|The Transformation Story Archive||Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...|
An Unexpected Turn of Events
Brian Nyx was a genetics researcher at the University of Berlin. He had gotten interested in science in high school, where he took a biology course. From there it was anatomy and chemistry, then on to college. Brian was introduced to the subject if genetics by a kindly old professor by the name of... Brian never really caught his name; everyone just called him 'professor'. Brian excelled in the genetics course, eagerly absorbing every bit of knowlege he could. He had a dream, a dream he never had told anyone. His dream could get him locked away in a mental hospital, or so he thought. Ever since he was a little boy, he had wanted to be a centaur. As a lad he had seen the centaur scenes in Fantasia, and was fascinated by how the stallions and mares moved. The TV network where he lived started carrying Young Hercules, of whom one of the main characters was a centaur named Newton.
He discovered role-playing environments where he could be a centaur, act out life as a centaur. All through public school Brian kept that fascination, though he let his friends and parents think it died when he entered college; after all, they wouldn't understand. He really WANTED to be a centaur, have the body of one. Brian had always admired the centaur form, his human body paling in comparison. He'd be locked away in a room with no sharp corners if his colleagues found out his secret desire.
While Brian was in college, he discovered a mailing list dedicated to discussion of centaur-related things. Pictures of centaurs were sometimes posted, which delighted Brian when he got them. He even drew a few centaurs himself, posting them to the list. Though he enjoyed drawing, he turned out to not be a very good artist. Since he couldn't create a centaur very well on paper, why not try creating one in the flesh? The process to create a centaur shouldn't be too difficult, as the human genome map had been completed years ago. One of the main tasks that would need to be done was the horse genome map, though to the best of his knowlege no-one was studying the horse genetic makeup. After he got out of college, Brian got together a group of fellow geneticists and applied to various Universities for funding and and a place to do research. They were turned away at each University, until the University of Berlin heard and accepted their proposal.
By claiming that a complete understanding of the horse genome would make breeding better racehorses possible, Brian was able to obtain a grant of eighty million deutschemarks, as well as a laboratory. Once he settled into the laboratory, he started sending out requests for researchers to join his team. After a year, he had assembled in his lab the best geneticists and most-esteemed biologists in the world; genetic engineers, gene sequencing techs, viral researchers, a couple veterinarians and a few scientists whose portfolio he exactly wasn't sure of, but whose academic credentials were most impressive. Getting the scientists and biologists was the easy part, Brian discovered. There were many competant, professional individuals who shared his desire to study (or to be) a living centaur. Now to channel the knowlege of the group of assorted professionals into producing a new lifeform...
After seven years of splicing genes, running them through various microscopes and sequencers, comparing them to human genes, the team had decoded at best 35% of the genome map. Brian didn't want to wait twenty years to understand the genetics of horses; after all, that wasn't the main reason for his project. In an attempt to speed the project along, additional genetic researchers were brought in. They worked twelve-hour days, five days a week, trying to break down the genetic code into identifiable segments. On the 3rd of March, ten years since the beginning of the project, a geneticist working late into the morning made a breakthrough. While searching for an elusive gene, she discovered forty genes they had been looking for for months. Quickly entering the genes into the sequencer, she discovered that it completed a large group of genetic fragments, typing them together. The discovered total was now at 87%! Dr. Nyx will be very pleased to hear of this discovery, she thought excitedly to herself as she continued working.
Brian was very pleased, indeed. He and his team had discovered over 260 genetic markers; by his estimation, only 300 or so would be needed. He decided that his team needed a break to celebrate, so he called a two-week break with no work to be done. He ended up not following his own command, though, as he himself continued working. He was determined to get the number of known markers up to 300 by the time his team returned to work. As such, he made a few mistakes....
His team returned precisely on the the day and time he had asked them to. As his researchers streamed through the doors, Brian yelled out triumphantly, "291 markers! Only 9 to go!!" The researchers cheered, then got down to work. The remaining genetic markers were found in three weeks, and the genetic map was completed. There was great celebration in the halls of Genelab building 4, where for many years learned men and women had worked on discovering what every little gene of a horse did to make it a complete creature. The task was complete, the genome map was created!
Unfortunately, seven very important genes went undiscovered, with very interesting consequences....
The map being complete, Brian's team focused on combining human and horse DNA to create a hybrid, a centaur. The first attempts were gone about by placing the combined DNA of a human and horse fetus into the empty nucleus of a horse ovum, then implanting it into a mare. Out of 100 attempts, 98 were unsuccessful. Two came partway to term, but were horribly mutated, having limbs neither human or horse should have, as well as missing organs and limbs both horse and human need in order to survive.
Having gotten such a spectacular failure, Brian had his team shift their focus. Instead of creating a centaur from egg-level up, why not develop a way to change an already living subject into a centaur? The hybrid DNA was refined, little errors were corrected, then they were ready to try it out. Brian's virologists created empty retroviruses to convey the DNA into the subject's body and enact changes. The viruses were designed to modify the stem cells, from which every type of cell in the body is produced. A hormone to trigger a growth spurt was added, so the change wouldn't take eight months. Eight months is the time the human body takes to replace each cell with a new clone. Brian did not want to wait that long to see if the changed subject was viable.
The long timeframe of the project wasn't what frustrated Brian, nor were the failed attempts at modification. What really frustrated Brian was the laws concerning human experimentation. The German government's laws concerning human experimentation were very complex. He would have to get various permits, submit experiment procedures to various review boards. If the procedures were approved, they could NOT be deviated from without harsh penalties. If human experimentation was done without approval, the team and their sponsor would be fined heavily and probably imprisoned; either way, the team's project would be shut down. Brian was glad he never told them the REAL reason his team was running the project; he might have been imprisoned for running such a project!
One night, Brian stayed behind in the lab after the other researchers had gone home, to look through some old notes. The formula had been completed a week before. Now they were just waiting for approval from the Ethics Committee to do human testing. Brian was despondant, as the Ethics Committe wasn't likely to approve his project. Not very many governments would approve of a project à la Dr. Frankenstein, he knew. He had to know if the formula would work, though. He had to know if it would create a viable centaur. The code that had been inserted into the viruses was a conglomerate from five different horses: quarterhorse for running ability; clydesdale for strength; another quarterhorse for coat color; arabian with yellow pigment genes for tail and mane color and shape; hackney for the high-stepping walk of the breed. Brian had these traits included to create a rather flashy-looking centaur, as a prototype of the process. Depressed, he went home.
The next night, Brian stayed behind at the lab to clean up. He was putting notes and chemicals away, generally just tidying up. He was nearly finished when he happened to pass where it was kept: the formula. Fifteen years of work had resulted in 300ccs of what Brian hoped would be the answer to a dream of his and of others. He removed the vial that contained the formula from its protective container. He held the vial in his hand, looking at the viscuous purple liquid inside. The Ethics Committee had called him the other day, saying that his proposal had been rejected. The reasons given were many, but the primary reason was that his project had "no conceivable medical or scientific benefits foreseeable, long-or short-term." They had told him that the equine genome project had gone well, but he would not be allowed to test the centaurizing formula on humans. The only way to find out if it worked was to test it on himself, Brian knew. He had no real family to speak of, as his work was his life; no one would really miss him if the test killed him. Tonight, he decided, was the testing date. There was no turning back now.
Brian went around the lab, closing window blinds and locking doors. He stripped off all his clothes and placed them on a table, since they would probably tear to rags as he changed (if he did at all, he reminded himself). He removed a small key from his shirt pocket and inserted it into a slot in the vial. The key unlocked the top of the vial, which Brian then opened. He pulled out a syringe and filled it with the purple fluid. With a quick prayer of protection offered up, Brian jabbed the needle into his arm and injected the formula into his bloodstream. The formula warmed his body as it traveled to every cell, then the heat faded away. Brian waited five minutes, then five more, then five more.
After a half hour he despaired of changing at all. With a sigh, he donned his clothes again, put the vial back in its holder, then walked out the door of the lab. With another sigh, he locked the door and headed out aimlessly.
Brian was very depressed that his test of the formula hadn't worked. The brief surge of warmth through his body had given him hope, but that hope was dashed when he didn't change. At all. A loud growling gurgle came forth from Brian's stomach as he drove home; in his dedication to his work, he had forgotten to eat lunch or dinner. Since he was very hungry, he pulled into one of those 'all-you-can-eat-and-then-some' places, which was only a ten-minute drive from the lab.
He got a plate and loaded it down with pasta, fruit, bread, salad and other healthy tasties. After all, he wasn't getting any younger (or thinner, for that matter). His doctor had advised him to eat a more healty diet. As Brian scarfed down his food, he began to get a nasty headache near his ears.
His ears began to tingle as he ran to the men's room. By time he got inside the men's room, his ears had begun to enlongate and get a thin layer of fur on them. The fur way brown, like that of a...a...
Realization suddenly hitting him, Brian bolted out of the men's room. He quickly paid a startled waiter three times what the meal was worth, then jumped into his car and drove off. He had to make it back to the lab before he changed completely! Fortunately, the lab was only ten minutes away. Nevertheless, by the time Brian got there his feet were beginning to feel tight in his shoes. He jumped out of his car and hobbled up to the lab door. He managed to get the door unlocked and get in, then closed and locked the door. The first thing he did once inside was rip off his shoes and socks. He watched as his toes fused into vestigal hooves, then finished up into real hooves. Suddenly very wobbly on his new feet, Brian sat down in a nearby chair, only to be pushed out of his seat by a growth forming on his backside. The growth got larger and larger, threatening to tear his pants asunder. He quickly stripped off his pants and underwear, having a bit of trouble getting them over his hooves. The growth was quickly swelling out into the shape of a proper horse's rump, out of which were growing two smaller lumps. The lumps enlongated suddenly, forming hind legs. The sudden balance change forced Brian to the cold cement floor, where he lay on his side. He felt a massive pulling sensation and pain as his spine lengthened to reach the end of his now very long body. A second ribcage grew around the horizontal portion of his spine, an additional heart and pair of lungs forming inside it. A tail sprouted out of his new rump. His tail, Brian realized. With an itching sensation like a billion tiny needles poking him at once, his lower body was quickly covered in a coat of horsehair. His sexual organs were absorbed and grew back in between his hind legs. He felt along the small of his human back, where he discovered his new mane.
Brian was estatic--the formula worked! He swiveled his ears back and forth, hearing sounds he'd never heard before. With a few tries, Brian managed to heave himself onto his four new hooves and walk around a little. He did fall down a lot at first, but after ten minutes he was walking perfectly again. Just as he was rejoicing, a familiar pushing sensation formed on his lower body. A second and third set of hind legs were growing in! Four lumps formed very close to his current hind legs, causing his horse spine to crack and lengthen. His hide stretched along with his spine, covering the additional bone and muscle that was forming underneath. Once his horse body had stretched out to accomodate eight legs, the lumps enlongated into perfect clones of his origional hind legs. With a loud crack, two new sets of hips pushed out of his spine, setting his new legs firmly into place. His second and third pair of hind legs having finished growing, his vertical spine suddenly lengthened as his torso grew taller. Two lumps formed below his arms, lumps that could only mean....
"Oh no", Brian exclaimed, "not another set of arms!"
Yes, another set of arms. With a pushing sensation, two new arms burst out of Brian's torso, forming perfect duplicates of his upper arms. 'So I'm a four-armed eight-legged centaur now. "What else could happen?" Brian said out loud. He quickly found out as the same hair that hung from his fetlocks grew out of all four of his wrists. His hands balled into fists and got darker, the color of hooves. His thumbs dwindled in size to nothing as the four fingers on ear hand merged into one. His arms lengthened to foreleg length as they became covered with the same-colored hair as the rest of his body. Brian waved his new forelegs in the air and moaned as his face lengthened into a horse muzzle, merging nose and mouth and covering his head in hair. Brian could feel his teeth increasing in number and becoming all molars. As his muzzle finished up, his moan turned into a plaintive whinny. His eyes moved to the sides of his head, getting larger as they slid apart. The pupils swelled in size to take up most of the eye, leaving very little white visible. With a sickening crunch, his forehead compressed to the slant of a normal horse's forehead. He now had the head of a normal horse, down to the last hair. He tried to say a few words in English, but his new mouth and could not longer form the correct sounds.
As the shock of not being able to speak was sinking in, Brian's vertical spine lengthened and reshaped, putting all twelve of Brian's legs into contact with the floor. With a surge Brian's neck enlongated to the length of a normal horse's neck, his head now completely that of a horse. The familiar itching of fur growing covered his neck, then all change stopped. He was finished changing, he was now complete.
With a shiver, Brian took stock of himself. He now was a horse in all physical aspects, except he had twelve legs. He had six forelegs and six hind legs. His four arms had become forelegs, balancing him out quite nicely. Brian's first thoughts were, 'I just have to see what I've turned into!' Fortunately, someone had installed a large mirror on one wall last year. When the mirror was installed, Brian had seen no need for it. Now that he had drastically changed species, he appreciated the wise decision of letting the mirror be installed.
He turned his head to look in the mirror, to have a look at himself. He was surprised by what he saw, to say the least! Starting at Brian's head, a person would see a normal horse; true, a horse with an unusually-colored mane, but still a horse. Their eyes travelling down, they would begin to notice discrepancies in the build. Instead of merely having two forelegs and two hindlegs, this horse has six forelegs and six hindlegs jutting out of its very long body! With a shock, Brian knew that this very unusual creature in the mirror was him, which was what he would be for the rest of his life. He was sad that he wasn't a centaur anymore; he had had it, then lost it! He was now, in every sense of the word, a freak. Centaurs are beautiful creatures, but he had become a misshapen beast through a flaw in his own formula! Brian became very depressed as he realized this. He would have lain down and sulked if he could have convinced his legs to lower him to the ground.
A very loud growl came forth from Brian's stomachs as they demanded food. The raw materials for such a major physical change don't come from thin air, after all! The viruses had used all the food Brian had eaten for dinner. The reason he hadn't started changing until after he'd eaten, he realized, was that the virus had had nothing to work with! Although he feared eating food would cause more changes, Brian just had to have some! His stomachs were now completely empty. Without hands, he couldn't get into any closed food cupboards or refrigerators, though. Fortunately, there was a trough filled with stale but abundant hay against one side of the large room. The hay had been used as a bribe to keep horses calm and distracted while Brian extracted blood samples to do gene matching on. After a few false starts, Brian managed to get his legs to convey his long body over to the hay. He grabbed some in his mouth and started eating.
Despite the fact that the hay was stale, Brian had to admit it tasted very good to him. He was slightly amused by the fact that he'd be choaking on the stuff a few days ago. He ate his fill, then lay down to rest. The changes had taken a lot out of him and he suddenly felt very tired. Getting all his legs under him was difficult, but Brian eventually succeeded and passed out into a very deep sleep...
Samantha and David were two virologists Brian Nyx had hired to work with him on the Chieron Project, as they called it. Samantha and David worked as a pair, doubling their effectiveness. They were also husband and wife, but that wasn't especially important to anyone but them. On the morning after Brian's change, they arrived at the lab early. It was 7:00am on a Monday morning, when the rest of the team was usually just waking up in their homes. The two virologists came in early this morning to clean up a few side experiments that they had been doing to keep busy while Ethics Committe approval was pending. This morning, however, they had received a call stating that approval had been denied. No human experiments would be allowed. The news had depressed Samantha and David, who were almost as anxious as Brian to see if the formula worked.
Brian woke with a start as he heard a key turn in the lock of the front door. He heard voices talking glumly on the other side of the door, talking about the project. 'So they heard the bad news, I see. I can't let them see me!,' Brian thought in a panic.He surged to his hooves and scrambled in another corner of the lab, where he hid behind some large machinery. He ducked out of sight just as Samantha and David came into the lab.
"What a mess!" David exclaimed. "I thought the boss stayed last night to clean up."
"Look! He even left his clothes here! Poor devil, the stress must be getting to him..." Samantha noted.
Samantha and David began grabbing Brian's clothes and stacking them in a pile. 'The same clothes I was wearing only last night,' Brian thought to himself sadly. He tried to keep still and quiet, but he shifted position, dragging a hoof across the floor. A loud scraping sound echoed through the large room.
"Who's there?" Samantha yelled out.
Brian mentally kicked himself as Samantha and David began searching the lab for an intruder. David was searching near the chemical storage locker when he happened to look at the empty vial on a nearby desk.
"Hey Samantha, come look at this!" He called out. Samantha came over and asked, "What is it, what did you find?"
"The centaurizing formula..it's gone! The vial's empty and there's a used syringe in the biohazard garbage container."
Samantha's eyes got wide. "Dr. Nyx was probably very distraught at not being allowed to use human experiment subjects. Do you think he... used the formula on himself?"
David sighed, "That's what I was thinking. If he really did use the formula and it worked, maybe he left a note or something. Let's look around."
'No!' Brian mentally screamed. 'Don't look around!' which came out as a low nicker.
"What was THAT?", David exclaimed.
"It sounded like...a horse." Samantha gasped. "It sounded like it came from over....there" She pointed at the machinery Brian was hiding behind.
'Damn,' he mentally cursed. 'Gotta get out of here. Oof! I'm stuck!'
It was true, Brian was stuck behind one of the machines. One of his hind legs was stuck between two large gene sequencers. The pain of catching his leg caused him to emit a low grunt. Samantha ran over to where the sound came from, then gasped as she saw him. She called out for David, who came running.
"What is it?"
"I don't know, but I've sure never seen one before."
"How do you think it got in here? It's too big to squeeze through the front door..."
"I don't know. Maybe we should ask Dr. Nyx when he gets here..."
At the mention of his name, Brian tossed his head and neighed, "It's me! I'm here! Brian Nyx, that's me!"
David cautiously edged his way towards Brian with his arms outstretched to protect himself. "D-Doctor Nyx? Is that you?" he asked tenatively. Brian nodded his head and nickered three times.
"Did you use the formula? Just nod yes or no," Samantha asked. Brian nodded yes, sadly.
David moaned, "Oh God doctor, what have you done to yourself?" Brian tried to comfort David as he cried, but all he could do was rest his head on David's shoulder.
The couple were jolted back to themselves by a loud tapping noise; Brian was tapping a hoof to get their attention. Once he noticed that they were paying attention, he made a writing motion with a forehoof. "You want to write a message?" Samantha asked. Brian nodded.
"Be right back!" David yelled over his shoulders as he ran out of the room. He came back pushing a computer on a cart. "I figured since you have no hands, a computer might be easier to use." Brian nodded his head and snorted. Brian reached out with his lips and grabbed a pencil. Holding it in his mouth, he began to press keys on the keyboard. Samantha and David watched as a message formed, oh so achingly slow, on the screen:
samantha, david, i am sorry you have to find me like this. you are right, i was distressed by the fact that the committee rejected our request. i tested the formula on myself. my body got very warm for a few seconds, then nothing. i thought i wasn't going to change, so i went to dinner. it turned out the virus just needed some raw material to work with, as i started changing in the restaurant. my ears started tingling as they enlongated into horse ears. i managed to get back here before the major changes occured. the formula did work, i became a centaur. but the changes continued at an unstoppable pace, i grew four extra legs, then my arms turned to forelegs, then i became as you see me now. i think there are some errors in the genome, something we missed, since i did not stop changing where i was supposed to.
At this point David began crying again.
it is ovious that i cannot continue living here, as the public reaction would not be very positive. we must find an isolated area with readily available food and water supplies. do you know of any?
David stopped crying as Samantha nudged him. He read the message, then spoke up:
"My uncle owns a farm with several hundred acres of tall grasses. There's a natural lake on the property as well. I'll get in touch with him. How does that sound?"
Brian nodded his head, then typed, "yes, that sounds good."
David and Samantha smiled....
As it turned out, David's uncle did allow Brian to live on his farm. He needed the grass out in the fields trimmed anyway, he often joked to David and Samantha. Brian didn't spend all his time out in the fields, however. When he got lonely, he would trot in from the fields and spend some time in a specially modified barn. The barn contained some of Brian's things, including a computer connected to the Internet through a satallite dish on the roof. With the computer he kept in correspondance with Samantha and David, as well as the rest of his research team. The researchers had been instructed by Samantha and David to say that Brian had just mysteriously vanished, should anyone ask. Brian's dissapearence had gone unnoticed by many, so he was effectively gone from the human world. That was fine by Brian, though. He had discovered quite a few pros to his form, one of which was great strength.
A couple of months after Brian's arrival, David's uncle was struggling to remove a tree stump by having several horses pull it out. The horses were straining on their harnesses, but were making no progress. Brian motioned for David's uncle to harness him to the stump, which he did. With just a few pulls, Brian managed to yank the stump out of the ground by himself. David's uncle was amazed by Brian's strength, and he was even more amazed when Brian offered to help carry supplies around for him. Due to the way Brian's body was built, he had an enormous weight-bearing capacity. He shocked David's uncle by carrying four tons of grain to the barn, in bags strapped to his barrel, three miles from the west fields. David's uncle was understandibly impressed and spoke compliments to Brian often.
With the pros of his form came many cons, Brian had discovered. First of all, the sheer size of his body presented several problems. Getting enough food and water into himself to stay alive and fit was a difficult (not to mention time-consuming) process. He ate nearly a half-ton of food a day. If it wasn't for all the tall grass growing everywhere, he would have starved. Mobility was another problem. The length of his body and the sheer number of his legs made movement inside normal buildings very difficult, oftentimes impossible. Turning his body around indoors was a gargantuan effort he did not undertake very often. Grooming was also a difficult subject. Brian had three times the number of legs and twice the coat surface area of a regular horse. He could not groom himself, since without hands he could not hold a hairbrush. Fortunately, David's uncle had a niece, Candace, who loved horses and enjoyed grooming them. Brian impressed upon her to think of him as "a uniquely shaped horse, only with a human mind." She took to grooming him with a will, but the daily ritual took nearly three times as long as grooming a regular horse would have taken. Candace, David's cousin, did not mind the extra work as much as she might have. She had discovered that Brian had a brilliant mind, and they would often talk for hours (Candace talking, Brian typing out messages). Brian and Candace formed a strong bond of friendship, which went unbroken for many, many years.
One day many years after the day he arrived at the farm, Brian was mulling over his experiences. His team had written to him a month past, telling of a breakthrough. They had managed to fix the errors in the genome and in the formula; they had managed to create a working centaurization formula. With the new formula they had managed to create a reversal formula for Brian's 'condition.' After considering for a few days, Brian decided against taking the reversal formula. He realized that while it could be exciting at times, his existance in the modern human world had not been fufilling for him. He had never been really happy; rather, he had just managed to make it from day to day. Now, with a good friend and a relatively relaxed life on a moderately successful farm, Brian found that he had all he wanted.
He was happy.
An Unexpected Turn of Events copyright 2001 by Aatheus Centauri.
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