Tiger - Winds of Change

Author's Note: Places and people mentions bear no relation to those in this world.

June 17th, 1996 5:55 AM MST
The second alarm went off with a two tone shriek. I groaned, and thought, wow, that's a bit louder then I thought I had set it for. I fumbled up, and slapped at the reset button. the alarm shut off, and I figured I'd better get up. I looked a the time, almost 6 am. Better get up and get moving for work.

I first noticed that something was wrong when I look at the mirror. I normally don't put my glasses on in the morning, so things are normally somewhat fuzzy. But this was just strange! Either the hair on my chin decided to go on a huge growing surge, or I was getting a coating of fur on it. Bugger all, it's probably the cat's fur, I figured. I tried to lean in closer to get a better look, but as I did a massive wave of disorientation hit me and I slipped and hit the ground, barely missing hitting the sink with my head. I curled up in a fetal position, feeling something was was not pain, but was not very pleasurable, either. It felt like my insides were alternately turning into Jell-o, then then back to somthing approaching normal. My skin felt like someone had poured warm honey on it, and I watched in fasincation as my arms and legs changed shape into something that was not human, but not totally animal. As I watched fur grow onto my arms, I picked out the color pattern right away. I'm turning into some sort of tiger. But what kind? the fur continued to grow until it was long and somewhat shaggy. My legs finished re-shaping, and I made an attempt to stand up. I grabbed the counter with a hand(paw?), and slowly pulled myself up. the new legs felt odd, and, as I normally wear only a pair of boxer shorts to sleep in (It's Arizona, hot, you know?), I watched in the mirror as the rest of my body changed to match. I was now a Siberean tiger morph. Later, I would be classed as medium degree, but I looked very simular to a cereal cartoon charecter. I felt my tail twiching. My vision finally sharpened up, making my expensive glasses useless. I took a sniff with my new nose (Oh the new sensations!) I could smell everything, including to other cat(s?) in the house. Wait a minute! We only had one cat! I cautiously called out, "Mom? are you alright?" I heard a unsteady reply, "I'm fine, I think. Uh, what are you?" I chuckled softly, and said, "Well I hope that Kelloggs won't sue me for impersonating Tony the Tiger. On that note, I continued getting ready for work. I figured that someone might show up.

7:45 MST
Getting into my truck was a bit more of a challenge then trying to walk without tearing the carpet, even though my claws retracted almost all the way in. At least the sandals still (mostly) fit, unlike my shoes. I sat on my tail at least twice before pushing it between my legs and partially sitting on it. Not very comfortable. Then I turned the truck on, and was nearly deafened by the radio, which was turned to it's usual 11 on the volume dial. Oy. After nearly ripping the stereo out trying to turn it off, and waiting a few minutes to get my hearing back, I started into work. I eased the truck off the combination fueling/ charging stand in the carport, waited for the retractor to (hopefully) finish it's thing, and eased myself into the what I thought would be the usual chaos of Monday Morning traffic in Phoenix. The strange part was that as I was coming up to each light, it turned green. Funny I thought. I also heard some strange noise, like a vague clicking and humming at various tones. I had heard something with the truck when I started it, but I dismissed it as just the noise the turbine plant made to an enhanced feline ears. I arrived to work work without incident. As I powered the computer at my desk on, I was startled to hear the electronics actually starting up.I was then startled even more by a voice inside my head. That's nothing odd. The traffic controllers were MUCH noisier. Who are you? I thought. I am what you might call your instincts, the tiger side of your personality. I can deal with that. So, what happened with the traffic lights? and why can I hear the operating system of this computer issuing dumb instructions to the computer? We have a Power to influence computers, electronics, and pretty much any electro-mechanical device. You also have another Power, but I cannot access it.So, that explains it. How do I turn it off? That's tricky. It's on all the time, like hearing and speaking. You need to learn to control it.

9:30 AM MST
Work had indeed gone on. We had a lively assortment of creatures. The Change was not quite as random as the news had initally stated. A lot of the people at work had changed into a creature that suited their personality. The department director had changed into a bull-morph. He looked like quite the minotaur. Most of us completely cracked up when my boss came in. He had changed into a pack-rat, but jsut barely. He looked quite silly. I was outside, taking a break (A lot of people found out that they didnt like smoking ( or couldnt depending on what they changed into) anymore, but found the the habit of going outside for 15 minutes every couple hours was useful. We were goofing off, and a bunch of people could shift into the full animal. I was told to try invisioning a barrier or some sort, or a door, and to walk through the barrier or door. I found it a mental door. I found that I could norm-shift, that is, become a full tiger. The tiger voice was much stronger in that form. Fortunately, through several mental conversations that I had with him, I found that he was as sentient as anyone else. It's a bit strange with two separate entities living in the same body. One occasionally gets the feeling that you have someone looking over your shoulder. It took a few weeks to get used to it. I found the other Power that Tigra, for that is the name that he did take, mentioned. I heard stories about unusual powers appearing. I had not told anyone about my Techno-mancing ability yet, so I kept it to myself. I heard stories that some people visualized mentally a knob, door, or what not to activate the power. I closed my eyes, and found myself in a mental 'room' with a desk with a complex machine on it. Tigra was in the room with me, and he stated that the machine was the technomancing console. I saw the door that enabled my norm-shift, and another desk with another machine on it. Tigra stated that the machine would not work for him. I sat down at the desk, and turned on the machine. It came on, and displayed a map with co-ordinates and a range-finder gadget. Hmm... I wonder I thought. It looks like a device for aiming something, Tigra suggested. Let's try it. The only thing is, how do I work it? Try visualizing a location you know, Tigra said. How about home? That should work. I visualized us standing in front of the house. The gadget beeped, and a red button blinked. I pushed the button.

9:31 MST
I saw a blue flash even though my eyes were closed, and when it cleared, I found that I was standing exactly where I had visualized myself. I then visualized myself standing outside my cubicle at work, and pressed the button again. This time I kept my eyes open. I saw a blue glow envelope me, and then then fade out to my office. I could teleport! This meant that I probably wouldnt need to fly a plane again, unless the place I was going to was out of range. My boss noticed the blue flashes, and came to investigate. He, and the director, were delighted. then they wanted to know how far I could go. "I dunno, I just figured out how to do this. Let me try Seattle." I then proceeded to 'port to the company's Seattle site and back. Through further experiments, I found that I could carry a bit, as well. I found that I could drag 300 pounds with me to a range of 1500 miles, though the effort exhausted me. I then privately told the director of my other Power. He said that I was both wise and smart to keep that a secret. He had heard stories of others with a similar ability having rather unpleasant things happen to them.

Two Weeks later
The two weeks following Change Day, as it came to be known, were somewhat hectic. Some people had quit their jobs, others had just disappeared. I kept at it at work, until one day when I was in a parking lot nearby one of our remote sites. I was handed a card by a sparrow-morph, who stated that the people on the other end of the phone number listed on the card would like to talk to me about my powers. I figured, what the hell, and called them when I got back to the remote site.

When I called the number, I heard several clicks and hums, which meant (I still don't know how I knew this) that the communication was being encrypted, scrambled, and diced electronicly into a private military trunk. then the hum stopped, and a voice said simply, "Hello, Jeremy. I've been waiting for your call. My name is Steve. I understand that you have several talents that my organization is interested in. I'd like to meet you in person, as there is not much I can discuss over this line." I tail-grinned. "That's odd, as this link is encrypted, scrambled, and a few other means of data privacy that I know about, and at least one method which I know that only three companies ever use. But I'll take your word, I'd like to meet you too." We made arrangements to meet, and I got off the phone and finished my work.

Two days later
I was a little nervous teleporting to a strange address, especially because it takes about an hour for me to recharge enough to teleport anywhere afterwards. In my full tiger form, I can run about 30 MPH, and I can hit 40 for small bursts. Not enough to really get a way, or outrun a bullet. If the weapon was electronic, I could in theory use my Technomancing power (as it became known) to disable it, but they supposedly knew about this power. But, I overcame my nervousness, and entered the house. I didnt smell any oiled metal, which would indicate a firearm, and relaxed a little. Sitting at a table was a gorilla-morph. "You must be Jeremy. Please, have a seat. I'd like to talk with you for a bit, and possibly offer you a job." I sat, and stated, " I've got a job. But what does this have to do with my Teleporting power?" I asked, playing the 'dumb cat' a bit. "It's not about that, although for the jobs we'd like to hire you for, It would come in handy. It has to do with your other two powers: Your technomancing ability, and your ability to Split." I was floored. How did he know that" Tigra asked me. Beats me, and what's this split power? Let's ask him.

"What's this Split power? And how did you know about the technomancing? I've told only one other person about that." My ears had begun to flatten out, showing signs of distress. Steve looked at me and said in a calm voice," Well, The person that gave you that card can detect other people's powers, even if the subject being scanned does not know about it. Please, calm down. I'll explain everything." I calmed down a bit, but I was still curious about this split power."Ok. But what is this Split power?" Steve looked at a paper on the table. "Well, according to this preliminary report I have, It's the ability to separate your instincts from your human side. It's usually only a power when the instincts are mostly sentient anyway, but we've run across a few that can do it. But enough of that. I can tell you who I'm working for, but the conversation will be recorded at that point, and you must keep it a secret even if you refuse. Is that clear?" I heard the recording device start.

Tigra came in at this point. He's a government agent. I can sense parts of the recording device, and I do think it's a commonly used encrypting digital recorder used primarily by Special Ops type of groups. Explain to me how you know this, and I don't?? Well, I only have access to parts of your memories, and you only have part access to mine. It's a long story, and I'll tell you when we get home. I trust this guy. I think the job that he is offering is a lot cooler then the one we have at the moment. Steve was looking at me expectantly. "Sorry about that. I was having a conversation with, er, myself. We agree. What's this job?"

"Well, Your tiger instincts are correct, I am a government agent. I work for a branch of the CIA known as Department Null. We are a 'black operations' group doing jobs that are too risky for traditional missions, or too sensitive for anything else. Right now, we are looking for people with unique talents. You fit. Your ability to manipulate electronics, your teleporting ability, and the fact that you can split yourself and be in two places at once make you rather well suited for several jobs that we routinely carry out. I already know that you have demonstratedthe teleporting ability by showing up here, and the technomanceing by a detector on the recorder. Now, can we see the split power?" I shook my head and stated simply, " I don't know how. Any hints?" I thought for a minute. Tigra, I'm going to close my eyes and think split. you do the same. OK. I got off the chair, closed my eyes, and thought of a human standing next to a tiger. My body started feeling strange, and my body sat on the floor on it's own. I opened my eyes and found myself staring into a tiger's eyes. My own eyes bugged out a bit, and I involuntarily scooted back a bit. The tiger's ears were shaking, and the tail was twiching, in humor. "What's so funny fzzball??" I demanded, with a slight grin on my face. "Your eyes, when they opened..." the rest was cut off by the feline equivalent of laughing.

Two weeks later
After we merged back, I accepted the offer. It did indeed pay better then my current job. We practiced splitting when we got home, and I found that I retained the teleporting power completely, and about 25% of the technomancing power. Tigra retained the rest. Fortunatly, even though he was stuck in norm form, he could talk rather well. I also found that I could take him along while we were split with no weight penalty. Since I had the ability to Teleport almost cross-country with little or no load, Department Null had made arrangements with my company to loan me out for selective jobs, as I was most useful in my current position.

To be continued...

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