|The Transformation Story Archive||With Fur and Claws...|
It was 2:30 PM, and William DeFore was preparing to enter a brave new frontier.
An AOL chat room.
Re-reading the manual one last time, he started the setup of his client.
Username: came up on the screen.
Considering carefully, William pondered the idea. He didn't want to play cross-gender. Too many things to trip him up. What he wanted was a nice, non-gender-specific, non-species-specific name, something simple ...
His face lit up as an idea came to him, and he typed: ForePaws, then hit Enter.
Next, it asked for his real name, but Will knew better than that. No sense letting anyone who happened to wander in catch his real name or e-mail. He put ForePaws for that one too.
Then it asked for his e-mail. Of course, his real one was d4\@aol.members.com, but he wasn't planning to ask for any files to be sent to him, and he did NOT want any of that spam that kept showing up in the newsgroups to show up in his mail. In fact, why not give them an e-mail that belonged to ... Then he had it. He typed in: 4paws\@genetx.gov. Let them try to find that one.
Finally, he set up the servername and set the program to Client mode. He was ready. He began the connection.
Arriving on the server, he ran a quick check of the available channels, using min:2, max:20, and =:100. There were hundreds, but one caught his eye on the third screen he paged to: =fur: Tonight Only, NO OOC!
Entering the channel, he was met with a virtual cacophony of "Hey, ForePaws!", as well as an occasional joke, like "What'd you leave beHIND?;)" After a few minutes, though, the greetings died away and he sat back to lurk. Finally, someone named MisterE came in, and started lurking too. Will decided to send a private message to his fellow lurker: /msg MisterE Nice to meet you. Come here often?:)
A few seconds later, the screen read, Private message from MisterE. Will you accept?(Y/N) Will typed Y, and read "Why not talk out loud?"
Closing the private message screen, Will typed: "Okay. Nice to meet you, MisterE. Come here often?"
"Not too often. Just happened to be in the neighborhood. Care to describe yourself?"
"I don't know ... maybe."
He regretted that coy comment when everyone in the chat room suddenly demanded to know his story, or his "furry tale", as some of them called it.
"What are you?" one person sent. Thinking quickly, Will looked around the room for inspiration ... and spotted his American Werewolf in London poster.
With an action, he sent, "ForePaws is a 5'11" brown-furred male wolfmorph with blue eyes, wearing", and he stopped to think about this, "a blue speed suit with elastic around the tailhole."
"What's your story?", was the next line.
"Oh, I'm just something new from the labs.:)"
"I just checked your info, ForePaws. You're at a government e-mail?:)"
MisterE ponders the situation. "A government-owned wolfmorph? That's a first!:)"
As his bedroom door slowly grayed and hardened into an institutional model, Will typed, "Yep. Not the first made, of course ... they finally got the bugs out with me.:)"
MisterE wants to hear about this. "Go on, ForePaws."
Now he was on familiar territory. His imagination sparking, he began to type faster, not noticing his room's slow alteration. The walls were beginning to fade to a beige-blue color, pleasing but bland.
"I'm part of the latest in genetics experiments. The scientists are very nice here."
"Which experiments are those, FP?"
"Oh, the genetic enhancement experiments. You know, to try to make real-life superheroes."
As he warmed to a favorite topic, he failed to notice his bed flattening into a cot, with a footlocker at the end, as his far wall developed a large mirror in place of the picture window.
MisterE frowns. He doesn't like the idea of gov.-owned supers.
"Oh, I'm just a prototype. It isn't too likely I'll see action.:)"
MisterE smiles wickedly. "That's what you think."
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, prototypes have to be field-tested, FP. It's the first law of government contracting.:>"
Just then, someone else "spoke" up. "Can you talk, FP?"
"I'm talking to you, aren't I?;) Seriously (or Sirius-ly), though, yes. It was part of what they were trying for."
As he typed, Will's jeans and shirt shifted slightly on his frame, unnoticed as they turned blue and merged into a single, plastic-zippered garment with the zipper down the front.
It was MisterE's turn again. "So, did you start out as a man or a wolf?"
"Man, actually. They didn't want to chance introducing human DNA into an animal and upsetting the environmentalists.:/"
"Well, the zipper on my speed suit does tend to pull my fur sometimes.;)"
"I meant about being part wolf, silly!:)"
"Well, the pure-genists would like to tan my hide, of course. And I can't exactly go unnoticed in a crowd. And you wouldn't believe the guard they put on me. Ex-Secret Service, I think."
"What, you think he'd tell me?;>"
MisterE laughs. "Good point.":D
Someone piped in, "So how'd you get on the Internet?"
"Hey, I am human originally, y'know.:) Besides, I think I convinced them that it'd be good PR.:)"
At the base of his spine, Will's blue outfit developed a hole, through which a tail quickly grew, passing through the hole at the back of his now-government-issue chair, the elastic around the suit's hole easily accomodating it.
MisterE chuckles. "Let the public know you aren't rabid, hm?;>"
ForePaws chuckles. "Yeah, something like that.:)"
What passed over the screen in that next moment Will never knew, for, looking at his hands, he saw them seem to grow dark. Looking closely, he saw that the odd shadow was a fine layer of hairs ... brown hairs ... and they were steadily growing thicker!
Distracted from the screen, he looked around at his ... his room?
Then he saw the mirror.
Before him, his face was twisting, the nose and mouth pushing forward as one to form a muzzle, while his ears slid to the top of his head and became pointed, quickly sprouting that same brown fur. Will tried to stand up ... and felt something brush against him.
Looking behind him, he saw a tail. A brown tail. A brown wolf's tail.
His brown wolf's tail.
ForePaws' brown wolf's tail!
He looked back at the mirror just in time to see the last of his skin disappear under the carpeting of fur.
Suddenly, he knew.
He knew there were cameras behind the mirror, watching his every move to store it for research purposes.
He knew that he, once William DeFore, was project ForePaws.
He knew he was in trouble ... because the new memories were rapidly displacing his own!
Turning to the computer, he hit the Action-in-channel button, then typed "turns into a teenage human boy with blond hair and blue eyes." Then he hit the Enter key.
Then he discovered he'd hit the Mode button instead of Action-in-channel.
Mode "turns" not supported. Mode "into" not supported. Mode "a" not recognised. Server connection lost.
Dumbstruck, he simply stared at the monitor for a few seconds in dismay.
Coming to himself, ForePaws shook off the reverie as Mr. Smith, his bodyguard, ran into the room.
"Are you all right, sir? Security reported you seemed agitated."
ForePaws turned. Something didn't seem right ... but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. "Nothing, nothing ... just a problem with the computer. I clicked when I should've pointed, I think."
Smith didn't crack a smile. But then, he never did. "Understood, sir. I'll pass it along."
As Smith left the room, ForePaws shook his head. Learning to use a computer at 30 really wasn't all that hard ... after all, in his Army service he'd had to use a few. But some of the programs ...
He looked at the mirror, and said, in his gravelly voice, "You know, you really don't have to watch me all the time. You could always leave and get a sandwich."
No response came, but then, he really wasn't expecting one. He knew they were there, though. Government regs.
Stretching, he winced and adjusted the zipper of his speed suit. The blasted thing just kept catching his fur. Looking around at the bare walls of his quarters, he still found a sense of wonder at being the first live human product of the Lycaon project portion of the experiment. /Well, kind of human./ he emended as he caught sight of himself in the mirror.
He briefly considered writing a letter to his parents ... then decided to wait until later. After all, it was only the middle of the afternoon. He sat down on the bed and rubbed his toepads as he silently wished the lab boys had settled for flat feet. Still, the system did work, and that was what mattered.
Smith didn't knock when he came in. But then, he never did. "Foot trouble, sir?"
"Nothing to bother the lab about. Just still sore from my afternoon jog."
"You have a memo, sir."
ForePaws took the proffered piece of paper and scanned it. "Hm. Let them know I'll be ready for the morning test right on schedule. Any idea what it is this time?"
ForePaws sighed. "I didn't think so." He handed the memo back. "Just tell them I'll be ready. If you want me, I'll be in the gym."
As he fished his specially modified government-issue exercise uniform from his footlocker, ForePaws couldn't help but think back on when he was a kid. Things had been so much easier when he hadn't been held to Uncle Sam's schedule twenty-four hours a day. Before he was old enough to even join the army, let alone volunteer for a genetic modification experiment. Yeah, childhood had been the greatest.
It seemed like only yesterday ...
MUCKing About copyright 1996 by Wanderer.
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