Miranda Brightfur's shift in spaceport customs had started as normal boring day checking that passenger IDs were ok and that none of the passengers had any illegal controlled substances or items with them while they boarded Sweet Star, passenger cruiser destined to Chakona. First few hours had been uneventful and shift was starting to look like deadly boring as so many shifts before until small chakat cub had appeared. Cub had showed its ID which Miranda had barely even checked. Just as cub started moving towards the ship, she had realised what had been bothering her with the cub.
”Hey, wait a second! Where are your parents?” Miranda asked. ”You are too young to travel alone!”
Cub stopped and Miranda was amused to notice that shi reacted just like one who had been found with hir paw in the cookie jar. She had to repeat the question before cub finally answered.
”Ok, so who is traveling with you? Did you know that cub of your age needs a parent or some adult to accompany you?”
”No-one. I am old enough to take care of myself”.
That surprised Miranda. ”You are not even ten, so you are hardly old enough to take care of yourself!”. ”Less than eight years” said chakat who had been waiting hir turn in line. ”Definitely less than eight years old”.
By now cub was starting to show more and more signs of frustration which increased even more when Miranda fetched hir ID for complete check. To her surprise brief check returned back with odd results: based on databases ID cubs' ID belonged to chakat with an age of 55 and living in Chakona. Fur and eye colors did not match, but at least fur was close enough to be explained by human error. Luckily record also had pointers to some relatives living only few hundred kilometers from spaceport. A quick call to them told her that they had no idea who cub was and that real owner of the record was visiting them at a moment. Thus ID had to be fake.
By now it was clear that they had very underage cub which was trying to travel under fake ID. Cub refused to answer to questions concerning the ID, so Miranda called in police and had cub taken to the station.
Police searched all hir belongings in order to find out any clues about hir identity. They were very surprised when search revealed a stunner from cubs belt pouch and fully functional phaser plus a can of mace from hir saddle packs and packback. When they questioned cub about found weaponry shi just stated that they were hirs. Belt pouch also included several data chips which turned out to be heavily encrypted. Less surprisingly cub refused to comment data chips or encryption. Shi just repeated the statement that they were hirs. Crypto experts told them that based on what they had seen it would take decades to crack encryption by force, so further data check was called off.
Last found was credit chip which according to reader contained literally a fortune in credits. One of the officers even commented that if he would work his tail off in overtime and nightshifts without ever spending a single credit, he could not collect that kind of sum in his lifetime. Still inquiry to bank in question confirmed that chip was valid and credits in it really existed. Unluckily they also informed the police that account in question was anonymous, so they could not provide any identification for its owner. All they knew was that person who had loaded the credit chip had used correct pre-defined identification process although they refused to tell exact information about it referring to laws about banking and anonymity. Final piece of information from bank included info that credits in chip were only part of total bank account balance.
None of items which cub was carrying had any information which could have helped police to find out hir identity. Medical examination told police exactly what they had been expecting: perfectly healthy chakat cub with an estimated age of six years. DNA check to existing databases returned no matches, so it started to look like that they had a very rich and very non-existent cub in their paws. Cub which also was almost as talkative as a clam. All shi said was that all found items were hirs. Statement which chakats questioning hir had to admit as truth based on their empathic senses.
That caused a problem: according to law they could not let the cub go without a parent or other adult who would be responsible for hir and based on what they had found out there was none available. It did not feel like a good idea to put cub into jail to wait for the time they could find a guardian for hir, so one of the chakat officers in the station decided to take hir home.
When Snowmist opened door to hir home shi was bounced by both of hir own cubs who had sensed hir coming home. After few quick lick kisses and hugs they moved their attention to new cub which had come with their mother. Cub seemed to have black fur with white leopard type spots. Paws, tailtip and eartips were white. Newcomer seemed to be very interesting to them and interest was increased even more when new cub very obviously started feeling more and more uneasy when cubs tried to satisfy their curiosity.
”Who is shi?” asked Whitestripe, older of the two cubs.
”We do not know Whitestripe.” said Snowmist ”Shi has not told hir name and we have not been able to find hir mommy or daddy.”
Whitestripe turned back to strange and interesting new cub and asked ”Who are you?”
Cub seemed to be surprised by direct questions and it took hir a while to answer ”Nobody.”
Answer caused a sharp look from Snowmist, who wondered what cub was really doing and why.
”Hello Nobody!” greeted Snowmuzzle, younger of the cubs. Snowmuzzle had just learned to speak only few months ago.
”Nobody is not a name Snowmuzzle.” hir mother corrected. ”Shi was meaning that shi does not want to tell you hir name.”
”Why do not you want to tell your name?” asked Snowmuzzle from new cub.
That caused a long silence until shi finally almost whispered ”I do not have one. Not anymore.”
”That is impossible! blurted Snowmist. ”All cubs of your age must have a name! Thats compulsory by the law! You cannot leave your offspring unnamed even if you want to do so for some odd reason!”
”Well, I do not have one” murmured cub and continued ”Reason for it is my business, not yours. Ok?”
That definitely was not ok with Snowmist who had to admit that cub was telling the truth, but for some reason seemed to leave out something important.
”Who is shi?” Snowmist wondered. ”Unusually quiet for chakat. And shi seems to want to stay aside which is very unusual for chakat not to even talk about cubs which seem to be almost nuclear powered.”
Then shi made a decision: ”Since you said that you do not have name, we will call you Snowspot from now on!” Snowmist declared. ”Unless of course you happen to remember your real name.”
Shi hushed all cubs inside where cubsitter was already heading to door. Shi thanked her and closed door when she had gone outside. Next hour went cooking. When she returned from kitchen to tell cubs that food was ready to be served, shi noticed that Snowspot had digged out a datapad from hir backback and was concentrated on doing something with it. When shi called out the food and noticed that Snowspot did not start moving towards the kitchen, shi snapped datapad from hir paws and pushed cub to kitchen. Shi was putting datapad down to the table when shi noticed what Snowspot had been doing: it was clear that shi had been chatting. Or was that correct description at all? While it was definitely a chat, it looked more like an argument about subject which seemed to be medical in nature. After looking more closely it looked like that subject of argument was medical and so professional that shi had to admit that she did not understand it at all. What puzzled her though was that very clearly Snowspot was winning the argument and others had started showing more and more respect to hir opinions. Shi put down the datapad and moved to kitchen.
When chakats had finished their meal, Snowspot surprised Snowmist again by washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen without any requests for it from anyone. Snowmist looked at Whitestripe and thought how hard it was to get hir to do the same thing. Or even part of it. And that strange cub had done it automatically apparently without even thinking it in any way.
When sleeping time came it turned out that all chakats were supposed to sleep in the same room. While shi admitted that they did have extra rooms, Snowmist stated that idea of Snowspot sleeping in other room was totally out of the question. And that was it. Snowspot knew that shi had lost the argument even before shi had had chance to even start it, so shi moved aside in sleeping rug to be away from other chakats. Snowmist looked surprised by that, but said nothing.
It just did not work that well as when Snowspot woke up, shi noticed that shi was in a middle of a furry pile. It looked like that all other chakats had moved to hir, not the opposite. That caused mixed feelings: on the other hand shi was happy for it and it felt somehow just right, but on the other hand it made hir nervous because information shi had seen had stated that chakat mental abilities we the most potent when they were touching each other. And shi knew that it would not be a smart idea of letting someone else to read hir mind. They would not like what they would find and shi would like the results even less.
When Snowmist went to work next day, first thing shi did was to request tracking for datapad which Snowspot was using. When data collection had been going on for a week they started noticing really odd things: Snowspot seemed to use most of hir time with hir datapad. Shi first had started several basic online programming lessons, then next day moved on to more advanced topics followed by levels where only the best computer experts in the station could tell what shi was doing. Finally even they could just quess what shi was doing as topics moved past pro to extremely difficult and complex ones. Shi was also actively chatting in several programming and medical related boards. And always in most difficult subjects. They also noticed that shi was very fast gaining reputation for extremely high professional knowledge especially in the medical boards.
Snowmist was stunned when shi found out that one of the medical boards Snowspot was visiting on regular basis was invite only and meant only for professional doctors and medical experts. Based on hir status in the boards shi had very quickly jumped from regular visitor to guru rating in the board and others seemed to give very high respect for hir answers regardless of the topic shi had written on. Six year old cub giving instructions to experienced doctors?
”For gods sake” Snowmist thought. ”Thats damn scary thought.”
At home Snowspot had tried to stay aside while sleeping and finally stopped doing so when all attempts had failed miserably. Either chakats were magnetic and naturally were attracted to one huge pile or something, but shi had always gone sleeping outside the pile of other chakats and woken up in a middle of that furry pile.
Since no-one had managed to prove any illegal things concerning the credit chip and data chips, those had been returned to Snowspot. Weapons and mace were of course confiscated. As was hir fake ID. They had also done temporary ID for hir under hir new name in order to make hir living in the eyes of bureaucratic system.
Snowmist had continued information collection about Snowspot. Cubsitter had confirmed that shi used datapad almost all the time when Snowmist had asked about it. She told that Snowspot never caused troubles during the day unlike other two cubs which wreaked havoc all around the house as soon as she was looking elsewhere. Snowmist had noticed that something was worrying Snowspot and making hir more and more nervous. Shi had refused to comment when Snowmist had asked about it, but Snowmist had noticed that question had definitely made Snowspot even more nervous.
Then one day shi took Snowspot to work and slammed all tracking data to table asking what an earth shi thought shi was doing. All chakats noticed that question really scared Snowspot who seemed to have real problems keeping hir nerves under control.
Then shi gave up and started talking: ”Does it matter anymore? I am sure that you would have found it out sooner or later. I am not as young as I look like, which should not surprise you. Or actually my body is just as young as it looks like, but mind inside is way older than you would believe. Would you believe that in next month its been 81 years since I was born?”
That caused several very surprised comment from persons in the room. Ranging from ”I knew it.” to ”That is impossible.”
Then cub started telling them a grim story:
”I was born as human male being only child of my parents. When I was eight years old there was a fire in the house my parents owned. Fire got loose during the nighttime and when firefighters finally arrived it was too late: both of my parents had died and whole house burned to the ground level before they finally managed to get fire under control. I had lost everything. I survived the fire only because I was visiting my friend when it happened. They never found out the cause and could only give some educated quesses. I cannot blame them. Heat levels had been so high that all possible evidence had burned totally leaving them pretty much nothing to start from.”
”What they could tell though was that there had been too long delay in sending out the firefighters to the house. They found out that persons responsible for answering to emergency calls that night had been furries and many of them had been on heat that night. Investigation found out that they had decided to relax a bit during their shift and had sex instead of doing their job. Call came in when they were having some good time and when they finally answered it was too late: fire was already totally out of control.”
”When I heard the cause I could not forget or forgive them. Of course they were taken to court, but sentence they got was minor. I felt that they had killed my parents and then slipped away getting almost no punishment for their sins. Less than a month later I joined Human First movement. They had always said that furries were a plague which should be wiped out. And I finally understood why.”
”Human First soon noticed that I was exceptionally smart and that I absolutely hated all furries with no exceptions. So they offered me a deal: they would give me best possible education and I could get my revenge doing work for them. First they pointed to me that they did not want me to get into any kind of trouble with law, so I always stayed out of demonstrations, riots and other activity they had. Instead I used all of my spare time for medical and biological studies. When I was old enough I rolled in to university for medical and biological studies. While those had not been my real interest, feeling that I could get my revenge through them gave me very high inspiration and motivation. I aced all my studies with top grades and at age of 24 I was officially a fully qualified doctor.”
”I was surprised when it turned out that this had been just a start for my studies. I still do not know how they managed to arrange that, but Human First moved me first to Pharos where I studied several years under best of their geneticists working on creating slaves. Those creeps knew pretty much everything about genetics and how to use it to serve their needs. Then more of studies in few other independent worlds and finally several years back in Federation under some doctors of very questionable reputation. All of them had gained theirs doing experiments which were not only unethical, but also highly illegal. Cops had just never managed to get enough evidence against them, so none of them had ever been jailed. I sucked in all information I could and I made my teachers very proud. Each and every of them claimed that I was the best they had ever seen: very smart and extremely creative which seemed to please especially those genetists working on slave genetics. Eidetic memory helped a lot when I was studying and I collected vast library of information both to data chips and into my own memory.”
”Finally at age of 32 I was fully educated. Master in genetics, biological warfare, viruses and bacteria of all kinds. Human First was very pleased with my test results and moved me to old freighter which had been modied to fully functional laboratory for research on genetics, viruses and bacteria. They had really invested to that one: place had all the stuff money could buy. And only the very best was good enough for them as far as equipment was concerned.”
”I never found out who paid the bills, but whoever it was really had cash: all of my education was paid by Human First. And whenever I needed something in lab, I only had to ask and I got it. They never asked for costs or refused anything due to that.”
”Again I have no idea where or under which name that freighter is or was. All I know is that they parked it to some unknown uninhabited solar system and hid it to asteroid belt, so that finding it without knowing was almost impossible.”
”Then started the work: I worked 15 to 18 hours per day, 365 days per year on biological weapons. Thought of revenge kept my morale high and helped me to endure long days on that ship. It was clear that they had had some persons like me before but based on data I was given results had been less than stellar. They had modified some natural viruses and made mutants which would be more lethal, but not very useful as they hit equally to almost all living things. I and my assistants changed all that: first we designed a way to make sure that viruses hit just and only furries. Then we made sure that they could not mutate and thus possibly gain ability to hit humans. Mutation prevention was important because my employer was worried about humans accidentally getting infected.”
”When that basic foundation had been done, we started building totally custom genetically engineered viruses. During the years I designed countless very lethal viruses with lots of lethal effects. For some reason my employer always wanted that we had effective antidote or vaccine before we even started field tests, so all of them took more time than what it should have taken. I only later found out why that was so important for them.”
”Understandably they were paranoid about security and had arranged it so that I never had a chance to do field tests by myself. They had some other group which planned and then did the field testing. I only got highly detailed reports about test results. Reports never included information about where and when tests were done. I also never saw any furries in the labship. When I asked about that I was told that the less persons saw me the better. What they or I did not see, that could not be told if Star Fleet or police would find out what we were doing. Like I said I never saw furries, but since research needed samples Human First supplied me with furry tissue and blood samples as needed.”
”Luckily for furries my employer was an idiot. And by that I mean that my boss always wanted something which had extreme lethality rating and worked very fast. Thats not very good combination as it is very clear to see who is infected and who is not. Thus it is easy isolate the contamination area and then either let subjects to die or make antidote for it. I am willing to bet that Federation has functional antidote to almost all of them by now.”
”Almost all projects included creation of somekind of new biological weapon, but there were few exceptions to that. One of them was project named 'Instant Furry'. Since Human First did not trust any furries they came into conclusion that they should create their own version for spying purposes. Less known fact is that for example difference between human and ape is quite small genetically. We are speaking only about few percent of different genes between them. So genetical changes would not actually be that extensive. Much harder part was to force body to new shape which new genetics would have built. Switching in the new furry genetics only took two years. The remaining eight went to shapeshifting needed to change body to match to new genetics. It took full ten years of hard research and experimenting, but finally we had it ready: a way to change ordinary human to furry. Furry which could pass all physical and genetical examinations while still keeping its mind and memory from time spent as human. Unfortunately it was one way solution only. It only worked from human to furry, not the opposite. And effect was permanent. Solution itself was a liquid consisting of special retroviruses, nanites and several other hightech products.”
”They tested it on dozens and dozens of humans. As far I know Human First collected some old drunk bums from somewhere and used solution to them. First results were hideous when solution did not work as expected causing all kinds of malformations and problems, but as process was improved it started actually getting really interesting. Part of the process was cell reset. In practise that meant that when genetical change was going on it also reset body cells to selected age. For most tested versions cell age was set to 18 years, but chakat version was problematic: since chakat is much bigger for body mass than human, you cannot set it to adulthood or you get mini chakat which never grows up. So we had to change that one: solution was set so that it reset cell age to six years and made sure that everything was set so that body would start to grow normally after change. In practise it created six years old chakat cub that would start growing in natural way. Solution even created same kinds of wild fur color and markings combos as chakats normally have.”
”While change and genetics were perfect in every way, we started hearing concerns about the project: it started to looks like that there was a problem after all. While mind did not change and all memories were spared by the process there still was something going on as all test subjects seemed to lose all of their antifurry ideals in just few months. We never found out why. Our best guess was that body somehow changes the way you are thinking and since they were now furries they started losing their ideals as Human First. Based on tests mental abilities were not affacted by the change, if anything test subjects were smarter and developed all kinds of mental abilities of various levels. Based on reports even chakat version worked perfectly: all 'cubs' were growing normally and had developed same empathic ability as real chakats plus several others like telepathy and minor telekinesis.”
”When reports finally concluded that all test subjects had failed to keep their Human First ideals, project was called off as failure and buried to database as possible base for some other future projects. It had been perfect success if those mental effects were counted out. As far I know all test subjects were executed as potential threat to Human First and all evidence that it ever existed destroyed with exception of full data in labships database. This was also the project which had caused us to create antidote for all of our viruses: upper management had apparently hoped that they would get spies inside furry inner circle and vaccinate them against all stuff we created.”
”At that point I was already 75 and I knew that I only had few years of lifetime left, so when our previous project was finished I made a suggestion to boss about what next would be. Two weeks later I heard that Human First in control of the ship had unanimously accepted my proposal for it. So started project 'Fucking Furries'. First year went planning where and how to strike to furry system, next four making it reality. After five years of very hard work we had a new virus which we knew would be real killer. When field tests returned we found out that we had hit the jackpot: virus killed pretty much all it targeted. Less than 0.1% of furries getting the infection survived and even them had bad physical problems for the rest of their lives. What was even better is that unless you were checked for viruses specifically, it looked like a death due to natural causes.”
”Virus itself was very nasty: it could infect only furries just as all other viruses we had made before, but what made it really nasty was that infection was virtually impossible to see unless of course you already knew what to look for. You did not get sick or anything. Infected person would start to spread infection only few hours after getting infected which made sure that it spread fast. And the way it killed was very exceptional too. Since I still remembered what had caused the death of my parents I had used it as base for virus: when sexually active infected furry got an orgasm it caused massive stroke and system failure that pretty much killed them all on the spot. Really devious part was that cubs could get infected too, but as they were not sexually active, it did not kill them. They just spread the disease to everyone they met. I even remember how field test was performed based on report they delivered to me: they knew that all kids liked candies and sweets, so they gave few contaminated candies to some cubs in colony they had selected for test. Unfortunately I do not have any ideas where it was as all of that information was very carefully removed from the report. Anyway, those few candies and handful of cubs infected whole colony and caused pretty much all adults to die.”
”As far as I know colony is still there somewhere and full of infected cubs. When they reach sexual maturity they die and if someone finds the colony and 'rescues' kids, they spread the disease everywhere. And yes, we did make the antidote for it even though it was extremely complicated process in that case. Antidote has its problems too: after injection you need to skip sex for next 3 weeks before you are clear, cured and immune. Yes, all viruses made by me we designed not to mutate, so antidotes really gave immunity to them. Other point is that it hits furries, but only those which originate from Terra. Aliens like caitians and rakshans are immune to it by nature. And it does not hit normal animals, only morphs and taurs.”
”I was 80 and knew that my lifetime was almost up. While my mind was still as sharp as ever, my physiique was already starting to fail me and my employer knew that. They suggested that I would enjoy the remaining time of my life back in Terra. I finally agreed. Before I left the ship I copied all important information to data chips without their knowledge. I had decided to see if I could improve some of them before it was too late for me. They moved me to Terra and handed me the information about how to access money I had collected by working for them. They had even paid my share for several medical inventions I had made during those years. Apparently those had been very successful as balance in my account was very, very high. I had lived in the ship all the time and I never had had any chances to spend money so now I had 48 years worth salaries plus interests for them and of course my share from those inventions I mentioned.”
”I still had a feeling that my revenge was not completed and I knew that my age was my biggest problem by far. I also knew that it was too late for any life extending medication in the market, so those were out of the question. So when I thought about it I came into conclusion that I only had one choice left: project Instant Furry. Making a modified version of it for just age reset would have taken too long and it would have been too risky, so I decided to use original version. I was sure that reasons project was canned for were just due to lack of will and since my mind had always been very strong I was sure that I could easily overcome that problem. So I rented a house away from other people and paid a full year worth of rent in cash to landlord to make sure that I had enough time before someone would come to check if I was ok. I also pointed out to him that I wanted full privacy and would call if I needed something.”
”Did you know that black market is very good in here? They have amazing selection of stuff if you just can afford it. Anyway I had no problems getting all the needed medical and other supplies I needed for my project. I made all the preparations and bought months worth of food and drinks to make sure that I would not need to go to city while I would still have problems with my new body. Then I laid down to bed and started the process. I woke up nine days later. Process had worked as expected, but I still had one problem to overcome: chakat has this and that which humans do not have, so next two weeks went trying to get my new body to my full control. I also made sure from the very start that I vaccinated myself against all the viruses we had made including that fucking furries virus.”
”I had selected chakat as my new body for two reasons: they have very long lifespan compared to several other choices and they have mental abilities which could be used to block mindreading. Bad side was of course that I now matched six years old cub. Since you cannot get extra mass from anywhere, you just have to become so much younger chakat that mass is less that your original one. You also lose some mass in change as body needs lots of energy for it. And that was my mistake. I had not even thought that there would be some laws concerning the traveling of small children. When I two weeks later tried to travel to Chakona customs officer blocked my way and you know the rest.”
A moment later cub continued:
”It also turned out that data from project 'Instant Furry' was correct. No matter what I did I could not prevent my opinions slowly changing. It looks like that your body is very important part of your character and a major influence on what and how you think. My antifurry ideals have started slipping more and more and about the best I can do anymore is to be angry to those who caused death of my parents. Not that it helps in any way anymore as based on information I found last of them died of old age few years ago.”
”Data chips I had with me when I was found out contain copy of all important information concerning the research I did in the ship. Complete information about viruses, their antidotes and vaccines. Including the fucking furries virus and its antidote. I can and will decrypt it all for you and I suggest that you move it forward to correct persons as soon as possible. While I cannot prove it I have a strong feeling that Terra will be first place where Human First puts that virus to large scale use. If that happens before every fur has been vaccinated, it means millions of deaths as minimum.”
”So now you know it all” shi concluded and asked ”What happens to me now?”
All adults just looked at the cub unable to answer hir. Information shi had given them had been too much for them to swallow that fast.
Continued in Part 2.
Story © Garjala. For comments and feedback, please email me garjala (at) gmail (dot) com
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