm going to go live out there for a few days though," hie said as hie pointed beyond the confines of the lodge site. "I've wanted t' do this ever since I changed into this form. See y'!" and with that hie ran off before Schneider could stop hym.
Schneider cocked his head as he watched Blacktyger run of into the distance. He then looked down to the visor he held in his hand, and decided to see what Blacktyger had meant by saying it would tell him everything. After putting them on he found out though, and decided to sit down as the visor began to tell him everything he though of.
Schneider sat back in the com position on the Sutherland's bridge, his chosen position. It had been over a month since he had accepted Khaos' offer and had settled in well, learning all he needed to know about the Sutherland's technology from the visor Blacktyger had given him. He smiled as he recalled his first meeting with Khaos but had to wonder where he was, as he hadn't seen him since the day they met when he had offered the prospect of a possible job to him. Blacktyger walked in and headed over to the helm in front of the com position to make a few alterations and checks as hie usually did, just for the sake of doing them.
"Hey Blacktyger, have you seen Khaos recently?" asked Schneider curiously.
"Khaos? What would you want to see that tow-rag for?" replied Blacktyger as hie continued hys checks.
"Do you mean to say you don't like him?"
Blacktyger blew out a breath at the thought, "It depends on his mood. I've known times when he can be as cruel as humans and worse. Y' know, y' were really lucky when y' met him. If he had been in a bad mood he might've just wiped y' memory of him and not given y' the offer."
"Really, he would have wiped my memory? Does that mean he's actually a hybrid too, or is it just coincidence that he can do that?"
"Khaos is just a fox, that's all he told me."
"Don't you mean foxtaur?"
"That too. He was originally a biped fox, but once he found out that I could alter his form for him he jumped at the chance."
"...Could you turn me into a taur?" asked Schneider after several minutes thought on the subject.
"Not at the moment, no. Why though, I couldn't imagin' y' in a taur form for any other reason than..." Blacktyger suddenly realised why Schneider had asked the question. Ever since he had come aboard he had been trying to get hym to spend a little time with him. Hie had always declined and had even gone as far as to tell him hie wasn't interested in single sex males and that hie couldn't face being with anybody outside that of a hermaphrodite. Even so Schneider had persisted and in turn had told hym about his new found bisexual nature, which had just sent shivers down Blacktyger's spine. Hie turned round to face him "Oh no! I've told y' enough times already I'm not ready for anything like that!" hie replied quickly.
"Not yet! But if y' still want t' try the form after five months I'll change you okay, but only because your people were originally bio-engineered anyway," explained Blacktyger seriously.
"I understand," replied Schneider a little disappointedly.
"Good, cause I might've changed my mind by then..." said Blacktyger out loud by mistake.
"Oh! You mean?" started Schneider excitedly.
'Argh!' thought Blacktyger before replying quickly, "Don't get y' hopes up right, or I'll drop y' off and find a new, mature, ship minder."
"Okay, I won't," said Schneider calming down as quickly as he could.
"Is that all?" asked Blacktyger as hie went back to work.
"I suppose so."
"Good, check out the incoming signal then," said Blacktyger casually.
"Incoming signal?" repeated Schneider as he looked down at the com panel and found nothing. All of a sudden though the little warning bleep sounded and a little message came up on a monitor built into the console.
"Err... it says 'Come and get me,' that's all."
"I was wondering when Mau would come back," said Blacktyger finishing hys checks and plotting a course for Chakona.
"Who's Mau?" asked Schneider.
"She's a Jaguaress, a little older than you are, she's also from an alternate universe, but not from the one I'm from. Oh, and a word of warning, I know Isis and the others say it right but if you should ever have to say the word jaguar in front of her make sure y' say it like I do. Y'know, jag- U-ar and NOT jag-W-arr like some people do, okay. She absolutely hates that."
"Right, thanks for the warning, I'll remember that, though I do pronounce it like you do I might forget."
"Make sure y' do remember, she nearly scratched the last person who said jagwarr to her to death."
"Wow, in that case I will make sure I never do."
The bridge fell silent for several minutes before Blacktyger decided to go and tell Isis what they were going to do, "I'll be back in a mo, then y' can have a go at flyin' the ship if y' want when we go pick her up."
"I think I'll decline on that offer, I don't want to make any silly mistakes and get us all killed like in the sim's."
"Fair enough," replied Blacktyger before disappearing into one of the elevators leaving Schneider alone with his thoughts on the Bridge.
Blacktyger headed straight to the Sutherland's new artefact bay, as Isis had dubbed it, and entered the large bay. Inside were rows upon rows of shelves, mostly bare. A small percentage of the others had artefacts carefully laid out on them and hidden away in the far corner there was an observation table with various logging instruments and observation tools laid out equally as carefully as the artefacts laid out on the shelves. It was in front of this table that Blacktyger found both Isis and Starburst working carefully away as they logged each item thoroughly. They both stopped work as Blacktyger approached. "Hey, why'd y' stop workin'?" hie asked as hie stopped at the table's side.
"Because you've arrived, and when you're around we can't get any work done!" replied Isis, referring to other times shi had tried to document some artefacts only to have Blacktyger constantly interrupt hir as hie asked what everything was.
"Oh... Anyway, I'm going t' go and pick up Mau, she's ready t' come back. I'll be taking the ship obviously so if y' wanna stay here now's y' chance," explained Blacktyger.
"How long are you going to be?" asked Starburst.
"About fourteen foot long I think," replied Blacktyger.
"Very funny..." said Isis not overly impressed with hys reply.
"I thought so too, it should only an hour or so though," said Blacktyger.
"An hour? I thought this ship could get us there and back within ten minutes," said Isis slightly confused.
"Yeah it can, but I can't be bothered rushin' back. Plus I've gotta introduce her to Schneider, and if you two are comin' I can introduce her to Starburst too, come to think about it," explained Blacktyger.
"I think I'll come with you then," said Starburst.
"Me too, I haven't seen her in... oh it must be a month at least," said Isis.
"Okay then. I'll tell Colderan we're leavin' orbit then. See ya later," said Blacktyger as hie headed off back to the bridge.
The Sutherland neared Chakona and slowed down to sub-slip it quickly gained an orbital status around the planet and powered down completely. The instant it did though there was an instant incoming hail from the Chakonan government as Blacktyger had, for some reason or other, forgotten to phase the ship.
"Ahh nuts!" growled Blacktyger, what's wrong with me, I'm forgetting everythin' lately?" hie questioned hymself before lightly pressing the 'open channel' pad on the helm point in front of hym. A light blue and purple coloured chakat appeared on the mini-screen that quickly popped up in front of the helm position.
"Unidentified vessel, please state your..." the chakat paused briefly as shi realised the person shi was looking at looked much like a chakat so shi quickly changed hir tone from stern to lenient, "...business here," shi finished quickly.
"Let me guess, y' weren't expectin' a chakat huh?" replied Blacktyger.
"I'm afraid that is beside the point," stated the chakat, fining it difficult to speak sternly to someone shi thought was a fellow chakat.
"I'm not a chakat so y' can drop the niceties. Anyway to the point, I'm just pickin' up a friend of mine," Blacktyger noted a little message popping up on the helm's built in screen that stated Mau had just boarded, "Looks like she's aboard, we'll be leavin' now if there's no problem with that?"
"Please inform the authorities if you wish to do this again. I'll let it go this time but if I catch you at it again I will be forced to incur penalties. Do you understand?" stated the chakat.
"I understand," replied Blacktyger in a convincing manor. "Leaving orbit now, signing off," hie added quickly before doing just that.
Growling under hys breath Blacktyger took the Sutherland out of orbit and set the autopilot to take them back to Kreyal. Hie stood and growled under hys breath again as hie headed over to the lift.
Schneider, who had been sitting at the Com point the whole time, had watched everything and decided to find out what was bothering Blacktyger. "Hey, what's wrong?" he asked as he jumped out of hys chair and followed hym into the lift.
"Somethin' and nothin'," replied Blacktyger simply.
"So what's the something?" asked Schneider.
"I keep on forgettin' stuff, and I'm makin' mistakes more often than usual."
"What's wrong with that? We all make mistakes sometimes."
"I shouldn't make silly mistakes like forgettin' to phase the ship..." hie thought on the subject as the lift arrived just outside shuttlebay one and they walked out together, turned left down the corridor and then turned into the shuttlebay itself. "It's somethin' t' do with this reality, I think? Oh I don't know," hie went off the subject as hie looked over to Mau who had just walked out in front of the Kitten to greet them as they approached.
Schneider looked at Mau and grinned. Perusing her shapely body with his eyes he licked his lips at the thought of seeing what she was like under the clothes she wore.
"Dirty minded kitty," muttered Blacktyger as hie walked up to and received a lick kiss from Mau, which hie quickly returned. "Are y' goin' t' be stayin' in y' biped form for long Mau?" hie asked.
"Maybe, I don't know," she replied as she looked over Schneider then turned back to Blacktyger.
"Is that, that Mark Schneider you mentioned?" she asked hym.
Mau turned back to Schneider and offered hym a hand, he took it and they shook. "Nice to meet you Mark Schneider."
"Err... very nice to meet you too, miss Mau, you can call me just Schneider if you like," he replied awkwardly as they ended the shake.
"Miss Mau? I'm not a miss anything," stated Mau. "I'm Mau, that's all, and if you want me to call you Schneider I will."
"Oh, I see."
"Good. Now where's Isis? I want to surprise hir," said Mau turning to Blacktyger once again.
"Shi'll be in cargo bay three. Shi's changed it into an artefact bay though so be careful while y' down there."
"I'm always careful," replied Mau, before she ran off towards the shuttlebay exit.
Schneider watched her as she ran away and couldn't help but think of what lay under the tight fitting dress she had on again.
"You might have a chance with her," said Blacktyger casually as hie walked off after Mau, "Just stop thinking like that and make an effort to court her."
"Is that your advise on how to get her?" asked Schneider as he followed hym.
"Yeah, and a bit more advise too, get to know her first before y' try and bed her. She doesn't like sex driven males. That's why she's not all over me by the way."
"I didn't think you were sex driven."
"Oh yeah, of course I am, no questions asked. I just love it... well when I'm the male I do... and I suppose I like it when I'm... well I suppose you of all people won't have any problems imaginin' what I mean."
"Oh I don't, you're right there!" stated Schneider, a little too enthusiastically.
Blacktyger shivered as hys body was imaginarily 'taken' in one of Schneider's daydreams.
"Gods, don't think about that when I'm around! You really are one sick kitty, y' know that?"
"If you weren't so male you wouldn't say that."
"Oh shut up!" growled Blacktyger as they headed through the corridor, into the lift and back to the bridge.
Down in the artefact bay Isis and Starburst were taking a well-deserved rest, at Starburst's insistence. They had documented over fifteen delicate pieces of Kreyan pottery thoroughly and even found that several fitted together to make a larger piece that now lay assembled on the table in front of them.
Isis stretched hir arms up over hir head, "Ahh, that's good..." shi paused as shi heard something move behind a large covered freestanding shelf not far from them.
"What's wrong?" asked Starburst.
"I thought I heard something," shi replied.
"So you heard it too?"
"Yes, come on, let's go and see what it was."
Both chakats stood and walked over to the shelf, "You go that way," said Isis pointing right.
"Why? It was probably just something falling off,"
"Maybe, then again I think I might know what it was."
"Just go, I'll explain later."
They both headed off around the shelf and met on the other side finding nothing out of the ordinary.
"So, what was it you were going to explain?" asked Starburst as shi looked around.
"Me," came a voice from above them that was familiar to Isis. They both looked up to the top of the twelve-foot high shelf unit and saw a biped jaguaress lying on the top shelf. "Nice to see you again Isis. Who may I ask is this?" asked the jaguaress.
Isis looked at the jaguaress' face and after a brief moment of thought on her voice, realised who she was. "Mau? But how?"
"Nice rhyme Isis," replied Mau as she shifted and jumped off the shelf to land easily between the two chakats. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier but I can change my form with magic."
"Oooo, what does you're other form look like?" asked Starburst.
"Oh, Mau, I'd like you to meet Chakat Starburst," said Isis.
"Nice to meet you Chakat Starburst," said Mau.
"Likewise, let me give ya a hug!" said Starburst eagerly before giving her a big hug, Mau accepted, as unlike Blacktyger she loved a good hug.
"I like your new form Mau, will you be keeping it long?" asked Isis as the two hugging felines parted.
"I may keep it for a week, at the most. After that I will change back," replied Mau.
"Hmm? We'd better make good use of that time then," said Starburst.
"I second that!" said Isis.
Mau smiled and nearly blushed. "Maybe tomorrow night, I don't feel like doing anything tonight."
"Oh whenever 'you're' ready. We don't want to rush these things," said Starburst.
"Hey cheeky, leave her alone," butted in Isis.
"If you two wish to settle this like chakats I'll leave you alone. I need to rest," said Mau before yawning widely.
"Don't let us keep you," said Isis quickly.
"Thank you, I bid a good night's sleep to the both of you," said Mau.
"Goodnight," said Starburst.
"Sleep tight," said Isis, as shi and Starburst watched Mau walk away and disappear out of the doors.
"Mmmm, I can't wait for tomorrow night," purred Starburst after watching Mau's tail swish from side to side as she had walked away.
"Oy! Let's get back to documenting raunchy," said Isis as shi walked off back around the shelf.
"Wait for me!" called Starburst as shi quickly followed hir.
___39.Birth of a hybrid chakat___
Six months had passed since both Blacktyger and Isis had become pregnant, and as Blacktyger had said, hie was now ready to give birth. In fact hie was barely a few hours away and was attending the birthing party that had been prepared for hym, after much hard thought on Blacktyger's behalf as to whether hie wanted one or not. Hie hadn't been too keen on the idea of Isis's family watching hym give birth. Fortunately, due to the fact that Blacktyger had no living relatives in the reality, the party was only about half the size it would normally be for an average chakat birthing party,. Still, since chakats had large, extended, families it was still a quite formidable size for Blacktyger, even at only sixteen people.
Mau and Schneider had declined the offer of watching and so were still onboard the Sutherland. Mau had said she wanted to but had some important religious thing to do, of course Blacktyger knew she simply didn't want to put too much pressure on hym with an extra set of eyes. Schneider had said he wanted to keep Mau company, but in truth didn't like the idea of watching the birth as he had seen some documentaries of birthing and hadn't liked what he had seen happen.
Back in on earth the party was well under way.
Blacktyger was feeling nervous, hie had never been fond of crowds and it was disturbing to know that the group that was now around hym, was there because of hym. It was a bit of a shock to Isis' family too, as they weren't used to someone feeling nervous around them.
Blacktyger gave a quiet whine as hie stepped back into the wall behind hym, 'Oh I knew I shouldn't have done this, why did I have to do this...' hie had only just entered the main living room of Isis' parents house at that point, and the reception for hys birthing party had quite literally overwhelmed hym. Fortunately Isis, and the local chakat midwife Freepaw quickly came to hys rescue.
"Ahh! Blacktyger, you're here! I'd like to go through the birthing with you again, if that's ok with you?" asked Freepaw.
"Gods just get me out of here!" replied Blacktyger nervously looking around.
"Looks like you need to see Serenity again," joked Isis.
"Last time I did that I ended up pregnant, I'd hate to find out what happens if I saw hir for this," replied Blacktyger quickly.
"Oh come on you silly hybrid, let's get to the birthing room so you can get your nerves straight," said Freepaw.
"Let's go... right now!" insisted Blacktyger. Hie took a step forward, then paused. "Err, you first," hie said as hie realized hie was just about to barge straight through the crowd itself.
Both Isis and Freepaw laughed lightly at hys silly fear.
"Come on then scaredy Tyger," said Freepaw as shi took up the lead.
"Hey, I resent that!" replied Blacktyger as hie quickly followed hir, Isis smiled and shook hir head before following both of them at hir own pace. Shi spotted Moonlight though, and decided to talk to hir leaving Freepaw and Blacktyger to go to the birthing room alone.
Freepaw opened the doors to the birthing room and stood back. "Age before beauty," shi said as shi motioned for Blacktyger to go in ahead of hir.
Blacktyger sighed. Ever since hie had told Freepaw hys age shi had taken a number of chances to remind hym, in the friendliest possible way of course. Freepaw hirself was actually one hundred and ten, and shi didn't often get the chance to say things like that at hir age and shi thoroughly enjoyed it when shi did.
After Blacktyger had entered the room Freepaw followed hym in and closed the doors behind hir. Blacktyger headed straight over to the area prepared for hym by Freepaw for hym to give birth on and lay down taking the extra weight off hys paws. Freepaw followed hym over and lay down face to face with hym.
"Well then, shall we get started?" asked Freepaw in a reassuring tone.
"Yeah, err... sure. There's one thing I've got to ask first though..." replied Blacktyger as hie recovered from being out in the crowd.
Blacktyger looked away uneasily, "Well err... it's like this... Um, the birthin' dealy back where I'm from has a custom where the lioness... well most females do it actually it's pretty natural on Solice, but err..."
"Come on spit it out," encouraged Freepaw.
"It's customary for them to clean their kittens, or pups depending, their selves after giving birth..."
"Okay. I'll make sure I remember to put the towels where you can reach them then," replied Freepaw understandingly.
"Err... no, naturally, I mean, um, with her tongue," corrected Blacktyger. "It's kind of an intimate moment between mother and kitten... in fact it is," hie added as hie recalled hys own mother cleaning hym after hys birth.
"O-I see," replied Freepaw intrigued by the custom.
"The mother usually gives birth only with her mate and a midwife present, but we can make an exception there, then the mother takes her kitten from the midwife and well... y'know..."
"That's fine with me," assured Freepaw, "Remember, I'm only here to give advice, and to help if anything goes wrong. You can believe me when I say nothing has ever gone wrong when a chakat has given birth though. I know it will be the same for hybrids too."
"I think you'll understand if I say that was one of the reasons I originally didn't want to admit to being a herm, heh, I bet you'd think twice if you had the same tradition."
Freepaw laughed lightly, "Well, fortunately for me I never will have to make that kind of decision. However I don't think there is anything wrong with cleaning your cub with your tongue."
"You obviously don't remember bein' in your mothers womb then, ick the taste of that fluid, oh disgustin'!" hie pulled a humorous disgusted face to emphasis the fact.
Freepaw laughed again but had been intrigued by what hie had actually said. "I couldn't help but wonder what you meant by 'you obviously don't remember being in your mothers womb,' do you mean you can actually remember that far back?" shi asked.
"O-yeah. I'll admit it can be a bit of a drag sometimes but I can actually recall any moment in my life up to this point, if I wanted to. Course I never do, I dislike bein' able to do it... I mean, I can actually remember bein' born if I concentrate on the memory," hie shivered at the thought, "Ugh, if my kitten remembers hir birth I'll probably drop dead."
"Oh come now, it couldn't have been that bad. I know I would have liked to recall my own birthing party, and I'm sure shi will be glad shi can, well, if shi can."
"Believe me, shi won't..."
"Well I don't believe you," interrupted Freepaw, "Anyway, I think we should actually go over the birthing one last time. I don't want you pulling when you should be pushing, now do I," shi added with a smile.
"Oh, gods... I'm going to die of embracement as it is, if anything went wrong, Oh Sekhmet... "
"It won't be that bad Blacktyger, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Besides you'll be too proud to care what anybody thinks, especially when your feeding hir for the first time and I speak from experience when I say that. If worst comes to worst though I'm sure everyone will understand if you don't want them to watch."
"Though I can't believe I'm sayin' this, I don't really want to choose that option. Especially in Snowflakes case, I'd have to let hir and hir mate watch for lettin' me watch theirs."
"Even though you ducked out at the best bit?"
"Oh, don't put images in my mind please... The thought of them lookin' at..." hie paused and started a new sentence as hie was unable to complete what hie was about to say. "How on Solice can you actually want to see that?" hie asked seriously.
"It's the natural birth of a new life, I can't really explain it but... Well I suppose you have to be a little more in tune with your feminine side to fully understand I suppose. I mean the feminine side that males can have, including you when I say that," explained Freepaw.
"Oh well, I'll never understand then."
"I'm sure you will someday. Now can we get on with going through the birthing or is there something else you want to mention?"
"Good, then lets get everything straight," and with that they began.
Several practices later both were satisfied with what to do when the time approached. A little later after that and both had returned to the main party. Blacktyger took up residency in the nearest corner and was relieved when Isis came over to see how hie was doing.
"Is everything ready?" asked Isis lovingly.
"Yeah, I'm glad I asked hir to go through it with me beforehand, I wouldn't have a clue if I tried to do it like, well a chakat, and just go ahead with it."
"Well, I suppose if you've lived your life as a male for 178 years giving birth isn't the easiest thing to know how to do... that said I though it would come natural, even to you."
"Yeah, I'd've thought that too..." hie replied before thinking of more pressing matters, "err... you did tell everyone that I might change my mind and all if I get too stressed didn't you?"
"Oh Blacktyger," sighed Isis, "Even if I hadn't they would understand."
"Thank Sekhmet, no, thank 'you' Isis."
"Don't thank me, thank everyone here for being so understanding."
"I'll thank them when I give birth in front of them."
"Just do what you feel is best Tyg. It's your birthing party and your word goes, right?"
Several hours passed and Blacktyger found hymself talking with Serenity over hys progress when a strange urge hit hym.
"Well, I am proud to say you have passed another barrier in finding your female side, at this rate you will be thinking about your sexuality like a chakat in no time," said Serenity happily.
"Mmm..." muttered Blacktyger in return, something had begun to bug hym and hie was having difficulty concentrating on the conversation.
"Are you all right?" asked Serenity as shi watched Blacktyger tense briefly.
Hie twitched in return.
"I will see if Freepaw is available, you just keep calm," said Serenity before rushing off to get hir.
Isis was soon by Blacktyger's side sensing hys distress as only a life mate could.
"Blacktyger are you all right, are you having contractions?" shi asked excitedly.
"...I guess..." managed Blacktyger as hie tensed again.
Isis moved up close beside hym and offered hir support; Blacktyger accepted and took hir hand.
"Oh... I can't wait to see our first kitten," said Isis happily.
"...I don't think shi can wait to see you either..." replied Blacktyger.
Serenity arrived back, "Freepaw is waiting for you in the nursery."
"...I thought it was the birthing room?" replied Blacktyger.
"It's both," explained Isis.
"I will tell everyone else to stand by, okay?" said Serenity.
"Thank you," replied Isis.
"...Ta..." thanked Blacktyger as hie and Isis walked carefully away towards the nursery.
Soon Blacktyger was resting hys lower torso on hys right side, as Freepaw had explained to hym earlier, on a mattress that had been set up on the floor for hym to give birth on.
Sundance had joined them and was currently barring the door until Blacktyger made hys final decision on whether hie felt hie could let them watch or not. Freepaw had taken up hir position at Blacktyger's rear but stood just as Isis was about to lye down to comfort hir mate.
"First things first," began Freepaw, "I think you should both remove your clothes, when shi comes out we don't want to waist time removing your t-shirt do we now Blacktyger." shi said as shi walked up to hys front lay down and helped hym off with it, Isis quickly removed hir halter as Freepaw took Blacktyger's headband off hym and received a little mewl of discontent in return. Freepaw ignored the mewl and continued to put the t-shirt and headband aside before returning to hir post. "Breath as I explained to you earlier Blacktyger, deep breaths, in... out remember?" shi said realising Blacktyger was still breathing as normal.
"...Okay..." said Blacktyger as hie began to breath deeply, as hie did Isis lay down behind hys upper torso. Shi began to comfort hym, by both holding hys hands and letting hym rest with the back of hys upper torso against the front of hirs as they took up the usual position for a birthing chakat and sire.
Freepaw moved a little closer to Blacktyger's rear as shi took hys left hind leg, which was still lay as flat as hie could manage on top of hys right hid leg, and lifted it up. "Keep it up here or you'll find it impossible to give birth," shi explained as shi began to observe hym.
Isis looked down to Blacktyger, who had hys head resting under hir chin. "Now you have to decide Tyg. Do you think you can handle an audience or would you prefer to do this with just you, me and Freepaw?" shi asked.
Blacktyger looked up into hir eyes and between deep breaths answered. "I decided... as soon as I lay down... How could I refuse your family?" hie replied seriously.
"Our family Blacktyger. They're yours too remember," replied Isis happily. Shi looked up to Sundance and nodded, "Let them in."
Sundance nodded in reply, "Okay," shi said before turning around and motioning to those waiting patiently outside to enter. "I'm glad to say hie wishes you all to join hym for the special event," shi said as they approached.
Blacktyger squeezed Isis' hand tightly as they all calmly gathered around hym and found a good place to watch from.
"It's ok Tyg," whispered Isis soothingly.
"It's not... them... It's my... contractions..." managed Blacktyger, trying to keep it to a whisper.
"Good," replied Isis.
"Your dilating nicely," butted in Freepaw.
"...Oh gods... kill me now..." replied Blacktyger in embracement.
"I will not!" whispered Isis in return, and gave hym a long lick kiss down hys muzzle to help sooth hym. Hir action received several sighs from the little crowd and even a well placed wolf whistle, which received a smile from Blacktyger.
"Well, your fully dilated, now comes the hard part," began Freepaw, "Okay, get ready and..." shi waited until just the right moment, "...Push!"
Blacktyger pushed hard, squeezing Isis' hands with perhaps just a little too much pressure even for hir, as shi wined slightly.
Freepaw timed hir next move pausing briefly before shi called again, "Push!" shi observed hym closely and continued, "Again!" shi smiled, "I can see hir head," shi informed everyone. There were a few whispers and sighs of relief from those watching, as they knew that everything would be fine. "Push... Hard!" Freepaw called.
Blacktyger gritted hys teeth and pushed, "...Gha! ahh!..." hie groaned, it was the first real sign that hie was feeling the strain.
"Shi's coming!" called Freepaw as shi prepared to take hold of the kittens head, "I have hir head... Push!"
"Ahm... pushin'... ahm... pushin'... gods ahm pushin!" growled Blacktyger through breaths and contractions. Hie squeezed Isis' hands a little tighter making Isis' eyes open wide and tears appear in their corners.
"I hope this is over quickly," said Isis quickly as the pain registered on hir face, I don't think my hands can stand this much longer."
"Push!" called Freepaw.
Blacktyger pushed again, but after hearing what Isis had said kept the pressure off hir aching hands.
"Hir forelegs are out, now just hir hind legs to go. Give me a big push Blacktyger!" called Freepaw.
"Go on my love, don't think about me, just push!" said Isis.
Blacktyger gave a quick nod in compliance before hie braced hymself and pushed for all hie was worth. "Wrrrrawwrrrrr!" snarled Blacktyger feeling the last large contraction hit hym hard... after that, hie felt hys hybrid abilities flood back to hym... and it was done.
"I've got hir, shi's free!" called Freepaw.
"Oh thank you Sekhmet!" sighed Blacktyger in a sigh of relief. Hie quickly shifted into a better position to take hys kitten as Freepaw stood and both carefully and quickly brought the tiny kitten to hir mother's arms to be cleaned. Freepaw gently handed the, now mewling, kitten to Blacktyger who took hir under the arms and held hir before hym.
"And now, we bond little one, mother and kitten..." said Blacktyger almost in a ritual fashion. Hie then licked hys cub from hir nose tip to hir forehead. Paused briefly. Then continued to clean hir entire head followed by the rest of hir body nipping the still attached umbilical cord, the other end of which had separated naturally from hys womb, clean off as hie passed hir lower stomach. All the while, the onlookers watched in wonder, as of course the cleaning was a new experience for them and there were a few gasps as hir fur pattern was better reviled to them. As soon as hie had finished though, they all smiled happily as hie took the kitten to hys left breast and shi began to suckle. "Sup now little one, for we have bonded, what is mine is yours, now and until the day I die," hie said reciting the words used by countless lionesses before hym. Blacktyger felt the pride Freepaw had mentioned earlier build up so far inside hym hie felt hie was going to burst. Hie couldn't help but purr out loud with hys true leonine voice.
Isis held Blacktyger all the while bathing in the warm feelings shi received from Blacktyger via hir empathy and shi began to purr lightly in response to Blacktyger's deep rumbling purr. Eventually though Blacktyger carefully rolled onto hys stomach taking great care with their cub and Isis quickly rubbed the feeling back into hir hands before shifting to a position directly in front of Blacktyger to get hir first proper glimpse of the kitten shi had sired. Shi was pleasantly surprised though as shi also spotted the kitten's fur pattern.
"How do you suppose that happened?" shi asked, looking at a fur pattern seemingly identical to a real tiger's.
Blacktyger shrugged, "Guess the hybrid gene won out there," hie said simply.
"Yes, it looks as if shi has hir mothers stripes doesn't it," said Freepaw with a smile as shi lay down beside them to look the kitten over.
Blacktyger switched their kitten to hys other breast before speaking, "Isis, when shi has drank hir fill, will you take hir for hir first sleep?" hie asked hir.
"You should take that honour," replied Isis.
"No, the male... the sire should take the kitten for hir first sleep," explained Blacktyger.
"In that case, I would be honoured to."
It was only a short time before the kitten ceased hir supping and drifted off into a peaceful sleep. Blacktyger carefully offered hir to Isis, who took great care in receiving hir. Shi then took hir over to a crib that had been prepared under Blacktyger's close supervision before gently laying hir to rest. After Isis had stood back up straight Blacktyger gently rubbed up to hir right side before putting hys left arm around hir upper waist.
"And now, under the watchful eye of your sire, you sleep. Rest well, and allow your mother to regain hys strength," again repeating the words of many lionesses before hym, with a few minor alterations to make it fit, of course.
Isis turned hir head to look at Blacktyger, "How about we honour chakat traditions?" shi asked playfully, knowing the pleasure they could get from it.
"I would be honoured to take part in the traditions of your people Isis," replied Blacktyger truthfully.
"In that case, let go of me so I can finally get at those gorgeous breasts of yours!" shi said playfully as shi pulled away from hym.
Blacktyger decided to overlook the comment as hie was too much into the spirit of things and simply turned to allow Isis to drink the milk left in hys breasts. Isis was more than happy to return the favour and allowed Blacktyger to fully drain hir breasts so that hir breasts could begin full production of viable milk, instead of milkwater.
With the chakat traditions complete Blacktyger and Isis stepped aside to allow the others to see their kitten whilst sleeping.
"You know, for this to be perfect there are just two more things we have to do," stated Blacktyger with a smile.
"And what, may I ask are they?" replied Isis playfully licking hys muzzle as they embraced briefly.
"We have to give hir a name, and then we have to announce hir birth to Sekhmet," explained Blacktyger.
"In that case, do you have any suggestions?" asked Isis.
"I was never good at making up names," replied Blacktyger shaking hys head.
"Ha, you can actually say that after telling me you give a new name to each different form you have," said Isis, not believing a word hie said.
"You don't believe me? Well if y' must know I didn't come up with the name Blacktyger for a start. It was a young cub named Redpaw. Secondly..."
"Okay, I get the idea!" interrupted Isis, "I think I've come up with one anyway."
"How about, Bengal?" suggested Isis, "to fit in with hir mother," shi added quickly.
Blacktyger gave the name some thought before turning to Moonlight who was just passing by after seeing their kitten. "Moonlight, what do you think of Bengal?" hie asked hir.
"Do you think the name Bengal fits our cub?"
"Err... yes I think it does."
"Good, then it's settled. Bengal it is..." said Blacktyger proudly.
"Uh, uh... Chabrid Bengal" butted in Isis.
"Chabrid?" questioned Blacktyger.
"Yes, shi's half chakat, half hybrid, and since I know you wouldn't like it if I put the mothers species first I put the sire first. Do you get it, cha the first half of chakat and brid, the second part of hybrid," explained Isis.
"I like it," said Moonlight.
"It's ok... I suppose..." said Blacktyger, not overly impressed with the name.
"You do better then," challenged Isis.
"Chabrid Bengal it is then," stated Blacktyger.
Both Isis and Moonlight laughed lightly at Blacktyger's evasion from the challenge.
"Oh shut up, we still have to announce hir to Sekhmet," stated Blacktyger.
"How do we do that?" asked Isis.
"Simple, we go outside and call out to hir, basically we just roar to her as load as we can," explained Blacktyger.
"Hmm... I've never roared before in my life," said Isis as shi thought about it.
"To tell you the truth I don't know exactly what a chakat's natural call sounds like, I think it's a little like a cougar's," replied Blacktyger.
"Why don't you two go and find out then?" suggested Moonlight.
The two new parents looked at each other before nodding, taking each other's hand, and after a quick look over their cub one last time, they headed outside to announce their newborn to Sekhmet.
* * *
....Log off... Chakat Isis... Log off... Schneider... Log off... Blacktyger... Data download complete... signing off...
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