No Way Back – Chapter 7 – Updated 23JAN2010

Lookie!  I got Chapter 7 up!

Remember, if this looks like part of Chapter 6, it’s because I cut part of Chapter 6 out and made it 7!

Chapter 7

She stirs in her bed. It’s nothing like what Chibi was used to, the sleeping pods on the dropship. They were meant to hold one person at a time, which made this human-and-machine-made full-size mattress feel way too large. And, without the enclosure, she always felt like she was about to fall out and be injured. Even the sleeping pads on the passenger ships she was used to offered more of a feel of security, although they could compare size-wise.

At the moment, though, none of those thoughts were in her mind. Chibi was sleeping, dreaming of her far-off home, Eil’phia. She wore only what she needed, since her kind usually preferred to let their bodies be against the wind, virtually unfettered, only covering the most sensitive of areas against the grit that was blown from the numerous beaches. . She wriggled her toes through the soft, dark-blue grass and let her claws press into the soft soil. A gentle wind blew across the rolling plains, carrying with it the cry of one of its four-winged birds nestled in one of the few red-leafed trees. She smiled and sighed, leaning back against the wolven male who had her heart. The white-and-silver wolf, a Ru’therian, had a gentle touch as his paws draped around her. His voice, gentle and loving, spoke to her, telling her how he would hold her forever. That he didn’t care if his parents wouldn’t ever approve, she loved him, and he her, and that was what mattered. She turned her head and kissed one of the arms holding her close, feeling her tuft of a tail against his uniformed groin, his legs alongside hers. She closed her eyes and just let her head rest against the small silver spot in the fur of his bicep She could imagine every trace of silver in his fur, the diamond of darker fur lining his back, the tiny, almost unnoticeable flecks of black mixed in.

“Djarn, please, don’t ever let me go,” she whispered, her own paws grabbing his forearms to keep him near.

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Chibi!” The young Ru’therian’s voice sparkled in his happiness. “Not unless you want me to.”

“Never.” She smiled, then turned even further to look into his hazel eyes. But, as she turned, she noticed him looking off in the distance. She followed his gaze, down the sapphire hills to someone approaching. She recognized his features as he stepped closer to them. He was human, lanky, with blue eyes and slightly longer, dirty blonde hair.

Her love’s voice came softly, “You… You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”

“NO! I hate him! He keeps me from you, Djarn! Kill him!”

A smile came to the face of the human standing now only a few meters from them. “Allessa, who is your friend?” came the voice she’d learned to to recognize anywhere.

She spat angrily at the primate. “I HATE YOU! Why can’t you just finish what you have to so I can go back to my … Djarn!?” She cried out in confusion as she felt her lover’s arms separate and his body begin to slide away. “No! Please! Don’t leave me with this… this… Creature!”

“He is who you’ve chosen, Chibi.” His voice sounding more and more distant.

She tried to jump up to catch Djarn as he slid further away, gaining speed as he continued, but the grass, once so soft and inviting, reached up and around her, pinning her in place. She screamed, a long, loud “NO!,” as she struggled, pulling away from the grass, which only wrapped her in more tendrils, all but naked and exposed to the young human who was still approaching her. She wrenched back and forth, trying to free herself as he came closer still and removed something from his pocket. It looked just like the communications transceiver that she’d let loose at his home, the small, insect-like device. But this one he set onto her forehead. It dissolved into the nanobot camouflage she had been using to hide on his planet. But the energy they gave off felt different, invasive. In moments, they had spread over her and sheared off her fur, leaving her skin naked to his observation, oblivious to her words as she tried to control them. She cried out as her beautiful fur, her speckles and spots of black on white, were removed from her body, leaving only a grotesque pink flesh in its place.

“Allessa, you should be with me.” Robert’s voice the calm, reassuring tone he always had when he was comforting one of his close friends. “I’ve loved your forever. Tell me you love me, too.”

The nanites finished their work, then returned to cover her face. Or, that’s what it seemed. Instead, they bit into her, and began reshaping her face and removing her long, slender ears, her natural beauty being destroyed. She screamed once more in defiance and agony as the machines ignored all of her commands and slowly, painfully made her appear physically human.

“Come, this is where you belong. As a human. One of us.” Robert’s voice didn’t come from his mouth, but in her own mind. “Forget everything else and be mine.”

She screamed once more, tugging her arm away from the blades that bound her. As she did, the grass released its grip and let her see her now-human skin. She had pulled with such force that she actually fell off a cliff that wasn’t beside her a moment prior. She tumbled, the robotic terrors leaving her face as the wind tore at them. She saw in the distance jagged rocks surrounded by green water. She sobbed softly, and decided she would rather be dead than living as one of these aliens, and especially without Djarn. She closed her eyes and let gravity take its course…

THUMP!

 She landed hard on the floor, the carpeting barely buffeting her fall. Her chest heaving, she quickly brought her paws to her face. Still the same glove-like black that gave way to white fur with black spots and specks at her elbows, although now slicked with perspiration. She reached up and felt her stretched ears, still oblong and protruding from her shoulder length black hair at the back of her head, where they were supposed to be. That’s when she realized that she was wrapped in the blanket, which must have been what was binding her. She touched her nose, her cheeks. Everything was where it was supposed to be.

At that moment, she decided to risk everything she was trying to save. Djarn was right. She was starting to feel something for this wretched beast she was torturing. It was time to make it end. It was time for him to win, whether he actually won or if she made it happen. She needed to be touched, wanted to be close to her Na’therian love. All she had to do was make it where he won without it seeming suspicious. And she was developing a plan to just make that happen.

She stood, still shaky from her nightmare, and unwrapped herself from the blanket. She still wasn’t sure how she wound up under it, since she never used it before. She was used to sleeping naked, and the feel of the fabric against her fur usually made her too hot as she slept. She moved towards the bathroom, wanting to rinse herself of her night’s horrid dream, and the accompanying sweat. As she need the door, she stopped and looked at her nanite storage unit, and turned towards it. As the technomage she was, she was trained on the use of this camouflage near the end of her apprenticeship, but she never failed to operate them before. She slowly opened the metal casing, finding the machines in their default standby position, clustered together in a ball no larger than her fist. She touched it, and quickly withdrew her hand, fearing that they might jump at her. Without the proper energy from her command, they remained inert. She stretched her paw out and whispered the activation command, one specifically chosen by her, “Ng’cha.” The ball suddenly hummed with energy, and she could feel its happiness in its usefulness. That happiness suddenly changed to confusion, then question. It could sense her distress from her own energy. While it couldn’t directly ask her, it could let her know that it was curious.

“I had a bad dream.” She pulled her hand away from the ball, since she had become adept in reading her machines’ artificial intelligence at a short distance without concentrating with her hand. “Did you detect anything in the house tonight?”

The nanobot collective gave her a strong negative feeling. Not one of malice, hatred, anger, but a simple sensation of “No.”

She quickly issued a warmup command, practice for apprentices when they were learning to use the technology. The ball flattened to a sheet in the bottom of the box. She whispered the next command, and the millions of tiny machines shifted to a perfectly-shaped pyramid. She smiled, once again feeling in control of her technological enhancements. She uttered the word “Ng’cha” once more, and the bots re-formed the sphere she expected, and the feeling of happiness and fun disappeared as they shut themselves down. Chibi turned back towards the bathroom and quickly walked in.

The mirror caught her attention as she neared it. She had already been wondering if she had had an appearance change, but she didn’t want to feel too narcissistic. She looked over her face, noting that her fur could use some extra grooming, but, outside of that, everything was where it was supposed to be. She ran her paws down her cheeks, feeling for any unusual bumps. Her paws traced down her slender neck and down her collarbones, pressing and feeling for irregularities. As they pressed down along her furred breasts, she laughed, remembering her mother’s words. “You should join the Mei’inke, you have the perfect form for it!” It was her mother’s religion, and one that Chibi felt was beyond antiquated. If she’d followed her mother’s advice, however, she wouldn’t be in this predicament, Chibi thought to herself. It would have been an honor, for sure, but, the pilots from Na’theria had intrigued her so. She checked each breast, knowing that she was overdue for a medical checkup, but there weren’t exactly any doctors around her. She continued feeling down her ribs and her stomach, checking for breaks, cracks, bruises, anything from her fall. As her paws neared her legs, she blushed, realizing that it had been almost three years since anyone, even Chibi herself, had touched her there. The thought brought to mind hours of time alone with her wolf, the intimacy they had shared and promised to only each other. Each memory built on the previous, and she could feel her body swelling with heat, her ears pressing down along her back. A yearning, a want to be touched, held, kissed, all came at her in a whirlwind, and she felt herself falling into the Mei’inke world of desires. She gasped, her eyes bulging at the realization, and removed her paws from herself, forcing them to do something other than remind her of moments past, and refusing to fall into that trap that she felt made her gender so much more subservient then they should be.

She reached into the shower and turned on, the sound of running water reminding her of home for just a moment, not just her planet, but her home, nestled in against one of the larger waterfalls in the country. As she climbed in, shaking out her black hair, she began thinking of the similarities of the land she knew so well and this planet she had been prisoner on. Very strange, she thought, how much of the remaining wildlife on this planet seemed to be a color-shifted variant of what she knew. The water splashed along her fur, cooling her hot fur and, beneath, skin, as she slowly drove out the sensations and thoughts of her physical wants, and, instead, began comparing the physiology of these humans to the species that she knew. It was amazing, she thought for the hundredth time, how physically similar these creatures. It made blending in with them so much easier, as she only had to hide her fur and physical differences. Luckily for her that was easy enough. But, something suddenly struck her for the first time. Why do the majority of the bipedals in the UFO consortium, and, for the most part, the galaxy, have so similar a design? I mean, there were obvious differences. Some were taller or shorter, some had fur, others had scales. They all had different faces, and she had longer feet, but, in general, they were the same! Even that Robert physically reminded her of a nice male she knew growing up. If Robert had … Hmm… Beige fur, and the right features, he would even be a highly sought after mate, much like her romantic interest when she was entering her time of change. Would I want him if he were? He would have been so cute. And I would have welcomed his advances, maybe even let him…

She angrily slammed the water off and stepped out of the tub, reaching for the long towel hanging near the tub. How ridiculous! He’s an ugly, horrid, evil human, and those blasted snakes only wanted him because he was a good pilot.

“Then why are you thinking about him?”

She snapped around, expecting to find a body for the voice that she heard. There was nothing but an empty tub. She closed her luminescent eyes and realized that it was yet another memory. A lesson, given to her a long time ago, by the technomage trainer, who she had a slight crush on after she had started. The memory continued.

“He really is cute, smart, funny. He makes me feel like I could do anything,” she heard a younger, more clothed version of herself say. She watched as the other Chibi uncomfortably shifted, trying to hide the desire to please him.

“And has he ever told you that he’s interested? Have you ever asked?” The trainer, a canine with a moderate, narrow snout, with brown fur and a distinctively black spot that covered the back of his neck and a large portion of his back and sides, asked her. His orange eyes twinkled behind his smile as he spoke. He was nearly twice her age, but was so kind, calm, and slow to anger.

“I’ve wanted to ask him, but I think he would decline me, and I don’t think I’d be able to handle that.” Chibi chuckled as she watched the scene in front of her, remembering how her heart fluttered as he turned towards her again. “He’s just very… I don’t know, busy….”

“Chibi,” he said slowly, “whoever this boy is, I’m sure that he would be interested if you just asked. But, he’s interfering with your work. You started out so well, and since you’ve succumbed to this emotion, this fear and uncertainty, it shows in your skill. Remember, these are not toys.” He gestures to the mechanical devices around him. “They will respond to you, but if you lack confidence in your ability, they will turn on you. They are like wild animals that have been trained. You will give them a life of their own, but they need to be guided. If you aren’t strong enough to maintain it, they will ignore you.”

“Yes, master. Thank you…” The younger version sounded so uncharacteristically weak for a moment, but then perked up. “I’ll show you that I can do this! I am not afraid!”

“I’m glad to know that. Now, let’s begin…”

The memory faded, and she found herself standing in front of the nanite box again as it rested on her dresser. She would need to either deal with the feeling that she was starting to discover, or just push past them and make this happen. It shouldn’t be too hard, just another day or two of this, and she can return to her Djarn’s arms. That thought made any thoughts of the human and the what if’s vanish. She opened the drawers and pulled out what she knew Robert liked to see her in, her slightly tighter jeans and a soft, pink sweater. As she laid them on the bed, she laughed quietly. Males will be males, regardless of their origin. Djarn liked seeing her in the exact type of outfit, since she was on-base when they met, and clothing was required. He was busy scrambling to class, and she was skipping. She hated the space sciences class, nothing but numbers and theory, and had created a recorder that would take her notes for her. It was more than against the rules, had she been caught, that would have been the end of her career in the academy. But, he dropped his comm chip in the rush to get around her, and she had picked it up. When he contacted it later, they agreed to meet up. His sweetness, his exuberance, they made her forget the other men she had known up to that point, and it was just him from that point on.

She pushed past her thinking of history, and began to dress, pulling on the silken underwear that seemed to help keep the fur from snagging the fabric. It was difficult to mask her tail, but the padding she’d added made what she was doing so much easier, and made her rear more appealing to the humans somehow. She then slid into the pants, wriggling her toes to make it a little easier. Then, she went to the box and gave the activation command once more. The ball woke yet again, and gave her the happy feeling.

“Today, we make this happen.”

They gave her a feeling of happy, and then happy again.

“Yes, I am happy about it. We should be done tomorrow.”

The feeling she got from the machine was suddenly not understandable, like it was trying to express a new feeling. Then, the mental image of her home world came to mind.

“Yes, and then we go home. To him.”

The machines gave off the happy feeling once again. She touched the ball and whispered another command. The ball quickly changed into a flowing river of silver that worked up her fur and around her face. Then two smaller amounts separated and drifted down her arms, surrounding her paws up to her elbows in the same silver. She closed her eyes, granting the machines a moment to communicate with the small chip at the base of her skull. Then, she thought about her appearance, and imagined it shifting to the pale-skinned form she had practiced for years. The nanites responded, arranging on her face, neck, and hands, forming the needed shapes. She opened her eyes and looked out through the viewports. She looked into the mirror, then chanted an incantation. The machines, while wonderful at shaping, shifting, and physical copying, had difficulties with coloring. While there were coloring versions, they required much more maintenance than her prolonged stay would have ever allowed. This final step would be to use the magical ability to grant them the shifting colors required. A crystal next to the nanobot’s box began glowing. She reached down, grabbing the gem and touching it to the robots on her fur. There was a feel of static, and the gem’s glow faded. She looked in the mirror again. So long as she didn’t remove her mechanical friends, the illusory spell would hold. She smiled, the toothy grin perfectly holding. She turned, grabbed the sweater, and slid it on.

Finally ready for the day’s seduction of the wretched human, she peered out her window. The day was bright, and she smiled again, thinking about how it would soon be her own world she gazed upon. Her eyes lowered to the road as she looked at the human vehicles. Still combustion, but slowly nearing the fusion and fission energy stages. She could feel it. But, something just didn’t seem quite right. She glanced at the wall. The clock there showed ten. She looked again. She saw her “parents’” car, the late-model Cadillac. She saw her “car,” which was actually a ground transporter changed to look like a new Beetle. At least it was cute. Then he saw Robert’s father’s Audi. His mother’s purple Grand Prix. But… Where was the Cavalier? It was way too early for him to be up. He hadn’t been waking up before eleven on weekends. Was it stolen?

She turned quickly and jogged to the wall panel hiding her holographic computer station. She pulled up communications records from his house. He had made a phone call to his best friend. It was rather quick, but it was… A half-hour ago? She hadn’t expected him to be awake, so she felt having a listener on wasn’t needed. That means no recordings. No knowing what happened…

“Oh no… I have no idea where he is…”

She started to try to track his whereabouts down, but stopped herself. He would have to come back sometime. This would give her the opportunity to prepare her own items for transport, and make the arrangements to have this be the day that she lost to him, either by skill, or by design.

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