The Transformation Story Archive Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...

The Developer

by Michael Mann

The tires screeched on to the landing strip at 9:24 am, thirty-six minutes ahead of schedule. My meeting with the corporate staff of Zastava Aerospace would begin at 4:00 pm. I was happy to see that I'd have a chance to get a motel room and freshen up before the meeting and still have time to spare. Unharried time like this was becoming an increasing rarity. I stepped off of Northwest OrbitalLines flight 146 that had originated in Boston an hour and a half earlier and shook myself, my new suit instantly looking fresh pressed and wrinkle free. It was manufactured with special fibers that channel away dirt, repel dust and lint, and automatically keep the material pressed. I however didn't look so hot. I needed a shave and my hair was looking overgrown, certainly not the corporate image that I wanted to convey. The limousine that I had reserved was waiting for me right outside of the Seattle-Tacoma International Landing Port. I got in and instructed the driver to take me to the Always Fresh Cosmetic Surgery Salon in Seattle. A Mr. Barnett from Zastava who I met on the flight told me about a process that he had undergone there that had inhibited his facial hair growth. He didn't have to spend time shaving or, due to a tight schedule, attend meetings with unsightly stubble, and unlike electrolysis the process was reversible in case beards came back into fashion. I thought back to a few unfortunates that were left permanently clean shaven from electrolysis a few years back when beards were the height of the corporate vogue. I sat back and thought forward to the meeting, I was to represent my company Hephaestus Construction at the development conference. Zastava was building a new factory in a wooded area east of a town called Carbonado. I was here to secure land purchase rights so that we could build the housing developments and strip malls needed to support the worker population that the plant would bring in. It should be fairly routine, I had worked with Zastava before, although we had spent more than usual on this one as some backwoods tree-hugging citizens group calling themselves Washington Citizens to Preserve Nature had fought this development from the beginning. Hephaestus and Zastava had made hefty campaign contributions to the local incumbents to insure that our interests, and not W.C.P.N's were represented.

About a half and hour later, I was at the salon. A tall slightly lanky man introduced himself as Dr. Porter and led me to his operating room. In a thick west coast accent he informed me of the services that he had available, such as a hairstyle that would last until the fashion changed with no need to trim. He explained that they would soon have branches in major cities so that I could update the style as needed. It involved a process in which the hair follicles were reprogrammed; some to stop, such as facial and neck hair, and some would as he explained, become fur. That is hair would grow only to a certain length. With normal combing, I wouldn't noticeably `shed'. The doctor also explained a process that would alter my skin's code to eliminate age wrinkles and give me a more youthful cutting edge appearance. The price was fairly high but I could easily afford it. He sat me in a reclining chair when I agreed to the processes and selected my hairstyle. He combed my scalp with an abrasive comb. "It will be about fifteen minutes Mr. Paron.", Dr. Porter said as he left the room. While I was waiting in the operating room I called for reservations at a hotel that Mr. Barnett had recommended to me. It was the hotel that most Zastava people stay in when they were in the area, according to Mr. Barnett. Perhaps I would see Mrs. Hutchinson when I was there. I had dealt with her before during Zastava Aerospace / Hephaestus meetings, and found her very attractive and intelligent. I daydreamed about Mrs. Hutchinson for a while, then I read up on some financial forecasts. On schedule, the doctor entered with a small device that injected into my scalp. I winced a little at the sharp pain. "That's all Mr. Paron. The treatment will rapidly re-write the code that your hair follicles follow", said the doctor as he handed me a brush. I brushed and was surprised to see a great mat of my hair collect on it. "This process is quick", I said aloud, then brushed vigorously until no further hair was collected. He swabbed a washcloth behind my neck and onto my face and I saw the beard stubble in the towel. I looked at a large mirror against a wall and saw that I did have a very snappy current hairstyle, and I was startled to see that I did seem to lose some stress wrinkles and looked a decade younger. I was delighted that I wouldn't have to go to any cosmetologists to maintain this look. Just a rare visit to a clinic for a quick injection. I shook hands with Dr. Porter, "Thank you doctor, I am very impressed with your work." I handed him my expense card and he inserted it into his register terminal. I left the operating room for the limousine, when I got to the lobby, I noticed a secretary that looked like someone from a file on the citizens tree hugger group that my company was up against. He looked at me and smiled. No, I thought, too polite, and besides what would one of those backwater hicks have to do with a professional place like this.

I felt very good during the ride to my hotel room, I more than looked younger, I somehow felt younger and more alert, my hearing was better then I ever remember it being and my sense of smell seemed particularly acute. I entered my hotel room feeling a little odd, my shoes seemed uncomfortable and my clothes didn't seem to hang right, I figured that I was exhausted and decided that a power nap was advisable. I called the lobby for a wake up call in an hour and a half. I set the alarm clock as a redundancy then threw my clothes in a pile (They wouldn't wrinkle) and went to sleep.

I must say that I was quite shocked when I the alarm woke me. My face had hair all over it. And my nose seemed huge and misshapen, thoughts of litigation raced through my head as I thought of the money that I had paid for my nose job. Oh god, I thought , the meeting. I couldn't show up like this! I got up to phone the clinic while wondering how the hair follicle programming could ruin my nose. I figured that it must have been more of a genetic programming then even they knew. I reached for the phone and noticed my hands! They were covered in soft dark furlike hair, and my fingers were misshapen and looked almost paw like. The phone rang just before I picked it up. A computer voice greeted, "It is now two-thirty, this is your wake up call. Thank you for being our guest at the Seat<Slam>" I hung up the phone and picked it back up but heard no dialtone. I reached for my clothes and pure adrenalin fear surged through to the pit of my being as I got a look at my body. My feet were elongated, clawed, and furred similarly to my legs, which were shorter and covered with a soft brown fur. My spinal column extended about a foot down out of my back in a black in a long furred tail. I was partially animal. I was going to sue for such a great amount. I realized that my clothes definitely wouldn't fit. I draped my jacket around me and headed for the door, having some balancing trouble as as my feet were longer, my legs shorter, and my torso seemed longer. I stopped in my tracks when I saw my reflection in the mirror, my face was now covered in brown fur with a lighter cream colored fur above my eyes and on my chin extending down to my chest which had was covered in cream colored fur. And I did have a muzzle, my face had pushed out in an animal shape, and my ears were even higher up on my head, or at least my neck angle wasn't right. I had a sudden fear of being in public like this, but I figured that delay wouldn't be advisable. I reached for the doorknob and noticed that my hands had grown more noticeably paw like since the last time I looked. Jesus this is fast, I thought, and yanked on the doorknob uselessly. I was locked in! Who ever heard of a hotel in which customers could be locked in?! The door to the adjoining room opened and I saw Dr. Porter enter smiling. I felt a sensation like my heart sinking into my stomach as I realized finally that this was some type of setup. I opened my mouth to scream but barely got out a chitter before the tazer head shout out from Dr. Porter's hand. I felt an uncomfortable sensation and my muscles wouldn't cooperate with my struggles, Dr. Porter effortlessly placed some type of muzzle over my mouth. He turned off the current, and withdrew the tazer, I could see that he had a pistol trained at me now. On closer inspection it was a probably a tranquilizer dart. I stood and stared at the doctor, fear and anger doing summersaults in my mind. He looked down at me (I noticed that I had been shrinking) He stared back and spoke in a contemptuous voice, "You don't even care about the local wildlife that your developments have extincted." His voice grew calmer, "Well that's ok, you may have purchased our government but you will actually help us now. The process that we you were given involved nanites, little machines that we programmed to replace your genetics with animal code, and then they use your body sugars and fats to reproduce and help follow the genetic control code. I am a nature scientist, not a cosmetic surgeon. And you probably have figured out that that Mr. Barnett, who referred you to us was a part of W.C.P.N. and isn't really a Zastava employee." I let out a muffled growl but stopped when Dr. Porter's pistol trained right on my torso. "I guess that I should expect you to act more animally now. These nanites convert you fast. And your brain has already undergone significant change.", he scratched his nose then continued, "The process will change you into a marten, a weasel like carnivore that your ilk helped to make extinct in the area, and your kind will in turn help repopulate." I looked down at my body and saw that it didn't look very human anymore. I worried about losing my humanity, my self awareness. I reviewed financial information and did simple math in order to test my mental prowess against deterioration caused by the change, but had great difficultly focusing. I was terrified, perhaps it was the panic that was making it hard to think. The doctor still holding his gun began pacing the room now, "You are a good listener you know, you almost seem aware. ", the doctor stopped pacing and trained his gun back on me when I started to move, "And you're definitely cunning, an asset in nature. You'll probably have a good life, unless your compatriots succeed in paving your new world." I glanced over at the door. The doctor laughed, "The hotel of course has a manager in our group. No record of your stay will be in existence and your Limousine driver had orders given from this room that his services wouldn't be needed as the meeting was postponed.", he waved the pistol at me, "Come follow." I followed him back into the adjoining room, falling down then catching myself with my front paws, as they no longer resembled human hands. I continued walking this time on all fours finding it actually easier. In the other room I saw cages, one with a raccoon, and one with another creature like me, only much more transformed, it was human enough that I could tell it was female. A third cage was empty. The doctor pointed to the marten, "That is a Zastava executive named Cindy Hutchinson. You two will give a start to the local marten repopulation." My mind still raced with fear and I had to fight a strange longing towards the female, complicated by my attraction towards Mrs. Hutchinson as a human. No! I thought to myself, I can't let it have my mind. The doctor was still talking to me but I could no longer understand his words. It was a terrifying sensation to see him speak and have it register as a foreign language, I was thinking with smells, sights, and sounds now. After some time I saw a female marten in a cage and it wasn't human at all, I couldn't figure out why this seemed wrong, but it did. I was being prodded and poked now. I had shrunk to the point of my muzzle restraint being too small, and it fell off. I opened my mouth, showing my teeth, then jumped towards the offender, attacking. I felt a sting on my throat and then an arm swipe me as I flew against a wall. I got up dazed, and I grew more and more delirious until finally sleep overtook me.

When I woke up I was in a cage in a small building, I saw trees outside the window. There were humans here speaking but I couldn't understand them. For a while I remembered that I used to be one and would be worried as to weather I could think or not. I concluded that since I was thinking about this the answer was yes, I immediately calmed down. My cage was picked up and I was taken outside, a piece of raw meat was placed a distance away from the cage and the door was opened. My hunger was ravenous and I darted out and started eating, aware of little else. When I was finished, I looked around. There were no more humans around, I couldn't figure out if this was good or bad. I smelled a familiar scent, a female. I followed the scent trail through the woods as if I had done so many times before. The trail led into the trees. I climbed and hopped from branch to branch, this brought back childhood memories of trees. I was having fun. I paused to look around, this was beautiful. I had a dim memory of doing something abstract that would result in the trees being destroyed. I leaped limb to branch through the trees sighting the female. I started approaching her. Naw, I thought, I wouldn't do anything that would hurt my trees, it must have been a bad nightmare. The healthy attractive female chittered and darted through the trees, I resumed a playful chase exhilarated at the joy of living.

The Developer copyright 1996 by Michael Mann.

<< Derby Day The Dilemma >>