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11-18-753 'Zack'

It's the forty-second year. It's also cold outside. Electric blue eyes flicked to the window, despite the obvious fact it was boarded shut – the word 'Quarantined' was spray-painted on it too, with the easily recognizable red X. Even the Yellows would get that meant to stay the hell away.

"What the hell are you looking at?" a voice intruded, he tried to shake it. But it continued. "-Zack, Seriously. We've got to get out of here." he sighed and turned his eyes to the owner of the voice. Dark hair raggedly cut framed a pale face with a few pale scars criss-crossing over the neon green eyes, she was wearing common clothing, worn jeans and some faded tee-shirt with an unknown logo on it; she narrowed her eyes at him and shook her head.

"Zachariah!" Her voice was impatient, like a disgruntled mother's fairly consistent nagging, "I said come on – we're not even supposed to be here, the GOs will be here soon enough. I said come on!" Zack glared at her for a moment longer then realized she was right. They weren't supposed to be in the city, especially since they had a Plague with them.

"Yes mommy." Zack grinned as he began to untangle himself from the mess of wires they had set up under the building. A number of small cameras, like, really small, so small you had to be Dex to find them. And even then it was only because of the electromagnetic and radio signals they gave off.

As if hearing his thoughts Dex, a short brown haired pre-teen with fiercely intelligent green eyes turned his head to Zack, glaring. Zack held up his hands in surrender, donning a look of innocence with that he finally found himself free of the cables. He lumbered behind Rei who was exiting the small window that led into the basement. With a movement familiar to everyone present Zack fell back from the group pulling off his shirt he threw it casually to Cal – a gangly looking youth, probably around fifteen years old, he wore heavy gloves and had a sad look to him. Cal caught it and smirked,

"What do you want me to do with this?" he asked, tilting his head to the side. Zack shook his head and mirrored his friend's expression.

"Absolutely nothing. It's my favorite shirt, take these, too," he said, stripping to a pair of brightly colored, although, faded boxers. He threw his jeans at Cal who caught them, smiled and stuffed them into a pack that hung haphazardly off his shoulder.

"Dude, Modesty? Heard of it?" Cat laughed with a sidelong glance at Rei. Zack decidedly ignored the comment and continued.

"I don't want to lose them or something, and once I'm a wolfy I can't talk human talk and remind you to bring them." he grinned sheepishly and sat squarely on the ground, Indian style, clamping his eyes shut he began sifting through his mind for the information that was required to change his shape. Cal cringed at the sight, despite the fact it was highly comical to see a five foot eleven teenager with greasy black hair and pale skin sit in nothing but bright pink and green boxers on the cement floor. Cal began to climb out of the window, the others, Dex, Rei, and Kat followed closely. No one liked to see him shift, although he wasn't sure why. It was beautiful.

Upon finding the information and calling it to the front of his mind he could feel the familiar prickling at the base of his spine, he could feel, and hear – maybe, the lovely sound of his bones grinding. Some were shortening, others enlarging. New joints formed awkwardly in his legs, causing him to fall, belly to the ground.

A harsh rip announced the sudden presence of a tail, small chunks of his matted, greasy black hair fell away as fur sprouted and ears realigned, moving to the top of his head and elongating. His eyes changed, color evaporated from his vision, leaving soft tones of blacks and grays, although somehow it was easier to see now. His face shot forward, extending and ending in a black nose that smelt the slight fear of those outside the basement. Kicking aside the shredded boxers Zack, now some type of coyote prodded a box towards the window. Rei found his now animal-mind easily,

Hey Zacky, hurry up. We don't have long. Her mental voice was always softer than her vocal one. Zack didn't feel like replying, for her it was as easy as talking, she was a Mind-Seer anyway. Apparently the Original Board didn't think Shifters needed to communicate while in animal form, Zack thought sourly as he hopped onto the box and out the window. He trotted behind Cal who was fidgeting with his gloves awkwardly. Zack yipped happily, now comfortable with the current situation and began to lengthen his strides.

Us silly humans have to keep up Zacky, don't go too fast Rei reminded for the second time. Zack sighed mentally and slowed his pace, obliging. He let his tongue loll from his mouth, panting and giving a wolfish grin to those who decided to look.

"You know, whenever you look at him like that" Cal began, throwing his hands up in a gesture of exasperation. "-I know you're talking to him! I know you could be insulting me; you could be calling me an idiot. All I can do is make people sick. It's not even like. OH. I touched you! Now you're dead! It's like, oh, I touched you, in a few hours, maybe days, you'll start feeling rotten, then you'll die..." he thought for a moment then grinned foolishly. "But in a way that's worse, isn't it? I mean like...suffering is worse then dying flat out, isn't it?" he was set to continue on another tirade when Dex interrupted, biting his lip as he fiddled with some unknown device, that he had been working on since they left the HQ, in his small hands. He shook his head and threw the device, which looked somewhat like a speaker to Cal. Cal caught it fumbling and almost dropping it.

"What the hell is this?" he demanded, absentmindedly searching the sky for Gliders as he spoke. Most of them did the same, glancing behind them every now and again, it was a habit, and absolutely necessary especially in the city.

"It's a Mental Microphone. MM for short." he smirked at a private joke. "You can put it on Zack, here." he said stopping and stooping, taking the device from Cal and stringing it around Zack's neck with a small bit of wire. It buried itself in his fur as he tried to examine it, ears flicked back as if a growl were on the tip of his tongue.

"Come on – Zacky. Talk to us." Dex grinned, the way he did when he invented something, well, wondrous.

"How am I supposed to…?" Zack stopped in mid-thought. Dex grinned wider yet, giving him the look of a mutilated jack-o-lantern from children's nightmares.

"You thought-speak like you do with Rei. After hearing her in my head last week I figured there ought to be a way to translate those brain-waves into regular sound. To put it simply, the device catches the brain waves you normally send out to a certain person, and translates them into words and codes that humans and computers use to communicate. It then translates those words and codes into audible sound. I'm surprised I didn't think of it earlier." Dex explained eyes flaring as they often did when he explained something like this.

Rei bit her lip and flicked her eyes from Dex to the device which was now all but buried in brownish-gray fur.

"Well! I approve, that leaves a lot of translation out of it." Cal seemed to be smiling. But Rei looked slightly angry. "What's wrong Rei?" Zack asked, trotting up beside her.

"Nothing...I thought I…" she broke off in mid-statement and looked up, large bat-like shapes were circling in lazy spirals, cawing every few seconds.

"Shit! Gliders!" Rei hissed and looked at the others; Cal and Dex were already running. Kat was staring at the sky; her long dirty blond hair was tied back in a fraying ponytail. She looked terrified. Zack grabbed Kat by her pant-leg; she looked down, her face was ashen and her amber bird-like eyes were wide from fear- after another moment of hesitation she nodded and followed the others. Zack soon began to follow, after a moment's hesitation, glancing at the angrily cawing menaces in the sky.

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