SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

This was such a nice chapter to read! I wish I had your talent for writing!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Harry Johnathan »

Rawton, the master of TMI.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

He's not totally bad, of course. Just written one where he acts quickly to save a life in a smart way. But those sorts of moments are few and far between with him.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Meaning that the next one won't end up happening for a year or so at least then. ;)
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

FOURTEEN

“So,” Pantha asked, setting out the store bought food that had cost her far too much of her own credits, “what did you find in the end?”

Gallen and the youngsters had reappeared a half hour previously, tired and happy after their time in the forest, with Shandy wearing garlands behind her ears and Barnabus with dirtied claws and mud on the back of his neck where someone trying to look angelic had hit him with a mudball. Hastur, for her part, had a few plants in her shirt pocket. She’d claimed it was for the botany department on the ship but Pantha didn’t believe her. The ship didn’t HAVE a botany department. Mind you, a quick check on the padd told her the plant could be refined into a toxin so maybe she shouldn’t ask more questions. They did brighten the place up a bit, though, she supposed. So they were in a small pot on the windowsill right now.

Gallen told of their trip through the forest and their findings and their encounter with the pair of liars in the clearing. “I tracked their path back to where they’d come from,” he stated. “We had to go slow so we could locate any watching eyes and ears so we didn’t come to the crack in the cliff almost until evening. There’s a door in it. With a code lock.” He helped himself to a large forkful of the meat on his plate.

“I saw one of the two from the clearing enter the code,” Barnabus chipped in.

“Ye-es,” Hastur chided. “That was remarkably reckless, Barnabus! We all hid in the bushes after I scented them coming. You hid in the crack!”

“They’d’ve seen me if I tried to get back to the bushes.”

“Only because you were too far forward, boy,” Gallen intoned, fixing him with his eyes. “You got lucky this time. Next time? Don’t take the lead until your squad leader TELLS you to take the lead, got it?”

Barnabus swallowed before he’d even started on his food. “Yessir,” he said quietly.

“You say you saw the code,” Pantha asked, looking to back up her boy and cheer him before she made him shower to get that mud off him.

“Yeah,” Barnabus said, trying to get some enthusiasm going again.

“Good,” Gallen said, trying to turn his steel eye look into a slight twinkle with an incline of his head and slightly changing the line of his lower eyelids. “Could be the key to getting in.”

“Or even the code,” chipped in the mudball thrower.

“What do you think’s in there,” Pantha asked, trying to consider the options in her mind. A few, odd, things weren’t coming fully to mind.

“Could be a precious metals vault,” Gallen observed.

“My money’s on a data vault,” Hastur remarked. “Place like that could store terraquads of information,” she continued. “They’d need to keep it cold, hence the heat extractors.”

“Wouldn’t they need antennae,” Shandy asked.

Hastur shrugged. “Antennae can be made to look like the tallest trees,” she reminded them.


Inside the Kerbal, engineering teams were at work making sure the systems were clean and safe. They’d stepped up the scouring after the Sobrii ‘incident’ that had destroyed several ships after sending a computer virus over corrupted signals. Every incoming communique was being run through the best decontamination suite the receiving ship had to offer but many captains, Savra included, had their people doing extra hardware sweeps to check for defects and things that needed replacing, which was what had Pallik and Dilla trying to pull one of the circuit boards from inside a crawlspace right now. Or, rather, Pallik was trying, with Dilla watching, ready to put the new board in when Pallik succeeded. IF he succeeded. The board seemed rather reluctant to come free right now, which had the Canine with his boots on either side of the panel as he pulled. “It’s… coming,” he called through gritted teeth as the board started to come loose. He relaxed slightly. “I think some sediment’s come down from the piping above and it’s acting like glue.”

“Why are we working hard when the senior staff’s not here,” Dilla asked with a tone of resignation.

“You’re… not,” Pallik replied, straining again. “I am! Whenever the… top officers are… gone, we need to be… prepared to… run on… their return,” he finished as the circuit came free with a ripping sound and he fell backwards with an effect that made Dilla laugh as he landed. “So glad I’m amusing,” he said wryly. “Clean that socket and put the new one in, yeah?” Wincing, he moved sideways so the Quokka could crawl forward and apply the solvent removal spray

“Why me,” she asked.

“If you’re asking why the Captain didn’t sell you back with the rest of your crew, I can’t say. I can say why I’m keeping you with me, though.” She looked him in the eyes, as though trying to judge the truth of his words. “Who would I assign you to,” he asked. “A lot of these people aren’t nice people. The sort who’d assault you in varying ways when they got the chance. Some of the ways wouldn’t leave a physical mark either, y’know?” He gave a slight grin. “And I can’t assign you to the nice ones as they’re already overloaded. So it gets to be me, y’know?”

She gave him a swift, soft, kiss on the cheek before plugging the new circuit in. “What next,” she asked, after checking it worked. No response. She turned to see him sitting open mouthed and slightly glassy eyed. “Oh, c’mon,” she chided, gently slapping him back to life. “That can’t be the first kiss you’ve ever had?”

“Ab, ah… stop slapping me…. First that wasn’t paid for,” he offered.


The little car lay empty in the sidestreet behind the fast food joint as Muta’s driver parked up behind it and the Alpha Female cursed whoever had left it there in her space. She grumbled and ran her claws down the side of the frame to leave her message for all to see before she went in, leaving the driver to his own devices for the few minutes it would take to finish up the paperwork and return with the offer for the pirate. She walked through the silent, empty, place to her office and settled own to… The computer wasn’t working. She tried to get it started several times but there was nothing. Her landline wasn’t working. In a huff, she closed up again and returned to her car, getting into the back. “Home, Yanc…” She stopped as she reasoned the scene in front of her. Her driver was sprawled on the passenger seat, a trail of blood coming from the small hole to the base of his neck. The creature in the driver’s seat obviously wasn’t a Wolf, despite having the chauffeurs hat on. She made to lunge forward but stopped as the door next to her opened and a strong, Celican, arm pulled her out. She wheeled and made to strike him but he caught hare hand midway and headbutted her in the face. “Enough of that,” he growle, gut punching her to drive the wind from her lungs. “You’re mine now.”
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Gonna be really interested in seeing what happens next! I do love a good kidnapping. LOL
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Well, someone had some fun...

FIFTEEN

She growled ineffectually through the rope that they’d used as a gag as she strained at the straps holding her to the seat as Savra looked at her askew from the other side of the car, his hands as free as hers weren’t. “What,” he asked, “you want me to make you less comfortable?” She started trying to work the rope in her mouth, cutting into it with her teeth to wear it through. “Incidentally,” Savra offered as Janus took a right, “the medical equipment was, more or less, a genuine thing. I’m looking to offload. But I have a long standing grievance with your family, Muta.” He leaned in closer. “It requires… redress.”

“He means it,” Janus put in from the driving seat. “It’s not often the Captain lets revenge get in the way of a profit. He must really hate you.”

“Shut up and drive,” Savra warned. He brought a metal bar out into view. “If you don’t stop trying to cut the ropes,” he warned, “I’ll have to make use of this.” He ran his hand along it lovingly. “There’s a drum of chemicals we have, you see,” he explained. “We know it’s
medical but we don’t know what it is.” He looked at her coldly. “You and your brother are going to help us find out.”


Rawton dragged his target across the ground, bound, gagged and bleeding from the wounds the berserker had inflicted when restraining the Wolf, Rawton had needed to spend time patching up some of the knife and bite wounds he’d inflicted on the rather obstreperous Wolf when capturing him. Wounds he hadn’t bothered to patch on the three guards he’d encountered on the way in. They’d find nothing on the feeds as he’d cut them before heading in and cut the feeds inside, along with the throat of the Canine that had been watching one. He considered that the charge for the poor job the Canine had done. He should, surely, have seen things were wrong with the cameras? Sloppy. It cheapened the challenge, somewhat. Which might be why he’d bitten the targets leg, right down to the bone. Wolf didn’t taste like Chicken.

A light snapped on in the darkness. “Freeze,” the voice said from the darkness.

“You’re making a mistake,” Rawton stated.

“Shut up.”

“I’m trying to help you,” the gore spattered Tortoiseshell Lappinean stated as the light moved closer.

“Hands up!”

“Of course,” Rawton stated, dropping Mati behind him as he raised his hands in a forward arc. He flicked his wrists up and a knife flew from his sleeve, straight towards the light as he twisted sideways to avoid the beam of bright energy that sped over his shoulder, telling all and sundry exactly where he was. He only had minutes. As he leapt towards the smell of blood behind the light he considered he only needed one. He was right.


Gallen and Pantha watched the crack in the cliff through the night vision capabilities of their stealth suits. There had been no movement to or from the crevice since they’d got there and both the privateers knew they were going to have to try something. Pantha, based on the descriptions Barnabus had given her of the camera drones, had stated she reckoned she could freeze the image on them but she wasn’t completely certain. Now, though, he reckoned it was their best chance. “Come on,” he said, leaning over to give her a kiss on the mouth. He held it for a minute whilst they both enjoyed the passion. “We’d better see what you can do.”

“Part of it,” Pantha reminded him. “The other part’s private view only.” She slipped into the darkness, visible only to him as the suit kept her body heat hidden as she slipped into the area. Gallen kept watch outside until she bade him approach. She was busy getting down from where she’d just adjusted the camera that would have been facing him. “Nothing I could do to stop it seeing me,” she explained, nodding to the frozen camera behind him. “Had to freeze that one first.”

“So we could be about to have company,” Gallen griped. “Should get a move on, then.” He tapped in the code Barnabus had given them and sniffed as the door opened a crack. No-one coming, he thought. “You’re the rescue,” he told Pantha, almost gallantly.

“Like you’d know what you’re looking at,” she chided quietly, stopping him from closing the door behind him until she’d gotten through.

“I I was mainly thinking you could open it when I wanted out,” Gallen complained as the door shut and locked again.

“Oops,” Pantha cringed as they heard the sounds of feet.

“Never mind,” Gallen replied, drawing a shok-stick and running towards the boots as Pantha shucked her claws and followed.


Savra leaned on the shuttle as Muta raged inside, where he could dee her. In the distance, the other rented vehicle bounced into view, headlamps shining into the upper trees for a second before crashing down again and probably ruining the chance of getting the deposit back from the sound of the metalwork. The Rabbit skidded to a halt and stopped a few feet from the shuttle. “Sorry, boss,” he explained. “Hate night driving.” He bounced out of the car and made his way to the back door, where he opened it to pull the half alive Wolven out. “He resisted,” Rawton stated. “So did I.”

Savra found he couldn’t complain. After all, he’d only told Rawton to bring him in alive, hadn’t he? After checking the pulse was still strong – or there, at least – Savra grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him over his shoulder, letting the blood stain his shirt as he stepped into the shuttle and unceremoniously dumped him into one of the seats. He enjoyed watching Muta’s eyes widen as she saw the state of him, all cuts and bites, including the flesh hanging loose from his cheek, where Rawton had worked to tear a lump free, only failing by a flap. It put her broken muzzlefront to shame. It almost brought her to tears although she’d remain strong. Resolute. Savra thought she’d be planning her revenge on him. Perhaps he’d have to kill her, rather than let her go after Virrik had done whatever she was planning to do with them.

Rawton stepped in and sat next to her. “Don’t mind if I take this seat, do ya,” he giggled, making to strap himself in.

“Take a different seat, Rawton,” Savra told him. Rawton sighed and shifted as Savra sat opposite her. He locked his gaze on her eyes, his scar twitching. “I know you were involved,” he told her. “At least after the event. Which HE carried out. I don’t hate you as much as I hate him. As much as I hate your father. But, if you try to stand in my way, I will cripple you.”


The shuttle arrived on the Kerbal and Savra injected both of the captives with a powerful anaesthetic to put them out for Virrik’s mercies.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Its always a good idea to have fun with things! Even if they are horribly illegal! Nice chapter!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Harry Johnathan »

Man, Savra wasn’t even this nasty with the child killer or the whole ship he hi-jacked 2 stories back, he must really hate these wolves’ guts, lol.
Pray for those who have fallen away, to be brought back to God. To their loss they are crucifying the Son all over again and mocking him.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Hs standards only apply to the people he hates. If you are just a mild annoyance then MAYBE you will get by with just being bodily injured by him. LOL
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

SIXTEEN


Gallen held his head. He reckoned the guards had done some damage there and wanted to make sure his ears hadn’t fallen off as Pantha worked on stopping the computer they’d found from erasing its files. He hurt all over, the victim of numerous kicks, punches, blows and shots and one of the few things keeping him upright now was the fact he wasn’t going to pass out before Pantha. It wasn’t an ego thing. He wasn’t leaving her here if she passed out from her wounds. He’d have to carry her out, wouldn’t he? Neither could guarantee that the five here hadn’t called for assistance before they’d been put down. He’d pulled the survivors in after him and stripped them bare of clothing and weapons to bind Pantha’s wounds before his own and to add to his weapon collection before trussing them up. One of the bandages, now wet and red, had been a designer shirt, he figured. It certainly felt like silk anyhow. Who were these people, he wondered. Who did they work for? He had a mind that, if his mate was successful or not, he was going to take one of these – probably the Mican – for enhanced ‘interrogation’ back at the cabin. Hastur would like that, he figured. “Kurmak would have stopped the purge by now,” he muttered, immediately wishing he hadn’t.

“Kurmak ain’t here,” Pantha growled back. “I’m not as good? You wanna try?”

“Absolutely not, love,” Gallen said, holding his hands up. “Kurmak would have died in the fight and I’d still be here next week!”

She allowed him a tight smirk. “Might lock you in,” she goaded. “Got it, by the way. Lost about thirty two percent but we have sixty-eight percent of the information stored here…” She blew out a breath. “And it’s a good few terraquads of stuff! Seems Has…” She paused as Gallen held up a hand. She watched him cross to the captured opposition and punch an ‘unconscious’ Canine in the side of the head until he slumped sideways. He took in a breath. His head, Pantha thought, might still be spinning but there was nothing wrong with his nose as he sniffed for the signs of fear. “All out,” she asked. He nodded. “Good. Was going to say Hastur was right. Why’d you punch him out?”

“Kurmak doesn’t care about people knowing his name. Hastur does. She might still go straight.”

Pantha snorted a laugh. “Only if it’s into the military,” she said. “It’s what she knows.” She shrugged. “Love her for it, of course.” She tapped the console. “Now, what do we do with this?”

“Find…” Gallen found he had to sit down for a moment. “Find out how to send, then we send to the ship. Kurmak can tell us what to do.”

“Right,” Pantha stated, before getting a medical pack to deal with Gallen first.


With the Captain back on the ship but not on the bridge, Merran had decided she was still on charge on the bridge and had to remind herself she was still the main communications officer as the call came through from somewhere on the surface. The Mican responded, turning on the main speakers as she wasn’t at her console. The signal was full of interference as there was no clear line between them but she could work out everything Pantha said, despite her accent. “You’ve found what,” Merran asked, tapping the rubbishy console to keep things clear. In the end she gave up and moved to her own console to do the job properly.

<”..’s a data ce.ter,”> Pantha said, through the static. <”w...eed Kur..ks’ help to u.load it.”>

“Right,” Merran said, twitching her tail with irritation as she moved to the console usually used by Barnabus. “Hold on.” She tapped the personal comm button. “Bridge to Kurmak.”

<”Kurmak here, Merran. What do you want?”>

“You. Up here. Immediate,” She declared. “Pantha needs assistance.”

<”On way. Out.”>

Merran moved back to the other console and informed the powerful Feline that Kurmak was on his way up and would be here in a minute. Then she announced she needed to inform the Captain.


Virrik tutted as she looked over the two unconscious Wolven on the tables. She’d stripped them of their clothes and walked around to Savra. She tapped a scalpel on her claws before using it to open up a deep line on Muta’s leg, letting it bleed for a moment. “Well,” she explained, “Rawton returned his captive in the best condition for experimentation. You went soft on her because she’s female.”

“I did NOT,” Savra growled, the snarl reaching his teeth and eyes, screwing them up into something horribly handsome. “I used what force I needed.”

“Fair enough,” Virrik stated, extracting some of the goop from the container in a large syringe. “Also just a little chivalrous. From what I can tell, this acts as a bonding agent, speeding the healing of wounds. But I can’t think why they’d be smuggling it. It all seems legit. So I’m going to insert it into all the cuts.” She put the syringe down next to Muta’s tail so she could rub her hands together. “I can’t wait to see what happens.”

“Aren’t you going to sterilize the wounds?”

She shrugged. “Why bother? Her wounds are sterile as I used a clean scalpel to do it. His wounds aren’t. Best chance of getting two reactions.” She proceeded to inject the area she’d just slashed. Then she changed the needle and turned to Mati. “Your turn, Handsome,” she told the silent figure before injecting his wounds, one at a time.

<”Bridge to Captain,”> Merran’s voice said.


As Savra got back to the bridge, Kurmak was telling the ground team how to arrange an upload of information to the ship. “We need to launch the shuttle,” Merran told him, making him look sharply at her. She quailed under his gaze for a second but regained her composure. “We need a clean signal, Captain. We can’t shift so we need the shuttle to relay the signal to us.”

“Do it,” Savra said sharply.

Merran stepped over to her console and got on to ordering Janus to proceed. She luxuriated in the ordering, knowing it would irritate the younger Celican. It always did. Behind her she could hear Kurmak instructing Pantha on how to wait for his next order.


Pantha waited with bated breath for the next signal and fretted over Gallen at the same time. She was OK with first aid but it was Hastur who had the unofficial Field Medic assignation. She needed her here. A voice spoke behind her. “The Clan’s gonna kill you, you know that?”

“Foreknowledge is always a guess,” she hissed, not turning around. “And they may be in no state to have a go.”

The voice chuckled. “Don’t you believe it.”

She didn’t.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I am amazed at how you manage to churn out fanfiction after fanfiction that is such high quality! Nice work!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Harry Johnathan »

This isn’t a fanfiction , Dayzee.
Pray for those who have fallen away, to be brought back to God. To their loss they are crucifying the Son all over again and mocking him.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Sorry about that then. I am just so used to calling all stories fanfiction. Even ones that have their own original characters. Its just a reflex.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Virrik can read the signs...

SEVENTEEN

Two in the morning and everyone in the cabin was awake. It was a mix of things including the fact they’d all had some sort of nap earlier and there were things to do that included board games, Vidshows and eating but that wasn’t the main reason for insomnia. There was an op going on that they weren’t involved with. For Hastur, that never encouraged good sleep and it was no different now, even with two other insomniacs to look after. So she’d been playing a board game with Shandy for about half an hour before she realised Barnabus wasn’t with them. She made sure all the doors and windows were closed and locked before looking around for him. Shandy, dobbing him in, indicated the bathroom and she walked in on him, half asleep, in the bath. “Should I have knocked,” she asked wryly as he reacted, covering up what was already covered by foam anyhow. She crouched down by the side of the tub. “You got nothing I’ve not seen before, Barny,” she added affectionately. “First time in one of these,” Hastur guessed. It was a pretty reasonable guess, given how the bath wasn’t a common thing on cargo ships or Privateer vessels.

“Yeah,” Barnabus replied, almost sighing through the words. “Shandy told me it’s a good way to relax so I figured I’d give it a go.”

“It working,” Hastur asked curiously. In truth, she’d only used a tub a handful of times herself. She dipped a finger in the water. “You got the temperature right?”

Barnabus shifted himself backwards so more of his chest was visible, the fur sticking close to his skin and showing off a few lines that told of better toning than he’d had when he’d joined the ship. “Well,” he stated with amusement, “I WAS relaxing quite well, then my sis walked in on me…”

Hastur laughed, leaned over and kissed his cheek gently. “Don’t fall asleep in there, Bro.” She stood up. “And clean it up after you get out? I might try it too.”

Barnabus kissed her back and wrapped his dripping wet arms around her shoulders in a wet hug. “Gotcha,” he chuckled before releasing her and half descending below the surface again.


Hastur stepped back into the main room, where Shandy was loading up a horror vid to watch. “I take it you helped him run the bath,” she asked, tickling the girl as the film started.

“Eh,” Shandy replied after stopping laughing. She shrugged and glanced slyly at the Dober. “It’s not like he’s got anything I’ve not seen before, is it?”

Hastur looked at her sternly. “You better not… Oh, you mean in the asteroid, yeah?”

“One of my places had a hole directly above a bathroom,” the waif reminded her before cuddling in. “Better than a vid in some ways,” she finished, before the film started. A few minutes in, Hastur worked out the girl was asleep.


Janus hung in space, protected by the shell of the shuttle as he plotted revenge on Merran for ordering him around the way she had. Didn’t she know he was a genius and far more important than she was, being that she was, essentially, just a receptionist? He thought about driving her out to the middle of nowhere and chucking her out of the vehicle. It had its appeal, more so than splaying her innards over the floor. That thought, he considered, disturbed him a bit. Not half so much as the dumping her fantasy, which had ended with him going back to get her. He wasn’t interested in that Mican, was he? Was he?

To distract himself, he checked on the relay set up. It was still all go, wasn’t it? Whatever Gallen and Pantha had found had been uploading and downloading for twenty minutes now.


“I think it’s a clan’s entire knowledge repository, Captain,” Kurmak said, his tail twitching in nervous excitement.”

Suddenly Savra was over his shoulder, looking intently at the read out as it spun past, all facts and figures that his scientist could work better than him. “Which clan,” he asked sharply. With all the recent internecine actions between the clans, which had almost led to civil war, he couldn’t afford to steal from certain clans and probably shouldn’t resist stealing from certain others, especially if it tipped things back into balance. Of course, the clan they’d attacked wouldn’t take kindly to it so it was also useful to know their capabilities…

“I have no idea. I’ll need to go through all this. And I don’t think we’re anywhere near halfway through all this.”

<”I’m really thinking we need to go from here,”> Pantha put in from the cave. <”Gallen needs the field medic and chummy the guard keeps telling us that someone’s going to kill us for this. Figure they have people on planet.”>

“You still need them there,” Savra asked Kurmak.

He shrugged. “Not if the upload continues.”

“Right,” Savra commanded. “You two get out of there. Make sure any still alive can’t interrupt the signal first, though.”

Pantha agreed and hung up.


She got Gallen up and he helped her check the bonds were tight on the guards before hauling the clothes free Mican up with effort, stunning her with a palm strike and handing her to Pantha to carry. “Interrogation,” he said simply, before leading his mate out on the less than complex route out. Just follow the trails of blood. They returned to the outside and started back for the cabin before Pantha took Gallen’s arm. “No, no,” she said, the Mican draped over her shoulder, “we need to go downwind a bit. So anyone after us can’t do it by scent alone.”

Gallen nodded. It was true. And they’d likely come from the road side so… He moved away from the direction of hole to compensate.


Virrik tapped her teeth as she watched her current patients help her with her studies. She was almost fascinated by how they twitched and jerked, even though they were out cold. This new medication was thrilling to watch. Hypnotic, even. It had healed their actual wounds in almost half the time of the standard medications. The female’s cut leg was almost as good as new already, the skin glistening and already beginning to regrow the fur. The busted muzzle she’d gotten from Savra had reattached the sinews and ceased the trickle of blood from the nasal cavities with such efficiency she could think of a few surgeons she’d like to see out of business who’d love this thing to be undiscovered. She’d wake up in perfect health.


It was the other one she wasn’t sure about. The male. The gel had sealed all his wounds, yes. But she could see from the way he was jerking wildly, baring his teeth with only the steel rod saving his tongue, convulsing and thrashing, that something else was going on here...
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Virrik might be able to but if Virrik doesn't ACT on them would it really matter? These are the big questions somebody has to ask.

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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

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EIGHTEEN

They suspected the back up had arrived, a theory added to by the sound of a car door closing carrying in the black. It sounded over a mile away but Gallen couldn’t be sure. It could be a bit further or nearer but they’d called it right on where they’d be coming from. With the night vision goggles out of play he was having to keep close to his mate, who was using her inbuilt night vision to find her way through the obsidian night, using the pinpricks of distant stars and street lights for guidance. The Mican over her shoulder wasn’t helping matters much, moaning slightly as she started to come around again. Gallen decided to act before she came around fully and took one of his bandages off to act as a gag. It was slick with his own blood as he opened her mouth and shoved it in, keeping her teeth apart before tying it around the back of her head. His blood dripped from her mouth as he held the just stopped wound together. Pantha sniffed the air. “You’re adding to the scent,” she complained quietly, wincing at her own wounds.

“She’d be louder,” Gallen advised her, keeping his own voice down as they moved carefully through the forest. “But not so smelly, I suppose,” he admitted.

“Want to go through the river?”

“Best not. Probably has predatory fish in it.”

Pantha led on towards home base.


Muta’s brain started to swim, bringing nausea and spinning tops into her brain as she tried to work out what she’d drunk or done and who she was and where she was and when it was and why she could feel the wind on her groin and why her eyes were crusted over and needed an effort to open. She hazily remembered Savra and his head connecting with her muzzle and, whilst cracking an eye open, put a hand to her face to check the damage. Her hands were free. Interesting. Wait… She sniffed and felt the tip of her muzzle. She remembered it splitting but… It was like nothing had happened? That made no… Her scar. The one on her chest that Mati had given her when they were both cubs? It was gone. No puckered line on her skin. It was good but she’d lived with it for decades and now it was a friend she didn’t have. This made no sense. And her eyes weren’t in focus quite yet. Things were coming back in, though. Blurry things that watered at the edges. Bright lights with lined things that started to clear up into bars that stretched from the roof to the floor. A cell, she reckoned, I’m in a cell. And that figure behind them. It looked a lot like the monster Celican she was holding responsible for this. It was him. “Why am I naked,” she demanded.

“Because I didn’t want anyone to touch you,” Savra grumped. He’d give her clothes when he considered she’d agreed to enough. “There’s things we need to talk of.”

“I’ll say nothing until I see my brother.”

“You’ll see him after,” Savra promised. “You have my word on that. We need to talk of this new chemical and it’s applications.”


Dilla sat in her tiny cabin and thought on the things that had led her here. It was hard for her to fall asleep at normal hours due to her nocturnal nature that she’d somehow never adapted to life in space. She fancied herself miserable, with the growing credit balance in her account being no recompense for the conditions in which she was living. She lay back on her thin mattress and wrapped her tail to cover her pouch and wondered if she’d ever have a Joey to fill that. Her parents would be mortified if she didn’t have any, like her twelve brothers and sisters but it didn’t seem likely out here, did it? She sighed and took a long drink of water to cheer herself up. She didn’t know why but she wasn’t feeling as miserable as usual these last few days. She rubbed her neck, her coarse fur underneath her toughened pads. Perhaps it was to do with getting that heavy collar off? It had been a relief, that was true. Her shoulders still felt the weight, more than her neck felt the implant. She sighed again and pulled the thin sheets over her body. She had to get her rest, didn’t she? She had work tomorrow. Well, today really. Perhaps Pallik would have her working with him again. She hoped so. Of all the creatures she’d met here, he was the one she liked the most. Some had never shouted at her, exposing her nerves and lack of courage, some had never leered at her or made her fret for her safety and some had even made her smile once or twice but only Pallik had filled all three boxes. She wondered why and came up with the fact that he’d been like her once, abducted and forced to adapt and knew what she was going through. Also, she figured, there was the possibility he was looking to ‘fill her pouch’ as her types often put it. Putting her hands behind her head, she breathed deeply. He was going about it the way she appreciated. If he kept going that way, she’d be happy to let him try. In time, of course. When she was more sure of things. If she got happier.

It being dark with the lights off, she didn’t see the smile on her face, which she always wore due to genetics, was a little more real right now.


Savra stepped a little closer to the cell and took the chair he’d left in the room for this exact reason. He showed her the picture the surveillance system had taken of her leg after making sure Virrik was cropped from the image. He let her see the blood. “My Doctor wanted you more injured than you were,” he told her as she impulsively put her hand to where the wound wasn’t. “In addition to the fertility drug,” Savra explained, “which I still want to sell, by the way, we found a chemical that wasn’t on the manifest. The Lappineans were smuggling it out here for some reason. I wanted to know why so, after my Doctor told me it was some sort of medical bonding agent, designed to heal wounds, I decided it needed to be tested.”

“Why me?” Muta corrected herself. “Why US? Where is my brother?”

Savra held up a hand. “In my time,” he told her. “Or never,” he added, seeing her about to speak. “You once killed someone you couldn’t know was close to me. Not even sure they knew. But I think your father did at the time. That’s why you two. Revenge. And it’s why you’re going to help me, Muta. We’ve found a data centre hidden on your turf. One of the clans is operating there under your nose. I doubt it’s the one supposed to be there. The one you work for. That and this at the same time, in the same place, right now? That’s a threat to everyone, including you. And now we have this. Something that can cure wounds within minutes, even those decades old. Impressive physique, by the way.” He nodded to her middle section.

“Thank you, I suppose,” she growled. “You and I will have a reckoning,” she threatened, flexing her claws and baring her teeth. “But, if what you say is true, I’ll work with you to end the threat to my company.”

“I’ll have some coveralls brought in,” Savra stated. “Then my science officer will bring some of the files down for you.” He started to walk out.

“And my brother,” she asked desperately.

“AFTER you agree, Muta. Not before.”


Virrik was working late night for the moment, taking a great interest in her remaining subject. She’d turned him over onto his face, shortly after the Female had been taken out. He’d begun frothing at the mouth and that had continued despite her mopping so, whilst the machines had kept up their monitoring, she’d worked to save his life by re-inserting a metal bar between his teeth and tying it tight around his head to stop him biting his own tongue off. She’d inserted a tube to help with suction and tied him down to try and assist with the thrashing. She’d gone to administer another anaesthetic but the readings had convinced her there was no need. Whatever was happening, according to the readouts, was excruciatingly painful but the concoction was releasing endorphins and painkillers to compensate for everything that was happening to him. She pulled up the latest internal scans to examine them. There was something happening visually, she reasoned, so she needed to check things to verify she wasn’t going mad. Madder than usual, she corrected with a tight grin. If she were to believe her eyes, there were black streaks forming on his red fur, around the chest and lining his back. She thought his tail had shifted slightly too.


And the readings told her what was happening. It seemed impossible.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

This was a very interesting chapter you posted! Can't wait to see where everything goes from here!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

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Welsh Halfwit wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 11:41 am It being dark with the lights off, she didn’t see the smile on her face, which she always wore due to genetics, was a little more real right now.
Well that’s not a terrifying image at all!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Harry Johnathan wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 10:58 pm
Welsh Halfwit wrote: Sun Jan 22, 2023 11:41 am It being dark with the lights off, she didn’t see the smile on her face, which she always wore due to genetics, was a little more real right now.
Well that’s not a terrifying image at all!
It's why Quokka's are called 'The happiest animals on Earth'. They always look like they're smiling.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

It's a heck of a gel...

NINETEEN

A half mile, Pantha reckoned. That was how far they were from the home path. She couldn’t quite smell their own scent trails from here but she was pretty sure of the turn of the river they were currently wading through. It was helping mask their trail but, frankly, the cold wasn’t doing much for her mood. Gallen was moving slower now, weighed down by his wounds more than she was by the Mican. She was having to move slower too. She had his hand in hers, gripping the slippery pads as he couldn’t see like she could in the pitch of night. She shushed Gallen as she saw a tent pitched by the riverside. There was a dull glow coming from it, indicating someone was inside and still awake. She whispered to Gallen, her voice ethereal above the running water, to warn him of the nearby fisherperson and the likelihood of lines. The moved towards the other bank and waded softly and quietly past a potential witness. She could pick out the pinpricks of distant lights well away on the route they come from. Someone was certainly looking for them. Well, for two of them anyhow. They probably didn’t know about the Mican. The figure began to struggle and Gallen smacked her head again to stop her. It had enough force, Pantha felt. This one would probably have concussion, she thought. The figure inside the tent moved and the group froze. He might have sound equipment in there. He might have heard the muffled oomph the captive had made when struck. He might… be turning the light out. The tent went dark and the pair moved on to land on the right side of the river some hundred yards further down. Pantha helped Gallen up the bank. He almost slipped back in but her strength managed to help him up. There, she thought, sniffing the air. There was the trace of her scent. Tracking herself was hard, she thought. But it was all they had right now…


“Are you being serious,” Savra asked Virrik, checking despite the fact the evidence of his own eyes lay on the bed before him. The previously Wolven features of the male were gone, replaced by… Something else. He was still out cold but… He lay there, long ears above his head but at a forty five degree angle to the rest of his skull. The entire skeletal structure of the head was changing as he watched, skin and fur rippling backwards and outwards and inwards and outwards. The muzzle was shortening and the front pairs of teeth were lengthening but keeping their pointed nature as his chest arced in a way that alarmed the Captain, although he’d never say so. The arch meant he could see the shortening tail that was keeping its grey and black colouration for the most part but growing a white tip.

“As you can see,” Virrik said with some enthusiasm, “I am.” She turned on the scanners so he could examine them. “What’s really interesting is the fact the pain of this should have killed him long ago, especially when it reconstructed his internal organs… Oh, yes,” she added, pointing out the heart that no longer resembled a Wolven heart nor, indeed, a Lappinean. It looked like something in between. “It’s subduing the pain somehow. Releasing endorphins and natural pain killers as it goes. His white blood platelets, if you want to put it this way, are becoming the platelets of the infection, carrying it throughout the blood.” She tapped his private parts with a pointer. “He might not complain about that,” she added. “It’s grown bigger. At least comparatively.”

“It’s turning him into a hybrid,” Savra stated with awe in his eye and tone. He leaned on the side table. “This raises a lot of questions.”

Virrik grinned. “Doesn’t it just?”


Muta and Kurmak finished going through the listings of known fences who might be able to shift unknown dangerous chemicals and medical supplies around the colony and started looking through the records that were still being relaid from the surface as Savra headed down from the medical bay. “Yeah,” she told him, “this is beginning to look like the Dewless Clan.” She put a hand to her chin. “They’re not supposed to be anywhere near this sector, Cat. Persimma’s their territory. If they’re found to be working here the Daklia Clan could go to war. They don’t like trespassers.”

Kurmak scowled. “I remember,” he confessed, thinking of the agent of the Simna clan they’d left splayed out in the deserts to the south for all to see. Just to make sure all DID see, they’d released the photographs on the vid systems first on the ‘nice’ basis on letting them know where to find him. Of course, the gesture was hollow. Rather like the agent, by the time they’d found him. Six other members of the clan – unconfirmed – had died that same week before things calmed down.

Muta had her own thoughts on that action. She and Mati had helped in that action, supplying information and muscle. Partly it had been for the ‘in’ it provided them with the clan and, partially, it had been for the sheer joy of bloodletting. She shook her head to drag herself from the happy memories and into the world where she was wearing the coveralls of someone who was probably dead. She didn’t hate them. They did their job, much like her less favoured goons. They had no class or style but covered what they needed to. Plus she could honestly say she’d worn this sort of stuff now. She always thought a persona lying was a weakness that could be sniffed out and endanger her. Now she could honestly say she’d worn it. Was she repeating her own thoughts? That wasn’t a good sign. She was still thinking of Mati. She needed to know. She WANTED to know. She needed to distract herself and. She gripped Kurmak and kissed him savagely to think of anything else. She smirked slightly, bringing a tad of lightness to her heart, as she saw the absolute panic in his eyes and the shuddering knees before he visibly stopped windmilling his arms and, tentatively, put his hands on her arms and kissed her back, rasping his tongue over hers as hers examined the back of his throat. “Thanks,” she told him after letting go.

“Uh,” Kurmak said, brain fogged as she stepped away.

“Made me stop thinking about things for a few seconds.” She adjusted her head fur, giving the Science Officer a toothy half smile with a glint of the eye. “Maybe you can help me for a few hours later?”


Kurmak didn’t get a chance to reply as the door opened and Savra stepped in. “Kurmak,” he stated, “out.” He allowed the Feline to leave before he stopped Muta. “I’m going to take you to your brother,” he warned her.

She caught the warning in his tone, a tone that brought butterflies to her throat. “What is it?”

“We now know what the gel does. When you were treated, the only DNA in the wound belonged to you. Your brothers wounds, however, had Lappinean DNA in them. The gel, apparently works by pulling the DNA back together.”

She swallowed again. “What have you done to him?”

Savra pulled up the scans and the video from the sickbay, Virrik having made sure she wasn’t on camera. Muta’s hand went to her mouth.


Pantha was running low on strength now. The river and the cold had sapped her strength more than she’d thought. It was an effort to move now, her boots slopping along the trail and her soaked trousers weighing her down, as she assumed Gallen’s were. They were going sl…

“Found ‘em,” a breathless voice she recognised called. She blinked as Barnabus came running in, with Hastur not far behind him, having led the way up to the boys visual range due to her nasal senses. Barnabus wrapped himself around his mother’s leg as Hastur took the weight of Gallen onto her shoulders.

“C’mon, boss man,” she said, lifting him back to base.
Last edited by Welsh Halfwit on Mon Jan 23, 2023 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

This chapter was very entertaining and amused me a lot. Nice work!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

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TWENTY

Gallen wondered if he’d need to remind Shandy about their need to keep things on the down low at some point as the girl noisily and expensively swiped all the china, glass and fake silverware off the table, leaving just the cloth on it for him to lie on as Hastur checked over Pantha and Barnabus practised his knot tying by affixing the Mican to a chair in a seated position. For his case, he wasn’t going to do the seated position. He sat on the edge of the table and Hastur put a hand on the other end to stop it tipping up until he lay back. After checking over Pantha and reckoning she’d survive, Hastur sent ‘nurse’ Shandy to get the first aid kit from their room as she pulled Gallen backwards so he was more on the table than off it.


Shandy returned with the pouch and handed it over as Barnabus let his mother take over the watching of the prisoner and started pulling off the wall panel next to the replication machine as Hastur had shown him earlier. Pantha wondered if her nasal skills were working properly as she realised Barnabus smelled of Flowers and water but she’d have Hastur look as that later. Right now she was watching as the Dober took the medical scanner, a piece of plastic and a tin tack from the pack. She watched as Hastur used the tin tack first, drawing a bead of Gallen’s pure blood… or blood that was purely Gallen’s anyhow… which she collected on the piece of plastic before inserting it into the scanner. Whilst the machine worked out the blood makeup, the secondary program started working as she ran the scanner over the prone form that still had it’s eyes open, looking at her from upside down on the table. Hastur paused and took off her own jacket and shirt before putting the jacket back on. The shirt was to be used for bandages if needed.

The machine dinged and ejected a small memory card. “Barnabus,” Hastur called, “you’re up.”

Barnabus zipped past Shandy as she pulled the blood soaked gag from the captive’s mouth and put on a disgusted face, her ears twisted back as she slopped the gag to the floor. She joined Barnabus on his way back to the replication machine and stopped him from switching the memory cards around. “One moment,” she said, turning the machine on. Barnabus turned his head away from the wall panel, now glowing brightly, and winced as the machine whined and clanked its way to producing the glass of water his girlfriend had asked for. The noise shut off. “Can I save Uncle Gallen now,” he asked, swapping the cards out, making it into an emergency medical replication system.

“Yeah,” Shandy replied. “Figured our guest would want some water to get that blood taste out,” she said as he requested the packs of blood.

Barnabus looked at her and smiled. “We are in a kitchen, Shand,” he told her brightly, kissing her on the nose. “There’s a tap over there.”

She chuckled back, having totally forgotten their surroundings before the kiss. “Oh, yeah.”

The system took a little time to work out it wasn’t a medical replication machine and broke down after the third bag. The pair hurried back in with the fake plasma and put it close to Hastur as she worked on patching the most severe wounds. “Thanks, guys,” she said. “Uh, you want to take over guarding the prisoner so Pantha can help me?”

They swapped over after Hastur poked a drip into Gallen’s arm and bade Pantha put her hand up to hold the blood pack.


Muta looked at her brother… it was her brother, wasn’t it… and drew in a breath. “He’s a monster,” she told Savra, who was standing a few feet away from the currently collared Wolf female.

Savra put his hands behind his back. “He always was,” he intoned.

She turned and glowered at him. “I don’t know what we did to you specifically,” she snarled, “but you have no idea the life we’ve had. What we had to do under our father… There’s a reason we’re doing the more business side of crime now. Information and power doesn’t come easy from the end of a fist.” She pointed towards Mati, assuming it was him. “He’s totally ashamed of things he did! It’s why he’s a practical recluse! He can’t and won’t go out in case he runs into any of his victims families!”

Savra put his hands behind his back and stepped around the female, making her turn to follow him. “Probably done him a favour, then,” he told her, “inadvertently, of course.” He saw the anger in her eye and, despite it all, was a little impressed. He theorised there was a hint of a question in her eye. “No-one will recognise him now,” he explained. His expression changed as enlightenment took over and, within a few seconds, her face changed the same way.

She looked at her brother again. “Oh, Goddess,” she said, her tail twitching, “that’s what it’s for.”

“Total cosmetic surgery,” Savra muttered. “Easily supplied for anyone who has the money and needs to escape detection.”

“They’ll be able to evade any identification technology,” Muta mused, “go anywhere without being detected by the authorities. Think of the money they’d pay.”

Savra growled slightly. “Think of the other applications. Someone gets their hands on this and adapts it somehow? They could introduce it to a colony water supply. They could create an army of people who can’t prove who they were before. According to this, even your brother’s DNA has been altered. There’s still traces of the Wolven in there but it’s locked in with Lappinean. If you weren’t here and that just turned up one day, would YOU believe it was your brother?”

She thought on it, her ears flattening back and twitching as the scowl spread on her face again. Her hands clenched and unclenched rhythmically as she considered hard. She knew he was right. She’d never believe it easily. Now she had to protect him even more. “You’re going to pay for this,” she reminded Savra. “Why’s he chained to the wall with a collar?”

“Bec’use I’m w’kin’ up,” Muti said uncertainly, his usual voice twisted beyond his normal tones. He struggled to move his arms as he opened his eyes. “V’s’on’s strange,” he slurred, looking at his hand until it came into focus. “’S’at my ‘and,” he asked, before flinching. “Tha’ m’voice? What else’m I ‘earin’?”

“You want to tell him or shall I,” Savra asked, offering Muta a cheap, plastic, mirror.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

He is definitely dazed and confused from waking up. Wonder how he will react to everything. Nice chapter!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Harry Johnathan »

I love that description “her voice was ethereal above the water”, it brought a very mysterious and dark atmosphere to a really short scene. Also, body horror, that’s always fun!

Also, slightly unrelated but, I really like the character of Shandy. She's spent most of her childhood up to this point surrounded by really unsavory people, and I can relate to that. The way she normalizes it and expects things to be the same everywhere reminded me of my own situation, and it's sad.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Harry Johnathan wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 2:48 am Also, slightly unrelated but, I really like the character of Shandy. She's spent most of her childhood up to this point surrounded by really unsavory people, and I can relate to that. The way she normalizes it and expects things to be the same everywhere reminded me of my own situation, and it's sad.
I'll admit, I was worried what people would think of Shandy. She's a bit precocious and that doesn't always go over well.


TWENTY-ONE

Mati looked at himself in the mirror thing his sister had left behind when he’d bawled her out of the medical bay. It had to be a lie, he’d decided. This… thing in the reflection couldn’t be him, surely? He’d given a lot of consideration to them possibly having transplanted his brain into another body but he knew that wasn’t true. There were still hints of him in the body structure and colouring. He could feel his heart though. His NEW heart, even. The thing was still beating hard, even after the half hour had passed. He assumed it wasn’t beating as fast and hard as when they’d first told him what had happened. Perhaps that was his calm heart rate now? He put a hand to his chest and took some deep breaths. It seemed to calm slightly. He still couldn’t get over his hand. As the most visible part of him, the tortoiseshell stains and blunted claws were taking more getting used to than the pointed frontal teeth that had more of an overbite. He’d licked them a few times. Weird. Was he going to have to start gnawing on things? He hoped not. He punched the mirror. He hurt his hand. His left ear twitched. Someone was coming.


A hazmat suit stepped into the room and set his heart running again. He wanted to hide and face this threat. He growled, an effect made strange by his new teeth. The collar took effect and kept him still as the figure came closer. “Don’t be like that,” the figure said, “I’m just here to take a few samples.”

“Again,” Mati challenged. “And you won’t show your face.”

“Scopophobia is my bane,” the figure said, pressing the syringe to Mati’s arm. “If I’m reading that face right, you don’t know what that is. It’s a fear of being seen. You can’t see me in this so I can move easily. Now lie down or I’ll shock you.” Mati refused so she touched the control and sent a ripple of pain through his system via the collar. He felt his fur stand on end, along with his teeth, tail and other items before he chose to lie back on the bed as instructed. “I should tell you,” the voice added, “I get some pleasure out of that. So, if you want to hurt me? Don’t let me hurt you.” She took out a small pointer as she headed down to his feet. “My, my,” she stated, passing by his midriff, “you certainly ARE a boy, aren’t you?”

He looked down as his brain finished frizzing and saw what she was talking about. “Hmm, oh, yeah. Shame it’s useless now.” He put his head back on the pillow.

“Tell me if you can feel me prodding your feet,” she stated. “And, from samples I took a few minutes before you woke? You’re still fully fertile.” She poked him in the left toepad.

“Ow.” His pulse quickened again. “How? I thought Hybrids..?”

“Not usually without medical help,” she agreed, poking him again in the pads, “but you appear to have already HAD that help. Of course,” she added after he ‘ow’ed again, “there would have to be laboratory tests?”

He looked up in alarm. “You’re not..?”

She swiped the stick across the central part of his pad for that one, drawing a cry from his mouth. “No. But I think we might get a… volunteer?”


Hastur sighed, slopped the last, bloodied, shirt into the bin and took a sit down. She’d never had so much medical work to do. She’d patched up most of the worst holes, remembering what Virrik had told her in the classes. If you don’t have enough to do all the jobs, deal with the worst ones you can, the Brockian had kept telling her. The minor stuff will heal itself and the moderate stuff will either do likewise or kill you slower so you can get them to help. She’d still got through all the bloodpacks the kids had managed to replicate And probably needed more but she’d patched up the knife wounds and the energy burns – well, most of them anyhow – and had reset his cheekbone and the blood vessels under there. The fractured clavicle was a bit beyond her, though. But the work was done. She smiled wanly as she realised Shandy had done some first aid on Pantha, bandaging some of the felines wounds. Barnabus, for his part, was helping the captive to a little water, letting her sip from the glass as he held it. “Right,” she told herself, “time for the other work.” She took out the other pouch from her case and opened up a line of knives, scalpels and an injector gun. She shooed Barnabus away and pulled the chair, complete with Mican, into the bedroom before shutting the door. She stood in front of the target as blood that wasn’t hers trickled down her hands and chest. “I’m not in a good mood,” she told the captive. “If you want to do this the hard way, it’s fine with me.”

“I’ll take easy,” the Mican shouted. “I’ll take easy!” The chair bounced as the Mican tried to convince her of her intent. “They’re not paying enough for me to be tortured by a bad field medic, especially as I’m amazed I’m not concussed anyhow! Way that CAT treated me...”

Hastur leaned forward, gripping the rear of the chair with both hands to push it back as she snarled into the captives face. “Annoying me is not the way to go, my white furred friend.”

The Mican swallowed. “I was just… just commenting on… on how you didn’t do things the way I… I was taught!” She swallowed hard.

“You were a medic?”

The Mican nodded her head hard. “I..I...I needed to pay for the last year of college so I…” She smiled wanly. “Took a job?”

Hastur leaned back against the wardrobe and crossed her arms. “With a criminal gang,” she asked, faking amusement and not believing half of what she’d just been told. She moved across to sit on the bed, next to her torture kit.

“They… They were hiring,” the captive swallowed. “No… no danger.” She scoffed. “Lied about that, didn’t they?”

“Who?” Hastur kept sniffing quietly, looking to use her nose as a cheap rate lie detector in lieu of anything better. “Who lied?”

“The, um, the Clan. Dewless Clan. They’ve, um, they’ve got an idea about expanding into this sector. They got a company to build an information gathering station here, taking in all the information that comes by this area of space via its receivers, storing it and transmitting to their base world on regular occasions.”

Hastur leaned back. Dewless Clan? “Dewless Clan,” she asked. “Who’s their agent on the colony?”

“Um,” the Mican thought, running through the memory of the terrifying. “It’s a Canine. An, um, Rottian one called… what was his name? Um… Delston. Delston… Um… Delston Chula.”

Hastur sat up straight.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Harry Johnathan »

I love the idea of this weirdo who hates being seen, so they put on a hazmat suit. This is, like, Batman villain levels of eccentric.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I am also interested in said weirdo in a hazmat suit! It certainly is something different that I never have seen before! Great chapter!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Well, she IS one of the most wanted people in this universe!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

So does she never take it off? I assume both she and the suit probably REEK if that is the case.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Oh, she takes it off. But hides herself if her patients aren't from the crew.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

TWENTY-TWO

Savra sat up in bed, looking over the latest reports from Titan III, examining them for news of the Raitchian he’d killed a number of days back, using the reports from agents there, along with the legal news sources. He wasn’t much liking what he was seeing as the technician he’d chosen for tonight snored her way through the early hours on her front to his side, her Feline ears twitching slightly as she imagined chasing non sentients or Mice. Her one arm was still around the front of his waist as he read about how the body of noted local criminal Obina Darlan in what the Police were calling a vigilante action based on unconfirmed reports of the criminal as a child killer. He’d been found in a removal skip by city refuse workers. That was what concerned Savra. He’d left the body in the alley to be discovered. The fact it hadn’t been found there indicated the obvious. Someone had moved the body to trick the locals. With the mention of the Dewless Clan running the data mine, that brought concern. The Dewless weren’t capable of taking on the local clan in direct combat but they had their ships that were fully capable of taking on a ship like the Kerbal. If they had any way of knowing what Darlan knew, they might be on their way already. Or it might have been the Daklia clan, the local operation, who’d found him. That might even be worse, he thought as the technician closed her hand on his lap by reflex. He enjoyed the stimulation but moved her hand gently off to the side. He needed to be concerned right now, not distracted.


Patching into the internal systems, he could see that Kermak had followed his orders regarding the goop, removing all of it from Virrik’s lab to a secure location. The idea of a genetic weapon in the wrong hands was something that sent shivers up his tailbone and spine and Virrik’s hands were most definitely the wrong ones. He had to think of what to do with the stuff. He couldn’t give it to anyone in the clans and keeping one timebomb like Virrik on the ship was bad enough. A second one.?

“Whatcha thinking of, sir,” the feline remarked, turning her tabby furred head to look up at him.

“Nothing you need to know about,” he told her directly. “Just a decision I have to make.” He sighed and put the padd down. “What would you do if you had a decision to make that had no good options?”

She propped herself up on an elbow as he lay back on the bed. “I’d think on it, as much as I can,” she said softly. “Then I’d ask someone senior what should be done. Pass the decision on, so to speak.”

Savra thought about hating her for stupid advice, slapping her out of bed perhaps but… there was something about the statement. “Pass the decision on,” he repeated, the glimmering of a plan. He put the padd down before turning off the light and letting his companion enjoy her reward for her idea. He soon had her purring.


“Chula,” Hastur replied, sitting forward. Her mouth shaped into a growl. “You think you can lie to me, little Mouse?” She took the cleanest knife from her kit and swished it across the Mican’s upper left leg, eliciting a yelp of pain. “Delston Chula is dead! The Daklia clan killed him last year on Persimma.”

“I can’t tell you anything about that,” the Mican shouted shrilly, “I just know I’ve seen him alive three weeks ago! I’m not making this up!”

“You’ll have to do a bit better than that to convince me,” Hastur said, readying a pain stick for use. “They killed thirty innocents in a wilderness zone to get him.” She pressed the stick to her target’s chest on the right. The Mican arced against it, gritting her teeth as the power surged through her, making her cry out. “Convince me,” she challenged, loudly releasing the Mican from the device and doing her best not to notice the results on the floor. “Convince me it’s Chula!”

The Mican panted. “He… He has a scar on… on his left shoulder blade. He… he got it in a fight on Galea ag...against a pair of Celicans and…” She breathed hard.

“Like he’d ever have admitted that,” Hastur challenged, readying the stick again. She knew of this Rottian. He’d have insisted it was more of a force of at least ten. Not two, even though she knew that to be true.

The Mican was almost tearing up now. “He said it when he was drunk,” she confessed loudly. “He doesn’t know he said it! He can’t handle Human Cider!”

That much, Hastur noted, was true. Savra and Gallen, who had been the two Celicans, of course, had talked of that fight for days after they’d heard of his death. “Why is this person you saw here? If it’s him, as you claim, he’s got no connection to Dewless. He’s Utimma Clan.” She waved the stick under her captive’s nose and watched her follow it with her eyes. “This isn’t about me wanting to do this. It’s about finding out if you’re telling true. If you are?” She sighed. “We’ve got problems. He’s vicious and bloodthirsty.” She looked the Mican in the eye. “He even kills his own side rather than rescue them. Time to put your honesty to the test.” She stood up and untied the captive, quickly retying her one hand to the chair, leaving the other free before giving her a small medical pack. “Treat your leg,” she stated. “Properly.” She held the shock stick close to the female’s temple. Her tight grimace didn’t quite reach her eyes this time. “If you’re lying about your training – and I’ll know – you get this to the head this time.”


Gallen wasn’t up to getting up so he was remaining as still as he possibly could on the table, his head hanging over the end as Pantha stayed close, in case she needed to help. She’d pulled up a chair and was sat stroking her mate’s head as he looked up. She bent over and kissed him. To her relief, she felt his tongue moving against hers in response. She held his head gently and kissed him with passion.

Barnabus was by the bedroom door, listening as Shandy tried to get in underneath him. He playfully pushed her back and she jumped on his back, almost pushing him into the door. As he put his arms around her legs to secure her, the girl kissed his head and put her ear to the door. She winced as Hastur applied the shock stick and the Mican cried out before answering the questions. “Who’s Chula,” she asked.


Pantha felt Gallen stiffen at that name and pause in the kissing so she pulled back so he could speak. “Can’t… Can’t be him,” he said.

“Prisoner seems pretty sure it is,” Barnabus stated. “Something about a bar fight and Cider?”

Now Gallen started trying to get up.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Well all of that certainly happened. I like it when things escalate in stories. Great job!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Harry Johnathan »

P A I N S T I C K
Last edited by Harry Johnathan on Fri Jan 27, 2023 8:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

That's probably gonna be felt for...ever I think. :P
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

TWENTY-FOUR

Pantha held Gallen down on the table as he pushed against her hand ineffectually. “Talk first, hun,” she told him. “Who is this guy you seem to be worried about?”

“Ask… Ask Hastur,” Gallen stated hoarsely. Pantha nodded to Shandy, who slid off Barnabus’ back and knocked politely on the door with the first bar of ‘Shave and a haircut.’


From the other room, Hastur reached out for the door and replied in the correct manner as the Mican looked on, refusing to grin at the situation. “You realise children should never be involved in this sort of thing,” she challenged, finishing applying the gel to her leg whilst wondering if her fur would ever defrizz.

“Keep your opinions to yourself,” Hastur grumbled, opening the door. “What’s wanted out here,” she asked.

“Information on this Chula person,” Pantha called from over by the table.

Hastur glanced down at the children, who were both trying to look innocent. “I wonder how you heard that name?” She stroke-pushed the back of Shandy’s head to push her into the room she’d just vacated. “Watch over the captive, Shandy.” She turned around to address the Mican first. “Whatever leeway you think you have,” she threatened, holding the Mican’s face towards her with her claws on either side of the targets muzzle, “relies on you behaving. Harm her and I’ll kill you. Got it?”

“Uh, huh,” the Mican replied, feeling the blood trickle from her lower jaw. Hastur released the pressure and left the room, closing the door behind her.


“Right,” the Dober said, sending Barnabus scurrying to the sofa for a story, “Chula.” She started over to the replication machine before she recalled they’d broken it earlier. “He was an enforcer for the Ultimma clan. He grew up in the pits on Canis Major and was imprisoned by the law there for life when he was age twelve.”

“Twelve,” Pantha exclaimed.

“He set fire to the orphanage he was in and blocked the doors. Only his age saved him from the death penalty. The Ultimma clan broke him out after seeing his fighting acumen up close. He’s supposed to have killed two sixteen year olds in unarmed combat before the Prison guards could break the fight up. They got him out to the colonies and they’ve been training him up ever since. Well, until last year anyhow. He’s one of the most dangerous trackers in the business and he was wanted on about thirteen worlds. Even the U.S.C’s bounty hunters have an active kill order on him. According to squeaky in there,” she continued, indicating the closed door, “he’s doing the hands on running on this operation, despite it not being Ultimma clan.” She clapped her hands on her legs. “It’s possible he might have switched for a better deal, faking his death or summat. We might want to turn the lights out to make it look like no-one’s here and rely on Feline eye sight to watch for him?”

“Won’t work,” Pantha said, shaking her head. “Mud tracks leading right to the door and in,” she added, pointing to the prints that were clearly visible on the flooring. “And there’s the other thing.” She nodded to Barnabus, who scooted off the sofa and switched the lights off. Hastur realised, within a minute, that she could still see. The sun was beginning to come up over the tops of the trees, bringing blue light into the room. “See,” Pantha asked.”

“Yeah. We need to call the ship and get Janus to pick us up. We don’t have a transmitter capable of reaching the ship here so…”

“So we need to get in the car and go,” Pantha remarked. “And it’ll be totally clear where we are.”

“If it’s him,” Hastur counselled, looking cautiously out of the window, “he’ll know where we are soon anyhow.” She smiled ruefully. “Short holiday, wasn’t it?”

“What about..,” Barnabus asked, pointing towards the closed door.

“Shandy,” Hastur teased. “Well, we could leave her but…”

Barnabus hit her leg playfully. “Not her,” he said, grinning.

“Oh, the prisoner?” Hastur thought.


Shandy had propped herself up on the bed after entering the room and swung herself to face the prisoner. “What’s yer name,” she asked brightly, wrapping her tail over her hands and lap.

The Mican gave her a sigh, then a chuckle. “About time someone asked. I’m Cherry Braemar. And you really shouldn’t be here, kid. Where’s your parents?”

Shandy shrugged. “Next door. Sorta. Not bolological, a’course…”

“Biological,” Cherry corrected.

“Whatever. But I got raised around a kinda, well…” She shrugged again as she decided to tell the truth. “Well, it was a brothel in a Pirate port. Ship life’s better.”

Cherry supposed she might have a point. Comparatively, anyhow. “Wouldn’t you like a safe place to play and grow up,” she asked. “You shouldn’t be with criminals. Or torturers”

Shandy wrinkled her nose up at that. “You’re working for a Pirate clan too,” she protested. “You’ve no right to say I’m better off out of it! It’s what I know and I’m liking my life at the moment! I am!” To change the subject, she nodded to the female’s leg. “Did a good job patching the rip,” she said. “Can barely see where she cut you.”

“Thanks. I told her I was pretty good.” There was no enthusiasm or pride in the Mican’s tone. Shandy reckoned she was trying to be brave to prove nothing here was beyond her control. It might have worked better without the smell.

Shandy looked at her levelly. “Not qualified, though?”

“No. Paying for it now, aren’t I?”

“Nah. Paying for paying for it more like.” Shandy lay back on the bed. “Like I would’ve had to in years to come, eh? Being brung up in a place like I was means debts ya gotta pay. If you live, like? Which I probably wouldn’t have. I was a bad pickpocket.” She held aloft the small blade from the medical kit that Cherry had hoped to use to cut her remaining bond. “Got better at it,” Shandy professed as Cherry sagged and chuckled.

“Not a fool, are ya?”

“Nope,” Shandy agreed, sitting back up and grinning as she put the blade on the side table.


The door opened and Pantha stepped in. “Get your stuff quickly, Shandy,” she instructed. “We’re out of here in five.” As the girl started quickly pulling her bag together, Pantha turned to the captive. “And you’re coming with us.”

“If you think…”

“Chula kills those taken hostage rather than rescue them.”

“I’m coming with you,” Cherry mentioned quickly.
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Really good work on the chapter! I like how it came out!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

TWENTY-FIVE

The trouble with there only being one road, Pantha thought as she pushed the hire car up a gear, is that there are very few places to pull off and hide. She also considered it was easy to set up an ambush point as well, especially with the wooded surroundings. The lights behind them were staying the same distance and Pantha wasn’t sure if that meant they weren’t following them or that they didn’t need to. Her pulse was up, she noted. Possibly not such a great thing with recent, moderate, blood loss but it was how things were as she swung a left to keep on the road and avoid smacking into a tree. They were going to need a place to hide, she supposed. Or a callbox. She recalled there was one in the shop she’d found a day or so back and wondered if that would be the best place. They could use the system there to call the ship through the local network. She was pretty sure Gallen and Hastur knew the number. Then Janus would be sent with the shuttle. She was feeling cold. Was that blood loss or..? She turned the heating on. A glance at the temperature gauge told her it was near freezing outside and the air con was on. They must have hit the button when getting in. She turned it off. “Everyone OK,” she asked, resisting the urge to turn her head to check the passengers.

“Still alive,” Gallen said hoarsely.

“Keep it that way, love,” Pantha urged as Hastur, Das… Barnabus and Shandy confirmed they were fine. “Barnabus, check on the other passenger, would you?”

Barnabus put his ear to the seat and listened. “Who’s Shatire,” he asked.

“Essentially the Mican god of being up the creek without a paddle,” Hastur advised.

“Huh?”

“Patron saint of lost causes.”

“Oh.”

“There’s that supermarket I went to a bit further down the road. I don’t think it’s a 26 hour one so you ready to break a lock, Hastur?”

“Never great at electronic locks,” the Dober replied.

“I’ll do it,” Barnabus chipped in. “Mr Kurmak’s been teaching me how to do it for the last few months.”

“Right,” Pantha commented. “Which explains the missing provisions from our larder. I’ll need words later, Barnabus!” She grinned wryly, something he almost saw in the rear view mirror as the car turned the corner quickly to get into a parking space before their pursuer could see them. She hurled the car around the back of the store and swept the door open in almost one move. “Come on,” she urged, whipping around to help Gallen out as Barnabus slid out of his restraint and hurried towards the protected door, Hastur doing her best to follow whilst Shandy struggled with her belt. As the boy worked on opening the lock, Hastur went around the back and opened the trunk to get Cherry out.


“You realise this is… all on camera,” Gallen gasped as Pantha helped him across to the door.

“We’ll just have to deal with that later,” Pantha strained as the lock gave way to Barnabus’ manipulations. They heard the car shoot past. If it was after them, they’d realise they’d been tricked in the next straight section and turn back. Hastur and the Rats covered their ears as the burglar alarms sounded and Cherry fell onto her feet as the door opened. She thought about running but rolled her eyes. She knew they were telling the truth about Chula. She’d heard the others say it. So she slipped her bonds and ran inside to rip the alarm free before he came back and killed them all.

Hastur looked at her in confusion as she entered and watched Cherry rubbing her wrists. “How did you do that?”

“Grew up in the circus,” Cherry remarked. “Escapology’s a bit rusty but…”

“Why didn’t you do it earlier,” Hastur asked.

“Whilst you were watching,” she protested. “What’s the point of that? You’d have just punched me out again and bound me tighter. And you might be right about Chula. I’m plumping with you. For my health,” she added as Gallen made for the vid and Shandy made for the confectionery.


Bored. Bored. Bored. Janus was bored. He’d been sitting out here, in the shuttle, relaying the signal for the best part of four hours now and he wasn’t sure how much longer he was to be here. It didn’t seem to be slowing down any. Did data transfers slow down when they came to an end? He wondered if the opposition had noted they were transmitting and if Kurmak’s instructions had hidden the theft somehow? Or if the opposition had just decided to hunt and kill the physical intruders or something. There were about fifteen possibilities and they all failed to include him anywhere in their permutations. He’d been almost excited when he’d had to move the shuttle an hour or so back so it stayed out of visual range of a Militia ship that had decided to wander past on patrol. It had been something to do, rather than think about where he’d contracted his latest reason to visit the butcher in medbay. Must have been that Lappinean on Caldos. The one with the skipping rope. Anyhow, he needed to plan his revenge on Merran or, at least, think about it quite a bit. “Hello,” he said, sitting forward and checking the systems as they detected something new incoming. “What’s this, then?” He worked to relay the call through to base.


Savra sat on the bridge and Merran advised him a phone call was coming in from Gallen. “Play it,” he demanded and the Mican put the call on to the main speaker.

<”You there, sir,”> Pantha asked, having taken the panel from Gallen after he’d put it through the relay’s number.

“Report, Pantha,” Savra snapped, feeling this had to be bad news.

<”We need a pick up, Captain,”> he heard the Feline admit. <”I have injuries, Gallen needs Vera’s attention and we suspect we’re going to be under attack from someone called Chula within minutes, sir.”>

Savra stiffened. “Say that again, Pantha.”

<”The captive swears it’s someone called Chula after us. Hastur tells us her description’s a match.”

Savra punched the back of the chair Janus would have been sitting at. “Merran, send Janus. I know that’ll cut the link but we’ve got a load of information. Kurmak, keep watching the stars. If HE’S involved, we’ve got trouble incoming.”
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Harry Johnathan »

Nice bit of world building with the Mician prayer. Also, circus folk. Yay!
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Re: SAVRA - CHANGE MACHINE

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Circus folk are always funny in an entertaining way. Would love to see more of them!
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