The following is an original piece of fiction created for entertainment purposes only.
"You're crazy, you know that," Sam told the man sitting behind the desk in an office that didn't officially exist. After all, their organization didn't officially exist, either. For that matter, neither did he.
"It's no different than any other assignment, you're just going undercover in a different manner than you're used to, is all."
"As a girl," Sam scowled in disdain. "What do you expect me to do as a….."
"The correct term…is female," a stern, gray-haired woman in a white lab-coat drawled as she entered the office. "And I assure you, agent Winters, those of us fortunate enough to be born as one, don't mind it at all. Many of us are even quite efficient at whatever we decide to do in life."
"Touché," Commander Simms smiled wanly as Sam continued to scowl. "The fact is, Samuel, we need a very special….female for this mission. Only we need one with your skills and experience. Since we don't have one, we intend to make one. Out of you."
"Oh, no," he shook his head as he backed away from Franklyn Simms's desk. "I've heard about those neural downloads. I don't intend to end up a vegetable while my brain waves occupy some synthoid for the rest of my life."
"That won't happen, agent," the woman told him as he yelped, recoiling from a syringe jabbed into his side. "You see, we don't employ the neural downloads any more to fashion radical camouflage. Our good friends at the Andorran Embassy finally allowed us access to some of their gengineering secrets."
"What the hell was that," he demanded. "Not any of that alien crap they're always peddling here, is it?" "Actually, it's human DNA. Mostly human, anyway. Your new DNA," the woman smiled smugly. "In about forty minutes, you're going to be a very lovely female."
"A what," he yelled, lifting his fists in a very threatening manner before he staggered abruptly.
"Don't worry," the commander of their division smiled as he leaned back in his chair. "I'll brief you after you're completely changed. That way you won't miss any of the details stressing needlessly.
"Doctor," he nodded.
"Frank, I swear to God, I'm going to….."
Whatever Samuel intended faded into oblivion with his awareness as he dropped at the doctor's feet, out cold before he hit the floor. "Good thing my carpet's thick. He might have really hurt himself," Commander Simms smirked.
"The regeneration would have healed any damage he did to himself," the doctor shrugged. "Or herself."
"You did program the serum to emulate the profile exactly?" "Exactly," the woman nodded. "Our target won't be able to resist her once she's ready."
"Good," Franklyn nodded.
"Black," the seventeen year old girl with a remarkably sensuous body gasped in a lyrical, feminine tone of pure sex. "You made me black?" "Relax," the doctor ordered her, and Sam frowned at her as she stared into the mirror shoved in front of her face after she had finally managed to sit up in bed. The last thing she had expected to see in that glass was a raven-haired caramel beauty that was barely out of puberty. The only thing slightly odd was the elfish ears jutting out from the thick, black hair that fell down from her head to frame her shoulders. "It's all part of the plan?" "What plan," she squeaked, looking down at the thin hospital gown that was filled out in a most unnerving, and unnatural way. At least it was to the part of her that was still remembering her old, male form. And why the hell was she thinking of herself as a female already?
"The gengineering wasn't completely under our control," the matron admitted as she set the mirror aside.
"What do you mean, not completely under control," she demanded fiercely.
"I say under our control. The fact is, your own genetic pattern predetermined a certain degree of your change. We only specified the young female part to fit in with your necessary cover. The black, sultry sex symbol came right out of your own genetic pattern. The alien matrix came from a specified pattern we required. However, the rest was entirely up to…."
Sam blinked in confusion. "Are you telling me….?" "You definitely have one of the proverbial woodpile skeletons in your genetic closet, Agent Winters," the older woman grinned at her.
"Well, that never came up in the holiday arguments at my place, I can damn well assure you of that," she huffed, sounding ridiculous even to her ears. Sam's old gruff manner just did not fit the new voice she had acquired.
"However, you should prepare yourself for the rest of your….alterations. I didn't have time to warn you of the other modifications we required to prepare you for this assignment. Are you calm enough to hear the rest?" "I'm always calm," Sam growled as she wondered why he was strapped down on the bed. Even her arms were strapped down, and she had only been able to sit up when the old doctor had raised her bed, and helped her.
"First of all, your hands. Look at them before I free them. I don't want you hurting yourself, or anyone else in your shock."
"I've only got two fingers," she realized as she flexed the small hands with only three digits on them now. Two long, slender fingers, and a thumb, slightly thicker than normal, and shorter than her fingers.
"What the hell is this," she demanded as one of her wrists was freed.
"In time. In time. I'm only here to acclimate you to your body before you're given the final mission briefing."
"Fine," she glared, raising that oddly shaped hand in front of her eyes. "Get on with it, then."
"Next, you are a fully functional female. Ovaries, womb, the works. So be careful, because you can get pregnant."
"Then give me a contra," she hissed, gaping at the woman as she stared down at her flat stomach in horror as she suddenly envisioned it as swollen as her chest.
"Can't be done."
"Why not," she squeaked, horrified at the thought of ending up pregnant.
"Mission parameters. Now, your feet. Actually," the woman told her with a slight smirk she knew by now was characteristic. "Your hooves," she amended even as she pulled the sheet from Sam's lower limbs.
"What the fuck," she yelled, gaping at the sight of dainty, ebony hooves below her thick ankles. And worse, from her hips down, for that was where the gown ended, she saw her lower body was covered in a dark brown hair-like fur.
"You have a tail, too," the matronly doctor informed her as she glanced at her midsection.
Sam's eyes rounded. "You're….kidding. Tell me you're kidding."
"No. Not at all. We accommodated it by cutting out part of the mattress for you so it wouldn't be bruised, but its there. Think about it, and you should feel it. You should even be able to move it."
"What kind of mission is this," she growled, gasping as she paused for a moment, and actually felt the slight tug of a weight below her, and the soft twitch of something beyond her bottom.
"Not my area. I only prepare you people. I don't brief you."
"Anything else I should know," she glowered as she watched the doctor unstrap her feet, actually her hooves, only then.
"Well, you might want to know that you have four breasts."
"F-Four," she grimaced, staring down at the swell upon her chest, and understanding why it didn't look quite natural only then as she jerked off the sheet to stare at the thin gown barely concealing her new curves. "Four? What happed to human?" "I said mostly human. I just follow the parameters, Agent Winters. Who knows, you might be having fun out of this one. Your body is certainly hot enough."
Sam vaulted from the bed, surprised at her grace and dexterity. "You should be somewhat stronger than your old male self, too," she informed her as she stood experimentally on her hooves for the first time, conscious of the dark tail that dangled behind her sensitive flanks. She jerked off the gown, and stared down in disdain at the four, firm mounds capped by dark circles.
"I look ridiculously," she complained.
"Actually," she told him. "You look like a Malosian Equine."
"A what?" "Read something besides the funnies, Winters," she scowled. "Your clothes are in that closet. Commander Simms is waiting on you, so get dressed, and take off. We're done here."
"Fine. I just hope you can change me back…." "Of course, I can," the woman snorted as she left the room even as he pulled open the closet door.
"Oh, you have got to be kidding," she gaped as she stared at the costume hanging in the closet. There was no way that it could be considered clothing. Not even close.
A special leather halter designed for her four, large tits was fine. But the only other articles on that hanger rod were a very short leather skirt, and what appeared to be some kind of bridle designed for a human head. Her head.
"Cute," she sighed as she pulled the halter in place, finally figuring out how to get her breasts into the surprisingly soft garment. Then he pulled the skirt up, leaving the back hem just below her tail the way it was designed, as it was more thong than real skirt in her opinion, with a little flap of material to cover her crotch. The bridle getup she didn't even bother to try putting on. She just slung it over her shoulder, found a lab coat draped over a chair outside her room, and pulled it on before heading out of the agency's medical lab to the commander's office.
"What the hell did you do to me," she demanded as soon as she shoved Frank's door open and strode in, her hooves clicking softly on the tiled floor.
"Well, well," Frank looked up, his wide smile all male and leering as he eyed Sam. "Dr. Olsen did a fine job on you, didn't she? Those Andorrans weren't kidding about the potency of gengineering." Then the agency commander scowled. "You didn't put your halter on. Let's see it."
Sam held up the odd device. "What is going on?" "Finished getting dressed, and I'll brief you. And take off the lab coat. You look ridiculous."
"Frank…." "Sam, I'm serious. This is a Class A1A mission. Now do what I say."
Sam dropped her outrage. A1A was a direct threat to Earth. An alien threat. With new races being contracted all the time, it was easy to inadvertently insult one of them with, well, alien cultures, and risk potential war with a species that could wipe you out without blinking an eye. Or whatever they used to see. Only how could she help in her current form if it was that serious?
She sighed, shrugged out of the lab coat that gave her a degree of modesty, and felt her cheeks burning as she lifted the bridle, halter thing up and tried to figure it out.
"Not a farm boy, were you, Sam," Frank chortled as he finally rose, and came around the desk to help her put the bridle into place, including shoving the slender, mouthpiece between her jaws. In doing so, it also gagged her, for the bit had a small, round ball in place that kept her tongue flat, and immobile as Frank pulled the harness of the halter up around her cranium to buckle it in place.
"There. Now you look like a Malosian's pet equine."
"Ammm eehh," she mumbled behind her bridle.
"Be quiet, Sam. I'll explain everything," he said as he produced a short leash, clipped it to the lower ring on the halter, and led her around the desk.
"This," he said, pointing to the computer screen showing a smaller figure much like herself without the clothing and halter, "Is a Malosian equine. That's what we call them. You couldn't pronounce the Malosian's word for you. And they consider your species, intelligent as they are, as little more than pets.
"Actually, they have the intelligence equal to a child. One of our children, of course, of about five or six. Bright, curious, but not all that truly capable of more than a communal herd life in the wild, your new body type has been domesticated as pets, labor, or even…intimate companions for the Malosians."
"Nnnn oood," Sam managed to ask, looking horrified by the implications of what she heard.
"No, they don't eat equines. Not sure why, since they don't consider them true sentients. More like our cats and dogs, as an example. Anyway, to the Malosians… Perhaps you have seen one of them," Frank asked as he pressed a key on the computer. The image flickered even as Sam looked down, and the equine was replaced by the image of a huge, scowling Malosian wolven. The humanoid lupine was seven foot tall, tended to be very aggressive, and had one thing uppermost in mind when not eating, was fighting. They fought for conquest, honor, and any other reason they could conjure at the drop of the proverbial hat. They were the most troublesome new race man had encountered since the agency first took over alien contact, and related security issues.
"There are two ambassadors present on Earth at this very moment," he told her. "And here is the problem. "Ambassador S'v'r apparently sent for his, ah, pet, for a little hometown company. Only customs predictably impounded the creature, and no one bothered to notify the agency, or the diplomatic division.
"They also didn't bother to take note of the equine's needs, and inadvertently poisoned the poor thing. So, not wanting to start a fight with the Malosians, who could conceivably kick our collective asses back to the Stone Age if they wanted, we needed to replace the equine, for whom you now stand as a very convincing duplicate.
"This also gives us an edge over the Malosians, as it simultaneously allows us to put a trained agent inside their embassy for the first time since their first contact without fear of discovery. So, that is your mission, Sam. Get close to the ambassador, and find out all they are planning regarding the human race."
"Ohw ah ehorrh," she mouthed, really starting to hate the bridle that gagged her.
"This collar," Frank still somehow understood, holding up a small, leather band. "It's a transceiver that is going to let us see and hear everything you hear and see. It's an Andorran design, so they won't be able to detect the electronics. Once we're convinced we have what we need, we'll arrange to pick you back up.
"Simplicity itself," Frank grinned. "Oh, and you just have to remember, while equines talk, they only speak simplistic words without full sentences. And that's when they are allowed to speak….so," Frank added as he finished snapping the collar in place around her throat. "We also modified the original equines brand."
"Ahnn," she squeaked, trying to withdraw as Frank held her in place with the leash while lifting a small, blunted cylinder.
"Don't worry. It only implants a small ring that pierces your left ear. That's the sign of ownership among the Malosian. Only this brand allows you to hear and understand the Malosian's native language, and to form your replies as a true equine would.
Sam frowned at that as Frank pierced the tip of her left ear with a small, silver ring. It still sounded like a neural chip. And those things were notorious when it came to malfunctions. God knew what it might do if it went on the fritz. And she certainly didn't like anything that was going to be altering her mind. Of course, she realized again, they had already done something because she was already accepting herself as female even as she had woke.
She yelped as the sensitive tip of her left lobe was pierced, and that small, silver ring with a dangling sigil of matching metal was left in her ear. She thought experimentally for a second, but seemed to find no difficulty in still remembering her entire life, and the knowledge and experience of that long life in the agency's service.
"All right. You're ready. I've got a man that's going to deliver you directly to the ambassador, with our apology for keeping you too long. Just play the role of docile, slightly playful equine with your new master, and we'll get all we need from the equipment you're carrying.
"By the way, your new name is Alyce. And don't worry, we'll keep an eye on you. This one should be a cake walk," he said as he buzzed the door, and a man walked into the room to nod at Sam. "Your gear will be doing the actual work this time."
"Commander Simms. I heard you found the equine. Thank God," the obvious bureaucrat whined. "I thought that monstrous wolf was going to devour us when I first told him we couldn't find his silly, little pet."
"Well," Frank smiled, ignoring Sam's wide stare of alarm as her leash was transferred to the pudgy man's hand. "Next time, let us know what is going on, Mr. Allenby, and we can help you circumvent customs without these troublesome delays. That is what we do, after all, ensure our…guests are happy."
The pudgy man just grunted, and turned to all but drag her out of the office after him. He was obviously in a hurry. Sam, with no other choice, trotted after the man's surprisingly swift gait, as he was obviously in a hurry to get to where he was going. Except when they reached the man's transport.
"Oh, hell," he glared at Sam. "I hope you're housetrained, or whatever. I just had my Viper detailed," he bemoaned as he all but shoved Sam into the small, bucket seat of the sleek, sporty hover car before knotting her leash in the dash cup holder. Someone, she decided, was obviously overcompensating as she watched the pudgy, little man rush around the front of the vehicle to climb in behind the command console.
"Just….behave," he wagged a fat finger at her as if she were a naughty puppy. Then he turned to the console, and began to program their destination into the autopilot. "Nine, nine, three Evanshire," he spoke as he tapped in the address of the Malosian embassy. "Engage," he said, pressing a button.
The car didn't move.
"Engage, dammit," he wheezed. "I'm already late."
She couldn't help it. Sam reached out, and unlocked the safety, and then repressed the ignition drive. The car rose smoothly into the air, its computer logging them into the traffic grid even as Allenby gaped at her. She smiled around her bit, and cocked her head coyly, giving him an innocent expression.
"Oh, God, you're a sentient. They didn't tell me you're a sentient. That's a whole other form to fill out. Reports have to be filed. Designations, and permits….."
The man rambled on as Sam leaned back in her seat, careful of her tail, and occasionally pressed the different buttons on the satellite audio system just to harass the man she had decided was an odious little creature obsessed with paperwork. Her least favorite kind of bureaucrat. He gave up yelling at her after the fifth admonishment to stop touching things. "Damned thing probably doesn't even know English," he complained. "Why don't they learn before they come here. Damned immigrants," he muttered as the Viper slowed, and began to descend.
Sam's carefree spirit died the moment she was dragged out of Allenby's transport. Even as the man was tugging at her leash, no less than four, huge Malosians in the royal yellow of the imperial guard appeared at the gate to stride over to them.
"Be wary how you handle our lord's property, hu-mann," the leader intoned in a fierce growl.
Seeing a picture was one thing. Seeing four of the huge creatures up close was quite another. Suddenly Alyce, as she already thought of herself, likely thinks to more of Frank's neural-meddling, felt very anxious as she looked up at the four, menacing creatures who truly were seven foot, bipedal wolves. Right down to their very sharp teeth in their wide jaws.
Operating on instincts she wasn't aware she possessed, she dropped to her knees, turning her head away as she cowered before the four while Allenby mercifully quit jerking on her lash.
"Stand up, little one," one of the creatures coaxed her as he stepped over to kneel before her. "Don't fret. You'll be home soon enough. Meanwhile, come with me. Come," he coaxed, as if addressing a simpleton.
She remembered that true equines were supposed to be a bit simple. She slowly rose, keeping a cautious eye on all four as Allenby babbled something to the leader of the small group. She realized then that she could actually understand the Malosian murmuring to her, gesturing to her without taking her now dangling leash. Later, she would realize that no one had the right to handle her directly except her master without his express permission. Allenby had inadvertently committed a grave insult by dragging her out of the car as he had.
"Lt. F'r'k," another growl sounded in her ears as she turned after entering the side door of the huge townhouse that was the embassy. "What is going on out here now.
"Ah, she has arrived," the silver-furred wolf eyed her as she stepped into the door at just that moment. "A bit scruffy. Didn't they even bathe her?" "I doubt they even knew how to care for her, milord. The hu-mann delivering her was dragging her like a beast."
"Primitive monkeys," the silver wolf snorted. "It is a wonder they survived long enough to reach the stars."
"As you say, my lord."
Sam, now Alyce in her mind, stared up at the silver wolf, and felt a strange affinity to him. Unbidden, the word 'master' rose in her mind, and she walked cautiously over to him, trying to smile.
"Ah, my little Alyce still knows her master even after our long separation, doesn't she," the wolf smiled, reaching down to ruffle the dark hair atop her head. "Have you missed me, my pet? I've certainly missed you," he assured her as he continued to pet her.
Sam had never felt so small and helpless in her entire life until that moment as she shivered beneath the giant lupine's surprisingly gentle touch. She found herself stepping closer to him, sensing that here was protection, odd as it seemed to her rational mind.
"M'lord," a smaller, graying brown wolf appeared just then to bow to the taller silver wolf who was obviously her master after all. "The Terran delegate has arrived."
"Put him in the parlor, and bid him wait, Sir D'a'nt. I've got to tend my Alyce. They treated her abominably, I can see well enough at first glance. She's lost far too much weight," the ambassador grunted as his amber gaze dropped to her chest before moving to assess the rest of her lean frame.
"Likely, the cryo, my lord," the manbeast drawled. "It does….dehydrate one so, as you recall."
"Well, we can fatten her up quickly enough," the ambassador's aide assured him. "I'll just have the kitchen help prepare a fit meal for her, and while she eats we can…."
"I shall see to her meal myself," the ambassador growled in disdain. "The hu-mann staff they have working the kitchens can barely prepare adequate meat for our table. The Maker knows what they would do to poor Alyce's stomachs if left unwatched."
Stomach's? Sam silently echoed the word as he wondered just what he, or rather she had gotten into here. She still knew next to nothing about her new physiology, let alone the actual requirements of her post beyond the general briefing she had been given. In fact, she knew literally nothing more than she was supposed to play the ambassador's adoring pet, and see what she might learn. Nothing specific. Nothing critical at all. Which was very unlike Frank. A deep-seated instinct began to flicker to life, nagging at her as she was led to through the luxuriously decorated townhouse conscripted for the Malosian embassy in the capitol city. She glanced around, her eyes wide and curious as the taller wolven seemed to smile at her interest.
"I know it is different from your kennels at home, little one, but you'll get used to it in no time," she was assured. "And with the Maker's blessing, we'll be going home soon enough," he added with a soft murmur of longing.
Sam wished she could say she didn't plan on being around that long. Her old instincts till nagged at her as she was led to the kitchens where the ambassador, a powerful lord on his world used to giving orders, and seeing them carried out, bullied the harried staff into preparing a completely vegetarian feast for her that began with stiff greens of some kind imported just for her, and ended with a bittersweet kind of barley grain that she had to admit wasn't all that bad. Of course, it might have been the freedom from that dreadful halter and bit that made the food taste all the better. Her only real discomfort came from having the ambassador, her apparent master, sit and watch as she ate every bite, and finally washed it all down with a huge pitcher of spiced water of some kind that wasn't half bad.
"You will prepare Alyce the same meal four times daily henceforth," the Malosian finally told the staff who seemed to be holding their collective breath as Sam finally finished the last of her huge meal she never would have thought she would finish.
Four times? She glanced over at the ambassador, but found she really wasn't that full even after all she had eaten. Not even close. So how many stomachs did she have, she began to wonder. "Come on, little one," the big wolven growled in amusement. "You know better than to try stuffing yourself after a long fast. You can eat again later."
She followed after him, wondering just what her role would be now, and grateful he had not bothered to place that hateful bridle and halter back on her. The immodest garb and collar were bad enough. Enduring that bit had been enough to almost drive her mad.
"Sir James," the tall lupine growled as they entered a large, sunlit room at the end of the hall just then. "Sorry for the delay. Personal matters required my attention," he told the balding man in a gray suit that matched the remaining wisps of his hair, Sam noted as she followed S'v'r into the room. She recognized him at once. He was the Sol Federation's liaison with all life forms for the Federation President.
"My apologies, Lord Silver," he mispronounced her master's name in poor Malosian as he glanced at Alyce. "I am afraid sometimes my people are overzealous in protecting our world from new livestock. They did not realize this creature was your personal pet, or they would have freed her from quarantine sooner."
S'v'r's amber eyes narrowed as he glanced back at Alyce, and then looked back at Anthony James. "I have already registered my formal protest with your masters. I find it difficult even your race can be so inefficient in handling so small a matter."
"Well, our government is not so streamlined as yours. We have many organizations within our system that all run by their own rules, and sometimes they are not always in touch with one another. As, unfortunately, in this case."
"Were I at home, heads would roll for such an affront," Alyce's master growled in a most convincing threat. "As it is, I shall only demand one head. That of the fat fool that dared to put hands on my prized Alyce, and dragged her about in a most irresponsible fashion.
"You can see he bruised her mouth, and I must hold him responsible for the rest of the abuse the poor creature has suffered as well."
"Lord Silver, I can assure you the man will be disciplined…." "I do not require discipline. I require his head. To do anything else would have both my enemies and allies thinking me weak. And I assure you, you do not wish my rivals to be your contact with our home world. Not if you value your freedom, or life," he added meaningfully.
"I….I cannot make this decision," Anthony James whined in what even Sam perceived as a weak manner. "I shall have to contact…."
"Do as you will. But know this, I cannot afford to show weakness before either my allies, or my enemies. Either would have me replaced as lord of Xant, and I assure you, you would not care much for those that might replace me."
"I….I shall confer with the president, and return as soon as I can," the man assured him as S'v'r gave a curt gesture of dismissal.
"Oh, God," Sam/Alyce's sensitive ears picked up as the man murmured grimly on his way out the door where he was met by the ambassador's aide.
"An odd species, my pet," the Malosian sighed as he leaned back on his chair, and shook his shaggy head. "They play at being hesitant to kill, yet slay one another at the slightest provocation. Most peculiar.
"What would you do to that man that mistreated you," he turned and asked her as he smiled at her as he stroked her dark head.
Sam frowned as she looked up at her master, still feeling that odd sense of security and belonging that an alien instinct assured her was proper. Her mind was still quite clear, but she soon realized her ability to form and speak words was definitely limited. Likely the neuro-band Simms had implanted she realized as she felt her lips part as she struggled to speak.
"Make…eat….metal stick," she finally got out as she tried to communicate her earlier distress to him.
S'v'r chuckled as he rubbed her neck in a way that made her shake her head. The sensation was not unpleasant, but it sent peculiar shivers through her entire body. "I sometimes forget you don't care for the halter," he grinned at her. "But I don't blame you for liking the bit even less. A primate's invention for certain. I regret I didn't have your own halter available when I sent for you, and made the mistake of relying on the monkeys for a proper harness.
"They obviously couldn't even groom you properly," he snorted. "Still, that isn't a bad idea, little one," he grinned as he resumed stroking her dark head as if she were just what she pretended to be, a simple pet.
"Yes. A grand idea. It would spare the monkey's supposedly precious blood, and play a fine jest on them, too. A fine jest."
"My lord," Sir D'a'nt returned just then. "The president's envoy just left, and Lt. F'r'k wishes to know how you want the fat monkey executed."
"Tell the lieutenant not to slay him just yet. Instead, strip the fool creature, and put him in the bridle he dared use on my Alyce until such time as I decide otherwise. His limbs are to be bound, too, to prevent its removal, and he is to be kept in one of those dreadful pens these creatures thought to pass off as a kennel."
"You want the hu-mann….harnessed?" "For now. Oh, and I believe I left the bridle in the kitchen. Obnoxious device, it was not even a proper halter."
"I did notice that, my lord. I am sorry, I did try to explain…."
"I have no doubt of that, my old friend," the stately silver lupine smiled as he brushed down the front of his yellow tunic that was emblazoned with the crest of his house. A silver moon crossed by a sword and spear. "They do misinterpret the simplest requests."
"Very well, and do not forget, you have a meeting with the Andorran ambassador in thirty minutes."
Alyce heard the protest in her master's voice as he groaned. "What do those busybodies want now?" "I do not know, my lord. You know how secretive they are when dealing with subordinates."
"Those nosy creatures consider all their subordinates," he grunted back.
"As you say, my lord. Thirty minutes," D'a'nt bowed low before turning to go. "I shall go and inform the lieutenant of your new wishes for the monkey."
Alyce giggled as she suddenly realized Mr. Allenby was about to lose his rumpled suit, trading it in for the very halter and bit he had used to jerk her around. The image of that pudgy, little man in such a state was enough to make her grin.
"What makes you smile, Alyce," he asked her as he glanced down at her after his aid departed.
"Piggy….horse," she giggled again, doing her best to form the words to describe the picture in her mind. Damn Frank and his neuro-links anyway.
"Piggy? Ah, I suppose he is a bit of a pork, that one," S'v'r chuckled. "I sometimes envy your simple views on life, Alyce. I truly do."
Alyce smiled up at him, and found she actually enjoyed being at her master's side. Another side-effect, that part of her that was still Sam wondered. Or was it just a natural instinct of being this creature? She didn't know, and trying to overanalyze it just now would only make her crazy. For now, she just accepted it, and hoped the infernal link didn't make it a permanent part of her mindset.
"Come," S'v'r barked firmly, issuing what was obviously an order as he suddenly turned and loped through the long hall beyond the parlor. "Let's go an run you a bit. I know you must be wanting to stretch those legs by now," he grinned back at her.
She gave a shrill cry of delight that stunned even herself, and raced after him, her tail flying behind her as she gave herself to the game she instinctively recognized. Sir D'a'nt, just returning from his errands, stopped in the hall as he overheard her cries, and sighed. He knew it would be at least several hours before his master would tire of his games with his pet. It seemed the Andorrans would just have to be put on hold after all, like it or not. And he knew they wouldn't.
"Come in," S'v'r nodded as Alyce the next morning as she peered around the door into her master's study.
She smiled at the welcome, and went immediately to his side, dropping to her knees to rest her head on his strong thigh as he pushed his chair back from the desk. "You're a bit disheveled, Alyce," he told her quietly, and she sensed something was wrong from the way he looked at her. Even his touch was not so affectionate as before.
"It occurs to me that we haven't had you properly groomed as yet," he told her as Sir D'a'nt entered just that moment with his usually dour expression well in place.
"You summoned, my lord?" "Yes, old friend. Take my pet to the grooming chambers. Have her properly cleaned for me, and bring her back."
"Yes, my lord," the wolvish creature bowed low.
"And, D'a'nt?" "Yes, my lord," he asked as he crooked a finger in Alyce's direction.
"Return here after she is delivered to the groomsmen. I need to draft a reply to the Andorrans, and I may need your expertise in Andorran diplomacy."
"Of course, my lord," the older lupine nodded this time.
"Go with him, Alyce," she was ordered curtly, and her instincts warred within her as she rose, looking between the two of them.
"Alyce…wrong act," she asked, her wide eyes dark with uncertainty.
"No, my pet," S'v'r assured her. "I am just….distracted. The affairs of state," he assured her. "Now, go and get yourself cleaned up. I shall see you shortly."
She smiled brilliantly at him, and turned to prance over to the old aide who led her from the study. It was strange, she thought, how easily she could become lost in this new body's instincts so easily. It was almost as if she were becoming Alyce. Unlike yesterday, she had no concern over that fact as she found she did enjoy being her master's favored pet. It felt….natural.
Sam woke feeling a bit groggy, but knew she was Sam. The Alyce personality had been subverted again, and yet she could sense it, lurking in the background, waiting to take over again whenever it had the opportunity. The last conscious memory she had was of going to the grooming chamber, where no less than four attendants removed everything she had on, what little there was of it, even her collar and ear ring. They then began to scrub her head to toe, combing out her tangled hair and tail as she felt a growing lethargy sweep over her. Then she was out, until now.
She sat up, finding herself in what looked like a stall of some kind, complete with thick hay covering a metallic floor that sent her skidding back to her bottom, tearing a yelp of pain from her when she landed on her tail. The Sam part of her had forgotten her hooves, and how slippery they could be on smooth surfaces.
Rising with care this time, she stood to explore her environment, and felt a rising trepidation as she realized she was not in the embassy any longer. Judging from the low humming that filled her sensitive ears, and the vibration she felt through her hooves, she was on a starship of some kind, and it was not just orbiting the planet if she could judge from the pulsing vibrations she felt from the floor.
She rushed to the door of the stall-chamber, but it had no interior lock to access. Just a smooth panel that only opened from the outside. She pounded on the door, heard the small sounds echo around her, and guessed the chamber was insulated. This was not good, she realized as she settled back onto the floor in a mound of fresh hay, staring sullenly at the door even as she instinctively allowed for her tail. Not good at all.
She looked around as she sat there, realizing the door was not going to open anytime soon, and noticed there were two small panels near what would be kneeling level for her. Food and water? What about waste? She looked around, noting the hay on the floor, and grimaced. Surely not?
Time passed slowly, and she learned there was food and water in those panels, which opened periodically to allow her to sate her appetite. She also found there was a floor drain in one corner under the hay to recycle her body wastes, so she wouldn't foul her bedding. That was a relief, but it was still a little humiliating as she learned to use it the first time.
It was only after an interminable amount of time that she realized the trip couldn't be too long, because she finally remembered that most long voyages were made in stasis. If she were being kept awake, the journey couldn't be too far, or that dangerous. Could it?
She woke suddenly, realizing that she could sense the lack of humming and vibrations from around her. It had become so much a part of her world, aside from the four, gray walls, and the miraculously fresh hay that never seemed to molder, that when it stopped, she knew it at once. She rose to her feet, glancing at the door that stay closed, and then at the food slots that were open. Not knowing what to expect, she went to the bin and ate greedily from the honeyed grains there before washing it down with long drinks of water she had to lap up with her tongue.
She was sitting in the corner she had adopted as her resting place when the door suddenly slid open without warning, and a familiar face finally presented itself. Sir D'a'nt stepped into the room, holding a halter he made short work of sliding in place over her head before he attached a leash to it, and simply tugged her from the room.
"Am I in trouble," she asked, almost startled by her ease in articulating this time.
"It is not my place to say, little one," the furry xeno replied calmly as he led her down a long corridor filled with Malosian wolven who all seemed intent upon their duty. For not one looked at her.
"What is going on," she dared to ask, realizing she felt the scent of fresh, open air ahead, and that it wasn't the familiar scent of Earth. They were definitely no longer on Earth.
"You are being released."
"Released," she echoed as she was led off the ship to stop and gape at the world around her.
Two full moons hung in the twilight sky overhead, and not one of the stars visible were familiar to her. She looked around the landing port, and realized it consisted of only a small, domed structure, and several other massive starships that were currently present. The rest of the scenery before her was just that. Tall, thick forests seemed to surround her, and there weren't even any fences, or signs to show the way.
"Get that thing out of the way, old man," an impatient warrior demanded as he stomped down the landing ramp behind them.
"My apologies, warrior," the old man nodded in turn as he tugged her out of the way. "It is just I have been away from home for several cycles, and I was quite overcome by the sight and sounds of this paradise."
"You must have been posted in a true pesthole if you think this place is wondrous," a younger Malosian snorted as he passed by them as Sam danced out of his way before he could complain.
"Terra," D'a'nt grimaced.
"By the Maker. That vermin infested mudball," someone spat. "Who'd you anger, old man," the speaker demanded, "To be so cursed."
"I attended Lord S'v'r, who was sent as envoy to the planet," he sighed.
"There are times I am grateful I am a lowly merchant," the speaker drawled.
"We all do what we must," D'a'nt reminded him as he tightened his grip on Sam's leash, leading her away from the ship before he then stripped the halter and leash off once more, leaving her all the more confused.
"Go," the aide ordered her, shooing her from his side as he started to turn away.
"Go….where," she asked, alarmed as she stared around her at the dark world as night fell swiftly around her, turning the moons into small suns in her sensitive vision.
"I was ordered to bring you home," he told her. "I have done so. Now, go."
Sam stared around her, horrified as she realized this was indeed Malos IV, much farther than she would have guessed from Earth, or any help. What had happened? What was she supposed to do? She didn't know.
"What…What I do," she asked, unconsciously lapsing back into Alyce-speak though the compulsion was no longer there.
"Go," D'a'nt spat, and used the halter to swat her backside, sending her loping away from him with a yelp of alarm.
By the time she regained control of her sudden fright, and looked back, the old Malosian was gone, lost in the thinning crowd, and she was standing near the edge of the dark forest. She stared around her, feeling truly frightened and alone for the first time in her life. She looked around, but none of those coming and going from the ship that had brought her here even paid attention to her now. She lifted one hand to her throat, but as she already knew, the collar was still gone. Her ear ring was gone. She had no clothing. Nothing to mark her as anything but just another wild beast on this planet.
What was going on?
And then she heard a low, feral snarl, and she turned in the direction of soft, padding footsteps nearby her in the forest. Ancient instincts rose in her gengineered body, and she bolted in the opposite direction, running as fast and far as she could before her body finally gave way, and she dropped to the ground on hands and knees, panting heavily. Even as she did, she lifted her head, her sensitive ears probing for the slightest sounds as she felt liquid fear still flowing through her very veins as the thick foliage overhead hid the moons from her eyes.
A twig snapped, and she gasped, turning to look that direction as she tensed, ready to flee again. A soft, hushing sound came out of the darkness as four larger shapes surrounded her, and she almost screamed as one reached out to touch her.
"Is fine. Sister safe," an older female shaped like herself assured Sam as the comforting hand touched her shoulder as the female pressed her nose to Sam's, sniffing at her. "Is safe."
"Come swift," another female voice called out. "Hunters near. Come."
"Is safe," the other assured Sam as she was tugged along by the four. "Come now."
She stared around the forest, but heard nothing else. She had no idea where she had ended up, or what she was facing. What she did know was that these were apparently her own kind. Or, at least, Alyce's kind. Knowing they were communal creatures helped decide her as she rose to follow them, giving anxious glances back over her shoulder as she wondered just what was out in those woods that sent such terror through her heart and body at just a sound. So little was known of Malos IV beyond what the Malosians themselves allowed others to learn, and that was next to nothing.
"We've lost her," Vincent Skye spat as he entered Frank's office without preamble. "You said she was being monitored constantly, but we lost her."
"What are you talking about?" "That damned Malosian pet, you ass," Vincent spat. "What did you think I was talking about?" "Which….pet," Frank Simms asked carefully.
Vincent leaned over Simms' desk, his eyes narrowed coldly as he confronted the man. "The one we were holding in quarantine to convince customs, and the rest of those involved she was dead, and we needed a gengineered replacement."
"She…got away," Frank groaned. "How is that possible?" "You tell me. Better yet, you'd better get her back before your man's cover is blown, and we end up with more egg on our face than we did during the Skarzian fiasco."
Frank grimaced. "Sam's a top man. He'll be okay. And he's still in place. We have constant surveillance on his tracking beacon, and holo-cams."
"And the Malosian ambassador doesn't suspect anything?" "Not a thing," Frank assured him. "Or we'd have heard of it by now. But just to be safe, I'll order regular patrols in case that damned animal tries getting to her master. Hell, I thought your people could hold a simple creature like that, Vince. I still can't believe she got out of level three containment."
"I can't either," Vince told him flatly as he straightened up. "That's what has me worried. If someone let her out, or worse…..took her."
"Keep an eye out," Frank nodded. "I'll tip the usual snitches, and see what we can find out."
"Do that. Meanwhile, I'd suggest rotating everyone on this assignment, just in case we have a mole of our own out there."
Frank nodded, not bothering to remind the man that his agency was so covert, few employees even knew the truth of the people they worked for anyway. Most of them thought they were just low-level researchers, secretaries, or diplomatic corps assistants. Only a handful of top agents like Sam Winters knew the truth. And they were culled only after very stringent guidelines were met.
He frowned as Vincent left his office, wondering if an outside agency was responsible. And if so, who, and why. He had to find out. Because if the true equine were revealed, Sam's life could be in danger. And Sam was more than just an agent. He was a friend. He needed answers. And he needed them fast. That left only one source. Tapping on the intercom, he waited for his secretary to respond with an impatient drumming of his nails.
"Yes, sir," the woman replied through the device.
"Get me the secretary of intell stationed with the Andorran envoy, Willa," he ordered her curtly, too distracted to worry about politeness just then. He just hoped his contact within the embassy could help. After all, the Andorran embassy was usually in the middle of everything anymore, and if something were up, they'd know first. Hopefully, they knew nothing of this situation. Hopefully, they could still help him pull this one out of the fire.
Sam grazed anxiously as the young males in the small herd eyed her. For the past month, she had slowly been welcomed into the group, and she had learned much of life among the equines firsthand. She learned huge, feline predators were out in those forests, and were known to pick off the unwary if caught alone. And far from being simple, the equine males could e bright, fierce, and possessive. The stallion leading this small group even carried a long spear, and wore the loincloth of a hunter, as they named the big predators, around his thick flanks. He was still young enough, and strong enough, that none of the other young males would even think of trying to depose him.
Still, that didn't keep them from eyeing the newcomer in their ranks as a potential mate. And she had even sense to release her body was starting to react to their attentions. In fact, every time one lean, gray-white male came near, she felt an unsettling itch grow between her thighs that prompted unwelcome implications. Especially when the big, black male leading them on their nomadic grazing would stomp over to scatter the others when they drew too close.
The gray continued to try to creep up on her, though, and the past few days that nameless itching had grown worse. So much so, she had retreated to the riverbank near where the others were grazing that particular morning to cool herself in the waters along the shore where the current was not too swift. She was just clambering out to shake herself when she realized the gray was there, looking down at her with his broad, flat features stretched in a wide grin as he slowly walked around her.
"Now, O'glat have his own female," the young gray grinned as he stopped behind her, and she gasped as she felt her tail twitch, and rise of its own accord as the liquid heat within her suddenly exploded, and filled her mind with an instinctive awareness that should have been there all along.
The gray ran his powerful hands along her sides as he leaned over her, fitting his swelling shaft that slid out of his tight sheath, and between her spread thighs.
When had she taken that wide stance she wondered even as he thrust deep into her from behind. She lifted her head in her present breeding posture on all fours, and let out a shrieking cry of helpless bliss. Sam Winters completely submerged in Alyce's personality and drives as her hips rose and pushed back at that moment, welcoming her mate as their bodies writhed together as O'glat began filling her womb with his seed from the very first thrust.
In that instant, Samuel Winters, Terran, ceased to be, and Alyce was truly born as her nature overwhelmed the former man's mind to take complete control. Her nature had come full circle, and now all that mattered were the foals she would bear, and raise, continuing her species into the future.
"The Andorrans betrayed us," the older man told Frank as he glanced around, fearful of being seen.
Which was ironic, Frank thought, since they were in a public park at the man's insistence.
"What I'm about to tell you is classified. Whatever you do, however you handle it, they'll know I tipped you once you move. You have to get me off the planet. Away from their reach."
"You know we protect those who help us," Frank told him firmly.
"All right. All right. Just….Just do it fast. Because those blue-skinned bastards can be sneaky.
"They knew all about your equine project, of course. They had their own mole in your medical department. I don't know who, just that it was someone…..innocuous. Easily overlooked. They told their masters all they needed to know to put together your plan for the Malosian ambassador.
"For reasons of their own, they told the furball, and then it really hit the fan.
"The ambassador wanted to kill your man….or whatever….outright. The Andorrans gave them a compromise. They would return the real equine, if he didn't reveal what he knew. In fact, word is, your boy was sent to Malos IV, to live the life of a real equine. By now, he's probably part of some herd, or whatever they are out there," the snitch told Frank as he gestured at the sky.
"Why," Frank spat. "Why would they do this? The Andorrans are smug, arrogant bastards, but they've always been supportive of our species."
"This is where it gets hairy," the man told him after another look around at the casual crowds strolling here and there.
"How hairy?" "You're going to need one hell of a barber," the man grimaced. "You know how big they are on the sanctity of life, and all that."
"Yeah," Frank nodded.
"Well, they can't get past our occasional need to fight. Or the fact we're 'abusing' our own by overpopulation, lack of resources, and all the rest of that environmental psycho-babble you hear more and more of these days. Well, commander, the Andorrans decided to play a trick on us, and gave us certain technology not to help us, but as a means to carry out covert experimentation."
"To what end," he demanded of his snitch.
"They feel that by depopulating the planet, the residual population can then better live in peace, and comfort, once the greater portion of the 'problem' is removed."
"If they value life, how do they….." "You're missing the boat, commander," the snitch cut him off. "Think about it. Your boy got sent off to live as a real equine. And he's not the only one. There are people that have been shipped out to hundreds of different planets after being gengineered into specific life forms with specific target goals.
"If those new life forms can survive, and thrive, it helps recreate viable populations of dwindling species the Andorrans feel need revitalizing, while depopulating our overburdened planet. Got it now?"
"Good God," Frank gasped.
"I don't see a lot of people lining up to go along with their program peacefully, either," the man told him. "So, I can't really tell you how they plan to carry this out on a massive scale. I'm out of the loop on that one. But I do know they are working on something that will take care of the problem. I overheard enough from the Malosian envoy when they met to figure that out. And it's happening soon.
"Another reason I want off this planet, and soon," he told Frank.
"If you're right, the equine we've been monitoring at the embassy is really the original. And my agent is…."
"Playing horsy for real on an alien world."
"Good God," Frank rasped again. "And to think, the president trusted those bastards with helping rebuild our security systems, and data-nets. How can we defend ourselves against someone that knows all about us?"
"You can't. You can only get your butts out of town, and…."
"What is it," the snitch asked anxiously as Frank pulled out the beeping communications device.
He held up a finger to silence the man as he snapped it on, and spoke. "Simms here. What? Is there any news? Nothing? What about sat scans? Well, find out. And fast.
"No, no, don't bother them. We don't want them thinking we can't handle ourselves in a crisis," he said before closing the circuit.
"What is it," the snitch asked again.
"Three of our outer colonies have not been heard from in two days. At first, it was thought to be a communications glitch. But now one of the Jovian colonies has gone quiet, and the nearest satellites show a strange vessel in the vicinity. A massive, unregistered type never encountered before."
"It's them. That must be how they're starting….."
"It still doesn't tell us how they're going to overwhelm whole segments of the population. We're still talking about billions….."
"Perhaps I can assist you in that matter," a soft, lyrical voice asked as both men turned to stare at the angelic, blue-skinned humanoids in golden togas that stood behind them. They hadn't even heard the two xenos approach, and yet there they were.
"Yes," the other told Frank. "We really must thank you personally for allowing us to begin our testing on one of your own. Once it was proven that not only could human tissue be gengineered with no ill effects, but that your brains could be rewired to accept the natural mental activity of the new organism, it was a simple matter to begin spreading the genomes of our target species.
"Regrettably, you learned of our plans too soon, and now you must join those already selected for transport to the ark."
"Ark," Frank had time to say as he heard his snitch's terrified wail as a shimmering curtain of silver surrounded them, and just that quickly, they were inside a huge, gray chamber somewhere else.
"Oh, shit," the snitch wailed as he looked around at dozens upon dozens of alien creatures that milled around them in placid manner. "They got us. I knew it. The bastards got us."
"We're still human," Frank said grimly.
"Not for much longer," the lyrical voice behind him sounded again.
"Damn," he spat as he spun around to find the Andorran behind him again, this time alone.
"The moment you were transported, you were also simultaneously exposed to the new genome that will soon rewrite your inferior DNA. It was considered that with your natural cunning, and deception you would make a fine addition to the Rygillian Sygrat population."
"Sygrat," Frank grimaced, recalling the one image he had seen of the small, mole-like creatures he had once seen. "But they're extinct."
"Not any longer," the alien told Frank as he felt his face growing numb as his entire body began to tingle. "Not thanks to you, and many like you."
Frank wanted to curse as he dropped to his knees, unable to even stand any longer as his limbs reshaped, and his body began to contort as he began to find himself shaped into the semblance of a long dead creature that had been hunted to extinction. For its hide, Frank recalled with his waning intelligence as his smaller, less-developed animal mind began to take over. Beside him, his long time mole in the Andorran embassy was also transmuting. He was becoming a female of the same species. A twist of humor the Andorrans likely felt appropriate under the circumstances.
"Soon," the alien told his counterparts as he returned to the control deck of the great ark that would soon be leaving to reseed planets throughout the galaxy with new life. "The Terran dilemma will be solved, and in doing so, the galaxy will have new chances at evolutionary progress long denied it."
"A fair assessment. With the base population left on the planet, they will cease to war, and turn their drives to survival, and cooperation. Our work will be done here," the other concluded as more and more transmuting humans were transported to the ark as they orbited the planet once they cleared out the colonies.
"What of keystone species on the human world," another asked. "Should we not also keep a segment of the population in reserve to repopulate their numbers?" "That has been discussed, and approved. It was done during the last rotation before the security agencies even became aware of our deceptions," the leader informed the other.
"Then all is well. We are at seventy percent capacity, and transmutations are proceeding apace. We should be prepared to depart in less than two solar rotations."
"Excellent. Send our gratitude to the Malosian ambassador for his cooperation. Inform him that his false pet proved most helpful, and most fertile. She is now bearing two foals, and is an integral part of her herd. His wisdom in treating with us has been repaid."
"I shall inform him of such," the first nodded as the huge ship continued to orbit the planet below, silver flashes in the huge chamber below the control room announcing the periodic arrival of hundreds and thousands of new species soon to be bound for other worlds.
Left behind them, less than five million people globally came together as best they could to try to understand the sudden devastation of their world, and way of life. In some areas, they returned to feudal, simple lives. Alien ambassadors either left, or set up small, private kingdoms with their superior technology to help them hold sway. Other parts of the world created small, sheltered communities that turned inward, refusing to allow any strangers in, lest the tragedy be repeated. The departing Andorrans didn't interfere. They had fulfilled their role. The humans would thrive, or they would not. It was now in destiny's hands.
And halfway across the galaxy, a very pregnant Alyce grazed peacefully, dreaming only of her growing offspring in her womb as she occasionally looked over at her daring mate who had so boldly claimed her right under the lead stallion's nose. Life, she sighed, was good. Very good.