for the story so far
My name is Keegan and the Bwbachod loomed in front of me. Actually today it was more like a race car in design and no Doire faced its surface.
“She’s happy today, she wants to go home.” Raon, the Paw man announced. “Just remember to always be polite to her. You don’t have any relationship with her.”
I nodded, rather daunted about what I was going to do. Chaise had assured me that he would fly me back to Earth when I needed to go, that my alleged father just wanted to meet me. He did not want to control my life although I was welcome to stay if I wanted.
If I wanted, I hadn’t done much that I had wanted except play rugby league, and even then that was only after Dad had been murdered. I had not wanted to work, I had not wanted to study so hard and before Dad had been murdered, before Mum died, I did not want to care for someone. Those activities were just survival. Chaise was actually giving me a choice. I had not had many of them.
“Hi,” I said as I climbed into the giant-sized race car. It must have been about ten times larger than a normal one because I did not have to bend to get into the creature. Chaise and Raon followed me. My beagle looked annoyed but got in the thing anyway.
“Make sure the dog pees in a bag. You too.” Raon commented. “Otherwise we may find ourselves booted out mid-space flight.” I think the beagle may have glared at Paw man. I hoped I was imagining it. PIB had shown no signs of morphing into a human. The room dimmed slightly and I spun around. The door did not slam shut so much as the creature simply grew to fill in the gap. Wow.
The ship shuddered and the internal walls flashed bright colors. My eyes widened.
“That’s just our ride having a laugh.” Raon chuckled himself. I forced myself to relax and picked up PIB, stroking her so I could lower my blood pressure.
“Come on,” Raon took my bags from me and handed them to someone, then he nudged me forward. “Sit here and enjoy the view.”
I sat in a chair and a harness formed around me. It was claustrophobic.
“Ah, young Issy is looking after you on your first flight.” Raon grabbed a handle. PIB jumped into my lap.
There was a loud whoosh, and I jumped.
“That’s just Issy sealing all the gaps. Hold onto the dog. Takeoffs are rough on planets with air travel and satellites.” Raon grinned.
Chaise took hold of a strap that developed in the ceiling and then my head was thrown back into the headrest and it was like a giant hammer slammed into my chest.
I struggled to breathe and the dog huddled into me firmly.
The pressure eased and the forward acceleration slowed, but we lurched sideways. It was like playing corners in a car filled with people, but the corners were hairpin turns taken at 100 kilometers per hour.
I gasped. Someone laughed and then suddenly everything eased. I relaxed my grip on PIB and the straps released me. Chaise moved to be in front of me.
“We are now in space. If you want the last view of Earth for a while, look now. If you want to throw up, use a bag.” He gave me a white car sick bag. “You need to pee in it as well. Issy is living and Issy does not like idiots who forget that.”
Issy flashed an angry shade of purple but she did consent to release the straps completely.
I pushed off from the chair too firmly. The dog barked and I hit my head on the ceiling.
Then the ship started to change. The race car profile filled out, spaces widened and the ship got super large.
“Wow,” I murmured.
“She is amazing. Issy is one of the few Bwbachod’s who is capable of storing their excess mass when they morph.”
I looked at Chaise blankly.
“Did you not get almost perfect marks in physics,” he asked. I nodded.
“Conservation of mass,” I suggested.
“Yes, when we morph we have to be able to store our excess mass. This is why most people who morph are not capable of changing into animals with anything other than their mass.”
“You morphed into a dog,”
“No, I morphed into a wolf, and I am not most people. To qualify as a member of our military, you have to be able to conserve mass.”
“And how do you do that,”
Chaise just grinned at me.
“You’ll have to stay for some training to find out. Besides, it’s not the most common ability.”
“So most people on your planet,”
“Your’s too,” Raon interrupted, earning him a glare from Chaise.
“They have to morph as human-sized animals.”
“Correct, small antelope, calves, some marine creatures, there are a few other animals that we morph into.”
“And the more mass you can conserve, the better and smaller the animals you can form.”
“What about larger animals, can you morph into a whale,” I couldn’t stop myself asking the question.
“No, you can’t acquire extra mass other than by getting fatter. If you get too large, you lose the efficiencies you need to morph.”
“What’s the smallest animal that anyone has morphed into?”
“Most soldiers can drop about a third of their weight and store that.” Chaise responded.
“But you can store more,” I suggested. He gave me a look and I wondered if I had questioned too far. PIB somehow maneuvered herself into a hole in the wall. Her muffled barks made me work out how to get to her to get her out.
“I can store more,” Chaise allowed when I was finally back facing him. “There are a few people who can store half their weight. It is rare.”
“So the wolves you all chased me as, you are all rare.”
Bwbachod shuddered and flashed her bright colors.
“No, we were large wolves. It takes energy to morph and to maintain the shape.” He cast my dog an unusual look.
“She’s not one of you,” I responded defensively.
“How do you know,” Chaise asked.
“Well, she’s,” I paused. “I asked her and she did not morph into one of you, she’s not particularly heavy and that means as a human she would weight too little. You already told me that morphing starts after human puberty.”
“True,” he said, “Although there is a myth that tells of a young child who could morph from birth.”
“Myth, probably like vampires, werewolves, and unicorns,” I responded. PIB rolled over exposing her belly. I scratched it for her.
“Myths have a basis in fact. Go on a tour.” Chaise responded and the conversation ended. I took myself and PIB on the suggested tour of the Bwbachod.
Thanks to Jane Matthews for the starter for this section